Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 125, Part I, 28 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

YELTSIN MEETS WITH DEPUTY GROUPS. President Boris Yeltsin met with
representatives of all Duma factions except Yabloko on 27 June, Russian
media reported. He told them that he will not make decisions on
replacing ministers until 22 July, the last day of the parliament's
summer session. He said that those decisions would be made on the basis
of the Security Council meeting and State Duma confidence vote scheduled
for this week. He later told a meeting of the leaders of Russia's
regions and republics that the leaders of the Duma factions agreed to
support the government in exchange for the sacking of the ministers who
are mainly responsible for Chechnya. Yeltsin proposed the creation of a
presidential commission on military reform that would include Duma
members. He also proposed that in the future the Duma not take a
confidence vote before consulting with him or discussing the matter in a
conciliatory commission, Russian TV reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

PROCEDURAL COMPROMISE FOUND TO EASE GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Yegor Gaidar
announced that President Yeltsin and the deputies had found a procedural
compromise to make it easier for the Duma to support the government,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 27 June. If the Duma fails to pass a second no-
confidence motion on 1 July, then the government will withdraw its
request that the Duma give it a positive vote of confidence. This
procedural move will allow parties opposed to the policies of Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government merely to abstain during the
no-confidence vote, rather than actually having to vote for the
government to avoid being disbanded by Yeltsin. The Agrarian Party,
which initially voted no confidence in the government, also supported
this compromise, according to Reuters. Interfax reported that no more
than 140 deputies will vote against the government, mostly from among
the Communists, Yabloko, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the
Democratic Party of Russia. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN MEETS WITH DELEGATION FOR GROZNY TALKS. President Yeltsin met
with Russian negotiators on 27 June before their departure for a second
round of talks aimed at ending the Chechen conflict, Russian and
international agencies reported. At the meeting, Yeltsin gave the
Russian delegation authority to enter into political agreements with the
Chechens, according to Arkady Volsky, one of the negotiators. The
delegation had lacked such sweeping powers before, he added. Volsky said
the next round of talks would be "difficult," but expressed optimism.
Izvestiya noted on 28 June that Yeltsin's meeting with the delegation
showed he had "taken personal control" of the negotiations. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

JUSTICE MINISTER PRAISES COSSACK UNITS. In an interview published in
Rossiiskaya gazeta on 27 June, Justice Minister Valentin Kovalev praised
initiatives among Cossacks in the North Caucasus to create armed units,
which he said could defend against terrorist attacks and enforce law and
order in the region. Following the Budennovsk hostage crisis, Terek
Cossacks in the Stavropol region began organizing militias, despite a 19
June statement from a presidential representative that enlisting armed
volunteers in such militias was illegal. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

YEGOROV DEFENDS ASSAULT ON BUDENNOVSK HOSPITAL. At a 27 June press
conference, Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Yegorov defended the
controversial 17 June storming of the Budennovsk hospital by special
forces, Russian television reported. "If I had to carry out such an
operation again, I would have done it exactly as it was planned this
time," he said. Yegorov added that Interior Minister Viktor Yerin and
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin gave the order to storm the hospital. He
said the operation had not been carried out poorly, and added that only
10 hostages had been killed by fire from Russian troops during the
attack, not 30 as Chechen leader Shamil Basaev claimed. Yegorov
criticized Chernomyrdin's subsequent decision to resolve the hostage
crisis through negotiations, saying, "The terrorists should not have
been allowed to leave the hospital." Instead, Yegorov argued, the
operation to liberate the hostages by force should have been continued.
-- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CRITICISM OF PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY LAWS. An article in Argumenty i
fakty (No. 25) criticized Russia's "absurd" laws on parliamentary
immunity, which have allowed nearly 300 deputies nationwide to escape
prosecution for serious crimes. The author cited cases of deputies from
regional and district councils who committed crimes ranging from
embezzlement to drunk driving and murder but could not be charged. He
called on the Duma to support the efforts of deputy Vitaly Savitsky, who
has twice proposed limits on immunity for elected officials. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

LAW ON JUDGES GOES INTO EFFECT. A new law to improve the independence
and qualifications of judges went into effect upon its publication in
the official newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta on 27 June. Grigory Ivliev of
the Duma Committee on Legislation and Legal Reforms said judges will now
be required to have at least five years of experience in the legal
profession. In addition, the law raises judges' salaries and changes
retirement rules in order to attract the best jurists to the profession.
Ivliev said some regions and republics had demanded the right to appoint
their own judges, which he said would place judges' independence in
doubt. Instead, under the new law local officials will be able to
express their opinions before judges are appointed by the president, as
the constitution requires. The law also will allow judges to keep and
carry firearms for their own protection. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE PARTY SHRINKING. Many people have left
Russia's Democratic Choice Party, Yegor Gaidar, the party's leader, told
Vechernaya Moskva on 27 June. He said it is as if they have been "sucked
out by a huge vacuum cleaner. However, those who left were precisely the
people about whom I have often wondered, 'How could I have been in the
same party with them?'" He said that the party had become "better,
although smaller." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

POVERTY LEVEL INCREASES. A serious increase in the amount of people
living under the poverty line in Russia brought the number to 47 million
in May, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 June. In a seminar devoted to the
country's social problems in Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Yarov
said the situation is especially critical for Russia's pensioners
because inflation is outpacing their monthly indexed pension payments.
The minister said the problem could get even worse after Russian
bankruptcy laws are finalized, causing more unemployment as more
businesses and factories close. Meanwhile, the Economics Ministry
forecasts the number of unemployed to increase by another 1.5 million,
bringing the level to 4 million people by the end of the year, Russian
TV reported. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DOUBLE METHANE EXPLOSION IN KEMEROVO KILLS SEVEN. Two powerful methane
explosions at the Krasnogorskaya mine in the Kemerovo Oblast killed four
miners and three rescue workers on 25 June, Russian Public Radio and
Segodnya reported on 27 June. Three miners were rescued and remain in
critical condition in a local hospital. The mine has been closed and a
special commission from the Russian Federation State Technical Committee
is investigating the causes of the tragedy. This is the second double
methane explosion in Russian mines this year. The previous accident was
in Komi. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL SPEAKER CRITICIZES NATO. Speaking before a press
conference in Bucharest, Vladimir Shumeiko, speaker of the Federation
Council, told journalists that NATO should be abolished, not expanded,
Russian and international agencies reported. Underlining Russian
objections to the eastward expansion of the alliance, which he
characterized as "against our interests," Shumeiko expressed doubts
about the "pacifist character" of NATO, and contended that "a military
bloc cannot be a fighter for peace." He added, "it would be better to
discuss liquidating NATO." Shumeiko's remarks came at the end of a two-
day visit to Romania, which was the first former Warsaw Pact country to
join the NATO Partnership for Peace program. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
Inc.

EUROPEAN UNION TO SIGN ACCORD WITH RUSSIA. At a meeting in Cannes,
European Union (EU) leaders decided to move forward with an interim
trade accord with Russia, Western agencies reported on 27 June. The EU
had frozen the trade accord in January, as a protest against Russian
military intervention in Chechnya. The EU leaders released a statement
that authorized the signing of the trade accord, noting that "progress
had been made with regard to the situation in Chechnya." A date for the
signing will be set at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers,
scheduled for 17 July. A French government spokesman justified the
decision by referring to the "new spirit" of recent negotiations between
Moscow and Chechen separatists. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

UNITED STATES RANKS AS LARGEST FOREIGN INVESTOR IN RUSSIA. The U.S.
Chamber of Commerce announced that between January and May 1995, direct
foreign investment in the Russian economy amounted to $500 million,
Segodnya reported on 27 June. The chamber's estimates showed that
overall foreign investment in Russia reached $2 billion at the end of
last year. The largest investments were in Russia's energy and mining
industries. Almost 15% of the 15,204 Russian enterprises that received
foreign investments in 1994 were backed by American companies.
Currently, the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Russia, followed
by Germany, Austria, and Finland, according to the report. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN PRIVATIZATION EFFORT. The first auction in Georgia's voucher
privatization program opened on 26 June, AFP reported the next day. The
government plans to sell stakes in 780 large firms by the end of the
year; 20 went on the block initially. Popular reaction to the event has
been lukewarm and only 700,000 people claimed their vouchers--each
nominally valued at $30--as of 15 June. Official estimates suggest
around half of the industries being auctioned are not functioning at
present. However, Emir Djugel, the first deputy minister for state
property, told AFP that the real figure may be as high as 80%. Vouchers
have been selling on the street for between $5 and $6 recently. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

BASAEV IN ABKHAZIA? On 26 June, the news agency Iberia reported that
Shamil Basaev was seen the same day in Abkhazia. Georgian Deputy Prime
Minister Tamaz Nadareishvili said there are special commando training
camps in that region, Izvestiya reported on 28 June. Men allegedly
trained in the camps--including mercenaries from Turkey, Jordan, Syria,
and other countries--are being sent from Abkhazia into Chechnya, he
said. He claimed the camps are located in Novy Afon, Gudauta, and Byzb.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

PROPHET SURFACES IN KAZAKHSTAN. According to the former Mufti of
Tashkent, Muhammed Sadik Muhammed Yusuf, a self-proclaimed prophet has
surfaced in Almaty. In a telephone interview with RFE/RL's Uzbek Service
on 27 June, Yusuf said that Akbeket Sufihan claims to be God's latest
messenger. Sufihan's revelations are contained in a book entitled
"Allah's New Greeting to the World." The 29 page work divided into 10
sections is written in Kazakh and Russian and claims to be the fruit of
the holy Koran. Sufihan sent his work to the Saudi Arabian organization
Rabita, which is currently translating the work into Arabic so that the
legitimacy of its author's claims can be evaluated. The Mufti, who was
removed from office in 1992, is a member of Rabita; he provided
information on the unusual case from Istanbul where he is living in
exile. -- 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.


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole