We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 135, Part I, 13 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 TO LEAVE HOSPITAL NEXT WEEK. President Boris Yeltsin will leave
the hospital on 17 July, according to agency reports. Doctors refused to
release pictures of Yeltsin or details of his condition. Kommersant-
Daily argues that Yeltsin's advisers, particularly Viktor Ilyushin, are
nervous that the president's unstable health is making Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin look like an even more likely successor. On 12 July,
Chernomyrdin spoke with Yeltsin for 20 minutes on the telephone and told
reporters that speculation about the president's health is neither
understandable nor polite, Russian Public Television reported. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA OVERRIDES YELTSIN VETO ON ITS SUBPOENA POWER. By a vote of 308-1
and 2 abstentions, the State Duma overrode Yeltsin's veto of a law that
gives the Federal Assembly the power to summon federal and local
officials to its sessions to provide information. Fines of between 50 to
100 times the monthly minimum wage can be handed to those who fail to
comply or provide false data. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA VOTE ON IMPEACHMENT FAILS. For the second time, Communist deputies
in the Duma failed to assemble enough votes to initiate impeachment
proceedings against President Yeltsin, Russian media reported on 12
July. Only 168 deputies voted in favor of beginning the impeachment
process, far short of the 226 required to put the motion on the Duma's
agenda. The measure failed in part because deputies from Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, citing Yeltsin's illness,
withdrew their signatures from the petition calling for impeachment. On
23 June, the Duma rejected the first attempt to begin parliamentary
debate on an impeachment motion. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA PASSES BILL ON CHECHEN CONFLICT. The Duma passed a bill calling for
the political resolution of the Chechen conflict, Russian TV reported on
12 July. The bill calls for the removal of most federal troops from
Chechnya, and the formation of an interim government for the republic.
The bill also would prohibit the redeployment of Russian army troops in
Chechnya without a state of emergency declaration by the president.
According to the Russian Constitution, a state of emergency must be
approved by the Federation Council. President Yeltsin ordered Russian
troops into Chechnya last December without such a declaration. The bill
now goes to the Council for approval. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RABOCHAYA TRIBUNA MAY BECOME ORGAN OF CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC. Rabochaya
tribuna, the newspaper Anatolii Yurkov founded and edited before he was
appointed to lead the government newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta, may
become the main newspaper of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin's bloc Our Home
Is Russia, Moskovskie novosti reported in its 9-16 July edition.
Rabochaya tribuna is losing money and has reportedly been offered
financial help from Gazprom, the gas monopoly Chernomyrdin led from 1989
to 1992. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

LABOR MINISTRY ON FALLING LIFE EXPECTANCY. Labor Ministry representative
Aleksandr Tkachenko said on 11 July that in 1994 life expectancy for
Russian men fell to 57.3 years and for women to 71.1, Russian and
Western agencies reported. According to AFP, he also said the population
fell by 1.7 million in 1993-1994. It was not clear whether this figure
takes into account migration, which compensated for much of the natural
loss in previous years. Tkachenko added that the government had worked
out an anti-crisis program to tackle the demographic problem, but he
gave no details. NTV reported that the new figures were released in
connection with an article in Izvestiya that claimed that the size of
the adult population has been underestimated in order to manipulate the
election results. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

BUSINESS AND THE MAFIA. More than 40% of Russian entrepreneurs said they
had come into conflict with criminal groups last year, according to an
opinion survey reported by Radio Mayak on 12 July. One in four
respondents admitted to regularly paying off mafia groups. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

MOSCOW ADOPTS CITY CHARTER. Mayor Yurii Luzhkov signed the Moscow City
Charter (ustav) on 12 July, NTV reported. Moscow is the 16th of Russia's
89 regions and republics to adopt its charter. The charter provides a
legal basis for the mayor and City Duma and a foundation for adopting
legislation at the local level. According to Luzhkov, none of its
articles contradict the Russian Constitution. It took seven years to
complete the process of writing the charter, Russian Public Television
reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

TATARSTAN HAS STOPPED MAKING PAYMENTS TO THE RUSSIAN BUDGET. The
republic of Tatarstan stopped sending payments to the Russian federal
budget because Moscow had not paid for military equipment, Tatar Prime
Minister Farid Mukhamedshin announced on 11 July, according to Radio
Rossii. The Russian Defense Ministry owes enterprises in Tatarstan 96
billion rubles for military hardware produced last year, AFP reported.
According to Mukhamedshin, since the Finance Ministry and Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin did not reply to requests to pay the debt, "we had
to resort to extreme measures." Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev is on
the political council of Chernomyrdin's electoral bloc, Our Home is
Russia. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

RENEWED TENSION IN PRIMORSK MINES. Miners in Primorsk Krai have not
received pay checks for May and June and are threatening to take strike
action if their wages are not paid, Russian media reported on 12 July.
According to Segodnya on 11 July, no money has been received from the
local power company Dalenergo for the last two months. The power
industry blames the Finance Ministry for not releasing subsidies to the
sector. Russian TV reported that the government will send 44 billion
rubles to the krai within the next 10 days to pay the miners' wages. In
April, a miners' strike in the region was only resolved after
intervention by First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

THEFT OF CURRENCY BONDS INVESTIGATED. Military prosecutors have begun an
investigation into the theft of $7.8 million worth of hard-currency
bonds, Moskovskii komsomolets and an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 12
July. The bonds were allegedly stolen by Russian servicemen during
military operations in Grozny in January. The bonds belonged to the
state oil concern Grozneft and were kept at the Grozny branch of
Kredobank, which was partly destroyed during the storming of the city.
The looters allegedly teamed up with the director of a Yekaterinburg
exchange and sold the bonds to the Moscow-based commercial bank
Interbank for $2 million. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CONCERN OVER CHOLERA MOUNTS. Russian officials said on 12 July that they
have tightened sanitary controls on the border between southern Russia
and Ukraine in an attempt to halt the spread of cholera, Western
agencies reported. More than 200 people have been affected by a cholera
outbreak in Ukraine this summer, and on 12 July one woman suffering from
the disease in the Russian city of Rostov was taken to hospital, ITAR-
TASS reported. Local officials in both countries have urged residents
not to go fishing or swimming in the Don River. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

RUSSIA CRITICIZES NATO AIR STRIKES IN BOSNIA. A high-ranking Russian
diplomat characterized NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions
near Srebrenica as "senseless" and "counterproductive," Interfax
reported on 12 July. The diplomat also contended that the air strikes
would endanger UN peacekeeping personnel in Bosnia, not protect them. A
statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on 12 July denounced
any use of force in Bosnia, and assigned equal blame to Muslims, Croats,
and Serbs for taking actions which had led "to the logic of force
gaining the upper hand in Bosnia." The statement added that Russia
continues to support UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and opposes
any withdrawal of the peacekeepers. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA CALLS FOR UNILATERAL LIFTING OF SANCTIONS ON RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. The
Russian State Duma passed on its second reading a bill calling for
Russia to unilaterally lift its sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, ITAR-
TASS reported on 12 July. The bill, which passed by a vote of 246-3,
states that since the rump Yugoslavia "was not part of the Balkan
conflict," international sanctions against it are unjustified. However,
to become law, the bill must still pass a third reading in the Duma,
gain approval by the Federation Council, and be signed by President
Yeltsin. The Duma also passed a non-binding resolution "resolutely
condemning" NATO air strikes in Bosnia and attacking NATO's "open
support of one side" in the Bosnia conflict. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
Inc.

DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF ON NATO EXPANSION. Col. Gen. Dmitrii
Kharchenko, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, reiterated
Russian objections to the eastward expansion of NATO in an interview
with Krasnaya zvezda on 12 July. Kharchenko acknowledged that the
countries of Eastern and Central Europe have security concerns, but said
Russia "could not allow the security of others to be purchased at the
price of Russia's security." He proposed that instead of joining NATO,
the countries of the region could accept a joint guarantee of their
security from Russia and NATO. The general noted that if NATO were to
expand, Russia would have to reconsider the 1990 CFE Treaty but promised
that those reductions which the treaty requires by November 1995 would
be carried out on schedule. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GDP DOWN BUT SOME SECTORS SHOW GROWTH. Russia's GDP fell by 4% in the
first six months of 1995, while industrial output declined 7%, AFP
reported citing Goskomstat statistics on 12 July. However, the fall in
GDP seems to have bottomed out in April. In June, GDP rose 3% over the
previous month and industrial output was up 2%. It was the second
straight month in which Russia's basic growth indicators were positive.
GDP and industrial output rose 1% in May. Industrial growth was
strongest in the heavy industry sector, notably in steel, where
production in the first six months was up 12% over the same period in
1994. In light industry, however, output plummeted 38% in the same
period. In 1994, industrial output fell 21% and GDP as a whole dropped
by 15%. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA/CHINA LAUNCH FERRY SERVICE ACROSS AMUR. Russia and China launched
a car ferry service across the Amur River between the far-eastern border
cities of Nizhnelenionskoe and Tongjiang, AFP reported on 12 July. The
ferry service follows an agreement signed by Chinese Premier Li Peng in
Moscow last month to build a bridge across another section of the Amur,
linking the Heilongjiang city of Heihe with Russia's Blagoveshensk. The
bridge will provide a rail and road link in a region where Soviet and
Chinese troops clashed in 1969, leaving several hundred people dead. The
flourishing border trade in this region only began in the late 1980s. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DROUGHT THREATENS HARVEST. The National Institute of Agricultural
Economics said severe drought in key agricultural regions will reduce
Russia's grain harvest to 70 million tons, below earlier forecasts and
last year's 81.3 million tons, agencies reported on 12 July. In Ryazan
Oblast alone, the damage caused by the drought is estimated at up to 260
billion rubles ($58 million), Russian TV reported on 11 July. The fall
harvest is expected to bring in some 800,000 tons of grain less than
anticipated. About 25% of the planted crops have been destroyed, which
will create food and fodder grain shortages this year. The fodder
shortage will cause a fall in meat production. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

STRATEGY SESSION IN TALUKAN? Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Makhmadsaid
Ubaidulaev said acts of "terrorism" against enlisted men and law
enforcement officials is increasing in Dushanbe and other parts of
Tajikistan, Russian TV reported on 11 July. Ubaidulaev also alleged
opposition field commanders met in Talukan, Afghanistan from 2-5 July to
discuss strategies and tactics for conducting subversive activities
within Tajikistan. The meeting, he claimed, was presided over by Islamic
Renaissance Party leader Said Abdullo Nuri who held talks with Tajik
President Imomali Rakhmonov in Kabul in May. Since the beginning of the
month, 13 Tajik police officers have been killed, AFP reported on 11
July. The number of Tajik rebels killed during that time is unclear. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

BLACK SEA FLEET COMMANDER COMPLAINS TO CRIMEA. Black Sea Fleet commander
Eduard Baltin has criticized Crimean local authorities for hindering the
normal functioning of the fleet, Russian Public TV reported on 12 July.
According to Baltin, Sevastopol authorities have asked the fleet to
evacuate many of the premises it occupies on an obvious pretext. The
city's tax inspectors are also creating unnecessary problems for the
fleet, he said. Baltin commented that the fleet pays trillions of
karbovantsy into Ukraine's budget because it is charged 15 different
taxes, while all of its financing comes from Russia. -- Ustina Markus,
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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