Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 36, 20 February 1991



BALTIC STATES





SHENIN VISITS LITHUANIA. On February 17, Oleg Shenin, Politburo
member and CC Secretary, visited Vilnius and met with activists
of the local pro-Moscow CP. That day's edition of Vremya aired
Shenin's remark that Lithuania's poll the week before does not
entitle the republic to secede from the Union, although a vast
majority of its citizens opted for independence. Shenin implied
that Lithuania could gain independence only within pre-1939 borders--i.e.,
without the Vilnius and Klaipeda regions. According to Shenin's
secret memorandum, approved by CPSU Deputy General Secretary
Vladimir Ivashko and published in Nezavisimaya gazeta January
29, it was Shenin who prepared the Lithuanian crackdown during
his visit to Lithuania in August of last year. (Julia Wishnevsky)


CPSU THREATENS PRESIDENTIAL RULE. In his meeting with Party activists
in Lithuania last week, Shenin warned that presidential rule
could be imposed there to protect people from "one-sided influence
by Lithuanian separatist forces," according to Pravda on February
19. Shenin reportedly told the Lithuanian CP that presidential
rule is a possible measure to counteract "the violation by the
Lithuanian leadership of Soviet laws." Pravda did not say why
a CPSU official was in a position to warn of presidential rule
in a "law-based state" in which the Party no longer enjoys a
constitutionally guaranteed leading role in society. (Riina Kionka)


IVASHKO REJECTS CPSU RESPONSIBILITY FOR CRACKDOWN. The February
15 session of the USSR Supreme Soviet opened with a deputy's
request to investigate the CPSU leadership's responsibility for
the tragic events in Lithuania. Although such a request did not
need to be put to a vote, a vote was conducted and the measure
received majority of votes. However, the measure failed to be
approved by more than 50% of all deputies, and therefore the
request seems to have been rejected. Vladimir Ivashko thereupon
expressed his Party's outrage over such a "political" accusation.
Could Ivashko be unaware that his secret memorandum outlining
the crackdown scenario has leaked to the independent press? (Julia
Wishnevsky)

CPSU ACTS AS CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION, LITERARY CRITIC SAYS. In
a letter to Moscow News (No. 6), Moscow literary critic Igor'
Vinogradov asserted that in light of the Baltic crisis it is
clear that the CPSU leadership is interested solely in preserving
its privileges, which it has concentrated in its hands through
years of unrestricted power. In order to defend these privileges
and interests, the CPSU has shown readiness to kill people as
was the case in Lithuania and Latvia in January, Vinogradov said.
He charged that the national salvation committees in the Baltics
set up by the republican CPs were involved in overtly criminal
actions of overthrowing legally elected authorities in those
republics. Vinogradov called on such CPSU members as Yakovlev,
Shevardnadze, and Bakatin to ask themselves whether they are
still ready to be members of an organization which is acting
in such an overtly criminal way. (Vera Tolz)

LITHUANIA CALLS FOR TALKS...AGAIN. Lithuania's parliament officially
notified Moscow on February 19 of the results of its independence
plebiscite and asked for immediate talks on recognition of independence,
Radio Moscow reported that day. Lithuania's parliament said the
goal of the talks should be restoration of pre-1940 relations
between Vilnius and Moscow, and suggested that a Soviet state
delegation be authorized to conduct talks. About 85% of those
eligible to vote took part in the February 9 poll, with some
90% voting for full independence. Lithuania has repeatedly asked
Moscow for bona fide talks on independence. (Riina Kionka)

UKRAINIAN PARTY INVITES VILNIUS COMMUNISTS TO PRESS CONFERENCE.
The February 9 issue of Rad'yanska Ukraina reported on a press
conference given by members of the so-called "Citizens' Committee
of Vilnius" at the press center of the Ukrainian CP Central Committee.
The guests, whose sympathies almost certainly lay with the National
Salvation Committee, lodged complaints about the Lithuanian government's
alleged repression of Russian speakers. They also went on a lecture
tour of Kiev factories to explain the situation in Lithuania
and to expose the "falsifications" of the media and certain politicians.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

POLISH PUBLIC OPINION ON LITHUANIA. PAP reported on February
17 the results of a Polish Radio and TV public opinion poll,
conducted in late January, on the situation in Lithuania. 53%
of the respondents blamed only the USSR for the escalation of
violence in Lithuania; 19% placed the blame more on the USSR
than Lithuania; 11% thought that both sides were equally to blame;
and only 2% thought that the Lithuanians were predominantly responsible.
The idea of Lithuanian independence was generally accepted: 39%
of the respondents were for immediate and unconditional sovereignty,
while 51% favored evolutionary changes and negotiations with
the USSR. 3% wanted Lithuania to remain within the Soviet Union
and 7% BBd no opinion on the subject. While 61% of the respondents
tBBught the Polish Government reacted properly to the LiBhuanian
events, 16% thought that Poland could have done more and 11%
maintained that Poland should not have gone as far as it did.
(Roman Stefanowski)



PREBIMINARY PREPARATIONS FOR LATVIAN-USSR TALKS. Radio Riga and
Diena reported on February 19 that Latvia's Deputy Prime MiniBter
Ilmars Bisers met with Vladimir Velichko, Deputy PriBe Minister
of the USSR, earlier that day and on February 18. B Velichko
is also chairman of the Soviet delegation appoiBted on February
1 by Gorbachev "for discussion with representatives of the Latvian
SSR" of political, social, and economBc issues. Bisers said that
at the two meetings they talked Bbout technical and other aspects
for getting the LatviBn-USSR talks started. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIA ASKS FOR OBSERVERS. Estonia's government has notified
the governments of 30 countries that it would welcome foreign
delegations to act as observers at Estonia's March 3 plebiscite
on independence, Paevaleht reported on February 19. According
to Paevaleht, quoting the Estonian Foreign Ministry's information
bureau, several international organizations--including the European
Parliament, the Council of EuropOBand the Nordic Council--have
already agreed to send watchers. (Riina Kionka)

USSR TELLS FINLAND: THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR BALTIC DEATHS WILL
BE PUNISHED. Finnish Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio said that
USSR had replied on February 18 to Finland's diplomatic note
concerning the Soviet crackdown in the Baltics in January, reported
AP on February 19. Paasio welcomed the Soviet reply, which said
that those found guilty of the tragic events in Vilnius and Riga
would be punished. Paasio added: "Finland feels that the CSCE
offers a suitable forum [...] for the discussion of such questions
as the events in the Baltic republics. The answer now received
from the Soviet Union supports this view." (Dzintra Bungs)





USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



YELTSIN DEMANDS GORBACHEV'S RESIGNATION. In his strongest challenge
to Gorbachev so far, Boris Yeltsin demanded that Gorbachev resign
and be replaced by the USSR Federation Council in which he, as
RSFSR leader, is primus inter pares. Interviewed on Soviet TV
on February 20, Yeltsin accused Gorbachev of having "deceived"
the people from the beginning of perestroika. He said that Gorbachev
had assumed dictatorial powers of which he--Yeltsin--had warned
since 1987. He publicly distanced himself from the Soviet leader
and called upon the Russian people to support him. Yeltsin blamed
himself for having "believed too much" in Gorbachev. He also
accused KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov of plotting against democrats.
(Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN'S TV SPEECH CAUSES STIR IN USSR SUPSOV. Today's (February
20) edition of the TSN news program has been replaced with a
broadcast of condemnation in the USSR Supreme Soviet of Yeltsin's
TV appearance, with speaker after speaker attacking Yeltsin.
No potential supporters of Yeltsin were allowed to take the floor.
The morning SupSov session ended with Anatolii Luk'yanov proposing
work on a resolution condemning Yeltsin's address, to be discussed
later today. (Julia Wishnevsky)

PRIMAKOV ON PEACE PLAN. In an interview last night (February
19) on Soviet TV, Gorbachev's special envoy Evgenii Primakov
said, "the slaughter must be stopped." "I am not saying that
the war was justified before, but its continuation cannot now
be justified from any point of view. A people is perishing,"
Primakov said. Indicating the potential long-term value of Gorbachev's
peace plan, Primakov said, "The Soviet Union is working with
absolutely clean hands now in the Near East, and if we are capable
of actually bringing a peaceful outcome to the affair and by
peaceful means guarantee the Iraqi pullout from Kuwait, it would
be a great credit to the policy personally directed by Gorbachev,"
TASS reported February 19. (Suzanne Crow)

BESSMERTNYKH COMMENTS TO SUPSOV. Answering questions from the
Supreme Soviet on February 19, Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh said the linkage of the Gulf conflict to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict would be undesirable, TASS reported February 19. When
asked when the "slaughter" of innocent Iraqi women and children
from allied bombing would cease, Bessmertnykh said: "Comrades,
do not forget the people of Kuwait. It is a country suffering
from aggression...they are suffering too, and we must rally to
their defense as well," AP reported February 20. (Suzanne Crow)


KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA ON PEACE PLAN. The February 20 KP reported
details of the Soviet peace plan quoting well-informed Kremlin
sources. The details corresponded with Western press accounts
of the plan, although KP said the plan includes a provision for
a gradual withdrawal of allied forces from the Gulf and their
replacement by inter-Arab or United Nations forces. (NCA/Suzanne
Crow)

USSR ON US REACTION TO PEACE PLAN. Reacting to US President George
Bush's assessment that the Soviet peace plan "falls well short"
of what is required, Bessmertnykh said the plan was addressed
to the Iraqi leadership, not to the US. Bessmertnykh said he
did not consider the US statement a rejection. Izvestia (February
20) said the UN Security Council, not the US, should decide if
the war is to continue. Pravda (February 20) said "certain people"
are blind to diplomatic efforts because of their desire to "punish"
Iraq. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)

GENERALS SCORE ALLIED GULF ACTIONS. Three top-ranking Soviet
military leaders have recently criticized allied actions in the
Gulf War. In comments reported on February 18 by AFP, Marshal
Sergei Akhromeev told Interfax that strikes "launched against
the Iraqi people" could no longer be tolerated. Warsaw Pact Chief
of Staff Vladimir Lobov accused allied forces of using the UN
resolution "to camouflage the massacre on Iraqi territory," and
of threatening strategic parity by testing advanced weapons.
On February 19 former Warsaw Pact Commander-in-Chief Marshal
Viktor Kulikov charged that American actions indicate that the
US has not embraced "new thinking," Reuter reported. (Stephen
Foye)

EC MOVES TO UNFREEZE AID. A statement issued after a ministerial
meeting of the EC executive commission in Luxembourg said the
EC should resume preparatory work on food credits and technical
assistance to the USSR. A final decision on aid will be taken
on March 4. Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jacques Poos, the current
EC President, said "Gorbachev said he would continue on the path
to reform even if he sometimes has to take a detour," the New
York Times reported February 20. Poos was in Moscow on February
16 for meetings with Gorbachev. (Suzanne Crow)

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO REFERENDUM ARRANGEMENTS. A draft resolution
to be presented to the USSR Supreme Soviet outlines additional
measures in connection with the March 17 referendum on the preservation
of the Soviet Union, The Times reported February 19. It makes
provision for the referendum to be held in individual districts
and workplaces where the republican or local authorities refuse
to organize the referendum. According to the report, it also
says that voters can be given only one, all-Union ballot paper
with the one all-Union question. This would seem to be aimed
at plans by the RSFSR and Ukraine to hold their own referendums
the same day. (Ann Sheehy)

PROGRESS ON UNION TREATY. Chairman of the RSFSR Council of the
Republic Vladimir Isakov told TASS February 19 that considerable
progress was made last week by the working group revising the
draft Union treaty. Isakov said the eight participating republics
(the Slav republics, the Central Asian republics, and Kazakhstan)
had put their signatures to those theses they had agreed on.
Judging by Isakov's remarks, the republics have gained certain
concessions from the center. The adoption of the USSR constitution,
and determining the strategy of state security, military policy,
and foreign policy are now to be joint powers, although the Union
will retain sole responsibility for ensuring the state security
of the USSR and implementing its foreign policy. (Ann Sheehy)


MOISEEV, CONSERVATIVES ON ARMY DAY RALLY. The General Staff Chief
told TASS on February 19 that the upcoming military rally in
Moscow does not constitute a threat to democratic reform. Army
General Mikhail Moiseev said that the rally was planned by veterans'
groups and other Moscow organizations to show support for Gorbachev
and the Union treaty. A Defense Ministry spokesman said he expected
up to 300,000 people to attend. Meanwhile, members of the hard-line
Soyuz group said they were organizing tens of thousands of supporters
for the rally to show support for the armed forces, Reuter reported.
(NCA/Stephen Foye)

MORE FIGURES ON ARMY DESERTERS. Soviet army headquarters in Eastern
Germany said on February 19 that 152 Soviet soldiers have defected
since November of 1989, Western agencies reported. The German
Interior Ministry, according to the reports, says that only 121
Soviet soldiers have requested political asylum. On February
17 a Soviet general was quoted as saying that 550 Soviet soldiers
and dependents had defected since 1989 (see Daily Report, February
19). (NCA/Stephen Foye)

CENSORSHIP HAS NEVER DISAPPEARED, DEPUTY MINISTER SAYS. Despite
the press law's abolition of media censorship, censorship has
never disappeared in the USSR, RSFSR Deputy Minister of the mass
media told Moscow News (No. 6). Mikhail Fedotov said several
decrees and resolutions adopted after the press law went into
effect were aimed at nullifying its provision abolishing censorship.
Among these documents Fedotov cited a USSR Council of Ministers
resolution on the main censorship body, Glavlit. The resolution
stipulated the renaming of the organization, while preserving
many of its traditional functions. Fedotov also mentioned a resolution
of Gosteleradio, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of
Communication concerning the registration of new audio and video
mass media, which apparently gives the Soviet government the
right to decide arbitrarily which new mass media should be registered
and which not. (Vera Tolz)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



KYRGYZSTAN TO JOIN GROUP OF FIVE? At a press conference on the
agreements between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that were signed
on February 18, Kirgiz president Askar Akaev told journalists
that his republic is ready to join the group of four republics
(RSFSR, Ukraine, Belorussia and Kazakhstan) that have signed
a agreement on direct relations, bypassing the central government.
Akaev's statement was reported on Radio Moscow on February 19.
Uzbekistan joined the four in establishing an econmic coordinating
group, according to a Radio Rossiya report of February 17. Akaev
added that a new Union treaty should grow out of direct relations
between republics, rather than being imposed from above. (Bess
Brown)

QUESTIONS FOR RSFSR REFERENDUM APPROVED. On February 19 the RSFSR
central commission for holding the USSR and RSFSR referendums
on March 17 approved the formulation of the two questions to
be asked in the RSFSR referendum, TASS reported. The questions
are: "Do you consider necessary the preservation of the RSFSR
as a single federative multi-national state in a renewed Union?"
and "Do you consider necessary the introduction of the post of
president of the RSFSR elected by universal vote?" These were
the only two questions backed by the necessary number of deputies'
signatures. The formulation of the first question has been modified
so that it now appears not to conflict with the question being
posed in the all-Union referendum. (Ann Sheehy)

GOSPLAN OFFICIAL APPOINTED RSFSR DEPUTY PREMIER. Al'bert Kamenev
has been nominated to be RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister for economic
questions, Vremya reported on February 19. Kamenev, who is 59,
seems to be an old-style government official. He became first
deputy chairman of the RSFSR Gosplan in 1978 under Leonid Brezhnev
and remained in this position until recently. Kamenev replaces
Gennadii Fil'shin, who stepped down last week amid allegations
of connection with a foreign economic scandal. (Alexander Rahr)


GEORGIAN AUTHORITIES ARREST PARAMILITARY LEADER. Georgian journalists
told Reuter yesterday that Georgian Interior Ministry troops
had detained Dzhaba Ioseliani, the leader of the unofficial paramilitary
Mkhedrioni formation, and up to 40 of his subordinates. Following
an attack on Mkhedrioni on the night of February 17-18 (which
Ioseliani blamed on Georgian government forces, although the
USSR MVD later claimed responsibility), on February 18 Ioseliani
told a rally in Tbilisi that he intended to form a new political
party to combat "fascism" in Georgia. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT IMPLICATED IN "FOOD FOR ARMS" DEAL. On February
15 Sovetskaya Rossiya reported that in response to a telegram
to Komsomol'skaya pravda from a metal worker at the Tula weapons
plant proposing the exchange of weapons manufactured at the plant
for food to alleviate chronic shortages in Tula, a letter from
the Georgian Council of Ministers chairman T. Sigua was received
requesting 10,000 hunting rifles, automatic weapons, ammunition
and 500 Kalashnikov assault rifles in exchange for meat, sausage,
canned stew, fish, tobacco, tea and fruit to the same value.
The Tula factory director is awaiting instructions from the USSR
Ministry of Defense before replying to the Georgian offer. (Liz
Fuller)

ARMENIA BANS ORGANIZATIONS WITH FOREIGN-BASED LEADERSHIP. Following
its controversial decree on the depoliticization of public life,
the Armenian Supreme Soviet has voted to forbid all political
organizations whose leadership is based outside Armenia from
operating within the republic, Radio Erevan reported on February
14. This ruling is a serious blow to the diaspora political organizations
that recently opened offices in Erevan, in particular the Dashnak
Party. One Armenian political observer has argued that similarities
between the programs of the Dashnak Party and the Armenian CP
could enable them to function as one bloc within parliament.
(Liz Fuller)

AZERBAIJAN TO RECEIVE TURKISH TV. Radio Moscow reported on February
18 that a satellite TV relay station is now in operation in Baku
that will soon enable Azerbaijanis to receive Turkish television.
The satellite facility is one of two donated by Turkey within
the framework of increased political, economic and cultural ties
over the past year. (NCA/Liz Fuller)

MOLDAVIA REJECTS UNION REFERENDUM. The Moldavian Supreme Soviet
voted February 19 to reject the holding in Moldavia of the union
referendum scheduled for March 17, TASS and Central TV reported
last night (February 19). The voting was on nominal roll call
and the session was broadcast live on Moldavian radio and television.
Prime Minister Mircea Druc was cited as telling the chamber just
before the voting that holding the referendum was "inconceivable"
in his view. No further information is available as yet. (Vladimir
Socor)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT REPORTS TO SUPSOV ON ROMANIAN VISIT. Addressing
the Moldavian Supreme Soviet just before the vote on the referendum,
President Mircea Snegur reported on his visit of last week to
Romania. Snegur announced that he had agreed with Romanian leaders
to coordinate steps toward establishing consulates in each other's
country, and to conclude "as urgently as possible" a Moldavian-Romanian
"intergovernmental treaty" at the Prime Ministers' level, setting
the framework for economic and cultural cooperation. Moldovapres
reported on Snegur's address yesterday. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN-ROMANIAN ECONOMIC COOPERATION MAPPED OUT. Snegur further
reported to parliament and at a news conference on February 19
that he and Romanian leaders had agreed to task the respective
ministries to draw up sectoral agreements on economic cooperation,
including: Romanian processing of Moldavian agricultural produce,
with part of the processed output to be marketed abroad by Moldavia;
Moldavian import of Romanian steel pipe in large quantity, under
Kishinev's plan to extend methane gas distribution to the countryside;
housing construction in Moldavia to be contracted by Romanian
organizations; and a joint Moldavian-Romanian credit bank or
banks to support bilateral economic cooperation. (Vladimir Socor).


DONBASS MINERS THREATEN STRIKE. The Regional Union of Strike
Committees in Donbass has resolved that coal miners in the region
will renew their strike on March 1 if no agreement is reached
with the Kiev and Moscow authorities, Radio Kiev and Radio Moscow
reported on February 19. The coal miners are demanding that their
wages be at least doubled and corresponding changes in pension
legislation. (Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN COMMITTEE URGES "NO" VOTE ON REFERENDUM. "Referendum:
Sovereign Ukraine," a committee recently formed by representatives
of several opposition parties in Ukraine, has issued a call to
citizens to vote "no" during the March 17 referendum. The committee
maintains that the question posed in the referendum is formulated
"incorrectly" and that it could be misinterpreted. (Roman Solchanyk)


CRIMEAN AUTONOMY RECOGNIZED. TASS announced February 13 that
"the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic has been reestablished."
One day earlier, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet voted in favor
of restoring Crimean autonomy following a referendum on January
20 in Crimea organized by the oblast Party leadership. The referendum,
however, was bitterly denounced by Crimean Tatars who saw it
as an attempt to sabotage the restoration of their national-territorial
autonomy. TASS somewhat deceptively said that the development
expressed "the will of the Crimean population" (which is predominately
Russian), making no mention of the specifically Crimean Tatar
viewpoint. (Kathy Mihalisko)

SALES TAX INTRODUCED IN UKRAINE. Radio Kiev reported on February
17 that late last week a 5% retail sales tax was introduced in
Ukraine. The proceeds will go toward creating an extra-budgetary
fund for economic stabilization. The Ukrainian Council of Ministers
adopted a resolution to this effect on February 11. (Valentyn
Moroz)

"NATIONALIZATION" OF UKRAINIAN ENERGY INDUSTRY? Radio Kiev reported
on February 14 that, although Ukrainian energy exports to Eastern
Europe total about $1.5 billion annually, Ukrainian authorities
have never received any payments from the center in hard currency.
Furthermore, the Soviet energy ministry has paid nothing at all
this year, forcing power stations in Ukraine to borrow money
in order to pay salaries. Radio Moscow-1 reported on February
17, citing Izvestia, that the Ukrainian energy industry has threatened
to cut deliveries to the Caucasus and Eastern Europe if the all-Union
ministries of energy and foreign trade do not settle their debts
for energy already delivered. Ukrainian power stations serve
Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, the North Caucasus,
and Transcaucasian republics. (Valentyn Moroz)

MEDICAL EDUCATION IN UKRAINE CATASTROPHIC. The Ukrainian health
minister said in a letter published in Radyans'ka Ukraina on
January 29, in response to a reader who expressed concern over
declining social science instruction at medical schools, that
the situation is catastrophic. As a rule, he said, graduating
doctors are unprepared to diagnose and treat patients. Students
from developing countries who study at Soviet universities often
fail to pass exams which their countries require before allowing
them to practice. This should not be surprising in view of the
number of hours devoted to "social sciences": 489 for political
economy and "problems of modern socialism", as compared to 232
hours for gynecology, 166 for pediatrics, 92 for psychiatry and
pharmacology, and 62 for oncology. (Valentyn Moroz)

UZBEKISTAN AND TAJIKISTAN DISCUSS ALUMINUM PLANT. Deputies of
the Supreme Soviets of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have studied
environmental damage caused by the Tajik Aluminum plant, and
have agreed on stopping the functioning of 100 electrolysis units
at the plant during the summer months in 1991, according a TASS
report of February 16, quoting Izvestia. Pollution caused by
the plant has been a serious cause of friction between the two
republics. In January, 1990, Literaturnaya gazeta reported that
the Party chief of Uzbekistan's Surkhandarya oblast, which adjoins
the plant, had demanded 30,000,000 rubles from the plant director
for damages. The plant is a major element in Tajikistan's industrialization
drive. (Bess Brown)

FIRST INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER IN TURKMENISTAN. Ashkhabad journalist
Saparmurad Ovezberdyev has told RFE/RL that publication of an
independent newspaper, Turkmen ili (The Turkmen People), started
last week. The weekly, which appears in Russian, has a print
run of only 999 copies--as long as it remains below 1,000, it
is not necessary to register the publication with the authorities,
according to Ovezberdyev. The conservative political leadership
of the republic has been very reluctant to grant recognition
to any independent political activity. (NCA/Turkmen BD/Bess Brown)


[as of 1300 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

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