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No. 153, 12 August 1994
RUSSIA RUSSIA SUPPORTS ENDING SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. On 11 August Interfax reported that the Russian foreign ministry has now officially gone on record as advocating an end to the sanctions applied against rump Yugoslavia for its role in fomenting the war throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin told the agency that Belgrade's recent decision to sever all political and economic ties with the belligerent Bosnian Serbian leadership was a tremendously "courageous" act, and one that deserved to be rewarded with a removal of the sanctions. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN TACITLY ADMITS CREATING CHECHEN OPPOSITION. In an interview with Russian television on 11 August, Russian President Boris Yeltsin ruled out military intervention to suppress the Chechen drive for independence from Russia. However, Yeltsin tacitly admitted creating the puppet Provision Council that seeks the ouster of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. Asked how he proposed to solve the Chechen deadlock without the use of force, Yeltsin pointed to the "emergence" of opposition to the Dudaev administration, and added: "therefore, it cannot be said that Russia does not interfere [into the Chechen affairs]" Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE ON THE SITUATION IN CHECHNYA. Chechen President Dudaev issued a decree on the mobilization by 16 August of most of the men in his republic, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 August. (On 10 August the Congress of the Peoples of Chechnya threatened to declare a holy war in the event of Russian military intervention.) On 11 August Dudaev also imposed a state of emergency in the Nadterechnyi region, where the opposition Provisional Council has its headquarters. He also ordered that broadcasts of Russian Television be halted in Chechnya. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Russian State Duma's Committee on Security, Viktor Ilyukhin, suggested that the Duma should help in mediating between Moscow and Groznyi, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 August. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. RUTSKOI INTENDS TO RUN FOR PRESIDENCY. At a press conference in Moscow, Aleksandr Rutskoi told journalists that he still considers himself to be Russia's vice president. He was quoted by Reuters on 11 August as saying that the results of the December referendum on the new Russian constitution, which abolishes the post of vice president, were falsified. (This has been argued most intensively by members of the reformist Russia's Choice bloc, whose special commission earlier this year publicized information showing that less than 50 percent of eligible voters took part in the constitutional referendum, which therefore was not valid.) At the press conference, Rutskoi, who has recently set up a new nationalist movement, said he intended to run as a candidate in the 1996 presidential elections. He said his main goal remains the recreation of a single state on the territory of the former USSR. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. GORBACHEV DISPUTES VARENNIKOV'S ACQUITTAL. The acquittal of General Valentin Varennikov, a key figure in the August 1991 attempted coup d'etat, creates a dangerous precedent and paves the way for further such putsches in the future, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev told RFE/RL on 11 August. Earlier that day, the Military Collegium of the Russian Supreme Court declared Varennikov not guilty of any crime, saying that the coup was justified because its organizers were motivated by a noble intentioni.e., to preserve the Soviet Union from collapse. According to Gorbachev, Varennikov visited his Crimea resort in the company of other coup organizers on the eve of the coup, 18 August 1991. In the course of the conversation, Varennikov personally issued an ultimatum to Gorbacheveither to declare the state of emergency or to resign. After Gorbachev rejected both options, Varennikov did not leave for Moscow with the rest of the visitors but remained in Crimea to ensure the isolation of the USSR president, telling local military commanders that Gorbachev was seriously ill and issuing orders to shoot at everyone trying to help the Gorbachevs escape house arrest. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. QUESTION MARKS HANG OVER IRAQ-RUSSIAN OIL DEAL. Reports out of Moscow suggest that a group of Russian firmsincluding Lukoil, Rosneftegazstroi, and the Mashineimport trading companyis currently negotiating a major deal with Iraq to modernize Iraq's oil industry, but details of the talks remain unclear. According to RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent, Russian Foreign Ministry sources say that the Russian consortium signed a protocol with the Iraqi government in Baghdad in July that involved a $2.5 billion contract for the modernization of Iraq's largest oil wells, for the drilling of new wells, and for the supply of machinery to Iraq's oil industry. Officials of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, meanwhile, confirmed that negotiations are taking place but said that the signing of an agreement would be "excluded" until international sanctions against Iraq are lifted. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. US OFFICIALS ON RUSSIAN CHEMICAL WEAPON PROGRAM. Testifying on 11 August before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, and Deputy Defense Secretary John Deutch both said that the US remains concerned over what they suggested was a failure by Moscow to provide reliable information on Russian chemical weapons production and storage. According to an ITAR-TASS account of the hearing, Deutch said that accusations that Moscow has "lied" about its chemical weapons program may be overstated; he suggested that the problem is more one of insufficient information. ITAR-TASS also said that Deutch had urged that Moscow be given financial aid for the liquidation of its chemical stockpiles. Both men recommended ratification of a treaty banning chemical weapons, currently under consideration, and Shalikashvili said that among its benefits would be an improved capability to monitor related developments in Russia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. PROJECT FOR MODERNIZATION OF RUSSIAN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL. The New York Times reported on 11 August that Texas-based Rockwell International Corporation has received $4.7 million in US Defense Department funds to launch a joint project with the Russian State Research Institution of Aviation Systems that is aimed at modernizing Russia's air traffic control system. Describing the effort as an "example of defense conversion at its very best," a top Rockwell official said that the project calls for integrating a 24-satellite US navigational system, called the Global Positioning System, with a 14-satellite Russian system, called Glonass, to upgrade air traffic control over Russia. Ten more satellites are to be added to the Russian system, and Rockwell, builder of the US system, will develop technology to make the two systems compatible. As part of the effort, Hughes Aircraft Corp. will reportedly build a ground station either in Khabarovsk or in Vladivostok. Once operational, the system should improve flight safety in Russia and shave considerable amounts of time off flights between the US and the Far East, officials said. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS RUSSIAN-MOLDOVAN AGREEMENTS ON TROOPS. Besides initialling the main "Agreement on the legal status, procedure, and timetable of the withdrawal of Russian military units temporarily located on the territory of Moldova" at the tenth round of talks (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 11 August), the sides announced in a joint press release issued in Chisinau on 10 August that they had also initialled eight agreements on: ferrying Russian military units and cargos to Russia; Russian military aviation activity and use of Tiraspol airport pending the withdrawal; Moldova's participation in building accommodation in Russia for the troops; and guaranteeing the social benefits and pension rights of demobilized servicemen residing in Russia or Moldova and their dependents. The documents will be submitted to the two governments for approval and signing. Moldova's chief delegate, First Deputy Foreign Minister Nicolae Osmochescu, told a news conference in Chisinau on 10 August that Moldovan experts had visited the ammunition and ordnance stockpiles guarded by the 14th Army in Transdniester and accepted Russia's thesis that the large quantities necessitate a term of three years for the Army's withdrawal after the main agreement enters into force. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. IS THERE A CATCH ? The most controversial clause in the main agreement, as cited by the joint press release, says that "practical steps toward the withdrawal . . . within the agreed time period will be synchronized with the political settlement of the Dniester conflict and the determination of the special status of the Dniester region of Moldova." Although it has offered Transdniester autonomy, Moldova had resisted the linkage to the Russian troop withdrawal and had received international support against that linkage. Asked at the news conference in Chisinau what form of special status for Transdniester would satisfy Russia, its chief delegate Vladimir Kitaev told the news conference in Chisinau as cited by Basapress that it will be "any form that will be accepted on both banks of the Dniester," which could imply de facto veto power for Transdniester. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSDNIESTER WALKS OUT. Transdniester's delegation, attending the Russian-Moldovan talks as observers and headed by two generals, withdrew in protest. In a statement widely reported by Russia's media, it complained that its attendance was formal and that Transdniester's interests were being ignored. The delegates insisted that "any decision on the Army's withdrawal is unacceptable before the determination of Transdniester's status," and implied that Transdniester would assert its already stated claim to the 14th Army's equipment in the event of the army's withdrawal. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ADAMISHIN FEARS RESTART OF TAJIK CIVIL WAR. Russia's First Deputy Foreign Minister Anatolii Adamishin told Interfax on 11 August that Tajikistan is on the brink of a second civil war, because the Tajik opposition, prevented by the Tajik government from achieving its goals by political means, is turning to military action. Adamishin echoed Russian commanders in Tajikistan in warning that the political conflict in the Central Asian state will not be solved by military means; he appealed to the Tajik opposition to seek the help of the UN, the West and Russia to achieve its goals of democratization and power-sharing. He pledged that Russia would try to restart talks between the Tajik government and opposition as soon as possiblea third round of talks has already been deferred to an as yet undetermined date in Septemberand criticized UN officials for appearing to favor the Tajik opposition. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. IRAN CRITICIZES TAJIK ELECTION. The Tehran Times, considered to speak for Iran's Foreign Ministry, has criticized Tajikistan for having set a date in September for a presidential election, Reuters reported on 11 August. According to the Tehran newspaper, the election interferes with efforts to mediate an end to the conflict between the Tajik government and opposition. Opposition groups will apparently not be allowed to nominate candidates, and, as the Iranian publication pointed out, the thousands of Tajik refugees who fled to Afghanistan in 1993 will not be able to vote in the election. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT AGREES TO DEMILITARIZATION OF SARAJEVO. News agencies on 11 August quoted Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic as saying that his government welcomes the plan by UN commander Gen. Sir Michael Rose to demilitarize the capital. The Serbs have, however, yet to respond to the proposal that would remove all armed forces from the city and a 20 km-wide belt around it. Rose also called for free access in and out of Sarajevo, which would mean ending the new Serb roadblocks. On 11 August relief flights were stopped again after small arms fire of undetermined origin hit at least two planes. Meanwhile, The New York Times on 12 August reports that the Bosnian government is continuing to press its attacks on the Serbs on the line between Visoko and Olovo, which controls the northbound route out of Sarajevo. One Bosnian official said "we have to maintain military pressure on the Serbs at least until they sign the peace plan. We have the right as the legal government of Bosnia to fight to retake our land." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. US SENATE SENDS MIXED SIGNALS OVER THE ARMS EMBARGO. International media report on 12 August that the Senate the previous day approved two measures that would affect the US stance on the arms embargo against the Bosnian government. One follows President Bill Clinton's own proposal that would authorize him to seek UN approval to lift the embargo by the end of October if the Serbs do not accept the partition plan by the 15th of that month. The other measure, introduced by Senator Robert Dole, mandates a unilateral American lifting of the embargo by 15 November. Clinton is reluctant to take any such step without coordination with US allies but added in a letter to Congress that "it has been my long-held view that the arms embargo has unfairly and unintentionally penalized the victim in this conflict, and that the Security Council should act to remedy this injustice." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS. International media said on 11 August that the Bosnian government's Fifth Corps continues to close in on Bihac kingpin Fikret Abdic's stronghold of Velika Kladusa. Abdic had previously offered to negotiate only with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, but the Sarajevo government regards Abdic as a traitor and will only talk to him on a lower level. The Bihac tycoon has now accepted this position, but insists that negotiations be held in Velika Kladusa. Reuters quotes a French mediator as doubting that Sarajevo will agree to this. Meanwhile in Croatia, the head of the General Staff, Gen. Janko Bobetko, met with UNPROFOR commander Gen. Bertrand de Lapresle to discuss the continuing blockade of some UNPROFOR posts by Croatian civilians, Novi list reports on 12 August. The protesters are refugees from Serb-held areas who demand that UNPROFOR carry out its mandate and help them return to their homes in safety. The UN has made clear it feels it is in no position to do so, despite the agreements it has signed. Bobetko told the French commander that if the UN wants to prevent an escalation of the conflict, it must control Bosnia's and Croatia's borders with each other and with Serbia, not those of the Serb-held areas of Croatia. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. "IN SERBIA THE MAJORITY SUPPORTS CONTACT GROUP PLAN" is how a headline run in the 12 August issue of Politika reads, dealing with survey results made public by the "Partner" agency the previous day. According to the group's most recent findings, based on telephone interviews of 500 residents of Serbia (excluding Kosovo), some 70 percent of respondents now wholeheartedly endorse the international community's current peace proposal for Bosnia and Herzegovina. This finding seemingly represents a dramatic public about-face from 16 July, when only 20.6 percent of respondents found the idea of an internationally mediated peace plan palatable. The new survey also indicates that Radovan Karadzic remains the most popular Bosnian Serb political leader with Serbs in the rump Yugoslavia, although only 22.7 percent of respondents expressed support for him this month, down from 42.6 percent the previous month. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. CHURCH BACKS SOLIDARITY CONSTITUTION? Cardinal Jozef Glemp met with Solidarity Chairman Marian Krzaklewski on 10 August to discuss the union's constitutional draft, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. Solidarity is attempting to gather the 500,000 signatures required to submit a "citizens' draft" to the parliament by the 5 September deadline. Despite support from several bishops, Solidarity has so far collected only 160,000 signatures. The Solidarity draft is backed by Poland's extreme anticommunist fringe but is opposed by the more mainstream right-wing parties, which argue that the current parliament lacks the legitimacy to adopt a constitution. The center-right parties also object to the extensive social and economic guarantees included in the union's draft. In a statement issued after the meeting, Glemp indicated that he is favorably disposed toward the draft because of the "Christian and national principles" on which it is based. The draft includes a passage on the "defense of life from the moment of conception" and says that the concordat should govern Church-state relations. Other members of the Church hierarchy have ruled out any explicit backing for the Solidarity draft. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. TOUGH TALK ON CRIME IN POLAND. During a visit to Gdansk on 11 August, Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski said that highway robbery and crime in Warsaw and the Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot tri-city area are his three priorities, PAP reports. Milczanowski indicated that police will try to limit organized crime by using methods that stop short of outright arrest, such as repeated 48-hour detentions, identification checks, and rigorous auto inspections. He stressed, however, that the police force is short of funds and manpower. Still, he argued that the level of crime in Poland is no worse than in the average European country, and he urged reporters to use the phrase "highly organized crime" rather than "mafia," as the latter implies that politicians collaborate with the criminal underworld. Meanwhile, police released 18 of 20 suspected members of the "Pruszkow mafia" after questioning on 11 August. Officials denied that the detentions were a publicity stunt designed to prove to the public that the police are taking action against organized crime. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH CENTRAL BANK: NO INTEREST RATE CUTS. Polish National Bank (NBP) Vice President Witold Kozinski told Rzeczpospolita on 12 August that a huge increase in the money supply in Julyby 2.8 percent in real termswill prevent the bank from lowering interest rates for several months. In August and September, Kozinski said, the NBP will take action to limit the amount of money in circulation, though without moving to raise interest rates. Kozinski attributed the surge in the money supply to the sudden emergence of a trade surplus of $70 million in the first half of July. He predicted that annual inflation will amount to just under 30 percent in 1994, well above the 23 percent set in the budget. Kozinski also revealed that the NBP had proposed reducing the monthly rate by which the zloty is devalued from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent, because foreign trade results have improved. The ministers of finance and foreign trade vetoed this suggestion, Kozinski said. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECHS TO PAY BACK IMF LOANS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. The board of the Czech National Bank decided on 11 August to repay a $471 million loan to the International Monetary Fund which was originally due in 19961999. A spokesman for the bank told journalists in Prague that the board had made its decision in light of the fact that the Czech Republic's hard currency reserves had reached $5.3 billion by 1 August and keep growing. As a result of the early repayment, the Czech Republic will be the first East European country to clear itself of its debts with the IMF. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CHANGES IN THE HUNGARIAN POLITICAL ELITE. According to studies conducted by the Central Statistical Office and the Academy of Sciences, spectacular changes have taken place in the composition of the political elite since 1990, MTI reported on 10 August. A significant proportion of present government members, parliamentary deputies and state and local government officials is under fifty, with the vast majority holding a university degree. More than 90 percent of all parliamentary deputies in the 19901994 parliamentary cycle had university education, and more than half held doctoral degrees. This is similar to the level of education of the current parliamentary deputies. The pattern of occupation of parliamentary deputies has also significantly changed. While the 19851990 legislature was dominated by party, state, and economic leaders with university education, in the next cycle "classical white collar workers," such as historians and teachers, were in the majority. The ratio of the latter group declined somewhat in the new parliament in favor of agricultural experts and former office-holders of the Kadar era. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN COURT UPHOLDS LAW ON JUDICIARY. The Bulgarian Constitutional Court ruled on 11 August to throw out a lawsuit of the Prosecutor General demanding that the law on judiciary be declared unconstitutional. The main argument of the suit was that the law, passed by parliament on 14 July, violates an interim clause of the 1991 constitution, stating that such legislation cannot be enforced unless it is accompanied by a new criminal code and other acts regulating the procedures and organization of the judicial system. While six of the judges accepted this line of argument, another six rejected it, thereby upholding the law. Since the law introduces additional requirements for persons holding top positions in the Bulgarian judiciary, the ruling seems to mean that Prosecutor General Ivan Tatarchev and Supreme Court Chairman Ivan Grigorov will have to resign. In an editorial on 12 August, Demokratsiya of the Union of Democratic Forces predicts that Tatarchev's and Grigorov's replacement will lead to the dropping of all charges against former communist leaders. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN RIOT POLICE BREAK UP HUNGER STRIKE. Reuters reports from Tirana on 12 August that club-carrying riot police broke up a hunger strike of former political prisoners in the wee hours of the morning. Strike leader Kurt Kola said the officers asked to enter the building where 100 persons had been fasting since 4 August. The police said they were looking for weapons, but once in the building they damaged the place and forced the former political prisoners to leave. No one was injured, but the strikers had wanted to continue their protest. They seek compensation for some 5,000 people or families in a package worth over $200 million, but the government says it can afford only a fraction of that and accuses the strikers of destabilizing the country's young democracy. A court had given the Tirana strikers until 6 p.m. on 11 August to end their protest. It is not clear what has happened to similar strikes elsewhere across the country. Patrick Moore and Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT REJECTS ROMANIAN ATTACK ON CONSTITUTION. In a statement issued on 9 August, the Moldovan government rejected the Romanian government's statement of 1 August which had attacked Moldova's new constitution and encouraged the pro-Romanian opposition in Moldova to press for revisions (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 2 August). Moldova's government replied that Romania "does not wish to understand the political situation in Moldova" and has "no right to impugn the domestic policies and reforms in another society." Romania's thesis that Moldova is "another Romanian state" is meant to give Romania the role of "elder brother entitled to instruct, dictate, and play boss." Having achieved independence from one power center, Moldova will not subordinate itself to another power center, the statement said. Romanian support for Moldovan circles "which are not reconciled to Moldova's independence can only harm relations between our countries." Romania should let Moldova "be master in its own home" and "strictly respect the right of [Moldova's] people to determine their own future." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. US DELEGATION IN UKRAINE. On 10 August a delegation led by Jason Collins, head of CIS affairs at the US State Department, met with head of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission on foreign and CIS affairs, Borys Oliinyk, Ukrainian radio reported. The US delegation assured the Ukrainians that aid towards disarmament would start arriving soon. US Assistant Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that $135 million in equipment to help dismantle Ukraine's SS-19 strategic missiles would arrive in the next few months. The delegation also said they hoped the speedy aid would encourage Ukraine to join the NPT this year. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MARKET REFORMS IN BELARUS. On 11 August the price of bread and dairy products was liberalized in Belarus, Reuters reported. As a result, milk cost 20 times more than it had the day before, while bread shot up 10 times. A week earlier prices on meat were decontrolled, causing beef prices to triple. It was also reported that the government has increased the cost of housing, heating and electricity for non-commercial users. Belarusian TV reported that Belarusian National Bank Chairman Stanislau Bahdankevich said that prices of consumer goods had to be left up to the market so that the value of the Belarusian ruble may be preserved. The National Bank of Belarus also recommended that the rules governing access to hard-currency be changed for enterprises, Belarusian radio reported on 10 August. Experts from the bank have worked out a wide-ranging project which will allow enterprises to participate in the buying and selling of hard currency on the Inter-Bank Hard Currency Exchange in Minsk by 1 July 1995. In other news, Reuters reported on 11 August that Belarus's harvest will be 20 percent lower than last year's because of the summer drought. Last year the country had suffered a reduced harvest because of floods. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LOWER GRAIN PRODUCTION IN BALTIC STATES. Due to a severe drought and a reduction in land planted, the grain harvest in the Baltic States is expected to fall from 5.77 million tons in 1993 to 3.2 million tons in 1994, Interfax reported on 10 August. Lithuania's output will drop from 2.7 million tons in 1993 to about 2 million tons this year. Latvia will harvest 800,000 tons, only a third of the 2.4 million tons in 1993. Estonia's production will decrease from 700,000 tons in 1993 to 400,000 tons in 1994. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW LATVIAN CABINET PROPOSED TO THE PRESIDENT. Latvian Prime Minister-Designate Andrejs Krastins presented his list of candidates for the cabinet of ministers to President Guntis Ulmanis on 11 August. Although Krastins did not reveal the names of the nominees, Diena reported that according to reliable sources, the nominees represent a wide spectrum of society, including members of Krastins' own political party, Latvia's National Independence Movement, as well as members of other political parties and intellectuals not aligned with any political organization. Reportedly, Krastins would like to have three ministers act a his deputies, should his candidacy be approved by the parliament: Maris Budovskis (nominated for welfare minister), Viesturs Karnups (nominated for state reform minister), and Aristids Lambergs (nominated for transportation minister). The nominees for the new cabinet of ministers are expected to be considered by the Saeima on 18 August. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW TAKES EFFECT. The new Latvian law on citizenship and naturalization, adopted by the Saeima on 22 July, was endorsed by President Guntis Ulmanis on 11 August and has gone into effect, Diena reported. Although some sections of the law were criticized by parliamentarians of Latvia's National Independence Movement and For the Fatherland and Freedom political association, the two organizations have not yet started a campaign to revise the law because they have not reached an agreement among themselves on just what should be done. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Liz Fuller and Sharon Fisher NOTICE: The RFE/RL Daily Report will not appear Monday, 15 August 1994. The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, 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, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. 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