Лучшее - враг хорошего. - Вольтер

No. 124, Part I, 27 June 1995

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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


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.

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.

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,

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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,

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
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