|To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess|
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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