|We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr|
No. 7, 10 January 1991
BALTIC BALTIC STATES AIRBORNE TROOPS TO LITHUANIA ONLY? The Head of the USSR Defense Ministry's Information Administration told Radio Moscow last night that the Ministry order regarding deployment of additional paratrooper units to enforce the draft applied to Lithuania only. For details, see the "USSR--All-Union" section below. (Stephen Foye) MILITARY ACTIONS IN LITHUANIA. The Washington Post's correspondent Michael Dobbs, reporting today from Vilnius, says that six light armored tanks and truckloads of Soviet MVD troops surrounded the Vilnius television tower yesterday afternoon, but left peacefully several hours later after Lithuanians gathered at the tower in response to a broadcast appeal by the government. Dobbs cited Lithuania's National Defense Department as announcing that a military plane with about 50 paratroopers had landed at Vilnius airport and that "a column of about 50 trucks filled with Soviet soldiers was also reported moving toward the Lithuanian capital from the direction of Latvia." (Saulius Girnius) YAZOV CALLS OFF PARATROOPERS. Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov reportedly told Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar yesterday in Moscow that no more paratroopers would be sent to Estonia, Estonian Radio and TV reported last night. The two leaders have agreed to create a joint commission to discuss the military's concerns in Estonia, including draft compliance, Estonia's alternative service program, and the well-being of military dependents in the republic. The commission is set to begin working on January 14, one day after Yazov's deadline to Estonia to round up youths accused of avoiding the draft. (Riina Kionka) DEMONSTRATIONS IN LITHUANIA. A telephone report to the RFE Lithuanian Service on January 9 said demonstrations for and against Lithuanian independence were held yesterday outside the Lithuanian parliament building. The anti-independence rally had about 5,000 participants and the pro-independence about three times more. Reuter reported that "three ranks of police separated the two groups" and that the demonstrators dispersed peacefully by nightfall. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC STATEMENT ON SOVIET TROOPS. On January 8 the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania issued a statement in the name of the Council of the Baltic States protesting the announcement by the Commander of the Baltic Military District that additional Soviet troops would be brought into their republics to enforce the draft. The statement said the Baltic states would not help conscript their youths into the Soviet army because that would contradict laws their parliaments had adopted. They called on the governments and parliaments of all nations "to take a stand against the actions of the Soviet Union." (Saulius Girnius) REACTION IN THE US... Official criticism of Moscow's troop deployments in the Baltic states continued in the US yesterday. Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger summoned Soviet Ambassador Aleksandr Bessmertnykh to express US concern about developments in the Baltics. Eagleburger was acting as Secretary of State while James Baker held talks with his Iraqi counterpart in Geneva yesterday. (NCA/Riina Kionka) ...ON CAPITAL HILL... Senator Donald Riegle (D-Michigan) drafted a letter yesterday--being circulated for signatures--to President Bush saying the US must make it clear to Moscow that "our involvement in the Gulf does not in any way diminish our commitment to Baltic freedom." Chairman of the US CSCE Commission Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona) told reporters yesterday that the Bush Administration should back up its support for Baltic self-determination "by taking a tough stand." Congressman Jim Leach (R-Iowa), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the House yesterday Soviet troops have no business in the Baltics and Congress should leave no doubt that US-Soviet relations are jeopardized by Moscow's "coercion in the Baltics." (NCA/Riina Kionka) ...IN WESTERN EUROPE... French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas yesterday called for negotiations, not force, to determine the future of the Baltic states, saying Moscow should open talks "in the spirit of the principles upheld by all the CSCE countries during the Paris summit last November." In Brussels, NATO allies said they were "very seriously concerned" by the USSR's show of force, and discussed how a crackdown might affect East-West relations. In Stockholm, Swedish Foreign Minister Sten Andersson met with Soviet Ambassador Nikolai Uspensky yesterday, saying that pressure, violence and the threat of violence could not be accepted. (NCA/Riina Kionka) ...AND IN THE EAST. In Prague, Czechoslovak Deputy Foreign Minister Zdenek Matejka told Soviet Ambassador Boris Pankin yesterday that the use of force could hamper efforts for a peaceful solution of problems between Moscow and the republics. In London, Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski said yesterday that the Soviet crisis could have Borldwide repercussions if it is not contained. He called on EBropean countries to form ties to individual republics. In Moscow, chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Boris Yeltsin was asked by reporters for his reaction to paratrooper deBloyment: "I am against such a decision. Violence leads to greBter violence. We must, therefore, negotiate." (NCA/Riina Kionka) B BANDSBERGIS READS FOREIGN GREETINGS. At the session of the Lithuanian Supreme Council on January 9 broadcast live by Radio Vilnius, President Vytautas Landsbergis noted that Lithuania had received a message from Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel: "Truth and love should prevail over lies and hatred. I wish this were indeed so." Polish President Lech Walesa sent a telegram expressing his conviction that the 10 years of Solidarity's struggle "will help us find a common path." (Saulius Girnius) B NEW LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT? The Lithuanian parliament yesterday did not deal with the question of the appointment of a new prime minister and government, but the question is being actively discussed. In an interview with RFE's Lithuanian Service January 9, Deputy Prime Minister Romualdas Ozolas said that he has no desire to become prime minister or to assume any other post in the government. Radio Moscow today cited Izvestia, which quoted unofficial sources to the effect that Virgilijus Cepaitis, Chairman of the Lithuanian Independence Party, is the leading candidate for prime minister. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN OFFICIALS DISCUSSING MILITARY SERVICE. Radio Riga reported on January 9 that Chairman of the Supreme Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs, General Procurator Janis Skrastins, and Col. V. Teimers of the War Commissariat have begun discussions on how to react to Yazov's orders to enforce conscription in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) FIGURES ON THE DRAFT IN LATVIA. According to Teimers (AFP of JanuaryOB, citing TASS), the fall draft quota was fulfilled only by 25.3%, while some 8,000 of the 10,000 draftees who did not answer the callup opted instead for alternative service. Teimers said Latvia's 189 deserters would be allowed to finish their military service in the Baltic region if they surrendered voluntarily. Radio Riga on January 9 also said that 1,500 youths (or 25% of the draft) had answered the fall 1990 callup, adding that 25% ignored it entirely. But that same evening, Women's League representBtives, who act as voluntary coordinators for alternative service, told Radio Riga there were about 4,500 youths performing alternative service and under 500 deserters in Latvia. It may be that there are only about 4,500 alternative servicemen registered with the League and that its number of deserters include servicemen of various nationalities. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIOB CONSCRIPTS TO SERVE AT HOME? According to an RFE Latvian Service interview of January 7, Latvia's Minister of Internal Affairs Aloizs Vaznis was told that day by Colonel General Fedor Kuz'min that 30% of the conscripts from Latvia would serve in the Baltic district. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AIRBORNE TROOPS TO LITHUANIA ONLY? The Head of the USSR Defense Ministry's Information Administration told Radio Moscow last night that the Ministry order regarding deployment of additional paratrooper units to enforce the draft applied to Lithuania only. Major General Valerii Malinov was responding to White House charges that Soviet authorities were escalating internal tensions in the Soviet Union by deploying airborne troops to a number of republics. He claimed that Tuesday's Defense Ministry order, in fact, instructed military district commanders in the relevant republics to aid local military commissariats enforce draft regulations by contributing troops to the effort; additional airborne "units" (podrazdeleniya) were to be sent to Lithuania only. (Stephen Foye) GENERAL STAFFER COMMENTS. Lieutenant General Franz Markovsky told Vremya last night that airborne units dispatched to aid with draft enforcement would not perform "gendarme" functions. The General Staff First Deputy Chief said airborne units would be used to insure that regional commissariats were not blockaded and to protect military personnel conducting draftees to their units. Markovsky denied that armed forces leaders were planning a military coup in any of the republics seeking independence, and said the Defense Ministry actions should in no way interfere with plans for the upcoming US-Soviet summit. (Stephen Foye) WILL THE ARMY FOLLOW? The Defense Ministry order to use military units to enforce the draft raises the issue of potential opposition by progressive-minded officers. While reports have appeared in the Soviet press over the past year in which officers claim they would not shoot on civilians, little or no such sentiment has been reported over the past two months. So long as draft enforcement does not burst into a shooting war, moreover, officers are unlikely to manifest active opposition. Finally, the central authorities can be expected to rely on elite troops--including those of the KGB and MVD--for the most onerous operations, again mitigating opposition within the officer corps at large. (Stephen Foye) IS COMPROMISE POSSIBLE? The latest Defense Ministry actions could be part of an effort by Gorbachev at forcing a compromise on independence-minded groups. Statements by army spokesmen yesterday indicated that fewer troops may be involved than was first thought, and the possibility exists that the original order--particularly as it was relayed by the Baltic Commander to Baltic leaders--was deliberately worded to sound as intimidating as possible. An arrangement may ultimately be fashioned whereby the relatively small number of draft-age youths in the most defiant republics are forcibly enlisted in the Red Army, but are then stationed near home in the hope of quieting the restive republics while allowing the Defense Ministry to save face. (Stephen Foye) TASS DENOUNCES FITZWATER STATEMENT. TASS commentator Dmitrii Yakubov said yesterday White House Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater's comments on the Baltic situation "can only be interpreted as an open attempt to interfere in the international affairs of the Soviet Union." Yakubov described Fitzwater's statement as a "manifestation of old-style thinking which members of the world community have already begun moving away from," TASS reported yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) CHURKIN ON SUMMIT, BALTIC. Soviet Foreign Ministery spokesman Vitalii Churkin told AP yesterday US-Soviet relations are not chilling. Concerning the Baltic situation, Churkin said: "The leadership must take some decisions that will be unpopular... If we want to go ahead with the political and economic changes in this country, we must have discipline and observance of law." Churkin's defense of the crackdown in the Baltic comes as a surprise. He is considered one of the closest political allies of Eduard Shevardnadze, who parted company with Gorbachev in anticipation of a military crackdown. (Suzanne Crow) SHIFT OF WEAPONS ADMITTED. Sovetskaya Rossiya admitted yesterday that the military had shifted weapons east of the Urals to remove them from cuts mandated by the recent CFE agreement. V. Litvov, identified as an economist, was quoted by Reuter yesterday as saying that "the military, trying somehow to repair the errors of diplomacy, organized the transfer beyond the Urals in the shortest possible time of thousands of tanks, weapons and other equipment--there at least they would not be destroyed." He accused the Foreign Ministry of hustling the military into an early treaty deadline, and said that the military might not have resented the cuts had the treaty signing been delayed. (Stephen Foye) BOBKOV ON GORBACHEV AND THE KGB. "The KGB understood very well, back in 1985, that the USSR would not be able to make further progress without perestroika," First Deputy KGB Chairman Philipp Bobkov told Nesavisimaya gazeta, (No. 2, 1991). The KGB supported Gorbachev then and it continues to support him now, added Bobkov. Bobkov (who may, by virtue of the fact that he was until 1985 head of the Fifth Main Administration [Ideological Subversion], be termed "the chief ideologue of the KGB") said live television coverage of the proceedings of the USSR Supreme Soviet had harmed Gorbachev's public image. (Victor Yasmann) YELTSIN HINTS AT RSFSR DEAL ON KURILES. Speaking in Moscow yesterday, Yeltsin said he would like the RSFSR to sign a peace treaty formally ending World War II with Japan without waiting for the USSR as a whole to do so. Yeltsin noted that the dispute over the Kurile Islands, part of the Russian Federation, is the main obstacle to signing such a peace treaty. He said an RSFSR-Japanese settlement would add dynamism to relations: "I don't think it would affect the authority of [Gorbachev] because now the sovereignty process is developing rapidly and leading to considerable growth in the role of the republics," Reuters reported. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV WRITES HUSSEIN. Soviet ambassador to Baghdad Viktor Posuvalyuk met January 8 with Saddam Hussein and delivered a message from the Soviet leadership. TASS said yesterday the message was "in keeping with the USSR's ongoing efforts toward ensuring a peaceful outcome to the crisis based on UN Security Council resolutions." Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko said at a briefing on January 8 that the chances for a peaceful solution to the Gulf crisis are "growing smaller and smaller," Reuters reported January 8. (Suzanne Crow) AEROFLOT SUSPENDS FLIGHTS TO BAGHDAD. An Aeroflot spokesman said yesterday the company was suspending its scheduled flights to Baghdad. Aeroflot was one of the last airlines to fly into the Iraqi capital, AFP said yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) AMBASSADORS EXCHANGED WITH GUATEMALA. The Soviet Union and Guatemala re-activated diplomatic relations on January 4 with the exchange of ambassadors. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1945 but were never activated through an exchange of missions, TASS reported yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS STUDENT STRIKE LEADER IN UKRAINE ARRESTED. The head of the Kiev organization of the Ukrainian Students' Union, Oles' Donii, one of the central figures in the October students' hunger strike that brought down the head of the Ukrainian government Vitalii Masol, was arrested on January 8, Radio Kiev reported yesterday. Donii has been charged with instigating the takeover of three Kiev State University buildings during the strike, according to AP. At a press conference yesterday, the Ukrainian Students' Union read a statement charging the Kiev prosecutor's office with launching a campaign against the students. (Roman Solchanyk) GEORGIAN SUPREME SOVIET REJECTS GORBACHEV DECREE. An extraordinary session of the Georgian Supreme Soviet yesterday unanimously rejected Gorbachev's decree of January 7 calling for the removal from South Ossetia of all armed units other than USSR interior ministry troops, TASS and Reuters reported. According to Georgian journalists, cited by Reuters, the resolution said any attempt to remove Georgian militia by force would be regarded as an "act of war" against Georgia. Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad Gamsakhurdia denied reports he had agreed to withdraw militia units from South Ossetia. Izvestia said mass meetings were held in Tbilisi and Gori protesting the Gorbachev decree. (Ann Sheehy) SITUATION IN SOUTH OSSETIA. According to TASS some units of the Georgian militia have been leaving the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali but their departure has been resisted by illegal armed formations. Radio Moscow reported that unofficial talks had taken place in Tskhinvali between representatives of the Ossetian population and leaders of the Georgian interior ministry. But there had been more shooting and the Ossetian population was refusing to give up its arms until the Georgian militia units were withdrawn. (Ann Sheehy) REACTIONS IN NORTH OSSETIA TO SOUTH OSSETIAN EVENTS. The lack of any links with South Ossetia where many North Ossetians have relatives, rumors of casualties in Tskhinvali, the intention of some young North Ossetians to go to South Ossetia to help their fellow-countrymen, and the need to provide constant food assistance to South Ossetia have greatly heightened tension in North Ossetia, TASS reported yesterday. Meetings took place yesterday in North Ossetia demanding unconditional implementation of Gorbachev's decree. (Ann Sheehy) MAGADAN OPENED TO TRAVELERS. Soviet and foreign citizens will no longer need special permits to visit the city of Magadan and most districts in the surrounding region (oblast), including Kolyma and Chukotka. The region, in the RSFSR's Far North-East, has been closed to visitors for decades. Under Stalin it was the site of several labor camps and sensitive military facilities. Radio Moscow said January 7 that the decision to open the region was made by the government of the RSFSR. (NCA) PROTESTS IN BARNAUL AGAINST PRICE HIKES. "Radio Rossiya" reported yesterday that a protest was held in Barnaul, the administrative center of Altai krai. Protestors demanded the resignation of the krai leadership and the recall of people's deputies elected from the region to soviets at all levels. On January 3, price increases for meat and some dairy products were introduced in Altai krai; the decision was taken by the presidium of the krai soviet. (Dawn Mann) MAKHKAMOV MEETS MUSLIM LEADERS. TASS reported yesterday that Tajik president Kakhar Makhkamov had met with a group of Muslim religious figures, including Tajikistan's highest-ranking Islamic clergyman, Imam-Khatib Akbar Turadzhonzoda, to discuss the needs of the faithful. Agreement was reached on declaring the two most important Muslim holidays to be days of rest, and on making possible the slaughtering of animals in accord with religious law. Makhkamov contrasted the "constructive" attitude of the delegation, which probably included only members of the official Muslim establishment, with the "confrontational" approach adopted by other groups--presumably those who consider themselves Wahhabis. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIAN PREMIER IN WASHINGTON. Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc, on a private visit to the US, was received by National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft yesterday at the White House. RFE/RL correspondents reported yesterday that Druc's meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger (see yesterday's Daily Report) was unusually long (90 minutes) and covered political developments in the USSR and Moldavia and possible US agricultural cooperation with Moldavia and other Soviet republics. Druc said the main purpose of his visit to the US was to establish contact with American businessmen. (Vladimir Socor) GAGAUZ TAKE CANDID STAND ON IMPERIAL SUCCESSION. The Supreme Soviet of the would-be Gagauz SSR appealed yesterday to the "USSR as the legal successor of the Russian state" to "defend the legal interests of the Gagauz under contemporary conditions." The appeal, carried by TASS, pointed out that the Gagauz were settled in their present territory by the Russian empire, chastised Moldavia for not complying with Gorbachev's demand that it rescind its condemnation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia, and asked Ukraine--the only Soviet republic contiguous to the Gagauz area of Moldavia--to cooperate economically with the would-be republic. (Vladimir Socor) LIGACHEV DENIES SUPERSTAR ROLE. In an angry interview with Argumenty i fakty (No. 52, 1990), former Politburo member Egor Ligachev denies a story that appeared in Moskovskie novosti (No. 51, 1990). Moskovskie novosti alleged that the screen rights to Ligachev's memoirs had been acquired by a Hollywood film studio, and that Sylvester Stallone was tipped to play the leading role. Ligachev told Argumenty i fakty he is indeed hard at work on his memoirs, due to appear in the spring, but denied there are any plans to turn them into a Hollywood movie. (Elizabeth Teague)
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