Wherever there is love, there is peace. - Burmese proverb
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 40, 26 February 1991





BALTIC STATES



FINLAND: BALTS MUST NEGOTIATE. Finnish Foreign Minister Harri
Holkeri told Die Welt on February 26 that the only way "to self-determination
for the Baltic states is through negotiations." The three Baltic
states have repeatedly called on Moscow to start bona fide talks
toward independence. Holkeri also remarked that the Cold War
"is not over yet, unfortunately... We must first recognize [the
fact that] is isn't so easy for the superpowers to proceed with
the process of detente." (Riina Kionka)

ASYLUM NOT AUTOMATIC IN FINLAND. Baltic men who flee their Soviet
military units will not automatically receive asylum in Finland,
according to a February 25 report in Der Spiegel. Some 20 Baltic
soldiers who have left their Soviet military units are currently
seeking asylum in Finland; their applications are being handled
on a case-by-case basis, Finnish Interior Minister Jarmo RantaneA
told Der Spiegel. The policy is neither new nor a surprise; it
has long been Finland's practice to repatriate Soviet citizens,
a fact that is well known in the Baltic states. (Riina Kionka)


BALTS AT NORDIC COUNCIL MEETING. Baltic parliamentary delegations
(Estonians led by Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel, Latvians
led by Supreme CouncAl Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, and Lithuanians
led by Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council Bronius Kuzmickas)
arrAved on February 25 in Copenhagen to participate as guests
at the Nordic Council session and met that day with DanisA Foreign
Minister Uffe Elleman-Jensen. The Nordic CouncilA is expected
to devote March 1 to Baltic issues, Radio Riga reported February
26. According to TASS February 25, Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman
Yurii Gremitskikh warned the Nordic Council against adopting
positions, presumably concerning the Baltics, that would amount
to interference in the internal affairs of the USSR. (Dzintra
Bungs)

CLARIFICATION ON LATVIAN-USSR TALKS. Deputy Chairman of Latvia's
Supreme Council Andrejs Krastins told Radio Riga February 22
that two prevalent misconceptions need to be corrected. He said
that the Supreme Council is not drafting a new Constitution and
that it is guided by the prewar Satversme (Constitution) of the
Republic of Latvia. He explained also that in response to USSR
President Mikhail Gorbachev's February 1 decree appointing a
Soviet delegation for talks with the Latvian SSR, Latvia has
only chosen a group for consultations with that delegation because
the Latvian SSR is "a non-existent state." Krastins added that
Latvian-USSR talks would be "very desirable." (Dzintra Bungs)


USSR WANTS MORE BUDGETARY SUPPORT FROM LATVIA. Finance Minister
Elmars Silins told Diena on February 25 that he is recommending
to the Supreme Council that it reject Latvia's participation
in the USSR Stabilization Fund (which would demand 1 billion
rubles from Latvia). Silins thought that since the Fund's money
would be invested primarily in the Central Asian republics, Latvia
would lose most of it. On February 14, Diena reported that, according
to Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, agreement had been reaAhed
with the USSR whereby Latvia would conduct independAntly all
hard currency transactions; nonetheless, Latvia would be obliged
to pay to the USSR 120-135 million rubles over a four-year period.
(Dzintra Bungs)

CULTURAL CONFERENCE IN VILNIUS. A conference, entitled "Culture
as an Argument for State Independence," organized by the Lithuanian
filial of the I LAisve (Towards Freedom) Fund, based in the US,
was held in Vilnius on February 24 (RFE Lithuanian Service, February
2A). About 10 speeches were given by Lithuanian literary critics,
poets, and philosophers, including former Lithuanian Deputy Prime
Minister Romualdas Ozolas andA Arvydas Juozaitis, one of the
founding members of Sajudis. ASaulius Girnius)

AUSTRIAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT IN VILNIUS. Austrian Parliament
President Heinz Fischer told journalists in Vilnius on February
25 that he sees little hope for a compromise between the Soviet
leadership and the Baltic republics, DPA reported that day. Fischer
is one of the members of a Socialist International delegation
from Austria, France, Great Britain, Sweden, and Spain that met
in Moscow with CPSU Central Committee secretary Valentin Falin.
Fischer said that while there had been hope for a compromise
on independence during the summer, "the position of Moscow towards
the three Baltic republics has clearly become sharper." The delegation
plans to travel to Riga and Tallinn. (Saulius Girnius)



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



WARSAW PACT MILITARY ALLIANCE DISSOLVED. On February 25, the
six countries of the Warsaw Pact agreed to disband the military
structures of the 36-year-old alliance, Western news agencies
reported. According to the agreement, the military organization
will cease to exist from March 31 of this year. The six also
agreed to meet in Prague in July to discuss ending the alliance's
political component. In statements made on "Vremya," both USSR
Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh and USSR Defense Minister
Dmitrii Yazov called for future security arrangements among Pact
members to be conducted on the basis of bilateral agreements.
(Stephen Foye)

GORBACHEV'S CABINET NOMINATIONS. President Mikhail Gorbachev
submitted a list of 23 candidates to the USSR Supreme Soviet
yesterday for approval as members of the newly created Cabinet
of Ministers, TASS and Interfax reported February 25. The list
inAludes the names of a number of former USSR ministers, including
Vladimir Kryuchkov (KGB), Dmitrii Yazov (defense), OAkolai Konarev
(transportation), Vyacheslav Kolesnikov (electronics industry),
Igor' Koksanov (shipbuilding), Vladimir Brezhnev (transport construction),
Grigorii Gabrielyants (geology), Yurii Vol'mer (maritime fleet),
Sergei LushchikovA(justice), and Yurii Semenov (power and electrification).
New nominees include Vladimir Orlov (finance), Gennadii Kudryavtsev
(communications), and Vyacheslav Chernovainov (agriculture--a
ministry that had been abolished and will Aow apparently be revived).
Gorbachev also asked for the aAAroval of former trade union chief
Vladimir Shcherbakov, Fedor Sen'ko, and Lev Ryabov as deputy
premiers. The USSROASupreme Soviet has already approved the nominations
of foreign minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, interior minister
Boris Pugo and four other deputy prime ministers. (Alexander
Rahr)

USSR SUPREME SOVIET RESOLUTION ON REFERENDUM. A resolution of
the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted February 25 declares that the
oAinion polls on independence being held in various republics
do not constitute a legal basis for not holding the March 17
referendum on the preservation of the USSR and orders the offending
republics to take immediate steps to hold the referendum. At
the same time, the resolution, reported by TASS and Radio Moscow,
empowers local soviets and labor collectives in republics where
no steps have been take to hold the referendum to set up their
own polling stations. Contrary to an earlier forecast, the Supreme
Soviet did not apparently discuss declaring invalid republican
polls being held simultaneously. (Ann Sheehy)

ORLOV ON REFERENDUM. Vladimir Orlov, chairman of the Central
Referendum Commission, told the USSR Supreme Soviet February
25 that Azerbaijan was among the republics that had decided not
to hold the March 17 referendum, TASS and Radio Moscow reported.
As far as is known, however, Azerbaijan, unlike the other six
republics named, has not yet refused to hold the referendum.
Orlov said that preparations for referendum were in hand in eight
of the union republics and 17 of the autonomous republics. He
confirmed that a "no" vote in the March 17 referendum would not
be tantamount to secession, and that a republic would still have
to hold the referendum stipulated by the law on the mechanics
of secession. (Ann Sheehy)

NISHANOV SAYS REFERENDUM LEGITIMATE. In an article in Izvestia
February 25, Rafik Nishanov, chairman of the USSR Council of
Nationalities, rejected the argument put forward by a group of
scholars in one of the central newspapers that the March 17 referendum
was unconstitutional since the question posed was within the
competence of the republics. Nishanov maintained that the question
of the preservation of the Soviet Union was not the same as whether
or not a republic should be part of the Soviet Union--as the
scholars tried to argue. (Ann Sheehy)

SELF-DETERMINATION FOR PEOPLE OR NATIONS? At the plenary session
of republican representatives discussing the Union treaty held
on February 25 there was a sharp dispute over whether peoples
or nations should be guaranteed the right to self-determination,
TASS reported. The Kazakh representative, who was supported by
the Uzbek and other representatives, argued in favor of the word
"nation," whereas the Belorussian, supported by the North Ossetian,
said that to give the right of self-determination to nations
rather than the people, i.e., the population of a republic, would
lead to the fragmentation of the republics into smaller national-territorial
units. A decision will be left to the Federation Council. (Ann
Sheehy)

NEW SOVIET PEACE PROPOSAL. TASS reported February 25 the Soviet
Union's advancement of a new peace proposal at the United Nations
Security Council. The proposal calls for the UNSC to set dates
for the start and completion of an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.
This plan would put a halt to the war and still allow for observance
of the UNSC's resolutions on the Gulf conflict. (Suzanne Crow)


BAGHDAD ACCEPTS, MAKES USSR GUARANTOR. Baghdad Radio's acceptance
of the Soviet Union's latest peace plan makes the USSR Iraq's
guarantor. Iraq communicated its acceptance through Soviet channels
and asked for Soviet intervention to halt the US-led military
effort. Iraq's reliance on the Soviet Union as guarantor could
mean that differences between Baghdad and Moscow, which led to
the fizzling of Soviet peace plans last week, have been overcome.
Reuters carried the text of the Baghdad Radio statement February
26. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV ASKS FOR CEASEFIRE. In line with the alleged plea from
Saddam Hussein for Gorbachev to arrange a ceasefire, USSR Vice
President Gennadii Yanaev told Radio Moscow on the evening of
February 25 Gorbachev had telephoned U.S. President George Bush
and requested a "reconsideration" of the war effort, Reuters
said February 26. (Suzanne Crow)

PRAVDA REPORTS ON GROUND WAR. Under the headline, "Eyewitness
impressions," correspondent V. Belyakov wrote in Pravda February
25, "I am absolutely convinced that far more people have died
in Iraq during the month or more of bombing than during the six-month
Iraqi occupation of Kuwait." The correspondent characterized
the actions of US military leaders as cold and sinister and offered
the metaphor that the "allies headed by the United States preferred
amputation to therapy." He concluded that the "whole secret of
the all-out war" is to eliminate the Baghdad regime, TASS reported
February 25. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET MUSLIMS RALLY FOR IRAQ. As many as 5,000 Muslims in the
autonomous Caucasian republic of Daghestan attended a rally on
February 24, Interfax reported February 25. Speakers in the city
of Makhachkala denounced military actions against Iraq and said
they were ready to send volunteers and supplies to Iraq. Interfax
said the demonstration was sponsored by the Muslim Religious
Board for the North Caucasus. (George Stein/Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET-SOUTH KOREAN ECONOMIC TALKS "NOT EASY." TASS reported
February 25 the start of talks in Moscow to work out disagreements
over Seoul's $3 billion aid package to Moscow. TASS said, "from
the very start of the negotiations, it was clear that they wouldn't
be easy." TASS did not elaborate on the dispute. (Suzanne Crow)


SOVETSKAYA ROSSIYA ON BERING SEA TREATY. A February 7 Sovetskaya
Rossiya article characterized the June 1990 US-Soviet treaty
setting the countries' maritime borders as a sellout of Soviet
interests. Blaming Shevardnadze personally, the article said
the USSR's position was passive, compromising, and erroneous.
The article accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of failing
to consult public opinion and the Soviet leadership, and of concealing
documents from the USSR Supreme Soviet. The MFA, the article
charged, did "not properly perform its main function: contractual-legal
support for the country's interests." The article's emphasis
on the illegality of the MFA's actions suggests that conservatives
are searching for a legal basis for retracting "new thinking."
(Suzanne Crow)

CASTRO HOPES USSR REMAINS SUPERPOWER. On February 25 TASS reported
Cuban leader Fidel Castro's remarks to a closed Party conference
in Havana on February 24, calling for the USSR to remain a superpower.
"If the Soviet Union does not preserve itself as a great power,
it would entail dramatic consequences for the whole world," Castro
was quoted as saying. Castro also said that "any experiment with
a multiparty system" would be unacceptable for Cuba because it
would mean "chaos, anarchy, and the abscence of a consistent
political line," a remark that seemed to imply criticism of the
USSR's attempts at political reform. (Suzanne Crow)

INSURANCE FOR SOLDIERS. A top Defense Ministry spokesman told
Izvestia February 25 that the heirs of soldiers killed performing
military service (presumably in peacetime) will receive an insurance
payment of 25,000 rubles, TASS reported. Those soldiers who become
invalids as a result of military service will receive between
5,000 and 15,000 rubles, while those who sustain injuries will
be eligible for 500 to 1,000 rubles. Colonel General Vladimir
Bab'ev said that 285 million rubles have been set aside in the
1991 state military budget for this purpose. Insurance for servicemen
was mandated by a presidential decree issued earlier this year.
(Stephen Foye)

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH THANKS GERMANY FOR SUPPORT. The Moscow
Department for External Church Relations issued a press-release
on February 25 thanking a number of German ministries and other
institutions for 400 million DM worth of goods donated to the
Russian Orthodox Church and other churches in the Soviet Union.
The convoy with the donations was delayed at the Polish border
for almost three weeks because of a dispute concerning customs
formalities. (Oxana Antic)

OLD BELIEVERS' JOURNAL BEING REVIVED. TASS reported February
14 that the latest issue of the journal Rodina contains a trial
issue of the defunct journal Tserkov. The Old Believer Metropolitan
See of Moscow and all Russia is attempting to revive Tserkov.
(Oxana Antic)

THE UBIQUITOUS "BISHOP VIKENTII." Moskovskii tserkovnyi vestnik
No. 2, 1991, reported that in readers' letters to the journal,
inquiring about new autocephalian bishops in Ukraine, the name
of "Bishop Vikentii," a priest of the Catacomb church, has been
mentioned. The journal also quotes several Metropolitans of the
Russian Orthodox Church who maintain that Fr. Vikentii has not
been consecrated by a hierarch of this church, although he is
a former diacon. A declaration of the Bishops' Synod of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad, published in the same issue, also says
that a certain Vikentii Tchekalin, who claims to be a bishop
of the Catacomb Church (which is recognized by the Russian Orthodox
Church Abroad), is not a bishop. Early in February, Izvestia
reported the appearance of the Russian Greek-Catholic Church--also
headed by a "Bishop Vikentii." (Oxana Antic)



USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



GAMZAKHURDIA REFUSES TO IMPOSE STATE OF EMERGENCY. Georgian president
Zviad Gamsakhurdia sent a letter, released yesterday, to USSR
Supreme Soviet chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov in which he rejected
the USSR Supreme Soviet's demand that Georgia declare a state
of emergency throughout South Ossetia, TASS reported February
25. Gamzakhurdia did offer to hold talks with South Ossetia,
provided Ossetian militants stop their activities. (NCA)

SIX DEAD, EIGHT INJURED IN SOUTH OSSETIAN VIOLENCE. On Sunday,
four people were killed and eight wounded in an attack on the
village of Avnevi, TASS reported February 25. Interfax and Postfactum
reported the same day that two ethnic Georgians were killed nearby.
USSR Minister of the Interior Boris Pugo told the USSR Supreme
Soviet yesterday that 33 people have died in 1991 in ethnic clashes
between Georgians and South Ossetians, TASS reported February
25. (NCA)

YELTSIN'S POPULARITY SHRINKS. The All-Union Center for Public
Opinion Research has conducted a survey in 11 major cities in
the RSFSR, soliciting citizens' opinions on the possible resignation
of Boris Yeltsin. According to TSN February 26, 20% favor Yeltsin's
resignation, but 46% opposed it; 44% are undecided. This last
figure in particular indicates that Yeltsin's popularity has
diminished since his election as chairman of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet last year. (Alexander Rahr)

MOSCOW TEACHERS STAGE ONE-DAY STRIKE. Teachers at almost 50 Moscow
schools staged a one-day strike Monday to press demands for better
funding for education and smaller classes, TASS reported February
25. Vsevolod Lukhovksy, a spokesman for the strike committee,
told TASS that "the state of public education in Moscow is simply
catastrophic. [The city] was short of 3,500 teachers last year.
Most school buildings are half-ruined. One hundred or even two
hundred percent more children than officially allowed are packed
into each classroom." Furthermore, he added, teachers are overburdened
and underpaid. The chairman of the USSR State Committee on Public
Education, Gennadii Yagodin, announced the same day that teachers'
pay will be increased, but he did not say when or by how much,
TASS reported. (Dawn Mann)

RSFSR SUPPLY ORGANIZATIONS THREATEN SANCTIONS AGAINST UKRAINE.
The "Edinstvo" association of suppliers of the North Caucasus
and Non-Black-Earth Zone has threatened sanctions against Ukraine
if enterprises in Ukraine continue to refuse to sign agreements
to deliver goods to the RSFSR, Izvestia reported February 18.
"Edinstvo" has the backing of three other RSFSR supply associations--"Povol'zhe,"
"Sodruzhestvo," and "Ural-Sib." A recent meeting of representatives
of Ukraine and the RSFSR in Donetsk noted that the recent bilateral
agreement between the RSFSR and Ukraine had not led to an improvement
in mutual deliveries of supplies. (Ann Sheehy)

UKRAINIAN MINERS DELEGATION TO KIEV. A specially formed commission
representing Donbass strike committees and the independent miners'
trade union in Ukraine has arrived in Kiev for negotiations with
the government, Radio Kiev reported February 25. The miners are
demanding a wage increase and other benefits. If their demands
are not met, the miners say that they will begin a strike on
March 1. (Roman Solchanyk)

ATTEMPTS TO DEFINE GOVERNMENT-LABOR UNION RELATIONS. Radio Kiev
reported February 25 that the chairman of the Ukrainian Council
of Ministers met with chairman of the Ukrainian Independent Union
Council, A. Kovalevsky, in order to discuss what form the relationship
between the unions and the government should take in a market
economy. Social protection measures were also discussed during
the meeting. (Valentyn Moroz)

MARSHAL AKHROMEEV BLASTS MOLDAVIAN LEADERSHIP. Addressing the
USSR Supreme Soviet on February 25, Marshal Sergei Akhromeev,
military adviser to Gorbachev, and coincidentally a deputy from
Moldavia, charged that "the Moldavian Popular Front and the republican
leadership at its head are in favor of Moldavia's leaving the
USSR and of the elimination of socialism." He further accused
Kishinev of duplicity: "The republican leadership is allegedly
in favor of a confederation, but...in this case confederation
is a screen, its real meaning being the break-up of the Union."
Akhromeev also attacked the notion that the "Moldavian people"
are Romanian. His remarks were carried in extenso by Central
Television last night. (Vladimir Socor)

CREATION OF ISLAMIC RENAISSANCE PARTY IN TURKMENISTAN DISCOURAGED.
Emissaries from Moscow and businessmen from Iran and Afghanistan
have been trying to set up a branch of the Islamic Renaissance
Party in Turkmenistan, Izvestia reported February 18. Their efforts
are being opposed by the kazi of Turkmenistan and the government
official in charge of religious affairs. The branch of the party
set up in Tajikistan in 1990 has been continually harassed by
the authorities, and some of the participants of the founding
congress of the Party in Uzbekistan on January 26 were fined
for holding an authorized assembly. (Ann Sheehy)

FRUNZE LENIN MUSEUM UP FOR SALE. In response to a request for
premises to house their organizations, Kirgiz president Askar
Akaev has suggested that local associations, political parties,
and public movements collect money and buy the building of the
Frunze branch of the Lenin museum from the CPSU Central Committee,
Izvestia reported February 18. The marble extravagance is virtually
standing empty. (Ann Sheehy)

CHUKCHI SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM MAGADAN OBLAST. The Chukchi
Autonomous Okrug is to be known officially as the Chukchi Soviet
Autonomous Republic and will cease to be part of Magadan oblast,
Izvestia reported February 18. A final decision on the okrug's
status was taken at the February session of the soviets of Chukotka.
The decision confirms the declaration of sovereignty adopted
by the okrug soviet on September 29. (Ann Sheehy)

FIRST CONFERENCE OF ASSYRIANS OF THE USSR. The first conference
of the Assyrians of the USSR was held recently in Moscow, Izvestia
reported February 18. Representatives of the widely-scattered
30,000-strong Soviet Assyrian community discussed their plight
as a result of interethnic tensions in Transcaucasia and Central
Asia and the role of Soviet Assyrians in the international movement.
An Assyrian Congress of the USSR was set up, and it was decided
to hold an all-Union congress of Assyrians in 1991. (Ann Sheehy)


CORRECTIONS: The Georgian Supreme Soviet had until February 23
(not until February 25, as was reported in yesterday's Daily
Report) to declare a state of emergency in South Ossetia. The
number of participants in the February 22 demonstration in support
of glasnost' was estimated at several tens of thousands, not
several thousand as was reported in yesterday's Daily Report.



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