The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 205, Part I, 20 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

RUSSIA

YELTSIN BACKTRACKS ON KOZYREV. As he boarded a plane on 20 October to
depart for an official visit to France and the U.S., President Boris
Yeltsin hinted that he might retain Andrei Kozyrev as foreign minister,
international agencies reported. Yeltsin suggested that Kozyrev needs a
deputy to assume the burden of his administrative duties. Yeltsin did
not explicitly reverse his 19 October statement that he intended to sack
Kozyrev, however, and his intentions in this regard remain unclear. He
may simply be using his own foreign minister as a bargaining chip to
pressure NATO and the U.S. into accommodating Russian demands on issues
such as Bosnia, NATO expansion, and CFE treaty revision. -- Scott
Parrish

YELTSIN COMMENTS ON ELECTIONS. President Yeltsin said at a press
conference that he is not worried about the participation of the
military in the Duma campaign because he believes that the servicemen
support him. However, he warned that Congress of Russian Communities'
(KRO) co-leader Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed is "too eager for a
fight." Yeltsin praised KRO party leader Yurii Skokov as a "smart man"
who is qualified to serve as prime minister, NTV reported. The president
said that while he still supports Our Home is Russia, he also backs
other blocs, naming Grigorii Yavlinskii's Yabloko in particular, ITAR-
TASS reported. He stressed the need to campaign against the Communists,
saying candidates who advocate overthrowing the system should be denied
registration. Yeltsin said the fact that the elections will be partially
based on party lists is a "mistake." -- Robert Orttung

SKOKOV DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM YELTSIN. The KRO press service dismissed
attempts to paint the party as a "tame opposition" that coordinates its
activities with President Yeltsin, Interfax reported 19 October. The
party believes, rather, that the government's policies are "suicidal for
Russia." The press service also insisted that Yurii Skokov's current
trip to China is neither "secret" nor connected to the Kremlin in any
way. -- Robert Orttung

DUMA AMENDS LAW ON PROCURATOR-GENERAL. The Duma has voted to alter the
procedure for appointing the procurator-general, ITAR-TASS reported on
18 October. The draft amendment requires the president to put forward a
new candidate within 30 days if his initial nominee is rejected. Current
law does not specify the procedure to be followed if the upper house
fails to approve the president's nominee--a situation that enabled
Aleksei Ilyushenko to serve as acting procurator-general for more than
18 months. Following Ilyushenko's departure on 8 October, Yeltsin
nominated Yurii Skuratov as the new procurator-general. His appointment
will be considered by the Federation Council on 24 October. -- Penny
Morvant

JUDICIAL CHAMBER SAYS NEVZOROV'S SHOW VIOLATED PRISONERS' RIGHTS. The
president's Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes reprimanded
Aleksandr Nevzorov and advised Russian Public TV (ORT) to cancel
Nevzorov's controversial news magazine "Wild Field" on the grounds that
a 30 June show depicting lesbianism in a women's prison violated
prisoners' constitutional right to privacy, Russian media reported on 20
October. Although the chamber lacks the power to enforce its rulings,
commentators hailed the decision as the first time in Russian history a
court had moved to protect prisoners' privacy rights. Nevzorov's last
show, "600 Seconds," was canceled after it sided with Yeltsin's hard-
line opponents in parliament in October 1993. -- Laura Belin

CENTRAL TV BROADCASTS SWITCHED OFF IN TUVA. The main television center
in Tuva has suspended all Russian TV and Russian Public TV broadcasts
except for news programs, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 October. The center
is owed 4 billion rubles ($900,000) by central television, and its
workers, who have not been paid for six months, decided to impose a
"blockade." Earlier this month, Yeltsin issued a decree forbidding
unsanctioned cutoffs of national television networks (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 9 October 1995). -- Laura Belin

TENSION IN TATARSTAN OVER STATUS OF MUHAMMDIYA MEDRESSE. On 16 October,
an estimated 100 Muslim theological students led by Tatarstan's Mufti
Gabdullah Galiulla occupied the former Muhammdiya medresse in Kazan,
Interfax reported. The building is presently owned by the Education
Ministry and is used for secular purposes. The mufti wants the building
to be used as an Islamic university. Staff driven out of the building
issued an appeal warning of a "new Chechnya" and claiming that they had
been virtually "held hostage by militant nationalists," Interfax
reported on 18 October. An estimated 500 people participated in a rally
held in Kazan to protest the seizure. -- Lowell Bezanis

GRACHEV, CHERNOMYRDIN CLASH OVER CHECHEN PEACE TALKS. At a 19 October
government meeting, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev cast doubts on the
ongoing Chechen peace talks which he said would lead to a resumption of
hostilities. He was interrupted by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
who insisted that everything possible should be done to achieve a
peaceful settlement of the conflict, Interfax and NTV reported. Also on
19 October, Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's representative on the
commission monitoring compliance with the 30 July ceasefire agreement
warned that if the Russian military resumed hostilities the Chechen side
would extend the fighting to Russian territory. -- Liz Fuller

MILITARY CANNOT PAY FOR CHECHEN OPERATIONS. The Defense Ministry lacks
the money to pay for its operations in Chechnya, according to the
General Staff's top financial officer, Col. Gen. Vasilii Vorobev. He
told ITAR-TASS on 19 October that the ministry had already spent over 2
trillion rubles ($4.4 billion) and that the troops in Chechnya owe
suppliers more than 100 billion rubles ($2.2 million) for food, fuel,
and utilities. Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Naumov, who heads the army troops in
Chechnya, said that "a practically bankrupt state cannot finance an army
in Chechnya, which is daily suffering losses from enemy attacks." --
Doug Clarke

GRACHEV SUPPORTS START-2 RATIFICATION. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
met with Duma deputies to discuss the ratification of the START-2
treaty, Interfax reported on 19 October. Grachev confirmed his support
for the treaty's ratification, although he expressed concern about
insufficient funding for the implementation of the START-1 (already
ratified) and START-2 treaties, and possible violation of the ABM treaty
by the U.S. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Sergei Yushenkov told
Interfax that in his opinion, "the Duma is unlikely to ratify the START-
2 treaty in the near future." -- Constantine Dmitriev

RUSSIA STILL ON COMPUTER BLACKLIST. Russia is surprised that the U.S.
has placed restrictions on it in the new computer export policy recently
announced by President Bill Clinton. Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii
Karasin said on 19 October that this approach contradicts earlier U.S.
vows to "clear the ruins of the Cold War," ITAR-TASS reported. The new
policy created four country groups, running from Group A (no
restrictions) to Group D (a virtual embargo on computer export). Russia
and the other countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as Romania
and Bulgaria, were put into Group C. The Czech Republic, Hungary,
Poland, and Slovakia were placed into Group B. Karasin noted that Russia
was the only member of the "New Forum," the export control body created
to replace CoCom, that was on the "discriminating list." He warned that
Russia will be forced to reconsider its cooperation with the U.S. in
high-technology fields unless the rules are changed. -- Doug Clarke

PRIVATE SECTOR GROWING. The Institute of Economic Analysis reported on
19 October that 36% of the working population are employed in the
private sector, three times as many as in 1992. ITAR-TASS also cited
official statistics showing that 45% of Russians' total money income in
the first half of 1995 came from property and entrepreneurial
activities; less than 40% came from wages; and 16% from social benefits.
However, the report cautioned that wage income is underestimated because
of unreported earnings in the second economy. Meanwhile, the Economics
Ministry predicted that real disposable income will decline this year by
8% compared to 1994. -- Penny Morvant

BUDGET OPTIMISM . . . At a five-hour government meeting on 19 October,
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin expressed confidence that a
compromise will be reached with the Duma over the 1996 budget, NTV and
ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Chernomydrin claimed that 1995 will be
the first year in history that Russia lived within its budget. Finance
Minister Vladimir Panskov reported that the budget deficit for 1995
looks like it will be 58 trillion rubles ($12.9 billion or 3.8% of GDP)
instead of the earlier anticipated 73 trillion rubles (5.5% of GDP).
However, international loans raised only 28 trillion rubles ($6.2
billion) instead of the planned 43 trillion. -- Peter Rutland

. . . AMID WORRIES OVER THE PRICE OF BREAD. At the 19 October government
meeting, Yakov Urinson, the deputy minister of economics, said that the
government is "racking its brains" trying to find a way to buy grain to
prevent the price of bread from rising, NTV reported. Russia may need to
import 10 million tons of grain, due to a harvest of only 65 million
tons, down from 81 million in 1994. ITAR-TASS reported that the price of
grain on the London market, currently $173 per ton, may go up to $210 by
the end of 1995 due to low harvests in various countries. -- Peter
Rutland

CHICKENS FOR METAL The main Russian export to the U.S. is aluminum and
the main import is chicken parts. In the first half of 1995, Russia
exported 237,000 tons of aluminum (worth $470 million) to the U.S. and
imported 280,000 tons of chicken (worth $223 million) in return,
according to figures provided at a Russian-U.S. trade seminar in Moscow,
Vechernyaya Moskva reported on 18 October. In 1994, Russian exports to
the U.S. totaled $3,694 million and imports $2,053 million. -- Peter
Rutland

RUSSIA IS THE MAJOR CREDITOR OF THE CIS. Russia is owed $9 billion by
the former Soviet republics, incuding $3.2 billion in unpaid energy
billsSegodnya reported on 19 October. Russia in turn owes them $1.2
billion. Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Kazmin suggested that if these
countries obtain IMF credits they should use them to pay off their debts
to Russia. -- Natalia Gurushina

LIFE IMITATES ART. The actors and crew filming the Russo-French fco-
production "Prisoner of the Caucasus" are being held to ransom by
racketeers, Ekho Moskvy reported on19 October. Director Sergei Bodrov is
filming a modern version of Lev Tolstoi's short story near Derbent in
Dagestan, linking the tale to the war in neighboring Chechnya. Producer
Boris Geller, currently in America, may be asked to raise money to free
the film crew. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJANI JOURNALISTS SENTENCED. On 19 October, a Baku court sentenced
five journalists connected with the samizdat satirical journal Chesme to
prison sentences ranging from 25 years for insulting the honor of
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, Turan and Ekho Moskvy reported. --
Liz Fuller

NEW CREDITS FOR ARMENIA? The Armenian government anticipates that
International Development Agency mediation will result in the country
receiving $150 million worth in new credits from international finance
organizations over the next two years, Noyan Tapan reported on 19
October, quoting Finance Minister Levon Barkhudaryan. Of that sum, $60
million will be spent on reforming education and health facilities.
Speaking at a news conference in Yerevan on 18 October, U.S.
presidential representative Ian Kalitski gave a positive assessment of
Armenia's macroeconomic reforms but advocated speeding up privatization,
according to Interfax. -- Liz Fuller

AKAEV OPPONENTS TO STAGE PROTEST. Opponents of Kyrgyz President Askar
Akaev are planning to stage a protest on 27 October, the last day of
Akaev's term in office, according to a 14 October article in Slovo
Kyrgyzstana, cited by Kabar radio. The protest is likely to be led by
the former speaker of the old Kyrgyz parliament, Medetkan Sherimkulov,
who has accused Akaev of violating the constitution by holding
presidential elections in December. The Human Rights Movement of
Kyrgyzstan nominated Sherimkulov as its candidate for presidential
elections on 10 October. The protesters plan to "surround the government
house, block its entrances, and prevent the president from entering his
office," according to the radio. -- Bhavna Dave

UNHCR OPENS OFFICES IN KYRGYZSTAN. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) is opening two new offices in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and the
southern Kyrgyz city of Osh on the Tajik border, where a large number of
refugees from Tajikistan are settling, Kyrgyz radio reported on 17
October. The radio reported that UNHCR plans to open offices in Ashgabat
and Almaty in the near future. -- 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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