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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 211, 06 November 1991



USSR-ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR



TRUBIN HALTS TREASON PROCEEDINGS AGAINST GORBACHEV. The Western
press reported November 6 that USSR Prosecutor General Nikolai
Trubin repealed the order to open treason proceedings against
Mikhail Gorbachev in connection with the granting of independence
to the Baltic States. Trubin dismissed the order as "a legally
invalid manifestation of political extremism." The order had
been issued by Viktor Ilyukhin, USSR state prosecutor with responsibility
for state security matters, reported Pravda in an article released
on November 5, in advance of its publication on November 6. Ilyukhin
said that Gorbachev had failed to uphold the USSR Constitution
and violated his obligation to defend USSR's sovereignty and
territorial integrity. (Dzintra Bungs)

RATION COUPONS IN MOSCOW. In response to shortages and some panic
buying, Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov announced November 5 on Soviet
television that ration coupons will be issued beginning December
1 for bread, sausage, butter, cooking oil and eggs, Western agencies
reported November 6. Popov did not say exactly how much of the
rationed goods Moscow residents would be able to purchase, but
he did say these goods would be offered at subsidized prices.
The Moscow City government had already decided to limit bread
sales to 2 kilograms per person per day because of shortages
in certain parts of the city; vodka, sugar, and cigarettes are
already rationed in Moscow. (Carla Thorson)

AGREEMENT REACHED ON FOOD SUPPLIES. Representatives of twelve
of the former USSR republics reached agreement November 5 designed
to maintain food supply flows in 1992. Reported by Moscow Radio
the same day, the agreement "recognizes the necessity of forming
a unified market for food products as an important part of the
economic space." The agreement gives the Interrepublican Economic
Committee the right to conclude agreements with foreign partners
on credits for and supplies of food. The Baltic states did not
participate in the agreement.(John Tedstrom)

HARD CURRENCY DEFICIT TO REACH $1BILLION IN NOVEMBER. According
to a top official of the Bank for Foreign Economic Activity,
the hard currency deficit of the USSR will reach "at least $1
billion" in November. TASS of November 5 quotes the deputy chair
of the bank's board, Anatolii Nosko, as saying that export income
for November will total about 1.1 billion foreign trade rubles,
which will just cover the payments on existing debt. Nosko added
that it was possible that the USSR could "fall short of convertible
currency to repay its foreign debt," as early as mid-November.
Representatives of Western countries are meeting in Paris November
6 to discuss the potential liquidity crisis. (John Tedstrom)


FURTHER FINANCIAL NOTES. TASS on November 5 also quoted Anatolii
Nosko as saying that the members of the Committee for Operational
Management of the Economy will take up the question of hard currency
earnings and the foreign debt on November 9. The television news
program "Vesti" of November 5, quoted RSFSR minister for foreign
economic relations Gennadii Fil'shin as saying that the RSFSR
intends to cover some 61% of the USSR's foreign debt. Eleven
of the 12 former republics are set to sign an agreement on the
USSR's foreign debt, but Fil'shin said that if they couldn't
find a common language, the RSFSR would repay the whole debt.
That would no doubt imply serious economic repercussions for
uncooperative republics. (John Tedstrom)

RECURRING QUESTIONS OVER GOLD. At the November 9 meeting the
question of the USSR's gold reserves will also be examined. According
to TASS November 5, the Gosbank's Nosko said that the figure
currently being tossed around in Moscow--some 240 tons--"does
not correspond to reality." (John Tedstrom)

RUBLE REACHES NEW LOW. RIA reported November 5 that the ruble
had reached a level of 110 to the dollar that day. That figure
is a record low for the ruble. Achieved in the course of trading
on the USSR Gosbank's currency exchange, the figure might give
a hint as to where the ruble might go if totally freed, as currently
planned by the Yeltsin team. Several "official" RSFSR, economists
predicted in Izvestia of November 5 that prices would rise in
the RSFSR by 3-4 times once the planned liberalization of prices
takes place. The economists also said that such a liberalization
would not take place before January 1992. Among the economists
were Grigorii Yavlinsky, RSFSR Economics Minister Evgenii Saburov,
and Yeltsin's economic advisor Yurii Skokov. (John Tedstrom)


GERMANY BUDGES ON DEBT. Deutsche Bank President Hilmar Kopper
was quoted by a Western agency November 4 as saying "if an attempt
is made to introduce a moratorium on payments of the [USSR's]
external debt, then this country may be expelled from the world
market economy." However, a postponement of interest payments
on the USSR's $70 billion debt is acceptable, Kopper said. (Suzanne
Crow)

"MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS." On November 5, USSR Foreign
Minister Boris Pankin expanded on plans for 30% personnel cuts
at the Foreign Ministry saying specific numbers of cuts of the
3,500-strong staff would be discussed at the November 14 meeting
of the USSR State Council. Pankin said the November 4 meeting
of the USSR State Council yielded a new name for the Foreign
Ministry -- the Ministry of External Relations (Ministerstvo
Vneshnykh Snosheniy), TASS reported November 5. Pankin presented
the results of the State Council meeting to the Collegium of
the erst-while Foreign Ministry on November 4 and at the fifth
sitting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for the
USSR and Sovereign Republics on November 5, TASS reported November
4 and 5. (Suzanne Crow)

INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT TO SURVIVE? The two agencies responsible
for the Soviet Union's ties with international terrorists--the
CPSU Central Committee's International Department and the First
Chief Directorate of the KGB--"are in effect being united under
a new label: the Central Intelligence Service" under the leadership
of Yevgenii Primakov, according to an article penned by ID veteran
Evgueni Novikov in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal
on November 5. Novikov, who defected to the United States in
1988, said that despite the fact that the dismantling of Soviet
terrorist training network is long overdue, "I will be surprised
if it happens either voluntarily or soon." (Suzanne Crow)

SHAPOSHNIKOV ON BASES. In a November 5 Interfax interview Soviet
Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov said the timing of the
Soviet withdrawal from Cuba "is first and foremost Cuba's concern."
He added: "our protracted military presence in various countries
has brought us nothing except economic damage." (Suzanne Crow)


NAVY DENIES NEW BASE, DISCUSSES FLEET. TASS reported November
5 Deputy Chief Commander of the Soviet Navy Ivan Kapitanets'
denial that the Navy planned a new Black Sea base (see Daily
Report, November 4). Meanwhile, Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, Commander
in Chief of the USSR Navy, said at the start of his official
visit to the United States (November 4) his navy has cut more
than 200 battleships over the last three years in an effort to
achieve a smaller fleet with more modern equipment, Radio Rossii
reported November 4. (Suzanne Crow)

COUNCIL OF DEFENSE MINISTERS OF SOVEREIGN STATES CREATED. The
USSR State Council has set up a Council of Defense Ministers
of Sovereign States to coordinate military policy on the territory
of the former Soviet Union, "Vesti" reported November 5. The
Council is scheduled to meet once a month in one of the capitals
of the republics. USSR Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov
said the USSR State Council rejected republican claims for separate
armies but agreed to hand over all civil defense and DOSAAF functions,
as well as military chairs at institutes and universities to
the republics for a "transitional period." He said republics
could have their own national guards. (Alexander Rahr)

PRAVDA ON SECURITY. According to a Pravda analysis of October
28, confrontation in Europe is made less likely by the existence
of predominantly single-nation states with common historical
andcultural traditions and comparable levels of economic development.
The same cannot be said of the USSR, however, the report says.
International law can be instrumental in solving conflicts between
states, but not between nations. The artificial unification of
mankind in the face of global threats is also no solution, remarked
Pravda. (Victor Yasmann)

MOSCOW NEWS ON DEMOCRATIC TRENDS IN KGB. Moskovskie novosti (No.
43) concluded the KGB is "not as terrible as we imagined" in
its report on an opinion poll conducted by the KGB among its
officers prior to the August coup attempt. According to the poll,
KGB officers were opposed to action against certain extreme political
organizations such as the nationalist "Pamyat" or the radical
"Democratic Union." MN remarked that had former Chairman Vladimir
Kryuchkov seen the results of the poll, he would have realized
his coup attempt was doomed to failure because the survey showed
the overwhelming majority of officers would not carry out orders
against democrats. Perhaps more significant than the poll's findings
is the recent seachange in the attitude of MN toward the KGB.
(Victor Yasmann)

NIKOLAI SHMELEV ON NEP AND DZERZHINSKY. Economist Nikolai Shmelev
told Russian TV November 2 that the only positive example of
price liberalization in the USSR can be found in the transition
to the market economy during the NEP ("New Economic Policy")
period in 1922. Then within a year of the NEP's introduction,
the market was flooded with goods. Shmelev pointed out that prices
went down even further owing to draconian measures introduced
by Feliks Dzerzhinsky (who was both the Chairman of the OGPU
and the Higher Council of National Economy). Such a comment would
suggest that Shmelev might lean toward the introduction of "neobol'shevist"
tactics as a way of making a transition to a market economy.
(Victor Yasmann)

LIGACHEV EXPOSES "GORBACHEV MYSTERY." Knizhnoe obozrenie No.
42 announced the publication of Egor Ligachev's book, The Tbilisi
Affair: Chapters from the Book: The Gorbachev Mystery. Although
as Party chief ideologist Ligachev had opposed setting up independent
publishing houses, his book has been published by a cooperative
named "Kodeks," with the print-run of 250,000 copies. (Julia
Wishnevsky)

RSFSR TO LIBERALIZE FOREIGN TRADE. TASS reported November 5 the
RSFSR government has issued draft legislation liberalizing foreign
trade rules and regulations on its territory. The draft law provides
for a convertible ruble that would replace all fixed exchange
rates and a removal of restrictions on hard currency accounts.
A simplification of import and export taxes is also included
in the law. The law--which is scheduled to be on Yeltsin's desk
for signing in the next few days--is aimed at increasing the
potential for foreign trade and investment. Key questions remain
such as how much a freely traded ruble will be devalued and how
that will in turn affect internal prices. The draft law appears
in the November 5 Nezavisimaya gazeta. (John Tedstrom)

YELTSIN PREPARED TO COUNTER SOCIAL UNREST. Yurii Petrov, head
of the RSFSR Presidential Administration, told TASS on November
5 that Yeltsin is prepared to counter social unrest in Russia.
A presidential food reserve has been set up for supplying the
major industrial centers and an information service has been
created under Petrov to monitor the effects of Yeltsin's radical
reform program. The information service will, if necessary, provide
proposals for adjusting the situation if social tensions occur.
Petrov denied that there is friction within Yeltsin's team. (Alexander
Rahr)

BURBULIS INTERVIEWED. RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis
said in an interview with Der Spiegel on November 4 that the
liberalization of prices in Russia will start on January 1 or
February 1. He expressed the hope that trade unions and political
parties will form a bloc to support radical reform. He stressed
that there is no time to adopt laws to regulate the transition
to democracy and market economy. Asked about the crisis in Checheno-Ingushetia,
Burbulis responded that there can't be dozens of states on Russia's
territory but added that the Russian leadership will not forcefully
intervene. (Alexander Rahr)

BURBULIS CAUTIOUS ON LIBERALIZATION OF PRICES. In an earlier
statement, Burbulis had criticized Yeltsin's decision to liberalize
prices. The Financial Times on November 2 quoted him as saying
that Russia "can't free prices until at least some kind of dynamism
in basic privatization is achieved." According to Burbulis, in
conditions of economic monopoly, freeing prices will not lead
to real competition between producers. Burbulis was criticized
in the latest issue of Novoe vremya (no. 43) for overstepping
his authority as head of a State Council which had been created
to consult with the President, not to interfere in practical
politics. (Alexander Rahr)

NEXT MEETING OF STATE COUNCIL TO DISCUSS UNION TREATY. Gorbachev's
press spokesman Andrei Grachev said November 5 that the draft
Union treaty would be one of the main topics at the next meeting
of the USSR State Council on November 14, TASS reported November5.
Izvestia, commenting on the meeting of the State Council on November
4, said that everything had been discussed in direct connection
with the Union treaty, the need for which was being felt more
and more by the sovereign states. Izvestia, which was cited by
TASS November 5 as saying the next meeting of the State Council
would be in Alma-Ata on November 12, said political barriers
were holding up the solution of economic problems. (Ann Sheehy)


DEVELOPMENTS IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. On November 5 the newly-elected
parliament of the self-styled Chechen republic ratified the president's
decree on the state sovereignty of the republic, declared Chechen
and Russian the state languages, and banned the activities of
the Provisional Supreme Council recognized by the RSFSR, Moscow
Radio reported November 5. The same day a grand assembly of citizens
in Ingushetia decided to hold parliamentary and presidential
elections on December 22, "Vesti" reported November 5. The Rostov
newspaper Utro published November 5 an appeal for support to
the people of the Don from the Groznyi section of the Terek Cossacks,
Moscow radio reported November 5. (Ann Sheehy)

COMPLAINT ABOUT GAMSAHKURDIA'S INTERFERENCE IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA.
The Committee for the Preservation of the Unity of the Chechen-Ingush
Republic, which is headed by Akhmed Arsanov, Yeltsin's representative
in the republic, has sent an appeal to the people and democratic
parties and movements of Georgia saying interference by Georgian
president Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his emissaries in the internal
affairs of Checheno-Ingushetia is leading to dissension and must
be stopped, TASS reported November 5. Rebel ex-General Dzhakhar
Dudaev enlisted Gamsakhurdia's support last spring, and Gamsakhurdia
was one of the first to congratulate Dudaev on his election.
(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)

CHUKCHI FACE SIMILAR OPPOSITION FROM MAGADAN OBLAST. Radio Mayak
reported November 4 that relations between Magadan Oblast and
the Chukchi autonomous okrug had deteriorated sharply after the
Chukchi okrug soviet had refused to hold a referendum on whether
or not the okrug should secede from Magadan Oblast and become
the sovereign Chukchi republic. The Chukchi authorities accused
Magadan of infringing on their sovereign rights, while Magadan
accused the Chukchi authorities of nationalism, saying that they
were ignoring the opinion of the Russian-speaking majority. In
1989 Chukchi constituted only 7% of the population. (Ann Sheehy)




USSR-OTHER REPUBLICS



LAW ON POLITICAL PARTIES SUSPENDED IN GEORGIA. At the request
of the procurator's office, the Georgian Supreme Soviet on November
5 temporarily suspended the law on political parties (adopted
August 10), TASS said November 5. TASS commented that this in
effect meant the end of democracy in Georgia. Factions representing
the parliamentary minority did not take part in the vote. (Ann
Sheehy)

ARMENIA SAYS GAS PIPELINE, TRANSPORT BLOCKED AGAIN. In a message
to Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Nazarbaev, and the heads of other republics
on November 5, Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan and acting
premier Grant Bagratyan said that Azerbaijani military forces
were concentrating around Armenian borders and Nagorno-Karabakh,
TASS reported November 5. The message said Azerbaijan had that
day blocked a gas pipeline, as well as roads and railways serving
Armenia, moves that were "obviously" a prelude to military action.
Another TASS report of November 5 said the gas supply had been
cut by members of the Azerbaijan Popular Front. (Ann Sheehy)


UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET DISCUSSES ECONOMIC TREATY. Reports that
Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk and
Prime Minister Vitol'd Fokin support Ukraine's adherence to the
economic treaty caused an uproar in the Ukrainian parliament
yesterday, Radio Kiev and Radio Moscow reported November 5. As
a result, it was decided to examine the question in the appropriate
parliamentary commissions and discuss it at today's session of
the Supreme Soviet. (Roman Solchanyk)

POLES IN UKRAINE SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE. The second congress of
the Union of Poles in Ukraine adopted a statement calling upon
the population of Ukraine to support Ukrainian independence in
the December 1 referendum, Radio Kiev reported November 5. (Roman
Solchanyk)

UKRAINIANS IN MOLDAVIA HOLD CONFERENCE. The Society for Ukrainian
Culture in Moldavia, which seeks to halt the russification of
Ukrainians and revive their language and culture, held its first
republic-wide conference November 2 in Kishinev, Moldovapres
reported that day. The conference discussed the Society's activities
and also urged Ukrainians not to heed the would-be "Dniester
SSR" leaders' calls to boycott Moldavia's coming presidential
elections. The present Moldavian government, reversing the policy
of its communist predecessors, has undertaken to create and subsidize
Ukrainian cultural and educational institutions in Moldavia.
Ukrainians are the largest non-titular ethnic community, forming
14% of Moldavia's population. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIA ARRESTS MEMBERS OF LATVIA'S FORMER OMON. Two members
of the former OMON unit in Latvia were arrested in Moldavia by
the republican police with assistance from Latvian authorities,
Moldavia's Ministry of Internal Affairs announced in a communique
released through Moldovapres November 3. The pair, who are ethnic
Russians, confessed upon arrest that they and eight other members
of their former unit had arrived in Moldavia in order to serve
as instructors of the paramilitary units of the would-be "Dniester
SSR" formed by Russian communists in eastern Moldavia. The other
eight are also charged with crimes in Latvia. (Vladimir Socor)


ARRESTED OMON MEMBERS TAKEN TO LATVIA. Diena reported on November
4 that two OMON members, Igor Nikiforov and Vladimir Kozhavin,
were flown to Riga from Tiraspol, Moldavia, where they had been
arrested. Nikiforov is accused of armed robbery at the Dom Square
in Riga on February 16, while Kozhevin is accused of shooting
at guests in a Riga cafe while being drunk on July 16, 1991.
Diena also reported that the Latvian authorities are continuing
their search in Leningrad, Moscow, and Tashkent for other OMON
members thought to have committed crimes in Latvia. (Dzintra
Bungs)

MOLDAVIA HESITATES OVER ECONOMIC COMMUNITY TREATY. Moldavian
President Mircea Snegur warned on republican television November
4, as cited by TASS November 5, that the economic community treaty
"could become a political trap to restore the Soviet empire,"
and accused the RSFSR of putting pressure on Moldavia to sign
the treaty. On November 5, however, Snegur was cited by TASS
as indicating that Moldavia will sign but was taking its time
to indicate opposition to "certain central authorities who want
to give the treaty a political dimension." Moldavia does not
recognize the authority of the USSR State Council and would only
take part in the inter-republican economic committee, Snegur
was cited as saying. (Vladimir Socor)

MORE ON MOLDAVIAN QUANDARY. Also on November 5, Moldavian Prime
Minister Valeriu Muravschi told a government meeting in Kishinev
that Moldavia will sign the economic community treaty after "certain
objections" it has are "taken up" in further consultations shortly
due among the republics, TASS reported that day. Some of those
objections are known to refer to modifications and additions
to the original document which Snegur initialled in Alma-Ata,
particularly Moldavia's role in the food and debt reimbursement
programs and political dimensions imparted by the economic treaty.
Rejecting participation in any union structure and any form of
association with the center, Moldavia is presently torn between
those objections and its need for Russian fuels and raw materials.
(Vladimir Socor)



BALTIC STATES



LATVIA ADOPTS LAW ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS. Radio Riga reported
on November 5 that earlier that day the Latvian Supreme Council
had adopted a law on foreign investments. Intended to foster
and regulate investments from abroad, the legislation stipulates
protection of such investments by the Republic of Latvia and
tax breaks on profits. The law specifies areas where foreign
investment are most welcome and where investments would be restricted.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIA CLAIMS PROPERTY OCCUPIED BY SOVIET ARMY. On November 5
the Latvian Supreme Council adopted a decision laying claim to
all property occupied by USSR armed forces, border guards, and
Interior Ministry troops and invalidating any commercial transactions
involving such property that took place after August 24, 1991,
reported BNS that day. According to Deputy Talavs Jundzis, the
Soviet armed forces occupy 234 plots of land (over 100,000 hectares)
all over Latvia, except in the Ludza raion. During the past five
years, some 10,700 apartments have been constructed for army
use. The Soviet armed forces have not been making any payments
for the use of property or housing in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)


BUILDINGS IN LATVIA TO BE RETURNED TO OWNERS. Radio Riga reported
on October 30 that earlier that day the Latvian Supreme Council
adopted two laws: one deals with the denationalization of buildings
and goes into effect on January 1, 1991; the other deals with
the return of buildings to their rightful owners and it goes
into effect immediately after it is signed by the Supreme Council
Chairman and Secretary. (Dzintra Bungs)


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