|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 115, 19 June 1991
BALTIC STATES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN ESTONIA. The Estonian Supreme Council is likely to consider a proposal by 26 deputies (see Daily Report, June 18) for a vote of no-confidence in the Savisaar government today (June 19), according to Estonian Radio. The parliament's presidium and commission heads met on June 18 to consider the matter, but decided to forward the decision on whether to place the proposal on the agenda to the entire Supreme Council. Depending on the final wording of the motion, either the Supreme Council directorate or, more likely, the full body will decide whether the proposal will go on the agenda. According to reports, some 15 non-Estonian deputies have decided to vote against Prime Minister Savisaar, bringing the total probable "no-confidence" votes to 41. The parliament needs 53 votes to oust Savisaar. (Riina Kionka) BALTS AT CSCE. Baltic delegations to the CSCE meeting in Berlin this week will participate as guests of Scandinavian countries, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 19. Denmark invited Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas, Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans will be Norway's guest, and Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri, Sweden's. German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the conference host, met with the three Baltic representatives in the Reichstag on June 18, and explained that as guests, they would only be allowed to participate in the formal public ceremonies. Informal talks with the Baltic representatives are expected, however. US Secretary of State James Baker is scheduled to meet the Baltic representatives on June 19. (Gytis Liulevicius) NO-GO FOR NGO? In other CSCE news, the Frankfurt-based International Society for Human Rights protested against the participation of Edmundas Kasperavicius as a member of a non-government organization at the Berlin conference, Western agencies reported June 18. Kasperavicius, who is part of the USSR delegation, has been broadcasting from the television tower in Vilnius since the violent Soviet takeover last January. (Gytis Liulevicius) MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN LITHUANIA. A Soviet border guard killed two Lithuanians near Klaipeda and seized their car early June 18, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. The soldier, Aleksei Kolmachev, drove as far as Kaunas, then fled into a forest, where police took him into custody. An investigation showed that Kolmachev had recently been treated in a psychiatric hospital. Later that day, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis received a telephone call from Valentin Goponenko, Baltic border army district commander, who apologized for the tragedy, and said that the officer in charge of protecting weapons at the Palanga base had been relieved of his duties. (Gytis Liulevicius) LITHUANIAN DRAFT RESISTER SEIZED. After midnight on June 18, Soviet soldiers broke into an apartment in Pasvalys, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 18. The troops seized Sigitas Inselis, a Lithuanian who had refused to serve in the Soviet army, and took him to points unknown. In another development, a group of armed soldiers gathered at a busy intersection in Vilnius on June 17, waving their weapons at passersby, but later dispersed without incident. (Gytis Liulevicius) OMON CONTINUES ATTACKS. On June 18 in the early afternoon 12 armed OMON troops coming from Latvia attacked the Lithuanian customs post at Vegeriai in the Akmene Raion and the neighboring Latvian customs post, Radio Vilnius reported that day. Both posts were burned down and the 2 customs and 4 National Defense Department officials, including one woman, at Vegeriai were beaten up. The OMON forced the defense workers to take off their uniforms, which they confiscated. Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaisvila sent a telegram to USSR Internal Affairs Minister Boriss Pugo protesting the attack. (Saulius Girnius) USSR-LITHUANIA WORKING GROUP MEETING. On June 18 Radio Independent Lithuania reported that the working group preparing for the USSR-Lithuania negotiations on independence met in Moscow. The Lithuanian delegation was headed by Minister without Portfolio Aleksandras Abisala and included National Defense Department head Audrius Butkevicius and parliament deputies Kestutis Glaveckas and Egidijus Bickauskas. The Soviet delegations was headed by USSR Minister of Justice Sergei Lushchikov. Bickauskas described the meeting as "constructive" and the meetings of the various groups of specialists should begin soon. (Saulius Girnius) ARCHBISHOP STEPONAVICIUS DIES. On June 19 Radio Independent Lithuania reported that Julijonas Steponavicius, the Archbishop of Vilnius, died in Vilnius the previous evening at 9:30 P.M. One of the most outstanding fighters for the rights of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, he was not allowed by the Soviet authorities to serve as bishop from 1961 to 1989. (Saulius Girnius) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS PAVLOV VERSUS GORBACHEV. Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, supported by the conservative parliamentary faction Soyuz, has openly challenged USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev in the Supreme Soviet by asking for additional powers for his government. TASS on June 18 quoted liberal deputy Sergei Ryabchenko as saying that "a coordinated campaign to remove the USSR President from power" has started. Pavlov, who apparently fears that Gorbachev's new cooperation with the republics will undermine the center and leave him without job, acknowledged that he had not coordinated his demands with Gorbachev. Gorbachev asked the parliament to postpone its decision on Pavlov's additional powers. (Alexander Rahr) UNION TREATY: MUCH STILL UNCLEAR. To judge from remarks by Gorbachev, USSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, and Gorbachev aide Grigorii Revenko on June 18, there are still many important points regarding the Union treaty that are not finally settled. Luk'yanov and Revenko said that agreement had been reached to preserve the present quotas for the Union and autonomous republics in the future Supreme Soviet, while Yeltsin told reporters in Moscow that this was still not decided. Yeltsin cited other areas where agreement had not been reached: delimitation of functions between the center and the republics, and taxation, TASS reported June 18. Gorbachev, speaking on Vremya June 18, more or less confirmed that the Federation Council would be abolished. (Ann Sheehy) BAKER SAYS "EURO-ATLANTIC COMMUNITY" IS OPEN TO USSR. Secretary of State Baker, in an address to the Aspen Institute in Berlin on the eve of the CSCE foreign ministers' meeting, called on the USSR to continue on the path of political and economic reform and for the West to support that process, RFE/RL's correspondent in Berlin reported June 18. Baker said "it is in the interest of the Soviet peoples to embrace a real market economy, democracy, and the rule of law. It is in our interest to help them." He noted that perestroika has achieved much in the USSR, but that it must continue. Baker declared, "the door to the Euro-Atlantic community is open, but only the Soviets can decide to step over the threshold." (Sallie Wise) GORBACHEV, KOHL TO MEET IN "NEXT FEW DAYS." Presidential Spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko said at a June 18 briefing that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will meet German Chancellor Helmut Kohl "in the next few days on the territory of the USSR." Ignatenko said the exact date was still under consideration and added he would not rule out a meeting before June 22, TASS reported June 18. (Suzanne Crow) BONN CONSIDERING MORE AID. According to the Handelsblatt (June 18), Bonn is considering bridging loans to help the USSR with its payment problems. Currently the USSR is DM 2 billion to DM 3 billion behind in payments to German firms. German bank industry insiders estimate that the new credit might go as high as DM 5 billion. It is envisioned that the sum would be fully guaranteed by Bonn and would be part of a multilateral Western assistance program. (Suzanne Crow) JAPAN WILL SAY NO TO AID IN LONDON. The TASS correspondent in Tokyo reported June 18 that Japan is planning to argue against financial aid to the USSR at the meeting of the Group of 7 in London. Japan's negative stance is attributed to lack of progress over "territorial problems." The Japanese position was expressed by Japan's finance minister Ryutaro Kasimoto at a speech in Tokyo. Kasimoto also argued that aid to Eastern Europe ought to be channelled through and organized by international organizations, not carried out bilaterally. (John Tedstrom) DELORS BEGINS TALKS IN MOSCOW. Jacques Delors, president of the European Community's Executive Commission, begins talks today (June 19) in Moscow with Soviet officials, Western agencies report. Gorbachev spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko told reporters June 18 that the talks would focus on Gorbachev's planned meeting with G-7 leaders in London next month, as well as on prospects for Soviet cooperation with the EC. (NCA/Sallie Wise) FOREIGN MINISTRY ON SOUTH AFRICA. On June 18 the USSR Foreign Ministry issued a statement terming the recent changes in South Africa a "major step in the right direction." But, the MFA said, "the country still retains a constitution that deprives the majority of the population of political rights....In addition, major problems still await solution, including the release of political prisoners and the return home of political emigres." The MFA also called for "negotiations with the participation of all influential forces of the country on the basis of the interests of all major social and ethnic groups," TASS reported June 18. (Suzanne Crow) HANOI EMBASSY OFFICIAL SAYS SOVIET PULLOUT CONTINUES. Andrei Levin, a counsellor at the Soviet embassy in Hanoi, yesterday contradicted other Soviet officials' recent remarks to the effect that the USSR will retain a support base at Cam Ranh Bay (see Daily Report, June 17). According to Western agency reports June 18, Levin said the USSR has already removed about 75% of its ships and aircraft from the base, and that the withdrawal should be complete by 1994. (NCA/Sallie Wise) INVITATIONS TO SOVIET NAVAL EXERCISES. A Soviet diplomatic source said on June 18 that the Soviet Pacific Fleet has invited representatives from the US, Japan, and other Asian nations, including South Korea, to observe the staging of naval drills in the Sea of Japan from August 14-16, Western agencies reported the same day. About 20 vessels, 35 aircraft, and 10,000 troops will be mobilized for the exercises. The US and Japan declined a similar invitation in 1989, the diplomatic source said. (Stephen Foye) GORBACHEV PROMISES TO REASSESS AGRICULTURAL PRICES. Facing an angry congress of peasant farmers in Moscow June 18, Gorbachev promised that his government would consider raising agricultural procurement prices. TASS reported that Gorbachev addressed the congress of the conservative Peasant's Union on its second day after a speech by prime minister Valentin Pavlov so enraged the delegates that they threatened to call a protest strike. TASS said Gorbachev promised he would press the government not only to pay higher produce prices but also for to ensure that the farmers have access to the agricultural equipment and consumer goods they need. (NCA) CONFLICT IN IZVESTIA CONTINUES. Izvestia staffers yesterday again called for the ouster of two top editors who they say have prevented the paper from properly covering the news, RSFSR TV and Radio Rossii reported June 18. The media said that the two editors (Izvestia chief editor Nikolai Efimov and chief editor of the newspaper's supplement, Nedelya, Vladimir Sevruk) were appointed by Lukyanov. Yurii Markov, a staff member of Izvestia, was quoted as saying he and his colleagues had considered withholding one issue of the newspaper in protest, but then decided against that action because they worried it could hurt the paper's circulation. The media reported that on June 18, RSFSR Minister of the Press Mikhail Poltoranin also called for the two editors to be ousted. (Vera Tolz) MOSCOW JOURNALISTS MAY SPLIT OVER KRAVCHENKO. The Moscow branch of the USSR Union of Journalists is on the verge of a split after the majority of its members voted to expel Leonid Kravchenko, head of the All-Union TV and Radio Broadcasting Company, from the union, RSFSR TV reported June 18. Some representatives of central television and CPSU periodicals protested the expulsion and said they were not consulted when the decision was taken. Now, according to RSFSR TV, twelve staffers of Pravda, TASS, and Central TV have announced that they are leaving the Journalists' Union and are creating their own "Independent Association of Democratic Journalists of Moscow." The twelve demand that the Moscow branch of the USSR Journalists' Union agree to divide property between the branch and the newly created organization. (Vera Tolz) MORE ON SUPSOV DEBATE ON ENTRY ON "NATIONALITY" IN DOCUMENTS. According to Soyuz, No. 26 of June 1991, in the recent USSR SupSov debate on a draft decree that would make the entry on "nationality" in identity and other documents optional, Luk'yanov said that the draft constitution of 1977 had envisaged citizens being allowed to choose their own nationality, but the provision had to be dropped after the vast majority of Union and autonomous republics rejected it. Anatoliy Sebentsov, presenting the draft decree, said that about a million people, including large groups of Tajiks and Crimean Tatars, had appealed to be allowed to change the entry on nationality in their internal passports. (Ann Sheehy) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN IN US. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin said after his arrival in the US that "Russia has suffered through a Marxist experiment but is now determined to follow the Western road to democracy," according to Western news agencies on June 19. He emphasized at a meeting at the USSR embassy that Russia will travel the road the West travelled some time ago. Before his departure for the US, Yeltsin said that "Russia has become very independent, in foreign policy as well," according to The New York Times on June 19. He promised to create conditions in Russia that would have foreigners "rushing over with great willingness." He also said that an aim of his visit to the US is to study how to organize executive power. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN PRAISES GORBACHEV. Yeltsin praised Gorbachev on his arrival in Washington, saying that the USSR President had been the father of democracy in the Soviet Union, according to Western news agencies on June 19. He told journalists that, in principle, he and Gorbachev back the new Yavlinsky economic reform plan. He urged the West to hold a dialogue with both Gorbachev and him. Gorbachev welcomed Yeltsin's trip to the US and declared through his spokesman that he had discussed the trip with Yeltsin and considered it "very useful." (Alexander Rahr) LENINGRAD COMMUNISTS PROPOSE COMPROMISE ON NAME CHANGE. First Secretary of the Leningrad Party Committee Boris Gidaspov has suggested a compromise over a plan to restore the city's original name of St. Petersburg. Leningrad journalist Aleksei Volovikov told RFE/RL June 18 that Gidaspov has recommended merging several of city's central districts into a new one to be called "Saint Peter" (Svyatoi Petr) and retaining the name Leningrad for the city as a whole. (55% of Leningrad voters in the June 12 referendum favored restoring the city's original name. The Communists oppose such a change, which now must be approved by the RSFSR parliament). A member of the RSFSR CP CC, Evgenii Krasnitsky, said the Leningrad Party Committee will continue to campaign against the change and will call for an all-Union referendum on the issue. (NCA/Vera Tolz) MINERS HOLD UNDERGROUND STRIKE TO PROTEST CLOSURE. TASS reported June 18 that 90 miners at a copper mine in the Urals region of Chelyabinsk were staging hunger strike 850 meters underground to protest the planned closure of their mine. TASS said the mine has gone bankrupt because the Soviet government failed to fulfill promises to give the mine the equipment necessary to clean up serious industrial pollution. The agency said more than one-third of the workers at the mine have been laid off and those that remain have not been paid since last month. (NCA) REPRISALS AGAINST BELORUSSIAN STRIKE ORGANIZERS. Minsk journalist Yas Valoshka reported June 14 that the chairman of the Gomel Strike Committee, Yauhen Murashka, has been arrested. No further information was available, but the move appears to be part of a crackdown on labor activists. Mikalai Razumou, chairman of the Orsha Strike Committee, was recently demoted from his job as computer technician at the Orsha Instrument Factory. Razumou claims that since his demotion he has led a successful campaign to force Communists to hold their meetings off the factory grounds. He faces criminal charges in connection with the blockade of the Minsk-Moscow railroad line during the April strikes. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko) STRIKERS' DEMANDS ARE REJECTED. The Belorussian Supreme Soviet voted by a majority June 18 to reject demands put forth last month by Belorussian strikers that had been included on the parliament's agenda, on the grounds that "departification" of enterprises, "depoliticization" of law enforcement agencies, and the nationalization of Communist Party property would be unconstitutional and in violation of international laws, according to Belta-TASS. CP First Secretary Anatolii Malofeev maintained that the Belorussian Party's holdings are "not large," amounting to only 101 million rubles. (Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIAN CHERNOBYL' COMMISSION ABOLISHED. Belorussian People's Deputy Syarhei Navumchyk told RFE/RL that the Supreme Soviet's commission on Chernobyl' was abruptly abolished June 14 after it became known that its members had incriminating evidence of official misdeeds after the 1986 nuclear plant explosion. A commission report, according to Navumchyk, described the actions of former Party First Secretary Nikolai Slyunkov and Prime Minister Mikhail Kovalev as "irresponsible and even criminal" and called for an investigation by the Belorussian Prosecutors' Office. The Communist-controlled Supreme Soviet also turned down a proposal to account for funds spent on Chernbyl' victims. (Belorussian BD/NCA/Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIAN 'COMMUNISTS FOR DEMOCRACY.' As reported June 18 by Radio Rossii, a group called "Communists for Democracy" has been formed in the Belorussian Supreme Soviet, composed of Party members who are dissatisfied with the policies of the Belorussian CP leadership. They intend to push for implementation of the sovereignty declaration and to transform the CP into a parliamentary party. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINE TO MARK "INDEPENDENCE DAY". Radio Kiev announced June 18 that the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet has proclaimed a new official holiday in the republic, Ukrainian Independence Day. It will be celebrated July 16, the anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty. USSR Constitution Day will no longer be observed in Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko) DRAFT IN UKRAINE GOES WELL. Radio Moscow (M-1) reported on June 15 that the spring draft in Ukraine is going well, and that more than 700 youths have consented to serve in the Transcaucasus and other "hot spots." The majority of those consenting to serve outside Ukraine have done so by signing a written agreement, as Ukrainian law requires, the report said. Roughly a third of those drafted in Ukraine have already been sent to their units. (Stephen Foye) MOLDAVIA SEEKS WESTERN SUPPORT FOR PERSONNEL TRAINING. In a statement cited by the government daily Moldova Suverana June 15, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur said that the republic was badly short of the skilled personnel that could ensure a successful transition to the market economy. Moldavia needs to educate entrepreneurs, international trade specialists, banking personnel, and modern farmers, he said. The republic is planning to institute training programs for young personnel in these areas and seeks Western support in this effort, Snegur said. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA TO SEARCH FOR WESTERN ECONOMIC ADVISERS. Interviewed by the weekly Tineretul Moldovei June 6, Moldavian Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi said that Kishinev plans to set up an Economic Council with the participation of Western specialists to chart the republic's economic policies. Moldavia seeks "distinguished economists" from the West to serve on the Council, Muravschi said. He added that Moldavia "would make everything possible and even the impossible" to eventually qualify for "integration with the European Community," and that attracting Western investments in joint ventures in Moldavia would be a first step on that long road. (Vladimir Socor) KAZAKH SUPSOV DEBATES PRESS LAW. On June 17 the Kazakh Supreme Soviet debated a draft law on the press and mass media, Moscow radio reported June 17. Under the draft law journalists of central publications would have to receive accreditation from the press service of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accreditation could be refused if the journalist violated the sovereignty and dignity of the republic by his lack of objectivity. (Ann Sheehy) UZBEK PRESIDENT ON SIBARAL. At a press conference for foreign correspondents in Tashkent on May 21, Uzbek President Islam Karimov described as "mistaken" the halting of work on the diversion of part of the flow of the Siberian rivers to Central Asia, Pravda Vostoka of May 24 reported. The cancellation of the project has never been accepted in Central Asia, and Karimov said that any delay could have sad, irreversible consequences. Even if work was resumed straightaway, he added, Siberian water would only reach Central Asia in 2007. Karimov did not suggest how the scheme would be financed. (Ann Sheehy)
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