The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 203, 24 October 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR



DEMONSTRATIONS IN MOSCOW AND ST. PETERSBURG. Thousands of people
demonstrated in Moscow and St. Petersburg on October 23 for higher
wages, more food, and a minimum wage, Central TV and Western
agencies reported that day. The protests were said to be organized
by the respective trade union federations. One Western news agency
estimated the Moscow gathering at around 30,000. One of the demands
made was the full indexation of wages in the face of recent and
anticipated retail price increases. [This is a sure route to
hyperinflation.] Moscow trade union federation chairman Mikhail
Shmakov later told Central TV that if the protests are not heeded,
the only other weapon is a strike. (Keith Bush)

RSFSR PROCURACY TO TAKE MEASURES AGAINST SEPARATISTS. The RSFSR
Prosecutor's Office announced October 23 that all political parties
and public associations on the territory of the republic which
call for the violation of the RSFSR's territorial integrity had
been outlawed. TASS said the prosecutor's office was referring
primarily to such organizations in Tatarstan and Checheno-Ingushetia.
Leaders and members of such parties will be subject to criminal
investigation and mass media promoting separatist tendencies
will be closed, TASS quoted the prosecutor's office as saying.
The USSR law on public associations adopted in 1990 also forbade
the creation of parties planning the violation of the USSR's
integrity. This provision of the law has rarely been implemented,
however. (Vera Tolz)

LIGACHEV DENIES LINKS TO COUP PLOTTERS. In an interview with
Izvestia (October 23), former Politburo member Egor Ligachev
denied accusations leveled against him the previous day in the
Russian parliament to the effect that he was involved in the
preparation of the attempted coup. Ligachev claimed that two
men in the CPSU did not know beforehand about the August events--himself
and Mikhail Gorbachev. (Vera Tolz)

MOST OFFICIALS DID NOT SUPPORT YELTSIN DURING COUP. A study conducted
by the Control Department in the RSFSR president's office indicated
that more than 70% of the RSFSR's oblasts, krais, autonomous
republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs failed to support Yeltsin
during the coup and either sided with the junta or adopted a
wait-and-see position. The remaining 29.5% of the territorial
units in the republic declared their loyalty to the RSFSR president,
but only the local authorities in Moscow, Leningrad and three
oblasts gave active support to Yeltsin. None of the Communist
Party Committees in the RSFSR supported Yeltsin, Moskovsky komsomolets
and Nezavisimaya gazeta reported October 23. Instead, two-thirds
of them supported the junta and one third adopted a wait-and-see
position. (Vera Tolz)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION IN MOSCOW. October 27 will see
the disappearance of the executive committees (raiispolkomy)
that used, under the tutelage of the local Communist Party,
to run Moscow's 33 districts. Local government in the
Soviet capital is to be reorganized into ten administrative
districts, each of which will be headed by a prefect who will
also be a member of the Moscow government. These districts will
in turn be subdivided into 124 municipal regions, each headed
by a sub-prefect. According to TASS (October 22) the reorganization
is so far creating more problems and confusion than it is solving.
(Elizabeth Teague)

SCANDAL OVER SOBCHAK'S ROLE IN COUP OPPOSITION. The St. Petersburg
newspaper Smena has published a transcript of a telephone conversation
between the city mayor Anatolii Sobchak and Leningrad KGB chief
Kurkov that was conducted during one of the nights of the coup,
"Vesti" reported October 23. According to the transcript, Kurkov
told Sobchak that then-KGB chief Kryuchkov wished Sobchak success
in conducting the so-called "Operation-10," which, Smena explained,
was the code name for a mass anti-junta demonstration that Sobchak
planned to start on August 20 at 10 am. Experts from the RSFSR
KGB confirmed the authenticity of the tape. "Vesti" quoted Sobchak
as saying the conversation indeed took place, but insisting that
its content was misinterpreted. He is reportedly going to sue
Smena. (Vera Tolz)

MORE ON CPSU SUPPORT TO FOREIGN CPs. Twenty million dollars put
by the CPSU in one of the Italian banks were recently discovered,
"Radio Rossii" reported October 23 without giving details. The
radio also quoted a Soviet journalist in Venezuela, Yurii Isaev,
as detailing how the financing of the local Communist Party was
conducted. According to Isaev, every three months a representative
of the Venezuelan CP met with an employee of the Soviet embassy
who provided the representative with cash. The Soviet side never
asked the Venezuelan CP to report how the money was spent. Isaev
claimed that the embassy employee often complained to him that
the Venezuelan CP leaders in fact used a good part of the Soviet
aid to buy themselves villas and other property. (Vera Tolz)


POPOV WARNS OF FASCIST DANGER. On October 22, Russian TV's "Vesti"
reported Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov's warning, during an interview
in Washington, DC, of a possible fascist coup in the Soviet Union.
At a press conference in Los Angeles the same day, Western news
agencies reported that Popov said the main result of the August
coup attempt was the suspension of the Communist Party, but he
blamed weaknesses within the democratic movement for the lack
of progress in economic reforms. He said, "We still have problems
with producing consumer goods, food, and clothes," and, "Our
main task, privatization, has barely moved." (Carla Thorson)


SUGAR RIOT IN MOSCOW. A crowd broke into a bakery in the Perovo
district of Moscow over the weekend in search of sugar, Western
agencies reported on October 23 and 24. An official of the food
department of the RSFSR Goskomstat was quoted as saying that
only 43% of sugar delivery quotas were met by republics supplying
the RSFSR. But help is on the way. Germany is said to be planning
to sell 360,000 tons of sugar to the USSR from stocks in the
former GDR. Any such sales will qualify for the special export
credit program for eastern Germany that provides for longer credit
periods, exemption from down payment, and for repayment grace
periods. (Keith Bush)

BUSH GIVEN SOVIET FOOD AID REQUEST. Late on October 22, US President
George Bush received a written request from Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev for food aid. The document was said to run
to 300 pages and was written in Russian, Western agencies reported
October 23. It was delivered by US Agriculture Secretary Ed Madigan
on his return from a nine-day fact-finding tour of the USSR;
Madigan is believed to have urged the President to grant $1 billion
in emergency food credits. The request is reportedly part of
the overall sum of some $11 billion in aid sought from the West.
A key component of any aid package would be the rapid provision
of feedstuffs to prevent further distress slaughtering of livestock.
(Keith Bush)

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE ON VNESHEKONOM-BANK. A copy of an as yet
unpublished presidential decree dated October 19 on Vneshekonombank
was cited by Western agencies on October 23. The decree stipulates
that Vneshekonombank is the sole agent responsible for servicing
the country's foreign debt and will also handle new credits and
manage hard currency resources in the interests of the Soviet
Union and its republics. The bank is to maintain these functions
in accordance with decisions of the USSR Supreme Soviet and the
State Council. The decree is said to have been approved by ten
republican leaders and is expected to form part of the agreement
on an economic community that has so far been signed by eight
republics. (Keith Bush)

GERMAN CONCERN ABOUT SOVIET NUCLEAR SAFETY. On his return from
a visit to Chernobyl and other parts of the USSR, German Environment
Minister Klaus Toepfer told reporters October 21 that the Soviet
nuclear power industry is in disarray, RFE/RL's Bonn bureau reported
that day. Control of nuclear energy was previously inadequate
and is now deteriorating; there is no longer any viable control
by the central government and republics have not assumed responsibility.
Toepfer expressed the view that massive Western aid for the Soviet
nuclear industry will be forthcoming. (Keith Bush)

RSFSR KGB READY TO COOPERATE WITH WESTERN SERVICES. The Russian
KGB wants to cooperate with western secret services in combatting
terrorism, drug trafficking and the proliferation of chemical
and biological weapons, RSFSR KGB chairman Viktor Ivanenko has
said, according to a TASS report of October 23. His organization
is interested not only an exchange of information, but also in
the creation of joint operative units. Ivanenko also said that
the RSFSR KGB is still in a formative stage and has only about
a hundred men; the new name of RSFSR KGB will be "Federal Security
Service of Russia." Ivanenko statement's on the size of the RSFSR
KGB contradicts earlier reports that "the entire Russian KGB
took the side of Yeltsin during the coup." (Victor Yasmann)

AMNESTY FOR DESERTERS AND DRAFT DODGERS PROPOSED. Gorbachev has
proposed an amnesty for military deserters and draft dodgers
to the USSR Supreme Soviet session, Interfax and Soviet TV reported
October 23. The amnesty legislation would cover all servicemen
and reservists who have deserted as well as those who have failed
to report for the draft. The proposal specifies that men would
be eligible for the amnesty if they either returned to duty or
presented themselves to the police within one month of the proposed
legislation taking effect. (Carla Thorson)

ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND KGB FORECAST CATASTROPHE. The catastrophic
situation in the Soviet Union will reach its crucial point by
next spring and may lead to another, successful coup, according
to a report prepared by the Military-Political Department of
the USA and Canada Institute, the Institute of Europe, and the
Analytical and Economic Administration of the KGB. Excerpts from
the report were published in Moskovskie Novosti, No. 41. The
driving force of such a coup might be the Army, which is already
poorly controlled. The coup might be even set off by the wives
of the 173,000 army officers withdrawn from Eastern Europe. Although
the report provides quite reliable factual data, its conclusions
appear politically biased and aligned with the interests of the
central government. (Victor Yasmann)

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH APPEALS TO THE PRESS. TASS reported on
October 23 that the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
has published an appeal to journalists, complaining that a number
of Soviet publications have given a distorted picture of the
life of the Russian Orthodox Church and accuse it of various
misdeeds, such as "tendencies toward a monopoly on ideas," heresy,
and cooperation with the organizers of the August putsch. The
Church says it does not intend to reply to each accusation individually,
but asks journalists to contribute to tranquillity within the
Church. (Oxana Antic)

TATAR SUPREME SOVIET DEBATES INDEPENDENCE. TASS and AFP reported
on October 23 that the Supreme Soviet of Tatarstan was continuing
debate on two draft declarations of independence and had created
a commission to resolve differences between the two documents.
A Tatar journalist told RFE/RL the same day that troops were
blocking the road from Kazan to Naberezhnye Chelny, presumably
to prevent pro-independence forces from going to Kazan to demonstrate
during the debate. (Bess Brown)

CAMBODIA SETTLEMENT. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin took part
in the signing of documents related to the Cambodia settlement
in Paris on October 23. Among the documents signed was an agreement
on a comprehensive political settlement, and agreements on that
country's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.
Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Rogachev said in a Radio Mayak interview
(October 23): "Now we are really drawing the line. We really
want Cambodia to become an independent, neutral, democratic state."
(Suzanne Crow)

MEETING WITH VIETNAMESE, CHINESE LEADERS. Pankin also met in
Paris with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Manh Cam to discuss
bilateral relations and economic cooperation. The two ministers
expressed the belief that Soviet-Vietnamese cooperation should
continue. Pankin met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen
to discuss the situation in the Soviet Union, bilateral relations,
and international problems. The two ministers also agreed to
hold wide-ranging talks during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister
to the Soviet Union set for March, 1992, TASS reported October
23. (Suzanne Crow)

KOZYREV ON ISLANDS. Speaking at the Chamber of Nationalities
in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
said that current negotiations with Japan concern not the transfer
of the disputed Kurile Islands but the settlement of the Soviet-Japanese
border. "Russia does not have superfluous territory, but we need
internationally recognized borders in the east, the same as in
the west," Kozyrev was quoted by TASS (October 23) as saying.
His comments seemed designed to counter criticism of Sakhalin
Regional Administration chief Valentin Fyodorov who accused the
RSFSR leadership of trying to sell off the republic. (Suzanne
Crow)


USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS


US PLEASED BY UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR STANCE. US State Department official
Richard Boucher is quoted by TASS on October 23 as saying that
the US takes a positive view of Ukraine's determination to be
a nuclear-free country, specifically its stand on nuclear arms.
At the same time, he expressed "concern" over Ukraine's plans
to form a strong army of its own. These moves, he stated, go
against efforts in Europe and North America to reduce armed forces.
(Roman Solchanyk)

NUCLEAR ARMS IN UKRAINE. Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet Vladimir Grinev said on October 23 that Ukraine has not
"nationalized" nuclear weapons on its territory, Western news
agencies reported the same day. Grinev asserted that there are
no grounds for panic. He said that there will be no separate
Ukrainian nuclear arms and that they will remain under joint
command. As for Ukrainian armed forces, Grinev stated that their
formation "has already begun." (Roman Solchanyk)

RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR CONFLICT IS 'NONSENSE.' RSFSR Defense
Minister General Konstantin Kobets, in an interview published
October 19 in Krasnaya zvezda, strongly denied a recent report
in Moscow News alleging that Russian government officials had
discussed the possibility of a nuclear conflict between Russia
and Ukraine. Kobets also denied a report that appeared on October
15 in Britain's The Independent, which said that the United States
was helping the RSFSR develop a defense shield against missiles
launched at it by other republics. (Kathy Mihalisko)

SOLZHENITSYN RAISES UKRAINIAN IRE--AGAIN. Little more than one
year after publishing his controversial article Kak nam obustroit'
Rossiyu, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once again is the object of biting
criticism in Ukraine. In the October 8 issue of Trud, the Russian
novelist welcomed the forthcoming Ukrainian referendum on independence
but recommended that, in the interests of the republic's huge
Russian population, each oblast decide for itself whether it
wished to belong to an independent Ukrainian state. Ten of Ukraine's
most prominent former political prisoners--including Vyacheslav
Chornovil, Irina Kalynets, and the Horyn brothers--signed a letter
condemning Solzhenitsyn's position, which Trud published on October
15. (Kathy Mihalisko)

PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS BEGIN REGISTERING IN KAZAKHSTAN. Radio Moscow
reported on October 22 that political parties and other public
organizations in Kazakhstan have begun registering under the
new law on public organizations. Among the first registrants
was the Socialist, formerly Communist, Party of Kazakhstan. (Bess
Brown)

NAZARBAEV INVITED TO US. The October 15 issue of Egemendy Qazaqstan
reports that US Ambassador Robert Strauss forwarded a formal
invitation to Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev to visit the
US. Secretary of State James Baker had already extended an invitation
directly to Nazarbaev during the course of a telephone conversation.
The written invitation was presumably a confimation. A time has
not been set for the visit. (Hasan Oraltay)

"DNIESTER SSR" TO HOLD OWN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, REFERENDUM.
The self-styled Supreme Soviet of the "Dniester SSR," proclaimed
by Russian communists in eastern Moldavia, resolved October 23
to boycott Moldavia's presidential elections scheduled for December
8 and to hold an election by popular vote for a "Dniester SSR"
president, TASS reported the same day. A referendum on the Dniester
area's secession from Moldavia will be held concurrently. Dniester
leader Igor Smirnov told TASS that his side considered Moldavia
"a foreign state" and that Russians in the Dniester area oppose
"the Moldavian leadership's policy which seeks full state independence."
(Vladimir Socor)


BALTIC STATES



FUTURE OF BALTIC POPULAR FRONT ORGANIZATIONS DISCUSSED. On October
23 representatives of Lithuania's Sajudis and the People's Fronts
of Estonia and Latvia met in Riga to evaluate and compare their
present situations and to consider their future, Radio Riga reported
that day. All three organizations seem to be at a crossroads
in terms of the role that they should now play in the Baltic
States. It has been suggested that they become political parties,
or even disband. The representatives agreed that a session of
the Baltic Assembly be called after the upcoming congresses of
the three organizations. The Latvian popular front's fourth congress
is scheduled for November 15-17. (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA PROTESTS SOVIET INTERFERENCE OVER AIRSPACE. On October
22 Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaisvila called USSR
Minister of Defense Evegenii Shaposhnikov to protest Soviet interference
in the landing of a Hungarian and a Danish plane in Vilnius,
Interfax reported on October 23. Vaisvila also complained about
the slowness of the withdrawal of USSR troops from Lithuania
and the transfer of property to the republic. In response, the
Soviet Defense Ministry promised to send Anatolii Kleimenov to
Lithuania to discuss these problems. (Dzintra Bungs)

COURT TO DEAL WITH ECONOMIC ISSUES IN LATVIA. The Latvian Supreme
Council decided on October 23 to establish a court to deal with
economic disputes between parties based in Latvia or involving
a foreign plaintiff or defendant. The court has been accorded
wide-ranging authority, including the right to decide if a business
contract is illegal under the applicable laws, according to Radio
Riga of October 23. (Dzintra Bungs)

FUEL PRICES TO RISE IN LATVIA. The Ministry of Energy announced
that on November 1 fuel and heating bills will increase substantially
for consumers. According to Baltic News Service dispatch of October
23, the price of coal will increase over 9 times, while for other
fuels (wood and liquid) over 6 times. (Dzintra Bungs)


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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