|When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. - Katherine Mansfield|
No. 221, 21 November 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION AND RSFSR GORBACHEV ADDRESSES USSR SUPREME SOVIET. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the USSR Supreme Soviet on November 20 following the G-7 meeting with republican leaders and appealed to the leaders of the twelve former Soviet republics to sign the new Union treaty, TASS reported November 20. He said that the Soviet Union is headed toward economic and political catastrophe if the Union is not renewed. He cited the growing budget deficit as the main reason for the USSR's economic decline, giving a figure of 300,000 million rubles combined Union and republics deficit for this year. Gorbachev also told deputies that industrial production was expected to fall by 7% compared with last year, and agricultural output by 9%, while imports were down by 42% and exports by 31%. (Carla Thorson) STATE COUNCIL ON ARMED FORCES. The USSR State Council adopted a resolution on November19 that called for maintenance of a unified armed forces and for preservation "of the present status of the Soviet armed forces on the territories of the sovereign republics," according to TASS and Western agencies. On the same day Gorbachev also issued a decree that established a new service branch, the Strategic Deterrence Forces, that would concentrate all strategic forces under one command (see November 19 Daily Report). These two actions, combined with the Defense Ministry announcement on protecting army property (see below), indicate a renewed effort by All-Union forces to maintain control over the armed forces. (Stephen Foye) ARMY WILL DEFEND ITS PROPERTY. Facing mounting efforts by republican governments to dismember the armed forces, a Soviet Defense Ministry spokesman on November 20 was quoted in The Washington Post as saying that such efforts "cannot be tolerated any longer" and that "the armed forces have every [legal] right to defend themselves and their property." His remarks followed the issuance of a joint statement by the Defense and Interior Ministries on November 19 that denounced attempts to divide up army property and said that the armed forces are empowered to take all the necessary steps, including use of arms, to protect army property. The action would appears to be aimed at Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan in particular. (Stephen Foye) SHEVARDNADZE: "NO RIGHT TO STAND ASIDE." In an interview with Komsomolskaya pravda published on November 21, Eduard Shevardnadze said he agreed to run the Soviet Ministry of External Relations because the USSR is in a crisis, and "if a man can do something useful, he has no right to stand aside." But, Shevardnadze also said the decision to come back was more difficult than his decision to quit in December, 1990. Radio Rossii (November 20) cited Shevardnadze as saying one of the first items of business on his agenda is to visit the capitals of the Soviet republics and hold negotiations with leaders there. He said he is open to dialogue with all of his opponents. Shevardnadze was appointed by a Presidential decree to head the Soviet foreign affairs apparatus on November 19. His predecessor, Boris Pankin, was named ambassador to Great Britain, TASS reported November 19. (Suzanne Crow) SHEVARDNADZE OPPOSES SANCTIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA. In an interview with Russian Television on November 20, Shevardnadze said regarding European Community (EC) economic sanctions on Yugoslavia: "I do not believe in sanctions. I do not think that all the possibilities for negotiations are exhausted." (Suzanne Crow) YELTSIN TO GERMANY. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin will meet chancellor Helmut Kohl and heads of major political parties on the first day of his 3-day visit to Germany, which begins November 21, TASS reported on November 20. He will discuss the establishment of direct relations between the foreign ministries of Russia and Germany. Yeltsin is also scheduled to meet President Richard von Weizsaecker and leading businessmen. On the third day, he will visit the "Daimler Benz" enterprises in Stuttgart and then fly to Potsdam and Wuensdorf to inspect the Western Group of Forces. Yeltsin will be accompanied by all the top Russian government officials, including Gennadii Burbulis, Egor Gaidar, Andrei Kozyrev, Pavel Grachev and Yurii Petrov. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN INTERVIEWED ON GERMAN TV. In interviews broadcast on channels I and II of German TV on November 20, Yeltsin said that he is not coming to Germany to beg for money, emphasizing that Russia is strong enough to survive on its own. Asked whether Russia was considering handing Erich Honecker over to Germany, he replied that the former GDR leader should move to Chile. Yeltsin firmly rejected the idea of recreating a German autonomous republic in the region of Volgograd. He said Germans should settle in another area where nobody lives today. Yeltsin urged German businessmen to invest in Russia, saying that all barriers to foreign trade have been lifted by his latest decrees. (Alexander Rahr) VOLKOGONOV ON REFORM OF POLITICAL ORGANS. General Dmitrii Volkogonov, appointed to head a commission overseeing the elimination of the army's military-political organs following the August coup, announced on November 19 a series of measures aimed at transforming the former Main Political Administration. According to "Vesti," 320 of 345 generals formerly serving in the MPA would be discharged, while the corps of political officers as a whole would be cut by 40-45%. The number of military-political academies is also slated to be cut drastically. Volkogonov, himself at one time a hard-line MPA ideologist, has in recent years emerged as one of the armed forces most high-profile reformers. (Stephen Foye) LOPATIN ON MILITARY LEADERSHIP. Colonel Vladimir Lopatin, a long-time Defense Ministry critic and a leading military reformer presently serving in the RSFSR government, said on November 19 that the military leadership was divided by an internal struggle for power. As reported by Western agencies, Lopatin also expressed concern over what he said was the continued presence in the High Command of a number of generals involved in the August coup. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON KURILE ISLANDS. Without providing details, TASS on November 20 reported that Soviet Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov supports efforts by the RSFSR government to solve the dispute with Japan over the Kurile Islands. Shaposhnikov's remarks came during a November 19 meeting in Moscow with Japanese ambassador Sumio Edamura. On November 12 a report surfaced that the USSR Defense Ministry was taking a hard line on the Kurile Islands issue (see November 14 Daily Report). (Stephen Foye) SOVIET NAVY UNPREPARED FOR BATTLE? A former Soviet nuclear submarine captain, Anatolii Gorbachev, Nezavisimaya gazeta of November 19 that the Soviet navy is in such disarray that it would lose 85% of its fleet if war were launched. His remarks were summarized by Western agencies. Gorbachev also claimed that Soviet submarines were up to 50 times noisier than their US equivalents, and that their radars were 10 times weaker. (Stephen Foye) YELTSIN MEMBER OF USSR DEFENSE COUNCIL. Boris Yeltsin is a member of the USSR Defense Council according to a decree on the council published in Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, No. 41. The other members of the Defense Council, which is chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, are the Director of Interrepublican Security Service (MSB), Vadim Bakatin; the Chief of the General Staff, Vladimir Lobov; the USSR Minister of External Relations, Boris Pankin; and the USSR Minister of Defense, Evgenii Shaposhnikov. The decree called for the drafting of the Defense Council statutes by November 1. (Victor Yasmann) GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE (GCC) IS INTELLIGENCE COLOSSUS. According to the statutes of the new Government Communications Committee attached to the USSR President (Vedomosti Verkhonogo Soveta SSSR, No. 42) the GCC will be responsible for all types of "sigint" (signals intelligence), counter-intelligence electronic monitoring, and protection and licensing of Government, industrial and commercial communications throughout the USSR. The GCC will have three main administrations, several functional administrations including one for the RSFSR, a military-construction department, and scientific and military training academies. There will be 16 division chiefs: 1 army general; 3 colonel generals; 8 lieutenant generals and 4 major generals. Their status will range from the equivalent of first deputy USSR defense minister to commander of a military district. (Victor Yasmann) MORE ON GCC. The GCC will cooperate with commercial and market institutions making use of closed communication channels; the cost of GCC's services will range from 30 to 80 thousand rubles a year, GCC Chairman, Lieutenant-General Alexander Vladimirovich Starovoitov, told Russian Television on November 19. The GCC has taken over the former KGB's Eighth Main Administration for Communications and Cryptography, its Sixteenths Administration for Communications Interception and Sigint, and the KGB Troops and Administration responsible for Government communications. There are more than 200 corresponding members of the USSR Academy of Sciences or doctors of the science on the GCC's staff. (Victor Yasmann) NUCLEAR WEAPONS RESEARCH CENTERS. The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on November 17 that some 700,000 Soviet citizens live in ten "special closed areas" where nuclear arms research and development are conducted. According to Western agencies, the newspaper claimed to have received the information from a high-ranking Soviet military source. It said that the cities are surrounded by barbed wire and are guarded by special Interior Ministry Forces. (Stephen Foye) DETAILS OF UPCOMING DDR CONGRESS. Delegates from 14 of the former union republics--except Moldavia--are to attend the founding congress of the Democratic Reform Movement in Moscow on December 14 and 15, TASS said on November 20. Eduard Shevardnadze will open the congress; Aleksandr Yakovlev will make a major political address, while another DDR activist, Aleksandr Vladislavlev, is expected to report on the movement's draft rules. Nikolai Petrakov is expected to speak on economic policy, Gavriil Popov on reform of the power structures, and Anatolii Sobchak on legal matters and democratization. Founded in July, the DDR today has over a million supporters, TASS noted. (Julia Wishnevsky) GAS PRODUCTION UP--PRICE HIKES COULD FOLLOW. According to an official of the "Gazprom" concern, gas production in the USSR was 3.2 billion cubic meters higher in January-October than in the same period last year. Demand for gas was also up--a sign of increasing economic activity? There are tentative plans to quadruple natural gas prices in the foreseeable future. The remarks were carried by TASS on November 18. (John Tedstrom) INFLATION COULD HIT 650-700%. According to the weekly Kommersant, the monthly inflation rate has increased by four times since the beginning of the year. Reviewing the Kommersant article, TASS said cash in circulation had increased by some 35 billion ruble in the last two months. If that estimate is correct, it puts the increase of cash in circulation since the beginning of the year at some 83 billion rubles or 63%. The economics and business weekly predicts that the annual inflation rate could reach 650-700% by the end of 1991. (John Tedstrom) GORBACHEV ON URBAN-RURAL FOOD CRISIS. Interviewed on November 13 on Central Television, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that while food is in extremely short supply in large industrial cities, most rural areas have enough because agricultural products remain in the villages. Gorbachev compared the current food situation to the one faced by Stalin on the eve of forced collectivization in 1929. At that time, the agricultural surplus was brutally expropriated from the peasants to benefit the urban population. Under the new market conditions, Gorbachev said, other ways must be found to reestablish trade and food exchanges between the cities and villages. (Victor Yasmann) NEW DATA ON PRIVATE FARMING. New data released by Goskomstat (scheduled for liquidation soon) indicates that the "private" agricultural sector continues to produce an increasing share of total agricultural production in the former USSR. There are some 38 million personal farms in the USSR, some 12 million city workers have their own large gardens, and an additional 6.5 million families with smaller collective gardens. Non-state agriculture accounts for about 22% of all cattle, 33% of all cows, 22% of the pigs, and 35% of the poultry in the USSR. The non-state sector produces a full 31% of meat and 28% of milk. The largest problem, according to a TASS dispatch summarizing the Goskomstat statistics issued on November 18, is that privatization (or even destatization) of land is proceeding too slowly. (John Tedstrom) EIGHT AMBASSADORS LEAVE POSTS. Gorbachev relieved the following ambassadors from their posts on November 19: Aleksandr Baryshev (Guinea-Bisseau), Leonid Zamyatin (Great Britain), Lev Voronin (EC). The following ambassadors were assigned "other work" by Gorbachev on the same day: Yurii Dubinin (France), German Gventsadze (Ireland), Anatolii Slyusar (Greece), and Nikolai Uspensky (Sweden), TASS reported on November 19. These ambassadors were recalled following the coup for suspected sympathy with the coup organizers. The same TASS report noted that Yurii Pavlov (Chile) was relieved of his duties in connection with his retirement. Pavlov recently "defected" to accept a teaching position at the University of Miami. (Suzanne Crow) STATE COUNCIL MEETING ON MER. TASS reported on November 19 that the State Council Meeting of November 14 decided the transformation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs into the Ministry of External Relations (MER) would take place before January 1, 1992. Cadres will conduct analytical research in the area of foreign policy and foreign economic policy, and the MER will be structured on the basis of the Moscow State Institute for International Relations. (Suzanne Crow) METROPOLITAN KIRILL ON VATICAN-MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE SPLIT. Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill, who is head the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said at a press-conference in Bonn on November 19 that representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) will not participate as observers in a synod of bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe to be held at the end of November-beginning of December in Rome, TASS reported on November 19 (see October 14 Daily Report). The metropolitan criticized "categorically" the activities of the Vatican on the territory of the USSR. (Oxana Antic) RATIONING IN ST. PETERSBURG. St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak told Interfax on November20 that rationing of all food in state stores would begin on December 15. He said that a coupon system would be introduced and that St. Petersburg residents would be able to use these coupons to purchase food only in certain shops near their homes. Sobchak noted that the city is only receiving 50% of the food it needs. (Carla Thorson) BALKAR REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED. On November18 the first congress of the Balkar people in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkar republic in the North Caucasus, adopted a declaration on the national sovereignty of the Balkar people and the formation of a Balkar republic in the RSFSR, central television reported on November 18. This is only the latest of many such declarations in the North Caucasus, and will further raise tensions. (Ann Sheehy) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS INTERRELIGIOUS FORUM IN THE UKRAINE. TASS reported November 20, that an all-Ukrainian Interreligous Forum had taken place in Kiev. Representatives of the sixteen religious denominations in the Ukraine gathered for the first time in seventy years to discuss improving relations between believers of different faiths. In his speech to the conference, the chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet of the Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, stressed the guilt of the state before all religious denominations and said he believes that all church buildings, temples, and prayer-houses should be returned to believers. He added that efforts should be made to construct new church buildings since efforts to regain buildings causes interreligious conflict. (Oxana Antic) KAZAKHSTAN MUFTI AGAINST ISLAMIC PARTIES. The Mufti of Kazakhstan Ratbek Nysanbaev has resolutely refused to support the idea of the creation of an Islamic party in Kazakhstan, Izvestia reported on November 13. Nysanbaev said the creation of an Islamic party would no doubt encourage pan-Turkic ideas, which could inflame animosity between supporters of different religions. The official Muslim clergy in the Central Asian republics took a similar stance earlier, but have changed their attitude in Tajikistan in face of the popularity of the until recently banned Islamic Renaissance Party. (Ann Sheehy) MOLDAVIA INVITES FOREIGN OBSERVERS FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The Moldavian Parliament's Presidium has decided to invite foreign observers for the presidential election scheduled for December 8, Moldovapres reported November 19. The incumbent President, Mircea Snegur, who was elected in 1990 by parliament, is seeking election by popular vote and is the sole candidate remaining in the race. According to Moldovapres, the Parliament's Presidium hopes that the USA, Britain, the Baltic states, Romania, and other countries will respond to the invitation. (Vladimir Socor) SNEGUR HOLDS OUT LIMITED AUTONOMY FOR LEFT BANK, GAGAUZ AREA. In an interview in Komsomolskaya Pravda of November 13, Snegur said that he stood for "a united and indivisible [Republic of] Moldavia" but favored "national-cultural autonomy for the Gagauz" and "the status of a free economic zone" for the left bank of the Dniester. Snegur added that although "we are Romanians, the same people, with the same language," Moldavians were not prepared for reunification with Romania and that the Moldavian Popular Front's demands in that regard were "unrealistic." While coming out for closer economic and cultural ties with Romania, Snegur reaffirmed his adherence to Moldavian independence as opposed to reunification. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDAVIA TO FORM PROFESSIONAL ARMY. The Director General of Moldavia's Department for Military Affairs, Nicolae Chirtoaca, told TASS on November 19 that Moldavia has decided to form a professional army of 12,000 to 15,000 men. Its mission will be defined in law as defending the republic's territorial integrity and constitutional order. The republic will also institute a general military draft for six months of service which will be followed by two or three periodical retraining courses for all young men, enabling Moldavia to raise a volunteer force of a few hundred thousand at short notice if necessary. Legislation on military service and on the social rights of servicemen is being drafted. (Moldavia has already enacted a law on conscientious objection). (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS FORUM BEGINS. Estonian government officials began off an international conference on Baltic economic development on November 20, Mare Balticum '91, BNS reported that day. Some 400 participants from the former Soviet Union and 150 Westerners gathered in Tallinn to discuss transportation development, investment and privatization, establishment of a Baltic market, and other issues related to economic development. Mare Balticum '91 is scheduled to end on November 22. (Riina Kionka) TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar believes that Estonia has already gone through its most difficult period of transition to a market economy. Savisaar told reporters at Mare Balticum '91 that "Estonia has already survived shock therapy and now we must face grim reality." BNS reported Savisaar's remarks on November 20. (Riina Kionka) RSFSR PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR RATIFICATION. A group of deputies in the RSFSR Supreme Soviet on November 19 recommended that the parliament ratify agreements concluded months ago with the Baltic states, BNS reported the next day. Chairman of the Supreme Council Committee for Inter-republican Relations task force Vladimir Lisin told BNS, citing Interfax, that ratification of the treaties would form a solid foundation for negotiations with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regarding the future of Russians living there. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet is scheduled to discuss ratification of the agreements in early December. (Riina Kionka) MORE KGB DISCLOSURES. The Lithuanian press has disclosed that one of Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis's closest advisors worked for the KGB. Respublika, quoted by Western agencies on November 17, said that Virgiljus Cepaitis, a gray eminence in Lithuanian government circles, worked for the KGB under the code name "Josef" from 1980 to mid-1990. Cepaitis was most recently in charge of drafting laws on dealing with KGB officers and informants. (Riina Kionka) BALTS FOR COMMERCIAL COUNCIL. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian representatives to an international economics conference in Tallinn have formed a Baltic Commercial Council, BNS reported on November20. Director of Estonia's International Commercial Fund Hillar Kala told BNS that the Council seeks to increase Baltic industrial cooperation and unification, and to coordinate laws governing stock and commodity exchanges in the three states. (Riina Kionka)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.