|We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr|
No. 134, 17 July 1991
BALTIC STATES VAGNORIUS SENDS TELEGRAMS TO LONDON. On July 16 Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius sent telegrams to the G-7 meeting in London and to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. In the telegrams Vagnorius asked for the return of the buildings in Vilnius seized by the Soviet military in January. Vagnorius expressed the hope that the G-7 leaders would raise the Baltic question in their talks with Gorbachev, stressing that Lithuania was willing to solve all existing problems in its relations with the USSR through interstate discussions in a spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation. (Saulius Girnius) G-7 DECLARATION MENTIONS BALTICS. A political declaration issued yesterday in London by leaders of the G-7 countries made reference to the Baltic States. In it, the G-7 leaders expressed their hope that "the negotiations between the USSR and the elected governments of the Baltic countries will resolve their future democratically and in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the people." (Sallie Wise) NEW LITHUANIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. The Lithuanian Supreme Soviet on July 16 voted to approve Lithuanian Minister of Social Security Algis Dobravolskas as the third Deputy Prime Minister by a vote on 59 to 1 with 29 abstentions, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. The other deputy prime ministers are Zigmas Vaisvila and Vytautas Pakalniskis, who also is the Minister of Justice. (Saulius Girnius) PRUNSKIENE WINS LIBEL SUIT. Former Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene won a libel suit against two newspapers, Izvestia reported July 11. Last November, while Prunskiene was still Prime Minister, Tarybu Lietuva and Litva sovetskaya, both communist newspapers, published articles portraying Prunskiene's father as a "terrorist" leader of the Lithuanian resistance from 1945 to 1947. Prunskiene sued on the grounds that her father in fact died in 1944, and a court ordered the two newspapers each to pay Prunskiene 25,000 rubles in damages, and to publish a retraction. Since the papers' financial reserves were limited, the Lithuanian Communist Party assisted in paying the damages. Prunskiene has currently received half of the total sum, and plans to give the money to charity. (Gytis Liulevicius) COST OF LIVING PAY INCREASES FROM FACTORY FUNDS? The Latvian government has decided that pay raises to compensate for the increased cost of living should come out of enterprise funds, rather than from the state or municipal budgets, reported Diena on July 12. This decision, modifying a government decision of April 5, applies to enterprises under republican and all-Union jurisdiction. A major reason for the rising cost of living has been the decision to raise prices on various consumer goods and foodstuffs earlier this year; plans are being made for additional price hikes for agricultural products. (Dzintra Bungs) PRINTING PRESS FROM INDIANAPOLIS TO LATVIA. A printing press, formerly used to publish the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis News, has been donated by the newspapers' publishers to help normalize newspaper publication in Latvia. Since the Black Berets took over the Press Building in Riga in January, newspaper publishing is still difficult in Latvia. Once the press from Indianapolis is installed in Riga, it should be able to produce six daily newspapers. It will cost about $1 million to move it from the US to Latvia. About $400,000 of the money needed already has been raised by the Latvian Freedom Foundation, a Latvian exile organization based in Rockville, Maryland, reported Western agencies on July 13. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS G-DAY AT G-7. Gorbachev today (July 17) will present his case for Western aid to the USSR to the G-7 leaders in London. In addition to addressing them as a group this afternoon, he will hold individual talks with each of the seven today and tomorrow. The leaders, in their political declaration issued yesterday, reiterated that their "support for the process of fundamental reform in the Soviet Union remains as strong as ever." However, Gorbachev is likely to face some polite but pointed questioning on the specifics of his plans for reform. Western agencies today report that a draft of the summit's final communiqué stresses Soviet monetary and fiscal discipline, as well as clarification of responsibilities between the Center and republics, as crucial prerequisites for reform. (Sallie Wise) G-7 CALLS FOR "OPEN AND DEMOCRATIC SOVIET UNION." Although Gorbachev doubtless will want to concentrate on Western economic aid, the G-7 leaders appear to have Soviet political reform on their minds as well. The section of their declaration yesterday that dealt with the USSR emphasized politics before economics. It welcomed "efforts to create a new union, based on consent not coercion, which genuinely responds to the wishes of the peoples of the Soviet Union." The leaders declared themselves committed to support for Soviet efforts "to create an open society, a pluralistic democracy and a market economy." In a nod to Japan's security concerns, they expressed hope that "new thinking" in Soviet foreign policy "will be as fully reflected in Asia as in Europe." (Sallie Wise) MORE ON THE G-7 MEETING. Today's Chicago Tribune reveals more than other sources on the content of Gorbachev's G-7 pitch. The requests in Gorbachev's letter to the G-7 leaders apparently included: some easing of the foreign debt-service burden, additional consumer goods supplies (on credit?), and support for a ruble stabilization fund for selected investment projects. The US and UK response to the stabilization fund idea is reported as negative (Boston Globe, July 17, Western agencies, July 16), and Professor Graham Allison, no less, is reported to be disappointed about the lack of specifics in the Soviet proposals for reform. It appears that, as Pavlov predicted, the Soviet program is still being modified. (Philip Hanson) EBRD LOAN LIMIT RETAINED. The founding treaty of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development stipulates a ceiling for its first three years of the bank's lending and investment exposure to the Soviet Union of 6% of its capital, i.e., the Soviet stake in the bank. This amounts to $210 million. At the G-7 summit on July 16, according to agency reports, France proposed raising the USSR's borrowing rate to 15% ($525 million) and Italy to 20% ($700 million). The US and Japan reportedly blocked these proposals. An EBRD bid for a role in coordinating Western technical assistance to the Soviet Union was also reportedly turned down. (Keith Bush) REPUBLICS RECEIVE MORE LATITUDE IN FOREIGN TRADE. The recently published "Joint Action Program"--an agreement between the Center and 10 republics--increases republics' rights and responsibilities for foreign economic activity (Izvestia, July 10). The program gives republics the right to negotiate for foreign credits independently of the Center. Republic enterprises are given more latitude in dealing with import and export questions, and can freely trade in valuable raw materials including gold, oil, coal and gas (but not arms). This last measure supposedly took effect July 1. A "targeted Union-republic" program to attract foreign capital should be in place by September. (John Tedstrom) GOSBANK PUBLISHES BALANCE SHEET. With the purported aim of "showing that the Soviet Union seriously wishes to move towards a market economy," the USSR Gosbank published its first balance sheet since 1936 in Izvestia of July 16, TASS reported that day. Henceforth, balance sheets will be published four times a year. The figures show a balance of 638 billion rubles. The bank's gold reserves are given as 374 tons--an amount previously disclosed at a Vienna conference (see The Financial Times, June 25)--in addition to holdings of other precious metals and foreign currency valued at nearly 1.2 billion rubles. (Reserves of gold and other precious metals are also held by other Soviet institutions). (Keith Bush) MORE OFFICIALS SUPPORT NEW MOVEMENT. Several politicians and cultural figures have expressed support for the Movement for Democratic Reforms. Radio Moscow said July 16 that among them are: Chairman of the USSR Journalists' Union Eduard Sagalaev; reformist economist Pavel Bunich; and playwright Mikhail Shatrov. The same day, TASS carried a report on a Moscow press conference, at which a founding member of the movement, Academician Stanislav Shatalin, said the movement's main aim is "to change the country's social and political system through new elections and other parliamentary means, as well as to create a real opposition to the CPSU." Shatalin was quoted as saying the movement probably will be transformed into a party, which will be a centrist one. (Vera Tolz) BESSMERTNYKH TO MIDEAST. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said on July16 that Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh "still has another trip to the Near East" among his plans, TASS reported. Churkin did not note when Bessmertnykh will travel there. US Secretary ofState James Baker sets off on a five-country mission to the Middle East on July 18. Meanwhile, accordingto an unidentified Soviet foreign ministry official quoted in a July 16 Interfax report, the issue of a Middle East settlement is a matter of "continuous dialogue" between the Soviet Union and the US. (Suzanne Crow) MASLYUKOV TO ASEAN MEETING. Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Maslyukov will hold meetings with the foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries starting July 18, and will attend the opening ceremony of the annual ASEAN meeting on July 19 in Kuala Lumpur, TASS reported July 16. After talks with Malaysian leaders, Maslyukov will travel to Indonesia. Moscow has long sought a friendly dialogue with the ASEAN countries in order to boost its image as a political and trading partner in the Far East. (Suzanne Crow) VORONTSOV OPPOSES IRAQI NUCLEAR PROGRAM. In contrast to statements earlier this week from Soviet officials stressing Moscow's opposition to the use of military force to rid Iraq of its potential to develop nuclear weapons, Soviet ambassador to the UN Yulii Vorontsov stressed on July 16 that the program should not exist. "This a serious matter," Vorontsov said. "[Iraq] should not have such a program." Vorontsov also called for a special resolution of the UN Security Council to assist the work of UN inspection groups, TASS reported July 16. (Suzanne Crow) AIR DEFENSE FORCES LOSE, FIND A PLANE. A MiG-23 interceptor disappeared without a trace in the region of Nizhnyi Tagil on July 15, Komsomolskaya pravda reported two days later. The local air defense command denied an earlier report that the plane was carrying "a normal ammunition load," saying it was merely on a training flight. Meanwhile, TASS reported from Leningrad on July 16 that a private plane from Germany had illegally crossed into Soviet airspace a day earlier and--once found in heavy cloud cover--was escorted by two air defense fighters and a helicopter to Leningrad. An Air Defense spokesman blamed the problem on an error by a Helsinki air traffic controller. (Stephen Foye) NO MORE STUDENT DEFERMENTS? According to an Izvestia commentator, a draft bill on universal military service currently being circulated in the USSR Supreme Soviet makes no provisions for student deferments. Moscow Radio reported that the July 15 Izvestia article criticized the Defense Ministry for secretly attempting to roll back deferments for college students despite the fact that the USSR Supreme Soviet approved them two years ago, and the Defense Ministry's own draft reform--published late last year--also included deferment provisions. The commentator also questioned how a decision on draft policy can be made when no broad conception of national security has yet been approved. (Stephen Foye) KORYAGINA ON CORRUPTION OF DEMOCRATS. Economist Tat'yana Koryagina told Argumenty i Fakty, No. 26 that corruption has hit the ranks of democrats. She charged that the corrupt Party nomenklatura of old has been joined by a "second power," which unites old criminal structures and the radical-democratic "mafia", advancing under the motto of "private business." Now, however, there is a "third" force of both leftists and rightists under the slogan of "honest power." While Koryagina supports fair entrepreneurship, which is crucial for reviving of the country, she opposes "criminal elements" which occupy the "commanding heights," she explained. On July 14, Radio Rossii branded Koryagina a "renegade" preoccupied with the "idea of a mafia." While the issue of corruption is important, it is not the main problem, the radio commented. (Victor Yasmann) AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS AGAIN CALL STRIKE. Soviet air traffic controllers, who at the last minute called off a strike planned for May 21, now may walk off the job August 10. Leaders of the controllers' union have delared a strike for August 10, Radio Rossii reported July15, quoting Vladimir Vorodulev, a member of the union's governing council. Vorodulev charged that the Soviet government has not delivered on its promises to increase wages and other benefits, which led to the cancellation of the strike in May. Moreover, he said, union activists at some airports have been subject to reprisals. Vorodulev said that the strike slated for August could be averted if the government begins to implement its promises. (Sallie Wise) PLANNED MEETING OF INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS AND WORKERS' COMMITTEES. Representatives of the Independent Miners' Union, the Union of Civil Aviation Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers, the Confederation of Labor, and the newer Confederation of Russian Trade Unions plan to meet at the end of October. According to Rabochaya tribuna of July 5, the meeting will discuss the creation of new unions, independent of the Party and administration, to replace the temporary, but predominant, form of worker self-organization: the strike committees. Other items on the agenda include discussion of CPSU draft legislation designed to ensure the existence of only one trade union per enterprise. (Sarah Ashwin) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS DEADLOCK IN RSFSR CONGRESS CONTINUES. The RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies has set up a conciliatory commission to try to resolve the deadlock over the election of a new Supreme Soviet chairman, TASS reported on July 16. The conciliatory commission proposed appointing Ruslan Khasbulatov as acting Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and Sergei Baburin as his acting first deputy. Khasbulatov is being supported by the democrats, Baburin by the Communists in the Congress. Neither one could obtain a majority of votes in five rounds. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin attended yesterday's session of the Congress but could not secure support for Khasbulatov. (Alexander Rahr) SOBCHAK UNDER FIRE. A serious confrontation between Leningrad mayor Anatolii Sobchak and the city's parliament is emerging. The Presidium of the Leningrad city soviet yesterday (July 16) voted down the decree on joint military-police patrols which Sobchak issued the day before, Interfax reported that day (see Daily Report, July 16). Sobchak protested the decision of the council's presidium and stressed that his decree was in accordance with that of Gorbachev from last year. Sobchak also stated that the RSFSR government supported his decree. He declared that the city soviet presidium's decision is not valid and that he will not adhere to it. (Alexander Rahr) RYZHKOV ON HIS DEFEAT. In his first comments after his defeat in the RSFSR presidential elections, former premier Nikolai Ryzhkov blamed the Russian people for having misunderstood his cause. He told Interfax on July16 that people regarded him as a reactionary although he had pledged support for reform. He said the difference between Yeltsin and himself was that he wanted cautious reform. Ryzhkov also admitted that his membership in the CPSU turned people against him. He complained that 20 days had not been enough to conduct an efficient campaign. Finally, Ryzhkov said he was shocked by the amount of criticism leveled against him by the population for the failures of previous governments. (Alexander Rahr) IRREGULAR ARMED GUARDS AT NEVZOROV'S OFFICE. Armed Afghan veterans have taken up positions at the office of controversial Leningrad TV reporter, Aleksandr Nevzorov, Radio Rossii reported July 15. The irregular guards reportedly also accompany "600 Seconds"' film crews and guard the apartments of the program's staff. The guards were imposed without the approval of either the Leningrad TV and Radio Committee or the Lensovet. The head of the All-Union TV and Radio Broadcasting Company, Leonid Kravchneko, reportedly questioned Nevzorov over the imposition of the guards. Nevozorv was quoted as saying that he was not going to lift the guards since he and his program are under threat from "envious people and other riff-raff." The majority of Nevzorov's staffers recently left "600 Seconds," and the leadership of Leningrad TV has asked Nevozrov voluntarily to close down his program. (Vera Tolz) DEATHS EXCEEDING BIRTHS IN EUROPEAN RUSSIA. According to V. Pavlov, chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's subcommittee for family and demographic policy, the population is dying out in 27 territories of the RSFSR, Radio Rossii reported July 11. In the first quarter of 1991 deaths exceeded births in all the central, southern, and eastern oblasts of the European part of the RSFSR. Pavlov was writing in the first issue of Federatsiya, a new publication of the Council of Nationalities of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and the RSFSR State Committee for Nationalities Affairs. (Ann Sheehy) WORLD LEAGUE OF TATARS SET UP. A conference of representatives of Tatar communities in Australia, Germany, the US, Turkey, Finland, and the Soviet Union in Kazan' at the end of June decided to set up a World League of Tatars, according to RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service and TASS of July 16. Seventy-four-year-old Ali-efendi Akish, head of the European representation of the Tatar-Bashkir National Movement and a former employee of RFE/RL, was elected president. The aim of the league is the spiritual unification of the scattered Tatar people. (Ann Sheehy) LVOV PROTESTS CENTRAL TV PROGRAMMING. The Lvov Oblast Soviet has sent a "stern" protest to the head of central radio and television, Radio Kiev reported July 15. The authorities in Lvov are disturbed by what they feel is tendentious programming by central television on political developments in western Ukraine. Their open letter accuses central television of "reanimating Ukrainophobia and inflaming internationality passions." (Roman Solchanyk) JEWISH SUMMER SCHOOL IN DONETSK. UKRINFORM reported from Donetsk on July 14 about the opening there of a Jewish summer school. The classes are organized by the new society of Jewish culture, "Revival," and the local synagogue. The two classes are for free. Rabbis from New York will be teaching children modern Hebrew, history, and culture. (Oxana Antic) AGREEMENT BETWEEN TURKMENISTAN AND KYRGYZSTAN. Radio Moscow reported on July 16 that the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan have signed an agreement on economic and cultural cooperation between the two republics for the years 1991-1995. The agreement is the latest in a series of such documents dealing with bilateral relations between various republics of Central Asia. (BessBrown) TAJIK RESEARCH REACTOR TO BE CLOSED. The Dushanbe city council has decided to dismantle a nuclear reactor in one of the city's research institutes after an investigation, demanded by city residents, found that the facility had been built without the approval of seismologists, although the area is subject to severe earthquakes. In addition, groundwater had often flooded the storage area for the reactor's fuel. The report was published by TASS on July 15. (Bess Brown) NAZARBAEV ON CHINA AS MODEL. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev told a TASS correspondent during his recent trip to China that the Chinese experience with special economic zones is particularly valuable because Kazakhstan has decided to establish such zones itself. Nazarbaev also repeated that developing relations between Kazakhstan and Xinjiang must been seen in the context of relations between the USSR and the PRC. The interview was published by TASS on July 15. Economists in Kazakhstan have occasionally suggested that some aspects of China's experience in dismantling a command economy could benefit the republic, but development models have been sought elsewhere in East Asia. (Bess Brown) SPRING DRAFT IN MOLDAVIA. A little more than 7,000 young men from Moldavia, roughly70% of the republic's draft cohort, have been inducted into the Soviet armed forces this spring, TASS reported on July 16. Summarizing a Moldovapres report, TASS said it had been proposed that the remaining 30% of eligible draftees be allowed to perform alternative military service in accordance with a republican law on military service passed on July10 (see Daily Report, July 15). (Stephen Foye) LENIN'S CONTINUING SAGA IN KISHINEV. On June 28, Moldavia became the first republic in the European USSR to remove the monument to Lenin from the center of its capital. The giant bronze monument now faces another stage in its ordeal: it will become a centerpiece of the "Museum of the Age of Barracks Socialism," which is planned to open on the grounds of Moldavia's former Exhibition of Industrial Achievements. The Kishinev municipality's decision on the matter was reported by Novosti July 4, citing Moldavian TV. (Vladimir Socor) CORRECTION. In Daily Report, July 16 (No. 133), the second sentence of the item on LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR CRITICIZES TRUBIN REPORT should read as follows: "Paulauskas criticized Trubin's preliminary report of June 3 on the Soviet military's attack on the Vilnius TV tower on January13 as 'a gross falsification intended to destabilize the situation in Lithuania . . .'," changing the word "stabilize" to read "destabilize." [As of 1300 CET]
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