|The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch|
No. 137, 22 July 1991
BALTIC STATES SIDOROV: OMON IN LATVIA--A REPUBLICAN FORMATION. According to Novosti of July 19, Vitalii Sidorov, USSR Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, said that problems with the OMON unit stationed in Riga must be resolved in Latvia, since it is a "strictly republican formation in which residents of Latvia serve." He recommended that members of the OMON should be used for law enforcement in the republic and that those OMON members found guilty of criminal acts must be brought to justice. Sidorov's statement suggests a change in the MVD's attitude toward the OMON, also known as the Black Berets, since these units have been under MVD, rather than republican, jurisdiction. (Dzintra Bungs) MVD OFFICIAL: OFFENSIVE AGAINST CUSTOMS POSTS TO CONTINUE. MVD representative in the Baltic area N. Goncharenko told Diena of July 17 that "if complaints from citizens about thefts and affronts to human dignity by Latvian customs officials continue, then the [MVD] will continue its action against the customs posts." He claimed that there were alcoholics and men with a "dark past" working at the customs posts. Since May about twenty attacks--the exact figure is not available--have been launched by OMON units against various customs posts in Latvia; some posts have been attacked several times already. (Dzintra Bungs) BIRTHS AND DEATHS IN LATVIA IN 1990. According to state statistical committee data published Latvijas Jaunatne of June 28, since 1988 birth rates in Latvia have been declining. Last year 37,918 children were born and there was an increase in the number of children born to young and unwed mothers. In l990, 34,812 persons died; this figure includes 695 suicides, 245 murders or cases ofmanslaughter, 1,167 deaths as a consequence of automobile accidents, and 144 deaths as a result of alcohol poisoning. Most of the deaths (58%), however, were attributed to circulatory diseases, with cancer having caused about 16% of the deaths. (Dzintra Bungs) BUNDESTAG DEPUTY ON BALTICS. Free Democrat Cornelia von Teichman, one of the deputy chairmen of the German-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Circle, expressed her disappointment over Soviet unwillingness to negotiate with the Baltic States, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn reported July 19. In a statement released following the Bundestag delegation's visit to the Baltic States, von Teichman denounced Soviet attempts to make the Baltic question a domestic affair. Since the Baltic States were annexed to the USSR under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, she said, the Soviets and Germans share a special responsibility for the future of the Baltics. (Gytis Liulevicius) DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER IN US. Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaisvila arrived in Washington on July 18 and met with Congressmen and government officials, Voice of America in Lithuanian reported on July 20. Vaisvila traveled to Minneapolis that day for the opening of the annual Special Olympics Summer Games, where athletes from the Baltic States will compete separately, not as part of the USSR's team. He will fly back to Lithuania this week, stopping in New York on July 22 for meetings with the press and some industrialists. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN DEPUTIES IN ITALY. After attending an international youth conference for peace "Shalom" in northern Italy, a group of about 40 Lithuanians, including 6 parliament deputies, spent four days in Rome where they held talks with the leaders of all the political parties in Italy. On July 19 they talked for more than a half hour with Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who stressed that the situation of the Baltic States is different from the other Soviet republics and that their ties with the USSR should be resolved in a peaceful manner. On July 20 Pope John Paul II paid special attention to the Lithuanians at his public audience. Radio Vatican in Lithuanian broadcast reports about the visit on July 18-20. (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIA GOES UP IN SMOKE. Estonia's major cigarette manufacturer "Leek" may avert its annual summer cigarette shortage this year by getting supplies from all-Union warehouses, Paevaleht reported on July 18. "Leek" usually closes for repairs in June, causing cigarette shortages in July and August. Severe materials shortages this year, however, threatened to force closing for several more months. "Leek" director Boris Oks told Paevaleht that the factory will start up next week, working with all-Union materials sent to Estonia in exchange for promised deliveries of cigarettes to Nizhnyi Novgorod. Presumably, some of the finished product will also be sold to local smokers. (Riina Kionka) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV CONCEDES NON-COMMUNIST COULD BECOME PRESIDENT. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has acknowledged the possibility that a non-Communist could be elected USSR President. When asked during an interview with Britain's Independent Television News July 19 whether he could foresee such a possibility, Gorbachev replied eliptically. Noting that non-Communists already have been elected presidents of some republics, he went on to say that the USSR presidential election "has to be a competition of programmes, a competition of parties, a competition of leaders . . . the winner will have the support of the people and naturally the winner in the elections will be the leader of reform in the Soviet Union--[will] continue reform in the Soviet Union." (Sallie Wise) PROKOF'EV FORECASTS SPLIT. The first secretary of the Moscow city Party committee, Yurii Prokof'ev, told a Moscow press conference on July19 that a two- or possibly three-way split in the CPSU, whose members make demands ranging from creating a capitalist society to returning to Stalinism, is "inevitable," TASS reported the same day. Prokof'ev also said that Gorbachev should resign as General Secretary because he cannot do justice to both his presidential and Party duties. Prokof'ev suggested that perhaps Gorbachev could serve in a ceremonial capacity as Party chairman. (Dawn Mann) DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS POSITION ON NEW REFORM MOVEMENTS. An extraordinary session of the Consultative Council of the Democratic Congress met in Kiev on July 19 to adopt a position regarding the new reform movements in the country (the Movement for Democratic Reforms, the United Democratic Party of the USSR, and the Democratic Party of Communists of Russia), Ukrinform-TASS and Radio Kiev reported July 19. Anatolii Zhivotnyuk, co-chairman of the United Democratic Party of Belorussia is quoted as saying that, although the Democratic Congress supports the new Movement for Democratic Reforms, it cannot agree with its approach to reforming of the national-state structure of the USSR, specifically its appeal only to those national movements and parties that support preservation of the unitary state. (Roman Solchanyk) POPOV AND SHEVARDNADZE ON NEED FOR CENTRIST PARTY. At a meeting on July 20 of members of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, Eduard Shevardnadze and Moscow mayorey Gavriil Popov called for the formation, within the movement "Democratic Russia," of a centrist parliamentary party, TASS reported the same day. (Dawn Mann) MORE ON GORBACHEV'S RELATIONS WITH MDR. In a departure from the usual practice, Aleksandr Yakovlev, head of Gorbachev's advisory council, was not seen at the airport among those present for Gorbachev's departure and return from London. (Another Presidential adviser, Vadim Medvedev, was present.) Could this be related to Yakovlev's role as a founder of the Movement for Democratic Reforms and an indication of Gorbachev's unwillingness to be seen with its leaders in public? (Julia Wishnevsky) WHICH ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAM? According to Western agencies, Izvestia of July 19 carried articles by both Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov. Pavlov is reported to have conducted a vigorous defense of his new, improved anti-crisis program, asserting that it was prepared by experts and reviewed by the IMF, World Bank, and EBRD. Apparently referring to the same program, Shcherbakov claimed that the G-7 summit result showed that the Soviet Union has "chosen the right path" for its reforms. The problem is that few, if any, in the West are clear what relationship Pavlov's anti-crisis program has to the document that Gorbachev presented to the London meeting. (Keith Bush) FULL MEMBERSHIP IN IMF? In the wake of the G-7 summit, the USSR was awarded an "associate relationship" with the IMF and World Bank. The New York Times of July 20 spelled out the likely areas in which these two bodies will initially extend expertise and advice. The IMF will, it is thought, first concentrate on the budget deficit and the triple-digit inflation rate, while the World Bank will advise on specific areas like modernizing telecommunications, improving agriculture, and setting up commercial banks. According to The Financial Times of July 20, Shcherbakov claimed that the G-7 had promised to decide on whether to grant the USSR full membership of the IMF in six months. (KeithBush) YELTSIN COMMENDS GORBACHEV'S PERFORMANCE AT G-7. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin said July 21 that Gorbachev fulfilled the mandate of the Soviet republics not to go "cap in hand" to Western leaders. Radio Rossii, reporting on Yeltsin's press conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan yesterday, quoted him as saying that the G-7 meeting in general had demonstrated a high degree of maturity in international relations. (Sallie Wise) BESSMERTNYKH ON FURTHER DISARMAMENT. In a letter to UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh stressed that "the USSR is taking concrete practical steps to adopt its defense construction to the new military-political and strategic realities." He continued: "at the same time, however, we are proceeding from the fact that imparting a defensive nature to military doctrines and, accordingly to the military structure, can be implemented only on the bases of reciprocity . . . ." Bessmertnykh's letter also made reference to the "full elimination" of nuclear weapons and the reduction of conventional weapons, TASS reported July 19. (Suzanne Crow) AFRICA: "A RESERVE OF AUTHORITY." Soviet cooperation with African countries is important, said Vladimir Titov in an article on Soviet-African relations in the July issue of Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn'. In TASS's July 19 review of the article, Titov was quoted as saying "the African countries are an important reserve of [Soviet] authority in the 'Third World.'" He added that through ties with developing countries, the USSR can guarantee its long-term positions. Titov works for the International Organizations Administration at the Foreign Ministry. (Suzanne Crow) MASLYUKOV IN INDONESIA. Soviet First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Maslyukov today (July 22) begins an official visit to Indonesia, where he will hold talks on cooperation on technical and commercial topics. Upon arrival on July 21, Maslyukov said the USSR and Indonesia could cooperate in space technology, transportation, communication, electronics, railway development, energy and aviation. Maslyukov reiterated the Soviet Union's interest in setting up a forum to discuss Asia-Pacific security, TASS reported July 21. (Suzanne Crow) GREEK PREMIER TO VISIT, SIGN TREATY. Greek Premier Constantine Mitsotakis is scheduled to arrive in Moscow on July 22 starting a five day visit, TASS reported July 21. During his visit, Mitsotakis will sign a treaty of friendship between the USSR and Greece. (Suzanne Crow) YAZOV FORCES DISMISSAL OF EDUCATION MINISTER? According to Vesti's July 19 broadcast, USSR Education Minister Yagodin has been dismissed, possibly at the behest of Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov. Yagodin reportedly opposed a Defense Ministry initiative that would end draft deferments for university students (see Daily Report, July 17). (Stephen Foye) SOLDIERS' MOTHERS APPEAL TO YELTSIN. A group representing the All-Union Council of Soldiers' Mothers told Radio Rossii on July 20 that they had met with Yeltsin earlier that day and asked him to create a commission attached to the RSFSR Procuracy that would investigate violence in army life. A spokeswoman said the group already had met with Gorbachev, Pavlov, and Yazov, with no results. She claimed that according to official figures provided by the USSR Cabinet of Ministers, some 310,000 Soviet soldiers have suffered non-combat deaths since 1945. She also said that a special commission appointed by Gorbachev last fall has done virtually nothing in investigating this violence. (Stephen Foye) SPRING DRAFT FIGURES. According to General Staff Deputy Chief Colonel General Grigorii Krivosheev, the current spring military draft is proceeding in an "unsatisfactory" manner. In a July 18 TASS report of an interview appearing the same day in Krasnaya zvezda, Krivosheev said that as of mid-July only 91.4% of the total draft cohort had been inducted. In Georgia, he said, the figure was 8.2%, in Lithuania, 12.3%, in Armenia, 16.4%, and in Estonia, 30%. As the military leadership has done in the past, Krivosheev blamed the low turnout primarily on the uncooperative actions of republican governments. (Stephen Foye) METALWORKERS HOLD DAY OF ACTION. The metalworkers have decided to mark their professional holiday today (July 22) by a day of action in support of their social rights. They have decided not to strike despite the severity of problems in the industry. Some of the machinery has not been changed for 100 years or even longer, TSN reported July 22. In addition, thousands of qualified metalworkers are unemployed, while those who do work have to suffer dangerous and debilitating conditions, which mean that, like miners, they have a low life expectancy. They also have a low quality of life. In the metalworking town of Kirovograd, for example, meat has not been sold freely since 1961. (Sarah Ashwin) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN ISSUES UKAZ ON PARTY CELLS IN STATE AGENCIES. Yeltsin issued his second directive on July 20, limiting the activities of political parties and public organizations in state agencies, Radio Rossii reported the same day. Organizational structures or cells representing any new or existing political party or public organization will not be tolerated in state bodies, executive organs attached to soviets at all levels, state enterprises, or any other state body. Personal participation in any political party or public organization cannot be used as a basis for discrimination against individuals so long as they do not engage in illegal activities. State employees are to be guided by RSFSR law in the execution of their duties and may participate in political parties or public organizations, but only outside working hours. (Dawn Mann) VREMYA SUPPRESSES NEWS OF YELTSIN'S DECREE. Both the RSFSR TV newscast, Vesti, and Central television's TSN news presented Yeltsin's decree on the "departification" of state bodies as the top news story both on Saturday and on Sunday. In sharp contrast, the main 40-minute Vremya newscast did not report on the decree on either day (July 20 and 21). This was not, however, the first time Vremya has failed to note a major political event that could displease the Communist Party establishment. (Julia Wishnevsky) EDICT "BORROWS" FROM KGB LAW? As far as the KGB and the MVD are concerned, the ban on political activities in RSFSR state bodies appears to contain some terminology similar to that of the Law on State Security Organs adopted by the USSR SupSov May 16 (see Izvestia, May 23). Article 11 of the law says: "In their official activities, those working for state security bodies are to be governed by the demands of laws and are not bound by the resolutions of political parties and mass public movements which are pursuing political ends." This seems to parrallel the second paragraph of Yeltsin's edict. The other provision of Yeltsin's edict, calling for party meetings outside of working hours, is similar to the CPSU CC "Instruction for Work of CPSU Organizations in the USSR Armed Forces" published in Izvestia TsK KPSS, No. 3, 1991. (Victor Yasmann) YELTSIN ADDRESSES ALL-RUSSIAN CONFERENCE OF KGB. Yeltsin told a conference of KGB territorial officers July 19 that the time when the KGB violated human rights is past. Today, he said, the KGB's task is to insure citizens' personal security and rights, according to TASS and RSFSR TV on July 19. Among the RSFSR KGB's other tasks are protecting Russia's economic security, protecting Russian businessmen's interests in their transactions with foreign partners, and combatting economic crimes. Yeltsin said its most important activity is the struggle with organized crime, terrorism and corruption. The KGB also must guarantee the stability and security of legally-elected bodies and of the state structure, Yeltsin added. (Victor Yasmann) ANTI-MARKET MOSCOW WORKERS' UNION CONGRESS. A new organization, the Moscow Workers' Union, met on July 20, TASS and Moscow Radio-2 reported. Delegates came from approximately 700 Moscow enterprises to establish the statutes of the Union. The organization opposes the transition to the market, privatization of state property, and individual ownership of land. It supports neither the RSFSR nor the USSR Supreme Soviet, whose laws, it claims, do not serve the interests of the working class. It is not clear how much support such an organization will receive, but similar platforms such as the United Workers' Front have not been popular. Most independent worker activism to date has not been anti-market in character. (Sarah Ashwin) ALIEV RESIGNS FROM CPSU. Interfax reported July 19 that former Politburo member Geidar Aliev had resigned from the CPSU on the grounds that "the communist experiment and the choice of socialism have not proved themselves in our country and the union of republics that was created by brute force has outlived itself." Radio Rossii quoted Aliev July 21 as stating that the Communist Party in his native republic of Azerbaijan had lost all authority and should give up its monopoly on power; he further charged that the Azerbaijan CP, with the backing of the CPSU Central Committee, was suppressing a wide democratic movement in Azerbaijan. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIAN DEMOCRATIC GROUPS OPPOSE AZERBAIJAN SIGNING UNION TREATY. Several democratic groups within the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies have stated their opposition to Azerbaijan's signing the Union Treaty on the grounds that "union with a state that widely violates human rights is unacceptable," Interfax reported July 21. The groups proposed a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a stop to the deportations of Armenians from Azerbaijan, and measures to guarantee the rights of minority groups in Azerbaijan, including Russians, as preconditions for Azerbaijan's adherence to the new Union Treaty. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIANS OVERWHELMINGLY IN FAVOR OF SECESSION. Soviet Radio July 19 cited the results of a poll conducted in Armenia early this month by the Armenian Public Opinion Poll Center as indicating that 80% of Armenians support the idea of Armenia's secession from the USSR. The size of the poll sample was not stated. Armenians are to vote in a referendum September 21 on secession in line with the conditions laid down in the USSR Law on Secession. (Liz Fuller) KHMARA ARRESTED--AGAIN. Ukrainian People's Deputy Stepan Khmara again was arrested the night of July 18, Radio Kiev reported July 20. A special division of the police force arrived at the Ukraina Hotel where Khmara was staying, and after a confrontation with Khmara supporters and body-guards, the police took Khmara away. The confrontation, which included the use of tear gas and police batons, left a total of 23 people injured--12 members of the police force and 11 Khmara supporters. Over 2,000 people gathered to protest the action on one of Kiev's primary roads later that evening. Khmara was charged with attacking a police officer 6 months ago and his trial is scheduled for this month. (Natalie Melnyczuk) UKRAINIAN MINERS ORGANIZE. A conference of representatives of miners' collectives met in Krasnoarmeisk in Donetsk on July 19 to discuss formation of an independent miners' trade union, Radio Kiev reported July 19. The miners are dissatisfied with the official trade union organization, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, which is said to have taken a neutral position regarding the strikes this spring. The Federation, say the miners, supported only certain economic demands put forward by the strikers and totally ignored their political demands. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN RESOLUTION ON SOLDIERS' DEATHS. On July 19 the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet issued a resolution calling for the creation of a special commission to investigate violence in army life. According to Radio Moscow, the document also contained a number of other measures related to military service. (Stephen Foye) YELTSIN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH KYRGYZSTAN. Yeltsin and Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev signed a treaty on the bases of interstate relations between the two republics on July 21 in the Kirgiz capital Bishkek, TASS and Moscow radio reported July 21. The treaty lays particular stress on the defense of the interests of the large Slav minority in Kyrgyzstan and of Kirgiz in the RSFSR. Akaev said the Kirgiz did not want people of other nationalities to leave the republic. A special feature of the treaty is that it provides for financial aid to Kyrgyzstan. Presumably Yeltsin finds direct assistance to the less developed republics more acceptable than subsidizing them through the all-Union budget. (Ann Sheehy)
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