|The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused. - Shirley MacLaine|
No. 219, 12 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIAN TROOPS PULL BACK IN INGUSHETIA. On 11 November Russian troops pulled back from areas claimed by Chechnya after leaders of Ingushetia's provisional administration and representatives of the Chechen republic signed a protocol in Nazran agreeing that the pre-1934 frontiers be adhered to for the time being, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar had talks in Nazran with Ingush leaders; Major-General Musa Tsechoev, Ingushetia's military commandant, described these discussions as productive. Gaidar promised that the Ingush refugees would be returned to their homes in North Ossetia, and that there would be investment in Ingushetia's backward economy. (Ann Sheehy) POWER STRUGGLE CONTINUES BETWEEN YELTSIN & PARLIAMENT. The Russian parliament has voted to limit further the powers of the executive branch of government. It voted to require all ministers to make an annual report to the parliament to ensure executive accountability to the legislative branch. This bill was passed despite President Yeltsin's request that parliament request only an annual report by the prime minister, Interfax reported on 11 November. The parliament also further restricted the government's budgetary control. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko complained that some deputies wanted to limit the government's functions to those of a parliamentary committee, and stated that parliament has become more conservative because most deputies have not yet decided for themselves in what kind of political system they want to live. Shumeiko said he advocates a republic with strong executive powers since the present stage of reform requires a strong presidential hand. (Alexander Rahr) POLITICAL STRUGGLE ON THE EVE OF THE CONGRESS. First Vice Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said that the president will challenge in the Constitutional Court recent legislation that he says violates the principle of separation of powers. Interfax on 11 November quoted him as saying that the law, as it is being discussed by the parliament, deprives the government of its ability to carry out its work. The leader of the parliamentary faction "Civic Society," Mikhail Chelnokov, and two other deputies have warned of a possible introduction of presidential rule in the country and "a return to totalitarianism." He suggested that the parliament should regain greater control of parliament and some of the ministries, especially those involving security, defense, interior affairs, and TV. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN: RUSSIA WILL NOT RETREAT FROM REFORM. Speaking before the Hungarian parliament on 11 November, President Yeltsin sought to assure Hungary that political and economic reform in Russia will continue. Referring to political forces in Russia that want to return to communism, Yeltsin said, "we are strong enough to stop those who are trying to turn back history . . . We are finished with the communist past forever, not only in Russia, but also in Hungary and all of Europe." Russia's reform program will not, however, involve "blind copying" of other countries' systems, but will be instead "an organic combination of world experience and our own traditions," ITAR-TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow) YELTSIN ON NUCLEAR ARSENAL; DEFENSE PRODUCTION. In his 10 November speech and press conference in London, President Yeltsin said that Moscow was ready to sign an agreement with Washington for further reductions in strategic nuclear weapons. Apparently downplaying the role of CIS Joint Forces Commander Evgenii Shaposhnikov, Yeltsin also emphasized that all strategic forces (presumably in the CIS) belong to Russia and are subordinated to the Russian President and Defense Minister. He said that Russia had begun the dismantling of nuclear warheads at Sverdlovsk44, Arzamas-16, and Chelyabinsk-65. Turning to the difficulties of converting Russia's vast military industrial complex, Yeltsin said that progress had been made, but that it was unjustified both to throw millions of military industrial workers out of work and to destroy modern productive facilities that might be converted to civilian production. His remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS and Russian TV. (Stephen Foye) PRAVDA SAYS YELTSIN SEEKS EMERGENCY POWERS. The conservative newspaper Pravda has stated in a lead article on 12 November that President Yeltsin's speech to the British parliament included a clear message to the Russian people that he wishes to introduce presidential rule in Russia. The paper criticized Yeltsin for his critical remarks about the Soviet Union and said that he had denounced his own country. Pravda maintained that even Tsar Peter I, in his speech at Westminster 300 years ago, did not attack the regime of Ivan the Terrible the way Yeltsin attacked the Soviet past. Pravda also accused Yeltsin of hypocrisy since he, as former Party leader, had worked on the side of Communism for years. (Alexander Rahr) CIVIC UNION'S ULTIMATUM TO YELTSIN. Vasilii Lipitsky, co-leader of the People's Party of Free Russia and the Civic Union, told a press conference on 11 November, attended by a Radio Liberty correspondent, that last week's meeting between President Yeltsin and leaders of the Civic Union widened the gap between the President and the centrist opposition. Lipitsky urged Yeltsin to announce within a week whether he wants to cooperate with the Civic Union. He stated that the Civic Union will defend Yeltsin at the Congress and fight for the retention of Prime Minister Egor Gaidar only if Yeltsin agrees to some compromises on the composition of the government and reform policy. Lipitsky excluded the possibility of an alliance between the Civic Union and right-wing forces. (Alexander Rahr) SOBCHAK CALLS FOR EXPANDED ARMS SALES. St. Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak told Interfax on 11 November that reduced Russian arms exports had run counter to Russian national interests and had "played into the hands" of Russia's competitors in the US and Germany. Sobchak reportedly questioned Moscow's policy of "begging" for financial aid from the US when Moscow could, he estimated, be earning some $20 billion a year in arms sales. He also described as "barbarous" Russia's current conversion program. The St. Petersburg economy is heavily dependent on defense production. (Stephen Foye) MORE ON REPLACEMENT OF MOSCOW POLICE CHIEF. The newly appointed chief of the Moscow police force, Vladimir Pankratov, served previously as the chief of the Moscow Motorways Inspection Agency (GAI), reputed to be one of the most corrupt elements of the MVD. In 1989 Pankratov, together with former Moscow police chief and KGB general, Petr Bogdanov, set up a Soviet-Kuwaiti joint venture called "Soviet Engineering" (despite the apparent conflict of interest involved), according to Moskovskii komsomolets on 11 November. In his comments on the removal of Arkadii Murashov from the position of the Moscow chief of police, which was widely seen as a move against liberal forces, the Russian Minister of Interior, Viktor Erin told Rossiiskie vesti on 6 November that because of his inexperience, Murashov made serious miscalculations while directing the police. (Victor Yasmann) KUCHMA ADDRESSES NATION. Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma held a live televised press conference on 11 November during which he told viewers that the standard of living in Ukraine today is worse than during the Great Depression, Reuters reported on 12 November. Although criticizing the system of collective farming, the government leader warned that destroying the collective farms would lead to famine. He also said that the government would sell arms abroad in order to raise revenue, but excluded Iraq from Ukraine's list of prospective customers. Kuchma said that parliament would be asked to give the government emergency powers to carry out economic reform. (Roman Solchanyk) GAIDAR ON PROSECUTION OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR CONFLICT. Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar said in Vladikavkaz on 11 November that the political leaders responsible for the Ossetian-Ingush armed conflict would not escape prosecution, Interfax reported. A group of investigators would be sent from Moscow to Vladikavkaz and Nazran. There would also be an investigation of the sources of arms supplies. (Ann Sheehy) CONFEDERATION OF PEOPLES ANNOUNCES PARTIAL MOBILIZATION. Yusup Soslambekov, chairman of the parliament of the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus, issued an order on 11 November calling for a partial mobilization in all the territories of the confederation, Interfax reported. The statement said each nation could mobilize as many as five to ten thousand peoples, and the commanders were ordered to go immediately to the Chechen capital, Groznyi. The statement also said that a regular session of the Confederation's parliament would take place on 14 November. (Ann Sheehy) NEW COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF GEORGIAN ARMED FORCES APPOINTED. Georgian interim Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua told the newly-convened Georgian parliament on 10 November that the Georgian Defense Council had decided to reman the Defense Ministry's General Headquarters with skilled military personnel, Interfax reported. General Nodar Gudzhabidze was nominated commander of the General Headquarters and Lieutenant-Colonel Kamkamidze was recalled from Ukraine to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Georgian Armed Forces. These appointments are probably intended to counter the tactical excesses of Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani. (Liz Fuller) NAVAL BLOCKADE RENEWED IN POTI. ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported on 11 November that Georgian tugs and fishing vessels have again blockaded the port of Poti, on the Black Sea. A Russian commander was quoted as saying that Russia would use force if necessary to open the port. Last month Georgian vessels also blockaded the port. Russian ships have been conducting evacuation operations there. (Stephen Foye) FLIGHTS TO BEGIN BETWEEN AZERBAIJAN AND KISH ISLAND. Iran will begin flights later this month between Azerbaijan and the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf, which is a free-trade zone, as part of an agreement signed earlier this year on setting up joint Azerbaijani-Iranian companies, Teheran Radio reported on 11 November. (Liz Fuller) CEASEFIRE FAILS IN TAJIKISTAN. A ceasefire scheduled to go into force on 11 November was ignored by supporters and opponents of deposed President Rakhmon Nabiev, Interfax reported. Fighters from both sides battled over the town of Nurek. The pro-Nabiev Popular Movement of Kulyab is trying to gain control over the whole of Kurgan-Tyube Oblast, the center of anti-Nabiev forces in southern Tajikistan. Deputy Chairman of Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet Akhmadzhon Saidov told Interfax that the Tajik government, which formally resigned on 10 November, is trying to ensure that a quorum of deputies will appear at the Supreme Soviet session on 16 November. Earlier attempts to hold a session of the parliament to discuss Nabiev's gunpoint resignation have failed because a quorum of deputies did not show up. (Bess Brown) CALLS TO TRANSFER POWER TO RUSSIAN ARMY IN TAJIKISTAN. ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported on 11 November that some opposition groups in Tajikistan have urged that executive power in the country be temporarily given to the locally-based Russian 201st Motor Rifle Division. They apparently hope that such an action would stop hostilities in the country. A Russian commander with the 201st division said, however, that Russian troops had no intention of taking political power, and that they would focus their efforts on maintaining security and helping distribute humanitarian aid. (Stephen Foye) MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN CHINA. On a tour of China and several CIS states of Central Asia, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur completed on 10 November a five day visit to China during which he conferred with President Yang Shangkun, Prime Minister Li Peng, and other Beijing officials, and visited free enterprise zones in Shanghai and elsewhere. Agreements were signed on economic cooperation, primarily involving agriculture, and on the opening of a Chisinau-Beijing air route, Moldovapres reported. Snegur told Moldovapres that China supported Moldova's demand for the withdrawal of Russia's army from Moldova. Foreign Minister Nicolae Tiu, who accompanied Snegur, told Moldovapres that the visit reflected the fact that China had been the first major Asian state to have recognized and established diplomatic relations with Moldova, and that Moldova would next approach Japan and South Korea. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVA WANTS NATO INVOLVEMENT IN DNIESTER SETTLEMENT. Mircea Snegur's military counsellor, Colonel Nicolae Chirtoaca, told the Moldovan media on November 9 that he had briefed a meeting of NATO's Political and Military Committees, just held in Brussels, on the current situation in the Dniester conflict. He welcomed what he described as the Committees' intention to send observers to the scene and to offer proposals toward a political settlement in accordance with international law and the CSCE principles. If the conflict is to be settled, Chirtoaca said, it is essential to enlarge the existing negotiating framework, i.e. the bilateral Moldovan-Russian framework which Moldova accepted in July under Russian military and economic pressure. Moldova has since made repeated efforts to involve CSCE and UN mechanisms in the peacekeeping operation and in negotiations toward a political settlement. (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE COMES INTO EFFECT. International media report early on 12 November that the latest truce seems to be being observed for the most part. There was heavy fighting around Sarajevo and Mostar, as well as in northern Bosnia, on 11 November. Western agencies quoted UN commander Gen. Philippe Morillon as saying that he believes this cease-fire might be more successful than previous ones, since this marks the first time that the various military commanders have taken responsibility for the agreement. (Patrick Moore) NATO CONFIRMS AWACS PATROLS OVER HUNGARY. Hungarian Radio reported on 11 November, quoting a NATO spokesman in Brussels, that NATO planes are conducting surveillance flights over Hungary in connection with the UN embargo and no-flight zone operations against Serbia. Rumors to this effect had surfaced last week in Budapest. These flights represent the first NATO operation outside its territory in Europe. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) KOSOVO UPDATE. Serbian military and Albanian political leaders have offered conflicting explanations over the cause of the shooting on 11 November in front of the federal military command headquarters in Pristina when an ethnic Albanian was killed and two army sentries wounded. Serbia contends the guards were attacked by ethnic Albanian "terrorists." The military command's statement said one youth stabbed a sentry in the back, seized his machine gun, and proceeded to fire upon the other sentries. According to a statement released by Kosovo's main Albanian party, the Democratic League, the guards provoked the Albanians and one of the youths seized a gun from a sentry and opened fire. Other soldiers then returned fire on the youth. A party spokesman told reporters that the incident "came as no surprise," alleging that Serbian authorities want to "unleash war in Kosovo as the only way of retaining power." Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel warned Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic against provoking "carnage" in Kosovo and in the predominantly Muslim-populated Sandzak. Radios Serbia and Croatia carried the reports. (Milan Andrejevich) WAS SERBIA BEHIND ALBANIAN RIOTS IN MACEDONIA? The 11 November London Independent quoted Macedonian interior ministry and news agency officials as saying that they believe that Serbia was behind the clash between Macedonian police and ethnic Albanians on 6 November that left one dead and four wounded. The Macedonian authorities said that many of the rioters were from Kosovo, and that five of those arrested confessed to working for KOS, or Serbian counterintelligence linked to the former Yugoslav military. The head of Macedonia's new news agency said that the Serbs were trying to provoke trouble as an excuse for taking over Macedonia, and a nationalist opposition leader said he fears that such incidents will lead to Serbian intervention as similar clashes did in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. Other theories have suggested that Albanian extremists or even underworld elements were behind the trouble. Meanwhile, the London Times said that Macedonians expect that their neighbors will try to start a war over their republic, and that they suspect Greece of encouraging Serbia to that end. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports on increasingly bellicose voices in the Greek press over Macedonia. (Patrick Moore) COSIC MIGHT RUN IN SERBIAN ELECTIONS. Radio Serbia quotes highly placed sources in Belgrade that Serbia's Democratic Coalition will place Federal President Dobrica Cosic on their list as candidate for president of Serbia if Milosevic runs for that office in the December elections. Cosic has stated on several occasions that he will not run for any political office, while Milosevic has clearly said he will run. If Cosic does decide to run as the coalition's candidate, it would signal a major shift in Serbian politics. The opposition would stand a reasonable chance of success in the elections by finally closing ranks against Milosevic and his ruling Socialists. (Milan Andrejevich) CZECH MINERS DEMONSTRATE IN PRAGUE. Thousands of workers in coal, iron, and uranium mines of the Czech Republic, afraid of losing their jobs, demonstrated in Prague on 11 November against the Czech government's plans to privatize the mining industry. A spokesman for the Federal Union of Mineworkers told Reuters that the miners do not oppose privatization as such but are "against the way the restructuring is being carried out." He said that the union estimates that 15-20% of the 80,000 coal miners in northern Moravia and northern Bohemia alone would lose their jobs under the government's reorganization schemes. Czech Industry Minister Vladimir Dlouhy told the demonstrating miners that the government will not be pressured by demonstrations. Speaking at a press conference in Prague, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the miners' leaders proposed an agreement with the government that would modify the government's privatization scheme. Klaus rejected the idea, saying that his government has not concluded and will never conclude an agreement with a specific social group. (Jiri Pehe) STOLOJAN PRESENTS HIS RECORD TO THE SENATE. Outgoing Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan presented to the Senate on 11 November the record of the cabinet he headed between October 1991 and October 1992. In a speech broadcast live on Radio Bucharest, Stolojan said his government focused on economic stability and the continuation of market reforms. He pointed out that industrial production recorded growth in October for the third consecutive month after more than two years of stagnation and decline. He also said exports are increasing (though, he added, it is not certain whether this growth reflects increase in productivity or merely allocation of more resources,) and energy supplies are higher than at this time last year. (Michael Shafir) BACKING FOR LAW BANNING ANTI-SEMITISM GAINS SUPPORT IN ROMANIA. Rabbi Moses Rosen, leader of Romania's Jewish community, said on 11 November that Adrian Nastase, vice president of the Democratic National Salvation Front, has agreed to support a proposed law that would make anti-Semitism a crime, Reuters reports from Bucharest. Nastase holds the position of Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies. (Michael Shafir) YELTSIN IN HUNGARY. MTI reports that Russian President Boris Yeltsin, in the first high-ranking Russian visit in the post-Soviet period, met with Hungarian President Arpad Goncz on 11 November. Goncz emphasized that Russia is a major factor in the region's stability and an important economic partner for his country. He said Yeltsin's visit puts relations between the two nations on a new footing. Yeltsin also met with Prime Minister Jozsef Antall and agreed that mutual financial claims regarding military installations and environmental damage by Soviet troops cancel each other out, although Hungary will supply the Russian army with $10 million worth of medicine and help with apartment-building projects for returned soldiers. A complete solution for the $1.6-billion Hungarian trade surplus was postponed, but Yeltsin agreed to supply Russian military spare parts for half of that amount. A basic bilateral treaty is sought by the end of the year. Yeltsin also laid wreaths at the monument for Soviet war dead in central Budapest and visited the grave of Imre Nagy, who lead the 1956 Hungarian revolution and who was hanged by the Soviet-backed Hungarian communists. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) BULGARIAN TURKS SUGGEST COALITION CABINET. On 11 November the parliamentary group of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party suggested the formation of a coalition government with the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). An MRF declaration argued that a coalition could guarantee the realization of the aims of both parties and represent a further step toward European-style democracy. BTA quoted MRF chairman Ahmed Dogan as saying that MRF leaders would themselves not necessarily join the cabinet but might propose candidates from extraparliamentary parties. After a meeting with Dogan, UDF chairman Filip Dimitrov said the MRF initiative is valuable and that an appropriate formula can probably be found. The MRF earlier rejected the idea of participating in the government. (Kjell Engelbrekt) SIXTH ROUND OF BULGARIAN-EC ASSOCIATION TALKS. The latest round of negotiations, this time focusing on trade matters, ended on 11 November. Deputy Trade Minister Stanislav Daskalov told BTA that both sides demonstrated a certain degree of flexibility, especially on issues concerning agricultural produce, wine, and textiles. At the same time the Bulgarian negotiators found it difficult to convince EC officials of the importance of having a special clause protecting the Bulgarian metal industry. The next round of talks is scheduled for 3-4 December. (Kjell Engelbrekt) ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER IN NARVA. Mart Laar met with residents of Narva on 11 November during a two-day tour of northeastern Estonia, BNS reports. The residents of Narva, the city expected to be hardest hit by imminent factory closings, appealed to Laar in some agitation to provide "jobs and freedom." Laar, who also visited Kohtla-Jarve and Johvi, told reporters he is well aware of the problems in that area of the country but said enterprises cannot expect credits from the government, whose coffers are empty. Laar called on local authorities and residents to cooperate with Tallinn. (Riina Kionka) MAZEIKIAI OIL REFINERY SHUT DOWN AGAIN. On 10 November the oil refinery in Mazeikiai, Lithuania, shut down because oil supplies from Russia were stopped on 6 November, BNS reports. The refinery had been closed from 5 August to 13 October, causing losses of a billion rubles. The refinery had signed an agreement with Balteneftgaz two weeks ago to supply 700,000 tons of oil that would have kept the refinery operating until mid-December, but the supplies are not arriving for reasons that are not clear. On 6 November Lithuanian and Russian government officials signed an agreement by which about 600,000 tons of oil would be supplied until the end of the year if Lithuania paid the 1.6-billion-ruble debt for oil previously delivered. In order to pay its debt, the refinery would need a loan, which the government is not able to make. (Saulius Girnius) ABISALA IN WASHINGTON. On 11 November at a press conference in Washington, Lithuanian Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala said that he fears the West would not do anything to stop Russia if it moved militarily against the Baltic States, Western agencies report. Although noting that the number of Russian troops in Lithuania has decreased to about 20,000, there are still about 300,000 troops in Kaliningrad. He will meet on 12 November with Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and hopes to talk by telephone with president-elect Bill Clinton or vice-president-elect Al Gore on 13 November. He will ask them to show support for the Baltic States by firmly tying a portion of US aid to Russia to troop withdrawal and by having the US help pay for the withdrawal and resettlement of the troops. (Saulius Girnius) As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.