If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 10, 15 January 1991



BALTIC STATES







EVENTS IN LITHUANIA TODAY. At today's session of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council, President Vytautas Landsbergis said that despite
Gorbachev's assurances that health officials could inspect the
buildings seized by the army to search for further casualties,
the military refused to allow them to inspect the upper floors
of the television tower. Landsbergis cited rumors that some workers
may have succeeded in barricading themselves there. The military
has also been shipping out equipment from the television buildings.
His deputy Kazimieras Motieka told the parliament that Generals
Uskhopchik and Varennikov told him at their meeting yesterday
that the army had not issued any curfew in Lithuania. When Motieka
mentioned that military vehicles were driving through Vilnius
broadcasting the curfew, Uskhopchik said that this could only
help keep the situation quiet. (Saulius Girnius)

SOVIETS SEIZE RADIO TRANSMITTER IN VILNIUS. On January 14 Soviet
troops in Vilnius seized a radio transmitter station, called
Tochka, and evicted the employees, Reuter reported that day.
The soldiers also confiscated equipment from two Western television
cameramen. The seizure of the relay station was a clear violation
of the pledge by the military not to take over any more buildings
in Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius)

POLISH PARLIAMENTARIANS IN LITHUANIA. PAP reported yesterday
that sejm deputies Adam Michnik and Krzystof Dowgiallo and Senator
Andrzej Celinski travelled to Vilnius. Speaking at the session
of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, Michnik said that the latest
developments in Vilnius were a tragedy for the whole of post-Communist
Europe. (Saulius Girnius)

IGNALINA WORKERS CALL OFF THREATENED STRIKE. Workers at the atomic
power plant at Ignalina yesterday announced that they were calling
off a strike which would have begun tomorrow, the RFE Lithuanian
Service reported on January 14. They condemned the Soviet military
action against civilians at the television tower on January 12
and expressed condolences for the dead. (Saulius Girnius)

GENERAL VARENNIKOV ARRIVES IN LITHUANIA. The Commander of Soviet
Ground Forces General Valentin Varennikov arrived in Vilnius
last night to take charge of military operations in Lithuania,
The Washington Post reported today. Varennikov was active in
Soviet army activities in Afghanistan and last month signed an
appeal to Gorbachev to impose presidential rule in troubled areas.
He apparently will take charge from Commander of the Vilnius
military garrison Major General Vladimir Uskhopchik, who is alleged
to have ordered the attack on the Vilnius television tower unilaterally
without orders from Gorbachev and Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii
Yazov. (Saulius Girnius)

NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE CALLS FOR PRESIDENTIAL RULE. Ideology
chief of the Lithuanian Communist Party Juozas Jermalavicius,
who has been acting as the spokesman of the Lithuanian National
Salvation Committee, yesterday called for the rapid introduction
of presidential rule in Lithuania, The Boston Globe reported
today. Jermalavicius said that he had sent a message to RSFSR
leader Boris Yeltsin saying that the committee could not guarantee
his security if he came to Vilnius. The membership of the committee
has never been revealed and Jermalavicius said that he received
its documents "by courier."" (Saulius Girnius)

GORBACHEV ON TALK WITH LANDSBERGIS. President Gorbachev told
the USSR Supreme Soviet yesterday that his telephone talk with
Landsbergis had been "very unproductive," TASS reported. He added
that it would be very hard "to find ways to conduct dialogue
at a time when the republic is led by such people." (Saulius
Girnius)

LATVIAN SUPREME COUNCIL REVOKES ITS NOVEMBER 14 DECISION. Chairman
of the Supreme Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs announced on Radio
Riga this morning that the deputies had just decided to revoke
its decision of November 14. This step was taken in an effort
to defuse the mounting tensions in Latvia and in view of the
ongoing talks with the Soviet military. The November 14 decision
called on municipalities to halt supplies and social services
to the USSR troops stationed in Latvia; stated that the MVD special
units, nicknamed "Black Berets," can no longer function as law
enforcers in Latvia; and called for the establishment of a special
commission to review the status of CPSU institutions in Latvia.
(Dzintra Bungs)

BALTIC MILITARY DISTRICT COMMANDER THREATENS LATVIA. Yesterday,
at a meeting of various social and political organizations in
Latvia, Colonel General Fedor Kuzmin demanded that the Latvian
government and Supreme Council submit to Soviet authority, by
adhering to the USSR and Latvian SSR Constitutions; he demanded
also that the Latvian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Customs
be disarmed. Kuzmin threatened to use force to implement these
demands. These demands, in effect, subverted the conciliation
meeting of various political forces in Latvia that was initiated
by Anatolijs Gorbunovs, according to Reuters and Radio Riga of
January 14.(Dzintra Bungs)

APPEAL TO USSR REPUBLICS TO MONITOR EVENTS IN LATVIA. The Latvian
Council of Ministers sent a telegram, signed by Prime Minister
Ivars Godmanis, to its counterparts in the USSR Bepublics and
to their Supreme Soviets. The Latvians asked tBat observers be
sent to Latvia. Concerned over yesterday's threat by the Baltic
Military district commander to remove by force the government
and Supreme Council, the Latvians said that they want to prevent
a recurrence in Latvia of the reBent events in Lithuania, reported
Radio Riga on January 15.B

"BLACK BERETS" ATTACK MILITIA, SEIZE POLICE ACADEMY. AccoBding
to Radio Riga of January 14 and 15, yesterday the "Black Berets"
tried to disar the militia station in the VecmiBgravis section
of Riga and roughed up several officers there. They also attacked
truck drivers and damaged their vehiclBs which were parked near
bridges in order to hamper a possible Soviet army attack on Riga.
Today, at around 2 AM local time, the "Black Berets" seized a
police academy on the outskirts of Riga, seized all weapons,
beat up two officers there, OBd then left the site. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIAN COMMUNISTS DEMAND SALVATION COMMITTEE TO TAKE CONTROL.
At its plenum on January 14, the Latvian Communist Party criticized
the situation in the republic and demanded the suspension of
the Latvian government. At a meeting with Gorbunovs later that
day, LCP Secretary Ojars Potreki threatened to lead strikes against
the government. A mass meeting of the anti-government forces
is to take place at the ASK Stadium this afternoon, reported
Radio Riga and TASS on January 14 and 15. Addressing the people
of Latvia this morning on Radio Riga, Gorbunovs asked Latvians
continue to act with restraint and avoid situations that could
provoke a confrontation. (Dzintra Bungs)

JANUARY 16: DAY OF MOURNING AND SOLIDARITY WITH LITHUANIA. The
Latvian Supreme Council declared January 16 a day of mourning
for those who had lost their lives as a consequence of the Soviet
military aggression against Lithuania and solidarity with Lithuanian
aspirations of freedom and independence, reported Radio Riga
on January 14. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN MEETING WITH YAZOV AND MOISEEV. According to Radio Riga
of January 12, a Latvian delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister
Ilmars Bisers, met with USSR Secretary of Defense Dmitrii Yazov
and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Army General Mikhail Moiseev
on January 11 in Moscow to discuss the problems concerning Soviet
troops in Latvia. There was considerable discussion over the
alternative service that was instituted in Latvia last year.
Yazov wanted this abolished, while the Latvians want to maintain
it and protect the men now doing alternative service from being
pressed into the USSR armed forces. Yazov reiterated that no
additional airborne forces would be sent to Latvia in the foreseeable
future. (Dzintra Bungs)

NO FORCE OBR ESTONIA. A Soviet military delegation assured Estonian
officials yesterday that force will not be used to enforce thB
draft, Estonian Radio reported last night. Estonia's delegation,
led by Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and President Arnold Ruutel,
met yesterday with a delegation headed by GeBeral Staff Deputy
Chief Col.Gen. Grigorii Krivosheev. The two sides agreed that
draftees from Estonia may serve in Btheir home republic after
a short training period in Latvia, that Estonia's parliament
would discuss how local and republic-level government bodies
could help enforce the draft, and that soldiers who have left
their current military units may serve out their remaining time
in Estonia without punishment. (Riina Kionka)

COMMUNISTS ISSUE ULTIMATUM. Pro-Moscow Communists in the Estonian
Supreme Council yesterday demanded the resignation of the government
and the dissolution of the parliament, the Estonian Foreign Ministry
reported. The Moscow-loyalist deputies complained of price hikes
and tax laws, and accused Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar's government
of acting against popular interests. The deputies issued an ultimatum,
saying they will resort to "other means" if their demands are
not met. Supporters of the group also distributed the ultimatum
text yesterday in Tallinn. (Riina Kionka)

PRO-MOSCOW RALLY TODAY. Moscow loyalists will gather today in
Tallinn for a major demonstration, the Estonian media report.
Flyers advertising the demonstration have been distributed in
Tallinn since last Friday, and the conservative Russian nationalist
Intermovement radio station "Nadezhda" (Hope) has broadcast continuing
appeals for attendance, ETA reported. The meeting is billed as
a protest of recent price hikes, but seems likely to become a
rally against Estonia's government and parliament. The demonstration
promises to be large--Estonian Radio reports that busloads of
participants from the Leningrad oblast having been arriving in
Tallinn since Sunday. (Riina Kionka)

DEMONSTRATIONS IN ESTONIA. Mourners gathered for demonstrations
throughout Estonia yesterday, Estonian Radio reported. The Popular
Front organized meetings in Tallinn, Johvi, Parnu, Tartu and
many other Estonian cities to mourn the casulaties of last weekend's
crackdown in Lithuania and to protest the Soviet use of military
force. A three-day official mourning period continues. (Riina
Kionka)

THREE PLUS TWO GROUP MEETS AGAIN. Representatives of the Estonian
and Latvian citizens movements and the three Baltic parliaments--known
as the Three Plus Two talks--have called for help in protecting
the Baltic independence drive, Paevaleht reported on January
13. The Three Plus Two group, meeting in Tallinn on January 12,
issued a joint appeal to all citizens and oppressed peoples of
the USSR to "Say 'No' to the criminal Stalinist legacy in domestic
and foreign policy." (Riina Kionka)

MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT BACKS LITHUANIA. In a statement adopted
unanimously yesterday, the Moldavian Supreme Soviet Presidium
termed Moscow's actions in Lithuania a "military intervention"
and "a crude attempt against the independence of the Lithuanian
state and the aspirations of other republics toward sovereignty
and independence". The Presidium "condemned the anti-constitutional
actions of the USSR leadership which bears the responsibility
for the murder of innocent people". The Presidium demanded an
immediate investigation by "neutral parties" to determine the
responsibility for the use of force. (Vladimir Socor).

MOLDAVIAN DELEGATION TO VILNIUS. At the same session, the Moldavian
Supreme Soviet Presidium sent a four-member delegation to Vilnius
with the mandate to express the Moldavian people's support for
Lithuania and to liaise with the Supreme Council and President
Landsbergis. (Vladimir Socor).

BELORUSSIAN DEPUTIES DECRY VILNIUS TRAGEDY. Protest meetings
were held January 13 throughout Minsk and additional rallies
are scheduled for this week, RFE-RL's Belorussian service has
learned. Twelve people's deputies of Belorussia have signed a
statement to Gorbachev and to Lithuanian president Landsbergis
inOBhich they condemn the military intervention and express support
for the Lithuanian people. The statement calls on Gorbachev to
pull out all troops from the Baltic states, negotiate with the
legitimate governments of those republics, bring those responsible
for the bloodbath to justice, and recognize de facto and de jure
the sovereignty of all Soviet republics. (Kathy Mihalisko)

BELORUSSIAN POLITICAL PARTIES PASS RESOLUTION ON LITHUANIA. The
RFE-RL Belorussian service has also learned that on January 14,
the organizing committee of the Republican Party, the United
Democratic Party of Belorussia, and the Minsk chapter of the
Belorussian Popular Front passed a resolution on Soviet actions
in Lithuania. Zyanon Paznyak, chairman of the Popular Front,
said in an interview that the Soviet Union's criminal act will
guarantee rather than thwart Lithuania's freedom. The republican
Supreme Soviet is expected to discuss the Lithuanian situation
when it meets today. (Kathy Mihalisko)

NOTE ON NIKOLAI DEMENTEI. Belorussian Supreme Soviet chairman
Nikolai Dementei is one of the three members of the Council of
the Federation dispatched by Gorbachev to Lithuania. Dementei
was already chairman when, in March, 1990, the Presidium of the
republican Supreme Soviet resolved to press territorial claims
against Lithuania if the latter did not recognize its post-1939
status. Both the first secretary and secretary of the pro-Moscow
Lithuanian CP, which seems to be positioning itself to seize
power in Lithuania, were invited guests at last month's 31st
Congress of the Belorussian CP. (Kathy Mihalisko)

ESTONIA, RUSSIA SIGN BILATERAL AGREEMENT. The Republic of Estonia
and the RSFSR signed an economic-political agreement on January
12, the Estonian Foreign Ministry reported that day. Under the
terms of the agreement, the two parties recognize each other's
sovereignty. The agreement, under negotiation since last summer,
is the first such treaty between the Russian Federation and a
Baltic state. It has been followed by a similar agreement between
Latvia and the RSFSR (see below). (Riina Kionka)



LATVIAN-RSFSR ACCORD SIGNED. Radio Riga reported on January 14
that the Latvian and RSFSR heads of state, Anatolijs Gorbunovs
and Boris Yeltsin, have signed an agreement of cooperation between
the two republics. Initial reports indicate that this was a political
agreement that recognizes the sovereignty of each signatory state
and would be effective for 10 years. The agreement was endorsed
in Tallinn on January 13. (Dzintra Bungs)



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV DENIES RESPONSIBILITY. Gorbachev claimed to have learned
of Sunday's tragic events in Lithuania only after they had happened,
and laid responsibility for the attack on the local military
commander. His comments were echoed by the Defense Minister and
MVD Chief, both of whom denied that the order to attack had originated
in Moscow. Gorbachev's denial strains credulity, however, even
if the harshness of the assault exceeded his wishes. Gorbachev
stands at the top of four hierarchies--the Army, KGB, MVD, and
CPSU--involved in planning the operation. Furthermore, by his
own actions over the past year he has created both the institutions
and the climate that made the attack possible. (Stephen Foye)


YELTSIN DENOUNCES BALTIC INTERVENTION. RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman
Boris Yeltsin told a press conference in Moscow yesterday that
the crackdown in the Baltics was only the first step in "a powerful
offensive" against democracy throughout the USSR. He said the
RSFSR would remain vigilant for any similar attempts to undermine
its sovereignty. He also said events in the Baltic states had
dealt a severe blow to the possibility of adopting Gorbachev's
proposed new Union treaty. (NCA)

YELTSIN'S STATURE INCREASED. Yeltsin's press conference was given
good coverage on "Vremya" last night. Present in the audience,
along with journalists, were top-ranking RSFSR people's deputies.
Yeltsin's bearing was forceful but dignified. By contrast with
an interview with Gorbachev shown earlier on "Vremya," in which
a harassed looking Gorbachev angrily denied prior knowledge of
the Lithuanian crackdown, Yeltsin appeared statesmanlike. Along
with democratic movements such as "Democratic Russia," which
have sunk their differences in response to the Baltic events,
Yeltsin seems set to emerge from the tragic events of the past
week with his stature enhanced. The new "Radio Rossiya" has also
come into its own as the voice of the USSR's democratic opposition.
(Elizabeth Teague)



PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED. The USSR Supreme Soviet yesterday approved
Gorbachev's nomination of Valentin Pavlov to replace the hospitalized
Nikolai Ryzhkov as USSR prime minister. The appointment does
not inspire hope that Gorbachev's leadership is planning to move
ahead with a market-oriented reform any time soon. Even more
than Ryzhkov, Pavlov is a child of the "command-administrative
system." A Russian born in 1937, he has in the course of his
career worked for all the big players in this system: Gosplan
(the central planning body), Minfin (Ministry of Finance) and
Goskomtsen (State Committee for Prices). At the end of last year,
Moskovskie novosti (No. 46, 1990) ran an expose on the potential
conflict of interest created when Pavlov, then USSR minister
of finance, became chairman of the publishing consortium Delovoi
mir (Business World). (Elizabeth Teague)



BESSMERTNYKH ELECTED AS FOREIGN MINISTER. The Supreme Soviet
today elected Aleksandr A. Bessmertnykh by an overwhelming majority,
TASS reported. Currently ambassador to the United States, Bessmertnykh
should be a welcome nominee from the West's point of view. He
has served as a diplomat in the United States (including UN postings)
for nearly 20 of his 57 years. Bessmertnykh is well-versed in
arms control, speaks flawless English, and is an expert at using
back channel diplomacy. Bessmertnykh's appointment may help to
calm Western fears that Soviet foreign policy might veer to the
right. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV: KIND WORDS FOR SHEVARDNADZE. In his appointment of
Bessmertnykh, Gorbachev dwelt on the work of Shevardnadze. "I
think that Comrade Shevardnadze justified my hopes and made a
great contribution to the huge task of transforming our foreign
policy, which had an impact not only in our country, in our internal
processes, but most of all, it had a constructive influence on
the entire international situation," TASS reported. (Suzanne
Crow)

TODAY VILNIUS, TOMORROW MOSCOW? RSFSR deputy Viktor Mironov predicted
at Yeltsin's press conference yesterday that the Lithuania scenario
will be repeated in Moscow within a few days. Citing unnamed
KGB employees, Mironov claimed that an RSFSR "Committee for National
Salvation" has already been formed and that protests against
the activities of the RSFSR soviets are due to start on January
16. Mironov asked Yeltsin what he was going to do to safeguard
RSFSR institutions. In response, Yeltsin cited the need to set
up a republican KGB and a Russian republican army. (Russian BD/Julia
Wishnevsky)

MILITARY REFORM PLAN PUBLISHED. On January 11 the military press
published the Defense Ministry's draft plan for military reform,
TASS reported. According to Deputy Chief of the General Staff,
Colonel General Grigorii Krivosheev, the plan significantly increases
republican control over defense matters, including questions
connected with organizing, deploying, and funding the armed forces.
The establishment of national formations are apparently ruled
out, however. Krivosheev stated that the plan called for a multinational
"cadres army" based on the principle of extraterritoriality.
He said the plan would be submitted to the USSR Supreme Soviet
and also to the Union republics. (Stephen Foye)

NEW DRAFT AND SERVICE REGULATIONS. A top Defense Ministry spokesman
yesterday explained to TASS changes in draft and service regulations
envisioned in the Ministry's recently published draft reform
plan. According to Major General Leonid Ivashov, conscription
will continue, though the proportion of soldiers serving voluntarily
by contract will be raised. Additional draft deferments will
be allowed, however, including for those draftees who have a
child under three years of age, those serving as people's deputies,
and those whose family has a mean income beneath the local poverty
level. Alternative service for religious reasons will also be
introduced. (Stephen Foye)

EXTERNAL INDEBTEDNESS FOR 1991. During the course of the USSR
Supreme Soviet debate on the plan and budget for 1991, Valentin
Pavlov proposed a ceiling of 39 billion rubles for the USSR's
foreign indebtedness in 1991. When asked whether these were hard-currency
rubles, Pavlov replied that the figure was based on three exchange
rates: "the multiplicity of rates is not ideal; the idea is not
ours but is established practice" (Moscow TV, January 10). It
is thought that the debt ceiling target for 1991 will be equivalent
to some $65 billion, compared with a 1990 gross debt estimated
at $52 billion by the IMF. (Keith Bush)

NEW STATISTICS ON RELIGIOSITY IN THE SOVIET UNION. Panorama (an
illustrated journal of the Moldavian CP Central Committee) of
December, 199O published the results of a poll conducted by the
All-Union Center for the Study of Public Opinion at the end of
1989. The poll sought to determine what the Soviet population
thinks about the role religion plays in contemporary Soviet society,
and about the activities of religious organizations concerning
the solution of social problems. According to this poll, nearly
half of the adult population of the country acknowledged in some
manner the usefulness of religious values. (Oxana Antic)



USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



MOLDAVIAN PREMIER IN US. Interviewed January 11 by RFE in Washington,
Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc said that he had held talks
at the US Commerce Department and the Agriculture Department
on possibilities of US-Moldavian cooperation (see Daily Report
of January 9 and 10 for Druc's talks at the White House and the
State Department). Druc also said that he had held talks on economic
cooperation in several American states, and had signed a statement
of intent on establishing an "economic partnership" between Moldavia
and Florida. In all of his talks, Druc said, he sought to interest
American business in investing in Moldavia. (Vladimir Socor)




OFFICE OF BELORUSSIAN LITERARY JOURNAL IS RANSACKED. "Vandalism
or Search?" is how Komsomols'kaya pravda titled a brief report
January 4 on the ransacking of the offices of Litaratura i mastastva,
the radical weekly of the Belorussian Writers' Union. The vandals
emptied the contents of desks onto the floor but, strangely,
did not steal equipment. An apparent search was also conducted
at the offices of the liberal journals Polymya and Neman, possibly
as part of the disturbing trend in recent weeks to clamp down
on the Soviet press. (Kathy Mihalisko)



OBLAST RESTORED IN TURKMENISTAN. On January 11, Radio Moscow
reported that Balkan Oblast has been created in Turkmenistan.
The report noted that the abolition in 1988 of Krasnovodsk Oblast,
the territory of which is essentially that which has now become
Balkan Oblast, was a mistake which disrupted a large portion
of the republic. The center of the new oblast will be the town
of Nebit-Dag. (Bess Brown)

SOVETSKAYA KIRGIZIYA SEEKS NEW NAME. In view of the new name
of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, finally adopted by the republican
Supreme Soviet on December 15, the republican Russian-language
daily asked in its December 16 issue for readers to propose a
new designation for the newspaper. The name Sovetskaya Kirgiziya
no longer fits the contemporary situation, according to the editors.
(Bess Brown)





CONGRESS OF KOMI PEOPLE. A congress of the Komi people took place
in the Komi capital Syktyvkar on January 11-12, TASS reported.
Its purpose was to "unite the healthy forces of society" to preserve
the Komi people and its traditions. The congress alarmed many
members of non-Komi nationalities because of the demands put
forward by nationalist and extremist groups. The national Komi
party "Biarmiya", for instance, is demanding an independent Komi
state uniting the Perm subgroup of Finno-Ugrian peoples which
would adopt discriminatory measures against non-Komi. The congress
was attended by Komi from Moscow, the Udmurt and Mari republics,
and elsewhere in the Soviet Union. (Ann Sheehy)

BID TO FORM JEWISH AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC DROPPED. Under pressure
of public opinion the presidium of the Jewish autonomous oblast
soviet has withdrawn a draft declaration that would have transformed
the oblast into an autonomous republic and separated it from
Khabarovsk krai, Komsomol'skaya pravda reported January 5. One
of the reasons for the failure of the initiative was said to
be the current level of Jewish emigration. Only 4.1 percent of
the oblast population was Jewish at the time of the 1989 census--under
9,000 people--and in 1990 alone more than 1,000 Jews left for
Israel. (Ann Sheehy)




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