|The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity. - George Bernard Shaw|
No. 106, 06 June 1991
BALTIC STATES GORBACHEV BLAMES BALTS. Clearly losing his temper at a news conference after his Nobel Peace Prize address yesterday (June 5), Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev blamed Latvia and Lithuania for increasing tensions in the Baltic region, Western agencies reported. Raising his voice and gesturing forcefully, Gorbachev said those two republics had started the trouble by setting up their own customs posts. Gorbachev also criticized Western reporters for misrepresenting the Baltic situation, accusing them of exaggerating events and applying double standards. Curiously, Gorbachev did not criticize Estonia, which has also set up border posts that were raided recently. (Riina Kionka) DENMARK TO PRESS NATO ON BALTIC INDEPENDENCE. Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen told reporters at a press conference in Copenhagen on June 4 that he would urge NATO members to link Western aid to the USSR to the Baltic efforts to gain independence. He said that he would make this proposal at the NATO meeting starting today in the Danish capital. (NCA/Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS OPEN LETTER TO GORBACHEV. On June 5 Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis wrote an open letter to Gorbachev that was probably timed to coincide with his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo. The text of the letter, as released by the Lithuanian parliament Bureau of Information, is very short: "Mr. President, I ask you to declare in public, for all to hear, that for as long as you retain your position as President, no military force will be used against the Republic of Lithuania. And please agree to open authorized negotiations so that relations between our countries can be normalized." (Saulius Girnius) POPE SUPPORTS LITHUANIAN INDEPENDENCE. On June 5, speaking at a service in Lomza attended by some 16,000 Lithuanian pilgrims, Pope John Paul II expressed support for Lithuania's "just national aspirations," saying that "the Pope is with you." He told the worshippers that "his meeting with Lithuanians will bring closer the day when Lithuania will be on the Papal pilgrimage trail." Before the mass the Pontiff met with Lithuanian Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius and government officials. They said the Pope condemned the 1939 Hitler-Stalin pact as a "historic injustice." Polish television, which can be seen in many parts of Lithuania, broadcast the Mass live. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT. On June 4 Secretary General of Christian Democrat International (CDI) Andre Louis issued a statement firmly condemning efforts by the Soviet military to intimidate the Lithuanian people by surrounding the parliament building in Vilnius on June 3. The statement said that the CDI "confirms its full solidarity with the peoples of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in their efforts to build a truly democratic and sovereign society." It ended by asserting: "CDI pleads once again for the quick resumption of negotiations between Moscow and the governments of the three republics, whose annexation CDI has never recognized." (Saulius Girnius) WEST URGED TO SET CONDITIONS FOR SOVIET AID. On June 5 Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius put pressure on the West to grant aid to the Soviet Union only under the condition that Moscow would respect the Baltic States' desire for independence, Western agencies reported that day. In remarks made to reporters in Lomza, Stankevicius warned that "if in giving money to the Soviet Union the West does not make clear its position on the situation in the Baltic States, [the money] will be used against the Baltic States by force." (Gytis Liulevicius) UNCERTAINTY OVER TROOP COUNT IN VILNIUS PATROLS. Contradictory troop counts followed the Soviet army deployments in Vilnius on June 3. According to an RIA report of June 4, a spokesperson for the USSR Ministry of Defense maintained that Vilnius garrison commander Major-General Vladimir Uskhopchik had introduced only one patrol route, consisting of only three men, adding that any contrary reports would be "the fruit of an overexcited imagination." In an interview with TASS of June 5, however, Uskhopchik himself acknowledged that there were 40 patrols with four soldiers each. There was no explanation, however, of why more than 50 soldiers from these patrols had gathered at the three checkpoints at the Lithuanian parliament. (Gytis Liulevicius) LATVIAN-USSR TALKS RESUME. The second round of talks between Latvian and Soviet government and parliamentary representatives start today (June 6). Scheduled for May 23, the talks were suddenly postponed by the USSR on May 20. Radio Riga reported on June 5 that the Soviet delegation had arrived in Riga and that its chief Vladimir Velichko expects to discuss economic issues with the Latvian representatives. On May 13 Radio Riga noted that Latvian delegation chief Ilmars Bisers wanted to include OMON and the Latvian SSR procuracy on the agenda of this meeting. (Dzintra Bungs) PUGO CAN'T GUARANTEE USSR WILL NOT FALL APART. USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo told L'Unita of May 31 that "the old Union no longer exists and the new one has yet to be born" and that some stability will return after the 9-plus-1 agreement is signed. Admitting that he could not guarantee that the USSR would not fall apart, he said that he expects a new Union to be created that would "also be advantageous for the republics that want to leave now." He saw as the main threat to perestroika the lack of national unity in the USSR, and favored "an unyielding response" toward republics that refuse the sign the Union treaty. (Dzintra Bungs) PUGO ASKED TO COMMENT AS A LATVIAN. Pugo was asked by L'Unita to comment on the situation in Latvia. Replying to the question "You are Latvian; please explain," Pugo said: "If the republic wants to secede from the USSR, it will be necessary to observe a transition period, and the people who do not intend to stay will have the opportunity to move to other areas..." From the way he formulated his answer, it seemed that Pugo wanted to distance himself from Latvia, the independence-seeking land of his forefathers. Pugo was born in Russia to Latvian parents; he does not have close ties with Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) PUGO: OMON ATTACKED WITHOUT MVD AUTHORIZATION. Regarding the OMON attacks on Baltic customs posts, Pugo admitted to L'Unita that these forces are under MVD jurisdiction, but that they had abused their power: "I do not approve of interventions by forces [sic] without any warning. It is unethical. They should first have given a warning, asked the Ministry for the go-ahead, and only then taken action." It is unclear what Pugo meant by "warning" and why he stressed warning over authorization from the top. He added that he had asked the USSR Prosecutor's Office to make an inquiry and for his subordinates to investigate the situation. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV: WESTERN AID CRUCIAL, BUT WITHOUT CONDITIONS. In his speech yesterday in Oslo accepting the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize, Gorbachev stated that creation of "a new world order" hinges on the success of perestroika in the USSR, TASS and Western media reported June 5 and 6. He cautioned that if perestroika fails, "the prospect of entering a new peaceful period in history will vanish, at least for the foreseeable future." Gorbachev asserted that the West therefore has a vital interest in ensuring that his policies succeed, and that the Soviet Union "is entitled to expect large-scale support" to ensure that perestroika prevails. However, he warned that to set conditions tied to such support would be "futile and dangerous." (Sallie Wise) GORBACHEV REITERATES STAND ON SECESSION. At his press conference in Oslo June 5 repeated that the relations of the Soviet Union with the republics that do not sign the Union treaty will be based on existing constitutional norms. He cited in particular the law on the mechanics of secession adopted in 1990. In his Nobel lecture he likewise said that republics could decide to leave the Soviet Union through an "honest" referendum and an agreed transitional period. Gorbachev expressed optimism about the conclusion of a new Union treaty, saying that after the "euphoria of sovereignization" a healthy acceptance of existing realities was prevailing. (Ann Sheehy) KHASBULATOV ON UNION TREATY. First Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov told correspondents June 5 that at present there are no obstacles that "would render impossible the conclusion of a Union treaty in the final analysis," TASS reported. Khasbulatov expressed the view that the draft in its present form could be submitted to the republican parliaments. Of the outstanding problems he singled out the question of federal taxes, which, he said, a number of republics were objecting to. At the same time, Khasbulatov stressed that the spirit and the letter of the 9-plus-1 declaration must be followed exactly, and expressed concern at the position of the USSR Supreme Soviet. (Ann Sheehy) WHICH REFORM? The Journal of Commerce June 6 draws attention to ambiguities in two prominent speeches made on June 5. In his Nobel Prize speech in Oslo, Gorbachev referred to his country's transition to a "mixed economy." This could be yet another euphemism for the doomed "third way" still favored by many in the Soviet establishment. Others have been the "socialist market economy," "regulated market economy," and "socialist market." And in his speech to the USSR Supreme Soviet, USSR Deputy Premier Vladimir Shcherbakov appeared to be backing a new, improved version of the Pavlov anti-crisis program and distancing himself from whatever comes out of Grigorii Yavlinsky's deliberations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Keith Bush) SUPSOV MOVES ON PRIVATIZATION. The USSR Supreme Soviet took measures June 5 to complete work on privatization legislation within the next two weeks, according TASS the same day. The final plan is said to give republics great latitude in defining specific forms of private businesses and timetables for implementing the reforms. A Fund for State Property of the USSR will control financing of the privatization scheme. One remaining question is whether to turn over state assets to private owners free of charge. Most deputies prefer that approach, but the government believes that method to be too inflationary. The RSFSR government, on the other hand, advocates giving citizens "checks" worth 7,000 rubles strictly for the purchase of stocks, arguing that it creates an equal basis for everyone. (John Tedstrom) FARMERS RELUCTANT TO GROW OR SELL GRAIN. The Chairman of the USSR State Committee for the Purchase of Food Resources, Mikhail Timoshishin, told Pravda June 5 that many farmers are reluctant to grow grain. Among the reasons he cited were the "poor security" of the ruble and the lack of machinery, chemicals, and other producer goods. Several recent articles in the Soviet press have complained about the adverse terms of trade for the agricultural sector, i.e., that prices of producer goods have risen far faster than procurement prices for farm produce. Absent from Timoshishin's complaint and from the other articles is acceptance of the idea that prices of inputs and outputs should be determined by the market. (Keith Bush) SOVIET-NORWEGIAN JOINT DECLARATION. Gorbachev's trip to Oslo to deliver his Nobel lecture was also the occasion for a Soviet-Norwegian joint declaration on international development and bilateral ties. Among other things, the declaration called for the development of ties between the northwestern parts of the RSFSR and northern Norway, and an increase in trade, cooperation and tourism, TASS reported June 5. (Suzanne Crow) PROGRESS IN BARENTS SEA DISPUTE? Speaking to reporters in Oslo, Gorbachev said "three-quarters of the problem has already been solved" in reference to a 20-year-long territorial dispute over the Barents Sea. The Sea is thought to contain oil and gas reserves, as well as large fish stocks. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN EASTERN GERMANY? A June 4 Western agency interview with an unidentified German intelligence source has been picked up by both Deutsche Welle (Germany's international radio) and Radio Rossii. According to reports of the interview, the April, 1991 shooting of a German army major by a Soviet sentry near Magdeburg provided the latest indication that the USSR had deployed chemical weapons in the GDR--something the USSR has long denied (see Daily Report, June 4). The German official suggested that Soviet authorities are hesitant to withdraw these alleged stocks out of fear of an accident and of disclosure that such weapons had been deployed in East Germany. Thus far there has been no official comment on this report from either Moscow or Bonn. (Suzanne Crow) LUK'YANOV ON DEFENSE COUNCIL. At a press conference on June 5, USSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov said that the Soviet Defense Council continues to operate and that "without it, it would be impossible to imagine solving questions of defense and perestroika." According to Radio Rossii, Luk'yanov added that the Defense Council deals with economic and foreign policy issues, ecological security, and with questions related to the army and the defense industries. The Defense Council was for many years an agent of the Party leadership, but it has more recently been subordinated to the President's office and its constitutional status and its functions remain unclear. (Stephen Foye) YAKOVLEV ON SOVIET FUTURE. Gorbachev adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev took part in a TV debate with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger aired by the Austrian television channel ORF-2 on June 4. Yakovlev expressed his conviction that the USSR eventually will have a democratic regime. In his view, there are no forces in the USSR which have an interest in staging a coup d'etat and inciting civil war. He rejected the notion that massive Western aid would allow the USSR to gain historical "breathing space." A strong Soviet Union would have no further geopolitical or economic reasons for territorial expansion, he said. Kissinger, however, noted that Tsarist Russia was motivated by an ideological reason (pan-Slavism), not economic or geopolitical reasons, when it entered World War I. (Victor Yasmann) REORGANIZATION OF COUNCIL FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS HARMS PROTESTANTS. Journalist Dmitrii Radyshevsky, criticizes in Moskovskie novosti, No.20 the plan of Yurii Khristoradov, chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs, to abolish the Council's department responsible for Protestant churches and sects. Radyshevsky points out that this department is the only structure in the Soviet Union which protects the rights of more than 30 small confessions from the government. According to Radyshevsky, leaders of Baptist communities, Adventists, and Krishnaites have said that this action by the authorities is a signal for the beginning of new repression of these faiths. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS GORBACHEV FAVORS YELTSIN? Former interior minister Vadim Bakatin told Komsomol'skaya pravda on May 31 that a victory by Nikolai Ryzhkov in the RSFSR presidential elections will mean "a halt even to an orderly progression." The well-known Soviet commentator Vyacheslav Kostikov wrote in his commentary for Novosti (June 4) that Gorbachev now hopes that RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin will win. Ryzhkov's victory would spell trouble for Gorbachev, Kostikov went on, because the historical agreement between Gorbachev and Yeltsin would evidently be scrapped and the West would not be inclined to lend money to the Soviet Union. Ryzhkov's election is the hardliners' last chance to slow down reform and retain, at least for some time, their place in society, Kostikov said. (Alexander Rahr) AFGHANISTAN APOLOGIZES FOR BOMBING. TASS reported on June 5 that Afghanistan has apologized to the USSR and Tajikistan for the bombing of a Tajik village by an Afghan air force jet on June 4. A spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said that the plane accidentally strayed across the border and mistook the village for a resistance hideout. According to the report, the Soviet Foreign Ministry said that Afghan authorities have offered to pay compensation to the injured and the families of the four persons killed in the attack. (NCA) UZBEK PILGRIMS TO GO ON HAJ. Uzbek President Islam Karimov has signed an order permitting a large group of Muslims from Uzbekistan to participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca, according to a TASS report of June 5. The report notes that last year, for the first time, 500 pilgrims from Uzbekistan were allowed to make the trip, which fulfills one of the basic requirements of the Islamic faith, but does not indicate how many are expected to participate this year. (Bess Brown) MUSLIMS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST RISE IN PRICE OF PILGRIMAGE. About 1,000 Muslims demonstrated June 4 in the Dagestan capital to protest the huge increase in the cost of the pilgrimage to Mecca, Western agencies reported June 5 citing Interfax. Interfax said that this year pilgrims will have to pay 30,000 rubles, compared with about 5,000 in 1990. It is not clear from the report why the cost has increased. Reports last year stated that the cost was in fact much higher--a figure of roughly 17,000 rubles was given for pilgrims from Central Asia and Kazakhstan and 13,000 from the elsewhere--but there appeared to be no shortage of takers. In the event, Saudi Arabia seems to have paid for the pilgrims' stay in Mecca, which accounted for a large part of the bill. (NCA/Ann Sheehy) THREE MORE TESTS PROPOSED AT SEMIPALATINSK. The chairman of the environmental committee of Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet, Marash Nurtazin, has told the Postfaktum news agency that Gorbachev plans to ask the republican legislature to approve three more nuclear weapons tests in Semipalatinsk Oblast, according to Western agency and Radio Moscow reports of June 5. Murtazin said that the republican legislature is to see the draft of a presidential decree ordering the closure of the test site and its transformation into a research facility, and also the payment of 3.5 billion rubles in compensation to the people of the region. Kazakhstan's influential anti-nuclear movement has demanded immediate closure of the site. (Bess Brown) TAJIKS LOOKING FOR ECONOMIC CONTACTS. An official delegation from Tajikistan, headed by republican President Kakhar Makhkamov, has arrived in Turkey to participate in a regional meeting of the World Economic Forum, according to a TASS report of June 5. Makhkamov was quoted as telling journalists that the Tajik group hopes to establish contacts with European and Turkish business circles, and trade connections with Western and Turkish firms, which he said would benefit the entire USSR, not just Tajikistan. (Bess Brown) "DNIESTER SSR" DEMANDS MOLDAVIAN COMPLIANCE. Leaders of the would-be Dniester SSR have cabled the Moldavian leadership demanding that it comply with the April 1991 resolution of the USSR Soviet of Nationalities "On Normalizing the Situation in Moldavia," which in turn demands compliance with Gorbachev's identically titled decree of December 1990. According to TASS June 3, the Dniester leaders threaten formal secession of the area from Moldavia in the event of noncompliance, but suggest a compromise on the basis of making Moldavia into a federation of republics, TASS reported June 3. The move appears designed to earn the "Dniester SSR"'s leaders a title to become a party to the Union treaty, which Moldavia refuses to do. (Vladimir Socor) INTERREPUBLICAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE IN KISHINEV. At the initiative of Moldavia's Social-Democrat Party, an interrepublican conference of Social-Democrat and related parties from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan was held in Kishinev, Ekspress khronika reported June 4. Titled "The National Liberation Movements and Social Democracy," the conference dealt with "the integration of the national liberation and democratic processes," "preventing bolshevization or fascization of the liberation movement," and "ways to channel the liberation movement into the democratic mainstream." (Vladimir Socor) UKRAINIAN CP CONCERNED BY WORKERS' MOVEMENT. At a meeting June 5, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian CP expressed its concern at the direction being taken by the workers' movement in the republic, Radio Kiev-3 reported. Politburo members noted that workers--who constitute 60% of Ukraine's labor force--show increasing lack of faith in existing social-political institutions. The Communist chiefs accused opposition forces of using the workers' movement for anticommunist purposes, and said the Party must try to strengthen its influence in the factories. (Kathy Mihalisko) ANOTHER CALL FOR UKRAINE-WIDE STRIKE. Quoting the newspaper Halychyna, Radio Kiev said June 5 that the strike committee and regional Rukh organization of Ivano-Frankovsk Oblast have published an appeal to Ukraine's workers to join a general strike. The goal would be to warn Communist deputies not to sign the Union treaty. (Kathy Mihalisko) CHORNOVIL AGAINST STRIKES. Vyacheslav Chornovil, the radical chairman of the Lvov Oblast soviet, said in a June 5 interview with the newspaper Holos Ukrainy that labor strikes are "a knife in the back." He argued for less political adventurism and greater concentration on tasks such as "departification" of enterprises and the development of the independent press. On the day this interview was published, unfortunately, Chornovil, who is also a People's Deputy of Ukraine, suffered a heart attack during the Second Congress of the Ukrainian Republican Party. Radio Kiev said June 5 that he is in serious condition at a hospital in the capital city. (Kathy Mihalisko) KHMARA TRIAL AGAIN POSTPONED. The often-delayed trial of People's Deputy Stepan Khmara has been put off again, according to Radio Kiev on June 5, in connection with an incident, the details of which are not yet clear, involving one of the six co-defendants in the trial, Koval'chuk. Koval'chuk arrived from prison in a disturbed mental state and with severe bruises on his back that suggested he had been beaten in jail. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES GROWS, FUNDING DOES NOT. Institutes of Sociology and Historical Documents have been established within the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Ukrinform-Tass reported June 3. The Academy also plans to establish an Institute of Eastern Studies. Financing of the Academy remains at previous levels, however, which means that resources will have to be allocated more carefully. Some of the existing institutes will simply have to receive less money in the future, Chief Secretary of the Academy's Presidium told Ukrinform. (Valentyn Moroz)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.