|A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace|
No. 243, 21 December 1993
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. CIS CONFUSION OVER SS-24 DISMANTLING PLANS. Western newspapers and press agencies, basing their stories on a 20 December report by the Ukrainian UNIAN press agency, indicate that Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Shmarov has announced that Ukraine will dismantle 20-of its 46 SS-24 missiles by the end of 1993. According to the original UNIAN report, Shmarov stated that warheads had already been removed from 17 SS-24s. However, Shmarov's figures coincide almost exactly with previously announced reductions in the Ukrainian SS-19 force, according to which at least 10 SS-19s have been removed from alert, with 20 to be deactivated by the end of the year. Either there are two dismantling plans underway or Shmarov confused the two missiles and only the SS-19s that are being dismantled.--John Lepingwell UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE COMMENTS. Reports from Kiev received by the RFE/RL Research Institute indicate that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense was taken by surprise by Shmarov's statement and on 21 December it unofficially commented that it could not confirm Shmarov's statement. Shmarov is reportedly travelling to Moscow on 21-December to conduct further negotiations. The Ukrainian parliament has reportedly decided to discuss the matter in the afternoon of 21 December, amid rumors that a major political scandal is developing. -John Lepingwell DETAILS ON URANIUM NEGOTIATIONS. Some details have emerged on a potential breakthrough reached at Ukrainian-Russian-US negotiations concerning compensation for the tactical nuclear weapons removed from Ukraine in 1992. According to Shmarov's 20-December comments to UNIAN, Ukraine proposed applying the estimated value of the uranium from the tactical weapons against its debt to Russia for gas and oil. Since the value of the uranium could be well over a billion dollars, this could cancel much or all of Ukraine's estimated $2.5 billion debt. The deal was referred to experts for further discussion. If the report is correct, Russia may have made a crucial concession by agreeing to discuss tactical nuclear weapons at all. Shmarov also claimed that they discussed paying Ukraine for the uranium extracted from strategic weapons, by providing Ukraine with nuclear reactor fuel for a five year period. -John Lepingwell THOUSANDS ATTEND FUNERAL OF BLACK SEA FLEET OFFICER. Thousands of naval servicemen and residents of Crimea attended the funeral of the head of the Black Sea Fleet's press service, Captain Andrei Lazebnikov, on 20 December, ITAR-TASS reported. Lazebnikov was gunned down in front of his house on 15 December by unknown assailants. According to Interfax, the first deputy commander of the Russian navy, Admiral Igor Kasatonov, sent a message to the Crimean parliamentary chairman, Mykola Bahrov, and Ukraine's presidential envoy in Sevastopol, Ivan Ermakov, in which he linked attacks on Russian naval officers with the ongoing dispute over the Black Sea Fleet. Lazebnikov is the third Black Sea Fleet officer to be murdered in Sevastopol in the past two months. -Ustina Markus ADAMISHIN ON UKRAINE, ELECTIONS. First Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Anatolii Adamishin said in an interview with Interfax on 17 December that Russia's efforts to maintain good relations with Ukraine require "meticulous work" because of the nuclear disarmament problem. Adamishin said it would be "inadmissible" to use the strong showing of the ultra-right in Russia's recent elections to justify fear of an aggressive Russian foreign policy. He said such thinking could be used in Ukraine to rationalize its maintenance of nuclear weapons. -Suzanne Crow CIS INTERSTATE BANK FOUNDED. The CIS Interstate Bank, which is intended to facilitate multilateral clearing of CIS interstate trade transactions, has been officially established with commitments on the part of the ten CIS member states to contribute 5 billion rubles as starting capital, according to Russian news agencies on 17 and 18 December. Contributions are based on the individual members' share in their total "foreign trade turnover" in 1990. Thus, Russia will be contributing 50% of the capital, Ukraine 20.7%, Belarus 8.4%, Kazakhstan 6.1%, Uzbekistan 5.5., Moldova 2.9%, Armenia 1.8%, Tajikistan 1.6%, Kyrgyzstan 1.5% and Turkmenistan 1.5%. Russian Central Bank head Viktor Gerashchenko has been elected chairman of the new bank's board and his former deputy at the Russian Central Bank, Valerii Savanin, became the bank's president. -Erik Whitlock CIS STATES SEEK GATT MEMBERSHIP. Three CIS states, Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia, together with Lithuania, have applied to join the GATT world trade group, AFP reported on 17 December. A meeting of the GATT Council formally accepted their applications and decided to set up working groups as the first step towards membership. -Bohdan Nahaylo RUSSIA LATEST ELECTORAL FIGURES. According to the latest figures on the results of the parliamentary elections, released by ITAR-TASS on 20 December on the basis of information received from government sources, Russia's Choice will become the strongest faction in the State Duma with 103 seats (22.8%). The Liberal-Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky will get 66 seats (14.6%), the Communists 62 seats (13.7%), the Agrarian Party 49 seats (10.8%). The Party of Russian Unity and Concord of Sergei Shakhrai is expected, according to these latest results, to outnumber the bloc of Grigorii Yavlinsky. Shakhrai's party has gained 29 seats (6.4%), Yavlinsky's bloc only 28 seats (6.2%). The so-called independent deputies will receive 70 seats (15.5%). -Alexander Rahr PERSONNEL CHANGES IN EXECUTIVE EXPECTED. Presidential aide Yurii Baturin told ITAR-TASS on 20-December that Yeltsin plans to reshuffle his team because he was disturbed by the political ambitions and lack of professionalism of his staff members and has decided to replace bureaucrats with academics from the presidential advisory council. -Alexander Rahr FEDOROV: POLICY SHIFT COULD MEAN RESIGNATION. Finance Minister Boris Fedorov in an interview published by Izvestiya on 20 December said that a change in Russian economic policy could lead members of government associated with "Russia's Choice" to resign. "If . . . the 'Ukrainization' of our economy begins, why should we bear responsibility?" he asked rhetorically. Otherwise, Fedorov spoke quite positively about the year's economic and political events. In addition to the fact that the election results will mean more reformers in the new parliament than in the old, he cited the appreciation of the ruble against the dollar and the progress made in further liberalizing markets in Russia. -Erik Whitlock BABURIN COMMENTS ON ELECTIONS. The leader of the Russian All-People's Union, hard-liner Sergei Baburin, regards the parliamentary elections as the beginning of a "long process of the liberation of society from alien national interests," ITAR-TASS reported on 17-December. He said the new parliament should review the principles of the adoption of the new Constitution and decide whether the vote on the Constitution was legal. He stated that had his own nationalistic movement not been banned from participating in elections as a party bloc, the Liberal-Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky would not have performed so well. Baburin did not exclude cooperation with either Zhirinovsky's party or Egor Gaidar's Russia's Choice party in parliament. Baburin also supported Zhirinovsky's idea of a greater Russia and the concept of Russia's borders being extended to encompass those of the Soviet Union. -Alexander Rahr and Bohdan Nahaylo SPECULATION OVER PRESIDENTIAL RULE. According to a national security concept drafted by a non-government group, the American-Russian University (RAU), the internal stabilization of Russia may require the introduction of provisional presidential rule, Ostankino television reported on 17 December. The concept postulates that the main threats to Russian security in the next year will be internal ones: political extremism, economic decline and rise of unemployment. Under such circumstances, the president may temporarily restrict the activity of political parties and movements. According to an RAU expert, Academician Aleksei Podberezkin such a measure may help to stabilize Russia, which is a top national security priority Victor Yasmann CHURKIN TO BRUSSELS. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy Vitalii Churkin traveled to Brussels on 21 December for talks on a European Union plan to stop the fighting in Bosnia. Churkin will be part of a group of seven (representatives of the three warring sides, two international negotiators, and a representative of the United States) officials who are attempting to achieve agreement on a settlement for Bosnia before the New Year. Chances of achieving this agreement are considered extremely slim, and Russia has prepared its own alternative plan to replace the one that will likely fail, unnamed Russian diplomatic sources told Interfax. -Suzanne Crow ZHIRINOVSKY'S REGIONAL POLICY. The newspaper Trud reported on 16 December on a press conference by the youth wing of Zhirinovsky's party, the "Falcons," in the Western Siberian city of Perm. The Falcons want to combine Perm Oblast with neighboring Sverdlovsk Oblast and, returning to prerevolutionary usage, to rename the two regions Perm Guberniya (province). They have already selected their candidate for governor-like many of Zhirinovsky's supporters, he is young, being still at medical school. The idea of eliminating Russia's ethnically-based republics and redividing the Russian Federation into territorially-based administrative units, did not originate with Zhirinovsky, but the Perm Falcons have put their own spin on it. They want to make all Gypsies, Transcaucasians and Vietnamese leave the province. Law and order will be ensured by introducing a new criminal code and making extensive use of capital punishment by firing squad. -Elizabeth Teague DECREES AFFECTING RESIDENT FOREIGNERS. On 17 December President Yeltsin signed decrees relating to resident foreigners, ITAR-TASS reported. The first orders the Federal Immigration Service to take over control of immigration at the borders from the Border Guard Service, and to register all non-Russians entering Russia, including asylum-seekers. The Service is to determine whether the latter qualify for asylum and to deport those found ineligible. The second decree requires any employer hiring a foreigner to pay the government the equivalent of one month's salary for that employee. If the employer violates the decree, the employee is to be deported at the employer's expense. -Keith Bush TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ALIEV IN PARIS. On 20 December, the second day of his official visit to France, Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliev met with French President Fran¨ois Mitterand, and signed the 1990 Paris Charter of the CSCE, and an agreement on friendship and cooperation between the two countries, Western agencies reported. At a press conference Aliev suggested that Nagorno-Karabakh could be granted a greater degree of autonomy, but insisted that it must remain an inalienable part of Azerbaijan. Mitterand likewise affirmed France's support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. -Liz Fuller TAJIK INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS ORGANIZE. Exiled Tajik journalists formed a Union of Independent Journalists of Tajikistan in Moscow on 17 December, Interfax reported on 19-December. Radio Liberty correspondent Salimjan Ayubov was elected chairman of the new group, which hopes to unite Tajik colleagues who have taken refuge in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Great Britain as well as in the Russian Federation. Journalists, particularly those who worked for Tajik nationalist or other opposition publications, have been special targets of the present neocommunist regime in Tajikistan and many fled the country early in 1993 to escape arrest when all opposition publications were closed down. The Tajik journalist exiles in Moscow have told foreign counterparts that they fear physical attack or kidnapping by Tajikistan's National Security Committee, which they insist operates freely in the Russian capital. -Bess Brown CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SLAIN IN MONTENEGRO. According to Tanjug, Montenegro's Deputy Prime Minister Mihailo Ljesar was murdered in his office in Podgorica, the capital of the Yugoslav republic, on 20 December. Western agencies add that the assailant, Drago Krivokapic, a manager of a transportation company, turned a gun on himself after shooting Ljesar. Authorities have established no clear motives for the assassination, but speculate that Ljesar may have been slain for his involvement in the liquidation of the firm employing Krivokapic. -Stan Markotich SERBIAN ELECTION RETURNS DISPUTED. Since the polls closed in the Serbian parliamentary elections of 19 December, most parties involved have been able to agree only on the fact that the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia will emerge with the greatest number of representatives in the 250-seat legislature. According to a Reuters report, Ivica Dacic, an SPS spokesman, has claimed that early results show the Socialists will garner between 124 and 128 seats, perhaps enough to form a majority government. Dacic's claims, however, were quickly disputed by electoral officials, who on the evening of 20 December estimated that the SPS would end up winning only about 96 seats, five fewer than they held in the previous parliament. Opposition party leaders have suggested that the SPS stands to win no more than 115 seats. Official election results are expected on 22-December. -Stan Markotich BOSNIA UPDATE. On 20 December Bosnian state radio reported that serious fighting was taking place in several areas, noting that Bosnian Serb forces had shelled Muslim troops near Zvornik, in the east, and Olovo, to the north. Meanwhile AFP reported that a Belgian UN soldier was killed by sniper fire while accompanying an aid convoy near the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The reports of violence in Bosnia came on the eve of Geneva peace talks involving Bosnia's warring factions and devoted in part to discussing plans for the partition of Bosnia along ethnic lines. -Stan Markotich HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES BOROSS. On 20 December President Arpad Goncz informed National Assembly Chairman Gyorgy Szabad and acting Prime Minister Peter Boross, that he will propose that parliament elect Boross as the country's next prime minister, MTI reports. Boross said that he did not plan any changes in the composition of the government and will continue the policies of Jozsef Antall. Boross announced that he plans to appoint Hungarian Democratic Forum parliamentary group leader Imre Konya as Minister of Interior. Minister of Defense Lajos Fur who has served as Boross's deputy while Boross held the post of Minister of Interior will continue to substitute for Boross. Alluding to his image as a strongman, Boross stressed that he planned to quickly and efficiently fulfill the tasks remaining until the 1994 national elections. He was quoted by MTI as saying that the "period of meeting dead-lines and of calling to account" will begin under his government. The national assembly is expected to vote on Boross's nomination on 21 December. -Edith Oltay HUNGARY'S ASSOCIATE AGREEMENT WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION. The Hungarian parliament adopted on 20 December by a vote of 231 to 1 with three abstentions a bill that promulgates Hungary's associate agreement with the European Union. Minister of International Economic Relations Bela Kadar told parliament that the agreement, which is due to take effect on 1 February 1994, will bring Hungary many economic advantages, Radio Budapest reports. He said that the final goal for Hungary is to achieve full EU membership by the year 2,000. Under the agreement, Hungary commits itself to bringing its legislation in harmony with the legal norms of the European Union. -Edith Oltay WALESA PURSUES CONFLICT WITH GOVERNMENT. Meeting with journalists on 20-December, President Lech Walesa restated his opposition to the appointment of deputy ministers from the ruling coalition to the three "presidential" ministries of defense, internal affairs, and foreign affairs. He argued that such appointments would politicize and divide the army and police forces. Coalition officials have dismissed Walesa's objections. Walesa also criticized the ruling coalition for attempting to gain control of all the posts in the state administration, and for favoring a centralistic approach to elected local government bodies. Walesa urged local government activists to fight back. The president also said he is giving the right-wing parties until the spring to regroup and form a viable alternative to the current leftist coalition. If this fails, Walesa said, he will once again assume the role of a "political president" and ensure "balance" in politics. Meanwhile, a spokesman toned down another presidential conflict by announcing that Walesa will not insist on the resignations of his three appointees to the National Broadcasting Council. The president demanded these resignations on 9-December. -Louisa Vinton POLISH PARTIES REPORT ON CAMPAIGN SPENDING. Only one in fifteen Polish election commissions met the 20 December deadline for submission of legally-mandated campaign spending reports. PAP reports that most of the major parties complied on time, however. The biggest spenders were: the Democratic Union (UD), with 20 billion zloty ($1 million); the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), 17 billion; the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), 15 billion; the Liberal Democratic Congress (KLD), 13 billion; the Confederation for an Independent Poland, 8.5 billion, and the Real Politics Union, 1.3 billion. For the first time, the election law requires the state to reimburse parties for some campaign spending, in proportion to the number of seats won. This provision made the elections a profitable venture for the SLD, which will receive a 30-billion-zloty payment from the state, and the PSL, which gets 20 billion. The biggest losers were the UD, which will receive a reimbursement of only 11 billion, and the KLD, which, having won no seats, receives nothing at all. -Louisa Vinton BUDGETARY LAMENTS FROM POLISH DEFENSE MINISTRY. Polish defense ministry officials held a press conference on 20 December to lobby for increased military spending in 1994. The draft defense budget for the coming year is 47 trillion zloty ($2.35-billion), or 2.2% of GDP. Observing that Polish defense spending has been dropping steadily since 1986, officials said that a sum equal to 3% of GDP is the minimum needed to maintain defensive capabilities. At $50 per year, they said, Poland has the lowest per capita defense spending of all the former Warsaw Pact countries, compared to $150 in the Czech Republic and $110 in Hungary. "Inviolable" reserves of ammunition and other supplies have been cannibalized for current needs, reducing defense readiness. Without government orders to maintain production, officials added, Poland's defense industries could collapse. The government meets later this week to finalize the 1994 defense budget. -Louisa Vinton SLOVAK PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES 1994 BUDGET. The 1994 state budget proposal, approved by the ruling coalition on 2 December, was discussed in parliament on 20 December, TASR reports. The proposed budget, which provides for a deficit of 14-billion koruny and cuts in all ministries except defense, has been sharply criticized by all opposition parties and by several parliamentary committees. Slovak National Party Chairman Ludovit Cernak offered amendments to shift funds from the ministries of culture, foreign affairs and defense to that of education and science, thus allowing schools to function on the same level as in 1993. The same day the Trade Union Association of Employees in Education and Science initiated a demonstration in front of the parliament, distributing leaflets challenging deputies not to adopt the 1994 budget bill in its current form. Discussions will continue in the 21 December session. Many do not expect the budget to be passed, which could lead to a no-confidence vote in the present cabinet. Also on 20 December Finance Minister Julius Toth announced that the state budget deficit for 1993 reached 16 billion koruny by 30 November and is expected to grow to 19 billion koruny by the end of the year because of extra spending on health care, education and agriculture. The 1993 budget bill had provided for a balanced budget. -Sharon Fisher ROMANIAN GENERAL TO BE TRIED FOR 1989 SHOOTING ORDER. Radio Bucharest announced on 20 December a decision by Romania's General Prosecutor's Office to put on trial a high-ranking army officer together with two ex-security officers for a shooting order issued during the December 1989 revolt. The three defendants are Maj. Gen. Dumitru Draghin, former secret police general Grigore Ghita and the ex-commander of the Otopeni airport troops, Ionel Zorila. The men are accused of issuing on 23-December 1989 a shooting order at Bucharest's main airport Otopeni against an arriving military reinforcement unit from Cimpina. According to Romanian reports, 50 persons were killed and 13 seriously injured during the shoot-out, in which each side apparently thought it was fighting terrorists. The trial, for which no deadline has been set, will be the first involving a high-ranking army officer. Romanian opposition groups and independent media have repeatedly demanded that those responsible for more than 1,000 killings in the 1989 uprising be put on trial. -Dan Ionescu WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM LATVIA, ESTONIA MAY BE SUSPENDED. Aleksandr Udaltsov, a Russian Foreign Ministry official in charge of relations with the Baltic countries, said that Russia will pursue a "more realistic policy" in its relations with Estonia and Latvia, Interfax reported on 20 December. He noted that their hopes that Russia will follow the same policy as in Lithuania and withdraw its troops without first signing agreements clearly stating the commitments of the signatories would not be fulfilled. As an example, he mentioned Latvia's unwillingness to accept Russia's proposal to speed up the troop withdrawal if allowed to retain its radar station at Skrunda for six more years. The suggestion for the "earlier withdrawal is revoked automatically" by Latvia's one-sided refusal to allow the station's retention, Udaltsov said. -Saulius Girnius POLL ON SUPPORT FOR BALTIC PRESIDENTS. The results of a poll taken in November, published in Lietuvos rytas on 18 December, revealed great differences in the extent that the citizens of the Baltic States trust their presidents, BNS reported on 20 December. According to the poll, 75% of Latvian citizens trusted President Guntis Ulmanis and 8% did not. The corresponding figures for Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas were 60% and 34%, and 44% and 37% for his Estonian counterpart Lennart Meri. -Saulius Girnius BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZED. Valyeri Tsepkala, foreign policy adviser to the chairman of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, criticized foreign minister Piotr Krauchenka for unprofessionalism, Interfax reported on 20 December. He accused Krauchenka of spending too much time pursuing objectives of cultural value for Belarus, to the detriment of the economy and diplomacy. The result of this neglect can be seen in Belarus's position in the UN. According to Tsepkala, Belarus's contribution to the UN was recently increased so that, "Now we will pay thrice as much as Hungary does, and 50% more than India with its 800-million population. Belarus is drawing close to the level of China." Tsepkala also criticized Krauchenka for Belarus's failure to win a seat on the UN Security Council, and the conduct of several diplomatic initiatives which only resulted in, "the allocation of money for repairing a number of premises in the Belarusian Foreign Ministry designed for international observers." -Ustina Markus SOCIALIST PARTY OF UKRAINE'S PLATFORM. On 18 December Ukrainian TV reported on the Socialist Party of Ukraine's (SPU) pre-election platform. The party's leader, Oleksandr Moroz stated that the party supported the establishment of independent Ukraine, however, it proposes restoring the broken relations with Russia and integrating Ukraine in the CIS. In addition, the party stands for granting all power to local councils, a move which favors the socialists since they are one of the largest and best organized parties. The party also favors a six month moratorium on privatization, a review of the legality of property and enterprises so far privatized. While an appeal "to the working people of Ukraine" was adopted in which the SPU declared its intention to cooperate with the communist and peasant parties, the SPU simultaneously stated its intention to oppose the parties and movements of the "nationalist and bureaucratic elite," i.e., RUKH, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party and others. There are about 30,000 members and about 120,000 active supporters of the SPU, operating in 25 regional, 58 city and 244-district committees. The party emphasizes that it is in the opposition to the current power in Ukraine, Interfax reported on 19 December. -Ustina Markus "NEW UKRAINE" CREATES COORDINATING CENTER. "New Ukraine," has decided to create a coordinating center in Kiev for the various democratically oriented parties which adhere to it, Ukrainian television reported on 16 December. Formed in 1991, "New Ukraine" includes parties and movements of liberal and social democratic orientation, such as the Party for the Democratic Revival of Ukraine, the Greens, the Party of Constitutional Democrats, and others. The leader of "New Ukraine," Volodymyr Hryniov, says that the parties belonging to it can only count on winning 20 seats and cannot hope to form their own parliamentary faction in the elections next March, Ukrainian TV reported on 18 December. According to Interfax on 19 December, under "New Ukraine"s draft election program "the essence of economic reforms is to remove the destructive state monopoly on property and economic power, lift restrictions on people's incomes, create conditions for free enterprise, and ensure private ownership of land and means of production." -Ustina Markus [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by John Lepingwell and Edith Oltay h 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.RFE/RL Daily Report
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.