|One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles|
No. 60, 26 March 1991
BALTIC STATES MVD TROOPS DISPATCHED FROM ESTONIA. The USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs issued an order last weekend dispatching an MVD battalion that includes 50 Estonians to a crisis area outside Estonia, ETA reported March 25. Estonian Internal Minister Olev Laanjarv sent Boriss Pugo, the USSR Minister of Internal Affairs, a telegram on March 23 asking that, in keeping with the August 1990 agreement reached by Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and Pugo's predecessor Bakatin, the Estonians not be sent. According to that agreement, the MVD in Estonia remains under local control and any troop movements must be governed by a bilateral agreement. On March 25, after receiving no reply from Pugo, Laanjarv received assurances from USSR Internal Forces chief Yurii Shatalin that men conscripted from Estonia will not be sent outside the republic. (Riina Kionka) RUUTEL GOES TO WASHINGTON. Chairman of the Estonian Supreme Council Arnold Ruutel is expected to make an official visit to the U.S. this week, the Estonian Foreign Ministry reports. "President" Ruutel is set to meet with Secretary of State James Baker on Thursday and with President George Bush on Friday. Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri will accompany Ruutel, who is visiting the U.S. for the first time. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA HAS 6,759 KGB AGENTS. As of November 1, 1990, there were 6,759 full-time KGB workers, excluding border guards, in Estonia, according to Eesti Ekspress March 22. Of the 6,759 agents, 1,257 are support staff; border guards and informants are excluded in the figure. Eesti Ekspress, a trendy weekly newspaper, reportedly received the information "from the most trustworthy sources." (Riina Kionka) MOSCOW THREATENS AGAIN LATVIA OVER CONTRIBUTIONS. The USSR Finance Ministry sent a telegram to Latvia's Minister of Finance Elmars Silins stating that unless 4 billion rubles are transferred by Latvia to USSR accounts by April 1, retaliatory measures--including dismissal of bank officials and other personnel--would be taken. On March 19, Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis explained in writing to his Soviet counterpart Valentin Pavlov why Latvia could not contribute this sum and why it found it impossible to participate in USSR compensatory funds. Radio Riga reported March 25 that Latvian leaders now reckoning with the possibility of a Soviet economic blockade. (Dzintra Bungs) 1949 DEPORTEES REMEMBERED IN LATVIA. Throughout Latvia thousands of people attended memorial ceremonies held to honor the approximately 50,000 persons, including many children, who were transported to remote regions of the USSR on March 25, 1949. These deportations were ordered by Moscow and sanctioned by the Latvian SSR authorities for the purpose of removing resistance to the Soviet drive to collectivize agriculture. March 25 has been designated in Latvia as the "Day of Remembrance of Victims of Communist Terror." (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS "SOYUZ" CALLS FOR SPECIAL CONGRESS. The "Soyuz" group of conservative people's deputies, one of the largest factions in both the USSR Congress of People's Deputies and the USSR Supreme Soviet, issued a statement yesterday calling for a special session of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies at which USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev would have to explain why he has not used the expanded powers granted to him to bring the country out of its current crisis, TASS reported March 25. "Soyuz" also charged that the draft Union Treaty violates the USSR Constitution (the draft is, in fact, intended to serve as the basis for a new constitution; its provisions are also meant to be superior to any in the existing constitution) and runs counter to the results of the March 17 referendum. (Dawn Mann) RALLIES BANNED IN MOSCOW. Effective today, the USSR Cabinet of Ministers has banned street rallies in Moscow until April 15, TASS reported March 25. The government instructed the Moscow city council (which had granted permission for a rally sponsored by Democratic Russia on March 28), the KGB, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to take the necessary steps to implement the order. TASS said the order was issued in response to Gorbachev's March 24 order to the government to ensure public order and safety in Moscow during the special session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies (Daily Report, March 25). The ban is clearly intended to prevent mass manifestations of support for RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin and discontent with Gorbachev and is likely to further exacerbate already strained relations between city and all-Union authorities. (Dawn Mann) FOOD SUPPLY COMMISSION SET UP. The USSR Supreme Soviet listened on March 25 to a chronicle of woes about the prospects for this agricultural year. The area sown to winter grain is sharply down, and there are the perennial shortages of seed grain for the spring planting, agricultural machinery, and spare parts, TASS reported March 25. Russian writer and Supreme Soviet member Vasilii Belov spoke of agriculture's "state of agony," and warned of the danger of famine. A draft resolution on agriculture was presented but not passed (probably due to the absence of a quorum). It was subsequently announced that Gorbachev has ordered the formation of a special commission to deal with shortages of food supplies, to be headed by USSR Deputy Premier Fedor Senko. (Keith Bush) PAVLOV WILL MEET WITH MINERS. USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov has agreed to met with miners on Friday for talks on economic matters, according to TASS and Reuters March 25. Nikolai Vorontsov, the Soviet ecology minister, told the USSR Supreme Soviet that the USSR Cabinet of Ministers had met in special session on Monday and agreed to open talks. USSR Minister of Justice Sergei Lushchikov proposed that miners be held liable for losses incurred during the strike; according to USSR Minister of the Coal Industry Mikhail Shchadov, losses in coal production alone total $443 million in potential profit at the official exchange rate. Leaders of the striking miners said on Monday, however, that they will not withdraw their demand for Gorbachev's resignation and replacement by Yeltsin and will only return to work when this demand is met--or when asked by Yeltsin to stop striking. The Supreme Soviet could not muster a quorum and therefore failed to pass a draft resolution suspending the strike until May 25. (Dawn Mann) ESTIMATES OF INFLATION IN 1991. Varying characterizations and estimates of the rate of inflation in 1991 in the wake of the April retail price increases have been offered by Soviet officials. In interviews with The Journal of Commerce on March 25, Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Shcherbakov spoke of a "huge" rise in inflation unless there is an increase in the output of consumer goods. The chairman of the USSR State Committee for Prices, Vyacheslav Senchagov, foresaw a "considerable" rise in inflation. USSR Finance Minister Vladimir Rayevsky stuck with the 60% figure already forecast for April. And Postfactum cites the deputy director of the Research Institute for Prices, Vladimir Shprigin, as estimating a 100% inflation rate for 1991 if output continues to fall. (Keith Bush) NIXON MEETS KGB CHAIRMAN. Former US President Richard Nixon met with KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, TASS reported March 25. The agency gave no details of their conversation, but said that Nixon is in the Soviet Union on a "fact-finding mission at the special request of US President George Bush." (Victor Yasmann) MISSILE WARHEADS EXPLODE. Some 40 anti-aircraft missile warheads exploded in a warehouse near Moscow on March 22, Izvestia reported March 25. One person--a warehouse guard--was said to be missing. The incident occurred in the village of Chernogolovka as the missiles were being unloaded from trucks. According to an AP account of Izvestia's report, all the rockets carried conventional warheads and there was no danger of nuclear contamination. The blast destroyed some buildings and shattered windows in the area. (Stephen Foye) THE ARMY AND THE DRAFT UNION TREATY. Army General Valentin Varennikov told Radio Mayak on March 23 that "the direct participation of the Defense Minister and the General Staff" ensured that the recently released draft Union Treaty took a proper approach to defense issues. Varennikov also provided a brief analysis of Russian history in which he argued, not surprisingly, that unity had in the past been Russia's salvation against foreign invaders. He called for maintenance of the Soviet state and army. (Stephen Foye) PROGRESS URGED IN ARMS CONTROL. A Soviet Foreign Ministry official said on March 25 that Moscow is convinced last-minutes differences on a START treaty can be quickly resolved and a date set for a U.S.-Soviet summit, AFP reported. The Geneva talks on reducing Soviet and American strategic arsenals by 35% have been stalled by disagreements over implementation of last fall's CFE treaty. In an effort to break that deadlock, President Bush has written a letter to Gorbachev urging him to address Western concerns about CFE, The New York Times reported March 26. Washington has said that START talks cannot proceed until problems with CFE are resolved, while the Soviets have decried any linkage between the two. (Stephen Foye) PRAVDA: NO RETREAT IN US-SOVIET COOPERATION. Pravda ran a commentary on March 25 which noted that Moscow "cannot fail to be wary of the fact that in the euphoric conditions engendered by the anti-Iraq coalition's easy victory, forces which think in old confrontational terms are becoming more active in the United States." Pravda also claimed that "there is talk that arms control is not even necessary, since America 'has no equal in terms of strength'." The commentary concludes that "a pause [in relations] filled with businesslike activity by experts is entirely acceptable. But we must not permit any retreat." (Suzanne Crow) VORONTSOV OUTLINES UN ROLE IN MIDDLE EAST. Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations Yulii Vorontsov said the level of foreign troops in the Gulf region should be greatly lowered, and the United Nations should establish a multinational naval force to protect shipping in the region. Vorontsov brought up the notion of reviving the UN Military Staff Committee once again and said that "a new level of confidence" between the five permanent UNSC members justifies the resumption." Vorontsov stressed that peacekeeping forces, if needed at all, should be set up under UN auspices and should be supported by "contingents of Arab, Moslem, and [forces from] other countries, Reuters reported March 25. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV WANTS FULL SETTLEMENT WITH JAPAN. The Soviet Union is ready to discuss and settle all issues with Japan "in the fairest way possible," Gorbachev told the leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party Ichiro Ozawa on March 25 TASS reported. There is a "new momentum in talks on a peace treaty, in which we are ready to examine and settle all issues," TASS quoted Gorbachev as saying. Japan has refused to sign a peace treaty with the Soviet Union until the Kurile Islands are returned to Japan. Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitaly Churkin, questioned at a press briefing on the Kurile Island issue on Monday, said "there is too much speculation about the subject," AFP reported March 25. (Suzanne Crow) ROK WANTS FULL KAL ACCOUNT. Seoul once again expressed its desire for a full account of the KAL shootdown from Soviet authorities on March 25, AFP reported. South Korea's news agency Yonhap said the South Korean side would raise the issue with the Soviet Union during meetings at the deputy foreign minister level in April. (Suzanne Crow) BOGOMOLOV PREDICTS COMEBACK OF SHEVARDNADZE. Oleg Bogomolov, economic advisor to Yeltsin, has predicted that Eduard Shevardnadze will make a political comeback. The Washington Post March 26 quoted him as telling a Washington seminar audience that Shevardnadze continues to work on developing a foreign policy that will be implemented when democratic forces take over the country. Bogomolov indicated that he works closely with Shevardnadze, and described the former foreign minister as more courageous than Gorbachev. He called upon the West to transfer its support from Gorbachev to the democratic forces. (Alexander Rahr) SHEVARDNADZE SAYS MILITARY DICTATORSHIP POSSIBLE. Shevardnadze told BBC television March 26 that he can't exclude a military coup in the Soviet Union if the military "goes out of control." He accused military hardliners of trying to undermine his policy of arms reduction. Shevardnadze appealed to Gorbachev and Yeltsin to "settle their differences and work on a compromise." He maintained that three years ago the present draft of the Union Treaty would have been signed by all republics, including the Balts, because at that time "people still believed in perestroika." Now, he claimed, the new treaty can't satisfy republican demands for independence. (Alexander Rahr) "DE-STABILIZATION OF WORKERS' MOVEMENT COULD BRING NEGATIVE RESULTS." KGB Major Aleksandr Mavrin, a member of the Volgograd regional KGB administration and an expert on workers' movements, published an article in Komsomol'skaya pravda on March 20 in which he argued that the KGB must to stop trying to sow chaos within workers' movements and strike committees. Continuing these activities could result in an outcome exactly opposite from that required by the top political leadership and could also cause "irreparable damage" to the KGB among workers, who are still quite loyal to the state security organs, Mavrin added. He revealed that on the eve of a strike wave in February, KGB regional offices received a directive instructing them to closely follow the "dynamics of independent workers' movements and their interaction with foreign trade unions and international organizations." (Victor Yasmann) RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH PLANS CONCERNING A MONASTERY. TASS reported on March 23 about the return to the Russian Orthodox Church of Nilova Pustyn', an important monastery situated on Lake Seliger in Central Russia. Bishop of Tver' and Kashino Viktor told TASS about the Church's plans to open a home for the aged in the monastery--after its restoration--and, eventually, a nursing school. Teaching nuns to be nurses is an idea the Church has been trying to pursue for a long time; if realized, the institution at Nilova Pustyn' would be the first of its kind. (Oxana Antic) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS "COMBAT OPERATIONS" IN SOUTH OSSETIA. On March 25 TASS characterized the ongoing clashes between Georgian and Ossetian fighters in Georgia's South Ossetian AO as "combat operations," claiming that both sides are using automatic weapons, heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and rockets. Two days earlier, Yeltsin had described the situation as "a mini-civil war." An unspecified number of people were seriously wounded yesterday in shooting in and around the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. Gas, electricity and water supplies to the city are still cut. (Liz Fuller) TURKMEN SUPREME SOVIET APPROVES UNION TREATY DRAFT. TASS reported March 25 that the current session of Turkmenistan's Supreme Soviet has approved the draft Union Treaty, although the deputies suggested a number of additions that would give more rights to citizens of the federation. (Bess Brown) FOOD SHORTAGE IN THE KOMI ASSR. On March 25, Radio Moscow reported severe food shortages in various areas of the RSFSR, including the Komi ASSR. The Komi Communist Party First Secretary, Yurii Spiridonov, has ordered all enterprises in the autonomous republic to surrender 15 percent of their output. This will be used to barter for foodstuffs. Rationing has been instituted: the residents of Syktyvkar are entitled to one chicken and 500 grams of sausage every three months. (Keith Bush) OBLAST CUSTOMS SERVICE ESTABLISHED. As an illustration of the growing separatism in the USSR, Moscow Television on March 24 featured the setting up of a customs service in Saratov oblast. It processes those residents of Saratov who travel abroad as well as exports from, and imports into, the oblast. The head of the USSR Main Administration for State Customs Control was also featured. He took a dim view of this and similar local initiatives, calling them "simply absurd." (Keith Bush) NAZARBAEV MEETS WITH INDUSTRIAL LEADERS. Radio Moscow reported March 25 that Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev had met with heads of enterprises subordinate to all-Union ministries and departments to discuss how these enterprises, which make up the majority of industrial, construction and transport firms in Kazakhstan, fit into the republic's economic reform program which will introduce a market economy. According to the report, speakers said that powers would have to be redefined and relations changed between Moscow, Alma-Ata and the firms themselves. Nazarbaev proposed a fund to finance study abroad, and there was general agreement on the need to reorient the economy toward the production of consumer goods. (Bess Brown) KAZAKH LANGUAGE LAW IN ACTION. Izvestia March 19 contains an article by an inhabitant of North Kazakhstan oblast, warning that the law declaring Kazakh the state language of the republic has the potential to foment interethnic strife. He points out that although Kazakhs make up only 18% of the oblast's population, as of January 1, 1995, all official business must be conducted in Kazakh--a language that half of the young Kazakhs in the oblast do not know. The article is reminiscent of complaints raised last year in largely-Slavic East Kazakhstan oblast, where the Ust-Kamenogorsk city soviet demanded suspension of the language law. (Bess Brown) BELORUSSIAN POPULAR FRONT HOLDS SECOND CONGRESS. The Second Congress of the Belorussian Popular Front, held March 23-24 in Minsk, took note of the fact that March 25 marked the anniversary of the proclamation in 1918 of the independent Belorussian National Republic, and said the Popular Front should strive to continue the unfinished work begun seventy-three years ago. The organization's primary goal, speakers said, was the promotion of a free people in a sovereign, independent Belorussia, although orators like Vasil' Bykau warned of the enormous obstacles ahead. Delegates voted to restructure the Front's membership and reelected Zyanon Paznyak as chairman. (Russian & Belorussian BDs/Kathy Mihalisko) CHERNIGOV COMMUNISTS WANTED TO SUSPEND UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION. Le Figaro's correspondent in Moscow reported March 25 that a recent issue of Komsomol'skaya pravda published a secret document, dated September 2, 1990, in which the Chernigov oblast' soviet declared the suspension of the Ukrainian Constitution on its territory and the prohibition of all non-Communist political organizations. This is but one of a number of signs to emerge lately indicating that the authorities in Chernigov are turning the area into a center of right wing reaction. (Kathy Mihalisko) BRYANSK CHILDREN SUFFERING FROM CHERNOBYL'. A socio-ecological expedition recently returned from Bryansk oblast' with shocking information on the health of children's there, Radio Mayak reported March 22. In regions affected by radiation from the Chernobyl' accident, up to 80% of the children studied are suffering severe health problems, such as lymphatic disorders. Pediatricians also remarked on the psychology of "post-Chernobyl' children" who have taken it into their heads that they will not live more than 15-20 years and who therefore take no interest in life. As an example, Dr. Vladimir Lupantin said he found six- and seven-year-old children who had started smoking. (Kathy Mihalisko) ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER COMPLETES MOLDAVIAN VISIT. Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase held a second day of official talks in Kishinev on March 25, during the first-ever official visit to Moldavia by a Romanian Foreign Minister (Daily Report, March 25). Nastase and his Moldavian counterpart Nicolae Tiu signed a protocol on cooperation and consultation among the two Foreign Ministries on European, regional, and Danube and Black Sea issues, Radio Bucharest reported March 25. Both sides will seek Moldavia's inclusion in consultations between Romania and Ukraine at the Foreign Ministry level, which were agreed upon on during Nastase's visit to Kiev on March 23. (Vladimir Socor) SLOW MOVEMENT IN MOLDAVIAN-ROMANIAN ECONOMIC AND CONSULAR TIES. At a press conference reported by Rompres and Moldovapres March 25, the Moldavian side again hinted at its dissatisfaction with Romania's failure to simplify visa and residency regulations and to provide facilities for Moldavian-Romanian reciprocal travel. Nastase inspected possible future sites in Kishinev for the Romanian General Consulate, due to open simultaneously with a USSR Consulate General in Iasi. Moldavia had wanted a direct arrangement for Moldavian (rather than USSR) and Romanian consulates. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA TO SUPPORT UKRAINIAN INSTITUTIONS. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur has issued a decree providing for state support for Ukrainian cultural life in Moldavia. A Ukrainian cultural center, library, and newspaper will be established in Kishinev, Radio Kiev reported March 25. On February 28, Snegur had issued a decree introducing Ukrainian-language instruction in schools in Ukrainian settlements in Moldavia and Ukrainian-language TV and radio broadcasts (Daily Report, March 1). Although they are Moldavia's largest non-titular ethnic group, with 14% of the republic's population, Ukrainians had until now lacked those facilities. (Vladimir Socor)
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