Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 100, 22 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



SOVIETS SEIZE LITHUANIAN CUSTOMS POST. On April 19 Soviet paratroopers
occupied the Lithuanian customs post at Medininkai for 5 hours,
AP reported that day. The soldiers broke down the customs barrier,
cut telephone wires, and confiscated documents and radio equipment.
The unarmed Lithuanians at the post were detained for 5 hours
and warned not to reopen the post. Chairman of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis telephoned Commander of
the Baltic Military District Colonel General Fedor Kuz'min who
agreed that the incident should be investigated "with cooperation
of both sides," Radio Kaunas reported on April 20. (Saulius Girnius)


LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS IN BONN. A delegation of Lithuanian
parliamentarians, headed by Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council Bronius Kuzmickas, visited Bonn April 17-18 at
the invitation of a Bundestag deputy, the RFE Lithuanian Service
reported on April 21. The delegation met with Bundestag Chairman
Rita Suessmith for about an hour and were warmly greeted at a
Bundestag session. It was decided that German parliamentarians
would make an official visit to Lithuania, Germany-Lithuanian
Friendship groups would be established in both parliaments, and
that a Lithuanian or Baltic information center would be established
in Germany. (Saulius Girnius)

DEMONSTRATION AGAINST "FUTURE OF LITHUANIA FORUM". On April 20
more than 1,000 people attended a rally in Vilnius protesting
the formation of the "Future of Lithuania Forum," the RFE Lithuanian
Service reported on April 21. Speakers at the rally, organized
by the Lithuanian Freedom League, the Lithuanian Independence
Party, the Lithuanian Democratic Party, and the Union of Workers
of Lithuania, criticized the formation of the forum, which is
dominated by the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (the former
independent Lithuanian CP) as an organization opposed to real
independence. The rally's resolution called the forum a stepchild
of the CPSU and demanded the resignations of two ministers, the
bringing of criminal charges against Algirdas Brazauskas and
Kazimiera Prunskiene, and the publication of lists of KGB agents
in Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIANS WELCOME GORBACHEV'S REMARKS. In a statement released
to RFE/RL on April 19, the Estonian Foreign Ministry welcomed
reports that USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev had told a press
conference in Tokyo April 18 that discussions toward the new
Union treaty would only commence among the nine republics that
participated in the Soviet referendum last month on preserving
the USSR. Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri said that "a
certain welcome shift seems to have taken place in Mr. Gorbachev's
positions. We hope this represents the beginning of a new, more
realistic and non-violent approach in shaping the future outlines
of the Soviet Union." (Riina Kionka)

SAVISAAR ENDS MOLDAVIA VISIT. Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar
Savisaar ended his visit to Moldavia on April 19, Rahva Haal
reported the next day. See ESTONIAN-MOLDAVIAN VISIT ENDS below.
(Riina Kionka)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



USSR CABINET OF MINISTERS' SESSION. On April 20, an expanded
session of the USSR Cabinet of Ministers discussed the latest
version of the "anti-crisis program," TASS reported that day.
Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov asserted that the trade unions
had agreed to link pay raises to productivity gains. Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov outlined three possible variants:
less drastic measures; the "anti-crisis program" on the table;
and an unrestricted plunge into the market. Not surprisingly,
the middle course was judged to be the most realistic. The official
account recorded "critical remarks" to the effect that the program
does not take into account all interests of the republics. (Keith
Bush)

PAVLOV ON THE "ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM." In television and radio
interviews after the USSR Cabinet of Ministers' session, Pavlov
gave a somewhat incoherent appraisal of the economic situation
and of his government's proposed remedies. He spoke of "a real
threat to the existence of the state as a whole," and of the
economy starting "to roll downhill at enormous speed." On the
vital question of whether the republics would support his program,
Pavlov was evasive, saying "the republics have effectively approved
this total concept on the whole." But he seemed to imply that
a compromise package had been accepted. The USSR Supreme Soviet
will debate Pavlov's program today. (Keith Bush)

SHCHERBAKOV THREATENS DISSENTING REPUBLICS. In a Radio Moscow
interview on April 19, Shcherbakov outlined punitive economic
measures for those republics which do not intend to sign the
Union Treaty. In their transactions with the union, they will
be treated just like foreign countries. "There are world prices....There
is world currency. There are export and import duties... Customs
posts should be set up." Moscow would consider exchanging oil
for meat, but "oil for flowers" was "quite another thing." (Keith
Bush)

MORE CRITICISM OF "ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM." Speaking at a conference
on the future of perestroika (see below) on April 21, economist
Stanislav Shatalin called for a broad coalition of forces, a
"national consensus" body, to get the public to accept the unpopular
steps necessary to switch to a market economy. Another reform
economist, Nikolai Petrakov, blasted the "anti-crisis program,"
saying it offered no concrete way out of the misery. He described
the program as a trick to convince the West that the Soviet Union
is changing to a market economy, AP and DPA reported April 21.
(Keith Bush)

IMF OFFERS LITTLE COMFORT. Speaking on condition that he not
be identified, a senior International Monetary Fund official
told reporters in Washington on April 21 that the West is reluctant
to help the Soviet Union until it reforms the "rotten structure"
of its economy, NCA, Reuters, and AFP reported that day. A prerequisite
for economic reform, according to the official, was a political
agreement between the republics and Moscow on a Union Treaty.
He judged the present state of the Soviet economy to have deteriorated
below the "worst case" scenario projected by the IMF study of
last December. (Keith Bush)

CENTRIST BLOC CEASES TO EXIST, RADIO ROSSII SAYS. According to
a commentary of Radio Rossii on April 21, the so-called Centrist
Bloc of political groups, set up last year with apparent help
from the KGB, ceased to exist at the end of March. The radio
said that nine of the eleven groups which founded the bloc have
recently left it. The reason was the "extreme reactionary nature"
of the body. Meanwhile, two leaders of the bloc, Vladimir Voronin
and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, have been proposed as candidates for
the upcoming presidential elections in the RSFSR. (Vera Tolz)


COMMUNISTS PROPOSE ANOTHER CENTRIST BLOC. On April 19, a CPSU
Central Committee commission said that Communists should consider
entering a coalition with groups willing to uphold the USSR Constitution,
socialism and non-violent reform. TASS quoted the Social-Political
Commission of the CPSU CC as saying that creating a "Centrist
Bloc" in the USSR could help heal political and social tensions.
TASS did not say whether the commission named any particular
groups which are to be included in the proposed coalition. (Vera
Tolz)

TRADE UNION LEADERS APPEAL TO GORBACHEV, MINERS. Trade union
leaders representing workers in metallurgy, oil and gas extraction,
aviation, chemistry, construction, and rail transport sent an
appeal to Gorbachev on April 20, demanding that he and republican
leaders resolve the strikes, Radio Moscow reported that day.
If the authorities cannot settle the strikes, the trade union
leaders want an extraordinary session of the USSR Congress of
People's Deputies to be convened. The trade union leaders also
called on striking miners to return to work to prevent a complete
economic breakdown. (NCA)

GORBACHEV TO DISCUSS UNION TREATY TOMORROW. Gorbachev told reporters
in Tokyo April 18 that he plans to meet April 23 with leaders
of the nine republics that held the March 17 referendum on the
future of the USSR, according to Radio Mayak April 18 and the
Sueddeutsche Zeitung of April 20. From his remarks it would seem
that Gorbachev is not including the three Baltic States, Georgia,
Armenia and Moldavia in the discussions intended to work out
final details of the proposed new Union treaty. Gorbachev said
that work on the treaty must be completed as soon as possible
to avert "real dangers" to the USSR's political and economic
stability. (Sallie Wise)

"SOYUZ" CALLS FOR STATE OF EMERGENCY. Conservative parliamentarians
have called for a special session of the USSR Congress of People's
Deputies and the declaration of a six-month national state of
emergency, TASS reported on April 21. Delegates to a congress
of the "Soyuz" group of USSR people's deputies met in Moscow
April 20-21 and said the proposed session of the Soviet parliament
should also require Gorbachev to give an account of how he has
used the wide powers that parliament granted him last year. AP
(April 21) quoted the leader of the "Soyuz" group, Yurii Blokhin,
as saying that, if the government does not take the steps "Soyuz"
is demanding, the group "is ready to take all responsibility"
for implementing them itself. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

HARDLINER DEMANDS GORBACHEV'S OUSTER. There was much criticism
of Gorbachev at the "Soyuz" congress. The resolution adopted
at the close of the congress stopped short of calling for Gorbachev's
ouster, but one of the group's leading members, Colonel Nikolai
Petrushenko, said he doubted the Soviet president's ability to
restore order in the country since politics cannot, he said,
be conducted "with trembling hands." And another leading member
of the group, Colonel Viktor Alksnis, went further; he was quoted
by Radio Rossii (April 20) as telling the congress that the only
hope for ending Soviet domestic choas is a nationwide state of
emergency and a new leadership. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

"SOYUZ" TO FOUND A MASS MOVEMENT. Delegates to the "Soyuz" congress
also voted to turn the parliamentary group into an all-Union
mass movement, to be officially registered with the authorities,
DPA reported April 21. Congress delegates described "Soyuz" as
a "constructive opposition" to the present leadership of the
CPSU. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

KGB EXTENDS SUPPORT TO "SOYUZ" MOVEMENT. "The majority of my
colleagues are joining you under the banner of preserving the
Soviet Union," KGB analyst Nikolai Leonov, told the conference
of the deputies' group "Soyuz", AP reported April 21. Leonov
singled out the USA and Britain for working against the national
integrity of the USSR. He also accused Radio Liberty of "sowing
hatred between our groups and setting one against the other".
(Victor Yasmann)

INTERPARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE OF DEMOCRATIC FORCES. The first
conference of democratic deputies of "the majority of the Union
republics" was held in Moscow over the weekend, Radio Rossii
reported April 21. The conference discussed the possibility of
creating a permanent inter-parliamentary committee to coordinate
the activities of democrats in various republican parliaments.
The conference also discussed the organization of a roundtable
of political parties in the USSR. (Vera Tolz)

ROUNDTABLE ON PERESTROIKA HELD. A conference titled Perestroika
in the USSR Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow was held in Moscow over
the weekend, with political figures of widely different views
participating. Radio Moscow reported that the meeting was attended,
by both by conservative officials (MVD chief Boris Pugo and former
Politburo member Egor Ligachev) and by radical democrats (economist
Stanislav Shatalin, Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov and former foreign
minister Eduard Shevardnadze). The conference was organized by
the daily Komsomol'skaya pravda, the international non-governmental
organization called "The Committee of National Accord," and the
independent Washington-Paris-Moscow University. (Vera Tolz)

RESULTS OF KOREA VISIT. Gorbachev stressed that the USSR wants
good relations with both North and South Korea and urged the
two countries to reduce tensions. Speaking after 90 minutes of
talks on April 20 with South Korean President Roh Tae-Woo on
the island of Cheju, Gorbachev said, "this year the Soviet Union
and the Republic of Korea have walked a long distance in a very
short time." (Suzanne Crow)

NEW DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER. Valerii Nikolaenko, Chief of the
foreign ministry's Latin America Department since 1990, was named
Deputy Foreign Ministry on April 20, TASS reported. Nikolenko,
a 1964 graduate of the Moscow State Institute for International
Relations, has served in Soviet embassies in Cuba (1964-68),
Mexico (1969-74), and the United States (1975-79). From 1980-87
he worked at the central MFA apparatus before holding two ambassadorial
posts: Colombia (1987-88) and Nicaragua (1988-90). His appointment
fills the gap left by Viktor Komplektov, recently appointed ambassador
to the United States. (Suzanne Crow)

GERMAN OFFICER SHOT BY SOVIET SENTRY. A sentry at a Soviet arms
depot in Eastern Germany fired on three German officers as they
allegedly photographed the base, wounding one of them in the
arm, The New York Times reported on April 21. A statement from
the Soviet command at the base, located in the town of Altengrabow,
near Magdeburg, accused the Germans of entering a clearly marked
restricted area and of failing to heed appeals in German and
a warning shot. A TASS report on the incident mentioned only
two German officers, and said that they were taken into custody
by the Soviet side before being handed back over to German authorities.
(Stephen Foye)

DID GORBACHEV VISIT HONECKER? According to an April 18 Russian
Information Agency report, Gorbachev and KGB Chief Vladimir Kryuchkov
paid a visit to former GDR leader Erich Honecker "a few days
ago." Moskovskie novosti said the day before Honecker had been
visited by "two high politicians." DPA reported both items on
April 18. Meanwhile, Moscow city soviet officials said on April
17 Honecker has no right to stay in Moscow unless he gets a residence
permit just like everybody else (Daily Report, April 18). (Suzanne
Crow)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


SILAEV TO THE U.S. RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev is in the
United States to ask for credits and establish contacts between
RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin's administration
and political and business circles in the U.S., TASS reported
on April 20. A major goal of Silaev's visit is to buy grain in
the U.S. Silaev won't see President George Bush but will meet
with his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, and Deputy
Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger. Besides Washington,
Silaev is also going to visit New York and Los Angeles. (Alexander
Rahr)

RSFSR COMMISSION ON SOLDIERS' DEATHS. An RSFSR Supreme Soviet
Commission charged with looking into the peacetime deaths of
Soviet soldiers met on April 20 to discuss compensation and benefits
for the families of deceased soldiers, TSN reported. The meeting
apparently spilled over into other issues, however, when mothers
who have lost sons to the military protested that the Soviet
army was obstructing efforts to implement a Gorbachev decree
calling for an investigation into brutality in army life. The
mothers' announced that they would hold a mass hunger strike
in Red Square on May 1 to protest the government's inaction.
(Stephen Foye)

MAJORITY OF SVERDLOVSK RESIDENTS FOR NATIONALIZATION OF CPSU
PROPERTY. A recent opinion poll in the Ural city of Sverdlovsk
demonstrated that the majority of residents advocate the nationalization
of CPSU property. Radio Rossii reported April 21 that 63% of
those polled answered "yes" to the question about the nationalization
and 6% said "no." (The rest had no opinion.) Moreover, according
to Radio Rossii 48% of the Communists questioned in the poll
also supported the nationalization. (Vera Tolz)

"COMMUNISTS OF RUSSIA" CONFERENCE. The conservative group known
as "Communists of Russia" held its second congress in Leningrad
on April 20-21. Among the 750 delegates were members of the all-Union
society "Unity for Leninist and Communist Ideas," the "Movement
for Communist Initiative," and the Moscow Communist-Leninist
Club, TASS reported April 20. The delegates pronounced themselves
in favor of the "sovietization" of the economy, improving workers'
lives, and lowering prices, according to TASS April 21. They
also seconded the nomination of Aleksei Sergeev for the post
of RSFSR President (Sergeev was proposed by the United Front
of Workers and is a co-author of an economic reform plan that
would not raise prices or lower workers' living standards). (Dawn
Mann)

INFORMATION ON DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA MOVEMENT. The Democratic Russia
Movement (DRM) now consists of 400,000 members and has established
its organizations in 72 of 73 regions of the RSFSR, according
to a new internal bulletin of the Russian democrats. Local organizations
of DRM publish about 50 newspapers in 40 cities, with a circulation
of about 1.5 million. DRM is directed by a Council of Representatives
and the Coordinating Council, headed by six co-chairmen: Yurii
Afanas'ev, Arkadii Murashov, Gavriil Popov, Viktor Dmitriev,
Lev Ponomarev and Gleb Yakunin. DRM is financially supported
by the Democratic Russia Fund, created by intellectuals and headed
by Afanas'ev. (Alexander Rahr)

DONETSK MINERS CONTINUE STRIKE. Coal miners in Donetsk remain
on strike, insisting that their political demands be met, while
meetings in the center of the city continue unabated in support
of the coal miners, Radio Kiev reported April 19. Western news
agencies report that various plants and enterprises have joined
the miners, also putting forth poltical demands in this traditionally
conservative region. Reuters reported April 21 that "every day,
miners and factory workers gather in front of the Donetsk Communist
Party headquarters, waving the Ukrainian nationalist flag and
banners condemning the Soviet government." (Roman Solchanyk)


UKRAINIAN STUDENTS PLAN PROTEST. Ukrainian Supreme Soviet chairman
Leonid Kravchuk met with students on April 19 and announced that
a parliamentary commission is to meet with them today, Ukrinform-TASS
reported that day. The Ukrainian students are demanding that
the Supreme Soviet implement its resolution of last October following
the student strikes. Student leaders have announced their intention
to organize a republic-wide protest beginning April 23, saying
they have no faith in the Ukrainian parliament or government.
(Roman Solchanyk)

NEW UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION DISCUSSED. A two-day conference on
the proposed new Ukrainian constitution convened in Kiev April
19 and 20, Radio Kiev reported April 20. The meeting was addressed
by Ukrainian Supreme Soviet chairman Leonid Kravchuk and Communist
Party leader Stanislav Hurenko and heard several competing proposals
for reorganizing the state structure, including a presidential
system and a two-house parliament. (Roman Solchanyk)

BELORUSSIAN GOVERNMENT MEETS STRIKERS' ECONOMIC DEMANDS. The
Minsk Strike Committee is going ahead with plans for a republic-wide
general strike beginning tomorrow, April 23 (see Daily Report,
April 19) due to the failure of the Presidium of the Supreme
Soviet to give in to key political demands. There has been progress,
however, on the economic front. Last week the Belorussian government
agreed to raise salaries, abolish the 5% national sales tax levied
by Gorbachev, and repeal a 5% republican income tax that was
intended to raise money for the victims of Chernobyl. Belorussians
feel that Moscow, not they, should be made to pay for Chernobyl.
(Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

BELORUSSIAN ATHEISTS USING NEW METHODS. Sovetskaya molodezh'
of April 6 published an interview with Anatolii Kruglov, who
initiated the plan by Belarus' publishers to publish the Bible
-- a first by a state publishing house. The interview revealed
new ways to combat religion. Kruglov, the author of more than
12O works on atheisim, explained that he wants to publish the
Bible in order "to open the eyes of the believers," since the
Bible is a collection of legends and myths. Kruglov added that
he believes a time will come when people will stop believing
in the supernatural. (Oxana Antic)

CURFEW LIFTED IN AZERBAIJAN. TASS and the Azerbaijani news agency
ASSA reported April 19 that republican president Ayaz Mutalibov
has issued a decree lifting the curfew imposed on Baku on January
20, 1990, after Soviet troops fought their way into the city
following a week of pogroms against ethnic Armenians. The state
of emergency imposed at the same time remains in force. (Liz
Fuller)

MOSCOW WARNS GEORGIA OVER ECONOMIC BLOCKADE. TASS April 19 quoted
USSR First Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev as stating
that Moscow will discontinue all shipments to Georgia and reroute
trains and ships unless the Georgian parliament halts the two-week
old general strike and rail blockade within two-three days. (Liz
Fuller)

CPSU CC PROTESTS ARMENIAN RULING ON NATIONALIZATION OF PARTY
PROPERTY. On April 19 the CPSU Central Committee issued a statement
protesting the decision of the Armenian parliament to nationalize
all property belonging to the Armenian CP and Komsomol. The statement
termed this decision a crude violation of both the Armenian and
Soviet Constitutions and of Soviet laws guaranteeing public organizations
the right to own property, and accused Armenia of "pursuing a
political course aimed at setting up an anti-democratic and authoritarian
regime and at elimination opposition forces. It called for the
ruling to be reversed. (Liz Fuller)

ARMENIA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON REOPENING NUCLEAR POWER STATION.
On April 17 the Armenian Supreme Soviet voted overwhelmingly
in favor of a referendum on whether to recommission the Medzamor
nuclear power station near Erevan, ARMENPRESS reported April
18. The station was closed in early 1989 following the earthquake
several months earlier; the resulting energy shortfall has created
serious problems throughout Armenia. (Liz Fuller)

ARMENIA TO REOPEN NAIRIT CHEMICAL PLANT. Also on April 17, the
Armenian parliament voted to reopen the Nairit chemical plant
in Erevan. The Armenian Pan-National Movement, the majority faction
in the Armenian parliament, had campaigned for its closure on
the grounds that pollution from the plant was causing widespread
health defects. This decision was protested by the plant's management
and workforce who argued that the pollution could be eliminated,
and that the plant's production was vital for the republic's
entire chemical industry. The parliament decision provides for
the respecia- lization of the plant within the next few years.
(Liz Fuller)

STATE OF EMERGENCY IMPOSED IN NORTH OSSETIA. TASS reported April
20 that a state of emergency had been imposed in Vladikavkaz,
the capital of the North Ossetian ASSR, and in surrounding raions
following armed clashes the previous day between Ossetians and
Ingush. Tensions between the two nationalities have erupted into
violence before; they derive from Ingush demands for the revival
of their autonomous oblast and the return of land given to the
North Ossetian ASSR when the Ingush were deported en masse to
Central Asia in 1944. Gorbachev last March proposed creating
a commission to study the Ingush demand. (Liz Fuller)

ESTONIAN-MOLDAVIAN VISIT ENDS. An Estonian government delegation
headed by Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar ended a four-day visit
to Moldavia on April 19, Rahva Haal reported the next day. The
two sides released a joint communique summing up the economic
and cultural agreements concluded during the visit as a further
intensification of horizontal ties between sovereign republics.
(Riina Kionka)

DISMISSED OFFICIAL ON ISLAM IN TAJIKISTAN. Issue No. 4 of Teatral'naya
zhizn' contains an interview with Nur Tabarov, former minister
of culture of Tajikistan, who was fired after having been accused
of having participated in an attempt to remove the republic's
top leadership during the disturbances in Dushanbe in February
1990. Tabarov, described in an introduction to the interview
as having done much to encourage the renaissance of Tajik culture,
says that the Tajik intelligentsia supports the religious renaissance
in Tajikistan as part of the cultural renaissance. The republic's
fundamentalists stay out of politics, he says. (Bess Brown)

[As of 1330 CET]


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

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