|The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde|
No. 184, 26 September 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR REVOLT IN THE RSFSR GOVERNMENT. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin is sick or exhausted and has gone on a long vacation, leaving his government in a state of revolt, Western news agencies reported on September 26. Acting RSFSR premier Ivan Silaev, who simultaneously heads the Committee for the Management of the USSR Economy, insists on shifting back to the Union some of the control acquired by Russia. RSFSR officials accuse Silaev of betraying Russia. RSFSR State Counselor Sergei Shakhrai has accused Silaev of "favoritism" and "financial and other irregularities." Shakhrai has also criticized his boss, Yeltsin, for the latter's recent decree subordinating the RSFSR government directly to the RSFSR presidential office. (Alexander Rahr) GORBACHEV SETS UP ADVISORY COUNCIL. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev has set up a new Political-Consultative Council. According to TASS on September 25, Gorbachev appointed former foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze, his chief aide Aleksandr Yakovlev, KGB chief Vadim Bakatin, the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Gavriil Popov and Anatolii Sobchak, the chief of USSR TV and radio broadcasting Egor Yakovlev, former economic advisor Nikolai Petrakov, academician Evgenii Velikhov, and security expert Yurii Ryzhov as members of the Council. 7 out of9 members are Russians; they all belong to the reformers' camp. The Council will not directly interfere in politics and is designed as a mere consultative body. (Alexander Rahr) WAIGEL MEETS GORBACHEV. German Finance Minister Theo Waigel has invited USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev to attend the next world economic summit which will take place in Munich next July, AFP reported on September 25. Waigel met Gorbachev in the Kremlin on September 24. He also visited Kiev and Alma-Ata and presented the Soviet Union 7,000 vans from the former GDR army. Gorbachev reportedly told Waigel that Germany had provided the greatest help for democrats in the USSR during the putsch attempt. Waigel said that Gorbachev had told him that the Union will retain control over many aspects of foreign trade. (Alexander Rahr) INTER-REPUBLICAN ECONOMIC TREATY. President Gorbachev told visiting German Finance Minister Theo Waigel September 25 that the new economic treaty between the republics will be signed at the beginning of October, Western agencies reported that day. Gorbachev was also quoted as declaring that the economic treaty would be followed by the signing of the Union Treaty, although no date was specified for this. Waigel cited Aleksandr Yakovlev as saying that all republics except Estonia are participating in negotiations on the economic treaty. (Keith Bush) DEMONSTRATION IN SUPPORT OF POPOV. A demonstration in support of Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov was held in Moscow September 25, organized by the Moscow branch of the Democratic Russia Movement. Critics have accused Popov of unnecessarily strengthening executive power. DPA reported that the demonstration, attended by more than 50,000 people, was addressed by Eduard Shevardnadze, who called on Muscovites to support Popov. Another speaker, Father Gleb Yakunin, called for the dissolution of the Moscow city Soviet, which opposes Popov. The latest in a series of conflicts between Popov and the Soviet was his appointment of Arkadii Murashev of Democratic Russia to head the Moscow militia. (Vera Tolz) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON MILITARY REFORM. USSR Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov was quoted in Pravda on September 25 as saying that he intends to cut his ministry's staff by 20-30%. He stressed that the Soviet defense ministry should be under civilian control. He revealed plans to divide the present ministry into several "committees," one of which, headed by the chief of the General Staff, would be in charge of the armed forces. Shaposhnikov spoke out against the formation of separate republican armies and stressed the need for central control over the armed forces. He also called for a review of Soviet military doctrine. No one considers the USSR a potential enemy, he said. (Alexander Rahr) NEW BALTIC, BLACK SEA FLEET COMMANDERS. Profiles of the new commanders of the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets appear in the September 26 issue of Krasnaya zvezda. Vice Admiral Vladimir Grigorevich Yegorov (born in 1938) will be commander of the Baltic Fleet. He has been its first deputy commander since 1988 and in 1990 completed (as an external student) the USSR Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy. Vice Admiral Igor Vladimirovich Kasatonov (born in 1939) is the new commander of the Black Sea Fleet. Since 1988 he has been the first deputy commander of the Northern Fleet. (Saulius Girnius) MORE WESTERN CREDITS NEEDED? USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko told reporters in Helsinki on September 25 that total Soviet indebtedness to the West is now $68 billion, including $3 billion in commercial defaults. The Soviet Union may have to borrow another $10-15 billion but would, in Gerashchenko's opinion, continue to be able to service its debts. He doubted whether the ruble would become [internally] convertible in 1992, given the existing price formation system. (Keith Bush) PRECONDITIONS FOR ENERGY CHARTER. Unspecified European Community sources told Western agencies September 25 of new Soviet demands during negotiations on the proposed European Energy Charter. Soviet officials are reported to have stipulated that Western nations must open their markets to Soviet energy exports in exchange for access to Soviet oil and gas. They also demanded that East European nations be allowed a transition period to adapt to any commitments they undertake under the Charter. Previous Soviet bargaining points included the requirement for upfront financing and technical assistance for the Soviet fuel industry. It is thought that individual Soviet republics will be invited to sign the Charter in December. (Keith Bush) NEW CREDIT CARD ISSUED. A private bank in Moscow, Kredobank, is to issue credit cards commencing next week, Western agencies reported September 25. Holders will have to make an initial deposit with the bank of at least $10,000, and keep a credit balance of at least $3,000. Card-holders will be charged one% on all transactions, but merchants will not have to pay fees. The cards are to be issued in conjunction with Visa International. (Keith Bush) SOVIET SAVINGS BANK INVESTS IN EURASCO. The USSR Savings Bank has invested some two million Swiss francs (US$1.35 million) in Eurasco Zurich, Western agencies reported September 26. Eurasco is a financial company which gets its capital from Eastern as well as Western sources. It is involved with Soviet banking partners in various programs aimed at reforming the aging Soviet financial sector. Since winning permission to undertake economic activities abroad in December, 1990, Soviet banks have invested a total of 30million Swiss francs in Eurasco. (John Tedstrom) LUTHERAN CHURCH OF RUSSIA REVIVED. The Independent Information Service reported on September 23 that the United Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Russia would be registered by the RSFSR Ministry of Justice on September 24. There are already registered Protestant communities in Sankt Peterburg, Moscow, Novgorod, Samara and other towns. (Oxana Antic) MFA PAINTS GLOOMY PICTURE OF SOVIET-CUBAN TIES. Two recent Soviet Foreign Ministry reports obtained by The Miami Herald point to "a drastic reduction of Soviet-Cuban cooperation" on military, political, and economic matters. According to Western agencies on September 26, one report predicted cuts in Soviet deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Cuba, as well as a reduction in military advisers and specialists stationed there. On foreign policy, the report noted a "huge gap" between the two countries, and observed that "Cuba is starting to contradict Soviet policy," especially on human rights, arms reduction, and regional conflicts. A second report dealing with economic ties said that Soviet loans and trade subsidies, as well as oil sales to Cuba and sugar imports, will be significantly lower this year than in 1990. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) CASTRO DISAGREES WITH SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Cuban President Fidel Castro declared at a press conference in Havana on September 24 that he opposes the pullout of Soviet troops from Cuba. "We don't agree with the withdrawal of the [Soviet military training] brigade, just as we can't agree that Yankee troops should remain at Guantanamo," Western agency reports on September 25 quoted him as saying. Castro maintained that Cuba was not seeking to change its "links of friendship, tradition and history" with the USSR, but his remarks--a day after the departure of Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Nikolaenko--underlined his clear displeasure with Cuba's erstwhile patron. At one point he asked, "Are you talking about the Soviet Union or what's left of the Soviet Union?" (Sallie Wise Chaballier) YELTSIN ISSUES DECREE OPENING VLADIVOSTOK. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has decreed that the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok will be opened to foreigners as of January 1, 1992. Foreign ships will be permitted to use the city's port, and foreign citizens will be allowed to live in the city and "engage in entrepreneurial activity." According to Radio Mayak on September 25, summarizing a report on the decree in Komsomolskaya pravda of the same date, many foreign firms are ready to open offices in Vladivostok, and several countries may open consulates there. The report noted that the USSR Ministry of Defense opposed the decree up to the last minute, but now the naval base in the city reportedly will have to make some room for other establishments. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS FIVE KILLED IN TBILISI. Three Georgian policemen and two members of the rebel National Guard were killed in a shootout early September25, the circumstances of which are unclear. Talks between four government ministers and ex-prime Minister Tengiz Sigua and National Guard commander Tengiz Kitovani September 25 failed to yield an agreement. Opposition forces began live TV broadcasts from the TV center which they occupied September 22, Western news agencies reported September 25. (Liz Fuller) GEORGIA APPLIES FOR CSCE OBSERVER STATUS. Georgia applied September 25 for observer status at the Moscow human rights conference and in the Helsinki process. The Georgian request was supported by the official Soviet delegation but must be approved by the other 37 member states. The only other state to have held observer status in the Helsinki process is Albania. Only independent sovereign states that support the Helsinki process are eligible to become members. (Roland Eggleston/Liz Fuller) ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS, WITHDRAWS FROM PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Radio Erevan reported September 25 that Armenian prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan had submitted his resignation and withdrawn his candidacy for the Armenian presidential election scheduled for October 16. Manukyan, who resigned in June from the ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement to set up his own political party and whose government has been repeatedly criticized, argued that the "struggle to attain power" engendered by the presidential elections was destabilizing both political and economic life in Armenia. (Liz Fuller) CONFRONTATION CONTINUES IN DUSHANBE. Western and Soviet news agencies reported on September 25 and 26 that demonstrators trying to force the resignation of the Communist-dominated Supreme Soviet of Tajikistan and the removal of Acting President Rakhman Nabiev have settled in for a long stay in the square in front of the parliament building in Dushanbe. Minister of Internal Affairs Mamdaez Navdzhuvanov says that as long as the demonstrators don't break the law, his forces won't intervene. Demonstrators reportedly greeted the appearance of Tajikistan's highest-ranking clergyman, Kazi Akbar Turadzhonzoda, with great enthusiasm, but both they and the kazi reject hard-liners' charges that the opposition wants to establish an Islamic state. (Bess Brown) NAZARBAEV VISITS TURKEY, MEETS OZAL. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev met with Turkish president Turgut Ozal in Ankara September25, and made progress on trade and economic agreements with Turkey. According to Western reports that day, Turkish spokesmen said the talks focused on establishing or improving waterway, rail, and air links between the two countries in an effort to facilitate trade. A Turkish-Kazakh satellite telephone link was also discussed as were possible Kazakh exports of coal and natural gas. A formal Turkish-Kazakh trade pact is expected to be finalized during Nazarbaev's visit. Turkish officials, business people, and scholars have expressed interest in playing a significant role in the economic development of Azerbaijan and Central Asia. (John Tedstrom) UKRAINIAN LEADER MEETS BUSH. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk met with President Bush in Washington on September 25, Western agencies reported the following day. The talks focused on Ukraine's economic needs and nuclear weapons policy. Kravchuk told the President that his country needed new technology for the production and export of grain and favored transfer of nuclear weapons presently on Ukrainian territory to central authorities. He also said that Ukraine wants to participate in all US-Soviet arms agreements. No agreements were reached by the two leaders, but arrangements were made for continued meetings between specialists and further contacts. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK FAVORED IN PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk remains the top contender in the December 1 presidential election. A survey conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences revealed that Kravchuk currently enjoys a popularity rating of 33%, while the remaining contenders lag significantly behind. The survey was reported by Radio Kiev on September 25. (Roman Solchanyk) MOLDAVIAN POLICE HOLD OUT IN DNIESTER TOWN. Paramilitary detachments of Russian workers in eastern Moldavia stormed several administrative buildings in Dubasari on September25 and laid siege to the town's police headquarters overnight. A Moldavian MVD spokesman told TASS and AFP that three militants were injured and 60 were detained after attempting to seize a major bridge over the nearby Dniester. Side arms, firearms, and communications equipment taken from the attackers were shown on Moldavian TV that evening. Telephone and other communications with Dubasari have been cut off by "Dniester SSR" supporters. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN POLICE ON LEFT BANK UNDER PRESSURE. The attack on Dubasari caps recent efforts to pressure Moldavian police and other law enforcement bodies to withdraw from the left bank of the Dniester or submit to the "Dniester SSR." Meanwhile, local Russian leaders continue enrollment in a "people's militia" of their own. On September 25 Moldavian President Mircea Snegur made a radiotelevised address to the residents and authorities of the Dniester area, appealing for calm and the observance of legality. The broadcast could not be received in most of the affected area because the local Russian leadership has detached local radio and TV networks from those of Moldavia. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN REPORTS ON WASHINGTON VISIT. Returning from a mission to the US and Canada with Popular Front chairman Iurie Rosca, Moldavian Parliament Chairman Alexandru Mosanu told the Parliament that the prospects of obtaining support for recognition of Moldavian independence looked better in the US Congress than in the Administration. Official US policy toward the USSR and toward the republics impressed Mosanu as "somewhat confused and unsure of itself," Moldovapres reported September 24. Mosanu and Rosca briefed US officials on Moldavia's relations with the USSR, Russia, the Ukraine, and Romania, on interethnic relations in the republic, and on Moldavia's adoption of CSCE documents as part of its legislation. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN LONDON. Arriving from Italy on the second leg of his tour of Western capitals, Moldavian Foreign Minister Nicolae Tsyu conferred in London with British State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Douglas Hogg. Tsyu briefed Hogg on Moldavia's internal and external situation and presented the case for recognition of Moldavia's independence, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Kishinev reported September 24 and 25. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES GORBACHEV APPOINTS DELEGATION LEADERS FOR BALTIC TALKS. On September25, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev named prominent reformers to head the delegations for negotiations with the three Baltic states, TASS reported that day. Aleksandr Yakovlev will lead the negotiating team for Latvia, St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak that for Estonia, and former USSR Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze will head the team for Lithuania. All three are members of Gorbachev's ninemember Political Consultative Council. Gorbachev gave them one week to prepare "proposals on the delegations' composition, the procedure for holding talks, and issues to be discussed." The most difficult issue will be the Balts' demands that Soviet troops withdraw from their territories as soon as possible. (Saulius Girnius) EC MEMBERSHIP TOP FOREIGN POLICY GOAL. During discussions on foreign policy in the Lithuanian parliament on September 25, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas said, "We consider that the main strategic direction of foreign policy will be to become a full member of the European Community," the RFE Lithuanian Service reported that day. He urged Lithuania to declare itself a neutral nation, which would not hinder its membership in the Community. (Saulius Girnius) LANDSBERGIS IN COPENHAGEN. On September25, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis flew to Copenhagen to attend sessions of the Nordic Council, Radio Lithuania reported that day. He was accompanied by Lithuanian Economics Minister Albertas Simenas. He will return to Lithuania on September 27. (Saulius Girnius) LUFTHANSA TO FLY TO RIGA. On September 25, the German airline Lufthansa announced that starting in November it will have three flights per week to Riga and Kiev, Western agencies reported that day. The flights to Riga will be on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays as a stopover on the route from Frankfurt to St. Petersburg. The flights to Kiev, also originating in Frankfurt, will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (Saulius Girnius)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.