Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 133, Part I, 11 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

YELTSIN HOSPITALIZED WITH HEART CONDITION. President Boris Yeltsin was
hospitalized with heart problems on 11 July, Russian and Western news
agencies reported. He is undergoing tests for ischemia, a disease
involving insufficient blood flow into an organ, which in the case of
the heart, can lead to a heart attack. Agencies reported that he is
fully conscious and doctors expect him to recover. Tests conducted in
April showed that Yeltsin was suffering from high blood pressure, but
that he was otherwise healthy. There has been much speculation in recent
years on Yeltsin's health and drinking habits. He was hospitalized with
chest pains after losing his party post in 1987. Heart trouble forced
him to stop work for two days in September 1991. On 11 December 1994,
the day Russian troops invaded Chechnya, he was having nose surgery. In
February 1995, television reports showed aides helping Yeltsin walk
upstairs at a CIS meeting in Almaty. Yeltsin had been scheduled to
attend talks in Moscow today on the constitutional status of the eastern
Siberian region of Buryatiya. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

IN CASE OF YELTSIN'S INCAPACITATION, CHERNOMYRDIN WOULD ASSUME
PRESIDENTIAL DUTIES. If President Yeltsin's heart problems were to
render him incapable of carrying out his duties, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin would assume the post of acting president, according to
Article 92 of the Russian Constitution. As acting president,
Chernomyrdin could exercise all the powers of the Russian presidency
except dissolving the Duma, calling referenda, and initiating the
process for constitutional amendments. If Chernomyrdin were to become
acting president, the constitution specifies that new presidential
elections must be held within three months of the date on which Yeltsin
leaves office. However, the constitution does not specify who has the
authority to determine that the president is incapable of fulfilling his
duties, thus paving the way for considerable political debate should
Yeltsin remain in the hospital for an extended period. -- Scott Parrish,
OMRI, Inc.

BREAKTHROUGH REPORTED IN GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS. Russian and Chechen
negotiators said on 10 July that they had reached preliminary agreement
on the troublesome issue of Chechnya's constitutional status, Russian
and international agencies reported. A spokesman for the OSCE, which is
mediating the talks, called the agreement a "breakthrough." The
agreement appeared to indicate that the Chechen side has accepted a
Russian proposal to postpone a final decision on Chechnya's status until
after new elections. Also on 10 July, the two delegations issued a joint
statement condemning the forced expulsion of ethnic Chechens from
Stavropol Krai and Rostov Oblast. More than 100 Chechen families have
returned to Chechnya after being forced to leave their homes in southern
Russia, according to Russian officials. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT HEARS OPENING ARGUMENTS IN CHECHNYA CASE. The
Constitutional Court heard opening arguments in the parliamentary
challenge to secret decrees issued by the president and government in
November and December 1994 concerning the military campaign in Chechnya,
Russian media reported on 10 July. Former Justice Minister Yurii
Kalmykov, a State Duma deputy representing the Duma in the case, said
under the constitution, acts affecting the rights of citizens are only
valid upon their publication in the press, Russian Public Television
reported. Kalmykov noted that the secret decrees had limited ordinary
citizens' freedom to travel to Chechnya. Furthermore, the parliament's
legal team will argue that troops can only be deployed on the territory
of the Russian Federation if a law declaring a state of emergency is
published. Meanwhile, presidential aide Georgii Satarov told NTV that
opposition deputies in parliament filed the appeal for political, not
legal, reasons. Legal experts cited by NTV expect the case to go on for
at least two weeks. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT STRIKES DOWN REGIONAL ELECTORAL LAW. Before opening
the Chechnya case, the Constitutional Court struck down amendments to
the electoral law of the Chuvash Republic as unconstitutional, Russian
TV reported on 10 July. In August 1994, the Chuvash State Soviet removed
the provision requiring a minimum level of voter turnout for regional
elections. Under the revised law, the candidate in a regional election
who wins a plurality of votes is declared the winner. Chuvash President
Nikolai Fedorov appealed to the court in June on the grounds that the
constitution requires at least a 25% voter turnout for any election to
be valid in the Russian Federation. Since approximately one third of the
Chuvash Soviet was elected in November 1994 on the basis of the amended
electoral law, more legal challenges are likely to follow. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN MEDIA FACES FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY. More than 85% of Russian
publications are not financially independent, according to Iosif
Delashinskii, head of the analysis department at the State Press
Committee, Radio Rossii reported 10 July. There are now 10,500
newspapers in the country, most with a print run of less than 10,000
copies. Delashinskii said that as much as 70% of the country's printing
equipment needs to be replaced. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

ISLAMIC GROUP FORMS ELECTORAL BLOC. Islamic activists, led by Geidar
Dzhemal, announced the formation of a new electoral bloc, the Islamic
Committee, at a Moscow press conference on 10 July, Russian TV reported.
Dzhemal stressed that Orthodoxy and Islam have much in common and can
stand together against Western nihilism. Dzhemal believes that Russia
must form a union with Islamic countries and that the Muslim politicians
of Russia can act as intermediaries. One possibility, he suggests, is to
attract capital from Islamic countries to finance Russian high-tech
projects. Abdurashid Dudaev, assistant to the president of Ingushetia,
said the committee supports the territorial integrity of Russia with the
recognition of equal rights for Muslims. Recent months have seen the
formation of other groups appealing to Muslim voters, such as the
Islamic Democratic Party of Russia. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT SETS UP SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin has ordered the establishment of a Social Development
Council under the government, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 11 July. The
council will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Yarov and its
duties will include analyzing draft laws related to social policy, and
elaborating measures to combat poverty, unemployment, and other social
problems. Meanwhile, Ekho Moskvy reported on 10 July that President
Yeltsin had issued a decree disbanding the presidential Social Policy
Council and its apparatus. A spokesman said it duplicated the work of
other presidential consultative services. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

ART THEFT THWARTED. Customs officers at the Troitsk checkpoint in
Chelyabinsk Oblast on the Russian-Kazakh border thwarted an attempt to
smuggle a large consignment of valuable artworks out of Russia, Krasnaya
zvezda reported on 11 July. The officers found 2,400 paintings,
etchings, and sketches, including works by famous artists, under a pile
of tires in a truck. Experts are now trying to determine which museum
the artworks belong to. There have been numerous thefts from museums and
cases of valuable artifacts being smuggled out of Russia since the
collapse of the Soviet Union. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

SLAVE LABOR DISCOVERED IN VLADIVOSTOK. Zhao Guobin, president of the
Center for the Protection of Interests of Chinese Entrepreneurs, claims
that several hundred Chinese peasants have been exploited for three
years at the Hong Kong financed Pacific Development knitwear factory in
Vladivostok, Segodnya reported on 8 July. The Chinese laborers' papers
were taken away and they were unable to obtain money or medicines when
they needed them. Citing figures released by Primorsk Krai authorities,
the paper said that in the first half of this year, nearly 12,000
foreigners invited by businesses came to work in the krai. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN/SOUTH KOREAN ARMS DEAL SIGNED. Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Oleg Davydov and his South Korean counterpart, Hong Jae-Hyong, signed an
agreement in Seoul on 10 July whereby Russia will provide $457 million
worth of arms and raw materials to South Korea, Russian and
international agencies reported. The payments will be used to offset
some of Russia's debt to that country. The deal includes $210.5 million
in arms and military equipment. In April, the Koreans indicated that
they would be getting Russian T-80U tanks, BMP-3 infantry fighting
vehicles, Igla air-defense missiles, and Metis anti-tank missiles. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

JAPANESE CULT WANTED RUSSIAN SPACE BOOSTER. The head of the Aum
Shinrikyo cult's "construction ministry" had shown an interest in
purchasing a Russian Proton space booster according to Japanese police,
the Kyodo news agency reported on 10 July. Kiyohide Hayakawa, who was
charged in connection with the gassing of Tokyo's subway last March, had
visited Russia 20 times over the past three years. Police said he had a
notebook with technical details of the rocket, prices, and notes on
building a launching-pad in Japan. Officials of the Khrunichev Space
Center, which builds the Proton, denied that Hayakawa had visited their
center, ITAR-TASS reported. A spokesman suggested he might have
contacted the Ukrainian bureau where the Proton was designed. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

FEDOROV SKEPTICAL ABOUT SEMI-FIXED RUBLE. The introduction of a semi-
fixed ruble/dollar exchange rate will not help stabilize the Russian
economy, State Duma deputy Boris Fedorov argued at the Russian-American
Press Center on 10 July, Russian TV reported. The former finance
minister claimed that Russia had an average monthly inflation rate of
12% in the first half of 1995, which is even higher than the rate for
the same period last year. He said he anticipates the dollar will cost
6,000-7,000 rubles by the end of the year. However, Michel Camdessus,
head of the IMF, said that the Russian government's actions "have a good
chance of success" according to Kommersant-Daily on 8 July. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA AND INDIA IMPLEMENT JOINT PROJECTS. Russia and India will
implement a number of joint projects totaling $129 million, Finansovye
Izvestiya reported on 11 July. India will build a railroad terminal in
Russia, while Russia will carry out three projects related to the
chemical industry, including a titanium oxide plant, in India. Russia's
financial contribution to the projects will be taken from the debt
repayments that India owes Russia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

REDUCTION OF STATE INVESTMENTS AFFECT ECONOMY. Experts from the
Economics Ministry expressed concern at the continuing decline in state-
funded investment in Russian industry, Sovetskaya Rossiia reported on 11
July. The share of state investments in total investment equaled 5.2%
during the first quarter of 1995, Business-Tass reported. That was down
from 7.3% for the first quarter of 1994 and 11.8% in the first quarter
of 1993. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIANS UNHAPPY WITH THEIR WAGES. Only 16% of respondents were
satisfied with their wages, while 80% were dissatisfied, according to a
poll carried out by the All-Russian Foundation for the Study of Public
Opinion, Russian TV reported on 10 July. A mere 7% of respondents
believe that their salary depends on their own efforts; 21% link it to
decisions of the government; and 37% say it depends on the economic
well-being of their enterprise. Asked what they would do if they were
made redundant, 40% said they would ask friends and relatives for help,
24% said they would go to a labor exchange, and 16% said they would look
for a new job on their own. The average monthly wage in May was about
430,000 rubles and the monthly minimum 43,700. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

WORRIES ABOUT ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM IN KYRGYZSTAN. The Committee for
National Safety in Kyrgyzstan is deeply concerned about the growing
influence of what it refers to as Islamic fundamentalism in the southern
regions of the republic, Russia's Radio Mayak reported on 10 July.
Miroslav Niyazov, the committee's deputy chairman, said there are many
Muslim activists, who have criminal records, spreading propaganda in the
south. Niyazov said there are more than 1,000 (functioning) mosques in
the Osh Oblast alone. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

SMALL STEPS TOWARD TURKO-ARMENIAN RAPPROCHEMENT? An official Turkish
delegation led by Gurbuz Capan, head of the Esenyurt community
administration in Istanbul, visited Armenia at the invitation of Erevan
Mayor Vagan Khachatrian, Segodnya reported on 4 July. According to
Segodnya, observers in Erevan took special note of the fact that the
delegation laid flowers at a memorial to Armenian genocide victims. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

RUSSIAN DUAL CITIZENSHIP IN FORMER SOVIET STATES. Russia has so far
failed to secure dual citizenship for its citizens throughout the newly
independent states, according to Rossiiskie vesti on 6 July. Russia has
signed an agreement on dual citizenship with Turkmenistan and has
already drawn up such treaties with Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Tajikistan.
Negotiations with other states remain deadlocked. Rossiiskie vesti
alleges that ethnic Russians suffer labor discrimination in Lithuania,
Georgia, and Azerbaijan and many remain effectively stateless in Latvia
and Estonia. The number of Russians living abroad being granted Russian
citizenship is on the rise, with 123,000 persons in 1992-1993, 444,000
in 1994, and 110,000 in the first quarter of 1995. -- Michael Mihalka,
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.
To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries
to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or
electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396

OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ

Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole