We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 224, 26 November 1991





USSR--ALL-UNION AND RSFSR

REPUBLICAN LEADERS FAIL TO INITIAL UNION TREATY. A planned champagne
ceremony for the initialing of the Union treaty by the leaders
of seven republics had to be called off when they declined to
initial the treaty at a meeting of the State Council in Novo-Ogarevo
on November 25, Soviet and Western media reported that day. It
was agreed that further revisions should be made to the draft,
which would then be submitted to the republican parliaments,
with the hope that the treaty would be signed before the end
of 1991. A dispirited Gorbachev told a press conference that
the republican leaders were under domestic pressures. The draft
of the treaty has been published in Izvestia of November 26.
(Ann Sheehy)

ONLY SEVEN REPUBLICS REPRESENTED. Only seven republics were represented
at the meeting of the State Council--the RSFSR, Belorussia, Kazakhstan,
and the four Central Asian republics. Gorbachev said that Azerbaijan
President Ayaz Mutalibov was unable to attend because of the
crisis in Transcaucasia. (Ann Sheehy)

YELTSIN SAID TO HAVE REGISTERED STRONGEST OBJECTIONS. According
to Michael Parks writing in The Los Angeles Times of November
26, the strongest objections to the draft came from RSFSR president
Boris Yeltsin. Soviet officials who were present said he wanted
greater powers for the RSFSR and less for the center. One official,
a Gorbachev supporter, said Yeltsin wanted Russia to be the political,
economic, and strategic successor of the Soviet Union, but not
everyone was prepared to hand over power to Yeltsin. Yeltsin
has been under increased pressure of late from Gennadii Burbulis
and some other members of the Russian leadership to declare Russia
the successor state to the USSR. (Ann Sheehy)

VELAYATI VISIT. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati arrived
in Moscow for a ten-day tour of the Soviet Union, TASS reported
on November 25. Minister of External Relations Eduard Shevardnadze
welcomed Velayati's plans to visit Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, saying the development
of relations between Iran and the Soviet republics is a "positive
factor in Soviet-Iranian relations." Velayati expressed Iran's
interest in opening consulates in some Soviet republics, TASS
reported November 25. (Suzanne Crow)

MILITARY BUDGET CUTS PROPOSED. A member of the USSR Supreme Soviet
Committee for Budget and Finances told Interfax on November 25
that a working group on military spending had proposed that the
planned military budget for 1991 be reduced from 96.6 to 81 billion
rubles. Yurii Andreev said that if current spending levels are
continued, the military budget for 1991 will amount to 102.7 billion
rubles. He called for significant cuts in military procurement,
and recommended that a portion of those savings be redirected
toward paying salaries for arms industry workers (Stephen Foye)


CONFERENCE ON CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS. A conference on "The
Armed Forces and Military Service in a Law-Governed State" opened
in Moscow on November 25, TASS and Radio Moscow reported. Twenty
states are reportedly represented, and RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi, Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov, and General Staff
Chief Vladimir Lobov were present. Sergei Bogdanov, head of the
Defense Ministry Center for Strategic Research, said that the
new military doctrine envisions three levels of security: national
(security of sovereign states); regional (cooperation with NATO,
the Asia-Pacific region and European countries); and global (cooperation
with the UN to secure international stability). (Stephen Foye)


GENERAL CHARGES THAT CONSERVATIVES REMAIN. A leader of the movement
"Soldiers for Democracy" told Radio Rossii on November 25 that
there is the potential for a second military putsch in the Soviet
Union because many of those associated with the first attempt
have not been removed from positions of power. Vladimir Dudnik
charged that the commission tasked with investigating military
complicity in the coup, headed by General Konstantin Kobets,
has refused to act on evidence gathered by officers throughout
the Soviet Union. He also claimed that the much-vaunted "depoliticization"
of the armed forces is a charade, and that hard-liners remain
entrenched throughout the military high command. (Stephen Foye)


TANK PRODUCTION REPORTED STOPPED. TSN reported on November 22
a USSR Defense Ministry announcement that tank production has
been halted at two major defense plants. According to TSN, a
Russian Information Agency correspondent with close ties to military
circles has identified the factories as being in Kharkov and
Nizhnii Tagil. (Stephen Foye)

INDEPENDENT ARMY NEWSPAPER ESTABLISHED. Moskovski novosti no.
46 reports that, according to the RSFSR Ministry of Information,
an independent all-Russian daily newspaper for servicemen called
Voiskovoi krug has been registered. It reportedly is the first
such publication in the country and in the RSFSR that is not
subordinated to the military high command. (Stephen Foye)

YELTSIN PLANS FURTHER FOREIGN VISITS. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin
is scheduled to visit Hungary, Italy, and Romania in December
of 1991 and France in the beginning of 1992, his press spokesman
Pavel Voshchanov told TASS on November 25. The aim of the visits
will be the establishment of direct ties between leading East
and West European states with the new Russian state. Voshchanov
characterized Yeltsin's visit to Germany as "quite successful"
because an agreement on Russian-German economic cooperation has
been reached. (Alexander Rahr)

RUSSIAN ECONOMIC COUNCIL SET UP. A new Russian Economic Council
has been set up to monitor and forecast economic developments
in the RSFSR, Vesti reported on November 25. In particular, the
Council will follow and analyze the results of Yeltsin's economic
reforms in the Russian periphery. The Council will not be directly
attached to the President or the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet, as proposed by some legislators, but act independently.
(Alexander Rahr)

CONFLICT BETWEEN RSFSR GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT? Debates last
week over RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin's economic decrees and
the RSFSR Supreme Soviet's subsequent rejection of Yeltsin's
banking decree prompted renewed discussion of a rift between
the president and the legislature. According to TASS of November 25,
the Deputy Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Vladimir Shumeiko,
rejected these speculations, saying that the problem is a lack
of coordination between the RSFSR government and parliament rather
than a conflict between them. Deputies had objected to the preparation
and publication of these decrees without consultation of the
relevant parliamentary committees, and in particular, to the
subordination of the state bank to the Russian government. (Carla
Thorson)

CENTRIST BLOC OFFERS SUPPORT TO YELTSIN. The Centrist Bloc of
political parties announced on November 25 that it was ready
to fully support the new RSFSR government, "Vesti" reported.
The bloc includes a number of fringe organizations that enjoyed
central government support prior to the abortive coup. Its members,
whose main aim was the preservation of the empire at all costs,
were critical of Yeltsin. "Vesti" quoted the leaders of the bloc
as saying that a drastic change of the bloc's policies was inevitable
after the coup. They said, however, that the bloc still advocates
a temporary ban on political parties and the creation in the
RSFSR of a committee of national salvation (apparently to be
headed by Yeltsin). (Vera Tolz)

ANOTHER COMMUNIST PARTY CREATED IN RSFSR. An unspecified number
of people met in Ekaterinburg to set up yet another Communist
party. TASS said on November 24 that the new group is called
the Communist Workers' Party (CWP). The CWP is one of several
Communist organizations set up in the RSFSR after the attempted
coup, and it is the third party in the republic to claim it is
a formal successor of the CPSU. TASS said the Ekaterinburg authorities
warned the organizers of the new party that actions would be
taken against them if they violate President Yeltsin's decree
of November 6 banning CPSU and Russian CP activities on the territory
of the Russian Federation. (Vera Tolz)

EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESS OF KOMI PEOPLE. An extraordinary congress
of the Komi people that ended in Syktyvkar on November 23 proclaimed
itself and subsequent congresses the highest representative organ
of the indigenous people and declared that the decisions of the
congress' executive organ must be considered by the parliament
and administration of the Komi SSR, TASS reported on November
23. The congress outlined measures to consolidate the state sovereignty
of the Komi SSR, including discussion of a bilateral treaty with
the RSFSR, the opening of representations in states and areas
inhabited by Finno-Ugrian peoples, and the adoption of laws on
citizenship, migration, and language. (Ann Sheehy)

TENSION IN VLADIKAVKAZ. Tension is high in the North Ossetian
capital, Vladikavkaz, in anticipation of a possible Ingush march
on North Ossetia to reclaim Prigorodnyi raion, "Inform-TV" (the
successor to "Vremya") reported on November 25. A rumor is also
going round that Yeltsin will sign a decree on December 1 returning
the raion to the Ingush. TSN reported on November 25 that Ossetians,
Russians, and others were enrolling in the Ossetian republican
guard. A congress of the Ossetian people is scheduled for November
29. Inform-TV said that some people were afraid such a congress
would create leading organs parallel to the official organs of
power, thus repeating the situation in Chechnya. (Ann Sheehy)


CALL FOR REHABILITATION OF HITLER IS REBUFFED. Adolph Hitler
must be rehabilitated as a "fighter against Communism" wrote
a veteran of General Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army (ROA),
Dmitrii Sergeevich, in Novoe Vremya no. 46. Sergeevich claimed
that only Communists were killed in German concentration camps
and that no civilians suffered from ROA or Nazi actions. He also
proposed extending World War II veteran privileges to former
ROA soldiers. A Novoe Vremya reader wrote in reply that the ROA
had one trait in common with collaborationist emigre organizations:
its activities did not contradict the goals of Hitler's regime.
Russians who fought in the antifascist resistance are the true
patriots, the reader said. (Victor Yasmann).



USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS



STATE COUNCIL CALLS FOR TALKS ON KARABAKH DISPUTE. The State
Council rejected President Gorbachev's call for Soviet troops
to patrol a 10-km buffer zone along the Armenian-Azerbaijani
border and instead summoned the presidents of the two republics
to Moscow for talks on November 27. The Azerbaijani parliament
convenes on November 25 to debate the introduction of martial
law and the severing of economic ties with Armenia following
the helicopter crash of November 20 in which over 20 people were
killed. Azerbaijani President Mutalibov failed to attend the
November 25 meeting of the State Council because of the situation
in Azerbaijan, which Gorbachev characterized as "very serious."
(Liz Fuller)

GEORGIA ENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN SOUTH OSSETIA. Residents of
the disputed district of South Ossetia appealed for the Soviet
leadership to introduce a state of emergency in the area immediately,
TASS reported on November 25. The Georgian parliament voted on
November 25 to lift the state of emergency imposed a year ago
in Tskhinvali and Dzhava raion in the hope that this move will
reduce tensions, and to open talks with the USSR MVD on withdrawing
its troops from South Ossetia. A USSR MVD spokesman stated on
November 25 that its troops would remain in South Ossetia as
they are the sole force capable of preventing an escalation of
violence there. (Liz Fuller)

NEW DEMONSTRATIONS IN TBILISI AGAINST GAMSAKHURDIA. Thousands
of students demonstrated on November 25 outside the parliament
building in Tbilisi to demand the release of opposition figures
arrested by Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Western agencies
reported from Moscow on November 25. Police monitored the demonstration,
which was peaceful. Fifteen opposition groups have reportedly
agreed to consolidate their efforts to oust Gamsakhurdia. (Liz
Fuller)

IRAN WILL NOT RECOGNIZE AZERBAIJAN'S INDEPENDENCE. Iranian Minister
of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati told Ekho Moskvy on November
25 that Iran will not recognize Azerbaijan's independence, but
intends to expand its relations with Azerbaijan within the framework
of the Soviet Union. (Liz Fuller)

UKRAINIAN PRESIDIUM ON ARMED FORCES. The Presidium of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet on November 25 issued a statement on the armed
forces of Ukraine, Radio Kiev and TASS reported that day. It
said that decisions of the USSR State Council taken earlier this
month on the preservation of a unified Soviet armed forces, plus
the USSR Defense Ministry's "ignoral" of Ukraine's sovereign
right to have its own military, are not in accordance with Ukrainian
legislation. The contradiction could have a negative effect on
morale and combat-readiness, the statement continued. The Presidium
reiterated Ukraine's intention to establish its own armed forces
only as a defense against "external military threat" and to protect
state borders. (Kathy Mihalisko)

MVD TROOPS MUST BE UNDER UKRAINIAN COMMAND. In an interview published
on November 26 in Krasnaya zvezda, Volodymyr Kukharets, commander
of the newly-established National Guard of Ukraine, asserted
that all USSR MVD troops stationed in Ukraine must be transferred
to republican command. Kukharets said that in the first stage,
the Guard will be formed on the basis of operative and special
mobilized police units and will consist of 30,000 members. That
number may rise to 50,000 depending on the situation in Ukraine
and the country as a whole, Kukharets noted. (Kathy Mihalisko)


NABIEV ELECTED PRESIDENT OF TAJIKISTAN. Rakhmon Nabiev, chairman
of the Tajik Supreme Soviet and former first secretary of the
Tajikistan Communist Party, has been elected president of Tajikistan,
TadzhikTA reported on November 25. The republic's electoral commission
said Nabiev received 58% of the votes cast, while his nearest
rival, Davlat Khudonazarov, USSR deputy and chairman of the USSR
Cinematographers' Union, who had the backing of the democratic
and Islamic parties, received just over a quarter. Khudonazarov
accused the republican leadership of falsifying the results and
claimed he had video and photographic evidence of irregularities.
(Ann Sheehy)

TWO CANDIDATES REGISTERED FOR UZBEK PRESIDENCY. Two candidates
have been registered for Uzbekistan's presidential elections
on December 29, UzTAG-TASS reported November 25. The current
president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, was nominated by the
People's Democratic Party--the successor to the Communist party,
and the poet Muhhamad Salih by the Erk party, which he heads.
Uzbek journalist Tahir Usman told RFE/RL on November 20 that
the Birlik party had nominated its chairman Abdurahim Polatov,
but that he would need to collect 60,000 signatures to back his
nomination since the party (as opposed to the movement) had not
yet been registered. Presumably Polatov did not manage to collect
these signatures in time. (Ann Sheehy)

KAZAKH PARTY BOSS CHANGES OCCUPATION. Moskovskii komsomolets
on November 13 pointed out that the former second secretary of
the Kazakh Communist Party, Vladislav Anufriev, who was known
as "a great admirer of 'socialist ideals' and a violent opponent
of the market," has become the head of Kazakhstan's largest private
corporation, "rumored to have been set up on the Party's money."
Anufriev is particularly unpopular with Moscow journalists because
he attacked their patron, Aleksandr Yakovlev, at almost every
session of the CPSU after February, 1990. (Julia Wishnevsky)




BALTIC STATES



BALTIC MILITARY DISTRICT RENAMED. Krasnaya zvezda on November
26 carried a presidential decree renaming the Baltic Military
District the North-Western Group of Forces. This terminology
is traditionally applied to Soviet military forces serving in
foreign countries, such as the Western Group of Forces in Germany.
Colonel General Valerii Mironov, who commanded the Baltic MD,
will stay on as commander of the new Group. His headquarters
was reported to be in the Latvian settlement of Adazhi. (Doug
Clarke)

US SENATE URGES TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM BALTICS. The US Senate
has approved a resolution urging the USSR to begin a prompt withdrawal
of its military forces from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The
resolution states that the continued presence of Soviet troops
threatens the peace and independence of the Baltic States. Senator
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the resolution's sponsor, said that Soviet
military personnel in the Baltic States "unfortunately... seem
to be making themselves right at home," according to an RFE/RL
correspondent's dispatch from Washington of November 25. (Dzintra
Bungs)

FIRST TROOPS LEAVE ESTONIA. A signal battalion attached to the
Soviet Navy base at Paldiski became the first military unit to
leave Estonian territory. Supreme Council State and Border Defense
Department consultant Udo Helme told the RFE/RL Estonian Service
on November 25 that 12 military vehicles left the signal corps
base at Suurupi on November 24, drove through northern Estonia
and exited at Narva that afternoon. Another unit attached to
the same base is due to follow later this week. According to
a September agreement between Estonia's Prime Minister Edgar
Savisaar and USSR Defense Minister Shaposhnikov, paratrooper
units from Voru and Viljandi were due to depart by November 3,
but the Voru troops relocated to Tallinn and the Viljandi unit
shows no signs of leaving. (Riina Kionka)

FOR SALE: MILITARY PORT, OCEAN VIEW. Soviet military units stationed
on Estonia's largest island, Saaremaa, are trying to sell the
port there. State and Border Defense Department director Toomas
Puura told the RFE/RL Estonian Service on November 25 that Saaremaa
military commanders had informed local authorities that the port
had been sold. Puura said the local leaders were not told the
identity of the new owners, who are due to take possession of
the property next week. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT: WE WON'T SELL. The Estonian government reacted
sharply to the November 25 announcement that Soviet military
commanders were trying to sell the Saaremaa port. The government
issued a decree saying that the Soviet Defense Ministry must
consult with the government before materiel is brought into or
out of Estonia. Although the move was aimed at the reported sale
of the Saaremaa port, there have been other recent instances
of military units sending their equipment out of Estonia in preparation
for withdrawal. Under the terms of the September Savisaar-Shaposhnikov
agreement, most materiel is supposed to remain in Estonia. (Riina
Kionka)

TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH THREE REPUBLICS. Lithuanian Economics Minister
Albertas Simenas returned to Lithuania on November 25 after signing
trade agreements with Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan,
Radio Lithuania reported that day. The trade will be calculated
in rubles, but arrangements were made in case one of the signatory
state should introduce its own currency. Lithuania will supply
Tajikistan with paper and consumer goods, receiving in return
metals, cotton, and agricultural machinery. Azerbaijan will send
fruits, tires and oil receiving electrical equipment, washing
machines, fish, and light industry products. Kyrgyzstan will
supply Lithuania with wool and other light industry products
worth 50 million rubles. (Saulius Girnius)

VAGNORIUS IN TOKYO. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius
has arrived in Tokyo to attend a meeting of the financial leaders
of the G-7 nations that will discuss their financial strategy
problems and their policies in the USSR, Radio Lithuania reported
on November25. The results of the meeting are likely to remain
confidential; no press conference is scheduled after the meeting.
Vagnorius will also hold discussions with Japanese leaders before
returning to Lithuania on November 27. (Saulius Girnius)

NEW PARLIAMENTARY FACTION IN LATVIA. Radio Riga announced on
November 25 the formation of a new faction in the Latvian Supreme
Council. The group, led by Deputy Janis Vaivods, consists of
31 deputies who were affiliated with the majority People's Front
faction. The new group, calling itself the Satversme (Constitution)
faction, believes that Latvia should be guided by the prewar
constitution of independent Latvia, rather than by Soviet Latvian
laws and decrees, and will take a stricter stand on this and
related issues than the People's Front faction. The Staversme
faction intends, nonetheless, to cooperate with the People's
Front faction on issues of common interest. (Dzintra Bungs)

PRISONER STRIKE IN LATVIA. On November22, prisoners in Riga,
Jekabpils, and Jelgava prisons and detention camps started hunger
strikes and job actions, BNS reported that day. It is not clear
how many prisoners are participating in the protest actions.
The prisoners want a review of their cases, changes in the criminal
code, and better prison conditions. Radio Riga reported on November
25 that a group of Latvian Supreme Council deputies are looking
into the Valmiera prison facilities; the detainees there have
announced solidarity with the striking prisoners. (Dzintra Bungs)


LATVIA OPENS TRADE MISSION IN TAIWAN. On November 25, Latvia
opened a mission in Taipei to promote reciprocal investment,
tourism, and trade, and issue visas, BNS and Western reported
agencies that day. Walter Chen, head of the mission, said that
Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis is expected in Taiwan in
mid-December to discuss a bilateral investment guarantee pact;
a Taiwanese business delegation is to visit the Baltic states
in January. Despite the fact that the Baltic states established
ties with China in September, John Chang, Taiwan's Deputy Foreign
Minister, who visited the Baltic states earlier this month, said
that Taiwan would establish trade offices in all three Baltic
capitals. (Dzintra Bungs) [As of 1200 CET]


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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