The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 199, Part I, 12 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

YELTSIN MEETS WITH LEADERS OF OUR HOME IS RUSSIA. President Boris
Yeltsin met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and other leaders of
Our Home is Russia 11 October, laying to rest rumors of a rift between
them. Campaign manager Sergei Belyaev said that Yeltsin would not
express a preference for any particular party but that he assigned the
bloc leaders the task of getting a democratic majority for the Duma,
ITAR-TASS reported. Earlier, Yeltsin had predicted that Our Home is
Russia would win 8-12% of the vote. During the meeting, Yeltsin named
the Communist and Agrarian parties as "the most serious opponents in the
elections." During the course of the meeting, Yeltsin also ordered the
government to compensate people whose savings accounts had lost their
value because of inflation and to ensure the timely payment of pensions.
-- Robert Orttung

DUMA OFFERS SOME COMPROMISES TO PRESIDENT ON FEDERATION COUNCIL. On 11
October, the Duma, with 242 votes, passed a bill on forming the
parliament's upper house based on the suggestions of the president but
adding several amendments that he did not recommend. Only 91 deputies
supported the president's idea of appointing regional executive and
legislative branch leaders directly to the Federation Council. In its
amended form, the bill requires all regional leaders to be popularly
elected before they can become members of the upper chamber. Those
republics and regions that do not currently have elected executives will
have eight months from the time the law goes into effect to hold
elections. Yeltsin appointed many of the current executives to their
positions and 17 September issued a decree postponing most gubernatorial
elections until December 1996. The Duma version of the bill would
considerably reduce Yeltsin's influence over the country's regional
executives before the elections. -- Robert Orttung

COST OF POLITICAL ADS ON RUSSIAN PUBLIC TV ANNOUNCED. Placing a one-
minute campaign advertisement on Russian Public TV (ORT) will cost
political parties $30,000 during prime time (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) on
Fridays, $20,500 during prime time on other days, and $1,500 between
midnight and 5 a.m., ORT director general Sergei Blagovolin told ITAR-
TASS on 11 October. He said those rates were lower than what the network
charges for typical commercials. ORT will provide each political party
with 30 minutes of free time between 15 November and 15 December; it
will broadcast paid political advertisements between 1 November and 15
December. -- Laura Belin

ST. PETERSBURG'S CHANNEL FIVE JOINS THE "BIG THREE." St. Petersburg's
Channel Five has joined Russian Public TV (ORT) and Russian TV to form
the "big three" of Russian national television channels. President Boris
Yeltsin issued a decree enabling St. Petersburg's main channel to
broadcast to 70 million viewers from northwest Russia to the Siberian
city of Krasnoyarsk without interference, Smena reported on 11 October.
The decree forbids local authorities from blocking Channel Five in favor
of their own broadcasts. Yeltsin also proposed making the channel a
joint stock company with 51% of the shares held by the federal
government and the remaining shares held by private investors. -- Brian
Whitmore in St. Petersburg

CONFERENCE PRAISES SECURITY SERVICES. A White Book on the Russian
Special Services, published by the Spiritual Heritage movement, was
presented at the 11 October conference "Strong special services--Strong
Russia," Nezavisimaya gazeta reported. The monograph examines the
history of the security services since the 18th century and the legal
framework of their current activity. Communist Party leader Gennadii
Zyuganov attended the conference and called for more state support for
the security organs. -- Anna Paretskaya

CHECHEN MILITANTS THREATEN RENEWAL OF HOSTILITIES. The Chechen State
Committee for Defense, chaired by President Dzhokhar Dudaev, announced
on 11 October that in reaction to uninterrupted Russian artillery
attacks on Chechen villages, it would suspend its participation in the
ongoing talks on implementing the 30 July agreement on disarmament and
the withdrawal of Russian forces, Ekho Moskvy reported. The committee
also demanded that a UN peacekeeping force be dispatched to Chechnya. On
11 October, Chechen chief negotiator Khodzh-Ahmed Yarikhanov told
Interfax that the question of exporting Azerbaijan's oil northwards to
Novorossiisk via Chechnya should be coordinated with "the legitimate
Chechen authorities." On 10 October, Interfax quoted unidentified
Russian military sources as claiming that Azerbaijan had provided
training for Dudaev's military air crews. -- Liz Fuller

YELTSIN MEETS WITH NORTH OSSETIYAN, INGUSH PRESIDENTS. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin met on 11 October in Moscow with the presidents of
Ingushetiya and North Ossetiya, Ruslan Aushev and Akhsarbek Galazov, and
with the Russian administration's temporary representative for the
region, Sergei Lozovoi, to discuss the repatriation of Ingush refugees
to North Ossetiya, Interfax and Russian Public TV (ORT) reported.
Government-level talks in August between the two republics on the
refugees, who fled their homes following fighting in November 1992,
broke up without reaching agreement. -- Liz Fuller

WILL KOZYREV RESIGN SOON? Viktor Ilyushin, a presidential adviser, told
ITAR-TASS on 11 October that a recent Kremlin meeting had expressed
"great unease" with the Foreign Ministry but denied rumors that Andrei
Kozyrev would be sacked. On 6 October, however, Kozyrev registered as a
candidate for the Duma in a single-member district in Murmansk, where he
currently holds a seat. According to the constitution, deputies of the
current Duma can serve in the government, but members of the next Duma
will be forbidden from doing so. Should he be elected, Kozyrev will be
forced to choose between his Duma seat and his ministerial post,
providing a possible graceful exit for the politically unpopular
minister. -- Scott Parrish

ZOTOV ACCUSES BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT OF "BLACKMAIL." After the second
postponement of a comprehensive ceasefire agreement in Bosnia, Aleksandr
Zotov, presidential envoy to the former Yugoslavia, accused the Bosnian
government of "blackmailing the international community" by "advancing
more and more conditions for concluding" the ceasefire, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 11 October. Zotov rejected the notion that
delays in reopening a Russian gas pipeline to Sarajevo had caused the
postponement. -- Scott Parrish

ILLEGAL MIGRATION THREATENS RUSSIAN SECURITY. Illegal migration from
China, Vietnam, Africa, and the Middle East is undermining Russian
national security, the Security Council concluded at a recent meeting
according to ITAR-TASS on 11 October. Justice Minister Valentin Kovalev
said Russia's porous borders with fellow CIS states and the country's
lack of immigration experience has made it an attractive destination for
migrants from all over the world. Security Council migration experts
argue that illegal migrants use Russia for the purposes of transit
migration to the West as well as for commercial, criminal, and even
intelligence activities. -- Constantine Dmitriev

NO NEW BUDGET PLANS DESPITE INFLATION DOUBT. The Russian government has
no plans to issue a new 1996 draft budget despite criticism from within
the State Duma that inflation estimates are unrealistic, Finance
Minister Vladimir Panskov told ITAR-TASS on 11 October. The draft budget
calls for a monthly inflation rate of 1.2%. Inflation has dropped from
17.8% in January to 4.5% in September, the lowest increase since
economic reforms began in 1992. Mikhail Zadornov, head of the Duma
Budget Committee, said that a 3% target for monthly inflation is more
realistic; other deputies claim 5% is more on target. The 1996 draft
budget puts spending at 414 trillion rubles ($92 billion) and revenues
at 333 trillion ($74 billion). -- Thomas Sigel

CHUBAIS UPBEAT ABOUT ECONOMY AT WASHINGTON MEETING. Russia will enjoy
economic growth next year for the first time since the collapse of the
Soviet Union, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais said
at the annual meeting of the World Bank and the IMF in Washington on 11
October, Russian and Western agencies reported. Chubais said the decline
in industrial output slowed to 4% in the first nine months of this year,
compared with 16% last year. Growth has already resumed in some
industries, such as oil and gas, he said. Chubais added that the budget
deficit is down to 3% of GDP, compared to 10% last year, and foreign
exchange reserves have more than doubled since the start of 1995. He
noted that the government has repealed all forms of previously granted
tax exemptions and said that the privatization program will be
intensified in the near future. -- Thomas Sigel

ST. PETERSBURG OFFERS BAVARIA BREWERY SHARES. The St. Petersburg
Property Fund is planning an investment tender in early November to sell
20% of the shares in one of Russia's oldest breweries, the Bavarian
Joint Stock Company, formerly Krasnaya Bavaria, Interfax reported on 11
October. The winner will be offered 20% of the shares in return for a
pledge to invest $7.44 million over the next two years. -- Thomas Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

EXXON TO START ITS FIRST PROJECT IN KAZAKHSTAN. The U.S. oil company
Exxon will launch its first project in Kazakhstan next year with an
exploration on the Myortvy Kultuk block south of the Tengiz oil and gas
field on the northeastern coast of the Caspian Sea, according to
Interfax on 11 October. Exxon founded a joint venture with the Oryx
Kazakhstan Energy Company and plans to invest about $10 million in the
first phase of the project. -- Bhavna Dave

OSCE OFFICE OPENS IN TASHKENT. The OSCE formally opened its Uzbekistan
regional office in Tashkent this week, reported ITAR-TASS on 11 October.
Ambassador Alios Resnik, who has been working as head of the office
since August, stressed the need to focus attention on issues of regional
stability and greater cooperation, themes which dominated an OSCE-
sponsored conference in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan this past June. The
Tashkent office's first task is already underway, as a conference on
environmental protection began this week. -- Roger Kangas

CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED IN KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The former speaker
of the parliament, Medetken Sherimkulov, has been forwarded as a
candidate for the presidency by the Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan,
according to a Kyrgyz Radio broadcast monitored by the BBC. Kyrgyz
President Askar Akaev was nominated by representatives of public
movements, creative unions and the clergy. Other candidates expected to
announce are Omurbek Tekebaev from the nationalist Ata Meken Party,
Yuruslan Toychubekov, head of the Adilet (Justice) Civic Movement,
Absamat Masaliev, head of the Communist Party and former First Secretary
of Kirghiziya (1985-90). The elections are scheduled for 24 December. --
Bruce Pannier

WORRIES OVER TAJIK BORDER. Since the postponement of the fifth round of
inter-Tajik talks in mid-September the Afghan-Tajik has grown
increasingly tense. On 11 October, Pavel Tarasenko, the commander of the
Border Guards in Tajikistan, said in the last few days the situation on
the border has deteriorated, ITAR-TASS reported. He warned that an
estimated that 1,500 opposition militants have massed the border. The
Tajik government revised casualty figures from an attack on Russian
troops near Khorog, saying that seven people are dead and five wounded,
which represents the greatest losses reported by the border guards in a
single attack since the fighting earlier this year in April. The Tajik
government has protested to the Afghan government over events. -- Bruce
Pannier

TAJIK AGRICULTURAL REFORMS NOT YIELDING RESULTS. Tajik President Imomali
Rakhmonov expressed his dissatisfaction with agricultural reforms at a
government meeting on 7 October, according to a Khovar news agency
report cited by the BBC. The Tajik government has abolished export
licenses, freed prices for agricultural products, and now allows farmers
to sell 30% of their cotton crop themselves. The Khovar report said none
of those measures are helping. Rakhmonov promised to sign a decree to
grant 50,000 hectares of land to farmers for individual use. -- Bruce
Pannier

CHESME TRIAL IN AZERBAIJAN. Western diplomats and the Paris-based
Reporters Without Frontiers have expressed their concern over a trial of
four journalists connected to the satirical publication Chesme (Spring)
in Azerbaijan, AFP reported on 12 October. The defendants, all of which
have connections to the two main opposition parties in Azerbaijan
(Azerbaijani Popular Front and Musavat), are accused of "insulting the
honor and dignity" of the president, a violation of Azerbaijan's
criminal code, and have been awaiting trial since their arrest last
March. The trial is similar to others carried out in Uzbekistan and
Kyrgyzstan. Although the defendants may be pardoned in the end, the
trial serves to intimidate both journalists and opposition. -- Lowell
Bezanis

[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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