Wherever there is love, there is peace. - Burmese proverb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 204, Part I, 19 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.
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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
JOURNALISTS: A directory of OMRI analysts covering Eastern Europe and
the former Soviet Union is now available. You can access it from OMRI's
World Wide Web page (http://www.omri.cz/SD/SDIntro.html) or
request a hard copy by sending an e-mail to specialist@omri.cz

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RUSSIA

YELTSIN ANNOUNCES KOZYREV TO BE SACKED. President Boris Yeltsin told a
19 October Kremlin news conference that he intended to replace Andrei
Kozyrev as foreign minister, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Yeltsin said he "remained unsatisfied" with Kozyrev, who he added had
"failed to coordinate the work of the Foreign Ministry and other
ministries." Kozyrev will remain in his post, however, until a "suitable
successor" can be found. Among the possible candidates for the job are
First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Ambassador to Belgium Vitalii
Churkin, Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin, and Duma International
Affairs Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin. -- Scott Parrish

LEBED CRITICIZES DUMA, MILITARY LEADERSHIP. Congress of Russian
Communities (KRO) leader Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed described the
State Duma as a "democratic decoration built on the basis of a defective
constitution" in an 18 October press conference, NTV reported. He said
he would not rule out an alliance with the Communists but dismissed the
idea of cooperating with liberal Yegor Gaidar. The general refused to
discuss his sources of financial support, Russian TV reported. Lebed
currently ranks as the most popular politician in Russia. -- Robert
Orttung

DEFENSE MINISTRY IDENTIFIES SYMPATHETIC CANDIDATES. More than 120
military servicemen have collected the necessary signatures to register
as Duma candidates in single-member districts, ITAR-TASS reported. In
addition, the Defense Ministry has identified more than 1,000 candidates
who represent the military-industrial complex, veterans' organizations,
and military pensioners. The military counts among its electorate 7
million servicemen and their relatives, 8 million veterans, 27 million
workers in the military-industrial complex and their families, and 2
million Cossacks. The ministry believes that the military's strict
discipline will deliver the necessary votes. However, in the 1 October
elections to the Volgograd City Duma, all 30 military candidates lost.
-- Robert Orttung

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT EXAMINES AMENDMENT PROCESS. The Constitutional
Court is reviewing an appeal from the State Duma to clarify Article 136
of the constitution, Russian media reported on 18 October. Article 136
states that constitutional amendments must be passed by two-thirds of
the Duma, three-fourths of the Federation Council, and two-thirds of the
legislatures of Russia's 89 regions, but it does not specify a role for
the president in the process. The Duma, which is currently considering
20 constitutional amendments, asked the court to grant them the status
of "federal constitutional laws," which the president may not veto.
President Yeltsin's representative to the court, Valerii Savitskii,
unexpectedly announced that he agreed with the deputies' suggestion,
perhaps because the amendment process is so arduous that few proposals
are ever likely to be passed. -- Laura Belin

DUMA APPROVES DEFENSE LEGISLATION. The State Duma has adopted on its
second reading a defense law that allows the president to use the armed
forces for military or other purposes only in accordance with the
federal laws, and that bans all unofficial paramilitary units, ITAR-TASS
reported on 18 October. In addition, the Duma passed a resolution
expressing "extreme concern" with the unsatisfactory state of Russian
national security. By a vote of 227 to 16 the Duma urged President
Yeltsin to submit a national security doctrine for approval by 31
December, Interfax reported. -- Constantine Dmitriev

YELTSIN WARNS U.S. ON MISSILE DEFENSES. On 18 October, President Yeltsin
warned in an interview with The Guardian that Russia might halt
reductions in strategic offensive nuclear weapons under the START-1 and
START-2 agreements if a plan pending in the U.S. Congress to deploy
limited ballistic missile defenses is put into effect. Yeltsin said
President Bill Clinton had assured him in May that the U.S. remains
committed to the 1972 ABM treaty. Yeltsin will visit the U.S. on 23
October. -- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN SAYS NO TO NATO NUCLEAR MISSILES, COMMAND. In an 18 October
Kremlin interview with French television, President Yeltsin accused NATO
of planning to "take the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and
stuff them with nuclear arms." Yeltsin described this policy as
"madness," adding Russia would "do everything" to prevent NATO nuclear
weapons from being deployed near Russia's borders. Yeltsin reiterated
that Russia would not send troops to Bosnia under NATO command to
enforce a future peace settlement there. In Brussels, a NATO spokesman
denied that the alliance would deploy nuclear weapons in any new Eastern
European member-states, but both Poland and the Czech Republic have
announced that they would permit such deployments if they joined the
alliance. -- Doug Clarke and Scott Parrish

YELTSIN "RECOMMENDS" THAT GRACHEV ATTEND COURT HEARING. Hoping to defuse
a scandal, President Yeltsin has recommended that Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev postpone a previously scheduled visit to Greece in order to
attend a court session, Interfax reported on 17 October. Judge Olga
Govorova had summoned Grachev to court last month after his refusal to
attend the case that he initiated in 1994 against a journalist who
accused him of corruption (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 September 1995).
According to Interfax, Grachev will postpone his visit to Greece until 1
November. -- Constantine Dmitriev

"THE NORTH WILL DIE SOON," if urgent measures to change the social and
economic situation are not taken, the president of the Far North and
Polar Cities' Union, Igor Shkiper, said at the union's congress in
Moscow, Russian TV reported on 18 October. On 10 October, the Federation
Council announced that the government has so far provided the northern
territories with only 77% of the oil supply, 63% of coal, and 64% of
food allotted to them in the 1995 budget. -- Anna Paretskaya

BELLONA SUSPECTED OF DIVULGING OFFICIAL SECRETS. The Federal Security
Service has launched a criminal investigation into the Norwegian-based
environmental group Bellona under Article 75 of the Criminal Code on
divulging state secrets. According to ITAR-TASS on 18 October, the
security services found secret information on the Northern Fleet in
raids on Bellona's offices in Murmansk and the homes of Russian members
of the group in St. Petersburg. Bellona began researching nuclear waste
disposal in northern Russia in 1990. It says it recognizes issues of
military secrecy and has obtained all its information from public
sources, Western agencies reported. -- Penny Morvant

PANSKOV ON PENSIONS. Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov told Business-
TASS on 18 October that the government will spend 8 trillion rubles
($1.77 billion) by the end of the year to ensure the timely payment of
pensions, ITAR-TASS reported. He said an extra 4.7 trillion rubles has
already been generated from the country's hard-currency and gold
reserves and additional revenue to the federal budget. On 18 October,
the Duma passed a law approving the budget of the Pension Fund for 1995
at 92 trillion rubles ($20 billion). The government is striving to
eliminate pension arrears before the December elections. -- Penny
Morvant

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATES IMF LOANS. The IMF delegation in Moscow
met Russian government officials on 18 October to negotiate an Extended
Fund Facility (EFF) loan for Russia, Finansovye izvestiya reported on 19
October. If negotiations are successful, Russia's 1996 borrowings from
the IMF could be increased from $2 billion to nearly $6.5 billion. The
EFF loan is reported to be conditional on the Duma approving a budget
for 1996 that assumes inflation at no more than 1.8%. -- Natalia
Gurushina

INVESTMENT NEEDS OF ELECTRICITY SECTOR. The Russian Unified Electricity
System (REES) invested $2 billion into the sector this year, and expects
to invest more than $3 billion in 1996, according to Vitalii Gorin, an
REES official who was addressing a Moscow conference on power
generation, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 October. REES expects to build 44
new power stations and 10,000 km of new line by 2005. Only eight minor
projects had received foreign funding to date, although the World Bank
is considering a $500 million loan for a hydroelectic station in
Krasnodar. Russia also plans to increase electricity exports to Eastern
Europe. -- Peter Rutland

COMPENSATION FOR SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITORS? The conciliation commission
set up by the government to investigate compensation for Savings Bank
depositors has come up with a set of recommendations, NTV reported on 17
October. The 40 million Savings Bank (Sberbank) depositors, who saw
their savings wiped out by inflation, are distinct from the investors
who have been defrauded by pyramid schemes and bank failures. The
commission proposes compensation of 3-4,000 rubles for each ruble held
in Sberbank accounts in June 1991. That compensation will not be in cash
but in the form of government securities or some other type of non-cash
bank deposits. Certain categories of depositors, such as invalids or
retired army officers, may be compensated first. The recommendations
have been forwarded to the government for approval. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

OPPOSITION PARTIES PROTEST ELECTION BAN. On 18 October, about 100
representatives of four banned parties banned from participating in the
12 November elections picketed the commission's main building in Baku in
protest, Reuters reported the same day. -- Lowell Bezanis

TURKEY AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR GEORGIAN OIL EXPORT PIPELINE. The Turkish
embassy to Azerbaijan refuted a report in the Azerbaijani weekly Ayna on
14 October that Turkey had reneged on its commitment to finance
construction work and repairs on the oil export pipeline from Baku to
Georgia's Black Sea coast, Azerbaijani TV reported on 17 October. Turkey
has proposed either to finance the pipeline or to form a joint venture
to do so together with other members of the international consortium and
"talks will begin soon on getting the Georgian route into operation,"
according to a statement issued by the embassy. -- Irakli Tsereteli

UZBEKISTAN ANNOUNCES 1995-1996 SOCIAL PLAN. President Islam Karimov's
cabinet unveiled its social plan for the 1995-1996 fiscal year which is
to address issues ranging from the "right to work" to "social guarantees
for citizens" with respect to invalids and Afghan War veterans,
according to a 17 October Narodnoye slovo report cited by the BBC.
Although the details have not been fully presented, the social plan is
consistent with the government's policy of maintaining a social welfare
program that can ensure stability in the country. -- Roger Kangas

TURKMENISTAN TO LEASE LAND. State property in Turkmenistan can be leased
to other countries according to a new law endorsed by President
Saparmurad Niyazov, Interfax reported on 17 October. Although only
limited information on the law is available, it is clear that the
cabinet or any cabinet-authorized body can act as the lessor. Annual
rents will vary from $172-955 per hectare depending on soil quality;
other unspecified rates will apply to urban areas. -- Lowell Bezanis

ANOTHER TAJIK JOURNALIST ARRESTED IN MOSCOW. Mirzo Salimov, a journalist
for the dissident Tajik newspaper Charogi Ruz, was arrested in Moscow on
13 October for insulting the president, according to a correspondent for
RFE/RL. Moscow plans to extradite Salimov to Tajikistan but an article
in Segodnya on 18 October reports that Salimov has been an adviser to
the UN on the inter-Tajik negotiations and therefore should be immune to
prosecution. The leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party, Ali Akbar
Turadzhonzoda, said his party would not attend the next round of talks
until Salimov is released. -- Bruce Pannier

RUSSIAN LUKOIL SHARES IN KAZAKHSTAN-CHEVRON DEAL? Russia's largest oil
company, LUKoil, is negotiating a 20% share in the Kazakhstan-Chevron
joint venture in the Tengiz oil fields, Interfax reported on 18 October,
citing a Kazakhstani Oil and Gas Ministry official. LUKoil won a 10%
stake in the $9 billion international consortium for drilling Caspian
Sea oil off Azerbaijan. Chevron slashed its investment plans at Tengiz
due to difficulties in transporting oil to the world market. Russian and
Kazakhstani oil officials have held preliminary talks on building a
pipeline between Tengiz and the Black Sea, but LUKoil has not yet held
direct talks with Chevron. -- Bhavna Dave

KAZAKHSTANI GOVERNMENT FILES LAWSUITS AGAINST 60 ENTERPRISES.
Kazakhstani Deputy Prime Minister Nagashbai Shaikenov said his
government has filed lawsuits in an arbitration court against 60
enterprises accused of a failure to repay foreign credits taken against
government guarantees, Interfax reported on 17 October. Shaikenov added
that "competent agencies" are inquiring into the matter; more names have
been withheld. Kazakhstani Deputy Finance Minister Sauat Mynbaev said
that in the next 3-4 years, the Finance Ministry will have to set aside
$250 million of budget money every year to pay the foreign debt. --
Bhavna Dave

[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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