|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 208, 31 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR YELTSIN SENDS OUT ENVOYS TO EXPLAIN HIS REFORM PROGRAM. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin sent special envoys abroad to explain his recent reform program and ask for financial assistance, TASS reported on October 30. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev went to the US, RSFSR Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi to Italy and Great Britain, RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis to Germany and France, RSFSR State Counsellor Sergei Stankevich to Poland, advisor to the RSFSR President Galina Starovoitova to Finland and Sweden, head of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations Vladimir Lukin to South Korea and Japan. (Alexander Rahr) KHASBULATOV WILL SUPPORT YELTSIN. The newly elected chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Khasbulatov, stressed the need to support Yeltsin's radical economic program. He told TASS on October 29 that the RSFSR parliament seeks cooperation with the RSFSR executive. He warned that after the dismantling of the socialist bloc and the Soviet Union, disintegration processes have now reached the RSFSR. Khasbulatov called upon the mass media not to support nationalistic movements in autonomous republics and particularly criticized press reports which supported the separatist regime in Checheno-Ingushetia. (Alexander Rahr) RSFSR FORMS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. On October 30 thirteen judges took their oath of office at the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies to serve on the new Russian constitutional court, TASS reported that day. The judges were elected by the Congress and are empowered to judge the constitutionality of legislative texts and the actions of government officials. The court is also able to initiate proceedings to remove the RSFSR president if the court decides the president has acted against the constitution. (Carla Thorson) RSFSR FOREIGN AID. Acting RSFSR Minister for Foreign Economic Relations, Gennadii Fil'shin, told TASS October 29 that Russia will continue to invest in civilian projects in other countries, even though statements have been made about stopping all foreign aid. "It means that we will not support various regimes for ideological purposes," Fil'shin remarked. He put the value of Russia's aid program at over 10 billion hard-currency rubles a year. "We are facing tremendous difficulties but we cannot quit our construction projects. We have to decide whether to sell them to attract foreign capital or to finish them. About 150 of these projects will be highly profitable," he concluded. (Keith Bush) RUSSIA MAY DECIDE ON CUBAN PLANT. Interfax reported October 30 that the Russian Federation may make the final decision on the future of the two nuclear reactors being constructed in Juragua (near Cienfuegos), Cuba. Work is behind schedule and may be paralyzed completely due to problems in finding supplies for and assembling the two reactors. The RSFSR, by virtue of the fact that it funds 70% of the project, will probably become the final arbiter on whether work continues. Indicative of the degree of chaos and confusion surrounding Soviet foreign and foreign economic policy, Interfax said: "it is difficult to say who will hold talks with the Cuban side on the problem or whether the talks will be held at all." (Suzanne Crow) KHASBULATOV ON TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF RSFSR. At a meeting October 30 with the heads of the parliaments and governments of the former RSFSR autonomous republics, Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov presented a draft resolution of the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies "On the integrity and indivisibility of the RSFSR and all the subjects of the federation," TASS reported October 30. Khasbulatov said that the resolution might be presented to the Congress on October 31. While such a resolution might reassure some republics, it will hardly please those that wish to secede from the RSFSR or have territorial claims on their neighbours. (Ann Sheehy) CONFRONTATION CONTINUES IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. Organizers of the October 27 elections in Checheno-Ingushetia told TASS October 30 that ex-general Dzhakhar Dudaev had been elected president of the self-styled Chechen Republic by 85% of the votes cast. It was claimed that 490,000 of the 640,000 ethnic Chechens eligible to vote had taken part in the elections. The Chechen Congress said it was not disbanding its national guard because of unconfirmed reports that the opposition was arming. Moscow radio reported October 30 that the Provisional Supreme Council of the Chechen-Ingush republic stated October 30 that the majority of voters had boycotted the elections and said that no decrees of the president or parliament of the Chechen republic should be obeyed. (Ann Sheehy) FINAL GRAIN HARVEST FIGURE? A USSR Goskomstat spokesman told Western agencies October 30 that this year's grain harvest totals 165million tons, or 160 million tons if the harvest in the Baltic states is excluded. This is the lowest recorded Soviet harvest since 1981, and the outturn is way below earlier, authoritative Soviet pronouncements and much lower than most Western estimates. It cannot be excluded, however, that farms and local authorities have understated the amount of grain harvested, as they are in many instances unwilling to sell surplus grain for rubles that do not buy anything and prefer to withhold grain for barter transactions. (Keith Bush) BUDGET DEFICIT AND DEFENSE EXPENDITURE. USSR Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Gribov told the Committee for the Operational Management of the Economy on October 29 that the current budget deficit is 240 billion rubles, Interfax reported that day. One of the causes of the deficit, according to Gribov, was withholding by the republics from the union budget; he cited a figure of 29 billion rubles owed by the RSFSR. At the same meeting, Soslan Guchmazov put defense expenditure for 1991 at 173 billion rubles. He expected that figure to rise to 250 billion rubles in 1992, when price increases are taken into consideration. (Keith Bush) SOVIET INTERIOR MINISTER EXPECTS CONTINUED EMIGRATION. Soviet interior minister Viktor Barranikov, addressing an international conference on illegal emigration in Berlin, said he expects about half a million Soviet citizens to emigrate each year for the forseeable future, Western agencies reported October 30. Last year, 453,700 Soviet citizens emigrated, but this year the number of applications has decreased by about 9%, Barranikov noted. (Carla Thorson) MORE DETAILS ON US AID. US Agriculture Secretary Edward Madigan said October 30 the USSR has requested $2.5 billion from the United States in new agricultural credit guarantees and $1 billion in humanitarian aid. The United States is considering up to $1.9 billion in new agricultural credit guarantees and $1 billion in humanitarian assistance, Madigan said. The United States will make a decision on aid within the next two weeks, Western agencies reported October 30 and 31. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV ON PEACE, SOVIET GUARANTEES IN MIDEAST. Speaking at the opening of the Middle East peace talks in Madrid (October 30), Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said the USSR seeks all manner of cooperation in the Middle East. He said Moscow has not defined what it means in terms of wanting a "stable and enduring settlement," but offered that "territorial compromise is essential." Gorbachev allowed that the USSR had provided written assurances on its intentions to Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinians. He said that Moscow was prepared to provide information on its assurances to all parties, TASS reported October 30. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET ENVOY DENIED VISA. An unidentified Soviet diplomat assigned to work at the Soviet embassy in Sweden was denied a visa Svenska Dagbladet reported October 30. The paper said the diplomat had been identified by Swedish security police as a colonel in the KGB and said his mission in Sweden was to replace the KGB resident who had been expelled in August. A Swedish Foreign Ministry official confirmed a Soviet diplomat had been denied a visa, but did not offer further information, Western agencies reported October30. (Suzanne Crow) EXPORT ENTERPRISES ACCUSED OF HIDING PROFITS ABROAD. Soviet exporters are keeping hard currency profits in the Western banks illegally and are thus undermining efforts to pay back Soviet foreign debts, TASS reported October 29. The agency refers to a story published by the Japanese business newspaper Nihon Keizai which said the sum of "sheltered" monies is estimated at several billion dollars or about 10% of annual Soviet payments to Western creditors. (Victor Yasmann) MVD AND PROCURACY DEMAND PAYMENT FOR INTERVIEWS. Law enforcement officers and officials are charging the foreign mass media for interviews, Pavel Guntionov, Representative of the USSR Confederation of Journalists' Unions, told TASS October 28. He cites the case of the RSFSR General Prosecutor, Valentin Stepankov, who charged the BBC 400 dollars for an interview about investigating the attempted coup. (On October 29 the BBC denied paying for this interview.) MVD officials reportedly asked western correspondents for $1,000 for permission to visit a prisoner or ride in a police patrol car. (Victor Yasmann) KGB USSR, UKRAINE, BELORUS' SIGN COOPERATION PROTOCOLS. On October 29, the Chief of the USSR Security Service, Vadim Bakatin and the Chairman of Belorus' KGB, Eduard Shirkovskii signed an agreement on delineation of functions in the state security area, TASS reported October 29. The document preserves for the All-Union KGB "its organizing and coordinating role." A similar protocol has been signed by Bakatin and the acting Chief of National Security Service of Ukraine (SNBU), Mikhailo Golushko, according to Komsomol'skaya Pravda, October 25.(Victor Yasmann) PATRIARCH ON DEATH OF COMMUNISM IN RUSSIA. Moskovskie novosti (No. 43) published a statement by Patriarch Aleksii II about the end of communism in Russia. The Patriarch says that the "wounds inflicted to our souls and our society by communism will pain us for a long time to come, but the page of history connected with communism in Russia was turned in August definitively." The Patriarch calls for showing tolerance towards others and oneself and asks people to realize that the world cannot be improved by means of force. (Oxana Antic) STATISTICS ON BELIEF IN GOD. Argumenty i fakty reported in No. 40 that the Center of the social-economic research "TINNI-Socio" carried out an inquiry showing that 28% of those responding answered "yes" when asked whether they believe in God. Fifty-nine percent answered "No," and 13% "don't know." (Oxana Antic) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS REPUBLICAN LEADERS ON YELTSIN'S ECONOMIC REFORM PLAN. Commenting on Yeltsin's economic reform plan, the chairman of the Belorussian Supreme Soviet Stanislav Shushkevich said that conditions were different in Belorussia and Russia, and Belorussia's approach to the market would be more restrained, TASS reported October 30. Tajik Deputy Premier Abduzhalil Samadov told Izvestia that unfreezing prices in one republic would have unequivocally negative consequences for all the republics, while Estonian Finance Minister Rein Miller said he was upset by Yeltsin's statement that trade with republics that did not sign the economic treaty would be at world prices and in hard currency, when it had recently been stated that it would be in rubles in 1992. (Ann Sheehy) MINSK TAKEN ABACK BY YELTSIN'S ECONOMIC PROGRAM. Belorussian parliamentarians greeted the economic reform program unveiled on October 28 by RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin with "alarm and concern," according to an October 29 BelTA-TASS dispatch. Many deputies in Minsk feared that a republic such as Belorussia, which lacks key natural resources, would be "brought to its knees" by Yeltsin's proposals to conduct trade in world prices and eventually to introduce a Russian currency. The Belorussian Supreme Soviet met in closed session on October 30 under the "shock" of the Yeltsin plan, according to Radio Liberty correspondent Syarhei Navumchyk. (Kathy Mihalisko) IMPROVING BELORUSSIAN-LITHUANIAN RELATIONS. Belorussian newspapers on October 26 published the text of a declaration on "the principles of good neighborly relations between the 'Republic of Belarus'' and the Lithuanian Republic," signed in Vilnius on October 24 by Vytautus Landersbergis and Belorussian SupSov Chairman Stanislav Shushkevich. The two sides asserted their loyalty to the principle of the inviolability of borders, agreeing at the same time to set up a special commission to study the question of the Lithuanian-Belorussian border. Belorussia said it would not be part of any Soviet delegation in future Lithuanian-USSR talks. (Kathy Mihalisko) TOWARD A BELORUSSIAN NATIONAL GUARD . . . On October 25, the security and defense commission of the Belorussian Supreme Soviet revealed its draft proposals for a republican national guard. As summarized on October 26 in Znamya yunosti, the guard will be formed on the basis of existing combat-ready and mobile units of the USSR armed forces. The guard will be trained in the spirit of "Belorussian military traditions and rituals" and its working language, after a certain period of transition, will be Belorussian. The force will number between 5,000 and 8,000 men, according to the draft. (Kathy Mihalisko) . . . AND MILITARY TERMINOLOGY. A dictionary of Belorussian-language military terminology is being compiled by reserve officer Syarhei Chyslou, wrote the October 26 issue of Zvyazda. Denying that there are no equivalents in Belorussian for Russian military terms, Chyslou pointed out that military dictionaries published in 1927 and 1933 provide a solid foundation for the development of a contemporary Belorussian military vocabulary. In coming weeks, the Belorussian Supreme Soviet plans to discuss the creation of republican armed forces. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS. Ukrainian and RSFSR officials met in Kiev on October 30 for talks aimed at working out common approaches to domestic and foreign policy issues, TASS reported that day. The delegations were led by the foreign ministers of the two republics, Anatolii Zlenko and Andrei Kozyrev. Also on hand were Konstantin Morozov, Ukraine's defense minister, and Konstantin Kobets, chairman of the RSFSR committee on defense. The two sides agreed to work toward the speedy implementation of the CFE treaty and the 1991 strategic arms limitation agreement. They also pledged mutual cooperation in gaining entry to international economic and financial organizations. (Kathy Mihalisko) ZLENKO SCORES MEDIA FOR 'CYNICISM'. Referring to the controversy created last week when the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet voted on a proclamation of Ukraine's non-nuclear status, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko complained that the media was guilty of "cynical disinformation." At a press conference following the Ukrainian-Russian negotiations on October 30, Zlenko reiterated that Ukraine stands for the destruction of the nuclear arsenal located on its territory. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev asserted that his republic has "absolutely no territorial claims" against Ukraine. The press conference was aired on Vesti. (Kathy Mihalisko) USSR DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS ARMENIA. USSR Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov arrived in Erevan October 30 and met with Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, TASS reported October 30. Details of their talks were not released. (Liz Fuller) AZERBAIJAN PARLIAMENT CREATES NEW LEGISLATIVE ORGAN. After a stormy debate the Azerbaijani parliament voted October 30 to create a new permanent legislative body, the National Council, which will have approximately 50 seats, TASS reported October 30. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov had agreed to creation of such a body, in which half the members would be chosen by him and half by the opposition, following protests organized by the Azerbaijani Popular Front earlier this month. (Liz Fuller) TWO DIE AS AZERBAIJANIS CROSS EN MASSE TO TURKEY. Two Azerbaijanis drowned October29 in the Aras river that marks the frontier between Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and Turkey, TASS reported October 30. A crowd of some 40,000 people had gathered for the formal inauguration by Supreme Council chairman Geidar Aliev of a new bridge linking Azerbaijan and Turkey. After waiting five hours for Aliev's arrival, the crowd stormed the bridge; two people fell into the river and drowned. Some ten thousand Azerbaijans reached Turkish territory and six people entered Iran. The border violators will be returned by the Turkish police. (Liz Fuller) UN CANNOT ADMIT AZERBAIJAN TO MEMBERSHIP. A UN spokesman told RFE-RL October 30 that the UN is unable at the present time to act on the Azerbaijani request to be admitted to membership as Azerbaijan's independence has not yet been recognized outside the USSR. The Azerbaijani request would have to be sponsored by a member state of the UN and be supported by at least nine of the 15 members of the Security Council and two thirds of the members of the UN General Assembly. (NCA/Jeff Endrst/Liz Fuller) KAZAKHSTAN PLANS OWN CURRENCY. TASS reported on October 30 that Kazakhstan's government and legislature are working on a program to give the republic its own currency. The TASS report, quoting from Izvestia, said that the new currency would function alongside the ruble and would be freely convertible within the Soviet Union and abroad. Its value is to be backed by Kazakhstan's gold reserves and the republic's production of goods, which will have to be strictly regulated. The exchange value of the new currency unit, the name of which has not yet been decided, is to equal or exceed that of the ruble. (Bess Brown) BIRLIK FORMS POLITICAL PARTY. Uzbekistan's Popular Front movement, Birlik, proclaimed itself a political party at a congress held on October 28, a Tashkent journalist has told the RL Uzbek Service. Movement cochairman Abdurakhim Pulatov was chosen to head the new party. According to the journalist, republican authorities have told Birlik to present a membership list by November 1 in order to qualify for registration, but the party cannot assemble such a list by the deadline. Last year Birlik set up a Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, but it never gained official recognition. Earlier this year, Uzbek president Islam Karimov said that he did not believe Birlik would ever qualify for registration. (Timur Kocaoglu/Bess Brown) IDENTITY OF PARTISAN CONCEALED. Trud on October 26 marked the 50th anniversary of the hanging in Minsk by the Nazi occupation forces of a young girl partisan, identified by the newspaper as Masha Bruskina. A photograph of the 1941 execution has been reproduced many times all over the world but, in her native Belorussia, Masha is still described as "Unknown." The reason is that Masha was Jewish. This fact did not suit Belorussia's hardline authorities, Trud explains, who are still pretending to this day that the identity of the 17-year-old heroine cannot be ascertained. (Elizabeth Teague) BALTIC STATES US POSTAL SERVICE RECOGNIZES INDEPENDENCE OF BALTIC STATES. The US Postal Service stated in its most recent bulletin updating the postal regulations that henceforth "mail to the independent countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania should not include the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR as the country name," according to Western agency dispatches of October 30. This decision does not pertain to Baltic postal stamps which have to be approved by the Universal Postal Union. US Assistant Postmaster General Thomas Leavey announced that from November 1 to March 31 the US post offices would offer a lower rate for aid parcels sent to the Baltic States and the USSR. (Dzintra Bungs) WESTERN SHARES SOLD ON THE BALTIC STOCK MARKET. On October 30 shares from Western companies were sold on "The Baltic Fund" in Riga by 15 stock brokerage firms. Shares from Eastman Kodak, Johnson & Johnson, Ford Motors, AT&T, Pepsico, IBM, and other well-known US companies changed hands. The Baltic Fund's president Valerii Belokop told the Baltic News Service on October 30 that among the buyers were businessmen from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Moldavia. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA LIMITS TRIPS TO POLAND UNTIL JANUARY 1. On October 29 Latvia's Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers signed a government decision to limit trips to Poland by residents of Latvia until January 1, 1992, reported the Baltic News Service on October 30. The principal reason for this decision is apparently the fact that many people go to Poland to engage in speculative economic transactions, rather than tourism. Restrictions have also been adopted by the Lithuanian government concerning passage through its border checkpoint to Poland at Lazidijai, according to Diena of October 29. (Dzintra Bungs) EUROPEAN COUNCIL DELEGATION VISITS LATVIAN SUPREME COUNCIL. On October 30 a seven-member delegation of the European Council's Legislation Commission arrived in Riga and met with Latvian Supreme Council's Secretary Imants Daudiss. The delegation plans to meet various deputies and acquaint itself with the work of the Supreme Council. The delegation's spokesman E. Harremoe said that they have come to offer their help in resolving problems, rather than to dictate what should be done, reported Radio Riga that day. (Dzintra Bungs) RUBIKS--A "POLITICAL PRISONER?" A press conference was organized on October 30 in Riga by the pro-USSR faction of Latvian Supreme Council's deputies to mark the traditional political prisoners' day in the USSR, BNS reported that day. Deputy Sergei Dimanis claimed that the independent Republic of Latvia has its first political prisoners in Alfred Rubiks, head of the now dissolved Latvian Communist Party, his aide Vladimir Serdyukov, and Sergei Parfyonov, former member of the OMON unit stationed in Riga. Dimanis tried to persuade the press that the human rights of the three men, currently detained in Riga and accused of trying to implement the August coup in Latvia, had been violated. Also attending the conference were the wives of Rubiks and Parfyonov. (Dzintra Bungs)
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