The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 54, 18 March 1991



BALTIC STATES



BAKER MEETS THE BALTS. On March 16, US Secretary of State James
Baker met with Baltic rep-resentatives in Moscow. EstoniaUs permanent
envoy in Moscow, Juri Kahn, told RFE/RL on Saturday that Baker
called for the adoption of a secession law that takes into account
the Baltic statesU exceptional status within the USSR. (Riina
Kionka)

PETERS ON MEETING WITH BAKER. After the meeting on March 16 between
US Secretary of State James Baker and Baltic officials in Moscow
on March 16, Latvian government representative Janis Peters said
that Rthe United States and the Soviet Union are now carrying
on a good dialogue, which can only be of benefit to the Baltic
region,S reported Reuters that day. According to DPA MarchJ16,
Peters said that the meeting had brought the Baltic independence
issue Ra half a step forward.S DPA also reported that Baker had
urged the Balts not to set any precondition for the coming talks
with Moscow. (Dzintra Bungs)

BICKAUSKAS ON TALKS WITH BAKER. The Lithuanian representative
in Moscow, Egidijus Bickauskas, told Radio Kaunas on March 16
that Baker had told the Baltic representatives that the Soviet
authorities had told him that they were willing to start a dialogue
with the Baltic republics, but that the Balts had not responded.
The Balts denied this, saying that Moscow had not shown any effort
to start real talks on Baltic independence. When Bickauskas raised
the continued seizure by Soviet troops of various buildings in
Lithuania, Baker said he that he would investigate the matter.
Bickauskas said that some progress had been made in talks with
Moscow, but Rnot the kind of progress that we would like to see.S
(Saulius Girnius)

LATVIANS IGNORE USSR REFERENDUM. About 200,000 people in Latvia
participated in the USSR referendum on March 17, Radio Riga reported
March 18. Despite rumors of possible Rincidents,S the day passed
quietly. 322 polling stations were, according to TASS March 17,
set up by units of the USSR armed forces, work collectives, and
public organizations, since the Latvian Supreme Council decided
not to have anything to do with the referendum. Final results
are not yet available, but they are likely to be inaccurate,
due to voting irregularities. According to The Baltimore Sun
of March 18, referring to a Baltfax dispatch, one reporter voted
five times in Riga. TASS noted other irregularities. (Dzintra
Bungs)

SOVIETS DETAIN LITHUANIAN NATIONAL DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR.
Radio Kaunas March 18 carried a briefing by Lithuanian President
Vytautas Landsbergis who said that the Director-General of the
Lithuanian National Defense Department, Audrius Butkevicius,
and his driver had been detained the previous night by Soviet
MVD troops. When Lithuanian authorities telephoned MVD authorities
in Moscow to demand his release. Landsbergis said that MVD General
Zhitnikov had told him that the matter had been delegated to
the Moscow-appointed procurator in Lithuania, Antanas Petrauskas,
and was no longer in his hands. Radio Kaunas reported this morning
that Butkevicius has been released, but the driver, the automobile,
and their weapons remain in custody. (Saulius Girnius)

VAISVILA MEETS PUGO. Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas
Vaisvila told RFE/RL on MarchJ17 about his two-hour meeting with
USSR Internal Affairs Minister Boriss Pugo on March 16. Pugo
told Vaisvila and the Lithuanian representative in Moscow Egidijus
Bickauskas that some weapons seized by Soviet troops would be
returned to the Lithuanian police, along with the warehouse used
for their storage. Pugo said the return of other buildings seized
by Soviet troops would be decided at a higher level. Pugo also
said that the Lithuanian and Soviet Internal Affairs Ministries
would form a working group to discuss the current problems. (Saulius
Girnius)

LITHUANIAN PROCURATOR FILES CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST PUGO. TASS
reported MarchJ17 that Landsbergis, in a Lithuanian radio interview,
had said that the Lithuanian ProcuratorUs office had filed criminal
charges against Pugo be-cause troops under his command still
occupy Lith-uanian state property. (On January 11- 13, Soviet
troops seized the Vilnius television tower, the headquarters
of Lithuanian radio and television, the main press house, and
various other sites.) Landsbergis also complained about the increase
inJthe number of Soviet troops in Lithuania. (SauliusJGirnius)


LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW ON BACK BURNER. At its board meeting
on March 12, the PeopleUs Front of Latvia recommended that a
law on citizenship in Latvia not be adopted at this time by the
Supreme Council, according to Radio Riga March 13. The PeopleUs
Front leadership felt that, LatviaUs independence must be restored
and secured and then a new parliament should be elected which
should then draft an appropriate citizenship law. The majority
of the deputies in the Supreme Council belong to the PeopleUs
Front faction; therefore, it is unlikely that the citizenship
law will come up on the CouncilUs agenda in the near future.
(Dzintra Bungs)

CONGRESS OF ESTONIA MEETS AGAIN. EstoniaUs alternative parliament,
the Congress of Estonia, met for the fourth time on March 16.
The session, broadcast live on Estonian Radio, approved a number
of draft resolutions on issues ranging from ownership rights
to issuing citizen identification cards. The Congress also discussed
the March 3 plebiscite on Estonian independence and the general
economic/political situation. Contrary to expectations, the Congress
did not elect a new executive board. The Congress was elected
last year by citizens of the interwar republic and their descendents.
(Riina Kionka)



USSR ALL-UNION TOPICS

PRELIMINARY REFERENDUM RESULTS. Preliminary, unofficial results,
indicate between 66-80% support in the Soviet Far East for preserving
the USSR as a renewed le federation of equal sovereign republics,
Soviet and Western news agencies reported. Postfactum says residents
of the Kuri18 islands voted overwhelmingly against returning
one of the islands to Japan as a gesture to improve relations.
AP March says that totals collected by RRukhS in Ukraine indicate
that the referendum passed by a small measure, although it was
rejected in Kiev by a margin of 60%. AP also reports that the
final count in Turkmenia showed 95% support for the Union, and
early returns in Kazakhstan indicate 94% approval. Turnout was
reported to be high in most republics. (NCA)

AUTONOMOUS FORMATIONS DEFY GEORGIAN REFERENDUM BOYCOTT. Although
the non-Communist Georgian government had called for a boycott
of the referendum, and Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad Gamsakhurdia
is cited by TASS as having branded anyone who participated as
a traitor, 40,000 people, mostly dependents of Soviet troops,
are reported to have voted in the South Ossetian AO, according
to Interfax, and some Ossetians from South Ossetia travelled
to the North Ossetian ASSR to vote there. Abkhazia likewise defied
the Georgian authoritiesU boycott in a move which Gamsakhurdia
termed Rdeclaration of an anti- constitututional war.S (Liz Fuller)


PARTICIPATION IN AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA UNCLEAR. In Nagorno-Karabakh,
the oblast soviet, whose powers were suspended in 1989, called
on the Armenian population of the oblast to vote RyesS in the
referendum, presumably fearing for its future in an independent
Azerbaijani state. No information is available on participation
in the referendum elsewhere in Azerbaijan; Armenia called for
a boycott of the referendum and will instead vote in September
on whether to secede from the USSR. (Liz Fuller)

MOLDAVIANS STAY HOME. Circumventing MoldaviaUs refusal to hold
the Union referendum, the Union authorities set up 50 voting
centers in Moldavia in military posts and in all-Union enterprises.
Those voting centers opened MarchJ14, 3 days ahead of schedule.
In addition, Russian and Gagauz authorities in several mixed-population
districts organized the referendum there. The ethnic Moldavian
population has overwhelmingly boycotted the vote. The turnout
of the non-indigenous population has been high in the mixed districts
but moderate elsewhere, in the aggregate falling short of the
overwhelming turnout expected of non-Moldavians by the central
authorities. This makes it likely that the over-all abstention
rate exceeded the 65% share of Moldavians in the republicUs population.
(Vladimir Socor)

VOTING IRREGULARITIES IN MOLDAVIA. The Moldavian media have reported
a pattern of irregularities at voting centers set up by the Union
authorities. Moldavian TV and radio presented interviews with
citizens who had been given as many as 7 ballots to cast, or
had been allowed to vote repeatedly in different voting centers,
or had requested and received ballots in the name of deceased
relatives. The voting centers and the Central Electoral Commission
set up by Union authorities in Kishinev did not have voter registration
lists. There is no procedure for independent checking of the
vote count. (Vladimir Socor)

REFERENDUM IN CENTRAL ASIA. Various Soviet media reports on March
17 indicated that there was a high turnout in at least some Central
Asian republics in the referendum on the future of the USSR.
According to RVremya,S more than 90% of the electorate voted
in Uzbekistan and more than 80% in Kazakhstan. TASS reported
that in Tajikistan representatives of the Democratic Party and
the Popular Front group Rastokhez tried to interfere in the conduct
of the referendum. Leaders of the two parties had earlier appealed
to the population to boycott the referendum. (Bess Brown)

DEFENSE MINISTER VOTES RYESS IN REFERENDUM. USSR Minister of
Defense Dmitrii Yazov told reporters at a Moscow polling site
on March 17 that he thought a majority of citizens would vote
in favor of maintaining the Union. Yazov said that those republics
attempting to leave the Union constitute only about 10% of the
total Soviet population, and that therefore the Union Rwas, is,
and will remain.S Yazov said that he had voted RyesS on the Union
question, but refused to reveal how he had voted with respect
to establishing an RSFSR presidency. (Stephen Foye)

TV AND RADIO VIOLATE LAW ON REFERENDUM. In the weeks preceding
the referendum, Soviet radio and TV devoted considerable amounts
of air-time to persuading voters to say RyesS to the Union. RVremyaS
on March 17 carried interviews with a number of people who said
attempts to agitate against the March 17 referendum were Rhuman
rightsU violationsS (whereas attempts to agitate for the referendum
were apparently not). On Friday and Saturday, television programs
were interrupted every two hours by an instructional clip demonstrating
how to cast a RyesS vote. On MarchJ17, in violation of the USSR
law on referendum (which forbids campaigning of any sort on the
day of the vote), both radio and TV continued to urge the electorate
to vote Ryes.S (Julia Wishnevsky)

GORBACHEV ON SOVIET REPUBLICSU DRIVE FOR INDEPENDENCE. USSR President
Mikhail Gorbachev has compared movements for independence in
some Soviet republics with the situation that existed in former
Soviet satellite countries in 1989. In his interview, quoted
by TASS March 17, Gorbachev said that when Soviet relations with
East European allies became tense in 1989, his leadership took
Rthe only correct positionS and gave its East European allies
the possibility to rethink everything for themselves. Now, Gorbachev
claims, he has difficulty finding the time to meet all the representatives
of these countries to discuss future cooperation. The Soviet
leader added that a similar development will take place in the
relations between the center and the republics. (Alexander Rahr)


RETAIL PRICE INCREASE. USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov has
confirmed that increases in retail prices are expected to take
effect on April 2-3, and that compensatory rises in pay, pensions,
and stipends will begin on March 20, TASS reported March 17.
The increases will reportedly average some 60% overall, while
the population will be compensated for 85% of the increases.
It has been estimated that the retail price increases could remove
about one-half of the monetary overhang in the possession of
households. (Keith Bush)

UPDATE ON MINERSU STRIKE. On Saturday TASS reported that Gorbachev
will travel to Kemerovo this week to discuss the minersU strike
and other problems with local officials. Food is reportedly in
short supply and local officials are trying to barter coal for
food, according to Radio Moscow MarchJ15. USSR Vice President
Gennadii Yanaev sent a telegram to Kemerovo officials on Friday,
announcing a two-fold increase in local housing construction
and increased deliveries of food, medicine, and farm equipment,
AP reported MarchJ16. Financial losses from the strike now total
140 million rubles, plus an estimated 10Jtimes that amount in
lost enterprise production. Miners in Karaganda sent a telegram
to USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov on Friday, demanding he
agree to talks with 36 hours or face an open-ended strike this
week. (Dawn Mann)

TSN: THE END OF AN RALTERNATIVE NEWSREEL.S All three TSN moderators
were fired on Friday, Radio Rossiya reported March 16. TSN, a
more liberal and less biased news program than RVremya,S did
not appear on the evening of MarchJ15, or in the morning or afternoon
of March 16. On the evening of March 16, TSN was aired, but with
new moderators and sharply-reduced broadcasts; today, however,
it was again taken off the air. On March 17, Radio Rossiya announced
that TSN editor Vitalii Tishin had also been fired; his replacement
is rumored to be Oleg Maksimenko, formerly Radio MoscowUs correspondent
in Paris. According to Radio Rossiya, the purge of TSN was ordered
by Leonid Kravchenko, chairman of the All-Union State Company
for Radio and TV Broadcasting, who had characterized TSN, together
with shows produced by local studios in Leningrad and Moscow,
as Ralternative television.S (Julia Wishnevsky)

KRAVCHENKO GOES AFTER MEMBERS OF DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA. Radio Rossiya
reported March 17 that Kravchenko has ordered RSFSR peopleUs
deputy Bella Kurkova to explain in writing why she broadcast
Boris YeltsinUs March 9 address at a meeting of the Democratic
Russia movement on Leningrad Television. Kravchenko, a member
of the CPSU Central Committee, made it clear in a television
interview on January 30 that he intended to purge members of
Democratic Russia from Soviet televisionQthey include the moderators
of the program RVzglyadS (which was banned by Kravchenko in December),
at least one former moderator of TSN (Yurii Rostov), and the
team of KurkovaUs program, RPyatoe kolesoS (RFifth WheelS). (Julia
Wishnevsky)

MOSCOW PRESENTS SIX-POINT PLAN. Soviet officials presented US
Secretary of State James Baker with a six-point plan for stability
in the Middle East on March 16. According to Soviet Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Vitalii Churkin, the points were Rnot a plan, but ideas
for a settlementS intended to encourage Ra wide-ranging dialogue,S
AFP reported March 16. MoscowUs plan calls for limitation of
arms exports to the region and a ban on ABC weapons, no creation
of blocs, the interaction of countries in the region to settle
problems themselves, economic cooperation, and UN involvement
in any post-crisis settlement, TASS reported March 16. (Suzanne
Crow)

GENSCHER MEETS GORBACHEV TODAY. German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich
GenscherUs second day of talks in Moscow (March 18) are expected
to include working out disagreements over the Soviet troop withdrawal
from Germany and the transfer of ex-GDR leader Erich Honecker
to Moscow. Genscher met with Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
on March for discussions about the Middle East and German- Soviet
relations, TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow)

MOSCOW: BONN KNEW OF TRANSFER. At his March 15 Foreign Ministry
Briefing, Churkin said that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had
been informed of plans to move ex-GDR leader Erich Honecker to
Moscow Rseveral hours in advance,S TASS reported the same day.
Churkin said the transfer had been necessitated by humanitarian
considerations. (Suzanne Crow)

DID HONECKER THREATEN BLACKMAIL? According to the March 17 Welt
am Sonntag, Soviet officials spirited Erich Honecker out of Germany
because he had threatened to blame Soviet officials for crimes
that the West German government wants to charge him with. The
paper, which quoted German counter intelligence sources, said
Honecker blackmailed Soviet officials by threatening to turn
over to Bonn documentation of the Soviet UnionUs role in the
deaths of those who attempted to escape from former East Germany,
AP reported March 17. (Suzanne Crow)

RUSSIANS ANGRY OVER HONECKERUS TRANSFER. Radio Rossiya reported
March 15Jthat many listeners were calling the station to express
their fury over the arrival of former East German Communist Party
leader Erich Honecker in Moscow for medical treatment. According
to the report, given the acute shortage of medicine in the USSR,
listeners feel the Soviet leadership is wasting valu-able drugs
on a Rstate criminal.S (Julia Wishnevsky)

MICHNIK COMMENTS ON SOVIET CALL FOR MARTIAL LAW. Gazeta Wyborcza
March 15 reprinted PravdaUs article of March 11 (Daily Report,
March 13), in which PravdaUs former Warsaw correspondent suggested
the USSR should copy PolandUs 1981 experience and introduce martial
law. Gazeta Wyborcza added a commentary in which editor Adam
Michnik writes: RNo martial law in Russia will save the Communist
system . . . . A day of freedom will come for Russia and the
Russians as inevitably as it did for Poland.S (Louisa Vinton)


EXECUTED METROPOLITAN REHABILITATE. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of March 16/17 reported the rehabilitation by the RSFSR Supreme
Court of Metropolitan Veniamin of Petersburg and Gdov. Metropolian
Veniamin, together with 52 other people, was accused of counter-revolutionary
activities in 1922 and executed. (Oxana Antic)



USSR IN THE REPUBLICS



NAZARBAEV ON GROUP OF FOUR. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev
told an interviewer from Argumenty i fakty that he and Boris
Yeltsin had approached Mikhail Gorbachev to head the group of
four republics (RSFSR, Ukraine, Belorussia and Kazakhstan) that
have opened negotiations to form a union. He said that these
four plus Uzbekistan could become the guarantors of the preservation
of the USSR. Nazarbaev rejected claims that the association of
the four republics represented a Rsecond centerS in opposition
to Moscow. The interview appeared in No. 9 of the weekly. Yeltsin
advisor Nikolai Shmelev writes in the latest issue of Moscow
News that negotiations on the RUnion of the FiveS are stalled.
He gave no further details. (Bess Brown/Elizabeth Teague)

YELTSIN DENIES GORBACHEV INVITED TO HEAD RUNION OF FIVE.S Interviewed
by KomsomolUskaya pravda on March 14, Boris Yeltsin denied that
he and Nazarbaev had invited Gorbachev to head the so-called
RUnion of the Five.S Yeltsin told KomsomolUskaya pravda that,
while he and Nazarbaev did go to Gorbachev, as a matter of courtesy
and to avoid any appearance of conspiracy, to inform him of their
plans to form of union of four or five republics, RWe never asked
Gorbachev to head this group of republics.S (Elizabeth Teague)


GORBACHEV, LIGACHEV, REJECT RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY. In his interview
with Vremya MarchJ17, Gorbachev denounced the draft RSFSR constitution
that describes the RSFSR president as the commander-in-chief
of a future RSFSR armed forces. Ligachev told TASS the same day
that he voted for the Union but against the introduction of an
RSFSR presidency because the tasks of the new post have not been
clearly defined by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet or Congress of PeopleUs
Deputies. (Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN PLANS HIS OWN INSPECTORATE. Interviewed by KomsomolUskaya
pravda on MarchJ14, Yeltsin revealed that he plans to introduce
a new post to be known as Ragent of the Supreme Soviet.S The
task of these officials will be to monitor the implentation of
RSFSR laws. Last December, Gorbachev tried unsuccessfully to
introduce a new all-Union RHigher State Inspectorate.S GorbachevUs
idea was that inspectors subordinated to the USSR Vice-President
would tour the country monitoring the implementation of USSR
laws and presidential edicts, but the USSR Supreme Soviet turned
down his proposal on the grounds that it was too vague. Now Yeltsin
appears to be taking a leaf out of GorbachevUs book. (Elizabeth
Teague)

CREATION OF RSFSR PUBLIC SECURITY SERVICE. The Russian Federation
has formed its own public security service, the First Deputy
Minister of the RSFSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, Anatoly Anikeev,
told Radio Rossiya March 15. The agency will take over some 70%
of the personnel of the RSFSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and
will be headed by Anikeev. The new agency is will be subordinate
to the USSR central government. In practical terms, this means
that YeltsinUs efforts to create a republican security service
under the aegis of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet may not be realized.
Anikeev is known as a hardliner: he is a former chief of the
Political Administration of USSR MVD Internal Troops and was
in charge of several military actions in the Transcausaus and
Moldova over the past two years. (Victor Yasmann )

FIRSTCONGRESS OF PEASANT PARTY OF RUSSIA HELD. The first congress
of the Peasant Party of Russia opened March 16 in Moscow. Some
300 delegates attended the congress, which was held in the office
of the newly-created newspaper, Rossiiskaya gazeta. Radio Moscow
quoted the chairman of the party, USSR peopleUs deputy Yurii
Chernichenko, as saying that the party advocates private ownership
of land. The congress also commemorated the victims of the suppression
by the Bolsheviks of the Kronstadt uprising on MarchJ18, 1921.
(Vera Tolz)

MORE VIOLENCE IN SOUTH OSSETIA. Radio Mayak reported March 15
on shooting in Tskhinvali and the Georgian village of Tamarasheni
the previous night. On March 16 Moscow World Service reported
an armed clash in the Ossetian village of Khetagurovo and an
attack by Georgian armed groups on the raion center of Znauri
which resulted in an unspecified number of casualties. The Ministry
of Health of the North Ossetian ASSR has expressed concern at
the possibility of an outbreak of typhoid in South Ossetia, where
water supplies have been disrupted. (Liz Fuller)

MILITARY MISCONDUCT IN MOLDAVIA. Moldavian health and environmental
officials told the republican media over the weekend that military
units sent into Moldavia in connection with the referendum are
creating health hazards in localities where they are camped and
are damaging natural reservations by driving through in motorized
and armored columns and parking the vehicles there. Moldavian
citizens in turn complained in media interviews of rowdy Soviet
soldiers forcing their way into homes, taking food and drink,
and smash-ing up household belongings. (Vladimir Socor)

ROMANIAUS RULING PARTY, OPPOSITION SUPPORT MOLDAVIA. At its first
country-wide convention, RomaniaUs ruling National Salvation
Front issued on March 17 a special statement of Rprofound concernS
over Rthe all-Union leadershipUs . . . attempts to force the
referendumS on Moldavia and the sending of additional Soviet
troops there. The NSF protested Rthe undemocratic methodsS being
used to pressure Moldavia. Romanian opposition parties and extraparliamentary
groups in turn organized pro-Moldavia demonstrations March 16
and 17 in Bucharest, Iasi, Galati, Suceava, and Timisoara. The
state media extensively reported the opposition demon-strations.
(Vladimir Socor)

PRE-REFERENDUM DEMONSTRATION IN KIEV. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000
people rallied in Kiev on Saturday against maintaining the Soviet
Union, AP reported March 16. Ukrinform-TASS reported only that
fewer than the 100,000 expected demonstrators responded to the
call issued by RRukh,S the Ukrainian Democratic Party, and the
Ukrainian Republican Party. (Roman Solchanyk)

KHMARA INVESTIGATION CONCLUDED. The investigation of Ukrainian
peopleUs deputy Stepan Khmara has been concluded, Ukrinform-TASS
reported March 16. Khmara was arrested on Novem-ber 17 in the
Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on charges of assaulting a militia colonel
on November 7 in Kiev. The date and place of KhmaraUs trial has
not yet been set. (Roman Solchanyk) [As of 1230 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore & Dawn Mann


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

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