A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 203, Part I, 18 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

MORE ALLEGATIONS OF FOUL PLAY IN SIGNATURE COLLECTION. Professional
signature collectors are charging higher rates as the deadline for
registering with the Central Electoral Commission approaches, and some
are resorting to outright fraud, Izvestiya reported on 18 October.
Political parties must turn in at least 200,000 signatures by 22 October
in order to appear on the party-list ballot in December, but Izvestiya
said only a few parties have a regional network strong enough to meet
those requirements. At the beginning of the campaign, each signature
cost about 1,000 rubles (23 cents), but now some parties are paying $1-
3. Meanwhile, a list of nearly 14,000 signatures supporting Grigorii
Yavlinskii's bloc Yabloko were allegedly stolen in Petrazavodsk a day
before they were to be sent to Moscow, Interfax reported on 17 October.
-- Laura Belin

CEC RATIFIES MORE PARTY LISTS. The Central Electoral Commission (CEC)
validated the lists of signature turned in by three more parties on 17
October, ITAR-TASS reported. The Congress of Russian Communities turned
in 340,000 signatures, the Liberal Democratic Party, 370,000, and Women
of Russia, 264,000. The Communist Party is the only other party to pass
this stage of the process. Nearly 80 parties have announced their
intention to compete and must turn in signatures by the 22 October
deadline. -- Robert Orttung

OLSHANSKII LISTS MOST INFLUENTIAL POLITICIANS. Not including President
Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, the seven most
influential men in Russia in October are: Aleksandr Korzhakov, chief of
the president's security service, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii
Chubais, Director of the Federal Security Service Mikhail Barsukov,
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov,
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, and First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Soskovets, according to Dmitrii Olshanskii, director of the Center for
Strategic Analysis and Prognosis. Olshanskii stressed that Korzhakov's
influence continues to grow and that the generals, represented in the
list by Korzhakov, Barsukov, and Grachev, have an increasingly strong
voice in Russian politics, NTV reported 17 October. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN AUTHORIZES FURTHER GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS. President Yeltsin
authorized elections for administration heads in Orenburg, Tambov, and
Tomsk oblasts as an exception to his 17 September decree postponing such
elections until December 1996, ITAR-TASS reported 17 October. Orenburg
and Tambov have historically been areas of low support for Yeltsin. --
Robert Orttung

MOSCOW SIGNS TREATY WITH UDMURTIYA. Moscow and Udmurtiya signed a packet
of documents defining the responsibilities of the federation and the
republic concerning the division of state property, budget relations,
law and order, defense industries, the use of oil and forest resources,
and environmental protection, Russian TV reported. At the 17 October
signing ceremony, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin said that similar treaties
were almost ready for Kaliningrad Oblast, Krasnodar Krai, and the Komi
Republic, according to Interfax. Moscow has already signed treaties with
Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Kabardino-Balkariya, Northern Ossetiya,
Yakutiya, and Buryatiya, Rossiiskie vesti reported 18 October. -- Robert
Orttung

RYABOV: KALMYKIYA ELECTIONS ILLEGITIMATE. "No genuine elections have
been held in Kalmykiya," Nikolai Ryabov, chairman of the Central
Electoral Commission, told Russian Public TV (ORT) on 17 October. Ryabov
said the legislature of the Republic of Kalmykiya had been warned in
advance that the 15 October presidential elections would not be
considered legitimate. Running unopposed, incumbent President Kirsan
Ilyumzhinov was re-elected with about 85% of the vote. According to the
commission's executive secretary Aleksandr Veshnyakov, federal law
prohibits elections without alternative candidates, Radio Mayak
reported. -- Laura Belin

YAKUNIN: AGREEMENT BETWEEN FAPSI, CHURCH VIOLATES CONSTITUTION. Duma
deputy and priest Gleb Yakunin asked acting Procurator-General Oleg
Gaidanov on 17 October to rescind a joint declaration signed in May
between the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information
(FAPSI) and the Russian Orthodox Church, Ekspress-khronika reported the
same day. Yakunin said the agreement to cooperate in the "spiritual-
moral and patriotic education of servicemen" and develop courses for
FAPSI employees on "the history of the Russian state" violated federal
laws on the status of servicemen and on freedom of religion, as well as
Article 14 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the separation
of church and state. The Church defrocked the dissident priest Yakunin
in the 1960s; he was reinstated in 1987 but defrocked again in 1993 for
defying a Church order not to run for parliament. -- Laura Belin

CONTACT GROUP MEETS IN MOSCOW. High-ranking diplomats of the
international Contact Group on the former Yugoslavia met in Moscow on 17
October, Russian and Western agencies reported. Following the meeting,
both U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and Russian
First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov expressed optimism that the
group would succeed in forging a common approach to a Bosnian peace
settlement. A subsequent meeting between Ivanov, Holbrooke, U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and Russian military officials
discussed details of Russian participation in a proposed NATO-led "peace
implementation force" for Bosnia, and ITAR-TASS reported that the issue
will be addressed by presidents Yeltsin and Clinton at their upcoming
summit in Hyde Park, New York. -- Scott Parrish

GOVERNMENT MILITARY HOUSING PROGRAM FAILING. The government's program to
build housing for the military is close to failure according to Col.
Gen. Anatolii Solomatin, the deputy defense minister. ITAR-TASS reported
that Solomatin, who heads the military Construction and Quartermaster
Service, said at a 17 October news conference that only up to 160,000 of
the planned 220,000 new apartments would be finished by the end of the
year. He said that 125,000 officers' families do not have apartments
while 40,000 others live in substandard accommodations. -- Doug Clarke

SECURITY SYSTEM INSTALLED AT URANIUM STORAGE FACILITY. A special system
for monitoring uranium and plutonium stocks has been installed at a
storage facility at a physics institute in Obinsk located in Kaluga
Oblast, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 18 October. The system includes
perimeter alarms and digital inventory control of the seven tons of
fissionable materials stored at the facility. A joint Russian-American
team installed the system, which is intended to serve as a model for
similar systems at nuclear storage facilities across Russia. Funds to
upgrade Russian facilities were appropriated by the U.S. Congress under
the Nunn-Lugar Act. -- Scott Parrish

DUMA REJECTS 1996 BUDGET. On 18 October, the Duma rejected the draft
1996 budget on first reading by 138 votes to 129, Western and Russian
agencies reported. The draft budget will now go to a joint parliament-
government commission to work on a compromise variant. -- Peter Rutland

CUT IN OIL EXPORT TAX? Foreign Economic Relations Minister Oleg Davydov
said the government is considering dropping the export tariff on oil
from 18 ECU ($22) to 6 ECU per ton, Business-TASS reported on 17
October. Oil exporters have been complaining that the stabilization of
the ruble's value has undermined their profits. Davydov also said the
government is considering the introduction of "anti-dumping" quotas on
imports of alcohol and certain chemical products. -- Peter Rutland

INTERNATIONAL LENDING FOR 1996. An IMF team in Moscow to discuss future
lending expressed satisfaction with the government's economic policy
this year, Business-TASS reported on 17 October. The government plans to
raise $8.5 billion from international loans in 1996, including $3.5
billion from the IMF. In an interview in Kuranty the same day, Forward
Russia! leader Boris Fedorov warned that Russia is turning into an
"international bankrupt" and advised against accepting further credits.
-- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TURKEY AND GEORGIA. A third Turkish-Georgian border gate is scheduled to
be opened on 31 October. Speaking at a press conference the day before,
Georgian Customs Minister Guram Mamalishvili denied allegations that
Georgia is not ready for the opening; on the contrary, he said Turkish
officials had yet to sign the agreement on the new border gate at Aktas,
the Turkish Daily News reported on 18 October. Total revenue from the
existing two gates is estimated to be $1 billion; the new gate is
expected to be popular with cargo carriers as it is shorter by 300
kilometers than the first gate at Sarp. -- Lowell Bezanis

ANOTHER OPPOSITION PARTY BARRED FROM AZERBAIJAN ELECTIONS. On 17 October
Azerbaijan's Central Electoral Commission banned the opposition Musavat
Party from participating in the 12 November parliamentary elections on
the grounds that some 5,000 signatures collected in support of its
registration bid were allegedly forged, AFP reported. Party chairman Isa
Gambar said he will appeal the ban, Turan reported. -- Liz Fuller

KYRGYZ MOVEMENT DEMANDS THAT PRESIDENT STEP DOWN. The Human Rights
Movement of Kyrgyzstan has demanded that Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev
step down, according to Res Publica on 10 October, as cited by the BBC.
The article claimed free thought is being persecuted, opposition
newspapers are being shut down, journalists criticizing the government
are barred from their professional activity, and there have been
physical attacks on members of the opposition. Referring to the
president's election in 1990 and again after independence in 1991 the
movement claims Akaev is now running for a third term, which is
prohibited by the constitution. The movement's leader, Medetken
Sherimkulov, is a candidate for the presidency. -- Bruce Pannier

SOLDIERS TAKEN HOSTAGE IN TAJIKISTAN. Interfax reported that 48
government troops were captured on 14 October near the village of Tavil-
Dara about 280 kim east of Dushanbe. The Tajik opposition confirmed the
capture but claimed they have at least 54 soldiers. The situation began
when government troops and opposition forces found themselves in close
proximity to one another. In an attempt to avert bloodshed, the
commander of the government troops agreed to talk with opposition
representatives but was taken hostage at the meeting and forced to call
others to the area, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Bruce Pannier

TAJIK OPPOSITION TO VISIT TURKMENISTAN. In a further twist involving the
dispute over the venue for the fifth round of inter-Tajik talks, Radio
Voice of Free Tajikistan reported that Tajik opposition leaders would
travel to Ashgabat to hold talks with Turkmen President Saparmurad
Niyazov. The chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Party, Said Abdullo
Nuri, has rejected the Tajik government's efforts to hold the postponed
talks in Ashgabat; it appears that his deputy, Akbar Turadzhonzoda, will
nevertheless go to Turkmenistan for talks with Niyazov. -- Lowell
Bezanis

MEMBERS OF CRIME FAMILY SENTENCED TO DEATH IN UZBEKISTAN. Five members
of a family charged with 25 crimes have been sentenced by an Uzbek court
to be executed, Reuters reported on 17 October. Sharafutdin Zakirov, his
two sons and two grandsons were found guilty of crimes ranging from
murder to theft. In addition, Zakirov's daughter and daughter-in-law
were found guilty of lesser charges and each sentenced to 14 years in
prison. No word was given as to the full extent of the family's criminal
history. -- Roger Kangas

MEDIA SHAKE-UP BY NAZARBAEV. Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev
has abolished the Press and Mass Information Ministry, replacing it with
a new body called the National Agency for Press and Mass Information,
Kazakhstani TV reported on 14 October. Altynbek Sarsenbaev, who headed
the now defunct ministry, has been appointed chairman of the new agency.
This newly-created agency, along with another new body created by the
president, the Observation Council on the State Mass Media, will work
directly under Nazarbaev's supervision. The two bodies are to offer
"objective information to the citizens of the republic" and "grant
citizens their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and implement
public control state mass media," according to the report. -- Bhavna
Dave

CIS

TWO DIFFERENT VIEWS ON CIS MILITARY BLOC. Georgian Defense Minister
Vardiko Nadibaidze declared on 17 October that a CIS military bloc is
"inevitable" while Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma the same day said
that Ukraine "resolutely opposes Europe's split into two camps" and
would not enter a CIS military bloc, according to ITAR-TASS. Nadibaidze
also said Georgia's military doctrine has been approved and would be
made public in November. Kuchma, speaking to a delegation from the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, told the delegates
Ukraine would be "unhappy" if it became a buffer between NATO and the
CIS. -- Doug Clarke

BLACK SEA FLEET CAUSES LOSSES FOR SEVASTOPOL. A draft program prepared
by Sevastopol's local executive committee claims the city loses 12.1
trillion karbovantsy ($69 million) every year due to the presence of the
Black Sea Fleet, Interfax reported on 17 October. The document
attributed the losses to unpaid energy supplies, lost tourist trade, and
other expenditures. -- Ustina Markus

[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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