Век живи - век учись тому, как следует жить. - Сенека
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 71, 15 April 1993







RUSSIA



YELTSIN ON HIS FATE AFTER THE REFERENDUM. President Boris Yeltsin
implied at a press conference on 14 April devoted to the forthcoming
referendum that he intends to ask Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi
to resign because the latter "categorically rejects reform",
ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin asserted that should he win the referendum,
he would take immediate measures to "neutralize the negative
actions of the Supreme Soviet". He stated that if he were to
loose the referendum, early presidential elections would be held
in the autumn of 1993, but that he would stay in office until
then because otherwise a power vacuum could emerge. Meanwhile,
Russian news agencies quoted Rutskoi as saying that he will not
resign and that in the current situation it was unclear "who
would survive whom." -Alexander Rahr

ZORKIN WARNS OF CIVIL WAR. Constitutional Court chairman Valerii
Zorkin warned on 14 April that attempts to change the constitution
could lead to "civil war," Reuters reported. He envisaged a scenario
in which attempts by Yeltsin to disregard the constitution could
encourage other groups to do the same: "Left and right will try
to defend their own understanding of the constitution, which
can only lead to civil war," he was reported as saying. Zorkin
also warned that if Yeltsin was seeking Rutskoi's resignation,
as he had inferred at his press conference held earlier that
day, he must prove that Rutskoi had violated the constitution,
since any other means of ousting Rutskoi would be unconstitutional.
On 14-April Kommersant quoted Sergei Filatov, the head of the
presidential staff, as saying that the draft of a new Russian
Constitution is ready and will be published for discussion before
the referendum. -Wendy Slater

YELTSIN MEETS HEADS OF REPUBLICS. After chairing a meeting of
the Council of the Heads of Republics on 14 April, President
Yeltsin told journalists he was relieved that all the republics
had confirmed that they would hold the 25 April referendum, ITAR-TASS
reported. In fact the republics have little reason to object
to the holding of the referendum now that it does not involve
a vote on the new Russian constitution. The council adopted an
appeal to voters to participate in the referendum, but the call
on them to express their confidence in Yeltsin was dropped from
the final text of the appeal. ITAR-TASS said that this was at
the suggestion of Yeltsin and the representatives of the subjects
of the federation, but Pravda said that only the president of
Sakha (Yakutia) and the ex-president of Mordovia had been in
favor of its inclusion. -Ann Sheehy

YELTSIN WOOS REPUBLICAN HEADS WITH NEW CONSTITUTION. At a meeting
with the heads of the republics, Yeltsin dwelt at length on the
new draft constitution which he is about to unveil and which
he said integrated the federal treaty and grants all the subjects
of the federation "extensive autonomy, sovereignty, and rights."
Yeltsin maintained that the existing constitution is a mass of
contradictions and criticized the Congress of People's Deputies
for preferring to introduce endless amendments rather than adopt
a new constitution. According to the chairman of the Russian
parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, the majority of amendments to
the existing constitution and all the ones of substance were
adopted at the instigation of the president. -Ann Sheehy

JOUSTING BETWEEN MOSCOW AND KIEV ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Russian
defense officials, meeting in Moscow on 14 April with a German
delegation led by Defense Minister Volker Ruehe, continued to
blame Kiev for the stalemate that has developed over control
of strategic nuclear weapons based in Ukraine. According to ADN,
the chairman of the Russian parliamentary Committee for Defense
and Security Sergei Stepashin assured Ruehe that nuclear weapons
in the former Soviet Union present no danger, but he did suggest
that intransigence on Kiev's part had led to technical problems
in maintaining nuclear weapons in Ukraine. On the same day, ITAR-TASS
reported, a first deputy chief of the CIS central military command,
Vladimir Krivonogikh, expressed similar concern to the German
delegation that Ukraine had thus far "not taken a clear stance
in relation to strategic weapons." The statements from Moscow
capped a week of recriminations during which Yurii Kostenko,
head of a Ukrainian parliamentary committee on nuclear disarmament,
urged the West to give Ukraine more time for ratification of
START-1 and said that nuclear disarmament would cost Ukraine
some $3-billion. On 13 April, ITAR-TASS reported remarks by Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky in which he accused
Ukraine of adopting a less than constructive attitude in negotiating
nuclear policy with Russia. -Stephen Foye

CHERNOMYRDIN FOR EXPANDING GOSZAKAZ. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin,
on a tour of Russia's southern regions, told farmers in Krasnodar
that the system of state contracts (goszakazy) should be strengthened,
various Russian news agencies reported on 13-April. State contracts
were used extensively by the state in the late 1980's to maintain
central distribution of goods but are currently limited to only
a portion of defense, agricultural and energy output. Chernomyrdin
suggested that such contracting should form the basis of state
support for the agricultural sector and should also be expanded
in industry. His views echoed similar statements made recently
by parliamentarians. -Erik Whitlock

LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT ESTIMATES. Oleg Slavutsky, director of Russia's
Federal Employment Service, has predicted that the unemployment
rate will rise from 1% to about 1.4% by the summer, and to 7%,
or 5 million, by the end of the year, according to Reuters on
12-April. On 1 April there were 730,000 officially registered
unemployed. Slavutsky claims that another 1.5-million workers
represent the "hidden unemployed," or those who are currently
on short-time work or unpaid leave. The new law on bankruptcy,
which came into effect on 1 April, should force unprofitable
enterprises to close down, and lead to sharp rises in the number
of unemployed. Minister of Labor Gennadii Melikyan has estimated
that the actual number of unemployed is currently 4.5-5 million,
but this is not reflected in the official data, since they are
not registered with the employment service, ITAR-TASS reported
on 9 April. -Sheila Marnie

LATEST PRICE AND WAGE INCREASES. In the same interview Melikyan
reported that prices for consumer goods have risen by 2.4 times
in the past four months, and the average wage by two times. In
December 1992 prices rose by 27% and wages by 52%; in January
1993 prices rose by 27% and wages dropped by 2.4%. In February
prices increased by 25% and wages by 15%, and in March the increases
were 17.4% and 17% respectively. -Sheila Marnie

NEW RESTRICTIONS ON FOREIGN BANKS. The Russian Central Bank has
put up new barriers to foreign banks wishing to enter Russian
financial markets, Reuters and various Russian news agencies
reported on 13 and 14 April. Under the new regulations, foreign
banks can now hold a maximum 12% ownership share in Russian commercial
banks, and can establish their own branches in Russia with a
minimum of $5 million. A minimum starting capital of only $130,000
is required from Russian banks. The actions are designed to protect
Russian banks from Western competition and limit additional channels
of capital flight from the country. -Erik Whitlock

COUP PLOTTERS GO ON TRIAL. On 14 April, the opening day of the
trial of the twelve former high Soviet officials accused of treason
for their part in the failed coup of August 1991, the defendants
attempted unsuccessfully to challenge the legitimacy of the charges,
the prosecutors, and the trial itself. However, their claims
that the Russian court had no right to try a case concerning
the now defunct Soviet Union were dismissed, as were allegations
of improprieties in the prosecution. The session was reported
by various Russian and Western media. One defendant, Aleksandr
Tizyakov, was taken ill during the session and hospitalized.
Former Vice President Gennadii Yanaev, in an interview on British
TV the same day, repeated his accusations that Mikhail Gorbachev
had himself initiated the plan to introduce a state of emergency
and that Yeltsin knew of the plans. Observers concurred that
the defendants would attempt to turn the trial into a political
spectacle and would drag out proceedings for as long as possible.
-Wendy Slater

CONCERN OVER RUSSIAN DIET. The State Com-mittee on Sanitary-Epidemiological
Control has expressed concern over the unbalanced diet of the
population, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 April. The consumption of
potatoes and grain products rose by 13% and 4% respectively in
1992, while the consumption of milk and meat products declined
by 28% and 9% respectively. The intake of Vitamins A and C was
34% and 50% short of the recommended norm. -Keith Bush

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

OZAL RAISES POSSIBILITY OF TURKISH-AZERBAIJANI MILITARY ALLIANCE.
Addressing the Azerbaijani parliament on the second day of his
three day visit to Baku, Turkish President Turgut Ozal again
condemned the Armenian annexation of parts of Azerbaijan's territory
and hinted that if all other means fail, Turkey might consider
a military alliance with Azerbaijan, Western agencies reported.
Azerbaijani President Abulfaz Elchibey conceded that the Karabakh
issue could not be solved by war, and indicated that Azerbaijan
was hoping that international diplomatic pressure would constrain
Armenia to withdraw its troops from Azerbaijani territory over
the next 3-4 months. Meanwhile fighting continued around the
town of Fizuli, south-east of Nagorno-Karabakh. In Tehran a majority
of parliament deputies signed a petition calling on the Iranian
government to condemn Armenian "aggression" and increase "moral
and material support" to Azerbaijan. -Liz Fuller

KYRGYZ LEGISLATURE REJECTS DUAL CITIZENSHIP. The protracted debate
of a draft constitution for Kyrgyzstan continued in the country's
Supreme Soviet on 14 April. According to ITAR-TASS, the deputies
voted to reject dual citizenship for citizens of the country.
During public discussion of the draft constitution, some non-Kyrgyz
citizens had appealed for recognition of dual citizenship, as
well as for designation of Russian as the language of interethnic
communication. The Supreme Soviet has rejected both pleas. -Bess
Brown

TAJIK PROSECUTOR CHARGES KHUDONAZAROV. ITAR-TASS reported on
14 April that Tajikistan's State Prosecutor has charged film
maker and political leader Davlat Khudonazarov, former chairman
of the USSR Cinematographers' Union, with attempting to overthrow
the constitutional order and inciting civil war. The same charges
were made earlier against the top leaders of the parties which
made up an anti-Communist coalition of democratic, Tajik and
Pamiri nationalist and Islamic parties and groups in 1992. Tajik
government sources say that the opposition leaders who have been
charged with fomenting the civil war have taken refuge in either
Russia or Afghanistan, where some are forming a government in
exile. The decision to prosecute Khudonazarov, who was the unsuccessful
candidate of the democratic opposition in the November 1991 presidential
elections, is somewhat surprising given his prominence as the
best-known Tajik opposition figure in the CIS. The charge that
he incited civil war is especially ironic, since he tried repeatedly
to reconcile the warring factions during the fighting in the
second half of 1992. -Bess Brown

TURKMENISTAN TO HAVE NEW ALPHABET IN 1996. Turkmenistan's President
Saparmurad Niyazov has issued a decree on the replacement of
the present Cyrillic-based alphabet used to write the Turkmen
language with an alphabet to be based on the Latin script. The
new alphabet is to be introduced on 1 January 1996. Recently
Turkish and Central Asian Turkic specialists announced an agreement
under which all the Turkic-speaking states would adopt Latin-based
alphabets. -Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



PRESSURE ON SERBIA MOUNTS. US Special envoy Reginald Batholomew,
following a meeting with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
in Belgrade, said that the international community "will make
Serbia a pariah state for as far ahead as we can see," unless
the Bosnian Serbs sign on fully to the Vance-Owen peace plan,
according to the Washington Post. He spoke as Bosnian Serb forces
continued their offensive intended to eliminate Muslim resistance
in eastern Bosnia. Bartholomew also noted that the US would ask
the UN to end the arms embargo in Bosnia should the Serbs fail
to sign the accord. His comments came on the heels of a plea
by former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, for decisive
Western action in Bosnia. For the moment however, such action
is unlikely because of events in Russia, a traditional ally of
Serbia. Western leaders fear that such moves as lifting the arms
embargo on Bosnia could jeopardize Russian President Boris Yeltsin's
chances in the 25 April national referendum on reform. Finally,
in a related story, General Philippe Morillion, commander of
the UN forces in Bosnia, will be replaced, according to Le Monde
and other French sources. A successor has not been named and
the French Foreign Ministry has been at pains to argue that the
removal of the contoversial general does not signal caving in
to Serbian demands that he be replaced. -Duncan Perry

SERBS IMPOSE DANUBE TRANSIT FEE ON ROMANIA. A spokeswoman for
the Romanian Ministry of Transport told Reuters on 14 April that
Belgrade has imposed a steep transit fee on Romanian ships transiting
Serbia on the Danube in retaliation for Bucharest's efforts to
enforce the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia. An official in
the Danube port of Giurgiu told Reuters the fee amounted to 7,500
US dollars per ship. In another development, Radio Bucharest
said on 14-April that consultations had been underway in Bucharest
between Romanian and Bulgarian diplomats concerning coordination
of the supervision of the embargo in line with the WEU initiative
on this matter. The consultations will be followed by negotiations
between the two countries, on one hand, and the WEU, on the other
hand, concerning collaboration in the embargo supervision. -Michael
Shafir

SERB-BULGARIAN RAIL LINK REOPENS. Railway traffic between Serbia
and Bulgaria is being restored, a Bulgarian official said on
14 April. Bulgarian State Railways Director Atanas Tonev told
BTA that the blockade caused by a strike among Serbian railway
workers has been lifted and that trains have begun to move in
both directions. Tonev said also that owing to the current traffic
jam at the border it would take 3 to 4-days before traffic runs
normally. -Kjell Engelbrekt

DENMARK RECOGNIZES MACEDONIA WHILE GREEK MACEDONIA TALKS PROCEED.
Denmark became the first EC country to recognize the Republic
of Macedonia as a sovereign state on 14 April, according to Reuters.
Meantime, the talks between Greece, which has blocked Macedonia's
recognition by the EC, and Macedonia are making progress concerning
their differences over Macedonia's official name, national symbols
and other issues. -Duncan Perry

WORLD BANK HOPES TO HELP RELAUNCH BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION. A
World Bank mission visiting Sofia is investigating ways to speed
up Bulgaria's delayed privatization, a government spokesman told
Reuters on 14 April. Spokesman Boyan Petkov said World Bank economists
are paying special attention to the idea of setting up investment
funds to help finance privatization, as well as to the possibility
of debt-equity swaps between Bulgaria's semi-independent commercial
banks and deeply indebted state firms. In Kontinent daily, Director
of the Agency for Privatization, Aleksandar Bozhkov, complained
that politicians thus far have been unwilling to provide his
organization with much needed power to act. -Kjell Engelbrekt


HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS SECURITY POLICY. On 14 April, Hungary's
parliament unanimously adopted the basic principles of Hungary's
national security, MTI reports The parliament moved that Hungary
has currently no discernible enemy and considers all countries
respecting the basic principles of international law as partners.
Hungary sees its security as based primarily on eventual membership
in the EC, NATO, and the West European Union. It regards the
recognition of the rights of Magyar minorities as a basic requirement
for good relations with its neighbors. Hungary rejects forced
changes of borders and all attempted modifications of the ethnic
make-up of populations. The document obliges the government to
report to parliament at least once a year on the condition of
the armed forces. -Edith Oltay

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT BANS TOTALITARIAN SYMBOLS. On 14 April,
the Hungarian parliament voted by 130 to 73 and 23 abstentions
to amend the penal code to allow for the banning of the public
display of Nazi and Communist symbols, MTI reports. Under the
amendment, "the wearing of Swastika, SS badge, arrow-cross (the
Hungarian fascist symbol), hammer-and-sickle or five-pointed
red star, or dissemination of such symbols, or their public display
constitutes an offense" punishable by a fine or imprisonment
of up to one year. The bill was introduced by the largest governing
party, the Hungarian Democratic Forum, following an incident
at the anniversary of the 1956 revolution last October when President
Arpad Goncz was prevented from delivering his speech by skinheads
wearing Nazi symbols. Police was criticized for not acting to
disperse the skinheads but the display of fascist symbols was
not legally prohibited at the time. -Edith Oltay

ANTALL MEETS CROATIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION. On 14 April,
Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall met with a Croatian parliamentary
delegation headed by President Stipe Mesic, MTI reports. Antall
stressed that Hungary will continue to support Croatia at all
international forums, and regretted that the West was slow to
recognize the dangers that the Balkan war entailed. He termed
the situation of ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina extremely grave
and reiterated that their interests will continue to shape Hungary's
policy toward the Balkans. Both sides evaluated the development
of bilateral relations very positively and called for deeping
economic ties. -Edith Oltay

SEJM REJECTS VISA APPEAL. The Sejm has rejected an appeal drafted
by a group of deputies urging that the government introduce tighter
immigration controls for citizens of former Soviet Union countries,
PAP reported on 14 April. The draft appeal referred to the possibility
of a temporary introduction of visas, with preferential treatment
being given to persons of Polish origin, and demanded that the
government report to the Sejm by the end of April on what it
was doing to prevent illegal trading, smuggling of liquor and
radioactive materials, illegal export of hard currency, and crime,
whose rapid increase has been connected to the flood of visitors
from the East. Although the appeal failed to gain acceptance
by 185 to 121 with 25-abstentions, the government received much
criticism for its lack of action. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

POPE ON AUSCHWITZ CARMEL. In a letter to the Carmelite nuns still
in residence on the site of the former Nazi concentration camp
in Auschwitz, John Paul II emphasized that it was the "will of
the Church" that they move to a new center just outside of the
camp's perimeter. The presence of Catholic nuns on the holocaust
site had been a source of distress to many Jews and representatives
of the Catholic Church had agreed in 1987 to the nuns' transfer
to a new multidenominational Center for Information, Meeting,
Dialogue, Education and Prayer. Now that construction of the
new center is almost complete, the nuns, who had not been consulted,
are reluctant to abandon their original abode. According to the
local bishop, Tadeusz Rakoczy, who had handed the Pope's letter
to them, the nuns were now prepared to bow to the will of the
Church. The Catholic Church is anxious not to allow the carmel
to cast a cloud over next week's commemoration of the 50th anniversary
of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. PAP quoted the Vatican spokesman
on 14-April as saying that the Pope's letter did not constitute
a formal order for the nuns to move. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

ESTONIAN LEADERS CRITICIZE HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA. Estonian president
Lennart Meri and over 40 Estonian parliamentarians have urged
in separate messages the Russian government and Supreme Soviet
to uphold the human rights of Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia.
They acted after the Russian militia on 29 March apparently beat
to death Prokopi Sopachin, a Khanty human rights activist, and
beat up Auzori Barakalaya, a student from Tartu. Meri also appealed
to the presidents of Hungary and Finland to launch joint actions
to save the Finno-Ugric peoples and their unique cultures. The
two statements are dated 13 and 14 April. -Dzintra Bungs

LATVIA COOPERATES WITH MOLDOVA AND TURKEY. Radio Riga reported
on 14 April that an accord on cooperation in legal matters had
been signed by the state prosecutors of Latvia and Moldova. The
expansion of trade and economic cooperation was discussed that
day by Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis and Turkey's ambassador
Erkan Gezer. The Turkish foreign minister is expected in Riga
in May to restore the pre-World War II friendship agreements
that existed between Turky and the three Baltic States. -Dzintra
Bungs

LITHUANIAN AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA PRESENTS HIS CREDENTIALS. Romualdas
Kozyrovicius, Lithuania's first ambassador to Russia since the
end of World War II, presented his credentials to Russian vice
president Aleksandr Rutskoi in Moscow on 14 April. When Lithuania
regained its independence in 1990, its mission-later embassy-in
Moscow was headed by Egidius Bickauskas, now the deputy speaker
of the Lithuania's parliament, BNS reported on 14 April. -Dzintra
Bungs

LITHUANIAN BORDER GUARDS DETAIN KURDISH REFUGEES. Over 50 refugees
were detained in Vilnius on 11 April and sent back to Minsk the
same day. Lithuanian officials suspect that around 300 Kurds
are waiting in Minsk for propitious circumstances for a transfer
from Belarus to Scandinavia, via Lithuania. Some of the Kurds
had come to Vilnius in a bus, while others had taken the train
traveling from Minsk via Kaliningrad, BNs reported on 14 April.
-Dzintra Bungs

ESTONIAN BORDER GUARDS INTERCEPT RUSSIAN SHIP. Estonian border
guards intercepted two Russian ship near the island of Saaremaa,
BNS reported on 14-April. The ships had violated the regulations
of crossing the Estonian territorial waters. They ships were
allowed subsequently to leave the Tallinn port where they had
to take care of the formalities. In the past two months five
such violations have been reported by the Estonian authorities.-Dzintra
Bungs

LATVIAN BANKS LOWER INTEREST RATES, MORE LATI INTRODUCED. BNS
reported on 13 April that as a consequence the Bank of Latvia's
recent reduction of its interests rates, commercial banks in
Latvia are starting to follow suit. The Riga-based Neftehimbank
has lowered by about 40% the interest rates charged in 1992 (about
140-160%). BNS also reported on 13 April that the two-lati coin,
worth 400 Latvian rubles, is to become available on 15-April.
This would be the third unit of currency that Latvia has reintroduced
since 5-March. -Dzintra Bungs

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS SEMINAR OPENS IN KIEV. A two-day international
seminar on human rights was opened in Kiev on 14 April by Deputy
Prime Minister Mykola Zhulynsky, Ukrainian TV reported. It is
organized by the Council of Europe, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry
and the Institute for International Relations. -Bohdan Nahaylo


UKRAINIAN LAWYERS CONTINUE STRIKE. Ukrainian TV reported on 14
April that the strike begun by Ukrainian lawyers on 5 April is
continuing. The lawyers are demanding, among other things, higher
renumeration through exemptions from taxation and more professional
working conditions. -Bohdan Nahaylo

KRAVCHUK SACKS CONTROVERSIAL KIEV OFFICIAL. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk has sacked his controversial representative in
Kiev, Ivan Salii, Ukrainian Radio reported on 14 April. Salii
was accused of "systematically" overstepping his prerogatives
which led to a prolonged conflict with the city's local authorities.
-Bohdan Nahaylo

UKRAINIAN DELEGATIONS VISITING CHINA AND PERSIAN GULF STATES.
A Ukrainian governmental delegation headed by Prime Minister
Leonid Kuchma is currently visiting the Persian Gulf States.
It is hoping to establish full diplomatic relations with these
states and is seeking new sources of oil for Ukraine. Meanwhile,
a parliamentary delagation led by the speaker of the Ukrainian
parliament Ivan Plyushch is visiting China, Ukrainian media report
on 12 April. -Bohdan Nahaylo

SLOVAK PARLIAMENTARIANS IN ROMANIA. A Slovak parliamentary delegation
headed by parliament vice-chairman Josef Prokes of the Slovak
National Party met in Bucharest with Romanian parliamentarians,
Radio Bucharest said on 14 April. Prokes said Hungary is "abusing
the tolerance" displayed in both Romania and Slovakia toward
the Hungarian national minorities living there, adding that this
affects negatively European stability. -Michael Shafir

MELESCANU ON HUNGARIAN CONSULATE. According to the independent
daily Evenimentul zilei of 14 April, Romania's foreign minister
Teodor Melescanu has recently suggested that Hungary open a consulate
in either Harghita or Covasna (two counties where the Hungarian
ethnic minority makes up the majority of the population) instead
of Cluj. The controversy over the opening of the Hungarian consulate
in Cluj, (Transylvania's largest town) has long marred Romanian-Hungarian
relations. The daily also says Melescanu suggested widening some
(unspecified) rights of the Hungarian minority in exchange for
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania's cooperation
with the ministry he heads. In another development, Radio Bucharest
said on 14 April that the first meeting of the recently-established
Council for National Minorities was held in Bucharest under the
chairmanship of the government's secretary general, Viorel Hrebenciuc.
-Michael Shafir

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Jan B. de Weydenthal







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