You always pass failure on the way to success. - Mickey Rooney
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 161, Part I, 18 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 Central and Eastern Europe, 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

RUSSIAN PLANES BOMB CHECHEN FIGHTERS. Russian planes attacked Chechen
positions near the town of Roshni Chu on 17 August, Russian and Western
agencies reported. An RFE/RL correspondent saw the planes drop bombs
about 1:30 p.m. local time. A Russian military spokesman said the air
strike was launched in response to Chechen attacks on federal troops. In
Grozny, Chechen chief negotiator Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov said the attack
threatened to undermine the ongoing negotiation and disarmament process
but expressed readiness to resume political negotiations on the basis of
the 30 July military accord, despite recent statements by Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev contradicting some of the accord. In spite of
the bombing, Chechen fighters in the towns of Shali and Gudermes began
disarming on 17 August. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

FRED CUNY'S FAMILY HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE. Relatives of U.S. aid
specialist Fred Cuny, missing in Chechnya since April, said at a 17
August press conference in Moscow that they believe Cuny was killed by
Chechen separatist fighters shortly after he disappeared on 8 April.
According to Cuny's brother Christopher, Russian intelligence agents
arranged to have Fred Cuny killed in retaliation for his earlier
published criticism of the Russian military intervention in Chechnya.
Disinformation planted by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB),
added Cuny's brother, led the Chechen separatists to execute Fred Cuny
as an intelligence agent on 14 April. While the U.S. Embassy in Moscow
officially announced that it could not confirm the family's information,
an anonymous American diplomat described the story as "credible."
Aleksandr Mikhailov, spokesman for the FSB, told Interfax on 17 August
that the Cuny family's account is "nonsense" and said the FSB believes
Cuny is still alive. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

FOREIGN MINISTRY EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER ABM TREATY. Mikhail Demurin, a
spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told ITAR-TASS on 17 August
that Russia believes a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, calling for the
design and financing of a limited defense against ballistic missile
attack by the year 2003, would lead to the "actual liquidation" of the
1972 agreement. The diplomat warned that Russia continues to regard the
ABM agreement as the cornerstone of all other strategic arms control
agreements. New American initiatives which violated the ABM treaty could
cause the Duma to refuse to ratify START-2 and might lead Russia to
withdraw from START-1, Demurin added. The bill, a compromise version of
an earlier Republican-sponsored proposal that was criticized by the
Clinton administration, awaits examination by the full Senate this
coming September. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN APPOINTS YEGOROV AS AIDE. President Boris Yeltsin appointed
Nikolai Yegorov as an aide for regional and national policy, Rossiiskie
vesti reported on 18 August. Yegorov was deputy prime minister and
minister for nationalities and regional policy until he was forced to
resign on 30 June, along with Interior Minister Viktor Yerin and Federal
Security Service Director Sergei Stepashin, following the terrorist acts
in Budennovsk. During his previous term in office, Yegorov was one of
the main supporters of a hard-line policy in Chechnya. In comments after
his appointment, he criticized the media's coverage of the Chechen
conflict, Russian TV reported. Yegorov said there would not be any
conflict between him and Vyacheslav Mikhailov, his successor as minister
for nationalities and regional policy. On 5 July, Yeltsin rehabilitated
Yerin by appointing him deputy director of Russia' Foreign Intelligence
Service. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN SIGNS LAW ON DISTRICT BOUNDARIES. President Yeltsin signed the
law designating the boundaries of the 225 single-member districts in the
December Duma elections, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 August. The Duma
approved the law in a special 12 August session after the Federation
Council failed to support it at the end of July. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

NEW OFFICERS' GROUP FORMS TO SUPPORT OPPOSITION. The All-Russian
Officers' Assembly (VOS), an alliance of former and current members of
the military, announced that it will work with other opposition groups
to defeat the current regime, Russian TV reported on 17 August. The
Russian National Union (RNS) and Col. Stanislav Terekhov's Officers'
Union initiated the new group. Its leaders include General Valentin
Varennikov, a former Soviet deputy defense minister who spent 14 months
in jail after the 1991 coup and former Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii
Yazov, who was also involved in the coup. The new group expressed its
willingness to support the efforts of opposition leaders Gennadii
Zyuganov, Yurii Skokov, Sergei Glazev, and Vladimir Zhirinovsky,
although Communist Party leader Zyuganov was the only one present at the
group's first press conference. The assembly's main goal is to
strengthen the Russian military. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

YAKUTIYA CONSIDERS EXTENDING TERM OF ITS PRESIDENT. Several groups in
Yakutiya (Sakha) have proposed extending the term of current President
Mikhail Nikolaev from 1996 to 2001, Radio Rossii reported on 17 August.
Advocates of holding a referendum with this goal claim extending
Nikolaev's term would save the republic from the ordeal of holding a
presidential election in these difficult times. Opponents of a
referendum, including the Social Democratic and Communist parties of the
republic, argue that it would violate the republic's constitution and
federal legislation. The republic of Kalmykiya will hold a similar
referendum on 15 October. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC UNION LEADER WANTS TO MOVE CAPITAL TO NOVISIBIRSK.
Vasilii Lipitskii, leader of the Russian Social Democratic Union and
Duma deputy for Novisibirsk, argues that Russia's capital should be
moved from Moscow, preferably to Novisibirsk, the weekly Kontinent
reported in issue no. 32. Lipitskii and like minds say such a measure
would help eliminate the inequality between rich Moscow and the rest of
Russia. They believe that Russia's geopolitical interests have shifted
away from the West and that moving the capital eastward would encourage
the development of Siberia, the Far East, and relations with Russia's
eastern neighbors. They also contend that the move would reduce
separatist trends--provoked, it is said, by the Moscow elite's lack of
interest in the provinces--and enable the state apparatus to be cut and
corrupt elements eliminated. In Lipitskii's opinion, Novisibirsk would
make the ideal capital because it is located in the middle of the
country, has a population of more than 1 million, and is an industrial
and cultural center. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

MOSCOW CRITICAL OF CHINESE NUCLEAR TEST. Ministry of Nuclear Energy
spokesman Georgii Kaurov told ITAR-TASS on 17 August that it is
"deplorable" that China had conducted another nuclear test that day. He
said that "humanity is striving to remove nuclear arms from arsenals,"
adding that while Russian nuclear scientists might like to conduct
tests, they refrained from such actions "in view of the negative
attitude of the Russian and world public to nuclear testing." Another
highly placed ministry official, however, told the agency that testing
is "of essential importance." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

COSSACK MILITARY UNITS BEING FORMED. More than 20 Cossack units are now
being formed within the Russian armed forces, according to the chairman
of the Russian Union of Cossacks, Aleksandr Martynov. Interfax on 16
August quoted him as adding that 12 Cossack posts and two units are also
being formed within the Federal Border Service and that a separate
Cossack border regiment would be created on Sakhalin island in the Far
East. Martynov said the Cossack units would be subordinate to the
relevant federal departments and not to Cossack military commanders. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES. The Russian government will
allocate more than 1.8 trillion rubles ($408 million) to support small
and medium-sized businesses in 1996-97, Russian First Deputy Economy
Minister Andrei Shapovalyants said on 17 August, ITAR-TASS reported. The
aid is aimed at building a network of information and training centers
for businessmen, he said. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said
training programs needs to be expanded for new businessmen and the
registration system for small businesses needs to be simplified. Small
enterprises, employing about 9.5 million Russians, produced 12-14% of
total industrial output this year, according to government figures.
Shapovalyants said the state holds no more than a 25% stake in each of
the small enterprises covered by the government aid; there are one
million of them in Russia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KAZAKH OPPOSITION LEADERS PROTEST THE CONSTITUTION. A dozen opposition
groups in Kazakhstan, including the Kazakh National Patriots and members
of the Slavic movements, warned that the new constitution could become a
destabilizing factor and may cause social fragmentation, Russian TV
reported on 17 August. They claim that it would create conditions
conducive to an authoritarian regime by granting the president strong
personal power, creating a submissive parliament, and restricting civil
rights. A referendum on whether to adopt the proposed constitution is
scheduled for 30 August. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN CONTROLS INFLATION? In an interview with Reuters on 17
August, Grigorii Marchenko, the deputy chairman of the Kazakh Central
Bank, said, "We have more or less achieved macroeconomic stabilization,
in relative terms." While mentioning lower inflation rates, a stable
currency, and a steep rise in foreign exchange reserves, Marchenko
admitted that Kazakhstan is still lagging behind on structural reform at
the enterprise level. Western bankers in Almaty affirm that the Central
Bank of Kazakhstan has been the driving force behind economic reforms
but note that the central bank's policies have won few friends in the
ailing industrial sector. They agree that there has been little
restructuring of Soviet-era industry, most big firms are still in state
hands, companies often do not pay their debts, and investors are staying
away because of frequently changing laws. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

TAJIK CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT EXTENDED SIX MONTHS. The Tajik government and
the opposition signed an agreement to extend by six months a ceasefire
that was due to expire on 26 August, according to Western agencies. On
17 August, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov signed it in Dushanbe while
opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri did so in Kabul. The UN
representative present at the Kabul signing, said the agreement also
covers political and military integration and helps returning refugees,
Voice of America reported. The two sides settled on 18 September as the
date for the next round of talks, but they have not agreed to a venue.
This is the third time the ceasefire agreement has been extended since
last September. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CILLER CONCLUDES VISIT TO KYRGYZSTAN. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu
Ciller finished her visit to Kyrgyzstan on 17 August and departed for
Turkmenistan, the last stop on her tour of three Central Asian
countries. Ciller said she had agreed on joint plans with Kyrgyzstan in
the areas of education, power engineering, agriculture, and mining.
Kyrgyzstan and Turkey also announced defense cooperation, including the
joint manufacture of military equipment for sale on the world market.
Turkey also expressed its willingness to subsidize any promising
programs in the development of the Kyrgyz economy, according to ITAR-
TASS. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CILLER IN ASHGABAT: MOVE GAS THROUGH TURKEY. Turkish Prime Minister
Tansu Ciller met with Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat,
Western and Russian media reported on 17 August. During the talks, an
agreement on double taxation and a document establishing a bilateral
commission for trade and economic cooperation were signed. Ciller also
proposed that Turkmen gas be transited through Turkey via an existing
Russian and Georgian pipeline. This would involve the extension of an
existing pipeline by an estimated 160 km. Niyazov predictably found this
arrangement acceptable but noted that he would have to consult the
pipeline's co-owner, Russia. However, Moscow is unlikely to encourage
any pipeline that will enrich Turkey and Turkmenistan. He also pledged
to repay Turkmenistan's debts to Turkish businessmen by late 1995.
Official statistics cited by Interfax indicate Turkey has invested $1.5
billion in Turkmenistan. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

UZBEK STATE SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS. Uzbek President Islam Karimov opened
the first session of Uzbekistan's National Security Council on 16
August, Uzbek and Russian Public TV reported. The responsibilities of
the council encompass domestic and foreign policy, strategic problems,
defense, "other" kinds of security, information, ecological, health,
preventing and responding to emergencies, and the maintenance of
stability and public order. The session also took up the issues of the
council's composition and orders and discussed Uzbekistan's military
doctrine. Russian Public TV noted that Karimov identified Tajikistan and
Afghanistan as the main regional security problems and called for
"collective effort" to confront them. He also described the especially
important role of Russia, a country he referred to as Uzbekistan's "main
strategic partner." -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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