|Every custom was once an eccentricity; every idea was once an absurdity. - Holbrook Jackson|
No. 93, 16 May 1991
BALTIC STATES ANOTHER BORDER POST INCIDENT IN LITHUANIA. Lithuania's Procurator General Arturas Paulauskas told the press in Vilnius on May 15 that earlier that day several members of the MVD special forces (commonly known as OMON or Black Berets) fired shots over the heads of Lithuanian border guards near a customs post close to the Belorussian border. According to Radio Vilnius, Paulauskas said that resolute steps are needed to prevent such attacks. Earlier this month a similar incident occurred. The Soviet authorities do not recognize the Lithuanian border posts. (Dzintra Bungs) BAD HEALTH IN THE BALTICS DUE TO POLLUTION? A study prepared by the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Tallinn shows that adults living in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania suffer more frequently from certain illnesses than inhabitants of other regions: "the frequency of respiratory disease was 1.2 times higher, bronchitis was 2.3 times higher, cardiovascular disease was 1.5 times higher, pregnant anemia was 2.2 higher, and premature births--1.7 higher." The report was presented at a press conference on May 15 in Tallinn. The Baltic and Swedish environmental and health specialists present tended to link the illnesses to environmental pollution, according to Western agency reports of May 15. (Dzintra Bungs) GORBUNOVS URGES INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARY MEETING ON BALTIC ISSUES. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs told RFE/RL's correspondent in Paris on May 15 that an international conference of East-West parliamentarians to deal with Baltic efforts to achieve independence should be called, and that such a conference would help Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in their return to Europe. Gorbunovs also told the press that he did not wish the USSR to fail completely nor for Gorbachev to fall from power. Nonetheless, said Gorbunovs, Latvia still maintains its goal of independence from the USSR. Gorbunovs and Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Janis Jurkans are scheduled to meet with French President Francois Mitterrand today. (Dzintra Bungs) US STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS IN RIGA. Radio Riga reported on May 15 that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Curtis Kamman and State Department Coordinator of Baltic Affairs Paul Goble had met with Latvian government officials and leaders of the Latvian Supreme Council: Deputy Chairman Andrejs Krastins, Secretary Imants Daudiss, and Janis Dinevics, leader of the People's Front of Latvia group of deputies. The American officials stressed the importance of respecting everyone's civil rights, and they said that an international commission on Baltic issues might prove to be more effective than an international conference on the subject. Among the topics discussed by the American and Latvian officials was the opening of a US information office in the Baltics. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GENERAL AGREEMENT ON ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM? To judge from the TASS and Central TV coverage May 15 of the expanded USSR Cabinet of Ministers session, most participants appear to have agreed on most of the provisions of the anti-crisis program. Emphasis was again laid on the preservation of a "single economic space." While USSR Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov warned of harsh measures and sacrifices ahead, Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitol'd Fokin complained that the program offered all stick and no carrot. RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silayev reported that several questions remained unresolved, including the division of hard-currency earnings. Meanwhile, Goskomstat reported a 5.4% drop in industrial output for the first four months of 1991. (Keith Bush) THE ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM: VIEW FROM BELOW. Despite the general agreement between the center and periphery on the anti-crisis program, republican leaders are struggling with a number of lingering concerns. Most important for the RSFSR are jurisdictional boundaries. Who controls the proposed de-statization program, for example? Who has primary claim to natural resources and hard currency earnings, and who sets monetary and fiscal policy in the republics? According to TASS May 15, RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev noted with satisfaction that many points of the recently published RSFSR reform program had been incorporated into the all-Union anti-crisis program, but vows to hold fast on questions of republican sovereignty. (John Tedstrom) REPUBLICAN CONCERNS OVER ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. Belorussian Prime Minister Kebich shares some of those concerns and wants to see the large state enterprises in his republic converted to joint stock companies. Moreover, he wants a policy included to support the Central Asian republics. Other republican leaders, including Prime Minister Nasirdin Isanov of Kyrgyzstan and Prime Minister Uzakbai Karamonov of Kazakhstan support quick adoption and implementation of the plan, though Karamanov shares concerns over who "owns" the enterprises on republican territory and who will control their privatization. (John Tedstrom) GORBACHEV, JIANG BEGIN TALKS. In a speech at a banquet to honor visiting Chinese CP chief Jiang Zemin last night, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev stated that new Sino-Soviet relations have passed their "trial period" and are bearing useful fruit, TASS reported May 15. Gorbachev emphasized the role of good relations between the USSR and China as crucial to "stability, security, and development in Asia" and in the world at large. Both Gorbachev and Jiang stressed the importance of stability, not only in international relations but, more pertinently, domestic political stability in both their countries. Yesterday's talks focused on briefings on the current situations in the USSR and China; the two leaders expressed interest and understanding for the problems they face. (Sallie Wise) NEW SOVIET REPRESENTATIVE TO EC. TASS reported May 15 that Gorbachev has appointed former First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Lev Voronin to be the USSR's permanent representative to the European Community. Voronin previously served from 1979 to 1980 as First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Defense Industry, and then spent five eyars as a deputy chairman of Gosplan. He became Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers in 1985, and was promoted to First Deputy Chairman in 1989. Voronin replaces Vladimir Shemyatenkov at the EC, who, TASS said, is being transferred to another post. (Sallie Wise) BESSMERTNYKH STRESSES MIDEAST ROLE. Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh told Soviet journalists on board his flight home from his Middle East tour that the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Syria and the PLO support an active Soviet role in the peace process for the region, TASS said May 15. Bessmertnykh also noted that a special working group has been set up at the Soviet Foreign Ministry to study questions related to the Middle East peace process. (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE ON US. In an interview with Cox Newspapers (May 15) former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said, "I am rather pleasantly surprised at [what] is a very well-defined feeling of solidarity with us [in the USSR]." Shevardnadze went on to point out that the building of a democratic Soviet Union "is in the interest of the [United States] as well as us [in the Soviet Union] and the whole world." He also made a pitch for support "from those countries which are in a position to extend it," citing the possibility of "chaos and anarchy" and predicting that "we've only got a couple of months" to get the domestic house in order. (Suzanne Crow) ANGOLA ACCORDS SIGNING. UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, US Secretary of State James Baker, and Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh will meet in Lisbon on May 31 to sign peace accords ending the Angolan civil war. The accords call for a formal ceasefire and internationally-supervised elections between September and November 1992, Western agencies reported May 14. (Suzanne Crow) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN BUDGET. The chairman of the RSFSR Central Electoral Commission told TASS on May 15 that the republic has set aside 155 million rubles for financing the RSFSR presidential campaign. Most of the money will spent to finance the work of the 98,000 polling stations and to print and distribute ballots. Candidates for the post will also receive equal financial support from the state for campaign expenses. (Dawn Mann) MORE ON RSFSR KGB FORMATION. The Russian KGB is taking over counterintelligence functions from the central KGB, but will share the budget with the USSR KGB. According to Kommersant (no.19), a commission, headed by Yeltsin's deputy Ruslan Khasbulatov and KGB First Deputy Chairman Genii Ageev, has been set up to work out the division of responsibilites between the USSR and the RSFSR KGB. Seventy regional KGB administrations on Russian territory have been already transferred to the RSFSR government's control. The Russian government plans to limit KGB activities in the area of industrial counterintelligence. In the future, Soviet companies will have their own private counterintelligence services, according to Kommersant. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR KGB HEAD INTERVIEWED. General Viktor Ivanenko, acting head of the RSFSR KGB, said that there is strong pressure from younger KGB cadres to conduct a radical depolitization of the agency, and that his primary task will be to reorganize KGB relations with new political parties and groups, according to Kommersant (no.19). The 44-year-old Ivanenko spent his professional career in the KGB administration of the Tyumen' region at the same time when RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin was climbing up the Party ladder in the neighboring region of Sverdlovsk. (Alexander Rahr) FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER ON ARMENIA. Western agencies on May 15 quoted a French government spokesman as stating that foreign minister Roland Dumas had evaluated the Armenian situation as "extremely serious." Dumas told the French cabinet that he had "undertaken official contacts with the Soviet government on the issue." (NCA/Liz Fuller) KARABAKH ARMENIANS APPEAL TO UN. Leaders of the Governing Council of Nagorno-Karabakh have called on the UN and foreign governments to grant political asylum to Armenians to save their lives, according to TASS May 15. The appeal claims that Soviet and Azerbaijani units are engaged in "genocide" against the Armenian people. The TASS dispatch said that 200 people had been detained during the previous 24 hours by Soviet army and Azerbaijani MVD units. (NCA/Liz Fuller) ARMENIAN CP FIRST SECRETARY RESIGNS. TASS reported May 15 from Erevan that Stepan Pogosyan has resigned from the post of Armenian CP first secretary to which he was elected last November. The resignation of the second secretary was refused. After debating and then rejecting a proposal to expand the Buro and create a collective Party leadership, the plenum drew up a list of six provisional candidates for first secretary, of whom four stepped down. Central Committee members will choose today between two candidates: Aram Sarkisyan, a former Pravda correspondent in Armenia, elected a Central Committee secretary last December, and Rafik Mkhitanyan. (Liz Fuller) FOKIN ON ANTI-CRISIS TALKS IN MOSCOW. After an extended meeting of the Soviet Cabinet of Ministers on May 15, Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitol'd Fokin was interviewed on Vremya. Fokin said that the republics should agree on a joint action program among themselves so that the center does not force one of its own upon them. However, he rejected the need for too detailed a program. He said that the republics have too many social, demographic, and ethnic differences for one anti-crisis program to be effective for all of them. The Ukrainian PM added that Soviet industrial ministries should be abolished because at present they are simply fighting for survival. Jurisdiction over their duties and over the process of privatization should be transferred to the republics instead. (Valentyn Moroz) KRAVCHUK ON UKRAINIAN JUDICIARY SYSTEM. Presenting the new constitution bill to the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, radio Kiev reported on May 15, SupSov Chairman Leonid Kravchuk said that the republic's judiciary system should become politically and ideologically independent, should function on the presumption of innocence, and should allow trial by jury. Although he favors extending judges' terms in office, said Kravchuk, he objects to lifetime appointments. (Valentyn Moroz) AFTERMATH OF INGUSH/COSSACK CLASH. After the clash between Ingush and Cossacks in Troitskaya stanitsa in Checheno-Ingushetia on April 28/29, which left eight dead, the local rural soviet decided that the Cossacks should be resettled outside the republic, Moskovskie Novosti No. 19 reports. The Kuban Cossacks and Stavropol' expressed a readiness to receive them, but attempts are now being made to discourage their departure for fear it would precipitate a mass resettlement throughout the North Caucasus. The Cossacks are being promised the creation of a Cossack okrug, which they have been demanding for two years, and access to jobs in retail trade and the law enforcement agencies. (Ann Sheehy) NIYAZOV INTERVIEWED. TASS reported on May 15 that Izvestia is publishing an interview with Turkmen president Saparmurad Niyazov, in which he provides details of the republic's efforts to establish trade representation abroad. He is quoted as saying that discussions are underway with the governments of more than fifteen countries, and a joint venture has already been established in Hamburg to prmote sales of Turkmen carpets and traditional folk art. Asked about the danger of interethnic conflict in Turkmenistan, Niyazov said that nationalists were trying to start something, but had no support among the population. (Bess Brown) NAZARBAEV AUTOBIOGRAPHY PUBLISHED. TASS reported on May 15 that Kazakhstanskaya pravda has published selections from Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev's autobiography, Without Rightists and Leftists, that is being put out by Moscow's "Molodaya gvardiya" publishing house. A brief announcement in the May 6 issue of Izvestia said that the book contains not only Nazarbaev's account of his past, but also his views on the future of the USSR. (Bess Brown) [as of 1330 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise NOTICE: The Daily Report will not appear on Monday, May 20, which is a German holiday.
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