|The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine|
No. 31, 13 February 1991
BALTIC STATES "SHIELD" INVESTIGATORS DETAINED IN LITHUANIA. Three reserve officers--Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Bichkov and Captains Aleksandr Evstigneev and Gennadii Melkov--were detained by army and KGB officers on February 12 at the Vilnius railroad station prior to their departure for Moscow, ELTA reported that day. They were part of a five-member investigative commission from the pro-reform Soviet military organization "Shield." The commission had spent two weeks in Lithuania investigating the situation there and had concluded that the violent crackdown in Lithuania in January was a prelude to a well-planned coup. The detainees were accused of carrying weapons and narcotics. (Dzintra Bungs) KGB ROLE IN VILNIUS ATTACK? Conflicting accounts have surfaced on KGB participation in the January 13 assault that left 13 Lithuanians dead. According to the February 13 Boston Globe, some Soviet and Lithuanian sources allege that a KGB elite unit led the attack. But newly appointed KGB Deputy Chief Victor Grushko told reporters that the KGB was not involved and that the one casualty among the attacking forces--identified as a KGB officer--was alone. Earlier, another KGB officer, Major General Alexander Karbainov, said that a team of about 15 KGB men had been brought into Vilnius a few days before the attack. He later said that their task was limited to protecting the populace. (Stephen Foye) DANISH DELEGATION AT LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT. On February 12 a 10-member delegation of the Danish parliament, headed by its president Hans Peter Klaussen, attended the morning session of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, broadcast live over Radio Kaunas. The delegation included Denmark's 4 vice-presidents as well as a consul from the Danish embassy in Moscow. Klaussen said that the Danish people "are totally united in support of the aspirations of the three Baltic peoples to regain their independence and freedom in a peaceful and democratic manner." He extended an official invitation to the Lithuanian parliament to send a delegation to Denmark. He ended with the hope that "Lithuania soon will be able to take its place among the free and democratic countries of Europe. That's where you belong." (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIAN COMMUNISTS URGE VOTE AGAINST INDEPENDENCE. TASS reported on February 12 that the Estonian CP Secretariat has appealed to people to vote "no" in the poll on independence rather than to boycott it entirely. The poll is scheduled for March 3. The appeal came after the anti-independence Intermovement group called for a boycott of the poll. The Secretariat also said that it supports the plans of three mostly non-Estonian cities--Narva, Sillamae, and Kohtla-Jarve--to hold their own regional poll and to allow Soviet military personnel to participate. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA TO HOLD INDEPENDENCE POLL. On February 12, according to Radio Riga of that day, the Latvian Supreme Council decided to hold a poll on Latvia's independence on March 3. The decision was adopted with a vote of 101 for, 2 against, and 2 abstentions; most of the anti-independence Ravnopravie faction did not attend the Council session. In the poll, all permanent residents (this would presumably exclude most Soviet soldiers stationed in Latvia), 18 years old and older, would be allowed to take part. They would be asked to answer "yes" or "no" to the question: "Are you for a democratic and independent state of Latvia?" In the Latvian version, the wording makes clear that the question refers to the Republic of Latvia outside the USSR framework. (Dzintra Bungs) BLAST AT LATVIAN CP HEADQUARTERS. At 10:05 PM local time on February 12, a blast shattered the windows of the Latvian CP headquarters in Riga, reported Radio Riga that day. The explosion also broke windows of three buildings across the street, and a guard was reportedly injured. This explosion was apparently more serious than an earlier one on December 18, 1990 near Party headquarters. It is being investigated by the Latvian authorities. This explosion continues the series of largely unexplained explosions in Latvia in December and January; they are widely believed to have been staged by people opposing Latvia's independence and wishing to destabilize the situation so as to provide an excuse for establishing USSR presidential rule in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) RADIO RIGA REFUTES NEVZOROV. In his program "600 Seconds," Leningrad TV journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov reported that another attack had been staged against the OMON (also known as Black Berets) in Riga. After investigating the allegation, Radio Riga said on February 12 that Nevzorov's allegation was groundless. (Dzintra Bungs) FULL SCHEDULE FOR US CONGRESSMEN IN RIGA. According to Radio Biga of February 13, the US CSCE delegation attended on February 12 a session of Latvia's Supreme Council. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) addressed the deputies and reiterated US Baltic policy and support for Baltic participation as observers at CSCE meetings. The American visitors met with leaders of parliamentary factions, government officials, leaders of 19 cultural organizations of nBtional minorities, and Latvian CP First Secretary Alfreds RuBiks. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS PAVLOV'S SINISTER VISIONS. Interviewed by Trud on February 12, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov justified the recent exchange of banknotes as a "protective, not confiscatory" measure. It was, in his view, designed to thwart an international conspiracy whose aim was "...to inject a huge amount of money...to bring about artificial hyperinflation. Such actions have been carried out in many regions of the world when the aim was to change a political system or overthrow unwelcome political leaders." Had this foul plot succeeded, Pavlov said, "the country would have been threatened with the loss of economic independence and with a sort of quiet and bloodless annexation." (Keith Bush) GRUSHKO'S PRESS CONFERENCE. The freshly-appointed First Deputy Chairman of the KGB, Victor Grushko, at a press-conference in Moscow on February 12 accused the CIA and other western intelligence agencies of increasing military-industrial espionage within the USSR despite the end of the Cold War. As reported by TASS and Reuter, Grushko said the KGB Administration for Protection of the Constitutional Order was created to fight extremist trends in socio-political life, and "anti-constitutional" organizations and terrorism at home and abroad. The recent re-shuffle at the top of the KGB was designed to increase the efficiency of the agency, Grushko said. He also noted that his predececessor, Fillip Bobkov, who worked for the KGB for 45 years, had resigned voluntarily. (Victor Yasmann) HUSSEIN: "WILLING TO WORK WITH KREMLIN." "Iraq is prepared to extend cooperation to the Soviet Union and other nations and agencies in the interest of finding a peaceful, political, equitable and honorable solution to the region's central issues, including the situation in the Gulf," Baghdad radio said February 13, as quoted by AP. The fact that Baghdad singled out the Soviet Union as a possible partner marks a sharp change from previous Iraqi rhetoric attacking Moscow for association with the US-led alliance. This message, taken in combination with recent statements signalling Soviet-French and Soviet-Iranian agreement, suggests a possible diplomatic challenge to allied military efforts. (Suzanne Crow) PRIMAKOV MISSION IN BAGHDAD. According to Baghdad Radio (February 13), the special Soviet envoy Evgenii Primakov met with Saddam Hussein late February 12. Hussein's Revolutionary Command Council members were present. Primakov reportedly delivered a message from Gorbachev, which, according to Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko, did not run counter to UN Security Council resolutions. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah will meet with Gorbachev and Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh on February 14, AFP reported February 12. (Suzanne Crow) FRANCO-SOVIET AGREEMENT ON GULF, MIDDLE EAST. French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas told reporters in Moscow on February 12 that France and the USSR agree on the aims of the allied campaign against Iraq, as well as the need for a Middle East settlement after the war. According to a Reuter report of February 12, Dumas said after his talks with Gorbachev that "it will be necessary to settle all the conflicts affecting the region, not only the Gulf but also the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Lebanon." Dumas, the first allied foreign minister to visit the USSR since the Gulf war began, said that he and Gorbachev were unable to discuss Primakov's trip to Iraq since at the time no information on the mission was available. (Sallie Wise) MORE CONSERVATIVE REACTION ON GULF. Sovetskaya Rossiya said on February 12 Moscow's agreement to join the UN alliance against Iraq "ended the USSR's existence as a superpower" and alienated the Kremlin's allies in the Middle East and Third World, the Washington Post reported February 13. The article, signed allegedly by a Soviet emigre living in Israel, went on to say that "each drop of Arab blood turned into dollars" for US investors. (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE SAYS REFORM CAN BE SAVED. In a German Television (ZDF) interview last night, former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said the USSR's reform process appeared doomed, but it could still be saved "if our society really wants it, if democratically-inclined people join forces." "I do not regret" resigning, Shevardnadze said, adding that he will not "withdraw totally from political life," Reuter reported February 12. Meanwhile, Radio Moscow announced February 12 the address of Shevardnadze's newly-organized think tank, called "Assotsiatsiya vneshnei politiki" (Foreign Policy Association): Yelizarovskii Pereulok, Dom 2, Moscow. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV ON THE KURILES. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev elaborated on his republic's position about the Kurile Island dispute with Japan. According to Kozyrev, the first step in settling the dispute should be handled by Gorbachev when he travels to Japan in April: Gorbachev should confirm that the dispute is a legitimate problem in Soviet-Japanese relations. Then, Kozyrev continued, Gorbachev should turn over the job of settling the dispute to the RSFSR since it "is the immediate neighbor of Japan." The final agreement would be a Soviet-Japanese and Russian-Japanese agreement, Newsweek reported in its February 18 issue. (Suzanne Crow) SUPREME SOVIET DELEGATION TO PAKISTAN. TASS reported on February 11 that four Supreme Soviet deputies have gone to Pakistan for a week-long visit to improve Soviet-Pakistani relations at the parliamentary level. One of their objectives will be to discuss the release of Soviet soldiers captured by the Afghan resistance during the war in Afghanistan. (Sallie Wise) EMERGENCY TREATMENT FOR AILING GERMAN-SOVIET ECONOMIC TIES. German economics minister Juergen Moellemann flew to Moscow February 13 for talks on German Soviet trade, according to Western wire reports. The fact that USSR trade with what were East German firms must now be carried out in hard currency has become a major problem for the cash-poor USSR. On February 12, Moellemann announced a program to boost jobs, promote investment, and enable Eastern Germany to increase its trade with the USSR and Eastern Europe. The plan could total some 10 billion DM. He plans to ask Moscow to set up special fund from oil and gas revenues to buy Eastern German goods. (John Tedstrom) FINLAND TAKES CAUTIOUS APPROACH TO SOVIET TRADE. Many Finnish firms are now requiring either cash deposits in Swiss banks or irrevocable letters of credit in their dealings with Soviet firms. Finnish trade officials are advising that all deals with the USSR come with concrete guarantees of payment, according to Reuter, February 12. On January 1, Finland began trading with the USSR in hard currency. The USSR's lack of hard currency is the major reason Soviet firms are having problems paying. Finland's trade with the USSR is falling, from 25% of total Finnish trade in the early 1980s to 11.3% in 1990. (John Tedstrom) FRANCE TO GRANT USSR MORE CREDITS. France is set to grant about $600 million worth of credits to the USSR, based on an agreement signed in Paris February 12. The deal is split into two parts, the first consisting of $200 million for grain purchases in 1991 totalling 2.5 million tons. The second part, for $400 million, is for machinery and equipment. These credits should help the USSR make payments to French firms. The USSR has fallen short on many of these payments in the recent past, and French trade with the USSR fell from 1989 to 1990. (NCA/John Tedstrom) EC DEVELOPS EAST-WEST ENERGY PLAN. The European Community is expected to announce on February 13 plans to integrate more fully Eastern and Western European energy markets. According to Reuter of February 12, the EC's plan would enable West European nations to raise investments, notably in the Soviet energy sector, and boost Soviet oil exports to Western Europe. The plan will also outline priorities and principles to guide East-West energy deals. These priorities will likely include diversification of energy supplies, environmental and energy conservation policies, and security at nuclear and other power plants. (John Tedstrom) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS REPUBLICAN CONTROL OVER DEFENSE COUNCIL. Sergei Stepashin, chairman of the subcommission for Army servicemen's issues of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, told the newspaper Rossiya on February 15 that the Russian parliament is seeking control over military conscription, troop movements, and appointments of Army district commanders on Russian territory. According to Stepashin, leaders of republican parliaments should become full members of the USSR Defense Council, where these issues are decided. He noted that at present, the Defense Council consists of the USSR president, defense minister, three first deputy defense ministers and representatives of the military-industrial complex. Stepashin said that a Russian military commissariat to handle the draft will soon be established. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN APPEALS TO COMPATRIOTS ABROAD. The Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has appealed to the 20-million strong Russian emigration to join the process of Russia's revival. The appeal was sent to some Russians abroad. A Congress of Russian Compatriots is scheduled for August of this year, and an organizational committee for the congress already exists. Russian emigre finance specialists have been invited to another conference with RSFSR economists in Moscow next month. Rossiiskaya gazeta on December 26, 1990, published Boris Yeltsin's appeal to compatriots abroad in which the Russian leader promised that a law on Russian citizenship will soon be passed, granting Russians abroad full rights on the territory of the RSFSR. (Alexander Rahr) INDEPENDENT RADIO STATION IN KHABAROVSK. A radio station independent both from the all-union Company on Radio and TV and from local authorities has started broadcasting in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk. Called "Dal'nii Vostok-Rossiya" (Far East-Russia), the station received a license from the RSFSR Ministry for Communication and Information for three hours of daily broadcasts on short-wave frequencies. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN DOCTORS TO GET MORE MONEY. TASS reported on February 11 that the RSFSR government has promised to increase pay rates for doctors in the republic. The raises may be as much as 40%, and a decision will be made by February 22. The republican government is asking the doctors to suspend plans for a warning strike scheduled for this week (see Daily Report, February 11). The most recent data available (Trud v SSSR, for 1987) indicate that doctors in the RSFSR are more highly paid than in any other republic save Estonia and Latvia. (John Tedstrom) RUSSIAN GREEK-CATHOLIC CHURCH RESTORED. Izvestia reported on February 7 about the "restoration" of the Russian Greek-Catholic Church in Russia. Bishop Vikentii of Tula is the highest-ranking hierarch of this church. According to Izvestia, quoting Interfax, parishes of this Church exist at present in Stavropol', Eastern Latvia, Moscow, and Tula. The Greek-Catholic Church has established canonical relations with the Vatican. (Oxana Antic) MORE ON UKRAINIAN GOLD. Radio Kiev on February 12 claimed that Ukrainian Institute of Geology and Physics expeditions have discovered more than ten gold deposits which are economically feasible in the republic. One of these, located on the river Mokra Sura (a tributary of the Dnieper in the Dnepropetrovsk region), was discovered some 25 years ago but was kept secret by the Soviet Ministry of Geology. According to preliminary estimates, reserves of Ukrainian gold deposits are one and a half times as large as those of the Klondike. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIAN MINERS AND METAL WORKERS THREATEN TO STRIKE. Radio Kiev reported on February 12 that at a meeting of the Donbass strike committees council in Donetsk, participants agreed to stage a warning stoppage of coal delivery on February 20 and start a strike on March 1 if the republican government does not meet their demands for an increase of two to two and half times their present wages. Metal workers, reported Radio Kiev, have also threatened to go on strike if their demands for wage increases and the liberalization of metal prices are not met by the government. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIAN-GERMAN CONSUMER MAGAZINE ESTABLISHED. Ukrinform/Tass reported on February 12 that the German magazine Stiftung Warentest and the Ukrainian Consumer Association have published the first issue of Ukrainian consumer magazine Nash sovet (Our Advice). Trial circulation of the magazine, the proceeds of which will go toward independent product testing in Ukraine, will be 50,000. (Valentyn Moroz) THREE WESTERN UKRAINIAN REGIONS PLAN ECONOMIC COOPERATION. Radio Kiev reported on February 12 that the soviets of Ivano-Frankovsk, Lvov, and Ternopol oblasts will hold a joint session on February 16 in Lvov in order to discuss economic policy cooperation, the political situation in the three regions, and the possibility of a regional (Western Ukrainian) plebiscite. (Valentyn Moroz) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur, who began an official visit to Romania February 11, is being received with the full honors reserved for visiting heads of state, according to Radio Bucharest reports on February 12. Snegur and Moldavian Minister of External Relations Nicolae Tiu have held three sessions of talks with Romania's President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Petre Roman, covering cultural, economic, and political relations between Moldavia and Romania. Addressing a joint session of the two chambers of the Romanian parliament yesterday, Snegur asserted the common Moldavian-Romanian identity and spoke of a "cultural confederation," possibly to be followed in future by "some other type of confederation" between Moldavia and Romania. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM CHALLENGED AS ANTI-SOVIET. The draft law on local self-government, submitted by the Moldavian government to the republican Supreme Soviet, is being "fiercely opposed" by communist deputies and their allies. Adoption of the law "would in the last analysis lead to the liquidation of Soviet power," TASS said on February 12. (Vladimir Socor) TRIALS OF PRIVATE ENTERPRISE IN KAZAKHSTAN. The February 2 issue of Izvestia tells how the agro-industrial committee of Kkustanai oblast has forbidden state and collective farms in the oblast to take out insurance with a local cooperative insurance firm. The cooperative firm, backed by a Kustanai city bank, offers insurance on better terms than does the state insurance agency, Gosstrakh. An official of the agro-industrial committee explained that if farms insure with the cooperative, state funds will end up in the pockets of the coop's entrepreneurs. (Bess Brown) KYRGYZSTAN PROPOSES ANOTHER LINK TO OUTSIDE WORLD. A proposal has been made at the current session of the Supreme Soviet of Kyrgyzstan to construct a highway to connect the Soviet Central Asian republics with the Karakorum Highway that links Pakistan and Xinjiang. The Izvestia correspondent in Frunze/Bishkek pointed out that construction of the road would require the assistance of foreign business and the support of the countries involved, but the proposal was worth considering. His report appeared in the February 2 issue. (Bess Brown)
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