The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 140, Part I, 20 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

RUMORS ABOUT NEW FSB CHIEF DENIED. Presidential press secretary Sergei
Medvedev denied rumors that Col. Gen. Mikhail Barsukov, currently head
of Kremlin security, had been appointed as the director of the Federal
Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, ITAR-TASS reported on
20 July. Barsukov himself said he was "surprised" by the reports. The
position, formerly held by Sergei Stepashin, is the last of the federal-
level jobs to remain vacant after the Budennovsk events. Barsukov's name
remains prominent among the contenders for the post, although a 9 June
Komsomolskaya pravda article claimed that Barsukov has better access to
the president in his current position and would not want the FSB post.
The article also pointed out that he has close ties to the director of
Yeltsin's security service Aleksandr Korzhakov and that Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin and his aides treat him very cautiously. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN DESCRIBES ECONOMY IN DUMA SPEECH. Russia's GDP stood at 606
trillion rubles ($134.6 billion) in the first half of 1995 representing
a fall of 6% from the figure for the same period last year, while
industrial output, at 420 trillion rubles ($93.3 billion), dropped 3%
over the same periods, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told the State
Duma in a government address on 19 July, Russian and Western agencies
reported. However, Chernomyrdin said the decline in GDP and industrial
output was slower than in 1994. He noted that from September 1994 to
March 1995, per capita national income had fallen by 25%, but the
situation improved in April. He said there are signs of overall economic
stabilization and recovery, including stabilization of the ruble and
reduction of inflation. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA REACTION TO CHERNOMYRDIN SPEECH COOL. Various factions in the Duma
were critical of Chernomyrdin's speech. Sergei Glazev, leader of the
Democratic Party of Russia, continued to express a lack of confidence in
the entire government, Russian TV reported on 19 July. Communist leader
Gennady Zyuganov said the current government course is "doomed" and
unless Chernomyrdin finds new economic advisers, Russia cannot expect
any improvement. Vladimir Zhirinovsky said the government should be
tried and punished. Russia's Choice leader Yegor Gaidar said, "I cannot
criticize him for anything he said, but unfortunately, everything that
is said is not carried out well," Ekho Moskvy reported. Deputies from
Stability and New Regional Policy supported the prime minister. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DEPUTIES CHARGE PROCEDURAL BIAS IN CHECHNYA CASE. While Constitutional
Court judges met in closed session to rule on the legality of secret
decrees on Chechnya, Federation Council deputies Issa Kostoev and Yelena
Mizulina, who represented the upper house of parliament in the case,
complained about how the hearings were conducted, Russian Public TV
reported on 19 July. The deputies noted that the hearings were cut short
and the court rejected nearly all the petitions from the parliament's
legal team, particularly those concerning the testimony of expert
witnesses. On the same day, court Chairman Vladimir Tumanov defended the
judges' decision not to call more legal experts to testify in the case,
arguing that all 19 judges on the Constitutional Court are experts on
the law. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

COSSACK GROUPS AT ODDS OVER CHECHNYA TALKS. The Union of Cossack
Officers and the Foundation for the Restoration and Development of
Chechnya agreed to cooperate on rebuilding the economy in Chechnya and
the Caucasus region as a whole, Ekho Moskvy reported on 19 July. The
groups expressed the hope that negotiations between the Russian
government and Chechen separatists would focus not on how many people
died or who did what during the war, but on how to repair the damage. A
spokesman added that border questions should be considered secondary
issues in the talks. But on the same day, the council of Stavropol
Cossack Atamans denounced the negotiations in Chechnya as a deal struck
"behind the backs of the Russian people," Radio Rossii reported. The
Stavropol Cossacks demanded that the talks be suspended and that the
Naursk and Shelkovsk regions of Chechnya be returned to the Stavropol
region. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MORDOVIYA CONSIDERS REINTRODUCING PRESIDENCY. The draft constitution of
the Republic of Mordoviya, issued on 19 July, proposes the establishment
of a presidency for the republic, Radio Rossii reported. The president
would serve a five-year term and have the power to appoint the head of
the government as well as disband the republic's legislature with the
agreement of the Russian Constitutional Court. The former constitution
also had a presidency, but the republican Supreme Soviet disbanded it in
the spring of 1993 during a period of intense conflict between the two
branches of government. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT CRISIS IN CHUVASHIYA CONTINUES. The central electoral
commission of Chuvashiya announced that 14 out of the 47 deputies in the
republic's State Soviet must resign following a 10 July Constitutional
Court ruling that struck down the law under which they were elected in
November 1994, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 July. The 14 deputies represent
about 700,000 voters, more than half the population of the republic.
Several deputies who have long opposed Chuvash President Nikolai Fedorov
over economic reforms charged that Fedorov used the court to remove
"inconvenient" figures in the legislative branch. They pointed out that
19 Russian regions have adopted similar electoral laws, but only Fedorov
appealed the matter to the Constitutional Court, and he only did so
seven months after the elections in question were held. Meanwhile, the
deputies whose authority was not called into question by the ruling will
convene a special session of the soviet on 21 July to try to restore the
jobs of their colleagues. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

OIL SPILLS INTO THE KAMA RIVER. At least 25 tons of black oil spilled
into the Kama River on 19 July, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. The
Kama runs through Perm, an industrial city on the western edge of the
Urals, in an area known also for its numerous prisons, labor camps, and
closed military industrial factories. Apparently one of the larger
factory complexes, Motovilikhinskie zavody, had not been able to afford
gas power and was using its own oil reserves, which flowed into the
river from a broken pipe. Perm is already considered to be heavily
polluted, and local specialists told ITAR-TASS that this was probably
not the first such incident. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

ACDA CONCERNED WITH RUSSIAN BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS. In a U.S. Congress
report made public on 18 July, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament
Agency (ACDA) criticized Russia for its apparent lack of progress in
implementing the 1992 Bacteriological Weapons Convention (BWC),
international agencies reported. The ACDA report suggested that some
Russian research facilities "may be maintaining the capability to
produce biological warfare agents" and complained that Russia had
submitted incomplete and inaccurate information on its compliance with
the treaty. The report comes in the wake of a June vote in the U.S.
House of Representatives to freeze American aid for Russian nuclear
disarmament under the Nunn-Lugar Act, unless President Clinton certifies
Russian compliance with the BWC. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

DISPUTE OVER INTERPRETATION OF ABM TREATY CONTINUES. Russia has rejected
the latest American proposal to clarify the terms of the 1972 ABM
Treaty, Western agencies reported on 19 July, quoting from a classified
diplomatic note. The treaty specifically prohibits the development of
mobile "strategic" defensive systems to shoot down incoming long-range
missiles. Washington wants to develop mobile systems to defend against
short-range "tactical" missiles, such as the Scuds used by Iraq in the
1991 Gulf War and has proposed to Russia that the treaty be interpreted
so as to permit the development of such systems. A key point in the
recent American proposal was a provision which would allow each country
to determine independently whether new high-speed "tactical" defensive
missiles were consistent with the treaty. Russia reportedly rejected
that approach, saying it would lead "to the possibility of actual
circumvention of the treaty." Russia also views American plans to test
such a "tactical" defensive system as a violation of the treaty. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA ADOPTS LAWS TO RAISE MINIMUM WAGE AND PENSION. Hours after Russian
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin addressed the State Duma, the lower house of
parliament adopted laws to raise both the minimum wage and minimum
pension to 55,000 rubles ($12) a month beginning on 1 August, Russian
and Western agencies reported on 19 July. President Boris Yeltsin had
urged parliament to quickly adopt the law on the minimum monthly wage,
which currently stands at 43,000 rubles ($10). Chernomyrdin, outlining
the government's plans for social policy in his address, had proposed an
increase of the minimum wage and pension to 105,000 rubles ($23)
beginning on 1 August. Minimum wage does not reflect actual salary
levels in Russia, where the average monthly pay is 495,000 rubles
($109), but it is used as the basis to calculate other wages and social
benefits. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

PARAMONOVA REJECTED AGAIN BY STATE DUMA. For the second time in eight
months, the Duma did not confirm the appointment of Tatyana Paramonova
as Central Bank chairwoman on 19 July, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Only 167 deputies voted for the appointment, short of the
necessary 226 votes she needs out of the house's 450 deputies. One
hundred members voted against and 13 abstained. The vote does not
necessarily mean that Paramonova, who has been acting central bank
chairwoman since Viktor Gerashchenko was dismissed after last October's
ruble crisis, will herself be dismissed. Paramonova's tight monetary
policies have reduced monthly inflation from 17.8% in January to 6.7% in
June and have strengthened the ruble. But her policies have alienated
Duma groups such as the powerful banking lobby who must contribute to
compulsory reserves and the agrarian lobby who insist on continuing
centralized credits. Under Russian law, President Boris Yeltsin can
nominate Paramonova to the post one more time. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

RUSSIA ON TARGET FOR IMF CREDITS. Negotiations between the Russian
Finance Ministry and the IMF mission are nearing completion, Ekho Moskvy
reported on 19 July. IMF experts, who have been in Moscow since 11 July,
are checking if the Russian government is carrying out the conditions
specified in the agreement for receiving a $6.8 billion reserve credit.
In their preliminary report, the IMF representatives said Russia's major
economic indicators are within the parameters specified by the IMF, and
the next $500 million drawdown is likely to be granted. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIKS TALK IN TEHRAN . . . The Tajik government and opposition went
ahead with talks in Tehran on 19 July, according to international media
reports. During an interview with Radio Liberty's Uzbek service
immediately after the negotiations, the vice chairman of the Islamic
Renaissance Movement (IRM), Akbar Turadzhonzoda, said Tajik President
Imomali Rakhmonov finally agreed to meet not only with Said Abdullo
Nuri, head of the IRM, but other opposition leaders. Iranian Foreign
Minister Ali Akbar Velayati opened more than five hours of talks between
Rakhmonov, Nuri, Turadzhonzoda, and prominent opposition representatives
Atakhon Latifi and Khudaberdi Khalik Nazarov. At the end of the session,
a joint communique was issued, to which Iranian President Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani added his signature. The fact that the talks actually took
place--involving representatives of different opposition groups--is a
breakthrough in itself; in hosting them, the Iranians strengthened their
credibility as peace brokers. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND OUTCOME. According to Turdzhonzoda, Rakhmonov continues to
reject fundamental opposition demands for the establishment of an
interim government and a peace council. The sides did agree to hold a
congress of the peoples of Tajikistan in the future. Each side is to
nominate two representatives who will determine by 10 August where and
when the congress will be held. Turadzhonzoda said government and
opposition representatives are to participate in the congress on an
equal basis; delegates to the congress are to come from each of
Tajikistan's provinces, cities, and towns. He also indicated that the
Tajik opposition remains committed to the fifth round of inter-Tajik
talks under UN auspices. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZ SIGN DOCUMENT WITH RUSSIANS ON MIGRATION. Representatives of
Kyrgyzstan and Russia signed a document on 18 July on the migration
process and the rights of migrants, according to ITAR-TASS. Kyrgyz Labor
and Social Protection Minister Zafar Khakimov and the head of the
Russian Federal Migration Service, Tatyana Regent, signed an agreement
to protect the rights of migrants and prevent any forced migrations.
ITAR-TASS reported that the agreement is especially significant for
Kyrgyzstan, which has lost 300,000 people since 1991, a third of whom
have moved to Russia. The major causes of emigration from Kyrgyzstan
appear to be a law that adopted Kyrgyz as the official language and the
continuing decline of the Kyrgyz economy. However, in the first quarter
of this year, only 8,911 people are reported to have left the republic.
-- Bruce Pannier, 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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