|In the effort to give good and comforting answers to the young questioners whom we love, we very often arrive at good and comforting answers for ourselves. - Ruth Goode|
No. 125, 03 July 1991
BALTIC STATES PRINCIPLES OF BALTIC-USSR ECONOMIC COOPERATION. On June 28 the Baltic Council adopted the "Coordinated principles of Economic Relations with the USSR." The seven-point document states that all enterprises--regardless of previous jurisdiction--in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have to abide by the respective Baltic laws. The document notes that during the transition period to independence, Baltic customs services will apply USSR customs regulations on Soviet goods being transported through Baltic territory, and the exchange of goods between the USSR and the Baltics will be based on mutual benefit and general principles of free trade. The Council also condemned OMON violence in Vilnius on June 27, Diena reported on July 1. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC-USSR TRADE UNION ACCORD. Diena of July 1 reported that over the weekend leaders of the free labor union associations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania met with leaders of the USSR Confederation of Trade Unions. Principles of future cooperation were formulated. The participants also agreed that the property of the Baltic labor unions would be used for the social welfare of the people of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This means that the USSR organization has recognized that the trade union properties in the Baltics belong to the Baltic organizations. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTS AT GENEVA MINORITIES CONFERENCE. Max Kampelman, the head of the US delegation to the Geneva Minorities Conference, said that the Baltic delegations would be guests of various coun-tries on a rotational weekly basis, according to Tomas Remeikis, a member of the US delegation and the Vice-President of the Lithuanian American Community (VOA Lithuanian Service, July 2). Kampelman said that the Scandinavian countries would host the Balts the first week, and the US would host one of the Baltic delegations for one week. In their introductory remarks on July 1, the US, Malta, and Iceland noted that the Balts should be members of the CSCE process. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC-DANISH AGRICULTURAL COOPERATION. Agricultural ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Denmark signed an agreement on agricultural cooperation in Riga July 2, TASS reported that day. The document clears the way for cooperation on several levels: economic, scientific, and technical exchanges, joint ventures, barter, and cooperative agricultural production. For effective realization of the agreement, the ministers decided to draft more specific treaties between Denmark and the individual Baltic States. The Latvian Ministry of Agriculture has already concluded such an agreement. (Gytis Liulevicius) MORE CRITICISM OF OMON VILNIUS OPERATION. Last week's OMON seizure of the Vilnius telephone exchange came under more fire as the USSR Interior Ministry investigated the perpetrators. According to Izvestia July 2, the head of the Interior Ministry's Administration for Public Order, Major General Eduard Kalachev, met with the OMON leaders responsible for the attack. It became clear that the operation against the telephone exchange was unsanctioned, Kalachev said. The OMON leaders were warned that disciplinary action, including dismissal, would be taken against them if unsanctioned attacks were to continue. Kalachev said he was "staggered" by the OMON's political immaturity. (Gytis Liulevicius) VAGNORIUS SENDS TELEGRAM TO SOVIET LEADERS. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius sent a telegram on July 2 to USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, and Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev, Radio Vilnius reported that day. "The economic situation in the Soviet Union and the Republic of Lithuania is on the brink of a catastrophe," Vagnorius warned, citing political instability as aggravating the problem. The telegram expresses hope that the USSR will agree to the proposed bilateral treaty on trade and economic cooperation for 1991 and 1992 as a step in normalizing relations between the two countries. According to Vagnorius, "the complex situation demands that both sides refrain from hasty decisions which would complicate matters for the other side." (Gytis Liulevicius) POLISH RADIO BEGINS LITHUANIAN-LANGUAGE BROADCASTS. The Polish press agency PAP reported July 2 that the half-hour daily broadcasts will include world and Polish news, and commentary and reports on Polish-Lithuanian ties and Poland's Lithuanian minority. The announcement was an-other sign of increasingly friendly relations between Poland and Lithuania, which have been closely linked for centuries. Although Poland has not for-mally recognized Lithuanian independence, Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski said recently that the aspirations of Lithuania and other Baltic re-publics "enjoy Polish support." (Christopher Wellisz) USSR POSTPONES SECOND ROUND OF LATVIAN-USSR CONSULTATIONS. Aris Jansons, press officer of the Latvian representation in Moscow, told RFE/RL's Latvian Service today that the second round of consultations between Latvia and the USSR, scheduled for July 4 and 5 in Moscow, have been postponed at the request of the Soviet delegation. The Soviet side indicated that it wanted to coordinate its stance with the Soviet delegations holding consultations with Estonia and Lithuania, and confer with USSR leaders on the Baltic issues. Jansons indicated that the second round may be held in Moscow next week. (Dzintra Bungs) NEW CHAIRMAN OF LATVIAN CITIZENS CONGRESS. On June 29 the Citizens Congress convened in Riga for its sixth session and elected Maris Grinblats as the new chairman of the Committee of Latvia, its executive body. According to Diena July 1, former chairman Aigars Jirgens was elected deputy chairman. Grinblats told the press that while the basic policies of the organization--defending the rights of the citizens of the independent Republic of Latvia, and the principle that only the citizens of the independent Republic of Latvia have the right to determine the future of Latvia--would not change, he envisaged cooperation with the present Supreme Council, which was elected by the citizens of the Latvian SSR. Grinblats is considered to hold more moderate views than his predecessor. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS THE ECONOMY AT MID-YEAR. Representatives from all of the union-republics and autonomous republics attended a one-day economic development conference in Moscow July 2. The event was widely covered by Radio Moscow, CTV, and Interfax of that date. USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov repeated his recent assessments that the slump is stabilizing, with the national income down 11% on mid-1990. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev identified the three most critical areas as: foodstuffs--with the 1991 grain harvest now put at 180-190 million tons; the fuel and power complex; and finances--with a growing external debt and a budget deficit way above the planned level. (Keith Bush) THE WAY AHEAD? Pavlov again offered the choice of three options out of the present crisis: ano-change variant; his anticrisis program; or a rapid transition to the market. Gorbachev warned the assembly that they were all in the soup together and that no one republic could manage to extricate itself on its own. On the eve of the G-7 meeting, he reminded them, no Western nation would have any dealings with them if the stability and unity of the "single economic area" were not restored. (KeithBush) NAZARBAEV: THE SEVEN WILL NOT SUBSIDIZE INDIVIDUAL REPUBLICS. In an interview published in Izvestia July 2, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev said the most important thing today is the Union treaty. The republics could not enter the market without the Union, he argued, because no "Group of Seven" would subsidize individual republics. He added that leaders who really wished their people well should give up politicking and occupy themselves with the economy. This is not the first time that Nazarbaev has expressed concern at delay in signing the Union treaty. (Ann Sheehy) UNION TREATY AND UNION PROPERTY. In an interview in the issue of Pravitel'stvennyi vestnik published July 2, Igor' Tsyganenko, first deputy head of the legal department of the USSR cabinet of ministers, complains that the latest draft of the Union treaty does not recognize the existence of Union property. He argues that unless the Union owns property it will have no credibility on the world market or as a partner in international agreements. It is the Union that will have to guarantee the convertibility of the ruble and bear responsibility for the non-fulfilment of international agreements. (Ann Sheehy) "DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA" ON THE UNION TREATY. A draft adopted by a conference of the council of representatives of "Democratic Russia" notes with the concern that the 9 + 1 agreement set no date for the replacement of the unpopular Pavlov cabinet, Novosti reported July 2. The conference participants also objected to the reference in the draft Union treaty to special courts in the armed forces, and the fact that the draft treaty does not spell out how a republic can secede. They supported Yeltsin's opposition to federal taxes, and said the old USSR Congress of People's Deputies had no right to adopt the constitution of the new state.(Ann Sheehy) IZVESTIA PUBLISHES EXCERPTS FROM STATEMENT OF NINE. More details are now known about the July 1 statement of nine prominent Soviet reformers, including Aleksandr Yakovlev and Eduard Shevardnadze, which called on democratic and reform-oriented forces throughout the USSR to unite and announced the creation of a new, all-Union "Movement for Democratic Reform." On July 3, Izvestia published excerpts from the statement which calls for a return to Soviet citizens of that which "has been taken away from them." Among these are land to the peasants. The statement also emphasized the need for privatization of Soviet economy and demilitarization of the economy and society. (Vera Tolz) REACTIONS TO THE STATEMENT. Izvestia also published an article by Yakovlev, who said the USSR must urgently create an effective multi-party parliamentary system, because unless the USSR moves ahead with major reforms, it will retreat into dictatorship and violence. He criticized the CPSU for not keeping up with the pace of reforms. Presidential spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko said Gorbachev considers the creation of the new movement to be a "positive step," Western agencies reported July 3. The agencies also quoted Shevardnadze as saying he hopes a real party will be created on the basis of the movement in September. Leningrad mayor Anatolii Sobchak told reporters that the movement hopes to force a meeting of the CPSU Central Committee at which hardliners will be expelled from the Party. (Vera Tolz) "NOVOE VREMYA" CALLS FOR RETIREMENT OF KGB CHAIRMAN. USSR KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov must either retire voluntarily or be dismissed by Gorbachev, Novoe Vremya (No.26) argues. Referring to Kryuchkov's statements in the USSR Supreme Soviet last week, when Kryuchkov accused the West of masterminding of the economic destabilization of the USSR, the weekly claimed that such statements could undermine Gorbachev's position at the upcoming G-7 meeting. Criticism of the KGB and of Kryuchkov has intensified in the past two weeks, after a noticeable reduction in the first half of the year. (Victor Yasmann) TOP KGB OFFICER SPEAKS OUT. A top KGB officer, writing under the pen name Vyacheslav Artemov in Moskovskie novosti No. 25, has said the publications of former KGB officers and journalists about the present role of the KGB suffer from superficiality or are pursuing political aims. In particular, he rebuffed the notion that the KGB played a major role in the preparation of perestroika. He also noted that the KGB does not have a monopoly on information and cannot, therefore, disinform the USSR President or manipulate him. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the military intelligence bodies, the USSR Academy of Sciences, TASS, and the Ministry of Foreign Economic Ties as well as other party and government sources contribute to the information flow to the top political leadership. (Victor Yasmann) NEW FIRST DEPUTY CHIEF EDITOR FOR IZVESTIA. On June 28, Interfax quoted Ivan Laptev, former chief editor of Izvestia and currently the head of the USSR Supreme Soviet Council of the Union, as saying that parliamentary chairman Anatolii Luk'yanov had personally appointed Dmitrii Mamleev, deputy head of the USSR State Committee on the Press, as first deputy chief editor of Izvestia, in violation of the law on the press. Laptev said the appointment could only have been made by the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, which is the newspaper's founder. Mamleev replaces Igor' Golembiovsky, who was very popular with the newspaper's editorial staff: since February, they had been campaigning to have Golembiovsky appointed chief editor. (Vera Tolz) VLADIMIR MOLCHANOV LEAVES CENTRAL TELEVISION. Many popular TV moderators and commentators have left Central Soviet Tv this year to protest against attempts by Leonid Kravchenko, the head of Soviet TV, to reimpose political censorship. The latest one to quit is Vladimir Molchanov, Radio Rossii reported June 30. Since 1987, Molchanov has moderated "Do i posle polunochi" ("Before and After Midnight"), which has been one of the most popular political TV shows. On June 30, it was broadcast for the last time. Radio Rossii reported that when Molchanov informed the leader-ship of Central Television about his intention toleave, no attempt was made to dissuade him. (Vera Tolz) LIBERAL-CONSERVATIVE UNION TO BE FOUNDED. TASS reported July 2 that the founding congress of the Liberal-Conservative Union will be held at the end of September. The initiative for the union comes from Garry Kasparov and Arkadii Murashov, both of whom left the Democratic Party of Russia in April. The Union will have a "traditional conservative orientation in the spirit of Thatcherism." The Union already claims supporters in 80 cities across the RSFSR. An organizing committee, rules, and a program will be drawn up in August; the final name of the new party will be determined at the congress. (Dawn Mann) FIRST DUKHOBOR CONGRESS. The London Times July 2 carries a report from Tselina (near Rostov-on-Don) on the first congress of the Dukhobors, a religious denomination heavily persecuted under the tsars and by the Soviet authorities. More than 300 people attended the congress, which has reunited long-separated families and friends. A Soviet journalist was quoted as saying that the Dukhobors have asked for permission for establish communes in the area but local collective farmers have objected because they can make more money by renting land to Georgian and Armenian melon growers. (Oxana Antic) PATRIARCH URGES MORAL FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC REFORM. TASS reported on June 28 that Patriarch Aleksii II has issued an appeal in connection with the Day of Soviet Youth. The Patriarch warned that life will be more difficult than before since "the burden of freedom is heavy." The Patriarch also noted that in Western Europe, the market economy was built on strong Protestant and Catholic moral foundations. The former provided moral and religious guidance to economic activity, and the latter reminded man that he was, above all, a child of God. The Patriarch said the Russian Orthodox Church is prepared to supply moral guidelines, too, but questioned whether many people were ready to listen. (Oxana Antic) SOVIETS REMOVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FROM GERMANY? The Bild Zeitung said on June 2 that Soviet troops have sped up the removal of an estimated 300 nuclear weapons from former East Germany, AP reported. On June 13 Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertynkh admitted that the Soviet Union still had nuclear weapons in former East Germany, but said that they would be removed rapidly. Bild Zeitung reported that the weapons were being withdrawn under KGB supervision on special, lead-lined Soviet railway cars. ADN, meanwhile, reported on June 2 that there had been "no official talks" between the Soviets and the Germans on removing the weapons, nor had the Soviets requested special transport facilities. (Stephen Foye) HOUSING FOR GENERALS IN MOSCOW. The Defense Ministry has long abused its right to house officers in much sought-after apartments in Moscow, the chairman of a Moscow city council sub-committee for housing claimed in Argumenty and fakty (No. 21). He said that from 1969 to 1985 the Ministry of Defense received some 37,000 apartments in Moscow. In addition, he said, the MOD commonly transfers senior officers to Moscow just prior to retirement, so that they have the right--without waiting in line--to housing in the city when they leave the service. Generals, the official said, do particularly well; in 1988-1989 over 300 of them received "enormous" apartments. (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 disturbed by deteriorating production in the military industrial 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 production. With respect to space-based industries, Kurin encouraged production of "dual use" items with civilian and military application. (Stephen Foye) YUGO CRISIS "CLOSE TO HEART." Soviet presidential spokesman, Vitalii Ignatenko said at a briefing on July 2, the situation in Yugoslavia is "close to the Soviet Union's heart," TASS reported that day. Commenting on the election of Stipe Mesic to the post of Yugoslav president, Ignatenko expressed the hope that it would help attain stabilization in the country. "The Soviet Union is prepared for the dynamic development of relations with Yugoslavia and giving Yugoslavia maximum friendly support," Ignatenko concluded. (Suzanne Crow) PRESIDENTS AND PREMIERS COME TO CALL. Over the next month the Soviet Union will receive four Western leaders: Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari arrives on July 3, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl will start a two-day visit on July 5, Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez will visit the USSR from July 8-9, and Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis will make a trip to the USSR toward the end of July, TASS reported July 2 and 3. These visits are likely to yield pledges for support for Gorbachev's attempts to reform the Soviet system in the hope of helping Gorbachev to remain in office. (Suzanne Crow) KOMPLEKTOV OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SUMMIT AND START. Soviet Ambassador to the United States Viktor Komplektov expressed optimism in an interview with the Washington Post (July 3) that a US-Soviet agreement on strategic arms would be signed at a summit in late July or early August. "To delay . . . would be a rather unpleasant thing," Komplektov said. Bush and Gorbachev are scheduled to meet on July 17 at the end of the G-7 summit. Since the postponement of the US-Soviet summit (originally scheduled for February and then informally set for the first half of 1991) the USSR has been eager to formalize plans for meeting. (Suzanne Crow) CASTRO SAYS CUBA GETS NOTHING FROM USSR. Cuban President Fidel Castro said in a speech to chemical and mining engineers on July 2 that Cuba received no raw materials from the Soviet Union during the first five months of 1991. Cuba also has not received spare parts for its Soviet-made automobiles and agricultural machinery, Castrosaid. Moscow has honored its promise to ship 10 million barrels of crude oil for the year, but that amount is 30% lower than previous levels. (Suzanne Crow) IRAQI AMBASSADOR HAILS USSR. In an June 18 interview with Sovetskaya Rossiya, Iraq's ambassador to the USSR said "Iraq has long-standing and developed relations with the Soviet Union on all governmental and societal levels. Now we truly wish to continue and expand these relations for the sake of the peoples of both our friendly countries. The Iraqi people will never forget the noble feelings and principled position of sons of the Soviet people during the time of crisis." The ambassador's reference to the "sons of the Soviet people" is unclear, but could refer to the Soviet advisors who remained in Iraq voluntarily after the outbreak of hostilities. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS NEW LENINGRAD CITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN. After three unsuccessful rounds of voting, the Leningrad city council finally elected Aleksandr Belaev, 38, and the former chairman of the council finance and budget commission, as chairman of the city council, TASS reported July 2. (Dawn Mann) "STALIN" MOVEMENT IN MAKHACHKALA. The "Stalin" movement, which was recently registered by the Dagestan Ministry of Justice, has over 1,200 members, according to its leader, the director of the Makhachkala Association of Railway Restaurants, Novosti reported July 2. The leaders of the movement have accepted an invitation signed by Nina Andreeva to take part in the all-Union conference of supporters of the Bolshevik platform in the CPSU scheduled to take place in Minsk July 13-14. (Ann Sheehy) NAZARBAEV PLANNING TO VISIT CHINA. Novosti reported July 2 that Nazarbaev was planning to visit China in the first half of July to promote business between Kazakhstan and adjacent areas of China. He also wants to talk about establishing an airline to link Alma-Ata with eastern and south-eastern Asia. He is scheduled to visit Beijing and meet with Chinese Communist party leaders as well. (Ann Sheehy)
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