The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 19, Part I, 26 January 1995

We welcome you to Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily
Digest. The Digest is distributed in two sections. This part focuses on
Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, and the CIS. Part II,
distributed simultaneously as a second document, covers East-Central and
Southeastern Europe.

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

BATTLE FOR GROZNY CONTINUES. Russian troops continued their artillery
bombardment of Chechen-held areas in southern Grozny on 25 January,
Western agencies reported. Chechen fighters, quoted byThe Washington
Post on 26 January, said they expect a new Russian offensive at any
moment. Russian Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov told journalists
after a session of the Council on 25 January that Chechen President
Dzhokhar Dudaev "still has a chance to emerge unscathed" provided he
lays down his arms, but that if resistance continues, he will face
criminal charges "as the main perpetrator of the bloodshed," Interfax
reported. Lobov also said elections for a new Chechen parliament could
be held later this year. Meanwhile, Chechnya will be administered by a
National Salvation Committee, which he claimed is already functioning in
eight raions. Lobov denied the Security Council is planning to divide
Chechnya into northern and southern regions. - Liz Fuller

SECURITY COUNCIL PRAISES GRACHEV. At the Security Council meeting,
chaired by President Boris Yeltsin, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev was
congratulated on the successful completion of the Chechen campaign,
despite criticism leveled at his ministry for its handling of the
conflict and continued fighting in the republic, agencies reported.
Security Council Secretary Lobov said that restoring order in Chechnya,
the second stage of the operation, will be directed by the Interior
Ministry. The council also discussed priority measures for the social
and economic reconstruction of the republic, which Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin estimated would cost 5-6 trillion rubles. About 80,000
civilians are said to remain in Grozny and to be experiencing "a serious
shortage of food, heat, medicines, and clothes," Interfax reported. -
Penny Morvant

PUBLIC TRIBUNAL TO "TRY" OFFICIALS FOR WAR IN CHECHNYA? A group of
Russian public organizations have suggested that the initiators of the
Chechen war be put on trial, Russian TV's "Vesti" reported on 25
January. The idea was raised at a news conference by a number of
prominent public figures, including Aleksei Simonov, chairman of the
Foundation for the Defense of Glasnost, Sergei Grigoryants, a former
Soviet political prisoner, and Valerii Borshchov, a deputy for the
Yabloko faction in the State Duma. At the conference, the speakers
asserted that Russia has violated a number of key international
agreements in Chechnya, including the Geneva Convention. They argued
that, although prosecutions are unlikely, a public trial would expose
discrepancies between Russian and international laws. Simonov called on
journalists to send the tribunal video and audio tapes which could be
used as evidence. - Julia Wishnevsky

DUMA ATTACKS KOVALEV. The Duma dropped a scheduled discussion on the
performance of Defense Minister Grachev on 25 January and held a debate
on Human Rights Commissioner Sergei Kovalev instead, Russian TV and
RFE/RL reported. The change in agenda was suggested by Yurii Kuznetsov,
a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party. On his
request, Kovalev addressed the legislature with a report on his mission
in Grozny and suggested that it adopt a resolution condemning the use of
military force in Chechnya. In turn, Kuznetsov said the Duma should call
on Yeltsin to replace Kovalev as the president's human rights envoy.
Kuznetsov's speech was followed by heated debates, during which the
Communists attacked Kovalev for supporting the decision to send tanks
against Russia's parliament building in October 1993, while the
democrats lashed out at members of Zhirinovsky's party. A decision was
postponed until 27 January. - Julia Wishnevsky

GEN. BABICHEV GIVEN COMMAND OF CHECHNYA CORPS. Maj.-Gen. Ivan Babichev
has been appointed to command the 44th Infantry Corps deployed in
Chechnya, Russian media reported on 25 January. Babichev was the
commanding officer of the 76th Guards Airborne division based in Pskov.
He led one of the columns advancing on Grozny in mid-December and, at
one point, refused to continue his advance when blocked by civilians.
The announcement said the Defense Ministry had proposed that he be
awarded the Hero of Russia medal. - Doug Clarke

KALMYKOV DENOUNCES SECURITY COUNCIL. Former Minister of Justice Yurii
Kalmykov denounced the Security Council and the leaders of parliament in
a Komsomolskaya pravda article titled "The Security Council--The
Politburo of our time," published 26 January. Kalmykov wrote that the
council is operating unconstitutionally. According to the constitution,
the status of the Security Council should be determined by federal law.
But parliament has never adopted such a law, so the Council's authority
derives purely from a presidential decree signed 3 June 1992. As a
result, the Security Council "does not have the power to issue orders to
anyone." Additionally, Kalmykov denounced the heads of both chambers of
parliament, Ivan Rybkin and Vladimir Shumeiko, for joining the
"secretive" body and thereby violating arrangements for a division of
power. By their actions, "they are willfully or unconsciously creating a
body which is beginning to replace and subordinate parliament and the
government and will carry out the will of one person." He speculated
that the executive and legislative branches came to an agreement in the
Security Council over the Chechen war to avoid having to call a state of
emergency which, according to the constitution, must be ratified by the
Federation Council. - Robert Orttung

FORMER GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER INJURED IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.
Former Georgian Defense Minister Giorgii Karkarashvili was seriously
injured and ex-Deputy Defense Minister Paata Datuashvili was killed by
automatic rifle fire at close range as they were leaving their Moscow
apartment on 25 January, Russian and Western agencies reported. The
unidentified attackers escaped. Despite his resignation in February 1994
to protest an agreement on maintaining Russian military bases in
Georgia, Karkarashvili was one of a group of top Georgian generals sent
to Moscow to study at the Russian General Staff Academy. A spokesman for
the Georgian Embassy in Moscow said there was no obvious motive for the
attack, ITAR-TASS reported. - Liz Fuller

INTERFAX CAUSES MISSILE SCARE. An erroneous report published by Interfax
on 25 January indicated that Russian air defense forces had shot down a
missile aimed at the country from Western Europe. Western agencies
quickly revealed that Norway had launched a civilian research missile
from Andoya, in northern Norway, to investigate the Northern Lights
(aurora borealis) over Svalbard--a group of islands some 650 kilometers
north of the country. Three Russian radar sites observed the missile,
but it did not cross Russian territory and was not fired at by air
defense forces. A Norwegian scientist at the test range said the program
had launched a total of 607 rockets over the last 32 years, Reuters
reported. - Doug Clarke

"BREZHNEV DOCTRINE" REVIVED ON OSTANKINO? In a prime time broadcast on
Russia's largest television station, controversial lawyer Dmitrii
Yakubovsky lambasted former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for
allowing the "velvet revolutions" in Eastern Europe, as well as the
reunification of Germany in 1989. The 23 January broadcast on the state-
owned Ostankino station was the first of a three-part documentary
series. While it is not unusual for the Russian media to criticize
Gorbachev, accusations that he had "given away" Eastern Europe have not
been broadcast to a nationwide audience since the end of the Soviet
communist party's rule in August 1991. "Gorbachev claimed that he was
unpopular because of his policy of perestroika [liberalization of Soviet
society]," Yakubovsky argued on the show. "But in fact, the Russian
people hated Gorbachev because he gave away Eastern Europe, which was
not at all necessary." Yakubovsky was arrested in 1994 for allegedly
stealing rare manuscripts from a St. Petersburg museum. He is now locked
in the local Kresty prison. - Julia Wishnevsky

STATE DUMA ADOPTS 1995 BUDGET. The Russian State Duma on 25 January
passed the 1995 budget in a second reading with a 268-88 vote and two
abstentions, Russian and Western news agencies reported. The budget,
which had been rejected earlier in the day, was finally adopted after a
concession from First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, who agreed
to raise a value-added tax from 20% to 21.5%, bringing in an extra 5.7
trillion rubles ($1.4 billion) in revenue. These funds will be used to
support the agriculture sector and to improve the financing of social
and other programs. The budget must still be brought before the Duma for
a third reading and then before the Federation Council. The budget
provides for revenues of 169.8 trillion rubles ($42.45 billion) and
spending of 243 trillion rubles ($60.75 billion), leaving a deficit of
73 trillion rubles ($18.25 billion) which amounts to 7.7% of Russia's
GNP. Following the budget's approval, Duma deputies agreed to increase
the minimum monthly wage by 163%, from 20,500 to 54,100 rubles ($5 to
$13), beginning 1 February. However, Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov
warned that such an increase in the minimum wage would swell the budget
deficit and fuel inflation to around 20-25%. The wage hike, which is an
important factor in determining the final budget for 1995, must still be
approved by the Federation Council. Opposition to the budget came from
deputies who did not accept the cost estimates of the Chechen war. -
Thomas Sigel

ECONOMIC DECLINE IN 1994 WORSE THAN EXPECTED. Russian Economics Minister
Yevgenii Yasin announced, in a meeting with the ministry's board, that
Russia's economic crisis in 1994 was deeper than experts expected,
Interfax reported on 25 January. Yasin said the gross domestic product
(GDP) declined by 15% in 1994, compared to a decline of 12% in 1993. The
volume of industrial production fell by 20.9% last year, compared to
14.1% in 1993. Agricultural production dipped 9% compared to 4% in 1993.
Yasin said the main decline took place in the first quarter, but some
stabilization and growth took place by the end of the year. Summarizing
the overall economic picture, Yasin said, "we have lost at least six
months or even a year in movement forward." The main task in 1995 is to
raise the efficiency of production and attract highly efficient
investments which could cover initial expenses. Also, the budget deficit
must be kept in line, he said. - Thomas Sigel

CIS

UKRAINE AND THE CIS SUMMIT. Following the CIS summit meeting in Moscow
on 25 January, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko voiced
concern about the attitude of some Russian deputies toward a
reconstituted union, Ukrainian radio reported. According to Udovenko,
who participated only as an observer at the summit, the Russian Duma's
intention to review the Belavezha agreement of 1991, which ended the
USSR and established the CIS, would bring instability to CIS countries.
Udovenko said the CIS should be a more efficient structure with renewed
economic ties, but outdated structures should not be resurrected.
Interfax reported that Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan were not
prepared to sign an agreement on cooperation in protecting the external
borders of the CIS. - Ustina Markus

SEVASTOPOL POPULAR ASSEMBLY APPEALS TO RUSSIA. The Sevastopol Popular
Assembly held a rally at which it demanded that Russia restore federal
status to Sevastopol and Crimea to avoid a Chechnya-type tragedy on the
peninsula, Interfax reported on 23 January. The Popular Assembly also
supported Russia's actions in Chechnya and called upon Crimeans to
resist Ukrainian separatists unless the region is returned to Russia or
joins it as one "indivisible country." In other news, Ukrainian radio
reported on 15 January that there are doubts as to whether Russia can
afford the estimated 100-billion-ruble cost of maintaining the Black Sea
Fleet personnel or the cost of supplying Sevastopol with gas. The issue
of gas supplies was discussed in a meeting between the head of the
Sevastopol city council, Viktor Semenov, Ukrainian Prime Minister
Vitalii Masol, and Ukrainian Parliamentary Speaker Oleksander Moroz. -
Ustina Markus




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
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