|[America,] it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time. - Thomas Wolfe|
No. 194, 11 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA DETERIORATES FURTHER. The situation in Checheno-Ingushetia deteriorated further October10 according to various reports in the Soviet media. The Council of Ministers building in Groznyi was seized by the national guard. Two hundred detainees in the local prison rioted, demanding to be released so as to enroll in the national guard. Thirty escaped, of whom two were shot, and one killed. A unit of MVD internal troops sent to strengthen the prison guard was turned back by a crowd. The republican prosecutor was arrested. Some of the members of the Provisional Supreme Council, the supreme body of power in the republic, went into hiding in Groznyi while others left the city. (Ann Sheehy) RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET ADOPTS RESO-LUTION ON CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. The crisis in Checheno-Ingushetia was discussed by a full session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet October10. Russian KGB chairman Viktor Ivanenko said the situation was critical and could have dramatic consequences. Russian Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi asked for special powers to deal with the situation. He said he had tried several times to discuss the matter on the phone with Yeltsin but had been unable to get through. The Russian parliament approved a resolution requesting the Russian president and government to take immediate steps to restore order. A delegation of RSFSR deputies headed by RSFSR prosecutor general Stepankov. (Ann Sheehy) RUTSKOI ON SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. In an interview on central television on October 10, RSFSR Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi said that retired general Dzhokhar Dudaev, chairman of the so-called Executive Committee of the Congress of the Chechen People which has led the revolt against established authority, was being told that no actions would be taken against him and he could participate in the upcoming elections if the national guard handed in their weapons to the republican MVD. Rutskoi maintained that in the auls(villages) and in Groznyi itself armed formations were being organized that intended to act against Dudaev. Rutskoi further accused Dudaev of provoking hostility between the Chechen and Ingush peoples. (Ann Sheehy) NORTH OSSETIAN APPEAL TO USSR AND RSFSR PRESIDENTS. An appeal to the USSR and RSFSR presidents from the Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers of North Ossetia was published in the North Ossetia press October 10, TASS reported the same day. The appeal stated a 15,000 strong national guard had been formed in Checheno-Ingushetia and that it had been learnt that on October 12 the Ingush population would embark on actions of disobedience, going so far as to see part on North Ossetia in furtherance of their claims for the return of Prigorodnyi raion and the right bank of Vladikavkaz. The appeal called on the two presidents to take immediate steps to protect the population of North Ossetia. (Ann Sheehy) STATE COUNCIL TO MEET. The State Council is scheduled to meet today in Moscow. On its agenda, according to TASS October 10, are the draft Union Treaty; the draft Treaty on the Economic Community; the agreement on food supply that was approved by the Committee for the Operational Management of the Economy on October 9; and the reorganization of the KGB. (Keith Bush) CRITICISM OF ECONOMIC TREATY. Interfax of October 10 reported a document signed on behalf of the RSFSR government by Oleg Lobov containing criticism of the draft Treaty on an Economic Community initialled in Alma-Ata. It charged that the treaty preserves the center as an "extra" member of the future community; the proposed mechanism of intra-community relations infringes upon the interests of the RSFSR; and the consequences of the possible non-conclusion of additional agreements envisaged by the treaty are unknown. The document listed several suggested changes. On the same day, Kirgiz President Askar Akaev told Izvestia that the draft economic community treaty reflects a lack of trust in the independence of the republics, and clearly favors the central government's needs over those of the republics. (Keith Bush) CONFLICT BETWEEN RUSSIA'S VICE-PRESIDENT AND KGB CHIEF. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, who is struggling for the post of Russian premier, has denounced RSFSR KGB chief Viktor Ivanenko as "lazy and incompetent and a danger to the state." According to The Los Angeles Times on October 11, Rutskoi told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet that he will demand Ivanenko's resignation. The conflict emerged after the KGB chief contradicted demands by Rutskoi and acting head of parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, for forceful action to bring the situation in Chechen-Ingushetia under control. Ivanenko suggested a dialogue with the self-proclaimed leaders of the rebellious autonomous republic, instead of the use of force. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR LEADERSHIP NOT COMPLETELY IN CONTROL OF RUSSIA. RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis admitted on Soviet TV on October 9 that Yeltsin's administration is only about 70% in control of the RSFSR. "With every day the RSFSR government is losing the credit won on the barricades," Gorbachev's aide Yurii Krasin told Western news agencies October 10. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, scheduled to return from vacation on October 10, remained a day longer in the Crimea, provoking rumors about his health. RSFSR deputy Anatolii Greshnevikov was quoted in The Washington Post on October 11 that Yeltsin had undoubtedly written an interesting book on the coup but that this was not what the people now expect of him. (Alexander Rahr) RUTSKOI SAID HE COULD NOT REACH YELTSIN. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi told the Russian parliament that communications with Yeltsin in the Crimea had almost broken down, TASS reported on October 10. The report quoted Rutskoi as saying that he had tried to reach Yeltsin on twelve occasions but did not succeed. Rutskoi added that the acting head of parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, had experienced similar problems when he tried to contact the president. The new show "Vesti" reported on October 10 that Yeltsin will be confronted with numerous questions at the meeting of the USSR State Council, and will be asked particularly why he did not contradict his state secretary's statement that Russia is the legitimate heir of the USSR. (Alexander Rahr) RADIO ROSSII ON CRISIS OF DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT. Not only the RSFSR leadership, but also various democratic parties in the republic are in crisis, Radio Rossii said on October 10. The radio quoted Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov as saying that the democratic movement has split into a liberal wing, which supports the introduction of a market economy but gives little heed to the creation of a social security net, and a social democratic wing, which concentrates on the latter. Radio Rossii added that the parties disagree about the future of the USSR: the Democratic Party of Russia and the Christian Democrats support the creation of a viable federation on the territory of what used to be the USSR, while the Republican Party of Russia advocates a complete dismantling of the empire. (Vera Tolz) STANKEVICH PREDICTS NEW UNION CENTERED ON RUSSIA. RSFSR State Counselor Sergei Stankevich has repeated his former denunciation of the planned economic union. He was quoted in the October 11 issue of The Washington Post as saying that other republics now say that "everything that is on our territory is ours: everything that is in Russia is common." He warned that the republics want to protect their markets by introducing their own currencies and then crush the Russian market with huge quantities of rubles. Stankevich stressed that Russia must become a real state and claim everything on its territory as its own. He forecast that other republics may in future unite around a strong Russia and that Russia will become the core of a future union. (Alexander Rahr) ACADEMY OF SCIENCES TO BE FINANCED BY RUSSIA AND CENTER. The General Assembly of the USSR Academy of Sciences voted October 10 to restore the name Russian Academy of Sciences to the organization. This was suggested earlier by the presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The assembly also advocated the signing of inter-republican agreements on scientific cooperation. According to TASS, in the near future the academy will be financed by both the RSFSR and all-Union government. (Vera Tolz) CANADIAN AID FORTHCOMING. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced on October10 that his country is preparing a major aid package to help the Soviet Union this winter, Western agencies reported October 11. The package was said to be worth "several hundred million dollars," and would include credits for the sale of "several million tons" of grain this winter. Canadian officials were also quoted as saying that they would consider restructuring Soviet debt service payments to Canada of about $1 billion. (Keith Bush) UAE AID ON THE WAY. An aircraft carrying food and medical aid left the United Arab Emirates October 10 for the Soviet Union, Western agencies reported that day. A second shipment was due to leave today. The aid shipments were ordered by the UAE president to help the Soviet people overcome economic hardships and pressures caused by the abortive August coup. The Emirates News Agency said that the aid is also aimed at helping the economic reform process in the USSR and to thank the Soviet Union for its stance during the Gulf War. (Keith Bush) PURCHASE OF AMERICAN WHEAT. The United States Department of Agriculture announced the sale of 578,000 tons of wheat to the USSR October10. This brings the total US grain and feedstuffs sold to the Soviet Union under the current long-term grain purchase agreement to: 2.6 million tons of wheat, 10 millions tons of corn, and over 3 million tons of soybeans and soybean meal. In addition, the USDA said that it had approved subsidies for the previous sale of 770,580tons of wheat to the Soviet Union. (Robert Lyle/Keith Bush) HIGH COURT RULES THAT HASIDIC BOOKS MUST BE RETURNED. TASS reported on October10 that the Supreme Arbitration Court of the RSFSR has ruled that the famous Shneerson Collection of Hasidic books and manuscripts, now housed in the Lenin Library, must be handed over within a month to the Moscow Hasidic community which had demanded its return. Members of the community staged a sit-in at the Library to press their demand. The general director of the Lenin Library, Anatolii Volik, characterized the court decision as a "new attack on the national heritage" and claimed that ten years would be necessary to determine which books are part of the collection. (Oxana Antic) HONECKER BLAMES SHEVARDNADZE. Former East German leader Erich Honecker said in a German TV interview October 10 that the collapse of East Germany was a consequence of the Soviet Union's foreign policy, not street protests. He said that as early as 1986, Eduard Shevardnadze had decided that the "existence of the German Democratic Republic was artificial and unnatural." Honecker also said he would return to Germany only if the "illegal arrest warrant" against him is lifted, Western agencies reported October 10. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV TO MEDIATE IN YUGO CRISIS? Croatian Radio said October 10 that Gorbachev invited Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to Moscow for talks on the Yugoslav crisis and that the two Yugoslav leaders will travel to Moscow "early next week." Tanjug also reported plans for a meeting, quoting Soviet diplomats in Belgrade as saying the intention was for a meeting to be held soon. (Suzanne Crow) CLOSER TIES WITH NATO? Gorbachev adviser Vadim Zagladin called for closer ties between the USSR and NATO, an anonymous NATO official said October 10. Speaking to a Western news agency, the NATO official said that "Mr. Zaglyadin underlined the need for closer relations with NATO." Zaglyadin also reportedly urged that NATO open an information office in Moscow. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS AZERBAIJAN VOTES TO CONFISCATE SOVIET MILITARY HARDWARE. The Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet voted October 10 to "nationalize" all Soviet military equipment on its territory to equip a new republican army, Western news agencies reported that day. Radical deputies said they would organize road blocks to prevent the transfer of arms back to the RSFSR. The parliament also ap-proved the recall of 140,000 Azerbaijani conscripts currently serving in the Soviet armed forces. (Liz Fuller) APPEAL FOR POSTPONEMENT OF ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Interfax reported October 10 that four Armenian presidential election candidates have appealed to the Armenian parliament to postpone the election, scheduled for October 16, in order to give additional time for campaigning and to appoint a new electoral commission. The Armenian Supreme Court recently overruled an Electoral Commission decision to bar the candidacy of USSR People's Deputy Zori Balayan, who responded by demanding the resignation of the Electoral Commission members responsible. (Liz Fuller) IRAN TO OPEN CONSULATE IN TURK-MENISTAN. Western news agencies reported on October 10 that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati had announced that his country will open a consulate in Ashkhabad, and Turkmenistan will open a representation office in Tehran. Velayati, who spoke to foreign journalists after talks with Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov, said that discussions had also touched on the establishment of cross-border rail service. Niyazov arrived in Iran with a 65-member delegation earlier in the week. The trip is part of his effort to establish Turkmenistan as an entity in its own right in the world community. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIA CONCERNED OVER RUSSIA'S AMBITIONS. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur told a press conference in Kishinev October 10 that Moldavia was "perplexed and worried" by the positions of some RSFSR leaders concerning Russia's relations with other republics, TASS reported that day. Snegur focused on demands by Rutskoi and others that the negotiation of an economic community be linked to, and preceded by, the conclusion of a political union and on the claims that the RSFSR become the legal successor to the USSR. Snegur said that such demands are "categorically unacceptable" and that "there can be no question of any political union" as far as Moldavia is concerned. (Vladimir Socor). MOLDAVIANS SAID OVERWHELMINGLY TO OPPOSE REUNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. The October 2 issue of Moldova Suverana quoted Snegur as telling journalists that the idea of Moldavia's reunification with Romania "is opposed by 95% of the republic's population." The overwhelming majority favors an independent Moldavian state, Snegur added. The same issue of the daily reported that Snegur had demanded an explanation from Romanian President Ion Iliescu concerning a statement by Romania's outgoing Prime Minister Petre Roman that Romania was prepared to reunite with Moldavia. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES BALTIC STATES BALTS DISREGARD INVITATIONS TO DISCUSS SOVIET MILITARY FUTURE. Despite telegrams urging attendance, representatives of the Baltic States did not participate in the inter-republican consultations called by the USSR Ministry of Defense on matters relating to the future of the Soviet armed forces, the USSR military budget for 1992 and the conscription of new recruits. Ukraine also did not send representatives. Latvian Deputy Talavs Jundzis told Radio Riga on October 8 that this invitation was one of many examples of Moscow refusing to accept Baltic independence. Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis protested against the invitation sent by USSR Defense Minister Evegenii Shaposhnikov on October 5 and two days later Shaposhnikov apologized, saying that the telegram should not have been sent to the Baltic States, Radio Vilnius reported on October 7. (Dzintra Bungs) MOSCOW ASKS FOR UNDERSTANDING IN TROOP PULLOUT. USSR Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin said that withdrawing Soviet forces from Eastern Europe is straining USSR resources and asked the Baltic leaders for patience. Claiming that Baltic leaders had been issuing ultimatums, he said that he hoped that they would take a more realistic stance, Radio Moscow reported on October 10. Valerii Manilov, chief of the Soviet Defense Ministry's Information Service, told TASS on October 10 that the Baltic Council's demand for a full withdrawal of Soviet troops from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is "unrealistic and sounds like an ultimatum. Therefore, it does not accord with human, civilized relations between states." Actually, the Baltic Council had asked only for the removal of Soviet troops from the Baltic capitals by that date. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA LINKS ECONOMIC SUCCESS TO TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Latvian delegate Ojars Kalnins told the UN General Assembly on October10 that the rebirth of the Latvian economy depends on the earliest possible withdrawal of Soviet troops from Latvia. He saw the recent US and Soviet arms initiatives to reduce their nuclear arms as a first step toward a nuclear-free Baltic region. He added that a fair settlement of the USSR troops issue is critically important for advancing long-term security and cooperation in the region, reported RFE/RL correspondent in New York on October 10. (Dzintra Bungs) SOVIET MILITARY TO VACATE SEVERAL BUILDINGS IN RIGA. In a meeting in Moscow between USSR Minister of Defense Evegenii Shaposhnikov and Latvian Permanent Representative Janis Peters, it was agreed that the Baltic Military District Headquarters would be withdrawn from Riga early next year. An accord was also reached that the Soviet military would also vacate in the near future buildings formerly housing the German Embassy in Latvia and the Latvian Society, Radio Riga reported on October 10. (Dzintra Bungs) JAAKSON: SOVIET TROOPS THREATEN ESTONIA'S SOVEREIGNTY. Ernst Jaakson, Estonian ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN General Assembly on October 10 that the presence of Soviet nuclear weapons and large contingents of "Soviet occupation forces" on its soil threaten the sovereignty of Estonia. According to a RFE/RL correspondent's report from New York on October 10, Jaakson noted that while Estonia understood that some time must be allowed for the removal of the Soviet troops, it should begin sooner than 1994 as suggested by Soviet negotiators. He added that there are political forces and government agencies in the USSR which "fail to acknowledge or to accept" Estonia's independence and they continue to treat Estonia as a constituent republic of the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs) SOVIET KGB CHAIRMAN: ESTONIAN COOPERATION "INEVITABLE." Commenting on the most recent protocol aimed at liquidating the KGB in Estonia, USSR KGB Chairman Vadim Bakatin told TASS on October 10 that the protocol responded to the need to prevent "the use of the Estonian KGB's secret agent network to the detriment of the Republic of Estonia." The protocol also stipulated the transfer of KGB documents to Estonia "after it ensures sufficient legal guarantees and secrecy of their content and security for people mentioned in them." Bakatin added that he was sure that "this is not the end of cooperation, and after legislative acts are passed in Estonia concerning a security service in the republic, it will be possible to discuss new forms for such cooperation," which he believes, "is inevitable." (Dzintra Bungs) NORDIC COUNCIL OPENS INFORMATION BUREAU IN RIGA. Radio Riga reported on October 10 that earlier that day the Nordic Council formally opened its information bureau in the Latvian capital. An important function of the bureau will be to provide information and help establish contacts in the realms of culture and education. (Dzintra Bungs) NEW MINISTERS IN LITHUANIA. Baltfax reported on October 10 that Audrius Butkevicius had been endorsed by the Supreme Council as Lithuania's new Minister of Defense. He had previously served as Director General of the Department of Home Defense. The Council approved Vytenis Aleskaitis as Minister of Foreign Economic Relations. The Supreme Council also considered appointing a new Minister of Communications and Information, according to the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service, but did not complete the process. (Dzintra Bungs) ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS IN LATVIA CELEBRATE CENTENARY. A festive church service was held at Riga's Orthodox Cathedral to mark its centenary and that of the affiliated cloister for nuns on October 6, Radio Riga reported on October 7. Among the guests attending the ceremonies was the Swedish diplomatic representative in Riga, Lars Freden. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN LEADERS MEET NORWEGIAN KING AND PRIME MINISTER. Earlier this week a Latvian delegation, headed by Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, visited Norway at the invitation of SOS Baltica. According to Radio Riga on October 9, the Latvians returned to Riga earlier that day. The focus of the Latvian-Norwegian meetings was on economic cooperation. During their short stay in Norway, the Latvians were received by King Harald V and Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. (Dzintra Bungs)
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