Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 131, Part I, 7 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

HARD-LINER APPOINTED AS NEW INTERIOR MINISTER. President Boris Yeltsin
has named Anatolii Kulikov, the hawkish commander of Russia's forces in
Chechnya, to replace Viktor Yerin as Interior Minister, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 6 July. Kulikov had been a deputy interior
minister since 1992 and before the collapse of the Soviet Union, was the
Interior Ministry's commander in the North Caucasus. His new appointment
is the second stage of a cabinet reshuffle after Yeltsin sacked Yerin,
Nationalities Minister Nikolai Yegorov, and Federal Security Service
Director Sergei Stepashin in a concession to the parliament in the wake
of the bungled attempts to resolve the Budennovsk hostage crisis.
However, deputies and observers regard Yeltsin's new appointments (see
OMRI Daily Digest on 6 July) as no more than a reshuffle of insiders
loyal to the president. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA APPROVES PRESIDENTIAL VERSION OF CIVIL SERVICE BILL. The Duma
passed the Law on the Basics of the Civil Service in the Russian
Federation on 5 July, Segodnya reported on 6 July. An earlier draft was
rejected by the president, and the new version incorporates virtually
all his amendments. It will now be considered by the Federation Council.
The law, which divides public offices into three categories and has been
compared to Peter the Great's Table of Ranks, has been under discussion
for years. It was inherited by the Duma from the Supreme Soviet, then
went through a year of repeated rejections and fine-tuning before
finally being approved on 10 February. It was then rejected by the
Federation Council and again reworked before being vetoed by the
president. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS LAW ON LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT. The Federation
Council sent a draft law on local self-government back to the Duma for
amendments, Russian media reported on 6 July. In particular, Council
deputies noted that the financial obligations of local government and
principles for the division of state-owned regional property were
insufficiently defined in the draft law. Also on 6 July, the Council
rejected a law that would have allowed regional legislatures, instead of
administrative heads, to appoint local prosecutors. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

CONGRESS OF RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD OPENS IN MOSCOW. About 320
representatives from former Soviet republics convened in Moscow to
discuss problems of ethnic Russians living in the near abroad, Russian
media reported on 6 July. Konstantin Zatulin, chairman of the Duma
Committee on CIS Affairs, told the delegates that the Congress of
Russian Communities (KRO), led by Yurii Skokov, would defend their
interests in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Russian TV reported.
Zatulin said the KRO, of which Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed is a leading
member, is conducting negotiations with other prominent opposition
politicians, including Sergei Glazev of the Democratic Party of Russia
and Viktor Ilyukhin of the Communist Party. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT CREATES FUND TO HELP RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD. A government
commission has created a fund to support ethnic Russians and Russian-
language publications in the near abroad, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei
Shakhrai told Radio Mayak on 6 July. Shakhrai said the draft 1996 budget
proposed allocating about 120 billion rubles ($27 million) to the fund,
which will provide financial aid to at least 30 organizations in former
Soviet republics. Shakhrai said businessmen and non-governmental
organizations would also be encouraged to contribute to the fund. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

APPARENT DISCORD IN MOSCOW OVER CHECHEN TALKS. Russian negotiators
returned to Grozny on 6 July and resumed talks with representatives of
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Russian and international agencies
reported. As the delegation departed, mixed signals from Moscow
suggested the existence of heated disagreements within the Yeltsin
administration over the talks. Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev
said in an interview that Russian negotiator Arkadii Volskii "was
incorrect," when he told journalists that President Yeltsin had agreed
to modify his 4 July decree on the permanent basing of federal troops in
Chechnya. The decree has been signed, and is fully consistent with the
constitution, said Medvedev, adding that a withdrawal of federal troops
from Chechnya could "destabilize" the situation. Volskii had earlier
threatened to resign if the decree was not modified, and Chechen
delegation head Usman Imaev has denounced it as a violation of the
military protocol signed by Russian and Chechen negotiators in June. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

SOLDIERS' MOTHERS PROTEST TREATMENT OF SOLDIERS REFUSING TO FIGHT IN
CHECHNYA. The Soldiers' Mothers Committee said the rights of soldiers
refusing to participate in the military campaign in Chechnya are
routinely violated, Russian TV reported on 6 July. Citing statistics
from the Prosecutor General's Office, the committee said approximately
2,000 enlisted men and 500 officers have refused to fight in Chechnya.
They complained that in many cases, Russian servicemen whose mothers had
secured their release from military duty were subsequently arrested and
charged with "betraying the motherland." According to the soldiers'
mothers, such arrests are unconstitutional, since the military campaign
in Chechnya is not an officially declared war. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

GRACHEV COMPLAINS ABOUT LACK OF MONEY. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
told a group of air defense officers in the Moscow Oblast that the armed
forces had in June received only 40% of the money allotted to it, ITAR-
TASS reported on 5 July. He said the ministry could not even pay the
salaries of most of the people in the military. He also predicted that
financial problems would increase with every passing day, adding that
revenues from the sale of military equipment had been exhausted. "Our
only hope is the commander-in-chief, President Boris Yeltsin. I am
forced to turn to him for help." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

STRIKE FIGURES RELEASED. In the first five months of this year, 859
strikes were registered in Russia, a 120% increase over the same period
last year and more than the total for all of 1994, ITAR-TASS reported on
4 July citing a Labor Ministry report. The ministry said that about
183,000 people took part in strikes, which is up from 155,000 in all of
1994 but still a remarkably low figure given the magnitude of the
problem of unpaid wages. Education was the worst affected sector,
accounting for 70% of the work stoppages. Low wages and labor law
violations were the main grievances. A fifth of the total number of
strikes occurred in the energy industry, mostly over delays in wage
payments. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT APPROVES PLAN FOR DESTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS. The
government approved a draft law for the destruction of Russia's stock of
chemical weapons at a 6 July meeting. The law, which is to be submitted
to the Duma for ratification, is a key step in the implementation of the
1993 Paris Convention on chemical weapons. The draft legislation
establishes special facilities for the destruction of the weapons, which
are currently stored in seven depots in Russia. The location of the
disposal facilities has been controversial, and the legislation provides
for special "social and environmental guarantees" for the areas
surrounding the disposal plants. A government spokesman estimated that
it would cost $5.5 billion to destroy the estimated 40,000 tons of
chemical weapons in Russia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

IMF ENDORSES RUSSIAN PLAN TO CONTROL RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE. The IMF hailed
the Russian plan to create a fixed exchange rate band for the ruble,
international agencies reported on 6 July. Stanley Fischer, first deputy
managing director of the IMF, said that if "the exchange rate policy is
backed up . . . Russia's prospects for achieving sustainable economic
growth with low inflation are bright." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. TO ADVANCE $100 MILLION TO RUSSIA FOR URANIUM. William Timbers,
president of the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, said on 6 July that his
company will advance Russia $100 million for the purchase of uranium
from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons, international agencies reported.
The advance is designed to help salvage a troubled U.S.-Russian uranium
purchase agreement. Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin announced in Moscow last week that problems with the
agreement had been resolved. The Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy had
complained about American plans to delay payment for the uranium to be
purchased under the agreement. However, a dispute over the pricing of
future shipments of uranium remains unresolved. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
Inc.

FOREIGN MINISTRY BRIDLES AT U.S. LEGISLATION. The Russian Foreign
Ministry sent a statement to ITAR-TASS on 4 July complaining that recent
American draft legislation interferes in Russian internal affairs. The
ministry was particularly upset by a draft resolution submitted on 28
March 1995 by Rep. Christopher Cox, a Democrat from California, which
called for Kaliningrad Oblast to be made into a demilitarized zone and
its administration transferred to an international body. The statement
said that "the Kaliningrad region is a component, inalienable part of
the Russian Federation." It suggested that American congressmen would
hardly like a foreign proposal for the demilitarization of Alaska. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

PANSKOV ON 1996 BUDGET. At a 6 July press conference, Finance Minister
Vladimir Panskov announced that the draft 1996 budget would be submitted
to the government on 10 July and to the Duma after 20 July, Rossiiskaya
gazeta reported on 7 July. The draft envisages revenues of 355 trillion
rubles ($79 billion), expenditures of 440 trillion ($98 billion), a
budget deficit equal to 4% of GDP, and inflation of no more than 2% a
month. In order to give the budget a greater "social orientation,"
spending on health, education, and other social spheres has been
increased. More money is also to be allocated to conversion of the
military-industrial complex and high-technology projects. The deficit is
to be covered from non-inflationary sources, but unlike this year the
emphasis will be on domestic rather than foreign borrowing. Panskov also
said that in recent months the government had reduced its wage debt to
100-200 billion rubles and had sent 306 billion rubles to the regions to
ease social tensions. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA TAKES STOCK OF PROPERTY ABROAD. State Property Committee Deputy
Chairman Valerii Fateev said on 2 July that Russia claims to own real
estate and shares worth $9 billion in 106 countries, Segodnya and
Reuters reported. However, he added that proving ownership is difficult
and so far, the country has won only a few of thge disputed cases.
According to Fateev, the property in question comprises 1,900 plots of
land and buildings and shares in 500 companies. Those include property
of the last tsar's family and that of Russian nobles, as well as
property that used to belong to the former USSR, which Russia inherited
along with the Soviet Union's foreign debts under the terms of a treaty
signed with its fellow republics in 1991. The real estate is valued at
$3.3 billion, but Fateev said its market value is probably 10 times as
high. Several parliamentary factions have accused the Russian government
of squandering Russian property abroad. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CADBURY TO BUILD CHOCOLATE FACTORY IN RUSSIA. A Finnish building firm is
to build a $115 million chocolate factory for Cadbury-Schweppes in
Novgorod Oblast, AFP reported on 6 July citing Kommersant-daily. The new
plant, with an output capacity of 50,000 tons annually, will be the
largest Cadbury factory in the world. It is due to begin operation in
mid-1996. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

FATE OF TAJIK OFFICIAL UNCLEAR. Authorities have been unable to
ascertain the whereabouts of Akabir Odinayev, a Tajik senior official
from the Khatlon region in the south who disappeared on 26 June and is
believe to have been abducted by a Defense Ministry unit, Reuters
reported. The Defense Ministry has two units in the area, the first and
eleventh brigades, which were formed from groups owing allegiance to
local warlords who supported the present regime during the Tajik civil
war three years ago. Though nominally part of the Tajik military, the
two groups are competing for control of supplies in the Kurgan Tyube
area. A commander from the first brigade said the eleventh brigade is
holding Odinayev. An officer in the eleventh brigade, Islam Radzhabov,
denied his group is responsible and accused the first brigade of killing
his group's commander, Izat Kuganov, early last month. The government
has sent reinforcements to the area. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT WANTS TWO OFFICIALS TO RESIGN. Kyrgyz President Askar
Akayev called on Transport Minister Sadykbek Ablesov and government
Chief of Staff Orozmat Abdykalykov to resign on 6 July, Reuters
reported. Akayev said Ablesov committed numerous unspecified offenses
and that Abdykalykov had been leaking state secrets to the media. The
Kyrgyz president called for the resignations at a meeting of law
enforcement officials dealing with the rising crime rate and corruption
in the government. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

ANOTHER ROUND OF BORDER TALKS WITH CHINA ENDS. The 16th round of talks
between China and its CIS neighbors on reducing the level of military
forces along their borders ended in Beijing on 6 July, Xinhua reported.
Originally, the talks were held between China and the Soviet Union,
which has now been replaced by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and
Tajikistan. The agency said the sides had exchanged views in a "friendly
and truth-seeking" atmosphere, and progress was made. No other details
were released. -- Doug Clarke, 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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