The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 231, 03 December 1993



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.

RUSSIA



FINAL PUBLIC OPINION DATA PUBLISHED. The media have been instructed
by the central authorities to publish no more public opinion
poll data on the elections as of 2 December. The latest poll
data, compiled by the respected VTsIOM organization and reported
by Ostankino TV on 1 December, found that only 43% of eligible
voters had at that point firmly decided to take part in the elections
on 12 December: 29% planned to stay home and 22% were still undecided.
The poll showed pro-reform groups as firmly in the lead. Russia's
Choice was backed by 30% of voters countrywide; Yavlinsky's bloc
had 14%; the Movement for Democratic Reforms 9%; and the Communist
Party had 8%. Elizabeth Teague

QUESTIONABLE SURVEY RESULTS. In Moskovskie novosti of 24 November,
Vsevolod Vilchek, the director of Ostankino's sociological research
center, questioned the authenticity of opinion polls conducted
in the run-up to the 12 December parliamentary elections in Russia.
Vilchek argued that even research carried out honestly by reputable
polling organizations is often guilty of shaping public opinion
rather than simply studying it. He criticized Ostankino's program
"Obshchestvennoe mnenie" for broadcasting "survey" results based
only on unselected viewer telephone calls. In Izvestiya on 25
November he also claimed that the format of the televised party
presentations encourages mudslinging and contributes to voter
confusion, saying "They forgot to defend the interests of one
participant in the upcoming elections: the voter." Amy Corning


MILITARY PROCURACY REPORTS CORRUPTION AMONG SENIOR OFFICERS,
STEALING RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS. The chief of the Administration
of Military Tribunals, Col.-Gen. Anatolii Muranov, told a press
conference in Moscow that over 13 thousand servicemen were arrested
this year for crimes such as corruption, desertion, illegal sale
of weapons and equipment, reported Ostankino television on 2
December. Among those arrested for corruption were the former
chief of the Main Trade Administration of the Ministry of Defense,
Lt. Gen. Nikolai Sadovnikov and the commander-in-chief of the
Tenth Anti-Aircraft Army, Lt. Gen. Yurii Aleksandrov. According
to another report of Ostankino television, on 2 December three
uranium rods were stolen from a navy base in Murmansk. The uranium
rods are used as nuclear fuel in nuclear submarine reactors.
The case is being investigated by Military Counterintelligence
of the Ministry of Security. According to A. Zolotkov, who is
in charge of the radiation protection service at Murmansk navy
base, the thieves were well aware that the rods posed no dangers
to their health. Zolotkov did not say why the rods were stolen.
Victor Yasmann

GAS WORKERS' STRIKE ENDS. An agreement reached on 1 December
between government representatives and striking workers in the
natural gas and transport industries brought to an end a week-long
strike in the city of Nadym in northern Russia. Elizabeth Teague


OIL EXPORTS TO BE CUT? ENERGY MINISTER YURII SHAFRANIK HAS STATED
THAT RUSSIA MAY CUT ITS OIL EXPORTS IN DECEMBER TO CUSTOMERS
OUTSIDE THE FORMER SOVIET UNION BY UP TO 75%, THE WALL STREET
JOURNAL REPORTED ON 2 DECEMBER. This would mean a volume of about
500,000 barrels a day (b/d) instead of the 1.7 million b/d recorded
in recent months. The justification given was increased demand
within the former Soviet republics after the coldest November
in 50 years. Market analysts were skeptical, viewing the statement
merely as pre-election reassurance to citizens concerned about
the availability of fuel for domestic heating. Any substantial
cut could help to ease the current downward pressure on world
oil prices. Keith Bush

GERASHCHENKO TO LOWER DISCOUNT RATE? IN A FEISTY INTERVIEW WITH
REUTERS ON 2 DECEMBER, THE INCORRIGIBLE CHAIRMAN OF THE RUSSIAN
CENTRAL BANK, VIKTOR GERASHCHENKO, POURED SCORN ON HIS LEADING
CRITICS, BORIS FEDOROV AND JEFFREY SACHS, AND REITERATED HIS
DETERMINATION TO DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT REFORMERS AND INTERNATIONAL
CREDITORS WANT. He claimed that the deflationary package announced
by the Finance Ministry--which was published in Rossiiskiye vesti
on 23 November and which has been welcomed by the IMF--had never
been approved by the government. Gerashchenko further hinted
that next week the Bank may cut its discount rate (base lending
rate) from the current 210%. Unless the monthly inflation rate
can be kept below 10% (and only government spokesmen appear to
think that it can in the near future), such a reduction would
run counter to pledges made to the IMF and external creditors.
Keith Bush

AVTOVAZ PRIVATIZATION POSTPONED. A spokesman of the State Property
Committee (Goskomimushchestvo) told Reuters on 30 November that
the privatization of Avtovaz--where the Lada cars are made--has
been postponed. The plant management was attempting, it was said,
to sell fewer shares at inter-regional tenders in order to keep
a larger proportion for itself. In November, the Avtovaz management
had announced that it would sell 50% of its shares in December--27.5%
at voucher auctions and 22.5% at an investment tender for cash.
Keith Bush

SHAKHRAI IN BASHKORTOSTAN, TATARSTAN. Deputy Premier Sergei Shakhrai
visited Bashkortostan and Tatarstan on 2 December as part of
his election campaign. Speaking in Ufa, he said that, if his
party won, it would allow the regions complete freedom to develop
economic ties among themselves as envisaged by the federal treaty
under which the republics themselves delegate those powers to
the center they consider necessary, ITAR-TASS reported. This
is the kind of economic cooperation that Bashkortostan has been
seeking for a long time. However, ITAR-TASS reported, Shakhrai's
audience did not share his or his party's approval of the draft
constitution. In Tatarstan Shakhrai discussed the thorny question
of the future status of Tatarstan with Tatarstan president Mintimer
Shaimiev behind closed doors, Interfax reported. Shakhrai claimed
afterwards that Shaimiev was willing to back his party in the
elections. Ann Sheehy

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

BASHKIR, UDMURT, AND KARELIAN SPEAKERS ON DRAFT CONSTITUTION.
The speaker of the Bashkir parliament Murtaza Rakhimov has said
the Russian constitution should not be adopted by referendum
but by the Federal Assembly, Interfax reported on 2 December.
Rakhimov criticized the omission from the draft of the federal
treaty and any reference to republican sovereignty. The speaker
of the Udmurt parliament Valentin Tubylov told a press conference
that at the latter stages of the preparation of the draft the
federal authorities had taken a number of steps aimed at centralizing
power and depriving the republics of their sovereign rights,
Russian Television reported on 1 December. Tubylov thought the
regions should have equal economic but not political rights with
the republics. The speaker of the Karelian parliament Stepanov
said on Ostankino television on 1 December that the draft should
have included the federal treaty, but as a pragmatist he accepted
the situation. A public opinion poll in Karelia showed that 43
percent would vote in favor of the draft and only 12 percent
against. Ann Sheehy

BAIKONUR LEASE PROPOSED. Kazakhstan's Minister
of Science Galym Abilsiitov told a news conference on 1 December
that his country wants Russia to assume responsibility for the
Baikonur space center and the town of Leninsk under a lease agreement,
Interfax reported. The alternative, proposed by Kazakhstan some
months ago, would be creation of an international company to
utilize the former Soviet space launch facilities. Kazakhstani
officials say that their country cannot afford to run the space
center, which has twice been the site of riots by military personnel
angry over low pay and poor living standards. The Russian Space
Agency's director, who appeared at the press conference with
Abilsiitov, proposed transfer of some Baikonur assets to his
agency. Bess Brown

BAIKONUR RIOTERS SENTENCED. ITAR-TASS reported on 2 December
that thirteen soldiers who rioted at the Baikonur space center
on 3-4 June have been sentenced to up to twelve years in prison
for their part in the disturbances. Two others tried at the same
time were given suspended sentences. Some 500 members of military-construction
units stationed at the center were reported to have looted warehouses
and set fire to offices and barracks as part of a protest against
having to remain in military service. There were also riots by
military personnel at Baikonur in 1992. Accounts published in
Kazakhstan of the 1993 disturbances did not mention the nationality
of the soldiers involved, but Russian news reports claimed the
rioters were Kazakhs. Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

TAJIK LEGISLATORS TO MEET WITH OPPOSITION. A working group of
the Tajik legislature's Commission on Relations with Social Organizations
has gone to Moscow to meet with members of the Tajik opposition
who are in exile there, Russian agencies reported on 2 December.
One of the most prominent members of Tajikistan's leadership,
First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Abdumadzhid Dostiev,
who also heads the commission, told ITAR-TASS that he plans to
participate in the discussions. Interfax quoted a statement issued
by the Coordinating Center of Tajik Democratic Forces in Moscow
saying that they were prepared to negotiate with the Tajik government
in order to stabilize the situation in Tajikistan, and accused
the government of misrepresenting the opposition's willingness
to engage in dialog. Tajikistan's government has been under pressure
from its CIS allies for months to negotiate with the opposition.
Bess Brown

NATO ON "PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE." NATO foreign ministers
met in Brussels on 2 December and approved the proposed "Partnership
for Peace" program. The program, which calls for increased military
cooperation with the former Warsaw Pact states and Soviet republics,
is expected to be formally approved and announced at a NATO summit
on 10-11 January 1994. The program falls far short of the hopes
of the former communist Central and East European states for
rapid NATO membership. According to reports it offers no security
guarantees, nor any guarantees of future NATO membership, nor
a timetable or conditions for membership. It is expected, however,
that the NATO summit in January will decide that in principle
NATO could accept new members. On 3 December, the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council (NACC), which includes both NATO members
and the former Warsaw Pact members, including Soviet Union's
successor states, will meet to discuss the proposal in more detail.
John Lepingwell

CONFLICTING ATTITUDES IN NATO TOWARDS UKRAINE. There have been
conflicting reports as to NATO's attitude towards Ukraine joining
the "Partnership for Peace" program following the 2 December
meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. Belgian foreign
minister Willy Claes said that NATO may exclude Ukraine from
any military cooperation agreements unless Kiev agrees to get
rid of all nuclear weapons on its territory. British foreign
minister Douglas Hurd said Ukraine was jeopardizing its membership
in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, since it had been
allowed into the council with the expectation that it would become
non-nuclear. In an even stronger statement, German foreign minister
Klaus Kinkel said, "For Russia and Ukraine, (NATO) membership
is out of the question." NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner
denied that NATO is for excluding Ukraine from the "Partnership
for Peace" program and said the subject was not even discussed
at the meeting. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher said
Ukraine is eligible for the program, but would be encouraged
to carry out its commitments to become non-nuclear. A communique
issued after the meeting called on Ukraine to fully ratify START-1
and join the NPT, but did not mention excluding it from the "Partnership
for Peace," various agencies reported Ustina Markus

NATO: NO SECURITY GUARANTEE FOR UKRAINE. Reuters reported that
on 2 December NATO foreign ministers discussed a request by Ukrainian
President Leonid Kravchuk that the organization provide a security
guarantee for Ukraine. When the Ukrainian parliament ratified
START-1 it called upon Kravchuk to seek guarantees from international
organizations, as well as the nuclear weapons states. According
to Reuters a British official stated that the ministers had decided
that they could not proffer a guarantee (since that would be
tantamount to NATO membership) but did approve a British proposal
that Ukraine be sent a summary of existing (and much weaker)
NATO assurances, as well as an offer to help with the dismantling
of the weapons. John Lepingwell

BREAKTHROUGH AT BOSNIAN PEACE TALKS? GENEVA TALKS AIMED AT BRINGING
PEACE TO FORMER YUGOSLAVIA ENDED ON 2 DECEMBER WITH LITTLE AGREEMENT
AS TO HOW SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATIONS HAD BEEN. The talks concluded
with no peace agreement being produced, but a commitment from
the Bosnian Muslim side to continue meetings with the Bosnian
Serbs was announced. Meetings between Bosnian Muslim and Serb
representatives may resume as early as next week, and may be
conducted in Sarajevo. As a Vecernji list headline of 3 December
proclaimed, "Negotiations Stumble Over Sarajevo." On 2 December
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said, in remarks reported by the
international media, that substantial progress towards peace
was being made and that Bosnian Muslim and Serb negotiators had
agreed to partition the city of Sarajevo along Serbian and Muslim
ethnic lines. Karadzic's interpretation of the situation, however,
was quickly disputed by Bosnian Muslim officials. According to
Mohamed Sacirbey, Bosnia's ambassador to the UN, the mere suggestion
of carving up Sarajevo was "repugnant" and he stressed that there
was "no agreement" on dividing the city. Sacirbey also suggested
that the Bosnian Serb side had stalled the peace process by refusing
to talk about territorial concessions to the Muslims while insisting
that most of the discussion had to be focused on the question
of partitioning Sarajevo. According to Croatian media, a few
conference participants expressed optimism about at least the
tone of the discussions. Vecernji list of 3 December reports
that international mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg noted the last
two days of the Geneva talks were conducted in "a very good and
constructive atmosphere." Stan Markotich

ALBANIAN PARTY LEADERS AND MACEDONIA. Members of the ethnic Albanian
Party for Democratic Prosperity, the largest Albanian political
party in Macedonia, reportedly petitioned the CSCE meeting in
Rome on 1 December, not to admit Macedonia. They argued that
Macedonia should only gain admission after it had accorded ethnic
Albanians equality of rights. According to an ATA report of 24
November 1993, PDP figures in Tetovo demanded that certain unnamed
officials in the party resign because of 'collaboration', presumably
a reference to cooperating with Macedonian government officials.
ATA on 30 November named PDP chief, Nevzat Halili, and former
General Secretary Mithat Emini; it also indicated that Neritan
Ceka and Arben Imami--both members of the Albanian Democratic
Party--were meant. Ismije Beshiri and Duncan Perry

SEJM BUSINESS. The Sejm continued on 1 and 2 December to expedite
urgent items of legislation delayed by the dissolution of the
previous parliament. It extended indefinitely the validity of
the 1991 law mandating pensions increases proportional to the
average wage in industry (which should have expired on 31 December
1993) in order to prevent a breakdown of the pension system.
It also decided that legislation, including two amendments on
pensions, passed by the previous Sejm but vetoed by the president
should be considered defunct. It sent to commission draft legislation
that would introduce stamp duty on motor fuel, tobacco products
and alcoholic beverages, planned to bring in 6 trillion zloty
($300 million) in budget revenue. It passed a bill bringing trade
in goods and technology covered by the COCOM list in line with
international agreements. It discussed legislative amendments
that would move the deadline by which local government authorities
must take over primary schools from 1 January 1994 to 1 January
1996. The opposition Democratic Union caucus had tried unsuccessfully
to have the amendment debated in conjunction with the local authority
finances bill which should provide debt relief and funds to run
the schools. Finally, the Sejm gave a first reading to the government's
controversial state secrets bill which entails a list of 106
items of classified information. Some critics fear it violates
press freedom. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

POLISH RENT REFORM. The Sejm also gave its first reading to a
package of legislation on rent reform. Housing minister Barbara
Blida announced plans involving drastic rents increases for local
authority-owned housing and private tenements. The new system
would link rents to construction costs; it would, however, differentiate
according to living area and family income. It would also provide
rental allowances for some one million impoverished families.
Blida would like the package, based largely on a draft prepared
by the previous government, to be treated as urgent, so that
it could take force by 1 July 1994. Rents have not been raised
in Poland for over 18 months. In that time maintenance costs
have risen steeply; rents now account only for 35% of these costs.
Gazeta Wyborcza on 2 December wrote that one in ten tenants has
not been paying rent for three months or more, secure in the
knowledge that the law makes eviction impossible without provision
of substitute accommodation, which is not available in Poland.
The draft would alter this situation. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

POLISH SECURITY CHIEF ON ARMS SMUGGLING. Colonel Gromoslaw Czempinski,
who replaced Jerzy Konieczny on 1 December as head of the State
Security Office (UOP), denied that the UOP had violated Polish
law in the course of its recent "sting" operation with British
secret services to catch illegal arms traders. PAP reported on
1 December that the UOP had made $350,000 on the deal. Polish
Justice Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz ordered an investigation
into the circumstances of the operation after Polish media speculated
it had been illegal. Czempinski, who has worked in intelligence
and counterintelligence since joining the security service in
1972, declined on security grounds to reveal details of the operation
but claimed it had served to frighten off prospective arms smugglers
from the Polish market and show the world that Poland's defense
industry was well under control. Controversy surrounding this
and other UOP activities over the past year has prompted a group
of Democratic Left Alliance deputies to propose a standing Sejm
commission to supervise the activities of Poland's military and
civil intelligence and counterintelligence. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka


DECISION ON HUNGARIAN BANK CONSOLIDATION. The European edition
of the Wall Street Journal reported in its 3-4 December issue
that the Hungarian cabinet decided to help the 9 largest state-owned
commercial banks by providing a $2 billion re-capitalization
fund. New funds, which are to be created through a two-phase
bond issuing, were needed due to enormous losses caused by declining
agricultural and industrial production in the state sector. The
re-capitalization program, which was strongly urged by the World
Bank, will reinforce state ownership of these banks but help
privatization in the end, Hungarian bank officials say. Karoly
Okolicsanyi

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY TO DEMAND MINISTER QUIT. Adrian Severin,
vice chairman of Romania's opposition Democratic Party-National
Salvation Front, said his party will demand the resignation of
Minister of Interior Ioan Danescu, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
on 2 December. Severin told reporters in Bucharest that Danescu
was responsible for two incidents at the national day celebrations
in Alba Iulia one day earlier, in which two DP-NSF officials
were struck by police. One of the officials was Radu Berceanu,
vice chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, who was not hurt. The
other was a local DP-NSF official; she fainted, Severin said.
Severin also complained that police had kept DP-NSF officials
and supporters from an area where government officials were having
lunch. He said the Alba Iulia ceremonies had been guarded better
than rallies organized by the Communist president Nicolae Ceausescu.
Victor Babiuc, interior minister in Petre Roman's cabinet and
now a DP-NSF leader, said the increase in police force shows
a growing distance between the people in power and those in the
streets. Representatives of the DP-NSF participated in the Alba
Iulia ceremonies, but refused to be present on the official rostrum.
Michael Shafir.

FIRE EXTINGUISHED AT KOZLODUY. On 2 December a fire in a storage
facility at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant was promptly put
out by firefighters, Bulgarian and Western agencies report. Although
the storage facility--which contains protective suits used by
the employees--is situated between the two 1,000 reactor units,
Capt. Todor Gotsev of the Vratsa fire brigade told BTA there
had been no risk of the fire spreading beyond the affected area.
Gotsev said the fire had produced mostly smoke and therefore
had been extinguished easily. No injuries occurred and radiation
level was reported normal. Kjell Engelbrekt

BULGARIAN OFFICIALS OPPOSE OPENING OF POLICE FILES. On 2 December
the heads of Bulgaria's key intelligence and security services
participated in parliamentary debates on what to do with classified
documents inherited from the communist secret police. BTA quoted
all top officials as opposing increased access to the files,
which under the law have remained state secrets. Interior Minister
Viktor Mihaylov told the Bulgarian National Assembly he is against
making the files available on "purely professional grounds,"
saying that the picture will anyway remain incomplete since most
of the original records have been destroyed. Mihaylov estimated
that some 64% of the records on secret police collaborators who
were no longer active in 1990 were destroyed at that time by
Interior Ministry personnel, in accordance with an order issued
by the then Interior Minister General Atanas Semerdzhiev. Concerning
still active collaborators, he said between 84% and 95% of the
documentation is no longer available. Like Mihaylov, Defense
Minister Valentin Aleksandrov declared he would rather resign
than allow outsiders access to the files. Brigo Asparuhov, Director
of the National Intelligence Service, warned that lifting restrictions
might jeopardize national security and lower Bulgaria's prestige
in the eyes of European security and intelligence agencies. Kjell
Engelbrekt

RETIRED MILITARY WOULD LEAVE ESTONIA IF RESETTLEMENT PAID. According
to Yurii Kotyonkov, leader of the Russian Community of Estonia,
some $529 million are needed to resettle in Russia the retired
Russian and Soviet military officers and their families currently
living in Estonia, BNS reported on 2 December. Some 9,000 (with
dependents, the total would come to 36,000 persons) out the 11,000
might leave Estonia if the costs of resettlement are paid. In
a related matter, Alar Jaanus of the Estonian Migration Department
told the press that the first wave of emigration is over, but
that a further 10,000-15,000 Russians want to leave Estonia and
need housing in Russia. Jaanus said that Estonia would be willing
to build the homes, and expressed the hope that Russia would
find resources to back this resettlement project. Jaanus predicted
that as many as 20,000 Russians may leave Estonia next year.
Dzintra Bungs

BALTIC TRANSPORTATION MINISTERS DEFINE TRAFFIC CORRIDORS. On
2 December the transportation ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania signed a document in Tallinn defining the key traffic
corridors in each country. The north-south corridor links eastern
and central Europe with northern Europe, while the east-west
corridor connects Russia and the CIS countries with Baltic ports.
Dzintra Bungs

LITHUANIA INVESTIGATES MAZEIKIAI OIL SPILL. Lithuanian officials
believe that the oil spill at the Mazeikiai oil refinery last
week may have been prompted by frequent stoppages, caused by
erratic oil deliveries over the past year. On 22 November some
400-500 tons of oil reportedly leaked into the ground from a
pipe at the refinery, in what appears to be the largest spill
in Mazeikiai since it was commissioned in the 1950s. The polluted
soil is to be removed this week and cleaned, BNS reported on
30 November. The Latvian authorities criticized Lithuania's failure
to inform them promptly of the oil spill, as well as of a fire
on 23 November at a warehouse near Rokiskiai that caused heavy
atmospheric pollution from toxic chemicals. A spokeswoman for
Latvia's Hydro-meteorological Administration told Diena on 25
November that, in accordance with international conventions,
Lithuania should have informed Latvia without delay of the two
accidents. She also noted that experts had estimated the Mazeikiai
oil spill at some 20,000 tons--a much higher figure than the
official one. Dzintra Bungs

BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTION STILL DEBATED. There does not appear
to be any end in sight on the adoption of a new constitution
for Belarus, Belinform reported on 2 December. The parliament
continues to debate the draft constitution. To date, out of 152
arti-cles, 88 have been fully accepted, 13 have been partially
accepted, and 51 rejected. The main stumbling point has been
agreement among deputies as to what kind of powers the executive
should have. Currently, because parliament must confirm any decrees
the government proposes, the government has been hindered in
its attempts to institute any type of reform in the country.
As a result, a number of deputies have been arguing for the establishment
of a presidency with executive powers. Belarus is still following
the old Soviet constitution. Ustina Markus

UKRAINE CUTS GAS SUPPLIES TO ENTERPRISES. Ukraine's state oil
and gas committee has instructed local administrations to reduce
supplies of natural gas to industrial enterprises, Interfax reported
on 2 December. Public institutions and homes are to continue
receiving gas at current levels, but chemical plants will face
reductions of 25%, metallurgical works 30%, and some enterprises
will even have to cope with 90% reductions. It is not known how
long the curbs will last. The measure was prompted by Russia's
reduction of gas supplies to Ukraine because of its failure to
pay for previous deliveries. Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Roman Solchanyk and Dan Ionescu



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