|If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale|
No. 68, 09 April 1991
IN THE BALTIC STATES ESTONIA'S INTERMOVEMENT LEADER VISITS MINERS. The leader of Estonia's conservative Intermovement says the situation in the Donbass has much in common with that in Estonia, Paevaleht reported April 7. Evgenii Kogan, who visited the striking Donbass coalminers last weekend, expressed support for their demand for the resignation of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, but called their demand that the USSR Supreme Soviet disperse "unlawful." The Supreme Soviet "was elected by the voters in all the republics, not just by the miners," Kogan, himself a deputy, said. (Riina Kionka) LANDSBERGIS TO USA IN MAY. Vytautas Landsbergis, Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, is expected to visit the United States May 6-16, according to Diena of April 5. Landsbergis is to receive an honorary degree from Loyola University in Chicago and take part in an international conference on cooperation between the Baltic States, USSR and Western countries that is to take place in Vermont. (Dzintra Bungs) FUND TO AID JOBLESS STARTED IN LATVIA. Leonards Rubenis told Radio Riga on April 5 that a Fund for the Humanitarian Aid to the Jobless has been started in Latvia. Its purpose is to raise and distribute money, clothing, and other basic necessities, as well as arrange for warm meals and shelter for the unemployed. Rubenis, Director of the Republican Center for Employment, Retraining, and Vocational Guidance, said that while the idea of such a fund originated at the center, the fund is supported by many other organizations. The fund will aim to help the jobless especially after they no longer receive unemployment benefits. Currently, such benefits are paid during the first six months of unemployment. The Latvian authorities are anticipating economic decline, including rising unemployment, during the course of this year. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR FAILS TO SUPPLY RAW MATERIALS TO LATVIA. The Latvian Council of Ministers announced that the USSR has failed to supply imported raw materials worth 355 million rubles to industries in Latvia. This means Latvia will be unable to fulfill its production obligations. In general, the Soviet coalminers' strikes are not having a direct effect on the Latvian economy, but one metallurgy plant in Liepaja has had to reduce output because of a fall in its coke supply--"Red Metallurg" is now dipping into its own coke reserves which are enough to keep the plant running for about a couple of months, according to Radio Riga of April 4. Such supply irregularities may eventually also affect the employment situation in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN PROPERTY OWNERS' ASSOCIATION FORMED. Radio Riga reported April 8 that the Lawful Property Owners' Association was formed on April 6. The new association, closely affiliated with the Committee of Latvia and the citizens' movement, aims to protect the rights of those who owned property in pre-war Latvia and to ensure that Latvian property rights are not usurped by Soviet institutions. Until June 20, pre-war property owners or their heirs may submit claims to ownership of land and buildings to the Latvian authorities. If a claim is recognized, the property will be returned to the owner, or he will receive compensation for it. The full situation is still not clear since not all of the relevant legislation has been adopted. (Dzintra Bungs) RESOLUTION OF PRESS BUILDING POSTPONED AGAIN. Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers told Radio Riga on April 5 that a final decision on the part of the USSR State Arbitrator's Office concerning the Press Building in Latvia had been postponed for a week. The jurisdiction of the Press Building is being disputed among the Latvian Communist Party, which took over the building from the Latvian SSR government in 1967, and the recently formed and government-endorsed Press Building Stock Company. On January 2, with the help of the Black Berets, the Latvian Communist Party reclaimed control of the Press Building; newspaper and magazine publication in Latvia has since been severely restricted. (Dzintra Bungs) NORDIC-BALTIC ECOLOGICAL COOPERATION CONTINUES. Swedish and Danish environmental experts visited Riga recently to discuss prospects of closer cooperation between environmental protection agencies in Latvia and Lithuania, especially with regard to the Baltic Sea. Valdis Seglins, deputy chairman of Latvia's Environmental Protection Committee, told Diena of April 5 that he plans to ask the Nordic Investment Bank to finance a project to protect the Gulf of Riga and the Daugava River basin. (Dzintra Bungs) SWEDISH PARTIES SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE. The leader of Sweden's Center Party has assured Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar that the party will press for an international conference on the future of the Baltic states, Dagens Nyheter reported April 3. Olof Johansson, who visited Estonia last week, said he hoped other non-socialist party leaders--Carl Bildt of the Moderate Coalition and Bengt Westerberg of the Liberal People's Party--would also support the conference. Baltic leaders began lobbying for an international conference on the Baltic question after Moscow's January crackdown. (Riina Kionka) ALL-UNION TOPICS EMERGENCY AGRICULTURAL MEASURES. For as long as anyone cares to remember--and certainly for the past thirty years--each spring has witnessed the publication of emergency measures to ensure the harvest. On April 8, three such measures were promulgated for this year's "campaign." The USSR Cabinet of Ministers demanded that industry supply the necessary producer goods for the nation's farms and rectify the terms of trade between town and country (Radio Moscow, April 8). The USSR Supreme Soviet passed a resolution along the same lines (TASS, April 8). And President Gorbachev issued a decree authorizing republican and local authorities to take emergency measures--including the mobilization of students--to expedite plowing, sowing, reaping, and procurement (TASS, April 8). (Keith Bush) GORBACHEV TO BE REPLACED BY YANAEV OR LUK'YANOV? After their failure to oust Boris Yeltsin, conservatives are now struggling to get rid of Mikhail Gorbachev. The leader of the conservative "Soyuz" faction, Evgenii Kogan, is quoted in The Washington Post on April 9 as saying that Gorbachev may soon face a vote of no-confidence at the USSR Congress and be temporarily replaced either by his deputy Gennadii Yanaev or by the head of the USSR parliament, Anatolii Luk'yanov. Kogan said "Soyuz" leaders met with Gorbachev on April 7 and told him they intended to convene an extraordinary session of the USSR Congress. Kogan said his faction has the support of forces in the CPSU and the military. (Alexander Rahr) SOVIET ARMY TO MARKET. Interviewed by TASS April 8, Soviet Army General Vladimir Arkhipov said that, as a result of the shift to market relations, the Army will have to economize its expenditures on the support of military personnel. Arkhipov is head of the Soviet rear forces, and spoke in reference to the approval of the "concept of the transfer of the USSR Armed Forces to market relations." Among other things, the Army plans to provide more of its food through its own farming network. Arkhipov also indicated that the Army will begin to charge for services which it has until now rendered free of charge to the civilian sector (e.g., help with the harvest). (John Tedstrom) MOISEEV ON SECURITY, TREATIES. According to the Chief of the General Staff, NATO's unwillingness to disband itself, its "offensive" strategy, and its determination to act "as a global policeman" are undermining the positive changes that have taken place in the European security system. Army General Mikhail Moiseev nevertheless told Izvestia on April 6 that the lessening of tensions in Europe--including the Paris agreement to reduce conventional arms--has increased Soviet security. Though he defended controversial Soviet efforts to remove certain weapons and troops from CFE counting, Moiseev urged that the CFE treaty be ratified. Some hard-line officers have of late called for rejection of the treaty. (Stephen Foye) GOLD EXPORT POLICY. Argumenty i fakty (No. 13, 1991) interviewed Yu. Karnaukh, described as one of the most prominent Soviet specialists on gold trading, about why the USSR sells gold on the world market. Karnaukh confirmed that Soviet gold has long been sold primarily to purchase grain and meat. He complained that sales have been dictated by the USSR Council of Ministers rather than by market conditions, and that this has led to losses. Apart from repeating Pavlov's disclosure that gold sales last year amounted to 234 tons, Karnaukh provided no new data on Soviet output and sales, merely quoting estimates by the CIA, Michael Kaser, and Consolidated Goldfields. (Keith Bush) CONCERN FOR KURDS. Deputy Chief of the Foreign Ministry's Information Department, Yurii Gremitskikh, said April 8 that the Soviet government was concerned about the fate of Iraqi Kurds and defended the USSR's support of last week's UN resolution condemning the repression of the Kurds. Gremitskikh said the resolution did not constitute any type of interference in internal Iraqi affairs, TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow) BESSMERTNYKH'S GREECE, YUGOSLAVIA TOUR. Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh began a two-day visit to Yugoslavia April 8 intended to improve economic and trade contacts with that country, TASS reported that day. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV TO KHABAROVSK CEMETERY. On the eve of his visit to Japan, Gorbachev will visit a cemetery for Japanese soldiers who fell during the Second World War, TASS reported April 8. As a good will gesture, Gorbachev will lay wreathes on graves of Japanese prisoners-of-war who died in the Soviet Union. According to Japanese estimates cited by TASS, 46,082 Japanese prisoners died in Soviet camps. (Suzanne Crow) MORE FLIGHTS TO JAPAN. Moscow will open up more Soviet airspace to Japan, according to an agreement allowing for an increase of air traffic between Japan and Western Europe. The Soviet Civil Aviation Ministry has agreed to increase flights by Japanese and Soviet airlines to Western Europe from 20 per week to 130 per week. Some of these flights are direct; others stop over in Moscow. JAL will fly 80 of the 130 flights, and the company has agreed to take part in the construction of additional hotels in Moscow to accommodate passengers stopping over in Moscow, AFP reported April 8. (Suzanne Crow) NONE TO NIGERIA. Aeroflot officials said April 8 they are suspending flights to Nigeria because most passengers paid for their tickets in rubles while fuel and technical assistance were billed in hard currency. As for the Soviet students and technicians living and working in Nigeria, TASS said only that they will have either to buy tickets for hard currency on other airlines or "go and live in countries where there is still Aeroflot service," AFP reported April 8. (Suzanne Crow) BELONOGOV CONCERNED ABOUT US. Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Belonogov said on April 8 during a two-day visit in Morocco that the USSR "does not have a clear idea of what the Americans intend to do in the Gulf." Speaking of the reduction of military forces in the region, Belonogov said the USSR wanted to see the foreign military presence in the region reduced to pre-crisis levels. He said the "creation of a security system in the Persian Gulf must be the concern of the states themselves, and we believe that Iraq should be part of it," Reuter reported April 8. Belonogov is scheduled to hold talks in Algeria on April 9. (Suzanne Crow) DZASOKHOV AND THE ANC. The former chief of the Southern Africa Department of Gosteleradio, Aleksandr Nekhoroshev, told Radio Rossii April 7 that the African National Congress has since 1964 been supported politically and militarily by the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee. Identifying the Soviet Committee for Solidarity with the Countries of Asia and Africa as the operational link between the CPSU and the ANC, Nekhoroshev claimed that ties still exist and are being coordinated by the former deputy leader of the Solidarity Committee, Aleksandr Dzasokhov--now a Politburo member and head of the International Affairs Committee of the USSR Supreme Soviet. (Alexander Rahr) FOR THE ADVENTURESOME TOURIST. Moscow is considering converting surplus submarines into pleasure cruisers offering luxury holidays in the Caribbean, The Sunday Telegraph reported on April 7. Kremlin brokers commissioned to find civilian uses for military hardware have apparently contacted a firm in Dorset--which builds large aquariums--with the idea of converting the subs into underwater hotels with large observation towers. Engineers at the Dorset company claimed to be confident they could "put in windows to withstand the very high pressures," but cautioned that the windows might adversely effect the subs' stability. (Stephen Foye) GORBACHEV, PAVLOV RECEIVE MINIMUM COMPENSATION. As reported by AFP, Komsomol'skaya pravda April 2 said Gorbachev and Pavlov are getting the minimum compensation (60 rubles) for the sharp price rises introduced that day. But the newspaper said defense minister Dmitrii Yazov, like other military personnel, is receiving 80 rubles. On April 4, AP quoted Komsomol'skaya pravda as saying Gorbachev donated over one million dollars to charity last year; the money was said to come from book royalties and international prizes. Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. (NCA) SOVIET SOCIOLOGISTS STUDY NOMENKLATURA. Since 1989, a team of sociologists at Moscow's Institute of Sociological Research has been studying the Soviet political elite. Project director Olga Kryshtanovskaya told Moscow News (No. 10) that all Gorbachev's predecessors except Stalin began by replacing the old team with their own men within their first three years in power: "After that, they settled down and ruled quietly." Gorbachev, however, "never stops reshuffling his team." Of late, he "has been favoring right-of-center men" and now "former Komsomol and Party functionaries...are making a comeback." (Elizabeth Teague) CONSTRUCTION OF 60 NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS HALTED. The USSR has stopped the design and construction of about 60 nuclear power stations, Moscow World Service (in English) reported April 3. The Radio said this was the result of pressure from the anti-nuclear movement after the Chernobyl disaster; however, it went on, the public's attitude to nuclear power "has been changing somewhat" and, in connection with serious power shortages in a number of regions of Ukraine and Russia, "local authorities have had to resume the construction of advanced safety nuclear plants." (Elizabeth Teague) JAPANESE COMPANY TO DONATE USED TRAIN CARS. A Japanese railway company says it plans to send used and remodeled railway cars to the USSR. A spokesman for the East Japan Railway Company was quoted by Reuters and AFP on April 3 as saying the aim is to help the Soviet Union modernize its railways system. A formal agreement is due to be signed in May. The spokesman said the company is considering supplying the carriages free of charge with the USSR paying only for remodeling and shipping costs. (NCA) IN THE REPUBLICS GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DECLARES INDEPENDENCE. The Georgian Supreme Soviet today (April 9) unanimously approved a decree proclaiming the republic's state independence. The deputy head of Georgia's permanent mission in Moscow told AFP this morning that the decision was taken at an emergency parliament session in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. (NCA) SENIOR MVD OFFICER MURDERED. The Deputy Chief of the Internal Troops Group in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasus, Colonel Blokhotin, has been killed by machine-gun fire in Rostov-on-Don, Radio Moscow reported April 8. An investigation is under way. The radio did no say whether anyone is suspected of the murder. (Victor Yasmann) SIX REPUBLICS TO COORDINATE INDEPENDENCE EFFORTS. According to DPA of April 8, representatives of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldavia met in Kishinev on April 6 and 7. They called for cooperation in their independence efforts and mutual assistance in case of political, economic, or military pressure from Moscow. Evgenii Petrov of Lithuania told DPA that leaders of the six republics may sign an accord later this month. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIAN TV EXPANDS. RSFSR Television, which began operations last month with ten minutes programming a day, put out a much more substantial broadcast on the evening of April 8. The program lasted about an hour and a half and included a newscast and a round-table discussion of the recent extraordinary RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies. Representatives of the RSFSR's major parliamentary factions (Colonel Aleksandr Rutskoi, Irina Zalevskaya, Aleksandr Sokolov, Oleg Rumyantsev, Sergei Shakhrai, Valentin Fedorov, and Andrei Chaikovsky) participated in the round-table. The program ended by taking viewers on a tour of the TV company's new premises, still in the process of renovation. (Vera Tolz) TASS TELEVISION GOES ON AIR. On April 6, the state news agency TASS went on the air for the first time with its own newsreel. TASS' fully-fledged newscast was incorporated in a four-hour program put out by Rossiiskoe televidenie ("Russian Television") on the Second Channel. The newsreel was mainly devoted to the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies and to the new powers Boris Yeltsin won there. In contrast to "Vremya," TASS' coverage was balanced. (Victor Yasmann) MINSKPOISED FOR GENERAL STRIKE. Sources in Minsk have told RFE/RL that strike committees have been formed in 52 factories in the Belorussian capital. Some may stage a warning strike this afternoon, while talks take place between workers' representatives and the republican government. The committees are threatening a general strike this week in Minsk and possibly in the republic at large if no progress is made in meeting their economic and political demands, which include pay increases to offset price rises and a reduction in Belorussian payments to the central government. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIAN KGB HEAD ISSUES WARNING. The chairman of the Belorussian KGB says the republic's socio-economic problems are growing worse daily and "efforts are being made to fan anticommunist moods." Interviewed by Izvestia April 7, Eduard Shirkovsky says there have been calls to outlaw the Communist Party and practice civil disobedience, and he adds that an active KGB, military and police are the best barriers to the any illegal seizure of power. He charges that foreign intelligence agencies are running "massive secret operations" in the USSR, adding that Belorussia's efforts to create links with foreign countries have provided new opportunities for foreign intelligence operations in the republic. (NCA) YAKOVLEV ON YELTSIN'S ADDITIONAL POWERS. Aleksandr Yakovlev, now officially identified as "advisor" to the USSR President, told the French daily Liberation that he welcomes the RSFSR Congress' decision to grant Boris Yeltsin additional powers. He said however that Yeltsin should not use them to intensify his fight with Gorbachev, Infonovosti reported on April 8. Yakovlev said Yeltsin cannot expect Gorbachev to consult him on everything, only on those matters that concern the RSFSR. Defense, security, transport, energy, fundamental research and all-Union social programs must all, Yakovlev said, remain under Gorbachev's jurisdiction. (Alexander Rahr) SILAEV STRESSES COOPERATION. In a television interview April 6, RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev stressed that the RSFSR's plans for economic reform cannot be realized in isolation. He said the leadership of the Russian Federation intends--as RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin pointed out in his closing speech to the RSFSR Congress last week--to work in a businesslike fashion with both central and local authorities. Officials are creating a new structure within the RSFSR Council of Ministers to coordinate this work, Silaev said. Of particular concern are relations with RSFSR's autonomous republics. This question is said to be dealt with in the RSFSR economic reform program, presented by Silaev last month and to be published soon. (John Tedstrom) RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS DECLARED PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN TAJIKISTAN. TASS reported on April 8 that Tajik president Kakhar Makhkamov has issued a decree declaring the two most important Muslim holidays to be public holidays. Tajikistan is the first Central Asian republic to do so. The two are, in Tajik, Idi Ramazon, the holiday which ends the Ramadan fast, and Idi Kurbon, the Feast of Sacrifice. The report says that Muslim religious officials and believers have asked that Friday become the official day of rest instead of Sunday, but that the change would cause economic complications. The republican government intends to discuss the change with the governments of the other Central Asian republics, and a regional solution may be found. (Bess Brown) TURKEY ABOLISHES VISA REQUIREMENT FOR SOVIET CITIZENS. As of April 1, Soviet citizens possessing a valid passport may travel to Turkey without first obtaining a visa from the Consulates in Moscow, Batumi and Baku (Izvestia, March 27). According to the head of the Consular Department at the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, this decision was prompted by the volume of applications (the Department processes up to 5,000 per day; demand for visas is double this) and by a flourishing black-market trade in invitations to visit Turkey. Such invitations cost between 2,000 and 5,000 rubles; a place in the queue for visa applications costs from 300 to 1,000 rubles. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIA'S KURDS CALL FOR DONATIONS FOR REFUGEES. The Armenian Red Cross Society, the Kurdish section of the Armenian Writers' Union and the Council of the Armenian-Kurdish Cultural Society have launched a republic-wide appeal for donations for Kurdish refugees from Iraq, Radio Erevan International reported on April 7. The Kurdish population of Armenia numbers approximately 60,000. (Liz Fuller) MOSCOW STUDENTS DEMAND BETTER CONDITIONS. A group of Moscow students rallied outside the building of the Moscow City Soviet to press their demands for more benefits, TASS said April 8. Their demands included higher grants, lower prices at student cafeterias, and free travel on Moscow's public transport. The students said as a result of the recent price increases their "poverty became unbearable." TASS said the city soviet will meet April 9 to discuss the situation of both students and teachers in Moscow's institutions of higher education. (Vera Tolz) INDEPENDENT MOLDAVIAN COMMUNIST PARTY FOUNDED. The Independent Moldavian Communist Party, based on the Democratic Platform faction which split from the Party, held its founding conference in Kishinev April 8. TASS commented that the move "divided the Party along ethnic lines" and "followed the Baltic scenario." Defining itself as "a parliamentary party of socialist orientation," the new party "will have no ties with the CPSU and will struggle for the full sovereignty of Moldavia and against the imperial policy of the center". The party will also support the formation of a "united front" among republics seeking to leave the Union. The new party's leadership includes Moldavian Supreme Soviet Vice-Chairman Victor Puscasu; he is the main author of Moldavia's concept of a confederal association of sovereign states without a center, which Kishinev counterposed to the Union Treaty. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PREPARES ACCORD WITH ROMANIA. The Moldavian Minister of External Relations, Nicolae Tiu, was received by Romanian Prime Minister Petre Roman and Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase in Bucharest April 8, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. The sides discussed a bilateral treaty on trade and economic cooperation. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PREMIER MEETS JEWISH REPRESENTATIVES. Meeting with Jewish community leaders, Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc encouraged the community to involve itself in "the resolution of the [republic's] major problems" and to increase ties with Jews in other countries, Moldova Suverana reported April 1. It was announced at the meeting that Romania's Jewish Federation had offered to send teachers of Romanian and Yiddish to teach Jewish education classes now opening in Moldavia. The meeting reflected the good relations which the Moldavian government and Popular Front, and Druc personally, maintain with Moldavia's Jewish community. (Vladimir Socor) (END) [As of 1230 CET]
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