Part of the sercret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. - Mark Twain
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 69, Part I, 6 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

DUMA OVERTURNS YELTSIN'S VETO ON SAVINGS LAW. The State Duma has
overturned a presidential veto, imposed for the second time, on a draft
law on the restoration and protection of citizens' savings, Interfax
reported on 5 April. The law was supported by 337 deputies, seven more
than the minimum required. Communist deputy Viktor Zorkaltsev, chairman
of the Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations,
said the law "guarantees that the state recognizes its commitments to 70
million citizens, whose savings lost their value when economic reform
began in 1992." He rejected Yeltsin's argument that the law will
destabilize the country's economy, saying it is general in character and
does not specify how the money should be repaid. When he vetoed the
draft on 14 March, Yeltsin said the measure could boost the budget
deficit by 500 trillion rubles. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA DISCUSSES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN THE GOVERNMENT. An initiative group
in the State Duma has collected more than 100 signatures in favor of
holding a no confidence vote in the government, Nezavisimaya gazeta
reported on 6 April. CIS Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Zatulin
initiated the move, citing two reasons. First, he argued that the
Russian delegation at the negotiations with Ukraine, led by First Deputy
Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, did not defend Russia's national
interests. He was particularly incensed with the delay in Ukraine's
repayment of its debts to Russia. Second, the government refused to
cooperate with the Federal Assembly in the fight against crime, twice
ignoring Duma no confidence votes in Interior Minister Viktor Yerin.
Other deputies supporting the measure included Sergei Baburin, Anatoly
Lukyanov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Yury Kalmykov, and Viktor Ilyukhin,
Interfax reported. The issue will be discussed in the Duma by 13 April,
Russian Radio reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SIGNS LAW ON FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE. President Yeltsin signed
the bill on the Federal Security Service on 3 April, Interfax reported.
It will come into force on the day of its publication. Under the law,
approved by the Duma on 22 February, the Federal Counterintelligence
Service will be renamed the Federal Security Service (FSB) and its
powers will be broadened. The legislation has been harshly criticized:
an article in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 30 March, for example, attacked it
on the grounds that it could "reanimate the KGB." The article also
speculated that Yeltsin's security chief, Alexander Korzhakov, might
have instigated the reorganization and that he had designs on the post
of director of the new service. For its part, Komsomolskaya pravda
reported on 4 April that acting Prosecutor-General Alexei Ilyushenko is
being considered as a candidate for the post--an appointment that does
not require parliamentary confirmation. The Duma has repeatedly refused
to confirm Ilyushenko as the country's chief prosecutor. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS TO FORM ELECTORAL ALLIANCE WITH SOCIAL
DEMOCRATIC UNION. Russian Social Democratic Union leader Vassily
Lipitsky told Interfax on 4 April that his party has agreed to a
proposal made by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions on forming
an electoral alliance, Interfax reported on 4 April. The federation has
also asked the Communists, the Agrarians, the Socialist Party of Working
People, the Federation of Manufacturers, and Women of Russia to join the
alliance. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA PASSES DRAFT LAW ON CHECHNYA SETTLEMENT. The Duma approved on its
first reading a draft law to settle the Chechen crisis, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 5 April. Communist Vladimir Semago
described the vote as an opportunity to end Russia's "national shame,"
Interfax reported. The law would intruct the government to begin
negotiations with the Chechen authorities and would create a commission
to oversee peace talks. In addition, the draft would grant amnesty to
Chechen fighters in exchange for a permanent ceasefire. The law passed
by a vote of 228 to 56, with most dissent coming from Agrarians and the
Liberal Democratic Party, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 6 April. A
second reading will take place in mid-April. Meanwhile, human rights
advocate Sergei Kovalev blamed the Russian government for consistently
rejecting peace initiatives and warned that violence in Chechnya could
continue for years if a settlement is not reached soon, Russian Radio
reported on 5 April. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA SUSPENDS PRIVATIZATION OF MASS MEDIA. By an overwhelming majority,
the Duma passed a law suspending all privatization of state-owned
television and radio companies until special rules are outlined, Russian
and Western agencies reported on 5 April. Specifically, the law freezes
all funding for the partly private Russian Public Television company,
which was declared invalid and was prohibited from broadcasting on
Channel One. Even if approved by the Federation Council, the law is
almost certain to be vetoed by President Yeltsin, who ordered the
restructuring of state-run Ostankino TV in November 1994. Advocates of
the plan say bloated management and unpaid bills at Ostankino justified
creating the new partly private television company. Critics have charged
that the restructuring, which was carried out in secret, was designed to
give the government control over television during an election year. On
1 April, Russian Public Television began broadcasting on Channel One,
which is the only network reaching approximately 200 million viewers
throughout the former Soviet Union. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN ENCOURAGES LAND OWNERSHIP . . . The Russian government
intends to continue agricultural reform, primarily in the area of
marketing land, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said in an address to
the All Russian Assembly of Peasants in Moscow on 5 April, Interfax
reported. The minister said the most urgent government task, according
to the medium-term program for 1995-97, is to grant all landowners
certificates of ownership. Land auctions will held to facilitate the
process. The government will also discuss a draft law to permit the sale
of land now occupied by enterprises. Chernomyrdin said measures will be
taken to keep insolvent agricultural enterprises afloat, but first
Russia must "defeat inflation in order to lower prices and attract
investments into industry as well as raise efficiency." He stressed that
neither the economy as a whole, nor individual sectors, including the
agro-industrial complex, can survive with the current inflation rate. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

... . . WHILE PEASANTS' ASSEMBLY OBJECTS. Meanwhile, delegates to the
assembly said they support equality of ownership and land use but
objected to private ownership and called for a ban on the sale of land,
including small garden lots and summer houses owned by city residents,
Interfax reported on 5 April. In a draft document, the Peasants'
Assembly called for the right to obtain tracts of land for use and
ownership in order to organize and develop peasant and farm households.
In addition, the assembly called upon President Boris Yeltsin and the
government to provide funds to carry out the spring sowing and introduce
the necessary economic regulations within three days. Agrarian Party
leader Mikhail Lapshin, who also chairs the Coordinating Council of
Agricultural Collective Activities, said he will organize a national
peasant strike if the demands are not met by 10 May. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN MINISTRIES TO COORDINATE CASPIAN POLICY. Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Shafranik have
agreed at a special meeting to pursue a coordinated policy in future
with regard to major Caspian shelf oil and gas projects, Interfax's
Petroleum Information Agency reported on 4 April. The move is clearly
intended to preclude a repeat of last year's disagreement over Russian
participation in the international consortium to exploit three
Azerbaijani offshore oil fields. The two ministers reaffirmed their
commitment to forming a coordinating committee of all Caspian littoral
states and supporting Iranian participation in international Caspian oil
and gas projects. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NEW ARMENIAN CATHOLICOS ELECTED. The Armenian National Church Council
elected Syrian-born Catholicos Garegin II as the new head of the
Armenian church on 4 April to succeed Vazgen I, who died in August 1994,
Interfax reported. Garegin II heads the rival diaspora Cilician
Catholicosate in Lebanon, which has strong links with the Armenian
opposition Dashnak party. According to Nezavisimaya gazeta on 11 March,
Garegin II was the preferred candidate of Armenian President Levon Ter-
Petrossyan, who hopes he will contribute to overcoming internal
divisions within the Armenian church and to strengthening ties between
Armenia and the diaspora. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

GAMSAKHURDIA FACTION TO CONTEND GEORGIAN ELECTIONS. The Round Table/Free
Georgia coalition created in 1990 by Georgia's late President Zviad
Gamsakhurdia will field candidates in the October 1995 Georgian
parliamentary elections, Interfax reported on 5 April quoting Vakhtang
Bochorishvili, one of the faction's leaders. The faction has recently
instituted an award named after the late president, the first recipient
of which is Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

TURKEY CRITICIZED BY LDP. The Liberal Democratic Party faction in the
State Duma has protested against Turkey's foray into northern Iraq,
Interfax reported on 5 April. The LDP condemned the UN and NATO for
their alleged indifference to the violation of the borders of a
sovereign state and claimed, "The Turkish war machine has long conducted
genocide in northern Kurdistan. Now, with the whole 'civilized' and
'democratic' world watching, it is victimizing people who are not even
Turkish citizens." -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

PERRY VISITS ALMATY. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry arrived in
Almaty on 4 April to hold talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev on
various issues including the continued reduction of Kazakhstan's nuclear
arms, conversion of military facilities to consumer industries, and U.S.
aid, Interfax reported. Perry seemed satisfied with progress on
dismantling nuclear weapons, noting that Kazakhstan is two to three
months ahead of schedule. The U.S. will give Kazakhstan $37 million for
conversion of defense industries ($15 million from the Nunn-Lugar
program and the additional $22 million from four U.S. firms). The U.S.
will also continue to buy uranium from Kazakhstan as it did in December
1994 when 600 kilograms were purchased, AFP reported. Perry also
commented on the referendum to extend Nazarbayev's term saying, "The
president reaffirmed to me . . . he is committed to moving Kazakhstan
towards democracy." A senior official, traveling with Perry warned, "If
we see in Kazakhstan a narrowing and constricting of the political
process rather than the opposite, it will over time cause a reduction in
confidence," Reuters reported. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

RUSSIAN DEPUTY TEARS UKRAINIAN FLAG IN DUMA. In protest over Kiev's
recent moves to take control of Crimea, Duma deputy Nikolai Lysenko, a
member of the right-wing National Republican Party, tore up a Ukrainian
flag in the legislature and threw its shreds at parliamentary speaker
Ivan Rybkin, international agencies reported on 5 April. The incident
almost started a fight in the Duma when some deputies had to be
restrained from advancing on Lysenko. The Duma then voted to deprive
Lysenko of his right to speak in parliament until 26 April. Vladimir
Zhirinovsky and members of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic
Party, however, supported Lysenko. There was no immediate response from
Kiev to the incident which was broadcast on television throughout Russia
and Ukraine. The speaker of Ukraine's parliament, Oleksandr Moroz, urged
parliament not to issue an official statement condemning the action
saying that would only draw attention to the event. Moroz also praised
the Duma for condemning Lysenko's action and taking steps to reprimand
the deputy. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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