|Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. - Winston Churchill|
No. 86, 06 May 1991
BALTIC STATES LARGE RALLY IN VILNIUS. About 200,000 people from Lithuania gathered in Vingis Park on May 4 for a rally called by Sajudis, broadcast live over Radio Independent Lithuania. Sajudis chairman Juozas Tumelis opened the rally noting that "a new, improved occupation is creeping across Lithuania." Other speakers at the three and a half hour rally included Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet Vytautas Landsbergis, his deputies Ceslovas Stankevicius and Kazimieras Motieka, Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, National Defense Department Director-General Audrius Butkevicius, and former political prisoner Monsignor Alfonsas Svarinskas. (Saulius Girnius) RALLY APPEAL. The rally adopted an appeal read by Tumelis. It called on leaders of the world's nations, parliaments, political parties, and movements to realize that the question of Lithuanian independence is not an internal matter of the USSR and that silence can only encourage the Soviet occupiers towards new actions of repression. Lithuania's political and civic determination for independence is unshakeable. The affairs of Lithuania should be deliberated at the United Nations and Lithuania should be returned to membership in the UN and all international organization, the appeal stated. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS. On May 4 and 5, in Vilnius, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party held its second congress after its reestablishment in 1989, the RFE Lithuanian Service reported on May 6. The congress amended its program and discussed at length its relations with the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (the former independent Lithuanian Communist Party). It elected a 34-member council with Lithuanian Supreme Council deputy Aloyzas Sakalas as its chairman. (Saulius Girnius) GORBUNOVS ON LATVIA'S STRIDES TOWARD INDEPENDENCE. The Latvian Supreme Council met in plenary session on May 4 to mark the first anniversary of its declaration that Latvia was starting the process of restoring an independent and democratic state, reported Radio Riga that day. Addressing the deputies, Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs said that time had shown that their decision in 1990 had been correct. Gorbunovs assessed the present situation in Latvia soberly, pointing out that "the legal status of the independence of the state has not changed." Despite numerous difficulties, he said, "our joy in the rebirth of the nation overrides everything." (Dzintra Bungs) ATTACK ON FORMER OMON CHIEF IN RIGA. According to TASS and Baltfax dispatches of May 4, Cheslav Mlynnik was shot at his apartment in Riga that day. The wounds were not life-threatening. Mlynnik was head of the OMON unit, a special MVD force, in Riga in January when his men killed four civilians and two policemen, and wounded several others. It is not clear when or by whom Mlynnik was replaced as head of the "Black Berets," as the OMON are known in Latvia. Initial reports by investigators do not reveal whether the shooting was politically motivated, though it occurred on the first anniversary of Latvia's independence declaration. (Dzintra Bungs) CULPRITS BEHIND EXPLOSIONS IN LATVIA STILL NOT FOUND. Rita Aksenoka told Lauku Avize of April 12 that two rewards--1,000 rubles and an automobile--were still to be presented to the person providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for the spate of explosions that hit Latvia in 1990 and January 1991. Aksenoka, who heads the Prosecution's investigation team, said that the 22 "unsolved" blasts fall in 3 categories: 4 were aimed at monuments to Latvian soldiers who fought against Soviet forces in World War II; at least 2 may have been directed at a noisy cafe in Riga; and the rest, including a blast near the Latvian CP headquarters, appear to have, like the first group, political motives. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS DETAILS OF KOMMERSANT REPORT ON SECOND DOCUMENT SIGNED BY TEN. The weekly Kommersant has stated that a confidential memorandum was also signed by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the leaders of the nine republics at the dacha in Novoe Ogarevo (see Daily Report, April 30). According to Radio Rossii on May 3, Kommersant said that the memorandum contains a whole range of specific undertakings by Gorbachev to the republican representatives. Gorbachev acknowledged the status of sovereign states for the union republics and guaranteed no interference in their internal affairs. It was also agreed that the new Union treaty would be signed in July, rather than May or June, that is after the election of the RSFSR president. (Ann Sheehy) SHEVARDNADZE GIVES GORBACHEV 3 OR 4 MONTHS. Former foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze spoke of the dire situation in the Soviet Union in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag (May 5). Asked "how much time does Gorbachev have?", Shevardnadze answered, "Only three or four more months." (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE ON GERMANY AND THE UN. In his May 5 Bild am Sonntag interview, Shevardnadze said that German unification (and the reaction to it within the Soviet Union) "played a very basic role in my resignation." He said, "I don't think so," when asked if he would take another position in the USSR government. On the possibility of taking over the position of UN Secretary General, Shevardnadze said, "I have a very high opinion of...de Cuellar. He should...carry on in the post. But if he gives it up and someone suggests me [for the job], then I would investigate this." (Suzanne Crow) NO MORE ARMS TO ANGOLA. The USSR wants all sides to halt arms shipments to Angola even before a proposed cease-fire takes effect. A USSR Foreign Ministry declaration made on May 4 said that "we are close enough so that common sense can finally triumph in Angola," TASS reported May 4. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV WARNS US ON TIES. In a meeting with international publishing and broadcasting entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch on May 5, Gorbachev expressed fears that the United States may be readjusting its stance toward the Soviet Union. Gorbachev said if the improvements made in US-Soviet relations under Presidents Reagan and Bush were lost, the world could be plunged into "the abyss of the cold war or a semi-cold war." Gorbachev noted his disturbance at signs that the United States is readjusting its attitude toward the USSR. He said that relations are at a crucial moment and should be treated with care, TASS and AP reported May 5 and 6. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) BRIEF MITTERRAND-GORBACHEV MEETING TODAY. French President Francois Mitterrand flys to Moscow today [May 6] for "a short working visit" with Gorbachev. TASS reported May 5 that their talks would center on European security matters and on the situation in the Middle East. TASS hinted that Franco-Soviet relations might be less than smooth, noting that "first-hand information in Moscow should help Mitterrand introduce corrections in French foreign policy, which in recent months has undergone a noticeable evolution." (Sallie Wise) VIETNAMESE PREMIER IN MOSCOW. Marking the first visit by a senior Vietnamese official to the USSR in two years, Vietnamese Prime Minister Do Muoi arrived in Moscow on May 5, TASS reported May 3. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV MEETS COMMISSION ON ARMY DEATHS. On May 5 Gorbachev discussed the results of work completed by a commission investigating the causes of "death and traumatism" suffered by servicemen in peacetime, TASS reported. Gorbachev recommended a speed-up in the drafting of legislation aimed at legally insuring the social security of servicemen and of laws on military reform, and it was also decided to create an oversight body to insure the proper observance of soldiers' rights. TASS provided no other details on the meeting, but the issue has long been a contentious one, with various mothers' groups claiming that the Defense Ministry has hindered the investigation. (NCA/Stephen Foye) DAY OF THE PRESS OBSERVED. Interviewed by Vremya May 5 in connection with the Day of the Press, head of the State Press Committee Mikhail Nenashev said he would ask Gorbachev and the new cabinet of ministers to review problems of the Soviet press. These include a sharp price rise for paper and the doubling of prices for deliveries of periodicals; the resulting increase in prices for periodicals meant that the Soviet press lost 33% of its subscribers this year. Vremya stressed, however, that the number of new periodicals still increases. This year alone 500 new papers and journals have been created. For its part, Radio Rossii marked the Day of the Press by broadcasting several comments on how the central Soviet leadership made it difficult for the RSFSR to create its own media network. (Vera Tolz) TWO NEW AIRLINES. Izvestia of May 1 reported progress towards the establishment of "Air Rossiya," a joint venture between the USSR Ministry of Civil Aviation, the RSFSR Ministry of Transport, and British Airways. It is hoped to have the first passengers flying by January 1994. Pravda of May 3 carried an article entitled "Soviet Boeings, Why Not?" that described plans for another airline, equipped with Boeing 747s and 767s. One of the new airline's founders was quoted as saying that it could be set up "without calling on state funds." Aeroflot's captive clientele will be relieved. (Keith Bush) LATEST AIDS COUNT. The chairman of the Soviet Association of the Battle Against AIDS told Radio Moscow May 3 that there are 623 reported cases in the USSR of Soviet citizens carrying the AIDS virus. There are also 586 reported cases of foreigners in the USSR who are carriers. (NCA/Keith Bush) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS TER-PETROSSYAN, MUTALIBOV MEET WITH GORBACHEV. Armenian SupSov chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan and Azerbaijani President and CP first secretary Ayaz Mutalibov met separately with Gorbachev in Moscow May 3 to discuss the situation in Azerbaijan. Ter-Petrossyan told reporters the next day that the meeting had raised hopes of a peaceful settlement. He said that USSR KGB chairman Kryuchkov had assured him that the population of the two Armenian villages attacked last week would not be forcibly deported, and that helicopter flights to the villages would be restored, TASS reported May 4. No details of Mutalibov's meeting with Gorbachev are available. (Liz Fuller) RSFSR DELEGATION TO ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN. Ter-Petrossyan also spoke by telephone with RSFSR SupSov chairman Boris Yeltsin, who promised to "follow carefully the course of events" in Azerbaijan and dispatched a group of RSFSR People's Deputies to Armenia and Azerbaijan to investigate the circumstances of last week's violence, TASS reported May 5. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIA MOURNS VICTIMS OF LAST WEEK'S VIOLENCE. Up to 200,000 Armenians gathered in Erevan May 4 to mourn the victims of last week's fighting in Azerbaijan; funeral services were subsequently held for five of the dead (The New York Times, The Boston Globe, May 5). (Liz Fuller) PARATROOPERS TO EREVAN. Several hundred Soviet paratroopers were airlifted to Armenia by helicopter May 4 to protect military personnel and installations (RIA, May 4; TASS, May 5). AP quoted Colonel-General Yuri Shatalin, commander of the USSR MVD sources in the area, as telling Izvestia that his troops were guarding the Medzamor nuclear power station near Erevan against a possible attack by Armenian nationalists. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIA BLAMED FOR CURRENT TENSION. A joint statement issued May 4 by the USSR MVD and Ministry of Defense claimed that the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and in Nagorno-Karabakh had deteriorated sharply. It condemned "terrorist acts by Armenian nationalists on military personnel" and laid the blame for the current crisis squarely on Armenia. Izvestia quotes USSR MVD officials as describing the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict as "civil war". (Liz Fuller) YELTSIN GRANTS INDEPENDENCE TO RSFSR INDUSTRY. On May 3, Yeltsin issued a directive changing the economic operating conditions of the RSFSR's coal and "other basic" industries, TASS reported that day. Enterprises in these branches transferred to republican jurisdiction "at the decision of their labor collectives" will be granted "full economic independence," including the right to determine what forms of ownership and management to adopt. The RSFSR Council of Ministers will create an independent interbranch structure charged with ensuring the creation of maximally advantageous conditions for the functioning of these enterprises and the creation of a network of smaller enterprises. This body will also see to it that relations between local government agencies and the enterprises are conducted solely on the basis of financial and tax laws adopted by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. (Dawn Mann) OTHER RSFSR INDUSTRIES TO COME UNDER REPUBLICAN CONTROL. According to RSFSR First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Skokov, the USSR government has signed an agreement that would place coal mines in Vorkuta and the Kuzbass (see below), as well as metallurgical enterprises in Cherepovets and Lipetsk and the Uralmash machine-building enterprise, under republican jurisdiction. Skokov, who was in Kemerovo on May 3, told TASS that the process of transfer was already underway and credited the miners strike with having given a push to the process. (Dawn Mann) SETTLEMENT OF MINERS' STRIKE IN DOUBT. Donetsk coal miners are now back at work, but some 50 mines in the Kuzbass and 11 of the 13 pits in Vorkuta are still idle, TASS and Reuters reported May 5. Miners are waiting for USSR officials to sign an agreement that would place the mines under RSFSR jurisdiction; according to Reuters, the central government is not happy with the plan and may not sign it. Should the central authorities not sign the plan, or amend it in ways the miners will not accept, widespread strikes are likely to resume. (Dawn Mann) YELTSIN SAYS MINERS' STRIKES STOPPED CONSERVATIVES. In his televised interview broadcast May 4, Yeltsin said that "the broad scale and organization of the strike across the country was one of the main reasons the offensive of the reactionary forces was cut off." The "workers' movement" acted as a "counterweight and in many ways determined the situation," he continued. (Dawn Mann) THIRD CONGRESS OF RUSSIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS. The third congress of the RSFSR Social Democratic Party ended May 3 in Moscow with delegates nominating Boris Yeltsin as the party's candidate for the RSFSR presidential elections. Radio Rossii reported May 4 that the congress nominated USSR people's deputy and Yeltsin's adviser Galina Starovoitova as republican vice president. (Vera Tolz) NEW CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN RSFSR. Two new candidates have been proposed for the upcoming presidential elections in the RSFSR. Radio Moscow-1 reported May 4 the nomination of Aleksei Sergeev, a leader of the hard-line United Front of Workers of Russia. Listing the elections' candidates, Sovetskaya Rossiya (May 1) mentioned among others the head of the Conservative Party of Russia, former political prisoner, Lev Ubozhko. (The newspaper mistakenly called Ubozhko "Leonid.") (Vera Tolz) CENTRAL LEADERSHIP SUPPORTS RYZHKOV. Meanwhile, the central Soviet leadership apparently supports Nikolai Ryzhkov for election as RSFSR President. Radio Moscow-1 and TASS reported May 4 that many "working collectives" in the republic would vote for Ryzhkov. TASS also said that "an initiative group" was set up in the republic to agitate for the former prime minister. On May 5, Ryzhkov was interviewed by Izvestia. He said he was going to stand against Yeltsin in the elections. He also emphasized that he "is convinced his health has been completely restored" after a heart attack last December. (Vera Tolz) RSFSR KGB CREATED. Agreement on creation of the RSFSR KGB was reached during a meeting May 5 between Yeltsin and USSR KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, TASS reported that day. The Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet appointed Major General Victor Ivanenko as acting chief of the Russian KGB. Until recently, Ivanenko was Deputy Chief of the USSR KGB Inspectorate. The initial staff of the RSFSR KGB will be 350 to 400 officers, said Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee on Security Sergei Stepashin. The complete delineation of duties between the USSR KGB and RSFSR KGB will be defined after the Union treaty is signed, he added. The main functions of the RSFSR KGB will be "comprehensive control over the situation in the republic, prevention of anti-constitutional activity, and the fight against organized crime", he said.( Victor Yasmann) YELTSIN IN USSR DEFENSE COUNCIL? Creation of the RSFSR KGB and the parliamentary bodies dealing with defense and security logically raises the question of including Yeltsin in the USSR Defense Council, said Stepashin to Radio Moscow World Service on May 4. Such a preliminary understanding already has been reached, he added. Stepashin said that RSFSR policy in defense and security matters will based on the fact that most of the USSR's defense industry, military, and security personnel are located in the Russian Federation. (Victor Yasmann) FIREARMS FOUND AT RUKH-AFFILIATED ORGANIZATION. Quoting the Ukrainian Center for Alternative Information, a news agency that functions within Ukrinform, Radio Kiev reported May 3 that three grenades, a detonator and live ammunition were found at the headquarters of a Rukh-affiliated organization in the western Ukrainian town of Brody (Lvov region). It is unclear whether the organization, which calls itself "RUKH Guard" (VARTA RUKHU), is officially recognized by the RUKH (National Movement for Rebirth of Ukraine). The news agency quoted by Radio Kiev also reported that the local town Soviet provided accommodations for the organization's headquarters. (Valentyn Moroz) INFORMALS IN ALMA-ATA MAY 1 PARADE. A Kazakh journalist has informed RFE/RL that representatives of informal groups participating in the May 1 parade in Alma-Ata displayed nationalistic slogans, including "Awaken, Kazakh!", and portraits of historical figures, such as Chinggis Khan, who were formerly condemned in Soviet historiography. Some of the participants carried green banners with star and crescent, and flashed victory signs at the reviewing stand. Kazakh president Nazarbaev did not attend. Last year, informal groups participated in the Alma-Ata May 1 celebrations for the first time. (Hasan Oraltay/Bess Brown) FATAL LANDSLIDE IN UZBEKISTAN. TASS reported on May 5 that a landslide in the village of Chigiristan, near Uzbekistan's coal-mining center at Angren, killed more than 50 people on Saturday. May 6 has been declared a day of mourning in the republic. The Angren area has long been threatened by landslips--in 1981, a series of articles in Nedelya warned that the village of Teshiktash and the Angren power plant were in danger of being wiped out. Two years later, a retaining wall was completed to protect Teshiktash. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIA CHASTISED FOR DISOBEYING GORBACHEV. In a resolution published in Izvestia April 30, the USSR Soviet of Nationalities accused Moldavia of noncompliance with the main points of Gorbachev's December 22 decree on "normalizing the situation in Moldavia," namely: to rescind the condemnation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, adhere to the Union treaty, and repeal (unspecified) laws "infringing on the rights of Russian-speakers." Noting that "the Dniester and Gagauz regions" demand compliance with these points "as the main conditions for national accord in Moldavia," and linking the accord to the preservation of Moldavia's territorial integrity, the resolution called on "the republic's leadership and the opposition forces to immediately open talks for working out compromise solutions." (Vladimir Socor) COMMISSIONS ESTABLISHED. The same resolution empanelled a permanent group of deputies to the Soviet of Nationalities "to assume mediating, peace-making functions" with regard to Moldavia, and instructed the USSR Cabinet of Ministers to form and send to Moldavia a working group of representatives of USSR law-enforcement and economic agencies to examine complaints against the republican government. The resolution appears designed to establish a formal mechanism enabling the center to arbitrate the political conflict in Moldavia and to apply pressure on Kishinev through non-native population groups in advance of a crucial session of the Moldavian parliament due to open May 14. (Vladimir Socor) [as of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
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