Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 80, 25 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



DOCKERS' STRIKE IN KLAIPEDA ENDED. The strike by dock workers
in Klaipeda has ended, Radio Kaunas reported on April 24. Strike
committee leader Ramunas Milikas said that the workers had returned
to work the previous evening after a meeting with the USSR Deputy
Minister of Transportation, who agreed to most of their demands.
(Saulius Girnius)

SOVIET TROOPS TAKE OVER BANK BUILDING IN VILNIUS. On April 24
Radio Kaunas reported that Soviet Interior Ministry troops had
taken over, without violence, a building in Vilnius containing
the Naujoji Vilnis district branch of the Republic of Lithuania
Agroindustrial Bank and a commercial bank, registered as a branch
of the USSR Bank. The soldiers controlling the entrance to the
building said they were following directives of USSR Minister
of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo to protect Soviet banks. Chairman
of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis telephoned
USSR Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev after the seizure.
Doguzhiev told him there could be no question of the use of force
and that all disputes had to be achieved through political means
and economic agreements. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN APPEAL TO GORBACHEV. On April 22 Landsbergis wrote
an appeal to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in the name of
the Lithuanian Supreme Council that was given to Gorbachev's
secretariat the next day by the Lithuanian permanent representative
in Moscow, Egidijus Bickauskas, Radio Kaunas reported on April
24. The appeal noted that Lithuania has consistently favored
constructive talks with the USSR and called on Gorbachev to name
a delegation to begin talks on Lithuania's independence. It also
urged Gorbachev to use the CPSU plenum to declare a fundamental
rejection of the use of force or threats of force so as to create
a normal political atmosphere for the talks. (Saulius Girnius)


NEW OFFICERS IN LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT. On April 24 the Lithuanian
Supreme Council elected new officers, Radio Kaunas reported that
day. It chose Algirdas Endriukaitis as its deputy secretary and
Aurimas Taurantas as its speaker. Endriukaitis (born in 1936)
is not a member of any political party or faction in the parliament.
Taurantas (born in 1956) is a member of the Lithuanian Greens'
Party and the Joint Sajudis faction. Deputy speakers are to be
elected on April 25. (Saulius Girnius)

USSR-LATVIA ECONOMICS TALKS. On April 23 Latvian Prime Minister
Ivars Godmanis and USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov talked
for about an hour about USSR-Latvia economic relations, Latvian
government press attache Aris Jansons told the RFE Latvian Service
on April 24. Godmanis did not give Jansons details of the meeting,
but hinted that some progress toward an agreement had been made
by saying that the problem of Soviet-Latvian financial difficulties
was "now a question for financial experts." Moscow has previously
threatened Latvia with economic sanctions if it did not guarantee
the payment of 4,200 million rubles to the Soviet budget. (Saulius
Girnius)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV AND REPUBLICAN LEADERS SIGN PACT. Gorbachev and representatives
of nine Union republics, including RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman
Boris Yeltsin, have signed a five-point joint statement on measures
to stabilize the crisis situation in the country. The text of
the agreement was hammered out at a meeting April 23 at a country
dacha near Moscow and published on the front page of Pravda April
24. In addition to the RSFSR, the session was attended by representatives
of Ukraine, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan,
Kirghizia, and Turkmenistan. The agreement places primary emphasis
on speedy conclusion of a new Union treaty and adoption of a
new USSR constitution. It also recognizes the right of the three
Baltic states, Moldavia, Armenia, and Georgia to "independently
decide" if they will join in the Union treaty and contains an
economic package that reverses several elements of the government's
recently announced anti-crisis measures. (Roman Solchanyk)

GORBACHEV FIGHTS OFF HARDLINE CHALLENGE--FOR THE PRESENT. An
expanded plenum of the CPSU Central Committee opened in Moscow
yesterday (April 24), amid rumors that hardliners would require
Gorbachev to give an account of his stewardship and try to force
him relinquish the Party leadership. Few details of the debate
were published at the end of the first day, but the consensus
is that Gorbachev skillfully exploited his new agreement with
Yeltsin and eight other republican leaders to rebuff calls for
his ouster. The plenum continues today and conservatives are
promising no let-up in their efforts to call Gorbachev to heel.
"The real decisions on what to do will be taken tomorrow," Reuters
reported Latvian Party leader Alfreds Rubiks as saying at the
close of the first day; "today was just the test-firing of the
guns." (Elizabeth Teague)

DEPUTIES LACK CONFIDENCE IN CPSU. An opinion poll among USSR
and RSFSR People's Deputies and Moscow city and raion soviet
deputies conducted by sociologist Boris Grushin revealed that
this "political elite" by and large does not trust the CPSU to
lead the USSR out of crisis. Radio Rossii on April 24 reported
the findings of the survey. To the question "Is the CPSU capable
of leading the country out of crisis?", 60% of the respondents
replied "no," 28% replied "yes," and 12% had no opinion. (Sallie
Wise)

IMF: GLOOMY ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FOR USSR. In its annual world economic
outlook released on April 24, the International Monetary Fund
pictures unfavorable prospects for the Soviet economy, with output
declining, inflation rising, and price and supply imbalances
becoming "particularly severe," NCA reported April 25. Although
the USSR's lack of progress in implementing economic reforms
so far kept output losses in 1990 "relatively moderate...it is
likely to involve considerably higher cost in the long run."
Continued rigidities in the system, coupled with price distortions,
prevent "significant efficiency gains," the report concludes,
while the lack of financial discipline jeopardizes general economic
stability. (Keith Bush)

EMIGRATION BILL DISCUSSED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE. A draft
of the USSR's long-awaited law on exit and entry has been debated
by the USSR Supreme Soviet's Committee on International Affairs,
Soviet Television reported April 24. The committee heard proposals
that the controversial new law should not come into effect until
July 1, 1992. The Supreme Soviet is to debate the bill on May
7. (Elizabeth Teague)

UNEMPLOYMENT AND MIGRATION. At an informal meeting of European
labor ministers in Prague, USSR Minister for Labor and Social
Affairs Valerii Paulman reported that 1.5 million Soviet citizens
have already decided to seek work abroad, CTK reported April
24. Because of anticipated unemployment in the USSR, Paulman
reckoned that at least 8 million Soviet citizens will seek jobs
abroad during the next three years. On April 18, TASS reported
that 452,000 Soviet citizens emigrated in 1990: of these, roughly
a third were laborers, a third were professionally employed,
and the rest were retired or unemployed. (Keith Bush)

IMPORTANT TRENDS IN REGIONAL BANKING. Vostokinvestbank has recently
been granted the right to conduct independent hard-currency operations
in the Asia-Pacific region, TASS reported April 24. The bank
has assets worth "hundreds of millions of rubles," and is making
venture capital investments in numerous industrial and research
and design operations. This is a growing trend among regional
commercial banks, and the opportunities for Vostokinvestbank
to support Soviet joint ventures with partners in the Asia-Pacific
region are also growing, albeit not as fast as the USSR might
like. All things being equal, once successful investments have
been made, the process should accelerate and could contribute
to regional development and independence in the Soviet Far East.
(John Tedstrom)

NEW FOREIGN MINISTRY DIRECTORATE FOR ASIA. On April 24 TASS highlighted
the creation of a new unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
the Directorate for Common Problems of the Asia-Pacific Region.
The unit was created earlier this year: Vestnik MIDa (No. 4,
February 28) identified Aleksandr Prokhorovich Losyukov as head
of the unit. Losyukov is a career diplomat who has served at
Soviet embassies in Afghanistan (1968-72), United States (1974-80)
and in the Philippines (1985-90). The creation of the unit could
signify the resurgence of Soviet interest in developing ties
in Asia, a plan derailed repeatedly over the last few years by
pressing issues in Europe. (Suzanne Crow)

USSR TURNS "UGLY FACE TO ASIA." The Times (London) of April 24
reported on the speech Leonid Mlechin, Deputy Editor-In-Chief
of Novoe vremya, made at a Soviet-Japanese gathering during last
week's summit. According to the Times report, the speech likened
Japanese economic practices to its "aggressive militarism" of
the past, claimed other Asians resented the Japanese, and implicitly
warned Japan that since it possesses no nuclear weapons, it cannot
consider itself a world power as can the USSR. The Times correspondent
noted that the speech lent credence to the idea, stated by a
Japanese man present, that "the bear is turning its cuddly face
to the west, its ugly face to Asia." (Suzanne Crow)

BAKER, BESSMERTNYKH MEET IN KISLOVODSK. US Secretary of State
James Baker is meeting with his Soviet counterpart Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh April 25 in the Caucasus resort of Kislovodsk to
discuss Middle East issues. The focus of the talks is preparations
for the Arab-Israeli negotiations. Syria and Israel have not
yet agreed on terms to talk. Baker said that the United States
has been in constant communication with the Soviet Union and
now "it's time for the two of us to sit down face to face," AP
reported April 25. (Suzanne Crow)

FINNISH LEASEHOLD FARMERS IN KARELIA? Representatives from the
Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry have been meeting
with members of the Karelian ASSR Supreme Soviet to discuss joint
ventures, Helsinki Radio reported April 18. The Karelian side
is said to be prepared to lease land to Finnish farmers on long-term
agreements. (Keith Bush)

FIGURES ON PEACETIME ARMY DEATHS. A fact-finding commission investigating
peacetime deaths and violence in the Soviet armed forces reports
that some 120,000 servicemen have died over the past fifteen
years, an average of 8,000 per year. According to a Novosti reprint
of an article in Number 67 Kuranty, the commission estimates
that the deaths were the result of suicide (50%), inflicted injuries
(20%), accidents (10%), and electric burns and shocks (5%). The
commission also estimates that cerebral and cranial injuries,
rape, and other physical shocks caused disabilities in 30% of
the cases reviewed. It concludes that "irregular practices" have
caused over 70% of all deaths and injuries. (Stephen Foye)

NEW SERVICEMEN'S UNION FORMED. A retired major has told RFE/RL
that a new union for servicemen has been established in Leningrad
and held its first working session on April 23. Retired Major
Valentin Turchin said that the union hoped to find a common language
between Soviet society and the army. He added that the new union
differs from Shchit (Shield)--a renegade union that has long
criticized the Soviet Defense Ministry--in that Shchit's activities
are limited to defending the rights of servicemen. Turchin said
that he also belongs to Shchit. (NCA/Stephen Foye)

POPULARITY OF TV FALLS. The popularity of television as the main
source of information and entertainment for Soviet citizens seriously
decreased in 1990, the weekly Sem' dnei (April 14-21) reported.
The weekly's survey reported that although 54% of those polled
thought the quality of TV programs improved in 1990, the number
of unpopular programs (watched by less then 10% of regular viewers)
increased by 14%. The average age of regular TV viewers also
changed, increasing from 30-49 in the first years of perestroika
to 50-59 in 1990. It should be noted that these unfavorable tendencies
started to be visible before the appointment of Leonid Kravchneko
as head of Soviet Central TV. One can guess that Kravchenko's
policies would contribute to a further decrease in TV's popularity.
(Vera Tolz)

FILM CRITICIZING RADIO LIBERTY ATTACKED BY VIEWERS. A moderator
of the Central TV program Teleskop admitted on April 24, when
asked to name the worst central TV broadcast of the month, that
a majority of viewers named the film "Alien Voices." This film
attacked Radio Liberty and, as officially stated, was prepared
by the KGB press center. One critic of the program even suggested
it be given a special prize for the worst possible film. The
film was also criticized in liberal Soviet newspapers, including
Komsomol'skaya pravda (April 9) and Literaturnaya gazeta (April
10). (Vera Tolz)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



LAW ON ELECTION OF RSFSR PRESIDENT ADOPTED. The RSFSR Supreme
Soviet adopted a law on election of the RSFSR president on April
24, TASS reported that day. Any citizen of the RSFSR between
the ages of 35 and 65 can be elected president. RSFSR political
parties, trade unions, and public organizations can nominate
candidates. According to Radio Mayak April 24, these candidates
are officially registered once they prove that they have the
support of 100,000 voters; it seems that candidates also need
the support of one-fifth of the RSFSR People's Deputies (i.e.,
those serving in the republican Congress of People's Deputies),
although this passage of the broadcast not clear (candidates
may only need the support of one-fifth of the members of the
RSFSR Supreme Soviet). The president is elected to a 5-year term
and can serve no more than 2 terms. Any republican citizen 18
years of age or older can vote. A 50% voter turnout is required
to validate the election; the candidate who receives over 50%
of the votes cast is elected. The first election is scheduled
for June 12. (Dawn Mann)

LAW ON RSFSR PRESIDENT UNDER DEBATE. Debate on the draft of another
law -- on the RSFSR presidency itself -- began April 24, TASS
reported. The draft states that the president is the chief executive
in the republic but does not have the right to dismiss the republican
Supreme Soviet or the Congress of People's Deputies or suspend
their activities. The President cannot be a people's deputy and,
once elected, must suspend membership in all political parties.
(Dawn Mann)

DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA REGISTERED. The Democratic Russia movement
has been officially registered by the RSFSR Ministry of Justice
April 24, TASS reported. TASS said the movement has millions
of supporters in Russia and is represented in almost all its
major cities. The movement, which supports the policies of Yeltsin,
will hold its second congress in June. (NCA/Vera Tolz)

LAY-OFFS IN MOSCOW HALTED. The Moscow City Executive Committee
has halted until July 1 lay-offs in the city's enterprises, Radio
Rossii reported April 22. The reason given was that questions
of social protection for the unemployed and arrangements for
finding new jobs have not yet been settled. It is hoped that
solutions will be provided by the all-Union and RSFSR legislation
due to come into force on July 1. (Keith Bush)

MOSCOW ORTHODOX YOUTH MOVEMENT. TASS reported on April 23 on
the opening that day of the first meeting of the Orthodox youth
of Moscow. Patriarch Aleksii II was present at the opening. A
representative the organizing committee told a TASS reporter
that more than 250 priests and laymen are participating in the
meeting. The purpose of the meeting is the creation of a new
public organization, the Moscow Orthodox Youth Movement. The
meeting ends April 25. (Oxana Antic)

BELORUSSIAN STRIKES INTENSIFY. Tensions mounted yesterday in
Belorussia on the second day of the general strike, under growing
fears of police intervention. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
held a joint meeting with the KGB, MVD, and military district
commanders. The Presidium again rejected the strikers' main demand
for an emergency session of parliament and deputy SupSov chairman
Stanislau Shushkevich, who until now enjoyed support from democratic
forces, refused to address a rally in Minsk. Opposition deputies
have called on colleagues to suspend their membership in the
republican Supreme Soviet until an emergency session is convened.
There are indications the opposition wants to form an alternative
parliament. (Kathy Mihalisko)

"WORKERS' ACTION A SERIOUS THREAT TO SYSTEM." Ales' Susha, editor
of the main organ of the pro-independence Belorussian Popular
Front, was quoted April 25 in The Times as saying that the meeting
between the Presidium and law enforcement officials shows that
the authorities are working out emergency plans to end the strike.
As Susha put it, "it is a sign that the workers' action is becoming
an increasingly serious threat to the system." Strike leaders
have vowed that they will continue, however, until satisfied
that the Communist political system will be changed. (Kathy Mihalisko)


RAILWAY TRAFFIC BLOCKED IN ORSHA. As reported April 24 by news
agencies, thousands of people in Orsha blocked a main rail line
from Moscow to the west, in a show of support for the general
strike. Interfax quoted an Orsha strike committee leader as saying
that extra police units and troops were patrolling the city but
no clashes took place. (NCA/Kathy Mihalisko)

CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF BELORUSSIAN MEDIA CHIEF. Minsk strikers
have added the resignation of the chairman of Belorussian TV
and Radio to the list of their demands owing to republican media's
one-sided coverage of events. Radio Rossii said April 24 that
strikers are accusing two television correspondents of openly
instigating clashes between workers and police. At a press conference,
Minsk Strike Committee representatives said that 42 enterprises
in the capital are taking part in the job action, including,
as of yesterday, the Minsk auto works. A total of 80 factories
throughout Belorussia have joined the general strike. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

PREPARATIONS FOR GENERAL POLITICAL STRIKE IN UKRAINE. The Ukrainian
republican strike committee has announced plans for a republic-wide
political strike, Ukrinform-TASS reported April 24. The announcement
was made at a press conference yesterday called by "Rukh" and
the democratic opposition in the Ukrainian parliament. No date
for the beginning of the strike was given. Student leaders are
also threatening a republic-wide action if their demands are
not met. (Roman Solchanyk)

GEIDAR ALIEV UNDER ATTACK. Komsomol'skaya pravda of April 13
printed a Postfaktum dispatch summarizing an appeal published
in Bakinsky rabochii to the Azerbaijan CP Revision-Control Commission
from sixteen former leading Azerbaijani functionaries who were
dismissed and disgraced for no reason by Aliev during his tenure
as Party first secretary. They point out that the "wave of oppression"
that hit Azerbaijan in the 1970s has not yet been properly evaluated
and condemn Aliev's most recent attempts as a deputy to the Azerbaijani
Supreme Soviet "to incite animosity between various groups and
derail the process of stabilization in the republic." (Liz Fuller)


FIGHTING CONTINUES IN NORTH OSSETIA. Radio Moscow reported April
24 that fighting between Ossetians and Ingush in North Ossetia
is continuing. Some 25 violent incidents have been reported since
April 19. DPA April 23 quoted Interfax as reporting that an Ossetian
police officer was shot dead the previous day. Soviet interior
ministry forces are patrolling the area around the North Ossetian
capital of Vladikavkaz. (Liz Fuller)

ARMENIAN GENOCIDE COMMEMORATED IN EREVAN AND STEPANAKERT... TASS
reported April 24 that tens of thousands of Armenians marched
yesterday through Erevan to the monument commemorating the victims
of the 1915 genocide. For the first time, representatives of
all political parties in the Armenian parliament took part, as
did representatives of the diaspora and the republican leadership,
including Supreme Soviet chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan, and Catholikos
Vazgen I. A similar ceremony took place in Stepanakert, the capital
of Nagorno-Karabakh. (Liz Fuller)

AND IN MOSCOW. TASS reported April 24 that a requiem was held
that day at the Armenian Apostolic Church in Moscow to mark the
anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian genocide of 1915
and in memory of Armenians killed by Azerbaijanis over the past
three years. The ceremony was attended by members of the USSR
and RSFSR Congresses of People's Deputies and by representatives
of the Russian and Armenian intelligentsia. (Liz Fuller)

TER-PETROSSYAN WRITES TO GORBACHEV OVER NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Armenian
Supreme Soviet chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan has sent a telegram
to Gorbachev expressing concern at recent mass deportations of
Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, and requesting that Azerbaijani
interior ministry troops should be withdrawn from all Aremenian-populated
areas. The Armenian Supreme Soviet is to meet in extraordinary
session today to debate the "explosive" situation in Nagorno-Karabakh,
TASS reported April 24. (Liz Fuller)

NATURAL DISASTERS IN TAJIKISTAN. The month of April has seen
Tajikistan visited by a severe earthquake and, according to a
TASS report of April 24, major landslides in the Dangara Plateau
region, which in recent years has been transformed into one of
the republic's most important agricultural regions. The Dangara
landslides have not only left hundreds homeless but have damaged
irrigation and road systems. The republic will probably have
to deal with the results of the disasters with little outside
help: in the last year, a number of Central Asian officials have
lamented the breakdown of the disaster-assistance system coordinated
by Moscow. (Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT CONDEMNS ROMANIAN-SOVIET TREATY. In a
statement issued April 22, the Moldavian Popular Front condemned
the Romanian-Soviet treaty of friendship recently signed by Gorbachev
and Romanian President Ion Iliescu as "codifying a relationship
of vassalage" of Romania toward the USSR. Expressing astonishment
that the Romanian government was the first of the former Warsaw
Pact member countries to sign a friendship treaty with Moscow,
the Moldavian Popular Front alleged that Romania had "failed
to give a political and legal appraisal" of the Ribbentrop-Molotov
pact and its secret protocols. The Front took issue with the
treaty's blanket recognition of existing borders, terming it
contrary to the aspirations for national independence of the
Baltic States, Georgia, and Armenia. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN PRIME MINISTER IN TALLINN. On the heels of an official
visit by Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar to Moldavia,
Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc has arrived in Estonia to
participate, together with the three Baltic Prime Ministers and
pro-reform officials from other republics and from the Moscow
and Leningrad city soviets, in a new round of the "Tallinn meetings"
on horizontal economic links among republics. (Vladimir Socor).


MOLDAVIAN JEWISH TREATISE PUBLISHED. For the first time since
the Soviet annexation, a book on the history of Jews in Moldavia
has been published in the republic, TASS and Novosti reported
April 24. Titled From the History of Moldavia's Jewry, the massive
volume surveys almost 600 years of Jewish presence in Moldavia.
Owing to their historical roots in Moldavia, the Jews are considered
an indigenous population by the Moldavian national movement.
(Vladimir Socor)



Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise


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

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