We were born to unite with our fellowmen, and to join in community with the human race. - Cicero
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 27, 07 February 1991





BALTIC STATES



PRESS BRIEFING BY BRAZAUSKAS. At a press briefing at the Lithuanian
parliament on February 6, broadcast live over Radio Kaunas, Chairman
of the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party Algirdas Brazauskas
answered questions on his meeting with Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev the previous day. According to Brazauskas, Gorbachev
did not seem to have changed and apparently was still in charge.
Gorbachev repeatedly stressed that there cannot be any negotiations
with Lithuania as an (independent) state, but only as a Soviet
republic. Gorbachev did not mention that he intended to declare
the scheduled poll in Lithuania on February 9 illegal a few hours
later. (Saulius Girnius)

CHANGES IN LITHUANIAN DELEGATION FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE USSR.
TASS reported on February 6 that the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet
had decided to change the membership of the Lithuanian delegation
for negotiations with the USSR on independence. Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius replaced his predecessor Kazimiera Prunskiene.
Two additional members were added to the delegation: Director-General
of the Lithuanian National Defense Department Audrius Butkevicius
and economist Kestutis Glaveckas. (Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIA FIRM ON PLEBISCITE. Estonia's Foreign Minister Lennart
Meri told Reuter on February 6 that Estonia will hold its March
3 plebiscite despite Moscow's pressure to participate in the
March 17 referendum. Meri said: "We are absolutely sure our peoples
have reached a decision to restore full independence." Meri said
that the March 17 all-Union referendum would achieve no result
even if the Baltic peoples voted 100% to leave the USSR. "That's
why the Baltic parliaments were obliged to organize some sort
of a preventive referendum," he added. (Riina Kionka)

SODRUZHESTVO AIRS ANTI-INDEPENDENCE MESSAGE IN LATVIA. Late in
the fall of 1990, Sodruzhestvo, a new radio station started to
operate in Latvia. At that time little was known about it, other
than its political orientation: Latvia must remain a part of
the USSR. Radio Riga interviewed on February 6 its chief Vadim
Smetanikov, former editor of Sovetskaya Latviya, who said that
the station was sponsored by the United Council of Work Collectives
and that it was broadcasting programs 4 times a week. Smetanikov
did not say where the broadcasts originated, nor who his coworkers
were, though he claimed that Sodruzhestvo was operating legally.
Ziedonis Banka, formerly of Cina, prepared the Latvian-language
programs. (Dzintra Bungs)

TASS CRITICIZES EC REACTION TO SOVIET ACTIONS IN THE BALTICS.
On February 6 TASS commentator Albert Balebanov accused the European
Community's foreign ministers of "unambiguous intervention in
the Soviet Union's internal affairs" and exerting "pressure on
Moscow in tackling the problems of its relations with the Baltic
Soviet republics." Balebanov was reacting to the EC foreign ministers'
decision of February 4 to hold back aid to the USSR after the
Soviet crackdown in the Baltics and to their decision to send
observers to Lithuania and Estonia, which are going to hold polls
on independence. (Dzintra Bungs)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS


GORBACHEV ADDRESSES NATION ON REFERENDUM. Hard on the heels of
his decree pronouncing the February 9 poll in Lithuania legally
without foundation, Gorbachev delivered a 15-minute address on
"Vremya" on February 6 urging participation in the March 17 referendum
on the future of the Soviet Union. He rehearsed all the familiar
arguments for preserving the Union, throwing in for good measure
a reference to the "voluntary" unification of many peoples with
Russia and a tribute to the Russian people. Gorbachev chided
Estonia as well as Lithuania for ignoring the March 17 referendum
and holding their own polls. (Ann Sheehy)

CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE SECRETARY GIRENKO ON REFERENDUM. CPSU
Central Committee secretary and chairman of the Party's nationalities
policy commission Andrei Girenko held a press conference February
6 on the March 17 referendum, TASS reported February 6. Girenko
claimed that a recent poll indicated that about 80% of the population
would take part in the referendum and up to three quarters would
vote yes. He said that where republican authorities refused to
hold the referendum, local authorities should take the initiative.
It was up to the Central Referendum Commission to decide how
the votes of conscripts should be counted. (Ann Sheehy)

SOBCHAK ON FUTURE OF USSR, GORBACHEV. Leningrad city soviet chairman
Anatolii Sobchak told Le Monde of February 6 that the question
in the March 17 referendum is "badly posed." He said that while
he favors "a 'union' among republics," he will vote "no" to avoid
reinforcing Gorbachev's concept of a centralized union. In his
view, a "yes" vote would encourage Gorbachev to take a hard line,
which would only stiffen opposition in the republics and make
eventual conflict all the more grave. If, however, the referendum
results are negative, Sobchak predicted that Gorbachev will be
obliged to resign. Sobchak said that he is optimistic that the
USSR can avoid anarchy and civil war. He thinks it possible that
the republics could reach agreement among themselves and establish
a new system of power which would "completely modify Gorbachev's
role." (Sallie Wise)

SOBCHAK FIRST TO DECLARE AGAINST REFERENDUM. In announcing that
he would vote against the preservation of the USSR in the March
17 referendum (see above), Sobchak was the first high-level democrat
to declare publicly that he would vote "no." (Alexander Rahr)


CPSU TO APPLY FOR OFFICIAL REGISTRATION. At the plenum of its
Central Committee held January 31, the CPSU decided to amend
its Rules to provide for the possibility of abolishing itself.
Nobody imagines that the CPSU has any such intention but, under
new legislation, the CPSU must, along with other political parties,
officially register itself with the USSR ministry of justice.
The law requires that any party wishing to register must present
a statute which includes procedures for the possible winding
up of the activities of the party in question. The CC plenum
decided that the Party Rules will be amended accordingly at the
next Party Congress of conference. In the meantime, the Party
is to apply for registration. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

JOURNALISTS' UNION TO DISCUSS KRAVCHENKO'S MEMBERSHIP. Delegates
at the seventh congress of Soviet journalists suggested that
Gosteleradio chief Kravchenko's membership in the Journalists'
Union was incompatible with the censorship he has introduced
on Soviet TV. Novosti reported February 6 that the possible expulsion
of Kravchenko from the Union is to be discussed in the Moscow
branch of the Journalists' Union. RL's Russian Service was told,
however, that the question of Kravchenko's membership will be
discussed by the Congress of Journalists on February 7. (Vera
Tolz)

CRACKDOWN SNARES MILLIONAIRE. Among the first to attract attention
in the crackdown on corruption is "the USSR's first legal millionaire,"
Artem Tarasov. Tarasov's foreign trade company, "Istok," was
raided by police on January 28 and its accounts were confiscated.
"Vremya" announced on February 5 that the interior ministry is
to file criminal charges against Tarasov and his company. This
will be the third time a business run by Tarasov has been closed
down by the police. Tarasov, who is also a deputy to the RSFSR
Supreme Soviet and the Moscow city soviet, has attracted jealousy
from Soviet citizens; Gorbachev himself is said to have been
outraged when Tarasov made his first million rubles and offered
to pay his Communist Party dues out of them. (Elizabeth Teague)


TARASOV TO FACE SLANDER CHARGE. In a related incident, the USSR
Procurator-General has asked the RSFSR parliament to lift Tarasov's
parliamentary immunity so that charges can be levelled against
him for actions "touching on the honor and dignity of the head
of state." Gorbachev has threatened to sue Tarasov for alleging
that the Soviet president reached a secret deal with Japan to
return the disputed Kurile Islands in return for Japanese investment
in the Soviet economy. TASS said February 7 that the charges
had been denied by Japan as well as by the USSR. Tarasov has
offered to apologize to Gorbachev, but the presidential press
service said he was guilt of "an act of glaring political provocation."
(NCA)

BELONOGOV ON TEHERAN TALKS. Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Belonogov said February 6 the USSR is concerned that fighting
in the Gulf war may spread, and praised Iran's efforts to end
the conflict peacefully, AFP reported. Belonogov delivered a
letter from Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh to
his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Velayati. According to an Islamic
Republic News Agency report cited by AP February 7, the letter
invited Velayati to visit the Soviet Union and said "at a time
when tragic events are taking place near the boundaries of the
Soviet Union and the Islamic Republic, the need for further contacts
is felt." (Suzanne Crow)

FILATOV COMMENTS ON GULF WAR, SHEVARDNADZE. Major-General Viktor
Filatov accused the United States of overkill in the Gulf war
on February 6 while addressing a forum organized by Palestinian
diplomats in the Soviet Union. Filatov said, "[The United States]
planned to conduct one military operation that would destroy
Iraq completely. But they have already used three times the number
of bombs necessary for one operation." Filatov was also quoted
in this February 6 Reuter report as saying, "I think that during
the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, we have never had
such an incompetent foreign ministry as we had under Shevardnadze."
(Suzanne Crow)

USSR BLASTS CANADA FOR CREDIT HALT. The Soviet Union's mission
in Canada blasted that country's decision in late January to
suspend a $150 million (Canadian) line of credit to the USSR
because of the crackdown in the Baltics. Soviet ambassador Richard
Ovinnikov said in Ottawa February 6 "we regret the action undertaken
by the Canadian side. We think hasty actions are not always the
wisest actions... We expect the Canadian side to be more responsible,"
Reuter reported Febuary 6. (Suzanne Crow)

USSR ADDRESSES "NORTHERN TERRITORIES" ISSUE. Soviet Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said February 6, in response to Japan's
celebration of "Northern Territories Day," that the USSR is aware
of the feelings the Japanese people have about the return of
the islands. Churkin said "we respect the feelings of the Japanese
people, but likewise we expect a corresponding understanding
of the feelings and emotions which the Soviet people have concerning
the islands," TASS reported February 6. (Suzanne Crow)

LIGACHEV CALLS FOR CHANGE IN SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY. Egor Ligachev
has called for a complete review of Soviet foreign policy and
a return to the priority of class interests over all-human values.
He told Sovetskaya Rossiya on February 6 that democrats are wrongly
accusing President Gorbachev of dictatorship. In reality, Gorbachev
must be criticized for his liberalism, Ligachev added. He urged
Gorbachev to rely more on the Party. He said only the Party and
"renewed" soviets could lead the country out of crisis. Ligachev
stated that the loss of Eastern Europe is a heavy blow against
the world Socialist movement. (Alexander Rahr)

REVIEW OF CONSTITUTIONALITY OF JOINT PATROLS BEGINS. The Soviet
Committee for Constitutional Oversight has begun its review of
the recent order to deploy joint military-police patrols. Sergei
Alekseev, the committee's chairman, told TASS on February 6 that
a final ruling could probably be made within a month. Due to
the issue's urgency, however, Alekseev said that the committee
will make a preliminary statement next week. (NCA/Sallie Wise)


CO-FOUNDER OF REPUBLICAN PARTY SPEAKS AT RFE-RL. Igor' Chubais,
one of the leaders of the Republican Party (the former Democratic
Platform) said that his 20,000-member organization still relies
on the structure of the CPSU throughout the country and therefore
has an advantage over other democratic forces. Chubais spoke
at a RFE-RL Research Institute seminar on February 5. Only in
the Kirov region do the republicans lack Party cells, Chubais
said. He also stated that the Democratic Russia movement -- the
umbrella organization of all Russian democrats -- has decided
to establish its own cells in workers' collectives to challenge
the CPSU. (Alexander Rahr)

PRICE OF LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS DOUBLES IN USSR. Radio
Riga announced that as of today (February 7), the price of telephone
calls from the USSR to Europe and North America has doubled.
Thus, a one-minute call from Riga to Munich now costs 6 rubles,
rather than 3 rubles, and from Riga to New York costs 12 rubles,
compared with 6 rubles. The decision to raise prices was made
in Moscow on January 7. (Dzintra Bungs)

MORE BIBLES FOR THE SOVIET UNION. Central Television reported
on February 7 that four million Bibles published in Chicago were
brought to Moscow by US representatives of the International
Bible Society. The Bibles are supposed to be distributed free
of charge to believers in Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic States.
(Oxana Antic)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN SPEECH SAGA CONTINUES. RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman
Boris Yeltsin says he has abandoned plans to make a televised
address to the population of the RSFSR. He was quoted by Reuter
on February 6 as saying the USSR TV and radio committee, Gosteleradio,
proposed an inappropriate time for the telecast and imposed other
unacceptable conditions. (NCA)

RSFSR SUPSOV STARTS THE DAY WITH GOSTELERADIO DISPUTES. The February
7 session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has postponed all other
problems to discuss the relations of the republican government
with Gosteleradio, TSN reported in its morning newscast today
(February 7). The immediate subject of the controversy, the TSN
moderator said, is broadcasting Yeltsin's address to the republic.
It was originally scheduled for February 5 but was postponed.
Yeltsin wanted one hour of live broadcast time on the first channel;
the management of Gosteleradio was willing to give him thirty
minutes on the second channel, taped. (Julia Wishnevsky)

BANNING OF RSFSR RADIO WILL COST THE CENTER DEARLY. The whims
of Leonid Kravchenko, the head of Gosteleradio, may deprive the
USSR budget of yet another four billion rubles, TSN moderator
Yurii Rostov observed on February 6. Since Kravchenko ordered
the transfer of Radio Rossiya from frequencies that reach the
entire Soviet Union to those that could be heard only in 60%
of the RSFSR, the RSFSR government has decided to establish its
own radio structure, withdrawing the necessary amount of money
to finance the project from the RSFSR's contribution to the all-Union
budget. (Julia Wishnevsky)

YELTSIN INTRODUCES HIS BRAIN TRUST. Yeltsin held a press conference
in Moscow on February 6 to introduce members of his advisory
council. The council brings together some 20 experts in various
fields and has been in operation since December. For a list of
members, see Nezavisimaya gazeta, No. 2, December 28, 1990. Yeltsin
said he made a deliberate effort to represent several schools
of thought, because for decades the USSR had built its economic
policy on the ideas of one person and that this had led to many
errors. But, unlike Gorbachev's now defunct Presidential Council,
which included members of totally opposing viewpoints, most if
not all Yeltsin's advisers are liberals. A number of them are
people who originally advised Gorbachev; before that, a couple
were even advisers to Yurii Andropov. Strangely enough, the list
seems to contain the name of only one non-Russian. (Elizabeth
Teague)

GENERAL CRITICIZES RSFSR DEFENSE COMMITTEE. Lieutenant General
Boris Tarasov, an RSFSR People's Deputy, told TASS on February
6 that the new Russian State Committee for Defense and Security
is an instrument for weakening, and perhaps even eliminating,
the Soviet armed forces. Tarasov thinks the RSFSR should instead
establish a national security committee to deal with oil pipeline
safety, natural disasters, and other matters not related to activities
of the armed forces. (NCA/Sallie Wise)

PROTESTS AS AZERBAIJAN SUPREME SOVIET MEETS. Non-communist deputies
who form a minority in the new Azerbaijan Supreme Soviet reportedly
staged a walkout on February 5 to protest police action against
protesters demonstrating outside the parliament building and
their failure to force a debate on the March 17 referendum on
the future of the USSR. The deputies are also said to have called
for the lifting of the state of emergency in Baku, live television
coverage of the parliament session, and a discussion of the Soviet
Army's intervention in Baku in January, 1990. Workers in 40 Baku
companies staged a warning strike on February 6 in support of
the deputies' demands, AFP reports. (Azerbaijani BD/Liz Fuller)


GAMSAKHURDIA ACCUSES MOSCOW OF ABETTING OSSETIANS. Georgian Supreme
Soviet chairman Zviad Gamsakhurdia told AP in an interview on
February 6 that Moscow is encouraging the separatist movement
in South Ossetia in order to have a pretext for imposing presidential
rule in Georgia, and that Ossetians serving in the Soviet military
are supplying the separatists with arms and weapons. New clashes
were reported in Tskhinvali in the night of February 5, and up
to 10,000 Ossetians (of a total Ossetian population of 68,000)
are said to have fled the oblast. Food supplies in the Ossetian-held
sector of Tskhinvali ran out on February 5. (Liz Fuller)

GAMSAKHURDIA THREATENS TO EXPEL JOURNALISTS. At a press conference
in Tbilisi on February 2 Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad
Gamsakhurdia expressed concern at what he termed "a lack of objectivity"
on the part of both Soviet and foreign journalists reporting
on developments in Georgia, and suggested that journalists may
be declared personae non grata, Moscow World Service reported
on February 5. (Liz Fuller)

KYRGYZSTAN RENAMES ITS CAPITAL. TASS reported on February 6 that
the Supreme Soviet of Kyrgyzstan has voted to change the name
of the republic's capital from Frunze to Bishkek. Heated discussions
over the renaming of Frunze have gone on for several years; Kirgiz
intellectuals have argued that the Civil War leader Mikhail Frunze
was not a positive figure in Central Asian history and it was
inappropriate for the capital of the republic to carry his name.
The TASS report explains that the original Kirgiz name of the
town was Bishkek. It was called Pishpek, the name by which the
town was known prior to Frunze's death, after the region was
conquered by the Kokand khanate. (Bess Brown)

IRANIAN-TURKMEN RELATIONS. The vice-governor of Iran's Khorasan
Province has told Novosti that relations between his province
and Turkmenistan are developing well, and a large Turkmen delegation
is to participate in a festival to be held in the city of Quchan
this month, the news agency reported on February 6. The festival
is to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the Iranian revolution,
and is to include sports and cultural events, meetings between
Iranian and Turkmen clergymen, and an exhibition of Iranian goods
for export to Turkmenistan. (Bess Brown)

MOLODAYA GVARDIYA ATTACKED IN KAZAKHSTAN. An article in the January
17 issue of Kazakhstanskaya pravda accuses the conservative Moscow
journal Molodaya gvardiya of deliberately seeking to arouse antipathy
between Kazakhs and Russians in Kazakhstan. The author maintains
that articles and letters which have appeared in recent issues
of the journal have portrayed Russians in Kazakhstan as suffering
from "imperial ambitions" and "elder brother syndrome", while
describing Kazakhs in offensively patronizing ways which demonstrate
the writers' colossal ignorance. The author of the Kazakhstanskaya
pravda article asks if this journal is being used for "patriotic
upbringing" in military units stationed in Kazakhstan. (Bess
Brown)

KRAVCHUK REITERATES UKRAINE'S WISH TO BE CSCE MEMBER. Speaking
February 6 at the 47th session of the UN Commission on Human
Rights in Geneva, Ukrainian SupSov chairman Leonid Kravchuk said
that his republic is committed to the task of creating a truly
democratic society which will conform to international human
rights standards. Common human values will prevail over class
interests, he asserted. Kravchuk reminded his audience that Ukraine
has declared its intention to become a full-fledged member of
the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Last week,
in implied criticism of the Baltic situation, Ukraine's chief
envoy to the conference said the USSR should "reject the use
of violent methods." (Kathy Mihalisko)

UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET ADOPTS LAW ON EMPLOYMENT. According
to TASS of February 6, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet has adopted
a law on employment of the population. The bill was prepared
in accordance with International Labor Organization guidelines.
Among other things, it defines the legal status of the unemployed,
whose numbers are expected to reach 1.5 million people in the
industrial sector of the Ukrainian economy alone. (Valentyn Moroz)


UKRAINIAN SUPSOV CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR MORE FOREIGN INVESTMENT.
Radio Kiev (February 6) reported that during his speech at the
economic forum in Geneva a few days ago, Leonid Kravchuk, Ukrainian
Supsov chairman, called for more foreign investment in the Ukrainian
SSR. The 176 joint ventures that now exist in Ukraine are not
nearly enough to reflect the industrial potential of the republic,
said Kravchuk. He promised that foreign investors will be treated
on an equal footing with local entrepreneurs and will be able
to repatriate part of their earnings while enjoying favorable
tax treatment. (Valentyn Moroz)

MOLDAVIA FAILS TO OBTAIN POSTPONEMENT OF REFERENDUM. Moldavian
President Mircea Snegur has failed to obtain consent to his request,
submitted during the session of the USSR Presidential Council
February 1, for postponing in Moldavia the referendum on preserving
the USSR, Novosti reported February 5. The Moldavian parliament
is consequently considering either calling for a boycott of the
referendum or introducing additional questions on the ballot.
On the other hand, TASS and Novosti reported on February 5 that
the authorities of the self-proclaimed Dniester and Gagauz republics
are actively preparing the holding of the referendum in the areas
of Moldavia under their control. (Vladimir Socor).

MOLDAVIA HAS NEW CHIEF RABBI. For the first time since the Soviet
annexation, Moldavia's Jewish community has been able to elect
a Chief Rabbi. He is Zalman Leiba, an Israeli citizen and representative
of the Lubavicher community. Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea
Druc and other Moldavian officials attended the inaugural ceremony,
Moldovapres reported February 6. (Vladimir Socor).

Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

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