Люди познаются в споре и в пути. - Д. Герберт
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 149, Part I, 2 August 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

IMPLEMENTATION OF GROZNY ACCORD BEGINS . . . Aslan Maskhadov and
Anatolii Romanov, commanders of Chechen and federal military forces, met
in Grozny on 1 August to begin the work of the joint commission charged
with overseeing the military accord signed by Russian and Chechen
negotiators on 30 July, NTV reported. The two commanders issued a
statement saying that all military actions on both sides would cease at
midnight on 2 August, local time. They also promised to release shortly
a concrete timetable for the implementation of the agreement. When asked
whether Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev accepted the agreement,
Maskhadov said Dudaev had approved it, except for a few minor points.
Maskhadov attributed Dudaev's earlier statements repudiating the
agreement to the Chechen president's "hot-headedness." -- Scott Parrish,
OMRI, Inc.

. . . BUT DOUBTS REMAIN ABOUT ITS PROSPECTS. Adding to doubts about the
ultimate fate of the military agreement, Dudaev has fired Chechen chief
negotiator Usman Imaev for "betraying the people of Chechnya." Imaev
confirmed his dismissal in an exclusive interview with NTV on 2 August,
adding that the decree which dismissed him had actually been signed by
Dudaev on 24 July, prior to the signing of the military accord. Imaev
refused to comment on how his dismissal might effect the implementation
of the accord. Dudaev appointed his minister of education, Khodzha
Akhmed Gelikhanov, as his new chief negotiator. Gelikhanov will lead the
Chechen delegation in the next round of talks, scheduled to continue
discussions on the unresolved issue of Chechnya's status. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

JUDGES DISCUSS "CHECHNYA CASE" VERDICT. Constitutional Court Chairman
Vladimir Tumanov said on 1 August that the court's majority decision in
the "Chechnya case" was based on the principle that the federal
government has the right to use force to prevent the secession of a
federation member, Russian media reported. Four judges, Viktor Luchin,
Valerii Zorkin, Boris Ebzeev, and Nikolai Vitruk, announced that they
fundamentally disagreed with the majority decision. Vitruk, told
Izvestiya that the majority verdict could lead to a dangerous increase
in presidential power by endorsing the view that the president can
"enforce" general provisions of the constitution, even without a legal
basis. Vitruk also complained that the Russian legal system contains
many loopholes that allow the president issue arbitrary decrees. The
four dissenters, plus another three judges who disagree with particular
aspects of the decision, will soon issue "special opinions" outlining
their disagreements with the majority verdict, Izvestiya reported. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

MORE ON DISBANDING OF KOVALEV COMMISSION. Sergei Filatov, the
presidential chief of staff, said President Boris Yeltsin decided to
disband Sergei Kovalev's presidential Human Rights Commission after
Kovalev called the president a "constitutional criminal" during the
recent Constitutional Court case on the Yeltsin's Chechnya decrees,
Segodnya reported on 1 August. Kovalev said only an organization
completely independent of the state could defend individual rights and
did not exclude the possibility that he will set up such a group. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

IZVESTIYA ON CAMPAIGN FINANCING. The electoral law encourages wealthy
candidates to engage in deceptive practices by setting the maximum
amount of money that a candidate can spend on his own campaign too low,
according to Izvestiya on 1 August. The limit a candidate can contribute
is 1,000 times the monthly wage which works out to 43.7 million rubles.
Additionally, recent rulings by the Central Electoral Commission did not
put spending caps on the amounts that can be spent on gathering
signatures in support of candidates and parties. This phase of the
campaign is often the most expensive since individual candidates must
gather 5,000 signatures and parties need 200,000. According to Aleksandr
Sobyanin, the head of an independent group researching the elections,
this feature of the rules benefits Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's
Our Home is Russia because it has access to considerable resources. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

CITIZENSHIP COMMISSION ON REFUGEE STATUS LAW. The chairman of the
Commission on Citizenship, Abdulah Mikitaev, told Russian agencies on 1
August that recent legislation on refugee status has had to take into
account a different situation than in the past, when small numbers of
political refugees came to the Soviet Union from capitalist countries
for ideological reasons. Now there are thought to be tens of thousands
of refugees, mostly from other former Soviet republics, Afghanistan, and
Korea. Izvestiya reported on 2 August that the most likely candidates
for receiving refugee status or Russian citizenship would be people such
as former Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov and officers in the
Afghan army under former President Najibullah. Izvestiya also reported
that Kurdish immigrants would probably find few obstacles to receiving
citizenship and political refugee status. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

FOREIGN TRADE REACHES $56 MILLION. Russia's foreign trade for the first
half of 1995 amounted to $56 million, a 20% increase over the same
period in 1994, according to the External Economic Affairs Ministry,
Radio Rossii reported on 1 August. According to the ministry, the
increase in foreign trade has helped Russia achieve a positive trade
balance. External trade growth was attributed to an increase in oil,
gas, metal, and raw material sales. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

BUSINESS KILLINGS LINKED TO ALUMINUM. The deaths of three prominent
businessmen are linked to the trade and production of aluminum,
according to Izvestiya on 2 August. They cited the deaths of bankers
Oleg Kantor and Vadim Iafyasov of Yugorskii Bank (see OMRI Daily Digest,
21 July) and the recent death of Sergei Brzhosnevskii, director of the
Moscow branch of the Volgograd aluminum factory, who was shot on 31 July
while entering his home. Izvestiya speculated that the success of
aluminum stocks and ventures in recent months due to privatization has
drawn the attention of criminals. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

DOCTORS EXAGGERATE MALARIA OUTBREAK. After lengthy tests, Russian
epidemiological inspectors have determined that there were only four
cases of malaria in Voronezh rather than 140 as earlier believed, ITAR-
TASS reported on 31 July (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 July). The
epidemiologists said the main reason for the mistake is local
specialists' lack of experience with malaria. The first patient had been
diagnosed correctly, and then when other patients were found to have
similar symptoms, the doctors panicked and decided that the region is
suffering a full-blown epidemic. Moscow medical inspection official Olga
Goronenkova claimed that the malaria microbe was brought into Russia
from other countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as elsewhere,
although she admitted that more than 60% of the 820 reservoirs in Moscow
are populated by mosquitoes, some potentially carrying malaria,
Vechernyaya Moskva reported on 29 July. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

GOSKOMSTAT RELEASES STRIKE DATA. The State Statistics Committee
announced that workers at 829 enterprises struck during the period
between January and June 1995, Radio Mayak reported on 1 August. An
estimated 185,000 individuals took part in the work stoppages. Most of
the strikes were in educational institutions and the energy sector. The
most common cause was the failure to receive wages on time. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

CHIEF OF STAFF ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS DESTRUCTION. General Mikhail
Kolesnikov, chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, told a
government session on 1 August that 510 billion rubles ($110 million)
will be needed in 1996 to meet Russia's commitments on destroying its
stockpile of chemical weapons, ITAR-TASS reported. Russia has admitted
having 40,000 tons of chemical weapons and agents. According to the
report, the government had instructed the Finance Ministry to provide
funds for the elimination of this stockpile in the form of a special
budget line item. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS TO BE SCRAPPED IN RUSSIA, NOT KOREA. Pacific Fleet
authorities signed a protocol of intent with the Dalintermet joint-stock
company of Nakhodka on 1 August calling for the company to scrap two
aircraft carriers, the Minsk and Novorossiisk, ITAR-TASS reported. The
two warships have already been purchased by a South Korean company for
their scrap metal. In April, customs authorities had blocked the
transfer of the two ships, fearing that they still contained classified
military equipment. Once the ships are scrapped by Dalintermet, the
metal will be sent to the South Korean company. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
Inc.

MOSCOW WARNS CROATIA TO HALT OFFENSIVE. The Russian government has
officially protested the recent attacks by Croatian forces in western
Bosnia, Russian agencies reported on 1 August. The protest sent to
Zagreb warned Croatian President Franjo Tudjman that the Croatian
offensive could lead to an escalation of hostilities. Izvestiya
commented on 2 August that Moscow's concern with the Croatian offensive
is not shared by its Western partners in the international contact
group, who hope that the Croatian attacks around Bihac will relieve them
of the responsibility of carrying out their threats to use NATO air
power to protect the UN "safe zone" there. The paper added that
divisions between Moscow and the West will undermine recent Russian
initiatives aimed at ending the Bosnian conflict. Yeltsin's proposed
Bosnia peace plan evoked only skepticism from the Western powers, while
his offer to send Russian troops to reinforce UN peacekeepers in Gorazde
is unlikely to find acceptance because it would greatly complicate the
use of NATO air power to defend the Muslim enclave. -- Scott Parrish,
OMRI, Inc.

SUNKEN SUBMARINE NO DANGER. The Soviet nuclear submarine Komsomolets,
which sank in the North Sea in April 1989, poses no threat to the local
ecology, according to a communique issued in Brussels on 1 August by the
international Komsomolets Fund. Fund representatives also said that
contrary to some speculation in the media, there is no danger that
either of the two nuclear warheads aboard the submarine will explode,
ITAR-TASS reported. They guaranteed that there would be no plutonium
leakage "in the next 20-30 years." Experts are said to be continuously
monitoring the wreck with special equipment. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

TRETYAKOV GALLERY TURNS TO PRIVATE SOURCES FOR FINANCING. Moscow's
Tretyakov Art Gallery has turned to private sources to meet expenses
that range from preserving paintings to paying salaries, Delovoi mir
reported on 1 August. The firm Boston Consulting Group, which has worked
with other large art museums of the world, is providing free services to
help the Tretyakov achieve financial stability. Sponsors have
contributed $300,000 to the gallery, of which 60% has already been
transferred to the gallery's account. More than half of the sponsors are
foreign companies. Russian corporate sponsors include the banks,
Vozrozhdenie, Unikombank, Alfa-bank, and Stolichnyi Bank and the
investment companies Nika, Rinako Plus, and Troika Dialog. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

FINAL DRAFT OF KAZAKH CONSTITUTION PUBLISHED. The text of Kazakhstan's
new constitution, which grants the president expanded executive powers
including the right to dissolve parliament, was published on 1 August,
according to Reuters. According to the draft, parliament can impeach the
president by a three-quarters vote at a joint session of the new two-
chamber legislature, but the president has the power to choose the prime
minister and personally appoint seven members of the 47-member Senate,
the upper house. The president cannot introduce legislation, but
parliament can vote to give him lawmaking powers for one year by a two-
thirds vote at a joint session. The constitution permits private land
ownership, but maintains government control over water and natural
resources. The Constitutional Court will be replaced by a Constitutional
Council; the president and parliament will jointly appoint its members.
-- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

IZVESTIYA'S ASHGABAT CORRESPONDENT ARRESTED. On 29 July Izvestiya
published a lengthy article concerning the closure and seizure of the
newspaper's Ashgabat bureau on 20 July. According to the article, the
correspondent , Vladimir Kuleshov, was picked up on 18 July by the
Committee for National Security (KNB) on charges of conducting "anti-
Turkmenistan propaganda." He was interrogated by a battery of officials
and police officers including the state procurator, deputy minister of
justice, and the chief of the department for the fight against organized
crime. They argued that he was not an accredited journalist in
Turkmenistan and that he would be judged as a citizen of the republic
"who lies against his own country." The paper pointed out that Kuleshov
has represented Izvestiya in Turkmenistan since 1985; it also noted that
Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry did not respond to an official request
to accredit Kuleshov last year. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

SEGODNYA VIEWS UZBEK-RUSSIAN AGREEMENTS. An article in Segodnya on 1
August contended that Uzbekistan benefited more than Russia from the 26-
29 July bilateral talks held in Tashkent. The idea, circulated by
Russian diplomats, that a "considerable advance" had been reached in the
political sphere and economic problems were "finally solved," is overly
optimistic, according to the newspaper. During Prime Minister Victor
Chernomyrdin's visit, 15 bilateral agreements were signed. However,
Uzbek diplomats managed to get accords relating to the Russian minority
in Uzbekistan removed from the agenda. Likewise, an agreement on the
status of the Russian media was not discussed. Segodnya argued that the
protocol on broadening bilateral military relations was the only
"serious" political agreement signed. Noting that Uzbekistan's debts to
Russia are "ludicrously" small due to inflation, the paper pointed out
that the problem of mutual debts remains unexplored. -- Lowell Bezanis,
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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