|Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith. - Christopher Fry|
No. 158, 21 August 1991
USSR COUP IN USSR - SITUATION IN THE CENTER AND RSFSR YELTSIN REPORTEDLY ORDERS ARREST OF COUP LEADERS. CNN said at 1:20 p.m. CEST that there are unconfirmed reports from Moscow that RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet that leaders of the coup are trying to leave Moscow by plane. Yeltsin associate Ruslan Khasbulatov suggested they might be on their way to the Crimea to see deposed president Mikhail Gorbachev; others speculate that they might be trying to flee the capital. Yeltsin has ordered that the unnamed coup leaders be arrested at Vnukovo airport if they try to leave. (Elizabeth Teague) COMMUNIST PARTY ENTERS THE FRAY--AGAINST THE COUP. Western agencies, citing TASS, reported at midday CEST August 21 that a meeting of the CPSU Secretariat has demanded that acting president Gennadii Yanaev meet immediately with deposed president Mikhail Gorbachev, believed to be under house arrest in the Crimea. The Party's demand was said to be signed by Vladimir Ivashko who, as deputy general secretary, is Gorbachev's second-in-command in the Party hierarchy. Ivashko was quoted as saying that, until the Party leadership met with Gorbachev, it could not instruct Communists how to react to the GKChP (the Emergency Committee). (Elizabeth Teague) DELEGATION TO CRIMEA. Yeltsin told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet this morning that a high-level delegation consisting of RSFSR Prime Minister Ivan Silaev and President Aleksandr Rutskoi is to travel imminently to the Crimea with a team of medical doctors to meet with Gorbachev. Reporting this news at 12:30 P.M. CEST, CNN said that originally KGB chairman Kryuchkov suggested that Yeltsin should make the journey but that, fearing a trap, the RSFSR government decided that Yeltsin should remain in Moscow and other high-level emissaries should lead the delegation instead. (Elizabeth Teague) COUP TURNS VIOLENT. The streets of Moscow are reported calm this morning after a night of tension during which three people are reported to have been killed. Demonstrators surrounded the RSFSR parliament building throughout the night, defying the curfew and torrential rain to defend Yeltsin, who was inside. Clashes broke out during the night as demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at tanks, at least two of which were set afire. Audiences throughout the world were able to follow developments as they were reported by Western agencies still operating relatively freely in the Soviet capital. The curfew will be in effect again tonight. (Elizabeth Teague) IS THE COUP UNRAVELING? There are signs that the group of eight men who launched Monday's coup is beginning to fall apart. From the outset, the coup has been conducted in a inept way. Now, in a classic scenario whereby conspirators turn against one another, its leaders are falling out. Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov are both said to have left the group due to "ill health." A report that Kryuchkov has stepped down was denied last night, but the rumor's very existence is significant. What seems to be happening is that, as the coup develops and popular opposition mounts, those members of the group who lack the stomach for violence are discarded. As the softerline leaders drop out, the real hardline forces behind the group may be exposed. (Elizabeth Teague) YELTSIN TAKES COMMAND OF ARMED FORCES. In a decree issued on August 20, Yeltsin declared that he was taking immediate control of all armed forces units on the territory of the RSFSR. He ordered all units to remain at their permanent bases, and called upon units presently deployed to return to base. Yeltsin also declared all orders signed by Defense Minister Yazov and KGB Chairman Kryuchkov invalid, and ordered RSFSR Vice President Rutskoi to prepare proposals for the formation of an RSFSR National Guard. Yeltsin said that the decree was the result of "criminal" actions carried out by the coup leaders, arguing that their actions left the armed forces without proper constitutional oversight. He said that the decree would be in effect only until the USSR constitutional order was restored. (Stephen Foye) AND APPOINTS RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER. Yeltsin later appointed General Konstantin Kobets as Russian Defense Minister. Kobets had been serving as Chairman of the RSFSR State Committee for Defense. According to Western agencies August 20, Yeltsin said he made the appointment to ensure precise coordination with respect to troop command and to prevent the use of troops against the people. Kobets reportedly will serve "until the operation of constitutional bodies is fully restored." (Stephen Foye) RUMORS OF YAZOV'S RESIGNATION. Western agencies and CNN reported yesterday evening that speculation had arisen concerning Yazov's alleged resignation from the Emergency Committee--for reasons of health. According to the unconfirmed reports, Yazov was to have been replaced by General Staff Chief Mikhail Moiseev. But a Politburo member, Major General Mikhail Surkov, later denied that either Yazov or Kryuchkov had resigned. Surkov is Secretary of the All-Army Party Committee and heads the Communist Party's organization within the armed forces. (Stephen Foye) MORE RUMORS: TOP COMMANDERS SUPPORT YELTSIN. Rumors and denials continue to swirl about the High Command. On August 20 the Russian Information Agency and Interfax reported that two senior Airborne Forces commanders had defected--or tried to defect--to Yeltsin. The speculation centered on Airborne Forces Commander General Pavel Grachev, and on one of his Deputy Commanders, General Aleksandr Lebed'. Grachev had allegedly been arrested for his insubordination. Various Defense Ministry spokesmen rushed to deny the rumors, however. Speaking on Radio Moscow, Colonel General Aleksandr Ovchinnikov, First Deputy Chief of the MPA, "categorically" denied the reports, saying that they had been spread deliberately in order to sow discord within the High Command. (Stephen Foye) LENINGRAD COMMANDER GOES OVER TO YELTSIN?. Leningrad mayor Anatolii Sobchak and Lieutenant General Viktor Samsonov, the Commander of the Leningrad Military District, have reportedly agreed that soldiers deployed in the Leningrad district will not carry out the orders of the Emergency Committee in Moscow, Interfax reported on August 20. Samsonov earlier had disobeyed orders to deploy his troops in the city center. Meanwhile, a Moscow journalist told RFE/RL that Yeltsin has appointed his own military commander in Leningrad -- Rear Admiral Vyacheslav Sherbakov. If true, Samsonov's defection would be a significant loss for the High Command and the Emergency Committee. (Stephen Foye) DEFECTING MILITARY UNITS IN MOSCOW. An unidentified senior US administration official told The Washington Post today (August 21) that the three units principally involved in policing Moscow are the "Tula Quick Reaction Division," the Taman Motorized Rifle Division, and an unnamed heavy tank division. Units in the first two divisions, he said, have announced their loyalty to Yeltsin. The same official discounted reports that the Dzerzhinsky Division is playing a significant role in supporting the coup. Colonel General Ovchinnikov told Moscow Radio August 20 that the Kantemirovsk division, together with the Taman division and some Airborne Troops, are active in Moscow. An RSFSR official, Vladimir Lukin, had earlier told Western agencies that elements from the Ryazan Airborne Division, the Sevastopol infantry regiment, and a battalion from the Taman division, have moved to support Yeltsin. Military authorities have denied reports of defections and Colonel Valerii Ochirov, head of the USSR parliamentary defense committee, said that "I exclude the danger of a split" [in the military]. Interfax reported on August 20, however, that there is concern within the General Staff over widespread support for Yeltsin among mid-level officers. (Stephen Foye) WHAT'S HAPPENED TO GORBACHEV? RFE/RL's Russian service yesterday broadcast a tape of a speech by RSFSR State Secretary Sergei Stankevich providing details of Gorbachev's arrest on August 19, including many names of people directly involved in the coup. (Stankevich was addressing the crowd inside and outside the RSFSR SupSov headquaters via local radio.) According to Stankevich, Gorbachev was arrested by air defense troops led by supreme air defense commander General Igor' Mal'tsev. KGB units were also involved. According to Stankevich, the generals control all airspace and the sea. At least 16 ships, Stankevich said, control all the approaches to Gorbachev's dacha from the sea. Mal'tsev has ordered the arrest of everyone who may come to visit "the former USSR President" and to turn them over to the local KGB. (Julia Wishnevsky) WHO IS WITH GORBACHEV? Stankevich also listed the people held under arrest with Gorbachev. They are General Medvedev (head of Gorbachev's bodyguards), Gorbachev's advisers Anatolii Chernyaev and Georgii Shakhnazarov, Shakhnazarov's wife Anna Grigor'evna and their son, the prominent film director Karen Shakhnazarov. (Julia Wishnevsky) PAVLOV INDISPOSED. Last night's Vremya newscast reported that Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov is suffering from high blood pressure and is confined to bed. His responsibilities as Prime Minister have been assumed by First Deputy Prime Minister Vitalii Doguzhiev. Vremya did not say, however, whether Doguzhiev would take over Pavlov's role on the Emergency Committee. (Sallie Wise, Julia Wishnevsky and Elizabeth Teague) DOGUZHIEV REPLACES PAVLOV. Vitalii Doguzhiev, who has taken over from Pavlov, is a close associate of another member of the GKChP, Oleg Baklanov. Both men closely worked together in the Ministry for General Machine-Building in the 1980s and are representatives of the military-industrial complex. Baklanov, first deputy chairman of the USSR Defense Council, appears to have played a leading role in the coup. (Alexander Rahr) BESSMERTNYKH SAID TO BE ILL. USSR Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh is said to be sick and thus uncapable of coming to his office for the next two days, CNN reported August 20. CNN cited foreign ministry employees as saying that Bessmertnykh had been in his office the day before, in perfect health. Earlier on August 20, Soviet television said that the USSR Cabinet of Ministers met and approved the activities of the Emergency Committee. Knowing Bessmertnykh, one would not be surprised had he been the only dissenting minister in this cabinet, which could explain his sudden illness. (Julia Wishnevsky) LUK'YANOV MEETS "SOYUZ" DEPUTIES. According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow August 20, chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Anatolii Luk'yanov met with ten USSR deputies of the conservative "Soyuz" faction early yesterday evening. Deputy Oleg Borodin, who was present, said that Luk'yanov claimed that Baklanov and other members of the GKChP had been at Gorbachev's dacha on the eve of the coup and Gorbachev had agreed to the Committee's program of action, provided all its actions and its creation were sanctioned by the Supreme Soviet. Luk'yanov said Gorbachev had changed his mind about the Union treaty and decided to postpone its signing and undertake certain preventive steps after he had received an "extremely offensive" reply from Yeltsin to his invitation to attend a meeting of the Federation Council on August 21, the day after the Union treaty was to be signed. Yeltsin allegedly had written that, since all Union organs of power would be abolished immediately after the treaty was signed, he had no intention of taking part in the meeting of the Federation Council. Yeltsin had claimed earlier that Gorbachev had promised him that jurisdiction over all enterprises in the RSFSR would be transferred to the republic as soon as the treaty was signed, a claim that had drawn an angry response from Pavlov. (Ann Sheehy) LUK'YANOV ON CREATION OF COMMITTEE. Luk'yanov professed to believe that Gorbachev was ill, saying that he had looked ill already on August 13. He told the "Soyuz" deputies that he thought the creation of the Committee was a necessary measure brought on by the crisis situation into which the RSFSR leadership, and Yeltsin in particular, had brought the country. Luk'yanov added that he did not support all the Committee's actions, such as the introduction of troops, and thought troops should be removed from the cities and above all Moscow. Luk'yanov said he had declined to be a member of the Committee. (Ann Sheehy) LUK'YANOV: A "GREY EMINENCE" BEHIND THE COUP? Luk'yanov's allegation of Gorbachev's involvement in the plot against himself, the same source told RFE/RL a few hours later, contradicts all available evidence. Luk'yanov is not a member of the GKChP and therefore is the only leader on the all-Union level who could not be formally accused of a state crime. As chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Luk'yanov would take over the leadership if Yanaev also were to fall "ill." (Julia Wishnevsky) LENINGRAD LEADERSHIP APPEALS TO CIVILIANS AND SOLDIERS. The Leningrad city and oblast Soviets held a joint emergency session August 20, a Leningrad journalist told RFE/RL yesterday. The meeting adopted an appeal to residents of Leningrad and oblast and to soldiers. The appeal was signed by Leningrad's mayor and deputy mayor, as well by as chairmen of the Leningrad city and oblast Soviets. The appeal proclaimed all resolutions of the self-proclaimed Emergency Committee illegal and called on people to obey orders of the RSFSR leadership. (Vera Tolz) RALLY IN LENINGRAD. Yesterday morning, Sobchak led a rally of about 200,000 people in Palace Square in the center of Leningrad, Interfax reported. The rally was also addressed by Academician Likhachev, Leningrad City Soviet chairman Belyaev, and a local priest, Radio Moscow-1 reported. The meeting adopted a resolution in support of the RSFSR leadership. An independent journalist in Leningrad also told RFE/RL yesterday that many enterprises in the city have said they are ready to hold strikes for an indefinite period until organizers of the coup are arrested. (Vera Tolz) RSFSR OBLASTS SUPPORT YELTSIN. Governments in the Soviet Far Eastern oblasts of Kamchatka, Magadan, and Sakhalin have declared their support for the position adopted by Yeltsin, Interfax reported August 20. Radio Vilnius in Lithuanian reported that Volgograd, Smolensk, Kirov, and Chelyabinsk oblast deputies also adopted support for Yeltsin. The radio quoted Lithuania's media representative in Moscow as saying the RSFSR president is also backed by the city Soviets of Leningrad, Moscow, Petrozavodsk and Novgorod. (Vera Tolz) KOMSOMOL CONDEMNS COUP. Vremya and Radio Moscow reported August 20 that the Central Committee of the Komsomol issued an appeal calling on the leaders of the republics, the USSR Supreme Soviet, and all political parties and movements to find a political solution to the crisis and to avoid the use of force. According to the official media, the Komsomol asked citizens, especially young people and young soldiers, to refrain from acts that could be considered provocative. Indepedent journalists in Moscow told RFE/RL, however, that the summary of the text of the appeal carried by the official media was inadequate, failing to cite the main points. The journalists, who obtained the full text of the appeal, said it strongly condemned the change of power in Moscow as unconstitutional and criticized the ban on the publication of the main Komsomol newspaper, Komsomol'skaya pravda. (Dawn Mann and Vera Tolz) UNION OF JOURNALISTS CONDEMN MEDIA CRACKDOWN. On August 20, Vremya presented an inadequate summary of the statement made by the USSR Union Journalists in connection with the change of power in Moscow. Vremya quoted the statement simply as saying that the Union is concerned that the publication of some periodicals is temporarily stopped. In fact, according to independent journalists in Moscow who obtained the text of the statement, the Union strongly condemned the coup and demanded that measures taken against the media be revoked. The Union called on journalists working at those papers whose publication is permitted "to tell only the truth." Meanwhile, on August 20, Soviet newspapers which are allowed to publish carried nearly identical front pages, reprinting official communiques from the GKChP. The inside pages, composed mostly of TASS reports, were also similar. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN TV AND RADIO OFFICIALLY BANNED. Central Soviet TV reported August 20 that the new authorities have officially banned RSFSR Television and Radio. And yet on August 20, RSFSR TV managed to go on the air for a short time. It reported on the meeting in Leningrad at which several hundred thousand people were reportedly present. The TV also broadcast a videotape of Yeltsin's speech which he delivered standing on the tank on August 19. On August 20, Russian TV representatives also filmed a new appeal by Yeltsin from the barricaded Russian parliament building, calling for support. A copy of the broadcast was made available to the international news films agency, VISNEWS. (Vera Tolz) BANNED PAPERS APPEAR IN MOSCOW. The Moscow newspapers Megapolis-express, Kuranty, and Moscow News were published on August 20 despite the ban. Copies were distributed to residents of the city and posted in subway stations and other places. A member of Moscow News' editorial broad told RFE/RL that access to all publishing houses is virtually blocked, and therefore journalists prepare special issues of banned newspapers using typewriters and xeroxes. A Moscow journalist told RFE/RL that the independent Moscow radio station "Ekho Moskvy" went on the air at 2:00 P.M. yesterday, but was again switched off in the evening. A new underground radio station called "M" was set up in Moscow yesterday and manages to broadcast from time to time. Reformist journalists are planning to meet in Moscow today to discuss how to continue getting information to the public despite the ban. (Vera Tolz) RADIO BROADCASTS FROM RSFSR PARLIAMENT. A radio station has been set up within the RSFSR Supreme Soviet building, TASS in English reported yesterday. Chairman of the RSFSR Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, Vladimir Lukin, said it would begin broadcasts the same day. Gennadii Burbulis, a spokesman for Yeltsin, said the equipment brought into the building will enable them to broadcast "to most of Europe." (Carla Thorson) BANNED NEWSPAPERS TO PUBLISH JOINT ISSUE. Eleven liberal newspapers, banned by the August 19 resolution of the GKChP, prepared a new joint paper which is to be distributed in Moscow this evening (August 21). Deputy chief editor of Moscow News, Stepan Kiselev, told RFE/RL today that the paper was printed outside Moscow. He said the paper contains all the information on the current situation that could be gathered. (Vera Tolz) EXCEPTION MADE FOR ULTRANATIONALIST PAPERS. RFE/RL was told yesterday that two literary newspapers were published August 20 with the blessing of the GKChP in addition to the eight listed as officially permitted. They were Literaturnaya Rossiya and Den', both known as mouthpieces of hardline Russian nationalists in the USSR and RSFSR Writers' Unions. As far as is known, all other cultural and literary periodicals, even the weekly Sovetskaya kul'tura published under the auspices of the CPSU Central Committee, are banned by the GKChP. (Julia Wishnevsky) MEDIA IN LENINGRAD. All Leningrad newspapers, except for the organ of the city soviet, Vechernii Leningrad, were published yesterday, a local journalist told RFE/RL. These include such outspoken newspapers as the local Komsomol periodical, Smena, and the newly created organ of the local Soviet, Nevskoe vremya. The independent Leningrad radio station, "Svobodnyi gorod," was also able to resume broadcasting on August 20. According to Radio Mayak, it has been broadcasting documents issued by the RSFSR leadership. (Vera Tolz) FOREIGN CURRENCY SALES HALTED. The USSR Gosbank announced August 20 that the sale of foreign currency to individual Soviet citizens who were planning to travel abroad on private trips would be temporarily halted, starting August 21, TASS reported August 20. The decision was attributed to foreign currency difficulties caused by the failure of some enterprises to meet their commitments to repatriate foreign currency revenues from their exports. (Keith Bush) PATRIARCH APPEALS TO GKChP. TASS reported on August 20 that Patriarch Aleksii II said in an appeal that it is necessary to hear Gorbachev's voice in order to learn his opinion about present events. The Patriarch stressed that the circumstances of Gorbachev's removal remain unclear, which upsets millions of citizens who are faced with the question of the legality of the newly formed Emergency Committee. The Patriarch called in his appeal upon "all children of the Russian Orthodox Church, to all of our nation, especially to our military to show control at this crucial moment and not to let bloodshed occur." (Oxana Antic) SITUATION IN THE BALTIC STATES ESTONIA'S TV TOWER TAKEN OVER. Some 50-60 paratroopers took over the Tallinn TV tower this morning, Estonian Radio reported. Five TV workers were blockaded on the 22nd floor and were unharmed. There were no reports of injuries to the troops or to some 100 people who turned out to protect the tower. Paratroopers allowed the tower director to enter the building and work in his office, under guard. The attackers did not make any demands, saying that they were waiting for further orders from superiors. Tallinn deputy city council chairman Andres Kork spoke to the troops today, but was unable to persuade them to leave the tower. TV broadcasts are only viewable within Tallinn and with the aid of a small room antenna, but Estonian Radio continues to broadcast, and newspapers appeared today. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA ENDS TRANSITION PERIOD, DECLARES INDEPENDENCE. The Estonian Supreme Council last night declared full independence, thereby ending the transition period begun on March 30, 1990. The declaration calls for the establishment of a Constitutional Assembly to write a new constitution which would be put to a referendum. The Assembly itself will be appointed jointly by both the Supreme Council and the Congress of Estonia, a move that finally closes the gap between the two opposing movements. The declaration also called for elections to a new parliament in 1992. (Riina Kionka) WARNING STRIKE IN ESTONIA. Estonian Radio reported August 21 that many enterprises are planning to take part in the warning strike set for today from 12:00 noon to 2:00 P.M. local time. Tallinn's buses and streetcars are planning to participate, as are a number of other sectors and enterprises. The strike is being organized in Estonia by an ad-hoc organization that calls itself the Republic of Estonia Committee for a Political General Strike. The committee will decide after the test strike whether to go along with Yeltsin's call for an extended general strike, Estonian Radio reported. (Riina Kionka) BALTIC GOVERNMENTS-IN-EXILE PLANNED. Estonian Radio reported on August 20 that the three Baltic governments had authorized representatives abroad to form exile governments in case the elected governments find it impossible to function. Estonian Radio, quoting the Baltic News Service, said that Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri, Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans, and Lithuania's Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas were given the authority in light of developments in the Baltic states. Meri is currently in Helsinki, Ivans is in Stockholm, and Saudargas is in Warsaw. (Riina Kionka) KOZYREV SUPPORTS THE BALTS. During a stopover visit to Paris, RSFSR Foreign Minister Kozyrev called on Western states to take advantage of the state of flux to grant formal recognition to the Baltic States. Kozyrev's remarks came in an August 20 interview with the BBC. (Riina Kionka) TROOPS WILL NOT FIRE ON CIVILIANS. Estonian Radio reported on August 21 that Chairman of the Supreme Council Arnold Ruutel had reached an agreement with local military authorities by which soldiers would not fire on civilians. The agreement was the result of negotiations that began between Estonian state authorities and the military yesterday. (Riina Kionka) TROOPS SEIZE BROADCASTING POSTS. Early on August 21 Soviet troops seized the broadcast facilities at Siauliai, Panevezys, and Viesintos. Shortwave broadcasts in Lithuania have also been halted, but medium wave radio from at least 3 facilities and a low power TV station at the parliament building are still operating. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN CUSTOMS POSTS. Soviet military activity expanded to include attacks on Lithuanian customs posts on August 20, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day. Soviet forces raided the Panemune post near the Kaliningrad oblast, dragging the prefabricated post with them across the border. Troops also attacked and destroyed the Kybartai post on the same frontier. The Lazdijai post on the Polish border was hit as well. No injuries have been reported thus far. (Gytis Liulevicius) CASUALTIES RISE IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on August 20 that Juris Bekeris died of injuries sustained when Soviet troops seized the Riga Radio Building. Another man also died in a Riga hospital after his minibus had collided with a Soviet armed vehicle on a bridge spanning the Daugava River; his name was not reported. The first victim of Soviet violence was Raimonds Salmins, a driver for the Latvian Writers' Association, who died from OMON bullets on August 19 in Riga. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN PM STILL WORKING. Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis told Radio Riga this morning (August 21) at 2:00 A.M. local time that he and the Council of Ministers are continuing to work and that the building is protected by forces loyal to the Latvian government. Earlier, Western media had reported that Godmanis and Latvian Security Department chief Janis Baskers had been arrested and that the Council of Ministers building had been taken over by Soviet forces. These reports probably stemmed from that fact that on the evening of August 20, the Council of Ministers had received anonymous threats and a call from Kuzmin that he was sending his men over to collect weapons, presumably because some of the guards were armed. (Dzintra Bungs) PEOPLE'S FRONT OF LATVIA ADVOCATES STRIKE. The People's Front issued a statement on August 20 adding its support to the decision of the Latvian Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers calling for a political strike and demonstrations today (August 21) against the Soviet occupation forces. At the same time, the PFL cautioned against provocations and conflicts with the military. (Dzintra Bungs) SITUATION IN THE REPUBLICS KRAVCHUK REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE GKChP. Leonid Kravchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, is reported to have telephoned Luk'yanov this morning, saying that personally he does not and never will recognize the State Committee on the State of Emergency. The report comes from Bohdan Hawrylyshyn, co-chairman of the Council of Advisers to the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, who spoke with Vladimir Grinev, deputy chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet earlier today. Kravchuk also told Lukyanov that the Ukrainian parliament will convene an extraordinary session, probably on August 23, and that he was confident that it would not recognize the legitimacy of the GKChP. Further, the Ukrainian leader said that the USSR Supreme Soviet cannot be convened in the absence of Gorbachev and that an appeal to the citizens of Ukraine to ignore decisions taken by the emergency committee will be released immediately. (Roman Solchanyk) PRESIDIUM OF UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET ISSUES STATEMENT. The Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet yesterday issued a statement after discussing developments in the republic and the country following the formation of the State Committee on the State of Emergency, Radio Kiev reported August 20. Key aspects of the statement were described by Kravchuk in an interview with Radio Kiev yesterday. They are: (1) a full analysis of the situation will be made by the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet after the extraordinary session of the USSR Supreme Soviet adopts its decisions; (2) a state of emergency in Ukraine has not been introduced and the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet sees no justification for its introduction; (3) decisions of the emergency committee have no legal force in the republic prior to decisions adopted by the USSR Supreme Soviet; and (4) the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet will continue to defend the state sovereignty of Ukraine, human rights, and the democratic achievements initiated in 1985. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN CP POSITION. First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine Stanislav Hurenko said that the republican Party organization fully supports the position taken by Kravchuk in his statement on August 19, Ukrinform-TASS reported August 20. In his statement, Kravchuk called on citizens to remain calm. (Roman Solchanyk) SOVIET TROOPS MOVE INTO KIEV. As Ukraine's Parliamentary leadership was meeting in an emergency session yesterday, a column of more than 30,000 Soviet troops were seen moving towards Kiev, reported Western agencies. The troops had appeared to stop their advance momentarily last night, but an RFE/RL correspondent in Ukraine today reported that late last evening troops had moved within the city limits of Kiev. Ukrainian Parliament Deputy Levko Lukyanenko believed the columns included the Chernigov Tank Division, the Special Troops Division based in Kremenchug, and divisions from Bela Tserkov. (Natalie Melnyczuk) GEORGIAN PRESIDENT APPEALS TO WEST. In an appeal received August 20 by RFE/RL, Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has called on the West to support democracy, pluralism and democratically-elected presidents and parliaments in the USSR, and to recognize the independence of those republics such as Georgia which have democratically elected governments, which he claims now face "direct military aggression." (Liz Fuller) NAZARBAEV DENOUNCES COUP. Yesterday evening, TASS issued a statement by Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev, denouncing the GKChP as illegal and its coup as a betrayal of the USSR's effort to become a law-based state. Nazarbaev acknowledged that he had been impatient with Gorbachev's unwillingness to intervene decisively to end the economic crisis in the country, but made clear that he had wanted Gorbachev to take more radical steps. When the GKChP acted without the approval of the USSR Supreme Soviet and the republics, it undermined the republican declarations of sovereignty and ignored the decision to introduce a market economy. Nazarbaev demanded to hear the opinion of Gorbachev, and called not only for a session of the USSR Supreme Soviet, but also for the Congress of Peoples' Deputies to meet within ten days to set a date for the popular election of the president of the USSR. (Bess Brown) AZAT MOVEMENT APPEALS FOR CALM. Yesterday the RFE/RL Kazakh service learned that Kazakhstan's largest non-Communist political movement, Azat, has appealed to the republican population for calm, because any disturbances could be used as the pretext for the imposition of a state of emergency. The group also warned of the possibility of a repetition of the events of December, 1986, in Alma-Ata. Last week Azat members staged a hunger strike to protest Nazarbaev's intention to sign the Union Treaty. Faced with the coup in Moscow, the group seems to have rallied behind Nazarbaev, whose resignation they had sought earlier. (Bess Brown) KIRGIZ DEMOCRATS SUPPORT YELTSIN. The Kirgiz Democratic Movement, Kygyzstan's most largest democratic group, informed the RFE/RL Kirgiz service that yesterday the organization sent a telegram to Yeltsin, condemning the unconstitutional removal of Gorbachev and supporting Yeltsin's refusal to accept the rule of the self-proclaimed emergency committee. The telegram also expressed assurance that by working together, the democratic movements and the legal governments of the sovereign republics will protect democracy. (Hakim Oezgen) KIRGIZ DEMOCRATS' APPEAL TO REPUBLIC. On August 20, the Kirgiz Democratic Movement issued an appeal to the people of Kyrgyzstan. A representative read the text to the RFE/RL Kirgiz service. The appeal linked the unconstitutional coup in Moscow to fears that the signing of the Union treaty would have meant limits on the power of the military-industrial complex. The appeal called on republican law enforcement agencies to prevent the formation of illegal power structures such as the GKChP, and demanded the reinstatement of Gorbachev and the implementation of the Union treaty. It also demanded that action be taken against the leaders of the coup, and that the republican government should ignore the orders of the GKChP. (Hakim Oezgen) MOLDAVIANS VOW TO RESIST COUP, CALL FOR INDEPENDENCE. A rally by over 100,000 people in Kishinev's central square August 20 was addressed by President Mircea Snegur, Parliament Chairman Alexandru Mosanu, government and parliamentary officials, and representatives of political parties and movements. Snegur in his speech vowed "not to budge one iota from the policy line aiming for complete independence". He and the other speakers attacked the GKChP, vowed to resist any attempt by its representatives or the military to take control in Moldavia, and strongly affirmed Moldavia's support for the Baltic States, Yeltsin, "Democratic Russia," Popov, Sobchak, and the people of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Representatives of several recently established, democratic groups of Russian-speakers in Moldavia addressed the rally endorsing Moldavian aspirations. The resolution adopted by acclamation demanded: dissolution of the "reactionary junta" and criminal prosecution of those responsible for the coup; release of Gorbachev and his reinstatement as USSR President; an early declaration of independence by the Moldavian parliament; and a ban on the CPSU in Moldavia and confiscation of its assets. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN POPULAR MOBILIZATION TO DEFEND INSTITUTIONS. Beginning in the afternoon of August 19 and still continuing, tens of thousands of Moldavians have massed in front of government buildings, television and radio studios, telecommunications centers, newspapers offices, local administration buildings in various towns, and other potential prime targets of military seizure. Barricades of heavy vehicles have also been deployed around many such buildings. Individual contingents arriving from rural areas have each been assigned specific buildings to guard by a specially constituted command (see below). (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN LEGISLATION VOIDS GKChP's MEASURES IN REPUBLIC. On August 20, Snegur issued a decree declaring all of the Emergency Committee's decisions and legislation as null and void in Moldavia, reconfirming the precedence of Moldavian law over all-union law and over Emergency Committee decisions, and stipulating that any Moldavian officials complying with Emergency Committee decisions would face criminal prosecution. On the same day, Snegur decreed the establishment of a Moldavian "Security Council" with the mandate to coordinate the civilian population's assistance in defending the republic. Chaired by Snegur, the Security Council is comprised of the Chairman of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Internal and of External Affairs, the head of the government's Department for Military Affairs, and the chief of the Moldavian KGB (who is considered loyal to the republic). (Vladimir Socor)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.