|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 114, 18 June 1991
BALTIC STATES OMON CONTINUES LATVIAN OFFENSIVE. An OMON detachment raided a Latvian customs post in the Riga central railway station on the night of June 16, Radio Riga reported June 17. The troops demolished the office, confiscated documents, and beat up the customs official on duty. The injured official was brought to the Latvian SSR prosecutor's office and charged with violating Soviet law, but was later released. Previous attacks against Baltic customs posts have been concentrated in border areas. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR APPOINTS EXPERTS FOR TALKS WITH LITHUANIA. Radio Vilnius reported June 15 that the USSR, after long delays, has appointed 14 experts to the joint Lithuania-USSR working group preparing the groundwork for negotiations. USSR Minister of Justice Sergei Lushchikov will head the Soviet team and Minister without Portfolio Aleksandras Abisala - the Lithuanian. Eleven joint teams of experts will consult on trade, economic, financial, human rights, and other issues as well as the drafting of a treaty on the future of Lithuanian-Soviet relations. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS ON LITHUANIAN-USSR RELATIONS. In an interview with Izvestia published June 17, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis reaffirmed Lithuania's decision not to sign the new Union treaty, but also emphasized that Lithuania would be willing to cooperate with the USSR as an equal partner. Landsbergis complained that "the USSR is not ready for serious negotiations with Lithuania." The delay, according to Landsbergis, is rooted in Soviet "old thinking," which considers Lithuania to be a "subordinate republic." (Gytis Liulevicius) WHO REPRESENTS THE BALTS IN BERLIN? Besides the official Baltic government representatives who are seeking observer status at the Berlin CSCE foreign ministers' conference, Moscow has brought along representatives of the three Baltic Moscow-platform Communist Parties and "national salvation committees," according to the Estonian Foreign Ministry on June 18. The USSR delegation invited the CP leaders--who oppose independence for the Baltic States--along as representatives of Soviet non-governmental organizations. (Riina Kionka) NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE ON ESTONIA'S AGENDA? Estonia's Supreme Council Presidium and commission chairmen will decide today (June 18) whether to include on the agenda a proposal by a group of 26 deputies to hold a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, Estonian Radio told RFE/RL's Estonian Service on June 18. The deputies, who represent a wide range on Estonia's political spectrum, give no reason for calling for the vote now. No non-Estonian deputies signed the proposal; Radio Mayak said on June 17 that those deputies did not want to "take part in intrigues against the government at a time of relative sociopolitical stability," but Estonian Radio said the deputies did not want to prolong the parliament session and delay their vacation plans. (Riina Kionka) US-BALTIC FOUNDATION SEMINAR IN VILNIUS. On June 17 a 4-day seminar on "Local Government and Democratic Society under Free Market Conditions" opened in Vilnius, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Over 300 Balts gathered to hear speeches by about 30 guests from the US, many of whom are mayors of US cities, including Indianapolis. The seminar is sponsored by the US-Baltic Foundation in Washington. The lecturers will subsequently travel to Riga and Tallinn to get first-hand information and expand relations with the Balts. One of the participants is Anna Skirmante Kondratas, the highest-ranking US government official born in Lithuania. She is a deputy of US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp. (Saulius Girnius) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS FINAL DRAFT OF UNION TREATY SENT TO REPUBLICAN PARLIAMENTS. The Preparatory Committee set up by the Fourth USSR Congress of People's Deputies to complete work on the draft Union treaty met again June 17 in Novo-Ogarevo, the Soviet media reported yesterday. Though some points remained outstanding, notably the question of federal taxes, the draft was approved and sent to the republican and all-Union parliaments for approval. The parliaments were asked to review it before the end of June. (Ann Sheehy) AUTONOMOUS REPUBLICS STILL NOT HAPPY? The autonomous republics were apparently not happy with some aspects of the draft treaty and stayed behind with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin in the first break in the session. It is possible that this talk concerned the future make-up and role of the USSR Supreme Soviet, which Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov said before the session was a delicate question that had still not been resolved. The autonomous republics had been hoping for equal representation with the Union republics. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev said after the meeting that Tatarstan was still insisting that it sign the treaty separately and was to have further talks on this with the RSFSR leadership. (Ann Sheehy) SUPREME SOVIET REVIEWS "FINAL" ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. The USSR Supreme Soviet yesterday heard a presentation by Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov on his "final" version of the government's anti-crisis program, TASS reported June 17. The program was first presented in April of this year. Signing the document were the USSR (Pavlov), and "leaders of Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, and Turkmenistan." The RSFSR and Ukraine are prepared to sign it after a few changes are made concerning taxes and property rights. Lithuania, Moldavia, and Latvia abstained from signing, and Estonia and Georgia did not take part in the document's preparation. (John Tedstrom) MAIN DIRECTIONS OF THE ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. The document emphasizes that the USSR government and republics will enforce strict monetary and fiscal policies aimed at reducing the budget deficit. The Federation Council is to divide up internal and external debt among the USSR and the republics as early as this month. At the same time, gold, diamond, and hard currency resources are to be divided up. As of July 1 the republics are to conduct their own foreign trade independently of the Center. This includes securing and using new commercial debt and foreign government credits and other types of foreign assistance. The document gives republics the legal right to barter trade, apparently both foreign and internal. Finally, the plan calls for "internal ruble convertibility" to be achieved by January 1992. (John Tedstrom) PAVLOV ASKS FOR MORE POWERS. At the June 17 Supreme Soviet session, Radio Rossii reported, Pavlov asked the legislature for expanded powers that would allow him to make temporary, "executive" decisions outside the current portfolio of the government, and without the agreement of the president, the Supreme Soviet, local organs and enterprises. Such a move could give Pavlov the ability to control effectively all economic policy by delaying or annulling legislation, and controlling the flow of decrees and orders coming from the executive branch. Pavlov said he would use his powers first to ensure the fall harvest and to tighten controls over money and credit; he said he wants to further centralize the banking system for now. Pavlov said that he would, as a matter of course, inform the president or the Supreme Soviet of his decisions. (John Tedstrom) YAVLINSKY RETURNS TO MOSCOW. Soviet economist Grigorii Yavlinsky has returned to Moscow after releasing to the White House and the public the economic reform program he and US economists worked out, Vesti reported June 17. Yavlinsky gave the document not only to Gorbachev, but also to Yeltsin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Yavlinsky said that all three presidents received the plan positively. Also on June 17, Yavlinsky met with the group drafting the new Union treaty, republican support being crucial for any reform program in the Soviet Union. (John Tedstrom) PAVLOV OPPOSES YAVLINSKY PLAN. In his speech to the USSR Supreme Soviet June 17, Pavlov attacked Yavlinsky's work. Opposition at this level effectively could render the joint US-Soviet program meaningless as far as policy-making and legislation are concerned. According to Vesti, Pavlov said that "the American program undercuts trust in the anti-crisis program of the Cabinet of Ministers." Confusion over who determines Soviet policy clearly is growing and is not only inhibiting the USSR's own efforts to reform its system, but could have a direct negative impact on the willingness of foreign governments and organizations to be supportive in economic and financial terms. (John Tedstrom) EBRD HEAD ON AID TO USSR. Jacques Attali, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, held talks with Gorbachev and other Soviet officials in Moscow over the weekend. At a press conference in Moscow June 15, as reported by TASS that day, Attali said that the bank's aid to the USSR would be mainly technical, dealing with the financing of concrete projects, organizing privatization, and creating a financial infrastructure (including commercial banks). He stressed that only those projects would be financed that can realize a profit and that help accelerate the implementation of reforms in the USSR. Attali would like the EBRD to lift restrictions on lending to the USSR earlier than the planned two and a half years, according to The Financial Times June 17. (Sallie Wise) GORBACHEV AIDE SAYS SPLIT IN CPSU IS CLOSE. Interviewed June 17 by Le Monde, Gorbachev aide Georgii Shakhnazarov predicted that the Union treaty will not be signed before the autumn and it will be "at least a year" before direct elections for the USSR president are held. A more immediate probability, in Shakhnazarov's opinion, is a split in the CPSU. He said this could be provoked by the call for an emergency Party Congress issued by the conservative Aleksei Sergeev. Shakhnazarov saw matters coming to a head over the issue of the new Party program. Pointing out that the commission preparing the draft is headed by Gorbachev, Shakhnazarov said the draft would be a liberal one that, he predicted, would be supported by the majority of the Party membership. Then, he said, the conservative wing would have to accept the majority view or quit. (Jean Riollot/Elizabeth Teague) SOVETSKAYA ROSSIYA ATTACKS SHEVARDNADZE. Sovetskaya Rossiya on June 15 blamed former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze for turning the USSR from a great power into "a second-rate country." As summarized by TASS June 15, the paper accused Shevardnadze of "seeking success at the expense of giving up positions, concessions, and sometimes direct capitulation as the only way to stay at the center of attention." The article equated Shevardnadze's legacy as Foreign Minister with "the results of defeat in an unfought...third world war." In a separate press review June 15, TASS described the article as "containing fierce and insulting attacks" on Shevardnadze, and noted that he has come under fire since calling last week for the formation of a unified democratic party in the USSR. (Sallie Wise) SHEVARDNADZE EXPECTS NO HELP FROM GORBACHEV. Shevardnadze told Russian TV June 15 that he does not expect Gorbachev to help defend him from an investigation by the CPSU Central Control Commission in response to his appeal for a new party (see Daily Report, June 13). He noted that such investigations are usually initiated "with the sanction of the General Secretary," and added, "it will be good if I am mistaken." Shevardnadze defended his support for a broad-based democratic party, saying "without a competent, constructive and serious opposition, it is difficult to talk about the construction of a law-based state." (NCA/Sallie Wise) AKHROMEEV SLAMS DEMOCRATS. In Molodaya gvardiya No. 5, Marshal Sergei Akhromeev praises "new political thinking" in general, though he claims to have--correctly, in his view--opposed from the beginning the exclusion of naval force reductions from arms control talks. The interview focuses on domestic politics, however, and Akhromeev makes the following statements: reformers like Yeltsin and Vladimir Lopatin are trying to destroy Soviet military power (much like the bourgeois parties in Russia prior to World War I); former Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev may have been behind the media's original anti-army campaign; the CPSU must base itself on Leninist principles and class analysis. (Stephen Foye) SOCIAL BACKGROUNDS OF THE HIGH COMMAND. In the same interview, Akhromeev also claimed that as of October, 1990, there were 1,991 marshals, generals, and admirals serving in the armed forces. He said that, of these, 48% came from working class families, 26% from the intelligentsia, 17% from military families, and 14% from the peasantry. Akhromeev rather inconsistently concluded that the Soviet Union therefore had a workers' and peasants' army. (Stephen Foye) KGB, MVD, ACADEMY OF SCIENCES STUDY ETHNIC CONFLICTS. The USSR MVD recently held a meeting of analysts from the research centers of the KGB, the USSR Academy of Sciences, and other scientific institutions in order to develop a concept for preventing interethnic conflicts, TASS reported June 14. The participants recommended creating a coordinating center to include representatives of the abovementioned bodies, and public and political organizations. Until recently, the USSR Academy of Sciences played one-sided role in ethnic conflicts; for example, the prestigious Institute of Biophysics of the USSR Academy of Sciences developed techniques for selecting and training OMON troops, according to Ekonomika i zhizn' No. 14. (Victor Yasmann) ZHURNALIST UNDER ATTACK. The main journal of the USSR Journalists' Union has been put under economic pressure by its founder, the "Pravda" publishing house, because of outspoken material it has recently published. Radio Rossii reported June 17 that the "Pravda" publishing house revoked its status as the journal's founder and thereby deprived the periodical from access to the publishing house's printing equipment. The reason is that Zhurnalist, for years a boring and conservative journal, has suddenly changed its position this year and started to publish outspoken data on violations of the press law by CPSU officials. Commenting on the incident, Radio Rossii emphasized that CPSU officialdom is attempting to replace political censorship (banned by the press law) with economic sanctions against "disobedient periodicals." (Vera Tolz) MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI DEFENDS PATRIARCH ALEKSII. In a full-page interview with Moskovskie novosti No. 23, Patriarch Aleksii II answered questions about his policy and political attitude. The purpose of the interview, as stated in the introduction, is to refute accusations in the press that, according to various publications' own political stand, the Patriarch is guilty of deviations either to the right or to the left. Among these accusations are the statements that the Patriarch is a monarchist, that he is against Orthodox parishes joining the Russian Orthodox Church abroad, and that he signed "The Letter of 53" (in which 53 People's Deputies demanded a "strong hand" from the President). Patriarch Aleksii II answered all these allegations in the negative. (Oxana Antic) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN HAS NEW 100-DAY REFORM PLAN. In his first statement after his election, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin said that improvements in the economy will not come until the end of next year. In an interview with Russian TV on June 15, Yeltsin called for patience and seemed concerned about the responsibilities he now bears. Yeltsin stressed that he wants to present a new 100-day reform plan to the RSFSR parliament. His senior aide, Lev Sukhanov, predicted that Yeltsin will soon issue a decree outlawing the network of Communist party cells in enterprises and government institutions in order to break the Party's control over the economy. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN STARTS NEW RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY. Yeltsin arrives in Washington today (June 18) at the invitation of the US Congress, Western news agencies report today. He is expected to meet with US President George Bush. The official spokesman of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, Vitalii Churkin, welcomed his visit but said that "it will take some work for Russia to achieve the kind of relationship we [the center] now have with the United States." Western agencies reported June 17 that the Japanese government, disappointed over Gorbachev's refusal to return the Kurile Islands, is now considering inviting Yeltsin to Tokyo. Yeltsin, however, stated just last week that returning the islands at present is "out of the question" (see Daily Report, June 13). (Alexander Rahr) FURTHER DETAILS ON ELECTIONS. Votes for the RSFSR presidential elections now have been counted in 84 out of 88 RSFSR constituencies. According to TASS on June 17, Yeltsin received 57.4% of the votes, Nikolai Ryzhkov--17.3%, Vladimir Zhirinovsky--7.9%, Aman Tuleev--6.1%, Albert Makashov--3.8%. Former Interior Minister Vadim Bakatin finished last and received only 3.5%. Yeltsin won in almost all electoral districts. In ethnic Russian regions, he lost only in Kemerovo--to the local popular leader Tuleev; he also won in most of the autonomous republics and regions, except North Ossetia, Tuva ASSR, the Gorno-Altai autonomous region and the Aginsky-Buryat autonomous region. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR TV COMPLAINS ABOUT POOR TECHNOLOGICAL BASE. Representatives of RSFSR TV have complained about their poor technical equipment, the channel's news program Vesti reported June 13. The program said that the central leadership gave its final permission to create full-time Russian TV only as a result of Gorbachev's meeting with representatives of nine republics (including the RSFSR) in Novo-Ogarevo at the end of April. On June 15, central Soviet TV attacked RSFSR television for its comment about equipment problems. Central television said that it gave everything that was demanded by the RSFSR government to the republican television. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN MVD FIGHTS SHADOW ECONOMY AND ORGANIZED CRIME. About one third of criminal groups in the RSFSR are closely involved with the shadow economy, said the chief of the Detective Department of the Moscow Criminal Police, Mikhail Egorov, to Radio Rossii June 13. His department, which is part of the RSFSR MVD, was created to fight "powerful mafiosi syndicates in Russia." It will "monitor criminal connections of government officials, collect information on bosses of the shadow economy, and prevent efforts to use the mafia in actions inspired by national hatred and terrorism," Egorov explained. The Moscow Criminal Police emerged as result of a compromise this April, when Gorbachev created the federal Main MVD Administration for the Moscow region, while the Moscow city Soviet obtained the right to set up its own police. (Victor Yasmann) KAZAKHSTAN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH ALL-UNION MINISTRIES. In what was regarded as an important precursor to the signing of the new Union treaty, Kazakh President Nazarbaev met June 17 with the ministers of the coal industry (Mikhail Shchadov), metallurgy (Oleg Syskovets), and the radio industry (Vladimer Shimko) to organize the transfer of these ministries' enterprises to Kazakhstan's jurisdiction, Radio Mayak reported the same day. Nazarbaev said that he wanted full responsibility to work on problems in these branches and that Moscow has been weak and ineffective in these areas. Syskovets stressed that other republics have or are planning to take over his ministry's plants on their territories. Shimko hinted that he saw similar arrangements coming in other republics as well. This is a big step for Kazakhstan, which just last week passed a law on privatization, and will likely serve as an example for other republics. (John Tedstrom) FOKIN EXPLAINS LAW ON JURISDICTION OVER UNION PROPERTY. In an interview with Vremya June 16, Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin said that the Ukrainian law on jurisdiction over Union enterprises in Ukraine has been misunderstood. He said his government had no intention of owning such enterprises, as the law was interpreted by the center, but simply wanted to exercise control over decisions, especially those concerning joint ventures and privatization, made by the present owners. Fokin said every government in the world exercises such control. He claimed that his government had a bad experience with the transfer of the coal industry to republican ownership, and that it now realizes that it simply cannot afford to "own" all industries on Ukrainian soil. Moscow follows such transfers by cutting off the industry's access to central resources, research, and technology. As a result, Fokin said, his government is now negotiating very carefully the transfer of the metallurgical industry to the republic. (Valentyn Moroz) ROMANIANS IN UKRAINE APPEAL TO ROMANIA. Romania's main opposition newspaper, Romania Libera, published June 11 an appeal to the Romanian parliament from the Romanian associations in northern Bukovina, an area of historic Moldavia which was annexed by the USSR from Romania during World War II and attached to Ukraine. Complaining of cultural and political discrimination against the Romanian population, the associations accused the Ukrainian government of ignoring their petitions and refusing any dialogue. The associations called for a tripartite convention on the protection of ethnic rights to be negotiated by the Ukrainian, Moldavian, and Romanian governments. They also proposed that the three governments sponsor an international conference to discuss "Romanian historic rights" in northern Bukovina. (Vladimir Socor) SAUDI KING TO PAY FOR 5,000 SOVIET PILGRIMS. Russian television reported June 17 that the Saudi king had offered to pay all the expenses of the pilgrimage to Mecca for 5,000 Soviet Muslims. Last year the Saudi king paid all the expenses in Saudi Arabia for the 1,500 or so Soviet pilgrims. Meanwhile Makhachkala, where a state of emergency was declared after violent protests took place over the cost of the pilgrimage, is reported quiet. (Ann Sheehy)
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