He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. - J.R. Tolkien
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 162, Part I, 21 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, Eastern, 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

TRADE UNIONS ABANDON POSSIBLE RYBKIN BLOC. The trade union movement
Trade Unions of Russia-For the Elections founded by the Federation of
Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) has voted to campaign
independently rather than join the left-center bloc that Duma Speaker
Ivan Rybkin is planning to set up later this month, ITAR-TASS reported
18 August. At the movement's conference, the regional trade union
leaders rejected the idea of cooperating with Rybkin as the FNPR
leadership had proposed. They particularly objected to Rybkin's close
ties with President Boris Yeltsin and his recent polemics with Agrarian
Party leader Mikhail Lapshin, Russian Public TV reported on 18 August.
The trade unions' decision deprives Rybkin's bloc of several million
potential supporters. FNPR leader Mikhail Shmakov said Rybkin could not
make it to the conference because of "family obligations," NTV reported.
-- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

PROCURATOR FILES ADDITIONAL CHARGES AGAINST KUKLY. The procurator
general has filed tax evasion and illegal currency dealing charges
against Vasilii Grigorev, the producer of the satirical show Kukly
(Puppets) which is already under investigation for insulting the
president and other top officials, ITAR-TASS reported 18 August. The
charges are punishable by terms of five to 10 years in prison as well as
stiff fines, penalties much greater than the previous charges carried.
Grigorev represents a French company which paid tens of thousands of
dollars for the show in cash without completing the proper documents,
according to the procurator's charges. NTV, which broadcasts Kukly, said
the procurator came up with the new charges because the investigation
into charges of discrediting government officials is encountering
problems. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

FIRST FIVE PARTIES GAIN REGISTRATION TO BEGIN CAMPAIGN. The Central
Electoral Commission has officially registered the first five party
lists, allowing the parties to begin the process of collecting the
necessary 200,000 signatures to get on the ballot, Russian TV reported
18 August. The parties are Forward, Russia!, Women of Russia, both
currently represented in the Duma, and the lesser-known Conservative
Party, Union of Communists, and Advocates of Lower Taxes. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

COUP ANNIVERSARY MARKED. In a 19 August interview with the popular daily
Komsomolskaya pravda to mark the fourth anniversary of the failed hard-
line coup, President Boris Yeltsin called on reformers to unite to
prevent the restoration of a totalitarian system. He bemoaned the
divisions in the democratic camp, warning that without unity the road
back to a Soviet style empire remains open. On 20 August, prodemocracy
groups gathered outside the White House to remember their defense of the
building four years earlier, Russian and Western agencies reported. The
same day, hard-line communists and nationalists took to the streets of
the capital to call for mass protests to overthrow Yeltsin. Speakers at
the rally, which attracted about 1,000 people--far fewer than had been
expected,--blamed Yeltsin and the West for unemployment, the collapse of
industrial production, crime, and corruption. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
Inc.

COSSACKS CELEBRATE. On 18 August, Cossacks from all over Russia launched
their first festival in Moscow since their political rehabilitation in
1991, Russian and Western agencies reported. Opening the festival,
Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov said "the revival of Cossack
culture is today going hand in hand with a rebirth of the Cossacks
themselves, who always defended Russian interests." President Yeltsin
resolved on 9 August to include 20 Cossack units in the Russian army as
border guards and pledged to give the Cossacks part of their ancestral
lands. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DISARMAMENT PROCESS CONTINUES IN CHECHNYA. On 18 August, Chechen
military commander Aslan Maskhadov told journalists that he had accepted
Russian explanations that the bombing of Roshni-Chu on 17 August
resulted from a "misunderstanding," NTV reported. Subsequently, Russian
and Western agencies reported gradual progress in implementing the 30
July military accord, as Chechen fighters in several villages began to
hand in their weapons. The implementation of the accord received an
additional boost when a spokesman for Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev,
Movladi Udugov, said Dudaev and Maskhadov had met on 19 August and
agreed on all "main questions for peacefully ending the war," although
the spokesman added that Dudaev objected to some provisions of the
accord. Reports had suggested growing divisions between Dudaev and his
military commander, prompting speculation that the negotiation process
might break down. Sporadic fighting continued across Chechnya, however,
as an 18 Augusat explosion at the main electric plant in Grozny cut off
power to much of the city. It is unclear when talks on Chechnya's
political status, adjourned last week, will resume. -- Scott Parrish,
OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA PRESSES FOR INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON YUGOSLAVIA. Russia hopes to
organize a conference of all the warring parties in the Yugoslav
conflict this October, a high-ranking Russian diplomat told Interfax on
19 August. The conference, which would also include representatives of
the international Contact Group, could use the most recent U.S. peace
proposals as a starting point, according to the diplomat. He added that
Moscow could be the site of the conference and, if it were successful,
international sanctions against rump Yugoslavia could be lifted. On 18
August, an anonymous source at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Trade
told AFP that Russia would soon sign several economic cooperation
agreements with rump Yugoslavia, although it is unclear if their terms
would violate the UN sanctions. Other sources said the agreements
concern oil and a joint gas pipeline construction project. Earlier
cooperation agreements signed by Moscow and Belgrade will not enter into
force until sanctions are lifted. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN ON IRANIAN REACTOR IN NOVEMBER. Speaking after
arriving in Tehran, Deputy Minister of Nuclear Energy Yevgenii
Reshetnikov told ITAR-TASS on 18 August that construction on the
controversial nuclear power complex in Bushehr would begin in November
or December. Rejecting criticism of the deal, Reshetnikov said "there is
no question of submitting to American pressure" to cancel the contract,
signed in January, to build the plant. Reshetnikov leads a delegation of
Russian specialists who will discuss the financing of the reported $1
billion contract with Iranian officials. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

VIETNAM EXCHANGES LAND FOR DEBT TO RUSSIA. The Saigon newspaper Gai
Phong reported on 20 August that Vietnam has leased a 1,000 hectare
rubber plantation to a Russian firm for 25 years to repay part of
Vietnam's Soviet-era debt to Russia. The exchange is one of a number of
debt-for-equity swaps that Vietnam is using to repay its estimated $2.27
billion debt to the former Soviet Union, of which 80% is owed to Russia.
Despite the reorientation of the Vietnamese economy toward the West,
Russia still plays a significant role in the local economy, especially
as a partner for joint ventures in the petroleum sector. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

NEW RULES ON SHARE REGISTERS. Russia's Federal Securities Commission
issued new rules on share registers on 18 August aimed at increasing
investor confidence in the country's emerging securities markets,
Russian and Western agencies reported. The commission said in a
statement that the regulations defined the duties of everyone involved
in a securities transactions, including shareholders and keepers of
share registers. Other rules deal with issuing, splitting,
consolidating, and canceling securities. The rules, which will be
binding pending passage of a comprehensive securities law, are aimed at
ensuring there is no repetition of recent scandals such as secret
takeovers, stock dilutions, and other violations of shareholders'
rights. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

SAVINGS BONDS RESOLUTION ADOPTED. The Russian government has introduced
a new scheme for the sale of government savings bonds to the general
public, Interfax reported on 18 August. According to the report, the
Finance Ministry is to start issuing up to 10 trillion rubles ($2.3
billion) worth of government savings bonds in 1995-1998. The first
installment, with a circulation period of 12 months, will be floated on
the domestic market in September. Aleksandr Livshits, the president's
economic adviser, said the savings bonds would be fully guaranteed by
the state. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

McDONALD'S OPENS FIFTH RESTAURANT IN MOSCOW. The U.S. fast-food chain
McDonald's opened its fifth restaurant in Moscow on 18 August, five
years after opening its first in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported the same
day. The company announced that the first four restaurants in Moscow,
which employ 2,650 people, have served a total of 103 million meals. The
first restaurant, opened on Pushkin Square on 31 January 1990, has
served 81 million customers. The new restaurant is located on Prospekt
Mira. The chain plans to open its first restaurant in St. Petersburg in
the near future. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

ZAVERYUKHA REFUTES GRAIN HARVEST FORECAST. Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Zaveryukha bluntly refuted media reports claiming Russian will
collect only 45-50 million tons of grain this year, Interfax reported on
18 August. According to reports, the forecast came from specialists
within the Agriculture Ministry (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 August 1995).
Zaveryukha said that amount has already been milled and asserted that
the agrarian sector will collect 70-75 million tons of grain in 1995,
compared to 81.3 million tons in 1994. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

POLITICAL EXILE OR PLUM FOR SULEIMENOV? Olzhas Suleimenov, founder of
the Nevada-Semipalatinsk anti-nuclear movement and chairman of the
Peoples' Congress Party, has been appointed Kazakhstan's ambassador to
Italy, Kazakh Radio reported on 19 August. Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev made the appointment after establishing an embassy in Rome by
decree, according to the report monitored by the BBC. Suleimenov has
come under attack recently for his alleged financial misdealings and
corruption, as well as for his advocacy of close ties with Russia. --
Lowell Bezanis and Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN AND RUSSIA SIGN CUSTOMS TREATY, DISAGREE OVER CASPIAN OIL.
Visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov signed a
package of documents in Almaty with Kazakh officials on implementing a
customs union, environmental protection, natural resources, and rules
for visits to the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported
on 19 August. Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus had signed an accord on a
customs union in January. Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav
Gizatov told Interfax on 19 August that the two sides had developed
"similar approaches" to the issues of navigation, fishing, ecology, and
biological resources in the Caspian Sea. However, differences over the
rights of the states bordering on the sea to develop offshore oil and
gas deposits are still being negotiated. Russia is opposed to
Azerbaijan's proposal that the sea be divided into national sectors.
During Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's visit to Almaty last week,
Turkey and Kazakhstan agreed to set up a joint-stock company that would
build an oil pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea. Almaty is to host a
meeting of experts from the five littoral states next month. -- Bhavna
Dave, OMRI, Inc.

IZVESTIYA TO BE SUED OVER SALIMOV CASE. The Tajik Interior Ministry has
decided to sue Izvestiya for articles published on 15-16 August
concerning former Tajik Interior Minister Yakub Salimov, ITAR-TASS
reported on 18 August. The articles accused Salimov of corruption. Tajik
First Deputy Interior Minister Gennadii Blinov told the agency that the
articles, which he said called Salimov's honor into question with the
aim of destabilizing the country, was an "invention." He also claimed
that "certain forces" had assigned this task to Izvestiya journalist
Yurii Snegirev. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

IN-HOUSE TAJIK DEMOCRATS SPEAK OUT. The leaders of the pro-government
Democratic Party of Tajikistan called on the people of Tajikistan to
rally around President Imomali Rakhmonov and help lift the republic out
of its economic crisis, according to an 18 August Tajik Radio report
monitored by the BBC. Habibullo Abdurazzakov made the appeal following a
meeting between Rakhmonov and the party's leaders led by Deputy Chairman
Azam Afzali. A statement by the party's leader, Shodmon Yusuf, and
circulated by the Khovar news agency explained that the party,
officially registered on 20 July, reiterated its shift away from the
opposition and toward the government. The elections and the "creation of
legal and responsible leadership" in Tajikistan were cited as reasons
for this change of heart. Yusuf was dismissed as party chairman at a
meeting in Almaty on 5 June; he now represents only the views of those
who favor cooperation with Rakhmonov. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

RUSSIA TO GET MISSILE CRUISER FROM UKRAINE. Russia has secured ownership
of the missile cruiser Admiral Lobov, which was under construction in a
Ukrainian shipyard when that country gained independence, Ukrainian
Radio reported on 19 August. The fourth and last of the Slava-class
anti-ship cruisers, the Admiral Lobov was laid down at the 61 Kommuna
Shipyard in Mikolaiv in 1985 but was only three-quarters complete when
the Soviet Union collapsed. According to the report, the Ukrainians have
virtually completed the 12,500-ton warship. The Russians have offered to
offset the construction costs incurred after 1 January 1992 and to
provide funds to complete the ship's construction. The agreement is
awaiting approval from both governments. -- Doug Clarke, 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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