|To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess|
No. 200, 16 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR GORBACHEV DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF KATYN DOCUMENTS. At a news conference in Moscow on 15 October, Mikhail Gorbachev denied prior knowledge of the decision of Stalin's Politburo to have 20,000 Polish officers massacred in 1940, the "Novosti" TV newscast reported. The previous day, Yeltsin's representatives persuaded the Constitution Court to accept documents alleged to prove the personal responsibility of Gorbachev in a coverup of the Stalin leadership. Gorbachev said he obtained access to the files at the same time Yeltsin did, in late 1991. In April 1990, Gorbachev gave a number of previously top secret documents showing Soviet responsibility for the massacre to then Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski. (Julia Wishnevsky) GORBACHEV TO BE PROSECUTED FOR REFUSAL TO TESTIFY? Gorbachev also told the press conference that the chairman of the Constitutional Court, Valerii Zorkin, had threatened him with a criminal charge for his refusal to testify at the hearing on the Communist Party. Apparently Zorkin intends to punish Gorbachev twice for the same thing: he has already tried to fine the former Soviet president 100 rubles for refusal to testify. (Julia Wishnevsky) GORBACHEV VOICES HARSH CRITICISM OF YELTSIN. Mikhail Gorbachev was quoted in two French publications on 15 October as saying that Boris Yeltsin was dangerous, destructive and incompetent. L'Evenement du Jeudi quoted Gorbachev as saying the Yeltsin administration was "heading toward dictatorship." He said Yeltsin was "a destroyer, not a builder" and "he knows neither how to use his power nor how to delegate it." In an interview with Paris Match, Gorbachev said many of the democrats who surround Yeltsin "are thieves and looters-and they are not even good at their jobs." Western and Russian agencies reported the same day that the Russian ambassador to Italy was told by the Italian government that Italy was very surprised and concerned that Gorbachev was forbidden to travel to Italy by the Russian leadership. (Vera Tolz) ABKHAZ PEACE TALKS DEADLOCKED. Talks in Moscow on 15 October between Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and his Georgian counterpart Aleksandre Chikvaidze failed to produce a mutually acceptable formula for resolving the conflict in Abkhazia, ITARTASS reported. Kozyrev said he had the impression that both the Georgian and the Abkhaz side were still relying on the use of force. Georgia is insisting that Abkhaz forces withdraw from Gagra, while the Abkhaz demand that all Georgian forces should be withdrawn from Abkhazia as a precondition for a settlement. (Liz Fuller) YELTSIN ORDERS INVESTIGATION OF PAMYAT ATTACK ON NEWSPAPER. President Yeltsin ordered an investigation into an attack on Moskovsky komsomolets by the rightwing nationalist group "Pamyat." On 13 October, several members of "Pamyat" broke into the newspaper's office and demanded the names and addresses of authors whose articles were newspaper critical of the Russian nationalists. On 15 October, ITARTASS quoted Yeltsin's press secretary as saying that the president "will not tolerate threats to the free press and will take the necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such provocations." Kostikov said that Yeltsin had ordered the interior and security ministers to investigate the incident and punish those responsible. (Vera Tolz) SOVIETS WITHHELD DATA ON KOREAN AIRLINER. The longsecret files connected with the 1983 downing of a Korean Airlines 747 show that Soviet officials had refused to admit they had the airplane's inflight recorder since information in the socalled "black box" did not support their claim that the airliner was on a spying mission over Soviet territory. Parts of these files were published in Izvestiya on 16-October. UPI reports that they show that Soviet ships mounted a phony hunt in the Sea of Japan for the recorder to make the Americans and Japanese think they had not found it. The black box recorded the Korean crew's conversations and radio transmissions-which gave no hint of any intelligence mission. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIANS WARN ANOTHER GREENPEACE SHIP. Four days after seizing a Greenpeace ship in the Kara Sea, Russian border guards on 16 October warned Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior that it was violating Russian waters en route to Nakhodka on the Pacific Coast. Western agencies report that a Greenpeace spokesman in Moscow said that the ship was gathering data on pollution near Vladivostok and its route had been approved in advance by Russian authorities. He said that the Russian Navy had tried to stop the ship from entering the submarine base at Chashma, near Vladivostok, despite a Greenpeace permit for the visit. The crew was allowed to measure ITARTASS reported that the ship seized on 12-October, the (Doug Clarke) YELTSIN CALLS FOR MORE POWERS FOR RUSSIAN REPUBLICS. The leaders of the republics of the Russian Federation agreed unanimously on 15 October to set up a council of the heads of the republics under the chairmanship of Russian president Boris Yeltsin, ITARTASS and Interfax reported. The decision was announced after a meeting with Yeltsin that ended a twoday meeting attended by representatives of all the republics apart from Chechnya and Ingushetia. Yeltsin called for an expansion of the powers of the republics beyond those outlined in the Federal Treaty, while the republican leaders in their turn expressed their support for the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation. The new council, which comes under the aegis of the Security Council, will participate in working out all important decisions, but the final decision will rest with the president. (Ann Sheehy) UNION OF INDUSTRIALISTS AND ENTREPRENEURS FAVORS "HARSH" FORM OF FEDERATION. While Yeltsin was proposing concessions to the republics to preserve Russia's territorial integrity, Arkadii Volsky, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, presented a report by the Union's experts which said that a "harsh" form of federation, providing for substantial dependence of the regions on the center, was necessary to preserve the unity of the state, ITARTASS reported. Volsky stressed that reforms in Russia were impossible without strong power. The report said it was necessary to work out a new, more precise concept of federalism capable of realizing the transition to the market. (Ann Sheehy) NUCLEAR ARMS REDUCTION TALKS STALL. Western news agencies reported on 15 October that new Russian positions are delaying efforts to codify the June 1992 USRussian agreement on nuclear weapons reduction in a treaty. The agreement called for Russian forces to be reduced to approximately 3000 warheads and for the elimination of landbased multiple warhead missiles. Russian negotiators have requested that the US allow it to convert silos for the large SS18 missile into silos for the much smaller SS25 missile. They have also suggested removing five warheads from the sixwarhead SS19 in order to convert it to a singlewarhead missile. (John Lepingwell) SOUTH KOREA CONSIDERING ORDERING RUSSIAN ARMS FOR TESTING. According to an AFP report of 15 October, the South Korean government is considering ordering samples of Russian arms for testing and "opposing forces" exercises. Most of North Korea's arsenal consists of Russianmade weaponry, and the South Korean Defense Ministry would like to obtain copies in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Since most of South Korea's weaponry is of Western origin, the arms purchase would be small and would not be used for combat units. Some of the arms being considered include MiG29 fighters, surfacetoair missiles, mines and torpedoes. (John Lepingwell) RUSSIA REPORTS DRAFT RESULTS, PLANS FOR CONTRACT SERVICE. The Russian Defense Ministry reports that 7 percent of conscripts (18,000 persons) failed to report for duty during the spring 1992 draft, more than twice the number of the previous year according to Interfax on 15 October. Only 38 have been prosecuted for draftdodging. In Moscow the signup rate was only 9 percent, and low turnouts were also recorded in the North Caucasus and VolgaUrals regions. On October 20 the Defense Ministry will submit to the government a plan for a large contractservice (for volunteers) experiment to prevent further personnel shortfalls. The current Russian military reform plan calls for a gradual transition to a mixed professional and conscript force. (John Lepingwell) RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ON DEFENSE BUDGET, CONVERSION. According to an Interfax report of 13 October, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Georgii Khizha criticized conversion efforts and said that Russian defense production was down "by 67-percent over an extremely short time period." He said that this drop was unreasonable and urged that the aerospace industry be given top priority in conversion because of its scientific and technological strength. Khizha also suggested that Western governments and firms make room for Russian exports in order to facilitate the conversion process. A week earlier, on 8 October, Interfax reported that Khizha was calling for a 70 billion ruble increase over current budget plans for defense procurement in 1993. (John Lepingwell) PROGRESS ON RESOLVING RUSSIAN INTERENTERPRISE DEBT. The Russian Central Bank seems to be making headway on resolving the interenterprise debt crisis that peaked in midsummer. The bank began a process of mutual debt cancellation in late July and early August that, according to Kommersant No. 36, reduced the volume of enterprise nonpayments from 3.2 trillion in June to just above 500 billion in midSeptember. The next stage, according to Interfax on 15 October, is settling claims on Russian enterprises from the state budget, banks and enterprises in other CIS states. The fate of enterprises unable to meet debt payments after all these transactions is still unclear. (Erik Whitlock) RUBLE's VALUE SLIPS SLIGHTLY. The dollar to ruble exchange rate dipped to 1:339 from 1:334 on Thursday's trading at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, Interfax reported on 15 October. Volume traded was 37.86 million dollars. (Erik Whitlock) RUSSIA SIGNS AGREEMENT ON REFUGEES. On-6 October the Russian government signed an agreement with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees which provides for the opening of an office of the UN body in Moscow, ITARTASS reported. Vyacheslav Bakhmin, the Russian Foreign Ministry official who signed the agreement, said Russia was keen to cooperate with all international organizations dealing with refugees, since refugees were a new problem for Russia and it lacked experience and qualified specialists in this area. In his speech to the Russian parliament on 6 October, Yeltsin said there were currently more than 460,000 refugees and a further 700,000 were involuntary resettled on Russian territory. He said that any further delay in adopting the laws on refugees and those involuntarily resettled would be amoral. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN "WHITE BOOKS" ON HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT RELEASED. During his speech to the parliament on 6 October, Yeltsin mentioned the completion of two "white books" on health and environmental problems in Russia. The two books were officially released at a Moscow news conference on 7-October, ITARTASS and Western agencies reported. The government advisers who briefed the news conference were quoted as using adjectives such as "appalling," "shocking," and "deplorable" to describe the findings. Not only have the country's health and environment been sadly neglected over the past 70 years, but their condition continues to worsen "daily." (Keith Bush) UKRAINIAN INDUSTRIALISTS JOIN FORCES. Heads of Ukrainian industrial enterprises in the eastern and southern regions of the country met in Donetsk to form an interregional association, Ostankino TV's "Novosti" reported on 15 October. The group said that its disagreement with many political decisions taken in Kiev was motivated by the serious fall in production, which, they maintained, could result in the collapse of the economy. The industrialists characterized the CIS summit in Bishkek as having yielded little, and criticized Ukraine's decision to leave the ruble zone. The group announced that it intends to exercise more influence on politics. (Roman Solchanyk) CEASEFIRE IN TAJIKISTAN BROKEN. A ceasefire between the opposing sides in the Tajik civil war was broken after only a few hours, ITARTASS reported on 15 October. Supporters of deposed President Rakhmon Nabiev from Kulyab Oblast took control of a bridge over the Vakhsh River, apparently as part of their attempt to break the blockade of Kulyab Oblast by progovernment forces that has reduced the region to nearstarvation. An article in Sobesednik No.-41 presents a sympathetic picture of the Kulyab fighters, who are usually dismissed as procommunist; this publication portrays them as a bulwark against Muslim fundamentalism. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE MAZOWIECKI CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTS TO FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. UN human rights envoy and former Polish Premier Tadeusz Mazowiecki ended his visit to BosniaHerzegovina on 15 October, Reuters reported. He said that Croatian Herzegovinian leader Mate Boban had promised to release all prisoners in his forces' custody by the end of the following week. Mazowiecki blamed the Serbian and Croatian media for inciting ethnic hatred, and called for international independent broadcasting, especially to Belgrade and Zagreb. (Patrick Moore) BOSNIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WARNS OF "TOTAL DISASTER." An RFE/RL correspondent on 15 October quoted Haris Silajdzic as again telling both the UN and the US that Bosnia wanted the arms embargo lifted so that it might defend itself. He called Sarajevo a "gigantic death camp." The RFE/RL report also cited SerbiaMontenegro's Prime Minister Milan Panic as appealing to the UN partially to lift sanctions to permit vital imports of oil products for winter fuel. (Patrick Moore) CROATIAN SERBS NOT STICKING TO AGREEMENT. The 16 October issue of the Los Angeles Times quoted Cedric Thornberry, who heads the UN civilian affairs office in the former Yugoslavia, as saying there was not "the slightest sign of demobilization" among Serbian irregulars and militias in parts of Croatia that are theoretically under UN control. Under the terms of an agreement negotiated by Cyrus Vance at the beginning of the year, the Serbs had agreed to disarm, but Thornberry said that many of the uniformed Serbs were "smalltime gangsters and terrorists" out of control. Croatia expects to regain the areas eventually, but the Serbian civilians are firmly opposed to what they regard as Croatian nationalist rule. The Croatian parliament recently passed an unpopular measure effectively assuring most Croatian Serbs that they would not be tried for war crimes, in keeping with Zagreb's pledges to Vance. But Croatian President Franjo Tudjman is impatient with the UN for not handing over Serbheld territory to Croatia, and has threatened not to extend the UN mandate beyond February 1993. (Patrick Moore) PANIC MEETS KOSOVO SERBS AND RUGOVA. On 15 October Milan Panic, Prime Minister of the rump Yugoslavia, paid a one day visit to Pristina, capital of the Serbian province of Kosovo, whose population is 92% Albanian. According to Radio Serbia, he met with the commander of the Pristina Corps of the federal Yugoslav Army, chaired a meeting with Kosovo Serb officials and representatives of local Serb political parties, and held a closed door meeting with Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of the main Albanian party, the Democratic League (LDK) and selfstyled President of the Republic of Kosovo. Panic later told reporters that Albanians had been "locked out" of Serbian political life and stressed the need to remedy this situation. Problems could only be solved "stepbystep." Negotiations with Albanians would continue as "long as they do not involve the question of independence." Panic reiterated his promise to reopen Albanianlanguage schools. He also stated that Rugova did not "demand anything against Serbian interests." (Milan Andrejevich) WEU SAYS ROMANIA RESPECTS EMBARGO ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. A mission of the West European Union (WEU), which paid a fourday visit to Romania, said that it had concluded that Romania was respecting the embargo against former Yugoslavia. The chairman of the commission, Dudley Smith, said the commission was "very impressed" by the way in which the embargo was observed. Rompres quoted Smith on 15 October to say that Romania was implementing the embargo despite heavy economic losses. (Michael Shafir) UN FACTFINDING MISSION TO LATVIA. At the request of Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali is sending UN representatives to look into alleged discriminatory practices against minorities in Latvia. The UN group is to be headed by Ibrahima Fall, director of the UN Human Rights Center in Geneva, an RFE/RL correspondent from New York reported on 15 October. BoutrosGhali is also considering Latvia's request for UN participation in future talks with Russia on troop withdrawals. (Dzintra Bungs) KATYN CONTROVERSY CONTINUES. Controversy over the role of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev continued to overshadow the significance for Poland of President Boris Yeltsin's decision to reveal documents proving that the Soviet Politburo authorized the execution of over 20,000 Polish prisoners of war in March 1940. In a letter praising Yeltsin's courage on 15 October, President Lech Walesa said the decision to acknowledge the full truth "opened a new chapter in the relations between our nations." Gorbachev meanwhile sent a letter to Walesa saying that he had learned of the documents' existence only in December 1991 when he transferred secret archives to Yeltsin. Gorbachev claimed he was "shocked" at the documents. The documents turned over to Poland on 14 October suggest, however, that Gorbachev, like Soviet leaders before him, was always fully aware of Soviet responsibility for the deaths and merely strove to limit the political damage of admitting the truth. (Louisa Vinton) SUCHOCKA DEFENDS ECONOMIC POLICY. In an address to the Senate on 15 October, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka attempted to correct the perception that her government is proposing five more years of belttightening. Growth in consumption is possible, but will have to be modest, and investment will take priority over higher wages. The point of the government's economic program, Suchocka said, is that better living standards cannot be achieved unless productivity rises and products are competitive. Given the state of the budget, only minimum social security payments could be raised to compensate fully for inflation. The Senate voted 58 to 8 to approve the policy guidelines. (Louisa Vinton) KISZCZAK HINTS KGB BEHIND POPIELUSZKO MURDER. Testifying on 14 October in the trial of the two secret police generals accused of inspiring the murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko in 1984, former Internal Affairs Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak argued that the crime was a "provocation" directed against himself and General Wojciech Jaruzelski. Painting himself as an ally of the Church, Kiszczak suggested that the four secret policemen convicted of the murder had had protectors among communist party hardliners advocating a bloodier offensive against Solidarity, though he admitted that phone taps on CC Secretaries Miroslaw Milewski and Stefan Olszowski, as well as Stanislaw Kociolek had been in vain. He also hinted at KGB involvement in the murder, contending that the uncle of one of the murderers was a "classic agent of foreign intelligence." (Louisa Vinton) LATVIAN COURT REFUSES TO RELEASE OMON LEADER ON BAIL. BNS reported on 13 October that the court has refused to release OMON leader Sergei Parfenov on bail. He is standing trial in Riga for abuse of power while serving in Latvia. Parfenov was extradited from Russia and he, as well as Russian officials, have expressed the desire that his case be transferred to Russia. The trial in Riga has proceeded slowly, especially since several witnesses are not testifying before the court to everything that they told the prosecutor during the investigation; the possibility that witnesses have been intimidated cannot be excluded. Nonetheless, one former OMON official Herman Glazov upheld his earlier statements and testified in detail about the brutal measures OMON used to repress civilians in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) STOLOJAN PRESENTS RECORD OF HIS GOVERNMENT. At a press conference in Bucharest outgoing prime minister Theodor Stolojan presented his government's achievements during its year in office. As reported by Radio Bucharest on 15 October, he said that the government had fulfilled its main political task which was the holding of free and democratic elections. Stolojan said authoritarianism could not work in Romania and called on the next government to pursue both democracy and market reforms. He added that the economic policies pursued by his administration had been sound, if unavoidably harsh, and that the liberalization of prices had to precede privatization in the conditions of transition. The country's foreign currency reserves had improved and the balance of trade showed a surplus of 22 million US dollars; inflation had been pushed down from 19.5% in January to 3.4% in September. Stolojan said that postponing the next stage of the reforms (as suggested by president Iliescu) would be wrong. (Michael Shafir). SEJM APPROVES RADIO AND TV LAW. During a session on 15 October the Polish Sejm finally approved legislation officially ending the state monopoly on radio and television. The law which was in preparation for three years sets up a nineperson national broadcasting council to oversee the licensing of private television and radio stations. Three members (including the chairman) are selected by the president, four by the Sejm, and two by the Senate. A motion to require that public television and radio programs respect the "Christian value system" was rejected by a onevote margin, but the final version of the law mandates "respect for viewers' religious feelings" in both public and commercial broadcasting. Licenses can be withdrawn if programs threaten Polish culture, national security, or "social norms." The several pirate stations now operating will be given the opportunity to legalize their status before penalties for unauthorized broadcasting take effect. (Louisa Vinton) HUNGARIAN TV CHIEF REMOVES PROGOVERNMENT NEWSMAN. Elemer Hankiss, embattled chief of Hungarian state television, has dismissed the progovernment director of a foreign policy program, Alajos Chrudinak, MTI reported on 15 October. The move came after Hankiss fired the progovernment director of the evening news program and amid hot political debate on a new media law. Chrudinak rejected the decision. The Prime Minister's office expressed shock at Chrudinak's dismissal and called for his reinstatement. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) BULGARIA TO RAISE ELECTRICITY PRICES. From 1 November Bulgarian domestic consumers will be charged 30% more for electricity, the government decided on 15 October. Chairman of the Committee on Energy, Lyulin Radulov, told BTA that some institutions, such as schools and hospitals, would be exempt from the increase, while commercial users would have to pay 10% more. Explaining the measure, Radulov said domestic users were currently paying only 50% of actual power costs. (Kjell Engelbrekt) PREPARATIONS FOR THE DIVISION OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK ARMY. Speaking at a press conference in Prague on 15 October, Czechoslovak Defense Minister Imrich Andrejcak said that "all technical and organizational measures needed to split the Czechoslovak army on 1 January 1993 have been prepared." He said that his ministry had been making preparations for the establishment of Slovakia's airforce and would soon complete selection of pilots who had expressed interest in serving in Slovakia's airforce after the split. Also on 15-October, Peter Svec, a member of the Slovak parliament's security committee, told journalists in Bratislava that Slovakia "is already capable of demonstrating some military strength, even without the Czech Republic's assistance, and thus deter potential aggressors." Svec argued that some "profederal officers who have been hurting Slovakia's interests will have to be eliminated" in the process of creating a Slovak army. One of them is the current Czechoslovak Defense Minister Imrich Andrejcak. In Svec's view, Andrejcak, who is Slovak, has done "nothing for a future Slovak army" since he was named the minister of defense in June 1992. (Jiri Pehe) ARREST WARRANT FOR COMMANDER OF RUSSIAN AVIATION UNIT. On 6 October the Siauliai prosecutor's office issued an arrest warrant against Lt. Col. Pavel Ievlev, the commander of the Russian aviation unit based in Siauliai, for illegally trying to sell concrete sections of the runway at the military air field in Zokniai to private entrepreneurs, BNS and Baltfax reported on 15 October. Lithuanian law states that all buildings, equipment, and inventory used by foreign military forces in Lithuania belong to the state. Siauliai Prosecutor General Anatolijus Mirnas said that Ievlev had not left the base since the warrant was issued, although he had talked to investigators visiting the base. The Lithuanian police have not attempted to arrest him in order to avoid a political conflict. (Saulius Girnius) HUNGARY ASKS THE DANUBE COMMISSION TO DISCUSS SLOVAK DANUBE DIVERSION. Danube Commission's Director Helmut Strasser said that Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky asked the eightnation Commission to discuss Slovakia's plans to divert the Danube river later this month, Reuters reported on 15 October. In a related development, the Hungarian State Shippping Company made public a Slovak announcement saying that Danube shipping would be stopped on 20 October 1992 for 1015 days in order to allow for the river's diversion to the new channels and the Gabcikovo hydroelectic dam, according to a MTI report on 16 October. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BUDAPEST. Klaus Kinkel paid a oneday official visit to Hungary, MTI reported on 15 October. Kinkel said that Germany supported Hungary's ultimate EC membership. He praised Hungary's achievements in restoring democracy and a market economy. Kinkel did not take a stand on the Danube diversion dispute between Hungary and Slovakia and rejected a Hungarian request to mediate. No progress was made on Hungary's request for arm from the GDR arsenal. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Bess Brown & Anna Swidlicka
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