|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 109, 11 June 1991
BALTIC STATES BALTIC COUNCIL MEETING IN TALLINN. Government delegations from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia meet in Tallinn today (June 11) to discuss the new USSR Union treaty's possible impact on the Baltic States, Radio Independent Lithuania reported today. The Baltic Council, which includes the parliament chairmen, prime ministers, and foreign ministers of the three Baltic States, has prepared a statement stressing that "the Soviet Union has no right to represent the Baltic States on an international level," in response to Soviet pronouncements which consider the Baltic States as part of the Union. (Gytis Liulevicius) YAZOV DEFENDS CUSTODY OF BALTIC STATES. On June 10 USSR Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov justified the Soviet military presence in the Baltic States in remarks made during his 4-day visit to Sweden, Western agencies reported that day. Although acknowledging that Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia desire independence, Yazov said that "somehow we must divide everything. When a man and a woman divorce, a court separates them....To solve all the problems takes some time." Any reports of Soviet army intimidation in the Baltic States are to be dismissed, said Yazov, adding that there is "a lot of loud talk" in the area. He assured reporters that the Kremlin "would like to see the Baltic issue solved in a constitutional way," but warned that the problem "must be coordinated with all economic problems that exist because of 50 years of coexistence." (Gytis Liulevicius) BAKATIN: OMON DIRECTLY SUBORDINATE TO PUGO. USSR Security Council member Vadim Bakatin told Rossiiskoye televidenie June 10 that OMON detachments in the Baltic States are under the command of the present USSR MVD Minister. Bakatin's remarks came during a televised press-conference as a part of Bakatin's election campaign for the RSFSR presidency. The former USSR MVD Minister, however, denied any responsibility for OMON actions in the Baltic states in the past. "I was away from my office when the OMON in the Baltic States was put under central control," Bakatin explained. (In fact, since OMON units were created in 1987-1988, they have been incorporated in the composition of the MVD Internal Troops by decree No. 31 signed by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on July 28, 1988. See Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, No. 31, 1988). (Victor Yasmann) ARMED BORDER GUARDS FOR ESTONIA? After the latest border raid on June 8, the Estonian Supreme Council is considering a proposal to permit border guards to carry firearms, according to agency reports, quoting ETA. "The time for the Baltic Chain and holding hands is over," border chief Andres Oovel told ETA, referring to the 1989 human chain that linked the three Baltic states. "We need to start defending ourselves," he said. The parliament is also considering creating an elite police force of former Soviet paratroopers and Afghan war veterans to protect itself from further OMON troop raids on the border. (Riina Kionka) CHERNOBYL VICTIMS CONTINUE HUNGER STRIKE. Radio Riga reported June 10 that the hunger strike in Riga staged by Chernobyl victims living in Latvia was in its eighth day. Two men requiring medical care had already been hospitalized. The participants want Latvia to ratify a Soviet law of May 12 guaranteeing medical care and special services for Chernobyl victims, and other forms of compensation for themselves and their families. Shortly after the hunger strike was announced the Latvian Council of Ministers adopted a plan to provide aid to the victims. Nonetheless, the strikers still demand that Latvia ratify the Soviet law--a procedure that contradicts Latvia's path to independence. The hunger strike is to continue until June 15. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA AND THE OLYMPICS. Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 6 that members of the Lithuanian Olympic Committee (LOC) were in Barcelona for talks with the unofficial Catalan Olympic Committee (COC). At a press conference Kazimieras Motieka, deputy chairman of the LOC and the Lithuanian Supreme Council, issued a formal protest against Soviet military activities in Vilnius on June 3. Lithuania signed a document with the COC granting it permission to participate in all 1992 Olympic events that will be held in Catalonia. The document is unlikely to have any effect since the COC and the Baltic Olympic Committees will be seeking formal recognition from the International Olympic Committee in Birmingham, England on June 13. The LOC also decided to give 1972 Olympics Gold Medal winner Vladas Cesiunas 1,000 rubles in compensation for injuries suffered at the hands of Soviet troops at a Lithuanian customs post. (Saulius Girnius) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS YAZOV OPTIMISTIC ON START AGREEMENT. Defense Minister Yazov said on June 10 that there are "no problems left" in START talks with the US, and that a treaty could be signed before the end of the month, Western agencies reported the same day. Yazov's comments came at the end of a lecture on Soviet defense policy given under the auspices of Sweden's Defense Research Agency. Yazov's optimism was contradicted by statements coming out of Washington, however, where officials of the Bush Administration said that there were a number of differences still to be resolved on the START treaty. (Stephen Foye) FEDERATION COUNCIL TO BE ABOLISHED? At a press conference in Moscow June 10 devoted to the Union treaty, Gorbachev adviser Grigorii Revenko said that the latest draft of the Union treaty envisages the abolition of the Federation Council, TASS reported yesterday. Its place will be taken by the Council of the Republics, one of the two chambers of the new all-Union parliament, in which all the Union republics will have an equal number of votes, regardless of the number of autonomous formations they include. Revenko argued that the Council of the Republic would be a much more effective body than the Council of the Federation, whose members often refused to implement decisions they had just taken. (Ann Sheehy) AUTONOMOUS FORMATIONS OPPOSED. Revenko noted, however, that the autonomous formations wanted to retain the Federation Council. This was only to be expected in that they are members of the Federation Council and will apparently not be directly represented in the new Council of the Republic. The abolition of the extra-parliamentary Federation Council could be seen as a healthy development, however. There have been many complaints from the USSR parliament that its functions were being usurped by the Federation Council, and the juridical status of the Federation Council's decisions has never been clear. (Ann Sheehy) "SOYUZ" STATEMENT ON UNION TREATY. The conservative "Soyuz" parliamentary group read out a statement in the USSR Supreme Soviet June 10 that called the decision to send the draft Union treaty to the republican parliaments without it having been examined in the USSR Supreme Soviet "unconstitutional," TASS reported. Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov assured deputies that Gorbachev had agreed that as soon as the draft was signed by the members of the preparatory committee it would be sent to the USSR Supreme Soviet as well as the republican parliaments. At his press conference Revenko said the USSR Congress of People's Deputies and Supreme Soviet should be involved; "however, they are not the ones forming the Union." (Ann Sheehy) TIMETABLE FOR SIGNING UNION TREATY SLIPPING? In an interview in Pravda of June 10, RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin said a new Union treaty could be signed in two months, according to agency reports. It had earlier been stated that it was hoped the treaty would be signed in July. (Ann Sheehy) YAVLINSKY PROGRAM COMPLETED? A "source close to the effort" told Western agencies June 10 that the seven Soviet economists headed by Grigorii Yavlinsky, who have been working on the "Grand Bargain" for the past two weeks in Cambridge, Mass., hoped to complete their work by midnight yesterday. It was considered unlikely that much more than the broad outlines of the plan would be made public before the document is delivered to Gorbachev. Although Gorbachev asserted in Oslo that the USSR would accept no conditions to any rescue package, few observers attach much weight to that pronouncement. It is also, of course, uncertain whether Gorbachev will accept the provisions of the plan, as several of his lieutenants have publicly distanced themselves from Yavlinsky. (Keith Bush) SOVIET FINANCING NEEDS IN 1991. The chairman of the International Bank for Economic Cooperation, Vitalii Khokhlov, told Western agencies June 10 that the Soviet Union will require "Western financial aid" in excess of $20 billion in 1991 alone. Khokhlov, who was attending the BIS meeting in Basel, added: "Of course, [foreign] bankers are fairly cautious and we understand them. We must first pull ourselves out of the current chaos of the economy." It would appear that Khokhlov's estimate is not necessarily connected with the provisions of the "Grand Bargain." The USSR's financing needs in 1991 were calculated at $27.1 billion in the "worse case" scenario given in the IMF study of last December. (Keith Bush) RESOLUTION ON TERMS OF TRADE FOR AGRICULTURE. Pravda of June 1 carries the USSR Cabinet of Ministers' Resolution No. 313 of May 31 "On Compensation in 1991 for the Additional Expenses of Enterprises and Organizations in the Agro-Industrial Complex in Connection with the Price Reform." Among its provisions are: exemption from social security contributions; sale of certain produce to the state at contract prices; reduction in the price of mixed feed; reimbursement to farms and enterprises for compensation payments in respect of the retail price increases; and permission for farms to sell up to 30% of all produce at contract prices. (Keith Bush) EC OFFICIAL: AID TO USSR SHOULD BE LINKED TO REFORM. Frans Andriessen, the European Community's Commissioner for External Affairs, said yesterday that a strong commitment to reform by the Soviet leadership should be a precondition for Western aid to the USSR. Speaking at a conference of international industrialists in Dobris, Czechoslovakia, Andriessen was quoted by Western agencies June 10 as saying that reform in the USSR is "a prerequisite of stability and peace in Europe and in the whole world." He also said that the EC would like the USSR to continue trading with East European countries, warning that a sudden loss of the Soviet market could spell disaster for efforts toward economic reform in Eastern Europe. (NCA/Sallie Wise) ATTALI PLANS VISIT TO USSR BEFORE G-7 MEETING. Jacques Attali, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, reportedly will hold talks with Gorbachev in Moscow sometime in early July. Western agencies June 10 reported that a spokeswoman for the EBRD said no firm date has been set for Attali's trip, but that it would take place before the G-7 summit in London July 15-17. The bank's spokeswoman said that Gorbachev has not yet accepted Attali's invitation to EBRD headquarters in London in July. Attali last visited Moscow in March in his capacity as president-designate of the EBRD. (NCA/Sallie Wise) CUTS IN CUBA AID DISMISSED. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said on June 10 that media reports saying the Soviet Union had promised the United States to cut aid to Cuba were without basis. (Churkin did not indicate whether he meant Soviet or Western media.) He said the question of Soviet-Cuban cooperation is the province of those two countries alone and noted that the USSR rejects any attempts to put pressure on the USSR to back away from cooperation with Cuba, TASS reported June 10. (Suzanne Crow) MILITARY OFFICIALS CRY BETRAYAL. The reactionary journal Den' (No. 9) carries a "roundtable" with three top military officials that can only be described as remarkable. In it, USSR Defense Council Deputy Chairman Oleg Baklanov, Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Chernavin, General Staff Academy Commander Colonel General Igor' Rodionov, and the editor of Den', Aleksandr Prokhanov, denounce Soviet "democrats" in the bluntest terms for betraying the Soviet Union. The speakers also suggest that the military leadership could rule more effectively than weak-willed politicians, and charge directly that democrats ("the internal 'fifth column'") have joined with the United States ("the external...'super-state'") to undermine the Soviet armed forces. (Stephen Foye) SOVIET NAVY ACCEPTED FLAWED SHIPS. A navy captain has charged that the Soviet Navy has put into service flawed ships, including submarines that are prone to accidents. According to Novosti June 7, Captain First Class Ilya Kolton has requested that the USSR Prosecutor General start criminal proceedings against the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, for accepting the vessels. Kolton said that the faulty ships put into service in 1988 included 8 submarines so badly built that, in the event of a war, they would be destroyed in the first 15 days of combat. He blamed poor construction of the hulls, which he said made these subs detectable from 500 nautical miles away. (NCA/Stephen Foye) DIRECT ELECTIONS OF USSR PRESIDENT DISCUSSED. Discussion is already underway on whom to propose for direct elections of the USSR's president, Novosti reported June 11. Currently, the RSFSR's "democrats" mention three people who could oppose Gorbachev in such elections. According to Novosti they are Yeltsin, historian Yurii Afanas'ev, and Leningrad city soviet chairman Anatolii Sobchak. (Vera Tolz) SHEVARDNADZE APPEALS FOR DEMOCRATIC UNITY. Former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze advocates the formation of a broad-based democratic party in the USSR to accelerate economic and social reform. According to agency reports June 11 of a speech Shevardnadze gave in Vienna June 10, he appealed to democratic forces in the USSR to come together to create "a strong, organized, democratic party." Such a party, he said, would rejuvenate the Soviet parliament so that it could work for "the spiritual and economic rebirth" of the USSR. "People must be brought into parliament who are more progressive...who have no fear of the new." Shevardnadze, still a CPSU member, said he believed that such a democratic union is possible, and added, "the democratic forces of the country are obliged to do it." (Sallie Wise) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS UPDATE ON YELTSIN'S CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENCY. TASS on June 10 reported that about 50,000 people participated in a demonstration in Moscow in support of Boris Yeltsin, Anatolii Sobchak and Gavriil Popov who tomorrow will stand elections for the posts of RSFSR president, Leningrad and Moscow mayor, respectively. Shevardnadze supported Yeltsin's election as "a step in the right direction" in a speech in Vienna, according to agency reports June 11. Meanwhile, Pravda on June 10 published a strong attack on Yeltsin, denouncing him as "disloyal, authoritarian and incompetent." Western agencies also reported June 10 that Yeltsin is expected to visit the US on June 18 if he should win the presidential elections in the first round. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN: "RUSSIA WON'T TRADE IN ARMS." In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL, Yeltsin said the center is resisting demands by the RSFSR that weapons manufacturing plants situated in the Russian Republic should be transferred to its jurisdiction. Yeltsin stressed that, while the RSFSR intends to insist on the transfer, it will not enter the arms trade. Yeltsin was speaking on June 9 in Sverdlovsk to independent journalist Sergei Kuznetsov, and the interview was broadcast on the Radio Liberty Russian Service's evening news program "In the Country and the World" on June 10. (Jean Riollot/Elizabeth Teague) YELTSIN WARNS GORBACHEV. Yeltsin went on in his interview with RFE/RL June 10 to caution Gorbachev that the Soviet army must not be used against Russian civilians once the new Union Treaty is signed. If the Soviet president uses the army in such a way, Yeltsin said, Gorbachev will himself have violated the Union treaty and this could lead to the breakup of the new union outlined in it. Yeltsin also said that, though the RSFSR cannot yet afford financially to join the United Nations, agreement has been reached with UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar that the Russian Republic will have a permanent representative there. (Jean Riollot/Elizabeth Teague) DETAILS ON YELTSIN'S PERSONALITY. Yeltsin is very emotional and "had to learn to control his feelings," according to his younger brother Mikhail, a 54-year-old construction worker, who was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal on June 7. Mikhail Yeltsin added that it is characteristic that one "can expect unexpected things from him." A journalist who worked with Yeltsin in Sverdlovsk said that Yeltsin is a "tough, even cruel boss" who is "terribly impatient." Yeltsin's sister-in-law Natalia acknowledged that "everybody loves him but everybody fears him." Other former colleagues of Yeltsin remembered that he entered the CPSU only because he had to after winning a promotion in the construction industry. (Alexander Rahr) CP FIGHTS FOR RYZHKOV. Novosti on June 7 reported about intense activity by local Party organizations in the Russian provinces to mobilize the electorate in favor of Nikolai Ryzhkov. CPSU CC Politburo members Aleksandr Dzasokhov and Egor Stroev have been campaigning for Ryzhkov, according to the Frankfurter Rundschau of May 25. Ryzhkov is also supported by the Council of War and Labor Veterans, political organs in the military, and the conservative RSFSR Writers' Union. Ryzhkov's running mate, General Boris Gromov, praised the former Soviet premier in an interview with Soviet TV on June 7 for having opposed Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign and the conversion program in the early days of perestroika. (Alexander Rahr) BAKATIN CALLS FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW. Bakatin said in his TV press conference yesterday that, no matter who is elected RSFSR president, one of his first steps must be to adopt an anti-corruption law, as well as a legal act on state service. He criticized the RSFSR government for standing idle while overwhelming corruption spread all through the state apparatus and society. (Victor Yasmann) RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ADVOCATES "SAINT PETERSBURG". Western agencies June 8 quoted Interfax as having reported that the Moscow Patriarchate has urged voters in the June 12 referendum to change Leningrad's name to Saint Petersburg. (Oxana Antic) MINSK TRACTOR FACTORY VOTES TO EJECT PARTY. RFE/RL Minsk correspondent Yas' Valoshka reported June 10 that earlier this month, 13,000 employees of the huge Minsk Tractor Factory took part in a referendum and voted by an overwhelming majority to eject the plant's Communist Party and Komsomol committees. Although Belorussian law leaves the presence or absence of public organizations at the workplace to the discretion of the collective, republican Party and state officials in the last few months have strongly denounced such moves as "unconstitutional." The Tractor Factory was Gorbachev's first stop during his tour of Belorussia in April. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko) A PRESIDENT FOR, BY, AND OF THE APPARAT? Belorussian Supreme Soviet deputies have been asked to study proposals for the introduction of a Belorussian presidency, but there is a twist: for the first time around, the President of the republic would be chosen not by direct popular vote but by the current nomenklatura-dominated parliament. An independent public opinion survey cited by Yas' Valoshka showed, however, that 53% of respondents favored direct election (a la Yeltsin) and only 17% supported the variant by which Gorbachev was named President of the USSR. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko) ROMANIANS IN UKRAINE SET UP UMBRELLA BODY, ISSUE DEMANDS. Representatives of Romanian/Moldavian associations from northern Bukovina and southern Bessarabia--areas transferred to Ukraine following their annexation by the USSR from Romania--decided at a meeting June 9 in northern Bukovina's capital Chernovtsy to set up a "Democratic Union of All Romanian Associations in Ukraine." The meeting issued an appeal for the "observance of the sacred rights to national history and culture,...an end to intimidation and oppression by local and all-Union authorities," reestablishment of Romanian-language schools, and equitable representation of Romanians/Moldavians in state and public bodies. (Vladimir Socor) ROMANIANS IN UKRAINE APPEAL TO UN. The same meeting made public an appeal to the office of the General Secretary of the United Nations, complaining of "grave violations of the human and nationality rights of the Romanian population" in Ukraine. It requested that an international commission of experts be constituted and dispatched to the scene in order to study the situation of Romanians in Ukraine. The meeting in Chernovtsy and its resolutions were reported by Moldavian and Romanian media on June 10. (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIAN CULTURE IN MOLDAVIA TO RECEIVE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT. The Moldavian government has pledged financial support to a program, proposed by the Russian Cultural Center in Moldavia and the Foundation for Slavic Culture, to develop Russian education and culture in Moldavia, Moldovapres reported June 7. The program includes the publication and import (from the RSFSR) of Russian school textbooks, to replace present textbooks marked by communist ideology; the opening of Russian theaters and cultural clubs; holding Russian cultural competitions, art exhibits, folk festivals; and organizing cultural exchanges with the RSFSR, including the training there of Russian students from Moldavia. (Vladimir Socor) UZBEK WEEK IN DUSHANBE. The newspaper Tajikistan-i shorawi of May 21 carried a detailed report on the "Uzbek Week" to be held in Dushanbe from June 10 to 15. A delegation of 130 Uzbek scholars, scientists, artists, film and theater actors, and others will participate. Events will include films, concerts, exhibitions, and book fairs. The goal of these activities is to develop friendly relations between Tajiks and Uzbeks. The report added that 1991 has been designated "Ali Shir Nawai Year" in Tajikstan, after the famous Uzbek scholar and national figure. (Fevziye Barlas)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.