We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 101, Part I, 25 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
DUMA FAILS TO OVERRIDE YELTSIN VETO OF ELECTORAL LAW. An attempt by a group
of deputies in the State Duma to override President Yeltsin's veto of the
Duma electoral law on 24 May, fell short of the necessary 300 votes,
Reuters reported. In two rounds of voting, the president's critics found
only 243 votes in the first round and 237 in the second. On 11 May, 302
deputies voted for the bill, but now, fewer are willing to risk direct
confrontation with the president. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

AGRARIAN PARTY MAY INITIATE NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN GOVERNMENT. The Agrarian
Party is dissatisfied with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government
because of its policies of redistributing land and its reduction in state
suppoN ALONE. The Dem7=9Cy=A3_=81=81=C4=F5W=9D=D7=9DW=9A=9E=C41=BFerfax on=
 24 May. Lapshin complained
that terfax on 24 May. Lapshin complained that the cabinet delayed payments
on credits offered in 1993 and 1994, failed to improve relations between
the state and the agricultural sector, and did nothing to eliminate the
disparity between the prices farmers must pay for their equipment and the
prices they get for their produce. Lapshin's faction has 54 members, short
of the 90 necessary to initiate a no-confidence vote. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA TO CAMPAIGN ALONE. The Democratic Party of
Russia will not join any parliamentary electoral blocs, the party's
parliamentary leader Stanislav Govorukhin announced on 24 May, according to
Interfax. However, party leader Sergei Glazyev did not rule out an alliance
with Dmitry Rogozin's Congress of Russian Communities or Yury Skokov's
=46ederation of Commodity Producers. Glazyev said stabilization is impossibl=
e
in Russia unless the ministers responsible for the country's current
social-economic policy are replaced. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

=46EDERATION COUNCIL'S COURT APPEAL ON CHECHNYA STILL FLAWED. The
Constitutional Court may again refuse to consider the Federation Council's
appeal concerning Yeltsin's secret decrees on the military campaign in
Chechnya, Interfax and Russian Public Television reported on 24 May.
Earlier this month, the court rejected the Council's first appeal on the
constitutionality of the Chechnya decrees for two reasons: the documents
had been marked "classified," and they did not contain the text of the
decrees the court was asked to consider. Council Chairman Vladimir
Shumeiko, who is also a member of the president's Security Council,
promised to correct those flaws and resubmit the case. However, sources
close to the court told Interfax that although the second appeal was
declassified, the Council "ignored" the court's request to attach the text
of the presidential decrees to the documents. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA: MASS MEDIA "UNDER CHUBAIS' HEEL." In an unusually sharp
attack on a cabinet member, the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya
gazeta on 25 May accused First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais of
controlling the mass media. The author noted that Chubais' former press
secretary was appointed deputy director general in charge of news
programming at the new Russian Public Television company, which broadcasts
on Channel 1. The author also said Chubais had helped Vladimir Gusinsky's
Most group buy broadcasting privileges for NTV on what had been a
state-owned channel. As a result, Rossiiskaya gazeta charged, NTV "directly
conducts a policy to discredit the president and the government" but
displays an "almost servile deference" to Chubais. The author asserted that
many Russian newspapers were also "under the heel" of Chubais, who could
potentially put them out of business by privatizing state-run publishing
houses. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA REJECTS DRAFT LAW ON PRESERVING LENIN MEMORIALS. The Duma rejected on
its first reading a proposal advanced by the Communist Party to protect
Vladimir Lenin memorials as historical and cultural monuments, Interfax
reported on 24 May. The draft law would have guaranteed the preservation of
Lenin's body and his mausoleum in Moscow, along with other Lenin museums
nationwide and Lenin statues "of outstanding architectural merit." -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY CREATED. Appearing at the first
meeting of the Council on Science and Technology Policy, President Yeltsin
said science policy should be aimed toward "development," not only
"survival," Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 25 May. Yeltsin charged the
council with solving the problem of the emigration of talented scientists,
defending the intellectual property of Russian scientists, and developing
more international scientific contacts. He also promised to increase state
funding for science in the 1996 budget. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA PARTICIPATION IN NATO'S PfP REMAINS UNCERTAIN. Uncertainty remains
over whether Russia will sign an individual work plan in NATO's Partnership
for Peace (PfP) program, Interfax and AFP reported on 24 May. After the
Russian Security Council held a meeting to discuss NATO and European
security on 24 May, council secretary Oleg Lobov said "conditions for
enlarging [NATO] must be linked to this partnership." He said signing the
work plan on 31 May has not been "ruled out," if Russia and NATO can "agree
on a formula for this signature." After his 10 May summit with President
Yeltsin, U.S. President Bill Clinton said he had been given assurances that
Russia would sign its NATO PfP work plan by the end of the month. However,
Lobov cast doubt on the 31 May date when he said the document outlining the
principles for dialogue between Russia and NATO "will not come into being
in the next few weeks." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

"NEW" NAVAL MISSILE IS YEARS OLD. The Russian underwater anti-ship missile
named "Shkval [Squall]," recently reported on by Jane's Intelligence
Review, has been in service with the Russian navy for several years,
according to a senior Russian official quoted by ITAR-TASS on 24 May. The
magazine reported that the "new" weapon could travel at nearly 200 knots
and "could put Western naval forces at a considerable disadvantage." Anton
Surikov, an adviser with the Institute of Defense Research, told the agency
that the fuss about the Shkval was timed to coincide with parliamentary
hearings on defense budgets in Western countries. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
Inc.

RUSSIA HOPES TO RESTRUCTURE LONG-TERM DEBT. Russian Economics Minister
Yevgeny Yasin said he hopes Russia can restructure its long-term debt by
the end of the year, Reuters reported on 24 May. The comment came after
Yasin met with the head of the Paris Club of government creditors to which
Russia owes over 50% of its $130 billion debt. The Paris Club has
continually restructured Russia's massive short-term4I=EFy=A3e last three ye=
ars
and is expected to do so again for 1995 when it meets next week.
Rescheduling the long-term debt will probably depend on Russia's success in
sticking to its IMF-backed economic stabilization plan for 1995. -- Michael
Mihalka., OMRI, Inc.

PANSKOV UPBEAT ON ECONOMY . . . Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov told the
Duma on 24 May that Russia's economic performance in the first four months
of the year "reaffirmed the trend toward economic stabilization," Interfax
reported. He said GDP reached 275 trillion rubles ($55 billion) (compared
with planned levels of 200-260 trillion rubles ($40-$52 billion), output
fell by 5% instead of 6%-8%, and the budget deficit dropped to 3.5% of GDP
instead of the expected 8%. According to a government budget report,
revenue rose to 32 trillion rubles ($6 billion) in the first quarter
(103.3% of planned levels), while expenditure totaled 38.7 trillion rubles
($8 billion) (82% of the target figure). -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

. . . BUT OTHERS LESS CONFIDENT. There is no reason to speak of "economic
stability," according to a Duma Economic Policy Committee report cited by
Interfax. It noted that the decline in manufacturing output is
disproportionately large and that inflation ran at an average rate of 13%
from January to March although the budget envisaged a rate of 5%.
Meanwhile, Harvard professor Jeffrey Sachs observed that Russia had made
some headway on macroeconomic stabilization recently but warned that low
public confidence could undermine further progress if the country's leaders
were not more open. He criticized the Finance Ministry and Central Bank for
withholding key data or sharing them only with insiders. Transparency, he
contended, helps build public confidence and dampens inflationary
expectations. Sachs also said the Chechen war is "one of many mysteries" in
Russian economic policy, noting that on paper, the five-month operation had
cost nothing because it was spread across numerous budgets. Reform
economist Andrei Illarionov pointed to growing state consumption as an
indirect indicator of the cost of the war, Interfax reported. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

OIL EXPORT FIGURES. From January to April, Russia exported 37.6 million
tons of crude oil and 71.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas, Interfax
reported on 24 May, citing Goskomstat. Oil exports to the "far abroad"
amounted to 29.5 million tons--a 10% increase on the same period in 1994.
The average price of oil to Europe and the U.S. was $110 per ton and to the
CIS, $78.80 per ton. Exports to the CIS--8.1 million tons--were down 7% on
the previous year. Exports of natural gas to the CIS and other countries
were up 16% and 10% respectively over the first four months of 1994. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

INVESTIGATION INTO MEN CASE CONTINUES. According to a press release from
the Prosecutor's Office, the investigation into the murder of priest
Alexander Men is continuing, Interfax reported on 24 May. Earlier reports
said the investigation had been discontinued. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RECRIMINATIONS OVER KARABAKH TALKS. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Hasan
Hasanov responded on 24 May to the Armenian government's decision to
boycott the next round of OSCE-mediated Karabakh peace talks in protest
against the repeated sabotage of gas supplies to Armenia, Reuters reported
on 24 May quoting Interfax. Hasanov accused Armenia of trying to interrupt
the Karabakh peace process and rejected Armenian charges that Azerbaijan is
responsible for blowing up the gas pipeline, accusing the Armenians of
having done so themselves. Azerbaijani state foreign policy adviser Vafa
Gulu-Zade told journalists on 24 May that he thinks the Armenian decision
is "a spontaneous, rash one," and that the Armenian government will
reconsider it. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN CONFIRMS IT IS NUCLEAR FREE. The Kazakh Foreign Ministry
announced on 24 May that there are no more nuclear warheads on the
republic's territory, Kazakh radio reported. The commander-in-chief of
Russia's Strategic Missile Forces made a similar announcement on 25 April.
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

RUSSIA RATIFIES TREATY WITH BELARUS. The Russian State Duma ratified the
treaty on friendship and cooperation with Belarus by a vote of 333 to one,
Radio Rossiya reported on 24 May. The Belarusian parliament had ratified
the treaty on 12 April. Belarusian radio reported the same day that Russian
and Belarusian leaders are expected to decide on forming a joint customs
union during the 26 May CIS summit in Minsk. Russian Minister for
Cooperation with CIS Countries Valery Serov said the price his country
charges Belarus for gas might be lowered, Interfax reported. Belarus is
paying $53 per 1,000 cubic meters, which is more than the $50 Ukraine pays,
but considerably less than the world price of $80. Serov linked the price
of gas to Russia's use of military bases in Belarus by pointing out that
Minsk is not charging Russia for leasing the facilities that would cost
about $340 million annually. -- Ustina Markus, 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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