This is the true nature of home-- it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. - John Ruskin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 25, Part I, 3 February 1995

We welcome you to Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily
Digest. The Digest is distriubed 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

KULIKOV ON WAR IN CHECHNYA. Fierce fighting continued on 2 February in
southeastern districts of Grozny and in the town of Argun, eight miles to
the east, Western agencies reported. Speaking at a press conference in
Moscow, Col.-Gen. Anatolii Kulikov, commander of the Interior Ministry
troops who have assumed responsibility for the Chechen campaign, stated
that although Russian control has been reasserted over much of Chechnya,
"the turning point has not yet been reached." He predicted a protracted
guerrilla war. In a statement issued in Znamenskoye, 80 miles northwest of
Grozny, and quoted by AFP, the Chechen "government of national revival"
stated it would take power in Grozny before the end of February. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE VOTES TO DELAY CONSIDERATION OF RUSSIA'S CANDIDACY. The
Council of Europe voted on 2 February to delay consideration of Russia's
candidacy for membership, according to a CE press spokesman. The conduct of
the Chechen campaign has raised concerns about whether Russia is adhering
to CE principles, which include respect for democracy and human rights. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

OIC NOT TO CONDEMN RUSSIA OVER CHECHNYA? The Organization of the Islamic
Conference chairman has instructed member states to refrain from any
comment on Russia's policy in Chechnya and argues that Russia should be
given one or two months to resolve the conflict by force, according to a
Russian government press service statement, summarized by Interfax on 2
February. The statement also claimed Morocco had accused Dudaev of using
Islamic slogans to further his personal goals. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV DENIES RELIGIOUS FACTOR IN WARS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev denied that religion plays a role in the Bosnian and Chechen
conflicts, Interfax reported on 2 February. He categorically dismissed
attempts by "individual politicians" to characterize political conflicts in
these and other regions as religious. Kozyrev made his statement at a
meeting with the head of the Central European Division of the Muslim
Spiritual Department, Ravil Gainutdin, and the Moroccan ambassador in
Moscow. "Extremists, bandits, and militarists do not have a nationality or
religion," he said. "The Chechen tragedy must not turn into a confessional
war." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

AGENCY DISCRIMINATES AGAINST CHECHEN REFUGEES. The Federal Immigration
Service sent out a telegram to all local services in Russia with
instructions not to register any citizen of Chechen nationality as a
refugee. Moscow News published the text of a telegram which was sent out on
27 December 1994. The chair of the Committee for Aid to Refugees Svetlana
Gannushkina said "this discriminatory measure deprives Chechen refugees of
the right to official attention and aid," Russian TV reported on 2
February. She said the policy is still in effect, and only ethnic Russians
from Chechnya are being registered. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA TO SEND FARM MACHINERY TO CHECHNYA BY SPRING. Russia is to supply
1,077 tractors, 1,575 plows, cultivators, and other farm implements to
Chechnya this spring, Deputy Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Efremov told
Interfax on 2 February. In addition, the ministry plans to send 16.5
billion rubles ($4 million) worth of spare farm machinery parts and 23.9
billion rubles ($5.9 million) worth of fuel and lubricants to the republic.
Efremov said in order to "guarantee the farming season's success," his
ministry had worked out a time-table for the delivery of 10,900 tons of
seeds and 15,200 tons of fertilizer to the agricultural sector. Despite
Efremov's announcement, it is unclear  whether Chechnya's 1995 agricultural
undertaking will be successful given the war-torn environment. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN CHECHNYA HIGHLY LIKELY. The likelihood of an outbreak
of infectious diseases, in particular cholera, in Chechnya this spring is
high, a government coordinating committee chaired by First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets said in Moscow on 2 February. According to
Interfax, there is a danger of diseases spreading to neighboring regions,
and the health authorities in those areas have been placed on a higher
state of alert. The State Sanitation Monitoring Committee and the Health
Ministry are to prepare a report on the epidemiological situation in
Chechnya by mid-February. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA DEPUTY MURDERED. The body of State Duma Deputy and businessman Sergei
Skorochkin was found in Moscow Oblast on 2 February, ITAR-TASS reported.
Skorochkin, who was abducted on 1 February, had been shot. He was a member
of the ultranationalist Libera Democratic Party (LDP) faction in the Duma.
Skorochkin made headlines last year when he killed a man who had allegedly
shot at him, as well as a woman who got in the line of fire. Charges were
dropped on the grounds that he had acted in self-defense. The LDP claimed
Skorochkin was murdered in revenge for remarks made the same day by LDP
leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. In
fact, Zhirinovsky's controversial speech attacking Human Rights
Commissioner Sergei Kovalev was made on 30 January, not 1 February, when
Skorochkin was reportedly abducted. Two Duma deputies were murdered last
year: former banker Andrei Aidzerdis and Communist Valentin Martemyanov. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS TO PARLIAMENT SAID TO BE STRONGLY DEMOCRATIC, MAY
INCLUDE PERSONNEL CHANGES. Yeltsin's address to parliament next week will
send a strong signal that he will continue a policy of political and
economic reform, Izvestiya reported on 2 February. Among the president's
main themes will be a reform of the army, his intention to hold elections
as scheduled, and the continuation of privatization. To reinforce this
message, the president has canceled plans his aides had discussed earlier
to meet with Zhirinovsky. However, the newspaper speculates Yeltsin will
need to take concrete action to convince domestic and foreign audiences of
his seriousness. Kremlin sources say Security Council Chairman Oleg Lobov
is looking at possible personnel changes. Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai
Egorov was the first casualty, although he is officially listed as sick.
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Federal Counterintelligence Service Head
Sergei Stepashin, and "two deputy prime ministers" may be next. The sources
were especially critical of Grachev for convincing the president that a
quick victory was possible in Grozny and disorienting the army by not
preparing it properly. Had the operation been postponed for two or three
months, the military would have had a better feel for the situation in
Chechnya and a "professionally prepared plan" to impose order, the sources
suggested. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN NAMES NEW CANDIDATES FOR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. President Yeltsin
nominated two new candidates for the remaining vacancy in the
Constitutional Court, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 February. The new candidates
are Marat Baglai, first deputy director of the Academy of Labor and Social
Relations, and Anatolii Vengerov, chairman of the Judicial Chamber on
Informational Disputes under the aegis of the president. The Federation
Council is scheduled to decide when to vote on the candidates at a 3
February emergency session. The council has already rejected a number of
nominees, such as Robert Tsivilev, an aide to Yeltsin's chief of staff,
Sergei Filatov. The judges have decided the court cannot resume its work
until all 19 members are appointed, although neither the constitution nor
the law on the court provides for that. Yeltsin suspended the court's
activities in the aftermath of his bloody showdown with the former
parliament in October 1993. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN FAR EAST TO BE PROCESSED. A contract will soon be
drawn up to purify more than 5,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste
stored in Russia's Primorsky Kraj, an official from the region told
Interfax on 2 February. Yevgenii Stomatyuk said the Pacific Fleet had
accumulated it over the years. In addition, radioactive waste has yet to be
removed from 35 decommissioned nuclear submarines. Japan is financing the
purification project, and Stomatyuk said bids by eight competing companies
would be reviewed later this month, with the winning bidder to begin work
immediately. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

AMENDED AIDS BILL EXPECTED SOON. A new version of the controversial bill on
AIDS will soon be submitted to the Duma, Bela Denisenko, chairwoman of the
Duma's health committee, told Interfax on 2 February. The draft approved by
parliament on 11 November 1994, which required all travelers to Russia to
take HIV tests, caused an outcry among businessmen, AIDS activists, and
tour operators and was widely regarded as being unenforceable. The new
draft, which takes into account the proposals of the president, makes HIV
tests compulsory only for foreigners who come to Russia for a stay of more
than three months. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA READY TO PAY OVERDUE INTEREST TO LONDON CLUB. A high-ranking
representative of Russia's Vneshekonombank has announced that the
government is ready to pay the London Club of Creditors $100 million, the
first part of its $500 million debt for overdue interest from 1992-93,
Russian and Western agencies reported on 2 February. The representative
said the $100 million is in a Russian commercial bank account which has
been blocked since the beginning of December 1994 for "technical reasons,"
and could not be transferred to the Bank of England. Russia is ready to
sign an agreement with the Bank of England on servicing financial dealings
with the London Club, but some procedural problems connected with British
banking laws have slowed the process, the banker said. Meanwhile, a group
of Russian lawyers are working in London to hammer out the text of the
repayment agreement. The Bank of England, acting as a mediating bank,
should be able to credit the London Club in mid-February, if all goes
according to schedule. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA

FIRE AT KAZAKH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Leaking oil from a coolant pump caused
a fire at Kazakhstan's Mangistau nuclear power station in late December,
but the blaze was quickly extinguished, Western agencies reported on 2
February, citing an article in the Kazakh press. A spokesman for the
Nuclear Safety Department of Kazakhstan's Atomic Energy Agency denied the
accident had caused a leak of radioactivity into the atmosphere, Interfax
reported. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

TAJIKISTAN ASKS FOR PEACEKEEING EXTENSION. Senior presidential aide
Saidmurod Fattoyev said Tajikstan will seek to extend the CIS peacekeeping
mandate in its country later this month at a summit meeting of member
states in Almaty, Interfax reported on 2 February. He will also attempt to
strengthen the mandate to control the flow of drugs and weapons in the
country. Akbar Turanjonzoda, a leader of the Tajik Islamic opposition
party, noted, "The lesson for us--and probably the Chechens, too--is the
IRA. They fought for 30 years and then forced the British government to
compromise. We hope it will take us a lot less time," the Financial Times
reported on 3 February. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

TAJIK PRIME MINISTER IN KIEV. Prime Minister Zhamshet Karimov, met with his
Ukrainian counterpart, Vitalii Masol, in Kiev on 2 February, Ukrainian
radio reported. The two signed an agreement on bilateral trade and economic
cooperation for 1995. Under the terms of the agreement, Tajikistan will
provide Ukraine with non-ferrous metals and products from its chemical and
oil industries. In turn, Ukraine will supply Tajikistan with ferrous metal
products, machinery, electric products, and food stuffs. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

(As of 12:00 CET)

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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
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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


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