The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. - Paul Vale´ry
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 67, 08 April 1991



IN THE BALTIC STATES



BALTIC POPULAR FRONTS MEET. Leaders of the three Baltic popular
fronts met in Ligatne, Latvia, April 3 and called for a greater
role for their movements in the drive to independence, Estonian
Radio reported that day. At the meeting, the Popular Fronts of
Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania's "Sajudis" adopted a joint
communique calling on the Baltic parliaments and governments
to strengthen Baltic integration by renewing those inter-Baltic
treaties signed before June 1940. The communique said the activity
of the popular movements "must be aimed first and foremost at
the attainment of state independence." (Riina Kionka)

LATVIAN-USSR TALKS PLANNED FOR APRIL 11. Radio Riga reported
April 5 that talks between Latvian and USSR representatives are
expected to start in the Kremlin at 11 AM on April 11. Heading
the Latvian delegation will be Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers
and Latvia's permanent representative in Moscow Janis Peters.
When Bisers met with USSR First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir
Velichko on April 4 in Moscow, they noted that they disagreed
on many issues. Bisers says, therefore, that he expects the initial
meeting on April 11 to focus on drawing up topics for further
discussion. The Latvians hope that these talks will eventually
lead to negotiations on independence, but, given the Estonian
and Lithuanian experience, they do not expect quick results.
(Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIAN EXCHANGE OPENS. The Tallinn International Business Information
Exchange opened April 4, Rahva Haal reported the next day. The
exchange is a rudimentary commodities market where buyers and
sellers trade goods and information. The first day of trading
saw offers of foodstuffs and other consumer goods, construction
and other materials, coal, lasers, manufacturing equipment and
information on attaining credits from the West and on studying
there. If a buyer and seller make a deal at the exchange, that
deal must be registered. The Tallinn Exchange, which has a 50,000
ruble membership fee, has members from similar exchanges and
enterprises in Moscow, Leningrad, Minsk, Omsk, Karaganda, Alma-Ata,
Lithuania and Hungary. (Riina Kionka)

LITHUANIA PLANS TO EXPLORE FOR OIL. The Lithuanian has government
has allocated 5 million rubles for the exploration, research,
and drilling of oil. According to the bill, passed on March 29
by the Supreme Council, the Ministry of Energy is to submit a
proposal by May 15 on oil drilling in Lithuania. In this connection,
the Mazeikiai oil refinery and the Klaipeda port are to be renovated.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LEADERS FROM RUSSIAN-POPULATED CITIES TO MEET WITH "SOYUZ." City
council chairmen from Baltic cities where Russians and other
Slavs comprise a majority of the population left for Moscow April
5 to meet with members of the "Soyuz" faction of Soviet parliament.
Daugavpils city council chairman Vladimir Zharkov said the purpose
of the meeting was to "determine the status of the towns that
are in favor of preserving a renewed USSR federation," reported
ETA on April 5. According to the results of the Baltic independence
polls and USSR referendum on March 17, the populations of these
cities and towns tended to oppose the independence of Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania. (Dzintra Bungs)



ALL-UNION TOPICS



YELTSIN SAYS GORBACHEV MIGHT BE REMOVED BY PARLIAMENT. RSFSR
Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin says a special Congress
of USSR People's Deputies could be called to discuss the dismissal
of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Yeltsin told reporters
April 5 that a group of USSR deputies has collected the number
of signatures necessary to call the session, but added that neither
the date for the Congress nor its agenda has been set. (Yeltsin's
remarks were shown on Soviet TV the same day.) He did not say
which deputies were calling for Gorbachev's replacement, but
The Los Angeles Times identified them April 6 as the hardline
"Soyuz" group. Yeltsin may have mentioned the threat to put pressure
on Gorbachev to agree to the roundtable talks for which Yeltsin
is calling. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

THE CPSU AND THE ARMY. The upshot of the recent All-Army Party
Congress seems to be that the CPSU will continue to dominate
army life, but that the Party's primary source of influence will
shift from political organs to Party committees. According to
TASS, Major General Mikhail Surkov, who was elected Secretary
of the All-Army Party Committee at the Congress, told Sovetskaya
Rossiya April 6 that the renovated Party organization in the
army is "not some newly created party. We are the same army communists
... who used organizationally to be members of political agencies."
Meanwhile, Pravda of April 4 reported that the predominantly
Communist officer corps would fight to maintain its political
monopoly. (Stephen Foye)

STRIKES CONTINUE. TASS reported April 6 that most mining regions
remain paralyzed by the 5-week old coalminers' strike. The Kuzbass
region in Siberia and the Donbass region of Ukraine are operating
at about half capacity. "Vremya" announced April 7 that coalminers
in the northern Inta region had returned to work that day, even
though it was Sunday and the Easter holiday, but added that mines
in the Arctic region of Vorkuta were shut down completely and
scattered pits were striking elsewhere. "If our demands are ignored,
we do not exclude the possibility of an all-Union political strike,"
Pavel Shushpanov, leader of the independent miners' union, told
Izvestia April 6. (NCA)

NEW STRIKE LEGISLATION IN PREPARATION? USSR prime minister Valentin
Pavlov told Rabochaya tribuna (April 5) the continuation of the
strikes was a great disappointment. But he added that legislation
now pending in the USSR Supreme Soviet would preclude political
strikes; further details are not known. (NCA)

PAVLOV BLAMES MINERS' STRIKE ON GOVERNMENT. Pavlov told Rabochaya
tribuna that the miners' strike is largely the result of the
failure of the government [of Pavlov's predecessor Nikolai Ryzhkov]
to keep the promises it made to end the 1989 miners' strike.
Pavlov also admitted that his own government should have moved
faster to negotiate with the miners when the present strike began
last month. Addressing miners' representatives in the Kremlin
April 3, Pavlov assured them that, since the government accepted
it had been at fault, it would not prosecute any of the miners
for taking part in the present strike. Pavlov's remarks were
cited in Izvestia on April 5. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

GORBACHEV RELENTS ON 5% SALES TAX. Gorbachev issued a decree
April 5 exempting many goods from his new 5% sales tax. His presidential
decree allows the USSR government and the republics to expand
the list of consumer goods and types of jobs and services to
be exempt. The new tax is highly unpopular and has sparked public
protests in some cities. On April 6, Rabochaya tribuna cited
RSFSR Pricing Committee member Vladimir Goncharov as saying that
the sales tax has been abolished altogether in the RSFSR. Abolition
or reduction of the sales tax will mean that the budget deficit
will climb and that the stabilization fund meant to tide over
failing enterprises and industries will not be financed. (NCA/Keith
Bush)

TRADE UNION SESSION. Trud reported April 3 on a session of the
USSR General Confederation of Trade Unions (VKP) Council Presidium
on March 29. A draft agreement between the Council and the USSR
Cabinet of Ministers drawn up at the session--held four days
before the retail price hikes--called for full prior compensation
for the increase in the cost of basic foods and nonfood goods
and services. (In the event, compensation for a claimed 85 percent
of the increase was instituted.) The draft agreement also stipulated
"economic protection" for Trud, to guarantee its supply of paper
through centralized allocation channels at fixed state prices.
(Keith Bush)

PROTESTS OVER RETAIL PRICE INCREASES. The VKP Council Presidium
is demanding that the USSR Cabinet of Ministers fully compensate
workers for increased catering charges in factory, university,
and school cafeterias, and in the health system, Trud reported
April 5. The Moscow Soviet Executive Committee Anti-Crisis Committee
noted that less money is coming in on public transport and suggested
that this is because "many people are simply unable to afford
the fare of 15 kopeks" (Radio Moscow-1, April 5). (Perhaps more
people are riding free?). And the Committee of Soviet Women has
complained to Premier Pavlov that women who do not work outside
the home have not been compensated, and now find themselves unable
to keep their families fed and clothed (TASS, April 6). (Keith
Bush)

IZVESTIA RIDICULES RUBLE SCAM COVERAGE. Izvestia on March 29
poured scorn on the sensational media coverage of the first ruble
scam affair and of other purported financial rackets. Commenting
on the ruble scam "show," the paper said "it seems that either
mafia cooperatives or the legal government of a sovereign state
have moved abroad all the cash and non-cash money existing in
the country." It deplored the racial connotation of racketeering
charges against Chechen and Georgian "mafiosi." And it regretted
the investigation of the "case of the 140 billion," noting that
though "no formal elements of a crime are so far perceptible,
a criminal shadow has been cast on the government of a sovereign
republic." (Keith Bush)

ON USING FORCE. A March 28 Izvestia commentary suggests that
the use of MVD and army units for policing operations in the
Soviet Union has fallen short of international norms. While apportioning
some blame for domestic disorders to republican governments,
Andrei Kovalev stressed the dubious constitutionality of using
army units in Vilnius and elsewhere. He specifically questioned
antagonistic relations between local elected authorities and
military commanders, and criticized the formation of so-called
national salvation committees. His comments anticipated the April
5 ruling by the USSR Constitutional Compliance Committee that
military commanders should not be subordinated to Party bodies
(see Daily Report for April 5). (Stephen Foye)

NO MORE ARMS TO NICARAGUA. Aleksandru Mocanu, Deputy Chairman
of the Council of the Union in the USSR Supreme Soviet, was quoted
by La Prensa on April 5 as saying "The Soviet Union sustains
its position not to send any more armament to Nicaragua. We hold
this position very firmly." Mocanu also said "this includes spare
parts," AP reported April 5. (Suzanne Crow)

NEW AMBASSADOR TO IVORY COAST. TASS reported April 5 the appointment
of Mikhail Maiorov, a career diplomat since 1971, to the post
of ambassador to the Ivory Coast. He has served in Soviet embassies
in Algeria and Morocco. In 1988 Maiorov was appointed Deputy
Chief of the African Countries Department at the Foreign Ministry.
Boris Minakov, heretofore ambassador to the Ivory Coast, is retiring.
(Suzanne Crow)

ROUND TABLE IN MOSCOW. A conference entitled "Perestroika in
the USSR: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" will be held on April 20/21
in Moscow, Radio Moscow reported on April 6. Leaders representing
a wide range of Soviet political opinion will participate. Foreign
journalists will have to pay an accreditation fee of $500. Expected
to take part in the discussions are Vadim Bakatin, Egor Ligachev,
Nikolai Petrakov, Gavriil Popov, Ruslan Khasbulatov, Grigorii
Yavlinsky, and Aleksandr Yakovlev. Also invited are Eduard Shevardnadze,
Ivan Silaev, and Valentin Pavlov. According to "Novosti" (April
5), the idea of holding such a conference came from Boris Yeltsin.
(Alexander Rahr)

CENTRIST BLOC DECLARED DEFUNCT. Izvestia reported March 30 that
a joint session of representatives of the so-called Centrist
Bloc which was set up last summer had met in Moscow and decided
to disband itself. Those present noted that 9 of the 11 founding
organizations have left the bloc in recent months, and the bloc
had been hijacked for use as a front organization by "right-wing
reactionary forces." (Elizabeth Teague)

IN THE REPUBLICS



EASTER CELEBRATED IN USSR. Central Television gave unusually
broad coverage to the Russian Orthodox Easter at the weekend.
On Saturday (April 6) "Vremya" began its 9 P.M. newscast by wishing
viewers a happy Easter. The same evening, Nikolai Shishlin, a
senior official of the CPSU Propaganda Department, opened his
"International Panorama" program with a citation from the Sermon
on the Mount and congratulated viewers on the Easter holiday.
Then it was announced that the evening program was being re-scheduled
to show Sergei Rakhmaninov's masterpiece, "The Vespers of the
Vigil," in honor of Easter. The TV program published in the press
originally advertised this concert for Sunday; presumably, Central
Television forgot that, for believers, celebration of Easter
begins on the night of Holy Saturday, and corrected their mistake
at the last minute. (Victor Yasmann)

YELTSIN AND PAVLOV ATTEND EASTER VIGIL. At midnight on April
6, the Easter liturgy, celebrated by Patriarch Aleksii of Moscow
and all Russia, was televised live from Moscow's Cathedral of
the Epiphany; transmission continued throughout the night. Towering
over the heads of the other worshippers was Boris Yeltsin, accompanied
by his wife. Behind him stood Moscow's deputy mayor Sergei Stankevich;
close by was prime minister Valentin Pavlov; all were clutching
candles. At one point transmission was interrupted to show film
of the Pope greeting the crowds in St Peter's Square on March
31 in Belorussian, Russian and Ukrainian. (Elizabeth Teague)


FIRST MASS IN ST BASIL'S CATHEDRAL SINCE 1917. Mass was also
celebrated on Easter Sunday morning (April 7) in the Church of
the Intercession in Red Square--better known as St Basil's Cathedral.
Parts of the ceremony were shown on "Vremya" that night. On Easter
Monday (April 8), Patriarch Aleksii is to say Mass in the Assumption
Cathedral in the Kremlin. (NCA)

YELTSIN PROMISES TO EXAMINE MINERS' DEMANDS. Yeltsin told a press
conference April 5 he had agreed with miners' representatives
that day to set up an interparliamentary commission to examine
both the political and the economic demands of the miners. Yeltsin's
news conference was reported by Soviet Television. (Elizabeth
Teague)

YELTSIN SAYS RSFSR UNREADY FOR MULTIPARTY ELECTIONS. Asked at
the press conference on April 5 whether he supported the call
of Nikolai Travkin, leader of the Democratic Party of Russia,
for the holding of new, multiparty elections in the RSFSR in
December this year, Yeltsin replied that it was too early since
most parties are not yet ready to mount an effective opposition
to the CPSU. "Article 6 may have been removed from the constitution,"
Yeltsin commented, "but the CPSU today remains the ruling party,
with all its property, and power, and the KGB and the army. Everything
belongs to it." (Elizabeth Teague)

CONFLICT CONTINUES OVER WHO RUNS MOSCOW POLICE. The dispute continues
between the Kremlin and the RSFSR over control of Moscow's police
department. On April 6, the RSFSR's ministry of internal affairs
named Major-General Vyacheslav Komissarov as the chief of Moscow
police. But "Vremya" reported that evening that the USSR ministry
of internal affairs had issued a counterstatement saying that
it was in control of the Moscow police department and that its
man, USSR first deputy minister of internal affairs I.F. Shilov,
is the chief. (NCA)

RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS TO FIGHT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Representatives
of the "Communists of Russia" group in the RSFSR parliament held
a press conference April 5 and announced that the RSFSR Communist
Party "may put forward its own candidate" when the post of RSFSR
president comes up for election June 12. They may have a hard
time finding a credible candidate, given that the "Communists
of Russia" argued strongly at the Congress that there was no
need for the post of president in the RSFSR. (Elizabeth Teague)


KHASBULATOV ON INTERNAL GRAIN EMBARGO. Ruslan Khasbulatov, first
deputy chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, has asked journalists
to ease up on wild accusations against Yeltsin who is, Khasbulatov
said, very sensitive to such criticism. Khasbulatov said that
quadripartite agreement between Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia and
Kazakhstan will be signed soon. He was quoted by Kuranty on March
22 as saying the RSFSR's economy is in trouble because major
regions such as Stavropol', Rostov and Krasnodar, which are still
controlled by the CPSU, have failed to deliver 50% of their harvest
to the Russian government. Khasbulatov claimed that the all-Union
referendum would have been voted down in the RSFSR had the republic
not tied it in with its own referendum. (Alexander Rahr)

KIRGHIZ COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER REPLACED. Absamat Masaliev, Communist
Party first secretary of Kyrgyzstan since 1985, has been replaced
"at his own request" and taken a job in the CPSU Central Committee
apparat, TASS reported April 6. TASS said there were two candidates
for the post of republican Communist Party first secretary, but
identified only the winner, Dzhumgalbek Amanbaev, formerly Party
first secretary in Issyk-Kul Oblast and a close associate of
republican president Askar Akaev. Masaliev's departure for Moscow
is unsurprising; having failed to win the presidency, Masaliev
sought to discredit the popular Akaev, but his activities, as
well as his extreme conservatism, served more to discredit the
republican CP. (Bess Brown)

UKRAINIAN STRIKERS WIN RELEASE OF DETAINED PARLIAMENTARIAN. The
Ukrainian Supreme Court has given in to a demand by striking
coal miners and released a deputy of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet
from detention in Kiev, Radio Kiev announced April 5. The deputy,
Stepan Khmara, was awaiting trial on charges of attacking a policeman
last November during ceremonies marking the Bolshevik Revolution.
Khmara denied the accusation, but the Supreme Court gave in only
after coal miners in Chervonohrad, Khmara's constituency, included
his release among their demands. The Radio did not say whether
charges against Khmara have been dropped. (NCA)

KUZBASS DEPUTIES CRITICIZE DEMOCRATIC UNION. A group of RSFSR
people's deputies from the Kuzbass have protested a call, issued
by the Kuznetsk branch of the anti-Communist Democratic Union,
for the disbandment of the Soviets and their replacement by "committees
of national resistance." The Democratic Union also reportedly
called on the Kuzbass coalminers to throw out their bosses and
seize control of their mines. According to "Vremya" April 7,
the deputies called on the USSR Procurator General to take action
against the Kuznetsk branch of the Democratic Union, saying its
call is aimed at the violent overthrow of the constitutional
order. (Vera Tolz)

"SOYUZ" STARTS ITS OWN PERIODICAL. The hardline "Soyuz" group
of USSR people's deputies, which advocates the preservation of
the USSR, has begun to publish its own periodical. The first
issue of the journal, entitled Politika, carries interviews with
the group's leader Yurii Blokhin, US ambassador to Moscow Jack
Matlock, and Russian nationalist Igor' Shafarevich, as well as
a number of articles attacking Soviet "democrats" and rejecting
the idea that the USSR needs a market economy. (Vera Tolz)

STRIKE THREAT IN GEORGIA. Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad
Gamsakhurdia has sent a telegram to Gorbachev threatening to
call a general strike in Georgia unless Gorbachev withdraws all
Soviet army and MVD troops from South Ossetia within an unspecified
time period, Reuters and AP reported April 7 and April 8, respectively.
Gamsakhurdia stated that Georgian workers would adopt the demands
put forward by striking Soviet miners; he claimed Soviet MVD
troops were abetting Ossetians in attacks against Georgian villages
in what he termed "flagrant aggression against the Georgian republic."
(Liz Fuller)

AND IN BAKU. According to Reuter of April 6 and The Washington
Post of April 7, workers at the Lieutenant Schmidt plant in Baku,
which produces machinery for the Soviet oil extraction industry,
stopped work on April 6 to demand higher wages to compensate
for this month's food price increases. Workers at Baku port and
a second oilfield equipment plant have threatened to strike beginning
today. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN SUPSOV ANNULS MARCH 17 REFERENDUM RESULTS. The Georgian
Supreme Soviet has passed a resolution declaring invalid the
results of the March 17 referendum in Georgia, and noting "blatant
violations" of the voting procedures. Details of violations Abkhazia
have been provided by the Georgian Deputy Procurator (Vestnik
Gruzii, March 26 and 29). These claims have been substantiated
by a Swiss observer who was visiting Abkhazia at the time. (Liz
Fuller)

MOLDAVIA SEEKS WITHDRAWAL OF SOVIET TROOPS. Moldavia desires
negotiations with the USSR Defense Ministry for the withdrawal
of Soviet troops from the republic, President Mircea Snegur said,
without elaborating, in a televised interview reported by Moldova
Suverana April 1. The demand is consonant with the Moldavian
Popular Front's platform which calls for turning the republic
into a "demilitarized zone." Snegur's move appears to be also
prompted by the recent Soviet military repression in the Baltic
and the deployment and misconduct of troops in Moldavia at the
time of the Union referendum which Moldavia refused to hold.
(Vladimir Socor)

SNEGUR FOR YELTSIN. Reiterating in the same interview that Moldavia
will not sign the Union Treaty but will seek direct relations
with other republics and countries, Snegur singled out "Boris
Yeltsin's Russia" as a desirable partner for Moldavia. Snegur
also urged Romania to seek direct relations with "the Russian
Federation of Boris Yeltsin and of the Democratic Russia movement".
(Vladimir Socor)

WOULD-BE DNIESTER SSR CREATES NEW POWER STRUCTURES. Set up in
eastern Moldavia by Russian conservative communists seeking secession
from Moldavia, the would-be Dniester SSR is about to proclaim
a government of its own as its highest executive authority. Under
a decision reported by "Vremya" April 5, that government will
only execute the laws and decisions of the USSR and Dniester
SSR; no mention is made of Moldavian law. The would-be republic
has instituted its own budget and a "Dniester SSR State Bank",
and ordered enterprises in the territory to cease income tax
payments to Moldavia's republican budget, Krasnaya zvezda reported
April 4. (Vladimir Socor)

EX-COMMUNIST MOLDAVIAN REFORMERS FOUND NEW PARTY. The Moldavian
Communist Party's "Democratic Platform" faction has published
a draft statute and is about to transform itself into an independent
party, TASS reported April 5. Accusing the Moldavian CP of "supporting
center's imperial policy," the new party defines itself as "socialist-oriented."
It supports the parliamentary system of government, "the formation
of a modern civil society" in Moldavia, and "full sovereignty
for the republic." On the day the draft statute was published,
the top four leaders of the Democratic Platform were expelled
from the Moldavian CP, even though they had themselves publicly
resigned from the Party a month earlier. (Vladimir Socor)

[As of 1300 CET] [Compiled Patrick Moore & Elizabeth Teague]


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

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