When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 81, Part I, 25 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 ADVOCATES INDEFINITE EXTENSION OF NPT; CAUTIONS AGAINST ABMS.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev advocated the indefinite
extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) at the NPT review
conference in New York on 24 April, international agencies reported. He
also expressed support for a comprehensive test ban and the total
elimination of nuclear weapons, but noted that the latter was not
possible in the near future. Meanwhile, in a New York Times interview
published 25 April, Kozyrev cautioned the U.S. against developing an
anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in contravention of the 1972 treaty.
He was particularly concerned about development of short- and medium-
range ABM systems to handle long-range missiles. Russian Public
Television reported 24 April that Kozyrev said he was "prepared to
discuss" the Russian deal to provide nuclear aid to Iran, a major source
of contention in U.S.-Russian relations. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA ON CHECHNYA, ELECTION PLANS. Democratic Russia co-
chairman Viktor Kurochkin predicted that federal authorities would reach
a peaceful settlement with Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev in time for
the 9 May ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of V-E Day, Russian
Television reported on 24 April. However, Kurochkin said the fighting in
Chechnya would resume on 10 May and continue indefinitely, "because this
war is waged against the people, not against illegal armed groups, and
the people are invincible," Interfax reported. Meanwhile, party co-
chairman Lev Ponomarev announced that Grigory Yavlinsky's Yabloko group,
which Democratic Russia considers its closest potential ally, had
rejected offers to form an electoral bloc for the December elections,
Radio Rossii reported. Consequently, Democratic Russia plans to campaign
for parliament independently. The party was founded in 1990 as a large
umbrella movement for pro-democracy forces in the USSR, but since 1991,
it has suffered many splits and defections. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

PRIBYLOVSKY ANALYZES PROSPECTS FOR DUMA ELECTIONS. The next State Duma
will be even more anti-Yeltsin than the current one, political scientist
Vladimir Pribylovsky told NTV 25 April. He sees a bright future for the
Congress of Russian Communities, which may draw many of the military
votes that went to Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party in
1993. The organization will do particularly well if General Alexander
Lebed and Yury Skokov, former secretary of the Russian Security Council,
can preserve their current alliance. Sergei Shakhrai's Party of Russian
Unity and Concord has lost touch with its electorate, Pribylovsky said.
Most of his support in 1993 came from Russia's national republics, but
voters there oppose Yeltsin's campaign in Chechnya, which Shakhrai has
supported. Pribylovsky sees little chance for a united democratic bloc.
He believes that Grigory Yavlinsky's bloc will have the greatest support
and that Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice will lose some of its
current backing, but still surpass the 5% limit and enter the Duma.
Pribylovsky said Boris Fedorov's Forward Russia and the new pro-Yeltsin
Stable Russia will have trouble reaching the 5% barrier. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

COMMUNIST NEWSPAPER DENOUNCES RUTSKOI. Former Vice President Alexander
Rutskoi, the leader of the patriotic Derzhava movement, described
himself as a "free-sailing" politician who was running for president to
change everything in Russia for the better, Interfax reported on 24
April. By contrast, an article in the 25 April edition of the pro-
Communist Sovetskaya Rossiya called Rutskoi's recent public appearances
"offensive." The author reminded readers that although Rutskoi was once
one of Yeltsin's closest allies, the Derzhava leader refuses to admit
responsibility for helping Yeltsin get elected in June 1991 or for the
subsequent collapse of the USSR. Noting that Rutskoi attacks the
Communists in his speeches as much as he attacks Yeltsin, the author
speculated that Rutskoi was more concerned about his presidential
ambitions than about cooperating with other opposition forces to save
the country. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA GROUP SEEKS TO SHUT PRESIDENTIAL CHAMBER ON MEDIA DISPUTES. An
unidentified group of Duma deputies intends to question the
constitutionality of the Russian President's Judicial Chamber on
Information Disputes, Izvestiya reported 25 April. The chamber grew out
of a temporary information arbitration court that handled disputes over
the way candidates presented themselves during the 1993 parliamentary
campaign. Yeltsin liked the way the court operated and gave it permanent
status on the last day of 1993. The chamber currently has no formal
ability to enforce its decisions, but conceivably could be given
considerable power to regulate the 1995 electoral campaign. The Duma
deputies are preparing to challenge the chamber in order to assert
greater control over the mass media in the wake of Yeltsin's creation of
Russian Public Television last year. Izvestiya warned that "if the
chamber is now under a cloud, then lightning will soon strike
journalists" and the mass media will be subjected to new forms of
political pressure. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GOSKOMSTAT SAYS 45 MILLION RUSSIANS BELOW POVERTY LINE. Almost a third
of Russians are now living below the poverty line, according to
Goskomstat figures cited by Radio Mayak on 24 April. The report said
that the number of people earning less than the minimum monthly
subsistence wage--set at 260,000 rubles in Moscow and 195,000 rubles
elsewhere--increased by 23% compared with the first quarter of 1994. The
average monthly wage in Russia is now 326,000 rubles and the average
cost of a minimum consumption basket of 19 basic goods is 164,000
rubles. According to a Russian Public Television report on 22 April, the
poorest 20% of the population earn only 5-6% of total incomes, while the
top 20% account for 45% of the total. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CHUBAIS TO ASK IMF FOR $9 BILLION. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister
Anatoly Chubais left for Washington 24 April to hold talks with the IMF
about a $9 billion standby loan for 1996-1998, Interfax reported the
same day. The IMF has recently approved a $6.8 billion loan for 1995.
Chubais, who was appointed Russia's new representative to the IMF and
the World Bank last week, will attend meetings of both organizations
during his visit. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MISSILE SILOS IN KAZAKHSTAN BEING DESTROYED. Russian missile troops have
begun destroying some of Kazakhstan's SS-18 intercontinental ballistic
missile silos, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 April. All the former Soviet
missile silos in Kazakhstan will eventually be destroyed and the missile
warheads returned to Russia as part of the Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty (START-I). There are two SS-18 missile fields in the country, and
the first silos to be destroyed are part of the Derzhaivsk field in the
Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

CONDITIONS TERMED CRITICAL AT BAIKONUR. At a meeting chaired by First
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets in Moscow, conditions at
Kazakhstan's Baikonur space launch site and in the nearby town of
Leninsk were described as critical, Interfax reported on 24 April.
Repair and maintenance of the site's facilities have halted due to
financing problems; workers in Leninsk's non-industrial sector have not
been paid since January and are said to be abandoning the city in
"droves." To date, Moscow has not remitted any of the 161 million rubles
it allocated to the town. Russia is to pay $115 million annually in
keeping with a recent agreement to lease the site for 20 years. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

ECONOMIC INTEGRATION EFFORTS IN CENTRAL ASIA. Meeting in Bishkek, the
prime ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan approved a
five-year economic integration program, Interfax reported on 24 April.
Over the next two years, they will give priority to cooperative
production of small electrical engines, gas meters, medicines, and
fertilizers derived from Aral Sea deposits. The meeting's outcome was
expected; economic cooperation and prioritizing projects were on the
agenda for the 14 April Chimkent tripartite summit of the republics'
presidents. It appears that common positions on the inter-Tajik conflict
and approaches to its resolution, prolongation of the president's term
in office, and economic affairs--including participation in the customs
union established by Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan--are emerging. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

LUKASHENKA ON RUSSIAN AGREEMENTS. Nikolai Gonchar, head of the Committee
on Russia's Federal Budget, met with Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka in Minsk, Belarusian television reported on 21 April. Talks
focused on increasing cooperation and implementing accords between
Russia and Belarus. After the meeting, Lukashenka said that Belarus was
ready to have open borders with Russia and a customs union, adding that
he was unhappy that the accords still have not been implemented. Gonchar
told the press that work continued on legislation regarding Russian and
Belarusian financial working groups, and said the law could become the
basis for the integration process. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE WILL NOT SIGN CIS BORDER AGREEMENTS. Ukraine's Deputy Defense
Minister Col. Gen. Ivan Bizhan has said that the country did not sign
agreements on the joint guarding of CIS borders at the 21 April CIS
meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow, Ukrainian radio reported on 24
April. According to Bizhan, Ukraine will not sign such agreements
because it does not recognize the concept of common CIS borders with
non-CIS states. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CIS BANK URGES ITS OWN ELIMINATION. The Council of the Inter-State Bank,
established in 1993 to oversee relations between the CIS central banks,
will urge that CIS heads of state eliminate the bank when they meet in
May. Vyacheslav Solvov, vice chairman of Russia's Central Bank and the
country's representative on the council, told Interfax 24 April that the
decline in ruble-based transactions between central banks and the
increase in commercial banks' interstate transactions have left the
Inter-State Bank without a role to play. "Inter-state banking operations
are run by commercial banks," Solovov said. He did, however, support the
idea put forward by commercial banks that an international bank be set
up to handle trade turnover within the CIS. --  Michael Mihalka, OMRI,
Inc.

GRACHEV ENDORSES KOZYREV STATEMENTS. Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev welcomed the hard line that Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has
taken in favor of defending ethnic Russians in the near abroad, Interfax
reported 24 April. Grachev said the problem was particularly acute in
Tajikistan, and indicated that he had made his views on protecting
Russian soldiers known to the Tajik representatives at the CIS Defense
and Foreign Ministers' meeting 21 April. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Carla Atkinson

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
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
"SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation
marks and inserting your name where shown) to
LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
No subject line or other text should be included.
To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries
to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or
electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396

OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole