|If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale|
No. 136, 19 July 1991
BALTIC STATES LANDSBERGIS-YELTSIN MEETING. On July 18 Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis met for two hours in Moscow with RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, Radio Independent Lithuania reported July 19. They decided that a treaty establishing bilateral relations between the two "sovereign" republics would be signed in Moscow on July 29. They expressed their readiness to expand cooperation in political, economic, scientific, and cultural areas and to guarantee the rights of Russians in Lithuania and Lithuanians in the RSFSR. Representative's offices will be opened in Vilnius, Moscow, Leningrad, and Kaliningrad. Another agreement will be signed guaranteeing the RSFSR access to the Kaliningrad region. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN MONEY. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius appeared on television July17 displaying a mint set of Lithuanian coins in various denominations, TASS reported July 18. Vagnorius said that banknotes also have been printed, but the new currency--the litas--will not be introduced im-mediately, as "the political situation is unfavorable" for such a move. As of July 22, however, Lithuanians will begin receiving about 20% of their salaries in the form of "temporary coupons" to facilitate the purchase of essential goods. Vagnorius said that if the USSR attempts to obstruct the normal circulation of money in any way, Lithuania will introduce the litas. (Gytis Liulevicius) LITHUANIAN ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE WORSENS. Statistics on Lithuania's economic performance in the first half of 1991 show that performance is deteriorating in virtually every sector of the economy. According to TASS July 18, performance in the agro-industrial and food processing industries is suffering worst of all. Production of meat is down 19% from last year's level, and milk output is down 13% The number of cattle in sovkhozes and kolkhozes is down by 8%, which does not bode well for future meat/milk output. Prices for food and non-food consumer goods have increased 300-400% since December 1990. (John Tedstrom) MIGRATION IN LITHUANIA. Citing an article in Lietuvos rytas by the head of the migration division of the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security, Vladimiras Grazulis, Izvestia of July18 reported that in 1990, 13,000 people immigrated to Lithuania from other Soviet republics, while almost 20,000 emigrated. In 1991, 10-11,000 people immigrated and almost 15,000 emigrated, most of them Russians. (Saulius Girnius) NARVA CRISIS ESCALATES. The ongoing crisis at the Narva economic border point threatened to explode when the Estonian border authority strengthened its forces at the temporary border post set up outside Narva, (see Daily Report, July18), Paevaleht reported on July 18. In response, the local "worker brigades" brought in extra men and issued two ultimatums for the border guards to clear out. Interior Minister Olev Laanjarv, dispatched to Narva by Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, temporarily closed down the border post and ordered the "worker brigades" to leave the site, which they did. The stalemate continues, with both sides waiting for "a political solution" to the problem. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIAN PRESS: WHO ARE THE "WORKER BRIGADES?" Local city officials in Narva say the "worker brigades" keeping watch on Estonian border guards are made up of disgruntled workers unhappy with the Estonian government's policy of monitoring traffic leaving Estonia for the RSFSR. But Paevaleht said on July 17 that the "worker brigades" were wearing Soviet Army uniforms and were armed with rubber truncheons. Liivimaa Kroonika (July 18) asked northeastern Estonia's Intermovement Chief Coordinator Gennadii Felippov about rumors that the "worker brigades" are being trained by Soviet OMON troops in Pskov Oblast. Felippov replied that local leaders have no such plans, but "the city military commissariat may recall young men and send them to refresher courses wherever and whenever they deem it appropriate." (Riina Kionka) US CONSUL GENERAL VISITS BALTICS. Radio Riga and Radio Vilnius reported July 16-18 about the visit of the new US Consul General in Leningrad Jack Gosnell to the Latvian and Lithuanian capitals this week. On July 16 and 17 Gosnell met with Latvian officials, including Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, Minister of Foreign Affairs Janis Jurkans and Riga mayor Andrejs Inkulis. Among the topics discussed were the possibility of opening a US consulate in Riga, US-Baltic passenger flights, and cooperation on ecological issues. On July 18 Gosnell was in Vilnius and talked with Landsbergis and Vagnorius. (Dzintra Bungs) TOURISM, EMIGRATION FIGURES FOR LATVIA. Antons Baltacis, head of the Latvian visa department, told Tevzemes Avize of June 21 that during the first 5 months of 1991 some 50,000 people from Latvia had been abroad. Poland was the favorite with nearly 38,000 visitors from Latvia; then came Germany with 9,000, the US with 2,500, and Yugoslavia with about 2,000. Baltacis said that Poland is popular among those wanting to engage in commercial activity, and now surpasses Yugoslavia for this reason. Baltacis said that already this year 485persons had emigrated to Israel, 150 to the US, about 100 to Germany, and nearly 150 to all East European countries combined. He expected the emigration figure to reach 6,000 for this year, compared to over 4,000 last year, and about 2,000 in 1987. (Dzintra Bungs) SMALL EXODUS OF CIVILIANS FROM LATVIA; NO DECLINE IN SOVIET MILITARY POPULATION. According to Maris Plavnieks, head of the Latvian government's Migration Department, in 1990 the number of civilian emigrants from Latvia exceeded immigrants by about 600. He said that Soviet soldiers and their families continued to flock to Latvia, but did not provide any figures about a net increase in their presence either for 1990 or 1991. Latvijas Jaunatne of March 7-9, quoting figures from the state statistical committee, reported that 7,877 Soviet military and MVD personnel had settled in Latvia in 1990. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS REPUBLICS DISCUSS SECURITY PROTOCOL. Representatives of Ukraine, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, and Russia are currently meeting in Kiev to discuss the terms of a protocol that would delineate defense policy-making powers among the four republics and between the republics and the center, Radio Mayak reported July 18. The vaguely-worded report suggested that inclusion would be on a voluntary basis, and that decisions taken would be binding on all members. It mentioned a power to veto defense decisions, but is not clear on how this veto power would be exercised. The meeting also discussed the creation of a Union Defense Council, which would include republic and union leaders, and which would carry out a fundamental reorganization of the existing Soviet defense and defense decision-making structure. (Stephen Foye) AFTER THE G-7. There are broadly two lines of comment on the outcome of Gorbachev's approach to the G-7. Some, like Pravda (July 18) and Graham Allison (cited in The New York Times, July 19) stressed that the meeting showed that the Western leaders were devoting time and attention to the reform process in the Soviet Union, and that this was a start, symbolic of an increasingly cooperative relationship. Others, like RSFSR TV (Vesti, July 18) and Professor Padma Desai of Columbia University (also cited by the NYT), stressed that no substantial resource commitment had been made, and this was just as well, as large-scale aid would probably have been wasted and would imply support for the present Union leadership. (Philip Hanson) BESSMERTNYKH NOTES INTEREST OF G-7. Speaking on the results of the G-7 meeting in London, Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh summed up discussions by saying that interest among the capitalist powers in cooperation with the Soviet Union is growing. Bessmertnykh also noted that all members favor more active participation by the Soviet Union in international economic organizations. Commenting on the split in opinion on the speed with which theUSSR should enter these institutions, Bessmertnykh said that in the final analysis, one idea stands out: that the Soviet Union must become integrated into the world economy, TASS reported July 18. (Suzanne Crow) SOLTON ON US-SOVIET SUMMIT. TASS observer Yurii Solton said in a July 18 commentary that "there is hardly any doubt that the Moscow summit will strengthen the ties between the two countries and will improve the world situation." Solton opined that "Soviet-American relations are the key to stability in the world scene. It is important that the leaders of the two countries realize their responsibility and the heavy burden they shoulder." (Suzanne Crow) CHURKIN ON SUMMIT BOOST. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin noted in a July 17 interview with Japanese television that the coming US-Soviet summit will "help [Gorbachev] a lot" in the domestic sphere. "Diplomatic achievements strengthen political leaders. As a matter of course, the summit results will be reflected in the domestic politics of both nations because both President Bush and President Gorbachev are facing elections next year." Churkin's comments, when taken with Gorbachev's recent spate of foreign visitors, insistence on attendance at the G-7 summit, and eagerness to hold a US-Soviet summit, suggest that Gorbachev is attempting to raise his domestic political stock. (Suzanne Crow) TASS ON START AGREEMENT. In a positive but measured response to the US-Soviet agreement on strategic arms reductions, TASS commentator Vladimir Bogachev said July 18 that the treaty would guarantee equal security for both sides at a significantly lower level of weaponry. He nevertheless said that nuclear arms levels remained too high, and called for resumption of negotiations that would cut greater numbers of nuclear weapons. (Stephen Foye) USSR SUPPORTS US PROPOSAL AT MINORITIES CONFERENCE. The Chief Soviet delegate at the Geneva Minorities Conference, Georgii Tarazevich, told reporters in Geneva on July 18 that the Soviet Union supported the US proposal on international mediation to help resolve ethnic crises, RFE/RL's correspondent in Geneva reported July 18. Tarazevich, who is chairman of the Council of Nationalities commission on nationalities policy and interethnic relations, said the various parties in a conflict might find it easier to trust international mediators. Asked specifically if they could be used in the Soviet Union in conflicts such as Nagorno-Karabakh, he said: "Yes." (Ann Sheehy) VIETNAMESE-SOVIET ECONOMIC COOPERATION. Soviet-Vietnamese economic cooperation talks took place this week in Hanoi. During a news conference at the Vietnamese foreign ministry on July 18, Vietnamese spokesmen said that bilateral trade is going through a period of reform, and that Vietnam greatly values economic cooperation with the Soviet Union. On July 16, a joint agreement on raising the effectiveness of cooperation was signed. The agreement relates to cooperation on exploiting the gas and oil fields on the continental shelf near southern Vietnam, and establishes a joint firm called "V'ETSOVPETRO," TASS reported July 18. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET ATTENDANCE AT ASEAN VIEWED. According to a TASS interview with Aleksandr Panov, Chief of the Pacific and Southeast Asian Directorate at the USSR Foreign Ministry, Soviet attendance at the ASEAN meeting in Kuala Lumpur on July 19 is viewed "very positively" in the USSR. "This is undoubtedly a result of the Vladivostok and Krasnoyarsk initiatives of our leadership," Panov said. Meanwhile, Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Maslyukov met with his Malaysian counterpart Abdul Ghafar bin Baba on July 18 in Kuala Lumpur. Baba said that there exists a great possibility for development of ties in various fields between the USSR and Malaysia, TASS reported July 18. (Suzanne Crow) FURTHER US GRAIN SALES. The United States Department of Agriculture announced July 17 that the Soviet Union had purchased one million tons of corn and 250,000 tons of soybeans and soybean meal, Western agencies reported July 18. This latest purchase brings total US sales of grain and feedstuffs to the USSR so far in calendar year 1991 to 10.2 million tons. On July 18, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told Gorbachev in London that Canada was ending a freeze on $130 million's worth of credits for the purchase of Canadian grain that had been imposed after the Baltic crackdown in January. (Keith Bush) NEW OIL JOINT VENTURE IN THE KOMI ASSR. British Gulf and Gulf Canada Resources have announced that they are in the final stages of setting up a joint venture to develop a new oilfield and to boost output at a nearby older field in the Komi ASSR, Western agencies reported July 18. The sites have estimated reserves of 2.2 billion barrels, and the Western share of investment will be nearly $900 million. Meanwhile, the status of the Chevron Tengiz project is uncertain. The subject of protracted negotiations, it was fiercely attacked by, inter alia, Moskovskie novosti and Nezavisimaya gazeta in June on the alleged grounds that the contract was unduly advantageous for the US firm. (Keith Bush) JOINT VENTURE ENCLAVE STILL GROWING. Ekonomika i zhizn' no. 29 contains detailed Goskomstat data on joint ventures in the first quarter of this year. As of April 1, 948 were producing, sixteen of them employing more than 1,000 workers. Estimates based on the data provided suggest that the volume of JV value added is of the order of only 0.2-0.3% of GDP, but had approximately doubled over twelve months. There is a strong concentration of JV activity in information technology. A research paper giving details and analysis has been drafted. (Philip Hanson) CPSU WILL NOT CHANGE ITS NAME. According to Novosti July 18, the CPSU commission charged with drawing up the new Party Program has decided not to change the name of the CPSU (some Party members have suggested that the CPSU replace "Communist" with "Social Democratic"). The draft also proposes greater independence for republican Communist parties within the framework of a common program and rules. (Dawn Mann) KGB TAKES OVER CUSTOMS SERVICES? The chief of the newly-created USSR Customs Committee, Nikolai Ermakov, is a veteran of the KGB, according to his profile published by TASS, July 18. Before his appointment by Gorbachev's edict of July 11, Ermakov hold a high-ranking position within the KGB and worked abroad for twelve years early in his career, the report said. His predecessor, the former chief of the Main Administration of Customs Control, was KGB Lieutenant General Vitalii Boyarov, who was also a Soviet intelligence veteran expelled from Great Britain in 1965. (Victor Yasmann) ANDROPOV THE "FATHER OF PERESTROIKA." Writing in Politika (the newspaper of the "Soyuz" group), economist Tat'yana Koryagina says that in 1982 she joined a secret team set up by Yurii Andropov to plan a transition to a market economy. As quoted by Novosti (July 17), Koryagina says the team was composed of experts from Gosplan and the Council of Ministers and that it espoused private property and the conversion of state enterprises into joint-stock companies. Others close to Andropov, such as Fedor Burlatsky, have made similar claims as to the former KGB chief's liberalizing tendencies. An article by Otto Latsis in Pravda on December 15, 1980, which noted that Feliks Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka, favored joint-stock companies, was read at the time as a sign that Andropov supported such a policy. (The article was supposed to be the first in a series of 12, but the other 11 never appeared.) (Philip Hanson/ Elizabeth Teague/Victor Yasmann) FORMATION OF INDEPENDENT POLICE-WOMEN'S UNION. The All-Union Association of Female Employees of Internal Affairs Organs is the first independent structure in the in the internal security forces. It recently registered with the USSR Ministry of Justice, Izvestia reported 18 July. Its president, N. Averina, said that in the USSR legal protection for policewomen, who number 96,000, was among the worst in the world. The association plans to work with comparable organs in the West, although Averina said that the problems in the USSR were far worse than in Britain, for example. Other plans include sending members abroad for training and participation in the peace movement. (Sarah Ashwin) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS SCANDAL OVER VESTI REPORT ON DEPUTIES. A scandal has erupted over the July 14 RSFSR TV program Vesti, which broadcast an interview conducted by journalist Yurii Rostov with the receptionist at Moscow's hotel "Rossiya," where deputies live. Unaware that she was being filmed by a hidden camera, the woman reported stories about the misbehavior of deputies. On July 15, Rostov commented on RSFSR TV on his report; he admitted that he used a hidden camera, but he said that no deputies were named and it was not even clear whether USSR or RSFSR deputies were meant. RSFSR deputies thought, however, that the report was aimed at them, and formally protested the report. On July 18, the head of the Russian TV and Radio Broadcasting Company, Oleg Poptsov, commented on the incident. Contradicting Rostov's admission, he denied that a hidden camera was used. (Vera Tolz) DEMONSTRATION FOR INDEPENDENCE OF LENINGRAD TV. A demonstration was held in Leningrad July 18 to protest last month's decision by the central TV authorities to put Leningrad television firmly under the supervision of the All-Union State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. (In contrast, the Leningrad city soviet wanted to make Leningrad TV a share-holding company). Radio Rossii reported that the demonstrators carried slogans attacking the head of the all-union company, Leonid Kravchenko. (Vera Tolz) ROMANOVS' REMAINS UNCOVERED? TASS reported on July 18 from Sverdlovsk that nine skeletons have been discovered at the site where the remains of the last Tsar of Russia and his family supposedly were hidden. The Russian Orthodox Church, which this year for the first time commemorated the day the Tsar and his family were killed, has now opened a bank account for the construction of a temple-memorial on the site of the shooting. At present there is only a crucifix. (Oxana Antic) ORTHODOX SISTERHOOD OF NURSES ORGANIZED. Soyuz no. 25 reports about the organization of the Orthodox sisterhood of nurses. Patriarch Aleksii II announced the organization at the end of May during a liturgy in the cathedral of the Archangel in the Kremlin. Orthodox Christians who participate in and finish medical courses will receive a certificate that they were trained as nurses and attended a course of lectures as teachers of catechism. (Oxana Antic) UKRAINE PROTECTS ITS GRAIN HARVEST. "We will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the population [of Ukraine]," Soviet TV quoted Ukrainian Parliament Chairman Leonid Kravchuk as saying on July 18. While Ukraine intends to supply grain to fulfill state orders and bilateral agreements with other regions, it has "taken measures to protect its harvest from massive purchases by other republics." Both the all-Union and Ukrainian governments are offering a variety of incentives in exchange for additional grain deliveries, including sewing machines, refrigerators, and other scarce goods (see Daily Report, July 16). Soviet officials have forecast this year's total harvest to drop 37-57 million ton from last year's harvest. (Natalie Melnyczuk) POLAND AND UKRAINE TO BARTER. The Polish province of Chelm and Ukraine are working on an agreement for the barter exchange of agricultural and industrial goods, PAP reported on July 17. The Provincial Administrator of Chelm, a province in southeastern Poland bordering on the Ukraine, met with a representative from the Economic Commission of the Council of Ministers of Ukraine. They drew up a preliminary list of 32 products for barter exchange. Chelm would supply grain, sugar, potatoes, jams and farm machinery. In return Ukraine would send lumber, fuel, cars, household appliances and other goods. A final agreement is expected at the end of August. (Christopher Wellisz/Natalie Melnyczuk) LVOV ON PARTY ORGANS IN THE MILITIA. The Lvov Oblast Soviet has passed a resolution recommending that the militia be cleansed of Communist Party organs, Radio Kiev reported July18. The resolution was adopted by a large majority, including deputies who are Communist Party members. The latter account for about 20% of the deputies. Communist Party First Secretary Stanislav Hurenko, who is currently in Lvov, has stated his opposition to such moves. (Roman Solchanyk) JOURNALIST SYADOU TRANSFERRED TO HOSPITAL. More than thirty days into a hunger strike, independent journalist Valerii Syadou was transferred this week from his jail cell to a Minsk hospital, according to correspondent reports to the RFE/RL Belorussian service and a July 17 Radio Rossii broadcast. Syadou, awaiting trial for defiling the Lenin monument in central Minsk, has been protesting the appalling conditions of his detention. His supporters in Belorussia consider him to be a political prisoner. (Kathy Mihalisko) TRIAL IN TAJIKISTAN. Radio Moscow reported on July 18 on the trial before the Supreme Court of Tajikistan of five persons charged with having been organizers of the February, 1990, disturbances in Dushanbe. A more complete account of the trial, during which the defendants are confined Italian-style in an iron cage in the courtroom, appears in Soyuz, No. 28. The five, who were reportedly prominent in the Dushanbe underworld, are charged with having staged an attack on apartments inhabited by Armenians in a Dushanbe microraion. Rumors that Armenian refugees were receiving preferential housing were reported to have been the immediate cause of the Dushanbe unrest. (Bess Brown) WARNING OF PLAGUE IN ARAL SEA BED. TASS summarized a report on July 18 warning that rodents which have colonized the dry Aral Sea bed are likely to be carriers of bubonic plague. The director of the Central Asian plague research institute, Vladimir Stepanov, is quoted as warning that people should avoid "epidemiologically dangerous" areas of the former seabed. Several cases of plague, which is only one of the major health hazards that have resulted from the drying up of the sea, were reported from the region in the summer of 1990. (Bess Brown) NEW CATHOLIC BISHOP FOR KAZAKHSTAN AND CENTRAL ASIA. Soyuz No. 25 reported on the enthronement of Pavel Lenga, the parish priest of Krasnoarmeisk, as bishop of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Bishop Pavel is also apostolic administrator of Kazakstan. According to Soyuz, great crowds of believers gathered for the occasion. Bishops from Germany, Austria, and Poland participated in the event, and the Vatican's envoy to the USSR, archbishop Francesco Colasuonno, was also present. (Oxana Antic) COMMUNISTS IN MOLDAVIA DEMAND EXTRAORDINARY CPSU CONGRESS. The buro of the Bendery city Party committee of the Moldavian Communist Party (CPSU platform) has added its voice to the calls for an extraordinary CPSU congress or all-Union Party conference, TASS reported July 18. The buro notes that many of the conclusions and theses of the XXVIII Party congress have not been borne out by reality. It criticizes the passivity of the Party's leading bodies, particularly the secretariat, which, it says, should be renewed. (Ann Sheehy) [As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore and Sallie Wise (END)
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