The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 78, Part I, 20 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

KOZYREV REAFFIRMS COMMENTS ON MILITARY FORCE IN NEAR ABROAD. Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev reaffirmed his opinion that Russia could
intervene militarily to protect ethnic Russians in the "near abroad,"
ITAR-TASS reported on 19 April. Speaking in the Kremlin, Kozyrev said
his comments were "neither a slip of the tongue, nor a pre-election
ruse." On 20 April, Izvestiya called Kozyrev's comments "sensational,"
recalling his notorious 1992 Stockholm speech when he portrayed himself
as a nationalist only to say it was a joke within an hour. Both Vladimir
Lukin, head of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sergei
Yushenkov, head of the Defense Committee, criticized Kozyrev's remarks
while Lt.-Gen. Alexander Lebed applauded them. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI,
Inc.

GOVORUKHIN URGES CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST SAMASHKI CRITICS.
Stanislav Govorukhin, who heads the State Duma commission on Chechnya,
called for outspoken critics of the Russian massacre in Samashki to be
prosecuted, Russian and Western agencies reported on 19 April.
Govorukhin accused Memorial society leaders Anatoly Shabad and Lev
Ponomarev and human rights advocate Sergei Kovalev of spreading
"slanderous and provocative information," taken almost verbatim from
pro-Dudaev propaganda pamphlets, Russian Public Television reported.
While Govorukhin admitted that a "tragedy occurred in Samashki," he
estimated that only about 30 civilians had been killed there the night
of 7-8 April, Russian TV reported. Ponomarev and Shabad stood by the
testimony gathered by Memorial, which suggests that up to 300 civilians
perished in the massacre. Shabad said he went to Samashki before Russian
soldiers cleaned it up in anticipation of Govorukhin's visit. Meanwhile,
Col.-Gen. Anatoly Kulikov told reporters that even Chechen fighters
consider Kovalev a "political prostitute" and do not take his charges
seriously, NTV reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA VOTES TO INVESTIGATE ZHIRINOVSKY'S CONTACTS WITH DUDAEV. The Duma
has authorized Govorukhin's committee to examine Liberal Democratic
Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky's contacts with Chechen President
Dzhokhar Dudaev in the fall of 1992 or 1993 (reports vary) to celebrate
the anniversary of Chechen "independence," Interfax and Ekho Moskvy
reported. On 16 April, NTV broadcast footage of Zhirinovsky's trip.
Govorukhin, who chairs the Duma's Security Committee, is demanding
answers to a number of questions: who sent Zhirinovsky to Dudaev, what
sort of deals did they make about Chechnya's secession from the Russian
Federation, whether Dudaev gave Zhirinovsky any money, and whether they
made plans to send any of Zhirinovsky's Falcons to Chechnya or Dudaev's
fighters to Moscow. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YAVLINSKY CONFIRMS HE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Grigory Yavlinsky, leader
of the Yabloko group, confirmed his intention to run for president in
June 1996, Interfax reported on 19 April. While no potential
presidential candidate currently enjoys mass support nationwide,
Yavlinsky consistently ranks as one of Russia's most popular politicians
in opinion polls. He is seen as a serious presidential contender abroad
as well; in March he met with Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Germany and
senior government officials in China. Yavlinsky told Interfax that
Yabloko is working with other groups to nominate joint candidates for
the upcoming parliamentary elections, so as not to split the democratic
vote, as happened in December 1993. In recent weeks, several prominent
democrats, including Boris Fedorov and Yegor Gaidar, have expressed the
desire to form an electoral bloc with Yavlinsky. However, so far Yabloko
has distanced itself from Russia's Choice and other proponents of
President Boris Yeltsin's unpopular economic reforms. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

NEVZOROV TO BROADCAST ON RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION . . .  Duma member
Alexander Nevzorov will broadcast a weekly series on the new Russian
Public Television station recently created by President Yeltsin,
according to Moskovskie novosti. Beginning this week, the former St.
Petersburg journalist will host Dikoe Pole (The Wild Field), a program
that focuses on crime. The station's leadership said that by allowing
Nevzorov to broadcast, it is making a concession to Yeltsin's opposition
on what is considered to be a pro-presidential station. Nevzorov agreed
not to discuss politics in his broadcasts as a condition for gaining
access to the airwaves. He gained fame for his St. Petersburg television
program 600 Seconds, which was critical of the communists initially and
then of the city's democratic leaders. His broadcasts also supported the
use of force in the Baltic States in 1991. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

.. . . WHILE ANOTHER JOURNALIST CLAIMS RESTRICTED FREEDOM AT THE STATION.
Sergei Alekseev, host of the Voskresene program on Russian Public
Television, has come into conflict with the station's management over
the content of his program, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 19 April.
The paper cites Alekseev's recent refusal to broadcast information
supplied by presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev on Yeltsin's vacation
in Kislovodsk. The management severely criticized Alekseev for his
intransigence. Alekseev said he plans to leave the station if he cannot
defend his position there. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA ANNOUNCES AMNESTY TO MARK VICTORY DAY. The lower house of the
Russian parliament voted on 19 April to approve an amnesty to mark the
50th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II, celebrated in
Russia on 9 May, Russian and Western agencies reported. Viktor Mironov,
deputy chairman of the Duma Security Committee, said up to 30,000
prisoners, including 70 WWII veterans, will be released and criminal
charges against another 270,000 people lifted. The amnesty does not
cover serious crimes such as murder, rape, or extortion. The parliament
also voted in principle, by 268 to eight, in favor of a resolution
offering an amnesty to those rebels in Chechnya who agree to surrender.
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

OFFICIALS SAY 40% OF INCOME HIDDEN FROM TAX INSPECTORS. Vyacheslav
Bobkov, a spokesman for the Labor Ministry, told reporters on 19 April
that about 40% of the Russian economy operates in the shadows and that
no taxes are paid on it, Interfax reported. "However sad it may seem, we
have to admit that we do not control a considerable part of the economy.
We know too little about it and cannot exactly determine the parameters
and scale of shadow incomes," he said. According to Bobkov, many private
companies claim to pay their employees the minimum wage and then give
them large cash payments on the side. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

GRACHEV DENIES RUMORS HE WILL BE SACKED. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
called reports of his imminent dismissal and radical cuts in the
military nothing more than attempts "to destabilize the situation,"
Interfax reported on 19 April. He said the rumors are aimed at
disorganizing the officer corps and are tied to the upcoming
parliamentary elections. He also denied that a civilian would be
appointed to succeed him or that the General Staff would be removed from
the Defense Ministry and placed directly under the president. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

NEW RUSSIAN ATTACK ON BAMUT. Russian federal troops succeeded in driving
the last Chechen defenders from the southwestern village of Bamut on 19
April, following an unsuccessful assault the previous day, according to
Interfax and AFP quoting Col.-Gen. Anatoly Kulikov, the former Russian
troop commander in Chechnya. Kulikov estimated Chechen losses in Bamut
at 400, with 14 Russians killed. Kulikov's successor in Chechnya, Col.-
Gen. Mikhail Yegorov, told Interfax that Russian forces were still not
in complete control of Bamut and were being subjected to artillery fire
from Chechen units positioned in the surrounding hills. Also on 19
April, Ingush President Ruslan Aushev issued a statement, summarized by
Interfax, protesting what he termed the deliberate Russian bombing of
the Ingush village of Arshty, near the Chechen-Ingush border, on 18
April in which three women died and seven other people were injured. --
Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

DAVYDOV HINTS OF POSSIBLE DEAL ON IRAN. Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Oleg Davydov hinted on 19 April that Russia may reconsider its nuclear
deal with Iran if the U.S. proves willing to buy Russian uranium, ITAR-
TASS reported. On a trip to Washington, Davydov said, "If the issue 'of
uranium shipments' is solved, then the Russian-Iranian agreement can be
considered from another point of view. We are strategic partners of the
U.S. and therefore can hold talks on the 'nuclear deal' issue." Davydov
said arrangements for Russia to provide nuclear reactors to Iran will
not be finalized before September. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN BILL BETWEEN TURKEY AND RUSSIA . . . Turkish Foreign Ministry
spokesman Ferhat Ataman registered Ankara's displeasure with the Russian
State Duma's passage of a bill that establishes 24 April as the day
marking the massacre of Armenians by Turks, international media reported
on 19 April. Ataman called the bill, passed on 14 April, an "extreme
move" and criticized Russia for indirectly threatening Turkey's
territorial integrity by making reference to the "historical Armenian
homeland." He said it would affect not only Turko-Russian relations but
would hamper recent efforts to improve ties with Armenia. The 18 April
opening in Moscow of a two-day international conference under the title
"Genocide--Crimea Against Mankind" suggests Turko-Russian relations will
remain chilly. In a welcoming speech to the conference, Konstantin
Zatulin, chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs and
Contacts with Compatriots, noted that Russians "have become better aware
of the problem of genocide" since the breakup of the U.S.S.R. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

.. . . AND OVER CFE. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Ferhat Ataman
stressed that the CFE treaty should not be violated or altered prior to
a review conference scheduled for May 1996, Reuters reported on 19
April. He was responding to Russian Defense Minister Grachev's 16 April
statement that Russia would refuse to comply with the flank provisions
of the CFE treaty while fighting continues in Chechnya. Ataman noted
that anything less than total observance of the treaty would endanger
Europe's security structure. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA TO BUILD ENERGY INSTALLATIONS IN TURKMENISTAN. An agreement to
construct fuel and energy installations in Turkmenistan has been reached
by that country's Oil and Gas Ministry and Russia's
Zarubezhneftegazstroi, Interfax reported on 19 April. The agreement
calls for the establishment of a gas measuring installation at Daryalak
on the Turkmen-Uzbek border, a pipeline network linking gas fields, and
locating and developing new gas fields. The Russian company will also be
involved in constructing the Turkmen section of the gas pipeline to
Europe, in addition to potential participation in the Iranian section.
The Turkmen side will pay for services rendered with gas in volume and
at a price determined by annual contracts. In 1995, 4 billion cubic
meters of gas will be delivered to settle accounts with the Russian
outfit. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

BORDER FORCES IN TAJIKISTAN TO GET NEW COMMANDER. Lt.-Gen. Valentin
Bobryshev has been named the new commander of border forces in
Tajikistan, AFP reported. Bobryshev will replace Col.-Gen. Patrikeyev,
whose term as commander expires on 30 June. At a meeting of the Council
of Commonwealth Defense Ministers in Moscow, Patrikeyev took the
opportunity to criticize some of Dushanbe's policies. He said the
"fragile balance" in the republic was broken by the Tajik government's
decision to increase the military presence in Gorno-Badakhshan in April
and that such action violates the truce arranged in Tehran last
September. Patrikeyev said the Tajik government is "still prone to
settling the Gorno-Badakhshan problem by force," according to Interfax.
Besides naming a new commander, the council extended the peacekeeping
mandate to 31 December 1995 from 30 June 1995, according to Interfax. --
Bruce Pannier, 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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