|The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch|
No. 103, 03 June 1991
BALTIC STATES BALTIC LEADERS IN BRUSSELS. The chairmen of the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian Supreme Councils Vytautas Landsbergis, Anatolijs Gorbunovs, and Arnold Ruutel flew to Brussels directly from Vilnius on May 31. Ruutel and Landsbergis visited NATO, where they were received by the Icelandic and Danish ambassadors, and all three chairmen spoke at the Benelux Interparliamentary Consultative Council. There, Belgian Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens expressed hope that the Balts would be able to participate in the upcoming CSCE meeting in Berlin, the RFE Lithuanian Service reported that day. (Saulius Girnius) BALTS CONDITIONALLY AGREE TO WESTERN AID FOR USSR. On June 1 the Baltic leaders held a press conference in Brussels at which they agreed to the principle of Western aid for the USSR on the condition that Moscow refrain from violence and does not use the aid against the Balts, Radio Independent Lithuania reported on June 2. They also met with the Norwegian ambassador to NATO, and visited the Baltic information center where they talked with the chairman of Christian Democratic International. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA AND OMON. On May 30 the Lithuanian government issued a statement declaring that members of the USSR MVD OMON unit had until June 7 to quit their jobs or be considered members of a criminal group. The government offered to assist them in finding new employment. The commander of the Vilnius OMON, Boleslaw Makutinowicz, said in an interview over Soviet army-controlled Vilnius television that OMON only obeyed the orders of the USSR MVD and did not plan to disband, Radio Vilnius reported on May 31. (Saulius Girnius) CARITAS CONGRESS IN LITHUANIA. On June 1-2 the Lithuanian Catholic women's organization Caritas held a special congress in Kaunas, Radio Independent Lithuania reported on June 2. The congress was called because the organization, numbering about 6,000 members, had to amend its bylaws to allow males to be members so as to conform to the rules of International Caritas which the Lithuanians joined on May 23. The Lithuanian Council of Bishops appointed Bishop Sigitas Tamkevicius as the organization's head, but the administrative work will be supervised by a general secretary, who was democratically elected by the congress from three candidates. (Saulius Girnius) TRUBIN: CUSTOMS POSTS AND OMON ATTACKS ILLEGAL. On June 1, USSR Procurator General Nikolai Trubin said on Vremya that while, according to Soviet laws, the establishment of Baltic customs is "illegal," the recent OMON attacks on the customs posts are also unlawful: "OMON acted without authorization [...] exceeding its competence....There must not be such a situation in our country, in a law-governed state." He linked the OMON attacks with the refusal of the Latvian Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers to consider complaints about the customs posts made in mid-April by the Latvian SSR Procuracy (not the Procuracy of Latvia) and the transport procuracy of the Baltic republics. Trubin said that "16 of 78 customs posts were removed" by OMON forces at the Latvian-Lithuanian border. (Dzintra Bungs) RENEWED ATTACKS FEARED IN LATVIA. According to Baltfax report May 29, the Latvian Supreme Council has a copy of a telegram from USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo warning the republican ministries of involving policemen at the customs posts. After the recent attacks on Baltic customs posts, the Latvian government authorized police protection of the posts. A Latvian Supreme Council press spokesman said that the police presence might provide an excuse for further attacks on the customs posts. A similar telegram was received by the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers told the press in Moscow on May 30 that there is reason to fear a coup attempt in Latvia during the parliamentary recess in July. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN AND USSR PRIME MINISTERS DISCUSS FINANCES. Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis met again with his Soviet counterpart Nikolai Pavlov on May 31 in Moscow. They discussed financial relations between Latvia and the USSR, privatization in Latvia, the possibility of Moscow sharing Western aid with Latvia, and the question of the Kremlin attempting to stop economic reforms in Latvia. According to Radio Riga of June 1, Godmanis quoted Pavlov as saying that the center would leave Latvia alone. Pavlov met with Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar on May 27, also to discuss economic matters. (Dzintra Bungs) NEW SOVIET AIR DEFENSE INSTALLATIONS IN LATVIA. The Soviet military is dismantling air defense installations in Vainode and Barta in western Latvia, but is replacing them with more modern ones nearby, close to the port city of Liepaja, reported Diena of May 24. Lieutenant Colonel Yurii Zamyatin explained that "the Persian Gulf War showed that fragments of missiles shot down over inhabited areas cause great damage. Taking into account the possiblity of attacks from the sea, air defense installations should be located on the coast so that the damaged missiles fall into the sea." (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV TO G-7 SUMMIT? By the weekend, most of the G-7 nations appeared to be in favor of inviting Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to the G-7 summit in July. Germany, France, Italy, and Canada had indicated their approval, Japan was still against, the US was leaning toward an invitation, and the UK, as host, was claiming benevolent neutrality in the matter. Western agencies June 2 cited a report in yesterday's Berliner Morgenpost quoting unnamed German government sources as saying Gorbachev would not be an official participant, but would only attend discussions dealing with the economic crisis in the USSR. The latest modality was floated by The Guardian of June 3: this suggested that Gorbachev would be invited to a dinner to allow him to outline his proposals for reform and for Western assistance. (Keith Bush/Sallie Wise) ATTALI INVITES GORBACHEV TO EBRD. Jacques Attali, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development [EBRD], has invited Gorbachev to the bank's headquarters in London for talks, possibly in July, Western agencies reported May 31. A spokesman for the EBRD declined to be more specific when asked whether Gorbachev's visit was intended to coincide with the G-7 summit July 15-17. (NCA/Sallie Wise) THE QUARTER-TRILLION BID. According to Western agencies and newspapers May 31, presidential envoy Yevgenii Primakov told IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus that the USSR will need between $30 billion and $50 billion a year from the West during the next five years to underwrite its projected reform program. This is below the DM 500 billion estimated minimum financing requirement for the former GDR over the next ten years, but well above what most observers deem realistic or even desirable. (Keith Bush) WHICH PROGRAM? From most of the Western press coverage, it would appear that the rescue programs peddled by Primakov in Washington and Grigorii Yavlinsky in Cambridge are not identical documents. The Yavlinsky version seems to be undergoing further revision. One Western journalist who clearly has read the document--or one of the two documents--is the Moscow correspondent of The Economist. In the June 1 edition, he writes of a 30-page program that differs greatly from the original Pavlov anti-crisis plan of April 9. Under its provisions, republics would be responsible for most privatization, and foreign trade would be substantially more decentralized. (Keith Bush) USSR TO RESCHEDULE IN 1991? A report by Salomon Brothers' sovereign risk assessment group warns that the Soviet Union is likely to reschedule its commercial bank loans "in the near future," The Financial Times reported May 30. The Soviet risk has been downgraded to "a low double B sovereign credit similar to Mexico or Venezuela...and could fall lower in the non-investment grade category over the next year." The share of commercial bank lending in the estimated total debt of $64 billion is expected to drop to 41%. The Independent of May 31 reported that rescheduling of the Soviet debt is part of the package that may be offered by the G-7 nations at their July summit. (Keith Bush) FINAL WORK ON CFE. The United States and Soviet Union resolved differences on the CFE treaty on June 1. US Secretary of State James Baker and his Soviet counterpart Aleksandr Bessmertnykh said they hoped a US-Soviet summit would take place at the "earliest possible opportunity." Baker cautioned, however, that the US "would like to see a summit in Moscow that would result in a signature of a strategic arms treaty," Western agencies reported June 1. (Suzanne Crow) ENTRY ON "NATIONALITY" MAY BE DROPPED FROM SOVIET PASSPORTS. A bill has been drafted that would allow Soviet citizens to stop giving their nationality in their internal passports and other documents, Western agencies reported May 31, citing Interfax. According to the draft, nationality would be listed only in accordance with the wishes of the individual, and adults would have the right to change any entry. According to the report, no date has been fixed for the Supreme Soviet to debate the bill. (Ann Sheehy) DEMOCRATIC COMMUNISTS TO SET UP OWN PARTY. The leader of the "Communists for Democracy" group in the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies, Colonel Aleksandr Rutskoi, was quoted May 31 by the Russian Information Agency (RIA) as saying that his group intends to convene a founding congress of a new party. Rutskoi, who has already called on reformists to set up a strong party to oppose the CPSU, is running for vice-president of the RSFSR on Yeltsin's ticket. Rutskoi's initiative is the second attempt (after the creation of the Democratic Platform of reformist communists in the CPSU) to split the USSR's Communist Party. (Vera Tolz) MVD PREPARES FOR MARKET TRANSITION. Minister of Internal Affairs Pugo told Ekonomika i zhizn', No. 22, that law-enforcement agencies must institute preemptive policies during the introduction of market relations in order to catch every new form of economic crime. He suggested legislation imposing criminal and administrative penalties for creating "front" cooperatives, claims of false bankruptcy, intentional shortages, unjustified raising of prices, and distortion of recruiting and employment rules. Pugo advocated a single system of declaring and controlling income. In preparation for these measures, the MVD has begun to convert its old economic division OBKhSS into a "Service to Combat Economic Criminality," said Pugo. (Victor Yasmann) SUPSOV INVESTIGATION OF KGB AND GRU DEFECTORS PROPOSED. The recent defection of senior GRU officer Aleksandr Krapiva, along with the cases of other KGB and GRU defectors during the last ten years, must be investigated by the USSR Supreme Soviet, wrote People's Deputy and academician Yurii Ryzhov in Literaturnaya gazeta, May 29. (Krapiva defected to the West with his family in Vienna this April). This is not a "branch matter," but rather a case of national interest, said Ryzhov. Due to the process of democratization in the USSR, political and ideological motivations for these officers' defections appear unconvincing, commented the newspaper. (Victor Yasmann) "RADIO PEACE AND PROGRESS" STOPS BROADCASTING. A Soviet international radio station reported May 31 that it was going to end its broadcasts June 1. "Radio Peace and Progress" said that the newly created All-Union State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company refused to rent it office space, studios and equipment. The radio had rented such facilities from the company's predecessor, the USSR State Committee for TV and Radio Broadcasting. In its farewell broadcast, the radio station implied that a policy dispute with the central authorities led the all-Union Company to take repressive measures against the radio. "Radio Peace and Progress" broadcast to Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. (NCA/Vera Tolz) YURII ZHUKOV DIES. A long-term political commentator of Pravda, Yurii Zhukov, has died in Moscow, TASS reported June 2. Zhukov was known for his conservative and anti-Western views. Since perestroika began, he on many occasions attacked reformist forces in the USSR. His obituary, published in the CPSU daily June 2, was signed by Gorbachev and other top CPSU officials. (Vera Tolz) PATRIARCH SPEAKS WITH USSR SUPSOV CHAIRMAN. TASS reported on May 30 that the chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Anatolii Luk'yanov, received Patriarch of All Russia, Aleksii, that day. They discussed problems in connection with the introduction of the law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations, and Church participation in charity and peacemaking. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN TALKS WITH PATRIARCH. TASS reported on June 1 that RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin received Patriarch Aleksii that day. During their conversation they discussed a variety of problems, including the life of the Russian Orthodox Church and new opportunities for its development since the registration of the Church as a legal entity by the RSFSR Ministry of Justice. They also discussed the issue of the return of property confiscated by the state. The Patriarch suggested that education in public schools be secular, but not atheist. (Oxana Antic) FIRST CONGRESS OF RUSSIAN POPULAR FRONT. The first congress of the Russian (Rossiisky) Popular Front, set up as early as 1988, opened in Moscow June 1, TASS reported. The front initially included people supporting democratic reforms, but then nationalists close to the extremist organization Pamyat' gained the upper hand in the forum. TASS quoted the front's secretary, Valerii Skurlatov, as telling the congress that the front advocates "a confederation of sovereign states with different social systems" on the territory of the USSR. (In the 1970s, Skurlatov wrote several works considered to be anti-Semitic and even fascist). (Vera Tolz) RSFSR TO PRIVATIZE 20% OF ECONOMY BY 1993. According to RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Malei, the RSFSR plans to begin privatizing its food, light industry, transportation, and public works and commerce sectors in the near future. The first stage of the privatiztion scheme is intended to raise some 200-250 billion rubles for the RSFSR government. In comments carried by Western and Soviet media June 2, Malei said that each of the 150 million RSFSR citizens would receive 7,000 rubles in coupons that would be redeemable for stocks in the privatized companies. (John Tedstrom) RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT INVITES PROPOSALS FOR COMMERCIAL TV. The RSFSR Press and Information Minister, Mikhail Poltoranin, issued a statement June 1 inviting Soviet and foreign companies and individuals to submit proposals for setting up a commercial television network, Western agencies reported that day. Poltoranin said that proposals, including a detailed concept, technical and financial plans, must be received by August 1. He will head a jury that chooses the best plan by September 1. In May, the RSFSR started full-time broadcasting of its own TV. This television is, however, state-sponsored. At a press conference on May 12, one of the representatives of RSFSR television stressed the need for a real independent television, which could be only a commercial one. (Vera Tolz) POPE MAY VISIT UKRAINE. According to Western agencies of June 3, Pope John Paul II has said that he hopes to visit Ukraine next year. The Pope was speaking at a service for Ukrainian Catholics on June 2 in Przemysl, Poland. (Oxana Antic) KRAVCHUK ON HUNGARIAN MINORITY. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk concluded his official visit to Hungary on Saturday, MTI reported June 1. Before leaving Kravchuk addressed students at the Agricultural Sciences University, where he said that the question of national minorities is a priority issue for Ukraine. According to Kravchuk, the republic will strive to create a genuine home for the 200,000 Hungarians in Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk) "AIR UKRAINE" EXPANDS FOREIGN FLIGHTS. Ukrinform-Tass reported on May 27 that regular twice-weekly Toronto-Kiev service has begun and will operate during the summer tourist season. According to Vladimir Rashchuk, Air Ukraine's director, the airline now has regular flights to Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Athens. Regular flights to Munich and New York will begin soon. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIANS TO RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS STARTING IN JULY. The newspaper Molod' Ukrainy reported May 5 that Ukraine will offer unemployment benefits starting July 1. Benefits will be calculated according to the number of family members and will be funded by the republican employment fund, which will receive up to 3% from local and republican budgets and contributions from enterprises' production costs, determined on a yearly basis (0.6% in 1991). Unemployment bureaus will also earn money from their own commercial activities. Radio Kiev reported May 27 that there are officially only 242 unemployed in the Ukrainian capital, 80% of whom are engineers and technical professionals. At the same time, there are 26,000 vacant blue-collar positions in Kiev, the radio said. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINE TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES. The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy will purchase $1 million worth of electric windmills in Denmark, Radio Kiev reported May 30. The mills will be installed in the Crimea, which has the most ideal climate for such purposes. It already has 40 such mills, although this region alone consumes 8 billion kilowatts of electricity per year. Ukrainian specialists estimate that wind power in the Crimea can generate 13 billion kilowatts per year, the radio said. (Valentyn Moroz) TWO MORE CONSULS ACCREDITED IN KIEV. Radio Kiev reported May 29 that the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accredited Mongolian and Czechoslovak consuls. Formerly, the report noted, accreditation was done in Moscow and consuls were simply sent to Kiev. Speaking at the press conference after accreditation, the Mongolian consul said that Ukrainian-Mongolian economic cooperation is extensive, although exact numbers are still unknown because everything is conducted through Moscow. (Valentyn Moroz) ARMENIAN CP ELECTS NEW FIRST SECRETARY. The Armenian CP June 1 elected Aram Gasparovich Sarkisyan to the post of First Secretary in place of Stepan Pogosyan, who resigned May 14, TASS reported June 2. Sarkisyan is 42 years old and a former Pravda correspondent in Armenia; he was elected Armenian CP secretary in December 1990. (Liz Fuller) ILIESCU DENIES INSENSITIVITY ON MOLDAVIA, URGES REALISM. In a statement issued through Rompres May 31, Romanian President Ion Iliescu refuted domestic criticism of the government for insensitivity toward Moldavia. He was replying, inter alia, to charges that official Bucharest had tacitly colluded in the ouster of Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druc as desired by Moscow. Iliescu's rejoinder professed "sympathy for and solidarity with our brothers," but warned against "unrealistic attitudes." He criticized "the lack of political wisdom, the irresponsible nature of some statements and acts of some of our citizens, who do not understand our geopolitical conditions." (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS TO JOIN EAST EUROPEAN BODY. At its constituent conference in Ljubljana (Slovenia) May 25-26, the Confederation of Social-Democrat Parties of Central and Eastern Europe resolved to invite Moldavia's Social-Democrat Party to join, Radio Bucharest reported May 31. The conference also adopted a resolution stating that Moldavia's inclusion in the USSR was due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and that the people of the republic were entitled to "self determination and independence." Romania's Social-Democrat Party, a component of Romania's democratic opposition and a member of the Socialist International, had proposed the resolutions. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN RESERVE OFFICERS ORGANIZE. A League of Moldavian Reserve Officers and NCOs was set up at a constituent conference in Kishinev, Ekspress khronika reported from the Moldavian capital May 28. The conference adopted the League's statutes and program. The League proposes to contribute to the patriotic education of Moldavian youth and, according to Moldavian sources interviewed by telephone from Kishinev, to train youth groups interested in physical fitness. (Vladimir Socor) KISHINEV REJECTS USSR SUPSOV RESOLUTION. In a decision made public June 1, the Moldavian Parliament's presidium rejected the resolution of the USSR Supreme Soviet Council of Nationalities, published April 30, "On Normalizing the Situation in Moldavia" as "ignoring Moldavia's sovereignty" and "interfering in the republic's internal affairs." That document had implicitly conditioned Moldavia's territorial integrity on compliance with Gorbachev's December 22 decree, also titled "On Normalizing the Situation in Moldavia," and resolved to send to Moldavia groups of USSR deputies and of law enforcement and economic officials to examine complaints against Kishinev by the organizers of the would-be Dnestr and Gagauz republics. (Vladimir Socor) RAIL LINE FROM BEIJING TO ISTANBUL UNDER DISCUSSION. Radio Moscow, quoting the semi-independent Aziya-Press, reported on May 31 that government leaders of the Central Asian republics had gathered in Alma-Ata to discuss the formation of a unified rail line between Beijing and Istanbul. The line would pass through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The line is intended to facilitate expanded foreign trade, business and tourism opportunities for the Central Asian republics. Another meeting is planned, which is to include Chinese, Iranian and Turkish representatives. (Bess Brown)
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