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No. 197, 16 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR YELTSIN DOUBTFUL ON NEED FOR NEW UNION TREATY? RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis told Russian deputies October 15 that Yeltsin had expressed doubts over the need for a new Union treaty in view of the upcoming signing of an economic accord, Western agencies reported October 15. Burbulis said that Yeltsin now believed that a Union of Sovereign Republics with its own constitution might be illusory. State Counsellor Sergei Stankevich said that Yeltsin was particularly against the idea of direct popular election of the Union president--an idea that still figures in the latest draft of the Union treaty. (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN ON REORGANIZATION OF RSFSR GOVERNMENT. In an interview with "Vesti" after the session of the RSFSR State Council on October15 Yeltsin said that he would reorganize the RSFSR government as a government of national trust. So as to avoid a power vacuum the present council of ministers would not resign. He would first appoint by decree an acting prime minister who would start to put together a new council of ministers. He said many of the present ministers would remain, but he intended to nearly halve the number of ministries. He said he had three candidates in mind for the premiership, but vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi, who had expressed an interest in being premier, was not one of them. Yeltsin said that Rutskoi should first serve his time out as vice-president. (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN SAYS RSFSR TO STOP FINANCING UNION MINISTRIES. In his interview with "Vesti" October 15 Yeltsin said that before embarking on reforms he intended "to finish demolishing the center." In a month's time the RSFSR would cease financing all Union ministries whose services the RSFSR did not use. (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN ON RUSSIAN CURRENCY. Yeltsin also said that the start of financial recovery lies in a struggle against ruble intervention from other republics. He cited the Baltic states buying agricultural products in Russia at high prices, thus contributing to inflation. Yeltsin said that to combat this Russia would start issuing its own ruble notes bearing, perhaps, the Russian colors of red-blue-white. Later the republic would go over to its own currency. (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN POSTPONES LOCAL ELECTIONS. On October 15 Yeltsin asked the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to review its decision to hold local elections this fall, "Vesti" reported October 15. Various reasons have been given in the Soviet media for this move--the cost at a time of budget deficit, that it would paralyze constructive work at this juncture, that any new local administrations, no matter what their political orientation, would be preoccupied with local concerns and thus make central administration nearly impossible. A major factor, though, was probably a recent study that showed that conservative administrations would be elected in most oblasts and krais. It is by no means certain that the RSFSR parliament will agree to the postponement. (Ann Sheehy) SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. The leader of the rebellious forces in Checheno-Ingushetia, Dzhakhar Dudaev, told TASS October15 that the executive committee of the Chechen congress that he heads did not want to take over legislative or executive power but events of the past few days had forced them to take full responsibility for the situation. He said blame for the sharp deterioration in the situation lay with the leadership of the RSFSR which had been meddling unceremoniously. Dudaev said that the Provisional Supreme Council, which the RSFSR was trying to present as the only legitimate organ of power, was virtually underground and its orders appeared only in newspapers in Russian areas of the republic. He said reports that the Executive Committee had passed death sentences on Ruslan Khasbulatov and Aleksandr Rutskoi and was preparing to attack North Ossetia were provocations. (Ann Sheehy) DISTURBANCES IN GALICH. "Vesti" reported October 15 that protest meetings had been held in the Russian town of Galich demanding that all persons of Caucasian or Asian origin be expelled from the town. The protesters were armed with chains and Molotov cocktails, and had set vehicles on fire. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIA TAKES CONTROL OF DIAMOND, GOLD SALES IN RSFSR. Acting chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov has signed an order creating the Russian corporation "Almaz-Zoloto." Radio Rossii reported October 15. From the beginning of October the delivery of gold and other valuable metals and diamonds mined on the territory of Russia to USSR Goskhran has ceased. From now on they will be sold to the Central Bank of Russia. The order stipulates that the diamond centre is the legal successor of Goskhran in conducting operations with valuables and jewelry. (Ann Sheehy) TATARSTAN SUPSOV PUTS INDEPENDENCE ON THE AGENDA. The Tatarstan Supreme Soviet agreed to put a declaration of independence on its agenda October 15 after a crowd attacked the building where it was sitting, TASS reported October15. The proposal by a group of deputies that such a declaration should be included on the agenda was voted down, whereupon the crowd meeting outside rushed at the building hurling sticks and stones. Five employees of the MVD were hospitalized, and two are in a serious condition. A declaration of independence was included on the agenda only after a second vote in the evening. TASS said there were also reports of a clash between members of the Kazan' branch of the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR) and representatives of nationalist movements which resulted in injuries. The DPR issued a statement blaming local organs of power, the President, and the Supreme Soviet for what took place in Kazan'. (Ann Sheehy) PRESENTATION OF EMIGRE JOURNAL IN MOSCOW. The presentation in Moscow of one of the best-known Russian emigre literary journals, Novyi zhurnal, was organized by the Soviet Cultural Foundation to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the journal. The RSFSR TV news program "Vesti" reported on October 15 that there are no plans to start publication of the journal in Russia. (Vera Tolz) COOPERATION BETWEEN RSFSR KGB AND CIA DISCUSSED. Sergei Stepashin, chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's Committee on security, was quoted by TASS on October 15 as saying that a delegation of committee members who recently visited Washington had established good contacts with the US intelligence community--they met with the leadership of the CIA--and agreed on broad cooperation and an exchange of information between the RSFSR KGB and the CIA. US assistance was also proposed in the creation of an Analytical Administration in the Russian KGB. Stepashin said that there had also been a proposal to create joint units of the two intelligence agencies in Moscow and Washington. (Victor Yasmann) KGB FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE MUST BE UNDER RSFSR JURISDICTION. The KGB's foreign intelligence section must be placed under the jurisdiction of the RSFSR after it is reorganized, a KGB veteran, writing under the initials SM, said in an article in Literaturnaya gazeta, No. 40. The USSR President should have only a mobile group to coordinate the work of the intelligence community in the republic; otherwise the powerful foreign intelligence apparatus will become a "pocket" service of the USSR President. Although the appointment of Evgenii Primakov is a "must" for the reorganization stage, in the future he must be replaced by a professional, said the officer. Victor Yasmann) KGB CREATES COMMERCIAL VIDEO STUDIO. The video production firm "Analytic-press." created last year by the KGB's Moscow Administration and the cinema studio "Kontakt film" plans to sell its productions to universities in the US, Japan, France, England and Germany, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on October 16. The videocassettes will be based on KGB archives, including materials on the dissident movement in the USSR and unclassified documents on the Cold War. In addition to the KGB archives, the studio will use documents of the Ministry of Medium Machine-Building, the Ministry of Nuclear Power and the USSR Commission for Emergency Situations. (Victor Yasmann) MUSLIM INSTITUTE CREATED IN MOSCOW. TASS, quoting Izvestia, reported on October 15 that an Institute of Muslim Civilization has been opened in Moscow under the sponsorship of the Popular Academy of Culture and Common Human Values. The president of the new institute, Toshpullat Tozhiddinov, was quoted as saying that the institute will study and popularize the main sources of the Islamic world-view and prepare textbooks for the study of Arabic. He added that several Islamic centers abroad have already expressed interest in cooperating with the new institute. (Bess Brown) YUGOSLAV MEDIATION. After talks with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow October 15, the leaders of Serbia and Croatia agreed to attempt another cease fire. In a communique issued after the talks, the sides agreed to begin a negotiation process on all questions within "the next month." In partial explanation of the USSR's interest in mediating in the Yugoslav conflict, Gorbachev noted that "the Soviet Union has to deal with similar problems." adding, "this explains why recent events in Yugoslavia arouse anxiety and concern in our country." Western agencies and TASS reported October 15 and 16. Soviet involvement in the Yugoslav settlement is also undertaken with a view to maintaining an active foreign policy, despite domestic upheavals. (Suzanne Crow) BUSH, GORBACHEV TO OPEN PEACE CONFERENCE. Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George Bush may hold a summit in Switzerland between October 27 and 29, just before the start of the Middle East peace conference. The meeting would deal with the peace conference, scheduled to start October 29 in Lausanne, and recent arms control proposals tabled by the United States and Soviet Union. Gorbachev's spokesman, Andrei S. Grachev, noted that it is logical for the heads of the two states pushing for the peace conference to attend and pointed out that the two leaders could use the occasion "to discuss other things." Western agencies reported October 16. (Suzanne Crow) BELONOGOV ON ISRAEL. Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Belonogov told Interfax October15, "We are moving toward establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. This question has become imminent because of the objective situation of things." He dampened speculation that relations would be established on or before Foreign Minister Boris Pankin's visit to Israel on October 18 saying, "we won't guess on this since there is little time between now and October 18." Belonogov stressed that the point of Pankin's visit is to discuss the approaching Middle East peace conference. (Suzanne Crow) BELONOGOV ON USSR'S MIDEAST STANCE. In the same interview, Belonogov stressed that the USSR's policies in the Middle East are becoming more active, saying: "now there is not one Arab country in the Persian Gulf area in which the USSR is not represented." He described this as a serious achievement for Soviet diplomacy and said the Middle East is a region where "we have clearly defined interests." He said the United States must surmount the effects of decades of an exclusively pro-Israel position. In Belonogov's view, the USSR's policies "are known in the Arab world and looked upon with great trust." (Suzanne Crow) DELAY ON DISARMAMENT IN EAST. The Soviet ambassador to China, Nikolai Solovyev, said October 15 the USSR will likely delay the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons deployed in the Soviet Far East. Solovyev said in a Kyodo interview that tactical nuclear weapons will be removed from European USSR first because of questions of surrounding control of nuclear weapons in some republics. (Suzanne Crow) KURILES MUST NOT BE "SOLD." Sergei Baburin and Nikolai Pavlov, deputies of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, said the Kurile Islands belong to Russia and the redrawing of frontiers is impermissible, TASS reported October 15. The two parliamentarians stressed that it is unacceptable "to sell the motherland" or to "repeat the fate of the Meskhetian Turks and Crimean Tatars." They said that they will seek state sovereignty for the Kuriles in the event of a "betrayal by Russia." (Suzanne Crow) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN UKRAINE. There are currently 94 individuals aspiring for registration as candidates in Ukraine's presidential elections slated for December 1, Radio Moscow reported October 15. Registration requires one hundred thousand signatures in support of a given candidate. Thus far, only three candidates have been registered: Leonid Kravchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet; Vyacheslav Chornovil, chairman of the Lvov Oblast Soviet; and Levko Lukyanenko, head of the Ukrainian Republican Party. (Roman Solchanyk) SUPPORT FOR UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE. A recent poll conducted by the Ukrainian Sociological Association reveals that almost 87% of the respondents support the August 24 declaration of Ukrainian independence, Radio Kiev reported October 15. The referendum on Ukrainian independence is scheduled to take place on December 1. (Roman Solchanyk) 48TH ARMY DIVISION REFUSES TO BUDGE FROM UKRAINE. The Guardian reported on October 14 that a green beret tank division stationed in Baskirovka, sixty miles from the city of Kharkov, is defying orders from Moscow to move to the north Caucasus region. The division, which withdrew from Czechoslovakia in May, 1990, received its new orders on September 10. The Guardian said commanding officer Colonel Aleksandr Bugayov, a Russian, has placed the unit under the command of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, and quotes him as saying that "there could not have been another decision" in light of the post-coup disintegration of the USSR. Bugayov added that "practically the entire command of the division" is unwilling to leave Baskirovka. (Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIANS CROSS SWORDS WITH FRENCH SOVIET EXPERT. Helene Carriere d'Encausse, France's foremost expert on Soviet nationality problems, has deeply offended Belorussian national pride, according to several recent commentaries in the republican press. For instance the Supreme Soviet organ Narodnaya hazeta on September 25 protested at her article in Le Figaro on August 28, in which D'Encausse maintained that the Belorussian nation has no historical existence, that its language was an artificial creation of Soviet leaders in the 1920s, and that Belorussia has made territorial claims against its neighbors that could lead to bloodshed. (Kathy Mihalisko) OPENING OF BELORUSSIAN SUPREME SOVIET SESSION. The Belorussian Supreme Soviet session that opened on October 15 has an agenda numbering more than thirty-five items, including a new constitution for the republic and a law defining who is a Belorussian citizen. Heated debate is expected on both issues, according to RFE-RL Minsk correspondent Yas Valoshka. Communist deputies proposed that discussion of the status of the temporarily suspended Belorussian Communist Party also be included on the agenda. Their proposal was approved. (Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIA AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA AGREE TO DIPLOMATIC TIES. TASS announced on October 15 that the two countries have agreed to establish consular and diplomatic relations. The agreement was reached in Minsk during talks between Rudolf Slansky, Czechoslovakia's ambassador to the USSR, and Belorussian Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Zalamaya. Consulates are expected to be opened in Minsk and Prague in the near future. (Kathy Mihalisko) TENGIZ PROJECT TO BE RENEGOTIATED? A member of a government commission established to redesign the agreement between Kazakhstan and the Chevron Corporation on development of the immense Tengiz oilfield was interviewed on "TV-Inform" on October 15. The commission member echoed earlier charges that the contract is faulty, but added that Chevron is the one firm interested in setting up a joint venture. The October 15 issue of the Journal of Commerce, however, reports that British Petroleum may be offering more favorable terms to establish a joint venture at Tengiz. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT GOES INTO OPPOSITION. At a general conference held October13, the Moldavian Popular Front has resolved to go into opposition to President Mircea Snegur and the government. The conference resolutions, which were made public in Kishinev October 15, accuse Snegur of relying on a parliamentary majority of communist holdovers, coopting former communist officials into the government, and showing "inconsistency and lack of principle in relation to the USSR . . . thus jeopardizing Moldavia's independence." Snegur, who was elected president of the republic in 1990 by the parliament, will seek election by popular vote in a presidential election scheduled for December 8 and is heavily favored to win. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT TO BOYCOTT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The Front's resolutions objected to holding a presidential election before the adoption of a new Moldavian constitution, and reaffirmed the Front's support for the parliamentary form of government as against the Presidential type of government sought by Snegur. The Front accordingly called for a boycott of the presidential election. Interviewed by Radio Kishinev October 15, the Front's Executive Committee Chairman, Iurie Rosca, said that the Front would revert to rallies, demonstrations, and pickets to convey its message. The Popular Front has over the past year lost a great deal of its former membership and parliamentary strength. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN LEADERSHIP AGAINST REUNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. At a meeting with Moldavian local officials from the left bank of the Dniester, Snegur reiterated the Moldavian leadership's opposition to reunification with Romania and criticized the Popular Front for pressing for reunification, Moldovapres reported October 15. Snegur said that Moldavia seeks "to consolidate its independence and have it recognized internationally." and that "any union with another state is out of the question." [Front leaders increasingly favor early reunification with Romania but seldom urge it publicly in Moldavia because the idea is unpopular there.] (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES LATVIAN-USSR DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS REESTABLISHED. Radio Riga reported on October 15 that earlier that day diplomatic notes were exchanged in Moscow between Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans and his Soviet counterpart Boris Pankin renewing diplomatic relations between the two countries. Although it was decided to exchange envoys, no specific candidate was mentioned by either side. Pankin did say that he hoped to continue to work with Janis Peters, who has been serving as Latvia's permanent representative in Moscow. (Dzintra Bungs) KOIVISTO WELCOMES BALTIC STATES AS CSCE SIGNATORIES. After the Baltic heads of state--Arnold Ruutel of Estonia, Anatolijs Gorbunovs of Latvia, and Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania-- signed the CSCE Final Act in Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on October 15, Finnish President Mauno Koivisto said: "The Baltic States have now resumed their rightful place in the international community. Their culture and heritage are European in the deepest sense of the word, and civilization." Western agencies noted on October 15 that later Koivisto talked separately with each of the Baltic leaders. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC LEADERS PRESS FOR SOVIET TROOPS WITHDRAWAL. In their speeches delivered at the signing ceremony of the CSCE Final Act, the Baltic leaders stressed the significance of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania being a part of the Helsinki process. They also reiterated the Baltic call for the prompt departure of Soviet troops from their lands. They said that the troop withdrawal is vital to the restoration of democracy and full sovereignty of their lands. Landsbergis, while stressing that the demand for troop withdrawal is no longer a point of negotiation, added that only when offensive conventional and nuclear weapons are gone from the region will security there be assured. Ruutel said that he had evidence that Soviet troops from Eastern Europe are being redeployed in the Baltic States, reported Western agencies on October 15. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC-SOUTH KOREAN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. According to Western and Baltic dispatches of October 15, South Korea formally established diplomatic ties with Lithuania earlier that day. A protocol on diplomatic normalization was signed in Vilnius by Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Valdermaras Katkus and South Korean Ambassador at Large Han Tak-Chae. From Vilnius the South Korean diplomat travels to Riga and Tallinn to establish diplomatic relations Latvia and Estonia. (Dzintra Bungs) DECISION ON LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP. The first legislation related to citizenship was endorsed on October 15 by the Latvian Supreme Council, reported Diena that day. The decision, adopted by a vote of 92 for, 30 against, and 7 abstaining, sets down the requirements for those wishing to become citizens of the Republic of Latvia: knowledge of the Latvian language, knowledge of Latvian laws and legal structure, 16 years residence in Latvia, oath of allegiance, and the renunciation of citizenship of another state. The decision also states that citizenship will be restored to those who were citizens of Latvia before 1940, and their descendants. Lively discussions are expected throughout Latvia of this draft law. (Dzintra Bungs)
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