In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires. - Ben Franklin
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 58, 22 March 1991



BALTIC STATES





USSR CONTINUES TO DEMAND MONEY FROM LATVIA. The USSR Finance
Ministry has demanded again 4.1 billion rubles from Latvia to
help finance Soviet economic programs, reported Diena of March
19. This sum exceeds Latvia's total annual budget and Latvian
Finance Minister Elmars Silins said that the demand will be turned
down. Latvia also rejected the Soviet demand of 2.2 billion rubles
as payment in the fund to help compensate the price increases
recently instituted in the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs)

IMMIGRATION DECLINES IN LATVIA. In 1990, for the first time in
decades, the number of emigrants exceeded the number of immigrants
in Latvia. According to information published in Latvijas Jaunatne
of March 7-9, the number of departees exceeded the number of
new arrivals by 516. In 1990, the intensity of population migration
also declined. In 1990, 574 Latvians resettled in Latvia from
other regions of the USSR, but the number of Army and MVD personnel
increased by 7877. (Dzintra Bungs)

NEW TV COMPANY FOUNDED IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported March 20
that Gunars Klindzans, chairman of the Rezekne raion executive
committee, has established a joint-stock company that would beam
TV programs primarily to the eastern half of Latvia. Participating
in the Latgale TV Company are the cities of Daugavpils and Rezekne;
the raions of Daugavpils, Balvi, Kraslava, Ludza, Madona, Preili,
and Rezekne; Latgale Cultural Center; and the Latvian TV Technical
Center. Also supporting the enterprise are the Latvian State
Committee on Television and Radio and Latvian Ministry of Communications.
The Latgale TV Company is the first independent television company
in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

BIRTH RATE DECLINES ONCE AGAIN IN LATVIA. According to Latvian
Minister of Health Edvins Platkajis, the birth rate declined
and infant mortality rose in Latvia in 1990. A low birth rate
has been a chronic problem in Latvia in the postwar decades,
and in some years the birth rate has fallen below population
replenishment levels. Platkajis did not provide specific figures
for these negative trends. Platkajis also told Diena on March
20 that only 38% of births proceed normally. Two-thirds of all
pregnant women are considered unhealthy, which increases the
risk that their newborn babies will be unhealthy. (Dzintra Bungs)


MORE INFORMATION ON SHOOTING INCIDENT IN VILNIUS. Director-general
of the Lithuanian National Defense Department Audrius Butkevicius
told the Lithuanian parliament, in a session broadcast live over
Radio Kaunas on March 21, that OMON troops in Vilnius claimed
they had tried to stop a bus carrying 7 Lithuanian border guards
on March 20 because the military commissariat in the Salcininkai
raion had reported that the bus contained weapons. Claims that
the OMON guards had fired on the bus only after being shot at
were clearly false, he said, since the Lithuanian guards were
unarmed and no weapons were found on the bus. AP reported March
21 that the deputy head of the OMON garrison, Colonel Mironenko,
had told Lithuanian officials that the troops were "acting on
their own, and this was not sanctioned." (Saulius Girnius)

PRICE RISES IN LITHUANIA. On March 21 Lithuanian Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius said that prices of food and many other items
would be increased on March 26, TASS reported Thursday. The new
prices were not revealed, but they are not likely to provoke
the great protests that led to the resignation of Prime Minister
Kazimiera Prunskiene in January since compensation payments to
the population (e.g. 105 rubles to workers) started being paid
out this month.. Radio Kaunas reported on March 18 that prices
of medicines would be increased substantially as of that day.
(Saulius Girnius)

PROTESTS AGAINST SEIZURES OF BUILDINGS CONTINUE. Demands for
the return of the Vilnius television tower and other buildings
seized by the Soviet military continue. A hunger strike by radio
and television workers begun on March 6 has not been halted.
On March 20 Radio Kaunas reported that the Lithuania-Russia Society
had begun a picket that day in front of the USSR procuracy in
Moscow demanding the return of the buildings. The picket was
scheduled to last several days. On March 22 Radio Kaunas also
reported that about 70 people in Utena announced that they would
hold a one-day hunger strike calling for the return of the buildings.
(Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN-GERMAN AFFAIRS. Lithuanian parliament deputy Antanas
Racas told the RFE Lithuanian Service on March 20 about his work
at a Lithuanian information bureau established at the Lithuanian
high school in Huettenfeld. Racas said that during a visit to
Bonn it was agreed that a delegation of 6 or 7 Lithuanian parliamentarians
would make an official visit to the Bundestag on April 17-19.
Racas also said that the SPD suggestion that a Baltic information
bureau be established in Bonn appears now to have the support
of the Christian Democrat Party, one of whose members will travel
to Copenhagen and Brussels to get more information about the
Baltic information bureaus in those cities. Racas will speak
at a conference in Wiesbaden on March 24-25 on Lithuania-Hessen
cooperation. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN STATE SECURITY DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR RESIGNS. Radio
Kaunas reported March 21 that the previous day the Lithuanian
parliament satisfied the request of Director-General of the Lithuanian
State Security Mecys Laurinkus to resign. Deputy director of
the department Viktoras Zegelis was promoted to director-general.
(Saulius Girnius)



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



ALL REPUBLICS TO BE BOUND BY MARCH 17 REFERENDUM RESULTS. On
Thursday, the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution stating
that the results of the March 17 referendum on the future of
the Soviet Union will be binding on all 15 Union republics, TASS
reported March 21. The resolution reads: "All state bodies of
the Soviet Union and the republics must accept...the decision
of the people as expressed in the referendum on the maintenance
of a renewed union." Supreme Soviet members denounced "violations
of human rights by republican governments under slogans of national
sovereignty and democracy." (Dawn Mann)

SUPREME SOVIET CALLS FOR BAN ON MARCH 28 RALLY. A resolution
passed by the USSR Supreme Soviet on March 21 says the planned
March 28 rally called by Democratic Russia should be banned by
the Moscow city council because it will create "an explosive
situation," TASS reported Thursday. The rally, scheduled to coincide
with the opening day of the RSFSF Congress of People's Deputies
special session, will "disrupt public order," the resolution
adds, and USSR First Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev
said the rally would "threaten people's lives." The resolution
calls on the Moscow city council and the USSR Cabinet of Ministers
to take steps to ensure public safety on March 28. (NCA)

SUPREME SOVIET DENOUNCES STRIKES, SILAEV TO KUZBASS. At the same
sitting--by a vote of 299 for, with 16 against and 20 abstentions--the
Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution denouncing the miners' strike,
TASS reported March 21. The resolution criticizes the miners
for thinking that "political ultimatums" can solve economic and
social problems: "this method could have catastrophic consequences
for the entire country" and is "very dangerous." RSFSR Prime
Minister Ivan Silaev traveled to the Kuzbass last night, and
RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Skokov set out for Vorkuta
to met with miners. RFE/RL also learned yesterday that USSR people's
deputies Nikolai Ivanov and Telman Gdlyan have decided to join
miners who have been on a hunger strike since last week. (Dawn
Mann)

MEETING OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON GLASNOST'. The USSR Supreme
Soviet Committee on Glasnost' met March 21 to discuss how the
implementation of the USSR press law adopted last year. According
to "Vremya," participants also mentioned the need to quickly
adopt a new law on "the peoples' right to information." This
law, which is supposed to clarify what sort of information constitutes
a state secret, was supposed to be ready for public discussion
by January 1, 1991, but has not yet been published. "Vremya"
only briefly mentioned, without giving any details, that some
participants in the March 21 meeting had complained that the
press law is often violated in the provinces. The Soviet press,
however, has carried many reports about how local CPSU officials
have arbitrarily interfered in the work of the media. (Vera Tolz)


US AMBASSADOR IN MOSCOW CRITICIZES "VREMYA." The US Ambassador
to Moscow, Jack Matlock, criticized the Soviet Central Television's
primary news program, "Vremya," for the revival of an old habit:
blaming Soviet problems on foreign interference. At a press briefing
on March 21, Matlock said that under Leonid Kravchenko, the new
head of Soviet television and radio, "Vremya" had gone beyond
editorial comment and was now expressing the views of specific
state structures. Matlock's comments were summarized by Western
agencies, and Soviet television's alternative news program, TSN,
carried a brief report on it as well, but failed to quote Matlock's
specific references to "Vremya." (Vera Tolz)

KGB SUCCESSFUL IN ITS STRUGGLE WITH "SHADOW ECONOMY." Hidden
goods and medicine worth some 300 million rubles rubles have
been recovered and returned to retail stores since last November,
when Gorbachev tasked the KGB with dealing with "economic sabotage"
and speculation, Pravitel'stvennyi vestnik No. 11 reported. The
Chief of the KGB Public Relations Center, Alexander Karabainov,
said that over 600 legal cases have been brought to trial, and
the KGB is inspecting the procurement abroad of obsolete equipment
and the misuse of imported technology. In the Moscow region,
for example, imported equipment worth 118 million rubles was
found standing idle. Karabainov stressed that KGB involvement
in the prevention and discovery of economic crime is a provisional
measure dictated by "difficult times." (Victor Yasmann)

HURD FAVORS GORBACHEV, UNION. On the second day of his four-day
visit in the Soviet Union, British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd
said, "we support the continuation of reform as associated with
President Gorbachev. The continuance of the Soviet Union, albeit
voluntary and transformed, seems to us in the general interest."
Hurd did not specify whose interest he had in mind. Hurd met
with Mikhail Gorbachev, Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh,
and RSFSR Chairman Boris Yeltsin on March 21. After these meetings,
Hurd commented: "Nothing I have heard from anyone suggests that
the way forward [in reforms] is going to be easy or the solutions
quick," Reuters reported March 21. (Suzanne Crow)

HURD ANNOUNCES OPENING OF CONSULATE IN KIEV. Hurd announced on
March 21 his country's plans to open a consulate in the Ukraine.
Hurd also noted that an representative from the Ukraine would
be posted at the Soviet embassy in London. Hurd said Britain
had "no plans" to open diplomatic missions in Estonia, Latvia
or Lithuania, AFP reported March 21. (Suzanne Crow)

JAPAN OFFERS AID FOR ISLANDS. The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun
March 21 said Tokyo has offered aid to Moscow if the disputed
Kurile Islands are returned to Japan. The paper said "high-ranking
Kremlin officials" disclosed the plan on March 20. Unidentified
diplomatic sources are quoted as saying the plan includes an
aid package of several billion dollars for automobile manufacturing
plants, several billion dollars for petrochemical plants, and
two billion for oil and natural gas development on Sakhalin Island.
Another Japanese paper, Mainichi Shimbun, said Japan will offer
$450 million in aid simply for Moscow's agreement to start talks
on the islands, Reuters reported March 21. (Suzanne Crow)

YAZOV MEETS WITH RICHARD NIXON. Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii
Yazov met with former US President Richard Nixon for an hour-and-a-half
on March 21, TASS reported. According to Yazov, the two agreed
that the "Cold War" was a thing of the past, and emphasized the
importance of nuclear non-proliferation. General Staff Chief
Mikhail Moiseev took part in the discussions along with two Western
Soviet specialists. (Stephen Foye)

THOUGHTS ON THE GULF AIR WAR. In one of the first in-depth analyses
of the Gulf War, Krasnaya zvezda March 14 carries an interview
with the Chief of the Air Force's Main Staff, Lieutenant General
Anatolii Malyukov. He said that the Iraqis had clearly underestimated
the strength of modern airpower, and argued that the allied campaign
in the Gulf did not represent an application of NATO "Airland
Battle" principles, but was a classic example of offensive air
operations. Malyukov attributed the one-sided air battle in the
gulf to Iraqi tactical and operational-strategic errors, and
to the human factor. He praised "smart" weapons, but said they
would be less useful in battles between evenly matched opponents.
He emphasized the complexity and size of the allied air effort,
and said that the USSR could clearly learn from the war. (Stephen
Foye)



USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN PREPARED TO RUN FOR RSFSR PRESIDENT IN AUGUST. Pavel
Voshchanov, an aide to chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Boris
Yeltsin, has indicated that his boss intends to run for presidential
elections in the RSFSR by late summer. The Boston Globe March
21 quoted him as saying that elections could not be held before
August because the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies has first
to decide upon legal procedures. 78% of those who voted on March
17 were in favor of the introduction of the post of RSFSR president.
Some RSFSR people's deputies are afraid that conservatives will
now intensify their attacks on democrats, but they have rejected
the possibility that Yeltsin may be ousted at the forthcoming
RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies because, they say, even the
conservatives realize that such a move would only reinforce Yeltsin's
popularity. (Alexander Rahr)

KARAGANDA MINERS AGREE NOT TO STRIKE FOR THREE MONTHS. Radio
Moscow, quoting Komsomolskaya pravda, reported on March 21 that
Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev has convinced coal miners
in Karaganda Oblast, who had threatened to resume their strike
on March 30, not to strike for three months. In return, he promised
to seek solutions to their problems. In a brief Radio Moscow
interview with Nazarbaev (and Petr Shlegel, head of the territorial
committee of the independent Coal Miners' Union), Nazarbaev said
that he had discussed with Gorbachev the possibility of allowing
Karaganda coal to be used in barter exchanges for food and consumer
goods and proposed the creation of a State Committee for Fuel
that would assist miners and petroleum workers. (NCA/Bess Brown)


UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO GRANT MINERS' PAY DEMANDS. Yurii
Boldyrev, a spokesman for the striking Donbass call miners, told
AP March 21 that the Ukrainian authorities have refused to grant
demands for large pay increases. Seventy miners met in Kiev on
Thursday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin and his deputy,
Viktor Hladush. Boldyrev announced that the miners decided to
break off talks and declined to sign a pledge to return to work.
Radio Kiev said yesterday that 50 of Ukraine's 241 mines are
still on strike. In another labor dispute, almost the entire
service staff of government dachas outside Kiev has walked off
the job and raised demands for higher pay and new apartments.
(NCA/Kathy Mihalisko)

DISCUSSION OF SEPARATE UKRAINIAN CURRENCY. The Ukrainian parliament
is in the midst of discussing a new republican law on banks and
banking activity. Article 1 of the draft endorses the creation
of a Ukrainian currency in place of the ruble, an idea which,
according to Radio Kiev March 20, is supported by Prime Minister
Fokin and many other members of the Supreme Soviet. A German
firm has reportedly printed the first sample sheet of the currency,
to be called the hryvna. (Kathy Mihalisko)

MOLDAVIAN CONSTITUTION TO REST ON "INDEPENDENCE, LIBERTY". The
first working session of the commission empowered to draft a
new Moldavian constitution resolved that this document will be
based on the principles of "independence and liberty," Moldovapres
reported March 21. Opening the session, President Mircea Snegur
told the commission that the pressures exerted on Moldavia by
the USSR Supreme Soviet, the armed forces, the central Soviet
media, and the economic ministries in connection with the Union
referendum (which Moldavia boycotted) underscored the need for
accelerating the drafting of the new Moldavian constitution.
(Vladimir Socor)

BELORUSSIAN CHRISTIAN MEDICAL WORKERS ORGANIZE. TASS reported
March 21 that doctors, nurses, and others working in the medical
profession and representatives of the Church of Evangelic Christian-Baptists
of Belorussia attended the founding conference of the Belorussian
Christian Association of Medical Workers. The serious medical
situation in the republic was discussed, and data were cited
on the growing number of divorces, suicides, etc. Anyone who
believes in Christian values can join the new association, TASS
reported. (Oxana Antic)

NOVRUZ DECLARED OFFICIAL HOLIDAY IN TURKMENISTAN. Turkmen president
Saparmurad Niyazov issued a decree declaring Novruz, the March
21 traditional celebration of the Persian New Year, an official
holiday in Turkmenistan, Turkmenskaya iskra reported February
28. Novruz had already been declared an official holiday in Uzbekistan
and Tajikistan. It had been frowned upon, if not prohibited outright,
by Soviet officials who claimed the holiday was Islamic. (Bess
Brown)

SUPREME SOVIET DEPUTY A HERO! USSR Supreme Soviet member Nikolai
Sazonov prevented a hijacking attempt on March 14, TASS reported
March 20. Sazonov was on board a "Tataria Airlines" aircraft,
on his way to his constituency in Naberezhnye Chelny. Together
with two stewardesses, Sazonov wrestled with a man armed with
a knife and a canister of tear gas who was insisting that the
pilot take him "anywhere abroad." The plane returned to Moscow's
Domodedovo airport, where the would-be hijacker--an unemployed
22-year-old youth from Saratov--was arrested. Sazonov is the
leader of the small Social Democratic faction in the USSR Supreme
Soviet and is famous for having proposed that the Supreme Soviet
pass judgement on the activities of both the CPSU as a whole
and the Politburo. (Julia Wishnevsky)


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

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