|The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky|
No. 133, 16 July 1991
BALTIC STATES LANDSBERGIS DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL OF OMON. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis called for the withdrawal of the OMON from Lithuanian territory, Radio Independent Lithuania reported July 15. In a telegram sent to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Landsbergis expressed his fear that the OMON will be used to create provocations which could be used as "a pretext for new Soviet army actions in Lithuania." In a July 12 press release, the Lithuanian government information bureau warned of a possible provocation, planned by the Soviet army, in which the OMON would clash with Soviet troops in civilian or Lithuanian police uniforms. (Gytis Liulevicius) LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR CRITICIZES TRUBIN REPORT. On July 15 a 4-page letter from Prosecutor of the Republic of Lithuania Arturas Paulauskas to USSR Prosecutor General Nikolai Trubin was released, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Paulauskas criticized Trubin's preliminary report of June 3 on the Soviet military's attack on the Vilnius TV tower on January 13 as "a gross falsification intended to stabilize the situation in Lithuania and to protect the organizers and executors [of the attack] whose aim was to carry out an armed coup d'itat." Paulauskas condemned as illegal the efforts of the USSR Procuracy to obtain false statements from witnesses exonerating the military. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN PROTEST IN MOSCOW. Lithuanian TV employees protested in Moscow on July 15,Radio Independent Lithuania reportedthat day. Ten demonstrators picketed the press center and marched from the Defense Ministry to KGB headquarters in protest against the continuing occupation of the television tower and other media facilities in Vilnius. "More than 2,000 radio and television employees were forcibly put out of work," said one protester. "The USSR is denying our right to receive and impart information." The group will continue its protest and petition drive today (July16) at the central television building. (Gytis Liulevicius) MVD OFFICIAL ON OMON. Doctor of Juridical Sciences and professor at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs Academy Anatoly Maidikov told Megapolis Express of June 13 that a common strategy has been developed for OMON forces in Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, and Sumgait. The principal guidelines for crowd control are: cooperation, compromise, restraint, and finally the use of force. Latvian security department head Janis Baskers commented to Diena of July 15 that such guidelines have been used in the past by the KGB. Baskers said that the first guideline is particularly dangerous; he views it as an effort of the OMON to infiltrate various key organizations. (Dzintra Bungs) MORE SOVIET OFFICERS AND FAMILIES SETTLE IN LATVIA. In the first half of 1991, 45 Soviet army officers and their families (altogether 138 persons), plus 43 other individuals (from Ukraine, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Buryatia, and the Sakhalin region) settled in the Liepaja raion in western Latvia. Although migration to Latvia is limited by law, loopholes continue to exist. In this regard, the Soviet military and their dependents appear to have ignored existing restrictions in Latvia. Diena also reported on July 11 that in the same period 212 persons had left the Liepaja raion for other regions of the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs) ALLOCATION OF FARM LAND IN LATVIA. In conjunction with agricultural reforms taking place in Latvia, 75,000 persons have requested land to start their own farms. Zigurds Veitners, head of the land allocation department, said the land requested by individuals, together with the land that kolkhozes and sovkhozes would like to retain (72% and 75%, respectively, of what they had), exceeds the available farm land in Latvia by about 25%. Currently there are about 9,000 individual farms in Latvia. About 100,000 former farm owners or their heirs have requested the return of their farms; of these, 1,400 requests have come from Latvians living in the West, reported Diena on July11. Novosti reported on July 12 that altogether 334,756 requests for land have been made in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) MERI IN LONDON. Estonia's Foreign Minister Lennart Meri told reporters yesterday that any Western aid to the Soviet Union should target the republics, RFE/RL's correspondent in London reported July 15. "We have nothing against your helping the democratically elected governments of Eastern Europe and the Soviet republics. We would like only that this help be directed to the real problems, and not be directed by the central government modernizing the army." Meri is on a seven-day visit to London to outline the views of the Baltic States on Western aid to the USSR. (Riina Kionka) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS G-7 AND AID FOR THE SOVIET UNION: WHAT'S NEW? Some information about the contents of Gorbachev's letter to G-7 leaders has emerged in the past 24 hours. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov told a press conference in Moscow that one aim was to persuade Western governments to press Western firms to invest in projects on a list that Gorbachev will present; another is to obtain full membership in the IMF; and a third is to get Western assistance with a $12billion stabilization fund to support a move to ruble convertibility (Christian Science Monitor, July 15, The Los Angeles Times, July 16). The first request assumes Western firms will make decisions they otherwise would not, if their governments tell them to. (Philip Hanson) SPECTER OF "TURMOIL" IF AID IS NOT FORTHCOMING. Two Soviet officials in London yesterday echoed past warnings of instability in the USSR and abroad if Western countries do not provide economic aid to the Soviet Union. Presidential Spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko said "if we do not achieve close cooperation between the Soviet Union and other countries, there could be turmoil not only for the Soviet Union but elsewhere," The Chicago Tribune reported July 16. Presidential adviser Evgenii Primakov said on BBC television July 15, as reported by an RFE/RL correspondent in London, that unless the West aids the Soviet economy, the USSR faces "the real menace of social uprising." (Sallie Wise) JAPAN STICKS TO ISLANDS FOR AID. During the first round of G-7 talks on July 15, Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu called for the Soviet Union to provide specific "proof of the application of new global thinking" by resolving the Islands dispute with Japan. Japan also noted that Gorbachev's elaboration of his reform plans came too late for the G-7 to consider a massive aid package during the London summit, Western agencies reported July15. (Suzanne Crow) JAPANESE OFFSET PAYMENT. Citing the Japanese daily Yomiuri of July 11, TASS of the same date revealed that Kaifu is bringing a commercial credit of $200 million to the USSR with him to the G-7 summit. This has been put together by several Japanese banks, and will be transferred to Vneshekonombank to reduce the $515 million current arrears in Soviet payments to Japanese firms. (Keith Bush) SHCHERBAKOV SAYS CONVERSION TO EXPAND. Shcherbakov said July 15 that current plans for converting Soviet defense industries could expand to affect as much as 80% of the Soviet defense complex, according to Western reports July16. The statement is clearly designed to raise the profile of the Soviet conversion effort as the USSR campaigns for aid from the industrialized West. An all-Union program for conversion is scheduled to be examined by the USSR Supreme Soviet this fall. (John Tedstrom) GRAIN PROCUREMENT TARGET RESTATED. The USSR Cabinet of Ministers has reminded Union republics of the need to meet this year's grain procurement target of 77 million tons, Radio Moscow and TASS reported July 15. This is considered to be an unrealistic goal, being well above last year's procurement outturn of around 70 million tons from a record harvest. Farms that exceed their quotas of grain sold to the state are offered a variety of scarce consumer and producer goods, ranging from passenger cars to cement to sewing machines, at state retail prices. Similar offers of goods and hard currency have been largely ineffective during the past two years due to poor administration of the scheme and unavailability of products. (Keith Bush) TROOPS MOBILIZED TO SAVE HARVEST. In a related move, the USSR Ministry of Defense has allocated the troops and vehicles of 60 motorized battalions to help bring in this year's harvest, according to Pravda of July 15, as cited by Western agencies. Some 30,000 army vehicles will be involved. This mobilization has been a regular feature of the annual harvest crisis for many decades, but the situation this year is particularly acute. The grain harvest is projected at 180-190 million tons; farmers are reluctant to sell grain to the state because of the unfavorable terms of trade; with exports of oil and arms down, the USSR's hard-currency earnings have declined; and the general disintegration of the economy has impacted on the agricultural sector. (Keith Bush) COAL MINERS' PAY SETTLEMENT. The USSR Ministry of Coal Mining and the trade unions have concluded a tariff agreement that provides for a doubling of miners' wages by the end of 1991, Trud reported July 12. The pay hike was one of the principal demands made by striking miners this spring. By the beginning of 1992, a 30-hour workweek will be introduced for miners, and minimum wages in the industry will be raised considerably. (Keith Bush) TWO GROUPS TO JOIN MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS. A new Party of Communists for Democracy, set up on the basis of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's faction of Communists for Democracy, is going to join the newly created Movement for Democratic Reforms, TASS reported July 15. The faction and the recently proposed party are headed by RSFSR Vice President-elect Aleksandr Rutskoi, a founding member of the movement. Rutskoi hopes that his new party will oppose the conservative RSFSR CP and eventually drive it out of the republican political arena. The same day, TASS reported that another group, the Republican Party of Russia, also has decided to join the Movement for Democratic Reforms. The Republican Party was set up last year based on the radical wing of the Democratic Platform within the CPSU. (Vera Tolz) PROBLEMS WITH REGISTRATION OF CPSU. The CPSU was officially registered this year under the law on public associations although its rules have not yet been revised according to this law, Argumenty i fakty (No. 26) reported. Last January, a CPSU CC plenum promised to revise the rules by the end of the year, i.e., to add a required chapter regulating the procedure for disbanding the Party. Argumenty i fakty emphasized that the CPSU has not yet published even a draft of the chapter. It quoted rank-and-file Communist Yurii Kol'tsov as saying the CPSU leadership still does not know how to solve the issue of the CPSU's property and archives in case the Party is disbanded. Kol'tsov said 80% of average Communists will support nationalization of the CPSU's property, but the CPSU leadership cannot be satisfied with such a solution. (Vera Tolz) "SOYUZ" STILL AIMING AT VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN GORBACHEV. At a press conference July 15, the leaders of "Soyuz" reiterated their criticism of the draft Union treaty and accused Gorbachev of pursuing a consistent policy of breaking up the country, TASS reported the same day. Yurii Blokhin, chairman of "Soyuz"' Coordination Council, said they were delaying the summoning of the Congress of People's Deputies for a vote of no confidence in Gorbachev only because they wanted to be sure they had the necessary qualified majority to carry the motion. (Ann Sheehy) POLOZKOV SAYS SPLIT IN PARTY IS "LONG OVERDUE." The hardline leader of the RSFSR Communist party, Ivan Polozkov, was quoted by TASS July 12 as saying a split within the CPSU is imminent and even "long overdue." Polozkov called for a reregistration of Party members to rid the CPSU of the "adventurists and careerists" who, Polozkov said, had joined it in recent years. (Elizabeth Teague) MOSCOW REJECTS FORCE AGAINST IRAQ. Presidential spokesman Ignatenko said July 15that Moscow opposes the use of military action to force Iraq to abandon its nuclear weapons development. Speaking at a London news conference, Ignatenko said that every method except military action should be used to influence Iraq. (Suzanne Crow) TASS OBSERVER ON US THREAT TO IRAQ. TASS observer Yurii Tyssovsky said in a July 15 commentary that it "does no honor to US diplomacy" to take a "selective approach" toward Iraq with respect to its nuclear weapons building potential. "Israel already has . . . at least hundreds of nuclear warheads with their means of delivery, and on the banks of the Potomac they aren't planning to take sanctions against Tel Aviv." (Suzanne Crow) BESSMERTNYKH WARNS YUGOSLAVIA'S NEIGHBORS. The Austrian magazine Profil published a letter from Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh (July 15) warning against intervention by Yugoslavia's neighbors. He deplored recent arms deliveries allegedly made to Yugoslavia without the knowledge "of the legitimate government" of Yugoslavia. Bessmertnykh also condemned the "numerous overtures" of "supporters of the disintegration" of Yugoslavia and concluded: "unless there is a stop to attempts to meddle in the Yugoslav internal crisis, all the conditions will be present to bring about the same situation that existed at the beginning of the century." (Suzanne Crow) IRANIAN COMMANDER ON TALKS. Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Mansour Sattari said in an Islamic Republic News Agency interview (July 11) that military ties between Tehran and Moscow are good and that "continuation of the contacts between the officials of the two countries can serve as a positive step in promotion of cooperation and good neighborly relations between the two countries." During Sattari's four days of talks, he met with Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov, Army General Ivan Tretyak, and Air Force Commander General Evgenii Shaposhnikov. (Suzanne Crow) SOLDIERS KILL TEN MATES. On the night of July14, two Soviet soldiers shot to death ten of their sleeping mates in the Ulyanovsk district on the Volga River east of Moscow, Western news agencies reported. The two soldiers then fled, taking two submachineguns and 600 cartridges with them. An investigation has been launched. (Stephen Foye) DEFENSE MINISTRY TO SET UP OWN NEWS AGENCY. Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov has ordered the creation of a news agency to circulate what he calls objective information on the USSR Armed Forces, Soviet television reported on July11. The agency is to be called "Intervoyeninform." The move undoubtedly reflects the military leadership's dissatisfaction with what it considers unfair treatment in the national media. (Stephen Foye) SOVIET WOMEN'S COMMITTEE APPEALS AGAINST UNLAWFUL DISMISSALS. The Soviet Women's Committee, noting the mass character of unlawful and unjust dismissal of females, has appealed to heads of enterprises, organizations, and councils of work collectives to put an end to the situation. The appeal was reported in Rabochaya tribuna on July 6. On July 1, the RSFSR opened its first unemployment offices. Five thousand people visited these in Moscow in the first week, which does not reflect an excessive level of unemployment. As marketization begins in earnest, however, this will increase dramatically. Both Soviet and western experts have predicted that unemployment will hit women hardest. (Sarah Ashwin) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR CONGRESS REMAINS DEADLOCKED. The RSFSR Congress now has been deadlocked for five days over the election of a new Supreme Soviet chairman. A fifth ballot today (July 16) again failed to produce a clear majority for any candidate. As TSN reported July 16, the leader of the Communist faction, Sergei Baburin, again outflanked the candidate of Democratic Russia, Ruslan Khasbulatov, in the fifth round, and garnered ten more votes than yesterday, but failed to get an absolute majority of votes. The democrats, who form a majority at the Congress, are split on the candidacy of Khasbulatov. Some accuse him of authoritariarism, others charge that he has made too many compromises with conservatives. A third group rejects Khasbulatov because he is non-Russian. (Alexander Rahr/Julia Wishnevsky) SOBCHAK ORDERS JOINT POLICE-MILITARY PATROLS. The new mayor of Leningrad, Anatolii Sobchak, has ordered joint patrols by police and military personnel to handle growing crime in Leningrad, Radio Mayak reported on July 15. When Gorbachev ordered such joint patrols throughout the country by presidential decree last December, the decree was denounced as a step towards dictatorship. Sobchak's order foresees that every day about 25 police and 75 military servicemen will participate in joint patrols. The crime rate in Leningrad has risen by 15% this year, and the local police is not technically equipped to deal with the problem. (Alexander Rahr) KASPAROV CRITICIZES YELTSIN. A co-founder of the new Conservative-Liberal Party of Russia, Garry Kasparov, said that RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin made a mistake in siding with Gorbachev. He told The Sunday Times on July 14 that "in trying to save Gorbachev, he [Yeltsin] will probably go down with him." Kasparov criticized Yeltsin for having nominated as his deputy the Communist Rutskoi. He also stated that by trusting Gorbachev's word on economic reform or the remaking of the USSR along federal lines, "Yeltsin has condemned himself." Kasparov said the greatest obstacle for renewing the union will be Ukraine, which may elect a "nationalist" and "straight-forward secessionist" as its president in elections at the end of this year. (Alexander Rahr) NEZHNYI ON CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MOSCOW. Noted religious publicist Aleksandr Nezhnyi reviewed in Moskovskie novosti No. 26, incon-nection with the enthronement of the first Catholic archbishop of Moscow and the European part of RSFSR, Tadeus Kondrucievicz, the state of Catholic-Orthodox relations in Russia. Nezhnyi appealed for the unity of the two churches, saying they should remember the common dark past. He also recalled the persecution of Catholic priests at the beginning of the twentieth century. (Oxana Antic) CONGRESS OF LUTHERANS IN LENINGRAD. TASS reported on July 13 that a Congress of Lutherans of Russia met that day for the first time in 67years. This Forum will discuss vital problems of reviving the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, pass Church statutes, and elect its leadership. (Oxana Antic) FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTH. The first international conference on the development of the north and the problem of recultivation of areas damaged by mineral extraction ended in Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi SSR, July 11, TASS reported the same day. The conference recommended that the experience accumulated in the Komi republic, Alaska, Yakutia, and Tyumen' be used. A permanent coordination council for the organization of scientific-production work on the recultivation of the northern territories was set up. (Ann Sheehy) 250 YEARS OF BUDDHISM IN RUSSIA. TASS reported on July 14 that the head of the Buddhists, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, arrived in Ulan-Ude the same day and led a service to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the recognition of Buddhism in Russia as a state religion. More than 20,000 believers came to join the service, including many pilgrims from China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. After the service an announcement was read, according to which the government decided to return more than 2,000 sacred items to Buddhist monasteries. The Dalai Lama arrived in the USSR on July 10 for a visit at the invitation of Soviet Buddhists. (Oxana Antic) MORE KILLED ON ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI BORDER. Interfax July 15 quoted Armenian Minister of Internal Affairs Ashot Manucharyan as claiming that two villagers and three Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in a clash in the Armenian-populated village of Erkend when Soviet troops and Azerbaijani police units tried to implement what were described as "passport controls." Also on July 15, both Azerbaijani and USSR MVD, KGB and Army spokesmen denied any involvement in an attack on three Armenian villages in Azerbaijan on July 13. (Liz Fuller) UKRAINE'S "INDEPENDENCE DAY." Celebrations will take place today, July 16, to mark Ukraine's first "Independence Day." The date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the republic's Declaration of State Sovereignty. (Kathy Mihalisko) MALOFEEV IN FAVOR OF EXCHANGE OF PARTY CARDS. In an interview published July 12 in Sovet-skaya Belorussiya, Belorussian CP chief Anatolii Malofeev complained that the opposition was still trying to force the issues of "departification" and nationalization of CP property despite the republican Supreme Soviet's recent rejection of these demands as unconstitutional and counter to international laws. Malofeev said that a reregistration of CP members should be carried out for the sake of strengthening Party discipline. (Kathy Mihalisko) TAJIK SUPREME SOVIET FORBIDS DEFAMATION OF PRESIDENT. TASS reported on July 15 that Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet had passed a law calling for up to six years imprisonment for individuals who defame the president of the republic by disseminating "slanderous materials." The report adds that public criticism of the president's actions and policies is not subject to prosecution. The Tajik law appears to be patterned on the USSR law passed in 1990. (Bess Brown) MORALS POLICE SET UP IN MOLDAVIA. The Moldavian MVD told journalists July 15 that a morals police was being set up in Moldavia to protect young people from the cult of violence, cruelty, and pornography, TASS and Novosti reported July 15. An MVD spokesman said the rapid growth of prostitution and the pornography business made creation of the new body necessary. There are now about 800 prostitutes in Kishinev, compared with only about 200 three years ago. Units of the morals police will be created in all major population centers and on international routes through the republic. (Ann Sheehy) MOLDAVIA: NEW CENTER OF DRUG TRADE. In an interview with Vechernyi Kishinev, police captain Igor' Shmelev stated that Moldavia was becoming the drugs raw material base for the whole of the Soviet Union and, seemingly, even the countries of Eastern Europe, Novosti reported July11. Shmelev said that drugs are traded at virtually every fee-paying parking lot, in underground passages, even at hotels and in the youth center. Drug addiction is spreading like an epidemic as each addict persuades at least five people to take up drugs a year. Last season the police destroyed 120 hectares of hemp and con-fiscated over 155 kilograms of drugs. (Ann Sheehy) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise (END)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.