The burnt child shuns the fire until the next day. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 236, 09 December 1992


by the Congress of People's Deputies on 7 December that incorporate
for the first time the concept of property owned by corporations
and private citizens into the Russian constitution, Interfax
and AFP reported. Under the amendments, private property is given
the same status and protection under the constitution as collective,
state, and city property and that owned by public groups. One
of the amendments says that natural resources may be privately
owned. (Keith Bush)

Boris Yeltsin has asked Congress to approve Egor Gaidar as prime
minister, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 December. He described Gaidar
as an economic specialist who started the reforms as an academic
but now understands real life economic problems as well. Yeltsin
noted that he had considered also other candidates before he
selected Gaidar. He added that he will make personnel changes
in the cabinet and a "purge"of the government's bureaucracy.
In a concession to the Congress, Yeltsin said that he was willing
to submit his ministerial nominees for security, foreign affairs,
interior affairs, and defense to parliament for confirmation.
A proposed constitutional amendment to that effect had previously
failed to pass at the Congress. Presidential advisor Sergei Stankevich
said this concession may win Yeltsin 50-60 more votes. (Alexander

deputies were divided in their reaction to President Yeltsin's
proposal to submit his nominees for foreign, defense, interior
and security ministers for parliamentary approval. Vasilii Lipitsky
of the Civic Union told an RFE/RL correspondent that he was pleased
with Yeltsin's proposal. But a leader of the "Smena" faction
in the Congress, Andrei Golovin, said that the Congress should
press for enlarging the list of cabinet posts requiring parliamentary
approval-it should include the economic and finance ministers
and the deputy prime ministers. The RFE/RL correspondent also
quoted a member of the Democratic Russia faction, Father Gleb
Yakunin, as criticizing Yeltsin from the opposite point of view,
namely, for conceding too much to Congress. Yakunin and other
democratic deputies expressed their fear that foreign minister
Andrei Kozyrev, who has been constantly attacked by the parliament,
would be the first victim of Yeltsin's conciliatory attitude.
(Vera Tolz)

session of the Congress on 8 December, deputies discussed those
constitutional amendments that were suggested by President Yeltsin.
All but one of them failed to win the necessary two-thirds of
the vote. Among those that failed was an amendment empowering
the president to call for a national referendum. Currently, a
referendum can be initiated only by the parliament, a third or
more of the deputies in the Congress, or by one million citizens
together. On the other hand, the hardline opposition failed to
gain passage of an amendment stating that the president would
automatically lose his position if he disbanded Congress, parliament,
the constitutional court, or any other constitutionally elected
body. Yeltsin's supporters successfully argued against the adoption
of this amendment, arguing that the Constitution already forbids
the president from taking any of the aforementioned steps. (Julia

According to an Interfax report of 7 December, President Yeltsin
is to sign an agreement with China for the construction of a
2-Megawatt nuclear power plant during his visit to Beijing from
17-19 December. Construction of the plant will apparently be
financed by a $2 billion credit from Russia to China, to be paid
over 15 years at a 4% interest rate. According to a department
chief in the Russian Foreign Economics Ministry, Russia is also
exploring similar arrangements to finance the construction of
1 Megawatt plants in Iran and Pakistan. China has been criticized
by the West for its arms and nuclear technology sales, including
those to Iran and Pakistan, and the projected deals are likely
to meet with strong Western objections. (John Lepingwell)

GAIDAR'S LATEST PROJECTIONS. Speaking to deputies and journalists
during a break at the Congress on 8 December, Gaidar offered
some projections for the Russian economy, Interfax and Western
agencies reported. He reckoned that the recession would continue
through 1993, but by 1995 output would surpass the 1991 level.
Gaidar criticized the Congress's proposal immediately to index
savings, saying that this would raise prices by a factor of 20.
Noting that the price of natural gas was too low, he announced
that this would increase after 1 January. He seems to have said
that oil prices would not be adjusted upwards for some time,
although these are about 7% of the world price at the current
rate of exchange and thus distort the entire price structure.
(Keith Bush)

UKRAINE RESELLING RUSSIAN OIL? Gaidar also referred to the reselling
by other former Soviet republics for hard currency of Russian
oil that, for the most part, they purchase for rubles at advantageous
rates. He cited the "normalization" of customs controls on Russia's
border with Ukraine as having saved over $2-billion in lost income
this year. In this connection, Interfax on 8 December mentioned
a check on Ukrainian petroleum products firms that uncovered
the resale of Russian oil and irregularities in accounting for
it. (Keith Bush)

to repay another $3.7-million due to cover its US government-backed
food loans, meaning that the total in arrears now amounts to
$24.4 million dollars, according to Reuters on 8-December. Russia
has been suspended from the credit program since late November
due to late payments to lending institutions. The credit is used
mainly to finance the import of US grain. The US Agricultural
Department considers this to be a temporary problem, but the
suspension has already held up further credits of $171 million,
and is putting the $275 million due to be released in January
in jeopardy. A US banking source is quoted as saying that the
Russians are looking for an agreement on debt relief before embarking
on further purchases of foreign food and grain. (Sheila Marnie)

for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) released preliminary
1992 results for the region's agricultural sector in Izvestiya
on 7 December. Although most CIS republics only managed to match
last year's numbers, total grain production was up 18% for the
CIS as a whole boosted by Kazakhstan's record harvest. Other
agricultural branches did not fair as well in general. State
procurement of potatoes and processed sugar, for example, are
down from last year's levels. Worse still was the performance
of livestock and livestock products: meat production fell 14%;
milk, 12%. Finally, CIS komstat reports that private production
in agriculture increased somewhat relative to the state, but
that the shift was as yet insignificant. (Erik Whitlock)

RUBLE FALLS. On the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange on 8 December,
the ruble fell to 419 rubles to the dollar, against 398 rubles
on 4 December. Volume was $58 million. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN COAL MINERS HOLD CONGRESS. The Independent Union of Miners
is holding a congress in the Siberian town of Vorkuta, Reuters
reported on 8-December. The union was created last year, and
it represents approximately one quarter of Russia's 200,000 underground
miners. Miners in the Kuzbass coalfields earn 45,000 rubles a
month, about six times the national average, but they are demanding
higher pensions as well as better health insurance, which they
say is necessary due to dangerous work conditions caused by decades
of under investment. According to leaders of the union, the mining
industry still has basic problems which were not solved by the
strikes of 1989 and 1991. The chairman is quoted as saying that
the union supports the Russian president, but not the current
economic reforms. He claims that the Russian people are being
"experimented on," and that they do not have enough say in government
policy. Strike action is not being considered for the moment.
(Sheila Marnie)

KOZYREV ON CIS ANNIVERSARY. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
acknowledged the first anniversary of the founding of the CIS
in an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta on 8 December. He said
the creation of the CIS had saved the former Soviet Union from
the type of war raging in former Yugoslavia. Admitting that many
things could have been done better in terms of the Commonwealth's
development, Kozyrev said that the situation was urgent and required
immediate decisions. (Suzanne Crow)

the Russian Navy on 8-December said that the navy "categorically"
objects to the raising of the nuclear-powered submarine Komsomolets
which sank in the Norwegian Sea in April 1989. Interfax quoted
Captain Valerii Bulatov, deputy chief of the navy staff's department
for radiological and chemical security, as saying that it might
be possible to lift only the forward section of the boat containing
two nuclear-armed torpedoes. Recently, environmentalists have
been worried that the sunken submarine, with its nuclear reactor
and torpedoes, could become an ecological disaster. In 1991 the
Soviets commissioned a Dutch salvage company to lift the submarine
to the surface, but the project was soon postponed until at least
1993 because of a lack of funds. (Doug Clarke)

Turkish Foreign Minister and vice premier Erdal Inonu, on a one-day
visit to Baku on 8 December, implied that Turkey would implement
an agreement to supply electricity to Armenia only if what he
termed "occupying forces" were withdrawn from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Inonu also told the Azerbaijani parliament that Azerbaijan and
Armenia should aim for a negotiated settlement of the Karabakh
conflict, Interfax reported. In Erevan, a spokesman for President
Levon Ter-Petrossyan told the RFE/RL Russian Service that the
Armenian President has addressed an appeal for humanitarian aid,
specifically food, fuel and medical supplies, to CIS states and
the UN. (Liz Fuller)

RUSSIA APPEALS TO UN ON ABKHAZIA. Russia is circulating an appeal
at the UN calling for a resolution on Abkhazia on the grounds
that the number of victims of the conflict there is increasing
and the economy is on the verge of collapse, ITAR-TASS reported
on 8 December. The appeal also calls on all parties in the conflict
to honor the 3 September ceasefire agreement. In a letter to
President Yeltsin cited by Interfax on 8 December, Abkhaz parliament
chairman Vladislav Ardzinba complained that Abkhazia's future
is being decided by Russian-Georgian talks from which Abkhazia
has been excluded; Ardzinba also charged that Moscow is supporting
Georgia by supplying weapons. (Liz Fuller)

UN SAYS TAJIK REFUGEES DROWNED. On 8-December a spokeswoman for
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees told correspondents in
Geneva that about 200 refugees from Tajikistan are reported to
have drowned while trying to cross the Amu Darya into Afghanistan
to escape the fighting in their homeland. Western correspondents
said that the UN official gave a figure of 5,000 refugees from
Tajikistan who crossed into Afghanistan on 6-December. She added
that communication with the area where thousands of refugees
are massed on the Tajik-Afghan border is very poor, but temperatures
in the region are known to have fallen below zero; a Russian
border official said earlier that the refugees were out of food.
(Bess Brown)

DUSHANBE PREPARES FOR ATTACK. Western agencies and Radio Rossii
reported on 8-December that Islamic and democratic defenders
of Dushanbe have begun handing out arms to the city's population
in anticipation of an attack by pro-Communist forces in the Gissar
Valley west of the Tajik capital. An attack from Gissar was stopped
earlier in the week when Russian troops intervened. Dushanbe
TV reported that a group of some 400 women from Dushanbe, including
a number of refugees, met with commanders of the pro- Communist
forces and demanded a ceasefire. According to a spokesman for
Tajikistan's National Security Committee, the women obtained
a promise from the pro-Communists to meet with commanders of
the anti-Communist defenders of the city. (Bess Brown)

UZBEKISTAN ADOPTS CONSTITUTION. Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet adopted
the country's first post-independence constitution on 8 December,
Western and Moscow news agencies reported. The draft included
guarantees of freedom of conscience and travel, and a statement
that Uzbekistan should be a pluralist democracy, ideals which
members of the Uzbek opposition complain are not being observed.
The new constitution codifies the president's right to appoint
regional and town governors who answer directly to him. (Bess

DRUGS FROM CENTRAL ASIA. Increasing production of opium in Central
Asia could mean a new source of illegal drugs for the West and
Asia, according to a Reuters report of 8-December. Although there
are no accurate figures on opium production, one western analyst
quotes an estimate of 121,400 hectares, which would make the
former Central Asian republics the biggest opium producer after
Burma. Drug trafficking is supposedly flourishing in the chaos
following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the relaxation
of border controls. The economic incentive for the local population
to get involved in the production and trafficking of opium are
great because of the concomitant opportunities to earn hard currency.
(Sheila Marnie)

FORCES. Commenting on the new round of transfers of equipment
from Russia's 14th Army to "Dniester" insurgent forces in eastern
Moldova, and on impending transfers of personnel, Colonel Nicolae
Chirtoaca, President Mircea Snegur's military adviser, told an
RFE/RL correspondent that the transfers may render any future
agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Army from Moldova "symbolic
and purely formal," since the Army would simply have changed
names from Russian to "Dniester" to stay in Moldova. Chirtoaca
reiterated Chisinau's position that the involvement of international
organizations is required if the Moldovan-Russian troop negotiations
are to lead to any results. Moldova's Defense Minister, Lt. General
Pavel Creanga, in turn told journalists in Chisinau, as cited
by Basapress on 3-December, that the presence of UN and CSCE
observers on the Dniester and at the Moldovan-Russian troop negotiations
is necessary in order to help bring about the Russian troops'
withdrawal from Moldova and thus "to secure peace in this part
of Europe". (Vladimir Socor)


media reported on 8 December that Serb forces have sealed off
all of Sarajevo and placed tanks on the main road leading to
the now closed airport. Massive shelling of the Olympic Village
and other residential areas was shown on German TV. In a major
policy reversal, Serb authorities said that all persons, regardless
of nationality or age, who want to leave the city should prepare
to do so, and that their safety will be guaranteed. Until now
it has been very difficult to leave Sarajevo, although the Serbs
have practiced ethnic cleansing on certain neighborhoods. The
latest announcement could be an attempt at ethnic cleansing of
the entire city of 380,000 prior to a "final" assault. (Patrick

Washington Post said that the State Department released to the
UN the previous day its fourth report this year on atrocities
in the former Yugoslavia. Most cases involve actions by Serbs
against Muslims and Croats. Reuters said that the French medical
charity Doctors Without Borders has prepared testimony for the
UN and Red Cross based on 60 interviews with refugees. In addition
to reports of murder, rape, and torture, the study includes the
names of ten previously unreported Serbian concentration camps.
On 9 December the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that Rupert
Neudeck of the human rights charity Kap Anamur told the Women's
and Youth Affairs Committee of the German parliament about evidence
he observed in Bosnia, Croatia, and Vojvodina of Serbian crimes
against Muslim women. He cited the existence of one bordello
near Vukovar with at least 200 Muslim women as well as other
specific cases, including ones of traffic in human beings. Neudeck
said that what he saw reminded him of what he had seen as a boy
at the hands of Soviet troops in eastern Germany in 1945. The
Frankfurt daily added that a Bosnian human rights group claims
that it has the names of 500-Serbian "war criminals." (Patrick

December Reuters reported that the European Community Executive
Commission has told Athens to stop private distributors from
breaking the UN-imposed sanctions. One diplomat said that, in
particular, "the Greeks [are] pouring oil into Serbia by road,
rail, and sea." Greece alone of the EC countries enjoys close
relations with Serbia, and there has been widespread speculation
in the European media that Athens and Belgrade would like to
partition Macedonia between them. At the EC summit later this
week Greece is expected to come under pressure to stop blocking
EC recognition of Macedonia. (Patrick Moore)

on 8-December that authorities in rump Yugoslavia have released
a Romanian tugboat and six barges held for about a week in retaliation
for Romania's enforcement of the UN blockade. On the same day,
Romanian TV said that, in addition to the six vessels detained
between 21-November and 6 December, three more Danube ships were
detained in Romanian ports on 8-December. One, a Yugoslav ship,
will be detained indefinitely, while one Hungarian and one Bulgarian
vessel will be allowed to sail after verification of their documents.
The three vessels had been transporting crude oil, coal, ore,
and aluminum from Ukraine to Austria and Bulgaria. (Michael Shafir).

LIVE BUGS IN CONSULATE. Czechoslovak Interior Minister Petr Cermak
said on 8-December that the electronic listening devices found
at the US consulate in Bratislava last week were active, Reuters
reports. Cermak said that this was confirmed to him by CIA officials
who investigated the incident. Cermak's statement contradicts
those of Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and other Slovak
officials, who implied that the devices had been planted by the
State Security agency before the toppling of the communist regime
in November 1989 and had not been in use since then. (Jan Obrman)

BRAZAUSKAS CHOOSES HIS TEAM. On 8 December the Lithuanian press
recorded the appointment of several advisers to Acting President
Algirdas Brazauskas, BNS and Baltfax report. Four consultants
comprise the core of his Center for Political Analysis: economist
Eugenijus Maldeikis, sociologist Arvydas Matulionis, and politicians
Algimantas Norvilas and Petras Vaitiekunas. Former Tiesa correspondent
R. Gelezevicius is adviser for internal policy. R. Bogdanis will
advise on Western policy and D.-Trinkunas on Eastern policy.
Z. Vaigauskas will serve as adviser on legal matters. The officials
belong to various political parties and some also served previous
Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis. (Dzintra Bungs)

POLAND'S PRIVATIZATION PLANS FOR 1993. Meeting on 8 December,
the Polish government approved the gist of the "privatization
guidelines" for 1993 proposed by the Ministry of Ownership Transformations.
According to Gazeta Wyborcza of 8 December, ownership changes
will be accelerated in 1993: 8-10 large firms will be privatized
through the public sale of shares; 600 firms will be subject
to mass privatization, provided parliament approves pending legislation;
and 400-600 firms will be dissolved and their assets leased to
companies formed by employees. Revenues from privatization are
expected to amount to 8.8-trillion zloty; privatization costs
are estimated at 600 billion zloty. Between 1500 and 2000 state
firms are to be "commercialized" in the next two years. The Sejm
is also expected to pass a long-awaited reprivatization bill;
the government anticipates that compensation will take the symbolic
form of coupons rather than the more costly restoration of property.
(Louisa Vinton)

SOLIDARITY UNSWAYED IN STRIKE RESOLVE. Solidarity unionists announced
on 8-December that talks with the government on the cost of living
have yielded no results, and that a two-hour warning strike scheduled
for 14 December will go ahead as planned. The union demands measures
to reverse this year's decline in real income, including relaxed
wage controls, increases in the minimum wage and pensions, and
increased housing supports for the poor. Labor Minister Jacek
Kuron agreed on 8 December only to discuss the minimum wage.
A union spokesman complained to Gazeta Wyborcza of 9-October
that the government is offering only "sweat and tears," but Kuron
argued that the government's hands are tied by the 1992 budget.
(Louisa Vinton)

nationalist mayor of Cluj, banned posters for a Hungarian minority
festival on 8 December. Funar told Reuters that he did so because
the posters are not in Romanian, the country's official language,
and they call the city by its Hungarian name, Kolozsvar. The
festival celebrates 200 years of Hungarian-language theater in
the city. Funar said he intends to bring to court participants
in an ethnic Hungarian protest rally held on 7 December for not
observing his ban on the demonstration. The rally was held to
protest Funar's decision to place a Romanian-language plaque
on the statue of Hungarian King Mathias in Cluj. (Michael Shafir)

reported on 8-December that the Ministry of Justice said Hungary
refuses to extradite Alexandru Draghici, Romanian interior minister
between 1952 and 1968, who is wanted for murder. The radio said
Hungary rejects the extradition request on grounds of the statute
of limitations, pointing out that the crimes of which Draghici
is accused were committed more than 30-years ago. On the other
hand, Tamas Ban, a Hungarian Ministry of Justice official, told
Reuters the same day that Hungary has not yet rejected the request
and is seeking additional information before making its decision.
The Romanian Ministry of Justice said it plans to renew the extradition
request. Draghici fled Romania in 1991 to avoid trial. (Michael

NEW HUNGARIAN DRAFT LAW ON 1956 CRIMES. Justice Minister Istvan
Balsai submitted to parliament a bill that attempts to address
the crimes committed during the 1956 Hungarian revolution, Hungarian
Radio reported on 8 December. A similar law was passed by parliament
in November 1992 but was overturned by the Constitutional Court
in March 1992. Balsai said that the 1956 actions will be considered
war crimes and crimes against humanity and as such they will
be exempt from the statute of limitations. The expiration of
the statute of limitations was the legal point on which the first
law was declared unconstitutional. The bloody events in the aftermath
of 1956, said Balsai, were crimes even according to laws then
in effect. (Karoly Okolicsanyi)

NEW ELECTIONS IN HUNGARY? The Association of People Living Below
the Minimum Standard of Living, a loose association that recently
conducted hunger strikes to protest new taxes, said they will
start a signature-collection drive for a referendum on new elections,
local media reported on 8 December. To call for a referendum,
which would be binding on parliament, requires 100,000 signatures.
Legal experts differ, however, on the question of whether parliament
can be dismissed by means of a referendum. The opposition Young
Democrats say the body cannot be dissolved from outside, but
a legal expert of the Constitutional Court has held that a legally
binding call for new elections can be made through a referendum.
(Karoly Okolicsanyi)

negotiator with Estonia, told BNS on 8 December that a number
of draft agreements on troop withdrawals will be submitted to
Estonia during the next round of talks scheduled for 15- 16 December.
Svirin said draft agreements on citizenship, the terms of temporary
troop presence in Estonia, and the withdrawal itself are ready
for consideration and signing, whereas a number of other related
agreements are set to be initialed. (Riina Kionka)

BRAZAUSKAS MEETS MAYOROV. On 8 December, Col. Gen. Leonid Mayorov,
commander of Russia's Northwestern Group of Forces, paid a formal
introductory visit to head of state Algirdas Brazauskas in Vilnius,
BNS reports. Issues related to the withdrawal of troops from
Lithuania were discussed. Mayorov also asked if some arrangement
could be made for the Russian military to receive their salaries
in Lithuanian provisional money from the accounts of the Russian
Defense Ministry. (Dzintra Bungs)

on 8 December that the regional administration council of this
Latvian seaport plans to sell all Russian military facilities
at an auction tentatively scheduled for 1 January 1993. Currently
the facilities are guarded by both border guards and special
security guards, and the costs are being paid by local authorities.
On 8-December BNS also reported that a Russian tank regiment
is scheduled to leave Ventspils on 26 December and most of its
50 servicemen will be discharged by that date. It is not yet
clear who will take over the base. (Dzintra Bungs)

WORLD BANK GRANT TO LATVIA. The World Bank has decided to allocate
$339,000 to Latvia to be used for coordinating foreign aid and
investments, to conduct economic analysis, and to promote the
operation of state and local governments. That sum is only a
part of a larger grant to be allocated for the same purposes,
BNS reported on 8 December. (Dzintra Bungs)

ROMANIAN UNEMPLOYMENT. Rompres reported on 7 December that unemployment
in Romania topped one million (9% of the labor force). The Labor
Ministry communique said that November unemployment figures are
180,000 higher than the previous month's. (Dan Ionescu)

TYMINSKI'S "CYBERNETIC ALGORITHM." Stanislaw Tyminski, the "candidate
from outer space" who finished second in the 1990 presidential
elections, told reporters on 8-December that Poland has been
victim to three years of "econometric robbery," suffering losses
of $60 billion. Mathematical equations from Canada proved that
Poland would experience financial collapse in exactly two years,
Tyminski added. He claims that his Party X has discovered a "cybernetic
algorithm" to identify the agents still occupying high office.
Hailing "nationalist-socialist" views, Tyminski said Party X
will not hesitate to stand at the head of a national uprising
against starvation. (Louisa Vinton)

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull

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

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