|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 115, Part I, 14 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 FEDOROV SATISFIED WITH GROWTH OF FORWARD, RUSSIA! Forward, Russia! the movement led by Boris Fedorov, has 30,000 members, Fedorov told a 13 June news conference, Interfax reported. He said he is seeking to work with the Yabloko movement and Democratic Russia, but that no parties are ready to sign a cooperation agreement with his party. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. MVD PRAISES FBI FOR ARREST OF RUSSIAN MOBSTER. First Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Yegorov praised the U.S. authorities on 13 June for arresting Vyacheslav Ivankov, viewed as the top Russian mobster in the U.S., Western agencies reported. Ivankov, a crime boss in Russia before he moved his operations to the U.S. in 1992, was arrested last week on charges of masterminding a $3.5 million extortion scheme. Yegorov also told reporters he was concerned about potential attacks on Duma candidates during the election campaign, according to an RFE/RL correspondent. He said the authorities had failed to halt the rise in organized crime despite a widely criticized decree signed by Yeltsin a year ago giving law-enforcement officers wider powers. Commenting on the escape last week from the Matrosskaya Tishina prison of hired killer Alexander Solonik, who bribed a police officer, Yegorov said, "we are obviously not working hard enough to combat corruption in our own forces," Reuters reported. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. DEFENSE WORKERS RALLY TO DEMAND WAGE ARREARS. More than 2,000 workers from Vektor, a major defense plant in Yekaterinburg, blocked one of the city's main streets on 13 June to demand the payment of wages owed since February, Interfax reported. A city official said the police had been instructed not to use force, and the rally proceeded without incident. Vektor employs more than 6,000 people and is one of the largest electronic air-defense manufacturers in Russia. Its director says the government and contractors owe it about 39.5 billion rubles ($8.2 million) and 1,500 workers are on compulsory unpaid leave. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. PRAVDA SEES NEW CIVIL WAR IN RUSSIA. Pravda on 14 June argued that a new type of civil war is happening in Russia similar to the "individual and collective permanent terror" taking place in Egypt, Algeria, Tajikistan, and Latin America. The paper asserts that Russia is on the eve of the appearance of death squads that destroy criminals and then all who are not satisfied with the system. Additional possible forms of social conflict, according to the paper, include violent or suicidal religious cults, localized conflicts about which other residents of the country are indifferent (as in Chechnya), and criminal terror based on corruption. The paper blames these problems on Western security services and asserts that the only way to prevent the escalation of civil war is to remove the current incumbents from power and strengthen the powers of the state. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. STALIN'S GRANDSON DEFENDS DICTATOR. Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, a grandson of Josef Stalin and communist Duma deputy, launched a movement on 13 June to restore the image of the Soviet dictator and lay the ground for another "man of steel," Western agencies reported. He and fellow deputy Omar Begov, the movement's head, argue that only a strong ruler could cure the Russia's current ills and insist that reports of Stalin's repression are false or exaggerated. The Political Movement for Stalin's Legacy was registered in May and has 45 regional branches. It will back the Communist Party in the run-up to the elections. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. HOLIDAY HEAT WAVE POSES HEALTH THREAT. A heat wave in Moscow and declining sanitary conditions have led to a sharp rise in acute intestinal diseases such as dysentery, health officials said on 13 June. Chief sanitary inspector Olga Aksenova, quoted by Interfax, said "insanitary conditions in the street and the sale of foodstuffs by street vendors" are the major culprits. Last week, Moscow health officials said two people in the city had been diagnosed with cholera that may have been contracted in the city. If that is the case, Moscow is in danger of being hit by an epidemic. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. FEDERAL TROOPS CAPTURE SHATOY. Following several days of heavy fighting, federal forces captured the Chechen mountain village of Shatoy on the afternoon of 13 June, Russian and international agencies reported. The village, described by Russian officers as heavily fortified, was also reportedly the most recent command post of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, whose whereabouts remain unknown. Fighting continues in other areas of Chechnya. Also on 13 June, Interfax reported that a parliamentary delegation from the Council of Europe had completed a trip to the North Caucasus. The delegation will draft a report to determine whether the council will reconsider Russia's application for membership, which has been suspended since the military operation in Chechnya began. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. CHECHNYA TO ELECT NEW PARLIAMENT. Elections to a new parliament in Chechnya are to take place on 5 November, Interfax reported on 13 June, quoting a spokesman for the Committee for National Accord created by the Russian government in March of this year. The existing parliament, which was suspended by President Dudaev in 1993, is scheduled to hold a session "in the near future," its chairman Yusup Soslambekov told Interfax last month. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc. KOZYREV: RUSSIANS IN BALTICS STILL SUFFER DISCRIMINATION. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told Max van der Stoel, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, that Russia remains concerned with discrimination against ethnic Russians in the Baltic states, Interfax reported on 13 June. Kozyrev gave van der Stoel a report on the situation of ethnic Russians in Estonia, where an impending deadline for registration of non-citizens has generated controversy. Kozyrev asserted that the OSCE should "remain on the alert" for violations of minority rights in the Baltics. On a related topic, the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs announced the formation of a Council of Compatriots as an advisory body to the Russian parliament, Russian Radio reported on 13 June. The council will monitor the problems of ethnic Russians living in the former Soviet republics. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. SIPRI CONCERNED BY DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY. In an advance summary of its annual report for 1995, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) expressed concern with "growing Russian political and military assertiveness," Reuters reported on 13 June. The report, a widely-used reference work on world conflicts and armaments levels, cites Russian military actions in Chechnya and "increasing demands by Russia regarding its...European and global status," as having damaged Russian relations with other European countries and the U.S. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. ARMS EXPERTS: CLINTON SHOULD HAVE GONE FARTHER ON CFE ISSUE. Two prominent American arms control experts on 13 June criticized President Bill Clinton for not being more responsive to Russia's wish to modify the CFE treaty during his recent Moscow meeting with President Boris Yeltsin. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Arthur Hartman and Jack Mendelsohn, deputy director of the Arms Control Association, criticized Clinton for insisting that Russia's objections to the treaty's flank restrictions should be resolved at a May 1996 review conference rather than before the limits come into effect in November of this year, Reuters reported. Mendelsohn said if Clinton is ready to "help resolve the issue in May , why isn't [he] prepared to resolve it in November  and avoid six months of political warfare where people will be accusing the Russians of...non-compliance." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. EBRD FUNDS RUSSIAN NUCLEAR SAFETY. The EBRD has agreed to provide about $100 million (76 million ECU) in credits to improve safety standards at the Kola and Novovoronezh nuclear power stations and to modernize units at the Sosnovyi Bor station, Interfax reported on 13 June. Russia has agreed to exempt Western companies participating in the overhauls from liability associated with a nuclear accident. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc. RUBLE HITS TWELVE WEEK HIGH. The Russian ruble hit a 12-week high closing at 4,836 rubles to $1 on 13 June MICEX trading, Russian and Western agencies reported. The ruble strengthened 45 points, up from 9 June's trade close of 4,881 rubles to $1, its biggest one-day rise since the collapse of the ruble on Black Tuesday last October. Some dealers attributed the continuing rise in the ruble to the Central Bank of Russia's selling of dollars, and its introduction of new ruble investments, such as treasury bills, which yield more than dollar funds. Some observers argue that the strengthening ruble will lead to panic among holders of dollar assets, such as exporters in the fuel and energy sector who have been incurring huge losses. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. INVESTMENT DOWN 20% IN FIRST HALF OF 1995. The Economics Ministry announced on 13 June that total investment in Russia is estimated at 75 trillion rubles ($15 billion) for the first half of the year, down 20% from the same period last year, ITAR-TASS reported. The ministry said investment for the entire year is projected to run 230-250 trillion rubles ($46-50 billion), which includes government investment of 18.8 trillion rubles ($3.76 billion). Thus the government's efforts to bring down inflation have not yet been sufficient to prevent the continuing fall in capital investment. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. FARM SECTOR WON'T MEET FOOD NEEDS IN 1995. Russia's farm industry, which has shrunk over the last four years, will not be able to provide enough food for the country in 1995, according to Raisa Pankova, a department head in the Russian State Trade Committee, Interfax reported on 13 June. Pankova told the Federation Council Agrarian Policy Committee that Russia's output in 1995 will fall short of its needs by 400,000 tons in meat products, 80,000 tons in butter, and at least 1 million tons in sugar. Commenting on the upcoming food tax hike, Pankova said import duties should be increased only during times when Russian producers can fulfill market demand. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AZERBAIJAN SETS DATE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. On 13 June, the Azerbaijan People's Assembly scheduled new parliamentary elections for 12 November, Interfax and AFP reported. They are to be preceded, according to President Heidar Aliev, by a nationwide referendum on a new election law (to be adopted by the People's Assembly on 31 July) and a new constitution. Etibar Mamedov, the chairman of the Azerbaijan National Independence Party, said the election law is based on the proportional representation system, according to the Turan News Agency on 10 June. Mamedov expressed doubts that the elections would be democratic given existing restrictions on the media but said his party will participate nonetheless. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc. CIS MORE ON RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN RELATIONS. The nationalist Ukrainian National Assembly attacked the Ukrainian-Russian Black Sea Fleet agreement, saying it surrenders the fleet and Crimea to Russia, Interfax reported on 13 June. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Dubinin denied that Russia had "twisted Ukraine's arm" over the agreement, and pointed out that the accord has paved the way for the treaty on friendship and cooperation between Russia and Ukraine to be finalized. Ukraine's national security adviser, Volodymyr Horbulin, told Interfax that Yeltsin may visit Kiev as early as July to sign the friendship accord. The two countries' prime ministers are preparing to sign a number of economic agreements within the next month. Nonetheless, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko seemed defensive when Ukrainian radio reported on 12 June his statement that neither party was a victor or loser. That same day, Ukrainian television reported that Western countries have greeted the agreement favorably. -- 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 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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