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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 98, 24 May 1991


Department head Audrius Butkevicius told the Lithuanian Supreme
Soviet session on May 23, broadcast live over Radio Independent
Lithuania, that Soviet troops had burned down four border posts
on the Lithuanian-Latvian border early that morning, beating
up the guards. Neighboring border posts in Latvia were also destroyed.
The attacks at the posts at Vegeriai in the Akmenes Raion and
at Germaniskis in the Birzai Raion were carried out by OMON troops
from Riga, while those at Salociai in the Pasvalys Raion and
at Smelynes in the Zarasai Raion by paratroopers. Guards at the
posts were beaten up, with two of them needing hospitalization.
In a later radio interview he noted that Leningrad television
reporter Aleksandr Nevzorov filmed the attack in the Zarasai
raion. (Saulius Girnius)

in Riga learned from Aivars Salins, director of the Customs Department,
that between 2:00 A.M. and 7:30 A.M. on May 23, five border posts
at the Latvian-Lithuanian and Latvian-Belorussian borders were
attacked and four burned down; 15 border guards and 1 policeman
were disarmed and beaten up by OMON forces in Latvia, and one
man was injured seriously. Salins said the attacks were well-planned
and coordinated with the OMON in Lithuania. The attack on the
border post near Kraslava at the Belorussian border was also
filmed by Nevzorov, who in the past has produced Soviet TV programs
praising the exploits of the OMON, also known as "Black Berets,"
based near Riga. (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIAN RESPONSE TO ATTACKS. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas
Vagnorius sent telegrams to USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev,
Internal Affairs Minister Boriss Pugo and Defense Minister Dmitrii
Yazov protesting the border attacks and warning that "only a
few steps remain to open confrontation," Radio Independent Lithuania
reported on May 23. Vagnorius is planning to meet USSR First
Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev today in Moscow. The
Lithuanian parliament held a closed session in the evening of
May 23 that lasted until 10 P.M. and will hold another special
closed session today. Information about the sessions has not
yet been released. (Saulius Girnius)

LATVIANS PROTEST VIOLENCE. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs
Gorbunovs, Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, and Minister of Internal
Affairs Aloizs Vaznis sent on May 23 a joint telegram of protest
to Gorbachev, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and Pugo concerning
the OMON attack on Latvian border posts early that morning. The
Latvian officials categorically protested, demanding a cessation
of "terror and provocation," criminal charges to be brought against
the guilty, compensation for damage incurred, and once again
called for the removal of all OMON forces (officially under the
jurisdicition of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs) from
the Baltics. (Dzintra Bungs)

ASSAULTS AT THE ESTONIAN BORDER. There were two assaults on the
Estonian-Latvian border earlier this week similar to those in
Latvia and Lithuania. According to Foreign Ministry press attache
Tiit Pruuli on May 24, two armed men attacked unarmed Estonian
border guards on May 19 at Luhamaa on the Estonian-RSFSR border.
The men, travelling in a car with Lithuanian plates, beat the
guards and threatened them with automatic weapons. One guard
was taken to the hospital. A similar incident evidently involving
the same men happened two days later at the Estonian-Latvian
border post at Murati. Border Defense Director Andres Oovel initially
described the incidents to Rahva Haal (May 23) and Paevaleht
(May 24) as non-politically motivated smuggling cases. More recent
information from the Estonian Foreign Ministry suggests that
Oovel downplayed the incidents in order to avoid alarming the
population. (Riina Kionka)

NEVZOROV FILMS ESTONIAN INCIDENT. On May 23, Nevzorov accompanied
a caravan of six cars to the Estonian-Latvian border post at
Murati, the Baltic News Service reported that day. Nevzorov filmed
the caravan's uneventful passage through the post. The caravan
then drove to Luhamaa, where Nevzorov also filmed the passage
through, remarking to observers that "this border is going to
disappear soon anyway." The incident has fueled speculation that
Nevzorov is preparing for his next major TV film. His last blockbuster
consisted of footage of the Soviet military's attack in Vilnius
in January. (Riina Kionka)

on May 22 that 201 delegates from Polish-inhabited areas of Lithuania
had met in Mosiskes in Vilnius raion and approved a project on
the status of the Polish-inhabited Vilnius area. USSR People's
Deputy Anicet Brodawski gave the main speech. Chairman of the
Lithuanian Supreme Soviet Vytautas Landsbergis also spoke, saying
that Lithuanian authorities were going to give 3,000,000 and
5,000,000 rubles of additional financial aid to the Salcininkai
and Vilnius raions. The meeting declared that the future 75-member
Vilnius area congress should be the main administrative body
in the area. The meeting approved an appeal calling on the Lithuanian
authorities to abolish the Lithuanian National Defense and State
Security Departments. (Saulius Girnius)

on May 23 that the USSR Baltic Military District newspaper Pribaltika,
in its latest issue, proposed the formation of local committees
to support the military in Latvia, especially to encourage young
men to serve in the USSR military. The Radio Riga commentator
then asked about the real purpose of such committees, especially
in view of the widespread aversion among Latvians to service
in the USSR armed forces, and wondered if such committees might
engage in gathering information about all draft-age youths in
a given area and those holding anti-army sentiments. (Dzintra

meet May 25 for its fifth session. The Congress--an alternative
parliament elected last year by citizens of the interwar Republic
of Estonia and their descendents--is set to discuss the economy
and reform of Estonia's legal system, Paevaleht reported on May
23. The Congress will also discuss a proposal to elect, along
with the Supreme Council, a reconstructive assembly to serve
as a provisional parliament until the issue of Soviet occupation
is resolved. (Riina Kionka)


KGB LAW PUBLISHED. The "Law on the Organs of USSR State Security"
retains or extends KGB functions in the political, economic,
military and law-enforcement fields according to the text of
the law disseminated by TASS May 23. The law preserves KGB control
over the Armed Forces and the MVD through its counterintelligence
departments. It gives the KGB the right to postal censorship
and eavesdropping without preliminary notification of the procuracy.
It also proclaims "help" from the population to be a civic duty.
The law, however, makes no connection between the KGB and the
CPSU; it states that KGB activities are not guided by any political
party or mass public organization. The law stresses the KGB's
unified structure and codifies republican KGB functions as they
were, in practice, before the law was adopted. (Victor Yasmann)

EC, USSR AGREE ON FOOD AID. A two-day session of the joint EC-Soviet
commission, which the EC postponed last January in protest over
the Baltic crackdown, concluded yesterday in Brussels with an
agreement on the distribution of 92,700 tons of food in the USSR,
Western agencies reported May 23. Now that specific details of
how distribution will be implemented--a previous obstacle to
agreement--deliveries are slated to begin in July. At a press
conference following the meeting, EC official Horst Krenzler
said the two sides were also close to agreement on $484 million
in technical aid to the USSR. Negotiations on $600 billion in
food credits will continue. Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Ernest
Obminksy welcomed the aid as a gesture of solidarity with the
USSR. (Sallie Wise)

NEW FIVE-RUBLE NOTES. On May 17, Pravda carried an announcement
by the USSR Gosbank that new five-ruble notes would be issued
as of July 1. On May 18, it published an interview with USSR
Gosbank Deputy Chairman Arnol'd Voilukov on the reasons for this
issue. Voilukov was at pains to reassure readers that the issue
will not be of a confiscatory nature, that old five-ruble notes
will continue to be valid, and that the principal reason was
to guard against forgeries now that the country "has been flooded
with modern xerographic copying equipment." He implied that new
issues of other denominations will appear later this year. (Keith

SHATALIN SEES (A LITTLE) HOPE. Speaking to an international conference
in Moscow May 21, Soviet academic and former Gorbachev economic
adviser Stanislav Shatalin said that although the USSR is in
a crisis situation, some positive developments give cause for
cautious optimism. According to TASS May 21, chief among those
developments is the willingness of Soviet republics to come to
an agreement in the form of the 9+1 accord. However, even though
the republics share many common goals, Shatalin noted, they have
important differences over approach and pace. Shatalin said that
the new draft Union Treaty is conceptually flawed, and that a
looser, voluntary union of independent republics delegating specific
rights and responsibilities to the center would be more realistic.
(John Tedstrom)

MVD BUDGET INCREASED. In 1991 the USSR MVD budget was substantially
increased and now stands at 20 billion rubles, MVD Minister Pugo
told Pravitel'stvennyi vestnik, no. 17. Of this sum, 5.6 billion
came from the central government, while the rest came from republican
authorities. The number of ordinary police nationwide was increased
by 41,000. The average salary for MVD employees was increased
to 510 rubles. Pugo revealed that the relatively small MVD Sixth
Administration, responsible for organized crime, recently was
transformed into the Main Administration for Corruption, Organized
Crime and Drug Trafficking. Similar administrations were created
in ten republics. (Victor Yasmann)

PUBLISHERS ASK FOR SPECIAL TAXATION. Publishers of several leading
Soviet periodicals have called on the Soviet government to establish
a preferential taxation system for the printed media and activities
associated with its production. In a letter to Gorbachev published
in Pravda, May 23, the publishers also asked him to issue a decree
fixing prices for paper, communications services, and transportation
charges associated with the production and delivery of the printed
press. The publishers made the request after announcing that
a 50% to 100% price increase for newspapers will soon take effect
in the USSR due to the rise in costs for paper and other services
associated with the production and distribution of the printed
media. (Vera Tolz)

TASS reported on May 22 about the opening the same day of a colloquium
on "Democracy and Moral Values" in Moscow. The conference was
organized by the Soviet Committee for European Security and Cooperation
and the Vatican Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers. Representatives
of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, theologians
and religious experts, legal experts, philosophers, and historians
from the Soviet Union and various European countries are participating
in the event. (Oxana Antic)

COSMONAUT OPPOSES WOMEN IN SPACE. The commander of the joint
Soviet-British space mission launched last Saturday, which includes
Helen Sharman, a British chemist, told Moskovsky komsomolets
before the mission that women do not belong in space. According
to Western agency summaries, Anatolii Artsebarsky was quoted
as saying "it's not a woman's business to fly into space." He
also reportedly said that Sharman's alternate, a man, was better
qualified for the space flight since he is a professional pilot.
Sharman has been tasked with carrying out scientific experiments
during the mission. At a televised press conference via video
hookup last night, Sharman said the crew had had "no arguments
so far," but politely disagreed with Artsebarsky, according to
agency reports. TASS said Sharman "looked fine." (Sallie Wise)


Deputies continues to discuss proposed constitutional amendments
relating to the introduction of the post of Russian President.
RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin and the democrats
suffered a defeat when a majority at the Congress voted in favor
of abolishing the provision in the law which would have prohibited
the president from belonging to a political party or organization
(TASS on May 23). The abolition of that provision will now make
it much harder for democrats to dislodge Communist leaders from
state and government organs. (Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN, RYZHKOV CAMPAIGN. Yeltsin told Izvestia on May 23 that
he wants to refrain from confrontation and seeks conciliation
and roundtable discussions. He conceded that democrats have overreacted
in their radical attacks on the center. Historian Roy Medvedev
predicted in an interview with Radio Rossii May 23 that Yeltsin
will not win in the first round of elections because he faces
serious opponents. Yeltsin's main opponent, Nikolai Ryzhkov,
promises to struggle against overbureaucratization, to defend
the rights of Russians living outside the RSFSR, to double salaries
of workers employed in the state sector, and to reverse recent
price increases, according to TASS on May 23. (Alexander Rahr)

RUTSKOI REMINDED OF PAST "SINS". Yeltsin's running mate for the
vice presidency, Aleksandr Rutskoi, defended himself from claims
that he had been formerly supported by chauvinistic organizations,
such as Pamyat' and Otechestvo, and that he had been a strong
opponent of the late academician Andrei Sakharov. Rutskoi told
Vesti [the new Russian TV news program] on May 20 that he had
been one of the founders of the patriotic association Otechestvo
but that he rejects its present chauvinistic views. Rutskoi also
said he disagreed with Andrei Sakharov only over the latter's
claim that the Soviet air force had bombed its own soldiers in
Afghanistan and that otherwise he has great respect for Sakharov.
(Alexander Rahr)

GROMOV AS MORAL FIGURE. Speaking at a press conference, Nikolai
Ryzhkov called his running mate General Boris Gromov "one of
the most popular generals in our army" and "a mature political
figure known for his lofty moral sense," according to TASS on
May 18. Ryzhkov added that he always has had great respect for
the Soviet Army. Asked whether he is competent enough to deal
with Russia's economic problems, Gromov replied that he had some
experience in dealing with economic issues in the armed forces.
Ryzhkov had previously emphasized that the vice president must
be a specialist in those areas where the president is less competent.
(Alexander Rahr)

assembly of Cossack atamans of south Russia that met in Moscow
May 22-23 was addressed by RSFSR presidential candidate Al'bert
Makashov and vice-presidential candidates Ramazan Abdulatipov
and Aleksei Sergeev, TASS reported. Presidential candidate Nikolai
Ryzhkov also discussed his program with some of those attending
the assembly. The meeting, in which representatives of a number
of the mountain peoples of the North Caucasus took part, was
called to discuss ways of avoiding further inter-ethnic clashes
in the North Caucasus. The assembly proposed that a congress
of the peoples of the North Caucasus be held. (Ann Sheehy)

Tatarstan continue to protest plans to conduct polling for the
RSFSR presidency in the republic, RFE/RL was told May 21. Some
15,000 people are reported to have attended an anti-election
rally in Kazan on May 20. The rally was sponsored by the National
Democratic Movement of Tatarstan, which maintains that Tatarstan
should not participate in the election since it is sovereign
and not subordinate to the RSFSR. Russian television confirmed
May 23 that 16 people, headed by the leader of the Ittifaq party,
the writer Favzia Bairamova, are on hunger strike to protest
the holding of the elections. (NCA/Tatar-Bashkir BD/Ann Sheehy)

of the USSR was set up by the first congress of Soviet Bulgarians
held in Bolgrad in Odessa oblast on May 19, APN reported May
20. The association aims to set up Bulgarian schools and revive
Bulgarian culture. The congress appealed to the supreme soviets
of Moldavia and Ukraine, where most of the 373,000 Bulgarians
in the USSR live, to sign the Union treaty. Mikhail Ivanov, adviser
to the president of Bulgaria for ethnic affairs, told APN May
22 that Bulgaria was ready to assist the association. (Ann Sheehy)

May 16 reported the persecution of two Orthodox priests in the
Soviet Union who changed jurisdiction and joined the Free Orthodox
Church of Russia (Russian Orthodox Church abroad). Fr. Aleksii
Averyanov in Kozelsk has been experiencing pressure from local
authorities; Fr. Valerii Lapkovsky was beaten up and threatened
with murder in Kerch. (Oxana Antic)

Mircea Snegur's proposal, the Moldavian parliament voted by a
large margin May 23 to drop the words "Soviet Socialist" from
the republic's name, which thus becomes the Republic of Moldavia.
The Moldavian Popular Front had been urging this change since
its second Grand National Assembly on December 16, 1990. Yesterday
the deputies also voted to change the legislature's name from
Supreme Soviet to Parliament. Both motions were adopted by large
margins but in the absence of most of the Russian communist deputies.
(Vladimir Socor)

poet, Grigore Vieru, and outgoing Prime Minister Mircea Druc
both said yesterday that Moldavia's political status had to be
brought in line with its new name. Vieru told a Popular Front
rally in Kishinev (as reported to RFE/RL by participants), and
Druc told RFE/RL in an interview, that the republic's name change
was, like its sovereignty, largely declarative, and that Moldavia's
real status "is still that of a Soviet colony". Both Vieru and
Druc called for "full sovereignty and independence" for Moldavia.
(Vladimir Socor).

rally in Kishinev May 23, called on short notice by the Moldavian
Popular Front, the Front's leaders and Moldavia's leading writers
called for an early proclamation of Moldavian independence from
the USSR. All speakers also protested the ouster of Druc as Prime
Minister as an undemocratic measure and a loss to the republic.
The rally also chastised the Moldavian Agrarian deputies for
aligning with the Communists in their opposition to radical economic
and political reforms. (Vladimir Socor)

DRUC ON HIS OUSTER AND PLANS. In a telephone interview from Kishinev
with an RFE/RL Moscow correspondent, broadcast May 23, Druc said
that he had "definite evidence" that the Kremlin had pressured
Snegur into dismissing him. Druc also recalled that Gorbachev,
Ryzhkov (while Prime Minister of the USSR), and KGB chief Kryuchkov
had demanded his dismissal since November 1990 as a prerequisite
of normalization in relations between the Kremlin and Kishinev.
After almost one year as Moldavian premier, Druc's chief regret
was that constant political pressures had prevented him from
focusing on his central economic goal: Moldavia's transition
to a market economy and privatization. An economist of radical
reformist persuasion who studied under Gavriil Popov, Druc plans
to draw up the Moldavian Popular Front's economic platform as
well as an anti-crisis strategy suited to Moldavia's specific
needs. (Vladimir Socor)

commissions of the Belorussian Supreme Soviet on May 22 began
to discuss an economic "anti-crisis" program devised by Prime
Minister Vyacheslau Kebich, Belta-TASS said May 22. Kebich said
"radical" measures are needed to shield Belorussia from the Soviet
Union's general economic crash. The measures include "active
privatization" of state enterprises, greater foreign investment,
and a strong commitment to Belorussian sovereignty. (Kathy Mihalisko)

UKRAINIAN CARDINAL IN KIEV. The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic
Church, Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivs'kyi, met with the chairman
of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, Leonid Kravchuk, and government
leaders in Kiev yesterday, TASS reported May 23. Lubachivs'kyi
told Kravchuk and Prime Minister Vitol'd Fokin that his church
expects full rehabilitation and the return of its property. The
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was forcibly "reunited" with
the Russian Orthodox Church in 1946. (Roman Solchanyk)

TAJIKISTAN MOVES TO PRIVATIZE. According to Tajik Deputy Prime
Minister Abduzhalil Samadov, the republic's government will begin
a significant privatization of small enterprises in retail trade,
social catering, and everyday services, TASS reported May 21.
Repair and construction enterprises will also be privatized.
As many as 3,000 enterprises in the Ministry of Retail Trade
alone will be sold off. The Tajik government is creating a fund
to support entrepreneurial activities and to encourage private
citizens who would like to start their own businesses. A key
piece of legislation will be the extension of bank credit (on
a commercial basis?) to would-be entrepreneurs. The Tajik Supreme
Soviet recently passed a law on privatization. (John Tedstrom)

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