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No. 161, 24 August 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR GEORGIAN STATE COUNCIL DISCUSSES ABKHAZ DEADLOCK. Georgian troops withdrew from the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi on August 2021 in accordance with an agreement reached at a meeting in Gudauta between Abkhaz Parliament Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba and Georgian State Council member Ivlian Khaindrava on 19-August, but Georgian State Council Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze said on 22 August that the troops would remain in Abkhazia to safeguard transport links, Western agencies reported. Abkhaz Parliament Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba stated on 21 August that he would not agree to negotiations as long as Georgian troops remained on Abkhaz territory. At a session on 23 August the Georgian State Council ordered preparations for a general mobilization to counter possible aggression by forces of the Confederation of Mountain Peoples, ITARTASS reported. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIAN VICEPRESIDENT CALLS FOR PERMANENT OBSERVERS IN NAGORNO- KARABAKH. Speaking at a news conference in Erevan on 20 August, Armenian VicePresident Gagik Arutyunyan argued that "the UN has no right to assume the position of detached observer in the Karabakh conflict," and that it is essential to send a permanent group of international observers to the region to assess Azerbaijani claims of Armenian preparations for an attack on Azerbaijan's border raions, Interfax reported. (Liz Fuller) DOZENS KILLED IN STEPANAKERT AIRRAIDS. At least 35 people mostly refugees, were killed and over 100 wounded in two Azerbaijani airraids on the NagornoKarabakh capital of Stepanakert on 22 and 23 August, Western agencies reported. ITARTASS quoted NKR State Defense Council chairman Robert Kocharyan as accusing the world community of "criminal indifference" to Azerbaijan's attempts to resolve the Karabakh crisis through bombing populated areas. An Armenian general captured by Azerbaijani troops has been executed for his role in the killing of Azerbaijani civilians in the Karabakh village of Khodzhali in February, Interfax reported on 21-August. (Liz Fuller) MOUNTAIN PEOPLE'S CONFEDERATION ORDERS DESPATCH OF VOLUNTEERS TO ABKHAZIA. Following the expiration of its ultimatum to Georgia to withdraw its forces from Abkhazia by 21 August, the Confederation of Mountains Peoples of the Caucasus issued a decree instructing all the Confederation's bodies to send volunteers to Abkhazia "to offer armed resistance to the Georgian agressors," Interfax reported on 22-August citing the Moscow branch of the Abkhazian press center. All Georgians living on the territory of the confederation were declared hostages. A report in Nezavisimaya gazeta of 21-August said that meetings were being held throughout the North Caucasus in support of the Abkhaz and funds were being collected to buy arms. Chechen president Dzhakhar Dudaev's refusal to supply weapons on the grounds that it would constitute interference in Georgian affairs was forcing the confederation to seek arms elsewhere. (Ann Sheehy) ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF YELTSIN'S NEWS CONFERENCE. At a news conference in Moscow on 21 August to mark the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt, Russian President Boris Yeltsin concentrated on glad tidings in the economic sphere, Russian TV reported. He claimed that average wages have climbed faster than retail prices during the past three months. He predicted that "we will live normally through August and September," but October will be very difficult because "those political games will start again." The situation would improve in 1993. Yeltsin forecast a Russian grain harvest of 103 million tons. And he reminded those present about his decree that raised the pay of teachers, doctors, and others in the budgetfinanced sphere by 50%. (Keith Bush) MORE DETAILS EMERGE ON RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM. At the Yeltsin news conference and at a subsequent news conference held by Anatolii Chubais, more details were spelled out of Russia's crash privatization program. Vouchers with a face value of 10,000 rubles will be issued to each Russian citizen between October and December, and will be valid throughout 1993. State assets to the value of 1.4 trillion rubles (apparently in 1991 prices) and, it seems, representing 35% of the nominal worth of some 7,000 stateowned enterprises, will be sold to the public. Those enterprises to be privatized in 1993 must turn themselves into jointstock companies by November. (Keith Bush) YELTSIN MAKES DEFENSE APPOINTMENTS. According to Krasnaya zvezda on 22 August, Boris Yeltsin has named the following enerals to leading positions in the Russian armed forces: Col. Gen. Vladimir Semenov, Commander in Chief (CINC) of Ground Forces; Colonel General Igor Sergeev, CINC of Strategic Forces; Adm. Feliks Gromov, CINC of Naval Forces; Col. Gen. Viktor Prudnikov, CINC of Air Defense Forces. Semenov and Prudnikov were already serving in similar capacities in the CIS military command; the Sergeev and Gromov appointments are promotions. Yeltsin also named Lt. Gen. Viktor Barynkin and Lt. Gen. Vitalii Bologov as heads of identified Russian General Staff Directorates; Colonel General Vyacheslav Mironov was named Chief of Armament, while Col. Gen. Nikolai Chekov was appointed Chief of Construction and Billeting. Mironov and Chekov also served in similar capacities in the USSR and CIS armed forces. (Stephen Foye) RUSSIA TO GO AHEAD WITH ROCKET SALE TO INDIA. The chairman of India's space commission, U.R. Rao, has said that Russia is proceeding with its $200 million deal to supply sophisticated rocket engines to India despite recent US sanctions, according to an AP report on 23 August. On 15 May, the US imposed sanctions for two years against Glavkosmos, the Russian agency involved in the deal, and the Indian Space Research Organization. The Russians and the Indians claim that the liquidfueled rockets are to be used for satellite launches while the US maintains that they could be used for military purposes and that their sale violates the multinational Missile Technology Control Regime. Neither Russia nor India are members of the Regime, but the Soviet Union had agreed to adhere to its provisions in 1990. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIA OFFERS INDIA MILITARY CREDITS. Indian Defense Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters on 20 August that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had offered India a $400 million credit to purchase military equipment and related technology from Russia. According to UPI, Pawar said he would leave for Moscow on 6 September to discuss the offer. India has long been a major client of the Soviet arms industry and has been producing major Soviet weapons sytems under license. The collapse of the USSR has had a negative effect on India's domestic arms industry, since the supply of vital Soviet components for Indianbuilt weapons has been disrupted. (Doug Clarke) KRAVCHUK ACKNOWLEDGES NEED FOR MORE DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL STRUCTURES. In several speeches delivered during the celebrations over the last few days of the first anniversary of Ukraine's declaration of independence, Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk has called for the election of a new parliament (the present one is still dominated by Communist Party candidates) and the creation of a coalition government that would include members of the opposition. While openly criticizing radical opposition leader Vyacheslav Chornovil for allegedly splitting Rukh, Kravchuk was at pains to stress his commitment to democracy and political and economic reform. (Bohdan Nahaylo). IMF TO CUT OFF NEGOTIATIONS WITH UKRAINE? The chairman of Ukraine's central bank, Vladimir Hetman, said that the IMF may soon withdraw from aid talks, Western news agencies reported on 22 August. Hetman claims the IMF is most unimpressed by the government's current reform plans. Hetman summarized a letter from IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus in paraphrase: "as long as you [the Ukrainian government] continue to have one program for external consumption and another at home, the IMF cannot hope to have talks with you on cooperation." This announcement comes on the heels of last week's disagreement between the central bank head and President Kravchuk over whether and how to introduce a new national currency to replace the ruble. (Erik Whitlock) ANOTHER MINING DISASTER IN THE DONBASS. A mining disaster in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region, apprently caused by gas explosions, has claimed the lives of two miners and fourteen rescue workers, CIS and western agencies reported on 21 August. (Bohdan Nahaylo) PROTESTORS IN KIEV CALL FOR DEMJANJUK'S RELEASE. On 21 August, about 20-people demonstrated in central Kiev calling on Israel to release Ivan Demjanjuk, RTR reported. Demjanjuk was sentenced to death in 1987 by an Israeli court after being convicted of being a gaschamber operator in the Treblinka death camp. He has claimed throughout that he is the victim of mistaken identity. Israel's Supreme Court is currently considering Demjanjuk's appeal against the sentence and conviction. (Bohdan Nahaylo) RUSSIA REPATRIATES VIETNAMESE GASTARBEITER. The Russian government has asked its transport ministry to arrange for the repatriation of the remaining 30,000 Vietnamese guestworkers, ITARTASS reported on 20 August. Enterprises that lay off these gastarbeiter have been asked to pay them at least three months' salary in indemnity. Many Russian enterprises are reported to have dismissed their Vietnamese workers without compensation and without tickets back to Vietnam with the justification that contracts signed during the existence of the USSR were no longer valid. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN STRATEGIC WEAPONS TO STAY IN KAZAKHSTAN. General Viktor Dubinin, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, said on 20 August that Russian and Kazakh officials had reached agreement on keeping Russian strategic nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan for seven more years. Dubinin headed a Russian military delegation to AlmaAta for talks which ended on 18 August. He told ITARTASS that 12 agreements had been initialed and now treaties would be drawn up for the heads of state to sign. Another two documents were signed by the chief negotiators. Dubinin said that an agreement had been reached which would allow the Russian military to continue to use the Emba and SaryShagan test sites. He was quoted as saying that "our armed forces cannot do without Kazakh test sites and it would cost billions of roubles to construct similar sites in Russia." No mention was made of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. (Doug Clarke). SPECIAL CIS MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS LINKS. General Valeri Manilov, the press spokesman for the CIS High Command, told ITARTASS on 20 August that the CIS Chief of Staff Committee had agreed to establish special communications lines for the exchange of information on exercises, maneuvers, the implemention of military programs and "other operational measures." The Committe held its first meeting in Moscow, on 18 August. (Doug Clarke) KAZAKHSTAN, CHINA TO HELP KYRGYZSTAN. Both Kazakhstan and China have offered to help Kyrgyzstan deal with the effects of the major earthquake on 19 August, KyrgyzTAGTASS and KazTAGTASS reported on 20 August. There were varying reports on the number of casualties caused by the quake, which was centered in the Susamyr Range of central Kyrgyzstan and felt in all neighboring countries. KyrgyzTAG gave a death toll of 14, while the governmental Committee for Natural Disasters gave a figure of 42 dead and 7000 houses destroyed, according to DPA. Natural disasters have plagued Kyrgyzstan's attempts at economic recovery during most of 1992. (Bess Brown) TAJIK OFFICIAL DENIES ISLAMIC ARMED GROUPS BEING FORMED. Akbarsho Iskandarov, newlyelected chairman of Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet, has issued a statement denying a Newsweek story, according to which Afghan fundamentalist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is arming Muslim groups in Tajikistan, ITARTASS reported on 23 August. The story of Hekmatyar's influence with at least some parts of the Islamic Renaissance Party is apparently widespread in Dushanbe; Iskandarov complained in his statement that it had been picked up by the media in Russia as well. ITARTASS noted that last week Minister of Internal Affairs Mamadaez Navzhuvanov told the Supreme Soviet that Afghan mujahidin have been involved in the fighting in the southern part of Tajikistan. (Bess Brown)
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