|The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine|
No. 234, 08 December 1993
RUSSIA ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR ON COMPOSITION OF NEW PARLIAMENT. St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak expressed hope in an interview with ITAR-TASS on 7 December that four pro-reform electoral blocs-Russia's Choice, the Russian Movement for Democratic Reform (RMDR), the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, and Grigorii Yavlinsky's bloc-would set up a coalition in the new parliament. If these blocs agree to unite, they will probably constitute a strong majority in the parliament. Sobchak, who is a leading election candidate of the RMDR, said, however, that such unity could not be guaranteed. In the absence of unity among democrats, the president and the government would find it very difficult to work with the new parliament, Sobchak warned. -Vera Tolz TRAVKIN CONCERNED ABOUT FALSIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS. Nikolai Travkin, leader of the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR), attacked President Boris Yeltsin at a meeting with journalists on 7 December, AFP and Reuters reported. Travkin said that Yeltsin had forfeited his moral authority by the violent suppression of the opposition on 3 and 4-October. He also hinted that the election results could be tampered with, because communists, among whom he numbered Yeltsin, were "specialists in falsification." Travkin criticized the new draft constitution and said that the structures to implement it did not exist-a reference to the confusion in the security forces on 3-4 October. The DPR, which could gain 8-12% of the vote in the elections, would cooperate with the Civic Union and possibly with reformist communists in the new parliament, party leaders said. -Wendy Slater YAVLINSKY CAMPAIGNING. Economist Grigorii Yavlinsky said that if the draft constitution is approved in the referendum it has to be subject to amendments, ITAR-TASS reported on 7-December. He forecast difficult times for President Yeltsin in his relations with the new parliament, saying that a genuine renewal of Russia will occur only after presidential and parliamentary elections are held in two years time. Yavlinsky stated that he favors the creation of an influential property owning class and a change in the government's regional economic policy, stressing that reforms must be conducted from below. He also urged a change in the government's policy of privatization. In his opinion, the controlling package of shares should remain in the hands of the real investor, not the workers' collective as is the case today. -Alexander Rahr SHAKHRAI: "NO STATE, NO ARMY". Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai exposed the essential thinking behind the use of regular military forces to quell ethnic conflict within the Russian Federation. Speaking at a 7 December news conference broadcast by Radio Rossii, Shakhrai said that the regular army should be used to carry out internal political tasks (such as in the North Caucasus) in the event that other units (internal or security forces) were not capable of resolving the situation. Shakhrai based his argument not so much on the Russian military doctrine, which he complained was ambiguous on this point, but on the need to maintain the integrity of the Russian state: "If there is no state, there is no army," Shakrai said. -Suzanne Crow STRIKE ROUNDUP. According to Reuters, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS reports received late on 7-December, relative calm prevailed on the labor front. Miners at 12-of the 13 pits in the Vorkuta region remained on strike, dissatisfied with a government offer to repay 20% of back pay due. The mines were told to reclaim the balance from defaulting consumer enterprises. Miners in the Kuzbass were maintaining a strike alert until government pledges were honored. One mine in Sakhalin was struck over back pay. And gold miners in Khabarovsk threatened to commence a strike on 11-December if the state did not reimburse them for back pay arrears. -Keith Bush PROGRESS REPORT ON CONVERSION. Viktor Glukhikh, the chairman of the State Committee of the Russian Federation on the Defense Branches of Industry (Roskomoboronprom), gave a progress report on conversion/diversification on 7 December, ITAR-TASS reported. Addressing a Moscow conference on economic reform and stabilization, Glukhikh claimed that the production of civilian goods now accounts for nearly 80% of the output of the military-industrial complex. During the past two years, he said, state orders and financing for military hardware had declined by a factor of 9, and defense items now take up not more than 10-15% of the capacity previously dedicated entirely to military production. (Glukhikh's pronouncements on the degree of conversion/diversification have not always been reconcilable with other sources of information) -Keith Bush INVESTMENT FUND VICTIMS TO BE REIMBURSED. A deputy chairman of the State Property Fund (GKI) told a news conference on 7 December that 107,000 voucher holders who had invested in the "Technical Progress" investment fund could exchange their shares for new vouchers to be invested in any of 23 other investment companies, Interfax reported. The GKI will guarantee the newly issued vouchers which will be available through 1 January. The "Technical Progress" fund declared bankruptcy in November and suspended repayments, provoking a large protest demonstration in Moscow. -Keith Bush YELTSIN AND NORTH CAUCASIAN LEADERS SIGN JOINT STATEMENT. At the end of their meeting in Nalchik on 7 December, Yeltsin and the leaders of the North Caucasian republics, except Chechnya, and of Krasnodar and Stavropol krais and Rostov oblast signed a joint statement (ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported) setting the following conditions for defusing tension in the region: Ingushetia must give up its territorial claims on North Ossetia, while North Ossetia must abandon its stand that it is impossible for Ossetians and Ingush to live together; all refugees must be allowed to return to their homes; all illegal armed groups must be disarmed; the federal government must determine its position as regards Chechnya, the main destabilizing factor in the region, and a constructive dialog must be started with all public groups and the Cossack movement brought into line with the presidential decree on Cossacks. Ingush president Ruslan Aushev commented after the meetings with Yeltsin that the chief result was that the wall of unpleasantness between North Ossetia and Ingushetia had begun to melt. -Ann Sheehy NORTH CAUCASIAN LEADERS CALL FOR APPROVAL OF DRAFT CONSTITUTION. Although in the past most of the North Caucasian leaders have expressed criticism of the draft Russian constitution, at the meeting with Yeltsin in Nalchik all agreed to call on voters to support it. Yeltsin's press secretary Vyacheslav Kostikov told journalists after the session that Yeltsin had ordered the Secretary of the Security Council Oleg Lobov and the Minister of Security Nikolai Golubushko to draw up plans to define and control the Chechen border and take control of the railway line passing through Chechenya to prevent bandit attacks. In a move that the North Caucasian leaders said would create a very good impression, Yeltsin agreed that local farmers should be paid immediately for grain sold to the state-at present they are owed billions of rubles. Kostikov said that the pile-up of refugees in the Kuban and Stavropol krai, which has been fuelling inter-ethnic tensions, was also discussed. -Ann Sheehy PRIME MINISTER OF SAKHA WILL VOTE AGAINST CONSTITUTION. Vyacheslav Shtyrov, vice-president and prime minister of Sakha (Yakutia), said in Yakutsk on 7 December that he would vote against the draft Russian constitution on 12 December, IFX reported. He said the document was too serious for its adoption to be rushed and that it was fraught with conflict between Moscow and the provinces. Shtyrov also criticized the economic policy of Russia's Choice, which he said was a policy of economic destruction rather than shock treatment. Sakha's president, Mikhail Nikolaev, has expressed approval of the draft constitution. -Ann Sheehy DAGESTANI CANDIDATE FOR FEDERATION COUNCIL SHOT DEAD. Bagavutdin Gadzhiev, a candidate in the 12 December elections to the Federation Council and president of the council of the "Dagestan" commercial and investment corporation, was shot dead as he was leaving work in Makhachkala on 6 December, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 December. Two other people died with him. Gadzhiev headed the republican ministry of trade for 20 years until its abolition in 1992, and his extensive connections, popularity, and concrete election platform, aimed at improving living standards, made him a strong candidate. It is not known whether his murder was due to this fact or was simply a settling of old scores. In the past two or three years a number of prominent figures in Dagestan have been shot dead. -Ann Sheehy CIS KOZYREV WARNS UKRAINE ON FLEET, NUKES. Ending a lull in the diplomatic battle over the Black Sea Fleet, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, told reporters on 7 December that Sevastopol had always been a Russian naval base and would remain so. While not actually claiming the territory, he insisted that the Massandra agreements providing for Ukraine to hand over the fleet to Russia in exchange for debt relief be honored. Kozyrev also reiterated that Russia would "not allow" another nuclear state on its borders Overall, Kozyrev's comments appear to represent another increase in tensions between the two states, and he implied that relations would not become normal until Ukraine makes a number of concessions to Russia and fulfills the Massandra agreements. The comments were reported by Interfax. -John Lepingwell ANOTHER WARNING TO UKRAINE. Russia is treating Ukraine's continued possession of nuclear weapons as a matter requiring urgent remedy, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin said at a briefing on 7 December. Karasin said that a "consensus against Kiev's maneuvers on giving up its nuclear weapons" is developing in the international community. He also advised Kiev to consider this international reaction, especially in Europe, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA BHUTTO PROPOSES JOINT PAKISTAN-IRANIAN INITIATIVE ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH, TAJIKISTAN. In an interview given to the Tehran Times on her arrival in Tehran on 7-December on an official visit, and summarized by ITAR-TASS, Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto proposed that Pakistan and Iran "should coordinate their efforts to draw up a joint strategy to halt Armenia's aggression in Azerbaijan." Bhutto also offered to cooperate in providing assistance to Azerbaijani refugees, and reaffirmed Pakistan's interest in restoring peace in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. -Liz Fuller CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBIAN RADICAL LEADER ENDORSES POST-ELECTION COALITION. According to a Borba report of 6 December, the ultra-nationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Vojislav Seselj, announced that his party would enter a parliamentary coalition to keep his erstwhile allies, Serbian President Milosevic's Socialists, out of office. Elections are scheduled for 19-December. Seselj, however, rejected the idea of entering into a coalition with other parties before the votes have been counted, arguing that "it would not be wise for the opposition to unite now because of differences in party programs." Seselj suggested that a post-election parliamentary union could be forged with the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Serbia. He also discussed the economy, which he described as being in ruins. Seselj said that an entry/exit border tax of DM 100 could bring in some DM 3 billion yearly; those funds, he added, could be used "to finance the armed forces and state institutions." -Stan Markotich SANDZAK MUSLIM PARTY TO BOYCOTT SERBIAN ELECTIONS. The steering committee of the Party of Democratic Action in Sandzak has decided not to participate in the Serbian elections, scheduled for 19-December. The region has a slight Muslim majority and is divided between Serbia and Montenegro. According to Borba on 3 December, the general secretary of the Muslim-dominated party said that "under conditions of massive raids and arrests, of political trials, and with the threat of arrest against party leader Sulejman Ugljanin, there is not the slightest chance for free and fair elections." He also charged the government with trying to prevent his party from conducting an election campaign. Meanwhile, two other parties have been founded in Sandzak: the Union of Sandzak Yugoslavs and a party called "Josip Broz Tito." Borba adds that both parties are under "the patronage of the government." -Fabian Schmidt TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON BALKAN MISSION. International media have been reporting on the visit of Hikmet Cetin to Tirana on 6 December, to Skopje the following day, and to Sofia on the 8th. He stressed to reporters before leaving Ankara that Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria are important for both Balkan and European security, but the media have also noted that Albania and Macedonia have problems with Turkey's traditional rival, Greece. The new nationalist PASOK government has most recently threatened to close its border with Macedonia, which would leave that country all the more dependent on its links to Serbia, formerly its largest market. Part of Cetin's mission is to promote projects to improve east-west road and rail links that would connect Istanbul, Sofia, Skopje, and Durres, thereby reducing the importance for the countries in question of their links to Serbia and Greece. In Tirana, Cetin also promised to help integrate Albania into NATO, and in Skopje he said he would renew Ankara's efforts in Washington on Macedonia's behalf. Turkey is a major financial backer of Albania and was the first country to recognize Macedonia, both of which were part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries until the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. In Sofia he will attend a meeting of 11-foreign ministers from the Black Sea region on 9 December. -Patrick Moore POLISH NATIONAL BANK WARNS GOVERNMENT. Meeting with business representatives in Warsaw on 7-December, Polish National Bank (NBP) chief Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz criticized Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak for making spending pledges that are "impossible to fulfill" and cautioned the government not to force increases in the money supply. To keep inflation at the planned level of 23% in 1994, she said, the NBP can finance no more than 30-trillion zloty ($1.5 billion) of the budget deficit. "If the government, which has a majority in the Sejm, imposes [on the bank] an amount that is five trillion higher, inflation will be four per cent higher," she warned. In case the government succeeds in increasing the money supply, she added, the NBP will counter by raising interest rates, a move that would hamper inflation but also dampen growth. Gronkiewicz-Waltz criticized recent proposals from within the government for a more rapid devaluation of the zloty to encourage export. PAP reported on 7 December that positive trends are evident in foreign trade, despite a $1.95 billion deficit at the end of October: exports are growing, imports falling. -Louisa Vinton POLISH GOVERNMENT PLANS PERSONNEL SHAKE-UP. Public administration chief Michal Strak indicated after a cabinet session on 7 December that the Pawlak government plans to scuttle the administrative reform program drafted by ousted Premier Hanna Suchocka, PAP reports. Suchocka aimed to streamline the state bureaucracy, decentralize the administration, and build an apolitical cadre of civil servants in order to prevent personnel upheaval with every change of government. Strak said the new government intends to "tidy up" rather than reform the state administration. He also indicated that the governing coalition intends to replace the government's representatives in more than a dozen voivodships and install figures loyal to the new governing coalition. Only 10 of 49-voivodships are certain to be exempt from personnel changes, he said. Local government officials meeting in Warsaw on 7 December expressed fears that the new government is restoring an over-centralized administrative system. -Louisa Vinton POLAND REJECTS RUSSIA'S QUALMS ON NATO. At a press conference on 7 December, Deputy Defense Minister Jerzy Milewski dismissed Russia's objections to eventual Polish membership in NATO, PAP reports. Milewski, who also heads President Lech Walesa's National Security Office, said that NATO membership remains one of Poland's chief strategic goals for the 1990s. Poland will not alter its security policy "one bit" in reaction to Russian statements criticizing the proposed expansion of NATO. Russian fears of Polish NATO membership are groundless, he said, because Russia is a country "threatened by no one." -Louisa Vinton CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES 1994 BUDGET. On 7-December parliament approved the country's budget for 1994. Of the 200 deputies, 111-deputies voted for and 52 against the budget; the rest were either absent or abstained. All deputies of the government coalition parties as well as all deputies of the Liberal National Social Party voted in favor of the budget; all deputies representing the opposition parties voted against the measure. CTK reports that the budget is balanced, with both the revenues and expenditures set at 381 billion koruny. The Czech army will receive 27 billion koruny in 1994; 42 billion koruny will be spent on education and 139 billion koruny on social welfare and unemployment benefits. Also on the 7th, the parliament voted to increase salaries of government members, parliament deputies, judges, state attorneys, and public notaries by 24%, despite the fact that the government had imposed strict wage controls on most companies in June. The salary of the prime minister will increase from 31,000 koruny to 38,500 koruny a month. -Jiri Pehe CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS WIN LOCAL SLOVAK BY-ELECTIONS. On 7 December the Slovak Electoral Commission announced the results of local government by-elections held in 52 villages and 27 districts on 4-December. The turnout was relatively low, with 39.25% of the eligible voters casting their ballots. A total of 41 mayors and 48 deputies were elected. The Christian Democratic Movement won 10 mayoral posts, compared with 9 for the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, 5 for the Party of the Democratic Left, 2 each for the Slovak National Party and the Movement of Farmers, 1 each for the Coexistence Movement and the Christian Social Union, and 11 for non-party and independent candidates. In the elections of deputies, the CDM won 19 posts; the MDS 12; the PDL 5; Coexistence and the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement 4 each; the Democratic Party and the Romany Civic Initiative 1 each; and independent candidates 2. -Sharon Fisher LEXA CHARGED WITH DEFAMATION OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT. On 7 December a public prosecutor charged Privatization State Secretary Ivan Lexa with defamation of the Slovak Republic and its president, Michael Kovac, TASR reports. The charges result from Lexa's recent newspaper interviews, along with statements made at a cabinet press conference, in which he questioned Kovac's morals, competence and work methods, and alleged that "circles close to Kovac" were involved in suspicious business practices. Lexa's attacks on Kovac came after the latter refused to appoint him as privatization minister in November. If found guilty of slander, Lexa could be sentenced to a two-year jail term. -Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS NEW DEFENSE LAW. The Hungarian National Assembly adopted by an overwhelming majority (with only one vote against and one abstention) a new defense law, and amended the constitution to bring it in accordance with the law's provisions, MTI and Radio Budapest report. Under the law, the government will be able to mobilize the armed forces against air raids, airspace violations and other foreign intrusions without asking for prior approval from the president of the republic or imposing a state of emergency. This provision comes in response to the violation of Hungarian airspace in the past by the warring parties in former Yugoslavia. The law stipulates that it is the task of the government to supervise the armed forces directly or through the minister of defense and to define the basic principles of national defense. The law keeps military service at 12-months but reduces the length of civilian service from 22 to 18 months. Persons will be able to postpone military service if only they have to provide for their family; those whose siblings died during military service will not be drafted. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of suicides among draftees. -Edith Oltay ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SUBMITS NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION. On 7 December Romania's opposition parties submitted to parliament a no-confidence motion against Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu's left-wing minority government. The motion, which is backed by the Democratic Convention of Romania, an alliance of the country's main centrist forces, and by the Democratic Party-National Salvation Front, focuses on economic hardship and chaos in Romania. It accuses the cabinet of having caused a collapse of economic reform, poverty and a loss of credibility among the public. The Romanian opposition has tried and failed with three no-confidence motions this year. According to Radio Bucharest, dissatisfaction with the cabinet's policies is also growing among the traditional parliamentary allies of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, including the Socialist Labor Party (the re-born communist party), and the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity. The SLP reportedly circulated its own motion urging the government to announce anti-crisis measures within two weeks to shield the nation from hardship. -Dan Ionescu BULGARIAN-EC TRADE ACCORD APPROVED. On 7-December the European Community finally approved an interim accord regulating bilateral trade with Bulgaria until ratification of an EC association agreement signed in March, BTA and Reuters report. The deal was originally to be enforced on 1 June, but internal EC differences over voting rules blocked its approval for over 6 months. Since it includes provisions on how EC Commission decisions on anti-dumping cases can be overturned, the temporary accord came to be regarded as a precedent that needed careful consideration. The Bulgarian foreign ministry, which had repeatedly deplored the delay, welcomed the decision, noting that it will allow Bulgaria to reactivate its trade with Western Europe. A foreign ministry official said that the accord, which offers Bulgarian exports preferential access to the EC's internal market, will be enforced as from 1 January. -Kjell Engelbrekt ZHELEV CONCLUDES ISRAEL VISIT. BTA reports that President Zhelyu Zhelev on 8-December returned from a three-day official visit to Israel. During this first ever visit by a Bulgarian head of state, Zhelev held talks with his counterpart Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, representatives of the parliamentary parties, as well as with Palestinian leaders. On 6 December he addressed the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, where he spoke about the strong bilateral ties existing through the some 50,000 Bulgarian-born Jews living in Israel. Zhelev also signed accords on mutual protection of investments, easing of visa regulations, and a memorandum confirming that both countries intend to prepare further agreements on cooperation in agriculture, tourism, and elimination of double taxation. Similar to other communist states, Bulgaria severed relations with Israel following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and did not restore them until 1990. -Kjell Engelbrekt ESTONIAN-TURKISH AGREEMENT SIGNED. On 7-December in Ankara Estonian and Turkish Presidents Lennart Meri and Suleyman Demirel signed a "friendship and cooperation" agreement, similar to one signed in 1924, Western agencies report. Meri, accompanied by armed forces commander Maj. Gen. Aleksander Einseln, Economy Minister Toomas Sildmae, and other officials and businessmen, had visited Jordan on 2-5-December where he held talks with King Hussein. On 5-7 December the delegation was in Kuwait at the invitation of Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber as-Sabah. The aim of the visit to the three countries was to establish closer economic and cultural ties as well as discussing political and security issues. Meri will return to Estonia on 8 December. -Saulius Girnius FINNISH PRIME MINISTER VISITS LITHUANIA. On 7 December Esko Aho traveled to Vilnius for a one-day visit, Radio Lithuania reports. Talks with his counterpart Adolfas Slezevicius focused on widening economic, political, and cultural cooperation between the two states as well as on regional security and the Via Baltica highway project. Finland's commercial and economic ties with Latvia and Estonia are significantly larger than with Lithuania. Aho also met President Algirdas Brazauskas and extended him an official invitation from President Mauno Koivisto to visit Finland in the near future. -Saulius Girnius LATVIA TO OFFER JUDGES LIFELONG APPOINTMENTS. The Latvian Saeima (parliament) decided to grant the country's judges lifelong appointments starting next year, BNS reported on 7 December. Legal Committee Head Aivars Endzins noted that there is an acute shortage of judges: positions for 20 regional court judges, 38 administrative judges, and 3 Supreme Court judges are now vacant. The staff deficit will increase by 54 judges after the creation of the district court system next year. -Saulius Girnius MIGRATION TO AND FROM LITHUANIA. In January-August 1993 13,500 people emigrated from Lithuania while 2,200 immigrated to settle as permanent residents, Baltfax reported on 6 December. The bulk of the emigrants consisted of Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians, mostly over 40 and pensioners. The emigrants also included 550 ethnic Lithuanians, about 30% of whom migrated to the West. About 800-of the immigrants were ethnic Lithuanians from Siberia, North Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus and about the same number were from mixed families of descendants of exiled Lithuanians and locals. In 1992 about 106,900 people emigrated from and 84,700 immigrated to Lithuania resulting in a population decrease of about 22,200. -Saulius Girnius BEZKOROVAINY ON UKRAINE'S NAVY. The commander of the Ukrainian navy, Vice-Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy, said in an interview that progress has been made in establishing the national navy, Ukrainian television reported on 6 December. Unlike other branches of the armed forces, the navy had to be built up from almost nothing. Today, almost twenty naval units are functioning. The construction of vessels continues and the navy now has six new ships. -Ustina Markus [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Roman Solchanyk and Dan Ionescu 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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