Part of the sercret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 62, 28 March 1991



IN THE BALTIC STATES

ESTONIAN, SOVIET TEAMS TO MEET. The Estonian and USSR negotiating
delegations will meet today (March 28) for the first time, ETA
reported March 26. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev named the
Soviet team, led by USSR Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Laverov,
after Moscow's crackdown on the Baltic states in January. Estonian
chief negotiator and Supreme Council Speaker Ulo Nugis, who has
already met twice with Laverov in preparation for today's meeting,
told ETA he hoped the talks would develop into full negotiations.
(Riina Kionka)

LATVIANS SUPPORT SOVIET MINERS. Over a thousand demonstrators
gathered in downtown Riga March 27 to show solidarity with the
striking Soviet miners and support for the democratic forces
in the RSFSR. The demonstration was organized jointly by the
Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party and the Workers' Society.
The participants adopted two resolutions (one addressed to the
RSFSR Supreme Soviet and the other to Boris Yeltsin) stating
their support for the miners' demands, according to Radio Riga
on March 27 and a report received by RFE/RL's Latvian Service
on March 28. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESCAPED SOLDIER SEIZED IN VILNIUS. A group of armed men seized
Edgaras Zinklys on March 27 just outside the Lithuanian parliament
building in Vilnius. Zinklys had been part of the force guarding
the building against possible attack by Soviet troops. Some time
ago, he had escaped from the Soviet military; subsequently he
joined the guards under the auspices Lithuania's National Security
Department, according to information received by RFE/RL's Lithuanian
Service on March 27. (Dzintra Bungs)

NEW CONSTITUTION FOR LATVIA? Deputy Eduards Berklavs told RFE/RL's
Latvian Service on March 28 that a new Constitution has been
drafted under the guidance of Deputy Aivars Endzins. The draft
document, Berklavs said, greatly increases the powers of the
executive branch of the government and of the chairman of the
Supreme Council. Work on the new Constitution was done with the
knowledge and participation of only a handful of deputies, most
of whom could be described as former liberal Communists, now
affiliated with the Democratic Labor Party of Latvia. (Dzintra
Bungs)





ALL-UNION TOPICS



BAKATIN DISAGREES WITH PAVLOV. Vadim Bakatin, newly appointed
member of the USSR Security Council with special assignment to
deal with domestic issues, has openly disagreed with the decree
signed by Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov which bans demonstrations
in Moscow. In a special press conference broadcast by Radio Moscow
March 26, Bakatin said the ban was "unnecessary" because Moscow
City authorities had the situation under control. Bakatin's statement
suggested that the former interior minister is distancing himself
from the hardliners in Gorbachev's top leadership and may assume
the role formerly played in Gorbachev's entourage by reformers
Aleksandr Yakovlev and Eduard Shevardnadze. Bakatin also maintained
that Gorbachev was not fully in control over the situation in
the Baltic last January. (Alexander Rahr)

PRIVATIZATION OF RETAIL TRADE. Pavel Bunich, president of the
Soviet Leaseholders' and Entrepreneurs' Union, has claimed that
20 percent of stores, cafeterias, and restaurants are already
in the hands of private citizens and labor staffs, Radio Moscow
World Service reported March 26. Bunich anticipated that a further
20 percent would soon be under private or workers' control. (Keith
Bush)

NO "MARSHALL PLAN" FOR THE USSR. After meeting with US Treasury
Secretary Nicholas Brady in Washington on March 26, German Finance
Minister Theo Waigel ruled out the adoption of a "Marshall Plan"
for the USSR at the present time, The Financial Times reported
March 27. The Germans and the Americans questioned the usefulness
of "sowing seed on frozen ground." The Soviet Union had first
to undertake a thaw to make the ground more fertile. If Soviet
premier Pavlov is really counting on "international cooperation...exceeding
the scope of the Marshall Plan" (see yesterday's report), he
will presumably have to extract it from the Japanese. (Keith
Bush)

HOW TO RUN A REFERENDUM. Argumenty i fakty (No. 10) publishes
excerpts from instructions issued by the Moscow City Party Committee
to lower Party organizations on the eve of the March 17 all-Union
referendum. Activists are warned that everything depends on achieving
"a positive result." They are advised not to try to appeal to
the voters' reason--that approach is described as good only for
dealing with the intelligentsia--but to aim for "direct stimulation
of the desired behavior" by means of high-pressure propaganda
that "stresses one option to the exclusion of all others." Propaganda,
the instructions say, must be "as massive as possible," filling
every available channel of the mass media. Recommended slogans
include a baby crying, "Mummy! Safeguard my future! Vote 'Yes'!"
(Julia Wishnevsky)

POLLUTION PLAN SCALED DOWN. A Scandinavian plan to modernize
the Soviet nickel industry and cut its substantial pollution
has had to be scaled down, The Financial Times reported March
27. The two smelters of the Norilsk Nikel group on the Kola peninsula
belch out half a million tons of sulphur dioxide a year. More
than half of this drifts into Scandinavia. The renovation would
have reduced these emissions by 75 percent at a cost of $900
million. A contributing factor to the scaling down of the project
was the insufficient capacity of the local rail network. The
new proposals would cut the cost to $600 million but eliminate
only half the pollution. Even this reduced plan is thought to
be at risk because of the general disintegration of the Soviet
economy. (Keith Bush)

"WE LOST EASTERN EUROPE BECAUSE WE LOST OURSELVES." Izvestia
commentator Aleksandr Bovin on "The World This Week" program
of March 24 (All-Union Radio) attacked those who blame the loss
of Eastern Europe on diplomatic bungling. "The issue," Bovin
said, "is not that we signed a certain wrong agreement. The fact
that we were unable to create a truly developed civilized society
that would be on the same level as today's world in terms of
economy and democracy--this is the reason for everything that
has taken place in Europe... The moment a chance came [East European
countries] immediately left. Of course they would, because they
were dead sick after 40 years of all this." (Suzanne Crow)

PATRIARCH ALEKSII IN ISRAEL. TASS reported March 27 on the visit
to Israel which began the same day of the Patriarch of the Russian
Orthodox Church, Aleksii II. Representatives of the Israeli government
stressed the significance of this visit in view of the important
role now played by the Church in the USSR. The head of the Russian
Orthodox Church is a guest of the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox
Church in Jerusalem, Diodoros I. He will meet the president and
prime minister of Israel and the mayor of Jerusalem. (Oxana Antic)


"GENUINELY RICH RELATIONS" WITH ISRAEL. All-Union Radio's program
"The World This Week" broadcast on March 24 the comments of Moscow
Radio's political observer Nikolai Shishlin regarding Soviet
interests in the Middle East. According to Shishlin the USSR's
traditional interests need "reinterpretation." He called for
"genuinely rich relations" with Israel, based on the emigration
of so many Soviet citizens to Israel and Israel's expressed desire
to aid in the development of the Soviet economy. (Suzanne Crow)


MOSCOW SHIFTS ON IRAQ RESOLUTION. Soviet ambassador to the United
Nations Yulii Vorontsov said on March 28 the changes in the Soviet
position on the Iraqi settlement are merely "technical." But
unnamed diplomats quoted by Reuter on March 28 said the Soviet
proposal for Iraq to keep short-range missiles (under 200 miles)
took permanent members of the UN Security Council by surprise.
Moscow apparently argued that such short-range missiles would
not pose a threat to Israel. In the past, Moscow has sold such
missiles to Iraq on the condition that Iraq not modify the missiles
to increase their range, but Iraq has not complied with this
condition. (Suzanne Crow)

TRADE SHIFT WITH EAST EUROPE SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS. Referring to
revised terms of trade between the USSR and its former East European
allies, Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin spoke
at his March 27 briefing of the need to find "smooth transitional
measures." Churkin stressed that the path to a reformed system
of economic cooperation should be "cautious," TASS reported.
In January trade between the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
was shifted to hard currency; such currency is, however, in short
supply on virtually all sides. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET-CUBAN TRADE PROBLEMS. The USSR and Cuba are having difficulties
working out details of a 1991 trade accord, Reuters reported
March 27. As a result, Soviet oil and Cuban nickel exchanges
have been affected. Soviet ambassador to Cuba Yurii Petrov said
on March 27 at a news conference in Havana: "the Soviet Union's
position is one of a firm intention to comply with its obligations
towards Cuba." Petrov also noted that Cuba stands by its commitment
to shift trade to hard currency at world market prices. Petrov,
like Churkin above, stressed the transitional nature of the process
of shifting trade relations. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET HOSTAGES RELEASED. Three Soviet military advisers captured
by Eritrean rebels in 1988 have been released, Soviet Foreign
Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said on March 27. Churkin
offered few details of the release, but noted the important roles
played by the United States, Italy, Canada, Sweden, and "many
Arab governments and international organizations," TASS reported.
(Suzanne Crow)



IN THE REPUBLICS



RSFSR CONGRESS OF PEOPLE'S DEPUTIES OPENS. The extraordinary
Congress of People's Deputies of the RSFSR opened this morning
(March 28) in Moscow. The first few hours were televised live.
The Congress was originally called at the request of hardline
Communists eager to replace Yeltsin, but their threatened vote
of no confidence seem an unlikely development at present. Even
before it adopted its agenda, the Congress adopted a resolution
calling for the suspension of prime minister Valentin Pavlov's
ban on demonstrations in Moscow and of Mikhail Gorbachev's presidential
decree removing the Moscow militia from the control of the RSFSR
ministry of internal affairs and placing them under that of the
USSR ministry of internal affairs. The vote was 532 "for" and
286 "against" and is being seen as a major show of support for
Yeltsin, who chaired this morning's session. According to the
latest available news (1200 CET) the Congress proceded to debate
whether or not it should suspend its own session. Further details
are not available. (Julia Wishnevsky)

LATEST NEWS FROM CONGRESS. The Congress has now gone into recess
and will reconvene tomorrow morning (March 29) at 10 A.M. Moscow
time. Radio Rossiya reports that six people were arrested this
morning outside the Rossiya Hotel (where deputies are staying).
(Julia Wishnevsky)

RALLY PLANNED TODAY IN MOSCOW. Security forces have blocked off
Red Square in anticipation of this afternoon's planned rally
in support of Boris Yeltsin. The demonstration is being organized
by the "Democratic Russia" movement. Radio Rossiya reported today
that the demonstration will begin at 17:15 Moscow time; demonstrators
are being told to gather at the Arbat and Mayakovsky metro stops.
Reports say thousands of police and interior ministry troops
are on duty and the authorities have warned that they will block
the marchers. Military trucks are parked near the Kremlin and
two adjoining squares--Red Square and Manezh Square--have been
blocked off with steel barricades. The AP reports that a small
demonstration in support of Yeltsin was dispersed by police early
this morning (March 28). (NCA)


KHASBULATOV DISPATCHED TO MEDIATE. Following this morning's vote,
the RSFSR Congress sent Yeltsin's deputy, Ruslan Khasbulatov,
to try to persuade USSR vice-president Gennadii Yanaev to remove
troops and armored vehicles from the streets of the RSFSR capital
(Moscow). (Julia Wishnevsky)

YANAEV WARNS LEADERS OF "DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA." Vice-president Yanaev
met March 27 with the chairman of the Moscow City Executive Committee,
Yurii Luzhkov, and the two co-chairmen of "Democratic Russia,"
Arkadii Murashov and Yurii Afanas'ev. The meeting was also attended
by USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boris Pugo and KGB chairman
Vladimir Kryuchkov (TASS, March 27). Pugo and Kryuchkov informed
the leaders of Democratic Russia that prime minister Valentin
Pavlov has banned the holding of all rallies in Moscow until
April 15 (this period also encompasses the planned April 2 food
price rises). Afanas'ev and Murashov replied that Pavlov does
not have the right to ban demonstrations in Moscow; they also
pointed out that Article 50 of the USSR Constitution guarantees
citizens the right to take part in demonstrations. (Julia Wishnevsky)


LEADERS OF "DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA" ON SOVIET TV. Since the end of
last year, the leaders of "Democratic Russia" have been virtually
banned from the airwaves. On March 27, however, Arkadii Murashov
appeared on Soviet television's main newscast, "Vremya." He reaffirmed
DR's intention to go ahead with the rally on March 28, and called
on participants to avoid violence even if confronted by the police.
"Vremya" was followed by a one-hour round-table discussion between
two leaders of the RSFSR Communist Party, Ivan Antonovich and
Aleksandr Mal'tsev, and two leaders of Democratic Russia, Yurii
Afanas'ev and Stepan Sulakshin. Later that night, the "TSN" newscast
interviewed several RSFSR deputies, among them chairman of the
Democratic Party of Russia, Nikolai Travkin. (Julia Wishnevsky)


RSFSR SUPSOV PRESIDIUM: RALLY BAN "UNCONSTITUTIONAL." "Vremya"
March 27 reported a statement in which the presidium of the RSFSR
Supreme Soviet presidium asserted that prime minister Pavlov's
ban on demonstrations in Moscow contradicts Articles 48 and 72
of the USSR Constitution, the RSFSR Constitution, and the RSFSR's
declaration of sovereignty. The presidium requested their all-Union
counterparts to refer the action of the executive to the USSR
Supreme Soviet. (Julia Wishnevsky)



OIL, GAS WORKERS, METALLURGISTS THREATEN ACTION. As the month-long
strike of Soviet miners continues, new demands have been issued
for higher wages by oil and gas and metallurgical workers. Leaders
of the RSFSR's old and gas workers' trade union were quoted by
Izvestia and Trud March 28 as saying they are prepared to strike
unless their demands for higher wages are met. They also expressed
support for the striking coalminers. (NCA)

RSFSR UNIONS THREATEN GENERAL STRIKE. Meanwhile, an activist
of the RSFSR trade union federation, Vasilii Romanov, told Radio
Rossiya March 27 that his organization is ready to call a strike
of its members in the next two to three days unless Soviet president
Gorbachev agrees to meet with the striking miners. (NCA)

STRIKE AT "URALMASH." Workers in several sections of the giant
"Uralmash" machine-building plant in Sverdlovsk struck for two
hours on March 27, TASS reported that day. TASS said the strike
was sparked by the failed of the Soviet leadership to reply to
economic demands put forward by the workers three months ago,
and by food supply problems in Sverdlovsk. (NCA)

RSFSR "DEFENSE MINISTER" INTERVIEWED. Radio Mayak reported March
26 on an interview published in that day's Komsomol'skaya pravda
with the chairman of the State Committee for Defense and Security
of the Russian Federation, Colonel General Konstantin Kobets.
Describing Kobets as "the new Russian defense minister," the
newspaper said he was born in 1939 in Kiev and served at one
point in his military career under USSR defense minister Dmitrii
Yazov. Kobets has occupied the post of deputy chief of the General
Staff of the USSR Armed Forces in charge of communications since
1988. (Alexander Rahr)

INTELLIGENTSIA RELUCTANT TO BELIEVE IN YELTSIN. Soviet intellectuals
are not pinning their hopes on Boris Yeltsin. The chief editor
of Moscow News, Yegor Yakovlev, told The Washington Post March
28 that Yeltsin is less skilled than the historical moment requires.
The philosopher Aleksandr Tsipko stressed that, had Yeltsin been
elected in Gorbachev's position, "he would have broken his neck
somewhere along the line." The leader of the Republican Party,
Vyacheslav Shostakovsky, charged that all the present leaders
of the USSR are "tied to the old system." He recalled having
worked with reformists Yurii Afanas'ev and Igor Klyamkin, as
well as with the hardliners Gennadii Yanaev and Aleksandr Dzasokhov,
in the same Komsomol Central Committee in the 1960s. (Alexander
Rahr)

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER'S MOLDAVIAN VISIT AN EYE OPENER. Returning
from his first visit to Kishinev, Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian
Nastase told journalists in Bucharest that Romanian policy toward
Moldavia "must proceed from Moldavia's will to be sovereign and
independent". Urging Romanians to "respect that will," Nastase
cautioned against "viewing Bessarabia as a Romanian province
that must be retaken." Without ruling out reunification at some
point in the future, Nastase urged acceptance of the concept--until
now advocated only by Kishinev--of "two Romanian states" linked
by cooperation and "permeable" borders. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT LEADER COMPLAINS OF ROMANIAN NEGLECT.
Interviewed by the Bucharest daily Tineretul Liber March 18/19,
Moldavian Popular Front Executive Committee Chairman Iurie Rosca
expressed his dissatisfaction with the "lack of information"
in Romania about events in Soviet Moldavia and the lack of official
initiatives from the Romanian side toward developing ties with
Moldavia. He mentioned as an illustration that no Romanian media
correspondents came to Moldavia to cover the events connected
with Moldavia's refusal to conduct the March 17 all-Union referendum.
(Vladimir Socor)

KGB TRIES TO INFILTRATE FREE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. Quoting
the religious information agency "Raduga," Moskovskie novosti
(No. 11) reports that the KGB in Omsk tried to recruit a priest
of the Russian Orthodox Free Church (this describes the Orthodox
parishes in the RSFSR which recognize the jurisdiction of the
Russian Orthodox Church abroad) to inform on foreign tourists
and pilgrims. The KGB offered to help the priest, Father Vasilii
Savel'ev, to publicize derogatory information about Archbishop
Feodosii of Omsk and Tyumen' (to whom Father Vasilii was subordinated
until last year). The priest refused to cooperate. (Oxana Antic)
[As of 1300 CET]


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

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