One must learn by doing the thing; though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. - Sophocles
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 50, Part I, 10 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

CONTROVERSY CONTINUES OVER SACKING OF PONOMAREV, PANKRATOV. Acting
Moscow Prosecutor Sergei Gerasimov has resigned to protest the dismissal
of his former boss, Gennady Ponomarev, Interfax reported. The Moscow
Federation of Trade Unions also denounced the "illegal removal" of
Ponomarev and city police chief Vladimir Pankratov. Mayor Yury Luzhkov
has said the federal government lacks the authority to fire Moscow city
officials, and he plans to appeal the dismissals of Ponomarev and
Pankratov to the Constitutional Court as soon as the documents can be
prepared. The court told Interfax on 9 March that it probably would
consider Luzhkov's appeal soon after it reopens on 16 March, because
"the case is rather simple." -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA'S CHOICE TO DEMAND RESIGNATION OF YERIN AND STEPASHIN. At a Duma
session on 10 March, Russia's Choice will demand the resignation of
Interior Minister Viktor Yerin, Prosecutor-General Alexei Ilyushenko,
and Counterintelligence Service Director Sergei Stepashin because of
their failure to combat soaring crime in Russia, the faction's leader,
Yegor Gaidar, told Interfax on 9 March. Gaidar added that his faction
supports President Boris Yeltsin's controversial decision to sack
Ponomarev and Pankratov in the wake of the murder of TV journalist
Vladislav Listev on 1 March. Gaidar noted the authorities had failed to
solve a series of killings, including the murders of Moskovsky
Komsomolets journalist Dmitry Kholodov, Duma deputies Valentin
Martemyanov and Sergei Skorochkin, and reformist priest Alexander Men.
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

IMF CHIEF ARRIVES TO SIGN LOAN DEAL WITH RUSSIA. IMF Managing Director
Michel Camdessus arrived in Moscow on 9 March to sign a policy statement
with President Yeltsin on the $6.4 billion standby loan deal with
Russia, international agencies reported. The IMF board is expected to
approve the loan deal when it meets in April despite concerns about the
situation in Chechnya and what it sees as an unrealistic 1995 budget.
The last important hurdle in the negotiations was crossed when the
Russians agreed to monthly disbursements. The Russians had been
insisting that monthly tranches would be "humiliating," saying they
preferred quarterly tranches. The policy statement will include a
commitment by Russia to cut inflation to 1% per month in the second half
of 1995. Inflation was 17.8% in January and 11% in February, Deputy
Finance Minister Sergei Aleksashenko told Reuters. -- Michael Mihalka,
OMRI, Inc.

TATAR OPPOSITION ADMITS DEFEAT. A conference of Tatarstan's democratic,
nationalist, and communist movements announced that the "party of power"
had won the 5 March elections to the republican legislature, Interfax
reported on 9 March. None of the opposition candidates are leading going
into the 19 March runoffs. Five of 18 candidates from the Tatar Party of
National Independence Ittifak made it to the second round, as did 34 of
39 candidates from the coalition of democratic and federalist
organizations, Equal Rights and Legality, and approximately one dozen of
46 Communists. Bernard Kasimov, an Ittifak spokesman and a member of the
republic's election commission, told a news conference that 49 out of
the 61 administrative constituencies had elected their administration
heads, while the 69 territorial constituencies elected 20
representatives of the "party of power." The deputies from the
administrative districts will meet two or three times a year, while the
territorial representatives will work in permanent session. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA PREPARING TO DEBATE ELECTORAL LAW NEXT WEEK. Vladimir Isakov,
chairman of the State Duma legislation, judicial, and legal reform
committee, announced that he will submit the Duma electoral law to the
chamber next week, and that the second reading will take place before
the end of the month, Interfax reported on 9 March. The bill rejects the
president's proposal to reduce the number of deputies elected on party
tickets. The proposed legislation currently calls for parties that want
to compete in the elections to collect 200,000 signatures, but the
Communist and Agrarian parties are likely to push for increasing that
figure to 500,000. At least 20% of the registered voters will have to
cast ballots in the elections for them to be valid. The bill for the
Federation Council elections is currently being considered by that body.
Isakov predicted it will call for the members of the upper body to be
elected by popular vote rather than by the executive and legislative
branches of each of the country's 89 regions and republics. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. DUPED IN PURCHASE OF MISSILE SYSTEM. Russian intelligence agents
duped the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) into thinking it was
buying the latest model of Russia's S-300 air defense system when, in
fact, it received a training model that had been tinkered with for years
by cadets at a Minsk military school, Kommersant-Daily reported on 9
March. Last December, a Russian civilian cargo plane made a secret
delivery to the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. It was soon
revealed in both the American and Russian press that this was a S-300
system that had been purchased from Belarus for $6 million by a company
acting as a cover for the DIA. The paper said the key to the S-300
system is a container it called "F-9"--described as the command and
control cabin that integrated the radars and the missiles into a system.
It said the F-9 cabin delivered to the Americans and the one used in the
real S-300 PMU system--the most modern version--were "worlds apart." It
also suggested Russian military intelligence agents had equipped the
system with "peculiar software, to put it mildly." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
Inc.

AGRARIAN COMMITTEE SENDS LAND CODE TO DUMA COUNCIL. The State Duma
agrarian council decided on 9 March to submit the draft Land Code to the
full Duma on 15 March, Interfax reported. The code is designed to
provide the legal framework for regulating the ownership and efficient
use of land. Alexei Chernyshov, the committee chairman, said most land
in Russia has been privatized. Most collective and state farms have been
reorganized and the land is now owned by legal entities or collectives
whose members are entitled to shares of collective property. More than
44 million urban and rural households (almost 144 million people) have
taken over more than 20 million hectares of farm land, Chernyshov said.
The basic goal of the draft legislation is to insure that land is
effectively used and protected, that parties to land relations have
their rights protected, and that different kinds of ownership have equal
opportunities to develop. The draft imposes significant constraints on
land sales and purchases and the use of farm lands. Notably, land cannot
be sold until five years after the code comes into effect and then only
for agricultural use. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DRAFT BUDGET TO BE SUBMITTED FOR FOURTH READING. Russia's draft budget
for 1995 will be submitted to the State Duma for a fourth reading on 15
March following a preliminary discussion in the parliamentary committee
for budget, taxes, banks, and finances, Interfax reported on 9 March.
The Duma passed the draft on the third reading on 24 February with 273
votes for, 93 against, and three abstentions. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

ALCOHOL BLAMED FOR FALLING MALE LIFE EXPECTANCY. Alcoholism of "pandemic
proportions" is responsible for the sharp fall in life expectancy among
Russian men, according to a study by the University of Wales, Western
agencies reported on 10 March. Consumption of pure alcohol rose from
10.7 liters per inhabitant in 1987 to 14 liters in 1992 and the number
of deaths officially attributed to alcohol poisoning increased from
117,000 to 262,000. Men are said to be four times more likely to become
alcoholics than women, which is reflected in data on life expectancy: 59
years for men (down six years from 1987 to 1993) and 72 years for women
(down two years over the same period). The study noted that after price
liberalization the cost of alcohol rose far less than that of other
consumer goods and foods, leading to increased consumption, particularly
of vodka. Consumption of lethal home-brewed spirits also increased. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN-RUSSIAN MILITARY ACCORDS SIGNED. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev, and his Bulgarian counterpart Dimitar Pavlov, signed two
military accords in Moscow on 9 March, ITAR-TASS reported. One dealt
with genral matters and the other with a plan for developing new
military technologies in 1995. Grachev regretted that the last three
years had seen a slow-down in Bulgarian-Russian military links which he
blamed on "perestroika attitudes" in both Russia and Bulgaria. Grachev
added that "the Bulgarian leadership has adopted a firm course of close
bilateral cooperation with Russia." He said the procedure for payments
was the chief difficulty in relations. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.


TRANCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAZARBAEV REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING. Kazakh President
Nursultan Nazarbaev vetoed the Constitutional Court decision that found
the March 1994 parliamentary elections unconstitutional and thereby
declared the parliament illegitimate, Interfax reported. Nazarbaev
claims the ruling is unfounded and in any case does not come under the
court's jurisdiction. The court said there were problems in the
establishment of electoral districts, in the training of election
officials, in allowing citizens living abroad to vote, and in vote
counting. Foreign officials have charged that incidents of fraud
occurred during last year's poll. Nazarbaev emphasized that he has been
and still is a supporter of the stability of state authority and "lays
great hopes" on the parliament with which he has established a
constructive dialogue. Western diplomats in the country do not expect
this action will lead to a constitutional crisis, Reuters reported. --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSPORT CORRIDOR AGREED TO BY BAKU AND YEREVAN. Baku and Yerevan have
agreed to open a transport corridor via Nagorno-Karabakh, Interfax
reported on 9 March. The agreement followed an 8 March meeting in
Tbilisi between Georgian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian officials and the EU
envoy to Georgia, Marti Peters, in which EU humanitarian aid to the
three Transcaucasian states was discussed. Georgian presidential aide
Igor Kotov said on 9 March that agreement had been reached to reopen
railway links via Karabakh after demining operations were undertaken,
and that 200 freight cars and two locomotives would be utilized to
transport humanitarian aid. The EU will pay for the use of the Georgian
ports of Poti and Batumi to transport 700,000 tons of food supplies and
for railway shipments through the territory. Since the program was put
in place last October, more than 500,000 tons of humanitarian cargo has
been sent to the region, Kotov noted. Meanwhile, Reuters reported on 9
March that Turkey, acting on a request from Azerbaijan, may soon reopen
an air corridor to Armenia it closed in 1992 to protest against an
Armenian military drive which seized about 20% of Azeri lands. -- Lowell
A. Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI BORDER CLASHES CONTINUE. Clashes between
Azerbaijani and Armenian troops on the border of the two countries have
continued since 3 March, Interfax and Reuters reported on 9 March. Each
side has blamed the other for the resumption of hostilities, which
violates a fragile cease-fire in place since May 1994. Several days of
intense fighting have seen the Armenians move within striking distance
of Tauz, a key rail and road junction in northern Azerbaijan, Reuters
reported. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan and Azerbaijani
President Haidar Aliev discussed the fighting by telephone on 7 March
and agreed to seek a settlement through direct negotiations between
their respective defense ministries. A day later, Azerbaijani commanders
said they had negotiated by radio with their Armenian counterparts to
reinstate the truce and both sides had agreed, but on 9 March,
hostilities involving tanks and artillery continued. -- Lowell A.
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

As of 12:00 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
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