There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 68, Part I, 5 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

FILATOV ACCUSES FEDERATION COUNCIL OF DELAYING ELECTION LAW. The
Federation Council intends to delay adoption of the electoral law for
forming the State Duma, presidential chief of staff Sergei Filatov told
Interfax on 4 April. He warned that the law should not be held hostage
to "momentary situations" in the country, "nor can it be made a rule to
change the rules of the game every year." He said President Boris
Yeltsin could sign the draft law even though the Duma voted to elect
half of the new members by party lists against the president's wishes.
Ramazan Abdulatipov, deputy chairman of the Federation Council,
confirmed that the parliament's upper house was unlikely to approve the
Duma's version of the bill, Russian Radio reported. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

JUDGE SEES NO PROBLEM WITH POSTPONING ELECTIONS. Constitutional Court
Chairman Vladimir Tumanov said former Vice President Alexander Rutskoi's
allegations that Yeltsin intends to postpone the elections were not
serious, NTV reported 4 April. However, he said "nothing terrible will
happen if the elections are held a little later.... Technical changes
are possible and not of principal importance provided, naturally, that
the powers of deputies and the president are not stretched from two to
three or four years." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN'S AIDE ACCUSES ILYUKHIN OF "INVENTIONS." Presidential aide
Georgy Satarov dismissed accusations made by Duma Security Committee
Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin concerning plots to delay parliamentary and
presidential elections, Interfax reported on 4 April. Ilyukhin said the
president's staff were encouraging the Federation Council to reject the
Duma's draft electoral law, and he further speculated that Yeltsin's men
were planning to stage coups in several Russian regions during the late
stages of the campaign. Satarov told Interfax that Communists had a
special talent for fabricating various coup plans. He also charged that
Communist Duma deputies had deliberately violated Duma procedures by
introducing amendments to the electoral law during a vote on its first
reading. By purposely breaking the rules, Saratov added, the Communists
hoped to provoke the Council or Yeltsin into rejecting the draft
electoral law. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

BOROVOI TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Konstantin Borovoi, leader of the Party of
Economic Freedom, has declared his intention to run for president in
1996, Interfax reported on 4 April. Borovoi said democratic parties
should form an electoral bloc and nominate a joint candidate for
president to stop communists and fascists from returning to power. On 28
March, at his party's fourth congress, Borovoi complained that state-run
mass media, especially Ostankino TV, imposed an "information blockade"
on his party's ideas and activities, which he claimed were very popular
outside the capital, Segodnya reported. Although only five State Duma
deputies belong to the Party of Economic Freedom, 75 regional and 30
provincial branches of the party are registered. Borovoi told Interfax
on 4 April that in some regional legislatures, his party is the only
democratically-oriented bloc. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

AGRARIAN LEADER DENIES ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNISTS. Agrarian Party leader
Mikhail Lapshin has denied reports that his party will form a single
electoral alliance with Gennady Zyuganov's Communist Party of the
Russian Federation, Interfax reported on 4 April. Lapshin said his party
of 250,000 members would work with Vasily Starodubtsev's Agrarian Union,
Alexander Davydov's Trade Unions of the Agro-Industrial Complex, and
Anatoly Vorontsov's National Council of Collective Farms. Lapshin said
the Russian peasantry will no longer act as anyone's little brother. The
party's potential support is large since more than a third of the
Russian population lives in the countryside. Lyudmila Vartazarova also
denied that her Socialist Worker's Party had already formed an alliance
with the Communists, saying Zyuganov "was obviously in a hurry when he
made the announcement." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMINALS TO ENTER PARLIAMENT? Various criminal organizations may
contest the December 1995 elections to the Russian parliament,
Federation Council Deputy Chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov told a delegation
of Australian parliamentarians in Moscow on 4 April, Interfax and Radio
Rossii reported. Abdulatipov said criminals have already demonstrated
their ability to win seats in regional legislatures. In his opinion, it
will be difficult and dangerous for an ordinary person to win a seat in
the parliament, particularly in the south of the country. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

MILITARY MAIN SOURCE OF CRIMINALS' WEAPONS. The Russian military remains
"the major and stable source" of arms used by criminals and in regions
plagued by ethnic conflicts, according to the Russian Interior Ministry.
Alexander Dementyev, the deputy head of the ministry's Department for
the Fight against Organized Crime, told Interfax that some observers
claim the bulk of illegally held arms disappear from warehouses of the
Defense Ministry. He added that arms are also stolen directly from
manufacturing enterprises and said the ministry is conducting an
investigation into a group who tried to deliver 4,350 hand guns from an
Izhevsk arms plant to Grozny in Chechnya. Dementyev said 1,247 thefts of
arms and ammunition were reported in 1994, while nearly 17,000 crimes
were committed involving firearms. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

TEACHERS DEMAND INCREASED FUNDING FOR SCIENCE AND EDUCATION. Arguing
that the fall in living standards of teachers and researchers is
inflicting considerable damage on the education sector, delegates to the
second congress of the Education and Science Workers' Union called on
the government to raise their wages to match those in industry, Russian
media reported on 4 April. The average monthly wage in Russia is 280,000
rubles, while the average for teachers is 180,000 rubles. Noting that
the sector has received less than half the funds it needs, the congress
urged parliament to pass legislation giving priority to science and
education. It also called for amendments to the law on education to
guarantee Russians free secondary education. The union leadership did
not call on its workers to take part in the 12 April day of action but
said it will stage protests, including warning strikes, later in the
year if its demands are not met. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

BANKERS URGE AUTHORITIES TO FIGHT CRIME. The Association of Russian
Banks, which unites more than 900 banks, has called on the president,
government, and Duma to take steps to establish law and order in Russia,
Interfax reported on 4 April. According to the association, more than 60
attempts have been made on the lives of bank managers and other
personnel in the past three years; 31 people have been killed and 11
seriously injured. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK RECALLS LICENSES FROM 14 BANKS. Russia's Central Bank
recalled licenses from 14 banks, ten of which "violated the laws,
pursued risky crediting policy, and operated at a loss," the Financial
Information Agency reported on 4 April. Four banks announced mergers
with other banks. Fifty banks have had their licenses revoked since the
beginning of the year. There are about 2,500 commercial banks operating
in Russia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA TO LAUNCH INVESTMENT IMAGE CAMPAIGN. The Russian government,
together with several leading Western corporations, will launch a
campaign to improve the country's investment image on world markets,
Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin told Interfax on 4 April. The decision
resulted from a two-day Moscow meeting with working groups from the
Investment Policy Council. The meeting was attended by Western
corporation representatives including Coca Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Ernst
& Young, BASF, Siemens, Mitsui, Mobil, Renault, British Petroleum, and
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Yasin, who chaired
the meeting, estimated the cost of the promotion campaign at around
$5 million. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

ECONOMIST ILLARIONOV SAYS ECONOMY CLOSE TO STABILIZATION. The Russian
economy has never been so close to financial stabilization, according to
Economic Analysis Institute director Andrei Illarionov, Interfax
reported on 4 April. The economist predicted the ruble will not fall
below 6,000 rubles to $1 and the Central Bank will have to take steps to
steady the currency. Illarionov said that by mid-year, inflation could
fall to 3% a month compared to 9% in March, 11% in February, and 18% in
January. But to achieve that, the government must work hard to keep
positive economic trends in motion, even though such efforts will result
in falling incomes and rising unemployment. Illarionov said Russia's
agreement with the IMF on a $6.3 billion standby credit is one of the
main factors aiding financial stabilization. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

OSCE AS THE BASIS FOR NEW SECURITY ORDER IN EUROPE. The OSCE should form
the basis for the security order in Europe, according to several Russian
officials, speaking during U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry's visit
to Moscow. Grachev said the security order in Europe "must be built
around the OSCE with the participation of other existing bodies,
including NATO," Interfax reported on 3 April. Russian Deputy Defense
Minister Andrei Kokoshin expressed a similar view. Meanwhile, a think
piece on a new security model for 21st century Europe presented by the
Russian delegation to the meeting of the OSCE Senior Council in Prague
on 30-31 March said the organization's "transformation into an
instrument of security and stability in Europe does not necessarily
secure its formal leading role in any hierarchic system of
organizations." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

KOKOSHIN: ENDING BUFFER ZONE DESTABILIZES EUROPE. Russian First Deputy
Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin has argued that eastward expansion by
NATO would create instability in Europe by removing the "semi-
demilitarized zone which has now emerged in Central and Eastern Europe."
Nezavismaya Gazeta reported on 4 April that Kokoshin believes it is
"necessary to abandon the false impression that NATO expansion is
inevitable and unavoidable." Rather, any new security order in Europe
should be based on a broader basis than NATO including the development
of bilateral relations. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KARIMOV MEETS WITH TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER. Uzbek President Islam
Karimov and Kazi Akbar Turadzhonzoda, deputy chairman of the armed
Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRP), met in Tashkent to
discuss security in Central Asia and the situation in and around
Tajikistan. Karimov called on the Tajik opposition to abandon military
means of achieving their goals; Turadzhonzoda described the meeting as
constructive, Interfax reported on 3 April. The meeting is likely to
have raised some eyebrows in Tashkent as the Karimov leadership has gone
to considerable lengths to ensure the defeat of the IRP in Tajikistan
and Afghanistan, and religious-based movements and organizations are
banned in Uzbekistan. The IRP has been fighting against the neo-
communist government in Dushanbe, which seized power in November 1992,
from bases in Afghanistan while the Uzbek government has been a staunch
supporter of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov. A ceasefire between the
Tajik opposition and Tajik government forces has been in effect since
September; it was due to expire in early March but was extended until
26 April to make possible continued negotiations. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

UZBEK CURRENCY EXCHANGE. Currency trading sessions were scheduled to
begin on a biweekly basis in Uzbekistan on 4 April due to the expanded
resource base of the market, Uzbek Central Bank deputy chairman
Mahmudzhon Askarov told Interfax. Thirteen commercial banks are now
authorized to handle foreign currency, up from six, and the republic's
currency exchange sold around $140 million in the first three months of
1995, according to Askarov. The Central Bank forecasts an increase in
its turnover to an estimated $1.2-1.5 billion, due to intensified
trading at the currency exchange. -- Lowell Bezanis, 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
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