The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. - Charles Darwin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 213, Part I, 1 November 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND YABLOKO. Just one day after
winning their Supreme Court appeal to be included on the ballot, the
leaders of Democratic Russia (DR) announced that they would withdraw
their party list from the December election and throw their support
behind Yabloko, Russian media reported on 31 October. DR co-chairwoman
Galina Starovoitova said the movement's 73 regional branches will urge
supporters to vote for Yabloko's party list so as not to split the
democratic electorate. However, she told NTV that DR will still field
candidates in some single-member districts where they will not be in
direct competition with Russia's Democratic Choice or Yabloko. DR was
the core organization of the democratic movement after its appearance in
1990. It helped found Russia's Choice in 1993, then split with the party
the following year. * Laura Belin

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^OTHER HEADLINES^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
KARIMOV BLASTS NIYAZOV, RUSSIAN INTENTIONS
NEW LINEUP FOR KAZAKHSTANI OIL CONSORTIUM
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

YELTSIN ASKS FOR CLARIFICATION OF REGISTRATION DENIAL. Following the
Central Electoral Commission's (TsIK) decision not to register Yabloko,
President Boris Yeltsin asked TsIK Chairman Nikolai Ryabov to provide
more information on whether any parties had violated the law and whose
lists had been registered, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 October. However,
Ryabov told Russian TV that Yeltsin had not requested any explanation
and the reports were "fabrications." The TsIK registered an additional
eight parties yesterday but denied registration to two minor parties,
without scandal. * Robert Orttung

KORZHAKOV VISITS YELTSIN. The head of the presidential security service,
Aleksandr Korzhakov, visited President Yeltsin in the hospital on
31 October, NTV reported. Doctors have prevented all but Yeltsin's guard
and family from seeing him, although a visit with his top aide, Viktor
Ilyushin, is planned for 1 November. Although doctors held their first
press conference to reassure the world about the president's health on
31 October, Izvestiya and Komsomolskaya pravda both complained the next
day that they did not have enough information about the president's
condition to evaluate his ability to run the country. The Russian press
is full of speculation about how much influence the president's aides
are exerting while Yeltsin is incapacitated. Ilyushin sought to quash
those rumors by stating that the president's stay in the hospital would
not affect domestic or foreign policy and that Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin continues to run the government with Yeltsin's support.
* Robert Orttung

RUSSIA'S CHOICE SUPPORTS SPECIAL DUMA SESSION. Yegor Gaidar's Russia's
Choice Duma faction is collecting the 90 signatures necessary to call a
special Duma session to amend the electoral law. The session would be
held on 4 November, at least a week before the next scheduled session,
ITAR-TASS reported on 31 October. The deputy chairman of the faction,
Boris Zolotukhin, said the proposed amendments to the electoral law
would prevent "intentional or unintentional mistakes" by the Central
Electoral Commission, such as its decision not to register the Yabloko
bloc. * Robert Orttung

COURT DECISION CLARIFIES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROCESS. The
Constitutional Court ruled that amendments to the constitution are
"special legal acts" and clarified the process by which they are to be
adopted, Russian TV and ITAR-TASS reported on 31 October. Amendments
must be approved by two-thirds of the Duma, three-fourths of the
Federation Council, and two-thirds of the legislatures of Russia's 89
regions, after which they must be signed by the president. The Duma had
asked the court to clarify Article 136 of the constitution, which does
not specify whether the president has the authority to veto amendments
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 October 1995). * Laura Belin

AIDE URGES COMPROMISE BETWEEN KRASNOYARSK AND TAIMYR. Presidential aide
Nikolai Yegorov urged a special session of the legislature of
Krasnoyarsk Krai to conclude an economic cooperation agreement with the
Taimyr Autonomous Okrug, which is located in the north of the krai,
Radio Rossii reported on 31 October. In May, the Taimyr legislature
voted to annex the city of Norilsk, a center for nickel production that
is located in Taimyr but currently pays taxes to Krasnoyarsk. According
to ITAR-TASS, Yegorov said that if Krasnoyarsk and Taimyr are unable to
reach a compromise, aides will suggest that the president take "tough
measures" to resolve the conflict. * Laura Belin

ZAVGAEV SAYS LOCAL ELECTIONS IMPOSSIBLE IN CHECHNYA. Doku Zavgaev, head
of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, rejected early local elections
in Chechnya, telling Interfax on 31 October it would be "immoral" to
hold them while people continued to live in bombed-out buildings lacking
heat, electricity, or water. His statement appeared to contradict
earlier promises by Russian officials to hold local elections next
spring. Meanwhile, NTV reported that the Russian military is preparing
for a winter campaign, while Russian Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov
told a press conference in Rostov-na-Donu that "all means of firepower"
should be used to disarm "irreconcilable" separatist fighters. Kulikov
added that political negotiations should now shift to direct talks
between Zavgaev's government and individual Chechen field commanders,
excluding separatist Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. * Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY DISAVOWS KURDISH "PARLIAMENT." The Russian
Foreign Ministry on 31 October condemned attempts to portray a seminar
in Moscow on the problems of Kurds as a session of a "Kurdish
parliament-in-exile," Western and Russian agencies reported. In response
to a protest by Turkey, the ministry said Russian officials had nothing
to do with such attempts, which it attributed to "foreign citizens"
among the participants in the seminar organized by the Duma Committee on
Geopolitics. Russia favors the development of "mutually beneficial
relations" with Turkey, according to the ministry, and "does not
encourage any separatist tendencies." * Scott Parrish

RUSSIA SUBMITS CFE REVISIONS IN VIENNA. At a 31 October conference on
the 1990 CFE treaty in Vienna, Russian diplomats presented proposed
amendments which would loosen the "flank limits" Russia must meet under
the agreement, Russian and Western agencies reported. The Russian
proposals, which emerged from Russian-U.S. talks on the issue, exclude
certain districts from the treaty's definition of Russia's northern and
southern flanks, allowing Russia to station more heavy weapons there
than the treaty currently permits (see OMRI Daily Digest, 30 October
1995). Turkey immediately objected to the Russian proposal, and the
Baltic States, Finland, and Norway have also expressed reservations
about revising the treaty. Any formal changes in the agreement, which is
to go into effect on 17 November, must be accepted by all 30
signatories. * Scott Parrish

RUSSIA DISMANTLING "BURAN" SHUTTLES. The two unfinished "Buran" space
shuttles are being dismantled at the production site, Interfax reported
on 31 October. The dismantling is probably the final episode in the
history of the world's most powerful space system, Energiya-Buran. The
Russian space shuttle program fell victim to a lack of funds. The Buran
manufacturer, the Tushino Engineering Plant, is to be converted for the
production of Ikarus buses, disposable syringes, and diapers. * Natalia
Gurushina

ALTAI KRAI POWER SUPPLY THREATENED. Russia's Sibirenergo, an electricity
supplier, has threatened to cut off the power supply to the regional
utility company in Altai Krai unless it repays its energy bill of
380 billion rubles ($84 million) soon, Interfax reported on 31 October.
The krai has to import electricity to cover 50% of its energy needs. At
the same time, local consumers owe the regional Altaienergo company
about 500 billion rubles ($110 million). * Thomas Sigel

YUKOS TO SELL 78% OF SHARES AT AUCTION AND INVESTMENT TENDER. Yukos, a
major Russian oil company, intends to begin accepting bids on 31 October
for an investment tender and an auction on the transfer of 78% of the
federally owned shares in Yukos as collateral security under the shares-
for-equity scheme, Interfax reported on 30 October. A source in the
Russian Federal Property Fund told Interfax that the 45% bloc of shares
offered for the auction would have a starting price of $150 million. A
33% bloc of shares in Yukos will be sold through an investment tender at
a starting price of $350 million. The deadline for submitting bids for
the auction and the investment tender is 5 December. * Thomas Sigel

POLICE BATTLE TAX EVASION. The head of the Russian Tax Police
Department, Sergei Almazov, announced that in the first nine months of
this year his department discovered 9,000 cases of large-scale tax
evasion, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 31 October. The resulting loss
of budgetary revenue equaled 5 trillion rubles ($1.1 billion), a
threefold increase compared to the same period in 1994. According to the
Tax Police, many of those cases lead to criminal groups, which account
for nearly 40% of trade turnover in Russia. * Natalia Gurushina

RUSSIA MAY LOSE FINANCIAL CONTROL OVER ITS FLEET. Officials at the Sea
Transport Department fear that the transfer of federally-owned shares in
shipping fleets and ports to foreigners might result in Russia losing
control over its commercial fleet, Interfax reported on 31 October.
Currently, foreign companies' share in the equity capital of Russian
fleets ranges from 11% (Murmansk sea lines) to 29% (Baltic sea lines).
On 17 November, the government plans to auction off its stakes in the
Far East, Novorossiisk, and Murmansk fleets and the Arkhangelsk and
Murmansk ports in exchange for new credits. If the government fails to
repay the loans, federal shares will pass to new owners-private Russian
and foreign companies. Department officials  recommend that at least 25%
of the commercial fleet's shares should remain under federal ownership.
* Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KARIMOV BLASTS NIYAZOV, RUSSIAN INTENTIONS. In an interview broadcast on
Uzbek TV on 27 October, President Islam Karimov sharply criticized his
Turkmen counterpart, Saparmurad Niyazov, and "various forces" who are
aiming to restore the Soviet Union. He censured Niyazov for failing to
attend a 20 September UN conference on the Aral Sea crisis, which
affects Turkmenistan "first of all." He went on to say "forces,
movements, and demonstrations" in Russia threaten "our development and
future." He warned neighboring states who use Russian troops to guard
their borders, a veiled reference to Turkmenistan, that "nobody will
guard you for nothing." He went on to suggest they were "fools" and
would lose control over their countries. * Lowell Bezanis

NEW LINEUP FOR KAZAKHSTANI OIL CONSORTIUM. Kazakhstan has suspended
Oman's participation in the Caspian Oil Consortium for failing to meet
its financial obligations, Interfax and AFP reported. Oman's share in
the project was given over to Western companies. Also involved in the
project, which includes the construction of a new pipeline estimated to
cost $1.8 billion, are Mobil Oil, British Gas, and the Italian company
Agip. Interfax reported that Russia and Kazakhstan each have a 25% share
with the remaining 50% being divided up between the other companies.
Kazakh Oil and Gas Minister Nurlan Balginbaev said Oman could still join
in and will "receive as much as it invests." In a related deal, Chevron
Oil agreed to hand over part of its 50% stake in the Tengiz oil field to
the Russian company LUKoil. * Bruce Pannier

KYRGYZSTAN SEEKS BETTER ECONOMIC TIES WITH RUSSIA. Kyrgyz Prime Minister
Apas Jumagulov said his country would seek to mend broken economic ties
with Russia, Interfax reported. Speaking at a news conference, Jumagulov
stated that an improved relationship with Russia would help lower
inflation and stabilize the national currency. In September, Kyrgyzstan
expressed its desire to join the customs union of Russia, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan. The president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs, Arkadii Volskii, echoed Jumagulov's statements, saying
"economic sovereignty is sheer nonsense." Volskii noted that agreements
had been signed on cooperation in oil refining, electric engineering,
oil prospecting, and tourism. * Bruce Pannier

ABASHIDZE ATTACKED? An alleged terrorist attack on Aslan Abashidze, the
chairman of the Supreme Council of the Georgian autonomous region of
Adzharia, was averted on 29 October, the Black Sea Press reported on
31 October, quoting an Adzhar Security Service official. Two armed
individuals who reportedly tried to force Abashidze's motorcade to a
halt as he was returning to Batumi from Kobuleti have been arrested in
connection with the incident. * Liz Fuller in Tbilisi

[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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