Доводы, до которых человек додумывается сам, обычно убеждают его больше, нежели те, которые пришли в голову другим. - Блез Паскаль
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 43, 01 March 1991



BALTIC STATES



NORDIC COUNCIL PRESIDENT REJECTS SOVIET OBJECTIONS. Nordic Council
President Anker Joergensen dismissed a three-page Soviet complaint
over the Council's support for Baltic independence bid. The diplomatic
note, complaining of Nordic support for separatism in the Soviet
Union, was sent unsigned and without a return address on February
25 by the Soviet embassy to Joergensen and the Nordic delegations.
Joergensen told AP on February 28 that "It's an interesting commentary,
but there's nothing new in it." He said that he would not reply.
This is the second time this week that the Nordic Council has
dismissed Soviet objections to its policies and activities. (Dzintra
Bungs)

REUTERS BACK IN ESTONIA. On February 27, after a 51-year hiatus,
the international news agency Reuters began sending news to Estonia
via wire, the Estonian News Agency (ETA) reported that day. (Riina
Kionka)

CSCE TO MONITOR PLEBISCITES. The US Helsinki Commission will
monitor plebiscites on independence set for March 3, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Washington February 28. Commission
Chairman Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said the polls could have a
dramatic impact on the future of democracy in the USSR and that
recent tension in the area makes it essential that Commission
envoys observe both the atmosphere in which the plebiscites are
held and their outcome. Estonians will be asked whether they
favor restoration of a sovereign and independent Republic of
Estonia, and Latvians will vote on whether they support a democratic
and independent Republic of Latvia. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIAN PARTIES TO MEET ON CRISIS. The Council of Estonian Political
Parties has called an international meeting for this weekend
to discuss how the Baltic states fit into the new European structure,
ETA reported February 27. The group, which plans to adopt a statement
stressing the internationalization of the Baltic question, will
allow participating delegations to observe Sunday's plebiscite
on independence. Politicians from Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Norway,
Finland, the RSFSR and Moscow have already confirmed their participation.
(Riina Kionka)

PRISONERS MAY VOTE. The Estonian Supreme Council will allow prisoners
and those under arrest on Sunday to vote in the plebiscite on
independence, according to ETA February 28. The Supreme Council
reportedly made the last minute change in the legislation governing
the vote on the advice of the "International Conference on 'Civil
Rights and Estonia,'" held two weeks ago in Tallinn. (Riina Kionka)


LATVIANS CONGRATULATE KUWAIT'S LIBERATORS. Radio Riga reported
February 28 that the Latvian Supreme Council had sent congratulations
to the United States, Great Britain, and other countries that
fought against Iraq for the liberation of Kuwait. A Latvian parliamentary
delegation, led by Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs,
visited the US Embassy in Copenhagen on February 28 and commended
the US efforts leading to Kuwait's liberation. (Dzintra Bungs)


CAMPAIGN AGAINST LATVIA'S INDEPENDENCE POLL. Radio Riga reported
February 28 that the campaign against the March 3 poll on Latvia's
independence was intensifying. Counterfeit "ballots" and leaflets
slandering the Latvian government and Supreme Council were being
distributed in Latvia. In the predominantly Slavic Kurzeme district
of Riga regulations concerning the polling centers were flagrantly
disregarded. Dire predictions of unemployment, strikes, and civil
war in Latvia were issued respectively by Radio Moscow and the
Soviet central TV's second program beamed from Moscow on February
28. (Dzintra Bungs)

FOREIGN OBSERVERS START TO ARRIVE IN LATVIA FOR INDEPENDENCE
POLL. According to Radio Riga February 28, 96 Lithuanians had
arrived in Latvia to act as observers at the polling stations
on March 3 when voters will register their opinion on Latvia
as an independent and democratic state. Fourteen observers are
expected from Sweden, 11 from Czechoslovakia, 10 each from Norway
and Denmark, 5 from the Council of Europe, 4 from Finland, and
an undisclosed number from the United States and other countries.
On March 1, 10 foreign journalists had already come to Latvia,
Radio Riga reported. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN-RSFSR CULTURAL ACCORD. An accord on cultural cooperation
between Latvia and the RSFSR was signed on February 28 by Latvia's
Minister of Culture Raimonds Pauls and his Russian counterpart
Yurii Solomin, Radio Riga reported that day. The signing took
place in Riga. (Dzintra Bungs)

GORBUNOVS STILL POPULAR IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported February
22 the results of a Sociological Research center poll done in
mid-February, involving over 1,000 respondents. According to
Aldis Paulins, 87% of Latvian and 71% of non-Latvian respondents
had confidence in the work of Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs
Gorbunovs. Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis ranked second, with
85% Latvians and 43% BBn-Latvians having confidence in his work.
No figures were reported for Supreme Council Deputy Chairman
Dainis Ivans and the Ravnopravie opposition faction leader Sergei
Dimanis, who shared third place. Satisfaction with the work of
the Supreme Council, the Council of Ministers, the People's Front
and the Ravnopravie faction was noted respectively by 65%, 61B,
70%, and 20% of all the respondents. (Dzintra Bungs)

B NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE IN LITHUANIA. Lithuania's Supreme Council
voted on February 28 to guarantee the right of OBn-violent resistance,
AP reported that day. The parliament said citizens may exercise
the right whenever the republic's "sovereignty and integrity"
are threatened. The guaranOBe was part of a citizens' rights
package, in which the Supreme Council also reaffirmed the supremacy
of republican laws over all-Union ones; declared all Soviet government
structuresB and decrees affecting Lithuania invalid; and warned
of the possibility that Lithuania could be further occupied by
the Soviet military. (Riina Kionka)

B LITHUANIA'S ELTA LINKED WITH NORWEGIAN NEWS SERVICE.
The Norwegian news agency NTB opened a satellite link on February 28 with
Lithuania's news service, ELTA, AP reported that day. Via the link, ELTA can
access reports from the national news services Bf Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
Finland, and Iceland. The Norwegian government approved a 300,000-kroner
grant to make this form of information dissemination possible.
The Lithuanian agency will translate NTB reports and also make
them available to Estonia and Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)


USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



BESSMERTNYKH ON PEACE, SOVIET ROLE. "We welcome the liberation
of Kuwait and the restoration of its lawful government," said
Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh February 28. Bessmertnykh
went on to stress the role of the United Nations in formulating
a plan for stability in the region. He also underscored the USSR's
belief that the "fate of the region belongs to and is to be determined,
first and foremost, by its people and populations. We, for our
part, must cooperate in guaranteeing the effectiveness and reliability
[garantirovannosti] of the future development of the situation
concerning these countries," TASS reported February 28. (Suzanne
Crow)

FALIN COMMENTARY ON PEACE. CPSU Central Committee member and
USSR Supreme Soviet member Valentin Falin said the "ceasefire
in the Persian Gulf opens the way for the shift of the conflict
to a political channel, which the USSR has, from the start, sought,"
TASS reported February 28. Falin stressed the substantive role
of the UN. Asked if Saddam represented a destabilizing factor
in the region, Falin said: "stability there, both in the past
and now, does not depend on a single regime in one country. It
is...a combination of various factors, and if we simplify the
problem to the point of changing the regime in one country, we
do not achieve a solution." (Suzanne Crow)

IGNATENKO: OUR ROLE IS ENVISAGED. Soviet Presidential spokesman
Vitalii Ignatenko said he is, "by nature an optimist," and he
is therefore optimistic about US-Soviet cooperation, including
in the Middle East. But, Ignatenko went on to warn, you can already
hear people saying, "there is nothing for the Soviet Union in
the Near East, and it's not right to let the USSR into the region."
Ignatenko went on to say, "it is known that the [US] Secretary
of State is going to the Near East shortly for negotiations.
We're convinced that we'll met him there. Our role is envisaged,"
TASS reported February 28. (Suzanne Crow)

USSR TO HELP CLEAN UP OIL. A Soviet Merchant Marine Ministry
spokesman said February 28 the USSR will help clean up oil slicks
in the Persian Gulf. The spokesman said assistance will be offered
on the basis of contracts with the Saudi Arabian government,
AFP reported. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)

GENERALS ON GULF WAR. In a series of articles and interviews,
Soviet generals have been quick to deny that the Gulf war was
a victory over Soviet arms and tactics. Military spokesmen have
argued that Iraq did not have the latest Soviet weapons, that
Iraqi soldiers were in some cases poorly trained, and that Soviet
weapons used in Syria had in fact performed quite well. The Top
Brass nevertheless does seem to be most concerned about allied
air power, and the Commander of Soviet Anti-Aircraft forces warned
that the war would fuel further developments in Western air capabilities.
All of these issues are likely to resurface in Soviet debates
on national security in the coming months and years. (Stephen
Foye)

YAZOV CONFIRMED, COMMENTS ON GULF. The USSR Supreme Soviet reconfirmed
Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov on February 28 by a vote of 275
to 24, with 53 abstentions, TASS reported. Following allied successes
in the Gulf, deputies questioned Yazov closely on the state of
the Soviet Union's armed forces. According to Yazov, the allied
victory had prompted Soviet generals to look again at their air
defense capabilities, and he warned that while they were presently
capable of repelling attacks, that might not be true in two or
three years. Yazov nevertheless defended the Iraqi's Soviet-supplied
weaponry, arguing that--particularly in the air--the allies enjoyed
a huge advantage in numbers. (Stephen Foye)

SUPREME SOVIET CONFIRMS 11 MINISTERS. TASS reported February
28 that the USSR Supreme Soviet confirmed 11 new members of the
Cabinet of Ministers. Those confirmed include three deputy prime
ministers--Lev Ryabev, Fedor Sen'ko, and Vladimir Shcherbakov--as
well as the chairman of the KGB and the ministers of defense,
nuclear power, geology, the maritime fleet, transport construction,
power and electrification, and natural resources' use and conservation.
(Dawn Mann)

APPOINTMENTS TO CABINET. Among the three USSR deputy prime ministers
is Fedor Sen'ko, formerly deputy chairman of the Belorussian
Council of Ministers. It had been agreed earlier in the Federation
Council that the Ukrainians and Belorussians should jointly propose
a deputy premier for agricultural affairs. Pavlov now has two
first deputies and five deputies, and there is still one to come,
as the Central Asians and Kazakhs were also promised that they
could nominate a candidate. (Ann Sheehy)

YAZOV'S VISIT TO CHINA CANCELLED. AFP reported February 28 that
a scheduled March 4 visit by the Soviet Defense Minister to China
has been called off by Moscow. A Soviet embassy spokesman in
Beijing gave no reason for the cancellation, but said that the
meeting might be re-scheduled. The announcement comes as military
cooperation between the two Communist powers appears to be growing.
(Stephen Foye)

NATO OFFICIAL: USSR WON'T BUDGE ON CFE. The USSR has made no
move to change its position and to comply with the CFE treaty,
a "senior" and unidentified NATO official told AP February 28.
"The Soviet stance is exactly the same," the official said, and
"there are no indications they will soften their stance" (on
the transfer of three divisions to the navy so that they cannot
be limited by the treaty). The official said, "it is agreed that
we will keep on the pressure," and the Western attitude at talks
in Vienna is "no-business-as-usual." (Suzanne Crow)

USSR, ROK AGREE ON TRADE CENTER. TASS reported February 28 the
conclusion of a Soviet-South Korean agreement to build a Soviet-Korean
trade center in Moscow. It is estimated the project will cost
about $300 million, and 20 Korean firms and government agencies
will take part in the project. In the past, Seoul and Moscow
have encountered difficulties reaching agreement for such joint
projects in the USSR because of disputes over which side would
actually run the operation. (Suzanne Crow)

MVD ON RISING CRIMES RATES. The Soviet security organs continue
to emphasize what they say are rising crime rates throughout
the Soviet Union. The Internal Affairs Ministry announced on
Central Television on February 28 that in the past week alone
over one million people have taken part in various street demonstrations
and meetings and that some 150 crimes had been recorded. In operation
"Okno," for example, MVD and KGB personnel reportedly unmasked
a crime ring in Moscow and confiscated a million rubles worth
of contraband, plus money and automatic weapons. In Krasnodarsk
Krai, according to the announcement, more than 500 speculators
were arrested in 1990, but only 13 went to jail. (Stephen Foye)


USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



KUZBASS MINERS TO STRIKE. Mines at 88 mines in the Kuznetsk basin
in Western Siberia will hold a one-day strike on March 4 to seek
higher pay and the resignation of USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev,
AP reported February 28. Kuzbass miners are also demanding the
depolitization of the army and KGB, greater sovereignty for the
RSFSR, the elimination of censorship, larger subsidies to mines,
and earlier retirement. Miners in Karaganda and Vorkuta will
also be striking on March 4, according to Pavel Shushpanov, (Dawn
Mann)

GEORGIAN SUPREME SOVIET ONCE AGAIN REJECTS REFERENDUM. On February
28 the Georgian Supreme Soviet once again rejected the holding
of the March 17 referendum in the republic, TASS reported. It
was argued that in elections in 1919 and 1990 the Georgian people
had twice this century confirmed their desire for independent
statehood. The Supreme Soviet reaffirmed its earlier decision
to hold a republican referendum on March 31 on the restoration
of the state independence of Georgia on the basis of its act
of independence of May 26, 1918. (Ann Sheehy)

GEORGIAN LEADERS ACCUSE KREMLIN. The Georgian Supreme Soviet
on February 28 accused Moscow of waging an undeclared war against
the republic by exploiting unrest in South Ossetia and supplying
troops there with the latest weaponry, Reuters reported. It charged
that the Kremlin is attempting to punish Georgia for its refusal
to participate in the creation of a new federation and to sign
the Union Treaty. (Stephen Foye)

LETTER FROM SOUTH OSSETIAN INTELLECTUALS. An open letter from
South Ossetian intellectuals to Gorbachev, published on February
28 in Rabochaya tribuna, called upon Moscow to use all legal
means possible to end "the barbaric blockade of South Ossetia
by Georgian authorities," TASS reported. The letter accused "Georgian
separatists" of establishing a nationalist dictatorship, of trampling
upon South Ossetia's autonomy, and of flouting elementary civil
rights." (Stephen Foye)

GORBACHEV IN GOMEL. On February 27, during his tour of the Chernobyl'-affected
areas of Belorussia, Gorbachev addressed the agricultural Party
aktiv of Gomel. He said Belorussia's predicament shows that the
republics still need the center to resolve their problems and
broadened that argument into an apparent critique of the trend
toward the conclusion of interrepublican agreements without central
coordination. Gorbachev warned that the diktat of Union authorities
could give way to anarchy, adding that "now we have to preserve
what has existed." He also resumed the attack on separatists
and political opponents that marked his address to the Belorussian
Academy of Sciences on February 26. Referring to that occasion,
the London Times February 28 reported that liberals in Moscow
regard Gorbachev's speech in Minsk as his harshest attack yet
on the democratic cause. (Kathy Mihalisko)

GORBACHEV CAME AS CP LEADER, NOT PRESIDENT. Gorbachev's trip
to Belorussian, which ended February 28 after his visit to Mogilev,
disappointed some Belorussians, who were hoping to hear more
on the Chernobyl' tragedy than the evasive generalities Gorbachev
offered. Gorbachev's speeches instead concentrated on the importance
of preserving the Union and on the CPSU's political adversaries.
A source in Gomel complained to RFE-RL February 28 that Gorbachev
came to the republic as general secretary of the Party, not as
president and claimed that none of the numerous radicals on the
Gomel city soviet were invited to hear Gorbachev speak. (RL Russian
Service/Kathy Mihalisko)

BELORUSSIAN OPPOSITION SUPPORTS YELTSIN. About a quarter of the
core of the Belorussian Supreme Soviet--some 67 deputies--signed
an open letter protesting the official campaign unleashed by
all-Union officials and the conservative media against Boris
Yeltsin following his interview on Soviet television on February
19, the RL Russian Service learned February 28. Referring to
Yeltsin's call for Gorbachev's resignation and for the dissolution
of the all-Union governing structures, the deputies pointed out
that "every statesman is entitled to his own views on the state's
problems" and to make those views known to the electorate. (Russian
BD/Julia Wishnevsky)

RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET NAMES SECURITY CHIEF, PROCURATOR. The RSFSR
Supreme Soviet approved the appointment of Colonel Sergei Vadimovich
Stepashin as chairman of its Committee on Security, TASS reported
February 28. Stepashin is 52 years old and has most recently
been working in internal affairs organs in Leningrad. The committee,
which was formed not long ago, has begun working on a law on
security and negotiating with the USSR KGB. Valentin Stepankov
was approved as RSFSR Procurator (his appointment will also have
to be confirmed by the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies).
Stepanov, 40, is a member of the CPSU and an RSFSR People's Deputy.
He is a professional jurist who began his career as a district
procurator; he is currently first deputy general procurator of
the RSFSR. (Dawn Mann)

RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET DEBATES LAW ON REFUGEES. The RSFSR Supreme
Soviet debated February 28 the draft republican law "On refugees
and those forced to resettle," TASS reported. It was said that
about 200,000 of the 600,000 internal refugees fleeing interethnic
conflict are in the RSFSR, some 90,000 having arrived in 1990
alone. Speakers found the law lacked sufficient material backing.
Others argued that it should be examined only after the Union
treaty was signed. The law was sent back for reworking. (Ann
Sheehy)

REGISTRATION OF PARTIES IN THE RSFSR. According to Sovetskaya
Rossiya February 15, only four parties in the Russian Republic
meet the minimum membership--5,000--required for registration.
They are the Communist Party, the Democratic Party, the Christian-Democratic
Party, and the Social-Democratic Party. (Dawn Mann)

"A GREAT UNITED RUSSIA." A conference entitled "Socio-Political
Movements for a Great United Russia" was held in Moscow on February
27, TASS reported the same day. Representatives of some 80 political
parties, movements, and unions participated, as did First Secretary
of the RSFSR Communist Party Ivan Polozkov, the chairman of the
All-Union Association of People's Deputies, and the writers Yurii
Bondarev and Aleksandr Prokhanov. The conference has issued an
appeal asserting that "only a strong, patriotic, and active power
will be able to lead the people of Russia out of tragedy." (Dawn
Mann)

REFERENDUM ITEMS. Additional polls are to be held on March 17,
the day of the all-Union referendum, in the Komi-Permyak autonomous
okrug, on the disputed Kurile islands, and possibly on Kamchatka.
The Komi-Permyaks are to be asked to vote on whether a projected
atomic power station should be built on their territory, Moscow
radio reported February 28. The inhabitants of the four disputed
Kurile islands will be polled on their attitude towards a possible
return of the islands to Japan, TASS reported February 27, and
voters in Kamchatka may be asked to support an appeal to the
USSR Supreme Soviet on limiting tourism to the area in order
to protect the environment, TASS reported February 25. (Ann Sheehy)


UKRAINIAN GOSTELERADIO WORKERS CALL FOR STATE CONTROL. In their
appeal to the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, published in Kultura
i zhyttia February 23, staff members of the Ukrainian State Committee
for Television and Radio expressed alarm over the partial privatization
of republican TV. According to the appeal, the republican Ministry
of Communications has been leasing TV channels to cooperatives
and has drawn up plans to transmit Western programs via republican
cable TV. Signatories of the appeal believe that national TV
should be protected from foreign domination and that jurisdiction
over republican radio and television should be handed over to
the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet. (Valentyn Moroz)

UKRAINIAN SCHOOLS AND TV TO BE INTRODUCED IN MOLDAVIA. Radio
Kiev reported February 28 that Moldavian president Mircea Snegur
has issued a decree on the introduction of Ukrainian-language
instruction in schools and the creation of Ukrainian-language
TV and radio services. Parents in Ukrainian settlements will
be now able to choose Ukrainian as the language of instruction
for their children. Teachers for these classes will be trained
in Ukraine. This decree could set a precedent that might be followed
in other areas of the USSR having a significant Ukrainian minority
population. (Valentyn Moroz)

CHERNOBYL' RELIEF LEGISLATION PASSED IN UKRAINE. The Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet yesterday approved legislation designed to overcome
the effects of the Chernobyl' nuclear accident. The measures
include medical help, resettlement assistance, and compensation
for material damage. The parliament also said that if the Soviet
government does not finance the aid package, Ukraine reserves
the right to subtract the necessary funds from its contribution
to the all-Union budget. (NCA/Kathy Mihalisko)

MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT ADJOURNS AFTER FACTIONS' WALKOUT. The Moldavian
Supreme Soviet was forced to adjourn February 28 after Moldavian
Communist, Russian, and most Agrarian deputies walked out to
dramatize their demand for the resignation of Prime Minister
Mircea Druc, TASS reported the same day. For the past three months,
Moscow and the pro-Soviet forces in Moldavia have been campaigning
to oust Druc. The effort has now been joined by the Agrarians,
a large parliamentary group of Moldavian kolkhoz chairmen and
other rural officials who support national demands but oppose
the radical agrarian and administrative reforms promoted by Druc.
Added to the earlier boycott of the parliament by Russian deputies
from the left bank of the Dniester, yesterday's walkout has deprived
the parliament of a quorum. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT DENOUNCES ATTEMPTS TO HOLD UNION REFERENDUM.
At a session of Moldavia's Presidential Council February 28,
President Mircea Snegur rejected the USSR Supreme Soviet's February
25 decision that declared "illegal" the refusal by some republics
including Moldavia to hold the referendum on preserving the Union
and required them to hold it. Denouncing that decision as "a
direct interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state,"
Snegur and the Presidential Council also condemned the Moldavian
Communist Party and the managements of enterprises of all-union
subordination in Moldavia for attempting to organize the referendum
on a local basis. The Council declared such attempts illegal,
TASS reported February 28. (Vladimir Socor)

ROMANIAN CONSULATE TO OPEN IN KISHINEV. The Romanian and USSR
Ministries of Foreign Affairs have agreed on the establishment
of a Soviet General Consulate in Iasi (capital of Romania's rump
province of Moldavia) and a Romanian General Consulate in Kishinev,
Radio Bucharest reported February 28. The exchange of notes on
the matter by the two ministries is scheduled for today. President
Snegur's office told RFE/RL by telephone March 1 that under a
three-cornered agreement between Moscow, Kishinev, and Bucharest,
the Soviet General Consulate in Iasi will be divided into a USSR
and a Moldavian section. (Vladimir Socor)


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

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