This is the true nature of home-- it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. - John Ruskin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 85, Part I, 2 May 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

CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC NAMES LEADERS. First Deputy Prime Minster Oleg
Soskovets and the governor of the Samara Oblast, Konstantin Titov, will
be deputy leaders of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's new bloc,
Interfax reported 29 April. First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais,
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, Cabinet Chief of Staff Vladimir
Babichev, Labor Minister Gennady Melikyan, Communications Minister
Vladimir Bulgak, Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu, and
the Minister for Railroads Gennady Fadeev will join the steering
committee. Industry will be represented by directors of several
industrial concerns. Regional leaders on the committee include the
presidents of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Kabardino-Balkaria and North
Ossetia, as well as the governors of the Astrakhan, Orenburg, and Orel
regions. Leaders of the deputy groups Stability and New Regional
Policies will also join. At its 29 April meeting, the committee decided
that the constituent congress will take place 12 May. The bloc will be
called Our Home--Russia. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DERZHAVA LEADER SEES BRIGHT FUTURE FOR NEW BLOC; COMMUNIST DISAGREES.
Viktor Kobelev, Deputy Chairman of former Vice President Alexander
Rutskoi's Derzhava movement, said that Chernomyrdin's bloc had a serious
chance of winning the parliamentary elections, Interfax reported 30
April. He said that he had been afraid that the authorities would make
such a move because people could now vote for the bloc rather than the
communists, the Liberal Democratic Party, or Derzhava. He said that he
would propose that Derzhava alter its positions to give greater support
to the market economy and liberalization. On the left-center bloc
supposed to be led by Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin, he said that the
president's advisors had let Rybkin down by declaring that he could head
the new bloc, since such an announcement would hurt Rybkin's standing in
the opinion polls. Meanwhile, State Duma Deputy Chairman Gennady
Seleznev, a member of the Communist faction, predicted that the
Chernomyrdin and Rybkin blocs would not survive the election campaign.
He said that they were artificial creations to show visitors in Moscow
for the World War II celebrations that Yeltsin had the elections under
control. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

MAY DAY PROTESTS. Tens of thousands of people took part in May Day
rallies across Russia protesting the policies of President Boris Yeltsin
and the government, Western and Russian agencies reported. Two
demonstrations were staged in Moscow. The first, organized by trade
unions, attracted about 15,000 people, according to Interfax. It was
addressed by Mikhail Shmakov, the chairman of the Federation of
Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), and Communist Party leader
Gennady Zyuganov, both of whom spoke of the need for unity in the run-up
to the elections. The second rally, organized by hard-line communist
groups such as Viktor Anpilov's Workers' Russia, was attended by about
8,000 people carrying red flags and banners displaying traditional
communist slogans. In St. Petersburg, about 20,000 people marched in a
rally sponsored by local trade unions and procommunist movements, which
passed a resolution condemning the government's "criminal" policy and
demanding social safeguards for working people. About 10,000 also took
to the streets in Vladivostok, according to ITAR-TASS. Estimates of the
total number of demonstrators vary widely: the FNPR claims as many as 3
million took part, double the number it says participated in the union's
12 April day of action, while police argue that the real figure is "a
dozen times less." -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DUDAEV FORCES IGNORE RUSSIAN CEASEFIRE. The 14-day unilateral ceasefire
in Chechnya proposed by Russian President Boris Yeltsin was
systematically violated by Chechen forces after going into effect at
midnight on 27 April, Russian and Western agencies reported. In a
statement carried by Interfax on 29 April, Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev rejected the ceasefire outright and called for the withdrawal of
Russian troops from Chechnya, while Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin suggested that the ceasefire could be extended as a first
step towards a lasting peace, according to Western agencies. Also on 29
April, an OSCE delegation visiting the contested village of Bamut was
subjected to machinegun fire from Russian troops, AFP reported. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SIGNS CONSCRIPTION LAW, ADDS DEFERMENTS. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin on 30 April signed the controversial law on compulsive military
service together with a decree that exempts some graduates and graduate
students from the draft. The new law extends military service for
conscripts from 18 to 24 months. Yuri Baturin, Yeltsin's national
security advisor, told Interfax that the president had been inclined not
to sign the law but had been swayed by both the arguments of those who
called for steps to ensure the country's security and those who warned
that eliminating all scholastic deferments would cripple Russian science
and state industry. Accordingly, he signed the law but added the decree
giving deferments to certain graduate students and those graduates who
are pursuing their careers in state-run organizations. Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev immediately signed an implementing order calling for the
induction of 209,800 18 to 27 year-olds in the spring draft. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

ROLES OF MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT DISCUSSED AT JOURNALISTS' CONGRESS.
Appearing at the fourth congress of the Union of Russian Journalists,
Yeltsin's chief of staff Sergei Filatov praised the expansion of the
free press in Russia, Interfax reported. Filatov noted that by the end
of 1994, 2364 newspapers, 2219 magazines, 304 television programs, 186
radio programs, and 104 information agencies had been registered. He
also said the authorities hoped the mass media would provide
"understanding and participation in the common task of building a new
democratic Russia," Russian Television reported on 28 April. Deputy
Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai suggested that the government and
journalists sign an agreement on coordinating activities and "mutual
responsibility." However, Party of Economic Freedom leader Konstantin
Borovoi said showing the public "the light at the end of the tunnel" was
a job for the government, not for journalists. Borovoi said the press
should be critical of the authorities. Meanwhile, director of state-
owned Radio Mayak Vladimir Povolyaev told Interfax on 1 May that his
company will run out of money to broadcast by 7 May. Povolyaev
complained that budget allocations for state-run radio account for only
25% of his company's operating expenses. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

FINANCE MINISTRY AND CENTRAL BANK PROCLAIM MONETARY POLICY SUCCESS.
Russia's monetary and crediting policy has resulted in lower inflation,
according to the Finance Ministry and Central Bank's press service
report, Interfax reported on 30 April. The report estimated the
inflation rate for April at 8%, compared to 17.8% in January, 11% in
February and 8.9% in March. Federal revenues totaled 32.1 trillion
rubles and spending amounted to 39.7 trillion rubles in the first
quarter. The deficit amounted to 7.6 trillion rubles, or 3.3% of the
gross domestic product (GDP). To cover the federal budget deficit, non-
inflationary measures, such as the issuance of short-term state bonds
and technical credits were undertaken in the first quarter. The Finance
Ministry said it plans to continue to broaden the secondary financial
market. State short-term bonds will be a major instrument in shaping
domestic state debt in 1995 and are expected to generate 20 trillion
rubles in income. Since January, income gained from short-term bonds
amounted to 5.4 trillion rubles. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

WAGE ARREARS PROBLEM REDUCED IN FIRST QUARTER. Russia's industrial,
construction, transportation and agricultural enterprises reduced their
wage debt in the first quarter, Interfax reported on 30 April.
Goskomstat (the State Statistics Committee) said that industrial
enterprises, two-thirds of which are machine-building and fuel and
energy enterprises, accounted for about 54% of the total debt of 5.687
billion rubles as of 1 April. In the gas sector, the wage debt to the
average worker stood at 1.4 million rubles as of 1 April; in the oil
sector 900,000 rubles and in the coal industry 700,000 rubles, which
equals the average monthly wage in these industries in February 1995.
Goskomstat also reported that medical and educational institutions
failed to pay 9% and 11%, respectively, of the salaries to its workers
in February. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUBLE DROPS AGAINST DOLLAR. The Russian ruble lost 16 points against the
dollar on 28 April with MICEX trading closing at 5,116 rubles/$1, the
Financial Information Agency reported. Initial demand was $123.99 while
supply was $88.45 million. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RYBKIN: AMERICAN AID INADEQUATE. The chairman of the Russian State Duma,
Ivan Rybkin, complained on 1 May that the United States has not fully
delivered on its promise to give aid to Russia, The New York Times
reported 2 May. In talks with U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,
Rybkin said Russians are becoming increasingly displeased with the U.S.
failure to provide promised aid for housing relocated Russian soldiers
and dismantling nuclear submarines. Rybkin suggested that this could
lead to more Russians voting for ultranationalists in parliamentary
elections. Rybkin did indicate that "an acceptable formula" could be
reached on the Russian agreement to provide nuclear aid to Iran, which
the Clinton adminstration would like to see halted. According to ITAR-
TASS on 2 May, Rybkin also met with Vice President Albert Gore and
separately with Secretary of State Warren Christopher and his deputy
Strobe Talbott. NATO expansion, the Iranian nuclear deal, the prospects
for ratfiying START II, and the Russian law on foreign investment were
reportedly discussed. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV REJECTS USE OF FORCE ON BEHALF OF RUSSIANS ABROAD. Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev rejected the use of force and even
economic pressure as a means to protect Russian, Russian-speaking and
other minorites in the "near abroad" in a 29 April speech in the United
States, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Nevertheless, in a reference to
the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, Kozyrev noted that that principle of
"non-interference" in the domestic affairs of other states does not
apply to the protection of the rights of minorities and said Russia will
continue to act to protect the rights of Russians abroad. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

REFERENDUM RESULTS IN KAZAKHSTAN. In a referendum held on 29 April,
95.4% of the ballots cast supported extending the rule of Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbayev until December 2000, Western and Russian
media reported. Of 8.9 million registered voters, 91.3% turned out to
vote. Nazarbayev, whilst committing himself to a full liberalization
course and promising parliamentary elections this year, interpreted the
results of the referendum as a decisive "no" to "trouble and tremors in
society." He termed talk of his rule being increasingly dictatorial as
"baseless and irresponsible." Speaking at a press conference after the
referendum, he suggested that key legislation, notably on private land
ownership and the status of the Russian language, would also be put to a
popular vote. Criticism of the referendum and its results in Kazakhstan
have been limited to small groups such as the Kazakh nationalists
connected to Azat or Alash or the pro-Slav Lad movement. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL FOUND AT BAKU AIRPORT. A container with 763
kilograms of caesium-137, americium-241 and beryllium sent from
Amsterdam in December 1993 but never claimed has been discovered at Baku
airport, according to AFP of 29 April quoting the Azerbaijan Procurator-
general. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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