When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 35, 19 February 1991



BALTIC

BALTIC STATES



ANOTHER LITHUANIAN DIES OF WOUNDS FROM JANUARY ASSAULT. On February
18 Baltfax quoted Lithuanian parliament spokeswoman Rita Dapkus
as saying that 50-year-old Vytautas Kancevicius, shot in the
stomach and intestines during the Soviet military assault on
the Vilnius television tower on January 13, had died in a hospital
in Vilnius, AP reported February 18. His death raises the toll
of Lithuanian civilians killed during the assault on the tower
to 14 (a KGB lieutenant was also killed). (Saulius Girnius)

LANDSBERGIS APPEALS TO EC NOT TO RESTORE SOVIET AID. AP reported
on February 18 that Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis
said in a Dutch radio interview that, before resuming aid to
the USSR, the European Community should demand concrete actions
and not only words from the USSR that it will no longer use force
in the Baltics. The EC suspended aid to the USSR after the military
assault in Lithuania. Landsbergis said that the withdrawal of
Soviet troops from the Vilnius television tower "would be a first
step and a first real sign of good will." The EC will hold discussions
on February 19 about the situation in the Baltic and the Gulf.
(Saulius Girnius)

US MEDICAL SHIPMENT ARRIVES IN VILNIUS. Radio Kaunas reported
on February 17 that an airplane from the US loaded with medical
supplies worth about $3,000,000 arrived that afternoon in Vilnius.
The shipment, organized by AmeriCares aid organization with the
aid of Lithuanian Catholic Relief Aid, contained 44,000 pounds
of medicines including vaccines to protect children from whooping
cough, diphtheria, and tetanus as well as surgical gloves, bandages,
and other medical supplies. This is the first shipment of medical
aid to Lithuania since President Bush's decision on February
6 to finance the shipment of donated supplies to the Baltic republics.
(Saulius Girnius)

BLACK BERET WANTED FOR ROBBERY AND SHOOTING. Radio Riga and Diena
reported on February 18 that Black Beret [OMON] officer Igor
Nikiforov was wanted by law-enforcement authorities in Latvia.
On the evening of February 15, Nikiforov was identified as having
brandished a pistol and robbed a girl of 8 rubles and of shooting
at several cars in downtown Riga. Reportedly he was intoxicated
at the time. The Black Berets are, according to MVD orders, supposed
to stay in their barracks on the outskirts of Riga. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIANS IN RUSSIA SUPPORT LATVIA'S INDEPENDENCE POLL. Austra
Bolsevica, leader of the Latvian Society in Russia, told Diena
on February 18 that Latvians living in the RSFSR want to support
the March 3 poll on Latvia's independence. Signatures are being
collected from Latvians in Moscow, Leningrad, Vorkuta, Krasnoyarsk,
Karaganda, and in other cities. These signatures will not be
counted in the official results of poll, which is open only to
permanent residents of Latvia, but they will be recorded by the
Latvian Supreme Council. (Dzintra Bungs)

SOVIET MILITARY DRAFT IN LATVIA. Colonel Valdis Teimers, Deputy
Military Commissar in Latvia, told TASS on February 18 that the
autumn 1990 draft of youths from Latvia into the USSR armed forces
has been completed. Last autumn the quota was fulfilled by only
about 25%. According to Teimers, about 300 young men were inducted
since then; of this group about one-third were Latvian and about
170 had previously signed up for alternative service. The figure
of 300 would seem to suggest that the fall 1990 draft has ended,
but that the quota (about 10,000, according to Radio Riga of
January 20) was not fulfilled even with the draft extension into
January 1991. (Dzintra Bungs)

BAKATIN SUPPORTS BALTIC INDEPENDENCE. Retired Interior Minister
Vadim Bakatin told Moscow News (no.5) that under his chairmanship
the MVD had almost accomplished work on a Union treaty for decentralization
of police functions, which would have been signed by all republican
interior ministries. He stressed that Baltic demands for independence
are "legitimate." Bakatin described the recent crackdown in Latvia
as a "senseless act" by the Riga OMON troop commander. He revealed
that as Interior Minister he advocated a transfer of OMON troops
["specialized purpose militia detachments"] from central to republican
MVD command, but said that Latvian Communist leader Alfred Rubiks
resisted him. Bakatin maintained that a split between the Army
and the militia took place in Riga and called for a depolitization
of the MVD and armed forces. (Alexander Rahr)

USSR

USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV'S PEACE PLAN. Western media report that Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev's four-point peace plan for Iraq, as presented
to Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and Deputy Prime Minister
Saddoun Hammadi yesterday (February 18) during three hours of
Kremlin talks, consists of guarantees that Iraq's borders and
state structure will not be changed, sanctions will be halted,
Saddam will not be personally punished, and that other regional
issues--including the Palestinian question--will be debated.
These guarantees are offered in exchange for Iraq's withdrawal
from Kuwait. The Kremlin has given Baghdad up to 36 hours to
respond to the peace proposal, wires services reported February
18 and 19. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV ADVISER SAYS IRAQ WILL ACCEPT. An adviser to Gorbachev,
Andrei Gratchev, told Europe-1 Radio network that talks with
Aziz and Hammadi "confirmed the important change of principle
in the Iraqi position, namely that Iraq would accept the unconditional
retreat of its troops from Kuwait and thus the cancellation of
the results of its operations of August 2." Gratchev went on
to say, "if [Saddam rejects the peace plan], he obviously signs
on to the unleashing of the offensive that is going to be murderous
for his country, his army, and maybe himself," AP reported February
19. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIETS ON PEACE PLAN. In London, a Gorbachev spokesman, Sergei
Grigoriev, said the Soviet message to Iraq is, "you leave unconditionally,
but you know at least that if you leave you can survive, and
there will be no further interference in the internal affairs
of Iraq." Gorbachev's special envoy Evgenii Primakov said the
allies should defer a ground offensive until Iraq has had a chance
to study Gorbachev's peace plan. Georgii Mirsky, a Middle East
Expert with the Institute of World Economics and International
Relations said "we still don't know [Saddam's] real intentions.
If he withdraws from Kuwait, he can avoid the real battle. But
he must be worried that he will lose his credibility in the Middle
East if he gives up now," wire services reported February 19.
(Suzanne Crow)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA ON MFA SPLIT. More evidence that the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs is deeply divided on the Gulf crisis came
on February 16 in Komsomolskaya pravda. An article based on interviews
with unidentified Soviet diplomats claimed that Shevardnadze
made enemies by signing the joint statement with US Secretary
of State James Baker last August condemning Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait. Some in the MFA opposed the joint statement because such
a move could have endangered the nearly 9,000 Soviet citizens
in Iraq. This concern explains the MFA's fastidiousness in reporting
the progress of evacuation. KP's "insider account" also claims
that Aleksandr Bessmertnykh's views on the Gulf crisis differ
from those of his predecessor. The Times of London summarized
the KP article on February 18. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV, KOHL TALK ON TREATIES. Gorbachev spoke with German
Chancellor Kohl by telephone yesterday (February 18). According
to a TASS report, "stress was placed on the necessity to speed
the ratification process" of the Two-Plus-Four and Soviet-German
Friendship Treaties. TASS did not indicate whether it was Kohl
or Gorbachev who was insistent on speeding the process. However,
German television (ZDF) reported last night Gorbachev had reassured
Kohl that the treaties would be ratified. Discussion of ratification
has been on the Supreme Soviet's agenda for some time. (Suzanne
Crow)

WILL GORBACHEV GO TO BOTH KOREAS? Japanese sources were quoted
by the Washington Times on February 15 as saying Gorbachev will
travel to both Seoul and Pyongyang after his trip to Japan in
April in an attempt to mediate a settlement between the two Koreas.
Thus far the Soviet Foreign Ministry has not announced any such
travel plans, and MFA Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said on February
7 the issue has not been decided. (Suzanne Crow)

CENTRAL ASIAN VIEWS OF GULF WAR. The Communist Party Central
Committee plenum in Tajikistan adopted a resolution on February
18 describing civilian casualties in the Gulf war as unacceptable
and calling for a political solution to the conflict, according
to TASS on February 18. The presidents of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
were quoted by Reuter as having told a February 18 news conference
that the war should be stopped as soon as possible. Kyrgyzstan's
Askar Akaev said that the republic, as part of the Muslim cultural
sphere, cannot be indifferent to the fate of the world center
of Islam. Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbaev said that allied forces
are violating the UN mandate, and he fears that "this could turn
into a demonstration of US might against all of us." Nazarbaev
added that Iraqi troops should get out of Kuwait. (Bess Brown)


PAVLOV PRESENTS PRICE PROPOSAL. At the USSR Supreme Soviet session
February 18, Prime Minister Pavlov acknowledged that a price
reform is in the offing, but that disagreements between the central
government and the republics have temporarily put off its implementation,
according to TASS, February 18. (See Daily Report of February
18.) He noted that the republics had on the whole agreed with
the price increases, but wanted the right to determine how consumers
would be compensated left to republican governments. Pavlov rejects
this approach because of the republics' differing levels of ability
to carry out compensation programs. The central government's
plan would compensate all consumers for about 85% of the planned
price increases. (John Tedstrom)

CHANGES IN INVESTMENT POLICY POSSIBLE. AFP of February 16 reported
that in answer to a reporter's question about his government's
priorities, Pavlov deplored the fact that "heavy industry cannot
meet the needs of light industry, increasing the need for importing
finished goods." He noted the importance of developing a modern
chemical industry as well as the transportation, forestry, and
metallurgy industries. "We need a balanced economy, and we must
use it, not to produce more tanks than the rest of the world,
but, rather, consumer goods," Pavlov concluded. (John Tedstrom)


WHEN WAS THE CPSU FORMED? Millions of Soviet students have been
taught that the CPSU was founded in 1902, at the second congress
of Russian Socialist-Democratic Workers' Party (RSDRP), when
it split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. However, in order to
be registered in accordance with the new law on public organizations,
TASS said February 15, the CPSU Central Committee has provided
a certificate stating that the Party was founded in 1898--that
is, at the first congress of the RSDRP. Could this mean that
those members who call themselves "Social Democrats"--such as
Fedor Burlatsky, editor of Literaturnaya gazeta, economist Stanislav
Shatalin, and Sergei Alekseev, chairman of the USSR Committee
of Constitutional Oversight--are not to be ostracized? Furthermore,
will the CPSU rehabilitate Mensheviks who were imprisoned and
shot by the Communists in the 1920s and 1930s? (Julia Wishnevsky)


OFFICERS ON THE UNION REFERENDUM. Krasnaya zvezda of February
14 reports that a working group has been created in the Moscow
Military District to assist in preparations for, and the conduct
of, the upcoming referendum on maintaining the union. The group
is headed by the District's Deputy Political Administration Chief,
Major General A. Dudko. Analogous working groups are being created
in other military units in the district. The newspaper also reports
that top political officers meeting in Moscow said that army
political organizations--and the political organs themselves--were
strongly in favor of holding the referendum, and urged servicemen
and their families to participate. (Stephen Foye)

RED ARMY DEFECTORS IN GERMANY. Soviet Major General Alexei Kozlov
told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag on February 16 that about
550 Soviet soldiers and their dependents stationed in Germany
have requested political asylum, AP and Reuter reported over
the weekend. Kozlov said that the figure included at least 30
criminals that Moscow wanted returned to face trial. He said
that more than 100 Soviet troops had deserted since January 1990.
(Stephen Foye)

USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN TO SPEAK ON SOVIET TV TONIGHT. RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman
Boris Yeltsin will deliver a 40-minute address on the current
political situation in the USSR this evening (February 19), ,
to be carried live on the Soviet first channel at 6:15 P.M. Moscow
time, Radio Moscow has reported. (NCA/Sallie Wise)

VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN YELTSIN? Reporting from Moscow on February
14 for the RL Russian Service's evening news show "In the Country
and the World," a correspondent from the independent Postfactum
news agency said the "Communists of Russia" parliamentary bloc
was collecting signatures for a vote of no confidence in Yeltsin's
government over the Gennadii Fil'shin affair. RSFSR people's
deputy Viktor Shenis said the "Communists of Russia" stood some
chance of success since it is homogeneous, whereas its rival,
the "Democratic Russia" parliamentary group, is split. On February
18, Postfactum reported that signatures are being collected calling
for an extraordinary session of the RSFSR Congress of People's
Deputies at which the confidence vote would be put. Postfactum
said the "Communists of Russia" bloc is emboldened by the recent
fall in Yeltsin's popularity ratings. (Savik Shuster)

FIL'SHIN FIGHTS ON. Gennadii Fil'shin told "In the Country and
the World" on February 18 that, despite his resignation from
Yeltsin's government, he does not intend to abandon his career
as an economist. He said he is seeking new partners to continue
his trade deal and has already found one in the RSFSR Ministry
of Foreign Economic Ties. Fil'shin said he thought the publicity
about him had not harmed his prospects but, rather, made him
more popular. (Savik Shuster)

"THE CASE OF THE 14O BILLION RUBLES." Aleksandr Pochinok, chairman
of the special commission of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet investigating
the deal involving the sale of 140 billion rubles abroad at a
disadvantageous rate in exchange for large quantities of consumer
goods, told the late evening TV news program "TSN" on February
18 that it was still possible that the case could bring down
the RSFSR government. Pochinok pointed to gross incompetence
on the part of former deputy premier Gennadii Fil'shin and also
the RSFSR Minister of Trade. In an interview on Vremya earlier
in the evening, Pochinok said that it was naive for members of
the government to believe that it could solve all its problems
with such a deal, as Fil'shin was still maintaining. (Ann Sheehy)


ORLOV CAUTIONS LIBERALS. Fear of their own people rather than
of a dictatorship still afflicts some Russian liberals, writes
former human rights activist Yurii Orlov in Stolitsa, No. 5,
1991. It was not spontaneous popular terror, but the deliberate,
theoretically "well-founded" terror of leftist dictatorship,
supported by the liberals of the world, which destroyed rightist
intellectuals along with millions of simple people in the period
of "building socialism". That the terror then spread to leftist
intellectuals was a logical consequence of the dictatorship,
not a result of any grassroots movement. Today liberals regard
the uncontrolled peaceful activity of millions -- something that
in other nations is considered a norm -- as chaos and anarchy,
concludes Orlov. (Victor Yasmann)

MORE CHURCHES TO BE RESTORED IN MOSCOW. TASS reported on February
18 about a plan to restore the ancient part of Moscow -- Kitai
gorod -- as a cultural, trade, touristic, and spiritual center.
Thirteen churches are situated in Kitai gorod, among them a cathedral
and a monastery. A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church
said that the Church will help to restore these churches. The
chairman of the Executive Committee of the Moscow city soviet,
Yurii Luzhkov, gave assurances at a press conference that the
process of restoring churches will continue. (Oxana Antic)

USSR SUPSOV DEBATES GEORGIAN SITUATION. After a closed committee
session yesterday evening to debate whether to declare a state
of emergency in South Ossetia, the USSR Supreme Soviet will today
discuss the Georgian situation in full session. The Georgian
parliament declared a state of emergency in the South Ossetian
capital of Tskhinvali and the neighboring Dzhava raion in mid-December.
(NCA/Liz Fuller)

UNOFFICIAL GEORGIAN MILITIA ATTACKED. Two Soviet soldiers and
six members of the unofficial Georgian paramilitary group Mkhedrioni
were injured in a clash on the outskirts of Tbilisi on the night
of February 17-18, TASS reports quoting USSR Ministry of Defense
sources. Twenty Mkhedrioni members were detained and quantities
of weapons and ammunition confiscated. Mkhedrioni leader Dzhaba
Ioseliani has accused Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad
Gamsakhurdia of masterminding the incident, and has expressed
his intention of joining other Georgian political parties to
form an "anti-fascist union" to oppose Gamsakhurdia's policies,
according to Reuter. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN SUPREME SOVIET CHAIRMAN APPEALS FOR WESTERN HELP. In
an interview published February 18 in El Mundo and quoted by
Reuter, Gamsakhurdia has predicted that Soviet troops will intervene
in Georgia to crush the independence movement. Gamsakhurdia appealed
to Western leaders to end their support for Gorbachev, to establish
links with those republics seeking independence, and to provide
"political and economic aid." He argued that such Western support
could pressure Gorbachev to withdraw Soviet troops from Georgia.
(Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN CP FIRST SECRETARY RESIGNS. TASS reports that Avtandil
Margiani resigned on February 18 two months after his election
as Georgian CP First Secretary, citing "the complex social and
political situation" in the republic and accusations levelled
against him. Margiani was elected at a Party Congress last December
at which the Georgian CP voted to split from the CPSU following
its defeat in the October Supreme Soviet elections. (Liz Fuller)


GEORGIA TO INTRODUCE LOCAL PREFECTS. Georgia has begun implementing
the provisions of its law "On Local Management during the Transitional
Period" by appointing prefects in towns and villages who will
replace the executive committees of local soviets. Georgian Supreme
Soviet deputy Vakhtang Khmaladze was quoted by TASS on February
15 as arguing that in conditions of economic ruin and the absence
of local power structures "strong authority" is needed. He conceded
that this system is open to abuse "since we are not yet used
to democracy." How the prefects will interact with the new local
councils to be elected on March 31 is not clear. (Liz Fuller)


POPE MEETS GROUP FROM ARMENIA. Pope John Paul II met a delegation
from Armenia on February 15 to discuss a hospital being built
with funds he donated at the time of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia,
RFE-RL's Rome correspondent reports. The Vatican press office
stated that the delegation brought a model of the hospital, which
Armenian authorities have allowed to carry a religious name:
redemptoris mater. The delegation is headed by a member of the
Armenian Republic's government, Ararat Gomtsyan. (Oxana Antic)


AGREEMENTS BETWEEN KAZAKHSTAN AND KYRGYZSTAN SIGNED. On February
18, the presidents of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement
on friendship and cooperation between their two republics, according
to a TASS report of that date. Kazakh president Nazarbaev described
the agreement as a step beyond the agreement signed last year
in developing relations between the two neighboring republics
on the basis of mutual recognition of their sovereignty. Kirgiz
president Akaev said the agreement between the two republics
is important in speeding up the conclusion of a new Union Treaty.
The two leaders also signed a five-year agreement on economic
and cultural cooperation. (Bess Brown)

TWO TAJIK VIEWS OF REFERENDUM. Both the Central Committee of
the Communist Party and the Democratic Party of Tajikistan held
plenums to discuss the referendum on the future of the USSR,
according to TASS reports of February 18. The Communists called
for retention of the Union, with republican president and Communist
Party chief Kakhar Makhkamov condemning "destructive forces"
that question the USSR's existence. The Democrats called for
a boycott of the referendum on the grounds that it does not say
what will be the political and economic bases of the new union,
although they believe Tajikistan will remain within the USSR.
(Bess Brown)

CITIZENS COUNCIL IN BELORUSSIA WANTS BOYCOTT OF REFERENDUM. A
meeting of the informal Belorussian Citizens' Council took place
February 16 in Minsk, at which the March 17 all-Union referendum
and Union treaty draft were roundly criticized. The council passed
a resolution calling for a boycott of the referendum. It also
established a Deputies' Democratic Club to unite Belorussian
people's deputies from the USSR to the local level. The club
already has 110 members. (Belorussian Service/Kathy Mihalisko)


TAX BREAK FOR BELORUSSIAN-LANGUAGE PUBLICATIONS. A long-drawn-out
debate took place in the Belorussian Supreme Soviet concerning
a draft law to give tax breaks to publishing houses in proportion
to the amount of Belorussian-language material they produce.
When conservative deputies managed to vote down the draft, SupSov
deputy chairman Stanislau Shushkevich invited all Belorussian-speaking
deputies to leave the hall with him. The move sufficed to convince
the conservatives to support the bill, which was finally passed
on February 13. (Belorussian Service/Kathy Mihalisko)

MOLDAVIAN CONSCRIPTS' DEATHS ACKNOWLEDGED BY MILITARY. The Moldavian
media last week made public data supplied by the USSR military
commissar for Moldavia to the republic's Department for Military
Affairs concerning deaths of conscripts from Moldavia in the
USSR armed forces. According to the data, 39 died during 1990
and another 7 from January 1 to February 11 of this year. The
causes cited for the deaths include "illness," "suicide," "accident,"
and "consequences of insubordination," but deliberate violence
is not mentioned. Moldavian antimilitary groups have made public
additional cases omitted from the official information, including
2 verified cases this month alone. (Vladimir Socor)

GAGAUZ IN MOLDAVIA OPEN UNIVERSITY. Following the example of
the would-be Dniester SSR in eastern Moldavia, the Supreme Soviet
of the self-proclaimed Gagauz SSR has opened a university in
its administrative center Komrat in southern Moldavia. The main
language of instruction is Russian. The university has opened
with 3 departments and 150 students instead of 6 departments
with 700 students as planned, Moldovapres and TASS reported February
9 and 17, respectively. The Moldavian government is not providing
financial support, having instead opened special Gagauz-language
classes in Moldavian institutions. The Gagauz university has
appealed to other Union republics and to Turkey for support.
(Vladimir Socor).

[as of 1300 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

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