A tablecloth restaurant is still one of the great rewards of civilization. - Harry Golden
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 20, 29 January 1991





BALTIC STATES



SOVIETS SEIZE TWO LITHUANIAN CUSTOMS POSTS. On January 27 Soviet
Black Berets assaulted Lithuanian customs posts in the villages
of Medininkai and Lavariskes near the Belorussian border, AP
reported on January 28. The soldiers fired shots, confiscated
documents, broke windows, and beat up several customs officials
who did not, however, require hospitalization. The soldiers ordered
the customs officers not to reopen the posts. (Saulius Girnius)


LITHUANIAN SHOT BY SOVIET SOLDIERS. On January 28 a Lithuanian
man, Jonas Tautkus, was shot in the back of the head by Soviet
troops at a checkpoint on the road between Vilnius and Kaunas,
Reuter reported on January 29. He is in critical condition in
a hospital with brain damage. A military official confirmed that
there was a shooting and was quoted as saying: "We have contradictory
reports. There have been many such incidents, it is dificult
to say who shot at whom." (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT PROTEST. On January 28 the Lithuanian Supreme
Council's session, broadcast live over Radio Kaunas, unanimously
adopted a statement written by Lithuanian President Vytautas
Landsbergis and his deputy Ceslovas Stankevicius. The statement,
entitled "On the Threat of Military Dictatorship in the USSR
and on the Expansion of Aggression against Lithuania," condemned
the order of the USSR Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs
organizing joint Army-MVD patrols beginning February 1 as a grave
danger for the public and gross violation of human rights. It
noted that laws passed by foreign governments were not valid
in Lithuania and declared: "in Lithuania it is most important
to halt the crimes of the USSR Army." (Saulius Girnius)

KUZMICKAS APPEAL TO NORDIC COUNCIL. Radio Kaunas on January 29
reported that Lithuanian Vice President Bronius Kuzmickas had
flown to Stockholm from Canada. On January 28 he presented an
appeal to the presidium of the Nordic Council calling on it to
create a commission to investigate the events in Lithuania on
January 13, to protest the transfer of Soviet troops from East
Europe to the Baltic States, and to bring up the question of
the Baltic States in the Conference of Security and Cooperation
in Europe. (Saulius Girnius)

BOMB DROPPED IN LITHUANIA. On January 28 an unidentified plane
dropped a bomb in the raion of Salcininkai, leaving a crater
4-5 meters deep and about 20 meters wide, AFP reported that day.
The bomb did not cause any casualties, but broke windows and
knocked down power and telephone lines. The Lithuanian authorities
are investigating the incident; the Soviet military denies any
knowledge of it. (Saulius Girnius)

BIELECKI SAYS POLAND SUPPORTS LITHUANIA, BUT... Polish Prime
Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki told Der Spiegel of January 28
that while Poland supports Lithuania's striving for sovereignty,
he sees no reason "why Poland should be the first" country to
recognize formally Lithuanian independence. Bielecki stressed
the significant reconciliation between ethnic Poles and native
Lithuanians that has taken place since the Soviet military intervention,
with common goals developing a "spirit of solidarity." (Roman
Stefanowski)

POLISH PROTEST ON LATVIA. The All-Poland Club of Friends of Latvia
has issued a strong protest against "the brutal violations by
the Soviet authorities of human rights in Latvia". The statement,
according to PAP of January 28, demands an immediate stop to
the campaign of repression and activities directed against the
legal authorities of the Republic of Latvia and its people. The
Friends of Latvia also demand the immediate withdrawal "of Soviet
occupational forces" from Latvia and the other Baltic states.
(Roman Stefanowski)

NISHANOV IN RIGA TO ORGANIZE TALKS. Rafik Nishanov, Chairman
of the Soviet of Nationalities of the USSR Supreme Soviet, arrived
in Riga on January 28 to try to organize meetings between the
Latvian leadership and representatives of various political and
public movements. Nishanov was accompanied by USSR deputies Anatolii
Denisov and Nikolai Sychev, according to TASS and Radio Riga
of January 28. The announced purpose of their presence and the
meetings that they are to organize is to diffuse tensions in
Latvia. Following his previous fact-finding trip to Latvia, Denisov's
comments to the press led to widespread speculation of imminent
presidential rule in Latvia which, in turn, served to heighten
tensions among Latvians. (Dzintra Bungs)

MILITIA MEETING ENDS CALMLY. In response to a stormy meeting
of about 500 members of the militia and the KGB on January 25,
whose participants expressed lack of confidence in the government
of Latvia and demanded that Latvia observe the USSR and Latvian
SSR Constitutions, Latvian leaders met with representatives of
the dissatisfied militia men on January 28. The men hooted at
Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Chairman of the Supreme Council, when he
told them that the barricades in Riga were erected for protection
against a possible military attack and cheered Col. Nikolai Goncharenko
when he called for the dismissal of Interior Minister Aloizs
Vaznis. The participants calmed down when they started to discuss
their pay, housing, and staffing problems. (Dzintra Bungs)

GERMANY AND THE BALTIC STATES. German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich
Genscher told his Latvian and Estonian counterparts on January
28 that Germany rejects the use of force in the Baltics, according
to RFE/RL's correspondent in Bonn. Genscher told Latvia's Janis
Jurkans and Estonia's Lennart Meri that Bonn thinks developments
in the Baltic should be based on the CSCE Agreement and the new
Charter of Europe. On January 14, the day after 14 died in Vilnius,
Genscher said that the German people's willingness to aid the
Soviet people should not suffer because of events in the Baltic
states, a RFE/RL correspondent reported from Bonn that day. (Riina
Kionka)

FINLAND TO OFFER REFUGE? Finland's Interior Minister said on
January 27 that Finland may be able to offer refuge to draft
resisters from the Baltic states, according to a Reuter report
on January 28. Jarmo Rantanen said that Finland could consider
granting residence permits to evaders without giving them formal
asylum. This policy would put Finland in line with Sweden's policy
toward conscientious objectors. (Riina Kionka)

ALKSNIS ON GORBACHEV AND BALTICS. In interviews in the Western
press as well as in the latest issue of Argumenty i fakty, a
leader of "Soyuz," Colonel Viktor Alksnis, said that Gorbachev
personally endorsed a shadowy National Salvation Committee of
Lithuania. Alksnis complained that immediately afterwards, however,
the Soviet president got frightened and failed to follow through
on the crackdown. The TV news program "TSN" stressed on January
29 that Gorbachev should publicly deny Alksnis' assertion if
it does not reflect reality. In the same interview in the Soviet
weekly, Alksnis also predicted that the current crisis in the
Baltics "will inevitably spread into a civil war on a scale of
the union." (Vera Tolz)

WILL THE CPSU REHABILITATE THE "SECRET PROTOCOLS"? A. Lopukhin
denied in Pravda, January 19, that the CPSU Central Committee
is planning to hold a conference of historians to dispute the
conclusions of Aleksandr Yakovlev's report to the second session
of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies in December, 1989.
Yakovlev's report, approved by the Congress, condemned the "secret
protocols" to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, which included
the then-independent Baltic States in the USSR's "sphere of influence."
Pravda has received several telephone calls citing rumors of
this conference as "the most obvious fact of the CPSU's ideological
recoil." Lopukhin called these rumors "disinformation," but admitted
that there indeed will be a conference devoted to the 50th anniversary
of the German attack on the USSR, in the course of which some
historian may discuss the pact between Stalin and Hitler. (Julia
Wishnevsky)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



OPINION POLL ON RESULTS OF THE YEAR 1990. An opinion poll published
in Moscow News No. 1 examined the results of the year 1990. The
weekly reported that 88% of those polled thought the past year
was more difficult than 1989. The largest group of people (35%)
suggested that Yeltsin's election as chairman of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet was the main event of the year; the second largest group
(27%) thought that the main event was the unification of Germany.
The largest group of those polled called Yeltsin "the man of
the year 1990"; the second most popular figure was still Gorbachev;
and the third... Margaret Thatcher. Finally, a considerable majority
(60%) rejected the idea of using military force to stabilize
the situation in the country. (Vera Tolz)

CABINET OF MINISTERS MEETS ON ENERGY PROBLEMS. The Soviet Cabinet
of Ministers, chaired by President Gorbachev, met in the Kremlin
January 28 to discuss the near crisis situation in the country's
oil and gas industries. According to TASS of January 29, Gorbachev
instructed the Cabinet to devise--within seven days--a series
of financial and material/supply measures to improve the immediate
situation in the oil and gas producing regions. To address more
fundamental problems, Gorbachev gave the Cabinet six months to
draft plans to halt the decreasing output of oil and the slower
growth rates of the gas industry. (John Tedstrom)

NEW LAW ON EMPLOYMENT PUBLISHED. Izvestia on January 25 published
the new law on employment. The new law includes many traditional
guarantees such as free training, freedom to choose place and
type of work, and unemployment insurance. A section on regulating
employment outlines the state's rights to "develop job sites,
increase the economic interests of enterprises...in production...and
to direct the employment of displaced labor to developing branches
of the economy." These, and other vaguely worded articles, quietly
give the government leverage to micromanage enterprises and to
strongly influence the labor market. The law has numerous internal
contradictions and would seem to contradict other laws such as
the Law on State Enterprises. (John Tedstrom)

FORMER PRESIDENTIAL AIDE FINDS NEW JOB. Nikolai Petrakov, who
was working as an economic adviser to Gorbachev until last week
(see Daily Report, January 21), has been named chairman of the
USSR Scientific-Industrial Union's Committee for Economic Reform
and director of the "Institute of the Market," according to Izvestia
January 23. (Dawn Mann)

SUMMIT POSTPONED. US Secretary of State James Baker said on January
28 that "by mutual agreement, Presidents Bush and Gorbachev will
be rescheduling their summit in Moscow...to a later date in the
first half of this year." Baker went on to cite the Gulf war
and unfinished business with the START agreement as reasons for
the meeting's postponement. American officials said Soviet Foreign
Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh had warned Baker in private discussions
that blaming the crackdown in the Baltics for the summit postponement
would only strengthen the hand of conservatives in the Soviet
Union, the New York Times said January 29. (Suzanne Crow)

SOLTAN COMMENTARY ON SUMMIT. Radio Moscow World Service carried
a Yurii Solton commentary on January 26 saying that Moscow would
not be upset if the summit were cancelled because of the Gulf
war and unfinished START treaty. Solton said it would be "dangerous,"
however, if the United States postponed the meeting simply to
"punish" Moscow for the Baltic crackdown. Soltan went on to note
that "there are people in the Soviet Union too who don't like
the drawing together of their country and the United States,
who dislike the common stand of the two countries with regards
to Iraq." (Suzanne Crow)

KORTUNOV ON SUMMIT, TIES. The USA-Canada Institute's Andrei Kortunov
said on Radio Moscow's Top Priority program (January 25) that
the cooling of US-Soviet relations was inevitable. "...We are
returning to business as usual. ...There was a lot of euphoria
about the Cold War ending, but now, when we turn to positive
aspects of Soviet-American relations...it turns out that the
basis for such positive interaction is pretty limited." Kortunov
went on to say "for the Soviet Union I think the European direction
becomes much more important than the American direction because
the Soviets are expecting to get much more from Europeans in
the economic sense than from the Americans." (Suzanne Crow)

CHURKIN ON COLD WAR. A return to the Cold War cannot be ruled
out, said Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin at
a Moscow news conference on January 25. Churkin said he was expressing
his personal opinion. "A hasty reaction to events in the Soviet
Union which have occurred or could occur, could endanger what
we have achieved with so much effort over the last five years,"
AFP quoted Churkin as saying on January 25. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET GENERAL: IRAQ STILL HAS CHEMICAL AND BIO WEAPONS. The
Commander of the Soviet Union's chemical warfare forces said
in Izvestia on January 28 that despite allied bombing, Iraq still
possesses significant stocks of chemical and biological weapons.
General Stanislav Petrov said that development and production
of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq are conducted at more
than ten or twelve sites. He cautioned that Iraq may still possess
botulin toxin weapons capable of mass killings, as well as between
2,000 and 4,000 tons of poisons such as mustard and cyanide gas.
Petrov also said that allied attacks on these weapons could pose
a major threat to civilians. (Stephen Foye)

SOVIET MARSHAL ON IRAQI MISSILE POTENTIAL. Soviet Artillery Marshal
Vladimir Mikhalkin said on Soviet television (January 26): "I
think that Iraq's missile potential is not exhausted and they
still have the necessary number of missiles to carry on military
action." Mikhalkin also rejected accusations that the USSR provided
Iraq with this extended range missile capability, arguing that
the systems were modernized "with assistance from firms in Germany
and Italy," Reuter said January 26. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV TO SHIFT FROM WEST TO JAPAN? Soviet businessman Artem
Tarasov warned that Gorbachev might shift his economic and political
strategy from cooperation with the West to Japan, which voices
less concern about a Soviet crackdown on democracy and favors
dealing with a state-controlled rather than decentralized Soviet
economy. According to The Baltimore Sun on January 29, Tarasov
predicted that Gorbachev will return the Kurile islands to Japan
during his forthcoming visit to Tokyo next April and receive
major economic help in return. (Alexander Rahr)

NATURAL POPULATION INCREASE LOWEST SINCE 1945. Natural population
increase in the Soviet Union in 1990 was the lowest since 1945,
according to the official results for 1990 published in Ekonomika
i zhizn' on January 26 and cited by AP January 26. Deaths were
10.4 per 1,000, up from 10.0 per 1,000 in 1989, and births declined
from 17.6 to 16.8 per thousand. Moreover, some 400,000 Soviet
citizens emigrated last year. According to AP, economic commentator
Aleksandr Fedotov wrote in Pravda that the population figures
were the "most important result" of a year of bad economic news.
(Ann Sheehy)

LATEST AIDS STATISTICS. Radio Moscow announced January 24 that,
on average, 10 new cases of AIDS are diagnosed every month in
the USSR. The radio said 585 Soviet citizens and 579 foreigners
have so far been identified as carriers. Komsomol'skaya pravda
reported on January 22 that, despite some initial opposition
from health officials, anonymous testing for the disease has
been successfully introduced in Voronezh. But, the newspaper
revealed, most citizens in the central Russian city are unaware
that they will be routinely tested for AIDS whenever they happen
to be hospitalized. The result will be entered in their medical
records even though they will not be informed the test is being
made; their permission for it will not be sought; and they will
not be informed of the result. (Elizabeth Teague)

SUICIDE FIGURES UPDATED. Valerii Ochirov, deputy chairman of
the USSR SupSov committee for defense and state security, told
the USSR Congress of People's Deputies on December 22 that whereas
for the USSR overall the suicide rate was 21.5 per 100,000, in
the army it was only 20 per 100,000. But according to Komsomol'skaya
pravda of December 8 the annual number of suicides in the USSR
is 60,000; this works out at 20.7 per 100,000 for the population
as a whole in 1990. The wide, and unexplained, regional variations
are striking. In the central Ryazan' oblast the suicide rate
is 17 per 100,000, but in the far northern region of Arkhangel'sk
it is 70; in the Mari ASSR (on the north bank of the Volga) it
is 90; and in Udmurtiya (in the Urals) it is a staggering 100.
(Elizabeth Teague)

USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN, STANKEVICH CRITICIZE NEW POLICE POWERS. Boris Yeltsin
said on Radio Moscow on January 28 that the granting of police
powers to MVD and defense ministry troops presages "a state of
emergency regime" in the USSR, and is "a rather serious step"
towards dictatorship. He noted that the RSFSR leadership had
not been consulted prior to the move, and still has not been
contacted by the all-Union leadership. Sergei Stankevich told
RFE-RL the same day that the Moscow city soviet had not been
officially informed about the order, and he had learned about
it from "friends." Stankevich said he believed the move is part
of a plan to introduce a state of emergency throughout the USSR,
and denounced it as "unconstitutional" and "illegal." (NCA/Russian
BD/Sallie Wise)

"WORKER'S UNION" SUPPORTS YELTSIN. Boris Yeltsin met with deputies
of the RSFSR parliamentary group "Worker's Union" to discuss
recent political developments in the country, Radio Moscow reported
on January 28. The Russian workers' representatives supported
Yeltsin's tough stand against the Kremlin's moves in the Baltic
and called for a further strengthening of Russian sovereignty.
Workers also asked Yeltsin to voice his views on central TV.
The workers' support seems essential for Yeltsin's success in
confronting conservative forces. (Alexander Rahr)

CENTER THWARTS RSFSR CURRENCY TRANSACTION. According to the USSR
State Bank and Ministry of Finance, a contract for the sale of
140 billion rubles for 7.8 billion US dollars (ten times less
than the official commercial rate), concluded by a firm in Chelyabinsk
with a British company, violates USSR legislation, TASS reported
January 25. In an interview with Izvestia the same day, RSFSR
deputy premier Gennadii Fil'shin explained the deal was to acquire
foreign currency for the republic with which to purchase consumer
goods and food. On January 21 Boris Yeltsin had cited the sale
of rubles to foreign investors as a way for the RSFSR to ensure
its foreign currency independence and stabilize the consumer
market. (Ann Sheehy)

MOLDAVIAN COMMUNIST PARTY AVOIDS SPLIT. A conference of the Moldavian
Communist Party ended January 28 without the Party splitting,
although some of the Transdniester Communists said they did not
want to belong to the Moldavian Communist Party as long as the
existence of the outlawed "Dniester SSR" was not recognized,
TASS reported January 28. The Party first secretary Petru Lucinschi
also expressed satisfaction that, in spite of some opposition,
the conference had managed to adopt the Party's statutes, thus
enabling the Party to apply for registration. (Ann Sheehy)

MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF REFERENDUM. At a
meeting on January 27 in Kishinev, leaders of the Moldavian Popular
Front called for a boycott of the March 17 all-Union referendum
on the preservation of the Soviet Union, Novosti reported January
28. Novosti said it was possibly the smallest meeting ever of
the front, attended by only about five thousand of its most radical
supporters. The leaders of the front said that, if the referendum
was held, the whole Romanian nation should take part. (Ann Sheehy)


DISPUTE OVER SECOND MOSQUE IN MOSCOW. For nearly five years Muslims
in Moscow have been trying unsuccessfully to regain possession
of a historic mosque, Moskovskie novosti of January 6 reports.
At present there is only one functioning mosque for the city's
209,000 ethnic Muslim inhabitants. The Moscow city soviet decided
in November 1990 that the mosque, at present occupied by a printing
firm, should be returned, but the printing firm is unwilling
to vacate, and those living in the vicinity of the mosque are
protesting loudly against the soviet's decision. (Ann Sheehy)


BASHKIR WRITER AWAITING TRIAL FOR CROSSING INTO USSR. The Bashkir
writer Nezametdin Akhmetov, who spent twenty years in Soviet
prisons for human rights activities, is awaiting trial for illegally
crossing into the Soviet Union, Moskovskie novosti of January
6 reported. Akhmetov was arrested on November 8, 1990, when he
crossed the Polish-Soviet frontier without a passport, after
three years' in the West at the invitation of the PEN club. A
Soviet consulate in Germany had told him it would take at least
a year to have his lost passport restored. According to Moskovskie
novosti, the authorities are concealing his whereabouts, and
neither his family nor his lawyer knows where he is. (Ann Sheehy)


NAZARBAEV ON CONGRESS. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev thinks
the Fourth Congress of USSR Peoples' Deputies did not take effective
measures in dealing with either the economic crisis in the USSR
or the issue of the Union Treaty. In the January 6 issue of Moskovskie
novosti, Nazarbaev asks where are the measures, such as employment
services and unemployment insurance, that could really stabilize
the situation. He wonders if the government really intends to
introduce a market economy, what is the point of the office of
vice-president, and argues that a basis for a Union treaty already
exists in the horizontal relations developing between republics.
He warns that these republics may themselves take responsibility
for the future of the Union. (Bess Brown)

PEASANT BANK SET UP IN KAZAKHSTAN. TASS reported on January 28
that a peasants' commercial bank has been established in Chimkent
Oblast to provide financing to individual farmers, cooperatives
and small enterprises. The new bank, the latest in a number of
such financial ventures, is part of a republican program to provide
credit to individuals or groups willing to start market-type
economic ventures. (Bess Brown)

ISLAMIC INSTITUTE OPENS IN ALMA-ATA. TASS reported on January
28 that thirty young men have begun studies at the new Islamic
institute in Alma-Ata, which is to train imams for the rapidly
growing number of new mosques in the republic. The report notes
that the number of mosques in Kazakhstan nearly doubled last
year, to nearly 150, and another 20 are under construction. (Bess
Brown)

AZERBAIJAN TO CREATE COMMODITIES EXCHANGE. On January 26 Radio
Moscow cited Azerbaijan SSR Council of Ministers Deputy Chairman
Ragim Guseinov as asserting that a commodities exchange will
soon be opened in Baku as part of Azerbaijan's market reform
plan. Guseinov said that the exchange would function according
to classic market principles, and would also deal in auctions
and barters. Special exchanges to deal in petroleum, cotton,
tobacco, wine and other products of the republic's economy will
be set up when volume allows. (NCA/Liz Fuller)

UKRAINIAN STUDENTS READY FOR NEW STRIKE. A Ukrainian student
leader was quoted by Novosti on January 28 as saying that students
were prepared to strike once again if an unfavorable situation
develops in the republic. The student hunger strike in October
last year forced the resignation of Vitalii Masol, chairman of
the republican Council of Ministers. Since then, however, authorities
have been summoning students for questioning in connection with
the takeover of a Kiev State University building during the October
strike. The head of the Ukrainian Students' Union in Kiev, Oles'
Donii, was detained, but subsequently released. (Roman Solchanyk)


KRAVCHUK SATISFIED WITH CRIMEA REFERENDUM VOTE. Chairman of the
Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk described the results
of the recent referendum in Crimea as "just" and complemented
the residents of the peninsula on their respect for the law in
conducting the referendum, Ukrinform-TASS reported on January
28. The referendum on January 20 resulted in an overwhelming
vote to restore the Crimean ASSR. (Roman Solchanyk)

GENERAL MOISEEV'S FREUDIAN SLIP. Visti z Ukrainy, a newspaper
aimed at Ukrainians abroad, took note in issue No. 50, 1990,
of a comment made in November by first deputy Defense Minister
General Moiseev in an address to the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet.
Arguing that the parliament had acted wrongfully in taking measures
to regulate military service by Ukrainians, Moiseev, who reminded
his audience that Ukrainian boys are the mainstay of the army,
said that "the concern is for the Russian state, which must be
defended" [emphasis supplied]. That statement was omitted from
summaries of Moiseev's address published in the official dailies.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

THE RETURN OF MARC CHAGALL. A chapter in the history of Soviet
anti-Semitism came to a close this month as the city of Vitebsk,
Belorussia, hosted its first "Chagall Days" celebration in honor
of its most famous native son. The city is also planning to open
a museum to exhibit the works of Chagall and other masters of
the "Vitebsk school." As noted in Izvestia, January 21, a certain
"philosopher from Minsk" (i.e., Vladimir Begun, a notorious and
officially favored promoter of anti-Semitism) prevented the rehabilitation
of Chagall in his homeland. His death in 1989 removed a shrill
anti-Jewish voice from Belorussian and Soviet intellectual life.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

[As of 1230 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole