Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 8, 11 January 1991



Mikhail Gorbachev sent an "appeal" to the Supreme Soviet of the
Lithuanian SSR that was immediately released by TASS and read
over Soviet television. It declared that the situation in Lithuania
had reached a "dead end" and that the Lithuanian leaders had
approved "gross violations" of the Soviet and Lithuanian Constitutions
and were attempting the "reestablishment of a bourgeois regime
contradicting the interests of the people." Gorbachev called
for the immediate revocation of all acts that were in opposition
to the Soviet Constitution. (Saulius Girnius)

TROOPS TAKE OVER PRESS BUILDING. This morning the Deputy Chairman
the Lithuanian Supreme Council announced over Radio Vilnius that
Soviet troops had taken over the press center and several other
buildings. He said a foreign correspondent who was filming tanks
on Putnios Street was beaten up. Later reports by radio correspondents
noted that the military used force to break into the press center
and one of the warning shots fired into the air struck a worker.
The workers were forced to leave the building so newspapers are
unlikely to appear. Another military group broke into the National
Defense Department and took it over. The radio was issued appeals
to the people to gather around important buildings and not provoke
any incidents. (Saulius Girnius)

PRO-MOSCOW ACTIVITIES. Secretary of the Lithuanian Communist
Party Vladislav Shved told a press conference on January 10 that
workers in key industries, including the railways, the airport,
and some large factories would strike today, Reuters reported.
(Saulius Girnius)

NEW PRIME MINISTER ELECTED. On January 10 the Lithuanian Supreme
Soviet session (broadcast live over Radio Vilnius) approved Landsbergis'
nomination of deputy Albertas Simenas for prime minister by a
vote of 78 to 1 with 29 abstentions. The 40 year old Simenas,
a senior researcher at the Economics Institute, was elected to
the parliament in February from the Druskininkai district and
was appointed to its Economics Commission. Simenas is a member
of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party. Simenas told parliament
he would devote more attention to domestic problems than his
predecessor Kazimiera Prunskiene. (Saulius Girnius)

in London on January 10 Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski
said that Poland hoped to open a consulate in Vilnius, re-open
an old railroad link, and lay a communications cable between
Warsaw and Vilnius. (NCA/ Saulius Girnius)

LATVIANS REACT TO GORBACHEV'S ORDER. Radio Riga announced yesterday
evening that, in response to Gorbachev's "appeal" on Lithuania
to conform to Soviet law, Latvia has decided to downgrade its
delegation to Moscow. Instead of Anatolijs Gorbunovs, chairman
of the Supreme Council and Prime Minister Godmanis, Latvia sent
Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers and Deputy Juris Dobelis
to talk with USSR Minister of Defense Dmitrii Yazov about Moscow's
threat to bring additional airborne forces to Latvia to enforce
conscription into the USSR armed forces. This may be interpreted
as a precautionary move to assure that the top leadership is
in Riga should an emergency arise. (Dzintra Bungs)

10,000 predominantly non-Latvian demonstrators gathered in front
of the Council of Ministers headquarters in Riga to manifest
their discontent with the government and to call for its resignation.
They demanded to talk with Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis but,
when he appeared, they refused to let him address them; shortly
thereafter, they dispersed. Some demonstrators tried to storm
the Council of Ministers headquarters, but were prevented by
militia. Though there were some minor scuffles, the demonstration
could be described as "noisy, but peaceful," according to Radio
Riga of January 10. (Dzintra Bungs)

Soviet troops continue to apprehend suspected draft dodgers in
Latvia, despite assurances given by Colonel General Fedor Kuz'min,
commander of the Baltic Military District, that this would start
only after January 13. Radio Riga reported on January 10 about
the troops' (largely unsuccessful) efforts in Riga and Talsi.
In Talsi they detained a girl; she was released after her mother
arrived at the war commissariat with her passport. (Dzintra Bungs)

POPULAR FRONT PREPARES. The Estonian Popular Front called on
citizens yesterday to make ready for siege-like conditions, ETA
reported. The statement urges citizens to prepare to document
hostile deeds of the Soviet military with photos, notes and videotape,
to hide copying machines, and to establish alternate modes of
communication. Although the Popular Front statement may have
been intended to nudge the population into thinking realistically
about martial law, it appears to have heightened tensions in
an already jittery public. (Riina Kionka)

REACTION IN WASHINGTON... State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher said yesterday that the US is watching the Baltic situation
closely, and hopes the Soviet government isn't moving away from
the philosophy and attitudes it has held for more than 18 months.
On Capital Hill, 24 Congressional representatives have signed
a letter to President Bush asking that the Baltic issue be a
priority at the US-Soviet summit set for February. (NCA/Riina

...AND ELSEWHERE. The European Community called on the USSR yesterday
to avoid "all acts of intimidation" in the Baltics, and called
for immediate talks to satisfy the "legitimate aspirations" of
the Baltic peoples. Expressions of concern Bame also from Canada's
Minister for External Affairs, pBrliamentary deputies in France
who called for an urgent meeting of the National Assembly's Foreign
Affairs Committee, and the parliament of Czechoslovakia. (NCA/Riina

FINNISH REACTION. Finnish President Mauno Koivisto told AP yesterday
Finland should not give economic aid to the Baltic states since
such assistance could be viewed as support for the political
goals of those states and Finland must guard its own interests.
On January 8, at the Baltic Sea conference, Finnish parliament
chairman Kalevi Sorsa cut off debate at the afternoon plenary
session when speakers took the podium to condemn Moscow's troop
deployment, yesterday's Rahva Haal reported. Last week, Finnish
Prime Minister Harri Holkeri told his visiting Estonian counterpart
Edgar Savisaar that Finland could not support a plan for Iceland
to mediate between Moscow and the Baltic states, AP reported.
(Riina Kionka)


"MILITARY COMPLEX AGAINST REFORM." Georgii Arbatov, formerly
a key advisor to Gorbachev, said in Izvestia yesterday that the
military-industrial complex was fighting reform and putting the
reform process in dire danger, Reuter reported. Arbatov said
that democratisation and the well-being of the people are incompatible
with militarism, and charged that Soviet defense spending was
far too high given the Soviet Union's domestic and international
situation. (Stephen Foye)

"VZGLYAD" IS BANNED. Petr Reshetov, deputy chairman of the USSR
State Committee for Radio and Television, has signed an order
suspending for an unspecified length of time the production and
broadcast of the Soviet Union's most popular TV show, "Vzglyad."
One of "Vzglyad's" moderators, Aleksandr Politkovsky, revealed
this fact to Radio Liberty's Russian Service yesterday. According
to the available estimates, the weekly program used to be watched
up 100 million viewers, but the December 28 and January 4 editions
"Vzglyad" were banned because the editors intended to discuss
the resignation of USSR Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

KGB BUDGET. The draft of the Soviet national budget calls for
a 4,900-miliion-ruble allocation for the KGB budget. According
to Central televison, January 9, more than half this amount is
for maintaining the KGB Border Troops. The officially published
figure is unlikely, however, to represent real KGB spending.
Many items in the KGB budget, especially those relating to political
surviellance, are hidden in the budget of the other ministries,
such as the Ministry of Communications. (NCA/Victor Yasmann)

MILITARY BUDGET DEBATE A STAND-OFF. Following intense debate
the USSR Supreme Soviet yesterday was unable to reach agreement
on a military budget figure for 1991, TASS reported. The report
said that representatives of the defense complex categorically
refused to countenance further reductions in defense appropriations.
Chairman of the USSR State Commission for Military Industrial
Questions Igor' Belousov called for approval of the government's
proposed 98.6 billion ruble budget--a hike of some 25 billion
rubles over last year's budget. A representative of the Supreme
Soviet State Security Committee, Yurii Samsonov, requested 99.9
billion rubles. (Stephen Foye)

economic adviser, Nikolai Petrakov, agrees with Shevardnadze
that there are clear signs of a move to right in official Soviet
policy. Interviewed by Trud December 27, Petrakov said the rise
to power of the opponents of reform would mean not "a temporary
retreat" but the total defeat of the liberal forces. Such a defeat,
Petrakov adds, would last a long time, "not just one year or
even five years." Those who are calling for a suspension of the
reform process so that there can be a "restoration of elementary
order," Petrakov argues, should remember that the reforms themselves
were necessitated by the total collapse of what he terms the
"feudal serfdom" means of maintaining law and order. (Julia Wishnevsky)

USSR People's Deputies is split over the new Union treaty, according
to Kommersant (No. 48, 1990). At a meeting of the Group on December
13 and 14, its co-chairman Yurii Afanas'ev accused another co-chairman,
Boris Yeltsin, of "great Russian chauvinism" because the second
session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies agreed in
principle to sign the new Union treaty. The Group called instead
for the signing of temporary agreements between various republics
for the period of the transition from the Soviet federation to
a union of sovereign states. (Julia Wishnevsky)

(December 29) reported a meeting held two days earlier in the
USSR Union of Cinema Workers. Many participants voiced their
strong opposition to the attack on democracy launched at the
last session of USSR Congress of People's Deputies. The speakers
condemned recent developments in the USSR as the revival of the
"administrative-command system." The newly-elected soviets, participants
argued, have shown themselves incapable of exercising their powers
to implement the necessary political and economical changes.
History repeats itself: in 1988, this union was the only body
that formally protested the publication of Nina Andreeva's letter.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

Bank plans to extend loan guarantees and insurance to American
companies that export goods to the Soviet Union. The move is
intended to remove a competitive disadvantage for US exporters.
The bank will only guarantee and insure exports up to 50 million
dollars per sale because of restrictions on its loan exposure
to the USSR. That should not be a difficult restriction for exporters
to work around, and the move should boost exports to the USSR
significantly. (NCA/John Tedstrom)

CONSCRIPTS TO WORK ON MOSCOW METRO. Helping to fill a manpower
shortage, one thousand Soviet conscripts will be ordered to perform
their military service as workers in the Moscow metro system,
the Interfax News Agency reported yesterday. According to an
AFP account, the decision was taken by Russian Federation Supreme
Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin and Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii
Yazov. There are currently 5,000 vacant jobs in the metro, the
report said, and metro employees threatened to strike earlier
this month because of poor working conditions and pay. (Stephen

SHEVARDNADZE ON BALTIC DEPLOYMENTS... In an interview with Christian
Science Monitor television on January 9, Soviet Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze said he did not consider the deployments
in the Baltic states were evidence of dictatorship which he had
warned of in his resignation speech. "I can't say this is the
display of some kind of dictatorship. This is a simple desire
to introduce order, because it's impossible to live under conditions
of chaos and anarchy. It's chaos and anarchy that can lead to
dictatorship." AP carried exerpts of the interview yesterday.
(Suzanne Crow)

...IMPLIES HE MIGHT STAY? Shevardnadze and his aides have insisted
since December 20 that his resignation is final. However one
statement at the end of his interview with CSM television makes
Shevarndadze's resignation seem less than certain. "It's most
important now to solve this question -- whether to relieve me
of my duties and then, not as important a question, what will
I do next," Reuters reported yesterday. While it is true that
the Supreme Soviet must "approve" Shevardnadze's resignation
and successor, it has never seemed likely that the legislature
would be able to force force him to stay. (Suzanne Crow)

SHEVARNDADZE ON SUMMIT. In the same CSM television intervew,
Shevardnadze urged the United States and Soviet Union to go ahead
with their planned summit in February for the sake of US-Soviet
relations and the world because "we need to calm people down."
Shevardnadze said there is no reason to postpone the meeting
"unless things get complicated in the Gulf." Shevardnadze said
the US and Soviet Union could hold a separate meeting to iron
out some of the hitches in the START talks if necessary, Reuters
said yesterday. (Suzanne Crow)

NOMINATION OF FOREIGN MINISTER. According to an unnamed Soviet
diplomat quoted by Reuters yesterday, Gorbachev will name a new
candidate for foreign minister at the earliest tomorrow or at
latest by January 15 when the Supreme Soviet session is due to
end. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET REACTION TO GULF TALKS. The Soviet Union voiced its regret
yesterday at the failure of Baker and Aziz to reach a peaceful
settlement to the Gulf crisis. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Vitalii Churkin noted that Baker had contacted Shevardnadze by
telephone to inform him of the results of the meeting: Shevardnadze
stressed that Moscow's cooperation with the United States continues.
Meanwhile, Anatolii Filov, a foreign ministry expert on the Middle
East and North Africa, met Yassar Arafat yesterday. Churkin said,
"The Soviet side attached great importance to the possibilities
that the Palestinians have of exerting a positive influence on
the position of the Iraqi leadership," TASS reported yesterday.
(Suzanne Crow)

290 SOVIET CITIZENS REMAIN IN IRAQ. The Soviet foreign ministry
said yesterday 290 Soviet citizens will remain in Iraq to ensure
the operation of Soviet institutions there, TASS reported. Of
them, 151 are specialists whose duty it is to preserve Soviet
equipment. The Foreign Ministry did not elaborate on the duties
of the specialists, but said the citizens are living in a safe
part of the country, far from military and industrial installations.
The foreign ministry said yesterday that the Soviet mission in
Baghdad would be pared down to a minimum. (Suzanne Crow)

Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said yesterday the Conventional Forces
in Europe treaty is "good," "necessary" and "should be ratified."
His statement was likely meant to counter arguments in Sovetskaya
rossiya (January 9) saying the treaty gives an advantage to NATO,
AP reported yesterday. (Suzanne Crow)


by TASS on January 9, the RSFSR ministry of foreign affairs documented
its recommendations for Soviet foreign policy. The document calls
for the continuation of new thinking in Soviet foreign policy,
the improvement of relations with Germany and ratification of
treaties related to unification, and no deployment of Soviet
troops in the Persian Gulf. Publication may have been intended
to put down rumors circulating abroad about a potential shift
in Soviet foreign policy. (Suzanne Crow)

interview carried by Novosti yesterday, the chairman of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk said he thought most republics,
including even Georgia, would sign the emergency economic stabilization
for 1991 due to be finalized at a meeting of the Federation Council
tomorrow. The Baltic republics, he said, were not in principle
against the agreement but want to sign it on an inter-state basis--to
which Gorbachev is hardly likely to agree. Those who did not
sign, Kravchuk suggested, would not have the right to receive
anything. (Ann Sheehy)

Minister Pavlov said in the USSR Supreme Soviet that by agreement
between the Union and all the republics all tied foreign loans
being accepted today are being accepted with the agreement of
the republics and correspondingly being shared between the republics,
having in view that in future the republics themselves will take
on this indebtedness and the paying off of these debts, Moscow
radio reported yesterday. (Ann Sheehy)

chairman of the Tatarstan Supreme Soviet, said in Izvestia yesterday
that he was sure the republic would give full support to the
Union treaty in the forthcoming referendum. He insisted that
Tatarstan must sign the treaty as a fully-fledged member of the
Union without obtaining the agreement of the RSFSR. Relations
with the latter should be based on a bilateral treaty, in Shaimiev's
view. All property in Tataria, with the exception of that specified
in the Union treaty, should be the property of the Tatar SSR.
(Ann Sheehy)

held at the Ukrainian Writers' Union yesterday, lawyers for Ukrainian
people's deputy Stepan Khmara announced that the prosecutor's
office has formally charged the parliamentarian, Radio Kiev reported
yesterday. Last night Central Television's "TSN" news program
informed viewers that Khmara has been charged according to seven
articles of the criminal code. Khmara was arrested on November
17 in the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet for allegedly assaulting a
militia colonel on Revolution Day in Kiev. (Roman Solchanyk)

January 9 that a draft law on entrepreneurship has been submitted
for public discussion in Uzbekistan. According to it, any citizen
may open a business, as may foreigners. Owners of businesses
wil have the right to hire and fire employees, and freely dispose
of profits remaining after taxes are paid. No limit will be placed
on personal income. According to TASS, the authors of the draft
have sought to exclude any possibility of interference by the
authorities in the functioning of private firms. Private owners
will also be allowed to conduct business directly with foreign
partners, and the state will be forbidden to confiscate their
convertible currency earnings. (Bess Brown)

US ECONOMIST TO ASSIST KAZAKHSTAN. Radio Moscow reported yesterday
that Chan Young Bang, a professor of economics at the University
of San Francisco, has been offered the vice-chairmanship of a
Committee of Economic Experts that has been set up in Kazakhstan
to help rescue the republic from its economic crisis. Bang, described
by TASS as a specialist on market relations, helped lay the groundwork
for the South Korean economic miracle, which political leaders
and intellectuals in Kazakhstan hope to replicate in their own
republic. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev recently visited
South Korea in a quest for trade partners and economic know-how.
(Bess Brown)

AZERI RECRUITS PROTEST. Sixty-two newly drafted soldiers of Azerbaijani
nationality, protesting against being stationed so far from home,
left their units and occupied a train in the Southern Urals town
of Zlatoust, TASS reported yesterday. Attempts by commanding
officers to persuade them to return to their units failed initially,
but the protestors reportedly gave up after being told that their
actions were illegal and receiving a written assurance that their
demands would be examined. TASS did not say when the incident
took place. (NCA/Stephen Foye)

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

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook

1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver


News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole