The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 91, Part I, 11 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
DECISIONS DEFERRED ON NATO EXPANSION, EUROPEAN SECURITY. Although Russia
agreed to sign the individual work agreement in NATO's Partnership for
Peace program, all other issues of European security remained open after
the 10 May summit between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his
American counterpart Bill Clinton, international agencies reported the
same day. At their joint news conference on Russian TV, Yeltsin said
NATO expansion should be raised in the context of European security. He
said discussions will continue at a June summit in Canada and in
October, at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the UN in New York.
Clinton said no decisions had been made on NATO expansion and added,
"Who knows, perhaps there are still disagreements within NATO itself."
He said that, along with Yeltsin, he is interested in promoting
"European integration." He added, "NATO must advance the security
interests of all our partners, including Russia." In a separate
interview with Interfax on 10 May, Yeltsin said "the [OSCE] must play
the leading role in the efforts to insure stability in Europe." Vladimir
Lukin, chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, said
the eastward expansion of NATO "in its present form" must not be allowed
under any circumstances, Interfax reported on 10 May. He added that
Russia might even be prepared to join a "new" NATO but regretted that
"no such alliance is in sight yet." -- Michael Mihalka and Doug Clarke,
OMRI, Inc.

REACTORS BUT NO CENTRIFUGES TO IRAN. Russia has agreed not to supply gas
centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium to Iran but has not backed off
plans to provide nuclear power reactors, international agencies reported
10 May. Sergei Filatov, President Yeltsin's chief of staff, said the
planned Iran nuclear deal is "today the most strained issue in relations
between Russia and the U.S.," RIA Novosti reported on 10 May. Yeltsin
said only the deal's civilian aspects would go forward. In principle, a
special commission headed by U.S. Vice-President Albert Gore and the
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin will determine those aspects.
However, Yeltsin said, "The presidents will make the final decision on
the matter." Russian Nuclear Ministry spokesman Georgy Kaurov said the
Gore-Chernomyrdin commission "will thoroughly analyze the contract
details and not find a single rotten thing in it," Interfax reported on
10 May. Kaurov added that work will continue on the deal. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

CLINTON CALLS FOR PERMANENT CEASEFIRE IN CHECHNYA. At their Moscow
summit on 10 May, President Clinton urged President Yeltsin to make the
14-day ceasefire in Chechnya permanent, Interfax reported. Yeltsin
argued that there are no "combat operations" going on in Chechnya, and
said Russian Interior Ministry forces are confiscating arms from "small
illegal groupings." Addressing a meeting of the Chechen State Defense
Committee in Shatoi on 10 May, Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev said he
did not anticipate any substantive change in Russia's policy in the
North Caucasus. He added that Russia is incapable of taking any steps
toward a peaceful solution of the Chechen conflict. Also on 10 May,
Yeltsin's chief of staff, Sergei Filatov, said he had been requested by
the chairman of the now disbanded opposition Provisional Council, Umar
Avturkhanov, to mediate unspecified differences between Chechen
opposition leaders. However, he said he had proposed Col.-Gen. Mikhail
Yegorov, commander of the federal troops in Chechnya, for the task,
saying Yegorov "is good at having disputes resolved." -- Liz Fuller,
OMRI, Inc.

SENIOR OFFICER LAUDS PRESIDENTS' STAND ON ABM TREATY. An unnamed "senior
Russian military officer" said the joint statement by Yeltsin and
Clinton confirmed their loyalty to the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM)
Treaty, Interfax reported on 10 May. He warned, however, that Russia is
not going to make any concessions to the U.S. effort to build a missile
capable of shooting down shorter range ballistic missiles. Negotiators
from the two sides have been trying to agree on the technical
capabilities of such a missile so that it would not violate the ABM
treaty. The officer said Russia had suggested limiting the velocity of
such a missile to 3 km per second. The U.S. has pressed for a faster
missile, one which the Russians fear could also be used against
strategic missiles. "If one of the sides that have signed the treaty
starts creating a new ABM system, the other side will inevitably start
building up its own strategic nuclear potential," the officer said. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

CFE FLANK LIMITS OPEN FOR DISCUSSION. President Clinton also confirmed
earlier reports that the U.S. is willing to consider changes in the CFE
treaty to accommodate Russian concerns. Clinton said the issue is under
discussion. He added, "We want to sort out how to preserve the principle
of the treaty and, at the same time, guarantee Russia's security." --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

CLINTON SUPPORTS RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC REFORM. President Clinton expressed
support for Russian economic reform, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 10 May. Clinton said Russia "had a great deal to be proud of
in the economic progress that has been made," although he acknowledged
there are still difficulties. Clinton said he believed the U.S.-Russian
partnership has been profitable because "we have a stronger, more
democratic, free Russia and we will continue to support that direction."
U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who accompanied Clinton, said "we
should continue to support reform in Russia and that reform is the key
to democratization and political development." He added that economic
reform should not be conditional on other (domestic) issues. Recently,
some U.S. Congress members suggested cutting aid to Russia to protest
Moscow's involvement in Chechnya and trade with Iran. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN'S BLOC TO HOLD FOUNDING CONGRESS. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin's center-right electoral bloc will hold its founding
congress on 12 May, Russian agencies reported. The conference organizing
committee told Interfax that all Russian regions would be represented,
along with State Duma deputies from several factions and certain large
enterprises, including the ZIL and Moskvich car factories. The congress
will determine the bloc's social, political, and economic program and
confirm Chernomyrdin as its leader. In addition, delegates will choose
an official name for the new bloc, because its working title, Our Home--
Russia, has been criticized in many regions for insufficiently
expressing the movement's goals, Radio Rossii reported. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

GAIDAR: RUSSIA'S CHOICE WILL NOT JOIN CHERNOMYRDIN'S BLOC. Yegor Gaidar,
leader of the Russia's Choice faction and its companion party Russia's
Democratic Choice, said his group would not join Chernomyrdin's bloc,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 10 May. Gaidar said Russia's Choice is
"categorically opposed" to the Chernomyrdin bloc's stand on four key
issues: the war in Chechnya, military reform, the "constant swelling and
corruption of the state apparatus," and the unfair social distribution
of the government's financial stabilization policy. However, he said
Russia's Choice is open to "cooperation with all reasonable,
constructive forces" in the battle against political extremism and would
leave the nature of that cooperation to the discretion of regional
Russia's Choice branches. Gaidar also announced that the political
council of Russia's Democratic Choice would soon decide whether First
Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais and others could participate in
both Russia's Democratic Choice and the Chernomyrdin bloc, NTV reported.
-- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MORE CRITICISM OF "PARTY OF POWER." Sergei Glazev, the leader of the
Democratic Party of Russia, dismissed the proposed blocs led by
Chernomyrdin and Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin as "one and the same party,"
Radio Rossii reported on 10 May. He charged that the presidential
administration had tried to confuse Russians by creating two blocs,
which were in reality a single "party of power." Glazev described the
blocs as an attempt to create "a party of the nomenklatura," which he
said wants to preserve its own power at any cost. On the same day, Duma
deputies Vyacheslav Shostakovsky and Igor Yakovenko of the Yabloko group
and its companion Democratic Alternative Party said Chernomyrdin's bloc
is designed to keep power in the hands of the current elite, Interfax
reported. The Yabloko deputies warned that the authorities would use
financial resources and the mass media to support Chernomyrdin's
alliance. They asserted that Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky's movement
is Russia's only democratic alternative capable of implementing genuine
reforms. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RYBKIN AGREES TO JOIN AGRARIAN BLOC. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin has signed
an agreement to join a new Agrarian-led electoral bloc, Interfax
reported on 10 May. Agrarian Party Chairman Mikhail Lapshin will lead
the new bloc, which will also include the Agrarian Union of Russia, the
trade union of workers in the agro-industrial complex, and other
farmers' associations. Rybkin said he signed the agreement as "a rank
and file member of the Agrarian Party's leadership." However, he
maintained that a broader center-left electoral alliance should be
created in the near future to appeal to the 70% of voters who otherwise
would not bother to participate in the elections. Rybkin added, "It's
not important who will head the center-left electoral bloc." Since 25
April, Rybkin has made ambiguous statements concerning his possible
leadership of a broad center-left electoral alliance. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SIGNS SAVINGS LAW. On 10 May, the president signed a
controversial law directing the state to compensate Russians whose
savings were wiped out by inflation when economic reforms were
introduced, international agencies reported. It applies to money
deposited in Sberbank before 20 June 1991 and to funds used to purchase
state securities or deposited in Gosstrakh, the state insurance fund,
before 1 January 1992. Government officials say the law, which Yeltsin
had vetoed on two earlier occasions, could cost up to 500 trillion
rubles ($100 billion) and wreck financial stabilization efforts. The
constitution forbids the president from shooting down a draft three
times. But as Komsomolskaya pravda pointed out on 6 May, the law is very
general, amounting to little more than a statement of intent until it is
supplemented by a package of specific legislation stating how the value
of lost savings is to be calculated and how the population is to be
reimbursed. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MUTALIBOV DENIES ARREST. Former Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov
denied that he had been detained by police in Moscow on 7 May and
insisted that he had spent the whole weekend in his apartment. He made
the comments in a telephone interview with Radio Liberty's Azerbaijani
service on 10 May. Interfax, however, quoted a Russian legal official as
stating that the procedures for extraditing Mutalibov to Azerbaijan are
underway. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

ARMENIA RELEASES AZERBAIJANI POWs. Armenian President Levon Ter-
Petrossyan announced on 10 May that his country would release "all 29
Azerbaijani" hostages and prisoners of war currently being held on
Armenian territory to mark the first anniversary of the Russian-mediated
ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Interfax and Western agencies reported.
Azerbaijani officials claim the number of Azerbaijani prisoners is far
higher. National Security Minister Namig Abbasov told Interfax on 6 May
that 4,735 Azerbaijanis are missing, and "it is known for certain that
982 of them are in Armenia." -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

UNIFIED AIR DEFENSE POSSIBLE NEXT YEAR. A unified CIS air defense system
might be ready by the end of 1996, according to Col.-Gen. Viktor
Prudnikov, the chief of Russia's Air Defense Troops and chairman of the
CIS air defense coordinating committee. In February, Prudnikov estimated
it would take at least five years to develop the system. He said only
the European part of the CIS is reliably protected today, Interfax
reported on 10 May. He expressed particular concern about the southern
borders of the CIS and the Caucasus. Representatives of Armenia,
Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan,
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine serve on the coordinating committee.
Azerbaijan and Moldova did not sign the 10 February agreement to create
a unified system. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.


[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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
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