Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 19, 28 January 1991



BALTIC STATES



SAVISAAR: CRACKDOWN LINKED TO SUMMIT? Estonia's Prime Minister
Edgar Savisaar told Radio Stockholm on January 27 that he fears
the Soviet military may crack down on Estonia after the planned
US-Soviet summit. Savisaar said that he thinks Estonia will remain
stable until after the summit ends on February 13, but that pro-Moscow
forces will then "attempt to overthrow the government." (Riina
Kionka)

INDEPENDENT ECP AGAINST REFERENDUM. Estonia's independent Communist
Party has voted to oppose the all-Union referendum set for March
17, agencies reported on January 27. The ECP, meeting for its
21st Congress last weekend, passed a resolution saying that conditions
are not right for such a vote. The ECP also opposed a proposal
by some Estonian leaders to hold a "pre-referendum" in Estonia,
similar to the opinion poll being conducted in Lithuania. The
independent ECP also re-elected Enn-Arno Sillari as its First
Secretary and retained Vaino Valjas as Chairman of the Party.
(Riina Kionka)

ECP CHAIRMAN WANTS UNION TREATY. Vaino Valjas (see above) told
Reuter on January 27 that the independent ECP supported the Baltic
independence drive. "We recognize that the Baltic republics have
to be sovereign, independent and free," Valjas said, adding that
Estonia should aim for talks with Moscow. "We must be political
realists. The way to resolve this must be through negotiation
and dialogue to achieve a treaty which will gradually realize
all our intentions and hopes." Valjas failed to mention that
Estonia has sought bona fide negotiations toward independence
with the USSR since last March, to no avail. (Riina Kionka)

DRAFTEE SEARCHES IN ESTONIA. Troops are looking for draft resisters
in Estonia, according to The Guardian on January 26 and Radio
Moscow on January 27. The Guardian said that witnesses have told
of troops looking for draft evaders in Kauppala, near Tallinn.
Radio Moscow, quoting Radio Tallinn, said that people dressed
in naval and cadet uniforms were going from flat to flat in the
capital city carrying lists of those due for military call-up
and of deserters. According to Radio Moscow, the local military
commissariat has denied any knowledge of the reported activities.
(Riina Kionka)

RUBIKS ATTEMPTS TO UNDERMINE THE LATVIAN GOVERNMENT. Radio Riga
reported on January 26 about yet another attempt of Latvian Communist
Party First Secretary Alfred Rubiks, who is also chairman of
the All-Latvia Public Salvation Committee, to topple the government
of Latvia. According to Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs,
Rubiks had sent a letter to Gorbachev calling for the national
reconciliation committee to take power. It was agreed to establish
such a committee at the January 22 meeting that Gorbachev had
with Gorbunovs and Rubiks to attempt to bring closer together
various organizations and political factions in Latvia. Gorbunovs
called Rubiks' request "unconstitutional and illegal." (Dzintra
Bungs)

VICTIMS OF BLACK BERETS MOURNED IN LATVIA. On January 25 about
100,000 Latvians and members of other nationalities honored the
four men killed by the Black Berets on January 20. Addressing
the throngs at the Statue of Liberty in Riga, Prime Minister
Ivars Godmanis stressed that these men had died in Latvia's peaceful
struggle for democracy and and independence; he ended his address
saying: "Glory to our heroes, damnation to the assassins," reported
Radio Riga on January 25. Sergei Kononeko, Edijs Riekstins, and
Andris Slapins were buried in Riga, while Vladimir Gomonovich
was buried in his native Belorussia. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIA ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH RESFSR. Janis Lovniks
was accredited by the RSFSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Latvia's
temporary envoy to Russia on January 25, reported Radio Riga
that day. Lovniks was born in Latvia 36 years ago and studied
law at the University of Latvia. For several years he worked
as senior investigator of the Latvian SSR Procuracy. (Dzintra
Bungs)

GORBUNOVS ON REFERENDUM. On January 23, Radio Riga aired the
report of Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Chairman of the Latvian Supreme
Council, of his meeting with Gorbachev the day before. Gorbunovs
told Gorbachev that "the state of Latvia can be formed only by
all the permanent inhabitants of Latvia; they must also express
their attitude on that in a referendum." He did not explained
further, but pointed out to Gorbachev that this matter was under
the competence of the Supreme Council. Gorbachev reportedly replied
that as long as there is no referendum, and the USSR Constitution
is not amended, there was only the Latvian SSR. Subsequently
several Latvian deputies, who oppose the referendum demanded
by Gorbachev, accused Gorbunovs of bowing to Moscow's pressure.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA'S "NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE" SUSPENDS ACTIVITIES.
Soviet media reported on January 25 that the offices of the Lithuanian
Communist Party had received a Btatement from the leadership
of Lithuania's National SBlvation Committee "by secret channels."
The statement said that the committee has suspended its operations
after Gorbachev pledged to enforce the USSR Constitution in the
republic. The committee, however, reserved the right to resume
operations if Gorbachev did not keep this pledge. DPA on January
27, however quoted the committee's main spokesman JuBzas Jermalavicius
as saying that the report about the comBittee's disbanding had
been false, for the committee was still operating "underground."
(Saulius Girnius)

B USKHOBCHIK ISSUES WARNING. On January 25 the Soviet
army commandant in Vilnius, Major General Vladimir
Uskhopchik, sent a letter to the Lithuanian government saying
that the garrison's troops were "more and more out of control"
because the republic's police were failing to maintain law and
order, Radio Kaunas reported on January 26. The claim is not
supported by facts, since the level of crime in Lithuania has
fallen after the army attack on the television tower. (Saulius
Girnius)

UPDATE ON DETAINEES. Five of six Lithuanians seized by the army
on January 24 were released on January 26, three of them needing
hospitalization from the beatings they had suffered. The sixth
was not released since he had been found with a pistol that he
had thought necessary to have since he was transporting funds.
He was released and hospitalized on January 27. Another Lithuanian
was shot in the leg on a ricochet by the Soviet troops at a military
checkpoint early in the morning of January 27, AP reported that
day. (Saulius Girnius)

PRUNSKIENE ON VISIT TO WEST. Former Lithuanian Prime Minister
Kazimiera Prunskiene is currently visiting Germany. In an interview
with the RFE Lithuanian Service on January 26 she denied the
rumors that she was seeking political asylum in Switzerland;
she had gone to Germany where she has good contacts to gain greater
aid for Lithuania. She intends to travel later to the US. In
an article published in Tiesa of January 25, she explained the
reasons for her visits abroad. (Saulius Girnius)

SAUDARGAS CONTINUES TRIPS ABROAD. Lithuanian Foreign Minister
Algirdas Saudargas has traveled to Reykjavik, Radio Kaunas reported
on January 27. His visit is probably tied with the possible granting
of official recognition to the Lithuanian government by Iceland.
(Saulius Girnius)

VIVAT, MOLCHANOV! The most impressive coverage of the Baltic
events by Central TV so far was shown on January 27 on the monthly
show "Before and After Midnight," produced by Vladimir Molchanov,
the Soviet Union's most popular TV star. The program included
film of the January 13 seizure of the Vilnius television tower
by Soviet tanks and airborne troops. Referring to the violence
in the Baltics and the recent orders of the USSR ministers of
defense and internal affairs to dispatch armed patrols on the
streets of all Soviet cities, despite the objections of elected
governments, Molchanov said that "the pack of wolves goes to
its last hunt." "Their stake is power," Molchanov said, "whereas
ours is life." (Julia Wishnevsky)

TSN NEWS BLAMES REGIME FOR KILLINGS IN RIGA. Soviet TV journalists
successfully defied the ban on coverage of the Baltic crackdown
imposed by Gosteleradio on several occasions last weekend. The
TSN correspondent in Riga broadcast on Friday night the funerals
of the victims of the attack on the Latvian MVD. He observed
that the four who died defending Latvia belonged to different
nationalities, and said that the split lay not along nationalities
lines but rather between the new, democratic order and "the [Soviet
totalitarian] past, armed and malicious." The four men who died
defending the Latvian republic, the TSN moderator added, fell
victims to the "political mechanism that murders without mercy--in
Tbilisi, Baku, Vilnius, and now in Riga." (Julia Wishnevsky)


SOVIET TV AIRS SCENES OF RIGA CRACKDOWN. On Sunday, "Namedni"
(the weekly news show on "Author's Television") aired scenes
of the Riga attack, borrowed from Latvian and Danish televisions.
The moderator noted that it is routine for communists to regain
power by force after they lose elections: this happened when
they lost the elections to the Russian constituent assembly in
1918, and now again after they lost elections to the Latvian
Supreme Soviet. "Namedni" also broadcast an interview with Vladimir
Brezhnev, a cameraman for the banned program "Vzglyad," who was
badly wounded during the siege. Speaking from his hospital bed,
Brezhnev said that he was not afraid to stand against the attackers.
(Julia Wishnevsky)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



JOINT ARMY-MVD PATROLS. The Soviet Defense and Internal Affairs
Ministries have announced a new directive that calls for army
units to join police and Internal Ministry forces in maintaining
public order, "Vremya" and TASS announced on January 25. Signed
by Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov and Interior Minister Boris
Pugo and scheduled to go into effect on February 1, the order
calls for joint armed patrols of police and soldiers backed by
armored vehicles. The order applies to all major cities and is
ostensibly aimed at guarding buildings and policing demonstrations.
The order was dated December 29, and is unprecedented with regard
to the scope of domestic activities it grants the army. (Stephen
Foye)

GORBACHEV DECREE ON ECONOMIC SABOTAGE. On January 26, Soviet
president Gorbachev issued a decree extending to the KGB and
police the right to search virtually every building in the country
except foreign embassies in order to inspect financial records
and confiscate valuables. According to TASS, the KGB and police
need no warrant and have the authority to enter premises with
or without permission of the owner. The only restriction on the
inspections is that they be carried out in the presence of a
representative of a "public organization." That proviso gives
no guarantee that the searches will be conducted fairly and legally.
The risk to entrepreneurs, a favorite target of conservatives,
is, of course, high. (John Tedstrom)

CURRENCY EXCHANGE DEADLINE EXTENDED. The original deadline of
January 25 for the exchange of old 50- and 100-ruble notes was
extended to January 27 for pensioners. Those whose work takes
them far from home may now exchange notes for up to three days
after they return home. However, as of midday on January 28,
there was no indication that the dissenting union republics had
withdrawn their extensions of the centrally-decreed deadline
and/or their own variations on the upper limit of exchange permitted.
Thus RSFSR premier Silaev on January 26 reiterated his republic's
extension of the deadline until February 1 and the higher exchange
limit of 500 rubles for pensioners. (Keith Bush)

CONGRESS OF DEMOCRATIC FORCES MEETS. The founding conference
of the Congress of Democratic Forces opened in Kharkov on Saturday,
Radio Moscow reported. Forty six democratic political parties
and movements from various union republics, including Armenia,
Azerbaijan, the Baltic States, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, the RSFSR,
and Ukraine, took part in the conference. TASS reported on Sunday
that the conference was aimed at creating a coalition of independent
parties and movements. The meeting's final statement said the
coalition's purpose is "to carry out joint political actions
and to cooperate in solving tasks that are common to the democratic
movements." (Vera Tolz)

CPSU SECRETARIAT MET WITHOUT GORBACHEV. The Secretariat of the
CPSU Central Committee met to discuss the situation in the country
and in Eastern Europe, TASS reported on January 25. Mikhail Gorbachev
was conspicuously absent and the meeting was chaired by his deputy,
Vladimir Ivashko. The meeting was attended by KGB chief Vladimir
Kryuchkov, who is not a member of the Secretariat or the Politburo.
The Secretariat stressed the necessity of keeping close economic
and cultural ties with East European states. Ivashko called to
resist those who want the CPSU to deal solely with interparty
affairs and favored a more political role for the Party. (Alexander
Rahr)

GORBACHEV'S FORMER AIDE PROVIDES INSIGHT. Nikolai Petrakov, who,
like many other reformers has resigned from the President's team,
provided some details on the conservative turn in Soviet politics
in an interview with The Financial Times on January 26. According
to him, conservatives were shocked by the possibility of a Gorbachev/Yeltsin
coalition and gave Gorbachev an ultimatum. Petrakov said that
Gorbachev's decision to institute "harsh presidential rule" came
in the night of November 17, after Viktor Alksnis had told him
that he had only 30 days to restore order. The decision, Petrakov
added, was made without Aleksandr Yakovlev and Nikolai Ryzhkov.
(Alexander Rahr)

SOCIOLOGISTS PROPOSE REWORDING REFERENDUM QUESTION. The Union
of Sociologists has suggested that the question to be posed in
the referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union scheduled
for March 17 should be divided into three, Moscow radio reported
January 26. The first question should be on the preservation
of the federal structure of the state, the second on renaming
it, and the third on the priority of human rights over the rights
of nations. This proposal would meet objections that the formulation
of the question in the USSR Supreme Soviet resolution of January
16 could cause difficulties for voters who might favor the preservation
of the union but not its socialist nature. (Ann Sheehy)

DZASOKHOV SAYS USSR FAVORS CEASEFIRE. Aleksandr Dzasokhov, Chairman
of the Supreme Soviet committee on international affairs and
member of the Politburo, said in an interview appearing in the
Los Angeles Times of January 27 that the Soviet Union favors
a multinational initiative to resolve the Gulf war. Moscow sees
promise in the idea of "a withdrawal (of Iraqi troops from Kuwait)
and a cease-fire that would be tied to a new round of discussions...".
Dzasokhov emphasized the role of Arab states and the UN Security
Council in the discussions. Formerly ambassador to Syria, Dzasokhov
has been quite vocal on the Soviet Union's stance toward the
Gulf conflict. (Suzanne Crow)

VORONTSOV SAYS NO TO TALK OF CEASEFIRE. Soviet ambassador to
the United Nations Yulii Vorontsov criticized a group of Arab
states (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan and
Yemen) for their efforts to start debate in the UN Security Council
on a ceasefire. Vorontsov said at the UN (January 25) that these
states were simply trying to gain a forum for opposition to the
war and they should try first to convince Saddam Hussein to quit
Kuwait, AFP and Reuter reported January 26. Vorontsov's comments
run counter to those of Aleksandr Dzasokhov (above) suggesting
both a proliferation of the sources of Soviet foreign policy
and disagreement among the Soviet elite. (Suzanne Crow)

VORONTSOV SAYS SADDAM TO BLAME FOR CASUALTIES. Vorontsov also
showed a difference of opinion with Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh on January 25 at the UN. While admitting that casualties
are very unfortunate, Vorontsov said Saddam Hussein is ultimately
to blame. Vorontsov did not express concern that the multinational
bombing campaign in Iraq was heading in the wrong direction,
AFP and Reuter reported January 26. (Suzanne Crow)

BESSMERTNYKH REJECTS, THEN ACCEPTS, GULF EFFORT. Upon arrival
in Washington on January 26, Bessmertnykh said Moscow is concerned
about "the scale" of US bombing in Baghdad and the threat to
the civilian population. Bessmertnykh also said the destruction
of Iraq was "not in the [UN] Security Council resolution" authorizing
the use of "all necessary means" to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
After meeting with US Secretary of State James Baker, Bessmertnykh
said the USSR was in "complete accord" with the multinational
force's actions thus far, but remained concerned that the conflict
was tending toward the destruction of Iraq, the Washington Post
reported yesterday (January 27). (Suzanne Crow)

2+4 RATIFICATION TO BE DIFFICULT. Mikhail A. Loginov, a counsellor
at the Soviet embassy in Berlin, said last week ratification
of the Two-Plus-Four Treaty will be more difficult than expected.
Speaking in an interview with AFP on January 25, Loginov said
there are many deputies in the Supreme Soviet who believe that
Moscow was too compromising in negotiations with Germany. Loginov
noted that USSR has resorted to bringing its troops home via
the Baltic Sea (owing to Warsaw's refusal to allow convoys to
transit Poland), and this sea route will put the withdrawal schedule
behind. (Suzanne Crow)

GERMANY OFFERS VOCATIONAL TRAINING. Under an agreement that emerged
at the international conference on emigration in Vienna on January
24-25, the FRG will offer training for 1,500 young Soviet workers
in Germany each year. The idea, RFE/RL's correspondent reported
from Vienna on January 25, is that after training they will return
to the USSR and train others in new skills which will give them
an incentive to remain in their own country. RFE/RL's correspondent
in Bonn reported January 27 that Vladimir Shcherbakov, chairman
of Goskomtrud, met in Vienna with German labor minister Norbert
Bluem to discuss details of the plan, which will also include
training for Soviet trade union activists. Goskomtrud is likely
to be enthusiastic about the idea since it has been warning of
a potential brain drain of skilled Soviet workers. (Elizabeth
Teague)

GENERAL STAFFER ON DRAFT, YELTSIN. Colonel General Grigorii Krivosheev
told Soviet television viewers on January 27 that 84% of the
fall draft quota has been met. Krivosheev repeated complaints
about low turn-out rates in the Baltic, the Transcaucasus, and
Moscow. He placed blame for draft evasion entirely on republic
governments and pro-democracy groups, claiming that low turnouts
left the army undermanned (at a time when the US is mobilizing
reserves, he cautioned) and endangered Soviet security. Krivosheev
also criticized Yeltsin for threatening to form a Russian army,
and charged that the creation of national armies in general would
undermine stability. (Stephen Foye)

CULTURAL FIGURES AGAIN CONDEMN CENTRAL TV. "Vremya's" coverage
of the events in the Baltic has been full of direct lies, chief
editor of Moscow News Egor Yakovlev stressed in an interview
with the central TV program "Do i posle polunochi" on January
27. Yakovlev participated in the program together with Moldavian
writer Ion Drutse and Moscow cinema producer Elem Klimov. Klimov
noted that he was one of the cultural figures who have just signed
a letter announcing a boycott of central TV. He said that he
made an exception for "Do i posle polunochi," because he did
not want to miss the opportunity of expressing his views on the
Baltic situation in front of a large audience. (Vera Tolz)

WILL JOURNALISTS EXPEL KRAVCHENKO FROM THEIR UNION? Yakovlev,
in the same interview, told Molchanov that some Soviet journalists
do not want to be in the same union with Leonid Kravchenko, the
head of Gosteleradio widely condemned for biased coverage on
Soviet television during the Baltic crackdown. [The Moscow Union
of Journalists, once headed by the radical RSFSR minister of
the mass media Mikhail Poltoranin, had condemned both the crackdown
and its coverage by television and the official news agency TASS;
it seems capable of attempting to expell Kravchenko from the
Union, but such a move will undoubtably stopped at a higher level.]
(Julia Wishnevsky)

MOSCOW CITIZENS QUESTIONED ON CENTRAL TV PERFORMANCE. The majority
of Muscovites questioned about glasnost' on Soviet central TV
said that they detect heavy censorship in reporting by this main
media organ, the TV program "Do i posle polunochi" reported on
January 27. In a separate question about the main TV newscast
"Vremya" the majority of those polled said that this program
lacked objectivity. (Vera Tolz)

SOVIET TV MEN ENJOY BEING BOYCOTTED? Soviet TV journalists seem
determined to inform as wide an audience as possible that the
country's leading intellectuals have declared a boycott of Central
TV in protest of distortions in its coverage of the Baltic crackdown.
On January 26, the film titled "Andrei Smirnov: The Man of the
Year," lionizing the former head of the USSR Cinema Workers'
Union, was preceded by a long letter of apology for breaking
the ban. In the letter, the moderator of the TV program on cinema,
the prominent director Mark Zakharov said that broadcasting the
film on the work and life of such men as director Andrei Smirnov
and his late father, the writer Sergei Smirnov, is crucial for
the national's spiritual survival. (Julia Wishnevsky)

USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



SVERDLOVSK KGB SUPPORTS YELTSIN. 64 KGB officers from Sverdlovsk
have sent a letter to Boris Yeltsin expressing their support
for democratization, Radio Rossiya reported on January 25. The
officers stated that their organization is deeply split over
reform. They added that a number of officers feel disillusioned
about protectionism in their organization. They warned that the
KGB may side with the conservatives against reform. Yeltsin immediately
responded by inviting the KGB officers to join his ranks and
cooperate on a concrete national security program for Russia.
(Alexander Rahr)

COMMITTEES FOR DEFENSE OF LENSOVET AND RSFSR PARLIAMENT SET UP
IN LENINGRAD. A special committee for the defense of the Leningrad
city Soviet and the RSFSR Supreme Soviet were set up in Leningrad,
a member of the Leningrad city Soviet Presidium, Marina Sal'e,
told Radio Rossiya on January 28. In contrast to the national
salvation committees in the Baltics, the Leningrad committee
is open and its main purpose is to defend, not to overthrow,
the legally elected state bodies, Sal'e stressed. (Vera Tolz)


MOST RUSSIANS WANT TO REMAIN IN NON-RUSSIAN REPUBLICS. A survey
conducted in November-December 1990 showed that most Russians
in the non-Russian republics wanted to remain there because they
believed they were better off than they would be in Russia, Moskovskie
novosti reported in its latest issue, according to TASS of January
25. Of the more than 350,000 (out of 25 million) who wanted to
leave, roughly 12 percent cited hostility of the population as
the reason. But only in Central Asia did they really fear for
their lives. Judging by the survey, there are at least 130,000
Russians in Uzbekistan, over 50,000 in Tajikistan, and about
20,000 in Kirgizstan who are literally ready to flee. (Ann Sheehy)


NEW JEWISH SCHOOLS. An elementary and a high school for religious
studies have been opened in Tashkent, TASS reported on January
24. TASS spoke to the new chief rabbi of Tashkent, Abe-David
Gurevich, a US citizen, who initiated the opening of these schools.
The rabbi said that he also received permission from the authorities
to open a center for religious education in Tashkent. (Oxana
Antic)

UKRAINIAN PARTIES DISCUSS COALITION. Representatives of more
than ten Ukrainian political parties met at the "Rukh" headquarters
in Kiev to discuss the formation of a new political coalition
called "Democratic Ukraine," Radio Kiev reported on January 26.
Among the parties represented were the newly-formed Party of
Democratic Rebirth of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Republican Party,
and the Democratic Party of Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk)

AGREEMENT WITH DONBASS MINERS. The chairman of the Ukrainian
Council of Ministers, Vitol'd Fokin, has signed an agreement
with coalminers in the Donbass raising coal prices by 6.2 percent,
central television's "TSN" news program reported on January 28.
The miners had demanded the doubling of coal prices. Fokin promised
that the issue would be reviewed again before mid-February. (Roman
Solchanyk)

NORTH OSSETIA CREATES COMMISSION FOR REFERENDUM ON PRESERVATION
OF UNION. The North Ossetian Supreme Soviet has set up a central
commission for holding the March 17 referendum on the preservation
of the Soviet Union, Moscow radio reported January 25. This appears
to be the first report of any union or autonomous republic supreme
soviet setting up such a commission although the USSR Supreme
Soviet resolution on the referendum instructed all republican
parliaments to set up such commissions by January 26. (Ann Sheehy)


MOLDAVIAN PATRIOTIC SOCIETY TO PROPAGANDIZE EAST OF DNIESTER.
The "Transnistria Society", created by Moldavians from the left
bank of the Dniester to propagandize in that area, held its inaugural
congress and issued its program, Novosti reported on January
24. The society considers itself the successor of the Bessarabian
Rebirth Society of the pre-Soviet era. The Transnistria Society's
main goal is to maintain the "national unity" of Moldavians east
of the Dniester with those in Bessarabia and Bukovina and to
resist the would-be Dniester SSR proclaimed by local Russian
leaders on the left bank of the Dniester. (Vladimir Socor)




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

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