Время - драгоценный подарок, данный нам, чтобы в нем стать умнее, лечше, зрелее и совершеннее. - Томас Манн

No. 173, Part I, 6 September 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


AGRARIANS CRITICIZE OUR HOME IS RUSSIA. In his speech to the congress of
the Agrarian Party, leader Mikhail Lapshin described the current
government's policy as "anti-popular" and "anti-peasant," Ekho Moskvy
reported on 5 September. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha
denounced Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's idea of holding a
referendum on private property for land because, he argued, the land
should belong only to rural workers. His speech reflects the rift in the
cabinet over agrarian issues. The congress, held on 5 September in
Moscow, also called for the restoration of the Soviet Union. The party
removed Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin from its leadership, but stopped short
of excluding him from the party, NTV reported. Lapshin, Agriculture
Minister Aleksandr Nazarchuk, and Chairman of the Agrarian Union Vasilii
Starodubtsev will top the party list. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

alliance with Rybkin's left-center bloc and then the Agrarian Party,
Mikhail Shmakov's trade union organization and Vladimir Shcherbakov's
Russian United Industrialist Party set up a group tentatively called
Trade Unions and Industrialists of Russia-Union of Labor. Though there
were heated discussions at the 5 September trade union meeting on
uniting with the industrialists, the vast majority were in favor of the
alliance, ITAR-TASS reported. Shmakov said that trade unions and
industrialists have common interests in employment, respectable
salaries, and legality. The industrialists will hold their congress on 6
September and the new bloc will meet two days later. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

law defining the public's right to monitor vote counting procedures, the
Central Electoral Commission has released a list of rights for domestic
and foreign poll watchers and the media, Kommersant-Daily reported on 5
September. Although the document gives the observers wide-ranging
rights, it does not specify punitive measures in cases where electoral
committees violate these rights. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

Fedorov charged that some regional governors have prevented their
subordinates from joining his movement, Russian Public Television
reported on 5 September. Despite such interference, Fedorov said,
Forward, Russia! has approved 137 candidates to run for parliament in
single-member constituencies and will soon have the 200,000 signatures
needed to appear on the party-list ballot. The party list is headed by
Fedorov, Duma deputy Bella Denisenko (formerly of Russia's Choice), and
Aleksandr Vladislavlev (head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs). Fedorov's campaign includes an innovative joke contest,
Reuters reported on 16 August. Members of the public are invited to
submit jokes about other political parties, with the best one receiving
a $3,000 prize. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

Shakhrai and his Party of Russian Unity and Concord (PRES) may strike an
alliance with Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel, according to Ekho
Moskvy and Russian Public Television on 5 September. Shakhrai reportedly
supported Rossel's ouster in 1993, after Rossel backed the creation of a
Urals Republic. However, the Sverdlovsk branch of PRES helped organize
Rossel's August campaign against the candidate backed by Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc Our Home Is Russia, to which PRES officially
belonged. On 31 August, Shakhrai left the prime minister's bloc,
denouncing it as a closed party of bosses. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

TAIMYR ANNEXES NORILSK. The Duma of the Taimyr Autonomous Okrug voted to
annex the city of Norilsk, removing it from the jurisdiction of
Krasnoyarsk Krai, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 September. Krasnoyarsk Krai's
executive branch opposes the move. Norilsk is the site of a huge,
profitable nickel mine, and the conflict began when the director of
Norilsk Nikel, Anatolii Filatov, sought the city's subordination to the
okrug in April 1995. The president's representative in Krasnoyarsk Krai,
Yurii Moskvich, said that changing the status of the city would have
serious consequences and that a treaty protecting the status quo should
be signed. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

CHECHEN LEADERS IN ELECTION DISPUTE. The head of the Moscow-backed
Chechen government of national revival, Salambek Khadzhiev, told
journalists in Grozny on 5 September that he objects to the  1 September
decision of Umar Avturkhanov's Committee for National Accord to postpone
indefinitely the parliamentary elections planned for 5 November,
Interfax and Segodnya reported on 5 September. Chechen President
Dzhokhar Dudaev has scheduled alternative elections for 27 October.
Ekho Moskvy on 5 September quoted former Russian Supreme Soviet speaker
Ruslan Khasbulatov as pledging his support for the newly-created Chechen
Popular Union for Revival, the aims of which coincide with those of his
1994 Chechen peace mission. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

evaluation by a German parliamentarian may lead the Council of Europe to
reconsider Russia's now frozen application for membership, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 5 September. Ernst Muehleman, in a report
to the 26-member council, concluded that Russia was now making progress
towards "a peaceful settlement of the Chechen conflict," meeting the
main condition which the council had set for reactivating the Russian
application when it was frozen in February. At its 26 September meeting,
the council will formally vote on reinstating Russia's petition for
membership. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

will not bow to ongoing American pressure to break off nuclear
cooperation with Iran, a spokesman for the Ministry of Nuclear Power
told ITAR-TASS on 5 September that Russia recently signed a contract to
supply an additional two light-water reactors for the Bushehr power
station. The first contract, signed in January, provides for Russia to
complete an unfinished site at Bushehr, installing a new Russian VVER-
1000 reactor. The new contract calls for the construction of two
additional VVER-440 reactors at the same location. The spokesman, Eduard
Akopyan, brushed off potential criticism of the new contract, saying
that "the United States doesn't want to see Russia as a competitor" in
the nuclear industry, and noting that 26 Russian-built reactors are
currently operating safely under international safeguards in 10
countries. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

URANIUM FROM SCRAPPED WEAPONS SENT TO U.S. An initial shipment of $120
million worth of uranium derived from scrapped nuclear weapons has been
sent to the U.S., an official of Tekhsnabeksport told reporters on 5
September. ITAR-TASS quoted Igor Kupryanov as saying the exports had
initially been "somewhat behind schedule" but were now back on track. In
1992 the U.S. agreed to pay Russia $12 billion for 500 metric tons of
weapons-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons, in a deal
that seemed to be in trouble earlier this year. Kupriyanov, whose
company is affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy, said
that long-term contracts for the export of uranium had been recently
signed with U.S., South Korean, and South African companies. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

said on 4 September that it is ready to accept foreign nuclear waste for
reprocessing and temporary storage. According to Reuters, on 1 September
the government approved controversial new rules allowing waste from
abroad to be stored at the nuclear city of Krasnoyarsk-26 until a new
reprocessing facility is built. That plant will process the waste for a
fee, and Russia will use the resulting plutonium and uranium; the final
waste will be sent back to the country of origin. Environmentalists
argue that radiation levels are already too high at storage sites and
that Russia does not even have the capacity to process its own nuclear
waste. The Nuclear Energy Ministry says two-thirds of the storage
complex at Krasnoyarsk-26 is empty. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CHINA TO TAKE DELIVERY OF SUBMARINE. The Krasnoe Sormovo shipyard in
Nizhnii Novgorod is about to hand over a diesel-powered submarine of the
Varshavyanka class to its new Chinese crew, ITAR-TASS reported on 4
September. It will be the second delivery by the shipyard to China this
year. Known as the Kilo-class in the West, the submarine reportedly cost
about $250 million, which China will pay half in hard currency and the
rest in consumer goods. Foreign sources have reported in the past that
China had contracted to buy as many as ten of the Kilos. -- Doug Clarke,
OMRI, Inc.

BUDGET FUNDS MISUSED IN PRIMORSK KRAI. A detailed examination of the way
in which funds from the federal budget have been used in Primorsk Krai
found that billions of rubles designated for the fishing industry and
the purchase of grain and oil products were loaned to "questionable"
commercial structures. Russian Public Television said on 5 September
that the four-month investigation had already resulted in a number of
criminal cases. An interdepartmental government commission headed by
Petr Karpov was sent to investigate Primorsk finances following an
energy crisis in the krai earlier this year caused in large part by
nonpayments. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

POLICE BRUTALITY INCREASING? Many Russians are more afraid of the police
than they are of the mafia, claims a report in Izvestiya on 1 September.
According to Andrei Babushkin, head of a prison watchdog body,
nongovernmental organizations in Moscow alone receive hundreds of
complaints every month from people claiming to have been beaten and
tortured by the police, yet complaints against the police are almost
always dismissed as groundless. A poll conducted in Nizhnii Novgorod
found that 46% of victims of a crime did not want to turn to the police
for help. According to Valerii Abramkin, head of the Center for Criminal
Law Reform, police lawlessness is worse now than it was in the communist
era. One incident highlighted in the press was the killing in police
custody of a 19-year-old man in Mordoviya in late July. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT TO STREAMLINE TAX SYSTEM. The Russian government plans to
streamline the country's tax system from 1 January by lifting certain
company taxes and limiting various regional taxes, Russian and Western
media reported on 1 September. Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov
told reporters the taxes to be lifted included the special tax for
supporting farmers, which forms 1.5% of the value added tax. Shatalov
described the current tax system as "vague, unstable and unpredictable,"
saying it discouraged investors and encouraged tax fraud, which could
deprive the 1995 budget of 40% of its planned revenue. The new tax code
also restricts local authorities' ability to impose various regional
taxes. Since 1994, Moscow has permitted regions to impose their own
taxes. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

Pacific International Congress of Bankers in Vladivostok, Russia's
Acting Central Bank Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova said the Central Bank
plans to repeal its resolution adopted last February which introduced
stricter reserve requirements for commercial banks, Pravda reported on 6
September. Commenting on the bank crisis, Paramonova said certain banks
have already collapsed; the Central Bank canceled 160 licenses since 25
August. But, she noted that the combined assets of these banks amount to
less than 1% of the total assets of Russia's banking system. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.


Leghari arrives in Ashgabat on 6 September to begin talks on bilateral
trade, Reuters reported the same day. Talks are expected to focus on a
$3 billion natural gas pipeline linking Turkmenistan to Pakistan via
Afghanistan. A memorandum on the project was signed by the two countries
in March. The pipeline could eventually provide Pakistan with 22 billion
cubic meters of natural gas annually. Leghari's visit comes on the heels
of a visit by Iranian Oil Minister Gholamreza Aqazadeh, who proposed a
40-kilometer pipeline linking the Korpedzhe gas field in Turkmenistan
with Iran, ITAR-TASS reported. The Iranian project will cost $215
million and is expected to yield eight billion cubic meters of gas
annually. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

JAPANESE BANK LOAN TO KAZAKHSTAN. The Export-Import Bank of Japan will
lend 16.2 billion yen ($165 million) to Kazakhstan to assist its
economic reform program, according to a report by AFP on 6 September. A
sum of 9.72 billion yen will be loaned in co-financing with the
International Monetary Fund and the remaining 6.48 billion yen will be
co-financed with the World Bank. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

ARMENIA TO RESTART NUCLEAR PLANT. Armenia will restart its nuclear power
plant at Medzamor later this month, according to Vladimir Kurginyan of
Armenia's nuclear safety committee, Interfax reported on 4 September.
The plant, 30 kilometers south of Yerevan, was shut down after the
December 1988 earthquake. Kurginyan said that work will also begin on
two new reactors at the site. -- Peter Rutland, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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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