|Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow; Naught may endure but Mutability. - Percy Shelley|
No. 153, 13 August 1991
BALTIC STATES LITHUANIAN-ARMENIAN TREATY. Chairman of the Armenian Supreme Soviet Levon Ter-Petrosyan will make an official visit to Vilnius on August 14, Radio Independent Lithuania reported August 12. Lithuanian and Armenian delegations will hold formal talks on a treaty establishing relations between the two republics (the project of which was prepared in April) that is expected to be signed. Ter-Petrosyan will hold talks with Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis after which they will give a press conference. (Saulius Girnius) LETTERS TO GORBACHEV AND DOGUZHIEV, PETITION TO OMON. Protestors at a weekend demonstration outside the Vilnius OMON headquarters sent an open letter to USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev on August 11, RFE's Lithuanian Service reported August 12. The letter demanded that Gorbachev withdraw the OMON from Lithuanian territory and stating that the notion that the Soviet president is not responsible for the OMON is a "myth." The rally also sent a letter to USSR Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev, the official charged with conducting negotiations with Lithuania, calling for the return of Lithuanian property seized by Soviet forces last January. The demonstrators presented the OMON with a petition asking the servicemen to "reconsider and desert this criminal structure." (Gytis Liulevicius) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS UNION STATE PROPERTY FUND. On August 10, President Gorbachev issued a decree that specifies the obligations and the functions of the Union State Property Fund (Soyuzgosfond), TASS reported with delay on August 12. The agency is to oversee the destatification and privatization of state union enterprises, and to negotiate terms with republican bodies concerning the privatization of enterprises under their joint jurisdiction. One of its functions will be to determine the proportion of shares remaining in union ownership when state enterprises are restructured into shareholding companies. (Keith Bush) GAS CONCESSION FOR ANGLO-SOVIET GROUP. An Anglo-Soviet trading company, Orbicom, has been granted a concession to exploit gas reserves on the Western side of the Yamal Peninsula, The Financial Times reported August 12. Reserves in the two specified areas are believed to exceed 150 million tons of gas condensate. Orbicom has a 50 percent stake in the corporate vehicle set up to handle the operation, and the balance is held by Tyumen' Geologiya and Yamalneftegaz-geologiya. The joint venture has reportedly been endorsed by the USSR and RSFSR governments. It is subject to safeguards on any environmental impact and a 2-5 percent share of net revenues must be spent on local living conditions. (Keith Bush) USSR, POLAND OFFICIALLY CONFIRM MURDERS NEAR KHAR'KOV. A joint Soviet-Polish Commission has officially confirmed that several thousand Polish army officers were shot by the NKVD in Khar'kov in April-May 1940 and buried in a nearly forest, Moscow radio reported August 10 and TASS August 12. The exact number of Polish army officers was not given, but Moscow radio said that the remains of about 8,000 people, including Soviet citizens, were found at the burial site. (Ann Sheehy) KALININGRAD-BERLIN RAIL LINK REESTABLISHED. On August 8 the first train with German tourists arrived in Kaliningrad from Berlin, Moscow radio reported August 10. The notice that had hung in the station in West Berlin for 46 years saying that "Trains to Koenigsberg have been temporarily cancelled" has been transferred to a museum. (Ann Sheehy) SALES OF WEAPONS TO POPULATION DISCUSSED. The USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs has drafted a law regulating possession of arms and liberalizing the sale of weapons to the population for self-defense, according to an article in Izvestia on August 6. The draft permits all adult Soviet citizens, except those with criminal records or who are mentally ill, to possess weapons for self-defense. The report said that the KGB, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defense are studying the draft with enthusiasm. Its supporters in these agencies have suggested that former and retired law-enforcement officers be the first to be allowed to possess weapons. (Victor Yasmann) INCREASING NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS FOR AIRBORNE AND MVD TROOPS. This year there are more than 30 applicants for each place in the Ryazan' Higher Command School of the Airborne Troops, Komsomol'skaya pravda reported on August 2. The popularity of military academies among school-leavers has substantially increased this year after a sharp fall in the years of perestroika, the daily noted. On August 4, the TV program Na sluzhbe Otechestvu also reported on the increasing in-flow of young people to the MVD internal troops and airborne troops. A large number of MVD troopers have asked to serve in "hot spots"; an Army officer said that there have been many volunteers for service in Nagorny Karabakh. Last year the MVD was given preference over the Army in selecting draftees in the annual call-up. (Victor Yasmann) LATTER-DAY SAINTS IN THE USSR. Novosti's monthly bulletin Religion in USSR No. 7 contains an article by Archimandrite Augustin on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, reviewing the history of this religious movement which emerged in America in the early 19th century, and presenting information on Mormons in the Soviet Union. The first converts appeared in the USSR fairly recently and, according to the archimandrite, there are now one stake (diocese) and two wards (parishes), all in Leningrad. A report in March, 1991, said that there was one Mormon community in the Soviet Union with about 7O members. (Oxana Antic) RESTORATION OF MONASTIC COMMUNITIES. Pravda on August 5 and Izvestia on August 6 reported on the rebuilding of cloisters for monastic communities. The Pravda article somewhat emotionally described the reconstruction of the Tolgsk Convent in Yaroslav Oblast, already inhabited by nuns, while Izvestia reported that "scientists are converting an ancient temple into a center of modern spirituality": after it is reconstructed, the Fedorovskii convent in Pereslavl'-Zalesskii will house not only monks but an international center of information technologies. (Oxana Antic) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS RSFSR DEPUTIES TO MEET YELTSIN TO ASK HIM TO DELAY SIGNING UNION TREATY. A delegation of RSFSR deputies representing various factions in the RSFSR parliament is to meet Yeltsin August 14 to ask him not to sign the Union treaty on August 20, the Financial Times reported August 13. Deputy Leonid Volkov, a leader of the social democratic faction, said August 12 that a meeting of deputies from both the Democratic Russia group and the communist group agreed to oppose the signature of the treaty because the final text was not known and the RSFSR Supreme Soviet had not been given the chance to debate it. (Ann Sheehy) RSFSR CP SPONSORS NEW NEWSPAPER. The RSFSR Communist Party Central Committee and the Leningrad regional Party committee are the founders of a new newspaper known as Narodnaya pravda. The print run is 200,000 copies; how often the paper will appear has not yet been decided. Among the 44 members of the editorial board are Yurii Bondarev, General Al'bert Makashov, and Viktor Tyul'kin, a member of the RSFSR CP CC. TASS August 12 reported that the tone of the articles is "sharp and uncompromising," and that it contains material critical of Gorbachev, Aleksandr Yakovlev, and Eduard Shevardnadze. (Dawn Mann) KGB SUPPORT FOR YELTSIN. The RSFSR KGB boss, Viktor Ivanenko, said in an interview published in Trud on August 3 that he will resist pressure from the conservatives to join an anti-Yeltsin campaign. In return for the KGB's loyalty, Yeltsin has promised not to conduct any purges in the republican KGB organization, Ivanenko asserted. He also stated that the RSFSR KGB regards the defense of Russian sovereignty as its major duty. The latest news of KGB compliance with Yeltsin's decree on depolitization came from Stavropol' Krai, the home region of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, where the local KGB administration has disbanded its Party Committee completely, Radio Rossii reported on August 12. (Alexander Rahr) PROJECT ON LENINGRAD'S NEW STATE STATUS. Leningrad mayor Anatolii Sobchak has issued a provisional project on the state status of Leningrad--Sankt Petersburg, Radio Rossii reported on August 8. The project provides for the city to have the same status as that accorded the republics within the RSFSR and to have its own constitution. A new working parliament--the Leningrad Senate--is being set up, consisting of 100 deputies of the present Leningrad City Soviet. The executive branch, including security forces, comes directly under the mayor's administration. The former coat-of-arms of Sankt Petersburg and its former banner with a three-headed golden eagle have returned as symbols of the city. (Alexander Rahr) KALUGIN'S STATUS AS HONORARY COSSACK ANNULLED. The leadership of the Kuban' Cossack Rada has annulled the decision of the Bryukhovets Cossack Association making former KGB General Oleg Kalugin an honorary Kuban' Cossack (see Daily Report No. 151 of August 9), Radio Mayak reported August 12, citing Kommersant. The Kuban' Cossack Rada told the Bryukhovets ataman that the status of honorary Cossack did not exist even for a USSR deputy. (Ann Sheehy) RAZAMAU TRIAL RESUMES WITHOUT DEFENDANT. The trial of the Belorussian independent labor leader Mikalai Razumau resumed August 12 in Mogilev, but the defendant was absent. Razamau told RFE/RL's Belorussian service August 12 that he would not attend the trial unless forced to do so. He said he plans to remain in him hometown Orsha. Razamau was taken bodily from the courtroom August 7 by supporters who said he would remain in Orsha under their protection until the trial was moved there and non-Communist judges were appointed. According to Radio Rossii on August 11, the workers threatened to strike if their terms were not met. (Ann Sheehy) HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER COMPLETES VISIT TO UKRAINE. The Hungarian foreign minister Geza Jeszenszki, who visited Kiev and the L'vov and Transcarpathian oblasts of Ukraine from August 8-11, described the relations established recently between Ukraine and Hungary as a model of good-neighborliness, Ukrinform-TASS reported August 12. In Uzhgorod, Jeszenszki took part in the opening of a consultative office of the Hungarian Consulate General in Kiev. (Ann Sheehy) TEMPORARY BAN ON EXPORTS FROM UKRAINE. Ukrainian Premier Vitold Fokin announced on Central Television August 11 that Ukraine had imposed a temporary ban with effect from August 10 on the export of 60 scarce consumer goods, including foodstuffs. Fokin justified the measure on the grounds that large amounts of goods were being taken out of the republic that "we badly need ourselves," and because farms were sending grain and other produce to other republics where the wholesale prices are higher. 95 new border posts and 152 mobile border units had been created to enforce the ban. The Ukrainian government has also reintroduced ration coupons. (These had been withdrawn after large-scale forgeries had occurred). (Keith Bush) JUDAISM IN THE UKRAINE. Religion in USSR No. 7 contains a long essay by philosopher Victor Elenskii of Kiev on the history of Judaism in the Ukraine from the first century A.D. until the present. The essay says that although the absence of continuity of religious tradition among Jewish people in the Ukraine is a most serious and dramatic problem, there is no doubt that Jewish religious life is on the rise there. (Oxana Antic) INTERNATIONAL ISRAELI AGENCY OPENS BRANCH IN KIEV. In accordance with growing ties between Ukraine and Israel, an official branch of the international Israeli organization "Sokhnut" was opened in Kiev on August 11, Radio Kiev reported that day. The purpose of the organization in Ukraine is to promote Jewish culture, tradition and customs, and also to answer questions regarding immigration to Israel. (Natalie Melnyczuk) HEAD OF NORTH OSSETIAN PARLIAMENT REPLIES TO GAMSAKHURDIA. The chairman of the North Ossetian Supreme Soviet Akhsabek Glazov has rejected the demand of Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia that North Ossetia should renamed itself Ossetia, TASS reported August 10. Glazov described Gamsakhurdia's demand as gross interference in the affairs of a sovereign republic, and said that North Ossetia alone would decide what it wanted to call itself. Glazov also rejected Gamsakhurdia's assertion that the conflict in South Ossetia was being provoked by the Ossetians. (Ann Sheehy) GEORGIA CRITICIZED BY USSR FOREIGN MINISTRY FOR RECOGNIZING SLOVENIA. TASS reported August 12 that the Georgian Supreme Soviet had officially recognized Slovenia as an independent state and had affirmed its readiness to begin talks immediately on setting up diplomatic relations with Slovenia. The Georgian move was condemned by a USSR Foreign Ministry spokesman who argued that it had no legal force as Georgia is itself not an independent state. (Liz Fuller) CRIMINAL CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST AZERBAIJANI SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. TASS reported August 12 from Baku that Social Democrat Araz Ali-zade, brother of presidential candidate Zardusht Ali-Zade, has been charged with insulting Azerbaijani president Mutalibov in election campaign speeches in Geranboi Raion. Zardusht Ali-zade is the sole candidate opposing Mutalibov in the Azerbaijani presidential election which is to take place September 7. (Liz Fuller) IS NAZARBAEV PLANNING AN ECONOMIC UNION? Radio Moscow reported on August 12 that according to the RIA news agency, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev expects republican leaders to gather this week to work out an agreement on an economic union. (Bess Brown) ANTI-NUCLEAR MARCH IN KAZAKHSTAN. A mass "peace march" to force the closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on August 29, the date set for the next test, has begun in Kazakhstan, according to Novosti on August 12. Many political groups and parties in the republic began planning for the march, which they hoped would involve hundreds of thousands of participants, immediately after the test was scheduled. Participants in the march are to rally in Semipalatinsk on August 25: invited guests include George Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev, and foreign correspondents. Earlier in the summer, organizers were confident that they would succeed in shutting down the site; according to Novosti, on August 30 Muslim clergy are scheduled to offer thanks for the success of the popular movement. (Bess Brown) KYRGYZSTAN TAKES OVER ALL-UNION ENTERPRISES. Radio Moscow reported on August 12 that Kirgiz president Askar Akaev has signed a decree transferring to republican subordination those enterprises within Kyrgyzstan that were previously subordinate to all-Union ministries. The decree asserts jurisdiction over all enterprises and organizations within the republic, with the exception of those whose activities fulfill certain all-Union functions. Presumably this refers to military installations. In Kyrgyzstan, as in Kazakhstan, which obtained control of its all-Union enterprises somewhat earlier, most industry has been subordinate to all-Union ministries. (Bess Brown) HELSINKI WATCH BLAMES MAKHKAMOV. The US Helsinki Watch Group has issued a report blaming Tajikistan's president Kakhar Makhkamov for the deaths of more than 20 unarmed demonstrators during violence in Dushanbe in February 1990, because he asked Gorbachev to send troops from outside the republic to put down the disturbances. The conclusions in the report are based on findings of two Helsinki Watch missions to the Tajik capital. The report recommends to the USSR and Tajik governments that the military not be used in police actions. (Sonia Winter/Bess Brown) MUJAHIDIN ON THE SOVIET BORDER. On August 12, Novosti quoted an officer of the Central Asian Border District on the taking over by the Afghan resistance of three districts on the border with Tajikistan. According to the officer, now more than 90 percent of the area on the Afghan side of the Tajik border is now under the control of the mujahidin, but he said that incursions by the Afghan resistance into Soviet territory are unlikely. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIA AND RUSSIAN FEDERATION SIGN ECONOMIC AGREEMENT. The prime ministers of the RSFSR and Moldavia, Ivan Silaev and Valeriu Muravschi, signed an agreement on August 12 in Kishinev, dealing with economic cooperation and trade for 1992, the Soviet, Moldavian, and Romanian media reported the same day. Silaev declared that the agreement will stand regardless of Moldavia's position on the union treaty. The agreement places economic relations between the two republics on the basis of international law. Commodities are to be traded at world prices, but payments may be made through ruble-denominated clearing. Enterprises and organizations in the two republics will be free to establish direct contractual relationships. Both sides will encourage joint ventures. (Vladimir Socor) ZHIRINOVSKY BACKS WOULD-BE DNIESTER, GAGAUZ REPUBLICS. At the end of a visit to the self-proclaimed Dniester and Gagauz SSRs in eastern and southern Moldavia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the hardline ex-candidate for RSFSR president and likely candidate for USSR president, was interviewed on August 12 by TASS's chief correspondent in Moldavia. Zhirinovsky said that Moldavia's "other peoples" will be justified in breaking away from Moldavia if the latter seeks independence from the USSR. Zhirinovsky's position on this particular point coincides with Moscow's. On July 29, Zhirinovsky was given a triumphal reception at a mass rally in Tiraspol, capital of the "Dniester SSR." (Vladimir Socor)
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