In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires. - Ben Franklin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 35, Part I, 17 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

MINOR CEASE-FIRE VIOLATIONS IN CHECHNYA. Grozny was mostly quiet on 16
February although artillery fire was observed south and west of the city,
Russian and Western agencies reported. A Russian military spokesman in
Mozdok said Chechen forces were taking advantage of the cease-fire to
regroup. Shamil Basaev, leader of a Chechen battalion that distinguished
itself fighting on the Abkhaz side during the hostilities there in
1992-1993, rejected a Russian proposal to declare Grozny a demilitarized
zone. Meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin has signed a decree to create a
State Commission on Restoring the Chechen Economy, to be headed by a deputy
premier appointed by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Interfax reported
on 16 February. Yeltsin has also appointed First Deputy Premier Oleg
Soskovets temporary presidential envoy in Chechnya. In an interview to be
broadcast on Ostankino Television on 17 February and previewed by Interfax,
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev argues that Chechnya is the only
legitimate state in the former USSR. He also denies the existence of a
Chechen mafia. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

KULIKOV: FUTURE OPERATIONS IN CHECHNYA TO BE "SELECTIVE." Col.-Gen.
Anatolii Kulikov, the commander of Russian troops in Chechnya, said
operations in the republic would be "selective" from now on, ITAR-TASS
reported. "The Chechen developments have passed to another phase . . .
priority will be given to the solution of economic tasks." -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SEES MORE CHECHNYA-TYPE SITUATIONS IN FUTURE. In a separate
document passed out to the Russian parliament before his 16 February
address to that body, President Yeltsin said he foresees more Chechnya-type
situations in the future, Reuters reported on 16 February. He said Moscow
would encounter "special danger from armed conflicts breaking out in Russia
and on its borders, on the territory of the former Soviet Union, because of
aggressive nationalism and religious extremism." In the document, Yeltsin
said a program for military reform to reflect the lessons learned in
Chechnya would be forthcoming in a few months. In his view, Russia must
defend itself against "social, political, economic, territorial, regional,
national-ethnic, and other contradictions . . . ambitions of other states
and political forces to solve conflicts by use of armed struggle." The
document also said the country's security interests may require the
presence of Russian troops in other CIS states to prevent destabilizing
developments. "We will, and want to, act jointly [with other CIS states].
But Russia remains, for the moment, the only force capable of keeping
feuding sides apart on the territory of the former USSR, and bringing them
to the negotiating table." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

GRACHEV CALLS YELTSIN'S CRITICISM OF THE MILITARY IN CHECHNYA "FAIR."
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev characterized as "fair" Yeltsin's
criticism of the military in Chechnya during his 16 February address to
parliament, Interfax reported. "However, even under the difficult financial
conditions, the army fulfills its goals ensuring the country's security.
When there are new laws and budget funds, the army will be much stronger
and mobile," Grachev added. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

INGUSH-NORTH OSSETIAN STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED. President Yeltsin signed a
decree lifting the state of emergency imposed on parts of North Ossetia and
Ingushetia following inter-ethnic clashes in 1992, AFP reported on 16
February. The decree also provides for the creation of an ad hoc committee
to oversee the repatriation of some 35,000 Ingush made homeless during the
fighting. The committee supersedes the Temporary Administration headed by
Vladimir Lozovoi, which has been repeatedly criticized as ineffective by
Ingush President Ruslan Aushev. A 4 February Yeltsin decree to extend the
state of emergency was twice rejected by the Federation Council. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

PARLIAMENTARY LEADERS EVALUATE YELTSIN'S ADDRESS. Sergei Baburin, a former
arch-enemy of President Yeltsin and leader of the ultranationalist Russian
Path group in the Duma, appears to have been the only independent
politician who approved of the president's address to parliament. In his
reaction to the speech, Baburin depicted Yeltsin as a truer president in
1995 than he was at the time of his election in 1991, Russian TV and news
agencies reported. Grigorii Yavlinsky, head of the liberal Yabloko group in
the Duma, was not available for comment. Communist Party leader Gennadii
Zyuganov and Mikhail Lapshin of the Agrarian Party condemned the address as
being hollow and lacking in new ideas. Vladimir Zhirinovsky predicted it
would be forgotten before the end of the day it was delivered. Sergei
Glazev, of the centrist Democratic Party of Russia, said he did not believe
Yeltsin would back his statement  with actions. And former allies, Yegor
Gaidar and Ella Pamfilova of Russia's Choice expressed regret that Yeltsin
did not condemn the military's actions in Chechnya. But those occupying
executive positions, such as Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, praised
Yeltsin's address. Duma Chairman Ivan Rybkin also responded positively. --
Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

MOMENTUM BUILDING FOR NATO SECURITY TREATY WITH RUSSIA. Despite events in
Chechnya, momentum is building in NATO circles for a bilateral security
treaty with Russia to form a "strategic partnership," international
agencies reported on 16 February. German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe told
the Bundestag defense committee on 15 February that a formal exchange of
letters could take place within the next six months. Although he said the
intent was not to grant Russia special status within NATO, he added the
alliance's relationship with Russia has to be given special consideration
when talking of expansion eastward. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe
recently broached the idea of a special NATO-Russia treaty as part of a
"quid pro quo" for NATO and Western European Union expansion eastward.
President Yeltsin warned of the consequences of such an expansion in his
major address to the Russian parliament on 16 February. In it, he repeated
a theme he has raised over and over again. "This continent . . . has
already generated two global military catastrophes, and we do not want
Europe and the world to return to old or new division lines." Picking up on
that theme, NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes said in an interview with Le
Monde that NATO should avoid isolating Russia over the Chechen war. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

NON-STATE SECTOR ACCOUNTS FOR 62% of RUSSIAN GDP. Russia's private sector
accounted for 62% of GDP last year, according to Yeltsin's address to
parliament on 16 February, AFP reported. The president said the banking,
capital markets, commercial, and insurance sectors have helped to open and
develop the Russian economy. He stressed, however, that there must be
guarantees for private ownership of property rights, share holders rights,
and rights of creditors to use assets as collateral. "The state is obliged
to protect the population against dishonest entrepreneurs," he said. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

NOVELIST ZHIRINOVSKY ADVOCATES CLOSURE OF BORDERS. Liberal Democratic Party
leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky attacked the Yeltsin administration at a 16
February news conference, saying it had destroyed the country, Russian TV
reported. He suggested sealing Russia's borders for five to 10 years to
prevent the Baltic States and countries in the south from capitalizing on
the country's natural wealth. Zhirinovsky also proposed the expulsion of
all ethnic Chinese and Japanese from the Russian Far East. Claiming the
army is the only reasonable center of power in the country, he added that
holding parliamentary or presidential elections in Russia would be
superfluous. Later that day, Zhirinovsky celebrated the release of his
novel, titled Last Train North. The book includes a preface in which the
author suggests that many Russian politicians, including former Soviet
President Mikhail Gorbachev, his liberal adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev, as
well as Yeltsin and his entire team, be sent to the sites of the former
Stalinist camps. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN APPOINTS SEROV AS MINISTER FOR CIS COOPERATION. President Yeltsin
has appointed Valery Serov, a former senior Soviet official, as minister
for cooperation with the CIS, Interfax reported on 16 February. Serov
served as deputy premier in charge of construction in Nikolai Ryzhkov's
Soviet government of the late 1980s. Most recently, he headed the
International Union of Builders. His new job was created late last year
when Russia's committee for cooperation with CIS countries was converted
into a ministry. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DECLINE IN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION LEVELS OFF. The steady decline in Russia's
industrial production leveled off last month amid increasing indications
that the slump is bottoming out, Goskomstat announced on 15 February,
according to Russian and Western sources. January output was down only 0.7%
from one year ago, the smallest decline since the onset of reforms in 1992.
GDP was down only 4% from 1994 figures, the report indicated. For the whole
of 1994, industrial production fell 21% from 1993, while GNP was down 15%,
the sharpest decline since reforms began. The monthly figures on industrial
production indicated stabilization, or even slight increases in recent
months. However, state figures on industrial output are not totally
accurate since they do not account for much of the private sector activity.
-- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

GORBACHEV LOOKS TO U.S. FOR HELP. In a speech to the American Chamber of
Commerce in Moscow, Mikhail Gorbachev urged the U.S. political and business
communities to extend to Russia the same help they gave to Mexico in
helping remedy that country's financial crisis, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 16 February. The former Soviet president said even
though the Clinton administration has been taking "a responsible attitude
to cooperate with Russia," U.S. aid and declarations of support are "not
enough" to boost the ailing nation. A critic of President Yeltsin,
Gorbachev called for early elections to help Russia emerge from its crisis.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for December and presidential
elections are slated for the summer of 1996. Gorbachev said that without
political change, Russia will not be able to create favorable conditions
for economic growth and Western investments. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA ADOPTS LEGISLATION ON SECURITY SERVICES. The Duma passed a bill "On
Federal Security Service Bodies" on its second reading, on 15 February. The
draft changes the name of the Federal Counterintelligence Service to the
Federal Security Service--the fourth such change since the KGB was split
after the collapse of the USSR. It gives the security service sweeping
powers, allowing it to carry out operations in almost total secrecy,
Western agencies reported. All information about service employees will be
classified as state secrets, and methods used in countering crime and
espionage, including the use of video and audio surveillance systems, will
be kept secret from the General Prosecutor's Office which is in charge of
all law enforcement bodies. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN INVESTIGATOR SAYS STEALING URANIUM EASIER THAN TAKING A SACK OF
POTATOES. In a report on the trial of a Navy lieutenant colonel convicted
of stealing nuclear fuel rods, a British TV program quoted Russian
investigators as saying the theft "was easier than taking a sack of
potatoes," Reuters reported on 15 February. Lt.-Col. Aleksei Tikhomirov
said he just walked into the storage area at the headquarters of the
Russian fleet in Severomorsk and forced a padlock on the door. He took
several canisters of fuel rods containing 20% uranium-235. Western
governments, concerned that weapons-grade material could end up in the
hands of terrorists, have frequently criticized the poor security at
Russian nuclear installations. -- Penny Morvant, 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
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