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Vehicles of Power for Soviet Right

January 29, 1991|Joel Ostrow\f7 , Times Moscow bureau researcher

The pro-Moscow "salvation committees" that tried to oust the pro-independence governments in Latvia and Lithuania this month are only the latest manifestations of conservative strength in the Soviet Union. Here is a listing of major organizations on the Soviet right and the far right:

PAMYAT ("MEMORY")--Coalition of six extreme rightist organizations with varying agendas. Common credo includes xenophobic Russian nationalism and anti-Semitism, with the focus on the need for a Russian religious and spiritual revival. Sympathizes with "patriotic forces" within the Soviet Communist Party, army, KGB and police. Pamyat's National Patriotic Front, led by Dmitriy Vasilyev, has 400 members in Moscow, chapters in 30 cities. Konstantin Ostashvili, leader of the Union for National Proportional Representation, another Pamyat satellite group, has been sentenced to two years at hard labor for anti-Semitic outbursts.

SOYUZ ("UNION")--A vocal group of right-wing Soviet parliamentarians, whose most visible members are Col. Viktor I. Alksnis and Col. Nikolai A. Petrushenko. Claims it has the support of more than a fifth of the membership of the 2,250-seat Congress of People's Deputies. Soyuz spearheaded campaigns to oust former Interior Minister Vadim V. Bakatin and former Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze. Demands clampdown on sovereignty movements in the outlying republics and a return to a strong, centrally controlled union government. Allies in the Communist Party's policy-making Central Committee, the Russian Communist Party and the Soviet military.

RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY--Led by Ivan K. Polozkov, who was labeled in one Tass report as "an opponent of the radical reforms sorely needed by Soviet society." Viewed by some as the major stronghold of Communist Party apparatchiks and enemies of Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's "democratization" campaign. Delegates to the Russian party congress last fall displayed rigid opposition to market reforms and came down foursquare for the preservation of the Soviet Union within its present borders.

RUSSIAN MONARCHIST PARTY--Forty regional branches in a strict hierarchical organization run by "Marshal of the Orthodox Order of the Union" Sergei Engelgardt-Yurkov. Russian monarchists are anti-communist but consider Western-style parliamentary democracy "unacceptable for this country." Seeks restoration of the Romanov dynasty. Viewed by many as a curiosity with no impact on the country's politics.

OTECHESTVO (FATHERLAND)--Headed by Apollon Kuzmin, it claims 600 members. About one-third of the members are said to be simultaneously involved with Pamyat, which has similar goals. Patriotic, Russian nationalists seek revival of the Russian Orthodox religion and spiritualism.

COMMITTEES FOR NATIONAL SALVATION--Proposed for the country as a whole last November by Soviet conservatives, they acted for the first time this month in Latvia and Lithuania. The Lithuanian committee has not divulged the name of a single member, and is widely believed to be a cover for Communist stalwarts and sympathetic Soviet army officers. Latvia's committee is headed by the republic's Communist Party leader, Alfreds Rubiks. Obvious ties to party, armed forces, Interior Ministry. Other committees so far unknown, but could be in formation. Anatoly I. Lukyanov, chairman of the Supreme Soviet parliament, has denied that Polozkov had a hand in forming the committees, but said "there might come a time when the Party will appeal to the working class for help."

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