|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 74, 17 April 1991
BALTIC STATES COMMUNIST LEADER OUT OF CPSU--AND POLITBURO. The leader of Estonia's independent Communist Party was expelled from the CPSU on April 13, according to Paevaleht of April 16. The Moscow-loyal ECP held a conference last weekend at which they voted Enn-Arno Sillari out of the CPSU on grounds of "party-wrecking." Saturday's vote suggests that Sillari, the first ethnic Estonian ever to sit on the CPSU Politburo, would be relieved of his Politburo duties. Last January the CPSU Politburo voted to make Moscow-loyal ECP leader Lembit Annus a member. This move, which put representatives of both Estonian parties on the Politburo, was probably intended to set the stage for Sillari's removal. (Riina Kionka) NEED FOR OIL LIMITS CS SUPPORT. Czechoslovak Prime Minister Marian Calfa told an RFE/RL correspondent on April 16 in Prague that his country can only give limited support to the Baltic independence movements because of heavy dependence on Soviet oil. "Whether one likes it or not," the prime minister said, Czechoslovakia "has got to protect its own economic interest. You have to balance these things--economic interest and the desire for independence in foreign policy." The Calfa interview suggests that despite Czechoslovakia's longtime support for Baltic independence, the USSR continues to exert influence on the foreign policies of former Warsaw Pact states. (George Stein and Riina Kionka) LATVIA TO CREATE DEPARTMENT OF PRIVATIZATION. The Latvian government is planning to create a department of privatization to coordinate and organize the privatization process in Latvia, Diena reported on April 15. The department will organize documents on privatization, and is expected to contribute to the creation of the necessary infrastructure as well as monitoring the activities of local municipalities and their privatization commissions. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN ECONOMISTS VISIT INDIA. Diena reported on April 15 that Latvian Minister of Finance Elmars Silins and Director General of the Foreign Relations Department Janis Kanels flew to India on April 13. They are expected to meet with the Indian Minister of Finance and to hold talks with Indian businessmen about possible cooperation between Indian and Latvian companies. They will also become better acquainted with India's experience in the formation of small enterprises. (Saulius Girnius) LIGACHEV: YAKOVLEV PREVENTED CRACKDOWN IN LITHUANIA IN 1988. The April 11 issue of Sovetskaya Rossiya contained another portion of Egor Ligachev's memoirs, settling old scores with Aleksandr Yakovlev. Yakovlev, Ligachev claims, is responsible for election victories by "separatists" in Lithuania and Georgia. At a Politburo session in September 1988, Ligachev recalls, Viktor Chebrikov attempted to sound an alarm over the events in Lithuania, but Yakovlev reassured the gathering, thereby preventing the use of force against Lithuanian nationalists in late 1988.) Ligachev says that he could not take the necessary steps to prevent ensuing developments in Lithuania because at that time he was preoccupied with accusations of corruption and of blame for the killings in Tbilisi brought against him by various deputies. (Julia Wishnevsky) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS ASIAN SECURITY PLAN. In an address to Japan's Diet on the second day of his visit (April 17), Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said, "I find it essential to underscore that the Soviet Union stands ready to begin a concrete dialogue with Japan on military issues." He also called for confidence-building negotiations among the United States, USSR and Japan. Stressing the Soviet Union's good faith, Gorbachev added that the USSR has already cut back its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and plans to cut 12 army divisions, 11 air units, 7 submarines and 9 ships by the end of 1991, wire services reported April 17. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV STRESSES COOPERATION WITH US. Gorbachev reportedly told Japanese Premier Toshiki Kaifu during talks on April 16 that he has "no intention of stepping down from the path" of cooperation with the United States, Reuter reported April 17. Gorbachev's comment was likely meant to reassure Washington during his landmark visit to Japan and soften the blow of his calls for US disarmament in the Pacific. (Suzanne Crow) ONE ISLAND AS REACTOR SITE? Arkadii Volsky, President of the Soviet Science and Industrial Union, said in Japan on April 16 a jointly-controlled nuclear power plant should be built on the island of Shikotan. Such a plan would reduce the sovereignty question to a matter of joint ownership of a business. Volsky said the 15,000 residents of Shikotan would be relocated and the island would be populated only by power plant workers. He also said a large number of the island's current inhabitants are servicemen who could simply be transferred, AP reported April 16. (Suzanne Crow) SHAMIR ON SOVIET RELATIONS. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said on April 16 after talks with Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov in London that "what we have heard [from the USSR] up to now is that [the establishment of diplomatic relations] will happen, even soon, but in such a big country like the Soviet Union where things are addressed within a historical perspective, this could take a little time," Reuter reported April 17. Moscow seemed to be moving rapidly toward ties with Israel before the Gulf crisis broke out. The conflict with Iraq and the shifting political tide in the Soviet Union stalled reconciliation efforts with Israel. (Suzanne Crow) GERASHCHENKO AT THE EBRD. USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko, one of the governors of the newly-created European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has urged the removal of limitations on how much the Soviet Union can borrow from the Bank, AP reported April 16. Addressing the Bank's Board of Governors, Gerashchenko argued that the USSR's "determination in implementing reforms" should obviate the need for the clause which allows the Soviet Union to borrow only as much as it will have paid in during the first three years of the Bank's operation, namely $220 million. Some Western members first wish to see concrete evidence of more political and economic reform in the USSR. (Keith Bush) PETRAKOV SLAMS PAVLOV'S PROGRAM. Radio Moscow of April 16 reported that one-time Presidential adviser Nikolai Petrakov has come down hard on the Pavlov cabinet. Petrakov is one of a growing number of respected economists who are highly critical of the Pavlov cabinet. Many of these men now advise Boris Yeltsin. Petrakov's statements are published in Rabochaya tribuna, apparently of April 16. Among other things, Petrakov said that the recent round of price increases smacked of dilettantism and are inflationary because they are not accompanied by efforts to marketize the economy. Petrakov also said he regrets that the "500 Days" program was not accepted and implemented. (John Tedstrom) CHERNOBYL-TYPE REACTORS TO BE RETAINED? Soviet scientists from the Kurchatov Institute of Nuclear Energy in Moscow, addressing a joint conference organized by the Soviet and French nuclear industries, have implied that Chernobyl-type RBMK reactors will continue to operate in the Soviet Union, The Financial Times reported April 16. No further reactors of the Chernobyl type will be constructed, they maintained, but a second-generation reactor of the same type with Western safety features is being developed. This would seem to run counter to the Ukrainian Council of Ministers's decision to withdraw the Chernobyl station from use and to declare a moratorium on the construction of new stations in the republic, as reported by TASS February 13. (Keith Bush) DRAFT LAW BANNING POLITICAL STRIKES APPROVED. In a closed session, the USSR Supreme Soviet on April 16 approved a bill on labor disputes, one article of which would ban "political strikes," TASS reported that day. A final vote on the bill is expected next week. The Supreme Soviet also adopted a resolution calling on republican Supreme Soviets quickly to name fully-empowered representatives to an inter-parliamentary commission tasked with resolving the question of strikes and devising means of averting them. At a closed session in Monday, the Supreme Soviet discussed the strikes currently afflicting Soviet industry. Meanwhile, miners in Kursk joined the miners' strike. (Dawn Mann) EMIGRATION LAW SCHEDULED FOR MAY 7? Contrary to earlier reports, RFE-RL's parliamentary correspondent in Moscow, Mikhail Sokolov, reported April 16 that the USSR Supreme Soviet is going to pass a law easing emigration on May 7. Earlier this week, Western correspondents in Moscow had reported that the USSR Law on Entry and Exit from the USSR (approved on the first reading in November 1989) was put on hold for political and financial reasons. In turn, the US State Department warned Moscow April 15 that failure to enact the legislation relaxing emigration curbs would prevent the American government from granting trade benefits to the USSR. The USSR Supreme Soviet apparently settled the problem the following day. (Julia Wishnevsky) FINAL DRAFT FIGURES. "Na sluzhbe otechestvu" of April 14 provided figures on the fulfillment of the military draft in 1990. According to General Staff Deputy Chief Colonel General Grigorii Krivosheev, the final numbers (as percentages of planned recruitment) were as follows: RSFSR - 95.4%; Ukraine - 95.1%; Belorussia - 90.4%; Lithuania - 25.1%; Latvia - 39.5%; Estonia - 35.9%; Moldova - 96%; Georgia - 18.5%; Azerbaijan - 84%; Armenia - 22.5%; Kazakhstan - 100%; Kirgizia - 100%; Taszhikistan - 93.4%; Turkmenistan - 96.1%; Uzbekistan - 85.6%. Krivosheev said that as a result, the armed forces face a shortfall of 135,000 men, a situation that he called "critical." (Stephen Foye) NEW CATHOLIC BISHOPS FOR USSR. Pope John Paul II's appointment of 5 Latin rite bishops for the USSR is an epoch-making move which will have great effect upon the future development of Catholicism in the USSR. TASS reported on April 13 that for the first time in history a residence of a Catholic bishop will be established in Moscow. The Pope also announced the formation of 3 new dioceses and 3 apostolic administrations in the RSFSR, Belorussia, and Kazakhstan (see Daily Report, April 15). Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, formerly apostolic administrator of Minsk Catholic diocese, was appointed archbishop-apostolic administrator of Moscow. Another apostolic administration will be in Novosibirsk, headed by Bishop Josef Werth. The first bishop of the newly created Grodno diocese is now Aleksander Kaskiewicz, who had been rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius since 1981. Minsk and Mogilev dioceses were combined into one archdiocese headed by 76-year-old Bishop Kazimierz Swiatek, who spent a decade in Soviet concentration camps. The apostolic administration in Karaganda will be headed by Bishop Jan Lenga. (Oxana Antic) SOVIET BISHOPS GRADUATES OF KAUNAS SEMINARY. Although the Soviet authorities had decided that the seminary in Kaunas should train priests only for Lithuania, the newly-appointed bishops of Novosibirsk and Grodno as well as the Archbishop of Moscow are graduates of the Kaunas seminary. All three are fluent in Lithuanian and showed their independence of state control by signing petitions protesting Soviet interference in church matters. The newly-created Diocese of Grodno consists of the part of the Archdiocese of Vilnius that was in Belorussia (the archdiocese also includes territory in Lithuania and Poland), and Kaskiewicz's appointment might indicate that the pope might change the Vilnius archdiocese boundaries to conform with state boundaries. (NCA/Saulius Girnius) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN PROPOSES MEETING OF WORLD LEADERS IN 1992. At a press conference held April 16, RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin proposed that US, Soviet, European, and Japanese leaders hold a meeting "on the future of the world" in the USSR in late 1992, RFE/RL's correspondent in Strasbourg reported that day. Yeltsin invited the European Parliament to send a "Discover Russia" delegation to the RSFSR and said Europe "must maintain its historic links to Russia," asserting that Russia "can play a major role in building 'the common European house'." He also proposed a "Euro-Asian Economic Area." Yeltsin said that the RSFSR wants to send an observer to the UN, adding that "the aim is full membership," and repeated his interest in Russian participation in the Council of Europe and European Parliament. (NCA/Dawn Mann) EXILES TO HAVE DUAL CITIZENSHIP? Yeltsin said that the RSFSR Supreme Soviet is now working on a bill that would allow exiles and emigres to retain the citizenship of the country they now live in and to be, simultaneously, citizens of the Russian Federation. (Dawn Mann) REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN RSFSR. Thirty-seven public organizations, including political parties, have already been registered in the RSFSR under the new law on public associations, Moscow News No. 12 reported. In the near future 400 more groups will be registered. The weekly stressed that the Russian Communist Party won't be among them, since it has not yet prepared its party rules and has not yet defined its membership. Until the Russian CP is officially registered, its leader Ivan Polozkov will not be able to participate on a legal basis in the upcoming presidential elections in the Russian Federation. (Vera Tolz) ZHIRINOVSKY CLAIMS VICTORY IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS INEVITABLE. A leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of the USSR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, recently proposed by his party as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in the RSFSR, said in an interview with Komsomol'skaya pravda of April 16 that he thinks he will win the elections. If elected, he promised to normalize relations between the RSFSR and the center, decrease prices on vodka, and privatize the republican economy. It seems that Zhirinovsky's hopes for a victory are not very realistic. The Liberal Democratic Party, which he represents, is believed to be a fringe group with links to the KGB, and it does not have much popular support. (Vera Tolz) MEETING OF TWO PATRIARCHS. TASS reported on April 12 that Patriarch Alexii II left Moscow for Istanbul that day to pay an official visit to the head of the Constantinople church, Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I. Patriarch Alexii is making the trip to visit local Orthodox churches. TASS added that the meetings of the two Patriarchs are expected to strengthen the bonds linking the local Orthodox churches. (Oxana Antic) GEORGIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. On April 15, one day after his election as Georgian President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia issued a decree endorsing a call for mass civil disobedience against the Soviet central authorities made the same day by the political parties of the Round Table/Free Georgia coalition. The decree contains provisions for ensuring that the campaign does not harm the Georgian economy, and for creating a Media Council to disseminate "correct and verified" information abroad about the situation in Georgia. Mass civil disobedience as a means of pressurizing Moscow was one of the tenets of Gamsakhurdia's election platform. (Liz Fuller) KIEV WORKERS STRIKE. Several factories and public transport in Kiev were disrupted by sympathy strikers yesterday. Radio Kiev reported on April 16 that about 40% of the city's trolleys and 10% of buses were affected by the workers' action. A "Rukh" representative is quoted by Radio Kiev as saying the strike call was premature, which prevented the action from assuming a mass character. (NCA/roman Solchanyk) MASS DEMONSTRATION IN KIEV. Thousands of people in Kiev demonstrated yesterday demanding the resignation of Gorbachev and the government in Moscow and putting forward a series of political demands, Ukrinform-Tass reported April 16. The demonstration, organized by the city's trade unions, was planned as an action in defense of workers' economic and social rights but took on an openly political character under the influence of local strike committees and miners from Donbass and other coal mining regions in the republic. The formation of a Republican Strike Committee was announced at the demonstration. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINE PARTLY SUSPENDS GORBACHEV DECREE. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on April 16 suspended part of the presidential decree of April 12 that empowered the USSR Ministry of Material Resources to order new deliveries and redistribute surplus production, TASS reported April 16. To combat growing separatism, the decree had also given republican and local authorities one week to revoke decisions halting the export of goods to other republics and regions (see Daily Report, April 15). The Ukrainian parliament said that the presidential decree contravenes the Ukrainian constitution and Ukrainian economic legislation, and was issued without the consent of the Ukrainian parliament and government. (Keith Bush) AKAEV ON UNION TREATY. Kirgiz President Askar Akaev, a vocal supporter of a speedy signing of a Union treaty, told the Kirgiz Supreme Soviet that he has reservations about the draft treaty. A TASS report of April 16 said that Akaev had complained that by substituting "republics with equal rights" for "sovereign republics" in describing the constituent parts of the union, the draft casts doubts on the validity of Kyrgyzstan's declaration of sovereignty. Akaev also disagrees that the union should have primacy over the republics, and argues that assigning supreme executive power to the USSR President violates his role as coordinator of policy among the parts of the union. (Bess Brown) KARIMOV CALLS FOR MORE DEMOCRATIZATION. In an interview published in Argumenty i fakty and summarized by TASS on April 16, Uzbek President Islam Karimov called for the democratization of the Communist Party and of the whole structure of power in the USSR. He complained that the power of the soviets remains largely on paper, while real power remains in Party offices. Karimov also said that the "renewed union," for which people in his republic voted on March 17, has no place for the economic diktat of Moscow. (Bess Brown) DEMAND FOR LESS MILITARY PRESENCE IN KAZAKHSTAN. In response to a fire at the military installation in Saryozek, Olzhas Suleimenov, chairman of the anti-nuclear "Nevada-Semipalatinsk" movement and head of the Writers' Union of Kazakhstan, has appealed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev to reduce the military presence in Kazakhstan. Suleimenov's appeal was reported on Radio Mayak, quoting Kazakhstanskaya pravda, on April 16. Saryozek is the site to which missiles were brought to be destroyed in compliance with arms-limitation agreements; although no townsfolk were injured in the fire, the level of anti-nuclear sentiment among them has been reported to be high. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIAN GOVERNMENT MAKES AGREEMENT WITH TRADE UNIONS. The Moldavian government and Trade Union Federation have concluded "as equal partners" an agreement on social guarantees to accompany the transition to a market economy, Moldovapres reported April 16. The agreement institutes a list of items making up the "minimal consumer basket", compensation to employees for state retail price increases involving those items, and government obligations to provide retraining or alternative employment to laid-off employees. The agreement also provides for continuation of free medical care and gradual introduction of paid medical services. A permanent joint government-trade union commission will monitor implementation of the agreement. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN COMMODITY EXCHANGE OPENS. Just licensed by the Moldavian government, a commodity exchange began operations in Kishinev April 15, TASS reported that day. The exchange is intended to develop into a republic-wide free commodities market. (Vladimir Socor)
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