|The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881|
No. 222, 22 November 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION AND RSFSR G-7 MEETING ENDS WITH AGREEMENT. After four days of meetings between leaders of the group of seven industrial nations and representatives from eight of the Soviet republics, an agreement was reached on a debt-relief package which includes a $1 billion loan and a deferment of $3.6 billion in foreign debt payments, Interfax and Western agencies reported on November 21. The meetings had been extended due to a disagreement over G-7 demands for Soviet gold to be put up as collateral for the loan; this demand has now been dropped. Eight republics signed the accord, and three of the remaining four (Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia) are expected to sign the agreement soon. Uzbekistan reportedly opposed the agreement and is insisting on paying separately. The Baltic states did not participate. (Carla Thorson) GORBACHEV ON IRKUTSK VISIT URGES RENEWAL OF UNION. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev travelled to Siberia on November 21 for informal meetings to promote economic reform and the new Union treaty, TASS and Western agencies reported. In Irkutsk, Gorbachev visited a military aircraft factory subject to conversion, a school, a children's hospital, and privately run food shops. Gorbachev indicated that his primary task would be to "win the confidence of the people." In a speech covered by Central television and in interviews with reporters, Gorbachev stressed the need to renew the Union. Interfax reported that Gorbachev warned of a situation not unlike that in Yugoslavia if the republics do not stay together, and that economic reform would be impossible without a political union. (Carla Thorson) YELTSIN APPEALS FOR TRUST. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin said in an interview on Soviet Central TV on November 20 that he will retire, together with his new young government team, if his reforms fail. He stressed the need to strengthen individual farms and said he would not subsidize kolkhozes any more. Yeltsin added that he does not expect famine in Russia and revealed that minimum wages--just raised to 200 rubles--will be increased again in January if prices rise steeply. He also said that harsh measures will be taken against criminals and corrupt elements. Yeltsin expects no more than eight republics to sign the new Union Treaty. Finally, he praised Gorbachev for his change of attitude since the attempted coup. (Alexander Rahr) GORBACHEV DOES NOT DECIDE FOR RUSSIA. RSFSR Justice Minister Nikolai Fedorov said in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung published on November 21 that should Gorbachev "adopt a disturbing position," "he will not remain as president very long." Honecker, said Fedorov, is small fish "compared to what we have here in our own country." Fedorov went on to describe the greater "monsters" in his country as "the former Politburo members or secretaries in the CPSU, and the leadership of the CPSU." Asked if he included Gorbachev among the monsters, Fedorov said only, "I've said all [that I'm going to] and have clearly delineated the circle of people involved." (Suzanne Crow) GERMANY, RUSSIA SIGN ACCORDS. On December 21, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed a statement pledging cooperation between the RSFSR and Germany, TASS reported that day. RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and his German counterpart Hans-Dietrich Genscher signed a separate agreement calling for consultations between the two foreign ministries. (Suzanne Crow) YELTSIN ON HONECKER. Speaking to reporters in Bonn after the signing of the German-Soviet joint statement, Boris Yeltsin said: "I originally didn't involve myself with the details of [the problem of returning Honecker] because it fell in the competence of Mikhail Gorbachev. I have taken a lot of powers away from him anyway and would like to leave him this one," Western agencies reported on November 21. (Suzanne Crow) YELTSIN TURNS TO OUTSIDE ADVISORS. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has invited leading economic specialists from Eastern Europe to a conference in Moscow in November, Radio Moscow reported on November 21. Yeltsin has also invited the head of the Swedish Institute for the Economy of Eastern Europe, Anders Aslund, to become his economic advisor. Aslund said that he has agreed to become Yeltsin's advisor but that his appointment has not yet been approved by the Russian government. (Alexander Rahr) MURASHEV WANTS RUSSIAN FBI. Moscow police chief Arkadii Murashev was quoted by TASS on November 21 as saying that the Russian KGB and MVD forces responsible for the fight against crime in the republic should eventually be merged into a single republican organization similar to the FBI in the US. Since he became Moscow police chief, Murashev has sought to make the city's police conform to Western standards and urged police officers to study the English language. Murashev said that at present the expenses for the Moscow police force amount to only 1% of the city's budget. Murashev expressed hope that after the recent wage increases, police service will become more prestigious. (Alexander Rahr) SOVIET OFFICERS STUDY DEMOCRACY IN GERMANY. Dozens of Soviet officers stationed in Germany are currently attending seminars on political pluralism, constitutional law, and the reconstruction of Germany following World War II, Western agencies reported on November 19. The seminars, launched by the Institute for Foreign Relations and funded by the Federal German government and the Saxony state government, began in September as part of a German-Soviet cooperative agreement. According to the reports, they have been greeted with enthusiasm by a number of Soviet officers. (Stephen Foye) SOVIET OFFICER ARRESTED IN FORMER EAST GERMANY. The German tabloid Bild said that a Soviet officer was arrested by German authorities for spying near the town of Wernigerode on the evening of November 18, Western agencies reported on November 21. According to Bild, Colonel Viktor Sherdev, identified as head of Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU) in Saxony-Anhalt, was seized while making contact with a German whom he hoped to recruit as a spy. Sherdev reportedly had 20 bottles of cognac in his car as a gift for his contact. Sherdev was taken into custody, but a second Soviet officer was said to have escaped and been quickly flown back to the Soviet Union. (Stephen Foye) CPSU CC INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT AND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. On November 18, RSFSR television aired a two-part program. The first part was devoted to a secret room in the CPSU Central Committee International Department that housed equipment for forging foreign travel documents. Viktor Yaroshenko, the head of the RSFSR State Committee for Licensing, surmised that the equipment had been used to send communist terrorists into foreign countries, including those that had provided humanitarian aid to the USSR last winter. A USSR Foreign Ministry lawyer branded such a practice as "a crime" against the international community. The second part of the show advertised the services of Gorbachev's new Government Communications Committee. TASS reviewed the show very favourably-- without even mentioning the first part of the show. (Julia Wishnevsky) KGB DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN FINANCIAL WORLD. The Public Relations Center of the Interrepublican Security Service (MSB) has issued a statement saying that allegations that state security officers hold key positions in RSFSR financial institutions are aimed at compromising Russian business circles and the security agency, Radio Moscow reported on November 21. The statement says that the reports published by TASS, Stolitsa and Vesti (see RFE/RL Daily Report of November 18) are "fiction" and that the MSB supports an investigation into the allegations. (Victor Yasmann) "NEZAVISIMAYA" ACCUSES KGB OF PSYCHOTROPIC BEHAVIOR CONTROL. The USSR Ministry of Defense, the CPSU Central Committee, and the KGB were the main contractors of the Soviet scientific community for the development of biophysical and psychological techniques of manipulation of human behavior, Vladimir Shchepilov of the Scientific Research Center "Eniotekhnika", writes in Nezavisimaya gazeta of November 19. While special parapsychological methods were used to turn an individual into a kind of "biorobot," other techniques employing specially designed "psycho-generators" were aimed at controlling the collective behavior of crowds. Shchepilov stresses that the KGB Fifth and Sixth Administrations were the prime operators of psychotropic manipulation and that such a practice is forbidden in the West. (Victor Yasmann) WINNERS AND LOSERS IN 1992 SUBSCRIPTION CAMPAIGN. Komsomolskaya pravda and Trud, the two Soviet dailies with the highest circulation, have held their positions in the 1992 subscription campaign, Izvestia and Radio Moscow reported on November 19. The current circulation of both newspapers is around 18 million. 1992 subscriptions to Literaturnaya gazeta and Ogonek, on the other hand, are 25% lower than in 1991. Argumenty i fakty, the weekly with the largest circulation in the world, will retain its record circulation of over 30 million. Interestingly, some former CPSU publications such as Rabochaya tribuna and Selskaya zhizn have registered a 150% increase in subscriptions. (Victor Yasmann) NON-STATE SECTOR GROWS. The non-state sector (cooperatives, leased firms, and joint ventures) of the economy produced some 15% of Gross Social Product in the first half of 1991, according to data provided by the analytical service "TASTA." TASTA has produced a survey of the non-state sector titled "The Non-state Sector of the Soviet Economy: Results and Trends." As of July 1, 1991, there were about 4,200 joint ventures registered in the USSR with a capital base of over 10 billion rubles. The total number of active joint ventures is much smaller, however, and their number is not likely to increase quickly in the current chaotic political-economic situation of the former USSR. (John Tedstrom) YELTSIN OFFERING SOVIET GERMANS FORMER MISSILE SITE. Yeltsin said in an interview with Radio Rossii on November 20, the eve of his visit to Germany, that in their search for relatively uninhabited territory on the Volga River on which to establish Soviet German's autonomy. The RSFSR had found a former Soviet weapons test ground (Kapustin Yar) of around 3,000 square kilometers and another 3,000square kilometers, making 6,000 square kilometers in all. Yeltsin said , that after Germans had settled there, a decision could be taken on reestablishing German autonomy. Germany's first TV network, commenting on the interview on November 20, said the offer meant Bonn could now expect hundreds of thousands more Soviet German emigrants. (Ann Sheehy) MARTIAL LAW LIFTED IN CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. Dzhakhar Dudaev, president of the self-styled Chechen republic, has issued a decree lifting martial law in the republic, TASS reported on November 21. The national guard has been returned to barracks. Dudaev had declared martial law in response to Yeltsin's decree declaring a state of emergency in the republic. Moscow Radio reported on November21 that an action had been planned to disarm the USSR internal troops in the republic. Dudaev said he knew nothing of the move and promised to stop it, which he did. (Ann Sheehy) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS UKRAINE WANTS SEPARATE RATIFICATION OF CFE. According to RFE/RL correspondent Michael Wall, German officials in Bonn said on November 21 that Ukraine is refusing to join in Soviet ratification of the Conventional Forces in Europe agreement but is considering a ratification act of its own. The officials were reporting on a trip last week to Kiev by disarmament experts of the German and French Foreign Ministries. Ukrainian authorities promised to abide by the USSR's arms control commitments but they ruled out direct participation in a ratification vote by the Supreme Soviet's Council of Republics, saying that would conflict with Ukraine's goal of dissociating itself from the USSR. (Kathy Mihalisko) CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT MEETS TO DISCUSS REFERENDUM ON SECESSION FROM UKRAINE. On November 22, an extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of the Crimean Autonomous Republic was convened to discuss the adoption of a local referendum law. At issue is the future status of Crimea, which since 1954 has been part of Ukraine. In January of this year, the inhabitants of the peninsula, which is the only territorial administrative unit in Ukraine with an ethnic Russian majority, voted in a referendum in favor of the restoration of Crimea's statehood in the form of an autonomous republic. Shortly after Ukraine's declaration of independence on August 24, 1991, the Crimean Supreme Soviet asserted the state sovereignty of Crimea as a constituent part of Ukraine. A movement seeking Crimea's secession from Ukraine, however, has successfully pressed for an extraordinary session of the local parliament to be convened to give the go-ahead for a referendum on thisquestion. (Bohdan Nahaylo) BELORUSSIA BOLSTERS BALTIC BORDERS. Belorussia's government has ordered the republic border authority to establish temporary border checkpoints with Latvia and Lithuania, BNS reported on November 21. The checkpoints, scheduled to be in place by December 1, are, intended to stem the flow of goods out of Belorussia. (Riina Kionka) GAMSAKHURDIA DISBANDS GEORGIAN KGB. Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has issued a decree reorganizing the republic's KGB into a National Security Department under his personal supervision, TASS reported on November 19. The Georgian parliament is expected to pass a law specifying the functions of the new department. (Liz Fuller) SABOTAGE SUSPECTED IN NKAO HELICOPTER CRASH. Azerbaijani officials have claimed that the helicopter crash in Nagorno Karabakh's Martuni raion on November 20 in which at least 21 people, including the Azerbaijani Procurator and a deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, were killed, was caused either by a bomb or a missile attack. Initial TASS reports on November 20 stated that the helicopter, carrying officials to a new round of talks on the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, had crashed in heavy fog. Later reports imply sabotage. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov has decreed three days mourning and called for an emergency session of parliament to debate the incident. (Liz Fuller) KARIMOV AGAINST LATEST DRAFT OF UNION TREATY. Addressing the Uzbek Supreme Soviet on November 19, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov said that Uzbekistan could not sign the latest draft of the Union treaty, UzTAG-TASS reported on November 19. Karimov said the draft did not take full account of the state independence of the republic; the Union states should not only be members of the international community, but also subjects of international law. The draft also did not make plain that the treaty participants should build their relations on a basis of equality and non-interference in each others affairs. This could reproduce the old division into "elder" and "younger" brothers, Karimov added. (Ann Sheehy) MOLDAVIA'S DEBT COMMITMENT TERMED "FINANCIAL SERVITUDE." In a statement released through Moldovapres on November 21, the Moldavian Popular Front's parliamentary group charged that the Moldavian government's adherence to the Moscow memorandum of November 19 on the sharing of USSR external debt obligations among republics was "reattaching our republic's economy to that of the empire for purposes of debt repayment." Moreover, the commitment was "consigning us and our descendants to an unprecedented financial servitude." The deputies declared that there was no moral or legal justification for "forcing occupied peoples striving for independence to pay the debts of their conquerors." (Vladimir Socor) ROMANIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH CALLS FOR RETURN OF NORTHERN BUKOVINA, SOUTHERN BESSARABIA. In a statement released through Rompres on November 19, Patriarch Teoctist, the head of Romania's Orthodox Church, called on the Romanian government to initiate talks with Ukraine for the return of northern Bukovina and southern Bessarabia. The patriarch's call caps a series of statements by Romanian political parties and civic associations in connection with the impending referendum on Ukraine's independence. The Romanian parliament adopted a resolution along similar lines in June of this year. The government has not spoken out, but on November 19 Western agencies cited Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Traian Chebeleu as saying that the government "recognizes that these are stolen Romanian territories. The only question is how the reparations should be made." (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES ESTONIA JOINS EC YUGOSLAVIA SANCTIONS. Estonia has agreed to abide by EC sanctions against Yugoslavia, BNS reported on November 20. The Netherlands--currently chairing the EC--this week asked Estonia to comply both with the EC's November 8 decision to impose economic sanctions against Yugoslavia and with any possible further moves by the UN. Estonian Foreign Ministry press secretary Tiit Pruuli told BNS that the government agreed to the request at its November 19 meeting. Estonia's decision to comply is of greater symbolic than economic value, and will not apply to Slovenia, which Estonia recognized on September 25. (Riina Kionka) LATVIA CREATES PROPAGANDA MINISTRY, SELF-DEFENSE FORCE. Latvia's government reorganization creating two new ministries but abolishing or combining six others is now complete, according to Diena of November 21. The new Ministry of State, headed by Janis Dinevics, will be in charge, among other duties, of popularizing the work of the Latvian government and prime minister "among the masses." The Ministry of Defense, headed by Talavs Jundzis, will run an 8-9,000 strong self defense force drawn from among volunteers and conscripts. Both of Latvia's new ministers are members of the Supreme Council. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA CONGRATULATES SHEVARDNADZE. The Estonian government has joined wellwishers worldwide in welcoming back Eduard Shevardnadze as Soviet Foreign Minister. Estonian Deputy Foreign Minister Rein Mullerson sent a congratulatory telegram to Shevardnadze on behalf of Foreign Minister Lennart Meri on November 20, BNS reported the next day. Mullerson noted that much has changed in the USSR since Shevardnadze last served in his current post, and called on him to act in the spirit of the Paris Charter. Mullerson also invited Shevardnadze on Lennart Meri's behalf to visit Estonia. (Riina Kionka) UZBEK-ESTONIAN AGREEMENT. Uzbekistan has agreed to sell Estonia 23-25,000 tons of cotton next year, BNS reported on November 21. The agreement is the first step toward concluding an general trade agreement between the two republics, BNS said. (Riina Kionka) LITHUANIAN-ARMENIAN TIES. Armenia and Lithuania have decided to establish diplomatic relations, TASS reported on November 21. The foreign ministries of both republics made the announcement that day. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA PASSES BORDER LAW. The Estonian Supreme Council passed a law regulating border traffic on November 18, Rahva Haal reported the next day. The law specifies that those entering Estonia may cross into the country only at government checkpoints, and that individuals--as well as vehicles or cargo--will be controlled. The law aims to reduce Estonians soaring crime rate by clamping down on drug and other illicit traffic through Estonia's porous eastern border. (RiinaKionka)
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