Nam daruet radost' ne to, chto nas okruzhaet, a nashe otnoshenie k okruzhayuschemu. - F. Laroshfuko
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 159, 23 August 1994


CHECHNYA AND MOSCOW. Russia's Defense and Interior Ministries
again denied on 22 August that Russia was intervening militarily
in Chechnya, ITAR-TASS and Echo of Moscow radio reported. The
ministries said the Russian Army was playing a "supervisory" role
in parts of Ingushetia and Northern Ossetia, because of the state
of emergency there but that there had been no incursion into
Chechnya. On 21 August Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev
reiterated accusations against Moscow of intervening militarily in
his republic. On 22 August Dudaev issued a decree ordering the
Chechen parliament to resume its work, Interfax reported. The
decree ordered deputies to adopt a new constitution following a
nationwide discussion before the end of September. Dudaev earlier
suspended parliament's activities after several deputies joined
the opposition.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

government has issued a resolution stipulating compensation to
victims of Soviet political repression for property that was taken
away from them. A government spokesman told an RFE/RL
correspondent in Moscow on 22 August that people would either have
their property restored or receive a cash compensation. It is not
clear what rules the resolution sets for compensating people,
since the text of the resolution has not been yet made available.
Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

in Moscow between top German and Russian security officials (see
RFE/RL Daily Report of 22 August) concluded on 22 August with the
signing of a memorandum aimed at improving bilateral cooperation
in preventing the smuggling of nuclear materials. Although the
text of the document will apparently not be made public until it
has been examined by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Russian
President Boris Yeltsin, Interfax reported on 22 August that a
communique issued after the talks stated that the two sides agreed
that the illegal spread of nuclear materials, no matter what their
origin, represented a danger and the two nations confirmed their
readiness to improve cooperation in an effort to counter this
threat. That formulation appeared to be a concession to Moscow,
which has insisted that the smuggled materials recently found in
Germany did not originate in Russia and that the smuggling problem
is a general one. According to The New York Times, the possibility
was raised during the discussions that Russian officials were
implicated in the smuggling operations. Russian sources reported
that the German delegation had not provided samples of the seized
materials, but only the results of tests by European scientists.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

Finance Minister Theo Waigel warned in an interview published by
the weekly Bild am Sonntag on 20 August that German "financial aid
to Russia will depend on Moscow's willingness to cooperate with us
in the fight against the international smuggling of nuclear
materials." The news agency noted that Germany is Russia's largest
source of Western aid.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

previewing the upcoming visit of Chinese President Jiang Zemin to
Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov told
Interfax that the two nations had overcome the problems that
plagued relations in the past and that their current partnership
is "devoid of ideology, does not imply allied relations, and is
not targeted against third countries." Panov said that the early
September visit would see the signing of a joint declaration on
cooperation and that an agreement on the detargeting of the
nuclear missiles was also expected to be approved. The two sides
would also conclude an agreement on the western section of the
Russian-Chinese border, to supplement one on the eastern section
of the border which was ratified in 1991. Panov admitted that the
border demarcation was a complicated issue, and suggested that
differences might still arise over ownership of territories near
Khabarovsk, which Russia insists are its own. Panov said that the
issue of deteriorating bilateral trade would also be on the
agenda, as would military-technical cooperation. On the latter
score, Panov said that Russia was selling only defensive weapons
systems to China and that all such sales met international
standards of transparency.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHOKHIN ON RUSSIAN DEBT. Russian Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Economics Aleksandr Shokhin reaffirmed to an
interviewer on 22 August that Russia does not intend to ask its
foreign creditors to cancel its foreign debt, ITAR-TASS reported.
In Shokhin's view, Russia is neither so poor nor its foreign debt
so high that it would need to ask for debt cancellation, and he
noted that such a step would ruin Russia's standing as a great
power and would result in a freeze on foreign investment and on
any form of Russian participation in international financial
groupings. Shokhin did, however, say that Moscow needs to maneuver
because of its budget situation, and has been able to do this
thanks to debt rescheduling. Similar remarks on Russia's debt were
made on 21 August by Acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin. Both
officials were reported to be responding to an earlier statement
by Foreign Trade Minister Oleg Davydov, who suggested that Western
creditors write off some of Russia's debt of $80 billion.  Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

MMM OFFICES TO REOPEN. The troubled Russian investment company MMM
said it reopened its offices throughout the country on 22 August,
AFP reported. The reopening was ordered last week by imprisoned
company chairman Sergei Mavrodi. The Russian government warned on
19 August that MMM "notes" to be sold on 22 August were "dubious."
ITAR-TASS quoted the Russian Finance Ministry as saying that
people buying such notes would only "have a nice piece of paper"
without dividends or rights to purchase further shares. MMM had
offered high dividends but the value of its shares collapsed last
month.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.


CONTROVERSY OVER ABKHAZ-TATAR TREATY. The first deputy chairman of
the Abkhaz parliament, Stanislav Lakoba, has rejected a statement
issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on 21 August describing the
friendship and cooperation treaty signed on 17 August in Kazan
between Abkhaz parliament chairman Vladislav Ardzinba and Tatar
President Mintimer Shaimiev, in which the two countries recognize
each other as "subjects of international law," as contravening the
Russian-Georgian Friendship Treaty signed in February 1994,
Interfax reported on 22 August. Lakoba argued that since the
Russian-Georgian treaty has not yet been ratified, the
Abkhaz-Tatar treaty does not violate it. The Georgian Foreign
Ministry had protested the signing of the treaty on 19 August,
arguing that it constituted a threat to the territorial integrity
of both Georgia and the Russian Federation, according to
ITAR-TASS. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

Communications and state radio and television company reminded
listeners and viewers on 20 August that they will stop
rebroadcasting Russian TV in September, because the Russian state
radio and TV system ceased paying the Uzbeks for the service,
Radio Rossii reported. The decision of the Uzbek authorities was
taken in June but not put into effect, apparently to give the
Russian agency time to reconsider. Ostankino will continue to
supply some programming in the mornings and evenings. Uzbek state
TV hopes to develop more Uzbek-language programming and to obtain
broadcasts from the US, Turkey and India. Interfax reported on 22
August that Rustam Shagulyamov, chairman of Uzbekistan's State
Committee on the Press, has warned that Russian-language
publications are having serious problems in Uzbekistan because of
the widespread media shift to the Uzbek language and the shrinking
number of subscribers as large numbers of Russians emigrate from
Uzbekistan.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.


Russian media reports from Moscow, Tiraspol, and Dushanbe on 22
August, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th
Army in Moldova, has turned down an offer from the General Staff
of Russia's Armed Forces to take over the command of CIS (in
practice mainly Russian) "peacemaking" forces in Tajikistan. The
proposal reportedly came from Tajikistan Supreme Soviet Chairman
Imomali Rakhmonov, but he may have been inspired by Russian
military or political circles who have apparently sought recently
to ease Lebed out of his army command. Lebed was cited as
professing "disenchantment" with "the course of events" and as
contemplating retirement from the military.  Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

Maj.-General Vasilii Volkov, representing the staff of the Council
of Defense Ministers of CIS member states, told Interfax on 22
August that the CIS collective security system must be
restructured and that Russia's President should be the chairman of
the CIS Security Council. Acknowledging nevertheless that most CIS
countries resent a CIS collective security system as it implies
centralization and coordination, Volkov advocated the creation of
a collective security system in which each country might
participate in areas of special interest only. Thus far the
proposed collective security system is a failure as Russia alone
has managed to "control" hotbeds of tensions and fighting within
the CIS, Volkov noted. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, after meeting
with UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi in Belgrade the previous day,
once again flatly rejected a proposal to have international
observers monitor Serbia's blockade against the Bosnian Serbs from
rump Yugoslav territory. Following the meeting with the Serbian
leader, Akashi remarked that his hopes for peace in Bosnia had
waned, and said conditions in the rump Yugoslavia may deteriorate
in the near future. UN officials have in the past stated that
Serbia's willingness to station international observers on its
territory may be a precondition for easing sanctions against
Belgrade.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

HAS ABDIC REACHED SAFETY? On 22 August AFP reported that defeated
rebel Bosnian Muslim leader Fikret Abdic was last seen on 21
August in the Serb-controlled Croatian town of Maljevac. The same
report quotes Bozidar Sicel, speaker of the self-styled parliament
in Abdic's former domain of Bihac, situated in northwest Bosnia,
as saying Abdic was "in free territory on the border of the Velika
Kladusa commune." On 23 August Politika wrote that the Muslim
refugees fleeing the Bihac pocket in the wake of the Bosnian
government's victory over Abdic's forces (reportedly including
Abdic's wife and daughter) continue to be denied access to
Croatian territory by Zagreb authorities. Radio Sarajevo reported
that the Bosnian government has offered a three-day amnesty
period. On 22 August Reuters reported that Abdic himself faxed
aides in Zagreb, from an unknown location, urging them to impress
upon the refugees that a safe return to Bihac would only be
possible after the withdrawal of Bosnian government forces.  Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SARAJEVO AIRLIFT BEGINS AGAIN. On 22 August international agencies
reported that on that day UN humanitarian supplies were once again
airlifted into the Bosnian capital, following a four-day
interruption caused by a mortar attack against Sarajevo's airport.
Also, on 22 August RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported that
Sarajevo trams resumed operations that day, suspended 17 days
prior because of sniper attacks. A ban on sniping went into effect
on 22 August.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

Bulgarian customs authorities will no longer allow motorcycles to
cross two of the four border checkpoints with Serbia, BTA and
Reuters report. In recent weeks at least 4,000 motorcycles daily
have ridden into Serbia in order to sell the fuel from their tanks
on the other side. In many cases the smugglers have also hidden
fuel in their machines, which has caused several motorcycles to
catch fire. Four drivers recently died in road accidents. The
checkpoints affected are Bregovo and Vrashka Luka, near the town
of Vidin. In the January-June period, some 2.5 million people
crossed these two northernmost checkpoints. Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SUMMIT IN ALPBACH CONCLUDED. The two-day summit in Alpbach of the
presidents of Austria and its neighbors ended on 22 August. The
countries represented were: Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein,
Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and
Hungary. During a televised discussion on the future of Central
Europe, Austrian President Thomas Klestil said "an EU limited to
Western Europe will have lost its legitimacy entirely." Austria,
as a new member of the EU, would help the group to open to other
states from Central and Eastern Europe, he pledged. The EU
Executive Commission's president-designate, Jacques Santer, who
met with the leaders on 21 August, said the EU has "a moral
obligation" to help the countries of Eastern Europe with their
transition. German President Roman Herzog also stressed the need
for Western assistance to bring these countries up to EU
standards. Santer told Austrian Radio that he expects some East
European nations to become members of the EU before the year 2000
if they fulfill the necessary conditions. A series of bilateral
talks held during the summit focused on minority and property
rights and on strengthening bilateral relations. Czech President
Vaclav Havel and his Slovak counterpart Michal Kovac discussed the
current political situation in their respective countries, as well
as the return of the Bojnice altar to Slovakia.  Sharon Fisher,
RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA VETOES LAWS. President Lech Walesa has vetoed laws
regulating the sugar industry and amending the law on the former
communist's party assets, PAP reported on 19 August. Walesa said
the sugar law was "imbued with administrative decisions typical of
the defunct command economy" and violated market precepts. It
would, he said, give the state refineries a monopoly and eliminate
domestic competition. The price of sugar almost doubled in July.
Interventionary sales by the Agricultural Market Agency helped
stabilize the situation, which experts believe was caused by
speculators, hoping to make a quick profit before this year's
expected meager harvest. With regard to the communist assets,
Walesa said the amendments violated "the clear and just criteria"
of the original 1990 law and ignored the 1992 ruling of the
Constitutional Tribunal that the Social Democracy of the Republic
of Poland (SdRP) may not succeed to the assets of the Polish
United Workers' Party. Adoption of the amendments, Walesa said,
could reverse the process--laborious as it is--of transferring the
communist party's assets to the state and legalize their takeover
by the SdRP.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

Andrzej Drzycimski confirmed in an interview with Polish Radio on
22 August that he had been instructed to use up his accumulated
vacation time and take leave until 3 November. Poland's domestic
media are speculating that Drzycimski will not return to the post
he has occupied since December 1990. Rumor has it that relations
between Drzycimski and Walesa's Chief of Staff, Mieczyslaw
Wachowski, who signed the leave directive, according to today's
Rzeczpospolita, have been deteriorating. Walesa himself has, in
the past, fobbed off with a joke reporters' questions about
Drzycimski's status. No replacement for Drzycimski is in sight.
Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

KATYN EXHUMATIONS DELAYED. Two teams of Polish specialists were
unable to travel as planned on 20 and 22 August to Katyn and
Miednoje to begin exhumation of the bodies of Polish officers who
were murdered by the NKVD in 1940 and thrown into mass graves, PAP
reports. Over the next three years their remains are to be given a
proper burial in a new cemetery, according to the terms of an
agreement signed between the Russian and Polish governments in
February 1994. On the eve of the Poles' departure, the Russian
Foreign Ministry informed the Polish embassy in Moscow that the
work could not begin after all, because the Smolensk duma had
voted to construct a mausoleum for victims of Stalinism instead of
the Polish cemetery, and a children's nursing home in the
neighborhood had yet to be transferred elsewhere. Local
authorities in Tver claimed they had not received funds from the
central government. The Russian side put the blame for the delay
on the Poles, however, claiming that the Poles had failed to set
up a coordinating commission for the exhumation, as specified in
the agreement. On 19 August Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak
formally appointed a coordinating commission headed by Deputy
Prosecutor General Stefan Sniezko. Talks between the two
commissions began in Moscow on 22 August. Unless work begins at
the two sites within a week, climactic conditions will necessitate
putting it off until next year. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL,

Minister Peter Magvasi announced the privatization of the arms
industry, TASR reports. The first step will be the creation of
joint-stock companies whose shares will be held by the National
Property Fund; organizational and financial restructuring will
follow. The meeting was also attended by government, labor and
banking representatives, as well as delegates from six Slovak arms
factories. Privatization Ministry State Secretary Juraj Plesnik
said the government is expected to decide how to transform these
firms by late August.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA, ISRAEL TO OPEN AIR LINKS. On 22 August in Bratislava
Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan and Israeli Transport
Minister Yisrael Kessar signed an agreement to open links between
airports and other transport authorities, TASR and Reuters report.
The agreement is expected to trigger an increase in tourism and
bilateral trade. The private Slovak airline, Air Terex Slovakia,
has been running regular flights to and from Israel since December
1993.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH-VIETNAMESE TRADE ACCORD. Czech Industry and Trade Minister
Vladimir Dlouhy and Vietnamese Light Industry Minister Dang Van
Chu signed an intergovernmental trade agreement in Prague on 22
August, CTK reported. Dang Van Chu was among top officials and
businessmen who had arrived with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister
Tran Duc Luong in the Czech Republic earlier that day. Tran Duc
Luong met with Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus.  Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

the Czech government's commissioner for special transportation,
was quoted by Zemedelske Noviny on 22 August as saying that the
transportation of Russian military equipment from Germany to
Russia through the Czech Republic has been practically completed.
Zenkl said that trains carrying military equipment can go through
Czech territory until the end of August under international
agreements while non-military material belonging to the Russian
Army can be carried until the end of 1994. According to Zenkl,
more than 1,600 Russian trains have crossed Czech territory since
1991, when the Russian troops withdrawal began; the Czech Railways
will make a profit of nearly 1 billion koruny from the process.
Under agreements between Bonn and Moscow, Russian troops have to
leave Germany by the end of this month.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS WOO UNION. Bulgarian dailies reported on 23
August of the meeting on the previous day between Bulgarian
Socialist Party leader Jean Videnov and Krastyu Petkov, head of
the Confederation of Trade Unions in Bulgaria. The two reportedly
held talks on the current political situation. The BSP's Duma said
Videnov offered his party's support should the CITUB decide to run
its own candidates in the next general election. Petkov declined
the proposition, but did not rule out cooperation on the local
level. The CITUB daily Trud confirmed that Petkov is inclined to
accept efforts to form a new cabinet within the framework of the
present parliament, despite the fact that many leading politicians
have publicly committed themselves to elections before the end of
1994. Commentaries in Duma, Trud and Standart estimate that a
majority of the National Assembly is actually opposed to early
elections.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

Uruguay's ambassador to Bulgaria, Guido Yerlas, said the theft of
a statue and two bronze busts of South American heroes from a
Sofia park had filled Latin American diplomats with "concern and
indignation." But speaking on behalf of envoys from Uruguay,
Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Columbia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Peru,
Yerlas told journalists that he and his colleagues would not allow
the incident, which does not appear to have a political
background, to have a negative effect on relations with Sofia.
Yerlas said he assumed the thieves were out to sell the statues as
metal scrap. On 18 August Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister
Valentin Gatsinski promised a group of South American diplomats
that authorities will try to retrieve the statues and bring the
offenders to justice.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

Romania's opposition Democratic Party--National Salvation Front
has called for the resignation of two government ministers who
concealed their party affiliation, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Bucharest reported on 22 August. The DP--NSF said in a press
release that the only honorable choice left for Justice Minister
Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian and Transportation Minister Aurel Novac is
resignation. The ministers had been presented to parliament in
1992 as independents. Upon joining the government last week, the
Party of Romanian National Unity revealed that Novac and
Chiuzbaian were PRNU members.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

run-up to Moldova's national holidays--Independence Day and
Language Day on 27 and 31 August, respectively--Moldova's National
Security Council convened on 22 August to discuss possible
"provocations" by the rump Popular Front which threatened to stage
counterdemonstrations in the same central square where the
official celebrations are to be held. Heavily defeated in
elections, the Front opposes Moldovan statehood and advocates
Moldova's merger with Romania. Chairing the NSC's meeting,
President Mircea Snegur deplored the plans to hold "demonstrations
against Moldova's independence" and asked the law enforcement
bodies to prevent disruptions of the celebrations, "but act
strictly within the constitution," Moldpres reported on 23 August.
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

coordinator of the opposition Belarusian Popular Front, has asked
the head of the Belarusian television and radio company, Ryhor
Kiselya, to give the opposition and shadow government half an hour
of television time weekly to air their views, Belarusian radio
reported on 22 August. This is not the first time the opposition
has asked for media time, but the previous government always
denied the request.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

delegation in Kiev and Ukrainian officials drafted a protocol on
natural gas supplies from Turkmenistan to Ukraine, Ukrainian
television reported. The document is to be presented for approval
to the governments of the two countries. The draft agreement
focuses on the price of the gas supplies and means of payment.
Ukraine's debt to Turkmenistan had reached some $700 million in
February when Turkmenistan cut off gas supplies to Ukraine. To
date Ukraine has paid off only half of the debt. On 22 August
Interfax reported that Ukraine's debt to Turkmenistan stood at
$279 million for gas and a further $599.3 million for other goods.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN TRADE. The Ministry of Statistics announced that
Ukraine's external trade was $9.7 billion in the first six months
of this year, Ukrainian TV reported on 20 August. Ukraine's
exports totaled $4.775 billion, while its imports stood at $5.12
billion. In all, Ukraine traded with 126 countries. It exported
the most goods to Belarus, China and Russia, and imported the most
from Russia and Turkmenistan.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE TO CLOSE REACTOR. On 18 August Ukrainian radio reported
that the first reactor of the Khmelnytsky nuclear power station
has been closed down for repairs. The repairs were reportedly a
routine action. The reactor will remain closed until 24 October.
The Khmelnytsky station has been the site of a number of minor
incidents over the past years. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

ANOTHER STOPPAGE AT IGNALINA. On 21 August the first reactor at
the Ignalina nuclear power plant was shut down when a crack was
found in a weld on a pipe in the safety system, BNS reported on 22
August. The reactor is expected to resume operation on 2
September. It had been shut down for maintenance repairs between
26 March and 21 July, and again on 9 August because of an electric
power failure in one of the generators. Povilas Vaisnys, the head
of the Lithuanian State Atomic Energy Safety Inspectorate, said
the incident was not dangerous, but promised to conduct an
investigation. He said the poor quality of repairs is primarily a
result of sloppy work which is still done "in the old style." The
other second reactor is also undergoing maintenance work.  Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

request of President Guntis Ulmanis, Latvia's Way has begun to
form a new government. Although the government of Prime Minister
Valdis Birkavs, who is also the leader of Latvia's Way, resigned
in July, there is no legal barrier to prevent the president from
asking the same party to form a new government. The prime minister
designate has not yet been announced. Not having an absolute
majority in the Saeima, Latvia's Way is seeking potential partners
in the parliament so as to ensure a working majority for its
government. In the meantime, Latvia's National Independence
Movement and the Farmers' Union are also considering possibilities
of cooperation, Diena reports. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN NAVAL OFFICERS APPEAL. On 15 August 400 officers and
warrant officers of the Russian Navy stationed at the Tallinn
base, which was closed down on 1 June, appealed to President
Yeltsin for help in resolving their problems. In the document, a
copy of which has reached RFE/RL, they claimed that their
demobilization in a foreign country violated the Law on the Status
of Military Service, and that they were faced with the
consequences of having to fend for themselves in Estonia. They
complained they had not been paid for two months, and asked
Yeltsin to hold Defense Ministry officials to account "for
defrauding troops" and demand the immediate construction of
promised housing in Russia.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

Russian Presidents Lennart Meri and Boris Yeltsin signed
Russian-language texts of agreements on Russian troop withdrawal
and social rights of military pensioners on 26 July, the
Estonian-language texts were not signed until 20 August and sent
to Moscow until 22 August, BNS reports. Right-wing groups in
Estonia had declared that the agreements conflicted with existing
Estonian laws, but the lack of Estonian texts prevented any
official evaluation of the validity of their charges. On 21 August
15 Estonian parties and organizations held a conference that
denounced the agreements and called for a public protest if the
government sent them to the parliament for ratification.  Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by bess Brown and Anna  Sabbat-Swidlicka
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