Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality. - Goethe
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 38, 22 February 1991



BALTIC STATES



BESSMERTNYKH DEFENDS MOSCOW'S BALTIC POLICY. On February 21 Soviet
Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh told a foreign ministerial
meeting of the 25-nation Council of Europe in Madrid that Western
"suspicions and accusations" against Moscow's recent behavior
in the Baltic States "could jeopardize the basic tenets of a
new European order," a RFE/RL correspondent in Strasbourg reported
that day. Bessmertnykh pointed to what he called the "classical
legal rule" that the "question of secession from a state is in
no way related to the circumstances of incorporation into that
state." He also declared that Moscow's "constitutional approach"
to the Baltic independence question "has no alternative." (Saulius
Girnius)

ICELAND OFFERS TO MEDIATE. Iceland's Prime Minister Steingrimur
Hermannsson told reporters in Reykjavik on February 21 that Iceland
has offered to mediate between the Soviet government and the
Baltic States, Reuter reported that day. When asked how realistic
the offer was, Estonian Foreign Minister Meri said that the USSR
would reject the idea at first, but that the process would continue
for some time. The move seems likely to irritate Moscow, which
recalled its ambassador from Reykjavik this month following a
vote in the Icelandic parliament to establish diplomatic relations
with Lithuania. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIA NOMINATES RFE/RL FOR NOBEL PRIZE. Estonian Foreign Minister
Lennart Meri has nominated Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for
the Nobel Peace Prize, AP and Reuter reported on February 21.
In his official nomination letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Meri said that RFE and RL "have made and continue to make a unique
contribution to the rebirth of democracy in our region of the
world." He added that he believes the leaders of Czechoslovakia,
Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary share his attitude toward RFE/RL.
Meri made the announcement at a press conference in Reykjavik
on February 21, where he and Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar
held talks with their Icelandic counterparts. (Riina Kionka)


BOMB EXPLODES AT TALLINN CLINIC. A bomb exploded at the Pelgulinna
gynecological clinic in Tallinn on February 21, ETA reported
that day. The blast and subsequent fire destroyed the clinic's
entrance and blew out some 40 windows, but no one was injured
in the explosion. Police are seeking two suspects, one of whom
allegedly set off the explosion to avenge his girlfriend's having
had an abortion at the clinic. (Riina Kionka)

LATVIAN SUPREME COUNCIL CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF COUP ATTEMPT.
On February 20 Latvia's Supreme Council addressed an appeal to
the USSR Supreme Soviet to form a special commission to investigate
the attempted coup in Latvia in January and the tragic events
associated with it. According to Radio Riga of February 21, a
Latvian commission for these tasks has already been appointed.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN DELEGATION FOR TALKS WITH USSR. Radio Riga reported on
February 20 that Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers has been
appointed to head the Latvian delegation for talks with the USSR
delegation announced by Gorbachev on February 1. Other members
of the Latvian delegation are: deputies Janis Dinevics and Sergei
Dimanis, leaders of the People's Front and Ravonopravie parliamentary
factions, respectively; Janis Baskers, Director of the Public
Security Department; State Arbiter Gido Narkevics; and first
deputy ministers of Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Economics.
(Dzintra Bungs)

BALTIC MILITARY DISTRICT COMMANDER MAY BE TRANSFERRED. On February
19 Major General Anatolii Vodopyanov, Deputy Commander of USSR
Baltic Military District, told Radio Riga that he expects the
leadership of the district to change since the present commander,
Colonel General Fedor Kuz'min "deserves a promotion." Vodopyanov
also considered that a third world war is possible and said that
the threat may come form either the East or the West. He argued,
therefore, for continued Soviet military presence in the Baltics.
(Dzintra Bungs)

BALTIC MILITARY DISTRICT INCREASES REDUCTION OF PLANES. Radio
Riga reported on February 9 that the Soviet air force was reducing
by 20 the number of military planes in the Baltic Military District
and attributed the information to Major General Valentin Frolov,
Chief of the District's Political Department. On February 7,
Diena reported that the District had cut its number of military
planes by only two in response to last year's Paris accords on
the reduction of armed forces in Europe. (Dzintra Bungs)

POLISH INTER-PARLIAMENTARY TEAM FOR COOPERATING WITH BALTICS.
A joint Sejm-Senate committee was formed on February 21 in Warsaw,
under the chairmanship of Senator Tadeusz Klopotowski, to facilitate
closer cooperation with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Its main
aim is to collect information on the Baltic states and to coordinate
all parliamentary activities related to them. According to PAP
of February 21, Sejm Deputies and Senators are to submit written
reports after visits to the Baltic states, to facilitate the
working out of the best forms of future contacts. (Roman Stefanowski)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



SOVIET PEACE PLAN ACCEPTED. After two hours and twenty minutes
of consultations in Moscow between Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq
Aziz and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev last night (February
21), Iraq announced its acceptance of an eight-point Soviet peace
plan. Work to determine the formulations and concrete details
is continuing. The final result of this work will be communicated
today, February 22, to members of the UN Security Council and
the UN Secretary General. Reuter carried the text of the Soviet
Foreign Ministry's English translation of the plan February 22.
(Suzanne Crow)

MORE SOVIET-IRAQI CONSULTATIONS. Soviet-Iraqi talks continue
between Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh and Iraqi
Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. The two ministers are trying to
work out a possible timetable for an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait,
TASS (February 22) quoted Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii
Churkin as saying. (Suzanne Crow)

BESSMERTNYKH'S MEETINGS IN SPAIN. TASS reported February 21 Bessmertnykh's
meetings with European leaders during his brief trip to Madrid
February 20-21. Bessmertnykh and West German Foreign Minister
Hans-Dietrich Genscher reportedly said German-Soviet relations
have an effect on stability in Europe and the world. Bessmertnykh
also spoke with his Yugoslav counterpart Budimir Loncar about
the development of new relations with the countries in Eastern
Europe and expressed support for Yugoslavia's leadership in the
non-aligned movement. Bessmertnykh spoke with his Italian counterpart,
Gianni de Michelis about the Gulf conflict. (Suzanne Crow)

GENSCHER URGES WEST TO TRUST GORBACHEV. Genscher praised Gorbachev's
peace plan for the Gulf in the Bundestag today (February 22),
as reported by the German first TV channel. He appealed to the
Western community to trust Gorbachev's foreign policy. Die Welt
on February 21 quoted him as saying that the unification of Germany
is proof of Gorbachev's sincerity in foreign policy. The USSR
ambassador to Germany, Vladislav Terekhov, said that Bonn's humanitarian
help has been most appreciated in the Kremlin, although the care
packages, sent from Germany, covered only half the daily consumption
of a city like Moscow. (Alexander Rahr)

SOVIET OFFICIAL ON KURILES. An unnamed Soviet diplomat in Japan
told AP February 21, "I think it is extremely irresponsible to
let people expect that a visit by the President would automatically
solve the problem [of the Kurile Islands dispute]." Speaking
of Japan's expectation that Gorbachev will announce a breakthrough
to the islands dispute during his trip to Japan in April, the
official said, "I think Japan's attitude has been quite strange."
(Suzanne Crow)

TALKS ON UNION TREATY RESUMED. After a week's interval, the talks
of the plenipotentiary representatives of the republics on the
Union treaty resumed February 21, TASS reported. Azerbaijan joined
the other eight republics which have been participating in the
negotiations. Parts 1 and 3 of the draft were discussed, agreement
having largely been reached on part 2. Rafik Nishanov, chairman
of the USSR Council of Nationalities, said he counted on the
other republics in due course taking part in work on the document.
The present round of talks is expected to last ten days, and
it is planned that the complete, agreed draft will be published
before March 17, the day of the referendum on the future of the
Union. (Ann Sheehy)

DISAGREEMENT ON STATUS OF AUTONOMOUS TERRITORIES. At the talks
on the Union treaty on February 21, an Uzbek spokesman came out
strongly against the participation in the Union treaty of the
autonomous territories as long as they remain part of the RSFSR,
TASS reported. He said that the representation of eighteen (sic)
autonomous republics in all-Union organs of power would automatically
mean the diktat of the RSFSR since it would be assured of an
absolute majority of the votes. He declared the autonomous territories
would have to choose either full sovereignty and secession from
the RSFSR or no sovereignty. (Ann Sheehy)

KRAVCHENKO MEETS WITH CHIEFS OF REPUBLICAN TV COMPANIES. President
of the All-Union TV and Radio Broadcasting Company Leonid Kravchenko
met with heads of republican TV companies to discuss the functioning
of the newly created Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting, Radio
Moscow reported February 21. Representatives of republican TV
and radio companies and of the all-Union one are to cooperate
within this council. Commenting on the meeting, the head of the
RSFSR TV and Radio broadcasting, Anatolii Lysenko, said that
the council would prove to be a positive innovation only if all
its members had equal rights. Kravchenko promised this at a press
conference on February 11, reporting the creation of the council.
Since then, however, Kravchenko has continued to interfere arbitrarily
with the work of republican TV companies. (Vera Tolz)

ARMY SUPPORT FOR KRAVCHENKO. Demonstrating the army's increasing
role in the Soviet political scene, Ogonek (No. 7) published
a directive reportedly penned by Army General Valentin Varennikov
that orders army units to conduct a telegram campaign in support
of the conservative head of what was Gostelradio, Leonid Kravchenko.
The directive--which praised Kravchenko's policies vis-a-vis
the armed forces--was sent to Ogonek by an unidentified major.
He complains that the order constitutes unwarranted interference
by the army in civilian politics, and says that many officers
do not share the views of Varennikov, who is the Commander-in-Chief
of Soviet Ground Forces. (Stephen Foye)

NEW HEAD OF SOVIET WOMEN'S COMMITTEE. TASS reported on February
20 that the Committee of Soviet Women, the largest women's association
in the USSR, has elected a new chairwoman, Alevtina Fedulova,
a 52-year-old teacher from Moscow. She replaced Zoya Pukhova,
who, TASS said, resigned to concentrate on her work in the USSR
Supreme Soviet. (NCA/Sallie Wise)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


YELTSIN'S OPPONENTS LOSE TWO CRUCIAL VOTES. Opponents of Yeltsin
in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet managed on February 21 to interrupt
the work of the parliament, but they failed to win two votes,
at least for the moment. Only 42% of the deputies voted to open
the next session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies before
the March 17 referendum; the idea was rejected. The parliament
also did not call off the republican referendum on the integrity
of the Russian Federation and on the post of RSFSR president.
(To judge from what was said in the RSFSR parliament, the RSFSR
referendum, scheduled for the same day as the USSR one, was exactly
what Yeltsin's conservative opposition wanted to prevent.) (Julia
Wishnevsky)

"COMMUNISTS OF RUSSIA" ACCUSED OF FORGERY? In the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet February 21, at least three people's deputies denied signing
an appeal calling for an extraordinary session of the RSFSR Congress
of People's Deputies, presumably to replace Boris Yeltsin. At
least 20% of 1,060 deputies are entitled by the Constitution
of the Russian Federation to call such a session The list of
those who signed the appeal (said to be published in Sovetskaya
Rossiya) consists of 272 signatories. Some deputies demanded
an investigation into the authenticity of all signatures, but
they were ignored. (Julia Wishnevsky)

CENTRAL TV VERSUS YELTSIN. Two of three editions of the TSN news
on February 21 were replaced with Yeltsin's deputy Svetlana Goryacheva
reading a statement condemning her chief. Along with the Vremya
newscast, the first channel of Central TV aired Goryacheva three
times; her address was also broadcast on the radio. Some deputies
at that day's session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet condemned the
leadership of radio and TV, noting that it took two weeks for
Yeltsin to fight for a 40-minutes live interview on TV, and that
the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has been fighting for several months
to get its own republican radio and television. The deputies
demanded that the SupSov session be broadcast on the second TV
channel immediately after Vremya. (Julia Wishnevsky)

SOBCHAK SETBACK. Anatolii Sobchak has suffered a political defeat
in the Leningrad city soviet. According to Radio Moscow on February
21, Sobchak asked chairman of the city's executive committee
Aleksandr Shchelkanov to resign, but members of the city soviet
resisted. They argued that in the present unstable situation,
structural and personnel changes were undesirable. Sobchak had
accused Shchelkanov of lack of cooperation with the council's
presidium, the city's managers and trade unions. (Alexander Rahr)


NEWS ON MURDERS OF ORTHODOX PRIESTS. Radio Moscow quoted on February
21 Komsomol'skaya pravda which published an article on the murder
of three Orthodox priests in Moscow and Nikitinskii, advanced
the theory that all the priests were killed by the same group,
or the same person. Radio Moscow added that readers will learn
about this theory in the second column of the newspaper. (Oxana
Antic)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT RESIGNS. Addressing the Moldavian parliament
February 21, Mircea Snegur stunned the republic by announcing
his resignation as President of Moldavia. Snegur accused the
Moldavian Communist Party and Moldavian radio and TV of unfairly
criticizing him. Snegur also announced his resignation from the
CP with retroactive effect to last August 4 when he had suspended
his Party membership. He particularly complained of personal
frictions with Prime Minister Mircea Druc, "with whom it is very
difficult to work". Snegur's malentendus with Druc, which had
occurred publicly of late, are seen in Kishinev as stemming from
personal and temperamental factors, not from differences over
policy. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT TO STAY ON UNTIL ELECTION. Snegur also called
in his speech for strengthening the institution of the presidency
and electing the president by popular vote instead of by the
parliament. He offered to continue to serve until a new president
is popularly elected. The Moldavian parliament voted overwhelmingly
on the same day to ask Snegur to stay on and acceeded to his
wish to set up a commission to reform executive power. Although
Snegur gave no hint that he might run in the coming presidential
election, the presumption is that he will. His popularity stands
at an all-time high in the wake of his visit to Romania and of
his contribution to Moldavia's rejection of the proposed treaty
of Union and refusal to conduct the referendum on preserving
the Union. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN CONSCRIPTS' DEATH TOLL UP. The Soviet military authorities
in Moldavia acknowledged February 19 the deaths of another 3
conscripts from Moldavia, raising the official death toll to
10 since January 1st. Moldavian youth and womens' groups have
announced protest actions for the coming days. (Vladimir Socor)


UKRAINIAN-KAZAKH TREATY. The Ukrainian and Kazakh republics yesterday
signed a ten-year treaty in Alma-Ata, Radio Kiev reported on
February 21. The treaty, which recognizes the sovereignty of
the two republics, covers political, economic, cultural, and
other aspects of relations between Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Head
of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk noted that earlier
the two republics had initialed an economic agreement. The treaty,
he underlined, is primarily political in nature. (Roman Solchanyk)


MORE DETAILS ON UKRAINIAN GOLD. "Pravda Ukrainy" on February
13 carried an interview with director general of the Uzhukrgeologia
concern (South Ukrainian Geology) E. Maliarov, who revealed more
details on Ukrainian natural gold deposits. Another site was
mentioned, located in Zhitomir oblast (previous reports mentioned
Zakarpatia and Dnepropetrovsk). Maliarov said that gold deposits
in Dnepropetrovsk oblast were ignored in the past due to larger
and already developed deposits in Siberia. In view of Ukrainian
attempts to gain economic sovereignty, however, republican gold
deposits have been reconsidered. Whether the Dnepropetrovsk location
is economically feasible is not yet clear, said Maliarov, although
its characteristics are similar to those in South Africa and
Australia and the metal is of the highest quality. Deposits are
located 40 to 80 meters deep; geologists have received sufficient
funding for further work. (Valentyn Moroz)

DONETSK MINERS SEND LIST OF DEMANDS TO UKRAINIAN SUPSOV. Radio
Kiev reported on February 21 that representatives of Donetsk
strike committees have sent a list of 13 demands to the Ukrainian
parliament. The list includes demands to stop construction of
chemical plants, toxic waste dumps, and dumping of untreated
industrial waste liquids into rivers or any other reservoirs.
They also want to declare the Donbass an ecological disaster
area. (Valentyn Moroz)

RUSSIAN-SPEAKING MINI-REPUBLICS IN UKRAINE? The February 7 issue
of Literaturna Ukraina discusses alleged attempts to bring about
a Moldavian-style scenario in Ukraine's Russian-speaking areas,
notably, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk. It notes that the "Novorosiya"
Committee--a group that is promoting the formation of an autonomous
republic composed of the southern oblasts, with Odessa as capital--now
has its own newspaper, Novorosiiskii telegraf, although local
authorities deny any knowledge of its activities. According to
Literaturna Ukraina, the "Novorosy" have been inspired by the
success of Russian-dominated Crimea in reclaiming its previous
autonomous republic status. (Kathy Mihalisko)

BELORUSSIAN OFFICER FACES DISCHARGE FOR CRITICISM OF PARTY. Major
Hrinevich of the Minsk Higher Military Radio-Technical School
told an RFE-RL correspondent this week that he has been relieved
of his duties and may be discharged from the army for political
reasons. One week before the tragedy in Vilnius, Belorussian
CP ideological secretary Valerii Tikhinya gave a speech at the
school designed to boost the fighting spirit of the officers
as they "regroup in the struggle against the enemies of socialist
values." Hrinevich asked Tikhinya whether his appearance did
not contradict the new USSR law on public organizations. The
major has been harassed for "subversive acts against the Soviet
Army" ever since. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

UZBEKISTAN ADDS QUESTION TO MARCH 17 REFERENDUM. Uzbekistan's
Supreme Soviet presidium has approved the text of an additional
question for Uzbek voters to answer in the March 17 referendum
on the future of the Soviet Union, TASS reported February 21
citing Izvestia. The question is: Do you agree that Uzbekistan
should remain part of a renewed Union (federation) as a sovereign
equal republic? The additional question was said to be necessary
for the citizens of the republic to have a fuller understanding
of the meaning of the referendum. (Ann Sheehy)

CIRCUMCISIONS TO BE PERFORMED IN HOSPITALS IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstan's
ministry of health has given an order allowing circumcisions
to be performed in hospitals in the republic, according to a
brief item in the February 15 issue of Izvestia. The operation,
an important Muslim rite, was formerly severely condemned by
the Soviet authorities, and although it was nearly universal
among traditionally Muslim peoples, it often had to be performed
in unsanitary conditions. More than a year ago, hospitals in
Tajikistan were allowed to perform circumcisions as a health-protection
measure. (Bess Brown)


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

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