Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. - John F. Kennedy
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 30, 12 February 1991





BALTIC STATES



ICELAND'S PARLIAMENT RECOGNIZES LITHUANIA AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE.
On February 11 the world's oldest parliament, Iceland's Althing,
voted 41 to 1 with 2 abstentions and 17 members being absent
to recognize Lithuania as an independent state, and instructed
the government to set up diplomatic ties as soon as possible,
Reuter reported on February 12. Foreign Minister Jon Baldvin
Hannibalson said that the vote was "the first decisive step towards
establishing ties with Lithuania since the Baltic republic declared
its independence." He told Reuter that he would explain the decision
to the Nordic Council and NATO, hoping that they would also recognize
Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE: AN OPEN SECRET. A MVD
major on guard at the Vilnius TV tower revealed to a group of
Moscow journalists the identities of the leaders of the mysterious
Lithuanian "National Salvation Committee," writes V. Zarovsky
in Komsomol'skaya pravda February 7. The officer told the journalists
that they needed permission from the National Salvation Committee--namely,
from either Mykolas Burokevicius (first secretary of the Lithuanian
Communist Party), or a certain Subbotin--to get inside the tower.
The leadership of the Lithuanian CP has always denied membership
in the National Salvation Committee. (Julia Wishnevsky)

SECRET CPSU MEMO ON LITHUANIA PREPARED WELL IN ADVANCE. Nezavisimaya
gazeta on January 29 published a secret memorandum detailing
the CPSU leadership's plans for Lithuania, signed by CP Secretary
Oleg Shenin and dated August 29, 1990, i.e, before Gorbachev's
recent "swing to the right." The 7th paragraph of Shenin's instruction
reads: "The State and Legal Department of the CPSU Central Committee,
through communists who are administrators of the country's law-enforcement
bodies, is to organize work to institute criminal or administrative
proceedings against the leaders of various nationalist and anti-Soviet
public formations...." (Julia Wishnevsky)

OFFICIAL POLL RESULTS. Moscow Radio on February 11 reported the
official results of the February 9 poll in Lithuania asking whether
Lithuania should be an independent, democratic republic. 2,247,810
of the 2,652,738 eligible voters participated, with 2,028,339
voting "yes", 147,040 voting "no" and 72,431 being declared invalid.
(Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT ON FEBRUARY 11. Radio Kaunas broadcast
parts of the parliament sessions live. Deputy Chairman Bronius
Kuzmickas reported on his visits to Scandinavia, the US, Canada,
and Austria in January and February. Later the parliament voted
116 to 0, with Russian Sergei Piroshkov abstaining, that the
phrase of the February 9 opinion poll "the state of Lithuania
is an independent democratic republic" be made the first article
of the Lithuanian Constitution. It also passed a resolution calling
on states that had recognized Lithuania before its Soviet occupation
in 1940 to take note of the poll and restore their formal diplomatic
ties with the republic. It called on the CSCE to hold a special
international conference on the restoration of international
rights to the Baltic republics. (Saulius Girnius)

US CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ARRIVES IN RIGA. Radio Riga reported
on February 12 that a US Congressional delegation, led by Congressman
Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), arrived in Riga the day before. Today
(February 12) they took part in a Latvian Supreme Council session
where Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs told the American
lawmakers that he saw their visit as an expression of solidarity
with Baltic aspirations for independence. He pointed out that
a key aspect of US-Baltic relations is the fact Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania are occupied territories and that the Baltic question
must, therefore, be resolved internationally at the conference
table. (Dzintra Bungs)

FIVE BLACK BERETS VICTIMS RELEASED TEMPORARILY. The 5 volunteer
guards, seized and beaten up by the Black Berets on January 20
and subsequently held on orders of the Latvian SSR Procuracy
in KGB headquarters in Riga and later in Belorussia, have been
returned to Riga. Radio Riga reported on February 10 that, in
reaction to widespread public protest, the procuracy ordered
the men to be returned to Latvia and to be released for one week
under their own recognizance. This does not mean that the unclear
criminal charges, including illegal possession of weapons, have
been dropped. Thus, their future continues to be uncertain. (Dzintra
Bungs)

SAVISAAR: CRITICAL TIMES STILL AHEAD. Estonian Prime Minister
Edgar Savisaar told Der Spiegel of February 11 that Moscow can
still be expected to exert great pressure on Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania to adopt the new USSR Union treaty on March 17,
and that, therefore, the situation there is likely to continue
to be critical. Savisaar spoke of Moscow's failed plan to reassert
its authority in the Baltics on January 15 and of the possibility
of another offensive "to break the will of the Balts." Savisaar
said that one of the reasons why Estonia has decided to hold
a poll on its future is to show the world that Estonia does not
want to remain a part of the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



"GORBACHEV'S DECREES UNCONSTITUTIONAL," SAYS LEADING JURIST.
Vladimir Kudryavtsev, Vice President of the USSR Academy of Sciences
and director of its Institute of State and Law, wrote in Izvestia
(February 5) that at least two of Gorbachev's recent decrees
are anti-Constitutional. It is illegal, Kudryavtsev said, for
the Army and the USSR MVD to organize joint patrols on the streets
of Soviet cities without permission from local soviets. Similarly,
contrary to the provisions of another Gorbachev decree, MVD and
KGB officers can search businesses only after filing criminal
charges against the suspect and in the presence of at least two
independent witnesses, Kudryavtsev argued. (Julia Wishnevsky)


KRAVCHENKO COMMENTS ON GORBACHEV'S DECREE. Leonid Kravchenko,
now head of the new TV and radio company which replaced Gosteleradio,
gave a press conference in Moscow on February 11. AP and Reuter
quoted Kravchenko as saying that, as a result of the change,
he will be subordinate only to Gorbachev. (Previously Kravchenko's
nomination had to be approved by the USSR Supreme Soviet.) In
reporting on the press conference, TASS omitted this comment
by Kravchenko. During the press conference, Kravchenko also rejected
the plan of transferring some TV and radio equipment belonging
to the former Gosteleradio to the newly created RSFSR TV and
Radio system. (Vera Tolz)

KRAVCHENKO ON RIGHTS OF REPUBLICAN TV AND RADIO. At the same
press conference, Kravchenko suggested that the creation of a
new company instead of Gosteleradio will broaden the rights of
republican TV and Radio organizations. According to Kravchenko,
from now on republican organizations are "absolutely free" and
will be able to cooperate within the framework of the all-Union
council for TV and radio. The new company will not attempt to
establish control over TV and radio equipment belonging to republican
organizations, Kravchenko said. Asked specifically about the
TV center in Vilnius, still occupied by the military, he said
the center belongs to Lithuania, since its creation was financed
from the republican, not the all-union, budget, TASS reported
February 11. (Vera Tolz)

PRIMAKOV IN TEHERAN, BAGHDAD. On his way to Baghdad, Evgenii
Primakov, Gorbachev's special envoy, stopped in Teheran for talks
with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Maleki on February
11. AFP quoted Primakov as saying "we want our diplomatic efforts
to be in line and in coordination with Iranian efforts." Iran
said yesterday "if any Moslem country is attacked by Israel we
cannot remain indifferent," Reuter reported February 12. Soviet
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin warned yesterday against
any expectations from the Primakov mission, saying Moscow had
no indication that Iraq would change its position, TASS reported.
(Suzanne Crow)

PRIMAKOV VERSUS THE FOREIGN MINISTRY? By dispatching Evgenii
Primakov to Baghdad, Gorbachev seems again to be bypassing the
Soviet foreign ministry in dealing with Iraq. Gorbachev passed
over then-Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze last fall and
sent Primakov on two special missions to Iraq. AFP wrote on February
11 that an official close to Shevardnadze claimed he threatened
to resign over Gorbachev's selection of Primakov, who has no
diplomatic background and a conservative outlook in foreign affairs.
The foreign ministry continues to take a dim view of Primakov's
involvement in the Gulf crisis. According to a February 11 AFP
report, an unidentified Soviet foreign ministry official cast
doubt on the utility of Primakov's mission, saying it "does not
appear sufficiently well grounded." (Suzanne Crow)

USSR PROVIDED US WITH PRIMAKOV ITINERARY. The New York Times
reported February 12 the Soviet embassy in Washington provided
American officials "in recent days" with a general itinerary
for Evgenii Primakov's trip to Baghdad. Primakov flew first to
Teheran and then travelled by car to Baghdad. The information
was passed on to the Pentagon and then to the US command in Saudi
Arabia. An unidentified US official said he was unaware of any
special precautions taken to protect Primakov from the allied
military effort. (Suzanne Crow)

DUMAS IN MOSCOW. French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas is scheduled
to meet today (February 12) in Moscow with Gorbachev, as well
as with his Soviet counterpart, Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, and Soviet
Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, AFP and TASS report. His talks
with Soviet officials are expected to focus on the Gulf war and
on Franco-Soviet relations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Churkin
said at a press briefing on February 11 that "consultations with
France will enable the two sides to understand better the situation
in the Gulf and chances to achieve the earliest possible settlement
in compliance with the well-known UN Security Council resolutions."
Dumas is also to pay a call on Eduard Shevardnadze during his
stay in Moscow. (Sallie Wise)

PUBLICATION OF GORBACHEV'S SPEECHES DRASTICALLY REDUCED. The
publication of speeches by President Gorbachev has been drastically
reduced, a spokesman for the Politizdat publishing house told
Radio Moscow-2 on February 11. Reportedly not a single booklet
by Gorbachev has been printed in the first two months of 1991.
The spokesman described this situation as "quite unusual." The
reason for this situation is the lack of readers' demand for
Gorbachev's works, along with the increase in the price of paper.
Nevertheless, Politizdat will go on with the publication of a
multi-volume edition of selected speeches and articles by Gorbachev
that was initiated several years ago, the spokesman said. (Vera
Tolz)

USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



FORMER RSFSR FINANCE MINISTER TO WORK FOR EBRD. Boris Fedorov,
who resigned as Russian finance minister last year, has been
recruited by the newly created European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (EBRD) in London, the Financial Times reported
on February 12. Fedorov gave up his job to protest what he viewed
as Boris Yeltsin's unprofessional economic policy. He will now
head a department at the EBRD, which is being set up by 40 nations
together with the European Commission and the European Investment
Bank to support the transition to market economies in Eastern
Europe. (Alexander Rahr)

AN ANCIENT SECT LEAVES RUSSIA. Moskovskie novosti No. 4 devoted
its last page to the story of the Russian sect Subbotniki (Iudeistvuyushchie),
who live in the village Ilyinka on the border of Voronezh oblast
with Ukraine. The sect originated at the end of the 17th century
in Russia. The persecution of Subbotniki which began in Tsarist
Russia continued under the Soviet regime. Now the last members
of the sect have decided to leave for Israel. MN's correspondent
who visited Ilyinka regrets this decision as a loss for the spiritual
climate of the country. (Oxana Antic)

ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN ABSENT FROM UNION TREATY DISCUSSIONS. Neither
Armenia nor Azerbaijan sent delegations to the Union treaty discussions
held February 11 in a villa outside Moscow and due to continue
all this week, TASS reported February 11. Unlike the three Baltic
republics, Georgia, and Moldavia, who also failed to send delegations,
both Armenia and Azerbaijan were represented at the meeting on
February 8. No reason was given for their absence yesterday.
The remaining eight republics discussed in particular questions
of property. (Ann Sheehy)

OPINION POLL ON POLITICAL ATTITUDES IN TATARSTAN. The results
of a public opinion poll on political attitudes in Tatarstan
taken last December and reported in Komsomol'akaya pravda of
February 7 show a cleavage along educational as well as nationality
lines. 70% of the Russian population favor the republic remaining
in the RSFSR, while 46% of Tatars want it to be a union republic
and 24% an independent state. 21.5% of those with higher education,
23% of the inhabitants of Kazan', and 26% of Russians consider
that, if supporters of the national idea win out in the republic,
the Russians (at present 45% of the population) will have to
leave. (Ann Sheehy)

PROTEST ACTION BY SOVIET TROOPS IN NKAO? A joint TASS- AzerINFORM
dispatch of February 11 cites General Yu. Yeremeyev, chief of
the headquarters of the Baku garrison, as refuting a Postfaktum
report that on the night of February 8-9 some 150 servicemen
stationed in Stepanakert marched along the town's Lenin boulevard
shouting "Send us home" and "Down with the Azerbaijani OMON".
Azerbaijani OMON troops have been implicated by the Armenian
media in numerous acts of gratuitous brutality towards the Armenian
population of Nagorno-Karabakh. (Liz Fuller)

KRAVCHENKO ELUCIDATES MEDIA POLICY ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. At his
news conference yesterday Soviet broadcasting head Leonid Kravchenko
confirmed that the Soviet media had deliberately distorted coverage
of the ongoing inter-ethnic clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh to give
the impression that casualties on both sides were more or less
equal. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused the Soviet media
of lacking objectivity in reporting the NKAO situation. (Liz
Fuller)

NAZARBAEV ON PRESERVATION OF UNION. TASS reported on February
11 that a special session of the Kazakhstan Supreme Soviet has
adopted an appeal for dialogue among those republics that want
to preserve the Union. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev read
out the appeal to the deputies, arguing that the political and
economic interests of Kazakhstan require preservation of the
union and warning that disintegration of the USSR will lead to
the economic collapse of the country and a worsening of living
conditions for millions. The appeal warns against transforming
contradictions between the republics and Moscow into a "war of
laws," against the creation of a "parallel center," and against
current efforts of central authorities to ignore republican sovereignty.
(Bess Brown)

DEMOCRATIC KYRGYZSTAN HOLDS CONGRESS. The Democratic Kyrgyzstan
movement ended its first congress in Frunze/Bishkek on February
10, according to a TASS report of February 11. Six hundred delegates
attended the congress, at which the group's co-chairman Kazat
Akhmatov, a member of the Kirgiz presidential council, said that
Kyrgyzstan should join the group of four republics (RSFSR, Ukraine,
Belorussia and Kazakhstan) that are discussing cooperation among
themselves to avoid the dictates of the center. The congress
set up organizational structures, including a council with three
co-chairmen, and elected an editor of the movement's newspaper,
Maidan. (Bess Brown)

POPULARITY RATING OF KIRGIZ POLITICAL FIGURES. Some 4,000 people
in four towns and eight rural raions of Kyrgyzstan have been
asked to name the most popular political figure in the republic.
According to a TASS report of February 11, republican President
Askar Akaev received the highest rating for his action program.
In second place was Minister of Internal Affairs Feliks Kulov,
who succeeded in keeping the peace in Frunze during violence
in Osh oblast last summer without resorting to force. (Bess Brown)


DAY OF REMEMBRANCE IN TAJIKISTAN. February 12 has been declared
a Day of Remembrance in Tajikistan to commemorate those who died
in the violence in Dushanbe, which began with demonstrations
on February 12, 1990. Izvestia reported that the proclamation
was issued by president Kakhar Makhkamov, whose resignation was
demanded by demonstrators during the disturbances. The state
of emergency imposed in February 1990 remains in effect, although
the curfew was lifted on January 1. (NCA/Bess Brown)

TURKMEN PRIME MINISTER OBJECTS TO OIL REPORT. Turkmenistan's
prime minister Khan Akhmedov has objected to a press report that
the republic's oil and gas wells are to be leased to foreign
firms, according to a TASS report of February 11, quoting Izvestia.
Akhmedov said that the auction in Houston, which he insisted
was organized by the republican government along with the USSR
Ministry of Geology, is offering the rights to prospect for petroleum
and gas to private bidders. Joint ownership will be arranged
with the winners of the leases. Turkmenistan will retain firm
control of its natural resources, as specified in its declaration
of sovereignty. (Bess Brown)

UKRAINIAN CURRENCY WILL BE BASED ON OWN GOLD RESERVES. Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet Chairman Leonid Kravchuk has confirmed earlier
reports that, in order to introduce its own currency, Ukraine
will mine its own gold, deposits of which exist in the Dnepropetrovsk
and Zakarpatia regions. Radio Kiev on February 11 reported Kravchuk's
remarks that day at a press-conference in Kiev. Kravchuk cautioned,
however, that in his conversations with foreign businessmen,
he realized that economic and political stability, as well as
legal property guarantees, will be much more important than gold
in attracting foreign investors. (Valentyn Moroz)

RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN TRADE DETERIORATES DESPITE AGREEMENT. Speaking
after the Russian-Ukrainian cooperation conference in Donetsk,
Russian Supsov Deputy Chairman Boris Isaev said that, despite
the existing cooperation agreement, inter-republican trade continues
to decline, reported Ukrinform/ TASS on February 11. Ukraine
is lagging in delivery of its television sets, buses, and machine-building
equipment, while Russia is behind with deliveries of oil, petroleum
products, and lumber. Barter trade, noted other participants,
not only makes the currency worth less but causes chaos in economic
relations as well. They said that it seems appropriate to establish
an inter-republican trade coordinating body. (Valentyn Moroz)


MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur
began an official visit to Romania--his first--on February 11
with a first round of talks with Romanian President Ion Iliescu.
No details are available as yet. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN GROUPS HOLD ROUND TABLE. The Moldavian Popular Front
and allied groups held talks for the first time with the pro-Moscow
Joint Council of Work Collectives and other Russian groups in
Tiraspol, capital of the self-proclaimed Dniester SSR. TASS reported
February 11 that the two sides disagreed over the proposed treaty
of Union, with the Moldavians declaring support for the position
of the republican leadership opposing the treaty and most of
the Russian groups demanding that Moldavia sign the treaty without
delay in its present form. Despite the disagreement, the sides
pledged to continue the discussions. There was no mention of
the Moldavian CP being involved in the round table. (Vladimir
Socor)

RUSSIAN DEMOCRATIC GROUP FORMED IN MOLDAVIA. Demokraticheskaya
Moldaviya, a "social-political movement" of Russian-speaking
residents of Moldavia, has been established in Kishinev, Moldovapres
and Radio Moscow reported February 9 and 11, respectively. Its
program calls for "eliminating the consequences of the communist
regime" and a "return to authentic democracy," observance of
Moldavian laws, and support for the revival of the Moldavian
language as a state language. Decrying the "negative effects
of Moldavia remaining part of the USSR", Demokraticheskaya Moldaviya
declared that the "Romanian population of the republic can find
the guarantees for its national development only in the framework
of a unified Romanian state". (Vladimir Socor)

[as of 1230 CET]

Compiled by Doug Clarke and Sallie Wise


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

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