I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 110, Part I, 7 June 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 SAYS WILL NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT. After meeting with the
Krasnodar branch of his electoral bloc Our Home Is Russia, Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said he will not run for president in 1996,
Interfax reported. He said he hoped to advance Russian reforms by
winning the December parliamentary elections. Chernomyrdin' s recent
entry into partisan politics caused speculation that he would challenge
Yeltsin in next year' s presidential elections. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

SHUMEIKO READY TO COMPROMISE ON ELECTORAL LAW. Federation Council
Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko is ready to accept an electoral law that lets
half of the Duma members be chosen by party lists, according to the head
of the Council press center Yury Algunov, Interfax reported on 6 June.
Shumeiko' s decision to accept the Duma' s position represents an about-
face for the upper house speaker, who as recently as 1 June said the
Council would never allow the current ratio of party-list members in the
Duma. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

SHAKHRAI' S POSITION IN DANGER? Rumors that President Yeltsin is angry
with Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai and wants to fire him
appeared in the 3-4 June edition of Kuranty. ITAR-TASS general director
Vitaly Ignatenko recently took over Shakhrai' s responsibility for
supervising media affairs. The paper suggests that Shakhrai was targeted
for criticism because he was becoming too powerful. His competitors
within the administration feared that by controlling over the media and
playing a major role in Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin' s new right-
center bloc, which he helped to found, Shakhrai would have undue
influence over the campaign. Another scenario suggests that Shakhrai is
being punished for being too critical of the way Russian Public
Television was created. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

EFFORTS TO IMPROVE NEWS COVERAGE AT RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION. Sergei
Blagovolin, director general of the partly-private Russian Public
Television company (ORT), told Vechernyaya Moskva on 6 June that ORT
executives planned "decisive" measures to improve ORT' s news coverage,
including a new weekly analytical program along the lines of NTV' s
highly-regarded Sunday show "Itogi." NTV attracts higher ratings than
ORT for news, which are the only programs currently produced by ORT
itself. Blagovolin noted that most programs shown on Channel 1 continue
to be produced by state-owned Ostankino, but ORT orders shows from
independent TV companies as well. ORT took over Channel 1 broadcasting
from Ostankino on 1 April as part of a controversial restructuring plan
ordered by President Yeltsin in November 1994. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

GOVORUKHIN ATTACKS MEDIA COVERAGE OF CHECHNYA. In a 6 June interview
published in Krasnaya zvezda, Duma Commission on Chechnya Chairman
Stanislav Govorukhin attacked the mass media for allegedly spreading
lies about the Russian armed forces in Chechnya. Govorukhin singled out
NTV and the newspapers Moskovsky komsomolets and Komsomolskaya pravda
for reporting that Russian soldiers slaughtered civilians in Samashki on
7-8 April. He called such coverage a "revolt" led by the mass media
against the president, the government, parliament, and the Russian
people. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

GRYZUNOV ON MEASURES AGAINST EXTREMIST PUBLICATIONS. During the past six
months, the Russian Press Committee has issued at least 30 warnings to
newspapers and magazines for their content, but none of them have been
shut down, Sergei Gryzunov, the committee' s chairman, wrote in
Izvestiya on 6 June. There are currently only two cases (against Zavtra
and Al Kods) before the courts. Gryzunov complained that the authorities
are more interested in taking superficial measures than actually dealing
with the root causes of extremism in Russian society. He added that even
if the press committee closed all of Russia' s extremist papers, they
would immediately reappear under a new name, just as Zavtra has replaced
Den. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE CLOSES. The first All-Russian Congress on
Environmental Protection, held in Moscow from 3 to 5 June, issued a
resolution promising to support political parties and movements "that
demonstrate a serious and consistent approach to ecological problems,"
Izvestiya reported on 6 June. According to Komsomolskaya pravda, the
1,000 or so environmentalists found the army to be one of the biggest
polluters, noting in particular the problems of radioactive waste
disposal and the destruction of military equipment. Up to 20,000 cubic
meters of liquid and 6,000 tons of solid radioactive waste are produced
by nuclear-powered vessels each year, much of which is regularly dumped
into the northern and far eastern seas. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

JUVENILE CRIME INCREASING. Juvenile crime has increased by about 50%
over the past five years, according to officials from the Ministry of
Internal Affairs. The number of repeat juvenile offenders has increased
by 60% over the past three years, Radio Rossii reported on 2 June. Young
people aged between 14 and 18 account for 8% of the Russian population
but committed 16% of all recorded crimes. Teenagers committed 60 murders
in Moscow last year. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA HAS THIRD HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE. Russia has the third-highest
suicide rate in the world, according to a report in Vechernyaya Moskva
on 6 June citing Gennady Osipov, the director of the Russian Academy of
Sciences Sociopolitical Research Institute. The number of suicides
increased from 39,150 in 1990 to 56,136 in 1993. In addition, 3.6
million people sought psychiatric help in 1993, a 9.6% increase over
1992. In 1994, the suicide rate increased 11%, according to a late March
edition of Pravda. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA REASSERTS POSITION ON CASPIAN SEA REGIME. Russia reserves the
right to take measures to block the "unilateral actions" of other states
in the Caspian Sea, asserted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesmen Grigory
Karasin on 6 June. According to Interfax, Karasin told a briefing in
Moscow that Russia regards the Soviet-Iranian treaties of 1921 and 1940
as the basis of international access to the Caspian Sea. Any changes in
this regime, he argued, "must involve all the Caspian states," and
attempts by outside states to "intervene" were "inappropriate." Karasin
also rejected the suggestion that international maritime law is
applicable in the Caspian Sea, which he described as an "internal
continental basin." The statement is the latest Russian move in the
ongoing dispute with Azerbaijan over the issue of oil exploration and
exports. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA SOFTENS STANCE ON NATO FORCE FOR BOSNIA. On 6 June, after talks
with his British counterpart Douglas Hurd, Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev said he is "somewhat reassured" about the NATO plan to
create a "rapid reaction force" to support UN peacekeepers in Bosnia.
The weakening of earlier Russian objections to such a force followed
assurances by Hurd and other Western officials that its deployment would
have to be approved by the UN Security Council, Western agencies and
Interfax reported. Kozyrev said Russia could agree to an additional
deployment of troops under UN auspices, but said it could prove
counterproductive and trigger an escalation of hostilities in Bosnia.
Also on 6 June, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told Interfax
that Russian peacekeepers would remain in Bosnia, although he said there
are no plans to reinforce them. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RETAIL PRICES INCREASE IN MAY. Retail prices in Russia increased 7.9% in
May, Izvestiya reported on 6 June. According to Goskomstat figures, food
items were up 8.8%, consumer goods 5.6%, and consumer services 11.1%
from the previous month. During the first five months of this year,
retail prices increased 67%, according to the report. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

BUDGET COMMITTEE REJECTS PARAMONOVA. The State Duma Budget Committee
rejected President Boris Yeltsin' s recommendation to name Tatyana
Paramonova as Chairwoman of Russia' s Central Bank for a second time,
NCA and Interfax reported on 6 June. Paramonova currently serves as
acting director of the Central Bank. The committee will recommend that
the upcoming Duma plenary conference reject Paramonova' s candidacy for
the bank post. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA TO CONSIDER DRAFT LAW TO TIGHTEN CONTROL OVER EXTRA-BUDGETARY
FUNDS. The State Duma presented a draft law on 6 June that would tighten
control over extra-budgetary social and economic funds, Interfax
reported. The vote on the first reading of the draft, scheduled for 7
June, could prove to be a test of corruption in the State Duma,
according to Oksana Dmitrieva, the chairwoman of the Sub-Committee for
Budget Systems and Extra-Budgetary Funds, since monitoring of these
funds has been lax. The draft calls for budgets of extra-budgetary
social funds to be audited before being submitted to the State Duma
together with the draft federal budget. The draft law would also require
these funds to open accounts in the Central Bank and its branches, not
in commercial banks. Dmitrieva said the volume of extra-budgetary social
funds in 1994 was 115 trillion rubles, which was equal to 70% of federal
revenues. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

PRIVATIZATION OF SBERBANK POSTPONED. A Sberbank representative told
Segodnya on 6 June that the state savings bank decided to postpone until
the end of 1995 an extraordinary shareholders'  meeting to discuss the
question of privatization. The bank is waiting for the State Duma Budget
Committee to prepare a proposal to amend the Law on the Russian Central
Bank, which in part bans the bank from owning shares in other commercial
banks, specifically Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MILITARY ACTION FLARES UP IN TAJIKISTAN AS PEACE TALKS STALL. In the
wake of negotiations in Almaty between the Tajik government and the
opposition, it appears the opposition has decided to step up pressure on
Dushanbe by playing the military card. Although agreement was reached on
repatriation of Tajik refugees in Afghanistan and an exchange of
prisoners, the two sides failed to agree on the vital issue of
restructuring the government to include members of the opposition. The
new commander of the CIS border forces in Tajikistan, Lt. Gen. Valentin
Bobryshev, repeated old allegations that Islamic extremists, financed by
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and "some other countries are still trying to
solve political problems by force," according to Interfax. Novosti and
Ekho Moskvy reported that the frequency of incidents on the Tajik-Afghan
border has increased dramatically since the talks ended in Almaty on 2
June. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

AZERBAIJAN AND NATO. Following talks between the deputy commander of
NATO combined armed forces in Europe, Jeremy McKenzie, and Azerbaijani
Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov, Azerbaijan is ready to sign a document
outlining areas of cooperation with the alliance, Interfax reported on 6
June. Mckenzie said NATO could help Azerbaijan in various areas such as
training, defense budget planning, creating anti-terrorist units and
natural disaster relief. The June NATO conference in Brussels is to
discuss the timetable for Azerbaijan' s participation in joint military
exercises under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Azerbaijan
joined the PfP in June 1994. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

AKAYEV OPENS REGIONAL COOPERATION CONFERENCE. The Central Asian
Conference on Regional Cooperation opened on 5 June, not 12 June as was
reported in the 6 June edition of OMRI Daily Digest. According to
Interfax, in his opening speech to the conference Kyrgyz President Askar
Akayev proposed the creation of a new institution to promote trans-
border cooperation. The new body would involve representatives of
different branches of authority, political parties, and ethnic groups.
Akayev was in favor of giving the conference on regional cooperation
permanent status in order to forestall economic, military, and political
conflicts. The Kyrgyz president also suggested the creation of a
consultative council, which would promote cooperation, work out a
regional development strategy, and study the effect of the global
economy on Central Asia, 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
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute.  The OMRI 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

Copyright (c) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.


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