|If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson|
No. 100, 28 May 1991
BALTIC STATES LITHUANIA DECLARES SOVIET TROOPS ILLEGAL. After three days of discussions in closed session, the Lithuanian Supreme Council on May 27 adopted two decisions, Radio Independent Lithuania reported on May 28. The first declared that the "USSR MVD OMON and also any other formations that are not provided for by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania are illegal." It also called on the Lithuanian government to strengthen control over the Lithuanian border and reestablish customs posts that were destroyed. The second decision was an appeal to the citizens and inhabitants of Lithuania urging OMON troops to refuse to participate in criminal activities against the people of Lithuania or even to leave their units. (Saulius Girnius) PUGO NO LONGER DENIES OMON PARTICIPATION IN BORDER ATTACKS. In an interview appearing in Izvestia May 27, USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo contended that the MVD had "absolutely no material confirming that the Riga or any other OMON subunit was involved" in the attacks on the Latvian and Lithuanian customs posts. That evening RFE/RL correspondent Mikhail Bombin reported that a later issue of Izvestia noted that Pugo had reversed his stand. In view of Aleksandr Nevzorov's filmed reports of the OMON exploits along the Baltic borders, Pugo reportedly said that such "evidence cannot be ignored." (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN CONCERN OVER TALKS WITH THE USSR. On May 23, the Latvian delegation for talks with the USSR expressed alarm over the sudden Soviet decision to postpone the talks, "all the more so because the postponement of the planned meeting coincides with new acts of violence by USSR armed formations against the Republic of Latvia." The statement revealed that on May 22, OMON units had raided the Latvian militia administration, and noted that such attacks give cause for "concern that certain forces in the Soviet Union want to tackle the question of further relations between the USSR and the Republic of Latvia with the help of armed force, and not by way of talks." The Latvians, nonetheless, expressed readiness to continue the talks on June 6 and 7, as proposed by the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs) ANTI-INDEPENDENCE FORCES WANT SAY IN LATVIAN-USSR TALKS. On May 23 members of the Interfront and other anti-indpendence groups staged a protest in front of the Council of Ministers building in Riga to demand that prices of goods and services in Latvia be reduced to the level of USSR prices. The participants, claiming to represent 42 labor collectives and various organizations of war veterans and servicemen, also demanded that their organizations have a say in the Latvian-USSR talks. Radio Riga reported on May 24 that the picketers threatened the Latvian government with a general strike if their demands were not met. In contrast, they voiced the same demands politely in an appeal addressed to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS APPEAL TO WESTERN DEMOCRACIES. On May 25 the Bureau of Information of the Lithuanian Supreme Council issued the text of an appeal "To the Leaders of the Western Democracies" by its chairman Vytautas Landsbergis. The appeal noted that the USSR authorities legitimize recent attacks on Lithuanian customs posts by Soviet troops through decrees that "continue to be used to lay claim to Soviet 'sovereignty' over Lithuania." Western silence on these attacks could be interpreted as an admission that the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact assigning Lithuania to the USSR's "sphere of influence" was still valid today, the appeal noted. (Saulius Girnius) BALTS AT CSCE CONFERENCE IN KRAKOW. A 10-day symposium discussing international cooperation in preserving the common cultural heritage will begin on May 28 in Krakow, a RFE/RL correspondent reported on May 27. The USSR vetoed the Baltic States request to participate in this CSCE conference, but Poland has invited four delegates from Lithuania and Denmark three delegates from Estonia as their guests. The Balts will not be allowed to address the symposium or participate in its work. A theater group from Vilnius will present Jeshua Sobol's play "Ghetto" in an arts festival that will be held in conjunction with the conference. (Saulius Girnius) FARMERS' RALLIES IN VILNIUS. On May 23 thousands of people gathered in Vilnius at the invitation of the Farmers' Union to protest the reorganization of Lithuania's agriculture being passed by the parliament and government, Radio Vilnius reported that day. The authorities did not allow the rally to be held in front of the parliament building, but several thousand people nevertheless gathered there. Farmers' Union chairman Vidmantas Velikonis, parliament deputies Jonas Tamulis and Algirdas Brazauskas, and many other speakers addressed the 20,000 people who gathered in Kalnu Park for the main rally. It passed an 11-point resolution urging the authorities to change their agricultural policy. (Saulius Girnius) KAMPELMAN IN LITHUANIA. On May 23 the head of the US delegation to the CSCE, Max Kampelman, held talks with Landsbergis. On May 24 he visited some of the buildings seized by the Soviet military in January and met with representatives of the Polish and Russian minorities, as well as Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas, Radio Independent Lithuania reported on May 25. (Saulius Girnius) CHERNOBYL VICTIMS WANT COMPENSATION. Radio Riga reported on May 27 that representatives of approximately 6,000 Chernobyl victims in Latvia plan to hold a hunger strike in Riga. The hunger strike would be staged if the Latvian authorities did not grant them compensation and medical care, similar to that recently approved by the USSR Supreme Soviet. The Latvian Supreme Council is to address the issue on May 29. The vast majority of Chernobyl victims in Latvia are men who had to participate in the cleanup after the explosion; so far, 58 deaths have been registered in Latvia that are linked to the Chernobyl disaster. (Dzintra Bungs) LAWFUL PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION FORMED IN LATVIA. The Lawful Property Owners Association was officially founded on May 18, reported Radio Riga that day. The meeting was attended by 73 delegates from 14 branch associations, formed since the April 8 meeting in Riga of those wishing to establish such an organization. The delegates elected to the presidium Zigurds Strikis, Roberts Zile, and Anta Bergmane. The new association, affiliated with the Committee of Latvia and the citizens' movement, aims to protect the rights of those who owned property in pre-war Latvia and to ensure that Latvian property rights are not usurped by Soviet institutions. (Dzintra Bungs) TALLINN POLICE GET UNIFORMS. Tallinn's police are finally getting new uniforms, Paevaleht reported on May 22. The uniforms will replace the old militia garb worn before the new police force was organized last year. Traffic police were the first to get new uniforms. Although the uniforms are still incomplete, lacking some trimming, two newly-clothed traffic inspectors told Paevaleht they were happy with the change: "It feels better to wear the new uniform than the militia uniform. People look at [the new uniforms] with curiosity and have a better attitude toward them." (Riina Kionka) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS LUK'YANOV ON UNION TREATY. USSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov told the parliament May 27 that everyone at the meeting of the committee preparing the Union treaty in Novo-Ogarevo on May 24 had agreed that the new Union should be a federation, TASS reported. Luk'yanov said that continuing differences about its future name could be settled at a session of the committee in a week's time. The May 24 meeting had come out in favor of the two chambers of the future Supreme Soviet being equal. Luk'yanov himself and the chairman of the Council of Nationalities, Rafik Nishanov, had defended the right of the Union to take part in the signing of the treaty, Luk'yanov added. (Ann Sheehy) GORBACHEV ON UNION TREATY. Luk'yanov told the Supreme Soviet further that he had met Gorbachev May 27 to discuss work on the treaty. Gorbachev had stressed that the choice made by the people in favor of a federation in the March 17 referendum was the most important criterion for work on the treaty, and "the principles of a federation should permeate the whole treaty, all its sections, beginning from its title." This concerned the division of powers between the republics and the Union, the structure of the organs of the federation, questions of citizenship, and other matters. (Ann Sheehy) MINISTRY OF FINANCE TAKES A LOAN. The USSR Supreme Soviet approved a presidential order May 27 for Gosbank to loan 5 billion rubles to the USSR Ministry of Finance, TASS reported the same day. The loan runs until October 1, 1991, and carries a 6% annual interest rate. The funds will go to the extra-budgetary fund for economic stabilization established by agreement between the Center and the republics in 1990, and included in the 1991 all-Union budget. The Baltic republics have subsequently refused to contribute to the fund, and other republics have reduced the size of their contributions. The fund should have had about 12 billion rubles of deposits in the first quarter alone this year, but as of May 1, it totalled only 1.8 billion. (John Tedstrom) MOELLEMANN MEETS PAVLOV. German Economics Minister Juergen Moellemann held talks with Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov in Moscow yesterday, TASS reported May 27. The two ministers focused their attention on the further development of Soviet-German economic relations, and discussed the maintenance of "traditional business ties" between Soviet enterprises and their partners in the former GDR, TASS said. They also grappled with the issue of housing construction for Soviet troops returning from Germany. Western agencies May 27 quoted Moellemann as saying that Pavlov had agreed to award Eastern German firms DM 1.2 billion in contracts for investment goods, in addition to DM 9 billion in orders for which the USSR has already contracted. (Sallie Wise) GORBACHEV MAY ACCEPT "CONDITIONS" ON WESTERN AID. Debate continues on whether, and on what terms, Gorbachev may be invited to the G-7 summit in July. German State Secretary Horst Koehler was quoted by Western agencies May 27 as saying that "the summit should be in a position to issue a statement where willingness to give financial aid [to the USSR] is linked with certain formulations of what the G-7 countries see as preconditions for such aid." German government sources in Bonn told Western agencies May 27 that the G-7 communique would speak of "conditions" for aid and that Gorbachev would accept them. (Sallie Wise) OPTIMISM OVER START. Following a UN disarmament conference in Kyoto, Japan on May 27, senior Soviet and US officials expressed optimism that the START treaty would soon be concluded. Ronald Lehman, chief of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, said the superpowers are close to agreement on START "although there are some issues left." Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Petrovsky said there is reason to hope that a summit to sign the treaty could take place this year. Both officials claimed that Moscow and Washington are close to resolving a dispute over the CFE treaty, Western agencies reported May 27. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) CHURKIN ON EASTERN EUROPE AND NATO. Responding to a question at his May 27 briefing about the possibility of East European cooperation with NATO, Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin stressed that such cooperation was moving in the direction of the exchange of military information and experience, TASS said May 27. (Suzanne Crow) STAROVOITOVA COMMENTS ON KGB LAW. The new law on the KGB gives state security officers the right to enter public and private premises without being sanctioned by the procuracy, People's Deputy Galina Starovoitova told Radio Rossii, May 26. She criticized the USSR Supreme Soviet for adopting the law which legally extends the KGB's functions. As examples, Starovoitova cited provisions of the law allowing postal censorship and eavesdropping, KGB control over the Army and MVD, the KGB's right to issue decrees that are mandatory for public organizations, and rules concerning the KGB archives. She expressed the hope, however, that the newly-created RSFSR KGB will be not involved in political surveillance and ideological control. (Victor Yasmann) KGB SIGNS CONTRACT WITH ITALIAN CINEMA FIRM. The head of the KGB Public Relations Center, General Aleksandr Karabainov, has signed a contract in Rome with a Italian cinema group on a 13-part television series about the history of the KGB, Pravda reported May 27. According to the contract, the KGB will provide the Italian producers a list of the most interesting KGB operations abroad and later will give them access to KGB veterans who took part in the operations. The deal reflects a new line of the KGB public relations offensive in which the KGB promotes its activities abroad rather than concealing them. "KGB intelligence has done nothing to be ashamed of," said the chief of KGB Intelligence, Leonid Shebarshin, to Central Television, December 20, 1990. (Victor Yasmann) YAZOV BANS AESCHYLUS. Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov personally banned Peter Stein's production of "Oresteia" by Aeschylus (525-456 BC) in the Moscow Soviet Army theater, Komsomol'skaya pravda reported May 12. The theater's management attempted to persuade Marshal Yazov that Stein is "nearly the most famous theater director in the world," but their argument fell on deaf ears. In the year of the 50th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Yazov told Komsomol'skaya pravda, "why should our Army theater provide its stage for some German to perform a play by some Greek?" (Julia Wishnevsky) CHURCH COMMEMORATES VICTIMS OF REPRESSION. TASS on May 24 quoted the current issue of Moskovskii tserkovnyi vestnik as saying that burial services will be held on June 8 in all dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church for all those clergymen and laymen who were repressed during the Soviet period. (Oxana Antic) SALVATION ARMY OPENS FIRST BRANCH IN USSR. It was announced in October, 1990 that the Salvation Army would resume its activities in the Soviet Union (see Daily Report, October 25, 1990). Izvestia reported on May 18 that a branch of this international religious organization has opened in Leningrad. Removed from the Soviet Union in 1923, the Salvation Army now plans to open Sunday schools for children and adults, cafes and restaurants for the needy, and boarding schools. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY. RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin yesterday began his campaign for the presidency of the Russian Federation. According to TASS, Yeltsin was expected in the far northern port of Murmansk late at night on May 27; after a tour of the Kola peninsula, Yeltsin will make a whirlwind tour through the rest of the RSFSR. He is due back in Moscow June 6 to take part in Central Television's "Who's Who?" phone-in program. (Elizabeth Teague) BAKATIN MAKES A GOOD IMPRESSION. On May 27, "Who's Who?" featured presidential candidate Vadim Bakatin who strove to present himself as a liberal-leaning centrist. (For example, Bakatin said he personally favors private ownership of land, but condemned Yeltsin's efforts to force it through on the grounds that the general population is not yet ready for such a step.) The campaign of presidential hopeful Nikolai Ryzhkov continues to be propagandized by the conservative media, in particular, by the newspaper of the RSFSR Communist Party, Sovetskaya Rossiya, while Krasnaya zvezda reported May 28 on Ryzhkov's visit to the soldiers of the Moscow garrison. (Elizabeth Teague) YAKOVLEV CLASHES WITH MAKASHOV. "Poor is [our] country, if a man like you claims the presidential post of Great Russia," said Aleksandr Yakovlev to General Albert Makashov in Nezavisimaya gazeta May 23. In an interview published in the same newspaper two day earlier, hard-liner Makashov (who blames Yakovlev for promoting liberal reforms during his six years in power) questioned Yakovlev's wartime record, saying that there were no marine troops in the Red Army in 1942. In his reply, Yakovlev (who was badly wounded on the Leningrad front at the age of 19) accused Makashov of blackening the memory of Soviet marines who died in action fighting the Nazis. (Julia Wishnevsky) POLOZKOV COMPARES PRESIDENCY TO MONARCHY. RSFSR CP First Secretary Ivan Polozkov compared the creation of the Russian presidency to restoration of the monarchy. TASS on May 23 quoted him as saying that the Russian presidency contradicts the very idea of perestroika because it means the "destruction of all democratic principles" and a "turn from people's democracy." He warned that the creation of a Russian presidency will provoke a chain reaction in the republics, which will result in the appearance of several dozen new presidents. The RSFSR CP has tried to postpone the presidential elections until late summer to give Yeltsin's opponents more time to conduct their campaign. (Alexander Rahr) GREEN PARTY FOUNDED IN RSFSR. Ecology groups in the RSFSR have joined together to form a "Green" Party, TASS reported May 27. At its founding conference in Leningrad, the new party called for the replacement of all nuclear power plants in the USSR by "ecologically clean" sources of energy. The new party will have its work cut out. Today's Financial Times (May 28) cites the USSR Minister of Atomic Energy, Vitalii Konovalov, as telling Pravda in a recent interview that the Soviet government plans to triple the country's nuclear energy capacity by the year 2000. (NCA/Elizabeth Teague) OIL WORKERS MAY STRIKE. Igor' Klochkov, Chairman of the Independent Russian Trade Union Federation, was quoted by Radio Moscow May 27 as saying RSFSR oil workers are insisting on better working and living conditions. He said workers in the oil and petroleum refining industries would go on strike "soon" unless they get higher pay and other benefits. The best information from Moscow indicates that transfer of the oil and gas industries to RSFSR subordination is not one of their demands. Yeltsin noted on May 25, however, that ownership of Russia's oil and gas reserves are still a matter of debate in his discussions with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. (John Tedstrom) TATARSTAN SUPSOV MEETS AGAINST BACKGROUND OF PROTESTS. The Tatarstan Supreme Soviet started work May 27 with pickets outside the building and several individuals continuing the hunger strike begun two weeks ago to protest the holding of the RSFSR presidential elections in the republic, Radio Moscow reported. On the evening of May 26 a meeting of several thousands in Kazan' adopted a resolution calling for the elections not to be held. Novosti reported May 23 that there were almost daily protest meetings in Kazan', Naberezhnye Chelny, Al'met'evsk, and other cities, and that the struggle for power in the republic was taking on more and more of an ethnic coloration. (Ann Sheehy) SESSION OF CRIMEAN TATAR COMMISSION. A routine session of the state commission for the problems of the Crimean Tatars on May 27 noted that already about 135,000 Crimean Tatars, or more than a third of those in the USSR, were now living in the Crimea, TASS reported. A survey had shown that the absolute majority of Crimean Tatars wanted to return to the Crimea for permanent residence in the next three years, but their unorganized arrival was said to be causing serious problems. The commission suggested that special commissions should be set up in areas of compact settlement of Crimean Tatars to assist their organized return. (Ann Sheehy) REVISED FIGURE FOR NUMBER OF CRIMEAN TATARS. A report from USSR Goskomstat presented to a session of the State Commission for Crimean Tatar Problems on May 23 said that it had been established that 350,000 individuals regarded themselves as Crimean Tatars, TASS reported. According to the 1989 census there were only 272,000 Crimean Tatars in the Soviet Union, but this figure was generally regarded as too low. The commission noted that quite a lot had been done to repatriate Crimean Tatars to the Crimea, but the work was still being hampered by a acute lack of material and technical resources. (Ann Sheehy) GAMSAKHURDIA ELECTED GEORGIAN PRESIDENT. Official results announced May 27 indicate that with virtually all votes counted, acting president Zviad Gamsakhurdia has won 87% of the vote in the Georgian presidential election. His closest rival, Valerian Advadze, received 6%, and Georgian CP first secretary Dzhemal Mikeladze -- 1.7%. Voter turnout was given as 84%, according to The New York Times, May 28. Gamsakhurdia celebrated May 27 with a march-past by the newly created Georgian National Guard and pledged to assure the security of the Georgian people and to battle "provocateurs, criminals and the communist mafia." He expressed outrage at what he termed territorial claims by Armenia on Georgia, Western agencies reported May 27. (Liz Fuller) GORBACHEV VISITING KAZAKHSTAN. TASS reported on May 27 that Mikhail Gorbachev is to begin a working visit to Kazakhstan today (May 28). The main stops during the visit, which is expected to last three days, are Alma-Ata, Kokchetav in the grain-growing northern part of the republic, and the southern industrial city of Chimkent. The only time Gorbachev visited Kazakhstan since becoming General Secretary of the CPSU was in 1985. The TASS report does not mention specific reasons for the present trip, but it is possible that Gorbachev wants to see the workings of Kazakhstan's economic reform program for himself. (Bess Brown) TESTING TO BE RESUMED IN SEMIPALATINSK? Kazakhstan's anti-nuclear Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement has learned that testing is soon to be resumed at the test site in Semipalatinsk Oblast, and the movement's Siberian chapter is appealing to the population of the Altai Krai to protest. A TASS report of May 27 quoted the Siberian appeal as warning that the Altai is downwind of the testing site--and tests are conducted only when the wind is blowing in that direction. The appeal also says that if tests are resumed (three have been planned for 1991), the movement will have to resort to extreme measures, without specifying what these might be. (Bess Brown) UZBEKISTAN'S COMMUNIST PARTY REGISTERED. TASS reported on May 24 that the Communist Party of Uzbekistan was the first public organization to register as such with the republican ministry of justice. The report claims that the Party, which now has over 650,000 members, is growing. Perhaps now that the Communist Party has had the honor of registering first, republican authorities will permit the registration of the Popular Front organization, "Birlik." (Bess Brown) UZBEK, KIRGIZ PRESIDENTS APPEAL FOR RECONCILIATION. Presidents Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan and Askar Akaev of Kyrgyzstan have issued an appeal to their republics in connection with the upcoming anniversary of the 1990 violence in Osh Oblast. A TASS report of May 25 quoted the appeal as attributing the Osh events, which, according to official sources, cost more than 300 lives, to the underdeveloped economy and low living standard of the people in the region. According to the report, parts of Osh Oblast are still under curfew. (Bess Brown) SOVIET DEFENSE PLANT BURNS DOWN. Vremya May 26 reported that the Aynur defense industry works in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan was gutted by fire early the same day. The fire apparently began in the plant's recreation area and spread throughout the facility. Firefighters were unable to put out the flames because of inadequate water pressure. Defense authorities were unwilling to give details of the plant's operations due to security concerns. (NCA/John Tedstrom) KGB MAJORS DEBATE 'DEPARTIFICATION'. The issue of eliminating Communist Party control over law enforcement agencies has reached the Belorussian KGB. On May 7, Narodnaya gazeta, organ of the republican Supreme Soviet, published a letter by Major Petr Snopok in defense of one-party rule in KGB ranks. He was replying to an article published March 8 by fellow major V. I. Kostko in favor of democratization and "departification" of the KGB. To allow political parties other the CPSU to be represented in the MVD, KGB, and Ministry of Defense is an "absurd idea," argues Snopok, given that nefarious forces are waiting to turn the country away from socialism. (Kathy Mihalisko) TRANSYLVANIA HUNGARIAN LEADERS VOICE SUPPORT FOR MOLDAVIA. Addressing a congress of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania in the Transylvanian city of Marosvasarhely/Tirgu-Mures June 26, the Federation's Honorary Chairman, Bishop Laszlo Toekes, "urged his fellow-Hungarians to take a stand on the situation of Romanians in the USSR," Rompres reported the same day. "We must take the side of the Romanian nation, advocate the unification of Romanian territories, for Moldavia's right of self-determination," Rompres further quoted Toekes as saying. (Vladimir Socor) MORE HUNGARIAN SUPPORT. Interviewed by RFE/RL's Romanian service May 27, the Federation's President, Geza Domokos, said that "of course the Moldavians in Bessarabia are a part of the Romanian nation, from whose body they were torn away ...We support the Moldavians' right to determine their fate in accordance with their own will. We regard the developments in Moldavia with sympathy." The Federation's General Secretary, Geza Szoecs, has long been on record with the same position. The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania is allied to the Romanian democratic opposition, as is the Moldavian Popular Front. (Vladimir Socor)
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