When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 66, 05 April 1991



IN THE BALTIC STATES

LITHUANIAN-SOVIET TALKS "ARDUOUS." Both Radio Vilnius and TASS
April 4 described the talks between Soviet and Lithuanian representatives
that day as long and difficult. Ceslovas Stankevicius, head of
the Lithuanian team and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council,
said progress had been made though agreement was not reached
on all issues (such as the return of the Vilnius TV center to
Lithuanian authorities). Lithuanians were also asked to adhere
to the USSR Constitution--a demand that they found totally unacceptable.
Neither side regarded the talks as the start of formal negotiations
on Lithuania's independence. Followup talks are to be held later
this month or early in May. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT CHANGES EXPECTED. Latvia's Prime Minister
Ivars Godmanis told the Supreme Council March 28 that he plans
to restructure the government, Radio Riga reported that day.
He said that he would aim to have plans completed by mid-April.
Economics Minister Janis Aboltins is expected to be replaced;
he drew much criticism over the way the price increases were
instituted in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

INFLATION ANTICIPATED IN LATVIA. According to Latvia's Minister
of Finance Elmars Silins, the country is heading for inflation.
Since 1989 remuneration has increased more than labor productivity.
In 1990 wages rose 13.7%, while productivity grew by only 4.3%
overall; in the agricultural sector the respective figures were
15% and 0%, reported Radio Riga on April 3. The situation is
likely to be aggravated by the price hikes in Latvia and the
USSR as a whole this year. (Dzintra Bungs)

GEORGIAN ON HUNGER STRIKE IN RIGA. According to Diena of April
3, Stepan Kalandishvili, a teacher of history and religion from
Georgia, started a hunger strike March 31 at the Dom cathedral
square in Riga. He had come to the Latvian capital to attend
a session of the Latvian Citizens Congress. Since March 25 he
had been trying to fly back to Georgia. The problem is that Kalandishvili
is traveling on a passport issued by Georgia's Citizens League--a
document recognized by the Latvians but not by the Soviet authorities
at Riga airport. (Dzintra Bungs)



ALL-UNION AFFAIRS

MILITARY REGULATIONS "UNCONSTITUTIONAL." The USSR Constitutional
Oversight Committee has ruled that military regulations binding
the armed forces to policies issued not only by the Soviet government,
but also by the Communist Party, are unconstitutional. The decision
was announced in Izvestia of April 3. TASS reported that the
ruling was a response to an RSFSR Supreme Soviet request to investigate
the constitutionality of the December 29, 1990, order calling
for joint MVD and army patrols. The Committee ruled that those
military regulations obligating commanders to act in accordance
with policies promulgated by the government and the CPSU, or
that called upon garrison chiefs to work with local Party organizations,
violate articles 6 and 7 of the Soviet constitution. (Stephen
Foye)

MINERS VOW TO CONTINUE STRIKE DESPITE PAY OFFER. An official
of the independent miners' union in Siberia's Kuzbass has rejected
the pay raise offered earlier this week by the USSR government
in an effort to resolve the month-long miners' strike. The deputy
chairman of the union's Executive Bureau, A. Sergeevich, told
Soviet Television on April 4 that wage increases for miners alone
would merely set miners against workers in other industries.
He called for radical changes in all sectors of the economy.
Other miners' representatives were quoted by Komsomol'skaya pravda
April 5 as saying the government offer did not go far enough.
They said the miners now in Moscow for negotiations with the
Soviet government were chosen by the bosses and do not represent
grassroots opinion. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

GENERALS COOL ON CFE. Top political officers told reporters on
April 4 that the USSR Supreme Soviet may not ratify the CFE treaty,
The Times of London reported. Their press conference was devoted
to last week's All-Army Party Conference. Colonel General Nikolai
Shlyaga, head of the Main Political Administration, said that
the treaty still had to be evaluated. Major General Mikhail Surkov,
a rising star among political officers who has just been elected
Secretary of the army's All-Union Party Committee, warned that
a "signature is one thing and ratification another." He claimed
the USSR Supreme Soviet Defense Committee had not even seen the
text of the treaty. (Stephen Foye)

MOSCOW SATISFIED WITH GULF RESOLUTION. Speaking at a Foreign
Ministry briefing April 4, Sergei Lavrov, Chief of the Ministry's
International Organizations Administration, said UN Resolution
687 draws a conclusive line under the war in the Persian Gulf
and aids in the process of establishing a lasting peace and stability
in the region as a whole. Lavrov stressed that the USSR considers
the ceasefire and corresponding pullout of multinational forces
from Iraq an important aspect of the resolution. He also stressed
the importance of the resolution's guarantees of the preservation
of Iraq's territorial integrity, TASS reported April 4. (Suzanne
Crow)

GORBACHEV CALLS FOR DEFENSE COOPERATION WITH SYRIA. Syrian Foreign
Minister Farouk al-Shara met with Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh and President Mikhail Gorbachev on April 4 for talks
on bilateral relations, the Gulf conflict, and problems in the
Near East, TASS reported April 4. TASS cited Gorbachev as saying
the Soviet Union is determined to develop friendly and cooperative
relations with Syria in all areas including in the area of defense.
Tass cited Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh as saying
the Soviet Union supported Syria's "constructive position" on
creation of a security system in the region. (Suzanne Crow)

ROGACHEV WANTS "NEW SYSTEM OF RELATIONS." Deputy Foreign Minister
Igor Rogachev addressed the 47th general meeting of the UN Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on April 4 in
Seoul and said "the region has not yet succeeded in developing
a viable negotiating mechanism" to usher in a "new system of
relations." He said it is necessary to "[reduce] to reasonable
levels the huge war machine which has developed in Asia and the
Pacific over the years of confrontation" of the Cold War. Rogachev
also stressed the USSR's interest in developing trade and economic
ties the region. He said trade with China and Japan amounted
to 15.4 billion dollars in 1990, AP reported April 4. (Suzanne
Crow)

GOLD OUTPUT AND SALES. The Financial Times of April 4 interviews
two Western analysts on the prospects for Soviet gold output
and sales. One foresees an increase in gold sales from 6-8 million
to up to 11 million troy ounces, which would bring about $4 billion
at current world prices. The other suggests that gold output
may have been cut by some 30 percent. A combination of these
two factors would run down the country's gold reserves rather
quickly. (It might be noted that the Soviet authorities declined
late last year to give the IMF-led team any details of the USSR's
gold output, sales and reserves). (Keith Bush)

GERMAN AID PRAISED. Izvestia on March 29 reviewed recent shipments
of humanitarian aid from private individuals to the USSR. Out
of a total weight of 71,686 tons of parcels, some 60,000 tons
came from Germany. The bulk of the parcels' contents has lately
consisted of medicines and medical equipment, rather than food,
as was initially the case. The article describes individual instances
of generosity and assistance which continue despite "the tragic
events in Vilnius." The tenor of the coverage differs sharply
from recent remarks by Prime Minister Pavlov who, on at least
two occasions, has publicly downplayed the scale and significance
of German humanitarian aid to the USSR. (Keith Bush)

OLEG OZHERELEV INTERVIEWED. The Financial Times of April 2 carried
a lengthy interview with Gorbachev's new economic adviser, Oleg
Ozherelev. In contrast to Stanislav Shatalin and Nikolai Petrakov,
the proponents of a rapid dash to a free market, Ozherelev's
posture is characterized as one of "caution, withdrawal, and
stabilization." His "Chilean connection" relates rather to Salvador
Allende than to Augusto Pinochet. The interviewers read into
this a firm intention on Moscow's part to avoid a coup by using
at least some authoritarian methods. Ozherelev favors the rapid
privatization of small enterprises--stores and workshops--but
for the medium-sized and larger enterprises he advocates using
"the old system to reestablish links which will allow them to
produce properly once more." (Keith Bush)

"POLITICAL TRANSPLANTS WILL BE REJECTED." Former Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze contributed a piece to The Guardian on April
3 on world politics. Shevardadze likened society to a living
organism which has "a strongly developed immune system...designed
to reject any social, political or economic 'transplants' that
are incompatible with the nature of man and society." He spoke
at length on the importance of the United Nations and stressed
that the "world should follow the UN Charter the whole way" because
that document "provides us with all the necessary information."
One improvement he suggested is the creation of two levels--political
and military--in the UNSC. (Suzanne Crow)

INDEPENDENT SIBERIAN TV BROADCASTS ITS OWN "VZGLYAD." As its
first major undertaking, the recently established independent
television company of Siberia and the Far East commissioned Vladimir
Mukusev (a former moderator of the popular TV show "Vzglyad,"
which was banned by Central Soviet Television at the end of last
year) to prepare for it a three-hour program under the same name.
Reporting this development, Izvestia (March 25) said the Siberian
"Vzglyad" has been shown in the major cities of Siberia and the
Soviet Far East. It included interviews with former KGB general
Oleg Kalugin and former investigator of corruption among top
Party officials Tel'man Gdlyan, as well as reports on recent
meetings of democrats in Moscow and on Boris Yeltsin's controversial
speech of March 9 in Moscow's Cinema House. (Vera Tolz)

LENIN STILL POPULAR IN USSR. A recent opinion poll conducted
in ten Soviet cities by the Independent Social Forecast Center
with the assistance of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism and
the CPSU's Academy of Social Sciences finds that "Lenin's name
is still honored in the USSR." 59.1% of those polled expressed
a positive view of the founder of the Soviet state, while only
10.3% were negative. 66.4% reportedly condemned "anti-Leninism"
in the Soviet press. The organizers of the poll stressed, however,
that more educated people tended to be more critical of Lenin.
Thus, according to the poll, which was summarized by APN on April
3, negative attitudes towards Lenin are twice as prevalent among
scientists and scholars as among ordinary people. (Vera Tolz)


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LENIN IN MOSCOW. Meanwhile, the Novosti
press agency organized an international conference on Lenin's
heritage, APN reported March 29. "Was Lenin to blame for Stalinism?"
was one of the main issues discussed. Among those invited were
such well-known Western historians as Richard Pipes, known for
his negative view of the October Revolution and Lenin's policies,
and the biographer of Stalin, Robert Tucker. The Soviet side
was represented among others by historian Vladlen Loginov, who
has been one of Lenin's main defenders. (Vera Tolz)





IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN WINS ANOTHER VICTORY. The RSFSR Congress of People's
Deputies agreed April 5 to grant Boris Yeltsin expanded executive
powers. TASS quoted Yeltsin as telling the Congress APRIL 4 he
needed the powers to "preserve civil peace, restore public order,
and avert social conflicts." Under Yeltsin's plan, the Congress
will delegate some of its own law-making powers to the RSFSR's
standing parliament--the RSFSR Supreme Soviet--and to the presidium
of the Supreme Soviet. Decisions adopted under this arrangement
will still, however, be subject to confirmation by the Congress.
This means that the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and its presidium will
no longer be bound by the RSFSR Constitution adopted in the Brezhnev
era. (NCA/Julia Wishenvsky)

PROVISIONAL DATE SET FOR POPULAR ELECTION OF RSFSR PRESIDENT.
The RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies set a tentative date
April 4 for the first direct election of an executive president
by the population of the Russian Republic. The date provisionally
set for the election is June 12. The election will take place
after the next session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies,
expected to open on May 21, Soviet Television announced April
5. (Julia Wishnevsky)

VIKTOR SHEINIS: "DEMOCRACY HAS TRIUMPHED!" In an interview with
RSFSR television April 5, Viktor Sheinis (an ideologist of the
"Democratic Russia" bloc in the RSFSR parliament) said that,
while Yeltsin's call for extraordinary powers might at first
glance appear undemocratic, in fact it had helped the democrats
to override opposition from Communist deputies to the setting
of a date for the first democratic election of an RSFSR leader.
"Democratic Russia" had to make no fewer than ten attempts before
it got the Congress to approve dates for (a) the presidential
election and (b) the convocation of the next session of the Congress
(which must introduce the necessary changes into the RSFSR Constitution
to create the post of executive president). The bloc had lost
all the previous nine votes on this subject. (Julia Wishnevsky)


MINSK PARALYZED BY WORKERS' PROTESTS. Most enterprises in Minsk
were not operating April 4, according to TASS, as thousands of
people gathered outside the Belorussian Supreme Soviet to demand
both a doubling of wages to compensate for the April 2 price
increases and the abolition of Gorbachev's new 5% sales tax.
Demonstrators also called for the resignation of Gorbachev and
Prime Minister Pavlov and the disbanding of the USSR and Belorussian
Supreme Soviets. According to information received by telephone
from Minsk by RFE/RL's Belorussian Service, OMON troops were
standing by the parliament building but there were no clashes.
The strikes began April 3 at Minsk's Kozlov plant and quickly
spread to other factories in Minsk, Mogilev, Brest and other
localities. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

BELORUSSIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE. The Belorussian government has
agreed to start talks with a strike committee formed in Minsk,
Radio Minsk reported April 4. It is not clear when talks will
begin. The Radio quoted Belorussian prime minister Vyacheslav
Kebich as saying he understands the concerns of the protestors
but the republic may not have the funds to meet their demands.
(NCA)

RSFSR "DEFENSE MINISTER" INTERVIEWED. "Officers of the USSR Defense
Ministry and the KGB will work together with civilians in the
RSFSR's State Committee for Defense and Security," the newly
appointed chairman of that body, Colonel General Konstantin Kobets,
told Komsomol'skaya pravda in an interview published March 26.
Kobets, who is a leader of the Armed Forces and KGB faction in
the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, was until recently deputy to General
Staff chief Mikhail Moiseev. At the same time, Kobets headed
the Communications Department in the General Staff (one of the
most secretive jobs in the Soviet Army). General Kobets told
Komsomol'skaya pravda he does not intend to leave active service,
and that his posting to the RSFSR Council of Ministers was approved
by a decree of the USSR Cabinet of Ministers. Kobets said his
Committee's top priority will be the conversion of defense industry
plant in the RSFSR, not the creation of a "Russian" army. (Victor
Yasmann)

KGB GUARD FOR YELTSIN'S OPPONENTS. As noted in the Daily Report
(April 4), the KGB does not provide bodyguards for either RSFSR
Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin or his first deputy Ruslan
Khasbulatov. But, RSFSR people's deputy Aleksandr Politkovsky
told Soviet Television April 4, the six RSFSR Supreme Soviet
deputy chairmen who signed the February 21 denunciation of Yeltsin
have all been granted KGB protection. At least three of the six
seem to require protection from their own electorates: Vladimir
Isakov, Svetlana Goryacheva, and Boris Isaev have all had very
serious troubles in their constituencies as a result of their
criticism of Yeltsin. (Julia Wishnevsky)

RUSSIAN SOVEREIGNTY THREATENED. Sergei Shakhrai, chairman of
the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee on Legislation, told Argumenty
i fakty (No. 11) that the Kremlin is making a sophisticated attempt
to undermine Russian sovereignty by encouraging moves toward
independence in the RSFSR's 16 autonomous republics. Shakhrai
said the draft Union Treaty, which Boris Yeltsin has refused
to sign, gives the autonomous republics the right to quit the
RSFSR or to suspend its laws on their territory. As a result,
the RSFSR could lose up to 50% of its present territory. Shakrai
added that the draft Treaty could also deprive Russia of much
of its industry; under the draft, the center would retain control
of all military enterprises on the territory of the RSFSR, and
these form 70% of the republic's industrial potential. (Alexander
Rahr)

RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN UKRAINE. As of January 1, there were
nearly 10,000 registered religious communities in Ukraine, according
to a document prepared for Ukraine's Supreme Soviet deputies
who are considering a new republican law on freedom of conscience.
Among Christians, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--which is under
the jurisdiction of Patriarch Aleksii II--claims the largest
number of communities (5,031), followed by the Ukrainian Greek
Catholic Church (1,912), the Baptists (1,059), and the Ukrainian
Autocephalous Orthodox Church (811). Somewhat surprisingly, only
23 registered and 2 unregistered Jewish communities were listed--far
fewer than the number of Old Believer or Seventh Day Adventist
groups. (Kathy Mihalisko)

INCREASINGLY VIRULENT ANTISEMITISM IN CP JOURNAL. The January
issue of Politichesky sobesednik, an organ of the Central Committee
of the Belorussian CP, contains the most openly anti-Semitic
material seen in that monthly journal for a long while. A commentary
on a work by A. Kuz'mich, "Russia and the Market," concurs that
rich Western bankers are plotting to turn Russia into a colony
of corporate exploitation; a second piece, by one E. Shchekatikhin,
states in so many words that Jews are the primary enemies of
Russia. Another highlight from the same issue: a list of reasons
why the people buried at Kurapaty were victims not of Stalin's
NKVD but of German fascists. (Kathy Mihalisko)

ANOTHER CALL FOR REVIVAL OF RIVER PROJECT. TASS reported on April
4 that Uzbekistan's Russian-language daily Pravda Vostoka has
published another appeal for the Siberian river diversion project.
Vadim Antonov, director of the republican association for designing
water projects, argues that the diversion scheme, put on hold
by Moscow in 1986, is needed to save the Aral Sea. He says that,
in view of demographic pressure in the Aral basin, reducing irrigation
is not feasible. Antonov's plea is the latest in a series of
articles by political figures and water specialists in the Central
Asian republics, arguing that there is no practical alternative
to the diversion plan if the Aral is to be saved. (Bess Brown)


KARAGANDA COURT REFUSES TO DECLARE STRIKE ILLEGAL. Radio Moscow
reported on April 4 that the Karaganda Oblast court has rejected
a suit by Karagandaugol', the oblast coal extraction association,
to have the March 1-2 miners' strike declared illegal. The report
said that the court had explained its decision by classifying
the miners' demands as political and saying political demands
are not covered the USSR law on collective labor conflicts. Since
the demands advanced by the Karaganda miners, as reported in
the press, dealt largely with pay increases and improvements
in living standards, the court seems to have been very flexible
in its definition of "political." (NCA/Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIA HOSTS STRIKING MINERS' DELEGATION. A delegation of striking
miners from Kuzbas and Donbas, headed by independent union leader
Vyacheslav Sharipov, visited Moldavia April 1 through 3 at the
invitation of the Moldavian Popular Front. The delegates told
a press conference in Kishinev that they supported Moldavia's
aspirations toward "real sovereignty". The Moldavian Popular
Front has launched a republic-wide action to collect aid for
the striking miners and their families. On the other hand, the
leadership of the self-proclaimed Dniester SSR--who are Russian
conservative communists seeking to secede from Moldavia--issued
a declaration condemning the striking miners for "undermining"
the USSR and "sabotaging" its economy, and urging the Party organizations
of striking mines to take firmer steps to ensure the resumption
of work. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN CULTURE MINISTER IN THE USA. The Moldavian Minister
of Cultural and Religious Affairs, Ion Ungureanu --who is a noted
theatrical director--is visiting the USA April 4 to 14 at the
invitation of Virginia State University, Moldovapres reported
April 4. (Vladimir Socor)


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

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole