The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused. - Shirley MacLaine
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 42, 28 February 1991



BALTIC STATES



BALTIC LEADERS PROPOSE CONFERENCE ON INDEPENDENCE. At a press
conference on February 27 in Copenhagen, Baltic leaders--Estonia's
Arnold Ruutel, Latvia's Anatolijs Gorbunovs, and Lithuania's
Bronius Kuzmickas--proposed that an international parliamentary
conference be held to facilitate the restoration of independence
in their states. Gorbunovs said, according to Reuters February
27, that "Without such a conference and without an international
declaration concerning the Baltic issue, Moscow will never start
negotiations on an official level with Moscow on the one side
and the Baltic States on the other." That afternoon the Baltic
leaders each addressed the ongoing session of the Nordic Council.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIANS INVITED TO BENELUX MEETING. Radio Riga reported February
27 that earlier that day in Copenhagen, Latvia was invited by
the BENELUX delegation also attending the Nordic Council session
to send a delegation to Brussels to the next meeting of the BENELUX
countries in May. The Latvian delegation would be guests at the
meeting. (Dzintra Bungs)

CONCERN OVER INDEPENDENCE POLL IN LATVIA. People in Latvia are
preparing for the March 3 poll on Latvia's independence. Polling
stations have been open since February 24 for people who will
not be able to vote on March 3. According to Radio Riga February
27, problems exist: irregular hours of polling stations in districts
where anti-independece forces appear to be in the majority; lists
of eligible voters also contain "dead souls"; many people have
not been informed by the local election district officials where
their polling station is located; and instructions on how to
fill out the "ballot" correctly are unclear. These problems have
been aggravated by increasing anti-independence propaganda, aimed
especially at the Russian-speaking residents of Latvia, which
comprise about 50% of the population. (Dzintra Bungs)

OPPOSITION FACTION MAY BE PAID DURING ABSENCE. On February 27,
Deputy Eduards Berklavs told RFE's Latvian Service that Latvian
Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs had agreed that
the pro-Moscow Ravnopravie deputies would not lose any of their
salary on account of their absence from January 13 through February
25. Berklavs pointed out that many deputies were unhappy with
Gorbunovs over this accord, since remuneration for unexcused
absence is against the rules adopted earlier by the Council.
Gorbunovs' decision was evidently prompted by political considerations
and the fact that he had told Gorbachev in January that he would
work for conciliation between the pro-independence and anti-independence
deputies in the Supreme Council. (Dzintra Bungs)

US MEDICAL AID ARRIVES IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported February
28 that the first shipment of medical aid from the United States
had arrived at the Riga airport this morning. Project "Hope"
officials also arrived this morning for the purpose of overseeing
the distribution of the medical supplies--the first shipment
was intended for two hospitals in Riga and one in Ogre. They
were greeted by Latvia's Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers.
(Dzintra Bungs)

RETAIL PRICE INCREASES IN LITHUANIA. On February 26 Radio Vilnius
announced forthcoming increases in retail prices in Lithuania,
together with compensatory supplementary payments for all adult
members of the population. The first compensation payments will
be made on March 19; the scale of compensation differs from the
all-Union rates announced by the central authorities. No specifics
were given on the size of price increases, although the wording
suggests that this will be left to market forces. The broadcast
cited March 11 as the date for all-Union increases in retail
prices of foodstuffs. This appears to be the first public reference
to the critical date. (Keith Bush)

LITHUANIA-UKRAINE PROTOCOL SIGNED. Radio Vilnius reported February
25 that Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Vytautas Pakalniskis
and Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Council of Ministers Viktor
Kurchyukin had signed an economic and trade cooperation protocol
for 1991 that day in Kiev. The document makes concrete the bilateral
agreement on cultural, economic, and trade cooperation signed
nearly three months ago. Each country expects to obtain goods
worth about 900 million rubles from the other. For Lithuania,
the Ukrainian goods would amount to about a tenth of all goods
purchased from the USSR. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIANS MEET DOGUZHIEV. On February 27 Deputy Chairman of
the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius and the
Lithuanian permanent representative in Moscow Egidijus Bickauskas
met with USSR Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev, the leader
of the USSR delegation on talks with Lithuania, Radio Kaunas
reported February 28. It was decided that the talks would be
a continuation of the previous talks with the same topics for
discussion among groups of specialists. The Lithuanians with
Estonian and Latvian representatives also met that day Chairman
of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee Michel
Vauzelle and discussed ways to strengthen the sovereignty of
the Baltic states. (Saulius Girnius)

OFFICERS ACCUSE COMMUNISTS. Officers belonging to the "Shchit"
military union accused Communist Party leaders of plotting a
coup in Lithuania and said that Gorbachev must have known about
the plan, AP reported February 27, citing Moscow News. The report
by the officers, who were investigating the January 13 attack
by Soviet troops in Vilnius, denied that troops were fired on
by demonstrators and said that the participation of the military
in the attack was planned beforehand. The report named eight
Lithuanian Communist Party officials--including the local garrison
commander, General Vladimir Uskhopchik--as the "nucleus" of the
shadowy National Salvation Committee. (Stephen Foye)


\fo25; USSR\fo5;


USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



SOVIET REACTION TO END OF WAR. As of 1100 (CET), TASS had released
only limited reaction to the ceasefire in the Gulf. According
to TASS, Supreme Soviet chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov said this
morning that "no doubt...this is a great victory for the foreign
policy initiatives of [President Gorbachev]." (Suzanne Crow)


PRIMAKOV COMMENTS ON GULF. Pravda February 27 carried the first
in a series of articles by Gorbachev's special Middle East envoy
Evgenii Primakov on the Gulf conflict. A summary of the piece,
carried by TASS, quoted Primakov as saying, "the prevailing opinion
in Moscow was that [the conflict] would not go as far as war,
and that the entire arsenal of political, economic, and military
measures would bring about an effect." A February 27 AP report
on Primakov's article says the author described his meetings
in Iraq prior to the start of the war as strained. AP also reported
that Primakov's article was part of a longer manuscript. (Suzanne
Crow)

AKHROMEEV ON GULF. Marshal Sergei Akhromeev told Novosti February
27 that the unwillingness of the U.S. to delay its ground attack
against Iraq, despite Soviet peace proposals, indicates that
the U.S. has war goals beyond the liberation of Kuwait. Turning
to military operations, he said that he considered the one-sidedness
of the war most surprising, and attributed it to the preponderance
of allied forces, particularly their superiority in the air.
He said that in many places the allies had achieved control of
the air after only a week of fighting. Akhromeev also noted the
success of allied high-tech weaponry, and said that the war would
allow future improvement of these systems. (Stephen Foye)

FILATOV'S WAR. Sent to Baghdad last week as a special correspondent
for Sovetskaya Rossiya, Major General Viktor Filatov appears
to be describing a different Gulf War than his Western counterparts,
The Los Angeles Times reported. Even as Iraqi forces retreated
in disarray, Filatov wrote on February 27 that Hussein's troops
"have courageously taken the first mighty blow, remained standing
and in turn... have counterattacked. The Iraqi army has shown
its steadfastness, courage and valor." Filatov, a notorious hard-liner
and editor of Voenno-Istorichesky zhurnal, also reported that
the allied offensive had bogged down, and compared the Gulf war
to American actions in Korea and Vietnam. (Stephen Foye)

GENERALS IMPRESSED BY GULF ACTION. The Soviet Top Brass has been
impressed by US actions in the Gulf, but is increasingly concerned
over potential instability along the Soviet Union's southern
borders, The Washington Post reported February 28. The report
quotes Captain Sergei Sidorov, who wrote in Krasnaya zvezda that
the generals had been struck by the performance of American high-tech
weaponry, but that few believed the war represented a defeat
for Soviet arms and tactics. Sidorov repeated the argument that
the bulk of Iraq's Soviet-made weaponry is obsolete. (Stephen
Foye)

THIRD CRISIS OF "NEW THINKING." The Frankfurter Rundshau February
27 published comments by Viktor Kremenyuk, Deputy Director of
the USA-Canada Institute, on developments in Soviet foreign policy.
Kremenyuk said the Golf conflict is the third crisis of "new
thinking," after the liberation of Eastern Europe and the unification
of Germany. Kremenyuk says: "Today the question is not whether
we support Iraq and abandon the position of the UN Security Council;
the question is whether this conflict will be grounds for a possible
revision of our foreign policy." (Suzanne Crow)

TREATY HANGUPS, MORE D-MARKS. Soviet Vice President Gennadii
Yanaev told Novosti February 27 that Germany must make "extra
efforts" to ensure ratification of treaties with Germany. Novosti
reported the USSR wants Germany to compensate Soviet citizens
who were used for forced labor in Germany during World War II.
TASS reported February 26 on Soviet-German agreement in principle
for German payment, and quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Yulii
Kvitsinsky as saying agreement between the USSR and Germany played
an important role in the Soviet signature to treaties with Germany.
Meanwhile, Soviet and German officials met on February 26 to
discuss unidentified problems concerning Soviet troop withdrawals
from Germany. (Suzanne Crow)

COCOM MEETING POSTPONED. The Journal of Commerce reported February
28 that German and British opposition to US policy forced an
abrupt postponement of a high-level Coordinating Committee meeting
scheduled for February 27. This is the second cancellation in
four months and resulted from US resistance to liberalizing export
controls. Unnamed sources reported that the disagreement centered
on US refusal to loosen controls on supercomputers and fiber-optics
communication equipment. No new meeting date has been set. (Suzanne
Crow)

IVASHKO IN CHINA, PEKING OFFERS AID. According to comments by
Chinese Communist Party Secretary Jiang Zemin in a speech on
February 27, China will provide aid to the USSR either in the
form of goods or loans. Vladimir Ivashko, Deputy General Secretary
of the CPSU met with Jiang February 27 as part of his trip to
China this week. Jiang announced he will travel to the USSR for
a few days "sometime before the summer" marking the first such
high-level Communist Party visit since the 1960s. Soviet Defense
Minister Dmitrii Yazov is expected in Beijing March 4 for talks
on arms control and sales, TASS and AP reported February 27 and
28. (Suzanne Crow)

REORGANIZATION OF STATE COMMITTEE ON THE PRESS. The USSR government
has decreed the creation of a commercial state concern based
on the technical resources of the USSR State Committee on the
Press, Printing and Publishing Houses, the deputy chairman of
the committee, Boris Kuz'min, told Pravitel'stvennyi Vestnik,
No. 7, 1991. According to Kus'min, the association "ASPOL" will
be responsible for the consolidation and development of the printing
trade throughout the USSR. The State Committee on the Press will
retain an administrative function: it will be responsible for
the registration of the mass media and for the "legal protection
of national culture from the negative consequences of commercialization
in the mass media." (Victor Yasmann)

500+ POLITICAL PARTIES IN USSR. CPSU Central Committee secretary
Valentin Kuptsov told a Moscow news conference February 27 that
there are more than 500 political parties, 20 of which have a
nationwide membership, in the USSR, TASS reported. Kuptsov stressed
that the CPSU is willing to work with any party that "does not
deny the socialist choice." Cooperation, Kuptsov noted, is "hampered"
by the fact that most of the new parties "preach anti-Communism."
The new parties, he charged, have no program other than opposition
to the CPSU. (Dawn Mann)

SUSPENDED SENTENCE SOUGHT IN SLANDER TRIAL. The state prosecutor
asked for a suspended 2-year sentence against Valeria Novodvorskaya,
a leader of the Democratic Union group charged with slandering
USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and burning a Soviet flag, AP
reported February 27. Novodvorskaya, who declined to have a lawyer,
protested the leniency of the sentence, saying, "If you are mean
enough to pass this law, be mean enough to use it!" In her closing
statement, she repeated her charge that Gorbachev is "a hangman,"
and said "I can guarantee that [Gorbachev] will hear from me
as long as he is in power." Announcing that she was bored, Novodvorskaya
called on "anyone with a sense of humor" to leave the courtroom;
she and about 40 supporters then left. (Dawn Mann)

ARCHIVES ON DEPORTEES OPENED. Official archives on more than
half a million people who were forcibly deported to the Urals
region in the 1930s have been opened to the public, Radio Moscow
reported February 27. Scientists at the Urals branch of the USSR
Academy of Sciences have been studying the archives, which relatives
will no be able to access in order to get information on family
members who disappeared during that time period. (NCA)

ARMY PROPAGANDISTS FIGHT FOR UNION. The First Deputy Chief of
the Army's Main Political Administration told Radio Moscow February
27 that military propagandists were battling to save the Union
and to insure a unified army. Colonel General Aleksandr Ovchinnikov
said that political conformity was breaking down in the Soviet
Union, and that army propaganda workers aimed to inculcate pro-union
values not only among army personnel, but to insure that the
voice of the armed forces was heard in the broader domestic political
battle as well. (Stephen Foye)

MILITARY JOURNAL LIONIZES HITLER. The journal of the USSR Ministry
of Defense, Sovetskii patriot, started serializing in its 6th
issue excerpts from Adolf Hitler by Valentin Prussakov. Prussakov,
a Jewish emigre admirer of Hitler, had penned an article titled
"We Need a New Hitler" that was distributed among the conservative
deputies of the first session of the RSFSR Congress of People's
Deputies and at the 28th CPSU Congress last year. Thereupon,
Literaturnaya Rossiya published an interview with Prussakov,
and Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal (another Ministry of Defense's
journal) chose to publish excerpts from Mein Kampf. (Julia Wishnevsky)


ANOTHER RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST KILLED. Komsomol'skaya pravda
February 21 contained a lengthy article on Fr. Serafim Shlykov--the
third Russian Orthodox priest to have been assassinated in Moscow
in the past year. Although Fr. Serafim was not interested in
politics, the newspaper writes, he is known to have received
a threatening letter from members of the anti-Semitic "Pamyat'"
society (specifically, from the faction headed by Nikolai Filimonov);
this letter was apparently stolen at the time of the murder.
Komsomol'skaya pravda noted that the first of the priests killed,
Fr. Aleksandr Men', was also unpopular with "Pamyat'" because
of his Jewish ancestry and liberal views. The newspaper suggests
that all three priests may have been murdered by religious zealots,
rather than by robbers, as the official investigators claim.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



GORBACHEV'S VISIT TO BELORUSSIA CONTINUES. Gorbachev traveled
to Gomel oblast, one of the areas hardest hit by the Chernobyl'
nuclear power plant explosion, and visited Vetka, a town that
lies 30 kilometers from the plant, TASS reported February 27.
Later, in the city of Gomel, Gorbachev said the Soviet Union
needs renovation and improvement, not destruction and disintegration.
He criticized the "stubbornness" of some republican leaders whom
he charged with disrupting the ties between regions and enterprises.
Gorbachev said that tough measures are needed to correct the
situation, otherwise, anarchy will result. Today Gorbachev is
in Mogilev. (NCA)

STATUS OF AUTONOMOUS REPUBLICS AND UNION TREATY. The status of
the former autonomous republics of the RSFSR has become a hot
issue in the discussions of the draft Union treaty, TASS reported
February 27. Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan are adamant
that if they remain part of the RSFSR they should not be parties
to the treaty. The majority of the former autonomous republics
want to be signatories to the treaty. The chairman of the RSFSR
Council of the Republic Vladimir Isakov said it was an internal
matter for the RSFSR, which was on the verge of concluding a
federal treaty with its component parts (the treaty is on the
agenda of the extraordinary RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies
opening March 28). The question at issue is the number of votes
the RSFSR would have in representative bodies if its sixteen
autonomous republics were parties to the treaty. The center has
been trying to use the autonomous republics against the RSFSR,
and the RSFSR could not necessarily rely on their support. (Ann
Sheehy)

RSFSR, UKRAINIAN, BELORUSSIAN CP'S APPEAL ON REFERENDUM. The
Central Committee of the Communist Parties of the RSFSR, Ukraine,
and Belorussia yesterday issued a joint appeal calling on all
Communists, workers and peoples of the USSR to vote "yes" in
the March 17 referendum, Ukrinform-TASS reported February 27.
The appeal attacked those who under the mask of "democrats" abused
glasnost' and pluralism to distort the aims of perestroika, and
called on the supreme soviets and governments of the three republics
to be the first to sign the Union treaty. (Ann Sheehy)

REFERENDUM AND REPUBLICAN POLL IN UKRAINE. The Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet resolved yesterday to conduct a poll simultaneously with
the referendum on March 17, Radio Kiev and Ukrinform-TASS reported
February 27. Citizens will be asked to respond "yes" or "no"
to the following question: "Do you agree that Ukraine should
be part of the union of Soviet sovereign states on the basis
of the declaration on the state sovereignty of Ukraine?" (Roman
Solchanyk)

ARMENIA ADOPTS LAW ON POLITICAL PARTIES. The Armenian Supreme
Soviet has adopted a law "On social and political organizations,"
TASS and Radio Moscow reported February 27. The law forbids the
activity on the territory of the republic of any parties whose
centers are outside the republic. According to Radio Moscow,
this would apply not only to the CPSU but also to the traditional
nationalist parties that until recently have only functioned
abroad. The law states parties may not accept funding or donations
from outside Armenia, and also that they may not set up organizational
structures in state agencies and institutions, in enterprises,
or in educational institutions. (Ann Sheehy)

FOKIN REFUSES TO MEET MINERS' DEMANDS. Tass reported February
27 that Ukrainian prime-minister Vitold Fokin has refused to
meet Donbass miners' demands for pay hikes of 100-150 percent.
He said that although miners have reason to be dissatisfied with
the poor implementation of their previous agreement with the
central authorities, the Ukrainian government has not got the
money to meet the miners' demands. He stressed that coal prices
had been raised from 22 to 99 rubles per ton, thereby allowing
miners who work underground to earn 1000 or more rubles per month.
Furthermore, he added, the coal industry has received 12 billion
rubles in subsidies and 1 billion rubles in capital investment
this year. At the same time, coal production fell by 15 million
tons last year, while miners' salaries rose by almost 18%. (Valentyn
Moroz)

GAMSAKHURDIA SAYS GORBACHEV TELEPHONED HIM. Chairman of the Georgian
Supreme Soviet Zviad Gamsakhurdia told an emergency session of
that body that Gorbachev had telephoned him on Monday to ask
whether he had changed his mind about the Union treaty. Gamsakhurdia
said he told Gorbachev no, and that "this is not only my position,
it is the position of the whole Georgian nation." Gamsakhurdia
told the deputies that, in his opinion, "the center wants to
take Abkhazia and Ossetia away from Georgia and force us to sign
the Union Treaty." A spokesman for Gorbachev said he was unaware
of the conversation. (Dawn Mann)

OFFICERS IN BELORUSSIA. Izvestia February 13-15 carries an informative
three-part report based on interviews with Soviet officers recently
returned to Belorussia from Hungary. They discuss professional
problems, personnel shortfalls, reduced combat training, ethnic
divisions, the role of the CPSU, and a host of other issues.
Particularly noteworthy is the extreme conservatism displayed
by the officers, who uniformly admire hard-liner Victor Alksnis
while disparaging progressives. Their comments are a reminder
that Soviet officers being withdrawn from Europe seem generally
to be more conservative, and that their numbers in the Soviet
Union will swell in the coming months. (Stephen Foye)

CONFERENCE ON UKRAINIAN NATIONALISM. A scientific conference
on the history of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
(OUN) and the contemporary political struggle was held in the
West Ukrainian city of Lutsk, Ukrinform-TASS reported February
27. The conference participants are said to have denounced attempts
to rehabilitate the OUN by "pseudo-democrats." In December, the
second stage of the congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine
adopted a special resolution along the same lines. (Roman Solchanyk)


MOLDAVIA INTRODUCES COUPONS. The Moldavian government has decreed
the introduction of republican coupons to protect the republic's
consumers and prevent the flow of scarce goods from Moldavia
to other republics. Coupons will be issued to Moldavia's residents
only, for a value equivalent to 70% of their salaries (except
for citizens with salaries under 100 rubles who will receive
75 rubles worth of coupons). The measure becomes effective March
1, TASS reported February 27. The Moldavian government has recently
indicated that the coupons represent a transitional solution
toward the introduction of republican currency. (Vladimir Socor)


MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT ESTABLISHES CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL. Moldavian
President Mircea Snegur has created a Consultative Council consisting
of representatives of all political parties, social and political
movements and formations, and national-cultural associations
legally registered in Moldavia. The Council is designed to offer
the President a full range of views on all problems affecting
the republic and assist in reaching civil accord in Moldavia,
the Moldavian media and TASS reported February 26 and 27, respectively.
(Vladimir Socor)


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