A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 144, Part I, 26 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

GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS BREAK OFF. Without reaching any agreement, Russian
and Chechen negotiators announced on 25 July that further talks would be
postponed for three days in order to allow each delegation to carry out
consultations, Western and Russian agencies reported. Shortly after the
negotiations were suspended, intense fighting erupted between Chechen
fighters and federal troops in central Grozny, leaving one federal
serviceman and two Chechen gunmen dead, according to ITAR-TASS. Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev, in an interview with RIA-Novosti, described
further negotiations as "pointless." Disagreement between Chechen
leaders about the issue of Chechnya's status threatens to scuttle the
talks entirely. Izvestiya reported on 26 July that several Chechen field
commanders expressed discontent with the direction of the negotiations,
while in an interview published in Segodnya on 25 July, Shamil Basaev
threatened to shoot Chechen lead delegate Usman Imaev if he agrees to
Chechnya remaining in the Russian Federation. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
Inc.

CHECHEN WAR USING UP ALL RUSSIAN ROCKET AMMO. The Russian armed forces
are in danger of using up all the ammunition for their rapid fire
rocket-propelled "Grad" multiple-launch rocket systems, NTV reported on
24 July. Officials at Tula's "Splav" enterprise, where the Grad was
built, said that not a single shell has been produced in the past five
years. Gennadii Denezhkin, Splav's chief designer, said the company "now
basically lives on trading its arms abroad and conversion. . . . There
are no new orders from the Russian Defense Ministry." He added that new
weapons projects are "in a comatose state." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE STARTS FUNDRAISING FOR CAMPAIGN. Russia's
Democratic Choice leader Yegor Gaidar has sent out a letter soliciting
contributions from several hundred government and private organizations,
Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 26 July. The letter offers a sliding
scale of access to the party for potential sponsors. Contributors of 10
million rubles ($2,200) receive information on the party's progress
during the campaign, while gifts of more than 500 million rubles
($110,000) will earn the donor a meeting to discuss specific forms of
cooperation. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

NTV TO OPEN BUREAU IN ROSTOV-NA-DONU. The independent television company
NTV announced that it will open a bureau in the southern Russian city
Rostov-na-Donu, Kommersant-Daily reported on 25 July. The bureau will
produce a special news program covering events in the North Caucasus
region and eastern Ukraine. NTV's coverage of the military campaign in
Chechnya has been highly acclaimed for its professionalism, both inside
and outside Russia. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MOSKOVSKII KOMSOMOLETS CHARGES CONCERNING REGIONAL TV REFUTED. Internews
Executive Director Manana Aslamazian and Glasnost Defense Foundation
Chairman Aleksei Simonov wrote to the editors of Moskovskii komsomolets
protesting that newspaper's unsigned article of 20 July, which alleged
that Internews was behind an attempted "American takeover" of regional
television in Russia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 July). The letters point
out numerous factual errors the article, including the following:
Internews, an international non-profit organization, is not funded by or
linked to the U.S. Information Agency; Internews did not create the
Independent Broadcasting System (IBS), a commercial network of regional
television stations in Russia; and Internews neither controls
administratively nor finances the IBS. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

NINE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES REGISTERED IN SVERDLOVSK. Nine candidates
have registered to compete in the 6 August gubernatorial elections in
Sverdlovsk Oblast, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 26 July. Eduard Rossel,
the chairman of the Sverdlovsk Duma and a Federation Council deputy, is
the favorite in the race. Other candidates include the head of the
oblast administration, the director of a large factory, a prominent
Yekaterinburg businessman, and a film director. On 11 May, President
Yeltsin issued a decree allowing the Sverdlovsk governor to be elected
as an "exception" to a 1994 decree banning elections for regional
executive heads without Moscow's explicit approval. -- Laura Belin,
OMRI, Inc.

KHABAROVSK MAYOR APPOINTMENT CONTESTED IN COURT. A Khabarovsk Krai court
is examining a lawsuit against regional Governor Viktor Ishaev
concerning the controversial appointment of Khabarovsk Mayor Pavel
Filippov in 1994, Segodnya reported on 25 July. The suit alleges that
Ishaev's decree contradicted the principles of local self-government and
violated the right of the city's residents to elect a mayor. Segodnya
predicted that the court would find in favor of the governor, who claims
that his actions were legal, since Russia has not yet adopted a law on
local government. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MONUMENT TO VYSOTSKII UNVEILED IN MOSCOW. A bronze statue of underground
singer Vladimir Vysotskii was unveiled on Moscow's Strastnoi Boulevard
on 25 July, the 15th anniversary of the singer's death, Rossiiskaya
gazeta and AFP reported. Vysotskii, who once sang, "They'll never give
me a monument on Strastnoi Boulevard," attracted a huge following during
the Soviet period for his irreverent lyrics. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

TUBERCULOSIS EPIDEMIC BLAMED ON HOMELESS. Russia has registered a 2%
infection rate for tuberculosis, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 26
July. World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines state that 1%
constitutes an epidemic. The newspaper blamed the epidemic on a lack of
legislation enabling police to detain and screen homeless people. The
paper did not mention that, according to WHO guidelines, tuberculosis is
usually transmitted via close contact with an infected person and
compounded by conditions of chronic poor nutrition and poverty. Those
conditions are more commonly encountered in jails, schools, or within
impoverished families than on streets in brief contacts with homeless
people. About 70,000 adults contract tuberculosis in Russia every year,
and the rate among children increased 30% between 1993 and 1994 to
3,500. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

NARCOTICS PRODUCED WITHIN STATE INSTITUTION. Police discovered a
narcotics laboratory within the walls of the Moscow State Textile
Academy, ITAR-TASS reported in 25 July. The laboratory had been
operating in secret for a year, producing about a kg of synthetic
methadone. Six members of a group who produced and sold the drugs were
arrested in Nizhnii Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. Although the
drug trade is often seen as spreading primarily through non-Russian
criminal networks, at least 50% of narcotics sold in the country are
produced in Russian cities. Authorities believe that the narcotics were
made mainly by a 28-year-old graduate student of the academy, and that
distribution was managed by a specialist in chemistry and pharmacology.
Both of the suspects are from Nizhnii Novgorod. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI,
Inc.

MILITARY SAID TO HAVE POLLUTED ST. PETERSBURG REGION. The Russian
military is responsible for massive pollution problems in the St.
Petersburg region, according to representatives of the Leningrad
Military District preservation inspectorate quoted in the current issue
of the English-language weekly St. Petersburg Press. The
representatives, who were speaking at a conference, said military units
in the area have had problems getting rid of rockets, artillery shells,
and chemical weapons. Last June, a group of campers stumbled across an
illegal chemical weapons testing site in the Lembolovskii district, 50
km north of St. Petersburg. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SOSKOVETS CALLS FOR MORE MILITARY COOPERATION WITH CHINA. Following a 25
July meeting with the Chinese ambassador to Russia, First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets called for further cooperation between Russia
and China in the military sphere, ITAR-TASS reported. He suggested that
a number of Russian defense plants in the Far East might take part in
Russo-Chinese programs of military and technical cooperation. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA LODGES PROTEST WITH LATVIA. Russian diplomats in Latvia will
lodge a formal protest with the Latvian government requesting a full and
impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the self-
immolation of a Russian citizen in the Latvian city of Daugavpils,
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin told journalists on
25 July. Karasin noted that media reports have attributed the 13 July
suicide of Ravil Yagudin to the Latvian Department of Citizenship and
Immigration's refusal to grant him a residence permit, even though his
wife and children live in Daugavpils. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

SUBS TO LAY CABLE UNDER ARCTIC ICE? A St. Petersburg naval defense plant
is working on a program to use nuclear-powered submarines to lay
communications cable under the Arctic ice, ITAR-TASS reported on 25
July. The "Malakhit" enterprise is designing the program to convert
military submarines for this purpose at the request of the Russian
Communication Ministry. A company spokesman told the agency that the
first project would be to lay a fiber optic cable between the Kola
Peninsula and Canada. According to the report, the problems associated
with implementing this plan are "so complicated that international
efforts" will be necessary to solve them. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID OF CHOCOLATE FACTORY FAILS. Loyal workers and
shareholders of the Red October chocolate factory defeated the hostile
takeover bid by Koloss Food Company on 25 July, Russian and Western
media reported the same day. Instead, Alliance-Menatep, the investment
arm of the Menatep Bank which controls Koloss, will be offered two seats
on the chocolate factory's board of directors. The bid has been closely
watched by financial analysts because it involved Russia's first public
tender offer and first public hostile takeover attempt. Many employees
at the factory were worried that Koloss would lay-off a number of
workers, while shareholders were concerned that product quality would
suffer. To fend off the bid, Red October's board promised large benefits
to workers if Koloss acquired a controlling interest. Fulfilling the
promise would have made the takeover attempt much more expensive for
Koloss. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

ILLARIONOV PESSIMISTIC ON ECONOMIC SITUATION. Russia is nowhere near
meeting IMF targets for the economy, particularly for inflation, and has
no hope of improving the situation this year, according to Andrei
Illarianov, director of the Institute of Economic Analysis. According to
Russian media on 25 July, the independent economist noted that inflation
was 6.7% in June and is likely to fall to 5% by August, but in September
the rate will probably begin rising to reach 10% by the beginning of
1996. Illarionov blamed the Central Bank of Russia more than any other
institution for the government's failure to achieve its economic goals.
He said the bank undermined moves to achieve financial stability by
engineering artificial devaluations of the ruble and by accumulating
foreign exchange reserves. He also feared that the ruble would collapse
after 1 October, the last day of the guaranteed ruble band. The budget
calls for monthly inflation to be cut to 1% by the end of the year and
for the deficit to be reduced to 7.9% of GNP. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

OPPOSITION FORCES MASSING ON AFGHAN-TAJIK BORDER. Opposition militants
are gathering on the Afghan side of that country's border with
Tajikistan, according to military sources cited by ITAR-TASS. The 25
July report claims 800 Tajik rebels have taken up positions opposite the
Moskovsky, Kalaikhun, and Khorog detachments of the CIS Border Forces.
An additional 200 rebels are reported to be moving up from areas in
Afghanistan. The military source said the groups would probably attempt
to break through the border and hide in the Pamir Mountains in order to
carry out terrorist activities in Tajikistan. To counter the threat,
Dushanbe is sending two units from the Kurgan-Tyube region to reinforce
the border. The two units have been engaged in a rivalry. (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 7 July.) -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

GREECE AND ARMENIA PLEDGE MILITARY COOPERATION. Greek Chief of Staff
Admiral Christos Lymberis concluded what he called "very productive"
talks with representatives of the Armenian government aimed at
strengthening military cooperation between the two countries, ITAR-TASS
reported on 23 July. The Armenian Defense Ministry invited Lymberis to
the talks, which is teh first visist by a high-level Greek military
official. During the three-day visit Lymberis met with various
government ministers and President Levon Ter-Petrossyan. In a likely
reference to Turkey, he said military cooperation between Greece and
Armenia "is not directed against third countries." -- Lowell Bezanis,
OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZ TROOPS TO PARTICIPATE IN NATO EXERCISES. The Kyrgyz Defense
Ministry announced on 25 July that a platoon of Kyrgyz soldiers will
take part in NATO exercises to be held in the U.S. from 6 to 28 August,
according to ITAR-TASS. Although Kyrgyzstan joined NATO's Partnership
for Peace program in June 1994, the country's neutrality status prevents
it from becoming a member of NATO. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

CIS AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL MEETS. The latest CIS intergovernmental council
on agriculture session in Erevan should produce an agreement on creating
a common agricultural market in the CIS, Belarusian Deputy Prime
Minister Uladzimir Harkun told ITAR-TASS. The council session that
opened on 25 July examined land reform in Armenia, the only country in
the CIS that has implemented a complete privatization program. --
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. ISSN 1211-1570


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