|We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome|
No. 249, 30 December 1992
A Publication of the RFE/RL Research Institute SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR START II TREATY UP TO YELTSIN AND BUSH. Russian and American negotiators have agreed on the text of a strategic arms treaty that would cut each country's nuclear arsenal to roughly 3,500 warheads by 2003 and have submitted the draft to their presidents. Western and Russian agencies on 29 December reported that this was the outcome of the Geneva talks between Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on the one hand, and U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger on the other. According to UPI, White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said that he expected the two presidents to make a formal announcement on 30 December that they have accepted the text. Interfax reported that the treaty would probably be signed in Sochi, Russia, on 2 or 3-January. (Doug Clarke) UKRAINIAN POSITION ON NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL. At a Moscow press conference on 29 December, two Ukrainian officials said that Russian- Ukrainian negotiations on the ex-Soviet nuclear weapons stationed in Ukraine would start shortly in Moscow. Vladimir Kryzhanovsky, the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia, and Konstantin Grishchenko, head of the disarmament department in the Ukrainian foreign ministry, were quoted by Interfax as warning there would be some conditions. Ukraine expects as much as $1.5 billion in foreign assistance, including aid from Russia. It also wants security guarantees from the nuclear powers. In addition, Grishchenko and Kryzhanovsky said that Ukraine will insist on maintaining control over any nuclear weapons facilities remaining on its soil. The two officials also stressed that Ukraine wants a "clear-cut" admission by the Russian government that the plutonium and uranium in the weapons now deployed in Ukraine belong to Kiev. Grishchenko said that Ukraine would fulfill its obligations under the START treaty, and that it intends to become a non-nuclear (weapons) state. (Doug Clarke & Hal Kosiba) CHINA SAID TO RECRUIT RUSSIAN AND UKRAINIAN SCIENTISTS. The Japanese paper Yomiuri Shimbun on 29 December, quoting a "reliable source in Beijing," said that China had recruited "hundreds" of Russian and Ukrainian military and nuclear scientists and engineers. The paper said that China had obtained specialists in cruise missiles, antisubmarine warfare, missile and nuclear technology who were presently working in Chinese factories. Offices had been set up in Russia and Ukraine to recruit the scientists. (Doug Clarke) FEDOROV FORESEES CONFLICT WITH RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER. The outspoken, newly-appointed deputy prime minister in charge of economic reform strategy, Boris Fedorov, expects conflict in his relationship with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, the International Herald Tribune reported on 30 December. Fedorov said that the two had different views on many issues and that he would be vocal in his opposition to measures he did not agree with. Fedorov appeared modest in his ambitions in policy-making, however. "If we can keep from going backwards, that would already be a success," he said. (Erik Whitlock) INDEPENDENT TV STATION TO START BROADCASTING IN MOSCOW. Russia's first independent TV channel, TV-6 Moscow, will begin broadcasting on 1 January, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 29-December. The agencies quoted the president of the channel, Eduard Sagalaev, as saying that TV-6 Moscow will broadcast mostly entertainment. It will begin broadcasting five hours a day, increasing later to 20 hours and finally to round-the-clock programming. The station is a joint venture with the American Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), which operates the cable news network CNN. TV-6 Moscow will show CNN news in Russian translation. Eduard Sagalaev is chairman of the Confederation of the Unions of Journalists of the CIS; in 1991 he was director general of Channel 1 of Soviet central TV. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTES TO BE TAX-EXEMPT. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has ordered that several scientific institutes be exempted from land rental fees and property taxes to help ease their financial problems, ITAR-TASS reported on 29-December. The agency said that the order covers almost all leading industrial scientific institutes, including those involved in the military industry. Chernomyrdin's order says the measure was taken in accordance with the law on changes in Russia's tax system. Research institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, whose financial situation is generally catastrophic, do not seem to be affected by the order. ITAR-TASS quoted an unidentified top government official as saying "the order is the first step of the new government in favor of the lobby of industrial directors." He added, however, that the measure was correct, since Russia could not "allow its scientific potential, including the one aimed at developing military industry, to become ineffective as a result of financial difficulties." (Vera Tolz) UKRAINE PASSES DECREES ON WAGES AND TRADE. The Ukrainian Council of Ministers issued several decrees concerning wage and trade regulations on 29 December, Interfax reported. One decree revises the pay scale for state sector employees setting the maximum ratio between highest and lowest salary categories at eight to one. Another decree doubles the minimum wage from 2,300 to 4,600 karbovantsi per month. A third decree defines regulations for the production and sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Finally, a fourth decree requires the reregistration of and outlines new regulations for quasi-private firms established by state enterprises. Entitled "On regulation of the activity of small enterprises and cooperative based on state enterprises," the decree seems designed to prevent asset stripping in the state sector. (Erik Whitlock) TAJIK-AFGHAN TALKS ON REFUGEES. Officials of Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry met with representatives of the military council of Afghanistan's northern provinces and Afghanistan's Islamic Movement in Dushanbe on 28 December, Interfax reported on 29-December, to discuss the 100,000 Tajik refugees who have fled to Afghanistan. The report noted that many of the refugees are in regions controlled by the Hezbi Islami of Afghan fundamentalist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, over whom the Kabul government has no control. Tajikistan's pro-Communist government wants the refugees back, but there is probably little Kabul can do to force sympathizers of the Islamic Renaissance Party, which is reported to have received assistance from Hekmatyar, to return to Tajikistan. (Bess Brown) YELTSIN ISSUES DECREE ABOLISHING OFFICIALS' RIGHT TO STATE DACHAS. President Yeltsin issued a decree denying officials a right to state dacha (country house), Radio Rossii reported on 29 December. The decree states that it is illegal to provide dachas as a special privilege to people occupying high-level official posts. Work toward implementing the decree should be completed by the end of 1994. The state committee on property and Yeltsin's administration must now submit proposals by February 1993 on the procedure for using dachas and similar establishments under federal authority. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIA TO SIGN UN CONVENTION ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS. On 29 December the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Russian representatives would attend the January 1993 Paris signing ceremony for the United Nations convention banning chemical weapons. According to Interfax, the ministry expressed the wish that this document would become international law, ensuring a reliable ban on this entire class of "barbaric weapons of mass destruction." (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY: TROOPS ABROAD WILL PROTECT THEMSELVES. The Russian defense ministry has declared that its troops outside Russia will take "the most decisive measures, including armed actions to defend their honor, dignity, and life" if "unlawful actions" against them and their families continue. Krasnaya zvezda on 30-December revealed that there had been some 600 such actions in 1992, resulting in the death of 73 servicemen and injury to more than 160 others. Interfax quoted the declaration as saying that Russians historically had been "forced to do their army service outside Russia, and the present generation of Russian servicemen should not be blamed for being sent to territories that are now foreign." (Doug Clarke) SUKHUMI ATTACKED BY ABKHAZ FORCES AS GEORGIAN MINISTER ARRIVES IN MOSCOW. The Georgian city of Sukhumi, held by Georgian government troops, came under artillery fire from Abkhaz forces on 29 December, Western and Russian news agencies reported on the same day. Also on December 29, Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian Army Command. Kitovani told Interfax that the discussions would concern military and political issues, including the withdrawal of Russian military units deployed in Abkhazia. He also stated that a peaceful resolution of the conflict "greatly depends" on Russia. (Hal Kosiba) UKRAINIAN-KAZAKHSTAN OIL AGREEMENT DISCUSSED. A Ukrainian government delegation has signed several agreements with Kazakhstan on economic cooperation between the two countries, Interfax reported on 29 December. The most important of the agreements provide for Ukrainian participation in the development of Kazakhstan's oil and gas industries and for payment procedures that must be changed because of Ukraine's withdrawal from the ruble zone. The agreement stipulates that payments for trade after 16 November will be made in the currencies of the two states using the current exchange rate. Exchanges prior to that date may be paid for in rubles. Ukraine also asked to buy 1.1-million tons of wheat from Kazakhstan. (Bess Brown) UKRAINIAN-TURKMEN GAS NEGOTIATIONS. The Ukrainian delegation that held successful talks in Alma-Ata went on to Ashgabat on 29 December to discuss payments for Turkmen gas in 1993, Interfax reported. A major dispute over the price Ukraine would pay for Turkmen gas estranged the two countries for several months in 1992; agreement was finally reached on price, but now there is a major trade imbalance between the two states. The Chairman of Turkmenistan's State Committee for Supplies, Nurmukhamed Khanamov, told Interfax that the imbalance in 1993 was likely to be 100 billion rubles, and Turkmenistan is asking that Ukraine sharply increase the volume of its exports to Turkmenistan. The Ukrainians proposed purchasing Russian goods and supplying them to Turkmenistan, permitting Turkmenistan to reexport goods from Ukraine to Afghanistan, and for some payments for gas to be in hard currency. (Bess-Brown) POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER MAKES WORKING VISIT TO KIEV. Poland's Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski arrived in Kiev on 29 December for a two-day working visit, Polish and Ukrainian news agencies reported. During his stay in the Ukrainian capital, he will exchange ratification documents of the Ukrainian-Polish Friendship and Cooperation Treaty signed last spring and lay the groundwork for a visit to Kiev next month by Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka. Meanwhile, on 28 December the newspaper Zycie Warszawy reported that four Ukrainian air force officers have been arrested in Ukraine for smuggling 29-Indians and Pakistanis into Poland last month by helicopter. (Bohdan Nahaylo) BELARUS BANNS PUBLICATIONS PROPAGATING VIOLENCE AND PORNOGRAPHY. The Belarus government issued a resolution banning pornographic publications and films and those propagating violence. Belinform-TASS said the ban has become effective on 29December. The resolution also prohibits the production and sale of "objects of pornographic nature." The resolution said any production intended for public showing in cinemas and video-salons or for radio and TV broadcasts will be subjected to "obligatory state registration." The government intends to set up at the ministry of culture a state registration office to oversee film and video programs. (Vera Tolz) MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN POLEMIC ESCALATES. Last week's Bucharest dailies, including Evenimentul Zilei, cited Virgil Magureanu, the head of the Romanian Information Service (the Securitate's successor) as informally telling journalists that his Service was "spearheading" Romania's efforts to reunify with Moldova, and was using "its specific methods" in this effort. The Moldovan government issued an official protest which was carried by the Moldovan press on 28 December. On 29 December, the Romanian media carried a retort from the Romanian Information Service which said that its chief's statement had been quoted "selectively and in a distorted manner" by the journalists and that it had only been made "to a small circle and unofficially." It added that the Moldovan government's reaction "can only poison bilateral relations." This is the latest in a series of polemical exchanges triggered by recent Romanian statements pressing for unification, answered by Moldovan protests. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVAN POLLS ON HYPOTHETICAL UNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. Recent opinion polls in Moldova show between 7% and 10% of the population describing unification with Romania as "necessary," between 10% and 10% calling it "possible after a long transition period," and around 70% deeming it "undesirable" and firmly favoring independent Moldovan statehood, Interfax reported on 29 December. It also cited the Vice-Chairman of the Moldovan Parliament, Victor Puscasu, as refuting Romania's thesis about the need to "repair the historic injustice of 1940" (the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia from Romania). There is no need to restore the status-quo of 1940 because Moldova existed as an independent state long before that, Puscasu said. (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE NO MORE PANIC IN BELGRADE? International media reported on 29 December that rump Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic lost a vote of confidence in both houses of Parliament and is expected to resign shortly. Panic took office in July and has survived two previous votes of confidence proposed by radical nationalists. His recent defeat in the Serbian presidential election by President Slobodan Milosevic appears, however, to have cost him the previously crucial support of Montenegrin deputies, although Reuters quoted a US State Department spokesman as saying that the election "failed to meet international standards for a free and fair democratic process." The 30 December New York Times quotes Panic as saying that he still feels a responsibility to his native country and will stay on to organize antinationalist forces, especially among the intellectuals and students. He may well have his work cut out for him: Western news agencies report that 100-150,000 educated professionals left Serbia-Montenegro in 1992, and that there are currently 5,200 job openings for academics, engineers, and doctors. (Patrick Moore) BRITAIN CAN NOW "IMAGINE ARMED ACTION" AGAINST SERBS. The BBC on 30-December reports that Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told the Daily Express that "the bloody-minded cruelty of the Serbs in Bosnia, and the growing risk of a wider conflict have raised the stakes." London consequently "can imagine armed action against [the Serbs] to prevent a general Balkan war." He added that Serbia "should note this change" in Britain's attitude, which was previously opposed to intervention since it might endanger British and other UN troops already in Bosnia. (Patrick Moore) BOSNIAN UPDATE. Reuters reports on 30 December that Muslim forces continue to group south of Sarajevo for a possible assault. German radio stations quote rump Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic as warning that any increase in violence could hamstring efforts aimed at restoring peace. Western news agencies also report the first deaths in Sarajevo from the winter cold. Finally, the 30 December Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that often strained relations between Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic have taken a turn for the worse in conjunction with the two men's recent failure to agree on Bosnia's political future. Izetbegovic is believed to be still resisting Tudjman's demands for a partition along ethnic lines, although the Muslim leader no longer insists on maintaining a unitary state. Moreover, in interviews Tudjman has repeatedly done little to hide his basic distrust of Muslims. (Patrick Moore) ROMANIA AGAIN DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN YUGOSLAV FIGHTING. Following an earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry, the Romanian Defense Ministry in turn has now denied allegations that Romanian officers and other volunteers are involved in the fighting in former Yugoslavia. The denials were prompted by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's recent statement that Romanians were fighting on the Serbian side. A Romanian Defense Ministry statement carried by Radio Bucharest on 29 December emphasized that "no Romanian soldier is involved in combat action." It added that "Romania observes the economic sanctions against Yugoslavia out of conviction." (Vladimir Socor) WIDE RECOGNITION OF CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVAKIA. Many neighbor states have indicated that they will recognize the independent Czech Republic and Slovakia upon the breakup of Czechoslovakia on 1 January. The Hungarian ambassador in Prague passed a note on 23 December promising recognition and indicating that the consulate in Bratislava will be upgraded to an embassy, Magyar Hirlap reported on the 24th. PAP reports that Foreign Minister Skubiszewski informed the Czechoslovak Ambassador in Warsaw on the 24th that Poland would recognize the new states. AFP reported on the 29th that the rump Yugoslav federal government will recognize both, and, according to ITAR-TASS, Russian President Yeltsin signed a decree ordering talks on diplomatic recognition that same day. Romania, Ukraine, Cuba, and China have also indicated their intentions recognize the independent republics. (RFE/RL RI staff). CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES CITIZENSHIP LAW. On 29 December the Czech National Council approved a law on the citizenship of the Czech Republic. CTK reports that all people who are citizens of Czechoslovakia's Czech Republic (Czechoslovak citizens born in the Czech Republic) will automatically become citizens of the Czech Republic on 1 January 1993. The Czech Republic will not allow dual citizenship. Only those people who held Czech citizenship and the citizenship of another country before 1-January 1993 will be allowed to keep dual citizenship. Noncitizens who apply for Czech citizenship will be required to prove that they have resided in the Czech Republic for the past five years, have given up the citizenship of any other state, have not been sentenced for committing a crime, and have knowledge of Czech. The last requirement will not apply to citizens of Slovakia applying for Czech citizenship. Slovak citizens will be able to gain Czech citizenship if they have resided in the Czech Republic for the past two years, have given up Slovak citizenship, and have not been sentenced for committing a crime in the past 5 years. (Jiri Pehe) CZECH PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS RACISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM. A resolution passed by the Czech National Council on 29 December states that "the Czech National Council is alarmed by the occurrence of apparent manifestations of anti-Semitism and racism." The parliament "is turning to all citizens and state institutions to show, through unambiguous and resolute actions aimed against these unacceptable sentiments, that [Czech] society is democratic." Citizens should "contribute to [creating the] atmosphere of tolerance and reject all forms of hatred." CTK carried the text of the resolution." (Jiri Pehe) CZECH GOVERNMENT PARTIES AGREE ON NEW MINISTERS. According to an agreement reached by leaders of the Czech government parties on 29 December, Antonin Baudys, a member of the People's Party and deputy prime minister in the outgoing federal government, will become the first Czech minister of defense, and Jan Strasky, a member of the Civic Democratic Party and the federal prime minister, will be Czech minister of transportation. If approved by the presidiums of the government parties, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus will submit the nominations to the Presidium of the Czech National Council for approval on 30 December. Following the meeting of the government parties' leaders, Klaus told CTK that the Czech president is likely to be elected in the second half of January. (Jiri Pehe) SEJM ACCEPTS "CHRISTIAN VALUES" AMENDMENT TO TV LAW. After debating the Senate's amendments to the Law on Broadcasting and Television, the Sejm voted to approve two of the most controversial amendments to the law it had first passed on 15 October, in spite of the fact that the Sejm's legislative and cultural committees and most caucuses opposed them, PAP reported on 29 December. The new provisions include stipulations that radio and television programs should respect the Christian value system and should not promote activities that violate the law or the interests of the state nor opinions that conflict with morality and the public good. The Sejm also approved an amendment anchoring the National Broadcasting Council in the Constitution. The law still needs to be signed by the president before it can take effect. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka) POLISH ECONOMY IS "HALF PRIVATE." Minister of Industry and Trade Waclaw Niewiarowski reported to the Sejm on the state of privatization and the government's privatization plans for 1993. PAP quoted him on 29 December as saying that the economy is already "half private," meaning that it is "more independent of politics and politicians." This trend will be continued in 1993. The government expects the proceeds of privatization to contribute some 8.8-trillion zloty to the state budget if the plans can be realized without any hitches. Niewiarowski praised the booming private sector. He denied that only the most prosperous state-owned enterprises are being privatized. The Sejm approved the plans for 1993 but rejected Niewiarowski's report. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka) WALESA SLANDER TRIAL BEGINS. The trial of two students, one of whom is also a municipal councilor, charged by the public prosecutor with slandering Poland's President Lech Walesa opened before the regional court in Brzeg on 29 December, PAP reported. The two, members of the radical Freedom Party, are accused of having shouted "Down with Lech Walesa, KGB agent!" during rallies on 13 June and 13 July 1992. (Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka) PUBLIC SERVICE PRICES INCREASE IN HUNGARY. MTI reported that on 1 January 1993 prices of railroad and bus tickets, mail, water, sewage service, and television fees will be raised. The new increases will be necessary because of the new 6% turnover tax and rising costs, which reached 15.5% in September compared to the December 1991 level. The transportation price increases will average 20-22%; water and sewage service prices will go up between 26 and 68%; and postal charges will be raised by 17% on average. The monthly TV charge will be raised from 250 to 300 forint (about $3.60). (Karoly Okolicsanyi) BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO FREE LUKANOV. Nearly six months after the arrest of Andrey Lukanov, former prime minister and prominent member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Bulgarian National Assembly voted to set him free, BTA reports. Late on 29-December the parliament partially repealed a previous decision, taken on 7-July, to lift Lukanov's parliamentary immunity and arrest him. Although the Constitution precludes the restoration of Lukanov's immunity, on 30-December Duma quoted his lawyer that Lukanov plans to return directly to parliament. He could be freed through an agreement between the BSP and the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms. (Kjell Engelbrekt) UDF EXCLUDES DISSENTING ORGANIZATIONS. Meanwhile, on 29 December the UDF National Coordinating Council expelled two of the coalition's member organizations, BTA reports. The Alternative Social Liberal Party and the Union of Free Democrats were forced to leave after refusing to distance themselves from the attempt to form a government by Lyuben Berov, an MRF nominee. Whereas the UDF leadership has categorically rejected participation in Berov's cabinet, several prominent ASLP members have been mentioned as likely candidates for key ministerial posts. Reuters reports that some 20,000 UDF sympathizers demonstrated in the evening in Sofia to express support for their leaders and calling for new elections. (Kjell Engelbrekt) INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION DECLINES IN ESTONIA AND LATVIA. The Estonian Statistics Department announced that industrial production during the first 11 months of 1992 decreased by 39.5% over the same period last year, BNS reported on 29-December. Production in building materials declined 59.3%, glass by 57.8%, mechanical and metals industry-55.8%, and the chemical industry-44%. Production of textiles, leather goods, jackets, food concentrates, butter, and skim milk powder, however, increased. The Latvian State Statistics Committee reported that industrial production in the same 11-month period decreased by 33 billion Latvian rubles (34.4% in comparable prices) from 1991 to 1992. By the end of November the production decline was 13.5 billion Latvian rubles in wholesale prices, including food industry inventories worth 2.5 billion rubles. (Saulius Girnius) MEN OF THE YEAR IN BALTIC STATES. Public opinion studies conducted in November and early December by the Center for Public Opinion Studies (in Lithuania), EMOR (in Estonia), and LASOPEC (in Latvia) show that Lithuania's Acting President Algirdas Brazauskas, Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, and former Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel were considered the "Man of the Year" in their republics, Baltfax reported on 29 December. US President George Bush was acknowledged to be the "Man of the Year" on the international level in all three countries. The "temperature" of the national economies (on a scale from -100¡ to +100¡) was -72¡ in Lithuania, -72¡ in Latvia, and -50¡ in Estonia. The "temperatures" of the household economies were -41¡ in Lithuania, -64¡ in Latvia, and -31¡ in Estonia. Some 29% of the population in Lithuania expect the economic situation to improve by the end of 1993; 23% expect it to worsen. The corresponding figures for Latvia were 12% and 57% and in Estonia 23 and 46%. (Saulius Girnius) LOZORAITIS VISITS VILNIUS. Lithuania's ambassador to the US, Stasys Lozoraitis, arrived in Lithuania on 28 December to decide whether to be a candidate in the 14 February presidential elections. On 29-December he met briefly with Democratic Labor Party faction chairman Justinas Karosas and later with Acting President Brazauskas, BNS reports. He will meet with former Supreme Council chairman Vytautas Landsbergis in early January. Lozoraitis said that he does not wish to run against Brazauskas or Landsbergis and sees his candidacy as helping "to guarantee a new period in the political life of Lithuania, in which the opposition and the government would start working together or debate differences in a civilized way." (Saulius Girnius) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
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