|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 187, 01 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR REPUBLICAN PREMIERS MEETING IN ALMA-ATA ON ECONOMIC UNION. Representatives of 12 of the 15 union republics of the former USSR have agreed to meet in Alma-Ata October 1 to discuss the revised draft of the treaty on economic union prepared by Yavlinsky, TASS and Radio Moscow reported September 30. According to Radio Moscow, the only absentees will be the Baltic Sates. The meeting will be presided over by Ivan Silaev, chairman of the Interrepublican Economic Committee. The radio said that if things went according to plan the treaty could be signed in Moscow on October 9. This seems somewhat optimistic given the reported opposition to the Yavlinsky plan on the part of some of the republics. (Ann Sheehy) GORBACHEV ON UNION TREATY. At a press conference September 30 after his talks with Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitsky, Gorbachev said that he thought both the treaty on economic union and a new Union treaty could be signed "in the main" in October, TASS reported September30. Gorbachev suggested that not all republics would sign at once, but the process would begin. He repeated his threat to resign if the Union was not preserved, and said that it must be a Union state and not some amorphous formation. Vesti, citing Interfax, reported September 30 that Gorbachev had discussed the future structure of the Union with RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, and their joint position on a new Union treaty would be made known shortly. (Ann Sheehy) PRIMAKOV APPOINTED CHIEF OF FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev has appointed academician Evgenii Primakov as Chief of KGB Intelligence [foreign intelligence] and KGB First Deputy Chairman, TASS reported September 30. Primakov, who said his appointment did not come as a surprise to him, declared his intention to separate the foreign intelligence service from the KGB and to create a new image for the organization. Primakov said he intends to use outside experts for analytical projects, although at the same time he will keep traditional intelligence techniques, including "illegal" agents. Although TASS described the appointment of a "scientist" and "politician" to the KGB as a sensation, Primakov has been alleged to have ties to the agency since he worked as a Pravda correspondent in the Middle East in the early 1970s. (Victor Yasmann) OFFICIAL RESPONSE ON ARMS OFFER. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin said September 30, "I think it's time to say farewell to so-called nuclear deterrence." Other Soviet officials also expressed enthusiasm for the American arms reduction proposal. First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Petrovsky said September 30, "the Soviet side is ready to get down to the proposals made by President Bush constructively and without delay." Deputy Chief of Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces General Bronislav Omelichev described the US proposal as a "positive" step and said it parallels proposals made by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986, Soviet and Western news agencies reported September 30. (Suzanne Crow) CALLS FOR TEST BAN. Petrovsky stressed that the issue of nuclear testing should also be resolved. "The palate of these proposals could be richer if that palate covered the issue of stopping nuclear tests," Petrovsky said. He also proposed the immediate resumption of negotiations on a nuclear test ban. (Suzanne Crow) CUBAN TALKS SCHEDULED. Talks on the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Cuba are set to begin sometime between October 20 and 30, Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Nikolaenko said September30. He told TASS the same day that details of the withdrawal will be discussed at the formal talks and did not specify their location. (Suzanne Crow) PANKIN MEETS MUJAHEDDIN. Foreign Minister Pankin met with a delegation of Afghan resistance leaders at the UN in New York on September 30 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. According to RFE/RL's correspondent in New York, a spokesman for the delegation termed their talks with Pankin on obstacles to settling the Afghan conflict "frank and open," and said "we think that the Soviets are interested in movement" on the Afghan issue. He said Pankin had invited them to Moscow to continue the dialogue, and that the Mujaheddin leaders would accept. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON KURILES. Soviet Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov said in an interview with TASS September 30 that the resolution of the Kurile Islands dispute should be handled according to the ideas set forth by Yeltsin. Like Yeltsin, Shaposhnikov voiced his objection to the notion that the islands would returned in exchange for Japanese economic assistance. (Suzanne Crow) SAKHALIN OFFICIALS OPPOSE KURILE TRANSFER. Meanwhile, on September 30 authorities on the island of Sakhalin stated their opposition to any attempt to return the Kuriles to Japan. A TASS report, cited by Western agencies the same day, quoted Valentin Fedorov, head of the Sakhalin regional council's executive committee, as declaring his committee a "headquarters of struggle for the Kurile Islands." (Sallie Wise Chaballier) YAVLINSKY'S GOLD FIGURE DISPUTED. In an interview with a Western agency on September 30, USSR Gosbank Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Doumnov disputed Grigorii Yavlinsky's estimate that total Soviet gold reserves were down to 240tons (see Daily Report, September 30). Doumnov asserted that "the balance of the monetary gold reserve remains at 374.4 tons," thereby restating the USSR Gosbank balance sheet item published in Izvestia of July 16. Whichever of these figures turns out to be the correct one, the amount is far below what had been estimated previously and represents a very meager cushion for the USSR's trading position. It is to be hoped that final, definitive data will be made available soon. (Keith Bush) EC ASKS FOR AID REQUEST BREAKDOWN. At a meeting in Moscow on September 30, the Economy Commissioner of the European Commission, Henning Christophersen, asked USSR Deputy Foreign Minister Ernest Obminsky for a full accounting of the Soviet request for $14.7 billion in aid, Western agencies reported that day. Christophersen said that he had asked for the breakdown by October 3, and remarked that unless the EC receives information about the USSR's "real needs," no decision on aid could be made. (Keith Bush) NEWS FROM THE RSFSR. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet Presidium has decided to hold popular elections of the heads of local administrations (Yeltsin's present envoys) on November 24, Radio Moscow reported on September 30. It also released Mikhail Bocharov as head of the RSFSR Economic Council in connection with the dismantling of that institution. Inform-kuranty reported the same day that former Leningrad Party boss Boris Gidaspov was offered the job of RSFSR Minister for Environmental Protection. The RSFSR State Council said it has received numerous reports of abuses of rights in other republics of Russians and other nations having ethnic ties to the nations of the RSFSR, according to TASS on September 30. (Alexander Rahr) SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA MEETS. The board of the Social Democratic Party of Russia opened a plenum in Moscow on September28, TASS said. The plenum, which was addressed by the party's leaders Oleg Rumyantsev and Boris Orlov, discussed the participation of the party's candidates in the November election of heads of local governments in the RSFSR and the party's cooperation with the RSFSR leadership. (Vera Tolz) POLITICAL COUNCIL OF MDR MEETS. The political council of the Movement for Democratic Reforms, which includes among others Eduard Shevardnadze, Aleksandr Yakovlev, Ivan Laptev, Nikolai Petrakov and Pavel Bunich, met in Moscow September 28 to sum up the results of the first conference of the movement which was held in Moscow last week. TASS quoted the members of the council as expressing concern over the increasing conflict between executive (offices of mayors) and representative (local Soviets) powers in Moscow and other areas of the Russian Federation. The council issued a statement on "the situation in Tajikistan," expressing concern over possible violence in the region. The council also announced that the first congress of the Movement will be held on November 30-December 1. (Vera Tolz) KOZYREV ON POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER PUTSCH. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said at an international economic seminar in Rome that if political and economic reforms fail to be implemented in the following two or three months, another putsch by conservative forces may occur in the Soviet Union. TASS on September 30 quoted him saying that the West should help the democratic forces in the USSR, which are unexperienced and disorganized. He stressed that the West must control the distribution of its financial aid to the USSR to prevent it being diverted by conservative forces. (Alexander Rahr) BURBULIS GIVES RUSSIAN FLAG TO KGB HIGHER SCHOOL. RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis, in a solemn ceremony, presented the USSR KGB Higher School with the nation's tricolor, Vremya reported September 26. The chief of the School, Lieutenant General V. Postnikov, said that the gesture does not necessarily mean that his academy has been transferred to the jurisdiction of the RSFSR. The new chief of the Moscow KGB Administration, Evgenii Savost'yanov, added that the ceremony was a symbol of respect for the republic, which is home for the KGB Higher School. (Victor Yasmann) KGB OFFICER AT USSR GENERAL CONSULATE IN MUNICH DEFECTS. The KGB resident in the USSR Consulate General in Munich, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Fomenko, has defected to Germany, TASS reported on September 30, quoting an article published the same day in Die Welt. Fomenko had worked in Munich under diplomatic cover as the Vice Consul responsible for issuing visas. The German intelligence service BND hopes that Fomenko will supply it with information on the KGB network in Germany, which reportedly has not stopped functioning since the demise of the GDR. (Alexander Rahr) EGOR YAKOVLEV: A COMPROMISE CHOICE? The St. Petersburg newspaper Smena of September14 revealed a rumor that RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin nominated its former chief editor Vikor Yugin for the chairmanship of the USSRState Radio and Television Company. (At the time Yugin was serving as chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee on Mass Media; later he was appointed acting head of the St. Petersburg Radio and TV Company.) Gorbachev's choice, Smena related, was chairman of the USSR Confederation of Journalists Eduard Sagalaev. Gorbachev and Yeltsin thereupon agreed on Egor Yakovlev, then editor of Moscow News as a "compromise figure." All three--Yugin, Sagalaev, and Yakovlev--are noted reformers; all acted bravely during the coup. But only one of the three--Eduard Sagalaev--is a professional TV specialist with both journalistic and managerial experience with Soviet television. (Julia Wishnevsky) SOTSIALISTICHESKAYA ZAKONNOST' TO CHANGE NAME. In response to the change in the country's political climate, Sotsialisticheskaya zakonnost', an organ of the USSR Prosecutor's Office, has decided to change its title. Issue No. 8 of the journal announced that the journal, which is now jointly owned by the prosecutor's office and the periodical's staffers, will be called simply Zakonnost'. (Vera Tolz) SOLZHENITSYN ON GORBACHEV, YELTSIN. In a rare interview, published in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard September 30, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said that he believes communism is now dead. He criticized Gorbachev for failing to improve the country's economy and added that Gorbachev is a "dubious personality." He stressed that Yeltsin has thus far "sold himself quite well" but that Yeltsin also might fail to solve the country's economic crisis. Solzhenitsyn spoke out against the future inclusion of Russia into the world economy because that would lead to price inflation. He stressed the need for a spiritual revival of Russia and indicated that he will return to Russia. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR SUPSOV COMMISSION ON IMPLEMENTING LAW ON REPRESSED PEOPLES. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet Commission on national-state construction and interethnic relations discussed September 30 a decree on implementing the RSFSR law on rehabilitating the repressed peoples in the RSFSR, Radio Rossii reported September 30. It was noted that the implementation of the law in the North Caucasus was difficult because of the rival territorial claims of the indigenous peoples and the Cossacks, but a solution was urgently needed. On October 1 the commission will discuss draft laws on the political rehabilitation of the Cossacks and the deported peoples as well as on national autonomy. (Ann Sheehy) RSFSR TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF NATIVES OF RSFSR OUTSIDE REPUBLIC. A document of the State Council of the RSFSR president, distributed September 30, states that the RSFSR intends to use all lawful means to protect the rights of Russians and members of other RSFSR nationalities living outside the RSFSR, TASS reported September 30. RSFSR deputy Aleksei Surkov, who is chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's subcommission for work with national minorities and ties with fellow-countrymen abroad, told Radio Rossii September30 that he had recently participated in a roundtable of representatives of Russian-speaking communities in the republics, in the framework of the CSCE conference, where great concern had been expressed about the position of the Russian-speaking population. (Ann Sheehy) ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER BEING SET UP IN OMSK. Representatives of the Islamic world, including the ambassadors of Algeria, Tunisia, and Oman, diplomats, businessmen, and clergy from virtually all parts of the world, have just spent three days in Omsk studying the life of Muslims in Siberia, Vesti reported September 30. The foundation stone was laid of a future Islamic cultural center, and a business club was opened where representatives of the Islamic world can conclude business deals and give aid to the needy. (Ann Sheehy) LEZGIN CONGRESS DIVIDED ON UNIFICATION OF LEZGIN PEOPLE. The third Congress of the Lezgin People, recently held in southern Dagestan, was sharply divided on the question of how to preserve national unity, the language, culture, traditions, and customs of the Lezgins, TSN reported September 30. About half the Lezgin population lives in Dagestan, with most of the rest in Azerbaijan, and there has long been a desire for unification. TSN said that the majority view among the people was that "forceful pressure" should not be exercised on the supreme authorities of the two republics. (Ann Sheehy) WHO IS A JEW? Issue 35 of Literator, a weekly of the Leningrad Writers' Organization, reported on a new trend in the leaflets of the anti-Semitic "Pamyat'" society. In the past, "Pamyat's" leaflets, posted on a fence near Gostinyi Dvor, alleged that all liberals are Jews and even ascribed Jewish names to them, claiming that the "real" name of Yurii Afanas'ev is Rosenfeld, that Anatolii Sobcahk is Finkelshtein, Aleksandr Yakovlev is Epshtein, Eduard Shevardnadze is Tsakhes, etc. On August 26, Literator discovered on the same fence a "Pamyat" leaflet "unmasking" members of the State of Emergency Committee in the same anti-Semitic way. According to it, Valentin Pavlov's name is Goldberg, Vladimir Kryuchkov is Liberman, Dmitrii Yazov is Presman, Vasilii Starodubtsev is Sheinson, Gennadii Yanaev is Shmuel Flakk, and Anatolii Luk'yanov is Goldenshlyuger. (Julia Wishnevsky) PRISONERS BAPTIZED IN CAMP. Khristianskoe slovo (the press organ of the Union of Christian Baptists), No. 7 (July) reported the baptism of 18prisoners in the settlement of Puksa, 300 km. from Arkhangelsk. The prisoners were brought there from various labor camps, some of them hundreds of miles away from Puksa. A transportable baptistry for the ceremony was supplied by the Moscow mission of the charity organization Euroevangelism. This appears to be the first time that prisoners in the Soviet Union have had the opportunity to be baptized. (Oxana Antic) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS GEORGIAN STALEMATE CONTINUES. Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia stated September30 that if opposition forces surrender their arms by noon on October 3, he will comply with their request to convene parliament. He also undertook to lift the state of emergency in Tbilisi if they vacate the TV center which they have occupied for the past ten days. Several thousand Gamsakhurdia supporters later followed his call at a rally in Tbilisi for a peaceful march to the TV center, Western news agencies reported September30. (Liz Fuller) POPULAR FRONT DEMONSTRATION IN BAKU. The Azerbaijan Popular Front convened a second rally September 30 in Baku to call for the dissolution of the republic's Supreme Soviet, democratic elections, and for a "mobilization of forces in order to ensure the security of the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh," Vesti reported September30. (Liz Fuller) STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED IN DUSHANBE. The Supreme Soviet of Tajikistan voted September 30 to lift the state of emergency it had imposed a week earlier in a vain attempt to stop demonstrations in Dushanbe, according to Western agencies that day. TASS reported that the session began with serious wrangling over an agenda that includes the question of confirming a ban on the republican Communist Party. According to reports of correspondents in Dushanbe, some 10,000 demonstrators are still outside the Supreme Soviet building. TASS reported on September 30 that a planned military exercise in Tajikistan had been called off to prevent worsening tensions. (Bess Brown) TURKMENISTAN TO VOTE ON INDEPENDENCE. Western agencies reported on September 30 that a special session of the Supreme Soviet of Turkmenistan has voted to hold a referendum on independence on October 26. Turkmenistan is one of the three union republics which has not declared independence. The others are the RSFSR and Kazakhstan. (Bess Brown) UZBEK SUPREME SOVIET SESSION OPENS. The evening installment of the Central TV news show TSN reported on September 30, quoting Nezavisimaya gazeta, that a group of deputies in the Supreme Soviet of Uzbekistan, which has just started a special session, plan to demand that Uzbek President Islam Karimov resign. The cautious Karimov has gained a reputation as a conservative, in part because he has been unwilling to recognize opposition political organizations such as the Popular Front Birlik and the Islamic Renaissance Party. (Bess Brown) KRAVCHUK AT UN. In his address on September30 to the UN General Assembly, Ukrainian Supreme Soviet chairman Leonid Kravchuk hailed President George Bush's recent arms reduction initiative as "an important step to a safe future," and added that Ukraine intends to be party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. As relayed by TASS and Western news agencies, Kravchuk stressed that the "liquidation" of the nuclear arsenal and bases presently located in Ukraine is "a matter of time." (Kathy Mihalisko) FEAR OF RUSSIA CITED IN UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR DEBATE. Summarizing a report on September 30 in The Guardian, TASS drew attention to Ukrainian reluctance to hand over nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation. Deputy Supreme Soviet Chairman Ivan Plyushch, in a seeming contradiction of Leonid Kravchuk's remarks at the UN, said that destruction of the weapons was too expensive a proposition for Ukraine but that he saw no reason to give them to Russia's keeping. He called for a joint interrepublican organ to exercise control over the nuclear arsenal. Supreme Soviet opposition deputies told The Guardian that fear of Russian territorial ambitions was leading to second thoughts about disposing of Ukraine's nukes. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINIANS WANT ALTERNATIVE TO YAVLINSKY. Radio Kiev said on September 29 that leading Ukrainian politicians are not satisfied with the economic union proposed by Soviet economist Grigorii Yavlinsky and accepted by Gorbachev's State Council. Opinions are running against the draft because, according to Radio Kiev, it "leads the republics into the same hole, only of more modern design." The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has called for an alternative program based on economic cooperation between independent states. (Kathy Mihalisko) RSFSR DEPUTIES IN MOLDAVIA. A delegation of RSFSR deputies headed by the progressive Nikolai Medvedev has arrived in Moldavia to help mediate between Kishinev and the Russian communist leaders on the left bank of the Dniester. Armed "workers detachments" of the self-proclaimed "Dniester SSR," opposed to Moldavian independence, continue to besiege the Moldavian police building in Dubasari, one of the last Moldavian holdouts on the left bank of the Dniester. (Vladimir Socor). TRAVKIN IN MOLDAVIA. Russian Democratic Party leader and USSR SupSov deputy Nikolai Travkin visited Tiraspol and Dubasari September28 under the protection of the Soviet military. Attending the founding conference of his party's branch in the Dniester area, Travkin spoke--as he did during his visit there in August--about the imperative of preserving the "Russian state" (derzhava) in the Dniester and other far-flung areas. "Our concept of Russia has always extended beyond its geographical framework," he told Radio Rossii September 29. Using the terms "Russia" and "USSR" interchangeably, Travkin called for holding referendums on revising the borders of republics which "separate themselves" from the USSR. (Vladimir Socor) TRAVKIN ON DUBASARI. Concerning the situation in Dubasari, Travkin said that "a large part of the people there are our compatriots" and told them from the screen of central TV: "Boys, we shan't abandon you." (According to the Soviet census of 1989, the population on the left bank of the Dniester is 25.5% Russian and that of Dubasari raion is 88% Moldavian). (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES DISBANDING OF KGB IN BALTIC STATES. Deputy Chairman of the USSR KGB Nikolai Stolyarov told a press conference in Moscow after returning from a two week visit to the Baltic republics that the KGB would be dissolved in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by early next year, Moscow Radio reported September 30. Moscow will have to leave buildings, equipment, and weapons held by the KGB in the three states worth millions of rubles. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN OFFICIALS TO SOUTH AMERICA. Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Bronius Kuzmickas and the parliament's Foreign Relations Commission Emanuelis Zingeris began a visit to South America September 29, Radio Lithuania reported September 30. They intend to visit Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, where there are large communities of Lithuanian emigres. They plan to meet those countries' leaders and discuss possibilities for the return of Lithuania's former diplomatic buildings for use by the emigres. Lithuania has not decided whether to station permanent representatives in South America, but sees the need to expand economic ties there. (Saulius Girnius) US OFFICIALS IN VILNIUS. Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius met US representative to the UN Human Rights Commission Kenneth Blackwell and other officials in Vilnius on September 30, Radio Lithuania reported that day. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the situation of national minorities in Lithuania, especially the Poles. Vagnorius asserted that the removal of the councils in the Vilnius and Salcininkai raions had been caused by their anti-Lithuanian activities and that new elections to the councils would be held next year. When asked whether ethnic Lithuanians had any special rights, Vagnorius said that they did not and could only complain that questions asked in the official state language were at times not answered in Lithuanian. (Saulius Girnius)
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