|Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -|
No. 205, 23 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN ATTACKS PARLIAMENT FOR REFUSING TO POSTPONE CONGRESS. On 22 October, Russian President Boris Yeltsin criticized parliament's refusal to postpone December's session of the Congress of People's Deputies, Interfax reported. Yeltsin said he would not "dramatize" the Supreme Soviet's decision, but he added that he was "displeased" with it. On 21-October, the parliament decided that the congress would open on 1 December, as scheduled, rather than postponing it until March. Yeltsin had requested the delay, saying that more time was needed to complete work on a new constitution, which would be discussed at the congress. The draft constitution stipulates that the congress must be abolished. (Vera Tolz) RUTSKOI CALLS FOR COALITION GOVERNMENT. Speaking at a meeting of the People's Party of Free Russia on 22 October, Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi called on the government to share power in a coalition with the Civic Union, which is supported by heavy industry and favors a slower pace of reform. (Rutskoi is a founding member of the Civic Union.) In his speech, Rutskoi called for the ouster of six unnamed, high-level government officials, according to Rossiiskaya gazeta and Moskovsky komsomolets. Rutskoi was quoted as saying that under the current government's leadership, Russia had become "a political and economic trash can." The same day, AFP quoted Yeltsin's press secretary, Vyacheslav Kostikov, as saying Yeltsin was unlikely "to offer any sacrifices" to the Civic Union. Yeltsin has already made several governmental appointments due to pressure from the "industrial lobby." (Vera Tolz & Alexander Rahr) KOZYREV WARNS PARLIAMENT. "There is the danger that our debate on foreign policy, which we welcome in every possible way, sometimes goes beyond the framework of searching for the best ways to [guarantee] the interests of the country," Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said in his address before the Russian parliament on 22 October. He took aim at those who operate "under the guise of slogans" such as "a third way," "Eurasianism," or "great power patriotism." In his remarks, which were aired on Russian TV, Kozyrev also warned that such behavior was not consistent with Russia's choice for democracy. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV ON GREAT POWER STATUS, CIS. In the same address, Kozyrev rejected the "panicky" and "defeatist mood" circulating in the Russian parliament, which concluded that Russia had become "a banana republic." He assured members of parliament that his meetings at the United Nations had confirmed that Russia is still regarded as a great power. Kozyrev offered assurances that the member-states of the CIS were a priority of Russian foreign policy and highlighted the trend toward integration for which some CIS members have lent support. (Suzanne Crow) ECONOMIC AGREEMENTS SIGNED BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE. Acting Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar and the newly appointed Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma signed three agreements on economic cooperation on 22 October, ITAR-TASS reported. The agreements stipulated that the signatories will exchange trade missions, introduce most favored treatment in mutual trading, and cooperate in construction projects in third countries. Gaidar told the agency that the talks also touched on the problems of payments and credits arising from Ukraine's plans to introduce its own currency and other issues. (Keith Bush) AGREEMENT ON GAS DELIVERIES TO EUROPE. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Chernmyrdin told Interfax on 22 October that an agreement was also reached between the Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers on gas supplies to Europe. It was agreed that, "regardless of the internal political situation," the obligations of energy suppliers to Western Europe must be met. Chernomyrdin said that Ukraine owed Russia some twenty-five to thirty billion rubles for gas deliveries. (Keith Bush) INTERENTERPRISE DEBTS DOWN. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Georgii Khizha told parliament on 22-October that the total volume of interenterprise debts in the former Soviet Union had declined from 3.4 trillion rubles to 648 billion rubles by the end of September, Interfax reported. He said that the netting-out of debts had been virtually completed. Enterprises had requested 760 billion rubles in new credits, but had been given 300 billion rubles. Acting Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko was cited as saying that the netting-out had not resolved the financial problems of enterprises because wholesale prices had risen by a factor of 16 since 1 January, while their "turnover resources" had risen by a mere 150%. (Keith Bush) EBRD REPORT ON RUSSIAN ECONOMY. In its latest quarterly review, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says that a rise in popular discontent is likely in Russia during the coming months, Reuters reported on 22 October. The Bank also states that without a clear return to monetary and fiscal discipline, inflation in Russia could turn into hyperinflation during the final months of 1992. It notes further that the Russian budget deficit is heading towards the equivalent of 17% of GNP, that is, more than three times the 5% level agreed with the IMF in early July. (Keith Bush) PRESIDENT OF EBRD FORECASTS MASS UNEMPLOYMENT IN CIS. In an apocalyptic speech on the problems of the CIS, Jacques Attali, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, warned of mass dismissals and plant closures in 1993, western press agencies reported on 22-October. His predictions are based on an International Labor Organization (ILO) study presented in Moscow this week. This study contests the idea held by many Western economists that enterprises are still hanging onto employees, and it claims that many unemployed are not receiving unemployment benefits or employment services. The ILO has expressed concern at the lack of preparation for mass unemployment, and is planning to advise Russia on ways of creating new industrial jobs. The ILO forecasts are based on the assumption that economic reform will impose hard budget constraints on enterprises, which is not yet the case. (Sheila Marnie) RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE UNCHANGED IN MOSCOW. The ruble exchange rate at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange on 22 October remained unchanged at 368 rubles to the US dollar, Interfax reported. The volume traded was $39.3 million. At the St. Petersburg currency auction on 21-October, the ruble had dropped to 375 rubles to the dollar. (Keith Bush) SETTLING TROOPS IN THE MOSCOW REGION. Problems in redeploying troops from Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, and other regions were discussed on 22 October at a meeting of the Moscow oblast government, ITAR-TASS reported. Plans call for 26 formations, units, and military institutions to be relocated in the oblast, primarily in the Naro-Fominsk, Odintsovsk, and Solnechnogorsk regions, and in the city of Dubna. Newly arriving officers will occupy temporary housing, with several thousand apartments scheduled to be constructed in 1993. Colonel General Leontii Kuznetsov, commander of the Moscow Military District, told ITAR-TASS that regional administrators have been cooperative in all regions, with the exception of Dubna, where deputies are protesting the deployment of troops and weaponry. Kuznetsov also said there were few problems housing conscripts because most units were only 50% manned. (Stephen Foye) KRAVCHUK ON CRIMEAN TATARS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk has suggested forming a trilateral commission to deal with the practical problems of resettling the Crimean Tatars in the Crimea, Interfax reported on 22 October. The members of the commission would include representatives of Ukraine, the Crimea, and the Crimean Tatar Mejlis. The Mejlis was recently ruled to be unconstitutional by the Crimean parliament. (Roman Solchanyk) US TO HELP BELARUS GET RID OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Belarus Deputy Minister of Defense Aleksandr Tushinskiy and US Under Secretary of Defense Frank Wisner initialed a series of nuclear agreements in Washington on 22 October. According to Pentagon spokesman Bob Hall, these included an umbrella agreement providing the legal framework for US assistance and two implementing agreements. One calls for up to $5 million in US aid to equip and train Belarus personnel to deal with any emergency that might arise during the removal of ex-Soviet nuclear weapons from the Republic. The second is designed to help Belarus establish export control systems to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Hall said that up to $1 million is available for this purpose. The money will be drawn from the $400 million which the US Congress has authorized to aid the former Soviet Union. (Doug Clarke) BELARUS FORCE LEVELS; COLLECTIVE SECURITY. Belarus Defense Minister Pavel Kozlovsky told reporters in Minsk on 21 October that the CFE agreement permitted Belarus to retain 1,800 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles, and 130 combat aircraft, Interfax reported the next day. Over the next 40 months, he said, the manpower of the armed forces could not exceed 100,000. His remarks followed a closed session of the parliament at which the CFE treaty was ratified. According to Belinform-TASS on 21 October, Deputies also discussed participation by Belarus in the CIS Collective Security Treaty signed in Tashkent, but were unable to reach a consensus. They decided to return to the issue at a later date. (Stephen Foye) BUFFER ZONE IN TAJIKISTAN? ITAR-TASS reported on 22 October that its Dushanbe correspondent has learned of plans to establish a buffer zone between the Tajik capital and Kulyab Oblast, the main center of support for deposed President Rakhmon Nabiev in the southern part of the country. The buffer zone, proposed by acting President Akbarsho Iskandarov to keep pro- and anti-government fighters apart, is to be occupied by Russian soldiers. The Russian division stationed in Tajikistan is already guarding the Nurek power plant, which supplies electricity to Dushanbe and was seized by fighters from Kulyab during the summer. The correspondent noted that fighting continues between pro-government forces in Kurgan-Tyube Oblast and anti-government forces from Kulyab; despite high losses both sides are determined to continue. (Bess Brown) HELICOPTER HIJACKERS TRADED CARPETS FOR ARMS. The commander of a unit of Russian border guards in Tajikistan told ITAR-TASS on 21-October that a helicopter hijacked from Tajikistan to Afghanistan on 19 October had returned the following day with a load of weapons and had landed undisturbed, unloading the weapons obtained in Afghanistan. According to an Interfax report, the hijackers traded Tajik carpets for the weapons. The border guards were prevented from approaching the helicopter when it returned; apparently local representatives of the Tajik National Security Committee took charge of the weapons. A protest by Russian border troops to local authorities was ignored. (Bess Brown) MILITARY TEST SITES CLOSED IN KAZAKHSTAN. KazTAG reported on 21 October that Sagat Tugelbaev, head of the Atyrau Oblast administration, has ordered that nuclear missile test sites in the oblast be closed down. The report indicated that officials from the Russian Federation, who had come to Atyrau (formerly Gurev) to meet with oblast officials and a special commission headed by Kazakhstan's defense minister, had argued hotly against the closure. Troop commanders at the sites have been ordered to clean them up. There have been press reports and inquiries about the military test sites in western Kazakhstan for more than a year. It appears that in the Atyrau case, Alma-Ata is permitting local interest to take precedence over CIS agreements. (Bess Brown) RUSSIAN GROUP'S APARTMENT CONFISCATED IN ALMA-ATA. The largely-Russian independent trade-union organization Birlesu has had an apartment confiscated for use by Kazakhs, Birlesu's information agency complained on 20 October. The apartment, according to the report, is owned by the group, which wanted to use it as a center representing the AFL-CIO in Kazakhstan. The Union of Homeless has told Kazakhs that they may occupy the apartments of Russians who have left the country; although the apartment in question did not fall into this category, it was apparently seen by the Kazakh organization as Russian housing that was not currently in use. Birlesu complained that neither the mayor's office nor the state prosecutor was willing to do anything about the forcible takeover. (Bess Brown) TURKMENISTAN TO REMAIN IN RUBLE ZONE. Nazar Suyunov, Turkmenistan's deputy prime minister responsible for economic issues, signed an agreement on a unified CIS currency system, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 October. Turkmenistan had not subscribed to the agreement during the Bishkek summit "for technical reasons," according to the report. Suyunov's signature demonstrates that Turkmenistan intends to remain within the "ruble zone," although the same day Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov said on Russian TV that Turkmenistan intends to introduce its own currency, in consultation with Russia and other states, because a national currency is a necessary attribute of national independence. (Bess Brown) MOSCOW BOMBER A "DNIESTER" SUPPORTER. The main perpetrator of the incident involving the throwing of an army hand grenade on 20 October near a MacDonald's restaurant in Moscow, which injured eight people, is Valerii Zakharenkov, a former leader of Moscow youth gangs, who has been convicted twice of rape and robbery. Disclosing these details upon apprehending him, the police added that Zakharenkov had recently moved to the "Dniester republic" and received a residence permit from the latter's authorities, and that he accused the Russian authorities of not doing enough to help Russians in that part of Moldova, Reuters and TASS reported on 20 October. (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE MASS GRAVE FOUND AT VUKOVAR? The BBC and AFP on 22 October reported that UN human rights inspectors said they believed they had found at least one mass grave near Vukovar. The team was headed by special envoy and former Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and included a forensic pathologist. Mazowiecki asked Secretary General Boutros BoutrosGhali to send UN troops to protect the site until more forensic experts could arrive. The eastern Slavonian city was a symbol of Croatian resistance to virtually constant Serbian shelling until it fell in November 1991. AFP quoted Croatian officials as saying that 3,000 Vukovar residents are listed as missing, including 300 hospital patients. The BBC also noted that the US had sent the UN its second report since September on probable human rights violations in BosniaHerzegovina, chiefly involving attacks by Serbs against Muslims. (Patrick Moore) BOSNIAN UPDATE. International media on 22 October said that the UN had decided to resume relief flights to Sarajevo after a 24hour hiatus. Responsible authorities had meanwhile concluded that fighting between Muslims and Croats in central Bosnia did not pose a danger to the flights. Reuters added that the Croats appeared to be consolidating their hold on a string of towns northwest of Sarajevo on the overland route used by UN convoys from Zagreb. Fighting continued between Serbs and Croats at Trebinje in Herzegovina near Dubrovnik, a scene of massacres of Serbs by Croats during World War II. Ethnic strife returned there with a vengeance in the current conflict, which some observers have called a resumption of the World War II violence after a 46year break. (Patrick Moore) SERBALBANIAN TALKS YIELD NO PROGRESS. No progress was reported in talks between education ministry officials of Serbia, the federal rump Yugoslavia, and the selfproclaimed Kosovo government, which resumed in Belgrade on 22 October. The talks center on reopening Albanianlanguage schools in Kosovo province, where Albanians make up more than 90% of the population. Serbia closed the schools in 1990. The talks opened on 14 October in Pristina. The Albanians want the restoration of Albanianlanguage curriculum to be based on a broad policy that applies to all educational levels, from primary to university. The Serbs want a stepbystep review dealing with each level separately. In another development, Borba reports on 20 October that Milan Panic, Prime Minister of rump Yugoslavia, asked Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova to select three capable Albanians to serve in Panic's federal cabinet. (Milan Andrejevich) PANICMILOSEVIC SHOWDOWN IMMINENT. Serbian and international media report on 22 October that a showdown between Milan Panic and Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic is imminent in the wake of the 19 October takeover of the federal interior ministry building by Serbian republican police. But both sides are dismissing the possibility of a coup as "absurd" and "selfdefeating." Coup rumors spread after Belgrade TV on 21 October reported in a lead story on Milosevic's visit to the federal military's Technical Institute. Belgrade's independent radio B92 suggested the TV report was a signal to Panic that Milosevic has the army's backing. Meanwhile Serbia's ruling Socialist Party announced that Milosevic will seek reelection as Serbia's President despite the fact that he is doing poorly in recent opinion polls. (Milan Andrejevich) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT WANTS OMON LEADER RETURNED TO RUSSIA. Baltfax reported on 22-October that the Russian Supreme Soviet has asked Latvia "to return [to Russia] its citizen Sergei Parfenov in view of the clear lack of evidence of his guilt," although Parfenov's trial has not yet ended. Parfenov is being tried in Riga on charges of abuse of power while a leader of OMON forces in Latvia in 1991. He was extradited to Latvia by the Russian State Prosecutor's Office. In 1991 and 1992 members of OMON attacked Latvia's Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as the civilian population; scores of individuals were injured and several persons were killed. (Dzintra Bungs) TALKS ON DANUBE DIVERSION BREAK DOWN. According to several news agency reports, talks to resolve the longstanding conflict between Czechoslovakia and Hungary over the proposed diversion of the Danube river broke down in Brussels on 22-October. The Hungarian negotiator said the talks, which are mediated by the European Community, broke down because the Czechoslovak side did not accept the conditions that had been clearly specified by the EC commission earlier. Czechoslovakia plans to divert the river on 3 November. Despite the breakdown in Brussels, environmental committees of the two countries' parliaments held their first talks in Budapest yesterday. (Judith Pataki) CZECH PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON INTELLIGENCE SERVICE. The Czech National Council passed a law on the creation of the Czech Security and Information Service (BIS) on 22 October. The BIS will succeed the Federal Security and Information Service (FBIS) after the disintegration of Czechoslovakia. The activities of the new intelligence service will be monitored by a special commission elected by the parliament. The law also stipulates that BIS employees may not be members of a political party. Opposition deputies walked out in protest before the vote on the law. They charged that the draft provided insufficient control over the use of "intelligence devices." (Jan Obrman) CZECH AND SLOVAK MINISTERS GUARANTEE PROPERTY RIGHTS. The privatization ministers of the Czech and Slovak republics, Jiri Skalicky and Lubomir Dolgos assured shareholders in privatized companies on 22 October that their shares will be safe after the breakup of Czechoslovakia, CSTK reported. Skalicky told journalists in Prague that property rights will not be infringed upon. Dolgos said the rights of Czechs who invested in Slovak companies will be guaranteed, although they will effectively own shares in a foreign company after 1 January 1993. The two ministers also announced that the republics will pursue separate privatization programs after the disintegration of Czechoslovakia. (Jan Obrman) HUNGARIAN CHIEF PROSECUTOR ORDERS INVESTIGATION. MTI reported on 22 October that the Chief Prosecutor has ordered an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in connection with the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The investigation was requested by three Hungarian Democratic Forum deputies. By the deputies' definition, war crimes committed during or after the 1956 revolution include: initiating Soviet aggression against the legitimate Hungarian government in October 1956, inspiring the Soviet occupation of the country, participating in acts of revenge against freedom fighters, and hindering the restoration of peace in Eastern Europe. (Judith Pataki) ROMAN REFUSES TO JOIN COALITION GOVERNMENT. National Salvation Front (NSF) leader and former prime minister Petre Roman has ruled out joining a coalition government led by the rival Democratic National Salvation Front, the party behind President Ion Iliescu. In an interview with Reuters, Roman said on 22 October that the solution would likely be a minority government with an acceptable program supported by both his party and the Democratic Convention, an alliance of the main opposition forces. In a separate statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest, the NSF insisted that a "social pact" cabinet could not be formed without broad political negotiations. (Dan Ionescu) FORMER DISSIDENT TO BE ROMANIA'S PRIME MINISTER? Former Romanian dissident Mihai Botez returned to Bucharest from the United States on 22 October. The 51yearold Botez left Romania in 1987 after a decade of dissent against late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Quoting unnamed sources in Bucharest, Reuter said that Romania's President Ion Iliescu had asked Botez, a mathematician and futurologist, to become the nonpartisan prime minister of a coalition government. Inconclusive elections on 27 September produced a hung parliament in Romania. In what Romanian media describe as a "Panic complex," (a reference to Milan Panic, prime minister of rump Yugoslavia), some observers believe that Botez might be the person to lead the country out of the current crisis. (Dan Ionescu) MACDEONIAN PRESIDENT, DEFENSE MINISTER, VISIT BULGARIA. On 22 October the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Kiro Gligorov, paid a brief surprise visit to Sofia. Gligorov said he had come mainly to see the staging of a play written by a Macedonian playwright, but that it was also a "good occasion to exchange opinions" with Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev. According to BTA, the two discussed regional and bilateral problems. At the same time a Macedonian military delegation, led by Defense Minister Vlado Popovski, visited Sofia. The Bulgarian Defense Ministry released a statement saying that the Macedonians, in the process of creating their own army, were interested in military expert assistance. The talks were also reported to have covered trade in military equipment, although both sides committed themselves to respect international treaties and domestic legislation. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIAN MINISTERS DEFEND GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE. At a plenary session of the National Assembly on 22 October, leading members of the present Bulgarian cabinet came forward to defend their policies and, on some occasions, to regret their mistakes. Whereas Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov and Finance Minister Ivan Kostov mainly blamed the opposition for the recent political turmoil, Deputy Premier and Minister of Education and Science Nikolay Vasilev said the government had not sought wide public support for its actions. The confidence vote requested by the government was postponed until next week. (Kjell Engelbrekt) SUCHOCKA PRESSES FOR DEBT CONCESSIONS. Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka urged Western creditors and the International Monetary Fund to exercise greater leniency in setting targets for the Polish economy. In an interview with Reuter on 22-October, Suchocka said that foreign debt payments will soon consume onethird of export income if no compromise is reached. The IMF should agree to an increase in the budget deficit to exceed the original 5% of GDP ceiling, she added. Suchocka travels to Rome for a twoday private visit on 23 October. She is to be received twice by the Pope and meet with the Italian prime minister and foreign minister. (Louisa Vinton) LATVIAN COURT SUSPENSION OF NEWSPAPER. On 19 October a Riga court ordered the suspension of the registration certificate of the Latvian citizen's movement's newspaper Pilsonis. The order means that the newspaper can no longer be published. Charges against Pilsonis were brought by the Latvian State Prosecutor Janis Skrastins and supported by Minister of Justice Viktors Skudra, BNS reported on 20 October. The newspaper was known to have published controversial reports and critical assessments of the policies and actions of the government. It is not clear if the publishers will appeal decision. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIANRUSSIAN TALKS RESUME. LatvianRussian troop withdrawal talks resumed on 23 October in Moscow. The Latvian side wants to discuss the detailed proposal on ways to remove all troops by 1993 that it presented at the last round of talks in September. The Russian side appears determined to keep 1994 as the deadline for the pullout, Baltic media report. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIAN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION DROPS. Industrial production in Lithuania in the last nine months has dropped 47.5% compared to the same period last year, BNS reported on 20 October. Oil refining production decreased 66%, batteries 72%, paper 61%, sugar 56%, bicycles 53%, laundry detergents 51%, and canned fish 50%. Exports for hard currency in the nine months, however, rose from 2.9% to 9.4% of total production. Compared to August, September production of grain rose 87%, chemical fibers and yarn 67%, woolen fabrics 56%, knitwear 42%, refrigerators and stockings 26%. Production costs in September were 18 times greater than in September 1991 and 1.8 times greater than in August 1992. Consumer prices in the same periods increased 6 and 1.3 times. (Saulius Girnius) WORLD BANK LOANS TO LITHUANIA AND LATVIA. On 22 October the World Bank approved loans of $60 million to Lithuania and $45 million to Latvia, a RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reports. The loans will be used to buy medicines, feed grain, and energy. Japan's importexport bank has also promised to provide additional cofinancing of $100 million to the three Baltic republics. In an unrelated measure, Reuters reported that Sweden was donating one coastguard vessel each to Latvia and Lithuania to monitor fishing, for customs and border control, and for environmental protection. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA TO END VISA REQUIREMENT. On 21 October Lithuanian deputy foreign minister Valdemaras Katkus and his Czechoslovak counterpart Jaroslav Suchanek exchanged official notes on establishing visafree travel between the two countries beginning on 19 November, Radio Lithuania reports. During his visit to Czechoslovakia Katkus also held meetings with Czech deputy foreign minister Sasa Vondra and Slovak foreign minister Vladimir Kniazko. (Saulius Girnius) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Louisa Vinton
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