Fear of life in one form or another is the great thing to exorcise. - William James
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 237, 13 December 1993







RUSSIA



PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Official overall
preliminary results had been promised by 1100 hrs, Moscow time
on 13-December. However, by 1400 hrs, these had not been made
public. Nikolai Medvedev, President Boris Yeltsin's assistant
in charge of Russia's territories, told Reuters that the Liberal
Democratic Party had gained 26% of the vote, compared with 13%
for the Communists, and 12% for Russia's Choice in 6 large regions.
Reformist parties had won only 23% of the vote in these regions,
compared with 47% for opposition parties. The regions were Magadan,
Sakhalin, Amur, Tomsk, Kursk, and Smolensk. Keith Bush

PRELIMINARY RESULTS IN MOSCOW. With over half the votes cast
in Moscow's central constituency, the results show a lead for
the Russia's Choice bloc, with 37%. Its nearest rival is the
Communist Party with 12.6%, closely followed by the Yavlinsky-Boldyrev-Lukin
bloc with 11.7%. In fourth place is Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic
Party with 10.6%, and the Movement for Democratic Reforms has
gained 7%. Other blocs appear to have failed to overcome the
5% hurdle needed to gain seats in the legislature. Almost 70%
of voters supported the constitution and 30% voted against in
this constituency, according to Interfax on 13 December. -Wendy
Slater

CONSTITUTION APPROVED BY A NARROW MAJORITY. According to the
preliminary results released by CNN, news agencies and Russian
Television's "Vesti" newscast, 51 % of those eligible to vote
went to the polls to take part in the referendum on the new Russian
constitution. The electoral commission later reported that 52%
of those who voted had approved. Such a result, if confirmed,
could provoke the new parliament to question the legitimacy of
the new constitution. The Russian Law on the Referendum, adopted
in December 1990 and signed by Boris Yeltsin in his capacity
at that time of chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, required
no less then 50 % of all eligible voters + one vote to approve
any constitutional question. Yeltsin has since changed this rule
by a decree which states that a simple majority of "yes" votes
would be enough to approve the new constitution. It might be
noted that Zhirinovsky has spoken out in support of the new constitution.
-Julia Wishnevsky

TELEVISION COVERAGE OF ELECTIONS. Russian Television broadcast
all night on 12-13 December, featuring newscasts every hour and
interviews with prominent Russian politicians and cultural figures.
Ostankino TV had promised to broadcast a show entitled "The New
Political Year" giving the elections results of all 11 time zones
of the Russian Federation immediately when they became available
to the Central Election Commission. It was also announced that
the show would last from 2300 hrs on 12 December until 0600 hrs
the following morning. In the event, it stopped at around 0330
hrs on Monday morning. The official explanation was that the
computer had been infected with a virus and was unable to supply
the results. Some observers felt that the program presenters
had been dismayed by the gains registered by Zhirinovsky's party.
-Julia Wishnevsky

RUSSIA'S CHOICE CRITICIZES ZHIRINOVSKY. On 10 December, on the
eve of the elections, Russia's Choice issued a statement saying
ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky had become a real
threat to Russia's existence, Russian Television reported. A
statement said the time had passed when Zhirinovsky could be
seen as a "harmless clown." The statement came after Zhirinovksy's
last pre-election TV appearance on 9-December, in which he called
for harsh measures to eliminate criminal elements in Russia and
said former Soviet republics could be returned to Moscow's influence
by way of economic sanctions. After Zhirinovsky had done astonishingly
well in the elections, Western agencies quoted the leader of
Russia's Choice, Egor Gaidar, as saying "we are prepared to cooperate
with all constructive forces, but it is not likely that we shall
cooperate with fascists." -Vera Tolz

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN ON COOPERATION WITH NATIONALISTS, COMMUNISTS.
President Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, said he "could
not rule out" government cooperation with the Communist Party
and Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal-Democratic Party. Reuters
and Interfax quoted him as saying on 13 December that such cooperation
would be possible if members of those parties avoided demagoguery
and regarded themselves as serious politicians. Kostikov added
that if the communists were to evolve into social democrats,
they could become "serious partners" of the government and president.
Vera Tolz

COMMUNISTS ARE NOT SURE OF ALLIANCE WITH NATIONALISTS. Even the
Russian Communist Party expressed concern over the reported victory
of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's LDP in a number of Russia's regions.
In an interview with the Russian Information Agency on 13-December,
the leader of the Communists, Gennadii Zyuganov, played down
the idea of a nationalist-communist alliance in the new parliament,
saying "we have no common ground with those who seek Russia's
expansion to the boundaries of the former Soviet Union. We are
realists in our policies." Vera Tolz

ZHIRINOVSKY INSPIRED BY HIS VICTORY. Talking to reporters after
the preliminary results of the elections had been announced,
Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that his party would attempt to name
its own prime minister and would seek to oust Egor Gaidar, Andrei
Kozyrev, Sergei Shakhrai, and Anatolii Chubais, The Washington
Post and Interfax reported on 13-December. In fact, according
to the new constitution, which was approved on 12-December, it
is up to the president to appoint a prime minister. The president
can also dissolve the parliament if it repeatedly rejects his
choice for prime minister. Vera Tolz and Elizabeth Teague

DEMOCRATS BLAME EACH OTHER FOR POOR SHOWING. As the first election
results showed the Liberal Democrats in a strong position, Gennadii
Burbulis turned on the Russian president, whose closest aide
Burbulis once was. Burbulis was reported by Western agencies
as saying Yeltsin made "a serious mistake" by standing aloof
from the election campaign. He said Yeltsin had grown "too fond"
of his role as charismatic leader. Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii
Chubais told ITAR-TASS that the whole democratic camp was to
blame since, by refusing to cooperate with one another, reformist
parties had split the vote. Elizabeth Teague

ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUM BOYCOTTED IN TATARSTAN. Only 13.8 percent
of the electorate turned out to vote in Tatarstan where nationalist
parties had called for a boycott and President Mintimer Shaimiev
had spoken strongly against the draft constitution, ITAR-TASS
reported on 13 December citing preliminary figures from the president's
administration. In none of the republic's five constituencies
for the State Duma did the turnout reach the 25 percent necessary
to validate the elections, let alone the referendum. In 15 of
the 21-republics, however, the turnout was over 50 percent. In
Komi, Khakassia, Udmurtia, and Ingushetia the turnout ranged
from 46 to 42 percent, that is less than required to validate
the referendum on the constitution. In Chechnya the elections
were not held at all. In Bashkortostan the speaker Murtaza Rakhimov,
who had also strongly criticized the draft constitution, was
elected president with about 66 percent of the votes. -Ann Sheehy


HIGHER SOCIAL BENEFITS DECREED. One day before the general elections,
on 11-December, President Yeltsin signed a decree on higher transfer
payments for families with children, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported.
Effective 1 January, the monthly allowance will be equal to 70%
of the minimum wage for children under 6 and 60% for children
between 6-and 16. These rates will be 50% higher for children
of single mothers and of men on compulsory military service.
A monthly allowance equal to the minimum wage will be payable
to working and studying mothers of children under 18-months of
age. First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar announced that further
welfare increases will be decreed soon to cover pensions and
housing subsidies. He denied on Ostankino TV that the substance
or the timing had anything to do with the elections. The decrees
must be confirmed by the forthcoming federal assembly. -Keith
Bush

FURTHER SUBSIDY FOR THE AGRO-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. President Yeltsin
has ordered First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets to allocate
140 billion rubles in cheap credits for the agricultural machine-building
industry, Interfax reported on 10 December. The credit will bear
an annual interest rate of 25%, compared with the current discount
rate of 210%. Output in this branch has reportedly dropped by
35% so far this year, owing mainly to arrears in payments. -Keith
Bush

FORGERY ALLEGED IN RUTSKOI AFFAIR. The 9-December issue of "Vesti"
cited the office of the Moscow Prosecutor as stating that Andrei
Makarov, former head of a presidential anti-corruption team,
had persistently ignored its summons to attend the investigation
of corruption among Russia's highest officials. At a news conference
held on 18 August 1993 Makarov had displayed the copy of a Swiss
bank account allegedly bearing the signature of Vice-President
Aleksandr Rutskoi and purportedly incriminating him of financial
skulduggery. Komsomolskaya pravda on 3-December and Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 4 December revealed that the Swiss authorities have
provided the Moscow investigators with the original of the bank
account in question. This is claimed to prove that Rutskoi's
signature, displayed by Makarov at the news conference, was a
forgery. Julia Wishnevsky

RUSSIAN-ITALIAN AGREEMENT ON CREDITS AND GAS DELIVERIES. According
to Interfax of 9 December, a memorandum of understanding was
signed in Rome on 6 December between Gasprom and the ENI consortium.
This is said to provide for Italian credits amounting to $1.66
billion to finance the supply of gas equipment and pipelines
in return for an increase in annual Russian gas deliveries to
Italy of 5.5 billion cubic meters a year through the year 2007
beyond the current annual supply of about 15.3 billion cubic
meters. Italy will then become Russia's principal customer for
natural gas. Keith Bush

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



GORE VISIT TO KYRGYZSTAN, KAZAKHSTAN. US Vice President Al Gore
had to change the order of stops on his trip to Central Asia,
Western and Russian news agencies reported on 12-December. Fog
at Almaty prevented the landing of Gore's plane in the Kazakhstani
capital, and the party was diverted to Bishkek a day ahead of
schedule. Gore was met at the airport by Kyrgyz President Askar
Akaev, who asked for US technical and educational assistance.
In Almaty, Gore was to sign an agreement on providing US help
in the destruction of nuclear weaponry. -Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER DEAD. Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef
Antall (61) died in a Budapest hospital on 12 December as a result
of complications following his operation for non-Hodgkin-lymphoma
in Cologne this October, Hungarian and foreign media report.
The current government's mandate ended with Antall's death. President
Arpad Goncz commissioned Interior Minister Peter Boross, who
had substituted for Antall during his illness, to continue operating
an interim government until parliament gives a new government
its mandate. The interim government has reduced powers and cannot
issue decrees or sign agreements. Under the constitution, if
parliament fails to appoint a new government within 40 days,
elections must be called at a date set by the president of the
republic. President Goncz will meet on 13 December with the chairmen
of the parliamentary parties to discuss the crisis situation.
Goncz will nominate a new prime minister who must be approved
by a majority in the parliament. Antall's official replacement
in the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum (HDF) during his illness
was Executive Chairman Sandor Lezsak. Lezsak called for a meeting
of HDF leaders on 13 December to select a prime minister candidate.
Antall's replacement as HDF chairman will not be discussed until
February next year. -Judith Pataki

BOSNIA UPDATE. Western media report on 13 December that Serb
forces attacked two UN convoys as they attempted to bring humanitarian
aid to the Muslim enclave of Tuzla, situated in northeastern
Bosnia. According to accounts of the incident, no injuries or
fatalities were reported. In other developments, Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic has threatened to annihilate Muslim forces
should they attack Serb-held positions around Sarajevo. According
to Tanjug, Karadzic has vowed to bring about the "complete military
defeat" of Muslim troops should they move against Serb positions.
Meanwhile, on 11 December Western agencies reported that European
Community foreign ministers are hoping to re-open peace talks
with representatives of the "three warring Bosnian factions."
On 11 December Reuters reports that EC officials have extended
an invitation to leaders in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina
to resume talks with EC foreign ministers on 22 December. -Stan
Markotich

HAVEL CRITICIZES OWEN PLAN. In his regular weekly address on
Czech Radio on 12-December, Czech President Vaclav Havel criticized
plans to create a "Muslim mini state" in Bosnia. The plan was
explained to Havel by international peace negotiator Lord Owen
during his visit to Prague on 8 December. Owen said that the
division of Bosnia-Herzegovina into three ethnic republics "appears
to be definite." In his radio address, Havel said that he disagrees
with Lord Owen, arguing that the creation of a Muslim mini state
is a solution "without a future." According to Havel, such a
solution would amount to the confirmation of the idea of the
state based on ethnicity rather than on "the fundamental European
values of civil society." Should the principle of civil society
be sacrificed to the idea of ethnic state, "one of the basic
principles on which a united Europe should be based will be undermined."
Havel argued that the creation of three nationalistic ethnic
states in Bosnia will not solve the problem of minorities, as
is often argued, but will exacerbate it. -Jiri Pehe

POLLING IN THE SELF-PROCLAIMED REPUBLIC OF SERBIAN KRAJINA. According
to international media, Serbian voters went to the polls in the
self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) on 12-December.
The RSK was formed in 1991 out of Croatian territory when rebel
Serbs, utterly opposed to the notion of Croatian independence,
occupied roughly a third of Croatia's territory. According to
Politika of 12-December, about 317, 000 voters will be eligible
to elect representatives to an 84-member parliament as well as
a president. AFP quotes Milan Babic, a presidential candidate,
as remarking that "These are not regular elections but a referendum
on sovereignty." Many, if not all the candidates running in the
election, are on record as being opposed to the idea of having
the RSK remain a part of Croatia and are seeking international
recognition for an independent RSK. In Zagreb, where the elections
have been denounced as illegal, the lands that make up Krajina
are seen as an integral part of an independent Croatia and efforts
to have the RSK recognized by the international community are
viewed as the first step in a process which could ultimately
unite the RSK with the rump Yugoslavia. The RSK is not recognized
by the international community and is currently under UN protection.
Election results are not expected for at least several days.
-Stan Markotich

4,000 CROATS RESETTLED FROM KOSOVO TO WESTERN SLAVONIA. The Croatian
Roman Catholic Church's St. Isodore Foundation has settled 4,000
Croats from the community of Letnice in the Serbian province
of Kosovo to empty Serbian houses in Western Slavonia in the
Republic of Croatia, Globus reported on 3 December. The paper
says that the move started about one year ago and was launched
by President Franjo Tudman and Professor Ivan Aralic. About 500
people are left in Letnice and almost all are elderly. The Croats
from Kosovo allegedly speak the "Croatian language with a Macedonian
dialect." Globus said that some of the old people now in Slavonia
have trouble understanding standard Croatian, and some have consequently
been pejoratively dubbed "Siptari", which means Albanians. So
far just 837 of the 4,000 have received the basic residency papers
necessary to get Croatian citizenship. -Fabian Schmidt

CZECH COALITION PARTY ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN. The congress of the
Christian Democratic Party-one of the four Czech government coalition
parties-elected Ivan Pilip as new chairman of the party. Before
his election, Pilip, the deputy minister of education, was the
chairman of the CDP Political Council. He replaces Vaclav Benda,
a former dissident and the founder of the party. Benda was elected
a vice-chairman of the party. -Jiri Pehe

CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK BUDGET PROPOSAL. Various groups have
criticized the 1994 budget proposal, which was approved by the
Slovak cabinet on 2 December. The budget, which plans for expenditures
of 140 billion koruny and a deficit of 14-billion koruny (assuming
annual inflation of 12%, maximum unemployment of 17% and 0% growth
in GNP), plans for cuts in all ministries except defense. In
an 11 December press conference Party of the Democratic Left
Chairman Peter Weiss said his party will not support the budget
proposal. On 9 December the proposal was rejected by the parliamentary
committee on health and social affairs, while the agricultural
committee rejected the budget on 10 December. Both committees
complained that budget allocations were insufficient. On 9 December
the Conference of University Rectors asked parliamentary deputies
not to pass the budget proposal, which provides for expenditures
on education and science which are only 63.7% of those in 1992.
Meanwhile, other groups questioned Slovakia's ability to meet
the budget's macroeconomic assumptions. On 9-December the Slovak
Confederation of Trade Unions called the 12% inflation rate "unrealistic,"
while Rudolf Filkus, deputy chairman of the opposition Alliance
of Democrats, questioned Slovakia's ability to reach zero GNP
growth, in light of the 5% drop expected in 1993, TASR reports.
-Sharon Fisher

MECIAR ON ECONOMY, DECENTRALIZATION. In a 10 December meeting
with citizens in the Slovak town of Trebisov, Premier Vladimir
Meciar said his government is now preparing a 10% surtax on imported
goods on the condition that domestic producers will not increase
prices, TASR reports. He denied rumors that the Slovak koruna
will soon be devalued by 20%, saying the currency is stable.
He also said that next year the state administration will be
reorganized into eight new territorial divisions with centers
in Kosice, Presov, Zilina, Banska Bystrica, Nitra, Trnava, Trencin
and Bratislava; each will have a regional parliament and government.
Meciar rejected the creation of regions on ethnic principles,
which he described as "nonfunctional." -Sharon Fisher

POLISH BROADCASTING CONTROVERSY CONTINUES. The three members
of the National Broadcasting Council appointed by President Lech
Walesa told a press conference on 9-December that they will not
resign, despite the president's abrupt "withdrawal of support"
for them the previous day. The other six members, appointed by
the Sejm and Senate, expressed their solidarity with the three
presidential appointees. Council chairman Marek Markiewicz disputed
Walesa's claim that the council had failed to consult him on
important decisions. He said the council had requested meetings
with the president more than a dozen times, but these requests
were rejected or ignored. Markiewicz said the council will continue
working as normal and await a formal assessment of its performance
in the form stipulated by law. The broadcasting law requires
the council to submit an annual report to the Sejm, Senate, and
president; if the Sejm and Senate reject it, the president can
chose to dissolve the council. -Louisa Vinton

POLISH GOVERNMENT FACES REVOLT BY OWN DEPUTIES. The special Sejm
commission set up to consider the legislation comprising the
"pact on state firms" voted unanimously on 10 December to abolish
the tax on excess wages (popiwek) as of 1 January 1994. The tax,
long vilified by unionists, is designed to fight inflation and
prevent wage-driven bankruptcies by limiting wage increases in
excess of inflation that are not backed up by higher profits.
The commission's decision was made over vehement objections from
the government, which has proposed the gradual replacement of
the tax beginning in April 1994. Finance Minister Marek Borowski
warned in vain that the sudden abolition of the popiwek could
cause inflation to spiral out of control. He vowed to block passage
of the bill in the Sejm. Gazeta Wyborcza quoted a deputy finance
minister in the Suchocka government as commenting that she had
"not believed that the destruction of the economy would take
place so quickly." -Louisa Vinton

POLISH SEJM VOTES PENSION, WAGE INCREASES. The Sejm voted on
10 December to increase monthly wages for teachers, health care
workers, and other public sector employees by an average of 340,000
zloty ($18) in January, with a second, comparable increase scheduled
for June 1994. Public sector wages are to keep pace with the
rate of increase in industrial wages and outpace inflation by
2%, the Sejm ruled. The Sejm also voted to increase minimum pensions
from 35 to 39% of the average wage; 1.2 million pensioners will
benefit from the hike, at a cost to the budget of 5.8-trillion
zloty ($290 million). A promised increase in the indexing rate
for remaining pensions-from 91% to 93% of the average wage-was
postponed until at least September 1994. Trade unionists from
the ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) pressed unsuccessfully
for even higher increases, underlining the split between "liberals"
and "socialists" that has opened in the SLD caucus since the
new government took power. -Louisa Vinton

REACTIONS TO SENTENCING OF ILIASCU. Nikolai Medvedev of the Russian
president's administration, who has been acting as mediator in
talks between Kishinev and the self-styled Dniester republic,
told Interfax on 12 December that Russia would demand that Ilie
Iliascu, sentenced to be shot by a Tiraspol court on 9 December,
be handed over to the Moldovan authorities. The Russian human
rights organization Memorial appealed to the Transdniestrian
authorities not to carry out the sentence which it described
as a "sanction to a political assignation," Interfax reported
on 11 December. -Ann Sheehy

ROMANIANS PROTEST SENTENCES OF SIX MOLDOVANS. A wave of protests
against the sentencing of six ethnic Romanians in Moldova's separatist
Dniestr region has been sweeping Romania since 9-December. The
parliament, President Ion Iliescu, and the government protested
and appealed to international organizations and to world leaders
to stop the carrying out of the sentences. Parties and trade
unions have also voiced protests. The Fratia trade union confederation
asked labor organizations to stop producing goods for Russian
markets and not to handle freight bound for Russia. There are
ongoing demonstrations in front of the Russian embassy in Bucharest.
In a statement released to the press, the Russian embassy said
the demonstrations were unjustified, since the Russian authorities
have done all they could to influence authorities in the would
be Dniester republic and that efforts in this sense are continuing.
The embassy's statement was indirectly rebuked by presidential
spokesman Train Chebeleu, who said on 10 December that only the
Russian "political and military authorities, which control the
regime of the so-called Moldovan Dniestr Republic," bear responsibility,
as do the Russian troops in the region. On 11 December the Romanian
ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and told that the demonstrations outside the embassy
in Bucharest posed a threat to Russian diplomats and their families.
Moscow expected "urgent and efficient measures" to ensure the
safety of the Russian personnel in Bucharest. In a communique
released on 12 December, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
said all necessary measures have been taken to ensure the security
of the Russian embassy personnel. -Michael Shafir

PRESIDENT ILIESCU ATTACKS TRADE UNIONS. In a statement released
on 10 December by presidential spokesman Train Chebeleu, President
Ion Iliescu harshly criticized the recent anti-government protest
demonstrations organized by the trade unions. The president said
the protests had a pronounced political character, having called
for the dismissal of the government, "inciting to anarchy, disorder
and a state of conflict." He also rejected any parallel between
the mood of the population before Ceausescu's overthrow and the
present situation when, he said, protests can be democratically
expressed. In response, the Alfa trade union confederation called
the presidential statement "gratuitous" and said that in a genuine
state ruled by the rule of the law nobody is entitled to "give
indications as to how protests are to be publicly expressed."
-Michael Shafir

HOMELAND UNION CONGRESS IN LITHUANIA. On 11-12 December the Homeland
Union (Conservatives of Lithuania) held its first Congress, the
RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis
and board chairman Gediminas Vagnorius, who had been elected
at the Homeland Union's founding meeting on 1 May, retained their
posts. The Congress approved a party program that will be issued
after the board makes some modifications that were recommended
and passed a number of resolutions. The program calls for the
moral rebirth of Lithuania, stressing the role of private initiative,
and criticizes the current leadership for trying to form too
close relations with Russia. The union currently has about 12,000
members and is the largest right-of-center party in Lithuania.
-Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA ADOPTS INCOME TAX LAW. On 8 December the Estonian parliament
by a vote of 51 to 12 with 4 abstentions passed an income tax
law for 1994, BNS reported on 9 December. The income tax rate
of 26% for both individuals and corporate bodies is the lowest
in Central and Western Europe. The first 3,600 kroons (450 DM)
is exempt from taxation. The income tax rate for non-residents
from services, royalties, and patents gained in Estonia is 15%,
while the tax on interest earned in Estonia is 10%. -Saulius
Girnius

HIGH NOVEMBER INFLATION IN LATVIA. The State Committee for Statistics
announced that inflation in November was 8.8%, BNS reported on
10 December. This is more than double the 3.8% rate in October
and exceeds the previous monthly high in 1993 of 4.2% in January.
Prices for food increased 11.6%, for services and hygiene goods
- 9%, for education and recreation-8.1%, for clothes and footwear-7.6%,
and for utilities-5.3%. -Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Keith Bush and Edith Oltay











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