|Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski|
No. 183, 25 September 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR PARTY OF DEMOCRATIC REFORMS CREATED. A group of participants in a constituent session of the Movement for Democratic Reforms (MDR) has established a Party for Democratic Reforms of Russia (PDR), RFE/RL learned on September 24. The new party held its first congress on September 24. The most important leaders of the MDR, Shevardnadze and Yakovlev, are not members of the new party, which consists of far less well known supporters of the MDR. The organizers of the party said they based their decision to establish a party on the results of an opinion poll which showed that almost 50% of the MDR's members favored the creation of a party instead of a movement. The newly-created PDR announced that it will become part of the MDR, which also includes the Republican Party of Russia and the Party of Communists for Democracy. The Democratic Russia movement has not joined the MDR. (Vera Tolz) YABLOKOV APPOINTED RSFSR STATE COUNSELOR. The ecologist and co-founder of the Interregional Group of USSR deputies, Aleksei Yablokov, has been appointed RSFSR State Counselor for Science, Education and Culture, USSR Supreme Soviet deputy Arkadii Murashov told the RFE/RL Research Institute on September23. Yablokov (b. 1933) holds a doctorate of biological sciences and is a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1990, he became deputy chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet's Committee for Ecology and Rational Use of Natural Resources. His appointment as RSFSR State Counselor follows those of Shakhrai (legal affairs), Stankevich (social affairs), and Skokov (republican affairs). A state counselor for economic affairs will soon be nominated. (Alexander Rahr) YAKOVLEV INTERVIEWED. The new USSR State Counselor for special assignments, Aleksandr Yakovlev, told Novosti on September 24 that the KGB was behind the events in the Baltics in January and the attempt to oust Gorbachev at the April 1991 plenum. He stressed that the KGB had journalists with information. Yakovlev also stated that he thinks that most of the republics can't survive on their own and will rejoin the union. He added that only the Balts may be capable of surviving on their own. (Alexander Rahr) PRAVDA PROTESTS CONFISCATION OF PROPERTY. On September 24, a group of Pravda staffers sent an open letter to President Gorbachev and the State Council protesting the confiscation of all the daily's property and monetary funds by the Moscow city authorities. The statement said that Pravda is ready to exist under conditions of open competition with other newspapers, but the confiscation of all its resources puts it in a disadvantage in comparison to other periodicals. Strictly speaking, Pravda has never had its own property, being itself the property of the CPSU. (Vera Tolz) GORBACHEV MEETS WITH ACADEMICIANS. President Gorbachev met September 24 with members of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, TASS reported the same day. They discussed the elaboration of various agreements between sovereign republics on close collaboration in the sphere of science. The need for such agreements was stressed at the Fifth USSR Congress of People's Deputies by Academician Yevgenii Velikhov. The president and the academicians also discussed plans for the creation of an RSFSR Academy of Sciences. Many members and rank-and-file employees of the USSR Academy now think that the all-Union body should be simply transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, since the majority of its members and almost all of its institutes are located in the RSFSR. (Vera Tolz) MEETING IN DEFENSE OF MOSCOW MAYOR. A demonstration is to be held September 25 in defense of Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov, who has been accused of an authoritarian leadership style by deputies of the Moscow city Soviet. Today's demonstration was organized by the Moscow branch of the Democratic Russia movement, which called on Muscovites to resist "a campaign to discredit the first legally elected mayor and vice-mayor of Moscow." The constituent session of the Movement for Democratic Reforms and its leaders Shevardnadze and Yakovlev supported the idea of such a demonstration. In contrast, top leaders of Democratic Russia, Yurii Afanas'ev and Tel'man Gdlyan, spoke against the demonstration, which they said would deepen the confrontation between democratic forces in Moscow, during a Central TV broadcast on September 24. (Vera Tolz) SIGN OF NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN? An article in the September 24 issue of Komsomol'skaya pravda describes how political leaders use mafia clans in inter-ethnic conflicts in order to preserve their power. The disturbances in Dushanbe in 1990 are cited as an example--according to the article, Komsomol'skaya pravda was warned three months in advance of the troubles by a man characterized as "an ideologue of the local mafia." The article claims that many small businesses have been set up by criminals and that in Moscow alone as many as 300 officials belong to criminal groups and in Odessa the mafia's capital turnover equals the city budget. (Victor Yasmann) PUTSCHISTS COULD NOT HAVE LAUNCHED NUCLEAR STRIKE. During the coup, President Mikhail Gorbachev had to relinquish his nuclear command briefcase to his deputy Gennadii Yanaev, but some Gorbachev loyalists managed to "empty the briefcase" so that the putschists could not have used it, according to USSR nuclear scientist Gennadii Pavlov. Western agencies quoted Pavlov on September 25 as saying that in addition to emptying Yanaev's briefcase, loyalist officers also destroyed the links between the putschists and all nuclear launch control centers. Pavlov's revelations that "some officers" managed to interfere in the nuclear weapons launch process indicate that the nuclear command systems are far from being as strictly controlled as had been believed. (Alexander Rahr) STATE COMMISSION AGAINST DISBANDING OF KGB. TASS reported on September 24 that the state commission investigating the activities of the KGB has concluded that the agency should not be disbanded, because it would not be possible to create a new security system. Instead, the radical reorganization of the present system is in the interests of the republics and the Union as a whole. One of the reform tasks reform will be demonopolization and decentralization of the state security organization, with powers devolved to the republics. (Victor Yasmann) CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER ADMINISTRATION DISBANDED. The KGB Administration "Z" for the Protection of Constitutional Order has been disbanded by a directive of Vadim Bakatin, TASS reported September 24. The officers of the Administration will be transferred to other KGB divisions or will get other jobs. Administration "Z" was responsible for monitoring the religious, cultural, economic and social activities of non-govermental organizations. The officers of the Administration privately complained that their duties, as conceived by the former political leadership, would have been appropriate only for the KGB as a whole. (Victor Yasmann) ECONOMIC UNION TREATY SOON? At his first press conference in his new job, presidential spokesman Andrei Grachev announced that it is hoped that a draft treaty on economic union will be ready by the end of this week, "TV-Inform" and Western agencies reported September 24. The agreement follows two days of "intensive talks" between Gorbachev and republican representatives. In the light of various statements during the past few weeks, it seems likely that any draft economic union document will be tenuous at best. For instance, several republics have aired their opposition to a unitary monetary and banking system. (Keith Bush) EXPORT CREDIT GUARANTEES LIBERALIZED. US Agricultural Secretary Edward Madigan announced September 24 that the USDA has liberalized the terms on the remaining export credit guarantees it has offered the Soviet Union, RFE/RL's Washington office reported that day. The Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation will now guarantee 100% of the principal on loans for sales made to the USSR and will guarantee interest equal to the prevailing rate for 52-week Treasury Bills. (Previously, it guaranteed only 90% of the principal and about half of the interest). The USDA came under fire September 24 at a House Agriculture Committee hearing for doing too little to help the USSR. (Robert Lyle/Keith Bush) EC SUMMIT ABANDONED. Dutch Premier Ruud Lubbers, whose country currently holds the European Community presidency, sent a letter September 24 to EC leaders informing them that plans for a special summit to discuss aid for the USSR have been dropped, Western agencies reported that day. The EC had announced the summit plans in the wake of the attempted coup in August and had said that it would invite Messrs. Gorbachev and Yeltsin to participate. It appears that the EC is collectively dismayed, nay flabbergasted, by the disparate and exorbitant requests for aid that have been issuing from the USSR in recent days. (Keith Bush) SOLTON COMMENTS ON IRAQ. A Radio Moscow World Service commentary by Yurii Solton (September 24) chided Iraq for "deliberately provoking a new armed conflict in the region, evidently hoping at least morally to get revenge for the loss of the war." Solton, however, urged the United States to bide its time saying: "a well-balanced approach is necessary here." (Suzanne Crow) GERMANY OFFERS SURPLUS TRUCKS. During his meetings with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, German Finance Minister Theo Waigel offered to give the USSR 7,000 trucks formerly belonging to the East German military. DPA on September 24 said most of the trucks would go to the Central Soviet authorities as well as 800 to Ukraine and 500 to Kazakhstan. (Suzanne Crow) PANKIN APPEALS AGAIN FOR AID. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin met with US President George Bush on September 24 and made an appeal for immediate humanitarian relief and "massive" long-term economic assistance. Bush said Pankin did not specify how much the USSR expected to receive, but Soviet officials had previously referred to $14.7 billion in humanitarian aid as necessary to make it through the winter, Western agencies reported. (Suzanne Crow) PANKIN ON ZIONISM RESOLUTION. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin called for the repeal of the UN General Assembly resolution identifying Zionism with racism. His reference to the 1975 resolution came during remarks to the UNGA September 24. He said that the USSR has begun normalizing relations with Israel, Western agencies reported. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS GAMSAKHURDIA DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY. On September 24, Georgian President Gamsakhurdia declared a state of emergency in Tbilisi to take effect the following day in response to what he termed "a military and civic putsch," Western news agencies reported September 24. What measures this involves is not clear. Gamsakhurdia said he would try to eject opposition forces occupying the Tbilisi TV studios but ruled out further arrests of opposition figures. Gamsakhurdia refused to negotiate with the opposition, whom he called criminals orchestrated by Moscow; he threatened to impose presidential rule unless the opposition abandoned its efforts to compel him to resign. (Liz Fuller) CONFRONTATION CONTINUES IN TAJIKISTAN. The Union of Democratic Forces, composed of the three main opposition forces in Tajikistan, has appealed to the republic's population to engage in civil disobedience in order to force the Tajik Supreme Soviet to dismiss its newly-elected chairman and acting president of the republic, former Communist Party chief Rakhman Nabiev. TASS on September24 quoted Democratic Party Shomon Yusupov on developments in Dushanbe, where an estimated 10,000 people have joined on-going demonstrations. The democrats have appealed to Gorbachev and Russian democrats for support in reversing the Supreme Soviet's "coup." (Bess Brown) KAZAKHSTAN, UKRAINE TO PAY PART OF SOVIET DEBT. Kazakhstan has pledged to cover its share of Soviet foreign debt, Western agencies reported September 24. In a meeting with German Finance Minister Theo Waigel, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev said he favored dividing up Soviet foreign debt proportionally among the republics. (What the proportions are based on is unclear.) Nazarbaev also stated that he did not want an economic divorce from the Soviet Union and favored a single currency. Kazakhstan joins Ukraine as the second major (former) Soviet republic to signal its willingness to cover a part of the Soviet debt. Ukraine, though, takes a much more independent attitude towards an economic union. Ukrainian prime minister Vitold Fokin who told Waigel that Ukraine intends to issue its own currency. (John Tedstrom) TRANSFORMATION OF UKRAINIAN KGB. The KGB of Ukraine no longer exists, TASS and Radio Kiev reported on September 24. In accordance with a decision made at a closed plenary session of the Supreme Soviet, the KGB's functions will be taken over by the Service of National Security of Ukraine [SNBU]. The decision was announced at a press conference on that date by Vasil' Durdinets, chairman of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission on defense and state security, and Mykola Holushko, former Ukrainian KGB head and acting head of the SNBU. Employees of the former republican KGB will remain in place while the new service is being structured. KGB archives, with the exception of latest operational documents, will be transferred to the Ukrainian state archive. (Kathy Mihalisko) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT INVITES HUMAN RIGHTS INSPECTION. Moldavian president Mircea Snegur has appealed to "all international human rights bodies" to send delegations to inspect human and ethnic rights in Moldavia. Snegur told a news conference in Kishinev that allegations of Moldavian communities are "a well-planned campaign to discredit Moldavia in the eyes of public opinion and to retard the international recognition of Moldavia's independence," Izvestia reported September 18. (Vladimir Socor) RSFSR DEPUTIES AGAIN DISAVOW "DNIESTERSSR." The delegation of RSFSR deputies empowered by Boris Yeltsin to ascertain the situation of Russians in Moldavia (see Daily Report, September 19 and 20) told a news conference at the close of their visit that the "non-existent Dniester SSR" represented an attempt by "pro-communist," "far-right political forces to stay afloat and make a comeback," Izvestia reported September 19. Terming the blockade of Moldavian railroads "a barbarous, anti-human action," the RSFSR deputies said that the Dniester leaders had "committed criminal offenses . . . against Moldavia's laws and territorial integrity" long before the recent coup d'etat, which they "cheered on." (Vladimir Socor) SOVIET GARRISONS IN EASTERN MOLDAVIA INSIST ON STAYING. Reacting to Moldavia's declaration of independence and to appeals from the Russian leaders of the "Dniester SSR," a number of Soviet Army units in eastern Moldavia have announced their intention to remain in the area irrespective of the outcome of negotiations between Moldavia and the USSR on the withdrawal ofSoviet troops from the republic. Such decisions by military units in the Dniester area have been reported by Izvestia, AFP, and TASS on September19, 22, and 23, respectively. It is unclear whether higher military authorities colluded in the units' decisions. The command of the Odessa military district has supported the Dniester leaders all along. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, SPORTS FEDERATIONS WITHDRAW FROM USSR ARENA. Moldavia's Olympic Committee and sports federations have decided at a joint meeting to withdraw from the USSR Olympic Committee and sports federations and from USSR championship competitions, the Moldavian youth newspaper Tineretul Moldovei reported September 13. In line with the state independence proclaimed by Moldavia, its athletes and teams will seek to participate in international competitions under Moldavian colors. The Moldavian Olympic Committee will petition the International Olympic Committee for Moldavia's participation in the Olympic Games under the Olympic flag, pending international recognition of Moldavian independence. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES USSR DELEGATION FOR TALKS WITH BALTIC STATES. On September 24, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's new press spokesman, Andrei Grachev, said at his first press briefing that the composition of a Soviet delegation to hold talks with the three newly independent Baltic states would be named soon, TASS reported that day. The USSR has so far failed to establish diplomatic relations with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and seems reluctant to agree to Baltic demands that the withdrawal of the Soviet armed forces from their states should begin immediately and not on January 1, 1994. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC TALKS WITH INTERNATIONAL FINANCIERS. On September 24, delegations of the three Baltic states, headed by their Prime Ministers, Gediminas Vagnorius (Lithuania), Ivars Godmanis (Latvia) and Edgar Savisaar (Estonia), continued talks in Tallinn with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Nordic Investment Bank about concrete financial support for economic reform, Radio Lithuania reported that day. EBRD President Jacques Attali said that the each of the Baltic states had agreed to purchase 1,000 shares in the bank, each costing 10,000 ECUs ($12,000). It was decided that the Baltic premiers would again meet with the major international financial organizations in Bangkok in the middle of October. (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC COUNCIL MEETING. The three premiers also continued the Baltic Council meeting in Tallinn that decided to form a Baltic Customs Union, Radio Lithuania reported. The founding documents are to be prepared by December and signed early next year. They also agreed to cooperate on joint projects dealing with telecommunications, a Baltic automobile highway, acquisition of oil, expansion of the energy system, and gas storage facilities for which they hope to obtain foreign financial support. They also discussed the question of establishing joint Baltic representations in foreign countries as a method to reduce expenses. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN CURRENCY TO BE STRONGER THAN RUBLE. Lithuanian Economics Minister Albertas Simenas predicted that his nation's planned new currency, the litas, would be stronger than the Soviet ruble, Western agencies reported September 24. He said that the litas would be underpinned by the Lithuanian economy, noting: "We'll back our currency with our products." He estimated that Lithuania's economy was contracting 4 to 5% a year and it would take 3 or 4 years before it would begin to expand. The date of the currency's introduction was a state secret, but "it will not be before the new year." (Saulius Girnius) POLAND COUNTERS LANDSBERGIS'S STATEMENT. On September 24, PAP reported that Polish government spokesman Andrzej Zarebski had rejected criticism of Polish media contained in the Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman's statement of September 23. Recalling that Poland had supported Lithuania's independence aspirations from the very beginning, he said that while "continuing this policy we cannot forget the rights of Polish minority in that country." Zarebski also expressed hope that the incidents would soon cease and would not harm further relations between the two countries. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) NEW RUSSIAN NEWSPAPER IN LATVIA. A new Russian language newspaper, Russkii put' (Russian Way), has been started with a press run of 30,000 copies, the independent information service INFO reported September 24. The goal of the newspaper, published by Russkaya Obshina Latvii (Russian Community of Latvia), is the unity of the Russian speaking population in the republic on the basis of Russian culture, expansion of joint activities with Russia, and a search for the solutions to problems of Russians in Latvia. (Saulius Girnius)
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