We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 157, 20 August 1991





USSR

COUP IN USSR - SITUATION IN THE CENTER AND RSFSR

YELTSIN ISSUES ULTIMATUM. In an ultimatum issued today to the
chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Anatolii Lukyanov, RSFSR
President Boris Yeltsin made the following demands: 1) that he
be allowed to meet within the next 24 hours with deposed USSR
President Mikhail Gorbachev, in the presence of acting President
Gennadii Yanaev; 2) that Gorbachev be given a medical examination,
at the expense of the Russian government, within three days by
doctors from the World Health Organization and that the results
of the examination be made public; 3) that all restrictions on
the RSFSR media be lifted; 4) that troops be withdrawn from Moscow
and Leningrad; 5) that the Emergency Committee that yesterday
seized power be disbanded. Details of the ultimatum were reported
August 20 by CNN. (Elizabeth Teague)

GORBACHEV BACK IN MOSCOW? Yeltsin's chief aide, Gennadii Burbulis,
was quoted today by CNN as telling RSFSR people's deputies August
20 that Gorbachev was returned to Moscow late in the night of
August 19 by plane from the Crimea. Burbulis said that several
special military aircraft arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo airport
at 9:45 P.M. Moscow time and that the RSFSR leadership believes
Gorbachev was on board one of the planes. CNN noted that the
story could not be confirmed; its Moscow correspondent commented
that returning Gorbachev to Moscow, where he still enjoys considerable
support, would not appear to be a very sensible move on the part
of the coup organizers. (Elizabeth Teague)

TANKS FROM ELITE DIVISION BACK YELTSIN. Soldiers manning ten
tanks from the elite Taman Motor Rifle Division have apparently
opted to support Yeltsin, according to CNN and Western news agencies
today. The tanks have reportedly crossed barricades and taken
up positions outside the Russian Parliament building. These same
reports indicate that a number of armored personnel carriers
and other military vehicles have also moved to defend the Russian
President. RFE/RL Russian service correspondents claim that as
many as thirty tanks and APC's from the Taman, Kantemirov, and
Dzershinsky have defected to defend the RSFSR Supreme Soviet.
(Stephen Foye)

GENERAL KOBETS DEFECTS? According to this morning's (August 20)
Washington Post, Lieutenant General Konstantin Kobets joined
Yeltsin yesterday before the crowd gathered at the Russian Parliament
building. Kobets reportedly said that soldiers were not obliged
to obey the orders of superior officers during the present coup
attempt. "Just because these officers and generals are wearing
uniforms," he was reported as saying, "does not mean that the
soldiers will support them." If true, Kobets' defection to Yeltsin
is a significant one. He is currently chief of the RSFSR Defense
Committee, and prior to that was a rising star within the Soviet
General Staff, where he is believed to have close ties with General
Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev. His actions could indicate opposition
within the High Command itself over the coup attempt. (Stephen
Foye)

MINERS IN SIBERIA AND VORTUKA FOLLOW YELSTIN'S STRIKE CALL. Coal
miners in Artic Vortuka and the Siberia Kuzbass have begun a
strike this morning (August 20) Western press agencies reported.
In Vortuka, strike committee member Yurii Kovalenko said 5 out
of 13 Vortuka pits are on strike and 26 pits in the Kuzbass have
stopped work, according to an unnamed union spokesman from Kemerovo
quoted by Western agencies. There are also unconfirmed reports
of strikes in the mining areas of Belorussia and Ukraine. The
Russian miners in the Kuzbass and Vortuka have been Yeltsin's
firmest supporters. They held a two month strike in the spring
of this year in support of further economic and political reform.
(Sarah Ashwin)

CONSTITUTIONAL WATCHDOG CHALLENGES SEIZURE OF POWER. In a statement
read August 19 on the Vremya TV news program, the USSR Committee
for Constitutional Oversight pointed out that, under the constitution,
the right to declare a state of emergency belongs to the USSR
Supreme Soviet. The constitutional watchdog body, whose recommendations
have advisory force only, accordingly called on the members of
the State Committee for the State of Emergency in the USSR to
turn to the USSR Supreme Soviet. The Supreme Soviet is reportedly
due to convene on August 27 or 28. The watchdog body is, therefore,
casting doubt on the legality of the Emergency Committee's actions.
(Sallie Wise and Elizabeth Teague)

RSFSR FOREIGN MINISTER SENT TO WASHINGTON. CNN reported at 10:00
A.M. CEST today (August 20) that the RSFSR government is sending
republican foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev to Washington to put
its case to the Bush administration. Encouraged by US President
George Bush's remarks that in the present situation he regards
Yeltsin as the only legitimate leader in Moscow, the RSFSR President
now seeks a firm alliance with the US against the hardliners
in the Kremlin. (Alexander Rahr)

YAZOV FLEW TO CRIMEA BEFORE GORBACHEV'S OUSTER. The New York
Times reported today (August 20) that Soviet Defense Minister
Dmitrii Yazov flew to the Crimea to speak with Mikhail Gorbachev
on August 18, just hours before the State Committee for the State
of Emergency in the USSR announced that Yanaev had taken over
from Gorbachev. The purpose of Yazov's trip is still uncertain.
Two prominent theories are: 1) He wanted to give Gorbachev one
last chance to join the group that formed the "emergency committee;
and 2) He wanted to oversee Gorbachev's arrest/detention personally.
(John Tedstrom)

YAZOV CHAIRMAN OF EMERGENCY COMMITTEE. In a little noticed statement
from Yanaev, he announced to the heads of foreign governments
and the United Nations that "all powers in the country are transferred
to the State Committee for the State of Emergency in the USSR
chaired by Yazov. TASS carried a report of the message August
19. It may have been in his capacity as chairman of the committee
that Yazov flew to the Crimea to speak with Gorbachev. (John
Tedstrom)

LENINGRAD UNDER MILITARY RULE. Leningrad is reported to be under
the control of the Soviet military, according to an Interfax
report transmitted this morning by the Japanese Kyodo news service.
Colonel General Viktor Samsonov, the commander of the Leningrad
military district, has instituted a state of emergency and ordered
a curfew in Leningrad. He is also reported to have issued an
order banning all strikes and demonstrations as well as some
political parties and mass media. Workers have been forbidden
to leave their jobs. Samsonov calls himself Chairman of the Leningrad
State of Emergency Committee whose other members include regional
CP First Secretary Boris Gidaspov, Deputy Mayor Vyacheslav Shcherbakov,
and regional Supreme Soviet Chairman Yurii Yarov. According to
RFE/RL's Russian service last night, however, Yarov and Shcherbakov
protested the inclusion of their names the list of members of
the Leningrad Emergency committee. They reportedly called the
RSFSR SupSov and declared their support for Yeltsin. (Carla Thorson
and Sallie Wise)

SITUATION IN LENINGRAD. The Leningrad city council held an emergency
session August 19 at which deputies expressed support for Yeltsin's
decree and his appeal to the citizens of Russia. Thousands of
people gathered at the Isaakii Square in front of the council's
headquarters, Vremya reported yesterday. A demonstration and
strikes against the conservative takeover and military rule in
Leningrad are planned for today. Addressing Leningrad residents
on local radio on August 19, the commander of the Leningrad military
district, Colonel General Viktor Samsonov, who took over rule
in the city, said that some political parties and public organizations
would be disbanded in Leningrad. He said that members and leaders
of these parties and organizations will be "forcefully employed
at factories, enterprises and collective farms." (Vera Tolz)


SOBCHAK CONDEMNS COUP. Leningrad mayor Anatolii Sobchak said
August 19 that the "coup d' etat by a group of adventurers" staged
against Gorbachev was illegal. Interviewed by an independent
reporter at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, Sobchak said Gorbachev
was not ill, as claimed by Yanaev. In an interview with RFE/RL's
Russian service, Sobchak called for an immediate emergency session
of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies and for emergency sessions
of the parliaments of the republics. He said these sessions should
condemn the anti-Gorbachev forces and remove them from power.
Sobchak also called for an immediate nationwide strike which
would last until the new rulers have stepped down. He urged army
and MVD troops not to act against their own people. (Vera Tolz)


YANAEV'S PRESS CONFERENCE. Yanaev gave his first official press
conference on August 19; at his side were Defense council first
deputy chairman Oleg Baklanov, Minister of Internal affairs Boriss
Pugo, Vasilii Starodubtsev, and Aleksandr Tizyakov. His opening
remarks were constructed to appeal to the broadest possible audience
(which consisted of Soviet and foreign journalists), offering
repeated assurances of the Emergency Committee's commitment to
both democratic political and market-oriented economic reform,
while simultaneously championing conservative causes. Yanaev
called on all citizens to mobilize to bring in the harvest. He
promised a nationwide discussion of the draft Union treaty, in
which every citizen of the USSR would have a chance to speak
and promised that the Emergency Committee would "clean the streets"
of the "criminal element." Yanaev also warned the international
community that "no one will ever be permitted to encroach upon
our sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity." Yanaev
closed his remarks by noting that all "constructive appeals"
would be gratefully received. (Dawn Mann)

YANAEV ON GORBACHEV. The first question concerned Gorbachev's
whereabouts, to which Yanaev replied that Gorbachev was in the
Crimea, resting: "After all these years, he is very tired and
some time will be needed for him to regain his health." Yanaev
said that the Emergency Committee and he personally hope that
"my friend President Gorbachev" will return to his post, to continue
the course begun in 1985, and that in the meantime, he was completely
safe: "he's not a state criminal--this is a man who did everything
to put us on the path of democracy." Yanaev refused to comment
on Gorbachev's position as General Secretary, but he did say
that Deputy General Secretary Vladimir Ivashko was ready to work.
He added that a Central Committee plenum or CPSU Congress would
decide the question. (Dawn Mann)

YANAEV WARNS MUSCOVITES AND OTHERS NOT TO PROVOKE MILITARY. Yanaev
interrupted the question and answer period at one point to tell
his audience that all laws and resolutions that would be issued
by anyone other than the Emergency Committee would be reviewed
by the committee. He cautioned the leaders and citizens of the
Russian Federation, warning that their acts--erecting barricades,
and so on--could lead to a military provocation, the responsibility
for which would rest with the republic's leaders. (Dawn Mann)


YANAEV/TIZYAKOV ON ECONOMIC PLANS. Asked by a Pravda correspondent
whether the Emergency Committee had a concrete economic program
and whether it would observe laws already adopted, Tizyakov said
the committee would not deviate from the reforms already begun,
but considers it necessary to organize them at the highest administrative
levels. Yanaev said the first step was to save the harvest, to
be followed by a national inventory, after which the committee
would tell the people just how it expected to resolve the housing
problem. The third priority, Yanaev said, was to take care of
energy and transport needs, so that the country would survive
the winter. (Dawn Mann)

EMERGENCY COMMITTEE WILL NOT FORCE REPUBLICS TO SIGN UNION TREATY.
Yanaev said the Emergency Committee will respect the wishes of
the population in the Baltic states, Moldavia, Georgia, and Armenia
with regard to the draft Union Treaty: "We will respect the will
of the people." (Dawn Mann)

YANAEV TO ASK USSR SUPREME SOVIET FOR SUPPORT. One constitutional
requirement that was overlooked by the Emergency Committee was
the need for the approval of a two-thirds majority of the USSR
Supreme Soviet for the introduction of a state of emergency.
Yanaev told the reporters that the USSR Supreme Soviet will convene
on August 27 (it was to meet on September 14) and a vote held.
(Dawn Mann)

YANAEV ON PRESS. Yanaev told reporters from Argumenty i fakty
and Nezavismaya gazeta that the committee would not be closing
any newspapers but would be "re-registering" them because much
of the blame for the current chaos in the country lies with the
media. He refused to comment on the criteria for re-registration.
(Dawn Mann)

CPSU NOT INVOLVED IN COMMITTEE'S FORMATION. Yanaev said that
neither the Politburo nor the Secretariat had been consulted
concerning the formation of the Emergency Committee, but that
there would be consultations with them in the future, "based
on the mood within the Party and society" for order. (Dawn Mann)


RUTSKOI ISSUES APPEAL TO ARMY/YOUNG PEOPLE. RSFSR Vice president
Aleksandr Rutskoi issued an emotional appeal on August 19 calling
on the Soviet armed forces not to support the USSR State Committee
for the State of Emergency. The appeal was distributed by the
Russian Information Agency. Dawn Mann)

MEDIA SUPPRESSED. RFE/RL's Russian service was told yesterday
that the military had placed censors in all independent newspapers,
such as Moskovskii komsomolets, Megapolis-Express, and Kuranty.
TASS later reported August 19 that all but nine national newspapers
have been banned. Those which can be published are: Trud, Rabochaya
tribuna, Izvestia, Pravda, Krasnaya zvezda, Sovetskaya Rossiya,
Moskovskaya pravda, Leninskoe znamya, and Sel'skaya zhizn'. Meanwhile,
Soviet TV announced August 19 that RSFSR TV's programming has
been cancelled and that it will henceforth carry the same programming
as all other Soviet TV channels. Radio Mayak started broadcasting
the Radio Moscow-1 program at noon yesterday, and Radio Rossii
began broadcasting at noon yesterday without carrying its usual
announcement. (Julia Wishnevsky and Sallie Wise)

MORE ON SITUATION IN SOVIET MEDIA. Although Izvestia is among
the central newspapers whose publication is allowed by the Committee
for the State of Emergency, it did not appear on August 19, an
independent journalist in Moscow told RFE/RL yesterday. The journalist
said that workers destroyed the typeset issue that already had
been set up because the issue failed to carry Yeltsin's appeal
to the Russian people. Meanwhile, RFE/RL technical monitors have
no evidence of any resumption of jamming of foreign radio broadcasts.
(Vera Tolz)

MOSCOW NEWS DEFIES THE BAN. In a sign that the State Committee's
control of the situation is limited, Moscow News has reportedly
been able to publish today's issue despite the ban. It is not
clear in which publishing house the issue was printed. In an
interview broadcast August 19 by the German TV's ARD program
Moscow News's correspondent in Germany said that the weekly's
office is occupied by the troops. He said that he has already
received an instruction from the newspaper's editorial board
to try to arrange the publication of the paper in Germany. (Julia
Wishnevsky and Vera Tolz).

MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI ISSUES BONNER STATEMENT. Although banned from
publishing by the Emergency Committee, Moskovskie novosti published
a statement from Yelena Bonner, the widow of Andrei Sakharov,
calling on Muscovites to prove that they "are worthy of the name
of residents of the capital and the state or are simply a mob
interested only in sausage." "When Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov
died, a half million Muscovites went out on the streets. If we
repeat this today, we will win." (Dawn Mann)

YAKOVLEV AND SHEVARDNADZE CALL FOR WESTERN SUPPORT AND NON-VIOLENT
RESISTANCE. In response to yesterday's coup Alexander Yakovlev
and Eduard Shevardnadze on August 19 called on the West to support
democracy in the Soviet Union. In a statement made available
to western news agencies, the two prominent reformers repeated
RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin's call for a general strike and
denounced the, "betrayal of the interests of the people, of freedom
and democracy." (Carla Thorson)

YELTSIN TURNS TO PATRIARCH. According to RFE/RL's Russian service
yesterday, Yeltsin addressed Patriarch Aleksii II asking him
to use "all of his authority" and not to stand aside from the
events which are happening now. (Oxana Antic)

SITUATION IN THE BALTIC STATES

LITHUANIAN SUPREME COUNCIL SESSION. At an emergency session on
August 19-20, the Lithuanian parliament unanimously ratified
the Lithuania-RSFSR treaty, signed on July 29. The session issued
a statement addressed to Yeltsin vigorously condemning the attempt
to overthrow the democratically elected RSFSR government and
expressing solidarity with "all progressive Russian forces."
It also issued an appeal to the parliaments and governments of
the world's democratic states calling on them to officially recognize
the Republic of Lithuania and establish diplomatic relations
with it. The appeal called on the CSCE to apply the conflict
resolution mechanism envisaged by the Paris Charter and send
a fact-finding mission to Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius)

OTHER ACTIONS. The session adopted a resolution "inviting the
people of Lithuania to begin a political strike for an unlimited
period of time in enterprises and organizations" (except for
health care, agriculture, communications, energy, food industry
and transport) if the government was impeded from executing its
duties. It also issued an appeal asking "all soldiers and officers
of the Soviet armed forces which are in Lithuania not to make
encroachments on the residents of Lithuania, their democratically
elected leadership." (Saulius Girnius and Gytis Liulevicius)


VAGNORIUS APPEALS TO LITHUANIANS. On August 19, Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius issued a statement warning of the possibility
of Soviet military intervention in Lithuania. He emphasized,
however, that the Lithuanian government will continue to function
so long as conditions allow, and appealed to Lithuanians not
to fall prey to any provocations or to organize "any actions
that would cause an exacerbation of the situation." In the event
that the Lithuanian leadership should fall, Vagnorius asked that
local governments also cease to function, so as not to associate
themselves in any way with the usurpers of power. (Gytis Liulevicius)


LANDSBERGIS APPEAL. On August 19 parliament chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis issued an appeal "to the nations of the world and
the governments of free governments, to the UN and other international
organizations." He noted that the danger of Soviet military violence
threatened the lives of the people of the Republic of Lithuania
and called for support for the legally-elected Lithuanian authorities.
He called on governments before it is too late to declare that
the introduction of Soviet military occupying rule would be a
continuation and consolidation of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. (Saulius
Girnius)

Note: Information the five items above was obtained from the
Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania Bureau of Information
on August 19 and 20.



SOVIET MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN LITHUANIA. The Lithuanian Information
Center reported that Soviet troops moved against media and communication
facilities in Lithuania on August 19. They seized the Lithuanian
TV and radio broadcast center in Kaunas and disconnected lines
to the Juragiai TV transmitter and Sitkunai radio relay station.
Soviet soldiers raided the main telephone exchange in Vilnius,
but apparently did not sever communication links. The port of
Klaipeda is under a blockade, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reported,
with Klaipeda garrison commander Colonel Chernykh declaring himself
to be in charge. About 80 tanks threatened the Lithuanian parliament
shortly after 11 P.M. last night, where deputies were meeting
in an emergency session with about 5,000 Lithuanians massed outside.
The tanks withdrew after 20 minutes. (Gytis Liulevicius)

KUZMIN VS. LANDSBERGIS. Baltic Military District Commander Fyodor
Kuzmin announced that he would be implementing the decrees of
the new Soviet leadership, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reported
August 19. In a telephone call to Landsbergis, Kuzmin demanded
that the National Defense Department be disarmed. Landsbergis
rejected the demand by noting that Soviet orders have no validity
on Lithuanian territory, and that the National Defense Department
is not armed in the first place, so there can be no disarmament
to speak of. (Gytis Liulevicius)

RUBIKS CALLS FOR NEW GOVERNMENT IN LATVIA. In a previously scheduled
morning press conference broadcast by Radio Riga on August 19,
Alfreds Rubiks, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the
hardline Latvian Communist Party, expressed satisfaction over
the events in Moscow. He said that a new government would be
formed in Latvia and that all political parties, except the LCP,
would be disbanded. He said also that the radical deputies of
the Supreme Council would be recalled; he singled out in particular
Dainis Ivans, deputy chairman of the Supreme Council, and deputies
Juris Dobelis and Odisejs Kostanda. According to Rubiks, a committee
on the state of emergency would be formed in Latvia. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LUKYANOV: NO STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LATVIA... Latvian Supreme
Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs telephoned Anatolii Lukyanov,
Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet to clarify the situation
in Latvia. According to Lukyanov, no state of emergency had been
declared in Latvia by the authorities in Moscow, reported Radio
Riga August 19. (Dzintra Bungs)

...WHILE TROOPS SURROUND RIGA. In the meanwhile, Soviet troops,
tanks, and armored vehicles were starting to take up key positions
in and around Riga. Radio Riga reported late in the afternoon
of August 19 troop concentrations at the main intersections on
the outskirts of the Latvian capital, and in the evening noted
that a column of tanks was moving from the base in Adazi to Riga.
Unusual military activity had was noted around a communications
center in Sigulda. (Dzintra Bungs)

APPEAL TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. On August 19 the Supreme Council
called on the local governments in Latvia 1) not to cooperate
in any way with the USSR armed forces, KGB, MVD, CPSU, and group
under the orders of the USSR state of emergency committee; 2)
to stand apart from any illegal entities of state power and their
activities; 3) to consider the orders and decisions of the formations
stemming from the USSR state of emergency committee as having
no legal force in Latvia; and 4) to obey under any and all circumstance
the laws and decisions of the Supreme Council and the Council
of Ministers of Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

SOVIET NAVAL CAPTAIN CLAIMS TO BE IN CHARGE OF LIEPAJA. Radio
Riga and Diena reported on August 19 that earlier that day Captain
Stalev, commander of Soviet garrison in Liepaja, had announced
to the Liepaja city council that he had been appointed Liepaja
war commander by his chief, Admiral Ivanov of the USSR Baltic
Fleet, and that power in the city had been taken over by a special
committee comprised of military and civilian representatives.
At the time, the city council was in session and everything had
been functioning normally in the Latvian port city. The council
decided to hold a special meeting at 5 P.M. local time to consider
the announcement. (Dzintra Bungs)

FIRST CASUALTIES IN LATVIA. Raimonds Salmins was killed around
10:30 P.M. local time on August 19 while driving a van in the
vicinity of the Riga's main railroad station. A passenger, Janis
Verpahovskis, was seriously injured and taken to the hospital.
They were the victims of bullets fired by OMON, reported Radio
Riga that day. Salmins was employed as a chauffeur by the Latvian
Writers' Association. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS SEIZED. Radio Riga reported
on August 19 that late that afternoon Soviet forces had taken
over the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as the Riga city
department of internal affairs. Unconfirmed Western reports indicate
that the main telephone and telegraph office in Riga has been
seized by Soviet troops. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN TV AND RADIO SILENT. The Latvian TV building was taken
over by OMON units and Soviet paratroopers during the afternoon
of August 19 and consequently stopped all programming, reported
Radio Riga that day. Radio Riga stopped shortwave broadcasts
(possibly also all other broadcasts) at around 2:15 AM on August
20, presumably also as a consequence of a Soviet troop takeover.
(Dzintra Bungs)

TROOPS IN TALLINN. Over 100 armored vehicles were moving into
Tallinn in three columns this morning (August 20), Estonian Radio
reported. The convoy of some 90 troop transports and 20 military
trucks crossed the Estonian-Latvian border at Murati last night.
Deputy chairman of the Tallinn city council Andres Kork told
the radio that the troops are returning to their barracks at
Tondi, Kopli and the Dvigatel factory, and called on Tallinn
residents to avoid any actions that could be provocative, allowing
the troops to return to their barracks peacefully. Estonian Radio
reported last night that a troop transport ship left Kaliningrad
yesterday headed for Tallinn. Although the harbor was blocked
briefly yesterday by Soviet military ships, it is open today,
as is the airport. (Riina Kionka)

MASS MEDIA HOLDING ON. Estonia is the only Baltic state where
the mass media are still operating freely. Estonian Radio and
Television continue broadcasting, and newspapers appeared today
(August 20). But it is widely believed that the Estonian mass
media will be shut off soon too, as the Latvian and Lithuanian
mass media have been. Despite Kork's statements that the military
convoy entering Tallinn is only headed for the barracks, many
Estonians believe that the troops will close in on the radio
and TV broadcasting center in the capital today. In a move signaling
reconciliation between the Supreme Council and the alternate
parliament, Supreme Council Speaker Ulo Nugis and Congress of
Estonia Chairman Tunne Kelam jointly called on the population
yesterday to defend the broadcasting center, and some 200 people
responded as of last night. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIA CONDEMNS COUP, GRANTS POWERS, APPEALS TO WORLD. The Estonian
Supreme Council yesterday (August 19) condemned the coup in Moscow,
saying that the so-called State Committee for the State of Emergency
was illegal and that any attempts to implement its program should
be rebuffed. In a separate resolution, the Supreme Council granted
emergency powers to a three-member Emergency Defense Council
of the Republic of Estonia. The Emergency Defense Council, set
up last January 13 and consisting of Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar,
Speaker Ulo Nugis and Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel,
is empowered to act in the state's behalf in restoring Estonian
state independence "should the activities of the Supreme Council
be obstructed." The Estonian Foreign Ministry sent RFE/RL the
Supreme Council's resolutions. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS YELTSIN. The Estonian Government
yesterday (August 19) issued a statement condemning the coup
and supporting Yeltsin's call for a general strike. The government
called on all democratic forces "in the current and former republics
of the Soviet Union" to defend democracy and freedom. Also on
August 19, Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar returned to
Tallinn from Stockholm, where he was on a short visit. Foreign
Minister Lennart Meri, however, traveled from Tallinn to Helsinki
to assure that the government would be represented abroad, in
case of emergency. Meri has orders to return only when the democratically
elected government of Estonia summons him. Estonian Radio reported
the government's actions on August 19. (Riina Kionka)

PRO-SOVIET FORCES STILL TESTING THE WIND. The leaders of Estonia's
non-Estonian population are guarded in their reactions to yesterday's
developments. ECP (CPSU platform) Central Committee secretary
Pavel Panfilov told the Estonian News Agency (ETA), as reported
in Paevaleht of August 20, that his party has no plans to form
a "national salvation committee." Supreme Council deputy and
Inter-regional Council leader Vladimir Lebedev told ETA the same
day that Gorbachev's ouster is not surprising, saying that Gorbachev
had failed to guarantee citizen safety and to keep to the USSR
constitution. TASS, however, reported that the strike committees
in Estonia fully support the new leaders in Moscow: "only through
joint and resolute action can we check the hunger, desolation
and civil war that are advancing on our multi-national country."
(Riina Kionka)

REACTION IN THE REPUBLICS

KRAVCHUK REACTION TO COUP. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet Leonid Kravchuk appeared on republican television yesterday
urging citizens to remain calm and patient, Radio Kiev reported
August 19. Kravchuk's address, which was also carried by radio,
noted that there was no state of emergency in Ukraine and that
the overall situation in the republic was stable. The Ukrainian
leader said that the appropriate evaluation of the situation
and conclusions will be made by the Presidium of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet and by the Supreme Soviet itself. Such serious
political matters, he declared, preclude hasty actions. There
was no doubt, he continued, that in a law-based state, "everything
must proceed on the basis of the law, including the announcement
of a state of emergency." (Roman Solchanyk)

"RUKH" CALLS FOR GENERAL STRIKE. The Popular Movement of Ukraine,
or "Rukh" yesterday called for a general strike in the republic
to protest the ouster of Gorbachev. Representatives of the democratic
opposition met yesterday in Kiev to discuss the situation and
coordinate their action. Vyacheslav Chornovil, chairman of the
Lvov Oblast Soviet, stated that he had been told that the commander
of the Carpathian Military District warned that military rule
would be imposed in the region in the event of disobedience.
(Roman Solchanyk)

REACTION IN UKRAINE TO COUP. Leaders of Ukraine's democratic
forces reacted to the news of the coup in Moscow by convening
a meeting yesterday afternoon in the building of the Ukrainian
Writers Union. They strongly condemned what had occurred in the
Soviet capital, called on the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet to do likewise, and decided to place the republic's democratic
forces on full readiness for a general strike. (Bohdan Nahaylo)


IMPLICATIONS FOR UKRAINE OF GORBACHEV'S DETENTION IN CRIMEA.
A democratic member of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet, Les' Tanyuk, pointed out yesterday that Gorbachev has
been detained in the Crimea, which is part of the Ukrainian SSR.
With the Ukrainian KGB now under the control of the Ukrainian
government, what right has the KGB from Moscow to detain the
ousted Soviet leader on Ukrainian territory, he asked. This is
one of the questions which was due to have been raised at this
morning's emergency meeting of the Presidium of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

GEORGIAN, ARMENIAN PRESIDENTS APPEAL FOR CALM. Georgian President
Zviad Gamsakhurdia, together with the republic's government and
the presidium of the Supreme Council, issued an appeal August
19 to the population to stay at their workplaces and perform
their duties "without yielding to provocation or taking unauthorized
action." Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan warned in a
Radio Erevan address that any self-motivated act or unconsidered
step might cause distorted interpretations and "short-sighted
reaction." (Liz Fuller)

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT CUTS SHORT IRAN VISIT. IRNA August 19 quoted
Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov as stating that he welcomed
Gorbachev's removal as "the natural consequence of the policies
that had brought chaos to the Soviet Union over the past few
years." IRNA subsequently reported that Mutalibov had cut short
his official visit to Teheran and flown home to Baku; it quoted
travellers at the Soviet-Iranian border point of Astara as saying
that tanks were patrolling the streets of Baku August 19, but
that there had been no clashes in the city. (Liz Fuller)

SITUATION IN KAZAKHSTAN AND UZBEKISTAN. In the course of the
August 19 press conference, Yanaev cited Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
as examples of regions where there was no need to declare a state
of emergency. TASS reported in the evening of August 19 that
Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev had appealed to the people
of the republic for calm and for support, and cited the need
to avoid confrontation, because emotional actions could lead
to serious social upheaval. The probability of a confrontation
with the military is heightened by the peace march which is moving
toward Semipalatinsk, intent on preventing the Ministry of Defense
from conducting the nuclear test planned for August 29. In his
appeal, Nazarbaev also stated that no state of emergency will
be introduced in Kazakhstan by outside forces, reiterating his
commitment to strengthening the republic's sovereignty and continuing
the reform process. (Bess Brown)


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

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