Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 26, Part I, 6 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

CHECHENS DOWN RUSSIAN FIGHTER PLANE. On 3 February, Russian troops
succeeded in breaking through Chechen lines at Goiti, southeast of
Grozny, and secured control of one of the last remaining roads out of
the city, Reuters reported. Air attacks on Grozny and on Argun, to the
east, continued on 3 and 4 February. On 4 February Chechen militants
shot down a Russian SU-25 fighter plane, killing the pilot. Heavy
artillery bombardment of Grozny resumed in the afternoon of 5 February,
after a lull, and Russian forces moved to strengthen control over
districts south of Grozny. Russian forces were also reported to be
advancing on Grozny from the west. On 4 February, the Chechen opposition
Provisional Council issued a statement condemning "barbaric, senseless,
and cruel" bombardments of civilian areas, Reuters reported. The next
day, the Russian government press service alleged that Dudaev's
supporters were preparing for a massacre of Russians in Grozny on 20-23
February to mark the anniversary of the Chechen population's mass
deportation in 1944. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

G7 SAYS CHECHNYA THREATENS RUSSIAN ECONOMIC REFORMS. The Group of Seven
major industrialized countries believes the Chechen operation's cost
threatens Russian economic stabilization, Reuters reported on 4
February. Although deploring the excessive use of force, G7 foreign
ministers said they would still invite President Boris Yeltsin to the
group's Halifax summit in June. German Finance Minister Theo Waigel
said, "The financial impact of the war in Chechnya threatens to burst
the Russian budget [and] because of that, the outlook for a
stabilization of Russia's economy will be further endangered." Russian
officials are expected to attend the next meeting of G7 finance
ministers in Washington this April to discuss the economic situation. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA ACCEPTS OSCE CALL FOR IMMEDIATE CEASE-FIRE IN CHECHNYA. The
Russian delegation agreed on 3 February to an Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire
in Chechnya and condemning the "disproportionate use of force by the
Russian Armed Forces." An OSCE official told OMRI the Russian action is
"quite remarkable," and stressed it showed Russia is taking the
organization seriously. The Russian delegation initially did not accept
the document on 2 February, as it waited for instructions from Moscow,
AFP reported. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

SON OF DUMA COMMISSIONER ON CHECHNYA WOUNDED. Independent TV station
director Sergei Govorukhin was hospitalized after being wounded in
Grozny on 3 February. The next day, Nezavisimaya gazeta noted that
Govorukhin was shot while filming a documentary on the Chechen war in
the Western part of the city, which is under Russian control. Russian
TV's "Vesti" claimed the Russian military had deliberately fired at the
journalist. Sergei's father, prominent film director Stanislav
Govorukhin, is the chairman of a commission set up last month by the
State Duma to find out which officials are responsible for the Chechen
conflict and why the Russian army performed so poorly. During his visit
to Lipetsk earlier last week, Yeltsin called Govorukhin's commission
"unconstitutional." -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL FAILS TO RATIFY STATE OF EMERGENCY. The Federation
Council could not ratify a state of emergency decree for part of
Northern Ossetia and Ingushetia on 3 February because it lacked a
quorum, Interfax reported. Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko said a
state of emergency decree which is not approved in three days "loses its
force and the population of the territory under question is informed of
that through the mass media." Yeltsin had issued the decree on 31
January. Following the council vote, Yeltsin reissued the decree 5
February and said it would be resubmitted to the upper chamber, AFP
reported. A "well-informed source" in the Defense Ministry told Interfax
the same day that the situation in Ingushetia is deteriorating and the
region could become a source of tension in the near future. Ingush
President Ruslan Aushev, quoted by Interfax, dismissed the failure as
meaningless given that none of the previous decrees had been enforced.
The state of emergency was first issued in 1992, when inter-ethnic
fighting forced 35,000 Ingush to flee their homes, and has been
consistently renewed, usually for two-month periods. -- Robert Orttung
and Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

SEGODNYA: FINANCIAL SCANDAL PUTS GRACHEV IN HOSPITAL. Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev checked into a hospital for medical tests shortly after he
was shown a document revealing the existence of a questionable ministry
account in a German bank, Segodnya reported on 3 February. The document
allegedly showed that the military opened an account in a German bank
near Berlin in late 1992 with a deposit of $20.6 million. The money was
said to have come from the sale of Soviet war reserve supplies in
Eastern European countries. The document was allegedly shown to Grachev
at the end of a 25 January Security Council meeting. The reporter,
quoting unnamed sources on Yeltsin's staff, said Grachev claimed to know
nothing about the affair and instead, implicated Col.-Gen. Vasilii
Vorobev, head of the General Staff's budget and financing directorate.
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SHUMEIKO SUPPORTS SECOND TERM FOR YELTSIN. Rumors that the Federation
Council chairman will run for president in 1996 are untrue, the
council's press service chief Yurii Algunov told Interfax 3 February.
The rumors, which appeared in the Russian media on 2 February, allegedly
quoted a statement Vladimir Shumeiko had made on a trip to Kaliningrad
that day. Shumeiko instead has stressed that a second term for Yeltsin
would be the best solution for the country and its reforms. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

BURBULIS ADVISES DEMOCRATS TO MAINTAIN TIES WITH YELTSIN. It is too
early for Russia's democratic politicians to announce their opposition
to Yeltsin because such a step would "incapacitate them in influencing
the new generation of Russian politicians," former State Secretary
Gennadii Burbulis told Interfax 3 February. Burbulis was attending a
conference in Moscow to mark the fifth anniversary of the formation of
the Democratic Platform within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Burbulis said that after Chechnya, Yeltsin will seek alliances with "a
new wave of pragmatically minded professionals." He noted that Yeltsin
is capable of working with those who supported the decision to intervene
in the secessionist republic, as well as those who opposed the decision,
and advised the democrats "to accept these maneuvers rather than repulse
the president." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

SUPREME COURT REJECTS PROTEST AGAINST COUP PLOTTER'S ACQUITTAL. The
Russian Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by acting Prosecutor-
General Aleksei Ilyushenko to reverse the acquittal of former deputy
Valentin Varennikov--a defendant in the case of the failed coup plot
against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Interfax reported on
3 February. Varennikov is the only suspect to have stood trial in the
case, and in February 1994, the State Duma declared an amnesty for all
those involved in the plot. By rejecting Ilyushenko's protest, the
Supreme Court endorsed the verdict of its Military Colegium which had
found Varennikov not guilty of high treason. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI,
Inc.

JANUARY INFLATION AT RECORD HIGH. The growth of consumer prices in
Russia stood at 17.8% against 16.4% in December, the highest index over
the past 12 months, the State Statistics Committee reported to Interfax
on 3 February. The report said January food prices rose by 21.1%,
consumer goods by 12%, and paid services to the population by 22.8%.
Consumer goods and services became most expensive during the last week
in January in the Volgo-Vyatka area and Kaliningrad Oblast, with an
increase of almost 4% over December. The North Caucasus had the lowest
price increases, at 2.1%. Overall, meat, milk, and egg prices grew by
27% to 36%, the report indicated. Prices for gasoline rose 26.3% and
coal rose 21.6%. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

LAW AGAINST CRIMINAL EARNINGS. The final draft of a bill on criminal
earnings will soon be sent to President Yeltsin, one of its authors, MVD
official Vladimir Ovchinsky, told Interfax on 4 February. He said
"dirty" money is corrupting official bodies and giving criminal
organizations a greater hold on the country's economy. The Russian Banks
Association estimates that at least 16 billion "dirty" dollars are
circulating in Russia and that 40% of the money in the economy was
obtained through criminal operations both in and outside the country.
The draft law calls for controls on capital investment and requires
people to declare the source of income used in real-estate deals,
business ventures, and the import and export of currency. Critics argue
that the proposed legislation violates banking laws and the basic rights
of Russian citizens, since it authorizes law enforcement agencies to
obtain information about bank deposits and financial transactions if a
person is suspected of money-laundering or helping to launder illegally
obtained money. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

MINERS' STRIKE TO GO AHEAD. The Russian Trade Union of Coal Workers
intends to press ahead with a national one-day strike on 8 February,
union chairman Vitalii Budko told Interfax on 4 February. After a
meeting on coal-industry problems, chaired by First Deputy Prime
Minister Anatolii Chubais, Budko said the government had proposed
halving the 2.5 trillion rubles the state owes miners. Budko said this
was totally unacceptable and he wants full payment and a government
injection of 10 trillion rubles into the ailing industry. Miners at
Vorkuta, meanwhile, intended to hold a one-day strike on 6 February.
They too are demanding payment of wage arears as are miners at Rostov,
who downed tools on 1 February. Some mines belonging to the Chelyabinsk
coal association have introduced coupons of various ruble denominations
that workers can use in enterprise shops and canteens. -- Penny Morvant,
OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ELECTIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN. Some 72.3% of the electorate participated in
elections on 5 February to a new bicameral parliament in Kyrgyzstan,
Russian and Western agencies reported. A total of over 1,000 candidates
from 12 political parties were competing for seats in the 35 member
legislative assembly, which will sit full-time, and the 70-member
people's assembly, which will convene twice a year. Kyrgyz President
Askar Akaev told journalists in Bishkek on 5 February that the new
parliament will be transitional as the country is only taking its first
steps toward democracy. He expressed the hope that the legislature would
nonetheless reflect the whole social spectrum, Interfax reported. The
IMF delegation in Bishkek was waiting for the election results, before
going ahead with loans to the Central Bank. -- Liz Fuller and Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

UKRAINE AND BELARUS SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Ukraine and
Belarus have signed an agreement on military cooperation for 1995, Vo
slavu rodiny reported on 21 January. The accord covers high level
exchanges between military staffs, cooperation in exchanging medicine
and medical technology, consultation on military transport, and meetings
of military delegations on maintaining weaponry and technology at
Ukrainian repair plants. The agreement also calls for exchanging
information on national security and joint research between the two
countries' air forces. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE ACCUSES BLACK SEA FLEET. A temporary parliamentary commission on
the political-legal situation in Crimea has accused the Black Sea Fleet
of selling its assets without taking the upcoming division of the fleet
into account, Interfax reported on 2 February. According to Dmytro
Stepanyuk, a member of the commission, 14 sites belonging to the fleet
are being considered for sale, and 29 sites in Sevastopol and other
cities have been rented out. The money from these deals has allegedly
gone into the accounts of several individuals in the Black Sea Fleet
command. However, the command has rejected the allegations. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 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 and inserting your name where shown) to
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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


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