|In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires. - Ben Franklin|
No. 124, 02 July 1991
BALTIC STATES PRAVDA LINKS BALTS AND YUGOSLAVS. An unsigned commentary in the July 1 Pravda tied the crisis in Yugoslavia to the Western position on the Baltic States. "On the one hand [the Western politicians] loudly advocate keeping the Soviet Union as a single state and on the other they support the separatist bids of the Baltic leaders. Is it not on such double standards that the Yugoslav separatists rely?" the commentary queried. The article likened the Slovenian and Croatian declarations of independence to a "separatist virus reaching epidemic proportions." Western support for Baltic independence, Pravda said, encouraged Balkan separatism. (Gytis Liulevicius) GERMAN MILITARY AID SENT TO PRO-MOSCOW FORCES IN TALLINN. Humanitarian aid from the Federal Republic of Germany's Bundeswehr has been sent to the Joint Council of Work Collectives (JCWC), a front group for the Russian nationalist, pro-Soviet, anti-independence organization "Intermovment," Paevaleht reported on June 21. The German aid was intended for Leningrad (St. Petersburg), but on May 22, the central Soviet distribution agency "Prodintorg" ordered the goods to be sent to JCWC in Tallinn. This move is the latest indication that the Baltic Intermovments--which were implicated in the January crackdown on the Baltic states--appeared to be controlled by central authorities in Moscow. (Riina Kionka) AIDS ON THE RISE IN ESTONIA. There are 15 HIV-carriers in Estonia as of June 1, Paevaleht reported on June 21. This is up from 8 carriers reported last year by Eesti Arst ("Estonian Physician"). (RiinaKionka) POLLUTION CLOSES ESTONIA'S BEACHES. Although local authorities gave Estonia's beaches a clean bill of health earlier this spring, they have re-vised their prognosis for the summer swimming season. According to Estonia's chief public health physician, Paul Kroon, the water at Tallinn's Harku Lake and Stroomi beach, as well as the shore at Parnu, are too polluted by sewage to allow for safeswim-ming, Paevaleht reported on June 20. (Riina Kionka) LITHUANIANS AT GENEVA MINORITIES CONFERENCE. Lithuanian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valdemaras Katkus and head of the Nationalities Department Halina Kobeckaite flew to Geneva on July 1 for the Minorities Conference that will last until July 19, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Delegations from the three Baltic states are expected to participate as guests of other countries. The chief US delegate Max Kampelman told the opening session that the US and many others agree that a "Europe whole and free" cannot be realized until Baltic aspirations for independence are fulfilled. (Saulius Girnius) FOOD PRICE INCREASES PLANNED. Radio Independent Lithuania reported on July 1 that the Lithuanian government is planning to raise the prices of food because the cost of government purchases of food has increased and prices in Lithuania were lower than in the neighboring republics. Prices for meat would increase by about 56%, milk--25%, and bread--20%. It was estimated that the increases would raise the per capita cost of food by about 30 rubles per month. The government has not yet decided when the increases will go into effect, but the population will receive compensation payments to offset them. (Saulius Girnius) NORWAY TURNS DOWN REQUEST TO PRINT LITHUANIAN MONEY. Norway's central bank will not print Lithuanian currency, Western media re-ported July 1. Lithuania had requested that Norway print its new currency, the litas, meant to replace the Soviet ruble. Norwegian officials expressed doubts about the plan, saying that Soviet customs would probably not allow the import of Lithuanian banknotes. Where and when Lithuanian currency will be printed remains unclear--speaking in Washington last April, Lithuanian Economics Min-ister Vytautas Navickas said that an agreement had been reached to print the litas in the US, but no fur-ther action seems to have been taken. (Gytis Liulevicius) NEW BUSINESS JOURNAL IN LATVIA. The inaugural issue of Alter Ego appeared in Riga on July 1, TASS reported that day. The bi-monthly business journal, published in Latvian and Russian by the Latvian School of Business, deals with "secrets of success in business." Topics covered include labor management, conflict resolution techniques, and negotiating skills. Alter Ego also addresses "personal business" issues, such as learning foreign languages. In other business news, TASS also reported that former US Senator Gary Hart met with Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs on July 1. Hart considered the Baltic States ripe for American investment, especially in the area of infrastructure. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS NINE OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE CREATION OF NEW MOVEMENT. Nine leading political figures and officials--former Politburo members Eduard Shevardnadze and Aleksandr Yakovlev, former Gorbachev economic advisors Stanislav Shatalin and Nikolai Petrakov, RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev, the head of the USSR Scientific-Industrial Union Arkadii Vol'sky, and the mayors of Moscow and Leningrad, Gavriil Popov and Anatolii Sobchak, issued a formal statement on July 1 calling on all democratic and reformist forces in the USSR to unite. Russian TV reported July 1 that the authors of the statement announced plans to set up an organizational committee for the inaugural conference of the new democratic movement in opposition to the CPSU. The conference is to be held in September and is to decide whether a real opposition party is to be created. Nezavisimaya gazeta reported July 2 that the nine officials had in fact already signed a "declaration on forma-tion of a united democratic party of the USSR." (Vera Tolz) REACTION TO STATEMENT OF NINE. There are widespread rumors in Moscow that the new movement was created with the approval of USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, RFE/RL was told July 1. Meanwhile, the main democratic group in the RSFSR, Democratic Russia, was divided in its reaction to the event. Some of its more radical members felt that the new undertaking would be unworkable, because it is being formed at the all-Union level, Radio Rossii reported July 1. It was suggested that democratic organizations in the Ukraine, for instance, would not support it. The authors of the statement naturally were extremely enthusiastic about the prospects for a new movement (or party). In an interview with "TSN" on July 1, Shevardnadze called the statement a "landmark" in the country's history. (Vera Tolz) SHEVARDNADZE REFUSES TO ATTEND DISCIPLINARY MEETING. Shevardnadze refused to appear before the CPSU Central Control Commission which had called a July 1 meeting to discuss possible disciplinary actions against the former foreign minister in connection with his call for the creation of a new opposition party. Western agencies said CPSU press officials could not confirm whether the meeting went ahead in Shevardnadze's absence. (Vera Tolz) SHCHERBAKOV WARNS OF MARKET IMPACT. USSR First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov elaborated on Prime Minister Valetin Pavlov's three-option scenario in an interview with Radio Mayak on June 28. The first "do-nothing" course will lead to a drop of about 17% in national income in 1991. The second course of action, the Pavlovian anti-crisis program, should result in an upswing by the end of the year. But the consequence of the third option--a rapid transition to the market--would, in his view, be apocalyptic, with a 20-fold increase in retail prices together with a 10-fold increase in incomes. Shcherbakov noted that the RSFSR and Ukraine had not formally signed the anticrisis program. (Keith Bush) DENATIONALIZATION LAW PASSED. On July 1, the USSR Supreme Soviet approved 303 to 14, with 26 abstentions, the new law on denationalization, Radio Moscow reported that day. (On June 28, the legislative body had approved a partial bill on privatization "in principle"). Potentially, it represents a profound step in the direction of the market, but it does not spell out details of implementation, it exempts unspecified enterprises from denationalization, and not all of its provisions are compatible with those already approved by several republican parliaments. From those few details reported, it would seem that the law does not go as far in the direction of private ownership as has been advocated by reformers such as Stanislav Shatalin and Grigorii Yavlinsky. (Keith Bush) OIL OUTPUT SLUMP CONTINUES. A Goskomstat official noted that oil output in January--May this year was 220.5 million tons, i.e., 9%, down on the same period in 1990, Western agencies reported July 1. The director of the USSR Academy of Sciences' Oil and Gas Institute, Anatolii Dmitrievsky, told Interfax July 1 that oil output in 1991 would not exceed 528 million tons (compared with 570 million tons in 1990). Dmitrievsky said that up to one-sixth of all oil wells were idle because of shortages of pumps or compressor pipes, and declared: "The Soviet Union cannot go it alone without foreign investment to modernize its gas and oil industry." (Keith Bush) REFUGEES IN THE USSR. On June 1, MVD records showed 676,000 internal refugees in the USSR, but other information suggested a total of over a million, Izvestia reported June 28. Novosti on June27 said only 36,000 Russian-speakers, mainly from Armenia and Azerbaijan, were officially registered as refugees, but suggested the total could be over 300,000 if the Russians who have left Central Asia, the Baltic republics, and Moldavia in the last eighteen months were taken into account. Stavropol' krai, which has been suffering from an influx of refugees, including Meskhetians, has appealed to the RSFSR government for permission to control the flow. (Ann Sheehy) MASS MEDIA CENSORSHIP ADMINISTRATION CLOSES. The Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Mass Media (The USSR GUOT) ceased to exist as of July 1, Radio Mayak reported that day. Its functions have been transferred to the newly created USSR Ministry of Information. Former censors received their severance pay, the radio reported, but will continue to fulfill their duties on a "voluntary basis" because a minister has not been appointed, and there is no one working in the newly created ministry yet, the radio explained. The GUOT was created last year on the basis of the censorship body "the GLAVLIT, which existed since the 1920s." There were complains that the existence of the GUOT/GLAVLIT violated the press law that forbids censorship of the mass media (see Moscow News No. 22). (Vera Tolz) SUPREME SOVIET DEFENDS EAST BLOC HAS-BEENS. The USSR Supreme Soviet passed a declaration on July 1 urging East European parliaments to defend former leaders, party functionaries, and officers of "law enforcement organizations" against persecution. "The open harassment of people simply because they fulfilled their constitutional duty and alliance obligations in the past is a direct infraction of human rights," and "deputies...believe that the striving of certain political circles to intensify the persecution of their own citizens because of differing political views or party membership runs counter to the norms of civilized society," TASS quoted the statement as saying on July 1. (Suzanne Crow) PRIMAKOV TO TOKYO. Presidential aid Evgenii Primakov will be in Tokyo July 4-8 to present to Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and other leaders a preview of Gorbachev's economic plan, Kyodo reported July 1. (The plan will be officially revealed at the end of the G-7 summit.) Primakov served as Gorbachev's advance-man in Japan in February 1991, when he held talks with Japanese leaders in preparation for Gorbachev's April 1991 visit, which ended with Japan's insistence that substantial Japanese aid to the USSR would be offered only after the settlement of the Kurile Islands dispute. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET ENTREPRENEURS TO APPROACH THATCHER. Pavel Bunich, president of the USSR Union of Leaseholders and Entrepreneurs, told a news conference in London that the Union intends to ask former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to be the patron of a proposed congress of Soviet and East European businessmen to be held in September, an RFE/RL correspondent reported July 1. Some 15,000 enterprises belong to the Union, which is trying to establish links between Soviet and other entrepreneurs. The Union plans to ask the European Bank for Redevelopment and Construction to be a patron as well. (Dawn Mann) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS SHAKHRAI ON DRAFT UNION TREATY. Sergei Shakhrai, chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's Legislation Committee, said on Russian television on June 29 that the latest draft of the Union treaty was unacceptable in its present form for two main reasons. The first was that it provided a legal basis for the disintegration of the RSFSR (Shakhrai cited articles 1, 2, 3, and11), and the second that under its terms it would be Union bodies that would exercise the joint powers of the Union and the republics. His solution to the first question was that the treaty should recognize that the RSFSR is a complex state, i.e., without its republics the RSFSR was not part of the USSR, and equally the republics in the RSFSR did not belong to the USSR without the RSFSR. (Ann Sheehy) KRAVCHUK ON UNION TREATY. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk, who is currently visiting Kharkov, once again affirmed his opposition to any Union treaty if it conflicts with the republic's declaration on state sovereignty, Radio Kiev reported July 1. "If we want to join the Union," Kravchuk told a crowd in Kharkov, "we have to know what kind of a Union it is, what rights it gives us, what is positive about it and what is negative, [and] whether it corresponds to the interests of the people, our declaration, and our society." (Roman Solchanyk) BELORUSSIAN PREMIER ACCUSES USSR CABINET. Belorussian premier Vyacheslav Kebich has protested strongly against the USSR Cabinet of Ministers' decree of June 15 "On organizational measures to draw up production programs and prognoses of social-economic development of enterprises, regions, republics, and the USSR for 1992 in conditions of the formation of the market," Novosti reported June 21. Kebich said there was not a single point in the decree that did not impinge on Belorussia's economic independence. In order to frustrate the designs of the Union cabinet, Kebich asked the Belorussian Supreme Soviet to adopt a decree transferring all enterprises of Union subordination on Belorussian territory to Belorussian jurisdiction, which the Belorussian parliament did on June 27, TASS reported the same day. (Ann Sheehy) SILAEV ALSO UP IN ARMS OVER DECREE. On June 28 the RSFSR Council of Ministers adopted a resolution in which it said that the decree violated the state sovereignty of the RSFSR, took absolutely no account of the draft Union treaty, and had been taken without consultation with the republics, the Soviet media reported the same day. RSFSR premier Ivan Silaev told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet that the RSFSR government was refusing to implement the decree, an action supported by the Supreme Soviet. According to Silaev, the decree in effect deprives the republics of the autonomy in foreign economic activity introduced June 1, and imposes a hidden form of taxation on enterprises that would deprive the RSFSR budget of 73 billion rubles. (Ann Sheehy) BELORUSSIAN CP ENDORSES 20TH PARTY CONFERENCE. As reported July 1 by Radio Moscow, a plenum of the Central Committee of the Belorussian CP has come out in favor of convening a 20th CPSU conference at the end of this year. The Belorussian Communists complained that leadership of the CPSU and Soviet government is in the hands of "a narrow circle of people who are ignoring the Constitution and laws of the USSR," and further asserted that developments today have nothing in common with the perestroika launched in 1985. (Kathy Mihalisko) NAZARBAEV ASKS COMMUNISTS TO REJECT CONSERVATIVES IN PARTY. Nursultan Nazarbaev, president of Kazakhstan and first secretary of the republican Communist party, has appealed to Party members in the republic to show that the first concern of the Party is the well-being of the people and to disassociate themselves from those Party members who conceal their desire for unlimited power behind a supposedly ardent attachment to "the socialist choice," Russian TV reported June 28. (Ann Sheehy) UKRAINIAN COUPON SYSTEM ABOLISHED. Effective July 1, the special coupons that Ukrainian workers had been receiving as part of their pay for the past nine months were cancelled, Ukrinform-TASS reported that day. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin said the coupons had helped to stabilize the republican economy but that it was now time to move on to other means of protecting the internal Ukrainian market. He expressed the hope that in 2-3 months these news means would be in place. In Odessa, the regional council has decided to continue on with coupons until September 1 in order to protect local residents from buying sprees by ""outsiders." (Dawn Mann) INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT. At the international conference in Kishinev on "The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its Consequences for Moldavia," V.A. Alexandrov of the CPSU CC International Relations Department presented Moscow's official position. Citing the December 1989 repudiation of the pact and of its secret annexes by the USSR Congress of People's Deputies, Alexandrov--who had been the secretary of the Congress' ad-hoc commission to assess the pact--argued that the accession of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to the USSR was a result not of the pact but of subsequent events and was valid under international law. He further argued that the present status of the territories was determined by the USSR constitution and the constitutions of Moldavia and the Ukraine, Moldovapres reported June 28. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN LEADER ON INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. At an official meeting in Kishinev with John Finerty, a staff member of the US Congress Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur was cited by Moldovapres June 29 as urging the USA and Western nations in general to "be realistic and engage in direct contacts" with independence-seeking republics. Snegur added that Moldavia and other republics had "next to no chance" of receiving Western aid if the aid was channeled through the central government. Moldavian parliament chairman Alexandru Mosanu in his turn told a press conference in Kishinev of Moldavia's disappointment with the lack of response from the UN and from Western parliaments to Moldavia's attempts to establish direct contacts. "They fear lest they damage their relations with the center," Mosanu was quoted by Moldovapres July 1 as saying. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN RALLY MOURNS SOVIET ANNEX-ATION. On June 28, a mass rally of mourning was held in central Kishinev to commemorate the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina on June 28, 1940. The rally opened with a Te Deum in Kishinev's cathedral and closed with a silent candle-lit procession. Speakers representing a broad range of political movements and organizations called for Moldavian independence from the USSR through referendum, Moldovapres reported. Mircea Druc, a leader of the Popular Front and until recently Prime Minister, predicted in his speech that the USSR and the USA will jointly open the way for the independence of the Baltic and other republics. (Vladimir Socor) FIRST CONGRESS OF REPRESSED PEOPLES OPENS. The first congress of repressed peoples opened in Moscow July 1, TASS reported the same day. It was called on the initiative of the confederation of repressed peoples of the RSFSR. Delegates intend to draw up proposals on a just solution of their problems, which they will send to the supreme soviets of the USSR, RSFSR, and other republics with the demand that they be taken into account in signing the new Union treaty. The congress is being attended by representatives of the Union and Russian governments, various parties, and social and religious organizations. (Ann Sheehy) CONGRESS OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE KARELIAN PEOPLE. A two-day congress of representatives of the Karelian people took place in Olonets June 28 and 29, Moscow radio reported. The main topic was the survival of the Karelian people, which is threatened with extinction. The number of Karelians in the USSR declined from 167,300 in 1959 to 130,900 in 1989, and Karelians now account for only 10% of the population of the Karelian republic. (Ann Sheehy) MEETING OF FORMER CAMP INMATES IN DZHEZKAZGAN. Former camp inmates who took part in the 1954 Kengir revolt, the largest revolt of political prisoners in the history of the GULAG, met in Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan on June 28, TASS reported. They complained that the process of rehabilitation of the repressed still encountered bureaucratic obstacles and that the compensation offered was far from commensurate with the material and moral losses they suffered. The participants sent an open letter to the presidents and supreme soviets of the USSR, RSFSR, and Kazakhstan suggesting that the laws on privatization should contain provision for compensation for the forced labor of the former GULAG inmates to repay fully the debt they are owed. (Ann Sheehy) CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF FAMINE. . . Azerbaijan's Assa-Irada news agency reported June 29 that the number of homeless dogs in Baku could soon equal the city's human population of two million, as increasing food shortages were forcing dog owners to turn their pets loose on the street. Packs of feral dogs already pose a threat to human life and recently attacked a seven-year-old boy. The municipal dog-catchers are hampered in their task of rounding up strays by a shortage of gas-oline for their jeeps. (Liz Fuller [As of 1300 CET]
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