|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 179, Part I, 14 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 COMMUNISTS SEEK YELTSIN'S IMPEACHMENT OVER BALKAN CRISIS. The Communist faction in the State Duma has revived an earlier attempt to impeach President Boris Yeltsin because of Russia's position on the former Yugoslavia. In July, the party had collected 175 signatures to begin the complicated impeachment process, but the motion was abandoned when Yeltsin entered the hospital with heart trouble. Since then, only one deputy has withdrawn his signature, Ekho Moskvy reported on 13 September. According to Deputy Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, Yeltsin's decision to brush off the Duma's resolutions adopted at the 9 September special session that called for a halt to NATO bombing of Serbian positions provoked the action, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. REGIONAL AUTHORITIES VIOLATE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION. Kemerovo Oblast adopted its regional charter 12 September, giving "practically unlimited power" to the speaker of the local Legislative Assembly, Amangeldii Tuleev, number three on the Communist Party's electoral list, Segodnya reported on 13 September. The charter gives the assembly the right to appoint the oblast's governor and grants the assembly chairman the power to sign any normative act without the agreement of the administration. According to critics in the Kemerovo Justice Administration, "the charter has nothing in common with the Russian Constitution" since it violates the division of power. Bashkortostan has also violated the Russian Constitution by naming its own procurator, although with the tacit approval of Moscow. According to the constitution, the Russian procurator general should name the local procurators with the approval of local authorities, Kommersant-Daily reported on 13 September. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc. U.S. EMBASSY IN MOSCOW HIT BY GRENADE. A rocket-propelled grenade blasted through a wall of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on 13 September, causing minor damage but no injuries, Russian and Western agencies reported. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.S. State Department dismissed speculation that it was linked to differences between the U.S. and Russia over NATO air attacks on Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo, insisting that it was an isolated incident committed by someone who "was either sick or a zealot." The U.S. also praised Russian law-enforcement agencies for their "excellent cooperation" in helping to secure the safety of U.S. diplomats, AFP reported. There have been numerous bomb attacks in Russia in recent years, mostly using explosives pilfered from military bases. Last year more than 300,000 grenades were stolen from army warehouses or dumps. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN TV ATTACKS NATIONALISTS IN WAKE OF U.S. EMBASSY BOMBING. Following the 13 September attack on the U.S. embassy, a commentary aired on fully state-owned Russian Television (Channel 2) accused nationalist forces of trying to stir up "a psychosis of hostility towards the outside world" in order to distract voters from domestic problems and ultimately turn Russia into a "beseiged fortress" and a "giant prison camp behind barbed wire." The more pro-government, 51% state-owned Russian Public Television (Channel 1, ORT) put a different spin on the attack. ORT reports emphasized that law enforcement authorities were taking swift action to crack the case, invoking a "level number 1" alert for the first time since the violent street clashes around the parliament in October 1993. The independent NTV speculated that the attack was connected to continuing NATO air raids against the Bosnian Serbs. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. POLITICAL PARTIES GUARANTEED EQUAL FREE TIME IN STATE-OWNED MEDIA. Aleksandr Ivanchenko, deputy chairman of the Central Electoral Commission, confirmed that the commission will require state-owned electronic media to give 30 minutes of free air time to all registered politicial parties and electoral blocs between 15 November and 15 December, Russian Public Television and ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September. Parties will be allowed to buy additional time for political advertising. The final version of the rules on campaign coverage, which will not apply to the privately owned media, will be released next week, Ivanchenko said. In a separate directive published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 13 September, the commission announced that journalists who are themselves running for parliament or are authorized representatives of a political party or electoral bloc will be prohibited from covering the campaign in the mass media. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. NEW SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC BLOC FORMED. Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms (RDDR) leader Gavriil Popov, Russian Social-Democratic Union (RSDS) co-chairman Vasilii Lipitskii, and the academician Oleg Bogomolov will top the party list of the new electoral bloc known as the Social- Democrats, Radio Rossii reported on 13 September. Popov, the mayor of Moscow from June 1991 until June 1992, led the RDDR's independent campaign for parliament in 1993, but his party failed to win the minimum 5% vote necessary to secure representation in parliament. Lipitskii's RSDS had previously been allied with Aleksandr Rutskoi within the Russian Social-Democratic People's Party (RSDNP), but the RSDNP split earlier this year after Lipitskii refused to join Rutskoi's Derzhava movement (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 March and 4 April 1995). -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc. KOZYREV SAYS RUSSIA DOES NOT WANT NEW MILITARY BLOC. Speaking with journalists on 13 September after a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Uladzimir Syanko, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said Russia does not plan to form a military-political bloc of CIS states to counter NATO, Western and Russian agencies reported. Kozyrev said that President Yeltsin's recent comments on the implications of NATO expansion should be interpreted as a "warning of what could happen if other forces decided to create lines of demarcation," not as an expression of Russian policy preferences. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER IN MOSCOW. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin arrived in Moscow on 13 September for scheduled talks on bilateral issues and the Middle East peace process with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Western and Russian agencies reported. Rabin also told reporters before his departure from Kiev for Moscow that he would raise the issue of Russia's planned sale of nuclear power reactors to Iran, which Israel views as a threat to its security despite Russian assurances to the contrary. However, also on 13 September, a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Power told ITAR-TASS that construction on the first of three planned reactors at the Bushehr power station in southern Iran would begin in one month and rejected Israeli concerns as "completely unfounded." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIA CRITICIZES UN AND NATO OVER SECRET MEMO. Russian officials criticized the UN and NATO on 13 September over a secret memo on the use of NATO air power in Bosnia, which was not approved by all members of the UN Security Council before the air strikes began, Western and Russian agencies reported. After strident protests from Russia, the UN Secretariat released the text of the memo that Russian Ambassador to the UN Sergei Lavrov said "confirms a lot of our bad feelings." Earlier, Russian officials claimed that under the terms of the memo, the UN had abdicated its authority over the use of air power to protect the "safe zones" in Bosnia, without consulting Russia, despite its permanent membership on the Security Council. Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin told ITAR-TASS such an agreement between the UN Secretariat and NATO was "unprecedented" and had effectively divided the Security Council into "first and second class members." Despite recent verbal salvos from Moscow, First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Geneva that Russia would continue to cooperate with the other members of the international Contact Group. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc. GOSATOMNADZOR CEASES MILITARY INSPECTIONS. The State Committee for Nuclear Safety (Gosatomnadzor) on 13 September halted inspections of military nuclear facilities, in line with a presidential decree signed in July giving these functions to the Defense Ministry. Gosatomnadzor Chairman Yurii Vishnevskii was very critical of the decision, taken while Yeltsin was in hospital with heart trouble. According to Western agency reports, he accused the powerful military nuclear lobby of scheming to take advantage of the president's illness and said the committee is very concerned about aging nuclear submarines and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at military sites. Gosatomnadzor was given responsibility for nuclear safety in the military in 1991, but in practice its inspectors were often turned away (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 August). Also on 13 September, Gosatomnadzor officials said two cases of theft of radioactive material (low-enriched uranium) have been registered this year. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc. HARD TIMES AHEAD FOR MOSCOW RESIDENTS? Moscow flour mills are now paying world prices for grain and the price of bread is expected to increase by 40-50% by the end of the year, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 13 September. Consumer prices in Moscow rose 7.3% in July, contributing to a 7% fall in the average real income of Moscow residents compared to the same period last year, according to Vechernyaya Moskva on 13 September. Sixty-two percent of the capital's inhabitants are now reported to be living on incomes below the official poverty line. -- Peter Rutland, OMRI, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA NAZARBAEV CONCLUDES CHINA VISIT . . . Responding to Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev's call for greater bilateral cooperation, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said the prospects for it are "vast," Xinhua reported on 13 September. At the conclusion of Nazarbaev's three- day visit, both countries concluded agreements on reducing border military forces and establishing links between their respective defense ministries. They issued statements condemning separatist activities; Japan's Kyodo news agency said on 13 September that Kazakhstan promised not to assist any of the moves for independence in China's Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous region, which borders Kazakhstan. The two sides signed a series of agreements on bilateral economic cooperation on 11 September. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc. . . . DIFFERENCES OVER NUCLEAR ISSUE . . . As expected, the nuclear issue played a critical role in bilateral talks. Nazarbaev said he had "discussed" the nuclear issue with Chinese President Jiang Zemin on 11 September, Kyodo reported the next day. China conducted two of its proposed five underground nuclear tests on 15 May and 17 August at the Lop Nur test site in Xinjiang. The Kazakhstani Foreign Ministry issued statements expressing serious concern, RIA reported on 18 August. At his news conference in Beijing, Nazarbaev recalled the damage to the health of half a million people in Semipalatinsk, the Soviet-era nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. However, the joint call for an end to nuclear testing issued on 12 September contained no specific provisions, Kyodo reported. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc. . . . CALLS FOR KAZAKH-RUSSO-CHINESE COOPERATION. The expansion of transport links between Kazakhstan and China will contribute to the revival of the "Great Silk Road" and increase the prospects for commercial and economic cooperation between the two countries as well as with Russia and the Asia-Pacific region, President Nazarbaev told ITAR- TASS on 13 September. Touching on President Boris Yeltsin's upcoming visit to China, Nazarbaev called for more tripartite cooperation, noting that important rail and road links between China and Russia run through Kazakhstani territory and are most suitable for carrying cargoes between the Urals and the western Siberian regions of Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc. JAPANESE BUSINESS DELEGATION IN TASHKENT. A group of more than 90 Japanese businessmen representing 16 different companies have been meeting with Uzbek officials, Uzbekistan Television reported on 12 September. To date, the Japanese have invested more than $300 million into the Uzbek economy. -- Roger Kangas, OMRI, Inc. CIS BLACK SEA FLEET DIVISION PROCEEDING. Although final agreements on the division of the Black Sea Fleet have not been reached, the fleet is, in fact, being split between Ukraine and Russia, Russian Public Television reported on 12 September. By 15 October, Ukraine is to receive one of the most modern bases of the fleet, the aerodrome complex at Donuzlav. The base is reportedly the only one which can house hoover crafts. All of the equipment on the base will be divided evenly between Russia and Ukraine; the flying regiment will be reorganized and moved to another base; and a helicopter regiment will be dissolved. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Victor Gomez The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The OMRI Daily Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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