Coleridge declares that a man cannot have a good conscience who refuses apple dumplings, and I confess that I am of the same opinion. - Charles Lamb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 151, Part I, 4 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

YELTSIN DELIVERS SPEECH FROM HOSPITAL ON CHECHEN ACCORD. In a speech
broadcast by Russian Public TV (ORT) on the evening of 3 August,
President Boris Yeltsin praised the military agreement recently signed
in Grozny, saying it provides "a real chance of completely ending the
fighting and bringing peace to Chechnya." He added that talks on the
still unresolved issue of Chechnya's political status "must continue"
but reiterated that Chechnya must remain within the Russian Federation.
The president also defended his decision to send troops into Chechnya
last December. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

REACTION TO YELTSIN SPEECH. President Yeltsin's speech, taped in an
office at the sanitarium where he is recovering from a heart ailment,
was only Yeltsin's second public appearance since his hospitalization in
July. The tape also left an impression that Yeltsin might not be strong
enough to deliver a ten-minute speech without interruption. Lev
Ponomarev, a leader of the Democratic Russia movement, which has harshly
criticized Yeltsin's policy in Chechnya, said the speech was
"Orwellian." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

SUPPORTERS ANNOUNCE PLANS TO RE-ELECT YELTSIN. Three little-known
Russian organizations announced their plans to support President
Yeltsin's candidacy for a second term on 3 August, ITAR-TASS reported.
The organizers are the Moscow Regional Fund for the Support of the First
Russian President, the United Democratic Center, and the Russian Energy
and Technology Congress. The groups plan to set up a regional network to
collect the one million signatures necessary to register a presidential
candidate. Yeltsin has yet to announce his intentions. Vladimir
Komchatov, the president's representative in the city of Moscow, told
the news conference that if Yeltsin did not seek a second term, the
groups would support whomever he nominates instead. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

SIGNATURES COLLECTED TO CALL SPECIAL DUMA SESSION. Duma member Aleksandr
Yegorov announced that the necessary 90 deputies had signed a demand for
a special Duma session to approve the district boundaries for the 225
single-mandate seats in the December elections, Ekho Moskvy reported on
3 August. The session is needed to overcome the veto passed by the
Federation Council just before the Duma began its summer vacation. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

NEW ADVERTISING COMPANY AT RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION. Sergei Blagovolin,
director-general of the partly-private Russian Public TV company (ORT),
announced that the network has created the company ORT-Reklama to sell
advertising time on Channel 1, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 August. When ORT
took over Channel 1 broadcasting privileges from Ostankino on 1 April,
it suspended advertising until 1 August. ORT reaches an estimated
audience of 200 million viewers in the former Soviet Union, and
depending on the time of day, a one-minute advertisement on the network
will now cost between $1,500 and $28,000. Sergei Lisovskii, the chairman
of the large advertising agency Premier-SV, was hired to head ORT-
Reklama, even though ORT's new advertising rules, announced by then-
director general Vladislav Listev before he was assassinated on 1 March,
were ostensibly designed to reduce the influence of large private
agencies on Channel 1 advertising. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

LAPTEV ON THE PRESS AND THE CAMPAIGN. State Press Committee Chairman
Ivan Laptev warned that if steps are not taken quickly to support the
printing industry, candidates might not be able to have campaign
literature printed in time for the December parliamentary elections,
Russian Public TV reported on 3 August. Laptev added that since there is
no clear legal definition of "state-owned" versus "private" newspapers,
radio, and television companies, the Central Electoral Commission's
proposal to allow political advertising and certain types of campaign
coverage only in the state-owned mass media could cause "very big
problems," Russian TV reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

IRKUTSK CONSIDERS ITS RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW. The Irkutsk Oblast
administration is developing a treaty and more than 30 other documents
to regulate its relationship with Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on 3
August. The main issues addressed include the ownership of natural
resources, social benefits, health care, crime prevention, science, and
culture. Six republics, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Karachaevo-
Cherkessiya, Kabardino-Balkariya, Yakutiya (Sakha), and Buryatiya, have
already signed treaties with Moscow, but no oblasts have done so.
Irkutsk Governor Yurii Nozhikov said, "It is time to stop the practice
of dividing the members of the federation into first class republics and
second class krais and oblasts." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

TWO VIEWS ON ROLE OF REGIONS IN SVERDLOVSK GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS.
Voters' views on the proper level of autonomy for Russian Federation
subjects will decide the outcome of gubernatorial elections to be held
in Sverdlovsk Oblast on 6 August, according to Izvestiya on 4 August.
Nine candidates are registered in the race, but Sverdlovsk
administrative head Aleksei Strakhov and regional Duma Chairman Eduard
Rossel are the clear front-runners. Strakhov heads the regional branch
of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc, Our Home is Russia.
Rossel, who was Strakhov's predecessor as administrative head, once
proposed creating an independent Urals Republic and is a vigorous
advocate of greater regional autonomy. It was Rossel who pressed for the
holding of direct gubernatorial elections in the province. Rossiiskie
vesti reported on 4 August that Strakhov had accumulated a campaign war
chest of 793 million rubles ($180,000) from private contributions.
Rossel is estimated to have about 250 million rubles ($57,000) in his
campaign fund. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

BELGOROD OBLAST ADMINISTRATION TAXES FOREIGN LANGUAGE NAMES. In an
effort to "preserve the purity of the Russian language," Belgorod Oblast
administration officials have started levying a special tax on companies
that use foreign letters in their names, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 August.
Companies using non-Russian letters will be taxed the equivalent of more
than $6,000. Foreign names written in Russian letters will cost
companies the equivalent of more than $3,000. There are also regulations
in Moscow on the use of foreign letters by companies. Foreign-language
inscriptions in advertisements must be explained in Russian. Companies
are also required to transliterate their names into Russian on store
signs or billboards. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

MAYOR OF MOSCOW AGREES TO AMEND POLICY TOWARDS CHECHENS. Moscow Mayor
Yurii Luzhkov said he considers Chechens to be Russians, ITAR-TASS
reported on 2 August. Luzhkov made the statement when he met with
representatives of the Chechen diaspora in Moscow on 2 August, the
second such meeting in the last six months. The representatives had
asked Luzhkov to consider repealing the obligatory registration of
Chechens as foreigners and the mayor promised to do so as soon as
negotiations in Chechnya are successful. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

RESIDENTS LEFT UNAWARE OF MERCURY SPILL IN RIVER. An increase in the
amount of mercury has been discovered in the Severnaya Dvina River,
Izvestiya reported on 4 August. The mercury was traced to the Kotlasskii
pulp and paper complex in Arkhangelsk. It is the second time this year
mercury has been spilled into the river, the first was in January when
several tons polluted the waters. For five days, residents were not told
that the water was unsafe to drink. A commission was created by the
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to investigate the January
accident. Although a group of academics disputed the commission's
statement that the water was safe, the officials who initially hid the
accident were not punished, and so for a second time residents found
themselves drinking and bathing in mercury-laden waters, unaware that a
spill had occurred. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV: RUSSIA WILL HELP KUWAIT STRENGTHEN DEFENSES. Speaking in Kuwait
City at the end of an official visit, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
told journalists that Russia is ready to help Kuwait "strengthen its
defense capabilities," agencies reported. Kozyrev, who persuaded Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein to recognize Kuwait last November, also offered
to mediate a dispute between Kuwait and Iraq over missing Kuwaiti
prisoners. The visit is the latest step the ongoing Russian diplomatic
effort to gain international support for the gradual lifting of UN
economic sanctions on Iraq, with which Russia had extensive economic
ties prior to the UN embargo. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH SATELLITE LAUNCHED FROM PLESETSK. Dusting off a work-horse space
booster that has been in use since 1960, Russian Space Forces on 3
August placed two satellites in orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome,
ITAR-TASS reported. The main payload was a Russian Interbol-1 satellite
but it in turn carried a Czech-made space research module called Magion-
4 which will be ejected on the seventh or eighth day of the flight. The
satellites were placed into orbit by a four-stage Molniya booster
rocket, which is a direct descendant of the world's first ICBM, the
Soviet SS-6 Sapwood. The commander of the Space Forces, General Vladimir
Ivanov, told ITAR-TASS that his troops would place the first Chilean-
designed spacecraft into orbit from Plesetsk on 28 August. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

GERMANS TURN MORE HOUSING OVER TO RUSSIAN MILITARY. German officials in
Bonn announced on 3 August that the German-financed housing construction
program for Russian forces that withdrew from former East Germany is
nearly complete, ITAR-TASS reported. Altogether, 38,000 of the planned
45,000 flats in 42 cantonments have been built. According to the report,
program will cost Germany DM 8 billion. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT APPROVES 1996 DRAFT BUDGET. The Russian government announced
the 1996 draft federal budget on 3 August, Russian and Western agencies
reported the same day. Aiming to reduce monthly inflation to 1.2% and
lower the budget deficit to 3.9% of GDP, the plan calls for 411 trillion
rubles ($75 billion) in spending and 329 trillion rubles ($60 billion)
in revenues, leaving a deficit of 82 trillion rubles ($15 billion). The
biggest budget item remains defense at 79 trillion rubles ($14 billion),
up from 51 trillion rubles this year, taking up 19.2% of the federal
budget, slightly less than last year's figure of 20.9%. The budget
allocates 15 trillion rubles to education ($2.7 billion). The government
plans to borrow $9 billion from foreign creditors, down from $12 billion
this year. Privatization is projected to bring in 11 trillion rubles ($2
billion), compared to 9 trillion rubles ($1.6 billion) this year. The
State Duma will examine the budget when it convenes in September.
Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov said he expects a difficult battle
ahead as virtually every cabinet minister is unhappy with his
allocation. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

ROSEKSPORTLES SEEKS INVESTMENTS. Russia's leading supplier of wood and
timber, the Roseksportles, has launched a program designed to attract
medium and long-term investments from Russian and foreign banks in the
domestic wood and timber industry, Segodnya reported on 2 August. The
joint-stock company plans to raise $1.5 billion. Roseksportles Director
Valerii Kaikaev said the company's turnover was about $230 million
during the first half of 1995 and is expected to hit $550-600 million by
the end of the year. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN POPULAR FRONT TO BE BARRED FROM PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS? In
direct contravention of a pledge by Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev
last month that all political parties would be allowed to field
candidates in the 12 November parliamentary elections, on 2 August the
Azerbaijan Popular Front was refused registration by the Ministry of
Justice. The ministry said the party had allegedly "been involved in
illegal and anti-state activities," Reuters reported on 3 August,
quoting AzPF leader Gulamhussein Aliev. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF KAZAKHSTAN. Under the new constitution,
which will be voted on at the end of August, Kazakhstan's Constitutional
Court will be replaced by a Constitutional Council. According to
Izvestiya on 3 August, six of the 11 members of the court published an
open letter in the local press disagreeing with changes to the
republic's system of government and the expanded powers of the
president. The court ceased to function when the rest of the judges
declined to continue working with those who signed the letter, saying
their colleagues had violated the principle of noninterference in
politics. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev claims the scandal had no
effect on the decision to remove the term "Constitutional Court" from
the new constitution. However, the draft presented in July still
contained the term. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

BLACK SEA FLEET SAYS UKRAINIAN NAVY MISINFORMS KIEV. The Black Sea
Fleet's press center rejected Ukrainian accusations that its commander
is undermining the negotiations on dividing the fleet, ITAR-TASS
reported on 3 August. The statement disputed the Ukrainian accusation
that Ukrainian navy chief Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy had been
denied a seat on the honor stand at the Navy Day celebrations, claiming
he had stayed away to attend a joint U.S.-Ukrainian exercise. The press
center said a number of Ukrainian senior officials attended the
celebration, including the interior minister, the security service
chief, and the Ground Forces commander. -- Doug Clarke, 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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OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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