|There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene|
No. 127, 08 July 1991
BALTIC STATES MORE ON TALLINN-MOSCOW TALKS. Recent reports on the stillborn meeting between the Estonian and Soviet negotiating teams on June 27 suggest that the meeting went much more poorly than participants initially indicated. According to Estonia's chief negotiator Ulo Nugis, interviewed on June 27 by Estonian Radio, Minister Without Portfolio responsible for relations with the East Endel Lippmaa was not given the floor at all. "This was quite unprecedented," Nugis said. (Riina Kionka) WHO REPRESENTS ESTONIA IN THE CPSU? The latest reports from the CPSU indicate that Enn-Arno Sillari, First Secretary of the independent ECP, still sits on the CPSU CC Politburo. Rahva Haal reported on July 6 that both Sillari and Lembit Annus, head of the ECP (CPSU platform), attended the Politburo meeting in Moscow last week. Earlier reports indicated that the ECP (CPSU platform) had disapproved of Sillari's Politburo status last January, and that the Moscow body had removed him. The Rahva Haal report indicates that the relationship between Estonia's two Communist parties, not to mention their tie to headquarters in Moscow, is still unclear. (Riina Kionka) NEW LITHUANIAN HOLIDAY CELEBRATED. On July 6 Lithuania for the first time celebrated the Day of Statehood, a new holiday commemorating the anniversary of the coronation of Mindaugas as King of Lithuania in 1253, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. A commemorative Mass was celebrated by Bishop of Vilnius Juozas Tunaitis in the Vilnius Cathedral and other commemorations were held throughout the republic. One reason for the holiday was to remind people that Lithuania had joined Western Europe more than 700 years ago. (Saulius Girnius) CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC DELEGATION IN LITHUANIA. Representatives of European Christian Democratic parliamentarians arrived in Vilnius on July 7, Radio Independent Lithuania reported July 8. The Lithuanian Supreme Council invited the group of Dutch, German, and Italian Christian Democrats for a series of meetings with parliament deputies and government ministers. Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis met the delegation on July 7. Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius and Economics Minister Albertas Simenas will receive the delegation today. The group will also meet Lithuanian Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius, and discuss minority issues with the Parliamentary Commission on Civil Rights and National Minorities before departing July 10. (Gytis Liulevicius) LETTER DEFENDS OMON. A letter written by the information center of the Union of Servicemen in the Baltic military district defended the ongoing OMON actions in Lithuania and accused Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev of "doublethink" regarding the operations, Central TV reported July 6. "The Lithuanian OMON was carrying out the presidential order of July 25, 1990 on the seizure of illegally stored weapons." In an ominous tone, the letter complained that "this operation was not carried out to its logical conclusion, in a large part thanks to the doublesided policy of the USSR Interior Ministry." According to the letter, Gorbachev's recently ordered investigation of the OMON following its seizure of the Vilnius telephone exchange raised tension both among the OMON and in Lithuania at large. (Gytis Liulevicius) ANOTHER CUSTOMS POST ATTACKED IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported that earlier today (July 8) "armed bandits" attacked the customs post at the Riga airport. The unidentified attackers ransacked the office, seized documents, and took with them confiscated goods. (Dzintra Bungs) SPRING CALL-UP IN BALTIC A FAILURE. The Soviet military's spring draft brought out only 7.3%, 10.9% and 4.7% of the conscripts expected from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, down from 24.5%, 25.3% and 12.5%, respectively, last autumn. The sharp drop in compliance has fueled speculation that central authorities may once again try to "enforce the draft" as they did last January. Baltfax reported the compliance figures on June28. (Riina Kionka) BRZEZINSKI IN LATVIA AND ESTONIA. Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told LETA on July 4 in Riga that independence of the Baltic republics must become a key issue to further security stabilization and improved relations between the East and the West. He added: "Western economic aid to the USSR is the most direct result of the changes in the USSR. A peaceful resolution to the Baltic question must occur soon. This in turn will open the door for Russia to participate as a European member and establish normal relations with the West." Brzezinski also met with top Latvian government officials. On July 5, he attended an economic conference in Tallinn and met with Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, reported Rahva Haal that day. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS CPSU REACTION TO DEMOCRATIC REFORM MOVEMENT. The CPSU CC issued a statement July 5 on the creation by nine leading Soviet officials of the "Movement for Democratic Reform." TASS quoted the statement as saying the Party does not rule out cooperation with the movement, provided its proclaimed goals are matched by "practical deeds." The statement said several public movements had claimed to support perestroika, but "had fallen back on their stated goals." Meanwhile, Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya (July 5) criticized the founders of the movement. Pravda's first deputy chief editor and CPSU CC member Gennadii Seleznev expressed doubts about the founders' sincerity and their ability to reach their stated goals. The RSFSR CP daily, Sovetskaya Rossiya, said the Communist Party will have to pay for many years for actions by the movement's founders. (Vera Tolz) FURTHER REACTIONS. On July 5, the RSFSR's major opposition group, Democratic Russia, said it is open to cooperation with the Movement for Democratic Reforms, but considers it "inexpedient" to participate in the movement's organizational committee. Democratic Russia leader Yurii Afanas'ev expressed some concern that his organization and the new movement could become rivals, TASS reported. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev reacted positively to the movement, saying he agreed with the movement's humanistic goals, Radio Moscow said July 5. In contrast, an Uzbek opposition leader said he was skeptical about the movement. Muhammad Salih, chairman of the "Erk Democratic Party" and an Uzbek Supreme Sovietdeputy, told RFE/RL July 5 hedoes not particularly trust the new organization because it is mostly made up of "old Communists" and ad-vocates the preservation of the Union. (Vera Tolz) SHEVARDNADZE ON NEW MOVEMENT. A founder of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, Eduard Shevardnadze, told the latest issue of New Times that he hoped the movement will act as a "constructive opposition" to the current Soviet government. In a separate interview with Komsomol'skaya pravda (July 5), Shevardnadze, who just quit the CPSU, said he did not urge anyone else to leave the Party, but he hoped "for mass entries into the ranks of the new movement." The same day, commenting in The Los Angeles Times on the creation of the movement and Shevardnadze's break with the Party, chief editor of Literaturnaya gazeta Fedor Burlatsky said Shevardnadze's move could lead many others to follow suit. Meanwhile, talking briefly to reporters on July 5, Shevardnadze said he doubted that Gorbachev will join him in quitting the CPSU. Shevardnadze was also quoted by Western agencies as saying that he doubted that Gorbachev will join the new movement. He said that Gorbachev will probably continue to "strive to reform the CP." (Vera Tolz) NPS SUPPORTS MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS. Aleksandr Vladislavlev, chairman of the executive committee of the Soviet employer's association, the Scientific-Industrial Union (NPS), was quoted by Interfax July 2 as saying the NPS supports "all democratic forces, including the Movement for Democratic Reforms." While this is not surprising in view of the fact that NPS president Arkadii Vol'sky is one of the nine founders of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, it is significant in that the NPS claims to represent enterprises responsible for 65% of the Soviet Union's production, including a large number of defense plants. In the same interview, Vladislavlev reiterated the NPS's determination to remain a lobbying group and not to turn into a political party. (Elizabeth Teague) GORBACHEV SUPPORTS CREATION OF "ENTREPRENEURIAL COUNCIL." NPS official Vladislavlev was quoted by Radio Moscow July 1 as saying Gorbachev has given his approval to the proposal, voiced by Leonid Abalkin at an NPS conference two weeks ago, that a "Council for Entre-preneurship" be created to advise the USSR President. Vladislavlev said the NPS will play a major role in the creation of the new body. (Elizabeth Teague) NEW MARXIST PARTY AGAINST MARKET ECONOMY. Radio Moscow reported July 2 on the creation of the Marxist Workers' Party with an undisclosed number of members in 120 Soviet cities. 80% of the members are young industrial workers. The party calls for the setting up of workers' committees at all enterprises and for workers to run the plants as owners. This demand for workers' self-management aligns the new party with the Union of Work Collectives (STK) set up in December 1990, which also advocates self-management and worker ownership. However, the Marxist Workers' Party opposes the introduction of a market economy, which it says will lead the USSR to capitalist dictatorship, whereas the STK supports market reforms and opposes privatization of state property only if it leads to the enrichment of the old nomenklatura at the expense of the working class. (Elizabeth Teague) FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW PASSED. On July5, the USSR Supreme Soviet passed fundamentals of the legislation on foreign investment by 340 to 11, TASS reported that day. The law permits 100% foreign ownership of certain Soviet enterprises; grants foreign investors the right to export and import without licences; frees them from paying export taxes and customs duties on imports; and guarantees investors the right to export hard-currency profits and the right to purchase hard currency with ruble earnings. It excludes ownership of land, and restricts access to property sold by the state under the provisions of the new law on privatization. (Keith Bush) CPSU CC CALLS FOR STRONGER MEASURES AGAINST ECONOMIC CRIMES. A resolution adopted by the CPSU CC Secretariat, as reported by TASS July 7, says corruption, bribe-taking, extortion, organized crime, contraband and illegal hard currency operations are spreading to all sectors of the economy. A special danger is posed by growing links between regional and national economic officials and organized crime, the report said. It also expressed concern that newly-created commercial banks are operating beyond state control. The banks, which are involved in large-scale financial and credit transactions with cooperative and joint-venture enterprises, are committing severe violations of law, the CC resolution charged. It called for quick adoption of legislation to address the situation and for measures to increase the authority of law enforcement agencies. (Victor Yasmann). PROSPECTS FOR 1991 GRAIN HARVEST. In an uninformative interview published in Izvestia July5, the USSR Minister of Agriculture and Food, Vyacheslav Chernoivanov, declined to estimate the outturn of this year's grain harvest, except to say it would be below that of 1990. Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, who is not so coy, gave a figure of 205-206 million tons on June 11, but lowered this to 180-190 million tons on July 2. On July 3, he elaborated on that latter figure to specify that it represented the estimated net harvest, i.e., after losses, dockage, and the removal of excess moisture, according to The Financial Times of July4. (Keith Bush) IS ECONOMIC DECLINE CONTINUING? Pavlov has been claiming that the decline in total Soviet output bottomed out in April-May, at 6% below April-May 1990 (Izvestia, July 3). Arkadii Vol'skii, however, in an interview in the same paper on June 28, had professed to find no encouragement in the May figures. In an interview on Radio Mayak on July 5, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov quoted Union budget deficit figures for January-May that seemed marginally better than January-April: an annual rate of 94 billion rubles, as against one of 125 billion rubles. (Philip Hanson) DOCKERS GAIN BIG PAY INCREASE. A threatened strike by Leningrad port workers has been called off, Komsomol'skaya pravda reported July 6. Their demands made to Prime Minister Pavlov had reportedly been met, giving them a pay increase of 50%. Only a small number of workers were involved in this settlement, but the concession could give a signal to millions of other workers--in the oil and gas industry, on the railways, and in construction--to put in their claims. (Keith Bush) KVITSINSKY: NO "INTERNATIONALIZATION" OF YUGOSLAV CRISIS. First Deputy Foreign Minister Yulii Kvitsinsky, now special Presidential envoy to Yugoslavia, was in Belgrad (July 6), Zagreb, and Ljubljana (July 7), TASS said. Tanjug reported that Kvitsinsky told Federal Prime Minister Ante Markovic that for Gorbachev, the Yugoslav crisis is "of direct interest" to the Soviet Union because it could have repercussions for the USSR. "We support democratic solutions but not those that threaten European borders," Kvitsinsky said. He added the USSR opposes the inter-nationalization of the crisis and will veto any attempt to convene the United Nations Security Council to discuss the crisis. (Suzanne Crow) RESULTS OF KOHL VISIT. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met with Gorbachev in the Ukrainian town of Mezhigorye outside Kiev on July 5, TASS reported. Kohl said he backs plans for massive aid to the Soviet Union, adding, "I'll try to bring my colleagues to understand that the success of reforms in the Soviet Union will be important not only for the Soviet people but for all of us in Europe." Gorbachev stressed "the solidarity of the two countries," saying "each of our meetings . . . short or long . . . is another step toward rapprochement, cooperation, and the intensification of the political dialogue." On July 6 Kohl called for full Soviet membership in the IMF in the near future. (Suzanne Crow) BUSH MESSAGE ON ARMS. US President George Bush sent a personal message to Gorbachev on July 6 urging Gorbachev to speed up the Soviet side's work on the START agreement. A July 7 Soviet television commentary described Western interpretations of the message as being a warning that no summit will be held until the START agreement is finished as "curious." The observer noted without comment that many in the West believe that the Soviet military took advantage of Shevardnadze's resignation as foreign minister to slow down the process of arms talks. (Suzanne Crow) CONCERN OVER RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin has expressed concern over NATO's discussion of a rapid deployment force. Churkin noted, "it is a question of a region directly adjacent to borders with the USSR." He said, "these kinds of operations should be totally supervised by appropriate UN organs because the presence or activities of foreign forces on someone else's territory could have undesirable political and other consequences," TASS reported July 4. TASS's military observer Vladimir Bogachev wrote on July 3: "the Soviet Union resolutely opposes interference by a group of countries in other states' internal affairs." (Suzanne Crow) ANGOLA SEEKING DEBT FORGIVENESS. Western agencies have cited the July 3 issue of Jornal de Angola as saying that Angola will ask the Soviet Union to cancel its military debt and reschedule its nonmilitary obligations. Soviet sources in Luanda are quoted as estimated Angola's total debt to the USSR at around $4 billion. The IMF study of February 1991 (Volume 1, p. 117) put the total owed to the USSR by developing countries at the end of 1989 at $67.4 billion. Most of these could be categorized as "nonperforming," i.e., the USSR is not likely to get its money back. (Keith Bush) SOVIET SOLDIERS NOT ANXIOUS TO LEAVE GERMANY. As their return to the Soviet Union approaches, the number of Soviet soldiers disappearing from their units for several days at a time--in order to snap up Western goods--is increasing, according to a report in the July 4 The Independent. The story claims that black-marketeering in Soviet army badges, cigarettes and caviar is "booming," even as troop morale has sunk. One officer said that the troops worried about what they would find in the Soviet Union upon their return. The report noted that the DM 400-600 earned by lower-ranking officers since the German monetary union represents a "small fortune." (Stephen Foye) SATELLITE TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEAL. The Japanese Telegraph and Telephone Corporation and the Soviet "International Telecommunications of the Far East" agency, together with the regional Vladivostok office of the USSR Ministry of Communications, have signed a memorandum of understanding on the creation of a satellite telecommunications ground station in Vladivostok, Novosti reported July 2. The station will provide up to 30 digital channels for data communication and telephone exchanges between Japan and the Soviet Far East; it will replace the obsolete sea cable that now links the two countries. (Victor Yasmann) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS POLOZKOV'S NON-RESIGNATION. TASS reported on July 5 that RSFSR Communist Party First Secretary Ivan Polozkov had resigned, but just hours later Polozkov himself called TASS to set the record straight. Polozkov told TASS that he would remain "to unite the forces in society and the Party in the interest of perestroika." Polozkov's resignation was reported to TASS by Sergei Baburin, an RSFSR People's deputy and a member of the conservative "Rossiya" group. Polozkov, who has served one year of his 5-year term of office, did admit that some RSFSR CP members were dissatisfied with his performance, but said his resignation "had not figured on the agenda at any meeting." (Dawn Mann) RSFSR CP MEMBERS WANT NEW LEADERSHIP. Twelve members of the RSFSR CP--ten of whom are also members of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet--circulated an appeal on July 6 blaming the RSFSR CP leadership for "ruinous decisions and the actual discrediting of the Party" and "political deafness," TASS reported the same day. The authors of the appeal also charged the CPSU Central Committee with "political suicide and the murder of the Party" and said that Gorbachev is "incapable of ensuring the observance of the constitution" and "cannot hold the post of Party leader any longer." (Dawn Mann) YAKOVLEV TO CHAIR MOSCOW CITY ASSEMBLY. USSR Presidential adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev has agreed to serve as chairman of the new Moscow City Assembly, Radio Rossii reported July 5. Gavriil Popov, the mayor of Moscow, hinted on Moscow Television on July 2 that Yakovlev might resign as head of Gorbachev's stable of official advisers. The Moscow City Assembly, a consultative body, will bring together representatives of a broad cross-section of society (see Daily Report, No. 118). (Dawn Mann) KUZBASS MINERS RESOLVE NOT TO STRIKE. Izvestia reported July 1 that a conference of Kemerovo oblast workers' committees on July 6-7 would decide whether to begin a strike on the following Thursday. The Postfactum news agency reported July 7 that the miners, who object to the government's new anti-crisis program which bans strikes in key areas, had decided against the strike. Soviet TV attributed this decision to the transfer of many mines to RSFSR jurisdiction. The miners, however, reserved the right to reverse their decision if democratic processes were endangered in the future. (Sarah Ashwin) UKRAINE TO ELECT PRESIDENT ON DECEMBER1. Ukraine's first multicandidate election for the newly-created post of President will take place December 1, 1991, TASS reported July 6. The decision was taken by the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on July 5, the final day of parliament's spring session. The President's duties will include protection of Ukrainian sovereignty, upholding the laws of Ukraine, and representation of Ukrainian interests in foreign affairs. Although not yet formally nominated, it is expected that Supreme Soviet Chairman Leonid Kravchuk will be a strong presidential candidate. The opposition, according to TASS, has already nominated two candidates--Levko Lukyanenko and Larysa Skoryk. (Natalie Melnyczuk) UKRAINE'S PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW PACKAGE ON PRESIDENCY. On July 6 the Parliament of Ukraine passed a comprehensive package outlining the criteria, duties, and powers of the new presidency, as reported by two parliamentary correspondents. The president must meet a minimum age requirement of 35, may not serve more than two consecutive terms, and will be elected through direct elections. Ukraine. While this package regarding the presidency was passed, heated debate continues on whether or not to create a vice-presidency which would share the powers of the presidency. The Parliament is divided as to just how strong the president should be. (Natalie Melnyczuk) RENEWED CLASHES ON ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI BORDER. Following Gorbachev's decision to lift in two Azerbaijani raions the state of emergency in force in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas since January, 1990, Azerbaijani OMON troops attacked three Armenian villages in the early morning of July 6, Western news agencies reported July 7. Armenian Supreme Soviet chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan is quoted by Interfax as stating that two Azerbaijanis and one Armenian were killed in the fighting and fourteen persons injured. (Liz Fuller) MOLDAVIA COMMEMORATES JEWISH HOLO-CAUST. On July 4, Moldavia observed a "Day of Remembrance" for Jewish victims of the holocaust on the territory of Romania (which included Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria) during World War II. The observances were cosponsored by the Moldavian government and the Jewish communities of Moldavia and Romania. Moldavian government and parliamentary leaders participated in the observances, which were well publicized by the Moldavian media but were ignored by Romania's official media. Unlike Romania, Moldavia has not experienced any outbreaks of antisemitism in recent years, and the Moldavian political forces enjoy cordial relations with the Jewish community. (Vladimir Socor)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.