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Unofficial accounts say it was anything but sedate. SOVIET CONFERENCE

By Paul Quinn-JudgeStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / June 30, 1988


Official summaries of speeches at yesterday's session of the Soviet Communist Party conference made the day's proceedings sound sedate. According to Yuri Sklyarov, a party Central Committee member, the second day of the conference saw debates over how long party or government leaders should be allowed to hold office, and speeches from the party chiefs of Armenia and Azerbaijan which made it clear that their differences over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh remain unresolved.

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A delegate to the conference, however, said the proceedings were far from run-of-the-mill.

According to this source, one speaker, Filip Popov, Communist Party chief of the Altay region, indignantly demanded an inquiry into the allegations by the controversial weekly Ogonyok that some delegates from the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan were criminals.

Ogonyok had alleged last week that some of the delegates were involved in what its editor Vitaly Korotich calls ``our little Irangate'' - widespread corruption among Uzbek party officials close to former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

The conference's mandate commission is due to report on the matter today.

The same conference source alleged that a Soviet writer of somewhat conservative leanings had indulged in ``political hysterics,'' attacking outspoken journals and writers. Others defended the more outspoken elements of the press.

None of this found anything more than an echo in Mr. Sklyarov's account.

According to official summaries of the day's speeches, Azerbaijani party leader Abdul Rahman Vezirov told delegates that the situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh - a largely Armenian enclave administered by Azerbaijan - had assumed a ``dangerous character.''

Inter-ethnic relations in the republic had sharply deteriorated, he said. ``Thousands of Azerbaijanis'' had left their homes in Armenia, and ``many'' Armenians are leaving Azerbaijan.

By expressing opposition to any border changes in the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev Tuesday appeared once gain to rule out the possibility of transferring Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

But Armenian party leader Suren Arutyunyan spoke of the ``explosive situation'' in both Azerbaijan and his republic. And he was quoted as calling for changes to the Soviet Constitution - a signal that he had once again sided with his own republic's call for Karabakh's incorporation into Armenia.

Outside of the conference, several Soviet observers commented Wednesday that Mr. Gorbachev's speech to the conference the previous day appeared to be a combination of several sets of proposals, some of them directly contradictory.

Politburo member Alexander Yakovlev said Monday night that Gorbachev's report had been reviewed by the ruling Politburo some eight days before the conference began. Some changes had subsequently been made, he told a press briefing.

Usually reliable sources claim that there was considerable dissension inside the Politburo over some unspecified elements of the report. 2 But in an interview Tuesday one conference delegate, Gen. Alexander Lizichev, a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, said he agreed with all the speech.