One must learn by doing the thing; though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. - Sophocles
OMRI DAILY DIGEST Part I

Vol. 1, No. 14, Part I, 19 January 1995

We welcome you to the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest Part
I--a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, and the CIS. Part II, covering East-Central and Southeastern
Europe, is distributed simultaneously as a second document.

The Daily Digest picks up where the RFE/RL Daily Report, which recently
ceased publication, left off. Contributors include OMRI's 30-member
staff of analysts, plus selected freelance specialists. OMRI is a unique
public-private venture between the Open Society Institute and the U.S.
Board for International Broadcasting.

RUSSIA

YELSTIN RULES OUT TALKS WITH DUDAEV. Speaking at the Kremlin after the
formal presentation of credentials by new ambassadors on 18 January,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin affirmed, in a clear attempt to preclude
further Western speculation that he is no longer in control, that he is
closely monitoring the situation in Chechnya and that no decisions of
substance were taken without his knowledge, Interfax and Western
agencies reported. Yeltsin further ruled out any negotiations with
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, given that he "unleashed a campaign
of genocide against his own people," but said that the Russian
government was prepared to conduct talks with Chechen military and clan
leaders. Ingush President Ruslan Aushev, however, was quoted by
Komsomolskaya pravda on 18 January as arguing that Russia will have to
negotiate with Dudaev since "he has the support of his people." The
proposed cease-fire tentatively agreed to during informal talks in
Moscow on 17 January between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
and two senior Chechen government officials failed to take effect as
planned on 18 January. AFP reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai accused the two Chechen officials of duplicity and
charged that they had made no attempt to travel to Grozny to brief
Dudaev, while the Chechen officials told journalists in the Ingush
capital of Nazran that the Russian commanders with whom they had
intended to liaise had failed to make contact, according to the Los
Angeles Times of 19 January. Meanwhile, heavy Russian aerial bombardment
and street fighting in Grozny continued on 18 January. -- Liz Fuller,
OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV, CHRISTOPHER FINISH TALKS. US Secretary of State Warren
Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev signaled a
warming of US-Russian relations after two days of talks in Geneva.
"There will be no cold peace and the partnership between Russia and the
United States will be preserved and strengthened," Kozyrev told
journalists on 18 January, Interfax reported. Christopher told a news
conference at the end of the two days of meetings, "I can only repeat
what President Clinton said, . . . that he intends to press for aid to
Russia," AFP reported. Some difficulties remained, however. The
diplomats did not set a date for a presidential summit, but Kozyrev said
that Clinton and Yeltsin will work out a time to meet later. Christopher
warned that the Chechen war was exacting too high a price for Russia
both at home and abroad, The New York Times reported 19 January.
Christopher softened earlier comments that Russian democracy was at risk
due to a falling out between Yeltsin and the pro-democracy politicians,
saying that such disputes are normal. Kozyrev rejected allegations that
Yeltsin had fallen captive to hard-line advisors and is creating an
authoritarian government. Kozyrev said Yeltsin "is the main reformer who
was elected by the people," and said he saw no alternative leader who
could replace him. He expressed concern that some officials in the US
Congress wanted to delay ratification of the START-2 treaty, which
hasn't been ratified by either Russia or the US. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

WHAT ROLE FOR OSCE IN CHECHNYA? Interfax of 17 January quoted Russian
Foreign Ministry official Mark Entin as ruling out any OSCE involvement
in mediating a settlement of the Chechen conflict, which he termed
"Russia's internal affair," but conceded that the organization could
help resolve "humanitarian and legal" aspects of the crisis. Chairman of
the State Duma committee for International Affairs, Vladimir Lukin, told
Interfax after talks with OSCE emissary Istvan Gyarmati that the
proposal to deploy OSCE observers in Chechnya is "legal and sound."
Speaking at a press conference in Bonn on 18 January, Gyarmati said that
he would head an OSCE delegation including diplomats and military
experts that will travel to Moscow on 21 January and then to Chechnya on
24 January to gather information prior to beginning work with the
Russian government on possible peaceful solutions to the Chechen crisis,
AFP reported on 18 January. Gyarmati advocated free elections in
Chechnya after which the republic's status within the Russian Federation
should be "defined in a generous manner." -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

MORE THAN 1,000 RUSSIANS KILLED? While Interfax on 16 January reported a
semi-official count of 505 Russian soldiers killed and 1,860 wounded in
Chechnya, its correspondent in Mozdok said that some 1,160 servicemen
had been killed in the conflict. He based his count on a tally of the
bodies sent to Mozdok aboard what the soldiers grimly call "black
tulips"--a term that originated during the war in Afghanistan to
describe helicopters used to transport those killed in action. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

"NO CONNECTION" BETWEEN EVENTS IN CHECHNYA AND OIL PIPELINE. Interfax on
18 January quoted an unidentified official from Transneft (the Russian
agency responsible for oil export pipelines) as denying any connection
between the Russian military intervention in Chechnya and the planned
construction of a Caspian pipeline linking the Tengiz oil and gas fields
in western Kazakhstan with the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.
Numerous Western analysts have hypothesized over the past few weeks that
the Russian desire to establish firm control in Chechnya was largely
motivated by economic considerations. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

PRESS FREEDOMS VIOLATED. Oleg Panfilov, an official with the Russian
Fund for Freedom of Information, reported 97 violations of the civil and
professional rights of journalists since the beginning of the Chechen
conflict, Interfax reported 18 January. He listed cases of journalists
being detained without explanation, threatened with bodily harm, and
deprived of their equipment. The Fund is a public organization that
seeks to publicize violations of journalists' rights. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

"TEMPORARY CENSORSHIP" ON RUSSIAN TV. According to Interfax, the makers
of the popular TV program "Sovershenno Sekretno" (Top Secret), held a
news conference on 16 January in the Moscow House of Journalists on the
four-day suspension of the last edition of "Sovershenno Sekretno."
Scheduled to be broadcast by Russian Televison on 14 January, the
program had been advertised in the liberal media well in advance. The
program contains footage filmed from inside the besieged presidential
palace in Grozny on 7 January--i.e, the Russian Orthodox Christmas.
According to Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta of 11 January, the program shows
a meeting of a Russian military doctor, held in the palace as a POW, and
his mother, who is a nurse. On 14 January, the RTV program announcer
told the audience that the program "was not ready" for broadcasting and
will be aired later. The temporary ban of the film is the second such
instance with "Sovershenno Sekretno" in less than three months. On 19
November, another edition of the same program, about corruption among
the military, was taken off the air but broadcast a week later,
following a stir of protests against censorship in the media. -- Julia
Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN TO ADDRESS PARLIAMENT. President Yeltsin will make his annual
presidential address to the Russian parliament 9 February, almost a
month later than the planned 11 January date, Interfax reported 17
January. No official reason was given for the delay. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

SENATORS REJECT YELTSIN'S JUDGES, APPROVE OF LEBEDEV'S
The Russian Constitutional Court will not resume its work in the near
future due to the repeated failure of Russia's upper house of
parliament, the Federation Council, to approve the last of the 19 judges
who, according to the constitution, must be on the Constitutional Court
before it may function. According to Russian television newscasts,
Yeltsin's second attempt to nominate Robert Tsivilev, an aide to Yeltsin
administration chief Sergei Filatov, was rejected by the senators on 17
January. Tsivilev received only 60 of the 90 votes necessary for
approval. Filatov's attempt to interfere into the matter personally, in
the form of an address to the Federation Council on behalf of Tsivilev,
proved counterproductive. In the first vote, taken just a few weeks ago,
Tsivilev lacked only a few votes to gain election as the 19th
Constitutional Court judge. Later that day, the senators rejected both
of Yeltsin's nominees for positions on the Russian Supreme Court. Both
candidates, their critics argued, lack the necessary experience as
judges. On the another hand, the Federation Council approved all five
judges recommended by V. Lebedev, the chairman of the Supreme Court, for
membership in its presidium. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

FOREIGN DEBT IN '95 COULD REACH $130 BILLION. Speaking at a special
commission on social and economic problems at the presidential office on
17 January, Minister of Economics Evgenii Yasin said that Russia's
foreign debt may grow to $130 billion this year, Interfax reported.
Yasin said that Russia had to borrow more money to tame inflation,
achieve economic stability and help the people adjust to changing living
conditions. Yasin stated that the USSR's foreign debt grew from $25 to
30 billion in 1985 to $80 billion in 1991. According to the Ministry of
Finance, Russia's debt at the beginning of 1994, inclusive of debts of
the former USSR and credits extended to Russia since 1992, totaled
$112.8 billion. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

IMF BEGINS TALKS WITH RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. Crucial talks began between
IMF delegates and Russian officials on 18 January to determine whether
the IMF will grant Russia a $6 billion loan, Western and Russian
agencies reported. Russia is counting on receiving total loans of $15
billion from Western sources, or 10% of its budget, to boost economic
reform plans. In light of the political and economic implications of the
war in Chechnya, the uncertainty of Russia sticking to its 1995 draft
budget and the country's general ability to carry out market reforms,
the IMF is expected to assess various factors and attach stringent
conditions to the loan. If granted, the loan would be made in quarterly
installments based on Moscow's progress in meeting budget targets and
moving toward a market economy. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

WORK STOPS AT ZIL CAR FIRM. Zil, formerly one of Russia's largest
industrial enterprises, temporarily shut down on 17 January owing to a
shortage of cash to buy parts, agencies reported. Zil Director Valerii
Saikin said the plant, which owes $110 million to the state and
suppliers, needs $260 million to get over the crisis, but he was not
optimistic that credits would be forthcoming. In 1994 Zil was forced to
cut production by half and put employees on a four-day work week. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

FEDERATION COUNCIL RENEWS RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS' MANDATE IN ABKHAZIA. The
Federation Council approved on 18 January by a vote of 129-3, with one
abstention, to renew until 15 May 1995 the mandate of the 3,000 Russian
peacekeeping troops deployed along the border between Abkhazia and the
rest of Georgia, Interfax reported. The Russian peacekeepers were
dispatched to Abkhazia for an initial period of six months in June,
1994. In an interview in Krasnaya Zvezda on 12 January, the commander of
Russian peacekeeping forces, Lt.-Gen. Vasilii Yakushev, positively
assessed his troops' contribution, but argued that other CIS states
should also provide a contingent. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

TURKMEN-UKRAINIAN GAS AGREEMENT INITIALED. Interfax reported on 18
January that Ukraine and Turkmenistan have initialed an agreement on gas
supplies from Turkmenistan to Ukraine. Under the terms of the agreement,
Turkmenistan will supply Ukraine with 11 billion cubic meters of gas in
1995 for $50-60 per 1,000 cubic meters. Ukraine will pay for 40% of
these supplies in hard currency and the rest will be covered by
manufactured goods and commodities including meat, butter, wheat and
sugar. A protocol on the schedule for Ukraine to repay its debt for
deliveries from 1994 is still being prepared. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The Daily Digest is
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
"SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation
marks and inserting your name where shown) to
LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be
included. The publication can also be obtained for a fee in printed form
by fax and postal mail. Please direct inquiries to: Editor, Daily
Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4, Czech Republic or send e-mail
to: omripub@omri.cz

Telephone: (42 2) 6114 2114 Fax: (42 2) 426 396


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole