|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 124, Part I, 27 June 1995
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Dear Daily Digest Reader: + + If you are not already acquainted with OMRI's analytical journal, + + Transition, we would be happy to send you a sample copy. Transition + + is a biweekly print publication that covers the same topics as the + + Daily Digest, but in greater depth. To receive your copy, send an + + e-mail message to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ with your postal address and + + mention that you are a Daily Digest subscriber. + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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 PRESIDENT, DUMA SEEK TO END PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS. President Boris Yeltsin has begun meeting with the leaders of Duma factions to resolve the current crisis in executive-legislative relations. On 26 June, he received Yegor Gaidar, leader of the Russia's Choice faction. Gaidar said the president's decision to resolve the Chechen crisis through negotiations "significantly changed the situation in Russia," Ekho Moskvy reported. Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev said the president believes that the time for compromise has not passed and that it is possible "to find a way to work normally and fruitfully with the State Duma," Russian Public Television reported. The president will meet with State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin and the heads of the parliamentary factions on 27 June. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. PRAVDA: DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT WOULD RUIN CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC. Dissolving parliament in early July would ruin the electoral prospects of Chernomyrdin's bloc, according to Pravda on 27 June. Under the constitution, if the president dissolves parliament, new elections must be held within three months. But Pravda noted that the electoral law only allows parties and movements registered six months before parliamentary elections to enter the campaign. Since Our Home Is Russia was legally registered in May, it could be barred from participating in any elections held before December. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC CONTINUES TO ORGANIZE IN THE REGIONS. Leonard Vid, chairman of the executive committee of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's electoral bloc Our Home Is Russia, said branches of the bloc would be created in all of Russia's 89 regions by 20 July, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 27 June. The article noted that the bloc's 126-member political council decided on 24 June to hold a second congress from 26 August to 3 September. In July and August, regional organizations will be charged with recruiting prominent local figures to run for parliament and help the bloc during the campaign. Our Home Is Russia is expected to meet with limited success in the party list vote for the Duma, but with the support of local elites, the prime minister's bloc could win many seats in single-member constituencies outside Moscow. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY ON THE ELECTIONS. In an interview published in Pravda on 27 June, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said close cooperation among all opposition forces would be possible only if the Communist Party "forgets the word communism" and Derzhava leader Alexander Rutskoi stops pretending to be a "special figure" in Russian politics. Zhirinovsky also predicted that the authorities will cancel parliamentary elections scheduled for December, although he said the Liberal Democratic Party is proceeding with the establishment of city and district branches in all regions of Russia. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS FAIL TO UNITE. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation decided to campaign independently in the December parliamentary elections at its 24 June Central Committee plenum, Ekho Moskvy reported. In an earlier decision, the more hard-line Russian Communist Workers' Party, led by Viktor Anpilov and Viktor Tyulkin, had also decided not to join any blocs. In a 27 June commentary, Pravda complained that the participation of two Communist parties in the elections would confuse voters. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. BASAEV PREPARED TO STRIKE AGAIN. In an exclusive interview with AFP on 26 June, Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basaev threatened to launch additional attacks into Russian territory if peace negotiations fail. "If the war must go on, it will be over there," he said. Basaev expressed some regret for his attack on Budennovsk, saying his men "turned into beasts" during the fighting. He objected, however, to labeling his actions as "terrorist," because the carnage in Budennovsk was "only a pale copy of what has been going on in Chechnya for six months." Confirming earlier reports, Basaev stated that he had bribed his way past checkpoints on the road from Chechnya to Budennovsk, at the cost of $7,000. The Chechen fighter said he believes Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is "sincere" in his desire to resolve the Chechen crisis through negotiations, which are scheduled to resume today. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. PARLIAMENT EVACUATED AFTER BOMB THREAT. The central Moscow building housing Russia's State Duma was evacuated on 26 June after an anonymous telephone caller said explosives were planted inside, Western agencies reported on 26 June. This was the second bomb threat within a week. On 20 June, the government building in Moscow was evacuated after a telephoned bomb threat proved false. Russian security officials are on alert and have strengthened security following the seizure of hostages earlier this month in Budennovsk by Chechen rebels. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. DRUG-RELATED CRIME RISES. Drug-related crime rose sharply last year in Russia, where more than 1.5 million people use narcotics, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 June. Alexander Sergeev, an Interior Ministry department head in charge of drug-trafficking problems, told the agency that there were 74,000 drug-related crimes in 1994, an increase of more than 60% over 1993. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, drug usage has surged. Most drugs smuggled into Russia come from traditional former Soviet suppliers in Central Asia, Ukraine, and Lithuania where crime organizations are involved in refining locally grown drugs. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF UNEMPLOYED ARE YOUNG PEOPLE. More than one third of the unemployed people in Russia are young people, Russian Radio reported on 25 June. According to the Federal Employment Service, graduates from higher educational institutions and colleges tend to go into teaching, engineering, and other skilled professions, because of the low salaries. More than 60% of the young people who are unemployed have asked the Federal Employment Service to help them find jobs in more lucrative professions such as accounting, banking, and tutoring. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIA AND IRAQ SIGN OIL DEAL. Russia and Iraq have signed an agreement that gives Russia the right to develop two oil fields in Iraq, Western agencies reported on 26 June. Iraqi Oil Minister Safa Hadi Jawad said the agreement called for the Russian oil company Lukoil to develop parts of the West Qurna and North Rumaila fields in southern Iraq, with a production capacity of 1 million barrels per day. The deal will be implemented after UN economic sanctions against Iraq are lifted. Jawad said the sanctions had caused Iraq to seek deals "with companies that can influence decision-makers in their country," which is why a Russian company had been chosen for the contract, even though two American firms had submitted offers. "We feel in Iraq that Russia is closer to us than any other country," Jawad added. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIA AND CHINA ASSERT AUTONOMY. At a 26 June news conference, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and his Chinese counterpart Li Peng criticized foreign interference in their internal development, Russian and international agencies reported. "Russia and China...will not allow anyone to teach us how to live and work," Li told journalists, in a thinly veiled criticism of Western policies. Chernomyrdin seconded this sentiment, saying, "we will decide for ourselves how to live." The Russian prime minister also pointedly declared that Russia regards the People's Republic of China as "the only legitimate government for all China," a reference to recent Chinese criticism of the Taiwanese president's visit to the U.S. Chernomyrdin expressed hope that an agreement signed yesterday to build a bridge over the Amur river would stimulate Russian-Chinese trade, which declined by 34% in 1994. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA SHOOT FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER IN TAJIKISTAN? The military command in Dushanbe has granted the peacekeepers in Tajikistan the right to shoot without giving a warning, Western sources reported. However, the statement did not specify what types of situations would be considered acceptable for the use of such deadly force. The change comes in light of the recent killings of servicemen near the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. Two Russian officers were killed last week while returning to their base and on 26 June two members of the Tajik National Guard were killed. The Russian command has been critical of Tajiks for failing to make arrests in the majority of crimes against members of the CIS force. This year alone 28 members of the force have been killed in non-combat related incidents, according to Interfax and Western sources. Arrests have been made in connection with only three of the 21 crimes committed against Russian servicemen in 1994, Interfax reported on 27 January. The statement issued by the military command in Dushanbe said, "To achieve personal security we must take harsh and decisive measures." -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. KAZAKH PRESIDENT CONCLUDES VISIT TO INDONESIA. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev finished his four-day visit to Indonesia on 26 June. Indonesian President Suharto had visited Kazakhstan in April and the two presidents had agreed to strengthen ties between their two countries. Negotiations centered on increasing trade with Indonesia which amounted to a mere $864,000 in 1994, the bulk of it being tea, according to Interfax. In comparison, trade between Uzbekistan and Indonesia totals $100 million annually, AFP reported. Kazakhstan is looking to increase imports of Indonesian textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, while Indonesia is interested in metals, wool, and leather from Kazakhstan. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. TURKS FIND MANAS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN. A Turkish Education Ministry committee has found the 1 million line-long, 1,000-year-old Kyrgyz epic trilogy Manas unsuitable for children, saying it contains "orthographic errors and immoral language," according to the 23-29 June edition of Cumhuriyet. The ministerial committee is responsible for recommending what should be read by students. The Manas epic, which chronicles the history of the Kyrgyz people, will celebrate its 1,000 year anniversary this August in Bishkek with support from UNESCO. It was recently translated into Turkish. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. RECONSTRUCTION OF UZBEK AIRPORT. Germany is to provide DM 240 million for the renovation of the Tashkent airport, Segodnya reported on 22 June. The funds for the project, which will permit the airport to handle all classes of airliners, 2.5 million passengers, and 20,500 tons of goods annually, will come from a long-term credit agreement reached by Bonn and Tashkent in 1994. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. HIGH MARKS FOR UZBEK BANK. The British auditors Ernst and Young gave high marks to the Uzbekistan National Bank for Foreign Economic Relations, Business World reported on 16 June. After examining financial reports and banking transactions, the auditors concluded the balance and credit portfolios of the bank--one of the four largest in the CIS with a balance of $1.4 billion--are highly reliable. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. GERMAN SUPPORT FOR ETHNIC GERMANS. A delegation from Bonn toured ethnic German settlements in Kyrgyzstan and announced that the German government plans to give DM 25-30 million to Kyrgyzstan to provide employment for ethnic Germans living there, RFE/RL sources in Bishkek reported on 23 June. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. JOVANOVIC IN GEORGIA. Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic met with his Georgian counterpart Alexander Cikvaidze in Tbilisi, the Serbian independent paper Nasa Borba reported on 27 June. The two ministers signed an accord paving the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the rump Yugoslavia and Georgia. Jovanovic used the opportunity to repeat Belgrade's oft-stated positon that the resolution of conflict in the Balkan region is tied to the lifting of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia, which was an interpretation of events that reportedly received Tbilisi's backing. For its part, the Georgian side voiced its interest in possible Serbian contributions to the modernization and upgrading of its industrial sector. -- Stan Marktoich and 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 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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