The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same. - Heraclitus
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 97, 23 May 1991



BALTIC STATES



PSKOV PARATROOPERS RETURN TO LITHUANIA. On May 22 Lithuanian
Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius sent a telegram to USSR President
Mikhail Gorbachev and Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov, Radio Independent
Lithuania reported that day. Vagnorius expressed regret that
paratroopers from Pskov who had participated in the attack on
the Vilnius TV tower on January 13 had been sent to Lithuania
and Belorussia on May 21 without informing the Lithuanian authorities.
He wrote that sharing information on troop movements could help
ease resulting tension. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER RESIGNS. At the session of the
Lithuanian Supreme Council on May 22 Vytas Navickas, the Lithuanian
Economics Minister, submitted his resignation, Radio Independent
Lithuania reported that day. The session agreed to accept his
offer and he agreed to continue his duties until a new minister
is selected, probably next week. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN BISHOPS CONSECRATED. On May 19 in the Kaunas cathedral
Vincentas Cardinal Sladkevicius ordained two bishops, the RFE
Lithuanian Service reported on May 20. The rector of the Kaunas
seminary, Sigitas Tamkevicius, was ordained as the auxiliary
bishop of the Archdiocese of Kaunas and Vilnius archdiocese chancellor
Juozas Tunaitis as the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of
Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius)

LATVIAN LEADERS ON VISIT TO ARMENIA. On May 22 First Deputy Chairman
of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans and Chairman of the
Supreme Council's Commission on Defense and Internal Affairs
Talavs Jundzis reported to the Council on their visit to Armenia.
Both men stressed the role of the Soviet armed forces in the
violence in Azerbaijan and Armenia. Ivans felt that the violence
there had grown due to provocations by the Soviet authorities,
and expressed concern that such conflicts might be started in
the Baltic area. Jundzis said that he had learned that OMON forces
from Azerbaijan, rather than the Soviet military, were used in
what he termed as the "most despicable actions against the Armenians
in Nagorno-Karabakh," reported Radio Riga on May 23. (Dzintra
Bungs)

GERMANY AND LATVIA TO COOPERATE ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
Following a two-day meeting in Berlin, Germany's environment
minister Klaus Toepfer and his Latvian counterpart Indulis Emsis
informed the press on May 14 about German and Latvian plans to
cooperate in overcoming the pollution of Baltic waters, and of
Germany's desire to provide Latvia with appropriate technology
to protect the environment. Toepfer said that while he follows
Baltic developments with sympathy, these contacts are not related
to international recognition of Latvia, but are a contribution
towards normalizing the situation on the continent. Both ministers
said that technology transfer, which still has to go via Moscow,
remains a problem, Western agencies reported May 14. (Dzintra
Bungs)

SALARIES OF LATVIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS. Replying to questions posed
by Latvijas Jaunatne of May 4, Deputy Indulis Berzins explained
the existing system of remuneration of deputies of the Latvian
Supreme Council. He said that the basic monthly salary is 500
rubles, plus 200 rubles for job-related expenses. Deputies from
distant areas have a small apartment assigned to them in Riga
for the time that they serve as deputies; most deputies, however,
still live in their old homes. They are not entitled to the use
of a car or granted priority in line for the purchase of one.
Deputies can buy lunch and snacks at the Council's cafeteria,
but the prices and quality of food available is the same as elsewhere
in Riga. (Dzintra Bungs)

DISAGREEMENT ON BALTIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO USSR BUDGET. The Estonian,
Latvian, and Lithuanian finance ministries have not come to an
agreement on a common approach toward contributions to the USSR
budget, reported Izvestia of May 21. The Lithuanian position
is that there can be no payments since Lithuania has declared
its independence from the USSR. Latvia and Estonia are considering
payments only to those programs in which they are interested
and there are disputes with Moscow over the sums. (Dzintra Bungs)


BALTIC LEGATION BUILDINGS IN PARIS TO BE RETURNED? Michel Pelchat,
French National Assembly Deputy and head of the France-Baltic
States study group, told RFE/RL's correspondent in Paris on May
16 that Baltic officials had mandated his group to start legal
efforts to obtain the return of the pre-World War II legations
in Paris of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In August 1940 the
buildings were turned over "improperly," according to French
lawyer Jean-Pierre Spitzer, to Soviet officials, after the Baltic
States had been annexed by the USSR. The buildings, acquired
by the Balts in 1927 and 1928, are located in central Paris and
have considerable real estate value. (Dzintra Bungs)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS


SOVIET PARLIAMENT WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN SIGNING UNION TREATY.
The USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution on the Union treaty
May 22 calling for the text of the draft to be brought into line
with the results of the March 17 referendum, and for representatives
of the supreme organs of state power of the USSR to take part
in the signing of the treaty, TASS reported. Some deputies objected
to the latter point. Sergei Ryabchenko, a leader of the interregional
group of deputies, said that an attempt by the center to meddle
in the signing process would only hamper the conclusion of the
treaty. (Ann Sheehy)

CENTRAL, REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENTS ABOLISH SALES TAX. As anticipated,
the USSR Cabinet of Ministers has signed a decree (May 19) abolishing
the sales tax on a number of key food and non-food consumer goods,
according to Radio Mayak May 21. Republican governments are to
tailor that list to their own needs. The RSFSR and Georgia adopted
similar measures April 19 and 20, respectively. (See the lists
of exempted goods in Ekonomika i zhizn', No. 20, p. 18, and Svobodnaya
Gruziya, April 23). Both the Pavlov "anti-crisis" program and
the RSFSR program for reform of Russia's economy plan to replace
the sales tax with a value-added tax. (John Tedstrom)

PROTECTION FOR SOVIET CONSUMERS. In a move that, in the Soviet
context, is truly revolutionary, the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted
May 22 a "consumer rights law," TASS reported that day. It goes
into effect on January 1, 1992 and will give consumers the right
to file official complaints and seek restitution if they are
abused or sold defective goods. In what may be the understatement
of the year, one of the bill's authors, Supreme Soviet Deputy
Gennadii Kiselev, said that it would be very difficult to enforce
the law at first. (Keith Bush)

GERMAN-SOVIET AGREEMENT ON HOUSING. The German Economics Ministry
announced May 22 that agreement has been reached on who shall
build the first batch of housing for Soviet servicemen withdrawn
from Eastern Germany. German companies will get a 60% share in
building the first 3,700 apartments and infrastructure at Zhaikovka,
Vladikavkaz, and Krivoi Rog. Of the German share, more than half
of the contracts will go to firms in what used to be the GDR.
The value of the first batch has been put at DM 570 million.
Bonn's share of the total cost of building 36,000 homes will
be DM 7.8 billion. (NCA/Keith Bush)

GORBACHEV STILL "OPTIMISTIC" ON G-7 SUMMIT. At a press conference
in Moscow on May 22, visiting Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti
said that he was in favor of President Mikhail Gorbachev attending
the G-7 summit in July, although he noted that the decision could
not be made by one country alone. Gorbachev left no doubt that
he was still seeking an invitation. Western agencies yesterday
quoted Gorbachev as saying he was "optimistic" about participating
in the summit, and that he had already started thinking about
what he would like to say at the meeting. He added that even
if he were not there, he would still speak. Japan, Germany, and
the UK currently appear to be against Soviet participation, while
mixed signals have come from Washington. It is not clear where
Paris and Ottawa stand on the issue. (Keith Bush/Sallie Wise)


GORBACHEV'S OPENING BID. At the press conference, Gorbachev gave
the figure of $100 billion as the amount of Western assistance
sought by the USSR to prime its economic reforms. This is below
the $150 billion over five years suggested by Jeffrey Sachs,
but well above what most observers believe will be forthcoming.
Gorbachev said that he would like to speak to the G-7 summit
about cooperation in disarmament, use of resources, ecology,
and aid to countries in difficult conditions of development.
(Keith Bush)

SOVIET-ITALIAN TALKS "USEFUL". Andreotti and Gorbachev described
their discussions yesterday as "extremely important and useful,"
TASS reported May 22. The two leaders signed an agreement establishing
a direct link between the Kremlin and Italy's seat of government
to facilitate the rapid exchange of information. Their talks
centered on bilateral relations, especially economic ties, as
well as the general situation in Europe. TASS said Andreotti
expressed support for perestroika, and quoted him as saying Italian
capital investment in the USSR would be a big step in realizing
the idea of a "common home" in Europe. Andreotti also discussed
Soviet-Italian trade issues with Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov.
(Sallie Wise)

FIRST SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO ALBANIA IN 30 YEARS. Gorbachev has
appointed Viktor Nerubailo as Moscow's first ambassador to Tirana
since 1961, TASS reported May 17. Nerubailo worked at the Soviet
embassy in Tirana from 1958 to 1961, immediately preceding the
break in Soviet-Albanian relations. He then worked in the Foreign
Ministry apparat until 1967, followed by a stint in the Soviet
embassy in Italy from 1967 to 1971. Nerubailo subsequently served
in the CPSU apparat from 1972 until this year. The USSR and Albania
restored diplomatic ties last August, and a Soviet charge d'affaires
has been in Tirana since February. (NCA/Sallie Wise)

TASS TO OPEN BUREAU IN ISRAEL. Western agencies reported May
21 that the Israeli government has announced the opening of a
permanent TASS bureau for the first time in 24 years. Israeli
government press office director Yossi Olmert was reported as
saying that the bureau will open in one month. He added that
Israeli television and radio will be permitted to open offices
in Moscow. (NCA/Sallie Wise)

SOVIETS LOST 130 SOLDIERS IN ANGOLA, ETHIOPIA. A General Staff
Deputy Chief said in Krasnaya zvezda on May 21 that the Soviet
Union lost over 130 military advisers and specialists in Angola
and Ethiopia during civil wars in those countries, according
to Western agencies May 21. Colonel General Evgenii Smirnov said
that 75 military advisers and specialists were killed in Ethiopia,
while 59 were lost in Angola. (Stephen Foye)

CASUALTIES OF INTERETHNIC CONFLICTS IN 1991. Since the beginning
of 1991 about 200 civilians and over 40 law enforcement officers
and interior ministry troops have been killed in interethnic
conflicts, and 700 civilians have been injured, USSR MVD officials
told TASS on May 20. Over the past three years more than 1,200
people, including at least 131 interior ministry personnel, have
been killed, and 10,000 wounded, TASS reported. Direct material
damage exceeds six billion rubles. Moreover, sociological studies
show that ethnic prejudices are growing. (Ann Sheehy)

CATHOLIC YOUTH FESTIVAL IN MOSCOW. The first Catholic youth festival
opened on May 17 in Moscow, TASS reported the same day. The festival's
program includes meetings with representatives of Catholic organizations
in the Soviet Union and abroad, preaching by guests from Italy,
the USA, and Belgium, showing of video films, and musical performances.
The participation of Soviet representatives in the 6th world
youth meeting in Poland with Pope John Paul II will be discussed
at the festival. (Oxana Antic)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


RSFSR CONGRESS ADOPTS LAW ON PRESIDENCY. The RSFSR Congress of
People's Deputies yesterday approved a law on the Russian Presidency,
TASS reported on May 22. Over two-thirds of the deputies present
voted in favor of the law. The congress still has to pass amendments
to the constitution--with a two-thirds majority--before the RSFSR
becomes the second Soviet republic, after Turkmenistan, to have
a popularly-elected executive president. The congress also voted
overwhelmingly to add the name of the leader of the Liberal-Democratic
Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, to the official ballot for presidential
elections, which now includes six candidates. (Alexander Rahr)


MAKASHOV, BAKATIN, ZHIRINOVSKY ADDRESS CONGRESS. General Albert
Makashov promised to establish order in society, preserve the
USSR within its 1945 borders, and wipe out speculation if elected
Russian president. He delivered a speech to the RSFSR Congress,
quoted by TASS on May 22. Vadim Bakatin told the congress that
he rejects attempts to prove the bright side of poverty in the
name of preserving some kind of principles, according to Western
reports May 22. At the same time, he denounced those radicals
who want to send Communists "to the firing squad." Zhirinovsky
also addressed the congress, but deputies later referred to his
speech as "a shameful comedy," according to The Financial Times
of May 23. (Alexander Rahr)

GORBACHEV NOT INTERFERING IN RACE. Gorbachev has said he will
not interfere in the RSFSR presidential elections and will refrain
from endorsing his own candidate, according to Western agencies
May 22. Vadim Bakatin, the candidate closest to Gorbachev, confirmed
that RSFSR SupSov Chairman Boris Yeltsin had wanted to make him
his running mate but that he decided to run himself. Bakatin
described himself as the "only independent" candidate in the
race. His running mate, Ramazan Abdulatipov, is quoted by The
Chicago Tribune on May 23 as saying that the advantage he, a
Dagestani, and Bakatin have is that they represent a combination
of Russia's Western and Oriental cultures. (Alexander Rahr)

GORBACHEV, YELTSIN TO MEET LEADERS OF AUTONOMOUS REPUBLICS MAY
24. Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the heads of the supreme soviets
of the autonomous republics of the RSFSR are to meet May 24,
Radio Rossii reported May 22. It is expected that they will sign
a document "that will be of great significance for stabilizing
the situation in Russia and the country as a whole." It seems
likely that the document will concern the capacity in which the
autonomous republics will sign the Union treaty. (Ann Sheehy)


MUSCOVITES OPPOSE PRICE INCREASES. A recent survey of Muscovites
indicates broad disapproval of government-orchestrated price
hikes among the adult population, according to TASS May 20. The
survey reports that nearly 60% of those interviewed thought that
the recent price increases were "catastrophic" for their families.
Likewise, 64% did not believe that the measures will even help
the Soviet economy in the longer run. The most negative responses
were from graduate students and those in the 35-39 age group.
High school students were most optimistic. The survey was conducted
by the sociological research service "Mnenie." (John Tedstrom)


"EKHO MOSKVY" BECOMES SELF-FINANCING. One of the first independent
radio stations in the USSR, "Ekho Moskvy," has recently become
self-financing, Kommersant No. 16 reported. According to the
periodical, the radio station set up last year by the Moscow
city Soviet, Ogonek, the "Radio" association, and the Faculty
of Journalism at Moscow University, can now cover all its costs
by profits from advertisements. (Vera Tolz)

MOLDAVIAN PRIME MINISTER OUSTED. Following the withdrawal of
the Popular Front deputies from the Moldavian Supreme Soviet
(see Daily Report, May 22), the legislature voted overwhelmingly
on May 22 in favor of a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister
Mircea Druc. Inspired by President Mircea Snegur, the ouster
of Druc clears the way toward the concentration of executive
power in the President's hands and removes the Popular Front--which
dominated the Druc government--from the center of power. All
but one of the members of the Druc government resigned on the
same day in a demonstration of solidarity with Druc. (Vladimir
Socor)

MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT OPPOSES PRESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT. On May
22 and during the night of May 22-23, thousands of Kishinev residents
continued for the third consecutive day to demonstrate in protest
against the ouster of Druc. The Popular Front has brought forward
to today a mass rally in Kishinev's central square to protest
Snegur's planned introduction of presidential government. Leading
cultural figures in Kishinev are publicly criticizing Snegur's
power bid. The recently founded Russian liberal organization
Demokraticheskaya Moldaviya has joined the Popular Front and
the Moldavian Alliance for Independence in their protests. (Vladimir
Socor)

MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT PROTESTS ANTI-ARMENIAN REPRESSION. In
a statement released by Moldovapres May 22, the Moldavian Popular
Front "expressed its indignation at the Soviet military aggression
against the Armenian people in the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,
ordered by the leaders of the USSR...in order to halt the process
of Armenia's obtaining its independence." The Moldavian Popular
Front appealed to the UN Commission for Human Rights to send
a fact-finding mission to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and to
draw up recommendations for a peaceful solution of the conflict.
(Vladimir Socor)

TER-PETROSSYAN MEETS MITTERRAND. On the second day of his four-day
visit to France, Armenian Supreme Soviet Chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan
met May 22 for one hour with French President Francois Mitterrand
to discuss the conflict on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Ter-Petrossyan
told journalists afterwards that the meeting was intended to
demonstrate France's support for Armenia's efforts to achieve
independence "while respecting the USSR Constitution." (TASS
and Western agencies, May 22) (Liz Fuller)

GORBACHEV CONFERS WITH ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI COMMUNISTS. Gorbachev
met in Moscow May 22 with secretaries of the Armenian and Azerbaijani
Communist Parties to discuss the situation in the Transcaucasus.
The meeting followed two days of talks in Moscow on how to resolve
the conflict between the two republics, for which Gorbachev continued
to lay the blame on "illegal armed groups who terrorize the peaceful
population," TASS reported May 22. (NCA/Liz Fuller)

AZERBAIJANI SUPSOV CONDEMNS "INTERFERENCE". The Azerbaijani parliament
May 22 issued a statement expressing "bewilderment" at the RSFSR
Congress of People's Deputies' decision to debate Nagorno-Karabakh
at its current session. The statement termed the decision "interference",
and argued that all republics are equal and should respect each
other's right to conduct their own affairs, Vremya reported May
22. (NCA/Liz Fuller)

MINSK STRIKE FIZZLES OUT. Workers from the Minsk Truck Factory
and one or two other large enterprises walked off the job on
the morning of May 22, but were back at work by afternoon, according
to Belta-TASS and RFE-RL correspondent reports. The limp response
to the strike call has been blamed on tactical errors on the
part of the organizers and the fact that the government doubled
salaries for many workers in the wake of last month's general
strike. Also, on May 21 the Supreme Soviet agreed to include
a number of the workers' demands on the current session's agenda.
Strike committee leader Henadz' Bykau told Belta-TASS May 22
that activists will now shift the battle from the streets to
the enterprises and concentrate on forming independent trade
unions along the lines of "Solidarity." (Kathy Mihalisko)

REFERENDUM PLANNED FOR UKRAINE. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet
continued to discuss specific aspects of the concept of a new
republican constitution, with deputies from the Communist majority
and the opposition grouped in the Narodna Rada holding conflicting
positions on a number of key issues. The parliament decided to
hold a referendum, Ukrinform-TASS reported May 22. The citizenry
will be asked to decide on a name for the state, its state symbols,
form of state administration, and whether or not the notion of
the "Socialist choice" is to be enshrined in the constitution.
(Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN DEMOCRATIC PRESS ASSOCIATION. An Association of the
Democratic Press of Ukraine has been formed in the republic,
Radio Kiev reported May 17. According to a spokesman for the
group, the new organization is intended to coordinate the activities
of democratic publications and protect the interests of journalists
threatened by political persecution because of their convictions.
(Roman Solchanyk)

NEW OIL DEPOSITS DISCOVERED IN UKRAINE. The newspaper Pravda
Ukrainy reported on May 7 that new oil deposits have been discovered
in North Bukovina (Chernovtsy region). The first well, near the
village of Lopushanske, is located at 713 meters above sea level
and already has produced industrial quantities of oil. Further
drilling confirmed that there are more deposits at the same depth
of over 4000 meters. The crude from these deep deposits is light
and has low sulphur content. Quoting geologists, the paper said
that the newly discovered deposits could provide "many regions"
of the republic with petrol and oil products. (Valentyn Moroz)


CALL FOR NISHANOV TO EXPRESS REGRET. A long article in Sovet
Uzbekistoni of April 17, reproduced in Pravda Vostoka of April
20, calls on Rafik Nishanov, currently Chairman of the Council
of Nationalities of the USSR Supreme Soviet, to express regret
for the excesses in the anti-corruption drive in Uzbekistan when
he was Party first secretary of the republic. The authors of
the article hold Nishanov at least partly responsible for the
discrediting and arrest of innocent officials and also maneuvers
to provide posts for officials from Moscow who showed no respect
for local traditions. (Ann Sheehy)


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