|We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome|
No. 147, 05 August 1991
BALTIC STATES FUNERAL OF SEVEN SLAIN LAW OFFICERS. On August 3, the 7 Lithuanian police and customs officials killed at Medininkai on July 31 were buried in the Antakalnis cemetery, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. About 100,000 people lined the streets of Vilnius as the flag-draped coffins went from the sports complex to the cathedral, where two bishops and four priests conducted funeral services. The US consul general in Leningrad, Jack Gosnell, and chairman of the German-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Circle Wolfgang von Stetten attended the services. (Saulius Girnius) UNKNOWN RUSSIAN GROUP CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR MEDININKAI. An anonymous caller claimed that the "Security Service" was responsible for the killings at Medininkai, Russian TV reported August 3. The Nezavisimaya gazeta editorial office received the call, in the name of the "Security Service," an unknown Russian organization ostensibly working "to safeguard the interests of Russian people in Lithuania." The editorial office notified the permanent Lithuanian mission in Moscow and the USSR Interior Ministry. According to the TV report, the Lithuanian mission believes that "this is an attempt to transfer responsibility from the real culprits to the allegedly existing Security Service." So far, the official investigation of the murders has failed to yield results. (Gytis Liulevicius) LANDSBERGIS SENDS TELEGRAM TO DOGUZHIEV. On August 4 Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis sent a telegram to USSR First Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev, head of the Soviet delegation for negotiations with Lithuania. In an interview with the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service on August 5, Landsbergis said that the telegram raised the issue of building mutual trust between Lithuania and the USSR, previously agreed to by both sides in order to further good-faith negotiations. In this connection, the telegram inquired whether the USSR will begin withdrawing the OMON from Lithuania and returning occupied property. The USSR is given two weeks to respond, Landsbergis said. (Gytis Liulevicius) CROATIA RECOGNIZES LITHUANIA. The Croatian parliament voted "overwhelmingly" to recognize Lithuania on August 3, Tanjug reported that day. The vote reciprocated a July 30 Lithuanian resolution recognizing Slovenian and Croatian independence. Croatian assembly president Zarko Domljan was quoted as saying that Croatia would attempt to "establish comprehensive cooperation with the Republic of Lithuania." (Gytis Liulevicius) BUSH SEEKS SEPARATE TRADING STATUS FOR BALTICS. On August 2, US President George Bush sent to Congress the US-Soviet trade agreement with separate trade benefits for the three Baltic States, The Journal of Commerce reported August 3. He requested separate "most favored nation" trade benefits for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on a temporary basis that would become permanent when the US recognizes their independence from the USSR. In a related move, the US customs service will start recording trade data with each of the Baltic States separately and not as part of the USSR trade statistics. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN OFFICIAL TALKS WITH PUGO. Latvian Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers met for two hours with USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Boriss Pugo on July 30, reported Diena of August 1. The meeting was proposed by Pugo to inform Bisers about MVD proposals related to the Latvian-USSR consultations. The principal topic of discussion was OMON--its status and activities in Latvia. Pugo admitted that the actual situation, where, apparently, the OMON is not answerable to any government or lawmaking institution, is abnormal. Bisers raised the question of returning property belonging to Latvia's Ministry of Internal Affairs--presumably property seized by OMON and other institutions subordinate to the MVD. (Dzintra Bungs) SOVIET MILITARY'S SPRING DRAFT A FLOP IN LATVIA. Latvia's Women's League, an organization helping young men serving in the USSR armed forces and coordinating alternative service in Latvia, told Diena of August 1 that the quota for the spring draft in the Soviet military had been fulfilled by only 15%. About 75% of the draft age youth had opted for alternative service in Latvia. Janis Duda, Latvian SSR Military Commissar, however, claimed that the draft had been fulfilled by 33%. In a related development, Radio Riga reported on August 3 about the local draft office in Balvi coercing young men, already performing alternative service, to switch over to regular military service. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN CP LEADER ACTIVE IN MOSCOW COMMODITIES EXCHANGE. Riga Holding Company sold 70 lots of 40 shares each at the Moscow Commodities Exchange on August 1, reported Diena that day. Each lot sold for not less than 150,000 rubles. The shares were presumably for enterprises situated in Latvia. It is not clear who purchased the shares. The Riga Holding Company represents 38 enterprises, one bank, and one insurance company in Latvia. Present in Moscow was the holding company's chairman of the board, Ojars Potreki, who is also Secretary of the pro-Moscow Latvian Communist Party's Central Committee. The Riga Holding Company has registered with the USSR Finance Ministry as issuing shares worth 2.65 billion rubles. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS GORBACHEV ADDRESSES NATION ON UNION TREATY. The August 2 Vremya started with a 15-minute address by USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev on the Union treaty. Gorbachev said that the RSFSR, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan would sign the treaty on August 20, with the other republics following. The timetable would allow Ukraine to finish its examination of the draft, Armenia to hold its referendum on secession, and Moldavia to take a decision on the treaty. The peoples of Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia would also "be able to determine their position on this vital matter." (Ann Sheehy) RADIO ROSSII COMMENTARY OF GORBACHEV ADDRESS. Commenting on Gorbachev's address on Radio Rossii on August 4, A. Gelenkov of Radio Rossii's Information Service asked whether in fact all the amendments to the Union treaty demanded by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet had in fact been made, and wondered whether, if not, the Russian parliament would refuse to ratify the treaty in the fall. Gelenkov foresaw the possibility of a sharp conflict between the executive and legislative branches in the republic. (Ann Sheehy) CABINET MEETING ON THE ECONOMY. An expanded session of the Presidium of the USSR Cabinet of Ministers met August 3; the prime ministers of all republics except Lithuania attended. The gathering was reported to have discussed the food and fuel situation and the nation's financial and monetary condition. It was agreed that a presidential decree should be prepared on foodstuffs and consumer goods; the decree was published August 4, TASS reported August 3 and 4. USSR Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and the heads of republican governments were charged with elaborating within ten days a package of urgent measures for stabilizing the nation's financial and monetary situation. (Keith Bush) PRESIDENTIAL DECREE ON FOOD AND CONSUMER GOODS. The decree stipulates that priority in supplies be granted to consumer goods industries. It allocates hard currency to the imports of grain, medicine, building supplies, and spare parts for consumer durables. Farms are promised additional incentives, including half of imported consumer goods and relevant producer goods if they meet and overfulfill their procurement quotas. The presidential decree is a relic of the exhortative command economy. Farms and farmers are unlikely to produce and market adequate or abundant supplies until agricultural prices are liberalized in order to adjust the town-country terms of trade and until the ruble is internally convertible. (Keith Bush) EBRD TEAM IN THE USSR. A delegation of directors and officials from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development arrived in the USSR on August 4 for a six-day visit, RFE/RL's London bureau reported August 4. The team is expected to discuss such issues as industrial restructuring, conversion, privatization, energy, finances, and the relationship between Moscow and the republics. It is not readily apparent how the EBRD's advice and technical assistance will be coordinated with those of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, who also have a team touring the USSR (see The Financial Times of July 25). (Keith Bush) YAKOVLEV DISENCHANTED WITH SOCIALISM. "More and more I am coming to the conclusion that our tragedy stems from Marxist dogma," Aleksandr Yakovlev told TASS August 2. Stalin practiced Marxism, albeit in a distorted way, Yakovlev said, adding that he is disenchanted with Socialism. Yakovlev explained that three months ago he had submitted to Gorbachev a letter of resignation as the President's senior adviser. Yakolev had initially believed that the CPSU could renew itself but does not believe in it anymore, while Gorbachev does, Yakovlev said, explaining the reasons for his resignation. He added that some provisions of the new Party program approved by the CPSU Central Committee last month may be good, but it is too late now since the people have lost faith in the CPSU. A former Politburo member and Party Secretary, Yakovlev has publicly criticized the Marxist concept of violence and dictatorship at least since 1989. (Julia Wishnevsky) MARKOVIC VISIT ENDS. Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic said upon returning to Belgrade August 2 that his visit to the USSR had exceeded his expectations, both politically and economically. According to Tanjug the same day, Markovic predicted that an agreement on Soviet-Yugoslav relations signed during his trip would ease the burden on Yugoslavia's economy. While in Moscow, Markovic met with USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, and Prime Minister Pavlov, all of whom stressed the need for Yugoslavia to remain united. (Sallie Wise) OFFICIALS ON COOPERATION WITH CUBA. During a joint press conference with Markovic August 2, Pavlov declared that "Cuba was, is, and will be our friend and...partner." He added that "no one has the right to interfere in our bilateral relations," TASS reported August 2. Meanwhile, General Mikhail Surkov, the top CPSU official in the armed forced, criticized US President George Bush's suggestion during last week's summit that the USSR stop aiding Cuba. The Los Angeles Times of August 3 quoted Surkov as saying Bush's statements were "disrespectful." (Sallie Wise) USSR, EC SIGN PROTOCOL ON TECHNICAL COOPERATION. TASS reported August 2 that the USSR and the European Community that day signed a program of technical cooperation designed to promote reforms in the USSR. The agreement was signed by EC External Relations Minister Frans Andriessen and Soviet permanent representative to the EC Lev Voronin. According to TASS, the protocol provides for technical cooperation in energy, transport, food distribution, financial services, and management training. (Sallie Wise) SOUTH KOREAN CONSULATES IN THE USSR? According to information from diplomatic sources, South Korea is intending to open consulates in Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and on Sakhalin in 1992, Novosti reported August 2 from Peking. These are areas where there are concentrations of ethnic Koreans. It is thought that one of the chief activities of the consulates will be to combat North Korean propaganda aimed at the local Koreans. (Ann Sheehy) CHINESE CONCERN THAT USSR IS ABANDONING MARXISM. According to Western agency reports August 2, the Beijing Youth News has published an article expressing concern over the new CPSU program, which would eliminate references to Marxism. The article reportedly viewed the revised CPSU program as a revision of "the nature of the Soviet Communist Party, [its] guiding ideology and guiding principles." It went on to charge that the West is pressuring the USSR to "become a member of the Western camp" in return for economic aid. (Sallie Wise) USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS RESULTS OF DPKR ORGANIZING CONFERENCE. The Democratic Party of Communists of Russia (DPKR) held an organizing conference in Moscow August 2-3, attended by more than 800 delegates from all republics and regions of the RSFSR, and decided to form a political party "within the CPSU," Soviet news agencies reported. A founding congress will be held in October; RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi will head the temporary organizing committee but has said that because he is the RSFSR Vice President, he will not stand for election as DPKR leader. 7,230 applications for membership have already been received, which is enough to permit the DKPR to apply for registration as a republican political organization. This week Rutskoi plans to meet with CPSU Central Committee members and Gorbachev to gain recognition of the DPKR as a separate party within the CPSU. Should recognition not be granted, Rutskoi says the DPKR is ready to leave the CPSU. The conference also adopted a resolution demanding that the CPSU form a commission to preserve and make accessible the Party's archives. (Dawn Mann) CPSU SECRETARIAT REACTS. On August 3, the CPSU Secretariat issued a statement declaring the resolutions adopted by the DPKR invalid, TASS reported the same day. Explaining its decision, the Secretariat said that delegates to the founding conference were not chosen in accordance with CPSU rules and that non-Party members also participated. The Secretariat also said that forming a party within a party is a violation of CPSU rules and that CPSU members are not allowed to hold simultaneous membership in two political parties. (Dawn Mann) DEPARTIFICATION DECREE NOW IN FORCE. Yeltsin's July 20 decree banning formal party activity in state institutions and enterprises came into force on August 4. RSFSR presidential press secretary Pavel Voshchanov told Radio Rossii on August 2 that no specific period of time for the fulfillment of the decree has been specified, but that Yeltsin expects departification to be essentially complete by the end of this year. Moscow Party chief and CPSU Politburo member Yurii Prokof'ev told Vremya on August 3 that although the Party considers the decree illegal, it will abide by it until the USSR Committee for Constitutional Oversight has issued its ruling. Prokof'ev estimates that it will take it about six months to comply with the decree. Vesti reported August 2 that Prokof'ev has met with the Party secretaries of Moscow's largest enterprises and instructed them immediately to arrange with enterprise directors for the long-term leasing of quarters occupied by Party committees. TASS reported August 4 that thus far only 10% of the state institutional and enterprise directors in Leningrad have issued orders to disband political organizations. (Dawn Mann) YELTSIN'S DECREE: COMPLIANCE IS ALL RELATIVE. Vesti (August 4) quoted the Leningrad Oblast' Committee of the CPSU as reporting that every third head of state-owned enterprises in the region has requested Party cells to leave the premises of their enterprizes, as required by Yeltsin's decree on "departification." This is not a bad result, observed Vesti's commentator Aleksandr Gurnov, if compared to how they implement Gorbachev's presidential decrees. (Julia Wishnevsky) TRANSPORT WORKERS TO STRIKE. Public transport workers in Leningrad have decided to strike for 24 hours on August 12, according to a report in Komsomol'skaya pravda of August 2. The paper gave no details of the workers' demands. Komsomolka also reported that bus drivers in Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia, have gone on strike in an effort to double their pay and to improve living and working conditions. (Jean Riollot/Sallie Wise) ANOTHER PARISH LEAVES MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE'S JURISDICTION. Moskovskie novosti published in No. 30 an article "Fight for the Temple" by Aleksandr Nezhnyi. The noted religious publicist defends a new Orthodox parish in Kuibyshev which left the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and joined the Russian Free Orthodox Church (under the jurisdiction of the US-based Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) against a campaign carried out against it not only by representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, but also local authorities. (Oxana Antic) BURIAL CLOTHES RATIONED. Burial clothes are now the eighteenth item on the list of rationed goods in Kazan', Radio Mayak reported on August 2, citing the Postfaktum News Agency. A special new ration coupon will entitle the bereaved to purchase 15 meters of cloth, a polythene suit and a shirt or a dress and a headscarf, a pair of socks or stockings, a pair of shoes, and one handkerchief for each (newly) deceased. (Keith Bush) ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT, PAN-NATIONAL MOVEMENT ON UNION TREATY. Western news agencies quoted an Armenian representative in Moscow as stating August 3 that the Armenian parliament voted August 2 to debate the Union Treaty in September and to postpone a decision on signing until after the September 21 referendum on secession. TASS reported August 4 that a meeting of Armenian Pan-National Movement deputies argued that Armenia's refusal to participate either in the March referendum or in the drawing up of the Union Treaty is corroboration of the republic's commitment to last August's declaration of sovereignty, and that sovereignty cannot be achieved "without a certain degree of political confrontation." (Liz Fuller) REFERENDUM ON SEMIPALATINSK COMPENSATION. Radio Moscow reported on August 4 that Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet has decided to conduct a referendum among residents of raions near the nuclear testing site in Semipalatinsk oblast on whether to accept an offer of five billion rubles in compensation from the Ministry of Defense. The ministry wants to conduct three more tests at the site. The chairman of Kazakhstan's anti-nuclear movement, poet Olzhas Suleimenov, has called on area residents to vote against accepting the offer. The radio report suggested that the USSR Supreme Soviet should take a close look at the finances of the Ministry of Defense. (Bess Brown) GRAIN PROCUREMENT PRICES RAISED IN KAZAKHSTAN. Vremya on August 2 and Radio Moscow on August 3 reported that the procurement price of grain has been raised in Kazakhstan. The republic suffered a severe drought this year, and the government hopes that by tripling the procurement price for grain delivered above 70% of the target amount will encourage farms to meet their targets. This may be a forlorn hope, as the effects of the drought were very evident, and very serious, by early July. (Bess Brown) KAZAKHSTAN CONSIDERING PROHIBITION ON EXPORT OF GRAIN. Radio Moscow, quoting Postfactum, reported on August 2 that Kazakh Prime Minister Uzakbai Karamanov had said on republican television that export of grain and fodder from the republic may be prohibited. This measure presumably is in response to the drought that has affected the republic. It would be a potentially serious blow to the USSR economy, as Kazakhstan is a major producer of grain, most of which is exported to other parts of the USSR. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIA ANTICIPATES NEED FOR OWN MILITARY UNITS. Nicolae Chirtoaca, head of Moldavia's Department for Military Affairs, told Moldovapres as cited by TASS August 2 that the republic will in the near future need "militarized formations" to head off terrorism and threats to the republic from the would-be "Dniester SSR" and "Gagauz SSR" in eastern and southern Moldavia. Chirtoaca foresaw difficulties in procuring arms for such units "unless the center gives them a green light". Chirtoaca's remarks appear to be prompted by reports on the strengthening of paramilitary units in the two breakaway areas which are preparing to secede from Moldavia and remain within the USSR in the event that Moldavia declares independence. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA AND THE RSFSR SIGN CULTURAL AGREEMENT. The Ministers of Culture of Moldavia and the RSFSR, Ion Ungureanu and Yurii Solomin, signed August 2 an agreement on cultural cooperation among the two republics, Russian TV reported the same day. The agreement provides inter alia for the setting up of cultural centers and various forms of cultural exchanges to serve the needs of Russians residing in Moldavia and of Moldavians residing in the RSFSR. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA SPONSORS GAGAUZ CULTURE CELEBRATIONS. The Moldavian authorities kicked off August 4 in Kishinev the Days of Gagauz Culture, Moldovapres reported on that date. Gagauz artists, ethnologists, and folk ensembles from Moldavia and the neighboring Odessa oblast and guests from Azerbaijan, Soviet Central Asia, and Turkey are participating. The celebrations are scheduled to move to the Gagauz-inhabited raions of southern Moldavia in coming days. (Vladimir Socor) RALLIES IN ODESSA OBLAST PROTEST ROMANIAN TERRITORIAL CLAIMS. "Mass rallies" were held August 3 in several raions of Odessa oblast to protest Romanian territorial claims to that part of the oblast, Radio Kiev reported that day. The rallies adopted resolutions expressing "indignation" and terming such claims "a gross violation of the rights of sovereign Ukraine". It was the second round of public protests held in Odessa oblast since the Romanian parliament's adoption June 24 of a strongly-worded resolution asserting Romania's historic and national right to Bessarabia, whose southern part now belongs to Odessa oblast. (Vladimir Socor)
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