|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 113, 17 June 1991
BALTIC STATES BALTIC BORDER POST ATTACKS CONTINUE. Soviet troops raided seven Baltic customs posts early on June 14, injuring at least five people. Radio Riga reported that day that four Latvian posts--Skaistkalne, Bauska, Ainazi, and Ezere--were attacked and burned. According to Radio Tallinn June 14, an Estonian border post at Ikla was attacked by troops "armed with submachine guns, grenades, and signal rockets." Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 14 that two Lithuanian customs posts--at Germaniskis and Salociai--were hit. (Gytis Liulevicius) EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION. In view of the ongoing border post attacks in the Baltic States and other military intimidation, the European Parliament passed a resolution on June 13 condemning the violence, and urging a peaceful settlement. The resolution, supported by 8 factions, stated that the European Parliament "is gravely concerned by the continued failure of the Soviet government to enter into serious negotiations with the Baltic governments on their future relationship with the USSR." It also called on the Soviet government "to order its army immediately to halt any further operations and to respect the rights of the Republic of Lithuania and its citizens." (Gytis Liulevicius) EC COMPLAINT OVER BALTIC INCIDENTS REBUFFED. On June 15 Luxembourg's ambassador in Moscow Hubert Wurth, acting on behalf of the EC, delivered a verbal protest to Soviet First Deputy Foreign Minister Yulii Kvitsinsky against the Soviet attacks on customs posts in the Baltic republics. TASS quoted Kvitskinsky as telling Wurth that Moscow's evaluation of events in the Baltic "do not depend on any recognition or approval from abroad" because events in the Baltic are a purely internal Soviet matter. (Saulius Girnius) SOVIET TROOPS OCCUPY MILITARY CEMETERY. Radio Riga reported on June 14 that Soviet soldiers and war veterans had occupied the "Cemetery of Brethen" on the outskirts of Riga after hearing rumors that Latvians were planning to extinguish an eternal flame there commemorating Soviet war dead. First Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans appealed to Latvians over the radio to avoid the cemetery to prevent clashes or other trouble with the soldiers. (Saulius Girnius) COMMENTS BY LATVIAN OFFICIALS IN WARSAW. At a press conference in Warsaw on June 14, Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis said that Latvia would soon open an information office in Warsaw. Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans said that the only problem in Europe left over from World War II was that of Baltic independence and that there could not be any stability in Europe until this question was resolved. He hoped that solutions could be found on an international level, with one possible forum being the CSCE process. (NCA/Saulius Girnius) ESTONIA PASSES OWNERSHIP REFORM LAW. On June 13 the Estonian parliament passed a law governing the return of property to those who can prove inheritance rights, Radio Tallinn reported that day. The law stated that the return of property "must not damage the lawful interests of other persons or entail new unfair practices." Chairman of the Ownership Reform Commission Arvo Junti said that the law gave inheritance rights to children, parents, grandparents, and other relatives and spouses of previous owners, but because it did not try to define all possibilities, civil disputes would arise that would be solved during the implementation of the law. (Saulius Girnius) IOC PUTS OFF ACTION ON BALTS. The International Olympic Committee, meeting in Birmingham, refused consideration of the Baltic States for IOC membership, shelving their applications until 1993, Western agencies reported June 16. The Baltic States competed independently in the 1936 Olympics, and had hoped to do so again in Barcelona in 1992, arguing that the IOC never officially de-recognized the three countries. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said that the recognition of new members is "a very delicate problem." (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV CHAIRS MEETING ON PRIVATIZATION. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev chaired a Kremlin meeting on privatization June 15, TASS reported the same day. Academics, RSFSR and other republican leaders, and enterprise managers, among others, participated in the meeting. Soviet First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov gave an extensive report. Gorbachev said he foresaw the emergence of a mixed economy that will change the relationship between people and their work. He also noted that a major factor in carrying out a privatization program is the resolution of the Union treaty. That should more clearly delineate between Central and republican property rights. He believes that the treaty can be signed as early as the first half of July. (John Tedstrom) WHAT KIND OF PROPERTY? When Gorbachev says he foresees a mixed economy, he means it. He said that the current situation dictates a reform of property relations. In order to replace government property effectively, Gorbachev advocates developing "leasing arrangements, joint stock companies, cooperatives, 'people's enterprises', family farms,...and, even, private property." (John Tedstrom) GORBACHEV TO TAKE HIGH GROUND IN LONDON. Gorbachev linked the recent meeting on privatization directly to his upcoming meeting with leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries. In a Soviet TV interview June 15, as summarized by TASS, Gorbachev said that he was not going to blackmail anyone or beg during the London meeting, but intended to demonstrate that the Soviet Union was making serious progress towards radical economic reform. He said specific sums of aid would not be discussed and that the discussion would likely be complex. He added that the West needed to change as well the USSR, and that he was "going to the meeting to look for a balance of interests, cooperation. No one will be kneeling, and no one will be dictating." (John Tedstrom) CFE COMPROMISE APPROVED. The Soviet Union pledged on June 14 to eliminate roughly a quarter of the military equipment it had moved beyond the Urals, and to adhere to limits set by last November's CFE treaty, Western agencies reported June 15. The Soviet declarations, made by Oleg Grinevsky, were formally accepted by the 21 other parties to the treaty (16 NATO states and 5 former Warsaw Pact members). In a legally binding declaration, Moscow pledged to count disputed coastal defense and naval infantry within the original treaty provisions. The Soviets also made a political commitment to destroy or convert 14,500 tanks, armored personnel vehicles, and artillery systems now deployed beyond the Urals. (Stephen Foye) SOVIETS OFFER MIG-31'S FOR SALE. The Soviet Union displayed its frontline MIG-31 "Foxhound" fighter for the first time in the West on June 14, offering to sell it--for $40 million--to any interested country except Iraq, Western agencies reported. The MIG-31 is a long-range interceptor that carries an advanced phased array radar (which one Soviet official said was capable of tracking "stealth" aircraft), and can land on grass or snow strips. Soviet representatives at the Paris Air Show said that talks were underway to sell the plane to the United Arab Emirates, and that Libya and India were also interested. They added that a successor to the MIG-31 was already in the air. (Stephen Foye) ...AND ANTI-MISSILE MISSILES TO ISRAELIS. Western agencies reported June 16 that officials from ALMAZ--identified as a Soviet state industrial corporation with some 55,000 employees--offered to sell Israel an anti-missile defense system during the Paris show. An Israeli representative identified the Soviet missiles as AF-300's. The Soviets claim that the missiles--with a range of 90 km and altitude of 25,000 meters--are superior to the US Patriot system. The unprecedented offer would help Israel defend against Soviet-made systems like the SCUD. An Israeli official reportedly said that "the Soviets need cash and they're ready to sell those systems to people who need them." (Stephen Foye) USSR TO KEEP FOOTHOLD IN VIETNAM. Rear Admiral Vladimir Kasatkin, a General Staff officer with responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region, has said that Soviet forces will continue to use Cam Ranh Bay as a "support point" for naval operations in southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf. In an interview with the International Herald Tribune published June 14, Kasatkin stressed that the residual Soviet force in Vietnam is nonoffensive and would not take part in regional disputes. Aleksandr Panov, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of the Pacific and Southeast Asian Countries, told the IHT that a number of countries in the region wanted a "reduced but conspicuous" Soviet presence, along with the US military presence, to ward off possible encroachments by Japan, China, or India. (Sallie Wise) IRANIAN OIL MINISTER IN MOSCOW. A high-ranking Iranian delegation, led by Oil Minister Gholam Reza Aqazadeh-Kho'i, arrived in Moscow yesterday (June 16) for talks with Soviet officials about cooperation on oil and gas issues. IRNA June 16 quoted Aqazadeh-Kho'i as saying Iran believes the USSR is eager to increase its imports of natural gas from Iran. He said the talks, which are to begin today, will also deal with the transit of Iranian natural gas through the USSR to Europe. In addition, the two sides will discuss bilateral cooperation with regard to international oil markets, particularly the East European market. The Iranian minister predicted that the issue of closer ties between the USSR and OPEC would also come up in the talks. (NCA/Sallie Wise) KOMPLEKTOV COMMENTS ON CUBA. Soviet envoy to the United States, Viktor Komplektov, told a news conference on June 14 that there will be no radical change in Moscow's relationship with Cuba even if Western aid to the USSR were to hinge on it. "You don't like Cuba... so what?" said Komplektov. He added, "I'm sure that if [the United States] will take a more positive and quiet attitude toward Cuba, it will work much better that it does nowadays," the Baltimore Sun reported June 15. (Suzanne Crow) SHARP REACTION TO DRAFT DECREE ABOLISHING ENTRY ON NATIONALITY. A draft decree proposing that the entry on "nationality" be removed from identity and other documents and that individuals be given the right to decided whether they wanted to include it, and what nationality they wished to be, provoked an unusually sharp reaction in the USSR Supreme Soviet, Izvestia reported on June 8. Only two deputies supported it. Central Asian deputies were particularly hostile, and many said the bill was an attempt to deprive people of their nationality. When it became obvious the decree would not be adopted, the chairman of the session proposed the republics be consulted and the debate renewed after the signing of the Union treaty. (Ann Sheehy) NEW POLITICAL GROUPS MEET. The hardline political group "Edinstvo," headed by Leningrad teacher Nina Andreeva, held a congress in Odessa June 16, at which it announced the creation of the Leninist Workers' Party. The party will unite members of the CPSU who reject "the revisionist course" of its current leadership, TSN reported. TSN also said June 16 that a new political movement, Rus' monarkhicheskaya (Monarchist Russia), was set up that day in Moscow. The movement demands a criminal investigation into the 1918 murder of the Imperial family. Also, the Party of Constitutional Democrats held a congress in Moscow, TSN reported. The Party claims to continue the activities of the Kadet party which was outlawed after the October revolution. (Vera Tolz) KGB HEAD MEETS WITH REPRESSION VICTIM GROUPS, GIVES FIGURES. Soviet KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov met in Moscow June 14 with representatives of three groups working on behalf of victims of Stalinist repression. TASS said he used the occasion to reveal some new figures. Kryuchkov said his organization had established that about 4,200,000 people fell victim to unjust repressions between 1920 and 1953. (This figure is regarded by many specialists as being too low). He said 1,200,000 victims of repressions were rehabiliated between 1988 and October of 1990, and the process continues. He disclosed that 100 common graves of repression victims had been found so far in the USSR. He emphasized the KGB's current role in the rehablitation of the victims. (Vera Tolz) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS KOZYREV ON YELTSIN'S VISIT TO THE US. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has said that RSFSR President-elect Boris Yeltsin would not "beg for credits" during his forthcoming visit to the US. Kozyrev told Western agencies June 16 that Yeltsin will inform the Bush administration about his radical economic reform program and explain his relationship with Gorbachev. Yeltsin told French TV on June 15 that his victory has produced a new balance of power and an understanding between him and Gorbachev based on a working relationship. Yeltsin said that Gorbachev must now consult him on the Soviet Union's foreign policy and military issues. During his visit to Washington, Yeltsin will seek to establish direct links between the US and the RSFSR. (Alexander Rahr) WHO WILL REPLACE YELTSIN AS HEAD OF PARLIAMENT? After Yeltsin's election as RSFSR president, democrats fear that the RSFSR Communist Party may try to push its own candidate into the post of Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, making the parliament opposed to the President, Interfax reported June 10. According to RIA June 16, the RCP's candidate is 32-year-old Omsk lawyer Sergei Baburin. Another candidate for the job is the present First Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Khasbulatov. Yeltsin's military adviser General Dmitrii Volkogonov is being considered as a compromise figure for the position of head of parliament, capable of turning the Supreme Soviet into a stabilizing force. (Alexander Rahr) DETAILS ON ELECTIONS. According to the latest figures announced by Chairman of the Electoral Commission Vasilii Kazakov, 75% of eligible voters took part in the RSFSR presidential elections. TASS on June 14 quoted him as saying that latest figures show that Yeltsin received 60% of the votes, Ryzhkov--16% and Vladimir Zhirinovsky--7%. In Moscow, 72% voted for Yeltsin, in Sverdlovsk--85%. Kazakov admitted numerous disruptions in the electoral procedures but did not specify what he had in mind. (Alexander Rahr) THE MILITARY VOTE FOR YELTSIN. The army paper, Krasnaya zvezda, says that Yeltsin won considerable support from soldiers in many military districts, The Guardian reported June 15. According to preliminary figures, Yeltsin won some 81% of the vote among sailors of the Pacific and Indian Ocean Fleets, and an only slightly smaller percentage in the Northern Fleet. Yeltsin also won 44.7% of the vote in the garrison at Sverdlovsk, to 16.6% for Nikolai Ryzhkov. Colonel General Al'bert Makashov reportedly received 43% of the vote "in his own constituency" (presumably the Volga-Ural Military District), including 95% in the construction battalions, but only between 24% and 35% in the army academy. (Stephen Foye) SOBCHAK PROPOSES RESTRUCTURING OF LENSOVET. Speaking to deputies of the Leningrad city Soviet, the city's first popularly elected mayor, Anatolii Sobchak, enumerated the following upcoming changes in the Soviet's structure: the abolition of the Soviet's executive committee and its replacement by a new executive apparatus; the abolition of some deputies' commissions within the Soviet; and some other cuts in the Soviet's structures. Sobchak said that all deputies wanting to work within the new executive apparatus would have to give up their status as deputies. Sobchak rejected as unnecessary the proposal by some deputies that the city Soviet once again discuss the division of power between the Soviet and the mayor. Sobchak was quoted by Radio Rossii June 15 as saying that the presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has already found an answer to this question. (Vera Tolz) SOBCHAK ON RETURN OF ORIGINAL NAME TO LENINGRAD. At the same meeting, Sobchak said he is sure that the June 12 poll in which 55% of Leningrad residents voted for restoring the city's original name of St. Petersburg will soon receive a legal basis. Sobchak said that in a telephone conversation with him, Yeltsin supported the idea of the official change of the city's name. Meanwhile, the central media continue to oppose the return of the name of St. Petersburg to Leningrad. Radio Moscow-1 June 15 alleged that the question over the issue in the poll was deliberately posed in a confusing way so that some people who answered "yes" in the poll thought that they were voting for retaining the name of Leningrad, and not for St. Petersburg, as their ballots were lated counted. (Vera Tolz) STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN MAKHACHKALA. After the violent demonstrations in the Dagestani capital over the pilgrimage to Mecca, at a late night sitting on June 13 the republican Supreme Soviet declared a state of emergency in Makhachkala for a month, TASS reported June 14. According to Interfax on June 15, one person was killed and at least four people were injured in the clashes. Russian TV, reporting June 14, said five people had been hospitalized but there were no dead. (Ann Sheehy) EIGHT KILLED IN GEORGIAN EARTHQUAKE. At least eight people were killed and over 100 injured June 15 when an earthquake hit central Georgia. Two villages were destroyed and six others severely damaged. The quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, was centered on the resort of Bakuriani, 100 km north-west of Tbilisi, and the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, where several towns were devastated and 144 people were killed in an earlier quake in late April. In the towns of Gori and Tskhinvali Saturday's earthquake destroyed 80% of the buildings still left standing after the April tremor, TASS reported June 16. (Liz Fuller) GAMSAKHURDIA: GEORGIA WANTS TO JOIN EC. In an interview given to the Saarland Rundfunk June 15, Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia stated that Georgia wants eventual membership in the EC and the UN, and that membership in international organizations and recognition of Georgia by the US and Western Europe are his primary foreign policy goals. Gamsakhurdia also stated that Georgia wants good economic, political and cultural relations with the USSR, but as a foreign state. (NCA/Liz Fuller) ISSUE OF IZVESTIA NOT PUBLISHED IN GEORGIA. The Soviet government daily Izvestia said June 14 that one of its issues (for June 12) was not published in Georgia because it had an article that local printers considered slanderous to Georgia. While investigating the case, the newspaper's representatives were told that other Soviet periodicals critical of Georgia will be suppressed in this republic. Izvestia also said Georgia's television stopped showing the main central TV news program Vremya to "prevent spreading slander about Georgia and its people.' (NCA/Vera Tolz) MOLDAVIAN-ROMANIAN MASS CROSS-BORDER FESTIVAL. At least half a million Moldavians crossed the border into Romania at 8 crossing points for prearranged festivities on Romanian territory June 16, the Moldavian media reported. Deliberately nonpolitical, the festivities featured religious, musical and literary events. Although organized by unofficial Romanian pro-Bessarabia groups, the events were attended by Romanian parliamentarians and other officials of the ruling National Salvation Front. The festival was held for the second consecutive year to mark the end of isolation among compatriots on the two sides of the border. Last year, hundreds of thousands of Romanian citizens were allowed to cross into Moldavia for the occasion. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA TO ASSIST COMPATRIOTS IN THE UKRAINE. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur has tasked the republican ministries of Education, Culture, and Communications urgently to draw up comprehensive plans to help maintain the language and culture of Moldavians/Romanians in Ukraine. Those communities reside mostly in northern Bukovina and southern Bessarabia which were attached to Ukraine following their annexation from Romania. Kishinev's action responds to growing complaints from those communities about cultural deprivation and lack of political representation. The Moldavian and Ukrainian leaderships discussed the situation last week in Kiev (see Daily Report, June 13). (Vladimir Socor) THE PROGRAMS OUTLINED. As summarized by Moldovapres June 14 and 15, Kishinev's programs for compatriots in Ukraine will strive for "a cultural confederation of Romanians" and will assist: the reopening of Romanian-language schools, upgrading of language and history courses, training in Moldavia of teachers and other personnel, publication of books and periodicals in the Romanian language and their transition to the Latin script, reception of Moldavian radio and TV broadcasts in Moldavian/Romanian-inhabited areas of Ukraine, direct cooperation between those areas and Moldavia, and support for Romanian religious life in Ukraine. Kishinev anticipates Kiev's consent. (Vladimir Socor) FIRST VISIT OF A RUSSIAN PATRIARCH TO BELORUSSIA. TASS reported June 15 that Patriarch Aleksii II began a visit to Belorussia that day. This visit is the very first ever by the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church to Belorussia since the baptism of Rus', said TASS. The Patriarch plans to visit the three largest eparchies of the Belorussian Orthodox Church: Minsk, Mohilev, and Gomel. (Oxana Antic) KRAVCHUK MEETS UKRAINIAN PATRIARCH. The Patriarch of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Mstyslav, met with Kravchuk June 13, according to RFE/RL correspondents in Kiev the same day. Details of the meeting were not available, but local religious observers surmise that Mstyslav's talks with Kravchuk centered on the possible transfer of St. Sophia Cathedral and some other churches in both Kiev and the republic to the Autocephalous Church's jurisdiction. (Valentyn Moroz) JOINT SAUDI-SOVIET BANK SET UP IN KAZAKHSTAN. The first bank in the Soviet Union in which foreign capital has a half share has begun operations in Kazakhstan, Moscow radio reported June 13. The bank, the Islamic Soviet-Saudi International Commercial Bank, intends to take part in restoring the Great Silk Route, the financing of an international airport in Alma-Ata, the building of medreses and mosques, the reconstruction of hotels, and the construction of motels and camping sites along the silk route. (Ann Sheehy)
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