|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 216, 13 November 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR YELTSIN AGREES TO ABIDE BY RSFSR SUPSOV RESOLUTION ON CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. A communication distributed on November 12 by Yeltsin's press secretary Pavel Voshchanov said that Yeltsin agreed with the decision of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet not to endorse his decree declaring a state of emergency in Checheno-Ingushetia and would take all the necessary measures to carry it out, TASS reported November12. The communication said that Yeltsin has "never been an advocate of solving this conflict at any price." (Ann Sheehy) GORBACHEV, STAROVOITOVA ON CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. Asked by journalists to comment on the situation in Checheno-Ingushetia, Gorbachev said on November 12 that all problems concerning the revival and self-determination of nations should be solved politically, TASS reported on November 12. Gorbachev did not name Yeltsin but said "comrades" had "impermissibly overestimated the importance of force" in settling a complex problem. Galina Starovoitova, RSFSR State Council member and Yeltsin's adviser on nationality affairs, speaking to reporters on a visit to Finland on November 12, said Yeltsin had been given poor advice when he ordered a state of emergency in Checheno-Ingushetia. (Ann Sheehy) DUDAEV INSISTS RSFSR RECOGNIZE HIM AS LEGITIMATE LEADER. Chechen President Dzhakhar Dudaev told reporters in Groznyi on November 12 that he would not negotiate with the RSFSR until he was recognized as the legitimate leader of Checheno-Ingushetia, Western agencies reported November 12. Moscow radio reported the same day that the Chechen parliament was objecting to the clause in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet resolution that the RSFSR would negotiate not with the president and parliament of the Chechen republic, but with the main political groups of the Chechen-Ingush republic. Dudaev remained in a defiant mood, saying that the entire Caucasus would rise in protest if Russia blocked his republic's drive towards independence. (Ann Sheehy) USSR MVD WAS AGAINST USE OF FORCE. The press service of the USSR MVD said on November 12 that it had come out against the use of force in Checheno-Ingushetia, TASS reported on November 12. General Vyacheslav Kommissarov and the deputy commander of the MVD troops in Checheno-Ingushetia, as well as Yeltsin's personal representative in the republic Akhmet Arsanov and the RSFSR appointee as head of the republic MVD Ibragimov, had all warned the ministry of the possible tragic consequences of the use of force. The ministry took its decision on November 9 and communicated it to the RSFSR leadership. (Ann Sheehy) KHASBULATOV APPEALS TO KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov has issued an appeal to the peoples of the Karachai-Cherkess republic in the North Caucasus to engage in dialogue to solve their problems, TASS reported on November12. His appeal follows a recent declaration of sovereignty by the Cherkess. Earlier the Karachai had proclaimed their own republic--they had their own autonomous territory before they were deported in 1943--and the local Cossacks had also proclaimed their own autonomous territory. Khasbulatov called on the population to unite to prevent "a fire" which would incinerate the yearnings of neighboring peoples. (Ann Sheehy) AFANASEV CRITICIZES YELTSIN. Yurii Afanasev, a leader of the Democratic Russia Movement, told a press conference in Moscow on November 12 that he sees "dangerous imperialistic tendencies" in RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, Radio Liberty's Russian service reported. He said the state of emergency declaration in Checheno-Ingushetia was only the latest example of such tendencies which Yeltsin has developed since the August coup attempt. Afanasev also said that the Democratic Russia Movement would cooperate with the present RSFSR leadership but does not want to be identified with it. (Carla Thorson) CENTRAL TV COVERAGE OF GORBACHEV'S PRESS-CONFERENCE. At the November 12 press conference--devoted to the publication of the Russian-language edition of his recollections on the August coup--Gorbachev confirmed that President Bush had warned him of the coup in advance, as "Vesti" quoted CNN later that night. Although Central TV devoted 30 minutes to the press conference, this part was not included in the report. Included were Gorbachev's remarks that the coup organizers indeed committed many errors, and his explanation that he had always believed that "only a madman" could launch a coup in the Soviet Union. However, the democrats, according to Gorbachev, did not learn the necessary lessons from the coup either and continue to fight each other as they did before the coup, thus losing the fruits of their victory. (Julia Wishnevsky) MORE DETAILS OF THE COUP WARNING, KGB. During the press conference Gorbachev admitted that President Bush had, in a telephone call this summer, warned him about the possibility of a coup. Gorbachev said that he failed to take the information seriously. Gorbachev also expressed suspicions that the conversation was wiretapped by the plotters, but he did not give specific names, according to TASS on November 12. All communication channels before the coup were the responsibility of the KGB's Government Communications Administration. (Victor Yasmann) CHURKIN ON UNSC SEAT. Vitalii Churkin, Chief of the Information Directorate of the Soviet Ministry of External Relations, told All-Union Radio that if the republics could not come up with a unified foreign policy, Russia would probably acquire the permanent seat on the UN Security Council. But he said that the question would not be solved "automatically," and that Russia could not expect simply to succeed to that seat after the USSR dissolves. Churkin said he fears "a kind of cataclysm may take place within the United Nations" and the permanent seat at the UN Security Council may be lost altogether, according to an All-Union Radio broadcast on November 8. (Suzanne Crow) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON NUCLEAR ARMS. Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov said in Bonn on November 12 that the USSR has begun withdrawing nuclear weapons from some republics in order to scrap or destroy them, Soviet and Western sources reported. He claimed that no republic had asked for control over nuclear weapons currently deployed on its territory, but granted that republican leaders certainly had a right to information concerning the disposition of those weapons. He added that republican leaders had also approved the Soviet and American decision to liquidate tactical nuclear weapons, and said that there are no Soviet nuclear weapons remaining in Germany. (Stephen Foye) ON INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS. Shaposhnikov reiterated that the Soviet Union would honor agreements with other countries on arms control and troop withdrawals, and said that the USSR had no reason to demand more money from Germany for the pull-out from that country that had been previously agreed upon. He nevertheless asserted that the Soviet Union should be recompensed for investments it made in bases there. He also addressed difficulties that have been encountered in the construction of housing for returning Soviet soldiers. (Stephen Foye) ON REPUBLICS AND MILITARY SERVICE. Shaposhnikov again raised fears that the creation of republican armies in what was the USSR would be destabilizing. He argued that economic constraints precluded the building of such forces and said that those advocating republican armies had rejected reason and realism. He told reporters that democratization would continue in the armed forces and, according to the November 12 "TSN," said that Soviet conscripts would next year begin serving for only eighteen months, and that the Ministry of Defense would transfer to "self-financing." (Stephen Foye) BREAD PRICES UP IN MOSCOW. Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov announced sharp increases in the retail prices for three kinds of speciality bread on the "Vesti" TV program of November 12, according to Western agencies on November 13. The two new prices given were 3.60 rubles for a loaf of Cherkizovskii dark bread [previously 0.60 rubles] and 5.52 rubles for a Saratov white loaf [from 0.88 rubles]. Popov said that the demand for bread has grown sharply because of the lack of other foods. He hoped that further price increases can be avoided until December 1, when rationing of several staple foodstuffs begins in the city. Although one Western newspaper described the price increases as applying to the whole of the RSFSR, this has not been confirmed by the Soviet media as monitored in Munich. (Keith Bush) SECURITY EXPERT IN KEY RSFSR SUPSOV POSITION. An expert on strategic security, Colonel Mikhail Aleksandrov, has been identified by October 22 Golos Ukraiiny as the Secretary of the RSFSR SupSov Committee for Inter-Republic Relations and Regional Policy. A graduate of the Higher Military-Political Academy, Aleksandrov has authored a new concept of national security as an alternative to "new political thinking". His ideas, published in Literaturnaya Rossiya on October 5, 1990 and February 22, 1991, reject "new political thinking" as an extension of "proletarian internationalism." He argued instead for a classic "nation state" approach based on a balance of power. (Victor Yasmann) RSFSR TV INVERVIEWS PETRAKOV. On November 12, RSFSR television broadcast a 55-minute talk with Gorbachev economic adviser Nikolai Petrakov. Petrakov analyzed the Soviet economic crisis, saying that totalitarianism had been destroyed but that market reforms have not yet taken effect. He argued that such reforms should start with privatization (and marketization) of land. According to Petrakov, foreign investors should enjoy the same property rights as Soviet businessmen, including the right to buy land in the Soviet Union. Asked who had changed more since Petrakov resigned from Gorbachev's team in January, Petrakov said "Gorbachev;" he added that Boris Yeltsin knows little about economics. (Julia Wishnevsky) THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY RESTORED. Militant Stalinist from St. Petersburg, Nina Andreeva, fulfilled her promise and announced on November12 the recreation of the All-Russian Communist Party of the Bolsheviks, "Vesti" reported. In a manifesto signed by Andreeva, the party announced its adherence to the "dictatorship of the proletariat." The same program of "Vesti" quoted the Lithuanian government as saying an underground CP exists in Lithuania. (Vera Tolz) UNKNOWN LENIN. About 4,000 unpublished documents by Lenin are kept in the former Central Party Archives, TASS (November 12) and Krasnaya zvezda (November 13) reported. A member of the RSFSR parliamentary commission set up to inspect the CPSU and KGB archives, Vladimir Ponomarev, said the documents have been kept secret because they don't fit into the "idealized image" of the founder of the Soviet state. Last month, historian, General Dmitrii Volkogonov, told RFE/RL that he was working on a book based on Lenin's unpublished documents. (Vera Tolz) MORE ON THE MINFIN MYSTERY. The chief of the USSR Supreme Soviet's Audit Commission, Aleksandr Orlov, told legislators on November12 about the two hidden USSR Ministry of Finance accounts, TASS reported that day. He was referring to the disclosure first made in Izvestia on November 6 (see the RFE/RL Daily Report of November 8). Orlov put the value of the two accounts at over 50 billion rubles, whereas Izvestia had given a figure of 45.4 billion rubles. USSR Gosbank chairman Viktor Gerashchenko was quoted as saying that he was almost certain that the hidden funds had not been reserved for CPSU use, but might have been set up as contingency funds for natural disasters and the like. (Keith Bush) ECLIPSE OF VNESHEKONOMBANK? The Journal of Commerce of November 13 carries an informative article on the growing competition provided for Vneshekonombank by the RSFSR foreign trade bank, Rosvneshtorgbank. A Vneshekonombank official attributed the bank's liquidity crisis partly to the withholding by enterprises of the 40% remittance tax on hard-currency earnings. The bank's current commercial arrears are put at about $5 billion. It is said that the bank is paying only companies from countries that are lending money to the USSR. The Rosvneshtorgbank representative was confident that Russia will be able to repay its 60% share of the country's foreign debt, but this may take 5-10 years [most of the obligations fall due in the next three years]. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST GLEB YAKUNIN'S INTERVIEW. On October 26 Moskovskii komsomolets published an interview with Father Gleb Yakunin, a Russian Orthodox priest who is active in politics. (He is a people's deputy of RSFSR, a co-founder of the Russian Christian Democratic Party, and the leader of the movement "Church and Perestroika".) Father Gleb, who spent years in jail for defending persecuted believers of all denominations, discussed his life and religious and political activities. (Oxana Antic) PATRIARCH WILL VISIT THE USA. Izvestia reported on November 9 that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Aleksii II will pay an official visit to the USA from November 8 to November24. The Patriarch plans to meet the head of the Orthodox Church in America, high officials of the Roman-Catholic Church, and representatives of Jewish communities and organizations. The Patriarch will also meet the President of the United States. (Oxana Antic) GORBACHEV TO CS. Czechoslovak Deputy Premier Pavel Rychetsky told CSTK during his visit to Moscow on November 12 that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will visit Czechoslovakia before the end of 1991. Rychetsky said the new Soviet-CSFR treaty of friendship will be signed during Gorbachev's visit. (Suzanne Crow) SOVIET-AFGHAN TALKS. The USSR is not insisting on any specific make-up of a future government in Afghanistan, Minister of External Relations Boris Pankin said on November 12. Speaking after talks with leaders of the Afghan resistance, Pankin said the Soviet side is willing to hold talks with all Afghan resistance groups. Pankin also proposed the creation of a permanent Soviet working delegation in Peshawar to ensure a continuous dialogue, TASS reported on November 12. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS ECONOMIC TREATY CRITICIZED IN UKRAINE. Ukraine's adherence to the economic cooperation agreement has come in for harsh criticism, Radio Kiev reported on November 12. "Rukh" has issued a statement saying that there is now a "real danger" to Ukraine's statehood. The agreement, it says, is above all a political document aimed at salvaging the Soviet empire. Presidential candidate Vyacheslav Chornovil also made clear his opposition to the treaty. Meanwhile, Ukrainian state minister Volodymyr Lanovyi is quoted as saying that, in effect, Russia blackmailed Ukraine into validating the economic agreement by refusing to sign the Ukrainian-Russian bilateral agreement unless Kiev agreed to the economic union. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN INTER-PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION. Moscow was the venue for the first session of the Ukrainian-Russian inter-parliamentary commission on cooperation between Ukraine and Russia on November 12, Radio Kiev and TASS reported the same day. The creation of such a commission was agreed upon in the Ukrainian-Russian treaty signed last November. (Roman Solchanyk) REACTIONARY BELORUSSIAN PAPER GETS A BOOST. The weekly paper My i vremya, which bills itself as "an independent leftist newspaper" but in fact is controlled by the most reactionary elements of the Belorussian Communist Party, was registered in October as a republic-level publication. Previously, it was registered at the level of the city of Minsk. My i vremya began its existence as an organ of the Party committee of the Minsk Watch Factory under the chairmanship of Viktor Chikin. Chikin, who went on to become second-in-command of the Minsk City Party committee, in October launched the neo-Bolshevik "Movement of Workers of the Republic of Belarus," which follows the ideological line of Nina Andreeva and company. (Kathy Mihalisko) GEORGIA CLAIMS ARMY EQUIPMENT. According to TASS on November 12, Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has ordered his Cabinet of Ministers to begin negotiations with USSR authorities over acquiring military equipment, weaponry, and other possessions currently belonging to Soviet military forces in the republic. (Stephen Foye) BALTIC STATES RSFSR OFFICIALS: BALTS TO BLAME. Top RSFSR officials continue to allege that the Baltic states are partially to blame for the ensuing crisis in Checheno-Ingushetia. RSFSR Supreme Council of Nationalities Chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov told a November 10 press conference in Moscow that Georgia and the Baltics states are behind the developments in the troubled area, according to BNS. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi agreed, giving as evidence that emissaries from Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Azerbaidjan, and other states had been visiting Gronzy. Abdulatipov's and Rutskoi's remarks suggest that, despite independence, the Baltic states still function as a convenient scapegoat for some Soviet officials. (Riina Kionka) NATO AND ESTONIA. NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner announced that Estonia would establish diplomatic contacts with the military alliance. Woerner made the statement after meeting with Estonia's Foreign Minister Lennart Meri on November 12 in Brussels. According to a November 12 RFE Estonian Service interview with Meri, Woerner said Estonia would set up a "liaison" with NATO. (Riina Kionka) BALTIC STATES ADMITTED TO FAO. On November 12 in Rome, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization admitted Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as members. The vote was unanimous on the admission, TASS reported the same day. (Dzintra Bungs) SUZIEDELIS: UN DUES TOO HIGH FOR BALTIC STATES. Lithuanian delegate Darius Suziedelis told the UN General Assembly's Administrative Committee on November 12 that the dues for the Baltic states are "neither fair nor equitable." He recommended the scale of assesments be 0.06% of the regular UN budget for Estonia; 0.11% for Latvia; and 0.13% for Lithuania. He said the Baltic states would ask for a review of their case, the RFE/RL New York correspondent reported the same day. He pointed out that in absence of their own currency, the Baltic states should pay according to the "realistic value" of the Soviet ruble (about 70 rubles per $1) and that the UN calculations were made at the "artificial" valuation of 0.6 rubles per dollar. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS ON USSR TROOPS AND OMON. While visiting Detroit, Lithuania's Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis said the US should press the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops from Lithuania this winter, and should tie the troop withdrawal to any offer of aid to the USSR, according to Western agency dispatches of November 12. Landsbergis also said that fewer than half of the OMON troops have left Lithuania and the rest have gone underground and appear to be preparing for a chance to destabilize the Lithuanian government. (Dzintra Bungs) HAMBURG AIR LINES INAUGURATES FLIGHTS TO RIGA. Radio Riga reported on November 12 that Hamburg Air Lines started regular flights between Hamburg and Riga earlier that day. The flights are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays between the two cities. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES CITIZENSHIP, GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE. Radio Riga reported on November 13 that the Latvian Supreme Council adopted in the first reading the draft law on citizenship on November 12; given the heated debate on the draft law, major changes are expected to be presented when the draft legislation comes up again for consideration. Today (November 13) the Supreme Council will discuss a draft law outlining the reorganizaton of the government. The proposed law stipulates trimming the government structure, eliminating certain positions, and calls for 16 ministries. (Dzintra Bungs) SWEDISH TRADE UNION MURDER TRIAL ENDS. The trial of six suspects in the murder of two Swedish trade union officials in Tallinn last January has ended, BNS reported on November12. The two men who assaulted the Swedes and left them to die in sub-zero temperatures received 14 and 15 year sentences in strict prisons. The three women who robbed the Swedes, received 3 and one-half years, 2years and 2 years plus 3 years parole in general prisons. The cabdriver who transported the two male suspects was given 1 year plus 3 years parole for not having reported the crime. (Riina Kionka)
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