|Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle|
No. 210, 05 November 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR GORBACHEV CRITICIZES YELTSIN'S PLAN. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev criticized Yeltsin's radical economic plan for its failure to support the poor part of the Soviet population. In his address to the USSR State Council, Gorbachev said that lifting restrictions on prices was impossible without taking other measures, such as dismantling state monopolies and adopting incentives to boost production. Gorbachev also criticized leaders of the republics for failing to take advantage of the "political capital" they gained after the putsch and faulted them for now pushing further towards disintegration of the country rather than trying to save it, TASS reported November 5. (Alexander Rahr) ECONOMIC COMMUNITY TO BE EXPEDITED. On November 4, the USSR State Council told Grigorii Yavlinsky to speed up the formation of the Economic Community, TASS reported that day. The Council gave him one week to provide written proposals for implementing 22 accords discussed by the 12 republics on October 18 in Alma-Ata. Yavlinsky told the meeting that major differences still remain between republican and union leaders on basic issues. He said that some republics continue mistakenly to believe that bilateral agreements can substitute for an economic community treaty. (Keith Bush) SILAEV ON NEW CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. The head of the Interstate Economic Committee (MEK), Ivan Silaev, outlined the structure of his institution at the meeting of the USSR State Council, TASS said November 4. Silaev said MEK will be subordinated to an Assembly of leaders of governments of the republics which signed the Economic Union. The MEK will consist of 5 major sectors and 15 departments, and departments will take over the role of the former ministries, Silaev said. He reiterated that by November 15, 80 all-union ministries will be abolished. The MEK will retain control over communications, industrial safety regulations, power and atomic energy. (Alexander Rahr) DEMONSTRATION IN DEFENSE OF PUTSCHISTS. Some fifty friends and relatives of the arrested members of the GKChP demonstrated near the prison where the putschists are being held, "Vesti" reported November 4. "Vesti" said several such demonstrations have already taken place. (Vera Tolz) USSR TO BUIILD NEW BLACK SEA NAVAL BASE. The Soviet Navy will build a new base at the Black Sea in Krasnodar krai because its former base in Sevastopol is now under Ukrainian jurisdiction, TASS reported November 4. (Suzanne Crow) USSR SUPREME SOVIET PASSES FIRST LAW. The two chambers of the revamped USSR Supreme Soviet passed their first law--on amnesty for those evading military service, TASS reported November 1. The bill, presented by Gorbachev, was uncontroversial, and its passage does not necessarily demonstrate the viability of the new parliament. (Ann Sheehy) MOSCOW AUTHORITIES BAN NOVEMBER 7 RED SQUARE DEMO. The Moscow city authorities have rejected a request by Communist and workers' organizations to mark the anniversary of the October Revolution with a demonstration on Red Square, TASS reported November 1. The military parade that traditionally was held in the square on that day has already been cancelled and there are, of course, no Communist Party slogans this year to mark the anniversary. City authorities have told the groups they must hold their planned demonstration in the evening, outside Moscow's ring road. (Elizabeth Teague) MORE ON FINANCIAL OPERATIONS OF THE CPSU. More than 5 billion rubles and $14 million, previously belonging to the CPSU, were confiscated during the past month in various Soviet banks and organizations, "TV Inform" reported November 4. The same day, "Vesti" reported that the RSFSR procurator's office had initiated a criminal investigation against the CPSU leadership in connection with the illegal export of money abroad. (Vera Tolz) MOSCOW FACES HIGH WHITE-COLLAR UNEMPLOYMENT. Boris Yeltsin's threat to abolish 80 USSR ministries and departments by mid-November will exacerbate Moscow's already high white-collar unemployment. Some 85% of Moscow's job vacancies are for blue-collar workers, whereas 90% of the capital's unemployed are white-collar, many of whom will not even consider taking a blue-collar job. To cope with rising unemployment Moscow intends, as of January 1, 1992, to exact a new tax of one percent of base salary on every working person. The tax will mean that those with jobs, many of whom are blue-collar, will be supporting those without jobs, most of whom are white-collar. (Elizabeth Teague) FEMALE UNEMPLOYMENT RISING. Moscow's growing army of unemployed is not only 90% white-collar; but also 90% female, up 10% since this summer, when registration first began. The director of the Moscow Employment Center, Igor Zaslavsky, told Izvestia on October 30 that three-quarters of Moscow's unemployed have higher education. But he blamed the USSR's system of technical training for the fact that Moscow is experiencing a growing shortage of skilled manual labor. (Elizabeth Teague) COST OF LIVING RISING IN MOSCOW. Zaslavsky said that, on average, Moscow's unemployed are receiving 266 rubles in monthly benefit. But he noted that some sources [he seemed to have in mind the official Russian trade unions] are saying that the minimum sum necessary to live on in the capital is now over 500 rubles. (Elizabeth Teague) GAIDAR'S PRESCRIPTION. Yegor Gaidar, the head of the Institute for Economic Policy, who is tipped to become the senior economic minister in Yeltsin's new government, is quoted by the BBC and The Financial Times (November 4) as saying he believes that the Union is finished and Russia must treat all other republics as sovereign states, charging them hard currency for its exports. The Russian Bank should be transformed into a central bank issuing a Russian currency and that it should assume responsibility for the total Soviet foreign debt, as it is the only republic with appreciable hard currency earnings capability. (Keith Bush) YELTSIN ON ARMS SALES, EXPORTS TO CUBA. Yeltsin was quoted by TASS October 31 as saying the Russian military-industrial enterprises should earn money by exporting weapons to such countries as India. He added that he received a letter from Fidel Castro in which the Cuban leader agreed to buy oil and grain from Russia at world market prices. (Alexander Rahr) FOOD SHORTAGES IN MOSCOW AND YEKATERINBURG. The Moscow city government has decided to limit bread sales because of shortages in some parts of the city. A city government press spokesman told USSR Radio November 4 that customers will be limited to about two kilograms a day. The chairman of Yekaterinburg's regional administration has written to Yeltsin asking for special powers to cope with food shortages and requesting that the city be permitted to make foreign sales of weapons and rare metals to buy food. (Keith Bush) FOOD AND FEED ON THE WAY. Canada is to ship four million tons of grain to the Soviet Union by February, 1992, Western agencies reported November 1. Credit for the purchase in addition to some humanitarian aid will be extended. Saudi Arabia is considering sending most of its surplus stocks of 3-4 million tons of wheat to the Soviet Union, Western agencies reported October 31. France agreed on October 31 to barter meat andcereals in exchange for Soviet oil and gas, The Washington Post reported November 1. And Hungary will sell the Soviet Union half a million tons of feed, according to Interfax of October 31. (Keith Bush) THREATENED STRIKE CALLED OFF. The Independent Russian Trade Unions' Federation has called off a republic-wide strike scheduled for November 13, Interfax said November 1. A telephone poll of union representatives from 77 regions of the republic determined that the union's main demands had been met, including rules for privatizing state property and housing, and the publication of a program aimed at solving Russia's crisis. (Keith Bush) US-SOVIET TV COMMITTEE. "TV Inform" reported November 4 the creation of a committee consisting of Soviet and American TV experts aimed at improving the quality of central Soviet TV, especially its news programs. "TV Inform" quoted American participants as praising the variety of subjects currently covered by central Soviet TV news programs, but also calling for more attention to interethnic conflicts in various parts of the former Soviet Union. (Vera Tolz) TWO SOVIET TELECOM DEALS. Cable and Wireless PLC of Britain has signed agreements for equal partnership joint ventures with Soviet telecommunications firms in the Soviet Far East. The London-based company claims telephone, fax and data communications services will start operating early next year in the city of Nakhodka and the island of Sakhalin, a Western agency report November 4. (Vera Tolz) MOVEMENT "COMMUNISTS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS" HOLDS CONFERENCE. Another grass-roots organization of Communists was set up in St. Petersburg, Radio Moscow-1 reported November 4. At its November 4 press conference, "Communists for Civil Rights," led by former member of the CPSU CC and a deputy of the St. Petersburg City Council, Evgenii Krasnitsky, called for the recreation of the RSFSR CP. The movement unites former unorthodox Marxist Roy Medvedev and orthodox Bolshevik Nina Andreeva. (Vera Tolz) RSFSR CONGRESS ON MINORITIES, UNITY. On November 2 the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies adopted an appeal to the parliaments of the other 14 erstwhile Union republics to speed up the conclusion of bilateral treaties guaranteeing the rights of minorities originating from the RSFSR, TASS reported November 2. It also issued an appeal to the citizens of Ukraine, Belorussia, and Russia appealing for the unity of the Slav republics and asked the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to adopt a law ensuring the territorial integrity of the RSFSR. (Ann Sheehy) CHECHEN-INGUSH ELECTIONS POSTPONED. Teleinform said November 4 the official elections of a new Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet and the referendum on whether Checheno-Ingushetia should be divided into two republics will now be held on December 8 instead of November 17. (Ann Sheehy) CONSERVATIVES IN ROSTOV OBLAST HOPED TO PLAY "COSSACK" CARD. According to Komsomol'skaya pravda of October 26, the conservative majority in the Rostov Oblast soviet have been staging a comeback. Democratic deputies only prevented the reinstatement of the former chairman of the soviet Leonid Ivanchenko, who had been removed for supporting the coup, by walking out and depriving the session of a quorum. The newspaper says this action also prevented an even more serious threat, namely the implementation of a plan to declare the oblast a Don Cossack republic with Ivanchenko as ataman, and thus separate the territory from democratic Russia. (Ann Sheehy) POST OF PRESIDENT OF KALMYKIA REMAINS VACANT. The repeat elections for the post of president of Kalmykia on November 3 resulted in neither candidate obtaining a majority, TASS reported November 4. The present premier of Kalmykia got 45.3% of the votes, and the chairman of the supreme soviet 40.4%. At the next session of the supreme soviet deputies will have to decide whether to hold another vote or drop the matter. (Ann Sheehy) SOVEREIGNTY ASPIRATIONS OF KORYAKS AROUSE OPPOSITION. A session of the Koryak okrug soviet has decided that the Koryak autonomous okrug should secede from Kamchatka Oblast and be a republic in the RSFSR, Moscow radio reported November 3. The decision is said to have provoked an ambivalent reaction from the inhabitants of the peninsula. (Ann Sheehy) KARIMOV ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF POPULAR-DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF UZBEKISTAN. The Popular-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, the successor to the Uzbek Communist party, held its constituent congress on November 1 and elected Uzbek president and former Communist party first secretary Islam Karimov chairman, "Inform-TV" reported November 1. The party is said to have over 350,000 members, of whom 300,000 are former Communists. (Ann Sheehy) 17 ECOLOGICAL DISASTER ZONES IN THE USSR. A study by the USSR Academy of Sciences' Geographical Institute, published in the latest edition of Moscow News, cites 17 "ecological disaster zones" throughout the former Soviet Union, TASS reported October 31. Chernobyl, the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Donbass and Kuzbass coal mining centers, and industrial areas in the Urals and in Azerbaijan are on the list. The study found that 20% of the Soviet population and 40% of the urban population live in badly polluted regions. (Jean Riollot/ Keith Bush) HEALTH OF SOVIET CHILDREN CALLED "CATASTROPHIC." The director of the All-Union Center for Hygiene and the Prevention of Children's Diseases, Galina Serdyukovskaya, has called the state of children's health in the Soviet Union "catastrophic." Interviewed in the latest edition of Argumenty i fakty, Serdyukovskaya said that 90% of all children suffered vitamin deficiency last year because of food shortages and high prices. Fewer than one in ten school children showed normal physical development and only about 15% of Soviet Army conscripts could be considered healthy. Up to 35% of children had chronic illnesses and 45% showed abnormalities that could develop into serious illnesses. (Keith Bush) ATAT'YANA KORYAGINA ON BLACK MARKET. Vast quantities of consumer goods produced in the Soviet Union never made it to stores because they were hidden in black-market depots throughout the USSR, economist Tat'tyana Koryagina claimed in Sovetskaya Rossia, October 31. The "black-marketeers" even exported goods to Eastern Europe, Koryagina, a former Gosplan employee said. Such practices led to the destruction of the Soviet economy. (Victor Yasmann) USSR-OTHER REPUBLICS KIEV ADOPTS LAW ON NATIONAL GUARD. On November 4, as reported by Radio Kiev and news agencies, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet gave final approval to laws creating a national guard, border troops, and defining the state border. The national guard will consist of approximately 30,000 citizens of Ukraine and will initially be drawn from troops of the Soviet Interior Ministry. Its duties will include protection of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as protection of the president, embassies, and government buildings. Members will enjoy medical and housing benefits and will have first priority in gaining entrance to Ukraine's higher military schools. (Kathy Mihalisko) FOKIN ON RUSSIAN PRICE REFORM. Boris Yeltsin's recently proposed economic reform package for the RSFSR, which would include the freeing of prices, is being widely discussed in Ukraine. Prime Minister Vitold Fokin told Radio Kiev on November 2 that price liberalization in Russia would put Ukraine in a complicated position. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE POLL. An opinion poll conducted in various parts of Ukraine continues to show that a majority of the population is expected to support the August 24 declaration of Ukrainian independence, Radio Kiev reported November 4. The highest positive responses, as expected, were in Western Ukraine. In Lvov Oblast 86% supported independence and in Ternopil' 92%. But 83% in Odessa Oblast also favored independence. In Donetsk the result was 65%, Zakarpattya 76%, Kiev 88%, Crimea 53%, Chernivtsi 76%, and Chernihiv 60%. (Roman Solchanyk) MORE ON CONFEDERATION OF MOUNTAIN PEOPLES. A Kabardian, Yuri Shanibov, was elected president of the confederation of mountain peoples of the Caucasus, set up by the Third Congress of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus on November3, "Vesti" reported November 4. The Chechen, Yusup Soslambekov, a deputy chairman of the rebel Executive Committee of OKChN, was chosen as chairman of the Caucasian parliament, which includes three representatives of the 14 peoples signing the treaty. He also heads the Defense Committee of the Caucasus. The congress came out unambiguously for the independence of the peoples of the North Caucasus and Abkhazia, and gave its support to the Chechen "revolution." (Ann Sheehy) MOLDAVIA TO INTRODUCE OWN MILITARY DRAFT. Moldavia's Higher Security Council, chaired by President Mircea Snegur, resolved at a session November 1 to introduce a republican military draft in order to raise troops for Moldavia's Ministry of Internal Affairs and the border guard. (The draft into the planned "national army" is being handled separately.) The Council also decided to create military training centers for draftees and for Moldavian reservists, Moldovapres reported that day. It also mandated Snegur to issue a presidential decree on the disposition of USSR military assets located in Moldavia, apparently intending to claim republican jurisdiction over those assets. The Council also resolved to institute a special commission to negotiate with the USSR over these issues. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT CALLS FOR REUNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. A rally by some 10,000 supporters of the Moldavian Popular Front, held in Kishinev on November 3 and addressed by the Front's leaders, demanded reunification with Romania and the immediate introduction in Moldavia of the Romanian currency lei in place or the ruble, AFP, TASS, and Radio Bucharest reported that day. The participants also denounced Snegur for opposing reunification with Romania. Snegur has recently insisted that an overwhelming majority of Moldavians oppose reunification. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA PREPARED TO RETALIATE AGAINST RSFSR'S "ECONOMIC WARFARE." In the second part of his interview with AFP, released by Moldovapres November 1 (see Daily Report, November 4), Moldavian First Vice Prime Minister Constantin Tampiza denounced the RSFSR's threats to charge world prices in hard currency for its fuel and energy exports to republics not joining the economic union. Accusing the RSFSR of resorting to "economic warfare," Tampiza said that Moldavia can retaliate by asking for world prices and hard currency for its agricultural exports to the RSFSR and also for the labor of the many thousands of Moldavians employed on contract in Siberia and the Far North. (Vladimir Socor) ROMANIA OPTS FOR SOVIET OVER MOLDAVIAN CONSULATE. A new General Consulate of the USSR opened November 1 in the city of Iasi, capital of Romania's rump province of Moldavia, near Romania's border with the USSR. The consulate is headed by a diplomat from Moldavia but is subordinated to the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The decision is bound to disappoint Kishinev which had for nearly two years insisted that the consulate represent Moldavia and not the USSR. After procrastinating, Bucharest seems finally to have bowed to countervailing pressure from Moscow. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES PARATROOPERS NOT LEAVING YET. There has been no movement of paratrooper units based in Voru and Viljandi in Estonia, BNS reported on November 4. Paevaleht, quoting Krasnaya zvezda, had reported plans to begin moving the units on November 3. (Riina Kionka) SCHLUETER IN ESTONIA. Danish Prime Minister Paul Schlueter begins a two-day official visit to Estonia on November 5, Western agencies reported. Schlueter is set to meet his Estonian counterpart, Edgar Savisaar, who visited Denmark six weeks ago. A Danish transportation delegation is also scheduled to arrive in Tallinn November 5 to assess Estonia's transportation needs and make recommendations on modernizing the system. (Riina Kionka) LATVIA PREPARES FOR TALKS WITH RSFSR. On November 5, the Latvian Supreme Council approved the composition of the delegation for talks with the RSFSR, according to Radio Riga. Talks are to deal with economic cooperation, minority rights, military issues and other topics. The 22-member delegation includes 9 deputies, among them Janis Dinevics. The legislators feel that, given the instability in the USSR, Latvia must hold parallel talks both with Russia and the USSR. The go-ahead for the talks, which may start November 10, was apparently given by RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin when he telephoned Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs on October 29.(Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-SOUTH AFRICAN COOPERATION DISCUSSED. After visiting Estonia, South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha spent November 3 and 4 in Latvia discussing economic cooperation and the establishment of diplomatic relations. According to Radio Riga of that day, Botha said Latvia was in the process of liberating itself from its communist past and that what it needs now is economic and political stability. (Dzintra Bungs) CITIZENS' CONGRESS AGAINST PARLIAMENT'S CITIZENSHIP CONCEPT. At its extraordinary session on November 2, the Latvian Citizens' Congress denounced a resolution setting forth guidelines for citizenship and naturalization in Latvia that was adopted by the Supreme Council on October 15. According to a BNS dispatch of November 2, the congress rejected the norms for naturalization and criticized the parliament's concept as legalizing the status of Soviet "colonists" in Latvia. The congress also announced that it is the only body having legal authority to start a registry of Latvia's citizens. The participants also decided that it was impossible to try to work together with the Supreme Council. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIANS CRITICIZE TRAVEL RESTRICTION TO POLAND. Latvian Supreme Council deputies Linards Mucins, Valdis Birkavs, and Andrejs Pantelejevs told Diena of November 1 that the Latvian government's decision of October 29 to impose wide-ranging restrictions on travel to Poland was undemocratic and contrary to the spirit of the CSCE accords signed by Latvian representatives earlier that month in Helsinki. Pantelejevs said that the Supreme Council should see that the decision is revoked. Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers said that the restrictions are temporary and were coordinated with Lithuania to limit irregular commercial activities with Poland. (Dzintra Bungs)
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