|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 219, 18 November 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION AND RSFSR OFFICE OF THE USSR GENERAL PROSECUTOR QUESTIONED. Citing the RSFSR General Prosecutor Valentin Stepankov, TASS and Soviet television reported on November 15 that USSR General Prosecutor Nikolai Trubin had resigned and financial support for the office of the USSR General Prosecutor ended on November 1. According to Stepankov, the RSFSR General Prosecutor's office would assume full control over all prosecutors in that republic. The office of the USSR General Prosecution, however, cannot be abolished rapidly because it is responsible for many important duties. All legal action involving the military, for instance, is the sole prerogative of the USSR General Prosecutor. (Julia Wishnevsky) YAKOVLEV APPEALS TO THE WEST. Soviet presidential advisor Aleksandr Yakovlev told business men and journalists in New York on November 15 that the survival of democracy in the Soviet Union depends on the West welcoming the USSR as a full partner in the world economic system, Western agencies reported that day. Yakovlev said that without the ability to trade equally with the West, and without emergency food and medical aid this winter, the USSR could face food uprisings and another coup attempt. He said, "we are not only talking about saving people, but about saving democracy as well." (Carla Thorson) WEST WORRIED OVER SPREAD OF SOVIET MILITARY TECHNOLOGY. Western intelligence officials are growing increasingly concerned over intensifying Soviet efforts to peddle arms abroad, The New York Times reported on November 16. USDeputy Defense Secretary Donald Atwood, just back from a visit to Soviet military factories, said that the US hopes to end Soviet sales of advanced weaponry "to countries that have unstable governments or have a history of aggression, or terrorism." Western officials are also reportedly concerned that Soviet scientists, left unemployed by the reeling Soviet economy, will try to sell their expertise in weapons development abroad. (Stephen Foye) SHEVARDNADZE SAYS UNION MUST BE CREATED SOON. Eduard Shevardnadze, co-chairman of the Democratic Reform Movement, said November 17 that there is still a chance for the country to form a new Union of sovereign states, TASS reported on November 17. Shevardnadze told TASS that he believes that a single economic space, a single military-strategic space, and a single legal space will be preserved and an agreed foreign policy carried out. However, "it must be done very quickly or we will lose everything." (Ann Sheehy) LOBOV ON NATIONAL ARMIES. General Staff Chief Vladimir Lobov says in the November 16 Trud that "the national question" is the most serious problem facing the Soviet armed forces today, TASS reported. As he has in the past, Lobov argued that a single, integrated armed forces remains the most effective way of ensuring security for each of the sovereign republics. He said that military reform and the creation of national military formations should be aimed at consolidating state power, not dividing it. He also proposed creation of special organs--at the center and in the republics--which would oversee military spending. (Stephen Foye) SRF CHIEF ON PARITY, UNIFIED COMMAND. Interviewed on the eve of Strategic Rocket Forces day, SRF Commander in Chief Yurii Maksimov said that the Soviet Union still faced a military threat and that Soviet security policy should continue to be based on military-strategic parity. His remarks, summarized by TASS, appeared in the November 16 Krasnaya zvezda. Maksimov also reiterated that Soviet nuclear weapons should remain unified under a single command, and that only a unified system could insure the security of each of the republics. (Stephen Foye) KGB OFFICERS CONTROL FINANCIAL CAPITAL? Senior officers of the KGB are heading many of stock, commodities, and financial exchanges, according to TASS of November 14, and Stolitsa (40). Examples abound. Senior KGB officer Mikhail Boldyrev is vice president of an umbrella financial and bank alliance, "All-Russian Stock Exchange Center," while another KGB officer, Igor Chukhalntsev, is financial director of the same firm. The "Center," 75% of whose staff is drawn from the state security officer corps, also controls another organization, the "All-Russian Immobility Stock Exchange." Also, KGB officer Alexander Sumskoy is president of the "Inventory Resources Stock Exchange." Stolitsa added that the KGB primarily launders its capital in Eastern Europe, and especially Hungary. (Victor Yasmann) SECRET MOVEMENTS OF SOVIET GOLD SPECULATED. TASS of November 15 reports that the editorial board of Izvestia is examining documents it recently received about secret shipments of gold, platinum, and other precious metals abroad in the last 45 days. The documents indicate that the total shipments (on Aeroflot planes destined for Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and other major cities) totalled as much as 5,213 kilograms. The documents appear to be fairly detailed, and list the flight number and type of aircraft used. The most recent shipment seems to have gone to London aboard Aeroflot 243 and carried 3,159 kilograms. The details of the shipments and who authorized them are still not clear. There seems to be some confusion over the tonnage of each shipment in the TASS report, but a more complete article on the topic appears in Izvestia of November15. (John Tedstrom) RSFSR TAKES OVER SOVIET GOLD, DIAMOND INDUSTRY. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree on November 15 taking full responsibility for the Soviet gold and diamond industry, Western agencies reported. Yeltsin told the Russian parliament that the Soviet gold storage facility, Gokhran, had been liquidated and would be replaced by Russian Gokhran. (Carla Thorson) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS PREPARES FOR CONGRESS. The political council of the Movement for Democratic Reforms met on November 16 to discuss plans for its founding congress scheduled for December 14-15, TASS reported. The meeting was devoted largely to practical questions. Eduard Shevardnadze, a founder of the movement, stressed that the creation of a democratic front across the entire USSR was the most important political issue facing the upcoming congress and noted that almost all democratic parties and movements in the republics have expressed willingness to cooperate with the MDR. (Carla Thorson) DEVELOPMENTS IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. On November 15 Moscow Radio reported that the Provisional Supreme Council, the body recognized by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet as the sole legitimate body in Checheno-Ingushetia, had disbanded itself. The radio gave no reason why, but it was probably under pressure from Dudaev. First Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Sergie Filatov said on November 16 that preliminary agreement had been reached that the RSFSR and Chechen-Ingush delegations would be meeting without prior conditions, but there is no sign that Dudaev has abandoned his demand that the RSFSR first recognize the Chechen republic. TASS said on November 16 that Dudaev had appointed Yaragy Mamodaev as prime minister. Mamodaev said food supplies for the winter and resistance to a threatened economic blockade by Russia are his priority concerns. (Ann Sheehy) INGUSH REFRAIN FROM MARCH ON NORTH OSSETIA. Ingush leaders and clergy have persuaded a rally of thousands of Ingush in Nazran to abandon their planned march on North Ossetia, TASS reported on November 17. Inform-TV reported on November 16 that the meeting, which has been going on for many days, decided on November 7 to embark on a mass peaceful settlement of the territory if the RSFSR took no action to return the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia to them by November 16. The Ingush have been forbidden to settle in that region for several years now. Although the meeting participants have abandoned their march, they have vowed not to disperse until their demands are met. (Ann Sheehy) RKP LEADERS TURN TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. Secretaries of the RSFSR Communist Party have protested Yeltsin's edict banning the activities of the CPSU and RKP and dissolving their structures in the RSFSR. According to TASS, citing Sovetskaya Rossiya on November 16, the former leaders of the RKP disputed the edict to the RSFSR Constitutional Court, asking it to review the edict for compliance with the norms of the RSFSR constitution and international law. The fate of the CPSU appears to be the first case to come before RSFSR Constitutional Court, which may be the first independent court since communist destruction of an independent judiciary in Russia as a "bourgeois" concept. (Julia Wishnevsky) RSFSR PARLIAMENT ENDORSES DRAFT BILL ON CITIZENSHIP. The Russian Supreme Soviet gave preliminary approval to a draft bill on citizenship, the RL Russian service reported November 15. Under the proposed law, all people living on the territory of the Russian Federation who have not renounced Soviet citizenship will acquire Russian citizenship. Dual citizenship would also be possible for people living in other republics who want to acquire Russian citizenship. (Carla Thorson) YELTSIN SUSPENDS OIL EXPORTS. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin ordered the suspension of Soviet oil export licences and ordered a review to protect domestic supplies for the winter, Western agencies reported on November 15. Russian economics minister, Yegor Gaidar, told the Russian parliament that all export licences were suspended, while another Yeltsin aid, Valery Grishin, told reporters that some international export licences remain in force. Both men said that these suspensions were necessary in order to prevent severe domestic shortages this winter. (Carla Thorson) YELTSIN APPOINTS REPRESENTATIVE TO KABARDINO-BALKARIA. Yeltsin has appointed Aziratali Nokhovich Akhmetov his plenipotentiary representative in Kabardino-Balkaria in the North Caucasus, Moscow radio reported November 15. This action was taken to "ensure cooperation between the supreme organs of executive power of the RSFSR and the council of ministers of the Kabardino-Balkar republic." (Ann Sheehy) RSFSR MINISTERS APPOINTED. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has decreed the dissolution of the RSFSR State Council, Radio Rossii reported on November 15. RSFSR State Counsellors will become advisors in a Presidential Consultative Council--an institution which existed when Yeltsin was head of the Russian parliament. Eduard Dunaev was appointed Minister of Education, Andrei Kozyrev as Foreign Minister, Boris Saltykov as Minister of Science, Mikhail Poltoranin as Minister for Mass Media, Ella Parfimova as Minister of Social Security, Nikolai Fedorov as Minister of Justice, Viktor Ivanenko as KGB Chief, and Pavel Grachev as head of the Defense Committee. A defense ministry will be formed later. (Alexander Rahr) COSSACKS OF SOUTHERN RUSSIA DECIDE TO FORM UNION OF COSSACK REPUBLICS. The Great Council of Atamans of the Cossacks of southern Russia, which met in Novocherkassk on November 17, send telegrams to the USSR and RSFSR presidents demanding the immediate adoption of a decree on the formation and arming of a national Cossack guard in southern Russia, TASS reported November 17. If no action is taken, the atamans said they would be forced to resolve the question themselves. They also demanded the creation of a commission in the presidential structures to deal with Cossack problems and decided to set up a union of Cossack republics of the south of Russia. The ataman of the Don Cossacks Sergei Meshcheryakov was elected ataman of the new Union. (Ann Sheehy) JOINT USSR-AFGHAN RESISTANCE STATEMENT. Talks between Afghan resistance groups and Soviet officials ended on November 15 in Moscow, according to TASS, quoting Xinhua on November 16. The talks resulted in a joint statement calling for the release of the first group of Soviet prisoners of war by January 1, 1992. The statement also said that the Soviet Union "intends to halt" arms shipments to the Kabul government by the same date. (Suzanne Crow) RSFSR AND USSR DISAGREE OVER HONECKER. The RSFSR government has decided that former GDR leader Erich Honecker will be expelled from the territory of the Russian Federation, Western agencies on November 16. RSFSR Justice Minister Nikolai Fedorov said the decision was made at a November 15 RSFSR government cabinet meeting headed by Boris Yeltsin. Meanwhile, Gorbachev adviser Nikolai Portugalov said Gorbachev opposes the return of Honecker based on a "moral obligation" to the former leader. (Suzanne Crow) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS KRAVCHUK ON UNION TREATY. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk says that the talks in Novo Ogarevo on a new Union treaty have no future, Central Soviet television reported November 15. The same day, TASS reported that Kravchuk told Komsomolskaya pravda that he did not believe that the Ogarevo talks would be successful. According to the Ukrainian leader, the center has compromised itself and everything has to begin anew. Kravchuk reportedly said that problems must be solved jointly, but that the center with its ministries and the presidential team are necessary in order for this to be accomplished. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK ON ANTI-UKRAINIANISM IN MASS MEDIA. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk told Soviet television viewers last night that newspapers, the central press, and Soviet television have been conducting a campaign to instigate Ukrainian-Russian animosity. This has been particularly evident, said the Ukrainian leader, since Ukraine declared its independence in August. Among other things, Kravchuk cited a tendentious interpretation of one of Taras Shevchenko's poems from the last century and the dissemination of the notion that Ukraine is withholding food supplies from Russia while wallowing in a sea of abundance. Kravchuk said he had urged Gorbachev to take a stand on this matter, to no avail. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN MINORITIES OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE. The Congress of National Minorities that recently ended in Odessa overwhelmingly came out in favor of Ukrainian independence, Western news agencies reported on November 17. The delegates passed a resolution, with only three votes against, in favor of independence. (Roman Solchanyk) GAMSAKHURDIA EQUATES OPPOSITION WITH TREASON. Interfax reported on November 16 that Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia had reiterated in a televised address November 15 that Georgia will sign neither the new Union Treaty nor the inter-republican economic treaty. Gamsakhurdia further argued that market reforms serve "only to impoverish the ordinary people and enrich corrupt dealers," and that while opposition is acceptable in a rich country, it is "equal to treason" in Georgia as long as the country is "in conditions of collapse and war." (Liz Fuller) GEORGIA REFUTES RUTSKOI ALLEGATION ON MISSILES. Interfax reported on November16 that the Georgian Presidential Press Service had issued an official rebuttal of claims made on November 13 by RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi that Georgia had begun producing short-range missiles for the Chechen Republic. In the rebuttal, Georgia denies having any plant, materials or technology for producing such weapons. (Liz Fuller) BELORUSSIA SETS UP DEFENSE MINISTRY. The Belorussian Supreme Soviet voted November 15 to establish a republican ministry of defense. The new ministry will be headed by a civilian, although a military officer will be appointed for the transitional period, according to agency reports on November 17. There is no information yet on possible candidates. The parliament ruled against creating a national guard for the time being. (Kathy Mihalisko) BELORUSSIA TO ISSUE RATION COUPONS. As reported November 14 by Reuter and November 17 by Interfax, the Belorussian Supreme Soviet has voted to introduce ration coupons in the republic beginning January 1. Under the plan, which appears similar to the system that has been in place for one year in Ukraine, coupons would be issued as a proportion of salaries. (Kathy Mihalisko) ANTI-COSSACK MEETING IN TSELINOGRAD. Moscow radio reported November 17 that controversy over the Cossack question was not abating in Kazakhstan. The radio said a well-attended, unsanctioned meeting had taken place in Tselinograd to demand the suspension of the activity of the Union of Cossacks association registered by the local authorities on November 5. The participants at the meeting said the association's activities were anti-constitutional and liable to harm interethnic relations. Anti-Cossack feeling has been running high among the Kazakhs since the Ural Cossacks celebrated recently in Uralsk under the Russian flag the 400th anniversary of their allegiance to Russia. (Ann Sheehy) GAGAUZ FORMING ARMED UNITS, ATTACK MOLDAVIAN POLICE. Following an armed raid by local black marketeers on a Moldavian customs checkpoint, in which one attacker was killed and one police officer injured, Gagauz residents in the raion center of Vulcanesti on November 13 attacked the raion police station and courthouse with submachine guns and Molotov cocktails and burned down the two buildings. One Moldavian police officer was killed and 3 were injured. The police did not return the fire. A "Gagauz self-defense unit commander" in the town telephoned to Kishinev the demands that the recently established Moldavian customs service and the Moldavian police be withdrawn from the raion. On November 15, the self-styled "chief of the Gagauz SSR MVD" told Russian TV's "Vesti" that theGagauz were forming "self-defense units" as per a decision of "the Gagauz Supreme Soviet." (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIAN PREMIER ON GAGAUZ SITUATION. Interviewed by Moldavian television on November14, Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi gave an account of the incidents in and around Vulcanesti, based on a report by the Moldavian Prosecutor's Office (as summarized above). Commenting that the original incident at the customs point was a common crime by black marketeers, which anti-Moldavian forces were trying to turn into an interethnic conflict, Muravschi also accused "forces among the central authorities" and "imperial circles" of "trying to turn Moldavia into another Karabakh." Calling for calm, Muravschi renewed assurances that "the Moldavian leadership categorically opposes any resort to force in solving nationality-related issues." (Vladimir Socor) SNEGUR REBUTS GORBACHEV ON ECONOMIC COMMUNITY TREATY. In an interview in Moldova Suverana on November 14, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur rejected Gorbachev's position--as Snegur summarized it--that an economic community of the sovereign states would have to be paralleled by a political union. Snegur, whose government recently adhered conditionally to the economic community treaty, reaffirmed Moldavia's refusal to join any political union in any form. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES ARMY TO PRIVATIZE ITS BALTIC PROPERTY? Representatives of Soviet troops stationed in the Baltic told reporters on November 15 that they intend to sell off military property in the region in order to finance their resettlement in the RSFSR, TASS and Western agencies reported. According to Captain Valerii Shorin--chairman of a Coordinating Council set up in the Baltic to represent the troops--the military will liquidate some $100 billion in property, including port facilities and airports, to finance education, accommodations, buildings, and retraining programs for returning troops. Shorin claimed to have the tacit support of the USSR Defense Ministry for his plans. (Stephen Foye) LITHUANIA WILL PAY ITS SHARE. Lithuania is prepared to assume its share of the Soviet foreign debt, according to Prime Minister Gadiminas Vagnorius, quoted in TASS on November 18. The announcement follows similar statements by Belorussia, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. During his recent trip to Japan, Prime Minister Vagnorius stated that Lithuania would shoulder its share, but the Supreme Council subsequently denied the report. (Riina Kionka) BALTS TO CONFER WITH G-7 ON USSR DEBT. On November 16 Chairman of the Inter-Republican Economic Committee Ivan Silaev met Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, envoy for Latvia's prime minister Andris Gutnanis, and Estonia's deputy chargi d'affaires Mehis Pilv, INTERFAX reported that day. The Balts agreed to send their deputy foreign ministers as observers to the November18-20 meetings in Moscow between the Union republics' prime ministers and the deputy finance ministers of the G-7 countries that will discuss the problem of the USSR debt. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN GOLD WILL SUFFICE. Return of the gold deposited abroad, and compensation for sold gold will suffice for Latvia to introduce its own currency. According to Latvian Foreign Minister consultant Guntars Abols, the hard currency that Latvia will get from compensation for gold deposited abroad, and return of the existing gold, will suffice to set up a currency stabilization fund to back up its own currency. BNS, quoting Diena, carried Abols's remarks on November 15. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA FACES INFLATION. According to official Estonian statistics, inflation in the fourth quarter of 1991 is running at about 130-140% of the same period last year. TASS of November 15 reports that the Estonian Ministry of Finance estimates the inflation rate at roughly 2% per week for the first six months. For that reason the Estonian government is planning the first six months of next year's budget. In part because of "inflation imports" from the former USSR, the 1992 budget is likely to be the last calculated in rubles. (John Tedstrom)
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