|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 196, 15 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR SIGNING OF ECONOMIC TREATY POSTPONED. According to TASS of October 14, acting prime minister Ivan Silaev said that day that the treaty on an economic community will now be signed on October 18. Interfax of the same date cited the USSR President's press service as giving 1700hours on Friday as the precise time for the ceremony. Ten of the non-Baltic republics to date have declared their willingness to sign. [Moldova has equivocated and Georgia has been absent from the negotiations]. Silaev explained that the accompanying agreements [it was previously reported that there are 17 of these] were not yet ready for signature, and notably an inter-republican treaty on the banking system. Interfax further reported that the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet had appointed a group to "work out further proposals and supplements" to the inter-republican economic treaty. (Keith Bush) SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. As a result of negotiations with an RSFSR Supreme Soviet delegation, the all-National Congress of the Chechen People has handed over to the MVD the Council of Ministers building and the television and radio studios which had been occupied by units of the Chechen national guard, Russian TV reported October 14. Moscow Radio reported, however, that a 13-point agreement with the Executive Committee of the Congress of the Chechen People, which would include the disbandment of the national guard, was stalled because the RSFSR delegation would not recognize the authority of the Executive Committee, insisting that the Provisional Supreme Council--whose members are in hiding--is the sole power structure. (Ann Sheehy) RUTSKOI ON RUSSIAN NATIONAL GUARD. In an interview with Argumenty i fakty RSFSR Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi said that the size of the RSFSR National Guard would not exceed 3,000 in the first year, TASS reported October12. In the second year the number of guardsmen would rise to 10,000, and as the budget deficit declined to 66,000. Rutskoi said the first training center would be created on the base of the Dzerzhinsky division in Balashikha. Recruitment would be on a competitive basis and would start after the law on the national guard appeared. (Ann Sheehy) AMNESTY FOR BUSINESSMEN IN JAIL? Mikhail Gorbachev's newly established Council on Entrepreneurship has proposed that all persons convicted of so-called "economic crimes" be amnestied. Gorbachev's advisor on entrepreneurship, Konstantin Zatulin, told "TV-Inform" on October 13 that some 127,000 people are currently imprisoned for such "crimes" as "speculation" (the resale of goods for profit), "private entrepreneurship," and acting as a commercial middleman. Zatulin disclosed that decrees on an amnesty for such prisoners have been prepared for the signatures of both USSR President Gorbachev and RSFSR President Yeltsin. (Julia Wishnevsky) PRICE TAG RAISED ON RUBLE STABILIZATION FUND? At its meetings over the weekend with the G-7 nations, the Soviet delegation asked the West to commit as much as $20 billion to a stabilization fund to underpin the internal convertibility of the ruble. This is claimed by The Los Angeles Times of October 15, which says that it has obtained a copy of the Soviet proposal. Only three months ago, in connection with President Gorbachev's presentation to the post G-7 summit meeting in London, the Soviet side suggested a stabilization fund of $10-12 billion. The newspaper also quotes Grigorii Yavlinsky as saying that it could take the consenting republics as long as three months to work out specific details of the inter-republican economic treaty. (Keith Bush) ENERGY OUTLOOK FOR THE WINTER. Media reports of the deliberations of the Committee for the Operational Management of the Economy on October 14 are conflicting. Radio Moscow-1 said that officials at yesterday's meeting assured all republics and the Baltic states that fuel, heat, and electricity will be supplied this winter at 93% of last year's levels. According to Interfax, however, Igor' Gavrilov declared that "the country will be without oil and gas in two weeks" unless more than 10 billion rubles can be found to pay operating expenses for oil producers. Interfax also reported that republics which have officially discontinued payments to the union budget might have their oil and gas supplies cut off. (Keith Bush) KGB DEPUTY CHAIRMAN ON REORGANIZATION OF AGENCY. The inter-republican counterintelligence service will be responsible for the fight against corruption and organized crime, and also for protecting the economic system and for training personnel; it is to be modeled on the structure and functions of the FBI, according to Anatolii Aleinikov, First Deputy Chairman of the USSR KGB. His remarks were published in Izvestia on October 14. Aleinikov said that the current changes provide a unique opportunity to remove superfluous functions from the KGB. Its eavesdropping and other covert functions may now be conducted only with the approval of the State Prosecutor, he added. (Victor Yasmann) TATAR DEMANDS. October 13 was commemorated in Kazan' as a day of memory for Tatars who fell when the city was captured by Ivan the Terrible 439 years ago, Russian TV reported October 14. The Tatar Public Center, the Ittifak party, the Azatlyk youth organization, and the Muslim clergy used the occasion to hold a meeting, attended by about 5,000 people, at which the demand was made that the Tatarstan Supreme Soviet opening October 15 should adopt a declaration of complete independence of Tatarstan. If it did not do so, the participants wanted a vote of no confidence in the Tatar president Mintimer Shaimiev. Russian TV added that Azatlyk was intending to picket the building where the Supreme Soviet convenes on October15 to demand the reunification of all Tatar lands in the boundaries of 1552. (Ann Sheehy) PECHORA INHABITANTS PROTEST ESTONIAN TERRITORIAL CLAIMS. Over 17,000 of the 20,000 inhabitants of the Pechora area of Pskov oblast to which Estonia has laid claim expressed their disagreement with the Estonian authorities in a three-day opinion poll, TASS reported October 14. The council of elders (dukhovnyi sobor startsev) of the Pskov-Pechora monastery have appealed to Yeltsin not to allow the monastery to be taken away from Russia. A protest meeting is to be held in the town of Pechora on October 19, TASS added. (Ann Sheehy) POPULAR FILMMAKER CALLS FOR CREATION OF NATIONAL STATE. Filmmaker Stanislav Govorukhin, director of the film "One Can't Live This Way Any Longer," a searing indictment of Communist rule, said on Central TV on October13, following a screening of the film, that the RSFSR must proclaim full state sovereignty and end its association with the Central Asian and Transcaucasian republics, a recommendation reminiscent of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's prescription for the future of Russia. Govorukhin also said that the people should not trust any authority, but should arm themselves and create self-defense committees to combat the current wave of criminality and anarchy. The timing of the screening of Govorukhin's inflammatory film may reflect the acute power struggle underway among political elites in the RSFSR. (Victor Yasmann) SOVIET-JAPANESE TALKS. Three days of talks between Foreign Minister Boris Pankin and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama opened October 14 in Moscow. The USSR reiterated its intention to reduce its troop strength by one-third on the islands--an offer made originally by Gorbachev during his April, 1991, visit to Tokyo. On the Kurile Islands question, Pankin described the Soviet position: "The main thing is not to determine the final goal right now . . ." TASS reported. According to Western agencies, Pankin also said, "We should bring our relations to such a level of closeness that, in principle, it would not even be very important from a legal perspective and from the point of view of public opinion in both countries, who actually had jurisdiction over those islands." (Suzanne Crow) MIDDLE EAST TOUR. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said October 14 that Boris Pankin is most likely to visit Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt for talks on preparing the Middle East peace conference. Talks in Israel will focus on the resumption of full-scale diplomatic relations between the two countries, Churkin said. "The logic of our relations, as well as the logic of the situation in the Middle East has led us to this," Churkin said and expressed hope that full-scale diplomatic relations would be established on the eve of the peace conference. He also said that meetings between Pankin and US Secretary of State James Baker are expected to take place on the morning of October 18, probably in Jerusalem. (Suzanne Crow) MORE DENIALS ON AFGHANISTAN. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin denied October 14 that Boris Pankin and Afghan opposition representatives discussed in New York the possibility of transferring the functions of president of the Republic of Afghanistan to them. He stressed that the Soviet Union continues to regard the matter of power structures in Afghanistan as the prerogative of the Afghans themselves, TASS reported October 14. (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE ON PRIMAKOV. Interviewed on the TV show "Who Is Who" on October 13, Eduard Shevardnadze said that Evgenii Primakov's visits to Baghdad during the Persian gulf crisis were helpful to his pro-Western policy, although there were tensions between the Foreign Ministry and Gorbachev's advisors over the Gulf events. Shevardnadze might not have been entirely happy with this particular episode in Primakov's career, but he may see the present head of the Soviet intelligence service, who is a friend of Shevardnadze's friends Aleksandr Yakovlev and Vadim Bakatin, as a natural ally against the conservatives. (Julia Wishnevsky) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS OPPOSITION CRITICIZES KIRGIZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Western agencies reported on October 13 that Topchubek Turgunaliev, one of the leaders of Democratic Kyrgyzstan, the republic's largest non-Communist political group, was critical of the October 12 election of republican president Askar Akaev, who ran unopposed for the post he has held since last December. Turgunaliev complained that potential opposition candi dates were not given enough time to gather the 25,000 signatures necessary to register. His observations, and Akaev's own unwillingness to chance immediate election of a new Supreme Soviet, suggest that Akaev may be convinced that he is indispensable to the further democratization of Kyrgyzstan. (Bess Brown) TURKMEN INTELLECTUALS ATTACK GOVERNMENT. In reaction to the ambivalent attitude shown by Turkmenistan's leadership to the Moscow junta, sixty-nine prominent Turkmen intellectuals signed an appeal to republican president Saparmurad Niyazov in early September; a copy has just reached the RL Turkmen Service. The appeal asks that the editors of the two republican dailies be replaced and the republican MVD chief be removed, and that opposition parties be registered in Turkmenistan. Niyazov has shown little inclination to grant any of these requests. (Bess Brown) FIRST CONGRESS OF BELORUSSIAN UNION OF OFFICERS. More than one hundred military officers from throughout Belorussia met on September 12-13 in Minsk for the founding congress of the Union of Officers of Belorussia, an independent group that will devote itself to the task of establishing a national army. In neighboring Ukraine, the Second Congress of the Union of Officers of Ukraine is scheduled to take place on November 1-2. The Ukrainian Union was founded in July by six officers. Initially a somewhat risque undertaking, membership in the Union of Officers of Ukraine has soared into the thousands thanks to the abortive August coup and subsequent events. (Kathy Mihalisko) FIRST THEOLOGICAL LYCEUM OPENED IN LVOV. Ukrinform reported on October 12 that the Greek-Catholic Church in Lvov has opened the first humanitarian-theological lyceum in the city. The lyceum is supposed to prepare teachers of religion for pre-school and elementary school classes. 150 students have already enrolled in the lyceum, although tuition is not free of charge. The teachers include priests and monks; subjects taught include Latin, Greek, Old Church Slavonic, and the history of philosophy and religion. (Oxana Antic) MOLDAVIAN DELEGATION IN BRUSSELS. Moldavian Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi and the chairman of the Moldavian Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, Vasile Nedelciuc, held talks in Brussels October 9 through 12 with EEC officials and with business circles, Muravschi told Moldovapres October 14. The delegates informed the EEC officials of Moldavia's goal of "creating the prerequisites for Moldavia's future integration in the EEC." A group of EEC experts is to be sent to Moldavia "soon" to evaluate the republic's economic situation, Muravschi said. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT ON QUEST FOR RECOGNITION. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur told Moldovapres October 11 that the republic will step up its quest for international recognition. "Moldavia means to keep knocking on the door of the civilized world, announce its presence, show its calling card to the leaders of states, set up meetings and talks with political and business leaders, extend invitations, and pay visits," were Snegur's words. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN DEMOCRATIC FORUM PROTESTS SOVIET PROPAGANDA MOVE. The Democratic Forum of Moldavian Citizens, an umbrella grouping of some 30 political and civic organizations including non-Moldavian ethnic associations, has cabled the UN Secretary General to protest against a statement disseminated at the UN by the USSR Committee for the Defense of Peace. The statement alleged "massive violations of human rights" in Moldavia and advised against the republic's admission to the UN. As cited by Moldovapres October 11, Moldavia's Democratic Forum countered that the USSR Peace Committee was acting in a "politicized fashion" and making unsubstantiated allegations which "completely ignored the realities in the republic." The Forum urged international governmental and nongovernmental bodies to examine the situation in Moldavia on the spot. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES BALTIC STATES ENDORSE CSCE FINAL ACT. Radio Riga reported on October 15 that the heads of state of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have arrived in Helsinki for the formal signing of the CSCE Final Act that was adopted on August1, 1975. After the signing, the Baltic leaders are to meet with Finnish President Mauno Koivisto. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIA AND LATVIA JOIN UNESCO. Estonia and Latvia have joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, according to Western agency dispatches of October 14. Estonian and Latvian representatives signed the formal agreements of membership at UNESCO's offices in London, thus bringing UNESCO membership to 162states. Lithuania joined UNESCO on October7. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC STATES TO TAKE PART IN NATO MEETING. Diena reported on October 14 that the Baltic States will participate as observers in the NATO annual meeting in Madrid from October17 to 22. Talavs Jundzis, Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Commission on Defense and Internal Affairs, said that while Latvia does not plan to join NATO in the near future, it looks to NATO to maintain European security. Latvia will send to Madrid Jundzis and two other deputies, Juris Dobelis and Mihails Stepicevs. Dobelis said Latvia hopes to have NATO observers present when the USSR starts the troop withdrawal process and to benefit from NATO information and experience in such matters. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC SEA PARLIAMENTARIANS TO MEET IN LUEBECK. A conference on the ecological situation of the Baltic Sea will take place from October 17 to 19 in the German port city of Luebeck, the head of the German Bundestag delegation, Rolf Olderog, told the press on October14. Attending the conference will be parliamentarians from the countries around the Baltic Sea, and others, including Czechoslovakia, Iceland, and Norway. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will participate for the first time in the conference, according to Western agency reports of October 14. (Dzintra Bungs) EAST GERMANS WANT TO EXPAND BALTIC ECONOMIC CONTACTS. A high-ranking German delegation from Saxony visited Lithuania last week, according to Western agency dispatches of October 14. On October 9, Diena reported on visits by delegations from Magdeburg and Rostock to Riga. Among the issues discussed was the establishment of a ferry link between Riga and Rostock. The purpose of all these visits was to expand economic contacts between the two Baltic States and Germany. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN OFFICIAL EXPECTS SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL TO BE GRADUAL. Deputy Juris Dobelis told the Baltic News Service on October11 about a recent discussion among Baltic representatives in Jurmala concerning the departure of Soviet armed forces from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He said, "We cannot expect to solve this problem by a single accord; it will be a lengthy and gradual process." Dobelis added that detailed information about Soviet military territories and facilities, as well as the exact size of the Soviet military presence in Latvia needs to be obtained and clarified. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-SPANISH, LATVIAN-FINNISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS RENEWED. A communique has been signed on the restoration of diplomatic relations between Latvia and Spain, and on the exchange of envoys. For the time being, however, the Spanish ambassador to Sweden will also represent his country in Latvia, according to the October 9 issue of Diena. The Baltic News Service and Diena reported on October 11 that the Finnish diplomatic mission had started to function in Riga, under charge d'affaires A. Boman. Finnish diplomat Antti Lassila will take charge of the mission on December 1. (Dzintra Bungs)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.