A thing well said will be writ in all languages. - John Dryden 1631-1700
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 52, Part I, 14 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

MORE NEWS ON LISTEV INVESTIGATION. Moscow police have arrested three men
believed to be professional assassins in connection with the murder of
television journalist Vladislav Listev, Izvestiya reported on 14 March.
The newspaper said investigators now believe that a prominent Russian
businessman and "a criminal kingpin who enjoys an illegal interest in
the advertising business" conspired to murder Listev. Police sources
said the investigation has been hampered by several uncooperative
colleagues, business partners, and friends of the victim. They said
Boris Berezovsky, the deputy chairman of Russian Public Television, has
been particularly unhelpful, Izvestiya reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

GROMOV ORDERED TO LEAVE DEFENSE MINISTRY OFFICES. Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev ordered Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov and his staff to
leave their Defense Ministry offices immediately on 13 March, an RFE/RL
Moscow correspondent reported. Gromov's assistants were ordered in the
morning to vacate the rooms by 2 p.m. and warned that the telephones
would be disconnected by 6 p.m. Gromov told Ekho Moskvy that a senior
government official like Grachev should deal with such matters in a
statesmanlike way, not with "petty, vindictive arrogance." Gromov added
that Grachev's orders might be acceptable in a country like Afghanistan
(where both men served in the 1980s), but in Russia "such things are
simply intolerable." On 13 February, President Boris Yeltsin transferred
Gromov to the position of chief military expert for the Foreign
Ministry, but he retained his title as deputy defense minister. The move
was widely interpreted as a reaction to Gromov's criticism of Russian
policy in Chechnya. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MISSILE EXPLODES NEAR NUCLEAR POWER STATION. A missile launched by a
fighter bomber on a training flight from a base in Voronezh Oblast on 10
March exploded near a nuclear power station, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 13 March. The missile hit the ground about 200
meters away from houses in the village of Archangelskoe and 4 kilometers
from the Novovoronezh nuclear power station. One person in the village
was injured. The reports quoted local authorities as saying they had
repeatedly requested that the air base be moved. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL MEMBER CALLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. Valentin
Tsvetkov, chairman of the Federation Council's committee for the north
and small ethnic groups, said on 13 March that the environment has
deteriorated sharply in recent years, particularly in the north of the
country, and that laws must be adopted to deal with the problem,
Interfax reported. The committee is drafting a law on environmental
protection, as are the government and the Duma. Tsvetkov said the north
is suffering from continued "militarization" of the area and the
consequences of policies geared toward maximum short-term economic
benefits, which have led to serious accidents such as the Komineft oil
pipeline break. He noted that a number of reactors from nuclear
submarines remained in the Barents and Kara seas. -- Penny Morvant,
OMRI, Inc.

REPUBLICAN PARTY PROTESTS ARREST OF ITS ACTIVIST. The Republican Party
demanded the immediate release of one of its members, Viktor Pashinin,
who is also vice president of the Association of Farmer Households and
Agricultural Cooperatives, Interfax reported on 13 March. The
authorities in Tambov Oblast reportedly arrested Pashinin and placed him
in a psychiatric hospital. The party statement stresses that Pashinin
was detained immediately before an association congress to discredit him
as a public figure. The party has lodged a complaint with the Russian
prosecutor general's office and the president's Human Rights Commission.
-- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

SHUMEIKO OPPOSES PARTY LIST ELECTIONS. Federation Council Chairman
Vladimir Shumeiko said he is against electing any of the State Duma
members by party list, Interfax reported on 13 March. He added, however,
that the council was ready to compromise and agree that a third of the
deputies could be elected by party list. The council would reject any
Duma legislation that called for electing half of the deputies by party
list. He warned that conflict over the provision might prevent the
electoral law from being adopted on schedule. He said the Justice
Ministry has registered 60 parties, but their collective influence is
extremely small. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DIFFICULT YEAR PREDICTED FOR AGRICULTURE SECTOR . . . Russia's harvest
outlook for 1995 is bleak because the farm sector cannot afford supplies
for spring sowing, the Ministry of Agriculture told Interfax on 13
March. Ivan Gridasov, head of the ministry's crop-growing section, said
the farm sector could not afford the equipment, fertilizer, fuel, and
lubricants needed for sowing. As a result, plowing conditions are poor,
fields are weed-infested, and sowing will be delayed. Gridasov said the
situation is "critical and even lamentable" and urged the government to
find at least 6.5 trillion rubles ($1.5 billion) for farming supplies
for the spring sowing. Russia's grain harvest in 1994 was 81.3 million
tons, down from 99 million tons in 1993 and 106.8 million tons in 1992.
-- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

. . . YET GOVERNMENT APPEARS OPTIMISTIC. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime
Minister Alexander Zaveryukha announced that the Russian government has
signed an agricultural economic ordinance for 1995, which creates new
mechanisms for using budget appropriations, Interfax reported. According
to Zaveryukha, the ordinance will enable peasants to carry out spring
sowing and will provide credits for fuels and lubricants. The government
also intends to allocate 1 trillion rubles to expand the leasing of farm
machinery and plans to subsidize the prices of mineral fertilizer by
50%. The ordinance anticipates a harvest of at least 82 million tons of
grain, 40 million tons of wheat, and 20 million tons of sugar beets. The
government also decided to transform 3 trillion rubles in farm debts for
credits granted in 1992-94 into internal public debt. The debt will be
paid by the farm sector over 10 years at an annual interest rate of 10%.
The government plans to appropriate 314 billion rubles from the federal
budget and has told local executive bodies to use local budgets to
finance 15% of capital investments in private farms. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

FEBRUARY ENERGY PRICES UP 13%. The price of key types of fuel and energy
rose an average of 13% in February, exceeding the inflation rate by 2%,
according to Russia's Economic Situation Center, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 13 March. The largest increase, about 17%, occurred
in crude oil, which the center attributed to a surge in prices at oil
fields in the Far East, North Russia, and West Siberia. The center said
there was no change in the price of natural gas, with the average price
standing at 7,000 rubles ($1.52) for 1,000 cubic meters of gas.
Meanwhile, the eastern city of Vladivostok is low on electricity and
heating supplies, ITAR-TASS reported. The city now has less than half
its normal energy supplies and the region's energy sector is suffering
from a lack of funds and poor equipment. The report said consumers have
failed to pay bills and the government has failed to send the subsidies
it promised this year. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

"RUSSIAN MINERS" MOVEMENT CREATED. An inter-regional conference in
Kemerovo of representatives of the Russian Coal Miners Trade Union
(Rosugleprof) decided to set up a socio-political movement called
"Miners of Russia," union deputy chairman Ivan Mokhnachuk told Interfax
on 13 March. The movement's main aim is to oppose the decline in living
standards of miners and other industrial workers by nominating
candidates for legislative bodies at all levels in the upcoming
elections, Radio Rossii reported. Rosugleprof leader Vitaly Budko will
head the movement's executive committee. Meanwhile, miners in Vorkuta
are planning to launch a new strike to protest the nonpayment of wages,
AFP reported. However, the action is uncoordinated--two of the region's
12 pits have refused to take part in the strike, while others have
already staged spontaneous stoppages--and morale is low. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

SHIRSHOV: US "ARMING" CROATIA TO FIGHT SERBS. The Federation Council
Security and Defense Committee chairman, Sergei Shirshov, has accused
the U.S. of "arming Croatia for struggle against the Serbs," ITAR-TASS
reported on 12 March. Shirshov said he has information that the U.S.
sent C-130 military cargo planes into Croatia at night without first
obtaining UNPROFOR clearance. He said Russia should "take adequate
measures to prevent bloodshed" by first providing "economic assistance
to the Serbs." He called Russian participation in the economic sanctions
against Serbia a "cruel and unforgivable mistake." -- Michael Mihalka,
OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

COMMUNISTS TAKE LARGEST SHARE OF VOTES IN TAJIK ELECTION. Following the
second round of voting, official results show the Communist Party won 60
out of 181 seats in the legislature. The runoff election was held on 12
March because 19 of the constituencies registered less than the required
50% turnout during the voting on 26 February. Two deputies of the
opposition Tajik People's Unity Party, supporters of former President
Abdumalik Abdulajanov, were elected though they ran against the wishes
of their party, which had called for a boycott of the elections, AFP
reported. Meanwhile, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmanov arrived in
Pakistan on 14 March to meet with other Central Asian leaders including
those from Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey. He will also hold talks with
the deputy chairman of the Movement of Islamic Renaissance of
Tajikistan, Akbar Turadzhonzoda, to agree on a date and venue for the
fourth round of negotiations, according to Interfax. -- Bruce Pannier,
OMRI, Inc.

MEMBERS OF FORMER PARLIAMENT ORGANIZE OPPOSITION GROUP. Seventy deputies
from the recently dissolved 177-seat Kazakh parliament are calling an
alternative assembly on 14 March, Reuters reported. Olzhas Suleimanov,
known for his work to stop nuclear testing in the Semipalatinsk area,
will lead the group, which is expected to be the major opposition to
Nazarbaev's administration when elections are called. Another deputy,
Nurbakit Kuashybekov, said the former parliamentarians will endeavor to
work within the law but added, "Our regime is becoming a fascist
regime." The streets of Almaty were reported to be calm and officials
said the parliament chamber was "closed for renovations." -- Bruce
Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

BELARUS ON CIS. Pavel Kallaur, the National Bank of Belarus deputy
chairman, said the bank is considering whether to withdraw its share of
equity capital from the CIS Inter-State Bank, Interfax reported on 13
March. Kallaur said the Inter-State Bank, which was set up two years ago
for work in the ruble zone, will not be capable of multilateral clearing
and has not even begun to operate. He said settlements between CIS
states have been taken over by merchant banks and there is no reason to
revive the centralized system. Interfax also quoted Deputy Prime
Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich as complaining about the amount of time it
is taking to form a Russian-Belarusian-Kazakh customs union, even though
an agreement on the union was signed two months ago. Before the end of
the month, Myasnikovich said Russia and Belarus are to draft a program
for setting up joint customs checkpoints. Myasnikovich added that all
agreements between Russia and Belarus, which must be ratified by
parliament, would be submitted to the Belarusian legislature by 20
March. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN, GEORGIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEFS SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Russian Federal Counterintelligence Service director Sergei Stepashin
and his Georgian counterpart, Igor Georgadze, signed an agreement in
Moscow on 13 March on cooperation in combating organized crime and
terrorism, including the creation of a combined data bank, Interfax
reported. The agreement presumably expands a Russian-Georgian memorandum
signed more than a year ago on cooperation in the fight against drug
smuggling, terrorism, and corruption. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomex

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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