|Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid|
No. 181, 21 September 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR AZERBAIJAN ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO ARMENIAN FIGHTERS IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Azerbaijan launched a largescale offensive against Armenian units in Nagorno-Karabakh on 18 September and advanced to within 10 km of the capital of Stepanakert, Radio Baku reported on 19 September. On 20 September, the Azerbaijani military command and President Abulfaz Elchibey issued an ultimatum to Armenian fighters in Shusha to withdraw from the town within two days, in which case they will be guaranteed an unobstructed retreat along the Lachin corridor that links Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh, CIS media reported. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities claimed hundreds of people had been killed in fighting in recent days. Elchibey cancelled his trip to the US to participate in the work of the UN General Assembly, Radio Mayak reported on 20 September; he will be represented by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofik Gasymov. (Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.) BUS EXPLOSION KILLS GEORGIANs; RUSSIAN AND GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. Interfax reported on 19 September that the Abkhaz population of Sukhumi was fleeing the town en masse because of rumors that Abkhaz forces were planning an attack. At least six Georgian troops were killed on 19 September when the bus in which they were travelling was blown up near Gagra; it is not known what caused the explosion, nor who was responsible, according to ITAR-TASS. On 20 September Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani met with his Russian counterpart Pavel Grachev in Sochi to review the work of the tripartite commission charged with monitoring the Abkhaz ceasefire agreement. Georgian State Council Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze had on 18 September criticized the commission as "ineffective" and said that he would ask Russian President Boris Yeltsin for it to be transferred from Sochi to Sukhumi. (Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.) FIGHTING CONTINUES IN TAJIKISTAN. A UN fact-finding mission visited Kurgan-Tyube, still the "hottest" center of conflict in Tajikistan, on 20 September, ITAR-TASS reported. Not only was fighting continuing in rural areas of Kurgan-Tyube Oblast, but firing was heard in the environs of Dushanbe on 18 and 19 September, and several law enforcement officials were taken hostage. A group of around a thousand people seized seven buses in the capital to join the fighting in Kurgan-Tyube. Two columns of trucks have been sent to Kulyab Oblast with food--apparently there is danger of starvation in parts of the region. Although clashes are continuing between Russian border troops and Tajiks returning from Afghanistan, officers of the border troops told ITAR-TASS on 19 September that Afghan border guards are helping stop the illegal traffic. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIA'S CREDITORS UNDECIDED OVER DEBT RELIEF. Meetings of the Paris Club and the G-7 came and went last week without any decision on the rescheduling of Russia's debt. Western accounts suggest that the Western creditor nations are divided on Russia's proposals for long-term rescheduling with significant payment deferrals. The US is reportedly more receptive to the Russian position than is either Germany or Japan. Among the sticking points in the negotiations are doubts about Russia's commitment to tough economic reform policies, questionable estimates on its capacity to service its foreign debt, and Russia's recent offer to assume other republics' shares of the former debt of the Soviet Union. A decision on the issue is expected at the end of the month at the earliest, according to Western news agencies on 20 September. (Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.) REFORM COALITION ATTACKS GERASHCHENKO. Representatives of the Democratic Russia Movement and the Republican Party have called on the parliament to consider removing Viktor Gerashchenko from the chairmanship of the Russian Central Bank, "Novosti" and "Telemikst" reported on 17 September. Petr Filippov, a leader in the Republic party, who was the first and most vocal critic of Gerashchenko's infamous 28 July telegram authorizing hundreds of billions of rubles worth of new credits for heavily indebted state enterprises, detailed new allegations in Izvestiya on 18 September. Filippov writes that the central bank has again contradicted government policy by issuing hundreds of billions of rubles worth of credits to other republics of the CIS which serve primarliy to exacerbate inflation at home. (Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.) KHASBULATOV CRITICIZED. The chairman of the Russian parliamentary Comittee for Mass Media and Information, Vyacheslav Bragin, told Argumenty i fakty (no 35, RFE/RL, Inc.) that parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov's far-reaching ambitions include becoming Russian president. Bragin stated that Khasbulatov has allied himself firmly with right-wing forces and that he wants to hinder the government from conducting radical reforms. He described how Khasbulatov left the room while Yeltsin was presiding over a recent meeting of the Russian leadership with provincial leaders in Cheboksary. He also criticized Khasbulatov for reducing members of the parliamentary presidium to the level of simple political servants. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) CIVIC UNION NOT ON A CONFRONTATIONAL COURSE WITH GOVERNMENT. The Civic Union is backing away from a direct confrontation with the Russian government. Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi rejected demands by the conservative parliamentary faction "Russian Unity" to convene an extraordinary Congress to replace the government, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 September. The chairman of the People's Party of Free Russia, Vasilii Lipitsky, denied previous reports that Rutskoi may become prime minister and said that the Civic Union--the bloc to which the party belongs--intends to cooperate with the government in a constructive manner and does not seek to replace any of the present government leaders. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) MOSCOW WORKERS DEMONSTRATE. Moscow workers demonstrated on 17 September outside the Russian government building but in far fewer numbers than predicted by the Federation of Trade Unions, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported. About 2,000 people turned out for the demonstration to urge the government to prevent mass unemployment and a collapse of Russian industry. The federation had earlier predicted a turnout of about 20,000 people. (Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.) KOZYREV ON UN VOTE. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, the leader of the Russian delegation to the United Nations which arrived on 19 September, said: "We will try to strengthen cooperation with countries which share democratic values. Much attention will be devoted to contacts with countries which represent the so-called Third World." Kozyrev, who has consistently rejected expulsion of rump Yugoslavia from international organizations, said the decision requiring Serbia-Montenegro to reapply for UN admission was "the right approach" and stressed that such a mechanism would force that country to show its interest in cooperating with the UN. As for Russia, Kozyrev emphasized that "it will become a distinguishing feature of our delegation's activities to share the concerns of the world community but in light of direct and specific interests of our own state," ITAR-TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.) BLACK SEA FLEET UPDATE. Aleksandr Temerko, the chairman of a Russian Defense Ministry committee on insuring social guarantees for servicemen, told naval officers in Sevastopol on 18 September that the Russian government has allocated 258 million rubles to construct and rent housing in Novorossisk for officers of the Black Sea Fleet, Interfax reported. On 19 September, Radio Ukraine reported that all Black Sea Fleet military facilities (presumably in Ukraine) will henceforth be subordinated to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Meanwhile, Russian and Ukrainian negotiations on the fleet are scheduled to resume on 21 September in Kiev, Interfax reported on 18 September. The process of creating a unified command is to be completed at the meeting and, according to Ukrainian Naval Commander Boris Kozhin, a new fleet commander will be chosen within ten days of the close of the meeting. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) INDIA TO PURCHASE RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT. India plans to buy 30 MIG-29 (NATO designation "Fulcrum") fighter planes, including 24 combat aircraft and 6 trainers, Interfax reported on 17 September. The information on the sale reportedly came from Anatolii Belosvet, identified as a senior designer at the Mikoyan design bureau. Belosvet said that the sale could be finalized during President Boris Yeltsin's planned visit to India in January. A tentative agreement on the sale was apparently reached during a September visit of India's defense minister to Moscow. Interfax also reported that Russia intends to grant some $830 million in credits to India to finance construction of ships, aircraft, and tanks under agreements reached between the former USSR and India. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) TOP GERMAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL HAS RUSSIAN CITIZENSHIP. The former chief of the counter-intelligence department of the Bundesverfassungsschutz (The German Office for the Protection of the Constitution), Hans-Joachim Tiedke, has obtained Russian citizenship and is living in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on September 20. Tiedke, who was in charge of tracking down East German spies, defected to the GDR in 1985; there he wrote a classified Ph.D. dissertation, in which he summarized the secrets he had obtained during his service. (Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.) "RUKH" PREPARES TO CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT. The Grand Council of "Rukh" met on 19 September in Kiev, with preparations for the planned referendum on early parliamentary elections topping the agenda, DR-Press reported. The session was told that the referendum had not gotten off to a good start, with only three initiative groups for the gathering of signatures officially registered; more than fifty groups are currently being organized throughout the country. It was also reported that the parliament has the support of 37% of the population; 30% were said not to trust the lawmakers. "Rukh," it was reported, lags behind President Leonid Kravchuk and Prime Minister Vitold Fokin with regard to public confidence, with only a 17 percent share opting for the opposition. The session also discussed the forthcoming "Rukh" congress and changes in its statute and concepts of state-building. (Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc.) ONE-DAY STRIKE PLANNED FOR KIEV. The All-Ukrainian Association of Solidarity of the Toilers (VOST) has decided to hold a one-day strike in Kiev on 19 October, Ostankino reported on 16 September. In addition to economic demands, the group is demanding the immediate resignation of the government and the formation of a government that enjoyes the trust of its citizens; new parliamentary elections; and Ukraine's withdrawal from the CIS. (Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc.) ANTONOV ON UKRAINIAN CONVERSION. Viktor Antonov, Ukrainian Minister of Engineering, the Military-Industrial Complex, and Defense Conversion, said in Washington on 18 September that Ukraine, in contrast to Russia, had chosen a "civilized" path to conversion. According to AFP, Antonov said that Kiev envisioned maintaining only a small portion of its military technological base "to support a smaller Ukrainian army, and to convert everything else to consumer and civilian goods." He said that Ukraine's military orders totaled 160 billion rubles in 1991 and 10 billion rubles in 1992 (calculated in constant rubles). Antonov also said that without Western help, Ukrainian conversion would take some ten years, while with Western aid, the process could be shorted to three or four years. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) GEORGIA DEMANDS AIR FORCE AND NAVAL ASSETS. The Georgian Defense Ministry on 18 September demanded that it be given a "fair" share of the ex-Soviet Air Force and Navy, AFP reported (citing ITAR-TASS). The Defense Ministry claimed that it still had not received a single military aircraft and stated that its lack of warships had had a "negative impact" on the republic's ability to defend itself. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) KARIMOV IN AUSTRIA. Uzbek President Islam Karimov left Vienna on 20 September after a three-day state visit that concentrated primarily on economic and trade ties, ITAR-TASS reported. An agreement was signed on the protection of foreign investments and work was begun on a series of other economic and trade agreements, which included financing and credit guarantees for specific projects in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek side is looking for help in developing processing industries for agricultural products and food, and wants to set up educational exchanges with Austrian universities. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) "DNIESTER" LEADER'S REVELATIONS ON RUSSIAN SUPPORT. "Dniester Republic Supreme Soviet Chairman" Grigorii Marakutsa told a news conference in Tiraspol on 16 September that "Russia's support for the Dniester region' [is] not only moral and political, but also material and military," DR-Press and Radio Rossii reported. Marakutsa said that he was recently received in Moscow by Yeltsin and Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar (if so, a major breakthrough). In Moscow he learned that the Russian leadership has decided to condition the 14th Army's withdrawal on Moldova's acceptance of a political status for the "Dniester region," and that the Russian government has granted the "Dniester region" a credit of 1 billion rubles on concessionary terms, offered to double that amount, and instructed Russia's Ministry of Trade to conclude an economic agreement with the "Dniester government." Yeltsin also promised to confirm the militantly anti-Moldovan Maj.Gen. Aleksandr Lebed in his post as commander of the 14th Army, Marakutsa said. (Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.) PROMOTION FOR LEBED. Aleksandr Lebed, the controversial commander of the Russian Fourteenth Army in Moldova, has been promoted on orders from President Boris Yeltsin to the rank of Lt.Gen., Interfax reported on 18 September. That Lebed would be promoted, despite a series of warnings from the Russian Defense Ministry that he cease making provocative statements about the political situation in Moldova, suggests that Lebed's activities are in fact viewed with favor by at least some forces inside the Kremlin. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CONSERVATIVES SCORE BIG WIN IN ESTONIA. Preliminary results on Estonia's 20 September parliamentary elections point to a big victory for the conservative election coalition Pro Patria (Isamaa). According to the official election commission, Pro Patria has won 28 of the 101 seats in the new State Assembly. The leftist grouping Secure Home came in next with 18 seats, and, in a surprise result, the Popular Front took only 16 seats. The rest of the seats went to the Moderates (12); the Estonian National Independence Party (10); the coalition Estonian Citizen (8); the Independent Royalists (8) and the Estonian Entrepreneurs' Party (1). Official results are expected only on 23 September, but it seems likely that Pro Patria will form a coalition with the social-democratically-oriented Moderates and the ENIP. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) PARLIAMENT TO CHOOSE PRESIDENT. None of the four candidates for head of state in Estonia won over 50% of the popular vote. According to figures released by the official election press center early on 21 September, Arnold Ruutel, current Supreme Council chairman and Andropov-appointee, won 42.7% of the vote as the candidate of the leftist election coalition Secure Home. Former foreign minister Lennart Meri, running on the conservative Pro Patria ticket, garnered 28.8%, while the Popular Front candidate, University of California--Irvine professor Rein Taagepera, took 23.8%. Lagle Parek, running for the Estonian National Independence Party, brought up the rear with 3.85% of the vote. According to the terms of the election law, the new State Assembly will choose between the top two candidates. Because a number of political groupings have already made a deal among themselves to choose anyone but Ruutel, it seems almost certain that Lennart Meri will be Estonia's first postwar president. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) SERBIA-MONTENEGRO BANNED FROM UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. On 19 September the UN Security Council passed a resolution that the Belgrade- based state does not have the right to inherit federal Yugoslavia's seat and will have to apply for admission. Belgrade authorities subsequently expressed their displeasure, international media report. Meanwhile, Serbian tanks continued to blast Sarajevo, but on 20 September a test flight into and out of the capital's airport was expected to pave the way for a resumption of relief flights on 22 September. Finally, the BBC said on 18 September that the Bosnian peace talks in Geneva have produced little if any progress. UN and EC officials met separately with each of the three warring parties and more talks are slated for 21 September. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) "DEATH SQUADS" IN THE CROATIAN MILITARY POLICE? On 18 September Slobodna Dalmacija carried an interview with the head of Croatia's MPs. He denied rumors that some of his people had formed after-hours "death squads" and stressed that all military police, including the 5% of the applicants who are female, would be held to strict professional standards. The same issue of the independent Split daily, however, also ran an interview with the MP commander in Mostar. He admitted that certain unspecified individuals had somehow "misused" Croatian MP uniforms, but provided no details. He reminded readers that anyone claiming to be a Croatian MP on official business must produce proper identification papers. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT UNDER FIRE. Bulgaria's ruling Union of Democratic Forces is in disarray according to RFE/RL correspondents and BTA. State President Zhelyu Zhelev walked out of a closed-door UDF conference two hours after it began on 18 September. It appears that hard-core, anti-communist members of the coalition oppose the president's moderate approach to national reconciliation. Meantime, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a predominantly Turkish party which has up until now supported the UDF minority government, called for a vote of no-confidence. confidence. MRF leaders have sought the replacement of several ministers, including the prime minister, whom they argue ignores MRF recommendations. Reports from 20 September indicate that UDF leaders will seek reconciliation with the MRF and the president. MRF leaders noted that failure to achieve an understanding would result in the MRF negotiating separately with UDF factions and parties, a tactic which if successful would threaten the government unless it can win enough support from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party to make up for defections. The latter is highly unlikely. (Duncan Perry & Nick Kaltchev, RFE/RL, Inc.) DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND RESIGNATION OF HUNGARIAN RADIO, TV CHIEFS. Demonstrators requested the resignation of the media chiefs and appointment of government commissioners to head Hungarian Radio and TV, MTI reports. Organizers, quoting police, estimated the Saturday crowd at 70-80,000, while wire services put it at 15,000. Speakers addressing the crowd said that the present chiefs serve "antinational" interests. They also accused President Arpad Goncz of serving the interest of the political opposition. The main rally, in front of television headquarters, was addressed by Istvan Csurka, the controversial vice president of the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum, whose caustic views of the domestic scene have recently raised political tempers. Csurka charged that the "liberal press" is trying to reestablish the communist regime. (Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.) POLISH RIGHT-WING PARTIES REGROUP. The conservative wing of Tadeusz Mazowiecki's Democratic Union, the Democratic Right Forum, announced on 20 September it is leaving the party to found a separate "modern right-wing formation." The group, headed by Aleksander Hall, combines conservative social positions with support for a more rapid transition to a market economy. The group's departure reduces the Democratic Union's parliamentary caucus to 56 deputies, making the postcommunist Democratic Left the largest party in parliament. Hall said the new formation will continue to support the government. On the same day, fundamentalist-patriotic supporters of former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski founded a "Coalition for the Republic" in Warsaw. The coalition is dedicated to exposing former communist agents and purging former party members. The meeting featured shrill rhetoric, PAP reports, including former Defense Minister Jan Parys's attack on the current government as "cryptocommunist" and "pro-Russian." (Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.) "ACCORD FOR A DEMOCRATIC LITHUANIA." On 19 September the major Lithuanian right-wing parties and political movements held a joint conference in Vilnius, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. They formed an "Accord for a Democratic Lithuania" and signed a pledge to cooperate in the Seimas. They will run under three separate lists: the Sajudis coalition (Sajudis, Citizens Charter, Political Prisoner Union, Farmers' Sajudis, and Greens Party); a coalition of the Christian Democratic Party, Democratic Party, and the Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees; and the Nationalist Union. The tone of the speeches was moderate. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) COMMUNIST UNION IN LATVIA. On 12 September former Latvian Communist Party members founded the Communist Association of Latvia, which is led by Igor Lopatin, former leader of the outlawed Interfront. Lopatin said that his new organization is a social and political movement that wants to oppose, through constitutional methods, the resurgence of capitalism in Latvia. Lopatin also said that he considers his organization to be the ideological successor of the Latvian Communist Party, which was also banned in August 1991. He claimed that some 37,000 persons support his organization, BNS reports. (Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.) POZSGAY ESTABLISHES NEW PARTY IN HUNGARY. On 19 September Imre Pozsgay, a leading political figure during the 1988-90 political changes, announced the creation of the National Democratic Association (NDA), MTI reports. The new party, which selected Pozsgay as its chairman, wants to function as a national center party, according to the organizers. They accused the government of distancing itself from the Hungarian population. The NDA wants to run in the 1994 general election and may form its own parliamentary faction if it can attract independents and deputies from other parties, Pozsgay said. (Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.) ILIESCU ATTACKS OPPOSITION. At an electoral rally held in Bucharest on 19 September Romania's President Ion Iliescu directed a sharp attack at the opposition. The gathering was staged by the Democratic National Salvation Front, the party that backs Iliescu for reelection in the presidential race scheduled for 27 September. Iliescu accused the opposition, and especially the Democratic Convention, of dispatching "organized gangs" to disturb his public appearances. He also charged Romania's traditional democratic parties with trying to revive the style of the pre-World-War-II electoral campaigns," which, he claimed, were conducted with "clubs and Schnapps." (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.) SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS THREATENED BY SOCCER CLASHES. Tensions continue between Slovakia and Hungary over the massive police action against Hungarian soccer fans at a match in Bratislava on 16 September. According to various news agencies, on the 18th Geza Entz, state secretary for Hungarians abroad, called the incident "an open political provocation." Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Janos Herman told the daily Nepszabadsag that the clashes are "especially regrettable because now there is the danger they will lead to a hostile atmosphere between the two countries." The Slovak Interior Ministry meanwhile rejected all Hungarian criticism. A spokesman for the ministry said on 19 September that it had been "unequivocally proven that the Hungarian fans violated public order and provoked clashes. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) UPDATE ON KLAUS IN WASHINGTON. On 18 September Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus met with White House Chief of Staff James Baker and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft to discuss the consequences of the split in Czechoslovakia scheduled for January 1993. On the 19th Klaus held talks with IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus and World Bank President Lewis Preston to solicit support for making both the Czech and Slovak republics successor states in the IMF and World Bank rather than requiring them to reapply individually after the breakup. Camdessus issued a statement on 20 September saying that the IMF will indeed allow the Czech and Slovak Republics to remain members after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) KLAUS, KUPA DISCUSS CENTRAL EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ZONE. Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Kupa said on 20 September that he had discussed the idea with Klaus in Washington, according to RFE/RL's correspondent in Washington. Klaus said last week that Czechoslovakia should establish a free trade zone with Hungary and Poland before it moves into such pacts with the US or even Western Europe and that he is ready to take such action immediately. Kupa told reporters that he likes Klaus's idea but that it should only be discussed after the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been established as independent countries. He added that it might be "wise" also to include Slovenia in such a free trade zone. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) BULGARIA GETS HIGH MARKS FROM IMF. IMF official Anoop Singh praised Bulgaria in a news conference on 18 September, saying that its continuing transition from a command economy to a free market economy meets IMF performance standards. Bulgaria has managed so far to avoid high inflation, and the lev is generally stable while exports have exceeded IMF expectations, BTA reports. (Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.) LANDSBERGIS TO BELGIUM. On 20 September Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis flew to Brussels for a three-day official visit, Radio Lithuania reports. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and Deputy Minister of International Economic Relations Vytautas Gricius. On 21 September he will meet with King Baudouin I and the Belgian Senate chairman. Later he is scheduled to open the Lithuanian embassy in Brussels and confer with representatives of international organizations. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) ROMANIAN INDUSTRY MINISTER IN UKRAINE. Dan Constantinescu held talks on 17 and 18 September in Kiev on prospects for economic cooperation. The talks focused on the future of an iron ore enrichment plant at Krivoi Rog, a project started in 1987 with 51% Ukrainian and 27% Romanian investment, (the rest being divided between the former German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria). The two sides decided to continue the construction. Radio Bucharest, which described the project as Romania's largest investment abroad, stressed that halting it would entail "enormous social costs for both countries." (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.) ZOTOV WARNS AGAINST ULTIMATUMS. Sergei Zotov, head of the Russian delegation for talks with Latvia, told Baltfax on 17 September that Russia will not tolerate "the language of ultimatums." Zotov was responding to the Latvian Supreme Council's guidelines of 15 September regarding Latvian-Russian relations and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia. Zotov also regarded as "unfriendly gestures" Baltic efforts to internationalize the troop withdrawal issues, especially their intention to raise the issue at the UN General Assembly. Zotov countered by claiming that these Baltic efforts were "a maneuver" to divert world attention from "flagrant and multiple cases of human rights violations" in Estonia and Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)
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