Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. - William James
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 126, Part I, 29 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 POWER MINISTERS. President Boris Yeltsin met with
Federal Border Guards' Service Director Andrei Nikolaev, Federal
Security Service director Sergei Stepashin, Internal Affairs Minister
Viktor Yerin, and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev individually on 28
June, Russian Public Television reported. In each case, he discussed
material gathered by the Security Council examining the conditions that
allowed Shamil Basaev to succeed in his attack on Budennovsk. Russian TV
reported that the Security Council is unlikely to recommend the sacking
of any ministers, but that Yeltsin will use the conclusions of the
meeting to make personnel decisions later. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT, DUMA PREPARE FOR VOTE. The Duma will take a second vote on
the issue of no confidence in the government first and only then
consider the government's demand to give it a positive vote of
confidence, Speaker Ivan Rybkin announced at the conclusion of two
conciliatory commission meetings that brought together all the Duma
factions on 28 June, Ekho Moskvy reported. He said the decision would
allow the Duma to complete the constitutional process it started with
the first vote. He rejected the so-called "zero option," strongly
supported by the official Rossiiskaya gazeta, in which the government
would withdraw its demand that the Duma give it a vote of confidence if
the Duma rejected a second no-confidence measure, NTV reported. The
deputies also said that no agreement has been struck with Yeltsin to
support the government if he fires the power ministers, as he claimed
yesterday, Russian Public Television reported. The factions'
conciliatory commission will meet again on 29 June to discuss the
results of today's Security Council meeting. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

SECOND ROUND OF RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TALKS BEGIN. After a three-day break,
Russian and Chechen negotiators resumed discussions in Grozny on 28
June, Russian and international agencies reported. The current round of
talks focuses on political issues. Russian TV reported that negotiators
spent the day discussing a Russian proposal for the formation of an
interim Chechen National Council to govern the country until elections
are held. After the talks ended for the day, an OSCE mediator described
the atmosphere as "good," while Russian delegation head Vyacheslav
Mikhailov characterized the day's discussions as "difficult." Russian
military spokesmen again claimed that the Chechens had violated the
current ceasefire in attacks on 27 June that killed two Russian
servicemen and wounded 12 others. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT SETS DATE FOR CHECHNYA CASE. The Constitutional
Court will consider a Federation Council appeal concerning the legality
of secret decrees on Chechnya beginning on 10 July, NTV reported on 28
June. The secret decrees were issued by the president and government in
November and December 1994 to authorize the deployment of troops in
Chechnya and the start of the military campaign. In May, the court
turned down the council's first request to rule on the Chechnya decrees
because of technical flaws in the documents attached to the appeal. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

KOVALEV REPORTED TO PUSH AMNESTY FOR BASAEV. Komsomolskaya pravda on 29
June attacked outspoken war critic Sergei Kovalev for seeking an amnesty
for all Chechen fighters, including Shamil Basaev. The newspaper
reported that in a 28 June speech, Kovalev and two other Duma deputies
condemned Russian special forces much more strongly than Basaev, whom
they called "not so bad" and a "remarkable personality." The author
noted that Kovalev's speech and amnesty petition were not well received,
even by those who oppose the government's military campaign in Chechnya.
Komsomolskaya pravda has generally given favorable coverage to Kovalev
in the past. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ONE MURDER COMMITTED IN MOSCOW EVERY FIVE HOURS. One murder is committed
in the Moscow Oblast every five hours and one gang assault takes place
every six hours, the Moscow Oblast Police Department and Moscow Oblast
Prosecutor's Office revealed at a joint meeting on 28 June, according to
Moskovsky komsomolets on 29 June. The meeting addressed the crime
problem and acknowledged that the crime rate has risen beyond a
"socially tolerable level." -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

GRYZUNOV: RUSSIAN PRESS IN FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS NEEDS SUPPORT. State
Press Committee Chairman Sergei Gryzunov said the government should
allocate more than 16 billion rubles ($3.6 million) to support Russian-
language publications in former Soviet republics, Russian TV reported on
28 June. Currently the government only spends 3 billion rubles
($680,000) on such subsidies. Committee members suggested that priority
should be given to Russian-language newspapers in areas where the ethnic
Russian population is most threatened, such as Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN ADDRESSES MILITARY ACADEMY GRADUATES. On 28 June, President
Yeltsin outlined four "priority tasks" of Russian national security
policy in a speech to graduates of Russian military academies, Russian
and international agencies reported. These are: the restoration of
constitutional order in Chechnya, the formation of a CIS collective
security system, the development of a new European security system, and
the strengthening of Russian ties with the Asia-Pacific region. While
expressing willingness to "deepen cooperation" with NATO, Yeltsin
reiterated Russian objections to any expansion of the alliance. He said
NATO should transform itself from a "Western military bloc" into a
component of an all-European security order. The Russian president also
announced that the stabilization of the Russian economy has rendered
further cuts in the military budget unnecessary, and he promised that
military expenditures for 1996 would be held at the 1995 level. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

BANKING SECTOR NON-PAYMENTS OVERDUE. The volume of non-payments in the
banking sector totals 158 trillion rubles ($359 million), Russian Bank
Association President Vyacheslav Zakharov said, according to Rossiiskaya
gazeta on 29 June. Of that total, 35 trillion rubles ($79.54 million) is
owed by enterprises to banks for overdue loan payments. The rest of the
money is made up of interbank debts. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK TELEGRAM STIRS TALK OF MONEY REFORM. Russian Central Bank
managers moved to "maximally reduce cash in circulation" after they
received a confidential telegram signed by the bank's first deputy
chairman, Arnold Voylukov on 27 June, Segodnya reported the next day.
The telegram ordered cash balances and settlement and clearing ledgers
to be reduced to a minimum by 30 June. It also instructed the bank to
fully transfer bank notes from circulation cash departments to reserve
funds. The telegram, which was leaked, stirred talk of a money reform of
cash circulation, although a law on the Central Bank explicitly forbids
cash circulation confiscation measures. More likely, the telegram was a
directive to the Central bank to continue tightening cash discipline for
banks and enterprises. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

MELIKIAN URGES WAGE HIKE. A wage hike is needed to counter the
continuing decline in Russian living standards, even if it means
overburdening the country's lean budget, Russian Labor Minister Gennady
Melikian said on 28 June, ITAR-TASS reported. The minister said the
government must raise minimum wages and pensions by this autumn to stem
the decline. Real incomes have fallen by 20% since September 1994,
despite a steady rise in inflation-adjusted incomes. A 113% minimum wage
hike on 1 April to 43,700 rubles (about $10) a month had little effect,
Melikian said. The Labor Ministry proposes to raise the minimum wage to
a maximum of 65,000 rubles a month by early autumn, a costly step for
the federal and local budgets. Very few workers are actually paid at
minimum wage. Instead, the figure is used as a multiplier to calculate
wages and benefits throughout the state sector. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIKS ARREST RUSSIAN OFFICER IN CONNECTION WITH TERRORISM. The Tajik
Interior Ministry has taken Lt. Col. Sharip Shapirov into custody in
connection with the murders of 12 Russian and Tajik government soldiers
and other subversive acts, Western soruces and Ekho Moskvy reported.
Shapirov was arrested along with eight other suspects in the Tajik
capital, Dushanbe. Besides the charges of murder, Shapirov is suspected
of using military cargo planes to smuggle rebels and drugs from
Afghanistan. Police allege the Russian officer was receiving orders from
Islamic opposition leaders. Shapirov serves in the 201st army division,
currently stationed on the Tajik-Afghan border. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI,
Inc.

NEW UZBEK SECURITY CHIEF. Maj. Gen. Rustam Inoyatov, 50, was appointed
head of Uzbekistan's national security service on 28 June, Russian and
Western agencies reported. He replaced Gulyam Alieyev, who will be
appointed to an as-yet unspecified post. Uzbek authorities have not
given a reason for the personnel change. Inoyatov reportedly rose to
become Alieyev's first deputy after having begun his career as a rank-
and-file KGB agent. Tashkent was said to be the KGB's regional center in
Central Asia during the Soviet period; since independence, outlawed
opposition groups and international human rights organizations have
accused its successor of being very intolerant of any activities against
the present regime. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON ARMENIAN ECONOMY. After experiencing the sharpest economic
decline of any of the former Soviet republics, Armenia was the first to
record economic growth--5%--in 1994. Annual inflation ran at 50% last
year, but the government forecasts it to fall to a monthly rate of 1% by
August and hopes for an economic growth rate of 7.5% next year, Reuters
reported on 29 June. The dram has also stabilized. Armenian Economy
Minister Armen Yegiazaryan told the agency "we have passed the most
difficult times." He argued that the gradual turnaround in the economy
stems from the government's tight fiscal policy, price liberalization,
and support from international financial organizations. The republic's
currency reserves are $64 million, according to Noyan Tapan on 28 June.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

ACCORD SIGNED IN ASHGABAT. Following two days of talks beginning on 25
June, the foreign ministers of Turkmenistan, Armenia, and Iran signed
several accords in Ashgabat, Noyan Tapan reported on 28 June. A package
of documents, including agreements on the mutual exchange of goods and
services and the establishment of trilateral joint enterprises and a
transport company were signed. Armenia and Turkmenistan also signed a
protocol on cooperation in the field of energy. The next round of talks
between the three sides is scheduled for the second half of August. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

MUD SLIDES IN KYRGYZSTAN CAUSE SEVEN DEATHS. Heavy rains in southern
Kyrgyzstan have caused mud slides, killing four people in the Jalalabad
region and three in the Osh region on 27 June, according to Reuters.
Hundreds of houses have been damaged. The Central Asian republic is more
than 90% mountainous and the people have traditionally herded sheep,
which provide food and material for clothing. However, overgrazing has
left much of the area susceptible to mud slides in the rainy season. --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

STATUE OF LENIN DECAPITATED IN SEMIPALATINSK. The largest statue of
Vladimir Lenin in the former Soviet Union had its head removed in the
northern Kazakhstan city of Semipalatinsk on 27 June, Segodnya reported.
The removal of the head is the first step in the total dismantling of
the statue ordered by Semipalatinsk Mayor Galymzhan Zhakiyanov.
Zhakiyanov had ordered the removal of all monuments to former Soviet
leaders to "get rid of the last vestiges of the communist ideology,
which caused numerous deaths." Kazakhstan lost millions of people during
the famine and purges of the 1930s. The 59-foot-high, 176-ton statue
will be moved to a park for historical monuments on the bank of the
Irtysh River, Reuters reported. -- Bruce Pannier, 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
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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