The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 169, Part I, 30 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

YELTSIN GIVES ENVOY IN CHECHNYA SWEEPING POWERS. On 29 August, the
presidential press service released details of the decree appointing
Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov presidential representative in
Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. Under the decree, Lobov will have the
powers of a first deputy prime minister, with authority over all federal
officials in Chechnya, including the operational command of federal
forces in the republic. He will also coordinate the activity of all
federal delegations sent to negotiate with separatist Chechen leaders.
That Lobov, a close associate of President Boris Yeltsin, has been
granted such sweeping powers suggests that Yeltsin is reasserting
control over Chechen policy, in which Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
has played a major role since the Budennovsk events, Izvestiya commented
on 30 August. The appointment also follows Yeltsin's recent pattern of
placing close personal associates in important positions within the
presidential apparatus. Also on 29 August, Yeltsin reiterated his
commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Chechen conflict, saying
that his policy in Chechnya remains "unchanged." -- Scott Parrish

GRACHEV SAYS KURILS BELONG TO RUSSIA. Speaking to a meeting of Russian
war veterans, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that the
successful Soviet military offensive against the Japanese Kwantung Army
in August 1945 led to the "return to Russia of lands torn away by
Japan," Russian and Western agencies reported on 29 August. When asked
what specific areas he had in mind, Grachev said the Kuril Islands,
which he then described as "genuine Russian land," according to
Interfax. Grachev's comments are likely to aggravate already shaky
relations between Russia and Japan. A long-running territorial dispute
over the four southernmost islands of the Kuril chain, which Russia
continues to control but Japan claims, has blocked improvement in
relations. Russian military officers have frequently made public
statements opposing any concessions to Japan on the issue. -- Scott
Parrish

FOREIGN MINISTRY WARY OF NATO ACTION IN BOSNIA. An anonymous diplomat at
the Russian Foreign Ministry told Interfax on 29 August that the
possibility of NATO airstrikes against Bosnian Serb positions in
retaliation for the recent mortar attack on a crowded Sarajevo
marketplace could endanger progress toward a peace settlement in the
former Yugoslavia. Another Russian diplomat, quoted by Interfax in Paris
before a scheduled meeting of international Contact Group
representatives, described the mortar attack as a "provocation" designed
to undermine the peace process. He refused, however, to pin the blame on
the Bosnian Serbs, saying that "extremists" among the Bosnian Muslims
also wanted to block the negotiation process. In Moscow, Defense Minster
Grachev told journalists that the international community should give
"equal treatment" to all parties in the Yugoslav conflict, adding that
the "Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslims all have a big enough share of
responsibility for current developments." -- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN TO REMAIN ABOVE THE FRAY. President Yeltsin told a meeting of
political scientists that he will not announce whether he intends to run
for a second term until after the December parliamentary elections,
according to Presidential Council member Andranik Migranyan, NTV
reported on 30 August. Yeltsin also said that he will not identify
himself with any party or bloc during the parliamentary campaign. At the
meeting, Yeltsin reaffirmed his intention to hold all elections on
schedule, although he said there is a danger that they will destabilize
the situation. He again rejected elections to the Federation Council as
unconstitutional and was advised by his interlocutors to form the upper
house from the regional leadership by presidential decree if the issue
is held up in the Constitutional Court. -- Robert Orttung

LEBED ADDRESSES MOSCOW PARTY CONGRESS. Retired Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed
addressed a conference of the Moscow City branch of the Congress of
Russian Communities (KRO) on 29 August, ITAR-TASS reported. Lebed is the
deputy chairman of the KRO. Lebed advocated strengthening Russian
statehood since "we possess a unique civilization and should preserve
it." Reporters present said that the general again demonstrated his
oratorical skill, which is bolstering his standing in the opinion polls.
The KRO claims 80 regional branches in Russia and 43 branches in the
non-Russian republics of the former Soviet Union, but it does not
provide membership figures. -- Robert Orttung

MOSCOW TO ELECT CITY DUMA ON 17 DECEMBER. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov
signed a directive on 29 August setting 17 December as the date for
elections to the Moscow City Duma, ITAR-TASS reported. The current Duma
was elected on 12 December 1993, after Yeltsin shut down all local
soviets in the country following his October attack on the Russian White
House. -- Robert Orttung

CHEMICAL WEAPONS TO BE DESTROYED BY NUCLEAR BOMBS? The Atomic Power
Ministry has been working for four years on a plan to destroy chemical
weapons in underground nuclear explosions, its chief told a 28 August
meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the ministry's creation. NTV
quoted Viktor Mikhailov as saying that while such explosions would
violate the current test moratorium, they had the "indisputable
advantage" of being "approximately 100 times cheaper than any other
means." -- Doug Clarke

TATAR STUDY ON "SHUTTLE" TRADERS. An opinion survey conducted in the
Tatar capital, Kazan, by a Tatar government center suggests that women
make up 80% of those who engage in "shuttle" trade-- i.e., those who
make regular trips abroad to buy goods to sell at home. According to
Interfax on 27 August, more than 40% of the respondents had a higher
education, 20% had earlier worked in the military-industrial complex,
and over 16% were former civil servants. Nearly 82% said they had to
"shuttle" to keep their families. Half of the traders admitted to paying
off officials, and 40% are controlled by criminal groups. -- Penny
Morvant

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS REBUKED FOR TRIPS ABROAD. According to a report by
the Presidential Control Administration, 525 officials from 32
ministries have violated a decree issued by Yeltsin in 1993 regulating
civil servants' trips abroad, Kommersant-daily reported on 25 August.
First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets rebuked the offenders at a
meeting of the cabinet and urged officials to spend more time traveling
around Russia. The largest number of unnecessary trips was made by
officials from the Foreign Economic Relations Ministry, the Economics
Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the Nationalities Ministry, while
the biggest individual offender was Education Ministry department head
Yelena Lenskaya, said to have traveled abroad on 80 occasions. According
to Komsomolskaya pravda of 29 August, however, Lenskaya herself claims
to have made only eight trips. -- Penny Morvant

BANKS FAIL TO OUTLINE CLEAR POLICY ON CRISIS. The Association of Russian
Banks has failed to draw up measures to overcome the interbank credit
market crisis that hit banks last week, Russian agencies reported on 29
August. The Association, which unites more than 1,000 commercial banks,
is working on a guiding statement to better define credit limits and
create a mechanism for paying off mutual obligations but has yet to
complete it. According to Interfax, dealers in Moscow estimate that only
four or five banks in the capital still trust each other enough to
operate on the interbank credit market. -- Thomas Sigel

SECURITIES AND STOCK COMMISSION DRAFTS REGULATIONS. The changing
infrastructure of the stock market requires regulations to be put in
place, Deputy Chairman of the Federal Commission for Securities and
Stock Markets Dmitrii Vasilev told Russian media on 29 August. Vasilev
said that companies that keep shareholder registers will be subject to
an audit to reveal stock market law violations and that the commission
is drafting rules governing the work of mutual investment funds, which
are being established in accordance with Yeltsin's decree of late July
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 31 July 1995). Vasilev also said that in
September the commission will publish a document on amending Russian
enterprises' share prospectuses to ensure that they meet world
standards. In addition, the commission will draft a document authorizing
it to apply sanctions and initiate criminal proceedings against
companies violating the rights of investors. -- Thomas Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CAR BOMB IN TBILISI. Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze
escaped an apparent assassination attempt with minor injuries when a car
bomb exploded outside the parliament building in Tbilisi on 29 August,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Five other people, including
parliament speaker Vakhtang Rcheulishvili and Shevardnadze's chief of
staff Petre Mamradze were also hurt. Security measures in Tbilisi have
been intensified, and a nationwide state of emergency may be imposed,
according to Prime Minister Otar Patsatsia. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu
Ciller is due in Tbilisi later this week to discuss a planned export
pipeline for Caspian oil with Shevardnadze. -- Liz Fuller

NAZARBAEV DISMISSES OPPOSITION, SET TO WIN REFERENDUM . . . In a country
where plebiscites almost never disappoint the expectations of the
authorities, the 30 August vote on the draft constitution is likely to
provide a big win for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, despite
widespread apathy on the part of the electorate toward the new
constitution. The Chairman of the Election Commission Yurii Kim said he
was sure the president would score a major victory. In a national
television address, Nazarbaev announced that soon after the anticipated
referendum victory, a law setting a date for elections to the nation's
parliament will be adopted. In an interview with Interfax on 29 August,
Nazarbaev praised his draft constitution as the "only one" in the CIS
that guarantees private property and land ownership, including the right
to confidentiality regarding bank holdings "just as in Swiss banks." He
maintained that the constitution clearly lays down the distribution of
power between the various branches of government on the basis of a
system of checks and balances in which the president has the authority
to dissolve the parliament, just as the latter has the prerogative to
impeach the president. Nazarbaev dismissed the opposition as "a narrow
and absolutely unrepresentative group of people, motivated by private
interests." He said that the country needs "competent, experienced and
skilled politicians," not those who stage mass rallies and pickets. He
also justified the adoption of a presidential system on the grounds that
Kazakhstan lacks a "parliamentary culture and the traditions of a well-
developed multiparty system." -- Bhavna Dave

. . . AND ANXIETY AMONG SLAVIC GROUPS. Konstantin Zatulin, chairman of
the Russian Duma committee on ties with the CIS, warned in an interview
with Russian TV on 29 August that once Nazarbaev's powers are extended
through a referendum, nothing will deter him from making further changes
to the constitution. Zatulin expressed concern that although the Russian
language has the status of an official language, the preamble of the
constitution favors Kazakh. The issue of Russian speakers in the "near
abroad" is likely to be raised in the Russian Duma. Most Kazakh citizens
appear more concerned about provisions on land privatization, which are
regarded as favoring the sale of land and factories to foreigners,
according to Reuters on 29 August. Meanwhile, emigration of Russian-
speakers continues to rise--more than 480,000 left Kazakhstan in 1994.
"Emigration of Russians is the biggest factor explaining stability of
Kazakhstan," Nurbulat Masanov, a history professor from Kazakhstan, told
Reuters on 29 August. -- Bhavna Dave

ISRAEL TRAINING AZERBAIJANI SECURITY AGENTS? An Israeli intelligence
delegation recently arrived in Baku on a secret visit, according to a 28
August IRNA report monitored by the BBC. The Iranian agency claimed that
the discussions are part of an effort to upgrade the republic's
intelligence system; they are said to follow on from an earlier visit of
Azerbaijani security officials to Tel Aviv. The report also alleged that
a team of 45 Israeli officers are in Azerbaijan providing training to
Azerbaijani security officers. -- Lowell Bezanis

TURKISH INVESTMENT IN TURKMENISTAN. Over the past three years Turkey has
invested more than $1.5 billion in Turkmenistan, Interfax reported on 28
August. Citing an unnamed spokesman in Turkmenistan's Foreign Economic
Relations Ministry, the agency said that about 40% of that money (c.
$600 million) is in construction projects. Turkish builders are involved
in many of the republic's high profile projects, including its new
international airport and several hotels. -- Lowell Bezanis

LIBERALIZATION OF TAJIK ECONOMY TO BE ACCELERATED. The authorities in
Tajikistan expect that all state property in the republic will be
privatized in 1996, Tajik Radio reported on 25 August. According to the
report monitored by the BBC, Tajik Prime Minister Jamshid Karimov told a
consultative meeting of top industrial managers, the head of the finance
ministry, and representatives from the national bank and tax
inspectorate that the government intends to speed up the privatization
process. He indicated that the prices for all kinds of goods and foreign
trade had been completely liberalized to date with the exception of
cotton. Cotton-producers have the right to dispose of 30% of the crop in
1995; in 1996 the entire crop is to be at their disposal. Karimov also
noted that Tajikistan must pay $126 million in foreign debts this year.
-- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Penny Morvant

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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