|To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess|
No. 123, 01 July 1991
BALTIC STATES USSR INTERIOR MINISTRY WARNS OMON IN LITHUANIA. Senior officers from the OMON troops in Lithuania were summoned to Moscow on June28, TASS reported June 30. They were warned of "the inadmissibility of excesses against the population and local authorities" and told of "the need to coordinate their anti-crime actions and the guarding prosecutor's office." The warning was considered by The Los Angeles Times (June 30) to be the clearest indication so far that the OMON has been acting on its own than at the Kremlin's bidding. (Saulius Girnius) SOVIET MILITARY COMMANDER IN VILNIUS TRANSFERRED. Izvestia reported June 28 that Major General Vladimir Uskhopchik had been transferred from his post as the commander of the Soviet military garrison in Vilnius to a post in Brest, Belorussia. He had been due for a transfer to a post at the General Staff, but declined the offer in order to be near his ailing parents. Izvestia also reported that Major General Aleksandr Zhitnikov, who is responsible for the MVD OMON troops in Lithuania, might be transferred because he is old and has already served a long time in Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC COUNCIL MEETING. The Baltic Council, a consultative body of the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, met in Jurmala on June 28, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. The Council adopted coordinated principles for economic relations between the Baltic States and the USSR, to be based on "mutual benefit and the general principles of free trade." The document emphasizes that "all economic facilities on the territories of the Baltic States will be under the jurisdiction of these states." The Council also reacted to the OMON actions in Vilnius last week, condemning the assault on the central telephone exchange as "another link in the chain of armed incidents, the aim of which is the aggravation of tension in the Baltic States." (Gytis Liulevicius) SECOND CONFERENCE OF THE FUTURE OF LITHUANIA FORUM. The Future of Lithuania Forum held its second conference in Vilnius on June 29, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. The Forum, an ostensibly non-partisan opposition organization, criticized a variety of Lithuanian government policies, especially the current economic reforms--privatization return of property to original owners. The Lithuanian parliament also came under criticism for its rightist majority, its "radical representatives' intolerance of opposition." Speakers at the conference repeatedly emphasized that "opposition constitutes the guarantor of state democracy." (Gytis Liulevicius) SAJUDIS COUNCIL CONFERENCE. Radio Independent Lithuania reported on June 29 that the Sajudis parliament council met that day in Vilnius. Parliament deputies Zita Slicyte, Virgilijus Cepaitis, Kazimieras Motieka, Romualdas Ozolas, Ceslovas Stankevicius, Aloyzas Sakalas, who were elected with the support of Sajudis, spoke at the meeting. Sajudis chairman Juozas Tumelis gave a report about the political situation in Lithuania, but the meeting also paid great attention to efforts to revitalize Sajudis. It was decided to revive some Sajudis newspapers in the raions, establish a Sajudis daily newspaper, and register the Sajudis Information Agency, which will focus its attention on collecting information from Lithuania. Saulius Girnius) BUNDESTAG GROUP PROTEST. The newly formed Bundestag German-Baltic Friendship Circle sent a letter of protest to Vladislav Terekhov, Soviet ambassador to Germany, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn reported June 28. The letter, written by the group's Christian Democrat chairman and Social Democratic and Free Democratic deputy chairmen, protested USSR attacks on facilities in Lithuania, warning against any further use of force. 100 Bundestag deputies signed the letter, which criticized Soviet violence as incompatible with "the concept of European reconciliation, openness, and freedom." (Gytis Liulevicius) LANGUAGE REFORM IN LATVIAN SCHOOLS. The Latvian Supreme Council adopted a new law on education, TASS reported June 30. The legislation will replace Russian with Latvian as the primary language in institutions of higher learning, beginning in the second year of instruction. According to the TASS report, "teaching . . . in the Russian language will be highly problematical." Latvian parliament chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs has opposed the law, maintaining that "such obstacles may exacerbate the situation in the republic," and might undermine non-Latvians' confidence in the government. (Gytis Liulevicius) HONESTY--THE BEST POLICY? Estonia's chief negotiator for talks with Moscow, Ulo Nugis, says "the Soviet Union has no desire to conduct honest talks" with Estonia and that there has been "a marked deterioration in the Soviet attitude toward Estonia." According to Baltfax, reporting on June28 (the day after the teams met in Moscow), Nugis said Soviet negotiators had not prepared any basic documents for the meeting, as they had been mandated to do at the previous meeting in April. Instead, they criticized Estonia's proposals, Nugis said. The two sides were to have discussed property rights and social guarantees for non-Estonians, but failed to compromise even on such matters as recognizing each other's university and college diplomas. (Riina Kionka) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS OVER 20 MILLION KGB AGENTS IN USSR. There are more than 20 million citizens who cooperate with the KGB by working as secret informers, "trustees," providers of "safe houses," and in other capacities, retired KGB Lieutenant Colonel Valetin Korolev told Russian Television on June 30. The former chief of the KGB station in Denmark, Mikhail Lubimov, said he respects KGB agents who cooperate with the organization for patriotic reasons but added that the Soviet system has also encouraged those who are trying to enhance their social status by seeking the patronage of the KGB. Both officers called for reform of the KGB and sharply criticized Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov and the new law on state security organs. (Victor Yasmann) PRIVATIZATION BILL PARTLY APPROVED. After what was described as a "heated debate," the USSR Supreme Soviet approved in principle on June 28 a bill on the privatization of state enterprises, TASS reported that day. The law provides for the creation of a ministry of privatization. While it stipulates that "all enterprises in the country may be privatized," the law excludes certain strategic sectors. The state will relinquish direct control over 40-50% of its enterprises by the end of 1992 and 60-70% by 1995. About half of the draft's articles were approved, but not those covering how enterprises will be transferred into the private sector and their future status. Debate on the bill is to continue this week. (Keith Bush) THE AGE OF UNEMPLOYMENT DAWNS (OFFICIALLY). As of July 1, 1991, the existence of unemployment is officially acknowledged in the USSR. Registration of unemployed workers is scheduled to begin today, and unemployment benefits will also be paid starting today, Radio Moscow and Western agencies reported June 30. Estimates of the current number out of work range from 2 million to 10 million and higher. Unemployment benefits and the conditions under which these are to be paid appear to vary between republics. (Keith Bush) CONSTITUTIONAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE DRAFT UNION TREATY. The chairman of the USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee Sergei Alekseev told a press conference on June 28 that the committee would be examining the draft Union treaty at the request of the USSR Supreme Soviet, TASS reported June 28. The com-mittee will present its findings on the legal aspects of the draft in the first ten days of July. Judging by some of the inconsistencies in the draft, its findings could be fairly critical. (Ann Sheehy) YAKOVLEV SAYS HE IS TARGET OF PARTY INVESTIGATION. Presidential advisor Aleksandr Yakovlev said he is under investigation by the CPSU Central Control Commission. Rabochaya tribuna quoted Yakovlev on June 29 as saying he had been informed that the commission intends to investigate his "social and political activity and even to expel [him] from the Party." In his statement, Yakovlev complained that the Party press, especially Sovetskaya Rossiya, demonstrates "brutal rage" towards him. Rabochaya tribuna quoted Yakovlev as saying he reserved the right to decide whether to resign from the CPSU, but denied having made statements to the media about his forthcoming resignation from the Party. (Vera Tolz) REFORMERS HOLD MEETING ON POSSIBLE NEW PARTY. Soviet reformers held another closed-door meeting in Moscow on June 29 to discuss the creation of a new democratic party to rival the CPSU, Interfax reported. The agency said Eduard Shevardnadze, Vadim Bakatin, Aleksandr Yakovlev, and Gavriil Popov were among those attending. Interfax said the participants discussed the necessity for such a party, as well as its possible structure and date of formation. On June28, Interfax quoted Shevardnadze as saying a strong all-Union democratic organization was necessary to overcome the country's crisis and to prevent a relapse into totalitarianism. (Vera Tolz) ORTHODOX COMMUNISTS OPEN CONGRESS IN MOSCOW. A two-day congress of the "Communist Initiative" Movement--an organization of orthodox Communists from across the USSR--opened in Moscow on June 29. TASS said more than 800 delegates attended. "TSN" quoted speakers who accused Gorbachev and Yakovlev of being "puppets of Washington." The movement called for holding an extraordinary congress of the CPSU before the end of the year. (Vera Tolz) HARDLINE CPSU SECRETARIES DEMAND OUSTER OF GORBACHEV AND POLOZKOV. Thirty-two regional Party leaders in Siberia have demanded that Gorbachev and RSFSR Communist Party chief Ivan Polozkov be removed from office, TASS and Russian Television reported June 28. Gorbachev was attacked for having led the Party away from socialism, while Polozkov was criticized for weakness. "The course of the radical renewal of socialism has been replaced by a slide into capitalism," according to a declaration signed by 11 Party committee first secretaries and "leadership of the Party and the country is being carried out by a narrow group of people who are ignoring the constitution and laws of the USSR" (Nezavisimaya gazeta June 28). (Dawn Mann) REPRESENTATIVES OF CPSU PLATFORMS MEET. Representatives of 3 platforms in the CPSU were invited to the Central Committee for a meeting, "Vremya" reported June 28. Those attending represented the ultra-conservative "Communist Initiative" Movement; the Marxist Platform (of "moderate conservatives"); and the Democratic Movement of Communists (a part of the reformist Democratic Platform in the CPSU that remained in the Party after the platform's radical representatives broke with the CPSU and formed the Republican Party of Russia.) "Vremya" reported that speakers at the meeting expressed concern over activities of some members and groups in the CPSU aimed at splitting the Party; the speakers also said the CPSU leadership should develop a sound policy to preserve the organization's unity. (Vera Tolz) REPUBLICAN PARTY OF RUSSIA SPLITS. The second congress of the Republican Party of Russia opened in Moscow June 29, TASS reported. (The party was created in November, 1990, by radical members of the Democratic Platform in the CPSU.) Speaking at the congress, Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov called for the creation of the all-Union democratic party in opposition to the CPSU that will unite reformist forces throughout the country. Despite the call for unity, however, the congress of the Republican Party ended with a split in its ranks. "TSN" reported June 30 that a group of delegates announced its break with the Republican Party and the creation of a more leftist (socialist) organization. (Vera Tolz) COMMENTARY ON GORBACHEV MILITARY UKAZ. Izvestia of June 28 carried an analysis of Gorbachev's June 22 decree on military councils, Radio Moscow (M-2) reported. According to the commentator, the decree is important because it subordinates the military councils to the President rather than to the CPSU Central Committee, as had been the case in the past. It also proves, the commentator argued, that Gorbachev has not lost control of the army; he says that the decree will further strengthen the President's influence within the armed forces. (Stephen Foye) GENERAL CRITICIZES MILITARY CONVERSION. The Chief of the Military Political Directorate of Soviet Space Troops told TASS on June 29 that, as a result of conversion, "the defense industries have lost significantly more than the civilian economy has gained." General Igor' Kurin said he was dis-turbed by deteriorating production in the militaryin-dustrial complex, and said that reductions in defense funding had led to a halt or significant slow-downs in the work of many research institutes and design bureaus, as well as negative trends in serial pro-duction. With respect to space-based industries, Kurin encouraged production of "dual use" items with civilian and military application. (Stephen Foye) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR OBJECTS TO NEW CUSTOMS REGULATIONS. The RSFSR government has written to the central authorities expressing "resolute disagreement" with the adoption of new union customs regulations, RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silayev told APN June 27. The new regulations were scheduled to come into force on July 1. Some of the sharply increased duties have already provoked protests (e.g., CTV, June 24). The RSFSR had nothing to do with the adoption of the new regulations and therefore reserves the right to take decisive actions to revoke them, Silayev warns. (Keith Bush) CREATION OF NEW RUSSIAN TV COMPANY PROPOSED. The chairman of the USSR Journalists' Union, Eduard Sagalaev, announced his intention to set up his own television company. The leading TV journalists, who earlier this year left Central Soviet Television, Vladimir Pozner and Aleksandr Lyubimov, will take part in its creation, according to Rabochaya tribuna June 29. Western TV companies, including CNN, have promised to help Sagaldaev on condition that the new company is private and receives a broadcasting license. (Vera Tolz) UKRAINIAN ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM AN-NOUNCED. On June 28 the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet adopted Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers' chairman Vitold Fokin's anti-crisis program, Radio reported June 29. Over the next 2 years, the government proposes to introduce a ruble stamped with a "U" for use in the republic only; abolish taxes for medical and food-processing enterprises; privatize small enterprises in the service, consumer goods, food-processing sectors, and unprofitable collective farms; lay off 30% of managers at state-owned firms; freeze construction on around 200 major industrial sites; abolish administrative controls on salaries; raise pensions, and to introduce income indexation. Ukrinform-TASS reported June 28 that the government intends to "stabilize" the Ukrainian economy first and start privatization later on. Stabilization will be carried out with administrative measures such as stiff fines on enterprises that break state contracts. Many features of the program are in conflict with Soviet laws and central government's anti-crisis program, Fokin said during the presentation of his plan. (Valentyn Moroz) UKRAINIAN "U" RUBLES. Fokin said Soviet rubles stamped with a "U" will be issued to replace the coupons now in use as an interim Ukrainian currency. Mikhail Khvaiko, the deputy chief of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet economic commission, said one batch of "U" rubles has already been confiscated by central authorities. Travelers will be able to convert "U" rubles into regular rubles. Fokin did not say when the "U" rubles would be issued. (Dawn Mann) FIRE IN DONBASS KILLS 31. A fire broke out at the Yuzhno-Donbasskaya mine on June 30, killing 31 miners, TASS reported that day. The fire is still burning 335 meters below ground and concern that large amounts of methane gas underground could explode are increasing. Clouds of poisonous gas have been released into the air, and an electric sub-station is threatened. The fire started on a conveyor belt used to bring coal to the surface. (Dawn Mann) ARMENIAN SUPREME SOVIET CHAIRMAN'S FAMILY ATTACKED. TASS reported June 30 that the family and bodyguards of Armenian Supreme Soviet chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan were attacked on June 29 by "hooligans" while travelling by car from Lake Sevan to Erevan. Four construction workers have been arrested in connection with the incident. (Liz Fuller) COST OF BEING DEPORTED FROM NKAO IS 500 RUBLES. Interfax reported June 29 that Armenians are being charged 500 rubles per head for the dubious privilege of being deported by military helicopter from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. More than 3,000 Armenians were reportedly deported from the NKAO and from Khanlar raion during the first half of May. (Liz Fuller) DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF UKRAINE REGISTERED. The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has registered the Democratic Party of Ukraine (DemPU), Radio Kiev reported June 29. The DemPU, which held its constituent congress last December, is the fourth political party in Ukraine to be officially registered. (Roman Solchanyk) LENIN BOWS OUT BEFORE STEPHEN THE GREAT. On June 28, the giant Lenin monument was removed from Kishinev's central square. The removal, which was officially decided in August 1990, was delayed by communist and military opposition. Special troops detailed to the square last week to prevent the removal (see Daily Report, June 26 and 27) withdrew following assurances that the monument will remain accessible at a new location on the grounds of an industrial fair. A monument to Moldavia's medieval prince Stephen the Great, which was removed decades ago by the Soviet authorities, is now once again the focal point of the square. Kishinev has announced plans to build a pantheon to Moldavian national figures alongside the Stephen monument. (Vladimir Socor) SOVIET SPOKESMAN ON THE STATUS OF MOLDAVIA. Following the same line as Alexandrov, USSR Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitaly Churkin said at a briefing in Moscow that the Nazi-Soviet pact was invalidated by Germany's attack on the USSR but "the Soviet-Romanian border has been determined by the results of World War II, the peace treaty, and all-European documents." "Therefore any discussion of the pact can only have a purely theoretical character. Moldavia remains one of the USSR's Union republics, and any problems that emerge can only be solved between Moldavia and the center," Churkin said, as cited by TASS and Radio Bucharest June 27. (Vladimir Socor) STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED IN DUSHANBE. The Tadzhiikistan Supreme Soviet lifted the 16-month old state of emergency in the capital Dushanbe on June 29, TASS reported the same day. The state of emergency was introduced when mass disorders took place on January 12, 1990. (Ann Sheehy) NEW KGB CHAIRMAN IN TAJIKISTAN. The somewhat controversial Vladimir Petkel' has been replaced as chairman of the Tajik KGB by 55-year-old Major-General Anatolii Stroikin, TASS reported June 28. It is noteworthy that even in this day and age of republican sovereignty a Slav has once again been appointed to this post. TASS said that Stroikin, who was previously head of one of the oblast organizations of the KGB in Kazakhstan, had been proposed for the post by the Tajik president Kakhar Makhkamov. (Ann Sheehy) ADIGEI AUTONOMOUS OBLAST TO BE A REPUBLIC? The Adigei Autonomous Oblast soviet was to adopt a declaration of state sovereignty on June 28 proclaiming the territory a Soviet Socialist Republic, Radio Moscow reported the same day. The declaration said that the decision was being forced on deputies by the inconsistent line of the USSR and RSFSR supreme soviets in carrying out intended transformation of the national-state structure of the RSFSR and the USSR. Radio "Mayak" had reported June 26 that the RSFSR Supreme Soviet was to discuss a decree turning the Adigei, Gorno-Altai, Karachai-Cherkess, and Khakass autonomous oblasts into republics, but there has been no report of the discussion taking place. (Ann Sheehy) CRIMEAN TATAR CONGRESS DECLARES SOVEREIGNTY. Delegates at a kurultai--all-Union congress of the Crimean Tatar people in Simferopol' adopted by an overwhelming majority a "Declaration on the Sovereignty of the Crimean Tatar People" which proclaimed the Crimea the national territory of the Crimean Tatar people, on which it alone has the right to self-determination, TASS reported June 28. It says the Crimean Tatars will work for the creation of a sovereign national state. The kurultai also set up a Crimean Tatar executive body, the mejlis, of which Mustafa Jemilev, the former leading Crimean Tatar dissident, was elected chairman. (Ann Sheehy)
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