|[America,] it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time. - Thomas Wolfe|
No. 23, 01 February 1991
BALTIC STATES SOVIET ARMY TO PATROL LITHUANIA. Lithuanian Minister of Internal Affairs Marijonas Misiukonis said on Lithuanian television January 31 that Soviet officials had told him that 8 foot patrols of 5 men each, as well as at least 18 armed cars would patrol Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipeda overnight and set up checkpoints on the main roads, AP reported February 1. During the day the patrols would be stationed at train stations, bus stations, city centers, and airports. Radio Kaunas reported on February 1 that there were no incidents with the military during the night. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR'S REPORT. At the Lithuanian Supreme Council session on January 31, broadcast live over Radio Kaunas, Lithuanian prosecutor general Arturas Paulauskas delivered a report on the events in Lithuania on January 13. He noted that two people were still missing and that 580 people had been reported wounded or injured, although the number may be higher. Twelve of the 14 people killed that day had been shot or run over by tanks. The circumstances of the deaths of the other two, a Lithuanian youth and a Soviet military man, have not yet been determined. Difficulties arose in the investigations due to the "nonexistent or, at best, very poor" cooperation with the USSR procuracy, which wanted to carry out its investigation without the Lithuanian authorities. (Saulius Girnius) KUZMICKAS IN COPENHAGEN. Lithuanian Vice President Bronius Kuzmickas told a press conference in Copenhagen on January 31 that the world must keep a close watch on events in the Baltic to prevent new Soviet aggression. Kuzmickas, who is on a two-day visit to talk with Danish officials, said: "World political opinion, which stopped the aggression, must be vigilant and see if the Soviet special troops really withdraw." He noted that although some Soviet troops had been withdrawn from Vilnius, military patrols were still active there, illegally stopping traffic and checking documents. (Saulius Girnius) RSFSR AND LITHUANIA AGREE ON DRAFT BILATERAL TREATY. Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius said over Radio Kaunas on January 31 that Lithuania and the RSFSR had agreed on a draft bilateral treaty on January 30. The treaty should be signed in the near future although no definite date has been established. (Saulius Girnius) BULGARIAN DEPUTIES BACK FROM VILNIUS A six-member parliamentary delegation returned from Lithuania to Bulgaria on January 30, according to Radio Sofia and BTA of that day. They described the events in Lithuania as "the work of a new dictatorship," and pointed out that "it is one thing to watch on television and another to see a man dying at the hands of Soviet soldiers." They noted that "beaten and molested people, including Russians," could be seen everywhere, and that the killings are a "monstrosity at the end of the 20th century." They characterized what is happening in Lithuania as "a life-and-death struggle." (George Slavov) ESTONIA CONDEMNS PATROLS. On January 31, the Estonian Supreme Council Presidium condemned the planned use of Soviet troops to patrol major cities to begin on February 1, Estonian TV reported. The presidium statement calls the plan unlawful, provocative and aimed against the republic. (Riina Kionka) REFERENDUM SET IN ESTONIA. As expected, on January 31 the Estonian Supreme Council voted 61 to 2, with 10 abstentions, to hold a non-binding referendum in Estonia. The referendum, set for March 3, will ask: "Do you want the independence of the Republic of Estonia to be restored?" Although the Soviet troops stationed in the country will not be able to participate in the polling, the four officers who were elected Supreme Council deputies by the military population will take part. (Riina Kionka) PARTIES AGAINST THE PRE-REFERENDUM. Five Estonian political parties have come out against the pre-referendum, Rahva Haal reported on January 31. The Christian-Democratic Union, the Conservative People's Party, the Christian-Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Estonian National Independence Party issued a joint statement saying that holding a referendum on Estonia's state status is unacceptable under conditions of occupation and without foreign observers. After the news was released that the Supreme Council voted on January 31 to conduct voting after all, the last named party called for a boycott of the polling, Estonian Radio reported that day. (Riina Kionka) SUSPECTS APPREHENDED, GENDER UNCERTAIN. Two suspects were arrested in Tallinn on January 31 in connection with last week's killing of two Swedish trade union leaders in Tallinn, AP reported. Police authorities refused to disclose the suspects' ethnicity. AP, quoting the Swedish News Agency TT, said the two suspects were men, but later quoted Swedish National Radio as saying the two were women. According to AP, Estonian officials quoted by the Swedish news organizations gave no indication of the sex of the arrestees. In the Estonian language, singular personal pronouns are not gender-specific. (Riina Kionka) NO SOVIET TROOPS WITHDRAWN FROM LATVIA? Despite reports in the Soviet and Western media concerning the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Baltics, it appears that such OBthdrawals may not have taken place in Latvia. According to a statement by Lieutenant General Petr Chauss, Chief of Staff of the USSR Baltic Military District, published in Diena of JaBuary 31, there are no plans to withdraw troops from the Baltic Military District. (Dzintra Bungs) SUPREME COUNCIL ON REFERENDUM, PATROLS, AND DEPARTURE OF MILITARY. Radio Riga reported on January 31 three decisions madOBthe Latvian legislators that day: they declared the Pugo-Yazov decree of December 29 on joint military-police patroBs, to become effective on February 1, as "illegal in the tBrritory of Latvia"; they rejected the referendum proposed by Gorbachev and stated that Latvia can only hold a referenBum that the Supreme Council proposes and endorses; and they called on the USSR to remove all its military forces and other armed forces from Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) NORDIC INFORMATION CENTER TO OPEN IN RIGA. On January 31 Nordic Council chairman Thor Pedersen and Deputy Foreign Minister of Latvia Sandra Kalniete signed an accord on the opening of a Nordic Council Information in Riga, reported Radio Riga that day. The information center will be located in a house at 13 Lacplesa Street that the Council leased. The four-member Nordic Council delegation talked with Latvian government and Supreme Council leaders before leaving for Vilnius that evening. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS COUNCIL OF THE FEDERATION MEETING TODAY. The USSR Federation Council is meeting today (February 1) to discuss three major issues, TASS reported January 31. The issues are: the delimitation of powers between the center and the republics, the composition of the USSR cabinet of ministers, and price reform. TASS commentator Andrei Orlov sees the significance of the session not only in the importance of the topics being discussed, but also in whether or not the council, in its revamped form, can demonstrate its viability as a decision-making body. Orlov recalls that the previous session decided that only political methods should be used in Lithuania, a decision that was being undermined at the very time it was being made. (Ann Sheehy) ONE-DAY PLENUM OF CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE HELD. The CPSU Central Committee met yesterday to discuss the Party's continuing internal crisis. In accordance with new legislation, the CPSU still has to register itself and its Rules, and this topic was high on yesterday's agenda. So too was discussion of the squabbles inside the Estonian Communist Party, which is split in two. A commission was set up to examine this matter. (Elizabeth Teague) CHANGES IN THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE. Playwright Aleksandr Gelman was dismissed from the CPSU Central Committee since he has "severed links with the Party." More ominous was the criticism leveled at another Central Committee member: hospitalized economist Stanislav Shatalin. Recent press statements by Shatalin were described as "incompatible with membership in the CPSU and especially in its Central Committee." The Party's Central Control Committee was instructed to investigate Shatalin's actions "after his recovery." (Elizabeth Teague) CHANGES IN THE POLITBURO. Gennadii Yanaev, recently appointed USSR Vice-President, stood down from the CPSU Politburo and Secretariat. So too did former Georgian Communist Party leader Givi Gumbaridze. Lembit Annus, leader of the Moscow-loyalist Estonian Communist Party, was elected to the Politburo. Moldavian Party leader Petr Luchinsky was elected to the Secretariat. (Elizabeth Teague) COMMUNIST PARTY MEMBERSHIP DROPS. TASS revealed on January 30 that membership of the CPSU has fallen from 19.2 million on January 1, 1990, to 16.9 million today. Of this total, 1.2 million Communists are said formally to have resigned; the rest of the drop is presumably attributable to deaths and to a continuing decline in the number of new entrants. (Elizabeth Teague) PUGO SAYS REPUBLICS HAVE FINAL WORD IN USE OF PATROLS. In a front-page interview published January 30 in Rabochaya tribuna, Interior Minister Boriss Pugo indicated that responsibility for the army-military patrols ordered by his ministry and the Ministry of Defense rests with the republics, which are free to abolish the patrols if they wish. Pugo is quoted as saying that "it is in the hands of the republican leaderships, good luck to them, it is their business." These remarks seem to indicate a significant concession from Pugo in the face of widespread condemnation of the order, but so far there has been no official clarification to that effect. (NCA/Kathy Mihalisko) MORE ON IZVESTIA DISPUTE. The staffs of Izvestia and its weekly supplements, Soyuz and Nedelya, according to Radio Rossiya January 31, voted unanimously to reject the replacement of Izvestia's first deputy chief editor, Igor' Golembiovsky. The staffs stated that they will go on strike if Golembiovsky is made a correspondent in Spain, as was suggested by chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Anatolii Luk'yanov. Apparently Luk'yanov misinformed members of the Supreme Soviet's Presidium when he asked them to approve the editor's replacement, saying that Golembiovsky had agreed to go to Madrid voluntarily. The journalists urgently demanded a meeting with Luk'yanov and Gorbachev, adding that the public will view Golembiovsky's replacement as persecution of the independent media by the president. (Julia Wishnevsky) BESSMERTNYKH ON US-SOVIET RELATIONS. In a TASS interview published January 31, Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh was highly critical of the US response to the crackdown in the Baltics. Bessmertnykh said the "period between the end of the 'Cold War' and the current new stage of relations has been very short." He said "there are dangers, especially if the other side is locked into a purely emotional response...". Bessmertnykh's remarks add to the impression that the USSR has gone on the offensive to justify its Baltic policy to the United States. (Suzanne Crow) MOSCOW HAS NOT GIVEN MIDEAST TO US. A January 30 Pravda commentary by Tomas Kolesnichenko said it would be "naive to suppose that all Moscow and Washington's interests converge," and it would be "even more naive to believe that the Soviet Union...has conceded the near and Middle East to the 'sole remaining superpower,' America." He went on to say, "forces ready to pull Moscow and Washington apart again are developing," AFP reported January 30. Koslesnichenko's warnings flesh out official Soviet cautions to Washington on taking a hard line against crackdowns against the Baltics. (Suzanne Crow) SOVETSKAYA ROSSIYA CONDEMNS "GENOCIDE" IN IRAQ. The RSFSR CP newspaper on January 31 condemned what it termed "the real massacre, the veritable genocide of the Iraqi people" and charged that the US is using the Gulf war to set up a pro-American regime in Iraq. According to an AFP summary of the article, Sovetskaya Rossiya said that "every bomb that falls on the peaceful population of Iraq destroys the myth of the just nature of this war." The article reflects conservative Soviet differences with official Kremlin policies on the war. (Sallie Wise) SOVIET COMMENT ON US-SOVIET RELATIONS. Soviet readings of US-Soviet relations in the wake of the summit cancellation are varied. A Radio Moscow World Service commentary in English on January 30 said the fact that the meeting will be held this year outweighs its cancellation. Novosti commentator Vladimir Simonov, however, said on January 31 that by cancelling the summit, Bush is "pulling the carpet from under Gorbachev's feet, the carpet of Gorbachev's foreign policy successes." Simonov argued that by "slamming doors in our [Soviet] face" and rushing to conclude that the USSR is an evil empire again, hardliners can exclaim with satisfaction that Gorbachev's foreign policy reforms have achieved nothing. (Suzanne Crow) MORE ON KAL SHOOTDOWN. Izvestia offered two more articles in its series on the KAL shootdown this week. On January 26 the paper discussed how divers were instructed to bring up everything except bodies from the sunken plane's wreckage in search of evidence that the craft was spying. Quoting Soviet experts, Izvestia said the small number of bodies found would indicate that the flight had been stage-managed and that far fewer than 269 people had been on board. Three black boxes were found but the defense ministry will not reveal their contents. (Suzanne Crow) WAS IT SPYING? In its final installment of this ten-part series (January 31), Izvestia said Washington needs to answer some serious questions, namely, what the plane was doing at Andrews AFB (Maryland, USA) three weeks before the September 1, 1983 crash, as Soviet experts allege. The paper said that from August 11 to 14, the plane was spotted in a hangar of a firm that "handles the delivery of special electronic equipment." The report also claimed that then-Secretary of State George Shultz called back a group of inspectors who had left for Alaska to investigate the incident and asked for an explanation. (Suzanne Crow) REORGANIZATION OF STATE COMMITTEE ON PRESS PLANNED. The State Committee on the Press (Goskompechat') is planning a reorganization of its work, its chief Mikhail Nenashev told TASS January 31. Nenashev did not disclose details of the reorganization, but he made clear that his committee was concerned about the decrease in its power since the introduction of the press law aimed at making the Soviet media free from the CPSU and state control. Nenashev stressed that his committee won't be satisfied with one simple task assigned to it by the press law, -- namely the registration of media organs. (Vera Tolz) JANUARY OIL OUTPUT PLUMMETS. According to Reuter's account of a Goskomstat report in Izvestia of January 31, Soviet oil production was off 8% to 9% in January 1991 compared to January 1990. Coal production fell by the same amount. Oil output in the last quarter of 1990 was the lowest in 10 years. The Soviet state budget for 1991 is based in part on estimates that hard-currency earnings from oil exports will decline by 50% in 1991 to about 60-62 million tons. Gorbachev recently met with government and oil and gas industry officials and instructed them to devise both immediate and longer-term plans to arrest the decline and turn the industry around. Earlier this week he had a similar meeting with coal industry officials. (John Tedstrom) NEW RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION. The "All-Church Orthodox Youth Movement" is a new public organization founded at the first All-Church Congress of Orthodox Youth, which ended on January 27. The bishop of Kostroma and Galich Alexander, who was elected chairman of the movement, told TASS on January 28 that "the organization has as its goal to educate young people as children faithful to the Orthodox Church and to pool their efforts in religious-educational and charity activity." The congress sent telegrams to the ruling bishops of the Ivano-Frankovsk and Ternopol dioceses in connection with the situation of church life in Ukraine. (Oxana Antic) INDEPENDENT CHRISTIAN TV CHANNEL ASKS FOR SUPPORT. Russkaya mysl' (a Paris-based Russian emigre newspaper) published on January 29 an appeal by Victor Aksyuchits, chairman of the Russian Christian-Democratic Movement and the chief editor of the Independent Christian TV channel "Raduga". The appeal states the principles according to which the TV channel is organizing its activities, and asks Christian charity foundations, Christian businessmen, and "all those who want to see Russia as a civilized Christian country" for suggestions concerning joint enterprises, credits, and other support. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR LAWMAKERS REJECT ARMED PATROLS. Leningrad MVD official Vasilii Travnikov and Afghan war hero Colonel Aleksandr Rutskoi on January 31 convinced the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to reject the order on armed patrols without prior approval of the local soviets. The two argued that such patrols would not help combat crime and could be used only to suppress public demonstrations. They also noted that untrained 18-year-old conscripts could shoot at innocent citizens by mistake. The SupSov asked the USSR Committee on Constitutional Oversight to review whether this order corresponds to provisions of the Soviet Constitution. It also appealed to Gorbachev to postpone the order until the Constitutional Committee makes its ruling. The SupSov session was aired by the second channel of Central TV. (Julia Wishnevsky) DEPUTY QUESTIONS ACTIVITIES OF RSFSR CP. During the RSFSR Supreme Soviet debates on January 31, deputy Sergei Yushenkov suggested urging the USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee to review the activities of the RSFSR Communist Party, which "directly promote anti-constitutional methods of political struggle" in its newspaper, Sovetskaya Rossiya. On January 30, Sovetskaya Rossiya published an article by emigre writer Eduard Limonov calling for the replacement of President Gorbachev by a "National Salvation Committee," which would appeal to the military to save the Soviet Union from disintegration. (Julia Wishnevsky) GENERALS URGE OPPOSITION TO YELTSIN. Sovetskaya Rossiya of January 31, as summarized by TASS, carried an appeal by a group of marshals, generals, and admirals to the USSR and RSFSR parliaments to take unspecified action against Boris Yeltsin's "extremely dangerous positions." The officials expressed concern over Yeltsin's stand on the situation in the Baltic States and his call for the creation of a Russian army. They said the latter position was an invitation to violate the Soviet constitution. (NCA/Sallie Wise) YELTSIN'S REPLY. In response to the article in Sovetskaya Rossiya, Yeltsin told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet yesterday (January 31) that some Soviet generals and "Party structures" are conducting a "dirty campaign" to discredit him and the RSFSR parliament. As reported by TASS on January 31, Yeltsin said the public is not getting enough information about his and the legislature's activities. He was quoted as saying, "we must make our policy and our standpoint clear and say that we favor the Union, we favor the existence of the Army." (NCA/Sallie Wise) YELTSIN APPOINTS GENERALS. Konstantin Kobets, a deputy of Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Moiseev, has been appointed chairman of the newly created RSFSR State Committee for Defense and Security, Vremya reported on January 31. The 52-year-old Colonel General has been Chief of Communications of the USSR Armed Forces and Deputy Chief of General Staff since 1988. Yeltsin said that he nominated another general, Dmitrii Volkogonov, as his adviser on defense and security issues. (Alexander Rahr) DOSAAF NEWSPAPER SUPPORTS SEPARATE UKRAINIAN ARMY. The January 26 issue of Patriot bat'kivshchiny [Patriot of the Fatherland], a Ukrainian-language organ of the Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation and Fleet [DOSAAF], contains a number of surprises, beginning with an editorial describing Eduard Shevardnadze's warning of impending dictatorship as "prophetic" and condemning the military violence in the Baltic states. Of equal interest is an article by a member of Rukh's collegium in support of the formation of a Ukrainian national army. Has Ukrainian patriotism penetrated DOSAAF? (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINE AND THE REFERENDUM. At a press conference in Kiev on the eve of the opening of the third session of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, first deputy chairman of the republican parliament Ivan Plyushch discussed, inter alia, the March 17 referendum, reported Radio Kiev on January 31. Plyushch told journalists that the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet had agreed that the referendum should be held, because "objectively we are in the [Soviet] Union." He also noted, however, that each republic is different and, therefore, the contents of the ballot would be discussed by the Supreme Soviet. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY ON UNION TREATY. Representatives of the parliamentary majority in the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, who claim to total about 280 Party members, held a press conference in Kiev yesterday, Radio Kiev reported on January 31. Responding to a question about the Union treaty, Mykola Shul'ha, a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, argued that the decision taken last October not to sign the Union treaty before adoption of a new republican constitution was a mistake. According to Shul'ha, active participation in preparatory work would have resulted in a specific Ukrainian approach to the treaty. (Roman Solchanyk) INDEPENDENT PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION IN UKRAINE. Radio Kiev reported on January 30 that Ukrainian psychiatrists formed an independent association to strengthen humanitarian and moral values in psychiatric work. The group will seek to protect the social interests of psychiatrists and other medical specialists, as well as establish contacts with colleagues in other Soviet republics and abroad. (NCA/Sallie Wise) BELORUSSIAN ARMY DEFECTORS. Krasnaya zvezda of January 23 accused the Belorussian Popular Front of encouraging Belorussian troops to leave their military units and return home. The newspaper said that three privates went AWOL on October 14 after a leaflet signed by the BPF was circulated among a military construction unit in Ukraine. When they returned to Belorussia, the BPF sought to protect them. (Kathy Mihalisko) ARMENIA REJECTS REFERENDUM ON FUTURE OF USSR. TASS reported on January 31 that the Armenian parliament has ruled not to participate in the planned March 31 referendum on whether the USSR should be preserved as an integral state, arguing that the referendum has not been properly prepared and that it is therefore unacceptable to hold it as planned. The Georgian parliament has also ruled to boycott the referendum. (NCA/Liz Fuller) PROTEST IN KARAGANDA. Central television reported on January 23 that the Karaganda Oblast trade union council had organized a demonstration to protest meager ration limits and the high prices of food that must be purchased to supplement rationed items. Demonstrators reportedly demanded immediate compensation for the higher food prices, along with a price freeze at January 1, 1991, levels, and proposed that since the state system cannot provide the population with food, anyone who asks should be granted a plot of land to grow his own. (Bess Brown) MUSLIM CLERGY ORGANIZE TRADE UNION COMMITTEE. TASS, quoting Trud, reported on January 29 that employees of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia and employees of its publications have joined students and teachers of the Islamic institute to form their own trade union committee as part of the union of cultural workers of Uzbekistan. The new committee is to gain for its members the social benefits provided by trade unions and formerly inaccessible to the clergy. (Bess Brown) KYRGYZSTAN TO KEEP NEW NAME. The Supreme Soviet of Kyrgyzstan has rejected Kirgiz Communist Party chief Absamat Masaliev's attempt to restore "Soviet" and "Socialist" to the republic's official name. Radio Moscow reported on January 31 that the Supreme Soviet had confirmed the new name, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, and voted to alter the republic's constitution accordingly. (Bess Brown) PRESS WAR IN KAZAKHSTAN. Chief editors of Kazakhstan's republican press media have warned Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev that their publications may have to shut down, since the republican ministry of communications has sharply raised the price of paper and of postal deliveries. Publishers can no longer make ends meet, according to an item in Izvestia of January 26, and want Nazarbaev to intervene with the ministry. (Bess Brown) KABARDINO-BALKARIA DECLARES ITS SOVEREIGNTY. After sharp discussions the supreme soviet of the Kabardino-Balkar ASSR adopted a declaration of sovereignty, raising the status of the republic to that of an SSR within the RSFSR. As reported by TASS on January 31, the declaration proclaims the sovereignty of republican laws on its territory, and grants equal rights to the Kabardian, Balkar, and Russian languages. The only autonomous republics that have not yet adopted some form of declaration of state sovereignty are Dagestan, Tuva, Adzharia, and Nakhichevan', but the latter two are special cases, the "titular" nationality being the same as that of the parent republic. (Ann Sheehy) [as of 1300 CET]
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