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

No. 145, Part I, 27 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

ELECTION LEGISLATION ENDANGERED. If the parliament does not pass
legislation on how to fix the boundaries of the 225 single-mandate
districts in the Duma by 30 August, the Central Electoral Committee will
declare that the districts used in 1993 will remain in force, Nikolai
Ryabov announced on 26 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The Duma approved the
legislation on 14 July, but the Federation Council rejected it on 21
July, after the Duma had already begun its summer recess. Ryabov said a
special session of the Duma may be necessary next month, Segodnya
reported on 26 July. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

PARTY SPENDING CAPS PLANNED. According to the Justice Ministry, 259
political parties currently have the right to participate in the
elections. Parties can spend no more than 4.37 billion rubles ($950,000)
during the course of the campaign, according to a draft directive
prepared by the Central Electoral Commission, Russian Public TV reported
on 26 July. Parties cannot accept any money from foreign countries,
although there is no mechanism yet in place to prevent transfers from
abroad. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

NEW STATE PRESS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN APPOINTED. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin appointed Ivan Laptev, editor-in-chief of Izvestiya in the
1980s, to replace liberal Sergei Gryzunov as chairman of the State Press
Committee, which oversees press subsidies, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 26 July. Laptev, who was chairman of one house of the USSR
Supreme Soviet in 1991, had served as deputy press committee chairman
since December 1994. Gryzunov had been appointed in November 1994 but
subsequently came under fire for criticizing official press coverage of
the military campaign in Chechnya. Chernomyrdin first announced Gryzunov
would be replaced on 27 February, but President Yeltsin postponed the
dismissal following widespread protests in the journalistic community.
-- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MOSCOW ALTERS APPROACH TO GROZNY TALKS. Following a 26 July meeting with
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Minister of Nationalities Vyacheslav
Mikhailov, who heads the Russian delegation to the Grozny negotiations,
told ITAR-TASS that Moscow will no longer press for the signing of a
political accord on the status of the republic. Mikhailov said the
Russian side is changing its approach in order to "get the hostilities
to stop" as soon as possible and "create the conditions for democratic
elections" in Chechnya. The Russian delegation will now call for the
inclusion of some subsidiary political questions, on which there is
already agreement, into the final military accord. The resolution of
Chechnya's status will be postponed until after new elections are held
in the republic this November, Mikhailov added. The military accord
calls for the disarmament of Chechen fighters, withdrawal of most
Russian troops from Chechnya, and a prisoner exchange. -- Scott Parrish,
OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT FORMS "GREEN RUSSIA" MOVEMENT. Six days after several
environmentalist groups announced the creation of a Green Movement to
run for parliament, Environment Minister Viktor Danilov-Danilyan
announced that 18 environmentalist groups agreed to join the new
government-sponsored electoral coalition Green Russia, Russian TV and
AFP reported on 26 July. Green Russia will advocate more laws to protect
the environment and more state funding for preservation programs,
including a forest protection plan. The new bloc will include the
Ecological Women's Assembly and the Association of Veterinarians, as
well as the Green Party and the All-Russian Society for the Preservation
of Nature, who co-founded the Green Movement on 20 July pledging not to
cooperate with any traditional political parties. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

NEGOTIATIONS TOWARD A COALITION OF COMMUNIST PARTIES. Several communist
parties are negotiating to form a united bloc for the parliamentary
elections called Communists of Russia, first secretary of the Russian
Communist Workers' Party Viktor Tyulkin told ITAR-TASS on 26 July.
However, Tyulkin said Gennadii Zyuganov, who leads the Communist Party
of the Russian Federation, is still afraid that uniting with more left-
wing communist parties will cost him the support of centrist voters.
Meanwhile, Segodnya reported on 26 July that Viktor Anpilov's Workers'
Russia, Stanislav Terekhov's Officers' Union and other hard-line groups
including the National Salvation Front have formed the "People's
Resistance 95" project, which will organize demonstrations this year to
commemorate the August 1991 coup, the October 1993 parliamentary
uprising, and the anniversary of the October 1917 Revolution. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MAVRODI PROMISES TO PAY MMM SHAREHOLDERS IN NOVEMBER. Duma deputy Sergei
Mavrodi, head of the controversial MMM investment fund, will begin to
pay dividends to MMM investors starting on 16 November, one month before
scheduled parliamentary elections, Radio Rossii reported on 26 July.
According to a notice posted at the MMM office, investors who are
members of Mavrodi's party or who voted for Mavrodi in the November 1994
Duma by-election will be paid first, followed by veterans, pensioners,
and invalids. The payment plan is likely designed to boost Mavrodi's re-
election chances. One day after winning the November 1994 by-election,
Mavrodi suspended all payments to MMM investors, sparking protests
outside MMM offices in Moscow. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ADOPTIONS BY FOREIGNERS BLOCKED. The State Duma Committee on
International Affairs has asked Procurator General Aleksei Ilyushenko to
reverse his decision that a law on adoption be applied retroactively,
Russian TV and ITAR-TASS reported on 26 July. According to the law
adopted in March, Russian orphans and handicapped children may be
adopted by foreigners only if no Russian family can be found. However,
ITAR-TASS reported that changes in family and marriage legislation
created a "legal vacuum" that halted adoption procedures for 120
handicapped children, which had started in March 1995. The Education
Ministry had proposed that those adoption procedures that were started
before the amendments came into effect should be completed according to
the old regulations. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

MINERS STRIKE AFTER TEACHERS PAID. Miners of the Tyrganskaya pits in
Kuzbass are threatening to strike if they do not receive wages owed to
them since May, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 July. The miners refused to
descend into the mines when they learned that money from coal consuming
clients had been allocated by the municipal authorities of the city of
Prokopevsk to pay teachers' salaries. The municipal administration had
been unable to pay the teachers since the end of the last school year.
-- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

SUIT AGAINST BRANCH OF MOON CHURCH. The Dzerzhinskii raion court of St.
Petersburg is examining a suit demanding a ban on the activities of an
association that is allegedly a branch of the Moon Church, ITAR-TASS
reported on 26 July. The plaintiff in the suit is the St. Petersburg
Committee for the Defense of the Family and Personality. Relatives of
people who have joined the Moon Church have been seeking help at the
committee. ITAR-TASS described the Moon Church as an organization which
not only manipulates its members psychologically but which makes demands
on them that are "foreign to inhabitants of Russia and the conditions of
life in our country." -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. COMPANIES TO MARKET RUSSIAN MILITARY SATELLITE IMAGES. Russian
military satellites will conduct a space survey of several U.S. states
and the resulting images will be processed and marketed by three U.S.
companies, Yurii Milov, director-general of the Russian Space Agency,
told ITAR-TASS on 26 July. Milov said a contract had been signed between
Sovinformsputnik and the three companies: Central Trading Systems,
Lambda Tech International, and Aerial Images. He said Russian military
satellites of the Cosmos series would perform the survey, which would
begin next year. While prices for the images had not yet been set, Milov
said they would be "reasonable." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN DISCUSSES BOSNIA WITH KOZYREV AND GRACHEV. As NATO threatened
the Bosnian Serbs with air strikes, President Boris Yeltsin instructed
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to
continue seeking an "exclusively political" solution to the conflict in
Bosnia, Russian and Western agencies reported. A high-ranking Russian
diplomat told ITAR-TASS on 26 July that during his recent visit to
Belgrade, Kozyrev had received assurances that the Bosnian Serbs would
not attack the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, adding that Russia will soon
propose that an additional UN contingent that would include Russian
troops be dispatched to Gorazde. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of a 26
July U.S. Senate vote to unilaterally lift the UN arms embargo on the
Bosnian government, both presidential aide Sergei Karaganov and Vladimir
Lukin, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs, warned
that if the U.S. takes such action, Russia would consider doing the same
for Serbia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT ADOPTS RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT AGRICULTURE. The Russian
government adopted a resolution that orders the Finance Ministry to
proceed an additional 6 trillion rubles ($1.3 billion) from the federal
budget to finance domestic agricultural producers before 1 October,
Rossiiskie vesti reported on 27 July. The 1995 budget envisioned
spending of 8.8 trillion rubles on farm subsidies in 1995. Of 18.1
trillion rubles allotted to farms in the 1994 budget, only 10 trillion
rubles were actually spent. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV VISITS VIETNAM TO STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC TIES. Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev arrived in Vietnam on 27 July for a two-day
visit aimed at strengthening economic and financial cooperation, AFP and
ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Prior to 1991, the Soviet Union
accounted for 60% of Vietnam's foreign trade; in 1994, it accounted for
only 3%. Hanoi has repaid very little of the $10 billion debt to the
Soviet Union which it had accumulated before 1991. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL  ASIA

ANOTHER DEMONSTRATION IN ASHGABAT. A group of 100 Turkmen women marched
in a 26 July protest to the presidential palace in Ashgabat, Radio
Liberty's Turkmen service reported the same day. The radio described the
action as a "women's strike" against the decaying economic situation in
the republic and the authoritarian rule of President Niyazov. The
protesters were blocked by militia troops before they could reach the
presidential palace. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN HAND IN TURKMEN DEMONSTRATIONS? A 12 July protest march in
Ashgabat may have been instigated by Moscow, according to an article in
the 23-30 July edition of Moskovkie novosti. It pointed out that a week
before the "protest march," Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov signed
a contract in Tehran to deliver 8 billion cubic meters of gas as part of
deal to lay a pipeline linking Turkmenistan to Iranian and European
markets. The paper also notes that Moscow's tolerance of Turkmen
opposition activity in Russia and Ashgabat's unwillingness to agree to
Russian plans to locate military bases on its territory are causes of
friction in bilateral relations. Meanwhile, informal reports indicate
some 200 people have been detained in Turkmenistan for their involvement
in the protest march. Among this group, an unidentified 19-year-old
youth who reportedly identified other participants in the action
committed suicide upon his release, according to Radio Liberty's Turkmen
service. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

TOO MANY DOLLARS IN KAZAKHSTAN? The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar
is declining in Kazakhstan because of the inflow of credits from the
IMF, the World Bank, and other international financial institutions,
Trud reported on 25 July. At present, the republic has a trade surplus
and the gold and foreign currency reserves of the National Bank are
$1.277 billion and rising. These are not necessarily positive
developments since they suggest that the economy is unable to absorb the
amount of dollars now entering the country. The trade surplus, for
example, may indicate that importers are having problems gaining access
to dollar credits. Kazakh National Bank Chairman Daulet Sembayev also
said many of the largest national enterprises are being transferred to
foreign companies. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

CHERNOMYRDIN AND MARCHUK FAIL TO AGREE ON FLEET. Three hours of talks
between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his Ukrainian
counterpart, Yevgenii Marchuk, failed to produce an agreement on the
implementation of the Sochi accords on the Black Sea Fleet, Western and
Russian agencies reported. The two prime ministers said Marchuk would
return to Moscow on 2 August to hammer out the details of the division,
status, and future location of the fleet. Both leaders expressed
optimism that another week of work would lead to the final resolution of
the remaining problems, while Chernomyrdin reiterated that President
Yeltsin's planned visit to Kiev for the signing of a Ukrainian-Russian
friendship treaty hinges on resolving the dispute. The fleet issue did
not prevent the signing of four other Russian-Ukrainian agreements on
culture, education, environmental protection, and the transit of Russian
oil and gas across Ukraine. -- Scott Parrish, 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. ISSN 1211-1570


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