|The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn|
No. 142, 29 July 1991
BALTIC STATES OMON ATTACKS RESUME IN LITHUANIA. The Salociai customs post on the Lithuanian border with Latvia suffered two attacks on July 28, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. In the first incident, five gunmen attacked the post at 1:00a.m., stealing the Lithuanian guards' money and some radio equipment. After setting fire to one of the post's customs booths, the men fled in a car identified by the customs officers as one used by the OMON in the past. A Latvian post also was attacked during the night. More than a dozen OMON troops attacked the post again at 2:10p.m., stealing Lithuanian uniforms and more money, and destroyed a second booth with hand grenades. The two incidents ended a relatively quiet period for Lithuanian customs posts, which had not been attacked since July 2. (Gytis Liulevicius) VAGNORIUS ON BUSH-GORBACHEV SUMMIT. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius expressed his hope that the Bush-Gorbachev summit would accelerate Lithuania's drive for independence. In an interview with Western media on July 27, Vagnorius said that he would like US President George Bush "to succeed in persuading [USSR President Mikhail] Gorbachev to solve the conflict between Lithuania and the Soviet Union." At the very least, Vagnorius wants Bush to speak out against violence: "The Soviet Union must be told again, again, and again that force must not be used." (Gytis Liulevicius) LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN TREATY SIGNING. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis will meet RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow today (July 29) to sign a treaty regulating Lithuanian and Russian relations, Radio Independent Lithuania reported July 29. Two other documents will also be signed, one on the establishment of representative offices in the two countries' capitals, the second guaranteeing RSFSR access to Kaliningrad oblast. Under one of the treaty's provisions, recent immigrants to Lithuania from the RSFSR previously ineligible for local citizenship will be able to apply for it, enabling them to participate in the privatization process. (Gytis Liulevicius) PEOPLE'S FRONT RECOMMENDS REFORMS OF LATVIAN RADIO AND TV. In view of dis-satisfaction with the present leadership and functioning of the State and Radio and TV Committee (chairman: Risards Labanovskis), as well as a decline in the quality of TV programming, the People's Front of Latvia has recommended that the government undertake specific reforms and that the Supreme Council adopt a series of laws on radio and TV broadcasting. One of the criticisms frequently heard is that the committee leadership is influenced by liberal communists and KGB officials. According to Diena of July 23, the Supreme Council's Commission on local governments and social issues is also seeking resolutions to the problems. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC AIRLINE'S ROUTES PLANNED. The US-based Baltic International Airlines plans to start passenger flights to Riga and other European and Middle East cities on October 1, according to TASS of July 27. Tickets will be sold for hard currency and rubles. Currently the airline officials are drawing up detailed accords with the USSR Civil Aviation Ministry and the Latvian Communications Ministry. (Dzintra Bungs) "BALTIC FREEDOM AND NEW EUROPE" CONFERENCE. A conference for world parliamentarians will convene in the Baltic States during August, Radio Independent Lithuania reported July 26. Events for the "Baltic Freedom and New Europe" conference are scheduled to be held in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius, coinciding with the 52nd anniversary of the signing of the Nazi-Soviet pact that ceded the Baltic States to the USSR. Lithuanian Supreme Council Deputy Chairman Ceslovas Stankevicius will head the conference's Lithuanian organizing committee. The section of the conference in Lithuania, entitled "The Baltic States: Freedom, Stability, and Peace in Europe," will take place on August 22-24. (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS YAKOVLEV QUITS GORBACHEV'S TEAM. Aleksandr Yakovlev told Vesti July 27 that he had submitted to Gorbachev a letter of resignation as the President's senior adviser. Earlier this month, Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov told Moscow TV that Yakovlev would chair the city's advisory council, and that this will be Yakovlev's "only official post." (Julia Wishnevsky) YAKOVLEV ON NEW PARTY, COMMUNIST IDEOLOGY. Yakovlev's interview with Vesti followed a press conference of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, at which Yakovlev said that he supported Yeltsin's decree on "departification." Yakovlev did not approve of the new draft Party program, which he said is not radical enough, but added that he had not yet quit the CPSU. This must be a matter of time, however, since Yakovlev said the MDR will become a political party at its founding congress in September. This party, Yakovlev explained, will be based on a completely different philosophy than the CPSU. "The ideology that has ruled in our country," Yakovlev said, "has taught us to mistrust each other, to suspect each other, and, on occasions, to inform on each other." Soviet people, in order to live in a truly lawful, democratic society, must adopt an entirely different morality, he added. (TSN and Western agencies, July 27). (Julia Wishnevsky) CENTRAL COMMITTEE PLENUM WRAPUP. On July 26, the CPSU Central Committee gave its preliminary approval to the draft program submitted by General Secretary Gorbachev. Some amendments will be made prior to publication for debate, and another CC plenum will be held in September to review the program before the Party congress. The problem areas include the Party's stance on property and all-Union and republican Party structure. Although all the dire prognostications about this plenum proved false, CC members and observers are already predicting that a split will occur at the congress. Before the plenum ended, Vladimir Kalashnikov and Ivan Mel'nikov were elected to the CPSU Secretariat. (Dawn Mann) PARTY OFFICIALS SABOTAGE REFORMS. "I wonder whether Gorbachev and [Kazakh President Nursultan] Nazarbaev guess what is being said about them at meetings of the apparatus of the regional, city and distric committees of the CPSU," wrote Karaganda Party official A. Efimov to the editor of Komsomol'skaya pravda (July 20). Efimov claimed that local Party bosses "not merely ignore but block" Gorbachev's and Nazarbaev's decrees. Gorbachev seems to be aware of this, since he verbally criticized Yeltsin's decree on "departification" at the Central Committee plenum, but has refused to issue his own decree declaring Yeltsin's decree invalid (Vesti, July 24.) At a news conference, Yeltsin justified his decree, saying that it will stop Party officials from preventing his team from proceeding with reforms (Radio Rossii, July24). (Julia Wishnevsky) START TREATY TO BE INITIALLED TODAY. After nine years of negotiations, the US-Soviet treaty limiting strategic weapons will be intialled today (July 29) in Geneva, paving the way for Presidents Bush and Gorbachev to sign the accord at their summit meeting in Moscow tomorrow and Wednesday. (Sallie Wise) BESSMERTNYKH ON SUMMIT. Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh said on July 27 he expects the upcoming summit to be a "productive, serious meeting," TASS reported. Bessmertnykh also said he expects the summit to prepare for future US-Soviet relations and to have a positive impact on the world situation as a whole. (Suzanne Crow) ORTHODOX BELIEVERS, BAPTISTS PRAY FOR SUCCESS OF SUMMIT. TASS reported on July 28 that Patriarch Aleksii II called upon Russian Orthodox believers to pray for a blessing upon the efforts of the Soviet and American leaders, since these efforts are of significance for peoples of all the world. A special prayer was said by Gregorii, bishop of Mozhaisk, on Sunday, July 28, after the liturgy in the Patriarch's cathedral in Moscow. TASS on July 27 quoted the chairman of the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists of the RSFSR, Vasilii Logvinenko, as saying that members of the Baptist Church will participate in a special prayer meeting on July 30 and July 31 for the success of the summit. (Oxana Antic) BELONOGOV WARNS IRAQ. Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Belonogov said on July 27 Baghdad "should not make the same grave mistake again" of underestimating the resolve of the US-led coalition. "If Iraqi authorities are trying to hide something, they won't succeed," The Washington Post reported July 28. (Suzanne Crow) YAZOV ADDRESSES CPSU COMMISSION. The CPSU's Central Committee Commission for Military Policy met in Moscow on July 24 to discuss conversion in the military industries, Novosti reported. The report provided few details, but said that the meeting was addressed by Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov, who focused on cuts in Soviet military forces. Yazov said that the unilateral force reduction announced by Gorbachev in December of 1988 was now completed. He also claimed that over the past three years the Soviets had cut their tanks by 44%, rockets by 33%, planes by 38%, and submarine-based ballistic missiles by 54%. The report provided no specifics on these figures. (Stephen Foye) OFFICER FORBIDS POLITICAL ACTIVITIES. On January 7 of this year, Aleksandr Matlak (rank not given), commander of an unidentified military unit stationed on the Kamchatka Peninsula, issued an order outlawing political activities--including those of the Communist Party--in his unit. As reported by Argumenty i fakty (No. 27), the order was quickly rescinded (apparently by superior officers), but nevertheless provided an indication that some officers at least are sympathetic to calls for depoliticization of the army. Matlak himself spoke critically of the CPSU's historical role the army, and also said that he would refuse to shoot civilians if given the order. (Stephen Foye) POWELL SUGGESTS JOINT US-SOVIET EXERCISES. US Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Colin Powell said on ABC television July 25 that joint military exercises between the Soviet Union and the United States are possible in the near future. Powell appeared with Soviet General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev, who said that US-Soviet military relations were now at their closest since World War II. Powell ended his trip to the Soviet Union on July 28, following his attendance at a Soviet Navy Day celebration in Vladivostok. (Stephen Foye) ADMIRAL SEES WESTERN NAVAL THREAT. Interviewed in Sovetskaya Rossiya on July 27 to mark Soviet Navy Day, Admiral Konstantin Makarov warned that the USSR faces an increasing threat from Western naval forces and sea-based missiles which, he said, more than offset any gains from arms reduction treaties. According to TASS and Western reports, the Deputy Commander of the Soviet Navy said that "the massive deployment" of sea-based cruise missiles by Western navies had nearly doubled the threat to Soviet security. His remarks, coming only days before the signing of the START treaty in Moscow, reflect the Soviet military leadership's dissatisfaction over the failure to negotiate cuts in naval forces. (Stephen Foye) GREEK PREMIER VISITS SOVIET GREEKS. At the invitation of the All-Union Public Association of Greeks, Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, on an official visit to the Soviet Union, visited the Soviet Greeks in Anapa and Gelendzhik on July 26, Vremya reported July 27. The growing number of Soviet Greeks emigrating to Greece are encountering difficulties because of their ignorance of Greek and lack of housing and jobs. Mitsotakis said that Soviet Greeks would receive concrete assistance in the near future. He discussed the possibility of strengthening economic ties and creating joint enterprises where there are concentrations of Soviet Greeks, Vremya added. (Ann Sheehy) PAVLOV MEETS WITH TRADE UNION LEADERS. A meeting of the special commission of the government and the General Confederation of Trade Unions on July 27 was the first result of the April agreement between trade unions and the government on labor and socio-economic questions, Vremya and TASS reported the same day. The most contentious items discussed were the unresolved points in the agreement, the most important of which are: fixing a minimum wage; and conclusion of sectoral wage agreements and resolution of problems of social insurance. Another difficult issue is the establishment of a minimum for the consumer budget. The government believes that, given the trade deficit, this would only increase social tension. (Sarah Ashwin) SOVIET AND US POLLS FOCUS ON ECONOMIC ISSUES. The results of two separate polls, taken in the USSR and the US, were published last week and written up in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times of July 28. The Soviet poll, held in April and May under the auspices of the Institute of Sociology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, showed a majority opposed to the private ownership of basic industries. Farming was the only one of 13 economic activities that most respondents agreed should be "mainly run privately." In the Gallup poll, most Americans interviewed July 18-21 felt that Soviet economic problems were "very serious," that Gorbachev's efforts at reform would fail, and most were opposed to outright grants to the USSR. (Keith Bush) KAGANOVICH DIES. The last of the "old Bolsheviks," Lazar Kaganovich, died in Moscow July 25 at the age of 98, Western agencies reported July 26. Kaganovich rose through Bolshevik ranks to become one of Stalin's closest cronies, and brutally oversaw the policy of forced collectivization during the 1930s. He was dropped from the CPSU Central Committee in 1957 after the abortive attempt to depose Khrushchev, and was expelled from the Party in 1962. (Sallie Wise) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN ASKED TO SUSPEND DECREE. Sergei Alekseev, chairman of the USSR Committee for Constitutional Oversight, told a Moscow news con-ference on July 27 that the committee has appealed to Yeltsin to suspend implementation of his July 20 decree on depoliticization until the committee has completed its review, which should take 2 weeks, Radio Moscow reported. At the CPSU CC plenum, a resolution calling the decree an "illegal act" was adopted, according to TASS July 26. Meanwhile, the RSFSR Council of Ministers issued a statement on July 27 declaring that Yeltsin's decree complied fully with all constitutional norms and USSR and RSFSR laws, TASS reported. (Dawn Mann) WILL YELTSIN'S DECREE BE NULLIFIED? At the press conference, as broadcast by Vremya July 27, Alekseev hinted strongly that the committee will not declare Yeltsin's decree null and void. Changes in the Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution [which cleared the way for a multi-party system in the USSR] made it necessary to "deideologize" or to "departify" certain state offices, Alekseev said, adding that his committee had already been "departified," since its members had decided to refrain from establishing a primary Party cell. However, it is unlikely (for political reasons) that the committee will side with Yeltsin completely. "Probably, we shall find a unusual way out," Alekseev said. Meanwhile, Gorbachev told the CPSU CC plenum that he would nullify Yeltsin's decree with a Presidential decree only if the Committee for Constitutional Oversight rules Yeltisn's decree illegal. (Julia Wishnevsky) YELTSIN AGREES TO FEDERAL TAXES? Gorbachev's senior adviser on nationalities affairs, Grigorii Revenko, said July 26 that Yeltsin has agreed to a federal taxation system, The Financial Times reported July 27. Revenko said Yeltsin had approved a long-debated compromise on taxation during talks on July 25. Under the agreement, a fixed percentage of revenues from the taxation of enterprises in the republics would go to the federal government. However, Revenko said that the percentage going to the federal budget and who collected the tax remained to be decided. Revenko forecast that the Union treaty could be signed in the fall. (Ann Sheehy) GENERALS NOT INVITED TO RSFSR POLITBURO MEETING. The press center of the RSFSR Communist Party Central Committee announced in Pravda on July 19 that top military leaders had, in fact, not been invited to attend a July 20 Politburo meeting. Radio Rossii and the Russian Information Agency had earlier reported that an invitation had been extended to Military District commanders and the chiefs of military academies (see Daily Report, July 18). The press center called such reports "disinformation" aimed at discrediting the Russian Communist Party, and compared them to what is said was an equally erroneous report that Ivan Polozkov had resigned as the organization's First Secretary. (Stephen Foye) RESIDENCE PERMIT AUCTION. The Los Angeles Times of July 28 provided a graphic description of Moscow's first auction of residence permits that was held July 27. The permits went to two out-of-towners for 1.5 million rubles apiece. Although Moscow city officials are said to share the universal loathing for the propiska, they have decided to retain the odious system lest Moscow is further swamped with provincials and even less able to provide the necessary infrastructure and services. If the initial level holds, the price of one propiska can pay for the construction of a nine-story building. A bystander noted that it would have been cheaper for the bidders to shell out the going rate of 30,000 rubles for a marriage of convenience to a Moscow woman. (Keith Bush) MARI REPUBLIC APPROVES UNION TREATY. The Mari Supreme Soviet has approved the draft Union treaty and had chosen its delegation to sign the treaty, Moscow radio reported July 26. (Ann Sheehy) STRIKE BY CHEBOKSARY STEELWORKERS HALTED FOR TWO MONTHS. The strike of steelworkers at the Cheboksary Aggregate Works for higher pay, begun July 25 (see Daily Report, July26), was halted July 26 for two months by an order of the republican authorities, TASS reported July 26. The order was issued on the grounds of the importance of the plant's output for agriculture. (Ann Sheehy) AGREEMENT BETWEEN KALININGRAD OBLAST AND POLAND. An unprecedented treaty of economic coooperation between an individual oblast of the RSFSR and a foreign state was signed in Kaliningrad on July 22, Moscow radio reported July23. The agreement--between Kaliningrad oblast and Poland--provides for the creation of joint enterprises, the restoration of the pre-war Koenigsberg-Berlin railway line, and the opening of customs posts on the frontier. (Ann Sheehy) ARMENIA REPORTEDLY ISSUES "CALL TO ARMS." TASS July 28 reported that the Armenian Supreme Soviet Defense Committee had issued a call for mass mobilization in order "to defend the fatherland," in that the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan were allegedly waging an undeclared war against Armenia and it was no longer possible "to resolve the issue by political means." Also on July 28, Radio Rossii reported that an RSFSR People's Deputy and a Soviet Army colonel had sent a cable to Gorbachev expressing concern that the Soviet Fourth Army "is waging a real war" against Armenian villages in Azerbaijan. (Liz Fuller) PROSPECTS FOR ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI RAPPROCHEMENT. An Armenian representativein Moscow was quoted by USSR State Radio July 28 as advocating that the parliaments of the RSFSR, Ukraine, or Kazakhstan should act as intermediaryin the Armenian Azerbaijani conflict. Talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan could form the basis for future cooperation, including an economic union. (Liz Fuller) TAJIKISTAN, KYRGYZSTAN TRY TO SOLVE LAND DISPUTE. In 1989, a long-simmering dispute between villages on the Tajik-Kirgiz border over land and water rights erupted in violence. Despite the efforts of officials of the two republics, the quarrel has never been resolved. Now, according to a TASS report of July 26, another attempt is being made to find a solution, this time by launching land and river reclamation work to counter environmental degradation that had caused a decline in living standards in the region. According to the report, the two republics recently concluded an agreement on water use in the border area. (Bess Brown) TAJIK SUPREME SOVIET TO DISCUSS AFGHAN BOMB INCIDENT. TASS reported on July27 that Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet has scheduled a discussion of the bombing of a Tajik village by an Afghan air force plane in June. According to the report, Soviet air defense commanders and officers of the Central Asian Border District are to report to the session. USSR KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov has reportedly assured the republic that cooperation between border troops and air defense units is being strengthened, but Tajik deputies doubt the efficacy of the air defenses. (Bess Brown) TAJIKISTAN TO HAVE OWN AGRICULTURAL ACADEMY. Tajik President Kakhar Makhkamov has signed a decree on the creation of a republican academy of agricultural sciences, TASS reported July 27. It will be headed by Akbar Maksumov, an academician of the all-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, who has been a vocal opponent of cotton monoculture and the submission of Central Asian agriculture to Moscow's dictates. Other Central Asian republics have also set up their own agricultural academies, seeing this as an important step in gaining control over agricultural policy. (Bess Brown) FREIGHT SERVICE STARTS ON NEW CHINESE-SOVIET RAIL LINE. Freight service has started on a trial basis on the new railroad linking Xinjiang and Kazakhstan, Western agencies reported July22. On July 20 two trains passed at the border crossing in Alatau. The Xinhua agency said the new rail link would greatly reduce travel time from the Pacific to Europe, as well as transport costs. Passenger service is due to start in June 1992, with full freight service beginning later. (Ann Sheehy) FIRST KAZAKHS RETURN FROM MONGOLIA. For the first time in many years a group of Kazakhs, totalling over 170 people, has returned from Mongolia to live in southern Kazakhstan, Soyuz No. 29 (July), reported. Many Kazakhs living in the Bayan-Ul'gy aimak of Mongolia have been petitioning the Mongolian government for permission to leave, and their efforts have been supported by the "Atameken" committee of the Kazakhstan Union of Writers. Many Kazakhs fled Kazakhstan at the time of collectivization. (Ann Sheehy) BELORUSSIAN SOVEREIGNTY DAY. The first anniversary of Belorussia's Declaration of State Sovereignty on July 27 was celebrated in low-key fashion according to a boring Brezhnevist recipe, according to Radio Rossii. Raion Party secretaries and token representatives of society were invited to attend an official ceremony whose high point--if it can be called that--was a speech by the universally-ridiculed Supreme Soviet chairman, Mykalai Dzemyantsei. Opposition leader Zyanon Paznyak complained to Radio Rossii that nothing had changed in Belorussia in the year since sovereignty was declared. He said the repoublic has the most reactionary leadership in the country. (Kathy Mihalisko)
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