A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 194, Part I, 5 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

CHERNOMYRDIN SAYS HE WILL NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT . . . Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin said he does not plan to run for president and
rejected rumors of tension between him and President Boris Yeltsin,
Russian agencies reported on 4 October. The rumors were partially based
on the fact that two recently scheduled meetings between Yeltsin and
Chernomyrdin failed to take place. The announcement suggests that
Yeltsin will seek a second term since Chernomyrdin is usually described
as the president's designated heir. Izvestiya reported 5 October that
the rumors have only helped increase the stature of Congress of Russian
Communities' (KRO) leader Yurii Skokov, who is often named as a possible
replacement for Chernomyrdin. The prime minister also rejected as a
"fantasy" the proposal floated by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai
that members of the government take a leave of absence during the
election campaign. -- Robert Orttung

. . . SKOKOV DENIES RUMORS OF HIS APPOINTMENT AS PRIME MINISTER. KRO
leader Skokov said persistent rumors that he may be appointed to replace
Chernomyrdin as prime minister are "absolutely groundless," according to
an interview published in Moskovskie novosti (No. 67). Sergei Glazev,
who recently joined the KRO party list, confirmed that Skokov's
participation in the current government is out of the question, Segodnya
reported on 4 October. Skokov supported President Yeltsin during the
August 1991 coup and was the presidential Security Council secretary
from April 1992 to May 1993. Since then, he has strongly criticized the
Chernomyrdin government's economic policies. -- Laura Belin

DUMA OPENS FALL SESSION. The State Duma opened its fall session without
calling for an expected vote of no confidence in the government. The
chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, Mikhail Zadornov, said the
deputies wanted to avoid giving President Yeltsin an opportunity to
disband the Duma during the campaign, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported
on 4 October. The Duma rejected a long-debated draft law regulating the
activities of lobbyists in the legislative and executive branches,
Russian TV reported. The measure gained only 119 votes out of the
necessary 226. The main debate centered around the registration and
licensing of lobbyists who would be required to obtain one-year permits
to continue working. -- Robert Orttung

MMM SHAREHOLDERS PICKET CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION. About 200
shareholders in Sergei Mavrodi's notorious MMM investment fund picketed
the Central Electoral Commission demanding that Mavrodi's new Party of
People's Capital be allowed to register for parliamentary elections,
Radio Mayak and Russian TV reported on 4 October. The commission denied
it registration on 29 September because Mavrodi said only party members
would be paid dividends on MMM shares. Mavrodi suspended all payments to
shareholders immediately after winning a Duma seat in a November 1994
by-election, but he has promised to pay investors back if he is re-
elected this year. -- Laura Belin

BASHKORSTOSTAN'S PRESIDENT REJECTS LAND PRIVATIZATION. Bashkir President
Murtaza Rakhimov claimed that allowing farm land to be bought and sold
could lead to "tragic consequences" for Russia, according to an
interview published in Segodnya on 4 October. Rakhimov said that
although he is open to all types of ownership, the government must
recognize that its citizens, and rural dwellers in particular, were
raised with a psychology of "hatred" for more successful neighbors. He
also asserted that living standards at most kolkhozy and sovkhozy
(collective and state-owned farms) are no worse than on farms in the
West. While acknowledging that his views on land privatization differ
from current government policy, Rakhimov confirmed that he will support
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc Our Home Is Russia in the
upcoming Duma elections for the sake of stability. -- Laura Belin

OMSK TO HOLD MAYORAL ELECTIONS THIS YEAR. The Omsk local parliament and
government still plan to hold mayoral elections on 17 December 1995
despite the presidential decree postponing local elections till the end
of 1996, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 October (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19
September 1995). Omsk regional parliament Deputy Speaker Aleksandr
Ragozin said election plans are consistent with current legislation,
including the federal law on local self-government ratified by the State
Duma and signed by President Yeltsin on 28 August. Yeltsin has since
asked his advisers to draft a new law on local self-government. -- Anna
Paretskaya

REGIONS DEMAND NATIONALIZATION OF ENERGY SECTOR. A parliamentary
committee source told the Petroleum Information Agency that several
regional legislative bodies have launched a campaign to demand the
nationalization of Russia's energy and fuel sector, Interfax reported on
4 October. Earlier this year, the Smolensk regional parliament approved
a resolution that blamed Russia's economic crisis on the sector's rapid
privatization. The resolution was supported by Federation Council deputy
Aman Tuleev, who is also chairman of the Kemerovo regional Duma, as well
as several local parliaments. According to Interfax, the source said the
new movement may gain widespread support from both regional legislators
and government officials in the forthcoming elections. -- Anna
Paretskaya

RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE TO INCREASE ITS ACTIVITIES IN WESTERN
EUROPE. With an eye on the possible expansion of NATO, President Yeltsin
has instructed the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) to step up its
activities in Western Europe, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 4 October.
The GRU is a separate service from the civilian Foreign Intelligence
Service (SVR) and has its own spy-satellites and a worldwide network of
agents. In accordance with Yeltsin's directives, the Main Intelligence
Directorate plans to penetrate the inner circle of NATO Secretary
General Willy Claes and to infiltrate various NATO military sites. The
GRU also wants to broaden industrial espionage to obtain technological
data on new Western military equipment while it is still under
development. -- Constantine Dmitriev

KOZYREV VISITS NORWAY. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev arrived in Oslo
on 4 October for talks with Norwegian officials on Norway's proposal to
lift a self-imposed ban on NATO military exercises near the border with
Russia, Russian and Western agencies reported. He criticized the
proposal as "not conducive to our effort to create a European security
system." Kozyrev also tentatively announced that President Yeltsin would
visit Norway on 20-21 November, a trip that was postponed in July
because of the Russian president's heart attack. Before departing for
Oslo, Kozyrev again blasted the proposed eastward expansion of NATO. --
Scott Parrish

RUSSIA CRITICIZES NATO AIR STRIKES. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on 4
October criticized the NATO air strikes on Bosnian Serb radar positions,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Kozyrev said before his departure
for Norway that international efforts should focus on achieving a stable
ceasefire in Bosnia rather than on military action which might "set fire
to the oil." He added that Russia would launch a new diplomatic
initiative for an overall Bosnian settlement soon. Although he gave no
details, Kozyrev presumably was referring to the ongoing shuttle
diplomacy of First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, currently in the
former Yugoslavia for talks with Serb, Croat, and Bosnian officials. --
Scott Parrish

THREE MILLION ABORTIONS PERFORMED IN 1994. Academician Vladimir Kulakov
told a national conference on family planning on 4 October that about 3
million abortions were performed in Russia in 1994. (A report released
in June put the figure at about 3.5 million.) ITAR-TASS quoted Kulakov
as saying that "artificial termination of pregnancy remains, as before,
the only method of regulating the birthrate in Russia" and that the high
number of abortions has caused a deterioration in women's reproductive
health, high maternal mortality, infertility, and poor infant health. He
added that Russians are becoming more conscious of family planning but
the absence of sex education and modern contraceptives keeps the
abortion rate high. -- Penny Morvant

LATEST AVERAGE WAGE FIGURES. The average wage in Russia reached 520,600
rubles ($115) in August, a 4.2% increase over July, Goskomstat announced
on 4 October. According to ITAR-TASS, the average August wage in the
energy, ferrous metallurgical, and fishing industries was over 1 million
rubles ($225), while workers in culture, education, and agriculture
earned less than 300,000 ($67). The share of wages in the total income
of Russian families has fallen significantly over the past few years. --
Penny Morvant

DRAFT BUDGET MEETS HEAVY CRITICISM. The Russian government's draft
budget for 1996 met heavy criticism in both houses of parliament on 4
October, Russian and Western agencies reported the same day. The
Federation Council approved a resolution calling for more social
spending and subsidies for regions and industry. The draft calls for
slashing spending and boosting revenues in an effort to cut the deficit
and reduce inflation. The government is forecasting an average monthly
inflation rate of 1.2% next year, down from the 6-7% forecast for 1995.
The Duma will hold its first major budget hearing on 5 October, but its
budget committee already called for revisions, charging that the
government's inflation target is unattainably low. Legislators from the
Agrarian faction and supporters of the military blasted the draft,
calling for increases in farm subsidies and military spending. -- Thomas
Sigel

IMF REPORTS ECONOMIC OUTPUT STARTING TO RECOVER. Economic output in
Russia is starting to recover after years of decline, even though real-
term GDP is still expected to fall by 4.5% in 1995 following a 15%
contraction last year, AFP reported on 4 October, citing the IMF's World
Economic Outlook report. Meanwhile, privatization is making headway,
although many businesses are hampered by obsolete technology and poor
management. High inflation remains a problem, although tight financial
policies have brought it down considerably. The IMF is critical of the
Russian government's inability to increase taxes, notably on oil and
gas, attributing it to political rather than economic considerations. --
Thomas Sigel

DUMA ASKS YELTSIN TO NAME CANDIDATE TO HEAD CENTRAL BANK. The Duma voted
unanimously on 4 October to request that President Yeltsin name a
candidate for the post of Central Bank of Russia chairperson, Interfax
reported the same day. The Duma said the "very alarming" state of the
country's banking system could worsen if there is more delay in
appointing a chairperson. Yeltsin has offered the post to acting
Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova twice, but the legislature rejected her
both times. -- Thomas Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA

SOUTH OSSETIAN PRIME MINISTER ESCAPES BOMB ATTACK. The prime minister of
the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia, Vladislav Gabaraev, and
his family escaped uninjured when an explosive device severely damaged
their home in Tskhinvali during the evening of 4 October, Interfax
reported. Local police suspect that former South Ossetian officials
involved in the misappropriation of humanitarian aid to the breakaway
region were responsible. -- Liz Fuller

SHIFTING SANDS ENCOURAGES IPC TO LEAVE TURKMENISTAN. The International
Petroleum Corporation (IPC) of Canada has withdrawn from the LARMAG-
Chelekan joint venture, thereby ending its involvement in Turkmenistan,
AFP reported on 3 October. In compensation for its shareholdings,
accrued interest, and costs, IPC received $13.2 million from two key
participants in the venture, LARMAG Energy NV and LARMAG Energy Assets
Ltd. In mid-September, IPC requested repayment from LARMAG because the
Turkmen government refused to approve the assignment of an interest in
the joint venture; IPC also claimed the government refused to renew the
joint venture's license to export oil and was seeking to renegotiate the
financial terms of the joint venture. -- Lowell Bezanis

KAZAKHSTAN DEFENDS NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL RECORD. Kazakhstani Foreign
Minister Kassymjomart Tokaev denied rumors that materials dismantled
from nuclear weapons are being smuggled abroad, Reuters reported on 4
October. Tokaev was on a visit to the U.S. where he signed an agreement
to seal the Degelen Mountain nuclear weapons test tunnel complex located
in Semipalatinsk. He said that "de facto Kazakhstan is a non-nuclear
state" as it has rid itself of all nuclear weapons formerly on its
territory and exploded its last silo structure in September. -- Bhavna
Dave

KAZAKHSTANI PROPOSAL OVER CASPIAN SEA DIVISION. In the interview with
the Petroleum Information Agency (PIA) on 4 October, Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbaev reiterated his country's position that the
Caspian Sea should be divided into well-demarcated sovereign territorial
water zones. Speaking at the international conference "Oil and Gas '95"
in Almaty, Kazakhstani Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Gizzatov
proposed that all five littoral states (Russia, Kazakhstan,
Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran) should have their own 12-mile wide
territorial zones and exclusive rights to use the seabed, its mineral
resources, and lay underwater pipelines in national sectors. Kazakhstan
opposes the common seabed ownership preferred by Russia. Kazakhstan
abides by the 1982 UN Maritime Convention that deep sea water zones be
jointly used by all Caspian nations and believes that clearing up the
legal status of the sea will bring more foreign investments to the
region, Gizzatov said. -- Vyacheslav Kozlov

[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 varnumk@omri.cz 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


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole