Жизнь долга, если она полна... Будем измерять ее поступками, а не временем. - Сенека
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 146, 02 August 1991





BALTIC STATES



LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT IN EMERGENCY SESSION. Lithuanian parliament
deputies spent August 1 in an emergency session discussing "terrorist
and repressive structures of the Soviet Union in Lithuania,"
Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Lithuanian Supreme
Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis called the Medininkai killings
"pre-planned," only the latest incident in "one chain of terrorism."
The parliament appealed to CSCE member states, asking that the
CSCE crisis control mechanism be applied to normalize relations
between Lithuania and the USSR. Another resolution requested
that Denmark and Iceland, two of the most vocal supporters of
Lithuania, raise the issues of Soviet aggression and Lithuanian
independence with the UN Security Council. (Gytis Liulevicius)


DEATH TOLL RISES. The Lithuanian parliament information bureau
announced that a seventh border guard died at 11:35 A.M. this
morning (August 2) in a Vilnius hospital. The latest death leaves
only one survivor as a potential witness to the Medininkai attack.
Investigators had no hard leads in connection with the murders
as of late August 1, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that
day. In a report to parliament, Lithuanian prosecutor-general
Arturas Paulauskas said that "there are five or six possible
versions of the crime," but did not elaborate, pending further
investigation. The victims were apparently forced to lie on the
floor and shot point-blank in the head. There was no indica-tion
of an armed struggle, Paulauskas said. (Gytis Liulevicius)

BUNDESTAG DEPUTY CONDEMNS KILLINGS. Christian Democrat Wolfgang
von Stetten condemned the Medininkai murders as "cowardly," an
RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn reported August 1. The Bundestag
deputy, chairman of the German-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship
Circle, described the killings as the result of a "false Soviet
policy" and a "miscalculation" by USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Von Stetten called on Gorbachev to withdraw special units like
the OMON from Lithuania, and to begin serious negotiations on
independence. He said he would attend the victims' funeral, if
possible. (Gytis Liulevicius)

BALTIC MILITARY DISTRICT DENIES INVOLVEMENT. In a statement carried
by TASS on August 1, the Baltic Military District disavowed the
Medininkai attack, demanding a "swift and objective investigation
[of this] terrorist act." The District's Military Council resented
Lithuanian suspicions of army or OMON involvement in the killings,
considering them an attempt to "ignite anti-Soviet hysteria and
anti-army psychosis, not only in the Baltic region, but also
in other republics." According to the statement, "destructive
societal forces" are trying to drive a wedge between the people
and the army. (Gytis Liulevicius)

LATVIA SENDS CONDOLENCES TO LITHUANIA. Radio Riga reported August
1 that on behalf of the Latvian Supreme Council and the Council
of Ministers, Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs had
sent a telegram of sympathy and solidarity with the Lithuanian
people in connection with the recent shooting of the customs
officials at Medininkai. The telegram, also recalling the January
13 shooting of Lithuanian civilians by Soviet forces, said that
the Latvians bow their heads in honor of the victims. (Dzintra
Bungs)

ONE LATVIAN CUSTOMS POST CLOSED. The customs post at the Daugavpils
Railroad Station has been closed, presumably because the rent
had not been paid, according to Radio Riga of August 1. This
reason does not appear to be entirely plausible, because for
months the pro-USSR local authorities in Daugavpils had been
agitating to have the post closed. The population of Daugavpils,
Latvia's second largest city, is mostly non-Latvian. (Dzintra
Bungs)

GONCHARENKO PROPOSES NEW OVER-SIGHT BODY FOR OMON. Colonel Nikolai
Goncharenko, identified by Radio Riga of July 31 as coordinator
of OMON forces in the Baltics, has proposed to the MVD that OMON
units in the Baltics be directly answerable to Moscow, via a
newly created interregional oversight body. Currently the Black
Berets in the Baltics are under the jurisdiction of the MVD armed
forces. Goncharenko also wants OMON to concentrate on fighting
organized crime. His proposal reportedly has the backing of Vitalii
Sidorov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR. If
accepted, such a proposal would give OMON a pretext for staying
on in the Baltics. (Dzintra Bungs)

JEWISH HERITAGE SEMINAR OPENS IN JURMALA. A two-week
Jewish heritage seminar opened in Jurmala on July 31, reported
Radio Riga that day. The seminar is attended by young people
from various regions of the USSR. Most of the instructors, however,
come from abroad: Israel, United States, and Europe. Their aim
is to better acquaint the participants with Jewish cultural and
religious traditions. (Dzintra Bungs)

ANOTHER PRICE RISE FOR BUS TICKETS IN RIGA? The Riga city public
transportation is still operating with a deficit, despite a price
hike in tickets in January, according to Radio Riga July31. Currently,
income from ticket sales is covering only 48% of expenses. What
is more, there is no money for modernizing the transport depots.
Some money may be obtained from the local governments of Riga
districts, but another increase in the price of tickets may be
necessary soon. (Dzintra Bungs)

NO SOLUTION IN SIGHT FOR PROPER EFFLUENT PURIFICATION IN RIGA.
Radio Riga reported on July 31 that even after Riga's effluent
purification plant is completed, problems will still persist.
At least eight major industries in the city have said that they
will not be able to channel properly treated effluent to the
plant because they simply do not have the necessary equipment
for this first, essential step in the purification process. Though
these factories will be heavily fined for not adhering to the
required norms, without their cooperation the basic problem of
contaminated water in Latvia's capital will still be unresolved.
What is more, it is not clear just when this year the city's
effluent purification plant will be finished--the project has
been in the works for decades. (Dzintra Bungs)

OFFICIAL COMPARES POLLUTION TO AIDS. An official from the northeastern
Estonian city of Narva has characterized the environment there
as being "an ecological AIDS." Chairman of the Narva city council
health commission Valerii Khomyakov told reporters that only
one in every ten children in Narva is healthy, and that the number
of area births has been halved in the past two years. The major
health problems come from high levels of toxic substances--some
of them radioactive--in oil shale ash that area electric power
stations produce as a by-product. According to Khomyakov, an
average of 14 grams of ash per square meter rains on Narva annually.
Paevaleht carried Khomyakov's remarks on July12. (Riina Kionka)




USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



AFTER THE SUMMIT. While seeing off US President George Bush yesterday
(August 1), Gorbachev said "another floor has been added to the
structure of friendly relations" between the US and USSR. He
also outlined his view of "the most important gains" in recent
US-Soviet relations. "The reduction of nuclear arms has begun
and is gathering momentum. The European process has been brought
to a qualitatively new level. We have helped to resolve a number
of regional conflicts and have brought others closer to a settlement.
A major step has been made toward a new type of international
economic relations." Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin
said yesterday, according to Western reports, that the most important
achievement was that the two presidents were able to discuss
future economic cooperation in depth. (Sallie Wise)

GORBACHEV QUOTES THE BIBLE. During his speech bidding farewell
to Bush, Gorbachev referred to the Bible. As reported by Western
agencies August 1, the Soviet head of state said to the American
president: "Our meetings are always honest attempts to see where
we stand, or, to paraphrase the Bible, to see which stones we
have gathered and which stones we have not yet reached." (Oxana
Antic)

RSFSR, KAZAKHSTAN TO SIGN UNION TREATY AUGUST 20. RSFSR President
Boris Yeltsin told journalists August 1 that the RSFSR and Kazakhstan
would sign the Union treaty on August 20 in the Georgievsky zal
of the Kremlin, Russian TV reported August 1. Yeltsin said the
process of signing the treaty would last until the end of September,
by which time Ukraine would be ready to sign it. The draft treaty
would seem to be a bad deal for Gorbachev, now that he has lost
the battle over federal taxation. Both Nazarbaev and, belatedly
Yeltsin, realize that the treaty is necessary if they are to
proceed with economic reform and the transition to the market.
They may be hoping that a decision to go ahead initially without
Ukraine may force the latter's hand, but will Ukraine be prepared
to sign a text already agreed by others? (Ann Sheehy)

SHEVARDNADZE RESIGNATION NO IMPULSE MOVE. Eduard Shevardnadze's
resignation in December 1990 was his fourth resignation attempt,
Jim Hoagland writes in The Washington Post of August 1. Hoagland
interviewed both the former foreign minister and his aide, Sergei
Tarasenko. In December 1989, Gorbachev talked Shevardnadze out
of resigning in protest over the killing of civilians in the
capital of Shevardnadze's native Georgia earlier that year; Tarasenko
declined to tell Hoagland what prompted the other two protests.
But, Tarasenko said, Shevardnadze last December "found himself
in an intolerable situation" that had been developing for more
than a year. Among other things, Hoagland says, Shevardnadze
was upset that Gorbachev did not defend him against attacks on
his performance as foreign minister. He also was furious that
Gorbachev's special Mideast envoy, Yevgenii Primakov, was not
providing him with full accounts of his conversations with Saddam
Hussein, and became convinced that Primakov was more interested
in shoring up Saddam's position as a Soviet client than in getting
Iraq out of Kuwait. (Elizabeth Teague)

GOVERNMENT ORDERS END TO LOW-COST COUNTRY HOMES. The Soviet government
on July 31 ordered all state agencies to halt the sale of country
dachas to officials, Western agencies reported August 1. The
move follows revelations by the USSR's parliamentary watchdog
that top officials, including former prime minister Nikolai Ryzhkov
and former deputy prime minister Aleksandra Biryukova, bought
luxurious country homes from the state a rock-bottom prices.
The order decrees that all such sales should cease until new
regulations on the privatization of state property come into
operation. (Elizabeth Teague)

AIR CONTROLLERS WIN CONCESSION. A Soviet trade union official
was quoted by Western agencies on August 1 as saying the Soviet
government has agreed to the union's demand that the retirement
age of air traffic controllers be lowered. This is a partial
victory for the new, independent trade union of air traffic controllers,
which has threatened strike action on August 10 in support of
demands for higher pay, lower working hours, and longer vacations.
(Elizabeth Teague)

SIGN OF STRENGTH OF NEW UNION. The air traffic controllers' union
resembles two other new unions, set up in the past year by airline
pilots and by coalminers. These differ from the official trade
unions in two key respects. First, while the official unions
administer social insurance funds on behalf of the state, the
independent unions have no state ties. Second, the official unions
are "branch" unions; i.e., they enrol managers alongside employees,
and an electrician who works in a coal mine will belong to the
coalminers, not the electricians', union. The unofficial unions
are purely professional: they do not enrol managers and only
faceworkers may, for example, join the independent coalminers'
union. (Elizabeth Teague)

MARKOVIC IN MOSCOW. Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic held
talks in Moscow yesterday with his Soviet counterpart Valentin
Pavlov, TASS and Western agencies reported August 1. Pavlov reiterated
the Soviet position that Yugoslavia should not break up. Markovic
is scheduled to meet Gorbachev today. (Sallie Wise)

"SOYUZ" DELEGATION IN IRAQ. A delegation of USSR Supreme Soviet
deputies from the hardline "Soyuz" faction reportedly began talks
with members on the Iraqi National Assembly in Baghdad on August
1. Western agencies August1 reported a release from the official
Iraqi news agency saying that the Soviet delegation leader [unnamed]
had said that Soviet experts are ready to return to Iraq to participate
in reconstruction after the war. The Iraqi agency also reported
that the Soviet delegation leader had pledged to press for lifting
of the embargo against Iraq. (Sallie Wise)

IWC FORECAST OF SOVIET GRAIN HARVEST. The International Wheat
Council forecast on August1 that the Soviet grain harvest this
year will total 195 million tons and that the USSR will seek
to import some 35 million tons of grain during the agricultural
year through mid-1992, RFE/RL's London bureau reported that day.
The IWC estimate is 10 million tons lower than the latest known
USDA projection, but in line with recent authoritative Soviet
pronouncements, which have ranged from 180 million tons to 205 million
tons. It is also generally agreed that the USSR will wish to
import as much grain as it can afford and as much as its ports,
transportation system, and storage capacity can handle--i.e.,
up to 40 million tons. (Keith Bush)

HEAVY SALES OF PLATINUM. Platinum futures prices fell to five-year
lows on July 30 on reports that the Soviet Union has been selling
large quantities of platinum, according to The Wall Street Journal
(European Edition) of July31. It had been reported that the USSR
has shipped 730,000 ounces of platinum during the first half
of 1991: this is more than during the whole of 1990 and represents
about one-fifth of total Western supply. Forty-year old Soviet
bars are coming on to the market, which suggests that part of
the sales is coming out of reserves. (Keith Bush)

UN PLAN FOR CHERNOBYL AID. The United Nations on August 1 announced
a global plan to spend $646 million to combat the effects of
the Chernobyl disaster. According to Western agency reports that
day, countries will be asked to pledge funds for the project
at a conference in conjunction with the opening of the UN General
Assembly on September 20. The plan would address issues ranging
from health and reconstruction to environmental issues, and would
involve all-Union authorities as well as the RSFSR, Ukraine,
and Belorussia. (Sallie Wise)

PRAVDA'S FATE IN DOUBT? At a press conference July 31 kicking
off a subscription drive for about 8,000 periodicals, V. Leont'ev,
director of "Pravda" publishers, sounded worried. As reported
by Infonovosti of the same date, Leont'ev cautioned that, "strictly
speaking, we do not have the moral right to announce today subscriptions
for 1992, since we aren't assured of paper even for this year."
Infonovosti reported concern that if the present level of state
distribution of paper at fixed prices is not maintained, "then
not a single Party paper will be able to support itself." (Sallie
Wise)



USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



BUSH CAUTIONS AGAINST ISOLATION. Bush addressed the Supreme Soviet
of the Ukrainian SSR yesterday, sending a message of both support
and caution to his audience. He said the US supports "the struggle
in this great country for democracy and economic reform" and
"those in the center and the republics who pursue freedom, democracy
and economic liberty." Bush assured his audience that the US
is not interested in meddling in internal Soviet affairs, but
does want "good relations, improved relations, with the Republics."
He further stated that "the 9-plus-1 agreement holds forth the
hope that republics will combine greater autonomy with greater
voluntary interaction -- political, social, cultural, economic,"
rather than pursuing a course of isolation. He ended his speech
by saying, "we support those who explore the frontiers of freedom."
(Natalie Melnyczuk)

UKRAINIAN REACTION TO BUSH SPEECH. Ukrainian reaction to President
Bush's address to the Supreme Soviet in Kiev is only beginning
to filter out, but so far it appears that his campaigning for
the Union treaty and his remarks about nationalism, ethnic hatred
and local despotism did not go down terribly well. Vyacheslav
Chornovil, chairman of the Lvov Oblast soviet, said the part
of Bush's speech he liked best was when the President spoke of
democracy, "which it won't hurt the Communists to hear." On the
eve of Bush's visit, Ivan Drach, chairman of Rukh, issued a statement
saying that Bush, seemingly "hypnotized by Gorbachev," appears
to believe that Moscow is the source of stability. (Kathy Mihalisko)


POLOZKOV BECOMES A MUSCOVITE. Ivan Polozkov, the hardline leader
of the conservative Russian Communist Party, has at last won
permission to reside in Moscow. Until now, the radical-leaning
Moscow city authorities had refused him a resident permit. Their
refusal meant that, despite Polozkov's election last year to
lead the Russian Communist Party, which has its headquarters
in Moscow, he and his family have until now been forced to retain
as their official domicile the southern city of Krasnodar where
Polozkov was previously Party boss. Now, Komsomol'skaya pravda
reports (August 1), Polozkov has managed to swap flats with another
Party official, formerly based in Moscow, who has been transferred
to Krasnodar. (Elizabeth Teague)

CHURCH REVIVAL AND SELF STYLED PRIMATES. The editorial board
of Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on July 23 that it had received
a letter from the "acting press-attache" of the controversial
primate of the Russian Greek Catholic Church, Vikentii Chekalin,
about this Church and demanding that it be published. Since the
origins of the Russian Greek Catholic Church are clouded, and
its primate highly controversial (see "Is the Russian Greek Catholic
Church Reemerging?", Report on the USSR, Volume 3, No. 3O, July
26, 1991), the editors turned to Moscow's St. Louis church for
information. Aleksei Barmin [not identified] pointed out in his
answer that archbishop Vladimir Sternyuk of the Ukrainian Greek
Catholic Church had no canonical right to name Vikentii Chekalin
without informing the Vatican about it. (Oxana Antic)

ALIEV REJECTS UNION TREATY. Radio Rossii on August 1 quoted former
Azerbaijan CP first secretary and Politburo member Geidar Aliev
as arguing that it is "impossible" for Azerbaijan to sign the
new Union treaty; he dismissed assurances of a renewal of the
Union as "a fraud against the people." Azerbaijan President and
Party first secretary Ayaz Mutalibov has consistently stressed
Azerbaijan's support for the Union Treaty. (Liz Fuller)

NEW POLITICAL UNION CREATED IN ARMENIA. Armenian Prime Minister
Vazgen Manukyan, together with three supporters, has announced
the creation of a new political organization, the Armenian National-Democratic
Union, TASS reported August 1. The aim of the new organization,
according to a statement issued by its founders, is to unite
the existing political groupings in Armenia "on the basis of
a common national ideology," since the current preoccupation
of many parties "with a social rather than a national struggle"
could be "fatal" for Armenia. (Liz Fuller)

BIRLIK ON DEMOCRACY IN UZBEKISTAN. In June, a Komsomol'skaya
pravda correspondent was expelled from Uzbekistan for having
tried to interview leaders of the Popular Front Birlik on their
movement and political life in Uzbekistan. Two Birlik leaders,
Abdurakhim Pulatov and Pulat Akhunov, then traveled to Moscow
for the interview, which appears in the July 27 issue of the
daily. The interviewees say that despite their long-term goal
of independence for Uzbekistan, they believe it should remain
part of the USSR for now, because the republic has a better chance
of absorbing democracy from the rest of the country. If it were
independent, the present corrupt and conservative leadership
would remain in control. (Bess Brown)

ANOTHER INSTALLMENT IN KIRGIZ MURDER MYSTERY. In December, 1980,
the chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Council of Ministers, Sultan Ibraimov,
was murdered. Popular opinion in the republic has firmly held
that former republican Communist Party chief Turdakun Usubaliev
had seen the victim as a potential rival and had had him eliminated.
An official explanation, published after Usubaliev's removal,
claimed that the killing was the work of a mentally disturbed
individual of Slavic origin. An editor of Literaturnyi Kyrgyzstan
suggests in the June issue of the journal that Absamat Masaliev,
the conservative republican Party chief who recently resigned,
was responsible for the murder. (Bess Brown)


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

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