|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. 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)
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