When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. - John Ruskin
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 75, 18 April 1991





BALTIC STATES



LITHUANIA'S ECONOMY SLIDES IN FIRST QUARTER. Lithuanian statistical
officials announced April 17 that the republic's economic performance
continues to deteriorate, TASS reported the same day. For the
first quarter of 1991, industrial production was off by 3.5%
from the same period in 1990. The fuel industry was off by 14.4%,
construction materials down 10.2%, and food production by 16.9%.
Total agricultural production was off by 17%. A significant portion
of planned deliveries, especially in the food and agricultural
sectors, has reduced supplies in the state sector of many basic
foodstuffs by as much as two-thirds, according to Lithuania's
agricultural minister. Apartment construction is off by 44% compared
to the first quarter last year. (John Tedstrom)

LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER IN OTTAWA. On April 17 Lithuanian Prime
Minister Gediminas Vagnorius met with Canadian officials in Ottawa.
In an interview with the RFE Lithuanian Service that day, Vagnorius
said that he had talked with Canadian External Affairs Minister
Joe Clark for about 50 minutes. They discussed the current situation
in Lithuania and its relations with the USSR as well as possible
Canadian support for economic reforms. Vagnorius suggested that
the West should take an active policy in supporting the democratic
forces in the USSR. Vagnorius did not meet with Prime Minister
Brian Mulroney, who was in Florida visiting his seriously ailing
mother. (Saulius Girnius)

FORUM OF LITHUANIA'S FUTURE. On April 17 TASS reported the establishment
of a political opposition group to the Lithuanian authorities,
the Forum of Lithuania's Future. Its founding conference, held
April 13 in Vilnius, was attended by members of the Lithuanian
Democratic Labor Party (LDLP) (the former independent Lithuanian
Communist Party), the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, the
Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and the Farmers Union. The
conference elected a 30-member council whose best known members
are former Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene and LDLP Council
member Bronius Genzelis, the RFE Lithuanian Service reported
on April 14. The forum is clearly dominated by LDLP members.
(Saulius Girnius)

SAVISAAR IN MOLDAVIA. A government delegation headed by Estonia's
Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar is visiting Moldavia this week
(see MOLDAVIA HOSTS ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER below). (Riina Kionka)


PENSIONS TO RISE IN ESTONIA. The Estonian Supreme Council passed
a bill on April 15 raising pensions substantially, according
to the next day's Paevaleht. Pensions are currently pegged to
salaries at such a low level that many retirees find it difficult
to make ends meet, especially with current price rises. The new
law would peg retirement benefits to at least half of a pensioner's
salary. Estonia's Minister for Social Administration Siiri Oviir
told Paevaleht that "the average pension currently is 105 rubles
and the average monthly pay is nearly 400 rubles [per month].
This means that the amount of pensions is only 25% that of salaries--this
amount should be well over 50%." (Riina Kionka)

MILITARY PLANE CRASHES IN ESTONIA. A Soviet military plane crashed
in Estonia on April 17, killing both crew members, AP, quoting
ETA, said that day. The plane, of unspecified type, crashed about
60 km southwest of Tallinn near Ellamaa. Soviet Air Force officials
did not know the cause of the crash, and have begun an investigation.
There were no injuries on the ground, AP said. (Riina Kionka)


GASOLINE FOR HARD CURRENCY. Estonia's first Western-style gas
station opened last week in Tallinn, according to Paevaleht of
April 10. The "Union" station, a project of the Finnish-Estonian
joint venture "Traffic Service," sells various grades of gas
for hard currency. The station also services and washes cars
while customers take advantage of its coffee shop and convenience
store. "Traffic Service," which also sells gas to boats at the
Pirita marina, plans to open its next station in the seaside
resort town of Parnu. Further down the road, "Traffic Station"
reportedly plans to open a network of stations along the highway
from Finland to Central Europe. (Riina Kionka)





USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV: WITHOUT FOREIGN AID, DICTATORSHIP IS POSSIBLE. In
separate speeches on Wednesday to the Japanese parliament and
to 600 top Japanese business leaders, USSR President Mikhail
Gorbachev spoke candidly about the problems plaguing the USSR
and appealed for aid and investment to avert an economic collapse
that could lead to a dictatorship, news agencies reported April
18. Gorbachev lamented that "these are stormy times and it is
not easy to hold the wheel of the ship steady." Everything must
be done now to "create prerequisites for the even more resolute
progress of reform," he added. "The development of a new peaceful
world order will largely depend on the outcome of perestroika,"
Gorbachev asserted, arguing that "rich countries that help less
prosperous ones are helping themselves." (Dawn Mann)

GORBACHEV-KAIFU TALKS IN OVERTIME. Talks between Gorbachev and
his Japanese counterpart Toshiki Kaifu are scheduled to go into
a sixth round this evening (April 18) in Japan. Originally the
leaders had scheduled three rounds of talks, but obstacles concerning
the Kurile Island question have delayed agreement on virtually
all other bilateral questions. Japanese officials cited by AFP
said that even the most minor of the 15 agreements scheduled
to be signed depend on the outcome of these last sessions between
Gorbachev and Kaifu. The Japanese side has also indicated that
issuing separate communiques would be more meaningful than a
joint statement without much substance. (Suzanne Crow)

PRESS LEAKS ANGER SOVIET DELEGATION. Presidential Spokesman Vitalii
Ignatenko revealed his irritation on April 17 with the Japanese
press's advance leaks of official speeches and proposed communiques.
Ignatenko, briefing reporters on some remarks to be delivered
by Gorbachev on the evening of April 17, said "the rest you can
read in the Asahi, Mainichi, and Yomiuri newspapers," Reuter
reported April 17. (Suzanne Crow)

BUKOVSKY COMMENTS ON SOVIET POLITICS. Writer Vladimir Bukovsky,
a former Soviet dissident now visiting Moscow after a 17-year
absence as a guest of Democratic Russia, told a news conference
on April 17 that Gorbachev, "like the majority of dictators and
tyrants...overestimates the power of the structures he administers
and underestimates the hatred of the people for them," Reuters
reported yesterday. But Bukovsky is mystified by "the remarkable
passivity" of the population, particularly of the young: their
"passivity is not just incomprehensible, it is a disgrace." (Dawn
Mann)

BUKOVSKY PRAISES YELTSIN. Bukovsky had high praise for RSFSR
Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin, "once a populist, now
a democrat" and characterized Gorbachev as "too weak to lead
the country but still too strong to retire," AFP reported April
17. He faulted the democratic opposition's lack of organization,
warning that without "alternative structures, completely independent
of the former system" the opposition could not defeat the Communists,
and cited Poland's Solidarity as a model. (Dawn Mann)

USSR'S LARGEST MINE RE-OPENS AS PRIVATE COMPANY. Miners at the
Raspadskaya coal mine in Western Siberia returned to work yesterday
under a historic settlement. The USSR government has agreed to
transfer control of the mine from the USSR Ministry of the Coal
Industry to the RSFSR government, and the RSFSR government and
the miners subsequently agreed to run the mine as a joint stock
company, news agencies reported April 18. Although the settlement
is, on the one hand, a blow to the solidarity of the miners still
out on strike, the terms of the agreement mark a further step
in the erosion of central control and could set a precedent for
the transferral to the republics of other centrally-held industries.
(Dawn Mann)

KGB INFILTRATES STRIKE MOVEMENT. Literaturnaya gazeta of April
17 published a document giving evidence of KGB penetration of
strikers' movements (See also Daily Report, March 26, 1991).
The document, dated July 3, 1990, describes how KGB officers
from Moscow were dispatched to Novokuznetsk to help the local
KGB infiltrate the first congress of the independent worker's
movement last summer. The KGB agents infiltrated the congress
as guests, consultants and members of delegations from strike
committees from Vorkuta, the Kuzbass, the Donbass and Karaganda.
The document was signed by the former Chief of the KGB Administration
for Protection of the Constitutional Order, Evgenii Ivanov, and
the Chief of Economic and Industrial Counter-Intelligence Nikolai
Savenkov. It expressed gratitude to participants in the operation
for preventing the consolidation of the workers' movement. (Victor
Yasmann)

MOSCOW NEWS: "PERESTROIKA WAS INITIATED BY KGB". The KGB was
a driving force behind perestroika, because only the KGB has
had full information about Soviet society, and only through the
KGB could Gorbachev reach supreme power in the Kremlin, writes
Evgenia Albats in Moscow News, No. 15. However, reforms proceeded
only as long as they posed no danger to the KGB itself. According
to Albats, today the CPSU has lost control over the KGB, which
employs at least 2.9 million officers and which has become a
dominant authority in the USSR. Now, despite positive propoganda
about the agency, the KGB is subject to public criticism. Albats'
article might be an "open secret" for many Soviet citizens; in
the long term, the KGB might have a chance to reform itself instead
to of being dismantled. (Victor Yasmann)

KGB PREVENTS MILITARY BRAIN DRAIN. On April 14, the TV program
"Radar" ("Na Sluzhbe Otechestvu") screened a film about a military
scientist who was detained when he proposed to a foreign country
to fund his defense-related project. A KGB investigator said
that it will not prosecute the unidentified scientist because
he was not recruited. The investigator said that the case is
a result of ill-fated conversion, when people of high intellect
were forced to design kitchen pans. The KGB investigator alleged
that western secret services are especially interested in Soviet
elite groups and are encouraging a brain drain, while the USSR
needs these people during the transition to market relations.
(Victor Yasmann)

OFFICIAL PRESS ASSOCIATION SET UP. The inaugural congress of
the newly created Press Association was held in Moscow April
17 and 18, "Mayak" and Izvestia reported. The head of the association's
organizational committee, deputy chairman of the USSR State Committee
on the Press Aleksandr Gorkovlyuk, said that publishers of about
500 official and independent periodicals have already applied
for membership in the association. The main issue discussed at
the congress was how to set up a fund for helping those periodicals
which are threatened with bankrupcy. (Vera Tolz)

SEOUL EXTENDS CREDITS TO USSR. The USSR Foreign Trade Bank and
the South Korean Export-Import bank signed an agreement on April
16 giving the USSR $800 million in credits for purchases of South
Korean raw materials and consumer goods. This is part of a $3
billion package of loans and credits agreed to earlier this year
between the two countries, according to TASS, April 17. The credits
are guaranteed by the USSR. This is the second such agreement
between the USSR and South Korea this year. On March 30 the Soviet
Foreign Trade Bank and a consortium of 10 South Korean banks
signed an agreement for credits worth $500 million. In 1990,
Soviet-South Korean trade totaled about $889 million, and this
year it is expected to exceed $1.5 billion. (John Tedstrom)

INDIAN-SOVIET TRADE. India has tightened its regulations on the
sale of goods with a high import content to the Soviet Union,
a senior Indian government official told Reuter April 16. The
combination of high import content exports and reduced imports
of Soviet oil, newsprint, and nonferrous metals has resulted
in net losses in foreign exchange for India and an outstanding
Soviet debt of about $1 billion. (Keith Bush)

SURKOV ON NEW DUTIES. The Secretary of the newly-created All-Army
Party Committee, Major General Mikhail Surkov, said in Sovetskaya
Rossiya on April 9 that--despite reports to the contrary--delegates
at the recent All-Army Party Conference had been highly supportive
of Gorbachev. Surkov also said that budget constraints would
oblige the Party to create a lean organization in the armed forces
and that the number of full-time Party personnel would actually
be cut. In other comments, Surkov said that the army's Communists
would seek allies but would oppose anti-communist forces, and
defended attacks on civilians by army units in Vilnius and elsewhere.
(Stephen Foye)

SHARIN ON MILITARY REFORM, CONVERSION. The Chairman of the Defense
and State Security Committee, Leonid Sharin, said in the April
17 Krasnaya zvezda that the USSR Supreme Soviet is now considering
a number of military reform proposals. As summarized by TASS,
Sharin said that work has been slowed by the breakup of the Warsaw
Pact and by the emergence of new relations among the former Pact
members. Sharin also said that conversion was moving ahead and
that in some cases the Defense Ministry could choose from among
several contractors in placing its orders. He added that a "law
on conversion" was being prepared, and said that mistakes had
been made in the past in implementing conversion. (Stephen Foye)




USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN WINDS UP VISIT TO FRANCE. On April 17 Yeltsin concluded
his visit to France with an hour-long meeting with the secretary-general
of the French presidential office that included a brief chat
with President Francois Mitterand, news agencies reported. Presidential
spokesman Hubert Vedine noted that "Yeltsin represents Russia...and
it is in that capacity that it is interesting to have talks with
him. But there must be no ambiguity. The Soviet Union has one
president, and that is Mr. Gorbachev." Yeltsin declared himself
"very satisfied" with the results of his trip, saying that officials
with whom he met had "understood that a dialogue must be initiatated,
even if only at the level of contacts between committees" of
the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and the European Parliament. (Dawn Mann)


YELTSIN CALLS FOR RESUMPTION OF TIES WITH ISRAEL. Yeltsin also
told reporters that "the time has come for diplomatic" relations
between the Soviet Union and Israel and said that "Russia is
prepared either to associate itself (with the Kremlin's efforts
to resume ties) or to establish diplomatic relations independently,"
Reuter reported April 17. Earlier this week, Soviet Prime Minister
Valentin Pavlov and Israeli Prime Minster Yitzhak Shamir discussed
the possibility of resuming diplomatic relations. (Dawn Mann)


RUSSIAN TRADE UNIONS CALL FOR WARNING STRIKE. The Federation
of Independent Russian Trade Unions is calling for protest actions
on April 26 to support the demands of striking coal miners, TASS
reported April 17. The council suggested walkouts in transportation
and industrial work collectives, although it is up to individual
collectives to decide what form their protest will take. The
Federation advised workers in sectors where strikes are forbidden
to hold rallies after hours. (NCA)

MOSCOW OFFICIALS SAY HONECKER HAS NO RESIDENCE PERMIT. Mikahil
Karpov, press officer for the Moscow city council, told reporters
on Wednesday that an application for a residence permit for former
East German leader Erich Honecker has not been submitted, and
that he is not entitled to municipal social services or housing,
Reuters reported April 17. Ration cards have also not been issued,
but Karpov said, "I am sure that those who invited him will take
care of him." Honecker's whereabouts are being kept secret; he
is reportedly moved frequently. (Dawn Mann)

HOUSING TO BE PRIVATIZED IN LENINGRAD. The results of a meeting
of the Leningrad city soviet on April 16 indicate city soviet
chairman Anatolii Sobchak's firm resolve to press ahead with
the privatization of housing in the RSFSR's second city, TASS
reported the same day. A group of Lensoviet deputies proposed
raising housing allowances for city residents and increasing
centralized investment, but Sobchak reproached them, saying that
the process of privatizing housing--begun in a small way in 1988--must
continue. Approximately 30% of city's population lives in communal
apartments and some have been on waiting lists for private apartments
for over 10 years. (John Tedstrom)

MOLDAVIA HOSTS ESTONIAN PREMIER. Estonian Prime Minister Edgar
Savisaar, on an "official working visit" to Moldavia since April
16, has held talks with Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc
and other Moldavian officials. "The time has come for us to coordinate
not only economic but also political actions. We should be able
to rid ourselves of the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov
Pact through joint actions," Savisaar told Moldovapres April
17. According to a release from Moldovapres the same day, Druc
and Savisaar "consider that the two republics' economic and political
aspirations are similar...both republics seeking full independence
from Moscow." (Vladimir Socor)

POTASSIUM MINE STRIKES. Workers at a potassium mine near the
Belorussian city of Salihorsk restarted a strike April 17. A
statement issued by the Minsk Strike Committee said the action
was taken in response to a management decision to begin court
proceedings against the miners. Leaders of last week's strikes
warned that protests would resume if workers were punished for
taking part in strikes. Meanwhile, the strike committee at the
Belaz Automobile Factory in Zhodina set April 19 as the deadline
for its Communist Party Committee to leave the premises. The
Party is under similar pressure at the Minsk Tractor Factory
and other enterprises. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

ARMENIA NATIONALIZES COMMUNIST PARTY PROPERTY. TASS reported
on April 17 that the Armenian Supreme Soviet has declared all
Communist Party and Komsomol assets in Armenia to be state property,
on the grounds that "the Party's wealth was created at the expense
of the state budget." This step may have been partially intended
to prevent the recurrence of attempts made in recent months by
radical parties such as the Republican Party and the Union for
National Self-Determination to occupy Communist Party buildings.
(Liz Fuller)

LETTER OF GEORGIAN CHEKISTS TO BOBKOV. Colonel A. Maisuradze
and Lieutenant Colonel I. Narimanidze of the Georgian KGB have
accused former First Deputy Chairman of the USSR KGB, Filipp
Bobkov, of disinformation about the situation in Georgia. In
an article published in Pravda of March 22, Bobkov accused the
present leadership of Georgia of "demofascism" and "genocide"
against the Ossetian people. In response, the Georgian KGB officers
highlighted Bobkov's own role in the conflict between Georgians
and Ossetians. In a letter published in Vestnik Gruzi of March
31 they said Bobkov came to Tbilisi soon after the events of
April 9, 1989 and practically took all power over the republic.
They also revealed a close connection between Bobkov and one
of the leaders of Ossetians, Afghanistan veteran General Kim
Tsagolov. (Victor Yasmann)

PETRUSHENKO ON SEMIPALATINSK. In the third issue for 1991 of
the Znanie Society journal Lider, Nikolai Petrushenko, one of
the leaders of the conservative "Soyuz" faction in the USSR Supreme
Soviet, tries to explain that popular fears of radiation from
the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site are unjustified. He complains
that the press propagates the anti-nuclear point of view, that
there is widespread popular belief that radiation measuring devices
made in the USSR are inaccurate, tries to discredit the motives
of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk anti-nuclear movement, and claims
that there is little concern about radiation-caused diseases
outside the USSR. (Bess Brown)

KAZAKHSTAN TO PRIVATIZE PROPERTY. Kazakh officials have prepared
a draft law setting out the rules and regulations for privatizing
state property within the republic, according to TASS April 17.
The draft law will be printed in the press for review and discussion
in the republic before it is introduced to the republic's Supreme
Soviet. As it now stands, the draft aims to privatize enterprises
in all spheres of the Kazakh economy, including a small share
of the enterprises in the defense complex. Citizens of Kazakhstan,
other republics and foreign countries, as well as stateless people
may purchase Kazakh property according to the draft law. (John
Tedstrom)

TATARSTAN WILL NOT ELECT A PRESIDENT. The Tatarstan Supreme Soviet
has decided against electing a president for the republic, TASS
reported April 17. Republican Supreme Soviet chairman Mikhail
Shaimiev said a law on the presidency should be adopted first,
and the Supreme Soviet has established a commission to examine
the question. (Dawn Mann)

[As of 1300 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

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