|Eat to live, and not live to eat. - Benjamin Franklin|
No. 122, Part I, 23 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 GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR SECOND DUMA NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Russian government has asked the Duma to take a second vote of no confidence, Russian agencies reported. In a statement published in Rossiiskaya gazeta, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the government's status is uncertain due to the Duma's 21 June no-confidence vote. If the Duma passes another vote of no confidence in the government within three months, the president must disband the Duma or sack the government. Chernomyrdin said prolonging the uncertainty for three months would delay the adoption of the 1996 budget, disrupt cooperation between the legislative and executive branches, and endanger the international activities of the Russian government. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin said Duma regulations require a vote within 10 days of the government request. President Boris Yeltsin made it clear that he would disband the Duma rather than sack his government in a speech broadcast on Russian Public Television on 22 June and published in Rossiiskaya gazeta the next day. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. DUMA PREPARES FOR SECOND VOTE. Grigory Yavlinsky said his Yabloko faction would again vote against the government. He said the president and government are not willing to accept that "their activities [in Chechnya], resulting in the death of tens of thousands, are not to somebody's liking." He said there would not be a repeat of October 1993's violent clash between the parliament and president, because the constitution now allows the president to dissolve the Duma. Yavlinsky's support of the no-confidence vote was largely responsible for its success this time, Segodnya reported on 22 June. Last year's no- confidence vote, after the October currency crisis, had failed to garner enough support. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. IMPEACHMENT MOTION COULD PROTECT DUMA FROM DISSOLUTION. While a motion to impeach President Yeltsin is very unlikely to lead to his removal, the rush to initiate impeachment proceedings reflects the desire of many Duma deputies to protect themselves against potential dissolution, Segodnya reported on 22 June. Communist deputies, supported by factions including Democratic Russia and the Agrarian Party, already have collected more than 100 of the 150 signatures required to place an impeachment motion on the Duma's agenda. Passing the motion would allow the Duma to pass a vote of no confidence in the government a second time without risking dissolution. According to Article 109 of the constitution, the president cannot disband parliament once a motion to impeach him has been passed by a two-thirds majority in the Duma (300 votes). -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN TO ALLOW GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN NIZHNY NOVGOROD. Yeltsin signed a decree allowing gubernatorial elections to be held this year in Nizhny Novgorod, Segodnya reported on 22 June. The regional legislature will set a date for elections soon. Governor Boris Nemtsov will run for re-election and favors holding the vote in December on the same day as the parliamentary elections. Gubernatorial elections in the Sverdlovsk region are scheduled to be held in August. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN CRITICIZES MINISTERS. The tragedy in Budennovsk became possible because of errors in the work of the government and presidency, Yeltsin told the government. Although he strongly backed the government overall, the president blamed the Federal Security Service, the Internal Affairs Ministry, the intelligence services of the military and border guards, the Defense Ministry, and the General Prosecutor's office for failing to carry out presidential orders. Yeltsin predicted changes at the ministerial level and below at the Security Council meeting scheduled for 29 June. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN BACKS POLITICAL SOLUTION IN CHECHNYA. President Yeltsin called for a political solution to the Chechen conflict on 22 June, Western and Russian agencies reported. Yeltsin said "the process of a political solution to the Chechen crisis has been too slow," and added "we have lacked flexibility and political will." In Grozny, Russian and Chechen negotiators claimed that negotiations were making headway, and issued a joint statement which affirmed that "neither Russians nor Chechens want war." However, the talks closed on 22 June without an agreement on crucial political issues. The two sides continue to disagree about the status of Chechnya within the Russian Federation and the political future of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Interfax reported. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. HIGH ABORTION RATE IN RUSSIA. Russia still leads the world in the number of abortions with more than twice as many terminations as births, Interfax reported on 22 June. It quoted demographic experts as saying that 3.5 million abortions were performed each year, or 98 for every 1,000 women of childbearing age. Under the former Soviet Union, contraceptives were difficult to obtain, thus forcing many women to undergo abortions, often in unsanitary and unsafe medical conditions. The latest statistics show that in Russia for every 100 births there are 225 abortions, compared to 67 in Sweden, 62 in France, and 25 in the Netherlands, according to the report. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIA CONCERNED WITH UN STANCE IN BOSNIA. In a statement released on 22 June, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed regret that the UN Security Council had not taken action in response to the alleged blockade of UN peacekeeping forces by Bosnian government troops, Interfax reported. With fighting in Bosnia intensifying, the spokesmen told journalists Russia had twice this week asked for an emergency session of the Security Council to discuss the continued obstruction of peacekeeping operations by Bosnian government forces but had been rebuffed. Continuing silence on this issue may call into question the "impartiality" of the UN, added the spokesman. Also on 22 June, a senior Russian industrial official told Interfax that Russia is prepared to resume scientific and technological cooperation with rump Yugoslavia as soon as international sanctions are lifted. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN ENVOY CONSULTS WITH MIDDLE EASTERN LEADERS. Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk met with Iraqi and Jordanian officials on 21 and 22 June, Western agencies reported. At a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on 21 June, Posuvalyuk discussed coordination of the two states' actions to lift the UN oil embargo against Iraq, "on the basis of Iraq's implementation of relevant UN resolutions." In Jordan, Posuvalyuk and Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Karim Kabariti issued a joint statement calling for the lifting of economic sanctions against Iraq. Posuvalyuk's visit coincides with the 18 June release of a report by the UN special commission on Iraqi disarmament, which contends that Iraq has largely complied with UN resolutions on disarmament, but is still concealing information on its biological weapons program. The UN Security Council will decide in July whether Iraq has complied sufficiently to warrant the lifting of sanctions. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN ANNOUNCES 1996 BUDGET PLANS. The Russian budget deficit in 1996 will be less than 4% of GDP and inflation will be contained at 2% per month, President Yeltsin announced in a televised meeting of the government on 22 June, Russian and Western agencies reported. He said the budget deficit will be financed using non-inflationary methods but also acknowledged that there would be problems in raising planned revenues. Yeltsin said the taxation policy will be considerably changed. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. RUBLE FALLS ON MICEX TRADING. The ruble rate stabilized at 4,567 rubles to $1 on 23 June MICEX trading after falling 28 points the day before, the Financial Information Agency reported. Currency operators said the State Duma's 21 June no-confidence vote in the government initially caused the ruble to weaken. Meanwhile, dealers said several large banks sold currency on the off-exchange market and the Central Bank also intervened to soften the dollar's sharp fluctuations. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. CAPITAL FLIGHT FROM RUSSIA WAS $80 BILLION IN 1994. Capital flight from Russia amounted to some $80 billion by the end of 1994, according to the head of the Russian bureau of Interpol, Yu. Melnikov. He said capital continued to leave the country at $1.5 billion per month in 1995. Speaking in an interview with the BBC World Service, Melnikov accused American banks of playing a leading role in channeling the funds abroad, Megalopolis Express reported in issue no. 24. -- Peter Rutland, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA POLICE CLASH WITH DEMONSTRATORS IN EREVAN. Up to ten people were injured on 21 June when police attacked representatives of ten opposition parties demonstrating in Erevan to protest the Armenian authorities' refusal to permit several political parties, including the Dashnaktsyutyun, to field candidates for the 5 July parliamentary elections, Western agencies reported on 22 June. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested. AFP quoted presidential spokesman Levon Zurabyan as arguing that the demonstration was not officially sanctioned, and that participants were "trying to pressure" the Armenian leadership. Central Election Commission officials have claimed that four political parties failed to submit the necessary documentation to register, and four others failed to collect the minimum number of supporters' signatures. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc. UN RESOLUTION ON TAJIKISTAN APPLAUDED BY RUSSIANS. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev expressed approval of the "very important" decision of the UN Security Council on extending the mandate of the observer force until the end of the year, Interfax reported. Chernyshev said the Russians had worked hard to ensure that the CIS peacekeeping force in Tajikistan achieved the status of a full-scale UN operation. Chernyshev recognized the resolution was not a promise to fund the operation in Tajikistan but said, "Nevertheless, this is a clear step forward." He said the Security Council's approval of the close ties between the UN observers and the CIS peacekeeping troops is "comforting." At the moment, the UN secretary-general's special envoy, Ramiro Piriz Ballon, is looking into possible sites for the next round of talks between the Tajik government and the opposition. Chernyshev said he expects the talks to take place possibly in July but "no later" than 26 August, the date the existing ceasefire ends. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. KARIMOV AND KUCHMA. The two-day visit of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to Uzbekistan ended on 21 June with the signing of a cooperation and economic agreement and several other minor documents, according to ITAR-TASS on 21 June. Ukraine considers Uzbekistan a "reliable strategic partner" according to Kuchma. According to Interfax on 22-23 June, Uzbek President Islam Karimov praised the CIS collective security treaty but was critical of current plans for the joint protection of CIS borders and Russia's demand for dual citizenship for ethnic Russians living in the "near abroad." He said Kiev and Taskhent's views on these matters coincide. They also plan to press Russia to help finance the resettlement in Crimea of some 250,000 Crimean Tatars living in Uzbekistan. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. CIS RUSSIANS DELAY LAUNCH OF UKRAINIAN SATELLITE. A spokesman for Russia's Military Space Forces said on 22 June that Russia had postponed the launch of Ukraine's first satellite until August at the earliest. Reuters quoted Sergei Gorbunov as saying that the troops must first get Russian government permission to launch the satellite--known as SICH-1-- from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The launch had been scheduled for this month. Ironically, the satellite was to be boosted into orbit by a "Zenit" booster built in Ukraine. Gorbunov said Ukraine would have to pay for the satellite launch. He said that such launches usually would cost tens of billions of rubles "for foreign states." -- Doug Clarke, 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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