I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. - Rev. Martin Luther King 1929-1968
-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- | Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to | | reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or | | redistributing this publication, please write varnumk@omri.cz for a | | copy of the new policy or look at this URL: | | http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html | -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 157, Part I, 14 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

DUMA OVERRIDES FEDERATION COUNCIL ON DISTRICT BOUNDARIES. In a special
session on 12 August, the State Duma overrode the Federation Council
veto of a law defining the boundaries of the 225 single-member
districts in the December Duma elections with 350 votes in favor, five
against, and two abstentions, NTV reported. The higher-than-expected
turnout of deputies and their unity in the vote showed that they were
interested in the Duma elections being held in strict accordance with
the law so that there would be no pretext to overturn their outcome.
President Boris Yeltsin is expected to sign the law in the next few
days. The Central Electoral Commission must officially publish the map
of district boundaries by the end of August, according to the electoral
law. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN VETOES LAW ON FEDERATION COUNCIL. President Yeltsin vetoed the
law on the formation of the Federation Council on 12 August, Russian
and Western agencies reported. The law had been passed by the Duma on 5
July and the Federation Council on 27 July. During its special session
12 August, the Duma tried to override the veto but mustered only 282 of
the needed 300 votes, Russian Public TV reported. Yeltsin said the law
would violate the constitution. According to his interpretation,
Federation Council members should be appointed by the local executive
and legislative branches of Russia's 89 republics and regions. The
parliament's version of the law called for electing the upper house
based on candidates nominated by the local executives and legislatures.
According to a Kremlin statement, electing the upper house makes it too
much like the lower house, AFP reported on 12 August. Appointing the
members will allow them to better represent the interests of Russia's
federal units, while the Duma will represent various groups within the
population, according to the statement. Yeltsin has asked the
Constitutional Court to examine the matter. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

KOZYREV AND LAKE DISCUSS YUGOSLAV SITUATION. No joint statement was
issued after Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and U.S. National
Security Adviser Anthony Lake met for nearly three hours in Sochi on 13
August to discuss the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Russian and
Western agencies reported. Lake left without commenting to journalists.
Kozyrev expressed satisfaction that the U.S. was now making "more
active efforts to find a political solution" to the conflict but also
admitted that "differences in accent between the two sides" persist. He
also complained that "lifting or suspending sanctions" against rump
Yugoslavia, a step supported by both President Yeltsin and the Duma, is
not backed by the U.S. Differences in the U.S. and Russian approaches
to the conflict have intensified since Croatia successfully recaptured
Krajina earlier this month, and Lake, who is touring European capitals
in a reported attempt to gain support for a U.S. peace initiative, had
not originally planned to visit Russia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA PASSES BILLS ON YUGOSLAV CONFLICT. At its special session on 12
August, the Duma adopted a resolution condemning Croatian actions in
Krajina and passed three bills related to the conflict in the former
Yugoslavia, Russian and Western agencies reported. On the second
attempt, by a vote of 226-1, with many deputies not voting, a bill
providing for Russia to unilaterally withdraw from UN sanctions against
rump Yugoslavia barely passed on its third reading. The same bill had
passed on its second reading on 12 July, following NATO air strikes
against the Bosnian Serbs. In three simultaneous readings, the Duma
also passed by 234-0, again with many deputies not voting, a bill that
would impose a trade embargo on Croatia as punishment for "genocide
against the Serbian people." The third bill called for the dispatch of
humanitarian aid to Serbs fleeing Croatia. The bills now go to the
Federation Council for consideration, and Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin
suggested after the vote that President Yeltsin might veto them if they
pass the upper house, which is currently in summer recess. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GROZNY PEACE PROCESS FALTERS. Continued failure to implement the
military accord signed in Grozny on 30 July has increased already
strong doubts about the prospects for negotiating a stable peace in
Chechnya. Sandor Meszaros, head of the OSCE delegation in Grozny, said
on 11 August that none of the major provisions of the agreement have
yet been put into operation. He added that an atmosphere of "mistrust"
is hindering further progress. To push the process forward, Minister
for Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov and Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov went to Grozny over the weekend. Mikhailov told ITAR-TASS on 12
August that if the process of disarmament moves forward successfully,
local elections in Chechnya could take place this December. He added,
however, that a recent decision by Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev to
exempt the "Chechen army" from the provisions of the Grozny military
accord would torpedo any further progress. Kulikov later told
journalists in Grozny that if pro-Dudaev fighters do not turn over
their weapons soon, federal troops would "continue to use force" to
disarm them. Talks on implementing the military agreement are scheduled
to continue on 14 August. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

OSSETIYANS AND INGUSH BREAK NEGOTIATIONS OVER REFUGEES. Negotiations
between North Ossetiyan and Ingush delegations that began in Nazrani on
8 August halted three days later. Interfax reported on 11 August that
the Ingush press service said that the talks were "interrupted because
of the Ossetiyan side's refusal to continue them," and also that the
Ossetiyans claimed that making a list of North Ossetiyan communities to
which refugees could return is not possible. North Ossetiyan President
Yurii Biragov, however, told ITAR-TASS on 12 August that the Ingush side
had insisted on a rapid return of refugees to 16 resettlement points in
North Ossetiya, while his side had proposed to deal with the problem
gradually. He said that each side should send a group of experts to look
over proposed sites to determine housing and infrastructure needs, as
well as how to guarantee refugees' safety, before negotiations continue.
Both sides have expressed a willingness to resume negotiations later.
Interfax labeled the problematic refugees "North Ossetiyans," while
ITAR-TASS referred to them as "Ingush." -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

OUR HOME IS RUSSIA ADOPTS PRELIMINARY PLATFORMS. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin's center-right Our Home is Russia bloc adopted preliminary
versions of its program and campaign platform at the first session of
its second congress on 12 August, ITAR-TASS reported. The final versions
will be adopted at the second stage of the congress on 2 September. In
his speech to the congress, Chernomyrdin said it will be difficult to
convince people to support the program because many of the movement's
members are currently in the executive branch and are vulnerable to
criticism. Aleksandr Shokhin, chairman of the program commission, said
that the main goals of the program were to pay state debts to industry
and compensate citizens, starting with the oldest, for the savings they
lost due to the liberalization of prices. Chernomyrdin's "party of
power" faces stiff competition, since the appearance of numerous
regional branches of Our Home is Russia is giving the opposition a
common enemy and spurring its unification, Izvestiya reported on 12
August. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

"ALPHA" UNIT GOES TO THE FSB. The crack antiterrorist "Alpha" commando
unit has been transferred to the Federal Security Service (FSB), RIA
reported on 10 August. The unit, established in 1974 under the KGB, had
belonged to President Yeltsin's Main Administration for the Protection
of the Russian Federation. Sullied in the attack on the hospital in
Budennovsk, Alpha thus follows its former commander Col. Gen. Mikhail
Barsukov to the strengthened FSB. In April, Yeltsin signed into law a
bill that allowed the FSB to create special forces for paramilitary
functions. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RECORD NUMBER OF SYPHILIS CASES. Yevgenii Belyaev, the head of the State
Committee for Sanitary-Epidemiological Inspection, said on 11 August
that there were more than 100,000 registered cases of syphilis in the
first six months of this year, the most Russia has seen this century,
Reuters reported. Dysentery is up 26%, and hepatitis A up 3.9%. There
were 18,787 cases of diphtheria in the first seven months of the year,
but the disease is spreading much more slowly than it did last year. To
improve the health of the population, Belyaev advocated a national
campaign to promote "healthy lifestyles, good food, and family values."
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

PAY RISE FOR CIVIL SERVANTS. Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov said on
11 August that civil servants' salaries will be raised by 55% in
September and that President Yeltsin has promised to issue a decree
raising salary levels by 150% in the new year, ITAR-TASS and Kommersant-
Daily reported. He added, however, that the Duma was likely to oppose
the hikes. Government ministers argue that low pay is encouraging a
damaging emigration of qualified officials that is "threatening national
security," but left-wing papers have frequently criticized civil service
salaries as too high. At present, the lowest average monthly salary is
at the Culture Ministry--313,000 rubles ($71)--and the highest at the
State Customs Service--960,000 rubles ($218). -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

MORE ON TURKISH SPY IN DAGESTAN. The case of Isak Kasap, a Turkish
national arrested for espionage in late May in Dagestan (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 2 June 1995 and 31 May 1995), may be nearing a conclusion. At an
11 August press conference organized by the Russian Federal Security
Service in Makhachkala, Kasap told reporters he was guilty of espionage
on Russian territory and of serving as a contact between Turkey and
Dzhokhar Dudaev, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. He said he confessed
his guilt because the Turkish authorities had denied any connection to
him. The Dagestani prosecutor's office has decided to cancel criminal
proceedings against Kasap since he cooperated with them and "did not
cause any serious damage" to Russia or Dagestan. It appears he will be
deported. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

LARGE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS NOT EXPECTED IN 1996. Russian Deputy Economics
Minister Vladimir Kossov told Interfax on 11 August that political
uncertainty in the country is discouraging foreign investment which is
not expected to pick up until after forthcoming parliamentary and
presidential elections. The minister noted that the government had sent
proposals to the State Duma to pass legislation that would make the
investment climate more attractive to foreigners. Nebulous and
contradictory legislation is one of the obstacles in attracting foreign
investment to Russia. Kossov said Russia received as little as $500
million in direct foreign investment in the first six months of this
year, marking a drop from last year's figures. Kossov predicted that
foreign investments for 1996 will stay in these year's range of $1.2-1.5
billion. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUBLE REMAINS UNCHANGED FOR FIRST TIME THIS YEAR. For the first time
this year, the Russian ruble remained unchanged at 4,405 rubles to $1
for a whole week (7-11 August), the Financial /Information Agency
reported on 11 August. The ruble is stable because the dollar rate on
the exchange market approached a limit the Central Bank of Russia can
permit. The bank bought about $300 million worth of currency on MICEX
trading during the course of the week, which kept the ruble stable. The
Financial Information Agency reported that if high interest rates (70-
100%) persist on inter-bank ruble credits, commercial banks may avoid a
long-term play for the dollar's rise. In August last year, the price of
ruble credits averaged 20-25%, which triggered the panic buying of hard
currency late last summer and early fall. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CITIZENS' SAVINGS HOLDINGS RISE. The total bank savings of Russian
citizens amounted to 50.9 trillion rubles ($1.2 billion) as of 1 July,
according to issue No. 30 of Birzhevye vedomosti. Based on Goskomstat
statistics, this means an 80% rise over the figure at the beginning of
the year. As before, Russians prefer to keep their savings with the
Sberbank (Savings Bank), which has accumulated 59.4% of all bank assets
invested by the Russian population. Meanwhile, some experts cited in
the report noted that this figure is actually declining. They say that
in January 1994, Russians kept 71.4% of their total savings with
Sberbank compared with only 62.2% in January 1995. -- Thomas Sigel,
OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

UN ENVOY MAKES STATEMENT IN KABUL ON TAJIK TALKS. The UN special envoy
to Tajikistan, Ramiro Piriz Ballon, said in Kabul on 12 August after
meeting with opposition leader Said Nuri that the two sides in the
Tajik conflict have agreed on "some of the principles that should serve
as the basis for future inter-Tajik talks," according to the United
Nations Daily report. Ballon said the two sides agreed in principle on
a six-month extension of the existing ceasefire (due to expire on 26
August), on the formation of a consultative body to discuss political
transition in Tajikistan, and on the legalization of political parties.
After the statement, Ballon flew back to Dushanbe without mentioning
where or when the next round of talks will be held. -- Bruce Pannier,
OMRI, Inc.

CILLER BEGINS CENTRAL ASIAN TOUR. At the head of a large delegation,
Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller began a tour of Central Asia on 14
August to strengthen economic and political ties with Kyrgyzstan,
Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, international media reported. In
particular, along with her energy minister, Ciller is expected to push
for more trade, an oil pipeline, and eventually, a highway linking
Turkey and Central Asia, according to media reports. Ciller was in
Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, priority countries for Turkey, less than two
months ago. Her visit follows a similar regional tour earlier this
month by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Ciller's visit is
also a precursor to the third summit of Turkic leaders which is to be
held in Bishkek later this month. -- 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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Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to
reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or
redistributing this publication, please write varnumk@omri.cz for a copy
of the new policy or look at this URL:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ

Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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