Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 166, 31 August 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

FIGHTING CONTINUES DESPITE ABKHAZ CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT. Abkhaz
Parliament Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba and Georgian Defense Minister
Tengiz Kitovani signed a ceasefire agreement in Sochi on 29 August,
which will go into effect on 31 August, Russian TV reported.
The two men also discussed the possibility of establishing a
Russian-Georgian peacekeeping force for the region, in which
Armenia might also participate. Further fighting between Abkhaz
and Georgian forces near Gagra on 30 August resulted in several
dozen killed on both sides, Western agencies reported. (Liz Fuller,
RFE/RL Inc.)

UNIDENTIFIED WARSHIP SHELLS GEORGIAN TROOPS. On August 30, an
unidentified warship shelled Georgian troops stationed in the
Abkhazian city of Gagra, on the Black Sea coast some 50 kilometers
southeast of Sochi. According to ITAR-TASS, the bombardment inflicted
heavy casualties among the Georgian troops and severe damage
to the city. Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani, whose
credibility is suspect, to say the least, told ITAR-TASS that
the attack had been carried out by a Russian vessel, an accusation
denied by the Russian navy headquarters. A duty officer there
reportedly told TASS that "there were no Russian military vessels
in the area." (Doug Clarke and Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.)

YELTSIN MAY APOLOGIZE TO JAPAN, RECOGNIZE SOVEREIGNTY. The Japanese
Kyodo News Service on 29 August said that Russian President Boris
Yeltsin may formally apologize for the Soviet seizure of 600,000
Japanese World War II prisoners of war when he visits Japan in
mid-September. The agency, quoted by UPI, said that such an apology
was in the draft joint communique. The document was also said
to contain Russian recognition of Japanese sovereignty over the
Southern Kuril islands. Japanese Foreign Minister Michio Watanabe,
on his depature for Moscow on 29 August in preparation for Yeltsin's
visit, said that Japan would be flexible on the timing and conditions
for returning the disputed islands as long as Moscow recognized
Japanese sovereignty over them. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.)

EMBASSY EVACUATIONS IN KABUL, BAGHDAD. The last group of Russian
citizens was evacuated from Kabul on 29 August. The mission had
been briefly halted when one Russian aircraft was destroyed by
a rocket attack. Russian media reported one wounded; AFP said
several were wounded and noted that evacuees had not been equipped
with protective clothing for the rescue operation. In Baghdad,
the evacuation of dependents of personnel working at Russian
institutions has also begun. According to an unidentified Russian
diplomat cited by Izvestiya on 29 August: "there is some nervousness
[in Baghdad]... We do not want to repeat the Kabul situation."
(Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL Inc.)

LATEST ON RUSSIA'S FOREIGN DEBT. Acting Russian Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar told a news conference on 28 August that Russia could
not pay more than $2 billion in 1992 towards servicing its convertible
currency debt, Reuters reported. On the same day, Russian Deputy
Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin announced that Russia could
pay no more than $2.5 billion annually "without damage to the
economy," according to Interfax. Principal and interest payments
originally due in 1992 amounted to about $20 billion, but this
has been reduced by rescheduling to about $10 billion. However,
to judge from the ITAR-TASS coverage, the G-7 meeting on 28 August
that dealt, inter alia, with the Russian debt, ended inconclusively.
(Keith Bush, RFE/RL Inc.)

CENTRAL BANK PASSIVE TO RUBLE'S PLIGHT? The Russian Central Bank
appears willing to let the ruble continue to float unsupported
despite its recent 20% plunge and widespread expectation of further
devaluation. Dmitrii Tulin, a deputy chairman of the monetary
authority, rejected rumors (ITAR-TASS on 27 August) that the
bank was about to put the ruble back on a fixed exchange rate
with the dollar, Western sources reported on 28 August. Chairman
Viktor Gerashchenko, who has criticized intervention to support
the ruble in the past, brushed off last week's ruble drop as
temporary. He implied that Russian export revenues in the coming
months will bring enough dollars to the exchange market to push
the ruble's value back up, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. (Erik
Whitlock, RFE/RL Inc.)

SHUMEIKO CRITICIZES WESTERN LACK OF INVESTMENT. Russian Deputy
Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko has criticized Western businessmen
for not investing in the Russian economy. He told ITAR-TASS on
27 August that the West seems to be reluctant to let Russia enter
the world market. He rejected charges that Western investments
in Russia are not legally protected, and cited as an example
the law on entrepreneurship. He also denied that the Russian
government is only following the instructions of the IMF. He
stated that he himself had negotiations with the IMF during which
no conditions were set. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL Inc.)

GOSSNAB TO BE ABOLISHED? Effective 1 January 1993, Russian enterprises
will be responsible for finding and purchasing their own inputs
without help from the Gossnab or state supply system. This was
the essence of a decree signed by acting Russian Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar, according to The Times of 31 August, which quoted
Interfax of unspecified date. It was not made clear what will
become of Gossnab and its employees. The Times suggested that
the decree on the elimination of central distribution was one
of several measures promulgated while the opposition was out
of town. Another one was said to deprive so-called personal pensioners
of their privileges. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL Inc.)

TURKISH-RUSSIAN AGREEMENTS. Turkish radio reported on 28 August
the initialling of a friendship declaration and other agreements
with Russia. The accords consist of pledges to cooperate in the
fields of transportation and defense, a protocol pledging to
increase Russian natural gas supplies to Turkey, and cooperation
between the two countries on the reconstruction and expansion
of the gas pipeline over Turkish and Russian territories. The
declaration also calls for agreement on investments, and notes
that the first round of the Turkish-Russian economic cooperation
committee meetings will be held in October. The declaration was
initialed by State Minister Cavit Caglar and Russian State Secretary
Gennadii Burbulis. It will go into effect after being signed
by Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel and Russian President Boris
Yeltsin. (Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL Inc.)

VOLSKY: ANDROPOV'S TRUE HEIR? Writing in Den (no.34), Mikhail
Morozov sheds new light on the roots of perestroika and the roles
played by Mikhail Gorbachev and Arkadii Volsky, the leader of
the "industrial lobby." According to the article, Mikhail Gorbachev
was not a protege of Yurii Andropov, who attempted to oust Gorbachev
from the Politburo because of the latter's failure to improve
the performance of the agricultural sector. The article depicts
Gorbachev's selection to become general secretary as the result
of the intrigues of former Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko.
Moreover, Morozov indicates that the true heir of Andropov was
not Gorbachev, but rather Volsky. At the same time, the article
portrays Volsky as a party technocrat whose economic and managerial
skills are being overestimated. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL Inc.)


BURBULIS ON REFORM. In an interview with Novoe vemya (no.35),
Russian State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis defended President
Boris Yeltsin's political balancing act between the right and
the left as absolutely necessary to retain social order. He noted
that his present functions included the strategic planning of
foreign and domestic policies, information policy, cooperation
with other political parties and organizations, as well as control
over personnel, science, education and culture. He indicated
that he was not worried about his loss of power, since the present
stage of reform requires that different politicians lead the
government now that the reform process has advanced beyond its
initial stages. He called upon democrats to become civil servants.
(Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL Inc.)

INDIA TO BUY TANK ENGINES FROM POLAND. Indian officials announced
on 28 August that India had signed a $14.3 million contract to
buy 200 T-72 tank engines from Poland. Both India and Poland
build the Soviet-designed T-72 under license. India has depended
heavily on factories in the former USSR to provide components
for the many Soviet weapons systems it produces. It had been
receiving T-72 engines from plants in Ukraine, and according
to the UPI report, will have to pay Poland more than two times
the price it had been paying for the engines. The agency indicated
that the former states of the USSR had failed to honor their
commitments under a two-year accord signed with India last January,
according to which the continuation of supplies under the terms
agreed with the Soviet Union would have been guaranteed. (Doug
Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.)

SHEVARDNADZE AND THE GEORGIAN ELECTIONS. Having stated on 25
August -- the final deadline -- that he intends to stand as a
candidate for the Mshvidoba (Peace) bloc in the parliamentary
elections scheduled for 11 October, Eduard Shevardnadze has been
asked by several of the parties concerned to disassociate himself
from this bloc and stand as an independent candidate for the
post of parliament chairman, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 August.
The Georgian State Council had amended the election law on 29
August to allow for the simultaneous election of a parliament
chairman, who will be elected by secret ballot on a majority
basis and who must receive a minimum of one third of all votes
cast. The parliament chairman may not be a member of any political
party or bloc. The rationale cited for asking Shevardnadze to
stand as a separate candidate was that his alignment with Mshvidoba
would give that bloc an unfair advantage; the fact that the main
party within Mshvidoba is the successor to the Georgian CP was
not mentioned. (Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.)

TATARSTAN AND RUSSIAN GOVERNMENTS REACH AGREEMENT ON FINANCES
AND OIL. Tatarstan Prime Minister Muhammat Sabirov told a press
conference in Kazan on 28 August that a recent agreement signed
by the Tatarstan and Russian governments had settled disputed
questions regarding finances and oil, and that Russia had lifted
its budget blockade of Tatarstan, ITAR-TASS reported. It had
been agreed that 2.1 million tons of Tatarstan oil would go towards
paying off the external debt of the former Soviet Union, and
that Tatarstan would be allowed to dispose of 5 million tons
itself. As a matter of principle Tatarstan had been refusing
to pay tax revenues into the Russian federal budget, insisting
on only lump sum payments. The report does not indicate that
Tatarstan has abandoned this principle. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL Inc.)


MAJOR COAL AND NEW OIL DEPOSITS DISCOVERED IN TATARSTAN. "Vesti"
reported on 27 August that coal deposits at least as vast as
those of the Donetsk basin have been discovered in Tatarstan.
New oil deposits were also discovered. If the report is true,
it is likely to strengthen the determination of the Tatarstan
authorities to assert their sovereignty vis-a-vis Russia. (Ann
Sheehy, RFE/RL Inc.)

MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL MEETING. Romanian President Ion
Ilescu met for four hours with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur
in Husi on the Romanian side of the common border on 28 August.
The two presidents informed the Romanian media afterwards that
they had discussed economic issues, and that Snegur had also
briefed Iliescu on current negotiations--from which Romania has
since July been excluded--to settle the Dniester conflict. This
meeting prompted most of the Romanian press to renew its attacks
on the Snegur government for bowing to Russia's demand that Romania
be excluded from the negotiations and for opposing unification
with Romania. (Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

"DNIESTER REPUBLIC" TO REIMPOSE RUSSIAN SCRIPT ON "MOLDOVAN LANGUAGE."
A draft "law on languages," currently before the "Dniester Republic
Supreme Soviet," would reimpose the Russian alphabet for the
"Moldovan language" (i.e. Romanian) in schools there, Radio Rossii
reported on 24 August. Moldovan schools in that area switched
to the Latin script following its reinstatement in Moldova in
1989, and have since resisted the "Dniester" authorities' orders
to return the "Moldovan language" to the Russian alphabet. The
proposed measure would give the "Dniester" Russian authorities
a pseudo-legal basis for enforcing compliance. (Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL Inc.)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

FIERCE FIGHTING IN SARAJEVO. International media from 28 to 31
August reported particularly intense combat as Bosnian forces
tried to break the siege while Serb units replied with tank and
artillery fire. On 30 August a tank shell hit a bread line and
killed 15 in a suburban marketplace. On 31 August the BBC quoted
a UN observer as saying that the shell had come from Serb positions
and the market was deliberately targeted. The New York Times
quoted the same UN spokesman as saying: "It would be nice if
we could turn ourselves into a police force and run up into the
hills and grab those people and arrest them and bring them to
justice." (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.)

UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDS GORAZDE. The BBC on 30 August reported
that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic announced that his
troops are ending their siege of the mainly Muslim town, but
the broadcast added that the Bosnian forces at the same time
claimed they had broken the encirclement themselves. "Panic"
was reported among the Serbian civilian population in the surrounding
area. One Serbian woman said that Muslim soldiers burned down
the local Serbian church in apparent retaliation for the Serbs'
destruction of mosques. The situation remains unclear, however,
and the UN has postponed sending in a relief convoy. (Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL Inc.)

MASS GRAVES FOUND AT MOSTAR. On 30 August Reuters reported the
discovery near Mostar of mass graves of some 200 people, mainly
Muslims but some Croats, a local pathologist said. Muslims and
Croats claimed Serb irregulars killed the civilians in mid-June
as part of an ethnic-cleansing operation, but Karadzic said it
was the work of the Croats. The area was the scene of particularly
vicious fighting and outright massacres between Croats and Muslims
on the one hand and Serbs on the other during World War II. The
discovery in question is the first evidence of mass killings
in the current conflict, and Croat and Muslim officials in Mostar
are continuing to look for more graves. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL
Inc.)

PANIC MEETS RUGOVA. Belgrade's Politika TV reported on 27 August
that Milan Panic, prime minister of the rump Yugoslavia, met
in London with Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the Democratic Alliance
of Kosovo (DSK) and president of the self-proclaimed Republic
of Kosovo. It was the first official meeting between a top federal
official and a DSK leader. Sources close to Panic told Politika
TV that the leaders discussed the situation in the Serbian province
and the measures the federal government intends to take to solve
Kosovo's problems. According to Radio Croatia, Panic told Rugova
that his government will restore self-government, which it lost
in 1990. DSK vice president Fehmi Agani stated on 28 August that
he welcomes the Panic-Rugova talks "irrespective of the outcome."
He added that the London conference on the former Yugoslavia
"has fulfilled our expectations" by having placed greater emphasis
than ever before on the independence of Kosovo. (Milan Andrejevich,
RFE/RL Inc.)

SERBS QUARRELING OVER KOSOVO? Nonetheless, Serbian prime minister
Radoman Bozovic told a group of businessmen in Serbia on 27 August
that Serbia will not allow itself to be "dismembered at any cost
under international pressure for an alleged protection of minority
rights" in the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina or in the predominantly
Muslim Sandzak region. On 28 August Belgrade's independent radio
B-92 commented that Panic's Kosovo policy challenges the official
line advanced by Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and Dobrica
Cosic, president of the rump Yugoslavia and chief of the federal
army. Commenting on the London conference the radio said "while
Slobodan fiddles, Milan threatens to light the fire under his
feet by shouting to the world "I expect Mr. Milosevic to comply,
or else." (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL Inc.)

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS SLOVENIA, CROATIA. Returning
from the London conference, Adrian Nastase stopped over to visit
Slovenia and Croatia on 28 and 29 August. Radio Bucharest said
that Nastase was received by the presidents of the two countries
and signed agreements for establishing diplomatic relations.
In early August Romania offered to host a conference of the states
born on the ruins of former Yugoslavia. (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL
Inc.)

MORE TALK ABOUT GABCIKOVO-NAGYMAROS. On 28 August MTI reported
that, prompted by informal information received by the Danube
Commission from Czechoslovakia concerning the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros
hydroelectric project, Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall
wrote letters to Czechoslovak federal prime minister Jan Strasky
and Slovak prime minister Vladimir Meciar Czechoslovakia reportedly
is continuing its plans to put the plant into operation. The
project will change the flow of the Danube river after 15 October
and slightly alter the Hungarian-Slovak border. Strasky told
CSTK on 28 August that, should the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border
be changed, he would agree to turning to the International Court
of Justice in the Hague for a decision but said both countries
should resort first to political negotiations. Slovak deputy
prime minister Roman Kovac echoed Strasky's statements, adding
that Meciar's planned visit to Hungary on 9 September could help
resolve the problem. MTI reports that Hungarian foreign minister
Geza Jeszenszky will be in Prague on 2 September and will also
hold talks with Meciar. (Judith Pataki & Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.)


POLAND CELEBRATES SOLIDARITY'S FOUNDING. On 30 August government
leaders, labor activists, and ordinary workers celebrated the
12th anniversary of the 1980 strikes that paved the way to the
founding of the Solidarity labor union. According to a PAP report,
President Lech Walesa told a gathering in Gdansk that Poland
now "has to think how to use that great [historic] victory to
better [current] effects." Solidarity chairman Marian Krzaklewski
took part in ceremonies remembering workers killed by communist
security forces in 1982 in the city of Lubin. Several other commemorative
gatherings were held in cities throughout the country. Occasional
meetings will be also held on 31 August, with Prime Minister
Hanna Suchocka scheduled to attend a gathering in the industrial
center of Stalowa Wola. (Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL Inc.)

POLISH GOVERNMENT TO DISMISS STRIKERS. Striking workers in the
car parts factory in Tychy and in the Silesian Rozbark coal mine
have received dismissal notices from the plant management. These
strikes are regarded by the government as illegal because they
started before the conclusion of negotiations between the unions
and the management. The notices are to take effect today. In
the meantime, PAP reports that on 30 August fourteen striking
Rozbark miners went on a hunger strike to protest the government's
refusal to take part in direct negotiations on the situation
in the mine. The government has refused to negotiate with the
strikers, arguing that such talks should involve only workers
and management and not state authorities. Even so, the decision
to dismiss strikers has certainly been backed by the government
itself. In a related development at the conclusion of a meeting
held on 30 August the national leadership of Solidarity demanded
that the labor leaders should meet with President Walesa and
Prime Minister Suchocka to develop a new economic strategy to
deal with current social problems. (Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL
Inc.)

ROMANIAN MINERS PROTEST LIVING STANDARDS. The miners called for
a week of demonstrations to protest declining living standards
and worsening conditions in the mining industry. Radio Bucharest
reports that a first rally was held on 29 August in Deva, southern
Transylvania. The protests, which are organized by the Mine Union
Federation, the Alfa Trade Union Cartel, and other union associations,
come amidst preparations for general and presidential elections,
scheduled for 27 September. The unions threaten a nationwide
strike if authorities do not take steps to protect jobs and guarantee
social security. Meanwhile, Romania's coalition government has
vowed to go ahead with new subsidy cuts on food, basic services,
and energy despite threats of labor unrest. (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL
Inc.)

SCREENING FOR LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT CANDIDATES? On 28 August
the Lithuanian chief elections commission adopted a 26-question
application form for candidates in the Lithuanian parliamentary
elections on 25 October. The candidates will have to state whether
they have ever been employed by foreign secret services, been
recruited by the KGB, or been a member or officer in the Lithuanian
Communist Party. Vytautas Radzvila, chairman of the Lithuanian
Liberal Union, told the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service that he feels
that, in order to avoid any suggestion of political discrimination,
it would have been preferable not to have singled out membership
in the Communist Party but rather to inquire about membership
in any political party. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.)

LATVIAN BORDER GUARDS KILLED. Two Latvian border guards died
of bullet and stab wounds on 26 August at the Yasenitsy post
at the Russian-Latvian border. According to BNS of 29 August,
quoting Diena, the Ministry of Internal Affairs' Criminal Records
Department said that the four Latvian border guards stationed
at the post had been drinking and quarreling that night. Latvian
authorities refused further comment, but reports do not suggest
a political motive. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL Inc.)

HAVEL PLANS RETURN TO PUBLIC LIFE. Speaking to reporters after
dinner with Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 29 August, former
Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said he was planning to return
to public life soon. Havel said that he did not necessarily want
to become the president of the Czech Republic when the post is
created but that he would like to be active in public life in
some capacity. Havel also said that he was satisfied with the
26 August talks between Klaus and Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar, which produced an agreement that Czechoslovakia will
be divided into two states on 31 December 1992. Havel said that
the talks helped to calm down the public. (Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL
Inc.)

ZHELEV SHARPLY CRITICIZES UDF. At a press conference in Sofia
on 30 August, Bulgarian president Zhelyu Zhelev called on the
ruling UDF to end its "policy of confrontation," or the coalition
will soon face "isolation and new elections," BTA reports. Zhelev
accused the UDF government of declaring "all-out war" against
trade unions, the press, and the entire extraparliamentary democratic
opposition, and for trying to provoke conflicts between different
state institutions, including the presidency. Referring to a
opinion poll which suggests that the Socialist Party is now ahead
of the UDF, Zhelev warned the cabinet of the consequences of
ignoring the end results of its acts. (Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL
Inc.)

TOLGYESSY CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT. During a press conference on
28 August, Peter Tolgyessy, chairman of the opposition Alliance
of Free Democrats (AFD), criticized the performance of the governing
Hungarian Democratic Forum, MTI reports. Tolgyessy called that
the situation in the country "critical" and said the government
has no program to deal with the problems. Tolgyessy announced
that the AFD will hold a conference on 13 November and said he
expects the party will have a new leadership and a new program.
(Judith Pataki, RFE/RL Inc.)

COUNTER-OFFER ON BULGARIAN DEBT SETTLEMENT. Deutsche Bank, representing
the more than 300 creditor banks to which Bulgaria owes a total
of $12 billion, has delivered a proposal on resettlement, government
spokeswoman Nadezhda Mihailova announced on 30 August. Mihailova
told Reuters that no details could be given at present but that
for the first time the possibility exists for an overall settlement.
Bulgaria presented its plan to the creditors in early August.
(Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc.)

RUSSIA DECREASES GAS SUPPLIES TO LITHUANIA. On 29 August the
Lentransgaz firm cut supplies of natural gas to Lithuania by
55%, Radio Lithuania reports. Lithuania normally receives 7 million
cubic meters of gas a day from Russia. Lithuanian gas officials
said that deliveries would be cut first to those enterprises
that have accumulated large debts to Russian suppliers. Household
users of gas should not expect any cuts in deliveries but may
have to pay more for their gas. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.)


ESTONIA'S INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT FALLS. Estonia's industrial output
in July was 37% lower than for the same period last year, BNS
reports. Production fell the most in the paper, lumber, and construction
materials industries. BNS reports that production rose in some
light industrial sectors such as clothing manufacturing, meat
packing, and textiles. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL Inc.)

OPIC MISSION IN LITHUANIA. On 30 August, after completing visits
to Tallinn and Riga, a delegation of US businessmen sponsored
by the Overseas Private Investments Corporation (OPIC) arrived
in Vilnius, Radio Lithuania reports. On 31 August Prime Minister
Aleksandras Abisala and his deputy Bronislavas Lubys will participate
in an OPIC conference in Vilnius on investment opportunities.
Delegation head Fred Zeder told a news conference in Riga on
29 August that the first result of the trip will be the opening
of an office of the US pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly in Riga
in September, BNS reports. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.)


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