|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 196, 12 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR FIGHTING CONTINUES IN ABKHAZIA. Two Georgian civilians were killed and three wounded when Abkhaz troops opened fire on a Georgian helicopter on 11 October, ITAR-TASS reported. Abkhaz defense ministry forces also claimed to have shot down a Georgian fighter-bomber over northen Abkhazia. Speaking to reporters in Tbilisi, Georgian State Council Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze cast doubt on his participation in the meeting planned for 13 October between Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Abkhaz Parliamentary Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba and himself. (Liz Fuller) SUMMIT PRODUCES MIXED RESULTS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS CONTROL. CIS Commander-in-Chief General Shaposhnikov on 9 October stated that Belarus had concluded an agreement with Russia on nuclear weapons control, while in Kazakhstan on 10 October Presidents Yeltsin and Nazarbaev signed an agreement containing unspecified provisions on nuclear weapons. Ukraine rejected Shaposhnikov's proposal that Russia control all former Soviet nuclear weapons. Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia over nuclear control are to take place within the next month. The summit appears to have codified the transfer of control over Russian, Belarussian, and Kazakh nuclear weapons to the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, with Shaposhnikov retaining a role in mediating between the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries. The results of the summit were reported by Interfax and Western news agencies. (John Lepingwell) UKRAINIAN POSITION AT CIS SUMMIT. Ukraine's overall position at the CIS summit in Bishkek was, according to President Leonid Kravchuk, to develop exclusively as an independent state, Ukrainian TV reported on 9 October. This was reflected in its refusal to sign the agreement on setting up a consultative economic committee. The Ukrainian delegation signed only five of the fifteen documents, with numerous reservations and additions based on its unwillingness to participate in any centralized structures. (Roman Solchanyk) SIX CIS STATES TO CREATE COMMON BANK. Although the CIS states could not agree on creating a supranational economic policy-making body at last week's Bishkek summit, six of the countries have decided to establish a common bank, The Los Angeles Times reported on 10 October. The bank would initially settle interstate trade payments, but later, according to Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko, it would take on the functions of a central bank controlling the issuance of currency and credit in the ruble zone. The creation of such a supranational central bank is considered an essential measure for achieving economic stability within the ruble zone. The six states that have agreed to remain within the zone are Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, according to Interfax on 9 October. (Erik Whitlock) AKAEV ON CIS. In an interview carried by Reuters on 11 October, Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev is quoted as saying that his state could soon leave the CIS, which he described as a temporary grouping. Akaev said the Commonwealth was needed to slow down the negative consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Kyrgyzstan felt it should cease to exist politically in the near future. Economic links between the member-states should be retained, however. Akaev said the four Central Asian republics would have to rely on Russia for the foreseeable future to stop their economies collapsing, but all would go their own way once they could stand on their own feet. (Ann Sheehy) PARLIAMENT APPROVES DRAFT LAW ON FORMING GOVERNMENTS. On 9 October, the Russian parliament approved after a single reading a draft law on how future governments would be formed. According to ITAR-TASS, the draft revokes President Yeltsin's right to appoint the cabinet of ministers directly. The draft gives the parliament the right to approve the president's choice for prime minister. Parliamentary commissions will have a final say in the selection of government ministers. Some further revisions to the draft were suggested at the parliamentary session on 9 October. The parliament will return to discuss the draft later this week. (Vera Tolz) FURTHER DELAY REQUESTED IN RUSSIAN DEBT REPAYMENT. Russian Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Petr Aven told Interfax on 9 October that at the end of October, Russia will probably ask for a two-month delay in repaying its debt to Western creditor nations. (Many observers feel that Russia will be unable to repay more than a token share of its convertible-currency debt for the next three to five years). Aven spoke of the difficulties involved. If, for instance, the debt repayment deferred from 1992 is carried over to 1993, then the total debt repayment due that year will amount to some $40 billion. Yet, he predicted, Russia will have a negative balance of payments in 1993 of some $4-5 billion. (Keith Bush) MANDATORY SALES OF HARD-CURRENCY EARNINGS DEFERRED. In what appears to be a separate interview with Interfax on 10 October, Aven said that Russia is not yet ready to introduce the mandatory sales by state enterprises of 100% of their convertible currency earnings. (Such a move was announced as "imminent" two weeks ago and the call was repeated by President Yeltsin on 6 October). The minister explained that, although such a measure is necessary, it cannot be implemented at the present time because of the "full absence of bank control over the outflow of currency to the West," and owing to "the wild fluctuations of the ruble [exchange] rate." (Keith Bush) FACE VALUE OF PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS. The Russian parliament adopted a resolution on 9 October to the effect that the state must guarantee the face value of privatization vouchers for three years, Interfax reported. (Their face value is 10,000 rubles, but they were marked down to 6,100 rubles on the first day of trading on 1 October on the Moscow stock exchange). The resolution specified that a privatization check may be used to buy, among other things, apartments and land. (Keith Bush) PARLIAMENT AGAIN APPROVES RESOLUTION ON GOVERNMENT. The Russian Supreme Soviet again passed a resolution criticizing the way the government was implementing its economic reforms, Russian news agencies reported on 9 October. On 8 October deputies approved the resolution, but the vote was annulled after the voting procedure was deemed improper. The resolution calls on the government to present within one month a series of measures to combat the country's economic crisis. It also gives the Russian central bank one month to present a monetary stabilization plan. On 9 October, Komsomolskaya pravda published an interview with the speaker of parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, who said he was against the dismissal of the Russian government at the present time. (Vera Tolz) YAKOVLEV CONDEMNS CPSU AND PREESENT RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES. In a 45 minute address to the Constitutional Court on 9 October, former Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev condemned both the ideology and practicies of the Soviet communist party, which, Yakovlev said, had always been based on violence and deception. There were always reformers in the world communist movement, Yakovlev said, recalling Valentin Plekhanov's dispute with Lenin, the 1968 "Prague Spring," and Gorbachev's perestroika. However, Yakovlev noted, these reformers had always been in the minority, and their reactionary opponents had always succeeded in crushing them. The current Russian government is not entirely democratic either, since it bears traces of "neo-Bolshevism," Yakovlev stated, recalling how he had passed the police cordon to enter his office in the Gorbachev Foundation only one day earlier. Yakovlev's speech was broadcast on Russian TV during its report on the CPSU hearings late last night. (Julia Wishnevsky) COMMUNISTS HOLD CONFERENCE IN MOSCOW. Communists from twelve former Soviet republics opened a conference in Moscow on 10 October aimed at preparing for a restoration congress of the now-banned Communist Party, Interfax reported. According to the agency, 252 delegates attended. The speakers at the gathering accused the former CPSU leadership of treachery for allowing the party to disintegrate. Some communists objected to the conference being held at the present time. Co-chairman of the parliamentary group, "Commmunists of Russia," Gennadii Sasenko, said he feared the conference would have a negative effect on the current hearings in the Russian Constitutional Court on the legality of Boris Yeltsin's ban of the CPSU. (Vera Tolz) POLTORANIN ACCUSES GORBACHEV FOUNDATION OF IMPROPRIETIES. In an interview with Western correspondents on 10 October, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Poltoranin attempted to justify the police seizure of the Gorbachev Foundation and the confiscation of its property by claiming that it had leased out space on its premises to make money in spite of its stated scholarly goals. He also said that the foundation was "...a second Zurich, a Bolshevik centre from which he [Gorbachev] watches to see how he can start firing the Aurora guns at the present authorities to launch another coup." Poltoranin promised to publish information about in inappropriate leasing of space, which, he added, "smells of millions of rubles." (Julia Wishnevsky) RUSSIANS, CHINESE DISCUSS MILITARY COOPERATION. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin-the highest ranking civilian in the Russian defense establishment-met with Chinese Defense Minister Qin Jiwei in Beijing on 9 October. The ITAR-TASS account of their meeting said the two officials announced their intention to contribute to the further development of relations between their two ministries "on the basis of mutual benefit and equality." The report also said that Russo-Chinese working groups carried out negotiations on military cooperation between the two countries. (Doug Clarke) CEREMONIAL ROLE FOR ADMIRAL CHERNAVIN. Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, recently the commander-in-chief of the Soviet Navy, welcomed military attaches on 9 October to a Moscow exhibit on the Russian Navy in his new role as honorary president of the Naval Center. Chernavin was quoted by ISAR-TASS as saying that the Russian Navy was passing through a hard period "due to obvious reasons." He added that Russia had always been a great sea power and would always have a navy "worthy of its grandeur." Although Chernavin had been the head of the interim CIS Navy following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Admiral Feliks N. Gromov was appointed to lead the Russian Navy in August of this year. Three of the four former Soviet fleets have been claimed by Russia while the fourth-in the Black Sea-is shared between Russia and Ukraine. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN MILITARY OVERTURES TO THE UAE. Colonel General Vladimir M. Semenov, the commander-in-chief of the Russian ground forces, led a Russian military delegation that arrived in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 8 October. In an ITAR- TASS account the following day, Semenov was quoted as saying at that his first visit to an Arab country was a "friendly business trip." He said that his delegation would draw up proposals for promoting military cooperation between Russia and the UAE. While the Gulf Arab states have long been dependent on Western nations for their military equipment, Abu Dhabi reportedly ordered a number of Russian infantry combat vehicles earlier this year. (Doug Clarke) UKRAINIAN STUDENTS' DEMANDS. Ukrainian students, who have set up their a tent city in Kiev's central square, are demanding Ukraine's immediate withdrawal from the CIS, a parliamentary decision on new parliamentary elections in the spring of 1993, and the naming of a new prime minister and government only after the decision on parliamentary elections has been made, SR-Press reported 11 October. (Roman Solchanyk) GEORGIAN ELECTIONS. Georgia's Central Electoral Commission estimated that about 65% of the electorate voted in parliamentary elections on 11 October, Western agencies reported. No voting took place in eight districts in northern Abkhazia occupied by Abkhaz troops, in South Ossetia or in three raions in Mingrelia, which is a bastion of support for ousted President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, thus excluding some 10% of Georgia's population. Thirty-six individual political parties plus three blocs representing a further eleven are competing for 234 parliamentary seats on a mixed party-list/majority basis. Eduard Shevardnadze, standing unopposed for the post of parliament chairman, is expected to receive the minimum 30% of the vote needed to win. (Liz Fuller) MOLDOVA CONCERNED OVER RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS' BIAS. Major Trofim Stefan, spokesman for the Moldovan side of the Joint Control Commission supervising the peacekeeping troops in eastern Moldova, told an RFE/RL correspondent that Moldova is concerned by the Russian side's increasingly open bias in favor of the "Dniester" insurgents. In violation of the ceasefire convention, the insurgents maintain armed units and arms stockpiles in the disengagement zone. They have seized by force the Moldovan prosecutor's office and courthouse in Bendery, and have entrenched themselves in several Moldovan villages around Bendery on the right bank of the Dniester. The Russian peacekeepers openly condone these violations. The Moldovan leadership, which has gambled on cooperation with Russia in settling the conflict, is reluctant for political reasons to publicize its growing concern over the Russian peaceekepers' partiality. (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN BANS FLIGHTS OVER BOSNIAHERZEGOVINA. International media reported on 9 October that the Security Council adopted Resolution 781 banning all flights over Bosnia except UN flights engaged in humanitarian missions. Only the Serbs have aircraft, and Serbian planes reportedly had been shadowing UN flights to sneak up on Bosnian and Croatian positions. The resolution did not, however, specify any penalties or means of enforcement. The BBC on 10 October quoted Bosnian radio as claiming that the Serbs were continuing to attack Gradacac and other northern Bosnian towns by air in defiance of the ban. (Patrick Moore) CONFUSION OVER DEVELOPMENTS IN NORTHERN BOSNIA. Gradacac, Brcko, Orasje, and other centers came under renewed Serbian attack in an apparent effort to consolidate the land corridor across northern Bosnia linking Serbia with Serbheld enclaves in Bosnia and Croatia, the BBC reported on 10 and 11 October. Serbian sources denied that they were using air power in defiance of the UN ban, Reuters reported on 10 October. Elsewhere, speculation continues that the Croat surrender of Bosanski Brod on 6 October might have been part of a CroatianSerbian deal to enable each side to consolidate its holdings. According to this theory, Croatian and international media said, current fighting around Gradacac and Orasje is aimed at providing an escape route for Croat troops which have been defending Gradacac. On 11 October, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told the VOA that he continues to favor setting up ethnically based cantons as the best political arrangement for Bosnia, but Muslim critics charge that cantonization after months of ethnic cleansing would be tantamount to partition. (Patrick Moore) SECOND ROUND IN ROMANIA'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Romanians went to the polls on 11 October to elect the country's president. Ion Iliescu, the candidate of the Democratic National Salvation Front, who was backed by 47.34% of the voters in the first round on 27 September, faced the candidate of the Democratic Convention of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, who was then endorsed by 31.24%. Western agencies reported that an unofficial exit poll conducted by the ProDemocratia association at 222 voting stations indicated Iliescu would win the election with approximately 58% of the votes and 42% of the vote would go to Constantinescu. According to the Central Electoral Bureau, participation in the elections was 75.6%, slightly below the 76.2% voter turnout on 27 September. (Michael Shafir) SEJM ACCEPTS GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC PROGRAM. Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka survived another parliamentary test on 9 October when the Sejm voted, 171 to 159 with 8 abstentions, to send the government's economic policy guidelines for 1993 to committee. The vote followed thirteen hours of acrimonious debate, during which even the coalition parties criticized the government's program. In her opening speech, Suchocka said that Poland could achieve steady economic growth on certain conditions: if wage controls were retained, government spending on social benefits was limited to a minimum, and resources were channeled to investment rather than consumption. She stressed the need to assess Poland's situation honestly. "The fact that we are entering the path of economic growth does not mean that we can expect rapid improvement in living standards," she concluded. (Louisa Vinton) POLAND REVISES BUDGET: BIGGER DEFICIT, HIGHER TAXES, SPENDING CUTS. Meeting on 10 October, the government agreed on revisions to the 1992 budget that would raise the deficit from the planned level of 65.5 trillion zloty ($4.7 billion) to almost 82 trillion zloty ($5.9 billion). Also proposed were acrosstheboard spending cuts of 3.5%, increased sales taxes, and reduced indexing of pensions to inflation. Income taxes on the highest earners would rise to 50%. An additional 6% tax would be imposed on imports to protect Poland's balance of payments. "If the Sejm does not accept these revisions," Finance Minister Jerzy Osiatynski warned, "we won't have money for anything but wages and pensions." Although the IMF has signaled initial acceptance of the government's plans, fierce criticism of planned spending cuts and new taxes is to be expected from the opposition parties. (Louisa Vinton) CZECH AND SLOVAK GOVERNMENTS AGREE ON CUSTOMS UNION. The two republican governments met on 10 October near Prague to discuss the postCzechoslovak relationship between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to news agencies, Czech and Slovak Prime Ministers Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar agreed to introduce a customs union between the two republics and, at least initially, keep a common currency. According to a spokesman for the Slovak government, the two Prime Ministers discussed the possibility of keeping a single currency until 30 June 1993. Meciar said after the talks that trade exchanges between the two republics would continue unhindered after the dissolution of the country. Klaus made it clear that the setting up of a common market seemed to be "beyond our technical, organizational, and legislative possibilities" and that the republics would adopt only partial accords on labor and capital movement. Representatives of the two governments also said that while there are no territorial demands between the two republics, the issue of citizenship remains controversial. The Slovaks have proposed dual citizenship which Prague has categorically rejected. All agreements between the governments must be approved by the respective republican parliaments. (Jan Obrman) SERBIA'S REFERENDUM ON EARLY ELECTIONS. Radio Serbia reported on 11 October that more than half of Serbia's eligible voters cast ballots in a referendum to determine whether a constitutional amendment should be adopted to allow for early general and presidential elections. Results are expected on 13 October. More than 50% of Serbia's 7 million voters must approve the referendum if elections are to take place by the end of December. A poll published by the Belgrade daily Politika on 7 October showed 68% of those questioned favored early elections. Current law stipulates that the mandate of Serbia's parliament expires in 1994 while President Slobodan Milosevic's runs out in 1995. The referendum does not effect the scheduling of elections either at the federal level or in Montenegro. Milan Panic, Prime Minister of rump Yugoslavia told reporters Serbia must approve the amendment if the republic wants the UNimposed sanctions lifted. He added that if the voters rejected early elections he would "find another way to have the elections." Belgrade's statecontrolled media largely ignored the event until this weekend. According to Radio Croatia, Kosovo's Albanian majority boycotted the balloting. (Milan Andrejevich) CARDINAL GLEMP IN ROMANIA. The Polish primate, cardinal Glemp, arrived in Bucharest on 9 October for a threeday visit. Glemp, who is the guest of the RomanCatholic bishop of Iasi, Petru Gherghel, participated in services in several Catholic churches in the Suceava county , met representatives of the Polish minority in Romania, and visited Iasi. Radio Bucharest said Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan and Foreign Affairs Minister Adrian Nastase would receive the Polish primate before his departure. (Michael Shafir). SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER DISMISSES COMPLAINTS OF ETHNIC HUNGARIANS. Slovak Foreign Minister Milan Knazko was quoted by CTSK on 9 October as having said after a meeting with French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas in Paris that he had never seen a specific example of abuse of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. Knazko reportedly told Dumas that "increasing nationalism from Budapest" had caused members of Slovakia's ethnic minorities to protest "some sort of fictitious violations of their rights." He said that minority demands in Slovakia were aimed at the destruction of the civil society and the state. (Jan Obrman) WEU FACTFINDING MISSION IN ROMANIA. A delegation of the West European Union (WEU) arrived in Romania on 11 October on a factfinding mission focusing on Romania's compliance with the UN embargo on trade with the rump Yugoslav state, Western agencies reported. The delegation will spend five days in Romania speaking with government officials and touring the common border with rump Yugoslavia, as well as the 200 kilometer stretch of the Danube river that runs through the country. (Michael Shafir). BULGARIA REGRETS EC'S TOUGHENING. Bulgaria's negotiations toward an association agreement with the European Community are being hampered by individual EC states' economic problems, Bulgarian officials told Reuters on 11 October. Deputy Prime Minister and chief negotiator Ilko Eskenazi said some EC members were "extremely jealous" regarding their positions in sectors such as textile, agriculture and metals, the areas in which Bulgaria is considered to be most competitive. Last Tuesday the EC cut its original offer on farm imports, a decision which contradicted a June declaration speaking about the need for boosting economic ties with Eastern Europe. (Kjell Engelbrekt) LATVIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PROTESTS RUSSIAN FLIGHTS. During the first 8 days of October Russian military aircraft based in Latvia violated Latvia's flight regulations 18 times, an official of the Latvian Defense Ministry told Radio Riga on 9 October. The Latvian Foreign Ministry had sent protest notes over previous flight violations and he pointed out that the attitude of the Northwestern Group of Forces leadership seems to be hardening toward Latvia as shown by recent statements saying that they would abide only by the results of RussianLatvian negotiations, not the resolutions of the Latvian authorities. (Dzintra Bungs) NWGF OFFICERS: MORATORIUM ON WITHDRAWAL FROM THE BALTICS. Col. Vitalii Kandalovsky told Diena of 9 October that the Coordination Council of the Baltic Officers Organizations has called upon the Russian government to suspend the pullout of troops from the Baltic States. The organization represents both active Russian and retired Soviet officers in the Baltic States. Kandalovsky said that his organization was dissatisfied with the unresolved "social problems" awaiting the officers when they are transferred to Russia and with the way the Russian army property is being sold private individuals. The organization has also asked the Russian court to examine the validity of the accords on troop withdrawal from Lithuania. While in Riga, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitaly Churkin commented on the officers' declaration, saying the government decides on troop pullouts, and that public organizations could merely express their views, BNS reported on 10 October. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIA REJECTS RUSIAN CONDITIONS FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Ministry official told reporters on 10 October that Russia is breaking its promises by demanding that troop withdrawals be linked to human rights. Toivo Klaar, chief of the MFA Political Department, told ETA that Russia had repeatedly assured Estonia that withdrawals were not linked to Estonia's treatment of its substantial Russian population. Last week, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said the forces would not be withdrawn until Russian residents' rights were guaranteed. Estonia maintains that such guarantees are already in place. (Riina Kionka) GASOLINE SALES STOPPED IN LITHUANIA. On 10 October sales of gasoline to private and state motor vehicles in Lithuania were stopped except for ambulances, police, firemen, prosecuting bodies, National Defense Ministry, food delivery, and some other special services, Radio Lithuania reports. The sole exception will be six hardcurrency stations operated by the LithuanianFinnish joint venture "Litofinn Service" that will sell a liter of gasoline for $.82 and of diesel fuel for $.62. The move is unlikely to halt all vehicle traffic since many individuals, learning from the Soviet economic blockade in 1990, have stored gasoline in their garages. (Saulius Girnius) HUNGARIANAUSTRIAN DEPORTATION AGREEMENT. Hungarian and Austrian Interior Ministers signed a deportation agreement in Salzburg on 10 October, Hungarian radio reported. The agreement had been sought by Austria, but Hungary could not sign before it had similar agreements with its other neighbors. An agreement was recently concluded between Hungary and Romania. Both agreements stipulate that illegal immigrants and refugees can be sent back to the country of their origin. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) BULGARIAN SCHOOL STRIKE ENDS. After a oneweek strike that virtually paralyzed Bulgarian schools, teachers' unions on 10 October announced they had struck a deal with government negotiators. According to Bulgarian and Western agencies, an agreement was reached through "mutual concessions." Although no details have yet been released, reports say teachers will receive a substantial salary increase. (Kjell Engelbrekt) MACEDONIAN DENAR DEVALUED. The parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, meeting in extended session on 9 October, devalued its currency, the denar, by 67%, reports an RFE/RL correspondent in Skopje. The measure, intended to restore economic stability and save the largely successful antiinflationary program put in place on 26 April 1992. The program became necessary as a result of the legislature's July decision, made under pressure from the trade unions, to allow up to 50% wage hikes, thus initiating a new cycle of inflation. (Duncan Perry) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Anna Swidlicka
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