|You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw|
No. 224, 20 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN PROPOSES ASIAN SECURITY MEASURES. During a speech to the Korean National Assembly on 19 November, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said that Russia had already halved its production of new submarines, and suggested that Moscow would consider halting entirely the production of nuclear submarines in two to three years time, Western agencies reported. Yeltsin also proposed the establishment of a multinational security consultative body in Asia to monitor security developments, and said that Moscow was willing to divulge its military secrets in order to launch the process. He said that Russia had stopped providing all military aid and nuclear-related technology to North Korea, The New York Times reported. Moreover, according to ITAR-TASS, Yeltsin indicated that Russia may abrogate the mutual defense treaty concluded between the Soviet government and the North Korean government in 1961. (Stephen Foye & Alexander Rahr) OTHER DEVELOPMENTS. According to Western reports, Yeltsin told South Korean President Roh Tae-Woo earlier in the day that Russia was considering other arms reductions, including a unilateral halt in the production of medium-sized bombers. He said that Russia hoped to finalize an agreement with the new American administration on a 60% reduction in strategic nuclear weapons. Yeltsin's proposed reductions, it would seem, are at least in part a recognition of the inevitable; Russia's economic problems have already cut deeply into defense production, and there is no sign that a turn-around is in sight. (Stephen Foye) LOCAL LEADERS SUPPORT YELTSIN. The newly created Union of Russian Governors, which consists of influential leaders of local governments throughout Russia, has issued a statement calling for the extension of the special powers presently accorded to President Boris Yeltsin, ITAR-TASS reported on 17-November. Yeltsin's special powers will expire on 1 December. The governors also rejected any personnel changes in the composition of the present government. Meanwhile, Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told enterprise managers in Ekaterinburg that reform will now be "regionalized." Radio Mayak on 18 November quoted Gaidar as saying that the decentralization of power to the regions will thwart attempts by bureaucratic elites in Moscow to block the reform program. (Alexander Rahr) GAIDAR VISITS CHELYABINSK. Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar arrived in Chelyabinsk on 19 November as part of a one-day tour of industrial areas in the Urals. At a meeting with regional government officials and defense industry managers, Gaidar said that one of the most important characteristics of the 1993 budget approved by the government last week was its devolution of revenue and expenditure responsibilities to local budget-makers, ITAR-TASS reported. "Moscow should only finance defense programs, some foreign economic activities, fundamental science, and a narrow circle of investment programs, above all conversion." (Erik Whitlock) GAIDAR: SLUMP IN DEFENSE INDUSTRIES IS OVER. Russia's acting prime minister, Yegor Gaidar, on 19 November told a group of Russian defense industrialists in the closed town of Chelyabinsk-65 that the fall in defense production was over. Although the meeting was closed, some of the participants provided Interfax information about the issues discussed. These included the conversion of the arms industry and a social "safety net" for defense industry employees. Gaidar was quoted as saying that defense production would stay level until the end of the year, but later would be increased, probably by 10%. (Doug Clarke) SHUMEIKO DEFENDS YELTSIN, GAIDAR. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said that if Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar is forced out of the government, he will also resign. Ekho Moskvy on 18 November quoted Shumeiko as saying that President Yeltsin's special powers should be extended. He stated that reform requires a strong executive power, but, in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Sankei Simbun on 19 November, he rejected the idea of introducing direct presidential rule. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev warned that conservatives are planning a "constitutional coup" at the Congress. He said that the Congress, elected in 1990, represents the most conservative part of society. (Alexander Rahr) TWO ECONOMIC PROGRAMS. Next week, the parliament will discuss two programs: that of the government and that of the parliament, and select one to be debated at the Congress, Ekho Moskvy reported on 18-November. The government's program is being worked out by Egor Gaidar's cabinet together with the Union of Russian Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, headed by Arkadii Volsky. The parliament's program is being prepared by the parliamentary faction "Industrial Union" and the parliament's Highest Economic Council. Since both the "Industrial Union" and the Union of Russian Industrialists and Entrepreneurs are members of the Civic Union, one may conclude that the Civic Union is split over economic reform. (Alexander Rahr) SMALL SCALE PRIVATIZATION GOING WELL. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has reported that more than 10% of Russian shops and small businesses have been sold to private owners, and that more than half of them were sold at auctions, according to Reuters on 19 November. This has meant that 14,000 new firms have been created. Despite this apparent success in small scale privatization, the overall share of privately owned businesses in Russia remains low; 850 enterprises, or 3.6% of the total number of industrial enterprises, are privately owned, according to a report in Ekonomika i zhizn no.42, 1992. The pace of privatization may, however, be stepped up next year, since the Russian parliament has passed the final version of the law on bankruptcy, which will come into effect from March 1993, Interfax reported on 19 November. (Sheila Marnie) DEMOCRATIC, NATIONALIST MEDIA CHIEFS SEEK RECONCILIATION. The director of Ostankino TV, Egor Yakovlev, and the editor-in-chief of Izvestiya, Igor Golembiovsky, have met with Aleksandr Prokhanov, the chief editor of Den, Valentin Chikin, the chief editor of Sovetskaya Rossiya, and Gennadii Selesnev, the editor-in-chief of Pravda, in an effort to stop the "mass media war" between nationalist and neocommunist newspapers on the one hand and democratic newspapers on the other. The round table was televised by Ostankino on 13 November. Egor Yakovlev said that he is prepared to provide TV time for rightist opposition groups provided they cease their calls for the violent overthrow of President Yeltsin's government. For his part, Yakovlev has admitted that the labeling of all opposition media as "red-brown" is intolerable. He stressed the importance of the media meeting, since he believes that it can bring about a civilized dialogue between newspapers that usually display only antipathy for each other. (Victor Yasmann) RUSSIAN ARMS SALE INCOME DOWN. Interfax on 18 November reported that Russian arms exports in 1992 would bring in approximately $3 billion compared with $7.8 billion (or 12 billion hard rubles) for 1991. The agency said that government experts had provided the data. These experts said that United Nations sanctions against many of Russia's traditional arms-trading partners, the saturation of the arms market, and a 68% decline in Russian arms production were some of the reasons for the drop in earnings. The experts also said that government orders for arms to be exported would fall off markedly in 1993, but they expected the volume of arms to be sold abroad to hold steady due to orders already received. (Doug Clarke) MORE ON THE KUCHMA ECONOMIC PROGRAM. Prime Minister Kuchma has changed the atmosphere of economic reform in Ukraine with his announcement of broad outlines for accelerated change to begin January of next year. Kuchma intends to use his newly acquired emergency powers to implement restrictive fiscal and monetary policies in combination with faster-paced structural reforms, like privatization, wage controls, and an anticorruption campaign, according to various Western news agencies on 17 and 18 November. These measures will be coming on the heels of a recent sharp rise in interest rates offered by the central bank from 20% to 80% and the introduction of a new currency at a close-to-market exchange rate vis-ˆ-vis the ruble and dollar. (Erik Whitlock) FORMER LEADING DISSIDENT APPOINTED UKRAINIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE. Ivan Dzyuba, one of the leading figures in the post-Stalin Ukrainian resurgence, has been appointed the new Ukrainian minister of culture, Ukrainian Radio announced on 19 November. In 1965 he wrote the classic critique of Soviet nationalities policy, Internationalism or Russification? In 1972 he was arrested and charged with "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda." He spent 18 months in prison and was released only after an apparent recantation. In the late 1980s, Dzyuba once again began to play a prominent role in the cultural and public life of Ukraine by contributing analytical and programmatic articles on the problems of Ukrainian culture and through his leadership of those involved in Ukrainian studies. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINE SPOILING RUSSIAN/IRANIAN SUB DEAL. Interfax on 19 November reported that Ukraine had become an obstacle in the sale of three Russian Kilo-class diesel submarines to Iran. The first submarine, delivered by a Russian crew, was recently in the Iranian port of Bander-Abbas. Iran was supposed to pay for the boat by 27 November. However, the original deal-signed before the collapse of the USSR-included some support equipment which Ukraine is now holding in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv. Interfax reported that a source in the CIS Navy headquarters said that the deal might "fail to materialize in its full volume" because of the Ukrainian stand. (Doug Clarke) UKRAINE PROTESTS RUTSKOI'S CRIMEAN CLAIM. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially requested an explanation from the Russian government for Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi's remarks on the Crimea, Interfax reported on 19 November. Rutskoi recently told students and lecturers at Omsk University that the Crimea and other territories will "sooner or later" revert to Russia. Ukrainian officials raised the issue at a meeting with Russia's ambassador in Kiev, Leonid Smolyakov. (Roman Solchanyk) PROBLEMS FOR THE FLAGSHIP OF THE UKRAINIAN NAVY. The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, the Slavutych, dropped anchor off Sevastopol on 18 November following sea trials, and Interfax reported that the event was to be celebrated the following day. On 19 November, however, Interfax reported that Russian authorities of the Black Sea Fleet refused to establish contact with the Slavutych, and prevented it from entering the Crimean port. The Ukrainian Navy charged the Russians with violating the Yalta agreements on the Black Sea Fleet. According to Ukrainian Radio, the problems were subsequently resolved, and the flagship, with the Ukrainian defense minister aboard, entered the port later that same day. The Slavutych was the first of a new class of command and intelligence-gathering ships being built for the ex-Soviet Northern Fleet at a shipyard in Mykolaiv. The Ukrainians took over the ship in June of this year. (Doug Clarke & Bohdan Nahaylo) MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN BELARUS AND UKRAINE. Interfax on 19 November reported that a package of military agreements was being prepared for the 26 November visit of a Belarusian government delegation to Kiev. Some provisions dealt with cooperation in air defense, and the sharing of air fields and firing ranges. The report said that cadets from one republic would be allowed to continue their studies in military schools of the other republic free of charge. Belarusian Air Force pilots would train in Ukrainian flying schools. In addition, neither republic would obstruct the repatriation of servicemen from the other republic serving on its territory. (Doug Clarke) SHAKHRAI PUTS FORCES IN NORTH OSSETIA AND INGUSHETIA ON ALERT. The head of the provisional administration in North Ossetia and Ingushetia, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai has ordered Russian forces in the North Ossetia-Ingush conflict zone to be in a state of heightened combat readiness, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 19-November. The grounds given for the order were that the provisions of Yeltsin's decree declaring a state of emergency were not being fully implemented: not all weapons had been confiscated, hostages exchanged, or armed units disbanded, and shooting incidents were continuing. Moreover, there was information that large-scale armed provocations were in preparation. (Ann Sheehy) CIS SUMMIT POSTPONED. CIS headquarters in Minsk announced told Belinform on 19 November that the CIS Heads of State summit planned for 4 December had been put off until 18 December by mutual agreement. A delay had been anticipated because President Yeltsin and Acting Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar will be tied up with the Russian Congress of People's Deputies, which will be meeting for the first three to four days of December. (Ann Sheehy) NABIEV SUPPORTER ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF TAJIK PARLIAMENT. The Tajik parliament endorsed by 140 votes to 54 on 19 November the resignation of Akbarsho Iskandarov from the post of parliamentary chairman and acting head of state, and elected in his place, by 186 votes to 11, Emonali Rakhmonov, chairman of the Kulyab oblast executive committee and a supporter of ousted Communist President Rakhmon Nabiev, Khovar-TASS and Interfax reported. The parliament, which has been meeting in the northern town of Khodzhent under heavy guard since 16 November to try and resolve Tajikistan's leadership crisis and months long factional fighting, will discuss Nabiev's status and the resignation of the cabinet on 20 November. (Ann Sheehy) TAJIKISTAN APPEALS FOR PEACEKEEPERS. The parliament of Tajikistan has voted unanimously for the introduction of CIS peacekeeping forces into the republic, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 November. The parliamentarians adopted an appeal to the presidents of Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that calls for the Russian 201st Motor Rifle Division to take upon itself the task of peace-keeping in Tajikistan, with units from the other three Central Asian republics to be attached to it. (Stephen Foye) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CZECH PARLIAMENT ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR STATE POWER. The Czech National Council approved a resolution on 19 November declaring that it is "assuming full responsibility" for the republic. The Czech parliament "took this step to ensure" that the development toward an independent Czech state, to be established on 1 January 1993, is peaceful. CSTK reports that the resolution, which fell just short of a declaration of sovereignty, was approved by 109 votes in the 200-member Czech parliament. Most of the opposition deputies walked out before the vote. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told Czechoslovak TV that the declaration is needed to give the Czech government a "stronger mandate to do things that are necessary." The resolution came only one day after the federal parliament had failed to pass a bill on the dissolution of the federation. Slovakia declared its sovereignty on 17 July. (Jiri Pehe) VANCE AND OWEN FAIL TO OBTAIN SERB AGREEMENT IN CROATIA. Western agencies said on 19 November that international mediators Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen were unable to secure the consent of Serbs in UN "protected zones" in Croatia to disarm. The Serbs are obliged to do so under the terms of the agreement negotiated by Vance at the end of 1991, but they now say that they would be open to a Croat attack if they gave up their weapons. Real authority in the zones appears to be in the hands of armed bands of irregulars, and ethnic cleansing continues against remaining local Croats. The Croatian authorities have been improving their military capacity during 1992 and are impatient with the failure of the UN to enable Croatian civilians to return to these areas, as stipulated in the Vance agreement. The Serbs, for their part, have a centuries-old martial culture and have vowed never to return to Croatian rule, regarding the present Croatian government as incorrigibly anti-Serbian. (Patrick Moore) ALBANIA WANTS UN OBSERVERS IN MACEDONIA. RFE/RL's UN correspondent reported on 19 November that Albania's foreign minister has asked the UN secretary-general to send observers to Macedonia to prevent further interethnic bloodshed there. A clash in Skopje two weeks earlier left four dead and many more wounded. Macedonian and some Albanian spokesmen have suggested that KOS, the Serbian-dominated counterintelligence wing of the former Yugoslav army, is trying to provoke conflicts in Macedonia and Kosovo. Macedonia's population is 20-40% Albanian, depending on whose figures are used. Albanians are represented in the government, but complain that the Macedonians are not moving quickly enough to grant them full equality. (Patrick Moore) ATHENS, SKOPJE EXCHANGE HARSH WORDS. Radios Serbia and Macedonia report that on 17-November, Greek Foreign Minister Michalis Papaconstantinou gave EC envoys in Athens a map issued by a state-owned company in the Republic of Macedonia showing much of northern Greece as part of its territory. The map also shows Salonika as the capital of the new Macedonian state. Papaconstantinou described the actions as "irrefutable proof of their territorial designs" on Greece. On 18-November, the Macedonian Foreign Ministry denounced Greece's accusations, categorically denying that the government issued the map, and repeating that Skopje has no territorial designs on any of its neighbors. Meanwhile, in an interview with the Washington Post on 19 November, Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis said that his country might end its objections to Macedonia using that name for domestic purposes if it agrees to be called by another name in its international relations. (Milan Andrejevich) TURKEY CALLS FOR BALKAN CONFERENCE. Reuters on 19 November reported that Turkey has invited 10 countries to Istanbul at an unspecified time for talks on Bosnia and regional security. Asked to participate are Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, and Romania, plus the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia. The 20 November Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that Serbia was invited as well, while the Reuters account says that the rump Yugoslavia was excluded, without specifically mentioning Serbia. Turkey has strong cultural and historical ties to the Bosnian Muslims, the Albanians, and other peoples in the Balkans, and is anxious to end the fighting in Bosnia and prevent it from spreading to Kosovo, the Sandzak, or Macedonia. Ankara favors concerted international action, and takes care not to play into the hands of Serbian propaganda, which tries to depict the conflict as a religious war rather than one for land and power. (Patrick Moore) BULGARIA, TURKEY SIGN MILITARY AGREEMENTS. At a press conference on 18 November, Bulgarian Chief of General Staff Colonel General Lyuben Petrov presented a new set of measure to promote confidence-building with Turkey, BTA said. According to the "Edirne Document," signed by Petrov and his counterpart General Dogan Dures on 12-November, Bulgaria and Turkey will cooperate in the area of their common border as well as step up exchange of military information and observers. The agreement stipulates that each sides will notify the other in advance of military activities involving at least 7,000 troops, 150 battle tanks, or 150 heavy artillery pieces. The agreement, which goes further than the 1991 "Sofia Document," will come into force on 1-January 1993. (Kjell Engelbrekt) SERBIA-MONTENEGRO ELECTIONS. Radio Serbia reported on 18 November that Dobrica Cosic, president of the rump Yugoslavia, will not reschedule parliamentary and presidential elections slated to begin on 20 December. Cosic's office warned that any postponement would not be justified, adding that Montenegro also rejects further delay. Borba reported on 17 November that federal and republic-wide elections might have to be rescheduled as late as 10 January 1993 because several key opposition parties have not said whether they will participate. Opposition parties in Serbia contest the new electoral districts, demand free access to the state-controlled Belgrade TV, and have been unsuccessful in finding a presidential candidate strong enough to defeat Milosevic. The Democratic Opposition (DEPOS) and several other parties recently formed a Democratic Coalition and have been pressing Cosic to run as a candidate for Serbian president. He is unenthusiastic, but political circles in Belgrade say Cosic has not made a final decision. Earlier Vuk Draskovic, leader of the main Serbian Renewal Movement party and a member of the Democratic Opposition, said that rather than run against Milosevic himself he might endorse Cosic. (Milan Andrejevich) ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT CONFIRMS NEW CABINET. On 19 November Parliament confirmed by a 260 to 203 vote the new cabinet headed by Nicolae Vacaroiu. The government consists of 22 ministers, of whom half are members of the Democratic National Salvation Front, a leftist party which emerged as the strongest political force in Romania after elections in late September. The other half-including the prime minister-say they are independent. In an interview with Radio Bucharest after the vote, Vacaroiu said his top priority is to lead the country through a winter of anticipated economic and social difficulties. He also pledged that his cabinet will work out a detailed four-year "program of transition" in the next 2-3 months. (Dan Ionescu) NEW POLITICAL PARTY IN HUNGARY. Hungarian Radio reported on 19 November that the new Republic Party is headed by Janos Palotas, who gained TV exposure and fame during the October 1990 taxi strike. Palotas, a private businessman and independent parliamentary deputy, is a highly-popular spokesman for Hungarian entrepreneurs. The new party's platform includes inflation-resistant pensions, provision of long-term credits for university students, returning 80% of personal income tax to local governments, initiation of large infrastructure investments by the state, and support for holding of the World Exhibition in Hungary in 1996. The party wants to avoid any ideological affiliation, the organizers said, and will concentrate on practical matters. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) LITHUANIAN SUPREME COUNCIL ENDS ITS WORK. On 19 November the Supreme Council held its final session; it will lose its power when the Seimas convenes next week, Radio Lithuania reports. The session passed a law on the reinstatement of the Lithuanian National Army and ratified the tripartite agreement of the Baltic States, signed in Tallinn on 11 November, on legal assistance and legal relations. It also adopted a law "On Social Guarantees of Seimas Deputies and Government Members" that will give parliament deputies not elected to the Seimas and retiring government officials payments of six months' wages and six months' unused vacations. Parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis made a concluding speech and presented the deputies with copies of the act reinstating Lithuania's independence and the new constitution. (Saulius Girnius) WAS LANDSBERGIS OFFERED THE POST OF SEIMAS DEPUTY CHAIRMAN? Landsbergis and Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party chairman Algirdas Brazauskas have refused to give any details on their talks held on 18 November, but both have described the talks as pleasant and useful, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Landsbergis said that he would not comment on whether Brazauskas had offered him the post of Seimas deputy chairman until an official offer is made. Other LDLP officials unofficially confirmed that Brazauskas had indeed made such an offer but had not received any response. The LDLP deputies elected to the Seimas will hold their first meeting on 20 November. (Saulius Girnius) POLISH GOVERNMENT APPROVES 1993 BUDGET. The Polish government approved a draft budget for 1993, PAP reported on 19 November. The draft provides for a deficit of 81 trillion zloty. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka) 10-MONTH POLISH ECONOMIC FIGURES SHOW IMPROVEMENT. On 18 November Poland's Main Statistical Office reported a positive economic performance in October, PAP says. Industrial production rose by 4.8% over September and consumer price inflation dropped to a monthly rate of 3%. The average Pole had more purchasing power at the end of October than at the beginning of the month, as wages increased by 6%. The government budget deficit held steady over October at about 40 trillion zloty. Unemployment appeared to drop slightly, by 0.1%, holding at 13.5% of the work force. It is not clear whether this drop is due to net hiring increases or registered unemployed "falling off" lists as eligibility for benefits ended. (Erik Whitlock) SOLIDARITY THREATENS STRIKES. Solidarity's National Commission, under pressure from local organizations in large industrial enterprises, threatened on 18 November to call nationwide protest strikes if the government did not begin talks on compensation for cost of living increases. According to PAP, Solidarity's leadership also said the government's failure to implement agreements previously made with local and professional union branches, as well as its pledges on restructuring programs for regions hit by high unemployment, cast doubt on its credibility as a partner in the "Pact on Enterprises." The National Commission postponed its decision on the "Pact," which its negotiators initialed on 13 November. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka) LITHUANIA FREEZES RUSSIAN ARMY FUNDS. On 19 November Baltfax reported that a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman will appeal to his government to cut oil and gas supplies to Lithuania in response to the Bank of Lithuania's freezing 2 billion rubles transferred by Russia for the needs of its troops there. He said that Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala had given this directive orally because the Russian Central Bank had earlier blocked passage into Lithuania of Russian and CIS payments for Lithuanian goods and services worth 5 billion rubles. Viktoras Smagurauskas, chief of the bank's accounting center, told Baltfax that the transfer of this sum had indeed been suspended due to incorrect filing of bank documents but the bank had sent a telegram to the Russian Central Bank with the request to rewrite the payment orders. (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIA PROTESTS RUSSIAN SHIP. The Estonian Foreign Ministry on 19 November protested the presence of Russian warships in Estonian territorial waters, BNS reports. The protest, handed that day to Russian Ambassador Aleksander Trofimov in Tallinn, said the warships violated Estonia's sovereignty by entering Estonian waters without permission. According to earlier BNS reports, a Russian submarine and a destroyer were in the vicinity of Ruhnu Island in the Gulf of Riga from 17 to 19 November. (Riina Kionka) YELTSIN PETITIONS FOR RELEASE OF PARFENOV. Baltfax reports that on 17 November, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Press and Information Department, told a press briefing that President Boris Yeltsin had sent a letter to Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs asking him to intervene personally into the case of former OMON deputy commander Sergei Parfenov. Parfenov was arrested and deported to Latvia in October 1991. His trial is aggravating interethnic conflicts, and his return to Russia "would be a positive factor on creating favorable grounds for settling significant interstate problems, the letter says. (Saulius Girnius) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
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