A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 204, 25 October 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR



GORBACHEV DENIES EXISTENCE OF SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS IN HIS ARCHIVES.
In an interview with Interfax on October 24, Gorbachev's press
secretary denied allegations made in the RSFSR parliament this
week that sensitive documents shedding light on the CPSU leadership's
involvement in the August coup had been transferred by Valerii
Boldin, former head of Gorbachev's personal secretariat, to the
presidential archives. The press secretary, Andrei Grachev, said
the Soviet president is ready to hand over to the investigators
of the Party's role in the coup any documents from his archives.
(Vera Tolz)

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO NOVEMBER 7 CELEBRATION? November 7, the anniversary
of the October Revolution, should become a day of commemoration
for the victims of the Bolshevik revolution, the Civil War and
all subsequent repressions, the Moscow City Soviet stated in
its formal address on the issue to the RSFSR parliament on October
24. TASS said that day that this initiative had come initially
from a group of recently-created anti-Communist parties; it was
then supported by the Moscow government. TASS said that this
year November 7 and 8 will still be public holidays in Russia
and church services would be conducted in Moscow to commemorate
the victims of the Soviet regime. (Vera Tolz)

MORE ON THE RSFSR'S AUTONOMIES. Mass protests and strikes took
place in Dagestan on October 24, "Vesti" reported that day. People
protested the appointment of Magomed Abdurazakov as the republic's
MVD chief. Abdurazakov had already demonstrated his inability
to cope with growing criminality in Dagestan when he held the
post of first deputy chief of the MVD, said "Vesti." The news
program also reported that the same day the Supreme Soviet of
the Komi autonomous republic had introduced an amendment to the
Komi constitution giving the local parliament the right to veto
decisions of the Soviet and Russian presidents. The same day,
the Buryat Supreme Soviet decided to create a republican foreign
ministry and ministry of foreign trade, Radio Moscow reported.
(Vera Tolz)

LIGACHEV REPEATS DENIAL OF COUP INVOLVEMENT. Former Soviet Politburo
member Egor Ligachev again denied allegations of his involvement
in the coup plot. In an interview in Sovet'skaya Rossiya of October
24, quoted by Western agencies, Ligachev called the report made
earlier this week by the RSFSR parliamentary investigative commission
a "malicious invention." Ligachev argued that he was at a health
resort outside Moscow during the coup. He also noted that even
if he had wanted the job as CP general secretary, he would have
been ineligible because he was no longer a member of the CPSU
Central Committee. (Carla Thorson)

RSFSR PRICE POLICY. The chairman of the RSFSR Economics Ministry's
Price Committee, Vladimir Zverkhovsky, suggested in a TASS interview
of October 23 that the republic had still not decided whether
to free prices all at once or in phases. He believed that the
wholesale prices for raw materials, metal products, and agricultural
produce should be raised as a matter of priority, but the retail
prices of scarce consumer goods should be left unchanged for
the time being and their rationing should be continued. Meanwhile,
TASS of October 24 reported that six fractions of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet had come out for the liberalization of prices, but did
not specify whether wholesale or retail prices were meant. (Keith
Bush)

RUSSIAN RUBLE IMMINENT? The head of the business information
department of the RSFSR Central Bank, Mikhail Belyaev, told TASS
October 24 that a Russian currency is inevitable and may be issued
at any moment. A committee of 12-15 people were said to be working
on the creation of the new currency which was proposed last week
by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The currency would be called
the ruble, but Belyaev did not elaborate on its relationship
to the current Soviet ruble. He did not know how the exchange
of currencies would be effected, but promised that it would not
be done "in a confiscatory Stalinist or Pavlovian way." (Keith
Bush)

WORKERS PICKET RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT. Hundreds of Russian workers,
organized by the Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions,
picketed outside the RSFSR Supreme Soviet building on October
24, TASS reported that day. Their demands were said to include
the lifting of restrictions on wage funds, assurances that minimum
wages would not fall below the norms set for minimum living standards,
and the indexation of wages and savings. (Keith Bush)

SITUATION IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. TASS reported on October 24
that the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has declared elections scheduled
for October27 in Checheno-Ingushetia to be illegal, and ordered
the Provisional Supreme Soviet of the republic to ensure that
future elections are conducted with proper legal guarantees.
The same day Boris Yeltsin named a personal representative to
the Chechen-Ingush Republic. Although sentiments are running
high between proponents and opponents of elections in the republic,
the chairman of the Defense Committee of the All-National Congress
of the Chechen People said that arms will be used only in case
of outside intervention, and reiterated that Yeltsin's demand
that firearms be surrendered would be ignored. (Bess Brown)

TATARSTAN ADOPTS INDEPENDENCE RESOLUTION. Interfax reported on
October 24 that the Supreme Soviet of Tatarstan had adopted a
resolution on state independence which calls a national referendum
on the status of the republic. A TASS report of the same day
says that the resolution also calls for public discussion of
a new constitution, to be adopted when Tatarstan becomes an independent
state. AFP noted on October 25 that several people were injured
in unrest in Kazan during the past week. (Bess Brown)

BAKATIN ON REDUCTION OF CENTRAL SECURITY SERVICE. The number
of KGB officers working in KGB central counter-intelligence has
been dramatically reduced; Vadim Bakatin, chief of the new service,
was quoted by TASS on October24 as saying that two months ago
the number of officers was about 490,000 thousand, but in the
next several days it will be down to 35-40,000. The service headed
by Bakatin is one of three new services set up on the basis of
the old KGB by the USSR State Council on October 22. Bakatin
does not mention, however, that decentralization of the KGB's
domestic services implies a redeployment of territorial administrations
to the jurisdiction of republican authorities, not the dismantling
of the apparatus. (Victor Yasmann)

REOPENING OF ISRAELI EMBASSY REPORTED. TASS reported on October
24 that the Israeli embassy in Moscow had been reopened after
24 years in a ceremony that included the raising of the Israeli
flag. Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Israel were restored
on October 18. (Bess Brown)


USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS


OFFICERS' WIVES, RUSSIAN MOTHERS APPEAL TO UN OVER SOUTH OSSETIA.
At a meeting on October 24 in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali,
Soviet army officers' wives and Russian mothers adopted an appeal
to the UN and Western governments condemning "the policy of genocide"
of the Georgian government and calling for assistance in halting
the bloodshed, TASS reported October 24. Tskhinvali is cut off
from the outside world and subjected to periodic artillery attacks,
as are villages in the neighboring Znauri Raion, where four Ossetians
have been killed and twelve wounded over the past three days.
(Liz Fuller)

UKRAINE DECLARES NON-NUCLEAR STATUS. On October 24, the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet adopted a statement on Ukraine's non-nuclear status,
Ukrinform-TASS reported the same day. The existence of nuclear
weapons of the former USSR on the territory of Ukraine, the statement
says, is temporary. These weapons, it adds, are currently under
the control of appropriate institutions of the former USSR, but
Ukraine insists on control over their non-use. Further, Ukraine
will conduct a policy aimed at the complete liquidation of nuclear
weapons on its territory and is prepared to hold talks with the
RSFSR, Belorussia, and Kazakhstan on these issues. (Roman Solchanyk)


SOVIET GENERAL AGREES TO UKRAINIAN ARMY. Lieutenant-General Valerii
Manilov, the chief spokesman for the Soviet Ministry of Defense,
said on October 24 that Ukraine has the right to form its own
armed forces, TASS reported that day. At the same time, Manilov
maintained that it cannot have nuclear arms or take over Soviet
military bases. Manilov's statement on the military contradicts
Gorbachev's insistence that national armies are "illegal." (Roman
Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN CURRENCY BY YEAR'S END. The chairman of Ukraine's Central
Bank, Vladimir Matviyenko, told Western agencies October 23 that
his republic plans to begin replacing Soviet rubles with special
coupons by the end of 1991 and possibly sooner. The coupons will
be a step towards establishing a Ukrainian national currency.
They will be on a par and wholly exchangeable with the Soviet
ruble, and will be valid for the purchase of services such as
hotels, restaurants, and transportation. (Keith Bush)

NAZARBAEV ON RSFSR-KAZAKHSTAN FRICTION. Alma-Ata journalist Batirhan
Darimbetov has told RFE/RL that Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev
told a group of supporters on October 24 that the RSFSR stopped
shipping petroleum to Kazakhstan's Kustanai Oblast on October
22. He threatened that if the action is repeated, Kazakhstan
will stop sending raw materials to the RSFSR. Nazarbaev also
said that he had sent a letter to Russian president Boris Yeltsin
about the tensions between Kazakhs and Cossacks in northern Kazakhstan.
Nazarbaev was critical of the RSFSR leadership, stating that
it is trying to control Kazakh affairs. (Hasan Oraltay)

YOUNG PEOPLE DEMONSTRATE AGAINST NAZARBAEV. "Vesti" reported
on October 24 that young people in Alma-Ata had staged a demonstration
against Kazakh president Nazarbaev the same day. They tore up
copies of his autobiography and claimed that he had participated
in the suppression of nationalist demonstrations in Alma-Ata
in December, 1986. In his book, Nazarbaev said that he led a
group of demonstrators in 1986. (Bess Brown)

KAZAKH PROPOSED TO HEAD COUNCIL OF REPUBLICS. Kazakh writer Anuar
Alimzhanov has been nominated for the post of chairman of the
USSR Supreme Soviet's Council of Republics, TASS reported on
October 24. Alimzhanov is the only candidate; the election has
been deferred "until later." Alimzhanov, a well-known figure
in Kazakhstan, has taken a prominent role in political affairs
and republican Writers' Union infighting, in which he has opposed
Writers' Union chief Olzhas Suleimenov. As Suleimenov is taking
an ever-greater role in Kazakh politics, Alimzhanov may welcome
the opportunity to leave the republic for awhile. (Bess Brown)


AKAEV IN WASHINGTON. TASS reported on October 24 that the hero
of Central Asian democrats, Kirgiz president Askar Akaev, is
scheduled to meet with George Bush on October25. Akaev has already
met with congressional leaders to describe the reforms undertaken
in Kyrgyzstan and the USSR as a whole since the August coup.
(Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN BEGINS. President Mircea Snegur
kicked off his electoral campaign with a speech in the city of
Beltsy October 24, Moldovapres reported that day. Snegur, who
was elected President by the parliament in 1990, is now seeking
election by popular vote. Other candidates in the election scheduled
for December 8 are, thus far, Grigore Eremei, First Secretary
of the recently banned Moldavian Communist Party, and the writer
Gheorghe Malarciuc, chairman of the Ecologist Movement of Moldavia.
Although Snegur is heavily favored to come out ahead, the size
of the turnout is in question as a result of boycotts announced
by the would-be "Dniester SSR" and "Gagauz SSR" which oppose
Moldavian independence, and by the Moldavian Popular Front which
accuses Snegur of dictatorial ambitions. A turnout of minimum
50% plus one of the eligible voters is required for an election
to be valid. (Vladimir Socor)

SNEGUR ON INDEPENDENCE FROM USSR AND ROMANIA. In his kick-off
speech in Beltsy, Snegur reaffirmed the Moldavian leadership's
commitment to "full state independence" as against retaining
political links with the USSR--as demanded by the "Dniester"
and "Gagauz SSRs"--and against reunification with Romania as
advocated lately by Popular Front leaders. Stressing that "there
can be no question of merging with another state," Snegur said
that the Moldavian leadership stands for close economic and cultural
cooperation with former Soviet republics, Romania, and Western
Europe and will redouble efforts to obtain recognition of Moldavia's
independence. He felt confident that "this is the position of
the absolute majority of the population." (Vladimir Socor)



BALTIC STATES



BALTIC STATES JOIN NATO. Radio Riga reported on October 24 that
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were admitted as associate members
of NATO earlier that day in Madrid. This means that the Baltic
States can participate in NATO meetings, but without voting privileges.
While in Madrid, NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner received
the Baltic delegations and discussed with them ways to improve
the defense and security systems in their countries. Following
a suggestion from the Baltic representatives, NATO also adopted
a resolution affirming that the USSR troops should withdraw from
the Baltic States as soon as possible. (Dzintra Bungs)

BRITISH ENVOY ACCREDITED IN RIGA. On October 24 Richard Christopher
Samuel was accredited as the United Kingdom's envoy to Latvia.
Great Britain's decision to appoint a diplomatic representative
to Latvia was viewed positively by the Latvian government, especially
because in the prewar years, one British diplomat represented
his country in the three Baltic States. (Dzintra Bungs)

SOUTH KOREAN-LATVIAN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS ESTABLISHED. Diena
reported on October 22 that earlier that day Latvian Foreign
Minister Janis Jurkans and South Korean Ambassador at Large Han
Tak-Chae signed a protocol in Riga establishing diplomatic relations
between their two countries. Before visiting Latvia, the South
Korean delegation also spent several days in Lithuania and Estonia.
(Dzintra Bungs)

AGREEMENT REACHED WITH SOVIET MILITARY OVER FLIGHTS TO LATVIA.
On October 24 Latvia's Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers met
with General Rulevsky of the USSR Baltic Military District to
discuss the recent Soviet interference in the landing of Belgian
aircraft bringing that country's foreign minister to Latvia.
Rulevsky pointed out that heretofore the USSR Foreign Ministry
had informed the military about such flights and that the USSR
defense forces still control Latvian airspace. To prevent the
recurrence of such incidents, it was decided that the Latvian
Foreign Ministry would inform the Baltic Military District officials
of foreign planes expected in Riga. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIA, RUSSIA ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. On October 24
Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri and his RSFSR counterpart
Anrei Ozyrev signed in Moscow a protocol establishing diplomatic
relations at the embassy level between their countries. The two
sides also signed a protocol on talks between Estonia and Russia
to work out as soon as possible an agreement on the rights and
citizenship of the non-native populations of the two states.
It was also decided that until an accord is signed, Estonia and
Russia will maintain the status-quo regarding their common borders,
Baltfax reported that day. (Dzintra Bungs)




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