|The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn|
No. 112, 14 June 1991
USSR BALTIC STATES "DAY OF MOURNING AND HOPE". The 50th anniversary of the beginning of the mass deportations by the Soviet authorities of hundreds of thousands of people from Lithuania is being commemorated today (June 14) as a "Day of Mourning and Hope." Masses will be held in the churches of Lithuania at 12:30 P.M., commemorating the thousands of victims of Soviet terror. In many Lithuanian cities rallies will be held at the train stations from which the deportees, packed into cattle cars, were transported to remote parts of the USSR with inadequate food and clothing. A number of monuments and crosses will also be dedicated in honor of the deportees. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC WAY REVISITED. Paulius Klimas, a Lithuanian from Rochester, NY, has completed a 600 km walk through the Baltic States. Klimas began his walk for Baltic freedom in Tallinn on May 14, following the route of the 1989 Baltic Way, a human chain linking the Baltic States. The walk ended in Vilnius today (June 14), coinciding with the "Day of Mourning and Hope." Klimas walked from Rochester to Washington in 1988, drawing attention to the plight of Petras Grazulis, a Lithuanian dissident sentenced to ten months in prison for his refusal to serve in the Soviet army. Grazulis and Klimas met for the first time on the Latvian-Lithuanian border late last month. Radio Independent Lithuania broadcast periodic reports on his progress throughout the walk. (Gytis Liulevicius) BALTIC FREEDOM DAY(S). US President George Bush signed a proclamation declaring June 14 as Baltic Freedom Day. According to the proclamation, "we reaffirm our support for the right of the Baltic peoples to live in peace and freedom." In addition to reiterating the US policy of not recognizing the forcible annexation of the Baltic States, the proclamation also calls on the USSR "to move forward with the talks" on Baltic independence. Curiously, the proclamation declares two Baltic Freedom Days--June 14, 1992 is included in this year's proclamation. (Gytis Liulevicius) MORE LITHUANIAN CUSTOMS POSTS ATTACKED. A Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs duty officer announced that at 2:45 A.M. today (June 14), 15 armed people dressed in paratrooper uniforms crossed into Lithuania from Latvia and burned down the customs post at Germaniskis in the Birzai raion. According to Radio Independent Lithuania June 14, Guard Virginijus Slenderis was injured. At 4:00 A.M., armed OMOM troops attacked the customs post at Salociai in the Pasvalys raion and beat up and robbed the guards. Attempts to burn down the post failed. Both posts, which were not guarded by the Lithuanian police, had been previously burned down on May 23. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN SSR PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE. A joint statement by the Lithuanian and Latvian SSR prosecutors and the Baltic transport prosecutor, published in Izvestia June 13, said the Lithuanian SSR prosecutor's office "had instituted criminal proceedings against persons" involved in the attacks on Lithuanian customs posts. The article, however, also said: "proceedings have not been instituted directly with regard to the illegality of attacks involving physical force, but for the purpose of verifying reports of these instances by newspapers and citizens." Lithuanians doubtless will treat the investigation with great skepticism since the prosecutor is not accountable to the Republic of Lithuania, but to the USSR Prosecutor General, whose recent report on the January military attack in Vilnius was condemned as false. (Saulius Girnius) POLAND AND LATVIA SIGN FRIENDSHIP DECLARATION. On June 13 Poland and Latvia signed a Declaration of Friendship which commits both sides to resume full diplomatic relations "at the appropriate time," reported PAP that day. At the signing ceremony in Warsaw, Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans said his country was "very grateful" to the Polish government and noted that the accord was an important step toward winning full independence for Latvia. His Polish counterpart Krzysztof Skubiszewski said Warsaw supports Latvia's aspirations and admires the determination of the Latvian nation, adding that Latvia has a friend in Poland. The declaration commits both sides to closer economic, cultural and environmental cooperation. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) CHERNOBYL VICTIMS END HUNGER STRIKE. The Chernobyl victims ended their hunger strike yesterday in Riga after the Latvian Supreme Council adopted a decision on a program of aid to them. The decision did not include ratification of the USSR decision of May 12 concerning compensation to Chernobyl victims--a key demand of the strikers--but instead called on the Latvian delegation taking part in the Latvian-USSR consultations to deal with the issue on an inter-state level at the next meeting. The decision also provides for a special working group under the Latvian Council of Ministers to deal with more immediate problems; representatives of the Chernobyl victims are to participate in the working group, reported Radio Riga on June 13. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-USSR BANK ACCORD. On June 12, at the conclusion of a meeting of representatives of the Baltic and USSR central banks, the Latvian and Soviet sides signed an agreement to coordinate their policies and actions. Chairman of the Bank of the Republic of Latvia Pavils Sakss told Diena of June 12 that relations, defined by an accord, will be maintained with the Soviet bank as along as the ruble is used in Latvia, and probably even after Latvia has its own currency. (Dzintra Bungs) GERMAN-BALTIC PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE. German Bundestag deputies formed a German-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Circle on June 12. In an interview with an RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn, Christian Democrat Wolfgang von Stetten said that he was elected chairman of the group. The circle intends to support the establishment of a Baltic information center with three separate offices in Bonn and proposed that the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee should open German information centers in each of the Baltic States. Von Stetten said that Christian Democrat Stefan Schwarz will be in charge of Lithuania, Social Democrat Stephan Hilsberg--Latvia, and Free Democrat Arno Schmidt--Estonia. At least 90 Bundestag deputies have joined the circle. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV INVITED TO MEET G-7 LEADERS. After nearly two months of confusion, speculation, hedging, and lobbying, it's official: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has been invited to London in mid-July to meet with the leaders of the Group of Seven. Western newspapers report today (June 14) that British Prime Minister John Major yesterday issued a formal invitation to Gorbachev to meet with the G-7 leaders, but only after their annual summit is over. Gorbachev reportedly will arrive the morning of July 17, the last day of the summit, and will have a working meeting and lunch with the G-7 leaders. This compromise will allow Gorbachev to make his pitch for aid to the group, without the appearance of his being a full participant in the G-7 meeting. (Sallie Wise) BESSMERTNYKH ADMISSION ON NUKES. Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh at a press conference June 13 marking the end of his two-day visit to Bonn, said that "a certain number" of nuclear arms are stationed at Soviet bases in eastern Germany. Bessmertnykh did not mention how many such weapons exist or their location, but offered assurances that their withdrawal would be completed "very quickly" and that Bonn would be notified as soon as the withdrawal is complete, Western agencies reported June 13. Bessmertnykh's revelation contradicts Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov's reported assurances to German Environment Minister Klaus Toepfer that there were no nuclear or chemical weapons on former East German territory (see Daily Report, June 4). (Suzanne Crow/Sallie Wise) BESSMERTNYKH TOUGH ON NATO. At the same news conference, Bessmertnykh lambasted NATO as a cold war legacy which has "no right to perpetual existence." He insisted that future security structures in Europe replace the North Atlantic alliance, despite the fact that NATO is becoming more of a political entity, Western agencies reported June 13. Bessmertnykh's comments may presage a new hardline position from Moscow designed to put pressure on the alliance to follow the Warsaw Pact's example. This position may have been influenced by the results of the recent NATO meeting in Copenhagen, which yielded an ambiguous statement on the alliance's mandate in Europe. (Suzanne Crow) YANAEV ALSO IN BONN. Soviet Vice President Gennadii Yanayev led a nine-member delegation to Germany on June 13 at the invitation of a foundation which is close to the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP). The delegation is scheduled to meet German President Richard von Weizsaecker and SDP Bundestag deputies on June 14. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE IN BONN TOO. Former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze was received by German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher for a private meeting in Bonn on June 13. Shevardnadze is on a tour to promote his new book, The Future Belongs to Freedom. Genscher hailed the book as an important contribution to new thinking in foreign policy. For his part, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl thanked Shevardnadze for his leading role in the German unity process. (NCA/Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE COY ON POLITICAL FUTURE. In an interview with Germany's ZDF television, Shevardnadze finessed questions about his plans for a future role in politics. "I am in politics!," Shevardnadze replied when asked if he wished to return to the political arena. Asked again, Shevardnadze offered the equivalent of "time will tell." These remarks followed Shevardnadze's statement that he "welcomes the election of Boris Yeltsin" to the RSFSR Presidency. (Suzanne Crow) EBRD TO HELP SET UP NEW SOVIET BANK. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced June 11 that it will advise the organizational committee of the State Bank of the USSR on setting up an investment bank in Moscow, The Financial Times reported June 12. The FT report also said that the ERBD has submitted recommendations for Soviet economic reform to be considered at the G-7 summit next month. Among them is the advice that the USSR should act within six months to stabilize its economy and begin a shift toward the private sector. (Sallie Wise) REVENKO ON UNION TREATY. Commenting on the prospects for the Union treaty in the wake of Yeltsin's election as Russian president, Grigorii Revenko, Gorbachev's adviser on nationalities policy, said he believed a treaty could be agreed this year, Western agencies reported June 14. He even believed the six republics demanding independence might reconsider. Revenko said that he thought that about nine months would be needed after the treaty was signed to draft and adopt a new Soviet constitution, and a further six to adopt a new electoral law and hold elections for the USSR president. (Ann Sheehy) GRINEV ON UNION TREATY. Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Vladimir Grinev was less optimistic about quick agreement on a Union treaty. He told Western agencies it would be hard for the center to resist a Russia headed by Yeltsin and a Ukraine bent on sovereignty. Ukraine, with the RSFSR, was resisting the concept of federal taxes, and feared that Moscow would keep its grip on the central state bank. Grinev said the Ukrainian parliament was very seriously considering introducing its own currency, possibly parallel to the ruble. (Ann Sheehy) DEFENSE MINISTRY DENIES SOVIET GULF DEATHS. Responding to allegations made by seventeen members of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies, the Soviet Defense Ministry has again denied that Soviet troops took part in the Gulf War or that any Soviet soldiers were killed there. The Defense Ministry statements appeared in Krasnaya zvezda on June 8 and were reported by Novosti on June 13. The RSFSR deputies claimed to have learned of notices telling families that their sons had been "killed in the Persian Gulf." The Defense Ministry asked to see at least one of the death notices. (Stephen Foye) MVD GENERAL ON ROLE OF INTERNAL TROOPS. Commander of the MVD Internal Troops, Yurii Shatalin, has charged that "extremist" military formations have been promoted to the rank of state institutions in Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia, and the Baltic States, TASS reported June 12. Talking about the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he said that the MVD Internal Troops are able to deter confrontation in the Transcaucasus only to a certain extent, and the ultimate solution must be political. In an interview with Russian TV on June 8, however, former KGB general Oleg Kalugin said there are forces in the central government and law-enforcement agencies which view ethnic conflicts as a consolidating factor for the Russian heartland. (Victor Yasmann) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN OFFICIALLY WINS, INVITED TO US. The head of the central electoral commission, Vasilii Kazakov, officially acknowledged Boris Yeltsin's election as RSFSR President, according TASS on June 13. US President Bush immediately invited Yeltsin to visit Washington D.C. on June 20 to discuss with Yeltsin his new position and the future of the Russian republic, Western news agencies reported on June 14. Latest figures show Yeltsin leading with 55% of the votes. He even succeeded in beating the popular reformist Amar Tuleev in his home district, Kemerovo. (Alexander Rahr) POPOV, AFANAS'EV OFFICIALLY ELECTED. Gavriil Popov received 65% of the votes in the Moscow mayoral election, TASS reported June 13. His rival from the Party apparatus, Valerii Zaikin, got 16%. After his election, Popov immediately announced by decree that pensioners could use the city's public transportation for free. On June 12, elections for an empty seat in the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies were conducted in the Moscow city May First district. Yurii Afanas'ev--co-chairman of the Democratic Russia Movement--won over Ivan Antonovich, the chief ideologist of the RSFSR CP, according to Vremya on June 13. (Alexander Rahr) GAVRIIL POPOV ON JUNE 12 ELECTIONS. Interviewed June 13 on the RL Russian Service's "In the Country and the World" live news show, Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov said the significance of the June 12 elections was that Russia had chosen her own leaders for the first time in history. Also important to note, Popov said, is the fact that victory went to "Democratic Russia"; the electorate was not taken in by those who tried to blame the setbacks of the past year on the democratic movement. The fact, Popov went on, that the CPSU could not put up a single credible candidate was an indication of the drop in the Party's authority. Finally, Popov said, Yeltsin's electoral victory shows that the population approves the "9-plus-1" agreement, which augurs well for future cooperation between the center and the Russian Republic. (Elizabeth Teague) ZHIRINOVSKY--A DANGEROUS POPULIST. The main sensation of the presidential elections was the third-place finish of Liberal-Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. In some areas, he received up to 20% of the votes. Zhirinovsky told Russian Television on June 13 that if the RSFSR president had been elected not in 20 days but in three months, he would have won. Rabochaya tribuna on June 13 reported that Zhirinovsky has filed a protest seeking the annulment of votes received by Yeltsin because the latter had used his official position as head of parliament to his advantage in the elections. The Russian TV news show Vesti on June 13 stressed the danger of a populist like Zhirinovsky and compared him with the emergence of Stalin and Hitler in the 1920s. (Alexander Rahr) ROY MEDVEDEV ALLEGES YELTSIN SUICIDE ATTEMPT. Historian Roy Medvedev denounced Yeltsin in an article published in Sovetskaya Rossiya on June 8 for "unscrupulously exploiting" Andrei Sakharov's name in the RSFSR presidential electoral campaign. Medvedev called Yeltsin a party apparatchik purely of the Brezhnev mold. He charged that Yeltsin became an opponent of the Kremlin leadership only because he was denied full membership in the Politburo in the summer of 1987. Medvedev alleged that after he was criticized at the Party plenum, Yeltsin "tried to commit suicide with a sharp pair of scissors used for cutting paper" and that that was the reason why he was hospitalized. (Alexander Rahr) ELECTIONS IN TATARSTAN. Less than half those on the electoral roll took part in the RSFSR presidential elections in Tatarstan, TASS reported June 13. There had been strong opposition from Tatar political organizations to holding the elections in the republic on the grounds that they infringed upon Tatar sovereignty. In the elections to the Tatar presidency also held June 12, the sole candidate, the incumbent chairman of the Tatarstan Supreme Soviet Mintimer Shaimiev, received 73% of the votes cast, RFE/RL was told yesterday. The turnout was over 60%. (Ann Sheehy/Tatar-Bashkir BD) DAGESTAN MUSLIMS CONTINUE PROTEST AGAINST HAJ TRAVEL COSTS. Warning shots had to be fired in Makhachkala June 13 against a crowd of several hundred Muslims who have been demonstrating for ten days against the cost of the pilgrimage to Mecca, Vremya and Moscow radio reported yesterday. The crowd tried to storm the republican Council of Ministers building and threw stones at the militia. They want all those who have applied to go to Mecca to be allowed to do so, and the cost reduced from 30,000 to 3,000 rubles (Vremya gave the number of applicants as over 10,000, Moscow radio round about 3,000). The Dagestan authorities have got the costs more than halved for 850 pilgrims. Talks with the demonstrators are continuing. (Ann Sheehy) UZBEKISTAN APPROVES UNION TREATY. The Uzbekistan Supreme Soviet June 13 said it would sign the new Union treaty, TASS reported yesterday. Like the Belorussian Supreme Soviet, it has done so without seeing the final draft. RFE/RL was told June 13 that the Belorussian Supreme Soviet, which has named its chairman Mikalay Dementi to sign the treaty, had left it up to Dementi to decide whether or not the final draft was acceptable. (Ann Sheehy/Belorussian BD) NEW UNIVERSITY IN KAZAKHSTAN. TASS reported June 6 that an "Eastern University" is being opened in the town of Turkestan in southern Kazakhstan which will offer courses in Oriental studies, including Oriental medicine and Islam. Kazakhstan's developing ties with Asian countries, including Turkey, Syria, Korea, China, and India, are cited as the reason for creation of the new educational institution. (Bess Brown) GEORGIAN NATIONAL GUARD TRIES TO SEIZE CP PROPERTY. TASS June 12 reported that on the night of June 10, members of the Georgian National Guard armed with submachine guns tried to confiscate 20 cars from a garage belonging to the independent Georgian CP. After negotiations with CP First Secretary Dzhemal Mikeladze and other leading CP functionaries, the Guards left, taking one car with them. The Georgian MVD and KGB have disclaimed all knowledge of the incident. Similar attempts to confiscate CP property have been organized by local prefects. (Liz Fuller) PROSPECTS FOR IRANIAN-AZERBAIJANI COOPERATION. Azerbaijani Prime Minister Gasan Gasanov met in Teheran June 11 with Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and called for expanding bilateral relations. Rafsanjani was quoted by Radio Teheran (June 11) as expressing full support for Gorbachev's policies. On June 12 Gasanov and Iranian Energy Minister Bijar Namdar-Zanganeh signed an agreement on possible gas exports to Azerbaijan and cooperation in the fields of shipping, railway and road construction, and communications. IRNA June 12 reported that Gasanov has told Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati that Azerbaijan wishes to join the Iran-Turkey-Pakistan economic grouping. (NCA/Liz Fuller) FRENCH CONSULATE OPENED IN KIEV. RFE/RL correspondents in Kiev reported that French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas arrived in Kiev June 13 for the actual opening of the French consulate there, not, as was reported yesterday, for talks on a possible opening. Dumas met with Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Chairman Leonid Kravchuk and Prime Minister Vitold Fokin. (Valentyn Moroz) STATISTICS ON CHILDREN IN UKRAINE. Children under the age of 14 constitute 20% of the republican population, Pravda Ukrainy reported June 1. 2.4 million youngsters from 1 to 6 years of age have a place in kindergartens, although 182,000 of them are on the waiting list. 964,000 pupils in the republic (20% of all urban pupils) are forced to attend school during the "second shift" (in the afternoon) due to a shortage of schools and teachers. The republic has 63 boarding-schools with 11,000 places for invalid children. In 1990 medical authorities registered 478,500 children with eye defects, 21,300 with hearing problems, 164,200 with speech defects and 85,500 who suffered from scoliosis (spine damage caused by rickets). (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIAN AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS FOR JANUARY-APRIL. During the first four months of 1991 Ukrainian production of meat and eggs fell by 12% and milk production fell by 8% as compared to the same period of 1990. Livestock also has been decreasing: the number of cattle decreased by 3%, dairy cows by 2%, pigs by 7%, sheep and goats by 11%, poultry by 5%. By the end of April 1991 there were 21.4 million head of cattle, among them 6.2 million dairy cows, 12.5 million head of pigs, 8.5 million head of sheep and goats, and 149.3 million head of poultry. From January to April, republican agriculture produced 1,461,000 tons of meat in live weight, 5,772,000 tons of milk, and 3,246,000,000 eggs. (Valentyn Moroz) CONFERENCE IN KISHINEV ON MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT. In a statement cited by Moldovapres June 13, Moldavian parliament presidium member and professional historian Valeriu Matei gave details on the organization of the impending international conference on "Overcoming the Consequences of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact," scheduled for June 26-28 in Kishinev, with the participation of scholars and parliamentarians from the West, Eastern Europe, and the USSR. Matei announced that the Moldavian parliament--which sponsors the conference--will release at the conference a volume of hitherto unpublished archival documents on the implementation in Moldavia of the Nazi-Soviet accord. (Vladimir Socor) GAGAUZ LEADER PLEASED WITH MOLDAVIA'S LAW ON CITIZENSHIP. Moldavia's law instituting republican citizenship and separating it from USSR citizenship, adopted by parliament June 5, was applauded by Moldavia's highest-ranking Gagauz politician on Central Television's TSN program June 12. Vladimir Kapanji, a member of the Moldavian parliament's presidium, said that "as the representative of the interests of the Gagauz people" he felt that its interests had been fully met by the law. "In no way can one criticize it as nationalist;" "it could not be more democratic," he said. Under the law, all Gagauz automatically qualify for Moldavian citizenship. (Vladimir Socor). [as of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.