I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 153, Part I, 8 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 INVITES MILOSEVIC, TUDJMAN TO MOSCOW. Speaking to journalists in
the Kremlin on 7 August, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he had
invited Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman to Moscow to negotiate an agreement that would end
hostilities in the former Yugoslavia, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Amid fears that the recent Croatian military offensive could
trigger an escalation of the fighting, Yeltsin expressed confidence that
such a meeting would "reach an agreement." In a departure from the usual
Russian position, which has emphasized the importance of finding a
political settlement to the conflict, Yeltsin added that if the Serbs
remain obstinate it would become necessary to "adopt forceful measures."
Also on 7 August, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that if
Croatia does not curb its military operations against Serb separatists,
Moscow may propose sanctions against Croatia in the UN Security Council.
-- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN RETURNS TO KREMLIN. President Yeltsin returned to work in the
Kremlin on 7 August, completing his recovery from his 11 July heart
troubles, Russian and Western agencies reported. The 64-year-old leader
appeared in good shape as he walked around the Kremlin, greeting
tourists and talking to journalists. He spent the last two weeks
recuperating in a suburban Moscow sanitarium. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

YELTSIN ON CHECHNYA. Russian President Boris Yeltsin said on 7 August
that new elections in Chechnya can only be held after the disarmament
process is completed, Russian and Western agencies reported. As a
result, elections for a new Chechen parliament might be delayed until
early 1996, the president added. Russian negotiators had earlier
indicated that local elections could be held this coming November.
Yeltsin said that he had already chosen a new special representative to
Chechnya but would not confirm rumors that he will appoint Security
Council secretary Oleg Lobov to the position. Yeltsin also reiterated
that Chechnya must remain within the Russian Federation and said that
although local elections could be delayed, elections to the Duma should
take place in Chechnya on 17 December as in the rest of the country. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

POSSIBILITY OF SPLIT IN THE AGRARIAN PARTY SURFACES. Vasilii
Starodubtsev, one of the instigators of the 1991 coup and chairman of
the Agrarian Union, part of the bloc that makes up the Agrarian Party,
is unhappy with the way Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin wants to
choose candidates for the party's electoral list, NTV reported on 7
August. Lapshin wants a congress of the Agrarian Party to confirm all
candidates, including those from the Agrarian Union. Starodubtsev
believes that such a procedure would violate the rights of the Agrarian
Union and that Lapshin wants to be the sole leader of the party without
"taking into account the interests of his partners." Lapshin asserted
that the party, in alliance with the Communist Party of the Russian
Federation and other opposition groups, could win half of the seats in
the Duma, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 August. He also said his party would
support a common candidate for president with the Communists. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

ISAKOV BELIEVES YELTSIN WILL SIGN LAW ON FEDERATION COUNCIL. Vladimir
Isakov, chairman of the Duma Committee on Legislation, believes that if
Yeltsin does not sign the law calling for elections to the upper house,
he will create "a constitutional crisis," an outcome he wants to avoid,
ITAR-TASS reported on 7 August. Both houses of the parliament passed the
bill and it has been awaiting Yeltsin's signature since late July.
Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko has repeatedly said that
Yeltsin will veto the bill so that the Federation Council can be formed
from the leadership of Russia's 89 republics and regions. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA TO CAMPAIGN ON TWO PARTY LISTS. Leaders of
the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR) announced on 7 August that they
will compete in the December parliamentary elections on two separate
party lists, Russian media reported. Sergei Glazev, chairman of the DPR
and the Duma Economic Policy Committee, will join the party list of
Yurii Skokov's Congress of Russian Communities (KRO). Stanislav
Govorukhin, leader of the DPR Duma faction and the Duma Commission on
Chechnya, will run alongside Svyatoslav Fedorov's Party of Popular Self-
Government (PNS). The decision to pin the DPR's electoral fortunes on
two parties was adopted after lengthy and heated discussions at a closed
party congress, ITAR-TASS reported. In the December 1993 elections, the
DPR, then led by Nikolai Travkin, campaigned independently and barely
cleared the 5% barrier necessary to win Duma seats assigned from party
lists. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKII CHECKS THE MENTAL HEALTH OF HIS PARTY MEMBERS. Liberal
Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovskii has asked the head of a
Nizhnii Novgorod psychological clinic to evaluate the mental health of
nine of his party members in the city, Radio Rossii reported 7 August.
The reasons for Zhirinovskii's request are unclear. The local press has
carried numerous satirical stories on the incident in the past week,
causing regional party leaders to stop answering their telephones. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DATE SET FOR SVERDLOVSK GUBERNATORIAL RUNOFF ELECTION. A runoff between
the top two candidates for governor in the Sverdlovsk Oblast has been
set for 20 August, since none of the eight candidates in the race
received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, NTV reported on 7
August. Regional Duma Chairman Eduard Rossel led the field with 29% of
the vote. Sverdlovsk administrative head Aleksei Strakhov finished
second with 26%, and Valerii Trushnikov, Strakhov's first deputy, came
in third with 22%. Strakhov leads the regional branch of Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc, Our Home Is Russia, and the runoff will be
closely watched as the first (and last) test of Our Home Is Russia's
popularity in the regions before nationwide parliamentary elections in
December. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

LAPTEV CALLS FOR LAW DEFINING "STATE" MASS MEDIA. State Press Committee
Chairman Ivan Laptev called for new legislation to clarify rules on
campaign coverage and political advertising in the press and electronic
media, Russian TV reported on 7 August. The Central Electoral Commission
has proposed guidelines that would prohibit free or paid political
advertising in the private electronic media and would also force "state"
mass media to devote free air time or column space to candidates and
parties running for parliament. However, there is currently no law on
the distinction between "state" and "private" mass media. Laptev said
such a law is particularly needed to define the status of regional radio
and television companies, since candidates running in single-member
constituencies will appeal to voters primarily through the local mass
media. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO DEATH OF KIVELIDI. In the wake of the poisoning
of banker Ivan Kivelidi, the Russian cabinet again pledged to take new
measures to combat crime, Russian and Western agencies reported on 7
August. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who chaired the closed
session, was quoted as saying "we cannot avoid measures of extraordinary
rigor." His spokesman said the government is preparing a report on the
crime situation, which is to include proposals for maintaining law and
order and a list of priorities. Numerous public figures have been
assassinated in recent months, but the murder investigations have made
little headway despite repeated promises by the authorities to step up
the fight against organized crime. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

UNEMPLOYMENT RISING. Federal Employment Service spokeswoman Irina
Milkhina said on 7 August that 9.6 million people are unemployed in
Russia, or 13% of the workforce, ITAR-TASS reported. That figure
includes 5.7 million people actively seeking work, of whom about 2
million are officially registered as unemployed, and 3.9 million
"hidden" unemployed (employees still on a company's books but working
reduced hours or on compulsory unpaid leave). Milkhina said that the
number of officially registered unemployed has increased by 20% since
the beginning of the year and that the widespread practice of short-time
work, which is particularly common in light industry, the chemical
industry, machine-building, transport, communications, and scientific
organizations, is one of the main factors preventing mass open
unemployment. Nevertheless, the number of "hidden" unemployed has fallen
by 900,000 since the beginning of the year. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

HOMOSEXUALS' ASSOCIATION REFUSED REGISTRATION. Russian homosexuals
condemned the refusal on 21 July of a Moscow court to register the
Triangle Center for homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals on the grounds
that its existence "contravened the norms of public morality," AFP and
Ekho Moskvy reported on 7 August. In a letter of protest to the Justice
Ministry, the group said "the refusal to register our association is a
pure and simple violation of liberty and human rights." Homosexuality
was a criminal offense in Russia until April 1993. -- Penny Morvant,
OMRI, Inc.

U.S. SERVICEMAN REPORTED ARRESTED IN KRASNOYARSK. Federal Security
Service (FSB) agents detained an "American serviceman" who was carrying
out measurements with a "geodesic instrument" near the Krasnoyarsk-26
mining and chemical complex in Siberia, one of Russia's largest nuclear-
related facilities, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August. A spokesman at the
U.S. Defense Department had no comment on the incident, Western agencies
reported the same day. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

BORDER AGREEMENT WITH CHINA POSSIBLE SOON. The director of the Russian
Federal Border Service said on 7 August that "documents of unprecedented
importance for Russia and China" would be signed in Beijing later this
month, ITAR-TASS reported. Col. Gen. Andrei Nikolayev said it had taken
18 months to write the drafts of the documents and the two sides had
settled many differences. He stressed that Russian interests must be
protected in the final stage of the talks. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUBLE STRENGTHENS AGAINST DOLLAR. The Russian ruble strengthened against
the U.S. dollar on 7 August MICEX trading, closing at 4,405 rubles
compared with 4,416 rubles on 4 August trading, ITAR-TASS reported.
Trading volume came in at $38.11 million dollars. The demand for dollars
at the opening of the session was only $9.13 million compared with a
supply of $89.31 million. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANS-SIBERIAN CONTAINER SHIPMENTS DECREASE. Russia is having
difficulties attracting freight forwarders with goods originating in
Pacific Rim countries to ship containers to European destinations
through the trans-Siberian corridor, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August.
Even though a shipment from Japan to Europe only takes 12 days, many
foreign firms are opting for the 30-day journey by sea to avoid high
transport tariffs, tight customs regulations, and the possibility of
pilferage. Many trans-Siberian shipments with goods such as automobiles,
textiles, televisions, and video equipment have ended up as contraband
in Uzbekistan. Since January, only 17,000 containers have passed through
the corridor compared with 70,000 in the same period in 1980. Primorsk
Krai officials are trying to improve the situation in order to boost
foreign company confidence and convince them to send containers via
Russian territory. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ASSOCIATION OF CASPIAN NEWS AGENCIES FORMED. At the initiation of ITAR-
TASS and IRNA, the charter for the Association of Caspian News Agencies
(ACNA) was signed in Chalus, Iran, on 7 August, ITAR-TASS reported the
same day. The grouping aims at strengthening the position of member
agencies in world and regional markets and countering "unilateral and
unbalanced information." It also seeks to expand the exchange of
information in order to promote multilateral relations between the five
states in the region. Agencies participating in ACNA include ITAR-TASS,
IRNA, KAZTAG, and Turkmen Press; it appears Azerbaijan's Azeri Agency
"backs the decision" of the other agencies but has refused to formally
sign the charter. The ACNA's establishment is another indication of
Russia's quest, backed by Iran, for preeminence in all Caspian-related
issues and to turn any regional grouping into a vehicle for pursuing
other foreign politico-economic objectives. Azerbaijan's hopes of
bypassing Russia and exporting its Caspian oil via alternative routes
explains its reluctance to sign the ANCA's charter. -- Lowell Bezanis,
OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN'S ANTI-NUCLEAR MARCHERS STOPPED BEFORE CHINESE BORDER. About
200 anti-nuclear activists who began a two-day "March of Peace" on 6
August to commemorate the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Japan 50
years ago were stopped the next day by Kazakh security forces in the
town of Zharkent, 30 km from the Chinese border, according to Reuters.
The marchers were using the anniversary to protest China's continued use
of the Lop Nor testing site in the Xinjiang province, which borders
Kazakhstan. -- Bruce Pannier, 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
Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe,
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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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