The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 92, 15 May 1991



BALTIC STATES



LATVIAN LEADERS TO DENMARK AND FRANCE. Before departing for Paris,
Latvia's Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Minister
of Foreign Affairs Janis Jurkans told Radio Riga on May 13 that
this visit was originally planned for January, but had to be
postponed on account of the Soviet crackdown in Latvia and Lithuania
that month. Before arriving in Paris, they planned to make a
stopover in Copenhagen to talk with Danish leaders and Nordic
Council representatives. In Paris the Latvian leaders are to
meet with President Francois Mitterrand and leaders of the French
National Assembly and Senate. (Dzintra Bungs)

AIDS IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on May 7 that, according
to data released by the Ministry of Health, nine persons in Latvia
were infected with the AIDS virus, and one person had died of
AIDS. (Dzintra Bungs)

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENERGY IN JURMALA. An international
conference on "Energetics and Ecology" started in Jurmala on
May 14, reported Radio Riga that day. Specialists from Denmark,
Germany, Finland, Sweden, Canada, the Baltics and the USSR came
to the Latvian resort town to talk about more efficient production
and use of energy. Among the more controversial topics on the
agenda is that of nuclear power stations. (Dzintra Bungs)

LANDSBERGIS CONTINUES CHICAGO VISIT. On May 14 Chairman of the
Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis met with Chicago
mayor Richard M. Daley and had a meeting with about 40 Jewish
leaders, The Chicago Tribune reported on May 15. The meeting
was sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, whose president
Sholom Comay cited a survey showing that among 10 Soviet republics
Lithuania "ranked the highest in pro-Jewish sentiment and the
lowest in anti-Semitic sentiment." The VOA Lithuanian Service
also reported on May 15 that Landsbergis went to the Polish consulate
to meet with leaders of the Polish-American community, who expressed
support for Lithuanian independence while preserving the rights
of the Polish minority. (Saulius Girnius)

BALTIC PRIME MINISTERS PLEASED WITH GEONOMICS CONFERENCE. Both
Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and Latvian Prime Minister
Ivars Godmanis gave a very favorable evaluation of the Geonomics
Conference that they attended while in the United States, reported
Radio Riga on May 15. Savisaar said that the conference participants
obtained a clear focus on the economic development of the Baltic
States and the assistance that they needed. Godmanis pointed
out that the United States has shown considerably greater understanding
and interest in the economic future of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
than the Soviet Union has shown. (Dzintra Bungs)

US STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS IN BALTIC. On May 14 a US State
Department delegation headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State Curtis Kamman arrived in Riga after visiting Tallinn, Radio
Independent Lithuania reported that day. The delegation, which
also includes State Department Coordinator of Baltic Affairs
Paul Goble, had held talks with Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart
Meri. It is scheduled to meet First Deputy Chairman of the Latvian
Supreme Council Dainis Ivans, Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers,
Minister of Internal Affairs Aloizs Vaznis, and other government
officials as well representatives of the People's Front of Latvia.
The delegation will subsequently travel to Vilnius. Kamman is
the highest-ranking State Department official to visit the Baltic
States. (Saulius Girnius)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS


NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE ON ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. Representatives
from all republics other than Georgia and Estonia are meeting
near Moscow with government officials to try to resolve differences
over provisions of the anti-crisis program, according to Interfax
as cited by Western agencies May 14. Among the points of contention
are said to be payment of the country's internal and external
debt, distribution of national gold and diamond reserves among
the republics, denationalization and privatization of property,
the drawing up of emergency budgets for the second half of 1991,
and the scale of compensation for the April 2 retail price increases.
(Keith Bush)

BAKATIN SAYS CPSU MUST SWITCH TO THE LEFT. Vadim Bakatin, member
of the USSR Security Council, told Izvestia on May 14 that he
regards Gorbachev as a "true democrat" who is being left without
support. Bakatin added that Gorbachev is sometimes forced to
take undemocratic steps to achieve his goals when attacked from
all sides. He maintained that the Communists are split into three
parties. Bakatin, however, still counts on the CPSU as the only
force which could lead the country out of crisis. He said that
the CPSU must abandon its negative stance towards private ownership
and switch to the left, regaining the initiative in the reform
process. (Alexander Rahr)

CHINESE CP LEADER IN MOSCOW. Chinese CP General Secretary Jiang
Zemin arrived in Moscow today (May 15) for a four-day landmark
visit, TASS and Western agencies reported May 14 and 15. This
is the first visit to the USSR by a Chinese Party leader since
the late Mao Zedong's last trip in 1957. Jiang, who will be accompanied
by Defense Minister Qin Jiwei, reportedly will discuss the proposed
purchase of Soviet fighter planes and will sign a partial border
agreement concluded last month. Deputy Foreign Minister Igor
Rogachev told TASS on May 14 that he was certain that Jiang's
talks with President Mikhail Gorbachev would produce progress
on the border question, the problem of mutual troop reductions,
and military confidence-building measures. (Sallie Wise)

BESSMERTNYKH PLEASED WITH SAUDI TALKS. Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh expressed "deep satisfaction" after his talks with
Saudi Arabian King Fahd and other Saudi officials, TASS reported
May 14. He told correspondents in Riyadh that the Soviet and
Saudi positions on solving Mideast problems "have much in common."
He added that his discussions in Riyadh dealt with bilateral
Soviet-Saudi relations in great detail, and it was decided to
institute regular bilateral consultations "at all levels" to
promote the "dynamic development" of Soviet-Saudi relations.
Bessmertnykh is the first Soviet foreign minister to visit Saudi
Arabia. (Sallie Wise)

BESSMERTNYKH'S FURTHER TRAVELS. After leaving Riyadh on May 14,
Bessmertnykh returned to Damascus to give Syrian President Hafez
al-Assad and other officials a briefing on his talks in Jordan,
Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, as well as on his meeting in
Cairo with US Secretary of State James Baker, TASS reported the
same day. He then flew off to Geneva to meet PLO Chairman Yasser
Arafat late last night, Western agencies report May 15. (NCA/Sallie
Wise)

GORBACHEV WANTS SUMMIT. According to Presidential Spokesman Vitalii
Ignatenko, Gorbachev wants a full summit with the United States
this summer and the signing of the START treaty. "The American
President is of the same opinion," Ignatenko said. US President
George Bush's first response to the assertion was that he had
made it clear that he would go to Moscow "under certain conditions."
He also noted that "there's not set time, no agreement," Western
agencies reported May 14. (Suzanne Crow)

MFA LAMENTS CONTINUED HOSTILITIES IN AFGHANISTAN. The Soviet
Foreign Ministry today (May 15) issued a statement on the third
anniversary of the beginning of the withdrawal of Soviet troops
from Afghanistan. As reported by TASS May 15, the MFA described
the Soviet pullout as proof of the USSR's conscientious regard
for its international obligations and documents which it has
signed. Moreover, the statement continued, the government of
Afghanistan has observed its obligations in a similar manner.
Unfortunately, the MFA said, the Geneva accords, as well as subsequent
moves by Moscow and Kabul, have not ended the bloodshed in Afghanistan.
In the Foreign Ministry's assessment, "obstructionist policies"
by parties to the conflict, including Pakistan, are to blame.
(Sallie Wise)

MOISEEV TRIP TO US DELAYED. According to US State Department
officials, a Washington visit by Soviet General Staff Chief Mikhail
Moiseev, scheduled to begin on May 15, has been postponed until
May 20. Moiseev has been touring Canada and was scheduled to
fly from there to Washington. Moiseev is slated to discuss the
CFE treaty with American arms control negotiators in Washington.
(NCA/Stephen Foye)

NEW VERSION OF LAW ON THE KGB. The USSR Supreme Soviet Defense
and State Security Committee has submitted its twentieth version
of the draft law on the KGB to the parliament, according to Radio
Moscow on May 13. Before being passed to the parliament, the
law was examined by the Academy of Sciences, the Supreme Court,
and the procuracy. The latest draft of the law strictly divides
state security functions among the republics. Liberals have criticized
the draft for still allowing the KGB to pass information to the
CPSU. According to the newest version of the law, the KGB would
have to pass information to state organs, workers' collectives,
social organizations (parties) and the press. (Alexander Rahr)


GORBACHEV AIDE ON AUTONOMOUS REPUBLICS AND RENEWED UNION. At
a press conference on May 14, Gorbachev adviser Grigorii Revenko
commented on the May 12 meeting between Gorbachev, RSFSR Supreme
Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin, and the heads of autonomous republics.
According to Revenko, it was agreed that the autonomous republics--except
for Tatarstan--would become part of the renewed Union as subjects
both of the Union and of the RSFSR. He added that in the framework
of the new Union treaty "it is proposed to use the principle
of 'one republic--one vote,' and also the mechanism of the majority
and consensus." This presumably means that each autonomous republic
will have a vote. In an interview in Izvestia of May 14, Yu.
Spiridonov, chairman of the Komi Supreme Soviet, suggested that
a way around the objections of non-Russian Union republics that
this would give the RSFSR a majority of votes might be to decide
that on certain issues the RSFSR should have only one vote. (Ann
Sheehy)

REVENKO ON STATUS OF REPUBLICS NOT SIGNING UNION TREATY. Revenko
confirmed that republics not signing the Union treaty would have
to abide by the law on the mechanics of secession. In the meantime
they would have a special status, and each would be entitled
to establish "some kind of special relations of its own in the
Union and with the Union." Revenko expressed doubts about the
feasibility at the present time of putting transactions between
these republics and the center on a hard currency basis, and
suggested that the USSR Cabinet of Ministers show flexibility.
(Ann Sheehy)

MEETING OF MAYORS OF REPUBLICAN CAPITALS. A two-day meeting of
chairmen of the soviets and mayors of the capitals of the Union
republics opened in Moscow May 14, TASS and Moscow television
reported. It was stated variously that the mayors of 13 or 14
republican capitals attended, and that the mayors of Ashkhabad
and Tbilisi sent greetings. The meeting, initiated by Moscow,
was to discuss the role of the capitals in forming a new system
of interrepublican relations. Its main task was to sign a general
agreement on creating an assembly of capital cities (AGS) and
adopt its organizational principles. (Ann Sheehy)

INDEXATION OF INSURANCE POLICIES. Details of the indexation of
insurance policies after the April 2 retail price hikes provided
for in the recent presidential decree were spelled out by the
USSR Deputy Finance Minister and Chairman of Gosstrakh Vyacheslav
Shakhov in Pravda of May 8. The value of policies with a term
of 3 to 20 years that were commenced before March 1 will be increased
by 40%. There are 85 million such policies for a total sum of
90 billion rubles. (Keith Bush)

RUMORS OF SMALLPOX OUTBREAK DENIED. Izvestia of May 14 carried
an interview with the deputy chief of the USSR Ministry of Health's
epidemiological administration, Anishchenko [first name not given],
who denied rumors of a possible outbreak of smallpox. As reported
by Radio Mayak the same day, Anishchenko told Izvestia that on
the bank of the Kolyma river in Siberia there is a cemetery where,
in the 19th century, smallpox victims were buried. The rumors
evidently stem from a belief that the smallpox virus could seep
into the river water, but, noted Anishchenko, the virus cannot
be spread in this manner. However, he said that a scientific
expedition was being dispatched to the area in order to exclude
any such possibility. (Sallie Wise)

THIS TV PROGRAM WILL KILL YOU. Exploding television sets that
set fire to apartments and/or kill or injure viewers have been
reported in the Soviet Union for many years. Pravda of May 14
gives the death toll from such accidents as 2,134 persons during
the past ten years. The explosions are blamed on faulty fuses
that fail to burn out when there are electrical power surges.
(Keith Bush)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


RSFSR CP PLENUM ENDS WITHOUT CONSTRUCTIVE RESULTS. The recent
plenum of the RSFSR CP produced no constructive results, and
consisted largely of accusations against reform Communists, such
as Aleksandr Yakovlev and Aleksandr Rutskoi, TASS commented on
May 14. Russian Communists failed to agree on a transition to
a market economy. Speakers at the plenum wondered why the Communists
found themselves on the opposite sides of the barricades from
striking miners. The highlight of the plenum was the endorsement
of Nikolai Ryzhkov as the RCP's official candidate for the RSFSR
presidential race. (Alexander Rahr)

MORE ON RYZHKOV'S CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENCY. RSFSR presidential
candidate Nikolai Ryzhkov may count on 25% of the electorate
and is being supported by peasants, the military, and pensioners,
according to a forecast broadcast by TASS on May 14. Ryzhkov
has been nominated by over 500 enterprises and organizations
and received nearly 600,000 signatures in support of his candidacy,
his aide Vladimir Savakov revealed. Ryzhkov will register as
an official candidate on May 17 and will then also name his running-mate
mate for the vice presidency. At the moment, only the leader
of the Liberal-Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has officially
registered with the electoral commission. (Alexander Rahr)

MAKASHOV AGREES TO RUN FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY. General Albert
Makashov, who fiercely attacked perestroika at the RSFSR CP founding
congress last year, has been endorsed as a candidate for the
RSFSR presidency by several military units in central Russia
and has agreed to campaign for Russia's top post. Makashov already
enjoys the support of the conservative Edinstvo group (see Daily
Report, May 13). He indicated that he wants to conduct his campaign
not for the sovereignty or wealth of Russia, but to use the post
of RSFSR President to fight for the preservation of a strong
Soviet Union and its armed forces. Makashov savaged the liberal
press in an interview with TASS on May 14, accusing it of anti-military
propaganda. (Alexander Rahr)

TRAVKIN PROPOSES ALL-UNION DEMOCRATIC PARTY. The leader of the
Democratic Party of Russia, Nikolai Travkin, has suggested creating
an all-Union democratic party, Izvestia reported on May 14. Travkin's
proposal was discussed and rejected at the recent meeting of
leaders of the democratic parties of Central Asian republics
and Kazakhstan. Travkin's proposal has no support among Russian
democrats, who so far have excluded the possibility of establishing
an all-Union democratic party, failing even to unite on the Russian
republican level. (Alexander Rahr)

RUSSIAN TV DEBUTS. Russian TV began business on May 13. For the
time being, it has been allocated six hours of broadcasting per
day on the all-Union second TV channel. For openers, it aired
an exclusive interview with Boris Yeltsin who said he won the
channel for the RSFSR only after "four forceful conversations"
with Gorbachev. The first two days of programming have been far
livelier than Central Television but have shown that, while Russian
TV's journalists are good (many of them familiar faces ousted
from Central Television by Leonid Kravchenko), it desperately
needs modern equipment and trained technicians. On May 14, the
evening news program tried three times to screen a prerecorded
report on the abolition of the Warsaw Pact; each time there was
a long pause filled only by a test card; in the end, the announcer
gave up. Russian TV employs 600 journalists and technicians.
It depends for all its equipment on the RSFSR budget. (Alexander
Rahr)

RUSSIAN MILITARY UNION FOUNDED. A group calling itself the Russian
All-Arms Union, founded in Leningrad and dedicated to protecting
the rights of Russian servicemen, has appealed for recognition
from the Soviet armed forces, KGB, MVD, and law enforcement agencies
of the RSFSR. According to TASS and Radio Rossii May 14, the
union stands for a sovereign, democratic Russia, and advocates
a strong Russian executive, nationalization of Communist Party
property, and the refusal to execute "criminal orders." The political
department of the Leningrad Military District is reportedly discussing
plans to launch an alternative union to counter-balance the Russian
one. (NCA/Stephen Foye)

OIL PRODUCERS TO MARKET PART OF OUTPUT. Tyumen' oil producers
have been given permission to sell one million tons of oil on
the free market, Western agencies said May 14, confirming an
earlier report in Commersant. Most of this will be sold through
a local commodities exchange that opened in April. It was not
specified whether the sales would be in rubles or in hard currency,
although some seats on the Tyumen' exchange have been bought
by foreigners. It was thought that permission to export any oil
sold privately would still be required from the central authorities.
(Keith Bush)

PATRIARCH IN SIBERIA. TASS reported on May 14 that Patriarch
Aleksii, who is traveling in Siberia, arrived in Novosibirsk
where he will spend three days. The Patriarch also visited Akademgorodok.
Besides religious activities, a talk with oblast' leaders and
People's Deputies is on the Patriarch's agenda. (Oxana Antic)


RETURN OF CLOISTERS CONTINUES. Press correspondents were notified
by the Moscow Patriarchate on May 13, as TASS reported the same
day, that a number of Orthodox cloisters and monasteries will
be reconstructed soon. Among these monasteries is the famous
Donskoi monastery in Moscow. Only one church in the monastery
complex is open; all other churches and monastery buildings are
still occupied by the museum of architecture and other organizations.
(Oxana Antic)

MIXED SIGNALS OVER ARMENIAN DEPORTATIONS. Azerbaijani President
Ayaz Mutalibov was quoted by Western agencies on May 14 as threatening
forcibly to deport the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh
if they "turn their villages into bastions of resistance against
the Azerbaijani people." TASS May 14 quoted an unnamed spokesman
of the special regime military command in the NKAO as denying
that Soviet Interior Ministry troops are to deport the Armenian
population, as "this is not their function." He also rejected
as "slander" allegations that troops were guilty of brutality
towards civilians. The population of two Armenian villages in
Azerbaijan was deported last year, and of two further villages
earlier this month. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DECLARES HUNGER STRIKE. TASS
reported May 14 that Valerian Advadze, chairman of the Georgian
Union of National Agreement and Rebirth and one of the six candidates
for the May 26 presidential elections, has embarked on a hunger
strike to protest ongoing political harassment and to demand
access to the media and the monitoring of the upcoming elections
by Helsinki Union representatives. (Liz Fuller)

CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA PROCLAIMS JUSTICE DAY. A session of the Chechen-Ingush
Supreme Soviet on May 14 proclaimed April 26, the day the RSFSR
parliament adopted a law on the rehabilitation of the repressed
peoples, Justice Day. The law is said to have been met with "immense
approval" in the autonomous republic, but its implementation
is likely to provoke further conflict in the North Caucasus.
According to Pravda of April 23, the law adopted by the USSR
Supreme Soviet in March, 1991, annulling various decrees affecting
the deported peoples, was responsible for the recent armed clash
between Ingush and Ossetians in North Ossetia when some Ingush
interpreted it as entitling them to repossess their former homes.
(Ann Sheehy)

RUKH THREATENS STRIKES TO STOP WORK AT KUZNETSOVSK AES. According
to Radio Kiev on May 12, the Volyn regional council of Rukh has
called for strikes to stop work and further construction at the
Kuznetsovsk nuclear power plant (Rovno region). Despite official
assurances that the plant is being "protected," reported Radio
Kiev's correspondent, construction work is continuing, although
slower than the original schedule required. (Valentyn Moroz)


UKRAINIAN CONFERENCE OF STRIKE COMMITTEES. Representatives of
strike committees and workers' committees met recently in Pavlograd
(Dnepropetrovsk Oblast) and resolved to form an All-Ukrainian
Association of Strike Committees, Radio Kiev reported May 13.
The conference addressed an appeal to the USSR Supreme Soviet
demanding social defense of workers and decided to hold a congress
at the end of June. (Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS TO EXPAND. The newspaper
Holos Ukrainy reported on April 19 that the Ukrainian Ministry
of Internal Affairs during the next two years plans to hire at
least 15,000 people and to purchase 12,000 cars, 6,500 motorcycles,
2,400 trucks, 262 buses, 41 helicopters, and tens of thousands
of units of communications equipment. Last year 2,700 workers
of the Ministry were relieved of their duties; 270 of them were
charged with criminal offenses. (Valentyn Moroz)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT FOR "TWO ROMANIAN INDEPENDENT STATES". Opening
a new session of the Moldavian Supreme Soviet on May 14, President
Mircea Snegur reiterated Kishinev's goal of achieving "full sovereignty
and independence," Moldovapres reported the same day. In line
with the present consensus among non-communist Moldavian groups,
Snegur envisaged "two Romanian independent states," i.e. Romania
and Moldavia, existing alongside each other in close economic
and cultural cooperation. Snegur also called for intensified
efforts by Moldavia to establish its own economic and political
contacts with other countries. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT TERMS INDEPENDENCE DECLARATION PREMATURE.
The session voted down a proposal by Popular Front deputies to
submit a declaration of independence to a parliamentary vote,
Moldavian journalists told RFE/RL by telephone from Kishinev
this morning (May 15). A majority accepted the argument of Supreme
Soviet Chairman Alexandru Mosanu, a Popular Front supporter,
that the measure was "premature" in the absence of a law on republican
referendums, and that a declaration of independence should first
be put to a referendum and be adopted by parliament afterward.
(Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIA-ISRAEL WEEK. A "Week of Moldavian-Israeli Cultural Relations"
will be held in Kishinev May 20 to 26, the Romanian news agency
A.R. Press reported May 14. It will be sponsored by Moldavian
Prime Minister Mircea Druc and the Moldavian government, Moldavia's
Jewish community, and other Moldavian public bodies. (Vladimir
Socor)


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

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