Nauka i iskusstvo prinadlezhat vsemu miru, i pered nimi ischezayut mezhnatsional'nye bar'ery. - Goethe
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 39, 26 February 1993


US-RUSSIAN SUMMIT ANNOUNCED. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher
and his Russian counterpart Andrei Kozyrev held three hours of
talks in Geneva on 25 February. In the press conference that
followed, Christopher and Kozyrev announced that a US-Russian
summit meeting would be held on 4 April in a third country. They
also confirmed their countries' commitment to seeking a peaceful
settlement to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
and to promoting the Arab-Israeli peace process by restarting
talks, Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow

REFERENDUM ISSUES. At its 25 February session, the Russian parliament
voted to delay until 4 March a decision on whether to convene
the Congress of People's Deputies over the issues of constitutional
reform. Parliamentary speaker Khasbulatov suggested 9-10 March
as a possible date for the Congress. The deputies also voted
against discussing President Yeltsin's proposals for a constitutional
agreement. The same day, the parliamentary opposition faction,
"Russian Unity", which opposes holding a referendum on the new
constitution, announced at a press conference reported by ITAR-TASS
that it had sent a draft resolution to the parliamentary presidium
suggesting two versions for the Congress of a resolution for
the constitutional crisis: the "soft option" envisaged early
presidential and parliamentary elections; the "harsh option"
suggested ousting Khasbulatov and the resignation of the president.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Poltoranin, head of the Federal Information
Center and a close Yeltsin ally, speaking in Omsk, said that
the decision to hold a referendum was "final and irreversible."
He also said that the "all powerful" Congress was "not an effective
instrument of power, but a mechanical conglomeration of local
interests," according to ITAR-TASS. Wendy Slater

RUBLE SLUMPS. On the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICE)
on 25 February the exchange rate for the ruble fell to 593 rubles
to the dollar, down from 576 rubles on 23 February, Biznes-TASS
reported. Turnover was $72 million. Meanwhile, Western agencies
have procured the text of a draft document submitted to parliament
which suggests the reimposition of a fixed rate of exchange for
the ruble after seven months of free floating. The draft, drawn
up by the Russian Central Bank (RCB), argues that the MICE is
too vulnerable to speculation. The RCB "is ready to propose the
introduction of a fixed ruble rate from 1 April 1993." Keith

signed on 22 February, Boris Yeltsin dissolved his Presidential
Consultative Council and replaced it with an enlarged Presidential
Council. The new Presidential Council will include representatives
of political parties and informal organizations, who will work
on an unsalaried basis and meet at least monthly. Members of
the former consultative council, the composition of which had
been radically changed earlier in February and currently includes
former Russian prime minister, Egor Gaidar, might be co-opted
onto the new council. According to a presidential spokesman,
the functions of the Presidential Council will be "to elaborate
suggestions for internal and foreign policy directed towards
the implementation of reforms in Russia." The decree was reported
by ITAR-TASS on 25 February. Wendy Slater

also created another consultative council, the Council of Heads
of Administrations, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 February. The council
will be chaired by Yeltsin and include the prime minister, the
secretary of the Security Council, and the chairman of the State
Committee for Nationalities Policy. The council is to ensure
interaction between the federal authorities and the bodies of
executive power of the krais and oblasts and the cities of Moscow
and St. Petersburg. The new council is a companion to the Council
of the Heads of the Republics established earlier, and may partially
satisfy the wishes of the krais and oblasts to be given the same
status as the republics of the Russian Federation. Ann Sheehy

acting chairman of Russia's monopoly gas concern Gazprom, told
ITAR-TASS on 25 February that Russia has postponed halting supplies
of gas to Ukraine. The delay is intended to give Ukrainian Prime
Minister Leonid Kuchma an opportunity to negotiate a settlement
with the Russian government. Gazprom claims that Ukraine owes
it 165 billion rubles in arrears. Erik Whitlock

reported on 25 February that the Russian government has decided
to allocate to the Internal Affairs Ministry (MVD) an extra 1
billion rubles for the recruitment of contract servicemen. According
to the report, some 40,000 men are expected to be recruited on
a contract basis over the next few years. The same report quoted
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai as saying that
the staffing of the MVD forces was now a priority task. On the
same day, the Russian Defense Ministry held what was described
by Russian TV as its first conference on personnel matters. According
to the report, participants lamented the fact that the army is
rapidly losing many of its best young officers, including some
35,000 between the ages of 23 and 30 over the past year alone.
Both the MVD and the armed forces continue to receive conscripts
from the military draft and, as they move toward greater reliance
on contract service, will be competing for professional recruits
as well. Stephen Foye

between the rich and poor regions of Russia is becoming more
apparent, according to an article in Izvestiya on 13 February.
Average incomes depend largely on the type of production situated
in the region, since differentials in branch earnings are now
substantial. In the Tula oblast, for example, workers in nonferrous
metallurgy earn 62-66,000 rubles a month, but in forestry and
wood processing - 7-8,000 rubles. Average per capita income in
the Far East region is almost double that in the North Caucasus.
The lowest incomes were found in the North Caucasus, Kabardino-Balkariya,
Mordoviya, the Moscow and Penza oblasts; and the highest levels
in the Sakha and Komi republics, the Kamchatka, Magadan, Murmansk,
Sakhalin, and Tyumen oblasts, and the city of Moscow. Sheila

according to Russian TV newscasts, the Russian parliament established
a commission to investigate alleged censorship of Ostankino TV.
In the course of the session, the speaker, Ruslan Khasbulatov,
stated his opinion that the parliament should approve presidential
appointments for the heads of both Russian radio and TV companies,
otherwise, Khasbulatov was quoted as saying, "intriguers," such
as the director of the Federal Information Center Mikhail Poltoranin,
would enforce their own views on the state-owned electronic media.
Julia Wishnevsky

Grachev met with military and civilian leaders in the north Caucasus
on 25 February to begin preparing for the arrival this year of
some 9,000 officers and warrant officers. According to Russian
TV "Vesti," Rostov oblast alone is planning to spend some 6 billion
rubles on housing construction for the officers, many of whom
are apparently being re-deployed from Germany. Grachev has spoken
in recent weeks of the strategic importance that Moscow now assigns
to southern Russia, and the large movement of troops to the area
is reportedly a result of this reordering of priorities. "Vesti"
quoted Grachev as saying that Russia "must create a combat district
[in the north Caucasus] before 1995. If there is any danger,
it is coming from the south." Stephen Foye

stations in the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia, but the 644,000
Ingush refugees from North Ossetia now in Ingushetia will be
able to take part in the election of the first Ingush president
on 28 February, since they have satisfied the residence qualifications,
according to Moskovsky komsomolets of 25 February. North Ossetia
had objected strongly to the decision of the Ingush electoral
commission that the elections should be held in Prigorodnyi raion
as well as in Ingushetia. To avoid complications, strict controls
are in force on the North Ossetian-Ingush frontier until 2 March.
The sole candidate is Gen. Ruslan Aushev, the former head of
the temporary administration in Ingushetia, who resigned in protest
against Moscow's handling of the North Ossetian-Ingush conflict.
Ann Sheehy


peacekeeping forces are scheduled to arrive in Tajikistan by
26 February, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 February. Tajikistan's
head of state, Supreme Soviet Chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, told
an emergency session of the Supreme Soviet Presidium and Council
of Ministers that the CIS troops would be sent to the Tajik-Afghan
border. Rakhmonov also contradicted several weeks of positive
government statements about government control of former opposition
strongholds, saying that, after local authorities in raions east
of Dushanbe had promised to support the government, they had
continued to assist the opposition and had even hung Islamic
flags on the buildings of the raion governments. Garm Raion,
one of the most important opposition strongholds, had even declared
itself an autonomous Islamic republic. In Kofarnikhon Raion,
supposedly subdued by government troops in January, groups of
what Rakhmonov called "bandits" are said to be operating in armored
vehicles. Bess Brown


BOSNIAN UPDATE. Major US dailies on 26 February say that airdrops
to blockaded areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina that cannot be reached
by land convoys may start as soon as 28 February after 600,000
leaflets are dropped. President Bill Clinton called it a "temporary
measure" undertaken "without regard to ethnic or religious affiliation
" of the intended recipients. Defense Department spokesmen said
that the project is meant to complement, not replace, land convoys,
and would "show that the whole world is ganging up on the miscreants"
who use "the denial of food and medicine for the purposes of
ethnic cleansing," the Washington Post reports. The paper also
mentions "veiled threats" by Serbian officials against the flights,
although Tanjug on 25 February quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic as saying that he guarantees the planes' "safety." The
Washington Post article adds that the US has "fended off offers
[of help] from Turkey, Pakistan, and Germany for fear of tainting
the operation's neutrality. -Patrick Moore

HUNGARY ALLOWS US OVERFLIGHTS. The government on 25 February
gave its agreement "in principle" to allow US planes transporting
humanitarian aid to Bosnia to fly through Hungary's airspace,
MTI reports. The decision, made after receipt of an American
request on 24 February, is in conformity with UN Security Council
Resolution 770; Austria acceded to a similar request earlier.
According to Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky, Hungary will continue
to exercise great caution in the Yugoslav crisis and refrain
from participating in any UN peacekeeping force; it will also
not support any plan to close the Hungarian-Serbian border. -Alfred

OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS. The 26 February Los Angeles Times
reports that Bosnian fighters stand to lose control of Tuzla
in northeastern Bosnia; "Bosnian regional commanders at a recent
meeting in Tuzla broke down in tears when they explained how
their strongholds were doomed to fall to [the Serbs]." The collapse
of Tuzla would send tens of thousands of refugees and defeated
soldiers fleeing. The New York Times notes that the Serbs on
25 February allowed an aid convoy to proceed to Gorazde in eastern
Bosnia after blocking it for three days. Outside Sarajevo, a
French convoy was allowed to pass into the city only after "donating
voluntarily" six truckloads of food and clothing to the Serbs.
Finally, Czech foreign minister Josef Zieleniec said in Slovenia
that his country would like to join the international war crimes
tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. CTK ran the report on 25
February. -Patrick Moore

COSIC IN BUCHAREST. The president of the rump Yugoslav federation,
Dobrica Cosic, held talks in Bucharest on 25 February with Romanian
President Ion Iliescu. The two discussed the conflicts in former
Yugoslavia and other issues of mutual interest such as Romania's
enforcement of the UN sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro
and the Yugoslav attempts to block river traffic on the Serbian
sector of the Danube. Iliescu told reporters after the meeting
that Romania opposes any outside military intervention and pledged
that Romania will rigorously apply UN sanctions, but added that
his country is not happy having to do so. In a hint at the embargo's
high costs for Romania-which he put at some $7 billion-Iliescu
said the sanctions are "an embargo against us too." Cosic, in
turn, hailed Romania as a "reliable friend," and called Romania's
stance toward Serbia and Montenegro a "miracle" rooted in history.
-Dan Ionescu

with Reuters on 25 February Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatolii
Zlenko disagreed with the idea of "balancing" UN sanctions against
Serbia by introducing them against Croatia. The Ukrainian position
differs from that of Russia, which recently put forward an eight-point
plan pressing for sanctions against Croatia if fighting there
is not ended. -Roman Solchanyk

SANDZAK MUSLIMS APPEAL TO UN. The 26 February Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung reports that the Muslim National Council of the Sandzak
has sent a declaration to the Security Council protesting "quiet
ethnic cleansing" in the area. They charge that this takes place
with the complicity of the Serbian and Montenegrin authorities.
On 18 February, the Muslims allege, the village of Kukurovici
was shot up, nine houses were burned, chetniks occupied the village,
and three people were killed. The Muslims offered this as an
example of what they say is repeatedly happening in the Sandzak,
an area that few foreign correspondents visit. -Patrick Moore

that a crime wave in Montenegro has reached "uncontrollable proportions."
According to Studio B TV and Politika, organized crime is on
the verge of successfully dividing the republic's cities and
towns into special interests zones and are pushing Montenegro
closer to warfare. A report by Podgorica's Forum for Human Rights
and Interethnic Relations states that organized crime and "small
gangs of psychopaths" are arming themselves with sophisticated
weapons, and the police are not or will not cope with the crime
wave. Figures for 1992 show a 50% increase in crime over the
previous year. The public prosecutor of the town of Bijelo Polje
remarked "the worst thing is that we have grown accustomed to
living with criminals." -Milan Andrejevich

daily in Croatia continues to resist attempts by President Franjo
Tudjman and his Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to launch
a takeover. The government is using privatization legislation
to try to give the Split daily Slobodna Dalmacija a management
closely linked to the HDZ, as are most other major Croatian periodicals.
Croatian opposition parties, the paper's staff, Western diplomats,
and international journalists' organizations have protested the
attempt. A government-appointed privatization board has a running
feud going with the paper's staff, who have charged it with making
ham-fisted attempts at controlling editorial policy. The staff
have not only taken an independent line in their reporting but
have also used satire to make implicit comparisons between the
Tudjman leadership and those of Tito and Hitler. Slobodna Dalmacija
and Western media have reported recently on the takeover, and
the Washington Post ran a story on 20 February. -Patrick Moore
& Barbara Kroulik

BELGRADE MEDIA TOE THE LINE. Borba reported on 24 February that
Belgrade TV's "Second Journal" news program continues to hew
closely to the political line dictated by Serbia's President
Slobodan Milosevic. The daily said that Belgrade TV is ignoring
reports of rifts in the government of the self-proclaimed Republic
of Serbian Krajina and continues to edit video reports from Sarajevo
to leave out footage embarrassing to Bosnian Serbs while emphasizing
"protocol visits" by foreigners to create the impression that
the regime has "numerous friends in the world." Borba also announced
it may soon have to cease publication temporarily because of
financial difficulties. According to independent Belgrade Radio
B92, a daily newspaper now costs as much as two loaves of bread.
-Milan Andrejevich

the House of Representatives rejected a draft constitutional
law on the creation of a provisional senate. Under the law, the
81-member senate would have been created by transferring some
members of the former federal parliament. The opposition parties
as well as the Civic Democratic Alliance, a member of the ruling
four-party coalition, have been opposed to the creation of the
provisional senate by transferring the former federal deputies,
arguing that an upper house should be established through elections.
The provisional senate would perform the duties of the senate
until it is formally established through elections. In its absence,
the House performs its functions. -Jiri Pehe

HDF ON THE "HUNGARIAN PATH." The presidium of the ruling Hungarian
Democratic Forum issued a statement on 24 February declaring
that the Hungarian Path Foundation spearheaded by Istvan Csurka,
a member of the HDF presidium and leader of the forum's populist-national
wing, is a legal entity independent of the HDF. According to
the statement, as reported by MTI, the movement financed by the
Hungarian Path Circles foundation may not use HDF facilities
to carry out its activities or recruit supporters. HDF parliamentary
leader Imre Konya recently warned that the Hungarian Path Circles
could "break the party structures of the HDF." The main fear
of the HDF centrists, led by Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, is
that Csurka and followers will use HDF party organizations to
spread radical nationalist ideas, thereby tainting the party's
centrist image. -Edith Oltay

of Hungary's six parliamentary parties agreed on 25 February
that ensuring cultural rights is a key question in preserving
the identity of national minorities, MTI reports. Consequently,
they proposed that the draft law on Hungary's national minorities
should state that local governments can make decisions concerning
minority education, culture., media, use of language, and preservation
of traditions only with the consent of the local minority self-government
bodies. -Alfred Reisch

BULGARIAN TRADE UNIONS CLASH. On 25 February Sofia dailies reported
increasing tension between the two major trade unions, the Confederation
of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria and Podkrepa. Following
charges by Podkrepa on 23 February that the CITUB is taking part
in the "restoration of the former communist nomenklatura," CITUB
spokeswoman Diana Damyanova at a press conference accused the
rival organization of trying to seize key positions in the economic
sector. Both unions initially agreed to cooperate with the new
government of Lyuben Berov, but the Podkrepa leadership now threatens
to withdraw. Other points of disagreement with the government
include the cabinet's recent decision, without prior consultations
with the unions, to raise fuel prices by an average of 45%. -Kjell

ZHELEV IN POLAND. Polish President Lech Walesa and Bulgarian
President Zhelyu Zhelev signed a bilateral treaty on friendship
and cooperation in Warsaw on 25 February. Education and culture
agreements were also signed. Zhelev commented that the new agreements
were proof that "in destroying the old structures, the CMEA and
the Warsaw Pact, we did not give up on bilateral contacts." Zhelev
met for almost two hours with Walesa, who stressed the need to
rebuild trade links between the two countries. The Bulgarian
president also met with Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, Poland's
foreign and trade ministers, and the Sejm and Senate speakers.
Zhelev pledged to begin repayment of Bulgaria's 500 million transfer
ruble debt to Poland, PAP reported. -Louisa Vinton

SOLIDARITY DIVIDED. After a stormy two-day session, Solidarity's
national leadership voted on 25 February to reprimand the 15
members of the union's parliamentary caucus who disregarded explicit
instructions to vote against the government's proposed 1993 budget.
Dissident ballots from the Solidarity caucus provided the government's
margin of victory in the budget vote. Though harshly worded,
the resolution was not as tough as some proposals, including
a demand by Warsaw union leader Maciej Jankowski that the dissenters
be forbidden from using the name Solidarity. The resolution required
caucus members to sign new loyalty oaths. Rzeczpospolita reported
on 25 February that caucus leader Bogdan Borusewicz threatened
to resign should the union assume a fundamentalist profile and
ignore its responsibilities to support reform. -Louisa Vinton

POLAND'S BORDERS UNDER SIEGE. The commander of Poland's border
guard told reporters on 24 February that limitations on the entry
of "potential illegal immigrants" were necessary, preferably
in the form of registered invitations for citizens of Bulgaria,
Romania, and the former Soviet Union. Jan Wojcieszczuk reported
that 33,500 people (23,500 of them Romanians) had been apprehended
during illegal attempts to cross the Polish border in 1992. Some
18,500 of these were caught on the border with Germany. He called
for changes in Poland's law on foreigners to criminalize illegal
border crossings, as the border guard now can do little more
than stamp an expulsion visa in the passports of the people it
catches. Deportation is too expensive. Col. Wieslaw Adamczyk
commented that "even if we had a division of soldiers on the
Western border, we would be powerless because 100,000 potential
illegal immigrants are entering Poland legally." More than 154
million people crossed Poland's borders legally in 1992. -Louisa

Leonid Kuchma has concluded a week-long visit at the head of
a governmental delegation to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
and Turkmenistan, Ukrainian Radio reported on 25 February. A
main objective was to secure alternative supplies of oil and
natural gas for Ukraine. Talks in Turkmenistan, Kuchma's last
stop, were reportedly quite difficult because of the "burden
of distrust," as Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Yevtukhov
called it, stemming from previous disputes between Kiev and Ashgabat
over the price of Turkmen gas. An agreement was nevertheless
reached whereby Ukraine will receive almost 29 billion cubic
meters of natural gas this year (total requirements are about
115 billion m3). Yevtukhov also accused Moscow of complicating
matters, claiming that the Russian Bank has held up Ukrainian
payments meant for Turkmenistan. -Bohdan Nahaylo

BELARUS TO CUT DEFENSE SPENDING. "Informed sources" told Belinform-TASS
on 24 February that Minsk intends to cut military spending in
1993 by one-half. Total defense spending will reportedly be 56.5
billion rubles, or 6.3% of the total budget. According to the
report, border, railroad, and civil defense forces will also
be financed from the same military budget. -Stephen Foye

with Russian journalists and the "peace marchers" who came to
Latvia to mark the former Soviet armed forces day on 23 February,
Deputy Ojars Blumbergs said that despite allegations in the media
to the contrary, the remains of Soviet servicemen in Riga's Cemetery
of the Brethren will not be reinterred, BNS reports. Blumbergs
explained that reburial of CPSU functionaries and their relatives
at that cemetery is planned in order to retain the original purpose
of the cemetery as a final resting place for soldiers who fought
for Latvia's independence. -Dzintra Bungs

BRAZAUSKAS INAUGURATED. On 25 February Algirdas Brazauskas was
formally inaugurated as Lithuania's president in ceremonies covered
live on Radio Lithuania. The Seimas subsequently annulled his
election as a deputy to the Seimas and announced that new elections
for his seat in Kaisiadorys Raion will be held soon. The Seimas
elected Ceslovas Jursenas, who had been its acting chairman,
as its chairman over Social Democratic Party chairman Aloyzas
Sakalas by 64 to 11 in a secret vote. On 26 February Brazauskas
accepted the resignation of Bronislovas Lubys as Prime Minister
and presented the Seimas Adolfas Slezevicius as his replacement.
Slezevicius, a member of the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party
Council, served as deputy agriculture minister under the Prunskiene
government. -Saulius Girnius

that from 1 March the minimum subsistence level in Lithuania
will be raised from 1,920 to 2,210 coupons and the minimum wage
from 2,040 to 2,350, Baltfax reported on 25 February. The increased
figures will, however, still be significantly below the actual
cost of living, estimated at 8,124 coupons per month. On 24 February
the government also raised the salaries of budget organization
employees by 15% and pension payments by 20%, also effective
1 March. -Saulius Girnius

POPULATION DECLINE IN HUNGARY-.-.-. The Statistical Office reported
on 23 February 1993 that Hungary's population decreased by more
than 20,000 between January and October 1992. The decline was
60.9% more than the drop in the same period of 1991. The decrease
for the whole year of 1991 was 17,606. The number of abortions
continues to be high: 72 per 100 births. Hungary's loss of population
started in 1981. Demographic forecasts predict that Hungary's
population, which was 10,337,000 at the end of 1991, will drop
below 10 million in 2010. -Karoly Okolicsanyi

.-.-.-AND LATVIA. BNS reported on 22 February that in 1992 Latvia's
population decreased to about 2,606,000 owing to emigration and
a drop in the number of births. Throughout the country the population
declined by 51,000 (in Riga-by 23,000). In 1992 the number of
deaths exceeded the number of live births by 3,500. Of the 47,000
persons who left Latvia, 95% moved to former republics of the
USSR. Meanwhile, Latvia's chief gynecologist Silvija Kaleja reported
that in 1992 40,494 abortions were performed while only 32,099
children were born, Baltfax reported on 16 February. She noted
that although numerous family planning facilities and modern
contraceptive means are available-and despite the health risks-many
Latvian women apparently still rely on abortion for birth control.
-Dzintra Bungs & Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull

read: In contrast, according to the head of the consular department
of the Russian embassy in Minsk, Pavel Shestopalov, in Belarus,
where the one and a half million ethnic Russians "do not feel
political, economic and legal pressure," only ten people received
Russian citizenship in the last three months.

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Natasha Bulashova,Greg Koul
Updated: 1998-11-

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