Poetry must be human. If it is not human, it is not poetry. - Vicente Aleixandre
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 166, 31 August 1993







RUSSIA

FILATOV: USSR BEARS NO GUILT FOR KAL DISASTER. Ten years after
the shooting down of a Korean Airlines civilian airliner a special
Russian commission investigating the disaster has concluded that
the Soviet Union "bears no guilt for the incident," The Washington
Post reported on 31 August. According to Sergei Filatov, the
Russian President's chief of staff and the head of the commission,
"the tragedy was the result of a whole chain of mistakes and
coincidences and not of deliberate or malicious intent." According
to ITAR-TASS of 30-August, Filatov said that the investigators
had rejected conclusions drawn by the US administration in 1983
that Moscow had deliberately shot down a civilian aircraft and
allegations by the Soviet leadership that the Boeing 747 was
actually on a spy mission over the Russian Far East. The Washington
Post noted that, while the commission's findings were similar
to those released in June by the International Civil Aviation
Organization of Canada, they offered a more sweeping exoneration
of the Soviet authorities. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

NO COMPENSATION FOR KOREAN VICTIMS? THE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT
REACTED WITH CONSTERNATION TO THE RUSSIAN ANNOUNCEMENT, SAYING
THAT, WHILE IT HAD NOT YET RECEIVED OFFICIAL WORD FROM MOSCOW,
EXPECTATIONS WERE THAT RUSSIA WOULD USE THE COMMISSION'S RESULTS
TO JUSTIFY NOT PAYING COMPENSATION TO KOREAN VICTIMS OF THE AIR
DISASTER. The majority of the Boeing 747's 269 passengers were
South Korean or Japanese. According to Reuters on 31 August,
South Korean government officials said that their position remained
unchanged and that they would continue to press Russia for compensation.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOUTH KOREA TO FREEZE LOANS TO RUSSIA. A South Korean Foreign
Ministry official on 30 August announced that Seoul would freeze
the disbursement of the remaining $1.53 billion portion of a
$3 billion loan and aid package that had been granted the Soviet
Union in September 1990, Reuters reported. South Korean officials
denied that the move was connected to the findings of the KAL
commission. YONHAP quoted South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister
Hong Sun-yong as saying that the decision did not constitute
a penalty against Moscow for failing to meet repayment schedules
either. He claimed that Moscow itself had decided it no longer
needed the loan because the interest on repayment was too high.
Hong also emphasized once again that Seoul was not interested
in accepting Russian military goods as repayment for the loan.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN FLEET ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA. The next day, on 31 August,
a Russian naval commander visiting South Korea nevertheless repeated
the Russian offer to supply South Korea with military hardware.
Admiral Igor Khmelnov was leading a small contingent of vessels
from the Pacific Fleet on an official visit to the port city
of Pusan. AFP, quoting South Korean defense officials, described
the visit as the first by a Russian fleet since the 1904 Russo-Japanese
War. Khmelnov expressed hope that the goodwill visit would lead
to joint Russian-South Korean naval exercises. Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ESA CONSIDERING SPACE COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA. The planning director
of the European Space Agency (ESA), Jean-Jacques Dorian, told
reporters on 30 August that Europe is keen to promote space cooperation
with Russia, Reuters reported. He said that the agency had already
signed contracts worth millions of dollars with a number of Russian
firms. Dorian was in Moscow to attend a Russian aerospace show.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA STILL SERIOUS ABOUT YELTSIN'S VISIT TO JAPAN. Japanese
Deputy Foreign Minister Kunihiko Saito said on 30 August that
Russia still seemed "serious" about arranging a visit to Japan
by Russian President Boris Yeltsin in mid-October, Kyodo reported.
Saito's remarks, made in the wake of a two-day meeting with Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Kunadze, came amid growing indications
of strong opposition in Moscow to any sort of Russian-Japanese
deal on the disputed Kuril Islands. Saito said that talks on
the proposed visit would continue via diplomatic channels. Stephen
Foye , RFE/RL, Inc.

SHUMEIKO ON COUNCIL OF THE FEDERATION. First Deputy Prime Minister
Vladimir Shumeiko said at a press conference during a visit to
St. Petersburg that the present Supreme Soviet has outlived itself
as a political organ, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 August. He stated
that the newly created Council of the Federation should quickly
transform itself from a consultative body into a powerful upper-house
of parliament, as foreseen in the most recent draft of the new
Constitution. The next step would be the election of the lower
chamber-the State Duma-to which, according to Shumeiko, a number
of "smart deputies" from the present parliament might be reelected.
Shumeiko said he believes fruitful cooperation between government
and parliament is no longer possible. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL,
Inc.

FILATOV ON BARANNIKOV'S SUCCESSOR. The Russian president's chief
of staff, Sergei Filatov, told Komsomolskaya pravda in an interview
on 28 August that a decision concerning the appointment of a
new minister of security has been taken and would be announced
"probably the day this interview is published." He said that
former Security Minister Viktor Barannikov had to go because
his wife had received presents amounting to a value of $300,000
from a Swiss company which was seeking business contacts in Russia.
He claimed that similar corruption charges against First Deputy
Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko were a political provocation.
He also revealed that major personnel decisions in the Kremlin
are presently being taken by President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin and himself. He described Chernomyrdin as
the second most powerful politician in Russia after Yeltsin.
Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

CREATION OF INTERREGIONAL-CENTRIST BLOC ENVISIONED. Various democratic
parties and groups conducted a joint seminar on the political
and economic future of Russia in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on
28-August. The seminar was initiated by the reformist deputies'
faction "Consent for Progress." Participants in the seminar called
for the creation of a new pre-electoral bloc of center/left forces
called "Interregional-Centrist Bloc." The Interregional Group
of People's Deputies was the first democratic organization in
the former parliament of the Soviet Union. The head of the Russian
Movement for Democratic Reform, Gavriil Popov, suggested the
holding of simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections
as a way out of the crisis. Economist Grigorii Yavlinsky said
that the present government's struggle for halting inflation
should be conducted after questions regarding privatization and
decentralization of the former planned economy were solved. Another
economist, Nikolai Shmelev, called for a coalition of democrats
with the industrialists. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

SUPPORT FOR PRIVATE AGRICULTURE. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of Agriculture Aleksandr Zaveryukha stated that in the first
six months of the year the government had given a total of 94
billion rubles in credits to private farms, or 20% of all credits
issued to the agricultural sector, according to ITAR-TASS on
27-August. He warned, however, that the government would have
to guard against the misuse of such funds. He gave the example
of about 200 farmers in the Smolensk region who had appropriated
state-loaned funds for financing non-agricultural commercial
activity. Zaveryukha expects the limitations on the sale of land
to be removed soon to enable the merger of small private farms
into larger, more efficient enterprises. Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL,
Inc.

OIL EXPORT LICENSES LIMITED. An official of the Ministry of Foreign
Economic Relations told Reuters on 30 August that the number
of companies allowed to export oil or petroleum products will
be limited to ten. Other enterprises wishing to export will have
to channel their sales through the licensed companies. The declared
aims of the limitation are to bring order to the oil export market
and to ensure that hard-currency earnings are repatriated to
Russia. Export licenses have been awarded to three Russian companies
so far: it is not known whether joint ventures will be given
licenses. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CUTS IN MOSCOW'S FOREIGN BROADCASTS? IN AN ARTICLE ENTITLED "THEY
MIGHT NOT HEAR MOSCOW ABROAD," PUBLISHED IN IZVESTIYA OF 19 AUGUST,
THE CHAIRMAN OF RADIO MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL DEPLORES PROPOSED
CUTS IN EXTERNAL BROADCASTS. It has been suggested that, for
financial reasons, Radio Moscow's broadcasts to foreign countries
be reduced by 40%, including transmissions to China and India.
He notes that this is being considered at a time when the US
government is planning to establish Radio Free Asia. He claims
that Radio Moscow International commands the second largest share
of the world audience after the BBC. Keith Bush TAJIK LEADER
ON TALKS IN AFGHANISTAN. Tajikistan's head of state, Supreme
Soviet Chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, returned to Dushanbe on 30-August
after talks in Kabul with Afghanistan's President Burhaniddin
Rabbani, ITAR-TASS and the official Tajik TIA-Khovar news agency
reported. Rakhmonov told correspondents that he was satisfied
with the results of the talks, which had included an agreement
on the creation of a trilateral commission composed of representatives
of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the United Nations' High Commissioner
on Refugees. The commission is to organize the return to Tajikistan
of the thousands of Tajik refugees who have been in Afghanistan
since January 1993. Rakhmonov brought back to Dushanbe the four
Russian border guards and the officer from Kazakhstan's battalion
stationed on the Tajik-Afghan border who had been captured by
an Afghan military group and held as hostages since 10-August.
Bess Brown , RFE/RL, Inc.

AZERBAIJAN REFERENDUM UPDATE. In a communication to RFE/RL's
Azerbaijani Service on 30 August, Azerbaijani President Abulfaz
Elchibey rejected as "ludicrous" preliminary figures showing
a 100% turnout in some districts in the 29 August referendum
on confidence in him. Azerbaijan Popular Front supporters told
Western journalists that there had been serious procedural violations.
On 31 August AFP cited an Azerbaijani election official as similarly
rejecting a report by ITAR-TASS on 30 August that 93% of those
who voted had expressed their lack of confidence in Elchibey.
A US State Department spokesman reaffirmed support for Elchibey
as Azerbaijan's legally elected president. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CSCE KARABAKH MEETING POSTPONED. A meeting of the nine-nation
Minsk Group that is attempting to mediate a settlement of the
Karabakh conflict that was scheduled to open in Moscow on 30
August has been postponed, according to a correspondent for RFE/RL's
Russian Broadcasting Department. The delay was reportedly requested
by Azerbaijan in connection with the 29 August referendum; however,
Russia's negotiator for Karabakh has in recent weeks repeatedly
cast doubts on the efficacy of CSCE involvement. Meanwhile Iran
is offering advice and assistance to the flood of Azerbaijani
refugees displaced by recent fighting close to the Azerbaijan-Iranian
border, a spokesman for the United Nations' High Commissioner
on Refugees told an RFE/RL correspondent on 30 August. A spokesman
for the Karabakh authorities in Stepanakert has expressed willingness
to hold talks on solving the refugee problem, AFP reported. Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

TROOPS LEAVE LITHUANIA. Russian troops will officially complete
their departure from Lithuania on 31-August, Radio Lithuania
reports. National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius and Col.
Gen. Leonid Mayorov, commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces,
are scheduled to sign a document certifying its completion at
16:00 GMT in the Lithuanian parliament. There are still about
300 Russian soldiers in the republic; about 100 will remain in
the Radviliskis Raion to guard and load ammunition from warehouses
(an operation to be completed by the end of the year) and an
additional 41 will remain in Klaipeda until 15 October to finalize
the legal transfer of the Russian military facilities there to
Lithuania. -Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

UN MISSION ON BALTIC TROOPS WITHDRAWAL ON 30 AUGUST A UN DELEGATION
HEADED BY SPECIAL ENVOY TOMMY KOH HELD TALKS IN MOSCOW WITH LEADERS
OF THE RUSSIAN DELEGATIONS NEGOTIATING TROOP WITHDRAWALS FROM
ESTONIA, LATVIA, AND LITHUANIA, BNS REPORTS. Koh also met Russian
Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov and on 31 August he will
hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin and other
Russian leaders. He will visit Lithuania (31 August-3 September),
Latvia (3-6 September). and Estonia (6-7 September) before returning
to Moscow (8-9 September). His talks will help UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali prepare a report on the withdrawal as required
by a UN General Assembly resolution passed unanimously on 25
November 1992. -Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

GENEVA TALKS TO RESUME. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
again warned the Bosnian government to sign the proposed peace
plan, adding that they could lose everything by continuing to
fight. International media on 30 and 31 August also quote UN
officials as saying Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic will
be under pressure from mediators to abandon demands for revision
of the plan. Leaving for Geneva, Izetbegovic said that "the plan
is worse than war" and added that he feels "like a thirsty man
who is sent to the desert to find water," Borba reported on 31
August. According to the New York Times, a Croatian spokesman
expressed unhappiness with the proposal but said that his delegation
will agree "if everyone else is willing to sign." Meanwhile in
Geneva the International Committee of the Red Cross and Switzerland
have organized an emergency conference on the protection of war
victims, which is to speed up the creation of an international
war crimes tribunal. ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga said:
"There must be a tribunal where those who murder, torture and
rape civilians or prisoners can be put on trial for their crimes,
otherwise the international conventions-.-.-. are meaningless."
-Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIA PROMISES RED CROSS ACCESS TO CAMPS. The BBC's Serbian
and Croatian Services said on 30 August that Croatian Foreign
Minister Mate Granic assured the ICRC that Croatian detention
centers in Bosnia-Herzegovina will be open to their representatives
by the next day. International observers have been sharply critical
of conditions in Croat-run camps, and Granic has been active
lately in damage control operations to help ensure that bad behavior
by the Herzegovinian Croats does not reflect poorly on Croatia
itself. Meanwhile, recent days have seen much political activity
in Croatia, with President Franjo Tudjman receiving the Bosnian
Muslim leader of the "Bihac pocket," Fikret Abdic, at Tito's
former resort on Brioni on 29 August, Vecernji list reported.
Elsewhere, Vjesnik of 30 August and Borba of the 31st discuss
edthe meeting in Croatia of 62 representatives of Balkan-area
left-of-center parties and labor unions on the theme of "peace
and cooperation." Finally, Vecernji list ran a poll in its 30
August issue suggesting that most Croats feel positively about
the Roman Catholic church's present role in society, politics,
and the media, and want neither an increase nor a decrease in
it. -Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELGRADE ISSUES BILLION-DINAR NOTE. On 30-August the National
Bank of Yugoslavia issued a billion-dinar bank note in an attempt
to keep up with soaring inflation. The new note is worth only
$3 at the current exchange rate. The economy is collapsing because
of international sanctions, government mismanagement, and the
burden of financing Serb fighters in Croatia and Bosnia. GNP
has fallen some 70% since 1991. More than half the work force
is either unemployed or on extended leave of absence, and the
latest monthly inflation figures released by the government on
30 August place the July rate at 1,880%-an annual rate of almost
1.7 billion percent. Radio Serbia carried the report. -Milan
Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVENIA'S ECONOMIC WOES. During the first half of 1993, Slovenia
lost more than 1.4 billion German marks in revenue, some 50%
more than during the same period in 1992. Half of Slovenia's
23,300 companies, which employ more than 486,000 workers, are
on the brink of collapse. Over the past few months, nearly 2,500
companies have had their bank accounts frozen, and close to 100
of the former leading companies in Slovenia face bankruptcy.
Unemployment, which stood below 2% in 1988 is currently 14%.
Analysts at the famed Bajt Institute in Ljubljana note that the
country has been stripped of some 17 million purchasers from
the republics of the former Yugoslavia and that it will take
years to regain those markets, which in 1990 accounted for some
35% of the total goods sold. Tanjug and Radios Croatia and Serbia
carried the reports on 29-30 August. -Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KLAUS CALLS FOR MORE WESTERN AID. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus called on Western leaders to show more courage in helping
former communist countries deal with economic problems, Western
agencies reported on 30 August. Speaking in Stockholm where he
was meeting with Prime Minister Carl Bildt, Klaus said that recession,
protectionism, unemployment, and domestic politics have combined
to reduce aid from the West. "I would expect more courage from
Western politicians to tackle that issue," Klaus added. The Czech
prime minister also said that his country will be ready to apply
for membership in the EC within two years. He said the Czech
Republic already could fulfill entrance requirements better than
almost all current members. -Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK MAGYARS WRITE TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE. International and
Slovak media report that representatives of four parties representing
ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia (Coexistence, Hungarian Christian
Democratic Movement, Hungarian Civic Party, and Hungarian People's
Party) announced on 30 August that they will write to the Council
of Europe to complain about what they consider unkept promises
on minority rights made by the government. A spokesman for Coexistence
told the media that the Council of Europe should take a special
interest in Slovakia's actions because it accepted the country
as a member in July on the basis of promises to allow the use
of bilingual Hungarian and Slovak road signs as well as the official
use of Hungarian first and family names. Yet in July Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar refused to sign a law allowing the use of Hungarian
names, and the Slovak Ministry of Transportation recently ordered
the removal of Hungarian road signs. Ethnic Hungarian leaders
promised to send a letter to the CE at a protest rally staged
by ethnic Hungarians in Komarno on 27 August. -Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,
Inc.

POLAND, SLOVAKIA SIGN READMISSION AGREEMENT. On 30 August Slovak
Interior Minister Jozef Tuchyna and his Polish counterpart, Andrzej
Milcza-nowski, signed an agreement in Bratislava allowing the
return of refugees who cross the Polish-Slovak border. TASR reports
that Milczanowski noted the success of Poland's previous readmission
agreements with Russia and Ukraine, which have led to a rapid
drop in the number of refugees trying to cross Poland into Germany.
Slovakia is to sign a similar agreement with Romania on 19 September
when the Romanian Interior Minister visits Bratislava. Tuchyna
told journalists that Hungary had demanded that a Slovak-Romanian
accord be completed before it signs a similar pact with Slovakia.
-Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

IMF APPROVES POLAND'S ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. A visiting IMF mission
gave Poland high marks on 30 August for compliance with the terms
set in the standby arrangement agreed upon in November 1992.
Targets for economic growth, private sector development, monetary
policy, the budget deficit, and inflation were all met. The one
problem area is the decline in hard-currency reserves, which
were $95 million, or 1.2%, below IMF guidelines (a factor that
prompted Poland's decision on 27 August to devalue the zloty
by 8%). IMF approval is required for Poland to continue receiving
World Bank credits and to make possible the planned second-stage
reduction in its debt to the Paris Club. The IMF's board of directors
is expected to give Poland formal approval at a session scheduled
for 17-September. -Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

STRIKE ENDS AT PRIVATE POLISH PLANT. A two-month-old strike at
the Porcelana factory in Walbrzych ended on 30 August, Polish
TV reports. Workers at the plant charged that the sale of the
plant to private owners was an example of "criminal privatization."
The unions and numerous opposition political parties rallied
to their cause. The new owners also came in for criticism from
Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, as they appear to have funneled
profits into their own salaries rather than promised investments.
The agreement that settled the conflict awards workers a raise
and cuts monthly salaries for members of the board of directors
from several thousand dollars to 20,000,000 zloty (just under
$1,000). It also guarantees the unions the right to operate in
the plant. The privatization ministry refused the unions' demands
to revoke the sale of the plant, however. -Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

NEW SOVIET DOCUMENTS ON POLISH MARTIAL LAW. The newest set of
documents released from former Soviet archives has rekindled
debate on the imposition of martial law in 1981. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin turned over the documents during his recent visit
to Poland. Rzeczpospolita published copies on 26 August. Reflecting
the deliberations of the "Suslov commission" appointed by the
CPSU Politburo to study Polish developments in 1980-81, the documents
suggest that the Soviet party ruled out any military intervention.
The stenographic record of a Politburo meeting on 10 December
1981 quotes CPSU chief ideologist Mikhail Suslov as saying that
sending troops was "out of the question." In contrast, General
Wojciech Jaruzelski has long argued that he imposed martial law
in order to avoid a Soviet invasion. In interviews on 28 August,
Jaruzelski said the documents provide only a fragmentary view
of the truth and stressed that there were many indications in
1980-81 of extreme Soviet determination to restore the communist
order in Poland, including a threat to cut off all fuel supplies.
Polish historians noted, in addition, that the Russian authorities
seem to have deliberately selected the documents to suggest that
the USSR eschewed intervention in 1981. -Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES CORRUPTION REPORT. Radio Bucharest
reports that the two chambers of parliament convened on 30 August
in a joint extraordinary session to debate a report on corruption
prepared by a special parliamentary panel. The debates opened
with an attack by committee chairman Senator Romul Petru Vonica
against Gen. Gheorghe Florica, former head of the Financial Guard,
whose revelations touched off a corruption scandal involving
senior officials. Vonica accused the general of having exceeded
his authority by making public allegations against members of
the cabinet and leading figures in the ruling Democratic National
Salvation Front. He also suggested that Florica was himself corrupt,
without elaborating. Opposition deputies objected loudly, disrupting
Vonica's speech. Ioan Ghise, a deputy for the Party of Civic
Alliance and also a member of the corruption panel, said Florica
was dismissed because of his respect for laws and upright stance.
The panel, which appears to be split in two camps, is expected
to present two conflicting reports to the Parliament. -Dan Ionescu,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZES CABINET RESHUFFLE. Emil
Constantinescu, leader of Romania's largest opposition group,
the Democratic Convention, told RFE/RL on 30 August that the
recent government changes are "mere cosmetics." The only important
move, Constantinescu said, was the removal of Misu Negritoiu,
the head of the government Council for Economic, Coordination,
Strategy and Reform. Constantinescu suggested that Negritoiu's
ouster is a bad omen for the future of reforms in Romania. Negritoiu
is generally perceived as having been the only member of Nicolae
Vacaroiu's minority left-wing cabinet with a solid reputation
as reformer. -Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT FEARS "NEW BOSNIA." In his address on the
second anniversary of Moldova's independence, carried by the
press on 28 August, Mircea Snegur voiced concern that "the inflexible
demands [for confederalization] by the separatist forces in eastern
and southern Moldova may lead to the creation of a new Bosnia."
Indirectly he also chastised the Moldovan Popular Front and allied
pro-Romanian organizations as "small groups intent on destroying
the foundations of our state" by blocking the constitutional
process. Moldova must not become a scene of conflicts among two
or more states [i.e. Russia, Romania, and Ukraine], Snegur said.
-Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

"DNIESTER REPUBLIC" SEEN AS EMBRYO OF REVIVED USSR. On the approaching
second anniversary of the Transdniester separatist state, Sovetskaya
Rossiya wrote on 28 August that "its fate is not a local issue,
for it is linked with the prospect of the restoration of the
multinational union state." Its economy remains one "of the socialist
type," and its military successes mean that "internationalism
conquered." Describing the "Dniester republic" as a form of state
devised for a transitional period from the collapse to the rebirth
of the union, the article concludes that "the experience of this
small state, born on the territory of our great common fatherland,-.-.-.
is of the highest interest, showing the way for the entire Russia,
the entire union." -Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KUCHMA GIVEN COLD RECEPTION BY PARLIAMENT. On 31 August Prime
Minister Leonid Kuchma was given a rough ride by deputies during
the discussion following his speech on the economic crisis in
Ukraine and the remedial measures that his government is proposing.
For these measures to be effective, he emphasized, the government
would need additional emergency economic powers, new elections
would have to be held, and an economic accommodation reached
with Russia. Lawmakers, including leading democratic figures,
strongly criticized Kuchma for his government's record and the
vagueness of his replies. Former first deputy prime minister,
Ihor Yukhnovsky, a democrat, presented the outline of an alternative
economic program. -Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA CUTS GAS SUPPLIES TO UKRAINE AGAIN. Gazprom, the Russian
gas monopoly, has again cut gas supplies from the 230 million
cubic meters it is contracted to supply to 30 million because
of Ukraine's failure to pay its bills, Ukrainia TV and AFP reported
on 30 August. The Cabinet of Ministers press service issued a
statement that Ukraine's debt to Russia now stands at over $730
million. It further instructed all ministries and state and oblast
administrations to cut down on their use of gas in every way
possible, except for communal enterprises and the people's daily
needs. Local administrations were also ordered to make every
effort to pay the Ukrainian state enterprise, Derzhkomnaftogaz,
for their gas supplies. Gazprom also recently cut supplies to
Belarus but resumed them after Minsk paid $30 million of its
$100-million debt. -Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN ECONOMY MINISTER REPLACED. President Leonid Kravchuk
signed a decree relieving Minister of Economy Yurii Bannikov
of his duties, Ukrainian TV reported on 30 August. This was done
at Bannikov's request. He will be replaced by First Deputy Minister
Roman Shpek. -Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUMORS BLAMED FOR BELARUSIAN RUBEL'S INSTABILITY. On 30 August
ITAR-TASS reported that bankers view the Belarus national currency,
the rubel, as weak and unstable. Serhei Hayka, head of the currencies
department at the Belarus National Bank said the rubel's value
is being driven by rumors. Earlier the Supreme Soviet decided
that the rubel would become the country's only legal tender.
This was interpreted in the press as the imminent introduction
of a national currency. As a result the value of the rubel dropped
from 1,700 to 2,800 to the dollar. On 20 August a new rumor spread
that Belarus intended to remain in the Russian ruble zone. The
rubel then rose to 1,900 to the dollar. As the bankers see it,
the erratic currency fluctuations will only end when the Supreme
Soviet makes up its mind on whether to stay in the ruble zone
or introduce a Belarusian currency. -Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.


[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Erik Whitlock 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
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The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU),
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or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian
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