|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 132, Part I, 10 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 SHUMEIKO: YELTSIN WANTED GRACHEV TO RESIGN. Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, a member of the Security Council, revealed in a 9 July interview on NTV that President Boris Yeltsin wanted Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to resign following the Budennovsk hostage crisis. Shumeiko said he, Yeltsin, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin all voted in favor of Grachev's resignation at a 29 June Security Council meeting. Grachev survived the 30 June cabinet reshuffle in which Interior Minister Viktor Yerin and FSB Director Sergei Stepashin lost their jobs, but Shumeiko's remarks increased speculation that Yeltsin is planning to sacrifice Grachev at a later date. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. KULIKOV, MIKHAILOV APPOINTED TO SECURITY COUNCIL. President Yeltsin appointed Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov and Nuclear Energy Minster Viktor Mikhailov to the Security Council on 7 July, AFP reported. Kulikov became interior minister on 6 July, after Yerin was sacked. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. FEDERATION COUNCIL ACCUSED OF PRESERVING GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER PRESS. In the 7 July edition of Kuranty, Duma official Yelena Radnevskaya accused the Federation Council of trying to preserve the government's financial leverage over the independent press. Radnevskaya noted that the Council voted down a law to replace most media subsidies with tax breaks a second time, even though Duma deputies removed the passages that the Council cited in its first rejection of the draft law. Radnevskaya said the law would guarantee the press access to publishing facilities and true financial independence. The law has been sent to a parliamentary conciliatory commission, but Radnevskaya warned that it could languish there for a year or more, while newspapers could face increasing pressure to change their editorial lines or lose state subsidies that keep them alive. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. FORMER KGB OFFICERS SAID TO PLAN POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS. A July 7 report in Komsomolskaya pravda claims that a secret organization of former intelligence officers called the Feliks group is planning a campaign of assassinations of leading government officials. The group was reportedly formed by officers from the KGB and Main Intelligence Department of the General Staff in 1991 and unites at least 60 officers. "Major Vladimir," a member of the group interviewed by Komsomolskaya pravda, objected to the weakening of the Russian state by "corrupt bankers and officials who are lackeys of their Western partners." -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. DESPITE KILLINGS, GROZNY TALKS CONTINUE. Talks between Russian and Chechen negotiators continued over the weekend, despite being interrupted by an attack on a farm outside Grozny, international and Russian agencies reported. Six Chechen civilians were killed in the attack on 7 July, reportedly carried out by gunmen wearing Russian military uniforms, that led Chechen delegates to walk out of the talks. However, they returned later and the two delegations issued a statement announcing a joint investigation into the killings and declaring that "the negotiations will continue and peace will come to Chechnya." Russian military sources denied responsibility for the attack. Resuming discussions on 8 July, negotiators reached agreement on a preliminary political accord outlining the conditions for holding and monitoring elections in the republic this December. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. SHAKHRAI: FORCE WAS ONLY ALTERNATIVE IN CHECHNYA. Beginning on 10 July, the Constitutional Court will consider the Federation Council's appeal concerning secret decrees issued in November and December 1994 on deploying Russian troops in Chechnya. Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai expressed confidence that the court will uphold the legality of the decrees as the government's only constitutional alternative against Chechen separatists, Russian media reported on 9 June. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. PYATIGORSK COSSACKS DISCUSS FORMATION OF NORTH CAUCASUS REPUBLIC. At a meeting in Pyatigorsk, Terek Cossack atamans discussed the formation of a North Caucasus republic that would incorporate Stavropol Krai and the Don, Kuban, and Terek territories, Segodnya reported on 7 July. The idea of forming such a republic was advanced in the aftermath of the Budennovsk hostage crisis and the dismissal of Stavropol Krai Governor Yevgenii Kuznetsov, who was proposed as the head the new republic at the meeting. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. WAGES FORM SMALLER SHARE OF FAMILY INCOME. According to the Labor Ministry, the share of wages from officially reported employment in the average family's income has declined by almost 15% over the past year and now constitutes only 40%, Segodnya reported on 7 July. Before radical economic reforms were introduced in 1992, wages accounted for more than 70% of the family income. Most of the income which is unaccounted for probably comes from the second jobs in the informal economy, although some of it may consist of unreported payments from the primary employer. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. SIBERIAN PRISONERS EAT CELL-MATE. Two prisoners in Siberia murdered their cell-mate and ate his internal organs "to add spice to their life," Russian and Western agencies reported on 7 July. The two inmates, aged 23 and 25, strangled their victim, cut out his innards, and cooked them over a burning blanket. The two men, whose trial begins on 10 July, could be executed if found guilty. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. SUICIDE A PROBLEM IN MILITARY. The Russian army has an "acute" suicide problem, Colonel Pavel Demidenko told Interfax on 9 July. Demidenko, who heads the military procurator's criminal investigation department, reported that 423 Russian military personnel had committed suicide in 1994--many driven to it because of hazing, or "dedovshichina" by older soldiers. He said another 2,500 military personnel had died last year as the result of "criminal incidents." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIA OBJECTS TO EXTENSION OF RUMP YUGOSLAV SANCTIONS. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry told Interfax on 7 July that Russia is "extremely concerned" with the recent UN resolution that extends the suspension of a number of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia for 75days. Russia would prefer that these sanctions be lifted entirely. The resolution, which was passed by the UN Security Council on 5 July, does "not correspond to current Yugoslav reality," said the spokesman. The spokesman said Russia abstained on the Security Council vote because the resolution links the permanent lifting of all the sanctions with issues unrelated to those which motivated the sanctions originally. He added that the continuation of even the reduced sanctions could lead the parties to the Bosnian conflict--especially the Bosnian Serbs--to conclude that the UN is "biased," which might lead to "undesirable consequences." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN HELICOPTER MAKER SEEKS CANADIAN CONTRACT. The Kamov Helicopter Scientific & Technology Co. of Moscow has signed an interim agreement with a Canadian company to jointly offer the Kamov Ka-32 helicopter in an expected Canadian procurement program, Helicopter News reported on 6 July. Canada is in the market for about 50 helicopters for its naval forces. The Ka-32 is the export version of the Ka-27 widely used in the Russian navy. The two companies also plan to offer the Ka-32 to the Canadian logging industry. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. FAPSI TAKING OVER CONTROL OF FINANCIAL MARKETS. All securities transactions on the Russian market will be carried out under the control of the Federal Government Communications and Information Agency (FAPSI), Moskovskii Komsomolets reported on 8 July. A presidential edict has given FAPSI the task of establishing a country-wide telecommunications system to register operations, including securities transactions, on the financial market. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. BELYAEV URGES FASTER PRIVATIZATION OF INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES. Sergei Belyaev, chairman of the State Committee on the Administration of State Property, urged Russia to speed up the pace of sales of government- reserved blocks of industrial enterprise shares, Segodnya reported on 8 July. Speaking at a St. Petersburg conference on privatization and development of the real estate market, Belyaev said that out of 10,000 blocks owned by regional property funds, only a little more than 3,500 have been sold. The government intends to sell blocks of enterprise shares worth nearly 19 trillion rubles ($422 million) by the end of the year. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. DUMA ADOPTS LAW ON REGULATION OF FOREIGN TRADE. The Duma adopted a law on state regulation of foreign trade, Segodnya reported on 8 July. The initial draft was vetoed by President Boris Yeltsin on 12 May. The major amendment requires presidential approval, not Federal Assembly approval, for export items including arms, military equipment, certain raw materials, and technologies which could be used for manufacturing mass destruction weapons. The second change refers to the procedure for registering import-export deals between Russia and foreign persons. The president insisted that such deals be subject to registration, while the vetoed draft called for repealing this procedure. Foreign Economic Relations Minister Oleg Davydov said that if the registration requirement were lifted it would have made it easier for Russian capital to escape abroad. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA CILLER IN TASHKENT. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller met with Uzbek President Islam Karimov on 9 July and signed a memorandum of understanding to expand bilateral relations in various areas including trade, Western media reported the next day. Ankara also agreed to provide a $100 million loan to Uzbekistan, according to AFP. Karimov used a joint press conference to appeal for more Turkish investment in Uzbekistan. At present, Turkey is Uzbekistan's fourth largest trading partner outside the CIS. Ciller noted that bilateral trade had increased to $143 million last year compared to $75.5 million in 1992. Relations between Tashkent and Ankara have been strained in the past over Turkey's regional pretensions and its decision to provide refuge to Karimov's opposition; Ciller's visit signals an improvement in relations that has been apparent since late 1994. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. TURKMENISTAN, IRAN, AND THE U.S. Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani charged the U.S. with blocking plans for the construction of a pipeline to carry Turkmenistan's natural gas through Iran and Turkey to Europe, AFP reported on 7 July. Speaking during the weekly prayers at Tehran University, Rafsanjani said the U.S. is also hampering oil and gas deals with Pakistan and Armenia. Two days earlier, Tehran and Ashgabat signed another accord to build part of the pipeline in question. Iran is to undertake the design and 80% of the financing for a pipeline running from Korpedzhe field in southwest Turkmenistan to the Iranian village of Kurtkui. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA SIGN ACCORD. On 7 July Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an accord to export crude oil from Azerbaijan to world markets through Georgian territory, AFP reported citing Interfax. Under the agreement signed by Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Abbassov and his Georgian counterpart, Zurab Kervalishvili, feasibility studies will be carried out by the end of August on the delivery of the oil to the ports of Poti and Batumi. Though the route has not been finalized the accord provides for the delivery of 4 million metric tons of oil over the first 30 months of operations. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. CANADIANS SIGN GOLD DEAL IN KYRGYZSTAN. On 7 July, Canada's Cameco Corp. signed an agreement to develop the Kumtor gold field in eastern Kyrgyzstan near the Chinese border, according to Reuters. Cameco is working with a syndicate of seven banks investing $360 million to mine for gold in what is estimated as the eighth largest gold field in the world. Cameco will own one-third of the joint venture and the Kyrgyz company, Kyrgyzaltyn, two-thirds. The joint venture, the Kumtor Gold Company, is scheduled to make its first gold extraction in 1997; before that, a million tons of glacier ice must be removed from the area. The target figures for extraction are 12.4 tons in 1997 and 15.5 tons in later years. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. CIS KOZYREV: "THE CIS IS NO WORSE THAN NATO." In a series of public speeches last week, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev emphasized the importance of the CIS in Russian foreign policy, Segodnya reported on 7 July. Speaking before a meeting of Russian ambassadors to the CIS states on 6 July, Kozyrev criticized both Western countries and Russian opposition politicians for underestimating the potential of the CIS. He called for an end to "discrimination" against the CIS by international organizations, asking why the UN finances peacekeeping operations in Haiti but not similar operations in the CIS. He said the CIS has accomplished more in its three years of existence than such long- standing regional organizations as the Organization of American States and the Organization of African Unity. He also commented that the CIS is "no worse than NATO," implying that it deserves equal treatment in the international arena. -- Scott Parrish, 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. 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