The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. - Charles Darwin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 164, Part I, 23 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

TRAVKIN, LUZHKOV ENDORSE CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC. Minister without portfolio
Nikolai Travkin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov announced that they would
support Our Home Is Russia in the upcoming parliamentary elections,
ITAR-TASS and Russian Public TV reported on 22 August. Travkin founded
the Democratic Party of Russia in 1990 and was its leader until December
1994. Luzhkov also announced plans to seek re-election as mayor and
denied speculation that he may run for president in 1996. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CHIEF INVESTIGATOR TAKEN OFF LISTEV CASE. Investigator Boris Uvarov of
the Procurator General's Office has been dismissed as head of the
investigation into the 1 March murder of television journalist Vladislav
Listev, Radio Mayak reported on 22 August. Uvarov's removal had been
rumored for some time. In July, he claimed that acting Procurator
General Aleksei Ilyushenko was sending him on a forced vacation after
Uvarov admitted to journalists that there were no promising suspects in
the case. Procurators continue to insist that the Listev case will be
solved--an optimism that was echoed by Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov on 22 August, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

KULIKOV APPOINTS NEW DEPUTIES IN INTERIOR MINISTRY. Minister of Internal
Affairs Anatolii Kulikov announced that Lt. Gen. Vladimir Kolesnikov and
Lt. Gen. Pavel Golubets are replacing Col. Gen. Mikhail Yegorov and Col.
Gen. Yevgenii Abramov as first deputy ministers, Radio Rossii reported
on 22 August. They will be responsible respectively for the fight
against organized crime and the internal structure of the ministry.
Kolesnikov was in charge of the Main Administration for Criminal
Investigation at the ministry and is famous for capturing serial-killer
Andrei Chikatilo. Izvestiya reported on 23 August that one of his
assistants was charged with illegal possession of weapons and taking
bribes, but Kolesnikov stood by him. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DESPITE FIGHTING IN ARGUN, NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE. Federal troops
recaptured the police headquarters in Argun and forced the group of
Chechen fighters led by field commander Alaudi Khanzatov to flee the
town, Western and Russian agencies reported on 22 August. Russian
military sources said that one Russian soldier was killed and 12 wounded
during the fighting and added that at least 60 Chechen fighters had been
killed. In Grozny, Chechen military commander Aslan Maskhadov said the
Argun incident had been planned by the Federal Security Service (FSB),
which he accused of trying to undermine the peace talks. He later added
that "elements of both parties" were responsible for the incident.
Maskhadov claimed the use of force in Argun violated the provisions of
the 30 July military accord, declaring that if federal forces repeated
the tactics used in Argun, the Chechen side would have no choice but to
resume fighting. Nevertheless, on 22 August Chechen and Russian
negotiators, together with mediators from the OSCE, continued
discussions on the implementation of the military accord. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN: PEACE TALKS WILL CONTINUE. Speaking to journalists in
Barnaul during a trip to the Altai Republic, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin said "provocations" like the recent incident in Argun,
would not derail the ongoing peace process in Chechnya, Russian and
Western agencies reported. According to ITAR-TASS, Chernomyrdin said "it
is impossible to stop the negotiation process." Minister for
Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, arriving in Grozny on 22 August to
resume discussions on the political status of Chechnya, also reiterated
the commitment of the federal government to a negotiated settlement but,
added that the disarmament process, which he characterized as only
"symbolic" to date, must make much more progress before a political
agreement can be finalized. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

TATAR PRESIDENT APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF PILOTS. Tatarstan President
Mintimer Shaimiev appealed to the leaders of the Afghan rebel group
"Taliban" for the release of the seven-member crew of a cargo plane
being held in the Afghan city of Kandahar, Western and Russian agencies
reported on 22 August. The IL-76 cargo plane, owned by Areostan, a
company based in the Tatar capital, Kazan, was carrying ammunition
purchased by the Kabul government in Albania when it was forced to land
by the anti-government Taliban rebels on 3 August. Russian diplomatic
efforts to secure the release of the crew have so far been unsuccessful.
Shaimiev called on Taliban to release the crew on humanitarian grounds
and reminded them of the "common religious beliefs of the Tatar and
Afghan people." A senior Russian diplomat told Interfax that a
delegation of Tatar religious leaders would soon depart for Kandahar to
try and negotiate the release of the crew. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YUGOSLAV SANCTIONS COST RUSSIA BILLIONS. Following a Moscow meeting of
the Russian-Yugoslav commission on trade and technical cooperation,
Russian Deputy Minister of Economics Andrei Shapovalyants told ITAR-TASS
on 22 August that Russia loses billions of dollars each year as a result
of UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. Shapovalyants estimated that
before the sanctions, Russian-Yugoslav trade had been worth $7 billion
annually. He added that the commission is currently preparing several
economic agreements for signature but that only humanitarian aid could
be sent to rump Yugoslavia until the sanctions are lifted. Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin said on 22 August that the
meeting of the commission did not signal that Moscow is planning to
unilaterally exit from the UN sanctions regime but is simply planning
future joint projects which will enter into force "immediately after"
the embargo is lifted by "collective action" of the UN. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

MALE LIFE EXPECTANCY FALLS TO 57.3 YEARS. The breakdown of Russia's
health care system has resulted in an unprecedented rise in mortality
rates and a fall in life expectancy, Labor Ministry department head
Aleksandr Tkachenko told ITAR-TASS on 22 August. Tkachenko said the
average life expectancy for men is now 57.3 years and for women, 71.1
years. He added that infant mortality is twice as high as in the U.S.
and maternal mortality five to 10 times as high as in developed
countries. Tkachenko attributed the rise in infectious diseases in
Russia to the collapse of the epidemiological system, an increase in the
number of refugees from other CIS countries and elsewhere, increased
contamination of the water supply, a shortage of medicine, and the fall
in the standard of living of much of the population. -- Penny Morvant,
OMRI, Inc.

POLICE CRIMES. To gauge corruption among traffic police, Interior
Minister Anatolii Kulikov sent a truck loaded with vodka on a 700 km
trip across southern Russia, Reuters reported on 22 August. Police
stopped the truck 24 times and asked for bribes on 22 of those
occasions, Kulikov said, adding that the state of the police reflected
the poor morale of society in general. Meanwhile, on 23 August,
Izvestiya reported that in Saratov Oblast a raion police chief had been
arrested for heading a criminal gang. Among other crimes, the police
officer, a colonel, is suspected of extorting 25.5 million rubles
($5,760) from a local farmer. The report catalogued various other
offenses committed by law enforcement officers as well as cases of
police incompetence and noted that eight cells in Saratov's jail are now
occupied by police officers, including several members of the regional
organized crime department. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

WAGE ARREARS SPARK HUNGER STRIKES IN AMUR, KUZBASS. Nineteen
construction workers are on hunger strike at the Buriiskii hydroelectric
power station in Amur Oblast to protest a five-month delay in the
payment of their wages, Radio Mayak reported on 22 August. Another 200
workers have threatened to join the hunger strikers if the issue of
their wage arrears, which amount to 40 billion rubles ($9.1 million), is
not resolved by 25 August. Meanwhile, in the Kuzbass, five miners from
the Krasnobrod open-cast mine are also on hunger strike to protest wage
arrears, Radio Rossii reported on 22 August. Work there has come to a
halt in the first strike by miners at an open-cast mine in the coal
basin. The financial crisis at Krasnobrod is due primarily to
nonpayments by coal consumers. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

FOREIGN OIL COMPANIES COMPETING FOR ASTRAKHAN OIL FIELDS. Eight foreign
firms are vying for the right to exploit Astrakhan oil fields, Russian
and Western agencies reported on 22 August. The candidate companies are
Agip (Italy), British Petroleum, Total (France), Royal Dutch Shell
(Britain/Netherlands), the U.S. companies Chevron, Mobil Oil, and
Unocal, and the Oman Oil Company. The companies chosen will be
responsible for setting up the oil fields in southern Russia and will
receive, in return, a share of the oil extracted under a contract
proposed by Russia. The reserves include an estimated 5-6 billion tons
of oil and 400-500 billion cubic meters of gas. The first phase of
exploration is expected to cost $250 million and the total cost is
estimated at $2.5-3 billion. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAZARBAEV COUNTS ON NORTHERN REGIONS FOR SUPPORT AMIDST PROTESTS. As
opposition activists continue to picket around the parliament building
in Almaty, President Nursultan Nazarbaev has been widening his support
base in the industrial regions of north Kazakhstan in the course of the
last couple of weeks, Russian TV reported on 22 August. Already, 100,000
workers at a dozen major mining and metallurgical enterprises are
reported to have expressed wholehearted support for the new
constitution. Just two days before Nazarbaev's visit to the Kustanai
Oblast in the north, the heads of the major enterprises held a meeting
in the city of Rudny to announce the formation of a political lobby in
support of the president. The push for such a move is said to have come
from foreign investors in the region as well. Meanwhile, the anti-
referendum demonstrators declared that other political parties and
social movements are expected to join the protests and a hunger strike
on 24 August. The opposition activists are urging the electorate of
Kazakhstan to boycott the referendum on the constitution scheduled for
30 August. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN ASSURES RUSSIA OVER CASPIAN PIPELINE. Kazakh Prime Minister
Akezhan Kazhegeldin declared that the recent agreement between
Kazakhstan and Turkey to set up a Kazakh pipeline to the Mediterranean
Sea via Turkey would not affect the implementation of the Caspian
pipeline consortium project backed by Russia and Oman, Interfax reported
on 21 August. "The second pipeline through Turkey is still a matter
subject to further negotiations, whereas the Caspian pipeline consortium
is a concrete reality," Kazhegeldin told Interfax. Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev also confirmed that increasing
collaboration between Kazakhstan and Turkey will not have any adverse
effect on Kazakh-Russian cooperation in the Caspian region. -- Bhavna
Dave, OMRI, Inc.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO DETER AKAEV REFERENDUM? A legislative
meeting of the upper chamber of the Kyrgyz parliament has proposed an
amendment to the law on referendums that would ban a nationwide
referendum on the extending the terms in office of the president and
parliament deputies, Radio Mayak reported on 22 August. In an interview
with Interfax, the director of the Center of Comparative Analysis in the
Kyrgyz parliament, said the amendment is warranted because of a recent
collection of signatures in support of holding a referendum on whether
President Askar Akaev's term should be extended until the year 2001.
(See OMRI Daily Digest, 22 August 1995). -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

CIA: NUCLEAR SMUGGLING SMALL BUT REAL. Nuclear smuggling involving
Russian nuclear arsenals poses a small but real danger in the CIS and
Eastern Europe, according to a CIA official who testified before the
U.S. Congress on 22 August, international agencies reported. David
Osias, the CIA national intelligence officer for strategic programs,
said most of the more than 100 reports about smuggling nuclear weapons
or weapons grade nuclear material have been either "unsubstantiated or
unreliable." Weapons grade material smuggling was reported in Germany
and the Czech Republic in the last year, but all other reports involved
scams using low enriched uranium. Osias said Russian officials maintain
a "generally effective control" over the former Soviet arsenal, but "the
break-up of the Soviet Union, the opening of Russian society, and its
economic difficulties have subjected the security system to stresses and
risks it was not designed to withstand." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

KUCHMA ON BLACK SEA FLEET. While visiting Sevastopol, Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma said the signing of the Russian-Ukrainian treaty
on friendship and cooperation depends 99% on Russia, Reuters and Radio
Mayak reported on 22 August. He expressed doubts that the dispute over
the Black Sea Fleet, which is preventing the signing of the friendship
agreement, will be settled until after the Russian election campaign.
Narodna armiya reported on 10 August that the commander of the fleet,
Eduard Baltin, is already flying the Russian imperial St. Andrew's flag
over its ships. The fleet is still technically under both Russian and
Ukrainian command and should continue to fly the Soviet naval flag
instead of the Russian one. -- 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
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. Before reprinting or
redistributing this publication, please write varnumk@omri.cz for a copy
of the new policy or look at this URL:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ

Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole