|Sozhalenie o nerazumno rastrachennom vremeni, kotoromu predayutsya lyudi, ne vsegda pomagaet im razumno upotrebit' ego ostatok. - ZHan de Labryujer|
No. 159, Part I, 16 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 REPEATS ULTIMATUM TO CHECHEN FIGHTERS . . . Fueling speculation that widespread fighting might resume in Chechnya, President Boris Yeltsin said on 15 August that if Chechen "bands" do not immediately begin to disarm, federal authorities will take "extraordinary, energetic measures" to force them to do so, Western and Russian agencies reported. Coming the day after a similar declaration by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Yeltsin's remarks were a response to Chechen military commander Aslan Maskhadov's refusal to accept an earlier Russian disarmament proposal. Interfax quoted Yeltsin as setting a deadline of 6 p.m., local time, for the disarmament process to begin, but presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev later denied the president had issued an ultimatum with a fixed deadline. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. . . . BUT RESUMPTION OF HOSTILITIES AVERTED IN GROZNY. Following Yeltsin's statement, General Anatolii Romanov, the commander of federal forces, and his Chechen counterpart, Maskhadov, held a joint press conference in Grozny at which they assured journalists that despite the recent harsh verbal exchanges, fighting would not resume. Maskhadov said, "There will be a fulfillment of the signed agreement," referring to the military accord concluded on 30 July, and added that "all the combatants will disarm," except those that the agreement defines as local self-defense guards. Maskhadov and Romanov also said the first concrete steps in the disarmament process would begin on 16 August. ITAR-TASS later reported that disarmament would start in the Nozhai-Yurt region, under the personal supervision of Maskhadov and Romanov. Chechen delegates to the ongoing talks on Chechnya's political status, which are scheduled to resume after the disarmament process gets underway, left Grozny on 15 August to consult with Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. FSB ACCUSES FRED CUNY OF SPYING. An unnamed senior official in the Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed that U.S. aid worker Fred Cuny, missing in Chechnya since April, is alive and working for Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev as a member of the U.S. security services, Russian sources including Pravda and Interfax reported on 15 August. U.S. State Department representative David Johnson dismissed the allegations as "groundless," ITAR-TASS reported. The State Department said it has no concrete information on Cuny's whereabouts. He disappeared while working on a medical relief program sponsored by the Soros Foundation. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. FOREIGN MINISTRY CRITICIZES U.S. PEACE PROPOSAL. Russia welcomes recent U.S. efforts to promote a political settlement in the former Yugoslavia, but U.S. and Russian approaches to a resolution of the conflict "do not correspond in all respects," Mikhail Demurin, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told ITAR-TASS on 15 August. Russia considers the "military aspects" of the latest U.S. proposals, which Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev recently discussed with U.S. National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, as "unacceptable," Demurin noted. He also reiterated Moscow's view that lifting UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia would be an important step towards resolving the conflict, a view the U.S. does not share. The same day, President Boris Yeltsin sent a letter to Arab leaders in which he denied that race or religion play a role in Russian policy on the Yugoslav conflict. Arab nations have frequently expressed concern that Russia favors the Orthodox Serbs in their conflict with the Bosnian Muslims. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. KALMYKIA CALLS PRE-TERM PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. In a surprise move, Kalmyk President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov called for new presidential elections in the republic, which will be held on 15 October, Russian TV reported on 15 August. The day before, the legislature had voted to extend Ilyumzhinov's current term by two years until April 2000, but the president decided on elections instead. Ilyumzhinov said that his move was a recommendation to President Boris Yeltsin that by calling early elections, he would be able to win them. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. LABOR MINISTRY PREDICTS MIGRATION TRENDS. Most of the people moving into Russia in the next decade will be migrants from the other former Soviet republics, a Russian Ministry of Labor Official, Aleksandr Tkachenko, told ITAR-TASS on 15 August. Tkachenko cited specialists who believe that the most numerous will be Russians living in the other former Soviet republics (3-4 million out of the 24 million), especially from Central Asia and the Caucasus (2 million, with 1 million from Kazakhstan alone). Some 100,000 are expected to move from Moldova. He estimated that no more than 300,000 of the nearly 1.6 million Russians in the Baltics will migrate to Russia. The minister also remarked that "besides the Russian-speaking population," the specialists expect many "indigenous peoples" from the post-Soviet states to move to Russia in search of work. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN SIGNS LAW REGULATING CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS. Yeltsin's press service announced on 14 August that the president has signed the Law on Operational Investigation Activity, Radio Rossii reported. The legislation, passed by the Duma on 5 July, regulates surveillance methods and the use of undercover agents and informers. On 15 August, Moskovskii komsomolets argued that it gives law enforcement agencies expanded powers to keep suspects under surveillance, noting that special services will be able to conduct investigations for 48 hours without notifying a judge if they have information about a crime. On 6 July, Segodnya characterized the law as contradictory saying it strengthens citizens' legal guarantees during investigations while at the same time it expands officers' powers to monitor mail, tap telephones, and so on. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. KURANTY ON CHANGE IN NUCLEAR SAFETY RULES. Kuranty on 15 August criticized a recent presidential decree giving control over nuclear and radiation safety at military installations to the Defense Ministry rather than the State Committee for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor). The paper argued that although the change in the rules makes little difference in practice, because the Defense Ministry has long been reluctant to give Gosatomnadzor access to its nuclear facilities, it codifies an exception to a unified nuclear safety supervision system. In all other cases, Gosatomnadzor specialists run a check on organizations before they are given permission to use nuclear materials. Kuranty contended that Gosatomnadzor is now paying the price for being highly critical of the military's "negligent attitude towards radiation safety." -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. DRAMATIC INCREASE IN DRUG SMUGGLING. Porous borders and widespread corruption have created ideal conditions for a dramatic increase in drug trafficking, Interior Ministry officials told a news conference on 15 August. Drug squad head Nikolai Arsipov said 1.5 million Russians are now abusing drugs and that in 1994 the authorities seized 82 tons of drugs as compared with 4 tons in 1985, according to ITAR-TASS. Osipov said the turmoil that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union left Russia's borders virtually open to smugglers traveling via former Soviet Central Asia, adding that many Russian army officers in Tajikistan are involved in the drug trade, Western agencies reported. The authorities have also registered massive flows of poppies from Ukraine and Lithuania and hashish and marijuana from Kazakhstan. Home production of narcotics and thefts from medical facilities have increased rapidly as well. Osipov and other officials complained that the implementation of a state anti-drugs program approved recently is being hampered by a lack of funds. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. ROSTOV MINERS GO ON HUNGER STRIKE. More than 140 coal miners from the city of Shakhty in Rostov Oblast went on an indefinite hunger strike on 15 August in protest against wage arrears, Ostankino TV reported. The miners have received no wages since May. Hundreds of miners from all 26 mines belonging to the Rostovugol association in the Russian Donbass rallied outside the associations' headquarters to demand that their wages be paid. At an emergency meeting in Moscow the same evening, trade union and Rosugol representatives and First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais agreed to a timetable for the payment of debts owed by the government, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN MAJOR JAILED FOR SPYING. The Supreme Court Military Collegium on 15 August sentenced former army Major Vladimir Lavrentev to 10 years imprisonment for spying for Germany while serving in the former Western Group of Forces in eastern Germany, Russian TV reported. Prosecutors said Lavrentev was recruited by German intelligence in March 1991 and paid a total of DM16,000 for passing on classified documents. The court stripped him of his rank and confiscated half his wealth. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIA WILL SIGN TEST BAN TREATY. In response to U.S. President Bill Clinton's recent announcement that his country will support a comprehensive ban of all nuclear tests, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin announced on 15 August that Russia would also sign such an agreement, provided it is "non-discriminatory," Russian and Western agencies reported. Demurin added, however, that details of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that would allow signatory states to assure the reliability of their nuclear arsenals after the ban takes effect are still outstanding. The treaty is expected to be concluded in 1996. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. NEW STEALTH FIGHTER TO BE SHOWN. The prototype of a new MiG "stealth" fighter will be demonstrated for the first time at the upcoming Moscow Air Show, RIA reported on 15 August. The aircraft, said to carry the factory name "Article 1/44" was reported to have "specially arranged nozzles to enable it to hover over a target for pinpoint strike accuracy." Mikoyan is known to have been working on a stealth aircraft comparable to the U.S. F-22. Western analysts had referred to it as the I-42. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. $190 MILLION SPACE DEAL SIGNED. Russia's Khrunichev Space Center and U.S. Boeing Defense and Space Group signed a $190 million deal on 15 August to develop and launch the first module of a new international space station, Russian and Western agencies reported the same day. The module, known as a Functional Energy Block, will be the first component of the $30 billion Alpha space station, the world's first international high-tech orbital laboratory and the future replacement for Russia's Mir Station. The 200-ton, six-man Alpha space laboratory will consist of several modules and is scheduled for completion by the year 2001. Boeing will provide the $190 million required for Khrunichev to develop and manufacture one block for launching. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TAJIK INTERIOR MINISTER REMOVED. Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov replaced his interior minister, Yakub Salimov, with Security Minister Saidamir Zukhurov on 13 August, according to Western agencies. The official reason for the move is Salimov's appointment as ambassador to Turkey but there is speculation that his growing opposition to the president prompted the change. Rakhmonov has been critical of the Interior Ministry and Salimov for failing "to put an end to lawlessness" in Tajikistan, ITAR-TASS reported. Zukhurov's position will be filled by Deputy Security Minister Saidanwar Kamolov. A presidential press officer said Zukhurov and Kamolov had vowed to carry out a merciless crackdown on serious crime. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc. KAZAKH DIPLOMACY AND THE PIPELINE. A framework agreement on the establishment of a consortium, in which "every country can participate," for the building of a pipeline to export Kazakh oil has been advanced by Kazakhstan and accepted by Turkey. According to a 16 August report in Yeni Yuzyil, the Turkish side offered its own plan and Almaty rejected it. The paper quoted Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev as saying a pipeline which would reach the Mediterranean Sea via Turkey is a "new" alternative. He stressed that Russia would also have to participate in any such venture. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. PKK ACTIVITY IN KAZAKHSTAN. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody campaign against the Turkish state in the name of Kurdish rights if not independence, is ensconced in Kazakhstan, according to a 16 August report in Yeni Yuzyil. The paper noted that "PKK militants" appeared in the republic in 1992 and "divided" the local Kurdish population; reportedly the PKK has its own publishing organ and is heavily involved in certain markets, notably for fruit, vegetables, and automobiles. The Kurdish population in Kazakhstan, originally exiled to the republic by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, is also said to have strong connections with local Meshketian Turks. The paper speculated that the prospects of bringing an end to PKK activity in Kazakhstan are nil. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. TURKEY OPENS $300 MILLION CREDIT LINE TO KAZAKHSTAN. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller concluded her visit to Kazakhstan on 15 August with a set of agreements signed in Almaty, including an offer to open a $300 million credit line to Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported. Part of the proposed $300 million credit will be used to boost privatization in the Kazakh agrarian sector. "Turkey has already invested 2 billion dollars in construction in Kazakhstan -- we want to increase that to 4 or 5 billion in a couple of years," Ciller told Reuters on 15 August. Among other things, the deal included a bilateral treaty on double taxation, mutual assistance in criminal investigations, and extradition. -- Bhavna Dave, 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, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. 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