You always pass failure on the way to success. - Mickey Rooney
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 96, 22 May 1991



BALTIC STATES



LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT TELEGRAM TO USSR. Radio Independent Lithuania
reported May 20 that Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius had sent
a telegram to USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, Prime Minister
Valentin Pavlov, and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Doguzhiev
stating that the Lithuanian government generally supported the
USSR's economic anti-crisis program. He said that Lithuania would
participate in work on the program, hoping that it would normalize
economic relations with the USSR and spur international economic
activities after the preparation and signing of an agreement
between the Lithuanian and USSR governments. (Saulius Girnius)


MEETING OF DEPUTIES FROM POLISH REGION OF LITHUANIA. A meeting
of deputies from the Polish-inhabited region of Lithuania is
to take place today in Salcininkai, Radio Independent Lithuania
reported May 22. Lithuanian National Defense Department head
Audrius Butkevicius told The Los Angeles Times on May 20 that
CP officials had traveled to Moscow where Chairman of the USSR
Council of Nationalities Rafik Nishanov urged them to create
a Polish republic in Lithuania. Leon Jankielewicz read a Polish
faction statement at the Lithuanian parliament on May 21 saying
the meeting would not call for a Polish republic, but only discuss
a project on the status of the Polish-inhabited Vilnius area
that he claimed had been ignored by Lithuanian authorities. (Saulius
Girnius)

LATVIAN LEADERS DEPLORE VIOLENCE IN ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN. Radio
Erevan read on May 18 a statement recently adopted by the Latvian
Supreme Council Presidium expressing alarm over the bloodshed
in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The presidium condemned
the use of force by the Soviet military against Armenians in
Nagorno-Karabakh, and called for the establishment of an international
commission under UN auspices to seek a resolution of the conflict
between Armenia and Azerbaijan. (Dzintra Bungs)

GROMOV ON "BLACK BERETS". USSR MVD First Deputy Minister General
Boris Gromov said on Central TV May 18 that there are 30 Special
Purpose Militia Detachments (OMON) units Union-wide, with a total
figure of 8,000 OMON servicemen. Gromov denied that OMON troops
(known also as "Black Berets") in Vilnius are occupying the Lithuanian
Television Center. He said that the building is guarded by regular
MVD troops. He added that the MVD considers the government of
Vytautas Landsbergis to be a legally elected body which, however,
adopted illegal practices. (Victor Yasmann)

TASS VIDEO NEWS SERVICE PRODUCES DOCUMENTARY ON LATVIA. A recently
created audio and video news service of the government agency
TASS has produced its first full-length documentary, the agency
reported May 14. Called "Latvia: An Instant Before the Future,"
the documentary features interviews with representatives of various
political groups in the republic--the leaders of the Latvian
Popular Front and the first secretary of the pro-Moscow Latvian
CP, a clergyman, and a member of the OMON troops. TASS said that
the next documentary to be produced by the audio and video service
will be on Soviet Germans. (Vera Tolz)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS


USSR SUPREME SOVIET DISCUSSES UNION TREATY. The draft Union treaty
was discussed in closed session by the USSR Supreme Soviet May
21 after Georgii Tarazevich, chairman of the parliament's commission
on nationalities policy, had reported the discussions of the
draft in the parliamentary committees and commissions, TASS reported.
Tarazevich said that the draft had been approved in the main,
but over 200 comments and suggestions had been made. Chairman
of the Supreme Soviet Anatolii Luk'yanov argued that the USSR
President and parliament had a right to take an active part in
the elaboration of the text on the grounds that it was not a
question of creating a new state but renewing an existing one.
(Ann Sheehy)

USSR "CONCERNED" ABOUT ETHIOPIA. The Soviet Foreign Ministry
released a statement on May 21 (TASS) expressing "serious concern"
about the growing scale of internal armed conflict in Ethiopia.
The statement called on all parties to the conflict to agree
to an immediate ceasefire, to set aside enmity and mistrust and
to commence negotiations in the interests of national reconciliation.
The MFA declared Soviet readiness "actively to assist the beginning
of the negotiating process in the name of restoring peace and
stability in Ethiopia. [The USSR] will cooperate with all who
share this goal." Another TASS report May 21 quoted "observers"
as linking Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam's departure
to growing military pressure from opposition groups. (Sallie
Wise)

ANDREOTTI IN MOSCOW. Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti
arrived in Moscow yesterday (May 21) for a "short working visit,"
TASS reported the same say. During his two-day visit Andreotti
is scheduled to hold talks with Gorbachev and Pavlov. TASS said
Gorbachev and Andreotti will discuss a broad range of international
issues, as well as questions of bilateral relations. A TASS dispatch
from Rome of May 21 reported that an agreement signed last January
granting the USSR 2.2 billion lire in credits has now gone into
effect. (Sallie Wise)

NO G-7 INVITATION FOR GORBACHEV. After several weeks of conflicting
reports, it now seems certain that Gorbachev will not be invited
to the Group of Seven summit in London in July. Today's (May
22) New York Times and Chicago Tribune cite US administration
officials as saying President George Bush has decided against
the invitation. The NYT said Bush considered the idea to be "a
non-starter." Just yesterday, Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko
reiterated that the Soviet President would welcome a chance to
attend the G-7 summit, Western agencies reported May 21. (Sallie
Wise)

KOHL ASKS SOVIET GERMANS TO STAY PUT. German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl said at a new conference in Washington May 21 that he would
prefer that the two million or so Soviet Germans remained in
the Soviet Union rather than emigrated to Germany, which is already
suffering from rising unemployment, Western agencies reported
May 22. Kohl was commenting on the law on emigration just approved
by the USSR Supreme Soviet. Kohl said that he had often discussed
the Soviet Germans with Gorbachev, adding that the FRG had always
wanted the Soviet Germans to be able to live well in the Soviet
Union. (Ann Sheehy)

MOSCOW ASKS BONN FOR MORE. According to the German weekly Wirtschaftswoche
of May 17, Gorbachev asked Kohl in mid-April for a further DM
30 billion in aid, trade credits, and supplementary compensation
for Soviet troop withdrawals from eastern Germany. This would
be in addition to a total of DM 57.3 billion already extended
since German unification in various bilateral and multilateral
agreements. The influential magazine is pessimistic about Moscow's
chances of receiving further aid of this volume, although it
does support German participation in the exploitation of Soviet
oil and gas reserves. (Keith Bush)

SOVIETS ADD TEN SUBMARINES. According to the latest edition of
Jane's Fighting Ships, published on May 20, the Soviet Union
launched ten new submarines last year, six of them nuclear powered
and equipped with the latest weapons and sensors. As summarized
by The Times (London) of May 21, the book also warned that after
five years of perestroika, the rate of build-up in the Soviet
navy had not declined enough to justify "the partial unilateral
naval disarmament which is affecting the West." By the mid-1990's,
the report said, the Soviet navy is expected to introduce new
generations of ballistic missiles, and nuclear and conventionally
powered submarines. (Stephen Foye)

GENERALS ABUSE PRIVILEGES. Up to one billion rubles, or nearly
1% of the Soviet military budget, may be wasted due to fraudulent
or irrational use of military transports by high-ranking military
leaders, Komsomol'skaya pravda reported on May 18. According
to Western agencies, a USSR Supreme Soviet commission investigating
such abuses said that heavy transport planes made thousands of
flights with no cargo. Among those singled out for criticism
were Marshals Sergei Sokolov and Viktor Kulikov, Generals Valentin
Varennikov and Konstantin Kochetov, and Leonid Sharin, Chairman
of the Supreme Soviet Defense and State Security Commission.
(Stephen Foye)

JAPANESE BANKS SUSPEND CREDITS TO USSR. In what may prove to
be only the beginning of a trend, Japanese banks have moved to
suspend further credits to the Soviet Union, according to TASS
and Western reports May 21. A representative of Vneshekonombank,
Vladimir Sterlikov, said yesterday that the credit suspension
mainly would affect Japanese companies whose Soviet clients were
not paying their bills. Further, Japanese banks warned that hard
currency shortages in the USSR reduced the country's creditworthiness.
Soviet firms are currently some $450 million behind in payments
to Japanese creditors. (John Tedstrom)

LITTLE WESTERN INVESTMENT IN SOVIET AGRICULTURE. USSR Deputy
Prime Minister Fyodor Sinko told a news conference in Moscow
that foreign investors have shown little interest in helping
to reform Soviet agriculture, Western agencies reported May 21.
Western assistance and credits were needed to correct shortcomings
in the food supply chain, but Sinko complained that "the flow
of foreign investors is very slow." It might be noted that the
initial draft of the Pavlov anti-crisis program unveiled on April
9 envisaged no fundamental reform or restructuring of the socialized
agricultural sector. (Keith Bush)

PARTIAL CONVERTIBILITY OF THE RUBLE. USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor
Gerashchenko told Izvestia May 18 that plans for moving towards
partial convertibility of the ruble are to be completed by July
1. They will then be submitted for examination abroad "and by
the IMF in particular," and could come into effect from January
1992. Soviet and foreign enterprises would be allowed to sell
and buy rubles for hard currency at market rates, and foreign
investors would be able to repatriate profits in hard currency.
Soviet enterprises would still not be allowed to invest hard
currency abroad. The USSR Gosbank will be looking for substantial
Western credits to support the ruble in foreign exchange markets.
(Keith Bush)

MINIMUM CONSUMER BUDGET. TASS and Vremya on May 21 reported the
issuance of a presidential decree establishing a "minimum consumer
budget." This will be based on scientific norms and will take
into account the needs of various social and ethnic groups. It
will, however, be devised in the light of "what is economically
possible." The USSR Cabinet of Ministers is to review this budget
at least once a year and adjust it to price increases. (With
inflation approaching or exceeding 100% a year after the retail
price hikes of April 2, a more frequent review of the "minimum
consumer budget" may be called for). (Keith Bush)

INDEXATION MEASURE PROPOSED. Gorbachev has approved a plan for
partial indexation of incomes, and has forwarded it to the USSR
Supreme Soviet, TASS reported May 17. It is believed to cover
all or most monetary transfer payments, i.e., pensions, stipends,
maternity and child benefits, and unemployment payments. Despite
earlier calls from the trade unions and other bodies for full
indexation of all wages, the government is apparently resisting
such a move on the grounds that this would lead to an uncontrollable
wage-price spiral. (Keith Bush)

PAVLOV ON ROOTS OF ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. Prime Minister Valentin
Pavlov told Ogonek (no. 17) that the government's anti-crisis
program is a program of survival. Pavlov said he wanted to preserve
the lessons of "the previous stage of perestroika," while incorporating
the "ideas and constructive suggestions" of a number of people
including the late Andrei Sakharov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Kazakhstan
President Nursultan Nazarbaev, economist Grigorii Yavlinsky,
political scientist Sergei Kurginyan, economist Tat'yana Koryagina,
and others "regardless of their political, religious, and other
convictions." (Victor Yasmann)

BAKATIN ON SECURITY COUNCIL. Former interior minister Vadim Bakatin
told a raion Party meeting in Moscow recently that the Security
Council is being run by two officials: he is in charge of political
affairs, and Evgenii Primakov handles economic questions. Nezavisimaya
gazeta on May 16 quoted him as saying that the presidential apparatus
consists only of two departments and about 30 officials, and
that Gorbachev therefore still relies on the Party apparatus.
Bakatin described how, in the autumn of last year, conservatives
resisted Gorbachev's attempts to adopt the radical economic "500
Days" program and forced the president to dismantle his Presidential
Council and to change the country's government structures. (Alexander
Rahr)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


YELTSIN AT CONGRESS. In his opening speech to the Fourth RSFSR
Congress of People's Deputies, Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris
Yeltsin welcomed Gorbachev's recent moves toward conciliation
with Russia and other republics, according to Radio Moscow on
May 21. Yeltsin noted that under his leadership, major steps
to strengthen Russia's sovereignty have been taken. While having
been successful in reforming Russia's legislature, Yeltsin admitted
that almost nothing had been achieved in the economic sphere.
He blamed the center which, until recently, had controlled the
entire economy. Yeltsin said that if elected RSFSR President,
he would strengthen executive power on all levels by enhancing
the role of city soviet chairmen. (Alexander Rahr)

CONSERVATIVES FAIL TO BLOCK YELTSIN. Communist deputies tried
in vain to resist debate on the RSFSR Presidency at the first
session of the RSFSR CPD. The majority of deputies approved the
proposed agenda, ensuring that the Congress would first vote
on the law on election procedures and powers of the President,
rather than, as conservatives had suggested, on the amendments
to the constitution, Western agencies reported May 21. The latter
requires a two-thirds majority of votes and Yeltsin's opponents
had hoped to block endorsement of the law. Conservatives at the
Congress warned that Yeltsin's election as President would lead
to capitalism. (ALexander Rahr)

NORTH OSSETIAN DEPUTIES WALK OUT OF RSFSR CONGRESS. North Ossetian
deputies to the RSFSR Congress walked out May 21 after demanding
that a statement by their Supreme Soviet declaring the recent
RSFSR law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples unconstitutional
be read to the congress, Radio Rossii and TASS reported. Yeltsin
proposed that the matter be submitted to the constitutional court
due to be set up at the Congress. The law calls for frontiers
existing prior to the deportation of whole peoples in the 1940s
to be restored, which would mean North Ossetia would have to
return territory to Checheno-Ingushetia. Russian TV reported
May 17 that Checheno-Ingushetia would refuse to sign the Union
treaty until this territory was returned. (Ann Sheehy)

BAKATIN, MAKASHOV ENTER RACE FOR PRESIDENCY. Vadim Bakatin decided
to run for RSFSR president at Gorbachev's urging. Before that,
Yeltsin had suggested he be his running mate for Vice-President
and Bakatin had accepted the offer, according to Western agencies
on May 21. Meanwhile, General Albert Makashov opened his campaign
for the RSFSR Presidency with a plea for patriotism, socialism
and internationalism in an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta
on May 21. Makashov said that the country must be prepared for
the worst and that a war is possible. He claimed that a majority
of citizens share his view. (Alexander Rahr)

COMMUNIST TACTICS IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The RSFSR Communist
Party supports Nikolai Ryzhkov as well as Vadim Bakatin to see
which of them does better against Yeltsin in the first round
of the RSFSR presidential elections. Its tactic is to keep Yeltsin
from winning in the first round. Some RCP leaders told The Los
Angeles Times on May 21 that although they back Ryzhkov, they
regard Bakatin as a better candidate against Yeltsin in a run-off.
Yeltsin's running mate, Aleksandr Rutskoi, opened his campaign
with an attack on Ryzhkov. At the same time, Rutskoi praised
Ryzhkov's running mate, Boris Gromov, as an outstanding commander
who would make an ideal defense minister, Western agencies reported
May 20. (Alexander Rahr)

BAKATIN ENDORSES PRIVATE PROPERTY. The main difference between
Yeltsin's two opponents from the Communist Party--Nikolai Ryzhkov
and Vadim Bakatin--is the question of private property. In contrast
to Ryzhkov, who rejects the concept of private property, Bakatin
told Newsweek (May 27 issue) that in his view, "the right to
private property should be acknowledged as sacred" and that after
that, "everything will fall into place." Bakatin said that the
eventual defeat of the CPSU derives from the fact that it "still
cannot coherently say words like 'private property.'" (Alexander
Rahr)

CRISIS IN WEST SIBERIA OIL FIELDS. Soviet specialists are predicting
a shortfall of oil production this year of more than 30 million
tons, according to a Radio Moscow report May 21. A commission
of RSFSR SupSov deputies has just returned from an eye-opening
tour of Tyumen where they were surprised by the bad conditions
in the oil producing region. The commission is drafting legislation
to correct some of the problems. The oil and gas industries inside
the RSFSR, unlike the coal industry, remain under all-Union jurisdiction.
This restricts what the republican government can do, and RSFSR
deputies are inclined to see whether or not they can pursue foreign
investment more aggressively. (John Tedstrom)

MURDER OF PRIEST STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION. TASS reported on
May 16 that the murder of Russian Orthodox priest Aleksandr Men'
on September 9, 1990, is still under investigation. The killing
of the noted and highly respected theologian aroused indignation
in Russia and abroad. TASS said that more than 500 people have
been checked, and more than 2,000 investigated. TASS quoted an
interview with investigator Ivan Lechenkov in the weekly Glasnost',
in which he said that a false trail was laid to confuse the search
for the real motives for the crime. (Oxana Antic)

STRIKE LEADERS PUT PRESSURE ON BELORUSSIAN DEPUTIES. Yesterday
(May 21), the opening day of the fourth session of the Belorussian
Supreme Soviet, featured heated debate over the question of including
the political and economic demands of Belorussian strike committees
onto the session's agenda. The deputies, according to Belta-TASS,
agreed in the end to put the following, inter alia, on the agenda:
"departification" of state enterprises and organizations, nationalization
of property belonging to the CPSU and the Belorussian Communist
Party, performance of military service in Belorussia, and proposed
measures to guide the republic through the transition to a market
economy. (Kathy Mihalisko)

STRIKES FOR SOVEREIGNTY? Strike leader Sergei Antonchyk, a Belorussian
People's Deputy, announced on May 21 that 80% of the republic's
strike committees were ready to call for a job walkout May 22
because not all their demands were put on the agenda. These included
the issues of giving Belorussia's declaration of state sovereignty
the status of constitutional law, adoption of new electoral legislation
to pave the way for multiparty elections, and creation of a coalition
government of national trust. Representatives of the strikers
are expected today to address the Supreme Soviet. (Kathy Mihalisko)


UKRAINE CONSIDERS NEW CONSTITUTION. A majority of Ukrainian lawmakers
supported direct presidential elections in the republic, Ukrinform-TASS
reported May 21. The Ukrainian People's Deputies also favored
changing the name of the constitution to "Constitution of Ukraine,"
dropping the word "Socialist" from the title. Proposals to restructure
the republic along federative lines, however, were rejected,
as was the idea of oblast autonomy. (Roman Solchanyk)

MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT PARALYZED. The breakup of the Moldavian
coalition through the defection of the Agrarians and, independently
of this, President Mircea Snegur's bid to dismiss Mircea Druc's
government and assume all executive power have combined to paralyze
the Moldavian Supreme Soviet. The Moldavian Popular Front, which
dominates the Druc government, has overruled the Prime Minister's
initial intention to resign at Snegur's request. The Popular
Front deputies, now reduced to a minority and unable to obtain
an open vote on the composition of the government--in which case
many deputies would have hesitated to vote against Druc's team--withdrew
from parliament May 21, Moldavian media reported that day. (Vladimir
Socor)

PRO-POPULAR FRONT DEMONSTRATIONS IN KISHINEV. On May 21, thousands
of Kishinev residents demonstrated outside the Supreme Soviet
building in support of the Druc government and the Popular Front,
Moldavian media reported the same day. There were minor clashes
when the Moldavian police tried to clear the area. Supreme Soviet
chairman Alexandru Mosanu and other parliamentary leaders who
do not belong to the Popular Front are also resisting Snegur's
power bid as unconstitutional and joined the demonstrators. The
Popular Front and its allies, including Mosanu, have called a
mass rally in Kishinev's central square for May 24. (Vladimir
Socor)

MOLDAVIAN COALITION CALLS FOR INDEPENDENCE PROCLAMATION. In a
statement read on Moldavian TV by Moldavian Writers' Union chairman
Mihai Cimpoi, the Moldavian Alliance for Independence--consisting
of a dozen public movements and organizations allied to the Popular
Front--has come out in defense of Druc's government and has called
for an immediate proclamation of Moldavian independence, journalists
in Kishinev told RFE/RL by telephone May 21. The Popular Front
deputies have announced that they would not return to parliament
until Snegur submits the independence proclamation to the chamber.
In his speech opening the parliamentary session May 14, and again
May 21, Snegur had pledged to do that during the current session.
On May 21, however, parliament adjourned amid the turmoil. (Vladimir
Socor)


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