|The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. - Franklin P. Jones|
No. 222, 19 November 1993
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. CIS START-1: UKRAINE RATIFIES WITH CONDITIONS. On 18 November the Ukrainian parliament voted by a surprisingly wide margin (254 to 9, out of 440 members) to ratify the START-1 treaty. The Lisbon protocol was ratified as well, however, with the reservation that Article five, which commits Ukraine to join the non-proliferation treaty as a non-nuclear state, does not apply. The resolution ratifying the treaty imposes a number of conditions that must be met before the instruments of ratification are deposited. These conditions, which one deputy noted may never be met, include: compensation for tactical nuclear warheads withdrawn from Ukraine to Russia in 1992, foreign financial assistance for disarmament, and binding security guarantees and recognition of Ukraine's territorial integrity and existing borders. The resolution also reaffirms Ukraine's right to "administrative control" over the weapons and its ownership of them. The decision was reported by UNIAN, Interfax, and Western press agencies. -John Lepingwell AFTER START: WHAT NEXT? THE RESOLUTION SPECIFIES THAT 36% OF LAUNCHERS AND 42% OF WARHEADS BE DISMANTLED (SEE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT NO. 221). Full implementation of this program is conditional, however, on financial assistance. Before the vote, some Ukrainian officials were stating that SS-19 dismantling would continue regardless of the outcome of the debate, but that SS-24s would not be dismantled. The status of the cruise missile warheads based in Ukraine remains unclear. The resolution does provide for warheads to be transferred to Russia, but this is conditional on a separate agreement to that effect. The Massandra agreement, which was to effect the transfer of the warheads, is now in limbo because of disagreements over compensation for tactical nuclear warheads. -John Lepingwell SHOKHIN ON RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN DEBT TALKS. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin suggested that progress was made at the first round of negotiations with Ukrainian government officials over trade problems and debt owed Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 18-November. Shokhin said that the Ukrainian side seemed to be drawing closer to accepting a deal in which it transfers ownership of Ukrainian assets to Russian enterprises (primarily Gazprom) in exchange for its 500 billion-ruble overdue natural gas bill. The Ukrainian government has rejected such an equity-for-debt swap before. Shokhin also indicated that new credits from Russia would only be forthcoming if the existing Ukrainian government debt owed it was significantly reduced. -Erik Whitlock RUSSIA YELTSIN TO MEET PARTY LEADERS. President Boris Yeltsin is to hold a series of meetings with the leaders of parties and blocs contesting the elections, his Chief of Staff Sergei Filatov told a conference of party representatives on 18 November. The conference, reported by ITAR-TASS and Interfax, was attended by 11-of the 13 alliances-the Party of Russian Unity and Concord and the Russian Democratic Reform Movement were absent-and will henceforth convene regularly. Yeltsin, meanwhile, will start the series of consultations by meeting Russia's Choice leader Egor Gaidar on 19 November. Filatov said that the State Duma was scheduled to hold its first session on 11-January, one month after the elections, and that the final decision on the location of the new parliament would follow shortly afterwards, although the two chambers would definitely sit in separate buildings. -Wendy Slater "FAVORABLE SITUATION" FOR COMMUNISTS. At a press conference on 17 November, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennadii Zyuganov, said that the situation in the country was "quite favorable" from the communists' point of view, various Russian and Western news agencies reported. The CP-RF, he said, was counting on winning a considerable number of votes, and was cooperating closely with the Agrarian Party of Russia, the Russian All-People's Union, the Constitutional Democratic Party, and the Christian Democratic Movement. Of these opposition parties, only the Agrarian Party is qualified to participate in the elections. Zyuganov criticized the new draft constitution as "dictatorial;" the CP-RF takes the view that the head of state should be elected by the State Duma and be subordinate to it. Zyuganov also questioned the legitimacy of the constitutional referendum, as the proportion of participating voters needed to validate a constitutional question at referendum had been drastically lowered. -Wendy Slater SHOKHIN VERSUS GAIDAR. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin, who is also a leader of the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, told Segodnya on 18-November that the "exaggerated radicalism" in the program of the Russia's Choice party may influence many voters, as in Poland earlier in the year, to back communists in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He said that he and the chairman of the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, Sergei Shakhrai, tried to persuade the head of Russia's Choice, Egor Gaidar, to adopt a more moderate economic reform policy but that the latter refused. Shokhin stated that, once in the State Duma, his party would back the candidacy of Viktor Chernomyrdin for the post of Prime Minister while Russia's Choice would favor Gaidar. Shokhin said that members of Russia's Choice should have abandoned their ministerial portfolios before becoming involved in the election campaign. -Alexander Rahr SHAKHRAI WARNS OF ARMY TAKE-OVER. The chairman of the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, Sergei Shakhrai, told Izvestiya on 17 November that he fears the possibility of a military take-over in Russia. Shakhrai warned that a situation could develop in which the authorities would need to use the army to deal with unrest in the Russian provinces, and said Russia may face a choice between disintegration or an army-police state. Shakhrai predicted that the new draft constitution will not be approved by a majority of the electorate in any of Russia's constituent republics; however, the constituent republics comprise only 15% of the total population of the Russian Federation, and their rejection of the constitution will not, therefore, necessarily prevent it from being adopted. -Alexander Rahr RUSSIA WELCOMES SCRAPPING OF COCOM. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin on 18-November said that Moscow welcomed a decision to eliminate the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Exports (COCOM), an agency established after World War II that was tasked with blocking the transfer of sophisticated technology to the Communist Bloc. According to ITAR-TASS and Reuters, however, Karasin also emphasized that "Russia's main demand continues to be the immediate cancellation of all restrictions on the export of goods and . . . technology to our country on ideological grounds." This past April US President Bill Clinton had promised Boris Yeltsin that the US would review the COCOM restrictions. -Stephen Foye YELTSIN RESTRICTS FOREIGN BANK ACTIVITY. President Yeltsin issued a decree on 18-November that limits foreign banks operating in the Russian Federation to serving non-Russian clients, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. The restriction, effective until 1 January 1996, applies to banks which are more than 50% foreign owned and were not already serving Russian clients before 15 November or not licensed to operate in Russia before that date. The decree follows a long debate in Russia over liberalization of the banking market in which the protectionist sentiment of most of the domestic commercial bank community and the Finance Ministry was set against the more procompetition views of, for example, the Central Bank. -Erik Whitlock PROSPECTS FOR RUSSIAN INFLATION. A survey of Russian financial markets released by the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, and summarized by ITAR-TASS on 16 November, provides some hope of lower inflation for the near future. The survey says that money supply grew 4.45 times while the price level rose by 7.78 times over the first three quarters of this year, a trend which, if sustained, may mean reduced inflation rates. However, according to Interfax and Reuters, Viktor Gerashchenko, chairman of the Russian Central Bank, repeated at the congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Manufacturers a now commonly heard warning that the Finance Ministry has significantly underestimated the 1993 budget deficit-a fact which suggests that the current high inflation rates (around 20% in October) will continue at least into the spring of next year. -Erik Whitlock KOZYREV PROPOSES AGENCY FOR PROTECTING RUSSIANS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev proposed on 18 November that a semi-governmental agency be set up in Russia to defend the rights of Russians outside of Russia in the CIS. The agency, according to Kozyrev, would receive governmental funding but also maintain its distance from the government so that the body would be able to handle the "very subtle problems that the government is not always capable of solving correctly." Kozyrev's comments were made in Tajikistan, the final stop of his three state tour in Central Asia, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. -Suzanne Crow LENIN MUSEUM CLOSED. On 16 November Yeltsin ordered the closure of the Lenin Museum on Red Square, AFP and Reuters reported. The red-brick building had housed the museum since 1936 and is expected to be used to house the future Moscow City Duma, or local government council. The museum's collection of Lenin memorabilia is being put in storage until a decision is made on where to keep them. -Elizabeth Teague DIRECTOR OF AUDIO ARCHIVES ARRESTED FOR TAKING BRIBES. Yuri Kornilov, the director of "Gosteleradionfond", the archives for national video and audio treasures, has been arrested for accepting a bribe of five thousand dollars from an American company, "USSU Art Group", Moskovskie novosti (no. 46) reported. The president of "USSU", Tristan Dell allegedly gave Kornilov money to restore his access to the "Gosteleradiofond" collection. (Earlier, Dell, who emigrated from the Soviet Union as Arkadii Shedeilman, managed to gain exclusive rights to market collection, but last summer the Russian government suspended his contract following the strong protests of some Russian intellectuals). The outstanding Russian composer, YurI Petrov told Komsomolskaya pravda, on 11 November that the transfer of the exclusive rights to "USSU" wounds the dignity of generations of great performers and singers. -Victor Yasmann TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA RUSSIA, TAJIKISTAN SIGN AGREEMENTS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev ended a two-day visit to Dushanbe on 18 November with the exchange of documents that ratify the treaty of friendship and cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan, Russian media reported. Kozyrev told journalists he was satisfied with his talks with Tajik leaders on stabilizing the political situation in the country and strengthening security on the Tajik-Afghan frontier. A Tajik government delegation headed by Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdulladzhanov began talks in Moscow on 18 November with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Shokhin on strengthening Russian-Tajik economic cooperation, according to ITAR-TASS. -Liz Fuller EMERGENCY FOOD AID FOR AZERBAIJANI REFUGEES. On 18 November the UN World Food Program announced an emergency $8.4 million project to provide 9,000 tons of food over a six month period to refugees displaced by the recent Armenian offensive in south-west Azerbaijan, Reuters reported. -Liz Fuller CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN LEADERS WORK FOR PEACE. Western news agencies reported that on 18-November leaders of Bosnia's three warring groups met in Geneva, at the request of UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, to discuss how humanitarian aid could be continued during the harsh winter months. Bosnian Muslim Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, and Croat leader Mate Boban attended, accompanied by representatives of their respective military commands. The leaders reportedly agreed on a number of points, including the issue of calling a halt to attacks on UN aid convoys. They signed a six-point declaration which included a cease-fire clause, as all sides agreed to "ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance by suspending hostilities and allowing free and unconditional access by the most effective land routes." Meanwhile, Sarajevo radio reported that the Bosnian Muslim government and representatives from the Bosnian Serb side also agreed to permit natural gas deliveries throughout Bosnia. These developments do not necessarily, however, signal an end to hostilities. According to Reuters, one unidentified military source close to the Bosnian Croatian forces (HVO) said that the top priority for Croatian troops was gaining as much territory by force as possible. The source reportedly told Reuters that the Geneva meeting "is a complete waste of time." -Stan Markotich INCIDENT ON THE BORDER OF SERBIA AND MACEDONIA. Five armed men, three dressed as civilians and two in military fatigues, illegally entered Macedonia from former Yugoslavia at 11:00 AM on 17-November according to stories in Borba, Nova Makedonija, and MIC. They abducted a patrol consisting of two police officers and a soldier near the village of Lojane, just inside the Macedonian border with Serbia. It appears that the patrol was watching for fuel smugglers when it stopped two vehicles with Serbian tags. The drivers were evidently attempting to cross into Serbia with some 400 liters of gasoline. At this point, the five men from the Serbian side entered Macedonia in two cars and abducted the patrol. The Macedonians were later released. One of the policeman had sustained head injuries. Fuel smuggling in this region is common. The Macedonian government has lodged a protest with the Belgrade government. -Duncan Perry WALESA: TIME FOR "BIG CLEAN-UP" IN POLITICS. In an 18 November PAP interview, President Lech Walesa said that the past four years were a time of political struggle over the direction of reforms but, now that many issues had been settled, it was time for a "big clean-up" of the Polish political scene: picking up the useful pieces and building a workable whole. He mentioned the need to complete work on a Constitution and pledged himself to start with defense and foreign policy. Walesa suggested that the left-wing parties had the experience of government and politics that was lacking in the parties of the Right. The former now had their chance to show what they could achieve while the latter had the opportunity to learn their lessons. He said he would wait and see how the government of Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak coped with the challenges it faced before he stepped in himself but that he would not hesitate to do so if he felt that the success of reform was at risk. He took an ambivalent stand on the government's recently announced taxation proposals but voiced unequivocal support for the Polish-Vatican concordat. He deplored the fact that he had not been consulted by the National Broadcasting Council about its decision to appoint Wieslaw Walendziak as head of the new national TV corporation. Finally, Walesa said that if things were not right in Poland, he would stand for reelection in 1995 "to continue the struggle." -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka BUSY SEJM SESSION. PAP reports that the Sejm is making good time with its legislative agenda for the three-day session that began on 17 November. The deputies debated several pressing items of legislation, including one that would suppress the controversial excess wages tax, another that would protect employees of insolvent enterprises, and an author's rights bill intended to curb intellectual piracy. They elected 6 new members to the Constitutional Tribunal and 4 deputies to serve on the privatization selection commission, as well as establishing an extraordinary commission to work on the "Pact on Enterprises," a cornerstone of the previous government's economic and social policy. In question time a deputy interior minister refused to confirm or deny press reports that the head of the State Security Office, Jerzy Konieczny, had resigned. The Sejm also began debating a bill on local government financing. The debate will continue today. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka WARSAW HOSTS ECONOMIC FORUM. The annual World Trade Forum that is usually held in Davos, Switzerland, opened in Warsaw on 18 November. The architect of Poland's economic reform, Leszek Balcerowicz, who chaired the proceedings, saw this as signifying recognition that Poland is the most dynamically developing country of this part of Europe. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak pledged "stable rules of the game and incentives to investment," and emphasized that social stability was essential to political and economic stability. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS ASPIN, OTHER US OFFICIALS. An RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reports that Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys met in Washington on 18 November with US Defense Secretary Les Aspin, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff John Shalikashvili, NATO Supreme Allied Commander George Joulwan, and other defense and security officials. Baudys told CTK that he and Aspin discussed Aspin's recent "partnership for peace" proposal, which suggests closer cooperation between East European democracies and NATO but, at the same time, gives no timetable for full membership and offers no security guarantees. CTK quotes Baudys as saying that "for us, this balanced proposal is the proper first step-in particular, if we consider what the realities are." Before leaving Prague for the US on 17 November, Baudys told reporters that he believes Europe's security zone must be extended eastward. -Jiri Pehe AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ASKS HAVEL TO VETO LAW. The London-based international human rights organization Amnesty International has asked Czech President Vaclav Havel to veto a penal code amendment recently passed by the Czech parliament, under which the persons found guilty of defaming the country's president, parliament, constitutional court, or government can be sentenced to two years in jail. In a letter sent to Havel on 18 November, Amnesty International argues that such a law would violate international human rights agreements and warns that "it will consider anyone sentenced under this law to be a prisoner of conscience." Meanwhile, a number of Czech political parties have expressed their opposition to the amendment. Havel initially argued that the Czech Republic may need such a law as long as it is not a fully stable democracy but later indicated he may consider vetoing it. On 18 November, Czech members of the PEN Club asked Havel not to sign the law. -Jiri Pehe NATO OFFICIALS IN HUNGARY. Loic Bouvard and Peter Corterier, the Chairman and the General Secretary of the NATO General Assembly, arrived in Budapest on a four-day visit , MTI reported on 18 November. The two politicians were invited by the Speaker of the Hungarian parliament Gyorgy Szabad and met with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in order to discuss the relationship of the Eastern and Central European countries to NATO. Members of the ruling coalition and the Alliance of Young Democrats argued in the committee that NATO should consider the membership of each ECE country individually. The Hungarian Socialist Party, however, opposed this view on the ground that the practice could cause tension among the various countries. The party was not opposed, however, to NATO considering the four Visegrad countries jointly for NATO membership. -Judith Pataki THOUSANDS JOIN "MARCH OF DESPAIR" IN BUCHAREST. Thousands of workers marched on 18-November through downtown Bucharest to demand more efficient social protection and economic reforms. The 6hour rally, which ended with a meeting in a central Bucharest square, was described as one of the largest since the fall of the communist regime in December 1989 (estimates by reporters differ widely, ranging between 15,000 and 50,000 participants). It was staged by the country's largest trade union organization, the National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions-Fratia under the title "The March of Despair". Defying the cold weather, the marchers shouted slogans and distributed leaflets calling for an end to "poverty, hunger and misery" and urging the left-wing minority cabinet of Nicolae Vacaroiu to implement real reforms. In a statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest, another major labor confederation, the National Trade Union Bloc, hailed the Bucharest rally and announced its intention to stage separate protests in the near future. In a related development, miners in the northern region of Maramures held a meeting in Baia Mare to back the leaders of the Alfa Trade Union Cartel in their labor negotiations with the cabinet. -Dan Ionescu TRADE UNION WANTS POLITICS REMOVED FROM ROMANIAN TELEVISION. On 10-November the Free Labor Union at Romanian Television called for a law banning politics from the television screens, an RFE/RL correspondent reported that same day. A statement by the union said television is still used as a political weapon. The statement was prompted by a commentary aired on 6 November by Romanian Television Director General Paul Everac, saying the government was prevented from fulfilling its mission by the press and the unions, which allegedly want more pay and no work. -Michael Shafir GERMAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHAIRMAN TO ROMANIA. Roman Herzog, Chairman of the German Constitutional Court, who is on an official visit to Romania, met on 18-November his Romanian counterpart Vasile Gionea. In a brief interview with Radio Bucharest, Herzog, who described his visit as a fact-finding mission, pledged his country's support for the edification of the rule of law in Romania. On the same day, he was received by Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. The two discussed the treatment of the German minority in Romania. Herzog is a potential candidate for the office of President of the German Federal Republic -Dan Ionescu BEROV GOVERNMENT SURVIVES FOURTH NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. On 18 November the cabinet led by the politically unaffiliated Lyuben Berov defeated for the fourth time a vote of no confidence, Bulgarian and Western media report. The Berov government, which was appointed in late December 1992, won the secret ballot by a comfortable vote of 130 to 83, with 2 ballots declared invalid and 15 deputies absent. After thanking the legislators for their support, Berov said the questions of a slight cabinet reshuffle or possible policy shifts would be addressed in the coming days. Leading members of the oppositional Union of Democratic Forces, which had demanded the vote in protest of current economic and social policies, said the balloting confirmed again that the Berov government is controlled by Bulgaria's ex-communist party. UDF deputy and former Finance Minister Ivan Kostov told the National Assembly that "from now on we shall call this government the government of the Bulgarian Socialist Party." -Kjell Engelbrekt LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED. On 18 November Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdyn and other officials flew to Vilnius where they signed 9 bilateral agreements and a protocol, Radio Lithuania reports. The most important document was a most favored nation trade treaty that halved Russian duties on goods imported from Lithuania. Other agreements were on social guarantees for ex-servicemen, pensions, cooperation between interior ministries, air and motor transport communication, and Russian military transit from Germany. Chernomyrdyn's talks with his Lithuanian counterpart Adolfas Slezevicius also dealt with compensation for damages to Lithuania since 1940, the return of Lithuanian embassies in Rome and Paris now used by Russia, and military transit from Kaliningrad. Chernomyrdyn also met with Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas. -Saulius Girnius LATVIA CELEBRATES 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE. On 18 November celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Latvia's declaration of independence began with ecumenical services in the Riga Doms, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. A military parade was held in front of the Monument of Liberty. At a special session of the Saeima its chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs noted that Russia's request to retain the radar station at Skrunda for six more years was unacceptable for it contradicted the recent UN resolution calling for the "early, orderly, and complete withdrawal" of Russian military from Latvia. In the evening President Guntis Ulmanis delivered a speech at Riga's National Theater the site where the 1918 independence declaration was signed. -Saulius Girnius BANK OF LITHUANIA CHAIRMAN CONFIRMED. On 17 November the Lithuanian parliament at a special session, broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, voted 75 to 33 with 4-abstentions to aprove Kazys Ratkevicius as the chairman of the Bank of Lithuania. Opposition to his candidacy was primarily due to his having served as a deputy to former bank chairman Vilius Baldisis during whose term there were severe problems with the printing of the litas.--Saulius Girnius BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION. On 18-November the Belarusian parliament ratified both the CIS economic union and an agreement to form a monetary union with Russia, various agencies reported. Both agreements were passed by large majorities. The monetary union had more opposition to it, however, as it means Belarus gives Russia authority over its money supply, budget and fiscal policy. Democratic and nationalist deputies were dismayed by the decision and many left the chamber in protest. Belarusian Central Bank Chairman Stanislau Bahdankevich warned that monetary union would not produce the results Belarusians were hoping for as Russia was not going to continue subsidizing Belarus. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have backed away from plans to enter a ruble zone with Russia, saying Moscow's conditions were too strict. During debates on the issue the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, warned against the ratification, while Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich urged deputies to ratify the document. -Ustina Markus UKRAINE ADOPTS ELECTORAL LAW. On 18 November the Ukrainian parliament passed the controversial electoral law based on the "majority" or first-past-the-post principle. The 450 member legislature voted 245 to 8 in favor of it. Democratic and nationalist deputies had refused to vote and walked out in protest. The law favors communists and socialists who have larger memberships and are better organized to carry out election campaigns. The democrats, who wanted some degree of proportional representation included, fear the law will impede the development of a multiparty system. Ustina Markus and Bohdan Nahaylo [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Erik Whitlock and Jan B. de Weydenthal 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. 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