This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 70, 11 April 1991



BALTIC STATES





LATVIAN-USSR TALKS START TODAY. According to Radio Riga and TASS
of April 10, talks between Latvian and Soviet representatives
were to start today (April 11) at the Kremlin at 11:00 A.M. Both
delegations will be led by deputy prime ministers: Ilmars Bisers
of Latvia and Vladimir Velichko of the USSR. Though the agenda
remains to be worked out, Deputy Sergei Dimanis from Latvia said
that borders and the status of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
and the State Prosecutor's Office in Latvia may be discussed.
Aris Jansons, press attache at the Latvian representation in
Moscow said that USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov may meet
the Estonian and Latvian prime ministers on April 18 or 19. (Dzintra
Bungs)

BALTIC SOLDIERS UNION FORMED. Radio Riga reported on April 9
and 10 on an article in Za Rodinu of April 9 on the establishment
of the Baltic Soldiers' Union. The newspaper is published under
the auspices of the USSR Baltic Military. It printed also the
draft statutes of the new organization, whose aim is to defend
the social and political interests of Soviet soldiers, the USSR
Constitution, the integrity of the Soviet Union, and the rights
of Soviet citizens. The document reportedly allows soldiers to
use force to uphold the organization's aims. The article in Za
Rodinu urged that similar organizations be formed in other regions
of the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs)

LANDSBERGIS CONGRATULATES GEORGIA. On April 10 Lithuania's Supreme
Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis congratulated the Georgian
parliament on its April 9 decision to declare independence. According
to a DPA dispatch of April 10, Landsbergis drew parallels between
Lithuania and Georgia, saying both republics have chosen freedom
and both face threats from the central Soviet government. (Dzintra
Bungs)



ALL-UNION TOPICS



LABOR UNREST CONTINUES. Strikes continued in several parts of
the Soviet Union yesterday (April 10), as miners and other workers
pressed political demands that included the resignation of President
Mikhail Gorbachev. TASS described the situation in Western Siberia's
Kuzbass region as "tense," with 47 out of 76 mines closed. TASS
said bus drivers in the regional center Kemerovo joined the strike
yesterday, making it difficult for people to get to work. In
Ukraine's Donbass, TASS reported, 22 out of 122 mines were on
strike, while 12 out of 13 mines were on strike in the Far North
Vorkuta region. Strikes were also reported from Minsk and other
industrial centers of Belorussia (see below for details). (NCA)


GORBACHEV MAY BE ASKED TO GIVE ACCOUNT AT PLENUM. Addressing
a press conference in Moscow April 10, Presidential aide Georgii
Shakhnazarov denied that Mikhail Gorbachev plans to relinquish
his post as Party general secretary, TASS reported that day.
He did not however deny that Gorbachev may be required to give
a personal account at a forthcoming plenum of the CPSU Central
Committee. A number of local Party organizations (including the
Kiev city Party committee) are calling for an extraordinary plenum
to discuss the political and economic situation in the USSR,
according to TASS of April 9. Asked about the miners' strike,
Shakhnazarov suggested that the leadership of the RSFSR should
prevail on miners to return to work. (Alexander Rahr)

"SOYUZ" LEADER REPORTS ON MEETING WITH GORBACHEV. On April 10,
TASS carried a report by Yurii Blokhin, leader of the hardline
"Soyuz" group of USSR people's deputies, on talks April 8 between
"Soyuz" and Mikhail Gorbachev. Blokhin denied recent reports
that the group is demanding Gorbachev's resignation. (In fact,
some of the group's leaders, such as Evgenii Kogan, have said
recently that Gorbachev should not stay in power.) Blokhin said
his group, whose aim is the preservation of the Union, thinks
the president is too indecisive, but that he has lately begun
to move in the right direction. Blokhin said that, during the
meeting, "Soyuz" criticized the latest draft of the Union Treaty
on the grounds that it gives too much power to the republics.
(Vera Tolz)

"WE WERE...PUSHED TO USE FORCE." Interviewed April 10 by Literaturnaya
gazeta, Eduard Shevardnadze said pressure was put on the Soviet
leadership in 1989 to use force to suppress the East European
revolutions. "There was of course an alternative [to the Soviet
Union's passivity.] We were quite actively pushed to use force....
In other words, we were told to act according to the scenarios
of 1953, 1956, and 1968." Reuter, which summarized the interview
on April 10, did not say whether Shevardnadze indicated which
circles were pushing for the use of force. (Suzanne Crow)

MOSCOW AMBIVALENT ON ISLANDS. According to the results of a telephone
poll of Moscow conducted April 2-3, 51.8% of those questioned
opposed the return of the southern Kurile Islands to Japan. 22.2%
called for the compensated return of the islands, 3.5% said the
islands should be returned to Japan unconditionally, while 3.4%
did not know about the issue. TASS's April 10 report did not
identify the missing 19.1%. An April 4 APN commentary disparaged
those who, it said, would "exchange their homeland for stereo
tape recorders, videos, or for the billions promised to buy the
islands." (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET-GREEK FRIENDSHIP TREATY. During his April 9-10 visit in
Athens, Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh held consultations
with Greek President Constantine Karamanlis and Foreign Minister
Antonios Samaras. The two countries signed a Treaty of Friendship
and Cooperation on April 10, agreed to expand business contacts,
and talked about direct economic contacts between the Soviet
Union's and Greece's Black Sea regions, TASS reported April 10.
(Suzanne Crow)

STATE BUDGET DEFICIT. Aleksandr Orlov, deputy chairman of the
USSR Supreme Soviet's Committee on Planning and Finance, elaborated
on the current budget crisis in Rabochaya tribuna April 10. The
RSFSR has withheld all of the 45 percent corporation tax and
the 5 percent sales tax levied since January 1. The state budget
deficit for the first quarter of 1991 has already climbed to
31.1 billion rubles, whereas a deficit of 26.7 billion rubles
had been planned for the entire year. Orlov indicated that the
Federation Council might be asked to suspend republican laws
which contradict union legislation, and to find ways of forcing
the union-republics to cough up their dues. (Keith Bush)

WAGE POLICY FOR 1992-95? Pravda of April 8 carries a short, unattributed,
and somewhat opaque report on the negotiation of base industry
pay agreements for the period 1992-95. The USSR Cabinet of Ministers
has ordered the ministries of various basic industries (such
as power and electrification, petroleum and gas, metallurgy,
railways) and certain individual associations and concerns (such
as Norilsky nikel, Teknokhim, and Gazprom) to conclude by July
1 wage rate agreements for 1992-95. The agreements are to stipulate
each side's mutual obligations to provide the economy with the
necessary volume of output, as well as a complex of social guarantees
for the workers. (Keith Bush)

KRAVCHENKO EXPLAINS DEPARTURE OF NEWSMEN. Replying to viewers'
questions during a live phone-in on Soviet TV April 9, the head
of the All-Union State TV and Radio Company, Leonid Kravchenko,
denied he had fired two well-known political commentators, Vladimir
Pozner and Vladimir Tsvetov. Kravchenko said Pozner and Tsvetov
left Central TV of their own free will. He did however admit
that the two journalists were displeased with the current situation
regarding Soviet Television. So, it appeared, are many viewers.
Many of the comments read out during the program asserted that
Kravchenko's management of Central TV is essentially aimed at
reestablishing political censorship. (Vera Tolz)

FUTURE OF "VZGLYAD" STILL UNCLEAR. Speaking in the same TV program,
Kravchenko dashed hopes that the popular TV show "Vzglyad" might
soon return to the screen. Such hopes were aroused when, on March
25, Kravchenko's deputy Valentin Lazutkin asserted that it had
been decided to restore the show, which was banned at the end
of last year. Answering a question from a viewer, Kravchenko
stressed that, "for the time being," restoration of the show
is still considered undesirable. (Vera Tolz)

LOMAKIN HAS THE GRACE TO BLUSH. Another question phoned-in to
the same program asked why Boris Yeltsin is rudely interrupted
when he appears on TV, while Mikhail Gorbachev is allowed to
speak without interruption. The moderator, Sergei Lomakin, squirmed
in his seat, since it was he whose hectoring tone during a 40-minute
interview with Yeltsin on February 19 angered many TV viewers.
In contrast, Lomakin's boss, Kravchenko, allowed Gorbachev to
speak without interruption for over an hour during an interview
before the all-Union referendum. But Kravchenko (referring to
another Gorbachev appearance) claimed Gorbachev received "only
7 minutes," and contrasted this with 11 minutes granted to Yeltsin's
deputy, Ruslan Khasbulatov. (Elizabeth Teague)

"PYATOE KOLESO"--KRAVCHENKO'S NEXT VICTIM? The popular Leningrad
TV program, "Pyatoe koleso," came under sharp attack during the
April 9 phone-in. ("Pyatoe koleso" always presents a point of
view on Soviet domestic events that is alternative to that of
"Vremya," even though Leningrad TV is subordinated to Kravchenko.)
Kravchenko read from a hefty pile of notes in which viewers complained
that "Pyatoe koleso" was overtly anti-Soviet and that the leadership
of Central Television should take action against the show's moderator,
Bella Kurkova. (Vera Tolz)

NEW AIDE TO GORBACHEV APPOINTED. 39-year-old Valentin Karasev
has been appointed aide to Mikhail Gorbachev with responsibility
for liaison with state and social organizations, TASS reported
April 9. Karasev, a candidate of historical sciences, has until
now been a member of the USSR Supreme Soviet Committee on the
Soviets of People's Deputies, Development of Government, and
Self-Government. Before that, he chaired the department of CPSU
History and Scientific Communism at the Kramatorsk Industrial
Institute in Donetsk Oblast. Announcing the new appointment,
presidential spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko said he himself will
remain in charge of ties with the mass media. (Alexander Rahr)


BREZHNEV DACHA LEASED TO BRITISH-SOVIET COMPANY. Leonid Brezhnev's
56-hectare dacha complex near Kislovodsk in the North Caucasus
will become a resort for foreign tourists, TASS reported April
8. The agency said that is what a British-Soviet joint venture
called Asmaral plans to do with the complex, which it has obtained
on a 49-year lease from the city of Kislovodsk. It says the city
will get 2 million rubles a year for the lease, plus half of
the profits from the resort. According to TASS, Brezhnev visited
the complex only once, and Gorbachev gave it to the Kislovodsk
city Soviet a year ago. (NCA)



IN THE REPUBLICS



STRIKES IN BELORUSSIA. On April 10, just one day after President
Gorbachev proposed a moratorium on strikes and political demonstrations,
as many as 100,000 workers filled Lenin Square in central Minsk
to call for the resignation of the Soviet and Belorussian leaderships.
All told, more than 60 Minsk enterprises were on strike, including
the huge tractor factory visited by Gorbachev in late February.
Speakers condemned the Communist Party, urged the holding of
new multiparty elections to the Belorussian parliament, and the
nationalization of CP property. Uladzimir Honcharik, chairman
of the official trade unions, was forced by jeering workers to
abandon his defense of the Communist record. (Belorussian BD/Kathy
Mihalisko)

OTHER BELORUSSIAN CITIES JOIN IN. Strikes were also reported
in the industrial cities of Zhodina, Borisov, Gomel, Maladechno,
and Saligorsk, a potassium mining center. Rallies in support
of the Minsk workers were held in Grodno and Lido. RFE/RL has
learned that plans are being made for an all-Belorussia strike
to take place later this month. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)


BELORUSSIAN GOVERNMENT CAN'T MEET DEMANDS. First deputy prime
minister Mikhail Myasnikovich yesterday told strike leaders that
the republican government cannot meet the workers' economic demands,
which include salary increases to compensate for last week's
drastic price increases. Strikers were, however, given a chance
last night to appear on republican TV. Minsk Strike Committee
member Georgi Mukhin used the broadcast to criticize the Party
for "the collapse of the economy, lies about Chernobyl, and the
annihilation of peoples and their languages." (NCA/Kathy Mihalisko)


GEORGIA CALLS FOR GENERAL STRIKE. On April 10 Georgian Supreme
Soviet chairman Zviad Gamsakhurdia called for a one-day general
strike by railway and port workers and factories subordinate
to all-Union ministries to press for the withdrawal of Soviet
troops from the disputed region of South Ossetia. He predicted
somewhat optimistically that the strike action, which would disrupt
shipments of coal and oil, "will be a great blow to the Soviet
economy," Reuters reported (April 10). (Liz Fuller)

GAMSAKHURDIA CALLS ON GORBACHEV TO RECOGNIZE GEORGIAN INDEPENDENCE.
Gamsakhurdia sent a personal letter to Gorbachev April 10 affirming
Georgia's readiness to work out new political and economic relations
with Moscow, and expressing the hope that Gorbachev "will ultimately
fulfill your principles of democracy and recognize Georgia as
an independent state", AP reports (April 10) quoting the Independent
Russian News Agency. (Liz Fuller)

USSR MVD TROOPS ARREST GEORGIAN MILITIA. Interfax and Radio Tbilisi
reported April 10 that USSR MVD troops had detained 21 Georgian
militiamen in several villages close to the South Ossetian capital
of Tskhinvali in what a senior MVD officer told TASS was "an
attempt to break Georgia's blockade" of the town. Ten Ossetians
were also detained and one killed; quantities of weapons and
ammunition were confiscated. (Liz Fuller)

"SOYUZ" DEMANDS PRESIDENTIAL RULE IN SOUTH OSSETIA. As quoted
by TASS April 10, "Soyuz" leader Yurii Blokhin said that, during
its April 8 meeting with Gorbachev, his group reiterated its
demand for the introduction of direct presidential rule in South
Ossetia. Blokhin said that, if Gorbachev is afraid to make this
step, the USSR Supreme Soviet should take responsibility for
the decision. Presidential rule in South Ossetia is advocated
as the only way of stopping the bloodshed not only by the hardline
"Soyuz," but also by some democrats, including Andrei Sakharov's
widow Elena Bonner. (Vera Tolz)

ECONOMIC SITUATION IN KYRGYZSTAN WORSENS. Kirgiz president Askar
Akaev has told the republican Cabinet of Ministers that the socio-economic
situation in the republic has worsened to such an extent that
there is danger of a "political explosion." Akaev's comments
were reported by TASS on April 10. The volume of production is
down for all basic indicators of industrial and agricultural
output. If this situation continues next winter, Akaev said,
actual hunger will be a real possibility. Akaev offered a recovery
program that includes privatization of small service firms and
developing economic ties with foreign countries. (Bess Brown)


MURDER OF COSSACK LEADER CAUSES DISTURBANCES. The murder of an
ataman of the Terek Cossacks in Sunzhensk raion in the RSFSR's
Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic has sparked unrest among the
local Russian population, Radio Moscow reported on April 9. Ataman
Podkolosin, who worked as a municipal clerk, was stabbed by a
local man named Batyrov. The local Cossack community are convinced
the incident was ethnically inspired and are demanding protection
from the republican Supreme Soviet. Instead of reporting the
incident as the murder of a local bureaucrat, Radio Moscow highlighted
the ethnic character of the incident. (Victor Yasmann)

TRIAL DATE SET FOR UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN. The trial of Ukrainian
People's Deputy Stepan Khmara has been set for April 29, Radio
Kiev reported on April 10. Khmara was arrested last November
in connection with an incident involving an MVD officer in Kiev
on Revolution Day. He was released from prison on April 6. (Roman
Solchanyk)

MOLDAVIA SETS IMMIGRATION QUOTA. The Moldavian government will
limit immigration into Moldavia from other Soviet republics for
1991 to a figure equivalent to 0.05% of Moldavia's current population,
Labor Minister Gheorghe Spinei told TASS April 10. The quota
amounts to some 2,000 persons. The measure is designed to stop
the long-standing practice of the enterprises of all-Union subordination
bringing manpower from other republics into Moldavia. Enterprises
and organizations wishing to bring in personnel and dependents
in excess of the quota will have to pay a fine of 25,000 rubles
per individual immigrant. The quota system will not apply to
persons wishing to be repatriated to Moldavia from other republics
(meaning in practice transplanted Moldavians). (Vladimir Socor)



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