The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 214, Part I, 2 November 1995

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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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
CONGRESS OF RUSSIAN COMMUNITIES, COMMUNISTS MAY FORM BLOC. Sources close
to the leadership of the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) claim
that the bloc may announce an electoral alliance with the Communist
Party, Russian TV reported on 1 November. Observers expect a statement
about those plans on 3 November when KRO leaders Yurii Skokov and Lt.
Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed return from a campaign trip to Krasnoyarsk
Krai. Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov said that he sees a strong
basis for cooperation and that he is in regular contact with the KRO
leaders, NTV reported on 1 November. Lebed did not rule out the idea of
cooperating with the Communists in an 18 October press conference, but
Skokov is less receptive to the idea. The reports did not specify what
form the alliance would take. -- Robert Orttung
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
RUSSIA

YELTSIN'S HEALTH UNCERTAIN. "I cannot say that the president looks
healthy," first aide Viktor Ilyushin told reporters after a 10-minute
visit with Boris Yeltsin in the hospital on 1 November, NTV reported. He
made it clear that the president himself realizes that his situation is
"no joking matter." Ilyushin's remarks contradicted the optimistic
assessment that the head of the Presidential Security Service, Aleksandr
Korzhakov, made on 1 November and the upbeat tone set by the president's
press service. Korzhakov was the only aide to see Yeltsin during the
first six days of his illness. In answer to reporters' questions,
Ilyushin said Korzhakov is not interfering in his work. Yeltsin has not
set a time to meet with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, ITAR-TASS
reported on 2 November. -- Robert Orttung

YABLOKO, DERZHAVA APPEAL TO SUPREME COURT. The Supreme Court has three
days to consider appeals filed on 1 November by Grigorii Yavlinskii's
Yabloko and Aleksandr Rutskoi's Derzhava against the Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK), Russian media reported. The court is likely to find
in favor of the claimants, as it has already instructed the TsIK to
register four parties who filed similar complaints: Democratic Russia
and the Federal Democratic Movement on 30 October, and Our Future (led
by the extreme communist Sazhi Umalatova) and Assembly of the Land on 1
November. -- Laura Belin

RYBKIN DEFENDS DUMA'S RECORD. During its almost two years' work, the
State Duma has adopted 360 laws, 240 of which Yeltsin signed, according
to Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin. He said that the Duma itself had prepared
most of those laws and criticized the government for not introducing
more bills. He said the government's low output was due to internal
disagreements within its ranks and the inability of the various factions
to compromise. Rybkin suggested reducing the number of deputy ministers
while increasing the importance of the ministers. He said the president
should be required to gain the Duma's approval for naming key ministers.
Under the current constitution only the nominee for prime minister must
be submitted for parliamentary approval. -- Robert Orttung

PAPER SPECULATES ON PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. The outcome of the 1996
presidential elections will depend on the ability of each of the four
"super-parties"--the "party of power," the democrats, the communists,
and the nationalists--to agree on a single candidate and thereby get
past the first round, according to Nezavisimaya gazeta on 1 November.
The paper speculated that the "party of power" is for now loyal to
Yeltsin but will switch to Chernomyrdin if the president's health
continues to deteriorate. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov has solid financial
backing, but he is unlikely to attract popular support outside the
capital. The democrats could unite behind Grigorii Yavlinskii, but not
all their supporters may be willing to back his candidacy. So far the
communists appear to be sticking with Gennadii Zyuganov. The main
nationalist candidate will be either Vladimir Zhirinovsky or Aleksandr
Lebed, depending on the outcome of the December parliamentary elections.
-- Laura Belin

JOURNALIST WHO CALLED GRACHEV A "THIEF" FILES APPEAL. Moskovskii
komsomolets reporter Vadim Poegli, who was convicted last week of
insulting Defense Minister Pavel Grachev but immediately amnestied, has
appealed the ruling, Ekho Moskvy reported on 1 November. On 31 October,
the paper reprinted Poegli's October 1994 article, "Pasha Mercedes,"
signed by the entire editorial board. -- Laura Belin

VLADIMIR AUTHORITIES CLASH OVER REGIONAL ELECTIONS. Vladimir Oblast and
city legislatures, both dominated by Communist deputies, are insisting
on holding mayoral and gubernatorial elections on 17 December, the same
day as Duma elections, while regional executive officials consider that
date to be too early, Radio Rossii reported on 1 November. The Central
Electoral Commission allowed the regional electoral commission to start
preparations for elections but added that they would not necessarily be
held on 17 December. Nikolai Yegorov, Vladimir's presidential
representative, and Oblast Governor Yurii Vlasov said they will follow
the 17 September presidential decree, which instructed the majority of
regions to elect local executive heads and local legislatures in March
1996. -- Anna Paretskaya

ZAVGAEV APPOINTED CHECHEN HEAD OF STATE. In a move likely to increase
tensions in Chechnya, a meeting of the Chechen Supreme Soviet on 1
November unanimously elected Doku Zavgaev, prime minister of the Moscow-
backed Chechen government, as "head of state" of the republic, Russian
and Western agencies reported. The new post, which is equivalent to that
of president, was created in order to facilitate "stability" in
Chechnya, a spokesman for Zavgaev told Interfax. The session also
appointed Sanakii Arbiev as first deputy prime minister and Grozny Mayor
Baslan Gantemirov as deputy prime minister, in what appears to be a
consolidation of all forces opposed to separatist President Dzhokhar
Dudaev. Nevertheless, 1,000 pro-Dudaev demonstrators held a protest
meeting in central Grozny on 1 November, and Dudaev's negotiator,
Khodzh-akhmed Yarikhanov, denounced Zavgaev as a "puppet" of "the
occupation regime" in an interview with Interfax. -- Scott Parrish

CHECHEN CAPTIVE TO BE EXCHANGED? Russian officials plan to exchange a
Chechen captive, Tamarlane Kunta Avtorkhanov, for five Russian border
guards, Interfax and Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 1 November.
Avtorkhanov is the son of Abdurakhman Avtorkahnov, a dissident and well-
known author who fled Chechnya during World War II. He will be traded to
separatist fighters for five Russian border guards who have been held
prisoner since 24 August. Before his capture in Dagestan a few weeks
ago, Avtorkhanov had reportedly been serving as an aide to President
Dudaev. Interfax reported allegations that Avtorkhanov has links to
Western security agencies, having served as an instructor at a Western
intelligence academy. -- Scott Parrish and Lowell Bezanis

RUSSIA MAY RESUME DUMPING RADIOACTIVE WASTE AT SEA. Russia cannot
guarantee that it will not resume dumping liquid radioactive waste at
sea because of financial difficulties, storage facilities that are full,
and the lack of sufficient reprocessing capacity, Viktor Kutsenko, a
high-ranking official of the Russian Ministry of Environment and Natural
Resources, told ITAR-TASS on 1 November. Kutsenko predicted that Russia
would make an announcement to that effect at an international conference
on marine pollution in December. He complained that international aid to
help deal with the problem that was promised after Russia last dumped
liquid waste into the Sea of Japan in 1993 has been insufficient. He
said the situation is becoming increasingly serious as Russian nuclear
submarines are decommissioned under the START arms control agreements.
-- Scott Parrish

BRYANSK AUTO WORKERS PROTEST. One person died during protests at the
Bryansk auto plant, where workers have not been paid for five months,
ITAR-TASS reported on 1 November. Two people were run over by a truck as
workers tried to block access to the plant. Bryansk Mayor Nikolai
Borisov said the plant owes the workers 6.5 billion rubles ($1.5
million). He said the city is lending the plant 1.5 billion rubles
($335,000) to help pay some of the overdue wages. On 30 October, the
Russian government announced it is setting up a joint working group with
the Federation of Independent Trade Unions to examine the problem of
wage arrears. -- Thomas Sigel

IMF TALKS MAKE PROGRESS. Discussions between Russia and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) on conditions for a three-year aid
program potentially worth $18 billion have made "considerable progress,"
IMF Moscow representative Thomas Wolf said on 1 November, Russian and
Western agencies reported. The IMF delegation that arrived in Moscow two
weeks ago to discuss the plan left yesterday for Washington, where it
will report its findings to IMF headquarters. In addition to talks on a
new loan, the team is reviewing Russia's compliance with this year's
$6.8 billion standby loan. Wolf said the government and the Central Bank
of Russia appear to be on target. The 1996 budget, currently undergoing
revision in parliament, is a key point in negotiations for a new loan.
Russia is expected to show progress on reforming the agriculture and
energy sectors and on private land ownership. -- Thomas Sigel

CHERNOMYRDIN URGES BUSINESSMEN TO STRENGTHEN GOVERNMENT TIES. Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin urged Russian businessmen to strengthen
ties with the government to fight crime and boost the economy, Russian
and Western agencies reported on 1 November. Speaking at the Russian
Business Round Table in Moscow, Chernomyrdin said Russia's business
corps is "the guarantor of political stability and economic reform in
the country." He told the group that he would call on the Interior
Ministry, Procurator's Office, and Federal Security Service to better
protect entrepreneurs. In the past year, there have been more than 500
contract killings, most of which remain unsolved. Andrei Nechaev,
president of the Russian Financial Corporation and a member of the Round
Table board, said the government has failed to enforce the law. --
Thomas Sigel

42% OF RUSSIAN INVESTMENT ABROAD IS ILLEGAL CAPITAL. A spokesman for the
EBRD said that Russian investment abroad now totals $43.1 billion,
Western agencies reported on 1 November. Out of that amount, more than
$18 billion (or nearly 42%) is considered to be illegally exported
capital, most of which is held in cash, securities, and real estate. The
remaining investment consists mainly of cash held by entrepreneurs
operating in the so-called "gray economy" and of Russian companies' hard
currency earnings. The EBRD's estimates show that about 85% of legal
assets are held in cash. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CHINESE POLITBURO MEMBER IN UZBEKISTAN. Uzbek President Islam Karimov
told visiting Hu Jintao, a politburo member of the Chinese Communist
Party, that his republic adheres to a "one China" policy and opposes any
form of separatist activity in China, Xinhua news agency reported on 31
October. Fearing support for Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, or Uighurs living in
Xinjiang, China has extracted similar promises from other Central Asian
leaders. -- Lowell Bezanis

ARRESTED COSSACK LEADER IN KAZAKHSTAN ON HUNGER STRIKE. The imprisoned
ataman of the Semirechie Cossacks, Nikolai Gunkin, declared his
intention to go on a hunger strike, Russian TV reported. Gunkin, who
plans to run for parliament in December's elections, was arrested on 28
October in Almaty for holding an unregistered rally. Kazakhstani
Interior Ministry authorities now say he is being held for an
unsanctioned rally he organized in January. Cossack organizations have
lodged a protest over the arrest. -- Bruce Pannier

ELECTIONS POSTPONED IN ABKHAZIA, SOUTH OSSETIYA. Georgia's Central
Election Commission passed a resolution postponing elections in Abkhazia
and the Tskinvali and Java constituencies of South Ossetiya, Iprinda
reported on 31 October. The elections were planned as part of the
nationwide Georgian elections scheduled for 5 November. Abkhaz President
Vladislav Ardzinba confirmed to Ekho Moskvy on 31 October that he would
not allow the elections to take place. On 29 October, Georgian
parliamentary chairman Eduard Shevardnadze said he would call for
Abkhazia's full isolation at the next CIS summit. He also brought into
question the future of Russian peacekeepers and military bases on
Georgian territory if Russia fails to help restore Georgia's territorial
integrity. In related news, Abkhaz Prime Minister Gennadii Gaulia was
quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying the main obstacle to the resumption of
Georgian-Abkhaz talks, the Russian blockade of Sukhumi, has been lifted.
-- 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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