|Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -|
No. 120, 26 June 1991
BALTIC STATES SOVIET PROTEST TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE DISMISSED. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Anders Bjoerk rejected Soviet complaints about a hearing on the Baltic States scheduled for June 27, an RFE/RL correspondent in Helsinki reported June 25. Speaking at a press conference following the opening of the Assembly's session in Helsinki on June 25, Bjoerk justified international discussion of Baltic affairs by saying that "in today's Europe, human rights questions are never strictly internal." The USSR had warned the Council not to "meddle" in what it considers an internal matter. Bjoerk also said that the Council of Europe would protest if Soviet violence continues in the Baltic States. (Gytis Liulevicius) LITHUANIA TO SIGN NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY. The Lithuanian parliament voted to join the signatory nations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on June 25, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. The parliament, acting under Section 9 of the Treaty, requested Parliament Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis to send the necessary documents to the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and the USSR, the original signatories of the 1968 treaty. (Gytis Liulevicius) BALTIC POPULAR FRONTS MEET. Lithuania's Sajudis and the Popular Fronts of Latvia and Estonia will meet in Riga today (June 26), Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 25. The joint meeting is to discuss concerted action to mark the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed on August 23, 1939, which resulted in the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States. The Popular Fronts are also expected to set a date for a meeting of the Baltic Assembly in Vilnius later this year. (Gytis Liulevicius) LANDSBERGIS IN STRASBOURG. Continuing his visit to Western Europe, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg on June25, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Landsbergis expressed his hope that the European Community would go a step beyond its previous declarations and offer the Baltic States "concrete help." The EC invited Landsbergis to attend the next session of the European Parliament beginning July 8. Landsbergis will meet with French Prime Minister Edith Cresson today (June 26). (Gytis Liulevicius) SAUDARGAS IN LONDON. Speaking at a discussion in Britain's Houses of Parliament in London on June 25, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas said that Lithuania needs a stable Soviet Union, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 26. Saudargas warned that if Gorbachev were to lose power before the signing of the Union Treaty, the resulting instability would lead to a clash between conservative forces and Yeltsin, perhaps ending in a dangerous split of the Soviet army. Saudargas also drew attention to the continued Soviet violence in Lithuania, calling the periodic OMON attacks on customs posts "very clever," since they "keep our society tense, but have not resulted in any serious response from the West." (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR DAMAGE TO LITHUANIA ESTIMATED. Soviet damage inflicted on Lithuania from January to May this year totals about 80 million rubles, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 26. According to a government study released to parliament on June 25, the sum covers property damage caused by the Soviet army and USSR Interior Ministry OMON troops. The parliament resolved to submit a bill for the sum to the USSR. A parliamentary commission will produce an estimate of Soviet damage to Lithuania over 50years of occupation, in preparation for talks on independence with the USSR. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS YAKOVLEV AND SHEVARDNADZE TO LEAVE THE CPSU? On June 26, Gorbachev's former closest associates, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Eduard Shevardnadze, are going to announce their departure from the CPSU, RSFSR Television reported June 25 citing a Japanese newspaper. The television said that the two men intended to set up their own party of democratic orientation. It added that its attempt to get in touch with Yakovlev had failed and therefore the news could not be verified, but RFE/RL was told June 25 that Yakovlev, although sympathetic to the idea of creating the party, was not going to be a formal member of it. The same news was given by The Washington Post, June 26, which said Shevardnadze and Yakovlev as well as Moscow and Leningrad mayors Gavriil Popov and Anatolii Sobchak had been holding secret meetings with leaders of new independent pro-democratic groups to form an all-Union social democratic party that would be a rival to the CPSU. (Vera Tolz) SOYUZ VERSUS GORBACHEV. The hardline group Soyuz has collected 450 deputies' signatures--enough to demand an emergency session of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies, but they realize that this is not enough to oust President Mikhail Gorbachev, according to Vesti on June 25. Soyuz leader Yurii Blokhin said that the group must collect 1,000 signatures before considering a no-confidence vote against Gorbachev in the parliament. Viktor Alksnis, another leading member of Soyuz, deplored that the present USSR Supreme Soviet was too weak to defend itself and resist the nine-plus-one agreement. (Alexander Rahr) PLAN FOR G-7 MEETING. On June 26, President Gorbachev met with Grigorii Yavlinsky and Graham Allison in Moscow, as widely reported in the Soviet and Western media. Presidential spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko emphasized that the president is drawing up his own "personal" plan for presentation to the G-7 leaders after their July 15-17 summit. Gorbachev was quoted as saying that he appreciated 90% of the "grand bargain/window of opportunity" plan, but Yavlinsky had not inquired about the other 10% lest it prove to be the indispensable keystone to the reform. Gorbachev was also cited as praising the cooperation with American scholars, adding: "It will be useful, even if nothing comes of it." (Keith Bush) FIRST CONFERENCE ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP HELD. "Vremya" reported (June 25) on the opening in Moscow of a two-day conference on the development of entrepreneurship in the USSR. The conference is being held under the auspices of the Soviet employers' association, the League of Scientific and Industrial Associations (NPS). Its aim is to work out ways of resolving problems arising "during the transition from an administrative-command to a normal economy." (Elizabeth Teague) ABALKIN ON REFORM AND ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. Leonid Abalkin told the conference on entrepreneurship in Moscow that Western financial aid would only serve a purpose if the Soviet Union develops alternative economic structures, DPA citing Interfax reported June 25. Abalkin announced that national income in May was 11% lower than one year ago. The state budget deficit had grown to 32.3 billion rubles by May, although the deficit planned for the entire year was 27.6 billion rubles. The actual deficit this year is expected to amount to "up to 240 billion rubles." (Keith Bush) INCOMES INDEXATION LAW. The USSR Supreme Soviet passed the fundamental legislation on indexing incomes on June 25, TASS reported that day. The state budget will finance the indexation of pensions, stipends, other transfer payments, and the salaries of employees of "budget organizations." The indexation of salaries of employees of "profit-making" enterprises will have to be negotiated in collective agreements. USSR Minister for Labor and Social Issues Valerii Paul'man ruled out 100% indexation for all incomes within the minimumcon-sumer budget as "hyperinflationary." Indexation will cost 3,550 million rubles for each percent of growth in the retail price index. (Keith Bush) ABOLITION OF COMECON. The USSR Supreme Soviet gave its assent on June 25 to the signing of the protocol on the abolition of Comecon, TASS reported that day. The USSR's representative at Comecon, Stepan Sitaryan, told the assembly that the council had been inactive for a year. He said that all of the member countries are in favor of seeking new forms of multilateral cooperation, but theEuro-pean members wanted this cooperation to be limited to a "regional context," excluding such countries as Cuba, Mongolia, and Vietnam. (Keith Bush) ATOMIC ENERGY COUNCIL ESTABLISHED. An interrepublican council, with representatives from all 15 republics, has been set up to oversee safety issues in industry and atomic energy. The Interrepublcian Council for Safety in Industry and Atomic Energy was confirmed by the USSR State Industrial and Atomic Energy Inspectorate. The Council will have mostly consultative functions. (John Tedstrom) YAZOV ON ARMY'S PROBLEMS. The Defense Minister said in a June 22 Komsomol'skaya pravda interview that the army's biggest problem is managing the withdrawal from Eastern Europe. Yazov complained that the Germans have not met all their commitments with respect to housing, and ignored altogether the withdrawal from Poland. Yazov also criticized living conditions for soldiers in the Baltic and Transcaucasus regions, and said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could be solved if all forces "observed the law and constitutional order." He appeared to criticize the reestablishment of Cossack troop units. Finally, he said that his speech to a closed session of the SupSov last week involved revealing facts and figures related to defense that couldn't be done publicly. (Stephen Foye) KRASNAYA ZVEZDA SLAMS US "MILI-TARISM." A commentary by two military theorists in the June18 issue of the army newspaper charged that the US is continuing to build up its armed forces because it intends to dominate the new world order through a liberal application of military force. The article described alleged American intentions in Cold War style language, complaining of "continuing militarization" and of the Gulf War victory as having "dangerous consequences." The authors also criticized democratic groups in the Soviet Union itself for ignoring the military threat from the West and potentially undermining Soviet security. (Stephen Foye) PARKINSON'S LAW AT TRADE UNION HQ. A letter-writer to Ogonek (No. 23, 1991) wonders how many staff the revamped General Confederation of USSR Trade Unions (VKP) really has. When the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions was dis-banded last year, only half of its 750-member staff were supposed to be reemployed by the successor VKP, which now claims 230 staffers. But, Ogonek's informant writes, there are 660 people on the register of the VKP's Communist Party organization; 400 people are on the payroll; and 560 offices are occupied in the grandiose "Palace of Labor" on Moscow's Lenin Prospect. (Elizabeth Teague) PREPARATIONS FOR LAW ON CHURCH PROPERTY. The central television news program TSN reported on June 26 that cultural workers held round table talks in Moscow on June 25 with rep-resentatives of the Moscow Patriarchate. The two sides discussed the forthcoming RSFSR law on Church property and the problems of joint use ofhis-torical and cultural monuments, meaning first and foremost churches of historic value. (Oxana Antic) RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CRITICISM OF THE LAW ON FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE. The official organ of the Russian Orthodox Church, Zhurnal moskovskoi patriarkhii, No. 2 of 1991, has published the resolution passed by the Bishops' Council in October, 1990 (see Daily Report No.206, 1990). In this resolution the Church noted that some very important principles, in particular the recognition of the Church as a juridical entity, were not included in the law. It is noteworthy, that the journal, which has a reputation for reporting historic events several months late, has not yet changed in this respect. (Oxana Antic) A NEW USE FOR LENIN'S MAUSOLEUM? Western agencies reported June 10 that a man from Siberia's Irkutsk Oblast had been arrestedfor throwing two bottles of ink at Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square. Meanwhile, a reader from Leningrad, writing to Ogonek (No. 24, 1991), raised again the proposal that Lenin's body should be buried alongside that of his mother in Moscow's Volkovo cemetery, and suggested that the mausoleum should instead be turned into a monu-ment to the victims of repression. And schoolchildren from Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast wrote to the same issue of Ogonek to say they had refused to recite aloud at an examination Mayakovsky's "immoral" poem "The Party and Lenin." (Elizabeth Teague) MAN GETS TWO YEARS FOR SELLING "NAKED GORBY" CALENDAR. A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced 28-year-old Viktor Leont'ev to two years in a labor camp for selling calendars depicting a naked likeness of Mikhail Gorbachev, RFE/RL's Russian Service was informed June 21 by telephone from Moscow. Leont'ev was found guilty under the law, passed last year at Gorbachev's insistence, that makes slandering the "honor and dignity of the President" a criminal offense punishable with up to six years in prison. Leont'ev, who is said to have fled to Moscow to seek help from Amnesty International, is the latest of some 15 Soviet citizens charged under the law. Gennadii Smirnov, a Muscovite aged 40, was sentenced to a year in prison for displaying a portrait of Gorbachev covered with insulting words; two Soviet women were fined; the majority have been acquitted. (Jean Riollot/Elizabeth Teague) ISLANDS TURNED OVER TO CHINA. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin confirmed on June 24 the transfer of the island of Damansky to China as a result of documentssigned during the recent Sino-Soviet summit, TASS reported June 24. Damansky, which lies in the Ussuri River, was the site of violent clashes between Soviet and Chinese troops in 1969. Churkin por-trayed the settlement not as a concession of Soviet territory to China, but as the arbitrary result of the newly-drawn borderline falling north of Damansky. According to a separate Soviet television report (June 25), other islands in the vicinity were also turned over to China, but they were not named. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin announced that a meeting of the Foreign Ministers' Council of the USSR and union republics will take place in Minsk on June 28, TASS reported June 24. The ministers will discuss improving the coordination of the central and republican foreign ministries activities related to international Chernobyl relief efforts. They will also discuss central and republican coordination of consular activities. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN MEETS PRESIDENT OF FINLAND IN MOSCOW. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin met Fin-land's President Mauno Koivisto in Moscow June 25, Radio Moscow reported on June 25. Both agreed to de-velop closer economic and cultural ties betweenRussia and Finland. Koivisto expressedhope that Finland could have the same kind of beneficial relations with the republics as it has with the Soviet Union. Yeltsin informed his guest about the new cooperation between the center and the republics. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR SENDS REPRESENTATIVES ABROAD. The RSFSR foreign ministry has signed an agreement with the center to send its own representatives abroad as of this fall. Komsomol'skaya Pravda on June 20 reported that RSFSR envoys will work in Soviet embassies, but that the RSFSR government will finance them. RSFSR diplomats will be sent to 20 countries, starting with Great Britain. Their task will be to explain the processes under way in the RSFSR, including peculiarities of RSFSR legislation. The average age of the Russian diplomats is 35 and their political convictions will be their own affair, according to RSFSR deputy foreign minister Andrei Fedorov. (Alexander Rahr) LENINGRAD CITY COUNCIL APPROVES NAME CHANGE. The Leningrad city Soviet formally endorsed a proposal to restore the city's historical name of St. Petersburg, TASS reported June 25. The agency also said the council asked the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to make the name change legal. (On June 12, Leningrad residents voted in a non-binding referendum to change the city's name back to St. Petersburg.) (Vera Tolz) DE BEERS DENIES PROMISE TO MINE DIAMONDS. The South African mining company De Beers denied, June 24, earlier reports that it had signed commitments to mine diamonds in the Soviet territory of Yakutia, Western agencies reported. According to Western reports, the Soviet independent news agency Interfax had earlier reported that the deal signed by De Beers president Nicholas Oppenheimer and local leaders in Yakutia included a De Beers commitment to "develop diamond deposits." De Beers says that only a good will protocol signed by the two sides is binding and there is not commitment to develop diamond deposits. (John Tedstrom) SILAEV STRESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP. RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev stressed the importance of entrepreneurship in the RSFSR gov-ernment's program for economic reform at a major conference on Russian industry, TASS reported June 25. The four-day conference in Archangel focused on privatization and other reform measures. Silaev said he wants as much as 76% of the repub-lic's industry in the hands of the public in the form of joint stock companies and the like. (JohnTedstrom) GEORGIA PUBLISHES DRAFT LAW ON CITIZENSHIP. TASS reported June 25 that the long awaited draft of the Georgian citizenship law has been published. Georgian citizenship will be open to all persons who have lived in Georgia for the previous 10 years, know the language, recognize the Georgian Constitution and have a legal source of income. Residents in Abkhazia must in addition speak the local language. The draft represents a considerable modification of Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia's previous pronouncement; he had formerly argued that only those persons whose ancestors were resident in Georgia prior to the 1801 annexation by Tsarist Russia should be eligible for citizenship. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIA (AND POSSIBLY AZERBAIJAN) TO HOLD DIRECT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The Armenian SupSov voted June 25 to create the post of president of the republic and scheduled direct presidential elections for October 16, Radio Moscow reported June 25. The issue of direct presidential elections will likewise be debated at today's session of the Azerbaijan Supreme Soviet on the basis of a written proposal by the current president of the republic, Ayaz Mutalibov, who will run as a candidate, TASS reported June 25. (Liz Fuller) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT ON INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM. In an interview with AsahiShimbun, reported by Interfax June 24 and Rompres June 25, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur said that Moldavia will hold a referendum on the republic's independence this autumn. "Moldavia never agreed to join theUSSR . . . and was included in the USSR under the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, not by the will of its people," Snegur was quoted as saying. An independent Mol-davia would seek to maintain economic links with in-dividual republics of the present USSR and, hehoped, also with the union as a whole. Moldavia would also seek cultural and economic "integration" with Romania but would do so as an independent state under the formula, "one nation, two states," Snegur was further quoted as saying. (Vladimir Socor) USSR MVD TROOPS DETAILED TO KISHINEV. In President Snegur's absence abroad, special troops of the USSR MVD were detailed to central Kishinev June 23 to prevent the planned relocation of the Lenin monument from the central square. Kishinev's Communist Party organization has attempted to ethnicize the issue by calling on local Russian residents and communists to block the planned relocation of the monument, and to justify the presence of the troops as allegedly needed to prevent clashes. Kishinev's deputy mayor told a Western agency June 25 that the monument's relocation is scheduled for June 27, and that if the special troops resist, the monument might then be spontaneously removed on June 28 by participants in a mass rally of mourning to mark Kishinev's occupation by the Red Army on June 28, 1940. (Vladimir Socor) TAXATION LAW ADOPTED BY UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET. Radio Kiev reported June 25 that after heated debates the Ukrainian Supsov rejected a proposal of its Economic Commission to tax total sales income of enterprises and decided to adopt the government's proposal of the government to tax profits only. Volodymyr Pylypchuk, chairman of the Economic Commission, said that its proposal was based on the need to fight hyper-inflation. He said that the government's version of the law will be ineffective in fighting inflation and will bankrupt the republican budget, which already suffers from a Ruble 40 billion deficit. The law on taxation will become effective October 1 and contains clauses on rent for the usage of land, ecological and forest taxes, and customs dues. (Valentyn Moroz) KRAVCHUK WANTS TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-UKRAINIAN BIAS IN THE SOVIET MEDIA. Leonid Kravchuk has instructed the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Commission on Glasnost and Mass Media to investigate the "increasing anti-Ukrainian bias in the central Soviet press and television in their coverage of events in Ukraine," Radio Kiev reported June 25. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIAN CUSTOMS LAW ADOPTED. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet has adopted a law on republican customs and excise, Radio Kiev reported June 25. The law sets the legal basis for the organization of a Ukrainian customs service, its relations with those of other Soviet republics and foreign countries, and its participation in international customs unions and organizations. (Valentyn Moroz) NEW TAJIK PRIME MINISTER DESCRIBES REPUBLICAN CRISIS PROGRAM. Izatullo Khaeev, the new Tajik Prime Minister, told the republic's parliament June 25 that the situation was extremely difficult, and presented an anti-crisis program for economic reform. Among the 55 year-old Khaeev's plans are an acceleration of destatization and privatization, and a strengthening of foreign economic activities, according to TASS June 25. Khaeev made his remarks to a session of the Tajik Supreme Soviet. Khaeev is the former Tajik vice president, a post which the republic's Supreme Soviet has abolished. (John Tedstrom)
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