Moscow leaders, defying Kremlin, authorize rallies

November 03, 1990|By Scott Shane | Scott Shane,Moscow Bureau of The Sun

MOSCOW -- Coolly defying President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Moscow leaders authorized yesterday two anti-Communist rallies to compete with the traditional Red Square military parade and Communist demonstration on Wednesday.

The Presidium of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, with Mr. Gorbachev's vocal backing, called for the cancellation Thursday all alternative rallies in Moscow on the 73rd anniversary of the ,, Bolsheviks' seizure of power. It asked the Moscow City Council to let political organizations know about the decree.

But city leaders, mostly former Communists who are considerably more radical than the national leadership, nonetheless sanctioned rally permits for the Moscow Voters Association and a coalition of deputies to the Russian and union parliaments.

Details of the rally plans were not available last night, but the sponsors' political views make it clear they will be strongly anti-government and anti-Communist in orientation. In order to avoid any clashes, neither alternative rally will be scheduled for the same time and place as the official Communist demonstration, city officials said.

The City Council's executive committee recommended that none the three demonstrations exceed 25,000 participants in size. The size limit was an obvious slap at the Communists, since the Moscow party leadership had predicted that 150,000 people would attend their Red Square event.

In a separate development that is likely to lead to new conflict between union and republican leadership, Mr. Gorbachev issued decree preserving centralized control over coveted hard currency reserves in 1991.

The decree orders all enterprises earning convertible foreign currency to exchange 40 percent of it for rubles at the Soviet State Bank so that the hard currency can be used to pay off the foreign debt.

Of the remaining currency, 90 percent will go to a central currency

fund controlled by a committee consisting of representatives of all 15 republics and chaired by an official of the Soviet government. Just 10 percent will go to republic and local funds.

The decree says that union-level agencies will control sales of oil, gas, gold, diamonds and certain other goods -- in other words, the products that generate the overwhelming majority of Soviet hard currency.

The decree appears to be a direct challenge to the Russian Federation, the largest republic and the one with most of the country's oil, gas, gold and diamonds. Just Wednesday the Russian parliament reasserted the republic's sovereign right to control over its natural wealth.

Following a meeting yesterday of republican representatives with Mr. Gorbachev in the Council of the Federation, Russian Vice President Ruslan I. Khasbulatov told Soviet television he was "dissatisfied" with the discussion.

"As long as the current structures are preserved, no economic power is coming to the Russian level," he said.

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