|Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky|
No. 113, 17 June 1993
RUSSIA YELTSIN ADDRESSES CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY. In his speech at a plenary session of the Constitutional Assembly on 16 June, President Boris Yeltsin called on its delegates to finalize their views on the procedure of adopting a new constitution and make a statement on the principles of the new constitution before adjourning for ten days, Russian Television reported. ITAR-TASS quoted Yeltsin as saying the final text of the constitution, which is currently emerging from the debates at the assembly, contains the best provisions of the presidential and the parliamentary drafts. The same day, Yeltsin issued a decree asking a special commission to complete the final draft of the constitution by 26 June, when the next plenary session of the assembly convenes. He expressed hope that the text of the constitution will be ready for adoption by the end of June. Vera Tolz ASSEMBLY ADOPTS DECLARATION ON THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION. The Constitutional Assembly approved a declaration on 16 June that designated Russia a secular state, ruled by law, whose "highest value is the individual and his inalienable rights," ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile, delegates at the assembly continued to discuss different ways of adopting a new constitution. The following proposals were made: a new constitution can be adopted by a) the Congress of People's Deputies; b) the Constitutional Assembly; c) a new parliament if earlier elections are held; d) the Congress and the Assembly together. Most delegates agreed that if the Constitutional Assembly fails to reach consensus on the issue, all these proposals should be put on a nationwide referendum. ITAR-TASS also reported on 16-June that after the Constitutional Assembly finishes debating on questions concerning the constitution, it will turn to a new law on elections to the highest organs of power. Vera Tolz STATUS OF REPUBLICS AND REGIONS STILL UNRESOLVED. The declaration on the draft constitution approved at the plenary session of the Constitutional Assembly on 16 June left one of the thorniest questions, namely the status of Russia's republics and regions, still unresolved. At Yeltsin's suggestion the sentences in the draft declaration stating that the republics were sovereign states and the regions state-territorial formations were deleted, Russian and Western media reported. The statement that all the subjects of the federation were equal in their relations with the federal authorities was retained, however. Tatarstan president Mintimer Shaimiev told Reuters afterwards that he had abstained on the grounds that the declaration "by-passed the most important issues." Sakha (Yakutia) and Dagestan voted against. Ann Sheehy IZVESTIYA ON MODALITIES OF SHAPOSHNIKOV APPOINTMENT. Izvestiya on 17 June suggested that the appointment of Evgenii Shaposhnikov as Secretary of the Security Council was aimed both at increasing Boris Yeltsin's influence on that body and at strengthening the President's position vis a vis the legislature. The commentary warns, however, that the appointment may run into stiff opposition from Yeltsin's opponents in the parliament. Shaposhnikov, viewed as a strong supporter of Yeltsin, replaces Yurii Skokov, a representative of Russia's industrial lobby whose views had clashed increasingly with the President's. Meanwhile, Shaposhnikov told the newspaper that other CIS leaders had been consulted and approved his move from the CIS command to the Security Council and that in his new duties he would continue to work for closer military integration among CIS states. He also said that he would continue to control the "nuclear button," but that he expected CIS leaders eventually to transfer it to the Russian leadership. Shaposhnikov said he does not intend to retire from the armed forces. Stephen Foye ICAO ISSUES REPORT ON KAL SHOOTDOWN. On 14 June the International Civil Aviation Organization issued a report on the causes of the September 1983 shooting down of KAL flight 007. The report is based on new sources, including the contents of KAL-007's "black box." According to Western press agency summaries of the report, it concluded that the flight crew of KAL-007 had erred by switching the autopilot to follow a constant magnetic course heading, rather being guided by the on-board inertial navigation system (INS). This resulted in the flight straying hundreds of miles off course into Soviet airspace. The report concluded that the KAL-007 crew were apparently unaware of the large deviation from the correct flight path. The ICAO also noted that Russian air defense forces failed to make a positive identification of the aircraft before opening fire. The air defense forces believed the intruder to be a reconnaissance aircraft, although two senior officers did question whether it might be a passenger aircraft some ten minutes before the shootdown. John Lepingwell FIRST DEPUTY HEAD OF PRESIDENT'S STAFF APPOINTED. President Yeltsin has named Sergei Krasavchenko as the first deputy head of his presidential staff, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 June, citing the president's press service. Krasavchenko, who will work under Sergei Filatov, the influential head of the presidential administration, was formerly the chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Economic Reform and Property Ownership. He was a member of the parliament's Coalition for Reform bloc, which consists largely of members of the Democratic Russia and Radical Democrats factions; and used to work as the deputy editor of an economics journal. Wendy Slater TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA CHAOS IN AZERBAIJAN. Rebels loyal to Surat Huseinov ignored an appeal by President Abilfaz Elchibey to surrender and continued their eastward advance and took the towns of Akhsu and Geokchai on 16 June, ITAR-TASS reported. Elchibey sent National Independence Party leader Etibar Mamedov to negotiate with Huseinov; the outcome is not known. An armed group under the control of former deputy Minister of Defense Alikram Gummetov took control of the town of Lenkoran close to the Azerbaijan-Iranian border and called on Elchibey to resign. Meanwhile Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh took advantage of the unrest to launch a new attack, occupying eight villages; the Turan News Agency quoted a spokesman for the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense as stating that the strategic town of Agdam east of Karabakh was in danger of falling. On 16 June President Elchibey appealed to the CSCE to call for a halt to the new Armenian offensive, according to The Guardian of 17 June. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati and parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri have both congratulated Heidar Aliev on his election as Azerbaijan parliament chairman; Velayati expressed the hope that this would "lead to the strengthening and expansion of relations between the two countries, Reuters reported. Liz Fuller DIRE ECONOMIC STRAITS IN CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA. The Vienna-based Institute for International Economic Comparisons has issued 1992 economic indicators for the CIS; these were published in Die Presse of 15 June. The figures show that Armenia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, already among the poorest CIS republics, had the largest GNP decline in the CIS, with Armenia's economy shrinking by 42.6% and Tajikistan's by 31% (compared to 1991). These two republics also had the worst industrial and agricultural performance, respectively; Armenian industrial output sank by 52.5%, while Tajikistan's agricultural output declined by 45%. Two Central Asian republics, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, had among the most positive economic figures; Turkmenistan's GNP decline of "only" 10% was the best result among CIS states. Kazakhstan posted the best results in agriculture, with virtually no decline in production compared to 1991. While the Caucasus and Central Asia had markedly lower inflation rates than the other republics, this was mostly due to the fact that fixed prices for many goods have not been lifted. [Georgia, which is not in the CIS, was not included in the statistics.] Keith Martin RAKHMONOV DEFENDS TAJIKISTAN'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. Tajikistan president Imomali Rakhmonov has defended his country's human rights record in a statement sent to the UN Human Rights Conference in Vienna, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 June. While admitting that there were human rights problems in Tajikistan, he blamed these on the civil war, and stated that the government remains committed to its obligations under the UN and CSCE. Tajikistan has been sensitive to the issue since Amnesty International published a report in May, the first report on a specific CIS republic, which charged that there were large-scale human rights abuses by the government and its Popular Front supporters. Opposition parties have been banned and independent journals closed. Rakhmonov did not repeat his Interior Ministry's charges against Amnesty International; the ministry had called the organization a "spy organization created to conduct subversive activities against socialist countries." Keith Martin COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES YELTSIN AND KRAVCHUK MEET TODAY. The Russian and Ukrainian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk, the prime ministers Viktor Chernomyrdin and Leonid Kuchma, and the defense ministers Pavel Grachev and Konstantin Morozov are to meet today outside of Moscow, various news agencies reported on 17 June. One of the principal topics of discussion will be the Black Sea Fleet, various agencies reported on 16 June. Prior to the meeting Yeltsin announced that a draft agreement on the future of the fleet and its headquarters in Sevastopol had been reached which he hoped would be signed during the meeting. He said it would resolve the fleet issue as well the status of its headquarters and other Russian military installations on Ukrainian territory. Last year an agreement was signed in Dagomys which placed the fleet under joint command while negotiations on its division in 1995 proceeded. Since then a third of the ships have raised the Russian St.Andrew's flag in protest over pay discrepancies between Russian and Ukrainian sailors. A further point of contention had been Russian claims to port facilities and installations on Ukrainian territory. Despite Ukraine's earlier rejection of allowing any foreign military installations in the country, recently there had been signs that a number of deputies have become more flexible over this point. Ustina Markus CIS URGED TO EXPEDITE NATIONAL CURRENCIES, WILL PAY MORE FOR GAS. At a news conference in Moscow on 16 June, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin urged the other former Soviet republics to speed up the issue of their national currencies or to adhere more strictly to Russian guidelines on monetary policies, Russian TV on 16 June and Kommersant-Daily on 17 June reported. Shokhin warned that IMF standby loans were tied to the introduction of national currencies and that the first tranche of IMF credits ($1.5 billion) would be jeopardized if Russia could not meet its commitments on inflation, interest rates, and issuance of credits. He also stated that Russian credits to other former Soviet republics would be sharply reduced. Shokhin also announced on 16 June that Russia intends to double prices for natural gas to both domestic and CIS customers to "not less" than 42,000 rubles a cubic meter, according to Reuters. The domestic price for gas is reportedly 15,600 rubles a cubic meter. Keith Bush and Erik Whitlock RUSSIAN AND KAZAKHSTAN SECRET SERVICES COMPLAIN OVER "WESTERN ESPIONAGE." The Chief of Military Counterintelligence of the Russian Ministry of Security, Aleksei Molyakov accused the Western secret services of strengthening "military espionage" in the Russian defense sector. Molyakov told Komsomolskaya pravda of 16 June that in 1992 his service had arrested 11 Russian servicemen, who had been "exposed as the Western agents." He gave no names. Talking about contraband and corruption in the Army, Smolyakov revealed that his service initiated criminal cases against 66 army officers and generals. The Chief of Kazakhstan Committee for National Security, Bulat Baenkenov also expressed concerned about intelligence gathering activity of the Western secret services in his country. Baenkov said that his agency had exposed about "ten" foreign intelligence agents including those of "the former socialist countries," ITAR-TASS reported on 16 June." In contrast to their Russian colleagues, however, Kazakhstan's "chekists" chose to resolve the case through diplomatic channels. Victor Yasmann CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBIA AND CROATIA TABLE PLAN FOR BOSNIA. International media on 16-17 June report from the Geneva Yugoslav talks that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman have proposed a redivision of Bosnia into three distinct ethnic areas while preserving the formal existence of the Bosnian state. The project would limit the Muslims to an area of central Bosnia around Sarajevo, Zenica, and Tuzla, along with a separate zone around Bihac, together with access to a free port in the Croatian town of Ploce. The two presidents promised more details and perhaps maps in the next few days, but Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic was noncommittal and left the talks early, reportedly as a protest against Serb attacks on Gorazde. Most media commentary has suggested that the new plan would, in effect, legalize the existing situation on the ground and pave the way for the incorporation of the Serb and Croat units into those two neighboring republics. Croatian moderates have repeatedly warned Tudjman that Croatia cannot expect international backing for its own territorial integrity if it joins in a partition of Bosnia. Patrick Moore BOSNIAN UPDATE. Late on 16 June UN observers arrived in Gorazde in what was seen as a test of the Serbs' willingness to honor their promises made to that international body. The BBC's Serbian Service also reports that Amnesty International wants more international aid for refugees, while on the same day the UN high commissioner for refugees said her organization does not have enough money to pay for its existing tasks and cannot take on new ones. Reuters meanwhile reports that 500 Bosnian Muslims will leave Croatia for Pakistan at the invitation of the Islamabad authorities. The AI report argues that Croat-Muslim tensions have become such that other countries should ease the way for Muslims to leave Croatia and seek asylum in those other countries. In Bosnia itself, Muslim troops overran the central Bosnian town of Kakanj, which led to a mass flight of local Croats. Finally, Reuters reported that Pope John Paul II hopes to visit Sarajevo soon. Patrick Moore DINAR DEVALUED; GOVERNMENT FACES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. On 16 June rump Yugoslavian Prime Minister Radoje Kontic announced a devaluation of the national currency in an attempt to boost hard-currency reserves and combat black-market exchange rates. The new official rate is 700,000 dinars to the German mark and 1.1 million dinars to the US dollar, which is in line with black-market rates. This is the seventh devaluation since April 1992, but such moves have not stamped out the thriving black-market dealers. Kontic also introduced a draft federal budget bill which earmarks 75.5% for the Yugoslav Federal Army. He also told the Federal Assembly that his government plans to introduce some short-term controls on basic food items but provided no details. The president of Serbia's National Assembly, Zoran Lilic, announced that a vote of no-confidence in the republican government will be taken on 17 June after Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic introduces his government's plan on solving Serbia's social and economic problems. Lilic also said there will be discussion of the shorthand notes from the Federal Defense Council's controversial session on 27 May, attended by former President Dobrica Cosic whose remarks at that session apparently lead to his ousting on 1 June. Radio Serbia and Politika carried the reports. Milan Andrejevich TENSE SITUATION IN KRAJINA. Radios Serbia and Croatia report on 16 June that the referendum on Serbian unity organized by the self-declared Republic of Serbian Krajina for this coming weekend has created an extremely tense situation in Croatia. Several deputies of the "Serbian Krajina assembly" and other local officials are apprehensive and would like to postpone unification. Radio Croatia quotes leaders of the Serbian Peoples' Party, which is not represented or affiliated with the Krajina Serb initiatives, as saying that the Krajina Serbs have no right to secede from Croatia despite the fact that Croatia has done little to reassure them of their civil rights. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic indicated on 16 June that he will put off unification of the self-proclaimed Serb republic in Bosnia and its Croatian counterpart to avert further bloodshed in Croatia. But Karadzic added that he recommends postponing the referendum on unification, but said that Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia will unite "if the peace process fails." Zagreb has denounced the referendum as illegal. Milan Andrejevich BOBAN PROTESTS FOREIGN RECOGNITION OF IZETBEGOVIC. Radio Croatia reports on 16 June that Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban has sent a protest to France, Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Great Britain because of official invitations for Alija Izetbegovic to visit these countries as "President of Bosnia." The letter stated that Izetbegovic represents only the Muslims in Bosnia and has no right to represent Bosnia as a whole. Milan Andrejevich MORE WEU POLICE IN BULGARIA. On 16 June officials of the Western European Union reported that additional Spanish police officers have arrived in Ruse. According to BTA, a current total of 33 officers from Germany and 46 from Spain will be charged with the task of helping to make certain that sanctions imposed against rump Yugoslavia are enforced. The police forces will cooperate with UN officials based in Bulgaria since January. The police, along with customs officials, will run boat patrols along the Danube and detain any barges suspected of attempting to contravene the UN sanctions. Stan Markotich CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. On 16 June parliament passed a law that spells out the functions of the Constitutional Court and stipulates how the judges are to be named. The Constitution, adopted in December 1992, contains only general provisions for the court, but the new law is more detailed and opens the way for establishing the body when the law takes effect on 1 July. The seat of the court will be Brno. Judges will be named by the president, with the consent of the Senate, the upper chamber of parliament (which, however, has not been set up yet.) If the Senate fails to vote on the president's nominee within 60 days, the president's choice is considered accepted. The law also defines treason by the president as acts "aimed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state as well as against its democratic order" and sets specific conditions under which the president can be tried by the Constitutional Court. The definition of treason in the original draft was vague, prompting President Vaclav Havel to indicate that he would veto such a law. Jiri Pehe POSSIBLE CHANGES IN SLOVAK GOVERNMENT. TASR reports that during a 16 June visit to eastern Slovakia, President Michal Kovac stated that once the new coalition is created between the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the Slovak National Party (SNS), the SNS could be given as many as three ministerial posts-economy, health care, and education. Kovac also announced the creation of a new post of minister without portfolio to deal with commerce and tourism. Also on 16 June Premier Vladimir Meciar discussed possible ministerial shifts after his meeting with SNS Chairman Ludovit Cernak. While Meciar and Kovac both plan to accept the resignation of Privatization Minister Lubomir Dolgos, Minister of Education Matus Kucera has refused to resign and to accept the position of ambassador to Croatia. Meciar stated that the position of Health Care Minister Viliam Sobona is also "questionable." Sharon Fisher HDF DISCUSSES FUTURE. At its 16 June session the presidium of the Hungarian Democratic Forum discussed the party's situation in the aftermath of the national steering committee's decision to oust presidium member Istvan Csurka and some of his followers, MTI reports. HDF spokesman Karoly Herenyi said that reactions registered by the party's county steering committees show that the great majority of party rank-and-file welcomed the decision. Most members stressed the importance of party unity and expressed the hope that the HDF will emerge strengthened from its current crisis, Herenyi said. He also reported that since the decision to oust Csurka, 50-60 HDF members have announced that they will leave the party but there have been just as many new applications for membership during the same period. Edith Oltay WEIZSAECKER IN HUNGARY. German President Richard von Weizsaecker paid a one-day visit to Budapest to attend the anniversary celebrations of Collegium Budapest, an institute set up a year ago with Western funds that offers research opportunities to scholars from Central and Eastern Europe. Weizsaecker met with President Arpad Goncz, Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, and representatives of the German minority in Hungary. Weizsaecker told reporters that Germany continues its strong support for Hungary's bid to become a member of the European Community and expressed the hope that the coming EC summit in Copenhagen will send a clear signal on this question. Edith Oltay ROMANIAN RAILWAY STRIKE ENDS. A two-day railway strike was officially suspended on 16 June after a settlement was reached between unions and the government over pay demands. Leaders of unions representing engine drivers and maintenance staff said that the Romanian National Railway Society has agreed to grant extra pay for employees performing dangerous work and to introduce a higher pay scale based on seniority beginning next month. Radio Bucharest reports that railway traffic continued to be rather chaotic in the early hours of the morning following the end of the strike. Dan Ionescu ILIESCU IN GENEVA. In a speech delivered at the conference on disarmament in Geneva on 16 June, Romania's President Ion Iliescu called for "transparency" in conventional weapons trade and suggested the adoption of an international code of conduct for weapons sales. Such a code is necessary, he said, in view of regional conflicts like those in former Yugoslavia and some former Soviet republics. Iliescu later addressed an ILO conference on social protection at which he outlined Romania's social policy. Both speeches were broadcast live by Radio Bucharest. Dan Ionescu PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION TO OVERSEE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE IN ROMANIA. On 16 June the two houses of parliament agreed in joint session by a vote of 271-4-7 to establish a special legislative commission to look into "specific activities" of the Romanian Intelligence Service, an organization set up in March 1990 to replace the communist secret police, Radio Bucharest reports. The Romanian Intelligence Service has been repeatedly criticized for eluding parliamentary control and for perpetuating the methods of the former Securitate. Dan Ionescu FIRST PRIVATE TV CHANNEL IN ROMANIA. The director of Romania's first private television station, Adrian Sirbu, said that "Channel 31" will broadcast around the clock. He said that the station, which will be funded solely by advertising, will broadcast two hours of news and four hours of sports news. The remaining program will be taken from the Cable News Network and dubbed into Romanian. Dan Ionescu KRAVCHUK CREATES EMERGENCY COMMITTEE ON ECONOMY. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk issued a decree on 16 June creating an extraordinary committee of the Cabinet of Ministers for the "operational management" of Ukraine's economy, Ukrinform reports. The committee is headed by Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma and is charged with slowing down inflation, stabilizing production, and increasing social protection for low-income groups. The decree also gives "direct leadership" of the government to Kravchuk and subordinates to the president all central bodies of the executive branch in the nonproduction sphere. Roman Solchanyk ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SURVIVES CONFIDENCE VOTE. On 16 June parliament endorsed Lagle Parek as Minister of Internal Affairs by voting down a proposal by 29 deputies to oust her from office, Baltic media report. The principal criticism of Parek was her dismissal of Andrus Oovel, General Director of the Border Guard Department, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Some deputies felt that the dismissal was politically motivated. Dzintra Bungs BRAZAUSKAS MEETS MITTERRAND. On 15 June Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas met French President Francois Mitterrand in Paris, BNS reported on 16 June. In their discussions of various aspects of bilateral relations, the two leaders focused on economic and cultural cooperation, as well as the Lithuanian desire to become an associate member of the European Community. Brazauskas is to conclude his visit to France on 18 June. Dzintra Bungs FRANCE TO HELP LATVIAN DEFENSE FORCES. Upon his return to Riga from Paris on 15 June, Latvian Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis told the press that France will be sending a military adviser both to Latvia and Lithuania. Jundzis added that a general military cooperation accord between Latvia and France is being prepared and that the French Defense Minister Francois Leotard is expected in Latvia on 2-4 July, BNS reported on 16 June. Dzintra Bungs UN TO OBSERVE TROOP WITHDRAWALS IN BALTIC. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry announced that UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has approved sending UN observers to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to monitor the pullout of Russian troops. In preparation UN representatives will visit the three Baltic capitals and Moscow in the near future and will submit a report to the UN General Assembly session that will convene on 27-September, BNS reports. Dzintra Bungs MOLDOVA REJECTS YELTSIN'S PROPOSAL ON MILITARY BASES. In a statement issued on 16 June and carried by Basapress, Moldova's Foreign Ministry rejected as "unacceptable under any circumstances" the proposal made by Russian President Boris Yeltsin last week for establishing Russian military bases in Moldova and other newly independent states under agreements with their governments. Moldova reiterated its demand for the prompt and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces and called for the early signing of an agreement to that effect. This statement is at variance with recent concessions apparently made under pressure by President Mircea Snegur and other Moldovan officials, who seemingly accepted the deferral of the withdrawal and its linkage to the resolution of the Dniester conflict and of the future political status of eastern Moldova, also accepting Russian arbitration of these issues. This latest statement may reflect either a major reappraisal or divided counsels in Chisinau. Vladimir Socor MOLDOVAN DETAINEES ON HUNGER STRIKE IN TIRASPOL. Five Moldovan Popular Front members facing the death penalty on charges of terrorism by an unlawful court in the "Dniester republic" are now in the second week of a hunger strike, Basapress reports from Tiraspol. In statements made to the court on 16 June, the five again rejected all charges and demanded to be turned over to the lawful Moldovan judicial authorities. Council of Europe General Secretary Catherine Lalumiere, in a statement made public by the Moldovan government last week, also called for the observance of the defendants' rights and for their remanding to the lawful Moldovan authorities in order to ensure due process of law. Vladimir Socor [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Dzintra Bungs and Charles Trumbull THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). 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