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No. 197, 13 October 1993
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. RUSSIA YELTSIN CALLS VISIT A SUCCESS. Ending an historic and oft-delayed visit to Tokyo on 13-October, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Japanese hosts announced the signing of a number of agreements, including a joint declaration on Japanese-Russian relations. According to news agency reports, the two sides pledged in the declaration to resolve the Kuril Islands territorial dispute on the basis of respect for "law and justice." Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa told reporters that Yeltsin had agreed to honor a 1956 joint declaration in which the USSR announced its readiness to negotiate the return of the two smallest of the four disputed Kuril Islands, with the future of the other two to be left to subsequent negotiations. According to Kyodo, Japanese leaders were heartened by the fact that all four islands were named for the first time in an official Russo-Japanese document. The two sides also signed a number of other agreements, including a separate economic declaration that covers trade and economic relations, a protocol that revises the legal framework for extending Japanese aid to Russia, and an agreement on aid for helping Russia liquidate nuclear weapons. Both sides appeared to be satisfied with the results of the visit. -Stephen Foye CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY REORGANIZED INTO TWO CHAMBERS. The five groups of the constitutional assembly have been reorganized into two chambers. On 11 October Yeltsin signed an order which essentially subsumes the first (federal organs) and second (republican and regional organs of state power) into the state chamber of the constitutional assembly, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 October. The chamber, whose coordinators will be Boris Zolotukhin and Aleksandr Yakovlev, will have no more than 250-members, including two representatives of each subject of the federation, and representatives of the president and government. Sessions of the chamber will be summoned by the president, and he has the right to suspend its activities. One of the aims of the reorganization is probably to exercise closer control over the republics and regions. The other three groups (parties and movements, public organizations, associations of entrepreneurs, religious confessions, and local government) have been combined into a public chamber, whose coordinator is Anatolii Sobchak, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 October. -Ann Sheehy OPPOSITION POLITICIANS PREPARE FOR ELECTIONS. Two opposition figures revealed on 12 October that they were preparing to stand for election. A press conference by Sergei Baburin, a prominent nationalist deputy in the former parliament, was canceled after its organizers received a warning that they might be in breach of the emergency regulations in force in Moscow, Reuters reported. Baburin nevertheless managed to inform reporters that he wanted his supporters to participate in the elections to turn the "decorative" Federal Assembly into "a real body of representative power," and that he would decide shortly whether to stand himself. Meanwhile, the extreme right Liberal Democratic Party has presented a list of candidates, according to AFP. The LDP's leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who won 7.8% of the vote in the 1991 presidential elections, said he hoped for 66-67 seats in the new legislature. -Wendy Slater CENTRAL BANK AGAIN UNDER FIRE. Russian Central Bank (RCB) Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko has been accused of blatant disobedience by a respected economics correspondent of Izvestiya. Writing in the 12-October issue, Mikhail Berger charges that the day after President Yeltsin dissolved parliament and subordinated the RCB to the government, Gerashchenko transferred 600 million rubles in cash and 120 million rubles in letters of credit to the White House. The chairman was also less than cooperative on the night of 3-4 October. Vechernyaya Moskva of the same date implies that changes in the bank leadership are imminent and cites members of the government to the effect that inflation cannot be restrained so long as Gerashchenko heads the Bank. -Keith Bush BREAD PRICE DECONTROL RECONSIDERED. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin was reported by Russian agencies on 12 October to have stated that the government is reconsidering the decontrolling of bread retail prices. Starting in August, the authorities have made various pronouncements first about raising the retail prices for bread then decontrolling them with the aim of reducing the massive government subsidy bill. Bread price decontrol was originally scheduled for 1 October, then postponed until 15 October. On 28-September, Radio Rossii spelled out the scale of bread allowances to be paid to low-income citizens: for the fourth quarter of 1993 it was to be 1,400 rubles a month. -Keith Bush SAKHA'S PARLIAMENT DISSOLVES ITSELF, BASHKORTOSTAN CHANGES ITS STANCE. The parliament of the republic of Sakha (Yakutia) dissolved itself on 12 October-the first republican parliament to do so-and set 12 December as the date for fresh elections to a new 60-member two-chamber assembly, Western media reported. The leaders of the Komi republic said, however, that they would resist the call for early polls and rejected the idea of disbanding voluntarily, Reuters reported. According to the Christian Science Monitor of 12-October, the chairman of the Tuva parliament described the attempt to abolish local soviets as "dangerous" for the legislative branch of government. On 12 October the Bashkortostan parliament rescinded its decision of 23 September rejecting Yeltsin's decree of 21 September, decided to take part in the elections to the Federal Assembly and asked its presidium to come up with a plan for reorganizing the system of organs of state power in a month, ITAR-TASS reported. -Ann Sheehy YELTSIN APPOINTS PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE IN MORDOVIA. On 11 October Yeltsin issued a decree forming a permanent representation of the Russian presidency in Mordovia, ITAR-TASS reported. Valentin Konakov was named the president's permanent representative. Mordovia was named by Nikolai Medvedev, a member of the president's administration, as one of five republics not having given a satisfactory answer to Yeltsin's demand that they reverse decisions opposing his decrees. -Ann Sheehy UN REPORT ON MERCENARIES. An RFE/RL correspondent in New York reported that the UN Secretary General released a report on 12 October which both condemns the worldwide use of mercenaries and notes claims that Russian mercenaries are participating in conflicts throughout the former Soviet Union. The report notes allegations of Russian mercenary involvement in conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, and both Armenia and Azerbaijan. It also calls for further investigation of allegations that entire Russian army and air force units participated in the capture of Sukhumi, and that Russian commanders in Tajikistan have acted on their own initiative without orders from Moscow. -John Lepingwell GENERAL STAFF APPOINTMENT. Krasnaya zvezda announced on 30 September that Lieutenant General Vladimir Zhurbenko had been appointed first deputy chief of the General Staff. From 1989 Zhurbenko served as first deputy chief of the main operations directorate of the General Staff and from July 1992 he was a deputy chief of the General Staff. -John Lepingwell CIS BELARUS HEDGING COST OF OIL ON PIPELINE. Belarusian officials are hopeful that a proposed pipeline running from Yamal in northern Russia to Central Europe via Belarus, will ease the economic blow of paying world prices for its energy supplies, Reuters reported on 11-October. The pipeline would transport 80 billion cubic meters of gas through Belarus annually, four times the current amount. It was part of a gas transport agreement signed between presidents Boris Yeltsin and Lech Walesa in August. As this would divert a substantial portion of the gas currently piped through Ukraine, Ukrainian officials have called the deal "anti-Ukrainian." Belarus officials see it as an opportunity to buy Russian gas more cheaply. -Ustina Markus DIPHTHERIA IN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA. Statistics show a twofold increase in diphtheria in Ukraine over the past year, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 October. Some 1,800 persons are now registered as having the disease, and over 50 have died of it. Medical experts see the possibility of an epidemic spreading throughout Ukraine, and the government is taking measures to arrest its spread. AFP on 10 October reported a similar situation in Russia's major cities. In the past seven months 50-people in Moscow have died of the disease. -Ustina Markus TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ADOPTION OF LATIN ALPHABET OFFICIAL IN UZBEKISTAN. On 2 September Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov signed a law restoring the use of the Latin alphabet for writing the Uzbek language. As the law points out, Uzbek was written in the Latin alphabet between 1929 and 1940. The law itself, containing the alphabet devised by Uzbek philologists, appeared in the Uzbek-language press only on 12 October. The alphabet as published differs somewhat from the common Turkic alphabet agreed upon by specialists from the Turkic-speaking countries earlier in the year. Introduction of the Latin alphabet is to be gradual in Uzbekistan, with the changeover to be complete by 2000. -Bess Brown NAZARBAEV ON KAZAKHSTAN'S ECONOMY. In a report to Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet on the first day of its current session, President Nursultan Nazarbaev told the legislators that the country has yet to experience positive results from the introduction of a market economy. According to an ITAR-TASS summary of his speech, he said that total production in 1992-93 is down 25% in comparison with 1991, the last year before independence. Industrial output is down 22%, capital investment 70% and retail trade turnover has experienced a 41% decline. Nazarbaev attributed Kazakhstan's dismal showing to the erection of trade barriers within in the former USSR, but added an upbeat forecast for the effects of the new CIS economic union and unified Kazakhstani-Russian monetary system, warning that for Kazakhstan complete economic independence is still a long way off. -Bess Brown CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE TUDJMAN RESHUFFLES THE CROATIAN CABINET AGAIN. Hina reported on 12 October that President Franjo Tudjman, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Nikica Valentic, announced a number of new appointments to the government. Affected are primarily the economics, health, and social fields, which are the focus of much popular discontent amid rising inflation, a declining standard of living for most people, and a new government austerity package. The ministers of foreign affairs and defense remain in place. Valentic's government is the fifth non-communist one and the third since Croatia's June 1991 declaration of independence. It has been in office since the end of March 1993, but the last word in Croatian politics remains with Tudjman, who has frequently shuffled cabinet portfolios. Elsewhere, Hina reported fresh fighting between Muslim and Croat forces in the Kiseljak area northwest of Sarajevo. Vecernji list, meanwhile, carried an interview with the Croatian commander in the besieged town of Vares, a traditional Croatian center north of Sarajevo. Vares is under attack from both Serbs and Muslims, and has been assigned to the Muslim republic by the Geneva peace plan. The commander said that Vares's population has been swelled by refugees but added that a working relationship has emerged between the Croats and Serbs to enable displaced persons to transit in the face of Muslim ethnic cleansing. -Patrick Moore SERBIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. On 12 October, Serbia's 250-member parliament resumed debate over the Serbian Radical Party's (SRS) motion of no confidence in the government of Nikola Sainovic. Prior to the session, SRS leader Vojislav Seselj called for a secret meeting with Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) leader Vuk Draskovic and Democratic Party of Serbia leader Vojislav Kostunica to solicit support in the effort to topple the government. Radio B92 reported that Draskovic demanded an apology from Seselj because of his insults directed at the SPO, and added he would only accept a new government if his party is given post of prime minister and half of all ministerial positions. Television Serbia, however, broadcast Draskovic's news conference in which he stated he is in favor of forming a transitional government with other opposition parties but that he doubted the opposition has the ability to unite. Draskovic also said the SPO "favors a squaring of accounts with Seselj's fascists" in order to "do away with that the shameful ideology." Draskovic explained that his party's refusal to take part in the parliamentary debate over the no confidence motion signaled "indirect support" for the ruling Socialists in their fight against Seselj. Earlier, the Governor of the National Bank of Yugoslavia, Borisav Atanackovic, resigned on 11 October because of poor health. For several months Seselj demanded Atanackovic's resignation, accusing him of corruption. -Milan Andrejevich DEVELOPMENTS IN ALBANIA. Albania's opposition Socialists were elated with the return of Papandreou to power in Greece and, according to Zeri i Popullit on 12-October, portray Papandreou's party, PASOK, as the key to good relations with Greece. The ruling Democratic Party, putting its best foot forward, sent a telegram of congratulations to Papandreou, although the government is clearly concerned about ties between PASOK and Albania's Socialists. In the meantime, Albanian television reported that on the evening of 11 October a bomb went off in the rump Yugoslav embassy; witnesses not wishing to be identified claimed the bomb had been placed inside the building. Sources from the Ministry of Public Order confirmed this interpretation. -Robert Austin POLISH COALITION TALKS DRAG ON. Representatives of the three potential coalition partners-the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), and the Union of Labor (UP)-met late into the night on 12 October but failed to sign a coalition agreement leading to the formation of a new government. Talks were renewed early on 13 October, with party leaders predicting the signing could take place in the afternoon. PAP reported at midmorning, however, that the UP has decided against signing the coalition agreement. In a separate meeting on 12 October, the PSL formally selected Waldemar Pawlak as its candidate for prime minister and agreed to support the SLD's candidate for Sejm speaker. The SLD, for its part, appeared likely to propose the jovial Jozef Oleksy (rather than the more abrasive Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz) as its candidate for the parliamentary post. Last-minute objections to the coalition agreement were raised in particular by the UP, whose 41 votes are not required for the other two parties to control a comfortable majority in the Sejm. The UP appeared to be getting cold feet at the idea of serving as a Solidarity-origin fig leaf for a postcommunist government; it demanded drastic changes in privatization policy and the exclusion from any new government of politicians mixed up in scandals or not involved in the fight against communism. SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski told reporters he does not rule out the formation of an SLD-PSL coalition if the UP refuses to abandon its demands. -Louisa Vinton WALESA ADAMANT ABOUT THREE NAMES. As the coalition talks neared conclusion, President Lech Walesa restated his demand for the names of three candidates from which he will choose a prime minister as a precondition for any talks on a new government, PAP reports. Without openly challenging the president on this issue, the potential coalition partners have chafed at his demand. Presidential spokesman Andrzej Drzycimski also stressed that Walesa remains determined to have the final say in the selection of the ministers of foreign affairs, internal affairs, and defense. Drzycimski also objected to a proposal by the three coalition parties to subordinate the State Security Office (UOP) to the prime minister , rather than to the internal affairs minister, as is now the case. "The president will not abandon his constitutional prerogatives and it will be difficult to push him aside," Drzycimski warned. The three coalition parties have argued that Walesa has the right to an opinion but not the final say in the choice of the "security" ministers. The constitution is open to both interpretations: it grants the president the right of general supervision over defense, security, and foreign policy and stipulates that the prime minister appoints these ministers only after "seeking the president's opinion." -Louisa Vinton POLISH PROSECUTOR FINDS PLAYBOY "EROTIC." A Gdynia prosecutor halted court proceedings against the Polish edition of Playboy on 12 October, ruling the magazine "erotic" rather than "pornographic" and thus not in violation of the law. The Lublin branch of the right-wing Christian National Union had attempted to press criminal charges against both Playboy and the musical Cats. A sexologist consulted by the prosecutor's office called the magazine a "classic of sorts" that publishes serious literature and political commentary as well as erotic photos, PAP reports. -Louisa Vinton HAVEL ON NATO. In a speech to the Czech Parliament, President Vaclav Havel called NATO an institution guaranteeing the "internal stability of democratic Europe, an instrument of collective defense against potential aggressors, and an instrument of the UN for the protection of freedom, law, and democracy in regions of local conflict," Czech TV reports on 12-October. Havel said that in order to remain "functional," NATO should not admit "everyone at once," adding, however, that the "Central European states should be considered prime candidates for membership." Havel stressed that by admitting these unspecified "Central European states," NATO would expand "in the most natural way." The President further expressed his support for a continuation of the presence of US-armed forces in Europe, saying that it remains "irreplaceable" at the moment. -Jan Obrman CZECH REPUBLIC, LITHUANIA AGREE ON MILITARY COOPERATION. Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys and his Lithuanian counterpart Audrius Butkevicius signed an agreement on military cooperation, CTK reports on 12 October. Butkevicius, who is in Prague on an official visit, said at a press conference that the two states will be cooperating in the drafting of their military doctrines and in the training of officers. The Lithuanian defense minister also revealed that he discussed other "issues of cooperation between the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland" with Baudys. -Jan Obrman US AIR FORCE COMMANDER IN PRAGUE. The Staff Commander of the US Air Force, General Merill A.-McPeak arrived in Prague for an official visit, CTK reports on 12 October. According to the report, McPeak wants to learn details about the structure of the Czech air force and intends to "broaden the cooperation" between the air forces of the two states. Jan Obrman HUNGARIAN BOND ISSUES ABROAD. To help meet the country's credit needs, the Hungarian National Bank, through Credit Lyonnais and four other French banks, issued, on 12 October in Paris, bonds with a six-year maturity in a value of one billion French francs, MTI announced. On 11 October, the HNB also issued in Switzerland six-year bonds worth 200-million Swiss francs with a 6.75% annual yield with the assistance of a consortium of Swiss, German, American, and Japanese banks. Both bond issues were sold out immediately. -Alfred Reisch HUNGARIAN MILITARY CONTACTS. A military delegation headed by Col. General Kalman Lorincz, Commander of the Hungarian Army, discussed on 9-10 October in Beijing possibilities for bilateral cooperation in training, culture and sports with Chinese Defense Minister Che Haotien and Chief of Staff Xiang Vannien, Nepszabadsag reports on 11 October. On 9-October, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill A. McPeak arrived in Hungary for a four-day visit and talks with Hungarian Defense Minister Lajos Fur. The US will equip the MiG-29 aircraft currently being delivered to Hungary by Russia with modern identification systems and continue to train Hungarian officers in the United States, MTI announced. Fifty officers have already been trained in the United States. -Alfred Reisch HUNGARY REACTS TO ILIESCU STATEMENT. Hungarian foreign ministry spokesman Janos Herman says Romanian President Ion Iliescu's recent unfavorable statement about Hungarians living abroad, published in the 9 October issue of the pro-Iliescu Romanian daily Dimineata, has caused "stupefaction" in Hungary. Iliescu allegedly made his remarks before a meeting of Romanians from the Balkan states. Herman revealed that during his September meeting in Bucharest with Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky, Iliescu had reportedly made the same charge, namely that Hungary's hope, and here a parallel with Hitler's policies was drawn, was to use its minorities abroad as a "fifth column"-a charge Jeszenszky rejected as "absurd." According to Herman, such an outburst by Iliescu was hardly in line with the latest developments in Hungarian-Romanian relations, MTI reports on 12-October. -Alfred Reisch and Michael Shafir US HOUSE APPROVES ROMANIAN MFN. The US House of Representatives has given its approval to restoring Romania's MFN trading status. Romania has been trying to regain the status (renounced by Nicolae Ceausescu in 1988) since the former leader was overthrown and executed in December 1989. The measure must now be approved by the Senate and then will go to the president, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 12 October. President Ion Iliescu expressed confidence that the Senate will indeed approve the restoration of MFN to his country. -Michael Shafir ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES OLD-NEW INTELLIGENCE CHIEF. The Romanian parliament approved on 12 October the reappointment of Virgil Magureanu as chief of the Romanian Information Service, the country's intelligence service, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on the same day. The vote was 236 to 172, and the appointment (by president Iliescu) was confirmed with the support of deputies representing the ruling Party of Social Democracy and its leftist and nationalist allies. Magureanu has headed the intelligence service since it was created in 1990 to replace the old Securitate and has often been accused by the opposition of political bias and infringement of human rights. -Michael Shafir SOFIA ACCEPTS MONTGOMERY APPOINTMENT. The Bulgarian government has officially accepted the appointment of William Montgomery as the US ambassador to Bulgaria, Khorizont Radio reported on 12-October. This news comes in the wake of recent Bulgarian media reports which allege that Montgomery had made critical remarks about the standing of minorities in Bulgaria during his confirmation hearings in September. Montgomery is to assume his post before the end of October. -Stan Markotich ZLENKO REJECTS SPECIAL STATUS FOR RUSSIAN FORCES. Ukraine's foreign minister, Anatolii Zlenko, said granting special status for Russian peacekeeping operations was unacceptable, Radio Ukraine reported on 12 October. The statement was in response to Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev's proposal for such a status at the 48th UN General Assembly session. Russia has repeatedly raised the issue of being granted a special status as peacekeeper in its near abroad, while Ukraine has repeatedly rejected such a role for Russian forces. Zlenko stressed that Ukraine is in favor of peacekeeping operations being used solely on the basis of a decision by the UN Security Council. In a commentary on Russia's proposal in the UN on Ukrainian television on 12 October, Russian involvement in Abkhazia was criticized as a manifestation of Russia's old "imperial" ambitions. -Ustina Markus MOLDOVA ON RUSSIAN TROOPS AND PEACEKEEPING ROLE. Addressing the UN General Assembly on 8-October, Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicolae Tiu solicited support for the withdrawal of Russian troops, which are meant "to keep Moldova in Russia's sphere of influence" and "to separate the Transdniester from Moldova." Tiu further noted the Russian army's drafting of local inhabitants and the election of the army's commander to the Transdniester legislature as major violations of international law. Russia, he said, "shows no willingness to withdraw . . . obstructs the [troop] negotiations," and "rejects on every occasion" Moldova's and the CSCE's proposals that the latter attend the troop negotiations as an observer. Tiu also declared: "we consider unacceptable Russia's insistent proposals to be entrusted with a UN mandate for peacekeeping operations in conflict zones in the former USSR . . . It is clear that these efforts are aimed at justifying a continuing military presence on the territories of independent states. The final goal is obviously the revival of the former imperial structures with the blessing of the international community." Tiu also met separately with UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali and with senior US diplomat Strobe Talbott on the same issue. -Vladimir Socor KRAUCHANKA IN BRITAIN. The Belarusian foreign minister, Piotr Krauchanka, met with British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, in London during a four day official visit, Postfaktumradie reported on 11 October. During their talks Krauchanka told Hurd that Belarus fully supports Russian President Boris Yeltsin. They also discussed disarmament, UN activities and Belarus's relations other European countries. The ministers signed a joint declaration on developing political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries. -Ustina Markus CHANGES IN RUSSIAN DELEGATION FOR TALKS WITH LATVIA. According to a decree signed by Russian President Yeltsin on 7 October, new members have been appointed to the Russian delegation for talks with Latvia: Deputy Minister for Foreign Economic Relations Georgii V. Gabuniya, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Economic Cooperation with CIS Aleksandr I. Smirnov, and Head of the Administration of the Pskov Region Vladislav N. Tumanov, Baltic media reported on 11 October. The changes were necessitated in part by the resignation or retirement of some members of the Russian delegation, including A Gaponenko, V. Kovalev, J. Petrov, J. Shmatov, and M. Molostov. -Dzintra Bungs LITHUANIAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER SLAIN. Vytas Lingys was shot dead near his home in Vilnius. He was deputy chief editor and one of the three publishers and owners of Respublika, the second largest daily newspaper in Lithuania. Since it was founded in 1989, Respublika has developed a reputation as an independent newspaper particularly critical of organized crime, BNS reported on 12 October. -Dzintra Bungs NEW MINISTER IN ESTONIA. Peeter Olesk of Estonia's National Independence Party was sworn into office as minister without portfolio on 12 October, BNS reported. -Dzintra Bungs [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Suzanne Crow and Stan Markotich 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). The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU), on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian Reed, RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC-20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907; Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783; Internet: RIDC@RFERL.ORG or Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer, Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute, Oettingenstrasse 67, 80538 Munich, Germany;.Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624; Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648, Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG 1993, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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