We are always the same age inside. - Gertrude Stein
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 197, Part I, 10 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

DUMA READY TO COMPROMISE ON FEDERATION COUNCIL FORMATION. A significant
part of the State Duma is ready to accept President Boris Yeltsin's plan
for forming the Federation Council, Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the
Duma Committee on Legislation, told ITAR-TASS on 9 October. Yeltsin
wants to appoint the member of the upper house from the regions, while
the Duma had supported proposals to have them elected. Many of the
deputies are now willing to compromise because they believe it would be
better to have an appointed Council than none at all. Isakov said he is
strongly against the idea of extending the term of the current Council,
as the upper house itself proposed on 5 October. -- Robert Orttung

LUZHKOV, ROSSEL RATED MOST INFLUENTIAL REGIONAL POLITICIANS. Moscow
Mayor Yurii Luzhkov remained the most influential regional politician in
Russia in September, Vechernyaya Moskva reported on 7 October, citing a
poll of experts prepared by the Public Opinion Foundation. Sverdlovsk
Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel ranked second, up from fifth place on the
foundation's list in August. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev placed a
distant third, followed by Nizhnii Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov and
St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak. -- Laura Belin

EXPERT PREDICTS FEW PARTIES WILL CLEAR 5% HURDLE. Current data suggest
that only four political parties will win more than 5% of the vote
nationwide in the December parliamentary elections, Boris Grushin of the
polling firm Vox Populi told Russian TV on 9 October. Grushin said the
Communist Party leads the field with 14% support among likely voters,
followed by Our Home Is Russia with 10%, Yabloko with 8%, and Women of
Russia with 7%. Vox Populi found very low levels of support for Russia's
Democratic Choice, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the Agrarian Party,
which have the largest factions in the current Duma. Grushin said his
data is consistent with other recent polls carried out by respected
firms. Clearing the 5% barrier will be crucial, since half of the State
Duma's 450 seats will be allocated from party lists and they will be
divided only among those parties that gain at least 5% support
nationwide. -- Laura Belin

COMMUNISTS FIRST TO RECEIVE CAMPAIGN FUNDS FROM ELECTORAL COMMISSION.
The Central Electoral Commission allocated 80 million rubles ($18,000)
in campaign funds to the Communist Party, Radio Rossii reported on 9
October. Under the law on parliamentary elections, the commission must
grant equal funds for campaign agitation to all electoral associations
registered to appear on the party-list ballot (for which at least
200,000 signatures are required). The Communists were the first party to
submit a valid petition to the commission. -- Laura Belin

IMPLEMENTATION OF CHECHEN MILITARY AGREEMENT SUSPENDED. The disarmament
of the Chechen militants and the withdrawal of Russian troops was
indefinitely suspended on 9 October following the attempted
assassination of federal forces commander Lt. Gen. Anatolii Romanov on 6
October, Russian media reported. Also on 9 October, the Russian
delegation to the special observer commission that monitors compliance
with the 30 July disarmament and withdrawal agreement demanded that the
Chechen side apprehend the would-be assassin. Meanwhile, Moscow's top
leaders in charge of the Chechen situation are all reportedly in favor
of a state of emergency, as are pro-Moscow Chechen leaders Umar
Avturkhanov and Salambek Khadzhiev; the pro-Dudaev faction, including
Chechen delegation head Aslan Maskhadov, reject it. In other news, OSCE
mission head Sandor Meszaros said the mission's personnel will probably
be reduced following a 6 October grenade attack on it, Interfax reported
on 9 October. -- Liz Fuller

CZECH REPUBLIC AND POLAND MAY BE TARGETED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Quoting
an anonymous officer from the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian
General Staff, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 7 October that Russia
might target Poland and the Czech Republic with nuclear weapons should
those countries join NATO. The newspaper said that this move is among
possible responses to NATO expansion currently being prepared by the
General Staff. Poland and the Czech Republic recently declared that they
would be willing to accept NATO nuclear weapons on their soil if they
joined the alliance. -- Doug Clarke and Scott Parrish

RUSSIA SAYS BOSNIA CEASEFIRE SHOULD PROCEED. A Foreign Ministry
spokesman told Interfax on 9 October that Russia remains "firmly in
favor" of implementing the Bosnian ceasefire on schedule at midnight on
10 October. The spokesman rejected any linkage between the actual
resumption of gas deliveries to Sarajevo and the implementation of the
ceasefire. Since President Yeltsin had announced on 5 October that
Russia was prepared to resume gas supplies, he added, "there are no
political obstacles" to implementing the ceasefire. The Russian diplomat
added that Bosnia was to blame for the delay in restoring the flow of
gas to Sarajevo, because although Russia had "always been ready" for
technical discussions on reopening the pipeline, a Bosnian delegation
had arrived in Moscow to discuss the issue only late on 9 October.
Nevertheless, Radio Rossii on 10 October cited Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev as saying the gas flow had been restored. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN DELEGATION IN CUBA FOR TALKS. A high-level Russian delegation
led by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets begins a six-day
official visit to Cuba on 10 October, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Among the agreements scheduled for signing during the visit
are an extension of the current bilateral oil-for-sugar barter deal
through 1998, and a memorandum calling for Russian firms to complete the
unfinished nuclear power station at Juragua, which is to be equipped
with VVER-440 reactors. According to ITAR-TASS, the delegation includes
General Mikhail Kolesnikov, chief of the Russian General Staff, who will
negotiate an agreement allowing Russia to continue using an electronic
intelligence facility at Lourdes, near Havana. Russian participation in
the Juragua project and the continued use of the Lourdes facility have
provoked harsh criticism in the U.S. Congress. -- Scott Parrish

TALIBAN REFUSES TO RELEASE RUSSIAN PILOTS. The rebel Afghan Taliban
movement has refused to release the Russian pilots it is holding hostage
until complete information is provided on 6,800 Afghans who they claim
were taken prisoner to the former Soviet Union during the Afghan war and
are still held in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 October. The Russian
crew of an Il-76 plane carrying ammunition for the Kabul government has
been held captive since 3 August when it was forced down by a Taliban
Mig-21 fighter. Earlier, Taliban had demanded information on 60,000
missing Afghans in exchange for the crew's release. The Russian Foreign
Ministry is currently examining Taliban's list of missing Afghans. --
Constantine Dmitriev

DECEIVED INVESTORS OWED 20 TRILLION RUBLES. Bankrupt financial companies
owe investors at least 20 trillion rubles ($4.4 billion), according to
Mikhail Sherstov, a representative of the All-Russian Movement of
Investors, which claims to represent the interests of 40 million
defrauded investors, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 October. At its founding
congress on 4-6 October, the movement resolved to set up a national
electoral association called "National Trust" to back parties and
candidates running in the December parliamentary elections that support
the idea of state compensation for investors who lost their savings as a
result of financial scams and bankruptcies. -- Penny Morvant

MOSCOW DUMA DEPUTY ABSCONDS WITH SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS. Moscow City
Duma deputy Svetlana Zhuravleva has moved permanently to the U.S.,
having taken with her several million dollars borrowed from Russian
banks and commercial enterprises, ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported on
9 October. The Procurator General's Office could not launch criminal
proceedings against Zhuravleva, due to her immunity from prosecution as
a deputy. Last year, procurators unsuccessfully tried to lift the
immunity of 350 deputies from national and local legislatures who were
suspected of crimes, ITAR-TASS reported. On 5 October, the State Duma
faction Stability started gathering deputies' signatures to put the
issue of abolishing immunity on the legislature's agenda, Interfax
reported. -- Anna Paretskaya

POLICE RAID ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP'S OFFICES. Russian security forces
raided the Murmansk offices of the Norwegian environmental group Bellona
on 6 October, Reuters reported, citing the group's business leader,
Frederic Hauge. Hauge said the police seized three computers and
suggested that the raid was linked to Bellona's work to uncover
environmental threats to the Kola Peninsula, home to the world's largest
military fleet. Bellona is seeking to draw international attention to
scrapped nuclear submarines on the peninsula and its activists work as
informal advisers to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry on nuclear
contamination in the area. -- Penny Morvant

UNION OF LABOR ON WAGE ARREARS. At a press conference in Moscow on 6
October, representatives of the Union of Labor electoral bloc of
unionists and industrialists advocated the introduction of criminal
liability for those responsible for delaying the payment of wages and
failing to implement the budget. Mikhail Shmakov, the chairman of the
Federation of Independent Trade Unions, said that 36,000 companies were
behind in wage payments and attacked the government for failing to pay
for goods ordered by state agencies, ITAR-TASS and Russian Public TV
(ORT) reported. The issue of wage arrears is likely to attract
increasing attention from political groups as the elections approach. --
Penny Morvant

SUGAR BEET AND SUNFLOWER SEED PRODUCTION TO INCREASE. Early estimates
from Russia's Agriculture Ministry show that agricultural producers have
harvested a total of 60.8 million tons of grain from 42 million hectares
of land, or 85% of the grain crop area, by the end of last week,
Interfax reported on 9 October. According to the report, Russia will
collect less grain this year than the 81.3 million tons collected in
1994, but sugar beet and sunflower seed production should be up. Up to
last week, Russian producers had collected sugar beets from more than
73% of the crop area and produced 13 million tons of beet--4 million
tons more than in the same period last year. They produced 2.1 million
tons of sunflower seeds--a 740,000 ton increase. -- Thomas Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

FACE-SAVING FORMULA FOR EXPORT OF CASPIAN OIL. On 9 October the
Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) and the Azerbaijani
state oil company announced their decision to export equal amounts of
so-called early oil from both the Russian port of Novorossiisk and an
unspecified Georgian Black Sea port, Western and Russian news agencies
reported. Russian, Azerbaijani, and Turkish sources suggest that the
Georgian port of Supsa has been chosen; other Western sources say it
will be Batumi. Construction of the Russian line requires the laying of
27 km of pipeline; the Georgian one necessitates extensive repairs to an
existing pipeline and the laying of 117 km of new pipeline plus the
construction of a terminal at Supsa. The president of the AIOC, Terry
Adams, was quoted by Western media as saying he anticipates that the
main export route, to come on line around 2002, will travel to the
Turkish port of Ceyhan. An oil industry executive involved in the deal
told the BBC the same day he was unaware of any such preference. While
the plan appears pragmatic and well-balanced, it will not end the
wrangling between participants in the deal. -- Lowell Bezanis

DISSIDENT TAJIK JOURNALIST ARRESTED IN MOSCOW. Abdukayum Kayumov, a
journalist for the Tajik opposition newspaper Charogi Ruz, was arrested
in Moscow on 8 October, according to a 10 October article in
Komsomolskaya pravda. Tajik authorities have shut down the newspaper and
declared possession of the paper to be a illegal. Kayumov was taken into
custody by Moscow police and will be extradited to Tajikistan. The staff
of Charogi Ruz fled at the end of the Tajik civil war, mainly to Moscow,
where they continue to publish their paper. Police are searching for
Mirzo Salimov, another journalist for the paper who is wanted by Tajik
authorities. -- Bruce Pannier

15 BODIES RECOVERED FROM KYRGYZ HELICOPTER CRASH. A search party has
found the bodies of the passengers and crew of a Kyrgyz helicopter that
crashed on 4 October, Western sources and ITAR-TASS reported. The
helicopter was carrying 12 foreigners including nine Canadians from the
Cameco mining company which is a partner in the Kumtor gold field
project. The helicopter was returning from the Kumtor fields when it
encountered bad weather in the Tien-Shan mountains. Both poor visibility
and lightning have been offered as possible causes of the crash. --
Bruce Pannier

EXPLOITING SHAH DENIZ. Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev has signed a
decree permitting the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) to
undertake negotiations and conclude a contract for the joint exploration
and development of the Shah Deniz oil and gas field in the Caspian Sea,
Interfax reported on 7 October. Situated 40-50 km southeast of Baku, the
recoverable reserves in the Shah Deniz are estimated to be 400 billion
cubic meters of natural gas, 200 million metric tons of gas condensate
and 100 million metric tons of oil. The consortium for developing Shah
Deniz includes British Petroleum, Norway's Statoil, Turkey's TPAO, and
SOCAR. -- Lowell Bezanis

[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 omripub@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