A friend is a gift you give yourself. - Robert Louis Stevenson

No. 70, Part I, 7 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


Yarov said the Duma's 12 April no-confidence vote in the government will
not succeed, Interfax reported on 6 April. He said the vote has more to
do with pre-election maneuvering than the details of Russia's agreement
with Kiev to restructure Ukraine's debt. A majority of the deputies in
the Duma (226) must support the motion for it to succeed. If the vote
does pass, the president can either replace the government or disagree
with the Duma vote. If the Duma passes it again within three months, the
president must either replace the government or call new Duma elections
within four months. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin said events will develop
according to the constitutional provisions if the Duma denies the
government its support, Russian TV reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,

Nezavisimaya gazeta doubted recent statements by Yeltsin's advisers that
he has no intention of postponing the parliamentary and presidential
elections, according to the 6 April edition of the paper. The
presidential office's recent denunciations of those predicting that
Yeltsin will postpone the elections, provides the best proof that the
allegations are true, according to the paper. "Absurd ideas would not be
rebutted so hotly," it claimed. Nezavisimaya gazeta speculated that the
denunciations will continue until the 50th anniversary of World War II,
when many foreign leaders will visit the country. Then, according to the
paper's scenario, Russian Public Television will begin a campaign of "no
change for the stake of stability." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

VEDENKIN ANNOUNCES ELECTION PLANS. Alexei Vedenkin, currently the most
visible "fascist" in Russia, announced plans to work with the Great
Russia bloc, NTV reported on 5 April. He claimed to "have enough money
to win 60% of the seats in the Duma." Vedenkin said he had been building
up a financial base since 1990. He has been extremely successful, he
claimed, because he had the support of the U.S.S.R. Council of
Ministers, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee,
and the KGB. According to his account, the leaders of those institutions
understood even then that nationalism would play an important role after
the collapse of the U.S.S.R. He also denied that he is a fascist and
announced that he will sue all media outlets that have dubbed him one
and use the proceeds to rebuild churches. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

MINERS GO ON STRIKE IN PRIMORSKY KRAI. Miners in Primorsky Krai downed
tools on 6 April to protest a four month-delay in wage payments, Russian
and Western agencies reported. Twenty-seven miners at the Avangard pit
in the city of Partizansk have already been on hunger strike since 29
March; 16, however, have been brought to the surface in critical
condition and hospitalized. The local railway, an ore refinery, and a
transport company were also reported to be on strike. According to
Reuters, regional legislative officials said they would urge Trans-
Siberian railroad workers to join the stoppage as well. Economics
Minister Yevgeny Yasin and Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov say money
from the federal budget to pay the miners is reaching Primorsky Krai on
time, Ekho Moskvy reported. The local public prosecutor's office said
Primorskugol officials had misused money from the state budget earmarked
for salaries. According to Izvestiya, cited by Reuters, First Deputy
Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais said the problem was two-fold: nonpayment
of bills by coal consumers and "laxity or even plain stealing concealed
by the overall problem of debts." -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

SECURITY SERVICE GAINS NEW POWERS. Commenting on reports that Yeltsin
had signed the law on the Federal Security Service (FSB), a senior
Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) official said the new service
will be able to infiltrate foreign organizations and criminal groups,
institute inquiries, carry out preliminary investigations, maintain its
own prisons, demand information from private companies, and set up
special units and front enterprises, Interfax reported on 6 April. The
spokesman said the FSB's duties will include foreign intelligence
activities to boost Russia's "economic, scientific, technical, and
defense potential" and to ensure the security of all government bodies.
He said the FSB is the legal successor to the FSK and the latter's
personnel will not have to reapply for their jobs but will be simply
transferred. The FSK employs more than 75,000 people. Human rights
groups say they fear the security body's enhanced powers could be used
to crack down on civil liberties rather than to fight organized crime.
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

Ministry (MVD) and the U.S. Secret Service announced on 6 April that
they will cooperate in the fight against money-laundering,
counterfeiting, and other international economic crimes, Western
agencies reported. K. David Holmes Jr., deputy assistant director of the
Secret Service, said that in a recently concluded two-week seminar the
services had identified "several criminal cases . . . with direct
associations in Russia and the United States." He declined to elaborate,
but Boris Tereshchenko of the MVD's Economic Crimes Department said the
Americans are helping Russia in a counterfeiting case by analyzing the
paper and ink used to produce the fake notes. He said money-laundering
in Russia is a major international problem. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

About 90 Duma deputies have asked the Constitutional Court to rule on
the legality of the use of the army in Chechnya, Ekho Moskvy reported on
6 April. The deputies maintain that the constitution does not allow the
president and his cabinet to deploy the armed forces by decree. Speaking
on behalf of the group, Communist deputy Anatoly Lukyanov told Ekho
Moskvy the Chechen events demonstrate that the president and government
"simply do not respect either the constitution or our laws." The court
has not said when it will consider the deputies' request. On 5 April,
the Duma approved the first reading of a law instructing the government
to begin negotiations with the Chechen authorities toward a peaceful
settlement of the crisis. A second reading of the draft law is scheduled
for mid-April. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

in principle to station a permanent mission in Chechnya, Russia did not
agree to proceed at the weekly OSCE meeting of the Permanent Council on
6 April, Western agencies reported. That means the European Union is
unlikely to conclude an interim trade accord with Russia when the
foreign ministers meet on 10 April. Russian Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for Foreign Relations Oleg Davydov again repeated his
accusation that the EU action, which he viewed as foregone, is more
economically motivated than concerned with human rights violations in
Chechnya, Interfax reported. He was particularly critical of France,
which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, saying Russia is
France's number one competitor in aluminum, nuclear materials, and
provision of space services. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

campaign to promote the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia has agreed to join in a UN Security
Council resolution not to use nuclear weapons against a signatory of the
NPT unless it or its armed forces are attacked, Interfax reported on 6
April. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Grigory Karasin said that
if nuclear weapons were used or threatened against a non-nuclear state
that adhered to the NPT, then the members of the UN Security Council
would take measures to provide the victim with the necessary assistance
in accordance with the UN Charter. Karasin said Russia hopes the
resolution will strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime and
further international stability and security. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI,

LUKOIL TO FLOAT BONDS. The Russian oil company LUKoil is preparing to
float bonds for Russian and foreign investors in two installments over
the next few months, firm president Vagit Alekperov announced to Russian
and Western agencies on 5 April. The first, planned for May or June, is
reserved for foreign investors and should bring in "at least $300
million," Alekperov said. The Russian portion of the issuance should
come in the fall. The bonds will be guaranteed by 11% of the state-held
shares in LUKoil, a big Russian oil conglomerate with activities ranging
from extraction to distribution. The proceeds of the bond issue will be
used for technical equipment, rebuilding refineries, new deposit
operations, and repaying debts due to the state which amount to more
than 1 trillion rubles ($200 million). In 1994, LUKoil accounted for 15%
of Russian oil production. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

was excerpted in the 7 April edition of Rossiiskaya gazeta, Nobel Prize-
winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn denounced Russian politicians of
all persuasions for succumbing to pre-election "fever and hysteria."
Eight months before scheduled parliamentary elections, he said, Duma
deputies and party leaders were devoting more energy to campaign
strategy than to improving the lives of Russians, which is a "shame."
Solzhenitsyn added that by autumn, the "pre-election epilepsy" would
afflict all Russians. He proposed limiting campaign activities to the
four weeks before elections, as is done in England. Solzhenitysn
criticized Duma deputies in particular for not passing laws on crime,
corruption, or local self-government in recent months. He said deputies
design their speeches and actions not to serve "the fatherland" or "the
people," but only "my faction, my party, my personal use and profit." --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.


TAJIK PARLIAMENT ELECTS SPEAKER. At its opening session in Dushanbe on 6
April the new Tajik parliament elected the chairman of the Popular Party
of Tajikistan, lawyer Safarali Radzhabov, as its speaker by an
overwhelming majority, Interfax reported. Radzhabov was the only
candidate nominated for the post, following President Emomali
Rakhmonov's statement that the head of state and parliament speaker
should not both come from the same region. Abdulmadzhid Dostiev (like
Rakhmonov a native of Kulyab), who had been tipped as a possible
candidate, was elected first deputy speaker. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

Perry held talks on defense and economic cooperation with Uzbek
President Islam Karimov, Defense Minister Rustam Akhmedov, and Foreign
Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov on 6 April, Russian and Western agencies
reported. They agreed on setting up a working group to study the
prospects for bilateral cooperation and a program for joint actions
including the training of Uzbek officers. Karimov identified three
factors which threaten Uzbek independence: "imperialist ambitions in
Russia . . . which are intensifying daily," "the threat from the south .
... . fundamentalism," and the problem of "how to ensure irreversibility,"
Interfax reported. Karimov is seeking "close cooperation" with the U.S.,
whose presence in Central Asia he termed a "guarantee of stability"
adding, however, that the U.S. had a "distorted picture" of Uzbek and
regional affairs. Karimov rejected the standing Kazakh proposal for a
Eurasian union, saying it would undercut Uzbek independence. He
expressed sympathy for the Ukrainian military doctrine (which does not
mention Russia but regards any country that follows a consistently
hostile policy as an enemy) and urged the U.S. to help strengthen that
country's independence. Perry expressed concern for the slow pace of
democratic reform in Uzbekistan but praised the republic as "an island
of stability in a troubled area." -- Lowell Bezanis, 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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