We do not live an equal life, but one of contrast and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 173, 09 September 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

SITUATION IN TAJIKISTAN. The Presidium of Tajikistan's Supreme
Soviet and the Cabinet of Ministers announced on 8 September
that they would run the country in the wake of President Rakhmon
Nabiev's resignation the previous day, ITAR-TASS and Western
agencies reported from Dushanbe. The Presidium and Cabinet appealed
to the country's inhabitants to refrain from strikes and demonstrations
for six months and not to indulge in displays of nationalism
or local patriotism. Elections for a new legislature are scheduled
for December; apparently there are no plans to try to assemble
the deputies before the election. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.)

RUSSIA WARNS AGAINST MOVES ON TAJIKISTAN. Russian Foreign Ministry
spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky warned against outside interference
in Tajik affairs. During his briefing on 8 September, Yastrzhembsky
cautioned, "such a development would threaten the security not
only of the Central Asian states but also of Russia . . . No
interference in the internal affairs of Tajikistan . . .wherever
it comes from and whatever its motive, can be justified." Yastrzhembsky
also noted that Russian troops in the Kurgan-Tyube region, the
locus of hostilities, were protecting 16,000 refugees, mostly
ethnic Uzbeks, Reuters reported on 8 September. (Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL Inc.)

ABKHAZ CEASE-FIRE VIOLATED At a session of the Georgian State
Council on 8 September, Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze accused
the Abkhaz leadership of gross violations of the cease-fire agreement
reached in Moscow on 3 September, according to Interfax. Shevardnadze
argued that the continued shooting demonstrates that the Abkhaz
leadership has no control over its own armed forces--a charge
that could equally be made against the Georgians. Interfax further
reported that Abkhaz Parliament Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba has
fired Abkhaz troop commander Colonel Viktor Kakalia, who on 6
September signed a protocol on implementing the cease-fire agreement,
and appointed Vladimir Arshba in his place. (Liz Fuller, RFE/RL
Inc.)

KARABAKH CEASE-FIRE NEVER EXISTED. On 8 September, the second
day of the fifth round of CSCE-sponsored preparatory Karabakh
peace talks in Rome, Armenian and Azerbaijani delegates announced
that the Kazakh-mediated ceasefire accord signed on 27 August
applies only to unspecified "hot spots" along the Armenian-Azerbaijani
border and not to the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, where
fighting continues unabated, Western agencies reported. (Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.)

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE EXPRESSES LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN KHASBULATOV.
At a session of the presidium of the Russian parliament on 7
September, the head of the parliamentary committee on mass media,
Vyacheslav Bragin, read the committee's statement expressing
no confidence in the speaker of parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov.
ITAR-TASS quoted the statement as accusing Khasbulatov of authoritarian
methods of rule and of issuing resolutions that were in violation
of existing Russian legislation. Members of the reformist factions
in the parliament, "Radical Democrats" and "Reform," also called
for Khasbulatov's ouster. At the same time, a hard-line pro-Communist
faction "Russia," headed by Sergei Baburin, began a campaign
to support Khasbulatov, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported
on 8 September. (Vera Tolz, RFE/RL Inc.)

NATIONAL PATRIOTS DEMONSTRATE IN ST. PETERSBURG. "Social Security
for Workers," was the slogan under which the extreme nationalist
Russian Party held a meeting in St. Petersburg on 7 September,
Ostankino TV reported. The meeting was permitted by the mayor's
office. The demonstrators condemned Yeltsin's leadership as "criminal
and Zionist." The demonstrators also demanded the release of
the chief editor of the newspaper Narodnoe delo, who has been
arrested and charged with the dissemination of anti-Semitic material.
The "red-brown opposition" in Russia plans to hold mass demonstrations
on 15 September. The protests will reportedly include the picketing
of the St. Petersburg and Ostankino TV centers. (Vera Tolz, RFE/RL
Inc.)

ATTEMPT TO REVIVE CPSU AS MASS MOVEMENT. On 8 September, Pravda
published a draft program aimed at reviving the Communist Party
as a mass movement. The program said Communists should hold a
conference in Moscow next month. The program also called for
a "rebirth" of the Soviet Union and its return to socialist development.
It said state socialism experienced "crisis" in the 1970s, but
it blamed the "mistakes" and the "treason" of Mikhail Gorbachev
and others for turning the USSR toward capitalism. (Vera Tolz,
RFE/RL Inc.)

EXPORT OF RUSSIAN OIL PRODUCTS HALTED. The major Russian exporter
of petroleum products, Rosnefteprodukt, has suspended deliveries
to Japan and Western Europe, Reuters reported on 8 September.
An official of the company explained that this happens most years
because of increased domestic demand during the harvesting campaign
and because of the need to ship oil to the Far North before rivers
froze. An aide to the Russian Energy Minister was quoted as saying
that shipments of crude oil were continuing. Aleksandr Shokhin,
the deputy prime minister for foreign economic relations, was
quoted by the Financial Times of 9 September as saying that the
government had "lost control" over state-owned oil exporters
and wanted to recentralize purchases in order to meet obligations
to foreign states. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL Inc.)

RUSSIA TO TAKE ON DEBT FOR ASSETS. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Shokhin has announced that Russia has concluded bilateral agreements
with Belarus, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan concerning the foreign
debt of the USSR, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 September. No details
were given, but in return for Russia assuming their share of
debt liabilities, these nations have agreed to transfer or renounce
claim on former Soviet assets, including embassies and gold reserves,
according to the Financial Times on 9 September. Similar negotiations
are currently underway between Russia and the other republics
of the former Soviet Union. (Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL Inc.)

RUSSIAN INFLATION DATA. The Russian government's statistical
committee, Roskomstat, reported that consumer prices in Russia
rose by 1,270% during the twelve months ending in June 1992,
according to Interfax of 7 September. The rate of inflation has
slowed, with prices rising by 13% in June and 7% in July. Several
government officials have been openly critical about Roskomstat's
data, and particularly those on inflation. It is said that many
in the government prefer to use the inflation estimates published
in Kommersant. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL Inc.)

WESTERN ASSISTANCE ON LEGISLATION AND MARKET SKILLS. A European
Community task force on law reform in the Commonwealth of Independent
States will shortly publish its recommendations for writing new
legal and commercial codes, The Wall Street Journal reported
on 8 September. The task force has found that CIS members have
tended to adopt or copy foreign laws not on the basis of evaluation
but have taken whatever was offered to them by foreign governments
and international agencies. The result has been a hotchpotch
of incompatible laws that do not interact with one another. A
World Bank grant is to fund the preparation of textbooks and
a program of training in market skills such as accounting and
banking, The Financial Times reported on 9 September. (Keith
Bush, RFE/RL Inc.)

GROUP PRESSES FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION OF SERVICEMEN. Leaders of
the "Assambleya" association met with Ruslan Khasbulatov, the
speaker of the Russian parliament, on 8 September. According
to ITAR-TASS, Khasbulatov stressed that the parliament was sincerely
concerned about the welfare of those in the Russian military.
Speakers for the association told Khasbulatov that Russia lacked
a consistent program for reforming its armed forces, as well
as laws regulating the social status and rights of those serving
in the military. Board Chairman Colonel Vasilii Sadovnik called
for the establishment of a public-government center to monitor
the development and implementation of social protection programs
for servicemen. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.)

JAPAN AGAINST CHINESE PURCHASE OF EX-SOVIET CARRIER. Japanese
Vice Foreign Minister Koji Kakizawa on 7 September advised China
not to buy an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier under construction in
Ukraine. UPI quoted Kakizawa as warning that such a purchase
would destabilize the Asia-Pacific region. There have been persistent
rumors that China plans to buy the "Varyag," a sister ship of
the Russian Navy's "Admiral Kuznetsov," that was being fitted
out in a Ukrainian shipyard at Mykolaiv prior to the breakup
of the Soviet Union. The September edition of the "U.S. Naval
Institute Proceedings" says that the deal has been finalized,
and that Russia will provide twenty-two SU-27 fighters to equip
the ship. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.)

FOUR CIS STATES WANT TO DISCUSS BORDER ISSUES WITH CHINA. Russia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan agreed on 8 September
to raise the issue of mutual troop reductions along their combined
8,000 kilometer border with China, as well as other border issues.
ITAR-TASS, which announced the agreement, said that it was reached
on the periphery of a meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Minsk.
The Russian and Chinese defense ministers discussed troop pullbacks
from their mutual border when they met in Moscow last month,
but failed to agree on how far back the troops should be withdrawn.
(Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.)

KRAVCHUK CALLS FOR SPEEDY REFORMS. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk called for speedy implementation of economic reforms
and criticized political groups for engaging in polemics, Western
news agencies reported on 8 September. Kravchuk addressed a group
of cabinet ministers and other officials on the eve of the opening
of a new parliamentary session, saying that the time for political
rallies was over. At the same meeting, the new first deputy prime
minister, Valentyn Symonenko, outlined a new economic program
stressing "mass privatization." Symonenko argued that new legislation
was needed for the program to be successful. (Roman Solchanyk,
RFE/RL Inc.)

DISGRACED SHEVARDNADZE ASSOCIATE MAKES COMEBACK AS VICE PRESIDENT.
Soliko Khabeishvili, the former Georgian Communist Party Central
Committee secretary for industry, who was sentenced in the spring
of 1987 to 15 years' deprivation of freedom for allegedly accepting
75,000 rubles in bribes from three raikom first secretaries,
is now Georgia's vice president, according to Die Welt of 8 September.
Khabeishvili has been a close associate of Shevardnadze since
the late 1950s when both men were members of the Georgian Komsomol
Central Committee apparatus. (Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.)

RISING TENSION IN UZBEKISTAN? On 8 September, Uzbekistan's former
Vice-President Shukrullo Mirsaidov resigned his post as deputy
chairman of the Uzbek parliament, warning in an open letter that
"democracy and a policy of openness are being replaced by an
authoritarian regime," AFP reported. During the summer there
were a growing number of indications that President Karimov was
cracking down on the opposition, possibly as a preventative measure
against Tajik-style disturbances. Mirsaidov was forced out of
the vice-presidency by Karimov after what was reported to have
been differences over the pace of economic reform. Possibly the
two men also disagreed over political reform. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL
Inc.)

KARIMOV APPEALS TO UN ON CENTRAL ASIA. Uzbek President Islam
Karimov, who fears that the unrest in Tajikistan will spill over
into Uzbekistan, appealed to UN Secretary-General Butros-Ghali
on 8 September, warning that Central Asia could become a hotbed
of tension, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Karimov cited the
heavy flow of arms from Afghanistan to Tajikistan and complained
that external forces want to encourage political and interethnic
strife in the region. Karimov has been so disturbed over events
in Tajikistan that he has authorized the closing of the Uzbek-Tajik
border. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.)

MOLDOVAN-BULGARIAN RELATIONS AND THE MINORITY ISSUE. Returning
from an official visit to Bulgaria (see RFE/RL Daily Report,
September 8, Eastern European section), Moldovan President Mircea
Snegur cited Bulgarian President Zheliu Zhelev as expressing
satisfaction that the provisions on Bulgarian minority rights
in Moldova, which were included in the bilateral treaty just
signed in Sofia, are based on Snegur's March 1992 decree guaranteeing
the Bulgarian minority's rights. Snegur added that a similar
document is being prepared with Ukraine, Moldovapres reported
on 7 and 8 September. TASS reported from Sofia on 7 September
that Snegur expressed appreciation for Bulgaria's cultural aid
to ethnic Bulgarians in Moldova and that Zhelev praised "the
Moldovan leadership's efforts to conserve and develop the ethnic,
linguistic, cultural, and religious identity" of the Bulgarian
minority. (Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.)

MOSCOW HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP REFUTES ATROCITY CHARGES AGAINST MOLDOVA.
In a report issued after a recent fact-finding trip to Moldova,
and made available to RFE/RL, a team of the Moscow-based human
rights society Memorial refuted allegations that the Moldovan
side had murdered and raped teenagers, and that they had dismantled
or damaged industrial plants there during the fighting for that
city in June. Those allegations have since been spread further
by the mass media in Moscow. The team from Memorial found that
the "Dniester republic" authorities, including the Bendery militia,
had no evidence of such atrocities. (Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.)


CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SCHEDULE SET FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM LITHUANIA . . . On 8 September
at the Kremlin, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev and his
Lithuanian counterpart, Audrius Butkevicius, agreed upon a schedule
that provides for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lithuania
to be completed by 31 August 1993, Radio Lithuania reports. Troops
are to be gone from Vilnius by the end of November, 1992. Butkevicius
told a press conference that there are 20,500 Russian troops
in the republic. Two documents detailing housing, property, and
social provisions for the withdrawing troops were also approved.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin also used the opportunity to
sign a consular treaty. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.)

. . . BUT LAST-MINUTE HITCH HALTS SIGNING. Parliament Chairman
Vytautas Landsbergis and Russian President Boris Yeltsin failed
to sign the agreement when they met in Moscow on 8 September.
ITAR-TASS quoted Vyacheslav Kostikov, a Yeltsin spokesman, as
saying the agreement was held up for "technical reasons" rather
than any last-minute political change of heart. The "technical
reasons" were probably Landsbergis's comments to BNS that "unknown
forces in the Russian Defense Ministry are trying to disrupt"
the withdrawal signing after a scheduled meeting between Butkevicius
and Grachev did not take place. Landsbergis later told a press
conference that there are a number of technical details that
Yeltsin would like changed, but the reworked agreement will be
signed at his next scheduled meeting with Yeltsin on 1-2 October.
(Doug Clarke & Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.)

BALTIC FLEET TO LEAVE LATVIA BY END OF 1993? Radio Riga reported
on 8 September that Vice Admiral Vladimir Egorov, commander of
the Baltic Fleet, told Latvian officials that Russian naval facilities
could be vacated and personnel could leave Latvia by the end
of 1993. Eriks Tilgass, adviser on defense issues to Latvia's
minister of state, said that the Russians specifically mentioned
leaving the military harbor in Liepaja and the submarine training
base in Bolderaja and their readiness to pull out troops. (Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.)

ALL OR NOTHING? Estonia's Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel
has indicated that he may not be in favor of a complete withdrawal
of Russian troops from Estonian territory. According to a 6 September
Svenska dagbladet interview with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Fedor Shelov-Kovedaev, when the two men met in May, Ruutel "reacted
positively to the possibility that [Russia and Estonia] could
use [the Paldiski naval base] jointly." On 7 September, Ruutel
consulted by telephone with his Latvian counterpart Anatolijs
Gorbunovs about recent reports that Gorbunovs might be willing
to let Russia maintain some bases in Latvia after the main contingent
leaves. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL Inc.)

UN PEACEKEEPERS KILLED. International media report on 8 September
that two French peacekeepers were killed and at least two others
wounded in an attack on a UN convoy by as yet unknown assailants.
Bosnian Muslims and Serbs each accusing the other of the attack,
which UN observers say was clearly deliberate. The 35-vehicle
convoy originated in Belgrade and was delivering supplies to
UN peacekeeping forces in Sarajevo. The attack occurred near
Sarajevo's airport. Fighting throughout most of Bosnia-Herzegovina
continues. Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen, cochairmen of the international
peace conference on the former Yugoslavia are due in Zagreb today
to start a three-day official visit which will also take them
to Belgrade and Sarajevo. The envoys are seeking ways of resuming
humanitarian aid flights and are expected to press for guarantees
from the warring parties to stop the attacks on relief efforts.
Sarajevo officials say that the city's food supply will run out
on 10 September. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL Inc.)

RIFT AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS? Radios Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
report on 8 September that Bosnia's ministry of internal affairs
has obtained evidence of a rift between Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian
Serb army. The document charges that Karadzic is applying a double
standard to the army: in the past month he has been praising
the army and emphasizing its successes publicly, while privately
working toward replacing Mladic and his inner circle. For their
part the Bosnian Serb military leadership is unhappy with Karadzic's
behavior and handling of policy, particularly over his handing
control of Serb artillery over to UN forces, which Mladic feels
is being done at an unsuitable time for the Serbian army. Mladic
believes that the army now has no chance of holding its current
positions and will suffer further setbacks, as in Gorazde. (Milan
Andrejevich, RFE/RL Inc.)

TENSE SITUATION IN THE SANDZAK. In a letter to the Geneva conference
on the former Yugoslavia, the Muslim Council of the Sandzak says
that about 70,000 Muslims have fled the region, allegedly because
of "Serbian military terror." Council president Sulejman Ugljanin
says that the Sandzak has been occupied by the Serbian and Montenegrin
army, which deployed 29,000 reserve troops to the area between
early February and June. According to Ugljanin, the terror the
Muslims are subjected to and the display of military might and
combat hardware have been stepped up since the London conference
in late August and show no sign of abating. The letter states
that 70 explosions have destroyed shops and properties owned
by Muslims in the Montenegrin towns of Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje,
and Priboj. The Sandzak is a region straddling the Serbia-Montenegro
border. Radio Croatia carried the report on 8 September. (Milan
Andrejevich, RFE/RL Inc.)

VOJVODINA HUNGARIANS PROTEST RESETTLEMENT. Janos Vekas, vice
president of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Vojvodina,
said that by forcefully settling large numbers of Serbs in Vojvodina,
Hungarian-Serbian relations could be spoiled for a long period
of time. According to Vekas, each city in Vojvodina will have
to make room for some 4,000 Serbs, and citizens will have to
take in the refugees without compensation. The report was carried
by Radio Budapest on 8 September. (Judith Pataki, RFE/RL Inc.)


CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER ON FUTURE CZECH-SLOVAK RELATIONS. Speaking
to reporters in Prague on 8 September, Czech Foreign Minister
Josef Zieleniec said that the Czech Republic and Slovakia will
exchange ambassadors early next year. He also said that the priorities
of Czech foreign policy will remain the same as those of the
Czechoslovak foreign policy but that the Czech Republic will
wield less international influence and will scale down some of
the foreign policy projects initiated by former Czechoslovak
Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier. The Czech foreign minister
further said that attaining membership of the European Community,
NATO, and West European Union will be among the priorities. (Jiri
Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.)

KLAUS REJECTS CZECH-SLOVAK DEFENSE UNION. Speaking on Czech Radio
on 8 September, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus ruled out the
possibility that the Czech Republic and Slovakia could form a
defense union or have a common army after 1 January 1993, when
Czechoslovakia is to split into two independent states. Klaus
said that there exists a strong army lobby in Czechoslovakia,
consisting of generals and high officers who would like to preserve
a federal arrangement for the army even after the breakup of
Czechoslovakia. Klaus rejected such a scenario but said that,
in physical terms, it may not be possible to separate the Czech
and Slovak parts of the army completely before 1 January 1993.
(Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.)

INTERIM PRESIDENT FOR LATVIA? The Latvian Supreme Council has
begun discussing a law establishing the office of an interim
head of state for Latvia until the new parliament--Saeima--is
elected. Though an election date has not been set and a new election
law must be adopted, it is widely believed that the elections
may take place next fall. The Saeima would be authorized to consider
the issue of who should choose a president for Latvia. The Chairman
of the Supreme Council is the highest ranking official in Latvia,
but he is not officially the head of state, a lack that causes
some diplomatic problems. The final vote on the draft law is
expected on 15 September and it is likely that Supreme Council
Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs will become the interim head of
state of Latvia, Radio Riga and Diena report. (Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL Inc.)

POLISH GOVERNMENT FIRM ON STRIKES. Reviewing the strike scene
on 8 September, the Polish cabinet restated its basic principles
of action. In a statement issued after the meeting, the government
reminded the public that Polish law does not permit the payment
of wages for strike days; that strikers' pay demands cannot be
addressed to the government, which is not a party to wage talks;
and that the government will do everything in its power to ensure
that no pay increases result from current strikes. Responding
to the proliferation of strike "mediators," the government stressed
that all official talks with unions must have the labor ministry's
approval and that no agreements will be reached with parties
or parliamentarians. Meanwhile, President Lech Walesa met with
Maciej Jankowski, leader of Solidarity's radical Warsaw region,
to discuss his idea of a "confederation of reformist forces."
(Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.)

ROMANIAN MINERS HOLD PROTEST RALLY. On 8 September some 1,500
miners from Cluj County took part in a protest rally in the city
of Cluj. The rally, which was also attended by delegations from
other regions, including Maramures, Moldova, and the Banat, demanded
state subsidies for the mining industry, cash payments to compensate
for recent subsidy cuts in prices for staples and services, and
adequate social protection. Radio Bucharest quoted Eugen Tamas,
president of the Federation of Romania's Mining Trade Unions,
as saying that 90% of union members favor a strike if demands
are not met by the authorities. (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc.)

ESTONIA, LATVIA AGREE TO SETTLE ACCOUNTS. Estonia and Latvia
agreed on 7 September to settle mutual outstanding bills by means
of correspondence accounts in freely convertible currencies,
BNS reports. According to the terms of the agreement, Latvia's
correspondence account in Estonia will be figured in kroons,
whereas Estonia's tally in Latvia will be in Deutsche marks.
(Riina Kionka, RFE/RL Inc.)

BANK OF ESTONIA WANTS PRICE FREEZE. Bank of Estonia president
Siim Kallas on 8 September called for a price freeze in order
to curb kroon inflation, BNS reports. Kallas told the Supreme
Council in his report on the currency that the new Estonian kroon
saw 24.3% and 17.6% inflation in July and August, respectively--higher
than the 5% that IMF officials had predicted. Kallas also said
there was no reason to regret the currency reform, and that the
Bank of Estonia's hard currency reserves have increased by 225
million kroons since the 20 June reform. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL
Inc.)

EBRD GRANTS BULGARIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOAN. On 8 September
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London
released a statement saying that Bulgaria will receive credits
worth $46 million to update its telecommunications system, Western
agencies report. EBRD officials put the total costs of the project
at $271 million and said that other financial institutions, such
as the European Investment Bank and the World Bank, will provide
the rest of the funding. (Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc.)

DEMOCRATIC FORUM DEPUTY ON HUNGER STRIKE. Miklos Reti, a deputy
of the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum went on a hunger strike
on 8 September MTI reports. By his action Reti wants to secure
the dismissals of Hungarian TV and Radio chiefs Elemer Hankiss
and Csaba Gombar. Prime Minister Jozsef Antall has requested,
without success, that President Arpad Goncz sign the dismissals
of the two media chiefs. (Judith Pataki, RFE/RL Inc.)

POLISH AUTO NEWS: FIAT PULLS BACK . . . On 8 September, Fiat
demanded that Poland's strike-plagued FSM automaker make immediate
repayment of a 1.5 trillion zloty ($100 million) loan granted
to finance the production of Cinquecento cars. Fiat has a 90%
stake in FSM, but the strike there has blocked the firm's final
assumption of control. FSM officials said the plant cannot repay
the loan. Fiat's move may be designed to put pressure on the
strikers, who represent a minority of the work force. On 8 September,
15,000 nonstriking FSM employees presented Katowice authorities
with a petition demanding that their right to work be respected.
For their part, the strikers appealed to the six radical trade
unions for money and asked yet another contingent of left-wing
parliamentarians to intervene on their behalf. (Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL Inc.)

. . . WHILE GM PRESSES ON. General Motors announced on 8 September
that it will speed up plans for the production of Opel Astras
at the FSO auto plant in Zeran. Officials said that the first
Polish Astras could roll off the assembly line in August 1993,
six months ahead of schedule. GM initially proposed target production
of 35,000 cars per year and pledged to invest $75 million in
the plant, but officials indicated that the final agreement,
to be signed in October, may scale down these plans. GM's Warsaw
representative told Gazeta Wyborcza on 8 September that GM was
observing the FSM strike carefully "but we are not discouraged
by the difficulties that Fiat has experienced in Poland." (Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.)

"KING OF ALL GYPSIES" CROWNED IN ROMANIA. Ion Cioaba, self-styled
King of all Gypsies, was crowned on 8 September at the Bistrita
Monastery in Oltenia. Radio Bucharest reports that thousands
of Gypsies cheered as a priest laid a two-and-a-half-kg Swiss-made
golden crown on his head. The 57-year-old Cioaba swore to fight
to overturn centuries of contempt for Gypsies. Rival Gypsy groups
that do not recognize Cioaba as a leader and accuse him of collaboration
with Nicolae Ceausescu's regime protested the ceremony. According
to the last census, taken in January, 410,000 Gypsies live in
Romania, but Gypsy leaders maintain the figure is much higher.
(Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc.)

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull


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

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