Forty is the old age of youth; fifty, the youth of old age. - Victor Hugo
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 221, 16 November 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES OF THE USSR

YELTSIN ADDRESSES INDUSTRIALIST CONGRESS. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin gave the opening speech at the Congress of Russian Union
of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs-which constitutes the main
part of the Civic Union-thus demonstrating his interest in cooperation
with the centrist opposition, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 November.
Yeltsin said that he would welcome a rapprochement between enterprise
directors and the government which would be finalized in a joint
economic program. He stated that the government will now do more
than previously to support industrial production, as demanded
by the Civic Union, but he warned that he would not halt the
government's strict fiscal policy. Yeltsin noted that there have
been some improvements in the Russian economy recently. (Alexander
Rahr)

YELTSIN SEES POSITIVE SIGNS IN RUSSIAN ECONOMY. In his address
to the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Russian President
Boris Yeltsin drew attention to some faint signs of economic
improvement in the country, according to Interfax on 14 and 15-November.
Yeltsin claimed that in the last three months overall production
had begun to stabilize and that civilian industrial production
had even increased in September. He also cited the elimination
of the cash shortage through the issue of larger denomination
ruble notes and the reduction of inter-enterprise debt. Much
of this stabilization has come through lax monetary and fiscal
policies. Prime Minister Gaidar, speaking at a meeting of Russian
Federation regional leaders on 14 November, said that monthly
money growth since May had increased from 9-14% to 25%. (Erik
Whitlock)

NEW MEASURES TO STABILIZE RUBLE? The Russian Central Bank will
soon introduce some new measures to keep the ruble exchange rate
below 500-rubles to the dollar, ITAR-TASS reported, citing "trustworthy
sources" within the bank. In addition to undertaking more restrictive
credit policies, the Central Bank may draw more rubles out of
circulation through purchases on the currency market and floating
government bonds. The Bank may also require exporters to sell
100% of their hard currency earnings. Most of these measures
would not be implemented for some time. With the dollar passing
the 300 ruble mark last month and the 400 ruble mark last week,
it is highly questionable whether a 500 ruble-to-dollar ceiling
can be achieved. (Erik Whitlock)

RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC PROGRAM FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 1993. The
Russian government has prepared a program of measures designed
to revive the economy which are to be implemented by the end
of the first quarter of 1993, according to an Interfax report
of 13-November. The program is reported to include measures aimed
at reactivating economic links with CIS members and other countries,
and at giving financial support to priority branches and enterprises
in the form of tax breaks and special loans. Particular mention
is made of the fuel and energy complex, the metallurgy, chemical
and machine building industries. Credits of approximately 250
billion rubles are to be allocated for the conversion of defense
industry enterprises. (Sheila Marnie)

KHASBULATOV ON COUP ATTEMPTS. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
told a meeting of regional deputies that emergency rule could
not be introduced legally without the approval of parliament,
ITAR-TASS reported on 15 November. He also said that all attempts
to bypass parliament on this matter should be termed a coup d'etat
and the organizers of such action should be declared state criminals.
He said that certain ministers in President Yeltsin's entourage
are engaged in these kind of "provocations," and that the president
himself does not know about it. Khasbulatov indicated that Acting
Prime Minister Egor Gaidar has completely lost his authority
over his cabinet and that today every senior minister regards
himself as the prime minister. (Alexander Rahr)

GRACHEV DENIES COUP CHARGE. In an interview on Russian Ostankino
TV (Novosti) on 14 November, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
denied that either he or the army is in any way involved in an
alleged plan to establish a state of emergency in Russia and
to disband parliament. The charges were leveled by a Russian
parliamentarian, Iona Andronov, on 13 November. Grachev was alleged
to be one of the instigators of the planned action. Grachev called
the charges a provocation and a lie, and said they were aimed
at discrediting the army and drawing it into political battles.
Grachev reportedly emphasized that he opposed the imposition
of a state of emergency in Russia, although he suggested that
emergency measures might be necessary in regions where blood
is being spilled. President Yeltsin's office also denied Andronov's
charges, and Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Poltoranin said that
there were no plans of any kind being made in the executive branch
for imposition of a state of emergency. (Stephen Foye)

RUSSIA AND CHECHNYA REACH AGREEMENT ON PULLBACK. Russia and Chechnya
reached a new agreement on 15 November to pull back their forces
facing each other along the disputed Chechen-Ingush frontier,
ITAR-TASS reported. A similar agreement last week broke down
after each side accused the other of violating its terms. The
new agreement is said to have been coordinated with President
Yeltsin and signed by Yeltsin envoy Sergei Shakhrai and a Chechen
delegation in Nazran. Earlier, Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev
had accused Russia of preparing to occupy Chechnya, a claim that
was twice denied by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. (Ann
Sheehy)

SITUATION IN NORTH OSSETIA REMAINS TENSE. The situation in the
Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia and Vladikavkaz remains tense,
ITAR-TASS reported on 15 November, with isolated shooting in
some villages. But on the whole, the Russia military is said
to have the situation under control. A hundred Ingush were detained
on 14 November when they arrived in buses and trucks allegedly
to identify bodies. According to the Ossetians, some of the men
had taken part in fighting against the Ossetians. Two CNN correspondents
detained with them were later released. Meanwhile, there are
repeated reports of atrocities having taken place. (Ann Sheehy)


MORE DETAILS ON MINIMUM WAGE. On 13 November the Russian parliament
approved the new minimum wage of 2,250 rubles per month, according
to an Interfax report of 13-November. This minimum wage will
be valid for state employees from 1 January 1993. Trade Unions
had been demanding a minimum wage of 3,375 rubles per month.
From 1 April 1993 the minimum wage is to be index-linked to inflation
once every 3 months. This minimum will cover state employees
only, i.e. about 70% of the workforce; protection for the rest
of the workforce appears to be non-existent, since the law requires
that non-state employers introduce "whatever minimum wage their
funds permit." (Sheila Marnie)

MOSCOW HOUSING RENTS TO BE RAISED. Moscow City Council is proposing
to raise the housing rent in 1993, according to an Interfax report
of 12-November. The increases are to be introduced in stages,
and rent is to vary according to the facilities in the buildings.
The rent for buildings with all conveniences will be one ruble
per square meter in January, and three rubles in July. Residents
currently pay only 3.5% of housing maintenance costs. It is thought
that in the course of the year tenants' expenditure on housing
will rise to 5% then 7% and finally to 10% of family income.
(Sheila Marnie)

RUSSIA FOR LIMITS ON US, JAPANESE ANTI-SUB PATROLS IN OKHOTSK.
A Russian arms control official has indicated that Russia is
thinking of proposing limits on American and Japanese antisubmarine
warfare (ASW) activities in the Sea of Okhotsk in the current
U.S./Russian strategic arms negotiations. The Japanese newspaper
Yomiuri Shimbun on 12-November carried an interview with Sergei
Rogov, deputy director of the USA-Canada Institute. Rogov cited
this as one of the measures "to promote strategic stability"
that should be incorporated in a START II treaty. The article,
quoting a "Russian military source in charge of the nuclear disarmament
issue," said that the proposed limit would include the prohibition
of foreign military exercises and strict limitations on the activities
of American and Japanese submarines and ASW aircraft in the Sea
of Okhotsk. The Russians use this closed sea as a sanctuary for
some of their ballistic-missile submarines. In strategic arms
negotiations, the Americans have traditionally opposed any such
restrictions . (Doug Clarke)

DECREE ON SALE OF RUSSIAN MILITARY PROPERTY. President Yeltsin
has issued a draft decree that would give the Russian Defense
Ministry authorization to sell military property, excluding arms
and ammunition, to both domestic and foreign buyers, according
to an Interfax report on 11 November. Domestic sales are to be
conducted mainly through commodity exchanges and auctions, while
foreign sales will go through what was described as the Ministry's
material resources and foreign economic relations department.
Proceeds from the sales are to be deposited in a special Defense
Ministry fund and allocated for military housing. Sales earnings
will be tax exempt. The text of the draft decree was not available.
(Stephen Foye)

UKRAINIAN CABINET AND PARLIAMENT DISCUSSING ECONOMIC CRISIS.
According to Radio Ukraine, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers
decided on 14 November to raise pensions and the minimum wage
in the country to 2,300 karbovantsi. It also decided to ask the
Ukrainian parliament to expand the government's and president's
powers in order to enable them to deal more effectively with
the economic crisis. On 16 November the Ukrainian Supreme Council
is to examine the question of the social protection of the population
and is to hear reports from the economics and finance ministers.
On 18-November the parliament will hear a report from the new
Ukrainian prime minister Leonid Kuchma on the problems of economic
reform. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

UKRAINE AND THE CIS. Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma told
journalist after the 13 November meeting of CIS heads of government
that Ukraine will not adhere to the proposed CIS charter, ITAR-TASS
reported. Kuchma said the Ukrainian president would not sign
the charter in the form in which it was presented at the session.
Ukraine, maintained the prime minister, will not delegate powers
to the CIS and favors instead direct bilateral agreements. (Roman
Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN MINERS ON PROTEST STRIKE. Miners in the Donetsk region
launched a 24-hour strike on Friday, according to an Interfax
report of 13-November. The miners were on strike in protest against
a law on the settlement of labor disputes which is currently
being put before the Ukrainian Supreme Council. The strikers
object in particular to a clause in the law on lockouts. The
strike was apparently supported by workers in other branches
of the economy, and further action is threatened for 17-November,
if parliament refuses to revise the law. (Sheila Marnie)

ARMENIAN ENERGY CRISIS WORSENS. Armenian Energy Minister Steve
Tashjan told Reuters on 13 November that ongoing disruptions
in the supply of oil and natural gas from Russia following the
destruction of the main gas pipeline through the North Caucasus
last month have compelled Armenia temporarily to halt all gas
supplies to domestic users in Erevan beginning 16 November. All
schools in the city will also close. Erevan is already without
domestic heating, and gasoline prices are reportedly ten times
higher there than in Moscow. (Liz Fuller)

AZERBAIJANI INTERIOR MINISTER THREATENS NUCLEAR STRIKE AGAINST
ARMENIA. Azerbaijani Interior Minister Iskander Gamidov, who
has ties with the Turkish right wing National Labor Party ("Grey
Wolves), claimed at the third congress of the Azerbaijan Musavat
Party in Baku that Azerbaijan has a total of six nuclear weapons,
and that "if the Armenians do not come to their senses" he would
authorize a nuclear strike against Erevan, according to Rossiiskaya
gazeta of 13 November. Gamidov also reportedly advocated the
creation of a Turanian state that would encompass northern Iran,
and extend to Siberia, China and India. (Liz Fuller)

APPEAL FROM RUSSIAN BORDER FORCES IN TAJIKISTAN. Representatives
of Russian officers serving in Border Forces units in Tajikistan
have sent an appeal to President Yeltsin that questions their
continued presence in the region and demands legal and social
guarantees against what they describe as moral and physical pressures
being exerted on them. According to a 14 November ITAR-TASS report,
the officers warned that Russian border troops are in danger
of becoming embroiled in local political battles and in cross-border
disputes with various groups in Afghanistan. They reserved the
right to cease performing their duties if their demands are not
met. (Stephen Foye)

KARIMOV OVERSEES COTTON TRADE. Uzbekistan's deputy minister of
cotton production Utkur Umarbekov was quoted by a Western correspondent
in Tashkent on 12 November as saying that any cotton export deal
of 5,000 tons or more has to be authorized by President Islam
Karimov. Umarbekov commented that previously Moscow gave the
orders, but now Karimov handles 85% of the country's cotton trade,
and there is little sign that state control of the cotton industry
will be relinquished. Uzbekistan expects a reduction in its cotton
output this year because spring rains damaged the crop; Umarbekov
predicted foreign sales of 400,000 tons. In 1991 Uzbekistan sold
more than 500,000 tons of cotton on the world market. Despite
the country's efforts to escape the Moscow-ordained cotton monoculture,
cotton remains Uzbekistan's most important export and accounts
for 80% of its hard currency earnings. (Bess Brown)

MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS ON ETHNIC IDENTITY, LANGUAGE POLICY. Based
on interviews with officials of Moldova's Presidency and the
Ministries of Education and Nationality Affairs, Novoe Vremya
(no.-45/1992) reports that Chisinau sees Austria's relationship
with Germany-two separate states despite the identity of language-as
the model for its own relationship with Romania in the long run.
The latest Moldovan opinion survey shows that only 9% desire
unification with Romania. Moldova's language policy emphasizes,
"along with the introduction of the Romanian state language,
also the preservation of the identity of the ethnic minorities
living in Moldova. It is precisely this multiethnic character
of the state that can, if preserved, help shape a Moldovan national
consciousness distinct from the Romanian," the officials are
cited as arguing. (Vladimir Socor)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

LDLP GAINS MAJORITY IN LITHUANIAN SEIMAS ELECTIONS. On 16 November
the chairman of the Lithuanian election commission Vaclovas Litvinas
told a press conference, broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, that
the final results of the elections to the Lithuanian Seimas the
previous day in 9 of the 61-districts had not yet been finally
determined because the votes in all precincts as well as absentee
ballots and those from Lithuanians voting abroad had not yet
been received. The Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (LDLP) gained
a majority by winning at least 30 seats. The Sajudis coalition
won at least 8, the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party-5,
the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party-3, and the Independence
Party, Center Movement, National Union of Lithuania, Union of
Christian Democrats, Union of Poles, and a candidate who nominated
himself-one each. Adding the 44-seats won in the first round,
the LDLP has at least 74 of the 141 seats and will have a majority
in the Seimas. (Saulius Girnius)

VACAROIU PRESENTS HIS CABINET. On 13 November Romanian prime
minister-designate Nicolae Vacaroiu presented to a joint session
of the parliament's two chambers the list of the members of the
new cabinet and outlined the government's short-term program.
The new cabinet has 22 members; of these, 11 belong to the Democratic
National Salvation Front and the rest are independents. Four
ministers will have the rank of minister of state and will coordinate
activities in their respective areas. The parliament must yet
formally approve the components of the government. (Michael Shafir)


POLISH PRIME MINISTER APPEALS FOR BROAD POLITICAL SUPPORT. Speaking
on 15-November at a party meeting in Poznan, Prime Minister Hanna
Suchocka said "Poland needs a broadly-based political movement
capable of providing the necessary foundations for peaceful and
effective democracy." According to a PAP report, Suchocka noted
that this movement would have to be able to lead Poland to the
community of European nations without undermining "its religious
convictions and national sovereignty." She also said that the
government should do its utmost to minimize disputes about "the
place of the [Catholic] Church in public life." These disputes
have recently emerged as one of the most divisive elements in
Polish politics. Meanwhile, nationalist and populist leader Leszek
Moczulski said in a speech delivered to a political meeting on
15 November in Lublin that the government will soon fall and
new elections will be necessary. (Jan de Weydenthal)

MRF DEMANDS POSTS IN NEW BULGARIAN CABINET. On 15 November the
chairman of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms
(MRF), Ahmed Dogan, announced that his party will select several
ministers in the new government presently being negotiated with
the UDF. Dogan told BTA that the MRF is claiming one deputy prime
ministership, three ministerial portfolios, four deputy minister
posts and two chairmanships of parliamentary committees. In a
TV interview on the previous day UDF leader Filip Dimitrov had
renewed a warning that his coalition would not betray its basic
principles to strike a compromise with the MRF. Dimitrov has
until Thursday to form a new cabinet. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON DIVISION OF ASSETS. After
two unsuccessful attempts to pass a law on the division of federal
property, Federal Assembly deputies eventually adopted a slightly
modified version of the draft on 13-November. The bill represents
a key to the "civilized" separation of Czechoslovakia. According
to media reports, movable assets will be divided according to
a 2:1 ratio, while fixed federal property will be remain the
property the republic on which it is located. The division of
some property, including assets of federal television and radio,
will be covered in separate legislation. The Czechoslovak parliament
also adopted a law on the dissolution of the Federal Security
and Information Agency. (Jan Obrman)

DUBCEK LAID TO REST. On 14 November an official memorial service
was held for former CPCS First Secretary Alexander Dubcek in
Bratislava. Dubcek died in Prague on 7 November. Mourners included
former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel, German Bundestag
Chairwoman Rita Suessmuth, Austrian parliament Chairman Heinz
Fisher, the Chairman of the Italian Senate, Giovanni Spadolini,
the Vatican's representative in Czechoslovakia Giovanni Coppa,
Socialist International Chairman Pierre Mauroy, and dignitaries
from over 50 countries. The service was followed by a private
funeral for the immediate family. (Jan Obrman)

SLOVAKIA FAVORS GOOD RELATIONS WITH HUNGARY. Slovak Foreign Minister
Milan Knazko told a delegation of Hungarian parliament representatives
headed by its deputy chairman, Matyas Szuros, that Slovakia has
"the utmost interest in good relations with Hungary," CSTK reported
on 14 November. He said that formal meetings between representatives
of the two countries should be held as often as possible and
expressed hope that the controversial Gabcikovo hydroelectric
dam system will "not remain a political problem." Szuros said
that the economic transformation in both countries makes close
cooperation between them mandatory. The Hungarian delegation
was attending the memorial service for Alexander Dubcek. (Jan
Obrman)

HUNGARY PROTESTS SLOVAK MOVE TO REMOVE HUNGARIAN SIGNS. State
Secretary Geza Entz said on 13 November 1992 that new orders
by Slovak Transportation Minister Roman Hofbauer to remove Hungarian
language village and city signs in communities populated by the
Hungarian minority are "harsh, provocative and injurious," reported
MTI. Entz protested against the systematic removal and called
for a halt to the campaign. (Karoly Okolicsanyi)

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTY SELECTS NEW LEADER. Historian Ivan
Peto became the new head of the Association of Free Democrats
(SZDSZ), MTI reported on 13 November. In a 525-292 vote during
the party's three-day conference, Peto replaced Peter Tolgyessy.
Relations between Tolgyessy and Peto had been strained since
Tolgyessy, who became SZDSZ president in November 1991, did not
belong to the "Beszelo" circle, a group of old friends clustered
around the former samizdat publication, and which effectively
controlled the party. The SZDSZ faces a sharp decline in popularity;
latest polls put its strength only at 8% of the electorate. Peto
vowed to start new talks with the Hungarian Democratic Forum
to resolve the deadlock over a new media law. (Karoly Okolicsanyi)


SHAKY BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE. International media on 15 November
quoted the UN commander in Bosnia, Gen. Philippe Morillon, that
the ceasefire that took effect on 13-November was still generally
holding despite some violations. Groups of children and the sick
and elderly were evacuated from Sarajevo to Belgrade and Kiseljak;
one group included 200-Jews, who left on 14 November. The BBC
and Reuters on 14 November quoted UN peace-keepers as accusing
Serbs of "flagrantly violating" the cease-fire by bombarding
Maglaj in north-central Bosnia. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic,
for his part, wrote to US, UN, and Russian leaders to say that
the international community must pressure Muslims and Croats,
and not just Serbs, if it wants peace. Karadzic added that "the
world seems amazed that the Serbian side refuses to lie down
and die," Reuters reports. Finally, Bosnian Serbs on 14 November
released 700 male Muslim and Croat prisoners from the Manjaca
camp. The men are under 18 and over 40. (Patrick Moore)

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT AGREES TO LOWER GASOLINE PRICES. Representatives
of the outgoing Stolojan government and leaders of the drivers'
trade unions agreed on 14-November on a compromise concerning
the union's demand to return gasoline prices to what they were
before 22 October, Radio Bucharest reported on the same day.
The drivers had been threatening to go on general strike on 16-November
if their demands are not met. According to the compromise, prices
for premium gasoline will be reduced from 220 lei ($0.51) to
160 lei ($0.37) per liter until 1 January 1993. A monthly quota
of 40 liters will be priced at 100 lei ($0.23) until that date.
The dual-price system will disappear on 1 January. The Stolojan
government has yet to approve the compromise. (Michael Shafir)


ROMANIAN DOCTORS, HEALTH WORKERS, TO STRIKE. On 16 November Romanian
physicians and other health workers went on a nationwide general
strike of indefinite duration. Radio Bucharest carried a communique
released by the Sanitas trade union saying activity in hospitals
will be reduced by 60% and stations for ambulatory treatment
will close down indefinitely. Reacting to the announcement, the
government said the strike is illegal. (Michael Shafir)

SOFIA TO INTRODUCE TRANSIT VISAS FOR TURKS. Beginning in February
1993 all Turkish citizens will need visas to enter Bulgaria,
regardless of their length of stay. A government decision adopted
on 13 November may affect as many as three million Turks transiting
the country each year, mostly on their way to and from Western
Europe. In a statement distributed by BTA, the Bulgarian government
said the move is necessary because of the sharp rise in transit
travelers in the last few years. A government spokesman told
Reuters that the revenue from the visas will go to the Turkish-populated
areas in the southeast, a region which has suffered heavily from
economic deterioration. By introducing a general visa requirement,
Bulgaria will in effect cancel the 1979 bilateral agreement permitting
Turks to cross the country within 24 hours without visas. In
an effort to limit the influx in the other direction, Turkey
imposed travel restrictions on Bulgarian citizens in late September.
(Kjell Engelbrekt)

BULGARIAN CURRENCY RESERVE EXCEEDS $1-BILLION. According to the
semiannual report of the Bulgarian National Bank released on
13 November, by the end of September the country had accumulated
a $1.095 billion foreign exchange reserve. Representing a net
increase of $316.6 million since the beginning of 1992, the reserve
was bolstered through an inflow of IMF and EC credits ($420 million)
as well as an active BNB policy on the foreign exchange market
($310 million). The assets are invested in foreign securities,
current accounts, and fixed-term deposits with Western banks.
(Kjell Engelbrekt)

ESTONIA ANNOUNCES BIDDING FOR PRIVATE COMPANIES. On 17 November
the Estonian Privatization Agency will announce which state-owned
enterprises will be the first 38 to be privatized through a process
of competitive bidding, BNS reports. Andres Bergmann, head of
the agency, said they are all large enterprises with work forces
of 300-10,000 people. He told BNS that a full list of the companies
and the terms of sale will be published after 17-November, and
potential buyers will have until 22 December to put in their
bids. Bids will be evaluated not only on the basis of money but
also on the bidder's plans for the business and the number of
jobs to be affected. Some early decisions may come as soon as
the day after bidding begins, Bergmann said. (Riina Kionka)

BALTS TO SUSPEND OSTANKINO BROADCASTS. Lithuania and Latvia will
stop rebroadcasting Russia's Ostankino television programs starting
next year, BNS reports. Officials in both states cited the high
cost of retransmitting as a barrier, but officials in all three
Baltic States have also complained in the last months about Ostankino's
anti-Baltic tone. Because the leadership of Estonian Radio and
TV is still up in the air after September's elections, officials
in Tallinn have not yet announced its plans in regard to Ostankino
transmissions. (Riina Kionka)

THE TWO-MILLION-ZLOTY TYPO. An embarrassment for the Polish National
Bank could be a boon for collectors of bank notes. The Polish
word for "constitutional" on the new two million-zloty ($138)
note is misspelled. The note, which bears a likeness of Ignacy
Jan Paderewski, the pianist and interwar prime minister, will,
however, not be withdrawn from circulation, according to Gazeta
Wyborcza of 12 November. (Christopher Wellisz)

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull




[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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