This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 145, 01 August 1991



BALTIC STATES



LITHUANIA MOURNS. With the July 31 attack on the Medininkai border
post, Lithuania has witnessed the worst violence since January.
The Lithuanian parliament will meet in an extraordinary session
today (August 1) to discuss the "terrorist and repressive structures
of the Soviet Union in Lithuania," Radio Independent Lithuania
reported July 31. The Lithuanian Supreme Council Presidium condemned
the attack as an escalation of the USSR's "aggressive actions"
against Lithuania. The guards' funeral is scheduled for August
3, which the Presidium declared a national day of mourning. The
Lithuanian government is offering a 500,000 ruble reward for
bringing the killers to justice. There are conflicting reports
as to whether a seventh victim has died. (GytisLiulevicius)

LANDSBERGIS ON ATTACK. Speaking at a press conference in Vilnius
on July 31, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis
called the Medininkai attack "a brutal act of coercion," Radio
Independent Lithuania reported that day. Placing the attack in
the context of the continuing violence Lithuania has experienced
since January, Landsbergis drew attention to "the repeatedly
occurring coincidence in the circumstances." Whenever the US
"shows a greater benevolence" to the USSR, Landsbergis said,
"the Baltic States, especially Lithuania, suffer blows from the
Soviet armed forces." Landsbergis did not specifically accuse
the OMON of complicity, but said that "this thought strikes every
citizen of Lithuania." (Gytis Liulevicius)

OMON DENIES INVOLVEMENT. According to a July 31 TASS report,
USSR Interior Minister Boris Pugo denied that his OMON troops
were involved in the attack, adding that he was "shocked to the
depths of [his] heart by the tragedy." Pugo also pledged his
ministry's support in investigating the attack. In Vilnius, an
OMON spokesman claimed that all troops were in their barracks
at the time of the killings, contradicting a Lithuanian report
that an OMON vehicle had been spotted in the Medininkai area
during the night of the attack. The OMON has been implicated
in at least 25Lithuanian border post attacks in the past. (Gytis
Liulevicius)

BUSH AND GORBACHEV EXPRESS SYMPATHY. During a joint press conference
in Moscow on July31, US President George Bush and USSR President
Mikhail Gorbachev briefly addressed the Medininkai attack, TASS
reported that day. Both leaders expressed their sympathy for
the victims' families, and called for a peaceful settlement of
differences. Gorbachev said that "we are making every effort
to avoid such excesses." Bush threw his support behind Gorbachev's
plans for an investigation, and hoped it would "lead to cooperation
between Lithuania and Belorussia." An RFE/RL correspondent in
Washington reported that the Lithuanian-American Community called
for a more forceful reaction, saying that Bush's comment makes
the attack seem like a local ethnic dispute. (Gytis Liulevicius)


YELTSIN CONDEMNS ATTACK, CALLS FOR OMON WITHDRAWAL. RSFSR President
Boris Yeltsin also expressed sympathy for the victims' families,
but went a step further, RIA reported July31. "To avoid possible
future incidents, I insist that OMON subdivisions should be withdrawn
from the Lithuanian republic," Yeltsin said, echoing a July 29
Lithuanian government statement demanding the same. Yeltsin said
he called Landsbergis as soon as he heard about the attack, and
promised to release another statement as soon as responsibility
for the killings is established. Yeltsin called the attack "a
crime which I sharply condemn." (Gytis Liulevicius)

SOVIET PROSECUTOR CONDONES OMON VIOLENCE. In sharp contrast to
the widespread condemnation in Latvia of OMON attacks and killings
in the Baltics, Andris Reinieks, Deputy Prosecutor of the Latvian
SSR (not to be confused with the Republic of Latvia prosecutor's
office and its officials), said in Daugavpils that OMON actions
against the customs posts and customs employees have been justified,
reported Radio Riga on July31. He said that such measures on
the part of OMON stemmed from a rightful desire to uphold Soviet
laws which do not allow Baltic customs posts. Reinieks was speaking
in Daugavpils, a stronghold of Soviet conservatism, where Latvians
comprise less than 12% of the population. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIA CONDEMNS ATTACK. The Estonian Foreign Ministry condemned
the July 31 attack on a Lithuanian economic border post that
left 7border guards dead. The statement, released to RFE/RL on
July 31, called for international observers to be stationed at
Baltic-Soviet borders to prevent more attacks. The statement
also blamed Soviet leaders for the attack, "whoever the initiators
or attackers may have been," saying that Soviet leaders seem
to be "incapable or unwilling to halt the provocations." The
Estonian Foreign Ministry also expressed condolences to the families
of the men killed in the attack. (Riina Kionka)

NO INTRA-BALTIC BORDER PROBLEMS. Recent discussions among Baltic
border experts suggest that the three Baltic States are agreed
in their approach to common borders. Estonian and Latvian border
experts meeting this week in Tallinn, for instance, told reporters
that under a future agreement, the Estonian-Latvian frontier
will be open for citizens of those two states, and that arrangements
would be made for others transiting the border, Paevaleht reported
on July 26. Chief Expert of the Latvian Bureau of Public Safety
Vilnis Zvaigzne said that Latvia would conclude separate state-level
agreements to govern each of its four foreign borders, adding
that each border is different. During the 1930s, Zvaigzne noted,
47officials worked at the Estonian-Latvian border, while some
900 were posted at Latvia's border with the USSR. The Tallinn
discussions this week suggest that intra-Baltic border disputes
are not responsible for recent attacks on those and other borders.
(Riina Kionka)

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS REQUEST MEETING WITH BAKER. Radio Riga
reported on July 31 that Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian ministers
of foreign affairs have requested a meeting with US Secretary
of State James Baker. They would like to discuss the impact on
the Baltics of the MFN status that the United States has granted
the Soviet Union, and other issues. (Dzintra Bungs)

SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS LITHUANIAN RECOGNITION INVALID.
The USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement July
31 declaring Lithuania's recognition of Croatia and Slovenia
July 30 (see Daily Report, July 31) invalid, TASS reported July
31. The statement said that Lithuania's recognition cannot have
any legal effect, insofar as Lithuania has no separate status
according to international law. (Sallie Wise)

COST OF LIVING RISES IN ESTONIA. It costs over three times more
to live in Estonia this year than last, according to the Estonian
Statistics Bureau. The cost of living index for the second quarter
of 1991 rose 3.4 times over the fourth quarter of 1989. Consumer
goods and services prices in the second quarter of 1991 rose
1.3 times that of this year's first quarter, and 2.7 times that
of the second quarter of 1990. The statistics were reported in
Paevaleht on July 26. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIA SETS OWN RUBLE RATE. Estonia has set its own ruble exchange
rate at 33 rubles to the dollar, USSR Radio reported on July
29. The internal exchange rate, which effectively devalues the
currency within Estonia, is intended to attract a greater share
of the Soviet export transit business to its ports. The official
Soviet exchange rate is just over 27 rubles to the dollar for
foreign transactions. (Riina Kionka)

LATVIA KEEPS DISTANCE FROM CONVERTIBLE RUBLE. Diena reported
on July 24 that, according to Latvian government counsellor A.
Plotkans, Latvia will not take part in the Soviet program to
make the ruble convertible by January 1992. Plotkans said that
like Lithuania, Latvia has little confidence in the program,
but would participate as an observer of the proceedings. Reportedly
by January 1992, payments and deals in hard currency between
Soviet enterprises and institutions would be stopped; moreover,
all enterprises receiving income in hard currency would have
to sell the hard currency to the state. (Dzintra Bungs)

TWO PRINTING PRESSES ARRIVE IN RIGA. Two printing presses--one
from Indianapolis, the other from Denmark--have arrived in Riga.
Radio Riga noted on July 31 that the two presses, after they
are set up, will help ease the publication of newspapers in Latvia;
nonetheless, other problems still exist, including the shortage
of affordable newsprint. (Dzintra Bungs)

SWEDISH, FINNISH HELP FOR BALTIC TELEPHONE SYSTEMS. Businessmen
and tourists with mobile telephones can now use them in Tallinn
and Riga, according to Western agency reports of July 31. The
new systems are being operated by Finnish and Swedish companies.
A temporary link from Riga to Finland's mobile telephone center
was set up recently. In Tallinn the system was established earlier
this year by the Finnish Tele Company and the Swedish Telecom
International. That system covers Finland, Sweden, Norway and
Denmark. (Dzintra Bungs)



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



SUMMIT CONCLUDES WITH JOINT EFFORTS ON MIDEAST SETTLEMENT. Presidents
Bush and Gorbachev yesterday (July 31) wrapped up their two-day
summit by signing the START treaty and discussing prospects for
future cooperation, stressing the transition in US-Soviet relations
from confrontation to cooperation. To underline their declared
partnership in international affairs, Bush and Gorbachev issued
several joint statements on regional conflicts. Citing an "historic
opportunity" for peace in the Middle East, they announced that
the US and the USSR would act as "co-initiators" in trying to
bring about a Mideast peace conference in October. They said
that Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh and Secretary of
State Baker would work to prepare such a conference. Bessmertnykh
reportedly said last night that he intends to travel to Israel
soon with the intention of restoring full diplomatic relations.
TASS and Western media provided extensive coverage of the summit
on July 31. (Sallie Wise)

US, USSR CONDEMN VIOLENCE IN YUGOSLAVIA. Bush and Gorbachev agreed
on a statement on the situation in Yugoslavia, which TASS issued
July 31. It expressed the US's and USSR's "deep concern" over
the dramatic events in Yugoslavia, condemned the use of force
to settle political disputes, and called upon all sides to observe
a ceasefire. The statement stressed that a solution must be found
"by the peoples of Yugoslavia themselves, on the basis of democratic
principles, by a process of peaceful negotiations and constructive
dialogue." Finally , it called on all sides to respect the principles
established in the Helsinki accords and the Paris charter for
a new Europe. (Sallie Wise)

US-SOVIET DECLARATION ON CENTRAL AMERICA. The summit also produced
a declaration on US-Soviet cooperation in Central America, TASS
reported July 31. The document said that Baker and Bessmertnykh
have noted "positive tendencies" toward the resolution of regional
conflicts in Central America, and that Soviet-American cooperation
there has enhanced stability in Latin America. The two ministers
urged the UN and other international organizations, as well as
countries in the region, including Cuba, to act to resolve remaining
political problems. They specifically called for a ceasefire
and a definitive settlement in El Salvador. (Sallie Wise)

LAMONT ARRIVES IN MOSCOW. Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer,
Norman Lamont, arrived in Moscow yesterday (July 31) for a four-day
visit, TASS reported the same day. TASS said Lamont's trip is
the first in a series of visits by Western finance ministers
in accordance with an agreement reached during Gorbachev's talks
at the G-7 summit. Lamont is scheduled to meet Gorbachev and
a number of all-Union and republic officials, as well as Soviet
businessmen. He will also visit enterprises and commercial centers,
and will travel to Kiev at the end of his stay. As quoted by
TASS, Lamont told the BBC that his aim is to acquaint himself
with the situation in the USSR. He reportedly stressed the importance
of integrating the USSR into the world economic system, but ruled
out any immediate Western aid. (Sallie Wise)

BID TO EXPEL YAKOVLEV FROM CPSU FAILS. Radio Rossii reported
on July 30 that, according to the newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta,
there was an attempt on the second day of last week's Central
Committee plenum to expel Aleksandr Yakovlev from the CPSU. The
question was put to a vote but only 10 members of the Central
Committee are reported to have voted in favor and the motion
was defeated. (Elizabeth Teague)

NEW CPSU SECRETARY SPEAKS OUT. Vladimir Kalashnikov, who was
elected a CPSU Secretary at last week's Central Committee plenum,
told TASS on July 31 that he will be dealing with "ideological
problems." Kalashnikov said he favors a mixed economy and market
relations but with the state strongly oriented toward defending
workers' interests. He defined socialism as "a society of social
equality, in which man's condition depends on the results of
his work." (Dawn Mann)

MORE MONEY NEEDED FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. The USSR Minister for
Environmental Protection, Nikolai Vorontsov, told Pravitel'stvennyi
vestnik July 30, cited by TASS of the same date, that his ministry
needs 80 billion rubles annually just to maintain the ecological
balance. More funds would be required to resolve existing problems
in areas of ecological catastrophe. In contrast, less than 12
billion rubles were actually allocated for environmental protection
in 1990. (Keith Bush)

SOVIET-JAPANESE CONVERSION PANEL? The deputy director general
of MITI's International Trade Policy Bureau told a press conference
on July 30 that Japan is considering a Soviet proposal to set
up a joint panel to study the conversion of defense industries
to civilian production, Western agencies reported that day. The
USSR did not, he reported, ask for funding for this panel. Instead,
the official suggested, Moscow would raise the $30-40 billion
required for conversion by setting aside 3% of the income it
derives from selling civilian and military goods. (Keith Bush)


NEW UNEMPLOYMENT ESTIMATES. The existence of unemployment in
the USSR was officially acknowledged, and registration of the
unemployed commenced, on July 1. To date, no authoritative data
for the number of unemployed have been released, but an APN dispatch
of July 30 gives some preliminary estimates. The initial total
of unemployed is expected to be below 2 million, or 1.5% of the
labor force of around 135million. The number of people out of
work is expected to grow to 3-3.5 million in the fall, including
those on public works programs. (It should be noted that the
APN estimates are considerably below those offered by most Soviet
and Western specialists. Much will depend upon the criteria used
in classifying unemployment). (Keith Bush)

SAMOGON AND THE SECOND ECONOMY. The value of black market operations--otherwise
known as the second economy--in the USSR in 1990, according to
the Russian News Agency as cited by APN on July 25, was 99.8
billion rubles (against a GNP of just under one trillion or 1,000
billion rubles that year). Profits from the production and sale
of home-made vodka (samogon) accounted or an estimated 35
billion rubles that year. (Keith Bush)

APPLE TO ENTER SOVIET COMPUTER MARKET. The US computer company,
Apple, plans to enter the personal computer market in the USSR,
Western news agencies reported July29. Apple's director Greg
Borovsky said that, as of October, the company will be offering
a Russian-language Macintosh PC at a base price of around $1,050.
(This is about the same price as a similar model sold in the
USA; Apple plans to charge hard currency for its products sold
in the USSR.) At present, Apple lags behind IBM and other big
computer-makers in entering the Soviet market. IBM has an office
in Moscow and most Russian-language computers sold in the USSR
are IBM or IBM-compatible models. Borovsky says Apple plans to
launch a massive advertising campaign in September to try to
narrow the gap. The main pitch will be to Soviet newspaper publishers.
Borovsky said even Pravda has expressed interest in buying Apple
computers. (Elizabeth Teague)

ALTERNATIVE SERVICE DISCUSSED. Yurii Rosenbaum, a noted expert
on legislation and a member of the Committee for Human Rights,
discussed the problem of alternative service in Argumenty i fakty,
No. 28. Rosenbaum reviewed the changes in Soviet laws regarding
the right to refuse military service for religious convictions
since the October revolution and concluded that "alternative
service is knocking at our door." (Oxana Antic)



USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION ON BUSH VISIT TO KIEV. A press conference
called yesterday by "Rukh" and the People's Council, which groups
the opposition in the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, warned that President
Bush's visit to Kiev today could contribute to agitation in favor
of signing the Union treaty, Ukrinform-TASS reported July 31.
Ukrainian opposition leaders also expressed regret that the American
president would not meet with representatives of the opposition.
(Roman Solchanyk)

NEW VIOLENCE IN AZERBAIJAN. Seven Azerbaijani OMON members and
two civilians were killed July 29 in fighting in the Armenian
village of Erkech on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, TASS reported
July 31, quoting Armenian officials. Ten other persons were wounded.
Also July 31, fifteen people were killed in an explosion on a
train travelling from Moscow to Baku. The explosion occurred
approximately 40kilometers from Makhachkala in Daghestan; an
Azerbaijani official has accused Armenian militants of planting
a bomb on the train. (Liz Fuller)

SECOND CANDIDATE FOR AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The 45
year old oriental philologist Zardusht Alizade, who was nominated
as a candidate for the Azerbaijani presidential elections two
weeks ago by the Social-Democratic group of which he is a leader,
has been officially registered as a candidate, TASS reported
July 31. Alizade is the only challenger to date to the current
incumbent, Ayaz Mutalibov. The Social-Democratic Group is an
offshoot from the Azerbaijan Popular Front, from which it dissociated
itself following the involvement of the radical wing of that
organization in the anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku in January,
1990. (Liz Fuller)

RETAIL PRICES IN MOSCOW. The good news is that prices in Moscow
are currently stabilizing; indeed, the prices of some staple
food stuffs are actually declining from their June peaks. The
bad news is that prices may well rise again in October or November.
This is the gist of the message from Vladimir Shprygin, the director
of the Center for Price and Market Research Policy in Moscow
that appears in the latest issue of Moskovskie novosti, as cited
by APN July 29. The steep increases in the retail prices of food
items have changed the patterns of consumption. Shprygin reckons
that people in the middle income bracket spend up to 70% of their
pay on food, while those in the lower income bracket spend as
much as 85%. (Keith Bush)

ZASLAVSKY APPOINTED ADVISER TO POPOV. A prominent member of "Democratic
Russia," former chairman of the Oktyabrsky raion soviet, Ilya
Zaslavsky, has become an adviser to Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov
(Authors' Television, July28). (Julia Wishnevsky)

CUSTOMS POSTS ON MOLDAVIAN-UKRAINIAN FRONTIER. The government
of Moldavia has decided to set up 25 customs posts on the Moldavian-Ukrainian
frontier to control the export of agricultural products and consumer
goods, TSN reported July 31. TASS reported the same day that,
because of the torrential rain earlier in the summer, the Moldavian
grain harvest was expected to be little more than 1.2million
tons, which is much lower than expected. The government had therefore
banned the trading of agricultural produce on the exchange and
its export from the republic, except for deliveries to all-Union
consumers and under inter-republican agreements, until state
orders were fulfilled. (Ann Sheehy)

FIRST INDEPENDENT TURKIC JOURNAL FOUNDED. The July 11 issue of
Kazakh-stanskaya pravda reports the appearance in Baku of the
first issue of Turk dunyasi (The Turkic World), the first independent
journal for the Turkic peoples of the USSR. The journal is published
in Baku in Azeri and Russian, in Istanbul in Turkish, and in
Frankfurt am Main in German, English and French; a member of
its editorial council said that it already has correspondents
in several towns with Turkic-speaking populations. Chairman of
the editorial council is Kazakh poet and political activist Olzhas
Suleimenov. The journal is to focus on the history and culture
of the Turkic peoples and current social and political issues.
(Bess Brown)

KOMSOMOL'SKAYA PRAVDA ACCUSED OF MISINFORMATION. Radio Mayak
reported on July30 that the presidium of Uzbekistan's Supreme
Soviet has accused Komsomol'skaya pravda of contributing to the
destabilization of the republic by publishing an article claiming
that publicist and Supreme Soviet deputy Erkin Vahidov was the
target of an assassination attempt. Authorities in Uzbekistan
are still angry at the progressive daily for claiming that the
head of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia was dislodged
from his post--the attempt was made, but it was apparently unsuccessful.
(Bess Brown)


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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