Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. - Henry Ward Beecher
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 130, Part I, 6 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

DUMA PASSES LAW ON ELECTIONS FOR FEDERATION COUNCIL. The Duma passed on
its third reading a law that would require all Federation Council
deputies to be elected, Russian media reported on 5 July. The upper
house of parliament is comprised of representatives of the legislative
and executive branches of Russia's 89 regions. Up to now, only 22
regions have elected their executive leaders, while most of the rest
have been appointed by the president. Issa Kostoev, the chairman of the
Council's Committee on Legislation, welcomed the draft law, saying
elections for the Council would guarantee a real separation of powers,
Ekho Moskvy reported. But President Boris Yeltsin argued that requiring
elections would violate the constitution, which did not specify that
elections must be held, Russian TV reported. Council Chairman Vladimir
Shumeiko also denounced the draft law and told Radio Rossii that the
Council would refer the matter to the Constitutional Court. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

COMMUNISTS PRESS AHEAD ON IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS. Duma Chairman Ivan
Rybkin said a motion to initiate impeachment proceedings will be
included in the Duma's agenda on 7 July, Radio Rossii reported on 5
July. The Communist Party faction has collected 165 signatures to indict
the president and submitted relevant documents to the Duma, Segodnya
reported the same day. Rybkin noted that the Duma's legal department
must now evaluate the documents. Under the constitution, the president
can only be impeached on charges of high crimes or treason. Even if a
majority of deputies vote to consider the impeachment motion, a two-
thirds majority vote (300 deputies) would be required in order to refer
the indictment to the courts. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION DRAWS DISTRICT LINES. The Central Electoral
Commission has drawn proposed boundaries for the 225 single-member
constituencies provided by the law on parliamentary elections,
Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 6 July. The plan assigns approximately
466,000 voters to each district. In addition, 21 federation subjects
with populations smaller than this level have each been allotted one
district. The commission has referred the proposed electoral map to the
Duma, which must determine some of the plan's provisions, including how
and in which districts Russians living abroad may vote. Under the
electoral law, the list of single-member constituencies must be
published by 29 August, at least 110 days before the scheduled
parliamentary elections. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA POSTPONES VOTE TO OVERRIDE VETO OF TV LAW. On 5 July the Duma
postponed a vote to override the president's veto of a law that would
have prohibited the privatization of state-owned television and radio
until further guidelines could be adopted, Rossiiskie vesti reported on
6 July. The law specifically targets the controversial reorganization of
Ostankino TV and creation of the partly-private Russian Public
Television company (ORT), ordered by Yeltsin in November 1994. The law
would halt all state funding for ORT and prohibit the company from
broadcasting on Channel 1. Also on 5 July, the Duma voted down a motion
to ban all changes in leadership of the mass media for the duration of
the campaign for parliamentary and presidential elections, Russian TV
reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

NEW POSITION FOR YERIN. President Boris Yeltsin has appointed Viktor
Yerin, who was sacked as interior minister last week, as deputy director
of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service responsible for combating
organized crime, Russian and Western agencies reported. The 5 July
appointment indicates that Yerin, a career police officer who has shown
his personal loyalty to Yeltsin, retains the president's favor. The
Duma, which had demanded his resignation following the bungled attempts
to resolve the Budennovsk hostage crisis, greeted the move with
derision. Also on 5 July, Yeltsin named a replacement for one of the
other senior government officials axed in the aftermath of the
Budennovsk crisis. Vyacheslav Mikhailov, the top Russian negotiator in
Chechnya and first deputy nationalities minister, will replace Nikolai
Yegorov as head of the Nationalities Ministry. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

FURTHER CRITICISM OF SECURITY SERVICES. In an interview with
Komsomolskaya pravda on 4 July, an anonymous high-ranking intelligence
officer argued that the Budennovsk tragedy revealed the complete
incompetence of the Russian special services. He contended that adequate
replacements have yet to be created for the dismantled KGB organs and
that the government must elaborate a new policy for the security
services. According to the officer, the activities of the individual
services that replaced the KGB are poorly coordinated, while expenditure
has increased owing to a growth in administrative personnel. He added
that the number of senior personnel has also risen, commenting that the
replacement agencies have seven times as many generals as the KGB had,
although the number of experienced officers has fallen sharply. In Vek
(30 June-6 July), another security service officer, Colonel Aleksandr
Zdanovich, also blamed the reorganization of the KGB for the
shortcomings in Russia's response to terrorism. He added that the
Federal Security Services' work is hindered by a lack of funding. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

PRESS IN DECLINE, INDEPENDENT ELECTRONIC MEDIA ON THE RISE. According to
a seminar on democracy and the Russian mass media held in Moscow,
circulation figures for newspapers and periodicals in Russia are only 7%
of what they were in 1990, Russian TV reported on 5 July. However, more
than 150 independent radio and television companies are now operating in
the country. Speakers at the seminar noted that despite financial
problems faced by the press and mass media, the "fourth branch" is
becoming a powerful democratic institution in Russia. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

GROZNY NEGOTIATORS CONSULT WITH PRIME MINISTER. Russian negotiators, led
by Vyacheslav Mikhailov, the recently appointed nationalities minister,
and deputy delegation head Arkadii Volskii met with Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin on 5 July, Russian and Western agencies reported. A
scheduled meeting between delegation members and President Yeltsin was
canceled, although Chernomyrdin and Yeltsin did meet later to discuss
the currently deadlocked Grozny talks. After the meeting, Volskii said
Yeltsin had promised to modify his 4 July decree calling for federal
troops to be permanently based in Chechnya. Volskii said the original
version of the decree, which came as a surprise to Russian negotiators,
had threatened to scuttle the talks, because it contradicted earlier
agreements reached with the Chechen negotiators. Volskii added that
without Yeltsin's pledge, there would have been no point in returning to
Grozny for the next round of talks, scheduled to open today. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CHINESE BORDER TREATY RATIFIED. The Federation Council on 5 July
ratified the September 1994 treaty between Russia and China dealing with
a 55-kilometer section of their western border. The section is in the
Altai Mountains at the junction of the borders of Russia, China,
Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. The Council's Committee on International
Relations reported that the border line "fully corresponds to the
historical line of the border between the two states and the frontier
which is actually being guarded." The two sides have also signed a
treaty dealing with a section of their eastern border in the Maritime
Kray region--one that has upset the local Russian administration. They
have not resolved their differences regarding the border near
Khabarovsk. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA WILL NOT RECYCLE PLUTONIUM IN GERMANY. Nuclear Energy Minister
Viktor Mikhailov declared on 4 July that his government would not agree
to the recycling of Russian plutonium in Germany, the weekly Die Woche
reported. American officials, looking for a way to accelerate the
dismantling of Russian nuclear warheads scheduled under various arms
control agreements, have been discussing a possible recycling plan with
their German counterparts. Western experts have speculated that Russia
does not want to export plutonium for recycling because that might
reveal information about its nuclear weapons technology. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA AND LONDON CLUB FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT. Two days of talks
between Russia and its commercial bank creditors adjourned without
producing an agreement for the long-term rescheduling of Russian debt,
international and Russian agencies reported on 5 July. The two sides
will continue to discuss the issue, but set no date for their next
meeting. Russia, which assumed the former Soviet Union's foreign debt
after the country's collapse in 1991, owes the 600 member-banks of the
London Club about $25 billion in principal and $3-4 billion in overdue
interest payments. The head of the Russian delegation, Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign Trade Oleg Davydov, said Russia had
proposed that its 1992-94 debt be rescheduled over a 25-year period. He
added that Moscow would not "sign any other document" if its terms were
not accepted. Talks on rescheduling the Russian debt have been dragging
on for several years. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. SAID TO LIFT SATELLITE RESTRICTION. The director general of the
Khrunichev State Space Research and Scientific-Production Center,
Anatoly Kiselov, has said that the U.S. has agreed to scrap the space
launch agreement with Russia that limits the number of U.S.-built
satellites Russia can launch, Communications Daily reported on 3 July.
Under that agreement, Russia could launch no more than nine U.S.
satellites over the next eight years. Kiselov said that U.S. Vice
President Al Gore discussed lifting the quotas during his recent visit
to Moscow. Khrunichev builds the Proton heavy-lift launch vehicle, and
is actively seeking a greater share of the world's satellite launch
business. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE CORRIDOR. In a move to curb
inflation and stabilize the ruble, the Russian government and Central
Bank restricted the float of the ruble against the U.S. dollar on 5
July, Russian and Western agencies reported. The measure, effective from
6 July to 1 October, set a ceiling of 4,300 rubles and a floor of 4,900
against the dollar. The exchange rate corridor, the first in Russia's
history and backed by $10 billion in Central Bank reserves, should help
the country move toward financial stability. In the past several weeks,
the ruble has gained 12.5% from its 29 April record low of 5,130 rubles
to $1. On 5 July, it was trading at 4,559 to $1. By declaring the ruble
corridor, the Central Bank is committing itself to the unlimited
purchase and sale of dollars on the foreign exchange market to support
the ruble within set limits. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

OIL FIRMS SIGN ANTI-MONOPOLY ACCORD. Russia's major oil companies signed
an anti-monopoly agreement aimed at preventing unfair competition,
LUKoil spokesman Aleksandr Vasilenko told AFP on 5 July. On the same
day, The Moscow Times reported that the agreement was signed by LUKoil,
Surgutneftegaz, Yukos, Sidanko, Transneft, Slavneft, Transnefteprodukt,
and Nefteotdacha, which account for 72% of Russia's oil output. The
signatories ruled out agreements with competitors who had a dominant
position in the market. They also pledged to take account of regional
interests. Meanwhile, Segodnya said the companies also agreed to
preserve Russia's integrated pipeline network, with equal access to it
for any commercial organization in line with the anti-monopoly
conditions. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN ELECTIONS. Preliminary returns indicate that the ruling
Armenian National Party and five smaller parties allied in the Republic
bloc have won the 4 July parliamentary elections, Western agencies
reported. Voter turnout was estimated at more than 60%. Final results
are not expected for ten days, but the results of the 4 July referendum
on adoption of a new constitution should have been available on 5 July,
according to Noyan Tapan. International monitors, including an OSCE
delegation, expressed grave concern at restrictions on the participation
of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsyutyun) and other
opposition parties, and said the elections were "free but not fair,"
according to Reuters. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

TAJIK BORDER GUARDS DESERTING. More than 1,000 soldiers from the Russian
forces guarding the Tajik-Afghan border have deserted so far this year,
according to Lt. Gen. Pavel Tarasenko, the Russian commander of the
border forces stationed in Tajikistan. The general also said there are
problems drafting new soldiers. Although a target figure of 3,500 was
set for conscription, only 2,100 soldiers have actually shown up for
duty, Reuters reported. Tarasenko said Russian and Tajik military units
were competing for the conscripts and complained that the Tajik Defense
and Interior ministries have resorted to press-gang tactics to get new
recruits. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

UZBEK OPPOSITION CONFERS . . . Birlik, the banned Uzbek opposition
movement, held a conference in Moscow on 1 July to determine the date
and location of a future congress and strategies for operating inside
Uzbekistan itself, Moscow Television reported the same day. According to
reports received by Radio Liberty's Uzbek Service, many of the estimated
15 participants in the one-day conference, including those who chaired
it, Birlik co-chairman Akhundjon Pulatov and Samarkand province chairman
Alibay Uliyakhshiou, live in exile. Other activists from Tashkent,
Bukhara, Namangan, Ferghana, and Termez also attended. The size of the
gathering and its failure to reach any concrete decisions are suggestive
of the movement's growing weakness due to personal conflicts and harsh
measures taken against it by the Uzbek authorities. -- Lowell Bezanis,
OMRI, Inc.

. . . MIRSAIDOV'S VIEWS OF CONFERENCE. Former Uzbek Vice President
Shakhrulla Mirsaidov criticized the Birlik conference in Moscow during a
2 July telephone interview with Radio Liberty's Uzbek service. Mirsaidov
is the only high-profile politician still living in the country who is
known for his opposition to the rule of President Islam Karimov. He said
that before deciding to hold the congress in a foreign country, the
group should apply to hold it in Uzbekistan, thereby forcing the
government to make a public refusal. He argued that Birlik and Erk,
Uzbekistan's other banned opposition group, should collaborate and
inject new ideas into Uzbekistan from their vantage point abroad. In the
recent past Mirsaidov and Akhundjon Pulatov have been identified by some
Birlik activists as potential new replacements for the current Birlik
leader, Abdurrahim Pulatov. Mirsaidov denied that he is affiliated with
Birlik or that he has any desire to play such a role. -- 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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