To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 143, Part I, 25 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 LEAVES HOSPITAL. President Boris Yeltsin checked out of the
hospital on 24 July and went to the Barvikha sanitarium in the Moscow
suburbs, Presidential Press Secretary Sergei Medvedev announced to the
Russian media. Staying at the health complex will prevent Yeltsin from
returning to his normal routine, since he usually works in the Kremlin
or at his home outside Moscow. Yeltsin entered the hospital on 11 July,
complaining of chest pains. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

BARSUKOV TO HEAD FSB AFTER ALL. After his press secretary denied earlier
rumors about the appointment, Yeltsin named Col. Gen. Mikhail Barsukov
to the post of Federal Security Service (FSB) director on 24 July,
Russian and Western media reported. Until now, Barsukov has been in
charge of Kremlin security and is a close friend of the head of the
presidential security service, Aleksandr Korzhakov. Izvestiya viewed the
appointment negatively, reporting that Barsukov's main qualifications
are his participation in Yeltsin's fishing and hunting trips. Duma
Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin, a Communist deputy, said
Barsukov was appointed more for his loyalty to Yeltsin than for his
professional ability and that the appointment would lead to more
political surveillance, AFP reported. Barsukov is widely viewed as an
FSB outsider. Yeltsin also named Viktor Zorin, the former head of the
FSB's counter-intelligence department who has more than 30 years
experience in the security services, as first deputy director of the
FSB. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

PRIMORSK LEADERS DENOUNCE ARREST OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN
VLADIVOSTOK. The Primorsk Krai Duma and administration, including
Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko, denounced the 20 July arrest of Primorsk
tax police chief Aleksandr Bondarenko, whom they called an "honest and
professional officer," Radio Rossii and ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July.
Bondarenko was the fifth person arrested in connection with the March
1994 ouster of Viktor Cherepkov, the first democratically elected mayor
in Vladivostok. Cherepkov was removed from office on corruption charges,
but the charges were dropped after the Procurator General's Office
determined that the case against Cherepkov had been falsified. Cherepkov
has not been reinstated as mayor. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

WOMEN END WAGE-PAYMENT PROTEST IN BURYATIYA. A group of women who were
blocking railways in Buryatiya since 17 July to demand that their
husbands be paid millions of rubles in unpaid wages have ended their
protest, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. The men worked for the joint-
stock company "Cheltailes." The company director, Yurii Moshkin, said
the women agreed with the state procurator that their protest was
unlawful. He added that the enterprise would begin paying out the 150
million rubles ($33,000) it owes to employees on 25 July. -- Alaina
Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

FAR EASTERN MILITARY SHIPYARD WORKERS GET SOME BACK PAY. Ship repair
workers in Vladivostok defense plants received their March 1995 pay
several weeks after their families demonstrated, ITAR-TASS reported on
24 July. The protest took place on 13 July, and the agency reported that
after a "brief pause" the Defense Ministry transferred 9 billion rubles
to pay the workers' salaries. It quoted local trade union officials as
saying that was not enough. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS STALL. Talks between Russian and Chechen negotiators
adjourned again on the evening of 24 July without agreement, Western and
Russian agencies reported. Members of both delegations confirmed that
the issue of Chechnya's status continues to hinder the signing of a
political agreement. The military protocol signed on 23 June cannot be
fully implemented until the political agreement has been concluded.
Minister for Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, Russia's lead
negotiator, said the Russian position remains unchanged: Chechnya must
remain in the Russian Federation although the "details" of its status
can be discussed. He admitted, however, that the Chechen delegation
continues to reject this formulation. Chechen head delegate Usman Imaev
said the talks were "difficult," but he reiterated that both delegations
"remain firmly committed to successfully concluding the talks." He added
that he "would not attempt to guess when they will be finished."
Negotiations are scheduled to resume on 25 July. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
Inc.

UNUSUALLY HIGH OFFICER CASUALTY RATES IN CHECHNYA. Officers serving in
Chechnya suffered an unprecedented casualty rate, NTV reported on 23
July. Quoting General Staff sources, the station reported that 20% of
those killed were officers, while an Airborne Troops officer said that
128 of the 300 paratroopers lost in the fighting were officers. The
report said that the ratio of officers killed to those wounded was 1:2;
the historical ratio is 1:3. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

TELEPHONE BOMB THREAT TARGETS VNUKOVO. A bomb threat at Vnukovo
International Airport caused the temporary evacuation of employees and
passengers on 24 July, ITAR-TASS reported on the same day. An
unidentified person had dialed the emergency line "02" and claimed a
bomb was in the airport, but nothing was found. Located south of Moscow,
the airport is used mostly for flights within the former Soviet Union,
including to Chechnya. Police fear that Chechen terrorists were behind
the threat, according to Western agencies. It was the fourth such threat
at Vnukovo in the past month. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

REFUGEE STATUS REVIEWED IN COURT. In an unprecedented case, the St.
Petersburg court is examining complaints filed by foreign citizens who
have been denied refugee status, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. There
are about 30 analogous legal complaints in the city, most filed by
Afghans. Almost 140 Afghans are seeking refugee status in Russia, NTV
reported on 17 July. The Migration Service of St. Petersburg told ITAR-
TASS that it has refused refugee status to 90 people since the beginning
of the year. Most are unable to find work because they lack the proper
documents and face a language barrier; they are believed to be earning
their livelihood through informal trade or low-paid construction work.
-- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SCRAPS OBSOLETE MILITARY DECREES. President Yeltsin signed a
decree that invalidates a number of Soviet-era decrees on the military,
ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. Those included a February 1991
presidential decree on military councils in the armed forces, a June
1991 presidential decree on appointing and dismissing military leaders,
and a November 1991 decree establishing a "strategic containment force"
with the Soviet armed forces. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

KOKOSHIN CALLS FOR LARGER MILITARY BUDGET. First Deputy Defense Minister
Andrei Kokoshin called for greater military spending in 1996, telling a
defense industry management group on 24 July that the defense budget
should be "at least proportional to the growth of the GDP," ITAR-TASS
reported. Kokoshin, the highest ranking civilian in the Defense
Ministry, said extra funds should be spent on higher quality training
and updating equipment. He also said that it is vitally important to
provide the military with the money allocated to it in this year's
budget. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

GRACHEV WELCOME IN BAVARIA THIS TIME. Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev has been invited to participate in a seminar on the role of the
armed forces in a democracy, a spokesman for the German Defense Ministry
told ITAR-TASS on 24 July. The seminar will take place in Ebenhausen,
just outside Munich, and the German delegation will be headed by Defense
Minister Volker Ruehe. In January of this year, Ruehe had made it clear
that Grachev would not be welcome at a February conference on European
defense held in Munich after the Russian general called Human Rights
Commissioner Sergei Kovalev a traitor and branded Duma Defense Committee
Chairman Sergei Yushenkov a "vile toad." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSO-FINNISH TRADE TALKS IN MOSCOW. Finnish Prime Minister Paavo
Lipponen discussed bilateral trade and debt issues with his Russian
counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
for Foreign Trade Oleg Davydov on 24 July, Western and Russian agencies
reported. Among the issues addressed were Russia's $1 billion debt to
Finland, the impact of recent increases in Russian tariffs and transport
fees on bilateral trade, and joint investment projects. Davydov said the
most important joint project touched upon in the talks was a proposed $1
billion oil pipeline, which would connect the Finnish port of Pori with
the oil fields of the Timan-Pechora Basin in northern Russia. The
proposed project would provide the first direct link between Russian oil
fields and European markets. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

WORST GRAIN HARVEST IN TWO DECADES EXPECTED THIS YEAR. Russian farmers
are expecting the country's worst grain harvest in 20 years following a
severe drought that has plagued farmlands in southern Russia, according
to Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha, ITAR-TASS reported on 24
July. The minister said the harvest is likely to be 75-78 million metric
tons, or about 4%-8% less than last year's harvest of 81.3 million
metric tons. Russia will produce enough grain for its own use, but it
will no longer be able to provide former Soviet republics with cheap
grain. Despite the expected poor harvest, the state does not plan to
import foreign grain. Zaveryukha said he did not expect the low grain
yield to result in higher bread prices because the government can be
expected to subsidize bread if the price of grain starts to soar. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

AEROFLOT STAYS AFLOAT DESPITE COMPETITION. Despite increasing
competition on the international market with other air passenger and
cargo companies, Aeroflot, Russia's international airline company,
reported success in the first half of 1995, ITAR-TASS reported on 25
July. Flying to 143 destinations in 102 countries around the world,
Aeroflot has transported around 500,000 passengers and more than 28,000
tons of cargo since the beginning of the year. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

RUBLE DROPS FIVE POINTS AGAINST DOLLAR. The Russian ruble fell five
points against the U.S. dollar from its rate in 21 July MICEX trading to
close at 4,490 rubles to $1 on 24 July, Business-Tass reported the same
day. Initial demand was $16.36 million with 24 banks participating. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KYRGYZSTAN TO GET MORE LOANS. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will
extend loans of between $60-70 million to Kyrgyzstan this year, AFP
reported. In a welcoming speech to Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, who is
on a tour of Southeast Asia, the bank's president, Mitsuo Sato, said the
Manila-based financial institution remains committed to helping the
Kyrgyz government meet its objectives. Kyrgyzstan is the newest addition
to the bank's roster of 55 member states. The bulk of the loan will help
pay for agricultural programs and the renovation of a power plant. --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

TAJIKISTAN REMAINS OFFICIALLY IN ECONOMIC CRISIS. Tajik government
officials concluded at a cabinet meeting that the republic's economy is
still in an economic crisis, Russian Public TV reported on 24 July. Most
of Tajikistan's industries have ceased to work and the rest are
functioning at 50% capacity. The communications and transport systems
were described as "sad." Although some pointed out that the introduction
of the national currency, the Tajik ruble, is reanimating the economy,
it was also mentioned that salaries are rarely paid in full. The shelves
in state-run stores are empty and the prices at markets are rising. --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIVIL UNREST IN SOUTHERN TAJIKISTAN. Residents of the city of Khorog
attacked a unit of the Russian Border Forces on 23 July, Russian Public
TV reported the next day. The group began by hurling insults at the
Russian soldiers and then started throwing rocks and sticks at them. A
representative of the Border Forces Service said the soldiers fired
warning shots in the air to no effect. Order was finally restored when
the soldiers shot "one of the most aggressive assailants in the arm." --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

SOVIET-BUILT REACTORS "SAFE." A senior Russian nuclear official claimed
that 10 Soviet-built reactors that were recently criticized in a U.S.
federal intelligence report received a clean bill of health from the
International Atomic Energy Agency, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July.
According to the U.S. report, 10 reactors in Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia,
Bulgaria, and Lithuania are at "high-risk" of failure because of their
poor and outdated design, inadequate regulatory regime, and economic
pressures to keep them running. Anatolii Zemskov, a spokesman for the
Rosenergoatom concern, said Russian reactors are subjected to regular
modernization and inspections to improve their safety, but he conceded
that some of the East European reactors need to be upgraded. -- 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
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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