|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 108, 10 June 1991
BALTIC STATES ANOTHER BORDER POST DESTROYED IN LATVIA. OMON forces attacked another customs checkpoint in Latvia around 3:00 A.M. on June 8. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Zenons Indrikovs told Radio Riga later that day that the post, near Karsava in the Ludza raion, was near the RSFSR border. The OMON forces beat up the guards, seized money and equipment belonging either to the men or to the post, undressed the guards and burned their uniforms, and set fire to the customs post. The Latvian authorities have informed the MVD in Moscow of the attack. (Dzintra Bungs) ANOTHER ESTONIAN POST HIT. Fifteen plainclothesmen with submachine guns attacked the Luhamaa post at the Estonian-RSFSR border on June 8, according to Baltfax and Radio Riga the same day. The men, who arrived in vehicles said to be used two weeks ago by Soviet military officers, destroyed the trailer being used as a border post. They left after threatening to destroy another checkpost some 20 km away. The Estonian raid came a few hours after a similar attack in Latvia. (Riina Kionka) FOURTEEN QUESTIONS TO PUGO. Two USSR Supreme Soviet deputies, Sergei Belozertsev and Hamzat Fargiyev, have asked USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo for detailed explanation of OMON's activities and its supervision. They addressed a letter with fourteen questions to the MVD chief after an independent investigation in Latvia of the recent OMON attacks on customs checkpoints there, reported Diena of June 5. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN LEADERSHIP AGAINST LATVIAN SSR PROCURACY. According to Diena of June 7, the Presidium of the Latvian Supreme Council has urged the Latvian SSR Procuracy to stop work in Latvia and for the people of Latvia to have nothing to do with that institution. The Latvian SSR Procuracy upholds the Latvian SSR Constitution and Soviet laws in Latvia and does not support the Supreme Council's declaration of May 4, 1990 to restore the independent Republic of Latvia. Moreover, a State Prosecutor's Office loyal to the Latvian government and Supreme Council has existed since September 1990. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-USSR TALKS. A communique issued after the second round of consultations between Latvian and USSR representatives in Jurmala on June 6 and 7 said the participants "intend to continue to move forward, bringing their stands more closely together" on issues of common interest. Though this round focused on economic issues, other issues discussed included the work of law enforcement agencies and OMON. TASS of June 8 reported that participants regarded as a major achievement the fact that the Soviet delegation "views with understanding the striving of the Latvian Republic for state independence, and opposes the illegal use of force as a method of settling controversial problems." This statement appears in an official protocol. The next talks are planned for July 4 and 5. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA PROPOSES MEETING WITH USSR. Aleksandras Abisala, Minister without Portfolio of the Republic of Lithuania, called for a meeting between Lithuanian and USSR delegations leading up to official negotiations between the two countries, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 8. In a telegram sent to Deputy Chairman of the USSR State Planning Committee Aleksandr Troshkin, head of the Soviet working group on negotiations, Abisala voiced his concern over the delay in beginning talks, and proposed that a preliminary meeting take place in Vilnius on June 11 and 12. (Gytis Liulevicius) REPORT OF TEMPORARY DEFENSE LEADERSHIP. The Lithuanian Supreme Council met in closed session the evening of June 6 to hear an account of the activities of the Temporary Defense Leadership of Lithuania, created on January 13, Radio Vilnius reported June 7. The session discussed a draft law, authorizing the 9-member group that includes parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, and National Defense Department Director General Audrius Butkevicius, under exceptional circumstances to make urgent state decisions that would remain valid until the parliament in its next session approves or rejects them. The law will be discussed further in future sessions. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS DISMISSES USSR CONSTITUTION SUPERVISION PROTEST. In a statement released on June 8, Landsbergis reacted to protests made by the USSR Constitution Supervision Committee regarding the citizenship law of the Republic of Lithuania. According to Radio Independent Lithuania, Landsbergis pointed out that any complaints from the Soviet Constitution Supervision Committee "are, at best, of a consultative nature, but have no legal rights on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania." The statement invoked the Lithuanian parliamentary actions of March 11, 1990, which abolished the validity of the Soviet constitution in Lithuania. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS PAVLOV DOES IT AGAIN. Addressing a meeting of Moscow oblast industrial managers and farm heads on June 5, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov again accused Western banks of subverting the Soviet economy. An account of his speech was carried in Leninskoye znamya June 7, and widely cited by Western agencies. Pavlov was quoted as asserting that unnamed banks were conducting a credit blockade against the Soviet Union. Referring to credit quotas set by the Bank for International Settlements, Pavlov charged that "as soon as this quota has been drawn, the red light glows. Not one bank will give money." In Izvestia June 6, Yevgenii Primakov described Pavlov and Shcherbakov as "progressive men, firmly committed to radical market reforms." (Keith Bush) INTERREPUBLICAN ECONOMIC COMMISSION REJECTS DIVISION OF REPUBLICS INTO TWO CATEGORIES... Participants in the third session of the Interrepublican Economic Commission, set up to control implementation of economic agreements between the USSR and the republics, rejected a proposal to divide the republics into those willing to sign the Union treaty, which would get "most favored" status, and those not signing, which would be treated like foreign countries, TASS reported June 7. The members of the commission, who are deputy premiers of the USSR and the republics, apparently envisaged no economic penalties for not signing the treaty, thus defying the policy of the central leadership. (Ann Sheehy) BUT SAYS LITHUANIA AND ESTONIA SHOULD NOT JUST BE OBSERVERS. Virtually all participants in the commission meeting, however, objected to the intention of Lithuania and Estonia to take part in the work of the Interrepublican Commission only as observers. They argued that the Baltic republics should participate in discussing problems and bear responsibility for the decisions taken. The session was attended by representatives of all the Union republics except Georgia. The Latvian delegate described the session as "the first step in the direction of creating a model of new economic relations between the republics." (Ann Sheehy) GERASHCHENKO FAVORS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE. During a visit to Basel to attend the annual meeting of the Bank for International Settlements, USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko told reporters June 9 that he would rather see massive technical assistance to the USSR than loans from the West. Gerashchenko admitted that he was not sure whether Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev shared his views on this issue. He said that he was "testing the water" to see if Western governments would consider rescheduling export credits to the value of 3.5 billion rubles (about $5 billion) that remained due for repayment this year. This would make it easier to clear unpaid trade debts--also valued at around $5 billion. (Keith Bush) MALASHENKO AGREES WITH HIM. Gerashchenko's preference for technical assistance rather than outright grants was shared by Igor' Malashenko, a senior consultant in the CPSU CC International Department. Interviewed on ABC TV June 9, Malashenko opined: "It doesn't make any sense to pour gasoline (dollars) into this broken car...because it is not running and the engine is not fixed. The real question is how to fix it." (Keith Bush) EXPORT DEVELOPMENT BANK PROPOSED. Also in Basel to attend the BIS annual meeting was one of Gerashchenko's deputies, Aleksandr Doumov. He told the International Herald Tribune June 10 that the Soviet Union is considering the creation of an export development bank. This would be independent of Vneshekonombank and would have a mixture of shareholders that might include Western interests from both the public and private sectors. Its primary aim would be to boost Soviet exports, at a time when sales of principal hard-currency items like oil and arms are lagging. The bank would not undertake the financing of "huge projects," but would seek to improve the techniques of exporting firms. (Keith Bush) BESSMERTNYKH: WORK ON START TO CONTINUE. After meeting his American counterpart James Baker in Geneva on June 7 to work out obstacles to completing a START treaty to be signed at a US-Soviet summit, Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh said "the two governments have decided to concentrate very actively to complete work on the START treaty." Signalling that the Soviet side is prepared for no quick solution to the negotiations, Bessmertnykh said "we are just starting the job" of working out some technical and substantive differences, wire services reported June 8. (Suzanne Crow) KOHL TO USSR IN JULY. According to the June 10 Bild Zeitung, a German tabloid, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl will travel to Moscow during the first half of July, but no date has yet been fixed. Germany has shown itself to be a staunch supporter of Gorbachev and has led Western assistance efforts. Such a trip by Kohl, on the eve of the G-7 summit in London, suggests that Bonn may be willing to speak on Moscow's behalf in at the London gathering. (Suzanne Crow) BESSMERTNYKH TALKS TO WELT. In an interview with the Welt am Sonntag, Bessmertnykh said he has written to the foreign ministers of all states taking part in the June CSCE conference in Berlin. Bessmertnykh said his letter put forward ideas for "the architecture of a new Europe." He did not describe his ideas further except to say that he favors extending the role of the CSCE to form one of the most important instruments in a united Europe. Bessmertnykh also noted that Soviet-German relations will play a special and "weighty" role in Europe's future. Bessmertnykh travels to Bonn on June 12. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) MANDELA VISIT IS CANCELLED. African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela was to have begun a visit to the USSR June 9, but the trip was cancelled on short notice, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of June 8. Scheduling difficulties with the Soviet officials whom Mandela hoped to see were reported to be the reason for the cancellation. The FAZ noted, however, that some South Africans suspect that South Africa is no longer of great interest to the Kremlin. (Sallie Wise) KOMMUNIST LAMBASTES DEFENSE MINISTRY. Kommunist No. 6 accuses the Defense Ministry of putting off critical military reforms and of planning to increase military spending despite the changing international environment and the Soviet Union's own economic problems. Authored by Sergei Rogov, the article charges, among other things, that the movement of vast amounts of weaponry beyond the Urals subverted the CFE agreement (by maintaining Soviet advantages in conventional forces) and devastated the Soviet economy (by tying up railroad lines during harvest time). Rogov also claims that defense spending will rise in 1991 from 26% to 36% of the All-Union budget, and that the military leadership has purposely ignored planned military and force reductions in the West. (Stephen Foye) WHY YOUNG OFFICERS ARE LEAVING. A letter from a young tank officer, published in the May 4 Krasnaya zvezda, helps explain why so many young officers reportedly hope to leave the Soviet armed forces, and why combat readiness in many ground force units may be deteriorating. The officer, from the Transbaikal Military District, complains that he has been unable to put his unit through a single exercise over the past year-and-a-half, and that he himself has spent more time washing toilets than honing his skills as a tank officer. He says that such frustrations are an important factor--along with poor living conditions and declining prestige--in the desire of many young officers to leave the army. (Stephen Foye) KGB ON DOMESTIC TERRORIST ACTIVITIES. Fifteen People's Deputies at different levels have been killed in the last three years, and 386 People's Deputies have received threats on their lives, Chief of the KGB Administration for Protection of the Constitutional Order Valerii Vorotnikov said at a press conference in Moscow June 6. Vorotnikov noted an increase in the use of explosive devices: more that 200 explosions were registered in 1990-1991. He told RFE/RL that the KGB is not involved in the investigation of the explosion at Democratic Russia headquarters on May 16. "This is a matter for the procuracy, not state security," he explained. He also said the KGB, the MVD and the Army have disarmed 33 "illegal" armed formations since last summer. He made clear that he includes law-enforcement units created by Baltic governments to be in the category of "extremist armed formations." (RL Russian Service/Victor Yasmann) NEWSPAPER PREDICTS REPLACEMENT OF KRAVCHENKO. Moskovsky komsomolets reported June 8 that there were plans to replace the highly unpopular head of the USSR State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, Leonid Kravchenko. The Central TV news program TSN said June 10 that it could not yet verify the reliability of the report. TSN rejected, however, as false another report by the same issue of Moskovsky komsomolets to the effect that the producer of a documentary on Yurii Andropov, Oleg Uralov, will become head of the USSR State Cinema Committee. TSN quoted Uralov as saying that the Komsomol newspaper "has again spread disinformation." (Vera Tolz) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS CONSERVATIVE LAST-MINUTE ATTACK ON YELTSIN. The conservative newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya on June 7 accused Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Boris Yeltsin of collaboration with the Italian mafia. It published a document according to which Yeltsin and RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev appointed a dubious Italian citizen, Roberto Coppola, to be Honorary Consul of the RSFSR. Coppola was arrested by the Italian police for criminal activities in April. Radio Rossii on June 9 quoted Yeltsin as saying that Coppola had been recommended to Gorbachev by Soviet embassies abroad. He did not deny that he had signed such an agreement with Coppola. Sovetskaya Rossiya also accused Yeltsin of enjoying too many privileges, including frequent visits to spas and having a security team of almost 100 people. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN INTERVIEWED ON SOVIET TV. Yeltsin said in an interview on the Soviet TV program Kto est' kto on June 6 that last year, the RSFSR has transferred only 23 million rubles to the central budget instead of 70 million rubles which the center had received from the republic in previous years. Thus, Yeltsin argued, the RSFSR has found itself in a relatively favorable financial situation to spend money on social programs. Yeltsin stressed that since the 9-plus-1 agreement, his relations with Gorbachev have "normalized." (Alexander Rahr) THE CANDIDATES ON MILITARY ISSUES. On June 8 Radio Rossii outlined the stances taken by RSFSR presidential candidates on military issues. They all reportedly agree that the army should be unified, well-armed, and highly capable. All have decried the poor living standards of military personnel and the difficulties faced by workers in the military-industrial sector. Yeltsin has reversed his earlier stand (taken after the January 13 attack in Vilnius) that the RSFSR should consider forming its own army, but has strongly insisted that the army not be used for domestic policing. He has been the only candidate to support depoliticization of the armed forces. In Sverdlovsk on June 9, Yeltsin said that he would compel the RSFSR's military industries to pay their own way, and signed a decree giving the region's industries extensive economic autonomy, The Los Angeles Times reported on June 10. (Stephen Foye) SOBCHAK CAMPAIGNS. Chairman of the Leningrad City Soviet Anatolii Sobchak has called for the creation of a powerful social-democratic party as an alternative to the CPSU. He outlined three stages for the formation of such a party in an article in Moskovskie novosti (no. 20). Sobchak stated that such a party must attract reformist forces in the CPSU. More than two-thirds of Leningrad voters favor Sobchak to be the new mayor, according to a survey reported by TASS on June 6. Elections for the post of Leningrad mayor will be held on June 12--the same day as the presidential elections. Leningrad voters will also decide whether their city should be renamed St. Petersburg. (Alexander Rahr) FURTHER CONTROVERSY OVER RENAMING OF LENINGRAD. First Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov sent a telegram to the Leningrad City Soviet saying that the June 12 poll over returning Leningrad's original name of St. Petersburg should not be considered to have juridical value, Vremya reported June 9. In the meantime, TASS (June 8) quoted Sobchak as saying that Communist Party organizations and the Communist press are the chief opponents of the renaming. The same TASS report quoted Gorbachev as rejecting the need to return to Leningrad its historical name. (Vera Tolz) RSFSR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE IN MAY. The RSFSR's economy continued to slide in May, according to Ekonomika i zhizn', No. 23. Industrial production for the month was over 3% below May 1990, largely due to the effect of widespread strikes in RSFSR coal mines in the first part of the year. Production of oil was off 11% in May (as it was in April). Production trends in most sectors point to a slowdown in economic activity since April. If output in key industries like coal and oil can make a rebound, other sectors should follow. Still, the outlook for the end of 1991 is significantly below that of the end of 1990. (John Tedstrom) LENINGRAD BRANCH OF "FOREIGN POLICY ASSOCIATION" CREATED. A regional organization of former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze's "Foreign Policy Association" was formed in Leningrad June 7, TASS reported that day. A greeting from Shevardnadze read at the founding conference expressed the conviction that the Leningrad organization would help strengthen democratic institutions and contribute positively to the development of international relations. TASS said the Leningrad organization intends to conduct research and forecasts on the possible integration of the USSR into the world economic system. It will seek to analyze international ties at all levels, and to develop new methods of foreign policy and foreign economic activity. (Sallie Wise) BELORUSSIA BARS BALTS AND UKRAINIANS. The Belorussian border with Poland is closed to westbound cars with license plates from the Baltic states and Ukraine, according to the Baltija news service via Estonian Radio on June 5. Border posts on Belorussian territory are refusing passage to those cars, forcing motorists to cross further south. Reports also say that the wait for passage into Poland from the USSR can last up to a week. (Riina Kionka) AZERBAIJANI PREMIER VISITS IRAN. Azerbaijan Prime Minister Gasan Gasanov arrived in Tehran June 9 on an official visit, according to Western agencies June 9 quoting IRNA. Gasanov is scheduled to meet with Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and senior Iranian officials. (Liz Fuller) USSR OMON UNITS SENT TO MOLDAVIA. Supplementary units of the USSR MVD's OMON arrived by air June 7 and 8 in Tiraspol, the center of the would-be Dniester SSR in eastern Moldavia. Some units crossed the Dniester into the city of Bendery on the western bank, where the self-proclaimed republic loyal to Moscow seeks to establish a bridgehead. The Moldavian government was not notified of the action. Moldovapres reported June 8 that President Snegur cabled Gorbachev and USSR Minister of Internal Affairs, Boris Pugo, protesting the violation of Moldavia's sovereignty and the "intrusion into the republic's internal affairs" and demanding the immediate recall of the supplementary units. (Vladimir Socor) ROMANIAN REACTION. In a communique released through Rompres June 9, Romania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed "concern" over the deployment of special troops in Moldavia, terming the action "a new source of tension...preventing the normalization of inter-ethnic relations," a violation of Moldavia's sovereignty and of the Paris Charter. The statement, however, failed to call for recall of the troops or for the preservation of Moldavia's territorial integrity, merely "expressing our hope that solutions will be devised which will exclude any type of pressure and use of force". (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT CONFERS WITH EEC OFFICIAL. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur conferred on June 7 in Kishinev with EEC official Helmut Lohan (name as spelled by Moldovapres on that date). The EEC official was quoted as saying that the EEC's planned aid to the USSR, worth $500 million, "will be equitably apportioned among republics" to support both the transition to market economics and food aid. Snegur said that Moldavia's most pressing needs were for training of managerial personnel, banking and trade specialists, and for technology to process agricultural produce. (Vladimir Socor) US MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO CENTRAL ASIA. A planeload of US medical supplies arrived in Alma-Ata June 8, Western agencies reported, citing Interfax. The aid is intended for Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to help those republics deal with illnesses caused by environmental pollution. The shipment is part of a program announced by the White House in December; the supplies were accompanied to Alma-Ata by an American medical team who are to supervise delivery to hospitals and medical institutions in seven cities. (NCA/Bess Brown)
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