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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 72, 15 April 1991



BALTIC STATES



BALTIC COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON ICELANDIC PROPOSAL. On April
13 the Council of the Baltic States met in Jurmala, Latvia. It
adopted a resolution accepting "with sincere gratitude" the proposal
of the Republic of Iceland to act as a mediator in organizing
and conducting negotiations between the USSR and the Baltic states.
The text of the resolution, as released by the Lithuanian parliament
Bureau of Information April 13, noted that the Iceland initiative
"can play a positive role in re-establishing recognition by the
USSR of the independent statehood of the Republic of Estonia,
the Republic of Latvia, and the Republic of Lithuania." (Saulius
Girnius)

BALTIC COUNCIL ON SOVIET RESOLUTION ON REFERENDUM. The Council
also issued a statement on the resolution of the USSR Supreme
Soviet of March 21 "On the Results of the USSR Referendum of
March 17." It declared that since the Baltic states "do not constitute
a part of the USSR," the USSR referendum "has no legal effect
upon the Baltic states and can in no way justify the use of pressure
or force against Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by the USSR authorities."
(Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIAN POPULAR FRONT MEETS. The Popular Front of Estonia has
decided not to become a formal political party, but to remain
a mass movement, TASS reported April 15. The Popular Front also
adopted a detailed resolution--including winning control over
Estonia's territory and economy, garnering the support of Western
states, and working more intensively with the other Baltic states--on
the means to reach independence. Some 700 Popular Front delegates
met over the weekend for the movement's Third Congress. (Riina
Kionka)

LITHUANIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRAT LEADER RESIGNS. The Chairman of the
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, Kazimieras Antanavicius,
has decided to resign because he is too busy with his duties
in the Lithuanian parliament, Radio Vilnius reported on April
14. Antanavicius, the chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council's
Economic Commission, said that under conditions of democracy
there must be a rotation of power. (Saulius Girnius)

LATVIAN CP LEADER CALLS FOR PRESIDENTIAL RULE. In an interview
with Pravda April 12, First Secretary of the pro-Moscow Latvian
Communist Party Alfreds Rubiks appealed for immediate installation
of presidential rule in Latvia, TASS reported that day. Rubiks
said that this was the only way to prevent what he termed an
impending coup and bloodshed in Latvia. He said that the Latvian
Communist Party was ready to negotiate with centrists in the
Popular Front of Latvia and to engage in a dialogue with radicals.
(Saulius Girnius)



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS


CONTROL CHAMBER PROPOSED. On April 12, the USSR Supreme Soviet
approved on first reading a law establishing a Control Chamber
of the USSR; a second reading is scheduled for April 19, TASS
reported April 12. According to Viktor Kucherenko, chairman of
the USSR Supreme Soviet Commission on Budget and Finance, the
chamber would be subordinate to the USSR Supreme Soviet. It would
be "the highest body of financial and economic control in the
country," and would monitor the work of the USSR Ministry of
Finance as well as investment activity, the gold and diamond
reserves, and the work of the customs bodies. (Keith Bush)

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE ON INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES. With the declared
aim of "preventing chaos and mass unemployment," USSR President
Mikhail Gorbachev issued a decree on April 12 granting special
powers to the newly-created USSR Ministry of Material Resources,
TASS reported that day. The ministry was empowered to order new
deliveries and redistribute surplus production. The decree exhorted
enterprises to preserve all contracts and economic ties concluded
for 1991. To combat growing separatism, the decree also gave
republican and local authorities one week to revoke decisions
halting the export of goods to other regions and republics. The
text did not spell out means of enforcement or penalties for
noncompliance. (Keith Bush)

PROGRESS OF 'ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM.' The text of the USSR Cabinet
of Ministers' draft "Action Program for Leading the Economy out
of Crisis" was distributed to USSR Supreme Soviet members on
April 12, The Times of London reported April 13. Whether this
text differed from the initial document that was released by
TASS on April 9 and then subsequently annulled was not specified.
On April 12, the USSR Supreme Soviet decided that its committees
and commissions would begin considering the program this week;
it will also be debated at the forthcoming CPSU Central Committee
plenum. The Council of the Federation is also expected to reconsider
the revised draft sometime this week. (Keith Bush)

CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO HOLD PLENARY SESSION. TASS announced April
14 that the CPSU Central Committee will hold a plenum on April
24 to discuss the Soviet Union's political and economic situation.
The decision was reached at a meeting of the Secretariat held
on April 14 and chaired by Gorbachev. The Secretariat, TASS reported,
discussed in-depth the political situation; no details were provided.
A number of Communists, including members of the "Soyuz" faction
and Leningrad party chief Boris Gidaspov, have called recently
for a plenum. On April 13, Belorussian Communist Party chief
Anatolii Malofeev told a plenum of the republican CP that the
CPSU Central Committee had to address the countrie's urgent problems.
(Dawn Mann)

CENTRIST BLOC BRAIN TRUST DRAWS UP STRATEGIC PLAN. The brain
trust of the Centrist Bloc, known as the Experimental Creative
Center (ECC) and headed by politologist Sergei Kurginyan, has
prepared a new strategic political plan for Gorbachev, according
to Komsomol'skaya Pravda, April 4 and 10. The plan advocates
disengagement from the "leftist opposition," a propanganda campaign
against "politicized criminality," the creation of a bloc of
centrist forces to be headed by the USSR President, and tough
measures against political opponents. According to the newspaper,
several top Army, MVD and KGB officers from the active reserve
were named to the staff of the ECC by a decree signed by USSR
Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov. (Victor Yasmann)

MORE ON THE ECC. Soviet political developments have coincided
so closely with scenarios prepared by the ECC for the Kremlin
leadership--copies of which Komsomol'skaya pravda possesses--that
the corporation must be taken seriously, the newspaper reported.
According an official document re-printed by Nezavisimaya gazeta
February 19, the ECC has business premises in the center of Moscow
at its disposal, receives funding from the central budget, has
access to hard currency, and enjoys preferential status for foreign
travel. The decree authorizing these measures was addressed to
the central economic organs, the USSR Ministry of Foreign USSR
Ministry of Defense, the MVD and the KGB and was signed by Pavlov.
(Victor Yasmann)

GORBACHEV'S JAPAN SCHEDULE. During his trip to Japan this week,
Gorbachev will meet with Japanese University professors, organizers
and participants in a children's summit in Tokyo, members of
Japanese former POW organizations, and Japanese government officials.
He will hold multiple rounds of talks with Prime Minister Toshiki
Kaifu. According to an April 12 TASS interview with Aleksandr
Panov, Chief of the Soviet Foreign Ministry's Directorate for
Pacific and Southeast Asian countries, Gorbachev's trip to Japan
should be "truly historic." (Suzanne Crow)

THREE NEW DEPUTY KGB CHAIRMEN IDENTIFIED. The former Commander
of KGB Eastern Border District, Jokubas Petrovas, was identified
in Sovetskaya Rossiya March 30 as a deputy chairman of the KGB.
On March 2, Valerii Lebedev was identified as a deputy chairman
of the KGB when he presented a draft law on the KGB to the USSR
Supreme Soviet. According to Kazakhstanskaya Pravda January 11,
another new deputy chairman, A. A. Denisov, inspected the Kazakhstan
KGB. (Victor Yasmann)

TRET'YAK ON PVO. The Commander-in-Chief of the beleaguered Soviet
Air Defense Forces (PVO), interviewed on Soviet PVO day, assured
audiences on April 14 that his troops are capable of detecting
any aircraft that violates Soviet airspace. Army General Ivan
Tret'yak, who had commanded the Warsaw Pact air defense system,
said that the break-up of the Pact had complicated Soviet air
defense tasks. He claimed, however, that bi-lateral negotiations
with former Pact members were being pursued in this area, and
pointed to a May meeting with Rumanian representatives. Tret'yak
praised the allied air war in the Gulf, but complained that "Patriot"
rockets were also anti-missile weapons. (Stephen Foye)

KRAVCHENKO EXPELLED FROM JOURNALISTS' UNION. The chairman of
the All-Union State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company,
Leonid Kravchenko, was expelled on April 12 from the USSR Journalists'
Union, Radio Rossii reported. The decision was taken by the Moscow
branch of the Union, which charged Kravchenko with reintroducing
political censorship on Soviet Central TV. Kravchenko was elected
a USSR people's deputy in 1989 by the Journalists' Union, and
in its comment on the expulsion, Radio Rossii wondered whom Kravchenko
would be representing from now on in the USSR Supreme Soviet.
(Vera Tolz)

POLITBURO COMMISSION REPORTS ON PROGRESS OF REHABILITATIONS.
A member of the CPSU CC Politburo Commission on rehabilitation
of Stalin's victims, Nikolai Katkov, told Pravda April 13 that
in the past three years 17,000 members of the Communist Party
have been rehabilitated in the Russian Federation. Katkov said
that, according to the commission's statistics, of the 1,372,292
people who were subjected to various forms of repression in 1937-1938,
116,885 (i.e. about one-tenth) were members of the Party. These
figures indicate that it is inaccurate to regard the repressions
of the late 1930's, which marked the peak of Stalin's terror,
as a purge solely of Party members. (Vera Tolz)

GORBACHEV ISSUES DECREE ON LIBRARIES. On April 13, President
Gorbachev issued a decree outlining immediate measures for improving
the situation of libraries in the country. The decree instructs
the USSR Cabinet of Ministers and the republican governments
to fullfil already approved plans on restructuring and strengthening
the resources of the largest libraries. It also directs the all-Union
government and the USSR Academy of Sciences to establish a program
that would ensure the safekeeping of books and manuscripts. The
decree also makes provisions for acquiring library equipment
from abroad, "Vremya" reported April 13. (NCA/Vera Tolz)

POPE CREATES NEW ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS IN USSR. Pope John Paul
II on Saturday created the archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev and the
diocese of Grodno in Belorussia, apostolic administrations in
Moscow and Novosibirsk, and, in Kazakhstan, the apostolic administration
of Karaganda, RFE/RL's Rome correspondent reported April 13.
According to a Vatican statement, these steps are aimed at providing
Latin-rite churches in these republics with the necessary structures
and officials "to favor their development of their faith and
religious practices." There are some 1.5 million Catholics in
Belorussia, more than 60,000 in the RSFSR, and half a million
in Kazakhstan. The changes follow post-war borders, a condition
insisted upon by Kremlin officials. Bishop-rank churchmen, all
currently serving in the Soviet Union, were named to head the
new units. (NCA)

USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS



GAMSAKHURDIA ELECTED PRESIDENT. On April 14, the Georgian Supreme
Soviet amended the republic's constitution to create the post
of president, to which its chairman, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was
then unanimously elected, AFP and Reuters reported April 14.
Following his election victory last October, Gamsakhurdia stated
that there would be no post of president until Georgia became
an independent sovereign state. The declaration of independence
passed by the Georgian parliament on April 9 did not, however,
encompass the secession of Georgia from the USSR. (Liz Fuller)


GEORGIAN PRESIDENT GIVEN EXTENSIVE POWERS. The Georgian president
is elected for a period of five years. He is empowered to nominate
the prime minister and government, to declare war or a partial
mobilization of the police or national guard, to declare martial
law and presidential rule, to veto any law adopted by parliament
within two weeks, to sign treaties, to nominate ambassadors,
and to grant or revoke Georgian citizenship. He has legal immunity
and can be impeached by parliament only for treason, which requires
a vote by 75% of the deputies. Only ethnic Georgians between
the ages of 35 and 70 who have lived in Georgia for five years
are eligible for the post of president. (Liz Fuller)

ELECTION OF GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SET FOR MAY 26. Direct presidential
elections will be held in Georgia on May 26, the anniversary
of the 1918 declaration of Georgian independence. AP April 14
quotes Gamsakhurdia as stating that "if in the future the population
of the republic elects me to this post I will try to justify
[its] confidence." (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER URGES WEST TO RECOGNIZE GEORGIAN INDEPENDENCE.
Georgian Foreign Minister Giorgi Khoshtaria, in Paris on a working
visit, told AFP April 13 that it is in the interests of the West
to recognize Georgian independence, as the Soviet Union "is bound
to collapse," and affirmed that Georgia could survive economically
as an independent state. Khoshtaria stated that the Georgian
parliament's April 9 declaration of independence was prompted
by Moscow's "aggressive policy" in the disputed area of South
Ossetia. (Liz Fuller)

HEIR TO GEORGIAN THRONE "READY TO RETURN". Giorgi Bagrationi,
the 47-year old ex-racing driver and descendant of the last King
of Georgia, is considering accepting an invitation to leave his
Marbella domicile to visit Georgia at Gamsakhurdia's invitation,
according to The Times and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung April 13.
The second-strongest party in Gamsakhurdia's Round Table/Free
Georgia coalition is the Union of Georgian Traditionalists, headed
by the vice-chairman of the Georgian Supreme Soviet, Akaki Asatiani,
which advocates a constitutional monarchy once Georgia achieves
independence. (Liz Fuller)

GROMOV VISITS SOUTH OSSETIA. TASS April 13 quoted Boris Gromov,
first deputy minister of USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, as
telling journalists in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz
after a visit to South Ossetia that MVD troops in the region
"have begun disarming unlawful Georgian and Ossetian groups,"
and that Georgian claims that MVD troops are committing illegal
actions in South Ossetia are untrue. TASS reported April 14 that
100 Georgians and Ossetians had been arrested over the past 24
hours and quantities of ammunition and two APCS confiscated;
the situation was said to have "normalized somewhat" over the
previous 24 hours. (Liz Fuller)

STATE OF EMERGENCY IN TSKHINVALI EXTENDED. On April 13 the Presidium
of the Georgian Supreme Soviet extended for a another month the
state of emergency first imposed on the South Ossetian capital
of Tskhinvali in December, TASS reported. Radio Tbilisi subsequently
reported renewed clashes in the town but gave no details. (Liz
Fuller)

ARMENIA APPEALS TO GEORGIA OVER RAIL TRAFFIC. As predicted (see
Daily Report, April 12), Armenia is feeling the effects of the
Georgian decision to halt rail transport to and from the republic
in order to pressure Gorbachev to withdraw Soviet troops from
South Ossetia. The Presidium of the Armenian Supreme Soviet has
appealed to the Georgian leadership to allow Armenia-bound trains
to pass through Georgian territory "as a gesture of goodwill"
since Azerbaijan has renewed its blockade of Armenia, Radio Erevan
reported April 13. (Liz Fuller)

CALL FOR CITY-WIDE STRIKE IN KIEV. The Kiev Strike Committee
has issued a call to work collectives for a city-wide strike
in the Ukrainian capital, Radio Kiev reported April 12. In addition
to the demands put forth by Ukrainian miners, the Committee is
also demanding dissolution of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, release
of those arrested in connection with the case of Ukrainian people's
deputy Stepan Khmara, dropping of the case against Khmara, and
initiation of proceedings against the Ukrainian public prosecutor,
Mykhailo Potoben'ko. Unofficial sources, Radio Kiev reported,
claim that Ukrainian Communists intend to lead the strike in
order to demand changes in the leadership of the all-Union and
republican Communist Parties. (Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS DEMAND ACTION. A republican meeting of first
secretaries of city and raion Communist Party committees in Ukraine
has issued a call to the Central Committee of the Communist Party
to take decisive action in the face of the dangerous developments
in the country, Radio Kiev and Radio Moscow reported on April
14. The appeal criticizes Gorbachev for not using his extraordinary
powers in defense of state system, the rights and freedoms of
citizens, and the state integrity of the Soviet Union. (Roman
Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN REPUBLICAN PARTY ISSUES STRIKE CALL. The Secretariat
of the Ukrainian Republican Party, one of the largest and most
radical political parties in the republic, has issued an appeal
in which it calls for a strike to begin tomorrow in support of
Ukrainian miners, Radio Kiev reported on April 14. Among the
political demands are the dissolution of the republican and all-Union
Supreme Soviets, elimination of the office of president of the
USSR, and new elections on a multi-party basis. (Roman Solchanyk)


ALL-BELORUSSIA STRIKE COMMITTEE IS FORMED. On April 13, workers'
representatives from numerous Belorussian cities met in Minsk
to vote on the formation of an All-Belorussia Strike Committee.
They elected Mikhal Sobal of Minsk to head the new entity. Meanwhile,
talks continued between the republican government, Supreme Soviet,
and the Minsk Strike Committee. The latter said Saturday that
it has given the republican Supreme Soviet until today, April
15, to respond to its demand for new parliamentary elections.
It also wants parliament to hold an emergency session on April
16 to discuss strikers' demands, but, said TASS, Supreme Soviet
deputy chairman Stanislav Shushkevich told the Committee that
the timing is unrealistic. (Belorussian BD/Kathy Mihalisko)

BELORUSSIAN CP CONVENES PLENUM. Also on April 13, Belorussian
Party leader Anatolii Malofeev presented his evaluation of last
week's events in Minsk to a plenum of the Central Committee of
the Belorussian CP. As relayed by TASS, Malofeev stressed the
need for a special CPSU plenum to discuss measures to pull the
country out of its current crisis. The Belorussian Communists,
apparently reacting to an ongoing attempt at the Minsk Tractor
Factory to evict its primary Party organization, condemned the
"depoliticization" of institutions as a constitutional and human
rights violation. They also praised enterprises that did not
take part in last week's strikes. (Kathy Mihalisko)

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PROPOSE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Liberal
Democratic Party of the USSR, a fringe organization believed
to have close ties with the KGB, proposed its leader, Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections
in the Russian Federation, TASS reported April 14. On April 11,
the Liberal Democratic Party became the second national party
(after the CPSU) to be officially registered by the Soviet government
under the new law on public associations. TASS emphasized that
this registration now gives Zhirinovsky the right to legally
participate in the RSFSR presidential elections. (Vera Tolz)


MOLDAVIA AGAIN RESTRICTS MILITARY CONSCRIPTION. This year, the
USSR military draft will be conducted in Moldavia only in accordance
with republican law, Colonel Nicolae Chirtoaca, head of Moldavia's
State Department for Military Affairs, told Moldovapres April
13. According to Chirtoaca, USSR conscription law "has no legal
force in Moldavia," and refusal to serve shall not be punishable.
All draftees will be given the option to serve on the territory
of the republic, "without augmenting Soviet troop levels here."
3,000 men will be drafted this year into Moldavia's newly-established
corps of Carabinieri. Service outside the republic will be permitted
only on the basis of individual application plus written parental
approval. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN RUNAWAY DRAFTEES PROTECTED. Pending a republican law
on alternative service, the Moldavian government has instructed
the State Department for Military Affairs and local soviets to
provide "socially useful employment" for runaway conscripts,
TASS reported April 11. Complaining that the measure further
"complicates" the situation, the Deputy Military Commissar for
Moldavia told TASS that 550 Moldavian conscripts were listed
as deserters as of that date and that in one instance, 60 had
deserted together from one unit. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIYA DEMOCRATICHESKAYA HOLDS FOUNDING CONFERENCE. Moldaviya
democraticheskaya ("Democratic Moldavia"), an organization of
Russians and other Russian-speaking residents "who consider Moldavia
their homeland," held its founding conference in Kishinev April
13, Moldovapres reported that day. The manifesto urged joint
efforts by all ethnic groups to ensure "democratic transformations,
the national rebirth of the Romanians, free development of all
national groups, ...real sovereignty for Moldavia, and national
reconciliation through the observance of both human and national
rights." (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN-ROMANIAN AGREEMENT ON TOURISM. The heads of the Departments
of Tourism of Moldavia and Romania signed April 12 in Bucharest
the first-ever agreement on tourism between the two states, Moldovapres
and Rompres reported that day. The agreement centers on facilitating
group tours of historic and cultural sites and two-way tourism
by students and children. (Vladimir Socor)

RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY GRANTED OFFICIAL RECOGNITION IN UZBEKISTAN.
RFE/RL has learned that Uzbek president Islam Karimov has issued
a decree permitting working people to take off work on the first
day of the festival which ends the Ramadan fast. The decree requires
that those who do take the day off must make up the lost time
later. This is the first purely religious holiday to be granted
recognition as a traditional national festival in Uzbekistan.
In Tajikistan, in contrast, the Ramadan holiday and the Feast
of Sacrifice have been declared official public holidays. (Uzbek
BD/Bess Brown)

ISLAMIC PARTY OFFICIAL SEEKS COOPERATION WITH MUSLIM ESTABLISHMENT.
According to Tashkent journalist Tahir Usman, the second issue
of the Islamic Renaissance Party's publication Davat contains
a plea by the party's chairman, Abdulla Ota, for cooperation
between his party and the Muslim Religious Board for Central
Asia, because his party and the Muslim establishment have similar
goals and should cooperate rather than oppose each other. Officials
of the Board have condemned the party, which has effectively
been outlawed in Uzbekistan by the passage of a law prohibiting
religious parties. (Uzbek BD/Bess Brown)

REHABILITATION OF TAMERLANE PROCEEDS. Tashkent journalist Tahir
Usman also reported that the April 5 issue of Khalq sozi, the
newspaper of Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet, announces that a statue
of Samarkand's medieval ruler Timur (Tamerlane) is to be erected
in one of the main squares of that city. And the Tashkent daily
Tashkent haqiqati reports in its April 10 issue that a drama
in verse about Timur by poet Tora Mirza is being widely performed
in theaters in Kashkadarya Oblast. These events indicate a major
change in the official view of the Central Asian conqueror, about
whom Soviet historiography traditionally had little good to say.
(Uzbek BD/Bess Brown)


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