It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. - Erasmus
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 129, Part I, 5 July 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

FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. The Federation
Council rejected three proposed constitutional amendments that would
have expanded parliamentary control over the executive branch, Ekho
Moskvy reported on 4 July. The amendments, passed by the required two-
thirds majority of the Duma on 21 June, needed the support of three-
fourths of the Council (134 senators) in order to be sent to regional
legislatures for ratification, but fewer than 134 senators were present
at the session. Furthermore, constitutional changes granting more power
to legislatures were denounced by many Council senators, who also serve
as the heads of regional executive branches. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

FAILED NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE MAY NOT END POLITICAL CRISIS. Conflict between
the Duma and the government is likely to continue despite the failure of
the 1 July no-confidence vote, according to Moskovskaya pravda on 4
July. Although Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the failed no-
confidence vote reflects the willingness of both sides to compromise and
accept political responsibility, deputies from the Communist Party, the
Liberal Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party of Russia have all
vowed to continue fighting the government. In addition, Communist deputy
Oleg Mironov told Moskovskaya pravda that a special Duma commission is
being formed in order to raise the question of impeaching the president
again. A Communist-sponsored motion to put impeachment proceedings on
the Duma's agenda failed to pass on 23 June. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

POLTORANIN ON "STRANGE MANEUVERS" AT ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA. In the 4 July
edition of Rossiiskaya gazeta, Duma Press and Information Committee
Chairman Mikhail Poltoranin denounced alleged "strange maneuvers" behind
the possible dismissal of Rossiiskaya gazeta editor-in-chief Natalya
Polezhaeva. Poltoranin helped recruit Polezhaeva in fall 1993, when the
government took over the publication of Rossiiskaya gazeta, which had
been the parliament's newspaper. Referring to the controversial transfer
of Channel 1 broadcasting from Ostankino TV to Russian Public Television
(ORT) on 1 April, Poltoranin said the campaign against Polezhaeva
reflected a government policy of "ORT-ization" of the mass media.
Poltoranin also said some government officials are plotting to replace
Oleg Poptsov as chairman of state-owned Russian Television (Channel 2).
Meanwhile, Kommersant-Daily reported on 4 July that Rossiiskaya gazeta
staff members are circulating an open letter in support of Polezhaeva
among Duma deputies. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS REMAIN DEADLOCKED . . . Russian-Chechen talks in
Grozny adjourned on 4 July without making substantial progress, Russian
and Western agencies reported. The Russian delegation returned to Moscow
that evening for consultations with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and
President Yeltsin. On 3 July, deputy head of the Russian delegation,
Arkadii Volskii, held a meeting with Chechen separatist President
Dzhokhar Dudaev at an undisclosed location. The two men discussed the
so-called "zero option," a Russian proposal for ending the Chechen
conflict. On his return, Volskii told journalists that Dudaev had agreed
to resign, as called for in the Russian proposal, but only if Moscow
grants Chechnya independence. Volskii added that while Moscow is
prepared to grant Chechnya sovereignty within the framework of the
Russian Constitution, Dudaev's insistence on independence is
unacceptable. Volskii said the talks, which are scheduled to resume on 6
July, are "not at a standstill." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

. . . WHILE MILITARY CRITICIZES NEGOTIATION STRATEGY. On 4 July, Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev implicitly criticized the efforts of Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin to negotiate an end to the Chechen conflict,
Russian and international agencies reported. "A political settlement
would have been easier if the question of [Chechen military leader
Shamil] Basaev and his gang had been resolved at Budennovsk," said
Grachev. He added that the current ceasefire in Chechnya is enabling
Chechen fighters to "regroup," "bring in ammunition," and "restart the
hostilities," which he predicted would soon resume. On 5 July, an
article in Krasnaya zvezda contended that the Russian delegation at the
Grozny talks has "illusions" about the "good faith" of their Chechen
counterparts. The Russian side has made too many concessions, commented
the paper, and should adopt a harsher stance in order to pressure the
Chechens into accepting a settlement. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN CALLS FOR PERMANENT TROOPS IN CHECHNYA. President Boris Yeltsin
on 4 July signed a decree permitting the permanent deployment of Russian
military units in Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. That same day the agency
quoted Defense Minister Pavel Grachev as saying a motorized rifle
division with "several auxiliary units" as well as "sub-units of
Interior Troops" would be permanently stationed in the republic. It
would also have a Border Troops office, and military registration and
conscription offices. In prior years, a Russian training division had
been located in Chechnya. ITAR-TASS reported that a combined Army Group
built around the 58th Army is now temporarily stationed in the republic.
It also included the 106th Combined Marine Regiment and the 166th Guards
Independent Motorized Brigade. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

POLICE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF BUDENNOVSK ROADBLOCK ARRESTED. Prosecutors
in Stavropol Krai arrested a police officer in charge of a roadblock en
route to Budennovsk following allegations that the Chechen separatists
who seized some 1,500 hostages in the city last month had bribed police,
AFP reported on 4 July citing Interfax. Seven other police officers
employed along the route were also dismissed. Members of Chechen
commander Shamil Basaev's convoy said they were able to cross all the
military posts in the border area after bribing police. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

BANKS COMPETE FOR SHARE IN REBUILDING CHECHNYA. As the military conflict
in Chechnya winds down, a new 'bank war' is gearing up, Segodnya
reported on 4 July. The leading Russian commercial banks are competing
for a share in the reconstruction program announced by the government in
April, which plans to spend 5 trillion rubles ($1.04 billion) in
Chechnya this year. The Grozny branch of the Interregional Transport
Bank (Rostov) has taken over the functions of the National Bank of
Chechnya, and banks such as Kredo Bank are offering credits to
governmental agencies for the reconstruction of Chechnya's transport and
communications system. Receipts from oil sales, which will be exempt
from taxes and duties, will reportedly be lodged in an account at
Imperial Bank, and will be used to pay back the credits. -- Peter
Rutland, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV CAUTIONS WEST ON BOSNIA. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
expressed doubt about plans to dispatch additional troops to reinforce
UN peacekeepers in Bosnia, international and Russian agencies reported
on 4 July. Kozyrev said such plans "encourage belligerency rather than
realism in the Bosnian parties." He also voiced special concern with the
recent decision of the German Bundestag that approved the use of German
troops to provide support for the new Anglo-Dutch-French "rapid reaction
force." He said Germany should take historical factors into
consideration and reconsider its decision. Kozyrev also called on
Bosnian Croatian and Muslim forces to cease "offensive operations." --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

IAEA OFFICIAL DOWNPLAYS RUSSIAN NUCLEAR SMUGGLING. Hans Blix, director-
general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on 4 July that
the threat of nuclear smuggling from Russia had been exaggerated,
Russian and international agencies reported. Blix said most of the
reported cases of nuclear smuggling involved only low-grade materials
unsuitable for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. He said that although
some cases are serious, many are "smoke without fire." Blix added that
his agency has "no complaints" about the sale of two Russian light-water
nuclear reactors to Iran. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

EBRD PRESIDENT CAUTIOUS ABOUT RUSSIAN ECONOMY. At the end of a five-day
trip to Russia, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (EBRD), Jacques de Larosiere, cautioned that Russia had
a long way to go to complete its transition to a market economy,
international agencies reported. The EBRD chief said on 4 July that
Russia is at a crossroads, and "arbitrary" and "corrupt" elements in its
economy must be eliminated. He warned that under certain circumstances,
"Russia could become a distorted market economy centered on a limited
group of powerful lobbies." He urged the government to take anti-
corruption and austerity measures, and added that "the decisions taken
by the government will directly influence the kind of market economy
Russia becomes." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

NEW ACTING HEADS OF FSB AND MVD. Following the departures of Interior
Minister Viktor Yerin and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Sergei
Stepashin, their responsibilities have been assumed by their first
deputies, Segodnya reported on 4 July. Yevgenii Abramov is now in charge
of internal affairs and Anatolii Safonov of the FSB. The 56-year-old
Abramov has the rank of MVD colonel general and is a graduate of the Law
Department of Moscow State University. He has been Russian first deputy
interior minister since 1992. Safonov was born in 1945 in Krasnoyarsk
Krai and began work with the KGB there in 1969. From 1990 to 1993 he was
a member of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies, and he became
first deputy director of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (the
forerunner of the FSB) in 1994. He is a colonel general. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SETS PROVISIONAL ELECTION DATE. In an emergency
session on 4 July, the Georgian parliament voted to hold parliamentary
and presidential elections on 5 November, Western agencies reported.
Before the elections can be held, parliament must approve by 26 July
either a new constitution or a law that defines the respective powers of
the president, parliament, and cabinet and by 4 August, it must pass
laws on parliamentary and presidential elections, AFP reported. Georgian
parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze has argued consistently in favor
of restoring the post of president, abolished in 1992 after the violent
ouster of the first incumbent, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Elections for a new
Chechen parliament are also tentatively scheduled for 5 November. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SUES NEWSPAPER. Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev filed a
libel suit on 3 July against the newspaper Respublika, which had
published an open letter from citizens objecting to the planned
destruction of their garages and other buildings in order to make space
for a new presidential house in Bishkek, according to Western agencies.
Akayev changed the location, but city officials tore down the buildings
anyway. The newspaper then published an article which claimed Akayev had
a villa in Switzerland and a house in Turkey. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI,
Inc.

NIYAZOV DETERMINED. On his third visit to Iran this year, Turkmen
President Saparmurad Niyazov arrived in Tehran on 4 July for discussions
with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Western news
agencies reported. During the one-day visit, talks focused on kick-
starting a stalled plan, agreed to last August, to construct a gas
pipeline that will run through Iran and Turkey and link Turkmenistan
with Western Europe. Financing for the project, which it is estimated
will cost $7 billion, is being held up due to Western views of Iran. The
U.S. in particular has pressured Turkmenistan not to use Iran for its
gas exports; IRNA said Niyazov denied that Turkmenistan had come under
"foreign pressure" and noted that Niyazov was "firmly" determined to
realize the project. Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey have supported the
deal. In the first phase, the projected pipeline would permit
Turkmenistan to export 15 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe
annually; at present, an export quota limits it to 11 billion cubic
meters annually. -- 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
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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