A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. - Jonathan Swift
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 154, Part I, 9 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

MOSCOW PROTESTS CROATIAN OFFENSIVE. First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov met with the ambassadors of the international Contact Group to
discuss President Boris Yeltsin's recent peace initiative, which
reportedly surprised other Contact Group governments, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 8 August. Mikhail Demurin, a spokesman for
the Russian Foreign Ministry, declared that Russia "cannot allow a
humanitarian catastrophe in Croatia and the escalation of the conflict
into a full-scale war," adding that Moscow placed top priority on
protecting the "full rights of the Serbian population" in the areas
recently recaptured by Croatia. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin told ITAR-TASS
that the Croatian offensive aroused "indignation" and "incomprehension"
and called for the international community to deliver a "decisive
rebuff" to Croatia. Other Duma deputies, led by Vladimir Zhirinovskii,
announced on 8 August that they would request that the Duma Council
invite Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to address an extraordinary
session of the Duma if it decides to convene later this month. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

PRISONER EXCHANGE DELAYED AGAIN IN GROZNY. The scheduled prisoner
exchange called for in the military accord signed in Grozny last month
was delayed yet again on 8 August, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Russian and Chechen negotiators continue to disagree over who
constitutes a prisoner of war and how many prisoners each side holds.
The ongoing expert-level talks on the political status of Chechnya are
also at a standstill, as the Russian negotiators want to include the
current, Moscow-backed Chechen authorities in the discussions, while
Dudaev's negotiators refuse. Also on 8 August, Dudaev's chief of staff,
Aslan Maskhadov, accompanied by high-ranking Russian military officers,
spoke at a public meeting in the town of Shali, where he explained the
terms of the military accord and outlined plans for implementing its
disarmament and disengagement provisions in the Shali region. Maskhadov
expressed discontent with President Yeltsin's statement that elections
in Chechnya could be delayed until 1996 and added that to prevent such a
delay, "we must implement the [military] accord quickly." -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

ALLIANCE OF COMMUNIST PARTIES UNLIKELY. Yurii Sevenard, a Duma deputy
for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), believes that
his party should not form any alliances with other Communist parties or
movements in the country, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August. He said a
united Communist Party would be desirable, but such a party is
impossible in current conditions because the various Communist groups
have radically different views. He said the Russian Communist Workers'
Party (RKRP) in particular wants to work with the more moderate
Communists even though the RKRP leaders criticized Sevenard's party for
participating in the 1993 elections. Now, according to Sevenard, the
RKRP realized that participating in the Duma has increased the KPRF's
stature and wants to benefit in a similar way. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC ACCUSED OF TAKING OVER ELECTION PROCEDURES . . . The
leaders of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc Our Home Is Russia
are trying to take over key electoral procedures in order to guarantee
victory in the December parliamentary elections, according to a
commentary published in Segodnya on 8 August. In particular, the author
attacked the Central Electoral Commission's proposal to ban free and
paid political advertising on all radio and television companies that
are not state-owned, which he called a "shameless" attempt to limit
other parties' access to the media during the campaign. High-ranking
government officials, many of whom are also leading figures in Our Home
Is Russia, already appear on radio and television nearly every day
during news broadcasts, leading some to charge that Chernomyrdin's bloc
will in effect receive the "free political advertising" denied to other
parties. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND USING LOCAL MEDIA FOR CAMPAIGN. In connection with an official
campaign by Tula Oblast authorities in support of Our Home Is Russia,
local newspapers and radio and television stations in the region have
"degenerated" into means for disseminating campaign propaganda for
Chernomyrdin's bloc, according to Radio Rossii on 8 August. However, the
station speculated that such tactics might backfire with the region's
voters. Political opponents of Our Home Is Russia reportedly believe
that the more "one-sided" and "primitive" campaign coverage in the local
media becomes, the less voters will be inclined to trust the prime
minister's bloc. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ILYUKHIN CALLS ON PROCURATOR TO DROP CASE AGAINST MASYUK. Duma Security
Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin called on the Procurator General's
Office to drop its criminal investigation of NTV journalist Yelena
Masyuk, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August. Masyuk interviewed Chechen field
commander Shamil Basaev for NTV on 26 June, and procurators opened the
investigation on 13 July to determine whether Masyuk could be charged
with harboring a criminal or concealing information about a crime from
law enforcement authorities. Other journalists who interviewed Basaev
following the Budennovsk hostage crisis have not faced criminal
investigations. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

FUNERAL OF KIVELIDI; ANOTHER BUSINESSMAN KILLED. On 8 August, top
politicians and businessmen, including Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, attended the funeral of
prominent banker Ivan Kivelidi, who died on 4 August after being
poisoned, Russian and Western agencies reported. Businessmen angrily
criticized the government's failure to combat contract killings and
organized crime in general. Former Finance Minister and leading
industrialist Vladimir Shcherbakov was quoted as saying "Not one
conviction has been made . . . The police are incapable of doing
anything, or else they're in league with the criminals." On 8 August,
Moscow prosecutors claimed to have identified the killers of television
star Vladislav Listev and journalist Dmitrii Kholodov but gave no
details. Meanwhile, a restaurant manager and his seven-year-old daughter
were killed by a car bomb in Vladivostok. Attacks on businesspeople have
become commonplace in Primore, where organized criminal groups are
strong. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

INTERIOR MINISTRY OFFICIAL ON ORGANIZED CRIME. In an interview with
Krestyanskaya Rossiya (7-13 August), deputy head of the Interior
Ministry's Department for Combating Organized Crime Aleksandr Dementev
said that at the beginning of the year there were more than 8,000 gangs
in Russia with a total of about 35,000 members. He added that a quarter
of the criminal groups have connections with corrupt officials. Among
the cases described by Dementev was an incident last year in Vladimir
Oblast in which a gang threatened to pour cyanide into the city's
reservoir if the local administration did not pay it $1 million; all
five members of the group were arrested. On the subject of money
laundering, Dementev said that according to Interior Ministry data,
criminal groups had set up 983 front businesses. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

EXPERT CALLS FOR REFORM OF MILITARY BUDGET SYSTEM. The government must
strictly control the formation and implementation of the military budget
if it hopes to achieve "reasonable sufficiency" in defense spending, a
military expert told ITAR-TASS on 8 August. Boris Zhelezov, from the
Center of National Security Problems and International Relations, said
there was no coordination between the Economics and Finance ministries
on one hand and the Defense Ministry on the other. For the third year in
a row, the military budget was being adopted six months into the budget
year. He complained that the military did not explain how they intend to
use the money they are given. He said that all concerned must reject the
"old methods" of requesting more than is needed in anticipation of cuts.
He called for an itemized national defense budget prepared by
"independent experts." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

DETAINED AMERICAN WAS CONDUCTING ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH. The Federal
Security Service (FSB) has confirmed reports that it had detained and
then released last week a U.S. serviceman near the Krasnoyarsk-26
nuclear facility, Russian and Western agencies reported on 8 August. The
U.S. Embassy in Moscow identified the American as Capt. Jason Lynch, an
instructor of geography and military engineering at West Point. The
embassy said Lynch was participating in a joint research project
investigating radioactive contamination in the Krasnoyarsk region at the
invitation of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The FSB has issued no further comments on the incident, although in a
comment reminiscent of the cold war, a Russian military source told
ITAR-TASS that Lynch may have been gathering data to increase the
accuracy of U.S. cruise missiles targeting the Krasnoyarsk facility. The
FSB has recently issued repeated warnings that foreign intelligence
agencies continue to operate in Russia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA PROCEEDING WITH CUBAN NUCLEAR REACTOR. Grigorii Kaurov, a
spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy, told ITAR-TASS on
8 August that Russia would proceed with the construction of a nuclear
power plant in Cuba, despite American concerns about its safety. The
U.S. House of Representatives voted in June to cut aid to Russia by $15
billion if the project is not canceled. Kaurov said the reactor and
turbines for the plant had already been shipped to Cuba and rebuffed
American criticism of the project, since "the U.S. always expresses
dissatisfaction whenever Russia begins such a project in any country
whatsoever." The Russian official added that the U.S. would be welcome
to satisfy its safety concerns by participating in the project. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GRAIN HARVEST TO TOTAL 80 MILLION METRIC TONS. Russia's grain harvest
will amount to about 80 million metric tons this year despite severe
drought, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August, citing the Agriculture
Ministry. The report's figure was just below last year's level of 81.3
million metric tons. The ministry said higher corn production, which has
survived the hot weather, will compensate for the lower yields of other
grains. About 1 million hectares of corn will be used for grain
production instead of silage, boosting the grain harvest. Last month,
Aleksandr Zaveryukha, deputy prime minister for agriculture, said the
grain harvest for this year is expected to total 75-78 million metric
tons, down 4-8% from last year and the lowest since the early 1970s. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SIGNS LEGAL INFORMATION DECREE. President Yeltsin signed a
decree that defines the conditions required for meeting the legal
information needs of the country's state power bodies on the basis of
progressive information technologies, Segodnya reported on 8 August. The
program calls for the creation of a central integrated legal information
bank and a fiber-optics telecommunications system linking state power
bodies. The program will be financed from the federal budget and will be
implemented during 1996 and 1997. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA DEPUTIES CLAIM YELTSIN VIOLATED LAW ON NOMINATING CENTRAL BANKER. A
group of Russian Duma deputies, headed by Mikhail Zadornov, chairman of
the Duma Budget, Tax, Banks, and Finance Committee, sent a letter to
President Yeltsin claiming the president has violated the law by failing
to nominate a new candidate to head the Central Bank of Russia following
the Duma's rejection of Tatyana Paramonova on 19 July, Rosiiiskie vesti
reported on 9 August. According to the law, the president has two weeks
to nominate a new candidate if the Duma rejects his previous choice.
Presidential aide Aleksandr Livshits replied to the letter, stating that
because of the Duma's summer recess, it is "impossible to resolve this
issue for the time being." -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NIYAZOV SACKS ADMINISTRATION HEADS. Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov
sacked 10 out of the country's 50 local administration chiefs, Radio
Rossii reported on 7 August in a broadcast monitored by the BBC. The
official reason for the dismissals was the administration heads' failure
to meet a state order for wheat supplies. Quoting the Ima press agency,
Radio Rossii noted that slightly more than 850,000 metric tons of grain
had been harvested instead of the 1 million that had been forecasted. At
an 11 July cabinet meeting, Niyazov had criticized the manner in which
oblast and raion heads were carrying out the harvest and procurement of
wheat and threatened to dismiss those who failed to meet their quotas.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

GROUP OF RUSSIANS DEPORTED FROM KAZAKHSTAN. A group of 62 Russians was
deported by order of the Semipalatinsk regional administration, Pravda
reported on 9 August. According to the official report on the case, the
Russians were not citizens of Kazakhstan and did not have residency
permits. Police escorted the Russians to the railway station and put
them on trains leaving Kazakhstan without the opportunity to send a
telegram or make a phone call to relatives. The Congress of Russian
Communities said most of the deportees lived and worked in Semipalatinsk
but simply refused to consider themselves citizens of Kazakhstan. The
Congress called the deportation a flagrant violation of international
laws and the laws of the republic of 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
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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