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. 167, Part I, 28 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

DERZHAVA HOLDS CONGRESS. Derzhava's top three candidates will be former
Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, former Liberal Democratic Party
campaign organizer Viktor Kobelev, and the press secretary for the
Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, Konstantin Dushenov, NTV reported.
Rutskoi told his 26 August party congress that its main strength lies in
the fact that it did not participate in the 1993 Duma elections and did
not make empty promises. He rejected any alliances with other groups
because of the "snobbism, opportunism, and the personal ambitions of
political leaders who dream of being president." Rutskoi announced that
his main themes would be restoring Russia as a great power within its
natural borders as well as "housing, food, clothing, health care,
education, ecology, and personal and collective security." Rutskoi's
party does not have enough money to run an effective national campaign,
according to Kommersant-Daily on 26 August. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
Inc.

COMMUNIST PARTY DECIDES ELECTION STRATEGY. Communist Party leader
Gennadii Zyuganov, former RSFSR Supreme Soviet Deputy Chairwoman
Svetlana Goryacheva, and Kemerovo Oblast Legislative Assembly Chairman
Aman Tuleev will top the Communist Party's list, the party's conference
decided on 26 August, ITAR-TASS reported. The party's campaign platform
calls for forming a government of national salvation and "eliminating
the catastrophic consequences of the reforms." The platform also
outlines the party's plans for the June 1996 presidential race. Zyuganov
denounced the extreme Communist groups for seeking "Communist purity"
and affirmed that his party's platform is based on "Marxist dialectics."
The party will cooperate with Nikolai Ryzhkov's Power to the People
movement and Mikhail Lapshin's Agrarian Party, Ekho Moskvy reported. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

MASYUK INTERVIEWS BASAEV AGAIN. NTV journalist Yelena Masyuk interviewed
Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev, who led the 14-19 June operation
in Budennovsk, and Chechen fighter Alauda Khamzatov, who led last week's
raid on police headquarters in Argun, for the network's popular weekly
current events show "Itogi." The interview is a challenge to the
Procurator General's Office, which on 13 July opened a criminal
investigation of Masyuk for allegedly concealing information from law
enforcement authorities following her 26 June interview of Basaev. Other
Russian and Western journalists who interviewed Basaev in recent weeks
have not faced criminal investigations, leading NTV to charge that the
network has been singled out in an official campaign of intimidation. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

THIRD CONGRESS OF RUSSIA'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE FORMS "UNITED DEMOCRATS"
BLOC. Delegates to the third congress of Yegor Gaidar's Russia's
Democratic Choice agreed to form a new electoral bloc called Russia's
Democratic Choice--United Democrats, Russian media reported on 26
August. The bloc will include Yurii Chernichenko's Peasant's Party,
Aleksandr Yakovlev's Russian Party of Social Democracy, Women for
Solidarity, and Soldiers for Democracy. According to Ekho Moskvy, Gaidar
will lead the bloc's party list, followed by human rights activist
Sergei Kovalev, the actress Lidiya Fedoseeva-Shukshina, and General
Eduard Vorobev, who refused to lead the military operation in Chechnya.
-- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MOSCOW BRANCH OF OUR HOME IS RUSSIA FORMED. At the founding conference
of the Moscow branch of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc Our
Home Is Russia, Mayor Yurii Luzhkov confirmed that the city's government
will support the bloc, NTV reported. The bloc's regional council
includes the deputy head of the Moscow government, Ernest Bakirov,
Vechernyaya Moskva editor-in-chief Aleksandr Lisin, and cultural figures
such as singer Lyudmila Zykina. The Moscow branch became the 83rd
regional organization of the prime minister's bloc, which will hold its
second nationwide congress on 2-3 September. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

LOBOV APPOINTMENT CONFIRMED. In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 25
August, President Boris Yeltsin confirmed that he had appointed Security
Council secretary Oleg Lobov as his special representative in Chechnya.
Yeltsin said Lobov will have authority over all military and civilian
authorities in Chechnya during the "transitional period" before new
elections. Lobov will continue to serve as Security Council secretary,
said Yeltsin, adding that he expects Lobov's assignment in Chechnya to
last about one year. Lobov's appointment did not meet with the approval
of Khodz-Akhmed Yarikhanov, lead Chechen negotiator, who told NTV in
Grozny that he would have preferred to see someone of "a more peaceful
profession" appointed to the position. Lobov, who supported the decision
to send federal troops to Chechnya, beat out more moderate candidates
such as Arkadii Volskii and Vyacheslav Mikhailov, although he reportedly
did not want the appointment. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

AFGHAN REBELS RAISE NEW DEMANDS FOR RELEASE OF RUSSIAN CREW. A Russian
delegation, led by Timur Akulovyi, a representative of Tatarstan, failed
to gain the release of the seven crew members of a Tatar-owned IL-76
cargo plane, who have been held captive by Afghan rebels since being
forced to land in the Afghan city of Kandahar on 3 August, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 27 August. Akulavyi told ITAR-TASS that the
rebels said they could discuss the release of the plane's crew only at
an "international conference" to be held in Kandahar and only in
exchange for a written promise from Russia not to aid any of the parties
involved in the ongoing Afghan civil war. On 25 August, Patriarch
Aleksei II and Russian Supreme Mufti Sheikh-ul-Islam Talgat Tadzhuddin
issued a joint appeal for the "immediate liberation" of the crew,
Interfax reported. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN ADDRESSES MVD COLLEGIUM. Making his first public appearance of
the week on 25 August, President Yeltsin addressed a meeting of the
Interior Ministry (MVD) collegium, Russian and Western agencies
reported. There had been renewed speculation about the president's state
of health following his failure to attend an airshow on 22 August. At
the MVD meeting, the president again emphasized the threat crime poses
to national security and said the ministry, the structure of which has
remained virtually unchanged for the past decade, should be reorganized
to combat it. Yeltsin stressed the importance of upgrading the role of
operational units and local police to create "a strong and mobile"
system. He also emphasized the need to solve high-profile crimes such as
"contract killings" and take steps to prevent juvenile crime, the
criminalization of the economy, and illegal arms dealing, ITAR-TASS
reported. Kommersant-Daily argued on 26 August that the main purpose of
the meeting was to show that Yeltsin fully supports the policies of the
new interior minister, Anatolii Kulikov, who has made major personnel
changes in the upper ranks of the ministry. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. WARNS OF POSSIBLE TERRORIST ATTACKS IN ST. PETERSBURG. The U.S.
State Department announced on 25 August that it had received threats of
possible attacks on U.S. citizens traveling in St. Petersburg. It said
tour groups comprising U.S. citizens may be at greatest risk, adding
that the warning covered the period from late August through early
September, AFP and ITAR-TASS reported. U.S. officials advised travelers
to be cautious, watch their luggage, and avoid accepting gifts and
packages. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

KOKOSHIN CALLS FOR MORE MONEY FOR DEFENSE INDUSTRY. First Deputy Defense
Minister Andrei Kokoshin, the highest ranking civilian in the ministry,
urged the government on 26 August to support the defense industry and
give the military the money allotted to it in the 1995 budget. ITAR-TASS
quoted him as saying the military had received just a little more than
35% of what they needed to buy new weapons and support weapons research
and development. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX TO BE RESTRUCTURED. President Yeltsin's aide
for military and technical cooperation told a press conference on 25
August that the government had approved a plan to restructure Russia's
military-industrial complex. Interfax quoted Boris Kuzyk as saying the
plan involved the formation of "Financial-Industrial Groups (FIG)" made
up of weapons designers, producers, banks, insurance, and investment
companies. He said that two or three FIGs would be formed this year--one
involving the main designers and producers of MiG-29 fighters. It would
consist of 20 to 35 aviation enterprises and five banks. Kuzyk added
that other CIS and foreign companies might participate in future FIGs
but added that the government would exert strict control over the new
group's activities. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

BANKS FACE TEST AFTER CREDIT CRUNCH . . . Russian banks face a survival
test this week after the Central Bank of Russia infused cash into the
economy on 24-25 August to ease a severe credit crunch, Russian and
Western agencies reported. The Central Bank and government said their
actions would be enough to calm the crisis, which triggered fears of
bank closures or mergers. The non-payments crisis emerged after some
banks ceased lending, fearing they would not get their money back. On 24
August, overnight interest rates sky-rocketed to 1,000% from 300% the
day before. The Central Bank made 300 billion rubles ($68 million) worth
of short-term credits available to the banks. It also bought treasury
bills worth 1 trillion rubles ($227 million) on 25 August to infuse
extra cash into the economy, but the credit market remained inactive. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

. . . PARAMONOVA SAYS SITUATION WILL RETURN TO NORMAL. While Central
Bank acting Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova said the credit crunch was
over and conditions should return to normal this week, doubts remained
about whether the action was sufficient to revive the market, Segodnya
reported on 26 August. Further cash injections could lead to higher
inflation and a weakening of financial policy, the publication
indicated. First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais said on 25
August that the credits would not be inflationary or knock economic
reforms off track. Meanwhile, Kommersant-Daily on 26 August argued that
the government could not have ignored the crisis with parliamentary
elections due in December; to allow the collapse of fairly large banks
on the eve of elections would have meant practically giving away most of
the votes to the left-wing opposition. Some bankers said the crisis
marked a shake-up of the system and will lead to a restructuring of the
banking system. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

SIBERIAN AGREEMENT MEMBERS SIGN PROTOCOL OF INTENT. The 19 Russian
Federation subjects that are members of the regional association known
as the Siberian Agreement have signed a protocol of intent to organize a
common promissory note circulation zone, Kommersant-Daily reported on 25
August. The idea is that promissory notes issued by any republic, krai,
or oblast that is an association member will be legal tender throughout
the entire zone to pay for supplies or as local taxes. Authorized banks
would have to agree on mutual acceptance of each other's promissory
notes. At the moment, only Tveruniversalbank's promissory notes are
freely circulating throughout the Siberian Agreement territory. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAZARBAEV PREDICTS VICTORY IN REFERENDUM. Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev predicted that the draft constitution would be approved by a
wide margin in the 30 August referendum, Reuters reported on 25 August.
Nazarbaev said it is especially important that executive power be
strengthened during a time of crisis and chaos in a multiethnic state.
The various opposition parties, who have formed a united anti-referendum
bloc, have denounced the new constitution for concentrating too much
power in the presidential office. Six out of 10 constitutional court
judges also concurred that the draft constitution would curtail "human
rights and civil liberties [and] distort the principle of balance of
powers," according to Reuters. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA OFFERED MANAGEMENT OF KAZAKH ENTERPRISES. Kazakh Prime Minister
Akezhan Kazhegeldin has offered the Russian corporation ROSKONTRAKT the
opportunity to take over the management of several dozen industrial
enterprises, with an eventual possibility of buying them from
Kazakhstan, Radio Rossii reported on 27 August. The director of
ROSKONTRAKT, Stanislav Anisimov, told Interfax that the enterprises
include machine tool and ore-processing industries. It is believed that
a take over by Russia would enhance their produtivity and efficiency. --
Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZSTAN-PAKISTAN AGREE TO COOPERATE. Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir
Bhutto and Kyrgyz Prime Minister Apas Dzhamagulov signed agreements on
the mutual protection of investments, joint action against drug
trafficking, and the possible sale of Kyrgyz electricity to Pakistan
during talks in Bishkek, Interfax reported on 26 August. The two prime
ministers also discussed the prospects of constructing an international
highway through China and Kazakhstan that would connect the land-locked
republic of Kyrgyzstan to Karachi. Bhutto earlier denounced India's
policy in Kashmir, condemning the brutalities committed by Indian
soldiers in crushing the demands for self-determination among the local
population, AFP reported on 26 August. The Kyrgyz authorities voiced
support for Pakistan's position on Kashmir, according to a source in the
Pakistani government who requested anonymity. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

UZBEKISTAN'S PRIORITIES. At a briefing in Tashkent in advance of the
fourth anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence, President Islam Karimov
named four priority tasks facing the republic: ensuring stability,
establishing a class of property owners, eliminating a "dependency
culture," and making citizens more aware of the value of independence,
Uzbek Television reported on 25 August. Karimov also said that he
anticipates the som will be made convertible soon, Interfax reported the
same day. -- 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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