From an interview on Soviet television on Oct. 5 with the chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, Nikolai Ryzhkov:

Crime in the country is a source of serious concern and demands urgent and resolute measures. I will cite just some figures to show how acute this problem is. Look, 1989 saw a flareup of crime. The total number of crimes grew by 33 percent, and the number of grave crimes grew by 41 percent. Of course, law-enforcement bodies took certain steps to establish order, at least to some extent, but the figures show that the total number of crimes in the first eight months of this year alone increased by 13 percent, as compared with the same period last year, to exceed 1,700,000, and grave crimes grew by 20 percent. During the same period, 16,400 people were killed, more than 4,600 crimes were committed with the use of arms.

Yes, criminals have become simply insolent, and this is why we have drawn relevant conclusions and decided that neither the Interior Ministry nor the KGB is implementing its functions in this respect in full measure. Interior Minister Bakatin has been seriously warned. The State Security Committee {KGB} has also been told that its officers are not using all possibilities of the committee.

... I cannot put up with this situation any longer, and we will take the strictest measures to establish order in the country. People are tired; they are wondering when order will be established at long last. Such a situation is simply intolerable, and maybe these are high-sounding words, but we are declaring war on crime.