|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 198, 14 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR NEW UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER CONFIRMED. The Ukrainian parliament on 13 October approved by an overwhelming majority Leonid Kuchma as Ukraine's new prime minister, ITAR-TASS and Western correspondents reported. Kuchma, fifty-four, is director of the "Yuzhmash" production association in Dnipropetrovsk, which is said to be the world's largest armaments manufacturer. The new head of government holds the degree of candidate of technical sciences and is said to be a technocrat favoring a gradual transition to a market economy. Observers have likened Kuchma to Arkadii Volsky, one of the leaders of the Civic Union in Russia. Vyacheslav Chornovil, who leads the opposition, is quoted as saying that nothing can stop the collapse of the economy and that sooner or later the new government will have to change. (Roman Solchanyk) RUSSIA REJECTS PROTESTS OVER BLACK SEA FLEET DEPLOYMENT. The Russian Navy reacted harshly on 13 October to charges by Georgia that it had violated its territorial waters. According to Reuters, the Russian Navy questioned the current Georgian government's legitimacy and sovereignty over the waters, stating that "when the [Georgian] State Council issues such statements it should explain how, after illegally toppling President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, it established its sea border and how this was made known to sailors around the world." The tone and content of the statement tend to confirm reports that the Russian government is adopting a tough stand towards Georgia in the conflict over Abkhazia. According to ITAR-TASS, most of the ships returned to base on 13 October, although some Gwere still conducting exercises at sea. (John Lepingwell) GRACHEV CALLS FOR RESUMPTION OF NUCLEAR TESTING. On 13 October after returning from a visit to the Novaya Zemlya nuclear testing ground, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev called for a resumption of nuclear testing, according to Interfax. Grachev claimed that two to three nuclear explosions per year are essential to improve weaponry, although tests couldn't be resumed before the middle of 1993. Although Grachev did state that Russia would halt all testing if the US did the same, he did not comment on the recent signing by President Bush of a measure that would impose a nine-month moratorium on US testing, followed by limited testing and a complete halt to testing in 1997. (John Lepingwell) POLTORANIN ACCUSES KHASBULATOV OF ABUSE OF POWER. On 13 October, Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Poltoranin gave an interview to ITAR-TASS, in which he accused the Russian parliament's speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov of trying to usurp power in Russia and attempting to create a "nest of revanchist forces directed against President Yeltsin." The interview followed Khasbulatov's demand that Yeltsin should fire Poltoranin. The latter denied, however, that there was any connection between his latest accusations against Khasbulatov and the speaker's demand. Poltoranin alleged that Khasbulatov was gathering communists around him while supporting everyone opposed to Yeltsin. (Vera Tolz) POLTORANIN CRITICIZES PARLIAMENT. Mikhail Poltoranin also criticized the parliament's decision to convene the Congress of People's Deputies on 1-December, ITAR-TASS reported. He said illegal communist party forces were planning to act precisely at that time against the president and that their actions were being coordinated by the parliamentary leadership. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN NATIONALISTS RAID MOSCOW NEWSPAPER OFFICE. Twenty-five members of the Russian nationalist organization "Pamyat" raided the offices of the newspaper Moskovsky komsomolets, Interfax reported on 13 October. Interfax said the intruders tied up a guard and demanded the names and addresses of the authors of several newspaper stories about "Pamyat." They also said the newspaper should "stop humiliating the Russian people." They made various threats in case their demands were not met within three days. Police arrived twenty minutes after the intruders left, Interfax reported. But a newspaper employee said he photographed several of the intruders and wrote down their license plate numbers. The same day, an official from "Pamyat," Aleksandr Potkin, confirmed that his organization was responsible for the incident, but he denied that the intruders tied up the guard. (Vera Tolz) YELTSIN FORMS GOVERNMENTAL MONETARY AGENCY. President Yeltsin has created a new commission composed of top government officials to oversee the use of state credits, Interfax and "Novosti" reported on 13 October. The commission will coordinate its work on these matters with the Russian Central Bank, and may be interpreted as a means to smooth out the antagonistic relationship between the government and the bank. The nine-member commission will include Prime Minister Gaidar, Deputy Prime Ministers Aleksandr Shokhin, Anatolii Chubais, Georgii Khizha, Finance Minister Vasilii Barchuk, and Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev. (Erik Whitlock) GERMAN STUDY ON WESTERN AID TO RUSSIA. A-joint report on the Russian economy by three leading independent German economic institutes was released on 13 October, Western agencies reported. The authors are the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), the Institute for World Economics (IW), and the Institute for Economic Research (IWF). A principal conclusion of the report is that Western aid to Russia must be strictly targeted and that untied aid should no longer be given. This is because the Russian central government is unable to put its reforms into practice because of blockages on lower political levels. The report calls for legal reform in Russia, the reduction of internal economic barriers, and safeguards for foreign investment. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN CONVERSION AND ARMS EXPORTS GOALS RESTATED. On the eve of the Moscow conference on conversion, senior Russian officials gave a news conference on 13 October, Reuters reported. President Yeltsin's adviser on conversion, Mikhail Malei, restated his earlier estimates that it will cost about $150 billion and take some fifteen years for Russia to convert 70% of its military industrial complex to civilian use. The funding for such a program must come from the sales of Russian arms to convertible-currency customers. Malei said that the former Soviet Union's peak annual income from arms trade was about $14 billion but that only $4-5 billion of this was in cash. (Keith Bush) GORBACHEV ALLOWED TO TRAVEL ABROAD. President Yeltsin asked the Russian Constitutional Court to permit Mikhail Gorbachev to travel abroad despite his refusal to attend the court's hearings on the CPSU, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 October. (The Russian Ministry of Security and the Foreign Ministry imposed a ban on Gorbachev's travel at the request of the court after the former president ignored the court's summons). Several Western countries have pressed Yeltsin in recent days to let Gorbachev travel abroad. The court's chief justice, Valerii Zorkin, said that the court still "deems it possible to hear Gorbachev's testimony either before or after his scheduled visit to Germany. . ." Gorbachev is to attend the state funeral of former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. Gorbachev's aide, Vladimir Tumarkin, told Interfax, however, that Gorbachev was willing to answer the court's questions only "outside" the hearings-i.e. at an informal meeting with the court's officials. (Vera Tolz) RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE HOLDS STEADY. The dollar ended the Tuesday's trading on the Moscow Inter-Bank Currency Exchange valued at 334 rubles, Interfax reported on 13 October. The ruble has remained more or less steady for two straight trading sessions after losing some 30% of its value during the previous two sessions. Trade volume on Tuesday was $46.8 million. (Erik Whitlock) NEW ST. PETERSBURG SECURITY CHIEF OPPRESSED DISSIDENTS. Viktor Cherkesov will replace Sergei Stepashin as the chief of the St. Petersburg state security service, DR Press and Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti reported on 11 October and 3 October, respectively. Stepashin, who is also the chairman of the parliamentarian commission on defense and security, left his position because the law prohibits officials from serving simultaneously in elective and administrative capacities. Cherkesov, who since the mid-1970s headed the investigative branch of the Leningrad KGB, was responsible for conducting investigations of Mikhail Meiman, Rostislav Evdokimov, and dozens of the other dissidents. Former political prisoners, the historical society, "Memorial," and the St. Petersburg division of "Democratic Russia" have protested this appointment to city authorities. (Victor Yasmann) KRAVCHUK MEETS WITH PROTESTING STUDENTS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk met with leaders of the Ukrainian Students' Union on 12-October, Ukrainian TV reported. The students have put up a tent city on Kiev's main square and are demanding new parliamentary elections next year and Ukraine's withdrawal from the CIS. The following day, student protestors clashed with police outside the Ukrainian parliament. Several were injured and others were detained. (Roman Solchanyk) KIEV, ASHKHABAD REJECT MOSCOW-DOMINATED "INFORMATION SPACE." As more details emerge about the recent CIS summit in Bishkek, the Ukrainian media has reported that, among other things, Ukraine and Turkmenistan rejected the idea of a "single information space" covering most of the territory of the former USSR but still centered on Moscow. The two states declined to support the idea of forming an "international" TV and radio company that would utilize existing Ostankino facilities. (Bohdan Nahaylo) BELARUS TO SPEED ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. President Stanislav Shushkevich has stated that Belarus will eliminate all its nuclear weapons in two and a half years, according to an Interfax report of 13 October. While Belarus had earlier agreed to eliminate the weapons in seven years, Shushkevich had recently ordered studies of ways to accelerate the process. There are fifty-four SS-25 single-warhead missiles in Belarus. (John Lepingwell) US DOUBTS KAZAKHS SOLD NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO IRAN. US State Department spokesman Joe Snyder on 13 October said that the department had no evidence to confirm recent claims by an Iranian resistance organization that Kazakhstan has sold four tactical nuclear weapons to Iran. Western news agency quoted Snyder as saying the department had made "aggressive" attempts to investigate these claims. At one time Western analysts estimated that there were as many as 650 former Soviet tactical nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh government agreed to repatriate these weapons to Russia and indicated in January of this year that the transfers were complete. In March, however, there were rumors that three weapons were missing. (Doug Clarke) AZERBAIJAN SOFTENS POSITION ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Speaking to journalists in Moscow on 12 October after signing a bilateral security agreement with Russia, Azerbaijani President Abulfaz Elchibey ruled out the deployment of CIS peacekeeping troops in Azerbaijan as his country is not a CIS member, ITAR-TASS reported. Elchibey claimed that "reactionary forces" in both Armenia and Azerbaijan were actively hindering a settlement of the Karabakh conflict, but that the participation in negotiations of such world figures as George Bush, Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterand could contribute to reaching a settlement. In a letter to the UN Security Council, which is to debate the Karabakh issue on 14 October, Armenia's representative to the UN, Alexander Arzoumanian, called for the immediate deployment in the area of UN peacekeeping observers as Elchibey no longer opposed their presence on Azerbaijani territory, Western agencies reported. (Liz Fuller) TAJIKISTAN'S NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT DISSOLVES. Chairman of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan Shodmon Yusuf (Yusupov) announced on 13 October that the National Salvation Front was dissolving itself because its task was completed, Ekho Moskvy reported. Yusuf called for support of Acting President Akbarsho Iskandarov, suggesting that the Tajik opposition sees an identity of interest between themselves and the government. The Front was created by the coalition of Tajik opposition parties after some oppositionists became members of the government in May. Its most prominent spokesman, filmmaker and former presidential candidate Davlat Khudonazarov, saw the Front as a means to restore peace to the country, but officials in Kulyab Oblast who oppose the government in Dushanbe were unwilling to accept the Front's peacemaking efforts. (Bess Brown) KABUL ACCUSES UZBEKISTAN AND TAJIKISTAN OF INTERFERENCE. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Afghan fundamentalist Hezb-i-Islami Party, issued a statement on 13 October accusing Uzbekistan and Tajikistan of arming the formerly Communist militia forces of Afghan Uzbek General Rashid Dostum and forces loyal to the Afghan Tajik General and Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Masood, Reuters reported. The Uzbek and Tajik forces control northern Afghanistan. Leaders of both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have complained that Afghanistan is supplying weapons being used in Tajikistan's civil war; according to various reports, these weapons have come from Hekmatyar's group. (Bess Brown) CLARIFICATION OF KYRGYZ POSITION ON CIS. The press service of Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev has refuted an earlier report that Kyrgyzstan plans to leave the Commonwealth of Independent States, Interfax reported on 13 October. The refutation refers to a Reuters interview of 12 October with Akaev, who was then quoted as saying that his country intended to seek complete independence and that the CIS was a "transitional institution." The press service stated that, on the contrary, Akaev "favors a stronger CIS and closer cooperation between its members in the economic, military, and humanitarian spheres." In another interview with Le Monde, cited by ITAR-TASS on 13 October, Akaev referred to the transitional nature of the CIS, "although it could last for a decade." (Keith Bush) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE KOSOVO UPDATE: CLASHES REPORTED, TRUCE ANNOUNCED. On 13 October, Radio Serbia reported that Serbian police prevented a protest of ethnic Albanians in Pristina, capital of Serbia's province of Kosovo. Several thousand Albanians tried to gather in front of Pristina University but were stopped by police using tear gas and batons. For a second consecutive day Albanians protested in several Kosovo towns to demand the reopening of Albanianlanguage schools closed by Serbia in 1990. The demonstrations were organized by the Association of Albanian School Teachers. Radio Croatia quoted a protest leader as saying that the demonstrations had been temporarily suspended pending the outcome of talks with Serbian and federal officials. Milan Panic, Prime Minister of the rump Yugoslavia, appealed for calm and announced he would travel to Kosovo on 15 October. Panic reiterated his promise to reopen Albanian schools despite Serbian government opposition. The protest took place as international representatives of the Geneva conference on the former Yugoslavia began a factfinding mission in the predominantly Albanian populated province. (Milan Andrejevich) WAR OF WORDS IN BELGRADE. Belgrade's independent youth Radio B92 commented on 12-October that new battle lines have been drawn between Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic and Milan Panic. Panic is said to have met with Milosevic for more than six hours this past weekend, according to B92 and Belgrade TV. Panic emerged from the meeting blasting Milosevic for his insensitivity and stubbornness and called for his resignation. No further details have been made public. On 10 October, Milosevic criticized both Panic and federal President Dobrica Cosic. In an interview with Belgrade TV, Milosevic criticized a recent agreement signed between Cosic and Croatia's President Franjo Tudjman which called for the return of Croatian refugees to UN protected zones in Serbheld areas of Croatia. Milosevic stated that he would "never have signed any agreement" that did not take into consideration the "legitimate interests" of the Serbs of Croatia's Krajina region. He added that it was Serbia's task to help all Serbs. On 13 October, the government of the selfproclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina accused Cosic and Panic of working "for American interests." (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIA ROUNDUP. International media on 14 October reported that an agreement was reached in Geneva between EC mediator Lord Owen and Bosnia Serb leader Radovan Karadzic calling for the transfer of Bosnian Serb military aircraft to SerbiaMontenegro under UN supervision and safekeeping. Radio Serbia quoted Karadzic as saying that the agreement was aimed to dispel accusations that Serb aircraft were bombarding Bosnian towns controlled by Muslims. Several UN Security Council members have begun talks aimed at reaching a new resolution on enforcing the ban on flights over BosniaHerzegovina. Radio Croatia reported on 13 October that Bosnia's President Alija Izetbegovic would condone the use of chlorine gas in selfdefense against Serb forces whom he described as "murderers." (Milan Andrejevich) GROWING AUTHORITARIANISM IN CROATIA? Following President Franjo Tudjman's overwhelming reelection victory in August and the corresponding strong position of his party (HDZ) in the legislature, many observers across the political spectrum fear that Tudjman and the HDZ might try to stifle opposition and the independent media. The weekly Novi Danas has effectively been hounded out of existence, administrative pressure was applied to Rijeka's Novi list, and more recently to the leading independent daily Slobodna Dalmacija. Vecernji list of 11 October also reports that some liberal spokesmen are warning against apparent government plans to jail neofascist leader Dobroslav Paraga and to ban his Croatian Party of [Historic] Rights (HSP). Paraga and his party are accused of supporting terrorism, but many feel Tudjman and the HDZ simply want to silence their most vocal rightwing critics. Paraga and the HSP finished fourth in the August poll and did especially well in embattled districts of eastern Slavonia where their paramilitary group HOS is credited with holding the Serbs at bay. (Patrick Moore) CZECH GOVERNMENT COALITION AGREES ON DRAFT CONSTITUTION. On 13 October, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus's government coalition agreed on the basic principles of a future constitution of the Czech Republic. Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Kalvoda told CSTK that a special government commission could have the final version of the constitution ready within 12 days. The coalition agreed on four previously disputed points, namely the need to amend the current Bill of Fundamental Rights and Liberties before incorporating it into the Czech Constitution; the creation of a second chamber of parliament (a Senate) elected for eight years; a new territorial structure of the Czech Republic based on municipalities and higherlevel selfgoverning units of at least one million inhabitants; and a proposal that constitutional laws need to be approved only by a simple majority in both chambers of parliament. The opposition parties have already said that they will not support a constitution that would require less than a threefifths majority for the approval of constitutional laws. (Jiri Pehe) REFERENDUM APPROVED FOR LITHUANIAN CONSTITUTION. On 13 October the Lithuanian parliament passed a draft Constitution by a vote of 98 to 2 with 6 abstentions, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reported. The parliament also approved holding a referendum on the draft Constitution on 25-October when elections to the new parliament, Seimas, will be held. Elections of a president should be held in January 1993, but the Seimas was authorized to postpone them for several months if necessary. (Saulius Girnius) CALL FOR RESIGNATION OF LATVIAN GOVERNMENT. After hearing reports of ministers accounting for their own and their ministry's work, the Satversme faction of the Latvian Supreme Council has called for the government's resignation. According to the faction's deputy chairman, Rolands Rikards, the government has not performed its job satisfactorily, either in the economic nor in the political realm. According to the law on the council of ministers, the motion will be discussed next week and at least 61 deputies have to vote for it for it to be approved. The Satversme faction has 34 members. (Dzintra Bungs) COALITION MANEUVERING CONTINUES IN POLAND. Deputy Prime Minister Pawel Laczkowski told a press conference in Radom on 12 October that there might still be place in Poland's ruling coalition for the Center Alliance, despite its opposition to the government's economic policy guidelines. To join the coalition, however, the Center Alliance would first have to accept the government's program. The Center Alliance announced on 10 October that it would opt for "determined and responsible opposition" to the government, which it charged with pursuing "leftwing policies." This exchange reflects the bargaining now underway in Warsaw as the government strives to add one more party to the coalition to ensure a parliamentary majority for revisions to the 1992 budget and other vital legislation. (Louisa Vinton) ILIESCU PROPOSES EMERGENCY MEASURES AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION. In the first press conference held after his reelection as Romania's president on 13 October, Ion Iliescu identified areas for immediate action, Rompres and Western agencies reported. In particular, he proposed a sixmonth period in which emergency steps against crime and corruption should be instituted to "remove dishonest people from office." (Michael Shafir) FINAL RESULT OF ROMANIA'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. According to the Central Electoral Bureau, the final result of the presidential runoff elections held on 11 October was 61.43% of votes for Ion Iliescu, the candidate of the Democratic National Salvation Front, and 38.57% for Emil Constantinescu, the candidate of the Democratic Convention of Romania, Radio Bucharest reported on 13 October. The turnout was 73.2%. (Michael Shafir) HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT STARTS ABORTION DEBATE. Laszlo Suranyi, Social Welfare Minister, presented the draft of a new abortion law to parliament on 13 October 1992, Hungarian radio reported. The draft offers parliamentarians two options: one, staunchly supported by the Christian Democratic Party, would forbid abortion, giving personal rights to the fetus. The other would somewhat restrict the present abortion law and require mandatory education, but still be liberal. The ruling Hungarian Democratic Party allowed its members to vote as they see fit. Suranyi said that there have been over 4 million abortions in Hungary since 1956. The draft also introduces prenatal benefits from the fourth month of pregnancy. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) PROGRESS ON THE HUNGARIAN MEDIA LAW. Prime Minister Jozsef Antall and the six political parties represented in parliament agreed to set up a committee that will hammer out a compromise draft media law, MTI reported on 13 October. The committee, which includes two members from each party, has two weeks to come up with a result. In a related development, Antall said that he agreed with President Arpad Goncz that if no agreement was reached by 27 October 1992, whoever was able to muster a twothird's majority in parliament's cultural committee should be appointed the new head of Hungarian radio and television. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF UDF'S ELECTION VICTORY. On 13 October, at a public meeting marking the first anniversary of the UDF's election victory over the BSP, UDF chairman and Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov spoke about the challenges facing the ruling coalition. According to BTA, Dimitrov told UDF sympathizers his government's struggle against resistance to radical reforms was often more demanding than the preelection campaign itself. In a clear reference to the recent political clashes with the mainly Turkish MRF party and President Zhelyu Zhelev, he said the UDF wished no confrontation, but would "not retreat a single step." In a written statement, Zhelev gave a positive assessment to the achievements of the UDF, but urged the coalition to help reestablish "dialogue" with Bulgarian society. (Kjell Engelbrekt) NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN VISITS BALTIC STATES. On 12 October NATO Military Committee chairman General Vigleik Eide held talks with Estonian defense forces officers. At a press conference in Tallinn Eide noted that the three Baltic States belonged to NATO's sphere of interest because "NATO is interested in maintaining the stability and freedom of European countries." He also said that surplus military equipment could be sent to the Baltic States, but that specific arrangements should be made by individual NATO states. On 13 October Eide visited Riga where he held talks with the Deputy Parliament Chairman Andrejs Krastins on the consequences of the Russian army's presence in Latvia, BNS reported. He travels on to Vilnius on October 14. (Saulius Girnius) ROMANIAN OFFICIAL ON RELATIONS WITH MOLDOVA. Theodor Melescanu, Secretary of State at the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry, said on 13-October that Bucharest wanted close ties with Moldova, but that depended on Moldova's own policies. Melescanu told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest that if Moldova were to integrate with the CIS states, "as desired by some elements in Chisinau," it would be difficult to maintain the type of relationship envisaged by Bucharest. He said Romania's policy was "based on the existence of two independent Romanianspeaking states coming closer together and reunifying sometime in the future" but the formal entry of Moldova into the CIS would destroy this concept. The proponents of the entry into the CIS, Melescanu continued, argued that Moldova could benefit from the low prices of energy, but the energy situation could change since Russia was under strong pressure to upgrade energy prices even in internal trade. (Michael Shafir). CIA CHIEF VISITS WARSAW. CIA director Robert Gates paid a visit to Poland from 11 to 13 October, State Security Office officials announced late on 13-October. Gates met with President Lech Walesa and Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, as well as with the foreign, defense, and internal affairs ministers and the heads of civil and military intelligence. Although US officials described these as "routine consultations," the visit was kept secret until it ended. The unusually elaborate security measures used during the visit nonetheless alerted reporters that something was afoot, and Gazeta Wyborcza broke the story in its 13 October issue. PAP reported that Gates is now due to travel on to the countries of the former Soviet Union. (Louisa Vinton) NEXT ROUND OF LATVIANRUSSIAN TALKS: 21-OCTOBER. Eriks Tilgass, adviser to the Minister of State, told the press on 13 October that the next round of LatvianRussian talks has been postponed from 14 to 21 October; the talks are to take place in Moscow. The agenda includes technical problems of troop withdrawal, border issues and economic problems. The previous talks in Jurmala in September ended in a stalemate. Meanwhile Russian aircraft have continued to violate Latvian government regulations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a protest note to its Russian counterpart, Diena and BNS reported on 13 October. That same day the Foreign Ministry also issued a document expressing concern over Russian President Boris Yeltsin's recent statement linking troop withdrawal from the Baltic States with Baltic legislation on human rights and the rights of Russians living there. (Dzintra Bungs) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Anna Swidlicka
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