Жизнь, как пьеса в театре: важно не то, сколько она длится, а насколько хорошо сыграна. - Сенека
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 73, 16 April 1991


ESTONIAN-USSR TALKS MOVE ALONG. The April 15 meeting between
Estonian and Soviet negotiating teams was productive, according
to an RFE/RL interview with the Estonian Supreme Council press
office that day. The two sides reportedly settled on a series
of expert meetings to discuss political, economic and social
relations, and decided that the full delegations would meet at
least once each month. The next meeting was not scheduled, but
will take place when the expert groups have drafted documents
outlining talking points. (Riina Kionka)

SURF'S UP IN PARNU. City officials in Estonia's seaside resort
town of Parnu report that the water is now clean enough for swimming,
according to Paevaleht on April 14. The shore at Parnu, famous
for its white sand beaches, has been closed for several years
because of severe pollution of the Baltic Sea. But Parnu's Deputy
Mayor Heldur Sass told Paevaleht that the city expects a record
tourist season this year, thanks to a combination of water treatment
equipment and weather conditions that allowed the sea to cleanse
itself. Sass did not say whether the water treatment equipment
was new or had been in disrepair. (Riina Kionka)

16 reported that a delegation of Lithuanian parliamentarians
had departed for Bonn to improve ties with the German Bundestag.
The delegation is headed by Lithuanian Supreme Council Deputy
Chairman Bronius Kuzmickas and includes Lithuanian Democratic
Party Chairman Saulius Peceliunas and Lithuanian Social Democrats
Emanuelis Zingeris and Kazimieras Antanavicius. Radio Kaunas
reported on April 15 that Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas
Vagnorius would begin a week long visit to Canada on April 16.
He will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and
other government officials on April 17, with Ontario officials
in Toronto on April 18, and then travel to five other Canadian
cities. (Saulius Girnius)

BALTIC PARLIAMENTARIANS IN SWEDEN. At the invitation of the Nordic
Council, parliamentarians from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia
visited Sweden for a two-day meeting preparing for the conference
of the International Parliamentary Union that will be held later
this month in Sweden, Radio Kaunas reported on April 16. The
Lithuanian delegation consisted of deputies Gediminas Serksnys,
Vidmantas Povilionis, and Albinas Januska. Serksnys said that
the Balts were informed about the activities of the International
Parliamentary Union. The union's regulations provide for new
membership only after eight member countries present a written
request recommending the admission of new states. It is unclear
whether the Baltic States can obtain the necessary recommendations
this month, but their admission would be another indication of
international recognition of their parliaments' legitimacy. (Saulius


GORBACHEV IN KHABAROVSK. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev addressed
a meeting of regional soviet, economic, industrial, and public
leaders in Khabarovsk on Monday, TASS reported April 15. Gorbachev
told his audience that politicians at all levels must put aside
personal ambition and think solely about saving the country.
No one person can solve the problems facing the Soviet Union,
he said, nor can strikes or meetings. Gorbachev stressed that
time is running out: soon the people, faced with high prices,
empty shelves, and falling incomes, will decide things "by well-known
means...not the best, but the most dangerous, which we simply
should not permit." In response to a question, Gorbachev stressed
the importance of the Russian Federation within the Soviet Union
and appealed to RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin and
other RSFSR leaders to "begin constructive cooperation and joint
action" with the central government. (Dawn Mann)

GORBACHEV AND KAIFU START TALKS. Following an imperial greeting
and reviewing guard, Gorbachev and Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki
Kaifu started their first of an expected three rounds of talks
on April 16. According to Japanese news reports cited by Reuter
April 16, a proposed text to be issued at the end of Gorbachev's
visit will include the Soviet Union's official acknowledgement
that a territorial dispute exists between Japan and the USSR.
Gorbachev, speaking in Khabarovsk on the eve of his Japan visit,
tried to dampen hopes on a Kurile islands deal saying, "We are
not going to use territory or policy as an instrument to make
deals." (Suzanne Crow)

BOVIN ON ISLANDS. Izvestia commentator Aleksandr Bovin wrote
in an article appearing April 15 that the Soviet Union should
return Habomoi and Shikotan to Japan after Japan agreed to sign
a peace treaty ending World War II. Bovin said that the two pair
larger islands to the north could be returned at a much later
date and only after the removal of foreign bases from Japanese
soil, the creation of an effective security system in Asia, and
a deepening of international detente. AFP summarized Bovin's
commentary April 16. (Suzanne Crow)

ADMIRAL REASSURES JAPAN. The Commander of the Soviet Pacific
Fleet told TASS on April 15 that Japanese concerns over a strengthening
of Soviet naval forces in the Pacific are unfounded. Admiral
Gennadii Khvatov, who in the past has expressed hard-line opposition
to the "new political thinking," said Soviet actions in the Pacific
reflect Moscow's defensive military doctrine. Khvatov pointed
to what he claimed were reductions in the number, scope, and
orientation of naval exercises, the positioning of nuclear submarines
in Soviet coastal zones, and a reduced naval presence in the
Indian Ocean. (Stephen Foye)

GORBACHEV TO APOLOGIZE FOR KAL? The South Korean news agency
Yonhap reported April 16 that Gorbachev plans to make an official
apology for the KAL flight shootdown at a press conference following
talks with South Korean President Roh Tae-Woo on April 19. AFP
cites Yonhap as reporting that Gorbachev will also apologize
for the Soviet Union's support of North Korea in the Korean War.
Late last year, then Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze expressed
his regret at the loss of life owing to the KAL shootdown, although
he did not officially apologize. (Suzanne Crow)

EC TALKS ENERGY WITH USSR. EC Foreign Ministers agreed on April
15 to open talks with the Soviet Union on a pact extending energy
cooperation across Europe. Formal talks will begin in the Netherlands
starting in July, Reuter reported April 15. (Suzanne Crow)

top political officer on April 15 defended operations by army
units in Nagorno-Karabakh, Tbilisi, Baku, Vilnius, and South
Ossetia against accusations that they violated the constitution,
TASS reported. Colonel General Nikolai Shlyaga, identified as
a First Deputy Minister of Defense, said that army units had
not exceeded the powers granted them by the constitution, and
that the armed forces would not stand by as elderly people, women,
and children were being killed. (Stephen Foye)

member of the USSR Supreme Soviet Foreign Affairs Committee,
told Reuters on April 15 that the long-promised law on emigration
and freedom of travel has been sidelined indefinitely by the
Soyuz faction and other deputies who are worried about a possible
"brain drain" and the departure of "millions" of Soviet citizens
if the law is enacted. Fyodor Burlatsky, a member of the committee
that drafted the bill, said last week that it has been approved
by the Soviet government but is stalled in the Budget Committee.
Officials assert that it could cost 10-20 billion rubles to print
the new passports and customs forms required to implement the
law. (Dawn Mann)

RAILWAYS LAW. A joint session of the USSR Supreme Soviet on April
15 adopted a law on its second reading that proclaims all railways
in the USSR to be all-Union property, TASS reported that day.
(Some railways were hitherto under republican administration).
The law forbids any deliberate attempts to block or impede rail
traffic. As the transport walkouts in Georgia have shown, widespread
rail strikes can rapidly and completely paralyze the rest of
the economy. (Keith Bush)

PAVLOV'S LANCASTER HOUSE ADDRESS. After the ceremonial opening
of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London,
Soviet Prime Minister Pavlov was one of the speakers to address
the meeting of heads of state and governments. Most of his remarks,
as reported by TASS April 15, were predictable. He referred to
dealings on the external markets by "insufficiently competent
organs" that had led to "complications in dealing with foreign
firms" (read: "commercial debt arrears"). And he put in a plug
for linking the proposed European Power Engineering Community
with a program for solving the USSR's food problem. (Keith Bush)

what most shoppers have found for themselves, namely that the
retail price increases of April 2 have not brought significant
changes in supplies. There is still no flour in most stores;
there are long queues for bread in Central Asia and the Caucasus;
and the volume of meat sales has dropped. Meanwhile, the General
Federation of Soviet Trade Unions asserts that the Soviet people
have been deceived by price reforms and demands that workers
be given immediate pay increases of 70-100 percent and that the
minimum wage be raised, Trud reported April 12. (Keith Bush)


president of the European Parliament, Enrique Baron, told Yeltsin
on Monday that the EP would deal directly only with the USSR
Supreme Soviet, while Catherine Lalumiere, secretary-general
of the Council of Europe, informed Yeltsin that RSFSR affiliation
with one of the institution's sub-units dealing with regional
officials was possible, but that full membership in the Council
was not, RFE/RL's correspondent reported April 15. Yeltsin had
not formally requested membership for the Russian Federation.
Yeltsin is in France on a private visit at the invitation of
the International Politics Forum, a Paris-based think tank. (NCA/Dawn

YELTSIN MEETS EP SOCIALISTS. Yeltsin met with European Parliament
Socialists, who comprise the largest group in the EP, on Monday.
The group's chairman introduced Yeltsin as a "provocateur" and
said many consider him an "irresponsible demagogue." Yeltsin
faced a barrage of angry questions about "Great Russian nationalism"
and his relations with Gorbachev but he refused to be provoked.
Yeltsin denied that there was any "personal animosity" between
himself and Gorbachev and said he was willing to work with him
to defeat the conservatives. Yeltsin also said that the USSR
is not disintegrating: "It's not the Union falling apart," he
said, but the "evil totalitarian system of central power" that
is collapsing. At the meeting's end, one member said, "Many of
us don't like [Yeltsin's] politics, but most of us now like his
personality." (NCA/Dawn Mann)

MINERS HEED YELTSIN'S PLEA. Miners in Vorkuta, responding to
a telegram from Yeltsin and RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev,
have agreed to ship 20,000 tons of coking coal a day by rail
to the Cherepovets Metallurgical Combine, The Journal of Commerce
reported April 16. This concession by the miners should help
to reduce tensions between the miners and railway workers, whose
wages have fallen since coal shipments have stopped. TASS reported
Monday that more miners are on strike in the Kuzbass, with nearly
65% of the pits idle. (Dawn Mann)

on April 14 reported that, for the first time in 50 years, a
church service took place in one of the most significant churches
of Russian Orthodoxy - the Kazan Cathedral of the Mother of God
in Ufa, Bashkiria. This church became famous because of the miracle-working
icon of the Mother of God. TASS noted that since perestroika
began, 10 churches have been returned to the Russian Orthodox
Church. (Oxana Antic)

NEGOTIATIONS IN MINSK. The Belorussian Strike Committee yesterday
formally presented its economic and political demands to the
republican government and Supreme Soviet. A report April 15 to
RFE-RL said that the government wanted to include the Communist-run
trade unions in the negotiations, but the proposal was sharply
contested by the workers' representatives. Last week, Supreme
Soviet chairman Mykolai Dzyamentei, Prime Minister Vyacheslau
Kebich, and trade unions chairman Uladzimir Honcharik signed
a document instructing law enforcement agencies to collect information
to help prevent further destabilization of the situation in Belorussia.
The strike committee feels the document is proof of ill will.
(Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

of Belorussian Party leaders toward the strike committees' political
demands, an RFE-RL correspondent in Minsk yesterday (April 15)
noted that on April 9, one day before the mass general strike
in the capital, first secretary Anatolii Malofeev went on republican
television to say that Belorussians should be demanding the resignations
of the radical city council chairmen of Moscow and Leningrad
(Popov and Sobchak) rather than the resignations of Belorussia's
CP and state leaders--the implication being that Minsk would
also be brought to wrack and ruin if such people came into power
in Belorussia. (Kathy Mihalisko)

leader Zyanon Paznyak, on an extended visit to North America,
told a Washington press conference April 12 that independence
is a necessity for the Soviet republics because the government
of the USSR no longer has an effective plan to resolve the economic
crisis. He added that "the Soviet Union as a state structure
has fully expended its resources, its ideas, and its possibilities."
(NCA/Kathy Mihalisko)

The government of Ukraine and the Council of the Federation of
Independent Trade Unions of Ukraine issued an appeal to the working
people of Kiev, Radio Kiev and Ukrinform-TASS reported April
15. The government and the trade unions ask that wisdom, common
sense, and restraint prevail during the current economic and
social crisis and urge that workers refrain from further actions
that could complicate the already difficult situation. The appeal
was prompted by calls for strikes and meetings in some labor
collectives. (Roman Solchanyk)

DONETSK RALLY IN SUPPORT OF MINERS. More than 20,000 people are
reported to have rallied in Donetsk yesterday in support of the
demands of striking Ukrainian miners, AP reported April 16. Radio
Moscow reported on April 15 that the Donetsk Strike Committee
is now placing political demands, including the resignation of
Mikhail Gorbachev and genuine sovereignty for the republics,
in the forefront of its demands. (Roman Solchanyk)

Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine held yesterday heard
criticism of the central government and the CPSU leadership for
passivity and inconsistency in the face of mounting problems
in the country, Radio Kiev and Ukrinform-TASS reported April
15. A report in the Los Angeles Times on April 16 quotes Ukrainian
Party leader Stanislav Hurenko as saying that speakers at the
Ukrainian plenum questioned Gorbachev's leadership of the Party
and some had called for his replacement. (Roman Solchanyk)

Attending a major conference of Romanian opposition groups in
Bucharest April 12-14, Moldavian Popular Front Chairman Iurie
Rosca told RFE in an interview aired April 15 that the Front
supported the Romanian opposition against the "neo-communist
government" of Ion Iliescu. Moreover, the Front will "put its
shoulder to the wheel of democratization" in Romania. That would
be no "interference" since Romania "is our country too." Observing
that democracy had made considerably greater progress in Moldavia
compared to Romania, Rosca said that only a "genuinely democratic"
Romania could become attractive to Moldavians. (Vladimir Socor).

MOLDAVIAN-POLISH TALKS. Poland's Consul General in Kiev, Ryszard
Polkowski, was received by Moldavian President Mircea Snegur,
Prime Minister Mircea Druc, Supreme Soviet chairman Alexandru
Mosanu, and Foreign Minister Nicolae Tiu in Kishinev April 12
and 13, Moldovapres and PAP reported April 13. Noting their recent
similar talks with Czechoslovak, Hungarian, and Bulgarian diplomats,
the hosts said that Moldavia was particularly interested in developing
direct relations with the East European states. It was agreed
to begin drafting a convention on cooperation among the Polish
and Moldavian Foreign Ministries and to set up a bilateral study
group on economic cooperation. (Vladimir Socor)

correspondent in Alma-Ata describes, in the April 3 issue of
the newspaper, the progress of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev's
economic reform. The correspondent notes that Kazakhstan can
hardly "go it alone," but someone has to take the first step
and the republic is doing so. Its recent agreements with Kyrgyzstan
and Ukraine are already providing benefits. But while cooperation
on the republican level seems to be paying off, the Alma-Ata
city executive committee's order prohibiting export of certain
goods from the city still stands. (Bess Brown)

CONFERENCE OF KABARDIAN PEOPLE. A conference of the Kabardian
people in Nal'chik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarskaya
ASSR, has rejected the creation of a two-chamber parliament for
the republic and expressed disagreement with resolutions adopted
at the first conference of the Balkar people, Izvestia reported
April 8. The Kabardian conference addressed an appeal to the
ASSR Supreme Soviet to recognize the Russian-Caucasian war as
"an act of genocide" and to bestow refugee status on the Kabardian
people in order to facilitate the return of Kabardians abroad.
(Liz Fuller)

[As of 1230 CET]

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

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