A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 67, 07 April 1993







RUSSIA



RADIOACTIVE EXPLOSION IN TOMSK-7. Radioactivity released by an
explosion on 6 April contaminated an area around a chemical facility
in Tomsk-7, an RFE/RL correspondent and ITAR-TASS reported. A
tank containing a uranium solution was involved in the explosion.
No casualties were reported. Subsequent commentaries emphasized
that the amount of radioactivity released was much less than
at Chernobyl in 1986 and that the prevailing wind had blown the
radioactivity away from populated areas. -Keith Bush

PARLIAMENT TO SET UP SECURITY DEPARTMENT. The "Department for
Security of the Supreme Soviet", which the parliamentary Presidium
has decided to establish, will have the functions of a special
military unit, according to a report in Izvestiya of 6 April.
The department, subject only to the parliamentary head, is supposed
to become a federal organ of state security. Its staff will be
armed with modern weapons and communication technology. The director
of the security department can confer military rank on the department's
personnel. The department will also receive the right to conduct
various kinds of investigation inside the parliament, into corruption
for example, although it is not clear how these tasks coincide
with existing laws. Observers think that the Russian criminal
code could well be altered by the parliament in order to justify
the creation of the department. -Alexander Rahr

RUTSKOI ATTACKS GOVERNMENT. Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi,
speaking at the fourth sitting of the "Round Table" of social
and political forces, established earlier this year by the parliamentary
presidium and the government, warned that the current chaos in
Russia would lead "either to civil war or to dictatorship," ITAR-TASS
and AFP reported on 6 April. In a speech sharply critical of
the Russian government, he said that the situation would not
improve until the government's current composition was changed
and until it adopted the economic programs worked out by the
Civic Union and other participants in the Round Table "on the
basis of national concord." Deputy Prime Minister Georgii Khizha
and Commander-in-Chief of the CIS armed forces Evgenii Shaposhnikov
also attended the meeting. Yurii Voronin, first deputy parliamentary
chairman, opening the sitting, welcomed the participation of
the Communist Party and the Republican Party. -Wendy Slater

DISARRAY IN THE CIVIC UNION. Vasilii Lipitsky, chairman of the
Civic Union's Executive Committee, was quoted by Russian TV "Vesti"
on 5 April as saying that serious conflicts have emerged inside
the Civic Union. Lipitsky distanced himself from the statements
of the Civic Union co-leader Arkadii Volsky who had rejected
the idea of a coalition government. Volsky had stated that Russia's
various parties and movements were too weak at present to be
capable of running the country. But Lipitsky stressed that the
aim of setting up a coalition government remains a major goal
for the Civic Union. Lipitsky also distanced himself from remarks
by "Smena-Novaya politika." Leaders of that parliamentary faction
had criticized the Civic Union's weak performance at the last
Congress, and Lipitsky said that the faction may leave the Civic
Union coalition. -Alexander Rahr

MORDOVIA ABOLISHES PRESIDENCY. The Mordovian parliament voted
on 2 and 3 April by 116 votes to 37 to abolish the post of republican
president and vice president, the Russian media reported. The
deputies blamed the popularly elected president Vasilii Guslyannikov
for current economic hardships, saying that reforms had failed.
The conflict between the "democratic" president and the conservative
parliament had been brewing for some time. Izvestiya of 7 April
said that the speaker of the Mordovian parliament Nikolai Biryukov
had run unsuccessfully for president under communist party colors.
In December 1992 the parliament had considerably curtailed the
president's powers by instituting the post of head of government
(Mordovia had been a presidential republic until then). According
to Russian Radio of 5 April, conservative Russian deputies Sergei
Baburin and Vladimir Isakov addressed the latest session of the
Mordovian parliament. -Ann Sheehy

YELTSIN'S SUPPORTERS CALL FOR PARALLEL REFERENDUM. The Social
Committee of Democratic Organizations of Russia, created in March
out of the unofficial "round table" formed on the initiative
of the Democratic Russia group as an alternative to the par-liament-initiated
Round Table, called on citizens to support Boris Yeltsin in the
forthcoming referendum, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 April. The committee
accused the Congress of People's Deputies of imitating the ruling
structures of the CPSU. The committee also sent an open letter
to Yeltsin, calling on him to conduct a parallel referendum asking
whether the Congress should be retained as the highest body of
power; whether a constituent assembly should adopt the new constitution;
and whether private land ownership should be introduced. Only
32 of the 88 groups represented on the committee, and reportedly
the less influential ones, signed the letter. Yeltsin had earlier
rejected the idea of a parallel referendum. -Wendy Slater

CHAIRMAN OF KARELIAN SUPREME SOVIET ON NEED FOR EARLY ELECTIONS.
Viktor Stepanov, chairman of the Karelian parliament, said in
an interview in Nezavisimaya gazeta of 6 April, that there was
a need for early elections to all federal bodies of power. He
expressed the view that even if the forthcoming referendum did
not produce a vote in favor of early elections, ways should be
found to reform legislative power. In particular, the Supreme
Soviet should be expanded to 700-750 deputies and take over many
of the powers of the Congress, which should occupy itself with
the work on the draft constitution, the rotation of Supreme Soviet
members, and the appointment of the head of government. As regards
the proposal to create a Council of the Federation, Stepanov
thought it required further elaboration taking into account the
experience of the all-Union Council of the Federation. -Ann Sheehy


PUBLIC OPINION AND THE "CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS." A poll of fifteen
cities across Russia conducted during the constitutional crisis
in Moscow showed that many, though not a majority of the population,
disapproved of the actions taken by the Constitutional Court
and the Congress of People's Deputies against President Yeltsin.
A plurality (43%) of respondents did not support the constitutional
court's decision against Yeltsin's decree, while almost one in
four (24%) did. The attempt by the Congress to oust the president
was viewed negatively by 50% of the respondents, while 25% approved
the proceedings. In both cases, a substantial number of respondents
did not express an opinion or were undecided. More respondents
had some to absolute confidence (41%) in Yeltsin than had little
or no confidence (33%). Yeltsin garnered greater confidence than
either Rutskoi (25%) or Zorkin (17%). Yeltsin's position has
improved in light of recent events: in January 1993, the same
researchers found that fewer respondents expressed some to absolute
confidence (32%) than those who had little or no confidence (40%)
in Yeltsin. The Public Opinion Fund (Fond obshchestvennoye mneniye)
interviewed 1,288 adults in fifteen cities across Russia from
27-28 March 1993. The margin of error was  3%. -Albert Motivans


KOZYREV IN PAKISTAN. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
arrived on Islamabad on the evening of 6 April for talks on regional
issues, Russian prisoners from the Afghan war, and nuclear non-proliferation.
Kozyrev is to hold talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif and other leaders on 7 April. From Pakistan, Kozyrev's
Central Asian tour will continue with visits to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
and Turkmenistan, ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported. -Suzanne
Crow

RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS ROUND-UP. Speaking to reporters in Kamchatka
on his return from Vancouver, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev said that the implementation of agreements reached at
the US-Russian summit depended in large part on Russia's ratification
of the START-2 Treaty. As reported by Nezavisimaya gazeta on
6 April, he warned that parliament's failure to ratify could
block Russia's entry into the world economic community and reintroduce
tension and fear into Russia's relations with the West. Meanwhile,
Mayak Radio reported on the same day comments by Aleksei Yablokov,
Boris Yeltsin's advisor on environmental matters. Yablokov said
that Yeltsin had vowed that Russia would not start a new round
of nuclear tests. On 5 April, finally, Tokyo's Nihon Keizai Shimbun
reported that the Japanese government has decided to provide
significant financial assistance and technological cooperation
for Russia toward the peaceful use of plutonium left over after
the dismantling of Russian nuclear warheads. -Stephen Foye

KURILE ISLAND TO ASK FOR JAPANESE HELP? OFFICIALS OF KUNASHIR
ISLAND, ONE OF THE KURILE ISLAND GROUP, MAY ASK JAPAN FOR HELP
IF THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES DO NOT SEND THEM SOME FUEL SOON, ITAR-TASS
REPORTED ON 5 APRIL. The Kunashir authorities have declared a
state of emergency because of the fuel shortage. If they cannot
get supplies quickly from Sakhalin oblast, they may have to turn
to the prefect of Hokkaido island for a tanker loaded with diesel
oil. -Keith Bush

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



ARMENIAN FORCES LAUNCH NEW OFFENSIVE: THOUSANDS FLEE FIGHTING.
Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Moscow, Hikmet Gadzhi-Zade, told journalists
on 6 April that Azerbaijani forces had repulsed an Armenian offensive
against the town of Fizuli, southeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. A
new Armenian attack on the town of Kubatli west of Karabakh was
also halted, but fighting continued in Kelbadzhar raion, according
to an Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman. The Commander of
the Armenian self-defense forces of Karabakh and a Russian Defense
Ministry spokesman were quoted by the Noyan Tapan News Agency
and ITAR-TASS as rejecting Azerbaijani claims that Russian troops
were participating in the fighting in Karabakh. The office of
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva estimated on
6 April that tens of thousands of Azerbaijani civilians were
fleeing from Kelbadzhar, and that many had died of cold, hunger,
and exhaustion on the way, Reuters reported. -Liz Fuller

INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC REACTION TO FIGHTING IN AZERBAIJAN.
On 6 April the UN Security Council expressed "serious concern"
at the invasion of Kelbadzhar by "local Armenian forces" and
called for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded access to the
region by international humanitarian agencies, according to an
RFE/RL correspondent. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher,
in a statement summarized by the New York Times of 7 April, condemned
"the offensive by ethnic Armenian forces" and called for an immediate
withdrawal of Armenian troops from Kelbadzhar. The chairman of
the Turkish parliament Husamettin Cindoruk was quoted by Turkish
radio as suggesting that a military response by Turkey to Armenian
aggression should not be excluded. Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman
Demirel affirmed that Turkey "would not abandon" Azerbaijan and
compared the situation to "a chess game - we must play our men
carefully to ensure that both Turkey and Azerbaijan emerge victorious."
CIS armed forces Commander-in- Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov told
Russian radio that he would like to try to mediate a settlement
between Armenia and Azerbaijan; Russian and Turkish diplomats
have been working for the past month in Ankara on a new peace
initiative. -Liz Fuller

RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN TALKS OPEN IN SOCHI. Shortly before the departure
on 6 April of a Georgian government delegation headed by Prime
Minister Tengiz Sigua for Sochi to conduct talks with Russian
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, the Georgian parliament voted
against a resolution calling for the withdrawal of all Russian
troops from Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS reported. Reuters quoted Sigua
as informing Grachev that the Georgian government has hard evidence
of Russian military involvement in the Abkhaz conflict; Grachev
has consistently denied this. -Liz Fuller

CHEVRON-KAZAKHSTAN JOINT VENTURE FINALIZED. Western news agencies
reported on 7 April that the chairman of the Chevron Corporation
of California and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev
have signed a final memorandum creating the Tengizchevroil joint
venture to develop and exploit the Tengiz and Korolev oilfields
in western Kazakhstan. The agreement is to last for 40 years,
with the government of Kazakhstan receiving 80% of the revenues
from the project. Final agreement was slowed by disputes over
taxes and technical matters, including a refusal by a Russian
pipeline firm to ship Tengiz crude oil because of its sulfur
content. -Bess Brown

RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS ABDUCTED IN TAJIKISTAN. Ten Russian border
guards were abducted by unidentified armed men on the Tajik-Afghan
border on 5 April, a border guards spokesman told correspondents
in Moscow the following day. According to an RFE/RL correspondent,
the spokesman said that the kidnapping had occurred in the Khorog
border district in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. Gorno-Badakhshan
has sympathized with pro-Islamic forces in the Tajik civil war,
and the authorities there are reported to have established their
own informal relations with Afghanistan. The Russian border guards
spokesman said that the Russian authorities are trying to determine
whether Afghans or anti-government Tajiks abducted the guards.
-Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN UPDATE. International media reported on 6 and 7 April
that UN-sponsored Bosnian peace talks in Sarajevo failed to materialize
on 6 April. The Muslims talked with UN officials outside the
conference room and refused to join the Serbs and Croats; the
7-April Los Angeles Times adds that the Serb commander declined
to come in person. Meanwhile, Bosnian officials continued to
block the UN from evacuating civilians from besieged Srebrenica.
Finally, the 7 April Washington Post and Los Angeles Times report
on President Bill Clinton's remarks on Bosnia at his 6 April
press conference. He said that the United States can work only
through the UN and with its allies and not take unilateral action,
even when "all of our views may not always prevail." -Patrick
Moore

RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER TO BELGRADE. Politika of 7 April
says that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin is
expected in the Serbian capital for a new diplomatic effort aimed
at persuading the Bosnian Serbs to accept the Vance-Owen plan
to divide the embattled republic into ten highly autonomous cantons.
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has postponed a visit to
Moscow, where he was invited by the nationalist opposition to
Yeltsin. Meanwhile, on 6 April Greek Prime Minister Constantine
Mitsotakis arrived in Belgrade for talks with Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and rump Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic.
The 7 April Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that Cosic urged
Greece, a traditional ally of Serbia, to argue in diplomatic
circles against international sanctions on Belgrade. Borba reports
that Mitsotakis is concerned about the conflict spreading in
the Balkans if no peaceful solution is found, and quotes Greek
journalists as saying that the visit is probably in connection
with international efforts aimed at bringing Karadzic and his
followers around to accepting the Vance-Owen plan. -Patrick Moore


ROMANIA'S ETHNIC HUNGARIANS RENEW PROTESTS. Leaders of the ethnic
Hungarian minority renewed criticism of the recent government
decision to appoint ethnic Romanians as prefects in two counties
where Magyars are in majority. In a statement released on 6 April,
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania said that Hungarians
in the Covasna county considered the appointments as "unacceptable."
The statement accused the government of promoting a nationalist,
discriminatory policy towards ethnic minorities. In response
to the accusations, Viorel Hrebenciuc, the cabinet's secretary,
told Reuters that the appointments were "a political, not an
ethnic matter." He also suggested that the dialogue between the
authorities and the HDFR on that issue would continue. In turn,
Reformed Bishop Laszlo Toekes reiterated in Debrecen (Hungary)
the statement that Romania's ethnic Hungarians were being subjected
to a process of "ethnic cleansing," Romanian television reported
on 6-April. Toekes said the discrimination against Hungarian
ethnics today was comparable to that against the Jews in the
1940's. -Dan Ionescu and Michael Shafir

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE TO PROTEST ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT
DECISION. Hungarian radio reported on 6 April that the Foreign
Relations committee of the parliament decided to send a letter
of protest to the Romanian government, expressing "incomprehension
and regret" about the recent appointment of Romanian ethnics
as prefects in Harghita and Covasna. -Karoly Okolicsanyi

HUNGARY AND GERMANY WIDEN MILITARY COOPERATION. German Defense
Minister Volker Ruehe paid an official visit to Hungary on 5-6
April and held talks with President Arpad Goncz, Premier Jozsef
Antall, and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky, MTI reports. The
two countries upgraded their cooperation by extending their 1990
military cooperation agreement for an unlimited period. As announced
last November, Germany will provide the Hungarian Army spare
parts, as well as electronic and training equipment such as training
aircraft (but no weapons) from the stocks of the former East
German army. These will be provided free of charge to help Budapest
maintain its military capability. Ruehe declined to give any
figure, but Radio Budapest put the value of the aid at 70 million
DM. The training program for Hungarian officers in Germany (41
this year) will be continued. According to Ruehe, Hungary has
a special relationship to NATO and does not need more at present.
Hungarian Defense Minister Lajos Fur said Hungary did not ask
for security guarantees from NATO because the time for that has
not yet come. --Alfred Reisch

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BUDAPEST. During an official visit,
Trivimi Velliste invited Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall
to a Finno-Ugric summit between Finland, Estonia and Hungary
to be held in October 1993, MTI reported on 6 April. He emphasized
there was a long tradition of good relations between Estonia
and Hungary. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszensky emphasized
the importance of the economic relations between the two countries.
They both agreed that satisfied aspirations of national minorities
induce political stability. During a press conference, Velliste
rejected President Yeltsin's charges against Estonia at the Vancouver
summit and expressed hope that by Christmas all Russian troops
will leave his country. -Karoly Okolicsanyi

SUCHOCKA VISITS PRAGUE. Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka
arrived in Prague on 7 April for an unofficial one-day visit.
Speaking at a press conference after her meeting with Czech Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus, Suchocka said she and Klaus had agreed
to open new border crossings between the two countries and to
speed up the creation of a free-trade zone between the countries
of the Visegrad Quadrangle. Suchocka also said she does not see
a reason why the Czech Republic and Poland should compete with
each other in trying to join European institutions. Klaus told
journalists that both countries should clearly and firmly formulate
their policies toward the European Community. Klaus also said
he and Suchocka had agreed that both countries had the same interests
vis-a-vis changes in German asylum policies. -Jiri Pehe

WALESA TO VISIT UNITED STATES. The Polish president's office
announced on 6 April that Lech Walesa will visit the US in the
second half of the month. Western agencies report that the visit
is scheduled for 21-23 April. US President Bill Clinton invited
Walesa during a telephone conversation on 3 March. While in Washington,
the Polish president will hold talks with Clinton and take part
in the opening of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. In a letter
to Walesa quoted by Polish Television, Clinton pledged to support
market reform and democracy and called both Walesa and Poland
"important partners" for the US. Vice President Al Gore is expected
to attend ceremonies in Warsaw marking the 50th anniversary of
the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on 19 April. -Louisa Vinton

KNAZKO FORMS HIS OWN CAUCUS. Seven Slovak parliament deputies
from the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia announced on 6 April
that they were leaving the ruling party's caucus and joining
former Foreign Minister Milan Knazko in forming an "independent
deputies' caucus." In a communique released to the media, the
deputies said that they did not agree with some of the ruling
party's policies in the areas of economy, education, health care,
and culture, and were alarmed by "the return to methods that
resemble those from before November 1989." Following the deputies'
departure, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, which has
completely dominated the government since it lost in March its
coalition partner, the Slovak National Party, will have 66 deputies
in the 150member Slovak parliament. -Jiri Pehe

US CONGRESSMAN SAYS MFN FOR ROMANIA CONDITIONAL. In an interview
with RFE/RL's Romanian Service on 6 April, US congressman Frank
Wolf (R-Virginia) praised Romania's progress in areas such as
freedom of speech and religion as well as in the treatment of
ethnic minorities. Wolf said that it was time for Romania to
be granted the Most Favored Nation trade status. But he added
that, if granted, that status would be on a one-year conditional
basis in order to make sure that minority rights were respected.
Wolf and Senator Daniel Coates (R-Indiana) are currently on a
fact-finding mission in Romania. -Dan Ionescu

FORMER KING PLANS EASTER TRIP TO ROMANIA. Western agencies announced
that Romania's exiled King Michael, who lives in Switzerland,
has applied for a visa to visit his native country for the Orthodox
Easter on 18 April. Last April the king returned to Romania for
the first time after being forced into exile in January 1948,
and was warmly welcomed by crowds in Bucharest. The authorities
denied him permission to enter Romania on three other occasions.
Several senior Orthodox Church leaders and mayors of major cities
extended invitations this year. -Dan Ionescu

RUSSIAN-AMERICAN COMMISSION VISITS BALTIC STATES. A Russian-American
Commission searching for information on American POWs and MIAs
imprisoned in the USSR after World War II visited the three Baltic
capitals. On 6 April its co-chairman, former US ambassador to
the USSR Malcolm Toon, told a press conference in Vilnius that
although he had visited Moscow four times he had received little
information on the fate of the missing American soldiers, the
RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reports. As in Tallinn and Riga earlier
in the week, he made a courtesy call on Lithuanian President
Algirdas Brazauskas to help publicize the commission's work.
-Saulius Girnius

BALCEROWICZ VISITS LITHUANIA. At the invitation of the ruling
Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party, former Polish Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Finance Leszek Balcerowicz visited Vilnius.
He held talks with President Algirdas Brazauskas and Prime Minister
Alfonsas Slezevicius. Balcerowicz said that Lithuania had not
chosen a direction for its economic reform yet and should follow
the example of Estonia and Latvia that had introduced strong
currencies and stopped inflation, the RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service
reported on 6 April. He noted that a slow rate of reform augments
its social price and that state subsidies to enterprises should
be stopped when they are on the brink of bankruptcy. -Saulius
Girnius

LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN US. On 5 April Latvian Foreign Minister
Georgs Andrejevs, who is visiting the USA, spoke at Georgetown
University, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reports. He
stated that Russian President Boris Yeltsin was "badly mistaken"
when he asserted in Vancouver that human rights of Russians were
being violated in Latvia and Estonia. The accusations against
the Baltic States do not promote democracy, he said, and any
delay in the troop withdrawals "means a delay in the democratic
reforms in Russia and promotes regional instability." Andrejevs
will meet with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 8
April -Saulius Girnius

BULGARIAN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS SUSPEND STRIKE. Following a
government decision to meet some of the air traffic controllers'
demands, the strike of the controllers was suspended, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported. Precisely what the government
has agreed to remains unclear and the strike could be resumed
if the government fails to meet other demands of the controllers.
-Duncan Perry

LITHUANIA TO IMPORT MEAT. While Lithuania had been a reliable
exporter of meat after World War II, costs had risen so greatly
and production decreased so much that it will not be able to
satisfy local meat needs, BNS reported on 6 April. The production
of meat this year is expected to drop to 150,000 tons. Current
meat prices of $1.27 to $1.43 per kilogram exceed world prices.
The first shipment of 1,000 tons of meat at $.95 to $1.00 per
kilogram are expected to arrive in Lithuania this week. -Saulius
Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Michael Shafir







THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
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