|There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene|
No. 217, 10 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN IN LONDON. During the first day of his two-day state visit to England, Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed, together with British Prime Minister John Major, a new bilateral treaty pledging peace, friendship, and wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries. According to Western press coverage, it was the first general treaty betw een the two countries to be signed since 1766. British and Russian ministers also signed agreements on economic cooperation, military contacts, civil aviation security, the safe transport of Russian nuclear weapons that are scheduled for destruction, and the establishment of a direct telephone link between the two governments. (Keith Bush) ECONOMIC ASPECTS. Mr. Major offered an export credit package to the value of $428 million plus an extension of Britain's "know-how" fund. In a speech at the London Stock Exchange, Yeltsin called for a rescheduling of the debt of the former Soviet Union with an extension of the cut-off date from 1 January 1991 until 8 December 1991 (the date marking the formal demise of the Soviet Union). To British businessmen, he promised legal guarantees on investments, lower taxes, greater opportunities to repatriate profits, and the possibility of buying property in Russia. He repeated an earlier suggestion of exchanging assets for part of the debt owed to the West. (Keith Bush) NECHAEV AND GERASHCHENKO ON CREDIT POLICY. At a Vienna conference on investing in the former Soviet Union, Russian Economy Minister Andrei Nechaev promised a return to tighter money in Russia, Reuters reported on 9 November. "Now the government is going to return to a relatively tough credit and budgetary policy that will be the main precondition for the stabilization of the exchange rate." But Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko at the same meeting repeated his consistent refrain that harsh monetary policies were not the answer to Russia's problems. In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 6 November, Gerashchenko warned that the economy would not recover in 1993 unless monetary policy were further loosened. (Keith Bush). UN OFFICIAL WARNS OF ALTERNATIVES TO AIDING FORMER USSR. At the same meeting in Vienna concerning investment in the former Soviet Union, Domingo Saizon, Head of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that increasing Western aid to the former Soviet republics was vital, Reuters reported on 9 November. The alternative, in his view, would be civil wars and resultant mass migration. (Hal Kosiba) YELTSIN NO LONGER OPPOSED TO MEETING OF CONGRESS. Just prior to his departure on a trip to Great Britain and Hungary on 9 November, President Yeltsin told reporters that he thought "it's about time to stop talking about postponing the Congress [of People's Deputies]. It is unrealistic. The Congress will start as scheduled [on 1 December]," Reuters reported on 9-November. But the Russian president also urged all political parties to seek a maximum of "unity and cohesion" in order to avoid producing "a brawl in front of the whole world." Previously, Yeltsin had requested the postponement of the Congress, and even threatened to dissolve it. The Russian parliament has insisted on convening the Congress, which was elected in 1989 and whose membership includes former hardline communists opposed to Yeltsin's market-oriented modernization and democratization programs. (Hal Kosiba) TRAVKIN FOR REPLACEMENT OF GAIDAR. Nikolai Travkin, leader of the Democratic Party of Russia and cofounder of the Civic Union, said acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar has to be replaced at the upcoming Congress of Peoples Deputies. He told Rossiiskaya gazeta on 7-November that the departure of Gaidar would mean not the end but the beginning of true reform. He called for a radical change in the "ideology of reform," and stated the need for overall privatization, which, in his view, was more important than monetary reform. He referred to his own economic reform experiment, which he is conducting in the city of Shakhovskaya. There, according to Travkin, "everything has been privatized" and the state economic sector no longer exists. Travkin said that he cooperates closely with parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov. He dismissed the view that Khasbulatov was opposed to reform. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIANS STRUGGLE OVER DIAMONDS. The conflict between Russian parliamentarians and Yakut diamond producers continues, Reuters reported on 9 November. Part of the current friction concerns the Russian diamond industry's relationship with De Beers, the world's diamond marketing monopoly. Some members of Parliament are urging the renegotiation of a five-year agreement signed with De Beers in 1990 to market 95% of (what was then) the Soviet Union's uncut diamond output. They claim the terms of the deal are unfavorable to Russia. The Yakut diamond industry, which produces 90% of Russia's diamonds, is satisfied with its relationship with De Beers and considers the parliament's attempt to renegotiate an intrusion into local affairs. (Erik Whitlock) EMPLOYMENT FOR RUSSIANS IN GERMANY. Russian and German authorities are drawing up an agreement whereby approximately 11,000 Russian workers will be able to get work contracts in Germany, 5,000 of whom in construction, according to an Interfax report of 9-November. A further 2,000 workers may be involved in exchange programs for periods of 12-18-months. These agreements are expected to be signed during Chancellor Helmut Kohl's visit to Russia next month. The Russian Ministry of Labor and Employment seems interested in organizing such programs in order to limit the number of attempts by Russians at illegal entry to western countries and to protect the interests of Russian workers abroad. (Sheila Marnie) RUSSIA REQUESTS HELP DESTROYING CHEMICAL WEAPONS. General Anatolii Kuntsevich, Yeltsin's adviser on chemical weapons destruction, has called for greater US financial and technical assistance in destroying the former Soviet Union's chemical weapons stockpile. The stockpile reportedly totals 40,000 tons, although some estimates are higher, and Kuntsevich claimed that its destruction would cost at least 500 billion rubles. Estimates of the cost of destroying the smaller US stockpile range up to $8 billion. The US has provided $25-million to Russia for studies of destruction options. The only existing destruction facility in Russia was never put into operation because of local environmental concerns, so new sites must be selected and facilities built before the destruction can begin. Kuntsevich's comments were reported in a story in the Chicago Tribune on 10 November. (John Lepingwell) RUSSIA JUSTIFIES LISTENING POST IN CUBA. Aleksei Ermakov, an official in the Latin American department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, has said that the ex-Soviet electronic listening post in Cuba is an effective means of monitoring compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). He suggested that in the future it might also play an important role in the global missile defense system under discussion by the United States and Russia. He was quoted by Interfax on 9 November. Ermakov said that "several hundred" people manned the facility, which is at Lourdes, near Havana. The agency account said that all Russian military personnel would be out of Cuba by 1 July of 1993, except for a "small group of Russian military specialists....Their main task will be to give technical consultations and repair equipment." (Doug Clarke) CONVENTIONAL ARMS TREATY BECOMES LAW. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty formally entered into force on 9 November, nine days after Belarus and Kazakhstan became the last two signatories to deposit their instruments of ratification. This was announced by US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. (In July, Armenia had been mentioned as also not having ratified the treaty. It must have subsequently done so without any fanfare.) Boucher was quoted by USIA as saying that "literally hundreds of inspections have already been conducted" under the provisions of the treaty. He added that the United States expected that some 35,000 pieces of former Soviet military equipment would be destroyed. (Doug Clarke) BELARUSIAN PRODUCTION STABILIZING? Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich told workers in the city of Bobruiska that the nation's industrial production was beginning to recover, according to Belinform-TASS on 9 November. Kebich said that the level of industrial production over the period from January to October was 94.2% of what it was over the same period in 1991. This is an improvement over the January-July and January-September periods which were under 90% of their corresponding periods in 1991. The prime minister cited the stability of the internal political system as key to the economy's recovery. (Erik Whitlock) STALEMATE OVER CIS CHARTER. Ivan Korotchenya, the coordinator of the working group responsible for organizing CIS summits, told Interfax on 9 November that the debate over the CIS charter at the meeting of CIS heads of government in Moscow on 13 November was likely to be difficult. Discussions of the charter had shown that there were still fundamental differences between the CIS states on the nature of the Commonwealth, with some thinking it should be based on a collective security treaty, which others rejected. There was also disagreement concerning CIS institutions of power. (Ann Sheehy) GAMSAKHURDIA URGES CHECHENS TO SUPPORT DUDAEV. At a celebration in Groznyi on 9 November to mark the first anniversary of the Chechen republic's independence, the former president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, said that he saw signs that a situation was developing in Chechnya similar to that in Georgia last year that led to his overthrow, and he urged those assembled to support Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudaev. Deputy chairman of the Tatar Milli-Medjilis (unofficial parliament) Zaki Zainullin told the meeting that Tatarstan plans "to achieve true independence by using almost the same means as the Chechen republic used." (Ann Sheehy) SHAKHRAI TAKES OVER FROM KHIZHA IN NORTH OSSETIA. Sergei Shakhrai, newly appointed Russian deputy prime minister in charge of nationalities policy, was named on 9-November to take over from deputy prime minister Georgii Khizha as head of the Provisional Administration in North Ossetia, the Russian media reported. In North Ossetia the exchange of hostages continued, but it is still not complete. The chairman of the North Ossetian parliament Akhsarbek Galazov alleged that Ingush forces were regrouping in Ingushetia. The first steps are being taken to establish a state of emergency in Ingushetia but Major Tanghiev, commander of a self-defense unit in the Ingush capital Nazran told Interfax that if Russian troops are sent to Ingushetia to ensure the state of emergency regime, they would have to eliminate the entire Ingush population. His view was echoed by Isa Kodzoev, the head of the radical Ingush nationalist "Niiskho" (Justice) party. (Ann Sheehy) ABKHAZ PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN COMMENTS ON CONFLICT. In an interview given to Russian TV and summarized by ITAR-TASS on 9 November, Abkhaz parliament chairman Vladislav Ardzinba accused the Georgian leadership of trying to turn the political conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia into an ethnic conflict. He also charged that the leadership of the Transcaucasus Military District had supplied arms to Georgian forces. Ardzinba suggested that the federation treaty recently signed between the Russian Federation and its republics could serve as a model for a peaceful solution to the Abkhaz conflict, but reiterated his previous demand that all Georgian forces should withdraw from Abkhazia. (Liz Fuller) MORE REFUGEES IN TAJIKISTAN. More refugees from fighting in the Kabodien and Shaartuz Raions of Kurgan-Tyube Oblast have fled to Dushanbe; there are now more than 55,000 refugees in the Tajik capital, according to Khovar-TASS on 9 November. The number was quoted by Deputy Prime Minister Aslidin Sohibnazarov, who added that the number of refugees in Tajikistan as a whole has reached almost 430,000, out of a population of about 5.5-million. The same agency reported the same day that the railway to Dushanbe has been blown up in three places. (Bess Brown) ASLONOV'S ISLAMIC CONTACTS. Interfax reported on 9 November that representatives of the presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyz Vice President Feliks Kulov, all of whom are in Tajikistan trying to persuade the warring parties to talk peace, met with a delegation from Kulyab Oblast on 8 November. The delegation from the main southern center of resistance to the Tajik government told the visitors that Kurgan-Tyube soviet executive chairman and government supporter Kadriddin Aslonov, kidnapped more than a week ago, is in the hands of Kulyab officials who found documents which they say prove that Aslonov has had contacts with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezbi-Islami party in Afghanistan. The Kulyab delegation wants Aslonov put on trial, according to the report. (Bess Brown) U.S. ENVOY CONCERNED OVER "DNIESTER" HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. Interviewed in Moldova Suverana of 5 November, the U.S. Ambassador to Moldova, Mary Pendleton, expressed concern over "extremely serious violations of human rights" by the "Dniester republic." Pendleton focused on the detention of individuals for political reasons and condemned the "Dniester" authorities' refusal to allow the International Red Cross to visit the detainees. She also called attention to cases of kidnapping and murder of political dissidents by the "Dniester" authorities. In the same interview Pendleton praised Moldova's performance in observing human rights. (Vladimir Socor) "DNIESTER REPUBLIC" CELEBRATES BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. The Russian-ruled "Dniester republic" in eastern Moldova celebrated the Bolshevik revolution anniversary on 7-November with rallies and demonstrations. Addressing a rally at the Lenin monument in Tiraspol, the "republic president," Igor Smirnov, praised Soviet achievements and chastised other parts of the former Union for renouncing them, Reuters and DR-Press reported. Smirnov also pledged a continued buildup of the "Dniester" armed forces. In a commentary on the occasion, the "Dniester" press agency said that the "republic"'s very existence strengthens the political forces in Moscow that seek to restore a "Greater Russia." DR-Press also reported from Moscow that communist demonstrators there on 7 November passed out leaflets proclaiming that "Dniester's struggle against Snegur" reflected a "determination to restore the USSR." (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE EVACUATION FROM SARAJEVO TO BEGIN. International media on 10 November said that plans are underway to begin the largest single evacuation from Sarajevo, mainly of sick, wounded, elderly, and children. Up to 6,000 people will be involved in a process expected to last days. The Bosnian government had blocked the move earlier, claiming that it included able-bodied men who are forbidden to leave. Meanwhile, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that Croatian and Bosnian forces are continuing to block a vital Serb supply corridor between Brcko and Gradacac in northern Bosnia. They have also continued an offensive in eastern Herzegovina, while Serbian forces maintain their shelling of Mostar, Stolac, and Capljina. (Patrick Moore) WILL SARAJEVO BECOME NINOSLAVGRAD? The New York Times on 10 November said that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has again proposed dividing the republic, including Sarajevo, along ethnic lines, but this is a non-starter for the Bosnian government and for the international mediators. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes the 9-November Belgrade press as saying that Bosnian Serbs are planning a sweeping program to rename cities, towns, and other place names, including mountains and rivers, to remove any trace of over 400 years of Ottoman rule and Islamic heritage. Sarajevo, which is a name of Turkish origin, would be replaced by the purely Slavic Kotromangrad or Ninoslavgrad. Any reference to "Bosanski" in place names would also be dropped. (Patrick Moore) MACEDONIA AGAIN PLEADS FOR RECOGNITION. The 10 November New York Times quotes Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov as appealing to the US for recognition in view of his republic's mounting economic problems and ethnic tensions. Western agencies on 6 November reported that the Greek prime minister and the Macedonian foreign minister were both in Bonn to meet with their respective German counterparts, who are trying to overcome Greek objections to Skopje's obtaining international recognition under the name Macedonia, which Athens claims is exclusively Hellenic patrimony. The Croatian media said that on 4-November a Macedonian consulate was opened in Bonn in reciprocation for the presence of a German consulate in Skopje. Germany formally respects the Greek veto of the recognition of Macedonia by EC members, but Slobodna Dalmacija on 6 November said that Bonn is becoming increasingly impatient with Athens and is trying to break the logjam. (Patrick Moore) HUNGARY PROTESTS NEW SERBIAN SHIPPING FEES ON THE DANUBE. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry objected to Belgrade's recently announced fees on Danube shipping, MTI reported on 9 November. The fees amount to about $2,000 per ship. The ministry said that the new fees violate the free shipping on the Danube and that Hungary wants to call a special session of the Danube Commission to discuss Belgrade's "unilateral and illegal" move. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) LATVIA REJECTS YELTSIN'S APPEAL TO UN ON HUMAN RIGHTS. On 9 November Latvia's UN ambassador Aivars Baumanis told the RFE/RL correspondent in New York that Russian President Boris Yeltsin's letter to UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on 5-November was intended for "internal use." Yeltsin had asked the UN to "include the question of mass violations of human rights and freedoms" in the Baltic States as "an important and urgent one" on the agenda of its 47th session. Baumanis also said that he would meet later that day with UN Undersecretary General Vladimir Petrovsky, a Russian, to press for the early release of the results of the recent four-day fact-finding mission to Latvia, led by Ibrahina Fall, the director of the UN Human Rights Center in Geneva. Meanwhile, a UN spokesman told RFE/RL on 9-November that Boutros-Ghali had intended to comment on the letter but later changed his mind. The spokesman offered no further explanation. (Saulius Girnius and Riina Kionka) HUNGARIAN PREMIER REASSURES JEWISH LEADERS. Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall said that his government will act with the "full vigor" of the law to protect minorities. He made the remark during a meeting with Jewish religious and cultural leaders, Hungarian radio said on 9 November. Antall also called for "thoughtful analysis" of events and avoiding overreaction. Jewish leaders said that the Jewish community does not want to take part in domestic political skirmishes. The meeting came against a backdrop of what many Jews regard as a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Hungarian politics, an impression the government has been anxious to dispel internationally. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ISRAEL. On an official visit, Krzysztof Skubiszewski conferred on 9 November with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the relations between the two countries. According to a PAP report, Skubiszewski had said his talks with Rabin and an earlier meeting with Foreign Minister Shimon Perez aimed at developing closer economic and cultural ties. Responding to Israeli concern over an upsurge of anti-Semitism in Poland, Skubiszewski described such trends as marginal, but said that the Polish government took them seriously. Skubiszewski also promised that Poland would continue to help Jews from the Commonwealth of Independent States emigrate to Israel. Many emigrants use Poland as a transit point. Skubiszewski also met Palestinian representatives. He told reporters that the Arab-Israeli peace talks should "take into account the rights of all peoples and nations in the region." (Jan de Weydenthal) ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS BACK CALL TO OUTLAW ETHNIC HATRED. Opposition and minority leaders voiced support on 9 November for a proposal by chief rabbi Moses Rosen to pass a law against inciting ethnic hatred. Although there are only about 15,000 Jews among Romania's 22.5 million people, they have been frequently targeted by extremists in several chauvinistic publications. But the most severe nationalist tensions involve the ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania, whose number is put at between 1.6 and 2 million. Radio Bucharest reported that leaders of eight opposition parties, including the Party of Civic Alliance, the National Peasant Party--Christian Democratic and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania backed Rosen's call to outlaw inter-ethnic hatred. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIA'S NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT REAFFIRMS POLITICAL IDENTITY. In a statement released through Radio Bucharest on 9 November, the NSF reaffirmed its Western-type social-democratic orientation. The communique defended the NSF's right to join other democratic forces in the parliament, despite ideological differences. It also expressed fears that the rival Democratic National Salvation Front might conclude post-electoral alliances with extreme nationalists parties. The DNSF, which broke away from the NSF in April, emerged as the strongest party from recent general elections, but failed to win an outright majority in the legislature. The NSF ranked third, after the DNSF and the Democratic Convention. (Dan Ionescu) CZECHS AND SLOVAKS DEFINE FUTURE ECONOMIC RELATIONS. Meeting in Zidlochovice on 9 November, the Czech and Slovak governments reached eight agreements, most of them defining economic relations between the Czech Republic and Slovakia after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia on 1 January 1993. Following the meeting, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told reporters that a draft accord had been reached on good-neighborly relations and cooperation between the two republics. Other agreements included those on preventing double taxation, on the protection of investment, and on cooperation in the areas of communications, agriculture, and transportation. CSTK reports that the two sides agreed to launch tax reforms on 1 January 1993. The agreement calls for the republics to have the same tax system. The two governments also reached an accord on the division of the Czechoslovak army and agreed on general principles that will be used in dividing the federation's assets. Klaus told reporters that Czechoslovakia would not sign an agreement this year on free trade between Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary. The agreement would be signed by the leaders of the Czech Republic and Slovakia after 1 January. (Jiri Pehe) VACLAV KLAUS REELECTED CHAIRMAN OF THE CIVIC DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus was overwhelmingly reelected chairman of the Civic Democratic Party at the group's third party congress on 7 November, Czechoslovak Television reported. Klaus, who was unopposed, received 333 out of a possible 350 votes. Klaus was a founding member of the CDP in early 1991 and served as its chairman ever since; he led the party to a decisive election victory in the June 1992 elections. In his address to the congress, Klaus urged continued party unity. He said the CDP needs to demonstrate to the public that it has the ability to carry through the transformation of the Czech Republic to democracy and a market economy. (Jan Obrman) NORDIC BANK APPROVES LOAN TO ESTONIA. The Nordic Investment Bank on 9 November approved a loan worth about $5.6 million to develop Estonian industry, tourism, and communications, Western agencies report. The loan is the first installment in a program by the Nordic countries--Finland Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland--to provide hard currency and managerial advice to the three Baltic states. The total program will be worth around $125-million. Nordic Bank officials told reporters the money for Estonia would be channeled through the Estonian Investment Bank. (Riina Kionka) LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS UNITED STATES. On 10 November Aleksandras Abisala departed for a five-day working visit to the US, Radio Lithuania reported. He is slated to hold talks with World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Wilfred Thalwitz, senior IMF officials, US Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, and US Trade representative Carla Hill. He is expected to address a lunch meeting of leading American business and investment leaders on 12 November. He will also meet with the Lithuanian communities in Baltimore and Philadelphia. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS IN BRUSSELS. On 9 November Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis flew to Brussels where on 10 November he will deliver the main speech at the international political conference "Prospects for the Development of the European Community ," Radio Lithuania reports. He will also present Lithuania's formal application to join the European Community before returning to Lithuania on 11 November. (Saulius Girnius) BULGARIA RETURNS JEWISH AND OTHER PROPERTY. On 9 November the Bulgarian caretaker government decided to repeal a 1949 decree nationalizing the property of foreigners, BTA reported. Introducing the proposal, Justice Minister Svetoslav Luchnikov said the 1949 decree had to be revoked because it contradicted newly adopted property rights legislation. The measure will among other things denationalize the property of Bulgaria's Jewish communities. In a separate move, the government plans to restore all individual possessions confiscated by the courts between 9 September 1944 and 5 December 1947, as well as immovable property confiscated up to 1962. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BALKAN MILITARY VISITS. In accordance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, on 10 November a delegation of the Bulgarian General Staff is to begin an inspection tour in Turkey. On a similar mission, a group of Greek military inspectors arrived in Bulgaria the previous day. The Greeks plan to visit an army post in the city of Bansko, southwestern Bulgaria. BTA carried the reports. (Kjell Engelbrekt) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Patrick Moore
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