In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires. - Ben Franklin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 192, Part I, 3 October 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

VOLGOGRAD: MILITARY LOSE IN ELECTIONS. In the recent elections for the
Volgograd City Duma, which saw Communist candidates gain 90% of the
seats, local military officers made a concerted but unsuccessful effort
to win seats. None of the 30 military officers running for the seats
managed to win, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 3 October. The
candidates all came from the locally based 8th Army Corps, which stormed
Grozny in December. The commander of the 8th corps, General Lev Rokhlin,
is one of the national leaders of Our Home is Russia. Rokhlin's deputy
competed for the post of Volgograd mayor but gained only about 20% of
the votes. Their election campaign included daily parades of the
military orchestra and honor guards, and on election day military teams
patrolled poll stations to "keep order," ITAR-TASS and NTV reported. --
Anna Paretskaya

IS BEREZOVSKII RUNNING RUSSIAN PUBLIC TV? The leadership of Russian
Public TV (ORT) is plagued by infighting and Boris Berezovskii, the
board deputy chairman, now makes the most important decisions at Channel
1, according to Obshchaya gazeta (No. 39). The article noted that
Aleksandr Yakovlev, chairman of the board, publicly protested the
decision to drop Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's talk show. In addition, the
network did not purchase a long documentary produced by the REN
television company, an ORT shareholder, even though Yakovlev and Sergei
Blagovolin, ORT general director, themselves commissioned the
documentary for Channel 1. REN-TV also produces Sergei Dorenko's news
magazine "Versii," which was recently canceled by ORT ("Versii"
reappeared on the independent NTV on 2 October). Obshchaya gazeta
concluded that the successful businessman Berezovskii, head of the
Logovaz empire, is the driving force behind ORT's new programming
schedule, designed to boost the network's ratings with fewer political
programs and more films and foreign serials. -- Laura Belin

SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEAL TO REVOKE BLOCS' REGISTRATION. The Supreme
Court affirmed the legitimacy of 10 electoral blocs, including Nikolai
Ryzhkov's Power to the People and Yegor Gaidar's United Democrats, when
it rejected Duma deputy Vladimir Lepekhin's appeal to revoke their
registration, NTV reported on 29 September. Lepekhin claimed that the
blocs did not have their own charters and were therefore illegally
registered for December parliamentary elections. The court ruled in
favor of the Central Electoral Commission, which argued that since
electoral blocs are only temporary organizations, they are not required
to have charters. The Justice Ministry has registered at least 269
electoral associations; on 2 October, the ministry issued a statement
refuting charges that it has allowed too many groups to participate in
the campaign, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA REAPPEARS. Thanks to new financing from private
investors, in particular the Obedinennyi Bank owned by Boris
Berezovskii's Logovaz empire, Nezavisimaya gazeta resumed daily
publication on 3 October after a hiatus of more than four months.
Vitalii Tretyakov is still editor in chief of the paper he helped create
in December 1990, which suspended operation in May on the brink of
bankruptcy. -- Laura Belin

DUMA FOUNDS ITS OWN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER. The State Duma has founded a
weekly publication Narodnaya Duma in order to increase public discussion
of draft laws and thereby "broaden the social base of legislation,"
ITAR-TASS reported on 2 October. The parliament has lacked a newspaper
fully under its control since the government took over Rossiiskaya
gazeta in October 1993. Narodnaya Duma will have an initial circulation
of 50,000. Its executive secretary is Natalya Polezhaeva, a close ally
of Duma Press and Information Committee Chairman Mikhail Poltoranin.
Polezhaeva had been editor in chief of Rossiiskaya gazeta from late 1993
until she was sacked in July. -- Laura Belin

MOSCOW AGREES TO RENEW GAS SUPPLIES TO SARAJEVO. In a move designed to
burnish Moscow's tarnished image as an "honest broker" in the Yugoslav
conflict, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin agreed with his
Bosnian counterpart, Haris Silajdzic, to resume supplies of Russian
natural gas to Sarajevo, Western and Russian agencies reported on 2
October. Chernomyrdin said gas delivery could begin following approval
by the UN Sanctions Committee, adding that separate talks would resolve
Bosnia's outstanding $100 million debt to Russia for previous
deliveries. Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov argued
that the resumption of gas deliveries demonstrated that Russia still had
an important role to play as a member of the international Contact
Group. The reopening of the Sarajevo pipeline removes one of the main
obstacles to the conclusion of a comprehensive ceasefire in Bosnia. --
Scott Parrish

RUSSIA SPURNS NATO EXERCISE. Russia will not be participating in a NATO-
sponsored Partnership for Peace exercise in the Czech Republic because
of the situation in the Balkans and NATO's plans to expand eastward, a
high-ranking Defense Ministry official told ITAR-TASS on 2 October. The
official charged that the exercise which started that day had been under
preparation for eight months and was to involve only 10 countries, but
at the last minute four other countries whose NATO membership would be
particularly objectionable to Russia were invited to participate. He
said NATO headquarters in Brussels had every opportunity to have the
list of participants "screened" by Russia but did not even notify the
Russians of the changes. -- Doug Clarke

HALT TO SLUMP IN RUSSIAN-CHINESE TRADE. Russian-Chinese trade is slowly
recovering after experiencing a 34% slump in 1994. According to Chinese
statistics released on 2 October by ITAR-TASS, Russian-Chinese trade
totaled $2.74 billion for the first seven months of this year, up 3.9%
from 1994. Russian exports to China were up by 5.3% compared to 1994,
while Chinese exports increased by 0.9%. Chinese officials attributed
last year's slump to the shift from barter to cash and credit
transactions, which now account for 80% of Russian-Chinese trade. In
1994, bilateral trade totaled $5.1 billion, a figure the officials said
would easily be exceeded in 1995. -- Scott Parrish

UNIONS CALL STRIKE FOR NOVEMBER. The Federation of Independent Trade
Unions (FNPR) will hold a nationwide two-hour warning strike on 30
November to press for the creation of jobs and an end to delays in the
payment of wages, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 October. Workers are now owed
8 trillion rubles ($1.8 billion) in unpaid wages. However, presidential
economics adviser Aleksandr Livshits was quoted by 2x2 TV on 27
September as saying that government agencies are only responsible for
15% of that sum. By the end of September, 2.4 million people were
officially registered as unemployed. According to criteria used by the
International Labor Organization, 5.5% of the labor force was out of
work. -- Penny Morvant

ZAVERYUKHA DENIES STATE INTENDS TO IMPORT GRAIN. Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Zaveryukha denied that grain imports would be discussed during
his visit to Canada this week, Russian and Western agencies reported on
2 October. Zaveryukha has repeatedly ruled out state grain purchases
this year despite a poor domestic harvest. Peasant Party leader Yurii
Chernichenko, speaking on Ekho Moskvy, said that he expected commercial
firms to import grain instead of state agencies. Agriculture Ministry
officials forecast this year's grain harvest at 67 million tons, the
lowest output in 30 years, down from 81.3 million tons in 1994.
Meanwhile, Canada confirmed that it has agreed to reschedule Russia's
credits for past grain purchases to bring them within the US$1.5 billion
limit. Their current exposure is US$1.4 billion. -- Thomas Sigel

YELTSIN TO TAKE CONTROL OF STATE SHAREHOLDINGS. Under a new decree
issued by President Yeltsin, any decision on selling or transferring the
state's holdings of shares will have to be approved first by a cabinet
resolution and then a presidential order, ITAR-TASS reported on 2
October. Yeltsin's economic aide, Aleksandr Livshits, said the new rules
are aimed at bringing order to an uncoordinated process now
characterized by back room deals. The move is thought to be a response
to last week's decision to vest the state's shares in metallurgical
plants in a new holding company, Russian Metallurgy. First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets and President Yeltsin agreed on the step without
consulting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Russian TV reported on 2
October. -- Thomas Sigel

ANTI-MONOPOLY AGENCY SEEKS BROADER ROLE. The head of the State Committee
for Anti-Monopoly Policy, Leonid Bochin, pledged to eradicate special
restrictions on the local sale of goods imposed by regional authorities,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 2 October. Addressing a two-day meeting of
regional heads of the committee, Bochin accused the Finance Ministry of
"leading the most destructive policy it is possible to imagine for the
past two years" by allowing regional administrators to offer special
economic privileges. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA

FORMER GEORGIAN SECURITY SERVICE CHIEF CHARGED WITH TERRORISM. The
Georgian Prosecutor's Office has sanctioned the arrest of Lt. Gen. Igor
Giorgadze, former chief of the Georgian National Security Service, and
two of his supporters, Russian media reported on 2 October. A group of
Georgian officials have flown to Moscow, where the suspects are believed
to be residing, to carry out the arrests. Interior Minister Shota
Kviraia said they masterminded four terrorist acts, including the
attempted assassination of Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze on 29
August. According to Kviraia, the terrorist plan against Shevardnadze
was drawn up at the flat of Giorgadze's father, General (ret.)
Panteleimon Giorgadze, who is registered as one of the candidates in
Georgia's 5 November presidential elections. -- Irakli Tsereteli

AKAEV FIRES LOCAL LEADERS. Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev has decreed the
dismissal of five local district administration heads for "grave
shortcomings in their work," mainly failure to pay wages, the BBC
reported on 29 September. Four of the five are from the southern regions
of Kyrgyzstan, scene of rioting in 1990 and one of the politically
troublesome areas for Akaev. -- Bruce Pannier

KARIMOV-NIYAZOV MEETING POSTPONED. The two-day meeting between the Uzbek
and Turkmen presidents was abruptly canceled with both sides giving
different versions of what happened. Reuters reported on 28 September
that the visit of Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov to Tashkent was
called off because of disagreements over water policies. A 28 September
broadcast of Radio Mayak reported that there is conflict over "the use
of important water conservancy installations that are located in
Turkmenistan's territory, but were constructed during the time of the
USSR using Uzbekistan's resources." Niyazov has missed several important
regional meetings in the past year, including the recent Nukus
conference on the Aral Sea (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 September 1995).
-- Roger Kangas

KAZAKHSTAN PROPOSES A CENTRAL ASIAN UN MILITARY CONTINGENT. Kazakhstani
Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev proposed that a military contingent
be established in Central Asia under UN auspices, ITAR-TASS reported on
30 September. Addressing the 50th UN General Assembly session, Tokaev
appealed to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to contribute to Kazakhstan's
initiative, aimed at promoting peace and security in the Central Asian
region, "notorious for the presence of hotbeds of tensions." Tokaev also
proposed to establish a UN permanent commission on Central Asia. The
call by Tokaev is a follow-up to the conference on regional security
held in Tashkent on 19-20 September to explore the possibilities of
creating a regional security system. -- Vyacheslav Kozlov

KAZAKHSTAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN DECEMBER . . . Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbaev set the dates for the parliamentary
elections on 2 October, Russian and Western sources reported the same
day. Elections to the 57-member upper house or Senate--comprising three
representatives from each of Kazakhstan's 19 regions--will be held on 5
December. The 67-member lower house or Mejilis will be elected on 9
December in single-seat constituencies. The national parliament elected
in March 1994 was dissolved by Nazarbaev one year later after the
Constitutional Court declared the 1994 elections invalid. The new
election decree requires candidates for either chamber to pay a fee of
30,000 tenge (about $500) to the Central Electoral Commission. -- Bhavna
Dave

. . . FOUR OBLAST LEADERS SACKED. As part of his attempts to overhaul
his government, Nazarbaev issued a presidential decree on 29 September
dismissing four regional leaders, Kazakhstani TV reported the same day.
They are: Baltash Tursumbaev, Savely Pachin, Syilbei Shalkhamanov, and
Lazzat Kiinov--the heads of Kustanai, Aktube, Kzyl Orda, and Mangishlak
oblasts respectively. -- Bhavna Dave

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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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