THE NEW YORK TIMES, NATIONAL,
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 1990

Sununu Tutors the Kremlinís Staff

By FRANCIS X. CLINES

Special to The New York Times

MOSCOW, Aug 29 - The Kremlin moved ever closer in spirit to the White House today as President Bush's chief of staff worked within on the Soviet "paper flow," and a tent city of disgruntled citizens maintained its encampment in a park just across the way.

The tent-city residents, remarkably akin to the year-round camp of aggrieved Americans who picket opposite the White House in Lafayette Park, kept their own flow of petition paper moving on the edge of Red Square.

They are in their second month of freely offering assorted complaints around the clock about a Soviet bureaucracy that not long age, swallowed dissidents whole.

"Sure this is progress ó we're no longer afraid to complain," said Valentina Dzhaitova, one of the tent dwellers hoping to get President Gorbachev's I attention. "But so fat it's useless.

Kremlin's Paper Flow

The mission of John H Sununu the White House chief of staff and expert on getting a President's attention is being kept under wraps. Soviet and American officials explain that the visitor from the West Wing is concerned with discussing not the substantive issues but only the process by which they reach the desk where the ruble stops.

Mr. Sununu stayed on the closed side of the Kremlin walls, offering no public comment and only private advice, embassy officials said, on how to govern the Government.

Whether a White House-style paper flow might bolster the Kremlin's ability to face a raft of pending critical problems is debatable, at least, in a nation that daily suffers fresh touches of eeriness. This week, for example, features not only increasing Armenian guerrilla violence and another attempt at creating a national economic recovery plan, but also such lower-priority problems as anthrax in Khirgizian sausage and quicksand in the Moscow subway.

A vivid summary of those problems from the plight of refugees of interethnic violence to the poverty and homelessness of economic failure is at hand among the 200 residents of the tent city. They vow to stay permanently as they complete their second month amid the flower bed and lawn of the Rossiya hotel just opposite the Kremlin.

'Capital of Absurdistan'

The visible routine of their lives from the old lady who walks her dog outside her plastic tent to the family glimpsed getting dressed in their cramped enclosure, only heightens the human an wonder suggested by the striped domes and swirls of nearby St. Basil's Cathedral.

"This is the capital of Absurdistan" an approaching Muscovite said as he took the tent city in stride.

Another- passer by said: "Do not staff here. Go all the way through the Kremlin gates.'' He felt the Soviet bureaucracy must be scolded full face, not briefly heckled as the Government limousines race past the 20 tents lining what residents have dubbed the Street of the Victims of Arbitrary Government Rule.

The tenters' individual complaints range from jobs and apartments lost to the machinations of vindictive bureaucrats to accusations of coverups of neighborhood slayings.

Uprooted Baku Family

Soviet passers-by connoisseurs of the difference between a crazed street loner and one of the nation's many despairing victims of old totalitarianism, are quietly curious and often sympathetic, dropping coins and paper rubles into the begging cups outside the tents.

"I understand them well," said a Moscow visitor Stanislav Bagdasarov, who stood watching with his 8-year-old son, Arsen, taking a break after three fruitless days of visiting Government bureaucracies with his own problem. . "There are many just demands here."

At a tent city, complaints are ignored.

His family was uprooted a year ago from home, jobs and possessions in the anti-Armenian pogrom in Baku. They fled to kin in At Armenia and now live in a tent in Yerevan as Mr. Bagdasarov, one of the nation's 600,000 ethnic refugees, petitions the Government for a job and minimal shelter.

"Winter is coming,'' he said, staring hard at the tent dwellers. "Soon it will be cold out here. I could come to this before I'm done, holding out my own begging cup."

Candor as a Public Piecebo

A banner announcing the tent city, which has taken root with the encouragement of the new insurgent city government, demands investigations and trials of abusive Government bureaucrats.

"Before we would have been buried alive by the Government for doing this," said Dmitri Dukov, a 65-year-old former sailor who said he suffered decades of official abuse, from job loss to unjust psychiatric incarceration after, publicly complaining that the seaman's union demands bribes as a condition of membership

"Now the Government lets us stay here and complain but it does not do anything about the problems," he said.