|If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson|
No. 185, 27 September 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR STANKEVICH ATTACKS YELTSIN, SOBCHAK ALSO UNDER FIRE. RSFSR State Counselor Sergei Stankevich has accused his boss, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, of lacking statesmanship. Stankevich was quoted in Der Wiener on September 26 as saying that Yeltsin has no idea how to build a state and relies completely on old Communist Party apparatchiks. Stankevich complained that the old Party bureaucracy has "bought" Yeltsin. Sankt Petersburg's mayor Anatolii Sobchak has also been a target of criticism for having appointed three former KGB officials as leaders of city districts, The Guardian reported on September 26. Democrats have also criticized Sobchak for moving his residence to the former Leningrad Communist Party offices--the Smolny. (Alexander Rahr) LOBOV BRIEFS FOREIGN MILITARY ATTACHES. General Vladimir Lobov, chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, has summoned about 100 military attaches from the foreign embassies in Moscow to brief them on Soviet plans to restructure the Soviet Army, Western news agencies reported on September26. Lobov indicated that the Soviet Union may have a professional army by next year. He also said that the defense ministry will become a civilian institution and a "joint chiefs of staff" will be created to deal with strategy and logistics. Both bodies will be subordinated to the USSR President, who will have a "two-channel" command over the country's armed forces, according to Lobov. (Alexander Rahr) BANKING AGREEMENT REACHED? Grigorii Yavlinsky has stated in an article in Trud of September 26 that all 15 republics have agreed to coordinate monetary policies through an association of central banks, The Journal of Commerce reported September 27. It was not made clear whether the republics have agreed to retain a single currency. The target date for signing an Economic Union Treaty is still fixed for October 5, but no agreement appears to have been reached on other vital issues such as price decontrol and privatization. If a treaty is signed next week, it could well consist largely of loosely phrased declarations of principle or intent. (Keith Bush) IMF ASSOCIATE STATUS FOR USSR APPROVED. Unnamed sources told Western agencies September 26 that the IMF's executive board agreed on September 25 to grant the USSR special associate status in the organization. The Soviet Union is expected to apply for this status before the IMF's annual meeting in Bangkok in mid-October. The special status would involve three main elements: IMF review of the economy; Soviet compliance with IMF plans for economic reform; and technical assistance from the IMF. No reference appears to have been made to President Gorbachev's request for full membership of the Fund. (Keith Bush) ENTERPRISE COUNCIL ESTABLISHED. On September 26, President Gorbachev issued a decree creating a 28-member Enterprise Council, TASS reported that day. Its declared functions are, inter alia, to further free enterprise activity, to form a market structure of economic links within the framework of a unified economic space, to protect the rights of businessmen, to counter monopolies, and to help promote fair competition. The vice-president of the USSR Scientific-Industrial Union, Aleksandr Vladislavlev, was named to head the Council, and among its members are Pavel Bunich and Konstantin Borovoi. (Keith Bush) DELAY ON US-SOVIET TRADE AGREEMENT. Western sources reported on September 27 that the Ways and Means Committee of the US House of Representatives would postpone voting on the trade pact granting most-favored-nation tariff treatment to the Soviet Union until the Bush Administration explains how its costs will affect the US budget. Under an expedited legislative process, both houses of Congress must approve the bill granting MFN within 90 days. The current delay is unlikely to affect ultimate approval of the agreement. (Jim Nichol) MORE CREDIT GUARANTEES? According to the Journal of Commerce of September 26, the US Congress is moving closer to repealing a $300million limit on US Export-Import Bank credit guarantees extended to the Soviet Union. House-Senate conferees who are reconciling versions of the Foreign Aid bill agreed to permit President Bush to waive the limit. In a separate action, a House Banking Subcommittee bill also contains a repeal of the limit on credits, a move taken in case the Foreign Aid bill is vetoed by President Bush because of objectionable provisions unrelated to the issue of Soviet credits. (Jim Nichol) GOLD SHIPPED ABROAD. Reversing earlier denials of Western reports, TASS on September26 quoted a report in Kuranty that gold worth $4 billion had been shipped abroad secretly by the coup plotters in August. The purpose was to create a special reserve fund to purchase imports for Soviet industry in the expectation that Western credits would be cut off after the coup. Rumors of the gold shipment had caused London and Tokyo gold exchange prices to decline in early September. (Jim Nichol) MUJAHEDDIN SEEK REPARATIONS FROM USSR. According to TASS on September 26, the Afghan Mujaheddin Lawyers' Association, based in Peshawar, Pakistan, has written an appeal demanding that the USSR pay for the damage done to Afghanistan since the 1979 Soviet invasion. The group has sent the appeal to the Afghan opposition delegation now being formed to go to Moscow for talks on settling the Afghan conflict. It also wants the USSR to make a full list of the damage done since 1979 and to send it to the UN and other international organizations. The appeal reportedly argues that since Kuwait demanded military reparations from Iraq, why cannot Afghanistan demand the same from the USSR? TASS said the Afghan opposition claims that incomplete estimates of the damage run to over $644.8 billion. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) MUBARAK TO MEET GORBACHEV, YELTSIN TODAY. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Moscow yesterday for "a short working visit," TASS reported September 26. He is to hold talks today with USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin. Gorbachev's special Mideast envoy Evgenii Primakov, who met Mubarak at the airport, told TASS that the talks will focus on the proposed Middle East peace conference and on bilateral relations. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) ANTI-SEMITISM CONFERENCE CONCLUDES. The International Conference on Anti-Semitism ended in Moscow on September 26, issuing a resolution calling for a ban on political parties and organizations that "ignite racial hatreds" in the Soviet Union. The conference also called for Soviet and republican emigration laws to consistently adhere to international human rights standards and commitments undertaken by the Soviet Union, and urged that Jewish organizations be consulted in revising the laws. On September 25, the conference released a poll by Moscow-based Jewish Scientific Center that found that more than 50% of Soviet citizens want all Jews to leave the country. The poll, a sponsor said, reflects increasing anti-Semitism in the wake of growing economic uncertainty. (Jim Nichol) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS SIXTY DEAD IN TBILISI CLASHES. A Georgian military spokesman denied claims by rebel National Guard commander Tengiz Kitovani that four Georgian OMON troops were killed in an attack on the National Guard camp at Shavnabada outside Tbilisi in the early morning of September 26 and reported that shots were fired later that day at the home of Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Western news agencies reported on September 26. Gamsakhurdia extended by two hours a 6 p.m. deadline for surrendering weapons. TASS September 27 quoted Kitovani as saying that 60unarmed young National Guard volunteers were killed when OMON troops who had surrounded the Shavnabada camp September26 attacked early September 27. (Liz Fuller) SITUATION IN TAJIKISTAN. Western and Soviet news agencies reported on September 26 that demonstrators trying to force the resignation of acting republican president Rakhman Nabiev have begun a hunger strike in front of the Tajik Supreme Soviet building. According to the late night installment of "Vesti," 239 people are participating in the hunger strike. A Tajik journalist said on "Vesti" that Nabiev has confirmed the ban on the Communist Party for which his predecessor was removed on Monday. Other sources reported that Nabiev refuses to resign, arguing that if he were to resign under pressure from demonstrators, "the process would be endless." (Bess Brown) OUTSIDE SUPPORT FOR TAJIK DEMOCRATS. TASS reported on September 26 that demonstrators and sympathizers of the republic's democratic parties, such as Tajikistan's highest-ranking clergyman, Kazi Akbar Turadzhonzoda, are taking great pains to assure the Russian-speaking population of the republic that the anti-Communist demonstrations in Dushnabe are not aimed against Russians. Opposition leaders have sought support from Russian democratic groups. A delegation from the Democratic Kyrgyzstan movement arrived in Dushanbe on September 26 to support the Tajik demonstrators, and representatives of the Uzbek Popular Front Birlik have come to Dushnabe as well. (Bess Brown) TURKESTANI CONFERENCE IN UZBEKISTAN. An Uzbek journalist informed RFE/RL on September 25 that the first International Conference of Turkestanis was opened that day by Uzbek president Islam Karimov. The conference, which is attended by 100 representatives of Central Asians living abroad, is to promote closer ties between Uzbekistan and Turkestani emigrants. (Yakub Turan) MOONSHINE TO BE LEGALIZED IN KYRGYZSTAN? The September 17 issue of Izvestia contains what it describes as the sensational news that Kyrgyzstan's MVD has proposed a resolution legalizing the production and sale of home-brewed alcoholic beverages. The republic's liberal minister of internal affairs, Felks Kulov, told an Izvestia correspondent that law enforcement cannot cope with illegal home-brewing, so the best policy is to legalize it. (Bess Brown) UKRAINE, KAZAKHSTAN SAID TO HESITATE OVER MISSILES. As reported by Reuter on September 26, RSFSR Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov said in an address to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London that Ukraine and Kazakhstan are backing away from previous offers to hand over to the RSFSR nuclear missiles located on the territory of their republics. Although the RSFSR would accept the missiles, Fedorov pointed out that transportation would be dangerous and that it would be cheaper to destroy the silos. He said missiles in Ukraine and Kazakhstan could be made the object of negotiations with the United States. (Kathy Mihalisko) "DEMOCRATIC CRIMEA" WARNS OF UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN CONFLICTS. TASS, quoting sources in the "Democratic Crimea" opposition group, said on September 26 that the Communist authorities who are still firmly in charge of the Crimean peninsula are attempting to pit Ukraine against Russia. According to Yurii Komov, a member of both "Democratic Crimea" and the Presidium of the Crimean ASSR Supreme Soviet, officials are gathering signatures on a petition to hold a referendum on whether to nullify the 1954 act on the transfer of Crimea from the RSFSR to Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko) KRAVCHUK CONCLUDES WHITE HOUSE VISIT. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk concluded his visit to Washington yesterday where he held talks with President Bush and addressed the Heritage Foundation and the National Press Club, Radio Kiev and TASS reported September 26. Kravchuk told reporters that the US is ready to support Ukraine's movement towards democracy and independence. At the same time, the White House has made it clear that the US is not prepared to extend diplomatic recognition. The Ukrainian leader also said that Ukraine is against the transfer of nuclear weapons from one republic to another. With regard to relations with the center, Kravchuk stated that now there can only be economic relations between republics; the question of a political union, he asserted, is quite another matter. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINE POSTPONES DECISION ON FOREIGN ECONOMIC TALKS. Ukraine has postponed initialing the protocols of the inter-republican meeting on questions of coordinating foreign economic activity for one week, Radio Kiev reported September 26. No reasons were given for the delay. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHANKA DEFINES BELORUSSIAN SOVEREIGNTY. In an address on September 26 to the UN General Assembly, Belorussian Foreign Minister Pyotr Kravchanka said his republic's goal is to achieve "real independence and sovereignty" through favorable political conditions that would lead to "a wave of diplomatic recognition." Kravchanka expressed the hope that the CSCE will look favorably on the republic's desire to join the Helsinki process when CSCE foreign ministers meet in Prague in January. (Kathy Mihalisko) DNIESTER MOLDAVIAN TOWN BESIEGED. Additional Russian "workers' detachments" have arrived in the Moldavian town of Dubasari on the left bank of the Dniester to reinforce the siege of the Moldavian police headquarters and other administrative buildings there, Moldavian Internal Affairs Minister Ion Costas told Radio Kishinev September 26. The siege, in its third day, is part of the recent efforts by the Russian-led "Dniester SSR" to force Moldavian police units to submit to the self-proclaimed authorities there and expel Moldavian authorities from the area's main towns. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT STRESSES POLITICAL SOLUTION. Addressing the Moldavian parliament September 26, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur reaffirmed that Kishinev would rely solely on political methods to resolve the situation on the left bank of the Dniester, Moldovapres reported the same day. Noting the pressures applied by local Russian leaders to the Moldavian authorities, and particularly the threats against Moldavian policemen in six towns of the area, Snegur said that he would rather resign than approve the use of force. In a message to the police stations in the six towns, made public by Moldavian radio September 25, Snegur said that force may be used only to defend the physical safety of policemen. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PREMIER RECEIVES AMERICAN DIPLOMAT. Moldavian Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi received J. Whitters, Third Secretary of the US Embassy in the USSR, on September 26 in Kishinev, Moldovapres reported the same day. Muravschi told the American diplomat that international recognition of Moldavia's independence "would help in stabilizing the situation in the republic, maintaining its territorial integrity, and giving an impetus to Moldavia's economic interaction with the West." (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES BALTS JOIN INTERNATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION. On September 26 the governing board of the International Weightlifting Federation, meeting in Donaueschingen, Germany, decided to admit Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and South Africa as members, Western agencies reported that day. This is the fourth international sports federation to admit the Baltic states. They will need to join only one more international sports federation to comply with the Olympic Charter requirement of membership in five such federations for acceptance as a full member of the International Olympic Committee. (Saulius Girnius) NORDIC COUNCIL MEETING ON BALTIC STATES. On September 26 in Copenhagen Nordic Council parliamentarians held a meeting with their Baltic counterparts, including Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis who gave an interview to the RFE Lithuanian Service that day. Discussion at a meeting of the Nordic Council Secretariat focused on cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic Councils and the establishment of a Baltic Investment Bank with a proposed capital of 300million ECUs. The secretariat also agreed to recommend to their governments support for the immediate withdrawal of the Soviet army from the Baltic states. (Saulius Girnius) VAGNORIUS SPEECH ON LITHUANIAN ECONOMY. On September 26 Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius said, in a speech to the Lithuanian parliament rebroadcast by Radio Lithuania, that the first economic priority is to convert to a market economy. The differences between market and state prices that are still in force for about 40% of goods have prompted many people to buy goods at state prices and resell them at market prices, resulting in shortages of goods at state prices. Vagnorius said that he hoped to free all prices by the end of the year. He noted that in October wages and other compensatory payments would be raised by about 30%. (Saulius Girnius) PROPOSALS FOR REORGANIZATION OF MINISTRIES. Vagnorius said that the current ministries should be reorganized, but without increasing the number of employees. The Ministry of Trade should be incorporated into the Ministry of Material Resources. The Department of National Defense should be made the Ministry of National Defense. A new Ministry of International Economic Relations should be created whose primary purpose would be to increase Lithuania's international trade by formulating agreements with individual countries, international financial organizations, and various regional economic communities, such as the EC. The Communications Ministry should add a section dealing with information sciences. (Saulius Girnius) REORGANIZATION OF THE BANK OF LITHUANIA. Vagnorius also proposed that the Bank of Lithuania should divest itself of all normal commercial accounts with enterprises and individuals by November 1 transfering them to other commercial banks. The Bank of Lithuania should become a Central Bank (similar to the US Federal Reserve) that would regulate credit policies and the circulation of money (after Lithuania introduces its own currency). He hoped that some international bank would decide to establish a branch in Lithuania that would be a competitor and example for local banks. (Saulius Girnius) JOINT COMMISSION ON POLES IN LITHUANIA. On September 26 parliament press spokesman Audrius Azubalis said that Lithuania was willing to discuss an offer by Polish parliament deputies to form a joint commission to investigate the treatment of ethnic Poles in Lithuania, Western agencies reported that day. He also categorically refuted a TASS report of September 25 that the so-called Vilnija Salvation Army had sent an ultimatum to the parliament stating that armed actions would be taken against Lithuanian armed forces in Polish inhabited regions if Lithuania did not agree by November1 to the right of a free referendum there. Azubalis noted that no such ultimatum had been received and regretted that the TASS disinformation could affect relations between Lithuania and Poland, Russia, and Belorussia. (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIA RECOGNIZED INDEPENDENCE OF SLOVENIA. The BALTFAX news agency reported on September 26 that the Estonian government had informed the government of Slovenia that it recognized Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia and invited Slovenia to establish mutual diplomatic relations. (Saulius Girnius)
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