This is the true nature of home-- it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. - John Ruskin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 168, Part I, 29 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

CONCILIATORY COMMISSION CONSIDERS FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW. A committee of
representatives from the parliament and the president met on 28 August
to find a compromise on the issue of the formation of the Federation
Council, ITAR-TASS reported. President Boris Yeltsin earlier vetoed a
bill approved by both houses of the parliament calling for elections to
the upper house. The president wants to appoint its members from the
leadership of Russia's 89 republics and regions. The Constitutional
Court has not yet answered a Duma request to determine the
constitutionality of the president's proposal. Duma representative to
the commission Vladimir Isakov said that a number of compromise
solutions were possible, including delegating local governors to the
Federation Council after they are elected by popular vote. The majority
of governors currently serving were appointed by Yeltsin. The commission
chose five possible compromises which will now be developed by a group
of experts for discussion in the Duma when it reconvenes in October. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE SETS PARTY LIST. A congress of Power to the People
(Vlast--Narodu) has drawn up the bloc's list for the December
parliamentary elections, Interfax reported on 28 August. Former Soviet
Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov will top the list of 270 candidates,
followed by Russian Public Union (ROS) chairman Sergei Baburin and
Mothers for Social Justice leader Yelena Shuvalova. Lt. Col. Stanislav
Terekhov, head of the Officers' Union, and renowned chess player
Anatolii Karpov are also included. Power to the People was created in
July and calls itself a "patriotic left-centrist" alliance. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.

COMMUNISTS, ALLIES AGREE ON CAMPAIGN COOPERATION. Valentin Kuptsov,
deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the
Russian Federation (KPRF), said that the Communists have agreed not to
compete against candidates from the Agrarian Party or the bloc Power to
the People in 65 of Russia's 225 single-member constituencies, ITAR-TASS
reported on 28 August. Party chairman Gennadii Zyuganov said his party
hopes to form the next government and expressed confidence that
Communists and their left-wing allies will win a majority of seats in
the next Duma. The Communists have drawn up a party list of 270
candidates and will nominate candidates in 160 single-member
constituencies. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

YAKOVLEV TO CAMPAIGN ON GAIDAR'S LIST. Aleksandr Yakovlev, chairman of
the Board of Russian Public TV, will run for the Duma on the party list
of Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice-United Democrats, ITAR-TASS
reported on 28 August. Yakovlev will be among the top ten names on the
list. The 71-year-old former Politburo member, who developed many of
former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, earlier declined a
spot on age and health grounds. The delegates to the bloc's 26 August
congress voted to include him because they felt he would bring
additional votes. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANOV STEPS UP SECURITY IN CHECHNYA. General Anatolii Romanov,
commander of federal forces in Chechnya, issued an order on 28 August
forbidding Chechen citizens to carry arms in the republic's towns and
cities, ITAR-TASS reported. The order is in response to recent incidents
involving Chechen fighters who returned to the cities and town of
Chechnya after the signing of the July 30 military accord but have not
yet turned in their weapons because of the stalled disarmament process.
Romanov's order also called for tightening passport controls at
checkpoints within the cities. According to Interfax, Chechen delegates
submitted to their Russian counterparts on 28 August a schedule for the
disarmament of Chechen units that will be used by the federal command to
formulate a schedule for the simultaneous withdrawal of federal troops
from the republic. However, the long-delayed prisoner exchange was
postponed once again on 28 August, and federal positions were attacked
11 times on the night of 28-29 August. One federal serviceman was killed
and three others wounded -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

MIKHAILOV DENIES PLANS TO SELL MILITARY REACTORS TO IRAN. Nuclear Power
Minister Viktor Mikhailov denounced as "total rubbish" a 27 August
article in The Sunday Telegraph (London) claiming that Russia had
concluded a secret deal to provide Iran with two 400-megawatt reactors
for its nuclear research program, to be built at Neka, in northern Iran,
international agencies reported. The Telegraph report claimed that the
reactors would be used in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Mikhailov
said that "there is no secret accord" between Moscow and Tehran and
emphasized that all contacts between Iranian and Russian nuclear
officials concern only the completion of the nuclear power station at
Bushehr, for which a contract was signed in January. Russia and Iran
have repeatedly claimed that the Bushehr project will have no military
implications. Mikhailov did add that, in the future, Russia might help
Iran construct as many as four power reactors at the Bushehr site. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

TATARSTAN TO MARK FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF DECLARATION OF SOVEREIGNTY.
President Yeltsin met with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev to
congratulate him on the fifth anniversary of Tatarstan's declaration of
sovereignty, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin will fly to Kazan to take part in ceremonies commemorating
the anniversary on 30 August. Shaimiev is a prominent figure in the
prime minister's bloc Our Home Is Russia. In February 1994, federal
authorities and Tatarstan signed the first power-sharing agreement in
the Russian Federation. Since then, five other autonomous republics have
signed agreements to divide power with Moscow. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
Inc.

TYUMEN OBLAST REGISTERS MOVEMENT SEEKING TO PRESERVE THE OBLAST'S UNITY.
A new movement in Tyumen Oblast called Unity of the Oblast, just
registered by the local justice administration, has proposed an oblast-
wide referendum on preserving the oblast's unity, ITAR-TASS reported on
28 August. The oblast contains two other constituent parts of the
Russian Federation: the Khanty-Mansii and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous
Okrugs. Both okrugs have confirmed their status within the oblast in
their charters, but the Tyumen administration does not agree with
several articles that limit its management responsibilities. In fact,
the dispute is more about the division of power between the oblast and
the okrugs, than the unity of the oblast. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

NEMTSOV PREDICTS PROBLEMS WITH PENSIONERS. Nizhnii Novgorod Governor
Boris Nemtsov believes that delays in the payment of old-age pensions
will lead to hunger or even mass unrest, Radio Rossii reported on 28
August. Nemtsov said his oblast's Pension Fund, like those in many other
regions, does not have enough money to pay pensioners and is not
receiving sufficient funds from Moscow to make up the shortfall. As a
result, he went on, every month pensions are late or not paid in full.
According to Yevgenii Gontmakher, deputy chairman of the presidential
Commission on Social Policy, the Pension Fund is in dire financial
straits because of the fall in real wages and diminishing importance of
wages in the income of the population. He noted also that some of the
Pension Fund's money is used to finance projects and benefits that
should be covered by the federal budget. According to First Deputy Prime
Minister Yurii Yarov, the fund is now owed more than 10 trillion rubles
($2.26 billion) and since July pensions in many parts of the country
have been delayed by 20 days, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

FIVE BANKS SIGN DEAL TO RESUSCITATE LOAN MARKET. Five of Russia's
largest banks pledged to resume interbank trading in a bid to restore
confidence in the paralyzed short-term loan market, ITAR-TASS and
Interfax reported on 28 August. The two national banks, Sberbank and
Vneshtorgbank, as well as Inkombank, Imperial, and Most-Bank, signed an
agreement to resume loan operations among themselves with the aim of
slowly opening up the market to other operators. Russia's short-term
loans market came to an abrupt halt on 25 August, when a liquidity
crisis hit a number of banks, forcing them to halt short-term credits
and threatening several with collapse. Fears of insolvency created a
domino effect, prompting nearly all Russia's banks to suspend operations
on the short-terms loans market amid a general cash shortage. On 28
August, the majority of banks remained on their guard after last week's
panic, despite Central Bank intervention to boost liquidity and dispel
fears of a general crash. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA AND VIETNAM CREATE JOINT BANK. Russia and Vietnam have joined
forces to establish a bank in Vietnam that will service Russian-
Vietnamese joint ventures, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. The bank
will mainly service the Russian-Vietnamese joint oil venture
Vietsovpetro, which was created in 1985. It will also handle Vietnam's
debt payments to Russia. The report said that Vietcombank, Vietnam's
largest bank, will own half the bank and that two Russian banks,
Imperial and National Credit, will own 20% each. A Russian government
oil firm, Zarubezhneft, will own 10%. The protocol of intent was signed
last week in Hanoi, and officials anticipate charter approval within six
months. The authorized start-up capital of the bank will be $10 million.
-- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DIAMOND INDUSTRY IN GOOD FINANCIAL SHAPE. Russia's main diamond producer
reported sales of $628 million in the first half of the year and said it
was in good financial shape, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. AK Almazy
Rossii-Sakha Vice President Semen Zelberg told the news agency that
sales were $28 million over projections. Russia exports 95% of its uncut
diamonds, most of which are mined by the company in Siberia. Almazy-
Rossii sold $1.14 billion worth of diamonds in 1994, mostly through the
South African De Beers-run cartel. The company is currently
renegotiating a new contract with De Beers, and Zelberg complained that
the cartel's new price list is "unacceptable" to the Russian side. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

THIRD TURKIC SUMMIT . . . Following a two hour meeting of the heads of
state of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan, a 21 article "Bishkek Declaration" was signed in Bishkek on
28 August, Western and Russian media reported the same day. Overall,
this summit, like its two predecessors, was longer on rhetoric than on
substance. Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva termed the
"Turkic alliance," part of the Bishkek Declaration, the key document
signed by all participants in the summit; she said it was a cultural
union based on "the community of cultures, languages, and traditions,"
Interfax reported on 28 August. Initiatives advanced by Uzbekistan,
Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan for holding various international conferences
on security, cooperation, and confidence building in Central Asia, or
Asia in general, were adopted. Participants in the summit also backed
Turkmenistan's efforts to be recognized as a neutral state; expressed
concern over ongoing conflicts in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and former
Yugoslavia; and called upon the OSCE to take a more active role in
resolving these problems. Russia's reaction to the proceedings was
unusually muted; this may be connected with Moscow's decision to hold
its own summit of Turkic-speaking countries in Moscow in September. In
his opening speech to the meeting, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
sought to allay Russian fears concerning the gathering of "siblings and
related communities" but urged the latter to avoid becoming dependent on
other states by moving their natural gas and oil through Turkey en route
to world markets, international media reported. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
Inc.

. . . AND DETRACTORS. President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan expressed
his reservations about the effectiveness of economic cooperation among
Turkophone countries, Interfax reported on 28 August. He termed the
suggestions made to date "confused" and emphasized that Central Asian
economic cooperation should be stepped up. Specifically, he called for
Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to join in the Central Asian economic union,
established in 1994 by Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Karimov
also said Uzbekistan will not participate in such gatherings in future
if they are "strikingly political." The same day, ITAR-TASS noted that
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov had told the other participants in
the summit not to rush into a Turkic-language alliance. He was quoted as
saying "a common language" cannot become a platform for a "political
bloc." He also said that close attention to ties with Russia, other CIS
states, and Iran would go hand in hand with efforts directed toward
regional integration with Turkey. -- 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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