The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become, different- to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses. - John Fischer
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 180, Part I, 15 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

YABLOKO, RUSSIA'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE TO COOPERATE. Yabloko leader
Grigorii Yavlinskii announced that his party plans to coordinate its
candidates in the single-member district races with Yegor Gaidar's
Russia's Democratic Choice. Yavlinskii's announcement is a major change
in his election tactics, since in recent months he has spurned numerous
offers of cooperation with Gaidar. Yavlinskii said that he regards the
Communist Party as his main opponent, NTV reported on 14 September. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

AGRARIAN PARTY TO LAUNCH POLL ON PRIVATE LAND OWNERSHIP. Reacting to
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's recent proposal to hold a
referendum on private land ownership,(see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 September
1995) Agrarian Party Chairman Mikhail Lapshin told press agencies on 14
September that his party would launch a public campaign and straw poll
with the intention of showing that the Russian public opposes private
land ownership. In this way, they intend to upstage Chernomyrdin's
proposed referendum. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN NAMES HEAD OF NEW ANTI-TERRORISM CENTER. President Boris Yeltsin
on 14 September appointed Col. Gen. Viktor Zorin, first deputy director
of the Federal Security Service (FSB), to head a new anti-terrorism
center under the auspices of the FSB. The center was created last week
in response to concern over terrorism in the wake of the Budennovsk
hostage crisis. It will increase the influence of the FSB at the expense
of the Interior Ministry, which previously shared responsibility for
fighting terrorism. Before being appointed to the position of FSB first
deputy director six weeks ago, Zorin was responsible for counter-
intelligence operations in the security service. Yeltsin also ordered
the establishment of eight deputy directorships in the FSB and said
there should be no more than 1,520 central administrative personnel,
Russian and Western agencies reported. According to the 1995 budget, the
FSB employs 76,900 people. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

NEW LOCAL ELECTIONS CREATE LOGISTICAL PROBLEMS. The law on local
government signed by President Yeltsin on 28 August, that requires all
Russia's cities and villages to hold elections by 1 March 1996 is
creating a number of difficulties, according to Deputy Minister of
Nationalities and Regional Policy Aleksandr Kotenkov. Among the first
priorities is the need to adopt or rewrite laws on local government in
Russia's 89 republics and regions, affirm municipal boundaries, and
adopt a law on local elections, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 September.
Additionally, each municipality must adopt a charter defining the
structure of the local government. Kotenkov said the ministry had
prepared documents that could be used as models in carrying out these
tasks. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov and St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii
Sobchak have criticized the law in recent statements, saying it damages
Russian federalism. Sobchak, in particular, warned that the law would
revive local councils that would fall under Communist control. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT PROMISES JOURNALISTS FINANCIAL HELP. Appearing at the fifth
congress of the Union of Journalists in Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister
Vitalii Ignatenko announced that the government will soon transfer the
first 1 billion rubles ($225,000) to a special insurance fund for
journalists, Ekho Moskvy reported on 14 September. The government also
plans to use the proceeds of a lottery to be introduced in 1996 for
supporting the media, according to Russian Public Television. However,
in his address to the congress, Union of Journalists secretary Pavel
Gutiontov blamed the president and Federation Council for blocking
legislation which he said would have improved the financial condition of
the press this year. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

PROCURATOR OPENS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF DUMA BRAWL. The Procurator
General's Office opened a criminal investigation of the 9 September
brawl in the State Duma under article 206 of the Criminal Code
("malicious hooliganism"), Russian media reported on 14 September. The
brawl started when National-Republican Party of Russia leader Nikolai
Lysenko attacked defrocked priest Gleb Yakunin, ripping a 19th-century
silver cross from his neck; it escalated when Liberal-Democratic Party
Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovsky grabbed deputy Yevgeniya Tishkovskaya, who
tried to help Yakunin, by the hair. Zhirinovsky remains unrepentant
about the fistfight, and Lysenko has refused to return the cross to
Yakunin, whom he called a "provocateur." -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN REJECTS SHAKHRAI'S PROPOSAL TO LIMIT FOREIGN FILMS. Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin dismissed as "lacking great wisdom" Deputy Prime
Minister Sergei Shakhrai's proposal to limit foreign programs on state-
controlled television, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 September. Shakhrai
advocated forcing Russian Public Television (Channel 1) and Russian
Television (Channel 2) to reserve 71% of air time for Russian-produced
programs, but Chernomyrdin countered that such limits would only
increase the popularity of foreign films. Shakhrai, who leads the Party
of Russian Unity and Concord (PRES), recently deserted Chernomyrdin's
electoral bloc Our Home Is Russia. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV, TALBOTT DISCUSS BOSNIA. In an attempt to ease the rift between
the West and Russia over the former Yugoslavia, U.S. Deputy Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott held three hours of talks with Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev in Moscow on 14 September, Western and Russian
agencies reported. The BBC reported that Russian troops might be sent to
Sarajevo to reassure the Serbs, as part of a recently brokered deal
which led to the suspension of NATO air strikes. President Yeltsin on 14
September vetoed two bills passed by the Duma at its 12 August special
session, one calling for Russia to withdraw from international sanctions
against rump Yugoslavia and the other imposing a trade embargo against
Croatia. Yeltsin told Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin that the bills violated
international norms. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR CRITICIZES AUSTRALIA. Speaking to the Australian
Institute of International Affairs on 14 September, Russian Ambassador
to Australia Aleksandr Losyukov accused the country of blocking Russian
membership in the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation group (APEC),
Western agencies reported. Losyukov said that Russia interpreted
Australian opposition to Russian membership as "not just an insult to
our pride but also as a desire to undermine our legitimate commercial
interests." A spokesman for the Australian government later said APEC
has imposed a moratorium on accepting new members, although criteria for
new admissions will be discussed at the group's November meeting. He
added that Vietnam, not Russia, should be the next country accepted into
APEC. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

ISRAEL FAILS TO BUDGE RUSSIA ON IRAN REACTOR. Israeli Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin met with Russian officials on 14 September but failed to
persuade them to abandon the controversial Iranian reactor deal, Russian
and Western agencies reported. Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev
suggested that if Israel is concerned at the spread of nuclear weapons
in the Middle East, it should reverse its own long-standing refusal to
sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Rabin also discussed
bilateral trade with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, including new joint
projects in water purification and construction. Russian-Israeli trade
totaled $360 million last year and is expected to exceed $400 million in
1995. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA CLOSES BORDER WITH NORTH KOREA. In response to an outbreak of
typhoid caused by recent flooding, Russia has closed its border with
North Korea where an epidemic of the disease has infected several
thousand people, Interfax reported on 14 September. Diplomats at the
North Korean consulate in Vladivostok have refused to confirm the
outbreak, but Russian authorities in Primorsk Krai are taking steps to
prevent the spread of the disease and recently sent 50 North Korean
loggers who crossed the border before its closing back home because
medical examinations indicated they were infected. The border closing
comes on the heels of Russia's announcement that it will not renew its
1961 treaty of friendship and cooperation with North Korea. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

NUCLEAR-POWERED CRUISER TO BE TESTED. The Peter the Great, the fourth
and last of the nuclear-powered Kirov-class cruisers, is being prepared
for its builders trials, the Defense Ministry told ITAR-TASS on 14
September. Laid down in 1986 as the Yurii Andropov, the Peter the Great
was launched in 1989 but has been lying unfinished in its St. Petersburg
shipyard ever since. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SOBCHAK CALLS FOR CHANGES IN DEFENSE MINISTRY. Budget money for
armaments will not get to defense complex enterprises "unless the
Defense Ministry leadership is changed," according to St. Petersburg
Mayor Anatolii Sobchak. He said the money would "vanish somewhere along
the route," Interfax reported on 13 September. Sources in the ministry
rebutted his remarks by alleging that only 31% of the budgetary funds
allocated for the purchase of arms and military equipment between
January and August of this year have been provided to the ministry. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

IMF APPROVES ECONOMIC POLICIES. The IMF approved Russia's economic
policies on 14 September and authorized the release of another $525
million credit to the country, Russian and Western agencies reported the
same day. The loan is an installment of the $6.3 billion credit approved
by the IMF in February, which is to be dispersed only if Russia is able
to meet the IMF's stringent economic conditions. So far, reports
indicate that Russia is on track as monthly inflation fell to 4.6% in
August, the lowest rate since the country began its economic reform
program in 1992. The budget deficit is equal to 3.2% of GDP for the
first half of the year. This is below the IMF target--but this figure
may not include a considerable amount of off-budget spending. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT ACCUSES OPPOSITION OF ISSUING FALSE ECONOMIC DATA. The
Working Center of Economic Reforms, a government sponsored research
institute, issued a statement on 14 September accusing government
opponents of presenting false data on the state of the Russian economy
in an attempt to boost their electoral chances. According to the
statement, reported by ITAR-TASS on 14 September, critics report that
industrial production fell by 7-8% in July-August whereas official
statistics recorded a rise of 2% in July over the previous month and 1%
in August. In comparison with August 1994, industrial production this
August was up 0.1%, the statement added. The statement also refuted
charges that the crisis on the interbank credit market was provoked by
nonpayment from the federal budget. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

NEW CHILD BENEFIT SYSTEM GOES INTO EFFECT. A new system for paying child
benefits in which mothers will receive five types of benefits instead of
two came into force on 4 September, Social Security Ministry department
head Galina Ogurtsova told ITAR-TASS on 12 September. The five are: a
onetime payment for future mothers; a pregnancy allowance; a onetime
payment on the birth of the child; monthly benefits until the child is
18 months old; and monthly benefits for children up to the age of 16. On
24 May 1996, the onetime payment at birth will be increased from five to
10 times the minimum wage. The benefit for children up to 16 will equal
70% of the minimum wage, currently set at 55,000 rubles ($12) a month.
Child benefits for some categories of single parents will also be
increased by 50%. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

UN CONFERENCE ON REGIONAL SECURITY OPENS IN TASHKENT. A UN-sponsored
conference on the conflicts in Tajikistan and Afghanistan began on 15
September in Tashkent, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 September. The foreign
ministers of the Central Asian states, as well as representatives of
international organizations, including the UN and CIS, are in
attendance. Mehmoud Mestiri and Khalid Malik, the UN secretary general's
special envoys to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, are expected to address
the conference. According to the report, Uzbek President Islam Karimov
came up with the idea of holding the conference as early as 1993 when he
discussed the matter at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly in
New York. -- Roger Kangas, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

KYRGYZSTAN SET TO JOIN CUSTOMS UNION. Representatives from Kyrgyzstan
are set to sign documents to gain admission into an existing customs
union between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported on 14
September. Entry into the union is expected to be a boost for the Kyrgyz
economy, which is experiencing severe difficulties. When Kyrgyzstan
joins the customs union, tariffs on imports from and exports to other
member states will be phased out, and such goods will not be subject to
inspection. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA PROPOSES TAKE-OVER OF SEVERAL KAZAKH ENTERPRISES. Russian First
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets has proposed that Kazakhstan hand
over the management of several of its enterprises to Russia in a bid to
ease Almaty's debt repayments to Moscow, Interfax reported on 13
September. Soskovets said Russia is mainly interested in acquiring
manganese ore and zinc enterprises. Documents on the creation of a
series of joint financial-industrial groups, which Soskovets described
as "one of the most promising fields of bilateral cooperation," are
currently being prepared, Interfax reported. Late in August, Kazakhstani
Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin proposed a similar scheme, Interfax
reported. -- Bhavna Dave, 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
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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