V zhizni kazhdyj dolzhen sovershat' svoi sobstvennye oshibki. - Agata Kristi
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 88, 10 May 1993


Constitutional Commission held a session, convened and chaired
by parliamentary chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov, to discuss President
Yeltsin's draft for a new constitution, various Russian and western
agencies reported. Yeltsin had refused to attend the commission,
of which he is nominally chairman. The resolution said that Yeltsin's
draft contained suggestions which should be considered in elaborating
a new constitution, and offered to cooperate with the president
in this; it also said, however, that the presidential draft "curbs
the political, economic and civil rights of Russian citizens."
The presidential draft was also criticized by participants of
the session: deputy parliamentary speaker Nikolai Ryabov said
that it "practically establishes a constitutional monarchy,"
and the secretary of the constitutional commission, Oleg Rumyantsev,
likened it to authoritarian rule, "which even Latin America rejected
40 or 50 years ago." -Wendy Slater

RUTSKOI DECLARES CANDIDACY. Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi
speaking at a meeting of Russian war veterans in Moscow on 7
May said that he had decided to run for president in the next
elections, an RFE/RL correspondent and various agencies reported.
Rutskoi said he had made his decision as a result of Yeltsin's
6-May TV address, in which the president said that he had lost
confidence in his deputy. In an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta
on 8-May, Rutskoi said that Yeltsin's draft for the new Russian
Constitution was aimed at "a dictatorship" and could only be
imposed by force. The same day, the head of Yeltsin's administration
Sergei Filatov told ITAR-TASS that Rutskoi, together with the
president's other political rivals, should resign following the
support evinced for Yeltsin in the April referendum. -Wendy Slater

Day demonstrations in Moscow passed off without incident, despite
fears that they could repeat the violence of the 1 May opposition
demonstrations, various Western and Russian media reported. On
7 May the funeral of the police officer injured at those demonstrations
was held, attended by President Yeltsin. After some confusion
over which route it would be allowed to take, the Victory Day
parade of up to 20,000 people marched to Red Square carrying
placards denouncing Yeltsin and his policies. The president,
meanwhile, laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier,
claimed that "chauvinist and pro-Bolshevik forces have very little
impact on society." -Wendy Slater

9 May ITAR-TASS reported that the head of the parliament's press
service Yurii Marechenkov had lifted the ban on news agencies
ITAR-TASS, RIA and Interfax from covering sessions of the parliament's
presidium. The ban had been imposed on 5 May and had caused protests
from the Union of Parliamentary Journalists and the Ministry
of the Press and Information as an infringement on freedom of
speech [see RFE/RL Daily Report 7 May]. Marechenkov explained
that the ban had been a one-off measure necessitated by the large
numbers of people invited to attend the 5 May session of the
presidium. -Wendy Slater

BUDGET DEFICIT PROJECTIONS. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central
Bank Aleksandr Khandruyev has forecast a budget deficit well
over the targets set by the government and approved by the International
Monetary Fund. In a statement quoted by Reuters on 7 May, Khandruyev
accused the Finance Ministry of deliberately understating actual
budget expenditures and submitting additional expenditure items
to parliament. He reckoned that the second quarter deficit may
exceed 2.2 trillion rubles, whereas initial estimates put the
deficit at 1.3 trillion rubles. Specialists were quoted as saying
that the deficit for the whole year could reach 17-trillion rubles,
or about 15-20% of GNP. -Keith Bush

INFLATION RATE DOWN. Consumer prices rose by 93% during the first
quarter of 1993, according to the Russian Goskomstat, cited by
"Mayak" on 3 May. The subsistence minimum climbed to over 8,000
rubles a month in March, and was said to represent the income
of every third Russian citizen. It was also calculated that about
42% of families with children under 16 years of age are on or
below the poverty line. The monthly rates of inflation were 27%,
25%, and 21% in January, February, and March. In April, the rate
dropped to 16%, but is expected to grow to 25% by the end of
May, according to Vladimir Sokolin of the government's Economic
Analysis and Forecasting Center, as quoted by Reuters on 7 May.
-Keith Bush

on 9 May, several Russian luminaries gave their views on the
future exchange rate of the ruble, ITAR-TASS reported. Deputy
Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais reckoned that the ruble would
continue to fall-the current rate is 829 rubles to the dollar-until
it stabilized at around 1,400 to the dollar. Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin thought that the rate should not be allowed
to fall below 1,000 to the dollar. This could be achieved by
intervention on the part of the Russian Central Bank, which currently
disposes of a convertible currency reserve of nearly $1-billion,
or by using a stabilization fund underwritten by the West. Academician
Abel Aganbegyan advocated the introduction of a Russian ruble,
and called for the implementation of bankruptcy legislation.
-Keith Bush

GRACHEV ON PACE OF MILITARY REFORM. Speaking with reporters from
ITAR-TASS and Nezavisimaya gazeta on 7 May, Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev claimed that the military reform program was proceeding
successfully and that the Russian military might eventually be
reduced to an all-volunteer force of about 1 million troops.
The backbone of such a force would be the special command for
mobile forces which is to be formed between mid-1994 and 1995.
The defense burden for this force would be in the range of 6-7%
of GNP, according to Grachev. While Grachev claimed that such
a defense burden was typical for most countries, it would be
as high, or higher, than that of the US during the Cold War,
and would be a substantially higher than that of other European
countries. One concern expressed by Grachev was that the arms
procurement system had not yet been fully restructured and that
this was causing problems, particularly for the Russian Navy.
-John Lepingwell

Grachev suggested that the increasing number of volunteer troops
might allow a reduction in the draft term to one year from the
current term of 18 months. The number of volunteers for the military
has reportedly reached some 60,000 out of a planned 110,000 and
the number of applicants is steadily increasing. According to
Grachev, a new draft law on military service might soon be introduced
to change provisions in the current law (enacted this year) that
provide extensive draft deferments. The upper limit on the draft
age would also be raised to 25, presumably to allow students
to be drafted after completing their studies. Grachev did not
specify when the bill would be introduced or when the new draft
term might take effect. The new initiative appears to be an effort
to stop worsening draft shortfalls by trading a shorter draft
term for wider eligibility. Grachev also reported that disciplinary
problems, particularly those involving the deaths of servicemen,
have decreased this year by some 40%. -John Lepingwell


ABKHAZ. Loti Kobalia, leader of the armed supporters of ousted
Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, met on 6 May with Abkhaz
acting Defense Minister Sultan Soslanaliev to discuss ways of
ending the war in Abkhazia, the Georgian Information Agency reported
on 8-May. The two sides agreed on a halt to combat activities
along the Gumista river as of 10-May, and the creation of a joint
commission to draw up plans for a ceasefire and the return of
refugees to their homes. Gamsakhurdia's supporters had concluded
an informal truce with Georgian government forces earlier this
year because of the fighting in Abkhazia. Gamsakhurdia issued
an appeal to the Abkhaz people expressing his conviction that
his restoration to the Georgian leadership is an essential precondition
to ending the war, and that the Abkhaz would be willing to conduct
negotiations with him, according to Radio Tbilisi of 7-May. -Liz

Soviet has ended its session at which the legislators adopted
a package of laws on economic reform and its social effects,
and on foreign relations. It also confirmed that the country
will remain within the ruble zone at least for the foreseeable
future, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 May. Uzbekistan is preparing
its own currency, however, that could be put into circulation
at any time that the country's leadership decides that it is
no longer realistic to try to function within the economy of
the CIS, according to the report. Uzbek President Islam Karimov
and other government officials have issued warnings since 1992
that Uzbekistan might choose to introduce its own currency and
leave the ruble zone, but so far among the Central Asian states
only Kyrgyzstan has taken this step. -Bess Brown


for Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry, Zafar Saidov, told ITAR-TASS
on 9-May that Tajikistan's government expects another assault
across the Afghan border by a Tajik anti-government group supported
by the Afghan mujahidin. This group, according to Tajik government
sources, is headed by former Deputy Prime Minister Davlat Usmon,
a leader of the Tajik Islamic Renaissance Party, and other pro-Islamic
leaders of the Tajik opposition. According to Saidov, military
equipment and supplies are being assembled on the Afghan side
of the border to support the planned assault. At the end of April
a group of some 300 anti-government fighters slipped into Tajikistan
from Afghanistan-according to Saidov, government troops assisted
by Russian border guards are trying to round up those members
of the group who have not been killed in clashes with pro-government
forces. -Bess Brown

on 9 May that hand-to-hand combat and shelling were taking place
in Mostar, the capital of Herzegovina and a largely Muslim town
slated for Croat control under the Vance-Owen plan. The fighting
was so intense that Spanish UN troops literally had to take to
the hills. UN observers said that the Croats started the shelling
and moved out Muslim civilians in buses; the Croats, however,
charged that the Muslims began this latest exercise in ethnic
cleansing. Muslims responded that the Croats were trying to "stir
up trouble" to discourage international intervention. Muslim
commander Sefer Halilovic is currently seeking to put an end
to the fighting, which threatens to upset the truce between Croats
and Muslims in central Bosnia. Meanwhile at noon on 9 May a cease-fire
between Muslims and Serbs came into effect in eastern Bosnia,
and the agreement appears to be holding. The Washington Post
quotes UN commander Gen. Philippe Morillon as saying: "It's not
the first agreement that we have had, but-.-.-. it's certainly
major progress." Finally, the UN reached an agreement on 8 May
with Serb and Muslim forces that Srebrenica is to be demilitarized
on 10 May and Zepa two days later. The BBC said that the Muslims
fear that this is a prelude to the surrender of their few remaining
enclaves in eastern Bosnia. -Patrick Moore

on 8 May sharply condemned Belgrade's decision to limit the flow
of goods and people between Serbia-Montenegro and the self-proclaimed
Bosnian Serb Republic. The Radicals, Serbia's second largest
party, stated their readiness to break "any possible blockade
imposed on our brothers." Party leader Vojislav Seselj asserted
that despite the embargo Bosnian Serbs have enough weapons to
wage a war for five years. Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko
Mladic said Belgrade is under tremendous pressure and denounced
what he called the West's "infernal plan" to disunite and destroy
the Orthodox world, claiming that Russia would become a main
target of the plan very soon. Momcilo Krajisnik, president of
the Serb Republic Assembly, told the Novi Sad daily Dnevnik on
9 May that he rejects notions of a split among the Serbs, avowing
"the Serbian people have never been more united" and described
Dobrica Cosic, Slobodan Milosevic, and Momir Bulatovic as "convinced
defenders of Serbian interests." He also said he thinks it unlikely
that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will resign, because
such a move would lead to a split in the Bosnian Serb leadership.
Biljana Plavsic, vice president of the Serb Republic, informed
Politika TV on 9 May that all Bosnian Serb leaders are forbidden
to cross into Yugoslav territory at border crossings on bridges
between the Serb Republic and Serbia. -Milan Andrejevich

HELP FOR BOSNIAN RAPE VICTIMS. Western news agencies said on
8 May that the US and Germany are planning projects to help trauma
victims as a result of the violence in the former Yugoslavia.
The US Agency for International Development and the Bureau for
Refugee Programs will have $6.75 million to work with, while
the German Kap Anamur charity wants to open residences in Zenica
and Tuzla to care for 180 women and children. Both the US and
German programs began in Croatia and are now being extended to
Bosnia. -Patrick Moore

NO EVIDENCE OF PLOT TO KILL HAVEL. Speaking to reporters on 7
May, Czech police officials said that they had found no evidence
of a conspiracy to assassinate President Vaclav Havel. They said
that five suspects detained on 6 May on suspicion of plotting
to kill Havel will not be charged in the Czech Republic; instead,
they will be deported for criminal activities not related to
the alleged plot. Czech Interior Minister Jan Ruml said on 6
May that police had captured suspects-all from former Yugoslavia-in
connection with an anonymous letter sent to newspapers warning
that extremists from Montenegro were preparing to kill Havel.
The letter said the plan was prompted by Havel's recent call
for more resolute action to halt Serb aggression in Bosnia. -Jiri

CZECH-SLOVAK PROPERTY TALKS. Czech and Slovak officials met on
7 May to discuss the division of the former Czechoslovak federation's
assets between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Czech Premier
Vaclav Klaus told Czech TV on 8 May that the talks "were positive";
three partial agreements were prepared for signing. Klaus said,
however, that the Czech republic still maintains its claim to
some 24 billion koruny from the former Czechoslovak State Bank,
which Slovakia allegedly withdrew prior to the split of Czechoslovakia
in an effort to finance its budget deficit. Czech Finance Minister
Ivan Kocarnik and Slovak Finance Minister Julius Toth told reporters
on 8 May that both sides still have to discuss a "basic" property
agreement, warning that without such an agreement, no legal framework
will exist for all partial accords reached so far. CTK reported
on 9 May that Presidents Vaclav Havel and Michal Kovac dropped
the idea of holding a summit in the near future on the division
of federal assets. Speaking on Czech Radio on 9 May, Havel said
that good progress reached during the talks on 7 May justified
the summit postponement. -Jiri Pehe

teachers, health care workers, and other employees paid from
the state budget is expanding. Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski
met with both President Lech Walesa and Prime Minister Hanna
Suchocka on 7 May. Krzaklewski said afterward that the government
agreed to open talks with the union on 10-May. Separate talks
are scheduled on budgetary employees and the Walbrzych region,
which is also on strike. Krzaklewski said the strikes will continue
despite the government's willingness to talk. Solidarity expects
300,000 health care workers to participate in a national protest
called for 10 May; the union claims that 300,000 teachers are
already on strike. Confusion prevails about this year's graduation
exams, scheduled to begin on 11-May. Some union officials are
demanding that the government postpone the exams as a precondition
for negotiations; the education ministry says exams will take
place as planned. Cardinal Jozef Glemp condemned the strikers
on 9 May, saying that teachers' admittedly difficult material
situation did not justify penalizing young people. -Louisa Vinton

the small Peasant Alliance (PL) voted five to three to withdraw-once
and for all-from the ruling coalition on 7-May, one day after
the party's parliamentary caucus had voted to stay. Former agriculture
minister and party chairman Gabriel Janowski endorsed the withdrawal,
arguing that the coalition refused to implement an acceptable
agricultural policy. Some observers attributed the PL's withdrawal
to a desire to join the opposition in the expectation of new
elections. Some politicians mocked the party's prolonged equivocation
as political "cabaret," while coalition members expressed mixed
feelings: disappointment that the government now controls only
177 of 460 seats in the Sejm, but hope that the PL's departure
will give economic policy new coherence and allow the prime minister
to appoint more competent officials to government posts vacated
by the PL. -Louisa Vinton

to 24 on 7 May to approve the government's mass privatization
legislation, PAP reports. The Senate opted not to propose amendments
to the bill, so only the president's signature is now required.
Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski predicted on 7 May
that Walesa will sign the bill, despite the president's advocacy
of more elaborate property distribution schemes. Because the
legislation is designated as "urgent," the president has only
a week to decide. -Louisa Vinton

POLAND, GERMANY SIGN ASYLUM AGREEMENT. After four months of negotiations,
Polish Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski and his
German counterpart Rudolf Seiters signed an agreement on 7 May
in Bonn that governs the expulsion of asylum-seekers entering
Germany from Poland. The agreement is linked to revisions in
Germany's asylum law, expected to take effect on 1 July. Under
the agreement, Germany will provide Poland with DM 120-million
in 1993 and 1994 for the construction of refugee facilities and
border improvements. A maximum of 10,000 asylum-seekers may be
returned to Poland in 1993. No such limit applies from 1994 on,
but Germany agrees to cut back on expulsions if unexpected circumstances
arise that threaten to swamp Poland with refugees. Only asylum-seekers
who enter Germany after the agreement takes effect can be expelled,
and only then if they have been in Germany for less than six
months. Both sides hailed the agreement as a satisfactory compromise,
and Seiters called it a "model" for repatriation talks with other
countries. -Louisa Vinton

ministers Karl Toepfer and Janos Gyurko signed a five-year environmental
cooperation agreement on 9 May in Munich, Hungarian Radio and
German TV reported on 9 May. The Germans will help Hungary to
set up the legal and organizational framework to protect Hungary's
environment; air pollution is the most pressing problem. -Karoly

interview in the 7-May issue of Magyar Hirlap, Foreign Minister
Geza Jeszenszky said the Hungarian-Ukrainian treaty is opposed
only by a small number of parliamentary deputies. In his view,
the treaty, which also enjoys public support, will be ratified
in a few days by a large majority in parliament. Jeszenszky said
the treaty does not go beyond the stipulations of the Helsinki
Final Act, is beneficial to Hungary' interests, and improves
the situation of Ukraine's ethnic Magyars by providing guarantees
for minority rights and autonomy. The treaty is similar to the
treaties signed by Germany with Poland and Czechoslovakia and
by Poland with Russia and Ukraine, and merely restates the position
that Hungary has no territorial claims against anyone. The section
on minority rights should be closely studied by Romania and Slovakia
as well, Jeszenszky said. On 3 May the parliamentary faction
of the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum voted-with only 9-against
and 4 abstentions-in favor of ratifying the treaty, which also
has the support of all three opposition parties in parliament.
-Alfred Reisch

SUZUKI PLANT OPENS IN HUNGARY. In the presence of Prime Minister
Jozsef Antall and Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki, the new $70-million
assembly plant at Esztergom was officially opened, MTI reported
on 7-May. It is the largest Japanese investment in Eastern Europe.
Suzuki was accompanied by 500 Japanese businessman who will explore
economic opportunities in Hungary. The plant, with 512-workers,
actually started operation in October 1992. Permits have been
applied for exporting the Swift subcompacts produced at the plant
to Western Europe. Plans call for assembly of 20,000 cars in
1993, and the ultimate goal is 50,000 cars. Local content is
about 40%. -Karoly Okolicsanyi

HUNGARIAN FESTIVAL IN ROMANIA. On 9 May Radio Bucharest reported
the inauguration of Magyar cultural days in Oradea, organized
by the Roman-Catholic Bishopric with the assistance of the Reformed
Bishopric and the local chapter of the Hungarian Democratic Federation
of Romania. The event began with a mass and a procession devoted
to Saint Laszlo, which was attended by hundreds of believers
and guests, including European Parliament deputy Otto von Hapsburg,
the Hungarian ambassador in Bucharest, Erno Rudas, and HDFR Chairman
Bela Marko. For the next eight days, Oradea will be the center
of Magyar cultural activities, including a meeting of the editors-in-chief
of Hungarian-language publications in Romania. -Dan Ionescu

to set up a New Romanian Communist Party failed to attract followers
on 8 May. The launching ceremony, which took place at former
communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's supposed grave in Ghencea
Cemetery, was attended by only about 15 persons, mostly elderly
communists. Reuters reports that the attempt to revive the defunct
communist party, which vanished after the December 1989 uprising,
was organized by Valentin Burciu, a 23year-old unemployed metal
worker. During the communist era, 8 May was a day of lavish celebrations
in commemoration of the founding of the Romanian Communist Party
in 1921. Several political formations, the most important being
the Socialist Labor Party, claim to be the RCP's successors.
-Dan Ionescu

of Roma in Bulgaria was founded in Sofia, BTA reports. The organization
is nonpolitical but will act as a pressure group to improve the
living conditions and standing of Bulgarian Gypsies. Having adopted
a platform and statutes, the CRB urged the government to prepare
a development scheme for the Roma community, to elaborate a special
education plan, which envisages optional teaching of Romany in
schools, and to allocate a building that could serve as a Roma
Cultural Center. The CRB will have to compete for support with
the Associated Roma Union, set up last October and led by Vasil
Chaprazov. -Kjell Engelbrekt

to the UN peacekeeping force in Cambodia were injured during
the night to 7 May, Kontinent reports. Under an attack by mortars,
rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms-possibly carried out
by a Khmer Rouge unit-the five were hit by shrapnel, one being
seriously wounded. Four Bulgarians, and ten UN peacekeepers altogether,
have died in action in Cambodia during the last few weeks. This
is the first Bulgarian peacekeeping mission ever, and the frequent
incidents have triggered a public debate on whether the National
Assembly should recall the troops. -Kjell Engelbrekt

the 48th anniversary of the end of World War-II proceeded peacefully,
Baltic media reported on 9 May. Policemen, who had been alerted
to stop any potential incidents or acts of violence, did not
need to intervene. Thousands of Russian-speaking participants,
many with placards calling for 9 May to be reinstituted as an
official holiday and demanding action on the granting of Latvian
citizenship to non-Latvians, gathered at Victory Square in Riga
for a demonstration that was permitted by the city authorities.
Organized by Soviet veterans, the commemoration was attended
by the Russian ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Rannikh and Deputy
Commander of Russia's Northwestern Group of Forces Lt.-Gen. Fedor
Melnichuk. -Dzintra Bungs

ESTONIA AWAITS CE MEMBERSHIP. Kirsten Jensen, head of a European
Parliament delegation visiting Tallinn, told the press on 6 May
that Estonia is pursuing a flexible policy in relation to human
rights and ethnic minorities and its laws are in line with European
standards. This assessment is important since Estonia's membership
in the Council of Europe is to be considered on 13 May by the
CE's parliamentary assembly and on 14 May by the committee of
ministers. An RFE/RL correspondent in Brussels also reports that
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has expressed objections
to CE Secretary-General Catherine Lalumiere about Estonia becoming
a member, alleging discrimination against its Russian-speaking
population. According to a CE spokesman, Kozyrev's complaint
in unlikely to be upheld because Russia is not a council member.
-Dzintra Bungs

COUNCIL OF BALTIC SEA STATES MEETS. On 6-7-May representatives
from the ten countries making up the Council of Baltic Sea States
met in Tallinn, BNS reports. The meeting discussed ways of promoting
economic and technical cooperation among the member states and
nuclear security in the region, including the dismantling of
the atomic reactors at the Paldiski base. The Russian proposal,
made at the foreign ministers' meeting in Helsinki on 16-17 March,
to establish a human rights and ethnic minorities commissioner
was supplemented by a more comprehensive proposal from Estonia,
but the financing of the commissioner's office has not yet been
arranged. The council's next meeting is scheduled for 17-18-June
in Parnu. -Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA TO END BREAD SUBSIDIES. On 7 May the government decided
to stop subsidizing some food products as of 12 May, Radio Lithuania
reports. The policy of maintaining the price of two types of
rye bread at 24 coupons per kilogram had been costing about 120-million
coupons per month. The price of these two breads is expected
to double. It is felt that subsidies were being abused as people
from neighboring republics, especially Latvia, had been making
frequent trips to Lithuania to buy bread. The decision to act
now was probably prompted by the need to find funds from the
state budget to pay for increased salaries and pensions of state
employees. -Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Ustina Markus and Charles Trumbull

assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA).
The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU),
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Internet: RIDC@RFERL.ORG or Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer, Publications
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All rights reserved.

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Updated: 1998-11-

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