The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 148, 06 August 1991





BALTIC STATES



LANDSBERGIS SENDS TELEGRAM TO GORBACHEV. Lithuanian Supreme Council
Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis called for urgent talks with USSR
President Mikhail Gorbachev in an August 5 telegram, Radio Independent
Lithuania reported August 6. "Mr. President, we don't have much
time," the telegram read, "the OMON must be withdrawn without
delay, and we must meet." Landsbergis warned that "terrorists
will continue to kill and events will become unpredictable."
Landsbergis told Gorbachev: "I cannot believe that this is what
you want." (Gytis Liulevicius)

KGB ACCUSED OF LITHUANIAN KILLINGS. "Shield" [shchit], an organization
of Soviet military officers, holds the KGB responsible for the
Medininkai border post killings, Russian TV reported August 5.
According to a statement circulated that day, "Shield" said that
a preliminary investigation by independent military experts showed
KGB involvement in "planning and leading the operation" at Medininkai.
"Shield" called for "an international commission of experts"
to carry out an objective investigation of the crime. "Shield"'s
findings add another facet to the ongoing efforts to establish
the attackers' identity. Previous suspicions have focused on
the OMON. (Gytis Liulevicius)

LITHUANIAN SURVIVOR REGAINS CONSCIOUSNESS. An American army neurosurgeon
from Germany operated on Tomas Sernas, the sole survivor among
the 8 officials shot at the Medininkai customs post on July 31,
Radio Independent Lithuania reported on August 5. Sernas has
regained consciousness after the operation but "tires very easily"
and has not yet been able to give more information on the attack.
He had been transferred from a hospital in Vilnius to Kaunas
for greater security. (Saulius Girnius)

CLARIFICATION OF BALTIC MFN STATUS. White House spokesman Marlin
Fitzwater told an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington August 5
that The Journal of Commerce had erroneously written that US
President George Bush had asked for separate most favored nation
(MFN) status for the Baltic States (see Daily Report, August
5). Fitzwater said that Bush wanted the MFN status for the whole
USSR and had mentioned the Balts in his message to the Congress
to make clear that the extension of the MFN to the USSR "does
not imply any political recognition of their incorporation into
the Soviet Union." Senator Bill Bradley (D-New Jersey) has introduced
legislation seeking separate MFN status for the Balts. (Saulius
Girnius)

US DIPLOMATS: BALTIC AID TO BE CHANNELED SEPARETELY. Radio Riga
reported on August 5 that earlier that day two US Consular officers
met with Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs
in Riga. Jack Gosnell, US Consul General in Leningrad, assured
the Latvian leader that a part of US aid to the USSR would be
channeled separately to the Baltics. Gorbunovs asked for separate
and distinct trade relations between the United States and Latvia.
Gorbunovs and the American diplomats also discussed opening a
US trade office in Riga. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN-USSR CONSULTATIONS POSTPONED AGAIN. In his opening speech
of the plenary session of the third convocation of Latvian Supreme
Council today (August 6), Gorbunovs said that the Latvian-USSR
consultations have been postponed again. He did not elaborate,
but indicated that the fault lies with the Soviet side and said
that Latvia still would seek to continue the consultations with
a view to using them as preparations for Latvian-USSR negotiations.
(Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIAN-USSR TALKS ALSO POSTPONED AGAIN. Preparatory consultations--intended
to lead to independence negotiations--between the Estonian and
Soviet delegations scheduled for today (August 6) have been postponed,
Rahva Haal reported on August 4. Estonia's chief negotiator Ulo
Nugis told Rahva Haal that the Soviet team had called off the
August 6 meeting because "the materials on the agenda require
further preparations at the expert level." The Estonian Foreign
Ministry reported on August 6 that the Estonian expert commission
had flown to Moscow to meet with the Soviet expert team. The
Soviet side has, in the last few days, postponed meetings scheduled
for early August with Latvian and Lithuanian negotiators. (Riina
Kionka)

MVD TROOPS PATROL TALLINN. Some 200 Soviet Interior Ministry
troops are patrolling parts of Tallinn alongside regular police
units, Paevaleht reported on July 31. Tallinn's Deputy Police
Commissioner Arne Kass told Paevaleht that a police shortage
and rising crime in the city prompted the police prefecture to
ask the local MVD division for help in keeping watch on high
crime areas during the night shift. According to Kass, the police
have received no complaints about the MVD troops, even though
they wear Soviet militia uniforms. "There aren't enough new uniforms
for all of Estonia's police yet, either," Kass said. (Riina Kionka)


ESTONIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA SIGN AGREEMENT. Estonia and Czechoslovakia
signed an agreement on August 2 to forge trade and economic ties
and to begin scientific-technical cooperation, Rahva Haal reported
the next day. By the terms of the agreement, Czechoslovakia will
provide Estonia with polygraph equipment, medical equipment and
pharmaceuticals, and with spare parts for Czechoslovak-built
machines. In return, Estonia will send Prague and Bratislava
furniture, construction materials, electric motors and fish products.
(Riina Kionka)

"PARATROOPERS" BRAWL IN JURMALA. On August 2, about 120 men dressed
in Soviet paratrooper uniforms placed flowers at the Lenin monument
in Riga to mark Soviet Paratroopers Day, reported Diena on August
5. They then proceeded to Jurmala and got drunk on the train.
In Jurmala they abused people, demolished restaurant and cafe
furniture, and damaged parked cars. Latvian law enforcement officials
eventually stopped the rowdies, arresting nine (including 2 OMON
members). Later, the police released the OMON men after their
leaders threatened to hang a Jurmala policeman in retaliation
for the arrest. On August 2, OMON members also stopped and searched
passenger cars and ambulances on call, and even shot at the vehicles.
Latvia's Ministry of Internal Affairs protested the incidents
to MVD in Moscow. (Dzintra Bungs)

LONG LINES FOR FINNISH VISAS. Finnish authorities are trying
to alleviate the long lines for visas at the Finnish visa office
in Tallinn, Paevaleht reported on August 4. Officials told Paevaleht,
quoting Helsingin Sanomat, that Finland is committed to speeding
up the visa process. To that end, the Finnish Foreign Ministry
sent the Tallinn office another consular officer in June, when
the line for visas included some 5,000 Estonians. Within the
month, however, the line grew to twice that length, prompting
Finnish officials to think bigger. The Finnish Foreign Ministry
must make its proposal for alleviating the Tallinn situation
by September 12. (Riina Kionka)



USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



PAVLOV SAID TO PREPARE DECREE ON FORCED LABOR. USSR Prime Minister
Valentin Pavlov may soon issue a decree to force citizens to
work in the fields to save this year's harvest, Rossiiskaya gazeta
reported on August 2. A letter, written by an engineer and published
in that issue of the newspaper, denounced the forthcoming decree
as anti-democratic. It appealed to the Committee for Human Rights
of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to stop Pavlov from issuing such
a decree. (Alexander Rahr)

MEASURES TO BOOST OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION. A decree of the USSR
Cabinet of Ministers, published by TASS on August 5, provides
a series of incentives aimed at expanding the output and export
of oil and gas. The producer price for crude oil is raised from
60 to 74 rubles per ton (to be compared with about 200 rubles
a ton on the commodities exchanges and a world price of some
$155 a ton). The share of hard currency earned from oil and gas
exports that must be converted to rubles at the unfavorable official
rate is cut from 40% to 3%. And a levy on negotiated hard currency
sales will go to the stabilization fund for boosting output.
(Keith Bush)

OIL EXPORTS UNDERSTATED? The drop in Soviet oil exports during
the first half of 1991 was not the 50% officially reported but
rather 25% percent. This is the hypothesis advanced by Matthew
Sagers, director of the energy services section of Planecon,
as reported in The Journal of Commerce August 6. Sagers suggests
that the central authorities in Moscow are not tracking oil exports
very well, since these are now initiated and controlled by republics,
refiners, oil production associations, joint ventures and export-import
companies. The export totals reported by Moscow do not tally
with the totals of oil imports registered in Western countries
and in Eastern Europe, Sagers maintains. (Keith Bush)

SHCHERBAKOV ON COCOM. USSR First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of Economics and Forecasting, Vladimir Shcherbakov, told TASS
August 5 that the US is prepared to revise its position on COCOM
restrictions. After asserting that "our investment cooperation
with the West cannot be serious unless the COCOM lists are dropped,"
Shcherbakov qualified this by intimating that it was difficult
to say which of the COCOM restrictions will be lifted and which
will stay. He claimed that US President Bush had "confirmed in
principle that it is time to tackle this problem." (Keith Bush)


SHCHERBAKOV ON CUSTOMS DUTIES. During a Central Television interview
on August 4, Shcherbakov announced that the government plans
to reduce the high customs duties levied on consumer goods brought
into the country by Soviet citizens returning from abroad. Customs
duties on these goods were sharply raised with effect from July
1. According to The Economist of August 3, at an informal meeting
on July 26 all 15 republics drafted a letter to Prime Minister
Pavlov asking for the higher tariffs to be rescinded. Shcherbakov
is quoted by The Los Angeles Times of August 5 as having asserted
during the TV interview that the customs authorities had hiked
the duties on their own initiative and without prior government
approval. (Keith Bush)

DOLLAR HOLDERS REASSURED. US Ambassador to the USSR Jack Matlock
appeared on Vremya August 5 to reassure viewers that the older
series of $50 and $100 bills were still legal tender. It appears
that some Soviet citizens holding US banknotes were worried by
the issue of new notes in these denominations designed to thwart
counterfeiters. And, as the moderator observed, many viewers
have not yet recovered from the shock of the January 1991 obligatory
exchange of 50- and 100-ruble notes. (Keith Bush)

GORBACHEV ASSERTS KGB NOT INVOLVED IN SHOOTING OF POPE. Judicial
sources in Rome reported August 5 that Gorbachev has sent a letter
to Italian Prime Minister Guilio Andreotti, saying that he has
no evidence of KGB involvement in the attempted assassination
of Pope John Paul II in 1981. According to a Western agency report
August 5, the Italian sources said Gorbachev told Andreotti that
he ordered trusted investigators to go through all relevant KGB
files, but that they did not find evidence of any KGB involvement
in the attack. Andreotti had asked Gorbachev to cooperate in
a probe of possible KGB complicity when he visited Moscow in
May. Italian magistrate Rosario Priore is carrying out a third
investigation of the shooting of the Pope. Some KGB role in the
incident long has been widely alleged. (Sallie Wise)

CHIEF OF CHINESE GENERAL STAFF IN MOSCOW. TASS reported August
5 that the chief of the Chinese general staff, Colonel General
Chi Haotian, arrived yesterday in Moscow for an official visit
at the invitation of his Soviet counterpart, General Mikhail
Moiseev. This is the latest in a series of Sino-Soviet military
contacts. (Sallie Wise)

SOVIET JOURNALIST ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION AT SUMMIT. Writing in
Rabochaya tribuna of July 27, journalist Aleksandr Os'kin charged
that foreign journalists were receiving preferential treatment
in accreditation and logistics for covering the Bush-Gorbachev
summit. He also complained that Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials
Vitalii Churkin and Yurii Gremitskikh either would not or could
not inform Soviet journalists about the program for the summit,
and that he learned more from The New York Times than from an
MFA briefing. Os'kin was indignant that foreign and Soviet journalists
had separate accreditation cards, and declared that "it will
be harder for Soviet journalists to work than for our foreign
colleagues." He mused that perhaps he would have to board Bush's
press plane "to learn the whole truth about the visit." (Sallie
Wise)

GRISHIN REMEMBERS. Former Politburo member Viktor Grishin wrote
in Nashi, a supplement to the conservative newspaper Molodaya
Gvardiya (no 1, 1991) that he did not oppose Gorbachev's election
to the post of General Secretary in 1985. Grishin said that in
these times, the person in charge of cadres policy automatically
inherited the post of General Secretary. But Grishin also emphasized
that a power struggle was going on in 1985 and that some younger
Party leaders, such as Egor Ligachev, supported Gorbachev because
they feared that if he--Grishin--had become Party boss, they
would loose their posts. Grishin also described how he tried
to resist Gorbachev when the latter removed him from office in
1985. (Alexander Rahr)

GORBACHEV GOES ON VACATION. Some traditions die hard, and the
official announcement of a Soviet leader's holiday is one of
them: TASS reported August 5 that, "as was officially announced,
" Gorbachev left for a vacation in the Crimea on August 4. (Sallie
Wise)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN'S DECREE OBEYED. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin's decree
on depolitization, which took effect August 4, is being carried
out in Russia, Western news agencies reported on August 5. Managers
who fail to close down Party cells at their enterprises are threatened
with a fine of 10,000 rubles. CPSU leaders, such as Leningrad
Party boss Boris Gidaspov, have ordered implementation of the
decree and relocation of Party organizations outside factories
in electoral constituencies. Some managers, however, have decided
to wait for the decision of the Committee on Constitutional Oversight,
which they hope will nullify the decree. Others still think that
Gorbachev may challenge Yeltsin with a decree of his own. (Alexander
Rahr)

KGB SUPPORTS YELTSIN'S DECREE, ARMY RESISTS. While the Army is
resisting implementation of Yeltsin's decree banning Party organizations
from factories, the KGB is obeying it. RSFSR KGB chief Viktor
Ivanenko reportedly has assured Yeltsin that the decree will
be carried out and the KGB in the RSFSR depoliticized. Ivanenko
said that he fully supports the decree because it makes all parties
and movements equal, according to The Financial Times on August
5. Meanwhile General Mikhail Surkov, chief of the Army's CPSU
organization, stressed that the Army is subordinated only to
the union and would ignore Yeltsin's decree until Gorbachev orders
issues his own decree, The Guardian reported the same day. (Alexander
Rahr)

REACTIONS TO YELTSIN'S DECREE. The President of Kyrgyzstan, Askar
Akaev, is expected to issue a decree on depolitization similar
to that issued by Yeltsin in the RSFSR, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported
on July 30. Meanwhile, the President of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev,
has stressed that he will not carry out the decree and that Communists
will continue to play a dominant role in the enterprises in his
republic, according to The Financial Times on August 5. According
to an opinion poll published in Moskovskie novosti on August
4, 73% of RSFSR citizens support Yeltsin's decree on depolitization.
Only 13% object to it and 14% said they were undecided. (Alexander
Rahr)

FORMER JEWISH SCHOOL BUILDING RETURNED IN MOSCOW. TASS reported
on August 5 that the building of the former spiritual Jewish
school has been returned to the Jewish community in Moscow. The
school was confiscated in summer 1941 to be used as a military
hospital, but was not given back to the believers. Rabbi Arthur
Schneier from New York appealed to Soviet authorities to return
the building. It now will be used as a religious and cultural
center. (Oxana Antic)

WORKERS STRIKE IN SUPPORT OF BELORUSSIAN LABOR LEADER. Workers
at the Minsk Tractor Factory staged a one-hour strike yesterday
(August 5) to protest the trial of Belorussian labor leader Mikalay
Razumau. An independent journalist in Minsk told RFE/RL's Belorussian
service by telephone August 5 that the factory's management apparently
had called out the militia to prevent the strike, but the militiamen--armed
with rubber truncheons--stood aside while workers walked off
the job. Razumau went on trial August 1 in Mogilev, charged with
organizing a blockade of the east-west rail line in Orsha last
April in order to press for democratic reforms. (Sallie Wise)


PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS IN UKRAINE. Twenty-three contenders will
vie for the post of president of Ukraine, Radio Kiev reported
August 5. Among the candidates are eleven members of the Communist
Party. According to a poll conducted by a sociological research
group within the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Ukraine, the leading contender is Leonid Kravchuk, the chairman
of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, who is favored by 52% to 65%
of those polled. The elections are scheduled for December 1.
(Roman Solchanyk)

"RUKH" AND THE UNION TREATY. A spokesman for the Popular Movement
of Ukraine, or "Rukh" says that the organization plans to convene
a meeting on September 15 against the Union treaty, Interfax
reported August 5. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet is scheduled
to discuss the draft of the new Union treaty on the same day.
(Roman Solchanyk)

"ANTI-PORN SQUAD" IN TAJIKISTAN. TASS reported on August 5 that
Tajikistan's Ministry of Internal Affairs has begun setting up
a special section to deal with pornography and "the cult of violence"
that have appeared in the republic in the wake of glasnost' and
private business. Particular targets for the attention of the
new "morals police" are videosalons showing imported films and
bookstalls selling erotic literature. The special section will
have an advisory commission made up of cultural and religious
figures and representatives of the customs service to rule on
questionable materials. The objective of the new unit, according
to TASS, is to prevent offense to Muslim sensibilities. (Bess
Brown)

WORLD TAJIK FORUM NEXT YEAR. A world Tajik forum is to be held
next March in Dushanbe, according to a TASS report of August
2, which will bring together Tajik cultural, religious and business
figures and Tajik emigrants. The responsible secretary of the
organization committee, writer Nasrullo Asadulloev told TASS
that many Tajik emigrants have expressed interest in providing
help to their former homeland in the areas of banking, marketing,
and investment. The forum, it is hoped, will encourage foreign
investment in the republic. (Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIA PROMOTES JEWISH CULTURAL LIFE, CONTACTS WITH ISRAEL.
Moldova Suverana of July 26 reviews recent steps taken by the
Moldavian government to promote Jewish cultural life in the republic
and contacts with Israel. Two Jewish schools, teaching Yiddish
and Hebrew, and a Jewish children's choir have recently been
set up in association with reopened synagogues in Kishinev. Teachers
and rabbis have been invited from Israel and the USA. Moldavian
and Israeli filmmakers are working on a coproduction entitled
"The Jews of Bessarabia." The Israeli religious movement Agudat
Israel has opened a permanent representation in Kishinev. The
republic-owned travel agency Moldova Tour is about to introduce
regular trips to Israel for "Moldavia's Romanians." (Vladimir
Socor)


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

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