It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 212, Part I, 31 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 TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

OUTRAGE CONTINUES OVER YABLOKO REGISTRATION DENIAL. Russian politicians
and media almost universally condemned the Central Electoral
Commission's (TsIK) decision to deny registration to the Yabloko bloc.
Izvestiya 's page one headline on 31 October said that the TsIK's
actions could "wreck the elections." Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
said the decision was "poorly thought out" and "a serious blow" to
democracy in the country. Congress of Russian Communities leader Yurii
Skokov was less sympathetic, saying that Yabloko did not meet the
requirements of the law, a sentiment shared by Agrarian Party leader
Mikhail Lapshin. Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that he trusts the decision
of the election officials, Interfax reported. -- Robert Orttung

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^OTHER HEADLINES^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Chernomyrdin in Control During Yeltsin Illness
Dzhaba Ioseliani in Exclusive Interview
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

RYABOV SAYS YABLOKO DECISION MAY BE REEXAMINED. The chairman of the
Central Electoral Commission (TsIK), Nikolai Ryabov, told NTV on 30
October that he may take another look at the decision to deny
registration to Yabloko. He suggested that if Yabloko leader Grigorii
Yavlinskii appealed to the commission for another hearing, it could find
a "compromise decision." Ryabov said there could be similar incidents in
the future and possibly "more than one." The secretary of the TsIK,
Aleksandr Veshnyakov, told the official newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta
that even though Yabloko is an influential party, "no one is allowed to
break the law." -- Robert Orttung

ELECTION SCANDAL THREATENS EU-RUSSIA ACCORD. International reaction to
the disqualification of Grigorii Yavlinskii's Yabloko and Aleksandr
Rutskoi's Derzhava has been uniformly negative. In Brussels, the
European Parliament said it would hold up ratification of the EU-Russia
partnership agreement signed in June 1994 until the dispute over
registering Yabloko and Derzhava is resolved. French EU MP Helene
Carrere D'Encausse, a well-known Russia scholar, told AFP that the delay
was intended to send Russia a message "that there is a clause on
democracy in the accord." The partnership accord will not go into effect
until it is ratified by all member-states of the EU and the European
parliament. In Washington, D.C., a spokesman for President Bill Clinton
also expressed "concern" with the disqualifications. -- Scott Parrish

SUPREME COURT BACKS SOME PARTIES THAT WERE DENIED REGISTRATION. The
Supreme Court may overturn the refusal by the Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) to register Yabloko and Derzhava for parliamentary
elections. On 30 October, the court instructed the TsIK to register
Democratic Russia and the Federal Democratic Movement by 1 November,
Russian media reported. Those parties had claimed that the TsIK
unnecessarily delayed examining their registration documents. Galina
Starovoitova, Gleb Yakunin, and Lev Ponomarev are co-chairmen of
Democratic Russia. Former KGB General Oleg Kalugin is a prominent figure
in the Federal Democratic Movement. The Supreme Court will hear appeals
against the TsIK from Yabloko and Derzhava within the next few days,
ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin

CHERNOMYRDIN IN CONTROL DURING YELTSIN ILLNESS. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin said that the power ministers and the foreign minister
would have to get his approval for major decisions while President
Yeltsin is in the hospital, ITAR-TASS reported 30 October. He said that
the president entrusted him to deal with all issues, even those that are
not usually part of the government's work. In 1994, Yeltsin had
subordinated the power ministers and the foreign minister to himself
directly, rather than to the prime minister. -- Robert Orttung

ZAVGAEV READY TO MEET DUDAEV. Doku Zavgaev, head of the Moscow-backed
Chechen government, told Russian Public TV (ORT) on 30 October that he
would hold talks with any political force in Chechnya, including
separatist Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, if it would help produce a
stable political settlement. Zavgaev also suggested former Russian
Supreme Soviet Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov should play a more active role
in the political talks. Fighting in Chechnya slackened on 30 October, as
two federal servicemen were killed in 27 attacks on Russian positions.
-- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA PROPOSES LIFTING YUGOSLAV SANCTIONS. Foreign Ministry spokesman
Grigorii Karasin told ITAR-TASS on 30 October that Russia would press
for UN economic sanctions against rump Yugoslavia to be suspended as
soon as the Yugoslav peace talks open in Ohio. However, he later told
Interfax that the other members of the international Contact Group had
rejected the Russian proposal. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
said that despite the recent Russian-U.S. agreement on providing
logistical support troops for the proposed Bosnian peace implementation
force, Russia also hopes to send 1,000 peacekeepers to help police any
settlement. Grachev said command arrangements for those peacekeepers
remained unresolved and would be addressed at an 8-9 November meeting
with his U.S. counterpart, William Perry. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA, IRAN, AND THE CASPIAN: MORE OF THE SAME. Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Aleksei Bolshakov arrived in Tehran for talks on 30 October.
Predictably, the two sides called for the five Caspian Sea littoral
states to share in the exploitation of its resources and announced their
intention to cooperate in developing oil and gas fields in the Caspian,
Western agencies reported. Following the 9 October decision to export
so-called early oil via Georgia and Russia, Russia has emphasized the
need to determine the legal status of the Caspian before exploitation
begins. Iran has refused to be wooed by Azerbaijan's recent offer to
join in the exploitation of the gas-rich Shah Deniz field as
compensation for its being ousted from the Caspian pipeline project.
Russia and Iran are threatening to disrupt such deals unless they are
suitably compensated. -- Lowell Bezanis

KURDS, TURKS, AND RUSSIA. A three-day meeting of the so-called Kurdish
parliament-in-exile began in Moscow on 30 October, Yeni Yuzyil reported.
The third sitting of the body, which Turkey considers to be connected to
the insurgent Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), is taking place in a
building attached to the Russian parliament. The Turkish government has
officially protested the fact that the meeting is being held in Russia.
Russian interest in the welfare of the Kurds is a reliable barometer of
overall Turko-Russian relations; of late they have been particularly
strained over the issue of oil export routes for Caspian Sea and
Kazakhstani oil. -- Lowell Bezanis

RUSSIA SIGNS MILITARY PACT WITH GREECE. Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev and his Greek counterpart, Gerassimov Arsenis, signed a military
cooperation agreement in Athens on 30 October, Western agencies
reported. The agreement called for what Greek Defense Ministry officials
called "unprecedented cooperation" in arms production, supply, and
technical assistance. It means that NATO-member Greece will receive
Russian arms and spare parts and the two will cooperate in arms
production. More than a year ago, Arsenis said Greece was formulating a
new defense policy that would keep it within the framework of its NATO
membership but would take into account the "new strategic realities" in
the region. -- Doug Clarke

COMPROMISE REACHED ON BUDGET FORECAST. Russia's State Duma Committee and
the Russian government reached a compromise on next year's inflation
targets, eliminating a major stumbling block to approving the 1996
budget, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 October. The committee voted to base
the 1996 budget on a forecast of average monthly inflation of 1.9%, up
from the earlier government estimate of 1.2%. The government must now
recalculate the budget based on the new forecast, and it will be
submitted again to the Duma. Some deputies originally wanted the budget
to allow for an inflation rate of 3-5%, but government officials want to
continue pursuing their anti-inflationary policies. The government wants
the budget approved before a new Duma is elected on 17 December. The
current draft puts spending at 414 trillion rubles ($92 billion) and
revenues at 333 trillion ($74 billion). -- Thomas Sigel

UNLICENSED COMPANIES OPERATING IN STOCK MARKET TO BE CLOSED. Financial
companies taking deposits without a license from Russia's Central Bank
must seek licenses or transform themselves into investment funds,
otherwise they will be closed and their property will be sold to
compensate depositors for damages, Dmitrii Vasiliev, the executive
director of the Federal Commission for Securities and the Stock Market,
told Russian agencies on 30 October. Only two out of 883 unlicensed
companies--Russkii Dom Selenga and Russkaya Nedvizhimost--have submitted
applications to transform into investment funds. The practical steps
will begin next week when regulations on licensing depositories and
managing companies are to come into effect, Vasiliev said. -- Thomas
Sigel

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

DZHABA IOSELIANI INTERVIEW. In a 30 October interview with OMRI, Dzhaba
Ioseliani, the leader of Archevnebi [elections], said his political
organization "emphasizes professionalism" and support of "specific
individuals" and will self-liquidate after the elections. The group is
opposed to party politics in parliament and favors judicial and
administrative reform. Ioseliani termed the constitution "half-baked" as
it contained no reference to land reform, private property, or the
"ideal" administrative system. He said Archevnebi is strongly opposed to
the division of Georgia into provinces and alleged that parliamentary
chairman Eduard Shevardnadze had violated the constitution by appointing
local governors. He predicted that both the parliamentary and
presidential elections scheduled for 5 November would fail to produce
clear winners. Ioseliani, who founded the paramilitary Mkhedrioni, said
he had not been arrested to date because the authorities could not find
anything concrete against him and it would be too embarrassing for
Shevardnadze. "After all, I was the one who brought [Shevardnadze] back
to Tbilisi," he said. -- Liz Fuller in Tbilisi

MOBIL OIL MAY GET 10% SHARE OF TENGIZ FIELD. Kazakhstan is prepared to
sell 10% of its share of the Tengiz oil field in western Kazakhstan to
the U.S. company Mobil Oil, according to Interfax. Presidential
spokesman Dulat Kuanyshev said Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev
had discussed the matter while visiting the U.S. during the 50th
anniversary celebration for the UN. The U.S. company Chevron Oil is
already a partner in the Tengiz joint venture and company officials say
they are not interested in selling "a single percent" of their stake.
Earlier this year, in response to export difficulties, Chevron cut its
planned investments for 1995 from $500 million to $50 million. -- Bruce
Pannier

TAJIK OPPOSITION CLAIMS TO HAVE RELEASED 17 HOSTAGES. Said Abdullo Nuri,
leader of the United Tajik Opposition, said 17 of the 54 government
soldiers taken hostage have been released as a good will gesture,
according to Interfax. The soldiers were captured on 13 October in the
Tavil-Dara region east of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. The opposition
seems to be using the hostages to pressure the Tajik government to
return to the negotiating table. The Tajik government has not confirmed
the release. -- Bruce Pannier

KAZAKH FIRM SAYS ARMS SHIPMENT TO NORTH KOREA LEGAL. The director of the
Kazakh firm Ulan claims the shipment of weapons bound for North Korea
that was detained by Russian border guards had all the required
documents. In an interview published on 27 October in the daily
Kazakhstanskaya pravda and cited by the BBC, the director, whose name is
given only as T. Ibraev, said a contract had been concluded with the
permission of the Kazakhstani government in accordance with the
regulations of the CIS for shipment to North Korea. He also stated that
advance permission had been given by Russian authorities and the
"unjustifiable detention" of the cargo is "causing serious damage to
Kazakh-Russian relations." -- Bruce Pannier

EMERGENCY CORPS IN CENTRAL ASIA. At a meeting of the CIS Emergencies
Council in Tashkent it was decided that a corps for emergencies in
Central Asia will be established, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 October. At
least 4,000 people, including a civil defense regiment and special
rescue teams, will be involved. Aside from Turkmenistan and the Baltic
states, all former Soviet republics participated in the meeting. Other
branches will be established for Russia, another for Ukraine, Belarus,
and Moldova, and a third for the Transcaucasus. -- 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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