Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. - Winston Churchill
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 244, 21 December 1992


Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
agreed that the core of former Prime Minister Egor Gaidar's team
will remain in the cabinet, Interfax reported on 20-December.
Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais told a conference of Democratic
Russia, which was attended by leading reformers, that Gaidar
would remain an influential political figure behind the scenes.
Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev said that it would be a mistake
to "slam the door" and quit the government. He added that if
reformers stay, Gaidar could continue to conduct reforms directly
through them. Former presidential advisor Gennadii Burbulis stated
that democrats "will not surrender the reforms to anyone." (Alexander

speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov said that former Prime Minister Egor
Gaidar's advisors might try to undermine support for Chernomyrdin,and
hinted that they should be replaced soon, Interfax reported on
19 December. In a related move, Khasbulatov urged his personal
economic advisors to assist Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.
He said that Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi stated that he
hopes the new government will cooperate with the Civic Union
"on a permanent basis." President Yeltsin cut short his visit
to China after learning of the power struggle in Moscow. He told
reporters before leaving Beijing that "someone has started fighting
for [cabinet] portfolios too soon." (Alexander Rahr)

Russia, a political movement that played a crucial role in Yeltsin's
rise to power, opened in Moscow on 19 December, Russian TV newscasts
reported. In the course of the past year, Democratic Russia has
suffered a number of factional splits as well as defections by
many of its leaders. Nonetheless, the Congress was attended by
numerous prominent Russian politicians, including Gennadii Burbulis,
President Yeltsin's former right-hand man, Galina Starovoitova,
the former presidential adviser on nationalities issues, and
former Moscow police chief Arkadii Murashov. At the Congress,
speaker after speaker criticized Yeltsin's allegedly "anti-reform"
personnel policy. The speakers also stated their intention to
protest what they called the "anti-reform" nature of the newly-appointed
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. (Julia Wishnevsky)

deputies of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies have met in
Moscow to discuss possibilities for reestablishing the Soviet
Union, Radio Rossii reported on 20 December. The head of the
"Permanent Presidium of the USSR Congress," Sazhi Umalatova,
stated, however, that the revival of the Soviet state will take
years. The meeting issued a resolution in support of the new
prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, but called for the departure
of Egor Gaidar's remaining supporters from the cabinet. Former
dissident Roy Medvedev called for a boycott of the referendum
on the Russian constitution on 11 April. (Alexander Rahr)

The moderator of the popular political talk show, "New Studio,"
Kira Proshutinskaya, said that acting director of Ostankino TV,
Igor Malashenko, had announced at a board of directors' meeting
that her show would receive substantially less air time, and
that it would lose its prime time scheduling, Ekho Moskvy and
Izvestiya reported on 15 and 18 December, respectively. Proshutinskaya
accused Malashenko of using formal bureaucratic methods to "strangle"
her show, which remains one of the few Ostankino TV programs
permitting free expression of a variety of political ideas. However,
Malashenko asserted that he has received policy guidelines (he
did not say from whom) to avoid airing unauthorized material
in programs. He also accused Proshutinskaya of offending the
good taste of her viewers. Before joining the management of Ostankino
in 1991, Malashenko worked for the International Department of
the CPSU Central Committee. (Victor Yasmann)

CHERNOMYRDIN IN KAZAKHSTAN. During his visit to Alma-Ata on 19
December, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin reached
agreement with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev on having
delegations of government officials of the two states meet in
Moscow on 24 December to draw up an accord on payments and deliveries
of oil, non-ferrous metals and timber, Interfax reported. The
two leaders also agreed to call a meeting of managers in the
oil and gas industries of the former Soviet republics to create
an OPEC-like organization of CIS states. The trip was Chernomyrdin's
first to another CIS state since becoming head of the Russian
government. (Bess Brown)

between Russia and her creditors continued last week. Representatives
of the G-7 offered Russia a package rescheduling the $15-billion
of overdue payments on its sovereign debt to Western creditors
and requiring Russia to pay only $2.75 billion next year. However,
the total owed western creditors when Russian commercial debt
is added amounts to over $5 billion, according to various Western
news agencies on 18 December. Russian Minister of Foreign Economic
Relations Pyotr Aven, among others, has claimed that Russia's
maximum capacity to service debt to the West will be $3-billion
next year. The date for the next round of negotiations has not
yet been determined. (Erik Whitlock)

parliament approved additional spending for 1992 which will push
the state budget deficit to 1.16 trillion rubles, the Financial
Times reported on 19 December. The action will lift the year-end
ratio of deficit to GNP to 6.5%. Some have noted that if, according
to IMF methodology, import subsidies and other "hidden" expenditures
are thrown into the calculation, the figure is in the area of
11-12%. Russia promised the IMF a 5% deficit-to-GNP ratio in
early spring in return for the Fund giving its blessing to the
Russian reform effort. (Erik Whitlock)

and Russian news agencies on 18 and 19 December, more assistance
for the Russian gas and oil industry is on its way. President
Yeltsin signed a decree last week providing the industry an exemption
from mandatory sales of its hard currency earnings to the state.
The industry receives the privilege by contributing such earnings
to a special fund for paying debt obligations to foreign creditors.
On 18 December, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin came out in favor
of an additional $200-billion rubles of soft credits for investment
in the sector. Finally, Russia and the US Export-Import Bank
are reportedly very close to finalizing a $2 billion loan for
the purchase of much needed gas and oil equipment. (Erik Whitlock)

YELTSIN ON BORDER PLEDGE TO CHINA. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Shangkun, signed a memorandum
of understanding on 18-December regarding their mutual border
region during his shortened visit to Beijing. As published by
ITAR-TASS, the agreement committed the two sides to accelerate
the joint border talks, which also include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
and Tajikistan with the aim of reaching a formal agreement by
the end of 1994. Until that agreement comes into force, Russia
and China pledged to reduce their troops along the border to
a "minimum level" and to remove "the most destabilizing weapons
systems" from the border region. (Doug Clarke)

YELTSIN ON 1992 ARMS SALES TO CHINA. Yeltsin also told Russian
journalists that Russia had provided China with $1.8 billion
worth of arms in 1992 according to the Ostankino "Novosti" news
broadcast on 18 December. The Russian president was quoted as
saying that some wanted to keep this figure secret but he had
decided to reveal it. In addition, he said that the two governments
had decided to conclude an agreement on military and technical
cooperation. (Doug Clarke)

President George Bush on 20-December to discuss the possibility
of signing a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, ITAR-TASS announced.
Western agencies quoted Bush as saying the two had "not agreed
totally, but we made progress" on the so-called START-2 treaty.
Yeltsin surprised the Americans when he announced in Beijing
on 18-December that the two countries had agreed on the new treaty,
which would cut strategic nuclear weapons by two-thirds, and
would sign it in January before Bush left office. American officials
immediately denied that all the problems with the new treaty
had been solved. (Doug Clarke)

official" of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Interfax
on 18-December that recent reports that Russia had sold Cuba
two modern submarines and a number of advanced jet fighters was
"sheer misinformation." The official, who was not identified,
was quoted as saying that Russia had sharply reduced the volume
of military supplies provided to Cuba and henceforth would provide
only spare parts and equipment meant for civilian use. (Doug

December reported details of the withdrawal of the Western Group
of Forces from Germany during Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev's visit to the forces. The reports indicated that 60%
of personnel and 72% of their equipment have been withdrawn from
Germany. According to Interfax, the Commander of Russian forces,
General Burlakov, claimed that 147,000 servicemen and their dependents
had left Germany this year and that 442 military sites are ready
to be sold or turned over to the German government. Burlakov
also stated that all Russian troops will leave Germany almost
a month earlier than the revised deadline of 31-August, 1994.
(John Lepingwell)

UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN COOPERATION. The speakers of the Ukrainian
and Russian parliaments, Ivan Plyushch and Ruslan Khasbulatov,
stressed the importance of bilateral relations between the two
countries during a televised hookup on 20 December, Interfax
reported. Khasbulatov expressed the hope that Ukraine and Russia
would "never embark on the path of permanent confrontation" and
that all disputes would be settled at the negotiating table.
During the broadcast, Sergei Kovalev, chairman of the Russian
parliament's human rights committee, announced a Ukrainian-Russian
initiative calling on the East European states and the former
republics of the USSR to sign a human rights convention. (Roman

President Leonid Kravchuk on 18 December told Hans Blix, the
director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that
he was confident the Ukrainian parliament would ratify the Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and that his republic would sign
the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, Interfax
reported Kravchuk stating that to realize these plans Ukraine
must have a security guarantee and there must be agreements to
a number of legal, technical, and financial problems. The president
was quoted as saying that Ukraine "is and will be a peaceful
and non-aligned state, strictly pursuing the course of achieving
a non-nuclear status." (Doug Clarke)

KRAVCHUK TO EGYPT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk will fly
to Egypt on 21-December for a three-day visit to discuss bilateral
relations between the two countries, Western news agencies reported.
Ukraine and Egypt will sign a treaty mapping out future relations
as well as several economic, cultural, and scientific agreements.
(Roman Solchanyk)

session, the Crimean parliament decided to appeal to the national
parliament and to the Ukrainian president to resolve the question
of dual citizenship for Crimeans, Radio Ukraine reported on 18
December. Commissions of the Crimean parliament were also charged
with preparing a proposal on Crimean citizenship. The Ukrainian
citizenship law provides for dual citizenship only on the basis
of separate agreements with foreign countries. (Roman Solchanyk)

The chairman of Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet, Imomali Rakhmonov,
signed a decree extending the deadline for illegal armed groups
to surrender their weapons to the government until 28-December,
Interfax reported on 18 December. The previous deadline, 17 December,
seems to have been largely ignored by anti-Communist forces fighting
supporters of the new government. Also on 18 December the new
government announced its intention to restore centralized control
of the economy. A state monopoly on the export of cotton was
introduced, along with a requirement that government permission
be obtained for export of aluminum, one of Tajikistan's major
export items. (Bess Brown)

CORRECTION: In the 18 December RFE/RL Daily Report, it was incorrectly
reported that Belarus had ratified the START treaty. Although
the Belarusian parliament will soon consider the treaty, it has
not yet ratified it. The Russian parliament has ratified the
treaty, but has stated that it will not consider it valid, nor
exchange instruments of ratification, until all the other CIS
parties have ratified the treaty.


SERBIA-MONTENEGRO ELECTIONS. An unofficial exit poll in the 20
December election forecasts a tie in Serbia's presidential duel
between hard-line Slobodan Milosevic and his rival Milan Panic-but
Milosevic's Socialist Party claims it is well ahead. Panic supporters
commissioned the Partner Agency to conduct the survey in 60 polling
stations. Milosevic and Panic each reportedly won 47% of the
vote. If this poll turns out to be correct, the election will
go to a second round on 4 January. The Socialists claim Milosevic
is well in front in his southern Serbian strongholds and winning
in 25 out of 31 polling stations in Belgrade. DEPOS, the largest
opposition bloc, which has backed Panic's candidacy, claims Panic
is winning 55% of votes in Belgrade versus 40% for Milosevic.
In the parliamentary elections the exit poll shows DEPOS with
36%, the Socialists-31%, the ultranationalist Radical Party-17%,
and the Democratic Party-12%. Opposition parties are expressing
concern about the strong showing of the Radical Party in economically
depressed areas where Panic and DEPOS anticipated strong support.
There is no word yet from Montenegro, where the ruling Democratic
Socialists are expected to retain power. First results from Serbia's
and Montenegro's election commission are not expected until noon
CET today. Radio Serbia and independent TV Studio B carried the
reports. (Milan Andrejevich)

ELECTION IRREGULARITIES REPORTED. All parties complained of attempts
to stuff ballot boxes and of people being omitted from voter
registration lists. Initial reports from international monitors
gave no evidence of systematic fraud, however. One observer said
that aside from the minor irregularities, such as unsealed ballot
boxes and lack of voter secrecy, "one must remember that there
were grave irregularities before polling day," particularly the
pro-Milosevic bias in state media. Panic told reporters "If I
lose, it will only be because of a massive fraud, a lie by the
authorities and primarily by the criminals lies spewed out by
state television," but he added that, if defeated, he will stay
in Belgrade and press for another election within 90 days. Democratic
Party Vice President Zoran Djindjic remarked that the opposition
might contest the election results because nearly 5% of the electorate
was excluded from the voter registration lists. Belgrade Radio
B92 carried the report. (Milan Andrejevich)

BOSNIA ROUNDUP. International media report on 20 December that
President George Bush and British Prime Minister John Major,
meeting in Washington, agreed to work on a UN resolution to enforce
a no-fly zone over Bosnia. The two politicians warned Serbia
it might face strong measures, including the cutting of telecommunications
and postal links and the sealing of its borders, which could
inflict "complete diplomatic isolation for years to come." Meanwhile
in Sarajevo, Lord Owen is continuing with negotiations among
Muslims, Croats, and Serbs on demilitarizing the besieged city,
vowing to stay in Sarajevo as long as he sees a chance for a
peace settlement. On 18-December the UN General Assembly passed
a nonbinding resolution initiated by Islamic countries that the
Security Council drop its arms embargo against Bosnia. (Milan

government, which will officially cease to exist on 1 January
together with the Czechoslovak federation, met for the last time
on 19-December. CTK reports Deputy Prime Minister Antonin Baudys
as saying that the government has fulfilled its main goals, namely,
"keeping the federation going, preparing the split, and drafting
the law on the division of federal property." (Jiri Pehe)

Czech National Council failed to pass a constitutional amendment
providing for the transfer of the Federal Assembly's Czech deputies
to the Senate of the Czech National Council. The Federal Assembly
will cease to exist on 1 January 1993 when Czechoslovakia splits
into two states. CTK reports that only 98 deputies in the 200-member
Czech parliament voted for the bill; 120-votes were needed. Deputies
opposed to the bill argued that transferring federal deputies
to the Senate, which is to be established after the new Czech
Constitution goes into effect on 1-January, is unconstitutional.
Under the proposed law, all 174 Czech deputies in the Federal
Assembly were to be transferred to the upper chamber of the Czech
parliament, but only 81 of them, selected by their parties, would
be acting as senators; the rest would hold only honorary, unpaid
posts. The Czech government parties said they will submit a revised
version of the bill. (Jiri Pehe)

CZECH PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET. On 19-December the Czech National
Council approved the Czech Republic's budget for 1993. According
to CTK, the budget law calls for both income and expenditures
to reach 342 billion koruny in 1993. Inflation is not expected
to exceed 17% and the rate of unemployment is to be between 4
and 5%. (Jiri Pehe)

announced its decision to recognize the Czech and Slovak Republics
as distinct entities beginning 1 January 1993. In a message broadcast
by Radio Bucharest the Foreign Ministry expressed willingness
to establish diplomatic relations with the new states, successors
to the Republic of Czechoslovakia, and to appoint ambassadors
to both Prague and Bratislava. CTK has reported that Poland and
Ukraine plan to recognize the two states on 1 January. (Dan Ionescu)

FORMER KING TO VISIT ROMANIA. Ex-King Michael of Romania will
visit his homeland over Christmas. Western agencies reported
on 18 December that Michael's four-day visit will include attending
a church service in the city of Timisoara on Christmas Day. The
former king, whom the communists forced to abdicate on 30 December
1948, has lived in Swiss exile for 30 years. He first returned
to Romania in April this year, when he celebrated Easter in Bucharest
and Bukovina. An attempt to visit Timisoara and Brasov in August
failed, after Romania's government denied him a visa for fear
that the visit would affect the 27 September presidential and
general elections. (Dan Ionescu)

ROMANIAN PRINTERS RETURN TO WORK. Radio Bucharest announced on
18 December that striking printers will resume work beginning
19 December. The Printers Union decided to suspend a stoppage
over pay that had idled state-owned printing shops for three
consecutive days. The decision comes after a three-part agreement
with the government was concluded providing for a 50% pay rise
as of 1-January 1993, and a further 50% increment by the end
of 1993. The cabinet also agreed that there will be no layoffs
and pledged to support programs for improving equipment and retraining
workers. Only three newspapers, printed in privately-owned shops,
were published during the stoppage. (Dan Ionescu)

SILESIAN STRIKE UPDATE. PAP reported on 20-December that almost
all the coal mines in Upper Silesia are on strike and freight
trains in the region are blocked by the industrial action. In
a letter of 18-December to the Sejm and the government, the dissident
Network of Solidarity organizations from the largest industrial
plants blamed the government and Solidarity's leadership for
the strike and demanded systemic economic changes to save Polish
industry and agriculture, failing which it would continue preparations
for a nationwide general strike. President Lech Walesa met with
Network representatives that same day. On 19-December, answering
a message from the Wujek mine, Walesa appealed to the miners
to give the government's restructuring program a chance and not
to destabilize the country. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka)

GOVERNMENT READY TO NEGOTIATE. On 19-December the Sejm rejected
the government's report on what it had done to restructure the
Silesian mining industry and demanded that the government begin
negotiations with the strikers' representatives. After a meeting
with Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski, Prime Minister Hanna
Suchocka announced that the government will begin "working negotiations"
with Solidarity representatives on a "restoration program" for
Silesia on 21 December. Representatives of Solidarity 80 and
Kontra called for the establishment of one joint labor delegation
for talks with the government. Speaking later on Polish TV, Suchocka
said that the government would not take any decisions that would
undermine the sense of three years of reform and public sacrifice.
At a meeting with Sejm deputies from Silesia, she pointed to
the fact that the government had consulted with the miners step
by step on its restructuring program. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka)

SEJM PASSES DEBT RELIEF LAW. The Sejm passed the Law on the Financial
Restructuring of Enterprises and Banks, PAP reported on 19 December.
The law, aimed at restoring the creditworthiness of enterprises
that have been caught in the debt trap, gives banks the possibility
of concluding agreements with enterprises that are joint-stock
companies by transforming their debts into stocks or shares.
The government will provide some 22 billion zloty in the form
of bonds for the scheme. The law has been described as one of
the most important pieces of economic legislation that will contribute
to regulating the economy. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka)

Minister Jozsef Antall told parliament on 17 December that the
so-called Visegrad Triangle countries will sign a free trade
zone agreement on 21 December 1992 in Cracow, Hungarian Radio
reports. The agreement, reached after a year of hard negotiations,
will reduce customs duties by the year 2001 in three stages.
The new trading bloc embracing 64.2 million people is aimed at
reversing years of declining trade between the members. The agreement
to reduce protective customs duties means that present tariffs
among the four countries will be matched to duties imposed on
trade between the member states and the EC. (Karoly Okolicsanyi)

the National Coordinating Council of the UDF nominated Yordan
Sokolov for prime minister, BTA reports. Sokolov, acting Minister
of Internal Affairs, was selected over two other members of Filip
Dimitrov's government who were in contention, Justice Minister
Svetoslav Luchnikov and Deputy Premier Ilko Eskenazi. In a first
comment UDF deputy and parliament chairman Aleksandar Yordanov
said ironically that the nonaffiliated Sokolov represents the
most appropriate choice at a time when UDF member organizations
are "outbidding each other to show their loyalty" toward the
coalition. Sokolov told BTA he hesitated to accept the candidacy.
UDF sympathizers demanding new elections gathered in front of
the UDF building in central Sofia. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

BULGARIAN-RUSSIAN ECONOMIC TIES. Beginning next month Bulgaria
and Russia will begin trading in national currencies, the deputy
director of the Bulgarian National Bank told Reuters on 18-December.
Emil Harsev said Bulgaria and Russia have struck a bilateral
agreement to revoke the 1991 decision of all former members of
the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) to trade exclusively
in convertible currencies, a move which was followed by a dramatic
drop in bilateral trade. According to a report in Pari the previous
day, Sofia has also asked Russia to assume most of Bulgaria's
$650-million debt to the International Bank for Economic Cooperation
and the International Investment Bank, both established to deal
with the economic legacy of the CMEA. The former Soviet republics
are estimated to have accumulated a $500-million trade deficit
with Bulgaria, twice as much as in mid-1991. In another report
on 21 December, a Reuters correspondent described the growing
problems of organized crime and illegal peddling caused by Russians,
Ukrainians, Moldovans, and others in major Bulgarian cities on
the Black Sea coast. Local authorities are complaining that the
influx of racketeers has increased rapidly but could get much
worse when the CIS lifts visa restrictions in January. (Kjell

BRAZAUSKAS IN BELARUS. On 18 December Acting President Algirdas
Brazauskas of Lithuania traveled by car to Minsk, Baltfax reports.
After talks with Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich, agreements
on diplomatic relations were reached and several interstate agreements
were signed. They discussed the demarcation of their borders
and the future of the Belarusian health resort Belarus in Druskininkai.
Brazauskas addressed the Supreme Soviet and spoke with its chairman
Stanislau Shushkevich. Brazauskas said that Lithuania will not
join the CIS. (Saulius Girnius)

on 18 December, the commanders of the Estonian and Latvian navies
met in Tallinn on 16-17 December to discuss their future cooperation
in the Gulf of Riga and "some other issues of mutual interest."
While a Lithuanian naval delegation did not participate in this
meeting, the report said that all three Baltic States will be
represented at a meeting in Riga in January. There they are expected
to conclude a tripartite agreement on cooperation in the Gulf
of Riga. (Doug Clarke)

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull

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

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