|If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther|
No. 18, 25 January 1991
BALTIC STATES SOVIET TROOPS OPEN FIRE ON CARS IN LITHUANIA. Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius told reporters on January 24 that troops in a Soviet armed column on the road from Vilnius to Kaunas had fired at a Lithuanian police car and a parliament car, wounding the driver. Reuter reported on January 25 that when three British reporters arrived at the scene, soldiers fired shots over their heads and placed them and their two Lithuanian drivers in a military truck already containing three other Lithuanians. The soldiers claimed they had fired in response to pistol shots from one of the cars. The truck drove to the main military camp where the reporters were treated politely, but the soldiers beat and kicked the Lithuanians. The reporters were released without much of their money; there is no word on the fate of a total 8 Lithuanians now detained. (Saulius Girnius) KUZMICKAS IN CANADA. Lithuanian Vice President Bronius Kuzmickas met on January 24 with Canadian officials in Ottawa, AFP reported on January 25. They discussed Canadian support for Lithuanian independence and humanitarian aid that Canada could sent directly to Lithuania. Canada has suspended some aid to the USSR because of the military crackdown in Lithuania and Latvia. (Saulius Girnius) MEMBER OF LITHUANIAN NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE INTERVIEWED. A member of the National Salvation Committee of interview to the press agency Novosti yesterday. Claiming aggressively that the committee had no intention of surrendering, he claimed that Lithuania is "a Polish and Russian land, which has been colonized by the Lithuanians." (Vera Tolz) GORBACHEV AND NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE. Latvia's arch-conservative "Black Colonel," Colonel Viktor Alksnis, said in today's Die Zeit that he had been in contact with Lithuania's notorious National Salvation Committee. Committee spokesmen allegedly explained to Alksnis that "we did everything that Gorbachev had asked us to. Then, presidential rule should have imposed. But he betrayed us." In an earlier interview (see Daily Report for January 22), Alksnis claimed that Gorbachev had planned the destabilization of the Baltic, but then lost his nerve and tried to blame events there on the army. (Stephen Foye) SWEDISH VISITS TO LITHUANIA. On January 23 a delegation of three Swedish parliamentarians arrived in Lithuania for a one day visit. Its head, deputy chairman of the Swedish Parliament Ingegerd Troedsson, spoke at the afternoon session of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, broadcast live by Radio Kaunas. She expressed outrage at the Soviet military attacks in Vilnius and announced that the Swedish government had assigned funds to begin radio broadcasts from Sweden in Lithuanian. Sweden's Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Pierre Schori announced in Stockholm that he would arrive in Lithuania yesterday for a visit of several days, AP reported on January 23. (Saulius Girnius) FOREIGN AID AND SUPPORT FOR LITHUANIA. Radio Kaunas on January 24 announced that it has received many letters and telegrams of sympathy after the military assault on the Vilnius television tower. It said that Oslo and Krakow are planning to sign sister city agreements with Vilnius. The city president of Luebeck arrived in Klaipeda the same day with a shipment of medicines and medical supplies worth DM 100,000 and about 1,000 eleven-kilogram packets of food and clothes. He said that the people of Luebeck had donated an additional DM 200,000 and he would determine the best way to spend these funds. Vice-chairman of the Lithuanian American Community Rimantas Dirvonis also spoke briefly at the parliament's session noting that the Lithuanian-American community has collected funds for Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius) BLACK BERETS REPORTED IN ESTONIA. Soviet Interior Ministry troops stopped a bus yesterday and checked identity cards of passengers, ETA reported yesterday. An unspecified number of the "Black Berets" stopped a bus traveling from Viljandi to Tartu, both in southern Estonia. No one was detained or harmed in the incident. This is the first report that Black Berets--who were involved in attacks in Vilnius and Riga in the last two weeks--are present in Estonia. (Riina Kionka) TWO SWEDES FOUND DEAD IN ESTONIA. Two Swedish trade union officials were found dead yesterday in Tallinn, agencies reported. Bertil Whinberg, chairman of the Swedish Construction Workers' Union, and Ove Frederiksson, chairman of the Woodworkers' Union, were found robbed and murdered. The two had planned to meet with Estonian trade union leaders. (NCA/Riina Kionka) KGB HOLDS FIVE LATVIANS SEIZED BY BLACK BERETS. On January 20, around 4 AM a group of Black Berets seized 5 unarmed volunteer guards (Aigars Teteris, Agris Kreismanis, Gatis Jurkans, Kaspars Grinbergs, and Haralds Steinbergs) in Riga. They were taken to the Berets' camp, beaten up, filmed with the Black Berets' weapons, and forced to sign confessions of illegal possession of weapons and hooliganism. Two guards, unable to withstand the strain, signed the papers. That evening they were interrogated at the Latvian SSR Procuracy (not the Latvian Procuracy) when the Black Berets attacked the nearby Ministry of Internal Affairs. Now they are detained in KGB isolation cells, reported Radio Riga on January 24. (Dzintra Bungs) EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS "AGGRESSION" IN BALTIC. The EC parliament yesterday passed a resolution condemning the USSR's recent military "aggression" in the Baltic States and urging the renewal of peaceful dialogue between Moscow and Baltic governments. The resolution said that the parliament was "shocked by the virtual siege of elected parliaments" in the Baltic States, and called for "the immediate cessation of all use of force." It stated that Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are "democratic states" whose "democratically elected institutions must be respected." (NCA/Sallie Wise) RSFSR SUPSOV IN DEADLOCK OVER LITHUANIA. Yesterday, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet again failed to approve a resolution condemning the Baltic crackdown. Although the majority of those present voted for the resolution, it got the same 47.6% of all the deputies as was the case on Monday. The draft condemned the setting up of unconstitutional "committees" aimed to replace the elected parliaments, the use of the army in the conflict between nationalities, and called for support of the rights of Russian-speaking people in Latvia and Lithuania. It was opposed by the minority "Communists of Russia" bloc of RSFSR deputies, (who seem to have in mind setting a "salvation committee" in Russia as well). Deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Khasbulatov, termed the failure to approve this resolution a "defeat" for the legislature. (Julia Wishnevsky) MOLDAVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR PROSECUTION IN VILNIUS SHOOTING CASE. Interviewed by the Moldavian and Romanian news agencies yesterday, Moldavian Minister of External Relations Nicolae Tsyu called for the prosecution of those who "allowed" the Soviet military to use arms against Lithuanians in Vilnius. Punishing those responsible is a prerequisite to easing tensions in Lithuania, Tsyu said. Concerning relations between "us, the republics who declared our sovereignty" and Moscow, Tsyu urged compromise "except of course when principles are at stake". (Vladimir Socor). ARMY DENIES USING "DUM-DUM" BULLETS. A Defense Ministry spokesman quoted in Krasnaya zvezda yesterday denied allegations that the Soviet army sometimes uses "dum-dum" bullets--bullets specially engineered to cause maximum damage to a human body upon impact. The Soviet armed forces comply with international norms banning the use of such bullets, the spokesman claimed, according to a TASS account of the interview. There have been charges that ammunition of this type was used by Soviet forces in the Baltic. (Stephen Foye) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS CURRENCY REFORM TRAGEDY. During the second day allotted for the exchange of banknotes, Western agencies reported several deaths and injuries among the crowds jostling outside post offices and banks. It was not clear whether the alleged deaths resulted from crushing or heart attacks. According to reports received in Munich, the Russian, Uzbek, Kazakh, Georgian, Lithuanian, and Armenian republics plus Tatarstan have granted extensions to the official deadline or have announced their intentions to do so, and some republics have altered the quantity of banknotes that may be exchanged. However, Gosbank on Friday morning declared any such extension or changes in rates to be "unlawful." (Keith Bush) SOVIET PREMIER OPTIMISTIC. The new Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, in an interview with the newsmagazine Glasnost' (no. 3), compared the present Soviet economic situation with the crisis of Western economies in the 1970s. He said the Soviet economic crisis, like the previous one in capitalist countries, is a normal process caused by the change in the structure of industrial production. He denounced Western analyses of the Soviet economy as that of a developing country. In the interview, Pavlov cautioned of "superradical and extrarevolutionary means of curing the economy" because they lead to social injustice. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN ON QUADRILATERAL UNION. Yeltsin said in a TV interview for ABC's '20/20' news show scheduled to be broadcast tonight that the RSFSR, Ukraine, Belorussia, and Kazakhstan would unite as a new Union if moves towards democratization failed. Yeltsin said the leadership of such a Union would rotate among the four republics' leaders. In an interview with Novosti on December 26, Yeltsin had said that the four republics were hoping to sign a quadrilateral agreement on cooperation during the Congress of People's Deputies. On Monday he spoke of the need to accelerate the signing of such an agreement. (Ann Sheehy) REPUBLICAN LEADERS ON UNION REFERENDUM. Brief interviews with the presidents, chairmen, or deputy chairmen of the supreme soviets of thirteen union republics carried in Literaturnaya gazeta of January 16 confirm that most have reservations about the referendum on preserving the USSR scheduled for March 17. Some see no call for a referendum in their republics, since the population is clearly in favor or the republican supreme soviet has already opted for independence. Others think it would be better to wait, that the final decision should lie with the republic, or that assurances are needed first on amendments to the draft Union treaty. Only Levon Ter-Petrosyan, chairman of the Armenian Supreme Soviet, expressed wholehearted support. (Ann Sheehy) ARE SOVIET ADVISERS IN IRAQ? BBC radio and British Defense Minister Tom King alleged yesterday that some Soviet military advisers are in Iraq, Reuters reported. King said in a news conference yesterday, however, that he does not believe that they are helping Iraq's war effort in any significant way. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIETS UNCLEAR ABOUT ADVISERS. The Soviet foreign and defense ministries rejected claims that military advisers have been in Iraq, and noted that all military specialists (as distinct from advisers) have been out of Iraq since January 9, TASS said today. (Suzanne Crow) INTERFAX SAYS SADDAM SHOT AIR FORCE COMMANDERS. The independent Soviet news agency Interfax, citing a source in the Soviet defense ministry, said today on orders of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein the commanders of the Iraqi air force and air-defense have been executed. An Interfax editor said the incident took place a few days ago and that the agency received its information from several excellent sources, Reuters reports today. (Suzanne Crow) SINO-SOVIET CONTACTS ON GULF WAR. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Li Zhaoxing said yesterday China and the Soviet Union have been in constant contact since the start of the Gulf crisis and "continue making their efforts...to settle the conflict in a peaceful way," Reuters said yesterday. Both China and the USSR have close ties with Iraq. China, unlike the USSR, abstained from voting on the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of "all necessary means" to oust Iraq from Kuwait. (Suzanne Crow) BELONOGOV MEETS PLO OFFICIALS. Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Belonogov had talks yesterday with two leading PLO members, Mahmud Abbas and Yasir Abd Rabbuh, to discuss the Gulf war, Reuter reported yesterday. The report cited a TASS statement on the meeting to the effect that both sides "expressed their firm adherence to a speedy ending of military operations and the search for political solutions to the conflict." (Sallie Wise) HUSSEIN FIGHTING SOVIET STYLE? Discussing Saddam Hussein's passive conduct in the Gulf War, a Soviet defector earlier this week attributed the strategy to Iraq's assimilation of basic Soviet military doctrine, The New York Times reported yesterday. Vladimir N. Sakharov, a former Soviet military attache in Iraq, said that the principle of conserving one's strength in the face of an attack by a superior enemy with the intention later of launching a surprise counterattack using massed forces is a principle of Soviet warfighting theory. The Soviets envision strong air support for counterattacking operations, however, a capability the Iraqis are unlikely to possess. (Stephen Foye) BESSMERTNYKH TO MEET BUSH. TASS said yesterday Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh will go to Washington at the end of this week for discussions at the US's initiative. TASS reports that Bessmertnykh will meet with George Bush as well as James Baker; however, the White House has not confirmed the Bush meeting. Press reports speculate the meeting with Baker will take place tomorrow. The holding of a US-Soviet summit is likely to be decided this weekend. White House Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater yesterday noted the meeting might be held in a neutral country. Press reports also note that George Bush is coming under pressure, in light of US Congressional condemnation of crackdowns in the Baltics, to put off the summit or cancel it altogether. (Suzanne Crow) MAJOR THREATENS AID CUT OFF. British Prime Minister John Major said yesterday he would consider suspending all assistance except food aid to the USSR if violence against independence activists continues. Major's comments to a meeting of parliamentarians from his Conservative party were quoted by Reuters yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) MORE ON KAL 007. The fourth in an Izvestia series on the KAL shootdown yesterday featured an interview with Gennadii Osipovich, the pilot of the Sukhoi-15 that shot down the Korean airliner. Osipovich said he still believes that KAL 007 was a spy plane, but admits that his government lied about details of the incident afterwards. "We were justified in shooting it down," he said, "but then they started lying about details: the plane, supposedly, was flying without lights, that there were warning shots with tracers, that I carried on radio contract with it or tried to do it." None of that was true, said Osipovich. He did fire warning shots, but not with tracers, AP reported yesterday. (Suzanne Crow) RENEWED SOVIET AID TO AFGHANISTAN. The Independent reported yesterday that the USSR has assured Afghan President Najibullah of continued military and economic aid through this year. According to the paper's Islamabad correspondent, Pakistani diplomats and Afghan mujahedin believe the Soviet army has no intention of cutting off support for Najibullah. Consequently, chances of a Soviet-US peace settlement on Afghanistan may be in jeopardy. (Sallie Wise) CHINESE PARTY CHIEF TO VISIT USSR IN MAY. Chinese CP leader Jiang Zemin is expected to go to Moscow in May at Gorbachev's invitation, Reuter reports today, citing diplomatic sources. Jiang will be the most senior Party official to visit Moscow since Mao Zedong went there in 1957. Sino-Soviet party-to-party ties have lagged behind governmental and economic contacts, and are still described as cool. (Sallie Wise) WEAPONS SALE IN MOSCOW. The Soviet army opened an auction in Moscow yesterday in an attempt to sell off tanks, armored vehicles, and other equipment, TASS reported. According to Rear Services Chief Army General Vladimir Arkhipov, the hardware has been converted for civilian use and profits will be used for housing construction. Prices for tanks will range from 65,000 to 120,000 rubles. Arkhipov reportedly believes that the equipment will sell fast. (NCA/Stephen Foye) CULTURAL FIGURES CRITICIZE CENTRAL TV POLICY. About sixty leading Soviet cultural figures said in a letter published in Komsomol'skaya pravda yesterday that they will boycott Soviet central TV until censorship imposed on it by Gosteleradio head Leonid Kravchenko is lifted. The letter said political censorship has been revived, and so viewers receive an incomplete and distorted picture of events. (Vera Tolz) MORE PROTESTS AGAINST KRAVCHENKO'S LINE. There were other protests against Kravchenko's policies on central TV. The line of the Gosteleradio chief was condemned at this week's session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet; by the producers of the popular "Vzglyad" show in yesterday's Izvestia; and by a group of Leningrad cultural figures and people's deputies in an open letter to the Leningrad newspaper, Smena (quoted in Izvestia on January 11). (Vera Tolz) LENINGRAD TV SEEKING INDEPENDENCE. Leningrad's Radio and TV Commitee said it plans to leave the Soviet state broadcasting system and become an independent republic-level company, TASS reported yesterday. Leningrad TV is currently run jointly by Gosteleradio and local authorities. Leningrad TV, generally liberal, already has had a series of conflicts with Gosteleradio over broadcasting policy. Earlier this month a leading Leningrad TV moderator, Bella Kurkova, signed an open letter by Leningrad intellectuals criticizing the policy of Gosteleradio. (Vera Tolz) NEW REGULATIONS ON DIRECT SATELLITE BROADCASTING. Direct satellite broadcasting, (DBS) will be subject to licensing by Gosteleradio and other state organs, said USSR First Deputy Minister of Communications, G. Kudryavtsev, to Pravitel'stvennyi Vestnik, No. 3, 1991. He said it would be unrealistic to expect the spread of individual parabolic antennae in Soviet cities, because signals from Western satellites will be available mainly through cable networks. He added that the high price of parabolic antennae (from 8000 to 13,000 rubles) and their negligible domestic production will also be constraints for individual DBS users. Kudryavtsev advocated joint ventures between Soviet state-controlled or licensed cable operators and Western partners. If that comes to pass, however, the Soviet authorities will preserve the right to choose what kind of satellite channels television viewers can watch. (Victor Yasmann) LITGAZETA DISCUSSES THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Sergei Averintsev, USSR People's Deputy and chairman of the Bible Society of the Soviet Union, announced in Literaturnaya gazeta No. 2 that the newspaper has started a new column called "Tablet", where writers will discuss one of the commandments and comment about the effects that ignorance of the Ten Commandments has upon "our life". Averintsev himself began with discussion of the First Commandment. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS AZERBAIJANI LEADERS APOLOGIZE FOR NAGORNO-KARABAKH INCIDENT. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov and Supreme Soviet chairwoman Elmira Kafarova have apologized to the members of an RSFSR parliamentary delegation who on January 22 were detained at Stepanakert airport on their arrival to investigate inter-ethnic relations in Nagorno-Karabakh, Radio Liberty's Russian BD learned yesterday. The Azerbaijani leaders argued that the planned visit might have had a destabilizing effect on the local population. (NCA/Russian BD) KGB COOPERATES WITH RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. TASS reported on January 24 that the KGB has handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church documents from the KGB archives about the life and activities of Tikhon, the late Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The KGB public relations center announced that among these documents are unique manuscripts written by the Patriarch and other religious and political leaders at the beginning of the century. The KGB maintains that the return of these documents is further proof of the restitution of justice toward the Russian Orthodox Church. (Oxana Antic) DEMONSTRATION ORGANIZERS PROSECUTED IN KYRGYZSTAN. Novosti reported on January 23 that activists of the "Democratic Kyrgyzstan" movement are being prosecuted for staging an unsanctioned demonstration. Movement co-chairman Topchubek Turgunaliev told the news agency that proponents of totalitarianism are gaining ground in the republic and the organizers of the demonstration had no chance to give the required ten day notice to the city soviet. When the republican Supreme Soviet resumed work on January 23, picketers in front of the building called for the prevention of any military action like that in the Baltics and of confrontation between ethnic groups in Kyrgyzstan. (Bess Brown) POSSIBLE RECALL OF PETRUSHENKO? In an interview appearing in the December 23 issue of Kazakhstanskaya pravda, the chairman of the Committee on Ecology of Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet, M. Nurtazin, stated that voters in many parts of the republic are disenchanted with Colonel Nikolai Petrushenko, a USSR People's Deputy from East Kazakhstan Oblast who is a leading member of the conservative Soyuz group. People in Kazakhstan are apparently angered that Petrushenko has reversed his stand on closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site--during his election campaign he had promised to seek its closure. Nurtazin noted that voters in Petrushenko's district could recall him on the environmental issue. (Bess Brown) UKRAINIAN STUDENT LEADER FREED. Oles' Donii, the head of the Kiev branch of the Ukrainian Students' Union, and one of the leading figures in the student hunger strike in Kiev last October, has been released from detention, Literaturna Ukraina reports in its recent issue (January 17). Donii was detained by the authorities on charges of organizing the takeover of one of the Kiev State University buildings on October 15. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN CP POLITBURO DISCUSSES NEW REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION. A session of the Politburo of the Ukrainian Communist Party met on January 23 to discuss the concept of a new republican constitution, Radio Kiev reported yesterday. At a press conference held the same day, Party second secretary Hryhorii Kharchenko explained that Ukrainian Communists were not entirely satisfied with the draft now being prepared by a working group of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet's Constitutional Commission. (Roman Solchanyk) YAMAL NENETS OKRUG CONFIRMS ITS DECISION TO SECEDE FROM TYUMEN OBLAST. A session of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous okrug soviet has confirmed its decision of October 18, 1990, to secede from Tyumen oblast, Moscow radio reported January 18. The statement adopted by the soviet said the territory was an independent subject of the federation i.e. RSFSR, but would remain part of Tyumen oblast until the existence of the Yamal Nenets republic was constitutionally recognized. (Ann Sheehy) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.