The business of art lies just in this--to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible. - Leo Tolstoy
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 47, Part I, 7 March 1995

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

SECURITY COUNCIL CRITICIZES LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. At a meeting on 6
March chaired by President Boris Yeltsin, the Security Council condemned
the Interior Ministry, the Federal Counterintelligence Service, and the
Prosecutor's Office for failing to take adequate steps to combat crime,
agencies reported. "This situation discredits the power of the state,
diminishes faith in it, and threatens the national security of Russia,"
said a statement issued by the President's Office after the meeting,
which was prompted by the murder last week of TV journalist Vladislav
Listev. The statement went on to say that implementation of the anti-
crime program adopted in June 1994 was at risk because of insufficient
funding. The council reportedly drew up a series of proposals aimed at
making the fight against crime more effective, but no details were
given. The Interior Ministry has set up a task force headed by Deputy
Interior Minister Alexander Kulikov to help Moscow law enforcement
agencies solve serious crimes, especially contract killings, Interfax
reported on 6 March. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

PONOMAREV AND PANKRATOV DISMISSED. Before the Security Council meeting,
acting Prosecutor-General Alexei Ilyushenko formally dismissed Moscow
Prosecutor Gennady Ponomarev, despite earlier reports that Yeltsin had
rethought his decision to sack him. Ponomarev subsequently told Interfax
he feared that a crackdown on crime could lead to police lawlessness,
warning that emergency measures should not be taken without guarantees
that the constitution would be respected. His replacement, Sergei
Gerasimov, described Ponomarev's removal as unjust, telling Russian TV
that it "destabilizes the situation and plays into the hands of
criminals." A deputy Moscow prosecutor, meanwhile, expressed doubt that
Listev's murder would be solved, and a Moscow police official said he
thought that although the men who killed Listev might be caught, those
who ordered his assassination would go free, Interfax reported. Also on
6 March, Interior Minister Viktor Yerin went ahead with a recommendation
by Yeltsin to dismiss Moscow police chief Vladimir Pankratov, appointing
Nikolai Kulikov to act in his stead. Kulikov, hitherto the head of the
criminal investigation division of the capital's police force, said he
planned no major policy changes. Yeltsin's decision to fire Ponomarev
and Pankratov has been harshly criticized, in particular by Moscow Mayor
Yury Luzhkov. Reuters cited an official in the presidential
administration as saying the situation "could lead to a full-blown
political crisis. Luzhkov is too powerful to be treated like this." --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE. Rossiiskaya gazeta, a
heavily-subsidized organ of the Russian executive branch, accused the
State Duma's Yabloko faction of exploiting Listev's murder on 4 March.
Yabloko has advocated Yeltsin's resignation and acts of civil
disobedience if the killers of Listev and Dmitry Kholodov (the
investigative reporter who was murdered in October 1994) are not found
within a month. Rossiiskaya gazeta charged that Yabloko leader Grigory
Yavlinsky, who "seems to give the impression of an educated and
intelligent man," knows that such investigations take time and is using
Listev's death to further his own presidential aspirations. The article
also attacked unnamed journalists who called for a week-long media
strike to protest violence against their colleagues, saying subscribers
who have paid for daily news coverage "may easily take the strikers to
court." -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

JOURNALIST CRITICIZES SECURITY COUNCIL . . . The Security Council has
failed in its original purpose of balancing political and economic
interests against the demands of the military, security agencies, and
police within the government, Tamara Zamyatina, an ITAR-TASS
commentator, wrote in Rossiiskie vesti on 7 March. It failed to play
that role when the power ministries began to dominate the political
situation. The council's real power lies in its 10 interdepartmental
commissions, rather than in its occasional meetings. Deputy Security
Council Secretary Vladimir Rubanov said the main cause for the
disastrous Chechnya policy was that the regional policy committee,
chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, had no sense of
guiding principles on how to conduct relations between Moscow and
members of the federation. The article also criticized the council for
its secretive decision-making procedures, conjecturing that council
members do not want any publicity so that they can avoid taking
responsibility for their actions. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND VICE VERSA. In the same issue of Rossiiskie vesti, Security
Council press secretary Valery Kadzhaya denounced the media's numerous
"false reports" in recent months. He noted errors in newspaper accounts
of the council's investigation following last October's ruble crash. He
called media coverage of the Chechen crisis "disgraceful," saying it
damaged the soldiers' morale, but denied the council had ever accused
reporters of being "Dudaev's accomplices." He blamed reporters in the
mass media for citing nonexistent documents "instead of the established
facts," especially in speculative "behind-the-scenes" stories on the
council. In particular, Kadzhaya faulted journalists for relying on
anonymous sources, whom he compared to the "informers" of the past. Only
those "without a clear conscience" insist on anonymity, he wrote, while
"decent" and "honest" people are not afraid to speak on the record. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA SETS CONDITIONS FOR NATO EXPANSION. Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Georgy Mamedov set three conditions for NATO expansion eastward
during talks with US officials at the end of February, AFP reported on 6
March. According to diplomatic and military sources, Russia wants a
formal permanent body set up to hold consultations with NATO. Russia
also wants no additional troops and no nuclear weapons deployed on new
members' territory. On the first point, U.S. Secretary of Defense
William Perry has suggested a less formal consultative body. NATO has
reacted coolly to any troop and nuclear weapons restrictions. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

EU DELAYS RUSSIAN TRADE ACCORD. EU foreign ministers, meeting in
Brussels on 6 March, decided to postpone the implementation of an
interim trade accord with Russia, international agencies reported. The
ministers had decided to go ahead with the accord in January but
reversed that decision largely because of the Chechen war. They told
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe to inform the Russian leadership
during an 8-10 March visit that the pact will only go ahead after the EU
is satisfied that human rights are being respected. Juppe said, "We do
not want to isolate Russia, we do want to make it clear Russia has to
respect commitments entered into with the EU." Although British Defense
Minister Douglas Hurd said the EU is not issuing an ultimatum, he did
mention three areas in which it is looking for improvement: progress on
a political settlement, a stronger OSCE presence, and better
humanitarian aid access. The Financial Times reported that the meeting
was tense, with one official saying, "Germany is fearful of doing
anything that could drive Russia away. But others, such as Denmark and
the Netherlands, want to hold up the trade pact to send a strong message
to Moscow." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

HORN DENOUNCES HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN CHECHNYA. Hungarian Prime Minister
Gyula Horn denounced human rights abuses in Chechnya prior to meeting
with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in Moscow on 6 March,
international agencies reported. Horn was accompanied by his foreign
minister, Laszlo Kovacs, who currently holds the rotating OSCE
chairmanship, and Istvan Gyarmati, who headed an OSCE mission to
Chechnya in late January. Horn's talks with Chernomyrdin are expected to
include discussions on Chechnya and bilateral economic matters.
Chernomyrdin said Russia and Hungary have no political disagreements and
"we are great partners and we have a potential for very important
economic development." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

SVERDLOVSK GOVERNOR, DUMA BATTLE OVER ELECTIONS. Sverdlovsk Oblast
Governor Alexei Strakhov criticized the local Duma for trying to
schedule elections for governor, Interfax reported on 6 March. He said
his administration is not afraid of standing for election but that he
does not consider it necessary to do so before the adoption of
appropriate legislation on the federal and local levels. At present,
Yeltsin appoints all governors. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN PLANS VACATION. President Yeltsin may leave on a two-week
vacation in the second half of March, a Kremlin source told Interfax on
6 March. The source said Yeltsin will probably spend time on the Black
Sea coast, as he did in 1993 and 1994. He will use the time away from
Moscow to develop strategic plans in the areas of the economy, formation
of political institutions, and local governments. The source said he is
likely to pay special attention to military reform. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

INFLATION AT 11% FOR FEBRUARY. Russia's inflation rate has slowed to
11%, down from January's 17.8% level, the government's Business
Conditions Center reported to Russian sources on 6 March. The lowest
monthly inflation rate in five months, the number shows that "the
measures adopted by the government are starting to be felt," a center
representative said. First Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubais said the
"inflation dynamics have been broken" and expected further decreases in
future months, AFP reported. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUBLE CONTINUES STEADY FALL. The ruble lost 27 points in MICEX trading
on 6 March, closing at 4,585 rubles/$1, the Financial Information
Service reported. The initial demand dropped by $53.94 million compared
with the previous trading session to $63.95 million. The initial supply
was $50.25 million. According to currency dealers, when the mid-trading
rate was at 4,582 rubles/$1, the Central Bank withdrew bids for $3.68
million and then at 4,583 rubles for $5 million more. Toward the end of
the session, the Central Bank intervened in the market and offered $5
million for sale. Same-day contract settlement rates were 4,584-4587
rubles/$1, with one-day spot rates at 4,593-4596 rubles/$1. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

FIRST START INSPECTIONS WENT WELL. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman
said American inspectors had been satisfied at the three strategic
nuclear missile bases they inspected during the last several days,
Interfax reported on 6 March. The inspectors looked at a rail-mobile SS-
24 base near Kostroma in European Russia and two bases in Siberia: a
road-mobile SS-25 base near Irkutsk and a base near Yasnya which once
held SS-11 ICBMs. The spokesman said two additional American teams
arrived in Moscow on 5 March. A team of Russian inspectors flew to the
United States on 4 March to conduct similar inspections. -- Doug Clarke,
OMRI, Inc.

MILITARY SERVICE UNPOPULAR. Seventy per cent of the conscripts from
military districts in Western Russia do not want to serve in the armed
forces, according to the Russian Youth Committee. The committee also
said 50% of the youths thought that notions such as military honor were
part of the past and "now lack sense," Interfax reported on 6 March. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIA TO PRIVATIZE LARGE STATE ENTERPRISES. The first auction to sell
off blocks of shares in large and medium-sized state-owned enterprises
in Armenia will take place on 12 March, according to a spokesman for the
Armenian State Commission for Privatization, Interfax reported on 2
March. Residents and foreign investors will have the same right to
acquire shares. Non-residents will be able to exchange foreign currency
for Armenian drams at a special rate on the day of auction. Before the
end of 1995, 46.89% of all government-owned enterprises are to be
privatized. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

PROBLEMS WITH RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN TREATY. Russian First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets said serious differences remain between Russia
and Ukraine over the treaty on friendship and cooperation initialed on 8
February in Kiev, Reuters reported on 6 March. Russia continues to
demand that Sevastopol serve as a base for its share of the Black Sea
Fleet, while Ukraine insists the base be shared with the Ukrainian Navy.
There has also been little progress on resolving Ukraine's $2.5 billion
energy debt to Russia. The problem of dual citizenship was left out of
the treaty altogether and is to be addressed in a separate document.
When the treaty was initialed by the first deputy prime ministers of the
two countries, it was reported that Yeltsin would visit Kiev to sign the
agreement in late March. However, reports that Yeltsin plans a two-week
vacation at the end of this month have cast doubts on the planned visit.
-- 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
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