Soviet party is suspended by parliament Lawmakers rescind emergency powers given to Gorbachev THE SOVIET CRISIS

August 30, 1991|By Kathy Lally | Kathy Lally,Moscow Bureau of The Sun

MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union spun further toward disintegration yesterday.

Leaders in its two largest republics called the Soviet Union dead, the national parliament voted to suspend Communist Party activities, and still more high-level officials were purged.

One of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's closest associates was stripped of his parliamentary immunity so that he could be charged with high treason for allegedly plotting the coup.

Then, a half-hour after bringing that case, the Soviet prosecutor general resigned, saying his office had not sufficiently resisted the coup.

Mr. Gorbachev himself lost some powers, although some were ones he had never used. The Supreme Soviet voted overwhelmingly to rescind special emergency powers it had granted him on two occasions in the last 18 months.

Seeking to establish a framework of government for a new, looser Soviet Union, Mr. Gorbachev brought leaders of nine republics into his reinforced Security Council.

But former Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze turned down an invitation to join other prominent liberals on the council, according to his spokesman.

L The Supreme Soviet's move against the Communist Party, which

has controlled this huge nation with an iron fist for more than 70 years, was all the more dramatic because the parliament is party-dominated.

Yesterday, many Communists apparently didn't dare speak up as still more of their leaders were threatened with humiliation and even arrest. While the parliament has about 500 representatives, 283 voted to suspend the party, 29 voted against such action and 52 abstained.

All party property and bank accounts were ordered frozen while the prosecutor's office investigates the party's role in the failed coup. If the party is found guilty of acting against the Gorbachev government, it could be banned forever.

During its fourth day of a marathon emergency session, the Supreme Soviet stripped its former chairman, Anatoly I. Lukyanov, of his parliamentary immunity so he could be prosecuted.

Mr. Lukyanov, a friend and former law school classmate of Mr. Gorbachev's, resigned his post as lawmakers convened Monday but denied any guilt.

After making the case against Mr. Lukyanov, Nikolai Trubin, the prosecutor general, told the parliament he was leaving his job. Though Mr. Trubin was in Cuba when the coup occurred, he took responsibility for not having removed hard-liners from his office.

"It happened that the prosecutor's office recognized the legality of [the coup leaders'] decisions," Mr. Trubin said yesterday.

Members of a Soviet delegation that traveled to the Ukraine to discuss future relations, in the wake of an accord reached yesterday between Russia and the Ukraine, pronounced the Soviet Union dead.

"We are against the empire," said Anatoly A. Sobchak, Leningrad's mayor and a fiery resister of the coup. "The empire is crumbling." He said it was unrealistic to talk about a union treaty as Mr. Gorbachev has been doing.

"The results of these negotiations are that . . . the old union does not exist and there can be no return to it.

Mr. Sobchak foresees a greatly weakened central government that would coordinate or mediate affairs among the republics.

Similar thoughts were expressed by Leonid M. Kravchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, who said after the military and economic accord was signed, "The union doesn't exist." As far as he was concerned, Mr. Gorbachev's old plan to hold the country together, the union treaty, also was dead.

In a speech on Russian radio yesterday, Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin said the center would be diminished in importance as Russia grew in importance.

As the purges continued, Mr. Gorbachev fired two more KGB heavyweights, Geniya Ageyev, the first deputy chairman, and Vitaly Ponomeryov, the personnel director.

The same shadow may have fallen over 30 Soviet ambassadors who were recalled without official explanation.

Attempts also were being made to start putting the country back together. The parliament confirmed Col. Gen. Yevgeny I. Shaposhnikov as defense minister and Vadim A. Bakatin as KGB chief.

Pravda, the newspaper that was the Communist Party mouthpiece, reorganized and prepared to publish again tomorrow. A group of journalists from within the paper plans to run it, led by Gennady Seleznev, who said it would be independent from political structures and who denied rumors that it was simply a new face for an old operation.

In the republics, the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, issued a decree closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site.

He said Kazakhstan had done its part in assuring military parity between the Soviet Union and the United States and now wanted the testing finished and local residents compensated for any ill health they have suffered as a result of the tests.

As they began plans for the new national Security Council, the parliament approved Mr. Gorbachev's plan to include the republics that before the coup had agreed to sign a new union treaty -- Russia, the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizia, Turkmenistan and Tadzhikistan.

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