|If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery. - Michael Harrington|
No. 154, 14 August 1991
BALTIC STATES NO HELP FROM SOVIETS ON MEDININKAI INVESTIGATION. The official Lithuanian government commission charged with investigating the July 31 Medininkai murders accused Soviet agencies of hindering the investigation, Radio Independent Lithuania reported August 13. Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaisvila, head of the commission, said in a statement that the USSR Interior and Defense Ministries and the KGB are not providing Lithuania with any real help. Two weeks have passed since the killings, but Lithuanian authorities have yet to be allowed to question Soviet armed units about the attack. Vaisvila suggested that "the USSR is consciously delaying the investigation." In contrast, he noted that Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Latvian, and Estonian law enforcement authorities are assisting the Lithuanian investigation. (Gytis Liulevicius) CHINESE CONSUL GENERAL IN VILNIUS. On August 13 the consul general in Leningrad and another consul of the People's Republic of China visited Vilnius for the first time after their appointments last month, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Consul Vytautas Landsbergis told them about the political and economic situation in Lithuania and its fight for independence. The Chinese consuls also met with Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas. (Saulius Girnius) SAVISAAR: PAVLOV MEETING "FRUITFUL". Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar told reporters that his meeting with his Soviet counterpart on August 13 was "fruitful," Baltifax reported that day. Savisaar, who met with Valentin Pavlov in Moscow to discuss trade and economic cooperation, said an agreement governing those areas would be ready by 1992. (Riina Kionka) WHEN WILL RUSSIA RATIFY? While in Moscow, Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar also met with Yuri Skokov, and adviser to RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, Baltfax reported on August 13. Skokov reportedly quoted Yeltsin as saying that the political and economic agreement signed between Estonia and the RSFSR on January 12 would become valid after Russia signs the Union treaty. The Estonian Supreme Council ratified the agreement in January, but the RSFSR parliament has not yet done so. (Riina Kionka) RIGA RAILROAD CUSTOMS POST SUFFERS ANOTHER ATTACK. Six armed men attacked the Riga railroad station customs post at 23:40 on August 12, reported Baltfax of August 13. They break the door and windows of the office and beat up a customs officials who was on duty at the time. One of the attackers was wearing an OMON uniform. (Dzintra Bungs) TALKS BETWEEN LATVIAN AND USSR MINISTRIES OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS. Latvian Minister of Internal Affairs Aloizs Vaznis told Radio Riga on August 13 that no progress had been made during the talks in Moscow that he had had with the USSR First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Shilov. Vaznis said that Moscow was still proposing that Latvia take over the responsibility and authority for OMON--a proposal that Latvia finds unacceptable, since it wants these special forces to leave Latvia entirely. (Dzintra Bungs) NO PROGRESS IN TRACKING DOWN OMON TRANSGRESSORS. Radio Riga reported on August 13 that no convictions have been made of those responsible for the OMON attacks on people and property this year. Chief Investigator Rita Aksjonoka said that the principal problem is that it is impossible to interrogate a member of the OMON. (Dzintra Bungs) OMON UNITS FROM RIGA IN LITHUANIA ON JULY 31? Radio Riga reported on August 13 that OMON units were seen leaving Latvia for Lithuania on July 31, the day that that the Lithuanian customs officials at the Medininkai post were attacked. On their way they changed cars, starting out in a car registered to OMON, and later driving an MVD vehicle. (Dzintra Bungs) CHINESE DIPLOMAT ON LATVIAN INDEPENDENCE. Van Fensyan, Consul General of China in Leningrad paid a visit to Latvia, Diena reported on August 12. He said that "the question of Latvia's independence is an internal affair of the USSR." He added the he hoped that both Latvia and the USSR would resolve the question peacefully. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS PAVLOV WARNS OF POWER VACUUM AFTER UNION TREATY IS SIGNED. At his press conference in Moscow on August 13, USSR premier Valentin Pavlov warned of the risk of a power vacuum after the Union treaty was signed unless the center retained some control over the economy, Western agencies reported August 13. Pavlov appeared to be reacting to Yeltsin's remarks to leaders of the federation of independent trade unions of Russia on August 10 that the power of the Union ministries would end after August 20 and "neither Pavlov, nor Petrov, nor Sidorov" would any longer be able to dispose of the property on a given territory. Pavlov maintained that in certain key sectors republics would still have to take the central authorities into account when making important decisions. (Ann Sheehy) MORE ON PAVLOV'S PRESS CONFERENCE. To judge from the TASS and Western agency coverage of August 13, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov's press conference of that date was not as exciting as had been promised/threatened. Reporting on the deliberations of the USSR Cabinet of Ministers on August 12, Pavlov said that this year's grain harvest would be "considerably" lower than in 1990, but such emergency measures as mobilizing labor and trucks had been rejected; a new body named Agrosnab has been created to help with harvesting and distribution; widespread and chronic shortages of electricity are anticipated for "at least five years" because of a freeze on the construction of new nuclear stations, the coal-miners' strike, and the dilapidated state of the energy sector. (Keith Bush) PAVLOV PICKS ON YELTSIN. According to Pavlov, his first deputy, Vladimir Shcherbakov, had proposed a nationwide wage freeze. The RSFSR representative had agreed in principle, but requested a delay while the republic implemented wage increases that had been granted since April. The other 14 republics wanted a week to consider the pay freeze. Pavlov characterized the RSFSR objections as being "of a purely populist character." He criticized the RSFSR government for promising pay increases to coal-miners and for proposing to raise oil and coal producer prices. The prime minister stated that a wage freeze was needed in order to stabilize the ballooning money supply. He declined to give an official estimate of inflation at mid-year (it is believed to be considerably in excess of 100 percent over June 1990). (Keith Bush) MILITARY EXERCISES NEAR NUCLEAR PLANT. Interfax in English reported August 13 that units from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Baltic Fleet, the Leningrad regional department of the KGB, and several border guard units have held four days of training exercises near the Leningrad nuclear power station. The large-scale exercises were reportedly held in order to train the units how to defend a nuclear power station in the event of subversive acts or other extraordinary situations. Exercise directors were cited as saying that the MVD troops displayed "adequate skills," but that air and sea defenses for the nuclear plant are inadequate. (Keith Bush) LUSHCHIKOV ON REGISTRATION OF PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS. USSR minister of Justice Sergei Lushchikov told Izvestia on August 13 that only two political parties--the CPSU and the Liberal Democratic Party--are among the more than 200 public organizations that have now been registered at the all-Union level. No other political party has been able to satisfy all of the requirements for registration as a national party. He also noted that many organizations cannot be registered because they violate Article 17 of the USSR law on public organizations, which forbids such groups from pursuing commercial aims. Asked why the CPSU and Komsomol were registered despite the fact that they engage in commercial activity, Lushchikov said that it was because making money is not the raison d'etre of either the CPSU or Komsomol. (Dawn Mann) "PATRIOTS" UNITE AGAINST ELECTED GOVERNMENTS. The leadership of the RSFSR Communist Party, the military and ultranationalist Russian literati are busy trying to establish a mass movement of all "patriotic" forces to replace the present state power, probably by violent means. The movement is to embrace hard-core Orthodox Marxists as well as anti-Communists, such as the Pamyat Society, known for their illiberal and anti-Semitic convictions. On August 13, TSN broadcast an interview with the movement's organizers, writers Aleksandr Prokhanov and Eduard Volodin, who signed the notorious "Word to the Nation" calling on all true Russian patriots to joint their ranks against Gorbachev's and Yeltsin's establishments. Prokhanov told TSN that they plan to hold a founding congress in September or October. (Julia Wishnevsky) SILAEV EXPLAINS OIL PRICE INCREASES. RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev refuted Soviet press reports that the internal Soviet price for oil would rise to 280 rubles per ton, according to Radio Mayak on August 13. At the same time, he confirmed that prices on oil and other natural resources would increase, and said that consultations with other republics on this issue have already begun. Silaev foresees a movement of Soviet internal trade prices towards world market prices, beginning with oil and natural resources. (Resource-poor republics are certain to demur.) He said it was too early to predict the eventual price level for oil in the USSR. (John Tedstrom) PAVLOV ON "REAL" ECONOMIC REFORM. In an interview published in Rabochaya Tribuna August 13, Soviet prime minister Pavlov warned readers not to expect real economic reform by the end of the year, TASS reported the same day. Pavlov insisted, on the other hand, that a noticeable stabilization in economic performance had begun. (Perhaps that gives conservatives' arguments against real reform more credibility, or at least takes the pressure off introducing radical reform in the near term.) Pavlov reiterated his goal of restructuring the economy towards social needs, using the market as a tool, not as an end in itself. (John Tedstrom) MOSCOW STUDENTS PROTEST AGAINST THE DRAFT. Moscow students have set up a strike committee to protest against proposed legislation on military service, under which all students under 27 would have to serve in the army for 2 years, TASS reported August 13. The army has argued against preferential treatment for students, given the need for more draftees. According to a member of the strike committee, Nikolai Pakhomov, the students' goal is "real reform of the army". The strike committee is establishing contacts with colleges in other parts of the country and will produce leaflets and organize a picket, to persuade People's Deputies to consider their view. If these means do not prove sufficient, they will organize demonstrations and then a strike, including hundreds of thousands of students. (Sarah Ashwin) ZHIRINOVSKY QUESTIONS FINNISH INDEPENDENCE. The USSR Ministry of Defense has distanced itself from remarks made by the leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky who, in an interview with the Finnish newspaper Iltalechti, questioned Finland's independence. Zhirinovsky, who has started a personal campaign for the post of USSR president, claimed that Finland should be part of a Russian empire and added that his views correspond with those of the Defense Ministry. On August 13, Novosti quoted Valerii Manilov, chief of the defense ministry's information service, as saying that Zhirinovsky's statement is the latter's personal view and is by no means supported by the defense ministry. (Alexander Rahr) OF YOUNG PEOPLE'S SOULS. Irina Ovchinnikova describes in a long article in Izvestia, August 5, how a young boy was utterly unperturbed after his schoolmate died in a fight with him. Ovchinnikova says that this is the result of a lack of religious morality in the upbringing of this young man and of youth in general. (Oxana Antic) A NEW SOVIET EXPORT--YOUNG WOMEN. A Novosti report of August 12 indicates that a number of new Soviet businesses are making money in the so-called escort business. The report lists a Soviet-Polish joint venture called "Intersex," a state-run firm called "Soveskortexport," and an undientified firm named "Russian Beauty." Novosti says Arab countries are keenest to hire young Soviet women for what it coyly describes as "all sorts of jobs." Young women from Georgia and Estonia are in particular demand in Western Europe, the report says, since Russian women "talk back and overindulge." Russian waitresses hired by an Italian bar, the report says, were sent back to the USSR since they ate too well in Italy and gained too much weight. (Elizabeth Teague) USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS YELTSIN EVADES SOME OF THE ISSUES. In a statement published in Nezavisimaya gazeta in reply to the recent appeal by leading radicals including Elena Bonner and Yurii Afanas'ev not to sign the Union treaty on August 20, Yeltsin argues that any delay would play into the hands of conservative forces and that Gorbachev has promised that, as soon the treaty is signed, he will issue a decree making over the whole economic potential of the RSFSR to the republic. Yeltsin also rejects the argument that he has no right to sign the treaty, maintaining that the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has discussed it more than once and the draft was published. He chooses to ignore the resolution of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet of July 5 stipulating that it must discuss the final text before the treaty is signed. It seems likely that there will be some tough talking today when he is due to meet RSFSR deputies from both ends of the political spectrum to explain his stand. (Ann Sheehy) FIRST CONFERENCE OF MUSLIM PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS IN THE USSR. A forum of Muslim public organizations devoted to "The Islamic Factor in Eastern European Process" will be held for the first time in the USSR from August 22-26, Moscow radio reported August 13. The forum, which is being organized by the recently-created Moscow Islamic Cultural Center, will be attended by Muslim religious and public figures, businessmen, and diplomats from 12 countries. They will discuss inter alia problems of the Muslim youth movement, entrepreneurship, and a single information system for Muslims. (Ann Sheehy) DISSENSION OVER IDEA OF SIBERIAN REPUBLIC. A proposal to create a Siberian Soviet Federal Republic with its capital in Novosibirsk, recently published in the Tomsk newspaper Narodnaya tribuna, has been the subject of heated argument, TASS reported from Novosibirsk August 13. The new republic would embrace 19 krais, oblasts, and national-state formations. The idea is said to have been fiercely rejected by the acting chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov and RSFSR premier Ivan Silaev. Others do not reject the idea out of hand but believe that to create it now would play into the hands of conservative forces. According to TASS, the idea of proclaiming a Siberian republic was first expressed publicly a year ago by some Siberian leaders but did not receive support. (Ann Sheehy) NAZARBAEV SAYS REPUBLICS TO MEET WITHOUT MOSCOW. Novosti reported on August 13 that Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbaev has said that leaders of the 15 union republics plan to gather as soon as possible to discuss how to organize relations among republics and how to put a stop to the bloodshed that has occurred in many parts of the country. According to the report, the participants have already agreed that the center should not take part in the meeting. (Bess Brown) YELTSIN/KUPTSOV TALKS. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin and RSFSR CP leader Valentin Kuptsov have met to ease tensions which have risen in connection with the decree on depolitization. TASS on August 13 reported that Yeltsin rejected the idea of suspending the decree until the Committee on Constitutional Observance has checked its validity. At the same time he promised not to disband Party committees by force. Kuptsov assured Yeltsin that under his leadership the RSFSR CP will support "progressive reform." Yeltsin and Kuptsov agreed to hold regular meetings in future. (Alexander Rahr) SOBCHAK ATTACKED BY LENSOVET. Leningrad's mayor Anatolii Sobchak faces a serious conflict with the Leningrad City Council over privatization of the city's property. Izvestia reported on August 13 that the Presidium of the Leningrad City Council has questioned Sobchak's right to conduct the privatization of the city's property only through the mayor's office without the participation of the City Council. Sobchak responded that questions of privatization of city property are not within the competence of the Presidium of the Leningrad City Council and that he intends to defend the sovereignty of his office. (Alexander Rahr) DENIAL THAT COSSACK UNITS ARE HELPING KEEP LAW AND ORDER IN LENINGRAD. On August 13 the Leningrad city department of internal affairs categorically rejected reports in the media that Cossack units were helping the militia to keep law and order in "Northern Palmyra" (Leningrad), Moscow radio reported August 13. The reports were also said to have exaggerated the size of the Cossack community on the Neva, which numbers only about 500 families. (Ann Sheehy) CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. TASS reported on August 13 that the heads of state of the five Central Asian republics are meeting in Tashkent to assess the results of the cooperation agreement they signed a year ago in Alma-Ata. They will also discuss the new Union treaty; Interfax on August 14 quoted Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev as saying on his arrival in the Uzbek capital that all republics planning to sign the treaty should ask whether it will be the prelude to fundamental changes that will end the country's economic crisis. An Azerbaijani delegation led by that republic's prime minister is attending with observer status. (Bess Brown) COORDINATION COMMISSION TO BE ESTABLISHED. The TASS report of the Central Asian presidents' meeting adds that a permanent commission to coordinate the socio-economic development of the five republics is expected to be set up. One of its first tasks will presumably be to coordinate the terms of the myriad bilateral agreements which the Central Asian republics have concluded with other Soviet republics. (Bess Brown) ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER ON UNION TREATY. TASS August 13 quoted Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan as proposing at a news conference in Erevan August 13 that Armenia could become an "associate member" of the Soviet Union. Manukyan said that it would make sense for Armenia to sign the Union Treaty only if it contained a provision on the procedure of secession from the Union. Armenia is due to hold a referendum on September 21 on secession from the USSR. (Liz Fuller) DEPOLITIZATION IN KYRGYZSTAN. Radio Mayak, quoting Novosti, reported on August 13 that the Communist Party organization of Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Internal Affairs is holding a conference to discuss the question of whether Party committees should be removed from the law enforcement agency. According to the same report, Communists in the Kirgiz KGB are discussing a draft appeal to republican president Askar Akaev to issue a decree on the removal of Party committees from all law enforcement agencies in the republic. (Bess Brown) KIRGIZ STUDENTS TO STUDY IN TURKEY. Pravda reported on August 9 that a group of students from the Kirgiz State University are being sent to Turkey to study Turkic culture at the University of Istanbul. Their stay is being financed by the Turkish Fund for the Study of the Problems of the Turkic World. Studies of other groups of students from Kyrgyzstan will be subsidized by Arab states, Japanese and Dutch sponsors--the last-named are enabling Kirgiz to study agriculture in the Netherlands. Sending students to study abroad is a pet project of Kyrgyzstan's physicist-president Akaev. (Bess Brown) UKRAINE-KIRGIZSTAN EXPAND ECONOMIC COOPERATION. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin is in Kyrgyzstan on an official visit, Radio Kiev reported on August 13. The main purpose of his visit is to sign an agreement on economic cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine for 1992. (Natalie Melnyczuk) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO UNION TREATY. Meeting August 12 in Kishinev with a Romanian trade union delegation, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur was cited as "stressing once more Moldavia's firm determination not to sign the union treaty, but to expand cooperation with other republics in all fields". Snegur said that Moldavia will stay its course despite pressures from "the central leadership and extremists in the republic," Moldovapres reported August 13. (Vladimir Socor) MORE ON MOLDAVIA-RSFSR AGREEMENT. Expressing his satisfaction with the economic agreement just signed by Moldavia with the RSFSR (see Daily Report, August 13), Snegur told the Russian Information Agency August 13 that the document confirmed Yeltsin's earlier reassurances to Moldavia that cooperation between the two republics will not be hindered by Moldavia's nonparticipation in the union treaty. RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev, who signed the agreement in Kishinev, told Moldovapres the same day that the RSFSR's cooperation with Moldavia "is considerably more successful than is the case with other republics". Moreover, RSFSR-Moldavian cooperation will facilitate the resolution of the problems of Russians in Moldavia and Moldavians in the Russian Federation, Silaev said. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA INCHING TOWARD OWN FINANCIAL SYSTEM. Moldavia's law on "The National Bank and Banking in the Republic" went into effect August 13, Moldovapres reported the same day. Under the law, the Moldavian National Bank is empowered to "work out the unitary state policy of the Republic of Moldavia with respect to monetary circulation" and set the exchange rate "of Moldavia's currency in relation to foreign currencies". The Moldavian National Bank will have a specialized department handling financial operations connected with foreign investments in Moldavia. The republican government is on record for favoring the introduction of a republican currency. (Vladimir Socor)
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