|The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder|
No. 202, 23 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR TWO HOUSES OF NEW PARLIAMENT MEETING SEPARATELY. The two chambers of the new USSR Supreme Soviet (the Council of the Union and the Council of the Republics) have decided that they will in future generally meet apart, Interfax reported on October 22. Joint sessions will be convened only to consider decisions of exceptional importance, TASS said, such as amending the constitution, endorsing the budget, declaring war, and admitting new states to the Soviet Union. (Elizabeth Teague) PARLIAMENT POSTPONES ELECTION OF NEW LEADERS. Because the man who previously held the post of parliamentary speaker, Anatolii Lukyanov, is under investigation for his part in the attempted coup, there is at present no chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet. In addition, the chambers of the new parliament decided on October22 to postpone voting on new leaders for the two houses, in order to give Ukraine time to decide whether it wants to take part, Interfax reported that day. Ukraine is the largest of the five republics that sent no representatives to the opening session of the new parliament on October21. (Elizabeth Teague) SUPREME SOVIET SOUNDING OUT UKRAINE. The Council of the Union on October 22 mandated one of its deputies, Boris Vasil'ev, to sound out Ukrainian leaders and determine whether they are willing to participate in the election of parliamentary leaders, Interfax reported. (Elizabeth Teague) RSFSR PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES ROLE OF CP IN COUP. On October 22, hearings took place in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet on the involvement of the CPSU and RCP in the attempted coup. TASS quoted RSFSR Prosecutor-General Valentin Stepankov as saying that the RSFSR prosecutor's office is investigating the role of individuals, not of entire organizations, in the August attempted coup. The agency also quoted first secretary of the RCP Central Committee Valentin Kuptsov as criticizing the Russian parliament for failing to invite to the hearings any of the officials of the Central Committees of the CPSU and RCP. (Vera Tolz) CPSU SUPPORT TO WORKERS' PARTIES CRIMINAL, MINISTER SAYS. Speaking at the same hearings at the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, the republican Justice Minister, Nikolai Fedorov, said that documents in his possession on the financial activities of the CPSU indicate that some of the Party's financial operations were criminal. Fedorov said that most of the operations concerning the CPSU's financial support to the so-called workers' parties abroad were illegal. TASS quoted him as saying on October 22 that these operations were conducted in secrecy and were completely uncontrolled. (Vera Tolz) DETAILS OF FINANCIAL OPERATIONS GIVEN. A member of the RSFSR parliamentary committee on links with public organizations and study of public opinion, Aleksandr Evlakhov, said that the financing of foreign movements was conducted through the so-called Fund for the Assistance of International Workers' Organizations, set up by an order of the CPSU CC Politburo. The CPSU CC International Department was in charge of the distribution of monies that were kept in the USSR's Foreign Economic Bank (Vneshekonombank). Evlakhov said the money was usually given in cash to representatives of workers' movement abroad by KGB agents. (Vera Tolz) GRACHEV ACCUSES MASS MEDIA OF COUP DISINFORMATION. Gorbachev's press secretary, Andrei Grachev, said during a briefing at the Foreign Ministry that the mass media are distorting the facts when they accuse Gorbachev's staff of having leaked coup investigation records to Der Spiegel, TASS reported on October 22. Grachev cited articles in Kommersant, Ogonek, Literaturnaya gazeta and Moskovskii Komsomolets. He stressed, however, that the newspapers have a right to their own opinion on the case. (Victor Yasmann) KRYUCHKOV, YAZOV AND PAVLOV ON RUSSIAN TELEVISION. On October 20 and 21, Russian TV screened videotapes of the interrogations of Dmitrii Yazov, Vladimir Kryuchkov and Valentin Pavlov that had been given to the state television by the German weekly Der Spiegel. The tapes were handed over with the condition that they be shown without cuts. Russian viewers were able to see and hear former KGB chairman Kryuchkov say that, "We neither gave orders, nor planned actions against the RSFSR government and Boris Yeltsin, because we realized that no force can counter such tremendous support," and Marshal Yazov say that he regretted the deaths of the three young men killed during the coup. (Victor Yasmann) WIVES OF COUP LEADERS INTERVIEWED. Central and Russian TV broadcast a film on October22 consisting of interviews with wives and children of those arrested in connection with the coup. The wife of former KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov refused to be filmed. All the other wives emotionally defended their husbands, saying that they were just trying to save the country. "Look how wise and warm the words of the GKChP resolutions were!" the wife of Yanaev exclaimed. The daughter of CPSU CC secretary Oleg Shenin said she hopes for the help of God: she is an Orthodox believer and regular churchgoer, having been baptized three years ago at the age of sixteen without asking her parents' permission. (Vera Tolz) LIGACHEV ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE COUP. A member of the RSFSR parliamentary commission investigating the activities of the junta, Aleksei Surkov, told the hearings that Egor Ligachev was probably linked to the attempted coup. TASS (October 22) quoted Surkov as saying that, according to documents in the possession of the commission, if the coup had been successful, Ligachev might have been appointed to replace Gorbachev as CPSU general secretary. (Vera Tolz) SURKOV DEMANDS OPENING OF ALL CPSU ARCHIVES. In his speech, Surkov also called on the parliament to insist that the CPSU hand over to the RSFSR prosecutor's office all documents concerning its illegal activities. Surkov said that before the attempted coup, the former head of Gorbachev's personal secretariat, Valerii Boldin, transferred all the most sensitive Politburo documents to the special presidential fund (using the fact that Gorbachev was both the Party's general secretary and the Soviet president). Surkov said that access to these documents, which are currently in possession of Gorbachev, is impossible. (Vera Tolz) SOBCHAK INTERVIEWED BY IZVESTIA. In an interview in Izvestia on October 22, St. Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak rejected as absurd speculations that the RSFSR parliament might adopt a law banning former KGB and CP officials from occupying administrative positions. Sobchak said that such a law would result in a civil war. Sobchak also said that a famine in Russia is improbable, but he claimed that severe economic problems could be solved only if some kind a union exists between the remaining twelve republics. (Vera Tolz) MOSCOW WILL NOT ABOLISH PROPISKI. Moscow's deputy mayor Yurii Luzhkov told Izvestia (October 15) the city can not comply with the call of the USSR's constitutional watchdog for the abolition, on January 1 next year, of residence permits. (The USSR Committee on Constitutional Oversight said the "feudal" permits infringe human rights and hinder the development of a market economy.) Leading members of the Russian government agree with this verdict, but say the old system must be retained for the immediate future. Otherwise, the officials warn, cities such as Moscow and St.Petersburg will be flooded with refugees and migrants from other parts of the Soviet Union. (Elizabeth Teague) SOVIET JEWISH DISSIDENTS TO BE EXONERATED? A Western Jewish leader quoted Soviet Prosecutor General Nikolai Trubin as saying that his office plans to exonerate and apologize to Jewish dissidents imprisoned in the 1970's. Trubin's assurance was given to Irwin Cotler, Canadian Chairman of the World Jewish Congress at a meeting in Moscow earlier this month, a Western news agency reported October 23. Cotler said that the Soviet Prosecutor specifically referred to Natan Sharansky, Ida Nudel and Yosef Begun among some 25 other Jewish political prisoners whose sentences will now be reversed. (Carla Thorson) RUTSKOI AGAINST CREATION OF SIBERIAN REPUBLIC. In an interview with Sibirskaya gazeta, RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi rejected the idea of creating a Siberian Republic. Such an idea has been advocated by unofficial political groups in the area. Radio Moscow quoted Rutskoi on October 21 as calling such separatist tendencies within the RSFSR "a game of statehoods" (igra v gosudarstvennost'). The Russian vice president supported, however, the creation of structures to defend Siberia's economic interests. Such structures started to be formed last year, when seventeen regions of Siberia set up an economic association called "Siberian Agreement" (Sibirskoe soglashenie). (Vera Tolz) CALL FOR CREATION OF FAR EASTERN REPUBLIC. The recently appointed governor of the island of Sakhalin, Valentin Fedorov, was quoted by TASS on October 21 as saying he favored the establishment of a Far Eastern republic to preempt the return of the disputed Kurile Islands to Japan. (Elizabeth Teague) WHERE IS PUGO BURIED? Argumenty i fakty (No.40, 1991) reveals that the body of Boris Pugo, who committed suicide when the coup collapsed in August, was cremated, but that Pugo's relations have not yet claimed the ashes. If the ashes are not collected within the next two months, they will be buried at the crematiorium along with other unclaimed ashes. (Elizabeth Teague) STATE COUNCIL SUSPENDS KGB LAW. The sovereign states composing the USSR have exclusive jurisdiction over their republican Committees for State Security, according to an official statement of the USSR State Council disseminated by TASS on October 22. Three "central organs of government" will be the created on the basis of the old KGB: the Central Intelligence Service responsible for foreign intelligence "in the interests of the USSR and the republics"; an interrepublican Security Service for coordination of internal security services in the republics; and a Joint Command Border Troops Committee. The State Council also suspended the law on the KGB, but left in force some of its provisions. (Victor Yasmann) COURT DECISION ON HASSIDIC MANUSCRIPTS PROTESTED. On October 15, Sovetskaya Rossiya contained an extensive article on the dispute over the Hassidic manuscripts known as the Shneerson Collection. (See Daily Report, September 9 and October 8.) The decision of the State Arbitration Court on October 8 that this collection must be returned to the Hassidic community has been appealed. Now the Highest Arbitration Court of the RSFSR must decide the fate of this unique collection. (Oxana Antic) PATRIARCH ALEKSII II TO VISIT ENGLAND. TASS reported on October 22 that Patriarch Aleksii II will visit England from October 23 to 30 as a guest of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Patriarch will participate in a session of the presidium of the Conference of European Churches, which he chairs. He is also scheduled to meet Queen Elizabeth II and other religious and political figures. (Oxana Antic) YELTSIN WARNING ON CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. On October 22, TASS reported that rebellious Chechens have rejected Boris Yeltsin's October 19 demand that they surrender their arms. The Russian president had warned the executive committee of the Congress of the Chechen People that if they did not stop the illegal actions in the republic, the RSFSR take measures to normalize the situation. The TASS report quoted a Chechen leader, Iles Arsanukaev, as calling Yeltsin's demand an ultimatum and saying it was illegal. (Bess Brown) TRADE TIES WITH CUBA SHAKY. Interfax reported October 18 that trade between the USSR and Cuba has fallen off dramatically in 1991. According to information from an unidentified official at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, the termination of food supplies, especially grain, from the Soviet Union, has hit Cuba the hardest. In an effort to counteract the problem, Cuba has cut back on sugar supplies to the USSR in order to earn hard currency on the world market. The Ministry official also mentioned there has been some discussion in the USSR of buying sugar from Brazil, but that this option will likely not be used. (Suzanne Crow) GRACHEV EXPLAINS SOVIET STANCE ON HONECKER. Soviet Presidential Spokesman Andrei Grachev told RIA October 22 that the USSR's hesitation to return former GDR leader Erich Honecker to German authorities stems from a feeling of complicity. "We must consider all aspects of the Honecker question," Grachev said. "From a political and moral point of view, we cannot react in a completely detached manner to what happened in the GDR, which also happened while defending the Warsaw Pact's border. For this reason, we cannot react rashly on this question without clarifying our responsibility for what happened during the Cold War years," ADN reported October 22. (Suzanne Crow) KAL WRECKAGE DISCOVERED. Izvestia reported October 23 that the wreckage of KAL flight 007, shot down by the Soviet Union in September, 1983, was discovered in the Tatar Strait on October 22 at 6:00a.m. The discovery was aided by an autonomous diving apparatus referred to as "Tinro-2." Izvestia said certain objects from the KAL wreckage were brought to the surface, but offered no details on the identity of these objects. (Suzanne Crow) DETAILS ON MADRID. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will travel to Madrid October 28 to attend the official opening of the Mideast peace conference. He will meet with President George Bush on October 29 and will also hold talks with Spanish leaders. Gorbachev's delegation will include Foreign Minister Boris Pankin, Gorbachev adviser and Gosteleradio Chairman Yegor Yakovlev, and Vladimir Lukin, Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee for International Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations. TASS's October 22 report also mentioned that some experts from the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs would attend as well. (Suzanne Crow) PANKIN CONFIDENT OF USSR'S ROLE. Speaking to reporters prior to his flight from Cairo to Paris, Foreign Minister Boris Pankin said the Soviet Union is confident of maintaining its high profile in the international political arena. "All understand perfectly well that all our troubles and all our problems are problems of maturing. The union of sovereign states remains and will continue to be a great power. The world needs it," TASS reported October 22. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS NORTH OSSETIAN SUPSOV DEBATES SITUATION IN SOUTH OSSETIA. On October 22, the North Ossetian Supreme Soviet debated an appeal by the South Ossetian Oblast Soviet to raise with the RSFSR Supreme Soviet the question of uniting North and South Ossetia within the RSFSR, TASS reported that day. Interfax reported the same day that the RSFSR parliament may impose economic sanctions on Georgia if Georgia fails to take measures to end the conflict in South Ossetia, where over 300 people have been killed in clashes over the past two years. (Liz Fuller) 8+1 APPEAL TO UKRAINE. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the leaders of eight republics, including Boris Yeltsin, have addressed a joint appeal to the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet to join in the work of drafting a treaty of Union of sovereign states, TASS and Western news agencies reported October 22. The appeal states that Ukraine's role in the development of the country is "irreplaceable" and that "we do not imagine the Union without Ukraine." In addition to Gorbachev and Yeltsin, the document was signed by leaders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Turmenia, and Tajikistan. (Roman Solchanyk) DRAFT LAWS ON UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES. The Ukrainian SupSov yesterday adopted five draft laws covering the creation of a Ukrainian army,navy, air force, national guard, and border troops, Radio Kiev and Western news agencies reported October 22. The moves come in defiance of Gorbachev's threat on Monday to annul such legislation. Atyester-day's session of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet-Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk also announced the promotion of Ukrainian Minister of Defense Konstantin Morozov to the rank of col.general. (Roman Solchanyk) ANTI-BALTIC PICKETS IN MINSK. According to a RFE-RL correspondent in Minsk, on October 17 Russian-speaking residents of the Baltic states were picketting near the Belorussian SupSov building to demand that Belorussia annex Vilnius, Klaipeda, and three regions of Latvia. In March, 1990, in response to Lithuania's declaration of independence, the Presidium of the Belorussian Supreme Soviet issued a statement in support of Belorussia's claim to Vilnius and several districts in Lithuania. The picketers have been joined by members of Slavyanskii sobor and Belaya Rossiya, two extremist Slavophile groups that have enjoyed the tacit approval of the hardline Belorussian Central Committee. (Kathy Mihalisko) BAN ON RELIGIOUS PARTIES LIFTED IN TAJIKISTAN. TASS reported on October 22 that the Tajik Supreme Soviet has voted to lift the ban on religious parties that was contained in the republican law on freedom of conscience. The decision removes the main obstacle to the registration of the Islamic Renaissance Party, which has been functioning as a part of the democratic coalition which has forced a measure of liberalization in the republic, but remained illegal. (Bess Brown) DUSHANBE STATE OF EMERGENCY WAS ILLEGAL. The chairman of the USSR Constitutional Compliance Committee, Sergei Alekseev, was quoted by TASS on October 21 as saying that the declaration of a state of emergency in Tajikistan in September was illegal. The decision on the legality of the action had been requested by Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet, which had ordered the state of emergency in reaction to demonstrations by opposition political groups demanding the restoration of a ban on the republican Communist Party. Alekseev commented that use of a state of emergency in a political struggle is impermissible. (Bess Brown) AKAEV SPEAKS TO UN. Kyrgyzstan's president Askar Akaev told the UN General Assembly on October 22 that the USSR as a state has ceased to exist, RFE/RL's UN correspondent reported that day. Akaev said that a confederation similar to the British Commonwealth would be an ideal solution for the former Soviet republics, and that treaties among them would have to be based on international law. He added that Kyrgyzstan has no immediate plans to join the UN. (Jeff Endrst/Bess Brown) RESERVE OFFICERS TO STAFF MOLDAVIAN NATIONAL ARMY. A delegation of Moldavia's recently established League of Reserve Officers was received by President Mircea Snegur, Infonova reported October 17. Snegur accepted the League's offer to help train and staff Moldavia's planned national military forces. On the same occasion, sources close to Moldavia's State Department for Military Affairs told RFE/RL of cases of ethnic Russian officers with USSR military units stationed in Moldavia who, concerned over the prospect of demobilization or withdrawal from Moldavia, are offering to join the republic's planned force. Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PREMIER BIDES TIME ON ECONOMIC TREATY. The Moldavian leadership has cabled Gorbachev that it agrees "in principle" with the economic community treaty but objects to some of its provisions, Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi told Moldavian TV as cited by TASS October 22. Particularly concerned that "someone in the center is trying to give this economic treaty a political coloration," Moldavia will determine its position after further examination of the text and of the annexes to be negotiated. Cautioning against "dramatizing the issue," Muravschi noted Moldavia's heavy reliance on the USSR and Russia for fuel imports and as markets for Moldavian produce. (Vladimir Socor) "DNIESTER SSR" APPEALS FOR MEMBERSHIP IN USSR. The self-styled SupSov of the "Dniester SSR," proclaimed by Russian communists in eastern Moldavia, has appealed to the SupSovs of the USSR and its constituent republics for acceptance as a constituent republic of the Union, TASS reported October 22. Recalling that its area was--as the "Moldavian ASSR"--included in Ukraine prior to World War II and has formed part of the Moldavian SSR since, the Dniester leaders said that the area could no longer form a part of either Moldavia or Ukraine since the two republics had declared their independence of the USSR. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES GERMANY, DENMARK TO AID BALTIC STATES. On October 22, Germany and Denmark decided to help the new Baltic democracies and called for urgent aid to the USSR, RFE/RL's correspondent in Bonn reported that day. The decision was announced in a joint statement following a conference in Rostock of Danish and German envoys to countries of the Baltic region, as well as Norway and Iceland. German Foreign Minister Genscher also added that everything must be done to create decent living conditions to stem westward migration. Noting a recent increase in Baltic cooperation, he said that a new union of 31 Baltic cities had been formed. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA NOT TO SHARE IN USSR'S DEBT. Audrius Azubalis, press spokesman for the Lithuanian Supreme Council has refuted recent reports by the Lithuanian news agency ELTA that Lithuania intends to take on a share of the Soviet Union's foreign debt, according to a Baltfax dispatch of October 21. (Dzintra Bungs) PRISONERS IN LATVIA WANT AMNESTY. Mikhail Aleksandrovich was quoted in Diena on October 21 as saying that a strike in two sections of the strict regime labor camp OC78/13 near Jekabpils which started on October 18 is continuing, but strikes have not spread to other place of detention. Arguing that they were sentenced under Soviet laws that are no longer valid, the prisoners want their cases to be reviewed by Latvian courts and are demanding amnesty by November 18, Latvia's Independence Day. It is not clear how many prisoners are detained in OC78/13, where they come from (in the past prisoners were brought from other republics to serve sentences in Latvia) and on what charges they were convicted. (Dzintra Bungs)
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