The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 132, 15 July 1991


MERI LOBBIES LONDON. Estonia's Foreign Minister Lennart Meri
is in London for a seven-day visit planned to coincide with the
G-7 summit, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on July 14. The
Estonian Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL that Meri hopes to meet
with senior representatives of G-7 nations to "explain the position
of the Baltic States towards Western financial aid to the Soviet
Union." When asked whether he had seen the plan (for Western
aid to the Soviet Union) which Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
intends to present to summiteers, Meri said: "I must admit that
the government of Estonia was not on President Gorbachev's mailing
list." Meri is set to give a press conference at the House of
Commons today (July15). (Riina Kionka)

DOLLAR WORTH MORE IN ESTONIA. Overwhelming demand for US dollars
pushed the exchange rate to 75 rubles per dollar at the July
10 Estonian bank currency auction, Paevaleht reported the next
day. Bank officials said later that the heightened demand was
a result of valyuta buyers coming in from other parts of the
Soviet Union, where the only legal means of buying hard currency
is to attend the weekly USSR State Bank valyuta exchange, where
one dollar buys about 50 rubles. Officials said that the Estonian
Bank is the only bank within the Soviet economic zone where enterprises,
regardless of their place of registration, can buy and sell valyuta
freely. (Riina Kionka)

CROSS IN VILNIUS BURNED. Early on July 12 a two-meter high wooden
cross, erected on June 22 in Lukiskes Square (formerly Lenin
Square) commemorating Lithuanians who died resisting Soviet
occupation 50 years ago, was burned down, Radio Independent Lithuania
reported that day. That same night unknown persons also tore
down the Lithuanian flag and various signs from a hut containing
hunger strikers protesting the seizure of the Vilnius TV center
by Soviet troops on January13. A Soviet flag and the words "Glory
to the CPSU" were painted on the hut. On July 13 Sajudis in Vilnius
organized a rally at the hut, commemorating the six-month anniversary
of the attack on the Vilnius television tower during which 14
Lithuanians were killed. (Saulius Girnius)

Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, the Lithuanian Association
of Former Political Prisoners called on the UN to place Lithuania
on the General Assembly's agenda. Fifteen former Gulag prisoners
signed the letter, received by the Lithuanian Information Center
on July 10. The letter refers to the current situation in Lithuania
as a "crucial moment in the existence of our nation," condemning
continued Soviet intimidation as a "campaign of physical and
cultural genocide in Lithuania." The former prisoners consider
Lithuania "a country of long-standing culture and statehood,"
and appeal to the UN for support, which has not been forthcoming.

RESULTS OF LATEST POPULARITY POLL. The results of the latest
public opinion poll in Lithuania showed that 83% of the residents
of Lithuania support independence with only 4% against, Radio
Vilnius reported on July 9. The most popular political figure
was Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, followed by
deputy Eduardas Vilkas, and former Deputy Prime Minister Romualdas
Ozolas. The most popular figure last year, Lithuanian Democratic
Labor Party Chairman Algirdas Brazauskas, dropped to seventh
place and former Deputy Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene--to
14th place. (Saulius Girnius)

NO SWIMMING AT JURMALA. Radio Riga and Diena reported July 10
that Latvian public health authorities were once again advising
people against taking a swim in the Gulf of Riga, especially
from the beaches of Jurmala. The reason for the ban is that the
waters continue to be polluted. The pollution off the coast of
Jurmala is made worse by the fact the effluent purification plant
in Riga is still not functioning and that some untreated sewage
is channelled into the Daugava River, which flows into the Gulf
of Riga near Jurmala. (Dzintra Bungs)


G-7 RUMORS: TO AID OR NOT TO AID? Reports over the weekend suggest
that the G-7 nations will not support a large package of aid
to the USSR. A stabilization fund to support the transition to
ruble convertibility might get Western funding (Washington Post,
July 15). That could total $10-15billion, but Soviet contributions
would be sought. Spokesmen from several governments have described
the Gorbachev letter outlining the Soviet reform program as too
vague, and closer to the Pavlov than the Yavlinsky program, according
to Western agencies July 15. Yavlinsky is said not to be attending
the summit. Japan and the US are said to oppose any removal of
the low ceiling on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's
lending to the USSR. (Philip Hanson)

PRIMAKOV ON SUMMIT REQUESTS. Amid the welter of speculation,
exhortation, and random judgements in the global media on what
Gorbachev will or will not ask for at the G-7 meeting, two pronouncements
were of particular note. In an interview with The Sunday Independent
on July 14, Evgenii Primakov indicated that Gorbachev would be
asking for Western help for two specific projects. The first
would be a stabilization fund to protect the value of the ruble
as the currency moves towards full convertibility; here Primakov
seemed to draw a parallel with the stabilization fund set up
by the IMF for the Polish zloty--an umbrella fund that was not
needed. The second would finance massive consumer goods imports
while domestic prices were liberalized. (Keith Bush)

START TREATY NEARLY CONCLUDED. After four days of talks (July
11-14), US Secretary of State James Baker and his Soviet counterpart
Aleksandr Bessmertnykh settled more than a "half dozen questions"
toward concluding the START treaty, including agreement on the
exchange of telemetry data and on downloading warheads. Negotiators
will attempt to settle the remaining issue--deciding what constitutes
a new type of missile based on throwweight--prior to the meeting
of the US and Soviet presidents in London on July 17, Western
agencies reported July 15. (Suzanne Crow)

the USSR Supreme Soviet "supported in the main" the draft Union
treaty by a vote of 307 in favor, 11 against, and 18 abstentions,
TASS reported July 12. The Supreme Soviet appointed a delegation
headed by Gorbachev to sign the treaty on behalf of the Union
after appropriate amendments agreed with the republics. The delegation
was instructed point out to republican Supreme Soviets the USSR
SupSov's views that: the treaty should designate both the Union
and autonomous republics as subjects of the federation; it should
provide for Union property and federal taxes; neither the Union
nor the republics should be entitled to suspend each others laws;
both chambers of the future Supreme Soviet should be elected
by direct vote; and the composition of the cabinet and other
bodies should be approved by both chambers. Some or all of the
Union republics oppose many of these points. (Ann Sheehy)

influential "Soyuz" faction to have the treaty ratified by the
USSR Congress of People's Deputies failed. Chairman of the USSR
Supreme Soviet Anatolii Luk'yanov reiterated that the Congress
had no right to do this since final agreement on the treaty was
a matter for the republics. The resolution did, however, statethat
the treaty should be signed at the Congress of People's Deputies.
The Supreme Soviet also adopted an appeal to the six republics
not participating in the treaty process to study the text and
find ways of taking part in the creation of the new state. (AnnSheehy)

SHCHERBAKOV AND THE SIX. At a Moscow press conference on July
11, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov declared that
trade between Moscow and the six republics opting out of the
Union treaty should be conducted in hard currency as soon as
possible, Western agencies reported that day. Unlike other, unnamed
officials who had suggested January 1992 as the date for this
to commence, Shcherbakov favored a switch as early as this October.
(Keith Bush)

GORBACHEV ON LAND OWNERSHIP. Speaking at a Kremlin news conference
on July 12, Gorbachev again displayed hesitation on the crucial
question of the private ownership of land. As reported by The
New York Times July 13, he said: "I support transferring the
land to private individuals with the right to inherit it, so
a person would feel the master of his own land." He felt that
the question of land ownership could be solved in different ways
in the15 Soviet republics but that, sooner or later, "it is to
be decided by the people." He apparently remains opposed to the
individual sale and purchase of land in a free market. (Keith

Soviet has confirmed Mikhail Nenashev to fill the new post of
USSR Minister of Information and Press, TASS reported July 12.
He had headed the ministry's predecessor, the State Committee
of the Press (Goskompechat'). Nenashev served as editor of the
daily Sovietskaya Rossiya from 1978 to 1986, and also served
briefly as state television chairman. (Vera Tolz)

by its Committee on Privileges that former leading government
officials had purchased state-owned dachas at rock-bottom prices,
the USSR Supreme Soviet on July 12 approved a resolution aimed
at ending secret privileges for top Communist Party and government
leaders (Radio Rossii, July 12). The measure backs up an order
by Gorbachev telling Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov to discover
and punish guilty officials by July 25. Observers noted, however,
that the Soviet parliament approved the new measure only after
excluding from the text virtually all mention of the possibility
that illegal privileges might be enjoyed by the parliamentarians
themselves. (Elizabeth Teague)

are angered by revelations that the CPSU accumulated great wealth
during its time in power. The latest issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta
said the last Communist chairman of the Moscow city Soviet, Valerii
Saikin, gave 33 city buildings to the CPSU during his last few
weeks in office. On July 12, a Western agency quoted Nikolai
Kruchina, the CPSU CC administrator of affairs, as admitting
that 2,000 of its 5,000 buildings the Party acquired wholly or
partly with government funds. It was also reported that a group
has been set up in Moscow to collect signatures on a petition
calling for an all-Union referendum on confiscation of CPSU property.
(Vera Tolz)

ANDREEVA RALLIES BOLSHEVIKS. Nina Andreeva denounced "Gorbostroika,"
revisionism, and capitalist roaders at the all-Union conference
of Bolsheviks on July 13-14 in Minsk. The gathering of some 500
true believers adopted a declaration on the formation of a CPSU
Bolshevik Platform group and passed a motion of no confidence
in General Secretary Gorbachev, according to TASS. Andreeva was
elected head of a organizational committee tasked with garnering
support for convening an extraordinary congress of the CPSU.

Party Committee has condemned the Movement for Democratic Reforms,
according to reports appearing in Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya
of July 12. The announcement by the Army's Party leadership said
that the actions of the reform group would split the Communist
Party and increase tension within Soviet society. The popular
Afghan veteran and RSFSR Vice President-elect, Aleksandr Rutskoi,
is among the leaders of the Movement for Democratic Reforms,
and the army's Party leadership undoubtedly fears defections
to the new group from among the officer corps. (Stephen Foye)

survey conducted by a social-analytical group of the Moscow Students'
Fund, published in Komsomol'skaya pravda and reported by Novosti
July 4, found that only 7.5% had no desire ever to go abroad.
Of those polled who want to leave, however, only 9% would leave
for good, while 35% said it would depend on circumstances. Motivations
for travel were varied: 45% said they wanted to see the world
but were prepared to return after this. The quality of life in
the USSR was also an important factor, however: 31% mentioned
their desire for greater material comfort, 20% the daily difficulties
of Soviet life, and 21% their desire to receive a good education
abroad. This survey therefore does little to banish the specter
of a Soviet brain drain. (Sarah Ashwin)


Congress of People's Deputies will make a fourth attempt today
(July 15) to elect a new chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet.
In the first three rounds, the candidate of the conservative
Communist faction, Sergei Baburin, outpolled the candidate of
the Democratic Russia faction, Ruslan Khasbulatov, but each time
both failed to get an absolute majority of votes. Radio Rossii
on July 14 commented that if democrats in the parliament were
not split, Khasbulatov could receive the necessary 531 votes.
The leader of the Democratic Party of Russia Nikolai Travkin,
for example, openly spoke out against Khasbulatov at the Congress.
(Alexander Rahr)

Yeltsin decided to go along with his Prime Minister Ivan Silaev
and recommended him again for the top post. Silaev, once a deputy
of USSR Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov, switched sides last year
and has since then become one of Yeltsin's closest associates.
There was no significant opposition to Silaev in the parliament,
and TASS on July 13 reported that the RSFSR Congress confirmed
his reappointment as RSFSR Prime Minister. (Alexander Rahr)

of People's Deputies adopted July 12 a law on the republican
constitutional court. Unlike most judges in the USSR, those serving
on the Constitutional Court would be appointed for life. The
role of the RSFSR Constitutional judges will be crucial, since
their verdicts will enable the RSFSR President to fire republican
executives found by the court to be violating the RSFSR Constitution
and laws. However, the judges are to be nominated by the Chairman
of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, not by the President; therefore,
the law (written by members of Democratic Russia) may seriously
backfire on its authors if the CPD elects a conservative as SupSov
chairman. (Julia Wishnevsky)

RUSSIAN REPUBLIC REFORM PLAN. Some details of the Russian Republic
reform plan are given in the latest Kommersant (no. 26). The
main architect of the plan is the 45-year-old economist Evgenii
Saburov, who is RSFSR Deputy Education Minister. The plan covers
the period to end-1993. It emphasizes privatization, with a strategy
that adjusts over time to the population's response in terms
of savings rates. Free privatization vouchers would be issued
to the population, but shares would be sold preferentially to
people offering money as well as vouchers; then 10-25% of the
unsold shares would be offered to foreign investors. A financial
squeeze is to be delayed until 1993--which looks disastrous.
(Philip Hanson)

July 10 that the Chairman of the Leningrad city soviet's Economic
Reform Committee, Anatolii Chubais, announced that the Leningrad
free enterprise zone has begun operations. The zone offers special
tax and customs regimes, as well as special social amenities,
and a system for hard currency repatriation (probably similar
to the currency exchange now operating in Moscow). Leningrad
has been aggressively pursuing joint ventures and other types
of deals with foreign partners for some time. This announcement
probably reflects the resolution of some lingering legislative
questions at the city and republican levels. (John Tedstrom)

Chairman of the Moscow city soviet Sergei Stankevich favors the
creation of international centers in the USSR to monitor the
transition to a market economy. He said the centers should operate
under the auspices of international financial organizations,
be financed by the international community and consist of foreign
managers and directors. Speaking at the Royal Institute of International
Affairs in London, as reported by an RFE/RL correspondent, Stankevich
urged the West to support the republics and the private sector
instead of the center but, at the same time, warned that a further
weakening of the center could lead to a crisis like that in Yugoslavia.
(Alexander Rahr)

10 from Vladi-kavkaz that Metropolitan Gedeon of Stavropol' and
Baku, who was visiting Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia,
appealed to all believers in the North Caucasus region to keep
the peace and fostermutual understanding. The metropolitan also
asked Patriarch of All Georgia Iliya II "to use all of his authority"
to stop the ongoing bloodshed in the area. (OxanaAntic)

MASS DISTURBANCES IN KASHINO. One person of Caucasian nationality
was killed and 20 people hospitalized, some with gunshot wounds,
after clashes between the local population and Caucasians in
Kashino in Tver' oblast at the end of June, Rabochaya tribuna
reported July 6. Sixteen Caucasians and five local inhabitants
were arrested. The trouble started when the Caucasians bought
up large amounts of food and vodka. (AnnSheehy)

TROOPS ATTACK ARMENIAN VILLAGES. The inhabitants of three Armenian
villages in the Geranboy raion of Azerbaijan, which borders on
the NKAO, were ordered July 13 by unidentified troops to leave
their homes. Soviet troop units of the 23rd division of the Soviet
4th Army launched an attack on the villages the following day,
according to Western news agencies (July 14 and 15). USSR KGB
Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov is quoted as having assured Armenian
Supreme Soviet Chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan that the situation
in the region is quiet. Azerbaijani KGB chief Vagif Guseinov
has claimed that Interior Ministry troops have been deployed
to protect the Armenians. (Liz Fuller)

In a Western agency interview July 14, Ukrainian Supreme Soviet
Chairman Leonid Kravchuk affirmed that "Ukraine should pay 20
billion rubles for maintenance" into central government coffers.
The republic's total payments at present are said to amount to
some 100 billion rubles. Kravchuk, who is increasingly in the
news thanks to his resolute stand on the draft Union treaty,
made the revealing disclosure that his devotion to sovereignty
can be dated to 1989 (when he was ideological secretary for the
Ukrainian CP), when he saw that the Communist Party was falling
apart and had to be saved. Kravchuk concluded that only sovereignty
for the Party would save it, and that Party sovereignty could
not be achieved without state sovereignty. (Natalie Melnyczuk/Kathy

Radio Kiev July 11, Canadian Ambassador Michael Bell stated that
the goal of the meetings he is attending in and Ukraine. The
joint projects would involve specialists in the fields of economics,
finance and infrastructure development. Canada is home to many
people of Ukrainian descent, and it is likely that relations
between the two countries will continue to develop. (Natalie

BOLSHEVIKS ARE PICKETED. Belorussian Popular Front activists
and leaders of noncommunist political parties carried signs reading
"Stalinists Get Out of Minsk!" in a picket of the Oblast' Party
committee building where the Bolshevik Platform met (see above).
In an interview July 13 with Radio Rossii, Mikhas' Tkachou, a
prominent Belorussian Social Democrat, said that in allowing
the Stalinists to hold a conference, the Central Committee of
the Belorussian CP had "covered our . . . guiltless Belorussia
in shame." Radio Rossii correspondent Leonid Sviridov signed
off his report with the words, "from Belorussia, the last bastion
of Bolshevism in Eastern Europe." (Kathy Mihalisko)

NAZARBAEV IN CHINA. On July 13, TASS reported that during Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbaev's visit to China, he met with the
general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin,
as well as with government leaders. From his quoted remarks about
the development of economic ties between China and the USSR,
it appeared that Nazarbaev had concentrated on relations between
the two countries rather than on relations between Kazakhstan
and the PRC. (Bess Brown)

ALTERNATIVE SERVICE IN MOLDAVIA. On July10, the Moldavian legislature
passed an alternative military service law, effective immediately,
"for religious, pacifist, and political" convictions, TASS reported.
Alternative service would include firefighting and guard duty,
environment related activities, social and health services, and
construction, repair, and agricultural work, with a 2-year term
of service (1 year for university graduates) and spring and fall
inductions. Except in extreme circumstances, alternative service
will be performed within the republic. In contrast, a USSR Defense
Ministry proposal calls for a 3-year term of alternative service
to be conducted at "national economic sites" anywhere in the
country. (Stephen Foye)

STORM DAMAGE IN MOLDAVIA. The Moldavian parliament was told July
10 that ten people died and fifteen are missing as a result of
the torrential downpour on the night of July 4-5, Novosti reported
the same day. More than a quarter million hectares of agricultural
land were put out of action, on half of which the crops, orchards,
and vineyards were completely wiped out. In the opinion of a
number of specialists the damage exceeds the republic's annual
budget. The large and small rivers are under threat of pollution
because mounds of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers
were washed into them. (Ann Sheehy) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled
by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise (END)

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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