Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 196, Part I, 9 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

RUSSIAN TROOPS COMMANDER IN CHECHNYA INJURED IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.
The commander of the Russian troop contingent in Chechnya, Lt. Gen.
Anatolii Romanov, was gravely injured and three other men killed in a 6
October explosion in a tunnel in Grozny through which Romanov's car was
driving, Russian agencies reported. Oleg Lobov, the Russian presidential
representative in Chechnya who escaped uninjured in a similar explosion
on 19 September, accused unspecified forces who oppose the ongoing peace
process of perpetrating the attack; both Lobov and Russian Interior
Minister Anatolii Kulikov accused Dudaev's forces of failing to comply
with last week's agreement on surrendering weapons. A spokesman for
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev denied responsibility for the attack
which he blamed on forces loyal to Grozny Mayor Beslan Gantemirov,
according to Interfax. The chairman of the pro-Moscow Chechen
government, Salambek Khadzhiev, expressed reservations over the proposed
introduction of a state of emergency throughout Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller

DUMA APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OVER ELECTIONS. The State Duma has
launched an appeal in the Constitutional Court against President Boris
Yeltsin's 17 September decree on local government, ITAR-TASS reported.
Yeltsin's decree postponed most local elections until after the
presidential election, but the Duma argued that Russia's republics and
regions have the right to set the elections for their legislatures and
municipal governments independently. The Communist faction, which
initiated the appeal, pointed out that Yeltsin's order postponing
municipal elections until December 1996 directly contradicts a law he
signed on 28 August calling for municipal elections to be held no later
than February 1996. The Duma statement argues that combining the local
elections with the December Duma elections does not contradict the
constitution or existing federal legislation. Yeltsin wants to postpone
the local elections because the Communist Party has been doing well in
those held so far this year, most recently in Volgograd. -- Robert
Orttung

BRYANSK DUMA AGREES TO POSTPONE LOCAL ELECTIONS. The Bryansk Duma has
voted to hold municipal elections in 1996 even though the local
Communist faction wanted them to take place in December on the same day
as the Duma elections. In an unusual show of unity between the local
executive and legislative branches, the majority of the deputies acceded
to the wish of recently-appointed Governor Vladimir Barabanov not to
directly contradict Yeltsin's 17 September decree. On 6 October, Russian
TV characterized the vote as the beginning of regional political
stabilization. -- Robert Orttung

DUMA APPEALS FOR CHANGE IN FEDERATION COUNCIL PROCEDURES. The Duma has
appealed to the Constitutional Court to change the procedure by which
the Federation Council approves or rejects Duma legislation. According
to Segodnya on 6 October, the Duma wants the Federation Council to be
able to reject a Duma bill only if more than half of its members vote
against it. At the moment, any bill that does not gain the support of a
majority of the upper house is considered rejected. Since many Council
members do not attend its sessions, it is difficult to get legislation
approved. Changing this procedure would greatly reduce the Council's
voice in the legislative process. The Duma can override a Council veto
with a two-thirds majority. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN DISMISSES ILYUSHENKO. President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree on
8 October relieving acting Procurator General Aleksei Ilyushenko of his
duties at his own request, Russian and Western agencies reported. The
move came as no surprise, since the president had publicly criticized
Ilyushenko in September following allegations in the press that his wife
was involved with underworld business and that he had used his position
to enrich himself and his friends. Ilyushenko was also attacked for
cracking down too hard on the Kremlin's critics, in particular for his
campaign against NTV. Ilyushenko was made acting procurator general in
February 1994, but parliament twice refused to confirm his appointment.
Oleg Gaidanov, a deputy procurator general, has been named the new head
of the Procurator's Office, but Yeltsin's press spokesman, Sergei
Medvedev, said it is only a temporary appointment. -- Penny Morvant

MAVRODI EXPELLED FROM PARLIAMENT. The State Duma on 6 October expelled
Sergei Mavrodi, president of the notorious MMM pyramid fund, for
violating the law by continuing to run a business, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The first ever expulsion from the parliament was
passed by 303 deputies with no one opposed, paving the way for Mavrodi
to be prosecuted for deceiving shareholders. Earlier this year, he
escaped prosecution when the Duma rejected the procurator general's
request to lift his immunity. Mavrodi won the seat in a November 1994
by-election, two months after the collapse of MMM share prices. Last
week, Mavrodi told reporters that he would seek re-election in December
to avoid prosecution despite the Central Electoral Commission's recent
refusal to register his party, Reuters reported on 6 October. -- Anna
Paretskaya

YELTSIN APPROVES LIQUIDATION OF OSTANKINO . . . President Boris Yeltsin
has instructed the government to liquidate the Ostankino television and
radio company, Russian media reported on 6 October. Ostankino, the
successor to the official central Soviet broadcaster, was restructured
under a November 1994 presidential decree, when its assets were
transferred to Russian Public TV (ORT). ORT took over Channel 1
broadcasting privileges on 1 April, but Ostankino has continued to
function as a production company. The radio stations Golos Rossii, Radio
1, Orfei, and Yunost, which currently exist under the Ostankino
umbrella, will become separate state companies once Ostankino is
disbanded. Yeltsin's wide-ranging decree also approved plans for the
partial privatization of Radio Mayak, Yunost, Radio 1, and St.
Petersburg TV-5, with the state retaining at least 51% of the shares.
(ORT was partly privatized under a similar arrangement.) A government
spokesman said that only as joint-stock enterprises would the companies
achieve real financial independence, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin

. . . AND BANS UNAUTHORIZED INTERRUPTIONS OF BROADCASTING. In the same
decree, Yeltsin demanded that unauthorized interruptions of major
television and radio companies be halted, ITAR-TASS reported on 6
October. The decree specified six companies that broadcast to at least
half of the 89 Russian Federation subjects: Russian Public TV (ORT),
Russian TV, St. Petersburg TV-5, Radio Mayak, Radio 1, and Yunost.
Angered by wage arrears resulting from debts owed to transmitting
stations, communications workers have switched off radio transmitter
centers in 40 different regions this year, Radio Rossii reported on 5
October. Television broadcasts have been affected as well, most recently
on 2 October in Primorsk Krai. Yeltsin's decree did not specify
penalties to be imposed for interrupting broadcasts, but on 5 October,
an inspector with a power agency in Khabarovsk Krai was sentenced to two
months of corrective labor for switching off a transmitter, according to
ITAR-TASS. -- Laura Belin

KOZYREV HAILS DELAY IN NATO EXPANSION. Speaking to journalists on 6
October, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev hailed as a positive
decision media reports that a 5 October meeting of NATO defense
ministers had decided to delay any expansion of NATO until 1997, Russian
and Western agencies reported. In Moscow, however, a Foreign Ministry
spokesman told Interfax that Russia could not be fully satisfied by a
decision merely to delay expansion and called on NATO to cancel
altogether plans to consider adding new members. (See related story in
Central and East European section) -- Scott Parrish

GRACHEV AND PERRY MAKE PROGRESS ON BOSNIA FORCE. Slow progress has been
made towards the formation of a joint NATO-Russian peace implementation
force for Bosnia in recent days. Following an 8 October meeting in
Geneva with U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev said the two sides had reached an agreement in principle on
Russian participation in a Bosnian peace implementation force, although
many differences over the mission and command structure of the proposed
joint force remain unresolved. He added that the force would not be
commanded exclusively by NATO thereby fulfilling a key Russian condition
for participation. Grachev said a delegation of Russian officers will go
to NATO headquarters in Brussels this coming week to discuss details of
the joint operation. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA TO TAKE PART IN JOINT EXERCISE AFTER ALL. Russia will participate
in the joint military peacekeeping exercise that begins later this month
in the U.S., ITAR-TASS reported on 8 October. Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev agreed on Russian participation at his meeting that day in
Geneva with U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry. Last month, Russia had
suspended preparations for the exercise in reaction to NATO air strikes
on Bosnian Serb positions. -- Doug Clarke

SLIDE IN RUBLE REQUIRED TO PREVENT DECLINING EXPORTS. Russia's ruble
should fall about 2.5-3% against the U.S. dollar to maintain the
competitiveness of key exports, the Central Bank of Russia announced on
6 October, according to Russian and Western agencies. The bank noted
that the ruble's rise against the dollar last spring and its
stabilization in the summer has hurt the competitiveness of many of
Russia's main exports. Rising domestic costs combined with stagnant
world-market prices for oil and metals have worsened the problem. The
bank calculated that the ruble should be trading at 4,900 rubles to $1
by December to retain competitiveness. But since the government and the
bank announced a target corridor zone of 4,300-4,900 rubles to $1 in
July, the ruble has remained relatively stable. On 6 October, the ruble
closed at 4,493 rubles to $1 on MICEX trading. -- Thomas Sigel

AGREEMENT REACHED WITH PARIS CLUB. Russia reached an agreement with its
Paris Club creditors to hold a further round of talks on Russian debt in
October, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais told Russian and
Western media on 7 October after a meeting with Christina Noyer, the
French chairman of the Paris-based negotiating group. Russia, which has
secured several one-year debt rescheduling deals from the Paris Club,
wants a long-term agreement of up to 25 years to give it extra time to
pay. Russian figures show that Moscow owes other countries almost $70
billion in former Soviet debts. It owes foreign banks and companies a
further $40 billion. Russia's own debts, bilateral credits, and loans
from international organizations amount to just over $11 billion. --
Thomas Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIAN-AZERBAIJANI AGREEMENTS SIGNED. A two-day visit to Baku by
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov culminated in the
signing on 7 October of seven bilateral agreements on cooperation in the
fields of science and technology, medicine, energy, plus a joint
declaration affirming both sides' commitment to further negotiations on
the joint use of the Caspian Sea, Radio Rossii reported on the same day.
ITAR-TASS also reported that a Russian delegation will remain in Baku to
discuss military cooperation, including the renewed Russian use of the
over-the-horizon radar station at Gebele and the creation of a unified
air defense system. -- Liz Fuller

CUTS TO RUSSIAN TELECASTS CRITICIZED. The Karaganda regional assembly
criticized as "shortsighted and provocative" a decision by Ashirbek
Kopishev, the president of Kazakhstan's State Television and Radio, to
cut Russian TV telecasts to Kazakhstan from 14 hours to five hours,
ITAR-TASS reported on 5 October. The manager of Kaztelekom, the
Kazakhstani telecommunications joint-stock company, told RIA on 3
October that the move was a reaction to the high cost of Russian TV
programs and added that if Russia is prepared to bear some of the cost
of broadcasting to Kazakhstan, the number of telecasts could go up again
from the beginning of 1996. -- Bhavna Dave

STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED IN OSH REGION. Kyrgyzstan's Assembly of
People's Representatives has voted to lift the state of emergency in the
Osh region of southern Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz tuusu reported on 30
September. A state of emergency has existed in the Osh region for nearly
five years following riots between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 1990 during
which more than 200 people were killed and it took authorities more than
a month to restore order. On 28 September, the Kabar news agency
reported that the state of emergency must be lifted before presidential
elections can be held in December. -- Bruce Pannier

UZBEKISTAN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH EGYPT. In Cairo, Uzbek Foreign Minister
Abdulaziz Komilov and his Egyptian counterpart, Amr Mussa, signed a
protocol outlining the training of diplomats in each others countries.
It is the latest in a series of agreements between the two states that
have marked improving political and economic relations. -- Roger Kangas

[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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