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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 64, 03 April 1991



IN THE BALTIC STATES

CANADA PUZZLED OVER TASS REPORT ON RECOGNITION OF LATVIA. Guy
Archambault, speaking for Canada's External Affairs Department,
told an RFE/RL correspondent in Ottawa on April 2 that his country's
position on the Baltic States remains unchanged: Canada "has
always recognized de jure the independence of the Baltic States
but acknowledges the Soviets are in control de facto." The clarification
was necessitated by a TASS dispatch of April 1, referring to
a LETA report, claiming that recently Canadian External Affairs
Minister Joe Clark had told a Latvian government official that
Canada had granted de jure recognition to Latvia. Clark's chief
of staff, David Daubney, said that he was puzzled about the TASS
report, since there's been no change in Canada's position. (Dzintra
Bungs)

US SENATORS IN RIGA. Radio Riga reported April 2 that a US Senate
delegation, led by Senator David Boren (D-Oklahoma), Chairman
of the Intelligence Committee, had arrived in Riga. Other members
of the group are Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Howell Heflin
(D-Alabama), James Exon (D- Nebraska), and John Chaffee (R-Rhode
Island). After meetings with Latvian Supreme Council Chairman
Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, and other
Latvian leaders, the senators are expected to hold a press conference.
Their visit to Latvia is part of a fact-finding trip to the USSR.
(Dzintra Bungs)

NORDIC COUNCIL GRANT TO BALTICS. According to Diena of April
2, the Nordic Council has given 2 million Danish crowns to Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania to finance their participation in international
conferences and other meetings this year. The grant will facilitate,
inter alia, their participation in a Nordic-Baltic human rights
conference later this year. (Dzintra Bungs)

DENMARK MAINTAINS ECONOMIC LINKS WITH BALTICS. Eric Ovesen, Danish
Commercial Counselor in Moscow, told the Journal of Commerce
of April 2 that his country is maintaining economic relations
with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania despite "some opposition
from Moscow." In Latvia there are already joint ventures with
Danish fishing, food processing, and shipping companies. Ovesen
said Danish exports are strong in sectors greatly needed in the
Soviet Union such as the fisheries industry and "food processing
factories for not only fish, but dairy and agricultural products,
too." (Dzintra Bungs)





ALL-UNION AFFAIRS

FIRST DAY OF HIGHER RETAIL PRICES. Western media reported March
3 on the first day of raised retail prices in Moscow and other
cities. Contrary to some expectations, few of the stores surveyed
were well-stocked, and there were several reported instances
of confusion over which prices would be charged. The general
mood among shoppers was variously described as shock, despair,
anger, and resignation, but no unrest was reported. The New York
Times of April 3 summed up the reaction: "There was communal
commiseration over how these price increases were yet another
indignity imposed on them by a government unwilling to commit
to full market reforms and unable to perform under the centralized
controls it refuses to announce." (Keith Bush)

MINERS SAY NO PROGRESS IN TALKS WITH PRIME MINISTER. Soviet miners
who opened talks in Moscow April 2 with Valentin Pavlov said
the Soviet prime minister refused to give any ground on the miners'
economic or political demands. The miners are demanding a pay
increase and improved working conditions; they are also calling
for the resignation of President Gorbachev. According to AP and
Reuters, Pavlov told the miners that their demand for higher
pay will be considered only if they first increase productivity,
and that their political demands are outside the sphere of responsibility
of the government negotiators. The talks are expected to last
two to three days. (NCA)

BUDGET DEFICIT WARNING. USSR Minister of Finance Vladimir Orlov,
USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko, and Chairman of the
USSR Supreme Soviet's Budget and Planning Committee Viktor Kucherenko
have written a letter to President Gorbachev, with copies to
USSR Supreme Soviet deputies, about the budget deficit, Reuter
reported April 3. The union budget deficit for the first quarter
has reached 31.1 billion rubles, whereas the deficit planned
for the entire year was 26.7 billion rubles. The letter warns
that the economy will be on "the brink of catastrophe" and that
it could become impossible to finance investment and the military
in the second quarter of the year; its authors propose tightening
central control over union-republic legislation and banks. (Keith
Bush)

GERASHCHENKO ON MONEY EMISSION POLICY. USSR Gosbank Chairman
Viktor Gerashchenko told Izvestia March 27 that 200-ruble bills
will probably enter circulation in 1991 and "it is not ruled
out that in the future we may have to produce even higher denominations--500
and 1000 rubles." In connection with the rises in retail prices
and the concomitant supplements to wages and transfer payments,
the amount of money in cash circulation will rise from 139 billion
rubles at the end of 1990 to about 180 billion by the end of
1991. Gerashchenko suggested that a little inflation is good
for you, and he implied that the ruble will be further devalued
against foreign currencies but only after the USSR has tried
to recover some ruble debts. (Keith Bush)

POLL: MAJORITY PREFER YELTSIN. An opinion poll in this week's
US News and World Report says 70 percent of Soviet citizens who
responded to a recent survey would like RSFSR Supreme Soviet
Chairman Boris Yeltsin to become Soviet President. Summarizing
the report, AFP says only 14 percent of those polled said they
would prefer Mikhail Gorbachev to remain in the post. The survey
of 3,000 residents from all 15 Soviet republics was taken between
March 1 and 25 by the Center of Sociological and Marketing Research,
described as a private Moscow-based group. 73 percent of those
polled said they do not support the present (Pavlov) government,
while 81 percent said they are dissatisfied with their living
standards. [Yeltsin has consistently denied he wants Gorbachev's
job. "Russia is enough," he told a recent issue of Literaturnaya
gazeta.] (NCA/Elizabeth Teague)

GORBACHEV WARNS OF DICTATORSHIP. Gorbachev told former US President
Richard Nixon that, unless Soviet democrats consolidate around
his (Gorbachev's) centrist policy, civil war will break out and
the country will be plunged into dictatorship. TASS on April
2 quoted Gorbachev as assuring Nixon that his policy of perestroika
has not changed. Nixon's meeting with Gorbachev came at the end
of a two-week visit to Lithuania, Georgia and Ukraine; earlier,
he met with Boris Yeltsin. Nixon was quoted by AP and AFP as
telling reporters the RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman is a responsible
political leader who has been underestimated by some people.
(Alexander Rahr)

MOST ABUSES IN ARMY GO UNREPORTED. A Soviet military judge told
Krasnaya zvezda on March 27 that soldiers rarely report abuses
that they have suffered while performing military service. The
report was summarized by TASS. Lieutenant General Nikolai Petukhov,
Chairman of the USSR Supreme Court's military collegium, said
that only 8% of all cases of abuses are reported to superior
officers, and that legal action is taken in only 2% of cases.
Petukhov added that officers are guilty of violating regulations,
of indifference toward servicemen, and of weakly enforcing discipline.
(NCA/Stephen Foye)

YAZOV ON PROFESSIONAL ARMY. USSR Minister of Defense Dmitrii
Yazov says the Soviet Army should recruit servicemen on a mixed
"voluntary-obligatory" basis. Yazov's remarks were made during
a phone-in program on Soviet TV March 30. Asked if the Soviet
Army should turn professional, Yazov said he thought the Army
should include both volunteers and draftees; he added that the
hiring of professional servicemen in the Navy will start very
soon. (CMD/NCA)

MINISTER OF LABOR APPOINTED. Valerii Paulman has been appointed
by presidential decree to the post of USSR Minister of Labor
and Social Questions, Central Television reported March 26. The
new ministry has been created on the basis of the former State
Committee for Labor, following the appointment of the chairman
of that committee, Valerii Shcherbakov, as first deputy prime
minister. Paulman, an Estonian, was born in 1937 and trained
as an economist at Leningrad State University. Most of his career
has been spent in the Estonian Gosplan and the apparatus of the
Estonian Communist Party. (Elizabeth Teague)

SHENIN CHAIRS PARTY CADRE SESSION. The CPSU is worried about
the health of its primary Party organizations. Rabochaya tribuna
reported on March 28 that a meeting of the Central Committee's
permanent commission on primary Party organizations, chaired
by Politburo member Oleg Shenin, has issued "detailed recommendations"
on how to consolidate the Party grassroots. (Elizabeth Teague)


MINERS HOSTILE TO CPSU. The Party has cause to worry. Izvestia
(March 4) reported from Western Siberia's Kuzbass, where the
miners' strikes of 1989 began and where striking miners last
month issued a more comprehensive list of political demands than
any other region. Kuzbass workers, Izvestia said, are "not so
much anticommunist as anti-CPSU." When one local Party organization,
which formerly numbered 300 members, recently conducted a reregistration,
only 15 Communists reenlisted. In 1989, rank-and-file Communists
played an active role in the Kuzbass strike movement. Now, Izvestia
reports, there are no Communists in the Kuzbass workers' movement:
all the activists have left the Party. Instead, Izvestia said,
the miners have come under the influence of "intellectuals"--engineers
and technicians. (Elizabeth Teague)

LAST TWO GERMAN TREATIES RATIFIED. TASS reported April 2 the
USSR Supreme Soviet's ratification of two treaties with Germany
dealing with Soviet troops and German financial assistance. The
ratification follows the conditional recommendation of the Supreme
Soviet Committees on Defense and Security and on International
Affairs on March 22. These committees called for "specific conditions"
to be placed on the treaties' ratification. (Suzanne Crow)

SINO-SOVIET RELATIONS HAVE "RICH HISTORY." Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Bessmertnykh said in an April 2 interview with Izvestia that
his recent talks in China were "valuable" and took place in a
"an open and trusting atmosphere." Bessmertnykh stressed that
all manner of issues came under discussion--from security in
the Asia-Pacific region to the conflict in the Near East. Work
was also done on agreements to be signed during Chinese Communist
Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin's visit next month, TASS
reported April 2. (Suzanne Crow)

CASTRO: SOVIET CHAOS DISRUPTS SUPPLIES. In a speech on April
1 at the opening of a factory outside Havana, Cuban President
Fidel Castro said that Cuba could not rely on Soviet raw material
supplies because of "the chaos which has been created in the
Soviet Union." Castro specifically referred to wood and steel
supplies. Last week Soviet ambassador Yurii Petrov said Soviet
oil and Cuban nickel trade had been disrupted by the shift in
trade relations, (see Daily Report, March 28).

GORBACHEV URGED TO CONSULT YELTSIN ON KURILE ISSUE. Georgii Shakhnazarov,
Mikhail Gorbachev's principal aide on foreign policy, told the
Japanese newspaper Yomiuri April 2 that Gorbachev should consult
with Boris Yeltsin before deciding of whether or not to return
Kurile Islands to Japan. Shakhnazarov stressed that the islands
are under the jurisdiction of the RSFSR and that Gorbachev must
first gain the consent of the leader of the Russian Republic.
According to AFP of April 2, Japanese officials see Yeltsin as
opposed to the islands' return, even though it was Yeltsin who
first raised the possibility of negotiating the issue--long before
Gorbachev planned his visit to Japan. (Alexander Rahr)

US CHRISTIAN RADIO FOR SOVIET BELIEVERS. Reuter reported on March
28 that the Illinois-based Christian Liberty Broadcasting network
is sponsoring a Russian-language radio station which will start
its broadcasts next week. The Protestant religious programs will
be broadcast from Moscow. (Oxana Antic)

EMIGRATION UP IN MARCH. The US National Conference on Soviet
Jewry says 13,336 Soviet Jews arrived in Israel in March, almost
twice the number that arrived in February. The Conference says
nearly 34,000 Soviet Jews emigrated to the Israel during the
first three months of this year, compared with 17,700 for the
same period during last year. (NCA)



IN THE REPUBLICS



YELTSIN SURVIVES POLITICAL CHALLENGE. RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman
Boris Yeltsin survived a political challenge April 2 with the
unexpected help of his former rival Ivan Polozkov, first secretary
of the Russian Communist Party. Polozkov told an extraordinary
Congress of People's Deputies of the RSFSR--originally called
by conservatives in an attempt to oust Yeltsin from his post--that
this was not the time to change the leadership of the Russian
Federation. Polozkov's address was shown that day on Soviet Television.
TASS noted that, after Polozkov spoke, only 121 of the 800 or
so deputies present voted to include a no-confidence vote on
Yeltsin on the Congress agenda; the motion was therefore defeated.
(NCA)

RSFSR CONGRESS SUPPORTS MINERS. The "Democratic Russia" faction
won another major victory April 2 when the RSFSR Congress of
People's Deputies passed a resolution supporting the "just nature"
of the demands of the striking coalminers. The report was carried
by TASS. Last month, the USSR Supreme Soviet, in contrast, overwhelmingly
denounced the miners' action. (Elizabeth Teague)

YELTSIN'S COMMUNIST OPPONENTS SPLIT OVER HIS POLICIES. One reason
why Polozkov came to Yeltsin's defense seems to be the fact that
Polozkov faces the possibility of a split in his own RSFSR Communist
Party. The split burst into the open on April 2 when RSFSR people's
deputy Colonel Aleksandr Rutskoi (an Afgan war hero who was once
extremely popular among Russian conservatives) announced the
establishment of a new faction in the RSFSR parliament. Called
"Communists for Democracy," Rutskoi's group numbers 179 members
of the CPSU. Unlike the "Communists of Russia" (the Polozkovite
faction in the RSFSR parliament), the "Communists for Democracy"
support Yeltsin. It seems it was Rutskoi's announcement that
prompted Polozkov's statement of support for Yeltsin. (In the
past many members of the CPSU, including Yeltsin's first deputy
Ruslan Khasbulatov, have suggested setting up a parallel RSFSR
CP.) (Julia Wishnevsky)

RSFSR CONGRESS PUTS OFF DEBATE ON PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM. However,
Yeltsin's supporters failed again on April 2 to get persuade
the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies to approve the introduction
of a presidential system in the RSFSR. Members of the "Democratic
Russia" faction berated their conservative colleagues for ignoring
the will of the RSFSR population. (A majority of the electorate
of the Republic voted in last month's referendum to introduce
a presidential system in the RSFSR.) The Congress continues today
but, if the matter is still not decided at this session, it is
likely to come up for debate at the next ordinary session of
the Congress, which is expected to convene in May or June. (Elizabeth
Teague)

DEMOCRATS REFRAIN FROM VOTING. Leaders of the "Democratic Russia"
faction in the RSFSR parliament told a press conference in Moscow
on April 1 that members of the faction will not participate in
any voting at the present extraordinary session of the RSFSR
Congress of People's Deputies other than on the issue of the
introduction of a Russian presidency. The democrats are taking
this step as a protest against the opposition mounted by conservative
deputies to the creation of such a post. Infonovosti on April
2 quoted Lev Shimaev as saying the democrats would now concentrate
their attacks on Svetlana Goryacheva--a conservative member of
the Presidium of the RSFSR parliament whom Shimaev described
as a "puppet in someone's hands." (Alexander Rahr)

ANOTHER RUBLE SCAM REPORTED. The Journal of Commerce of April
3 cites Sovetskaya Rossiya on what is alleged to be a second
"ruble scam" involving, inter alia, Boris Yeltsin and RSFSR Prime
Minister Ivan Silaev. The purported letter from Silaev to Yeltsin
urged a 300-billion-ruble credit line for a shadowy Western group
that would provide $50 billion in hard currency for imports of
consumer goods, food, medicine, industrial equipment, and technology
(though Silaev is said subsequently to have dropped the proposal).
This allegation follows the notorious Dove Trading International
affair of early 1991 that led to the resignation of RSFSR Deputy
Premier Gennadii Filshin. (Keith Bush)

POLOZKOV LEADERSHIP CRITICIZED. One of the few moderate members
of the Central Committee of the RSFSR Communist Party, Vasilii
Lipitsky, has accused the leadership of the RSFSR CP of diverging
from the Party line as laid down at the 28th Party Congress.
Writing in Rabochaya tribuna on March 19, Lipitsky accused the
leaders of the Russian CP of believing they have a "messianic"
mission to save Russia--in alliance with extremist nationalistic
forces. He complained that Party leader Ivan Polozkov and his
colleagues are trying to reintroduce the principle of "democratic
centralism" whereby decisions are made within a narrow circle
of Politburo members. Lipitsky maintained the Russian CP was
created to oppose perestroika. (Alexander Rahr)

TURKMEN-UZBEK AGREEMENT ON FLOUR PRICES. Novosti reported on
April 2 that Turkmen president Saparmurad Niyazov had appeared
on republican television to announce the conclusion of an agreement
between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to keep flour and pasta prices
unchanged during 1991. Niyazov was quoted as saying that bread
prices would be raised in Turkmenistan, but would remain lower
than all-Union prices. The agreement with Uzbekistan is apparently
seen as a measure to try to prevent social hardship and unrest
during the transition to a market economy. (Bess Brown)

KYRGYZSTAN SIGNS AGREEMENT ON ENERGY. Radio Moscow reported on
April 4 that the prime minister of Kyrgyzstan and the director
of the Kirgiz power-generating association have signed an agreement
with the USSR ministry of power, giving the ministry the right
to coordinate the republic's participation in the all-Union power
program. Kyrgyzstan is rich in hydroelectric resources, which
it contributes to the Central Asian power grid. The agreement
demonstrates the republic's stated willingness to function as
part of the USSR so long as the rights claimed in its declaration
of sovereignty are respected. (Bess Brown)

CENTRAL PRESS ON ISLAMIC PARTY. The March 23 issue of Komsomol'skaya
pravda contains a sympathetic account of the tribulations of
the Tajik branch of the Islamic Renaissance Party at the hands
of republican authorities (including the official Muslim establishment).
The authors of the article sum up Tajik officialdom's attitude
by saying that jihad has been declared in the republic, but it
is the Tajik Communist Party that has declared war on the Islamic
Party, rather than the other way around; the authors add that
the authorities' behavior could provoke the extremism they profess
to fear. While the Islamic Renaissance Party has been attacked
in the press of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it has generally received
sympathetic treatment in the central press. (Bess Brown)

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS RUSSIAN CONGRESS APPEAL ON SOUTH
OSSETIA. On April 2 the Presidium of the Georgian Parliament
rejected as "gross interference" in Georgia's affairs the appeal
made two days earlier by the RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies
that Georgia should restore South Ossetian autonomy and facilitate
the return of Ossetian refugees to their homes, TASS reports.
Le Monde (April 2) quotes Interfax as stating that Yeltsin had
likewise sent a message to Georgian Supreme Soviet chairman Zviad
Gamsakhurdia urging him to implement measures agreed between
the two men during their meeting on March 23 on stabilizing the
situation in South Ossetia. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN ATTACK ON TSKHINVALI REPULSED? According to an as yet
unconfirmed report broadcast on April 2 by Radio Moscow's World
Service, an attempt by Georgian forces in armored vehicles to
occupy the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali was repelled
by Ossetian volunteers. The Georgian detachments reportedly used
heavy machine guns and mortars and inflicted civilian casualties.
(Liz Fuller)

SNEGUR CONFIRMS MOLDAVIA WILL NOT SIGN UNION TREATY. Moldavian
president Mircea Snegur has repeated that his republic will not
sign the Union Treaty. Radio Moscow said March 30 that Snegur
made the statement at a meeting with activists of the Romanian
organization "For Bessarabia and Bukovina." The radio said Snegur
expressed his conviction that the six republics (the three Baltic
states, Georgia, Moldavia and Armenia) that have refused to sign
the Union Treaty "will show support for each other." (CMD/NCA)
the inte

MOLDAVIAN GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES BANKRUPTCY LAW. The government
of Moldavian Prime Minister Mircea Druk has drawn up a draft
law on bankruptcy. According to TASS of March 27, some 25 percent
of Moldavian enterprises are expected to become insolvent if
the law goes into effect. (CMD/NCA)

MOLDAVIAN NEWSPAPER ADVOCATES BREAK WITH MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE.
Novosti reported April 2 that the newspaper of the Moldavian
Popular Front, Tsara, has spoken out against Moldavian Orthodox
believers joining the Moscow Patriarchate. The newspaper said
the only possible solution is "our return to the bosom of our
ancient national Church. Our good mother is the Romanian Church."
(Oxana Antic)

PRICE HIKES TAKE EFFECT IN UKRAINE. As in Moscow, drastic price
increases do not appear to have had any beneficial impact on
empty store shelves in Kiev. Some shops were closed for "cleaning
day" and those that were open had nothing more to offer than
usual. Radio Kiev-2 reported that Ukrainian consumers are referring
to April 2 as "Black Tuesday." (Kathy Mihalisko)

SOVIET MEDIA SILENT ON LUBACHIVSKY VISIT. Although the restoration
of the Ukrainian Catholic Church hierarchy after 45 years of
prohibition should be seen as a milestone in the expansion of
religious freedom under Gorbachev, both the central and Ukrainian
media have been conspicuously silent in these first days of Cardinal
Myroslav Lubachivsky's two-month stay in Lvov, with the exception
of a TASS report yesterday on Lubachivsky's international press
conference. The UCC leader's long-awaited arrival on March 31,
after 53 years away from his homeland, was not covered even by
republican television; this seems to indicate concern among the
authorities over the potential political impact of the visit.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

PATRIARCH MSTISLAV IN KIEV. The start of Cardinal Lubachivsky's
visit coincided with the arrival in Kiev of Mstislav, the New
Jersey-based Patriarch of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox
Church. This is Mstislav's second trip to the homeland in six
months. He was denied permission to take up a residence in Kiev
during his present stay. (Ukrainian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

POPULATION GROWTH IN KIEV AT ALL-TIME LOW. The population growth
in Kiev has hit an all-time low, Komsomol'skaya pravda reported
March 26. The city's statistics administration says the low growth
rate is the result of a decrease in the number of births and
an increase in the number of deaths. In the past two years, the
birth rate in the Ukrainian capital has fallen 12 percent, while
the death rate has increased five percent. (NCA)

[As of 1300 CET] Compiled by Patrick Moore & Elizabeth Teague


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