|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 215, 12 November 1991
USSR AND RSFSR RSFSR SUPSOV REJECTS YELTSIN DECREE ON CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet voted November 11 not to endorse Yeltsin's decree declaring a state of emergency in Checheno-Ingushetia, the Soviet media reported on November 11. The resolution called on the RSFSR authorities to continue to try and solve the crisis in Checheno-Ingushetia by peaceful means. At the same time it stressed the need to preserve the territorial integrity of the RSFSR. It was also decided that strict controls should be instituted to prevent the import of weapons into the republic, and that an investigation should be made to establish who was responsible for the adoption of an insufficiently well-prepared decree. (Ann Sheehy) DUDAEV NAMES HIS TERMS. The refusal of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to endorse Yeltsin's decree was greeted with rejoicing in Checheno-Ingushetia. Dasud Akhmadov, an aide of ex-General Dzhakhar Dudaev, president of the Chechen Republic, told TASS on November 11 that talks with the RSFSR could now start on the following conditions: agreement would first have to be reached on the composition of the RSFSR delegation and the topics to be discussed. Then it would be possible to talk of a time and a place for the meeting. (Ann Sheehy) CHECHEN MVD MINISTER ON ESCAPED CONVICTS, WEAPONS. Umalt Alsultanov, former Minister of Internal Affairs of Chechen-Ingushetia and now Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic, said on November 11 that many of the several hundred prisoners who fled the Naur penal colony November 10, were now among those meeting on Freedom Square in Groznyi; they said they had escaped solely to defend the freedom of the Chechen people, TASS reported November 11. Alsultanov said that, if they returned voluntarily to the colony, there could be a question of an amnesty to reduce their sentences. Alsultanov said the president and parliament would decide what to do about the weapons that are so widespread in the republic. (Ann Sheehy) PROTEST MEETING AGAINST YELTSIN DECREE IN TATARSTAN. The Tatar Public Center, the Ittifak party, and the "Sovereignty Committee" held a meeting in Kazan to protest Yeltsin's decree declaring a state of emergency in Checheno-Ingushetia, "Vesti" reported on November 11. Almost all those who took part in the meeting asserted that the decree was a dress rehearsal for the application of similar measures in Tatarstan if the national movement became active there. (Ann Sheehy) SILAYEV CALLS DEBT SITUATION "EXTREMELY SERIOUS." After a session of the Committee for the Operational Management of the Economy, acting Prime Minister Ivan Silayev told TASS on November 11 that the Soviet payments position is "extremely serious." He expressed the hope that the G-7 delegation, due in Moscow on November 17, would agree to delay repayment of some of the Soviet debt "in order to ease the way for economic reforms . . . and to solve such problems as food supplies." Interfax of November 11 reported that, at the same session, the Soviet external debt was given as 47.2 billion hard-currency rubles, with debts to former socialist countries put at 17-18 billion, and LDC debts to Moscow valued at 94 billion hard-currency rubles. (Keith Bush) DISSATISFACTION WITH PANKIN. Discussion is increasing in the Soviet media of the inadequacy of Boris Pankin as the USSR's chief diplomat. Pankin was first faulted for his lengthy stay in Madrid during the Middle East conference (see Daily Report November 4); now, insiders at the Ministry of External Relations (formerly the USSR Foreign Ministry) are saying he is not the man to solve the MER's current crisis. Pankin believes the MER should be responsible for all the functions formerly controlled by the Foreign Ministry, while taking on the additional role of coordinating republican foreign policies and guiding the USSR's foreign economic policy. Moreover, he envisions accomplishing this after a 30% reduction in staff. According to a Soviet diplomat cited by Interfax on November 11, Pankin is "mistaking what is desired for reality." (Suzanne Crow) SHAPOSHNIKOV IN GERMANY. Soviet Defense Minister Yevgenii Shaposhnikov met on November 11 in Bonn with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and German Defense Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg, Soviet and Western agencies reported. Shaposhnikov reportedly assured Kohl that Soviet troop withdrawals from former East Germany would be completed as scheduled, by 1994; the meeting with Stoltenberg produced an agreement for closer cooperation between the two armies. Shaposhnikov also claimed in a TASS interview that both parties had agreed on the need "to maintain a single USSR defense space" to insure domestic stability and international security. (Stephen Foye) GRINEVSKY NAMED AMBASSADOR TO SWEDEN. The post left vacant by the recall of Soviet ambassador Nikolai Uspensky following the coup has been filled by Oleg Grinevksy, formerly chief Soviet negotiator at the East-West disarmament talks in Vienna, Western agencies reported on November 11. (Suzanne Crow) CUSTOMS DUTIES LOWERED. USSR Chief Customs Officer Nikolai Yermakov told a Moscow press conference on November 11 about the easing of customs duties on imports and exports, Western agencies reported that day. There will now be no import duties on food, medicine, raw materials, and equipment for the food processing and light industrial sectors. Enterprises will be able to import goods not only for production requirements but also for sale for rubles. Parcels for individuals valued up to $40 will be exempt from duty and will not, as a rule, be opened by customs. On the export side, certain consumer goods can now be exported, but these will be subjected to duties of 300-600%. (Keith Bush) EC PAYS UP. Some eleven months after the European Community decided to grant credit guarantees to the USSR, it finally gave approval for the extension of these guarantees for about $620 million on November 11, Western agencies reported that day. The delay was attributed to disagreement over the precise terms: the British representative blamed it on "sheer inertia and bureaucracy." (Keith Bush) GAIDAR ON YELTSIN PROGRAM. In an interview with Pravda on November 11, reported by TASS that day, Egor Gaidar discussed the Yeltsin reform program, of which he is the leading architect. He repeated Yeltsin's assurances that prices and the market can be stabilized within one year, but qualified the impression given in Yeltsin's October 28 speech that virtually all prices can be freed overnight. Before prices are liberalized, it is necessary to change the tax system, limit wages, and provide for pensioners. All this will take several months. The government will try to regulate prices on bread, milk, and salt; regulation does not exclude higher prices. (Keith Bush) BURBULIS OPTIMISTIC. RSFSR First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Burbulis told Novoe vremya on November 11 that the RSFSR has already met the three conditions necessary for coping with the problems it faces. First, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has made a firm commitment to reform. Second, real professionals have been recruited into the new government. Third, the majority of the population are psychologically prepared for the increased hardship that reform will entail. Burbulis said the executive powers of the presidency must be strengthened in order to neutralize the resistance of the former Party bureaucracy, which remains strong. (Alexander Rahr) IVANENKO REDEFINES RSFSR KGB FUNCTIONS. The new Russian internal security service, the Agency for Federal Security (AFS), will no longer try to follow each and every foreign intelligence officer since many of them are collecting information that is generally available, and concentrate instead on those trying to get hold of state secrets, the Chairman of the RSFSR KGB, Victor Ivanenko, told Pravda on November 6. The main tasks of the AFS will be to promote economic reform, especially in the foreign trade area, and to monitor developments in transport and society. The last task is delicate, Ivanenko admitted, saying his agency would not engage in political surveillance but aim at forecasting and at preventing developments such as ethnic conflicts. (Victor Yasmann) KOZYREV ON RUSSIA AND OTHER REPUBLICS IN NATO. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has called for a political and military union of states of the northern hemisphere and says Russia should play a leading role in it. TASS on November 9 quoted Kozyrev as saying NATO should offer partnership to the USSR but, even before that, to Russia and the other former Soviet republics which are now sovereign republics. (Alexander Rahr) RUTSKOI MEETS WITH AFGHAN RESISTANCE. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi held talks on November 11 with members of the Afghan resistance in Moscow, TASS reported that day. Rutskoi, himself a veteran of the war with Afghanistan, said "for our part, we will take on all (possible) measures--and this is the standpoint of Russian President Boris Yeltsin--to bring about peace in the long-suffering land of Afghanistan." (Suzanne Crow) YAKOVLEV ANALYSES SOVIET POWER. Dialog (No. 14, 1991) contains the first installment of Aleksandr Yakovlev's analysis of the mechanism of Soviet power. This is the first serious Soviet description of the perestroika period. At one time, Yakovlev writes, power at both local and national level was exercised by three major interest groups: the Party apparatus, the enterprise managers, and the repressive apparatus. After the collapse of Stalinism, the Party found that, having renounced coercion, it had lost a lot of its former control over enterprise managers. This is why Article 6--proclaiming the Party's rule over the economy--was added to the USSR Constitution. It was in the hopes of getting even with the powerful, and often corrupt, enterprise managers that the Party apparatus initially supported Gorbachev's reforms, Yakovlev says. (Julia Wishnevsky) OTHER REPUBLICS UKRAINE HEADED FOR MILITARY AGREEMENT WITH KREMLIN? Ukraine appears to be making progress in negotiations with Moscow on the future of the armed forces. The Christian Science Monitor on November 8 quoted Ukrainian Minister of Defense Konstantin Morozov as saying he and his USSR counterpart, Yevgenii Shaposhnikov, had agreed "in principle" to have groups of experts work out a bilateral agreement that would clear the way for Ukraine's planned armed forces. The agreement could include the "resubordination" of a portion of Soviet troops based in the republic to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Supreme Soviet Chairman Leonid Kravchuk said on November 8 that Ukraine will sign a military accord with the Kremlin. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINE TO RESTRICT TRADE WITH OTHER REPUBLICS. In what may be a precursor of events in other republics, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree on November 11 that will restrict Ukrainian trade relations with the rest of the former USSR in 1992, TASS reported the same day. The decree instructs the Ukrainian Ministry of Economics to present a list of goods and services for which trade (imports as well as exports) will be managed on a quota and license system. The Ukrainian Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations is instructed to determine the licensing processes, and to inform foreign economic departments in other republics of proper licensing procedures. Ukrainian trade contracts that violate these regulations will not be honored and will be considered illegal. (John Tedstrom) TER-PETROYSAN TO BEGIN US VISIT. Levon Ter-Petrosyan will arrive in Washington today, November 12, for the start of an official visit during which he is expected to seek diplomatic recognition of Armenia's independence and American support for Armenian membership in the United Nations. He will meet with President George Bush and members of Congress. Ter-Petrosyan on November 11 was sworn in as Armenian president. (Kathy Mihalisko) GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE ON CAUCASIAN PEOPLES CONGRESS. The press service of the Georgian president issued a statement November 11 saying that the inclusion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the Confederative Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, proclaimed by the recent third congress of the mountains peoples of the Caucasus, was a violation of international law and the Georgian constitution, TASS reported on November 11. The statement also noted that anti-Russian and anti-Georgian tendencies and a desire to revive Islamic extremism were evident in many of the pronouncements at the congress. (Ann Sheehy) NAZARBAEV SAYS CHEVRON DEAL TO BE SIGNED SOON. On a November 11 visit to the Tengiz oil and gas deposits in Gurev Oblast as part of his campaign tour for the Kazakh presidency, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said that the contract with Chevron to exploit the deposits would be signed in the near future, KazTAG-TASS reported November11. (Ann Sheehy) UZBEKISTAN TO RETAIN PROPISKA FOR TIME BEING? The Committee for Constitutional Oversight of Uzbekistan has come to the conclusion that until a political agreement is reached on the fate of the USSR and the form of a future state structure, it would be premature to abolish the propiska system, Radio Moscow reported on November 11. The comparable all-Union body recently recommended that the system be abandoned as contrary to international law. (Ann Sheehy) MOVEMENT FOR KARAKALPAKISTAN INDEPENDENCE REGISTERED. An inter-ethnic movement "Khalyk-mali," whose aim is to turn Karakalpakistan into an "independent sovereign state," has been registered in the former autonomous republic, "Vesti" reported on November11. (Ann Sheehy) TURKEY BEGINS ELECTRICITY SUPPLIES TO GEORGIA. As of November 11 Turkey began supplying electricity to the Adzharskaya autonomous region of Georgia, TASS reported the same day. Over the course of the coming winter months, this region--in southern Georgia--should receive about 250 million kilowatt hours of electricity. It is not clear what Turkey is getting in return, though this seems to be a deal between Turkey and Georgia as opposed to Turkey and the Center. This could be a sign that one of the obstacles to republican independence, namely energy dependence, is not totally insurmountable. (John Tedstrom) CALL FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST AZERBAIJAN. At a press conference in Moscow on November 11, according to AFP, Armenian Foreign Minister Raffi Oganesian called on the Soviet republics to impose political and economic sanctions on Azerbaijan for refusing to restore gas supplies to Armenia. Armenian representatives have denied Soviet news reports (see Daily Report, November11) that their republic had reached an agreement with Azerbaijan to create a buffer zone along their border, TASS said on November11. Also, Armenia denies that Azerbaijan has agreed to end its gas blockade. (Kathy Mihalisko) SURVEY ON MILITARY SERVICE IN MOLDAVIA. According to a poll of over 12,000 draft-age Moldavian youth, some 7,000 intend to serve in the ranks of the USSR armed forces, and 60% of those are willing to serve anywhere in the USSR. Almost 5,600 of those surveyed reportedly would rather pursue alternative military service. The figures were provided by Major General Viktor Nazarov, the Military Commissar of Moldavia, according to a November 11 TASS report, which did not indicate which agency conducted the survey. Nazarov also noted growing rates of desertion among those young men drafted to other parts of the USSR, but said that investigations into related claims of brutality usually proved groundless. (Stephen Foye) BALTIC STATES REAL NEGOTIATIONS SET. At their latest meeting on November 10, Soviet and Estonian negotiators agreed in writing on a protocol to govern disengagement talks, BNS reported the next day. The two sides issued a joint communique in which they outlined four issue areas under discussion: state borders; humanitarian-legal questions (read "citizenship issues"); protection of citizens' social rights; and troop withdrawals and property disputes. Negotiators indicate that the toughest issue to resolve will involve disputed territories. The full delegations will meet for the formal start of substantive talks in the beginning of December. (Riina Kionka) CONSCRIPTION BEGINS IN ESTONIA. Registration into Estonia's national defense forces began on November 11, according to BNS. Newly-formed military commissions have sent draft notices to the homes of eligible young men, who are supposed to register with the commissions. After a physical examination, the draftees will attend a training course in Remnik, from which they will be assigned to serve with a given unit. There are no laws on the books yet governing draft evaders in Estonia. According to Acting Director of the Estonian Defense Forces Ants Laaneots, Estonia will probably institute a system similar to Lithuania's in which draft evaders are fined 500 rubles. (Riina Kionka) MERI AT NATO. Estonia's Foreign Minister Lennart Meri will visit NATO headquarters in Brussels today (November 12), according to Western agencies. Meri will have talks with NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner, and meet member states' permanent representatives to the organization. Last week, NATO called on Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to participate in increased cooperation between Eastern Europe and NATO. (Riina Kionka) ARMY COUNCIL SAYS TROOPS SHOULD STAY IN BALTIC. A council claiming to represent Soviet troops stationed in the Baltic on November 9 appealed to the political leaderships of the Baltic states, the RSFSR, and the USSR, in an effort to avoid redeployment out of the region. As reported by Radio Moscow, the appeal said living quarters outside the Baltic remained inadequate, and demanded that all decisions on redeployments be cleared with the council. The appeal appears to contradict statements made by military leaders in the Baltic prior to the August coup that alleged that soldiers faced inhospitable living conditions in the region. (Stephen Foye) G-24 WELCOMES BALTIC STATES, ALBANIA. On November 11 the Baltic States and Albania were welcomed as the newest East European nations eligible for aid from the G-24 group of industrialized countries. According to Frans Andriessen, EC External Relations Commissioner, the group can help the Baltic States diversify their economies, reduce dependance and play a role in the international economy, reported Western agencies that day. The G-24 also provides direct aid to Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. (Dzintra Bungs) SAMARANCH INVITES BALTIC STATES TO OLYMPICS. Following a vote by the International Olympic Committee members to admit Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to next year's summer and winter games, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch on November 11 sent invitations to the Baltic states to participate in the games. The IOC Executive Board already recognized the Baltic national Olympics committees in September in Berlin, shortly after the USSR recognized Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as independent countries, according to Western agency reports of November 11. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIANS CALM OVER PRICE HIKES. The reaction in Lithuania was generally calm to the increase in prices for basic foodstuffs on November 11 that came about as a result of the government's decision gradually to lift price controls, Western agencies reported that day. Many Lithuanians said they felt that the price increases were necessary to reduce state subsidies and institute a market economy. Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius indicated that on November 15 price controls would be lifted on more goods. (Dzintra Bungs) SAS TO VILNIUS. Scandinavian airline SAS announced in Copenhagen on November 11 that it plans to open a twice-weekly Copenhagen-Vilnius route on January 21, 1991. The new route, operated within the framework of the European Quality Alliance Network (consisting of SAS, SwissAir, and Austrian Airlines), means that SAS will be present in all three Baltic states, Western agencies reported on November11. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA SEEKING GRAIN, ELECTRICAL ENERGY, AND GASOLINE. According to various dispatches from Diena of November 11, Latvia needs about one million tons of grain this winter on top of the 100,000 tons promised by the United States; it is not clear where this grain will come from. Gasoline is also difficult to obtain for the ordinary consumer, even for free market prices; no solution to the problem appears to be in sight. Furthermore, Estonia has announced that in 1992 it will provide only 40% of the electricity that it had provided Latvia in 1990; Latvia produces only 50% of the electrical energy it needs. (Dzintra Bungs)
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