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No. 114, Part I, 13 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 RUSSIAN POLITICIANS EVALUATE INDEPENDENCE DAY. Russia marked the fifth anniversary of its 12 June 1990 declaration of sovereignty with mixed emotions. Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Filatov described the holiday as a celebration of the Russian Federation's unity, Ekho Moskvy reported. Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, called the anniversary a "day of national shame" because it marks an event which ultimately destroyed the Soviet Union. Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko said that in 1990 the declaration was seen as a great victory and denied that it was responsible for the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian Radio reported. Nevertheless, Sovetskaya Rossiya asked in its 10 June issue, "From whom did we become independent? Estonia? Armenia? Ukraine?" -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. LEN KARPINSKY DEAD AT 66. The one-time Soviet dissident and former editor of Moscow News , Len Karpinsky, died in his home outside Moscow on 12 June, Western agencies reported. During the Soviet era he lost a job at Pravda for writing an article denouncing state censorship. He joined Moscow News as a columnist in 1989 and became the editor from August 1991 until October 1993. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. COMMUNISTS WIN IN KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA LOCAL ELECTIONS. On 10 June, local parliamentary elections were held in the North Caucasian republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation won 27 of the 73 seats, Russian Radio reported on 12 June. According to preliminary results 69% of the eligible voters participated, validating the elections in all districts. According to Sergei Abishev, chairman of the electoral commission, all the nationalist organizations of the republic suffered a resounding defeat, Radio Mayak reported. Most of the new legislators are directors and engineers from local industrial and agricultural enterprises. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. SATAROV CRITICIZES KORZHAKOV. In an interview with Russian Public Television on 12 June, presidential adviser Georgy Satarov criticized Maj. Gen. Alexander Korzhakov, the head of the president's security service, for exceeding his duties. Satarov said Korzhakov is taking advantage of the absence of legislation regulating the duties of the executive branch and that this void is likely to be filled by people who do not necessarily work for the benefit of the country or president. He said new legislation and political institutions will resolve those problems. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. DUMA MAKES IT EASIER TO STRIP DEPUTIES' IMMUNITY. The parliament's lower house has lowered the number of votes needed to strip a deputy of his or her immunity from 300 (two-thirds of Duma members) to 226 (half), Interfax reported on 9 June. The motion was tabled by Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin, a member of Russia's Choice, and was supported by 268 deputies. The Duma's rules of procedure will now be amended accordingly. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. DUMA TO DISCUSS FOREIGN MINISTRY. The Duma will debate the performance of the Russian Foreign Ministry in a closed session next week, Radio Mayak and Interfax reported on 9 June. A resolution calling for the closed discussion, sponsored by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, passed by a vote of 247 to 5. Duma deputy Leonid Petrovsky, spokesman for the Communists, argued that under the leadership of Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Russian foreign policy had been "ineffective" and excessively "pro-American." He also claimed that mismanagement had led to the departure of many skilled personnel from the ministry. Criticism of Kozyrev has intensified recently in the Russian press from all sides of the political spectrum. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. U.S.-RUSSIAN NUCLEAR DEAL IN TROUBLE. A 1992 deal in which the U.S. is to pay Russia $12 billion for 500 metric tons of weapons-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons is "unraveling," The New York Times reported on 12 June. Quoting government and private experts, the paper charged that "administrative missteps, disagreements over pricing for the uranium, and...trade disputes" had prevented the agreement from succeeding. The uranium was to be diluted and then sold to American nuclear power plants as fuel. The paper reported that a small initial shipment of less than one ton of Russian uranium was to arrive in the U.S. this month--part of an initial order of six tons. It quoted private experts as saying it is unlikely there will be any more shipments. At his 12 June briefing, White House press spokesman Mike McCurry said the administration is "not going to let the agreement . . .slip between the cracks." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. CONFLICTING REPORTS ON CHECHEN GUERRILLAS IN GROZNY . . . A senior Russian officer told journalists that 2,500 Chechen separatist guerrillas have infiltrated the Chechen capital of Grozny and may be preparing to carry out "terrorist acts," Russian Radio reported on 12 June. In a subsequent interview with ITAR-TASS, a spokesman for the headquarters of federal forces in Chechnya said the report was "highly incorrect." The spokesmen noted that about 4,000 separatist fighters have surrendered and returned home. While some might again take up arms, it would be unjustifiable to consider them all "potential terrorists," the spokesman added. Intense fighting continued on 12 June around the southern Chechen village of Shatoy, which Russian officers told Interfax would be captured on 13 June. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. . . .WHILE EU AGAIN POSTPONES TRADE AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA. The political committee of the EU has decided to continue blocking the ratification of an interim accord with Russia, Western agencies reported on 12 June. The agreement has been frozen since January, as a result of EU member states' concern with the Russian military operation in Chechnya. The EU has said that the agreement can proceed only after a ceasefire has been reached in Chechnya and peace talks have begun. Now that the fighting appears to be taking on the character of a guerrilla war, it may be difficult for the Russian government to meet those conditions. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. PROSECUTOR REOPENS CASE OF WOMAN WHO TRIED TO ASSASSINATE LENIN. On 9 June, Segodnya reported that the Prosecutor General's office has decided to reopen the case of Fanny Kaplan. Kaplan, an activist in the Socialist Revolutionary Party, was convicted of shooting Lenin during a failed assassination attempt in August 1918. The attempt on Lenin's life triggered a wave of "red terror," in which hundreds fell victim to the new Bolshevik political police. New evidence uncovered in the archives of the Soviet Communist Party suggest that Lenin may have been shot by a man, not a woman, and that two different weapons may have been used in the attack. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. SALARIES OF CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY. In the first quarter of the year, the average monthly salary of top managers in 28,000 state enterprises and in 13,500 joint-stock companies in which the state has a share was just over 1 million rubles ($200), according to a report in Delovoi mir on 10 June citing a Goskomstat survey. The average employee's salary in industry overall is 432,000 rubles ($86). In the state sector, the highest salaries went to the directors of metallurgical, electric power, and fuel enterprises, who earned about 1.7 million ($340), 1.8 million ($360), and 2.9 million rubles ($580), respectively. The worst off were managers in light industry, who earned 682,000 rubles ($136), and in trade and the food industry at 729,000 rubles ($146). The highest incomes were in joint-stock companies, where directors in the metallurgy sector earned about 3.4 million, in electric power 3.8 million ($760), and in fuel 4 million ($800). In the top income bracket, the basic salary formed less than half the total remuneration, the rest coming from a range of premiums and supplements. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. STATE DEBTS TO PRISON SYSTEM. The state owes Russia's prison system more than 500 billion rubles (about $100 million), Ekho Moskvy reported on 12 June. As a result, there is a severe shortage of food and medicines in prison establishments, and prison officers have not been paid for about two months. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. DEBATE OVER MOSCOW FOOD TAX HIKE. Moscow City Council is predicting disaster when the Russian government hikes taxes on food imports to protect Russian farmers on 1 July, AFP reported on 13 June. Already, food prices in Moscow are higher than in most Western marketplaces and 80% of Moscow's food is imported. Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov warned the Russian government that the tax may push general food prices up 30-80%. City hall officials claimed domestic producers are unable to fulfill demand. The Russian government argues that "the abuse of imports has destroyed the agrarian sector around the capital," AFP reported on 13 June. Other economic sources dismissed Luzhkov's predictions, saying that if prices did spiral it would prove there was a "mafia-style understanding between the municipal authorities and the business world." While the government said the taxes are meant to make local producers more competitive, some economists see them as a way of filling the state coffers. Others say the tax hikes will bring little change because the market in Russia is controlled by smugglers. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA UN TO EXTEND OBSERVER MISSION IN TAJIKISTAN. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali recommended a six-month renewal of the 72-member UN observer mission in Tajikistan, Reuters reported on 12 June. Calling the recent meeting between Tajik president Imomali Rakhmonov and opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri in Kabul, along with the fourth round of peace talks held in Almaty, a "small but positive step towards national reconciliation and the restoration of peace in the country." Ghali urged his special envoy, Ramiro Piriz-Ballon, to work with both sides to achieve better progress on the fundamental political and institutional issues. Meanwhile, Col. Izat Kuganov, a member of parliament and commander of a Tajik army unit, was shot and killed near Kurgan-Tyube, about 60 miles to the south of the Tajik capital Dushanbe, according to Interfax. The Tajik government was quick to lay the blame on Muslim militants "who oppose not only the legal government but the entire people." -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. TURKISH PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN KAZAKHSTAN. Turkish President Suleyman Demirel arrived in Almaty on 12 June for talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. The two are expected to sign an accord on cooperation between the two countries, AFP reported. They will also discuss a pipeline to carry Kazakh crude oil through Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea. The Turkish president will also make a trip to the city of Turkestan to visit the tomb of legendary Turkic poet Hodja Ahmad Yasawi. The Turkish government has contributed $20 million to the restoration of the tomb. Demirel also plans to lay the ground work for a Turkish-Kazakh university in the city. Turkish investment in Kazakhstan has risen from $30 million in 1992 to $164 million in 1994, AFP reported. -- 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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