|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 199, 18 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR ECONOMIC TREATY TO BE SIGNED TODAY. Most of the twelve remaining republics of the Soviet Union are expected to sign the Treaty on an Economic Community in the Kremlin on October18. Two that will not are Georgia and Ukraine. Gorbachev and the chairman of the Interrepublican Economic Committee Ivan Silaev had talks October 17 on the treaty with Boris Yeltsin. According to Western agency reports, Gorbachev accepted all the changes Yeltsin wanted to include regarding banking, financial, budget and future membership. Yeltsin said on Central Television that as soon as the treaty was signed he expected Western aid to be provided rapidly. He added that "We shall not be able to do without it." (Ann Sheehy) UKRAINE REFUSES TO SIGN ECONOMIC ACCORD. In a major last-minute setback to Mikhail Gorbachev's plans to hold the Union together, the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet decided on October17 not to take part in the signing of the interrepublican economic agreement, citing dissatisfaction that Ukraine's recommendations at Alma-Ata had not been taken into account. Parliamentary spokesman Olih Baye was quoted by news agencies as saying that Ukraine cannot sign the agreement in its present form, though he did not rule out the possibility that the republic will take part in a more acceptable economic accord at a later date. Deputy Supreme Soviet chairman Ivan Plyushch will head a Ukrainian delegation merely to observe the signing of the accord in Moscow on October 18. (Kathy Mihalisko) DEPUTY SUPSOV CHAIRMEN ON UKRAINIAN REFUSAL. Western news sources have reported at length on comments by Supreme Soviet deputy chairman Volodymyr Hryn'ov and Ivan Plyushch after the Presidium's decision. According to the Chicago Tribune, Plyushch said that although Ukraine wants to maintain trade and economic ties with other republics, it insists on its independence and will not join a Moscow-based economic or political union. Hryn'ov was quoted by several Western correspondents as complaining that it was "incomprehensible" that Ukraine's recommendations on the accord had not been taken into account. Ukraine's most serious objections concern the accord's banking and financial provisions. In addition, the republic is forging ahead with plans to introduce its own currency. (Kathy Mihalisko) RUTSKOI: RUSSIA CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT UKRAINE. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi played down the significance of the Ukrainian decision by remarking that "I don't know that Ukraine can survive without Russia, but I can say that Russia will survive without Ukraine," according to Western news sources. But, as those sources point out, President Mikhail Gorbachev stated in his televised speech on October12 that he cannot imagine the USSR without Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko) KALININGRAD OBLAST SETS UP CUSTOMS POSTS. Kaliningrad Oblast has become the first in the RSFSR to set up customs posts, Moscow Radio reported October 16. The oblast authorities tried to avoid taking this step, said Professor Matochkin, the new head of the oblast administration, but their patience had come to an end. Matochkin said that for months, the Baltics, trying to get rid of their rubles before introducing their own currencies, had raided Kaliningrad oblast buying up livestock, furniture, construction materials, and emptying the shops and markets. (Ann Sheehy) IZVESTIA WANTS TRIAL OF CPSU. Legal columnist Yurii Feofanov urged on October 11 in Izvestia that the CPSU be tried for "subversive, rather that just opposition, actions against market relations and democratic principles" in a proceeding similar to the Nuremberg trials of 1945-47. Feofanov said the CPSU started with a conspiracy against the Motherland in 1914; strove for the country's defeat in World War I to facilitate the Party's seizure of power; and conspired against the people in 1991 in an effort to preserve its power. Today, Feofanov wrote, the CPSU has recovered from the August shock and has renewed its subversive activities, such as the campaign in Pravda accusing all and sundry of a "witch-hunt against the Communists." (Julia Wishnevsky) CONGRESS OF SOVIET GERMANS OPENS TODAY. A three-day congress of Soviet Germans opens in Moscow October 18. At the congress it is expected that Yeltsin will formally announce the RSFSR's intention to restore the territorial autonomy of the Soviet Germans on the Volga, TASS reported October 17. TASS said that the question of the territory's boundaries was difficult. It would be impossible simply to proclaim that it existed in its previous boundaries because of opposition in some places both from the leadership and population of Saratov and Volgograd oblasts. TASS noted that the whole population of the future Soviet German territory would benefit from the new investment in the area. German legislators have proposed that 100 million marks in aid be given. (Ann Sheehy) TATARSTAN PRESIDENT BANS CREATION OF UNOFFICIAL ARMED FORMATIONS. Tatarstan president Mintimer Shaimiev signed a decree October 17 "On banning the creation and activity of public militarized associations and armed formations on the territory of the Tatar SSR, TASS reported October 17. The decree said that such units were to be disbanded from the moment the decree was published. Enrollment in home guard units subordinated to the Tatarstan Public Center started ten days or more ago in reaction to a statement by acting chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov (see Daily Report, October 8). (Ann Sheehy) SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. TASS reported October 17 that the number of destabilizing events was growing by the hour in Checheno-Ingushetia. Preparations for the elections of the president and parliament, fixed by the rebel OKChN Executive Committee for October 27, were going ahead but no one knew if they would take place. The population was divided between supporters of the Executive Committee and the constitutional authorities. The RSFSR parliamentary delegation headed by the procurator general Valentin Stepankov had addressed an appeal to the RSFSR President and Supreme Soviet in which it described the situation as "explosive," called on the media to stop "playing with fire," and declared that the application of any force whatever from outside was impermissible. In the meantime, TASS added, delegations supporting the actions of the Executive Committee were arriving from neighbouring North Caucasian republics and other regions. (Ann Sheehy) TOP OFFICIALS SUED. USSR State Prosecutor Nikolai Trubin has filed suit against a number of top ministers from Nikolai Ryzhkov's government, who are said to have abused their position to buy land in the luxury resort Sosny near Moscow for a symbolic payment, Soviet TV newscasts reported October 15. Among those named are Ryzhkov's first deputy Lev Voronin, former Party Secretary Aleksandra Biryukova, military aviation minister Igor Belousov, and Aleksandr Sterligov, now an aide of RSFSR vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi. No criminal charge seems to have been brought against these officials; Trubin is demanding that the deal be annulled and the estates be returned. (Julia Wishnevsky) SHEVARDNADZE OR GORBACHEV AS UN CHIEF? TASS quoted an unidentified USSR Foreign Ministry official October 17 as saying that former Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze is among the ten or so candidates for the post of UN Secretary General. While refusing to name other candidates on the list, the MFA official said it is "fully possible" that one of his competitors is Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. (Suzanne Crow) $3.5 BILLION IN FARM CREDITS SOUGHT. Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Yurii Chumakov said October 16 the USSR is seeking $3.5 billion in US export credit guarantees through the end of 1992 for purchases of feed grains, Western agencies reported October 17. Chumankov said corn would be a top item of interest, but added that US exporters of wheat, soybean and soymeals "would not be offended" by Soviet purchases. Powdered milk, butter, and baby food and formula are also items the USSR is interested in purchasing with credits. (Suzanne Crow) KHRUSHCHEV'S SON-IN-LAW TO START NEW PAPER. A well-known journalist Alexei Adzhubei, who is Nikita Khrushchev's son-in-law, is going to start a new paper, Tret'e soslovie ("The Third Estate"), Vechernyaya Moskva reported October8. The newspaper is going to be a private one, and is going to concentrate on the emerging entrepreneurial initiatives in Russia. (Vera Tolz) "NOVOSTI" TO RESTRUCTURE. In an interview with Trud (October 3), "Novosti"'s Director General Andrei Vinogradov said he is going to abolish all periodicals aimed at a foreign audience that the agency puts out. He also said that the "Novosti" magazine for the United States Soviet life will be taken out of the agency's control, since the agency was put by El'tsin's decree under the jurisdiction of Russia. Vinogradov said that the agency wants to start new publications, but currently the main obstacle is the financial one. (Vera Tolz) CONTROVERSY ABOUT COUP INVESTIGATION LEAKS IN "SPIEGEL." The publication of the interrogation records of the leaders of the coup in the German weekly Spiegel reflected the rather low level of the investigation and was not the act of political forces interested in influencing the results of the legal process, wrote a first deputy of an MVD scientific institute, V. Demin in Pravda, October 17. (The records of the interrogation of Vladimir Kryuchkov, Dmitrii Yazov and Valentin Pavlov were published in Spiegel in September and were re-printed by Izvestia, October 10.) Nezavisimaya gazeta, October 16, wrote that the leaks were a warning from those who control the course of investigation that they could publish more compromising materials on those whose role in the coup was downplayed. Meanwhile, KGB Chairman Vadim Bakatin said he had been assured that the records were sold for profit, reported TV Inform, October 15. (Victor Yasmann) INTERVIEW WITH FATHER ALEKSANDR'S WIDOW. Sovershenno sekretno No. 6 contains an interview with Father Aleksandr Men's widow, Natalia Grigorenko, who discussed her life with Father Aleksandr, the problems he faced, and his murder. (Oxana Antic) SCHISM IN RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH PREDICTED. TASS reported on October 16 that Nezavisimaya gazeta has published a prediction that the Russian Orthodox Church will split. The article also comments on the current state of the Church and the highest ranks of its hierarchy. (Oxana Antic) SAUDI ARABIA TO SEND PREACHERS? The late installment of "TSN" on October 14 quoted from what was identified as a New York Times story stating that in addition to humanitarian aid for the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia intends to send Muslim preachers to the traditionally Muslim republics in order to counter Islamic fundamentalism being spread by Iran. (Bess Brown) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS GENSCHER IN KIEV. German Foreign Minister arrived in Kiev on October 17 after holding talks in Alma-Ata (see below). Genscher will meet today, October 18, with Ukrainian Supreme Soviet chairman Leonid Kravchuk and Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko. He will also officially open a week of German cultural events, Western agencies reported. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINE ASSERTS AUTHORITY OVER RAILROAD AND CIVIL DEFENSE TROOPS. On October 17, the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet issued a decree giving Ukraine jurisdiction over the railroad, government communication, and civil defense military units of the USSR stationed on the territory of the republic. The order extends to arms and technical equipment held by these units. Ukraine also takes jurisdiction over the military technology and USSR Defense Ministry property that has been provided free of charge to DOSAAF-type organizations in Ukraine. The decree empowers the Cabinet of Ministers to conduct negotiations with the USSR Defense Ministry, USSR KGB, and command of the USSR railroad troops concerning implementation of the measures. (Kathy Mihalisko) TER-PETROSSYAN WINS LANDSLIDE VICTORY IN ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. TASS October 17 quoted an Armenian government official as stating that Armenian Supreme Soviet chairman Levon Ter-Petrossyan received over 80% of the votes cast in the October 16 presidential election. Paruir Hairikyan, chairman of the Association for National Self- Determination, was in second place, and Sos Sarkisyan of the Armenian Revolutionary (Dashnak) Party, third. A Central Electoral Commission official estimated voter turnout at over 69%. (Liz Fuller) MUTALIBOV BOYCOTTS TALKS ON NKAO. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov failed to travel to Moscow October 17 to attend talks to be chaired by Soviet President Gorbachev on implementing last month's agreement aimed at settling the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. One Western news agency quoted a Mutalibov spokesman as stating that the Gorbachev initiative constituted interference in Azerbaijan's internal affairs; a second quoted the Presidential press service as claiming that Mutalibov is ill. (Liz Fuller) NAZARBAEV REPORTEDLY INVITED TO WASHINGTON. Alma-Ata journalist Batirhan Darimbetov told the RL Kazakh Service on October 16 that US Secretary of State James Baker's October 15 phone call to Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbaev had included an invitation from George Bush to the Kazakh leader to visit Washington, according to a report on the Alma-Ata evening news. A TASS report on the phone call said that Baker had mentioned the recent session of the USSR State Council, at which a draft agreement on an economic community was discussed, and praised Kazakhstan's role in stabilizing Soviet society. (Bess Brown) GENSCHER IN KAZAKHSTAN. On October 17, KazTAG and TASS reported on the visit of German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to Kazakhstan. At a press conference after one-on-one talks with Genscher, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev said that topics discussed included the opening of a Goethe Institute in Alma-Ata, the establishment of consular relations, and the starting of direct flights between Kazakhstan and Germany, as well as German technical assistance to Kazakhstan. Genscher expressed the hope that the Germans living in Kazakhstan would be able to develop their national culture, and invited Nazarbaev to visit Germany. (Bess Brown) ANTI-COMMUNIST DEMONSTRATIONS REPORTED IN UZBEKISTAN. Moskovskiye novosti No. 41 carries a report of demonstrations involving thousands of participants at mosques in Andizhan and Namangan. The protesters in both cases demanded the banning of the Popular-Democratic (formerly Communist) Party of Uzbekistan. The article notes that the increasingly vocal opposition in Uzbekistan is creating a situation similar to that which developed in Tajikistan last month. According to the report, those groups which consider themselves democratic, including the Popular Front Birlik and the banned Islamic Renaissance Party, are joining forces against the Communist power structures. (Bess Brown) NIYAZOV EXPECTS TURKMENISTAN TO CHOOSE INDEPENDENCE. In a comment on Turkmenistan's support for the economic community in what remains of the USSR, Turkmenistan's president Saparmurad Niyazov said that he expects the population of the republic to vote for independence in the up-coming referendum on the subject. Niyazov's observation was reported by TASS on October17. (Bess Brown) MOLDAVIAN ECONOMISTS CALL FOR WESTERN ADVICE. In an article on the need to update economic research in Moldavia to support the transition to the market economy, Moldova Suverana said October 11 that the republic's specialized research institutes would welcome consulting assistance from Western experts of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the OECD, EEC, and other institutions. Moldavia needs assistance to develop mechanisms for demonopolization and destatization, price formation, social protection, the creation of financial-banking and tax systems, commercial and foreign investment legislation, international marketing, and other areas. Moldavian economists "cannot tackle these urgent tasks with their own forces"; Western research institutions would therefore "have a wide scope of activity" in Moldavia, the article said. (Vladimir Socor) FROM SOVETSKAYA TO NEZAVISIMAYA MOLDOVA. Replacing the Russian-language daily Sovetskaya Moldova of the banned Moldavian Communist Party, the newspaper Nezavisimaya Moldova commenced publication October 4. Sponsored by the Moldavian Parliament and government and intended for Moldavia's Russian-speaking population, the new newspaper is a diametric opposite to its dreary predecessor. The inaugural issue offers, among other things, eyewitness accounts of the recent confrontations between Moldavian police and Russian "workers detachments" on the left bank of the Dniester, a local Ukrainian's rebuttal to the Great-Russian views recently expressed by Russian Democratic Party leader Nikolai Travkin, and a feature on Moldavia's Hassidim led by Grand Rabbi Zalman Leib of Kishinev, a disciple of the Brooklyn-based Lubavicher Rebbe. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES POLAND READY TO HELP WITH TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND AIR LINKS. According to Polish Telecommunications Minister Jerzy Slezak, his country and Lithuania have agreed to develop direct telephone links between the Baltic States and the West. Slezak told the press in Warsaw on October 16 that Poland was interested in installing a fiber-optic cable that would allow the Baltic States to bypass Moscow and make direct calls to the West. A spokesman from Poland's national airline LOT said that the Polish government is planning to negotiate aviation accords with the Baltic States to establish direct air links between Warsaw and the Baltic Capitals. Lithuania obtained its own telephone satellite connection between Oslo and Vilnius last week, according to Western agency dispatches of October 10 and16. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN DEPUTIES CONSIDER LEGISLATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS. According to Diena of October 17, the day before the Latvian Supreme Council started to review a project for a draft constitutional law dealing with human rights and citizens' obligations. The document is based on the relevant sections of the 1922 Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. It is expected that next week the legislators will resume discussion of the document and will endorse it, thus giving it the status of a draft law adopted in the first reading. (Dzintra Bungs) EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE CITIZENS' CONGRESS IN NOVEMBER. Spokesmen for the Committee of Latvia announced that an extraordinary session of the Citizens' Congress will be held on November 2 to discuss Supreme Council legislation on issues related to citizenship in Latvia. They argue that the Supreme Council has no legal authority to adopt such legislation and claim that the decision adopted on October 15, in effect, legalizes the status of thousands who settled illegally in Latvia during the postwar decades, reported Radio Riga on October 17. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA TO PAY ITS PART OF SOVIET FOREIGN DEBT. While visiting Japan, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius said that Lithuania would guarantee repayment of that part of the USSR foreign debt that funded economic projects on Lithuanian territory. He added that Lithuania would not be responsible for sums incurred by Soviet military-related projects on its territory, reported Western agencies on October 17. Vagnorius is in Tokyo to discuss Japanese-Lithuanian economic cooperation. Japanese officials said that their country would consider economic and technical aid to the three Baltic States after that issue is discussed in November by representatives from the 24 leading industrial countries. (Dzintra Bungs) REHABILITATION OF "WAR CRIMINALS" IN LITHUANIA SUSPENDED. According to Western media reports of October 17, the Lithuanian Supreme Court suspended on October 16 the rehabilitation of people sentenced by Soviet courts in postwar Lithuania on charges of war crimes because a few of the approximately 35,000 persons exonerated were subsequently found to have been involved in the killing of Jews. Supreme Court Justice Genadijus Slauta said: "We were trying to rehabilitate everybody as quickly as possible, but now we are sorry that we acted so rapidly. We see serious errors were made." Slauta has reviewed several cases and found that in five cases the exoneration granted was not justified. (Dzintra Bungs) JEWISH GROUP MAY CALL FOR HEARINGS ON AID TO LITHUANIA. Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told the press on October 18 that the center would consider calling for congressional hearings on whether Lithuania should receive US aid if Lithuania does not review the cases of about 35,000 people it had already exonerated on Soviet charges of war crimes. He said that his organization had uncovered 11 cases of persons exonerated who had taken part in Nazi war crimes, including several Lithuanians who had guarded the concentration camp at Majdanek, reported Western agencies on October 18. It is not clear if Rabbi Hier was aware of the Lithuanian Supreme Court announcement of October 17. (Dzintra Bungs)
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