The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 160, Part I, 17 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

FOREIGN MINISTRY CALLS FOR COORDINATION OF PEACE EFFORTS. Alexander
Gorelik, head of the International Organizations Department of the
Russian Foreign Ministry, told Interfax on 16 August that Russia could
reach consensus with the U.S. on a single peace plan for former
Yugoslavia. Gorelik said recent Russian and U.S. initiatives have much
in common, although he noted that Russia opposed parts of the American
proposal that reportedly call for the use of military force against any
of the warring parties that refuse to accept a peace plan. Gorelik's
comments represented a step back from President Yeltsin's failed bid
last week to mediate a resolution of the Yugoslav conflict unilaterally.
Also on 16 August, a convoy of 49 trucks loaded with 150 tons of
humanitarian aid left the Moscow suburb of Noginsk, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The convoy is the second of three planned shipments
of Russian aid for Croatian Serb refugees. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CHECHEN FIGHTERS BEGIN DISARMAMENT. In the presence of Chechen military
commander Aslan Maskhadov, Russian General Yevgenii Skobelev, and OSCE
mediators, a group of Chechen fighters began the process of disarmament
called for in the 30 July Russian-Chechen military accord, surrendering
assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and mines in the
village of Zandak, located in the Nozhai-Yurt region of Chechnya. The
weapons are to be turned over to local "self-defense" units. Concerning
another provision of the accord, a military spokesman told RFE/RL by
telephone that federal forces are already beginning to withdraw 2-4 km
away from their present positions, and NTV reported on 16 August that a
column of 100 federal armored vehicles was leaving Grozny, while other
federal units had withdrawn from their positions in the Vedeno region.
Deadlock over implementation of the accord's disarmament provisions had
prompted harsh threats from Moscow and threatened to scuttle the
negotiation process in Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CHECHEN NEGOTIATIONS TO RESUME. Meanwhile, Chechen head negotiator
Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov returned to Grozny after consulting with Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev and told journalists that the Chechen
delegation is prepared to resume talks with Russian delegates on the
future political status of the republic, Western and Russian agencies
reported. NTV also reported that on 16 August Dudaev had made an
appearance on the "underground" Chechen TV station, during which he
called for the simultaneous disarmament of his fighters and the forces
of the current Moscow-backed Chechen authorities. Dudaev also reiterated
his view that Chechnya must become fully independent and demanded that
federal troops withdraw from the republic by 21 August. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

SUPPORT BASES FOR RUSSIAN PARTIES. Parties like Russia's Democratic
Choice, Yabloko, and Our Home is Russia are much more likely to get
support from abroad than the Communists, according to a report published
in Izvestiya on 17 August. Domestically, banks will support the
"rightist" parties while agricultural interests will support the
Communists and their allies. The study questioned several commonly held
beliefs. While it was earlier assumed that the military-industrial
complex would support Yurii Skokov's Congress of Russian Communities,
the study found that its interests are divided and that it will actually
support a number of parties. The gas industry is also not united in its
support for the Our Home is Russia bloc of former Gazprom leader and
current Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

BANKERS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST CRIME WAVE. Some of Russia's wealthiest and
most influential businessman gathered outside the former KGB
headquarters on Lubyanka Square on 16 August to protest the murders that
have claimed the lives of dozens of business people, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The demonstration was prompted by the death on 4
August of Ivan Kivelidi, the head of Rosbiznesbank and the Russian
Business Round Table. Kivelidi and his secretary, who died the day
before her boss, were apparently the victims of poisoning. A
representative of the Round Table read out a statement calling for a
government crackdown on organized crime, then the businessmen lit
candles and observed a moment of silence in memory of their murdered
colleagues. About 500 people were the victims of contract killings last
year. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

ROSTOV MINERS END PROTEST. Coal miners from the Rostovugol association
removed their pickets from the Shakhty city administration building and
called off their hunger strike after agreement was reached in Moscow by
union, coal industry, and government representatives on the payment of
back wages, Russian TV reported on 16 August. According to ITAR-TASS,
the Rostov Oblast administration head has also agreed to allocate 4
billion rubles ($910,000) from the regional budget to help Rostovugol
pay the wage arrears. However, disputes may soon erupt again. ITAR-TASS
said miners from many of the association's pits are unhappy that under
the agreement reached in Moscow, July wages will not be paid until
September. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN CHAIRS MEETING ON MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. Russia has
"colossal potential for a powerful technological breakthrough in the
field of conversion" of military technologies that can be used in the
commercial sphere as well, according to President Boris Yeltsin who was
addressing a meeting of the Council for Scientific and Technological
Policy on 15 August, ITAR-TASS reported. He added that the government's
objective is "to qualitatively change the make-up of the military-
industrial complex and to switch to a more effective use of the defense
sector's unique production, research, and development potential" in
order to convert to the mass production of high-quality, competitive
civilian goods. The president announced that a new presidential program
on dual-purpose technologies had been drafted and that he intended to
raise the funding for research and development in the 1996 federal
budget from 3 trillion to 9.5 trillion rubles. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
Inc.

EBRD ESTABLISHES $30 MILLION FUND FOR NORTHWEST REGION. The EBRD
announced on 16 August the establishment of a $30 million equity fund to
finance new projects for modernizing Russian industry in the Northwest
region of Russia, AFP reported the same day. The deal was signed in
London on 14 August by representatives of the EBRD and Norway, Sweden,
and Finland. The three countries have provided $20 million in a
technical assistance fund. This is the seventh fund to be launched by
the EBRD in Russia as part of a countrywide post-privatization
initiative. The fund will concentrate on the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk
oblasts and the Republic of Karelia. The other EBRD regional venture
funds for Russia cover Smolensk, the Urals, St. Petersburg, the Far East
and Eastern Siberia, the Lower Volga, and the regions of Southern
Russia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

GRAIN HARVEST LIKELY TO PLUMMET DRAMATICALLY. The Russian grain harvest
could plummet this year to 45-50 million metric tons because of drought
and equipment shortages, according to Agriculture Ministry experts
quoted on 16 August by ITAR-TASS. That compares with a harvest of 81.3
million tons last year and with previous forecasts for this year of 80
million tons (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 August 1995). According to a 16
August report provided by the Bloomberg Business News Service, Russia is
not likely to turn to U.S. suppliers to meet its grain shortfall. The
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) curtailed credit lines to Russia
in December 1992 when it defaulted on payments due for past grain
purchases; Russian grain buyers have not made any requests for grain
credits since then. The report said that a top USDA official expressed
skepticism over the size of Russia's predicted drop in production. On 11
August, the USDA estimated that Russia will harvest 70.1 million tons of
wheat, corn, and other coarse grains. At the same time, the USDA raised
its forecast for Russian wheat imports from 1 million tons to 4 million
tons. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

EXPORT-IMPORT BALANCE UP 28%. Russia's export-import balance equaled
$16.1 billion during the first half of 1995, which is a 28% increase
compared with the corresponding figure for last year, Finansovye
izvestiya reported on 17 August. During the first half of 1995, Russia
exported goods worth a total of $41.8 billion (a 23.3% increase compared
to the corresponding figure for last year), including goods worth $8.1
billion (up 9%) to the former Soviet republics and goods worth $33.1
billion (up 28%) to other countries of the world. Imports totaled $25.4
billion (up 20.5%), including $6.3 billion (up 14.6%) from the former
Soviet republics and $19.1 billion (up 22.6%) from other countries of
the world. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

UZBEK STYLE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. A decree signed by Uzbek
President Islam Karimov on 15 August provides for the establishment of
six joint-stock companies that will replace their state-owned
predecessors in buying and selling commodities and providing transport
for import-export operations, Interfax reported the same day.
Nevertheless, the Foreign Economic Relations Ministry will maintain a
controlling interest of 51% in them and will manage the enterprises on
behalf of the state. The workers will get a 25% share and the remaining
24% will be put up for sale on the stock market. -- Lowell Bezanis,
OMRI, Inc.

SOUTH KOREAN INVESTMENT IN UZBEKISTAN. The South Korean Ambassador in
Tashkent told Interfax on 15 August that his country's investments in
Uzbekistan have doubled in the last year. It appears that the $450
million invested so far has mainly gone into the Daewoo Corporation's
automobile-building factory in Andizhan. The ambassador pointed out that
South Korea is particularly interested in the production of industrial
equipment and home appliances, the textile industry, and communications
in Uzbekistan. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKH MEASURES TO END COAL MINE CRISIS. The Kazakh government has
adopted a series of measures to aid the ailing coal mines in Karaganda,
RIA reported on 15 August. These measures include closing down five
loss-making mines in the region, exempting the others from paying most
taxes until the end of 1996, and allowing foreign companies to
temporarily manage some of the mines. The agency added that the Kazakh
government had earlier lifted restrictions on the sale prices of coal as
well on its export. On 18 July, about 500-600 miners in Karaganda
organized a rally calling for more state support for the coal industry
and demanding that their wages be paid, Interfax reported the same day.
-- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

LENINSK TO PROVIDE SOLDIERS. A military registration and enlistment
office will be established in the 90th component of the Russian
Federation, the city of Leninsk in Kazakhstan, according to a directive
issued by the Russian Armed Forces General Headquarters, Krasnaya zvezda
reported on 16 August. The office will be subordinated to the Volga
military district and will be responsible for managing the local draft
and providing social welfare services to Russian military pensioners.
Leninsk residents mainly work at the Baikonour cosmodrome; in mid-June,
Kazakhstan agreed to lease the city and adjoining lands for 20 years to
Russia. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZ-TURKISH AGREEMENTS. On the second leg of her Central Asian tour,
Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller visited Kyrgyzstan to sign accords
on the protection of the environment, the establishment of a joint bank
(Vakif and Kyrgyz Banks), and the establishment of an economic
cooperation council, Yeni Yuzyil reported on 17 August. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA'S MILITARY AGREEMENTS WITH KYRGYZ, TAJIKS RATIFIED. A package of
Russian-Kyrgyz and Russian-Tajik agreements and treaties on defense
cooperation have been ratified by the Russian Duma and affirmed by
President Yeltsin, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 16 August. Agreements
with Kyrgyzstan determine procedures and mechanisms for the use of
Russian military installations in the republic, the status of the
Russian military contingent there, and conditions for renting facilities
used by the Russian Seismological Service, which is attached to the
Defense Ministry. The agreements with Tajikistan include one determining
the terms for Russian military advisers and another specifying terms for
the maintenance and use of the "Nurek" space monitoring system. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

TAJIK OPPOSITION VIEWS NEW MINISTER AS CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. The Tajik
opposition gave a mild endorsement of the new interior minister,
Saidamir Zukhurov, in a 15 August Voice of Free Tajikistan broadcast
monitored by the BBC. The broadcast blasted departing interior minister
Yakub Salimov saying he had been carrying out an independent policy in
his ministry and had been a stumbling block to the peace process.
Zukhurov has been in favor of holding talks with the opposition even "at
times when [President Imomali] Rakhmonov and Salimov were speaking about
the opposition with disgust." The broadcast said Zukhurov is more
qualified for the job "because Zukhurov, unlike Salimov, did not come to
the position from the streets of crime but is a professional." -- 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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