He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
Due to computer problems, the Daily Digest for Thursday, February 16, 1995, was not transmitted to the listserv. We are sorry for the delay. OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 34, Part I, 16 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

YELTSIN: CURBING INFLATION AND SPENDING ARE KEY PRIORITIES. In his
annual state of the nation address to a joint session of parliament on
16 February, President Boris Yeltsin said controlling government
spending and curbing inflation were key priorities for 1995. "No one is
entitled to make decisions which undermine the budget and boost
inflation," he warned. He said the main condition for financial
stability is strengthening the ruble. He also stressed the need to
facilitate investment and modernize the economy, arguing that Russia's
reliance on the raw material sector of the economy must be reduced. On
social policy, Yeltsin spoke of the need to "fill economic reform with
social substance" and said measures must be taken to ensure the timely
payment of wages and allowances, and to restore the population's
savings. He also said the government would have to support agriculture.
While acknowledging that the media have become a powerful mechanism for
democracy, the president was critical of some of their coverage, warning
that criticism should not be turned into mockery of the state. He urged
the parliament to strengthen Russia's judiciary, which he said was still
"in deep crisis," and conceded that crime-fighting measures had not been
fully implemented. He stressed the need to improve the professionalism
of state officials, calling for strict limitations on their commercial
activities, and described corruption in law enforcement agencies as "an
ever bigger obstacle to normal work." He also expressed concern about
the rise of fascism in the country. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN CALLS MILITARY INEFFICIENT; STRESSES NEED FOR REFORM. President
Yeltsin called the Russian military "inefficient" and blamed its poor
handling of the Chechnya operation for "big losses" and extensive "human
rights violations," in his address to parliament on 16 February. He said
the government had "underestimated" the situation in Chechnya. In a
harsh criticism of the military's initial operation in Chechnya, he
said, "Our state turned out to be unprepared for efficient power
actions. At the initial stage, the hackneyed system of planning military
operations was of such a scope that the uncoordinated activities of
ministries made themselves felt. That is the reason for the big losses.
That is the root of the human rights violations in the course of
combat." He said, "The Armed Forces are not well prepared for settling
conflicts of local character." He added that the military reform to date
had been "unsatisfactory" and said that in 1995, he would work to raise
its technical equipment and combat readiness to modern levels. A number
of reasons made Russia put off the Chechnya operation, he said, among
them, "a syndrome of the guilt of a society for the imperial past, the
Afghan syndrome, and a protracted standoff between the legislature and
executive." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

YABLOKO TO BOYCOTT YELTSIN'S ADDRESS. The liberal Yabloko faction, led
by the front-runner candidate for the next presidential election,
Grigorii Yavlinsky, declared its intention not to attend the joint
session of parliament to be addressed by President Boris Yeltsin,
Russian TV's "Vesti" reported on 15 February. Earlier reports indicated
that the Yabloko faction had made a joint request with the Communist
Party asking that the legislature be provided with time to discuss the
speech with Yeltsin in the second part of the session. All the Duma's
factions signed the request, except Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Choice,
Sovetskaya Rossiya reported on 11 February. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI,
Inc.

DUMA ADOPTS RADIO AND TV LAW. The State Duma passed a controversial bill
on radio and television which bans preliminary censorship in
broadcasting, but also tightens state control over the national
airwaves, Russian TV and news agencies reported on 15 February. The law,
adopted in the third reading, provides for the establishment of the
Federal Commission for Television and Radio which will distribute
frequencies between various TV and radio companies, issue broadcasting
licenses, and prepare a state register of license holders. The
commission will consist of 25 members and a chairman. The latter and 15
members will be appointed by the president, while parliament will name
the remaining 10. Under the new law, domestic productions must make up
at least two-thirds of the films broadcast on Russian TV. That is a
slight increase from the current 60% requirement. Meanwhile, the Moscow
mayor's office has nationalized all cable TV stations in the capital,
Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 9 February. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI,
Inc.

CHECHEN CEASE-FIRE EXTENDED. Chechen and Russian military commanders
reached agreement on a two-day cease-fire for all categories of weapons
beginning at midnight on 15 February, Interfax and AFP reported. During
the talks in Ingushetia, they also agreed on an exchange of dead and
wounded. The deal extends a 13 February ban on the use of heavy weapons.
Russian military commander General Anatoly Kulikov said the Chechens had
rejected a Russian proposal on the exchange of prisoners, but would
consider a second proposal to make Grozny a demilitarized zone. Also on
15 February, a group of influential Chechen clergymen asked Russian
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to prolong the truce until the end of
Ramadan on 3-5 March. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev expressed doubt
that the talks would lead to a lasting truce, Interfax reported. Yusup
Soslambekov, chairman of the Chechen parliament dissolved by Dudaev in
1993, argued that the former legislature could help resolve the crisis
by mediating between Dudaev and the Chechen opposition. -- Liz Fuller,
OMRI, Inc.

COMMUNIST PARTY PUTS FORWARD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Communist Party
of Russia (CPR) "has the right and is obliged to put forward its
candidate" for the next presidential election in Russia, announced CPR
Chairman Gennadii Zyuganov at a news conference in Moscow on 15
February, Interfax reported. Zyuganov said the CPR has joined an
electoral coalition which includes the Agrarian Party, the Socialist
Party of Workers, the Federation of Producers of Goods, and national
patriotic forces. Zyuganov said such a bloc of national patriotic
forces, if elected, would act "strictly within the limits of the law"
and would prevent dangerous "Zhirinovsky-like" forces from gaining the
upper hand in Russia. He also said the Russian president should not be
elected by popular vote, but rather by an assembly of electors which
would include "the whole national elite and people elected by
corresponding institutions and bodies." Zyuganov spoke of the danger of
the whole country turning into a large Chechnya if the current Russian
leadership continued its "anti-popular course." -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY PARTY PROPOSES "OPTIMISTIC OPTION". The ultra-nationalist
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) is trying to "reach the heart
of every elector" in its election campaign, a source in the party's
leadership told Interfax on 15 February. The LDPR, led by Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, has issued a leaflet entitled, "An Address to the Working
People" which has been distributed throughout Russia. The leaflet called
the party "the only political organization representing the interests of
the entire nation" and accused the government of indifference to the
interests of the working person. It rejects "development schemes" that
the party claims are forced on Russia by the West, but, at the same
time, does not call for the country to "revert to the past." In an
interview with Interfax, Zhirinovsky said if Russians listen to reason
and vote for the only honest party, the LDPR, they will have "a great
Russia which belongs to all of them". -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA BUDGET COMMITTEE FINDS MONEY BY CUTTING EXPENDITURES. The State
Duma committee for budget, taxes, banks, and finances found another 12.4
trillion rubles (4,224 rubles to $1) to finance budget expenditures by
cutting allocations to the military and Interior Ministry, the Financial
Information Agency reported on 14 February. The committee decided to
reduce the armed forces by 400,000 troops in order to slash expenditures
on maintaining servicemen by 1 trillion rubles. The money will be used
to purchase weapons and combat equipment. The committee also cut
allocations to the Interior Ministry by 500 billion rubles, which will
instead be used to maintain border guards, intelligence, and
counterintelligence. The committee proposed to cut expenditures on state
machinery by nearly 700 billion rubles by abolishing government
structures such as the Economics Reform Center, the Center for Economic
Trends, and the government press office. The committee said subsidies to
the Moscow government could be reduced by nearly 1 trillion rubles.
According to committee chairman Mikhail Zadornov, the group will have to
discuss more than 500 amendments in the next few days in order to submit
a modified draft budget for a third reading on 17 or 22 February. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA WARNS AGAINST "HASTY" NATO EXPANSION. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev warned against a "hasty" NATO expansion, ITAR-TASS
reported on 15 February. Nevertheless, he spoke of a need to repair
relations with NATO which had deteriorated since Russia refused to
initial its individual Partnership for Peace work program in December.
He said he is still waiting for an explanation of why NATO changed its
plans from partnership to expansion. He added, "In the existing
situation it is necessary to find a new, expanded formula of developing
the partnership with NATO which will take into consideration the Russian
role in international affairs and the interest of Moscow to create such
a system of European security which would not isolate it from the rest
of the continent." President Yeltsin spoke out against the expansion of
NATO to the east in his speech to parliament on 16 February, ITAR-TASS
reported. A well-informed source told the agency, "The president
believes that such an expansion would be detrimental to joint efforts in
creating a new model of genuine pan-European security." He added, "Boris
Yeltsin does not want Europe and the world to return to old or new lines
of division, and believes NATO has no grounds to build on Russian
western frontiers a structure allegedly aimed to defend East European
countries because Moscow has no 'black thoughts'" about them. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

KOZRYEV SEEKS EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF EU PARTNERSHIP ACCORD. Foreign
Minister Kozyrev argued for an early implementation of the EU
partnership accord with Russia, during a trip to Stockholm where he met
with Swedish ministers and the British foreign minister, ITAR-TASS
reported on 15 February. He was particularly critical of what he called
discrimination against Russian exports to the EU. "The existence of such
barriers impedes the promotion of new relations, creates a bad
background for Russia, and contradicts the talk about Western assistance
to Russian reforms," he said. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA ACCUSES U.S. OF COMMERCIAL INTERESTS IN ATTEMPTING TO BLOCK
IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL. A Russian foreign ministry diplomat said
commercial and political interests lie behind U.S. efforts to block
Russia from building a nuclear power plant in Iran, Interfax reported on
15 February. He said the U.S. is ignoring repeated confirmations from
the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran does not have a
military nuclear program. He said the U.S. was particularly irritated by
close Russia-Iran contacts and needed to provoke world political opinion
against them every six months or so. "Such tricks by Washington have two
pragmatic goals. First, the Americans are using the 'Iranian threat' to
preserve their own military presence in the Persian Gulf. Second,
Washington is perfectly aware of the fact that the Iranian market,
including the arms one, is extremely promising. Naturally, the Americans
would like to gain the market back in the future and, at the same time,
force competitors, primarily Russia, from Iran," said the diplomat.
Meanwhile, a Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry spokesman said on 15
February that the deal would go ahead. -- Michael Mihalka, 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
LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be
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


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole