Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast-table. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 151, 09 August 1991



BALTIC STATES




USSR MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS ON INVESTIGATION. USSR Ministry
of Internal Affairs spokesman Yurii Tupikov said that the investigation
of the killings at the Medininkai border post is proceeding with
the cooperation of Lithuanian authorities, TASS reported August
8. "There is complete mutual understanding," he said. Tupikov
declined to describe any results of the investigation in detail,
but did say that ballistics tests were carried out to determine
the type of weapon used in the attack. The sole survivor drifts
in and out of consciousness, and it is not clear whether he will
recover. The investigators hope that he will eventually be able
to testify as a witness. (Gytis Liulevicius)

MORE DENIALS. In yet another denial of complicity in the Medininkai
murders, the KGB brushed off accusations as "fully groundless,"
TASS reported August 8. The separate KGB denial followed a joint
KGB, Interior and Defense Ministry statement released August
7. The KGB responded to allegations made by the independent military
organization "Shield," calling them "provocational." The statement
warned that such "tendentious conclusions" could seriously hinder
bringing "the real guilty party" to justice." (Gytis Liulevicius)


SAJUDIS TO DEMONSTRATE AGAINST OMON. Sajudis called on Lithuanians
to participate in a three-day picket of the Vilnius OMON base,
Radio Independent Lithuania reported August 8. The action will
begin on August 9, with a large protest rally scheduled for August
10. Many Lithuanians tend to suspect the OMON of involvement
in the Medininkai murders, pointing to the numerous border post
attacks linked to the OMON in the past. Sajudis considers the
OMON one of the "repressive structures of the USSR" and demands
its withdrawal from Lithuanian territory. (Gytis Liulevicius)


LATVIA'S OPPOSITION FACTION NO LONGER ENDORSES UNION TREATY.
Sergei Dimanis, opposition leader in the Latvian Supreme Council,
told Radio Riga on August 8 that he and other deputies of the
Ravnopravie faction no longer endorse the USSR Union treaty--heretofore
a fundamental concept of the faction's political program. He
said that the treaty does not serve a useful purpose at this
time and would not prevent the USSR from sliding into chaos.
He proposed instead an economic accord among the USSR republics,
something similar to the agreement serving as foundation for
the European Common Market. Dimanis added that a political accord
might come later, but that it depended on future developments,
the course of which could not be determined now. (Dzintra Bungs)


FM STATION LAUNCHED IN RIGA, BUT WHO WILL LISTEN? Radio Riga
reported on August 5 about a new radio station in Riga that plans
to air regular programs on August 10. It is already broadcasting
music four hours daily. The new station, owned jointly by private
persons and a cooperative, has only a small audience in Latvia.
Generally, FM programs cannot be picked up by Soviet- or Latvian-made
radios, which most listeners own. Only a few listeners have Western-made
radios. (Dzintra Bungs)

WATER PURIFICATION PROBLEMS OF LATVIAN CITIES. Only 2 of the
29 cities in Latvia have effluent purification plants, reported
Radio Riga on August 5. The situation is particularly bad in
Riga where only 8% of the effluent is properly treated, 67% is
partially treated, and the rest is passed on untreated and eventually
reaches the water supply systems. A partial solution to these
problems can be expected in Riga when the effluent purification
plant is completed, but most of the other cities have not started
to draw up plans for an effluent and sewage treatment plant.
(Dzintra Bungs)

USSR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE STUMPS IN TALLINN. Self-proclaimed
candidate for the USSR Presidency and leader of the "USSR Liberal
Democratic Party" Vladimir Zhirinovsky made a "campaign stop"
on August 7 in Tallinn, Paevaleht reported the next day. Zhirinovsky
told an Intermovement audience that if elected, he would rename
the USSR as Russia and would exile those who intend to sign "the
anti-state document they call the Union treaty." (Riina Kionka)


"BLACK COLONEL" ALKSNIS TO GOVERN BALTIC? In his stump speech
covered by Paevaleht on August 8, Vladimir Zhirinovsky also promised
to change the USSR's current national-territorial organization
to a strictly administrative one. "I will create by decree 100-120
provinces [gubernii]," Zirinovski said. He explained that Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad Oblast, and part of Pskov would
comprise the Baltic unit, which the MVD OMON's "Black Colonel"
Alksnis had agreed to govern. Zhirinovsky, who came in third
in June's RSFSR presidential elections, said he expects elections
for the USSR presidency to be held sometime in the next 8 months.
(Riina Kionka)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS



CPSU DRAFT PROGRAM CHANGES. Pravda published the revised version
of the CPSU draft program on August 8, and Western news agencies
report that several significant changes have been made. Party
members will be required to pay dues and to participate in local
Party organizations. A sentence noting that Communist deputies
owed first allegiance to their voters has been struck, as has
a paragraph critical of Bolshevism. The new version also contains
a call for a united armed forces under a central leadership and
states that the CPSU "rejects interference by state bodies in
the activities of public groups" that adhere to the USSR Constitution--a
clear reaction to Yeltsin's decree on depoliticization.(Dawn
Mann)

COMMUNIST PARTY FACING BANKRUPTCY? The Washington Post and The
New York Times today (August 9) quote from what are said to be
secret Party documents published in the independent newspaper
Nezavisimaya gazeta August 8. These show the CPSU facing a budget
deficit this year of 1.1 billion rubles--five times more than
last year's shortfall. The deficit is blamed on sharp drops in
membership dues and sales of Party newspapers. The fall in revenue
comes at a moment when RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin's determination
to oust the CPSU from enterprises in the RSFSR threatens to involve
the Communist Party in the expense of paying local officials
and hiring office space--until now, such bills were footed by
the enterprises, not the Party. Nezavisimaya gazeta says that,
if things continue as at present, the CPSU will face bankruptcy
within a few years. (Elizabeth Teague)

SCANDAL BREWING OVER CHERNOBYL DONATIONS. In what promises to
develop into a major scandal, Nezavisimaya gazeta (as quoted
by The Washington Post) cites a "Party source" as saying that
500 million rubles designated in 1990 for child victims of Chernobyl
were appropriated by Party bosses in the region and never reached
the children for whom the money was intended. (Elizabeth Teague)


AND ANOTHER OVER OLD AGE PENSIONS? Interviewed by The Financial
Times (August 8), CPSU Central Committee member Otto Latsis said
that, in order to cover its budget deficit, the CPSU is having
to dig into a fund of 4.5 billion rubles that the Party donated
last year, with much flourish, as a contribution to old age pensions.
The Party is also, Latsis said, beginning to capitalize on its
holdings of real estate and renting property to foreign businesses
and joint ventures. (Elizabeth Teague)

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS SET TO STRIKE. Soviet air traffic controllers,
who have called a strike for tomorrow (August 10), are poised
to walk off the job at midnight tonight (August 9) after meeting
with government officials yesterday, Western agencies reported
August 8. They rejected a government proposal as insufficient,
and no new talks are scheduled. Controllers' union vice-president
Sergei Yevsyukov said the meeting yesterday with USSR Minister
of Civil Aviation Boris Panyukov left only one issue unresolved:
Panyukov has refused to rescind an order to punish controllers
in two regions who threatened to strike last May. Soviet pilots
reportedly also plan a strike alert for tomorrow and have said
they will go on strike September 2 if talks break down. Both
controllers and pilots want the government to honor promises
made in the agreement that averted a strike in May. (Sallie Wise)


USSR PROCURACY CONSIDERS STRIKE ILLEGAL. TASS reported August
8 that First Deputy General Prosecutor Aleksei Vasil'ev informed
air traffic controllers' union officials that day that their
proposed strike is illegal. Vasil'ev said that the strike would
violate Article 12 on the USSR law on resolving collective labor
disputes, and mentioned "possible legal consequences" in the
event of a strike. Another TASS dispatch the same day reported
that the USSR Ministry of Civil Aviation also considers the strike
to be illegal and that the Moscow city court had started a hearing
on the matter. (Sallie Wise)

BUNICH ON PRIVATIZATION. The president of the Union of Soviet
Lease-Holders and Entrepreneurs, Pavel Bunich, told a Moscow
press conference August 6 that the number of enterprises excluded
from privatization will be reduced by a factor of three, TASS
reported that day. Bunich expected a government announcement
to this effect during the week commencing August 12. About 17%
of the 800 billion rubles' worth of state property will remain
in the state sector but even these enterprises will be partially
open to bids. He announced that an international forum on economic
cooperation between East European countries is planned for October
22 in Leningrad: it will be chaired by Bunich and Margaret Thatcher.
(Keith Bush)

SOVIET OIL PRICE HIKES TO SPUR INFLATION. Officials at the Soviet
oil and gas ministry expect wholesale fuel prices to triple to
some 210 rubles per ton, the Russian Information Agency and Western
agencies reported August 8. Izvestia of August 6 noted that oil
production this year is to fall from the 1988 level of 642 million
tons to 510-520 million. The price rises are part of an effort
to spur production. Oil and gas ministry officials expect significant
knock-on effects throughout the economy. The reports say that
millions of Muscovites in cooperative housing would have to pay
four times as much next year for heating. The question of prices
for RSFSR energy resources was raised earlier this week during
Yeltsin's trip to the Tyumen' region. There, he promised to renegotiate
energy prices with the Union republics after they sign the new
Union Treaty. (John Tedstrom)

LISICHKIN ON AGRICULTURAL PROSPECTS. The veteran economist and
specialist on farming, Gennadii Lisichkin, has contributed his
assessment of the current state of Soviet agriculture in an APN
dispatch of August 9. It is grim. Not only is the size of the
anticipated grain harvest down from the 1990 level, but the disintegration
of vertical and horizontal links has cut off the supply of many
producer goods to the farms. The increasingly unfavorable terms
of trade for agriculture have led to distress culling of livestock
inventories, and the reluctance of farms to accept rubles for
their produce suggests that procurements will be even lower than
last year. (Keith Bush)

NO FAMINE THIS WINTER? At a press conference covered by Vremya
August 7, Egor Stroyev, chairman of the CPSU agrarian commission,
sought to allay fears of food shortages this winter. While stressing
that the harvest is proceeding better this year, he noted that
total grain production is expected to be lower than in 1990.
Stroyev concluded that "there is no basis for speaking today
about an approaching hungry winter. It is important to gather
the harvest and use it more effectively." Stroyev's statement
contradicts remarks made just a few days ago by deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Shcherbakov suggesting that a real threat of
famine exists. (Carla Thorson)

"SOYUZ" CALLS FOR RENEWED TIES WITH IRAQ. A delegation of USSR
Supreme Soviet deputies from the hardline "Soyuz" faction has
returned from Iraq and at a press conference yesterday called
for the restoration of close Soviet-Iraqi ties. TASS August 8
quoted delegation leader Evgenii Kogan as saying that Iraqi officials,
businessmen, and ordinary citizens emphasized the need for the
USSR to revive its contacts with Iraq and to strengthen cooperation,
above all in the economic sphere. Kogan accused the Soviet Foreign
Ministry of "insufficient activity and even political myopia"
in its seeming reluctance to broaden ties with Iraq. "Soyuz"
was highly critical of Soviet support for the Gulf war. (Sallie
Wise)

SOVIET-INDIAN TREATY RENEWED. Today (August 9) is the twentieth
anniversary of the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation
between the USSR and India. TASS reported August 8 that the treaty
would be renewed automatically at midnight that night. A joint
Soviet-Indian declaration on the prolongation of the treaty,
as reported by TASS August 8, stated that the accord is the basis
of the "particularly friendly relations between India and the
USSR," and that the two countries have decided to extend the
treaty for another twenty years. (Sallie Wise)

LIGACHEV MOURNS "LOSS" OF EASTERN EUROPE. Sovetskaya Rossiya
of August 3 published a new excerpt from Egor Ligachev's memoirs.
This fragment is devoted to the Soviet Union's "loss" of Eastern
Europe--a development which, according to Ligachev, should be
almost entirely blamed on his Politburo rivals Aleksandr Yakovlev
and Eduard Shevardnadze. Similarly, in an earlier excerpt published
in the same newspaper in March, Ligachev blamed Yakovlev for
the Party's failure to suppress the Baltic popular fronts in
1988. (Julia Wishnevsky)

CPSU CC WEEKLY ATTACKS PARTY REACTIONARIES. Sovetskaya kul'tura
published on August 3 a long article by I. Zaramensky, deputy
head of the CPSU Central Committee department on relations with
[other] political organizations. Highly unusual for a Central
Committee newspaper these days, the article criticized recent
publications by high-placed Party reactionaries, such as RSFSR
CP Politburo member Gennadii Zyuganov and Leningrad ideologue
Yurii Belov. Zaramensky argued that a split in the CPSU would
be better than the "slow death and disintegration" that the Party
is undergoing now. Zaramensky believes that the CPSU should support
the Movement for Democratic Reforms and defends Aleksandr Yakovlev
against "populist hunting" by Party reactionaries, who, Zaramensky
says, are lacking "ideological intellect." (Julia Wishnevsky)


"NO PROVISION" IN RULES TO GET RID OF YAKOVLEV. In the same article,
Zaramensky shed new light on an attempt to expel Yakovlev from
the CPSU at the last Central Committee plenum. Zaramensky revealed
that acting head of the Party Control Committee Makhov told the
plenum that the Party rules provide no legal grounds even for
reprimanding Yakovlev, let alone expelling him. (In an interview
published on another page of the same newspaper, Yakovlev said
that the only reason he has not quit the CPSU is that he is "curious
to watch how they look for a [proper] article in the Rules" to
get rid of him.) It remains a mystery how a political party that
systematically pushes away all its most popular members could
expect to win elections. (Julia Wishnevsky)

THE LIBERAL KGB? Writing in Russkii kur'er (no. 15), Soviet journalist
Leonid Radzikhovsky claimed that the KGB has escaped from Party
supervision and now supports the transition to a market economy
and privatization, hoping to remain in control over political
and economic developments in the country. Radzikhovsky maintained
that last December, KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov made an unsuccessful
attempt to win the post of USSR Vice President. He suggested
that the democrats should cooperate with reformist forces in
the KGB and asserted that the KGB, if it gets rid of Marxist
ideology, could become a major guarantee of stability in the
process of democratization. (Alexander Rahr)



USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS



DEPUTIES DEMAND EXPLANATION FROM YELTSIN ON SIGNING OF TREATY.
Eleven deputies of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, including Sergei
Shakhrai, chairman of its Legislative Committee, and Vladimir
Novikov, head of its Council of Factions, met August 6 and decided
to demand an explanation from Yeltsin as to why he is intending
to sign the Union treaty on August 20 when the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet, which is not due to convene again until mid-September,
will not have had an opportunity to debate the final text as
it insisted it should in its resolution of July 18, Nezavisimaya
gazeta reported August 8. The situation is aggravated by the
fact that the revised text has not been published. Novikov told
journalists that, if Yeltsin ignored their request, they would
issue an appeal to all deputies. (Ann Sheehy)

APPEAL TO YELTSIN NOT TO SIGN UNION TREATY. Nezavisimaya gazeta
of August 8 published an appeal to Yeltsin from a group of parliamentarians
and public figures, including Yurii Afanas'ev and Elena Bonner,
calling on him not to sign the Union treaty when the final text
had not been made available to the population of the RSFSR. The
authors of the appeal complain that the latest published text,
"prepared in secret and not subjected to detailed discussion
either in the press or the RSFSR Supreme Soviet," is unsatisfactory,
and suggest that the main theses of the treaty be the subject
of an RSFSR referendum. (Ann Sheehy)

RUTSKOI'S EXPULSION UPHELD. The Party organization of the Soviet
Air Force Main Political Administration decided on August 8 to
uphold the decision of the RSFSR Communist Party Central Committee
expelling RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi from the Party,
TASS reported the same day. Rutskoi told Radio Rossii that the
Party's aim was to intimidate the other Party members who support
the Democratic Party of Russian Communists. He plans to appeal
the decision to the CPSU Central Committee. (Dawn Mann)

FORMER KGB GENERAL KALUGIN MADE HONORARY KUBAN' COSSACK. Former
KGB general Oleg Kalugin has become an honorary Kuban' Cossack,
according to TSN of August 7. In the presence of a priest, Kalugin
knelt, kissed a cross, and swore to serve God and the Fatherland,
for the glory of the Cossacks. Kalugin is a deputy from Krasnodar
krai, the home of the Kuban' Cossacks, who have recently again
become a force to be reckoned with. An article in Izvestia of
July 5, however, portrayed the local Cossack leadership as liberally
sprinkled with Party functionaries and army, KGB, and MVD officers
and as under the influence of conservative Party views. (Ann
Sheehy)

MUTALIBOV REJECTS RUSSIAN MEDIATION IN TRANSCAUCASUS. Moscow
independent journalist Dmitri Volchek told RFE/RL August 8 that
three Russian People's Deputies met this week in Baku with Azerbaijani
President Ayaz Mutalibov and with Viktor Polyanichko, head of
the Organizing Committee that currently administers Nagorno-Karabakh,
to propose plans for a settlement of the conflict between Armenia
and Azerbaijan over the NKAO. Mutalibov reportedly rejected the
deputies' proposal and told them that their presence in Baku
was undesirable. (Liz Fuller)

SUPPORTERS REMOVE RAZUMAU FROM COURTROOM. Seventy Belorussian
workers from Orsha travelled by bus to Mogilev August 7 and entered
the courtroom where independent labor leader Mikalay Razumau
is on trial. Independent Minsk journalist Yas Valoshka told RFE/RL's
Belorussian service August 8 that the workers carried Razumau
out of the courtroom in a protective cordon back to their bus,
and then back to Orsha without incident. The workers have vowed
to protect Razumau until his trial is moved from Mogilev to Orsha,
and they have also demanded that non-Communist judges be appointed
to his case. (Sallie Wise)

MOLDAVIANS FOR TWO INDEPENDENT ROMANIAN STATES. The Romanian
Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and the Moldavian Academy's
Institute of Social Studies last month conducted jointly a poll
on political preferences in Moldavia, using a representative
sample of 2,200 residents reflecting the adult population's occupational,
educational, age, and ethnic stratification. In the poll's most
important finding, 71% agreed with the proposition that Moldavia
and Romania "should form two independent states in the period
ahead"; 17% disagreed, and 12% had no opinion. The finding reflects
the low public support in Moldavia at the present time for the
idea of reunification with Romania and the consensus behind the
Moldavian leadership's concept of "two independent Romanian states."
The poll, with a margin of error was 2%, was reported by Radio
Bucharest on August 7. (Vladimir Socor)

ROMANIAN MINISTER FOR REUNIFICATION WITH MOLDAVIA IN STAGES.
Interviewed in Tokyo by the Kyodo news agency, as cited by Radio
Bucharest August 8, Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase
said that Romania expects to achieve reunification with Moldavia
in three stages: formation of a cultural confederation, formation
of an economic confederation, and finally merger "on the German
model." Nastase added that "if the Soviets want to have a friendly
nation on their border, they must take into account that nation's
concerns, wishes, and expectations." This is the first time that
a senior Romanian official publicly has outlined a strategy for
reunification with Moldavia. Until now, Bucharest has professed
unconditional adherence to Moldavia's concept of "two independent
Romanian states." Indeed, Foreign Ministry spokesman Teodor Melescanu
was cited by TASS August 8 as reiterating the latter position.
(Vladimir Socor)

STATE OF ISLAM IN KAZAKHSTAN. There are now more than 230 Muslim
religious communities in Kazakhstan, five times more than five
years ago, according to the mufti of Kazakhstan Ratbek Nysanbaev,
as reported by TASS on August 8. Mullahs now take part in all
aspects of public life, several translations of the Koran into
Kazakh have been made, an Islamic institute is now functioning
in Alma-Ata, there are courses for Muslim clergy in several cities
in southern Kazakhstan, and an independent newspaper Islam shapagaty
has begun to appear. At the same time there has been an increase
in the number and influence of adherents of "pure Islam," who
on some questions are in opposition to the Muslim Religious Board.
(Ann Sheehy)

WORLD COUNCIL PROTESTS DESECRATION OF ARMENIAN CHURCH. Infonovosti
reported on August 7 that the Secretary General of the World
Council of Churches and the Secretary General of the Conference
of European Churches addressed a letter to Gorbachev about the
desecration of an Armenian Church. The letter said that the Catholicos
of the Apostolic Armenian Church, Vazgen, informed these religious
leaders about the act of desecration of the temple of Gandzasar
in Nagorno-Karabakh, the only center of religious life there.
(Oxana Antic)


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