|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 222, 22 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR NEW WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT REACHED BY RUSSIA AND CHECHNYA. In the evening of 16 November Russia and Chechnya reached a new agreement on the withdrawal of their forces from the disputed Chechen-Ingush border, ITAR-TASS reported. The previous agreement had been suspended after a shooting incident involving the Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev in which three Russian soldiers were wounded. Talks on defining the frontier were also suspended. Dudaev's actions were condemned by the Chechen parliament and by Russian deputy premier Sergei Shakhrai, who has been sent to oversee the state of emergency in North Ossetia and Ingushetia. The withdrawal is to start simultaneously on 17-November. (Ann Sheehy) NAZARBAEV, SHEVARDNADZE ON CIS. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev said that the CIS summit on 4 December must be decisive, Interfax reported on 16 November. Speaking in Alma-Ata, Nazarbaev said "we must finally decide whether we would work together in deeds, not words," or part without any grudge over going it alone. Georgian parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze, reiterating in a radio address on 16 November reported by Interfax that Georgia had no interest in joining the CIS, said that the very existence of the CIS was souring relations between the former Soviet republics. He said Russia and Ukraine would have found a rapport with each other but for the CIS. Belarus Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich said the same day that the summit might have to be delayed because Yeltsin would be tied up with the Russian Congress of People's Deputies which is due to convene on 1 December, Interfax reported. (Ann Sheehy) SHAPOSHNIKOV COMMANDS STRATEGIC FORCES. In an interview published in Izvestiya on 17 November, Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, the commander-in-chief of the CIS Joint Armed Forces, repeated an earlier report that he had been given command of the strategic nuclear forces (he replaced the former commander of the CIS strategic deterrence forces, General Yurii Maksimov, who was removed in mid-October). Shaposhnikov sounded uneasy about this responsibility, saying that in his view, the strategic forces command must be in Russia. He considered it "illogical" that the Russian defense minister was not in the command chain of the strategic forces. Shaposhnikov made no mention of Colonel General Igor Sergeev, named commander in chief of the Russian Strategic Forces on 22 August of this year. (Doug Clarke) ON CIS MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS. In the same interview, Shaposhnikov suggested that those CIS states that have signed the CIS Collective Security Treaty ((Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, and Tajikistan) were currently participating in the drafting of CIS military doctrine. He said that the doctrine would have a defensive character that gave priority to war prevention, and that its authors recognized that factors within the CIS-including local conflicts, territorial disputes between newly sovereign states, the uncertain status of Russian forces outside of Russia, and unconstitutional troop formations-now constituted the main military threat. Shaposhnikov envisioned the creation of CIS peacekeeping forces, which would include units specially allocated by each member state. These units would apparently be subordinated to their national military commands and, in times of need, would also be operationally subordinated to the CIS joint command. Shaposhnikov recommended the retention of joint air forces and air defense forces, and said that the CIS forces should be on par with the best militaries in the world. (Stephen Foye) KRAVCHUK SAYS WEST IGNORING UKRAINE'S INTEREST. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk warned the visiting NATO Supreme Allied Commander that his country's parliament could vote against ratifying the START strategic arms treaty if NATO countries did not provide Ukraine with military and economic assistance. Reuters quoted him as telling US General John Shalikashvili that the situation was "completely incomprehensible. Poland and Hungary get support and Ukraine goes unnoticed." He added that the two superpowers, Russia and the United States could not guarantee global security. "We must find a formula to guarantee the security of the former states of the Soviet Union, Europe and the world at large," he said; "not just [of] the two superpowers."(Doug Clarke) YELTSIN MOVES TO CONTROL CENTRAL BANK. President Yeltsin issued a decree on 16-November making the chairman of the Central Bank a member of the Russian government, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Under the current chairmanship of Viktor Gerashchenko, Central Bank policies have often conflicted with those of the government. Yeltsin and his team have had little legal power to overcome the conflict as current Russian law states that the bank is responsible to parliament, not the government. The Yeltsin decree is apparently a backhand move to gain more control of central bank policy and/or remove Gerashchenko himself. It remains unclear yet whether the decree contradicts or successfully finds a hole in existing Russian law. (Erik Whitlock) YELTSIN AND RUTSKOI TALK TOUGH ON RUBLE ZONE. At the government meeting on 16 November President Yeltsin proposed that states of the former Soviet Union leaving the ruble zone should pay hard currency and world prices for Russian energy products, "Vesti" reported. Although new payment terms are already being introduced in the Baltic states, former Soviet republics generally pay in rubles at artificially low prices. Russian Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi was also urging a more aggressive economic policy towards CIS states on the same day. On a visit to Orenburg, Rutskoi announced that Russia should introduce its own new currency to prevent the flood of rubles from republics leaving the zone, according to Interfax. "We must put an end to jokes with the ruble and we shall see who depends on whom," he said. (Erik Whitlock) GAIDAR THREATENS RESIGNATION. Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar indicated at a meeting with heads of local administrations on 16 November that he will resign if the Congress, which starts on 1-December, reduces the powers of the president and adopts amendments to the Constitution which would subordinate the executive branch entirely to the parliament, ITAR-TASS reported. Gaidar said that he thinks President Yeltsin will not sign the law, recently adopted by the parliament, that would give the legislature overall control over the government's day to day work. Gaidar stated that Yeltsin was preparing a decree delegating more of the former federative rights to the local authorities. (Alexander Rahr) SHUMEIKO ATTACKS PARLIAMENT. First Vice Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko told ITAR-TASS on 14 November that no personnel changes should be made in the composition of the government. He stated that the reformist government would have to leave the stage "when the situation stabilizes, but not now." He said that if the Congress decides to alter the Constitution in order to deprive the president of the power to choose his ministers, "a tough battle" may be expected. He noted that the Law on the Government, adopted recently by parliament, deprives the government of all its powers, and said that he had recommended to the president that he take that issue to the Constitutional Court to prove that the law is unconstitutional. (Alexander Rahr) SHAKHRAI BECOMES MEMBER OF SECURITY COUNCIL. The newly appointed Vice Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai has become a full member of the Security Council, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 November. The Security Council counted five members: President Boris Yeltsin, Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar, First Deputy parliamentary speaker Sergei Filatov and Secretary of the Security Council, Yurii Skokov. Shakhrai had not so long ago criticized Yeltsin for building up the power of the Security Council, and had warned that hardliners could use it to grasp power. With the addition of Shakhrai, representatives of the reformist camp have gained an absolute majority in the Security Council. (Alexander Rahr) KOZYREV DEFENSIVE AT DEFENSE AND FOREIGN POLICY COUNCIL. Speaking at the Council for Defense and Foreign Policy on 16 November, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev denied that Russia's foreign policy "gives priority to either [a] pro-American or pro-European course." He faulted those in and out of the Russian government who are pushing for "anti-Americanism," something Kozyrev termed a "childish illness." He said the recently completed draft foreign policy "concept" was a very broad and philosophical document that would not be used to make practical foreign policy decisions, Interfax reported on 15-November. (Suzanne Crow) OPTIMISTIC 1993 RUSSIAN DRAFT BUDGET APPROVED. The Russian government approved a draft budget for next year on 16 November which envisages a deficit of 4.8% of GNP, Reuter reported. There are serious doubts about whether the 1993 projection is realistic. (Finance Minister Barchuk, for example, just before the draft budget was approved, announced that the 1993 deficit would be 8% of GNP, according to ITAR-TASS.) The government budget also assumes more success fighting inflation next year. Calculations were made based on a 70% annual inflation rate. This implies a monthly rate of under 5% which compares to the current rate of over 20%. (Erik Whitlock) PRESIDENTIAL DECREES ON PRIVATIZATION. A new presidential decree on privatization of state enterprises envisages that the state will retain controlling share holdings in key branches of the economy, including communications, energy, military hardware, and alcoholic beverages for up to three years. Another decree provides for the sale of state-owned facilities by auction for privatization vouchers. Monday's government debate of the state privatization program for 1993 suggests that most shares in state property will be sold through such voucher auctions. More than 200 enterprises have already offered to sell shares in these auctions. One of the first privatization voucher auctions is scheduled to be held in Vladimir on 15 December, where up to 40% of shares in the Eleks joint stock company is due to be sold, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 16 November. (Sheila Marnie) GENERAL WARNS TO GO SLOW ON ARMY CUTS. Lt. General Viktor Samoilov, Russian deputy chief of staff for personnel, told a private conference in Washington on 16 November that personnel cuts in the Russian military should be slowed down to avoid overwhelming the economy with thousands of job-seekers, Reuters reported. Samoilov explained that some 600,000 officers would be let go by the military by 1995 under the present plans. He recommended that these cuts should be spread out until the year 2000. He warned of serious resultant social consequences if the changes were made too quickly. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN MILITARY DRAFT DAY. President Yeltsin declared 15 November to be All-Russian Draft Day, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. According to a Russian General who deals with personnel matters in the Defense Ministry, Lt. Gen. Konstantin Bogdanov, the day was marked as part of an effort to raise the prestige of military service. Bogdanov suggested that conscription into the new Russian army was not progressing in a satisfactory manner. It was unclear from the report if draft day is to be a yearly event. (Stephen Foye) THE CRIMEA: ANOTHER KIND OF REFERENDUM. Another referendum campaign is underway in the Crimea, this time to force the dissolution of the Crimean parliament, Radio Rossii reported on 15-November. The organizers are "Rukh," the Ukrainian Republican Party, the coalition "The Crimea with Ukraine," and various other local groups with a pro-Ukrainian orientation. Previous supporters of referendums supported one or another form of self-determination for the peninsula. (Roman Solchanyk) MOLDOVA ON UKRAINE'S CONCERN OVER RUSSIAN FORCES IN MOLDOVA. Writing in Nezavisimaya Moldova of 14 November on Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk's recent visit to Moldova, the Moldovan President's adviser Vadim Malakhov noted Kiev's concern over the "Dniester republic" possibly seceding from Moldova. That would enable Russia to keep its 14th Army there indefinitely and to send in additional forces. Ukraine views the "Dniester republic" as "a forward base for Russian aggression" and has accordingly concluded that its own interests require it to support Moldova's territorial integrity. The thrust of Ukraine's policy in the Dniester area in the period ahead will to work against Russia's influence there, Malaakhov said, as cited by Moldovan media and by Ekho Moskvy. (Vladimir Socor) KHODZHALY INVESTIGATION ESTABLISHES RUSSIAN MILITARY PARTICIPATION. The commission set up by the Azerbaijani National Council to investigate the circumstances of the killing of 450-Azerbaijani civilians in the Karabakh village of Khodzhaly in February has delivered its findings in a two-hour televised report, according to Izvestiya of 13-November. The commission established that troops of the Russian 366th regiment that were then stationed in Stepanakert participated in the action alongside Armenian armed units from Karabakh, and laid the blame for the tragedy on former President Mutalibov and ex-Prime Minister Hasan Hasanov. (Liz Fuller) SHEVARDNADZE: "TIME IS RUNNING OUT" FOR ABKHAZ SETTLEMENT. In a letter to the UN Security Council made public on 16 November, Georgian parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze claims that the conflict in Abkhazia is intensifying; he reproaches the UN for failing to take "concrete steps" to halt the fighting and calls upon the Security Council to reaffirm past resolutions calling for a peaceful settlement. On 11 November, UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali suggested that the UN Security Council should call for unconditional high-level talks with the objective of achieving a ceasefire and subsequent implementation of the 3 September agreement. (Liz Fuller) "DNIESTER" LEADER, RUSSIAN MILITARY DIGGING IN. "Dniester republic president" Igor Smirnov told Reuters on 15 November that his would-be state continued to support the ideas of "the Great October Revolution." Should hostilities resume, Russia's 14th Army and other, unspecified forces, will "knock Moldova around a bit," Smirnov said. The 14th Army's commander, Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed, launched a recruiting drive for his Army in the "Dniester republic," the Moldovan news agency BASA reported from Tiraspol on 15-November. Local conscripts will henceforth have the option to serve in either the "Dniester" forces or Russia's 14th Army for a starting wage of 3,000 to 4,000 rubles per month, Lebed and the "Dniester republic"'s military commissar told a ceremonial gathering of draftees held under the Russian and Soviet Moldovan flags. An officer of Russia's "peacekeeping forces" in eastern Moldova in turn told Reuters that he would "vote with both hands for the recreation of the USSR." (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN VOTES TO TIGHTEN SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA-MONTENEGRO. International media reported on 16 November that the Security Council voted overwhelmingly to impose a blockade on the Adriatic and the Danube against the rump Yugoslavia. Force could be used, but the resolution was not specific about the circumstances under which that provision would obtain. The UN is also to monitor transit shipments of strategic goods across Serbia-Montenegro. Petroleum and other supplies allegedly transiting Serbia to Bosnia or other destinations have been reaching Serbian markets in quantity, effectively rendering the sanctions imposed in May useless and enriching an often shadowy class of merchants, smugglers, and speculators. The UN did not, however, agree to pleas from Bosnia and many Islamic countries to modify the weapons embargo on all former Yugoslav republics to enable the Bosnian forces, which have ample manpower but are poorly armed, to obtain weapons abroad. Hungarian and Albanian delegates warned that the conflagration could spread unless the Serb practice of "ethnic cleansing" is stopped, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Patrick Moore) MORE ON LEAKY BULGARIAN CONTROLS. Leading up to the Security Council decision, several reports confirm Bulgaria's losing battle to enforce sanctions. On 15 and 16 November Bulgarian officials and CSCE monitors told Western agencies about the tireless efforts of sanction-busters to circumvent the oil embargo by listing destinations other than Serbia and Montenegro as final recipients in transport documents. Bulgarian customs officials in Kalotina northwest of Sofia estimate that since the embargo went into force some 100,000 tons of fuel have been sent into Serbian-controlled areas by rail alone. Officials in Petrich said tanker trucks brought 1,000 tons of Greek oil across the Bulgarian-Macedonian border daily, a large portion of which is likely to have reached rump Yugoslavia. CSCE monitors supported the Bulgarian view that the only way of making sure that sanctions work would be to follow each transport to its final destination. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BOSNIAN UPDATE. Western news agencies reported on 16 November that Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian military leaders have reached an agreement with UN commander Gen. Philippe Morillon to open a relief corridor connecting Sarajevo with Mostar. The Bosnian capital is linked by road and rail to Mostar and beyond to the Dalmatian highway and the Adriatic. For months the Bosnian authorities have been wondering aloud why the Croats do not use their forces to open the corridor, most of which the Croats already control. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that international negotiators Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen are losing patience with Bosnian Serb negotiators, who insist on keeping much of the territory they have taken by force. Spokesmen for Vance and Owen said that the international community will never recognize gains obtained by violence. (Patrick Moore) CLINTON TO KEEP OPTIONS OPEN IN YUGOSLAV CRISIS. On 16 November Reuters quoted president-elect Bill Clinton as saying that "there are many options that we have for dealing with the problem in Bosnia and the potential problem in Kosovo short of sending troops in, but beyond where have been now." He added that he will keep his options open at least until he takes office in January. During the campaign Clinton criticized the Bush administration for not being sufficiently assertive in using American influence in the Balkans and for delaying in recognizing Croatia and Slovenia. In recent days the Croatian media have been meticulously cataloging and analyzing Clinton's campaign statements, and frequently predicting that American air power may come to play a role in the crisis. (Patrick Moore) HAVEL WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT OF NEW CZECH STATE. Former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel announced on 16 November that he will run in the Czech Republic's presidential elections. In a statement from his press office obtained by RFE/RL, Havel said that the new Czech state will face many difficulties and that he can not simply bail out from all responsibility. The former president also said that the Czech government's actions will determine the lives of Czechs for many decades. It is not yet clear when the elections will be held, nor whether the first Czech president will be elected in a popular vote or by the Czech parliament. (Jan Obrman) AFTERMATH OF LDLP ELECTION TRIUMPH. The final results of the runoff elections to the Lithuanian Seimas have not been officially announced, because absentee ballots and votes from abroad could change the preliminary results in seven districts where the vote totals differ by fewer than 500 votes. If there are no changes, the Lithuanian Democratic Party (LDLP, the former Lithuanian Communist Party) won 35-seats, the Sajudis coalition-7, Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party-5, Lithuanian Social Democratic Party-3, the Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees-2, National Union of Lithuania-2, and 1-each by the Independence Party, the Union of Poles, the Center Movement, the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Union, and a candidate who nominated himself, Lietuvos aidas reports. LDLP clearly did better than they expected: they had listed only 71 candidates in their multimandate list of which they won 36-seats. With the 8 seats won in the first round, they scored wins in 43 of the 71 single-mandate districts, only 5 candidates of which were not on the list. Thus, 3 seats to which the LDLP would be entitled will be distributed to other parties. (Saulius Girnius) ROMANIA SIGNING ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT WITH EC. The association agreement between Romania and the European Community is to be signed on 17 November in Brussels, Radio Bucharest reports. An RFE/RL correspondent in the Belgian capital reports that the agreement will not come into effect until it is ratified by the Romanian and European parliaments, but it contains a clause that allows the trade provisions to become operative even before ratification. The two sides agreed on trade concessions in fish products, processed food, and iron and steel, giving Romania improved access to the community's market. On the main subject of debate, agriculture, the Romanians were given provisions similar to those granted to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. (Michael Shafir). TOP EC OFFICIALS IN SOFIA. On 16 November a delegation of the European Community held talks with leading Bulgarian politicians, including President Zhelyu Zhelev and Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov. The officials-Pablo Benavides, director of the Foreign Affairs Directorate of the EC Commission, Daniel Gugenbuel, head of the Directorate's East European department, and foreign relations adviser Michael Lee-told reporters they are in Sofia to discuss issues related to the ongoing negotiations on Bulgaria's association with the EC. The daily Standart quoted Gugenbuel as saying that the EC is considering the possibility of offering Bulgaria an agreement similar to that of the Visegrad Three-Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Benavides said at least two rounds of negotiations are needed before an agreement can be signed. (Kjell Engelbrekt) POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS BRITAIN. Polish Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz arrived in Britain on 17 November for an official visit. He is scheduled to meet with high-ranking British defense officials and talk with representatives of the British defense industry. According to a PAP report, Onyszkiewicz will also visit several military bases. Onyszkiewicz's visit follows a similar recent trip to the United States. (Jan de Weydenthal) GERMAN-HUNGARIAN TALKS ON MILITARY DELIVERIES. Germany is willing to supply Hungary with military spare parts from the arsenal of the ex-GDR, German state secretary, Bernd Wilz, announced on 16 November in Budapest, according to an MTI report. While his government is very cautious about approving military deliveries, Wilz said, Germany well remembers Hungary's good treatment of East German refugees and will try to help to solve Hungary's military problems now. Wilz's talks in Budapest also touched on future military cooperation between the two countries. About 18 Hungarian officers will receive training in Germany next year. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) ABISALA CONCLUDES TRIP TO US. On 15 November Lithuanian Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala concluded his five-day visit to the US, Radio Lithuania reports. On 13-November he spoke by telephone with vice president-elect Al Gore, who told him that he and Bill Clinton are "very concerned" about the continued presence of Russian troops in the Baltic States, noting that the Senate has already decided to link US financial aid to Russia with the troop withdrawal. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venoman pledged that the US will send 200,000 tons of corn to Lithuania, which will have only to pay for its transport, and offered Lithuania a low-interest $5 million loan for purchasing grain. Abisala also met with IMF Director-General Michel Camdessus and other senior officials. On 14 and 15-November Abisala addressed the Lithuanian communities in Philadelphia and Baltimore. (Saulius Girnius) CSCE HUMAN RIGHTS TEAM TO ESTONIA. An international team of experts sponsored by the CSCE will visit Estonia early next month to investigate Russian allegations of human rights violations there. An RFE/RL correspondent in Warsaw reports that the visit was announced on 16 November during a CSCE symposium. Ever since last June, when Russia began linking alleged human rights abuses in the Baltic to maintained troop presence, Estonia has repeatedly asked the CSCE and other international organizations to send in teams to monitor the situation. (Riina Kionka) RUSSIANS THINK BALTS ARE HOSTILE, SAYS POLL. A recent poll of leading Russian opinion makers shows the three Baltic States at the top of a list of foreign countries regarded as being hostile to Russia. According to an October poll conducted by the Russian Department of Public Opinion Research among parliamentarians, party and military leaders, and other influential persons, some 70% of the respondents named Estonia as being the country most hostile to Russia, followed by 62% for Latvia and 58% for Lithuania. The countries regarded most friendly toward Russia included Kazakhstan (86% of the respondents), Germany (55%) and the US (44%). Only 5% of those questioned considered Estonia to be either "a friendly country" or "Russia's ally." BNS, citing Interfax, reported the results of the survey, released on 16 November at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Council for Foreign Policy meeting held that day in Moscow. (Riina Kionka) RAISED PASSIONS CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR RUSSIANS IN BALTIC. At the same Council of Foreign Policy meeting, Russian experts warned against exciting passions over the situation of the Russian minority in the Baltic states and other republics of the former USSR. Ednan Agayev, head of the Foreign Ministry's Analysis Department, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 16 November that participants in the meeting agreed that raised passions will cause more problems for the minorities themselves especially in the Baltic States. Agayev said the recommendations will be considered in the preparation of Foreign Ministry guidelines on relations with the former Soviet republics. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA LAUNCHES PRIVATIZATION BIDDING. On 17 November the Estonian counterpart to Germany's Treuhand privatization agency published a list of 38 large enterprises set for sale by bid. BNS reports that textile, furniture, footwear, and electronics manufacturers are among the 38, which include the well-known Kreenholm textile plant in Narva, the Kommunaar shoe factory in Tallinn, and the Kalev confectionery company, also in Tallinn. Together, the 38 enterprises currently employ some 26,000 persons. Bids will be taken until 22 December, and only those proposals with bank guarantees covering 5% of the total bid will be accepted. The privatization agency will decide on all bids within 90-days. (Riina Kionka) NOTICE: The RFE/RL Daily Report will not appear 18 November, which is a public holiday. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
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