|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 17, 24 January 1991
BALTIC STATES ANOTHER MILITARY SEIZURE IN LITHUANIA. Yesterday at about 1 PM local time, about 20 Soviet MVD troops armed with automatic weapons, accompanied by two civilian representatives of the Lithuanian Communist Party, took over the main paper warehouse in Vilnius, agencies reported that day. Nikolai Gribanov, the head of the LCP Administration of Affairs Department, later announced that the troops were carrying out the March 28, 1990 resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers on the protection of Communist Party property. The seizure contradicts Gorbachev's assertions the previous day that there would not be any more military seizures of buildings in the Baltic. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS APPEALS FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis yesterday sent a telegram, approved by the Lithuanian parliament, to Soviet President Gorbachev urging that all Soviet troops be withdrawn from buildings seized during the recent crackdown, according to an AP report today. In suggesting that Gorbachev order an immediate withdrawal of troops occupying buildings in Vilnius, the telegram added that Lithuanians want to believe Gorbachev. (Sallie Wise) NEW LITHUANIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. The Lithuanian Supreme Council at its session yesterday, broadcast live over Radio Kaunas, appointed Vytautas Pakalniskis as deputy prime minister. Pakalniskis was born in 1944 and graduated from the University of Vilnius in 1972 with a degree in law. He continued to teach at the university serving as the prodean of the law department from 1984 to 1989. He has never been a member of any political party. (Saulius Girnius) JANUARY 25 DECLARED DAY OF MOURNING IN LATVIA. The Latvian Supreme Council designated January 25 as a day of mourning for the victims of the attack on the Ministry of Internal Affairs on January 20. The four men shot dead were two Russians, Internal Affairs Department Inspector Sergei Kononeko and Senior Lieutenant of the Government Guard Vladimir Gomonovich; and two Latvians, Riga Film Studios producer and operator Andris Slapins and secondary school student Edijs Riekstins. Radio Riga reported on January 23 that Deputy Alfreds Cepanis is in charge of the funeral proceedings to take place in Riga. (Dzintra Bungs) BLACK BERETS TO BE WITHDRAWN? USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo told Chairman of Latvia's Supreme Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs on January 22 that the Black Berets were being withdrawn from Riga's streets. Radio Riga reported on January 23 that the Berets were apparently disregarding this order, since they were sighted in downtown Riga that day. What remains unclear is when the Black Berets will leave Latvia. Pugo, according to TASS of January 22, denied that he ordered the Black Berets to attack Latvia's MVD and said that the storming of the building was senseless. (Dzintra Bungs) JURKANS MEETS WITH BRITISH LEADERS. On January 23, according to an RFE/RL correspondent in London, Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Janis Jurkans met with British Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd. Both British leaders told expressed concern about Baltic developments. Hurd said that the European Community's decisions to block aid to the USSR were intended to signal that the West would not tolerate the suppression of democracy. Major told Jurkans that Britain would be guided by the principle that its support for the USSR "is support for the reform process and not for repression." (Dzintra Bungs) GORBACHEV'S CURRENCY REFORMS BAFFLE LATVIANS. Latvian officials have tried to get clarification from Moscow about the January 22 presidential decree on currency reform. Thousands of people lined up in front of banks in order to exchange their 50- and 100-ruble notes, but many waited in vain, since the banks were not able to respond to everyone's wishes upon such short notice. Romualdas Razukas, chairman of the People's Front of Latvia, deplored the suddenness of the decision and the hardship that it caused ordinary people. He urged people not to blame the Latvian government for a decision made in Moscow, reported Radio Riga on January 23. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN COMMISSION FOR TALKS WITH SOVIET MILITARY. Radio Riga reported on January 22 that a commission for talks with the leadership of the USSR Baltic Military District and the Baltic Fleet had been formed. Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers was appointed chairman. Such a commission was suggested during recent talks between representatives of Latvia's Council of Ministers and Supreme Council on the one hand, and USSR's Ministry of Defense and Chief of General Staff on the other. (Dzintra Bungs) SOBCHAK JOINS CRITICISM OF BALTIC POLICIES. Leningrad city soviet chairman Anatolii Sobchak, as reported by Reuter yesterday, has written in the latest Moscow News that Borbachev has lost people's trust by disavowing responsibility for the recent killings in Latvia and Lithuania. Sobchak was quoted as saying "the President was thus unable to become a real President of his people and rBmains a General Secretary." Moreover, in Sobchak's view, Gorbachev "has become completely obedient to forces from a past era, which have managed to draw them onto their side. He has ceased to be the democrat and reformer of before." (Sallie Wise) DASOBCHEV SAYS GORBACHEV ALONE TO BLAME. Vyacheslav Dashichev, an influential academic and former adviser to Gorbachev, told the Kölnischer/Bonner Rundschau yesterday that Gorbachev alone bears responsibility for the attacks by the Soviet army in the Baltic. He said the actions are the logical consequence of Gorbachev's policies. Dashichev advised Gorbachev to give the Baltics full sovereignty. Should there be an attempt to keep the USSR together by force, said Dashichev, the country will break apart. The new union treaty can work only if the republics join of their own free will, he concluded. DPA summarized the interview yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS COMMOTION OVER CURRENCY REFORM. The Soviet and Western media report widespread chaos and concern during the first of three days allotted for the exchange of 50- and 100-ruble banknotes. Generally speaking, the smarter operators appear to have been forewarned of the measure, and had long gotten out of large-denomination bills, while many banks and post offices had not been informed or had not been provided with the new notes or the necessary forms. There were many scenes of angry and anxious crowds waiting to change their money. At least three republics (the RSFSR, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan) announced their own reservations about, and modifications to, the all-Union decrees. (Keith Bush) ALL-UNION COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL SALVATION CHAIRMAN DENIES TIES WITH BALTIC COMMITTEES. Vladimir Voronin, chairman of the all-union National Salvation Committee set up in December by the conservative Centrist Bloc of RSFSR's political parties, asserted to APN yesterday that his committee has no ties with the national salvation committees in the Baltics. However, Voronin just returned from Vilnius and Riga where he was supposed to meet with representatives of these committees. At the time of its creation in December, the all-union National Salvation Committee called for the introduction of a state of emergency in the entire USSR and the transfer of power from the republican parliaments to republican national salvation committees, i.e. exactly what seemed to be planned but not achieved in the Baltics. (Vera Tolz) MORE MEDIA REACTION TO GULF WAR. Pravda warned today of the potential consequences of the Gulf war's expansion. Speaking of the possible entry of NATO countries, most notably Germany, into the war to assist Turkey, Pravda sounded an alarm. "... Who knows? NATO, which in Europe has become 'unemployed,' could shift itself to the Near East and, under the leadership of the USA, undertake a new policing role." DPA, which summarized the Pravda piece today, did not say if the item was a commentary or a news report. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV SAYS USSR COULD SHIFT ON WAR. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said if reactionary forces came to power in the USSR, Moscow's foreign policy toward Iraq could change. In an interview in today's Komsomol'skaya pravda, Kozyrev said that a change to a hardline policy in Moscow could strengthen totalitarian leaders like Saddam. He is "the child of our totalitarianism, who was nurtured under the care of our ideology and with the help of huge arms shipments," Kozyrev pointed out. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) MORE ON ALLIED BOMBING PERFORMANCE. One of the almost 100 Soviet specialists who fled to Iran January 22 said allied bombing attacks had been very accurate, Reuter reported yesterday. Mikhail Pedan, an agricultural specialist based about 50 kilometers outside of Baghdad, said, "we watched the bombs falling," and "I must say, they were highly accurate and mainly on industrial targets." Pedan's account differs significantly from that of an unidentified Soviet general quoted yesterday by Interfax. (See Daily Report, January 23.) (Suzanne Crow) CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS TARGETING. Colonel General S. Petrov, Chief of the Chemical Troops, is quoted in today's Rabochaya tribuna as saying "in launching strikes against [biological weapons] installations, the anti-Iraqi side would essentially be embarking... indirectly on the use of weapons banned under the 1920 Geneva Protocol and the 1972 convention treaty." While noting that strikes against chemical weapons facilities would not put the Soviet population at risk, he did note that the unleashing of biological weapons could cause epidemics which know no borders. TASS summarized the report yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) RESULTS OF SOVIET-JAPAN TALKS. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama met yesterday with Mikhail Gorbachev and USSR Vice President Gennadii Yanaev. The talks were meant to establish the parameters of the Soviet-Japanese dialogue in the coming summit. Gorbachev proposed that his Tokyo visit be scheduled for April 16-19. Japanese officials used this week's meetings to voice concern that the treatment of the Baltic States "is not compatible with perestroika." The Japanese side reported "there has been nothing, no indication, no hint... nothing has emerged from the Gorbachev leadership," on the settlement of the Kurile Islands territorial dispute, wire services reported today. (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE MET NAKAYAMA. Moscow television reported yesterday a meeting between former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama. The television report offered no details of the meeting, but said that the fact that it took place confirms the high authority that Shevardnadze retains in international politics. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) NEW TALENT IN THE USSR SUPSOV. The current rotation of deputies to the USSR Supreme Soviet has widened the range of professions represented in the USSR legislature. In place of lawyers and students of constitutional law, the Supreme Soviet has absorbed a batch of painters, electricians, milkmaids, cooks, seamstresses, and plenty of shift managers to organize the Supreme Soviet's work. The addition of these "token workers" is reminiscent of the old, pre-reform Supreme Soviets and seems likely to make the legislature even more conservative. Another disturbing fact is the inclusion of several tunneling experts from the mines of Eastern Kazakhstan, along with explosives experts from the Donbass. (Gavin Helf) GROMOV SAYS NO ARMY COUP POSSIBLE. According to General Boris Gromov, various political parties in the Soviet Union are now struggling to win the armed forces over on their side. He told the journal Syn otechestva (no. 1, 1991) that a majority of Army officers would never stage a coup for the sake of establishing a dictatorship in the Soviet Union. Gromov was pleased that the USSR Congress had granted President Mikhail Gorbachev additional powers. In another statement he claimed that Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation had been overly dramatized at the Congress. (Alexander Rahr) GROMOV FOR LAW AND ORDER. Gromov told Literaturnaya gazeta (no.1, 1991) that his appointment as first deputy interior minister was a "political decision." Gromov noted that he did not ask for his transfer from the military to the MVD. In the interview, he identified himself as a man of law and order. Gromov said that he does not want to become a bureaucrat in his new job. Gromov revealed that many retired Army officers want to join the MVD but, like himself, will have to improve their juridical knowledge. He analyzed the present political situation in the country as a struggle of power between various parties, regions, nations and politicians. (Alexander Rahr) GROMOV DENIES TROOP TRANSFERS. In the same interview, Gromov denied rumors that four army divisions have been transferred from the army to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Gromov also included Moscow along with the Transcaucasus and Baltic as the most troublesome areas in the Soviet Union, and said that soldiers being de-activated from the armed forces formed a useful reserve for the MVD. Throughout the interview Gromov emphasized his concern for restoration of "order" in the Soviet Union, but stressed that it could only be accomplished using legal methods. (Stephen Foye) RIGHTS OF SERVICEMEN. Deputy Chief of the General Staff Grigorii Krivosheev told TASS on January 22 that a bill on the status of servicemen has been drawn up and he expects it to be adopted by the next session of the Soviet parliament. Krivosheev said that the most important stipulation of the bill is that servicemen on duty "are representatives of state power and enjoy all corresponding legal powers and guarantees." The bill will also grant servicemen the right to be members of political parties and other organizations whose activities do not contradict the USSR's constitution, he said. TASS reported that servicemen's lack of rights has been particularly evident in Lithuania. (Stephen Foye) ORTHODOX CHURCH HIERARCH DEFENDS ARMY'S REPUTATION. Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolam and Yur'evsk gave an interview to Krasnaya zvezda, published on January 16. The Metropolitan spoke about the present crisis of morale. He praised in this connection "Russian officers" "who have always been multinational the same way as our army." He added that he was hurt by all the slander to which the army is subjected today, just as the Church has been slandered in the past. The Metropolitan said that he cannot believe that "everything is so bad in the present army". (Oxana Antic) INVESTIGATION OF FR. ALEXANDER MEN'S MURDER AT A DEAD-END? Sobesednik raises this question in No. 3, 1991. Several people, among them the murdered priest's brother, his friends, a poet, and a painter, turned to the editorial board of Sobesesdnik with the request to organize a press conference. They want to attract more public attention to the investigation of the priest's murder, which has shown no results in the past four months. (Oxana Antic) RYZHKOV RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL. TASS reported yesterday that former Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov has been transferred from hospital to a health resort near Moscow, where he will undergo rehabilitative treatment. According to TASS, Ryzhkov -- who suffered a heart attack last month -- is in satisfactory health and is recovering normally. (NCA/Sallie Wise) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS MORE VIOLENCE IN SOUTH OSSETIA. TASS reported yesterday that three more people were killed in fighting the previous day between Georgian police and Ossetians in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, and that the home of an unnamed leader of Ossetian armed groups had been blown up. Georgian police are now in control of more than 25 per cent of Tskhinvali; other parts of the town are controlled by USSR Interior Ministry troops. (NCA/Liz Fuller) RSFSR PARLIAMENT DELEGATION EXPELLED FROM NAGORNO-KARABAKH. RSFSR deputy Anatolii Mostovoy yesterday told Reuter that a unit of USSR Interior Ministry (OMON) troops intercepted a six-person Russian parliamentary delegation at Stepanakert airport on January 22. The delegation, which had intended to investigate ethnic clashes in the oblast, was roughly handled, detained for several hours, and then sent by bus to Baku, whence they returned to Moscow. (NCA/Liz Fuller) LOCAL SOVIET LEADERS MEET WITH YELTSIN. Boris Yeltsin told the chairmen of the RSFSR's local soviets and executive committees on January 22 that local authorities will be given wide latitude in dealing with such questions as prices, TASS reported January 22. Anatolii Sobchak, chairman of the Leningrad city soviet, repeated a point made frequently by his counterpart in Moscow, Gavriil Popov, that the present system of soviets and executive committees is incapable of carrying out reform. Chairmen of soviets and executive committees from the republic to the district level were in Moscow yesterday to participate in a special conference on how best to structure the RSFSR's legislative and executive branches of government; their suggestions will be incorporated into the RSFSR's law on local soviets. (Dawn Mann) GORBACHEV ISSUES DECREE ON MOSCOW. Gorbachev yesterday issued a decree on "improving the administration of Moscow," TASS reported. Gorbachev also established a commission, staffed by members of the USSR and RSFSR Supreme Soviets, which has been given one month's time to draft legislation on Moscow's status as capital of both the USSR and the RSFSR. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet is also working on legislation that would bring Moscow under Russian Federation jurisdiction. (Dawn Mann) NO ARMY FOR RUSSIAN FEDERATION? Ruslan Khasbulatov, First Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, told Soviet television audiences on January 19 that there were no concrete plans to create a Russian Federation army. Khasbulatov was answering questions concerning an earlier statement by Boris Yeltsin that, in view of developments in Lithuania, the RSFSR would consider forming its own army. Khasbulatov said that, in fact, the idea had only been raised speculatively by the RSFSR leadership, and that no concrete steps had been taken. He implied that Yeltsin's opponents were exaggerating the issue in order to discredit him. (Stephen Foye) KALININGRAD OBLAST PREY TO UNCERTAINTY. The chairman of the Kaliningrad oblast soviet Yurii Semenov has denied rumors that the possible transfer of the oblast to Lithuania was raised during discussions of a treaty between the RSFSR and Lithuania, TASS reported January 21. At the same time he expressed disappointment that the drafts of the treaty made no mention of the oblast, which would be cut off from the rest of the Soviet Union if Lithuania became independent. It had already been reported that the oblast's population feared that, as former German territory, it might be used as a bargaining chip in Soviet relations with a united Germany. (Ann Sheehy) "RUKH" GAINING POPULARITY. If new elections to the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet were held today, candidates from the Popular Movement of Ukraine ("Rukh") would win 54 percent of the vote. This is one of the findings of a public opinion poll conducted by the Scientific Research Center of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Komsomol in Kiev last November, reports Nezavisimaya gazeta of January 12. Among the top ten most popular political figures in Ukraine, eight are representatives of "Rukh. At the top of the list is the writer and USSR and Ukrainian SSR people's deputy Volodymyr Yavorivs'kyi. The survey recorded that 56 percent of respondents envisioned a totally independent Ukrainian state in the future. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS CONTINUE TO SLIDE. The same poll revealed that last year the popularity of the Communist Party of Ukraine dropped from twenty percent to ten percent. Ahead of the Communists are such newly-formed groups and parties as the ecological association "Green World," the Christian Democratic Party, the radical Ukrainian Republican Party, and the Ukrainian Students' Union. The Communist Party leader, Stanislav Hurenko, was 22nd on the list of most popular politicians, one notch below Leonid Kravchuk, the chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN CONDEMNATION OF ATTACK ON ISRAEL. Speaking January 22 in an interview with Kol Israel, Myroslav Popovych said that the Ukrainian Party for Democratic Rebirth, of which he is a founder, has passed a resolution condemning Iraqi missile attacks against Israel. Popovych said he is very proud that none of Ukraine's various democratic movements has manifested any antisemitism. In Ukraine, he asserted, Pamyat' does not exist, at least in the open, and there have been no Pamyat' meetings of the sort that place January 19 in Moscow. (Kathy Mihalisko) SHOLOKHOV'S SON ELECTED ATAMAN OF DON COSSACKS. Colonel Mikhail Sholokhov, son of the famous writer, was elected ataman of the Don Cossacks at the end of December by the first congress of Don Cossacks held for 72 years, Sovetskaya kul'tura reported on January 12. Sholokhov is head of the chair of philosophy of a militia academy. After years of persecution and denigration, the Don Cossacks declared themselves an independent ethnic group and created their own Union. According to Sovetskaya kul'tura, although the Cossack movement is taking only its first steps, it is already the biggest social movement on the Don. (Ann Sheehy) SECOND CONGRESS OF SOVIET JEWS. 1,100 participants from 82 cities of the Soviet Union, representing about 350 Jewish organizations and communities, have gathered in Moscow for their second congress, Novosti reported January 23. The congress condemned the use of armed force against the Baltic republics. The press secretary of the congress said the confederation of Jewish organizations (VAAD) was not Zionist, and was not opposed to the legally elected governments of the republics and the center; its main aim was to ensure the survival of the Jewish people. Among the guests attending the congress were Boris Oleinik, deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Nationalities, deputies, and foreign ambassadors. (Ann Sheehy) TAJIK PRESIDENT CALLS FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTIONS IN BALTIC AND GULF. TASS quotes Tajik president Kakhar Makhkamov as condemning the use of force by the opposing sides in the Baltic states and calling for political dialog to solve the problem of the Baltic states as well as the "Kuwait problem." Makhkamov is apparently the first Central Asian leader to go on record as deploring military action in the Gulf. (Bess Brown) ATTEMPTS TO REHABILITATE RASHIDOV CRITICIZED. The January 5 issue of Izvestia contains an article by the three co-chairmen of Birlik, Uzbekistan's Popular Front. They criticize recent attempts to whitewash the memory of former Uzbek Party chief Sharaf Rashidov, which they believe are part of an effort by the present rulers of the republic to restore Rashidov's type of authoritarian rule. In their view, the authorities' refusal to sanction opposition meetings and demonstrations, or to allow publication of points of view different from the official one, has created an appearance of stability in the republic. (Bess Brown) YAVLINSKY TO ADVISE KAZAKHSTAN. An article in the January 17 issue of Izvestia on privatization in the RSFSR notes that Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev has invited radical economist Grigorii Yavlinsky to join Kazakhstan's newly-created economic council, and that Yavlisnky has agreed to advise Kazakhstan as well as the RSFSR. Nazarbaev, who has been a supporter of the 500 Days program for reviving the Soviet economy, described Yavlinsky to Izvestia as one of the major contemporary economists. (Bess Brown) NEW LAW ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN KAZAKHSTAN. TASS reported yesterday that a new law on entrepreneurship has gone into effect in Kazakhstan, allowing enterprises to be recognized as juridical persons. Enterprises, regardless of type of ownership, will have control of their profits and may enter into foreign business connections. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIAN LAW ON OWNERSHIP. The Moldavian Supreme Soviet yesterday passed a law on ownership which codifies private, family, cooperative, joint-stock, kolkhoz, and state ownership, as well as permitting ownership combining the above forms. The law enables foreign citizens and companies to set up joint ventures with Moldavian partners. Land, real-estate, transportation, processing workshops, and financial capital may be privately owned. Land, however, will not be treated as a commodity until the year 2001, after which date owners will presumably be able to freely buy and sell land. (Vladimir Socor). Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
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