|Forty is the old age of youth; fifty, the youth of old age. - Victor Hugo|
No. 160, 21 August 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR GERASHCHENKO WANTS TO RENEGOTIATE WITH THE IMF. Russian central bank chairman Viktor Gerashchenko said in an interview summarized by the Washington Post on 21 August that it was unrealistic to expect adherence to the IMF's existing conditions for economic aid. The limits on credit expansion and government spending would devastate the Russian economy and, therefore, would have to be renegotiated. Gerashchenko said that the current agreement puts a 700-billion-ruble ceiling on the issue of central bank credits in the second half of this yearconsiderably less than he feels necessary to keep the economy afloat. Gerashchenko will make his case directly to the IMF when a Fund team arrives in Moscow next week for further aid negotiations. (Erik Whitlock) KHASBULATOV ON CIS. In a talk on Russian television to mark the anniversary of the August 1991 coup, the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Khasbulatov, said that the initial euphoria over the independence of the republics of the former Soviet Union was passing and that there was a strong desire on the part of their peoples, and not just their leaders, to unite in one form or another, ITAR-TASS reported. He said this did not mean abandoning the CIS and constructing something new, but strengthening the Commonwealth. Khasbulatov said that the first session of the CIS interparliamentary assembly, due to take place in Bishkek in September (presumably in conjunction with the meeting of CIS heads of state and government) was a very serious beginning, which should reinforce the agreements signed by CIS leaders and stimulate integration. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN PAYMENTS FOR GRAIN SHIPMENTS. The president of Eksportkhleb told Interfax on 20 August that the Russian finance ministry has agreed to settle part of the arrears owed to Canada for grain shipments. Oleg Klimov stated that the ministry could pay only part out of current resources, but it "made assurances that the question of due payments will be reviewed regularly." He hoped that Canada would resume grain exports to Russia. Two days after the Canadians halted grain shipments, ITAR-TASS on 19 August reported that the Australian Wheat Committee had decided to sell further wheat to Russia only for hard currency and only when the Russian arrears of $50.7 million for previous deliveries had been paid. (Keith Bush) YELTSIN LEVIES NEW TAX ON OIL. A new presidential decree will require oil and gas enterprises to pay a new excise tax, Interfax and Western agencies reported on 20 August. Although few details are available, the size of the taxes will be determined by the quality of the extraction site; the more productive the field, the higher the tax. As such, the new levies are a type of rental payment to the state for using national resources. The government also hopes the tax will encourage exploitation of less accessible deposits. It was not clear how the tax would effect energy prices for consumers. (Erik Whitlock) SHUMEIKO DEVELOPING RUSSIAN INDUSTRIAL POLICY. Various governmental officials gathered to discuss a comprehensive policy for arresting the fall of industrial output, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 August. Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said that in the coming months, the government would be meeting with enterprise directors to establish measures to support "priority" industries. Although Shumeiko was careful to emphasize that such measures would not get in the way of current privatization plans, the program seems to represent another channel through which the industrial lobby can influence the future course of economic reform. (Erik Whitlock) GAIDAR: NO REGRETS. At a time when rumors of his replacement or resignation are rife, acting Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar has published an extensive and eloquent credo in Izvestiya of 20 August. Whetting readers' appetites, he writes: "For several months I have tried as far as possible to refrain from public polemics. But the time has come to have it out." However, he doesn't name names, but merely criticizes the military-industrial complex, the agrarian lobby, and those sectors demanding subsidies and customs protection. Gaidar restates his customary thesis that everything is under control: "the country is manageable, the market has started to work, no famine is predicted." (Keith Bush) MEETING OF CIS CONSULAR SERVICES ENDS. A meeting of the heads of the consular services of CIS member-states ended in Minsk on 20 August with the initialling by ten of them (excluding Turkmenistan) of protocols on visa-less travel by citizens of CIS states on the territory of CIS countries and the mutual recognition of visas issued to foreigners, BelInform-TASS reported. It was also agreed that citizenship documents of the former USSR would be regarded as valid until citizenship documents of the newly-independent states were issued. The protocols will be submitted to the heads of CIS governments for signature at their September meeing in Bishkek. (Ann Sheehy) PERES IN MOSCOW. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev held talks on 20 August to discuss a Middle East peace settlement. Following talks, Kozyrev said Russia is doing everything it can to help both sides reach an agreement. Peres said that Israel respects Russia's role in the peace process. Radio Moscow stressed that the talks had taken place at Israel's initiative. Following discussions with Kozyrev, Peres met with Russian Prime Minister Gaidar to sign an agreement on trade and agricultural cooperation, Western and Russian agencies reported. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV WARNS NATIONALISTS. Andrei Kozyrev defended Moscow's policy toward the Yugoslav conflict in an article published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 20 August. Rejecting Russian nationalists' attempts to use the "infamous Slavic factor" in an attempt to tilt Russia's policy unconditionally toward Serbia, Kozyrev said that Russia would play a leading role in the Balkans "in matters of fairness" and defended Russia's recognition of Macedonia in evidence, Western agencies reported. Meanwhile, according to statements by Oleg Rumyantsev, executive secretary of the constitutional affairs commission, Russia has not been invited to the London conference on Yugoslavia, scheduled for 26 August, Interfax reported on 19 August. (Suzanne Crow) ZHIRINOVSKI, LEBED ON REDUCING MOLDOVA'S SIZE. While on a visit to Germany, the ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky called for reducing Moldova and the Baltic States "to the size of Liechtenstein" as part of a general change of borders in favor of Russia. He also praised Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, the commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, as "a true patriot," the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 19 August. Lebed, whose threats to use force against Moldova have been widely reported, has also called recently for reducing Moldova in size by annexing areas on the right bank of the Dniester to the left-bank "Dniester republic." (Vladimir Socor) UKRAINE'S NEW MERCHANT MARINE HOISTS NATIONAL FLAG. In at least one area, Ukraine and Russia have managed to resolve a question connected with the Soviet inheritance: the division of the former Soviet merchant marine. On 20 August, Ukrainian Television showed ceremonies at which the first 200 or so merchant ships of the 1,500-vessel fleet which Ukraine has inherited from the USSR after successful negotiations with Russia lowered the former Soviet flag and hoisted Ukraine's blue and yellow national colors. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINE BEGINS INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS. On 21 August, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk is due to open a World Forum of Ukrainians in Kiev, which will bring together about 1,000 representatives from Ukraine and its large "Eastern" and "Western" diaspora. The forum, which has been much publicized, is part of the elborate celebrations marking the first anniversary of Ukraine's independence (24 August). As part of the official celebrations, on 22 August, the Ukrainian parliament is convening a special session. The festivities will continue into next week. (Bohdan Nahaylo) ANOTHER UKRAINIAN UN PEACEKEEPING SOLDIER KILLED IN BOSNIA. A second Ukrainian soldier serving in the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia has been killed, Western and CIS agencies reported on 20 August. He was killed by sniper fire in Sarajevo. Another Ukrainian soldier was killed in Sarajevo less than three weeks ago and several other Ukrainian soldiers have been injured. (Bohdan Nahaylo) KGB'S SOPHISTICATED MANIPULATION BY MASS MEDIA. According to a former KGB officer and member of the former Fifth Main Administration, Alexander Kichikhin, the anti-KGB campaign that surfaced in the central mass media from mid-1990 to August 1991 was part of a plan designed by the KGB itself, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 19 August. The goal of this campaign was to prevent cooperation between KGB officers and the democratic opposition and to provoke antagonism between young KGB officers and Boris Yeltsyn's supporters. Having worked himself in the Fifth Main Administration, which was responsible for manipulating the mass media, Kichikhin expressed concern that the new Russian Ministry of Security was capable of carrying out the same types of operations. (Victor Yasmann) NORTH CAUCASIAN LEADERS DISCUSS ABKHAZIA. Leaders of Adygeya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, and North Ossetia, that is, all the north Caucasian republics except Chechnya and Ingushetia, together with the leaders of Krasnodar and Stavropol krais and Rostov oblast held a closed door meeting in Armavir on 20 August to discuss the situation that has arisen as a result of Georgian troops entering Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS reported. They drafted an appeal that will be handed personally to Yeltsin by members of a delegation who will discuss with Yeltsin the participation of North Caucasus representatives in regulating the conflict in Abkhazia. They will send humanitarian aid to Abkhazia and set up a permanent consultative council to prevent future conflicts. (Ann Sheehy) DUDAEV VISITS SAUDI ARABIA. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev arrived in Saudi Arabia on 20 August for what was described as his first official visit to an Arab country, ITAR-TASS reported. Dudaev told ITAR-TASS that Chechnya was seeking nothing from Saudi Arabia but the secrets of its economic success. He said that a Chechen trade representation would be opened in Jiddah before the end of his visit, to be headed by a Saudi of Chechen origin. Dudaev said he would visit Jordan when he left Saudi Arabia. Dudaev's visit suggests that he is not worried by the possibility of being overthrown in his absence, and also that his threat to take action against Georgia in connection with Abkhazia is serious. (Ann Sheehy) IMF GIVES TAJIK APPLICATION GREEN LIGHT. Khovar-TASS reported on 20 August that an International Monetary Fund delegation visiting Tajikistan approved that country's application for membership. Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Tukhtaba Gafarov told the delegation that Tajikistan has an economic development plan based on the transfer to a market system. The delegation, which is conducting talks on the terms for Tajikistan's membership, announced that the IMF is "extremely interested in establishing close and constant ties with Tajikistan." (Cassandra Cavanaugh) MOLDOVAN PREMIER IN ROMANIA. Moldova's prime minister, Andrei Sangheli, headed a large government delegation to Romania for a "working visit" on 18 and 19 August, Moldovan and Romanian media reported. Sangheli and Romanian Prime Minister Teodor Stolojan voiced the hope of revitalizing relations, bilateral trade turnover being only 43 million dollars so far this year. Sangheli also had talks with Romanian President Ion Iliescu and Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase. Stressing that the talks covered economic, not political issues, Sangheli mentioned that Romania provided Moldova's sole road and rail access to the West. Most of the Romanian press played downthe visit while continuing to attack the Moldovan government for opposing unification with Romania. (Vladimir Socor) SNEGUR CABLES YELTSIN. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur sent Russian President Yeltsin a telegram congratulating him on the first anniversary of the defeat of the putsch. He said that Moldova was proud of having rallied to the support of Russian democrats and Yeltsin personally in resisting the putsch from the the very beginning, Moldovapres reported. Snegur also recalled that the "Dniester" leaders had supported the putsch from the start, and had followed up by initiating military operations against Moldova. Snegur expressed the hope that Moldovan-Russian relations would develop on the basis of mutual cooperation and noninterference. Snegur's comments reflect Moldova's dismay over the support extended to the "Dniester" insurgents by Russian political and military circles. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVAN APPEAL TO UN. In a message to UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali on 19 August, reported by Moldovapres, Foreign Minister Nicolae Tiu asked that the UN send military observers and human rights experts on a fact-finding mission to Moldova. Tiu listed violations of the ceasefire by unlawful "Dniester" forces and persecution of the indigenous Moldovan population by the "Dniester" authorities, which, he feared, further undermined the ceasefire and the prospects of a political settlement of the conflict. (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SARAJEVO FIGHTING INTENSIFIES. Sarajevo suffered another round of bombardment on 20 August, reportedly the worst fighting in more than a month. Mortar fire hit a barracks housing Ukrainian members of the UN peacekeeping troops stationed in Sarajevo. Although there were no reported casualties from the attack on the barracks, eight UN vehicles were destroyed. Earlier in the day, a Ukrainian soldier was killed by an unidentified sniper. The Bosnian government building was also hit and on fire. Some reports suggested that the Serbs were bombarding the city in retaliation for Muslim sniper attacks. Despite the renewed fighting, Sarajevo's airport was reopened for relief flights after being closed for two days, 26 planes managed to land. In Belgrade, meanwhile, a CSCE delegation led by Czech foreign minister Jozef Moravcik expressed optimism about solving the Yugoslav crisis after meeting with Serbian leaders. (Gordon Bardos) SANDZAK MUSLIMS SEEK REPUBLIC. Sulejman Ugljanin, head of Sandzak's main opposition Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA), informed reporters on 20 August that representatives of the Muslim National Council (MNC) would travel to London for the international conference on Yugoslavia next week. Ugljanin said that the MNC had received an invitation to attend from Lord Carrington, the EC's chief mediator on Yugoslavia. Ugljanin also said that the MNC would break all contacts with the authorities of Serbia, Montenegro, and the rump Yugoslavia until "terror against Muslims stops and the status of the Muslim people is resolved." On 19 August, SDA secretary Rasim Ljalic said that the region, located in Serbia and Montenegro, might secede and establish a republic if the new rump Yugoslavia were internationally recognized. Radio Serbia carried the reports. (Milan Andrejevich) PANIC MEETS CSCE OFFICIALS, VIEWS KOSOVO. Milan Panic, head of the rump Yugoslav government, asked a CSCE mission led by Czechoslovakia's foreign minister Jozef Moravcik to assist in facilitating talks between the Yugoslav government and Albanians in Kosovo. According to a Radio Serbia report on 20 August, Panic said that the CSCE could make a "real contribution in resolving the situation in Kosovo, which would be far more effective than theorizing about human rights." He stressed the need to involve Albanians in the political system through elections and representation in government. He added that Albanian protests and boycotts were "no features of democracy." Panic informed the CSCE delegation that his government was making efforts to reopen Albanian-language schools in Kosovo. (Milan Andrejevich) MECIAR'S MOVEMENT RETREATING FROM ITS POSITIONS? Speaking on Czech Television on 20 August, Czechoslovak Prime Minister Jan Strasky said that there are indications that the ruling party in Slovakia, Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, may be retreating from its original separatist positions. Strasky pointed out that it was still possible to save the federation, but suggested that the split of Czechoslovakia would be a better solution. He said that the two new states could counclude treaties which would make their mutual ties firmer than a federation could. Czech Television suggested that Meciar's party was changing its position because it was concerned about the growing popularity of the post-communist Party of the Democratic Left and its planned merger with Alexander Dubcek's Slovak Social Democrats. Both of these parties insist on preserving Czechoslovakia. (Jiri Pehe) SLOVAKS PROPOSE A NEW TYPE OF UNION. The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia is proposing the creation of a Czech-Slovak union to replace the current federal arrangement, CSTK reported on 20 August. A draft treaty prepared by the movement, to be soon submitted to the ruling party in the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, suggests close coordination of foreign and security policies between the Czech Republic and Slovakia through regular meetings of the republics' presidents and prime ministers.The draft also proposes the creation of a joint Czech-Slovak agency, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. According to the draft, citizens of either republic would automatically be citizens of the other. (Jiri Pehe) CZECH AND SLOVAK OFFICIALS COMMENT ON FUTURE COOPERATION. Speaking at a press conference in Prague on 20 August, Czechoslovak Prime Minister Jan Strasky said that a common market embracing both the Czech and Slovak republics is possible even if Czechoslovakia splits, as long as Slovakia is committed to privatization and free market economics. Also on 20 August, Slovak Privatization Minister Vladimir Dolgos told reporters in Vienna that Slovakia remained committed to a sweeping privatization of state companies. Slovak Finance Minister Julius Toth said that Slovakia wanted to cooperate with the Czech Republic over monetary and customs policies, but "it was not yet clear if the two republics would share a common currency." (Jiri Pehe) PLANS TO DIVIDE CZECHOSLOVAK INTERIOR MINISTRY. The ministers of internal affairs of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic met in Bratislava on 20 August to dicuss the transfer of the federal ministry's powers to the republican ministries in case Czechoslovakia splits. CSTK reports that the ministers agreed to set up seven commissions to solve legal issues associated with the transfer of powers. The commissions will also deal with cataloging the federal ministry's property, dividing its archives, and documenting the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. (Jiri Pehe) COPPER COMBINE RETURNS TO WORK. The Polska Miedz copper combine resumed production on 20 August amid disputes over whether the strikers had won anything from their month-long strike. The agreement suspending the strike granted no pay increases, with management pledging only that it would offer the "highest wages possible" within the limits of the firm's finances. This formulation seems to have been designed to allow the strikers to save face. New wage negotiations are to take place after revisions in the excess wages tax, approved by the Sejm before the strikes began, become law. The government denounced as a "serious abuse of the work force" claims by strike organizers that only strike participants would benefit from purported raises. Losses from the strike were set at nearly one trillion zloty ($73,000,000). Presidential spokesman Andrzej Drzycimski greeted the end of the strike as a "positive solution." He added, "strikes and conflicts limit our chances . . . and serve no good end . . . The trade unions now organizing strikes do not represent all of society." (Louisa Vinton) SILESIA REMAINS RESTIVE. The government's success in halting the copper strike may have turned the tide. The Silesian engine drivers' strike proclaimed for 20 August drew only a limited response; 82% of passenger trains functioned normally, according to the director of state railways. Five Silesian coal mines also remained on strike. Some 6,000 Solidarity adherents demonstrated in Katowice on 20 August. The government is pushing ahead with systemic restructuring plans to be negotiated centrally with the major trade unions; on 20 August it presented miners' unions with a ranking of mines according to profitability and future prospects. The only major strike now underway is at the FSM auto plant; and even the left-wing Union of Labor party acknowledged that wage demands voiced by strikers there "exceed the wildest income dreams of most Polish families." (Louisa Vinton) GERMAN-POLISH POLICE COOPERATION. German Interior Minister Rudolf Seiters met with President Lech Walesa and Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka on the second day of his visit to Poland. Seiters said he offered Poland a "special security partnership" to limit illegal border crossings, fight organized crime and drug trafficking, and open new border crossings. Germany pledged to give the Polish police four million marks to combat the growing drug traffic between the two countries. Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski said Poland will consider meeting Germany's request to introduce visas or invitations for Romanians. In connection with Seiters's visit, Polish police announced that 36,000 auto thefts had been reported in Poland so far this year, up from 4,100 in 1988 and 18,610 in 1991. Police officials noted, however, that the "import" of stolen cars from Germany has become a less tempting occupation for thieves; Poles now drive desirable luxury cars, while Polish police are less threatening than German. (Louisa Vinton) MORE SECURITY FOR NARVA, PRESS BLAMED. Estonian defense authorites have decided to station a local defense task force permanently in the northeastern city of Narva by the end of the year. According to Major Georg Ambach, commander of the local task force, a regiment currently based on the coast at Narva-Joesuu will be transferred to Narva."I understand that for many in Narva we are unwelcome," Ambach told BNS on 20 August. "This attitude is also shaped by the Russian-language press in Estonia," Ambach said. The local defense task force is a division of the Estonian Defense Ministry. (Riina Kionka) WAGES, PRICES INCREASE IN LITHUANIA. The average monthly salary in Lithuania increased by 7% to 6,175 rubles in July, whereas prices increased on the average of 27%, BNS reported on 20 August. (Riina Kionka) ROMANIA'S NSF OPPOSES THE RUSSIAN PREMIER'S VISIT. On 20 August Romania's National Salvation Front (NSF), a partner in the country's ruling coalition, expressed concern over a possible visit by Russian acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar. Western agencies reported that Caius Traian Dragomir, the NSF's presidential candidate, criticized Romanian Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan for having failed to consult with the parties in the government coalition before inviting Gaidar. According to Dragomir, Gaidar's visit should not come before the presidential and general elections set for 27 September, since "it might influence the electoral campaign." (Dan Ionescu) STOLOJAN ON ECONOMIC REFORMS IN ROMANIA. In an interview with Radio Bucharest on 20 August, Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan insisted that Romania achieved "particularly good results" in its transition to a market economy. "In an extremely short period, of only two and a half years," Stolojan said, "we succeeded in creating most of the institutions and mechanisms of the market economy in Romania." At the same time, however, Stolojan admitted that Romania's economy was still far from that minimal degree of stability which could render it attractive for both foreign and local investors. (Dan Ionescu) BULGARIAN MILITARY OFFICERS. According to a report in Demokratsiya on 20 August, the Military Council of the Bulgarian General Staff has proposed that eleven generals and 1,205 officers be relieved of their duties. Meanwhile, in an interview published in Balgarska armiya on the same day, Chief of the General Staff Colonel General Lyuben Petrov conceded that the military profession tended to be less attractive than previouslysignificantly fewer seek higher military educationalthough he attributed this to the unclear legal status of Bulgarian officers. (Kjell Engelbrekt)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.