Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 39, 25 February 1991



BALTIC STATES



ESTONIANS CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY. For the third year in a
row, Estonians celebrated the Republic of Estonia's 73rd anniversary
on February 24, agencies report. Rallies and church concerts
were held throughout Estonia, and the Estonian tricolor was raised
on the "Long Hermann" tower, Soviet TV reported February 24.
(Riina Kionka)

BOMBING SUSPECT ARRESTED. Tallinn police have arrested a suspect
in last week's bombing of the Pelgulinna maternity hospital,
Rahva Haal reported February 24. The 37-year-old man is ethnic
Russian, lives and works in Tallinn, and has no prior convictions.
He told police that he had set the bomb by himself after learning
that his girlfriend had had an abortion at the clinic. The suspect
was reportedly drunk at the time. (Riina Kionka)

LITHUANIA TO ALLOW SOVIET CITIZENS TO VOTE IN REFERENDUM. In
a telephone interview with the RFE Lithuanian Service February
22, Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Kazimieras
Motieka said that, if central or republican authorities requested
that their citizens be allowed to vote in the March 17 all-Union
referendum, Lithuania would agree to make it possible. Motieka
noted that Lithuania had allowed Poles to vote in the Polish
presidential elections last year and thought it proper to extend
a similar courtesy to citizens of other foreign countries. Lithuania,
however, will not sponsor the all-Union referendum in Lithuania.
(Saulius Girnius)

SOVIET ARMED FORCES DAY IN RIGA. On February 23, only several
thousand people gathered in Riga to mark Soviet Army and Navy
Day. A significant portion of participants were active and retired
servicemen and their families. Black Berets were also present,
Radio Riga reported February 23. The rally was organized by war
veterans and the coordinating center of servicemen, with the
support of Interfront and other groups opposing Latvia's independence,
according to Sovetskaya Latviya February 13. TASS reported February
22 that similar meetings also were held in Tallinn and Vilnius.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIA OPENS POLLING STATIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE. About 1400 polling
stations were opened Saturday in Latvia for people to take part
in the poll on Latvia's independence, TASS reported February
24. The polling centers were opened early to facilitate the participation
of as many permanent residents (Soviet soldiers stationed in
Latvia are not considered in this category) of Latvia as possible
in the poll that is scheduled for March 3, especially since absentee
"ballots" will not be accepted. People are to answer "yes" or
"no" to the following question: are you for a democratic and
independent Republic of Latvia? (Dzintra Bungs)

USSR BALTIC MILITARY DISTRICT COMMANDER COMPLAINS. Colonel General
Fedor Kuzmin, commander of the USSR Baltic Military District,
told Riga TV February 20 that business-like relations had developed
between the District and the Latvian parliament and government.
Nonetheless, Kuzmin stressed: "we categorically reject that the
lofty ideas of democracy, sovereignty, and independence must
be implemented by shunning the USSR Constitution and infringing
on the rights and social guarantees of a considerable part of
the republic's population, including servicemen." As an example,
Kuzmin cited the fact that Soviet soldiers stationed in Latvia
would not be taking part in the poll on Latvia's independence,
TASS reported February 22. (Dzintra Bungs)

USSR-ALL-UNION TOPICS

SOVIET GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON GROUND WAR. Soviet Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Vitalii Churkin, reading the Soviet government's statement
on the ground war (February 24), said, "the instinct for a military
solution won through, despite the fact that Iraq's agreement
to withdraw its forces...created a qualitatively new situation."
The statement also said, "the Soviet Union expresses regret that
a real chance for a peaceful way out of the conflict was missed,"
and stressed that the "it is still not too late" to work out
the differences in the peace proposals of the USSR "and other
countries" with the assistance of the United Nations, TASS reported
February 24. (Suzanne Crow)

LAST MINUTE SOVIET DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS. Soviet diplomatic efforts
to end the Gulf war continued through the evening of February
23, the day before the US-led alliance began its ground offensive.
Soviet ambassador to the UN, Yulii Vorontsov, made an eleventh-hour
appeal for the delay of war, arguing that Iraq had accepted the
latest of the USSR's peace proposals. Iraq's chaotic response
to Soviet peace offers--signalling agreement and at the same
time launching missiles at Israel--left the USSR in a difficult
and perhaps humiliating position. (Suzanne Crow)

TASS COMMENT ON START OF GROUND WAR. TASS political analyst Askold
Biryukov wrote on February 24 that "military logic won out over
common sense." Biryukov claimed the Soviet peace proposals had
no chance of being accepted in Washington because the date of
the ground offensive had been determined two weeks before. "It
is clear that the American military...was itching to finish off
the Iraqis or force them to surrender...to the mercy of the victorious
American soldiers," TASS reported February 24. (Suzanne Crow)


ON GORBACHEV'S MOTIVATIONS. According to Andrei Kortunov of the
USA-Canada Institute, Gorbachev had a variety of different motivations
in pursuing peace in the Gulf. First, "it is the last chance
to show what he can do here," second, "he desperately needs a
foreign policy victory," and third, "he has to confirm his Nobel
prize-winner status." Kortunov's comments were broadcast on Radio
Moscow's Top Priority program February 23. (Suzanne Crow)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA DISCUSSES PRIMAKOV. An article in Komsomolskaya
pravda February 16 said there was much dissent within the USSR
Foreign Ministry concerning the ideas of Gorbachev's special
envoy Evgenii Primakov on how to settle the Gulf war. Among other
things, "Westernizers at the MFA argued that Primakov's idea
of finding an 'Arab' solution to the conflict was 'sheer stupidity.'"
An unnamed Soviet diplomat quoted in the piece likened such a
solution to hearing your neighbors killing each other and not
calling the police. The article also discussed the feeling among
"Arabists" at the MFA that Shevardnadze had failed to consult
them at the start of the Gulf war. (Suzanne Crow)

MANIFESTATION IN SUPPORT OF THE SOVIET ARMY. The USSR ministers
of the interior and defense, Boris Pugo and Dmitrii Yazov, as
well as KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, took part in the demonstration
in support of the Soviet Army and the integrity of the USSR on
Soviet Armed Forces Day in Moscow, TASS reported February 23.
Estimates of participation range from 30,000 to 300,000 (the
latter being the figure cited by TASS). The demonstration was
organized by the Moscow city Party committee, the parliamentary
group Soyuz, and other conservative organizations. At the meeting,
an appeal to the Soviet people that called for the preservation
of the Soviet state was issued. (Alexander Rahr)

MORE ON ARMY DAY. While some hard-line spokesmen, including Soyuz
leader Viktor Alksnis, reportedly delivered fiery speeches attacking
Soviet democrats and American actions in the Gulf, Western sources
characterized the crowd as dispirited. Military personnel were
ordered to attend the rally in civilian clothes in order to increase
the number of participants, Reuters reported. Other army day
rallies were held in Leningrad, Kiev, Vilnius, and Riga. (NCA/Stephen
Foye)

PRE-ARMY DAY CEREMONY. At a Kremlin gala on the evening of February
22, USSR First Deputy Defense Minister Konstantin Kochetov told
the crowd that the military leadership had no political ambitions,
AP reported. Kochetov denounced Boris Yeltsin, but was reticent
about criticizing US actions in the Gulf and was upbeat about
relations with the West. He said that "the source of international
tension is shifting more and more towards the Third World." Although
Gorbachev was present at the ceremony, he did not speak, nor,
according to the report, did he mingle with the crowd. (Stephen
Foye)

CPSU SECRETARIAT DISCUSSES REFERENDUM PREPARATIONS. A meeting
of the CPSU Central Committee secretariat on February 24, chaired
by CPSU deputy general secretary Vladimir Ivashko, discussed
preparations for the March 17 referendum on the preservation
of the Soviet Union, TASS reported. CPSU Central Committee secretary
Oleg Shenin said a common shortcoming of the preparatory work
so far was that it was often being carried out without reference
to the Party's position on stabilizing the economic situation.
Shenin said Party organizations must take part in explaining
the role of financial compensation and showing care and concern
for all strata of the population, particularly the socially defenseless.
(Ann Sheehy)

DEMOCRATS STAGE DEMONSTRATION IN SUPPORT OF GLASNOST'. Several
thousand people gathered in the center of Moscow to demonstrate
in support of the popular TV program "Vzglyad," which has been
banned since the end of last year, TASS reported February 22.
Members of "Democratic Russia" addressed the meeting, calling
on the crowd to support Yeltsin and the resignation of the Kremlin
leadership and to vote "No" in the March 17 national referendum
on the future of the Soviet Union. The same day, a statement
authored by "Vzglyad" staffers, defining glasnost' as "the means
for the dissemination of ideas which may move society toward
national accord and a worth existence," appeared in Moskovskie
komsomolets, Radio Moscow reported. (Alexander Rahr/Dawn Mann)


PAVLOV UNVEILS PLAN TO DISMANTLE GOSPLAN. At a Moscow news conference
on February 22, USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov outlined
a plan to dismantle Gosplan and most of the industrial ministries,
TASS and Western agencies reported. Pavlov said the only production-related
ministry to remain will be the Ministry of Automotive and Agricultural
Machine Building, while ministries overseeing railways, engineering,
power, and the nuclear industry would be revamped. Pavlov said
the aim of the reform is to create a system in which no one will
interfere in enterprise activities. The plan, he said, will be
put before the USSR Supreme Soviet soon and, if approved, would
be carried out over a 2-3 year time span. (NCA)

CHRISTMAS DECLARED A NON-WORKING DAY. Moskovsky Tsetkovnyi Vestnik,
January, 1991, published Patriarch Aleksii's appeal to Boris
Yeltsin to declare Christmas (January 7) and Good Friday official
holidays. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet subsequently declared January
7 a non-working holiday. (Oxana Antic)

USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



PRO-YELTSIN RALLY IN MOSCOW. A crowd estimated at between 40,000
and 150,000 gathered in Manezh Square near the Kremlin yesterday
to attend a pro-Yeltsin rally, Western news agencies and TASS
reported February 25. Yurii Chernichenko, a USSR People's Deputy,
told the crowd that "Yeltsin represents Russia, we must not betray
him," and Father Gleb Yakunin said, "Yeltsin spoke the truth"
when he denounced Gorbachev last week, Reuters reported. "Vremya"
did not report on the demonstration during its Sunday broadcast,
but it did feature a special report on a smaller anti-Yeltsin
rally held on Saturday. According to the New York Times February
25, "Vremya" presented a distorted report on the rally, making
it seem more important. (Dawn Mann)

YELTSIN DOES NOT WANT GORBACHEV'S POST. During his visit to Novgorod,
RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin was asked if he and
Gorbachev might both have to resign in order to achieve political
stability, to which Yeltsin replied, "Such a scenario is possible,"
Reuters reported February 22. Reuters also reported that Yeltsin
told his audience that he "will, of course, have to cooperate
[with Gorbachev] and will have to carry on a dialogue." Yeltsin
said, however, that he would "categorically reject" an offer
to run against Mikhail Gorbachev as an alternative candidate
for the post of USSR President, TASS reported February 22. Yeltsin
added that he is prepared to give an account at the extraordinary
session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies scheduled
for March 28. (Dawn Mann/Alexander Rahr)

SILAEV UNDER PRESSURE TO RETIRE. RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev
told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet that the central leadership has
urged him to resign in connection with the ruble scandal. Radio
Moscow February 22 quoted excerpts from Silaev's dramatic speech,
in which he said he cannot work under the present circumstances
and this speech may be his last. He complained that the republican
legislature has failed to provide his government with a legal
basis for actions. He called for the adoptation of a law on local
self-government to clarify relations between the republican government
and the periphery over which, Silaev claimed, his government
now has no control. (Alexander Rahr)

CHERNOBYL' INVESTIGATION MAY DISCREDIT SILAEV. On February 7,
USSR Prosecutor Nikolai Trubin told TASS that his office had
launched a new investigation on the "possible abuse of power
and suggestions that some high ranking officials incorrectly
evaluated the dimensions of the catastrophe and neglected, therefore,
to take the necessary measures to protect people in the contaminated
area." Silaev, then Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers,
was the first crisis manager to take command of the local headquarters
in Chernobyl' (Radio Moscow, May 21, 1986) and was in charge
of the initial clean-up operation from May 2 until May 20; Silaev
was also the first official to brief journalists at the site.
(Victor Yasmann)

SEVENTEEN DIE IN LENINGRAD HOTEL FIRE. Reuters reported February
23 that 17 people were killed in a fire in the Intourist hotel,
"Leningrad." The fire broke out after a TV set exploded on the
seventh floor of the nine-story hotel. Ten firefighters, six
tourists, and one hotel employee died in the fire. (NCA)

OFFICERS LAUNCH HUNGER STRIKE. Some 18 officers stationed in
the city of Ul'yanovsk have begun a hunger strike to protest
the planned disbandment of military construction units assigned
to civilian ministries, Radio Moscow reported February 24. The
officers are apparently upset because rumors of the impending
disbandment led local authorities to halt military housing construction
one year ago, and because the cuts could cost them their jobs
and the housing that they now occupy. The hunger-strikers reportedly
include veterans of the Afghan War and of Chernobyl'. They are
demonstrating outside of local Party headquarters in an effort
to shame those Party officials. (Stephen Foye)

VORONIN TOURS GEORGIA. Lev Voronin, a USSR First Deputy Prime
Minister, toured those areas of Georgia in which a state of emergency
is in effect and met in Tblisi with Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman
Zviad Gamsakhurdia, TASS reported February 25. The two men discussed
how to end armed clashed in South Ossetia, where the Georgian
authorities have imposed a state of emergency in some areas.
The Georgian Supreme Soviet has until today to impose a state
of emergency throughout South Ossetia; if it does not do so,
the USSR Supreme Soviet will. Voronin also travelled to North
Ossetia, in the RSFSR. (NCA)

PATRIARCH ALEKSII APPEALS TO GEORGIAN BELIEVERS. TASS, quoting
Izvestia February 22, summarized an appeal issued by Patriarch
Aleksii to Catholicos Patriarch Iliya and believers in Georgia,
in which the head of the Russian Orthodox Church criticizes those
responsible for the tense situation in South Ossetia, and asks
the Catholicos to remind them that Christian belief does not
permit anyone to hate anybody at all. (Oxana Antic)

UKRAINIAN CP PROPOSALS ON DRAFT UNION TREATY. The Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Ukraine has issued its own set of "substantial
amendments and additions" to the draft of the Union treaty, Radio
Moscow reported February 22. The proposals emphasize that every
republic is a constituent part of the Union as "a sovereign,
independent state" and that they retain their independence in
the solution of all questions pertaining to the state and economic,
social, and spiritual development. (Roman Solchanyk)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT'S POWER BID FALLS SHORT. Moldavian President
Mircea Snegur's demand for the establishment of presidential
government as a condition for his remaining in office has suffered
an initial setback. A motion submitted to parliament February
22 to amend the republic's constitution in the sense desired
by Snegur received 155 votes, well short of the two-thirds majority
of 245 votes required for constitutional changes. Snegur's supporters
are preparing a modified resolution to be submitted soon. The
Moldavian president had indicated in parliament the preceding
day that he wanted to obtain the resignation of Prime Minister
Mircea Druc. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN LEADERS ADDRESS PUBLIC RALLY. The Moldavian leadership
appeared in corpore at a youth rally in Kishinev's athletic stadium
February 23. Taking the floor one after the other, Snegur and
Druc both pledged to continue "striving for Moldavian state independence."
While Snegur indicated that he favored a gradualist approach,
Druc did not include that qualification and was clearly the crowd's
favorite. The two leaders sought to convey the impression that
they were prepared to patch up their differences. Interviewed
by Moldavian television the same evening, Snegur backtracked
from the demand for Druc to resign. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIA TO INTRODUCE REPUBLICAN COUPONS. Addressing the same
rally, First Vice-Premier Constantin Tampiza announced that Moldavia
would shortly introduce republican coupons as the only way to
protect the republic's consumers and prevent the uncontrolled
flow of scarce goods from Moldavia to other republics. Tampiza
also indicated that coupons were planned as a short-term, transitional
solution toward the introduction of republican currency. (Vladimir
Socor)

ALL-BURYAT CONGRESS IN ULAN-UDE. A three-day all-Buryat congress
ended in Ulan-Ude on February 24, TASS reported. The delegates
unanimously condemned as unconstitutional the act of 1937 that
split the Buryat republic into three, but decided for the present
to call only for the creation of national-cultural autonomy to
consolidate the Buryat people. The congress set up an all-Union
association of Buryat culture. Delegates condemned reports on
the congress in some mass media to the effect that the Buryat
republic was reorienting itself towards a union with Mongolia
and towards Asian culture. (Ann Sheehy)

"KYRGYZSTAN" CALLS FOR "NO" VOTE IN REFERENDUM. At its first
congress, which took place recently in Bishbek, the democratic
movement "Kyrgyzstan" came out against the March 17 referendum,
Radio Moscow reported February 23. (Ann Sheehy)

FIRST LABOR EXCHANGE IN UZBEKISTAN. The first labor exchange
in Uzbekistan has been set up in the industrial city of Navoi,
Radio Moscow reported February 24. At present there are only
little over 1,500 unemployed in the city, but the number is expected
to rise. The exchange will pay out unemployment benefits and
retrain redundant workers for new industries in the city as well
as trying to find jobs for the unemployed. (Ann Sheehy)

PUBLIC COUNCIL ON RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS SET UP IN UZBEKISTAN. A
public council on religious questions has been set up in Uzbekistan,
Radio Moscow reported February 22. The members of the council
include state officials, religious figures of various denominations,
scholars, lawyers, and representatives of the public. The council
will be a consultative and expert agency of the department of
interethnic relations in the apparat of the Uzbek president.
(Ann Sheehy)

(END) [As of 1300 CET]


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

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole