Не отнимай ни у кого убеждений, способствующих его счастью, если не можешь дать ему лучших. - И. Лафатер

NO. 241, 22 DECEMBER 1994


December, a joint session of Russia's government, Security
Council, and Presidential staff that day concluded that Chechen
resistance was "sharply increasing." It found that the defenders
of Grozny were being reinforced and were moving outward from the
city center to ward off Russian forces. Moreover, "guerrilla
groups and snipers are active everywhere. Losses among the
[Russian] servicemen have increased." A communique from invasion
headquarters in Mozdok, on the same day, also reported by
ITAR-TASS noted "a significant exacerbation of the situation in
the last few days," as Russian units "are repeatedly being fired
upon." Moreover, "Chechen fighters are laying mines and using
Afghan-type hit-and-run tactics." It also reported that groups of
outside "mercenaries" were joining the Chechen forces. In what
appears to be the most intense engagement thus far, 11 members of
a Russian "reconnaissance" (spetsnaz?) unit were killed and five
went missing in fighting for the village of Petropavlovka to the
north of Grozny, a Russian communique said. The Russian side has
not updated its casualty toll since 15 December when it offered an
implausibly low figure of 17 killed. Meanwhile, Russian air
bombardment of Grozny and shelling of villages continued,
increasingly described by Western agencies as "terror" bombing
apparently aimed at persuading the population to leave. With the
water, heating, electricity, and food supplies in Grozny severely
disrupted, a growing number of people are fleeing the city. Ethnic
Russian residents, not having relatives in the countryside, tend
to remain behind, exposed to the hardships of a war among whose
stated aims was that of protecting them. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,

YELTSIN ADDRESSES THE CHECHENS. For the first time since the
beginning of the invasion, and apparently prompted by the
developing military quagmire, Russian President Boris Yeltsin
addressed the people of Chechnya on 21 December. Restating the
demand for the disarmament of Chechen "unlawful formations" (but
notably dropping the standard adjective "bandit"), Yeltsin held
them responsible for "the killing of fellow-countrymen--Chechens,
Russians, and other nationalities"--and insisted that Russian
forces engaged in Chechnya "are not endangering the peaceful
population." These remarks are so at variance with the situation
in the field that they seem to bear out Sergei Kovalev's point in
his open letter to Yeltsin (see Daily Report of 21 December) about
"false and mendacious information" being supplied to him. Yeltsin
went on to pledge that "the deportation of the Chechen people will
never be repeated under any circumstances"--a formulation that
even if sincere and well meaning will remind Chechens about
Yeltsin's September vow that there will be "no military
intervention under any circumstances." Yeltsin pledged to provide
economic relief, without mentioning the destruction being wrought
by Russian forces, and to "guarantee all the civil rights and
liberties" on Chechnya's territory and to restore "local bodies of
power," without mentioning his own recent decree on the
introduction of direct rule from Moscow in Chechnya. He predicted
that Chechnya "will again become an equal subject of the Russian
Federation." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

President Dzhokhar Dudaev, on 20 December despite wintry weather
at least 100,000 Chechen joined a human chain on the highway from
Grozny to Dagestan to protest the Russian military intervention
and to reaffirm the goal of independence. The crowds held placards
condemning the killing of civilians by Russian forces and calling
for a free Chechnya. Some placards chastised international
indifference to the situation. Anecdotal evidence reported by
Western agencies indicated that ethnic Russians from Grozny
participated in the chain. The inspiration for the action
undoubtedly stemmed from Dudaev's experience in the Baltic States,
where such demonstrations were organized during the final stage of
Soviet rule. As commander of a Soviet air force division based in
Estonia, Dudaev had shown sympathy for the Baltic independence
movements. The mass response to his appeal belies the assumption,
which permeates Russian official discussions of Chechnya, that
most of the population opposes Dudaev. On the same day, Dudaev
appealed to Chechens not to blame Russian residents for the
actions of the Russian military. Although the local Russians are
by all accounts unmolested, Moscow claims that they are in
imminent danger. On 20 and 21 December, agencies reported the
arrival of poorly equipped but determined Chechen volunteers from
the countryside to reinforce the defense of Grozny. Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

21 December the Russian government press service issued a
statement, reported by Interfax and ITAR-TASS, condemning alleged
atrocities committed in Chechnya by mercenary groups composed of
volunteers from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Afghanistan, two hundred
of whom are reportedly headquartered at the Kavkaz hotel in
Grozny. The continued participation of such groups in hostilities
could, the statement warned, "complicate Russia's relations with
the countries they come from." In the case of both Azerbaijan and
Ukraine, the volunteers in question are politically aligned with
radical opposition groups. Whether the Afghan contingent is that
recruited last year by Heidar Aliev to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh,
where a cease-fire has been in force for six months, is not clear.
Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

Chechnya has revived forms of activity typical of dissidents in
the Brezhnev era, many of whom had hitherto supported President
Yeltsin. Apart from the veteran human rights activists Sergei
Kovalev and Mikhail Molostvov, whose actions in Grozny have been
covered in the Daily Report, as many as 17 former political
prisoners signed the appeal protesting against the invasion
(Express-Khronika, 16 December 1994). Elena Bonner, a founding
member of the Moscow Helsinki group and the widow of the Nobel
prize winner Andrei Sakharov, declared in an open letter that
Yeltsin could not remain Russia's president if the invasion were
to continue. Finally, all four participants in the 1968
demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia who
are still alive--Larisa Bogoraz, Pavel Litvinov, Nataliya
Gorbanevskaya, and Viktor Fainberg--have signed a petition
condemning the Russian intervention in Chechnya. Since no Russian
newspaper has published their petition so far, it is circulated in
samizdat form among Moscow human rights activists. Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YAKUBOVSKY DETAINED. On 21 December RFE/RL and St. Petersburg TV
reported that Dmitrii Yakubovsky, who could be regarded as one of
Russia's most controversial figures, was detained in Moscow by a
police unit on combating organized crime and sent to St.
Petersburg for questioning. Believed by many to be a key figure in
a corrupt network in the Russian government, Yakubovsky gained
worldwide notoriety in the summer of 1993 when he participated in
the falsification of evidence aimed at incriminating the then
Russian vice president, Aleksandr Rutskoi. (Yakubovsky's endeavors
were supported by former Justice Minister Yurii Kalmykov, current
acting Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko, and other officials
in Yeltsin's law enforcement bodies.) The radio and television
reports quoted Russian lawyers as saying that Yakubovsky's
detention was in connection with the recent theft of ancient
manuscripts from a St. Petersburg library. The police believe that
the manuscripts, which have a market value of $100-250 million,
were stolen for a foreign customer as it would be impossible to
sell such valuable artifacts in Russia. The St. Petersburg Federal
Counterintelligence Service (FSK) has now recovered the
manuscripts and expects to make further arrests, ITAR-TASS
reported on 21 December. Julia Wishnevsky and Victor Yasmann,
RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA REJECTS 1995 BUDGET. Deputies rejected the draft 1995 budget
at the first reading in a session on 21 December, ITAR-TASS
reported. Another vote will be taken at a plenary session of the
lower house on 22 December. The government's draft, prepared with
the help of a joint parliamentary-governmental Conciliation
Commission, envisages revenues of 156.2 trillion rubles,
expenditures of 228.1 trillion rubles, and a deficit of 7.7
percent of GDP (0.1 percent lower than in the government's
original draft). According to Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov,
the average monthly inflation rate in 1995 will be 2.5-3 percent;
the monthly inflation rate this November was 14.2 percent. The
government's targets may have to be revised owing to the high cost
of the war in Chechnya. As reported by Reuters, Panskov told
Russian television on 20 December that the military operation had
already cost Russia 400 billion rubles ($117 million). Penny
Morvant, RFE/RL, Inc.


TURKMEN DEVALUATION DENIED. Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Valerii
Otchertsov has denied a 20 December report that Turkmenistan has
devalued its currency, the manat, telling Interfax on 21 December
that the official exchange rate of 10 manats to US $1 would not be
changed. Western news agencies had carried the story that the
exchange rate would be set at 230 manats to the dollar. According
to Otchertsov, US dollars were being sold to private individuals
at the rate of 230 manats for a dollar. RL's Turkmen Service has
learned that the black market exchange rate is around 300 manats
to the dollar. On 20 December, President Saparmurad Niyazov issued
a decree prohibiting the circulation of foreign currency in the
country and declaring the manat the only legal tender for everyone
in Turkmenistan, including foreigners who until recently had to
pay for all goods and services in convertible currency. Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.


Georgian and Azerbaijani officials expressed concern on 21
December over the economic implications of the temporary closure
by Russia of their frontiers with the Russian Federation, Western
agencies and Interfax reported. Georgian Deputy Prime Minister
Zurab Kervalishvili said the decision was justifiable only if it
remained a short-term measure, and that a prolonged closure would
seriously affect Georgia's already imploding economy. Azerbaijani
Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov was quoted by Interfax as affirming
that "in Baku's opinion there are no adequate reasons for such a
step" and that the Azerbaijani leadership had not been consulted
before the decision was taken. Interfax on 21 December quoted the
Russian Border Guard Command as reporting that young men of draft
age from Abkhazia and Azerbaijan are being actively recruited to
participate in combat operations against Russian troops in
Chechnya. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

NAME STYMIES BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS. The Russo-Ukrainian talks on
the division of the Black Sea Fleet adjourned on 21 December
without reaching agreement. According to Interfax, one of the main
reasons was that the two sides could not agree on the name to be
used by the Russian fleet. Russia insisted that it be called the
"Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation" while Ukraine said
that it must be "Russia's Navy on the Black Sea." The two sides
have also not resolved which bases each would use, and they were
said to have different interpretations of certain terms, such as
"leasing" and "separate bases." The negotiators will try again in
January. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

International agencies report that on 22 December Yasushi Akashi
will present the warring factions in Bosnia with a ceasefire
agreement to sign. The next day, he is to meet with both sides at
Sarajevo airport to discuss how to achieve the planned cessation
of hostilities. The agreement, brokered by former US president
Jimmy Carter on the initiative of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic, provides for a ceasefire by noon, 23 December, and a
negotiated end to the war by 1 January. Meanwhile, Carter arrived
back in the United States on 21 December after his four-day
controversial peace mission in the former Yugoslavia. Speaking in
Atlanta, Georgia, Carter confirmed that Bosnian Serbs and Muslims
are supposed to release all prisoners of war. At the same time, he
warned that the agreement was only a "tentative pact" and added
that "the whole thing can very easily come apart." AFP reports
that US government spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers said the same day
that the five-nation Contact Group's peace plan was only a basis
for negotiations in Bosnia. This stance was seen as a reversal of
the United States' insistence that the Serbs accept the plan in
its entirety. But French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was quoted
by Reuters as saying "we will not accept any going back on the
principles in the plan." Juppe added that he "won't see Karadzic
again until he has accepted the peace plan." Jan Cleave, RFE/RL,

Yugoslavia continued on 22 December to report on reactions to
Carter's peace initiative in Bosnia. Borba quotes Croatian Foreign
Minister Mate Granic as saying the initiative has had the negative
effect of ending Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's
international isolation. This outcome, Granic noted, is not
warranted by the Bosnian Serb leaders' track record of making
promises only to break them. "In light of earlier experiences with
Karadzic and his promises, one has to be very careful," he
remarked. In other news, Politika reports that the Zagreb-Belgrade
Autoput (highway) was finally reopened the previous day. Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ATTACKS IN SARAJEVO AND BIHAC. Two people died and seven were
wounded when shells slammed into a Sarajevo market place on 22
December, Reuters reports. The attack was close to the spot where
68 people were killed by a mortar bomb in February. UN relief
workers reported the previous day that four people--including two
children--were wounded in a shell attack in the northwest Bosnian
enclave of Bihac, according to international agencies. The workers
said some six shells fell on a residential area of Cazin. In the
Muslim town of Bihac, a UN-designated "safe area," fighting was
reported to have slowed down on 21 December after what UNPROFOR
spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Coward described as "probably
the worst day . . . in quite a while." Coward also reported a
strike the previous day by two self-made missiles in the area of
Zedar. He said the self-made rockets appeared to be 250kg aircraft
bombs with four free-flight 128mm rocket motors strapped to the
back and a parachute to drop on target. "They are not very
accurate, they are very indiscriminate and they have the potential
to kill a lot of people if they go off in the right place at the
right time," Coward said. Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

December said that if a NATO evacuation of UN peacekeeping forces
in Bosnia proved necessary, it would contribute up to 26 aircraft,
including fighter-bombers, and some 700 medical personnel,
international agencies report. But it stressed that no German
ground troops would participate in such an operation, largely
because of continued sensitivity in both the former Yugoslavia and
Germany over Nazi atrocities committed against the Serbs during
the Second World War. The decision, which still has to be approved
by the Bundestag (the lower house of the parliament), came on the
heels of an announcement the previous day that the German
government has decided in principle to send German warplanes into
war zones for the first time since 1945. Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

December accused Poland's coalition government of
counter-revolutionary efforts, international agencies report.
During a parliamentary discussion, Walesa accused the government
parties of wanting to revive old communist structures. Earlier, he
had vetoed legislation on linking public sector wages to inflation
(the current system links them to increases in industrial wages).
Walesa said the bill was unfair to public sector workers, who, in
his opinion, had been hardest hit by four years of market reforms.
Walesa argued that teachers and doctors, in particular, are
indispensable and must be paid accordingly. He said that if funds
were lacking, doctors and teachers could be given shares in
privatized companies which could then be sold on the stock market.
The ruling left-wing coalition would need a two-thirds majority to
override Walesa's veto. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

STRIKE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. Czech trade unions organized a
15-minute warning strike on 21 December to protest a bill on
pensions recently drafted by the government. The proposed law
would raise the retirement age for men to 65 and change the system
of paying into the social security system. International and
domestic media reported that tens of thousands of mostly
industrial workers participated in the nationwide strike. Richard
Falbr, chairman of the Bohemian-Moravian Chamber of Trade Unions,
claimed the call for labor action was heeded by some 400,000
people and 4,500 local union organizations. A Reuters
correspondent reported that trains were idle at Prague's central
station and some taxi drivers observed the stoppage. Asked about
the strike at a press conference, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
said: "I really do not know whether there was any strike. We did
not hear any sirens here." Previously, Klaus had said the plans to
hold a strike were "unbelievable" and had stressed that the draft
law was a civic, not a labor issue. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

the Czech Republic's military strategy was approved by the
government at its session on 21 December, CTK reported. The
document will be submitted to the parliament. Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus told journalists that the document outlines measures
necessary for the protection of the Czech Republic in various
international circumstances, the main principles of the Czech
Republic's military strategy, and the reorganization of the Czech
army. He also said the government has proposed that civilian
service, as an alternative to military service, should be extended
from one to two years. "The government is alarmed by the number of
people applying for civilian service," the prime minister said. He
added that anyone opting not to perform military service will have
to defend his decision in front of a special commission. Jiri
Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH PRESIDENT VETOES TWO LAWS. Vaclav Havel on 21 December
refused to sign a law on administrative fees and another on
architects. The president's spokesman told the media that the law
on administrative fees does not exempt humanitarian and charitable
organizations from paying charges. He said that such organizations
should not have to pay fees or taxes. In rejecting the law on
architects, the president argued that it created unequal
conditions for members of the same profession. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,

Slovak parliament approved a bill on 21 December canceling the
sale of about 50 state-owned companies sold to investors after the
government of Jozef Moravcik approved the companies' privatization
in September. Another bill passed by the parliament places
responsibility for the sale of state assets in the hands of the
National Property Fund. Members of the fund, who are directly
appointed by the parliament, will be able to decide on
privatization issues without consulting the government or
ministries. The two laws were originally passed by the parliament
in November, but President Michal Kovac refused to sign the bills
and returned them to the parliament. According to the
constitution, the president now must sign them. Opponents of the
new laws have claimed they are unconstitutional and will not give
the public a say in privatization matters. Some opposition
deputies told the media on 21 December that they will challenge
the laws in the Constitutional Court. Jiri Pehe , RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR ADDRESSES FOREIGN DIPLOMATS. During a meeting with foreign
diplomats in Bratislava on 21 December, Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar said the development of democracy, the
continuation of reforms, privatization, the protection of human
rights, and membership in the European Union and NATO are among
his administration's priorities. He stressed that privatization in
Slovakia, including the voucher scheme, will continue. Meciar also
noted that Russia's position must be considered during an
expansion of NATO: "Russia remains an important factor in
international relations and could perceive [the process of NATO
expansion] as its exclusion from the system of collective European
security." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

interview with Uj Szo on 22 December, Miklos Duray, chairman of
the Coexistence movement, said the first steps taken by the new
Slovak government suggest "a totally new political orientation" is
in the offing. "We have to be ready to stand up to militant
linguistic and national ideas--if necessary, with the help of
public disobedience," Duray noted. He singled out recent
statements by Culture Minister Ivan Hudec on the protection of the
official Slovak language, claiming such policies "would try the
patience of Slovak citizens of Hungarian origin living in the
south of Slovakia." Duray also said the adoption of a law on the
protection of the Slovak language is unnecessary. "If the ruling
coalition decides to adopt such a law, we will have to appeal
abroad, like during the communist period," he remarked. Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

According to Radio Budapest on 22 December, the Historical
Investigation Committee, established by the previous Hungarian
government to examine the country's recent history, has been
abolished by the present socialist-liberal government. The head of
the committee, Frigyes Kahler, learned from the media that all
investigations were to be stopped. The role of the committee was
considered very important because of the blatant omissions in
history books written under communism. The investigations,
however, may have proved uncomfortable for some politicians who
were returned to power in the spring 1994 elections. Judith
Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

joint session of Romania's parliament on 21 December marked the
fifth anniversary of the overthrow of the communist regime, Radio
Bucharest reported that day. Members of organizations representing
participants in the revolution attended the session and were
invited to address the parliament. Several said the
revolutionaries' ideals had been betrayed. Adrian Dumitrescu,
president of the "21 December" Bucharest Association, said that
five years after the revolution, "we still do not know who shot at
us then" and that "the truth will not be revealed as long as we
have the present parliamentary majority." The "21 December"
Association later commemorated the events in a separate ceremony
in Bucharest and released a nine-point declaration accusing the
country's rulers of having impoverished the country in order to
better control it. The declaration also accused the opposition of
inefficiency and of being torn by conflicts. Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

television address on 21 December, Ion Iliescu said Romania's
revolution was a genuine social explosion, with a "true popular
and national character." Since 1989, he said, Romania has traveled
a long road of genuine change that nobody can deny. But he
stressed that no revolution can change living conditions overnight
and that the road ahead was still difficult. Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

former vice president of the Party of Romanian National Unity, has
been expelled from the party, the chairman of the Bucharest branch
of the PRNU announced at a press conference on 21 December. Brahas
had criticized the leadership of the PRNU and particularly its
president, Gheorghe Funar, and vice president, Ioan Gavra.
Reporting on the press conference, Radio Bucharest said the
Bucharest branch of the PRNU accused Brahas, among other things,
of misuse of party's funds. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

Socialist Labor Party, the heir to the defunct Romanian Communist
Party, has welcomed the victory of the Bulgarian Socialist Party
in parliamentary elections held earlier this week. SLP President
Ilie Verdet told Reuters on 21 December that his party was
"naturally pleased" with the election results. He said these
showed that market reforms had failed and would spur a revival of
the Left in Eastern Europe. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA'S UDF IN TURMOIL. Following the election defeat of the
Union of Democratic Forces in the 18 December Bulgarian
parliamentary elections, the leadership of the anticommunist
coalition stepped down on 21 December, Reuters reported the same
day. Official preliminary election results give the Bulgarian
Socialist Party (the former Communists) about 125 seats in the
240-member parliament; the UDF won only 68 seats. The five members
of the UDF's Coordinating Committee, whose mandate expired on 21
December, told journalists they had decided not to run again.
Former Prime Minister and UDF chairman Philip Dimitrov said it was
better for the UDF to elect a new leadership because of the new
conditions. "Unfortunately," he said, "Bulgaria could not break
the chain of the return of communist parties in former communist
countries." The UDF leadership election will be held on 29
December. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN ENERGY CRISIS. Albania on 21 December received pledges
from Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey of electricity supplies to
alleviate its energy crisis, Reuters reported the same day. The
crisis began last weekend when the Albanian government decreed
emergency power cuts in response to the worst drought in 100
years. Output is down significantly at Albania's hydro-electric
dams, which are the main suppliers to the country's grid. Power
has been cut to private households as well as to industry,
including cement, ferrochromium, and steel plants. The Albanian
government warned private, wood-fueled bakeries not to exploit the
crisis for personal gain while the state-owned, electricity-driven
facilities are unable to operate. Long lines for bread, selling at
almost double the usual price, were evident in Tirana on 21
December. Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has ordered Ukraine's security
services to prevent Ukrainian citizens supporting Chechnya from
taking part in the republic's military conflict, according to
ITAR-TASS on 21 December. Russian media reported earlier in the
week that Ukrainian nationalists are fighting on the side of
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev. Kuchma also said Ukraine
believes that the Chechen conflict must be solved "within the
context of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation."
But at the same time, he noted that "we are deeply concerned about
the escalation of the conflict and the civilian casualties, among
whom there may also be Ukrainian citizens." Victor Yasmann,
RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

(Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave)
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
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

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