It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 231, 06 December 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION AND INTER-REPUBLICAN TOPICS



GORBACHEV AND YELTSIN ON THE UNION. The USSR and RSFSR presidents,
Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, met behind closed doors
yesterday to discuss the future of the Union Treaty, TASS reported
December 5. Gorbachev told Soviet Central TV that day that, like
Yeltsin, he cannot imagine a Union without Ukraine and that he
is confident that the majority of Ukrainians share his view.
He asserted that his role is now more important than ever before.
Yeltsin told the same TV program that he has little hope of a
new Union because of Ukraine's position. He indicated that he
favors a Slavic economic union without the Central Asian republics.
(Alexander Rahr)

INTER-REPUBLICAN ECONOMIC COORDINATION. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk is to meet with Yeltsin and Belorussian Supreme Soviet
Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich in Minsk on December 7 to coordinate
economic policy, on Western agencies reported December 5. Kravchuk
said that Russia's plans for freeing prices will dominate the
discussion; the three are also expected to explore the possibility
of forming an economic community outside the present all-Union
structures. The three, plus Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev,
are scheduled to meet with Gorbachev on December 9. (Keith Bush)


COUP RUMORS AGAIN SWEEP MOSCOW. Dissension within the Soviet
armed forces caused by abject living conditions, the breakdown
of the economy, and political disintegration has once again raised
the spectre of a military-backed coup in the Soviet Union, Western
newspapers reported on December 5 and 6. Warnings of a potential
putsch voiced recently by Gorbachev, Eduard Shevardnadze, and
Anatolii Sobchak, have, perhaps not unintentionally, raised tensions
further. According to The Times of December 5, NATO officials
attending a recent conference in Moscow said that morale among
junior and middle-level officers had plunged, and that liberal
officers were concerned over the failure of the current military
leadership to sweep hard-liners out of top command positions.
(Stephen Foye)

FINGERS POINTED AT RUTSKOI. According to The Washington Post
of December 6, suspicions have focused increasingly on RSFSR
Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi as a potential leader of a hard-line
coup. In what the newspaper described as "an extraordinary front-page
article" in Izvestia on December 5, Rutskoi reportedly dismissed
the coup rumors but suggested that "you cannot endlessly play
with people who bear arms" because it "may end in disaster."
His remarks echo those of Major General Leonid Kozhendaev, who
hinted strongly in Komsomol'skaya pravda on November30 that a
faction within the General Staff was losing patience with the
Soviet political elite (see Daily Report of December 2). (Stephen
Foye)

CONTROL OVER NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Control over Soviet nuclear weapons
formerly was shared by the USSR President, the USSR Defense Minister,
and the chief of the General Staff. According to Informatsionnoe
voennoe agentsvo "Krasnaya zvezda" (November 18-24 Daily Report),
in the aftermath of the putsch, the Center agreed to hand over
the USSR Defense Minister's "black briefcase" containing nuclear
launch codes to Army General Konstantin Kobets, who at that time
was de facto Russian Defense Minister. (Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN APPEALS TO HEADS OF ALL CONFESSIONS. On December 5, the
sixtieth anniversary of the destruction of the Church of Christ
the Saviour in Moscow, Yeltsin issued an appeal to "heads of
confessions" and to believers. In the appeal, Yeltsin said that
the hearts of millions of Orthodox believers are filled with
sadness because that church had been one of the largest Orthodox
churches in the world, and its destruction symbolized the rude
suppression of believers. The Russian President expressed his
gratitude to the clergy and believers for their contribution
to the reconstruction of humanity and morals. (Oxana Antic)


USSR--REPUBLICS AND SUCCESSOR STATES


KRAVCHUK INAUGURATED UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT. Leonid Kravchuk yesterday
was inaugurated as President of Ukraine at a ceremonialsession
of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, Radio Kiev, TASS, and Western
news agencies reported on December 5. Kravchuk's speech outlined
the domestic and foreign policies of "the new European state."
Kravchuk said that Ukraine intends to guarantee human rights
and integrate its economy with the economies of the former republics,
with priority given to private land ownership, conversion of
military industries, introduction of a nationalcurrency, and
a system of social guarantees. He also stressed equal rights
for all national minorities and is prepared to cooperate with
all countries of the world and maintain friendly relations with
all of the former republics, especially Russia. (RomanSolchanyk)


UKRAINE REPUDIATES 1922 UNION TREATY. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet
yesterday annulled the 1922 treaty that created the USSR and
all the constitutional acts of the USSR that followed, Radio
Kiev and TASS reported on December 5. The repudiation of the
treaty was announced in a message adopted by the Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet to all parliaments and peoples of the world, outlining
Ukraine's domestic and foreign policies. The Supreme Soviet also
chose Ivan Plyushch to replace Kravchuk as Chairman of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet. Plyushch was previously First Deputy Chairman.
(Roman Solchanyk)

KRAVCHUK (AGAIN) SAYS UKRAINE WILL NOT SIGN UNION TREATY. Ukraine's
newly elected President once again said that he will not sign
the Union treaty, Western news agencies reported on December
5. Kravchuk's statement was made during his first press conference
after being elected President. He also stressed that relations
with Russia are a top priority for Ukraine and that he will seek
economic cooperation with the RSFSR and Belorussia. (Roman Solchanyk)


RUSSIAN PRICE LIBERALIZATION DELAYED. RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar told the Interstate Economic Committee on December 5 that
Russia has decided to put off freeing prices untilnew tax legislation
has been prepared and other republics have had time to prepare
for the consequences of Russia's price liberalization, TASS and
Western agencies reported that day. [Gaidar has consistently
maintained that tax reform must precede price liberalization].
December 16 had been mentioned as the date when subsidies would
be removed and most prices decontrolled. Amendments to the tax
system are scheduled to be discussed by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet
today, focussing on a proposed value added tax of 28%. (Keith
Bush)

DISARRAY IN RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT CONTINUES. Gaidar has called for
the resignation of RSFSR Vice President Rutskoi after the latter's
bitter criticism of Yeltsin's reform plans, according to a report
by an RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent in Moscow on December
5. Rutskoi had complained that Yeltsin's reforms are too heavy
a burden for the Russian population. Radio Moscow reported on
December 6 that Gaidar has been appointed chairman of the newly
created RSFSR Currency-Economic Council. (Alexander Rahr)

MOSCOW'S FOOD SITUATION "CRITICAL." According to Izvestia of
December 5, "Moscow's food crisis can reach catastrophic dimensions
in the next 10-15 days." And Gorbachev told CTV that evening
that "Moscow is in a critical situation regarding food." He blamed
other republics for cutting off supplies, singling out Lithuania
as being responsible for the capital's meat shortage. Gorbachev
said that he and Yeltsin had agreed on emergency measures to
alleviate the situation in Moscow, including pressure on nearby
regions to deliver agreed supplies and the importation of food.
Nezavisimaya gazeta on December 4 claimed that the imports of
foodstuffs in 1991 had been only half of the 1990 level. (Keith
Bush)

MILLION UNEMPLOYED IN MOSCOW? The director of Moscow's job placement
agency, Igor Zaslavskii, told Moskovskii komsomolets of December
4 that up to one million Moscow residents may be jobless next
year, Western agencies reported that day. This is roughly twice
as high as Zaslavskii's projection made in October and would
mean an unemployment rate of about 20%. One of the main factors
was the impending closure of about 80 union government ministries
and agencies. Currently, 43,406 persons are registered as unemployed
in Moscow. (Keith Bush)

MOSCOW CITY COUNCIL CANCELS PRIVATIZATION PLAN. The Moscow City
Council cancelled an order by Mayor Gavriil Popov to privatize
trade, services and restaurants, TASS reported on December 4.
The City Council also reportedly overturned Popov's decision
to privatize housing. The council called on Popov to draft a
privatization plan in accordance with existing law and design
a plan which takes into greater account the population's social
problems. Popov had earlier rejected the Council's request to
halt privatization in Moscow.(Carla Thorson)

RSFSR GOVERNMENT AND TRADE UNIONS AGREEMENT ON MINERS. The Russian
government and the independent trade unions have signed an agreement
on improving working conditions and wages for miners, Radio Moscow
reported on December 5. Trud reported that the working week for
miners working underground must not exceed 30 hours and for surface
workers, 40 hours. Overtime will be permitted only in extraordinary
cases covered by Russian labor laws, and minimum wages for miners
will be almost tripled by the beginning of 1992. (Carla Thorson)


KUZBASS RAIL WORKERS THREATEN STRIKE. Railway workers in the
Kuzbass region of Siberia have threatened to launch warning strikes
beginning on December 15, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported on
December 5. The workers are demanding higher wages and better
living conditions. The chairman of the Kemerovo regional council,
Aman Tuleyev, has written to Yeltsin asking him to intervene.
Tuleyev said a delay in addressing workers' demands could mean
a railway strike which would affect coal deliveries to other
parts of the country. (Carla Thorson)

"MILITARY-POLITICAL PUTSCH" IN "DNIESTER SSR." Citing government
sources in Kishinev and reports from eastern Moldavia, Radio
Bucharest reported on December 4 and 5 that a "political-military
putsch" is underway in the would-be "Dniester SSR." Lt. General
Gennadii Yakovlev, identified as commander of the 14th Army stationed
there, has accepted appointment as Chief of the Directorate for
Defense of the self-styled "Dniester SSR," which assumes political
authority over the troops. Yakovlev has been tasked to turn armaments
and other property of the USSR Ministry of Defense in the area
over to the would-be "Dniester" republic, which opposes Moldavian
independence. A number of USSR military units in the area recently
have held assemblies and passed resolutions supporting the "Dniester
SSR" and warning that they would oppose possible orders to withdraw
from Moldavia. (Vladimir Socor)

MORE ON DNIESTER SITUATION. Nicolae Chirtoaca, Director General
of Moldavia's Department for Military Affairs, was cited by Radio
Bucharest on December 5 as saying that the "putsch" in eastern
Moldavia "may degenerate into civil war." Joint groups of armed
"Dniester SSR" guardsmen and uniformed Soviet military personnel
took over buildings of Moldavian police and other law enforcement
organs in several towns on the left bank of the Dniester on December
4 and5. The military command in Kishinev was reported to have
disclaimed involvement and to have assured the Moldavian government
of its continued loyalty to the USSR Ministry of Defense. (Vladimir
Socor)

DNIESTER, GAGAUZ "REPUBLICS" VOTING MARRED BY FORCE. The would-be
Dniester SSR and Gagauz SSR in eastern and southern Moldavia
held on December 1 self-styled presidential elections and referenda
on joining the "community of sovereign states" successor to the
USSR. Final returns have not yet been made public. Meanwhile,
a high official of the Moldavian Ministry of Internal Affairs
told RFE/RL that armed Russian "workers' detachments" and uniformed
Soviet troops blocked access into the predominantly Russian towns
where the elections were being held and were also sent into Moldavian
villages to intimidate residents into voting. Similar displays
of force were reported from Gagauz areas. Officers in command
of units blocking bridges over the Dniester told Moldavian officials
that the units were subordinated to the "Dniester SSR." (Vladimir
Socor)

"DNIESTER SSR" TO REPEAT REFERENDUM IN MOLDAVIAN VILLAGES. The
self-styled "Dniester SSR Supreme Soviet" has decided to replace
village soviet chairmen in the region's Moldavian villages and
to repeat in those villages the "Dniester SSR"'s referendum on
joining the USSR, TASS and Moldovapres reported on December 5.
That referendum, held on December 1, was boycotted by the Moldavian
villages, in which close to 40% of the area's population resides.
The "Dniester SSR" leaders have claimed a big "yes" vote but
have only released "preliminary" returns. The Moldavian parliament
has declared the exercise null and void. (Vladimir Socor)

BELORUSSIAN UPDATE. US Secretary of State James Baker has added
Belorussia to the itinerary of his trip to the former USSR in
mid-December. After visits to Moscow and Kiev, Baker will fly
to Minsk on December 18, the State Department announced on December
4. A new constitution for the Republic of Belarus' may soon be
adopted. Radio Moscow reported on December 4 that it would provide
for a popularly elected Belorussian president. The term "Supreme
Soviet" would be abandoned in favor of the name Soym; the Soym
would be a standing parliament of 160 full-time deputies. The
Belorussian Cabinet of Ministers has ruled that only residents
of the republic are entitled to buy goods in Belorussian shops,
according to Radio Moscow on December 5. Coupons and lists of
residents will be used to help enforce the ruling and buyers
will have to produce passports. (Kathleen Mihalisko)

TWO REPUBLICS REPRESENTED AT ISLAMIC CONFERENCE MEETING. TASS
reported on December 5 that Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan were sending
representatives to the Islamic Conference Organization meeting
opening in Senegal on December 9. Invitations to the meeting
were extended to several republics by Iranian Foreign Minister
A. Velayati during his recent visit to traditionally Muslim regions
of the former USSR. The Azerbaijani and Kazakh representatives
will participate in the conference as observers. According to
the report, Tajikistan's Muslims refused to attend the meeting.
(Bess Brown)

DEFEATED CANDIDATE DECIDES NOT TO DEMAND REPEAT ELECTION. The
November 30 issue of Slovo Kyrgyzstana reported that Davlat Khudonazarov,
the presidential candidate of the combined non-Communist opposition
in Tajikistan who was defeated in the election on November 24,
has decided not to demand that the election be repeated. The
election was won by former Communist Party chief Rakhman Nabiev,
candidate of the renamed CP. Khudonazarov had charged that there
were irregularities in the election, but said he would not to
demand a repeat because of the desperate economic condition of
the republic. (BessBrown)


EASTERN EUROPE


BALTIC STATES


BALTIC LEADERS IN PARIS. On December 5 Lithuanian and Estonian
Supreme Council Chairmen Vytautas Landsbergis and Arnold Ruutel,
accompanied by their foreign ministers, arrived in Paris; their
Latvian counterpart, Anatolijs Gorbunovs, should arrive on December
6, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. President Francois Mitterrand
will host the three in the Elysee Palace when they sign the CSCE
Paris Charter on December 6. Foreign Minister Roland Dumas will
give his three counterparts keys to their temporary embassies;
the Baltic states are trying to recover their former embassies
that have been taken over by the USSR. (Saulius Girnius)

BALTIC STATES JOINING UNIDO AND ILO. On December 5 the International
Labor Organization announced that Latvia had become its 151st
member state, Western agencies reported that day. Lithuania was
admitted as the 155th member state of the United Nations Industrial
Development Organizations, a Vienna-based specialized agency
promoting industrial progress in developing countries, an RFE/RL
correspondent in New York said. (Saulius Girnius)

NEWSPAPER STRIKE IN LITHUANIA. The five major Lithuanian newspapers
that began a protest strike on December 4 plan to issue a joint
newspaper Laisva spauda on December 6. They also intend to resume
normal publication on December 10, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service
reported on December 5. Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius told
RFE/RL that there are no plans to nationalize the papers that
had refused to accept financial help from the government. Deputy
editor of Lietuvos rytas Vidas Rachlevicius said that the government
should simply return the money that it had, in effect, seized
from the papers by raising postal rates after they had already
set subscription prices. The papers feel that the government
is trying to intimidate them, but the authorities deny this.
(Saulius Girnius)

NEW LATVIAN-RUSSIAN ACCORDS. Radio Riga reported on December
6 that on December 5 Latvian and Russian delegations had discussed
in Moscow future relations between their two states. Gorbunovs
and Yeltsin signed two accords: a protocol on guidelines for
future relations and an economic accord for 1992. Radio Riga,
noting the interstate accord that Yeltsin and Gorbunovs signed
on January 13 but which the RSFSR Supreme Soviet has still not
ratified, did not explain how all these agreements fit together.
(Dzintra Bungs)

USSR MILITARY SLOW TO FULFILL ACCORDS WITH LATVIA. On December
4, Latvian Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis met with USSR Defense
Ministry officials in Riga. The Soviets offered advice and training
that the Soviet forces in Latvia could provide for establishing
a defense network in Latvia. Jundzis responded by pointing out
that Latvia wants the Soviet forces to leave Latvia and that
the Soviet ministry is not fulfilling earlier agreements, such
as the accord signed on September 17 by its head Evegenii Shaposhnikov.
Jundzis noted that the Soviet military is slow to allow men from
Latvia serving in the USSR armed forces, especially officers,
to demobilize. (Dzintra Bungs)

OMON BEHIND PETROLEUM PRODUCT SHORTAGE IN LATVIA? Komsomolskaya
pravda printed an article on December 5 claiming that the Tyumen
region of the RSFSR has suspended supplies of petroleum products
to Latvia in order to press for the release of Sergei Parfenov,
who was arrested in that region and turned over to Latvian authorities.
There is no confirmation that the oil and gasoline shortages
in Latvia can be linked with the OMON. What is clear is that
Parfenov was a leader of the OMON detachment in Latvia and that
Latvian authorities are preparing court cases against those OMON
members suspected of crimes. At the end of August, after Latvia
had become independent, OMON detachment was transported, upon
orders from Moscow, to the Tyumen region. (Dzintra Bungs)

DRAFT QUOTAS NOT FILLED IN ESTONIA. Young men from Estonia appear
only slightly more willing to serve in a local defense force
than in the Soviet military. According to the latest conscription
figures, Estonian defense officials have been unable to fulfill
their quota of conscripts in the first two phases of the current
call-up. The first phase began two weeks ago, and brought forth
207 men, about 30% less than needed. The second phase began on
December 2 and produced 205 young men, again less than officials
had wanted. Estonia's Defense Forces General Staff acting director
Ants Laaneots said most of the no-shows are from Tallinn's more
prosperous eastern and southern rayons, populated largely by
ethnic Estonians. BNS reported the conscription figures on December5.
(Riina Kionka)


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