|Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski|
No. 130, 11 July 1991
BALTIC STATES LANDSBERGIS IN STRASBOURG. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis expressed satisfaction with his two-day visit to the European parliament in Strasbourg in an interview with a RFE/RL correspondent on July 10. Landsbergis said that the "cold war is not over" for Lithuania, since the USSR is continuing "psycho-logical warfare" against the Baltic States. On July10 he met for more than five hours with members of the parliament's Socialist Group, and had shorter meetings with the Greens, the Rainbow Group, and the European Democratic Group. He invited them to come to Vilnius on August 23, the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. (Saulius Girnius) BUNDESTAG DELEGATION IN LITHUANIA. A delegation of seven Bundestag deputies, headed by Christian Democrat Wolfgang von Stetten, Chairman of the German-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Circle, traveled to Lithuania via Moscow July 10, Radio Independent Lithuania reported July 11. In Moscow they met with the Lithuanian permanent representative, Egidijus Bickauskas, and with Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius (who had come for Boris Yeltsin's inauguration as RSFSR President). This morning they visited the Supreme Council and talked to leaders of Lithuanian parties, with von Stetten making a speech at the session. They will also meet Landsbergis in the evening after his return from France. This second Bundestag delegation visit this summer indicates the growingcooperation between the two parliaments. (Saulius Girnius) MOSCOW ACCUSED OF DELAYING NEGOTIATIONS. Minister Without Portfolio Aleksandras Abisala has said in an interview with Lietuvos aidas, reported by Radio Vilnius on July 9, that his two meetings with Soviet officials have convinced him that Moscow is unwilling to begin negotiations on Lithuanian independence. Lithuania expected the meetings (in Vilnius in late June with the Soviet Ministry of Defense and in Moscow on July 4 with KGB officials) to be between groups of experts on defense and state security matters, but the Soviet officials whom Abisala met said they had no authorization to conduct genuine negotiations and only discussed some local matters. Abisala said that the Soviet side had previously promised to end the occupation of Lithuanian buildings, to disarm the Black Berets, and to provide guarantees that the Soviet army would not interfere in Lithuanian affairs, but had failed to fulfill these promises. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC LEADERS GREET YELTSIN. Radio Riga and Radio Vilnius reported on July 10 that earlier that day Baltic leaders--Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel, Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, and Lithuanian Prime Minister Vagnorius--attended Yeltsin's swearing-in ceremonies. Afterwards they discussed plans for Soviet economic reform with Grigorii Yavlinsky. As a consequence of this discussion, the earlier scheduled Baltic Council meeting in Jurmala to deal with Soviet economic reforms was cancelled. Yavlinsky said he opposed the idea of those republics not signing the new Union treaty having to deal with the USSR in hard currency. (Dzintra Bungs) UNEMPLOYMENT IN LATVIA. Unemployment is rising in Latvia. According to Baltfax of July 1, 3,267 persons have been registered as unemployed, with some 15,000 graduates entering the labor force this year for whom jobs would have to be found. Diena reported on July 10 that 1,331 persons were unemployed because their jobs had been eliminated as a consequence of efficiency measures. The daily noted that most of the unemployed were women formerly employed as office workers. Diena also noted that, according to Riga employment office figures, there existed 288 vacancies for technicians and engineers, and 6,637 for workers in the service sector; salaries for most of these jobs were low and working conditions poor. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS SILAEV QUITS CPSU. Citing unofficial reports, RSFSR TV's newscast Vesti said July 9 that RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev has submitted a request for resignation from the CPSU. A member of the CPSU Central Committee, Silaev is one of the nine co-founders of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, along with Eduard Shevardnadze, former USSR Foreign Minister, who resigned from the CPSU a few days ago. Another co-founder, RSFSR Vice President-elect Aleksandr Rutskoi, instead of following Shevardnadze's and Silaev's path, has opted to set up a party of Democratic Communists. (Julia Wishnevsky) PARTY OF COMMUNISTS FOR DEMOCRACY TO MEET SOON. RSFSR TV July 10 quoted Rutskoi as saying he is going to create a party called "Communists for Democracy" and plans to hold its inaugural congress at the end of July or early August. (Rutskoi is also a head of a faction in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet called "Communists for Democracy.") Talking to the press recently, Rutskoi rejected the possibility of his leaving the CPSU. He said he remains a Communist, and his plan is to drive conservatives and reactionaries out of the CPSU and the Russian CP. Rutskoi told RSFSR TV July 10 that the inaugural congress will discuss the new party's rules and program, as well as the possibility of dividing up CPSU property. (Vera Tolz) TRAVKIN OPPOSES MEMBERS OF NEW MOVEMENT STAYING IN CPSU. Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party of Russia, Valerii Khomyakov, told "Novosti" July 10 that there had been a preliminary agreement between the chairman of his party, Nikolai Travkin, and the nine officials who announced the creation of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, that all participants in the movement would immediately leave the CPSU. Three members of the movement (Rutskoi, Yakovlev and Vol'sky) have violated this agreement, Khomyakov said. (Shevardnadze and Silaev were CPSU members when themovement was founded, but have now left the Party). Khomyakov said that because the agreement was violated, the Democratic Party of Russia refused to be a founding member of the new movement. (VeraTolz) IVASHKO NOT SIDING WITH HARDLINERS. CPSU Deputy General Secretary Vladimir Ivashko said in an interview with TASS on July 8 that the CPSU will not seek a confrontation with the newly created Movement for Democratic Reforms. He indicated that even if the movement develops into an alternative political party, the CPSU will cooperate with it. To demonstrate that he will not ally himself with hardliners against Soviet President Gorbachev, Ivashko emphasized his firm commitment to reform and denied that he was a conservative. He also defended himself from attacks from the right that he was a "bourgeois liberal." He said he firmly adheres to the program and decisions adopted at the 28th Party Congress. (Alexander Rahr) USSR SUPREME SOVIET TO BE DISBANDED IN SIX MONTHS? RSFSR TV, citing "competent sources," stated July 10 that Gorbachev had told a sitting of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet the same day that the all-Union parliament would exist only for another six months. He said that neither the USSR Supreme Soviet nor Congress of People's Deputies would adopt the new constitution. Instead they would adopt a new electoral law and new elections would be held. There have been strong objections from the republics to the idea ofthe present predominantly conservative all-Union parliament adopting the new constitution. Gorbachev's timetable is presumably dependent, though, on when the new Union treaty is signed. (Ann Sheehy) GORBACHEV HAS OWN PLAN FOR G-7 MEETING. At a press conference July 10, Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko said the Soviet leader has devised his own plan for economic reform which he intends to present to the Group of 7 meeting in London, TASS reported the same day. This effectively relegates both the Yavlinski and the Pavlov plans to the "USSR Economic Reform Archives," where they will be filed along side the plans of Abalkin, Aganbegyan, Ryzhkov, Shatalin, and earlier efforts by Gorbachev himself. Gorbachev is to send his plan to G-7 leaders July 12. (John Tedstrom) GORBACHEV'S G-7 SCHEDULE. Gorbachev arrives in London the evening of July 16, meets with French President Francois Mitterrand for breakfast July 17, and continues with Japanese Prime Toshiki Minister Kaifu. After a noon meeting with US President George Bush, Gorbachev meets with all of the G-7 leaders together. He has another series of meetings on July 18, and returns to Moscow July19. (John Tedstrom) USSR LAW ON PROFITS TAX. On July 10 the USSR Supreme Soviet amended the June 14, 1990 law on enterprise profits taxes, reducing the standard rate from 45% to 35% (TASS, July 10). This implements the Presidential edict of March 22, which lowered the profits tax rate to 35% with effect from second-quarter profits. The reduction of profits tax rates is due to (1) the proliferation of republic-level profits tax laws at rates below 45%, coupled with republic moves to "take over" previously Union-subordinate enterprises, and (2) the difficulty enterprises have had in paying wage supplements to their workers after the price rises. Joint ventures are taxed under separate legislation. (Philip Hanson) FIRST READING OF LAW ON SECURITIES MARKETS. On July 10 the USSR Supreme Soviet approved in the first reading a law on securities and stock exchanges, presented by Finance Minister Vladimir Orlov (TASS, July 10). As with the profits-tax amendment and the anti-monopoly law, this was already foreshadowed in lower-level legislation, in the form of USSR decrees of summer 1990. The main aim is to provide a regulatory framework with certain legal guarantees for investors, but (Orlov stressed) no underwriting by the state of non-state bonds and other securities. (Philip Hanson) SUPSOV PASSES KEY ANTI-MONOPOLY LAW. The USSR Supreme Soviet passed key legislation July10 that could go a good ways toward controlling and breaking up monopolies, according to TASS the same day. Although details of the law are not yet available, it appears to follow the USSR Council of Ministers decree on anti-monopoly measures issued last year (Ekonomika i zhin', No. 38, 1990). The law sailed through parliament with a vote of 330 to 3, with 7 abstentions. The Anti-Monopoly Committee of the Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for enforcing the law, and has the right to issue fines and other penalties. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Anti-Monopoloy Committee will in practice have the strength effectively to combat Soviet industrial giants. (John Tedstrom) SOVIET-AMERICAN "LIFE PRESERVER" FOR YUGOSLAVIA? Vladimir Simonov, commentator for the official news service of the Soviet presidency, Novosti, said in a commentary published on July 10 that Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh will indeed discuss ideas on how to help solve the Yugoslav crisis on his current visit to Washington. But, Simonov noted, under no circumstances will the Soviet Union agree to use its own military forces in Yugoslavia, even as part of an international peacekeeping force. Simomov concluded by saying the "superpowers" could work together to bring calm back to the Balkans: "a Soviet-American life preserver for Yugoslavia? It can't be excluded." (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN FORMER EAST GERMANY? Reports of US satellite detection of Soviet chemical weapons being removed from Eastern Germany (Stern, July 11; Washington Post, July 8) have been denied by the Soviet Western Group of Forces press center (TASS from Berlin, July 10). Following the official Soviet admission on June 13 that not all nuclear arms had been removed from the former GDR, the original reports have produced angry reactions from some German commentators. The Soviet Army source points out that Bundeswehr specialists visited eight Soviet military sites of their own choosing in the former GDR last summer, and found no trace of chemical weapons there. (Philip Hanson) CHINESE OFFICIAL CONCERNED OVER SOVIET INSTABILITY. Qiao Shi, a member of the Chinese CP Politburo's 6-man standing committee, reportedly is "concerned about the situation" in the USSR, according to Xinhua July 9. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, Qiao, who is responsible for China's internal security, expressed hope that the USSR would "overcome its difficulties, restore social and political stability and continue to march on the socialist road in accordance with its domestic traditions." His remarks coincided with the conclusion of the latest round of Sino-Soviet border and security talks (see Daily Report, July 10). (Sallie Wise) OFFICIALS DISCUSS POSSIBLE BLACK SEA COOPERATION ZONE. A meeting of deputy foreign ministers from the USSR, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania is slated to begin today (July 11) in Moscow to discuss a proposed Black Sea cooperation agreement. According to Western agency reports today, the two-day meeting will address potential coordination of trade, shipping, and fishery policies on the Black Sea. Officials from Turkey, which initiated the pact proposal and has been pursuing it most actively, reportedly have said the present talks could provide the basis of an accord to be signed at the end of this year. Turkey recently has been increasing its trade with Bulgaria, Romania, and the USSR, including Soviet republics bordering the Black Sea. (Sallie Wise) NEVZOROV'S STAFF MEMBERS LEAVING "600 SECONDS." Several producers and correspondents have resigned from the controversial Leningrad TV program "600 Seconds," moderated by Aleksandr Nevzorov. (Nevzorov's reputation has been seriously undermined by his support for the military crackdown in the Baltic States.) RSFSR TV said July 7 that Nevzorov's staff members left the program because of political disagreements with the moderator. On July 9, RSFSR TV and Radio Rossii reported that those "600 Seconds" staffers who left the program are going to set up their own TV information program. They are supported in this undertaking by the Leningrad branch of the All-Union TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. Radio Rossii said that the head of the branch, Boris Khitrov, asked Nevzorov to resign voluntarily. Nevzorov refused, however. (Vera Tolz) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS RUSSIA ENTERS NEW ERA. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, in his inaugural address yesterday (July 10), stressed that for the first time in Russian history, a genuine social contract has been concluded between the people and their rulers. Gorbachev congratulated Yeltsin and admitted that he made a mistake by not recognizing the new political reality, i.e. republican sovereignty, sooner. While Yeltsin's speech dealt mainly with the revival of Russia, Gorbachev emphasized the multinational character of the republic, noting that to consolidate the RSFSR will not be an easy task. Symbolic for the beginning of a new era was the address of Moscow Patriarch Aleksii II, which was reminiscent of Russia's pre-revolutionary times. (Central TV, July10). (Alexander Rahr) PATRIARCH WELCOMES YELTSIN. Patriarch Aleksii II addressed Yeltsin yesterday at the Fifth Extraordinary Congress of People's Deputies. In his welcome to the new President, the Patriarch stressed the heavy burden which the politician now bears because the spiritual structure of the country and its inner unity have been destroyed for seventy years. The Patriarch also read a greeting in the name of all religious denominations, including Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism, and blessed Yeltsin. (Oxana Antic) YELTSIN GETS GORBACHEV'S KREMLIN OFFICES. Yeltsin will move into Gorbachev's former residence in the Kremlin, while Gorbachev and his presidential staff will take over the former building of the USSR Cabinet of Ministers, Leningrad mayor Anatolii Sobchak told Western agencies July 10. The Soviet government and parliament will leave the Kremlin. Since Yeltsin has promised to return confiscated property to the Russian Orthodox Church, it is not inconceivable that Patriarch Aleksii may also consider moving back into the patriarch's historical residence in the Kremlin. (Alexander Rahr) BURBULIS TO PLAY KEY ROLE ON YELTSIN'S STAFF. After his inauguration, Yeltsin is expected to appoint new cadres and create a new presidential apparatus which appears to be modeled on the US National Security Council staff. Novosti on July 2 reported that the key man in Yeltsin's team will be his long-time associate, Gennadii Burbulis. Burbulis, a former lecturer in Marxism-Leninism in Sverdlovsk, will reportedly become "State Secretary," and will supervise Russia's foreign ministry, interior ministry, and republican KGB. Novosti also forecast the appointment of Sergei Stankevich, formerly first deputy chairman of the Moscow city soviet, as head of a new committee for ties with social and political organizations. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR CPD TO ELECT YELTSIN'S REPLACEMENT. Russian democrats risk losing the crucial post of Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet which Yeltsin vacated after his election as republican President. As reported by RSFSR TV July 10, democratic factions of RSFSR People's Deputies cannot agree on a single candidate and have nominated as many as four members of "Democratic Russia"--Yeltsin's first deputy Ruslan Khasbulatov; Chairman of the SupSov legal committee Sergei Shakhrai; Chairman of the foreign relations committee Vladimir Lukin; and Leningrad police officer Nikolai Arzhannikov. The conservative "Communists of Russia" and "Otchizna" have nominated Viktor Stepanov, a Karelian member of the RSFSR CP Politburo. The more moderate right-wing faction, "Rossiya," has opted for Siberian lawyer Sergei Baburin as its choice as Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. (Julia Wishnevsky) KHASBULATOV SUPPORTED BY DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA. The RSFSR parliamentary faction "Democratic Russia" has conducted an internal poll on which candidate it will support for the post of chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. According to Novosti on July 9, the majority of Russian democratic deputies favored Khasbulatov. Lukin and Shakhrai came in second and third, respectively. (Alexander Rahr) NO FUNDS FOR RETRAINING JOBLESS. The chairman of the RSFSR State Committee for Employment, Anatolii Arzamastsev, told a news conference in Moscow that the RSFSR government cannot fund the retraining of the unemployed, agencies reported July 9. He reported that 3,000persons had qualified for unemployment benefits since the new law took effect on July 1. If registration continues at that rate, the authorities could finance compensation at 160 rubles a month through the end of 1991, but could not pay for retraining. In a report on RSFSR unemployment before the new legislation, Sovetskaya Rossiya of July 2 noted that there were 3.3 million unfilled positions in the RSFSR at the end of 1990. (Keith Bush) RIFT DEVELOPS IN RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. Gospodin narod, No. 6 (a newspaper of the RSFSR Republican Party) published an appeal by Archbishop Lasar' of Moscow and Kashira of the True Orthodox Church to Patriarch Aleksii, addressing him in his capacity as a deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet. The archbishop complained about the persecution of True Orthodox parishes which left the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate by hierarchs of the latter Church. (Oxana Antic) TATAR PRESIDENT ON UNION TREATY, FEDERAL TAXES. In an interview on Radio Mayak on July 10, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev said that it was not only the leadership of the republic but also public opinion that was insisting that Tatarstan sign the Union treaty independently of the RSFSR. This had been shown by the RSFSR presidential elections when only 36% of the electorate chose to vote, to say nothing of how they voted. Shaimiev added that there must be federal taxes. At present many Union enterprises in Tatarstan are without funds because all taxes are going into the Russian bank and Russia is not handing over funds to the center. Shaimiev said Tatarstan would have to set up its own bank to collect the federal taxes. (Ann Sheehy) BONN OFFICIAL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SITUATION OF SOVIET GERMANS. Gorst Waffenschmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary at Germany's Interior Ministry, said on his return from a visit to the Soviet Union that he was optimistic about the future of the Soviet Germans, TASS reported from Bonn July 9. He welcomed the creation of the first national raion of the Germans in the Altai and said others were likely to be created elsewhere. Waffenschmidt said the question of recreating the Volga German autonomous republic was now in the hands of a special commission of the RSFSR, which had promised to report to Bonn on progress in September. (Ann Sheehy) MORE REACTION TO REMOVAL OF MUFTI. In an interview issued by Interfax on July 10, the head of the all-Union Islamic Renaissance Party, Akhmadkadi Aktaev, welcomed the removal of the chairman of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia. Aktaev commented that the mufti had not only misused funds of the religious board, but had angered Muslims with his subservience to Uzbek government authorities. Republican officialdom is apparently very concerned about the affair: Radio Moscow reported the same day that Uzbekistan's Council on Religious Affairs had met, in the presence of the republic's vice-president, to consider the situation and had complained that the dismissal had not followed the rules. (Bess Brown) DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF TAJIKISTAN REGISTERED. TASS, quoting Izvestia, reported on July 10 that the Democratic Party of Tajikistan has been formally registered as a public organization. The group has some 15,000 members, according to the report, which acknowledges that although the party is the second-largest political organization in the republic, after the CP, its influence is limited. Republican authorities seem to have decided to tolerate the Democratic Party, which they initially harassed, as much less a threat to their power than the Islamic Renaissance Party, which has been banned. (Bess Brown) ITALIAN CONSULATE AND FOREIGN TRADE INSTITUTE FOR KIEV. Italy plans to open a Consulate-General and Foreign Trade Institute in Kiev next year, Radio Kiev reported July 8. Attending a meeting of representatives from the packaging industry in Kiev, the director of Moscow's Italian Foreign Trade Institute emphasized the interest of Italian businesses in developing the Ukrainian market over the next 5-10 years. (Natalie Melnyczuk) [As of 1300 CET]
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