The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 200, 23 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



DOCKERS' STRIKE AT KLAIPEDA. Dock workers at the port of Klaipeda
began a strike at 8:00 AM on April 22 demanding higher wages,
Radio Kaunas reported that day. The workers complained that the
port administration had ignored their attempts to negotiate and
that the last straw was the non-payment in April of the 105-ruble
compensation that the Lithuanian parliament had approved to offset
the increase in prices. Strike committee leader Ramunas Milikas
said that the workers would continue the strike until their demands
are met. (Saulius Girnius)

LONG DELAYS AT LITHUANIAN-POLISH BORDER. PAP reported on April
22 that Soviet border officials at the Lithuanian-Polish border
crossing at Lazdijai-Ogrodinki were delaying traffic. People
travelling in buses had to wait 100 hours and those in private
cars 90 hours to enter Poland. In contrast, customs clearance
on the Polish side of the border required only two hours. (Saulius
Girnius)

VAGNORIUS IN CANADA. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius
on April 19 met with Canadian Minister of Finance Wilson, Ontario
premier Bob Rae, the mayor of Toronto, and the heads of many
Canadian companies and banks as well as speaking to the Lithuanian
community in Toronto. On April 20, he met with the Lithuanian
communities in Hamilton and London, the VOA Lithuanian Service
reported on April 20. In an interview with the RFE Lithuanian
Service Vagnorius said that he was pleased with his visit and
that he had signed contracts worth several million dollars with
Ontario businessmen. On April 21 Vagnorius met with Alberta government
and business officials in Edmonton and Calgary. He will complete
his visit on April 23 in Montreal, where he will hold talks with
Quebec provincial government officials and then fly back to Moscow.
(Saulius Girnius)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



PAVLOV OUTLINES "ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM." Prime Minister Valentin
Pavlov outlined his "anti-crisis program" to the USSR Supreme
Soviet on April 22, TASS reported that day. The transcript of
his speech does not indicate any major changes from the draft
program that was initially published, but then withdrawn, by
TASS on April 9. Pavlov emphasized the restoration of order:
"Democracy without discipline does not exist anywhere; the only
result is chaos." At a subsequent press conference, he spoke
of introducing a "special regime" in some regions or branches,
and stated: "...it is possible to let people work with the help
of force," but he did not elaborate on these concepts. (Keith
Bush)

PAVLOV'S PROGRAM A WEAK IMITATION. Pavlov's plan for economic
reform was likened by TASS analyst Vladimir Isachenkov on April
22 to the Shatalin-Yavlinsky "500-Days" program. Pavlov's version
falls far short of the mark, though, and in many respects represents
an extension of the late Yurii Andropov's program of labor discipline
with small doses of reform and "destatization". The Pavlov plan
foresees much more limited privatization than the more radical
500-Days program. It also intends to maintain stronger administrative
controls over wages, prices, output, and supply than did the
500-Days plan. Using the Andropov model may be no coincidence:
public opinion polls in the USSR of late rank the former CPSU
leader as one of the most popular Soviet leaders. (John Tedstrom)


PAVLOV REVEALS DETAILS ON ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. In his speech
to the Supreme Soviet April 22, Pavlov listed a host of shortfalls
in the country's economic performance during the first quarter
of the year (TASS, April 22). Compared with first quarter 1990
figures: national income is off 10%; industrial output down 5%;
agricultural production down 13%; livestock production down 8-12%.
Ministry of Finance officials estimate the Union-wide budget
deficit as totalling some 200 billion rubles (for a total internal
government debt of 540 billion) by the end of 1991. In the first
quarter, republican payments into the Union budget have fallen
short by over 60% of the planned amount. In March alone, coal
output fell by 13%, and coking coal by a third due to strikes.
Estimates of the total impact of the strikes to date range between
50 billion and 100 billion rubles in lost output. (John Tedstrom)


PROPOSALS ON PRIVATIZATION. The head of the USSR Supreme Soviet's
Committee on Economic Reform, Valentin Vologzhin, told the April
22 session that privatization was the key to leading the country
out of its crisis. He said that state property should be partly
sold and partly given away, TASS reported April 22. Although
many view privatization as a principal vehicle for soaking up
the ruble overhang, the USSR Cabinet of Ministers has pointed
out that liquid savings that would be devoted to purchasing private
property or enterprises amounted to no more than 100 billion
rubles, while the value of state production funds is estimated
at 2.5 trillion rubles, TASS reported April 20. (Keith Bush)


ACTION ON PRIVATIZATION. Seemingly unrelated to any all-Union
program, the Leningrad City Soviet Executive Committee has leased
or sold more than 100 cafes, canteens, and tailor's workshops.
It intends to lease 4,500 retail enterprises and roughly the
same number of consumer service outlets, Radio Moscow reported
April 22. It is thought that privatization can yield several
billion rubles for the city's coffers. (Keith Bush)

PAY CLAIMS MOUNTING. In advance of a possible Union-wide pay
freeze, demands for stiff wage increases have been reported from
various sectors. The Tyumen' oblast committee of oil workers'
trade unions has demanded a minimum wage of 1,400 rubles a month,
according to Radio Mayak April 19. Strikers at Klaipeda are seeking
a four-fold wage increase, TASS reported April 22. And the RSFSR
Supreme Soviet adopted a law providing, inter alia, for a republic
minimum wage of 180 rubles a month from October 1, Radio Moscow
reported April 19. The Russian Federation of Free Trade Unions
has demanded index-linked wages across the board, according to
AFP of April 18. (Keith Bush)

CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO MEET WEDNESDAY. Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev and his economic program are both expected to come
under fire at a plenary meeting of the CPSU Central Committee
that convenes in Moscow tomorrow (April 24). Gorbachev ally Leonid
Kravchenko told reporters in Tokyo April 17 that some Party officials
are angry that Gorbachev is devoting too much time to his presidential
duties and neglecting his Party ones. Gorbachev himself told
reporters in Red Square yesterday the he expects "serious comments
and criticism" at the plenum (AP, April 22). He said Party officials
are asking whether his economic reforms are not leading toward
capitalism; he said he would tell the plenum that the USSR is
traveling from totalitarianism to democracy. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)


INTER-PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE SUPPORTS STRIKERS. On April 22,
the inter-parliamentary confererence of democratic deputies from
republican parliaments called on all Supreme Soviets to aid the
process of "peaceful liquidation of the existing Union structures."
The conference also adopted a declaration supporting Soviet strikers.
Conference participants expressed their intention to achieve,
together with striking workers, the creation of a new "government
of people's confidence." The participants also called on all
Soviet workers to declare pre-strike readiness in response to
the April 21 demand by the "Soyuz" group of deputies to introduce
a state of emergency. (Dawn Mann/Vera Tolz)

GORBACHEV WARNS WORKERS, GOLD MINERS STRIKE. According to AP
April 22, Gorbachev told reporters in Moscow that striking workers
are playing a dangerous game and said most people want to work.
3,000 gold miners in Siberia also staged a 24-hour strike on
Monday to express support for the miners, Postfactum reported
April 22. (Dawn Mann)

SOVIET LEADERSHIP CELEBRATES LENIN'S BIRTHDAY. The Soviet leadership
marked the 121st anniversairy of the birth of the founder of
the Soviet state, V. I. Lenin, TASS reported April 22. The main
speech at a traditional meeting was delivered by the CPSU deputy
general secretary, Vladimir Ivashko, who said that Lenin's thoughts
and deeds have not lost their importance. President Mikhail Gorbachev,
Vice President Gennadii Yanaev, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov
and other officials attended the ceremonies. (NCA/Vera Tolz)


PRESS CONFERENCE ON LENIN. Soviet historians answered questions
from Soviet and foreign journalists at a press conference held
in Moscow April 20 in connection with the 121st birthday of Lenin.
Professor of history Vladlen Loginov told the press conference
that it was former Soviet chief ideologist Mikhail Suslov who
personally crossed out "unacceptable" passages from Lenin's writings
when the fifth edition of Lenin's complete works was being prepared,
TASS reported April 22. (The fifth edition of Lenin's works was
regarded as the fullest edition ever.) (Vera Tolz)

KAIFU ON TALKS. In an interview with the Washington Post and
Newsweek, Japanese Premier Toshiki Kaifu reported that Gorbachev
advocated a three-nation framework for Asian security including
the United States, Japan and the USSR during talks last week.
Kaifu said he replied that "Japan already has an alliance of
complete trust with the United States under [a] bilateral security
treaty." As today's Washington Post report notes, the Japanese
press is treating Kaifu's refusal to provide large sums of aid
without the return of the islands as a victory and as a sign
of the strength of Kaifu's leadership. (Suzanne Crow)

BESSMERTNYKH TO ISRAEL. Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
will travel to Israel within a month or two, Israeli Consul-General
Arieh Levin said in Moscow on April 21. Levin said he has received
a formal announcement that Bessmertnykh will make the visit during
a forthcoming Middle East tour, Reuters reported April 21. (Suzanne
Crow)

BAKER, BESSMERTNYKH TALK. U.S. Secretary of State James Baker
and his Soviet counterpart Aleksandr Bessmertnykh spoke yesterday
(April 22) via telephone and exchanged opinions about the current
situation in the Middle East, TASS reported April 22. (Suzanne
Crow)

TSEDENBAL DIES IN MOSCOW. Yumzhagiin Tsedenbal, Mongolia's dictator
from 1952-84, has died in Moscow the Mongolian foreign ministry
reported April 22. Tsedenbal and his Russian-born wife Anastasia
Filatova lived there in exile after Tsedenbal was overthrown
in 1984, Reuters reported April 22. (Suzanne Crow)

NORTH KOREAN VITRIOL. The North Korean news agency issued a statement
in the name of the Pyongyang-based South Korean National Democratic
Front, saying the visit of Gorbachev to South Korea was "dirty
mendicant diplomacy" and "fosters antagonism and confrontation
by getting on the nerves of the North, not bringing closer the
South and the North and uniting the nation." In an apparent reference
to South Korean demonstrations against Gorbachev, the statement
said, "the South Korean revolutionaries cannot but give vent
to indignation and derision at the wretched sight of those who,
fascinated by dollars, sell off politics, ideology and obligation,"
Reuters reported April 22. (Suzanne Crow)

SHEVARDNADZE TO SPEAK AT BOSTON U? Former Foreign Minister Eduard
Shevardnadze reportedly will give the commencement address at
Boston University in May, AP reported April 20. He will also
do an extensive speaking tour in several other major US cities,
the report says. Neither Boston University nor the Soviet embassy
could confirm these plans. (Suzanne Crow)

CASTRO IN FUEL BIND. In a speech (April 19) marking the thirtieth
anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban President Fidel
Castro said that Cuban troops are experimenting with coal and
sugar cane leaves as emergency alternatives to fuel for armoured
cars and tanks in case Soviet supplies fail, Reuters reported
April 20. The Cuban leader also said his country is suffering
from disruptions in arms supplies from the Soviet Union. Castro
said Cuba needs more arms than ever before because, "we're threatened
by the US and all the more so at this time when it is acting
like the owner of the world." (Suzanne Crow)

AKHROMEEV ON CHERNOBYL. Marshal Sergei Akhromeev said on April
19 that Soviet authorities had underestimated the severity of
the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and that work done by
army units in the aftermath of the accident rivaled the Second
World War. According to Reuters, Akhromeev, who was then General
Staff Chief, coordinated the clean-up operation. He claimed to
have learned of the accident at 2:20 A.M., only an hour after
it had occurred. Akhromeev said that at 7:30 he reported to the
Soviet Defense Minister and got approval for military deployments
he had ordered. At 9:30 he called Gorbachev, who reportedly already
knew about the disaster and approved his measures. (Stephen Foye)


REFORM OF GROUND FORCES DISCUSSED. Krasnaya zvezda of April 18
carries a long discussion on current and proposed reform of the
Soviet Ground Forces that indicates once again the depth of opposition
within the defense establishment to many aspects of Gorbachev's
national security policy. The participants, including leading
military industrialists and officers, emphasized the continued
importance of the Ground Forces. All objected to defense spending
cuts, arguing that the new defensive doctrine depended on expensive
technical re-equipping of Soviet forces; they also criticized
what they called the incoherence of the current program of military
conversion. (Stephen Foye)

MALNUTRITION AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN? After a threefold increase
in the prices of school lunches on April 2 (from 50 kopeks to
1.50 rubles), three-quarters of Moscow's schoolchildren have
been skipping their meals in school canteens, according to TASS
April 22. "Specialists predict an outbreak of illness linked
with malunutrition--gastritis and extreme fatigue," TASS said.
Reuters April 22 cited Izvestia to the effect that several children
had fainted in Nizhny Tagil after their parents had stopped paying
for school meals. (Keith Bush)

EGOR LIGACHEV IS BACK! Soviet TV viewers could see conservative
former Politburo member Egor Ligachev on Soviet TV once again
in a report on discussion of the government's anti-crisis program
in the USSR Supreme Soviet April 22. Ligachev mounted the rostrum
to inform his fellow lawmakers that he supported Valentin Pavlov's
program (which included privatization of some government-owned
enterprises). At the same time, however, Ligachev warned against
underestimating administrative economic measures and called on
the deputies "to strengthen the planned principles" [of the present
economy.] (Julia Wishnevsky)

ALEKSANDR YAKOVLEV BACKS "DEMOCRATS". In an interview with the
liberal weekly Sobesednik (No. 16), former Politburo member Aleksandr
Yakovlev opined that endless attacks on "democrats" in the Party
press are in fact "a form of struggle against the policy of perestroika."
Despite the current political and economic crisis in the country,
Yakovlev reaffirmed his support for the policy of glasnost' in
the media and political democratization, which he helped to promote
early in the Gorbachev era. Yakovlev, nonetheless, refused to
reveal whether he had resigned from the leadership voluntarily
or was fired, and what he does in the Gorbachev team at the moment.
Anyway, Yakovlev said, he would never accept any top governmental
or Party post, no matter who might offer him one. (Julia Wishnevsky)


CAN "DALLAS" SAVE KRAVCHENKO? An American company is helping
the hard-line management of Soviet TV to confront the boycott
of the head of the Soviet Radio and Television, Leonid Kravchenko,
by the USSR Cinema Workers' Union in protest of censorship and
disinformation evident in Soviet TV newscasts, particularly in
whitewashing the Baltic crackdowns. According to TASS (April
19) the "Worldvision" company is to organize the broadcast of
American series for the Soviet TV audience. TASS quoted the company's
representative, A. Spelling, as saying that this will be the
largest showing of American TV programs in the history of Soviet
television. "Worldvision" is reportedly supplying a number of
America's most popular series, including Dallas, free of charge.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

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



KOZYREV FAVORS STRONG HAND. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
called in an article in Nezavisimaya gazeta on April 6 for the
convocation of a CSCE conference on human rights in Moscow next
fall. He stated that the foreign policy of the RSFSR will be
oriented toward principles of human rights and that Russia would
not shrink back from criticizing abuses of human rights in those
countries which formerly were "ideological allies" of the Soviet
Union. Kozyrev also said that a "strong hand" is needed to solve
the crisis in the country but that this "strong hand" should
be democratically elected. He thought that the Russian presidency
will become such an executive power. (Alexander Rahr)

FOURTH CANDIDATE FOR RSFSR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The League
of Independent Scientists of the RSFSR nominated its candidate,
V. Potemkin, for the Russian Federation's presidential elections,
TASS reported April 19. (The league is an informal organization
which says it is an alternative to the USSR Academy of Sciences.)
Three other candidates for the elections are the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet chairman, Boris Yeltsin, and leaders of the so-called
Centrist Bloc of political parties V. Voronin and V. Zhirinovsky.
(Vera Tolz)

URAL BRANCH OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. At an inaugural
conference in the city of Sverdlovsk, the Ural branch of the
Russian (Rossiiskaya) Academy of Sciences was created April 21,
Radio Moscow-1 reported. In fact, the Russian Academy of Sciences
does not exist yet, but only its organizational committee. Its
creation is hampered by disputes over the structure and activities
of the body. Some local scientific communities in the RSFSR has
gone ahead, however, and created branches of the still non-existing
body. In addition to the newly created Ural branch of the academy,
a branch exists in Leningrad. The latter was created last year
by highly conservative Leningrad scholars. (Vera Tolz)

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST FROM CRIMEA ON THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
ABROAD. Russian Orthodox priest Valerii Lapkovskii, deputy of
the Fedosiya (Crimea) city soviet, told the city soviet's newspaper
Pobeda on March 22 that the Moscow Patriarchate defrocked him
in connection with his transfer to the Russian Orthodox Church
Abroad (see Daily Report, January 17). The outspoken priest,
who criticized militant atheists in Feodosiya in the press in
the past, explained the reasons for his changing of jurisdiction,
and accused the Moscow Patriarchate of continuing to carry out
orders of the Party bureacracy. (Oxana Antic)

MASS MEETING IN KIEV. Up to 3,000 people gathered in Kiev April
21 in an action organized by "Rukh," Radio Kiev reported April
22. The gathering approved a list of demands to the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet, including the immediate granting of constitutional
force to the republic's declaration of sovereignty, the invalidation
of all federal laws and presidential decrees in Ukraine, the
subordination of all all-Union enterprises and institutions to
republican ownership, and the release of Ukrainian people's deputy
Stepan Khmara and his associates from detention. (Roman Solchanyk)


KRAVCHUK IN GERMANY. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet
Leonid Kravchuk arrived in Germany yesterday for a week-long
official visit, Radio Kiev and Western agencies reported April
22. Kravchuk arrived in Bonn at the head of a parliamentary delegation
at the invitation of the Bavarian Landtag. On his first day Kravchuk
held talks with Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher and President
Richard von Weizsaecker. Die Welt reported yesterday that the
Ukrainian delegation's request to conduct talks in Ukrainian
(rather than Russian) and German sent the German foreign office
scrambling for a Ukrainian-language interpreter; the search was
only partially successful. (Roman Solchanyk)

THREAT OF CLASHES IN MINSK? Belorussian deputy Supreme Soviet
chairman Stanislau Shushkevich indicated to The Independent,
April 22, that clashes between police and striking industrial
workers in Minsk cannot be ruled out. Police and Interior Ministry
troops will be standing by today at the start of a general work
stoppage called by the Minsk Strike Committee. (Kathy Mihalisko)


UZBEKISTAN AND TURKMENISTAN SIGN AGREEMENT. Vremya reported on
April 21 that an agreement on cooperation in culture, economics,
health, environment and science had been signed by representatives
of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The agreement was cited as an
example of the horizontal relations that are developing between
republics; the report noted that these two share many similar
problems, including a reduction in the subsidies received from
the USSR budget. So far there have been relatively few such bilateral
agreements between Central Asian republics. (Bess Brown)

LITTLE LIBERALIZATION IN TURKMENISTAN. At least Turkmenistan's
Popular Front "Agzybirlik" was allowed to hold its constituent
congress recently, Moskovskiye novosti No. 13 reports. But it
appeared that the ratio of militia officers to delegates was
two to one, and at the end of the meeting the group's leaders
were fined for holding an unsanctioned assembly. The group hopes
that the current session on the republican Supreme Soviet will
rule on the registration of political parties. (Bess Brown)

PLURALISM IN KYRGYZSTAN. In an interview in Argumenty i fakty,
quoted by TASS on April 20, Kirgiz president Askar Akaev says
that though the Communist Party remains strong in the republic,
other parties are developing and power has been redistributed
at all levels. His Cabinet of Ministers contains members of the
new parties as well as Communists and persons with no party affiliation.
He is particularly concerned with the need to maintain good interethnic
relations, and ensured that representatives of several nationalities
were included in the cabinet. (Bess Brown)

MODERATE TO CHALLENGE GAMSAKHURDIA IN GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
RL's Russian Service stringer in Tbilisi reported April 22 that
Irakli Shengelaya, a 43-year-old philologist and leader of the
moderate Freedom bloc, will run against Zviad Gamsakhurdia in
the May 26 Presidential elections. A former republican-federalist,
Shengelaya advocates rule by a political and intellectual elite;
he commented appositely to the Georgian press in December that
"it is only one step from ochlocracy [mob rule] to dictatorship."
(Liz Fuller)

GROMOV ON NORTH OSSETIA. TASS quotes USSR first deputy Interior
Minister Boris Gromov as telling a press conference in Moscow
April 22 that unsolved inter-ethnic tensions in the North Caucasus
could lead "to explosions in the entire region". Gromov assessed
the situation in the North Ossetian ASSR, where the estimated
number of those injured in last week's fighting between Ingush
and Chechens has been raised to "dozens", as even more complicated
than that in South Ossetia, where over 50 people have been killed
since December in fighting between Ossetians and Georgians. (Liz
Fuller)


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

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