The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 33, 15 February 1991





BALTIC STATES



USSR RECALLS AMBASSADOR FROM ICELAND. Soviet Foreign Ministry
spokesman Vitalii Churkin read to reporters from a letter sent
to Iceland's ambassador in Moscow, Olafur Egilsson, informing
him that the USSR was recalling its ambassador to Iceland for
"consultations," AP reported on February 14. The recall would
last until Moscow received a satisfactory explanation from Iceland
as to why its parliament voted to recognize Lithuania on February
11. Churkin said: "Lithuania remains one of the Union republics
of the USSR. Ignoring this fundamental fact is an attempt to
interfere in the Soviet Union's internal affairs." He added that
Iceland's abuse of diplomatic channels and other international
contacts "may entail very grave circumstances." (Saulius Girnius)


"SHIELD" INVESTIGATORS FREED. On February 14 Soviet reserve officers
Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Bichkov and Captains Aleksandr Evstigneev
and Gennadii Melkov, who had been arrested at the Vilnius railroad
station on February 12, were released, Radio Riga and Diena reported
that day. The three members of the pro-reform military organization
"Shield" were placed on a train to Moscow. (Saulius Girnius)


US CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION IN TALLINN. On February 14 the US
Congressional delegation travelled to Tallinn from Riga by a
bus that broke down, the VOA Lithuanian service reported that
day. The delegates met with Estonian President Arnold Ruutel,
other Estonian political party officials, representatives of
the Russian community, and journalists. Ruutel said the talks
with the congressmen were constructive and very important. He
informed them of the Estonian protocol for negotiations with
the USSR that he had given to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
last year. The protocol stated that the negotiations should be
between two equal partners, protected by international law, and
that the USSR should publicly inform the UN that it recognized
Estonia as an independent country. (Saulius Girnius)

LANDSBERGIS RECEIVES CZECHOSLOVAK DELEGATION. President Vytautas
Landsbergis received a delegation of six Czechoslovak deputies
on February 13, CTK in English reported on February 14. Deputy
Michael Kocab briefed Landsbergis on the meeting between Czechoslovak
President Vaclav Havel and Lithuanian parliamentarian Czeslaw
Okinczyc. Deputy Ivan Rynda discussed possibilities for Czechoslovak-Lithuanian
economic contacts, university exchanges, and scientific collaboration.
The deputies invited Lithuanian representatives to attend forthcoming
public and interparliamentary conferences on the environment
in Europe to be held in Czechoslovakia. Landsbergis expressed
the hope that a Lithuanian bureau would soon be opened in Prague,
and pledged to work personally for opening a similar Czechoslovak
bureau in Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius)

POLISH TV CENSORED IN LITHUANIA. Marian Terlecki, Chairman of
the Polish Radio and TV Committee, told Warsaw Radio on February
15 that he had received a telex from his Lithuanian counterpart
Skirmantas Valiulis. Valiulis said that Lithuanian TV, since
it was occupied by Soviet soldiers, has interrupted the Polish
TV program whenever it airs material about Lithuania. Moscow's
Second TV Program has been used to fill the resultant gaps. Normally,
Polish TV broadcasts can be viewed in Lithuania. (Roman Stefanowski)


SOVIET CULTURE PLANS NOT ENDORSED BY BALTS. Radio Riga reported
on February 15 that representatives of the Estonian and Latvian
culture ministries attended a meeting in Moscow on February 14
that dealt with culture and transition to a market economy in
the USSR. Nobody from Lithuania took part. According to Nellija
Janaus, Latvia's Deputy Minister of Culture, the Balts did not
endorse Moscow's plans but decided to continue to develop "horizontal
ties" with the Soviet republics. She said that a Latvian-RSFSR
cultural accord is in the works. (Dzintra Bungs)

PARTY CLAIMS TO PRESS BUILDING NOT ENDORSED. The USSR State Arbitrator
examined the Latvian CP's claims to the Press Building in Latvia
and found that they were not legally justified, Radio Riga reported
on February 14. While this could be considered a moral victory
for the Latvian government and the Press Building association,
a joint stock company that owns the building, the Arbitrator's
assessment is not a court decision. It cannot force the LCP and
the Black Berets to vacate the building that they took over on
January 2. Thus, a protracted court battle lies ahead. In the
meanwhile, Latvians will have to continue to do without most
of their newspapers and journals. (Dzintra Bungs)

CRITICAL ATTITUDES TOWARD LATVIAN INDEPENDENCE POLL. While the
poll on an independent and democratic Latvia, scheduled for March
3, appears to be supported by many people (about 70%, according
to a recent Supreme Council poll) in Latvia, it is opposed by
the Committee of Latvia leadership and by Supreme Council deputies
belonging to the pro-Moscow Ravnopravie faction, Radio Riga reported
on February 14. The Committee of Latvia staunchly advocates the
restoration of the Republic of Latvia, but, on legal grounds,
argues against a poll or a referendum at this time. Ravnopravie
leader Sergei Dimanis said that his faction would urge people
to vote "no" in the poll because people should actually vote
on whether Latvia should remain or should not remain in the USSR.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN CP HEADQUARTERS GUARD IN SATISFACTORY CONDITION. According
to Diena of February 14, the condition of the hospitalized militia
Sergeant Major A. Prokopenko is "satisfactory." Prokopenko was
injured when a blast was set off near the Latvian Communist Party
Central Committee Building in Riga on February 12. He had been
guarding the building. Radio Riga said on February 14 that the
blast was probably the work of "professionals" who had access
to the same chemicals used in other blasts in Latvia in January
and December. (Dzintra Bungs)

"POSTFAKTUM" CONDUCTS POLL ON NEVZOROV. The independent news
agency, "Postfaktum," carried a poll of Leningrad residents'
opinions on reports from the Baltics prepared by Aleksandr Nevzorov,
Radio Moscow-2 reported February 14. (In the reports Nevzorov
blamed the Baltic crisis on the republican leadership, and supported
the actions of the army and the republican Communist Parties.)
According to the poll, 44% of the respondents rejected Nevzorov's
version of the events, but as many as 43% found it convincing.
Yet many of those who trust Nevzorov spoke against using armed
forces in solving civilian conflicts. In addition, 87% of those
polled said that the Baltic republics should be allowed to gain
independence. (Vera Tolz)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



DETAILS OF RETAIL PRICE RISES EMERGE. Izvestia on February 13
announced that most retail prices in the USSR will double or
triple under an impending price reform program, expected by many
within the next four to six weeks. The plan calls for a tripling
of bread and meat prices, and increases of 130% for milk and
fish, 135% for sugar, 240% for salt and 100% for tea (Reuter,
February 14; Washington Post, February 15). Last spring, public
outrage forced the Ryzhkov government to abandon a similar attempt
to cut subsidies and raise prices. (John Tedstrom)

BUDGET IMBALANCE NECESSITATES PRICE INCREASES. The fiscal imbalance
of the Soviet all-Union and republican budgets has worsened since
last spring, and there is more pressure on the government to
raise prices as a result. On January 1, wholesale price increases
went into effect while retail prices remained unchanged. This
means that retailers require more subsidies than before to balance
their books. Moreover, responsibility for these subsidies was
largely shifted to the republican budgets in 1991, and this is
why the Council of the Federation apparently approved the retail
price hikes. Income compensation, especially for low and fixed
income groups, is likely. Still, no real freeing of prices is
foreseeable, just a revision of relative price levels. (John
Tedstrom)

POOR OUTLOOK FOR SPRING HARVEST. Western and Soviet reports indicate
that the outlook for the spring harvest is gloomy, following
a very disappointing harvest last fall. Deputy chief of the State
Food Committee Nikolai Krasnoshchekov was quoted in Pravda on
February 14 as saying that half of Soviet farmers would have
to cope with sharply reduced numbers of virtually all types of
farm equipment, due to poor maintenance and lack of spare parts.
Compounding the problem, Krasnoshchekov alleged, is the refusal
on the part of Ukraine and Kazakhstan to meet inter-republican
grain seed exports. Additionally, some 4 million hectares of
winter wheat were not sown for this season. State procurement
of meat for January was 12% off last year's level, and milk was
down by 13% (John Tedstrom)

SUPREME SOVIET SESSION RESUMES MONDAY. TASS reported on February
13 that the USSR Supreme Soviet will resume work on February
18 after a winter break. According to TASS, the Supreme Soviet
will be asked to approve new government members proposed by Gorbachev.
This will continue the process of forming a new government that
began with confirmation of Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and
his deputies. TASS also said the legislature would debate a package
of unspecified economic reform measures dealing with the introduction
of a market economy in the USSR. (Sallie Wise)

OLD-STYLE PARTY IDEOLOGISTS NAMED AIDES OF GORBACHEV. Three old-style
Party apparatchiks have taken posts as aides to President Mikhail
Gorbachev after the resignation of reformers. According to TASS
on February 15, Vladimir Yegorov and Oleg Ozherel'ev have become
aides to the president. Yegorov was speechwriter for the General
Secretary; Ozherel'ev--deputy chief of the Humanitarian Department
of the Central Committee. TASS said the changes were necessitated
by the departure of Gorbachev's former aides, such as the reform-oriented
economist Nikolai Petrakov. TASS also reported the appointment
of the former head of the Party's Press Center, Georgii Pryakhin,
as the new speechwriter to the president. Yegorov, Ozherel'ev
and Pryakhin had all worked in the Ideological Department of
the Central Committee. Finally, TASS announced the nomination
of former Komsomol and Trade Union leader Viktor Mishin as the
Central Committee's new first deputy Administrator of Affairs.
(Alexander Rahr)

IGNATENKO DAMPENS GULF HOPES. Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko
said an Italian government spokesman's claims that Gorbachev
stated Iraq was "apparently willing to discuss the terms of a
withdrawal," were false. Speaking at a briefing February 15,
Ignatenko said, "unfortunately the correspondents have been running
ahead of themselves a little...I think hope is the last thing
to die and we must hope events will turn out as we want," Reuter
quoted Ignatenko as saying. Ignatenko's statements could indicate
either that Primakov overestimated the results of his talks with
Hussein, or that the Soviet side is shielding delicate agreements
with Baghdad from public view until positions are more firm.
(Suzanne Crow)

PRAVDA COMMENTARY ON GULF. A Pravda commentary on the Gulf war
February 15 (summarized by DPA) said it is time to sound an alarm
against the "barbaric" bombing in Iraq. "This alarm should not
be understood as an accusation, as much as serious concern, and,
if you will, as a warning." (Suzanne Crow)

IZVESTIA ON GULF. Stanislav Kondrashov commented in Izvestia
February 14 that this "is not a desert storm...but a desert slaughter,"
a New York Times report said February 15. Kondrashov, who is
known both for his bluntness as well as his proximity to official
Kremlin thinking, also drew a parallel between US tactics in
Iraq and the bombing of Hiroshima. (Suzanne Crow)

BESSMERTNYKH INFORMS BAKER ON GULF DIPLOMACY. US Secretary of
State James Baker received a detailed report from his Soviet
counterpart Bessmertnykh concerning special envoy Evgenii Primakov's
talks in Baghdad. State Department Spokesperson Margaret Tutweiler
said February 14 Baker received the report late that night. (NCA/Suzanne
Crow)

UZBEK SUPREME SOVIET ON GULF WAR. AFP, quoting Interfax, reported
on February 14 that Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution
appealing to Gorbachev to use all available means to stop the
Gulf conflict. The resolution said that the war was causing deaths
of innocent victims and destruction of historic and cultural
centers, including monuments of Muslim civilization. (Bess Brown)


AZERBAIJANI SUPSOV PASSES RESOLUTION ON GULF WAR. AFP also reported
February 14 that the Supreme Soviet in Azerbaijan said that the
Gulf war was going beyond the mandate set by the UN Security
Council, and alleged that the liberation of Kuwait was a pretext
to protect US oil interests in the region. The Supreme Soviet
expressed concern over the proximity of the conflict to Azerbaijan,
and over the threat posed by the possible use of chemical, biological,
and nuclear weapons. (Sallie Wise)

SOVIET AMBASSADOR ON REMOVAL OF SADDAM HUSSEIN... The Soviet
Union's ambassador to Turkey, Albert Chernyshev, said in an interview
with Portuguese Radio (January 28) that the continuation of Saddam
Hussein in power is Iraq's internal affair and his future is
a matter for the Iraqi people alone to decide. Chernyshev said
the USSR will not allow any of the powers involved in the conflict
to attempt to put a puppet in Saddam Hussein's place. BBC's Summary
of World Broadcasts reported on the broadcast January 29, 1991.
(Suzanne Crow)

AND TURKEY'S STATUS. On Turkey's role in the post-war Middle
East, Chernyshev said Ankara must choose between acting like
a gendarme at the service of the USA or playing a positive role
based on neighborly relations and regional economic leadership.
Chernyshev said he pointed out to Turkish President Turgut Ozal
a week earlier that while the countries of the multi-national
force will leave the region, Turkey will stay there with the
same neighbors it has today. (Suzanne Crow)

EC MINISTERS TO MOSCOW. EC foreign ministers from Italy, Luxembourg
and the Netherlands (the past, present and future EC Presidents)
will meet in Moscow on February 16 with Soviet Foreign Minister
Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, TASS said February 14. Frans Andriessen,
European Commissioner for External Trade Relations, will also
participate. According to Luxembourg's Jacques Poos, "all current
problems will be considered," Reuter reported February 15. The
EC blocked plans for technical assistance to the USSR after January's
crackdown in the Baltic states. The Soviet Union has termed the
EC reaction interference in Soviet internal affairs. (Suzanne
Crow)

YANAEV, MATLOCK HOLD TALKS. Soviet Vice President Gennadii Yanaev
told US Ambassador Jack Matlock February 14 about the "development
of restructuring in the Baltic republics," and Matlock "expressed
the striving of the US administration to develop relations with
the Soviet Union on a constructive basis," TASS reported. The
discussion, which took place in a "friendly atmosphere," also
touched on the Gulf crisis. (Suzanne Crow)

MILITARY PLANS MOSCOW RALLY. Moscow Radio, quoting Moskovskii
komsomolets, said on February 14 that the Soviet armed forces
are planning a big rally in Moscow on February 23 to support
the authority of the army, the Communist Party, and the unity
of the Soviet Union. Various bodies, including the Ministry of
Defense and the General Staff, will reportedly send some 6,700
men. Units stationed in the Moscow Military District will also
send representatives. The military leadership will reportedly
hold the rally whether it is approved by the Moscow City Council
or not, and will provide policing for it. The rally will be televised.
(NCA/Stephen Foye)

NO JOINT PATROLS IN LENINGRAD. Leningrad's Military Commandant
told Radio Moscow on February 14 that because the city's police
are "fully in control of public order," there is no need at present
for joint army and police patrols. Major General Gennadii Volkov
said that everything is ready for joint patrols if the need arises,
however. The program of joint patrols, ostensibly to fight crime,
began on February 1 and is currently in effect in about 450 cities.
(NCA/Stephen Foye)

CRIME UP IN THE ARMED FORCES. A meeting of the collegium of the
Military Prosecutor's office met in Moscow on February 14 and
announced that the crime rate was up by 33.9% in the armed forces.
TASS reports that speakers cited the rising crime rate in Soviet
society as a primary cause. The USSR Chief Prosecutor, Nikolai
Trubin was present at the meeting, as were First Deputy Defense
Minister Army General Konstantin Kochetov and representatives
of the KGB and MVD. (Stephen Foye)

RELIGION IN THE ARMY. TASS on February 14 reported statements
by Lieutenant General Leonid Ivashov of the USSR Ministry of
Defense on a new law granting servicemen the right to declare
a religion. The general said that the bill will be considered
at the Parliament session opening on February 18. He added that
under that bill, servicemen will be allowed to belong to any
political party or organization which is legal and constitutional.
(Oxana Antic)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN PROTESTS PRICE RISES. RSFSR Supreme Soviet deputies got
a look at the central government's price adjustments, and promptly
rejected the plan after Supreme Soviet chairman Yeltsin, among
others, sharply criticized it and President Gorbachev. Gorbachev
did not consult with the people on this issue as he promised,
according to Yeltsin (Reuter, February 14, Washington Post, February
15). (John Tedstrom)

AGREEMENT REACHED ON YELTSIN TV SPEECH. Yeltsin told the RSFSR
Supreme Soviet on February 14 that he will speak for forty minutes
in a live broadcast on the Soviet first channel next Monday or
Tuesday, TASS reported February 14. His speech will be broadcast
before the Vremya newscast. (Sallie Wise)

UKRAINE TO HOLD OWN REFERENDUM. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet
voted on February 13 to hold a separate referendum on the continued
unity of the USSR, according to a report in The Independent of
February 14. However, it also voted to participate in the all-Union
referendum on March 17; the Ukrainian referendum will be conducted
the same day with a separate ballot paper. The report cited Oles
Shevchenko, of the parliamentary opposition Narodna Rada, as
saying the Ukrainian poll would likely contradict the all-Union
one by asking Ukrainians whether they favored a "union of Soviet
sovereign nation states in which every nationality can decide
its own fate." The actual wording of the question for the poll
in Ukraine will be decided next week. (Sallie Wise)

METROPOLITAN BECOMES PEOPLE'S DEPUTY. TASS reported on February
14 that Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Grodno was given a
mandate as a USSR People's Deputy. TASS added that the Metropolitan
was one of the first church hierarchs to become a deputy of the
Belorussian Parliament. (Oxana Antic)

KARIMOV SAYS UZBEKISTAN WON'T SIGN UNION TREATY. Republican People's
Deputy Muhammad Salih, chairman of the opposition Erk Democratic
Party, told RFE/RL on February 14 that Uzbek president Islam
Karimov had just informed Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet that the
official draft of the Union Treaty is unacceptable and the republic
will not sign it in that form. Previously Karimov has said that
Uzbekistan will remain part of the USSR, but that a renewed union
should proceed from the republics constituting it, rather than
being dictated by Moscow. Salih said that Karimov had told the
Supreme Soviet that the republic has still not decided what powers
it wants to delegate to the central government, and which it
wants to retain for itself. (NCA/Uzbek BD/Bess Brown)

UZBEKISTAN TO RETAIN MORE OF COTTON CROP? According to a Financial
Times article of February 14, there are widespread reports that
the Uzbek Supreme Soviet will vote to withhold 60% of the republic's
cotton crop for the republic's own use, rather than selling it
to the central government. Last June the Uzbek Supreme Soviet
voted to retain 30% of the cotton crop for the republic to export
itself or to use in direct trade arrangements with other republics.
(Bess Brown)

TURKMENISTAN WANTS TO OPEN ITS OWN CONSULATES. A Turkmen journalist
has told RFE/RL that Turkmen president Saparmurad Niyazov's has
announced the republic's intention to open consulates in Turkey,
Iran and Afghanistan. Niyazov reportedly made the statement at
the congress of the republican Komsomol. In recent months, Turkmenistan
has been exploring contacts with Iran, particularly with the
Iranian provinces bordering the republic. (NCA/Turkmen BD/Bess
Brown)

KIRGIZ PRESIDENT WANTS UNION TREATY SIGNED SOON. Kirgiz president
Askar Akaev has said in an interview published in Krasnaya zvezda
that Kyrgyzstan would like for the Union Treaty to be signed
as soon as possible, but proposes that the signing be a two-stage
process. The economic section should be signed before the political
section. The powers of the union and of the republics should
be defined more exactly, and all parties to the treaty should
agree to recognize the inviolability of borders. The treaty also
needs legal mechanisms to ensure that it is observed. Akaev denied
that the removal of "Soviet Socialist" from the republic's name
indicated a change of attitude to the Union. (Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur
continued his official visit to Romania with a tour of western
Moldavia (which belongs to Romania, while eastern Moldavia forms
the Soviet republic). Alluding to the isolation imposed until
recently between the two parts of historic Moldavia, Snegur declared
that he had travelled to many countries of the world but this
was his first visit to this part of Moldavia, Rompres reported
February 14. Snegur visited religious establishments and cultural
sites, and met with university students and faculty in the historic
Moldavian capital Iasi. Echoing recent statements by Moldavia's
Prime Minister Mircea Druc, Snegur called for "100 joint ventures"
to be set up by Romania and Soviet Moldavia. (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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