If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 158, Part I, 15 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

RUSSIA TOUGHENS STANCE IN GROZNY TALKS . . . At a 14 August Kremlin
meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Minister for
Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, and Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov, President Boris Yeltsin expressed dissatisfaction with the
deadlocked process of disarming Chechen fighters but reiterated that the
negotiation process must continue, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Chernomyrdin subsequently told reporters that the Chechen side
had until 6 p.m. local time to accept the most recent Russian plan for
implementing the disarmament provisions of the 30 July military accord.
He added that if the Chechen fighters did not "stop playing games" with
the disarmament process, they would face "severe measures." The failure
to move the disarmament process forward threatens to torpedo the entire
negotiated peace process in Chechnya and could trigger renewed fighting,
NTV commented. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

. . . BUT CHECHEN DELEGATION REBUFFS ULTIMATUM. In Grozny that evening,
Chechen military commander Aslan Maskhadov refused to accept this
ultimatum and rejected the Russian disarmament plan, calling some of its
provisions unacceptable. However, he did promise to assist in carrying
out the provisions of the military accord. Late in the evening of 14
August, the Russian government responded with an official statement
accusing "the Dudaev regime" of attempting to unilaterally change the
terms of the military accord and again threatening to take "all
necessary measures" to implement the accord. With fears of renewed
fighting increasing, NTV reported that the situation in many Chechen
villages appears very unstable. Talks on implementing the military
accord between Maskhadov and General Anatolii Romanov, commander of
federal forces in Chechnya, are scheduled to resume on 15 August, ITAR-
TASS reported. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN VETOES LAW ON CHECHNYA CRISIS. On 14 August, President Yeltsin
vetoed a bill that the Duma had passed on 12 July, specifying the
process for negotiating a political settlement in Chechnya. Yeltsin
justified his veto in a letter to Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin that said the
proposed law would contradict the Russian constitution and would violate
the principle of separation of powers. Yeltsin especially objected to a
provision of the law that would have charged a joint commission of
officials from all branches of government with negotiating a settlement
to the Chechen conflict and another clause prohibiting the stationing of
Russian troops in Chechnya, except for those permanently based there.
Both provisions infringed on presidential powers, Yeltsin contended.
Since last year, both houses of the Federal Assembly have repeatedly
tried without success to establish legislative oversight of government
policy in Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

FSB ON TURKISH INVOLVEMENT IN CHECHNYA. Russian Federal Security Service
(FSB) spokesman Alexander Mikhailov claimed that Turks are responsible
for Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's communications systems and
Russian demands for an explanation from Ankara have so far received only
"very vague" answers, Rabochaya tribuna reported on 11 August. Mikhailov
pointed to the arrest in the spring of Turkish national Isak Kasap as
evidence of Turkey's involvement in rendering aid to Dudaev. Mikhailov
also said that FSB representatives traveled to Turkey to discuss this
matter and were told that the country is not aiding Dudaev, but that
Turkish officials "cannot stop" the Chechen diaspora from helping their
"native country" and that they cannot control transfers of money from
Turkey "via American banks." He also said armed units from Afghanistan
and Jordan are fighting on Dudaev's side. Turkish North Caucasians of
Circassian and Abkhaz descent are numerous and largely assimilated;
Turkey's Chechen community is tiny, numbering at most 40,000 people but
probably closer to 3,000. (CORRECTION: Isak Kasap was arrested on 23
April 1995, not in late May as reported in OMRI Daily Digest, 14 August
1995.) -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

FOREIGN MINISTRY BACKTRACKS ON YUGOSLAV SANCTIONS. An unnamed high-
ranking diplomat at the Russian Foreign Ministry backed away from
earlier comments by President Yeltsin and a bill passed by the Duma,
suggesting that Russia was not seriously considering unilaterally
abandoning UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, Interfax reported on 14
August. The diplomat said that "we are not ruling out such measures, but
we think we can do without them for the time being." Interfax also
quoted the diplomat as characterizing the Duma bill as merely
"rhetorical" and without "practical content." Foreign Ministry spokesman
Mikhail Demurin later disavowed this comment, telling Interfax that the
Foreign Ministry had not yet received a full text of the bill and would
"closely examine" it when it arrived. Against the backdrop of these
contradictory comments, several Moscow papers have harshly criticized
the lack of any coherent strategy in Russian policy towards the conflict
in the former Yugoslavia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

KALMYKIYA EXTENDS TERM OF ITS PRESIDENT. The legislature of Kalmykiya, a
small republic in southwest Russia, has voted to extend the term of its
president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, until the year 2000, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The body turned down an alternative proposal to make
him president for life. Russian TV stereotyped that proposal as a
product of the "specific Eastern character" of the republic. The 33-
year-old Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy businessman before becoming president in
April 1993, disbanded the previous republican legislature and local
councils on coming to power. NTV stressed the president's draconian
approach to crime prevention in Kalmykiya, reporting his suggestion at
the session that thieves' hands be severed. -- Robert Orttung and Alaina
Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

ISAKOV: DUMA WILL NOT BACK DOWN ON FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW. The Duma will
cooperate with the president and Federation Council to draft a new law
on the parliament's upper house following the president's veto, ITAR-
TASS quoted Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the Duma Committee on
Legislation, as saying on 14 August. He said that a conciliatory
commission is slated to meet on 28 August and asked President Yeltsin
and the upper house to designate delegates to it. However, he warned
that the Duma will not back down from its position that the members of
the Federation Council must be elected but added that the possibility of
compromise is "not hopeless." Nevertheless, an article he published in
Sovetskaya Rossiya on 15 August was harshly critical of Yeltsin's
position on this issue. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

FORWARD, RUSSIA! ADOPTS PARTY LIST. Forward, Russia! named the top three
members of its party list at its congress on 14 August. Former Finance
Minister Boris Fedorov, the party's leader, tops the list, while Bella
Denisenko, chairwoman of the Duma Committee on Health Care, is second
and Aleksandr Vladislavlev, one of the leaders of the Russian Union of
Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, is third, Russian Public TV reported.
Vladislavlev's appointment was a surprise and apparently only happened
at the last minute. He was one of the leaders of the Civic Union
political bloc. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC UNION REJECTS RYBKIN BLOC. Vasilii Lipitskii's Social
Democratic Union will campaign independently, Lipitskii told Russian
Public TV on 14 August. Lipitskii was one of the original supporters of
Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin's left-center bloc but now has decided that the
bloc will not be social-democratic enough for his taste. Rybkin's bloc
is scheduled to hold its founding congress at the end of August.
Lipitskii's Social Democratic Union grew out of the Russian Social
Democratic People's Party which split when former Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi, the party's leader, formed his Derzhava movement. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

ARZAMAS-16 GETS OLD NAME BACK. President Yeltsin signed a decree on 14
August giving the formerly secret nuclear research city known as
Arzamas-16 its old name of Sarov, ITAR-TASS reported. Sarov was a major
religious center for more than 200 years before the Soviet authorities
turned it into a hub of nuclear research in 1946. -- Penny Morvant,
OMRI, Inc.

BELYAEV SAYS INCOME FROM PRIVATIZATION ON TARGET. Russian State Property
Committee Chairman Sergei Belyaev announced that state privatization
sales this year are on target and will bring in 8.7 trillion rubles
($1.9 billion) to the state coffers, Radio Rossii reported on 14 August.
Belyaev told the press that the state-owned share in the Russian Joint
Energy System and Rostelecom are currently being sold and those sales
are expected to bring a "solid contribution" to the state budget. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

MINISTRY SOURCE CLAIMS STOCKPILE OF FOREIGN GRAIN. According to
information from an Economic News Agency correspondent from a source in
Russia's Food and Agriculture Ministry, certain domestic commercial
entities have purchased 2 million tons of food-grade wheat from foreign
countries, Izvestiya reported on 15 August. According to the report, the
grain has been shipped to Russia and stored already. The commercial
entities are now waiting for wheat prices to climb this fall. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SACKS COMPANY MANAGERS. Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev
has fired several top managers, including the directors of the Kant oil
products supply enterprise and the Sokuluk trade machinery plant, for
tax evasion, according to a Kyrgyz Radio broadcast monitored by the BBC.
The Kyrgyz prosecutor general has received orders to examine the
"criminal liability" of other managers and officials at a number of
enterprises. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

BAIKONUR TALKS BOG DOWN. Some issues relating to the Russian lease of
the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan remain unresolved, according to a
Kazakh Radio report monitored by the BBC on 10 August. Legal experts on
both sides are unable to compromise on two issues, namely cooperation
between Kazakh and Russian law-enforcement bodies in the zone of the
rocket launch site and settlements for lease payments. Negotiations on
the mechanism for implementing the 20-year lease with an annual rent of
$115 million are to be wrapped up by the beginning of September. In mid-
April Kazakhstan's president ratified the agreement by decree; Russia
ratified it in early May. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

IRAN TO INVEST IN KAZAKH PORT. Following talks between Kazakh Minister
of Transport and Communications Serik Aligozhanov and Iranian Foreign
Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran has offered to help reconstruct the
Kazakh Caspian sea port of Aktau, Kazakh Radio reported on 10 August.
According to the report which was monitored by the BBC, an expert group
will be formed "in a week" to study the situation "on the spot." Iran
has offered $49 million for the project. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

KARIMOV AND DEMIREL MEET. A closed-door meeting between Uzbek President
Islam Karimov and his Turkish counterpart, Suleyman Demirel, took place
on 10 August in the Turkish resort of Kemer where Karimov is
vacationing. According to a Turkish Television (TRT) broadcast monitored
by the BBC, Demirel said after the meeting that "there are no problems
in our bilateral relations." The recent trip of Turkish Prime Minister
Tansu Ciller to Tashkent demonstrated an improvement in bilateral
relations that had been cool. Karimov's stay in Turkey and meeting with
Demirel reinforces this view. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

INDONESIA TO INVEST IN UZBEKISTAN. Indonesia's ambassador in Tashkent,
Hasan Abduljali, told Interfax on 10 August that his country will invest
$280 million in Uzbekistan in the next three years. The bulk of the
funds will be invested in Indonesian-Uzbek joint ventures; $100 million
of which will go into telecommunications, another $100 million into the
textile industry, and the remainder divided almost evenly between hotel
businesses and the mining industry. This is in keeping with an agreement
reached during a recent visit of Indonesian businessmen to Uzbekistan.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

PIPELINE PRESSURE RISING. The Caspian Oil Pipeline Consortium (Russia,
Kazakhstan, and Oman) has announced its decision to lay a pipeline
connecting the Russian city of Kropotkin with a projected marine oil
terminal north of Novorossiisk. The 250 km-long pipeline is to export
not only Russian but also Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil, according to a 14
August Russian Public TV report. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA'S CASPIAN PACKAGE AND TURKMENISTAN. Russia has prepared a package
of documents on the legal status and "rational" use of the Caspian Sea,
Interfax reported on 12 August. The documents "take into account" the
interests of all the littoral states, according to a letter sent to
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov by Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin. The letter was delivered by Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksei Bolshakov, who is in Turkmenbasi (Krasnovodsk) to discuss the
status of the Caspian Sea and boosting bilateral economic relations.
Niyazov's remarks concerning the Caspian hew closely to the Russian
line; after Turkmenistan provides its rubber stamp support to the
package, Iran can be expected to follow suit. Bolshakov and Niyazov are
also expected to discuss a project to link Russia, Turkmenistan, and
Iran in a "single transport corridor." -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN FRIENDSHIP TREATY COMES INTO FORCE. On 11 August, the
Russian-Belarusian treaty on friendship and cooperation, which had been
signed in Minsk by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Belarusian
counterpart, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, came into force, Belarusian TV
reported on 13 August. Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko
exchanged documents with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
confirming that both parliaments had ratified the accord. Syanko said
the agreement is necessary so that relations with Russia can proceed
smoothly. -- Ustina Markus, 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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