|The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused. - Shirley MacLaine|
No. 22, 31 January 1991
BALTIC STATES SOVIET MILITARY MOVES OUT OF VILNIUS. On the night of January 29 about 30 to 40 trucks filled with Soviet soldiers and on the morning of January 30 two convoys of Soviet troops left Vilnius, apparently heading for the Belorussian border, The Washington Post reported on January 31. Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, however, cautioned that it was too early to say if a withdrawal is underway, noting that Soviet troops still occupy most of the public buildings they seized earlier in the month. The Moscow newspaper Rabochaya Tribuna quoted Soviet Internal Affairs Minister Boriss Pugo as saying that all extra army paratroop units and two-thirds of the MVD forces had been withdrawn from the Baltic states. (Saulius Girnius) LAW ON MINORITIES IN LITHUANIA AMENDED. Radio Kaunas reported on January 30 OAat the Lithuanian parliament had amended the law on national minorities the previous evening. Article 4 was changed to: "In administrative territorial units in which a national mAnority resides in a compact area, local establishments and organizations in addition to the state language can use the local language of the national minority." Article 5 was amended to: "Informational signs in the administrAtive territorial units mentioned in Article 4 can be written in the local language of the national minority next to the ALithuanian language." The parliament also passed a decisionOAOn the Conclusions of the State Commission to Analyze the Problems of East Lithuania." (Saulius Girnius) YELTSIN MEETS RSFSR-LITHUANIA TREATY DELEGATIONS. On January 30 RSFSR leader Boris Yeltsin met for an hour with the RSFSR and Lithuanian delegations negotiating a treaty between the two republics, TASS reported that day. The RSFSR delegation, headed by Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Gennadii Burbulis, and the Lithuanian one, headed by Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius, have previously held talks in Moscow and Vilnius. According to the press secretary of the Lithuanian mission in Moscow: "the talks went constructively and it is possible to expect that they will be completed in a short time." (Saulius Girnius) JONAS TAUTKUS DIES. The 20-year old Lithuanian youth shot in the brain at a military checkpoint between Kaunas and Vilnius on January 28 died in a hospital in Vilnius on January 30, Reuter reported that day. His death raises the number of persons killed by the Soviet military in January in Lithuania and Latvia to twenty. (Saulius Girnius) JURKANS URGES WESTERN ACTION. Latvia's Foreign Minister said that Western governments should adopt economic sanctions against the USSR to give Gorbachev a persuasive argument for telling Soviet militarists to back down in the Baltics. Jurkans also urged that the Baltic question be internationalized through discussion within the CSCE framework, at the United Nations, at the European Community, and at the Nordic Council, reported RFE/RL's correspondent in Bonn January 29. Jurkans expressed satisfaction over his talks with German leaders and said that they had expressed a "genuine willingness to help." (Dzintra Bungs) WHEREABOUTS OF DETAINEES UNKNOWN. People in Latvia are worried about the fate of the five volunteer guards seized by the Black Berets on January 20 and fear that they have been taken to prisons outside Latvia. Latvian SSR Procurator Valentins Dauksis, speaking on Riga TV on January 30, and his deputy Nikolai Aleksandrov, speaking on Radio Riga that same day, confirmed that the men had been transferred from the Riga KGB,Abut refused to say where. Deputy Procurator of Latvia Jazeps Ancans noted that, according to Soviet law, relatives must be informed of a prisoner's whereabouts; and that usuAlly such information was transmitted by mail. In a telegram, Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs asked USSR PrAcurator General Nikolai Trubin for clarification. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAA PEOPLE'S FRONT PROTESTS MILITARY-POLICE PATROLS. The board of the People's Front formally condemned the decree of December 29 to form joint army-police patrols, and called on the Supreme Council and Council of Ministers to issue a formal protest and request that outside observers from the UniOOA Nations, Council of Europe, and the Nordic Council sent to Latvia. The PFL said that the order was dangerous, legitimized outside interference in the internal affairs of Latvia, and, in effect, created a state of emergency, reported Radio Riga on January 30. (Dzintra Bungs) BARRICADES REMOVED, APPREHENSION REMAINS. Radio Riga reported on January 29 that most barricades have been removed in Riga, and that as of January 26 volunteers were guarding only the Television Building. Concrete barriers have been placed near the strategically important buildings and patrolling has been taken over by members of the newly formed Security Guards, answering to the Defense Department headed by Janis Baskers. That department, to start officially functioning on February 1, is also responsible for relations with the USSR military and the oversight of alternative OBrvice. Though the Black Berets, previously guarding the Press Building and the Latvian SSR Procuracy, have been replaced by MVD troops, they can still be seen in Riga. (DBintra Bungs) GOSTELERADIO DEFENDS ITS POLICIES. Gosteleradio chief Leonid Kravchenko and his first deputy Petr Reshetov on Soviet TV JanOBry 30 defended their broadcast policies, which have come under strong attack from Soviet citizens over coverage of events in the Baltic States. Fielding hostile calls during a phoneBin program, they said they and their critics understand the woBd "truth" differently. The officials insisted that the Baltic parliaments were to blame for the military crackdoBn in their republics and said that was what central TV triedBto tell its viewers. Meanwhile, the TV news program "TSN," whose coverage of Baltic events differs greatly from "Vremya's," called on Kravchenko to participate in debates sponsored by "TSN" over the broadcast policies of Gosteleradio. (Vera Tolz) ALKSNIS SAYS PUGO/YAZOV DECREE DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH. The leader of Soyuz, Viktor Alksnis, denounced the Pugo/Yazov decree authorizing joint Army and police patrols as a measure "to scare dogs" and not to establish proper order in the country. Alksnis, who has given RL a dozen interviews since the Baltic crackdown began, told RL's Russian Service on January 30 that under that decree the Army lacks the juridicial rights it needs for action. He added that the country must come under martial law. (Alexander Rahr) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS CPSU PLENUM OPENS TODAY. The CPSU Central CommitteeOAs to begin a plenary meeting today. Issues on the agenda include the USSR's grave economic situation and measures needed to overcome it. The plenum is also to address tensions between Moscow and the republics, especially the situationAin the Baltic States, as well as progress on preparation of the new Union treaty. A TASS commentator said on January 30 that the plenum will also discuss the Party's role in society, in view of the loss of more than ten perceOA of its membership in the last 15 months. (NCA/Sallie Wise) DEPUTY EDITOR OF IZVESTIA FIRED OVER PROTEST? On January 30, members of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium were asked by telephone to approve the firing of Igor' Golembiovsky, first deputy chief editor of Izvestia, Radio Rossiya reported. The radio said that the move to fire Golembiovsky surprised the chairman of the Council of the Union, Ivan Laptev, who, as a former editor of Izvestia, oversees the dailAA for the Presidium. When Laptev was elected to his present position last year, the staff of Izvestia voted to elect Golembiovsky as chief editor. The Presidium, however, bowed to advice from CPSU ideologists and gave the job to Nikolai Efimov, making Golembiovsky his first deputy as a compromise. Golembiovsky recently signed a strongly-worded protest against the Soviet crackdown in Lithuania, published in Moscow News. This protest inspired Gorbachev to suggest a "suspension" of the Press Law, and seems to be behind the attempt to fire the editor. Radio Rossiya expects the paper's staff will strike in protest. (Julia Wishnevsky) "LIBERAL FORUM" ON CURRENT SITUATION IN USSR. The Liberal Forum of parties (mostly social democratic) condemned Yazov's and Pugo's order to introduce military patrols on February 1, Infonovsti reported on January 30. (The Liberal Forum was set up in November, 1990). The forum reiterated that the order was unconstitutional and warned that dictatorship was emerging in the country. Meanwhile, Professor Leonin Batkin told The Washington Post the same day that the Democratic Russia movement, of which he is a member, was considering civil disobedience measures to resist the patrol decree. (Vera Tolz) "EDINSTVO" WANTS NINA ANDREEVA AS CPSU GENERAL SECRETARY. The reactionary Soviet political group, "Edinstvo--za leninizm i kommunisticheskie idealy" (Unity, for Leninism and Communist Ideals) said it wanted to replace Mikhail Gorbachev as the CPSU general secretary with Leningrad teacher Nina Andreeva, the author of the 1988 "anti-perestroika manifesto." Andreeva is the chairwoman of "Edinstvo." Radio Rossiya on January 30 quoted the group's political adviser as saying "Edinstvo" was working on creating a Bolshevik platform within the CPSU to resist "social democratic efforts" in the Party leadership. (NCA/Vera Tolz) "CENTRIST BLOC" CHANGES ITS MIND. KGB ChairAan Vladimir Kryuchkov met on January 30 with leaders of Ahe "Centrist Bloc" [the coalition of several fringe groOAs believed to have been set up by the KGB to create "Aock-opposition" parties to counter genuine radical opposition to the CPSU]. According to "Vremya" that day, both sidAs agreed on the necessity strictly to observe the ConstitAtion and existing laws, as well as to recognize elected bodies. Given that the leaders of the Centrist Bloc were the first to suggest the replacement of the elected parliament with the "National Salvation Committee" as early as in the mid-November, 1990, they must have changed their minds, given the failure of such "committees" to attract any support among civilians in Lithuania and Latvia. (Julia WishnevskyOOA POPOV SAYS WEST SHOULD STOP SUPPORTING GORBACHEV. The chairman of the Moscow city soviet, Gavriil Popov, said the West should stop supporting Gorbachev and instead directly assist republics and cities in which democratic forces were elected in parliaments and soviets. Popov told The Los Angeles Times on January 30 that he believed Gorbachev and his new conservative allies would sOAp all reform efforts during the coming year. (NCA/Vera Tolz) ALKSNIS SAYS GORBACHEV'S AND YELTSIN'S DAYS NUMBERED. Colonel Viktor Alksnis told the Finnish daily Uusi Suomi on January 30 that Mikhail Gorbachev's and Boris Yeltsin's days are numbered. Alksnis said that Gorbachev collects positions of power the way Leonid Brezhnev collected decorations, but he does not know how to use power and therefore must resign. According to Alksnis, Yeltsin is not an acceptable alternative to Gorbachev because he is a neo-Bolshevik who splits the Union in order to gain power in the Russian republic. Alksnis admitted his involvement in setting up the conservative "National-Salvation Committees" in the Baltics. (Alexander Rahr) ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS TO BE ALLOWED ON REFERENDUM BALLOT. The chairman of the Central Commission of a Referendum of the USSR Dmitrii Golovko told a Radio Moscow correspondent January 30 that the commission took the view that the parliaments of the union republics should be allowed to decide whether or not they wished to take advantage of the March 17 referendum on the preservation of the Union to include "a concrete question of the given region." (Ann Sheehy) SOVIET MISSION IN BAGHDAD CUT TO 13. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yurii Gremitskikh told TAAS on January 30 that 31 employees left Baghdad yesterday for Iran. He also said six Soviet journalists, who arrived in Baghdad unannounced to the Soviet foreign ministry, have not received permission to depart. The six include representatives of the Lithuanian movement "Sajudis," independent Ukrainian television, and the Novosti press agency. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) SOVIETS DENY GIVING MILITARY INFO. Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Moiseev said on January 30 the USSR is not providing the United States with confidential information about Iraqi weapons systems (see Anight-Ridder Newspapers, January 26). Moiseyev said the AUSSR maintains its treaty commitments to Iraq, and there "could be no talk about the transfer of secret information about Iraq's military potential to anyone," AP reported. (Suzanne Crow) IGNATENKO ON KURILE ISLANDS. Presidential Spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko, who held a January 2OAForeign Ministry briefing, rejected out of hand suggestions that the USSR would sell the Kurile Islands to Japan. AccordAng to the Soviet news agency Postfaktum, during the course of the recent visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama, the Soviet Union agreed to give up the disputed islands for $2 billion. Ignatenko said "nothing of the sort occurred during the visit, no secret documents were signed in that regard," TASS reported January 29. (Suzanne Crow) A CABINET ISSUES RESOLUTION ON NUCLEAR PLANTS. Pravda of January 26 reported that the USSR Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution instructing various ministries to draft plans to ensure the well-being of citizens living in proximity to nuclear power stations. Among other measures, the Ministry of Atomic Power Engineering and Industry is to create automated information centers to provide data to citizens living within a 30 km radius of a nuclear plant. Those citizens will also receive a 50 percent discount on electricity and should receive special insurance rates in the near future. (John Tedstrom) DRAFT PROBLEMS IN MOSCOW. A political officer assigned to the Moscow Military District told Izvestia on January 29 that in the past three years draft evasion has increased by 18 times, and that in his district some 4,000 cases of draft evasion were being investigated. According to a TASS account, Colonel Vladimir Kozlov said that last year the Military Prosecutor had investigated 2,000 cases of draft evasion overall, but only 30 had been booked; in Moscow there are currently 1,000 draft evaders, he said, and only 11 have been tried. Charges of high levels of draft evasion preceded the crackdown in the Baltic republics. (Stephen Foye) CRITICISM AGAINST RETURNING CHURCHES USED AS MUSEUMS. The chairman of the Vladimir oblast trade-union committee, in a long article in Trud, January 22, called upon believers to stop demanding the return of churches which were restored to be used as museums and are still being used as such. The trade-unionist warned that the practice could eventually lead to a conflict between "workers of culture" and "servants of the church." (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET DISCUSOAOAFEDERAL TREATY. On January 30 the RSFSR Supreme Soviet discussed for the first time in joint session the draft Aederal treaty for the RSFSR, TASS and Moscow Radio reporteA January 30. Ramazan Abdulatipov, chairman of the RSFSR Council of Nationalities, who presented the draft, said he hoped it would be signed before the March 17 all-Union referendumOA but TASS said the debates would not be easy, as many speakers said the draft needs more work on it. The draft apparAntly would make not only autonomous territories but also krais and oblasts parties to the treaty. The latter, it states, "unite with other sovereign republics in the USSR." (Ann Sheehy) RSFSR ECONOMIC PERFOOAANCE IN 1990: A DISASTER. Sovetskaya Rossiya, January 30, reports disastrous economic results for the RSFSR in 1990. National income decreased by 5.5 percent and labor productivity by 5 percent. Money emissions, on the other hand, almost doubled compared to 1989. Imports and exports declined, with export quotas of gas, oil, coal, and most petroleum products unfulfilled. Agricultural production was off 3 percent from the 1989 level. One of the few bright spots in the report was news that leased enterprises outperformed state-owned firms. Privatization continues to go slow, although the republican government plans to privatize some 19,000 enterprises, 12,000 cafes, and 15,000 service firms "soon." (John Tedstrom) RSFSR, TURKMENISTAN TO ALLOW FOREIGNERS TO COMPETE FOR OIL. Knight-Ridder news service, January 31, reports that RSFSR and Turkmen oil officials announced that foreign firms will be allowed to bid for rights to explore and drill for oil in their republics. An RSFSR official said that budgetary constraints limit the 1991 funds for oil exploration to 1990 levels. He also asserted that the republic has exclusive say in concluding oil deals with foreign firms. The Turkmen program, for gas as well as oil, is similar to that in the US. Leases will be awarded in four oil fields. Foreign investors have until September to bid on the first two and December for bids on the second two. Leases for exploration will run for 10 years, with another 25 added when production of oil or gas begins. (John Tedstrom) YELTSIN TO VISIT NORTH CAUCASUS. It was announced at the session of the RSFSR Council of Nationalities on January 30 that Boris Yeltsin intends to visit the North Caucasus in connection with the exacerbation of the political situation in the region, Moscow radio reported January 30. No date was given for Yeltsin's visit. There has been little reporting on the area in the central press, but various long-standing interethnic disputes are known to be on the boil. (Ann Sheehy) GEORGIA WILL BOYCOTT REFERENDUM ON FUTURE OF USSR. The Georgian parliamenOAruled on January 30 that Georgia will not participate in thA Union-wide referendum scheduled for March 17 on whether the Soviet Union should be preserved as an integral state. A Instead, a referendum will be held on March 31 on the futuAe of the Republic of Georgia, TASS reports. (Liz Fuller) SOUTH OSSETIOA LEADER ARRESTED. Citing Georgian sources in Tbilisi, TASS reported on January 30 that the chairman of the Council of APeople's Deputies of South Ossetia, Torez Kulumbegov, has been arrested by Georgian MVD officials. Georgian MAD troops are being withdrawn from the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali; the town is being patrolledOA by military units, who continue to detain people for curfew violations and confiscate weapons. A Georgian MVD Press Center spokesman stated that there had been no shooting in the city for the past three days. (Liz Fuller) LITHUANIA, LATVIA ... WILL GEORGIA BE NEXT? Two Western correspondents have cited Georgian CP CC Department Head Givi Talakvadze as informing the Georgian parliament that Soviet troops would intervene in Georgia during the first ten days in February (The Financial Times, Reuters, January 30). (Liz Fuller) SESSION OF UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET. The third session of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR will open tomorrow, February 1. At a press conference yesterday, first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet Ivan Plyushch said that adoption of a new republican constitution and legislation to strengthen the state sovereignty of Ukraine would be the main items on the parliament's agenda, Radio Kiev reported on January 30. (Roman Solchanyk) LVOV FORMS OWN MILITIA PATROLS. Vyacheslav Chornovil, chairman of the Lvov oblast soviet, disclosed a plan this week to substitute workers' brigades for the army patrols that will be taking to the streets tomorrow. Reporting January 30 from Lvov, The Independent quotes Chornovil as saying that if the plan fails, "we will protest, there will be rallies ... in an emergency situation, if the soviet were stripped of its power, I can call a general strike, cut off the water and electricity ..." The London Times wrote January 30 that West Ukrainian leaders also appealed to Kiev to guarantee there will be no military operation in the region. (Kathy Mihalisko) CHORNOVIL UNDER FIRE. Ever since elections last spring brought anticommunists into power in Lvov, developments there have been subject to furious denunciations in Ukrainian Party organs. A series of articles begun January 15 in Radyans'ka Ukraina accuses former political prisoner Chornovil of amassing too much power in his hands, discriminating against Communists, and of creating an unstable, possibly "dangerous" situation in the region. If, as many fear, a general military crackdown is on the horizon, such arguments could serve as justification for a Communist overthrow of Lvov's democratically-elected deputies. (Kathy Mihalisko) CRIMEAN TATAR REACTION TO REFERENDUM. The January 20 local referendum to restore the Crimean ASSR was boycotted en masse by Crimean Tatars, writes the January 26 issue of Molod' Ukrainy. Authorities went to some length to prevent those opposed to the referendum from airing their opinion: the Tatar-language newspaper Dostluk, which arrives at newsstands on Saturday, did not appear until Tuesday, two days after the referendum. Crimean Tatar leaders have said they will hold a kurultai (congress) this spring, apparently to discuss the restoration of Crimean Tatar national-territorial autonomy. Molod' Ukrainy asks whether that will result in the declaration of two opposing state formations in Crimea. (Kathy Mihalisko) MINSK BLOCKS DISCUSSION OF GORBACHEV DECREE. Opposition deputies in the Belorussian Supreme Soviet tried, but failed, to include on parliament's agenda a discussion of Gorbachev's decree on combatting economic crime (see Daily Report, January 30), which democrats have denounced as unconstitutional. Radio Liberty's Belorussian service learned on January 30 that the podium microphone was switched off when a deputy tried to have parliament debate the decree. She refused to return to her seat, and the impasse lasted forty minutes. (Kathy Mihalisko) TAJIK POPULAR FRONT ACCUSED. The head of a group of investigators looking into the February 1990 disturbances in Dushanbe for the Tajik State Prosecutor's Office has accused the leaders of the Popular Front group Rastokhez of having incited the disturbances, according to a TASS report of January 30. The Rastokhez leaders are accused of having spread the rumor that Armenian refugees would be given preferential housing in Dushanbe--the rumor which set off the disturbances--and having encouraged protesters at unauthorized demonstrations to demand the resignation of republican leaders, and use force if their demands were not met. The investigator indicates that the group's actions will be judged by the republican Supreme Court. (Bess Brown) DISSENSION IN MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT. A number of bills have come up against stiff resistance in the Moldavian parliament from deputies belonging to the agrarian group "Viata satului" and the Communist club "Realitatea," Moldova-pres reported January 30. One bill was the law on property, another was the law on local self-government. Members of these two groups objected to a return to the names of administrative units that existed before 1940 and argued that seven to twelve units that would result from the proposed redrawing of administrative boundaries were too few. (Ann Sheehy) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
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