|Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid|
No. 138, 23 July 1991
BALTIC STATES ANOTHER LATVIAN CUSTOMS POST ATTACKED. Radio Riga reported that today (July 23) at 1:15 a.m., five armed men attacked Grebnevo customs post in the Ludza raion bordering the RSFSR. The report did not identify the attackers, but gave the license plate number of their car, which indicates that the car is registered in Latvia. The attackers assaulted not only the customs officials and a policeman, but also travelers. They took 5,000 rubles from one traveler and damaged his car, and before departing they threw a grenade at the customs post. (Dzintra Bungs) "TRANSITION PERIOD CONSTITUTION" FOR LATVIA? At its session on July 20, the Council of the People's Front of Latvia discussed a "transition period Constitution" for Latvia. The council decided that the draft constitution text considered by the Supreme Council in June was unsatisfactory on several counts, especially its unclear formulation of the notion that Latvia is occupied by Soviet military forces. At the same time, the PFL did agree that Latvia should not continue to function under the Latvian SSR Constitution, according to Radio Riga July 22. The new constitution would serve until Latvia gains de facto independence. Similar views were expressed by Latvia's National Independence Movement on July 18, reported Diena on July 19. (Dzintra Bungs) MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE IN LATVIA IN 1990. According to State Statistical Committee data published in Latvijas Jaunatne of June 28 and Lauku Avize of July 2, 23,619 marriages and 10,783 divorces were registered in Latvia in 1990, or 877 and 466 less, respectively, than in 1989. About 36% of marriages were between partners of different nationalities. Every fifth Latvian married a non-Latvian last year. Marriages where one or both partners are under the age of 20are increasing; in 1990, 709 young women and 152 young men who got married were under age. Divorce rates appear to be on the rise in marriages where the spouses are of different nationalities: during the past two years the number of divorces in such marriages rose from 37% to 40%. (Dzintra Bungs) FINNISH OFFICIAL ON COMPLETED BALTIC TRIP. Finnish Telecommunications and Transport Minister Ole Norrback recently returned from a five-day trip to the Baltic States, Western agencies reported July 23. Norrback met with his Baltic counterparts to discuss "Viabaltica," a highway project linking Helsinki and Warsaw by way of the Baltic States. The project would require opening the Lithuanian-Polish border to international transport services. Norrback also met Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis and senior officials in Latvia and Estonia. Norrback said that there is a "common desire for dialogue" between the Baltic States and the USSR. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS DRAFT PARTY PROGRAM READY. Nezavisimaya gazeta published an analysis and some excerpts of the CPSU's draft Party program on July 22, Western news agencies reported the same day. This version apparently carries Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's seal of approval and is said to already have the solid support of some 100 CPSU Central Committee members--including Aleksandr Yakovlev and Arkadii Volsky--who reportedly are prepared to adopt the program as their own, if the Central Committee does not. Nezavisimaya gazeta will publish the program in full today; among the choice quotes released yesterday are: "The Party unconditionally condemns the crimes of Stalinism which took the lives and crippled the fate of millions of people. There can be no justification for that," and "The Party has abandoned forever the idea that the end justifies the means." (Dawn Mann) INTERREPUBLICAN ECONOMIC RELATIONS REPRODUCING COMECON? Yu. Sharipov, chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Commission on economic relations of the republics and autonomous formations, and A. Sadikov, a consultant of the USSR Supreme Soviet secretariat, argue in an article in Pravda of July 17 that in basing interrepublican economic relations entirely on intergovernmental agreements, the RSFSR government's program on economic stabilization and transition to the market, as well as some aspects of bilateral interrepublican economic agreements, will reproduce all the failings of Comecon. Payments will only be made through clearing agreements, which will lead to dismemberment of the single economic space and the appearance of something like the unsatisfactory transferable ruble. They suggest that Article 6 of the draft Union treaty state that the Union and republics should ensure uniform regulation of trade and economic relations between the republics. (Ann Sheehy) INFLATION RATE ACCELERATES. The retail price index grew by 8% in June, according to a study in Commersant of July 1. The government's attempts in early 1991 to curb inflationary pressures, such as the exchange of bank notes, partially freezing savings accounts, the April 2 price increases, and wage curbs, are judged to have failed. A new twist to the inflationary spiral was expected to start in July with the lifting of the freeze on bank deposits (10-11 billion rubles could be withdrawn) and with the issuance of new 5-, 3-, and 1-ruble notes which will circulate simultaneously with old bills of the same denominations (this could result in 45-50 billion rubles' worth of new notes). (Keith Bush) AGREEMENT ON COPYRIGHT LAW. The Journal of Commerce reported July 23 that US and Soviet officials have reached agreement in principle on changes in the Soviet copyright law. Among US objections to the original Soviet law, passed on May 31, were its lack of criminal penalties and its failure to regulate the use of videotapes played for public audiences. The agreement in principle raises the chances that the US-Soviet trade agreement will soon be sent to Capitol Hill. Once approved, the way is clear for MFN status to be granted to the Soviet Union. (Keith Bush) ASLUND ON SOVIET ECONOMIC GROWTH. In the July 1991 issue of The World Today, Anders Aslund restates his critique of the Gorbachev administration's mismanagement of the economy. He attributes the present crisis to three principal factors: deliberate neglect of the burgeoning budget deficit; relaxation of wage controls; and skyrocketing social expenditures arising from concessions to populist pressures. Aslund suggests that the Soviet leadership will plump for stabilization without marketization, privatization, and democratization, and concludes that "it seems likely that the actual decline in Soviet national income will be of the order of 35% before it can be brought to a halt." This is a far greater decline that most observers would care to project. (Keith Bush) COLIN POWELL ARRIVES IN MOSCOW. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived in Moscow on July 22 to begin a nine-day official visit. In a busy first day, Powell met with Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov, General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev, and Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh. According to Western and Soviet reports, talks centered on increasing contacts between the Soviet and American armed forces, on the recent START agreement, and on European and regional security. Powell may also meet Gorbachev. Following his Moscow visit, he is scheduled to travel throughout Siberia and the Far East. (Stephen Foye) MILITARY ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROGRAM. US Navy alcohol abuse experts who recently visited the USSR say that alcohol treatment programs in the Soviet armed forces are primitive and woefully inadequate, Knight-Ridder reported on July 23. One US team member said that the Soviets are "about 50-70 years behind the United States in terms of alcoholism treatment," and that rates of alcoholism in the Soviet Union are "significantly higher" than in the US. While most American servicemen receive treatment in self-help groups and through counseling, he added, there is no treatment short of hospitalization in the USSR. Only officers are eligible for treatment, and alcoholism among conscripts is reported to be rampant. (Stephen Foye) THE DRAFT SYSTEM: SOME FACTS. Amid recriminations over an attempt by the Defense Ministry to eliminate student draft deferments, two recent reports in Izvestia and Komsomolskaya pravda (from July 15 and July 10, respectively) claim that every year the higher educational system prepares some 120,000 reserve officers. The cost for this training, which reportedly amounts to 300 million rubles yearly, comes not out of the military, but out of the education budget. These reserve officer trainees, the reports say, expend one-tenth of their study time on military topics. (Stephen Foye) TALKS WITH GREEK PREMIER. Gorbachev held talks yesterday (July 22) with Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis on improving bilateral relations. In his dinner speech, Gorbachev highlighted the "old traditions" and the "enduring attraction of our peoples for one another." A bilateral treaty, which is to be signed on July 23, is "aimed at the future," TASS quoted Gorbachev as saying on July 22. Gorbachev also spoke about the Cyprus dispute, calling for an international conference to resolve the issue. Gorbachev did not mention which parties he believes should be involved in the talks. (Suzanne Crow) TALKS ON COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF NAZISM. Germany and the Soviet Union have begun official negotiations in Bonn on the question of compensation for Soviet citizens victimized by Nazism. German government spokesman Dieter Vogel told Berlin television on July 22 that the amount paid to Soviet victims would not be as high as the amount received by Israel (an estimated DM 100 billion over the last four decades), Western agencies reported July 22. (Suzanne Crow) AGREEMENT ON CAMBODIA. Deputy Foreign Ministry Igor Rogachev said on July 20 the USSR and China are now in "about the same position" on how to handle the Cambodia settlement. Rogachev also said the two countries plan to accredit envoys to Cambodia's Supreme National Council in November, Western agencies reported July 20. (Suzanne Crow) USSR WILL SUPPORT CUBA. Gennadii Kisiliev, a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and head of a delegation now visiting Cuba, said the USSR will maintain a policy of unconditional support for Cuba, Western agencies reported July 19. According to a TASS report of July 21, Kisiliev gave glowing reviews to Soviet-Cuban relations, saying "the perspectives of our relations in all areas can be judged as optimistic." (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE ON MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS . . . . Former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze gave a wide-ranging interview to Le Figaro's Moscow correspondent, published July 22. On the new Movement for Democratic Reforms, of which he is a founder, Shevardnadze noted that "no decision has been made yet on the question of knowing whether we will remain a 'movement' or transform ourselves into a 'party.'" He predicted that the movement would probably encompass several parties that would keep their autonomy. (Sallie Wise) ON FOREIGN POLICY . . . . Asked about criticism of his performance as Foreign Minister, particularly his role in German unification, Shevardnadze told Le Figaro he would do it all over again. On "the German affair," Shevardnadze revealed that "we knew it would happen. But, in fact, the acceleration of the process was spontaneous . . . . Nothing was decided in Moscow, in any case." In response to a question about the genesis of "new thinking," Shevardnadze said he and Gorbachev at the time of the invasion of Afghanistan said to themselves that "it was necessary to change everything." He maintained that he and Gorbachev learned about the invasion from the radio. (Sallie Wise) AND ON G-7, ECONOMIC REFORMS. In the same interview, Shevardnadze expressed the opinion that it had been essential for Gorbachev to take a program to the G-7 summit in London, whether the program was good or bad. He said that at any rate, "it is not a matter of asking for credits, but of organizing our cooperation with the West." He stressed that the USSR must "create favorable conditions for foreign investments: it is the only way to accelerate our transition to the market and we have no other path." (Sallie Wise) LENINGRAD PSYCHIATRISTS QUIT ALL-UNION SOCIETY. The Leningrad psychiatrists' organization has left the All-Union Society of Psychiatrists. V. Tochilov of the Leningrad organization was quoted on Radio Rossii July 19 as saying that the decision was due to the immoral behavior of the all-Union leadership, which tried to force its own choice of directors on the Leningrad center. The Leningrad work collective wanted to elect its own leadership, and did not want to be the executors of archaic and repressive methods of treatment. (Sarah Ashwin) PATRIARCH ALEKSII'S INTERVIEW WITH DER SPIEGEL. In an interview published in Der Spiegel of July 22, Patriarch Aleksii II warned that the process of Westernizing the Soviet way of life has little to do with humanization and Christianization. The Patriarch discussed relations with the Vatican, and expressed the view that for the approximately 2OO Catholics living in Novosibirsk a parish would suffice, whereas the Pope has assigned an archbishop there. The Patriarch speculated that Catholic missionary activities are planned among the Russian Orthodox population, which would seriously impair relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican. (Oxana Antic) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS REACTION TO DEPOLITICIZATION DECREE. The RSFSR Communist Party has reacted negatively to a decree banning political activity in state bodies issued on July 20 by RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin. RSFSR CP Politburo member Gennadii Dzyuganov said the decree violates the law on public associations, the RSFSR and USSR Constitutions, and the international declaration of human rights, Radio Moscow reported July 22. Boris Gunko,a member of "Edinstvo," characterized the decree as "Draconian, monstrously undemocratic, perhaps even another step towards fascism," according to The Guardian, July 22. RSFSR Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi told a news conference that the decree "makes all political parties equal and lets officials work, guided only by the constitution and the law," TASS reported July 22.(Dawn Mann) FURTHER DEPOLITICIZATION TO COME. Yeltsin's July 20 decree also instructed the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to prepare a bill banning political activity in the Supreme Court, the prosecutor's office, the armed forces, the Ministry of the Interior, and the KGB. These agencies are not administered solely by republican authorities, so neither the RSFSR Supreme Soviet nor Yeltsin unilaterally can eliminate party activities in them. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet will use its right of legislative initiative in the USSR Supreme Soviet to achieve the depoliticization of these agencies. Vladimir Starikov, secretary of the RSFSR MVD Party committee, told TASS that the decree would have to be studied carefully for its compliance with the law and that the question was bound to be raised at the upcoming plenum. (Dawn Mann) MORE ON VREMYA COVERAGE OF DECREE. Yesterday's Daily Report (July 23) contained an item stating that Central Television's Vremya newscast failed to mention Yeltsin's decree on "de-partification." Later that day--i.e., two days after other newscasts had reported on the event--Vremya finally reported the TASS dispatch on the second de-cree of the first RSFSR President. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUTSKOI'S PARTY TO REMAIN PART OF CPSU. Rutskoi also announced at his press conference that the Democratic Party of Communists of Russia will split from the RSFSR CP but will remain a part of the CPSU. (Dawn Mann) YELTSIN CREATES PRESIDENTIAL APPARATUS. Yeltsin issued a decree on July 22 creating three new bodies, all attached to the RSFSR Presidency, Radio Rossii reported the same day. The Council of State will serve as an advisory body to the president; its secretary is Gennadii Burbulis, a member of Yeltsin's advisory staff. (His place in that body has been filled by Sergei Shakrai, who will be responsible for legal policy.) The Council for Federation Affairs and Territories of the RSFSR will also be an advisory body and will look at questions of internal republican economic activity; its secretary is Yurii Skokov. The third body is the Commission for Drafting Proposals on Procedures of the Russian Security Council. (Dawn Mann) KHASBULATOV STUDYING BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM. Ruslan Khasbulatov, acting Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, is on a five-day visit to Great Britain for talks with British parliamentarians. RFE/RL's correspondent in London reported July 22 that Khasbulatov held talks yesterday with the Speaker of the House of Commons and various MPs. Today (July 23) he is scheduled to meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Douglas Hogg, who is responsible for Soviet and East European affairs. He will also meet with trade officials to discuss prospects for trade between Britain and the RSFSR. Khasbulatov's visit reportedly was arranged to enable him to learn about the British parliamentary system (Sallie Wise) RSFSR KGB CHIEF: USSR KGB SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED, NOT SPLIT. Victor Ivanenko, acting chief of the RSFSR KGB, told Vremya July 19 that the creation of the Russian KGB must be not seen as a disruption of a well-functioning mechanism. Rather, it is a step toward enhancing the overall state security of the Union, he said. Ivanenko predicted that, in contrast to the USSR KGB, the structure of the RSFSR KGB will be more "economical and efficient." He also revealed that Yeltsin recently had two "one-on-one" meetings with USSR KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, and that their positions on delineating the powers of the USSR KGB and the RSFSR KGB are drawing closer together. (Victor Yasmann) DEMONSTRATION FOR NOVODVORSKAYA'S RELEASE. Several dozen protesters took part in demonstration for the release of Democratic Union leader Valeria Novodvorskya and for disbanding the USSR and RSFSR KGBs, TASS reported July 21. Novodvorskya was arrested by the KGB on May 16 and has been accused of calling for violent change of the Soviet constitutional order. TASS stressed the small number of the Democratic Union's membership and its affiliation with the Democratic Russia movement. (Victor Yasmann) MOSCOW RESIDENCE PERMITS FOR SALE. The first auction of permits to reside in Moscow is to be held July 27, according to Komsomol'skaya pravda (July 16). The organizers will put on sale ten certificates entitling enterprises to invite to Moscow specialists from other localities; the starting price is expected to be 200,000 rubles per permit. The cost of a permit does not include living space for its holder; enterprises must find an apartment for the employees in question. The city plans to sell 50 permits in all and to invest the profits in the Moscow infrastructure. Komsomol'skaya pravda noted, however, that Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov in the past has argued that the system of residence permits should be abolished as violating the provision of the UN Declaration on Human Rights advocating freedom of movement. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUSSIANS AND GYPSIES CLASH IN PSKOV OBLAST. Two Russians received gunshot wounds after a clash between gypsies and Russians last week in the town of Nevel' in Pskov oblast, Radio Mayak reported July 17 and TASS July 20. Anger had been rising in the town for some time over a group of gypsies trading unhindered in vodka at four times the state price, TASS stated. Following the clash a large crowd gathered and demanded the arrest of the traders and the expulsion of the gypsies from the town. There are about a thousand gypsies living in one part of the town. (Ann Sheehy) NISHANOV ASKS GAMSAKHURDIA TO PERMIT MESKHETIANS TO RETURN. The chairman of the USSR Council of Nationalities, Rafik Nishanov, appealed July 18 to Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia to allow those Meskhetians who wish to do so to return to Georgia, whence they were deported en masse to Central Asia in November, 1944, according to TASS of July 19. Following violent clashes with local Uzbeks in the Fergana valley in June, 1989, many Meskhetians fled from Uzbekistan to the RSFSR; some 40,000 settled in Azerbaijan. Gamsakhurdia opposes the return of the Meskhetians to Georgia because they are Moslems and the majority do not speak Georgian. (Liz Fuller) SOVIET TURKS PICKETING TURKISH EMBASSY IN MOSCOW. For more than a week Soviet Turks from the Enbekshikazakh raion of Kazakhstan have been picketing the Turkish embassy in Moscow for permission to emigrate to Turkey, Izvestia reported July 22. They say they have been forced to take this step because life is difficult where they live, and Georgia refuses to allow them to return to Georgia from where they were deported in 1944. They first appealed to the Turkish government two years ago. The Turkish ambassador explained to Izvestia that the Turkish government tries not to accept refugees, and Turkey has a mass of economic problems of its own, but the government is disposed to help the Soviet Turks. (Ann Sheehy) UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION TO CONSIDER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. The People's Council, which groups the parliamentary opposition in Ukraine, will discuss strategy for the presidential campaign in mid-August, Radio Kiev reported July 22. Possible candidates include Ihor Yukhnovs'kyi, head of the People's Council; Levko Lukyanenko, head of the Ukrainian Republican Party; Volodymyr Yavorivs'kyi, a USSR and Ukrainian SSR people's deputy; and Yurii Shcherbak, head of the Green Party of Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk) COMMUNIST PARTY OF UKRAINE REGISTERED. The Communist Party of Ukraine was officially registered yesterday, Ukrinform-TASS reported July22. With a membership of 2.7 million, it became the fifth political party in the republic to be given legal status. (Roman Solchanyk) CRIMEAN CONSTITUTION CONSIDERED. A concept of a new constitution for the Crimean ASSR was adopted by its Supreme Soviet, Ukrinform-TASS reported July 22. The question of the peninsula's name will be decided by a referendum. The deputies decided against a presidential form of government; proposed that Russian be the official language; and that citizenship of the Crimean republic be established. The new constitution is not subject to ratification by the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet. (Roman Solchanyk) BELORUSSIAN REACTION TO MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS. The July 18 issue of Znamya yunosti quizzed several democratically-oriented Belorussian political leaders on their attitudes toward the Movement for Democratic Reforms [DDR]. Popular Front chairman Zyanon Paznyak was most dismissive, viewing the DDR as little more than a civilized way to save the CPSU. Social Democrat Anatol' Vyartsinski noted that many in hisparty welcomed the DDR as an additional force for reform, but had strong reservations about its allegedly centrist approach to the question of the republics. Most positive was Alyaksandr Sasnau, who belongs to the newly created faction "Belorussian Communists for Democracy." (Kathy Mihalisko) MALOFEEV CRUSADES AGAINST SCHISMATICS. The "Belorussian Communists for Democracy" faction within the Communist Party is under heavy fire from the machinery of the resolutely anti-reformist Central Committee of the Belorussian CP. In a major policy statement published July 12 in Party dailies, First Secretary Anatolii Malofeev lashed out at both Belorussian "schismatics" and the founders of the DDR, who, he said, are more dangerous than the "CPSU Democratic Platform" group of one year ago. Malofeev called for unity in Party ranks. However, according to Alyaksandr Sasnau (see above), the important Minsk city Party committee has refused to endorse Malofeev's condemnation of the DDR. (Kathy Mihalisko) MASS HEMORRHAGE OF MINSK PARTY RANKS. One reason why the Minsk city Party committee refused to go along with Malofeev and the Belorussian Central Committee may be that the capital's Party organization is in big trouble with its rank-and-file members. Nearly 8,700 members from Minsk have quit the Party since the beginning of this year, of whom more than half were workers, according to BELTA news agency, July 13. Twelve primary Party organizations in the city have disappeared, probably as a result of burgeoning anticommunism among workers. (Kathy Mihalisko) [As of 1300 CET]
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.