Give Peace A Chance. - John Lennon and Paul McCartney
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 94, 17 May 1991



BALTIC STATES



NO STRIKE IN LATVIA, AS THREATENED. Earlier this month, threats
of a political strike for May 14 and 15 were voiced by various
workers and soldiers' groups in Latvia. Support for such actions
was voiced by Latvian Communist Party First Secretary Alfreds
Rubiks. All of these groups want Latvia to remain a part of the
USSR. Deputy Eduards Berklavs told the RFE/RL Latvian Service
on May 16 that the strikes did not take place and said that apparently
there had not been enough popular support for such activity in
Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

SOVIET ARMY ESTABLISHES CHECK POINTS. On May 16 armed Soviet
soldiers set up check points on five Lithuanian highways with
signs in Russian stating that they were identity check points,
Radio Vilnius in English reported that day. On May 17 Radio Independent
Lithuania quoted Lithuanian parliament spokesman Audrius Azubalis
as saying that he had no information that the soldiers had as
yet halted any automobiles. (Saulius Girnius)

LANDSBERGIS IN GERMANY. Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council
Vytautas Landsbergis, after completing an 11-day visit to the
US, flew to Germany on May 17, Radio Independent Lithuania reported
that day. Landsbergis will meet with Bundestag President Rita
Suessmuth, Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Hans Stercken,
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, and Social Democratic
Foreign Affairs spokesman Norbert Gansel, a RFE/RL correspondent
in Bonn reported on May 16. (Saulius Girnius)

SOVIET UNION OF JOURNALISTS PROTESTS RESTRICTIONS IN LITHUANIA.
On May 16 the Union of Journalists of the USSR issued a statement
expressing its deep concern about restrictions on freedom of
the press in Lithuania, TASS reported that day. The statement
said that the continuing presence of Soviet troops at the Vilnius
television center and press house denied hundreds of journalists
the opportunity to work, and aggravated anti-army feelings in
Lithuania. The union said that Soviet press laws were being flouted
and international agreements that the USSR had signed were crudely
violated. (Saulius Girnius)

US STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS IN LITHUANIA. Radio Vilnius in
English reported on May 16 that US Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State Curtis Kamman and State Department Coordinator of Baltic
Affairs Paul Goble had met that day with the three deputy chairmen
of the Lithuanian parliament and discussed negotiations on independence
between Lithuania and the USSR. The officials were planning to
fly to Moscow from Vilnius for talks with officials of the USSR
Foreign Ministry. (Saulius Girnius)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



GORBACHEV ISSUES EMERGENCY ECONOMIC MEASURES. Claiming that the
country is in a crisis that threatens to leave millions unemployed,
President Mikhail Gorbachev decreed emergency measures to guarantee
operations in primary industries. The decree, carried by TASS
May 16, takes effect immediately and targets the energy sector,
metallurgy, and railways. The decree is a classic example of
the long unrealistic command-from-above approach. (John Tedstrom)


WHAT THE MEASURES SAY. All-Union, republican, and local authorities
are instructed to take extreme measures to ensure maintenance
of adequate supplies and operating conditions in the relevant
industries. All strikes and other "conflicts" between labor and
management are forbidden. Enterprises are to work under a system
of state orders, but will be allowed to sell up to 10% of their
output at contract prices on the domestic market, or will be
able to export them once they have already met planned export
quotas. For every 1% increase in real output over the level achieved
in January-April of this year, the government will increase an
enterprise's consumption fund by 5%. The Cabinet of Ministers
is to take action to implement more detailed measures within
the next two weeks. (John Tedstrom)

WHY THE MEASURES WON'T WORK. Several issues will doubtless render
the decree ineffective. First, jurisdictional questions are currently
the most difficult in negotiations between the center and periphery
over economic reform. For example, having recently gained control
of its coal industry, the RSFSR is not likely to bow to diktat
from the center. Second, in view of the current Soviet budget
deficit, it is unfathomable how Gorbachev plans to finance these
measures. Third, a crucial problem in all Soviet primary industries
is that the capital base is so outdated as to be virtually useless
in many areas. Even with republican and local cooperation, it
is highly unlikely that these measures will work, resulting in
further conflicts between center and periphery and between labor
and management. (John Tedstrom)

CENTER, REPUBLICS REACH AGREEMENT--FOR NOW. Although details
have yet to be published, Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov
indicated that on May 16, the "program of joint action of the
government of the USSR and the union republics became reality,"
according to TASS, May 16. Pavlov noted that there were many
skeptics who have doubts about the durability of the new agreement.
Pavlov also stated that he had no illusions about his ability
to satisfy everyone. Details on the agreement are expected in
the course of the next few days, but one must wonder how long
this tenuous coalition between the center and periphery can last,
given separatist tendencies on the part of the republics and
forecasts for continuing deterioration of the economy. (John
Tedstrom)

PAVLOV COMMENTS ON ECONOMIC TRENDS. Soviet Prime Minister Valentin
Pavlov made some harsh and grim predictions about the future
of the Soviet economy May 16, according to TASS and Western reports
of his remarks to reporters that day. Pavlov predicted that the
damage done to the coal and metallurgical industries as a result
of the recent miners' strikes will be so bad that closure of
several mines, coking facilities, and metallurgical plants will
be inevitable. He also said that he was against dividing up the
hard currency debt of the USSR among more financially independent
republics, and that the monetary reform that took 50- and 100-ruble
notes out of circulation was a positive measure that took some
13 billion rubles out of the economy. (John Tedstrom)

SHCHERBAKOV WEIGHS IN AS WELL. Both Pavlov and his deputy, Vladimir
Shcherbakov rejected the ideas Grigorii Yavlinsky expressed in
his interview in the current issue of Moscow News, according
to TASS on May 16. In that interview, Yavlinsky asserts that
the "Group of 7" are planning further credits to the USSR only
on condition that his radical reform plan is adopted. Shcherbakov
insisted that such talks must take place at an official level.
He and/or Pavlov, along with Evgenii Primakov, plan to travel
to Washington in the near future to discuss cooperation with
the G-7. Commenting on planned strikes of pilots and air traffic
controllers on May 21, Shcherbakov curtly noted that such action
will quickly be recognized as illegal and appropriate measures
will then be taken. (John Tedstrom)

EMIGRATION LAW FAILS AGAIN. Only two votes were lacking for final
passage of the long-suffering Law on Entry and Exit from the
USSR in a Supreme Soviet vote May 16, TASS and Central TV reported
that day. Since May 7, the law, aimed at allowing Soviet citizens
to leave and return to their country freely, has been put to
a vote three times, but every time voted down by the conservative
majority in the parliament. Not only the liberal intelligentsia,
but also representatives of the establishment such as Politburo
member Aleksandr Dzasokhov and Chairman of the Council of the
Union Ivan Laptev have argued in favor of the law. Members of
the conservative "Souyz" faction have spoken against it. The
next hearing of the law is scheduled for May 20. (Julia Wishnevsky)


LAW ON KGB ADOPTED. On May 16 the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted,
on its second reading, the law on the KGB. The law stipulates
that the USSR and republican KGBs are a "single system of state
security organs" and that the USSR KGB "controls and coordinates"
the activities of republican committees for state security. Although
the law became effective immediately, its does not eliminate
secret acts concerning the KGB adopted in past years. The latter
will be valid until 1992. The amended text of the new law has
not been published in full in the mass media. The Supreme Soviet
rejected a proposal to delete from the KGB internal statute a
mention of institutional continuity between the KGB and its original
predecessor, the VCheka. (Russian BD/Victor Yasmann)

KRYUCHKOV'S SPEECH. KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov expressed
his gratitude to SupSov Deputies for the smooth adoption of the
law. "With this law you have put a powerful weapon in our hands,
but we are going to use it only in a legal way", he said. Kryuchkov
called for consensus on a way out of the crisis experienced by
the USSR. He also noted mysteriously that the KGB "has many friends
abroad, and we know how they think, they are together with us
these days. I hope that the adoption of this law will better
allow them to enter into cooperation with us." (Victor Yasmann)


SINO-SOVIET BORDER PACT SIGNED. As expected, Gorbachev and Chinese
CP General Secretary Jiang Zemin yesterday signed an agreement
regulating a large part of the USSR's border with China, TASS
and Western agencies reported May 16. The accord, which was initialled
last month, does not address the thorniest issues of the long-standing
Sino-Soviet border dispute, however, and negotiations on border
questions will continue. Jiang also met with Pavlov and with
Vice-President Anatolii Luk'yanov yesterday. His talks with Pavlov
touched on the problems on instituing a market economy. TASS
reports of all Jiang's talks with Soviet officials stress the
positive atmosphere of the visit. (Sallie Wise)

SOVIET-NORTH KOREAN TRADE ACCORD. In a May 13 Radio Moscow interview,
Aleksandr Kachanov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic
Relations, said in the Soviet-North Korean trade agreement for
1991 the two countries had agreed on a list of commodities to
be delivered to the USSR in return for the cancellation of North
Korean debts to the Soviet Union. The commodities will include
consumer goods, minerals (barites, magnesium, zinc) from North
Korea, and coke, petroleum, metals from the USSR. Kachanov noted
that the USSR had agreed to provide loans to North Korea and
cooperate in the construction of the East Pyongyang thermal power
plant. (Suzanne Crow)

SHEVARDNADZE CALLS FOR UN MEDIATION IN USSR. Speaking at a news
conference late on May 15 in San Francisco, former Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze said, "I think the United Nations should
have more to say in the settlement of domestic conflicts." Shevardnadze
admitted that "I know this suggestion will cause some very intense
reactions, including in my own country." The Soviet Union has
"had bad training in the matter of resolving domestic conflicts,"
he said. "We've managed to settle some international conflicts,
but when it comes to domestic ones, they have to be worked out."
He added, "I agree it would be a pretty complicated matter,"
Western agencies reported May 16. (Suzanne Crow)

SOVIET PAPERS CLOSE THEIR OFFICES IN CUBA. The Soviet Union's
largest daily circulation newspaper, the trade union daily Trud,
has closed its bureau in Cuba, TASS, in English, reported May
16. Another paper, Komsomol'skaya pravda, closed its office there
a few days ago. TASS said the political magazine, Novoe vremya
("New Times") and the journal Latinskaya Amerika will shortly
do the same. The agency said publishers are closing their bureaus
because of financial difficulties and hard currency shortages.
(NCA/Vera Tolz)

UPDATE ON SOVIET-GERMAN HOUSING ROW. Upset that non-German firms
received the contracts to build the first 3,000 of 36,000 housing
units for returning Soviet soldiers (see Daily Report, May 10),
Bonn said on May 16 that it is prepared to send Economics Minister
Juergen Moellemann to Moscow to discuss the issue. Moellemann
said that Bonn does not expect to win all the housing contracts,
but does want to have "considerable involvement," Western agencies
reported. On May 14, according to Novosti, a Soviet Defense Ministry
official said that a compromise on the awarding of the contracts
was possible, but that it would require intervention by the political
leadership of both sides. (NCA/Stephen Foye)

MOISEEV AND CFE AGREEMENT. General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev
has returned to the Soviet Union following a five-day trip to
Canada, TASS reported on May 16. Originally scheduled to fly
directly to Washington from Canada on May 15, Moiseev's return
to Moscow is apparently linked to a new initiative on the CFE
agreement announced by the Soviet side that same day. On May
15, Interfax reported that an aide to Moiseev had announced Moscow's
willingness to "make substantial concessions" to the US on CFE
when Moiseev arrives in Washington on May 20. According to Western
agency accounts, the concessions would involve cuts in army forces
reassigned to Soviet coastal defense and other naval units--moves
that US and European governments had rejected in principle. (Stephen
Foye)

KVITSINSKY PROMOTED. Yulii Kvitsinsky has been promoted to the
post of First Deputy Foreign Minister, TASS reported on May 15.
The 54-year-old Kvitsinsky is a specialist on German affairs
and arms control. In the mid 1980s, he headed the Soviet delegation
to the START talks in Geneva. He was Soviet ambassador to West
Germany from 1986 to 1990, and was made a deputy foreign minister
last year 1990. In his new position as first deputy to Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh, it is likely that he will be responsible for European
affairs. (Alexander Rahr)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


EXPLOSION AT DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA MOVEMENT HEADQUARTERS. Eyewitnesses
told RFE/RL that an explosion damaged the Democratic Russia movement's
headquarters in Moscow on May 16. Reporting on the incident as
well, The Baltimore Sun (May 17), called it "the first political
bombing in the capital for more than a decade." An official of
the movement, Lyudmila Sibenkova, told RFE/RL that the explosion
occurred in a room that was being used to store the signatures
being gathered for the candidacy of Boris Yeltsin for the upcoming
RSFSR presidential elections. No damage estimate was immediately
available, but no injuries were reported. (NCA/Vera Tolz)

YELTSIN GIVES DEADLINE TO USSR CABINET OF MINISTERS. RSFSR Supreme
Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin has given the USSR Cabinet of Ministers
two weeks to repeal measures it has taken that impede the development
of a decentralized economy in the Russian republic. Yeltsin also
said that he has signed legislation to stimulate entrepreneurial
activity in the RSFSR. Under the order, to be published in the
next few days, some 2.5 billion rubles worth of unfinished construction
projects will be auctioned off to the public. This is consistent
with plans for economic reform contained in the "Silaev" program.
Yeltsin made his remarks in a plenary session of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet May 16, according to wire sources. (John Tedstrom)

RSFSR DUMPS SALES TAX. According to Radio Moscow May 16, RSFSR
Prime Minister Ivan Silaev signed a decree abolishing the 5%
"sales" tax on almost all food products. The tax had already
been removed from many other goods in the republic. The tax remains
on alcohol, coffee, tobacco and chocolate. Both the RSFSR economic
reform program and the all-Union or "Pavlov" plan call for the
sales tax to be replaced by a value added tax. An additional
excise or "sin" tax is to be added to alcohol and precious materials,
among other goods, in the RSFSR. (John Tedstrom)

KRYUCHKOV CONCEDES ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST ARMENIANS. Armenian
SupSov chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan told a Erevan news conference
May 16 that USSR KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov had conceded
that troops had committed plunder, murder and rape during actions
against Armenian villages. Kryuchkov said that in future Azerbaijani
MVD troops will no longer participate in actions in Nagorno-Karabakh,
and the Soviet Army will intervene "only in an emergency." Soviet
President Gorbachev was reportedly "too busy" to discuss the
situation in the Transcaucasus with Ter-Petrossyan May 15. (AFP,
May 16) (Liz Fuller)

THREE AZERBAIJANIS SENTENCED FOR BAKU ANTI-ARMENIAN POGROMS.
TASS reported May 16 that three Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia
had been sentenced in Baku to up to 15 years' imprisonment for
their part in the anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku in January, 1990.
(Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE'S SUPPORTERS ATTACKED. Izvestia
May 14 carried a dispatch from Tbilisi giving details of a raid
May 12 by Georgian militia on the office of presidential candidate
Valerian Advadze, director of the Institute of Planning and Management
of the National Economy and leader of the moderate National Accord
and Revival bloc. A Georgian MVD spokesman claimed that Advadze's
supporters hindered the militia in attempts to establish the
identity of Advadze's bodyguard. Writer Chabua Amiredzhibi was
badly beaten up; historian Guram Qoranashvili suffered a broken
arm. Advadze subsequently declared a hungerstrike in protest
(see Daily Report, May 15). (Liz Fuller)

MORE ON CONGRESS OF DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS. Abdurrakhim Pulatov,
vice-chairman of Uzbekistan's Popular Front "Birlik", has told
RFE/RL that the recent gathering of Soviet democratic parties
in Dushanbe included representatives of "Birlik" and the Democratic
Party of Uzbekistan, the moderate "Azat" movement of Kazakhstan,
the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement, Tajikistan's Popular Front
"Rastokhez" and the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan. The Congress
of Democrats of Central Asia, which was formed at the meeting,
aspires to replace the Communist-ruled governments of the Central
Asian republics with democratic ones. (Uzbek BD)

KAZAKHSTAN LEGISLATORS CRITICIZE GOVERNMENT. Radio Moscow reported
on May 16 that a group of deputies to Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet
has sent an open letter to republican President Nursultan Nazarbaev
and Prime Minister Uzakbai Karamanov, criticizing the Cabinet
of Ministers for having offered the Supreme Soviet a vague and
unrealistic scheme instead of a concrete program for stabilizing
the economy. Among the reasons for the continuing crisis in the
republic, the legislators cited the presence of holdovers from
the former Council of Ministers and the failure of the Cabinet
to carry out the instructions of the Supreme Soviet. They suggested
a series of practical measures for radical change. (Bess Brown)


VANDALISM IN TATAR OIL FIELDS. About 60 automatically- controlled
oil wells have been put out of action in Tatarstan, TASS reported
May 16 citing Trud. The loss from each well is approximately
300 tons of oil a day. The authorities are investigating to see
if the vandalism was the result of hooliganism or political sabotage.
Recently activists of the Tatar Public Centre tried to shut off
the "Druzhba" pipeline in the republic to signal the republic's
sovereign ownership of its oil wealth. (Ann Sheehy)

USSR CONSULTS UN BODY ON LEGISLATION ON INTERNAL REFUGEES. Oldrik
Andrisek, head of the European section of the Office of the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees, told TASS on May 16 that, although
the USSR had not yet signed international agreements and conventions
on refugees, it had already submitted to the UN body two draft
laws on the status of refugees presented by the Union and Russian
governments. The UN body was now seeking to open its own office
in Moscow, which could analyse the situation on the spot. TASS
reported on May 15 that the number of internal refugees as a
result of interethnic conflict was over 665,000. (Ann Sheehy)


MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT TO CONSIDER INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM. After
voting on May 14 to consider the draft law on republican referendums
(see Daily Report, May 15), the Moldavian Supreme Soviet voted
May 15 to consider immediately afterward another draft law on
instituting a republican referendum on the question of independence.
The proposal was the Popular Front's, but it took President Mircea
Snegur's intervention to ensure passage. "When it comes to our
independence, our position is unshakable, it is the people's
will, a will to be sanctioned through this referendum," Snegur
told the parliament, as cited by Moldovapres May 16. (Vladimir
Socor)

MOLDAVIA HEADED FOR PRESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT. According to the
same source, the Moldavian Supreme Soviet resolved to consider
a draft law on the election of the republic's President by popular
vote, to organize the presidential election immediately upon
adoption of that law, and to complete without delay the transformation
of the Council of Ministers into a Presidential cabinet. Snegur,
a likely landslide winner, has already asked Prime Minister Mircea
Druc to resign, Moldavian Popular Front sources told RFE/RL by
telephone from Kishinev yesterday. The move severely weakens
the Popular Front's influence on the executive power. The Front's
dominance of the legislature has also been reduced through the
Agrarian deputies' defection last month. (Vladimir Socor)


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