The burnt child shuns the fire until the next day. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 228, 03 December 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION AND INTER-REPUBLICAN TOPICS




GORBACHEV WARNS OF NEW COUP. Interviewed in this week's issue
of Literaturnaya gazeta, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev says
a new coup may be in preparation "by someone from the military-industrial
complex, someone from the Communist Party structures." Gorbachev,
whose remarks were summarized by TASS on December 3, said a coup
can be averted by pushing ahead with reforms. Commenting on the
situation in Ukraine, Gorbachev said it was shameful to try to
provoke confrontation between Russians and Ukrainians. His main
aim, he said, is to avoid bloodshed and to build a world in which
the ties that bind people are so strong that even "Jesus Christ
could not untie these knots." (Elizabeth Teague)

RUBLE PLUNGES AGAINST DOLLAR. In the first day of almost unrestricted
trading in Moscow, the exchange rate for the ruble plunged on
December 2 to around 80 to the US dollar, Western agencies reported
December 2. Exchange rate controls for foreign tourists visiting
the USSR and for Soviet citizens travelling abroad had been largely
lifted with effect from December 1. Although the USSR Gosbank
had been offering a tourist rate of 47 rubles to the dollar in
recent weeks, the exchange rate has fluctuated at hard-currency
auctions and at commercial banks between 70 and 124 rubles to
the dollar. (Keith Bush)

STOLYAROV TO HEAD DEFENSE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE. At a meeting on
November 30, the Defense Ministry collegium named Major General
(of Aviation) Nikolai Stolyarov chairman of the newly created
Committee for work with military personnel, TASS reported on
December 2. The Committee is to take over many of the duties
of the former Main Political Administration, and the Defense
Ministry commission charged with liquidating that body reportedly
agreed to Stolyarov's appointment. Stolyarov is a former political
officer, who earlier was a member of the CPSU Central Committee.
He supported RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin during the attempted
August coup, and in its wake was appointed a deputy chairman
of the USSR KGB. (Stephen Foye)

USSR TURNS OVER PRAGUE SPRING FILES. Soviet ambassador to Czechoslovakia
Aleksandr Lebedev has given Czechoslovak authorities over 200
pages of archival material--including previously classified cables
which passed between Moscow and the Soviet embassy in Prague--in
an effort to shed light on the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia
in 1968. Czechoslovak authorities are particularly eager to see
a letter allegedly written by Czechoslovak Communist Party officials
inviting the Warsaw Pact intervention. According to Soviet ambassador
Lebedev, "no letter of invitation is among the documents . .
. . It is quite possible that it does not exist." More documents
are to follow, Western agencies reported on December2. (Suzanne
Crow)

USSR SUPREME SOVIET DELEGATION TO JAPAN. A delegation of the
USSR Supreme Soviet left December 1 for Japan, TASS reported.
The Soviet deputies plan to discuss prospects for concluding
a bilateral peace treaty and settling the Kurile Islands dispute.
(Carla Thorson)

CPSU GAVE US COMMUNISTS $2 MILLION PER YEAR.
According to Aleksandr Drosdov, editor of Rossiya, the CPSU gave $2
million annually to the Communist movement in the US with an
occasional supplement of an additional $1 million. Drosdov is
working on a book about CPSU allocations abroad and claims that
he has seen records dating back to the 1960s, The New York Times
reported on December 1. (Suzanne Crow)

YAKOVLEV SEES DECLINE OF DEMOCRACY. Aleksandr Yakovlev warned
a meeting of the Political Council of the Democratic Reform Movement
held in Moscow December 2 that the USSR is steadily drifting
further away from the democratic path of development. Yakovlev's
observation was cited by an anchor of "TV Inform" later that
day. (Julia Wishnevsky)



REPUBLICS

PRELIMINARY REFERENDUM RESULTS IN UKRAINE. Official preliminary
results of the December 1 referendum in Ukraine show that 90.85%
of voters approved of Ukrainian independence, Radio Kiev reported
on December2. More than 60% voted for Chairman of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk as Ukraine's president. The results
were announced by the chairman of the Central Electoral Commission.
(Roman Solchanyk)

US MOVES TOWARDS RECOGNITION OF UKRAINE. White House spokesman
Marlin Fitzwater yesterday welcomed Ukraine's referendum on independence
as "a tribute to the spirit of the Ukrainian people" and announced
that Secretary of State James Baker would visit Kiev and Moscow
next week to discuss Ukrainian independence, Western news agencies
reported. Baker's trip will be preceded by the visit of a special
State Department envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Niles.
Fitzwater said that "we obviously are moving toward full diplomatic
recognition." (Roman Solchanyk)

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF UKRAINE. Poland yesterday became
the first country to recognize Ukraine as an independent state
and establish diplomatic relations, Radio Kiev and TASS reported
on December 2. Also yesterday, Canada announced that it will
recognize Ukraine and begin negotiations on diplomatic relations
shortly, and Czechoslovakia said that it is prepared to extend
recognition as well. Several other West European states yesterday
commented on the referendum and suggested that they will be moving
towards establishing diplomatic ties. (Roman Solchanyk)

KRAVCHUK: COLLECTIVE CONTROL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Kravchuk would
like to see the four republics where Soviet strategic nuclear
weapons are based--Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, and Kazakhstan--form
a collective body to control all nuclear weapons throughout the
former USSR, according to press accounts of his December 2 news
conference. At the same time, he was quoted by The New York Times
as stating that the Ukraine was not demanding "a finger on the
nuclear button." The implications of Ukrainian independence for
the security of Soviet nuclear weapons is one of the topics to
be discussed at a special NATO meeting to be held on December
3. The topic will also be high on Baker's agenda when he visits
Kiev later in the month. (Doug Clarke)

GAIDAR PROPOSES BUDGET CUTS. RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Yegor
Gaidar told the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Presidium on December 2
that Russia will assume responsibility for much of the Union
budget provided that all republics undertake to cut their expenditures
by at least 15%, Western agencies reported that day. A draft
resolution on a joint union and RSFSR emergency budget to cover
the rest of this year will be presented to the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet on December 5. It stipulates that Russia will cover the
expenditures of all republics for defense, debt servicing, and
other necessary items. [On November 30, Yeltsin stated that Russia
would underwrite the salaries of state employees]. (Keith Bush)


RUSSIAN PRICES TO BE FREED IN DECEMBER? During a visit to Khabarovsk
on December 1, RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov
said that prices will probably be liberalized in Russia in mid-December,
TASS reported on December 2. (The RSFSR government adopted a
draft law on price liberalization on November 29). The freeing
of prices before the end of 1991 would be in line with Yeltsin's
original timetable, as set out in his October 28 speech, but
this deadline has been criticized and implicitly amended by Gaidar,
Burbulis, and others. Meanwhile, RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi withdrew his threat to resign if prices in Russia are
freed soon, TASS reported on December 2. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK SHORT OF CASH. Inform-TV and Western agencies
reported on December 2 that the Russian Central Bank is either
withholding or delaying the payment to institutions and enterprises
of funds for the 13th-month bonus and long-service bonus payments
traditionally due on December 1. Bank sources attributed the
move to shortage of cash, but confirmed that money would be available
for the payment of salaries, pensions, and stipends. (Keith Bush)


UNEMPLOYMENT PROJECTION. RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister for Social
Affairs Aleksandr Shokhin told The Financial Times of November
29 that up to 15 million people could become long-term unemployed
over the next two to three years. Around 30 million could lose
their jobs, but half of these should find new employment quickly.
Sixty pecent of the unemployed would be in Russia, where much
of the obsolete industry is located. Shokhin said that Russia
was seeking a $12 billion stabilization fund to help introduce
internal convertibility of the ruble, as well as further debt
relief following the recent agreement with the G-7 nations. (Keith
Bush)

CENSORSHIP IN RSFSR TV? Until recently, journalists from RSFSR
TV said that they did not face any censorship. Nonetheless, a
program by well-known St. Petersburg TV journalist Bella Kurkova
sharply criticizing the office of the RSFSR General Prosecutor
was broadcast only on a channel in the Soviet Far East (Orbita
TV) and did not appear on the Moscow channel of RSFSR TV. (Kurkova
criticized the search of a former CPSU Central Committee employee
who leaked materials on CPSU financing of Western communist parties
to the RSFSR government weekly Rossiya.) In the past, such discrepancies
frequently occurred on Central TV. (Julia Wishnevsky)

NEVZOROV'S PROGRAM CANCELLED. The regularly-scheduled St. Petersburg
TV show "600 Seconds" moderated by controversial reporter Aleksandr
Nevzorov was taken off the air December 1 on the personal order
of the city's mayor Anatolii Sobchak. On December 1 Radio Moscow
cited the chairman of the St. Petersburg Television and Radio
Broadcasting Company, Viktor Yugin, as saying the main reason
behind the action was Nevzorov's support for the attempted coup.
Meanwhile, RFE/RL learned last week that Nevzorov, along with
Colonel Viktor Alksnis, has set up a movement called "Nashi"
(Our People) to combat the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
(Vera Tolz)

REFERENDUM SHOWS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR INGUSH REPUBLIC. Preliminary
results of the Ingush referendum inNovember show that 97.4% of
those who voted in favor of forming a separate Ingush republic
in the RSFSR with the return of the Prigorodnyi raion of North
Ossetia and with its capital in the right bank part of Vladikavkaz,
TASS reported on December 2. According to the referendum commission,
92,000 Ingush or over 70% of adult Ingush took part in the referendum.
This contrasts with the earlier claim by RIA that only 5% had
taken part (see Daily Report of December 2). (Ann Sheehy)

USSR CONSTITUTIONAL COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE ON NKAO. The USSR Constitutional
Compliance Committee chairman, Sergei Alekseev, announced on
December 1 that actions taken by Azerbaijan and Armenia concerning
Nagorno-Karabakh were unconstitutional, Interfax reported on
December 2. The ruling was made in connection with Azerbaijan's
decision to revoke the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh,
and follows the USSR State Council Resolution last week calling
on Azerbaijan and Armenia to cancel all acts concerning the disputed
enclave's legal status. (Carla Thorson)

NAZARBAEV THREATENS TO TAKE TOUGH MEASURES. Soviet and Western
news agencies reported on December 2 that Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev, reelected with 98.8% of the vote, told a post-election
press conference that he interpreted his landslide win as a mandate
for "more resolute measures in the economic field." Nazarbaev
warned that there will be greater social tensions during the
transition to a market economy, and all political parties should
work together to solve problems. If any try to act outside the
framework of the law on public organizations, severe measures
will be applied. The remark was probably directed at the small
Kazakh nationalist parties, Jeltoqsan and Alash. (Bess Brown)


SNEGUR INDEFINITELY DEFERS REUNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. Interviewed
in Le Monde of November 28, Moldavian President Mircea Snegur
said that Moldavians "are not prepared" to reunify with Romania,
and that reunification "is a matter for the next generation or
even later." According to a recent opinion survey, only 15% of
Moldavians favor reunification, Le Monde was told. This is the
latest in a series of statements by Snegur pointing to the unpopularity
of the idea of reunification. Leaders of the opposition Popular
Front do not dispute such estimates but blame Snegur for not
working to change public opinion. (Vladimir Socor)

Compiled by Sallie Wise Chaballier and Charles Trumbull



EASTERN EUROPE


BALTIC STATES


ALKSNIS: BALTIC INDEPENDENCE AN ILLUSION. After a noisy demonstration
in St. Petersburg on December 2 by conservatives calling for
the reinstatement of Aleksandr Nevzorov's TV program "600 seconds,"
Col. Viktor Alksnis told Western agencies that Baltic independence
is an illusion: once the economies collapse, Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania would be back within the USSR. He warned that Russians
in the Baltic States have only begun to fight for their rights.
Though Alksnis is of Latvian extraction, he has been a leading
spokesman of Soviet conservatives wanting to maintain the integrity
of the USSR, an advocate of Russian rights, and a supporter of
OMON. (Dzintra Bungs)

VATICAN'S ENVOY TO THE BALTIC STATES. On November 30 it was announced
that Pope John Paul II has appointed Bishop Justo Mullor Garcia
as ambassador to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the RFE/RL Vatican
City correspondent reported that day. Prior to this appointment,
Bishop Mullor Garcia, a Spaniard, held diplomatic posts for the
Vatican in Europe, Africa, and at the UN. (DzintraBungs)

MEETING WITH LITHUANIAN BISHOPS. On December 2 Chairman of the
Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis and Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius met for more than two and a half hours with
the Lithuanian bishops, Radio Lithuania reported that day. Deputy
Chairman of the Lithuanian Conference of Bishops Antanas Vaicius
said that he viewed state policies as positive and is grateful
for financial support, especially for the seminary in Telsiai.
The continued return of church properties was discussed. Plans
for a visit to Lithuania by Pope John Paul II will only be made
after papal nuncio Mullor Garcia establishes his residency in
Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius)

SOVIET ARMY PROPERTY IN LITHUANIA... On December 2 Deputy Chairman
of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius commented
on Radio Lithuania on the law regulating property occupied by
the Soviet armed forces. Because the land belongs to the state,
all agreements giving land to the military were declared to have
been illegal from the time of their signing. Any attempts to
sell properties, such as the airport in Siauliai, are illegal
unless approved by the Lithuanian government. Lithuania is willing
to continue to supply water and other utilities to bases on a
commercial basis and does not immediately intend to change the
production of military factories. (Saulius Girnius)

... AND LATVIA. Soviet armed forces have given up two buildings
in Riga, the former German embassy and the Latvian Society building.
Still under discussion is the transfer of the USSR Baltic Military
District museum in Pils Street to another site. Referring to
statements by Latvian government's counsellor on defense affairs
Eriks Tilgass, BNS also reported on December 2 that troops are
being reduced in the military training base in Adazi. The training
base in Varme, near Liepaja, has been handed over to Latvian
border guards. No new USSR army recruits are being brought into
Latvia. According to Tilgass, a government commission will be
formed to oversee the Soviet troop departure from Latvia. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIA TO COOPERATE IN INVESTIGATION OF NAZI WAR CRIMES. The
State Prosecutor's Office of Latvia will cooperate with Canada
and Great Britain in the investigation of Nazi war crimes, reported
BNS on November 29. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIA STILL LOOKS EASTWARD. Some 95% of Estonia's economic
relations are with entities in the East and only 5% with firms
in Western states, according to Material Resources Minister Aleksander
Sikkal. Sikkal told BNS on December2 that many partners in the
East, especially states in Central Asia, still want to conclude
the sorts of trade agreements that were possible in 1990, "during
the period of relative prosperity," but Estonian enterprises
need to be able to deal as independently as possible in the eastern
market. Sikkal noted that Estonia is currently conducting intense
talks with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
(Riina Kionka)


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