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No. 24, 04 February 1991
BALTIC STATES GORBACHEV APPOINTS DELEGATIONS. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev appointed three delegations to begin discussions with the Baltic states on "a package of political, social and economic issues," Western agencies reported on February 1. The high-level delegations, named after the February 1 meeting of the USSR Federation Council, include political and military officials, and each is chaired by a deputy prime minister. USSR Council of Nationalities Chairman Rafik Nishanov said that while the discussions are going on, the Baltic states would have to "freeze anti-constitutional laws." Tomorrow's Daily Report will carry the composition of the three delegations. (NCA/Riina Kionka) THOUSANDS ATTEND FUNERAL OF JONAS TAUTKUS. On February 2 thousands of mourners jammed into the St. Peter and Paul Church in Vilnius for the funeral of Jonas Tautkus, a 20-year old Lithuanian shot by Soviet soldiers on January 28 at a checkpoint between Kaunas and Vilnius, Reuter reported that day. The Reverend Pranciskus Vaicekonis who conducted the funeral Mass said, "We have had to witness yet another death, but we believe that the flowers of freedom and justice will bloom again in our land." (Saulius Girnius) COSTS OF SOVIET BUILDING OCCUPATIONS. On February 3 Lithuanian parliament spokesman Audrius Azubalis noted that the Soviet military occupation of key buildings in the republic has already cost Lithuania 36 million rubles, agencies reported that day. The property loss at the Vilnius television tower from the attack was estimated to be 17.6 million rubles. Other buildings still occupied in addition to the television tower and center include the republic's main printing plant, the newsprint warehouse, and a police academy. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN AUTHORITIES FILE CHARGES AGAINST JERMALAVICIUS. TASS reported on February 3 that the Lithuanian prosecutor has started an investigation of 51-year-old Juozas Jermalavicius, the ideology chief of the Lithuanian Communist Party. Jermalavicius was charged under Article 68 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code for "public calls for violating the sovereignty of the Lithuanian state and overthrowing state power with the use of force," The Baltimore Sun reported on February 4. In an interview with Radio Kaunas this morning (February 4), Jermalavicius said that he was not afraid of the charges. He declared that the situation in Lithuania was "uncontrollable", that in Lithuania "no laws were in force," and there were "no authorities." (Saulius Girnius) FOUR ARRESTED IN TALLINN MURDERS. Radio Stockholm reported on February 1 that two more suspects have been arrested in the murder of two Swedish trade union leaders on January 24. One man and a woman were detained on January 30, and two more women were arrested on February 1. Local police authorities deny that the killings were politically motivated. (Riina Kionka) INTERMOVEMENT BLAMES THE KREMLIN. Estonia's conservative Russian nationalist anti-reform Intermovement says that the CPSU CC and the Soviet leadership are to blame for much of the tension in the Baltic states, Paevaleht reported on February 3. Interfront Coordinating Council chairman Evgenii Kogan said that perestroika is "destroying the state." The Intermovement, meeting for its second congress in the northeastern Estonian town of Kohtla-Jarve, adopted a declaration that its main goal is to ensure "the victory of the socialist choice" and to build a law-abiding, humane and democratic state. (NCA/Riina Kionka) LATVIANS SEIZED BY BLACK BERETS TRANSFERRED TO BELORUSSIA. The five volunteer guards seized by the Black Berets in Riga on January 20 and held for a time in the Riga KGB were transferred to Belorussia on the authority of the Latvian SSR Procuracy, reported Radio Riga of January 31. Latvia's Supreme Council demanded that the Latvian SSR Procuracy have the men returned to Latvia within 24 hours. Though agreement in principle was reached, it is not known if the men are already back in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) NO JOINT PATROLS IN RIGA. Radio Riga reported on February 2 that there had been no joint army-police patrols in the Latvian capital on February 1 when, according to Gorbachev's decree, such patrols were to be instituted. The reason for the absence of these patrols in Riga is that an accord had been reached between Latvia's Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs and USSR Military District Commander Fedor Kuz'min; they agreed that such patrols were not necessary at this time and would be formed at the request of the Supreme Council. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS FEDERATION COUNCIL DISCUSSES UNION TREATY, BALTIC REPUBLICS. At its third session this year on February 1, the Federation Council discussed the Union treaty and the situation in the Baltic republics, TASS and Moscow radio reported February 1. The question of price reform was not discussed, although there had been reports that it would be. The only republican leaders absent were Yeltsin, represented by his first deputy Ruslan Khasbulatov, Georgia's Zviad Gamsakhurdia, likewise represented by a deputy, and Lithuania's Vytautas Landsbergis. Lithuania was represented as usual by its permanent representative in Moscow. The discussion of the Union treaty was described as "businesslike" but "a number of new problems were raised, needing elaboration." (Ann Sheehy) FOUR REPUBLICS TO OPEN TALKS. Representatives of the RSFSR, Ukraine, Belorussia and Kazakhstan are to meet today (February 4) for the first round of talks on a four-way cooperation agreement, TASS announced on February 1. This is an event of enormous potential significance since between them the four republics produce 85% of Soviet GNP. Boris Yeltsin sees the agreement, which is supposed to build on bilateral agreements that the four republics have already made with one another, as a possible substitute for Gorbachev's Union treaty. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague) POLOZKOV CALLS FOR "CLASS STRUGGLE." Reports of the January 31 plenum of the CPSU Central Committee were published in the Soviet press over the weekend. According to Western correspondents, they indicated that hard-liners in the Party have seized the initiative and are eager to launch an offensive to regain lost ground. RSFSR CP leader Ivan Polozkov called for a counterattack against attempts by "pseudodemocrats" to "destroy socialism" and establish "a dictatorship of private capital." He called for a return to the "class struggle" while CC secretary Oleg Shenin demanded a purge of liberals and democrats from the Party ranks. Gorbachev's comments at the plenum have not yet been published. (Elizabeth Teague) PARTY TRIES TO REASSERT CONTROL OVER THE ECONOMY. The report delivered to the plenum on January 31 by deputy general secretary Vladimir Ivashko (Pravda, February 2) was remarkable for the emphasis it laid on the urgent necessity for the CPSU to reassert direct control over industry and agriculture. "No other political force," Ivashko asserted, "is capable of resolving" the tasks that face the USSR. His words were in stark contrast with Gorbachev's when he accepted the USSR presidency in March 1990. "An end is being put," Gorbachev then said, "to the Party's direct interference in the solution of specific state and economic issues." (Elizabeth Teague) JOINT PATROLS BEGIN. Joint patrols of Soviet policemen and soldiers began in Moscow on February 1, but no such patrols were seen in other major Soviet cities. "Vremya" reported that police in Lithuania and Estonia refused to participate and that soldiers had begun patrolling on their own. Seven republics, including Moscow and the Baltic States, have rejected the patrols. That patrolling did take place appeared to contradict a statement by Interior Minister Boris Pugo that they would be deployed only with the agreement of local elected officials. Moscow police authorities said that no tanks or armored personnel carriers would be used, and that ultimately up to 540 soldiers would be deployed in the capital. (Stephen Foye) CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITTEE EXPECTED TO SUSPEND GORBACHEV'S DECREES. The "Authors' TV" weekly newsreel "Namedni" on February 3 reported details of the February 1 meeting of the USSR Committee of Constitutional Oversight devoted to Gorbachev's recent decrees. Quoting experts present at the meeting, "Namedni's" commentator, Leonid Miloslavsky, said that the decrees contradict not only the Soviet Constitution but also "the aims for which they were issued." Miloslavsky cited MVD research academy experts as saying that no financial crime in the USSR in recent years fit the legal definition of "economic sabotage." The decrees were defended by those from the MVD and the Ministry of Defense who had drafted them, Miloslavsky said, and by Yurii Golik, the lawyer recently appointed by Gorbachev to oversee all law enforcement bodies. The Committee postponed its decision until February 6, but Miloslavsky expects it to suspend the decrees and to advise the President to rework them. (Julia Wishnevsky) SOVIET MUSLIM SPIRITUAL LEADER CALLS FOR CONFERENCE ON GULF. The Chairman of the Transcaucasus Spiritual Directorate of Muslims, Shaykh ul-Islam Allashukur Pasha-zade, has called for the convening of an all-Islamic conference on the Gulf to be held in Baku, TASS reported on January 31. Pasha-zade stated that he believed such a conference would be evaluated world-wide as a symbol of good will and adherence to the ideals of Islam. On January 24, Reuter quoted Pasha-zade as arguing in a sermon that the entire Islamic world was under assault from the US-led coalition, which he accused of trying to split Muslim unity. (NCA/Liz Fuller) FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES BALTIC-GULF DEAL. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said on February 1 he was "empowered" (apparently by Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh) to deny that Washington and Moscow had made a deal on the Baltic and Gulf crises. Churkin went on to say that "there is not and cannot be any type of connection" between the Persian Gulf and the Baltic, TASS reported February 1. (Suzanne Crow) GENERAL PREDICTS US DEFEAT. Major General Viktor Filatov, Editor-in-Chief of Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal, told Komsomol'skaya pravda on February 1 that talk of a quick allied victory is "just a propaganda ploy." He said Iraq never intended to fight the US-led force in the air or at sea, and that Iraq's advantage is in ground forces. Filatov said with the start of the ground war, "we may see the governments of Syria and Egypt begin to shake." Filotov said it was his opinion that "the war in the Gulf will end in a major US defeat." (NCA/Suzanne Crow) OTHERS SAY US MISUNDERSTANDS SADDAM. Vitalii V. Naumkin, Deputy Director of the Oriental Studies Institute, argues "enormous losses [will] not demoralize Saddam, as they would a civilized nation." "If, like in the war with Iran, he loses today, he will merely say, 'fine, I will win tomorrow.' In my view, the Americans have totally misunderstood this." Anatolii Yegorin, a senior researcher at the same institute, said "there is little hope that an Iraqi will retreat. He'll die, but he won't take one step backward," the Los Angeles Times, reported February 2. (Suzanne Crow) SADDAM AND SOVIET POLITICS. In the same Los Angeles Times report, Georgii Mirsky, professor at the Soviet Institute of World Economics and International Relations, discussed Soviet conservatives and the idea that the United States has a "hidden agenda"--the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow or assassination of Saddam Hussein. "President Gorbachev is under pressure from the right wing not to be seen as an ally of Bush on this." Mirsky admitted that leaving Saddam Hussein in power would make him appear the victor, no matter what happens in Kuwait, and as such, simply driving him out of Kuwait is an unsatisfactory half-measure. (Suzanne Crow) OFFICIAL SAYS IRAQIS HAVE NO SPARE TANK GUN PARTS. An official who recently returned to Moscow from Baghdad said Iraq has no spare gun barrels for its tank force. Reuter said on February 1 the official was among the Soviet specialists and embassy personnel who left Baghdad just before the start of hostilities. The official said Iraqi tank barrels must be changed after about every one hundred rounds. He said he knows "for a fact" that Iraqi "didn't manage to get [spare barrels] from the Soviet Union." (Suzanne Crow) BANKNOTE EXCHANGE FOLLOW-UP. Gosbank Chairman Gerashchenko told the USSR Cabinet of Ministers on January 30 that, as of January 25, "over 8 billion rubles' worth" of the old 50- and 100-ruble notes had not been exchanged. This suggests that some 40 billion rubles' worth of old notes were handed in. Although the special commissions have not yet completed their scrutiny of the larger accumulations of cash, it appears that the value of notes that will be effectively confiscated is far smaller than had been anticipated. ("Informed estimates" had ranged from 26 billion to 38 billion rubles' worth). The point of the exercise--and the concomitant loss of confidence--is thereby put in question. (Keith Bush) NO MORE BANKNOTE EXCHANGES? Responding to a question on Central Television (1900, February 2) about rumors that 25- and 10-ruble notes would be withdrawn, Prime Minister Pavlov asserted that the government has no plans to withdraw more currency from circulation, nor will it freeze savings deposits. Viewers may be somewhat skeptical because Pavlov had denied on television (1530, January 9) that any currency reform was envisaged: this was just two weeks before the banknote exchange was announced on January 22. (Keith Bush) BANK FOR BUSINESSWOMEN TO OPEN. The first bank in the USSR geared to helping women entrepreneurs is due to open this month. A Novosti report of January 29 said that the bank was proposed by the Eva Businesswomen's Association to protect the interests of women in business. Novosti quoted the association's head, Natalya Borchik, as saying the bank will attract customers by offering higher dividends and granting credits to businesswomen at lower interest rates than those offered by ordinary commercial banks. One sponsor of the bank is the USSR Bank for Housing and Social Amenities, which has given it 50 million rubles. (NCA/Sallie Wise) KRYUCHKOV ON POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT. KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov told Literaturnaya gazeta on January 23 that seventy KGB pensioners have recently quit the CPSU. He stressed that the KGB fully supports Mikhail Gorbachev's foreign policy and had favored the abolition of article 6 of the USSR Constitution (CPSU monopoly) last year. Kryuchkov noted that he no longer takes part in meetings of the Politburo, which has stopped playing a political role. Asked if he may soon be replaced by his more hardline deputy, Filipp Bobkov, Kryuchkov replied: "I think Bobkov has the right political convictions, supports perestroika, and has no intentions to become KGB chief." (Alexander Rahr) MORE CULTURAL FIGURES BOYCOTT SOVIET TV. A Soviet TV moderator announced February 3 that Arkadii Arkanov, a prominent Soviet satirist, as well as his friends, had refused to participate in Soviet TV programming, and therefore the scheduled program had to be replaced. The show, "Arkadii Arkanov with Friends and for Friends," was initially scheduled to last 2 hours and 20 minutes on Sunday in prime time. Arkanov must have joined 60 leading theater workers who intend to boycott Soviet TV in protest against its distorted coverage of the events in Lithuania and Latvia. In an open letter published in Komsomol'skaya pravda January 24, the sixty celebrities warned that they will not appear on television until RSFSR republican TV begins broadcasting. (Julia Wishnevsky) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS GOSTELERADIO REDUCES FREQUENCIES RADIO ROSSIYA CAN USE. The State Committee for TV and Radio (Gosteleradio) has reduced the frequencies used by Radio Rossiya, Radio Moscow reported on February 2. A spokesman for Radio Rossiya said the move deprived the radio of a big audience. The radio had to stop its broadcasts on frequencies used by Radio Moscow's first and second (Mayak) program, and is now restricted to the third program. The restriction was reportedly imposed after President Gorbachev complained to Gosteleradio chairman Leonid Kravchenko about Radio Rossiya coverage of the events in the Baltics. (Vera Tolz) EDITORS OF RSFSR NEWSPAPERS SUPPORT RADIO ROSSIYA. A meeting of editors of newspapers published in the RSFSR condemned the restrictions imposed by Gosteleradio on Radio Rossiya, Radio Moscow-1 reported February 2. The meeting issued an appeal on the matter addressed to the Soviet President, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, the republican government, and Gosteleradio. Condemning the restrictions as a violation of the press law, the appeal complained that from now on only 60% of the population of the RSFSR would be able to listen to Radio Rossiya. (Vera Tolz) EDITORS OF RSFSR PRESS DEMAND CREATION OF REPUBLICAN TV. The same meeting of editors of the RSFSR press reiterated a call for the establishment of republican television in the RSFSR. The editors called on Gosteleradio to make the second channel of Central TV available for the All-Russian state radio company, Radio Moscow-1 reported February 2. (Vera Tolz) RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET REACHES NO DECISION ON REFERENDUM. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet held a lengthy but inconclusive debate on February 1 on holding an RSFSR referendum at the same time as the all-Union referendum on the preservation of the Union scheduled for March 17, TASS reported February 1. Over 400 deputies, more than the minimum necessary, wanted citizens of the republics to be polled on introducing the post of president elected by public vote, and on the prospects for the RSFSR's existence "as a sovereign federal state forming part of a union of sovereign republics on a voluntary and equal basis." The argument was about the formulation of the question, not the RSFSR forming part of the Union. The debate will be resumed in a few days. (Ann Sheehy) GOLIK ATTACKS YELTSIN. Yurii Golik, recently appointed head of the new committee charged with coordinating all-Union law enforcement, verbally attacked Boris Yeltsin on Siberian television February 2, according to a Postfactum report the next day. Golik called Yeltsin "a man with whom it is impossible to agree in principle...a lying and inconsistent man." (Sallie Wise) KUYBYSHEV TAKES BACK OLD NAME. The city of Kuybyshev, on the Volga, has taken back its historical name of Samara. TASS reported on January 29 that the decision was made at a meeting of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Presidium the same day. The Kuybyshev region has also been renamed Samara region. Samara joins several other Russian cities, including Tver' (Kalinin) and Nizhnyi Novgorod (Gorky), that have reclaimed their former names. (NCA/Sallie Wise) UKRAINIAN DISSENT AT UN FORUM. In evident criticism of Moscow's crackdown in the Baltic, a Ukrainian delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva said that the Soviet Union should develop into a new commonwealth that respects freedom of choice and rejects the use of violence in any form, AP reported on February 1. The Ukrainian envoy, Volodymyr Vasylenko, citing the Ukrainian declaration of state sovereignty, maintained that any infringements of the principle of national self-determination have always been accompanied by the violation of human rights and the rights of peoples. (NCA/Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET CONVENES. The third session of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet convened on February 1 and adopted a resolution placing the all-Union coal and metallurgical industries in the republic directly under Kiev's control, Radio Kiev reported on February 1. The session is expected to last until June 28. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN INTER-PARTY ASSEMBLY REJECTS REFERENDUM. The Ukrainian Inter-Party Assembly, one of many new political groupings formed in Ukraine last year, announced at a press conference in Kiev that it will not acknowledge the results of the March 17 referendum regardless of how the vote goes, Radio Kiev reported on February 1. It also called for a two-hour political strike on the first day of the trial of Ukrainian people's deputy Stepan Khmara. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN ARMY UNDER DISCUSSION. Members of the Narodna rada parliamentary faction, Rukh, the Association of Democratic Soviets of Ukraine, and a previously unknown group called "Committee for the Resurrection of the Armed Forces in Ukraine" opened a conference in Kiev over the weekend devoted to "steps toward the realization of a Ukrainian army." Also attending, said Radio Kiev on February 3, were philosopher Volodymyr Mulyava--author of a recent piece in the Ukrainian DOSAAF weekly about the need for a national army (see Daily Report, February 1)--Colonel Valerii Kryvoboskyi of the staff of the Kiev Military District and, intriguingly, the son of the former Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. (Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIAN PROGRAM FOR CHERNOBYL-RELATED BIRTH DEFECTS. On February 2, the Belorussian Supreme Soviet adopted a program aimed at curbing genetic birth defects related to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The program, according to TASS, will include prenatal diagnostics, distribution of condoms, and comprehensive monitoring of newborns. The occurance of congenital defects and illnesses such as cancer and heart disease is reported to be on the rise. (NCA/Kathy Mihalisko) AGREEMENT ON BAIKONUR. The government of Kazakhstan has reached an agreement with Glavkosmos, the Soviet space agency, about the Baikonur launching facility in Kzyl-Orda Oblast, according to a report on the February 2 edition of "Vremya." Republican leaders and journalists have complained that Kazakhstan has no control over, and little knowledge of, what goes on at the complex. A Radio Moscow report on the agreement said that the republican government demanded that the facility directly benefit the republic. Glavkosmos has undertaken to provide satellite relay of Kazakh television, and has accepted two Kazakhs in the cosmonaut program. (Bess Brown) COMMUNIST PARTY TAKES OVER TWO NEWSPAPERS IN KAZAKHSTAN. The Central Committee of the Kazakhstan CP has declared itself sole owner of the two republican dailies, the Russian-language Kazakhstanskaya pravda and Kazakh-language Sotsialistik Qazaqstan, according to Radio Moscow, quoting Izvestia, on February 1. The two newspapers were formerly jointly owned by the Central Committee and the republican government and Supreme Soviet. The report quoted Party second secretary Vladislav Anufriev as telling Kazakhstanskaya pravda's editorial staff that "We need a paper like Sovetskaya Rossiya. It's time to put a stop to pseudo-democracy, to any kind of Popovs and Sobchaks." (Bess Brown) BRANCH OF ISLAMIC PARTY FOUNDED IN UZBEKISTAN. RFE/RL has learned from a journalist in Tashkent that a branch of the all-Union Islamic Renaissance Party held a founding congress on January 26. Militia invaded the congress, detained some participants and fined them for holding an unauthorized assembly. The journalist said that in addition to Uzbeks, the congress included participants from other Central Asian and Caucasian republics and the RSFSR. A branch of the party was set up in Tajikistan in 1990, and has been continually harassed by the authorities there. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIAN PREMIER DEFENDS HIMSELF. Moldavian premier Mircea Druc has defended himself in the republican press against accusations in parliament and outside that he has been wasting state funds travelling abroad and has protected cooperatives engaged in profiteering, Moldova-pres reported February 1. Druc said his foreign trips had brought commercial benefits, and his trip to the US was funded by American businessmen. The largely Russian-speaking deputy group "Sovetskaya Moldova," which has been demanding his resignation ever since the deaths in Dubossary last November, wants Druc to answer their questions in parliament. Meanwhile several demonstrations in support of Druc have taken place outside the parliament. (Ann Sheehy) TRIAL OF GAGAUZ LEADER BEGINS. The trial of 38-year old Ivan Burgudzhi, one of the leaders of the "Gagauz khalik" movement, banned after the Gagauz republic was proclaimed, began in the Moldavian capital, Kishinev, on January 31, TASS reported January 31. Burgudzhi was seized by the militia in October 1990 when Moldavian volunteers attached the Gagauz areas of the republic. According to TASS, Burgudzhi is being detained in violation of the law since the soviet of which he is a deputy has not sanctioned his arrest. He is charged with the illegal possession of ammunition, a charge which he denies. (Ann Sheehy) GEORGIA CUTS OFF POWER SUPPLIES TO SOUTH OSSETIAN CAPITAL. Radio Moscow reported on February 3 that the independent Georgian Power Workers' Union had cut electricity supplies to the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali and the neighboring Dzhava raion to protest what was termed "the deteriorating plight of the area's Georgian population." This action has exacerbated the already tense situation in the region. (Liz Fuller) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
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