The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 176, Part I, 11 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

RUSSIA

YELTSIN DENOUNCES NATO. On the eve of a special session of the Duma to
discuss the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, President Boris Yeltsin
lashed out at NATO but also criticized Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev,
international media reported on 8 August. Calling NATO's airstrikes on
Bosnian Serb positions "unacceptable," Yeltsin said Russia might send
assistance other than humanitarian aid to Serbia if the airstrikes
continued, and he renewed his call for an international conference on
the Yugoslav conflict in Moscow in October. The president reiterated
Russian opposition to NATO's expansion to the "borders of Russia," which
he said would "light the fires of war all over Europe." By its actions
in Bosnia, he said, NATO "showed what it is capable of." Anticipating
criticism of Kozyrev, Yeltsin noted his "dissatisfaction," with the
ministry, saying that if its work did not improve, he would draw "the
appropriate conclusions." -- Scott Parrish

DUMA PASSES RESOLUTION ON YUGOSLAV CONFLICT. At its special session on 9
September, the State Duma criticized Yeltsin, Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev, and NATO, Russian and Western agencies reported. After a heated
debate, during which extreme proposals to dispatch troops to Serbia and
recall all ambassadors from NATO countries were discussed, the Duma
passed a resolution calling on Yeltsin to fire Kozyrev, withdraw Russia
from UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, impose a trade embargo
against Croatia, and suspend Russian participation in NATO's Partnership
for Peace program. The resolution, which is not binding on the
president, passed 258-2 with 3 abstentions. Many liberal deputies
boycotted the session. -- Scott Parrish

BRAWL ERUPTS IN DUMA. A fistfight broke out during the Duma debate on
Bosnia when Nikolai Lysenko, leader of the right-wing National-
Republican Party of Russia, tore a 19th-century cross from the neck of
dissident priest Gleb Yakunin of the Russia's Choice bloc, Russian media
reported on 9 September. Liberal-Democratic Party leader Vladimir
Zhirinovsky quickly joined the brawl, attacking deputy Yevgeniya
Tishkovskaya, who was trying to defend Yakunin. Lysenko refused to
return the cross to Yakunin, who was defrocked in 1993 after disobeying
an Orthodox Church order not to run for parliament. Yakunin vowed to
press robbery charges against Lysenko, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Laura
Belin

UNION OF LABOR SELECTS CANDIDATES. Russian United Industrial Party
chairman Vladimir Shcherbakov, Federation of Independent Trade Unions
leader Mikhail Shmakov, and Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs president Arkadii Volskii were chosen to top the party
list of the new electoral bloc "Trade Unions and Industrialists of
Russia-Union of Labor," ITAR-TASS reported on 8 September. The group's
creation deals another blow to the electoral prospects of Duma Speaker
Ivan Rybkin, who has tried to recruit major trade union and industrial
groups for his left-center electoral bloc. -- Laura Belin

UNION OF PATRIOTS HOLDS CONGRESS. More than 20 groups, including the
Union of Veterans and the All-Military Union, came together for the
first congress of the Union of Patriots in Moscow, Russian media
reported on 8 September. The movement's party list for December's
parliamentary elections will be headed by three generals: All-Russian
Officers' Assembly leader Vladislav Achalov, Russian National Assembly
chairman Aleksandr Sterligov, and 1991 putschist Aleksandr Tizyakov,
more recently affiliated with the Association of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs, according to Segodnya on 9 September. Sterligov said that
all the candidates have passed blood-line checks to verify that they are
of Russian descent, NTV reported on 10 September. -- Laura Belin

ACCUSATIONS OF CRIMINAL TIES SPLIT RUTSKOI'S DERZHAVA. Former Vice
President Aleksandr Rutskoi tried to restore confidence in his Derzhava
party at its 9 September congress after eight prominent members left,
claiming that, to secure financial support, Rutskoi had included
criminals in his party list. Among those leaving were former USSR
People's Deputy Col. Viktor Alksnis, Chairman of the Russian National
Legal Center Mikhail Astafev, and Christian-Democrat leader Viktor
Aksyuchits, NTV reported. The critics specifically attacked Viktor
Kobelev, Vladimir Zhirinovsky's former campaign manager, who is now no.
2 on Derzhava's list, ITAR-TASS reported. Rutskoi withdrew the party's
list from the Central Electoral Committee in order to review its
members. The congress changed the movement's official name to Derzhava-
Rutskoi. -- Robert Orttung

HIGH COURT JUSTICE UNDER FIRE FOR SPEAKING OUT ON FEDERATION COUNCIL . .
. Constitutional Court Chairman Vladimir Tumanov is being criticized for
commenting on the court's possible decision on the law determining
formation of the Federation Council. By appearing to support President
Boris Yeltsin in this dispute with the parliament, Tumanov may have
damaged his own reputation and the court's authority, Kommersant-Daily
reported on 9 September. Tumanov had suggested that the law stipulating
that the Federation Council be elected, which Yeltsin vetoed on 12
August, would have been found to be unconstitutional. Russian law
prohibits judges from expressing their attitude toward cases they are
considering. -- Robert Orttung

. . . BUT CASE MAY NOT MATTER. Yeltsin announced on 8 September that he
will sign a presidential decree on the formation of the parliament's
upper house in the coming weeks, ITAR-TASS reported. The next Federation
Council will be formed from representatives of the executive and
legislative branches in Russia's 89 regions and republics and 4 or 5
representatives of the federal government. The current council has no
deputies representing the federal government, and the innovation will
allow Yeltsin to reappoint current Federation Council Speaker Vladimir
Shumeiko, who has loyally supported the president's policies. -- Robert
Orttung

ARMY CAN'T BUY ALL THE TANKS IT NEEDS. The Ministry of Defense had
planned to renew Russia's tank inventory completely by 2001 with modern
tanks, but it cannot afford to, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 September,
quoting the head of the ministry's Armor Department. Col.-Gen. Aleksandr
Galkin said that the re-equipment scheme calls for 300 new tanks per
year, but the military can only afford to buy between 60 and 80. He said
the army has only 107 of the best new tanks, the T-90s, all stationed in
Siberia. Reuters quoted Galkin as saying that 307 Russian tanks were
destroyed by Chechen separatists. In a related story, the Sverdlovsk
regional governor complained to ITAR-TASS on 7 September that the
Uralvagonzavod plant in Nizhniy Tagil--which builds T-90s--has 350
modern tanks in its inventory that the government cannot afford to buy.
He said that the factory cannot get permission to sell them to other
customers. -- Doug Clarke

YELTSIN UNHAPPY WITH ILYUSHENKO. In what could signal the end of the
career of acting Procurator-General Aleksei Ilyushenko, Yeltsin said on
8 September that he is dissatisfied with the procurator's work and is
unlikely to nominate him for the permanent position, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Yeltsin made Ilyushenko procurator-general in
December 1993, but the parliament twice refused to approve his
appointment. Ilyushenko has been criticized for failing to solve the
murders of prominent businessmen and journalists. The campaign against
him in the media heated up this summer after he prosecuted the channel's
popular puppet show "Kukly" for slander and tried to bring charges
against an NTV journalist who interviewed a Chechen separatist leader.
An NTV report noted that Yeltsin's criticism of Ilyushenko came only
days after the latter closed the investigation into the bloody events of
October 1993, blame for which he pinned equally on executive authorities
and supporters of the Supreme Soviet. -- Penny Morvant

CRACKDOWN ON CORRUPTION PROMISED. Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov
said on 9 September that the main aim of reform in his ministry is to
fight official corruption and ensure the security of individuals.
Kulikov said police were investigating 1,600 cases of links between
criminal groups and the upper echelons of power and that the criminal
world spent an estimated 30%-50% of its income on bribing state
officials, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kulikov added that
crime in Russia grew 5% in the first eight months of this year compared
with the same period in 1994 but homicide is down 7%. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN URGES GENTLE EASING OF STRICT FINANCIAL POLICIES. Yeltsin said
in an 8 September press conference that the economy is showing signs of
stabilization and, while strict financial policies should continue, the
reins must be loosened to pay pensions and salaries, Russia and Western
agencies reported the same day. The president signed a decree on 7
September ordering the Central Bank to allot 2 trillion rubles ($450
million) to clear pension arrears. At the conference, Yeltsin blamed the
government for delays in paying pensions and salaries and claimed that
there were resources available to remedy the problem. -- Thomas Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

POLICE IN ALMATY THREATEN ACTION OVER PAY. Police in the Kazakh capital,
Almaty, have threatened to take "exceptional action" starting 18
September if the government fails to pay their back wages and raise
salaries, Karavan-Blitz reported on 5 September. According to the paper,
an open letter to the government appeared on the front page of the
Interior Ministry's newspaper Na strazhe on 31 August, describing the
grievances of the police, who work 12-14 hours daily for 6,000 tenge
($100) a month. It is unclear what action police will take, as employees
of internal-affairs agencies are forbidden to go on strike. Karavan-
blitz quoted a spokesman for the Internal Affairs Ministry's personnel
department as saying that, due to low wages, the number of police taking
bribes is increasing; 1,500 people have been fired on that account this
year alone. -- Bhavna Dave

KYRGYZ TRADE UNIONS DEMAND MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE. Kyrgyzstan's
Federation of Trade Unions has called on President Askar Akaev to raise
the minimum wage immediately and increase benefits for workers, the
Khabar news agency reported on 7 September. The union leaders termed the
parliament's decision not to review minimum wages until the end of the
year an "anti-popular measure," complaining that the government's
promises and various decrees on raising wages have not been implemented.
The federation proposed that funds for wage increases could be raised by
cutting the republic's central and local administrative apparatus. --
Bhavna Dave

TURKMEN, UKRAINIAN, AND IRANIAN OFFICIALS MEET. Building on talks held
in Iran last April, the foreign ministers of Turkmenistan, Iran, and
Ukraine began talks in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, on 9 September,
Russian sources reported. Discussion is expected to focus on trilateral
economic projects, such as development of the Caspian Sea's offshore oil
field, construction of new oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, and
upgrading of existing pipelines. Ukraine is also looking to devise a
payment system for Turkmen gas supplies, and Turkmenistan and Iran are
interested in buying machine-building and instrument-engineering
technology from Ukraine. -- Bruce Pannier

RUSSIA PRESSING ABKHAZIA TO COME TO TERMS WITH GEORGIA. In a telephone
conversation with Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze on 8 September,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin pledged to take steps to restore
Georgia's territorial integrity, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Talks between Georgia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia broke down in
Moscow on 1 September. On 7 September, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Boris Pastukhov blamed the Abkhaz side for the failure of the talks and
threatened to withdraw the 3,000 Russian peacekeepers who have policed
the Abkhaz-Georgian border since October 1993. The Abkhaz leadership
insists that Abkhaz sovereignty be recognized before talks can continue.
Shevardnadze accused the Abkhaz of obstructing the talks in the hope
that more sympathetic politicians will emerge from the December
parliamentary elections in Russia. -- Peter Rutland

NEW CURRENCY FOR GEORGIA. The president of the Georgian National Bank,
Nodar Dzhavakhishvili, told Georgian Radio on 8 September that a new
currency, the lari, will replace the temporary coupon later this year.
The coupon fell from its 1993 introductory rate of 5,000 to the dollar
to more than 2 million to the dollar at the end of 1994. In 1995, the
government tightened monetary policy, stabilizing the value of the
coupon at around 1.3 million to the dollar. This has prompted the IMF to
offer a $157 million loan to back the new currency, which will be set at
$0.77 per lari. -- Peter Rutland

NO PROGRESS IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH TALKS. The latest round of talks in
Moscow over the future of Nagorno-Karabakh, which began on 4 September,
ended without resolution on 9 September, ITAR-TASS reported the same
day. The "Minsk Group" of representatives from the OSCE, which is
mediating the talks, will meet in Moscow on 11 September. On 9 September
it was announced that UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali will
send Undersecretary-General Aldo Ajello as a special envoy to the
region. -- Peter Rutland

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

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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