|The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts|
No. 226, 26 November 1993
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. RUSSIA FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE OPPOSES NATO EXPANSION. The Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Evgenii Primakov, told a press- conference in Moscow on 25 November that the incorporation into NATO of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Republics would not accord with Russian national interests. Primakov was presenting the findings of an analytical report, "Prospects for Expanding NATO and Russia's Interests," prepared by his service; his remarks were carried by Ostankino Television and reported by ITAR-TASS. Among the negative consequences for Russia, the report listed the expansion of "the world's largest military organization" as far as Russia's borders and the weakening of Russia's military capability. If this happened, Primakov said, Moscow would undertake a total review of its defense concepts, operational plans, and deployment of forces. Primakov added that Russia's own membership in NATO was a matter for the distant not the near future. Previewing the report, Izvestiya on 24 November said the opinion of the foreign intelligence service was supported by leadership of the Russian military establishment but opposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was in favor of closer cooperation with NATO. -Suzanne Crow and Victor Yasmann OSTANKINO TV AGAIN ACCUSED OF BIAS. On 24-November, the afternoon edition of the "Vesti" newscast reported that the "Russia's Future-New Names" electoral bloc had filed a formal complaint with Russia's Court of Arbitration. The bloc accuses Ostankino TV of showing bias toward one of the competitors in the upcoming parliamentary elections-the pro-government "Russia's Choice" bloc which is led by First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar. (The Court was set up by President Boris Yeltsin in early November to ensure that all contenders obtained equal access to the state-owned radio and TV during the election campaign.) Citing monitoring carried out by the Institute of the USA and Canada, "Russia's Future" is alleging that "Russia's Choice" has so far received "ten times" more air-time on Ostankino TV than any other contender. -Julia Wishnevsky CANDIDATES MAY NOT CRITICIZE PRESIDENT OR DRAFT CONSTITUTION. Ostankino news of 25 November quoted Anatolii Vengerov, chairman of the Court of Arbitration, as saying that parties and individual candidates for seats in the new parliament may not use the time allocated to them on television to criticize the Russian president or the draft Russian constitution that is to be put to a countrywide referendum on 12 December. Nor may the contenders seek to incite tensions between nationalities and reveal state secrets "or other confidential information." This ruling was reiterated by Yeltsin who told the newscast that he was going to warn the leaders of the 13 blocs taking part in the elections that they have been given broadcasting time "in order to present their programs," not to criticize the president or the constitution. In addition, the Court ruled that the managers of TV channels are entitled to decide whether or not to sell further air-time to this or that candidate or bloc. -Julia Wishnevsky OFFICIALS URGE CITIZENS TO APPROVE CONSTITUTION. Government ministers are urging Russian citizens to vote in favor of the new draft constitution in the referendum on 12 December. Speaking to regional leaders in Kaliningrad on 25 November, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said Russia might disintegrate if voters did not approve the new draft, Russian TV reported. Addressing a Moscow press conference the same day, Deputy Prime Ministers Sergei Shakhrai and Aleksandr Shokhin said the new parliament would not be a lawful body unless the new constitution was approved, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Russian Central Electoral Commission, Nikolai Ryabov, was quoted the same day by AFP as calling preparations for the referendum inadequate. He said he doubted the draft constitution would be approved. The draft has been criticized in the Russian media for giving too much power to the executive and by leaders of Russia's ethnic republics, who say it limits the rights they currently enjoy. -Vera Tolz TATARSTAN PARLIAMENT CRITICIZES DRAFT CONSTITUTION. All the deputies of the Tatarstan parliament who spoke in a debate on the draft Russian constitution on 25 November said that they would urge their constituents to vote against the draft in the referendum on 12 December, Interfax reported. Tatarstan Vice-President Vasilii Likhachev said the draft was contradictory and left the status of the republics unclear. He also maintained that the center had decided to do away with the federal treaty. It was proposed that Yeltsin be asked to recall the draft for further work on it. -Ann Sheehy DUDAEV CALLS FOR ISLAMIC ALLIANCE AGAINST WEST. Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudaev has urged the Islamic world to form an alliance against the West, AFP reported from Grozny on 25 November. Dudaev, who had just returned from four days in Iraq, Jordan and Sudan, said Iraq needed the support of the Islamic world. Dudaev blamed Moscow for "terrorist actions" in Chechnya, saying that individuals were being given large sums of money to destabilize the situation in the republic. There have recently been a number of serious explosions in Chechnya. -Ann Sheehy GAIDAR ADVOCATES PROTECTION FOR INDUSTRY. At a Moscow news conference on 23 November, First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar said that he favored limited protection for domestic industry through the use of import tariffs, Reuters reported. Noting that import restrictions had been lifted for six months in 1992, Gaidar stated that the government has since then started to reinstate import tariffs to protect domestic markets and to raise additional revenues. He was specific neither on which branches of industry were being protected nor on the scale of tariffs. His statement should be seen in the context of the election campaign; it will not be welcomed by the IMF and other external monitors. -Keith Bush DEFENSE EXPENDITURE AND PROCUREMENT. After a cabinet meeting on 25 November that discussed, inter alia, defense orders in 1994, conflicting reports circulated on the decisions reached. According to Interfax, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets said defense expenditure in 1994 will remain at the 1993 level. The defense budget this year is said to represent 5% of GDP; since output is expected to continue to decline next year, this suggests that the defense burden will grow. Soskovets told RIA that military procurement in 1994 will remain at this year's level, but ITAR-TASS quoted Viktor Glukhikh as saying defense orders will fall. Glukhikh, who is the chairman of the State Committee for the Defense Branches of Industry, also went public about his disagreements with the Ministry of Economics, notably over R & D and the preservation of technological capacity. -Keith Bush KOZYREV ON PEACEKEEPING. In a 24 November interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev discussed Russia's motivations for pursuing peacekeeping missions in the former USSR. Kozyrev highlighted the two paths Russia faced when the USSR collapsed: either to try to hold the former USSR together as a centralized state or to pull out completely. Kozyrev termed the first option "hopeless" and the second "an unwarranted loss" because Russia had won influence in these areas over the centuries. The compromise between the two extremes was to maintain military bases in conflict zones capable of peacekeeping operations. -Suzanne Crow GRACHEV IN GERMANY. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev stopped in Germany on his way from Switzerland to Russia on 24 November. He visited the headquarters of the Western Group of Forces and commented at a news conference on the orderly and punctual pace of withdrawal from Germany. Grachev mentioned that construction of housing for the returning troops continued to be a problem: the contractors constructing the housing are on schedule, but the Russian building industry bureaucracy fails to meet its deadlines, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow MEASURES TO EASE ENERGY SHORTAGE. The Russian government is taking measures to resolve the energy shortage created by the winter's unusually cold temperatures, Russian and Western news agencies reported on 24 and 25 November. Yurii Shafranik, Minister of Fuel and Energy, said on 24 November that Russia would reduce its oil exports to meet the increased domestic demand; he did not specify which markets would be sacrificed. First Deputy Prime Minister Soskovets said the same day that a government delegation was preparing to fly to Kazakhstan to investigate the possibility of additional coal imports. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin called for "non-traditional methods" for resolving the financial problems of the sector at a meeting of the Council of Ministers on 25 November. -Erik Whitlock WORKERS THREATEN TO CUT GAS SUPPLY. About 8,000 transport and gas industry workers had joined a strike in the northern Siberian city of Nadym, a center of the natural gas producing industry in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug, RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent reported on 24 November. The strikers blocked access roads to the city and were threatening that, if the government did not meet their demand for payment of owed wages by 26 November, they would cut gas supplies to consumers by 10%. Also on 26 November, First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar is due to meet with representatives of coalminers in the far northern city of Vorkuta, who are threatening to strike in demand of unpaid wages on 1 December. Coalminers in the Kuznetsk Basin in western Siberia say they will join them, AFP reported on 24 November. -Elizabeth Teague TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA SHEVARDNADZE PROPOSES NEW CONSTITUTION, ELECTIONS. The Georgian parliament convened on 25-November after its voluntary two-month suspension and agreed to prolong the nation-wide state of emergency for a further two months but rejected parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze's proposal that the voluntary recess also be extended, Western agencies reported. Shevardnadze proposed drafting a new constitution, to be followed by new parliamentary elections. -Liz Fuller KARIMOV IN BRITAIN. The high point of Uzbek President Islam Karimov's four-day stay in Great Britain was the signing on 25 November of a gold-mining deal and an agreement under which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will provide Uzbekistan with $60 million in credits to develop the private sector. On 24 and 25 November Western and Russian news agencies reported on Karimov's meetings with British political and business leaders and on the economic successes achieved during the Uzbek leader's visit, including the deal with the Lonhro conglomerate to develop a gold mine in partnership with two Uzbek government-owned firms. Mining is expected to begin in 1996. -Bess Brown CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE MAJOR DESTRUCTION OF BOSNIA'S CULTURAL HERITAGE. The Guardian on 25 November reported at length on the toll the current war has taken on priceless landmarks and artifacts, particularly Muslim ones deliberately destroyed by Serbs and Croats. In addition to the Serbs' burning the National Library and the Croats' shelling the Mostar bridge, the article refers to the ruining of the oldest mosque in Bosnia dating from 1448, the Ustikolina, as well as to Foca's 14-mosques and Banja Luka's Ferhadija and other mosques. The destruction of Sarajevo's Oriental Institute meant the loss of 22,000 manuscripts, although the Jewish Hagadah and a few other treasures were saved in time. The article notes the activities of local volunteers who are trying to rescue as much of Sarajevo's heritage as possible in the face of international indifference and of art smuggling by local criminals. On a related topic, Vecernji list on 23-November quoted Croatian Liberal opposition leader Drazen Budisa as saying he could provide hard evidence on the destruction of mosques in Herzegovina by Croatian forces. Budisa is a critic of President Franjo Tudjman's policies there and supports Croat-Muslim cooperation. -Patrick Moore OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE YUGOSLAV AREA. While the resumption of aid relief efforts to central Bosnia dominates the international media's coverage of the Yugoslav area and while the Serbian press is concentrating on the December elections, the Croatian papers focus on the economic situation, on the current legislative debate about private television, and on the fighting in Bosnia. Belgrade's Politika on 25 November said that Croatian regular forces as well as Bosnian Croat troops are attacking Muslims in Gornji Vakuf, while Muslim government troops continue to battle supporters of Fikret Abdic around Cazin. Borba noted the election activities of Serbian-American businessman Milan Panic, and also reported on the remarks of a ruling Socialist Party spokesman that Macedonia has become an "American occupation zone" in a bitter reference to improvements in relations between Washington and Skopje. Serbian and Croatian dailies have recently managed to find common ground on at least one topic, however: neither the Zagreb nor the Belgrade papers have much hope or use for the current European peace initiative aimed at persuading the Serbs to trade land in Bosnia for a lifting of sanctions. -Patrick Moore SERBIAN DEMOCRATS WANT KOSOVO FORUM. The Democratic Party has launched work on a non-partisan forum to solve the Kosovo crisis, Borba reported on 25 November. The project, which will include several institutions like the Serbian Orthodox church and the universities, is expected to "return Serbian political life to Kosovo and Metohija," party chairman Zoran Djindjic said. He added that the Democrats would not sign any document that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic or the chairman of the ultra-nationalist Party of Serbian Unity, Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan," helped draft. "It is obvious to anybody that those who pushed us into the war cannot free us from sanctions," Djindjic said. Nonetheless, he seems concerned mainly with the Serbs in Kosovo rather than with the entire population, which is over 90% Albanian. The forum seems unlikely to include either the Democratic League of Kosovo, which got about 76% of the vote in the underground elections in May 1992, or any other of the ethnic Albanian parties in the Kosovar shadow government. They call for direct negotiations with the Serbian government under international mediation and do not recognize any other Albanian group or individual to represent the interests of the Kosovar population. -Fabian Schmidt POLISH SECURITY SERVICE REVEALS ARMS CACHE. The State Security Office (UOP) tipped off the British authorities about a major arms cache on board the Polish container ship Inowroclaw that docked at Teesport on 23 November. The arms were reportedly destined for Northern Ireland. The daily Zycie Warszawy revealed on 26 November that the UOP had been keeping an eye on the illegal deal ever since the dealers appeared on the Polish scene, and had been closely cooperating with its British counterparts. The Poles have been at pains to improve control of illegal arms deals after a number of embarrassing oversights that spoiled the country's international image. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka POLISH MILITARY NOT READY TO YIELD FREQUENCIES. PAP reported on 25 November that the defense ministry has gone back on earlier promises to make 8 of the frequencies reserved for its sole use available for a private television channel. The ministry claims that it needs 6 of the 8 frequencies for at least another three years, until it has sufficient modern technology to restrict itself to just one frequency as envisaged. It estimated the costs as 2 trillion zloty (ca. $96 million). The chairman of the National Broadcasting Council which is responsible for reorganizing Polish radio and television broadcasting, Marek Markiewicz, expressed the hope that the problems were purely of a technical nature and could be solved in a "peaceful" atmosphere. He said that the hitch might force the council to extend the deadline for submission of applications for the television license past 30 November. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka POLISH STATEMENT ON WEU. In a formal statement issued on 23 November Poland's foreign ministry expressed satisfaction that the French and German foreign ministers had taken steps, as agreed in the joint declaration of Polish, French and German foreign ministers made in Warsaw on 12 November, to propose that the countries of the "Visegrad Group" enjoy the status of associate members of the West European Union (WEU). At the same time, it said the decision made at the meeting of WEU ministers in Luxembourg on 22 November to consider other ways of strengthening ties at a later date did not "fully satisfy" Polish aspirations, and pledged to pursue the matter further. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka HAVEL ON NATO MEMBERSHIP. Czech President Vaclav Havel has again called for admission of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary to NATO. In an interview with the Belgian daily Le Soir on 25 November, Havel said that these countries' membership would promote regional stability and prosperity. At the same time, Havel warned that the West would be making "the worst possible error" if it heeded the objections of "reactionary forces in Russia" to expanding NATO membership. -Jan Obrman LEADERS OF MDS PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS RESIGN. The leadership of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia parliamentary caucus resigned on 24-November, TASR reports. The members included Chairman Ivan Laluha as well as four deputy chairmen. Following the announcement Premier Vladimir Meciar said he encouraged Laluha to reconsider his decision, while Laluha said he decided to resign since new leadership should be elected every year. New elections will be held at a working session of the MDS and the Slovak cabinet on 26 November. Parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic said the resignations do not mean a split in the party; however, on 17 November seven members of the party were reportedly criticized for voting in contrary to the MDS coalition agreement with the Slovak National Party because they voted for the dismissal of Health Minister Viliam Sobona and supported the election of SNP Chairman Ludovit Cernak as deputy chairman of the parliament. Although there have been discussions of replacing Meciar as prime minister, opposition leader Jan Carnogursky, chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement, said on 25-November that his party would not initiate such a move since "it is unrealistic to believe 76 deputies of the Slovak parliament would be willing to recall Meciar." Also on 25 November Meciar criticized the opposition, saying "their only policy is based on hate." He said his party "will not crumble as the opposition secretly hopes."--Sharon Fisher NEW HEALTH MINISTER IN SLOVAKIA. On 24 November President Michal Kovac dismissed Viliam Sobona as health minister and appointed Irena Belohorska as a replacement. Belohorska studied medicine at Comenius University in Bratislava and received post graduate diplomas in gynecology and clinical oncology. She is a member of the MDS and since April 1993 has worked at the Defense Ministry. Sobona was ousted last week following a no confidence vote in the parliament. -Sharon Fisher SLOVAK DEFENSE MINISTER IN RUSSIA. Imrich Andrejcak began a two-day visit to Moscow on 25-November, TASR reports. Meeting with his Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev his deputy Boris Gromov, military cooperation and Slovakia's membership in NATO were discussed. Grachev told Andrejcak that the Russian cabinet has agreed to pay back part of Russia's debt to Slovakia with deliveries to the Slovak army, including five MiG-29s, one training airplane, spare parts for planes and ammunition for the infantry. Gromov said, "if some states, including Slovakia, insist on their incorporation into NATO, it is their business," but that Russia "would appreciate it if the former Warsaw Pact countries postponed their admittance into NATO," TASR reports. Slovakia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in August 1993. -Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER HOSPITALIZED. The prime minister's press office announced on 25 November that Prime Minister Jozsef Antall has developed new symptoms relating to his illness non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, MTI reports. Antall has only recently returned from a month long medical treatment of the disease in Germany. The deterioration of Antall's health raises anew the question whether he will be able to lead the Hungarian Democratic Forum in the 1994 national elections. -Edith Oltay ROMANIAN CONTROVERSY OVER KING MICHAEL'S VISIT. In a press release broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 24 November, the Democratic Convention of Romania, the largest opposition alliance, said it had decided to refrain from participating officially in the celebrations of the national day in Alba Iulia on 1 December and to organize a separate meeting in Bucharest on the same day. The decision comes after President Ion Iliescu refused to receive separately a delegation of the DCR to discuss the possible participation of King Michael in the celebrations. Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu said the DCR's decision was "surprising" and that the president had invited all parties to discuss the matter at a joint meeting on the same day. He also said that the visit depended on a joint decision by all political formations. It is clear, however, that such an agreement was not possible, since the nationalist and leftist parties opposed it. At a press conference after his meeting with representatives of the parties, Iliescu claimed that Corneliu Coposu, the leader of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (the largest component of the DCR) had told him at an earlier meeting that he personally opposed the visit and that the former monarch should be invited to visit Romania for Christmas. The leader of the Party of Civic Alliance, Nicolae Manolescu, and the National Liberal Party leader Mircea Ionescu Quintus said their parties will also boycott the celebrations in protest against the officials' attitude towards the visit of the former monarch. In turn, Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy of Romania, threatened after the meeting with Iliescu to introduce a bill banning the former monarch from visiting the country for the next ten to fifteen years, if the opposition boycotts the ceremonies. A declaration in this sense was also released after a meeting of the PSDR's executive bureau on 25 November. -Michael Shafir MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN BULGARIAN DEBT NEGOTIATIONS. Following two years of negotiations between Bulgaria and its foreign commercial creditors, Finance Minister Stoyan Aleksandrov on 25-November announced that the latest round of talks, held in Frankfurt, had resulted in a preliminary agreement on a comprehensive deal. Upon his return to Sofia, Aleksandrov told Reuters that the creditors had agreed in principle to reduce the $9.3 billion debt by half. Deutsche Bank, chairman of the some 300 creditor banks, confirmed that the general terms of a debt-reduction package are now in place. Pari of 26-November reports that the deal would involve a $865 million instalment as soon as it is finalized, followed by annual payments amounting to around $300 million. For 1993 Bulgaria would only pay 5% of the interests, starting from 1 April. Aleksandrov said the final agreement can be expected by mid-1994, but that Bulgaria in the meantime needs to achieve a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund to help finance the deal. Bulgaria suspended all payments on its foreign debt in spring 1990. -Kjell Engelbrekt UN MAY PERMIT LIMITED TRANSIT OF BULGARIAN GOODS. Bulgaria's ambassador to the United Nations says the UN has endorsed a proposal by Sofia to allow limited goods transport through Serbia and Montenegro, despite the heavy sanctions currently imposed against rump Yugoslavia. Ambassador Slave Pashovski on 25 November told RFE/RL that Bulgaria now in principle may be able to transit goods through the embargoed area, although each individual transport has to be approved by the UN Committee on Sanctions. According to the proposal, the goods would be transported in sealed vehicles under a precise time table. Referring both to the numerous restrictions involved in the scheme and to the slow pace of UN procedures, Deputy Foreign Minister Todor Churov told Standart of 26 November that he sees "no need to be euphoric." The UN Committee on Sanctions reportedly endorsed the Bulgarian proposal already on 19-November, but did not inform Sofia until 25-November. -Kjell Engelbrekt LITHUANIA AND NATO. On 23-24 November National Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius and armed forces commander Jonas Andriskevicius held meetings in Brussels with NATO officials, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. NATO General Secretary Manfred Woerner said that the Baltic States were not considered to be former Soviet republics, the "near abroad" in which Russia demands special interests. Lithuania desires closer cooperation and eventual membership in NATO. It supports the US initiative "Partnership for Peace" that will be discussed at the 10 January NATO summit meeting. -Saulius Girnius RUSSIA SWITCHES UKRAINE OFF POWER GRID. Moscow has switched Ukrainian consumers off the single power grid of the former USSR because of a sharp increase in electricity consumption in Ukraine, Interfax reported on 25 November. As a result of the action, Ukraine has cut electricity supplies to Bulgaria, Western press agencies report. -Ustina Markus CONFLICT IN BELARUSIAN SECURITY SERVICES. In a letter to the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Stanislau Shushkevich and Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich, KGB Minister Eduard Shyrkousky and Interior Minister Uladzimir Yahorav have accused the Belarusian border guards and the state secretariat of exceeding their mandates, Reuters reported on 24 November. They said that the border guards had created their own service for "active operations," and that the state secretariat interferes in the way counterespionage and internal security forces operate. The two ministers proposed abolishing the state secretariat and placing the border guards under the KGB control. Shushkevich is said to support the two ministers because their demands are directed against Kebich, with whom he has been at odds over the course of reforms in Belarus. Mechislav Hryb, head of parliament's security commission, urged Shushkevich and Kebich to stop arguing over the issue as it was dividing parliament into two camps and destabilizing the situation, Radiofakt on 25 November. -Ustina Markus BELARUS DECIDES ON OWN CURRENCY. On 24-November ITAR-TASS reported that parliament decided that the Belarusian rubel would be the only legal currency in the country. It is hoped that making the Russian ruble a foreign currency will help facilitate the implementation of Minsk's financial policy. The government and national bank have been ordered to prepare a mechanism to implement the decision. -Ustina Markus [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Elizabeth Teague 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. All rights reserved.
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