Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith. - Christopher Fry
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 245, 22 December 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES COST OF YUGOSLAV, IRAQI, LIBYAN SANCTIONS.
The Russian Supreme Soviet has been holding hearings on the cost
to Russia of UN sanctions against the former Yugoslavia, Iraq,
and Libya, Interfax reported on 21 December. While the Committee
on International Affairs and External Economic Relations has
estimated the cost to Russia of sanctions at $15 billion, a representative
of the Ministry of External Economic Relations implied that the
estimate was inflated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended
the decision to impose the sanctions, noting that the step had
been taken after diplomatic efforts had failed. The Supreme Soviet
has requested that Foreign Minister Kozyrev brief it on measures
taken to implement a resolution passed by the parliament last
week calling for a more pro-Serbian position. Kozyrev and other
Foreign Ministry officials have been highly critical of what
they consider the parliament's incompetent and unwarranted interference
in foreign policy. (John Lepingwell)

TAJIK PRIME MINISTER IN MOSCOW. Tajikistan's Prime Minister Abdumalik
Abdullodzhonov was in Moscow on 21 December to discuss economic
collaboration with Russian officials, Interfax reported. Abdullodzonov
told the agency that he hoped Russian assistance would ease the
shortages of bread, fuel and construction materials in Tajikistan.
The ravages of the civil war can be overcome, he said, only with
help from the large CIS states such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan
and Ukraine. Abdullodzhonov said that due to the civil war in
Tajikistan, 10,000 to 20,000 had died in Tajikistan, there were
60-70,000 Tajik refugees in Afghanistan, and 120,000 Tajik families
were homeless. (Bess Brown)

UKRAINE AND THE FORTHCOMING CIS SUMMIT. Ukrainian presidential
adviser Oleksandr Yemets says that the forthcoming CIS summit
in Minsk on 25-December should not be in a hurry to deal with
political issues, Radio "Mayak" reported on 20 December. Specifically,
Yemets downplayed the question of the CIS charter, emphasizing
that priority should be given to finding solutions to several
outstanding economic questions. Solving economic problems, he
said, means solving political problems. (Roman Solchanyk)

SHAPOSHNIKOV LOOKS AT CIS AFTER ONE YEAR. Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov,
the commander in chief of the CIS Joint Armed Forces, met with
representatives from the CIS member states in Moscow on 21 December.
According to Interfax, there were no delegations from Ukraine,
Georgia, Turkmenistan, and Moldova. He complained that the collective
security treaty signed by six republics and the agreements on
peace-keeping forces "still do not work." Shaposhnikov expressed
the view that the CIS leaders would decide at their next summit
whether they should create a "strong, viable" association, or
continue with the present "amorphous Commonwealth which is busy
only with the preparation of conferences and spends the people's
money in vain." (Doug Clarke)

SHAPOSHNIKOV WORRIES ABOUT STRATEGIC NUCLEAR FORCES. In the same
interview, Shaposhnikov also said that the recent inspection
of strategic nuclear forces in the three non-Russian republics
where they are stationed: Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, "revealed
a trend toward upsetting nuclear security." He blamed the security
violations discovered during these inspections on the lack of
a mechanism for providing spare parts for these nuclear systems.
Shaposhnikov said that this problem would be on the agenda of
the next summit. He also expressed the hope that a nuclear weapons
agreement between Russia and Ukraine would be concluded at the
meeting. (Doug Clarke)

WAS RUSSIAN HELICOPTER CRASH IN GEORGIA AN ACCIDENT? On 21 December
the press office of Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze
issued a statement claiming that the preliminary investigation
indicates that the crash of a Russian military helicopter over
Abkhazia on 14 December may have been the accidental result of
overloading, since the number of passengers aboard and the weight
of the cargo significantly exceeded the norm, ITAR-TASS reported.
Interfax on 21 December quoted Shevardnadze as calling in a radio
broadcast for measures to improve Georgian-Russian relations
which have been seriously strained by Russian allegations that
Georgia was responsible for shooting down the helicopter. However,
Western agencies reported on 21 December that Shevardnadze also
said that whatever the cause of the helicopter crash, it had
been making an unauthorized flight over Georgian territory, and
therefore Georgian forces would have been justified in shooting
it down. (Liz Fuller)

MANEUVERING BEFORE THE PRESENTATION OF NEW RUSSIAN CABINET. Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is expected to present his cabinet
today. So far, he has fired only Ella Pamfilova, Minister for
Social Protection, Western news agencies reported on 21-December.
President Yeltsin has reportedly not yet accepted Pamfilova's
resignation. Pamfilova was known for criticizing the privileges
of high-ranking state officials. Meanwhile, the leader of the
Democratic Party of Russia, Nikolai Travkin, suggested that the
economists Grigorii Yavlinsky and Evgenii Saburov return to the
government, Ekho Moskvy reported on 18 December. Travkin stated
that he himself wants to replace Valerii Makharadze as Deputy
Prime Minister in charge of regional politics and thus responsible
for working with local governments throughout Russia. (Alexander
Rahr)

TRAVKIN'S PARTY SPLITS. The Democratic Party of Russia, led by
Nikolai Travkin, split during its recent congress, Ekho Moskvy
reported on 19 December. In defiance of Travkin, the St. Petersburg
branch of the party favored the economic policy of former Acting
Prime Minister Egor Gaidar, and spoke out against cooperation
with the centrist Civic Union. Travkin declared at the congress
that his party will no longer be part of the opposition; rather,
it would support the new government of Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin. This step caused liberal reformers from the St.
Petersburg branch to leave the Democratic Party and seek an alliance
with former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis, who is reportedly
working on the creation of a new market-oriented, liberal party.
(Alexander Rahr)

KHASBULATOV ATTACKS FILATOV. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
has asked his first deputy, Sergei Filatov, "to stay out of the
way," and to delegate his duties to a parliamentary secretary,
Interfax reported on 21 December. Khasbulatov accused Filatov-an
associate of President Boris Yeltsin-of "working against parliamentary
interests." Presidential spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov issued
a statement saying that Khasbulatov had publicly said that Kostikov
should be "thrown out and destroyed." Kostikov described Khasbulatov
as an politician with the "mindset of a criminal," and warned
that such people had succeeded in becoming leaders of Russia
in the past. (Alexander Rahr)

SHIFT IN RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK POLICY IMMINENT? Deputy chairman
of the Russian Central Bank Valerian Kulikov revealed that a
significant shift in credit policy may occur "any day now," according
to Izvestiya on 21 December. Kulikov criticized what he termed
the excessively passive role of the bank in the past. "Unfortunately
everything was decided for the central bank by the International
Monetary Fund, and we had to be robots," he said. Kulikov suggested
that in the future the Central Bank would be more interventionist,
issuing more credits to industry and providing investment capital
for commercial banks at very low interest rates. The article,
which was summarized by Western news agencies, also cited Finance
Minister Vasilii Barchuk as saying that the Central Bank would
issue an additional 1-trillion rubles before the end of the year.
(Erik Whitlock)

RUSSIAN FOREIGN TRADE STATISTICS RELEASED. The volume of Russian
foreign trade from January to November was down 22% from the
corresponding period last year, according to the Russian Committee
on Statistics as reported by Interfax on 21 December. Trade with
members of the former Soviet trading bloc fell the farthest,
40%. Trade with industrialized and developing countries declined
17% and 22% respectively. Russia's trade balance at the end of
November stood at a $1.7-billion surplus as compared to $7.1
billion at the end of November of last year. Exports dropped
26% overall. Imports were down 17%, with only the value of grain
and medical products showing an increase. (Erik Whitlock)

RUSSIAN ARREARS TO U.S. BANKS MOUNT. Russia's chronic defaulting
on loan payments to U.S. banks continues, Western news agencies
reported on 21 December. U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman
Roger Runnigen said that total overdue payments on loans for
food commodities have passed $58 million dollars. Last week the
total was just over $49 million. The loans are guaranteed by
the U.S. government. (Erik Whitlock)

ANOTHER BUSH/YELTSIN CONVERSATION ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS. On 21-December
U.S. President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin
spoke again by telephone concerning the removal of obstacles
to a new treaty making further cuts in the strategic nuclear
arsenals of the two sides. Western agencies reported that Bush
had initiated the call. A White House official, who did not want
to be identified, was quoted as saying that their talk was short
but fruitful. "It was another step in the right direction," he
said. The official added that it was clear that both sides wanted
to have the new treaty-informally called START II-wrapped up
prior to 20-January, when President-elect Bill Clinton will be
inaugurated. (Doug Clarke)

TOUGHER RUSSIAN LAWS AGAINST ARMS EXPORTS, NUCLEAR SMUGGLING.
President Yeltsin has proposed changes to the criminal code that
would tighten laws concerning the illegal export of weapons,
weapons technologies and information, and raw materials for arms
industries. Jail sentences of up to five years could be imposed
for breaking the law. Illegal export of materials and equipment
that could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons or missile
systems would carry a jail term of from three to ten years. The
amendments to the criminal code appear to be a reaction to requests
from the COCOM countries for the CIS states to restrict the sale
of arms technologies to unstable areas and to crack down on the
smuggling of nuclear materials. (John Lepingwell)

RUSSIAN POLICE ARREST URANIUM SMUGGLERS. Interfax on 21 December
reported that Russian police had arrested a number of suspects
and seized 80 kilograms (176 pounds) of uranium in a raid in
the city of Glazov, some 1,000 kilometers east of Moscow. The
report said that other arrests had been made in Belarus and Lithuania,
with a total of 13 people suspected smugglers being detained.
The uranium was said to have come from a processing plant in
Udmurtia-where Glazov is located-and was to have been shipped
to Poland in the near future. It did not say whether the uranium
was enriched or not. (Doug Clarke)

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT CONCLUDES SESSION. The Sixth Session of
the Ukrainian parliament closed on 20 December with a speech
by Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma, Radio Rossii reported. Kuchma
told the deputies that his program outlining the work of the
cabinet of ministers will be ready in three weeks. Among other
initiatives, the lawmakers formed a temporary parliamentary commission
on questions concerning the fight against organized crime. (Roman
Solchanyk)

DRAFT DEFENSE LAW PRESENTED IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstan's Minister
of Defense, Col. General Sagadat Nurmagambetov, presented a draft
law on defense and the armed forces to the country's Supreme
Soviet on 21 December, Interfax reported. Nurmagambetov told
the agency that Kazakhstan's military doctrine will be purely
defensive; its strategic basis is the military tie with Russia
as formalized in a treaty between the two states. Interfax learned
from other sources that Kazakhstan's armed forces will soon consist
of 80-90,000 men. The country can equip them from existing weapons
stocks, so will not need to purchase arms for ten years. Kazakhstan's
draft budget for 1993 provides for defense expenditures of 76,251,000,000
rubles. (Bess Brown)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN ELECTIONS "SERIOUSLY FLAWED." On 21 and 22 December Serbian
and international media report widespread voting irregularities
in Serbia's presidential, federal, republic and local legislative
elections. Jack Zetkulic, coordinator of the 119 member CSCE
monitoring mission, told reporters that the elections are "seriously
flawed" and that as many as 5% of those casting votes (most of
them opposition supporters) were not registered. With nearly
30% of the vote counted incumbent President Slobodan Milosevic
is leading Milan Panic, the federal prime minister, by 56% to
34%. Milosevic leads in districts in Vojvodina and western Serbia
were Panic was favored. Panic, the Democratic Movement (DEPOS),
and the Democratic Party (DS) have all accused Milosevic and
his ruling Socialists (SPS) of cheating and demanded new elections
in 90 days under strict international control. SPS spokesman
Ivica Dacic replied that Panic has the right to be unhappy about
his defeat but added "no country can accept the practice of holding
repeated elections until the opposition wins." (Milan Andrejevich)


PRELIMINARY LEGISLATIVE RESULTS. The SPS is leading in republican
legislative elections, followed by DEPOS. In a surprising development
the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) headed by Vojislav
Seselj is receiving about 20% of the vote, much better than the
12% projected in most preelection polls. Though no thorough analysis
has been made, the SRS might have received wide support from
undecided voters, who, on average, accounted for 25% of the electorate
in most polls. Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia might also
have voted for the SRS in districts where Panic and DEPOS were
favorites in the early polls. (Milan Andrejevich)

MONTENEGRIN BALLOTING. Radio Montenegro reports on 22 December
that, with 30% of the ballots counted, the ruling Democratic
Socialist Party (DPS) is leading in legislative elections but
may not have won an absolute majority. The Liberal Alliance is
a distant second. In the presidential race, incumbent Momir Bulatovic
is leading his nearest competitor, Branko Kostic, a former federal
vice president and head of the Warriors 91-92 Alliance (a pro-Serb
veterans group). Bulatovic is projected to win in the first round
of balloting, and the current government of Mile Djukanovic is
expected to be returned. Opposition parties campaigned almost
exclusively on the issue of declaring Montenegrin independence
from rump Yugoslavia. (Milan Andrejevich)

INTERNATIONAL REACTION. International media report on 21 December
that British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd warned that "Serbia
has very little time to reform its policies after the result
of the presidential election is known if it is to avoid complete
isolation." Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek told reporters
in Brussels that he believes a Milosevic victory would lead to
tougher sanctions "unless he changes his policies dramatically,
which I don't expect." An RFE/RL correspondent reports from Washington
that US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher reiterated
that preelection campaigning was unfair. He added that the US
is not passing any final judgment on the elections and is comparing
notes with other observers. Meanwhile, after four days of talks
with Bosnian Serb, Croat, and Muslim leaders Lord Owen told reporters
in Sarajevo on 21 December that the framework for the demilitarization
of the Bosnian capital has been laid but cautioned that there
will "no doubt be many difficulties" before it can be enforced.
The UN resumed humanitarian relief flights after suspending deliveries
on 1 December following the shooting down of a US cargo plane.
Radio Croatia carried this report. (Milan Andrejevich)

BUDGET FOR INDEPENDENT SLOVAKIA APPROVED. On 21 December the
National Council of the Slovak Republic approved the budget for
Slovakia after the Czechoslovak federation ceases to exist on
1 January. Czech and Slovak media report that the balanced budget
shows receipts and expenditures amounting to 158 billion koruny.
About one third of all expenditures will be spent on labor and
welfare. Some 8.2 billion koruny are earmarked for defense and
establishment of Slovakia's armed forces. The Press Agency of
the Slovak Republic (TA SR) will receive 45 million koruny, Slovak
Radio 85 million, and Slovak Television 66-million. A new source
of income in the budget is represented by customs fees, so far
collected on the federal level; receipts for Slovakia are estimated
at some 40 billion koruny. (Jiri Pehe)

"VISEGRAD TRIANGLE" TRADE PACT SIGNED. In Cracow on 21 December
Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary signed an agreement gradually
to start regularizing trade. By the year 2001 all national barriers
are to be removed and trade among the signatories will proceed
according to the same regulations prevailing in the European
Community. The agreement will be adapted to embrace the Czech
Republic and Slovakia after they split on 1-January. Meanwhile,
after receipt of an honorary degree from Wroclaw University,
former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel told reporters that
close cooperation between Poland and the two new states would
benefit the entire region and give all of them a better chance
to join the EC. Western agencies carried the stories. (Charles
Trumbull)

POLISH GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATES WITH STRIKERS... In an attempt to
defuse the tense labor situation the Polish government held talks
on 21 December with representatives of striking labor forces
on several fronts, PAP reported. In Katowice an agreement was
reached on the delivery of vital coal supplies to coke producers
and steelworks in return for government cash flow guarantees.
In Warsaw, after an all-night session in the Industry and Trade
Ministry, a "certain rapprochement" was achieved with the Silesian
miners' Regional Strike Committee after an initial examination
of the miners' demands. These talks are to be continued on 29
December. Striking Silesian railway workers discussed their economic
and social demands in the Labor and Social Policy Ministry. Talks
will continue today. Deputy Prime Minister Henryk Goryszewski,
employers, and Industry Ministry officials met with representatives
of steelworkers to discuss the government's restructuring plans
and social welfare in the transition period. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka)


... BUT LABOR UNREST CONTINUES. The chairman of the miners' Regional
Strike Committee, Waclaw Marszewski, told PAP on 21 December
that the miners will not be satisfied with "illusory promises"
and that the strike will not be called off until specific and
firm agreements were made. After the talks he said that the progress
achieved is not sufficient to suspend the strike. In the meantime,
preparations for a general strike are being made in the Lodz
region and by steelworkers. Joining in the fray, the postcommunist
OPZZ Labor Alliance announced on 21 December that it is backing
out of its decision to sign the Pact on Enterprises that it negotiated
with the government, because of "the continuation by the government
of social and economic policies unacceptable to the workers."
It demanded solution of the problems and talks within one month
on social guarantees. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka)

SEJM VOTES TO CUT PENSIONS FOR DISCREDITED POLICEMEN. The Sejm
voted on 19-December to approve a Senate amendment to the Law
on Pensions in the Uniformed Services that would deprive certain
police and army officials of privileged pension rights. Affected
would be all those who violated the law or used repression against
democratic opposition activists in the period 1944 to 1989; they
would not be entitled to draw pensions based on employment during
that period and could draw only the basic lowest pension. The
Council of Ministers is to determine the criteria governing such
circumstances. The provision was criticized by some deputies
as being imprecise and allowing for arbitrary application. Internal
Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski said it would destabilize
the security forces and thereby harm the interests of the state.
(Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka)

SLOVAKIA PLANS TO PRIVATIZE GABCIKOVO. Slovakia hopes to persuade
foreign investors to buy shares in the controversial Gabcikovo
hydroelectric dam project. In an interview with Reuters published
on 21 December, Ivan Carnogursky, the general director of the
company that built the dam, said that Slovakia is ready to "privatize
Gabcikovo." He said the country needs about $230 million to complete
the project. In his words, foreign companies will be offered
to buy shares "from one to 100-percent." Carnogursky said that
Slovakia will not be able to finish the Gabcikovo project without
foreign investment. (Jiri Pehe)

ANTALL REBUFFS ILIESCU ON SUMMIT. MTI reports that for the third
time Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall has rejected Romanian
President Ion Iliescu's suggestion for a personal meeting. Antall
said that meeting for meeting's sake would not be productive
but urged that ministerial-level meetings continue. (Karoly Okolicsanyi)


ROMANIA COMMEMORATES 1989 UPRISING. On 21 December the two chambers
of Parliament convened in a solemn joint session to commemorate
the third anniversary of the 1989 uprising that put an end to
Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in Romania. In a key speech, broadcast
by Radio Bucharest, President Ion Iliescu took the opportunity
to criticize the way reforms had been carried out in postrevolutionary
Romania. He spoke out for continuing reforms in a "coherent manner,"
but avoiding "excessive politicization" in their implementation.
He also insisted that "the state should coordinate the process
of reforms," but added that this should not be interpreted as
a return to the command economy. (Dan Ionescu)

METROPOLIS OF BESSARABIA REACTIVATED. On 19 and 20 December Radio
Bucharest reported that the Romanian Orthodox Church has decided
to reactivate the Metropolis of Bessarabia, headquartered in
Chisinau, which had been abolished by the Soviets after World
War II. The decision was taken at the request of a Moldovan delegation
headed by Bishop Petru of Balti. The Moldovan Church, previously
subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church, will enjoy autonomy
under the canonical jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate.
(Dan Ionescu)

BULGARIA TO RESTRICT CIS VISITORS. The acting Bulgarian government
decided on 21-December to impose travel restrictions on visitors
from the Commonwealth of Independent States, BTA and Reuters
report. From the beginning of next year, when entering Bulgaria
CIS citizens will need a formal invitation from their hosts,
a return ticket, and the equivalent of $40 for each day of their
planned stay. Exceptions will only be made for business travel
and charter tourism. The measure comes less than two weeks before
the CIS states are expected to lift visa restrictions for its
own citizens, an act which is likely to boost travel. In the
eastern parts of Bulgaria, local authorities have recently complained
that CIS citizens are responsible for the spread of organized
crime and illegal peddling. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

KROON WILL NOT BE DEVALUED. Bank of Estonia Vice President Bo
Kragh said that the rumors that the kroon will be devalued are
unfounded, Baltfax reported on 21 December. The rumors were probably
prompted by the bank's decision on 18 December to liquidate the
Tartu Commercial Bank and extend a moratorium on two other major
commercial banks until 18-January. Kragh noted that the law does
not provide for a devaluation of the kroon, which is pegged at
one-eighth of the German mark. (Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIAN ARMED FORCES HOLD FIRST EXERCISE. The deputy commander
of the Estonian General Staff, Col. Raul Luks, reports that the
exercises of the Estonian armed forces that began on 19 December
are proceeding smoothly. An Estonian newspaper said that they
involve 1,000 personnel and 30 armored vehicles, and are the
first for the new armed forces. The scenario is to counter aggression
from neighboring state "Y," where a totalitarian regime has usurped
power. Luks complained that only 500 of the 750 reservists called
up for the exercise actually showed up. "We cannot punish the
evaders," he said, "yet we will notify their place of work."
The maneuvers are to end on 22-December. (Doug Clarke)

WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM VILNIUS. On 21 December the
107th Motorized Rifle Division, based in the North Town of Vilnius,
postponed the deadline for its withdrawal, Radio Lithuania reports.
The deadline had been that day, but is now set for 24-December.
The reason for the postponement is the lack of trucks needed
to transport the troops' equipment. On 29 December the documents
officially transferring the territory to the Vilnius authorities
should be signed. Even after this withdrawal, the Russian army
will still maintain two subdivisions around the capital: a SAM
battery at Visoriai and a maintenance unit in Burbiskes. (Saulius
Girnius)

BRITAIN'S PRINCE CHARLES VISITS PRAGUE. Prince Charles arrived
in Prague on 21-December for a three-day visit. According to
CTK, he and former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel plan to
establish the Prague Heritage Fund to protect city's monuments
and architecture. The foundation will raise money through cultural
events. During his stay in Prague, Charles will also work on
a BBC documentary film about Prague, which will be broadcast
worldwide next June and be used for fundraising. Charles, traveling
without Princess Diana, will also visit southern Bohemia. (Jiri
Pehe)

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull






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

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