|The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity. - George Bernard Shaw|
No. 90, 13 May 1991
BALTIC STATES BALTIC STATEMENT. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, and Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis noted in their May 8 appeal that the Baltic States are not part of the USSR; "they were occupied in 1940 and therefore none of them is 'seceding' or 'implementing a transition' from the absence of statehood to the acquisition of statehood. [...] At the present they are restoring their full independence." The leaders ask that 1) in all forums and areas of international cooperation their countries be treated as independent states; 2) "any action of other states against the sovereign rights of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania be [...] condemned accordingly"; and 3) "the three Baltic States be [...] assisted in realizing their independence by re-establishing diplomatic [...] relations with all [interested] states." (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC LEADERS REJECT THE RUBLE. Participating in the Geonomics Conference in Vermont, Baltic leaders disputed a proposal by Norbert Walter, chief economist of the Deutsche Bank, that all Soviet republics, even if they go their separate ways, maintain a single currency. Latvian PM Godmanis asked how the dissimilar peoples that make up the USSR could share anything--let alone a common currency and financial system. Marju Lauristin, deputy speaker of the Estonian Supreme Council, asked if the peoples of Europe would consider a common currency if Germany had won World War II and today ruled the continent. Walter said he couldn't answer, but still recommended the notion of economic integration, reported RFE/RL's correspondent from Middlebury on May 11. (NCA/Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS IN LOS ANGELES. Landsbergis flew to Los Angeles after meeting President Bush on May 8. On May 9 he met for 20 minutes with former president Ronald Reagan, and while giving a speech at the Nixon Library he received a phone call from Richard Nixon that was broadcast live to the audience, the VOA Lithuanian Service reported that day. Speaking at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on May 10, Landsbergis expressed his disappointment that the US and other Western governments are, in his view, dragging their heels in recognizing Lithuania's independence out of concern for Gorbachev's position. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS IN CHICAGO. On May 11 Landsbergis flew to Chicago where Loyola University awarded him an honorary doctorate. On May 12 he met with leaders of Lithuanian organizations in the US, urging them to cooperate more, the VOA Lithuanian Service reported that day. At a later meeting with the Chicago Lithuanian community, Landsbergis urged Lithuanian-Americans to play a more active role in American politics, specifically urging them to lobby support for proposals by Congressman Donald Ritter and Senator Donald Riegle calling for the de facto recognition of Lithuania. He is scheduled to meet on May 13 with the Archbishop of Chicago, Joseph Cardinal Bernadin. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA COMPLAINS OF LACK OF PROGRESS IN TALKS. Radio Independent Lithuania reported on May 11 that Lithuanian Supreme Council Deputy Chairman Ceslovas Stankevicius sent a telegram on May 10 to USSR First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Doguzhiev expressing regret that the agreements reached during talks between the USSR and Lithuania in April were not being carried out. It had been decided at that meeting that the two sides would meet again at the end of April or the beginning of May. Stankevicius said that he had been unable to contact members of the Soviet delegation and requested that the heads of expert groups and a joint work group be appointed so that the work could continue. (Saulius Girnius) MONUMENT TO KONSTANTIN PATS EXPLODED. On May 10 Radio Independent Lithuania reported that the monument to the interwar President of Estonia, Konstantin Pats, was exploded at 2:20 A.M. on May 9. A monument to Pats had been dedicated in Tahkuranna, near Parnu in 1939, but was destroyed by the Soviets on August 11, 1940. A similar monument was built and rededicated on June 25, 1989. (Saulius Girnius) NEW BISHOPS IN LITHUANIA... On May 8 Pope John Paul II announced the appointment of two more bishops in Lithuania, RFE/RL's correspondent in Rome reported that day. Former political prisoner and current rector of the seminary in Kaunas Sigitas Tamkevicius was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Kaunas and Vilnius Diocese Chancellor Juozas Tunaitis was named Auxiliary Bishop of Vilnius. The appointments raise the number of active bishops in Lithuania to ten. (Saulius Girnius) AND IN LATVIA. RFE/RL's correspondent in Rome also reported on May 8 about the appointment of Msgr. Janis Pujats as Archbishop of Riga and Father Janis Bulis as Bishop of Liepaja. The Pope also named the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Riga, Janis Cakuls, as Auxiliary Bishop of Riga. These appointments suggest that prelates known primarily for their religious work rather than their diplomatic skills vis-a-vis the Soviet regime were chosen for the high positions. (Dzintra Bungs) SHEVARDNADZE LINKS BALTIC CRACKDOWN TO HIS RESIGNATION. At a news conference at Boston University on May 10, Eduard Shevardnadze said that the recent Soviet military crackdown in the Baltic States proves his belief that the USSR is becoming more hardline. He added: "It shows that my resignation had some justification," reported AP on May 11. Shevardnadze resigned as USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs in December 1990 warning of "the advance of dictatorship" in the Soviet Union. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS BESSMERTNYKH IN JORDAN. Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh held talks with King Hussein of Jordan and Foreign Minister Takher al-Masri on May 10 in Amman. TASS (May 10) characterized the talks as "productive and intensive" and mentioned that the Palestinian problem was an important question discussed during the talks. (Suzanne Crow) AND TEL AVIV. Bessmertnykh held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Foreign Minister David Levy on May 10. TASS said talks took place in a "businesslike and benevolent atmosphere." After two hours of discussion, Bessmertnykh said "we have agreed to continue the talks and to be in constant touch on the issues in every way possible," AP reported May 10. According to an Israeli Radio report, Bessmertnykh and Levy did not discuss the issue of settlements in the occupied territories or other contentious issues. A top aide to Shamir is reported to have said that Bessmertnykh promised open emigration will continue. (Suzanne Crow) AND CAIRO, AND BEIRUT. Bessmertnykh met with US Secretary of State James Baker in Cairo for about 90 minutes on May 12. He said as a result of the talks "small movements from all sides can be felt," TASS reported that day. Both foreign ministers are scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on May 13. Diplomatic sources in Beirut told Reuters on May 10 that Bessmertnykh will travel to Lebanon on May 14, marking the first visit by a Soviet foreign minister since 1975. (Suzanne Crow) SUMMIT? President Mikhail Gorbachev's spokesman Sergei Grigoriev said, "I guess in summer we will definitely have a summit between the two presidents," during an interview on the American TV show This Week with David Brinkley. TASS reported on May 12 that Gorbachev pushed the idea of holding a summit in Moscow "soon" during his recent telephone conversation with US President George Bush. But, according to Reuters on May 10, foreign diplomats and analysts of Soviet politics predict that the meeting will not take place until autumn of 1991. A Pravda editorial May 11 said difficulties in settling arms control treaty problems are "a symptom of the difficulties rather than their cause." (Suzanne Crow) NAVAL SERVICE CUT TO TWO YEARS. The USSR Supreme Soviet voted on May 12 to cut military service in the Navy from three years to two and approved a plan to staff several ships with volunteers on an experimental basis. The reduction in naval service has been long awaited and brings the Navy into line with the other services. Reuters reported May 12 that the General Staff's General Grigorii Krivosheev told the Supreme Soviet that the experiment with voluntary service would run from 1991 to 1994. Under the plan, seamen and petty officers in four large naval units will be recruited on a contract basis, signing 3-year contracts; Krivosheev said it would help determine the feasibility of moving to a professional military. (Stephen Foye) MOISEEV WINDS UP VISIT TO CANADA. A five-day visit by General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev to Canada concluded with the signing of a military cooperation pact between the two countries, Reuters reported on May 11. The agreement had been negotiated for over a year and provides for better communication between military authorities from the two countries to avoid dangerous military incidents. In other comments to the press, Moiseev defended the use of Soviet army units "to resolve internal problems" in the Caucasus, the Baltic, and elsewhere. He also said that the Lithuanian military port of Klaipeda would never become an "open area." (NCA/Stephen Foye) COSSACK UNITS IN THE SOVIET ARMY? Radio Rossii, quoting the independent news agency Postfactum, said on May 10 that Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov has approved a plan to form Cossack units in the army. The report said that the Soviet military oath would be changed for the Cossacks so as to eliminate existing references to the CPSU. Cossack groups first appealed to Moscow in March of this year for the creation of Cossack units (Izvestia, March 18). If true, approval of this unusual measure is likely to raise ethnic tensions in the North Caucasus; it also seems to be of dubious legal standing and would contradict the Defense Ministry's refusal to allow other ethnic groups to form their own military units. (Stephen Foye/Ann Sheehy) PAVLOV AGAIN CALLS FOR WESTERN INVESTMENT. In an interview with Interfax released on May 12, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov restated the necessity for a long-term program to attract Western investment in the Soviet economy. He reiterated the concept of a all-European investment project to exploit and develop Soviet energy sources for the benefit of consumers in Western and Eastern Europe. As he has done previously, Pavlov referred to this latter proposal as a new kind of Marshall Plan. With his insinuations of Western bankers' plots, Pavlov has done much to discourage Western investment in the USSR during the past four months. (Keith Bush) VOL'SKY FOR SPECIAL REGIME. Arkadii Vol'sky, president of the Scientific-Industrial Union (NPS), would welcome the introduction of a special regime in the main branches of the Soviet economy. Vol'sky, who is lately being identified as a kind of leader of Soviet businessmen, told Trud on May 8 that the introduction of a special regime would mean for workers a better material-technical supply, higher wages, and an improvement of their social conditions. Vol'sky said his organization supports the introduction of small-scale private enterprises and is striving to preserve economic ties between the enterprises of various republics. (Alexander Rahr) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS MILITARY ACTION IN TRANSCAUCASUS CONTINUES. Nine Soviet MVD troops were injured in a dawn attack in Azerbaijan's Akstafa raion on May 10. In retaliation Soviet troops surrounded and fired on the Armenian village of Paravakar; the troops withdrew May 11 after coercing villagers to surrender all weapons. (Reuters, May 11; AFP, May 12). On May 11 Azerbaijani OMON troops landed by helicopter in Nagorno-Karabakh and attacked the Armenian village of Seislan, killing one person, the Armenian Interior Ministry reported the same day. TASS reported May 11 that USSR MVD troops stationed in a hotel in Stepanakert were fired on by militants. Restrictions on traffic were imposed in Nagorno-Karabakh and the curfew brought forward 2 hours to 9 P.M. (AP, AFP, May 12). (Liz Fuller) ARMENIA ACCUSES MOSCOW OF ECONOMIC BLOCKADE. In an interview given to Reuters May 11, Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan said that over the first three months of 1991 Armenia had received only 30% of the anticipated food supplies from Moscow, and that over the past month supplies had deteriorated even further. Manukyan compared Moscow's action to the economic blockade imposed on Lithuania last year. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIA WANTS DEBATE AT UN. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow May 12, Armenia's permanent representative Feliks Mamikonyan accused Moscow of "trying to bring the Armenian people to their knees." Mamikonyan argued that "Armenia can only count on world opinion." He said that Armenia was putting its case to the UN, but that as many countries view Armenia as part of the USSR any such request "meets with a cold response" (AP, May 12). Acting Armenian Foreign Minister Ashot Eghiazaryan is quoted (The Los Angeles Times, May 10) as appealing for "moral and political support from the West" to bring pressure to bear on Gorbachev over the Armenian situation. (Liz Fuller) US, UKRAINIAN OBSERVERS TRAVEL TO ARMENIA. The US State Department said May 10 that it will send a representative from its Moscow embassy to Armenia May 13 to talk in Erevan with Armenian Supreme Soviet chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan; the official will then travel to Baku to meet with senior Azerbaijani officials. TASS reported May 12 that a Ukrainian Parliament delegation had arrived in Erevan to asses the situation there and "attempt to find a way to stabilize the situation." (Liz Fuller) POPE ON ARMENIA. Radio Rossii reported on May 12 that the papal nuncio in the Soviet Union, archbishop Francesco Colasuonno, said in Erevan that the Pope is deeply concerned about the force being used against Armenian population. He added that the Vatican is well-informed about the situation in Armenia and that the Pope prayed last Sunday for the restoration of peace on Armenian soil. (Oxana Antic) MEETING OF GORBACHEV WITH YELTSIN AND ASSR LEADERS. Gorbachev had a five-hour meeting with RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin and the chairmen of the Supreme Soviets of 14 of the 16 autonomous republics of the RSFSR on May 12 to discuss how the autonomous republics should sign the Union treaty, TASS reported May 12. Yeltsin has been insisting that they should sign it as part of the RSFSR delegation and reportedly got Gorbachev's backing for this when the 1 plus 9 agreement was signed in April. The latest meeting does not seem to have resolved the issue as Mintimer Shaimiev, chairman of the Tatarstan Supreme Soviet, said his republic would sign it as "a subject only of the USSR--with subsequent conclusion of a treaty with the RSFSR." (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN CALLS GORBACHEV AN ALLY. Yeltsin said that he has put personal questions aside and now regards Gorbachev as an ally of the democrats. Interfax on May 11 quoted Yeltsin as saying that "Gorbachev today is clearly in favor of reforms." Yeltsin emphasized that he and Gorbachev "as leaders of two state structures"--Russia and the USSR--must combine efforts to prevent the Union from "falling into pieces." Thus, Yeltsin acknowledged the decisive role of the center--which he wanted to abolish some weeks ago. (Alexander Rahr) "SOYUZ" SUPPORTS RYZHKOV NOMINATION. At a meeting on May 12, the "Soyuz" group of people's deputies agreed to support the candidacy of former USSR Council of Ministers chairman Nikolai Ryzhkov for the post of RSFSR president, TASS reported that same day. (Dawn Mann) RSFSR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WILL NOT BE POSTPONED. Despite calls from some quarters (e.g., from the Coordinating Council of the group "Patriotic Forces of Russia") for the postponement of the RSFSR presidential election until September, election commission chairman Vasilii Kazakov told Trud on Sunday that the election will be held on June 12, TASS reported May 12. Those who want to postpone the election claim that the time periods for nominating candidates and campaigning are too short; Kazakov says that the law requires the election to be held on June 12 and that to postpone the election would only "keep Russia seething" for another three months. (Dawn Mann) REFORM COMMUNIST PLANS TO SET UP NEW DEMOCRATIC GROUP. A leading reform Communist in the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies, Colonel Aleksandr Rutskoi, plans to set up a new political movement to offset reactionary and conservative forces. (Rutskoi heads the "Communists for Democracy" faction in the Congress.) Radio Rossii quoted him May 10 as saying that the new movement will be open to Communists, former CPSU members and non-affiliated people. He said it is to be called "Civic Accord" and will hold its first session May 14 to adopt statutes and elect leaders. Rutskoi said the new group aims to draw rank-and-file Communists into the process of democratic renewal of society. He added that "Civic Accord" will act against anti-reform forces in the CPSU. (NCA/Vera Tolz) GENERAL MAKASHOV PROPOSED FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY. A pro-Stalin demonstration, organized by the conservative movement Edinstvo, took place in Moscow last Friday. Radio Moscow reported on May 10 that the rally was allowed to enter Red Square. Demonstrators laid flowers at Lenin's tomb and Stalin's grave. They also called for support for the candidacy of General Albert Makashov for the RSFSR presidency. Makashov, who still heads the Volga-Ural military district, had strongly attacked perestroika at the RSFSR Party Congress last year. (Alexander Rahr) DETAILS ON RSFSR PRESIDENCY ELECTION PROCEDURES. Vasilii Kazakov, head of the central commission in charge of RSFSR presidential elections, told Radio Mayak on May 6 that those candidates who receive the support of 100,000 voters will be directly included on voting slips. Other nominees will be included on the voting slips only if they obtain the support of 20% of the deputies at the RSFSR Congress. Kazakov said the deadline for nominations of candidates is May 18. Until then, all candidates must be registered, together with their running mates for the vice-presidency. He stated that the election will cost the RSFSR approximately 155 million rubles. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR CP POLITBURO MEMBER ATTACKS YAKOVLEV. Gennadii Zyuganov, Politburo member of the RSFSR CP, has attacked Presidential adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev in an open letter published in Sovetskaya Rossiya on May 7. Yakovlev had previously blamed the conservative RSFSR CP for undermining reform. Zyuganov held Yakovlev responsible for the rise of nationalism, and criticized him for having destroyed the ideological basis of Soviet society and for abolishing censorship. He charged that during Yakovlev's tenure as head of the crime-fighting group at the Presidential Council, crime increased in the country. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN TV TO BE STATE-OWNED. RSFSR television will retain the status of "state television" Vremya reported May 12. Rossiiskoe televidenie begins broadcasting today, on the second channel of Central Television; the main newsreels are scheduled at 5 P.M., 8 P.M., and 11 P.M., Moscow time. "Our television can not be an alternative to Central Television; such an alternative can come only from an independent television, while we belong to the RSFSR in same way that Central Television belongs to the Union," said a representative of Rossiiskoe televidenie at an inauguration ceremony on May 12. The announcement about "state ownership" comes as a surprise and might be a compromise by the RSFSR in its quest for access to the TV audience. (Victor Yasmann) UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION BOYCOTTS PARLIAMENT, KHMARA RELEASED. The Ukrainian parliamentary opposition, the Narodna Rada, yesterday refused to attend the session of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet until the release of people's deputy Stepan Khmara, Ukrinform-TASS reported May 12. Khmara, who was arrested in November and charged with assaulting a militia colonel, is scheduled to go on trial tomorrow. The opposition resumed its work in the Supreme Soviet after the Ukrainian Supreme Court released Khmara at the request of the presidium of the Ukrainian parliament. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN STATISTICS. Statistics for the first quarter of 1991 have been published (Silski Visti, April 30). All comparisons are with the first quarter of 1990. GNP declined 2.7%, GNI 4.4%, productivity 3.6%. Apartment building decreased by 10%. State and local budgets received Rb 10.8 billion, 16.4% less than planned. Budgetary expenditures were Rb 9.1 billion, 64.1% of planned. Payment arrears reached Rb 1.8 billion, an increase of 10.1%. Incomes rose Rb 6.1 billion to 32 billion. Savings increased 17%, to Rb 89.9 billion. Consumer spending rose 18.9% to Rb 23.7 billion. State consumer goods prices, like state and farmers' market food prices, rose by 10%. 240,000 people became unemployed, while 210,000 vacancies went unfilled and 900,000 people are employed in coops. Ukraine's deliveries of meat to the Union fell 47%, milk products 47%, eggs 82%. 489 leased enterprises produced 8% of the total industrial output. (Valentyn Moroz) TAJIK GOVERNMENT REDUCES RETAIL PRICES. The Tajik government is continuing to revise prices in the republic in the wake of the all-Union price reform. On May 12, Radio Moscow reported that Tajikistan's Cabinet of Ministers had passed a resolution to reduce retail prices of many goods produced in the republic by up to 50%, and to cover resulting budget deficits by raising the retail prices of alcoholic beverages by an average of 70%. Officials in Tajikistan, as well as in the other Central Asian republics, have sought to avoid social unrest by setting lower prices for food and consumer goods. (Bess Brown) LEADERS OF DEMOCRATIC PARTIES MEET. Radio Moscow reported on May 11 that a meeting of leaders of democratic parties in the USSR had started in Dushanbe. The Radio quoted a Postfactum news agency report that the participants, who include leaders of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan, the "Democratic Kyrgyzstan" movement and the Democratic Party of Russia, are discussing whether to create a unified all-Union Democratic Party. The choice of Dushanbe for the meeting is somewhat surprising, as Tajikistan's Democratic Party has had strained relations with republican authorities. (Bess Brown)
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