A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. - Jonathan Swift
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 211, Part I, 30 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

***********************************************************************
TODAY'S HEADLINES
-- SUBWAY FIRE KILLS MORE THAN 300 IN BAKU.
-- TsIK DENIES REGISTRATION TO YABLOKO.

***********************************************************************

TOP STORY
SUBWAY FIRE KILLS MORE THAN 300 IN BAKU. Azerbaijani President Heidar
Aliev declared two days of national mourning after an underground train
fire killed at least 330 people and injured half as many just outside of
Baku on 28 October, international media reported. A preliminary
investigation indicates riders on a five-carriage train were trapped in
a tunnel when an electrical fire broke out. -- Lowell Bezanis

RUSSIA

TsIK DENIES REGISTRATION TO YABLOKO . . . The Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) refused to register Yabloko's party on 29 October
alleging the bloc could not prove that 13 of the candidates included on
the party's list had voluntarily agreed to run, according to TsIK
spokesman Parmen Shenshin. Yabloko's only recourse is to appeal the
decision to the Supreme Court, which it plans to do immediately, ITAR-
TASS reported. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii told NTV that the TsIK
had accepted 421,000 signatures from his bloc and denied registration on
a technicality, an action he described as a "political purge." Yegor
Gaidar announced that Russia's Democratic Choice would not participate
in the election if Yabloko was not registered because the bloc's absence
would turn the elections into a "political farce." Communist leader
Gennadii Zyuganov slammed the decision as a step toward canceling the
elections, AFP reported. -- Robert Orttung

. . . AND RUTSKOI'S DERZHAVA. The TsIK also denied registration to
Former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi's Derzhava movement on the
grounds that 86 of the movement's candidates had been removed from the
party list since registration documents were first submitted and two
candidates had been included without their permission, Russian media
reported on 29 October. TsIK Chairman Nikolai Ryabov said voters who
signed petitions in support of those candidates were thus deceived. Many
observers questioned the commission's decision, since 40 candidates have
left Our Home Is Russia after the bloc submitted its list. Similarly,
the TsIK registered the Bloc of Ivan Rybkin, even though almost as many
candidates have deserted that bloc as Derzhava, according to ITAR-TASS.
Rutskoi vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
-- Laura Belin

YELTSIN REMAINS IN HOSPITAL. Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev
described President Boris Yeltsin's condition on 29 October as "stable,"
but Western agencies claimed that Yeltsin is in worse shape than his
aides admit. Yeltsin's doctors said he would remain in hospital until
the end of November and limited visitors to his doctors, guards, and
family members, Kommersant-Daily reported on 28 October. -- Robert
Orttung

DUMA OVERRIDES FEDERATION COUNCIL VETO ON FORMATION OF UPPER HOUSE. On
27 October, the Duma overrode the Federation Council's 25 October veto
of the bill on the formation of the parliament's upper house with a vote
of 309 to 1, ITAR-TASS reported. The bill meets the president's demand
that the Federation Council automatically include executive and
legislative branch leaders from Russia's 89 regions and republics but
requires that they all be elected at the local level. Many of the
current local executives are Yeltsin appointees. -- Robert Orttung

MOSKOVSKII KOMSOMOLETS JOURNALIST SENTENCED AND AMNESTIED. In what his
lawyer denounced as a "monstrous precedent," Moskovskii komsomolets
journalist Vadim Poegli was sentenced to a year of "corrective labor"
(working at a job specified by the government) with 30% of his salary
withheld after a court found he had insulted Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev by calling him a "thief" in print, Russian media reported on 27
October. His sentence was immediately suspended under an amnesty
declared by the Duma shortly before celebrations of the 50th anniversary
of V-E Day. However, Poegli has vowed to appeal the verdict and not to
accept the amnesty. The outraged Moskovskii komsomolets editorial board
on 28 October repeated the contention of Poegli's October 1994 article
"Pasha-Mercedes": "A thief should be in prison, not the defense
minister." -- Laura Belin

NEW PHASE IN CHECHEN NEGOTIATIONS? After returning to Grozny on 29
October following talks in Moscow with Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, Doku Zavgaev, the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen
government, told ITAR-TASS that he and Chernomyrdin had agreed that the
negotiation process in Chechnya should now shift to an "internal
political track." Recent comments by other Russian officials, including
Minister of Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, also suggest that a
political settlement should emerge from talks among different Chechen
factions rather than negotiations between Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev and federal government officials. The situation in Chechnya
remained tense, however, as 2,000 pro-independence demonstrators held a
rally in Grozny on 27 October and Russian Public TV (ORT) reported that
a bomb had been defused outside the headquarters of Zavgaev's government
the same day. Meanwhile, one federal serviceman died after Russian
troops came under fire 46 times on 29 October. -- Scott Parrish

U.S., RUSSIA REACH PARTIAL AGREEMENT ON BOSNIA. Russia will send several
thousand non-combat troops to Bosnia as part of a joint U.S.-Russian
special operational contingent, according to an agreement worked out on
27 October between U.S. Defense Minister William Perry and his Russian
counterpart, General Pavel Grachev. According to ITAR-TASS, the force
will be under the joint command of U.S. General George Joulwan and
Russian General Leontii Shevtsov. The joint contingent will land in
Bosnia several weeks after the main disengagement forces have been
introduced and they will be engaged in construction, transportation, and
engineering tasks. -- Doug Clarke

PERRY AND GRACHEV REACH CFE COMPROMISE. U.S. Defense Secretary William
Perry announced on 28 October that the U.S. will support a new Russian
proposal altering the flank limitations in the 1990 CFE agreement,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Russia will present the proposal,
which excludes the Pskov, Novgorod, and Vologda oblasts from the
northern flank limit, and the Krasnodar, Stavropol, Volgograd, and
Rostov regions from the southern flank limit, to the other signatories
of the CFE treaty in mid-November. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told
Interfax on 29 October that Perry had accepted most of what Russia had
asked for with respect to the southern flank limit, while the Russians
had agreed to drop their demand that the Leningrad region be excluded
from the northern flank restrictions. -- Doug Clarke and Scott Parrish

RUSSIA TO BUILD BREEDER REACTOR TO BURN PLUTONIUM. Minister of Nuclear
Power Viktor Mikhailov announced plans to build a fast breeder reactor
to consume plutonium from decommissioned nuclear weapons, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 28 October. Mikhailov said the reactor,
which will be constructed in Chelyabinsk Oblast, will also help recycle
nuclear waste from civilian nuclear power reactors and nuclear
submarines of the Russian navy. Construction of the reactor will begin
next year and be completed by 2005, at the cost of $800 million.
Ministry experts cited by Interfax said Russia currently has a stockpile
of 30 metric tons of plutonium, which presents serious long-term storage
problems. -- Scott Parrish

MORDOVAN DEPUTY MURDERED WHILE LECTURING. Saransk City Council Deputy
Oleg Yenikeev was murdered while lecturing at Moscow State University on
27 October, Russian news agencies reported the same day. The 34-year-old
professor of technical sciences who also headed one of the largest
criminal groups in Mordoviya was shot by several hired killers. Police
surrounded the university building, but failed to detain the gunmen,
according to sources in the Mordovan Interior Ministry. The report said
that a Southwestern criminal group, whose leader was killed two weeks
ago, may have been responsible for the murder. -- Thomas Sigel

SHAPOSHNIKOV APPOINTED HEAD OF AEROFLOT. Marshal Yevgenii Shaposhnikov
was appointed to head Russia's national airline Aeroflot, on 27 October,
ITAR-TASS reported. Shaposhnikov replaces Vladimir Tikhonov, whom the
employees' union accused of fraud and various legal violations in the
privatization of the airline. Shaposhnikov became Soviet defense
minister after supporting former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
during the 1991 coup attempt. He later worked with the state-owned arms
trading company Rosvooruzheniye. -- Thomas Sigel

BANK INVESTMENT IN RUSSIAN INDUSTRY ON THE INCREASE. Bank investment in
Russian industry, currently totaling from $50 million to $70 million
(according to different estimates) is on the increase, Delovoi ekspress
reported on 27 October. According to the Economics Ministry, member-
banks of the Russian Assembly of Investors are prepared to inject
another 2 trillion rubles ($440 million) into the Russian economy, if
the government will guarantee banks' investments with state securities.
-- Natalia Gurushina

GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. Regions with a
high concentration of military-industrial enterprises face mounting
unemployment. The number of unemployed registered during the last year
in the Amur Oblast increased by 250%, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 October.
Estimates show that only 10% of those made redundant will be able to
find another job. -- Natalia Gurushina

CHERNOMYRDIN PROMISES SUPPORT FOR FARMERS. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin
said that state financial support for agricultural enterprises of all
types in 1995, including the postponement of debt repayment, will total
35 trillion rubles ($7.8 billion), ITAR-TASS reported on 27 October.
According to Chernomyrdin, farmers have received only 27% of the funds
allocated to them in the federal budget. Out of 80 billion rubles ($17.8
million) designated for the lease of agricultural equipment, only 50
billion rubles ($11.1 million) have been paid. As a result, 19,000
private farms in Russia (out of 283,000) went bankrupt in 1995.
Chernomyrdin said that the government would adopt a program offering
support to private farms and small-scale agricultural enterprises. The
government plans to provide 100 billion rubles ($22.2 million) for
leasing agricultural equipment and would guarantee the purchase of this
year's harvest. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

PRE-ELECTION ALLEGATIONS IN AZERBAIJAN. A recently sacked adviser to
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev has gone public with allegations of
official wrong-doing in the run up to the 12 November parliamentary
elections. At a 27 October press conference, Panahov, who was barred
from running in the elections by the Central Election Commission the
same day, provided journalists with a list of 36 candidates whom he said
the president and his brother, Jalal Aliev, handpicked for election,
Turan reported. He also charged that authorities had decided in advance
to bar Musavat from the elections. He also noted that bribes "totalled
millions" under former President Abulfez Elchibey, but that they "stand
at billions" under Aliev. He specifically charged parliamentary speaker
Rasul Guliev with corruption. In other news, the Azerbaijani Supreme
Court has upheld a ban on the participation of Azerbaijan's Communist
Party in the elections, Interfax reported on 26 October. -- Lowell
Bezanis

KYRGYZ AUTHORITIES HEAD OFF DEMONSTRATION. Local militia and Interior
Ministry special forces (OMON) prevented a demonstration called for by
Kyrgyz communist and nationalist parties from taking place in Bishkek on
28 October, AFP reported. About 200 people planned to hold a
demonstration calling for fair and open elections in December on Alatau
Place in the Kyrgyz capital, but the militia held what appeared to be an
anti-terrorist exercise. More than 750 members of the militia and OMON
armed with assault rifles and light armored vehicles used empty buses to
simulate an attack on a terrorist held positions. A spokesman for the
Erkin Kyrgyzstan Party said the demonstrators dispersed in order to
"avoid an explosive situation." -- Bruce Pannier

OPPOSITION CANDIDATES JOIN FORCES TO DEFEAT AKAEV? The BBC cited an
article in the Kyrgyz newspaper Delo No... that claims some of the
candidates running against President Askar Akaev are working together to
prevent his re-election. The paper listed the leaders of Ata-Meken, the
Communist Party, Adilet, the Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan, and
others, including parliament deputies, as being involved. -- Bruce
Pannier

KAZAKHSTAN TO CHANGE MILITARY'S ORGANIZATION. Kazakhstani Defense
Minister Alibek Kasymov said his government intends to overhaul the
Kazakh armed forces, Interfax reported on 27 October. Kasymov said the
air force, air defenses and land forces will be reorganized "in order to
have a small, mobile, well-prepared, and well-equipped army." He said
ranks would be filled using volunteers and conscripts and that
Kazakhstan will still cooperate militarily with Russia but will maintain
relations with other countries such as China and the U.S. -- Bruce
Pannier

[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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