|One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles|
No. 11, 16 January 1991
BALTIC STATES FUNERAL IN VILNIUS. The funeral of 10 of the 14 people killed by the army assault on the television tower on January 13 was held today in Vilnius. A funeral Mass began at noon local time in the Archcathedral of Vilnius and it was broadcast live over Lithuania Radio (formerly Radio Kaunas, stepping in for now-silent Radio Vilnius). The dead will be buried in the cemetery in Antakalnis, not in Rasu Cemetary as announced earlier. The other Lithuanian dead will be buried today in their home towns of Marijampole, Kedainiai, and Rokiskis, while the body of the Soviet soldier was given to the military. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR DELAY OF GULF WAR. Yesterday Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas, the delegated head of a Lithuanian government in exile, flew from Warsaw to London. He told reporters that the West should postpone the start of the Gulf war, since the Soviet military appeared to be taking control of the USSR and it was not clear whether Gorbachev was really in charge. Saudargas said "no one knows what side the Soviets will be on should war break out." He met with Foreign Office Minister Douglas Hogg and is scheduled to meet with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd this morning. Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen said that his government would allow Lithuania to establish a government in exile in Denmark if needed. (Saulius Girnius) MANY LITHUANIANS STILL MISSING. Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Kazimieras Motieka and Director of the National Defense Department Audrius Butkevicius told the parliament yesterday, broadcast live over Radio Kaunas, that 57 people are still missing after the army assault on the television tower. Motieka said that the authorities have films of large bags that could contain bodies being removed from the tower. The bags were taken to the airport and flown out. Responding to claims that some Lithuanians might still be barricaded in the tower, TASS on January 15 quoted the TV tower's security chief Alexander Subbotin as saying that there were no "home guard members inside" the tower. (Saulius Girnius) FEDERATION COUNCIL DELEGATION LEAVES LITHUANIA. The delegation of the USSR Federation Council sent to Lithuania to investigate the situation there flew back to Moscow yesterday. A Lithuanian request that they do not leave until another delegation replaces them was partially met. Motieka told the RFE Lithuanian Service this morning that a delegation of three Soviet parliamentarians had arrived in Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius) CHURKIN ON LITHUANIA. In his briefing yesterday, Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin defended the USSR's handling of Lithuania. "In political affairs, especially at critical times, there are moments when you have to make a choice not between good and bad but between bad and worse," TASS reported. Churkin also expressed the hope that "the outside world will demonstrate what is needed today perhaps more than ever before--a balanced approach based on a constructive and objective analysis of facts." (Suzanne Crow) TV DISTORTS LITHUANIAN DEBATES IN PARLIAMENT. At the USSR Supreme Soviet session of January 15, some deputies protested "the lack of objectivity" in Soviet television's coverage of the body's debates. Radio Rossiya yesterday quoted the deputies as saying that Soviet television broadcast only those speeches that reflected the official point of view. The deputies reportedly demanded full coverage of the Supreme Soviet's sessions. In covering the Supreme Soviet's January 14 discussion of the events in Lithuania, central television carried speeches of Boris Pugo, Dmitrii Yazov, and Gorbachev at least three times. In contrast, not a single deputy who lambasted the Vilnius violence in the USSR Supreme Soviet on January 14 was shown in any of these three reports. (Julia Wishnevsky) NEVZOROV'S VIEW ON LITHUANIA FOR THE ALL-UNION AUDIENCE. The USSR Supreme Soviet voted this morning to repeat for the all-Union audience yesterday's Leningrad TV show by Aleksandr Nevzorov, "600 Seconds," which was devoted to the events in Lithuania. The resolution was approved by 400 deputies, with 4 opposed. According today's television news service, Nevzorov's program will be repeated tonight on the first channel of the Soviet TV immediately after the main newscast, "Vremya". (Julia Wishnevsky) LENINGRAD STRIKE TO SUPPORT LITHUANIANS. Deputies of the Leningrad City Soviet have appealed to Soviet workers to declare a two-hour strike today to protest the violence in Lithuania. Yesterday's "Vremya" newscast spent some twenty minutes criticizing the appeal, thus ensuring that the workers would be informed about it. (Julia Wishnevsky) SOVIET WEATHERMEN STRIKE IN PROTEST. Workers at the central Soviet weather forecasting office say they will issue no forecasts today or tomorrow as a protest against the use of force in Lithuania and reactionary trends in the USSR. Radio Moscow called the action "a political strike." (NCA) OB PATRIARCH ALEKSII ON LITHUANIA. TASS quoted on January 15 Izvestia of the same day which published a statement by Patriarch Aleksii on the situation in Lithuania. Patriarch Aleksii expressed his deep sorrow and appealed to Lithuanians as well as to "governmental structures" to realize the failures committed by both sides. The Patriarch stated that the use of military force in Lithuania was "a significant poOBtical mistake, in church language - a sin". The Church leader also warned that a situation similar to that in LithBania is developing in many other parts of the country. (OxanB Antic) ALEKSII DENIED ADVOCATING PRESIDENTIAL RULE. Last December, Patriarch Aleksii joined 52 other leading Soviet personOOBties in signing a letter urging Soviet President Gorbachev to implement presidential rule in "zones of major conflict," a reference widely believed to be to the Baltic states. Aleksii later denied having signed the letter, according to AFP of December 19. (Riina Kionka) MOLDAVIANOB MOURN LITHUANIAN DEAD. Thousands of people participated in a rally in central Kishinev yesterday to mourn those killed and injured in the Soviet crackdown in Vilnius. Moldavian Orthodox priests said prayers for the dead. Several Moldavian Supreme Soviet deputies delivered funeral orations in which they warned that Moldavia faced similar dangers. Lithuanian flags were prominently displayed by the Moldavian crowds. (Vladimir Socor). UKRAINE AND LITHUANIA. At an extraordinary session held Monday to discuss the events in Vilnius, the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet unanimously condemned the use of force against any nation and said that the Presidium supports the legally elected bodies of the republics. In an interview yesterday with Radio Kiev-3, the chairman of the Presidium, Leonid Kravchuk, insisted that disputes between sovereign republics be settled in accordance with international laws that govern human rights and the inadmissibility of force. Kravchuk said that by coming to the aid of the unconstitutional Committee of National Salvation the Soviet army had perpetuated lawlessness. (Kathy Mihalisko) CENTRAL ASIAN SUPPORT FOR LITHUANIA. RFE/RL has learned that a number of informal groups and political parties organized a demonstration in support of Lithuania on January 13. According to an independent journalist in Frunze, the "Democratic Kyrgyzstan" opposition movement has scheduled a rally today in Frunze's main square to express support for the Lithuanian government and to condemn the Soviet military action there. (NCA/Kazakh and Kirgiz BDs/Bess Brown) ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN RIGA. Crowds--estimates range from 4,000-10,000--gathered in the ASK sports stadium yesterday iB Riga to demand that the Latvian Supreme Council and the government step down and that, until a new government is formed anB new elections are held, Latvia be ruled by the All-Latvian PBblic Salvation Committee. Among the speakers, according to Radio Riga of January 15, were Latvian Communist Party leader ABfreds Rubiks, Colonel Viktors Alksnis, and Father Alexei Zotov (a deputy of the Latvian Supreme Council). Father Zotov urged restraint and problem-solving through dialogue rather than confrontation; the audience whistled and showed no tolerance for his views. (Dzintra Bungs) SOVIET SOLDIEROB REJECT KUZMIN'S ULTIMATUM. Radio Riga reported on January 15 that over 200 soldiers, based in Dobele and Adazi,B Latvia, had signed a statement protesting the ultimatum to Bhe Latvian government and Supreme Council of their chief, Colonel General Fedor Kuzmin, commander of the Baltic military district. (See yesterday's DR). They urged soldiers not to turn their guns against unarmed civilians: "Stop. Do not kill. Democracy will conquer." The statement may have been inspired by Boris Yeltsin's earlier appeal to Soviet soldiers not engage in violent actions against the Baltic population. (Dzintra Bungs) COMMUNISTS ISSUE ULTIMATUM TO ESTONIA. Pro-Moscow Supreme Council deputies issued an ultimatum to the Estonian Supreme Council yesterday, Estonian Radio reported. The group demanded that the USSR and ESSR constitutions be restored, that the government resign and be replaced with a cabinet corresponding to republic nationality proportions, that the Supreme Council disperse, and that prices return to their pre-October levels. If the demands are not met within 24 hours, the deputiesOBpromised that a "coordinating committee" would arrange "protest sanctions" using "all available means," including a strike set for Thursday. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA ACTS TO DEFUSE TENSION. Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and President Arnold Ruutel say that demands issued yesterday by anti-independence protesters are unrealistic. AP quotes Savisaar as saying, "We just cannot meet them." But in partial response to protesters' demands that prices be returned to last year's levels, the Estonian Supreme Council yesterday suspended any new price increases. Government spokesmen told Western agencies that the suspension was a political move intended to defuse a tense situation. (Riina Kionka) SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL? An estimated 5,000-10,000 pro-Moscow supporters protested OBice increases yesterday in Tallinn, Estonian Radio reported last night. The demonstrators also called on the government to resign and the Supreme Council to disperse (see above iteB). The rally drew far fewer people than expected, and ended peaceably. (Riina Kionka) 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 Bf 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) ESTONIA RATIFIES RSFSR ACCORD. The Estonian Supreme Council voted yesterday 70 to 10, with 4 abstentions, to ratify the economic-political accord signed by the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation on January 12. The agreement's main tenet is mutual recognition of each other's inalienable right to independent statehood. (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 DEPUTY SAYS GORBACHEV MUST HAVE KNOWN OF CRACKDOWN. The acting Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Defense and State Security Committee told reporters in Potsdam yesterday that Gorbachev must have know of the Soviet military crackdown in Vilnius last Sunday. Leonid Sharin said that he could not imagine a president having no knowledge of such an operation. "I believe that Gorbachev is kept informed of such events," he said. Sharin defended the operation that left fourteen dead and over 160 wounded. (NCA/Stephen Foye) GORBACHEV ROUNDS ON YELTSIN. In a furious speech to the USSR Supreme Soviet yesterday, Mikhail Gorbachev criticized the actions of the Baltic leaders and turned on RSFSR leader Boris Yeltsin for suggesting the RSFSR might set up its own army. Red with anger, Gorbachev called the idea "a gross violation of the Soviet constitution" and "a deliberate act of provocation." Yeltsin, who resigned last year from the USSR Supreme Soviet, was not present. Shown on Soviet television last night, Gorbachev's speech occupied most of the "Vremya" evening newscast. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague) CABINET APPOINTMENTS. The USSR Supreme Soviet yesterday approved Gorbachev's nomination of Boris Pugo as minister of internal affairs. On Monday, it approved Gorbachev's nomination of four deputies to serve under USSR prime minister Valentin Pavlov. These include two first deputy premiers: Vitalii Doguzhiev (55), who held the post of deputy premier in the outgoing government of Nikolai Ryzhkov; and Vladimir Velichko (53), minister of heavy-machine building. As deputy premiers, Gorbachev nominated Yurii Maslyukov (53), chairman of USSR Gosplan; and Nikolai Lavyorov (60), who also held the rank of deputy premier under Ryzhkov. Gorbachev said he had considered nominating former minister of internal affairs Vadim Bakatin as first deputy premier, but that the Federation Council had preferred the candidacy of Doguzhiev, who is an Adygei. Gorbachev added that, on the recommendation of the Federation Council, he would be appointing two more deputy prime ministers: one from Kazakhstan or a Central Asian republic, the other from Belorussia or Ukraine; the latter would have the agriculture portfolio. (Elizabeth Teague) DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA CALLS FOR POLITICAL STRIKE. A plenum of the Democratic Russia movement, attended by 130 delegates representing some 400,000 supporters, opened yesterday with speeches from Yurii Afanas'ev and Gavriil Popov. As reported by Radio Rossiya yesterday, Afanas'ev called for the formation, on the basis of inter-republican agreement, of a government structure parallel to the USSR Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers. Popov told the delegates that Democratic Russia's most important task is the creation of a multi-million member party organized at the grassroots level. The delegates also called for an RSFSR-wide political strike, to be held today, to protest "the military adventures of the central government" in Lithuania. (Dawn Mann) RSFSR MAY INTRODUCE EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet is to consider establishing an executive presidency. TASS said yesterday that the presidium of the RSFSR legislature has decided to place the issue on the agenda when the Supreme Soviet convenes a new session on January 29. At present, Boris Yeltsin is chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation. He is sometimes referred to as "President," but he does not have either the title or the executive powers of a president. Yeltsin has spoken of the possibility of moving to a presidential system for the RSFSR; he has also promised that, if he runs for such a post, it will be in an election held by universal suffrage. (NCA) KUZBASS MINERS THREATEN STRIKE, ADVANCE POLITICAL DEMANDS. Coalminers in the Kuzbass region of Western Siberia have voted to hold a political strike on Friday (January 18). Radio Moscow said yesterday that the miners are angry that the authorities have not honored pledges made to them in 1989. The miners' strike committees are now demanding the resignation of President Mikhail Gorbachev, the disbanding of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies, nationalization of Communist Party property, and depoliticization of the judiciary. The Soviet news agency Postfactum (cited by DPA) reported yesterday that the miners' committees were also demanding an investigation into "the tragic events in Lithuania" and withdrawal of Soviet troops from Lithuania. (NCA) MFA ON SOVIET CITIZENS IN IRAQ. Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin said yesterday there are now 235 Soviet nationals in Iraq. There are 52 staff members of the embassy, other missions and journalists; 72 are working for the Soviet ministry of foreign economic relations; and 111 are servicing Soviet equipment. Churkin notes specifically that the last group is "staying of its own volition." Churkin said that all Soviet military specialists are out of Iraq, but added the qualifier: "according to the Soviet foreign ministry's information," TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow) STATUS OF SOVIET EXPERTS IN IRAQ. The status of Soviet experts in Iraq (including non-military specialists) is unclear. As recently as December 18, 1990, Soviet authorities reported that about 1,000 Soviet specialists wished to remain in Iraq and another 2,300 were having trouble obtaining the necessary papers from the Iraqi authorities to leave the country. Initially, the Soviet Foreign Ministry discussed the progress of negotiations with Iraq on breaking the USSR's contracts. However the result of the negotiations--specifically how the USSR intends to compensate Iraq for breach of contract--has not been disclosed. (Suzanne Crow) ATTITUDE OF GENERALS TO IRAQ. Fyodor Burlatsky wrote last week in Literaturnaya gazeta that many Soviet generals retain a "staggering friendliness" towards Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Burlatsky said many of them were nostalgic for the era when Iraq had been Moscow's main arms client and home for hundreds of Soviet military advisors. (Suzanne Crow) IRAQIS ATTACK PROTESTERS IN MOSCOW. Reuter reported yesterday that Iraqi diplomats rushed out of their Moscow embassy and attacked a group of Soviet Jews protesting Baghdad's stance in the Gulf crisis. The four diplomats reportedly seized the demonstrators' placards, tore them up, and lashed out at the protesters. Soviet police guarding the embassy reportedly did not intervene. The demonstrators, regrouped to fight back and the diplomats went back inside the embassy. Meanwhile, a Russian nationalist organization demonstrated outside the US embassy in Moscow on January 14. The demonstration passed without incident. (Suzanne Crow) AKHROMEEV ON ARMY'S ROLE. Gorbachev's top military adviser said in the January 21 Newsweek that force would be unnecessary in the Baltic and that "the Soviet army will never go so far as to open fire on civilians." Marshal Sergei Akhromeev said that the "the main problem is preserve the integrity of our country," and said that officers turn to the President to fulfill his constitutional oath in this respect. "It is the armed forces that ensure stability and permit the president to carry on his normal activities," he said. Akhromeev also criticized the U.S. for fighting to maintain the NATO alliance in Europe and for, in his view, interfering in the Soviet Union's internal affairs. (Stephen Foye) MILITARY PRESS HITS ARBATOV. Krasnaya zvezda of January 9 criticized an article published recently in a Canadian newspaper by Georgii Arbatov. Written by V. Korobushin, a Soviet military theorist, the article implied that Arbatov is not competent to discuss defense matters and that he is serving the interests of Western nations. Among other things, Korobushin charged that NATO already enjoys advantages in a number of weapons categories in Europe, and that the CFE treaty will increase NATO's superiority. (Stephen Foye) SOVIET-NORTH KOREA MILITARY COOPERATION. The New China News Agency quoted North Korean daily Rodong Sinmum on January 13 as saying Pyongyang and Moscow agreed on January 12 to strengthen military cooperation through regular contacts and visits between North Korean forces and Soviet forces in the Far East. Soviet Deputy Defense Minister Konstantin Kochetov and North Korean People's Armed Forces Minister Kim Gwang-Jin met in Pyongyang, AFP reported January 12. (Suzanne Crow) MANDEL'SHTAM'S CENTENARY. January 15 marked the centenary of the birth of the Russian poet, Osip Mandel'shtam. The anniversary was noted by all major Soviet newspapers and by a program on Soviet television. Today, the centenary is expected to be celebrated in the prestigious Moscow Palace of Columns. As recently as December 1988, not a single literary newspaper mentioned the anniversary of Mandel'shtam's death in a Far Eastern labor camp on December 27, 1938. During the TV program cited above, Aleksandr Morozov, one of the most prominent specialists on Mandel'shtam in the Soviet Union, said that his generation had believed that none of Mandel'shtam's books would ever be published in the USSR (Julia Wishnevsky) CHURCH COMMITTEE FOR DISTRIBUTION OF FOREIGN AID. Sovetskaya Estoniya reported on January 4 that the Moscow Patriarchate has set up an All-Church Committee to coordinate the distribution of goods which churches, religious charity organizations, and private persons abroad are sending to the Soviet Union. The All-Church Committee will assume responsibility for all efforts in this field. (Oxana Antic) RARE INFORMATION ABOUT THE "CATACOMB CHURCH". Religion in the USSR (Novosti Press Agency's monthly bulletin, No. 1O, 199O,) published an article on the True Orthodox Church. Representatives of the True Orthodox Church--a catacomb Church that refused to acknowledee the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate--began to speak out at the end of 1987. The article, which is signed "Petr Bolshakov (priest)," includes the biographies of the three metropolitans who form the secret Council of one of the branches of the True Orthodox Church. According to Father Petr, one of these metropolitans founded 12 clandestine monastic settlements and consecrated more than 5OO monks. (Oxana Antic) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS GAMSAKHURDIA CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF GORBACHEV DECREE ON SOUTH OSSETIA. Georgian Supreme Council chairman Zviad Gamsakhurdia yesterday called on Gorbachev to suspend his decree of January 6 ordering the withdrawal of Georgian militia from South Ossetia, TASS reported. Gamsakhurdia argued that the decree "does not help the situation" and encourages separatist sentiment. (Liz Fuller) MOLDAVIA REPORTEDLY WARNED BY MILITARY THEATER COMMANDER. Reporting from Kishinev January 15, the correspondents of The Independent and The Financial Times quoted Colonel General Ivan Morozov, commander of the Odessa military district which includes Moldavia, as saying on Radio Tiraspol that the Soviet Army would do everything necessary to prevent Moldavia seceding from the USSR, as too much blood had been spent in obtaining the territory for the Union. (Vladimir Socor). MOLDAVIAN PREMIER'S PLEA FOR FOOD AID GETS SUPPORT. Citing information received from Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc during the latter's visit to Washington, Senator Robert Dole said that Moscow is threatening to withhold foreign food aid from republics that would not sign the proposed treaty of union, The New York Times and The Journal of Commerce reported yesterday. Dole has consequently introduced legislation to allow US food aid to the USSR to be channeled directly to democratic-oriented republics. (Vladimir Socor). UKRAINE AND THE DRAFT. In his interview yesterday with Radio Kiev-3 (see above), Supreme Soviet chairman Leonid Kravchuk said it is not normal and inpermissible to use paratroopers to enforce the draft. He suggested that the Ministry of Defense and not Gorbachev, who signed the order to send the paratroopers into seven republics, including parts of Ukraine, had acted irresponsibly. Kravchuk asserted that the situation with the draft in Ukraine, even in the western regions, was the best in the Soviet Union. (Kathy Mihalisko) MUSLIM ACTIVIST INTERVIEWED. The December 12 issue of Trud contains a sympathetic interview with the peripatetic Kazakh activist Almaz Estekov, who said he seeks, through his publication Turkestan and his visits to Muslim communities in the Soviet Union, to prevent interethnic conflict. He said he parted company with the Democratic Union when they suggested that he organize a movement in Kazakhstan to chase out the Russian inhabitants by force--Estekov says that he rejects the use of violence. He would like to see the Turkic peoples of Central Asia united, but within the framework of the USSR. He professes an Islam freed of medieval dogmas and stressed resemblances between Islam and Christianity. (Bess Brown) As of 1300 CET Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise end
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.