Fear of life in one form or another is the great thing to exorcise. - William James
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 82, 29 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT PROTEST. On April 26 Radio Vilnius read
the text of a statement adopted that day by the Lithuanian government.
Noting the attacks by Soviet soldiers on the night of April 24-25,
the government categorically protested the USSR armed forces'
acts and demanded that the buildings and property seized be returned
without delay. The government said that the entire responsibility
for possible consequences rests with the USSR government and
that it could not guarantee that the citizens of the Republic
of Lithuania would not take retaliatory actions. (Saulius Girnius)


RALLY IN VILNIUS. On April 27 thousands of people gathered in
Independence Square in Vilnius to attend a rally called by Sajudis.
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis
said that the people might have to expect events perhaps even
more horrible than those in the past. Sajudis Council Chairman
Juozas Tumelis invited people from the whole republic to attend
a rally on May 4 in Vingis Park in Vilnius that will advise how
the population should behave in the face of occupation and the
scheduled spring callup of young men into the Soviet military.
(Saulius Girnius)

LATVIAN-USSR AGREEMENT ON BUDGET. Radio Moscow reported on April
27 that Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis had said that an
agreement had been reached with the Soviet authorities on Latvia's
contribution to the Soviet budget. Latvia has agreed to pay 350
million rubles and not the 4,200 million rubles that the USSR
had previously demanded. (Saulius Girnius)

BOMB EXPLODES IN TALLINN. A bomb exploded on April 26 near a
Communist Party office in Tallinn, TASS reported that day. The
explosion, the fourth this year, damaged nearby buildings, but
injured no one. TASS called the explosion a "terrorist act" aimed
at organizations backed by the non-Estonian population, but local
officials suggested the explosions were set off by those opposed
to independence in order to provoke intervention by Soviet security
troops. (Riina Kionka)

BALTIC COMMUNIST COORDINATING COUNCIL. TASS reported on April
27 that a Congress of Baltic Communist Parties was held that
day in Riga. The congress called for the creation of a single
body to help unite Communists against "concentrated pressure"
from the state authorities in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
It approved a document protesting attempts by Western states
to interfere in the internal affairs of the Baltic republics
and asked the Soviet authorities to take preventive measures
to limit "the diplomatic aggression from outside." (Saulius Girnius)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV TO ORDER TOUGH MEASURES. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
announced on April 26 that in order to maintain economic and
political stability in the country he would resort to "tough
measures...right up to the toughest," according to Western and
Soviet accounts over the weekend. Gorbachev told the USSR Supreme
Soviet that republics, enterprises, and workers must show more
discipline. These comments echo a theme of "discipline before
reform" that pervades Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov's new "Action
Program." Gorbachev plans to introduce his measures immediately
after the May Day holiday. (John Tedstrom)

WHAT HAS GORBACHEV TARGETED? Gorbachev's tough disciplinary measures
will aim to redress three primary problems. The first is that
rebellious republics had failed to pay approximately 34 billion
rubles into the USSR State budget by the end of March 1991; as
a result, the all-Union budget fell short by over 60%. Second,
a serious deterioration in the ability of the traditional economic
structure to cope with planning, supply links, etc., has contributed
to a fall in national income in the first quarter of 1991 by
10% and industrial output by 5%. Finally, strikes in the USSR
during the first quarter of 1991 resulted in 1.2 million man
days of work lost (mostly in the RSFSR and Ukraine) and that
trend increased in April. (John Tedstrom)

GOVERNMENT INVITES POLITICAL PARTIES FOR CONSULTATIONS. The USSR
Cabinet of Ministers held discussions April 26-27 with members
of various political parties on the cabinet's anti-crisis program
and the Union treaty, Radio Rossii reported April 27. A wide
spectrum of groups participated, from Democratic Russia to the
hard-line United Front of Workers and the Orthodox Monarchist
Union. Democratic Russia members quickly left the meeting, however,
apparently finding themselves in the minority among members of
anti-democratic groups. As on past occasions when the central
government has invited members of new political groups for consultations,
those parties (like the monarchists' union or the Liberal Democratic
party) which in fact do not play a major role in the country's
political arena tended to be over-represented. (Vera Tolz)

CPSU POLITBURO CHANGES. A number of personnel changes were approved
at the plenum of the CPSU Central Committee held on April 24-25,
TASS reported April 26. Dzhumgalbek Amanbaev, appointed in early
April to head the Communist Party in Kyrgyzstan, was coopted
to the Central Committee and elected to the Politburo; his predecessor,
Absamat Masaliev, was dropped. The head of the Moldavian Communist
Party, Grigore Eremei, appointed to lead the Moldavian Communist
Party in February, and Major-General Mikhail Surkov, appointed
Secretary of the All-Army Party Committee at the end of March,
were also elected to the Politburo. (Elizabeth Teague)

OTHER CHANGES IN CPSU LEADERSHIP. Oleg Baklanov lost his post
as Central Committee Secretary "in view of his appointment as
deputy chairman of the Defense Council under the USSR President."
Central Committee Secretary Valentin Falin was appointed chairman
of the Central Committee's Commission for International Policy
Issues. Finally, Stanislav Shatalin was deemed to have lost his
Central Committee membership in view of the fact that he had
quit the CPSU. (Elizabeth Teague)

GORBACHEV REFUSES TO SIGN LABOR LEGISLATION. On April 26 the
USSR Supreme Soviet sent an amendment to the USSR labor code
to Gorbachev, who refused to sign it on the grounds that it conflicts
with the USSR Law on Trade Unions, Radio Moscow reported that
day. The amendment would have allowed management to dismiss employees
without approval of the trade unions, while the law on trade
unions requires that their permission be given. USSR Minister
of Justice Sergei Lushchikov defended the amendment, arguing
that managers have to be free to hire and fire workers. The Supreme
Soviet will review the amendment sometime after May 1. The USSR
Constitution permits Gorbachev to veto legislation; this occasion
marks the first time that he has exercised this prerogative.
(NCA/Dawn Mann)

FOREIGN TRADE IN 1990. Reuters on April 28 cited the latest issue
of Ekonomika i zhizn' on foreign trade statistics for 1990. The
value of exports dropped from 68.8 billion rubles in 1989 to
60.9 billion rubles, while imports fell from 72.1 to 70.7 billion.
In an accompanying commentary, it was noted that Soviet machinery
exports were hopelessly uncompetitive on the world market, and
that in the mid-1980s only 29% of Soviet mass-produced fabricates
corresponded to world norms. The recently imposed 40% tax on
hard-currency earnings has not exactly encouraged would-be Soviet
exporters. (Keith Bush)

PAVLOV TO BRUSSELS. Prime Minister Pavlov meets with Jacques
Delors, President of the European Commission on April 29 to discuss
European Community aid to Moscow. TASS noted on April 28 that
the meeting is "unofficial." According to Oleg Belous, a Soviet
embassy counsellor, the meeting will treat the question of a
$1.3 billion food and technical assistance package worked out
in Rome in December 1990, Reuters reported April 28. (Suzanne
Crow)

GORBACHEV ON JAPAN TRIP. Gorbachev defended the results of his
trip to Japan speaking before the Supreme Soviet on April 26.
Gorbachev insisted that "the results of the visit enable us to
consider that a breakthrough in Soviet-Japanese relations is
possible," TASS reported April 26. (Suzanne Crow)

PRIMAKOV ON MIDEAST. Presidential Adviser Evgenii Primakov said
in an interview with French Radio on April 28 that it is hard
to see how success in the Middle East peace process can be achieved
without including the PLO in talks. He said he perceived "positive"
changes in U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's position on
the peace process and applauded the United States' increased
attention to the role of European countries and the PLO in the
process. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET KURDS HELPING IRAQI KURDS. Ethnic Kurds in the USSR are
gathering supplies for Kurds in Iraq, Izvestia reported April
24. They are opening a special bank account that will be used
for channelling relief aid to the Iraqi Kurds. Izvestia also
said a delegation of Soviet Kurds met in Moscow with USSR Supreme
Soviet deputies to discuss efforts to help the Kurds. The Supreme
Soviet deputies said they stressed the rights of Iraqi Kurds
to maintain a separate cultural identity. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)


USSR-GERMAN DEAL ON URANIUM MINE. The German government said
April 25 it will sign a treaty with Moscow giving Germany full
ownership of a former East German uranium mine, half of which
is owned by the Soviet Union. Moscow will surrender its 50% stake
at no charge. In return, the Soviet side will not have to pay
for cleaning up the polluted sites it left behind in the states
of Saxony and Thuringia. The accord will be signed in May, Reuters
reported April 25. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)

GERMAN CONCERN OVER SOVIET CREDITWORTHINESS. Somewhat later than
their colleagues in other Western countries, German bankers and
officials are sounding the alarm about the low and sinking credit
rating of the USSR. Axel Lebahn in Die Zeit of April 26 warned
that there can be no more talk of a Soviet sovereign risk. Georg
Krupp and Norbert Walter of Deutsche Bank advised audiences in
Frankfurt and Washington against extending any further unbacked
loans to the Soviet Union, and Walter disclosed that his bank
has already set aside reserves to cover losses if Moscow defaults,
The Financial Times of April 25 and NCA on April 26 reported.
(Keith Bush)

SOVIET TROOPS IN GERMANY. Soviet military authorities in Germany
appealed to Bonn on April 26 to prevent criminals from escaping
justice by deserting their units and claiming political asylum,
Reuters reported. During a visit by the German Defense Minister
to Soviet headquarters, the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet forces,
Matvei Burlkakov, said that 177 Soviet soldiers and 92 dependents
were missing. On April 28 Burlakov told Radio Rossii that, despite
strained conditions, army units in Germany continued to train
normally. He also said that many troops would depart Germany
by way of Leningrad and Klaipeda, ultimately arriving in southern
Ukraine and the northern Caucasus. (Stephen Foye)

LUSHEV RELIEVED OF DUTIES. Gorbachev issued a decree on April
26 releasing Army General Petr Lushev from his duties as First
Deputy Minister of Defense and as Commander-in-Chief of the Warsaw
Pact. According to TASS, Lushev will transferred to "another
job," but no further details were given. The Warsaw Pact's military
structure was officially dissolved on March 31. (NCA/Stephen
Foye)

SURKOV ON ARMY'S COMMUNISTS. Major General Mikhail Surkov, recently
elected Secretary of the All-Army Party Committee, told Novosti
on April 26 that the number of servicemen entering the ranks
of the Communist Party exceeds the number of those leaving. According
to Surkov, in 1990 34,616 servicemen left the Party. Of those,
roughly a third were officers, while 51% were non-officers. During
the same period, however, 41,474 servicemen joined the Party.
Of those, according to Surkov, 40% were officers, 45% were cadets
from military academies, and only 3% were non-officers. (Stephen
Foye)

PHOTOGRAPHS OF NOVOCHERKASSK RIOTS PUBLISHED. Komsomol'skaya
pravda of April 27 published photographs of the workers' riots
in Novocherkassk in June 1962, AFP reported that day. Details
of the riots and their bloody suppression had long been withheld
from the public, until the same newspaper in June 1989 referred
to the unrest and gave a death toll of 22-24. The latest revelation
also reproduces a written promise from a soldier "to keep as
a state secret" what he had witnessed during the crackdown. (Keith
Bush)

NEW PROGRAM TO COMBAT AIDS. The USSR Cabinet of Ministers is
expected soon to adopt a state anti-AIDS program, according to
Sovetskaya Rossiya of April 25, as cited by TASS of the same
date. Although the current official figures are 619 HIV-positive
and less than 60 "full-blown" AIDS patients in the USSR, experts
are quoted as predicting 1.5 million HIV-positive cases by the
year 2,000. This is attributed to the lack of medical equipment
and to "extensive tourism." 21 children are said to be among
those who have died from the disease, but a total death toll
is not given by the TASS report. (Keith Bush)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


YELTSIN IN KUZBASS. A plan to end the Kuzbass miners' strike
was drafted at a weekend meeting in Moscow between RSFSR Supreme
Soviet chairman Boris Yeltsin, representatives of the striking
Kuzbass miners, and the interrepublican parliamentary group,
news agencies reported April 26-28. The plan reportedly consists
of juridical and financial measures and offers miners "an elegant
solution." Yeltsin will personally present the plan to miners
tonight in Novokuznetsk and will stay in the Kuzbass to celebrate
the May 1 holiday. The Kuzbass strike committee sent a telegram
to Yeltsin last week demanding an explanation of last week's
joint declaration; on April 28 a spokesman said, "We are hoping
this visit will not leave us empty-handed. If [Yeltsin] says
he thinks there is a solution we don't expect his words to be
empty." (Dawn Mann)

50 MILLION WORKERS STAGE SYMBOLIC STRIKE IN RSFSR. According
to TASS April 26, some 50 million workers in the RSFSR participated
in symbolic one-hour work stoppages or in meetings on Friday,
in response to calls issued by the Federation of Independent
Russian Trade Unions and Democratic Russia. Participation was
fairly even across the Russian Federation, with the exception
of Moscow, where only a few work collectives were reported to
have supported the strike call. Supporters of the Democratic
Russia movement plan to hold a rally today in Moscow to support
striking miners and Yeltsin, Radio Rossii reported April 28.
(Dawn Mann)

DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA NOMINATES YELTSIN FOR PRESIDENT. The Democratic
Russia movement nominated Boris Yeltsin as its candidate for
the upcoming presidential elections in the RSFSR, TASS reported
April 27. While nominating Yeltsin, however, several leaders
of the movement criticized him for signing a joint declaration
with Mikhail Gorbachev last week. TASS quoted Professor Yurii
Afanas'ev as saying that "we should support Yeltsin, but nevertheless
say the truth about the declaration he signed." (Vera Tolz)

BAKATIN REPORTED TO RUN FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY. Former liberal
MVD chief Vadim Bakatin was reportedly nominated by the CPSU
as candidate for the RSFSR presidential election, DPA quoted
Nezavisimaya gazeta (April 27) as saying. The newspaper reportedly
cited unidentified "trustworthy sources" for the information.
(Vera Tolz)

RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET SUPPORTS JOINT DECLARATION. On April 26,
the RSFSR Supreme Soviet supported the declaration on anti-crisis
measures signed April 23 by Mikhail Gorbachev and leaders of
nine Union republics, including Yeltsin. A special resolution
of the Russian parliament, supported by 152 deputies with seven
against, stressed the need to start introducing on the territory
of the RSFSR the anti-crisis measures stipulated in the declaration.
TASS quoted the resolution of the parliament as calling for the
acceleration of work on the Union treaty and urging workers in
the republic to refrain from actions of "civil disobedience."
(Vera Tolz)

OTHER RSFSR REACTIONS TO DECLARATION. Igor' Klochkov, chairman
of the RSFSR Independent Federation of Trade Unions, praised
the April 23 joint declaration, Trud reported April 26. He added,
however, that the declaration alone was not enough to stop strikes,
and that people demand concrete "measures, rather than declarations."
He said his federation would not call for work stoppages in agriculture
or in vital industries. But he said "where strikes are not banned
by law, work collectives can do so." In his reaction to the declaration,
leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky condemned
those six republics that did not sign the document. Central TV
quoted Zhirinovsky on April 27 as saying the president and the
central government should immediately outlaw those organizations
whose aim is to split the Soviet Union. (Vera Tolz)

SPLIT IN DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA. A congress of the Democratic
Party of Russia, which ended in Moscow April 28, was marked by
sharp debates and ended in several leading members leaving the
party. TASS reported that a clash occurred between the head of
the party, Nikolai Travkin, and a leader of the opposition group
within the party, chess champion Garri Kasparov. The two exchanged
accusations of conducting wrong policies. The leadership of the
party and the opposition group proposed two different party programs
for adoption at the congress. After the majority voted for the
leadership's program, Kasparov and another opposition leader,
Arkadii Murashev, announced their decision to leave the organization.
(Vera Tolz)

STUDENTS DEMAND IMPROVEMENT OF STATUS. A recently created Council
of the Federation for the Solution of Problems of Students organized
a mass rally in Leningrad April 27, Radio Moscow-1 reported.
Three thousand participants in the demonstration demanded an
increase in stipends up to 190 rubles. A similar demonstration
was planned April 26 in Moscow, but the Moscow city soviet denied
students permission to demonstrate in front of its headquarters.
It proposed the entrance to the Gorky park as a possible place
for the demonstration, but the students did not find it satisfactory
and called of the rally altogether, TASS reported April 26. (Vera
Tolz)

URALMASH WORKERS VOTE FOR DEPOLITIZATION. Workers at the giant
Uralmash heavy-machine building factory in Sverdlovsk in the
Urals have voted to ban organized political activity on plant
premises, TASS reported April 26. This was the result of a trailblazing
referendum in which 65% of Uralmash's 50,000 workers took part;
TASS said nearly 87% of those polled voted for the ban. First
to be hit by the ban will be the CPSU, which has until now had
its own office space and permanent staff paid for by the factory.
This is an important decision, likely to be followed by other
plants in the Urals. (Elizabeth Teague)

LENINGRAD UNEMPLOYMENT TO TOP 50,000. Leningradskaya pravda of
March 27 (just arrived in Munich) reports offical Leningrad soviet
forecasts of unemployment of more than 50,000 persons in 1991.
An additional 10,000 workers in the surrounding areas within
Leningrad oblast will also likely lose their jobs. There are
currently only 6,000 vacant positions in the city, only 500 of
which are for engineers and technical workers. Positions for
engineers were down in January 1991 alone by about 3,000 due
to a reduction of arms production in Leningrad factories. That
trend should continue and will have to be made up by shifting
production to civilian goods--an increasingly difficult process
in the chaotic Soviet economy. (John Tedstrom)

PROTESTS IN SIBERIA. Residents in Chita (East Siberia) blocked
their main street April 27 to protest a lack of milk deliveries
to the town of 350,000. TASS reported the same day that virtually
all food products are in short supply in Chita. TASS did not
report the size of the protest, but said that city officials
promised to correct the situation. (NCA/John Tedstrom)

BELORUSSIAN STRIKES END. Most striking workers in Minsk, Orsha,
and elsewhere in Belorussia went back to work April 26, heeding
a call by protest leaders to suspend the strikes until the republican
Supreme Soviet goes into session on May 21. The decision of the
Minsk Strike Committee was apparently prompted in part by fear
of violence. In addition, it became clear that the strikers'
main demand--that the parliament call an emergency session--would
not be met. But the Washington Post and other newspapers on April
27 and 28 quoted labor activists as saying that the experiences
of this month will be used to broaden and systemize an independent
workers' movement in Belorussia. (Kathy Mihalisko)

UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET ON CHERNOBYL. The Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet marked the fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe
with a minute's silence and an appeal to the population, Radio
Kiev and Ukrinform-TASS reported April 26. The appeal says that
in Ukraine alone about two million people were threatened by
radiation and thousands died, resulting in a "national tragedy."
The Ukrainian parliament, the statement added, is doing everything
in its power to aid the victims and will continue to demand that
the government in Moscow fulfills its obligations. (Roman Solchanyk)


GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO ABOLISH TSKHINVALI RAION. Radio
Tbilisi reported April 27 that the Georgian parliament had voted
to abolish Tskhinvali raion in the former South Ossetian Autonomous
Oblast (which was abolished as a separate autonomous formation
last December). The territory of the former Tskhinvali raion
will be subsumed into the neighbouring Gori raion which lies
outside the borders of the South Ossetian AO. (Liz Fuller)

TURKISH ELECTRICITY FOR NAKHICHEVAN. AFP April 27 quoted a government
spokesman in Ankara as disclosing that Turkey will begin supplying
electricity next month to the Nakhichevan ASSR of Azerbaijan
as part of an agreement signed in Baku the previous day between
Turkish energy minister Fahrettin Kurt and the Azerbaijani Prime
Minister Gasan Gasanov. (Liz Fuller)

ARMENIAN CP REFUSES TO GIVE UP HEADQUARTERS. At the third stage
of its congress April 28 (the two preceding stages were held
in September and November last year) the Armenian CP voted not
to hand over the Party headquarters building in Erevan, in defiance
of an Armenian parliament resolution of April 17 on the nationalization
of all Communist Party property, TASS reported April 28. (Liz
Fuller)

MOLDAVIAN LIBRARIES GET RID OF COMMUNIST PROPAGANDA. A conference
of Moldavian librarians discussed the implementation of instructions
from the republic's Ministry of Culture to "end the politicization
and ideologization of libraries," Moldovapres reported April
25. Works of Marxism-Leninism and communist propaganda are to
be replaced on the shelves by books from the "national literature"
and "world culture." Acquisition of propaganda materials of any
political party from library or other public funds has been discontinued.
(Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIA A SCENE OF "WAR ON MONUMENTS". TASS reported April 24
on widespread "vandalism" against Soviet monuments in Moldavia,
resulting in damage to Lenin statues and to Red Army monuments.
According to TASS, a "war on monuments has become a routine phenomenon
in Moldavia". (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN-JEWISH PROJECT ON MONUMENTS. In an interview with Radio
Free Europe in Washington, aired April 27, Moldavia's Minister
of Culture and Religious Affairs Ion Ungureanu announced a project
to catalogue and restore Jewish historic monuments, synagogues,
and cemeteries in Moldavia. Moldavia wants to enable Jews originating
there, "wherever they may live today, to visit these monuments
in the land where their ancestors or relatives once lived." Moldavia
has been a major source of Jewish emigration to the West and
Israel for the past century. (Vladimir Socor)

ROMANIA SETS UP SPECIAL BODY ON RELATIONS WITH MOLDAVIA. The
Romanian Foreign Ministry is setting up an Under-Secretariat
of State for Relations with the Republic of Moldavia, a Foreign
Ministry spokesman, cited by Rompres, announced April 25. The
new body will "provide a direct and permanent link between the
Romanian and the Moldavian authorities" and "oversee economic,
cultural, political, and human exchanges." It will also "closely
watch the republic's internal developments, its relations with
the center,... [and] Moldavia's relations with other states,
supporting Moldavia's assertion in the European and international
arena, and observing the reactions of other states to Moldavia's
steps toward sovereignty and independence." (Vladimir Socor)


UZBEK POPULAR FRONT HEADQUARTERS CLOSED BY AUTHORITIES. Soviet
authorities have closed the Uzbek popular front "Birlik"'s headquarters
in Tashkent, saying that the office is a fire hazard. "Birlik"
co-chairman Bekjan Tashmuhammadov told RFE-RL by phone on April
26 that he believes this is a pretext for hampering the front's
operation. He added that the office had been shut down for the
previous 20 days. Tashmuhammadov said that authorities had closed
"Birlik"'s headquarters for 17 days in March that coincided with
the holding of the all-Union referendum on the USSR's future.
Shuhrat Ismatullayev, the front's other co-chairman, says the
front is fighting an effort by local judicial officials to seize
the building. (NCA/Uzbek BD)


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

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