I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. - Gale Wilhelm
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 26, 06 February 1991



BALTIC STATES



GORBACHEV SAYS LITHUANIAN POLL "LEGALLY UNSOUND." Gorbachev issued
a presidential decree February 5 declaring the decisions of the
Lithuanian Supreme Soviet of January 16 and 18 on holding a poll
on the future of the Lithuanian state on February 9 "legally
unsound". It instructed the supreme and local bodies of power
of the Lithuanian SSR and the relevant ministries and departments
of the USSR to ensure strict fulfillment of the USSR Supreme
Soviet resolution of January 16 on the March 17 Union-wide referendum
on the preservation of the Soviet Union. The decree accused the
Lithuanian leadership of taking advantage of "the aggravated
socio-political situation in the republic...to organize support
for their separatist ambitions." The decree is in keeping with
Gorbachev's adamant insistence that the Baltic republics abide
by USSR laws and the USSR constitution. (Ann Sheehy)

LANDSBERGIS RESPONDS TO GORBACHEV'S DECREE. About a half hour
after the announcement of Gorbachev's decree (see above), Lithuanian
President Vytautas Landsbergis issued a short comment reported
by Radio Kaunas. He said that Gorbachev's decree reflected the
old Soviet tradition that law and authority did not stem from
the will of the people expressed in a free vote, but were decided
autocratically upon orders from the rulers. He added that the
Gorbachev decree was assessed as interference in the affairs
of the sovereign Republic of Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius)

GORBACHEV MEETS FORMER LITHUANIAN COMMUNISTS. In an interview
with Radio Kaunas on February 5, Lithuanian Socialist Labor Party
secretary Vladimir Berezov said that party chairman Algirdas
Brazauskas, Tiesa editor-in-chief Domas Sniukas, and he had talked
that day with Gorbachev for about an hour and a half. The discussion
centered on the return of the press center in Vilnius and other
party buildings seized by Soviet troops in January. Gorbachev
said that talks on the return of the buildings should be conducted
with the head of the CPSU CC Administrative Organs department.
The Lithuanians, however, were unable to contact him. (Saulius
Girnius)

PRUNSKIENE IN BRUSSELS. Former Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera
Prunskiene met with members of the European Parliament in Brussels
on February 5, Reuter reported that day. She urged that European
Community aid for the USSR bypass the central authorities and
go directly to the republics because local officials were better
able to determine needs and distribute food. DPA on February
6 quoted her as saying that the Baltic republics did not need
food aid, but rather credits to build up their domestic economies
and infrastructure. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN STAMPS RECOGNIZED. Radio Kaunas on February 5 reported
that USSR Deputy Minister of Communications Gennadii Kudryavtsev
and Director of the Department of Postal Communications of the
Lithuanian Ministry of Communications Anatolijus Mitrofanovas
had signed an agreement on Lithuanian postage stamps. The USSR
ministry declared that it did not oppose Lithuania's issuance
of its own postage stamps and their distribution in Lithuania
and Soviet republics that have agreed to their use. The circulation
of the stamps within USSR territory would be compensated according
to international postal conventions. Lithuanian Communications
Minister Kostas Birulis was quoted as saying that Lithuanian
stamps can be used to send letters to Latvia, Estonia, Azerbaijan,
Moldavia, and Russia. (Saulius Girnius)

ANOTHER FILMMAKER DIES FROM BLACK BERETS' GUNS. Radio Riga reported
on February 5 that film operator Gvido Zvaigzne died in a Riga
hospital early that morning. He was shot by the Black Berets
on January 20 when they stormed the Latvian Ministry of Internal
Affairs, and remained in a coma until his death. His colleague,
Andris Slapins, died almost instantly on January 20 after being
shot by the Black Berets. Zvaigzne is to be buried on February
9 at Riga's Forest Cemetery. He is the sixth person in Latvia
to die as a consequence of violence in Latvia in January. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIA'S LITHUANIANS CAN PARTICIPATE IN LITHUANIAN POLL. Polling
centers will be opened in Riga, Jelgava, and Daugavpils for Lithuanians
living in Latvia who want to take part in the poll on Lithuania's
independence, reported Radio Riga on February 6. The Latvian
Supreme Council has still not decided whether to hold a similar
poll in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

GORBUNOVS INVITED TO NORDIC COUNCIL SESSION. Anatolijs Gorbunovs,
Chairman of Latvia's Supreme Council, has accepted an invitation
to take part in the 39th session of the Nordic Council to take
place later this month in Copenhagen. The invitation was extended
by Anker Jorgensen, head of the Nordic Council delegation visiting
Latvia, reported Radio Riga on February 6. Jorgensen said that
the Nordic Council OBs currently focusing on getting its information
bureaus off to a good start in the Baltics, educational programs,
and coOBeration on environmental protection of the Baltic Sea.
(Dzintra Bungs)

B CHURKBN CRITICIZES ICELAND'S STAND ON BALTICS.
Soviet foreign ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin, as reported
by TASS, told reporters in Moscow yesterday (February 5) that
Iceland's position on the Baltics is biased and is a departure
from traditionally friendly Soviet-Icelandic relations. Churkin
said Bhat Deputy Foreign Minister Yulii Kvitsinsky had summoned
Iceland's ambassador to the USSR to complain. Iceland last month
demanded that Moscow explain the use of force in the Baltics,
and Iceland's foreign minister has said that hiOBcountry is considering
establishing diplomatic ties with Lithuania. (NCA/Sallie Wise)


USSR PRESSURES CZECHOSLOVAKIA ON BALTIC. Czechoslovak Foreign
Minister Jiri Dienstbier says his country is under considerable
Soviet pressure not to increase its ties with the Baltic republics,
an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Prague on February 5. Dienstbier
told a Prague meeting held on February 3 in support of Baltic
independence that Czechoslovakia was receiving "unequivocal"
signals from Moscow. Among them is the idea that Moscow would
consider an exchange of representatives between Prague and Vilnius
as constituting interference in Soviet internal affairs. Dienstbier
said he understood that such an exchange--already agreed upon
by Czechoslovakia and Lithuania--would produce a reaction in
Moscow. (Barbara Kroulik)

BALTS FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. The US Helsinki Commission has nominated
the peoples of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for the 1991 Nobel
Peace Prize, a RFE/RL correspondent reported from Washington
on February 5. Commission co-chairman Congressman Steny Hoyer
(D-Maryland) says recent events have shown the Baltic peoples'
non-violent struggle for independence will not be easy, but that
international pressure might be the most effective way to help
them regain freedom. Co-chairman Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona)
said it is ironic that last year's winner is oppressing the people
most deserving of this year's Peace Prize. (Riina Kionka)

HUNGARIANS IN ROMANIA EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH BALTS. In a declaratiBn
concerning recent events in the Gulf and in the Baltic states,
the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania stated: "we should
not forget the situation of the Baltic states; [iB serves to]
warn us of the danger of brutal armed forces, which violate the
freedom and the national dignity of the peoplesBfighting for
independence and democratic changes. We express oBr protest and
we manifest our solidarity with the democratic governments of
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia." The declaratiOB was published
in Romaniai Magyar Szo, a daily of the Hungarian minority in
Romania, on January 22. (Petronela Gaal)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



SEVENTH CONGRESS OF JOURNALISTS CRITICIZES KRAVCHENKO. Sharp
criticism of Gosteleradio chief Leonid Kravchenko's policies
was voiced at the Seventh Congress of Soviet Journalists, which
opened in Moscow on February 5, Radio Moscow-1 reported. (Reporting
on the opening of the congress, "Vremya" mentioned the criticism
of Kravchenko only in passing.) Delegates at the congress also
commemorated the media people who have recently died while "fulfilling
their professional duties," TSN reported. Among those commemorated
were two media representatives killed during the OMON assault
on the MVD building in Riga on January 20. (Vera Tolz)

DEPUTY WINS LIBEL SUIT AGAINST TASS AND PRAVDA. Galina Starovoitova,
a liberal USSR and RSFSR people's deputy, has won a lawsuit against
the CPSU daily, Pravda, and Vladimir Petrunya, chief editor of
TASS. According to the TSN late night news of February 4, the
Moscow Sverdlovsky district court ordered Pravda to apologize
to Starovoitova on the front page, where it had published Petrunya's
article slandering Starovoitova and other democratic deputies.
In a series of articles published in Pravda from September 26
to October 2, 1990, Petrunya claimed that the democrats had deliberately
created acute food shortages in Moscow with the aim of committing
a "counterrevolutionary coup" against the Gorbachev-Ryzhkov leadership.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

MOSCOW CP CHIEF WANTS CRITICISM OF LEADERSHIP TO BE LIMITED.
Newspapers and journals which are organs of various government
bodies should not be allowed freely to criticize the Soviet leadership,
Moscow city Party chief Yurii Prokof'ev told a press conference
on February 4, Novosti reported. Prokof'ev proposed appointing
a special official within the new Cabinet of Ministers to control
periodicals belonging to the government. Prokof'ev noted that
the CPSU has always had a similar official. Petr Luchinsky has
been appointed Secretary of the CPSU CC for controlling the activities
of the Party press, Prokof'ev said. He also insisted that he
had no information about a decree aimed at limiting the existing
freedom of the media, allegedly prepared by Gorbachev. (Rumors
about such a decree are currently circulating in Moscow.) (Vera
Tolz)

MOSCOW FILMMAKERS TO BOYCOTT CENTRAL TV. The Moscow organization
of cinema workers has joined the opposition Democratic Russia
movement. Only one filmmaker voted against this decision at the
organization's meeting held on February 5, the RL Russian BD
reported later that day. The filmmakers agreed to join the boycott
of Central TV to protest censorship and disinformation; altogether
over 200 leading Soviet cultural figures have joined it. The
boycott, the cinema workers elaborated, will apply only to entertainment
shows on Central television, not to Moscow and Leningrad local
TV or to certain progressive political programs. Since some full-time
employees of Central TV had opted to join the boycott as well,
the filmmakers voted to set up a special "Foundation in the Defense
of Glasnost'" to help them to survive. (Russian BD/Julia Wishnevsky)


CHURKIN ON IRAN INITIATIVE. Soviet foreign ministry spokesman
Vitalii Churkin said February 5 the Iranian peace proposal cannot
be described as wholly negative (as some in the United States
have done) because it underscores the necessity of fulfilling
the UN Security Council resolutions. (Suzanne Crow)

ON UN MILITARY STAFF COMMITTEE. At the February 5 USSR foreign
ministry briefing, Churkin spoke of the UN's Military Staff Committee's
current inadequacies as a body. He said the Gulf conflict has
shown the need to think seriously about the formulation of the
Committee's structure and consider whether it could prove effective
in a similar situation in the future, TASS said. (Suzanne Crow)


BESSMERTNYKH MEETS SYRIA'S TALAS. Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh met with Syrian Defense Minister and Vice Premier
Mustafa Talas on February 5. Talks took place in a "friendly
atmosphere." TASS said "the sides were unanimous that the clear
obligation of Iraq to leave Kuwait in full accordance with UN
Security Council resolutions would permit the cessation of military
actions and end bloodshed. Such a settlement of the Kuwaiti crisis
would open the possibility to approach the resolution of other
near East problems, first and foremost the Arab-Israeli conflict."
(Suzanne Crow)

BESSMERTNYKH: NO CONVENTIONAL THREAT TO USSR. TASS reported February
5 that Bessmertnykh told the Central Committee Plenum last week
that military actions against Iraq have not exposed the southern
regions of the USSR to nuclear, biological or chemical weapons
dangers. Bessmertnykh said Gorbachev had told him to ask the
US about such a threat during the foreign minister's visit to
Washington last week. Bessmertnykh also noted that the US statement
that no danger from unconventional weapons presently exists conforms
with Soviet and other intelligence sources' information. (NCA/Suzanne
Crow)

DID MOSCOW TELL IRAQ TO EVACUATE PLANES TO IRAN? The Soviet TV
station TSN on February 6 quoted a recent report by the Egyptian
newspaper Al Khakyka, according to which Iraq evacuated its planes
to Iran on the initiative of the USSR. According to this hypothesis
on the mysterious exodus of Iraqi planes, the Kremlin was supposedly
concerned that its newest technological weaponry might fall into
the hands of Western allies. (Alexander Rahr)

PRIMAKOV TO BAGHDAD? According to Vladimir Isaev, head of Moscow's
Institute for Middle East Affairs, Gorbachev's special Middle
East envoy Evgenii Primakov may soon go to Baghdad for talks
with Saddam Hussein. Isaev's comments to French television (TF-1)
on February 5 were cited by Reuter on February 6. (Suzanne Crow)


IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO USSR ON SOVIET ROLE IN GULF. Gafil Djassim
Hussein said in an interview published on February 5 in Sovetskaya
Rossiya that Moscow should "play a positive role and not allow
the destruction of a friendly country and the liquidation of
its people." Hussein also said Moscow should not allow "American
imperialism" to flourish just because the Cold War is over, AFP
reported February 5. (Suzanne Crow)

USSR MAY ASK GERMANY FOR WAR REPARATIONS. The Supreme Soviet
will probably ask the Soviet government to demand reparations
for World War II casualties and forced labor before it ratifies
the Two-Plus-Four Treaty sealing German unification. This report
came from German Bundestag members recently in Soviet Union.
They were quoted in a February 5 AFP report as saying they do
not know how much the USSR may demand, but that it appeared Soviet
parliamentarians wished to treat the treaty as a final peace
settlement with Germany. The Bundestag members maintained ratification
of the treaty is not itself in question and that the Supreme
Soviet intends to take it up during the session which begins
February 18. (Suzanne Crow)

POLICE PATROLS INCREASED. The number of joint police-army units
patrolling the streets of Soviet cities has increased significantly
since the patrols were introduced on February 1. According to
TASS on February 5, four-man teams of police and soldiers have
now hit the streets in approximately 90 cities, involving some
12,000 troops. The news agency denied that the patrols are equipped
with automatic weapons or armored vehicles. The USSR Interior
Ministry claims that about 5,000 people have been detained nationwide
since Friday night, most of them for petty crimes. (NCA/Stephen
Foye)

GENERAL HITS POLITICAL PARTIES, MEDIA. The Chief of the Ground
Forces Political Administration told last week's CPSU plenum
that political parties were trying to influence armed forces
personnel and to neutralize the Communist Party. In a speech
carried by Pravda on February 5 and summarized by TASS, Colonel
General Nikolai Moiseev charged that representatives of various
parties were trying to "penetrate military units." He said that
in the past six months over 1,500 incidents of anti-army propaganda
had been intercepted at ground forces garrisons. He also criticized
Boris Yeltsin and charged that mass media coverage of the army
included slander and "dirty anti-army fabrications." (Stephen
Foye)

TASS CRITICIZES US MILITARY BUDGET. TASS military commentator
Vladimir Bogachev charged on February 5 that the recently announced
US military budget included several loopholes that would permit
a significant increase in US military spending. He pointed first
to supplemental spending that will be granted to pay for the
Gulf War, arguing that this would also cover replacement costs
for a number of weapons systems currently being expended in the
Gulf. Bogachev also said that announced military spending reductions
might be ignored because the US administration has linked them
to what it perceives as a continuing Soviet military threat.
(Stephen Foye)

NOVOSTI ON NAVAL FORCES, GULF. Novosti commentator Major General
Yurii Lebedev charged on February 4 that the Persian Gulf War
confirmed the importance of naval operations in the pursuit of
strategic objectives on the ground, including cities and industrial
centers. He said that the use of naval power was part of a broader
Allied warfighting strategy aimed at minimizing the use of ground
forces. Lebedev said that this new strategy, however viable,
proved that naval forces were becoming a more important component
of Western military capabilities. He reiterated the Soviet position
that naval forces should therefore be included in arms control
negotiations. (Stephen Foye)

REFORMIST GENERAL WARNS OF CRACKDOWN. General Dmitrii Volkogonov,
the new military adviser to Boris Yeltsin, warned in an article
in Moscow News (no. 3) of irreparable historical consequences
if a military crackdown is staged in the Soviet Union. According
to Volkogonov, all conflicts could be resolved by political means.
He compared President Gorbachev to the pre-revolutionary Russian
leader Aleksandr Kerensky who had desperately demanded more extraordinary
powers but was unable to use them properly. (Alexander Rahr)


SOBCHAK SAID GORBACHEV CHEATED MILITARY. According to Leningrad
mayor Anatolii Sobchak, the military must feel cheated by Gorbachev.
Sobchak wrote in Moscow News (no. 4) that after being sent by
Gorbachev to conduct the crackdown in Lithuania, the military
learned from him the next morning that they had acted on their
own initiative. Sobchak added that Gorbachev should have had
the courage to accept responsibility and called the president's
behavior "shameful." He noted that Gorbachev never became a real
president of his people but remained a typical general secretary.
(Alexander Rahr)

1962 NOVOCHERKASSK KILLINGS WHITEWASHED. The USSR Chief Military
Procuracy has finally revealed the graves of people shot during
the workers' riots in Novocherkassk in June, 1962, Sovetskaya
Rossiya announced February 1. According to the newspaper, the
military procuracy seems to have concluded that the actions against
the workers were justified, since some of the demonstrators allegedly
attempted to use violence. Twenty-four persons, including a teenager,
were shot dead and 39 injured when members of the Khrushchev
Politburo ordered the military to disperse a spontaneous workers'
rally triggered by food price rises coupled with wage reductions.
Hundreds were sentenced to 10-15 years' imprisonment, and at
least 7 to death, for taking part in the rally. Although liberal
journalists writing on the Novocherkassk events in the past year
claim that many of those sentenced were innocent bystanders who
should be rehabilitated, this is highly unlikely, to judge from
the report in Sovetskaya Rossiya. (Julia Wishnevsky)

USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN TV SPEECH POSTPONED. The speech that RSFSR Supreme Soviet
chairman Boris Yeltsin planned to deliver last night (February
5) has been postponed. It may now be broadcast on February 8
(Friday evening). One reason seems to have been that Yeltsin
was demanding television time to broadcast live, whereas Gosteleradio
wanted to put out a recorded version (in which, the Yeltsin team
feared, cuts might be made). (Elizabeth Teague)

IS YELTSIN'S OFFICE BUGGED? The front-page of Komsomol'skaya
pravda on February 5 carried a story alleging that the KGB has
a clandestine listening post in rooms above Yeltsin's office
at the "Russian White House"--the building of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet on Moscow's Kranopresnenskaya Embankment. The newspaper
also carried a KGB denial of the story. "Such things," the KGB
is quoted as saying, "are simply impossible today." (NCA/Elizabeth
Teague)

RUSSIAN INFORMATION AGENCY CREATED. The "Russian (Rossiiskoe)
Information Agency" recently has been set up, Novosti reported
February 4. The new agency was established by a decision of the
Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. A spokesman for the new
company said it will not attempt to establish any monopoly on
disseminating information, but will cooperate with other independent
agencies already existing in the RSFSR. (Vera Tolz)

RSFSR FORMALLY PROTESTS CRACKDOWN ON RADIO ROSSIYA. The RSFSR
ministry of the press and mass information issued a formal protest
against Gosteleradio's decision to switch Radio Rossiya to a
channel which enables it to reach only a little more than 60%
of the RSFSR's population. Radio Moscow-1 reported February 4
that the ministry said that if the Gosteleradio decision were
not reversed very soon, the RSFSR government would have to take
"emergency measures." It did not specify what these measures
would be. (NCA/Vera Tolz)

KRAVCHUK STRESSES FOREIGN CONTACTS. Chairman of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk has reemphasized his republic's
intention to continue developing its activities in the foreign
arena, Radio Kiev reported February 5. Kravchuk is attending
the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he held
talks with the president of the host country. (Roman Solchanyk)


UKRAINIAN RADICALS SUE KGB CHIEF. The Ukrainian Republican Party
has sued KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov in the Dzerzhinsky district
court in Moscow, TSN reported on February 5. Kryuchkov, the URP
complains, defamed the party in his address delivered at the
fourth session of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies last
December. (Julia Wishnevsky)

OVER 70,000 EVACUATED FROM CHERNOBYL CONTAMINATED ZONES LAST
YEAR. Viktor Gubanov, head of the state committee monitoring
the after-effects of the Chernobyl disaster, announced on February
5 that 72,700 people were evacuated from contaminated areas of
Ukraine and Belorussia during 1990. The evacuees were moved from
areas judged to have unacceptably high levels of radiation. According
to a Reuter report of February 6, Gubanov said that a further
140,000 people would be moved from areas of moderate contamination
in the next year. Gubanov also announced that funds for the continuing
Chernobyl cleanup would be increased nearly fivefold this year:
from 2.2 billion rubles in 1990 to 10.3 billion rubles. (Sallie
Wise)

MORE LAND TO BE GIVEN TO PEASANTS IN UZBEKISTAN. According to
a report on the February 5 edition of "Vremya", Uzbek president
Islam Karimov has decreed that more than 100,000 hectares of
irrigated land be distributed to peasants to increase the size
of their private plots. Karimov told an Izvestia correspondent
that 170,000 hectares had been distributed last year in the program,
which is part of his plan to increase food production in the
republic (the interview appeared on January 28). Village elders
quoted on "Vremya", however, warned that the parcels will have
to be larger in order to both feed the villagers and have enough
extra to sell in town markets. (Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIA TO CONCLUDE DIRECT TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH HUNGARY, CZECHOSLOVAKIA.
The Moldavian government has held talks with the Hungarian and
Czechoslovak Consuls General in Kiev concerning the conclusion
of bilateral trade agreements, Moldovapres reported February
5. The consuls, who paid separate visits to Kishinev, were received
by Moldavian president Mircea Snegur, Minister of External Relations
Nicolae Tsyu, and other officials. Snegur said on the occasion
that while fulfilling existing contractual obligations vis-a-vis
the USSR, Moldavia will choose for itself its foreign economic
partners and conduct direct exchanges, no longer going through
the center. (Vladimir Socor).


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

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