|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 84, 02 May 1991
BALTIC STATES MAY DAY IN LITHUANIA. The Lithuanian authorities had earlier decided that May Day was not a public holiday in the republic. Workers wishing to celebrate the day were to make up the day by working on Saturday. TASS reported May 1 that 2,000-3,000 people gathered in Vilnius by the Lenin monument and heard Lithuanian Communist Party First Secretary Mykolas Burokevicius criticize the Lithuanian authorities. Radio Independent Lithuania reported May 1 that the LCP organized a rally in Klaipeda at which considerably fewer people attended than in the past. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA'S PRE-WAR FOREIGN MINISTER DIES. On April 30 Juozas Urbsys, the last foreign minister of independent Lithuania, died, Radio Independent Lithuania reported on May 1. The 95-year old Urbsys was arrested in 1940 and imprisoned in Siberia until Stalin's death. In 1988 he published his memoirs on the events in 1940, which became a best-seller. In 1989 he expressed his support for Lithuania's independence, and served as an example of the continuity between the pre-war Republic of Lithuania and the current efforts to reestablish it. (Saulius Girnius) TRADE UNION RALLY IN VILNIUS. On April 30 the Lithuanian Confederation of Free Trade Unions held a rally in Vilnius. A number of Lithuanian workers' organizations did not support the rally that was, however, endorsed by the Lithuanian Communist Party. The RFE Lithuanian Service reported on May 1 that Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Kazimieras Motieka and National Defense Department Director-General Audrius Butkevicius addressed the rally, but most of the speakers condemned the government, especially for its decision to take away the property of the confederation. (Saulius Girnius) MAY DAY IN LATVIA. Three political parties marked May Day in Riga, reported TASS on May 1. The Latvian Communist Party committee of the city of Riga held a meeting on the banks of the Daugava River--a traditional site for LCP-sponsored manifestations in the postwar decades. The Latvian Democratic Labor Party, whose members are mostly former LCP members holding more progressive views than the mainstream of the LCP, convened near the monument to the 1905 revolutionaries. The Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party members gathered around the monument to the poet Janis Rainis, a leading personality in the party prior to and during Latvia's independence. (Dzintra Bungs) REPUBLICAN INDUSTRY MINISTRY OFFICIALS MEET IN JURMALA. According to Diena of April 29, representatives of ministries of industry of Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania discussed issues relating to jurisdiction over various industries in their republics. At the conclusion of their two-day meeting in Jurmala they adopted a protocol stating that "all enterprises, functioning or being established in a republic, regardless of ownership, will be subject to the laws of that republic and to such USSR laws in effect in that republic." The Latvian Ministry of Industry is currently preparing to bring the All-Union enterprises in Latvia under Latvian jurisdiction. (Dzintra Bungs) PEOPLE'S FRONT ON RESTORING LATVIA'S INDEPENDENCE. On April 27, the council of the People's Front of Latvia drafted a plan--intended for the Supreme Council deputies--to conclude the transition period to the restoration of Latvia's independence and achieve de facto independence in 1992. According to Diena of April 29, the plan calls for the nullification of the July 21, l940 declaration establishing Soviet rule in Latvia; revocation of the Latvian SSR Constitution and its replacement by legislation for the transition period; reinstatement of the code of civil laws adopted in 1937; reestablishment of the citizenship of the Republic of Latvia; and the registration of Latvia's residents. (Dzintra Bungs) MILK AND MEAT PRICES REMAIN STEADY FOR LATVIAN CONSUMERS. Diena announced on April 29 that while the state purchasing prices of milk and meat would rise on May 2, the prices paid by the consumer for meat and dairy products would not be increased for the time being. Consumer prices may rise after the government reexamines the republican budget for 1991. (Dzintra Bungs) MAY DAY IN ESTONIA. May Day commemorations in Estonia were quiet and uneventful, according to an RFE Estonian Service report from Tallinn that day. Mart Linnart told RFE/RL that only about 2,000 demonstrators gathered in Tallinn's Freedom Square to celebrate workers' rights, holding signs with such slogans as "Yes to the Union Treaty" and "No to Ethnic Hatred." A new, more sharply worded slogan read: "Shame to the Soviet Politicians who have Allowed an Anti-Soviet Wave and the Rise of Separatism." The meeting featured Anatolii Lapukhin, who warned in his speech that non-Estonians should leave the republic when the Soviet military did so, lest nationalists take to the streets "as they had in Germany in 1933." (Riina Kionka) DECISION ON NARVA ZONE DELAYED. The Estonian Supreme Council on April 30 postponed voting on a proposal to set up a free economic zone in the northeastern city of Narva, TASS reported that day. The Narva Free Economic Zone (NFEZ) proposal would tie Narva's industry, energy plants and raw materials into an economic conglomerate that function as a unit outside republic control. Opponents see the plan not as an economic but as a political move toward northeastern Estonia's secession. But the plan's proponents deny any such aspirations, according to a series of interviews in Eesti Ekspress (April 26). (Riina Kionka) BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING CONCERNING CSCE. Foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania met in Riga on April 30 to coordinate their work in connection with CSCE meeting in Berlin June 19-21. At the press conference following their meeting, according to Radio Riga of April 30, the ministers expressed the hope that the USSR would not place obstacles against Baltic participation in the Berlin conference. They noted that an expulsion of Baltic representatives, as happened in Paris in November 1990, would not promote the international authority of the Soviet Union which was already shaky. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GLOOMY MAY DAY IN MOSCOW. Yesterday's May Day celebration on Red Square, organized for the first time by official trade union organizations alone rather than by the CPSU, was perfunctory and joyless. Western agencies reported May 2 that approximately 50,000 workers attended, carrying slogans reflecting the country's dire economic straits. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was present atop the Lenin Mausoleum, attended by Supreme Soviet chairman Anatolii Lukyanov, but did not speak. Radio Moscow noted tersely that the tribune looked "somewhat different." Security was tight, but the USSR's democratic opposition boycotted the rally, sparing Gorbachev the humiliation he endured at last year's meeting in the face of jeering protesters. There were, however, some neo-Stalinist and anti-semitic slogans to be seen. (Sallie Wise) UNEMPLOYMENT COULD REACH 40 MILLION. The director of the All-Union Unemployment Fund, Anatolii Kapustin, estimates that unemployment in the USSR could rise from its present level of 8 million to as much as 40 million under market conditions. Kapustin, a member of the Congress of People's Deputies, was interviewed by Rabochaya tribuna of April 30, TASS and AFP reported that day. The Fund is an information service set up by Rabochaya tribuna to help people find work. Kapustin reckoned that 2 million of the current figure are long-term unemployed, while 6 million are frictionally unemployed, or between jobs. (Keith Bush) FACTS BEHIND UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES. Kapustin is only telling part of the story. The traditional Soviet labor market is very rigid and has proved itself incapable of allocating labor resources efficiently. Labor mobility is low, and there is little chance for retraining. There is a poor match of workers to jobs both regionally and professionally; several million jobs in the USSR remain open today. In contrast to what Kapustin implies, the non-state sector has welcomed millions of displaced workers (cooperatives and individual labor activity alone have employed 9 million since mid-1988). This suggests that a stronger market, not the traditional Soviet social system, holds the answer. (John Tedstrom) NEW ESTIMATES OF POVERTY LEVEL. The unlikely figure of Evgenii Primakov, Gorbachev's special Mideast envoy, has rejected the Goskomtsen criterion of the poverty level after the retail price increases of April 2, The Financial Times reported May 1. Primakov is said to have told a Security Council session that estimates of the minimal subsistence level of 207 rubles a month, made by Boris Bolotin of IMEMO, were closer to the mark. Bolotin has also calculated that the compensation for the lower paid of 60 rubles a month covers only one third of the price increases, and not 85% as the government has claimed. Commersant has suggested a minimum of 186 rubles a month as the subsistence level in big cities. (Keith Bush) DE MAIZIERE SAYS UNIFICATION ALMOST STOPPED. Former East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere said in an interview with the mass circulation Super (May 1) that Soviet hardliners were keen on using troops to prevent German unification. "There was a change of atmosphere in the Politburo and the army," said de Maiziere referring to his impressions after an April 1990 visit to the Soviet Union. After this visit, de Maiziere told German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, "we have only three or four months" to bring about unification, Super reported. According to the former Prime Minister, German unification "would practically be impossible now," AFP reported May 1. (Suzanne Crow) MISSILE TEST IN SEA OF JAPAN. According to a report in the May 1 Washington Times, the USSR fired two SLBMs into the Sea of Japan shortly before and shortly after Gorbachev's visit to Japan. The Japanese government protested to Moscow that the missile splashdowns were too close to the Japanese mainland, the Times said. According to US intelligence sources cited in the paper's report, the missiles were launched from a submarine in the Barents Sea. In the past, Moscow has used such missile launches--for example the SS-18 firings which landed 500 miles from Hawaii in late September 1987--as a means of nuclear muscle-flexing. (Suzanne Crow) AIRCRAFT TECHNOLOGY TO ROK. Officials from the Soviet Chamber of Commerce office in Seoul said at a news conference on May 1 the USSR is willing to offer South Korea expertise to produce jet fighters and aerospace technology, AFP reported May 1. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) HONECKER SWITCHES HOSPITALS. The Bild Zeitung, a mass circulation tabloid, reported on April 30 that former East German leader Erich Honecker was moved from the Krasnogorsk Military Hospital because authorities there found him "undesirable." Honecker was returned to the luxurious Moscow Aviators' Hospital to a large suite normally occupied by Soviet generals. His wife occupies a comparable suite next door, AFP reported April 30. Moscow city officials complained last month that Honecker would need to apply for a Moscow residence permit just like everybody else. (See Daily Report, April 18). (Suzanne Crow) TURKEY RETURNS HELICOPTER, NOT PILOT. On May 1, Turkey returned the MI-8 military transport helicopter which was used by a defecting Soviet lieutenant on April 24 to fly to Turkey. Turkey did not return the pilot, identified by Soviet officials as Lieutenant Irek Gimatov. Gimatov is seeking asylum; the USSR is seeking extradition. Turkish officials said no decision has yet been made on his asylum request, Reuters and AP reported May 1. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE ON LEADERSHIP MISTAKE. Former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said in an interview with IAN on April 29 that the Soviet leadership made a crucial mistake in 1988 when it restructured the state from a unitary, centralized system to a democratic form of government. He maintained that he was among those who had favored the creation of a strong presidency prior to the formation of a parliamentary system. Instead of relying on a strong executive presidency, the Soviet leadership mistakenly devoted itself to the creation of a parliamentary system which became unstable, he said. (Alexander Rahr) SHEVARDNADZE CONTINUES TO WARN OF DICTATORSHIP. Shevardnadze told journalists that the threat of dictatorship "has grown" recently, AP reported on April 30. He maintained that there are plans to "double or triple the size of the army" to impose a nationwide state of emergency. Shevardnadze said a coup is possible if the government does not succeed in stabilizing the economy. He indicated that Gorbachev is not capable of keeping the army under firm control, and did not exclude the possibility that military units could be used against people, even in Moscow, without Gorbachev's approval. (Alexander Rahr) SOYUZ LEADER SUPPORTS APRIL 23 DECLARATION. Yurii Blokhin, head of the conservative parliamantary faction, Soyuz, said that his group supports the joint agreement signed between Gorbachev and nine republican leaders on April 23, because it contains ideas shared by Soyuz, such as the introduction of a special regime in basic industries. According to Reuters on April 30, Blokhin also said that Soyuz so far has failed to collect the 450 signatures needed to convene a special session of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies, at which it wants to demand the introduction of a state of emergency in the entire country. (Alexander Rahr) NEW ATTACK ON THE KGB. A KGB official from Altai has called for the resignation of KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov. Vladimir Aladkin writes in Stolitsa (no. 11-12) that reforms in the KGB will not take place under the present KGB leadership. Aladkin cites recent internal KGB orders, issued by KGB first deputy Genii Ageev, to demonstrate the anti-reform stance of KGB leaders who, he claims, have become alienated from the rest of the agency. Aladkin stresses that the KGB leadership is resisting the subordination of KGB branches to local soviet control. He suggests decentralizing the agency to republican level and welcomes the creation of a Russian KGB, which, he says, should become a more liberal institution. (Alexander Rahr) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN SIGNS DECREE FOR COAL MINERS. During his visit to the Kuzbass, RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin on May 1 signed a decree transferring coal mines on the republic's territory from all-Union to republican jurisdiction. Yeltsin declared that this was fully in line with the demands of the miners, TASS reported the same day. Central authorities must approve the decree and are likely to do so in the face of continued labor unrest. (Yeltsin says Gorbachev will approve the decree May 5, according to Reuters, May 1). Miners must still vote on whether to end their strike. In contrast, labor leaders in the oil and gas industries are demanding direct negotiations with authorities to improve economic and social conditions, but with central authorities, not republican ones, at least for now. (John Tedstrom) POPOV DECLINES INVITATION TO RED SQUARE. Radio Rossii reported May 1 that Moscow city soviet chairman Gavriil Popov was invited to attend the May Day rally in Red Square with Gorbachev. However, at the recommendation of the Democratic Russia coordinating council, Popov declined to participate in any rally. (Sallie Wise) RYZHKOV RUNS FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY. Former Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov said he would run for the Russian presidency, if nominated. He told Komsomol'skaya pravda on May 1 that representatives of industrial and agricultural enterprises as well as public organizations have urged him to challenge Yeltsin in the June 12 elections. Ryzhkov said he also has support from the CPSU. Earlier reports had indicated that Vadim Bakatin was the CPSU's top candidate for these elections (see Daily Report, April 29.) Ryzhkov, who suffered a heart attack last December and quit the post of Prime Minister, still enjoys, according to recent opinion polls, considerable popularity in the country. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN KGB TO BE FORMED. Yeltsin and KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov will sign an agreement on the creation of a separate RSFSR KGB on May 5, Radio Moscow reported April 30. According to Sergei Stepashin, head of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee for State Security, the territorial structures of the KGB in Russia will come under the control of the RSFSR government. The Russian KGB will be subordinated to the central KGB only for special "operational missions." Interfax on April 27 identified the former deputy chief of the KGB's investigation department, General Viktor Ivanenko, as the future head of the Russian KGB. The decentralization of the KGB and its partial transfer to RSFSR republican control is a major victory for Yeltsin. (Alexander Rahr) BOCHAROV FOR ECONOMIC DICTATORSHIP. The head of the RSFSR Supreme Economic Council, Mikhail Bocharov, has outlined the basis of an extraordinary economic program prepared by his council. Pravda on April 30 quoted him as saying that the program foresees a transfer to the market through economic dictatorship. The plan suggests the suspension of all parliamentary and party activities in the USSR and Russia for two years. During that time, the country will be ruled not by the military but by professional politicians who are to be elected by the people. Bocharov, once a leading democrat and major economic consultant to Yeltsin, said that 35% of all Russian deputies share his views. (Alexander Rahr) WORK STOPS AT KALININ ATOMIC STATION. The Tver' (formerly Kalinin) soviet has decided to halt construction on the fourth block of the Kalinin atomic power station, Radio Mayak reported April 30. The safety of the station has come under suspicion because water under the stations' foundation makes the site potentially too unstable. An expert team is to determine whether construction should be completed. (John Tedstrom) GEORGIAN EARTHQUAKE DEATH TOLL RISES. As of late yesterday, Kutaisi city prefect Archil Kostava stated that 81 bodies had been recovered from the ruins, 100 people were missing, 500 injured and 80,000 homeless in the four mountain raions worst hit, Reuters and AP reported May 1. The final death toll is expected to be higher. Rescue operations are hampered by blocked roads and wrecked communication lines. Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia declared May 1 a day of mourning. AFP May 1 reported that the Soviet government has offered emergency aid, as have Israel, France and Japan. (Liz Fuller) ROUNDTABLE OFFICIAL SHOT DEAD IN ADZHAR PARLIAMENT. Nodar Imnadze, head of the Adzhar branch of the Georgian ruling Round Table coalition, was shot dead by security guards April 29 after bursting into the speaker's office of the parliament building in Batumi with a Kalashnikov rifle and injuring two officials, AFP reported May 1 quoting TASS. Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia's eagerness to abolish Adzhar autonomy is stubbornly opposed by local officials. (Liz Fuller) THIRTY-FIVE KILLED IN ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI CLASH. Up to 35 people, including women and children, were killed April 30 when Soviet troops and Azerbaijani police attacked the village of Getashen in south-west Azerbaijan. TASS quotes Armenian sources as claiming the action was part of an attempt to evict them from the village; AzerINFORM says the troops were checking passports and seeking to disarm guerrillas. The Armenian parliament issued a statement May 1 accusing the central authorities of trying to draw Armenia into "a war" with Azerbaijan and waging "state terrorism" against the republic, Radio Moscow reported May 1. (Liz Fuller) UKRAINE'S ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN NOT AS SEVERE AS SOVIET AVERAGE. Citing the republican Statistics Committee, Radio Kiev reported on April 30 that in the first quarter of 1991 Ukraine's national income fell by 4.4% and production of industrial goods by 4.1%. The average Soviet decline for the same period is almost twice as high. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT YIELDS TO LABOR UNION FEDERATION. According to an agreement with the Council of the Ukrainian Independent Union Federation, the republican government will introduce this month a "realistic minimum wage" and will begin income indexation if prices rise further, Radio Moscow reported on May 1. The government will also guarantee distribution of goods among the population if supplies continue to deteriorate. According to the agreement, medical, educational and cultural workers will receive raises which will bring their salaries to average republican levels. (Valentyn Moroz) MOLDAVIA ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON OVERCOMING MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP. The Moldavian Supreme Soviet Presidium is organizing an international conference with the participation of historians, political scientists, and international law specialists, to be held in Kishinev on June 26 to June 28, on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and ways to transcend its consequences for Bessarabia. Members of parliaments and individual diplomats from all CSCE states, the Baltic States, and other union republics are also invited to attend. The conference is sponsored by the Moldavian parliament's chairman Alexandru Mosanu and will be chaired by parliament presidium member Valeriu Matei, both of them professional historians. TASS reported on the conference May 1. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN MAY DAY RALLY SUPPORTS STRIKING MINERS. A rally organized by the Moldavian Popular Front and allied groups in Kishinev on May 1, with 20,000 attending, expressed support for the demands of the striking miners in the RSFSR and Ukraine, Moldovapres reported the same day. The rally also denounced the proposed Union treaty (which Moldavia has rejected) and expressed support for RSFSR leader Boris Yeltsin. The Moldavian Popular Front is also conducting a republic-wide collection of food for the striking miners. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN AGREEMENT ON SOCIAL PROTECTION. The Moldavian government and the republic's Trade Union Council have signed their second agreement on social protection, Radio Moscow reported April 30. The government obligates itself to set a guaranteed minimum living standard for all categories of wage earners and to increase allocations for state-subsidized meals in educational and social institutions in proportion to price increases. This agreement supplements the general agreement for 1991 signed by the republic's government and trade unions on April 15 (see Daily Report, April 17). (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN STUDENTS IN ROMANIA. At a regular news briefing April 30, reported by Rompres that day, the Romanian government's chief spokesman said that 1,500 university students and 1,200 high school students from Moldavia were enrolled in Romanian universities and schools for the current academic year. Most of them were on Romanian state scholarships, and some received scholarships from unofficial Romanian patriotic and cultural organizations. (Vladimir Socor) [as of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
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