|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 208, 28 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN BANS NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has called for the banning of the National Salvation Front, which was founded last weekend by an assortment of communist, nationalist, and other political groups. Yeltsin said that he decided to ban the Front because it had called for the overthrow of the lawful authorities, including the president, ITAR-TASS reported on 27-October. Leaders of the Front asserted that Yeltsin was panicking. Izvestiya reported on the same day that Yeltsin had created a "working group" of senior ministers who will plan to hold a referendum on the constitution while also temporarily suspending parliament. Ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev stated that during its last meeting, the Security Council had discussed the introduction of emergency rule, but that no consensus had been reached. (Alexander Rahr) PARLIAMENTARY GUARDS SURROUND IZVESTIYA. The parliamentary guards, under the command of parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, have surrounded the publication house and the editorial offices of the newsapaper Izvestiya in order to enforce a parliamentary decision to return the newspaper to the legislature's control, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 October. Izvestiya first became independent after the failed August 1991 putsch, but parliament subsequently voted to subordinate the newspaper once again to parliament. President Yeltsin had previously promised that he would defend Izvestiya against seizure by parliamentary hardliners. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN CRITICIZES FOREIGN MINISTRY. In a highly critical speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry on 27 October, President Yeltsin noted that there had been "improvisations, inconsistencies and contradictions" in the work of the Foreign Ministry, whereas its personnel reform was progressing "very, very slowly." Yeltsin claimed that Russia must advocate its foreign policy interests more directly, and not be overly concerned with charges of Russian imperialism. Rather, Russian foreign policy should focus on protecting Russia's interests and security, and Russia should not allow itself to be insulted in a manner which the USSR would not have tolerated. Overall, the speech was a clear call to greater action, and tougher stands, by the Foreign Ministry. The speech was reported by Interfax. (John Lepingwell) YELTSIN VOICES SUPPORT FOR GAIDAR, KOZYREV. In his 27 October speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry, President Yeltsin voiced his support for Prime Minister Gaidar and Foreign Minister Kozyrev. Yeltsin noted that he had no intention of "sacrificing" either Gaidar or Kozyrev, but his support for Kozyrev seemed more qualified. Yeltsin described Gaidar's retention as "essential" but did not say the same for Kozyrev. While Yeltsin did dismiss rumors of Kozyrev's resignation as speculation, the harshness of Yeltsin's criticism of the Foreign Ministry would seem to imply that Kozyrev's days as Foreign Minister are numbered. Yeltsin also praised the work of the Russian embassy in Washington which is headed by Vladimir Lukin, a critic of, and potential successor to, Kozyrev. (John Lepingwell) YELTSIN CALLS FOR TOUGHER POLICY TOWARD BALTIC STATES. President Yeltsin accused the West of double standards concerning the "persecution" of the Russian-speaking population in the Baltic States in his 27 October speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to Interfax, he urged the Foreign Ministry to make greater efforts to raise the issue, and complained that in this area, as in others, the Foreign Ministry was only reacting to events rather than anticipating them. (John Lepingwell) RUSSIAN SHOW OF FORCE STOPS GEORGIAN SHELLING IN ABKHAZIA. According to an ITAR-TASS report of 27 October, two Russian Su-25 attack aircraft flew over Georgian artillery emplacements shelling a Russian military garrison in Eshery. While the aircraft did not open fire, the shelling stopped under the threat of attack. In a separate incident reported by AFP on 28 October, a Russian Su-25 fired an air-to-air missile at a Georgian aircraft that had opened fire on it. Neither aircraft was hit. Both incidents appear to reflect the first implementation of a new policy that allows Russian forces to return fire without warning. (John Lepingwell) GERASHCHENKO DETAILS POSITION ON ECONOMIC ISSUES. Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko gave what may be the most informative presentation to date of his positions on economic reform policy in an interview with Trud on 27 October. His major point was that an excessively tight credit policy had largely caused the drastic fall in Russian economic production, and urged that "we should not repeat the mistakes of the USA in 1929, when [such a policy contributed to] the country collapsing into a deep economic crisis." Although appreciative of the need to continue anti-inflation measures and clearly against such policies as indexation of wages, he argued for a reorientation of economic policy towards ending the plunge in economic activity in the country. Gerashchenko also touched on weaknesses of current pricing, interest rate and privatization policies. (Erik Whitlock) RUSSIA'S RECESSION DEEPENS. During the interview with Gerashchenko, the interviewer cited some statistical data that was presumably taken from the Goskomstat report for the first nine months of 1992. Industrial output in August was said to be 27% lower than in August 1991, while industrial output in September was down by 28-29%. He also mentioned a monthly inflation rate of 25%. Reuters of the same date cited Izvestiya to the effect that inflation in October could rise to 25%. The original source could not be obtained. (Keith Bush) RUBLE FALLS FURTHER. At the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange session on 27 October, the ruble fell further, Bizness-TASS reported. It closed the day at 393 rubles to the US dollar, against 368 rubles to the dollar on 22 October. Volume traded was $45-million, up from $39 million on 22 October. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN COUNCIL OF ENTREPRENEURS. During his visit to Tolyatti on 25 October, Gaidar addressed an assembly of some 60 industrial executives, Interfax and Western agencies reported. In return for their support, he promised greater consultation with them and their peers, and announced a number of concessions to industry. Gaidar said that a government resolution would be adopted on 26 October to set up a Council of Entrepreneurs under the Russian government. It was not immediately clear how this body would differ from, or interact with the Council on Entrepreneurship, which was set up on 2 March,and the Trilateral Commission, of which little has been heard of late. (Keith Bush) PERSONNEL CHANGES IN RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. On 23 October, ITAR-TASS reported that Russian Health Minister Andrei Vorobiev had been replaced. He had suffered a heart attack on 22-October while presenting his plans to reform the health care system to the cabinet. His replacement was not named, nor was a reason for his retirement given. Russia's chief representative to the International Monetary Fund, Konstantin Kagalovsky, was replaced on the same day. ITAR-TASS reported that he would become an adviser to Gaidar. No replacement for Kagalovsky was named, but it is thought that Aleksei Mozhin is in line for the post. (Keith Bush) CHEMICAL WEAPONS ELIMINATION SITES NAMED. The presidium of the Russian parliament discussed a draft program for the elimination of Russian chemical weapons on 26 October. ITAR-TASS reported the names of the four sites where elimination facilities will be built. They are Novocheboksarsk (in the Chuvash autonomous republic, some 650 kilometers east of Moscow), Kambarka (in the Udmurt autonomous republic), and two locations in Saratov oblast: Volsk-17 and Gornyi. Russia has said it has 40,000 tons of chemical weapons. A destruction facility had been built in Chapayevsk in 1989, but local protests forced the government to limit its use to research. The new sites mentioned in the draft program appear to be declared chemical weapons storage facilities. Kambarka, for example, is a depot for nearly 7,000 tons of lewisite, a poisonous blister gas used in World War I. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN DELEGATION TO IRAN DISCUSSES NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY SALES. According to a report published in Kommersant on 27 October, a delegation that included representatives of the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and Russian nuclear technology exporting organizations, met with Iranian officials from 15 through 24 October. The group discussed the timetable for the construction in Iran of a VVER nuclear reactor, the sale of which was agreed in August 1992 despite US objections. Other discussions concerned possible joint uranium prospecting projects, and a chemical process for extracting uranium from low-grade ores. (John Lepingwell) NEW UKRAINIAN CABINET OF MINISTERS. The Ukrainian parliament on 27 October approved the new cabinet of ministers presented by Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma, Ukrinform-TASS reported. Ihor Yukhnovsky, the former head of the opposition People's Council in the parliament, was named first deputy prime minister. He will be assisted by five deputy prime ministers. A total of 21 ministers were named; three ministerial posts remain vacant. Kuchma, in his address to parliament, said that the composition of the new government is not final and may be changed if the need arises. (Roman Solchanyk) RUSSIAN-TAJIK FORCES COOPERATE FOR STABILITY IN DUSHANBE. Tajikistan's acting President Akbarsho Iskandarov told a press conference on 27 October that the Tajik government has adequate forces at its disposal to prevent a repetition of the attempt by fighters from Kulyab Oblast to overthrow it, Interfax reported. He admitted that authorities in Dushanbe had been warned that the Kulyab forces would attack the capital on 24 October, but had not believed the warning. The Russian division stationed in Tajikistan will continue to guard important sites, including government buildings, the Nurek power station and industrial installations. Iskandarov said that an assembly of representatives of all political parties and movements, public organizations and ethnic groups is to be convened to find a solution to the country's crisis. (Bess Brown) KYRGYZ VICE-PRESIDENT HAS DOUBTS. Kyrgyzstan's Vice-President Feliks Kulov told Interfax on 27 October that Iskandarov had asked him to resume his peace mission but he has been unable to reach the Tajik leader. Kulov said that he had been told by Tajikistan's National Security Committee that the situation in Dushanbe was completely out of control and that Pamiris from Gorno-Badakhshan were seizing motor vehicles and taking hostages. Kulov's information appears to confirm a Tajik diplomat's statement to an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow that forces from Badakhshan and supporters of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) have been robbing the populace and commandeering vehicles. According to the diplomat, the Pamiris and IRP supporters had started fighting each other. The IRP and Badakhshan's nationalist movement are both members of the anti-Communist coalition. (Bess Brown) DZHALAL-ABAD CRISIS APPARENTLY DEFUSED. Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev has apparently defused a crisis that, according to Akaev, threatened to create a Tajik-type situation in Dzhalal-Abad Oblast in the southern part of the country, Interfax reported on 27 October. During a lightening visit to Dzhalal-Abad, Akaev managed to persuade supporters of the chief of the oblast administration (akim), Bekmamat Osmonov, to give up their demonstrations demanding the resignations of Vice-President Feliks Kulov and Prime Minister Tursunbek Chyngyshev for having demanded an investigation of Osmonov's rule. Osmonov himself offered his resignation, admitting that a sharp division between supporters and adversaries of his policies endangered stability in the oblast, where the presence of a large Uzbek minority creates the potential for interethnic violence. (Bess Brown) MOLDOVAN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY APPEALS TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. The Moldovan Parliament's Commission for Human Rights and Interethnic Relations on 21 October appealed to international organizations to defend the rights of Moldovans in areas on both banks of the Dniester controlled by "Dniester" insurgents and by Russia's 14th Army. The appeal, carried by Moldovapres, noted the ongoing "liquidation of constitutional bodies," the imposition of the Russian script in place of the Latin for the "Moldovan" language, the closure of many "Moldovan"-language kindergartens, the eviction from jobs and/or homes of thousands of Moldovans who disagree with the "Dniester republic"'s policies, and the illegal detention of several local Moldovan activists on unsubstantiated charges. The appeal also noted that "in its difficult situation, Moldova is not in a position to defend its citizens in its eastern area." (Vladimir Socor) MORE ON UKRAINIAN-MOLDOVAN SUMMIT. The presidents of Moldova and Ukraine, Mircea Snegur and Leonid Kravchuk, declared at the signing ceremony of the Ukrainian-Moldovan treaty on 23 October, as cited by TASS, that the sides agree on respecting each other's territorial integrity and not raising territorial issues stemming from the second world war; but that they do not rule out a future examination of the issue of northern Bukovina and southern Bessarabia (former parts of Moldova and, later, of Romania, which were transferred to Ukraine following the Soviet annexation of these areas). Kravchuk told a news conference in Chisinau, as reported by the Moldovan media, that Ukraine regards the "Dniester region" as an inseparable part of Moldova; and that Moldova's independence and territorial integrity is important to Ukraine. He said that any legal-political status of that region is for the Moldovan parliament to determine. (Vladimir Socor) Compiled by Hal Kosiba and Louisa Vinton
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