Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 16, 23 January 1991



BALTIC STATES





GORBACHEV ON BALTIC CRISIS. In a prepared statement aired by
Soviet TV and radio on January 22, Gorbachev denied that the
USSR was threatened by dictatorship and that the Baltic crisis
signalled a swing to the right. Regretting the deaths in Vilnius
and Riga, Gorbachev disclaimed responsibility for them and promised
an investigation. Gorbachev claimed that the real reason for
the confrontations in Latvia and Lithuania were not "some mythical
orders from above," but actions of the republics, such as "illegal
acts, violations of the [USSR] Constitution, crude violations
of civil rights, discrimination against people of other nationalities,
irresponsible behavior in relation to the army, servicemen, and
their families." Gorbachev did not specifically condemn the actions
of Soviet military or MVD troops in Lithuania or Latvia. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIAN LEADER MEETS GORBACHEV. Chairman of Latvia's Supreme
Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs met with Gorbachev yesterday at the
latter's invitation, reported Radio Riga that day. Gorbachev
did not, as had been widely rumored beforehand, announce the
imposition of presidential rule in Latvia at the meeting. Gorbunovs
said he told Gorbachev that all possibilities of settling problems
in Latvia through dialogue and democratic processes had not been
exhausted, despite allegations to the contrary by anti-government
forces. Also present, apparently without Gorbunovs' prior knowledge,
were USSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Lukyanov and Alfreds
Rubiks, First Secretary of the Latvian CP and Chairman of the
All-Latvia Public Salvation Committee. (Dzintra Bungs)

FEDOROV ON RUSSIANS IN LATVIA. Andrei Fedorov, RSFSR Deputy Foreign
Minister, said some of the Russian-speaking population's complaints
about living in Latvia derive from their inability and sometimes
unwillingness to seek contact with the Latvian population. He
said: "You should study the country in which you live and learn
the language; then many problems will go away." He spoke out
against the imposition of USSR presidential rule and added that
"civil war in the Baltics is impermissible." Fedorov, according
to TASS and Radio Riga of January 22, was visiting Riga to establish
closer ties between Russia and Latvia and discuss the exchange
of representatives and information. (Dzintra Bungs)

JURKANS: "USSR SLIDING BACK INTO DICTATORSHIP." Latvia's Foreign
Minister Janis Jurkans told the BBC on January 22 that the USSR
"is sliding back into dictatorship." He urged "that the Western
governments send a very clear message to Gorbachev that military
interruption of the democratic process in the Baltic States,
in the whole Soviet Union, will not be tolerated." Jurkans also
took issue with Western perceptions of Gorbachev as a symbol
of democracy, saying "I think that was a mistake." (Dzintra Bungs)


LITHUANIAN FORMER DEPUTIES MEET GORBACHEV. Radio Kaunas yesterday
reported that a group of Lithuanian intellectuals who are former
members of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies had met with
Gorbachev for about an hour and a half on January 21. The group
that included Alfredas Smailys, Regimantas Adomaitis, and Vytautas
Laurusas talked with Gorbachev alone, without advisers and were
served tea. Details about the conversation have not yet been
revealed, but the deputies subsequently talked with Marshal Sergei
Akhromeev. (Saulius Girnius)

BALTIC LEADERS APPEAR BEFORE US CSCE. Yesterday the Vice Presidents
of Latvia and Lithuania, Dainis Ivans and Bronius Kuzmickas,
appeared before the US Commission on Security and Cooperation
in Europe, a RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported that
day. Ivans said that "a high-level US delegation should visit
the Baltic states as soon as possible." The two Balts urged the
US to extent official recognition to their democratically elected
governments. (Saulius Girnius)

BALTIC LEADERS MEET BAKER. The two Baltic vice presidents along
with Estonian minister without portfolio Endel Lippmaa subsequently
met with US Secretary of State James Baker for a half hour, followed
by more than an hour with some of his senior aides. State Department
officials called the meetings "a very good, very useful exchange"
during which the Balts made progress in getting their views across.
The Balts asked the US to register its protests against the Soviet
use of force in Riga and Vilnius with concrete measures as well
as words of condemnation. They said that if President Bush did
not follow their suggestion to cancel his summit meeting with
Gorbachev in February, he should also meet with the Baltic presidents
in their capitals or some neutral site. (Saulius Girnius)

KRYUCHKOV DENIES KGB TIES TO NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE IN
LITHUANIA. KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov denied in an interview
with the periodical Kommersant that the KGB had participated
in setting up the National Salvation Committee in Lithuania,
Radio Rossiya said yesterday. Kryuchkov stressed, however, that
the KGB closely watches the committee's activities. (Vera Tolz)


B SBPPORT FOR LITHUANIA IN MURMANSK. The branch of the Democratic
Russia movement in Murmansk on January 20 organized a meeting
of protest against the use of the military force in Lithuania,
Novosti reported yesterday. The movement also drafted a statement
supporting the Lithuanian drive for independence and Boris Yeltsin's
policy towards the BaOBics. According to Novosti, hundreds of
Murmansk residents signed the statement. (Vera Tolz)

B ESTONBAN GOVERNMENT OFFERS REWARD. The Estonian government yesterday
announced a 20,000 ruble reward for tips on who set off twBBexplosions
in Tallinn on January 20, Estonian Radio reported last night.
The explosions damaged buildings used as headquarters by two
anti-independence groups led by Russian-speakers. (Riina Kionka)


HUNGER STRIKE ENDS. Two pro-Moscow Supreme Council deputies from
Estonia have ended their six-day hunger strike, Estonian Radio
reported yesterday. Vladimir Lebedev and Sergei Petinov belong
to a group of deputies who demanded last week that the government
resign and the parliament disperse. When this did not happen,
the two men vowed to stop eating until their demands were met.
Lebedev and Petinov yesterday also urged all those fasting in
solidarity to end their hunger strikes and opt for negotiations.
Ironically, the three other known hunger strikers in Estonia
have been fasting to protest the Lebedev-Petinov action. (Riina
Kionka)

STRIKES AND LOCKOUTS CONTINUE. Estonian Radio reported last night
that pro-Soviet strikes and lockouts continue in 22 all-Union
enterprises. The strikers are virtually all Russian-speaking
workers from factories run by anti-independence group leaders.
Estonian Radio also reported that a strike at Tallinn's airport
would block domestic flights for 24-hours, but that foreign flights--earning
hard currency--would continue. (Riina Kionka)

BALTIC SOLDIERS CRITICIZE YELTSIN. A letter allegedly signed
by over 800 servicemen stationed in the Baltic region that criticized
Boris Yeltsin was published in Krasnaya zvezda yesterday. The
letter expressed anger over Yeltin's support for pro-democracy
forces in the Baltic. It charged that his actions were based
on personal ambition and would lead to greater strife and the
disintegration of the USSR. The letter called on Yeltsin to join
a military unit in the Baltic and to experience the miserable
living conditions of Soviet servicemen there. It failed to mention--as
military spokesmen often have--that soldiers face poor living
conditions all over the USSR. (Stephen Foye)

UKRAINIAN CP CHIEF ON BALTICS. Ukrainian Communist Party leader
Stanislav Hurenko, addressing a Party meeting at the Kiev PoBytechnical
Institute yesterday, said that the position of the Party's Secretariat
on the situation in the Baltic states fully corresponds to that
of the CPSU Politburo, Ukrinform-TASS reported yesterday. The
Ukrainian Party leadership is against the exploitation of "dramatic
events" for inflaming "anti-Communist hysteria," Hurenko said.
He characterized slogans like "Today Latvia, tomorrow Ukraine"
as provocations. (Roman Solchanyk)

USSR

USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV WARNS OF ESCALATION IN GULF. Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev said yesterday at a Moscow news conference that "events
in the Gulf are clearly tending to escalate...that is very dangerous.
We must do all we can to stop the conflict," TASS reported. He
said "there is a threat that the situation is getting out of
hand," and that "we must not allow military operations to develop
into a situation that would result in the killing of servicemen
and more particularly of innocent civilians." TASS said yesterday
the Supreme Soviet Presidium adopted a resolution pledging to
pursue the Soviet leadership's policy on the Gulf "aimed at the
quickest possible end to military action and the restoration
of peace." (Suzanne Crow)

TASS SAYS SOME MEDIA CRITICAL OF WAR EFFORT. In its January 22
review of the Soviet press, TASS noted that several commentaries
appearing yesterday were critical of the US effort in the Gulf.
The Pravda correspondent in New York said economic interests
were behind the US action and Trud said the war, whose goal is
allegedly limited to the liberation of Kuwait, might turn into
a large-scale regional military conflict with unpredictable consequences
for the whole world. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET GENERAL ON GULF MILITARY PERFORMANCE. Interfax quoted
an unidentified general from the Soviet General Staff yesterday
as saying that 90 percent of all allied airstrikes against Iraq
had missed their targets, Reuters and AFP reported yesterday.
He said most air bases and aircraft had not been hit, and that
only 11 of 41 anti-aircraft systems had been knocked out. "Iraqi
air bases are very well camouflaged and extremely hard to locate,"
said the general. He also alleged that the allied leadership
was using bad weather as an excuse to ground planes and review
its strategy. (Suzanne Crow)

AKHROMEEV HINTS AT UN INTERVENTION. Soviet Marshal Sergei Akhromeev
said the Gulf war is likely to go on for a long time. "I don't
think an army with nine years' battle experience can be paralyzed
just by air attacks," Akhromeev said in an interview with Neues
Deutschland yesterday. Akhromeev also said United Nations' intervention
to put a halt to hostilities cannot be ruled out. "In the UN
Security Council, one could probably find acceptable solutions
for both sides," said Akhromeev. Such a comment from an influential
official casts doubt on the Soviet Union's commitment to the
allied effort unconditionally to remove Iraq from Kuwait. (Suzanne
Crow)

MILITARY ADVISERS CLAIM DENIED. TASS reported yesterday the Soviet
Foreign Ministry's denial that Soviet evacuees entering Iran
were military advisers. (See Daily Report, January 22.) "As we
have repeatedly declared, all Soviet military advisers have left
Iraq. Only 43 Soviet embassy personnel now remain in Iraq. There
are no military specialists among them." The MFA denial concerned
a news report in Japan's Sankei Shimbun which quoted international
military sources. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV DECREES CURRENCY REFORM. Gorbachev last night decreed
a sweeping monetary reform, including a partial freeze on bank
accounts and a currency reform. As of today, Soviet citizens
will be able to withdraw only 500 rubles a month from their savings
bank accounts. The decree also said that, as of midnight last
night, current-issue 50- and 100-ruble notes would no longer
be legal tender. It said those old notes would be exchanged for
new 50- and 100-ruble notes, and also for lower-denomination
notes. A decree by the USSR Cabinet of Ministers, also issued
last night, said workers would be allowed to exchange a maximum
of 1,000 rubles in old 50- and 100-notes, and pensioners a maximum
of 200 rubles. (NCA)

DECREE INTENDED TO CRACK DOWN ON "UNEARNED INCOMES." TASS last
night said the measures were intended to crack down on speculation,
corruption, counterfeiting, and unearned incomes, as well as
to "normalize money circulation and the consumer market." Prime
Minister Valentin Pavlov told Soviet TV last night that the current
50- and 100-ruble notes are one of the main elements of the "shadow
economy" and make up over one-third of the money now in circulation.
Withdrawing large sums from circulation will help reduce the
monetary overhang, but the way it is being done will further
undermine the confidence of Soviet citizens in the value of their
currency; it will also discourage not only illegal private entrepreneurship
but also the USSR's already extremely restricted range of legal
activities. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

TRADE UNION INFLUENCE DETECTED. Over the past year, a currency
reform of this sort was consistently called for by the official
trade unions and by their militant offshoot, the United Workers'
Front. Pavlov told Soviet TV last night that the measure had
been in preparation for a year, but former trade union boss USSR
vice-president Gennadii Yanaev gave the game away in a television
interview on January 19. The Soviet government, Yanaev volunteered
unprompted, "is cooperating very closely with the trade unions."
(Elizabeth Teague)

SHATALIN'S OPEN LETTER TO GORBACHEV. Retired member of the Presidential
Council, Stanislav Shatalin, published an open letter to Mikhail
Gorbachev in Komsomol'skaya Pravda on January 23. He urged the
Soviet President to abandon the post of general secretary and,
with it, totalitarian Communist ideology. He called for a center/left
coalition and a government of national consensus consisting of
representatives of various nationalities, parties, and social
groups. Shatalin identified the leadership of the RSFSR CP and
"certain members" of the Politburo as the "main leaders" of the
conservatives. (Alexander Rahr)

USSR COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL SALVATION ALREADY EXISTS. Radio Rossiya
yesterday quoted Nezavisimaya gazeta as saying the so-called
Centrist Bloc has already set up a Committee of National Salvation
of the USSR. The head of the committee is reportedly a conservative
Centrist Bloc activist, Vladimir Voronin. Members of this bloc,
which is believed to be closely connected to the KGB and the
conservative Party apparatus, earlier this year proposed creating
all-Union and republican national salvation committees to replace
the legally elected parliaments. It appears that this scenario
was tried in the Baltics, but so far the national salvation committees
in Lithuania and Latvia have failed to overthrow the local leaderships.
Judging from the information cited by Nezavisimaya gazeta, the
authors of the scenario are determined to continue their attempts
to implement the plan. (Vera Tolz)

NAZARBAEV ON QUADRILATERAL AGREEMENT. Speculating about the future
of the Soviet Union, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said
that Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Central Asia and Kazakhstan
should form a federal state with Mikhail Gorbachev as overall
president. He told Novosti on January 22 that the quadrilateral
agreement recently signed between Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia
and Kazakhstan is the basis for the future Union treaty which
remains open for other republics as well. (Alexander Rahr)

MORE COURT CASES ON CHARGES OF INSULTING PRESIDENT. Cases on
charges of insulting the Soviet president are currently being
initiated against three members of the radical Democratic Union,
the "TSN" TV newscast reported yesterday. Two cases are currently
being discussed by courts in Moscow and one in Tver'. (Vera Tolz)


BESSMERTNYKH-NAKAYAMA TALKS. Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh said after talks with Japanese Foreign Minister
Taro Nakayama yesterday that relations between the USSR and Japan
had suffered a "certain lag," and that "this lag cannot be considered
normal," Reuters reported. Bessmertnykh said Moscow aimed fully
to normalize relations with Japan and pledged that Soviet foreign
policy is unchanged. A joint statement concerning "the entire
range of bilateral relations" is expected after talks today between
Nakayama and Gorbachev, AFP said yesterday. (Suzanne Crow)

KUWAIT GRANTS $1 BILLION LOAN. TASS reported yesterday that Kuwait
Foreign Trading Contracting and Investment Company will provide
Vneshekonombank in the USSR with a $1 billion loan. A Kuwaiti
foreign trade official said the agreement reflects the development
of relations between the two countries. (Suzanne Crow)

ROK OFFERS $3 BILLION TO USSR. South Korea will extend $3 billion
in loans and aid to the Soviet Union over the next three years.
The agreement includes $1.5 billion for financing Soviet imports
of Korean consumer goods and raw materials and $500 million for
importing Korean-made industrial products. The remaining $1 billion
is to be a cash loan to help finance Soviet economic development.
A consortium of ten Korean banks will make the cash loan and
the Seoul government will guarantee repayment if the Korean national
assembly approves this guarantee, AP reported yesterday. (Suzanne
Crow)

USSR MAY SELL ARMS TO SOUTH KOREA. After signing loan and aid
agreements yesterday in Seoul, Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Yurii
Maslyukov said, "We have an intention to provide South Korea
with arms for defensive purposes if necessary." He also said
that the Soviet Union had been supplying arms to North Korea
since the end of the Korean war, but claimed they are "defensive
ones." Alleging that American nuclear weapons exist in South
Korea, Maslyukov called for the Korean peninsula to become a
nuclear-free zone, Reuters and AP said yesterday. (Suzanne Crow)


KGB FABRICATES DATA ON ECONOMIC SABOTAGE. The KGB uses falsified
information on economic sabotage in order to justify the work
of its newly-created administration dealing with the matter,
reported Komsomol'skaya Pravda on January 15. To investigate
KGB reports on large caches of food products discovered in Novosibirsk,
Saratov, Tula and Turkmenia, the newspaper turned to the local
MVD authorities, which proved the information wrong. In one case,
the KGB reported finding 304 tons of black caviar, while in fact,
the figure was 3.4 tons. In another case the KGB announced the
discovery of 441,000 cans of meat, allegedly hidden since 1986,
which in fact had recently been distributed from state strategic
reserves. (Victor Yasmann)

EC SUSPENDS AID TO USSR. The European Parliament voted yesterday
to suspend $1.5 billion in food and technical aid to the USSR
in response to the crackdown in the Baltic States. The aid had
been approved just last month. On Monday the EC had cancelled
a meeting of the EC-Soviet commission (see yesterday's DR). According
to a Reuter report yesterday, however, a spokeswoman for the
Soviet embassy to the EC downplayed the postponement, saying
it "should not be dramatized. Both sides want the meeting to
take place under favorable circumstances, and [the present] circumstances
are not favorable." (Sallie Wise)

SOVIET GRAIN-BUYING SPREE. The USSR has rushed to purchase US
grain in an apparent attempt to use up recent credits quickly,
in case further credits are cut off, The Chicago Tribune reports
today. Moscow bought about 500,000 metric tons of US wheat yesterday,
and traders expect a similar purchase soon. Of the $900 million
in credits approved by President Bush on January 8, only $127
million remains to be spent. (Sallie Wise)

USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



CONSERVATIVE ATTACK ON YELTSIN. The Politburo of the Russian
CP Central Committee has issued a statement denouncing Boris
Yeltsin and Russian democrats for their support of Baltic separatism.
The statement, published in Sovetskaya Rossiya on January 18,
was the Russian CP's strongest attack on Yeltsin so far. It said
that Yeltsin "has lost his sense of political responsibility"
by calling for the creation of a Russian Army and for the intervention
of the UN in Soviet domestic affairs. The statement also denounced
the Lithuanian leadership of Vytautas Landsbergis as "criminal."
(Alexander Rahr)

PETRUSHENKO HITS YELTSIN. Colonel Nikolai Petrushenko said in
Sovetskaya Rossiya yesterday that Yeltsin's appeals to Russian
soldiers carried no authority. Yeltsin had earlier called on
Russian soldiers to refuse to fire on civilians. Petrushenko
also charged that Yeltsin's intention to create a Russian army
would lead to widespread civil war. Petrushenko, one of the conservative
"Soyuz" group's leading members, claimed that Russians were suffering
racial discrimination in the Baltic, and called on Russian federation
deputies to stop Yeltsin's "dangerous adventurism." (Stephen
Foye)

GEORGIA HIT BY ENERGY SHORTAGE. Reuters yesterday cited Georgian
journalists as reporting that a large and unexplained reduction
in electricity supplies from the Soviet grid had forced Georgian
authorities to close factories, reduce train services and TV
broadcasts and cut domestic supplies by two hours per day. The
entire Transcaucasus area has been suffering a power shortfall
since the closure in early 1989 of the Armenian twin nuclear
power stations near Erevan. (Liz Fuller)

KYRGYZSTAN REORGANIZES GOVERNMENT. TASS reported yesterday that
Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Soviet has elected a cabinet of ministers
to replace the former Council of Ministers. The new cabinet is
to report directly to republican president Askar Akaev, who proposed
the change of structure to the somewhat resistant Supreme Soviet
last month. Nasirdin Isanov, elected republican vice president
only a month ago, has been named prime minister. His replacement
as vice president is a former secretary of the Frunze city Party
committee, German Kuznetsov, presumably a Slav. Few of Akaev's
appointees have been Slavs; the relatively unknown Kuznetsov
may be a sop to the republic's non-Kirgiz population. (Bess Brown)


"DNIESTER SSR" BUCKS GORBACHEV'S DECISION ON DISBANDMENT. Meeting
in Tiraspol January 22, an extraordinary congress of people's
deputies of all levels from the would-be Dniester SSR resolved
to refuse to comply with Gorbachev's ruling that the self-proclaimed
republic was illegal. The ruling forms a part of Gorbachev's
December 22 decree on normalizing the situation in Moldavia,
which also orders Kishinev to abolish laws and decisions deemed
"discriminatory" to non-Moldavians. The Russian-dominated congress
in Tiraspol justified its decision by pointing to Kishinev's
failure to comply with some of Gorbachev's instructions. The
congress decided to establish structures of executive power of
the would-be republic within the next two weeks, Izvestia and
Novosti reported yesterday. (Vladimir Socor)

UKRAINIAN STATE PROGRAM ON LANGUAGES. The Presidium of the Ukrainian
Council of Ministers has approved a draft program on the development
of the Ukrainian language and other national languages of the
Ukrainian SSR, Radio Kiev reported on January 21. Commenting
on the program, first deputy head of the Council of Ministers
Kostyantyn Masyk noted that the law on languages passed by the
Ukrainian Supreme Soviet at the end of 1989 is "not functioning."
(Roman Solchanyk)

APPEAL BY TURKESTAN MILITARY COMMAND. The Military Council and
the Political Administration of the Turkestan Military District
have called upon local citizens to subscribe to the district's
military newspaper. The appeal, published in the December 23
Turkmenskaya iskra, claims that a subscription to Frunzenets
is the best way for citizens to reassure themselves about military
life in Turkmenistan. The appeal is aimed at easing the anxieties
of local people concerned over the military draft and life in
the armed forces. It is also probably meant to increase subscriptions
to the paper, which, it can be surmised, has been shifted to
greater self-financing. (Stephen Foye)

TAJIK-UKRAINE TRADE AGREEMENT. The December 23 issue of Tajikistani
soveti describes the economic agreement between Tajikistan and
the Ukraine. The agreement covers exchanges of machinery, food,
cotton and other raw materials between the two republics. (Fevziya
Barlas)


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

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