[America,] it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time. - Thomas Wolfe
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 118, Part I, 19 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 TROOPS FAIL TO SEIZE HOSPITAL IN BUDENNOVSK. Early on the
morning of 17 June, Russian commandos attacked the regional hospital in
Budennovsk, international and Russian agencies reported. The assault
troops stormed the building, freeing a number of hostages, but they
failed to dislodge the Chechen gunmen and their leader Shamil Basaev
from the upper floors. A second attack that afternoon also failed. At
least five Russian soldiers were killed during the fighting, and Basaev
later told journalists that 30 hostages and been killed and 70 wounded
during the assault. It remains unclear who ordered the attack. Speaking
from the G-7 summit in Halifax, President Boris Yeltsin told an
Ostankino correspondent he had granted preliminary authorization for the
attack. However, a spokesman for Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said
the attack was not authorized and had been "impulsively" launched by the
troops without orders. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN NEGOTIATES RELEASE OF HOSTAGES, CEASEFIRE FOR CHECHNYA. At
an early morning press conference in Halifax on 18 June, President
Yeltsin denounced Chechnya as "a center of world terrorism," NTV
reported. Only a few hours later, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin personally
opened negotiations with Basaev, Western and Russian agencies reported
on 18 June. In a series of nationally televised phone conversations,
Basaev and Chernomyrdin agreed upon conditions for the release of the
hostages still held in Budennovsk. Chernomyrdin accepted most of Basaev'
s demands, including cessation of federal military actions in Chechnya,
the opening of negotiations between the federal government and
representatives of Chechen separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev, and
safe passage back to Chechnya for Basaev and his fighters. Basaev
released about 200 hostages on the afternoon of 18 June, after he and
Chernomyrdin had agreed to the terms in principle. In accordance with
the agreement, General Anatoly Kulikov, the commander of joint federal
forces in Chechnya, ordered all combat activities to cease as of 8 p.m.
local time, ITAR-TASS reported. Preparations for the release of the
hostages and Basaev' s departure continued early Monday morning. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN DELEGATION DEPARTS FOR GROZNY. Meeting another condition of the
agreement between Chernomyrdin and Basaev, a Russian government
delegation departed Moscow for Grozny on the afternoon of 18 June,
Western and Russian agencies reported. The delegation is headed by
Deputy Minister of Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, and also includes
Arkady Volsky, head of the Russian Union of Industrial Producers, and
General Kulikov, commander of federal forces in Chechnya. The Russian
delegation will hold talks with Usman Imaev, former Procurator-General
of the Chechen Republic, who will represent Chechen separatist President
Dzhokhar Dudaev. The talks will aim at resolving the question "of
Chechnya' s status within the Russian Federation," Volsky told Russian
Television before departure. He added that negotiations would begin
"immediately on arrival." The cessation of military activities and the
opening of negotiations, if consistently implemented, would represent a
major shift in Russian policy toward the Chechen conflict. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN, DUMA REACT TO BUDENNOVSK. On his return from Canada, President
Yeltsin called on the nation not to become "slaves to emotion," in a
statement published on 18 June, Interfax reported. In the statement, he
said the people who planned the attack hoped for a Russian breakdown and
sought to spread ethnic violence across the country. He also denounced
members of the Duma "who want to score political points from the common
grief." An impeachment attempt launched by Duma Deputy Speaker Gennady
Seleznev, a member of the Communist faction, gathered only 150 votes,
short of the 226 needed to pass it. The Duma proposed that Yeltsin
impose a state of emergency in Chechnya and sent Stanislav Govorukhin' s
Chechnya committee to Budennovsk to investigate the situation on the
ground. The Democratic Party of Russia had already collected 102
signatures in favor of a no-confidence vote in the government by 15 June
and the Duma will debate this measure on 21 June. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

POLITICAL PARTY REACTION TO BUDENNOVSK. Yegor Gaidar called for the
dismissal of the power ministers, Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov
and Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Yegorov, and the disbandment of the
Security Council itself on 17 June, Interfax reported. Addressing a
congress of his Democratic Choice of Russia party, he said that if those
demands are not met the formerly pro-Yeltsin party would support a vote
of no confidence in the government on 21 June. In light of Chernomyrdin'
s negotiation efforts, however, Gaidar said he would reconsider his
position, NTV reported on 18 June. Liberal Democratic Party, Communist
Party, and Yabloko will support the no-confidence vote. Only the Party
of Russian Unity and Concord, New Regional Policy, Russia, and Stability
plan to support the government, NTV reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

UNITED DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL BLOC FORMED. Leaders of several
democratically oriented parties and movements formed the United
Democratic Electoral Bloc (ODIB), Russian media reported on 16 June.
Yegor Gaidar' s Russia' s Democratic Choice (DVR), Alexander Yakovlev' s
Russian Party of Social Democracy (RPSD), Yury Chernichenko' s Peasants'
Party (KP), the movements Soldiers for Democracy and Women for
Solidarity, and the congress National Associations of Russia (NOR) will
join the alliance, which will back one candidate in each single-member
Duma constituency. Yury Skokov, a leading figure in the Congress of
Russian Communities (KRO), said he would join the united democratic
bloc, according to Russian Public Television. Gaidar said the bloc was
holding talks with leaders of Democratic Russia. Grigory Yavlinsky' s
Yabloko group did not take part in the negotiations. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

UNION OF PEOPLES OF RUSSIA HOLDS FOUNDING CONGRESS. Pledging to support
the principles of democracy, federalism, and equal rights, the Union of
Peoples of Russia (SNR) held its founding congress on 16 June, Radio
Mayak reported. Yury Skokov of the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO)
addressed the delegates and wished them success in creating a "new
federation of regions." In April, the KRO announced plans to help form
and cooperate with a union for non-Russian nationalities in Russia. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

STATE DUMA ADOPTS BILL ON TAX SYSTEM. The State Duma has passed a
federal draft law which will pave the way for radically changing the tax
system, Segodnya reported on 17 June. The draft contains a full register
of taxes, the number of which will be reduced. Under the law, Russia
would collect 43 federal taxes. In December 1993 Yeltsin issued a
presidential decree allowing local authorities to introduce additional
local and regional taxes at will. Over 60 such taxes have been
introduced in the country. Over 100 taxes currently exist in Russia. The
new law, which is to come into effect on 1 October, will reduce the
number of taxes to 20. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

FINANCE MINISTRY ENLISTS BANKS TO SUPPORT QUAKE RESTORATION. Russian
First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets asked the Finance Ministry
and the Sakhalin regional administration to involve commercial banks in
funding restoration work and compensation for the Neftegorsk earthquake
victims, Interfax reported on 16 June. According to Emergencies Minister
Sergei Shoigu, the earthquake claimed 1,989 lives and 2,364 people were
rescued from the debris. Seven foreign states have provided 220 tons of
humanitarian aid and about 60 billion rubles ($1.2 million) have been
spent on emergency and rescue operations. Igor Farkhutdinov, governor of
the Sakhalin oblast, said the victims will receive financial
compensation and money will be allocated to build homes for the victims
during the next month. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIAN ENCLAVE IN KAZAKHSTAN. An agreement to turn the city of Leninsk
with a population of 100,000, near the Baikonour cosmodrome in
Kazakhstan, into a Russian federal constituent member was initialed on
16 June, Interfax reported. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei
Bolshakov and Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Nigmatzhan Isingarin
initialed the agreement in Moscow; it provides for Leninsk' s budget to
be financed by Russia for the duration of Baikonour' s lease, which is
20 years. The agreement must be signed by the presidents of Kazakhstan
and Russia. Bolshakov said the living standards of the city' s residents
should improve due to the agreement. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

UN MISSION IN TAJIKISTAN STAYS ON. The UN Security Council renewed the
mandate of the 74-man observer mission in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for six
months on 16 June, provided the parties to the conflict remain committed
to a ceasefire, AFP reported the same day. The resolution extending
UNMOT' s mandate, which passed by a 15-0 vote, said the council will
consider UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali' s recommendation to
deploy UN personnel in northern Afghanistan to investigate border
incidents; it also called for another round of the inter-Tajik talks to
implement various confidence building measures. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
Inc.

TASKHENT ACCUSED OF BACKING SEPARATISM IN AFGHANISTAN. Citing a high-
ranking official in the Afghan embassy in Moscow, Interfax reported on
Kabul' s suspicion of Uzbek support for General Rashid Dostum on 16
June. The source noted that there is widespread belief in Kabul that
Dostum--an ethnic Uzbek who was a key military supporter of former
communist President Najibullah in the past and currently controls a
stretch of northern Afghanistan populated by ethnic Uzbeks--is a
separatist. The diplomat claimed that last week' s discovery of 18
metric tons of counterfeit Afghanis showed that Tashkent was trying to
destabilize the Afghan currency. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

TURKEY: NO REQUEST FOR ASYLUM RECEIVED. Turkish officials have denied
that Dzhokhar Dudaev applied for, or received, asylum in Turkey, Western
agencies reported on 18 June. Speaking in Halifax at the G-7 summit the
day before, President Yeltsin said Turkey had agreed to grant Dudaev
asylum provided he later moved to another country, noting that, "We don'
t care where he goes so long as he is far away from Russia." Turkey is
interested in playing a role in resolving the crisis in Chechnya;
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel left the door open to
accepting Dudaev by noting that a decision on accepting Dudaev could not
be taken without an application for asylum. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
Inc.

CIS

KUCHMA: FLEET BASES STILL A PROBLEM. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
told Interfax on 16 June that the question of Ukrainian naval bases had
not been settled despite the agreement he signed with President Yeltsin
at their summit in Sochi. Kuchma was quoted as saying there would have
to be "very serious preparations before a decision can be made...We
shall discuss that question with the military behind closed doors." --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA SIGNS MEMORANDUM WITH BELARUS. A Russian delegation signed a
memorandum in Minsk on cooperation between the presidential control
service of Belarus and the control administration of the Russian
Federation, Belarusian radio reported on 16 July. Interfax reported that
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka proposed that the two
countries control services verify bilateral agreements between Russia
and Belarus in order to help speed their implementation. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN-ARMENIAN AGREEMENTS. Armenian Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan
signed three agreements with his Ukrainian counterpart, Yevhen Marchuk,
in Kiev, Ukrainian radio reported on 17 June. The two countries agreed
to consultations to increase cooperation and signed agreements on civil
aviation and social protection for Ukrainian and Armenian workers in
each other' s countries. During the visit Ukraine offered to mediate in
the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. the two sides also discussed the issue of
Ukrainian-Armenian cooperation in building a nuclear power plant in
Armenia. -- 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
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Copyright (c) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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