The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger
RFE/RL Daily Report

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all Soviet troops be withdrawn from buildings seized during the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BLACK BERETS TO BE WITHDRAWN?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


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

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