|If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun|
No. 206, 29 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR YELTSIN ANNOUNCES POLICY OF "REFORMIST BREAKTHROUGH." RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has proposed himself as Russia's new premier and demanded additional powers to conduct a policy which he called a "reformist breakthrough" (reformistskii proryv). In his speech to the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies, broadcast by TASS October 28, Yeltsin called for radical economic reform including liberalization of prices, privatization, land reform, tightening of credit policies and a possible introduction of a new currency in Russia. He stressed the need for the creation of a separate Russian army if the other republics create their own national armies. Yeltsin said that Russia has reached one of the most critical stages in its history. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN GETS SUPPORT FROM ALL FACTIONS. Democrats and Communists in the RSFSR parliament welcomed Yeltsin's proposal for a "reformist breakthrough," TASS reported October28. The co-leader of the Republican Party, Vladimir Lysenko, said that Yeltsin is the only politician who has the authority to convince the population of the necessity of introducing new harsh measures in the economy. Lysenko supported Yeltsin's pledge for additional powers and his offer to take over the premiership stressing that for any other politician such a post would mean suicide. Yeltsin's pledge was also supported by RSFSR CP leader Viktor Stepanov and Yeltsin's opponent in the parliament, Vladimir Isakov, who praised the President's courage to take over responsibility. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN'S ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAM. Other salient features of Yeltsin's reform program were the freeing of all or most prices and wages, with a rejection of total indexation; the establishment of a social safety net; the privatization of small- and medium-sized enterprises, farms, and housing; monetary stabilization; tax reform; a call to other republics to agree on a single currency; and an appeal to the IMF and EBRD. He warned of short-term hardships, but promised "real results by the fall of 1992." (Keith Bush) YELTSIN ON STATE CORRUPTION, ORGANIZED CRIME. The upsurge of organized crime has increased destabilization in the economy and in society, Boris Yeltsin said in his address to the RSFSR Supreme Soviet October 28. Yeltsin added that corruption is infiltrating the state apparatus, foreign trade mechanisms, and financial institutions. Yeltsin added that new laws on corruption and organized crime have already been drafted and will soon be adopted. In addition, the MVD "will be strengthened," Yeltsin said. He also promised to create an efficient revenue service which would "expose any businessman who is cheating citizens and society." (Victor Yasmann) BAKATIN ON REFORM OF STATE SECURITY. Three principles--functional disengagement, territorial decentralization and analytical efficiency--will guide reform of the KGB apparatus, said Vadim Bakatin in interviews to Izvestia and Komsomol'skaya pravda, October 25. He said that the quality of KGB reports does not exceed those published by Radio Liberty. Bakatin also urged that reform of the KGB must not to destroy it. Statements by USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Pankin and State Radio and Television Chief Egor Yakovlev about reduction or elimination of KGB agents in their organizations were hasty, Bakatin said. "We will work where we need to," he added. (Victor Yasmann) TELEVISION DENIES RSFSR-NATO ASSOCIATION. According to a Vesti moderator's statement during the October 25 program, there is no basis for speculation that the RSFSR will become an associate member of NATO. Sergei Stepashin, Chairman of the RSFSR SupSov Committee on Defense and Security, said after attending NATO's annual conference in Madrid during the week of October 21-25 that the RSFSR may soon be accepted as an associate member of NATO. In an editorial comment, the Vesti commentator said that the number of misleading statements made by officials and carried in wire services like TASS and Interfax is increasing so rapidly a special rubric to disclaim them is needed. (Victor Yasmann) REPUBLICS AGREE ON DEBT-SHARING. After what was an apparently lively second day of discussion, the 12 republics and officials from the G-7 industrialized nations agreed on a plan whereby republics will share the USSR's foreign debt, TASS, Interfax, and Western agencies reported October28. A senior US official present described the talks as "highly active" and "very spontaneous." Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin stormed out of the meeting, but returned later to sign the memorandum with a codicil to the effect that the Baltic states would also assume their debt obligations. A meeting in Kiev in November was proposed to discuss where the republics would obtain the necessary hard currency. (Keith Bush) IMF INVOLVEMENT WITH THE USSR. Addressing a Washington conference on the Soviet economy on October 28, the deputy managing director of the IMF, Richard Erb, reported extensive contacts with Moscow and the republics. IMF specialists have already visited the Russian, Ukrainian, and Kazakh republics and plan to travel to Belorus' on October 31. A resident IMF mission has been established in Moscow. (Robert Lyle/Keith Bush). 200-RUBLE BANKNOTES IN CIRCULATION. The USSR Gosbank has announced that new 200-ruble banknotes will be in circulation starting October 30, TASS reported October 28. Until now, the largest denomination has been the 100-ruble note. The USSR Gosbank also plans to issue a 500-ruble note by the end of this year (see Trud, October 1, and TASS, October 3), and there has been some talk of printing 1,000-ruble notes. (Keith Bush) LUBENCHENKO SUCCEEDS LUK'YANOV. Konstantin Lubenchenko has been elected chairman of the Council of the Union of the USSR Supreme Soviet--the chamber of the central parliament which represents the Union. He succeeds Anatolii Luk'yanov who is now in prison for his involvement in the coup. TASS reported October 28 that Lubenchenko was elected unanimously. Lubenchenko belongs neither to the reformist nor the conservative faction in the parliament. Lubenchenko (born 1945) is Russian by nationality. Until 1990, he taught at Moscow State University. Since 1990, he has occupied the post of deputy chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Committee for Legislation. (Alexander Rahr) KHASBULATOV ELECTED HEAD OF RSFSR PARLIAMENT. Ruslan Khasbulatov has been elected chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Vesti reported October 28. That post had been vacant since the election of Yeltsin as RSFSR President in June. At the previous RSFSR Congress, in July, Khasbulatov failed to receive the majority of votes. Several deputies dislike his authoritarian style. But Khasbulatov's firm stance during the coup boosted his popularity, and in this latest balloting he was elected by 559 of the 873 deputies. Khasbulatov, a Chechen by nationality, had been first deputy chairman of the Russian parliament under Yeltsin. He supports democratization although he remains a member of the CPSU. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN CREATES MINISTRY FOR CONVERSION. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has decreed to set up a RSFSR State Committee on Defense Conversion, Interfax reported October 28. The chairman of the committee will be named later but it has become known that it will come under the jurisdiction of RSFSR Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi. The new ministry will offer working places for the best military specialists, now employed in the military-industrial complex. The ministry is being designed to support Yeltsin's policy for a "reformist breakthrough" by supervising cuts in the military sphere and the transfer of army resources to civilian needs.(Alexander Rahr) GORBACHEV ARRIVES IN MADRID. Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev arrived in Madrid on the evening of October 28 and were greeted at the airport by Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez. Gorbachev is scheduled to have a luncheon meeting with US President George Bush October 29 at the Soviet embassy. According to an October 28 Interfax report, in addition to questions concerning US aid to the USSR and the Middle East conference, Bush and Gorbachev will discuss the fate of Soviet POWs in Afghanistan. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV TO MEET SHAMIR. Madrid's RNE-1 Radio network reported October 28 that Gorbachev will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir on October 30. (Suzanne Crow) CHURKIN REACTS TO PROPOSAL ON MFA. Soviet Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin criticized Boris Yeltsin's proposal to strip the USSR Foreign Ministry of most of its current functions. The consequence of such a move "would be that the Soviet Union as a single country would be no more," Churkin said October28, expressing his personal opinion. He said one country with 12 different foreign policies could not exist. Yeltsin proposed the MFA's funding be cut by 90% as part of an austerity program for the RSFSR. He suggested the MFA limit its functions to coordinating the foreign policies of the Soviet republics, a Western agency reported October28. (Suzanne Crow) DISAGREEMENT OVER COMPENSATION FOR MILITARY BUILDINGS. During meetings taking place the week of October 21-25 in Moscow, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Committee for Defense, Anatolii Tsalko, demanded that Bonn pay a lump sum for buildings left behind by the Soviet military in the former GDR. The spokesman of the defense policy group of Germany's ruling Christian-Democratic Party (CSU/CDU), Bernd Wilz, told journalists in Bonn October 28 he rejected the Soviet demand on the grounds that such compensation is neither legally nor financially feasible. Wilz said practically all structures left behind will have to be torn down. He also noted that a costly environmental cleanup effort awaits Germany when the troop withdrawal is completed. (Suzanne Crow) DUDAEV ELECTED CHECHEN PRESIDENT.As a result of elections earlier declared invalid by the RSFSR authorities, ex-General Dzhakhar Dudaev, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Congress of the Chechen People, was declared the first president of the Chechen republic, TSN and TASS reported October 28. Izvestia suggested the results were invalid because special electoral commissions were not set up in the raions, but the Executive Committee declared that they were valid regardless of the number who took part in the vote. Dudaev told TASS that the election of the president and a new parliament marked a qualitatively new stage in the life of the Chechen people. At the same time he expected "political and economic blockades and provocations." (Ann Sheehy) DUDAEV HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE. Dudaev said at a press conference in Groznyi that in his foreign policy he favored equality and mutually-beneficial collaboration with all republics and states, including the RSFSR, while in domestic policy he gave priority to civil peace, harmony, and the prosperity of people of all nations, TASS reported October 28. Dudaev said he was a convinced supporter of a single and indivisible Checheno-Ingushetia, and was sure the Ingush, "our blood brothers," who boycotted the elections, would agree. Earlier Dudaev had appeared to sympathize with the Ingushes' desire to set up their own republic. (Ann Sheehy) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS UZBEK-UKRAINIAN AGREEMENT. Two days after the signing of a trade and economic agreement between Uzbekistan and the RSFSR (reported by TASS on October 26), Uzbek president Islam Karimov and chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk signed an agreement on economic cooperation between their two republics. A TASS report of October 28 on the signing says that the 10-year agreement covers cooperation in science and technology as well as in economics and trade. A separate agreement was concluded on cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two republics, and the Ukrainian delegation to the UN will now also represent Uzbekistan. (Bess Brown) TURKMEN DEMOCRATS HOLD CONGRESS IN MOSCOW. Radio Moscow reported on October 28 that the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan was invited by the Democratic Party of Russia to hold its congress in Moscow because it could not be held in Turkmenistan. The Turkmen authorities have been extremely intolerant of opposition groups and presumably refused to grant permission for the congress to be held in Ashkhabad. (Bess Brown) NAZARBAEV IN GREAT BRITAIN. On the first day of his visit to Great Britain, Kazakh president Nursutan Nazarbaev told a press conference that the main objective of his trip was the development of economic ties between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom: he hopes to sell British businessmen on investing in Kazakhstan. On the issue of the creation of a single market by the signers of the recently-concluded economic agreement among former Soviet republics, Nazarbaev said that now the important thing is to establish the single market as quickly as possible. His remarks were reported by TASS on October 28. (Bess Brown) NEW "SOCIALIST" PARTY IN UKRAINE. Former members of the now banned Communist Party of Ukraine have formed a new party called the Party of Social Progress of Ukraine, Radio Moscow reported October 26. A Radio Kiev eport of October 28 says that 286 delegates gathered in Kiev at the party's founding congress. (Roman Solchanyk0 BALTIC STATES TROOP WITHDRAWAL HOSTAGE TO PROSPERITY. Soviet Deputy Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told reporters in Oslo on October 28 that Soviet troops would not be withdrawn from the Baltic states until those states can afford to relocate the soldiers. Western agencies quoted Grachev as saying that the forces could not leave if there were no place to put them. Grachev suggested the Baltic states could help by paying for setting up housing and infrastructures much as Germany is contributing to the relocation of forces withdrawing from the former GDR. Asked how the Baltics could afford such a program given their severe economic problems, Grachev said the Soviet military "will have to wait until [the Baltics] become wealthy." (Riina Kionka) UNITED STATES TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC AID TO BALTIC STATES. On October 29 US Vice President Dan Quayle and Baltic prime ministers--Edgar Savisaar of Estonia, Ivars Godmanis of Latvia and Gediminas Vagnorius of Lithuania--signed agreements in Indianapolis for US economic aid to the Baltic States. Direct loans and loan guarantees to US companies seeking joint-ventures and other investments in the Baltic States would be provided. In addition, US Peace Corps volunteers would provide assistance in business development, and instruction of English and environmental subjects, reported RFE/RL's Washington correspondent that day. (Dzintra Bungs) HUDSON INSTITUTE PLAN FOR BALTIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. On October 25-27 Baltic prime ministers attended a seminar sponsored by the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis to discuss its conceptions for the economic development and transition to market economy of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The conceptions are the result of about one-year's work by economics specialists affiliated with the Institute. The ceremony of handing over the Institute's conceptions was attended by Vice President Quayle, reported Baltic News Service on October 28. (Dzintra Bungs) MORE RUSSIAN ON ESTONIA'S AIRWAVES? Estonia's Minister of Transportation and Communication, Tiit Vahi, has proposed adding 2-3 hours of Russian programming to Estonian TV's daily menu, Postimees reported on October28. Vahi suggested that more high quality information for Estonia's Russian-speakers would hinder the rumor mill, especially in northeastern Estonia. "We regard it is very necessary to strengthen the influence and widen the scope of local sources of information," Vahi said. (Riina Kionka) MORE ON SAVISAAR-SOBCHAK MEETING. Earlier reports of the meeting held last week between Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and Soviet presidential envoy Anatoly Sobchak said the two men discussed only procedural questions for upcoming USSR-Estonian talks. But Interfax, quoted by Ravha Haal on October 26, said the two also discussed politics. Sobchak reportedly criticized severely Estonian positions on certain matters, including RSFSR-Estonian border questions. Savisaar reportedly assured Sobchak that the Estonian government was working on a new program, including "neutralizing" the territorial issue. The latest information bolsters Savisaar's opponents, who argue that the Prime Minister is currying favor with local Russians at the expense of Estonian interests in order to strengthen his domestic political base. (Riina Kionka) NEW CONSTITUTION COMING ALONG. Estonia's Constitutional Assembly began its second reading of the draft constitution on October 25, Rahva Haal reported the next day. Earlier this month, the Assembly voted to work from a draft constitution put forth by the conservative working group, made up mostly of Estonian National Independence Party adherents. The Assembly is charged with providing a completed draft by November 15. (Riina Kionka) DINEVICS URGES PROMPT START OF USSR-LATVIAN CONSULTATIONS. On October 28 Deputy Janis Dinevics, head of the Latvian delegation for talks with the USSR, described to Radio Riga his recent meeting with USSR delegation chief Aleksandr Yakovlev and stressed the need for starting promptly negotiations with the Soviet Union and adopting additional protocols with the RSFSR. Dinevics also pointed out that the RSFSR still has not ratified an accord with Latvia that was signed in January. He noted that so far in 1991 Latvia has already provided the USSR and Russia with 80% of the goods that were agreed upon in various economic accords, while the USSR and the RSFSR have sent to Latvia only 30% of the supplies promised. (Dzintra Bungs)
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