There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 120, Part I, 21 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

BUDENNOVSK GUNMEN ARRIVE IN CHECHNYA. After a tortuous journey,
including several long delays, the convoy of buses carrying Chechen
fighters led by Shamil Basaev arrived at its destination, international
and Russian agencies reported on 21 June. Upon arrival at Zandak, in the
Vedeno region of Chechnya, Basaev released the "volunteers" who had
accompanied his fighters as a guarantee of safe passage. Basaev and his
men then retreated into the surrounding mountains, fulfilling his
agreement with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. On 20 June, Stavropol
Region Deputy Procurator General Alexei Selyukov told journalists that a
warrant had been issued for the arrest of Basaev on charges of
"banditry." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GROZNY TALKS REACH AGREEMENT ON CEASEFIRE. Russian and Chechen
negotiators in Grozny have agreed to terms for a ceasefire, Interfax
reported on 20 June. Arkady Volsky, a member of the Russian delegation,
told journalists that a three-day ceasefire would go into effect on 21
June. The talks also reportedly made progress on the terms of military
disengagement between the two sides. A spokesman for the Russian Defense
Ministry told journalists that while federal troops have "scrupulously"
observed the cessation of hostilities negotiated between Russian Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin and Chechen leader Shamil Basaev, Chechen forces
launched several attacks on the night of 19-20 June, causing casualties
on both sides. Negotiations are scheduled to continue on 21 June. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

PUBLIC OPINION ON BUDENNOVSK EVENTS. A poll published on 21 June in
Komsomolskaya Pravda revealed significant differences in outlook between
Muscovites and residents of the Stavropol Region. When asked who bore
responsibility for the recent attack on Budennovsk, 81% of Muscovites
responded, "the Russian Government," while only 50% of those from
Stavropol responded similarly. Half of Stavropol residents agreed with
the statement that the government should intensify military activity
against Chechen forces, while in Moscow, only 20% supported such a
solution. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

ANALYSIS OF GOVERNMENT, SOCIAL RESPONSE TO BUDENNOVSK. Yegor Gaidar,
leader of Russia's Democratic Choice, criticized Yeltsin's handling of
the Budennovsk crisis, Interfax reported on 20 June. For two days the
president and prime minister acted as if the other did not exist at all,
according to Moskovsky komsomolets on 20 June. There is no evidence that
the president even met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on his
return from Canada, according to the newspaper. In Izvestiya on 21 June,
Marietta Chudokova, a member of the presidential council, noted that
people were not protesting the war before the terrorist attack. "Now in
Krasnodar Krai there are demonstrations almost around the clock, but why
didn't people come out on the streets earlier, much earlier?" Izvestiya
also noted that the government saved hundreds of lives through
negotiations with people it had earlier considered "bandits" and that it
is now clear that talks should have been held from the beginning. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

MIGRATION SERVICE REPORTS ON CHECHEN REFUGEES. On 20 June, the Russian
Federal Migration Service told Interfax that over 380,000 refugees have
fled Chechnya since federal troops entered the republic in December
1994. Over 80,000 refugees had already left Chechnya before the conflict
began. Mikhail Arutunov, the deputy chairman of the Presidential
Commission on Human Rights, told Interfax there are currently 800,000
people in Russia who are officially registered as refugees or displaced
persons. Independent human rights activists believe the actual number of
refugees to be higher. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

TEREK COSSACKS CREATE MILITIA. Terek Cossacks in the Pyatigorsk district
of the Stavropol region formed a militia of approximately 5000 soldiers
to defend against "armed bandits" in the wake of the Budennovsk hostage
crisis, Terek Cossack Ataman Yury Churekov told Ekho Moskvy on 20 June.
Deputy Ataman Evgeny Klyuchkin told Radio Rossii that the militia will
blockade all roads from Chechnya and Ingushetiya so as not to allow "a
single Chechen" into Russia. On 19 June, a presidential representative
said the enlistment of armed volunteers by Terek Cossacks was illegal,
Interfax reported. On the same day, Duma deputy Viktor Zorkaltsev of the
committee for public and religious groups also denounced plans to create
Cossack units outside the Russian armed forces. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. Most members of Russia's
Choice will abstain from the no-confidence vote, according to Duma
member Viktor Pokhmelkin, Interfax reported. The Agrarian Party will
support a vote of no confidence in the government, the parliamentary
faction decided on 20 June. However, Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the
Committee on Constitutional Legislation and an Agrarian Party member,
proposed instead to amend the constitution to give parliament the power
to approve the president's appointment of deputy prime ministers and
power ministers. At present, the Duma only has the power to approve the
appointment of the prime minister. The amendment would also give it the
power to pass no-confidence votes in individual ministers as well as the
whole cabinet. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

AIDE: REGIONS SHOULD ELECT LEADERS ONLY AFTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
President Yeltsin's deputy chief of staff Vyacheslav Volkov said
regional elections for executive authorities should not be held until
after the June 1996 presidential elections, Interfax reported on 20
June. Volkov said early regional elections would threaten stability on
the eve of presidential elections. He added that federal legislation is
needed before regional administrative heads can be elected, except in
exceptional cases. On 11 May, Yeltsin issued a decree allowing the
Sverdlovsk region to hold gubernatorial elections this August.
Administrative heads have been elected in 22 of Russia's 89 regions. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS CYNICAL ABOUT PENSION INCREASES. Commenting on the
Federation Council's recent approval of the draft law which will
increase monthly pensions to 52,486 rubles (about $12), Moskovsky
komsomolets claimed in a 17 June article that the elderly might never
see the increase. Already the government has promised to allot an extra
7 trillion rubles, which the Pension Fund does not have. The commentary
noted that while their is no money for pensioners, teachers, veterans,
disabled persons, and single mothers, the government had no problem
finding 11 trillion rubles to spend on "security" (military operations
in Chechnya). -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DIPHTHERIA RATE DOUBLES FROM 1994. More than 13,000 cases of diphtheria
were registered in the first four months of 1994 in Russia, 4,843 of
them children under 14 years of age, Interfax reported on 20 June.
Yevgeny Belyaev, the chairman of the State Committee for Sanitation,
said the number of diphtheria cases has doubled in comparison with the
same period last year and he attributed the outbreak to a lack of
vaccinations. Large-scale vaccination programs have been weakly enforced
since 1990, which led to the outburst of the disease in 1991, later
developing into an epidemic. The government is now taking steps to
encourage vaccinations. According to Belyaev, 14.5 million children and
43.2 million adults (66.7% of the adult population) were vaccinated in
1993 and 1994. Last year, 88.1% of infants under the age of one were
vaccinated, he said. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK LOWERS REFINANCING RATE TO 180%. The Central Bank of Russia
lowered the refinancing rate at which it extends credits to commercial
banks from 195% to 180%, the bank's chairwoman, Tatyana Paramonova, told
Russian agencies on 20 June. The bank lowered the rate from 200% to 195%
on 16 May in an effort to encourage commercial banks to invest in
industry. In international practice, refinancing rates are usually
lowered in order to check any rapid strengthening of the national
currency and thus assist exporters. In the Russian situation, however,
the move is expected to have very little impact on the currency market,
Financial Information Agency experts noted. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

PAKISTAN TO BUY RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS. A Russian Defense Ministry
delegation is in Islamabad to work out the details on the sale of 40
military helicopters to Pakistan, the Chinese Xinua news agency reported
on 18 June. The agency also quoted Pakistani Defense Minister Aftab
Shaban Mirani as saying that the Russian Su-27 jet fighter was among
three foreign aircraft being considered for the Pakistani air force if
the U.S. does not release the F-16 fighters Pakistan purchased several
years ago. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES SLATED FOR SALE IN AUTUMN. The Russian
government plans to begin the early sale of large packages of enterprise
shares which were supposed to remain state property until 1996-97,
Sergei Belyaev, the chairman of the State Property Committee, told
Interfax on 20 June. The chairman said the sale of government-owned
stock in industrial facilities will increase state revenues. Revenue
from privatization this year is expected to total 9.1 trillion rubles
($2.02 billion). -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

METAL PRODUCERS CONTEMPLATE SLASHING EXPORTS. Russian metal producers
will slash their exports if the ruble continues to strengthen against
the U.S. dollar, Metal  Industry Committee experts said on 20 June,
Interfax reported. The rising ruble means that less money will come in
from metal exports, a main source of funding for metal enterprise
production. Metal prices within Russia are roughly equal to world market
prices, but the low solvency of potential Russian customers forces metal
producers to export about half of their output, mainly to countries
outside the CIS. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CONTROVERSIAL SHEVARDNADZE ASSOCIATE ASSASSINATED. Soliko Khabeishvili,
a close friend of Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze and
chairman of the Revival and Democracy Fund founded by the latter, died
in a Tbilisi hospital on 20 June after being shot by unidentified gunmen
outside his home earlier that day, Interfax reported. Khabeishvili
served as Georgian Communist Party Central Committee secretary for
industry in the early 1980s when Shevardnadze was party first secretary.
Following Shevardnadze's appointment as Soviet foreign minister in 1985,
Khabeishvili was removed from his post and put on trial for large-scale
bribery and corruption. He received a 15-year sentence. The
circumstances of his premature release are not known. -- Liz Fuller,
OMRI, Inc.

UZBEKISTAN PRESSED ON HUMAN RIGHTS. In welcoming Uzbek Foreign Minister
Abdulaziz Kamilov to Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher acknowledged that Uzbekistan had made progress on human
rights and political reform but said more is needed, Reuters reported on
20 June. A memorandum of understanding permitting U.S. citizens to
travel throughout Uzbekistan was signed by both sides; Uzbekistan has
also agreed to permit the establishment of an OSCE mission to monitor
human rights in Tashkent. -- Lowell Bezanis, 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
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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