|To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson|
No. 139, 24 July 1991
BALTIC STATES TWO PLANS FOR GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION. Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, Minister of the Economy Jaak Leimann, and Minister of State Raivo Vare have drafted two plans for reorganizing the Estonian government, Rahva Haal reported on July 23. The first plan foresees a number of structural changes to clear up ambiguities among some ministers and ministries, including renaming Social Affairs to become Labor, and uniting two ministries whose business it is to make deals: Commerce and Resources. The second plan envisions power-sharing by bringing representatives from various political parties into the government. The troika foresees changes around August or September. (Riina Kionka) TALLINN REOPENS INVESTIGATION. The Estonian Supreme Court has ordered the investigation of the murder of two Swedish trade union officials to be reopened, Paevaleht reported on July 23. Supreme Court deputy chairman Peeter-Uno Rahi said the case was sent back to the Criminal Cases Collegium (a part of the court's own investigative section) because some documents used in the preliminary investigation were missing, among them affidavits that the three accused females were informed of the charges being brought against them. Court officials estimated that the missing files would be returned within the month, after which a court date would be set. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIANS: THE GLUM BALTS. A recent survey conducted simultaneously in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania indicates that Estonians are the most pessimistic Balts. According to a summary of the survey published on July 23 in Paevaleht, residents of the three republics were asked a number of questions about the future, economic prospects, and interethnic relations. Regardless of the question, residents of Lithuania consistently came out the most optimistic, followed by residents of Latvia, with those in Estonia bringing up the rear. Paevaleht did not make any connection between the stage each republic had achieved in its independence drive and the populations' mood. (Riina Kionka) DALAI LAMA INTENDS TO VISIT LITHUANIA. Speaking at a press conference during his trip to Siberia, the Dalai Lama expressed his wish to visit Lithuania, TASS reported July 23. The Dalai Lama announced that he has received "an invitation from Vytautas Landsbergis, the head of the Republic of Lithuania." He said that "for a long time, the Baltic States were in a situation very similar to the one that Tibet is in now." For this reason, "we have a special interest in this question." The Dalai Lama said that he is "praying for an appropriate moment to visit the Baltics in the future." (Gytis Liulevicius) ANOTHER FAILURE TO REPLACE INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER. On July 23 the Lithuanian Supreme Council, in a session broadcast live over Radio Independent Lithuania, failed to replace acting Minister of Internal Affairs Marijonas Misiukonis, a former KGB officer whom right-wing deputies consider unreliable. Protesting the proposal to name Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius acting minister until November 1, members of the Left, Liberal, Polish, and Center factions left the session before the vote just as they had done on July 16. Although the vote for Vagnorius was 58 to 6 with 12abstentions, he failed to get the 67 votes necessary to be appointed. (Saulius Girnius) OFFICIAL REPLY TO BALTIC ADMIRAL'S LETTER. Lithuanian Supreme Council Deputy Chairman Kazimieras Motieka responded to a complaint from Baltic fleet Admiral Vitalii Ivanov, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reported July 23. In a June 28 letter, Ivanov protested negative Lithuanian attitudes toward the Soviet army in general and its patrols in particular. Motieka argued that special army patrols during peace-time violate not only Lithuanian law, but also the USSR constitution, which Ivanov claimed to defend. Motieka charged that the Soviet army has caused more than 81 million rubles' worth of damage since January, and has committed numerous crimes against civilians. He demanded repayment of the damages and an end to the patrols. (Gytis Liulevicius) CONFERENCE ON AIRSPACE. A conference on airspace started in the Latvian resort city of Jurmala on July 23, reported LETA that day. Yurii Malaev, representing the USSR Council of Ministers, said it is necessary to consider issues related to air-space in the context of the processes actually taking place in the country and to consider "the possibility of some republics leaving the USSR." Participating in the meeting are representatives from the Baltic States, Ukraine, Belorussia, the RSFSR, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Uzbekistan. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV SAYS ARMENIA TO SIGN UNION TREATY. After the latest meeting with republican leaders in Novo-Ogarevo on the Union treaty, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said early today (July24) that Armenia was getting ready to sign the new Union treaty, Western agencies reported July24. Gorbachev also said that he hoped Moldavia would come to the same decision. Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrossyan's attendance at the meeting was a surprise, since only a couple of days earlier it was reported that the presidium of the Armenian Supreme Soviet had decided he should not attend. There have been voices raised in the republic, apart from those of the local Communist party, saying Armenia should at least participate in the talks. Presumably a final decision will be made, however, in the referendum on September 21. Ter-Petrossyan left the meeting without speaking to reporters. (Ann Sheehy) TAXATION ONLY OUTSTANDING QUESTION? According to Gorbachev, the only article of the treaty remaining to be drafted was the one on taxation, but he said that "an agreement in principle" had been reached on that issue on July 23 and Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov had been asked to draw up the final text within 24 hours. Once the article on taxation was ready, Gorbachev said, the treaty would be declared ready for signing. No date had been set for the signing ceremony, he added. (Ann Sheehy) NAZARBAEV: WE SHALL SAVE GORBACHEV BEHIND HIS BACK. Vesti augmented its July 23 report on the Novo-Ogarevo meeting with an interview with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Nazarbaev told Vesti that the negotiations were not easy, since participants were suddenly burdened with as many as three alternative drafts of the Union treaty written by various central bodies. The participants turned them down, he said, and concentrated on their original draft. If the Center continues to interfere in the Novo-Ogarevo process, Nazarbaev warned, republican leaders will meet in Alma-Ata to discuss the Union treaty only among themselves. They could save Gorbachev [from his conservative opponents] without his actually being present at the negotiations, Nazarbaev continued, adding that the leaders need Gorbachev and support him but they will not tolerate any tricks. (Julia Wishnevsky) AKAEV AND NAZARBAEV TO JOIN SHEVARDNADZE'S MOVEMENT? According to Radio Rossii July 23, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akaev, has said that he supports the Movement for Democratic Reforms. Radio Rossii cited rumors that Nazarbaev is expected to make a similar statement in the near future. (Julia Wishnevsky) USSR SEEKS FULL MEMBERSHIP OF IMF. The Soviet Union has applied for full membership of the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, and the International Finance Corporation, Western agencies reported July 23. The letter of application was said to have been dated July 15, i.e., before Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's meeting with G-7 leaders, but delivered only on July 22 and its receipt was announced on July 23, according to The New York Times of July 24. The application for full membership does not exclude the granting of "special association" status, as recommended by the G-7 summit. (Keith Bush) WHY THE RUSH? The Soviet application was obviously unexpected by, and unwelcome to, some of the senior members of the IMF club. An IMF spokesman told RFE/RL July 23 that the application process could take as little as four months or as long as four years to complete. It would appear that the Soviet government's main motivation was the need for large infusions of credits as soon as possible: "special association" provides technical assistance but no cash. The possibilities of further substantial credits from individual countries are diminishing and slight. Under the IMF "worse case" scenario, uncovered financing requirements in 1991 amounted to some $10 billion. This may have risen to about $19 billion (see The Washington Post of July 23). Some form of rescheduling or restructuring of the Soviet debt in the near future appears inevitable. (Keith Bush) YAVLINSKY SPEAKS OUT. Economist Grigorii Yavlinsky, whose draft economic reform plan was difficult to discern in Gorbachev's presentation to G-7 leaders last week, is starting to speak out again. In interviews with The Financial Times of July23 and with Western agencies July 24, Yavlinsky confirmed that he had stayed away from London because he could not support the official Soviet reform plan. He told the FT that Western countries should not give aid to the USSR as long as the government adheres to the present anti-crisis plan. In his view, Pavlov and First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov "are still thinking with the mentality of the 1970s." In an agency interview, he advocated pressure from the republics on the center "to transform or reform the center in their interest." (Sallie Wise) COMMUNISTS PREPARE FOR PLENUM. CPSU Politburo member Aleksandr Dzasokhov told Western journalists in Moscow on July 23 that although there is "a strong orthodox, dogmatic current in the party, it's not strong enough to radically influence events. We need not be fatalistic about a split. We can act." Aleksandr Buzgalin said he did not think that conservatives would try to force a vote of no confidence in Gorbachev again: "they played their card [in April] and Gorbachev's team won. They won't try it again." But Nikolai Merzlikin, first secretary of the Chita regional Party committee told Sovetskaya Rossiya July 23 that "the Communist Party must refuse to give Gorbachev another vote of confidence. He has no right to call himself a Communist and make the Party his hostage." (Dawn Mann) HARDLINERS CALL FOR PATRIOTIC FRONT. Twelve Soviet ultra-conservatives on July 23 issued an appeal in Sovetskaya Rossiya calling for the creation of a national-patriotic movement to "save the homeland." According to TASS and western reports, the signatories of "a word to the people" included Yurii Bondarev, Boris Gromov, Valentin Rasputin, Valentin Varennikov, and Yurii Blokhin. "We are convinced that the army and the navy," the manifesto said, "will prevent fratricidal war and the destruction of the motherland, and will be a safe guarantee of security." The manifesto also argued that the Communist Party was being destroyed by its own leaders. (Stephen Foye) US QUESTIONS VIOLATION OF INF TREATY. The US State Department on July 23 demanded a "full accounting" from the Soviet Union concerning intermediate range nuclear missiles that may still be located in Eastern Europe, Western news agencies reported. The US contends that Moscow did not disclose the deployment of SS-23 missiles in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria in accordance with the 1987 treaty. The row comes as US and Soviet officials work out the final details in Geneva on a treaty to reduce long-range nuclear missiles. (Stephen Foye) "LESSONS" OF YUGOSLAVIA CONTRIVED. A Soviet Central TV report of July 23 attempted to skew the Yugoslav crisis in order to warn viewers of what could happen in the USSR. The report laid heavy blame on Western countries for "encouraging separatist tendencies" through "inflammatory policies." The report said the Yugoslav crisis is rooted in "conditions of a prolonged, bitter political struggle against the center [whereby] the republics achieved a considerable expansion of their powers which . . . led to a growth in national egoism and separatism . . . ." Austria, Hungary, Italy and Albania were named for misguided policies. The report congratulated the USSR for its efforts to calm the situation, saying Moscow "temporarily succeeded in taking the heat out of the crisis." (Suzanne Crow) MOSCOW'S POSITION ON BAGHDAD "UNCLEAR." Moskovskie novosti runs a commentary in its July 24 issue criticizing the USSR's unclear relationship to Iraq. According to a Western agency translation, MN notes the following contradictions: "For example, no one has thought about withdrawing from the [treaty with Iraq]. There is information that some sorts of shipments to Iraq are continuing from our country, perhaps even military shipments. Naturally there has been neither an official confirmation [on these reports] nor an official denial. So then, do we belong to the [anti-Iraq] coalition?" (Suzanne Crow) ZHIRINOVSKY CAMPAIGNS FOR POST OF USSR PRESIDENT. Leader of the controversial Liberal Democratic Party of the USSR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, started campaigning July 18 for the post of USSR President, elections for which are scheduled for next year. (The Liberal Democratic Party in general and Zhirinovsky in particular are believed to have close ties to the KGB.) Zhirinovsky ran in the recent RSFSR presidential elections, but lost. Radio Rossii reported that Zhirinovsky started his new election campaign in the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he was warmly welcomed by the leadership of the Oblast Party Committee. (Vera Tolz) LIBERAL DEMOCRATS TURN TO KNIVES? Moskovskii komsomolets (July 16) reported an alleged attempt on Vladimir Bogachev, a former member of the Liberal Democratic Party, who last year led a unsuccessful attempt to expel Zhirinovsky for purported ties with the KGB. (Zhirinovsky's platform in the RSFSR elections could not have been termed either "liberal" or "democratic" in any Western country.) According to Bogachev, he was stopped in the street by two strangers, put into a black "Volga" car, and given an injection that made him lose consciousness. Three hours later, Bogachev woke up with knife wounds on his right hand and on his back, with a broken rib and a syringe mark on one shoulder. On the day of the attempt, Bogachev told Moskovskii komsomolets, he had received a telegram from Zhirinovsky urging him to stop his political activities. (Julia Wishnevsky) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS LEADING PARTY BODIES CONDEMN DECREE. The CPSU Politburo and Secretariat, the RSFSR Politburo and Central Control Commission, and the Party committees of the USSR Supreme Soviet, the USSR KGB, and the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs all issued similar statements on July 23 concerning RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin's depoliticization decree, TASS reported the same day. All charged that the decree violates Articles 48 and 51 of the USSR Constitution, Article 48 of the RSFSR Constitution, and Articles 10 and 15 of the law on social organizations. The Communists argued that the abolition of Article 6 of the USSR Constitution was all that was needed to eliminate the Party's right to guide state activities according to its political line. All have requested that constitutional authorities at the all-Union and RSFSR republican level review the decree. (Dawn Mann) GORBACHEV COMMENTS ON DECREE. Gorbachev's presidential spokesman, Vitalii Ignatenko, told reporters in Moscow on July 23 that Gorbachev is concerned that "this decree contains elements of tension and confrontation," Western news agencies reported the same day. (Dawn Mann) RSFSR JUSTICE MINISTER ON DECREE. RSFSR Minister of Justice Nikolai Fedorov told Radio Moscow on July 23 that control over the implementation of the decree rested with the RSFSR Prosecutor's Office, and that any attempt to avoid compliance would be "anti-constitutional." Fines of up to 10,000 rubles may be imposed on those who do not comply with the decree and any organization that proclaims its intent not to comply may find itself barred from operating entirely. (Dawn Mann) OTHER REACTION TO THE DECREE. Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov and Ivan Laptev, chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Council of the Union, both expressed similar positions yesterday with regard to the need for the decree. How, they asked, could a single factory, for example, provide equal opportunity to all parties and organizations? Laptev told TASS, "There are already 300 parties in the country . . . can all 300 really be represented in one enterprise?" Moscow city Party chief Yurii Prokof'ev told Central TV that he feared the ban could be used against workers. For instance, trade unions are banned, unless the owners of an enterprise allow them to operate, and this provision, Prokof'ev argued, could cause problems once privatization began: if owners refused to allow trade unions to form, workers would be exploited. (Dawn Mann) STATE TELEVISION SIDES WITH CPSU AGAINST YELTSIN. Ostensibly, Central Television belongs to the state, not to the CPSU, and is funded by Soviet taxpayers, not from Party dues. Nonetheless, its Vremya newscast July 23 devoted about ten minutes to protests of various CPSU officials against Yeltsin's edict of July 20. (The protests were reported at the same day). Moreover, Central TV spent another ten minutes of prime time--i.e., immediately after Vremya--to the comments of another Yeltsin opponent, Moscow Party chief Prokof'ev. No statement of any official, who--such as Laptev--has welcomed the decree--has been mentioned by Vremya. (Julia Wishnevsky) LENINGRAD PROSECUTOR'S TURNAROUND ON ANTI-SEMITISM. The office of the Leningrad state prosecutor has decided to prosecute organizers of two ultranationalist demonstrations to have been held in Leningrad on April 13 and May 1. The announcement (published in Leningradskaya pravda on June 20) specifies that the slogans displayed by the participants were of an anti-Semitic character. Charges were filed under Article74 of the RSFSR Criminal Code, which forbids sowing discord between nationalities, as well as under Article 112 (inflicting light bodily harm) because the rallies were followed by fist-fights between demonstrators and their political opponents. In the past, the office of the Leningrad state prosecutor was reputed to be highly reactionary, and repeatedly declined to prosecute local anti-Semites who are said to be extremely militant. This change in attitude could be attributed to the change in its superior, the office of the RSFSR General Prosecutor, under Boris Yeltsin. (Julia Wishnevsky) RSFSR PASSES LAW ON INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES. The RSFSR passed a law on investment activities June 26, though it is not clear when the law was to take effect (Kommersant No. 26). The law is based largely on the all-Union law passed last December (see Kommersant No. 48, 1990), though it is more liberal in that it does not require the investor to reveal the source of his investment capital. (John Tedstrom) RSFSR PASSES LAW ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT. On June 27, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet passed on first reading a law on foreign investment activities, according to Kommersant, No. 26. All foreign investors are to register with the RSFSR Ministry of Finance, and can engage in any business activity open to RSFSR citizens, though insurance companies and stockbrokers must obtain prior licenses from the RSFSR Ministry of Finance. Organizations established with foreign capital will pay a 30% profit tax and 15% tax on repatriated profits. The all-Union law on foreign investment was passed on first reading on May 29 by the USSR Supreme Soviet. (John Tedstrom) YELTSIN GETS SUPPORT ON STANCE AGAINST FEDERAL TAXES. Yeltsin met with leaders of RSFSR autonomous republics June 23, and won their support for a "one-channel" tax system that excludes any federal tax payments for RSFSR organizations, Radio Rossii reported that day. Recently, Tatarstan refused to pay taxes to the RSFSR because the RSFSR was not making its obligatory payments to the federal budget (see Daily Report, July 11). The Center could therefore not finance the all-Union enterprises in Tatarstan which make up some 80% of the republic's economy. The rest of RSFSR republics, however, seem to feel that they will have more control over their economies if they pay all taxes to the RSFSR Ministry of Finance which will then (supposedly) transfer a predetermined amount to the all-Union budget. (John Tedstrom) UKRAINIAN VOLUNTEERS TO FIGHT FOR SLOVENIA AND CROATIA. The Zagreb newspaper Vecernji list reported today (July 24) that 50 volunteers have come forward in Kiev "to defend with arms the independence of Slovenia and Croatia." The initiator of this display of Ukrainian solidarity with the two republics is named as reserve Soviet army captain Vladimir Filatov. The newspaper cited as its sources Tanjug and the latest issue of Moscow News. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UZBEKISTAN PASSES LAW ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT. A law on foreign investment in the Uzbek SSSR took effect July 19, opening the door for direct foreign investment in the republic, TASS reported the same day. The new law allows for joint ventures; 100% foreign ownership of banks, insurance companies, and enterprises; issuance of stocks; and property rights including the use of land and natural resources. Organizations can undertake any activity not forbidden by republican law. Foreign firms can set up as branches or divisions of a multinational company, a concern, or a consortium, and may import and export goods relevant to their operations without licensing. Imported goods necessary to a firm's production operations are exempt from import taxes and customs duties. (John Tedstrom)
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