|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 193, 07 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN: RUSSIAN FORCES TO DEFEND THEMSELVES, RAILROADS, IN ABKHAZIA. Abkhaz forces continued to advance north from Gagra and took the villages of Leselidze and Gantiadi early on 6 October, and they now control a 65 kilometer stretch of coastline from the Russian border south almost as far as Sukhumi. Speaking to journalists in Tbilisi, Georgian State Council Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze accused Russian troops stationed near Gudauta of transferring ultra-modern technology to the Abkhaz forces, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian President Boris Yeltsin told the Russian Supreme Soviet that Russia would not stand by while Russian citizens' interests were being trampled on; nor would Russian troops hesitate to defend themselves if attacked. Although he claimed that Russian forces remained neutral, President Yeltsin told deputies that "we will not pull our [military] contingent out [of Abkhazia], because it is necessary to take control of the railroad on the territory of Abkhazia, from the Russian-Abkhazian border to the Abkhazian-Georgian border-the entire line, which runs along the seaside," ITAR-TASS reported. According to Western agencies, Yeltsin also stated that Russian control of the railroads were vital, since they were key to communications between Russia and Armenia. Yeltsin also stated that he would meet on 13-October with Shevardnadze, Abkhaz parliament Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba and North Caucasian representatives to discuss the Abkhaz situation; however, his statement about Russian interests in Abkhazia is tantamount to an assertion that Abkhazia is not part of Georgia. The UN Security Council has expressed concern over the Abkhaz crisis and may send observers to monitor the situation there. (Liz Fuller) YELTSIN'S CHANGE OF ECONOMIC COURSE? In an address to the Russian parliament on 6 October, carried in full on Russian TV, President Yeltsin distanced himself from the rigorous reform plan espoused by acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar and his administration. He criticized Gaidar, Aven, Nechaev, and Titkin by name, which suggested that all or some of them might soon be replaced or choose to resign. Yeltsin sought to deflect public dissatisfaction from himself by blaming excessive emphasis on macroeconomic strategy at the expense of the social safety net. He proposed a redefinition of economic reform strategy to concentrate on: fighting inflation; restructuring industry; completing privatization; accelerating land reform; and stimulating competition by means of an effective demonopolization policy. (Keith Bush) POLITICAL ASPECTS OF YELTSIN'S SPEECH. Russian President Boris Yeltsin indicated in his speech to the parliament that he may consider allying himself with the Civic Union. Yeltsin's analysis of the economic situation coincided with criticism recently made by leaders of the Civic Union. In the second part of the speech, Yeltsin emphasized the need to root out corruption and crime with an iron fist-another demand frequently made by the Civic Union. He also suggested that the "Democratic Russia" movement and the Civic Union may, in the future, constitute a two-party system in Russia. (Alexander Rahr) GAIDAR REJECTS CRITICISM. In a brilliant and largely unrepentant speech, acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar explicitly rejected the burden of Yeltsin's criticisms and restated his opposition to the policies advanced by the Civic Union. He savaged the implicit calls to take the Chinese path of authoritarian central control together with a large private sector. He ridiculed those who now wished to slow the pace of privatization after criticizing his administration earlier for moving too slowly. He condemned the process of nomenklatura privatization and continued protectionism. He gave a surprisingly positive progress report on conversion, and he reassured deputies that state farms would not be phased out in the near future. (Keith Bush) YELTSIN ANNOUNCED STRENGTHENING OF MVD, ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES. In his address to the Russian parliament on 6 October, Boris Yeltsin revealed that his administration recently has increased the MVD personnel by 50,000 men; he also suggested increasing MVD personnel by another 50-100,000 men contingent on parliamentary approval. The Russian president also proposed using the Army to combat crime and tighter gun control legislation. The package of anti-corruption measures includes new registration requirements for non-state commercial firms and foundations, and the revision of property transferred to them by the state bodies, as well as a direct ban of business activities conducted by government officials. (Victor Yasmann) KINKEL, KOZYREV WARN OF NATIONALISM. The German and Russian foreign ministers warned against rising nationalism in Europe following meetings in Moscow on 6 October. The German foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel, said the two countries must strive to prevent nationalist violence - whether in southern Europe, the Caucasus or elsewhere. In a speech to mark the opening of the new Germany Embassy in Moscow, Kozyrev remarked that the building should not contain within its walls any of the "phantoms" which were threatening post-communist Europe, Interfax reported. The Russian Foreign Ministry had expressed concern in September over right-wing violence in parts of Germany. Kinkel is scheduled to meet Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 7 October. (Suzanne Crow) "DNIESTER" LEADERS GREETED BY RUSSIA. "Dniester republic" leaders in eastern Moldova celebrated on 2 and 3 October the bicentennial of the founding of their would-be capital Tiraspol as a military settlement of the Russian Empire. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev sent a message of greetings to the "Dniester" leaders on the occasion, and Russian Vice president Aleksandr Rutskoy sent a personal representative, Col. Gen. Shkenakin, who addressed the celebratory rally in Tiraspol, DR-Press reported on 3 October. The event is the latest in a series of recent Russian gestures of overt political and economic support to the "Dniester republic" which can only complicate the domestic political situation of Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, who is staking his popularity on cooperation with Russia for a peaceful resolution of the Dniester conflict. (Vladimir Socor) YELTSIN NOT IN FAVOR OF NEW "UNION." In his speech to the Russian parliament said that Russia's attitude towards the Commonwealth was unchanged. Russia was for the strengthening of relations on a treaty basis and was not seeking the creation of any kind of new "union." Yeltsin reiterated that relations with the CIS states should take account of the specific features of each state, but he maintained that there should nonetheless be some common norms of behavior. In particular, Russia would insist at the Bishkek summit that states wishing to stay in the ruble zone jointly work out the rules and submit to them. (Ann Sheehy) GORBACHEV AGREES TO MEET CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OFFICIALS. Former CPSU Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev said he would agree to meet informally with Russian Constitutional Court officials, but would continue to refuse court orders to testify at its hearings on the CPSU. The Russian media quoted Gorbachev as saying on 6 October that he objected to attempts to transform the Constitutional Court into "a stage for political trials." On 6-October, President Yeltsin criticized Gorbachev for ignoring the summons to appear at the hearings. The Russian president accused Gorbachev of showing "disrespect for the state of law, the Constitutional Court and for Russian statehood," ITAR-TASS reported. (Vera Tolz) INTELLIGENTSIA NOSTALGIC FOR GORBACHEV? On 27 September, Mikhail Gorbachev was met with the longest wave of applause while attending the hit of the theater season: the performance of the nineteenth century classic, Aleksandr Griboedov's Woe from Wit, in the Moscow Arts Festival, Izvestiya reported on 28 September. Meanwhile, Literaturnaya gazeta (No. 40), the weekly read primarily by the intelligentsia, reprinted without comment an article from the Times of London saying that Yeltsin is just as unpopular among the Moscow intellectual elite as were any of the communist tyrants; the article also stated that the Russian intelligentsia compared President Yeltsin unfavorably with former Secretary General Gorbachev. (Julia Wishnevsky) KASATONOV CRITICIZES JOINT CONTROL OF BLACK SEA FLEET. President Yeltsin on 5 October signed a decree formally appointing Admiral Kasatonov First Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy, although he will temporarily continue as Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, according to Interfax. On 6-October, Kasatonov held a press conference at which he criticized plans for joint Russian-Ukrainian control of the fleet. Kasatonov claimed that a joint command system with one fleet commander and one Russian and one Ukrainian deputy commander would work, but that Ukraine's proposal for having two captains on one ship would reduce combat readiness. (John Lepingwell) UKRAINE TO SELL URANIUM FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS? In a meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Frank Wiesner, Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk proposed that the US buy enriched Uranium originating from the nuclear warheads located in Ukraine. The US has already agreed to buy up to $5 billion worth of Uranium from disassembled Russian warheads. Since Ukraine has no warhead disassembly facilities, the US has proposed buying the material from Russia after disassembly there, and paying Ukraine for its share. But Ukraine claims that the warheads belong to it and wants to sell the material directly, according to an Interfax report on 6 October. It is unclear how much Uranium would be in the warheads, as modern weapons are more likely to contain Plutonium. (John Lepingwell) RUSSIA DENIES PLUTONIUM FUEL PROPOSAL TO JAPAN. Russian Deputy Minister of the Nuclear Power Industry Nikolai Egorov has denied reports that he proposed a joint project with Japan that would use Plutonium from Russian nuclear weapons as fuel for Japanese reactors. According to an ITAR-TASS report of 5 October, Egorov claimed that the project was merely an "unofficial proposal." Egorov also stated, according to AFP on 5 October, that warhead dismantling was taking place in 4 locations: Chelyabinsk-70, Arzamas-16, Sverdlovsk-44 and Zlatoust. In Washington on 6 October, the Defense Department reported it had agreed to help design a storage facility in Russia for nuclear material from the dismantled weapons, according to Western news agencies. (John Lepingwell) CHIEF OF RUSSIAN GENERAL STAFF PROMOTED. The chief of the Russian general staff and first deputy minister of defense, Viktor Dubynin, was promoted to general of the Army in a decree signed by President Yeltsin on 5 October. (John Lepingwell) UPCOMING CIS SUMMIT. Sapurmurad Niyazov, president of Turkmenistan, has announced that he will not be attending the CIS summit in Bishkek on 9 October, Interfax reported. Turkmenistan will be represented instead by the chairman of the republic's parliament. Turkmenistan is against the creation of any coordinating bodies which will be one of the major topics of discussion at the summit. The Azerbaijan parliament is to discuss Azerbaijan's membership of the CIS on 7 October, and the outcome is likely to determine whether or not the Azerbaijani president, Abulfaz Elchibei, attends the summit. The Moldovan president Mircea Snegur is to attend, although the Moldovan parliament has still not ratified the CIS treaty. (Ann Sheehy) AKAEV ON CIS SUMMIT. At a press conference in Bishkek on 6 October, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev said that the authority of the CIS was undermined by the fact that many decisions were not implemented not only because the decisions themselves were imperfect, but because of the amorphous nature of the CIS's structures, ITAR-TASS reported. Akaev said that the planned establishment of a consultative coordination economic council and economic court was extremely important to arrest economic decline in the CIS states. The creation of the council seems unlikely, however, given President Yeltsin's reluctance to force the issue, presumably out of a desire not to antagonize Ukraine. (Ann Sheehy) CRIMEAN TATARS CLASH WITH POLICE IN SIMFEROPOL. On 6 October, Crimean Tatars occupied the Simferopol Supreme Soviet building in an effort to obtain the release of Tatars detained in a clash with police in Alushta on 1 October, a spokeswoman for the Crimean Tatar parliament told an RL/RFE correspondent in Moscow. According to the spokeswoman, police wounded some of the protesters when they used clubs, water cannon, tear gas, and firearms against them; these charges were not, however, confirmed by Crimean officials. The spokeswoman also reported that 5,000 Tatars were holding a rally in the Simferopol central square, and that Mustafa Dzemilyou, chairman of the Crimean Tatar parliament, urged demonstrators to establish self-defense units to resist Crimean authorities. (Hal Kosiba) MOLDOVA REQUESTS U.N. ATTENDANCE AT TROOP TALKS WITH RUSSIA. In successive messages addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Ghali on 2 and 5 October, reported by Moldovapres, President Mircea Snegur and Foreign Minister Nicolae Tiu requested that the U.N. delegate observers to attend the Moldovan-Russian negotiations on the withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army stationed in eastern Moldova. Noting that the negotiations conducted over the last two months have seen "only very little movement," the Moldovan leaders asked that the U.N. delegates "give an impetus to the talks," "see them through to their completion," and "participate in the verification of the withdrawal of Russian forces from Moldova once agreement has been reached." (Vladimir Socor) MAJOR OIL PIPELINE DAMAGED IN GEORGIA. The main oil pipeline from Azerbaijan to the Black Sea has been badly damaged near the south-west Georgian town of Lanchkhuta, some 50 kilometers from the terminal at Batumi; a 30 meter high fountain of oil is gushing from the leak, RIA reported on 6-October. The cause of the damage was not specified. (Liz Fuller) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SECURITY COUNCIL TO SET UP WAR CRIMES COMMISSION. In a unanimous vote on 6-October, the UN body voted to set up a commission to collect evidence of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the first such group to be established since the end of World War-II. The aim of the measure is to prevent further violence by letting the perpetrators know they will be held responsible for their actions. The 7-October New York Times says that the commission will probably look for concrete violations of the 1949 Geneva conventions dealing with prisoners of war and with civilians in war zones, as well as for violations of the principles established during the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders. The BBC pointed out, however, that the measure is a preliminary one and lacks any clear means of enforcement. Reuters on 6-October nonetheless quoted Russian ambassador to the UN Yulii Vorontsov as saying that "if more teeth will be needed, they will be added." (Patrick Moore) SERBS TAKE STRATEGIC BOSNIAN TOWN. International media reported on 6-October that Serbian forces occupied Bosanski Brod in the middle of northern Bosnia opposite Croatia. It is a major strategic loss for both Bosnia and Croatia, and considerably strengthens the land corridor connecting Serbia with Serbian enclaves in the two neighboring republics. This leaves Brcko and Gradacac as among the few remaining towns held by Croatian and Muslim forces in northern Bosnia. (Patrick Moore) WILL BOSNIAN SERBS SUSPEND MILITARY FLIGHTS? On 6-October in Geneva, representatives of the self-proclaimed Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina agreed to suspend military flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The decision comes one day before the UN security council is scheduled to discuss the setting up of a "no-fly" zone over Bosnia, which Bosnian Serbs oppose. Aleksa Buha, "foreign minister" of the Serb republic, stated the suspension will take effect immediately but warned "If the other side takes advantage of our decision, the flights will be resumed." He explained the Serb delegation has agreed to suspend military flights in line with the London conference determination that humanitarian aid must not be used to the detriment of any of the sides in the conflict. Radio Serbia carried the report. (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIAN SERBS ON THE FUTURE SHAPE ON BOSNIA. Buha also said that at the talks on Yugoslavia in Geneva the Serbs reiterated their views on the future constitutional system of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which call for the establishment of a community of three national states. Most economic, political, and security functions would be regulated by the individual national units, while transportation, energy, the ecology, and human rights would be handled jointly from Sarajevo. Buha also talked about plans to divide Sarajevo into Serb and Muslim parts. Meanwhile, on 6-October, Sarajevo Serb leaders established a body, the "City Assembly of Serb Sarajevo," for the administration of the part of the city they control. Radio Serbia carried the reports. (Milan Andrejevich) HUNGARY AND THE EMBARGO. Janos Nagy, deputy commander of the Customs and Excise Office, reported that 10 to 12-trucks a day try to cross the border with rump Yugoslavia carrying goods in violation of the UN embargo. He said that customs officers have also held up two freighters on the Danube and 117-railway deliveries since the embargo was imposed on 1-June. Nagy said that Hungarian customs officers are doing everything in their power to implement the embargo and make others observe it too, Radio Budapest and MTI report. (Edith Oltay) REPUBLICAN PREMIERS CONFIRM CZECHOSLOVAK BREAKUP. An eight-hour meeting between the leaderships of the Civic Democratic Party (CDP) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (MDS) held on 6-October in the Moravian town of Jihlava resulted in the signing of an agreement by the Czech and Slovak Prime Ministers, Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar. Both leaders made it clear that the main purpose of the meeting was to reestablish trust between the republican leaderships after Meciar's MDS joined the opposition to vote for establishing a commission on creating a Czech and Slovak Union in the federal parliament. The document signed in Jihlava basically confirms earlier agreements between the two parties, saying that Czechoslovakia will cease to exist on 1-January 1993. It also states that a series of treaties specifying the bilateral relationship between the two new states, would go into effect on that day. At a press conference following the meeting, Klaus and Meciar said that further debates on a "union" were unrealistic. Revoking statements made earlier this week, Meciar also said that the question of whether there should be a federal budget for 1993 "was not an issue." The two republican leaders also agreed to establish special commissions to deal with open questions such as the distribution of federal property. The agreement does not define specific terms for Czechoslovakia's split. (Jan Obrman) ANTALL MEETS HUNGARIAN PARTY LEADERS FROM SLOVAKIA. Prime Minister Jozsef Antall held talks on 6 October with coalition leaders from Coexistence, the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement, and the Hungarian People's Party. The talks focused on political developments in the Czech and Slovak republics and the situation of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. Antall reiterated that his government has no intention of isolating Slovakia and seeks to promote its integration into Europe. Antall and the party leaders agreed, according to MTI, "that the situation of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia should be settled-.-.-. considering the principle of self-government." The party leaders from Slovakia advocated the convening of an international conference on East Central Europe to discuss the problems of democratic transformation and the protection of minority rights. (Edith Oltay) ROMANIAN ELECTORAL RESULTS. On 7 October, after a recount of nullified votes, the Central Electoral Bureau released the final results of the 27 September parliamentary elections. In the Chamber of Deputies the Democratic National Salvation Front (DNSF) received 27.71% of the votes followed by the Democratic Convention of Romania (DCR) with 20.01%; the National Salvation Front (NSF), with 10.18%; the Party of Romanian National Unity (PRNU), with 7.71%; the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (HDFR), with 7.45%; the Greater Romania Party (GRP), with 3.89%; and the Socialist Labor Party (SLP) with 3.03%. In the Senate the DNSF is the strongest party, with 28.29%, followed by the DCR (20.16%); the NSF (10.38%); the PRNU (8.12%); the HDFR (7.58%); the GRP (3.85%); the Democratic Agrarian Party (3.30%) and the SLP (3.18%). (Michael Shafir). ROMANIAN CENTRAL ELECTORAL BUREAU MEMBER RESIGNS IN PROTEST. Tudor Florescu, who represented the Convention of Social Solidarity party on the Central Electoral Bureau, resigned in protest against what he termed "information . . . leading me to the conviction that the elections were not correct," Rompres reported on 6 October. (Michael Shafir) CONSTANTINESCU ON THE HUSTINGS. Answering listeners' questions in the campaign for the second round in Romania's presidential elections, DCR candidate Emil Constantinescu said that in the future Romania must be integrated into NATO military structures. He also said that the decision of the US Congress not to approve the MFN status for Romania was legitimate and follows from the failure of the country's leadership to convince Congress of its genuine commitment to reform. Constantinescu again denied that he had been a member of the nomenklatura under Ceausescu's regime. (Michael Shafir). POLISH GOVERNMENT COMPLETES PLAN FOR AGRICULTURE. The Polish cabinet put its seal of approval on the last of the government's five priority action plans, "opportunities for the village and agriculture," on 6-October. Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka is scheduled to present a full report on the government's plans to the Sejm on 9-October. The government proposes maintaining guaranteed minimum prices on grain and milk; the gradual replacement of preferential credits for farmers with credits earmarked for modernization and investment; the privatization of food processing industries; and the imposition of new duties to protect Polish farmers from competition from subsidized EC imports. Agriculture Minister Gabriel Janowski stressed that individual family farms would remain the foundation of Polish agriculture. (Louisa Vinton) TALKS OPEN ON POLAND'S "PACT ON STATE FIRMS." Tripartite negotiations on the government's proposed "pact on state firms" among employers, unions, and the labor and finance ministers opened on 6-October. The former official OPZZ federation and 11 other national unions took part in morning sessions; Solidarity, which has refused to sit at the same table with the postcommunist unions, attended in the afternoon. Eight unions, including the OPZZ and Solidarity-'80, walked out of one of three thematic working groups, arguing that the government had been late in providing them with its outline economic plan for 1993. This seemed a pretext designed to show the unions' mettle in confronting the government. The dual structure of the talks impeded progress, PAP reported, as the government was unable to provide an immediate response to union counterproposals. (Louisa Vinton) SOFIA REQUESTS HIGHER EXPORT QUOTA FROM THE EC. In the next round of negotiations on an association agreement with the European Community, scheduled for 15-16 October, Bulgaria will ask to be granted higher export quotas, according to Deputy Trade Minister Svetoslav Daskalov. In an interview with Die Presse published on 6-October, Daskalov explained that the new Bulgarian position cites the country's fine political record, which has also been acknowledged by the EC negotiators. He said Bulgaria is seeking the same treatment as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia regarding its textile industry, agricultural produce, and ferrous metals. In late September Romania, with which the EC is negotiating simultaneously, accepted a lower quota. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIA PAYS FIRST INTEREST INSTALLMENT. For the first time in over two years Bulgaria has made an interest payment on its $10-billion commercial debt, Bulgarian officials told Reuters on 6-October. Svetoslav Gavriyski, head of the foreign debt commission, noted that the $10-million paid represented only one quarter of the current interest for September. Gavriyski said that Bulgaria is planning to sustain payments during negotiations with its creditors, and is likely to make the next payment toward the end of 1992. (Kjell Engelbrekt) 900,000 FOREIGNERS TURNED BACK AT HUNGARIAN BORDER. Jozsef Komuves, deputy spokesman for the Hungarian border guards, reported that some 900,000 foreigners have been turned back at the border in the past 12-months, a year after increased border controls took effect in Hungary. The foreigners lack travel documents or money to finance their stay in Hungary. The great majority-some 798,000-were Romanian citizens, 27,000 came from the CIS states, 25,000 were Poles, 17,000 were Bulgarians, and the remaining 33,000 came from the Third World. MTI carried the report. (Edith Oltay) MASS GRAVES FOUND IN ALBANIA. Six mass graves with the remains of as many as 2,000 bodies have been discovered in Shkoder, ATA and foreign agencies report. About 40 bodies of opponents of Albania's communist regime have been identified by a joint committee of former political prisoners and police, but the process is slow and difficult because the former regime falsified records to hide evidence of the killings. Shkoder, a predominately Catholic city in the northwest of the country, was a center of resistance to communism after World War-II. (Charles Trumbull) RUSSIA WANTS TO KEEP SKRUNDA WARNING RADAR. On 6-October at the Baltic Security Conference in Salzburg sponsored by the RFE/RL Research Institute, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Fedor Shelov-Kovedayev stated that Russia wants to maintain access to the Skrunda ballistic missile early warning radar station in Latvia. He maintained that the continued operation of the radar station is in the interests of global security and poses no threat to the independence of Latvia. Latvian Vice President Andrejs Krastins, however, reminded the conference of the Latvian position, that all foreign military bases in the country must be closed, and stated that the Skrunda radar is "not an object of discussion" with Russia. (John Lepingwell) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
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