What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 67, Part I, 4 April 1995

We welcome you to Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily
Digest. 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.  Back issues of the Daily
Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through our WWW
pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html

RUSSIA

YELTSIN SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL AIDS LAW. President Yeltsin has signed
controversial legislation on AIDS that requires all foreigners, except
diplomats, visiting Russia for more than three months to prove that they
are not HIV-positive or face deportation, a presidential spokesman said
on 3 April, according to Western agencies. AIDS activists and
specialists had campaigned against the law, saying it contravened human
rights and was medically senseless, but Yeltsin ignored their pleas to
veto it. (Following protests from the tourist industry, Yeltsin rejected
an earlier version that obliged all visitors to prove they were HIV-
free.) The new law goes into effect on 1 August. It is not certain how
testing of foreigners already in Russia will be carried out. Nikolai
Nedzelsky, head of the Names association in Moscow, said no one seems to
know how to implement the law, while Gennady Roshchupkin, coordinator of
the Russian AIDS relief organization, thinks the legislation will be
applied selectively to deter refugees and "other visitors whom the
Russian government doesn't like." -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

NO START-2 WITHOUT RESOLUTION OF NATO QUESTION. Federation Council
Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko told U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry in
Moscow on 3 April that the Russian parliament will not ratify START-2
unless questions over NATO's expansion eastward are resolved, Interfax
reported. While acknowledging the value that START-2 would have for
nuclear nonproliferation, Shumeiko said the issues of NATO and START-2
are closely linked in the minds of Russian deputies. Meanwhile, Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the Russian government supports
the earliest possible ratification of START-2 and, in the meantime,
would like to resolve differences over the ABM treaty and financial
allocations for destroying strategic offensive weapons. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA MAY SUSPEND CFE CUTS IF NATO EXPANDS. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev warned visiting U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry on 3
April that Russia might suspend the reduction of its conventional arms
as required by the 1990 treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE)
should NATO expand to the east. ITAR-TASS and Interfax quoted Grachev as
saying the creation of new groups of armed forces "on the most
threatened fronts" and closer security ties among CIS countries would be
other possible countermeasures. He also said Russia is proposing a new
solution to the CFE "flanks" problem--the CFE restrictions on the arms
Russia can deploy in the North Caucasus and Leningrad military
districts--that takes into account "the reality of the situation." This
would involve excluding "areas of conflict and combat operations" from
the treaty. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA WON'T BUDGE ON IRAN. Despite entreaties from U.S. Defense
Secretary William Perry, Russia will continue to aid the Iranian nuclear
program, international agencies reported on 4 April. Following a meeting
with Perry and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Russian Nuclear
Energy Minister Viktor Mikhailov said the Russian government intends to
proceed with the deal which "is in accordance with international law."
Perry said while the Russians "did not agree to change their position to
proceed with that sale, they did state that they will take actions to
reduce the proliferation risk." Meanwhile, in meetings with Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev, Perry signed two accords to assist in the
process for dismantling nuclear weapons: one for security in moving
nuclear weapons from Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan to Russia; the
other to help ensure the safety of nuclear weapons stockpiles within
Russia. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

MORE CHARGES OF PLOT TO DELAY ELECTIONS. Echoing recent charges made by
Alexander Rutskoi, Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin
asserted that Yeltsin's staff is plotting to delay the December 1995
parliamentary elections and the June 1996 presidential elections,
Interfax reported on 3 April. Ilyukhin, a member of the Communist Party,
described two possible scenarios. The Federation Council, the upper
house of parliament, could refuse to adopt an election law, thereby
creating no legislative basis for the polls. Ilyukhin also speculated
that a "very narrow circle of people" is planning to stage simulated
coups in several Russian regions shortly before the elections, allowing
Yeltsin to declare a state of emergency. Meanwhile, Yeltsin's allies
said the president would not consider using such "costly" and "petty"
tactics to extend his term. Mikhail Krasnov, Yeltsin's assistant for
legal matters, said Rutskoi's charges are merely a typical strategy for
presidential contenders, NTV reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

SPLIT WIDENS IN RUSSIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S PARTY. Disgruntled
delegates at the third congress of the Russian Social-Democratic
People's Party denounced the 24 March decision to expel party chairman
Alexander Rutskoi and charged Vasily Lipitsky, Rutskoi's main rival
within the organization, with betrayal, NTV reported on 3 April. At the
opening session of the congress on 24 March, the majority of delegates
voted with Lipitsky, but approximately 20 of the party's 46 regional
branches, mostly in southern Russia, supported Rutskoi. On 3 April,
dissenting regional leaders dominated the session and declared
Lipitsky's actions "illegitimate." Lipitsky was accused of attempting to
split the party and "betraying its interests." For his part, Rutskoi
told the congress of Lipitsky's "innate" tendency to "betray" and
"cheat" others, charging that 17 million rubles were missing from the
party's coffers due to Lipitsky's "machinations." He expressed the hope
that the congress would end the party's schism and start more
"constructive work." -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

JEWISH TRADE UNIONS TO DEMAND YELTSIN'S RESIGNATION. Trade unions in the
Jewish Autonomous Oblast will hold a demonstration on 12 April as part
of the nationwide day of action to press for the resignation of
President Yeltsin and his government, regional union leader Yakov
Sherman told reporters in Birobidzhan on 3 April. According to Interfax,
Sherman said the rally will be the first time Jewish unions have made
political rather than purely economic demands. He attributed the change
in tactics to rising unemployment and the government's failure to
address the problem of wage arrears following the national day of action
last October. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

KHASBULATOV OUTLINES CHECHNYA PEACE PLAN. Former Russian parliament
chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov has drawn up detailed proposals for a
peaceful settlement to the Chechen conflict, Interfax reported on 3
April. They comprise an immediate cessation of hostilities to be
monitored by military commanders from both sides; the disengagement and
surrender of all heavy weaponry in the possession of the Chechen
resistance; and a halt to Moscow's funding of the Chechen Government of
National Revival and the recently created Committee for National Accord.
Khasbulatov warned against conducting peace talks with either Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev or with the former opposition Provisional
Council both of whom, he claimed, had minimal support among the
population. Instead, he proposed negotiations--mediated by his own
peace-making group--with religious leaders and with those military
commanders who had distanced themselves from Dudaev. Khasbulatov further
advocated electing a legislative assembly, which over the next few years
should enact the legislative basis for the restoration of Chechnya's
economy and public institutions. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

RUBLE DOWN SLIGHTLY AGAINST DOLLAR. The ruble fell slightly against the
dollar on 3 April hitting 4,908 rubles to $1 against 4,899 to $1 rubles
on 31 March, the Financial Information Agency reported. Volume totaled
$114.27 million. Initial demand was $115.27 and initial supply $101.71
million. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK RESHUFFLES MANAGEMENT. In an attempt to improve internal
efficiency, the Central Bank of Russia reshuffled top management on 27
March, the Financial Information Agency reported on 31 March. Deputy
Chairman Alexander Khandruyev was promoted to first deputy chairman.
Tatyana Artyomova, who was on the USSR State Bank staff before 1992 and
then with a Moscow commercial bank, was appointed deputy chairwoman.
Olga Prokofyeva, who had been acting head of the banking supervision
department, was appointed its permanent head. Alexander Rychenkov,
Prokofyeva's predecessor, reportedly resigned. In response to the
reshuffle, a highly-placed central bank official told the Financial
Information Agency that the new appointments were "an inside exercise
rather than a change for the better." He believed the bank's efficiency
depended on its relations with commercial banks rather than on personnel
changes. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK ISSUES NEW CURRENCY EXCHANGE CERTIFICATE. The Central Bank
of Russia will introduce the new currency exchange certificate (No.
0406007) on 3 April, the Financial Information Agency reported on 31
March. The certificate's introduction has been delayed since February
because the Central Bank wanted more time to instruct its territorial
offices how to use it. The new certificate has seven degrees of
protection against forging. It will be used with nine transaction
functions, including cashing travelers checks, using credit cards, and
exchanging 20 kinds of hard and soft currency. The new certificate will
replace Document No. 377, which is now used by banks and exchange
offices when individuals buy or sell currency. The new certificate will
also allow people to take cash currency abroad. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN SELLS PART OF SHARE IN OIL CONSORTIUM. Azerbaijani President
Heidar Aliev met in Baku with the vice presidents of Exxon and Turkey's
State Oil Company TPAO on 3 April to sign an initial agreement on the
sale to each company of 5% of Azerbaijan's 20% share in the
international consortium that is to exploit three Caspian oil fields,
Interfax and AFP reported. The sale must be endorsed by the Azerbaijani
People's Assembly. An earlier plan to fund Azerbaijan's share in the
consortium by selling a 5% stake to Iran has apparently been shelved,
possibly in response to US pressure. Unidentified senior Azerbaijani
government officials told Interfax that Azerbaijan is still considering
the use of Russian pipelines to export crude oil to the Tikhoretsk Black
Sea terminal should it prove impossible to raise the necessary funding
to build an alternative export pipeline through Turkey. -- Liz Fuller,
OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZSTAN MAY BE NEXT TO EXTEND PRESIDENT'S TERM. More than 50 members
of the new Kyrgyz parliament have proposed a referendum on extending
President Askar Akayev's term until the year 2000, Interfax reported on
3 April, quoting presidential press secretary, Kamil Bayalinov. He
quoted Akayev as stating that a referendum cannot not be held without
the appropriate legislative basis; he said a decision will be taken at
the parliament's 10 April session. A member of Akayev's staff told
Interfax on 29 March that the president would under no circumstances
agree to a referendum on extending his mandate. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI,
Inc.

UZBEK OPPOSITION LEADERS SENTENCED. Seven members of the Erk party,
banned since 1993, have been sentenced to prison by the Supreme Court in
Uzbekistan, Russian and Western agencies reported. They were found
guilty of trying to overthrow the current authorities by force, keeping
arms, narcotics, and distributing a prohibited newspaper, Erk. The main
defendant, Murod Dzhurayev, was sentenced to 12 years in prison; the
other six defendants were sentenced to terms of between five and 10
years on 31 March. The trial of the seven, who were arrested by Uzbek
secret police in Almaty last summer, was interrupted by a referendum on
the extension of Uzbek President Islam Karimov's rule. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

SHAKHRAI IN BELARUS. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai met
with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir in Minsk to discuss
setting up a TV/radio company among the CIS states to be called "Mir,"
Belarusian television reported on 31 March. The Belarusian parliament
has not ratified the agreement allowing a Mir bureau to operate in
Minsk. Some deputies oppose the financing of a third Russian television
station in Belarus and argue that it would be better to fund a second
Belarusian channel. -- 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
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