It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. - Erasmus
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 152, 20 August 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

ABKHAZ VOW TO RESIST GEORGIAN "OCCUPATION." The situation in
Sukhumi on 19 August was reported by ITAR-TASS to be calm, although
occasional shots were fired. Abkhaz parliament Chairman Vladislav
Ardzinba, who had retreated to Gudauta with 1,500 members of
the Abkhaz National Guard, denied reports of his resignation.
The advance of Georgian National Guard troops northwards from
Sukhumi towards Gudauta was halted by fighting near the villages
of Esheri, according to Interfax. Abkhaz parliament deputy Zurab
Achba warned that the Abkhaz parliament was preparing a campaign
of armed resistance against the Georgian "occupation." Georgian
Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandre Kavsadze, who was abducted by
supporters of ousted President Zviad Gamsakhurdia last month,
was freed on 19 August. On his return to Tbilisi he vowed to
campaign for the release of two senior Georgian security officials
still held hostage. (Liz Fuller)

CONFEDERATION OF MOUNTAIN PEOPLES ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO GEORGIA.
The Confederation of Mountain Peoples has issued an ultimatum
to Georgia to withdraw its troops from Abkhazia by 21 August
and pay compensation for the damage it caused, ITAR-TASS reported
on 19 August. The ultimatum was issued by an extraordinary session
of the confederation's parliament meeting in Groznyi and attended
by nine delegations from North Caucasian republics. If Georgia
does not comply, the confederation will declare the start of
hostilities against Georgia. In the meantime, a delegation from
the North Caucasian republic of Adigeya has been in Moscow to
discuss the situation in Abkhazia. The deputy prime minister
of Adigeya, Ruslan Khadzhibekov, told ITAR-TASS on 19 August
that the leaders of the North Caucasian region will meet in Armavir
on 20 August to work out a common position towards Georgia. Adigeya
has condemned the actions of the Georgian leadership. (Ann Sheehy)


ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE ARMENIAN PRESIDENT? On 19 August, Radio
Baku broadcast a report carried by Radio Erevan the previous
day that shots had been fired at Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan
as he was leaving his home on 17 August. One of Ter-Petrossyan's
bodyguards was seriously injured. Radio Baku implied that the
attacker was motivated by dissatisfaction with Ter-Petrossyan's
policy over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Liz Fuller)

"DNIESTER REPUBLIC" FORMING OWN ARMY. "Dniester republic president"
Igor Smirnov announced on 13 and 14 August that the republic
intends to form its own army, Interfax and DR-Press reported.
On 14 and 16 August, the "Dniester republic" held military parades
in Tiraspol. In speeches marking the occasion, Smirnov and the
commander of Russia's 14th Army, Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, said
that the 14th Army will help the "Dniester republic" to create
its own army. An air show marked the debut of the "Dniester republic's"
air force, consisting of planes and helicopters transferred from
the 14th Army, DR-Press reported on 17 August. On 18 August,
the "Supreme Soviet" in Tiraspol began deliberations on forming
the republic's own army which will also include spetsnaz and
border troops, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. (Vladimir Socor)


"DNIESTER" RUSSIAN VOLUNTEERS FOR SERBIA. Representatives of
"Working Russia" and other communist-nationalist Russian organizations
are recruiting volunteers for Serbia among "Dniester" Russian
armed detachments and Cossack units which had arrived on the
Dniester from the Russian Federation, DR-Press press reported
from Tiraspol on 17 August. Several volunteers were intercepted
in Romania on their way to Serbia, the agency added. The "Serbian
Republic of Krajina" formed on Croatian territory is the first
entity to have extended recognition to the "Dniester republic."
(Vladimir Socor)

WORK ON DRAFT CIS CHARTER NEARS COMPLETION. Work on the draft
CIS charter will be completed by 1 September, Ivan Korotchenya,
the head of the working group responsible for organizing CIS
summits, told BelInform-TASS on 19 August. The charter will set
out the rights and obligations of member-states. For reasons
that are not clear, the representatives of only six member-states
(Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Uzbekistan)
seem to have been taking a full part in the discussions, while
Ukraine and Turkmenistan have been represented by observers.
The draft charter includes sections on an economic court, a human
rights commission, and collective security. The latter heading
alone suggests it will not find favor with all member-states.
(Ann Sheehy)

LEADERS OF KAZAKHSTAN, TATARSTAN, AND BASHKORTOSTAN MEET. The
presidents of Kazakhstan and Tatarstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev and
Mintimer Shaymiev, and the chairman of the Bashkortostan Supreme
Soviet, Murtaza Rakhimov, met in the west Kazakhstan city of
Uralsk on 19 August. Kaztag-TASS reported. In a joint communique
the three leaders expressed support for the preservation of a
common economic space and for Nazarbaev's initiatives in strengthening
integrationary processes in the CIS. They also expressed their
desire for greater economic cooperation and increased contacts
between their peoples. In a statement on Abkhazia they said an
attempt was being made to solve political questions by force,
"ignoring the legally elected organs of state power." Although
the statements of the three leaders seem to have been unexceptionable,
some may look with apprehension on this coming together of Kazakhstan
with the two leading Muslim territories of Russia. (Ann Sheehy)


YELTSIN ANNOUNCES MORE DETAILS ON VOUCHERS. President Yeltsin
devoted a significant part of his television address on 19 August
to privatization vouchers. Calling for the creation of "millions
of owners, not a small group of millionaires," Yeltsin announced
that the distribution of vouchers for buying shares of state-owned
enterprises would begin on 1 October. Each Russian citizen is
to receive one voucher valued at 10,000 rubles. The voucher holder
may purchase available shares directly, through an investment
company or sell it for cash. Yeltsin also confirmed that the
total value of state assets (calculated according to 1 January
price levels) that will be made available for purchase through
the voucher program is 1,400 billion rubles. (Erik Whitlock)


NEW PROPOSAL TO COMBAT "SCISSORS CRISIS." Minister of Agriculture
Viktor Klystun has proposed a new approach to reversing the growing
disparity between agricultural and industrial goods' prices,
according to the Financial Times on 19 August. This disparity,
often referred to as the "scissors crisis," has caused severe
financial problems for the agricultural sector which receives
low prices for its output, but must buy high-priced industrial
inputs. Klystun's idea is to privatize the sectors in such a
way as to integrate industrial and agricultural firms. Creating
cross-ownership, in Klystun's view, will reduce the present monopolistic
behavior of the industrial firms towards the agricultural sector.
(Erik Whitlock)

RUSSIAN TRADE BANK OBSTACLE TO MILLIONS IN TRADE. The Russian
Trade Bank, Rosvneshtorgbank, which handles most of Russia's
financial transactions with foreigners, is impeding billions
of dollars worth of business with the West, according to the
Journal of Commerce on 14 August. The US Export-Import Bank alone
has approved financing for 113 million dollar trade and investment
projects between Russian and American firms that are awaiting
required cosignatures from the Russian bank. The German trade
bank, Dresdner, also has millions worth of deals caught in the
Rosvneshtorgbank bottleneck. The report gave little indication
why the Russian bank is not processing the credits. (Erik Whitlock).


RUSSIA SEEKS MORE GERMAN CREDITS. A visiting Russian delegation
asked the German government on 13 August for an additional two-year
import credit to purchase urgently needed food, raw materials,
and medical supplies, The Journal of Commerce reported on 14
August. The German government was reported to be hesitant about
the request as it has earmarked its export credit insurance program
to help companies in the eastern part of Germany export to the
former Soviet Union. Bonn has already authorized Hermes export
credits to the value of DM 5 billion mostly to firms in the eastern
part of the country that are trading with the former Soviet Union.
(Keith Bush)

GORBACHEV'S ROLE IN YELTSIN'S CAREER. Gorbachev told Radio Liberty
on 14 August that, when Boris Yeltsin resigned as Moscow Party
boss in October 1987, Yeltsin asked to retire on a pension. But,
telling him "life still lies ahead," Gorbachev insisted that
Yeltsin take the job of deputy construction minister instead.
The first disgraced Soviet leader ever to return to politics,
Yeltsin bounced back to the limelight in the parliamentary elections
of March 1989. (Volik Rahr)

REVELATIONS ABOUT PUTSCH. Izvestiya of 13 August published excerpts
from an interview which Russian Prosecutor Valentin Stepankov
recently gave to the German magazine, Stern. Stepankov revealed
that former KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov found out that Gorbachev
and Yeltsin had concluded a secret agreement to change the government
and replace Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov with Kazakh leader
Nursultan Nazarbaevz. Stepankov further suggested that although
Gorbachev had lost control over the country's nuclear weapons
during his isolation in the Crimea, the Army General Staff never
lost that control. (Alexander Rahr, Moscow)

PAKISTAN HALTS FLIGHTS TO UZBEKISTAN. Pakistan International
Airlines was forced to suspend a weekly flight to Uzbekistan
scheduled for Sunday, 17 August, due to fighting in Afghanistan's
capital, Kabul, AFP reported on 16 August. The shelling has disrupted
air traffic around the capital. There is no word as to when the
flights will resume. (Cassandra Cavanaugh)

MORE UZBEK DEMOCRATS ARRESTED, BEATEN. Megalopolis Ekspress confirmed
on 19 August what Russian TV reported on 12 August, that another
leader of the Uzbek popular democratic movement "Birlik," former
USSR People's Deputy and member of the commission investigating
the 1991 August putsch, Pulat Akhunov, was arrested in the city
of Andijan, and accused of assault. Ironically, other leaders
of "Birlik" have been recently subject to random beatings, presumed
to have been carried out on government orders. Among the recent
victims is Bobir Shakhirov, a dissident imprisoned in the 1970s,
who recently proposed the idea of a "milli mejlis" or national
popular assembly, and who has been twice attacked by unidentified
assailants. (Cassandra Cavanaugh)

MORE MCDONALDS FOR MOSCOW. The Moscow city government has given
a 24-year lease on a site on the Arbat to the Moscow-McDonalds
joint venture, Interfax reported on 12 August. The restaurant
is scheduled to open in 1994. There are plans to open 20 McDonalds
fast food restaurants in the city. (Keith Bush)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

DEVELOPMENTS IN BOSNIA. On 19 August, Bosnian Foreign Minister
Haris Silajdzic, speaking in Washington, offered a glimpse into
Bosnia's strategy for the upcoming EC Conference on Yugoslavia
in London, to be held later this month. Silajdzic said the Bosnian
government would propose a significant decentralization of political
authority in that republic. Constituent units controlled by individual
ethnic groups would even be given some degree of independence
in carrying on relations with neighboring states, apparently
a reference to Serb and Croat ties to their mother republics.
This appears to be a significant concession on the part of the
Bosnian Muslims, who have up to now refused to negotiate while
fighting continued, and had insisted on a unitary state structure
for the republic. (Gordon Bardos)

SERBIAN PARTIES FAIL TO AGREE ON TALKS. The 19 August meeting
of the ruling Socialist Party (SPS) and 13 opposition parties,
designed to organize round table talks preparing the upcoming
November elections in Serbia, failed to yield any concrete results.
Most opposition parties maintained that the talks should decide
problems, while the SPS and Serbian insisted that anything discussed
there should only be taken as recommendations. Consultations
on organizing the round table are to continue next week. Also
next week the federal government begins similar talks on preparing
federal elections. Vuk Draskovic, leader of Serbia's largest
opposition party, the Serbian Renewal Movement, refused to take
part in the talks. (Milan Andrejevich)

CROATIAN FORCES CLASH IN BOSNIA. The Belgrade, Ljubljana and
international media reported on 19 August that there have been
an increasing number of clashes between Croatian forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina
in recent weeks. Clashes involve Croatia's Defense Council forces
(HVO) stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croatian Defense
Forces (HOS), the ultra-right military arm of the Croatian Party
of Rights. On 9 August a HOS general and 8 of his troopers were
slain by HVO troops in Herzegovina. HOS retaliated by attacking
HVO positions. One HVO officer told Britain's ITN on 19 August
that "we will eliminate HOS because they have ruined Croatia's
reputation." (Milan Andrejevich)

POLAND'S COPPER STRIKE SUSPENDED. The month-old strike at the
Polska Miedz copper combine was suspended indefinitely shortly
after midnight on 20 August, PAP reported. Finance ministry officials
apparently agreed to adjust the combine's status under the excess
wages tax, which would allow for limited wage increases. The
apparent conclusion of the strike by some 38,000 employees at
Poland's largest industrial plant may take the wind out of the
sails of the radical and postcommunist unions that are attempting
to use pay disputes to force the government to abandon market
economic policies. (Louisa Vinton)

POLAND'S STRIKE SITUATION. Frustrated by the lukewarm response
to its call for a national protest on 18 August, the six-union
strike committee threatened even more radical actions beginning
20 August. It also demanded across-the-board raises of 1,100,000
zloty for every employee and pensioner in Poland "in order to
restore the living standards of 1989." The radical farmers' union
Self-Defense threatened to block highways at 60 points; a Silesian
train drivers' union declared a general strike on regional railways;
and the postcommunist miners' union said it would open a protest.
The response to these protest calls is unlikely to match the
radicalism of the strike committee's rhetoric. Only a handful
of coal mines remained on strike on 20 August, and the railway
protest got off to a half-hearted start, perhaps thanks to warnings
by the railway management that the strike was illegal because
mediation was in process. Solidarity's train drivers' section
cautioned its members against taking part and warned of possible
legal consequences. The Gdansk shipyard management asked police
to evict the 40 workers who persisted in staging a sit-down strike
on the premises; the police declined to act unless a crime was
committed. (Louisa Vinton)

GOVERNMENT'S FIRM STANCE PAYING OFF? As the six trade unions
intent on politicizing Poland's labor conflicts seemed to fall
short of their aim to repeat the experience of August 1980, the
government restated its determination to hold firm and offer
systemic solutions rather than local remedies for strikes. Speaking
in Cracow on 19 August, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka said that
anarchy and destabilization were not imminent threats. While
willing to negotiate with all law-abiding trade unions, the government
"refuses to race around Poland to answer their every call." This
approach is evidence of determination, not arrogance, Suchocka
said. She added that her cabinet's goal is to eliminate the causes,
not the consequences, of public dissatisfaction. (Louisa Vinton)


WORLD POLES CONGRESS OPENS IN CRACOW. Both Suchocka and President
Lech Walesa attended the opening session of the Congress of Polonia
and Poles from Abroad on 19 August in Cracow. This is the first
such congress to be held in Poland since the war. Suchocka told
the 300 delegates that Poland was open to all Poles who wanted
to return to their homeland, but was not equipped to conduct
an organized repatriation campaign for Poles living in the former
Soviet Union. (Louisa Vinton)

BALTICS AND THE UN. The Baltic representatives have formally
appealed to the UN to take up the issue of former Soviet troops
remaining in the Baltic states, western agencies report. In a
19 August letter to the UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, the
Baltic representatives said that they have not seen much progress
from European organizations such as the CSCE, and that bilateral
talks with Russia "have been largely unsuccessful." Meanwhile,
a Russian human rights expert attached to a UN subcommission
dealing with protection of minorities told reporters on 19 August
in Geneva that Estonia and Latvia have adopted "discriminatory
legislation" vis--vis non-Baltics living in the area. Stanislav
Chernichenko, who claimed ethnic Russians do not have the right
to own land in Estonia and Latvia, said the situation in Lithuania
is "not as bad." In fact, land ownership in Estonia and Latvia
is determined not by a person's ethnicity but by his or her citizenship
status. (Riina Kionka)

SWEDISH BANK TRADES IN KROONS. The Swedish bank Forex has become
the second foreign bank to buy and sell the Estonian kroon, the
RFE/RL Estonian Service reported on 19 August. Last month, the
Lithuanian bank Litimpex was the first foreign bank to trade
in kroons, and last week a Finnish bank became the first outside
the former Soviet Baltic states to accept kroons for deposit.
(Riina Kionka)

ZHIRINOVSKY SPEAKS OUT. The leader of Russia's so-called Liberal-Democratic
Party has called for a reassertion of Russian control over the
Baltic states, western agencies report. Vladimir Zhirinovsky,
who recently returned from a trip to Germany where he met with
a number of like-minded extreme rightist political parties, also
told reporters on 19 August that Zionism and the United States
are the two enemies of Europe. "Zionists think up ideas and the
US puts them into practice," Zhirinovsky said. (Riina Kionka)


LANDSBERGIS CONGRATULATES YELTSIN. Chairman of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis sent Russian President Boris
Yeltsin a note congratulating Yeltsin on the coup anniversary,
ITAR-TASS reports. Landsbergis's message reportedly called the
coup "the victory of Russia's democratic forces over the putschists"
during which "our nations defended in solidarity democracy and
the possibility of civilized development." (Riina Kionka)

IMF TOUR CONTINUES. IMF Director Michel Camdessus wraps up his
Baltic tour by holding talks today (20 August) in Vilnius with
Lithuanian Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala, BNS reports. The
two are scheduled to discuss Lithuania's economy and the prospect
of IMF loans. (Riina Kionka)

WORLD BANK ASSISTANCE TO BULGARIA. John Wilton, since last week
head of the World Bank's Sofia office, said in an interview published
in 24 Chasa on 19 August that two requirements had to be met
before a second tranche of economic assistancetotalling $100
millionwould be released. Wilton added that the money, which
had already been formally allocated, would be forthcoming after
Bulgarian adopts contemporary legislation on bank regulation
and detailed rules on the implementation of privatization. He
also mentioned the need for a law on social security. Depending
on the progress of reforms, Wilton estimated that the World Bank
might release some $200-300 million per annum to Bulgaria. (Kjell
Engelbrekt)

U.S. SENATORS VISITING CZECHOSLOVAKIA. A group of five U.S. Senators
arrived in Prague on 19 August, CSTK reported. The group, headed
by Senate majority leader George Mitchell, met with Czechoslovak
Prime Minister Pavel Strasky and Defense Minister Imrich Andrejcak
to discuss, among other things, the prospects of Czechoslovakia's
disintegration. The senators said that the United States will
support changes in Czechoslovakia and expressed hope that the
division of Czechoslovakia will be peaceful. Strasky told the
senators that while the question of Czech-Slovak relations was
important, the key issue was the transformation of the economy,
in particular the process of privatization. Strasky emphasized
that a number of American firms already own or co-own firms in
Czechoslovakia. He said that the transformation of Eastern Europe
will not be possible without active US involvement. (Jan Obrman
& Jiri Pehe)

CZECHOSLOVAK VOUCHER PRIVATIZATION MOVING FORWARD. Czechoslovak
Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Rudlovcak was quoted by CSTK
on 19 August as saying that 75 percent of the so-called investment
coupons (vouchers), purchased earlier this year by Czechoslovak
citizens interested in participating in the process of privatization,
have been traded for company shares. 8.5 million Czechs and Slovaks
bought the vouchers. The first round of share auctioning began
in mid-May; the second round ended on 18 August. Rudlovcak said
that in the two rounds, the demand for shares in 428 joint-stock
companies was below the number of shares offered; in 42 companies
the demand was greater than the supply. The third round of auctioning
will start on 26 August. (Jiri Pehe)

ANTALL ON HUNGARIANS ABROAD. Prime Minister Jozsef Antall said
at the opening of the third world congress of Hungarians in Budapest
on 19 August that "it is the constitutional duty of the Hungarian
government to take responsibility for Hungarians abroad," MTI
reported. Recalling that the Peace Treaty of Trianon allotted
two-thirds of Hungary's territory and some 3.5 million Hungarians
to neighboring countries, he said that while "no one can deny
that this hurt [Hungarians]," this could not justify any demands
to change borders by force, Radio Budapest reported. Antall said,
however, that Hungary expected its neighbors to grant full ethnic
rights to Hungarians and pledged to continue to speak out in
defense of those rights, stressing that the "minority question
is not an internal matter." Over 4,000 Hungarians from all over
the world are attending the congress, which is the biggest international
gathering of ethnic Hungarians in more than half a century. (Edith
Oltay)

ROMANIA AGREES TO GIVE ECONOMIC AID TO MOLDOVA. On 19 August
Modlovan prime minister Andrei Sangheli ended a two-day visit
to Romania. Before returning home, Sangheli signed accords with
Romania that might help Moldova reduce its economic and energy
dependence on the former Soviet Union. Most of Moldova's energy
supplies pass through the Dniester region, and separatists there
have disrupted deliveries several times. Radio Bucharest quoted
Romanian prime minister Theodor Stolojan and deputy foreign minister
Teodor Melescanu as saying that Romania agreed to help improve
roads, banking, and tourism in Moldova. It will also try to tie
Moldova into its electricity grid and oil supply network. (Dan
Ionescu)

ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER CALLS FOR NORMALIZATION WITH RUSSIA.
A Radio Bucharest correspondent in Moscow reported on 19 August
that Romanian prime minister Theodor Stolojan had sent a message
to his Russian counterpart, Egor Gaidar. The message, which was
delivered by Romania's charge d'affaires in Moscow, called for
a normalization of bilateral relations in all fields, and especially
in the economic one. Stolojan also invited Gaidar to visit Romania.
(Dan Ionescu)

[As of 1200 CET]


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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