The best proof of love is trust. Dr. Joyce Brothers - Dr. Joyce Brothers
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 37, 21 February 1991





BALTIC STATES



SOVIET AMBASSADOR ATTENDS ESTONIAN RECEPTION. The Soviet ambassador
in Sweden, Nikolai Uspensky, attended a diplomatic reception
on February 19 in Stockholm marking Estonian Independence Day,
Foreign Minister Lennart Meri told RFE/RL on February 20. The
reception, marking the 73rd anniversary of an independent Republic
of Estonia, was hosted by Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and Meri.
Twelve ambassadors--from the USSR, the US, the UK, France, Denmark,
Czechoslovakia, Romania, the EC, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland,
and Australia--attended the party, along with numerous lower-ranking
diplomats from other countries. Meri attributed Uspensky's somewhat
puzzling attendance to the "legacy of customs and traditions
of the Shevardnadze Foreign Ministry." (Riina Kionka)

CZECHOSLOVAK OFFICE FOR VILNIUS. Michael Cermak, adviser to Czechoslovak
Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier, says an "interest bureau" will
work solely to foster economic, cultural, scientific, and educational
cooperation between Czechoslovakia and Lithuania. President Vaclav
Havel announced on February 15 that such an office would open
in Vilnius. Cermak said that no date has been set and that a
formal agreement would have to be signed first. In a telephone
interview on February 19, Cermak told the RFE Lithuanian Service
that the office would have no consular functions, but expressed
the hope that Czechoslovakia will eventually form diplomatic
ties. He also said he did not know how the Kremlin would react
but foresaw no legal obstacles. (Barbara Kroulik)

LCP NEWSPAPERS DISAPPEAR FROM NEWSSTANDS. TASS in English on
February 19 reported that the newspapers of the Lithuanian Communist
Party, Tarybu Lietuva, Sovetskaya Litva, and Otchizna, had disappeared
from newsstands in Vilnius for the previous five days. TASS said
the disappearance was a result of the law on political parties
in Lithuania, passed by parliament in September 1990, forbidding
parties of foreign countries to operate in the republic. There
was no explanation why the newspapers disappeared only now and
not in September when the law was passed. (Saulius Girnius)

USSR-LITHUANIA DISCUSSIONS. Lithuanian parliament press spokesman
Audrius Azubalis told the RFE Lithuanian Service on February
20 that USSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov has sent
a letter to Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, proposing
that USSR-Lithuanian discussions on Lithuanian independence begin
in "the next few weeks." Landsbergis told the Lithuanian Supreme
Council about the letter on February 20 and said that the Lithuanian
leadership would answer it by the end of the week. The letter
made no mention of the military occupation of several buildings
in Vilnius making discussions more difficult. The letter also
announced some changes in the make-up of the Soviet delegation,
but no details were provided. (Saulius Girnius)

WHO WAS THE SOVIET OFFICER KILLED IN VILNIUS? Viktor Shatskikh,
an young lieutenant killed in Vilnius during the storming of
the TV tower on January 13, belonged to the KGB special units
("spetsnaz") attached to the KGB Seventh Administration of External
Surveillance, writes Sobesednik, No. 6, 1991, citing unofficial
sources. Shatskikh graduated from the Higher Military-Political
Academy of the Border Troops, where his father worked. Before
being deployed in Lithuania, Shatskikh's unit was stationed in
the Moscow area. The weekly gives official and unofficial versions
of Shatskikh's death: either that he was killed by "hit men"
from the Lithuanian pro-independence movement "Sajudis", or that
his comrades shot him in the back when he refused to shoot at
people. (Victor Yasmann)

LVOV DONATES MONEY TO LITHUANIAN RADIO. The director of the "Vilnius
Bell" radio station, which suffered heavy damage during the events
of January, was in Lvov recently seeking assistance to get the
station back on the air. K. Sakalauskas left Lvov with a 20,000
ruble donation from the regional council of Rukh and a promise
of technical assistance from the "Free Word from Ukraine" civic
center, according to the February 12 issue of Komsomol'skoe znamya.
The West Ukrainian city understands the power of radio: earlier
this month, the radical Lvov Oblast' soviet gave 50,000 rubles
to start up an independent station as an alternative to state
radio. (Kathy Mihalisko)

SOVIET AMBASSADOR ATTENDS ESTONIAN RECEPTION. The Soviet ambassador
in Sweden, Nikolai Uspensky, attended a diplomatic reception
on February 19 in Stockholm marking Estonian Independence Day,
Foreign Minister Lennart Meri told RFE/RL on February 20. The
reception, marking the 73rd anniversary of an independent Republic
of Estonia, was hosted by Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and Meri.
Twelve ambassadors--from the USSR, the US, the UK, France, Denmark,
Czechoslovakia, Bomania, the EC, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland
and ABstralia--attended the party, along with numerous lower-ranking
diplomats from other countries. Meri attributed Uspensky's somewhat
puzzling attendance to the "legacy of cuBtoms and traditions
of the Shevardnadze Foreign Ministry." (RiBna Kionka)

B PUGO LINKS INDEPENDENCE ASPIRATIONS WITH RISING CRIME. USSR Minister
of Internal Affairs Boris Pugo told the press on FebruBry 19
that in 1990, compared to 1989, crime in the USSR increased by
13%; this was the sharpest rise registered since World Bar II,
and was marked by "the aggressiveness of armed elements," said
Pugo, according to the Financial Times on February 19. Pugo suggested
that the greatest annual increasB in crimes had been registered
in those republics (as examples, he cited Armenia--44%; Estonia--24%;
Lithuania--19%; and Latvia--17%) seeking independence from the
USSR, and criticized the Baltic States for separating their police
force from the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs. (Dzintra Bungs)


DEPARTUROBOF BLACK BERETS FROM LATVIA STILL UNCERTAIN. While
in Moscow earlier this week, Latvia's Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars
Bisers met with Pugo. Bisers again demanded the removal of the
Black Berets [OMON], a special security force under the jurisdiction
of Pugo's ministry, from Latvia. Despite earlier assurances both
by Pugo and his predecessor Vadim Bakatin that the Black Berets
would be transferred out of Latvia, Pugo was unwilling to say
when this would take place. He told Bisers that the investigation
of criminal cases involving Black Berets is not finished, and
that not all residents of Riga oppose the Black Berets' presence
there, reported Radio Riga on February 20.(Dzintra Bungs)

FIRST POSTWAR CONGRESS OF FARMERS' UNION. On February 16 the
Farmers' Union convened in Riga for its first congress since
World War II. Aivars Berkis, a journalist and forestry specialist,
was elected leader of the approximately 1,000-member-strong party,
reported Radio Riga on February 19. The Union, reactivated on
July 5, l990, is intended to uphold the interests of individual
farmers and agriculture. It is not affiliated with the Latvian
Farmers' Association (Latvija Lauksaimnieku Savieniba), an organization
of kolkhoz and sovkhoz leaders and employees. The Farmers' Union,
along with the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party, were
the two strongest political parties in interwar Latvia. (Dzintra
Bungs)

B CHURKIN ACCUSES CANADA OF DOUBLE STANDARDS. Soviet Foreign
Ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin in Moscow on February 20 accused
Canada of practicing a double standard in its Baltic policy,
Reuter reported that day. Churkin criticized Canada for opposing French-speaking
Quebec separatists at home while encouraging Baltic independence
movements in the USSR. Churkin added that Canadian attitudes
represent "open intervention in the internal affairs of our country."
(Riina Kionka)

CANADA REJECTS CRITICISM. Canada rejected Churkin's allegations
of intervention on February 20, Reuter reported that day. Canadian
External Affairs spokesman Denys LaLiberte sBBd Canada has provided
consular and communications assistance, but did not have observers
in Lithuania during the February 9 independence poll. LaLiberte
also said that Canada supports the "legitimate right" of the
Baltics to determine their own future. (Riina Kionka)

BALTIC SEA ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE. Representatives from Finland,
Sweden, the USSR, Denmark, Germany, and Poland convened in Helsinki
on February 19 for a four-day annual meeting of the Baltic Marine
Environment Commission. The participants, according to Reuter
of February 19, will discuss the adoption of tougher provisions
against countries which do not comply with the commission's convention.
They will also consider extending its coverage to inland waters
of member states, especially since the Baltic Sea is seriously
affected by airborne industrial and agricultural pollutants and
sewage carried in rivers into the sea. (Dzintra Bungs)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



USSR SUPREME SOVIET DENOUNCES YELTSIN. The USSR Supreme Soviet
approved by 280 votes to 31 a resolution denouncing Boris Yeltsin's
televised attack on President Mikhail Gorbachev. TASS reported
on February 20 that the resolution labeled Yeltsin's call for
Gorbachev's replacement a "violation of the constitution" aimed
at the "liquidation of the lawfully elected organs of power."
The resolution urged Gorbachev to respond directly to Yeltsin
on television, and called on the RSFSR parliament to denounce
its leader. Yeltsin has also been criticized by the leaders of
Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Leonid Kravchuk and Nursultan Nazarbaev,
respectively. Kravchuk called Yeltsin's remarks on Gorbachev
"irresponsible" and Nazarbaev described them as "unacceptable."
(Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN DEFENDED BY DEMOCRATS. A number of democrats have risen
to Yeltsin's defense. The radical Leningrad City Council voted
to approve Yeltsin's television statement, according to Reuter
on February 20 and 21. The council's chairman, Anatolii Sobchak,
told reporters that he "categorically disagrees" with the USSR
Supreme Soviet resolution against Yeltsin. Vyacheslav Shapovalenko
from the Interregional Group of People's Deputies accused the
Soviet parliament of insulting the Russian people by denouncing
its leader. Yeltsin's military adviser, General Dmitrii Volkogonov,
defended his boss's statement as "quite legitimate" but warned
that a further confrontation between Gorbachev and Yeltsin will
"leave only ashes behind." (Alexander Rahr)

AZIZ COMING TONIGHT: OFFICIAL. The Soviet Foreign Ministry said
today (February 21) Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz is expected
to arrive in Moscow late today to deliver Baghdad's response
to the Kremlin's peace plan, Reuter said. The information is
apparently taken from a Baghdad Radio report on Aziz's plans.
(Suzanne Crow)

SHEVARDNADZE PRESS CONFERENCE. Former Soviet Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze's remarks at a press conference were broadcast
last night (February 20) on Vremya. He announced his election
as president of his recently-established Foreign Policy Association.
Shevardndadze said the aim of his association is not to second-guess
the Foreign Ministry, but to help create a dialogue on current
foreign policy issues. He stressed he wants to communicate the
ideas of "new thinking" abroad so that they are better understood.
Shevardnadze criticized the Kremlin's domestic policy and said
"if the destabilization process continues, if the Soviet people
cannot stabilize the situation and remove social tension, a civil
war will come," TASS reported February 20. (Suzanne Crow)

SHEVARDNADZE COMMENTS ON GULF. Commenting on the Gulf crisis,
Shevardnadze revealed that the Soviet Union had formulated a
peace plan for Iraq on January 10-11 but the plan was never submitted
due to problems "of an organizational nature." He did not indicate
whether the plan's elements were contained in the USSR's subsequent
peace plans. Shevardnadze also said "even if there's only one
chance of success" the Soviet dialogue should continue with Iraq
in the interests of saving human lives, TASS reported February
20. (Suzanne Crow)

TASS OMITS REMARKS SYMPATHETIC TO KUWAIT. In his press conference
yesterday, Shevardnadze pointed out that "not enough attention
is given to the sufferings of the Kuwaiti people. No one has
said yet how many people were killed there, how many people were
executed there." "When we talk about the victims in Iraq we must
not forget about what happened in Kuwait and why the Security
Council took the resolution you all know about," Reuter reported.
Similar comments were made by Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
before the Supreme Soviet on February 19 and reported by AP.
(See Daily Report February 20.) TASS, however, omitted both sets
of comments in its coverage of the Shevardnadze and Bessmertnykh
statements. (Suzanne Crow)

MINIMUM CONSUMER BUDGET. Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov told
the USSR Supreme Soviet on February 20 that a Presidential Decree
will be issued soon on the minimum consumer budget (APN, February
20). This will incorporate approximately 300 consumer goods and
services (the Shatalin program listed some 150). The minimum
consumer budget will presumably provide the basis for recalculating
the criteria for the poverty level, the minimum wage, and the
minimum pension. (Keith Bush)

BOOST FOR OIL INDUSTRY. The USSR Cabinet of Ministers has earmarked
an extra 25 billion rubles for emergency measures in 1991 to
boost oil output (The Financial Times, February 21). The money
will be used to finance emergency technical re-equipment of the
oilfields and social measures to improve living conditions for
oil workers and their families. Oil production associations will
be allowed to retain 70% of the export earnings from any oil
produced above the level of state orders. The producer price
of crude will be raised from an average of 23-25 rubles a ton
to an average of 70 rubles a ton. This decision follows warnings
of sharp cuts in output and net export totals. (Keith Bush)

YANAEV ELECTION UPHELD. The tellers' commission told the USSR
Supreme Soviet on February 18 it had investigated allegations
by the Interregional Deputies' Group that there were irregularities
in Gennadii Yanaev's election as USSR vice-president. Radio Moscow
reported that day that the commission admitted that it was itself
to blame, since it "gave out more voting slips than were shown
in the protocol on the voting on December 27." But, the commission
said, this was "a purely technical mistake" that did not invalidate
Yanaev's election. (Elizabeth Teague)

CONTROVERSY OVER TV BROADCASTING ON MILITARY ISSUES. Krasnaya
zvezda (February 14) published a reader's letter criticizing
an order signed in December 1990 by Gosteleradio chief Leonid
Kravchenko and Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov on the creation
of the "Creative Production TV and Radio Society, Radar." According
to the order, the new society is to be in charge of the preparation
of TV and radio broadcasts on military issues. The broadcasts
are to help in "promoting the prestige of the USSR Armed Forces
and unity between the army and the people." In January, Moskovskii
komsomolets published an article charging that Kravchenko and
Yazov want to replace popular political shows like Vzglyad with
military propaganda. Answering to the criticism in Krasnaya zvezda,
general director of "Radar" Colonel V. Voloshin said that no
connection should be drawn between Vzglyad and "Radar," since
the latter was created after Vzglyad stopped broadcasting. (Vera
Tolz)

AKHROMEEV CALLS FOR BAN ON SUPSOV BROADCASTS. On February 18,
the opening day of its present session, the USSR Supreme Soviet
received a letter from Gorbachev adviser Marshal Sergei Akhromeev,
demanding that the hours of daily television and radio broadcasting
of the USSR and RSFSR Supreme Soviets should be stopped. Radio
Moscow reported on February 18 that Akhromeev said the broadcasts
"cause much more harm than good, although he admits they are
watched by tens of millions of viewers." (Elizabeth Teague)

SUPSOV DEBATES CAUSING MARITAL DISPUTES. Radio Moscow also reported
on February 18 that, attached to Akhromeev's demand, there was
a letter from an irate listener who said the broadcasts made
him quarrel with his wife. "The country has turned into a madhouse
and a cuckoo's nest," the listener, an inhabitant of Ivanovo
called Savichev, wrote. Radio Moscow added that the letter included
"very rude, even gross" accusations against Yeltsin. On February
19 Vremya reported that, so rude were the comments about Yeltsin,
Akhromeev's behavior in circulating Savichev's letter had been
referred to the Supreme Soviet's Ethics Committee. (Elizabeth
Teague)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



ANTI-YELTSIN CAMPAIGN INTENSIFYING. For the second day in a row,
today's (February 21) afternoon edition of the TSN news was replaced
with an anti-Yeltsin broadcast. Today's program opened with Yeltsin's
deputy, Svetlana Goryacheva, reading a statement attacking all
Yeltsin's activities in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. The statement,
blaming Yeltsin for the republic's economic problems and for
the USSR's disintegration, was signed by two of Yeltsin's three
deputies, and by the chairmen of both the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's
houses and their deputies. The signatories demanded an extraordinary
session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies, empowered
to replace the Supreme Soviet's chairman. Unlike yesterday, today's
debates following Goryacheva's statement were not aired. (Julia
Wishnevsky)

YOUNG RUSSIANS DISILLUSIONED WITH COMMUNISM. Seventeen million
members have quit the Komsomol in the past two years. According
to TASS on February 15, the Communist Youth League consists today
of 24 million members, compared to 42 million members in 1988.
In contrast to the CPSU, the Komsomol was been strongly decentralized
last year with the center playing only a coordinating role vis-a-vis
republican youth organizations. According to an opinion poll
of young people in Russia, sponsored by Readers' Digest and published
by The Washington Times on February 19, Russian youth reject
socialism and favor private ownership, freedom of the press,
dismantling the Soviet empire, and close cooperation with the
West. (Alexander Rahr)

METROPOLITAN CRITICIZES PUBLICATION ON MURDERED PRIEST. Metropolitan
Yuvenalii of Krutitsi and Kolomna expressed in a letter to Izvestia
published on February 7 his sorrow about the fact that information
smearing the reputation of Russian Orthodox priest Fr. Lazar,
murdered at the end of December 1990, was supplied by investigating
organs to the press. Izvestia published this information on January
31. The Metropolitan wrote in his letter that "the death of a
man is being used for intensifying anticlerical, antireligious
attitudes". (Oxana Antic)

USSR SUPSOV VOTES TO IMPOSE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN SOUTH OSSETIA.
On February 20 the USSR Supreme Soviet voted to impose a state
of emergency in South Ossetia if the Georgian authorities do
not themselves extend the state of emergency throughout the oblast
and take steps to halt fighting there. The Georgian Supreme Soviet
was also instructed to end the blockade of Tskhinavli and restore
electricity and fuel supplies to the city. (Liz Fuller)

TWO KILLED AS MVD TROOPS ARREST PARAMILITARIES. Two members of
the unofficial Georgian militia Mkhedrioni were shot dead on
February 20 in the south-east Georgian town of Kvareli by USSR
Interior Ministry troops sent to detain them. According to one
report (Reuter), one bystander, a priest, also died in the shooting.
National Democratic Party chairman Giorgi Chanturia told a news
conference in Tbilisi that 60 Mkhedrioni members have been taken
into custody. (Liz Fuller)

MASS RALLIES MARK THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH CAMPAIGN
FOR SELF-DETERMINATION. More than half a million people attended
a rally in Erevan on February 20 to mark the third anniversary
of the passing by the Nagorno-Karabakh oblast soviet of a resolution
calling on the Supreme Soviets of Azerbaijan and Armenia for
the transfer of the oblast from Azerbaijan to Armenia "in accordance
with the wishes of the workers of the NKAO", Radio Moscow reports.
According to TASS, similar demonstrations calling for the transfer
of the NKAO to Armenia took place yesterday in the oblast capital,
Stepanakert, and four other towns. (Liz Fuller)

SHOULD BELORUSSIA QUIT THE UN? Arguing that the Belorussian SSR
gets "nothing in return" for the $10 million it gives each year
to the United Nations, a commentator in a new publication called
Slavyanskie vedomosti said Belorussia should withdraw from the
UN and UNESCO and use the money saved to help the victims of
Chernobyl. Other materials in the first issue are pro-Iraqi and
strongly anti-American: an introductory note says that the natural
resources of the Slavs are being sold out to American-Israeli
interests. The professional-looking newspaper is printed at facilities
owned by the Central Committee of the Belorussian CP. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

"RUKH" TO DEFINE STAND ON REFERENDUM. The Ukrainian opposition
grouped in "Rukh" will take a definitive stand on the March 17
referendum at a session of its Grand Council on February 23,
Ukrinform-TASS reported on February 20. The announcement was
made by a "Rukh" representative at a press conference on February
20. Meanwhile, the Council of the Ukrainian Republican Party
has issued a statement urging all those participating in the
referendum to vote against the preservation of the Soviet Union
"in any form whatsoever." (Roman Solchanyk)

DRAFT FIGURES FROM UKRAINE. Despite earlier problems, the fall
military draft plan in Ukraine was 91.1% fulfilled, a recent
meeting of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Committee for Youth Affairs
revealed. Komsomol'skoe znamya of February 13 reported that of
this total, 45.4% requested service in Ukraine. By military district,
the final figures were: Kiev MD - 89.8% (36.6%); Odessa MD -
89.2% (34%); Carpathian MD - 91.5% (65.4%). Speakers nevertheless
noted that the number of draft evaders had reached record numbers
(some 1,500 in the Kiev MD alone). There were also rumors at
the meeting that the General Staff has formed a security unit
(company) composed of recruits from Ukraine. (Stephen Foye)

NATURAL GAS DISCOVERED IN DONBASS. Radio Kiev reported on February
2 that natural gas has been discovered in the Mar'inski district
of Donetsk oblast. The first well has been completed and is ready
to deliver natural gas to rural customers. (Valentyn Moroz)

UKRAINIAN MEDICS STAGE WARNING STRIKE, DECLINE MEDICINE FROM
US. Medical workers in 19 Ukrainian regions staged a two-hour
warning strike on February 20 in an attempt to draw attention
to their social problems, reported Radio Kiev. Meanwhile, the
Ukrainian Health Ministry declined to accept a shipment of medicine
from an unspecified American company delivered for Chernobyl
victims, claiming that all medicines in the previous shipment
from this firm expired before they reached Ukraine. (Valentyn
Moroz)

DIPHTHERIA OUTBREAK REPORTED IN UKRAINE. Radio Kiev reported
on February 20 that 132 cases of diphtheria have been registered
in Ukraine. In an interview, director of the Ukrainian Epidemology
Institute Arkadii Frolov blamed "some" mass media outlets, which,
according to him, have incorrectly but widely reported on the
harmful effects of diphtheria immunization. This has led to a
situation where there are now many adults who are not immunized.
Medical authorities, he said, did not react to the situation
seriously. (Valentyn Moroz)

TRANSITION TO MARKET ECONOMY IN UKRAINE GAINING SPEED. Radio
Kiev on February 17, citing the republican Statistics Committee,
reported progress toward a market economy. While every fifth
state enterprise is losing money and private farming is still
in its infancy, the number of private and cooperative enterprises
outside of agriculture is steadily growing. There are almost
35,000 cooperatives in Ukraine, while the number of intermediary
(go-between) firms has reached over 500. The most profitable
are those engaged in services and foreign trade. (Valentyn Moroz)


UKRAINIAN RETAILERS BANKRUPT WHILE BUDGET DEFICIT INCREASES.
Ukrinform/TASS reported on February 19 that the January 1 wholesale
price rises have not yet been matched by appropriate retail price
rises. As a result, many state retailers are selling below cost
and find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. The Ukrainian
government has decided to allow the sale of perishable goods
at old prices and has promised compensation later. Retail price
increases, however, will require compensation for low-income
segments of the population; this in turn, is expected to cost
the government some 30 billion rubles annually, while the republican
budget is already plagued by deficits. (Valentyn Moroz)

UZBEK STATE BANK GIVEN AUTONOMY. Radio Vatandash, the Tashkent
station broadcasting to Uzbeks living abroad, reported on February
20 that Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet has granted full autonomy
to the republic's state bank. According to the report, the State
Bank of Uzbekistan may now control the amount of money in circulation
in the republic. (Timur Kocaoglu)

FOURTH UNIVERSITY TO BE OPENED IN UZBEKISTAN. According to the
February 15 issue of Sovet Ozbekistani, Uzbek President Islam
Karimov has signed a decree on the creation of a Fergana State
University, which is to train specialists to deal with the economic
and social problems of Uzbekistan and provide desperately needed
advanced technological skills. (Timur Kocaoglu)

PRINT-RUNS OF PERIODICALS DOWN IN UZBEKISTAN. The February 15
issue of Pravda vostoka reports that the print-runs of periodicals
published in Uzbekistan is down 40 percent in comparison with
1990. The drop is attributed to the increase in subscription
prices. (Timur Kocaoglu)

COMMERCIAL DATA BANK IN KAZAKHSTAN. A computerized data bank
has been set up under the auspices of Kazakhstan's new State
Supply Committee to provide information on potential business
partners to republican enterprises, according to a TASS report
of February 20. So far the bank has assembled data on 4,500 enterprises,
and information on plants that have unused factory floor space
or extra equipment and raw material. According to the report,
the bank has been empowered by a group of firms in the RSFSR
to conclude direct agreements to sell their products. The bank
is to be connected with similar commercial data banks in Western
Europe via an all-Union marketing center. (Bess Brown)

AMNESTY PROPOSED IN TURKMENISTAN. TASS, quoting Izvestia, reported
on February 20 that Turkmen president Saparmurad Niyazov has
proposed a partial amnesty for persons who have been imprisoned
for their roles in various "cotton affairs" in recent years.
A number of Party and government officials, as well as ordinary
farm workers, have been arrested for falsifying cotton production
figures, bribery, and concealing actual amounts of land sown
to cotton (a common trick to raise output). The amnesty, Niyazov
told the republican presidential council, should apply only to
those drawn involuntarily into the "cotton affairs." (Bess Brown)


LAND REFORM IN KYRGYZSTAN. TASS reported on February 19 that
Kirgiz president Askar Akaev's decree on land reform has been
made public. Although Akaev had earlier said that he favored
privatization of land-holding, the decree envisages "privatization"
only of lands that are being improperly used, which will be placed
in a special fund under local soviets. The republican government
is to develop ways to transform unsuccessful state and collective
farms into peasants' associations or cooperatives, or assign
the land to leaseholders. Sovkhozes and kolkhozes may not, however,
be forcibly transformed into something else. (Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIA WILL NOT HOLD REFERENDUM ON PRESERVING USSR. The Moldavian
Supreme Soviet voted 184 to 66, with 29 abstentions, on February
19 to invalidate on Moldavia's territory the USSR law of December
27, 1990 on referendum and the USSR Supreme Soviet resolution
of January 16, 1991 on holding an all-union referendum on preserving
the USSR. The all-union referendum is scheduled for March 17.
President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister Mircea Druc, and other
leaders spoke up against holding the referendum. The voting was
largely along ethnic lines. Russian and Gagauz leaders in eastern
and southern Moldavia have announced plans to hold the referendum
in the areas under their control despite parliament's decisions.
(Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIA FOR CONFEDERATION, NOT RENEWED UNION. The same session
of the Moldavian Supreme Soviet February 19 approved by 202 votes
to 76, with 1 abstention, a document entitled "On the Formation
of an Association of Sovereign States," proposing the formation
of a confederation practically devoid of a center of power. The
concept, authored by a group of Moldavian experts under Moldavian
Supreme Soviet Vice-President Victor Puscasu, enlarges on the
same group's project aired last year in multilateral consultations
over the draft Union treaty. While the member states of the confederation
are endowed with remarkably wide powers under this concept, the
center virtually disappears. The Moldavian Supreme Soviet voted
to propose this concept to the Union republics. (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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