The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 241, 20 December 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION AND INTER-REPUBLICAN TOPICS



YELTSIN TAKES OVER. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin has issued
decrees asserting Russian control over all Soviet structures
on Russian territory except the USSR ministries of defense and
nuclear energy, TASS reported on December 19. Thus the Kremlin,
the USSR Presidential apparatus, the USSR Ministry of External
Relations, the Interstate Agency for Security (the former KGB),
the MVD, and all Soviet foreign currency accounts are being taken
over by Russia. Soviet embassies have now come under Russian
jurisdiction, but their fate will be determined by all commonwealth
members at the forthcoming meeting in Alma-Ata. (Alexander Rahr)


RUSSIA TAKES OVER CENTRAL STATE AND INTERNAL SECURITY ORGANS.
Yeltsin issued an edict creating an RSFSR Ministry of Security
and Internal Affairs; the new Ministry will consist of the USSR
MVD, the RSFSR MVD, the Interrepublic Security Service (MSB)
and the RSFSR Federal Security Agency (AFB) "Vesti" and Radio
Moscow reported December 19. According to unoffiflcial information
cited by Radio Moscow, the USSR Minister of Internal Affairs,
Viktor Barannikov, will be Chief of the new Ministry. The Director
of the RSFSR AFB, Victor Ivanenko, told Radio Moscow that the
merger was made despite his agency's protests. MSB Chief Vadim
Bakatin remarked that the new MVD and KGB consolidation shows
that the "chekist spirit" in law-enforcement agencies is ineradicable.
(Victor Yasmann)

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE RETAINS CENTRALIZED STATUS. Tatyana Samolis,
spokeswoman for Soviet foreign intelligence--the Central Intelligence
Service (TsSR), told a press conference in Moscow on December
19 that the Service will retain its centralized nature as an
element of the strategic defense system of the Soviet commonwealth,
no matter what form the Soviet confederation may take. According
to Russian TV, Samolis showed a document dated October, 1949
and signed by Josef Stalin, forbidding KGB activities in Eastern
Europe. Samolis claimed that other documents in the Service's
possession "clearly prove that neither the KGB nor the International
Department of the CPSU were involved in political assassinations
in Europe in the 1960s to 1980s." (Victor Yasmann)

LATEST ON NUKES. US Secretary of State James Baker told a Brussels
news conference on December19 that during his recent trip to
the USSR he had been assured privately that Belorussia, Kazakhstan,
and Ukraine had agreed to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty as non-nuclear powers. This would mean they would not
be able to keep any nuclear weapons on their territories. Western
agencies also reported on December 20 that Ukraine and Russia
have agreed to withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine
in less than one year. Strategic nuclear bombers and their weapons
will also be transferred to Russia, while Soviet strategic missiles
in Ukraine will be taken off alert status. The agreement was
disclosed by Gen. Sergei Zelentsov of the USSR Ministry of Defense
and confiflrmed by Gen. Vadim Grechaninov, the deputy chief of
staff of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. (Doug Clarke)

GORBACHEV LETTER TO ALMA-ATA MEETING. In a letter to the participants
in the Alma-Ata meeting on December 21 on the creation of the
Commonwealth, USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev said that the
transition from the USSR to the new Commonwealth was taking place
in very diffiflcult circumstances. He said that any attempt to
break up the system that controls the country's strategic weapons
was dangerous. He also said that the Commonwealth should be recognized
as an entity in international law and it would be impossible
to maintain a common strategic defense without a minimum of common
foreign policy. Gorbachev also proposed a common "Commonwealth
citizenship" for a period to prevent ethnic conflicts and discrimination.
He suggested that member states stick with the Economic Community
treaty, and fiflnally pleaded that the transition of power be
conducted with dignity and in accordance with the law. The text
of Gorbachev's letter, which is dated December 18, was issued
by TASS on December 19. (Ann Sheehy)

ELEVEN REPUBLICS TO ATTEND ALMA-ATA MEETING. Of the twelve remaining
republics of the Soviet Union, only Georgia will be absent from
the meeting in Alma-Ata on December 21 on the creation of the
Commonwealth of Independent States, Soviet media reports indicated
on December 19. The Moldavian and Azerbaijani presidents were
the latest to announce that they will attend the meeting, but
they may intend only to discuss the Commonwealth accord and not
actually sign it. (Ann Sheehy)

ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI LEADERS WILL ATTEND ALMA-ATA MEETING. Armenian
President Levon Ter-Petrossyan told the Armenian parliament that
"there are no obstacles" to Armenia joining the Commonwealth,
and that Yeltsin and Nazarbaev had both informed him by telephone
that their respective republics would recognize Armenia's independence,
Moscow Television reported on December 18. Azerbaijani President
Ayaz Mutalibov will travel to Alma-Ata despite an appeal by opposition
groups not to do so, but a defiflnite decision on whether or
not Azerbaijan will join the Commonwealth has not yet been taken
and may be postponed until after the Azerbaijani referendum on
independence on December 29, Baku journalists told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani
service on December 19. (Liz Fuller)

WIDESPREAD FUEL SHORTAGES. CTV and TASS on December 19 reported
fuel shortages in many areas, including the Donbass, Buryatia,
the North Caucasus, and Armenia. Two major reasons cited are
the withholding of fuel by producers until prices are raised
in January and the insistence on barter deals by other suppliers.
(Keith Bush)

THE GROUNDING OF AEROFLOT. At a news conference in Moscow, reported
by agencies on December 19 and by The New York Times on December
20, the Russian Deputy Transport Minister, Aleksandr Larin, reviewed
the sorry state of Aeroflot. About 2,800 of its fleet of 7,000
are grounded for lack of spare parts and fuel; many of the aircraft
are superannuated; and the airline's safety record has deteriorated.
A threefold increase in domestic fares was announced, while tickets
for international flights will increasingly be sold for hard
currency only. (Keith Bush)

OECD REPORT ON SOVIET ECONOMY. In its year-end economic review,
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development painted
a somber picture of developments in the Soviet economy, Western
agencies reported December 18. But although the report mentioned
the August coup, its assessment of the former Soviet Union's
foreign trade and balance of payments situation appears to be
based on mid-year data and has been overtaken by events. It estimates,
for instance, a surplus in the country's current account. (Keith
Bush)

STAROVOITOVA SUGGESTS UN ROLE IN TRANSCAUCASUS. Galina Starovoitova,
adviser on ethnic questions to Yeltsin, told RSFSR TV on December
18 that military actions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia
and Ossetia have become so exacerbated in recent weeks that the
conflict has involved neighboring countries. Starovoitova recently
has had intensive contacts with Western governments which advocate
a peace-keeping role for the United Nations in the Transcaucasus,
especially after the possible withdrawal of all-Union MVD Troops
from the region. In contrast, Starovoitova asserted, the security
situation in the North Caucasus--i.e. Checheno-Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria
and Dagestan--poses no real danger to the national interests
of the RSFSR. She said that she and Yeltsin have an understanding
of the peoples' desire to have their national states in an alliance
with Russia. (Victor Yasmann)

RUTSKOI SECURES POW AGREEMENT. Russian Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi is reported to have concluded an agreement with Iran-based
mujaheddin on the release of two Soviet prisoners of war in exchange
for a group of Afghan resistance prisoners held in Kabul. According
to TASS of December 19, while in Tehran Rutskoi also signed an
agreement to expand bilateral cooperation between Russia and
Iran. Rutskoi is now in Pakistan for talks with Pakistani offiflcials
and Afghan resistance leaders. (Sallie Wise Chaballier)

RELIGION IN LABOR CAMPS. The latest issue of Soyuz published
an illustrated report on religious life in "corrective-labor
camps." According to this report, the situation now is slowly
improving. Priests are now permitted to visit prisoners and that
visit is not considered to be a "meeting with relatives." Prisoners
can also wear crosses. In some camps churches are being built
by prisoners, a development which the newspaper's correspondent
called "a phenomenon." (Oxana Antic)

SUICIDE RATES IN THE USSR. Data released by the State Committee
on Statistics (Press Release #252, August 23, 1991) showed that
in the fiflrst half of 1991, the suicide rate in the Soviet Union
had increased to 22 per 100,000 people. The suicide rate in the
USSR had been slowly increasing since 1986-1988, when the rate
was only 19 per 100,000. In 1990, the rate was 21, or about 61,000
people in absolute fiflgures. According to these data, in the
USSR men were 3 1/2 times more likely to commit suicide than
women, and those aged 25-39 years were more at risk than those
in other age groups. Regionally, the rates ranged from 2-8 in
Transcaucasia and Central Asia (except Kyrgyzstan) to 26-27 in
Russia and the independent Baltic states. In comparison, recent
rates per 100,000 people from selected Western countries include:
USA (1986), 13; FRG (1987), 17; UK (1987), 8; and Finland (1986),
26. (Albert Motivans)



USSR--REPUBLICS AND SUCCESSOR STATES


POPOV MAY RECONSIDER. Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov said he would
be willing to withdraw his resignation if he was sure that he
would be able to carry out a privatization program without interference
from the Russian government, Soviet and Western agencies reported
on December 19. During a press conference in Moscow, the mayor
criticized Yeltsin's reform program, saying that freeing prices
before privatization will be a disaster. Popov had announced
his intention to resign after his privatization program was cancelled
by the Moscow City Council. (Carla Thorson)

UNEMPLOYMENT GROWING IN RUSSIA. There are more than 2 million
unemployed in Russia and this fiflgure is expected to increase
by four or fiflve times in the near future, the Moscow daily
Trud reported on December 19. The TASS summary of the article
noted that pre-retirement age people, intellectuals, and poorly
qualififled workers make up the majority of those affected. An
allowance will reportedly be paid to those granted unemployment
status, but only for a period up to twelve months. (Carla Thorson)


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TO OPEN MOSCOW BUREAU. Radio Rossii, citing
the Russian Information Agency, reported on December 19 that
Moscow Mayor Popov signed orders that day granting permission
to Amnesty International to open an information bureau in Moscow.
(Sallie Wise Chaballier)

IRAN TO OPEN CONSULATES IN CENTRAL ASIA. Iran will soon open
consulates in the capitals of the fiflve Central Asian republics,
TASS reported on December 19 quoting the Iranian newspaper Jomhuriye
islam-i. Agreements on opening Iranian consulates in Central
Asia and Central Asian representation in Tehran were reached
during Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati's recent tour
of the Muslim republics. Iranian diplomatic representation already
exists in Baku. (Bess Brown)

AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN UZBEKISTAN AND TURKEY. Uzbek President
Islam Karimov completed his visit to Turkey with the signing
of an agreement between Uzbekistan and Turkey covering cooperation
in the fiflelds of transport, education, culture, science, and
broadcasting, TASS reported on December 19. A special protocol
covers cooperation between Uzbekistan's state-run information
agency, UzTAG, and the Anatolian News Agency. (Bess Brown)


EASTERN EUROPE


BALTIC STATES


AID TO BALTIC STATES, ALBANIA. On December19 the European Community's
executive commission announced new plans for emergency food aid
to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Albania from the EC surplus
food stocks, Western agencies reported that day. The Baltic States
together would get food worth $58 million and Albania--$45 million.
All four countries had requested higher amounts of aid. (Dzintra
Bungs)

BALTIC OFFICIALS FEAR SOVIET MILITARY UNREST. Meeting in Vilnius
with defense experts of the Nordic countries, Baltic leaders
expressed continued fear of Soviet military unrest in their countries,
Western and Baltic agencies report on December 19. They are especially
afraid of what might happen when their countries fail to supply
food and fuel to the Soviet soldiers and officers stationed there.
Estonia intends to stop the food supplies on December 31. USSR
Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Ivan Skrylnik said that a total
withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Baltic States before 1994
is out of the question. The former USSR has stalled on talks
with the Baltic States that would lead to negotiations on the
troop withdrawal issues. (Dzintra Bungs)

BALTIC MONETARY SITUATION. According to BNS dispatches of December
18, there are 4-6 billion rubles circulating in Estonia, about
18 billion rubles in Latvia, and about 13 billion rubles in Lithuania.
Having the largest cash reserves, Latvia has offered to provide
Estonia and Lithuania each with 600 million rubles. Diena reported
on December 18 that in Latvia, a system of coupons similar to
the one in Lithuania may be instituted next year to function
alongside the ruble until Latvia's own currency is instituted.
On December 17 Radio Riga reported rumors that 50- and 100-ruble
bills would be soon taken out of circulation by the authorities
in Moscow but said the rumors could not be verified. (Dzintra
Bungs)

CHINA APPOINTS ENVOYS TO THE BALTIC STATES. The Chinese Foreign
Ministry has appointed envoys to the Baltic States, Xinhua reported
on December 19. China's Ambassador to Finland, Qiao Zonghuai,
will also serve as his country's envoy to Estonia, Ambassador
to Sweden Tang Longbin will also represent his country in Latvia,
and Ambassador to Poland Pei Yuanying is to be accredited to
Lithuania. (Dzintra Bungs)

PETERS DENIES PLANS TO ARREST ALKSNIS. Janis Peters, Latvian
representative in Moscow, dismissed as groundless a rumor that
eight specially trained guards from Latvia had arrived in the
Russian capital to arrest Col. Viktor Alksnis, Radio Riga reported
on December 19. Peters pointed out that Alksnis is a Latvian
SSR deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet who, although frequently
in Moscow, resides in Riga. He said that such rumors were probably
started by those groups in Moscow that have been consistently
opposing Latvia's independence. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIA WANTS HELP WITH SOVIET REACTORS. Estonia's Foreign Minister
Lennart Meri has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency
to place two small research reactors at a Soviet naval base in
Paldiski in northwestern Estonia under international nuclear
controls, RFE/RL reported on December 19. (Dzintra Bungs)


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

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