When two people communicate, they each can be enriched - and unlike traditional resources, the more you share the more you have. - U.S. Vice President Al Gore
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 33, Part I, 15 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.

RUSSIA

FIGHTING CONTINUES DESPITE CHECHEN CEASE-FIRE. Sporadic exchanges of
gunfire continued in Grozny on 14 February, despite a heavy weapons
cease-fire agreement signed the day before by Chechen and Russian
commanders, Interfax reported. A Chechen commander in Shali, a town
southeast of Grozny where many forces loyal to Chechen President Dudaev
have regrouped, expressed skepticism over the Russian commanders'
motives in agreeing to a cease-fire. Federal Counterintelligence Service
chief Sergei Stepashin likewise told Interfax he doubted the cease-fire
would lead to a full-scale truce. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev, speaking in Stockholm, said he was confident that a
political solution to the Chechen conflict could now be reached provided
that "criminal structures" are disarmed and that "free and fair"
elections could be held in Chechnya before the end of the year. Arkady
Volsky, in his capacity as a member of the committe for reconstruction
of Chechnya, said agreement had been reached in talks with the Chechen
Council of Elders on a provisional coalition government in the republic.
Russian presidential adviser Emil Pain likewise argued that the Chechen
population should now decide on the composition of local government
bodies. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

PUBLIC URGE THAT INITIATORS OF CHECHEN WAR BE PUT ON TRIAL. A growing
number of Russians are urging that those responsible for unleashing the
Chechen war be brought to justice, recent reports indicate. Anti-war
activist Maria Kirbasova told Interfax on 14 February that the Soldiers'
Mothers Committee intended to sue the organizers of the Chechen
operation in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Also, some
top Russian legal professionals have reportedly agreed to cooperate with
the public tribunal set up in Moscow earlier this year to put the
initiators of the war on trial, Russian TV reported on 10 February, (see
OMRI Daily Digest , 26 January 1995). At least two distinguished lawyers
who allegedly have demonstrated an interest in the public tribunal are
on record as having belonged to the close circle of Yeltsin's legal
advisers. They are Sergei Alekseev, former chairman of the Soviet
Committee for Constitutional Surveillance and a principle supporter of
the new constitution, and Valerii Savitsky, Russia's leading expert on
criminal law. Yeltsin nominated Savitsky to the Constitutional Court
twice, only to have him rejected by the Federation Council as a liberal.
-- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

SOBYANIN PROPOSES SINGLE PRO-REFORM ELECTORAL COALITION. Aleksandr
Sobyanin, an expert for the Russia's Choice group in parliament, has
proposed the establishment of a single pro-reform electoral coalition,
Interfax reported on 14 February. The coalition would have a single list
of candidates for the next State Duma elections that would consist of
one name for each of the chamber's 450 seats. Sobyanin said the
reformist groups in today's Duma (Russia's Choice, Yabloko, and the
unregistered December 12 Liberal Democratic Union) should form the
nucleus of the list, which could also include house members who were
elected in single-seat constituencies and have "proved their loyalty to
the course of democratic, political, and economic reforms." He also gave
Russia's Choice members proposals for legislation to prevent rigging in
the next Duma election, scheduled for December this year. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

YAVLINSKY BEGINS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Grigorii Yavlinsky, head of the
All-Russia Democratic Alternative Party, has embarked on the
presidential election campaign trail, according to a 14 February article
in Segodnya. Addressing the party's founding congress, held 11-12
February, Yavlinsky spoke of food shortages, inflation woes, and the
West's dissatisfaction with Yeltsin's handling of the Chechnya
situation. Delegates from 46 regions around Russia warmly supported
Yavlinsky's platform, which stresses the "de-bureaucratization" of
Russia, the creation of a rule-of-law democratic state with a market
economy, and a sufficient defense system. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

GAIDAR ON DOMESTIC POLITICS. Russia's Choice leader Yegor Gaidar said he
believes a policy of economic and political pressure combined with
negotiations would have been enough to gradually reintegrate Chechnya
into the Russian fold, according to an interview with Interfax on 14
February. He said the regime of Dzhokhar Dudaev had been coming under
increasing pressure due to the republic's economic isolation.
Unfortunately, he added, Dudaev's weakness was provocative, and the
temptation to send in troops to resolve the problem too great for some
Russian politicians. Gaidar said the Chechen operation had demonstrated
the incompetence of several top military commanders, and he stressed the
need for a military reform program that would reduce the size of the
army while making it more effective and guaranteeing the social welfare
of its personnel. He also said the Chechen operation had shattered hopes
for an improvement in the economy in 1995. On regional policy, he said
true federalism and the effective operation of a free market is the only
way to guarantee the country's territorial integrity. At present, he
noted, Russia is a unitary state in which the budget of a region "is
shaped for a few months during talks between the local leader and a
deputy finance minister. The well-being of the regions depends on the
corridors of power in Moscow rather than on common sense in economic
policies." In his opinion, the sources of federal and regional revenues,
spheres of responsibility, and financial support mechanisms need to be
more clearly defined. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

SOLZHENITSYN SIDES WITH POLEVANOV AGAINST CHUBAIS. In the 13 February
installment of his weekly program on Ostankino, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
condemned the Russian privatization program and its author, Deputy Prime
Minister Anatolii Chubais. He claimed that only 3% of the country's
property had been distributed equally among the population. He went on
to voice concern that the property would be auctioned and, as a result,
bought at cheap prices by "new Russian" millionaires or foreigners who,
he said, have no moral right to possess it. Solzhenitsyn also attacked
the decision to dismiss the former chairman of the State Committee on
Property, Vladimir Polevanov, who had attempted to renationalize some
key industries. "The moment the honest minister Polevanov started to
improve the ills of privatization, he was immediately fired," he said.
-- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT RUNS DEBT TO CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA IN 1994. The government
ran a further 53-trillion-ruble debt (4,224 rubles to $1) on Central
Bank of Russia credits in 1994, which brings the total debt to 66
trillion rubles, Interfax reported on 14 February. In a presentation to
parliament, the bank's acting chairwoman Tatiana Paramonova said its
gross credit to commercial banks increased from 4 trillion rubles to 14
trillion rubles in the past year. She described central bank credits as
"the main channel of money into the Russian economy." Paramonova
stressed the bank was working in every way to stimulate investment into
the industrial sector through commercial banks. On 1 February, the
central bank introduced a new regulation for different rates for
commercial banks' mandatory reserves. A maximum of 22% interest is
charged on short money, 15% on a 90-day credit, and 10% on any credit
for more than 90 days. Paramonova said the bank may consider a lower
rate for credits over 90 days. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RYBKIN SUGGESTS FRENCH SOLUTION FOR RUSSIA'S PLACE IN NATO. State Duma
Chairman Ivan Rybkin said he believes Russia should have a special place
in NATO, international agencies reported on 14 February. One idea would
be to give Russia a position similar to France, which shares in the
political decisionmaking but is not part of the integrated military
structure. Recounting his discussion with NATO Secretary-General Willy
Claes, Rybkin told ITAR-TASS a special arrangement for Russia could be
set up by NATO as "a gesture of goodwill." Rybkin called for greater
international understanding of Russia's position in the Chechen war,
which he said might not have happened if Russia had become a member of
the European Community in the early 1990s. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI,
Inc.

IRAN AND RUSSIA OPPOSE "DOUBLE STANDARDS' WITHIN NPT. In reaction to
Western criticism of Russia's nuclear cooperation deal with Iran, both
countries oppose the use of "double standards" in implementing the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Grigorii Karasin told ITAR-TASS on 14 February. Karasin said the treaty
is an important building block for the global security system and said
that Russia supports its unlimited extension when it comes up for review
at a conference in April-May 1995. "Eternal and unconditional
prolongation would help increase efficiency of the treaty, expand its
universal character, boost the reduction and elimination of nuclear
arsenals, and consolidate international stability," he said. Under the
deal, announced on 8 January and worth an estimated $800 million, Russia
is to complete the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southeastern Iran,
which the German company Siemens started building in the 1970s. Iran
insists the plant is purely for civilian use, but the U.S. is concerned
about the possibility of Iran's developing nuclear weapons. A CIA report
in September 1994 warned that Russia was a key source of nuclear
technology in Iran's drive to become a nuclear power. -- Michael Mihalka
and Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

INFANT MORTALITY RATES FALL SLIGHTLY. The Russian Health Ministry
announced that infant mortality rates had declined from 193 per 10,000
live births in 1993 to 187 per 10,000 in 1994, Interfax reported on 14
February. The ministry said there were far fewer deaths from respiratory
diseases, injuries, and food poisoning and argued that the figures were
evidence of  an improvement in mother and child care services. In 1994,
1.1 trillion rubles were spent on mother and child care from the federal
budget and another 1 trillion rubles from regional budgets. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIANS WORRIED ABOUT INFLATION. In a poll conducted by the All-Russian
Center for the Study of Public Opinion in February, 83% of respondents
said inflation was their greatest concern. Next on the list was the
increase in crime--58%, followed by the economic crisis and fall in
output--50%. The proportion concerned about ethnic disputes increased to
32% from 16% in July 1994. Thirty-three percent were concerned about
armed conflicts on Russia's borders, as opposed to 15% last July. Few
were worried about disputes in the country's leadership--12%, the danger
of Fascism--6%, and the danger of a military dictatorship--5%. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

FOUR SECURITY ZONES PLANNED. CIS military integration will start with
the formation of a chiefs of staff committee and four regional
collective security zones, according to Lt.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov,
secretary of the CIS Defense Ministers Council. The Western Zone would
have Belarus "as the key element" and include the Kaliningrad and
Smolensk regions of Russia. "Ukraine and Moldova will be in touch . . .
if needed," Ivashov told Interfax on 14 February. The Caucasus Zone
would include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and the North Caucasus
republics of Russia. Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and part of Kyrgyzstan
would form the Central Asian Zone, with Turkmenistan cooperating "on
some elements."Finally, the Eastern Zone would be made up of Kazakhstan
and those parts of Russia and Kyrgyzstan not in other zones. Ivashov
said that it was assumed that if one state in a zone were attacked the
rest would help it repulse the aggression. He talked of "Coalition
Defense Forces" which would train jointly and have common standards. The
proposals are to be submitted to the CIS heads of states at the end of
this year. -- Doug Clarke, 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
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Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4, Czech Republic or send e-mail
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