|The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder|
No. 143, 30 July 1991
BALTIC STATES RUSSIA RECOGNIZES LITHUANIA. Russia recognized Lithuanian independence in a treaty signed in Moscow on July 29, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. The treaty stipulates that Lithuania and the RSFSR recognize each other as "sovereign states," specifically mentioning the Lithuanian independence declaration of March 11, 1990. During a press conference following the signing, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis urged other states to follow Russia's example, and hoped that the USSR would "start real negotiations with Lithuania. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin said the treaty has "great historical significance." (Gytis Liulevicius) SENATE MOVES ON AID TO BALTICS. The US Senate passed a foreign aid bill on July 26 with amendments banning aid to the USSR unless it guarantees equitable distribution to the Baltic States and Soviet republics, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported July 30. The Senate legislation is virtually identical to the House foreign aid bill passed last month. Both bills also ban any aid to the USSR until it returns property seized in the Baltic States since January 1 of this year. The Senate version earmarks $10 million a year in technical aid for 1992 and 1993, with half going directly to the Baltic States, the other half to democratically elected local governments in the USSR and "eligible" non-governmental organizations. $20 million in humanitarian aid would be for the Baltic States alone. A final version of the foreign aid bill is expected in September. (Gytis Liulevicius) US DIPLOMATS TALK WITH BALTIC REPRESENTATIVES IN MOSCOW. Janis Peters, Latvian permanent representative in Moscow, told Radio Riga on July 29 that earlier that day two US diplomats--member of President George Bush's delegation Alexander Vershbow and US Embassy officer Judith Mandel--came to the Latvian representation to talk about US aid to the Baltics. They said that given the special status of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, economic aid to the Baltics would be distinguished from the aid to the USSR. Also present at the short meeting was the Estonian representative in Moscow. (Dzintra Bungs) REPEATED ATTACKS ON LATVIAN CUSTOMS POST. Radio Riga reported on July 29 about two attacks July 28 on the Rainis customs post (Bauska raion) near the Lithuanian border. The first assault was shortly after midnight and the second one around midday. The customs officials were beaten up, equipment and money was stolen, and hand grenades were thrown at the post. The eleven attackers, dressed in civilian clothes, are believed to be members of the Riga-based OMON unit. The Rainis customs post has been attacked previously by the Black Berets. (Dzintra Bungs) CRIME INCREASES IN LATVIA. There has been a 21.4% rise in the number of crimes committed in Latvia during the first four months of this year, as compared with the same period in 1990. The overall number for 1991, according to Atmoda of June 20, is 15,407. The greatest jump has been in thefts of public property (up 66%), thefts from stores and commercial enterprises (up 44.9%), and thefts of personal property (up 33.6%). Included in the last figure are thefts of personal property as a result of breaking into a home--up 63.4%. The number of violent crimes has also grown: murders--up 14.1%, rape and attempted rape--up 17%, though the number of physical assaults declined slightly--down 1.3%. (Dzintra Bungs) CRIME AT RIGA PORT RISES. Compared with figures for the first half of 1990, crime, especially thefts, has increased by 40% at the Riga commercial port, Radio Riga reported July 29. The main reasons for the rise are shortages of foodstuffs and consumer goods in stores and inadequate security measures taken by the port authorities. Thefts are usually organized by groups, which include dock workers and often also security guards. Most of the goods are removed illegally while they are loaded from ships to either railroad cars or trucks. Among the items most freqently stolen are citrus fruit, meat, grain, and cattle feed. The KGB, which used to help patrol the docks, has stopped this activity in recent months, despite the fact that its leadership has stated that it would focus more on economic than political crimes. (Dzintra Bungs) ANTI-SEMITIC PROPAGANDIST TO TEACH BALTS? As noted in the Daily Report of July 25, leaders of the pro-Moscow Communist Party organizations of the three Baltic States were in Minsk July 19 for talks with Belorussian CP First Secretary Anatolii Malofeev that led to wide-ranging cooperation agreements. More material became available in the July 20 issue of Zvyazda. Of special interest: seminars and training courses will be held for Baltic Communists at the Belorussian Central Committee's Institute for Political Science and Social Direction. The Institute's rector, Savelii Pavlov, is the former ideological secretary of the Belorussian CP who reportedly fashioned the Party's anti-Semitic propaganda campaigns. (Kathy Mihalisko) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS SUMMIT OPENS. US President George Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev began their two-day summit meeting in Moscow this morning (July 30), RFE/RL's correspondent in Moscow reported. In welcoming Bush to the Kremlin, Gorbachev said that "a great deal in world politics will continue to depend on how the Soviet Union and the United States interact with each other. For the first time ever, our two countries have a chance to build their relations on the natural basis of universal human values and national interests. We are beginning to realize that we need each other, that the security of internal stability and dynamic development of each of our two countries benefits both of them." (Sallie Wise) YELTSIN AND NAZARBAEV IN SUMMIT DELEGATION. In a nod to their pivotal role in hammering out the new Union treaty, Gorbachev has invited Yeltsin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev to attend a working meeting with Bush later today as part of the Soviet delegation. They will also attend n official reception for Bush. According to today's (July 30) Washington Post, Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin said that the USSR is "a new country, a country where we have a different attitude toward repuiblics, and they are going to have a higher profile, including a higher foreign policy profile." Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko was quoted in today's Los Angeles Times as saying "an important meeting like this should have really important representation." (Sallie Wise) GENERALS BACK START. A First Deputy Chief of the Soviet General Staff, Colonel General Bronislav Omelichev, told TASS on July 29 that the START agreement would lower the level of confrontation between the US and USSR, strengthen strategic stability, and help the military-political situation in Europe. General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev, who participated in the START negotiations, has spoken in similar terms of the treaty. That such statements may nevertheless be covering up some opposition within the High Command was suggested when, on Vremya of July 29, Presidential spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko "categorically" denied rumors that several Defense Ministry spokesmen had problems with the treaty. (Stephen Foye) BESSMERTNYKH AND BAKER DISCUSS NEW ARMS AGREEMENTS. With the START treaty not yet signed, Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh has said that he and US Secretary of State James Baker have already begun to talk about new agreements on limiting weapons. In an interview with Novosti released today (July 30), Bessmertnykh said the two talked yesterday about pursuing a continuous process of arms control. Among the issues they touched upon are: reducing conventional arms in Europe, the US "Open Skies" proposal, limitation of nuclear tests, and non-proliferation of missiles and missile technology. (Sallie Wise) USSR CRITICIZES EFFORTS TO AID YUGOSLAVIA. Yurii Deryabin, Soviet representative to the CSCE's Senior Officials' Committee, complained formally about the amount of information provided by the European Community's observer mission in Yugoslavia. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin reported on the Soviet complaint on July 29, stating that the Senior Officials' Committee is being denied the means to perform its duties owing to the paucity of information provided by the EC mission. "Although they have performed a certain positive job, they are not the mission of the CSCE, as far as the recommendations of the Senior Officials' Committee is concerned," Churkin was quoted by TASS as saying. (Suzanne Crow) MARKOVIC GOING TO MOSCOW. Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic plans to go to Moscow for two days of talks at the end of this week, TASS reported July 29. TASS announced that Markovic would make a working visit at the invitation of the Soviet Cabinet of Ministers on August 1-2. (Sallie Wise) GERMANY DISPLEASED WITH WITHDRAWAL. According to an internal German defense ministry report excerpted in Die Welt (July 29), Bonn is disappointed by the pace of the Soviet troop withdrawal and efforts by the Soviet military to use the withdrawal to fight their own domestic battles. Specifically, the report lamented the Soviet military's attempts to blame the pace of the withdrawal on the absence of housing for returning soldiers in the USSR. The report claimed that Bonn has made it clear to the Soviet side that agreements between the USSR and Germany are binding. (Suzanne Crow)n BESSMERTNYKH CALLS FOR MIDEAST CONFERENCE. Bessemrtnykh called on July 29 for a Middle East peace conference to be convened by the end of this year, Western agencies reported the same day. Saying that "the time is ripe" for such a conference, Bessmertnykh cautioned that "certain problems could arise" in the event of a delay in bringing Israel together with its Arab foes. (Sallie Wise) HIGHER FEES FOR PASSPORTS AND VISAS. With retroactive effect to July 1, the fees for issuing passports and for a variety of visas and citizenship papers for Soviet citizens and for foreigners have been changed, mostly in the upward direction, TASS reported June 29. The fee for a Soviet passport for foreign travel has been increased to 1,000 rubles (i.e., by a factor of five). The charge for the acquisition of Soviet citizenship or for giving it up is now 500 rubles. Foreign visitors will now have to pay 100 rubles for tourist visas. According to AFP of July 29, details of the new charges appear in Izvestia of that date. (Keith Bush) DID KAGANOVICH MISS A POLITICAL COMEBACK? Lazar Kaganovich, Stalin's henchman who died in Moscow July 25, may have missed a political comeback, albeit probably not so impressive as those of Yeltsin and Geidar Aliev. Radio Rossii broadcast July 29 a segment from the second congress of the Stalinist movement "Unity for Leninsm and Communist Ideals" held in Minsk on July 13 and 14. (The group, led by Leningrad teacher Nina Andreeva, urges that Gorbachev and his team be expelled from the CPSU and tried for having destroyed socialism in the Soviet Union.) Listeners heard a delegate suggesting that Kaganovich be elected the honorary president of the movement. (Julia Wishnevsky) SOME MILITARY COUPS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS. In the past, the Soviet military reacted negatively to discussion of a possible coup, but, more recently, they seem to like the idea. For example, the 10th issue of the newspaper of the MVD Internal Troops, Soglasie, contains an article by B. Pashentsev arguing that "the military in power" might not be altogether a bad thing. There could be "reactionary" (bad) military coups and "progressive" (good) ones, Pashentsev explains. The "progressive" military coming to power, the author elaborates, is not an end in itself but an extreme attempt to transfer powers to the workers. Although Pashentsev tries to establish that "the experience of 1,500 military coups in the world is useful for our country," he does not cite a single example of a "good" military coup in world history. (Julia Wishnevsky) MOSCOW NEWS AND SPUTNIK BANNED IN VIETNAM. The August 1 issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review reports that subscribers to these two well-known Soviet publications have not been receiving their copies ever since the recent Vietnamese party congress. That gathering saw a reiforcement of hard-line policies and personalities. Hanoi as also been drawing closer to Peking as Moscow reduces its economic, political, and military presence in Vietnam. (Patrick Moore) MENINGITIS OUTBREAK SUSPECTED IN FAR EAST. Doctors in Komsomolsk-na-Amure in the Soviet Far East suspect that meningitis is to blame for the hospitalization of about 100 children in the city, TASS reported July 29. TASS cited doctors as saying they believe poor quality drinking water caused the outbreak of illness among children at several different kindergartens. A city health official said the outbreak is unusual, since only one or two cases of meningitis are reported in the city each year. According to TASS, Komsomolsk-na-Amure suffers from a chronic lack of drinking water and an inadequate water treatment system. (Sallie Wise) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN WILL NOT SUSPEND DECREE. Yeltsin told reporters in Moscow on July 29 that he has no plans to suspend his July 20 decree on "departification," TASS reported the same day. Yeltsin was quoted by Western news agencies as saying that he did not think Gorbachev would issue a counteracting decree, but that if he did, "it will seriously [upset the balance of] our relationship." (Dawn Mann) SLAVOPHILE WRITERS SPLIT OVER YELTSIN. The RSFSR presidential elections have caused a split among Russian nationalist writers, exemplified by an interview given to Vesti July 26 by Siberian novelist, Viktor Astaf'ev, who attacked his close friend Valentin Rasputin. Rasputin, Yurii Bondarev, Aleksandr Prokhanov, as well as a number of top military and Party officials, had signed a letter to the editor of Sovetskaya Rossiya that all but called on for a coup d'etat against the elected USSR and RSFSR governments.) Astaf'ev termed the letter "hypocrisy," "pharisaism," and "deception," and called on the Rusian people not to trust "that blackhundred newspaper" [Sovetskaya Rossiya]. Rasputin's support for Nikolai Ryzhkov against Yeltsin in the RSFSR presidential elections was also strongly criticized by another "village" writer, Boris Mozhaev, on the front page of Literaturnaya gazeta of July 17. (Julia Wishnevsky) ANOTHER VIOLENT ANTI-GYPSY PROTEST. A clash between local inhabitants and gypsy families has taken place in Alapaevsk, a raion center in Sverdlovsk oblast, Izvestia reported July 23. About three hundred people took part, over twenty were injured, and one person died from gunshot wounds. The trouble started after the local authorities refused to give in to an ultimatum from a group of local youths demanding that gypsies be expelled from the town within 24 hours. Order has been restored with the aid of reinforcements from elsewhere, and the streets are being patrolled by armed detachments. (Ann Sheehy) CHECHEN RAION TO BE RECREATED IN DAGESTAN. The Dagestan parliament has decreed that Aukhovsky raion, from which the Chechen-Akkintsy were deported en masse in 1944, should be restored, its settlements given back their historical names, and any Chechens who wish to do so be allowed to take up residence there, Izvestia and Pravda reported July 24 and 25, respectively. The Chechen-Akkintsy have been petitioning for this for years, and the matter has been a cause of considerable interethnic tension. The Laks, who were forcibly resettled in Aukhovsky raion after the Chechens were deported, will be given new territory. The changes will take place over the period 1991-96. (Ann Sheehy) BUSH'S ITINERARY IN KIEV. President Bush will arrive at 12:50 P.M. August 1 at Kiev's Borispol airport where he will be met by Supreme Soviet chairman Leonid Kravchuk. From there he will go the Supreme Soviet for a private talk with Kravchuk and a meeting with the highest-ranking members of the Ukrainian parliament. After lunch, Bush will address the Supreme Soviet on the subject of American relations with the Soviet republics, then go on a sightseeing tour which will include St. Sofia Cathedral and the Babi Yar Memorial. Bush will be the first incumbent US President to visit Kiev since Richard Nixon's visit on May 29, 1972, after the signing of the SALT agreement. (Kathy Mihalisko) CONGRESS OF OFFICERS OF UKRAINE ENDS. The congress, which took place in Kiev over the weekend, was attended by approximately 320 people, half of whom were reserve officers, according to TASS July 29. In addition to discussing the idea of a national Ukrainian army and the general political situation in the republic, participants sharply criticized the CPSU, the Union treaty, and the Soviet army, which was termed an "occupation" force serving "imperial ends." The congress voted to create a committee of Ukrainian officers. In Novoe vremya, No. 26, a member of the Republican Party estimated that Ukraine would save 70 billion rubles a year by maintaining its own professional army of 300,000 men or less. (Kathy Mihalisko) MORE UZBEK OFFICERS? According to Krasnaya zvezda of July 12, some 1,000 young Uzbek men will enter military academies this fall as the result of a new affirmative action program instituted by the Soviet armed forces. The program reportedly stems from an agreement recently signed by the General Staff and the government of Uzbekistan. To date, the officer corps has remained approximately 80% Russian and 90% Slavic, and an earlier affirmative action style program, instituted in the early 1980's, apparently did little to change that ratio. Entrance by minorities into the officer corps has generally implied Russification, and it will be interesting to see if the present program encourages more Uzbek officer candidates. (Stephen Foye) WATER PURIFICATION PLANT IN TURKMENISTAN CAN'T FUNCTION. The water purification plant in Ashkhabad, built by an Italian firm and equipped with French machinery and opened with great fanfare earlier in the year, can function only at night, according to Vremya on July 29. The plant was to have been provided with air-conditioners to maintain the temperatures necessary for the imported equipment, but the Ostankino factory that was to supply them has not done so. (Bess Brown) JOINT STOCK COMPANY TO BUILD POWER PLANT IN KAZAKHSTAN. TASS reported on July 29 that a joint stock company has been established to build a hydroelectric station to provide power for agriculture in the Alma Ata region, after Kazakhstan's ministry of power and electrification said that it had no money to finance the project. According to the report, half of the new company's capital is being supplied by local food-processing enterprises. It appears to be the first new enterprise to be established under the law on privatization adopted by Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet in June. (Jean Riollot/Bess Brown) ZHIRINOVSKY IN MOLDAVIA. Unsuccessful RSFSR-presidential candidate and chairman of the liberal-democratic party Vladimir Zhirinovsky has said that his current visit to the predominantly Slav-inhabited Dnieper area of Moldavia is a continuation of his election campaign, TASS reported July 29. Zhirinovsky said he is convinced Yeltsin will not long remain in power and he, Zhirinovsky, will become Russian president as a result of elections in which Russians in the whole world will participate. Zhirinovsky suggested that "a great Russian empire" should be created instead of the present USSR, and that Moldavia should become the Kishinev guberniya. (Ann Sheehy)
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