The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 71, 12 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



LATVIAN-USSR TALKS: NEXT MEETING IN MAY. On April 11, Latvian
and Soviet representatives met for 5 hours in Moscow for talks
that Latvia's Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers called "the
beginning of official negotiations" on Latvian independence,
reported TASS and Radio Riga that day. Deputy Chairman of the
Latvian Supreme Council Andrejs Krastins was less optimistic,
describing the meeting as "consultations." According to Bisers,
the two sides pinpointed about 20 topics of discussion, including
Latvia's independence declaration. Expert groups are to deal
with the issues before they are discussed at twice-monthly meetings.
The next meeting will be held in Riga in May. (Dzintra Bungs)


GORBACHEV TO MEET LANDSBERGIS? Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman
Vytautas Landsbergis spoke with Gorbachev on April 11 about his
objections to the arrest of Lithuanian citizens by Soviet authorities
and the continued Soviet occupation of buildings in Vilnius.
Landsbergis offered to meet with Gorbachev to explain the situation
in Lithuania. Gorbachev apparently indicated that a meeting might
take place sometime after his visit to Japan (April 16-19). (Dzintra
Bungs)

NORDIC AND DUTCH DELEGATIONS VISIT. According to Radio Riga of
April 11, a seven-member delegation of the Nordic Council visited
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to discuss cultural and educational
cooperation. Concurrently an official Dutch parliamentary delegation
also visited the Baltic Supreme Councils. Latvian Supreme Council
Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs described the Dutch visit as a step
toward de facto recognition of Latvia as an independent state.
(Dzintra Bungs

ALL-UNION TOPICS



CPSU OFFICIALLY REGISTERED. On April 11, the CPSU was officially
registered as a political party by the USSR Ministry of Justice.
Registration took place at a ceremony attended by deputy general
secretary Vladimir Ivashko, and the event was shown on "Vremya."
The CPSU thereby became the first political party to be registered
in the USSR under the law on public associations that came into
effect on January 1. "Vremya" said the second party registered
that day was the Liberal Democratic Party -- a fringe organization
believed to have close links with the KGB. The Soviet government
earlier refused registration to several newly created all-union
political parties on the grounds they had not submitted all the
documents necessary. In the meantime, the RSFSR government has
already registered several non-Communist parties active in the
Russian Republic. (Vera Tolz)

IVASHKO, GIDASPOV ON FORTHCOMING CC CPSU PLENUM. Deputy General
Secretary Vladimir Ivashko have rejected rumors that Mikhail
Gorbachev may step down as Party boss. TASS on April 11 quoted
him as saying that a plenum of the Central Committee is scheduled
for the end of April or beginning of May. It will discuss the
current political situation in the country and the work of Communists
in local soviets. On the same day, TASS reported that the conservative
Leningrad Party leader, Boris Gidaspov, has denounced perestroika
for its "anti-socialist" course. Gidaspov called on the Gorbachev
leadership to give an account of their proposed anti-crisis program.
(Alexander Rahr)

PAVLOV ON RECESSION. Addressing a plenary meeting of the USSR
Trade Union Confederation on April 10, Prime Minister Pavlov
put the decline in national income during the first quarter of
1991 at 10 percent, TASS reported April 11. The report did not
specify whether he was referring to national income (produced)
or national income (utilized). In the introduction to the USSR
Cabinet of Ministers' Draft Action Program, published--but subsequently
withdrawn--by TASS on April 9, the decline in national income
(produced) during the first quarter was put at 12 percent. It
is, of course, very difficult promptly to evaluate the performance
of such an indicator as the national income when the economy
is disintegrating. (Keith Bush)

EVALUATION OF ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. The chairman of the USSR Supreme
Soviet Planning and Budget Commission, Viktor Kucherenko, told
TASS April 11 what he thought of the draft action program of
April 9. He deemed it far more realistic and "vital" than the
"500-days" program since, he explained, some 15-20 years will
be needed to denationalize the economy without ruining the country,
rather than the "three months" envisaged by the Shatalin/Yavlinsky
plan. (To be fair to Shatalin and Yavlinsky, their plan projected
an initial stabilization period of 100 days). Kucherenko was
on firmer ground when he cited, as a weakness in the "anti-crisis"
draft of the Soviet government, the absence of any mechanism
to implement its provisions. (Keith Bush)

MODEST DEBUT FOR FOREIGN-EXCHANGE MARKET. Starting this month,
the USSR Gosbank has taken a small first step towards the convertibility
of the ruble. The foreign exchange rate of the ruble (for foreign
tourists and--within strict limits--for Soviet tourists) is to
be set at twice-weekly auctions (Izvestia, April 2). At the first
such auction on April 9, only $50,000 changed hands, The Times
of London reported April 10. The rate determined was 32.35 rubles
to the dollar but, because turnover was so weak, this new rate
will not be used for individual transactions. No auction, it
seems, was held on April 11, and the next attempt will be made
on April 16. (Keith Bush)

AKHROMEEV ON GULF WAR. Marshal Sergei Akhromeev said in a letter
published in the April 11 Wall Street Journal that Soviet briefings
had improved the allies' readiness for the Gulf War and contributed
to their victory. Akhromeev, a former General Staff Chief and
currently advisor to the Soviet President, said Moscow warned
the US that Iraq's ground forces would be a formidable opponent.
He said that for this and other reasons the allies had acted
"expediently" in conducting a long airwar against Iraq before
launching the ground attack. He added that the Gulf War did not
represent a defeat for Soviet weaponry and military science.
(Stephen Foye)

ON ARMY'S LOYALTY TO GORBACHEV, NATO. In a video link-up with
a defense symposium in Paris, Marshal Akhromeev asserted that
Soviet military leaders were entirely loyal to Soviet President
Gorbachev and would in no way consider overthrowing the government,
Reuter reported April 11. Akhromeev said that the Soviet Union's
six marshals all "walk hand-in-hand" with Gorbachev, and that
the entire military leadership is "devoted to the democratic
process... [and] prepared to defend [it]." Arguing that the USSR
no longer constitutes a threat to Europe, Akhromeev asked why
NATO still maintains its military arm. (Stephen Foye)

DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER ON CONVERSION. Army General Vladimir
Arkhipov, commander of Soviet Rear Services, told TASS on April
11 that defense conversion was justified, but that defense industries
should concentrate on producing electronics, medical equipment,
and machinery. He argued that it was "shortsighted and dangerous"
to think of defense conversion as the only, or primary, means
of liquidating the Soviet budget deficit and addressing social
problems. He said that the defense industries should be at the
center of strengthening "reasonable sufficiency" by providing
for the technical re-equipping of Soviet military forces. (Stephen
Foye)

GORBACHEV'S TRIP SCHEDULE. Gorbachev will start off for his Japan
trip on Sunday, April 14, with the first stop in Khabarovsk.
He will speak "without fail" to labor collectives there upon
arrival on April 15, TASS reported. Late that evening Gorbachev
will leave for Japan. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV'S KOREA STOP. According to a Reuter report of April
11, the USSR's last-minute decision to have Gorbachev stop in
South Korea is proving tricky. North Korea is miffed because
this first-ever Soviet head of state visit to either Korea is
taking place in the south. Attempting to down-play the visit,
Gorbachev plans to avoid the capital city and to meet his Korean
counterpart on a resort island instead. This move, however, has
annoyed South Korean opposition leaders who say it is a humiliation
for South Korea not to be accorded a full-level visit in the
capital city. The Korea stop is significant for the USSR. Depending
on how negotiations go in Japan, the USSR might use the visit
to snub Tokyo. (Suzanne Crow)

SINO-SOVIET DRAFT BORDER AGREEMENT. The Sino-Soviet working group
on determining the border between the two countries met from
March 28 to April 8. TASS reported April 10 the talks were completed
in a "business-like and constructive manner." No details of a
border settlement were reported. (Suzanne Crow)

"VREMYA" ATTACKS DEMOCRATS, RADIO LIBERTY. Speaking on "Vremya"
April 11, Russian nationalist writer Stanislav Rybas accused
a number of democratic movements ("Democratic Russia," "Rukh,"
"Sajudis") of wrecking the USSR. The writer also attacked Radio
Liberty, calling it a relic of the Cold War. Rybas singled out
one of the leaders of "Democratic Russia," Arkadii Murashev.
Interviewed by Radio Liberty's Russian Service earlier in the
week, Murashev had suggested, tongue in cheek, that "if the US
Congress stopped funding Radio Liberty, perhaps the RSFSR government
ought to take it over." Rybas commented sarcastically that "maybe
the Russian government would also like to take over the financing
of the CIA." (Vera Tolz)

SOVIET TV DOCUMENTARY ON RADIO LIBERTY. Murashev's comment was
made in connection with a 40-minute documentary shown on Central
Soviet Television on April 7. Aired during prime-time Sunday
evening, immediately following the "Vremya" newscast, the film,
called "Alien Voices," attacked Radio Liberty and called on the
US government to close the station. The film was identified on
the screen as having been produced by the Public Relations Department
of the KGB and was composed by Oleg Tumanov. Tumanov, a former
acting chief editor of Radio Liberty who returned to the USSR
in 1986, was identified during the program as a career Soviet
intelligence agent. (Elizabeth Teague)

IN THE REPUBLICS



BELORUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AGREES TO TALK WITH STRIKERS. A second
day of strikes and protests took place April 11 in Minsk, under
the eye of Interior Ministry vehicles. Reversing their position
of the previous day, the Belorussian authorities agreed on the
afternoon of April 11 to begin negotiations on the workers' economic
and political demands. The strike action was immediately called
off, but spokesmen have told Western news agencies that they
will resume the republic-wide work stoppages if the talks prove
unsatisfactory or if workers are punished. (Kathy Mihalisko)


WORKERS TO PRESS FOR JULY MULTIPARTY ELECTIONS. Negotiations
between strike committee representatives and Belorussian officials
are set to begin today (April 12). It appears that the strikers'
demand for Gorbachev's resignation will not be on the table,
but spokesmen for the workers say they will press for the end
of Communist Party control of Belorussia and the holding of new
multiparty elections to the republican Supreme Soviet in July.
Minsk Strike Committee leader Georgy Mukhin was quoted April
12 in Cox newspapers as saying "If we don't overturn the present
system, there will be no economic freedom." (Kathy Mihalisko)


KIEV TRADE UNIONS PLAN ACTION. Trade unions in the Ukrainian
capital have announced a week of "trade union activities" to
protest government plans for resolving the economic crisis, Radio
Kiev reported on April 11. The action is intended to consolidate
the trade unions' efforts in defense of the city's residents
and to formulate demands to Gorbachev and the governments of
the Soviet Union and Ukraine concerning immediate steps to protect
workers. (Roman Solchanyk)

COAL MINERS CONTINUE STRIKE IN UKRAINE. The number of striking
coal mining enterprises in the Donbass and in Western Ukraine
has reached 67, accounting for about 20 percent of all mines
in the republic, Radio Kiev reported on April 11. According to
a Radio Moscow broadcast of the same day, however, official statistics
from Kiev say that 43 mines in Ukraine have stopped working.
(Roman Solchanyk)

STRIKES IN GEORGIA. The threatened republic-wide strike took
effect in Georgia on April 11; traffic on the main railway line
to the RSFSR came to a halt, 10,000 workers at the Kutaisi Automobile
Works downed tools, and a metallurgical plant and wine factory
in Tbilisi also stopped work, Reuters reported April 11. TASS
quotes Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad Gamsakhurdia as
affirming that the strikes will continue until Soviet troops
are withdrawn from South Ossetia. (Liz Fuller)

ARMENIA MAY BE FIRST VICTIM OF GEORGIAN STRIKES. As Georgia accounts
for less than 2 per cent of Soviet GNP, the strike there is unlikely
to affect the Soviet economy as a whole, but the halting of rail
traffic will compound supply problems to Armenia, particularly
as Azerbaijan was reported by Radio Erevan on April 9 to have
resumed its rail blockade of Armenia. This will increase the
political pressures on Armenian Supreme Soviet chairman Levon
Ter-Petrossyan, who supports Georgian independence to the point
of having advised the Armenian population of Georgia to vote
"yes" in the March 31 referendum on restoring Georgian sovereignty.
(Liz Fuller)

GEORGIA WANTS NEGOTIATIONS WITH CENTER. TASS reported April 11
that the Presidium of the Georgian Supreme Soviet has proposed
creating working groups and holding consultations between representatives
of Georgia and Moscow to pave the way for immediate negotiations
with Gorbachev "on a number of vitally important questions."
(Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN ATHLETES SEVER TIES. On April 11 Reuters cited TASS
as reporting that Georgia had withdrawn its athletes from all
Soviet sports teams and competitions on the grounds that, as
citizens of an independent state, "they do no have the right
to compete under other states' flags and anthems." (Liz Fuller)


ROMANIANS IN BUKOVINA FOUND MEMORIAL SOCIETY. The "Golgotha"
Association of Victims of Stalinist and Neo-Stalinist Repression
has been established by Romanians in North Bukovina, Rompres
reported April 10 from the oblast's capital Chernovtsy. Electing
a steering committee of clergymen and cultural figures, the constitutive
conference resolved to compile a complete record of Romanian
victims of repression in North Bukovina and to demand reparations
from the USSR government. It also resolved to resist "Russification"
in North Bukovina. (Vladimir Socor)

FURTHER TO MOLDAVIA'S TAX ON IMMIGRANTS. The Moldavian government
has instituted an annual immigration quota and will levy a tax
of 25,000 rubles from enterprises and organizations of all-Union
subordination for each employee they bring into Moldavia from
other Soviet republics over and above the quota (see yesterday's
Daily Report). The measure appears intended to offset the effects
of a regulation used for years by the communist-controlled soviets
of the republic's russified cities to stem the influx of Moldavian
villagers into those cities. Under that regulation, the employer
had to pay a tax of 14,000 rubles to the city soviet for each
new employee brought in from outside the town; but the regulation
did not apply to "specialists" brought in from outside the republic.
(Vladimir Socor)

ROUND TABLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES ON "RADIO ROSSIYA." On April
11, "Radio Rossiya" organized a round table of several political
parties of the RSFSR -- the NTS (People's Labor Union), the so-called
Anti-Facist Center of the Democratic Russia Movement, the Russian
Christian Democratic Movement, the Kadets (Constitutional Democrats),
and the Party of Free Labor. The participants in the round-table
spoke about their parties' aims, since they are not well known
to the public. They gave phone numbers of their bureaus, inviting
anyone interested in the parties' activities to ask for information.
(Vera Tolz)

TADZHIK KGB WORRIED ABOUT FOREIGN MOSLEM PENETRATION. Tadzhik
KGB chairman Vladimir Petkel says foreign intelligence services,
Pakistan's in particular, have stepped up efforts to infiltrate
the republic. TASS quoted Petkel April 11 as saying he is concerned
about continuing attempts by Muslim fundamentalists and Afghan
resistance elements to establish contacts with Tadzhik groups.
He alleged the purpose of those contacts is to overthrow the
Soviet system and set up an Islamic state in Tadzhikistan. (CMD/NCA)



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