|The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused. - Shirley MacLaine|
No. 122, 28 June 1991
BALTIC STATES BALTIC LEADERS IN HELSINKI. The Supreme Council Chairmen of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia attended a three-hour hearing at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Helsinki on June 27. The hearing focused on Baltic independence, covering Soviet violence in the area since January, freedom of the press, USSR laws on secession, and national minority issues, an RFE/RL correspondent in Helsinki reported that day. The international forum offered the Baltic leaders the opportunity to demonstrate their willingness to negotiate peacefully and constructively with the USSR. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis said that the hearing proved that "the question of the Baltic States is an international issue." (Gytis Liulevicius) SOVIET EXPLANATIONS OF OMON ATTACK. Soviet presidential spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko speculated that the June 26 OMON attack on the Vilnius telephone exchange may have been a provocation designed to discredit Gorbachev before his meeting with G-7 leaders in London, Western agencies reported June 27. Ignatenko did not mention who might be trying to discredit Gorbachev. According to Aleksei Yeliseev, head of the Soviet delegation to the Council of Europe meeting in Helsinki, the OMON was "simply confiscating arms," although he also said the action was not sanctioned by central authorities. Gorbachev has ordered Interior Minister Boriss Pugo to send a representative to Lithuania to investigate the attack. (Gytis Liulevicius) CONCURRENT ATTACK ON VILNIUS POWER STATIONS. Unidentified persons in civilian clothes attempted to break into two electrical substations in Vilnius on June 26, Radio Independent Lithuania reported June 27. The attacks took place while the OMON was still occupying the central telephone exchange. The perpetrators failed to break into the substation which feeds power to central Vilnius, but succeeded in cutting off power to the Zverynas area for about an hour. While details remain sketchy, Lithuanian Supreme Council spokesman Audrius Azubalis feared that the concurrent attacks on telecommunications and power stations indicated "a prelude for a genuine coup." (Gytis Liulevicius) BALTIC COUNCIL TO MEET. Radio Independent Lithuania reported on June 28 that Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius, and Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas would attend the meeting of the Baltic Council in Jurmala that day. The meeting would focus on economic relations with the USSR, especially if the latter were to impose an economic blockade. Parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis had planned to attend the meeting, but decided instead to fly to Hamburg for meetings with the German Defense Minister and the leaders of the governments of the German provinces. Landsbergis will return to Lithuania only on July1. (Saulius Girnius) PRICE RISES IN LITHUANIA. Prime Minister Vagnorius announced on June 26 that prices in Lithuania would be increased by about 9% on July1, Radio Vilnius reported on June 27. These increases would raise prices to a level similar to those that had been proposed and rescinded in January, but the situation was different now since wages would be increased on July 1 by about 30% and compensation payments for each child would increase by about 80 rubles. While the average wage of industrial workers in January had been about 300 rubles per month, after July 1 it would be about 601 rubles. (Saulius Girnius) TALKING ABOUT TALKS. Chairman of Estonia's Supreme Council Arnold Ruutel told Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on June 26 that there is no possibility that Estonia would sign the Union treaty, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Helsinki the next day. At a Moscow meeting on June 26, Ruutel and Gorbachev discussed the need to speed up talks, Rahva Haal reported the next day. Gorbachev reportedly referred to the talks as "negotiations" rather than "talks between delegations," a change Ruutel regarded as a good sign. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA TO SET UP OWN DEFENSE FORCES. The Estonian negotiating team for talks with the USSR told the Soviet side on June 27 that Estonia is considering a proposal to set up its own defense forces, Estonian Radio reported that day. The proposal calls for a defense force to protect Estonia's independence and territorial integrity and to ensure the security and rights of citizens. The announcement came as Estonian and Soviet representatives resumed discussions aimed at setting up independence talks. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA TO TRANSFER SOME FUNDS TO USSR. The republic of Estonia will pay 186 million rubles--down from 240 last year--into the USSR economic stabilization fund, Estonian Radio reported on June 26. Estonian Finance Minister Rein Miller and his Soviet counterpart Vladimir Orlov signed a preliminary protocol that day to the effect that Estonia will fund certain USSR programs, but will not pay into the USSR general budget. Miller regarded the agreement as a major victory over the initial Soviet position of six months ago that Tallinn would pay what Moscow demanded. Most of the 186 million will be earmarked for heat and energy programs, according to Paevaleht on June 26. (Riina Kionka) RUSSIAN-ESTONIAN ACCORD SIGNED. The Democratic Russia movement and the Popular Front of Estonia signed a communique in Moscow on June 27 endorsing relations between their republics, TASS reported that day. The communique calls for economic relations between the two republics regardless of whether or not the Union treaty is signed, and supports the RSFSR's ratifying the political and economic agreement signed by the two and ratified by Estonia in January. Democratic Russia's coordinating council co-chairman and USSR People's deputy Arkady Murashev called the communique a step toward developing contacts between Russia's and Estonia's social and political forces. (Riina Kionka) NON-BALTS TO FORGE TIES. Estonia's Minister for Nationality Affairs Artur Kuznetsov, togetherwith his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues, has formu-lated a joint Baltic project aimed at resolving the problems faced by national minorities in those states, Rahva Haal reported June 15. The project foresees development of minorities' folk cultures, widened educational opportunities for national minorities, strengthened ties among national groups in the three Baltic states, and joint sociological studies on minorities. The project will be signed by the 3 governments in the near future. (RiinaKionka) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS NO DATE FIXED YET FOR USSR CONGRESS OF PEOPLE'S DEPUTIES TO DISCUSS UNION TREATY. The head of the press service of the all-Union parliament Arkadii Maslennikov told TASS June 27 that no date had been fixed yet for the convocation of the next USSR Congress of People's Deputies at which the draft Union treaty will be examined. Maslennikov was commenting on an RIA report that the Congress would meet August27. Maslennikov said that the Supreme Soviet presidium considered that the Congress should meet after the republican and all-Union Supreme Soviets had discussed the draft treaty, and suggested that this meant that the Congress would probably be held at the end of August or in September. (Ann Sheehy) SHATALIN PREDICTS CREATION OF ALL-UNION DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Former presidential economic advisor, Academician Stanislav Shatalin, told RSFSR TV on June 27 that the creation of the Democratic Party of the USSR will be announced within days. He said Eduard Shevardnadze is one of the organizers of the new party. (In early June, Shatalin himself left the CPSU and joined the Democratic Party of Russia.) (Vera Tolz) WHAT ABOUT YAKOVLEV? Aleksandr Yakovlev has been identified as another possible leader of the Democratic Party of the USSR. On June 27, however, Yakovlev, who is an adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev, personally refuted this rumor, saying he had no intention of leaving the CPSU. Commenting on Yakovlev's statement, RSFSR TV said that, if a large number of reformists leave the CPSU, the conservatives would have a free hand to determine policy at the next CPSU Congress. In such circumstances, Russian TV noted, the conservative wing would have no difficulty replacing Gorbachev as Party general secretary. "Maybe, therefore, it is indeed better that Yakovlev should remain in the CPSU until after the congress," the television said. (Vera Tolz) GORBACHEV-RUTSKOI ALLIANCE? Mikhail Gorbachev and Vadim Bakatin have held a meeting with the leader of the reformist "Communists for Democracy" movement Aleksandr Rutskoi. On the agenda was a discussion over whether or not efforts should be continued to democratize the CPSU, or whether the could be democratized, or whether it should split, Party should simply be split, according to Radio Rossii on June 27. Western new agencies reported that day that Gorbachev and Rutskoi had decided not to form an alternative party but to work together to strengthen "Communists for Democracy" inside the CPSU. The German Bild Zeitung the same day quoted Soviet sources as saying that Gorbachev intends to leave the CPSU before he goes to the G-7 meeting to London and, together with Aleksandr Yakovlev, to join the alternative Democratic Party about which there is at present so much talk. Yakovlev has denied these rumors. (Alexander Rahr) NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY DESIGNED FOR GORBACHEV? Rumors abound concerning Gorbachev's likely relationship to the new party. According to Arkadii Murashev, co-chairman of "Democratic Russia," the new party will be an alternative to the CPSU and tailor-made for Gorbachev. Murashev told Western news agencies June 27 that the new party would ensure Gorbachev's victory in next year's elections for the USSR presidency and allow him to shake free of the conservatives, force a split in the CPSU, and divide up its vast property. According to another "Democratic Russia" leader, Garry Kasparov, the new party stands a good chance of becoming the ruling party (Alexander Rahr) NEW CPSU DRAFT PROGRAM PUBLISHED. A draft of a new CPSU Program was published in Moskovskaya pravda on June 27, Western agencies reported that day. The new Program is reportedly only slightly less critical of the failures and mistakes of the Gorbachev leadership than it is of the crimes of the Stalin period. The draft was prepared by a commission chaired by Gorbachev, and is expected to be reformist in overall tone. (Elizabeth Teague) DROP IN PARTY MEMBERSHIP LEVELING OFF? Publishing the draft Program, Moskovskaya pravda said its aim was to renew the 16.3 million-member CPSU. An opinion poll of Party and ex-Party members published the Party magazine Dialog (April 1991) found that a further one million to one-and-a-half million Communists were planning to hand in their Party cards but that, after that, the exodus should decelerate and Party membership stabilize. The poll found Party members more or less equally divided in their support for the center-right Marxist Platform (14% support) and the reform wing (12%). The far-right Initiative Congress mustered 6% while Nina Andreeva's ultra-right "Edinstvo" group got only 3% (giving the right wing an overall 9%). A plurality (48%) expressed themselves in favor of the Party line as laid down at last year's 28th Party Congress. But less than half of the Party officials interviewed believed that platforms should be tolerated within the Party at all. (Elizabeth Teague) PAVLOV'S DISAGREEMENTS WITH YAVLINSKY. In his address to the entrepreneurial conference on June 24 and in an interview with Interfax immediately afterwards, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov described some of the areas where he disagrees with Grigorii Yavlinsky. Pavlov said he objects to the sequence of steps envisaged in the "Window of Opportunity" program that are to be phased with Western "rewards for our good behavior." Pavlov's "anticrisis program" provides for parallel and simultaneous measures, and is designed to be implemented, if necessary, without any injections of Western aid. The prime minister also infers that his program represents a more practical plan of action. (Keith Bush) GORBACHEV BOOSTS MILITARY REFORM? Underscoring his ongoing efforts to manage the disgruntled Soviet armed forces, Gorbachev addressed a June 26 graduation ceremony of military cadets, TASS reported. Gorbachev's speech appeared to mix conciliation with warnings. He said that the Soviet Union could not ignore military build-ups in developed and Third World countries. He warned, however, that the army and the defense industries also could not implement reasonable sufficiency "without thoroughgoing military reforms," and that the army had to operate by the credo "not by numbers, but by know-how." When linked to speculation that Gorbachev may announce more Soviet defense cuts at an upcoming NATO meeting (see June 27 Daily Report), the speech may indicate the onset of a new push for military reform. (Stephen Foye) MORE ON YAZOV SPEECH. Sovetskaya Rossiya on June 27 published more details of Defense Minister Dmitrii's Yazov's June 17 speech to a closed session of the USSR Supreme Soviet (see June 25 Daily Report). Yazov said that the armed forces were some 353,000 men short this year as a result of recruitment problems, while the KGB Border Troops were 12% below strength and Interior Ministry Forces were short by 20%. All of these organizations receive conscripts through the military draft system. Yazov added that, unless the USSR Supreme Soviet took decisive action to rectify the situation, the armed forces might face a shortfall of some 20% by year's end. (Stephen Foye) USSR DEFENSE COUNCIL MEETS. The USSR Defense Council met on June 27 under the direction of President Gorbachev, TASS reported that day. The council addressed questions of military development and military reform as related to the new defensive doctrine, and focused especially on managing the withdrawal and resettlement of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe. (Stephen Foye) FIRST ALL-ARMY KOMSOMOL CONFERENCE. The first meeting of what the military-political leadership hopes will be a "new model of Komsomol organization" in the armed forces met in Moscow on June 27, "Vremya" reported that night. The report admitted that the army Komsomol faced many problems, including apathy and, more importantly, the development of pacifist and anti-military sentiments among Soviet young people. Such sentiments, the report noted, "can-not but percolate through the army's ranks." (Stephen Foye) SOUTHERN GROUP OF FORCES LIQUIDATED. An act officially liquidating the Southern Group of Force, formerly deployed in Hungary, was signed in the Soviet city of Krasnodar on June 27, Radio Moscow (M-2) reported. It added that a commentary on the event, authored by the First Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces, Army General Anatolii Betekhtin 27, appeared on the front page of Izvestia that same day. (Stephen Foye) SOVIET TROOP WOES IN GERMANY. On June 27 TASS reported that attacks by the locals on Soviet military personnel in Germany are on the increase. The report described several incidents in which local rowdies purportedly injured Soviet soldiers or members of their families, and destroyed property inhabited by Soviets. The TASS story does not seem entirely consistent with a June 27 Reuter report alleging that the suspension of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Germany stemmed from the desire of Soviet officers (and their wives) to avoid returning to harsh conditions in the USSR. The Reuter piece claimed that Soviet Commander Matvei Burlakov had taken the initiative himself to pressure Moscow to build more housing for the returning officers. (Stephen Foye) WESTERN TVD COMMAND EXITS POLAND. TASS reported from Warsaw on June 26 that Army General Stanislav Postnikov, the Commander-in-chief of the Western Strategic Direction, met that day with Polish Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki to officially announce the withdrawal of his command headquarters from Poland. Postnikov also met with Polish Defense Minister and Vice Admiral Piotr Kolodziejczyk. According to TASS, their "conversation proceeded in a constructive fashion, and in a spirit of mutual understanding." (Stephen Foye) ON THE NONAPPEARANCE OF PLANS. As far as can be ascertained in Munich, the text of the original Pavlovian anticrisis program has not been made available to the general public since it was issued by TASS and then withdrawn within two hours or so on April 9. Nor have the texts of any of the subsequent versions of the program been published. It is also unclear whether the Soviet (or Western) public will get to see the text of the Yavlinsky "Window of Opportunity" program before it is superseded by the hybrid plan that is currently being cobbled together by Gorbachev's team of advisers for him to take to the post G-7 summit meeting encounter. (Keith Bush) CHANGES IN THE LAW ON FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE. Izvestia published on June 15 a short decree of the USSR Supreme Soviet of the USSR concerning changes and additions to the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations. The changes concern mainly the substitution of the vague term "organ of justice" for "executive committee." The decree also states that religious communities that function on the territory of two or more Union republics now have the right to apply for registration with the USSR Ministry of Justice. (Oxana Antic) GORBACHEV MEETS PATRIARCH ALEKSII. TASS reported on June 27 that President Gorbachev had that day received in the Kremlin the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Aleksii II. The agency said the two men discussed matters of common concern to religious believers and non-believers, and that both sides stressed the necessity for joint efforts to restore spirituality and morale. (Oxana Antic) PAVLOV IN AUSTRIA. Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov arrived in Austria on June 27 for a three-day official visit. He will meet with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim on June 28 and on June29 will travel to Linz to visit the Vöst-Alpine Steel Works. Pavlov's talks with Austrian officials are expected to focus on Soviet reforms, economic cooperation, and the situation in Yugoslavia, AFP reported June 27. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET-JAPANESE TALKS ON PEACE TREATY. Soviet and Japanese officials met in Tokyo on June27 for talks on concluding a bilateral peace treaty settling issues from World War II. In addition to the permanent working groups charged with discussing the issues, Soviet ambassador to Japan Lyudvig Chizhov and Deputy Foreign Minister of the RSFSR G. F. Kunadze also took part in the talks, TASS reported June 27. (Suzanne Crow) IN THE REPUBLICS UKRAINE DELAYS DEBATE ON UNION TREATY. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet yesterday decided to postpone debate on the draft Union treaty until September, Ukrinform-TASS reported June 27, thereby derailing Gorbachev's hopes that the document would be signed this summer. The Ukrainian lawmakers voted by an overwhelming majority (345-18) to submit the draft for discussion to the Supreme Soviet permanent commissions, which are to rule by September 1 if the document corresponds to Ukraine's declaration on state sovereignty. The parliament's working group has been charged with summing up the proposals by September 15. Yesterday's Supreme Soviet session was marked by a demonstration of an estimated 5,000 people protesting against the Union treaty outside the parliament building and clashes between demonstrators and the militia and OMON detachments. (Roman Solchanyk) STUDENTS AGAINST UNION TREATY. The Union of Ukrainian Students has sent a letter to chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk threatening to renew the hunger strike of last fall if Ukraine signs the new Union treaty prior to adopting a new constitution, Radio Kiev reported June 27. The decision not to sign the Union treaty until a new constitution is adopted was agreed to by the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet in a resolution of October17 in response to the demands of student hunger strikers. (Roman Solchanyk) TATARSTAN PRESIDENT TO MEET YELTSIN SOON OVER UNION TREATY. Tatarstan president Mintimer Shaimiev told TASS June 27 that he would be meeting RSFSR president Boris Yeltsin shortly to discuss the signing of the Union treaty. Shaimiev said that "a compromise decision could be sought only within the limits of Tatarstan's independent signature" of the treaty. Shaimiev argued that Tatarstan's stand, i.e. its refusal to sign the treaty as part of the RSFSR delegation "was not the main obstacle" to the signing of the Union treaty. Yeltsin and the first deputy chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov, however, regard Tatarstan's stand as threatening the integrity of the RSFSR. (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN TO EARN THE SAME AS GORBACHEV. TASS reported June 27 that Yeltsin's salary as RSFSR president will be 4000 rubles a month; his deputy will earn 3000 rubles. Yeltsin's salary as chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet was only 900 rubles. Yeltsin's salary raise will put him on a par with Gorbachev, who receives 4000 rubles a month as USSR president. After tax, Gorbachev nets 2,300 rubles.(Elizabeth Teague) WOULD-BE "DNIESTER SSR" WANTS TO SIGN UNION TREATY. In an appeal to the USSR Congress of People's Deputies, the USSR Supreme Soviet, and to Gorbachev, the organizers of the would-be "Dniester SSR" in eastern Moldavia accuse Kishinev of "liquidating Soviet power" and "aiming for Moldavia's separation from the USSR," Novosti reported June 27. The Dniester leaders are therefore petitioning for their would-be republic to be admitted as a contracting party to the Union Treaty, which Moldavia refuses to sign. (Vladimir Socor)
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