|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 107, 07 June 1991
BALTIC STATES GORBACHEV CRITICIZED IN STOCKHOLM. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev met with criticism on several fronts while visiting Stockholm on June 6. Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson pressed Gorbachev on the Baltic issue during their official talks, and demonstrators for Baltic independence rallied not far from Carlsson's office, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 7. Carlsson insisted that "the Baltic people have the right to self-determination." He also took exception to the Soviet prosecutor's report of June 3 in which Soviet troops were absolved of any responsibility for the deaths in Vilnius last January. Although Gorbachev warned against interference in ostensibly "Soviet internal affairs," Carlsson stood firm, emphasizing Sweden's historical and cultural ties to the Baltic States as a neighbor. A weekly pro-Baltic independence demonstration usually held on Mondays was rescheduled to coincide with Gorbachev's visit. Swedish opposition party leaders spoke at the rally, and also expressed their support for Baltic independence at an official lunch with Gorbachev. (Gytis Liulevicius) NO NEW NATO STATEMENT ON BALTIC STATES. NATO foreign ministers meeting in Copenhagen released a declaration on June 6, supporting "the expectations and the legitimate aspirations of the Baltic peoples," The Los Angeles Times reported June 7. The statement remained consistent with previous NATO pronouncements on the Baltic States, and did not mention the recent Soviet army actions in the region. Denmark and Iceland desired a stronger statement condemning Soviet violence and demanding that any aid to the Soviet Union be tied to support for Baltic independence and a warning against the use of force. In a compromise, the ministers said that Central and Eastern European differences should be settled in a "peaceful" manner. (Gytis Liulevicius) UNEXPLAINED TROOP MOVEMENTS IN LITHUANIA. Radio Independent Lithuania reported on June 6 that there had been unexplained troop movements the previous day. A column of 19 Ural military trucks, loaded with men dressed in plain clothes, passed through Panevezys heading north. Other military trucks also unloaded passengers at the OMON headquarters in Vilnius and at the main army base in Naujoji Vilnis. Vilnius airport officials also told several establishments that they should take away their cargoes stored at the airport as quickly as possible since the Soviet military had asked for more space to accommodate planned shipments of ammunition. (Saulius Girnius) WHO GAVE ORDERS FOR BORDER ATTACKS? Some people are still confused over who gave OMON troops their orders to raid Baltic border posts last month. According to yesterday's Paevaleht (June 6), USSR deputy Interior Minister Vassily Trushin told Latvia's Interior Minister Aloizs Vaznis by telephone on May 24 that "the USSR Interior Ministry does not give the Riga OMON any orders." Four days later, USSR Interior Minister Boriss Pugo sent Vaznis a telegram saying that "the Riga OMON acted legally." OMON units, despite being nominally attached to local MVD authorities, are believed to be under the command of the USSR MVD. Since it is unlikely that the Riga OMON units received their orders from local authorities, it would appear that the USSR Interior Ministry has either assented to their activities, or has chosen to ignore them. (Riina Kionka/Stephen Foye) LATVIAN-USSR TALKS: "WORKERS"' PARTICIPATION TURNED DOWN. Radio Riga reported on June 6 that when the Soviet delegation arrived in Riga on June 5, Aleksei Litvinenko demanded permission to participate in the USSR-Latvian consultations. USSR delegation head Vladimir Velichko evidently turned down the demand. The next morning workers' council members picketed near the venue of the talks, and Velichko met with them during the lunch break. (Litvinenko helped organize a demonstration of various Russian-dominated organizations on May 23 to protest protesting price hikes in Latvia and ask for representation in the USSR-Latvian talks.) Few details were reported about the talks that started on June 6 and are continuing today (June 7); apparently economic issues dominated the agenda. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-RSFSR PROCURACY ACCORD ASSAILED. On May 22 representatives of the Latvian and RSFSR procuracies signed an agreement of cooperation. A statement of protest against the accord was issued by employees of the Latvian SSR and Lithuanian SSR procuracies, reported TASS on June 5. Both in Latvia and Lithuania there exist two procuracies: one loyal to the independent state, and the other loyal to the USSR, as well as the Latvian SSR and the Lithuanian SSR. The protesters are members of the pro-USSR procuracies and they claim that the RSFSR accord with "the unlawfully-formed procuracy of the Latvian republic,...leads to a split in the unified procuracy system" of the USSR, and "disorganizes the work of law enforcement bodies." (Dzintra Bungs) PEOPLE'S FRONT CONCERNED ABOUT ANOTHER CRACKDOWN IN LATVIA. Romualdas Razukas, chairman of the People's Front of Latvia, told Radio Riga on June 5 that the PFL is taking precautionary steps against another Kremlin crackdown in Latvia, which, he felt, would differ from the one in January, in that the Soviet military may be involved. (In January, when Latvians set up barricades around key institutions in Riga, Soviet troops did not stage an assault. Only OMON forces raided the Ministry of Internal Affairs on January 20.) PFL activists are drawing up a plan of nonviolent resistance to Soviet force, should it be used. Razukas said that the PFL would cooperate both with the government and the Supreme Council on these matters. (Dzintra Bungs) UNEMPLOYMENT IN LATVIA. Leonards Rubins, Deputy Director of Latvia's Job Placement Center, told Radio Riga on June 5 that currently there were about 3,000 jobless in the republic; this figure included 878 engineers and 354 youths under the age of 18; women also comprised a large portion of the jobless. By the end of 1991, the unemployment figure may rise to 6,700, though only about 4,000 of this total could be classified as jobless. Rubins did not explain the reasons for the differentiated classfication. He advocated the adoption of a program actively combatting unemployment by providing new jobs and job training, rather than concentrating on unemployment compensation. (Dzintra Bungs) NEW HIGHER SCHOOL FOR NARVA. The primarily Russian city of Narva in northeastern Estonia is slated to get a new higher school, according to Rahva Haal of June 4. The school, set to open this fall, will train teachers for elementary schools and the early secondary grades during a four-year course of study. The school will also offer courses in Estonian-related subjects (language, culture), and is to provide some 150 teachers each year for Estonia's Russian-language schools that Estonia has had to import from the USSR up to now. Two more higher schools are set for Tartu (a teachers' seminar) and Viljandi (a program centered on culture. The establishment of the school in Narva represents the Estonian government's attempt to respond to the city's Russian-speaking population's requests for a Russian university in Narva. (Riina Kionka) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS CABINET OF MINISTERS LOOKS AT ECONOMIC LEGISLATION. Meeting June 6, the USSR Cabinet of Ministers devoted much of its attention to economic legislation, including antimonopoly measures, privatization of the savings bank system, and the USSR's foreign economic activities, TASS reported the same day. Reflecting the complex nature of antimonopoly theory, the Cabinet decided to take a look at republican measures in this area and make recommendations based on them to the USSR Supreme Soviet. A similar approach was taken on the question of bankruptcy legislation. This almost deferential treatment of republican-level economic legislation reflects both the degree to which all-Union legislation is lagging, and, perhaps, an effort on the part of the Center to be more accommodating to the periphery. (John Tedstrom) PRIMAKOV ELABORATES. The USSR is seeking Western commodity aid, and not just credits to buy foodstuffs and consumer goods, according to Yevgenii Primakov in Izvestia of June 6, as cited in The New York Times of June 7. This confirms the position described by USSR Deputy Premier Vladimir Shcherbakov to the USSR Supreme Soviet on June 4, who explained that the Soviet Union would have no hope of repaying large credits. It looks like a return to Nikolai Shmelev's "instant gratification" strategy whereby huge quantities of imported consumer goods (to a minimum value of some $30 billion) would "prime the pump," provide incentive, and mop up some of the ruble overhang. (Keith Bush) TRADE UNIONS CRITICIZE INDEXATION PLANS. The General Confederation of Trade Unions of the USSR (VKP) has registered harsh criticism of the draft fundamentals of legislation on income indexation. Some of the principal objections appeared in Trud May 25. Although the government considers 90 million Soviet citizens to be below the poverty level, the VKP reckons that half of the population falls into this category. With inflation now running at nearly 200% per annum, the trade unions demand that indexation be triggered on a monthly basis when retail prices rise by more than, say, 15% a month. They call for indexation based on a minimum living wage, and give 270 rubles a month as an example. (Keith Bush) REFORMIST MEDIA DUBIOUS OF GORBACHEV'S APPEAL TO WEST. Gorbachev's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech received unenthusiastic reviews from the liberal Soviet media. Vitalii Tretyakov, editor of Nezavisimaya gazeta, wrote June 6 that "since, as it has apparently turned out over six years of more or less unsuccessful reform, there is not much hope to be placed on the Soviet people, Gorbachev now prefers to rely on Westerners, and especially their leaders." Vladimir Gurevich, economics editor of Moscow News, told Western agencies June 6 that "Gorbachev regularly pulls back at the last moment when the big decisions, especially on the economy, have to be made. [Western leaders] want to see action, not words." Radio Rossii commentator Nikolai Agayants said June 6 that the speech contained "nothing new." (Sallie Wise) BAKER, BESSMERTNYKH MEET ON START. Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh and US Secretary of State James Baker are meeting today (June 7) in Geneva to hammer out an agreement that would remove remaining obstacles to conclusion of a strategic arms treaty, Western media reported June 7. The START issue reportedly has held up setting a definitive date for the proposed US-Soviet summit. (Sallie Wise) SHIPMENTS TO CUBA TO RESUME. Aleksei Rubinchik, head of the economic section in the USSR's embassy in Cuba, said on June 6 he expects Soviet shipments to Cuba of food and other basic goods to resume soon. Rubinchik said the disruption in shipments, now into its fifth month, was caused by internal Soviet problems, Western agencies reported June 6. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) USSR PUSHES FOR INCLUSION IN ASIA TALKS. Speaking at a conference in Manila on Security in Asia, Soviet ambassador-at-large Vladimir Fedotov said the USSR must not be barred from participation in economic organizations of the Asia-Pacific region and called for talks on a wide range of security concerns. Fedotov said, "no matter how different the situation in this region is from that in Europe, the countries of Asia and the Pacific will be compelled to solve problems of security on the basis of the same fundamental principles and political, legal and material guarantees." Fedotov said it is important at least to start negotiations, Western agencies reported June 6. (Suzanne Crow) DEFAULTS IN SOVIET PAYMENTS. The Norwegian Trade Ministry took the opportunity of Gorbachev's visit to complain about Soviet arrears of some $19 million in payment to Norwegian firms, Western agencies reported June 6. An East German shipbuilder has suspended work on 16 ships for the USSR pending hard-currency payment, according to agency reports May 28. But the Finnish railways resumed the transit of Soviet freight after Soyuzvneshtrans paid its overdue bill, TASS was relieved to report on May 8. Outstanding Soviet commercial arrears are believed to exceed $5 billion. (Keith Bush) MOISEEV ON GULF WAR. General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev told TASS on June 6 that the most fundamental lesson to be learned from the Gulf War was that political means to resolve the conflict had proven insufficient. His comments followed a Moscow conference devoted to the war. Moiseev criticized speakers at the conference who apparently argued that the Gulf War proved that the USSR should alter its current plans for military reform (presumably to move more quickly toward a professional force). He also lambasted domestic and foreign critics of the USSR Defense Ministry who have used the Gulf War to argue that the Soviet armed forces themselves are not the powerful force that they once were. (Stephen Foye) PROTECTIONISM IN THE ARMED FORCES? Responding to a statement by RSFSR presidential candidate General Al'bert Makashov that there is no "protectionism" in the army, USSR People's Deputy Vilen Martirosyan said that the sons of the following military leaders are currently studying at the prestigious General Staff Academy: Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces Varennikov; former head of the Main Political Administration Lizichev; and former Deputy Defense Minister Sukhorukov. (Stephen Foye) SUPREME SOVIET MEMBERS GIVE THEMSELVES A RAISE. Citing rising inflation, the members of the USSR Supreme Soviet voted on June 5 to increase their monthly salary from 500 to 800 rubles, and to increase the salaries of members of the USSR Cabinet of Ministers by 50-100%, TASS reported the same day. Supreme Soviet members also receive a 300-ruble monthly allowance for living expenses. (Dawn Mann) "NOVYI MIR" UNDER THREAT OF COLLAPSE. The leading Soviet literary monthly, Novyi mir, has not solved a problem with paper supply and is on the verge of complete collapse. Early last year, the journal's editorial board announced that publication was stopped due to a paper shortage. Then, a couple of issues came out, but the last four issues for 1990 again failed to be distributed to subscribers. This year, the situation has not improved and only two issues have come out so far. Commenting on the situation, Komsomol'skaya pravda (June 6) said that the journal was temporarily closed under Khrushchev, then terrorized under Brezhnev (for its outspoken materials), but only the current economic situation seems to be able to really kill the periodical. (Vera Tolz) JOURNALISTS WITH PARLIAMENTARY ACCREDITATION SET UP UNION. Soviet and foreign journalists accredited to the USSR Supreme Soviet and republican parliaments have set up a joint association, Radio Moscow-1 reported June 6. The association is not sponsored by the Soviet government. It is the first association in which Soviet and foreign journalists cooperate on reporting on the USSR's domestic events. Soviet and foreign parliamentary journalists have many problems, including the fact that some newly-elected republican Supreme Soviets want to restrict their work and demand reporting on parliamentary sessions to prepared not by outside journalists, but by the Supreme Soviets' own press centers. (Vera Tolz) KGB ACCUSES CIA OF OFFENSIVE. First Deputy Chief of the KGB intelligence directorate, Lieutenant General Vadim Kirpichenko, asserted to IAN June 5 that it is more difficult for Soviet intelligence officers to work in the US than for American officers to work in the USSR. "While we have more openness and democratization, the media in the USA continue to maintain a higher level of worry among the general public about KGB activities," he alleged. He accused the CIA of an "offensive" and of trying to "woo" Soviet citizens to stay in the US. He said the Soviet government repeatedly has stated that it does not see the US as an "enemy", while Washington has not reciprocated. Kirpichenko's statement comes amidst reports from the US and Western Europe about intensified KGB activity. (Victor Yasmann) MUSEUMS VERSUS CHURCHES. Radio Mayak reported on June 5 that Nikolai Gubenko, USSR Minister of Culture, recently discussed the problem of returning to believers church buildings which are used as museums. Gubenko asked believers for patience and understanding on the matter. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS LATEST OPINION POLL ON RSFSR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. According to a survey conducted in the RSFSR by the Russian Sociopolitical Institute and reported by Soviet Central TV on June 5, the popularity of chairman of RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin has fallen--from 60% at the beginning of May to 44% at the beginning of June. Simultaneously, Nikolai Ryzhkov's popularity has risen among electors--from 23% to 31%. A number of voters think that Ryzhkov has a more stable personality than Yeltsin. The chances of the other presidential candidates seem to be small. Only 10% of the electorate favor Vadim Bakatin and 2% support General Albert Makashov. (Alexander Rahr) BEDSIDE READING. Literaturnaya gazeta (May 22) asked each candidate for the RSFSR presidency which book he would recommend his cabinet to read. No less than three (Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Albert Makashov, and Aleksei Sergeev) chose Dale Carnegie, the American author on the psychology of success whose How to Win Friends and Influence People was serialized in the Soviet press last year. Vyacheslav Potemkin and Vladimir Voronin boldly recommended their own books. Lev Ubozhko chose works by Solzhenitsyn, Avtorkhanov, Voslensky and Leonard Schapiro--whose very possession could have earned a jail term a decade ago. Roman Kalinin chose the Gospels. Boris Yeltsin and Vadim Bakatin played safe with Russian classics: Yeltsin with the 19th century satirist Saltykov-Shchedrin and Bakatin with Ivan Bunin--the first Russian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nikolai Ryzhkov lived up to his reputation for dullness by choosing "the book of life." (Elizabeth Teague) NEW UKRAINIAN DIRECTIVE ON UNION ENTERPRISES. On June 6, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet passed a bill governing the transition of all-Union enterprises and organizations located in Ukraine to the jurisdiction of Ukrainian state organs, Radio Kiev-2 reported. The deputies also voted on a list of candidates to fill ministerial positions, many of them newly created. Liberal parliamentarians did not do well: among the rejected were Green Party leader Yurii Shcherbak, Kiev Polytechnic Institute rector Petro Talanchuk, and well-known literary specialist Mykola Zhulinsky. In contrast, the deputy chairman of the Ukrainian KGB, Evhen Marchuk, was named minister for defense and security. (Kathy Mihalisko) CONFERENCE ON NATIONAL MINORITIES ENDS IN KIEV. A three-day meeting of commissions from ten republics ended June 6 in Kiev. The three Baltic and three Slavic republics, plus Moldavia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Georgia, were represented at the conference on national, religious, and other minority rights. The final communique stated that the defense of those rights is the responsibility of sovereign states, and called for greater legal protection. (Kathy Mihalisko) DRAFT OF KAZAKH PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM APPROVED. A joint session of Kazakhstan's Supreme Economic Council and Council of the Republic have approved a draft program for privatizing state holdings in the republic, according to reports by Novosti and Radio Moscow on June 6. The first stage of the program, which gives concrete form to the privatization plans set out in the draft law on privatization submitted for public discussion in April, envisages the privatization of small firms. These include service and retail trade establishments and small industries. Health and educational facilities, communications, aviation, gold-mining and certain other industries are to remain state property. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIA INSTITUTES OWN CITIZENSHIP. The Moldavian parliament adopted June 5 a long-awaited law on republican citizenship, which separates Moldavian from USSR citizenship. All who were born or resided on the present territory of the republic before June 28, 1940 (the date of the first Soviet annexation) and their descendants are automatically eligible for Moldavian citizenship. (Besides Moldavians this covers the Gagauz, Bulgarians, most Jews, and a large proportion of Ukrainians). (Vladimir Socor) QUALIFICATIONS FOR CITIZENSHIP. Present residents who settled in Moldavia between June 28, 1940 and until June 23, 1990 (the date of Moldavia's declaration of sovereignty) must opt for either Moldavian or USSR citizenship. To qualify for Moldavian citizenship these residents (most of whom are recent arrivals from Russia) must have a legal domicile and employment and apply within one year of the adoption of this law. After the lapse of one year, these residents and any post-June 23, 1990 arrivals choosing to apply for Moldavian in place of USSR citizenship will have to pass a language test and to pledge to honor the republic's laws. (Vladimir Socor) DUAL CITIZENSHIP CIRCUMVENTED. The law rules out dual citizenship in principle, the intent being to preclude any dual USSR-Moldavian citizenship. However, special provisions for dual citizenship may be made in bilateral state treaties between Moldavia and other states, and the Moldavian president may grant Moldavian citizenship to individual citizens of other states. The exceptions appear designed to permit dual Moldavian-Romanian citizenship for Moldavian refugees in Romania. In recent months, the government daily Moldova Suverana has printed thousands of applications to the Moldavian President from Moldavian refugee families in Romania seeking Moldavian citizenship in addition to their present Romanian citizenship. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN MILITARY DRAFT IN TROUBLE. Of 11,000 young men eligible for the USSR military draft in Moldavia this spring, over 6,000 have in one form or another declined to serve, Moldovapres reported June 5, citing data from Moldavia's Department for Military Affairs. Of over 4,000 who would accept to serve, 43% would only do so in units on the territory of the republic or in Moldavia's newly-established Corps of Carabinieri, according to the same Department. Under Moldavian law, the USSR armed forces may draft Moldavian citizens only at the draftee's written request and with written parental consent. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN BRANCH OF ROMANIAN LIBERAL PARTY ISSUES PROGRAM. Recently set up by and for residents of Moldavia, the Kishinev branch of Romania's historic Liberal Party has made public its program, Ekspress khronika reported June 4. The program calls for the "resolution of nationality problems in accordance with internationally accepted norms," adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Moldavia's integration into Europe, and the privatization of property. (Vladimir Socor) CORRECTION ON SOVIET DEFENSE COUNCIL. The Daily Report of June 6 (no. 106) incorrectly identified the functions of the Soviet Defense Council, as spelled out by Anatolii Luk'yanov in a Radio Rossii report. In fact, Luk'yanov said that the Security Council (not the Defense Council) continues to operate, and that it oversees issues of economic, foreign policy, and ecological security. The Defense Council, he added, deals with questions concerning the army and defense industry. (Stephen Foye)
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