|To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson|
No. 190, 07 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR GORBACHEV ANNOUNCES NUCLEAR ARMS CUTS. In a televised speech on October 5 that was reported by TASS and Western agencies, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev matched most of the nuclear arms initiatives announced earlier by President George Bush and added some additional measures of his own. He declared that the USSR would cut its strategic nuclear arsenal to 5,000 warheads rather than the 6,000 allowed under the recently signed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and announced a unilateral one-year moratorium on nuclear testing. In a major reversal in Soviet policy, Gorbachev said that the USSR was willing to discuss American proposals on anti-missile defenses and proposed a joint land- and space-based system to warn of nuclear missile attack. He also called on all the nuclear powers to declare that they would not be the first to use nuclear weapons. (Doug Clarke) . . . AND CONFIRMS SMALLER ARMED FORCES. In his October 5 speech, Gorbachev confirmed that a further 700,000 personnel would be cut from the Soviet armed forces. Last week Soviet the military would be reduced from 3,700,000 to 3,000,000. Gorbachev also suggested that the Strategic Rocket Forces, the Air Forces, and the Air Defense Forces would be combined into one new military service. (Doug Clarke) BATTLE IN RSFSR OVER SIGNING ECONOMIC AGREEMENT. The question of whether or not the RSFSR will sign the economic agreement reached in Alma-Ata on October 1 could depend on the outcome of fierce infighting between different members of Yeltsin's teams, to judge by the latest reports in the Soviet media. In an interview with Central Television on October 5, Yavlinsky put a brave face on it, saying that there were fairly heated discussions going on and the parliament would decide. RSFSR Justice Minister N. Fedorov said on Central Television the same day that the treaty was unacceptable since it contained an attempt to reanimate former Union structures. According to Nezavisimaya gazeta of October 5, the RSFSR Council of Ministers had in effect disavowed RSFSR Deputy Premier Evgenii Saburov's signature under the Alma-Ata documents, and he and RSFSR state secretary Gennadii Burbulis had flown south to see Yeltsin. (Ann Sheehy) RUTSKOI TRIES TO DEFUSE SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. RSFSR vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi talked for more than an hour on October 6 with the leader of the Chechen national movement, retired general Dzhakhar Dudaev, under the protection of armed men from both sides, TASS reported October 6. Rutskoi had flown in urgently after supporters of the Executive Committee of the Congress of the Chechen People had stormed the local KGB offices. The congress had earlier disbanded the Supreme Provisional Council set up after the Supreme Soviet had dissolved itself under pressure from the congress,and set up a provisional revolutionary committee to exercise power until new structures were created. Rutskoi said he feared a second Karabakh in Checheno-Ingushetia. He reminded Dudaev that there were laws forbidding the storming of buildings and told him to stop "politicizing" the people. (Ann Sheehy) RUTSKOI ADDRESSES INGUSH CONGRESS. While he was in Groznyy, Rutskoi addressed the Third Congress of the Ingush People, which was in session at the time. He proposed that the question of the return of the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia to the Ingush be decided by a congress of elders of the North Caucasus. He said he would ask Yeltsin to entrust him with the organization of such a congress. (Ann Sheehy) CHECHEN MUSLIMS WITHOUT LEADERS. On October 5 a congress of Muslims of Checheno-Ingushetia disbanded the former religious board of the Muslims of the republic, but dispersed the next day without electing a mufti and other members of the board, Radio Moscow and TASS reported October 6. The previous board had sharply condemned the activity of the leader of the Chechen national movement Dzhakhar Dudaev, who addressed the congress. The congress also apparently marked a split between Chechen and Ingush Muslims, the latter apparently taking no part in the congress. (Ann Sheehy) STATEMENT BY FIVE REPUBLICS IN ALMA-ATA. Radio Kiev broadcast on October 4 the full text of the statement signed in Alma-Ata by the RSFSR, Ukraine, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. The radio said that it was being issued at the request of the Ukrainian premier's office because certain mass media, in particular Pravda, had distorted its essence. The document states that discussion of the draft treaty on an economic community had brought to light serious difficulties between the republics, and as a result "the signing of the interrepublican agreement is pushed aside for an indefinite period." In view of the crisis situation the five republics had therefore agreed to sign by October 15, 1991, "a multilateral agreement on economic cooperation." It would seem, in effect, that little of real substance was decided in Alma-Ata. (Ann Sheehy) "PAMYAT" BARD ASSASSINATED. Prominent pop singer Igor Tal'kov was shot dead during a concert in St. Petersburg on October 6, the TV news shows "Vesti" and TSN reported later that day. Tal'kov's killer escaped but his identity is known to the police, said "Vesti," adding that killing could have been politically motivated. Tal'kov was well-known for his controversial political beliefs, and performed at meetings of the anti-Semitic "Pamyat'" Society. "Pamyat'" leader Dmitrii Vasil'ev counted the singer among "Pamyat's" most ardent supporters. (Julia Wishnevsky) GORBACHEV DENOUNCES ANTI-SEMITISM. On October 6, Western news agencies reported a statement by Mikhail Gorbachev condemning anti-Semitism. The statement was read by Aleksandr Yakovlev, who represented Gorbachev at a ceremony commemorating the 120,000 Jews killed by the Nazis at Babii Yar during World War II. Gorbachev's statement said that anti-Semitism as a government policy was reintroduced in the Soviet Union by "the Stalin bureaucracy," which sought to isolate the country from the outside world. Gorbachev added that anti-Semitism is widespread in the USSR today and that it is used by certain reactionary forces which oppose reforms. Although Western leaders have long urged Gorbachev to denounce anti-Semitism, he seemed to fear that doing so would upset Party conservatives, among whom anti-Semitism was an article of faith. (Julia Wishnevsky) DISARRAY IN RUSSIAN LEADERSHIP CONTINUES. With RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin on vacation and reportedly writing a book and the republican government still without a premier, the acting head of the RSFSR parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, accused RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis and RSFSR State Counselor Sergei Shakhrai of incompetence and demanded their resignations. Shakhrai acknowledged on Central TV on October 6 that the decrees issued by Yeltsin during the coup had to be corrected later but noted that Yeltsin had not consulted him about them. Shakhrai stated that Khasbulatov's accusations were the result of a nervous breakdown. (Alexander Rahr) PARTY OF LEFT-WING SOCIALISTS PROPOSED. A group of RSFSR and USSR people's deputies, including historian Roy Medvedev, have set up an initiative group which is to create a Russian party of left-wing socialist forces to replace the discredited CPSU. Sovetskaya Rossiya on October 2 and Pravda on October 3 published the group's appeal, which described the dissolution of the CPSU as a tragedy for millions of communists. According to the appeal, however, this tragedy is "nothing compared to the abyss of troubles into which our poor Russia is currently plunged." (Vera Tolz) DEMOCRATIC PARTIES HOLD MEETINGS. Two of the RSFSR's major parties with a democratic orientation, the Democratic Party of Russia and the Democratic Party of Communists of Russia, held meetings over the weekend, TASS reported on October 6. The board of the Democratic Party of Russia, headed by Nikolai Travkin, discussed the party's participation in the upcoming local elections in the RSFSR and adopted a new program for the DPR. The board of the Democratic Party of Communists of Russia, which has abandoned it communist course, introduced changes in the party's program. (Vera Tolz) KUPTSOV DEMANDS BAN ON RCP BE LIFTED. The leader of the RSFSR Communist Party, Valentin Kuptsov, has said he will attempt to convince Boris Yeltsin to lift the ban on the activities of the RCP. On October 4, "TSN" quoted Kuptsov as saying that if this is not done, ultra-conservative Communists will set up underground organizations. (Vera Tolz) RSFSR KGB TAKES OVER FROM USSR KGB. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has issued a new decree on the status of the Russian KGB, Radio Rossii reported on October 5. The decree stipulates that the Russian KGB is the legal successor of the central KGB on the territory of the RSFSR, and states that a federal state security organ should be created for purposes of coordination after negotiations with other republics. The republics must agree on the financing of such an organ. Sergei Stepashin, head of the state commission investigating the involvement of the KGB in the putsch, said that he had appealed to Gorbachev to halt any restructuring of the central KGB until the investigation is completed. (Alexander Rahr) PRIMAKOV ON NEW FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE. Evgenii Primakov, newly appointed head of the KGB's foreign operational branch, said at a press conference that his main tasks will be to democratize the spy service and oversee its separation from the main KGB, Western news agencies reported on October 2. Primakov asserted that the new Soviet foreign intelligence agency will have "completely new functions," concentrating on fighting drug traffic and terrorism. He ruled out a large-scale purge of the KGB's 12,000-person foreign branch and indicated that he will continue to rely on KGB agents working under diplomatic cover in Soviet embassies abroad. Primakov promised to open some of the service's files. (Alexander Rahr) JUNTA PLEADING FOR MERCY. A secret video recording of the first interrogations of the leaders of the August coup has been sold to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, which summarizes the contents in its October 6 issue. These include former defense minister Dmitrii Yazov calling himself a fool and appealing to Gorbachev not to put him on trial before a military court but to let him simply retire. Yazov also said that he never took the coup seriously. Ex-Premier Valentin Pavlov said that he was completely drunk when the coup started. Former KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov insisted that he had counted on Gorbachev eventually joining the coup, so physical liquidation of the Soviet leader had never been considered. (Alexander Rahr) YAZOV SAID PLOTTERS WERE DRUNK. According to the Spiegel summary, Yazov told an interrogator that one reason for the coup had been Gorbachev's break with the Kremlin tradition of collective leadership. Yazov complained that Gorbachev often refused to give an account of his foreign trips, particularly his meeting in London with the G-7 leaders of Western industrial nations, and Yazov said that the Soviet leaders were afraid that Gorbachev was selling them out to the West. The former defense minister said that Kryuchkov initiated the plot; Yazov admitted that the entire junta was drunk when the coup started on August18. According to Yazov, Gorbachev assumed full control over nuclear weapons twelve hours after his return to Moscow. (Alexander Rahr) JUNTA'S ARREST LIST. Argumenty i fakty No. 38 contains a list of 69 Russian politicians who were supposed to be detained during the August coup. According to the weekly, the arrest order was issued by former KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov at 7:20 a.m. on August 19. In addition to Boris Yeltsin and his close associates, the list included Aleksandr Yakovlev, Eduard Shevardnadze, present KGB chief Vadim Bakatin and the former head of the CPSU Central Committee's ideological department, Aleksandr Degtyarev. The article states that the original list was destroyed, but it has been reconstructed by the State Commission investigating KGB activities. A list of RSFSR deputies who were to have been detained was published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on August 27, but KGB officials declared this a forgery. (Julia Wishnevsky) CPSU CC MONTHLY FOLDS. Publication of the CPSU Central Committee monthly, Izvestiya TsK KPSS, has been terminated, according to a statement of its editor V. Belyanov in the October1 issue of Pravda. (Officially its chief editor was Mikhail Gorbachev.) The journal made its reputation through publication of material from Party archives; these were seized by RSFSR authorities after the August coup. Belyanov wrote that at first Rudolf Pikhoya, the RSFSR deputy responsible for the Party archives, and RSFSR deputy minister of justice Mikhail Fedotov wanted to continue publishing the journal under a new title, but later changed their minds, apparently under pressure, though Belyanov did not know from whom. (Julia Wishnevsky) SEARCH FOR CPSU MONEY. According to Moscow News No. 38, recent sociological surveys show that the finding and nationalizing of CPSU funds is the main concern of the Soviet population at the moment, even surpassing worries about the winter food crisis. The weekly said that the search for CPSU investments, especially foreign ones, is proceeding very slowly. In the meantime, the Party has already put much of its savings into various business enterprises. According to Moscow News, the profits of businesses that have been set up with CPSU participation in the past few years should be examined on an individual basis. Otherwise, former CPSU officials will still have a strong influence on society, through economics rather than politics. (Vera Tolz) OLD STALINISTS' WEEKLY TO CHANGE ORIENTATION? The staff of Veteran, a conservative Soviet newspaper for the elderly, has voted to make the publication into a progressive weekly, according to the September 28 issue of Trud, which also reported the resignation of Veteran's chief editor, Valentin Svininnikov. Under Svininnikov, who had been on the editorial board of the ultranationalist Nash sovremennik, many pro-Stalinist and anti-Semitic articles appeared in Veteran. Intellectuals were scandalized, and the editors of Trud, of which Veteran was formerly a weekly supplement, severed the connection between the two publications. (Julia Wishnevsky) PROTEST OVER PROPOSED RENAMING OF BURYAT SSR. Pickets on the main square of Ulan-Ude are protesting the legislative initiative of the Buryat SSR Council of Ministers calling for the republic to be renamed the Buryat-Mongol republic, Radio Mayak reported October 4. The protesters are demanding a referendum on the matter. The republic was known as the Buryat-Mongol ASSR until 1958. Since Buryats constitute only 24% of the population, what is presumably an attempt by the Buryats to assert their ethnic ties to the Mongolians could well be defeated in a referendum. (Ann Sheehy) IMF ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP GRANTED. After some initial delay and confusion, documents certifying International Monetary Fund associate member status for the USSR were exchanged on October 5 between President Gorbachev and IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, Western and Soviet agencies reported that day. The agreement took effect immediately, and a team of IMF specialists is due to arrive in Moscow on October 7. The exchange of documents was originally expected to take place on October 4, but Gorbachev reportedly told an Interfax reporter that the meeting would be delayed for at least ten days until the republics had first signed the new economic community agreement. (Keith Bush) FOOD AID IMPOUNDED. Customs officials in St. Petersburg have impounded European Community food aid to the value of 250 million ECU (about $300 million) and have demanded duty in hard currency before they will allow the food to be distributed, The Independent reported October 5. About one third of the foodstuffs has "disappeared" and is presumed to have been siphoned off to the black market. This incident is expected to be discussed at the meeting of EC finance ministers in Luxembourg scheduled for today, and it will probably result in calls for closer Western supervision of aid distribution within the Soviet Union. (Keith Bush) ABALKIN WARNS OF DISINTEGRATION. Interviewed on the "Vesti" newscast on Russian TV on October 3, Leonid Abalkin warned that the government has only one month remaining to take decisive measures to stabilize the economy. In the absence of such measures, the process of disintegration would, in his view, become complete and uncontrollable, with the nadir being reached by next spring. (Keith Bush) MORE PROJECTIONS OF BUDGET DEFICIT. On the same program, Abalkin said that this year's budget deficit will be five times greater than in 1990 and will amount to 15% of the GNP. In an interview with Interfax on October 4, USSR First Deputy Minister of Finance Vladimir Rayevsky forecast a budget deficit of 300 billion rubles this year. He called for a comprehensive restructuring of the budgetary and tax systems, and prescribed more privatization, the suspension of future social programs, the cancellation of tax benefits, the preservation of existing tax rates, and the introduction of a value-added tax. (Keith Bush) CREDITS FOR GRAIN PURCHASES. Interfax on October 4 quoted Yurii Luzhkov, the member of the Committee for the Operational Management of the Economy responsible for, inter alia, food supplies, as saying that the Soviet Union needs 10.5 billion rubles (about $7 billion) in credits to buy 40 million tons of grain between now and mid-1992. Luzhkov reportedly added that the credits would be guaranteed by both the central authorities and the republics, but that Moscow would be responsible for distributing the food. It would be physically difficult to ship such a volume of grain within nine months. The current world price for a mix of food and feed grains plus transportation costs would be closer to $5 billion. And we have seen no independent confirmation of this report. (Keith Bush) GORBACHEV DROPS REFERENDUM DEMAND. On October 4, President Gorbachev told a meeting of farmers and agro-industry officials that he had dropped his earlier insistence upon a referendum on the private ownership of land, Interfax reported that day. Gorbachev was quoted as saying that the idea of a referendum had been overtaken by events, and that the question should be decided by individual republics. He is said to have added that such a referendum could lead to divisions between rural and urban regions. (Keith Bush) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS GEORGIAN SITUATION DETERIORATES. At least one person was killed and 80 injured in clashes in Tbilisi during the night of October 4-5 between pro- and anti-government demonstrators. There was further shooting during the morning of October 5; many opposition supporters were arrested. Georgian President Gamsakhurdia made a TV appeal for an end to the violence and a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis. Opposition leaders called for Gamsakhurdia's resignation at an emergency session of parliament on the evening of October 5. The parliament adopted an appeal to the population October 6 to restrain from violence. A former ally of Gamsakhurdia claimed October 7 to have blockaded the main road and rail links between Tbilisi and the Black Sea, Western news agencies report. (Liz Fuller) SITUATION IN TAJIKISTAN. Gorbachev's special representatives, St Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak and Evgenii Velikhov, arrived in Dushanbe on October 4 to try to defuse tensions, according to a TASS report of the same day, and met with representatives of the opposition parties that have been demonstrating for a liberalization in Tajikistan. A Radio Moscow report of October 6 said that the acting president of the republic, Rakhman Nabiev, had resigned. This was one of the major demands of the opposition. The presidential election has been deferred till November 24. (Bess Brown) UKRAINE AND POLAND SIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION AGREEMENT. On October 4, Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin paid an official visit to Warsaw. According to TASS on the same day, he was assured by President Lech Walesa and representatives of the Polish government that Poland wants to continue developing goodneighborly relations and fruitful cooperation with Ukraine. That same day, the two neighboring states signed an agreement on economic cooperation and bilateral trade. (Bohdan Nahaylo) MOLDAVIA TO INTRODUCE FACILITIES FOR PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. At a "working meeting" with Moldavian private entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi announced that the government is preparing a series of legal and fiscal measures, to go into effect on January 1, to stimulate private enterprise, Moldovapres reported October 4. Muravschi also reassured the entrepreneurs that the government intends to introduce a republican currency. Private entrepreneurs will form a permanent Consultative Council attached to the Prime Minister and will sit on the Higher Economic Council to be set up shortly by the President of the republic. (Vladimir Socor) UKRAINIANS IN MOLDAVIA DECRY RUSSIFICATION. A delegation of Ukrainians from Moldavia's Dniester area has brought to Kiev an appeal declining the label "Russian-speaking people" and complaining of the lack of Ukrainian schools and other cultural facilities in the area, Radio Kiev reported October 3. The appeal said that the Ukrainians there live on friendly terms with the Moldavians. The appeal appears to be prompted by the fact that the Russian communist authorities dominant on the left bank of the Dniester have blocked the extension there of Kishinev's recent measures promoting the establishment of Ukrainian schools and cultural facilities. (Vladimir Socor) ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ANTICIPATES REUNIFICATION WITH MOLDAVIA. Interviewed by Reuter in Washington October 3, Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase predicted that "the normal course of history" will bring about Moldavia's reunification with Romania, "whether in 5, 20, or 50 years." Without mentioning Moldavia's independence, Nastase added that Moldavia needed first to "settle its relationship with Moscow" and that any border changes had to take account of the Helsinki Final Act. Nastase's remarks reflect the Romanian government's reluctance to lobby internationally for the recognition of Moldavian independence and its apparent inability to fully accept Moldavia's concept of "two Romanian independent states." (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES BALTIC COUNCIL DEMANDS SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian leaders comprising the Baltic Council adopted a joint statement in Vilnius demanding the withdrawal of Soviet troops from their countries start immediately and that the troops be removed from the Baltic capitals by December1. The Council also agreed that legislative delegations should coordinate economic and foreign policy of the three countries, Baltfax and Western agencies reported on October 5. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS ON SOVIET TROOPS. On October 6, Lithuanian Radio reported an exchange of telegrams between Soviet Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov and the Lithuanian head of state. Shaposhnikov wanted a meeting with the Lithuanians on October 8, but Landsbergis replied that all USSR troops must leave Lithuania by the end of 1991 and that other military issues should not be discussed. Landsbergis called on the West to press for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Baltic States, especially since an assembly of USSR officers stationed in Lithuania have announced that they would not obey any orders to withdraw without social guarantees. He said that one reason for the Soviet officers' resistance is that they live better in Lithuania than in the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS FORMALIZED. A protocol to establish diplomatic relations at embassy level between Latvia and Russia was signed in Moscow on October 4 by the RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and his Latvian counterpart Janis Jurkans, TASS reported that day. The relations will be guided by the UN Charter, CSCE documents, and the RSFSR-Latvian accord of January 13, l991. Kozyrev said: "Russia intends to develop relations with Latvia on a 'two-tier principle.'" Without further elaborating, he added that RSFSR representatives will take part in the Latvian-USSR talks on issues that the Russia considers as being within the competence of the Union, specifically the USSR armed forces and security. (Dzintra Bungs) NEW ESTONIAN DELEGATION FOR TALKS WITH THE USSR. A new Estonian delegation for talks with the USSR has been appointed, Baltfax noted on October 4. According to the Estonian Supreme Council, the previous delegation, led by Ulo Nugis, was no longer needed after its main goal--the restoration of Estonia's independence--had been reached. The new delegation includes Foreign Minister Lennart Meri (responsible for negotiations on territorial issues), Minister of State Raivo Vare (responsible for negotiations on withdrawal of Soviet troops), Minister of the Economy Jaak Leimann (responsible for economic issues), and Minister of Justice Juri Raidla (responsible for civil issues). (Dzintra Bungs) JAPAN: DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH BALTIC STATES. Japan will establish diplomatic relations with the Baltic States. Japan said on October 3 that it will send a high-ranking official to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, according to an AFP report of that day. Japan's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Muneo Suzuki, is to visit the three Baltic States beginning October 5, on a five-day trip until October 10. (Jan Trapans) ESTONIA ESTABLISHES TIES WITH CHILE. Estonia and Chile have established diplomatic relations. Both countries said in a joint communique issued at the United Nations on October 3 that they want to develop economic, commercial and cultural contacts. Estonia's Ambassador at the United Nations Ernst Jaakson signed for his country, according to the RFE/RL correspondent at the UN. (Jan Trapans)
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