Every custom was once an eccentricity; every idea was once an absurdity. - Holbrook Jackson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 28, 08 February 1991



BALTIC STATES



MILITARY DISTRIBUTES ANTI-INDEPENDENCE LEAFLETS. At a news conference
on February 7, Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis said
that military helicopters had dropped leaflets in Kaunas urging
citizens not to participate in the universal poll on February
9, AP reported that day. The leaflets, signed by the pro-Kremlin
Lithuanian Citizens' Committee, said: "Before expressing your
opinion, think over again and again your action. Your 'yes' is
secession of the republic from the USSR. That is a categorical
worsening of relations between Lithuania and the USSR." Landsbergis
also called the planned Soviet troop maneuvers in the three Baltic
republics on February 10-20 a blatant attempt to intimidate Lithuania.
(Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN APPEAL FOR POLISH SUPPORT. Czeslaw Okinczyc, member
of the Polish caucus of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, appealed
on Radio Warsaw on February 7 for greater political support from
Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Thanking the Poles for their
moral and humanitarian support, he advised against withholding
political recognition of Lithuania on the grounds that such move
might have a negative effect on the withdrawal of Soviet troops
from Poland. Okinczyc argued that if the USSR wanted to keep
their troops in Poland, they could still find a pretext, regardless
of the situation in the Baltic states. (Roman Stefanowski)

POLISH DEPUTY URGES PARTICIPATION IN LITHUANIAN POLL. Ryszard
Maciejkjaniec, leader of the Polish caucus in Lithuania's Supreme
Council, called upon the Polish minority in Lithuania to take
part in the February 9 poll on Lithuania's independence, reported
PAP on February 7. (Roman Stefanowski)

ZIOLKOWSKI ON POLAND'S RECOGNITION OF LITHUANIA. Janusz Ziolkowski,
State Secretary in the Presidential Office responsible for foreign
affairs, told the press on February 7 that the Polish state authorities
fully support the Lithuanians' independence aspirations. At the
same time, he pointed out it would not help the Lithuanians at
all if Poland's president officially supported Lithuanian independence.
Such support could, according to Ziolkowski, undermine Polish-Soviet
relations since "at stake is the issue of territorial integrity,"
PAP reported on February 7. (Roman Stefanowski)

TARTU PROPOSES TREE-LINED BALTIC WAY. Radio Riga reported on
February 7 that the Estonian city of Tartu had proposed planting
birches, oaks, and linden along a road leading from Estonia,
through Latvia, into Lithuania to commemorate the peaceful quest
of the Balts for independence and to remember the joint demonstration
on August 23, l989 against the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. (Dzintra
Bungs)

ESTIMATED PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM BLACK BERETS' ATTACKS. Property
damage, as a consequence of the Black Berets' [OMON's] violence
in Riga in January, has been estimated as follows: buildings--100,000
rubles; agricultural machinery and other vehicles--280,000 rubles;
roads and bridges--10,000 rubles, reported Radio Riga on February
8. As a consequence of the Black Berets' takeover of the Press
Building on January 2, the financial losses have been much greater.
According to its former director Kazimirs Dundurs, the newspapers
and journals published there netted a monthly profit of 500,000
rubles before the takeover. Now the Press Building is operating
at only 10-30% of its capacity. (Dzintra Bungs)

"ATTEMPT" ON NEVZOROV WAS STAGED, TSN SUGGESTS. The "attack"
on Leningrad TV star Aleksandr Nevzorov must have been staged,
TSN news said February 7. According to the earlier version, mysterious
strangers opened fire on Nevzorov's car, presumably to avenge
his anti-Baltic films, and the filmmaker managed to escape by
a great miracle. TSN moderator Dmitrii Kiselev said that the
number plate on the car in question proved to be false, adding
that the numbers marked on its engine showed that the car belongs
to the Latvian Communist Party--i.e., the body that allegedly
has financed OMON activities. Kiselev quoted a Latvian official
as saying that only a madman could try to assassinate Nevzorov
in a location so close to the pro-Moscow OMON paratroop base.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

ALKSNIS PARTICIPATED IN NEVZOROV'S ADVENTURES IN RIGA. Col. Viktor
Alksnis told Krasnaya zvezda of February 5 that he invited Leningrad
TV journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov to Riga to film the Black Berets.
On February 3, Alksnis accompanied Nevzorov and three Black Berets
on a nighttime drive to downtown Riga, despite the fact that
the Black Berets had been ordered by the MVD in Moscow to stay
in their base on the city's outskirts. Alksnis described the
attack on their car by unknown assailants, but did not provide
a clear picture of what happened. He stressed that he had tried
to dissuade Nevzorov from "adventurism" and from seeking "sensational
material." (Dzintra Bungs)

CENTRIST BLOC FOR PRESIDENTIAL RULE IN THE BALTIC. The murky
"centrist bloc" of political parties and organizations supports
the integrity of the Union, TASS reported on February 6. The
leader of the bloc, Vladimir Voronin, said that the fate of the
Soviet Union is more important than republican demands for sovereignty.
He urged Gorbachev to introduce presidential rule in the Baltics.
Voronin noted that the Committees for National Salvation in the
Baltic republics were illegal and should be disbanded. Another
leader of the centrist bloc, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, rejected the
idea that the latest events in the Baltics were inspired by Moscow.
(Alexander Rahr)

USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



RESULTS OF THE SEVENTH CONGRESS OF JOURNALISTS. On the last day
of the seventh Congress of Soviet journalists, the reform-minded
general director of Central TV's fourth channel, Eduard Sagalaev,
was elected chairman of the Council of the Union of Soviet Journalists,
TASS reported February 7. (The union is now a federation of various
local journalistic organizations.) The congress decided not to
vote on Gosteleradio chief Leonid Kravchenko's membership in
the union, leaving the final decision on the matter to the Moscow
journalist organization. This information was provided to RL's
Russian Service by journalists in Moscow. "Vremya," however,
did not report this fact. Finally, the Congress appealed to President
Gorbachev and the republican parliaments not to use the military
to settle civilian conflicts, TASS reported February 7. (Vera
Tolz)

PRAVDA DEFENDS CENTRAL TV. The main CPSU daily on February 7
defended Gosteleradio policy on central TV from criticism over
its lack of objectivity. The newspaper asserted that central
TV succeeds in providing pluralism of opinions. "No political
party can get a monopoly over one channel or a TV program," the
newspaper stated, accusing democratic forces in the country of
trying to monopolize TV. In fact, critics of Gosteleradio broadcasting
policy say that many important TV programs, including "Vremya,"
have returned to the previous practice of expressing just one
point of view, that of the CPSU. (Vera Tolz)

KRAVCHENKO REINSTATES ANTI-SEMITISM, ATV ALLEGES. Anatolii Malkin,
producer of the "Authors Television" channel, told the weekly
Sobesednik (No. 5) that the reason for the banning of one ATV
regular segment, "Press-Club," was the "violation of the national-proportional
representation" of the show's participants. In Soviet newspeak,
this term, widely used by various anti-Semitic societies such
as "Pamyat'", means "too many Jews." During the first years of
perestroika, genuine efforts were made to abolish discrimination
against Jews in state-owned Soviet enterprises, but the present
management of Gosteleradio, according to Malkin, seems to have
reversed this policy. (Julia Wishnevsky)

FOREIGN MINISTRY CONCILIATORY. In contrast to strident remarks
recently aimed at the United States, the Soviet Foreign Ministry
yesterday sent an upbeat message on US-Soviet relations. "The
stress in Washington may now be on differences, but we believe
the fundamental relationship is very sound, very strong, very
dynamic," said Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin.
On the Baltic crisis, Churkin offered, "we fully understand Western
concern...and we hope they will understand the situation in the
Baltic republics in all its complexity...". On the Gulf crisis,
Churkin said any differences are "matters of emphasis, nothing
more," the Los Angeles Times reported February 8.

CHURKIN BLASTS FILATOV BACK. Churkin rejected Major-General Viktor
Filatov's assertions that the USSR is to blame for the start
of war in the Persian Gulf and that "under a different foreign
policy" and "a different foreign ministry" it would not have
happened (see Daily Report February 4 and 7). Churkin said, "Filatov
should blame himself. To me it is crystal clear that the USSR...
did everything possible to find a political solution to the crisis....
Our conscience...is absolutely clear," TASS reported February
7. (Suzanne Crow)

MOSCOW ENVISIONS MIDEAST CONFERENCE UNDER UN AUSPICES. Soviet
Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, in talks with Syrian
Defense Minister Mustafa Talas, said "the best path to a reliable
peace and stability in the [Middle East] region is through an
international conference, under UN auspices, and with the participation
of all interested parties," TASS reported February 7.

SYRIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS VISIT. TASS said February 7 during
Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Talas' four-day visit, he met
with his counterpart Dmitrii Yazov, Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh, Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Konstantin
Katushev, and other Soviet officials. Talas visited the Institute
of Military History and the Zhukov Military-Aeronautics Engineering
Academy. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET DIPLOMACY CONTINUES. According to the February 7 MFA briefing,
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Belonogov ended consultations
in Teheran yesterday and is on his way to Turkey to discuss "bilateral
relations and international problems of mutual interest," especially
the Gulf conflict. Meanwhile Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir
Petrovsky met with Yemen's foreign minister 'Abd al-'Aziz Al-Dali
to discuss the Gulf conflict, TASS reported February 7. Indicating
a difference of opinion with Yemen, the Soviet Foreign Ministry's
statement indicated it was the Soviet side's opinion that the
conflict will end only with a clear sign that Iraq is pulling
its forces out of Kuwait. (Suzanne Crow)

AZERBAIJAN CP CENTRAL COMMITTEE PRONOUNCEMENT ON GULF WAR. The
Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party has issued
a statement expressing "concern" at Azerbaijan's geographical
proximity to the war zone and affirming the support of the Azerbaijani
population for the USSR's policy aimed at seeking a settlement
of the conflict. The statement called for "a more significant
effort" and "resolute steps" to prevent a broadening of the conflict
and "to bring a just peace to the region", Radio Baku reported
on February 6. (Liz Fuller)

KIEV 'EDINSTVO' PROTESTS BETRAYAL OF ARABS. Radio Moscow yesterday
said that the Kiev chapter of the all-Union group "Unity behind
Leninist and Communist Ideals" [Edinstvo] is calling for a demonstration
on Sunday. The organizers want to protest former Soviet Foreign
Minister Eduard Shevardnadze's support for the UN resolution
endorsing the use of force in the Persian Gulf unless Iraq withdraws
from Kuwait. Leaflets distributed by "Edinstvo" and quoted in
Komsomol'skaya pravda say that Shevarnadze signed a death sentence
for Arabs on behalf of the Soviet Union. The leaflets say the
USSR must not become an enemy of the Muslim world. (NCA/Kathy
Mihalisko)

WILL GORBACHEV GO TO SOUTH KOREA? South Korea's Yonhap news agency
reported February 7 that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev may
pay a visit to South Korea either before or after his trip to
Japan in April. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, however, reported Vitalii
Ignatenko in Tokyo as saying Gorbachev would not visit South
Korea. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Churkin said the issue is not
decided, TASS and AP reported February 7. (Suzanne Crow)

GERMAN AID FOR RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CAUSES CONFLICT. TASS
reported on February 7 from Warsaw that Polish authorities finally
decided to let 200 trucks from Germany loaded with goods for
the Russian Orthodox Church pass through Poland. The convoy spent
two weeks on the border Poland because Polish authorities claimed
that a number of regulations were violated: the drivers were
wearing military uniforms and were armed, the trucks were not
insured, etc. (Oxana Antic)

LIGACHEV UPSETS THE APPLECART. Egor Ligachev's interview with
the Italian daily La Stampa was reprinted in the Moscow City
Soviet newspaper, Kuranty, on January 17. Ligachev termed Eduard
Shevardnadze's resignation "a classical trick," aimed at distracting
public attention from real problems. He criticized Aleksandr
Yakovlev, who "will be called into account for his errors in
domestic and foreign policies" --namely, for opposing Party conservatives.
Ligachev, on the other hand, spoke warmly of Nikolai Ryzhkov
and called Vadim Bakatin "a good worker" who needs more strength.
Ligachev reproved Gorbachev for failing to defend his associates
against "abuses and libel." A new bit of information was Ligachev's
version of the origin of his feud with Yeltsin: the latter, Ligachev
claims, was not satisfied with candidate membership in the Politburo
and wanted to become a full member, but Ligachev spoke against
it. (Julia Wishnevsky)

LUK'YANOV TO BLAME FOR ADOPTING FAULTY SOVIET SYSTEM. In 1988,
Anatolii Luk'yanov (now chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet)
played a very negative role in advising Gorbachev to chose the
Leninist model of soviets instead of adopting Western-type representative
democracy, according to Fedor Burlatsky in Literaturnaya gazeta
No. 4. On the eve of the Nineteenth Party conference, Burlatsky
recalls, Gorbachev's advisers had agreed on representative government,
including direct election of the USSR president by universal
suffrage. (At that time, he says, Gorbachev would have been elected
resoundingly.) Instead, the leadership opted for the system that
existed in Soviet Russia in 1924, including even the number of
deputies. But the 1924 system, Burlatsky argues, was created
to serve the system of "proletarian" dictatorship, and could
work only as a screen for Party dictatorship. (Julia Wishnevsky)


RECORD SOVIET ROAD DEATHS IN 1990. A record 63,362 people died
on Soviet roads and highways last year, announced a senior MVD
official, B. Korekovsky on Soviet TV. A further 360,000 people
-- also a record -- suffered serious injuries in road accidents,
according to a February 8 Reuter account of Korekovsky's remarks.
Korekovsky blamed lax attitudes to driving and drunkenness for
many accidents, and said that 11,500 people died because of drunk
driving. He faulted the Supreme Soviet for ignoring highway safety,
since it has postponed legislation on criminal responsibility
for road accidents until a new Union treaty is approved. (Sallie
Wise)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


RSFSR SUPSOV VOTES TO HOLD USSR AND REPUBLICAN REFERENDUMS. The
RSFSR Supreme Soviet endorsed February 7 the holding of the all-Union
referendum of March 17 in the republic and decided to hold a
referendum of its own the same day, TASS and Moscow radio reported
February 7. No decision was taken, however, on the questions
to be asked in the RSFSR referendum. Originally, these were to
be on the introduction of a popularly-elected presidency and
on the state structure of the RSFSR and its membership of the
Union, but Yeltsin proposed that the question on the state structure
of the RSFSR be removed and replaced by a question on private
ownership of land. (Ann Sheehy)

MORE ON EAVESDROPPING IN RSFSR SUPSOV. On February 6, the head
of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's security unit, Alexander Korzhakov,
in the presence of a prosecutor, People's Deputies, and KGB officers,
reopened a sealed room located over the office of Boris Yeltsin
in the Russian parliament building. After examining electronic
equipment set up in the room, RSFSR security experts concluded
that the devices were used for eavesdropping. However, a KGB
representative stated that the equipment belongs to the KGB Eighth
Main Administration for Communication and Crytography, and was
used for protection against eavesdropping. Korzhakov told RFE/RL
that after a detailed examination, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet intends
to file a lawsuit against the USSR KGB. (Russian BD/Victor Yasmann)


KOZYREV MEETS BAKER. RSFSR foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev met
US Secretary of State James Baker in Washington on February 5.
During his previous trip to the US last November, Kozyrev was
denied a meeting with Baker. The Journal of Commerce on February
6 quoted a United Nations official as saying that Kozyrev made
an impression as "a nationalist in a good sense" because "he
looks at Europe and sees nations that have retained their national
identity but are working together to increase commerce, to allow
people to travel, and to protect human rights." (Alexander Rahr)


INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS BODY FORMED IN GEORGIA. An All- Georgian
Association for the Protection of Human Rights was formed at
a meeting in Tbilisi on February 6, Radio Tbilisi reports. This
body is not affiliated with the new Georgian government, which
is headed by a political coalition that includes the Helsinki
Monitoring Group; it will seek to function as an independent
organization throughout Georgia. The chairman of the new Association
is Nikoloz Samkharadze, who worked with members of the original
Georgian Helsinki Group in the mid-1970s. (Liz Fuller)

UKRAINIAN-USSR AGREEMENT ON CULTURE. The Ukrainian and USSR ministries
of culture yesterday initialed an agreement on cooperation on
cultural matters for 1991, TASS reported on February 7. An important
aspect of the agreement concerns the creation of cultural centers,
societies, and associations for Ukrainians living compactly outside
the Ukrainian republic. (Roman Solchanyk)

"RUKH" ON THE REFERENDUM. The Ukrainian Popular Movement, or
"Rukh", has requested that the USSR Constitutional Oversight
Committee examine the constitutionality of the USSR Supreme Soviet
decree on conducting the March 17 referendum, Radio Kiev reported
on February 7. According to the report, "Rukh" has also addressed
a statement to the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet protesting the referendum
as "illegal." (Roman Solchanyk)

MORE ON UKRAINIAN EMPLOYMENT LAW. According to Radio Kiev (February
7), the employment policy adopted by parliament a day earlier
envisions that about 3% of the republican and local budgets should
be allocated for unemployment benefits, retraining, etc. During
the first three months the unemployed should receive their normal
salary from their last place of employment. Unemployment benefits
should be 50% of the last salary but not less than the minimum
monthly wage; time spent unemployed will be counted as time spent
working when old age pension is calculated. During the debates
on republican employment policy, however, deputies doubted that
those Union enterprises which are located in the republic will
follow the law. (Valentyn Moroz)

UKRAINIAN PROPERTY LAW ADOPTED. According to TASS and Radio Kiev
(February 7), the newly adopted Ukrainian law on property envisions
individual, collective, state and intellectual forms of property,
and declares the republic as the sole owner of its land, natural
resources, means of production, financial resources and part
of the Soviet gold reserves. The law, however, fails to clarify
the status of property belonging to political organizations.
During the debates deputies pointed out that the Komsomol and
the Communist party have been conducting thriving commercial
enterprises, including their own commercial banks. (Valentyn
Moroz)

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS ON CHERNOBYL. Nikolai Trubin, the USSR Prosecutor
General, announced yesterday that he has initiated a criminal
probe into the handling of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which
occurred nearly five years ago. As reported February 8 in New
York Times, a preliminary condemnation of the cleanup alleges
that high officials botched up the evacuation of the population,
ignored radiation readings, and built resettlement areas on contaminated
land. The officials may face charges of negligence and abuse
of authority. Investigators from the RSFSR, Ukraine and Belorussia
are taking part in the probe. (Kathy Mihalisko)

PRINTERS STRIKE IN ALMA-ATA. Radio Moscow reported on February
7 that printers at the republican CP Central Committee's publishing
house had gone on strike and refused to print the morning editions
of both all-Union and republican dailies. The report described
the dispute as primarily economic--the printers' pay has been
reduced because of declining circulation figures. The printers
returned to work after a compromise was reached. The radio report
did not indicate if the printers were also protesting the Central
Committee decision to take complete control of the two major
republican dailies in order to squelch their liberal tendencies.
(Bess Brown)

PUBLIC OPINION POLL IN ALMA-ATA. The January 12 issue of Kazakhstanskaya
pravda contains the results of a public opinion poll conducted
in the republic's capital. Asked to rate political figures on
a scale of one to five, respondents gave Mikhail Gorbachev 2.8,
and Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev 4.1. Nazarbaev received
high ratings across the political spectrum, but Gorbachev's score
was reduced by poor ratings from "proponents of the building
of a communist society" and Russians. In the same poll, Boris
Yeltsin received a score of 3.4, Anatolii Sobchak and Stanislav
Shatalin both received 3.1, Gavriil Popov 2.7, and Nikolai Ryzhkov
2.2. The report did not say when the poll was taken. (Bess Brown)


POLL ON REPUBLICAN LEADERS. The same poll in Alma-Ata also asked
respondents to rate political figures in Kazakhstan. The most
popular, after Nazarbaev, was republican Writers' Union chief
and head of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk anti-nuclear movement Olzhas
Suleimenov with 3.6. Writer Mukhtar Shakhanov, who leads a movement
to save the Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash and conducted a controversial
inquiry into the events in Alma-Ata in December, 1986, received
3.5. Prime minister Uzakbai Karamanov received 3.2. (Bess Brown)


DISAPPROVAL OF SOLZHENITSYN SCHEME FOR KAZAKHSTAN. The Alma-Ata
poll included a question about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's proposal
that the largely Russian-inhabited oblasts of northern Kazakhstan
be attached to a future Slavic state, and the southern, primarily
Kazakh oblasts be allowed to secede. Responses indicated that
32.1% of respondents viewed the proposal negatively, 16.7% viewed
it as more negative than positive. Only 9.3% said they had a
positive view of the proposal. The report noted that a third
of those polled said they were unfamiliar with Solzhenitsyn's
proposal. (Bess Brown)

KAZAKHSTAN REJECTS PAYMENT FOR USE OF SEMIPALATINSK. Novosti
reported on February 7 that the government of Kazakhstan has
turned down an offer of the USSR government to pay the republic
350,000,000 rubles for the use of the nuclear weapons test site
in Semipalatinsk Oblast until 1993. M. Nurtazin, chairman of
the Kazakh Supreme Soviet's committee on ecology, told the news
agency that the republican government had decided that it could
not allow nuclear tests to be conducted at the expense of public
health. (Bess Brown)

TURKMENISTAN SUPREME COURT REJECTS ACTIVIST'S CONVICTION. RFE/RL
has learned from an official of Agzybirlik, Turkmenistan's Popular
Front organization, that the republican Supreme Court has overturned
the conviction of writer and Agzybirlik activist Shiraly Nurmyradov,
who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a fraud charge
last December. The Supreme Court ruled that there had been insufficient
evidence to justify the conviction, and called for a new investigation
of the case. Agzybirlik activists have insisted that the charge
was trumped up by the authorities because he criticized Turkmen
president Saparmurad Niyazov. (Bess Brown)

KISHINEV COMMUNISTS ASSESS POLITICAL SITUATION. A session of
the Kishinev CP organization assessed the political situation
in Moldavia as characterized by "instability, anti-communist
and anti-socialist campaigns, the fanning of inter-ethnic strife,
and an abrupt deterioration in the living conditions of the working
people," Radio Moscow reported February 7. The Moldavian CP's
newly elected First Secretary, Grigore Eremei, defined the Party's
main goals as ensuring Moldavia's "adherence to the socialist
course" and the holding of the referendum on preserving the USSR.
The Party will continue to promote Moldavia's territorial integrity
within the USSR. (Vladimir Socor).




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