Люди познаются в споре и в пути. - Д. Герберт
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 11, 18 January 1994


Yeltsin formally accepted First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar's 
resignation from the Russian government. ITAR-TASS quoted the president as 
saying that although he had accepted the resignation, he wanted 
nevertheless to stress the president's and the government's commitment to 
the course of market-oriented reforms in the economy and democratic 
reforms in the political sphere. Whereas the majority of members of the 
Russia's Choice parliamentary bloc, led by Gaidar, said his departure 
means a slowdown of reforms, at least two members of the bloc, Anatolii 
Shabad and Georgii Satarov, supported Yeltsin's acceptance of Gaidar's 
resignation. They said that if Gaidar had continued as First Deputy Prime 
Minister Yeltsin would have found it almost impossible to reach any 
agreement with the parliament on the course of reform. "The separation 
between Gaidar and Yeltsin could be better for the reform cause," Satarov 
told journalists, stressing that Gaidar has been an easy target for those 
who feel disenfranchised by the vast changes in Russia. Vera Tolz

RUSSIA'S CHOICE ON GAIDAR'S RESIGNATION. In a statement issued on 17 
January, the Russia's Choice faction in the State Duma said that the 
resignation from government of Russia's Choice members Egor Gaidar and 
Ella Pamfilova was inevitable, Interfax reported. The statement said that 
the government was abandoning its policy of reforms and stabilization, 
despite assurances to the contrary, and was taking decisions without 
consultation with the reformist wing. Russia's Choice had no plans to form 
an opposition group to the government and would continue to work for 
reform from within the parliament. In an interview with Interfax, Mikhail 
Poltoranin, a member of the parliamentary faction, said that Gaidar and 
other reformers should not have to act as cover for "the degradation of 
the economy." Wendy Slater

FEDOROV CONSIDERS RESIGNATION. Finance Minister Boris Fedorov has 
announced that he will remain in the government only if Central Bank 
chairman Viktor Gerashchenko and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr 
Zaveryukha leave office, various Western and Russian news agencies 
reported on 17 January. Fedorov has criticized the two officials on 
numerous occasions in the past for what he considers their efforts to 
undermine macroeconomic stabilization through authorizing excessive 
credits and subsidies to industry and agriculture. Fedorov's resignation 
would follow that of Gaidar on 16 January. Grigorii Yavlinsky, leader of 
the YABLOKO faction and a potential candidate for Gaidar's slot, has 
publicly expressed his hope that Fedorov would stay on. Erik Whitlock

LDP FAILS TO WIN TOP POSTS. Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party failed 
to win the chairmanships of three key committees of the lower house of 
parliament, the State Duma. Zhirinovsky had said he wanted to chair the 
Committee on Foreign Affairs, but that post went to Vladimir Lukin, who 
held the same post in the Supreme Soviet and who says he intends to leave 
his present post of ambassador to the USA. Viktor Ilyukhin of the 
Communist Party was elected to chair the Security Committee and Sergei 
Yushenkov of the reformist Russia's Choice will chair the Defense 
Committee. The LDP, which is the third largest group in parliament, 
secured the chairmanships of five committees considered to be less 
sensitive--labor and social welfare, ecology, industry, agriculture, and 
natural resources. In addition, the Duma agreed to create a new Committee 
on Geopolitics; Interfax quoted parliamentarian Arkadii Murashev as saying 
that the committee, which Zhirinovsky will chair, was set up so that 
Zhirinovsky would not claim the Foreign Affairs chairmanship. The LDP has, 
as a result, the largest number of committees. Finally, the LDP's deputy 
chairman, Aleksandr Vengerovsky, was on 17 January elected deputy speaker 
of the Duma, Interfax and Reuters reported. Elizabeth Teague.

January Izvestiya interview, former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev 
categorically denied allegations that the Politburo was involved in the 
creation of Zhirinovsky's Liberal- Democratic Party in 1990 as part of a 
plan to set up "democratic" front organizations. Gorbachev said that St. 
Petersburg's mayor Anatolii Sobchak, who made the accusations last week, 
had been misled by disinformation. Gorbachev stated that former 
Politburo's members Aleksandr Yakovlev and Nikolai Ryzhkov could confirm 
his version of events. Gorbachev said that he could not comment on 
Zhirinovsky's alleged KGB connections. He also opined that it was the 
pro-Yeltsin "Russia's Choice" which had actually, and unwittingly, 
contributed to Zhirinovsky's political prominence. "Russia's Choice" had 
miscalculated both its own popularity and the strength of Zhirinovsky, 
Gorbachev concluded. Victor Yasmann

Siberia's Kemerovo Oblast are preparing to remove their region from 
"Siberian Agreement," Izvestiya and Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 14 
January. Officials in Altai Krai had made a similar announcement the day 
before. Administrators in both regions complained that "Siberian 
Agreement," originally set up as an economic organization, had become 
overly politicized. During Yeltsin's stand-off with the Supreme Soviet 
last fall, radical leaders of the Novosibirsk-based association sided with 
parliament and threatened to set up a Siberian Republic and to blockade 
the Trans-Siberian railway. Elizabeth Teague

KARELIAN DEPUTIES WANT TO STAY FULL TERM. Deputies of the Karelian Supreme 
Soviet voted on 13 January to include on the agenda of the routine session 
of parliament that opened that day the question of how long the present 
deputies should retain their powers, ITAR-TASS reported. A number said 
that their mandates should run their full term, that is until March 1995, 
and called for a review of the resolution they adopted two months ago that 
fixed elections to a new legislative assembly for 17 April 1994. They 
argued that they had been forced to adopt this resolution under pressure 
from Moscow. Under the impact of the storming of the Russian parliament 
most of the republican parliaments fell in with Yeltsin's "recommendation" 
in fall 1993 that they reorganize themselves and call early elections. 
Evidently the shock is now wearing off. Ann Sheehy

chairman of the North Ossetian Supreme Soviet, was elected to the new post 
of president of North Ossetia on 16 January with over 66 percent of the 
votes cast, the Russian media reported on 17 January. Originally there 
were seven candidates for the presidency, but by polling day Galazov was 
opposed only by Prime Minister Sergei Khetagurov, who resigned his post on 
17 January on the grounds that the president is head of the executive 
power in North Ossetia and there cannot be two heads of the executive. 
Ingush president Ruslan Aushev sent telegrams to Yeltsin and the chairmen 
of the two chambers of the Russian Federal Assembly on 17 January saying 
that the election could not be regarded as valid because the thousands of 
Ingush forced to flee their homes in the Prigorodnyi raion on North 
Ossetia more than a year ago had been unable to take part, Interfax 
reported. Ann Sheehy

STRIKE WAVE THREATENED. Russian trade unions are predicting a strike wave 
in the coming weeks. Some coalminers in Vorkuta, in the far northern Komi 
Republic, are already on strike in demand of unpaid wages for December, 
and a union leader told Interfax on 14 January that miners throughout the 
region are ready to join them. Agricultural workers in Komi have halted 
milk deliveries to the state since they, too, have not received their 
wages. Meanwhile, coalminers in Karaganda (Kazakhstan) have also 
threatened to stage a general strike starting on 1 February, Interfax 
reported. And the biggest arms producer in southern Siberia, the 
Sibrpribormash Amalgamation, came to a standstill on 17 January. The 
plant, which employs thousands of workers, was forced to close when the 
local power station cut off electricity supplies because the factory had 
not paid its bills, Reuters reported. Elizabeth Teague

January that tourists from non-CIS countries who want to visit Moscow will 
soon have to pay a fee of one US dollar, in hard currency, for each day 
they stay in the Russian capital. Elizabeth Teague

KURIL ISLANDS TALKS POSTPONED. Talks between Japan and Russia on resolving 
the long-standing Kuril Islands territorial dispute, originally scheduled 
for late January, have been postponed. Quoting Japanese government and 
news agency sources, Reuter and AFP on 13 January attributed the 
postponement to political uncertainty and confusion in Russia in the wake 
of last month's parliamentary elections. The January date had originally 
been set during Boris Yeltsin's visit to Japan in October of 1993. Stephen 

SALE OF RUSSIAN SUBS TO NORTH KOREA. Confusion continues to surround 
reports of a sale of submarines by Russia to North Korea. On 12 January 
reports first surfaced that Russia would sell four Foxtrot class diesel 
submarines from its Pacific Fleet to North Korea; the subs would be cut up 
for scrap. Since then, however, conflicting stories have appeared in the 
Russian, Japanese, and South Korean press concerning the actual size of 
the sale, the type of submarines involved, and their intended final use. 
On 15 January, for example, Interfax quoted the Russian Navy's press 
office as denying Japanese press reports that suggested that North Korea 
had purchased four Foxtrot class diesel submarines that would be refit for 
use by the North Korean Navy; the press office said that Russia had in 
fact sold twelve such subs to a Japanese firm which would scrap them in 
North Korea. Meanwhile, South Korea's YONHAP, also using a Japanese 
source, on 18 January quoted a Russian Pacific Fleet representative as 
saying that Russia would sell ten Golf II subs to North Korea. The report 
was unclear over whether the subs were to be scrapped. Izvestiya of the 
same day repeated the contention that only four Foxtrot subs had been sold 
to North Korea, and that all would be used for scrap. Stephen Foye

MINISTRY OF DEFENSE CAN'T PAY. The Ministry of Defense has announced that 
its 1994 procurement order cannot be filled because of lack of funding, 
according to ITAR-TASS reported on 17 January. Despite the fact that the 
president and government have officially committed themselves to paying 
off the state's backlog of overdue payments to the defense industry, 
sufficient funds have not yet been allocated. Some 70% of the industry's 
production lines have reportedly been made idle as a result. Erik Whitlock

RUSSIAN SHIP-BUILDING TO CONTINUE. Russian First Deputy Defense Minister 
Andrei Kokoshin was quoted by Interfax on 17 January as saying that Russia 
does not intend to abandon its naval presence on the world's oceans and 
that, despite financial difficulties, ship-building in Russia would 
continue, albeit at a slower pace. Kokoshin, who said that Russian naval 
doctrine is still being worked out, singled out the start of construction 
of a new multi-purpose nuclear submarine and said that several large 
vessels, including the Kirov-class battle cruiser Petr Velikii, would 
become operational in 1994. He said that the Sevmash construction works in 
the northern city of Severodvinsk would receive priority funding in the 
ship-building program. Stephen Foye


peace talks on Bosnia opens on 18 January amid expressions of pessimism by 
the mediators, international media report. Bosnian Vice President Ejup 
Ganic, moreover, has already called the discussions "a lie," and Bosnian 
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has told his people to get ready for "a long, 
bloody war." Politika quotes him as saying that "nothing will be the same 
after Geneva." Borba, for its part, notes that the Muslims have rejected 
the comprehensive package deal the Croats offered them last week, on the 
grounds that Zagreb's representing the self-styled Croatian Republic of 
Herceg-Bosna is incompatible with the sovereignty and territorial unity of 
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Croats, in turn, have rejected the Muslim 
counter-proposals as a ploy behind which the Muslims can continue to 
fight, Vecernji list adds. In fact, Borba on 17 January and some Western 
observers have noted that the Muslims, long the military underdogs in the 
conflict, have recently sent the Croats reeling in central Bosnia and are 
now saying they intend to retake Muslim-majority areas lost to the Serbs. 
President Alija Izetbegovic, according to this line of thought, has given 
up on the Geneva talks or any other negotiated settlement, as well as on 
the possibility of Western intervention, and is now determined to win on 
the battlefield. Patrick Moore

LOCAL SERBIAN RADIO STATION BANNED. According to a decision of the 
district parliament of Gnjiljan, from 10 January the further work of Radio 
Gnjiljan is suspended because the staff has not complied with certain 
unspecified conditions the assembly set down on 5 January, Borba reported 
on 14 January. Program director Predrag Cekic and several other employees 
have been told to leave their offices under the threat of force. On 5 and 
6 January a group of journalists broadcast without the permission of the 
radio's director, Radomir Ristic. Borba alleged that the decision to shut 
the radio down came because of the station's opposition to President 
Slobodan Milosevic's ruling party, not because of any "illegal program," 
adding that attempts to close the radio date back to January 1992. Fabian 

STRIKES IN SERBIA. Doctors in the Serbian heartland of Sumadija have been 
on strike since 9 January, Borba reported on 14 January. The strike 
committee in Kragujevac made contact with the rump Yugoslav federal 
government, but has not yet met with ranking representatives of the state. 
The unions want to talk with federal Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic or his 
deputy. The doctors feel they cannot back down because "the health care 
situation in Sumadija is catastrophic since we have not had food and the 
most basic medicines for month." Elsewhere, the leadership of Serbia's 
union for the electric industries will discuss the results of December's 
negotiations on 18 January. The unionists will then decide about whether a 
general strike should begin then. Fabian Schmidt

decision of the Slovenian economics ministry not to continue supplying 
power from the Krsko nuclear power plant to Croatia, the Croatian 
government claimed property rights to the plant. Slovenian authorities 
decided to cut the supply because Croatia did not pay its debts of DM 41 
million, Politika reported on 14 January. Meanwhile, Croatia has repaid DM 
30 million and acknowledged the remaining DM 11 million debt. But Minister 
for the Economy Nadan Vidosevic refuses to pay back that DM 11 million "as 
long as Croatia does not get the property rights to half of the power 
plant, which is worth about $1 billion ." The Krsko plant is located in 
Slovenia close to the Croatian border and was partly built with Croatian 
support. It was the only completed nuclear power facility in the former 
Yugoslavia. Fabian Schmidt

Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou declared that he does not intend to open 
a dialogue with Skopje on the controversial issue of the republic's name 
and recognition until two conditions are met, Western agencies report. 
Following a meeting with President Constantine Karamanlis, Papandreou said 
bilateral talks are unthinkable before Macedonia removes the Vergina 
star--in Greece regarded as a Hellenic symbol--from its flag, and drops 
from the constitution a reference to the "caring for" Macedonians outside 
the republic's borders. He also urged leaders in Skopje to end their 
"aggressiveness" against Greece. While stressing that Athens has not 
altered its basic position on the name issue, the Greek premier 
nevertheless said he hoped negotiations eventually would bring about an 
acceptable solution. Following the election victory of his Panhellenic 
Socialist Party last October, Papandreou unilaterally suspended talks with 
Macedonia initiated by the United Nations, saying that Greece could never 
recognize a state named Macedonia and that negotiations disregarding that 
fact are pointless. Kjell Engelbrekt

FINAL ELECTION RESULTS IN CRIMEA. The Central Electoral Commission of the 
Crimean republic released the final results of the presidential election 
held on 16 January, UNIAN reported. According to the report, pro-Russian 
candidate Yurii Meshkov, head of the Republican Party of Crimea, won 38.5 
percent of the vote. The runner up in the voting was parliamentary speaker 
Mykola Bahrov, who gained 17.5 percent. Because no candidate received more 
than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election between Meshkov and Bahrov 
will be held on 30 January. Another pro-Russian candidate, Sergei 
Shuvainikov, finished third with 13.6 percent, followed by communist 
leader Leonid Hrach with 12.2 percent; presidential representative in 
Sevastopol Ivan Yermakov with 6.2 percent; and businessman Volodymyr 
Verkoshansky with less than 1 percent. Meshkov, who ran on a platform of 
Crimean independence and support for a Crimean referendum on the 
peninsula's state status, is quoted as saying that he will not press for 
Crimea's separation from Ukraine. Roman Solchanyk

CZECH MINISTER OF CULTURE RESIGNS. Czech Minister of Culture Jindrich 
Kabat has left office, Czech TV reported on 17 January. While government 
officials said that Kabat resigned for "personal reasons," there have been 
reports over the past few weeks about major disputes between the ministry 
and various cultural institutions, such as the National Theater, and 
within the ministry itself. Virtually all opposition parties welcomed his 
decision and demanded further resignations. A spokesman for the Christian 
Democratic Union, Kabat's party, announced that a new candidate for the 
position will be announced within two days. Jan Obrman

DID CZECHS OFFER WEAPONS TO IRAN? According to a report published in the 
Czech weekly Respekt on 17 January, a Czech business delegation, headed by 
the General Director of Skoda Plzen Lubomir Soudek, offered arms to 
Iranian officials during a visit to Teheran last November. Respekt says 
that it managed to obtain copies of Skoda's documents dealing with the 
talks. The report said that Iran expressed particular interest in new 
generation anti-aircraft missiles, in an upgraded version of the T-72 
tank, and in a radar system called Tamara, which is allegedly capable of 
detecting aircraft protected by stealth technology. Earlier negotiations 
between Skoda Plzen and Iran about the delivery of a nuclear reactor for 
civilian use caused an international outcry. Jan Obrman

two-day visit to Slovakia to assist with preparations for the creation of 
the country's new territorial divisions. Deputy Premier Roman Kovac opened 
the meeting, saying that the cabinet "supports decentralizing the state 
administration, strengthening the local administration and establishing 
regional administrations." The government's 1993 proposal for redrawing 
the new regional boundaries sparked controversy among ethnic Hungarians, 
leading to their 8 January gathering in the south Slovak town of Komarno. 
It is hoped that the CE's presence will help the two sides to reach a 
mutually agreeable solution. Sharon Fisher

17 January reported that Privatization Minister Tamas Szabo announced that 
State Property Agency (SPA) chief Lajos Csepi will take over as chairman 
at the State Holding Inc. (SHI), which is responsible for running and 
partially privatizing Hungary's state-owned enterprises. The SHI's leading 
post became vacant after the former chairman, Szabolcs Szekeres, was fired 
over policy differences with the cabinet. He was the second 
Hungarian-American in this post asked to leave since June 1993. Szabo said 
that he wanted to see faster privatization in the energy and banking 
sectors. Opposition parties and a growing number of government officials 
advocated the merging of the SPA and the SHI. Csepi's post at the 
privatization agency was filled by Janos Szabo Hatvani. Karoly Okolicsanyi

announced that abortions declined by about 20% in 1993 from the 87,065 in 
1992, MTI reported on 17 January. A new law making abortions slightly more 
complicated, taking effect in 1993, was cited as the main reason for the 
decline. About five percent of the pregnant women wanting abortion in 1993 
were persuaded by heath officials not to go ahead. Karoly Okolicsanyi

government on 17 January refused to accept the resignation of Interior 
Minister Viktor Mihaylov, tendered the previous day. Government spokesman 
Raycho Raykov told journalists that all 13 cabinet members taking part in 
the meeting had voted to keep Mihaylov despite his indirect responsibility 
for an incident in which six policemen shot three officers of an interior 
ministry anti-terrorist squad, killing two. Although the minister admitted 
having dispatched the unit, an official ministry statement put the blame 
on the "amateur performance" by the six police officers. Mihaylov told a 
press conference on 17 January that the Bulgarian police corps suffers 
heavily from corruption and incompetence, saying that "both [phenomena] 
are equally fearful." Following two previous shoot-outs in Sofia during 
January, both apparently involving rival private security firms, law 
enforcement agencies have been under considerable pressure to stem the 
surge of violence and organized crime. Kjell Engelbrekt

Broadcasting Council on 17 January concluded three days of public hearings 
on the allocation of the single national TV channel available for private 
broadcasting. Ten firms have applied for the license, to be granted for 
from three to ten years; only three applicants are relying on domestic 
capital alone. The broadcasting council has until May to grant the license 
but has said it will decide by early February. The contenders are: PolSat, 
which already broadcasts legally into Poland by satellite from Holland; 
TV-7, with ties to RTL and Reuter; Top Channel, one of the first "pirate" 
broadcasters to go on the air in Poland; OTP, a proposal for "family 
programming" sponsored by the German Bertelsmann concern; Antena 1, 
staffed by RFE journalists with pledges of financial support from 
Time-Warner, ABC, and CNN; Antena Polska, a firm based by choice 
exclusively on Polish capital and tied to the daily Superexpress; Canal 
Plus, a French-sponsored pay-TV proposal; Polonia 1, set up by the Italian 
businessman Nicola Grauso; Independent TV Plus, run by former dissident 
Miroslaw Chojecki; and the Franciscan fathers, who propose a full day of 
Catholic programming without commercial interruption. Gazeta Wyborcza 
reports that PolSat and TV-7 are the front-runners. Louisa Vinton

on 17 January, Riga's Vidzeme district council of people's deputies issued 
appeals to the parliament to consider the legality of some of the 
decisions of Latvia's Council of Ministers concerning their council 
Chairman Andrejs Rucs, who issued orders to detain two Russian generals. 
They also asked the Saeima to examine those decisions of the Council of 
Ministers that restrict the rights and authority of local councils and 
local deputies; the Vidzeme district council believes them to be 
unconstitutional. Thus, the meeting of the Vidzeme district council did 
not fulfill the expectations of government of Prime Minister Valdis 
Birkavs which had hoped that a new chairman to replace Rucs would be 
elected, Diena reported on 17 January. Dzintra Bungs

began a three day visit to Lithuania by holding talks with his Lithuanian 
counterpart Linas Linkevicius on NATO's Partnership for Peace program, CTK 
reports. He also met with armed forces commander Jonas Andriskevicius, 
President Algirdas Brazauskas, and Seimas chairman Ceslovas Jursenas. On 
18 January he will visit the Zokniai military airport near Siauliai and a 
motorized regiment in Kaunas. The main aims of his visit are to discuss 
greater military cooperation and the purchase by Lithuania of Czech 
military equipment. Saulius Girnius

Reinart, the recently appointed head of the Estonian delegation on 
negotiations with Russia, said that he expects Russia to present a 
detailed withdrawal timetable in the next round of talks, BNS reported on 
17 January. He noted that since Estonia had agreed in principle to 
Russia's offer to withdraw its troops by 31 August, this deadline should 
remain fixed, but Estonia cannot give its opinion on the acceptability of 
a withdrawal timetable before seeing it. The next round of talks, 
scheduled to begin near Moscow on 18 December, was postponed due to the 
illness of Russia's top negotiator, Vasilii Svirin, and a new date should 
be set within a week. Saulius Girnius

KEBICH, MYASNIKOVICH ON MONETARY UNION. Following a statement by Russia's 
first deputy prime minister, Yegor Gaidar, that one of the main reasons 
for his resignation was his opposition to the planned economic merger of 
Russia and Belarus, the Belarusian prime minister and the first deputy 
prime minister both made statements defending the proposed monetary union 
between Russia and Belarus, Reuters and Belinform reported on 17 January. 
According to Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich, Belarus's entry into the 
ruble zone will not cause the ruble to lose value against other 
currencies. On the contrary, in the long run it will lead to the 
stabilization of the ruble. The first deputy prime minister, Mikhail 
Myasnikovich, reaffirmed the Belarusian government's support for monetary 
union with Russia and said the details of the agreement have now been 
worked out. According to Myasnikovich, Gaidar's opposition to the union is 
not the position of the Russian government, but only the opinion of an 
individual government member. Ustina Markus

After meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev in Moscow on 14 
January, Moldova's Acting Foreign Minister Ion Botnaru told Basapress on 
17 January that he opposed Russian-Moldovan dual citizenship "which Moscow 
regards as the uniform solution to the issue of 'Russian-speaking' 
minorities." He told Kozyrev that dual citizenship may have a stabilizing 
effect in Turkmenistan but may boomerang elsewhere; and urged that 
"statements by Moscow officials on the problems of Russians outside Russia 
be specific, not inflammatory." Reaffirming Moldova's demand for Russia's 
troops to withdraw by July 1994, Botnaru rejected as "artificial" the 
Russian Foreign Ministry's claims that the Russian railroads could not 
handle the evacuation. Moldova will insist on
internationalizing the troop talks and the negotiations on settling the 
Dniester conflict if the deadlock persists, Botnaru said. Vladimir Socor

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Stephen Foye & Patrick Moore

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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Updated: 1998-11-

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