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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 110, 12 June 1991



BALTIC STATES



CPSU CC POLITBURO INTERVENTION REQUIRED TO STOP OMON? Latvia's
Deputy PM Ilmars Bisers told Diena of June 11 that after talking
with General Savin, Commander of MVD forces of the USSR's Northwestern
region, and other officials in Moscow on June 10, he felt that
only the CPSU CC Politburo can resolve the OMON problem in the
Baltics, though this issue will be also discussed in future Latvian-USSR
consultations. According to Bisers, Latvia needs to organize
better its system of customs and border posts; it cannot afford
to have 20-30 guards at each of the 35 posts. Bisers said that
the guards should be well trained and belong to Latvia's Civil
Service. The new system could be operational next spring. In
the meantime, Bisers urged young men not to tackle the OMON on
their own. (Dzintra Bungs)

BALTIC COUNCIL STATEMENTS TO WEST... The Baltic Council meeting
in Tallinn on June 11 signed several joint statements, Radio
Independent Lithuania reported June 12. "The Baltic States are
not a constituent part of the USSR, and they ask the USA administration
and Congress, as well as all democratic nations, to take these
circumstances into account," one statement read. According to
the Baltic Council, any Western aid for the Baltic States should
be sent directly, bypassing Soviet authorities. The Council denounced
USSR Prosecutor General Nikolai Trubin's June 3 report absolving
Soviet troops of any responsibility for the deaths in Vilnius
on January 13 and requested that international organizations
investigate the event. The Council also discussed the problem
of nuclear armaments in the Baltic States, and passed a resolution
calling on the three Baltic Supreme Councils to examine the possibility
of signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (Gytis Liulevicius)


AND ON SOVIET UNION TREATY. Another document dealt with the upcoming
new USSR Union treaty. Although the treaty will not affect the
Baltic States as sovereign nations, the Baltic Council, nevertheless,
welcomed its principles of self-determination and voluntary participation,
and expressed the hope that future relations between the Baltic
States and the new Union treaty's signatories would be founded
on those principles. (Gytis Liulevicius)

LITHUANIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER IN MOSCOW. On June 11 Lithuanian
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Valdemaras Katkus was in Moscow
for meetings with USSR Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Valentin
Nikiforov and the head of the Soviet delegation at the CSCE,
Yurii Deryabin, Radio Independent Lithuania reported that day.
Katkus discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the
two foreign affairs ministries on questions of passports, visas,
and border control, and the possibility of a Lithuanian delegation's
participation in next week's CSCE foreign ministers' meeting
in Berlin. (Saulius Girnius)

LATVIAN-POLISH ACCORD EXPECTED. Latvia's Prime Minister Ivars
Godmanis and Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans left for Poland today
(June 12) for talks with Polish leaders concerning closer cooperation
and the opening of information bureaus in Warsaw and Riga. Radio
Riga of June 12 reported that representatives of the two sides
are expected to sign a friendship and cooperation agreement.
Jurkans told Diena of June 11 that this would be the second such
accord for Latvia; the first one was with Denmark. (Dzintra Bungs)


KOMSOMOL RENEWED IN LATVIA. The twenty-fifth congress of the
Latvian Komsomol was held in Riga on June 8, according to Diena
of June 8. On June 8, 1990 the Komsomol was renamed Latvian Youth
Progress Association (LYPA) to indicate the change in ideological
orientation of the organization. A minority of the old Komsomol
members (4,125), unhappy over the change, decided to renew the
organization. The old Komsomol membership was estimated at about
202,000. The LYPL membership is about 29,000--a clear indication
that the appeal of the Komsomol, either in its old or modified
form, has declined dramatically in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

SOVIET MILITARY CAPTURES DESERTER IN LATVIA. A military patrol
seized A. Ozolins in Olaine where he had performed alternative
service, working as a guard for Latvia's Ministry of Internal
Affairs. In May 1990 he was beaten with a metal bar and received
serious head injuries; this prompted him to leave his army unit.
The captors seized Ozolins at home, roughed him up, and threatened
to shoot his mother, reported Diena of June 7. (Dzintra Bungs)


COORDINATOR BETWEEN BUNDESTAG AND LITHUANIAN SUPREME COUNCIL.
On June 7 Radio Independent Lithuania reported that Lithuanian
parliament deputy Antanas Racas had been appointed Lithuanian
coordinator between the German Bundestag and the Lithuanian Supreme
Council. Racas arrived in Germany in March to establish a Lithuanian
information bureau at the Lithuanian high school in Huettenfeld.
He organized the official visit of Lithuanian parliamentarians
to the Bundestag on April 17-19. Racas noted that one of his
main duties in Germany was to help Lithuanian soldiers who had
deserted the Soviet army. He said that Germany has furnished
them with food, clothing, shelter, and language courses. (Saulius
Girnius)


USSR - ALL-UNION TOPICS


PAVLOV CLAIMS ECONOMY HAS STABILIZED. In what was described as
an unscheduled address to the USSR Supreme Soviet on June 11,
Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov claimed that the slump in output
has been halted, TASS reported June 11. He poured scorn on those
who had foretold slumps of 20-50%--although one cannot recall
anyone predicting such a decline--and attributed the purported
stabilization to his anti-crisis program. This is odd, as the
program technically is not in force. Pavlov promised that "state-set
retail prices for basic food and non-food goods" will not be
raised again this year. This may delay the implementation of
a key provision of his draft anti-crisis program, namely, "the
transition to primarily free price formation by October 1, 1992."
(Keith Bush)

REPUBLICS AND ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. Pavlov told the Supreme Soviet
that virtually all the republics supported the anti-crisis program,
but only seven had signed it so far, TASS reported yesterday.
Russia and Ukraine fully supported the program, Pavlov claimed,
but wanted it to include references to the mechanism of taxing
enterprises and dividing up Union and republican property, which
Pavlov thought should go in the Union treaty. The Baltic republics
supported the program too, he said, but would not sign because
they did not regard themselves as part of the Soviet Union. Moldavia
was wavering. Georgia was the only republic that had so far "given
no sign of life." (Ann Sheehy)

PAVLOV ON BALANCE OF PAYMENTS. The TASS and Radio Moscow accounts
of Pavlov's remarks on foreign trade and balance of payments
were not completely clear. He apparently reported that imports
during the first five months of 1991 have been cut by 45% to
12.2 billion currency rubles, while exports were 7.7 billion
currency rubles. Commercial arrears totalled 2.5 billion rubles.
The USSR "has now been switched to a special credit regime,"
whereby suppliers expect to be paid on the nail, rather than
deliver first and then submit bills. Pavlov is quoted as saying:
"I deal with the state's cash morning and evening." Yet he is
cited as seeing light at the end of the tunnel. (Keith Bush)


PROSPECTS FOR THIS YEAR'S HARVEST. Pavlov told the Supreme Soviet
that grain had been sown on 110-111 million hectares--about the
same area as in 1990. He projected the grain harvest at 205-206
million tons, compared with 237 million tons [bunker weight]
in 1990. Pavlov blamed the drop on the weather. It might be noted
that no Soviet official has previously given a concrete projection
of the harvest so early in the season. In his speech to industrial
and farm managers on June 5, Pavlov had forecast bumper harvests
of vegetables and fruit this year, but Izvestia of June 1 warned
that the area planted with potatoes is 25% and with other vegetables,
12% down from 1990. (Keith Bush)

BLACK MARKET IN HARD CURRENCY UNDERCUT. Since the official exchange
rate for hard currency was raised in April, Soviet banks have
been changing ten to twelve times as much, Izvestia June 10 reported,
according to agency reports. The official tourist exchange rate
appears to have remained at 27.6 rubles to the dollar since trading
opened on April 2, as volume at the weekly trading sessions has
been below the minimum of $10 million stipulated to trigger changes
in the rate. (Keith Bush)

NISHANOV ON UNION TREATY TIMETABLE. In an interview on Moscow
Radio June 11, Rafik Nishanov, Chairman of the Council of Nationalities,
said that the Preparatory Committee working on the draft Union
treaty agreed that work on it should be completed by the end
of June. The all-Union and republican parliaments would then
examine it, approve it, and appoint their plenipotentiary representatives
to sign it. It had been proposed that the signing take place
at the USSR Congress of People's Deputies. Nishanov said he hoped
it would be signed by the end of July. (Ann Sheehy)

SUPSOV FAILS TO ADOPT LAW ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. TASS reported
June 10 that the USSR Supreme Soviet refused to approve a bill
on scientific and intellectual property which received its first
reading that day. Diametrically opposed views of the purpose
of the bill were heard. Speaking in defense of the original draft,
Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Laverov said it should "prevent
cooperatives and foreign firms from pumping the ideas of Soviet
scientists to the West, and stop the members of the shadow economy
from waxing rich." Arguing against the law in its draft form,
People's Deputy Yurii Kalmykov said two laws were needed: one
on copyright and another against "dishonest competition." After
what TASS said was a heated three-hour debate, the Supreme Soviet
rejected the draft and sent it back to committee for further
work. (Elizabeth Teague)

SUPREME SOVIET APPROVES LAW ON WORK SAFETY. The USSR Supreme
Soviet on June 7 approved in the first reading a bill designed
to improve workplace safety in the USSR, TASS and Radio Moscow
reported that day. The legislation, which was proposed by the
official General Confederation of Trade Unions, shifts responsibility
for the enforcement of safety regulations from the unions, whose
task it has been until now, to the state. Introducing the legislation,
union leader Vladimir Kuzmenok said that every year over 14,000
people are killed on the job in the USSR and about 700,000 are
injured in industrial accidents. The new legislation sets new
safety standards and compensation for those injured or killed;
it will come up for final reading at the autumn session of parliament.
(NCA)

CONFLICTING UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES CITED. A new framework law on
employment comes into force in the USSR on July 1. Unemployment
will be formally recognized for the first time since 1930 and
workers who are laid off will become entitled to unemployment
benefits. Since Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev came to power,
the Soviet authorities have admitted the existence of unemployment
but they have had no reliable means of measuring it. Estimates
vary widely. Vremya on June 7 (quoting the official government
figures) predicted that 2 million people will register as unemployed
on July 1. But TASS on June 11 said as many as 13 million may
register; the official news agency claimed there are one million
unemployed in Moscow alone, 250,000 in Leningrad, and 16,000
in Belorussia. (TASS gave no source for its estimate; last year,
the Shatalin group said the true figure was 6 million, made up
of 4.5 million permanently unemployed and 1.5 million frictional
unemployed.) (Elizabeth Teague)

ILO SAYS JOBLESS "SET TO REACH 20 MILLION." TASS in the report
cited above predicted that, if Soviet economic growth continues
to decline, Soviet unemployment "could reach 30 million." TASS
gave no timeframe for its prediction. Meanwhile, in a new book
published June 9, the International Labor Organization in Geneva
has predicted (only slightly more optimistically than TASS) that,
in the event of a market reform, Soviet unemployment could grow
to 20 million within a year or two (The Independent; RFE/RL correspondent's
report from Geneva; both of June 10). (Elizabeth Teague)

TERMS OF CFE COMPROMISE. Western agencies reported June 11 that
NATO sources have revealed some details of the CFE deal worked
out recently by Washington and Moscow. The terms include the
following: Moscow will destroy about 20% of the equipment that
was moved east of the Urals, a total of some 12,000 tanks, artillery
pieces, and armored personnel carriers (APCs); it has agreed
to count disputed equipment in naval infantry units in the treaty,
preserving total and regional limits, and may convert several
hundred APCs in these units; the West has agreed that naval infantry
equipment will not be subject to routine inspection; the West
has agreed to exempt several hundred pieces assigned to Soviet
strategic nuclear rocket forces from CFE, counting them as "paramilitary
forces." (Stephen Foye)

SOLDIERS APPLY FOR ASYLUM IN FORMER GDR. A spokesman for the
German Interior Ministry said on June 11 that 14 additional Soviet
soldiers have sought political asylum in Germany since the middle
of last month, bringing to 206 the total number of asylum seekers
over the past 18 months. The Interior Ministry said recently
that no decision has been taken on any of the requests. (NCA/Stephen
Foye)

STRAUSS WINS SUPPORT IN MOSCOW. Gorbachev's spokesman Vitalii
Ignatenko said of Robert Strauss's appointment as US ambassador
to the Soviet Union: "our reaction to this appointment is definitely
positive." Speaking at a June 11 press conference, Ignatenko
said: "we know that in the United States he is considered a master
of compromise, an attribute which will help the development of
cooperation between the two countries." The weekly Commersant
said on June 11 the appointment of Strauss means that the United
States "plans to pursue a firmer and more active policy toward
the USSR, which is to prevent Gorbachev from deviating from the
market track," Western agencies reported. (NCA/Suzanne Crow)


WHY WAIT FOR START? According to a Radio Moscow World Service
commentary broadcast June 10, there is "no need to link the possibility
of an early summit to the conclusion of a START treaty. Bilateral
relations and the elaboration of a joint approach towards crucial
international issues can offer enough material for a Soviet-United
States summit." The commentary, if indicative of the Soviet leadership's
position, reveals a significant shift in Moscow's position on
the summit. Moscow's urgency in meeting with US President Bush
can likely be attributed to Gorbachev's desire to hold a high
profile meeting in order to prop up his international stature
on the eve of the G-7 summit. (Suzanne Crow)

BARTER TRADE WITH CUBA. According to the Russian Information
Agency (RIA), the Soviet Union and Cuba are preparing an agreement
to shift trade to a barter basis as a transitional measure until
trading in hard currency can begin. Products to be bartered include
Soviet oil, food, wood, and machinery parts in exchange for Cuban
sugar and food products, agency summaries reported June 11. The
RIA report made no mention of the terms on which Cuban nickel
would be sold to the Soviet Union. Trade between the two countries
has been virtually halted for six months owing to Moscow's demands
to conduct trade in hard currency and the dearth of such currency
in both Cuba and the Soviet Union. (Suzanne Crow)

YAKOVLEV: USSR DOES NOT WANT AID IT CAN'T REPAY. Senior Gorbachev
adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev told journalists in Prague yesterday
that the USSR "is not asking for help that we do not intend to
pay back." According to TASS June 11, Yakovlev went on to say
that Moscow's aim is for the Soviet Union "to become an equal
partner in the international division of labor, and that any
kind of discrimination against it be eliminated." Yakovlev stressed
the importance of credits, saying they are necessary to soak
up excess money which has destroyed the consumer market. (Sallie
Wise)

BAKATIN ON HIS ROLE IN SECURITY COUNCIL. Former USSR interior
minister Vadim Bakatin said during a discussion on Russian Television
June 10 that, as a member of the Security Council, he had made
"maximum effort" to hold back conservative forces who tried to
plot against RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin at the
Third RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies in March. But he also
admitted that his powers are limited. He said that although he
is member of the Security Council he has no influence on the
KGB, MVD and procuracy and revealed that he and Evgenii Primakov,
another full-time member of the council, do not know the state
of the USSR budget because it is kept "under seven locks" by
premier Pavlov. (Alexander Rahr)


USSR - IN THE REPUBLICS


CONSERVATIVES ATTACK YELTSIN. On the eve of the RSFSR elections,
Sovetskaya Rossiya yesterday (June 11) printed a front-page article
by USSR Prosecutor General Nikolai Trubin denouncing Yeltsin
for illegal offers to sell millions of rubles for dollars at
several times the official rate. The deal was never implemented,
but then-RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Fil'shin resigned
last February because of it. According to Western agencies June
11, RSFSR Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev admitted that Yeltsin
had indeed appointed an alleged Italian mafioso as RSFSR honorary
consul. But despite conservatives' attempts to block Yeltsin's
election as RSFSR president, his chances of winning today have
not decreased. The most pessimistic opinion surveys give him
between 36% and 52% of the vote in the first round, The Times
(London) reported June 12. (Alexander Rahr)

BAKATIN VERSUS RYZHKOV. During a discussion on Russian TV June
10, Bakatin said he cannot believe that Russian voters would
completely take leave of their senses and vote for Nikolai Ryzhkov--a
man of yesterday. He stressed that he is much closer to Yeltsin
than to Ryzhkov and that only he and Yeltsin represent democracy.
In other statements, Bakatin predicted that the issue of diverting
northern rivers from Russia to Central Asia will soon resurface
on the agenda of the Federation Council. Bakatin criticized Gorbachev's
foreign economic policy as a "humiliating search for whoever
will give us loans." (Alexander Rahr)

PATRIARCH ON CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS. In connection with the first
anniversary of his enthronement, Patriarch Aleksii II told Izvestia,
as reported by TASS on June 10, that relations between the state
and the Russian Orthodox Church have entered a new phase, namely,
progress. The Patriarch said that the Church is not against the
state, but in cases when the government is wrong the Church feels
duty-bound to speak out. As often before, the Patriarch expressed
deep concern about the split involving the Russian Orthodox Church
abroad. He also said that the problem of legalizing the Uniate
Church (Ukrainian Greek Catholics) must be solved by the authorities,
but added that the Church will agree to a church meeting on that
subject. (Oxana Antic)

CONGRESS OF CHECHEN PEOPLE CONTINUES CONFRONTATION. An all-national
congress of the Chechen people that resumed work on June 8 reaffirmed
its decision to rename Chechnya in its historical frontiers the
Chechen Republic of Nakhichichi, Moscow radio reported June 9.
The decision had been taken at the first stage of the congress
in November 1990, but the Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet had subsequently
refused to divide Chechen-Ingushetia into two republics or change
its name. Moscow radio added that virtually all points of the
resolution adopted by the congress on June 8 testified to the
growing confrontation between the Chechen nationalist movement
and the authorities. (Ann Sheehy)

OMON UNITS SAID TO LEAVE MOLDAVIA. Moldavian parliamentary deputies
told RFE/RL by telephone June 11 that the command of the Odessa
military district cabled the Moldavian leadership that day announcing
the withdrawal of the supplementary USSR MVD OMON units which
had landed in Moldavia June 7 and 8 (see Daily Report, June 10).
The command claimed that the units were merely transiting Moldavia
as part of an exercise. Moldavian President Mircea Snegur had
cabled Gorbachev to protest the introduction of the units without
the knowledge, let alone the consent, of the republican government.
(Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIA ADOPTS LAWS ON BANKING, LOOKS TO REPUBLICAN CURRENCY.
The Moldavian parliament adopted June 11 a law on the functioning
of the Moldavian National Bank and a law on banks and banking
activities, Moldovapres reported the same day. The National Bank,
created June 4 (see Daily Report, June 5) will be subordinated
directly to the parliament and will be headed by a governor appointed
by parliament for terms of 7 years. The law on banking and banking
activities lays the basis for the establishment of commercial
and credit banks in Moldavia and regulates their operation. The
same law provides for the introduction--within an unspecified
term--of a republican currency. Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi
is on record as envisaging the introduction of a republican currency
by 1992. (Vladimir Socor)

JEWISH STUDIES REVIVED IN UKRAINE. The Cabinet of Jewish Culture
has been reinstituted, marking the revival of Jewish studies
in Ukraine, reports the April issue of Visnyk Akademii nauk Ukrains'koi
RSR. The cabinet is within the framework of the Ukrainian Academy
of Sciences' Center for Nationalities Studies. A chair of Jewish
culture was organized in the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
in 1926 and reorganized into an institute in 1929. In 1936 the
institute was liquidated and reorganized once again as the Cabinet
of Jewish, Language, Literature, and Folklore. It was liquidated
in 1949. (Roman Solchanyk)

CORRECTION. In the Daily Report of June 11 (no. 109), the last
sentence of MINSK TRACTOR FACTORY VOTES TO EJECT PARTY should
read "The Tractor Factory was Gorbachev's first stop during his
tour of Belorussia in February," not April as printed.


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