|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 194, 08 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR GEORGIA ACCUSES RUSSIA OF SUPPLYING ABKHAZ FORCES. Georgian reinforcements were sent to Sukhumi on 7 October in anticipation of an attack by Abkhaz forces. Georgian security officials charged that Russia had begun airlifting military equipment out of Georgia from a military airfield near Kutaisi, and was sending ultra-modern T-72 and T-80 tanks to the Abkhaz, Western agencies reported. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told Interfax that the tanks originated from "another state located to the north of Abkhazia"; a Ukrainian spokesman denied involvement. President Yeltsin telephoned Georgian State Council Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze on 7 October; their conversation was described by ITAR-TASS as "extremely sharp and frank." Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister Tedo Dzhaparidze submitted a formal request to the UN Security Council to address the Abkhaz crisis. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIAN CABINET DELAYS ADOPTION OF ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING PLAN. At a cabinet meeting on 7 October, Russian President Boris Yeltsin reiterated some of the main points of his speech to the parliament on 6 October. According to Interfax, he emphasized priority for a better social safety net and the preservation of Russia's "unique industrial and scientific potential" (read "defense-industrial complex"). After listening to Yeltsin's statement, the cabinet decided to delay consideration of the economic restructuring plan for 1993 that had been drawn up by Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev. Nechaev was one of four cabinet ministers who were sharply criticized in Yeltsin's speech to the parliament. (Keith Bush) YELTSIN WARNS ESTONIA, LATVIA ON TROOP WITHDRAWALS. President Boris Yeltsin stated on October 7 that no troop withdrawal agreements will be signed with Estonia and Latvia until they provide greater "minority rights" for Russians. Yeltsin accused the two states of gross violations of the rights of their Russian minorities, and stated that negotiations with Estonian and Latvian representatives had been fruitless, according to an Interfax report. He urged Estonia and Latvia to adopt legislation similar to that of Lithuania, with which Russia recently concluded a troop withdrawal agreement. (John Lepingwell) GENERAL SAYS RUSSIAN MILITARY MUST PROTECT RUSSIANS IN FORMER USSR. Col. General Vladimir Toporov, a Russian deputy defense minister, told ITAR-TASS on 7 October that "the Russian military must guarantee the safety of Russian citizens and take them under its protection." He was justifying the presence of Russian troops in Tajikistan. He said that "Russian-speaking people" were hostage to all the inter-ethnic conflicts on the territory of the former Soviet Union, and the military could not be indifferent to their fate. (Doug Clarke) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON DEFENSE MINISTERS' MEETING AT BISHKEK. According to an Interfax report of 7 October, CIS Commander in Chief Shaposhnikov is pleased with the results of the meeting of the CIS defense ministers held in Bishkek. Shaposhnikov reported that two draft agreements had been prepared, one creating a "doctrine for the collective security of the CIS states" and the other reorganizing the CIS command structure. No agreement has yet been reached on the control of nuclear weapons, however, and the issue will be referred to the heads of state for discussion. According to an article in Nezavisimaya Gazeta on October 8, Shaposhnikov says he is prepared to immediately transfer all nuclear launch codes to the Russian Defense Ministry if the other CIS nuclear states agree. (John Lepingwell) UKRAINE BALKS ON CIS NUCLEAR ARMS ACCORD. Ukrainian negotiators at the preparatory meeting for the 9 October CIS summit in Bishkek, Kirgyzstan have balked at the proposals for creating a framework of common agencies to be in control of the CIS strategic nuclear forces. Interfax reported on 7 October that this means the proposal for pooling the nuclear arsenal of the former USSR will have to be taken up by the CIS presidents. Last month Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk rejected a call for increased Russian control over nuclear weapons. (Doug Clarke) YELTSIN ON KURIL ISLANDS. Interfax reported on 7 October a statement by President Yeltsin that a significant change in the hitherto intransigent Japanese position on the Kuril islands may be possible. Specifically, Yeltsin said that there were some in Japan who were now proposing a formula whereby a peace treaty would be signed and, subsequent to that, the 1956 Soviet-Japanese agreement would become the basis for a resolution of the dispute over the islands. The 1956 agreement made Russian recognition of Japanese sovereignty over two of the four islands (Shikotan and Habomai) a precondition for the signing of a peace treaty. If true, such a proposal would mark a major reversal in Tokyo's position. Yeltsin said he would visit Japan under such conditions. (Stephen Foye) EXPORT DUTIES TO REPLACE EXPORT QUOTAS IN RUSSIA. Russian Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Petr Aven told the cabinet meeting on 7-October that export quotas will be abolished for most goods beginning in 1993, ITAR-TASS reported. Export quotas will be maintained only for oil and petroleum products, gas, some non-ferrous metals, and chemical products. The main method of controlling exports will be through export duties. Aven said that duties will be gradually decreased and will be abolished when Russian industry adapts to world prices for raw materials and energy resources. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN OIL EXPORTS TO CIS DEFAULTERS TO BE CUT? At a Moscow meeting of Russian oil producers on 7 October, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin warned former Soviet republics who were in arrears with payments for oil deliveries that they could face a cut-off of oil shipments if they did not pay their bills by 12 October, Interfax reported. In the future, pre-payments will be required for Russian oil shipments. Chernomyrdin said that the Russian fuel and energy complex was owed 640 billion rubles at the beginning of October and that CIS members were responsible for "a substantial part" of this debt. Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev had earlier predicted that Russian oil exports to the former Soviet republics would be halved next year. (Keith Bush) REPATRIATION OF HARD CURRENCY TO RUSSIA. Acting Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko was quoted by Interfax on 7 October as approving a government plan to repatriate hard currency stashed away by Russian enterprises in foreign bank accounts. The plan is to take effect on 1 January 1993, but its details have not been disclosed. Economic Adviser Aleksei Ulyukaev told the latest edition of Literaturnaya gazeta that while export revenues amount to some $3 billion a month, only $300 million is sold each month on Russian currency exchanges. (Keith Bush) PARLIAMENT FAILS TO APPROVE BILL ON FORMING GOVERNMENT. The Russian parliament did not approve after an initial reading a draft law on "the Council of Ministers-Government of the Russian Federation," ITAR-TASS reported on 7 October. The agency said deputies decided to set up a working group to revise the draft. President Yeltsin wants to limit the parliament's ability to overrule presidential appointments to ministerial posts. The parliament wants greater authority in the selection and approval of ministers. ITAR-TASS quoted a statement by the chairman of the parliament's legislative committee, Mikhail Mityukov, that the draft left a leading role to the president in forming the government, but did not allow him to take over the post of prime minister. Current regulations provide for such a possibility. Mityukov said the draft called for the prime minister to be appointed or removed only with parliamentary approval. (Vera Tolz) YELTSIN TRANSFERS CONTROL OF GORBACHEV FOUNDATION PREMISES. On 7 October, President Yeltsin signed a decree handing over a five-building complex previously used by the Gorbachev Foundation to the newly established Russian Federation Financial Academy, according to "Novosti." Interfax reported that the foundation will be allowed to rent part of the space in question. On 6 October, Yeltsin had criticized "some of the newly founded foundations" for "occupying premises that are too spacious for them." After Gorbachev resigned his post as USSR president, Yeltsin confiscated Gorbachev's apartment and country house; later, he replaced Gorbachev's limousine with a smaller car. Both the Gorbachev Foundation and the limousine were part of Gorbachev's retirement settlement. On 30 September, while announcing that he might make a political comeback, Gorbachev had called Yeltsin "a loss" and the latter's privatization plan "a deception." (Julia Wishnevsky) KINKEL AND ETHNIC GERMANS. On the second and last day of his visit to Moscow German foreign minister Klaus Kinkel discussed the problem of the Russian Germans with President Yeltsin, ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported on 7 October. Yeltsin assured Kinkel that he was personally devoting great attention to the problem and that the political will was there to reestablish German autonomy on the Volga, but there were economic difficulties and opposition from non-Germans living in the area. At a meeting with the leaders of three Russian-German associations, Kinkel said that the state of relations between Germany and Russia would depend to a large extent on the resolution of the problems of the Germans in Russia. (Ann Sheehy) CIS DELEGATION LEAVES TAJIKISTAN. A delegation of representatives of the presidents of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan headed by Kyrgyzstan Vice President Feliks Kulov left Tajikistan on 8 October, Khovar-TASS reported. The delegation had two days of intensive talks with the republic's leadership, political parties, army commanders, the Muslim kadi, and then visited Kurgan-Tyube and Kulyab. Kulov said that all sides had agreed to the introduction of peace-keeping forces, and the results of the visit would be presented to the CIS summit in Bishkek. (Ann Sheehy) ASSIGNMENTS FOR SECURITY OFFICIALS IN STATE APPARATUS. President Yeltsin has established an administrative framework through which high-ranking KGB, MVD, and military officers may be assigned as consultants and advisors to other government and state institutions without leaving active service, according to a presidential edict published in Rossiiskaya gazeta, on 29 September. In explaining the measure, the edict cites personnel cuts among senior officer corps in the Russian Ministries of Security, Interior Affairs, and Defense. Although the officers will obtain positions as consultants and advisers, they will be not demobilized and will retain dual subordination to the civil government and their appropriate ministries. (Victor Yasmann) TENSION IN THE CRIMEA. Ukraine has deployed National Guard units in the Crimea in response to the rising tension there between the Crimean Tatars and local authorities, Ukrinform-TASS reported on 7 October. Crimean Tatar demonstrators attempted to storm the parliamentary building in Simferopol. According to the report, those taking part in the attack were armed. In the meantime, the Crimean Tatar Mejlis has called for a "mobilization of all forces" and ordered all Crimean Tatars serving outside the republic to return to the Crimea and join self-defense units. The conflict, which stems from the destruction of Crimean Tatar homes on the territory of a local state farm, is scheduled to be discussed by the Crimean parliament on 8-October. (Roman Solchanyk) STUDENT ACTION IN KIEV. The Union of Ukrainian Students (SUS) on 6 October marked the second anniversary of the 1990 student hunger strike by putting up a tent city in the Ukrainian capital's central square, Ukrainian television reported. The students are demanding new parliamentary elections in the spring of 1993 and Ukraine's withdrawal from the CIS. Interfax quotes a student leader as saying that the students are also supporting President Leonid Kravchuk's stand against closer integration of the CIS member states. (Roman Solchanyk) AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL COUNCIL VOTES AGAINST CIS MEMBERSHIP. Azerbaijan's National Council, which is functioning as the country's supreme legislative body pending new parliamentary elections, voted on 7 October by 43 votes to one against membership of the CIS, the Turan news agency reported. Former President Ayaz Mutalibov had signed the Alma-Ata agreement in December, 1991, but it was never ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament. Azerbaijan will nonetheless send an observer to the Bishkek summit. (Liz Fuller) LEFT-BANK MOLDOVANS DEMAND REINSTATEMENT OF LATIN ALPHABET. In most of Moldova's area on the left bank of the Dniester, controlled by insurgents of the Russian minority, Moldovans continue to protest against the reimposition of the Russian alphabet in place of the Latin used in "Moldovan" (i.e. Romanian) language schools. School teachers and pupils are in the third week of a protest strike in schools in Grigoriopol and Slobozia raions. Parents from those as well as Dubasari and Rabnita raions have addressed appeals with thousands of signatures to the United Nations and to the US and Russian embassies in Chisinau urging the reinstatement of the Latin alphabet and of Moldovan school textbooks and the dispatch of human rights investigators to insurgent-controlled areas. (Vladimir Socor) CORRECTION: Yesterday's Daily Report incorrectly identified Mr. Boris Tarasyuk as the Ukrainian foreign minister. He is the deputy foreign minister. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIA UPDATE. International media and Radio Serbia report on 8 October that the US has agreed to a British-French proposal calling for a UN resolution to ban all Serbian military flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The draft stops short of calling for the shooting down of violators but rather creates a two-stage process for enforcement. If the Serbs continue to fly combat planes, the Security Council will "urgently" consider further measures, presumably authorizing use of Allied warplanes to enforce the ban. The draft also provides for extensive monitoring. The Security Council is expected to take a vote on the new draft resolution on 9 October. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told UN-EC negotiators in Geneva that the Serb air force has suspended sorties on the condition that the Bosnian Muslims halt their military offensives; he described the draft resolution as "pointless." Meanwhile, talks between the three warring parties about the demilitarization of Sarajevo opened in the besieged city, but no details have been made available. On 7 October, Teheran radio quoted Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying that the West should allow Iran to send fighters to help Bosnian Muslims. (Milan Andrejevich) SANCTION TEAM ARRIVES IN ROMANIA. A communique released by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 7 October quoted by Radio Bucharest says the first team of international observers of sanctions against the former Yugoslavia has arrived in Romania and begun its work. The team comprises two US experts. It will be followed by another American team as well as a Turkish and an Austrian team. (Michael Shafir). ESTONIAN PRESIDENT'S MAIDEN SPEECH. In his first speech to the new Estonian State Assembly (Riigikogu) on 6 October, widely reported in the local press, President Lennart Meri called for a "rapid, orderly and complete" withdrawal of foreign military forces from Estonian territory. Meri highlighted the need to speed market reforms, saying economic hardship will end when the Estonian people "begin to believe in [their] own strength and begin to stand on [their] own two feet." Meri, who was elected president on 6 October in a 59-31 vote in parliament, also stressed that Estonia is a Rechtsstaat, saying that the state "guarantees citizens' rights to all its citizens, and human rights to all peoples." (Riina Kionka) ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT ENDS TRANSITION PERIOD. The State Assembly on 7 October declared the end of the transition period to full independence declared on 30 March 1990, BNS reports. In a resolution restoring constitutional state powers, the parliament announced legal continuity between the interwar republic and the current state, and accepted the resignation of Prime Minister-in-Exile Heinrich Mark. Next week, President Lennart Meri is expected to announce his choice of prime minister, who will, in turn, form the new government. (Riina Kionka) SUCHOCKA AT NATO. After meeting with NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner in Brussels on 7-October, Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka predicted that Poland will be able to join NATO before it manages to gain full membership in the EC. In a speech to NATO ambassadors, Suchocka said that the Visegrad triangle countries appreciate the contacts they have had with NATO since the fall of communism, but that Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia expected in time to be given "increasingly substantial commitments leading to integration with the Atlantic security system." Full membership is the eventual goal. Suchocka also met with King Baudouin of Belgium. She is to meet with EC leaders on 8-October. (Louisa Vinton) NATO DOES NOT FEAR CZECHOSLOVAK DISINTEGRATION. Gen. Dieter Clauss, deputy commander in chief of NATO forces in Europe, told reporters in Prague on 7 October that Czechs and Slovaks have to decide themselves if they want to live in one or two states. He said that the division of the Czechoslovak armed forces is being carried out in a "civilized and democratic manner." Clauss made it clear that NATO is preparing to establish "intensive cooperation" with both new armies. CSTK quoted him as saying that if the relationship between the future Czech and Slovak armies will be good, than there was ample room for cooperation with NATO. Gen. Clauss is on a three-day official visit to Czechoslovakia. (Jan Obrman) US OFFICIAL ASSURES SLOVAKIA OF CONTINUED AID. Robert Hutchings, a special State Department adviser on assistance to Eastern Europe, told Slovak cabinet members on 7 October that he expects aid to Slovakia to continue at current levels after Czechoslovakia's dissolution, Reuters reports. Hutchings, who is leading a nine-member US delegation to Slovakia, discussed various projects with Slovak government members, including the creation of jobs in small and medium-sized businesses and the conversion of arms production sites. (Jan Obrman) MECIAR ON MINORITIES IN SLOVAKIA. Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said in an interview with the Hungarian section of Slovak Radio on 6-October that ethnic minorities are an integral part of Slovak society. He said that minorities enjoy the same rights and have the same obligations as the rest of the population and added that they should in fact have "even wider rights in order to preserve their identity." The prime minister said he believes that such extended rights for minorities are embedded in the new Slovak constitution, which went into effect on 1-October. Meciar also said that the Hungarian minority has the right to receive education in its native language but that the introduction of Hungarian-language universities is impossible for economic reasons. Representatives of the 600,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia have criticized the new Slovak leadership for not taking into account their interests. (Jan Obrman) ANTALL CONFERS WITH AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR. Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall met his Austrian counterpart Franz Vranitzky in Eisenstadt, Austria, to discuss the details of a Hungarian-Austrian economic agreement, Radio Budapest reports. Hungary seeks to expand exports of farm products to Austria by 10% and to increase the quota of Hungarian workers allowed to work in Austria. The leaders told a press conference that the economic agreement will be worked out by the end of the year. The agreement is especially important for Hungary since Austria is its largest Western trading partner. (Edith Oltay) ILIESCU'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Answering questions from the public on 6 October, incumbent Romanian president Ion Iliescu said in a live broadcast on Romanian TV that the next phase of price rises scheduled for 1 January should be postponed until the spring. Iliescu denied that Romania's foreign relations have been adversely prejudiced by a "communist" image cast by himself and the country's policies. At a rally in Cluj on 7 October, Iliescu was evidently courting the nationalist vote backing mayor Gheorghe Funar, who was eliminated from the presidential contest after the first round of voting. (Michael Shafir). ROMANIA'S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE ON TV. A debate on television on 7 October between Iliescu and challenger Emil Constantinescu turned into an acrimonious attempt to discredit each other's records. Iliescu reiterated his accusation that Constantinescu had been a member of the nomenklatura, accused him of having changed his mind on the monarchy and of now posing as a republican, and claimed that Constantinescu refused to endorse Romania's definition as a "national" state. Constantinescu, in turn, said Iliescu was posing as a past "dissident" and was "mystifying" his record under Ceausescu and covering up the events that followed Ceausescu's overthrow, which resulted in many unclarified deaths. (Michael Shafir) MORE BULGARIAN EX-COMMUNIST LEADERS ON TRIAL. On 7-October a trial opened against former Prime Minister Georgi Atanasov and former Minister of Economy and Planning Stoyan Ovcharov, both charged with embezzlement, Western agencies report. Atanasov and Ovcharov are accused of having granted 210,000 leva (roughly $70,000 at the time) to 42-orphans whose parents fought as communist partisans in World War-II. When the orphans received the money, in 1989, the youngest of them was 45 years old. Atanasov, who is also being investigated for using public funds to support Third World communist regimes, told reporters the trial is politically motivated. (Kjell Engelbrekt) LATVIAN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS TO THE LEGISLATURE. This week the Latvian Supreme Council is evaluating the performance of the government, the first time that the entire government has to account for itself to the legislators. The review was called in response to widespread dissatisfaction with the overall situation in Latvia and calls for the dismissal of some ministers, most notably Janis Jurkans-Foreign Affairs, Ziedonis Cevers-Internal Affairs, and Viktors Skudra-Justice. On 6 October the performances of the agriculture, forestry, and finance ministries were found to be to be satisfactory, though not without fault, Diena reports. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SESSIONS. On 6 and 7-October the Lithuanian parliament was to meet in its last sessions before the elections to the Seimas on 25 October, but decided instead to meet on 12-October to discuss the projects for the new constitution, Radio Lithuania reports. Parliament approved a law on regulating average wages in Lithuania, but will have to vote on it again when there is a quorum. It is unclear if this will happen during the current parliament session. The government was obligated to issue a decree on the mechanics of regulating the wages until 15 October. Parliament also passed a decision amending its 9-April decision on state assistance to individuals for housing in cities. Individuals seeking such aid are required to file by 15 November. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS STATEMENT ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL. On 8 October Radio Lithuania presented a statement by Lithuanian parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lithuania. He noted that in the past month the withdrawal of the army has proceeded in an orderly manner, placing importance on the removal of the 107th Division from Vilnius-considered to signal the beginning of the formal withdrawal process. He said, however, that some Russian military leaders spoke of instructions from Moscow to postpone the handing over of installations. He did not know who had issued these instructions, but hoped that the Russian Defense Ministry would abide by the agreements on the withdrawal that it signed on 8-September and not yield to delay tactics advocated by some conservatives in the Russian parliament. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY ON SOVIET VETERANS ORGANIZATION. On 6 October the ministry issued a statement criticizing the activities of the Association for the Defense of Veterans Rights, led by retired Col. Albert Lebedev, former deputy chairman of Interfront, which actively opposed Latvia's independence. This organization, which joined the Russian Officers' Society earlier this month, reportedly works under the auspices of the Northwestern Group of Forces and cooperates with groups that want to topple the Yeltsin government in Russia and destabilize Latvia. It has also disseminated unfounded claims of human rights violations in Latvia, Diena reports on 6 October. The Latvian Ministry of Defense concluded that the organization's activities "cannot be assessed as anything other than interference by the Russian Army in Latvia's internal affairs." (Dzintra Bungs) PRIVATIZATION OF ARABLE LAND IN HUNGARY. Minister of Agriculture Elemer Gergatz predicted that some 80% of the total arable land will be privately owned by the end of the year or at the latest by next March, MTI reports. Speaking at a conference on agriculture in Debrecen, Gergatz stressed that the government attaches special significance to returning land to its rightful owners when compensating victims of communism. He forecast that of the 6.5 million hectares of arable land in Hungary less than 1 million will remain under state ownership and that there will be a million new landowners when the compensation process is completed. Finance Minister Mihaly Kupa told the conference that the debts of agricultural cooperatives should be cancelled so that the new owners are not burdened by the debts accumulated during the communist era. (Edith Oltay) POLISH COURT SIDESTEPS ABORTION RULING. The Constitutional Tribunal opted not to rule on the constitutionality of abortion restrictions contained in the Polish medical association's new "code of medical ethics." The civil rights spokesman had asked for a ruling on the grounds that the code, which forbids doctors to perform abortions except when a woman's life is in danger or the pregnancy results from a crime, conflicts with Polish law, which permits abortions in other circumstances. After the new ethical code took effect, many hospitals ceased performing abortions because the medical association can revoke the licenses of doctors who violate the code. The tribunal concluded on 7 October that legal rather than ethical norms were its proper jurisdiction. It nonetheless alerted the Sejm to contradictions between the law granting doctors the right to self-regulation and laws defining permissible medical practices. (Louisa Vinton) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
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