Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon

No. 177, Part I, 12 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:


PARTY LEADERS ASSESS COMMUNISTS. Union of Communist Parties leader Oleg
Shenin claimed the Communists will win no less than 35% of the vote in
the parliamentary elections, but prominent reformers said that such
success is not guaranteed, Moskovskii komsomolets reported 12 September.
The paper quoted Russia's Democratic Choice leader Yegor Gaidar as
saying he sees the Communists' strength in their current opposition
status while their weakness is their difficulty in finding support among
voters under 30. Gaidar believes that if they do take power, the first
consequences will be reimposition of state censorship, repression of
other political groups, confiscation of private property, and
instigation of numerous wars to defend Russian interests. According to
the paper, Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov sees his party's strength
as having the best network of regional branches in Russia's cities and
villages. He claimed that his main task now is to build a strong
alliance of opposition groups to compete for the presidency. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

Arkhangelsk, Women of Russia co-leader Aleftina Fedulova announced that,
although her party will be running independently, its closest allies are
the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Democratic Party
of Russia, ITAR-TASS reported 12 September. Meanwhile, the Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia set up a regional women's branch in the
Kuzbass that will seek to instill "the spirit of Russian patriotism" in
Siberian women. The organization is the first branch of Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's party based on gender. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

Tretyakov, editor in chief of Nezavisimaya gazeta from its creation in
December 1990 until his ouster by the editorial board on 30 August, has
returned to his office to try to regain control of the paper, ITAR-TASS
reported on 11 September. He had been dismissed for failing to attract
enough investors to revive the paper, which suspended publication due to
financial problems on 24 May. Tretyakov, who considers the board's
decision illegitimate, arrived accompanied by armed men from a private
security firm to "restore the status quo." He then demoted deputy editor
Aleksandr Gagua and acting editor-in-chief Igor Kuzmin and canceled all
orders they had given to staff since 30 August. Gagua likened the
standoff to internal feuds at the Bolshoi theater and other Russian
organizations struggling to overcome large debts, Reuters reported. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

Ministry again demanded a halt to the airstrikes in Bosnia and said
NATO's cruise missile attacks on the Bosnian Serbs had undermined the
ongoing peace talks, demonstrating that NATO was more interested in
asserting its "new role" in Europe than in promoting a settlement,
Russian and Western media reported on 11 September. Meanwhile, at the
UN, Russia said the use of American naval forces to launch missile
attacks against the Bosnian Serbs "grossly violated" existing UN
mandates. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

signature on 10 September of a protocol to the 30 July military accord,
providing a detailed timetable for the disarmament of Chechen fighters,
Russian officials continued to complain on 11 September that little
progress has been made toward disarmament. Vyacheslav Mikhailov,
minister for nationalities and leading federal negotiator in Chechnya,
told ITAR-TASS that only about 1,500 weapons have been handed in so far,
mostly by individuals who have no connection with pro-Dudaev fighters.
At a Grozny press conference, Oleg Lobov, Security Council secretary and
presidential representative in Chechnya, accused Chechen leaders of
deliberately hindering the disarmament process, thereby torpedoing
further progress in the peace talks. Lobov did, however, express support
for the idea of holding a roundtable of all political forces in
Chechnya, including former Russian Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan
Khasbulatov, to work out a political settlement of the conflict. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

Boris Yeltsin's suggestion on 8 September, Ruslan Khasbulatov, former
chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, might return to politics in his
native Chechnya. Khasbulatov told ITAR-TASS on 11 September that he was
prepared to form a "Council of Accord" in Chechnya to promote dialogue
between the populace and the federal authorities until new elections are
held. Commentators have suggested that Yeltsin proposed the political
resurrection of his former arch-rival in order to isolate separatist
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. While Khasbulatov does not advocate
independence for Chechnya, however, he does reject much of current
federal policy. He told journalists that local elections in the
republic, which have been postponed, should be held as soon as possible.
-- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

disagree over the bailout of the Severnii Torgovlii Bank, which is
suffering from a liquidity crisis, Smena reported on 9 September. Viktor
Khalmonski, the Russian Central Bank's representative in St. Petersburg,
has asked the city's other banks to contribute to the bailout. Anatolii
Zelinskii, the first deputy representative of the city's Economic and
Finance Committee, suggested instead that St. Petersburg's profit tax on
banks be raised from the current level of 22%--the lowest in Russia,
compared with 30% in Moscow and Nizhni Novgorod--to provide funds for
the bailout, but his superior, Aleksei Kudrin, ruled out a tax increase.
Kudrin suggested that the city's Legislative Assembly allocate funds for
the bailout. Due to the crisis, the city has recently removed all public
funds deposited in the bank. -- Brian Whitmore, in St. Petersburg

Kaliningrad's military airport cannot fly because the electricity supply
to the airfield's radar has been cut off. Nonpayment of bills has
prompted the local electricity company to shut off power to a number of
other military installations in the area as well, Russian Public
Television said on 11 September. A spokesman for the Baltic Fleet said
"many important installations--anti-aircraft sites, communications--have
been disabled." The fleet is responsible for the air defense of the
Kaliningrad enclave. According to the TV report, the Kaliningrad
Military District is owed large sums by the Defense Ministry, and
officers serving in Kaliningrad have not been paid for two months.
Reports of cuts in the Kaliningrad military's electricity supply began
appearing in late August. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

PLANE BUILDERS ASK FOR STATE SUPPORT. At an 11 September round-table
discussion held at the Federation Council, representatives of Russia's
aircraft industry asked the legislators to increase support to the
industry in the 1996 federal budget, ITAR-TASS reported. One designer
called the industry "a mirror reflecting the state of science and
engineering in the country." The participants said that the aircraft
industry could not work its way out of its present financial quandary
alone and called for state investment of some $300 million. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

Russia's Central Bank plans to attract up to 10 trillion rubles ($2
billion) in the next 4-6 months by opening up the government securities
market to foreign investors, Russian and Western agencies reported on 11
September. Central Bank acting Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova told
reporters that many barriers, such as customs procedures, taxation, and
lack of modern banking technology discourage foreigners from investing
in treasury bills (GKOs) and federal loan bonds (OFZs). Central Bank
Deputy Chairman Andrei Kozlov, who heads the bank's interim committee on
foreign investment, said that within the next two months, restrictions
will be lifted on repatriation of profits by non-residents investing in
GKOs and OFZs. Under a Central Bank order dating back to 1993, non-
residents are not allowed to repatriate profits from operations
involving short-term paper and their participation is limited to 10% of
each issue. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) opened its doors to Muscovites on 11
September, Russian and Western agencies reported. Fast-food restaurants
are now fairly common in Russia's capital, ranging from the leader--
McDonald's--to the latest Russkoe Bistro, which serves traditional
Russian cuisine. Prices at the new restaurant are comparable to KFC
stores in the United States, however, and 10,000 rubles ($2.25) for
three spicy wings is no bargain for average Russians. KFC will use
frozen American chickens: Russia is already one of the largest markets
for U.S. chicken exports. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.


ELECTION PREPARATIONS IN GEORGIA. In a radio interview on 11 September,
Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze said he was confident that he would
win 70-75% of the vote in the 5 November presidential elections, Western
agencies reported. Jaba Ioseliani, founder of the paramilitary group
Mkhedrioni, told Western reporters Monday that his group would boycott
the parliamentary elections, also to be held 5 November. About 250 of
the organization's 2,000 members have been arrested, mainly on weapons
possession charges, in a crackdown following the recent assassination
attempt on Shevardnadze. Ioseliani, who is immune to arrest thanks to
his parliamentary status, accused Shevardnadze of running a "police
state." He left open the possibility that he might run in the
presidential election. Other candidates include Guram Kharatishvili
(National Congress); Roin Liparteliani (Agrarian Union); writer Akaki
Bakradze (Ilia Chavchavadze Society); and former communist leader Jumber
Patiashvili (Movement for Peace). -- Peter Rutland, OMRI, Inc.

BAIKONUR IN CRISIS. Leninsk, the city in Kazakhstan that houses the
Baikonur cosmodrome, Russia's main space-launching station, continues to
suffer a financial crisis. It has lost half its population (50,000 out
of a total of 100,000) due to the exodus of its Russian military
personnel and civilians, Mayor Dmitrienko [first name not given] of
Leninsk told Russian Public Television on 10 September. Dmitrineko was
appointed mayor earlier this year by the presidents of Russia and
Kazakhstan. Leninsk's unique situation, jointly administered by the two
states, leaves it with two police forces, four procurators offices, and
two security services. Russia finances the city, paying 70 billion
rubles ($16 million) in 1995, although the mayor complained that he
still has to pay taxes to Kazakhstan. The mayor also voiced concern over
the settlement of more than a hundred Kazakh families in the city,
saying that only those who work at the cosmodrome are authorized to live
in the city. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

DISCONTENT IN KAZAKH ARMED FORCES. Economic discontent, corruption, and
frequent changes in personnel have undermined the morale of the Kazakh
armed forces and jeopardized the country's defense capability, according
to an army officer quoted in Karavan on 11 August. About 70% of the
officer corps has left the army in the past three years, causing a
shortage of officers in the troops and in the Defense Ministry.
Vacancies, some at the top levels, are being filled with reserve
soldiers and civilians. The military prosecutor has admitted publicly
that 40 servicemen have died this year due to violence in the army and
that property worth over 9 million tenge ($150,000) has been embezzled.
Corruption charges against the head of the Defense Ministry's financial
department and the former deputy defense minister have already been
proved. The current deputy defense minister and his subordinate are
currently being tried by a military court on corruption charges (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 7 September, 1995). -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

NAZARBAEV VISITS CHINA. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev arrived in
Beijing 11 September on a three-day official visit to China, Western and
Chinese agencies reported on 12 September. Nazarbaev and Chinese
President Jiang Zemin held a first round of talks on bilateral issues
and signed an agreement on the approval of the Sino-Kazakh border
treaty, a memorandum of cooperation between the two Defense Ministries,
and an agreement allowing Kazakhstan to use China's Lianyungang port as
transit point for its goods. It is Nazarbaev's third visit to China as
Kazakh president. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

barter agreement among Turkmenistan, Iran, and Ukraine, Tajikistan has
also concluded an agreement with Turkmenistan and Iran, ITAR-TASS and
the Iranian Republic News Agency, IRNA, reported on 11 September. The
deal calls for Turkmenistan to supply impoverished Tajikistan with
natural gas, which will be paid for with goods from Iran, and then
Tajikistan will repay Iran with cotton. A memorandum was signed
expanding economic, political, and cultural cooperation among the three
countries. The foreign ministers of the three states are scheduled to
meet again in December. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

TAJIK DRUG PROBLEM GETTING WORSE. In August alone, border guards
confiscated 390 kilograms of raw opium, according to ITAR-TASS on 11
September. That amount represents only a fraction of the total narcotics
that eventually pass through Osh in Kyrgyzstan and from there to Russia
and the West. The lucrative trade has often been cited as one of the
means of support for the Tajik opposition, which converts profits from
drugs into weapons to fight the Dushanbe government. -- Bruce Pannier,
OMRI, Inc.

[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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