|In the effort to give good and comforting answers to the young questioners whom we love, we very often arrive at good and comforting answers for ourselves. - Ruth Goode|
No. 121, Part I, 22 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 DUMA VOTES NO CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT. By a vote of 241-70, with 20 members abstaining, the State Duma passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government, Russian agencies reported. Although the vote was scheduled earlier over the government's economic policies, the events in southern Russia influenced the outcome. Only 226 votes were necessary for the motion to succeed. Additional measures recommending the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Yegorov, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Interior Minister Viktor Yerin, and Federal Security Service director Sergei Stepashin failed, primarily because Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party did not support them. The vote does not require the president to take action. He will ignore the Duma vote since "he has no grounds for not having confidence in the government," presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev told Russian Public Television on 21 June. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin, who abstained, called the vote "a very dangerous move." A second successful vote would require the president to sack his government or disband the Duma. However, few believe the Duma will take another confidence vote in the government. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. PARTY BREAKDOWN OF NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. Sergei Glazev's Democratic Party of Russia (DPR) called for the no-confidence vote, saying it was "the only constitutional measure available to the State Duma to overcome the paralysis and lack of will in the executive branch," Russian TV reported. The Communist Party, the Agrarian Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Yabloko group, and New Regional Policy formed an alliance with the DPR to denounce the government, Interfax reported. Russia's Choice, Women of Russia, the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, and Stability supported the government or abstained. Russia's Choice's leader Yegor Gaidar said the government "had done its best" to safeguard the lives of the hostages in Budennovsk, NTV reported. However, he called for the ministers responsible for the use of military force in Chechnya to be punished. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN ULTIMATUM AT CHECHEN TALKS. At the Russian-Chechen negotiations in Grozny, Col. Gen. Anatoly Kulikov, commander of federal forces in Chechnya, demanded that the Chechen delegates denounce terrorism and hand over Shamil Basaev to federal authorities, Russian and international agencies reported. Otherwise, Kulikov said, Russian forces would reopen hostilities. A spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin contradicted Kulikov later on 21 June, stating that although the Russian government did demand the extradition of Basaev, it would not use the issue as "a pretext for resuming armed activities." Nevertheless, the Chechen delegation later issued a statement which "denounced all acts of terrorism" and promised to assist federal authorities in the "search and arrest" of wanted terrorists. The statement stopped short of promising to hand over Basaev, who is reportedly in hiding in the Vedeno region of Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TALKS YIELD PRELIMINARY ACCORD. Following the Chechen concessions, the third day of negotiations in Grozny ended with the signing of a protocol on military issues, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 June. Under the agreement, both sides will simultaneously issue decrees for a ceasefire, which will be monitored by a commission consisting of Russians, Chechens, local clergy, and members of the OSCE mission in Chechnya. The accord also calls for an exchange of all prisoners held by both sides. The protocol calls for the disengagement of Russian and Chechen forces, and outlines procedures for disarming Chechen military formations and withdrawing most federal troops from the republic. If successfully implemented, the accord could serve as the basis of an overall peace settlement. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. MOSCOW MILITIA BOLSTERED BY 16,600 TROOPS. On 21 June, Interfax reported that 16,600 army and interior troops had been assigned to help the Moscow militia protect the capital. Some 4,000 elite paratroopers from the 98th Guards Airborne Division from Ivanovo Oblast and the 106th Guards Airborne Division from Tula were included, as well as students and cadets from military training establishments. Col. Gen. Yevgeny Podkolzin was quoted by Komsomolskaya pravda as saying the troops will be patrolling the streets along with the militia and guarding establishments of state importance. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN SUBMITS START-II FOR RATIFICATION. President Yeltsin has submitted the START-II Treaty to the Duma for ratification, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 June. The agreement, signed by Yeltsin and President George Bush in January 1993, calls for deep reductions in the nuclear arsenals of both the U.S. and Russia. The treaty faces uncertain prospects in the Duma, where many deputies have criticized it. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. DUMA ATTEMPTS TO AMEND CONSTITUTION . . . The Duma passed three proposed constitutional amendments that would expand its power over cabinet appointments, Interfax reported on 21 June. Under the draft laws, crucial appointments, including deputy prime ministers, foreign, defense, and interior ministers, and heads of the Foreign Intelligence Service and the Federal Security Service, would be subject to approval by the Duma. Currently the president only needs the Duma's consent to appoint the prime minister. The Duma would also gain the power to pass binding votes of no confidence in individual cabinet ministers. Duma deputy Oleg Rumyantsev, who helped draft the bills, said the amendments would bring Russia from "absolutist rule" to a "normal" form of government. The Duma proposals are unlikely to complete the arduous amendment process. Constitutional amendments must also be approved by three-fourths of the Federation Council and passed by two-thirds of the legislatures of Russia's 89 regions. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. . . . AND ADOPT REFERENDUM RULES. A draft constitutional law passed by the Duma in its second reading would limit the president's authority to call a referendum, Interfax reported on 21 June. Under the draft law, a presidential decree calling a referendum would have to be approved by the Constitutional Court and a referendum could not be held simultaneously with parliamentary, presidential, or local elections, during a nationwide state of emergency, or within three months after a state of emergency is lifted. Russia's constitution was passed by a controversial referendum on 12 December 1993, the same day as parliamentary elections and less than three months after Yeltsin dissolved the parliament. The law must be approved by a three-fourths majority in the Federation Council to become effective. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. COMMUNISTS CALL FOR YELTSIN'S IMPEACHMENT. The presidium of the Communist Party's Central Committee has called on its Duma faction to start collecting the 150 signatures necessary to begin the impeachment process against President Yeltsin, Interfax reported on 21 June. Impeachment ultimately requires a two-thirds vote in each house and is extremely unlikely. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN SIGNS DUMA ELECTION LAW. President Yeltsin signed the law on elections to the Duma on 21 June, Radio Rossii reported. Yeltsin had vetoed an earlier version of the law on 23 May. The current version contains many of the provisions Yeltsin opposed, particularly a provision requiring that half of the Duma members be elected on party lists. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA SEEKS INVESTORS. In a special edition of Nezavisimaya gazeta published on 21 June, the newspaper's board appealed to private investors to save the newspaper, which suspended publication on 24 May. Nezavisimaya gazeta editor-in-chief Vitaly Tretyakov will lead the joint stock company, which needs investments of at least $4 million in order to be registered. Other members of the organizing committee include former Central Bank chief Viktor Gerashchenko, NTV Director General Igor Malashenko, and head of the "Vox populi" opinion polling service Boris Grushin. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. DAVYDOV ON FOREIGN DEBTS, INVESTMENTS. Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Davydov detailed the structure of Russian foreign debt in an interview with Rossiiskaya gazeta published on 21 June. He said Russia has a $130 billion debt, of which it owes $36 billion to the Western countries of the Paris Club and $26 billion to the London Club group of private banks. Additional debts are owed to other countries and private suppliers. He said Third World countries owe Russia 90 billion rubles which at the old USSR bank rate of 0.67 rubles to $1 would have amounted to $148 billion, but the debtors reject that figure. Davydov added that Russia has received $2.5 billion in foreign direct investment, 40% of which is from the U.S. He expects more investment when Russia's debt is restructured, which he hopes will happen by the end of 1995. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc. GRACHEV WANTS CONTROL OVER ALL MILITARY FORCES. Criticizing the clumsy efforts to free the hostages in Budennovsk, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on 21 June indicated that he would renew his call for centralizing all military forces under his ministry. Interfax reported that he would propose at the next Security Council meeting that all departments with armed forces--such as the border troops and troops from the Interior and Emergencies ministries, as well as special sub-units of the security service--be placed under his ministry. He proposed that the people leading those other ministries be made deputy defense ministers. Grachev made similar appeals in July and September 1994. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN MEETS WITH FINANCIAL-INDUSTRIAL GROUPS. President Yeltsin met with the heads of domestic financial-industrial groups to discuss the legal basis for this new form of holding company, on 21 June, Russian TV reported. Meanwhile, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets said the government should more actively promote the creation of financial- industrial groups in the country, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported. He said those groups deserve a place in the Russian economy and noted that 15 such groups exist in Russia today and another 20 will probably be established by the end of 1995. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TAJIK PRESIDENT TAKES MEASURES TO SUPPORT NATIONAL CURRENCY. Describing the progress of the newly introduced Tajik ruble as unsatisfactory, President Imomali Rakhmonov, instructed his government to do whatever it takes to guarantee supply of food stuffs, light industries, and other branches of the economy within a week, Interfax reported. Industrial enterprises are expected to fill the commodity market with foodstuffs and essentials according to tight deadlines. He said the country can begin exporting only after the domestic market has been satisfied. The Tajik ruble became the national currency on 15 May, but the Russian ruble is still circulating in the country. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. CIS CFE LIMITATIONS AND CRIMEA. Ukraine and Russia are to complete the division of the Black Sea Fleet ground forces by 17 November, Interfax reported on 21 June. As the flank restrictions in the CFE treaty apply to Crimea, Russian Foreign Ministry officials expect Russia will be forced to remove its share of the ground units and their equipment from the peninsula. Since the marines must be deployed by water, the Russians side can only re-deploy its Black Sea Fleet troops in Kaliningrad if Moscow does not wish to re-juggle equipment and personnel in the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts which are also covered by flank restrictions. The possibility that the Russian share of ground units may be totally disbanded has not been ruled out. To date, the armament of the ground forces of the fleet have not been divided between Russia and Ukraine. -- 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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