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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 76, 19 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



PARTY PRESSES PARLIAMENT ON PROPERTY. Estonia's independent Communist
Party has sent the Supreme Council a letter saying that it opposes
the Estonian government's position on Party property, according
to TASS on April 17. The government started the process several
months ago to reclaim assets--belonging to the independent and
the Moscow-loyal parties--acquired over the years with state
monies. The independent ECP says the question of Party property
may only be resolved after the Supreme Council has passed laws
on property reform and political parties. (Riina Kionka)

COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY CUT. Estonia's Supreme Council passed
a resolution on April 17 dismantling the Ministry of Communication,
Diena reported that day. As of May 1, the state-owned companies
will take over postal services and telephone communications,
and a reorganized Transportation and Communications Ministry
will assumed control of these functions at the state level, Paevaleht
added on April 17. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIA SEEKS FOREIGN INVESTMENT. Since Moscow's Baltic crackdown
in January, many outside investors have curtailed or held back
on projects in Estonia because of political uncertainties. But
Estonian officials have recently stepped up efforts to counteract
that effect, intensively courting potential investors at home
and abroad. The latest such attempt is scheduled for this weekend,
when Ronald Lauder--former US Ambassador to Austria and Director
of Investments for the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder--will visit
Estonia, ETA reported on April 18. Lauder is set to hold talks
with Estonia's Chairman of the Supreme Council Arnold Ruutel
and other officials, who hope that Lauder will announce investment
plans. (Riina Kionka)

SOVIETS TO SEND BACK LITHUANIAN POSTAGE STAMPS. DPA reported
on April 18 that Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov had informed
Lithuania that about 22 million Lithuanian postage stamps, printed
in Leipzig, that had been seized at the Lazdijai customs post
on January 9 would be shipped back to Germany. A total of 50
million stamps had been printed, some of which had already been
sold to stamp collectors abroad and smuggled into Lithuania where
they had been sold. In February USSR Deputy Minister of Communications
Gennadii Kudryavtsev had told Lithuania that it could issue its
own postage stamps to be used internally or to send letters to
Latvia, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Moldavia, Georgia, and Russia. (Saulius
Girnius)

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT ABOLISHES DUAL CITIZENSHIP. The Lithuanian
parliament has amended its law on citizenship, Diena reported
April 17. The law passed on November 3, 1989 stated that citizenship
can be given to persons who lived in Lithuania before June 15,
1940 and to their children and grandchildren. Other residents
will have to prove that they or their parents were born in Lithuania,
or that they have a permanent job or a legal source of income.
The amendment abolished the right of dual citizenship, thus requiring
residents to decide whether to become Lithuanian or Soviet citizens.
(Saulius Girnius)

USSR ALL-UNION TOPICS

USSR, JAPAN SIGN JOINT DECLARATION. Despite eleventh hour attempts
to resolve their territorial dispute, the USSR and Japan were
unable to reach agreement. The joint communique, issued after
the third extra unscheduled round of talks, said the dispute
would be "included in the drafting and conclusion of a peace
treaty," Reuters reported April 18. The Soviet Union conceded
to permit a reference in the communique to the 1956 joint declaration:
in 1956 Moscow agreed to turn over Shikotan and the Habomai group
to Japan. Moscow also pledged to lift visa requirements for Japanese
visitors and reduce the military presence on the islands. (Suzanne
Crow)

SOVIET-JAPANESE AGREEMENTS. Fifteen agreements, memoranda, and
notes came out of the summit. Topics include: Japanese technical
and managerial assistance, a new trade and payments act for 1991-1995,
a coastal trade pact, exhibitions and trade fairs, fisheries
cooperation, increased Japanese access to Soviet airspace, Japanese
assistance for the Chernobyl cleanup, an environmental conservation
pact, exchanges of students and cultural exhibits, the establishment
of a Japanese studies center in Moscow, and Moscow's provision
of a list of Japanese prisoners of war who died in camps in Siberia,
Kyodo news agency reported April 18. (Suzanne Crow)

GORBACHEV SLAMS YELTSIN KURILE PLAN. Gorbachev dismissed RSFSR
Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin's twenty-year plan to return
the disputed Kurile islands to Japan. Speaking to Japanese reporters
on April 18, Gorbachev said the RSFSR representatives in his
delegation were in full agreement with the Soviet president's
negotiating position. Gorbachev added: "If you wait a few more
days, he might say something completely different on [the Kuriles],"
Radio Moscow broadcast on April 18. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)

KOREA, A WELCOME RELIEF. After taking Japan's bullet train from
Tokyo to Kyoto and stopping in Nagasaki, Gorbachev will travel
to the South Korean island of Cheju. Instead of departing on
the evening of April 19 as planned, Gorbachev will spend the
night in Cheju and depart for Moscow on the morning of April
20. Gorbachev is doubtless relieved to arrive in the ROK: Seoul's
eagerness to build up good ties and business relations with Moscow,
as demonstrated by the extension of an $800 million credit line
to the USSR on April 17, should be a welcome contrast to Japan's
tight linkage of politics and aid. (Suzanne Crow)

NORTH KOREAN REACTION. North Korea has been critical of Gorbachev's
decision to visit South Korea--the first visit of a Soviet leader
to either of the Koreas. North Korea's official news agency offered
extensive reportage of South Korean student demonstrations against
Gorbachev's visit. Indicative of the Soviet Union's limited patience
with North Korea, Soviet officials from the USSR Academy of Sciences
said on April 15 Moscow had threatened to cut off supplies of
plutonium to North Korea unless that country agreed to join international
conventions guaranteeing the right to inspect nuclear facilities,
Reuters reported April 15. (Suzanne Crow)

USSR PLAYED "MAJOR ROLE" IN GULF. Gorbachev said in Tokyo on
April 18 that "the USSR has played a major role in settling the
Gulf issue" and would have a "very big" part to play in its aftermath.
Gorbachev also announced that Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
will travel to the region soon, TASS reported April 18. (Suzanne
Crow)

USSR EASES OPPOSITION TO HAVENS FOR KURDS. Yurii Gremitskikh,
first deputy chief of the Soviet Foreign Ministry's information
service, told a news briefing on April 18 that the USSR "sincerely
supports international efforts to improve conditions for [Kurdish]
refugees," TASS reported that day. Although the USSR last week
expressed reservations about the creation of safe havens for
Kurdish refugees on Iraqi territory, Gremitskikh noted that the
Soviet Union "regards this extraordinary step, first of all,
as dictated by the extreme urgency of the situation." TASS said
that he considers the havens "the most realistic way to save
the lives of hundreds of thousands of Kurdish refugees." (Sallie
Wise)

RECESSION DEEPENS. During the first quarter of 1991, Soviet GNP
fell by 8% and national income by 10%, according to Goskomstat
First Deputy Chairman Nikolai Belov, cited by The Baltimore Sun
April 19. The area sown to spring crops to date is only half
of that accomplished by the same time last year. The BS article
also provides a useful survey of Soviet assessments of current
and projected economic performance, although few would agree
with a "government economist," Vladimir Pokrovsky, who was quoted
as telling a parliamentary committee that "in July, production
may drop to zero." (Keith Bush)

IMPACT OF MINERS' STRIKES. A deputy chairman of the USSR Goskomstat,
Vladimir Tolkushkin, told Izvestia on April 16 that coal extraction
in March was down by 18% over March 1990, with coking-coal output
down 32%. The shortfalls in coal deliveries have particularly
affected the production of ferrous metals, which was 9% lower
than in March 1990. (The drop in coal production and in the metallurgy
branch is expected to be even greater in April). (NCA/Keith Bush)


REQUEST FOR NEW GRAIN CREDIT GUARANTEES. US Administration officials
have told The Washington Post of April 19 that the Soviet Union
has asked the US for $1.5 billion in new credit guarantees to
purchase American grain, soybeans, or soybean meal. This will
be in addition to the $1 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation
credits already have December 1990 which have already been virtually
used up. The necessity of grain imports is evident in view of
the poor outlook for the domestic harvest. But with total financing
requirements in 1991 expected to exceed $28 billion, while identified
financing amounts to $17 billion, the USSR's credit rating is
low and falling. (Keith Bush)

PAVLOV HINTS AT AUSTERITY MEASURES. Soviet Prime Minister Valentin
Pavlov told The Independent (London) of April 18 that in the
face of increasing inflation "we shall be obliged to introduce
an extraordinary budget for the remainder of this year. One of
its chief elements will be to cut government expenditure. We
shall have to act in an urgent and decisive manner." Pavlov also
insisted that the recent currency reform and price hikes have
indeed begun to show results (news from Moscow confirms that,
but to a lesser degree than Pavlov implied), and that prices
had to be revised before the leadership could proceed with a
privatization program. Pavlov said that civil war in the USSR
was "impossible," and that he was sure that nine of the 15 union
republics would sign the new Union treaty. Pavlov appealed to
the West to help the USSR maintain its course towards democratization
and a market economy through investment. (John Tedstrom)

"ANTI-CRISIS PLAN" SAVAGED. Leonid Abalkin, Abel Aganbegyan,
Nikolai Shmelev, Nikolai Petrakov, Grigorii Yavlinsky and other
reform-minded economists had a "working meeting" with Pavlov
on April 18 and criticized his "anti-crisis plan," Vremya and
Radio Moscow reported that evening. No details of their criticism
were given, but these are very vocal gentlemen and the world
will doubtless soon become acquainted with their misgivings.
The plan is reportedly still under discussion by the USSR Supreme
Soviet's committees and commissions. (Keith Bush)

DISPUTE OVER CHERNOBYL' DEATH TOLL. Vladimir Chernousenko, scientific
director in charge of the 30-km. restricted zone surrounding
the Chernobyl' nuclear plant, claimed to reporters in London
on April 18 that 7,000-10,000 of the 660,000 workers involved
in the Chernobyl' cleanup have died since the accident, Reuters
reported that day. Chernousenko's claim has been seconded by
Yurii Sherbak, a Ukrainian epidemiologist and USSR People's Deputy.
Both men, however, admit that their estimates include deaths
from all causes, not just those traceable to radiation exposure,
and neither knows what the normal death rate among the group
of 660,000 should be. Chernousenko's estimate has been categorically
denied by Leonid Ilyin, a vice-president of the USSR Academy
of Sciences, and contradicts findings of Britain's Atomic Energy
Authority. Soviet authorities have not released any statistics
on deaths among the cleanup workers. (Dawn Mann)

BROADCAST JOURNALISTS DEFEND KRAVCHENKO. The board of the USSR
State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company protested the
expulsion of Leonid Kravchenko, the company's chairman, from
the USSR Journalists' Union. (The decision on the expulsion was
adopted by the Moscow branch of the Union, which accused Kravchenko
of reimposing censorship on Soviet TV.) On April 18, Vremya quoted
the board's statement as saying "the Moscow branch acted behind
the backs of the broadcast journalists." The board's move was
predicted in advance by Kravchenko's critics, who pointed out
that all the members of the state company's board have not been
confirmed at their posts yet, and therefore are totally dependent
on Kravchenko. (Vera Tolz)

RYZHKOV ACCUSED OF BRIBERY. Former Chairman of the USSR Council
of Ministers Nikolai Ryzhkov has been accused of corruption,
according to Kommersant, No. 13. The accusation was revealed
at the trial of a group of cooperators connected with the government-owned
"ANT" concern, which is alleged to have enjoyed Ryzhkov's patronage.
One of the accused at the trial that has lasted since October
1990, Igor' Stashkov, claimed that he had a videotape showing
representatives of "ANT" passing over to Ryzhkov a closed bag
which, Stashkov claimed, contained money. During the investigation,
Kommersant reports, Stashkov was severely beaten with rubber
truncheons. Some investigators demanded that he reveal the whereabouts
of the tape immediately while the others advised him to forget
about it. (Julia Wishnevsky)

YAKOVLEV FAVORS YELTSIN. "I personally share the attitude of
the 'Communists for Democracy' group," said senior Gorbachev
adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev in an interview with the "Novosti"
news agency (March 18). (Founded at the third session of the
RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies earlier this month, the "Communists
for Democracy" group supports the policies of RSFSR Supreme Soviet
Chairman Boris Yeltsin rather then those of the conservative
RSFSR CP leader Ivan Polozkov.) While expressing reservations
about the performance of radical non-communist politicians, Yakovlev
nonetheless supported Yeltsin's idea of forming a government
of national unity in the USSR, to include members of the opposition
"democratic" movement, along with representatives of the striking
miners. (Julia Wishnevsky)

MORE DATA ON PARTY EXPENDITURES REVEALED. Nikolai Kruchina, the
CPSU's Administrator of Affairs, told Argumenty i fakty No. 12
that the Party spent 25.4 million convertible rubles in 1990,
of which some 1 million went to finance the journal Problems
of Peace and Socialism. Another 500,000 in convertible rubles
was spent on hosting foreign delegations and some 220,000 were
spent to send Party delegations abroad. Kruchina also said that
the Party spent over 3 million rubles maintaining ties with "fraternal
parties." (Dawn Mann)

MILITARY OFFICER CRITICIZES KGB POWER WITHIN ARMY. The officers
of KGB military counterintelligence enjoy unrestricted power
in the Soviet Army; they can put anyone in his place and ruin
the career of any officer, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Volkov
told the TV program Radar on April 14. In 1982 Volkov was arrested,
accused of anti-Soviet propaganda and sentenced to five years
after KGB military counterintelligence officials seized his private
diary and letters. Volkov said that the state security organs
still are virtual masters in every military unit, and that this
situation will be continue until the Army has the right to defend
its officers. (Victor Yasmann)

OFFICERS INTERVIEWED. Following up on a series of interviews
with officers in Belorussia (see Daily Report, February 28),
Izvestia of April 4 examined the political views of a number
of officers at the Frunze Military Academy. Officers in this
group were divided on major issues (unlike those in Belorussia,
who were uniformly hard-line), including the use of army units
domestically and their willingness to fire on civilians if given
the order. A Lieutenant Colonel claimed that most officers supported
Yeltsin and wanted the Communist Party removed from army life.
The officers were apparently most concerned over the erosion
of their prestige among civilians. (Stephen Foye)

ARMY DEFENDED AGAINST "DEMOCRATS." Pravda of March 29 carries
a commentary accusing Soviet "democrats" of waging a coordinated
propaganda campaign against the armed forces. The piece opens
with an expression of satisfaction over recent court decisions--concerning
claims of libel--that favored Generals Boris Gromov and Albert
Makashov, and Admiral Gennadii Khvatov. It claims that "democrats,"
having ruined the economy and divided society, have turned their
guns on the army, aiming in particular to turn soldiers against
officers and junior officers against senior. The piece argues--against
abundant evidence to the contrary--that today's Soviet army is,
in fact, a picture of harmony. (Stephen Foye)

WORLD RIGHTS TO BOLSHOI TO BE AUCTIONED? A British firm that
owns the world rights to the Bolshoi Theater has gone bankrupt,
Nezavisimaya gazeta reported March 16. A few years ago, the theater's
management had sold the rights to all the Bolshoi's foreign tours
as well as to commercial use of its name (including selling portraits
of its stars) to a British businessman. The contract provided
his firm with almost half of the Bolshoi's earnings abroad until
1996. This deal was severely criticized in the Soviet media as
both unpatriotic and commercially irresponsible. Now, Nezavisimaya
gazeta explains, these rights will be auctioned and can be bought
by anyone. (Julia Wishnevsky)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


CENTRIST BLOC LEADER CANDIDATE FOR RSFSR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
The third candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in
the RSFSR has been proposed, TASS reported April 18. He is Vladimir
Voronin, the leader of the so-called Centrist Bloc--a coalition
of fringe groups reportedly linked to the KGB. The two other
candidates are the RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin
and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a leader of the Liberal Democratic
Party. (The Liberal Democratic Party, which has recently been
officially registered by the Soviet government, is a member of
the Centrist Bloc.) (Vera Tolz)

LEADER OF COUNCIL OF RUSSIAN "NATIONAL PATRIOTS" INTERVIEWED.
On April 18 TASS interviewed Eduard Volodin, chairman of the
Coordinating Council of forty "national patriotic" organizations
in the RSFSR. Set up in February, the Coordinating Council unites
very different people--from Communists (members of the Russian
Communist Party) to monarchists. Volodin said that the members
of the council are united by "Russian patriotism" and by the
opposition to the "Westernization of Russia" advocated by what
he termed "pseudo-democrats" and the leadership of the CPSU.
Volodin said that his Council has just issued an appeal to the
Russian people demanding the dismissal of both Gorbachev and
Yeltsin. (Vera Tolz)

MINSK STRIKES WILL RESUME... The Minsk Strike Committee decided
April 18 to call for a resumption of last week's industrial strikes.
A spokesman, Syarhei Andrusau, said the work stoppage will resume
April 23 because the Presidium of the Belorussian Supreme Soviet,
meeting earlier this week, rejected the strikers' key political
demands. These include calling an emergency session of parliament
and passing a revamped electoral law to allow for holding new
multiparty elections. Work collectives must ratify the decision
of the Minsk Strike Committee. (NCA/Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)


BUT UKRAINIAN MINES TO GO BACK TO WORK. Radio Moscow announced
April 18 that an accord has been reached between representatives
of striking coal miners throughout Ukraine and the republican
Supreme Soviet and government. According to the report, the strikers
agreed to go back to work within two days after the authorities
met their demands. No other details were given. In addition,
Kiev transportation workers, who walked off the job April 16
and 17, won official assurances that their demands for higher
pay, lower prices on essential goods, and abolition of the 5%
sales tax will be presented to the Supreme Soviet and government.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

UKRAINE WITHHOLDS FUNDS FROM UNION BUDGET. Chairman of the Council
of Ministers of Ukraine, Vitol'd Fokin, said April 16 that the
republic's financial position was so dire that it could not contribute
3 billion rubles to the all-Union stabilization fund as planned.
"More than that," he continued, "we are unable to transfer to
the center even one kopeck from the 9 billion rubles which Ukraine
should have directed to the Union fund for social support of
the population," TASS reported April 17. Fokin was responding
to requests from republican deputies about how Ukraine was going
to combat the deterioration in the population's living standards.
Fokin indicated that other measures in support of the republic's
population would follow. (John Tedstrom)

CABINET FORM OF GOVERNMENT IN UKRAINE. The Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet yesterday approved a fundamental reform of the government
structure by introducing a cabinet form of government, Ukrinform-TASS
and Radio Kiev reported April 18. The Council of Ministers has
been transformed into a much smaller Cabinet of Ministers headed
by Vitol'd Fokin, who was confirmed as prime minister and who
will be given unspecified additional powers. The cabinet will
also include two vice-premiers, a state secretary, and eight
ministers. Further changes are under consideration, including
a Council on Economic Policy headed by the prime minister and
forming a constituent part of the cabinet. (Roman Solchanyk)


THOUSANDS STRANDED IN GEORGIAN RAIL STRIKE. Radio Moscow reported
April 18 that thousands of passengers en route for Georgia and
Armenia are stranded at Adler, near the border between the RSFSR
and Georgia. Dozens of freight trains have been halted; shipments
at Black Sea ports are not being loaded; food shortages have
resulted. Tbilisi Radio reported April 18 that the newly formed
republican Strike Committee has decided to continue strike action
to press for the withdrawal of the additional Soviet troop contingent
sent to South Ossetia a week ago. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN. TASS reported April
18 that the Georgian Supreme Soviet has elected its first deputy
chairman, Akaki Asatiani, leader of the Union of Traditionalists
of Georgia, to the post of parliament chairman to succeed Zviad
Gasmakhurdia, who was elected republican president April 14.
(Liz Fuller)

ROMANIAN PREMIER ON MOLDAVIA. "Moldavia is Romanian !", Romanian
Prime Minister Petre Roman exclaimed to Le Figaro April 18. "It's
just that it does not form a part of the Romanian state. It is
a sovereign, maybe an independent republic". Asked to justify
the recent Romanian-Soviet friendship treaty, Roman claimed that
"it permits Romania to deal with problems that are close to its
heart, specifically Moldavia...The Romanian-Soviet treaty explicitly
mentions the right of either side to support democratic developments
in the other. The text therefore permits us to expand our relations
with Moldavia in all areas". However, the published text of the
treaty (Adevarul, April 11) contains none of the above. (Vladimir
Socor)

ESTONIAN PREMIER IN MOLDAVIA. Moldavian Popular Front leaders
held talks with Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar in Kishinev
April 18. According to a press release of the Popular Front,
the talks focused on ways of increasing cooperation between the
Baltic States and Moldavia, "in consideration of the fact that
all of them were annexed to the USSR under the Ribbentrop-Molotov
pact". (Vladimir Socor)

[As of 1300 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

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