|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 129, 10 July 1991
BALTIC STATES EC: MORALITY IS NOT SELECTIVE. Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek, who is serving as the rotating EC President, told reporters on July 9 that the Yugoslav federation in its current form has served its purpose. Asked if the Yugoslav and Baltic situations are similar, van den Broek replied that the annexation of the Baltic States by Moscow could not be compared with Belgrade's authority over Slovenia and Croatia. But, he added, "we should not be selective in our moral judgements." (Riina Kionka) LANDSBERGIS IN STRASBOURG. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis urged the EC to pay as much attention to the Baltics as it does to the Balkans, an RFE/RL correspondent reported July 9 from Strasbourg, where Landsbergis is visiting the European Parliament during its regular monthly session as a guest of the European People's Party. Speaking at a press conference, Landsbergis said he would invite all members of the European Parliament who are "interested in our fate" to visit the Baltic States next month. According to Landsbergis, it would be "very helpful if Europe could convince Gorbachev" to engage in real dialogue with the Baltic States. In reference to the recent high-level EC delegation sent to mediate the Balkan conflict, Landsbergis said, "we'll expect a troika in our country as well." (Gytis Liulevicius) MERI, GORBACHEV TO LONDON. Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri hopes to lobby for financial aid for his country during a visit to London next week, where the G-7 countries are holding a summit meeting, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from London on July 9. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who will also be visiting London then, appears to have a similar agenda. (Riina Kionka) EXPLOSION IN TALLINN. One man was injured and a building damaged in an explosion last night (July 9) in Tallinn, the Estonian Foreign Ministry's press spokesman Tiit Pruuli told RFE/RL that evening. Two men were inside the building at the time, and one suffered minor injuries. The building in question belongs to the Popular Front's self-defense organization Kodukaitse. Radio Rossii also reported the explosion that day, but said the affected building belongs to the Estonian State Price Department and that the injured man was a Kodukaitse guard. (Riina Kionka) SOVIET JOURNALIST LINKS KGB TO VILNIUS ATTACK. Literaturnaya gazeta's youth editor Yurii Shchekochikin claimed in the July 10 issue that the KGB was directly involved in the January 13 attack on the Vilnius television tower, The Washington Post reported July 10. Basing his conclusions on transcripts that were part of the Lithuanian prosecutor's report on the attack, Shchekochikin wrote that the KGB planned the operation well in advance, but kept its involvement secret so as not to "destroy the version about . . . the unknown Committee of National Salvation and about everything happening so suddenly." (Saulius Girnius) FORMER OMON MEMBER FOUND MURDERED IN LATVIA. According to Diena of July 10, former OMON (Black Beret) member Sergei Khrotov, born in 1961, was found shot along the highway Riga-Malpils on July 2. So far, no suspects have been detained for the murder. Khrotov quit the special MVD security force on January 21, the day after the OMON attacked the Latvian Ministry of Internal Affairs. He had earlier announced his opposition to involving the OMON in political conflicts. Last fall he headed "Viking," a privately-run security organization consisting largely of OMON members. Vilma Upmace, an investigator of the Latvian Prosecutor's office, described Khrotov as an intelligent young man in peak physical condition. (Dzintra Bungs) RSFSR DEPUTY ON OMON ACTIVITIES IN LATVIA. Deputy Sergei Belozertsev, member of a deputies' commission investigating the activities of OMON in Riga, told RSFSR TV's Vesti on July 9 that the OMON, currently engaged in staging attacks on Baltic customs posts, may, in the future, "start raiding branches of banks." He said that the commission did not rule out the possibility of such attacks in the Baltic region. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN COMMUNISTS CAUTIOUS TOWARD DEMOCRATIC REFORM MOVEMENT. Radio Moscow reported on July 9 that the Buro of the conservative Latvian Communist Party had contacted the founders of the Democratic Reform Movement. The report noted that the LCP wanted to learn more about the movement, its activists (former CPSU members), and their interest in becoming a political party and becoming involved in the struggle for power. (Dzint ra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS GETS NEW SUPPORTERS. The chairman of the Council of the Union of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Ivan Laptev, said July 9 that he wanted to join the Movement for Democratic Reforms, set up July 1 by nine Soviet officials, including Yakovlev and Shevardnadze Radio Moscow-1 and RSFSR TV quoted Laptev as saying that, thus far, he was not intending to leave the CPSU. He thought membership in both organizations is compatible, since the newly-created group is a movement and not a party. The same day, 32 USSR Supreme Soviet deputies set up a group "in support of the movement," Izvestia reported July 10. (Radio Moscow and TASS reported July 9 that only 20 deputies joined the group.) (Vera Tolz) TRAVKIN SAYS NEW MOVEMENT IS NOT THE ANSWER. Those who predicted that the new Movement for Democratic Reforms was more likely to split the democratic movement than the CPSU may be correct. Interviewed in the German daily Handelsblatt July 10, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Russia, Nikolai Travkin, said the Movement does not have the answers to the USSR's problems. Travkin says what is needed is a new party, and he added that he fears the new movement may turn out to be "a reconstructed Communist Party" and just a vehicle for Gorbachev. Travkin said Stanislav Shatalin, one of the original founders of the Movement, has left it and plans, together with Travkin, to found a new United Democratic Party in September. Other reports say, however, that Shatalin has not left the Movement but is trying to act as middleman between it and Travkin. (Elizabeth Teague) SHATALIN SAYS GORBACHEV IS WELCOME IN MOVEMENT. Travkin indeed may be wrong on Shatalin's resignation from the Movement for Democratic Reforms. On July 9, Shatalin was quoted by RSFSR TV as saying that the Movement would welcome Gorbachev's membership in its ranks. The same position was expressed earlier by Eduard Shevardnadze, who added, however, that he thought such a move on the part of the President was unlikely in the near future. (Vera Tolz) NINA ANDREEVA THREATENS SCHISM. As reported in yesterday's Daily Report (July 9), Gorbachev aide Georgii Shakhnazarov has predicted that the CPSU will eventually return to its pre-1918 "Social Democratic" name. Russian TV's Vesti on July 8 quoted Nina Andreeva's aide, Aleksandr Lapin, as saying that, if this happens, Andreeva's group (which calls itself "Unity for Leninism and Communist Ideals") will leave the CPSU and declare itself the true successor to the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)--the name adopted by the Bolsheviks in 1925. (Elizabeth Teague) SUPSOV STALLS NOMINEE FOR DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. The USSR Supreme Soviet on July 8 narrowly rejected the nomination of Konstantin Katushev to the position of Deputy Prime Minister, The Financial Times reported July 9. At that session the SupSov voted to consider Katushev's nomination again the following day, but, Western agencies reported July 9, the parliament yesterday voted further to postpone the nomination. If confirmed, Katushev would incorporate his present job as Minister of Foreign Economic Relations into the new post. The FT noted that Katushev has been accused by some radical deputies of involvement in the sale of dachas at extremely low prices to ministerial employees. Both Katushev and Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov have denied the charges. (Sallie Wise) DELORS COUNSELS PATIENCE. In an interview carried by Pravda of July 3, Jacques Delors discussed his recent trip to Moscow and gave his evaluation of Soviet economic prospects. He emphasized the necessity to balance the budget, improve the balance of payments, and to curb inflation. Delors told Pravda's readers they should not harbor any illusions regarding "truckloads of goodies, $30 billion a year, and so on." He noted the enormous potential of the Soviet Union. With "intelligent and rational organization" and with Western aid, he reckoned that "within roughly two decades, your economy will be able to join the world economy and will begin to receive private investment." (Keith Bush) FURTHER CRITICISM OF NEW CUSTOMS TARIFFS. On July 1, the day on which new, sharply increased, customs duties went into effect, Izvestia carried further criticism of the new rates. Punitive levies on consumer goods (some of the rates were cited in Komsomol'skaya pravda of June 15) made little sense when virtually all consumer goods were in short supply. One consequence would be that prices in commercial stores--which had tended to fall since the April retail price increases--would now rise again. Izvestia also criticized the export of Soviet-made consumer goods. (The RSFSR reserved the right to revoke the new rates, see APN June 27, but no action on this has been reported). (Keith Bush) COMMODITIES EXCHANGES FOR FARMERS. Central TV on July 2 described preparations for the establishment of a peasants' central stock or commodities exchange. As RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev envisages the operation of the central and regional exchanges, these will eventually replace the present centralized network that distributes farm machinery, chemicals, and other producer goods. The exchanges could correct the current unfavorable terms of trade between agriculture and industry, which has resulted in the withholding of farm produce from the urban markets. (Keith Bush) NPS CREATING "MARKET INFRASTRUCTURE." Interviewed in Izvestia on June 28, Arkadii Vol'sky, head of the Soviet employers' association, the Scientific-Industrial Union (NPS), said the NPS is "quietly, without fuss, building the infrastructure of a market economy." Vol'sky cited the "KamAZ" truck plant in Tatarstan, a founder-member of the NPS and the first Soviet enterprise of comparable size to turn itself into a joint-stock company. Saying this could take place only through a stock exchange, Vol'sky said the NPS had played a role in creating several such exchanges in the USSR. The NPS has also founded a privatization center, an academy of entrepreneurship, two banks, and a body to support small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, the NPS is playing an influential role, through those of its members who are Supreme Soviet deputies, in preparing new legislation creating a framework for market activity. (Elizabeth Teague) SPACE CENTER LEASES FACILITIES TO STOCK EXCHANGE. The main Soviet space center near Moscow, known as "TsUP" (Tsentr upravleniya poletami), will convert part of its premises for stock exchange operations, while leasing its telecommunications channels to the newly-created Military-Industrial Stock Exchange, Vremya reported July 6. Vremya said "TsUP"'s telecommunication capabilities, designed to control 5 or 6 manned space flights simultaneously, today remain 80% idle. The Military Industrial Stock Exchange was set up in March by defense sector enterprises and the Russian Trade and Raw Materials Stock Exchange, according to Kommersant No. 12. Although its premises are restricted to members, the exchange will accept orders from Soviet and foreign dealers. (Victor Yasmann) JOINT US-SOVIET STATEMENT ON YUGOSLAVIA EXPECTED. US Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh are expected to issue a joint declaration on the situation in Yugoslavia when they meet in Washington later this week. According to Novosti of July 9, as reported by Western agencies, the two officials will "examine ways of helping Yugoslavia as a whole find its way back to peace." (Sallie Wise) FOURTH ROUND OF SINO-SOVIET TALKS COMPLETED. The fourth round of talks devoted to military reductions and confidence-building measures on the Sino-Soviet border concluded in Peking on July 8, TASS reported the next day. The talks were said to be constructive, but no further details were provided. They are set to resume in Moscow this fall. (Stephen Foye) RUTSKOI AIDS "AFGANTSY" FAMILIES. Russian Vice President-elect Aleksandr Rutskoi, himself an Afghan veteran, has prevented the eviction of 8families who have illegally occupied Moscow apartments built for state and CPSU officials, Radio Rossii reported on July 8. The people in question are Afghan war veterans and their families. According to the Moscow District Prosecutor, the evictions have been suspended for one month. (Stephen Foye) SOLDIERS' MOTHERS LAUNCH HUNGER STRIKE. In Moscow, representatives of the group "Soldiers' Mothers of Russia" announced on July 8 that they would renew a hunger strike aimed at drawing attention to peacetime deaths in the Soviet armed forces, Novosti reported. The first round of strikes was held from May 20 to May 25 of this year, and yielded unsatisfactory results, the mothers claimed. Some 300 mothers from all parts of the country will reportedly take part. (Stephen Foye) BILLY GRAHAM SCHOOL IN MOSCOW. Central TV July 8 reported that the first Evangelization school of American preacher Billy Graham had opened that day in Moscow. (Oxana Antic) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN SWORN IN. Boris Yeltsin was sworn in as President of Russia in the Kremlin today (July 10), Soviet media report. The inauguration was conducted modestly, without pomp, although 6,000 guests filled the Kremlin palace. Yeltsin took the presidential oath with his hand on the present RSFSR Constitution and declaration of sovereignty rather than on a Bible, as suggested by some of his aides. Gorbachev and Moscow Patriarch Aleksii II took part in the historic event. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN TO SHARE THE KREMLIN WITH GORBACHEV. The fifth RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies opened this morning with the announcement that the residence of the RSFSR President will be in the Kremlin. Yeltsin, therefore, will share the premises with Gorbachev. The USSR Cabinet of Ministers, which had occupied the Kremlin before, recently moved out. (Julia Wishnevsky) GORBACHEV CONGRATULATES YELTSIN. Gorbachev's address to the opening session of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies this morning must have been be a crowning triumph for Yeltsin. (At the first session of the Congress a year ago, Gorbachev campaigned actively against Yeltsin's election as Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet.) Gorbachev described the election of the RSFSR President as a major positive step in the reform process, saying that it satisfied the need to strengthen executive power in the USSR as a whole. Gorbachev also welcomed the end of the "war of laws" between the all-Union and RSFSR legislatures, and thanked Yeltsin and the RSFSR deputies for their contribution to his efforts to preserve the Soviet Union. (Julia Wishnevsky) RSFSR OUTLINES CONDITIONS FOR SIGNING UNION TREATY. At a plenary session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet July 5, First Deputy Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov discussed the draft RSFSR law on signing the new Union treaty. The RSFSR will sign the treaty subject to the following conditions: 1) The RSFSR will sign jointly with the republics which are included on its territory. 2) Formation of the Union budget should be based on fixed payments by the signing republics. 3) The RSFSR should have jurisdiction over all enterprises on its territory, including defense industries. 4) Union republics should have full rights over licensing and import-export activities. 5) The Union and the Union republics should agree on a unified customs system. Izvestia carried the report of the RSFSR SupSov session July 5. (John Tedstrom) MANY CONDITIONS WILL LIKELY BE MET. According to a TASS report July 9, the final version of the text of the anti-crisis program includes concessions on many of the demands the RSFSR (and other republics) are making for signing the Union treaty. The anti-crisis program includes language that gives republics a free rein in conducting foreign trade (with arms trade the only exception). Other concessions have been made in the areas of republican control over property, and privatization. (John Tedstrom) AT LEAST ONE MAJOR DISAGREEMENT REMAINS. Disagreement over taxes will be a major sticking point. Both the RSFSR and Ukraine insist on a "one-channel" tax system based on fixed payments by the republics. The anti-crisis program foresees a federal tax in addition to the republican contributions, according to TASS July 9. It is unlikely that the Center will rely on the republics for all of its tax revenues, and pressure will probably fall on the RSFSR and Ukraine to accept federal taxes. While signing the anti-crisis program does not commit any republic to sign the Union treaty, the willingness by all parties to cooperate on the former could signal their willingness to cooperate on the latter. (John Tedstrom) HOUSING PROBLEMS. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet on July 4 approved a law to privatize state housing by giving it away to existing tenants (Izvestia July 5). It will not please many people. An article in Rabochaya tribuna (July 5) says there are 3.5 million families living in shared apartments, 2.3 million families in hostels, and 694,000 families renting apartments privately. It is not clear how, if at all, the housing-problem cases listed in Rabochaya tribuna will benefit. Nor is it clear why sitting tenants would accept a "free" apartment when the cost of maintaining it will almost always be above their current rent. Despite discussion, there seems so far to be no move towards a substantial rise in state housing rents in Russia. (Philip Hanson) RUSSIAN REPUBLIC FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW PASSED. On July 4 the RSFSR parliament approved a Russian Republic law on foreign investment. (Izvestia July 5, 1991.) RFE/RL has not yet seen a text. (Philip Hanson) ARMENIAN SUPSOV CHAIRMAN ON LATEST TENSIONS. Western news agencies reported June9 that Armenian SupSov chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan was heading for Moscow to discuss the latest escalation of tension on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Ter-Petrossyan reportedly told the Armenian parliament June 9 that he had warned KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov that Armenia would not permit patrols by Azerbaijani troops to enter Armenian villages on Azerbaijani territory. Interfax reported July 8 that four Azerbaijanis had been burned to death in Nagorno-Karabakh the previous day. (Liz Fuller) JOURNALIST ON HUNGER STRIKE IN BELORUSSIAN PRISON. A correspondent for News of the Belorussian Popular Front who is in prison awaiting trial on charges of hooliganism has gone on hunger strike, according to a July 9 Radio Rossiyi broadcast and a July 8 report to RFE/RL's Belorussian service. Valerii Syadou, who recently sent a letter to the US Embassy in Moscow protesting his detention, has also published a statement in the Supreme Soviet organ Narodnaya hazeta describing conditions: unsanitary and overcrowded cells, mandatory AIDS blood tests with one common needle, and health hazards that, he alleges, could lead to tuberculosis. Syadou is not allowed visitors. (Kathy Mihalisko) DESPERATELY SEEKING NINA. The same Narodnaya hazeta tried to discover the precise venue for the All-Union Conference of the CPSU Bolshevik Platform, to be held June 13-14 in Minsk and presided over by Nina Andreeva. As Radio Rossiyi noted July 9, the people of Odessa "drove the Stalinists out of their city" when Andreeva's Bolsheviks tried to meet there. It appears that Narodnaya hazeta was able to learn only that Andreeva would be hosted by the Belorussian Znanie society, but other details about the conference remain a closely-guarded secret. (Kathy Mihalisko) MIXED RESPONSE IN CENTRAL ASIA TO NEW MOVEMENT. One of Turkmenistan's best-known writers, poet Rakhim Esenov, told the RFE/RL Turkmen service on July7 that a group of Communist Party members in Turkmenistan, including himself, have formed an initiative group to support the new Democratic Reform Movement. A journalist in Alma-Ata has told the RFE/RL Kazakh service that Azat, Kazakhstan's largest and most influential opposition political party, has objected to the Movement, describing it as a stratagem to preserve the CPSU under another name. (Bess Brown) HEAD OF MUSLIM RELIGIOUS BOARD REMOVED. TASS on July 9 quoted a Komsomol'-skaya pravda account of the removal of the chairman of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia, Mufti Mukhammed-Sadyk Mamayusupov. The action was reported to have been taken by the council of imams after the mufti had been charged with discriminating against those whom he considered Wahhabis and selling thousands of copies of the Koran that had been donated by Saudi Arabia to the Muslims of the USSR. TASS quoted the Uzbek Popular Front Birlik as characterizing the removal of the mufti as a victory for those seeking to end state interference in religious affairs. A temporary leadership has taken over until a congress of Central Asian Muslims can decide on a successor. (Bess Brown) OPPOSITION REORGANIZES IN UZBEKISTAN. Leaders of the Uzbek Popular Front Birlik and the Erk Democratic Party told the RFE/RL Uzbek service on July 9 that the two groups have agreed to work together for common goals. Erk was established by poet and political activist Muhammad Salih when it appeared that Birlik was drifting toward extremism. Apparently the differences have been largely over-come, though Muhammad Salih said that Erk will continue to function as an independent political party. (Bess Brown) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise
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