VILNIUS, U.S.S.R., JAN. 17 -- A senior Soviet Defense Ministry official said here today that the army has no intention of storming the Lithuanian parliament, as signs mounted of a major power struggle between Kremlin hard-liners and political moderates.

Tension eased somewhat today in and around the parliament building, where legislators have been expecting a military attack ever since a self-styled National Salvation Committee claimed it had seized power in Lithuania last Sunday. But there was no way of telling whether the army assertion was genuine or disinformation designed to lull Lithuanians into a false sense of security before the next blow falls.

Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis said he was encouraged by the arrival today of a new Kremlin emissary, Georgi Tarazevich, empowered to negotiate on behalf of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Tarazevich, chairman of the Supreme Soviet's, or national legislature's, committee on ethnic issues, met with Landsbergis for 90 minutes and later told Lithuanian lawmakers: "My mission is to bring assistance to you and your legitimate Lithuanian government and parliament in how to restore normal life and find ways of constructive cooperation with the {Soviet} Union."

A delegation from the Polish parliament led by former social affairs minister Jacek Kuron, one of the leading strategists of the independent Solidarity movement in the early 1980s, also arrived here today to give moral support to the Lithuanian parliament.

Tonight, in a development that reflects the battle for control of the Soviet airwaves, Leningrad television broadcast comprehensive videotape of last Sunday's seizure of the Vilnius television station and transmitting tower by the Soviet army. The report, which could be seen throughout the Baltic republics and as far south as Moscow, clearly showed Soviet paratroops firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians and beating them with the butts of their rifles, completely contradicting official reports.

In an interview broadcast immediately afterward, Leningrad Mayor Anatoly Sobchak scornfully rejected Gorbachev's claim that he was unaware of the military action here until after it was over. Sobchak called for the immediate convening of the Congress of People's Deputies, the Soviet Union's highest state body, to condemn the Soviet leader's handling of the incident.

"As long as these troops are still in the Baltic region, there are no guarantees that there will not be new clashes," said Sobchak, a leading political reformist who investigated the military attack that killed 19 unarmed demonstrators in Tbilisi, the capital of Soviet Georgia, in April 1989.

Tonight's extremely detailed television coverage of the army takeover was totally at odds with a 10-minute film prepared by a rival Leningrad television team two days ago that depicted the paratroops as heroes who had arrived just in time to prevent the outbreak of civil war in Lithuania. The pro-army material was broadcast twice on Soviet central television, providing hard-liners with ideological arguments for a total crackdown on Lithuania.

The media war almost certainly reflects a bitter political struggle between conservatives and moderates that has now reached an acute form after gathering momentum over the past few years. As usual, Gorbachev seems to be straddling the two camps. Although he is clearly leaning toward the hard-liners, he has not yet authorized an all-out offensive in their cause.

The optimistic explanation for the apparent lull in military activity in Lithuania -- as well as in Latvia and Estonia, the other two Baltic republics -- is that the Kremlin power struggle has still not been settled and the army is waiting for fresh orders from Moscow. The pessimistic explanation is that the Communist Party and army leaders are merely pausing for breath before proceeding to the next stage of the crackdown.

A Defense Ministry emissary from Moscow, Maj. Gen. Yuri Nauman, was given a noisy reception at a press conference here this afternoon when he alleged that film showing a demonstrator falling under the treads of a tank had been staged to discredit the army. He was greeted by derisory shouts of "answer, answer" by Soviet and foreign journalists when he was unable to explain why the army supported an unconstitutional decision by the National Salvation Committee to "seize power" in Lithuania in the name of "workers and peasants."

Asked whether the army intends to seize the Lithuanian parliament by force, Nauman said that the building is now so well protected by concrete barriers and trenches that "we have no desire to appear there."

"Such an action will not be undertaken. The military simply doesn't need this building," he said, but he refused to gurantee there would be no action against the parliament.

Nauman's comments suggested that the army has settled on a strategy of gradually taking over the key instruments of control in Lithuania -- including road and rail communications, the propaganda apparatus, the security forces and the economic infrastructure -- rather than openly toppling a democratically elected legislature. Any military action against the Lithuanian parliament, with its hundreds of armed defenders, would almost certainly result in mass bloodshed, further increasing the Soviet Union's international isolation.

A Lithuanian Communist Party official, Juozas Jermolavicius, provoked laughter from reporters when he claimed to have been taken to a secret meeting with members of the clandestine National Salvation Committee after being in touch with them by courier for the past week. He said the committee is made up of more than 10 people, including representatives of all ethnic groups in Lithuania and "workers, peasants and leaders of the creative intelligentsia."

Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Zygmas Vaisvila said in an interview that the Soviet army stepped up intensive patrolling of Vilnius last night, stopping official cars in what soldiers claimed was a search for weapons.