|The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881|
No. 218, Part I, 8 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ LEBED CALLS FOR MILITARY FORCE TO PROTECT RUSSIANS ABROAD. Congress of Russian Communities deputy chairman Aleksandr Lebed said Russia should solve the problem of ethnic Russians living "outside the borders of their historic homeland" with "any available means, including military," Radio Mayak reported on 7 November. Lebed said that he was not concerned about the reaction to his remarks. However, with respect to Chechnya, the retired lieutenant general said that he would immediately withdraw Russian troops to the administrative border. He also said he would withdraw "the population," presumably meaning the Russians living there. -- Robert Orttung ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ RUSSIA COMMUNISTS MARK HOLIDAY ACROSS RUSSIA. Pro-communist rallies commemorating the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 were held across Russia on 7 November, Russian media reported the same day. Speakers including Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov and Aleksandr Prokhanov, editor of the hard-line newspaper Zavtra, addressed a crowd of about 10,000 people in Moscow's Teatralnaya Square. Police estimated the total number of demonstrators around the country at 100,000, NTV reported. In Volgograd, where communists won elections last month, the City Duma marked the day by renaming itself the Soviet of People's Deputies. -- Laura Belin COMMUNISTS RALLY IN ST. PETERSBURG. Tens of thousands of St. Petersburg communists rallied on 7 November to mark the 78th anniversary of the October Revolution. Carrying red flags and banners calling for the resurrection of the Soviet Union and attacking Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home Is Russia, the mostly elderly participants from four communist groups marched down Nevskii Prospekt and gathered on Dvortsovaya Square. Speakers at the rally, including the extreme communists Nina Andreeva and Eduard Limonov, urged the demonstrators to vote in the December elections in order to destroy the current regime "from within." The demonstration was good-humored but subdued and failed to attract widespread support. -- Penny Morvant in St. Petersburg WHITES MARCH IN MOSCOW. About 30 men dressed in the uniforms of the White Guards' elite Drozdovskii regiment marched through the center of Moscow on 7 November. They sought to honor the memory of officers and cadets killed during the 1917-1920 Civil War, ITAR-TASS reported. Members of the regiment fought in October 1993 in Yeltsin's campaign against the "red parliament" and have demonstrated in front of the Kazakhstani embassy to "defend the rights of Russians abroad," AFP reported. Many now devote themselves to reviving the memory of the Whites' exploits which were suppressed by Communist censors. -- Robert Orttung ANTI-COMMUNISTS MARK "DAY OF TRAGEDY." Anti-communist groups met in Moscow's Lubyanka Square, the former site of the KGB headquarters, to denounce 7 November as a "day of tragedy" and to warn against a communist return to power, Ekho Moskvy reported. Duma Deputy Sergei Yushenkov, a member of Russia's Democratic Choice, addressed the rally, which was organized by the Moscow Anti-Fascist Center. Former political prisoners and children of those labeled "enemies of the people" held a similar rally in Tomsk, near a labor camp believed to have held 100,000 prisoners during the Soviet period, according to Radio Rossii. Meanwhile, a statement issued by the radical Democratic Union compared the holiday marking the Bolshevik Revolution to Halloween, which it said is also a day for "evil spirits and demonic forces," Ekspress-khronika reported. -- Laura Belin DUMA REPRESENTATIVE FAILS TO SHOW UP FOR HEARING ON JOURNALIST SUIT. The Duma's representative failed to show up for a hearing in the law suit brought by Novoe vremya Deputy Editor Kronid Lyubarskii against the parliament on 2 November. Lyubarskii is suing the Duma over a report released by Stanislav Govorukhin's Chechnya Commission that accused the deputy editor and other journalists of taking money from Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev in exchange for writing critical reports on Russia's military campaign (see OMRI Daily Digest 22 September 1995). Lyubarskii said the Duma representative's failure to show up demonstrates that the deputies do not recognize that "the laws are written for all citizens," Interfax reported. The next hearing is scheduled for 6 December. -- Robert Orttung ZAVGAEV SAYS CHECHNYA NOW HAS COALITION GOVERNMENT. Speaking with journalists in Grozny, Moscow-backed Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev declared that since half the current Chechen government supports separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev, it is already based on a "coalition," Russian agencies reported on 7 November. Zavgaev expressed willingness to include more Dudaev supporters in the government if doing so would promote political stability and repeated his suggestion of direct talks with Dudaev. Following a meeting with Zavgaev on 7 November, mediator Ruslan Khasbulatov expressed guarded support for the new Chechen head of state but said he would not accept a post in the government. Meanwhile, 45 attacks by separatist fighters killed four federal servicemen on 6 November, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Scott Parrish RUSSIA, NATO SAID TO BE CLOSE ON BOSNIAN PEACE FORCE. A formula has been found that will allow Russian forces to serve in the Bosnian peace implementation force, NATO officials in Brussels told Reuters on 7 November. Russian unwillingness to serve under a NATO commander had been the sticking point, but the sources said that NATO will propose that Russian troops be given a specific task by the overall NATO commander which they will then carry out under their own tactical theater command. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and his Russian counterpart, Col. Gen. Pavel Grachev, are to meet in Brussels on 8 November to finalize the accord. -- Doug Clarke PRELIMINARY STUDIES COMPLETED AT BUSHEHR. Reza Amrollahi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, told journalists on 7 October that preliminary studies of the Bushehr reactor site in southern Iran have been completed, ITAR-TASS reported. Amrollahi said the first VVER- 1000 reactor at the site would be completed within three years. Russian officials had earlier said that construction would begin late this year and would take four years to finish. Despite continuing vocal U.S. opposition to the power plant, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov reiterated his government's intention to complete it during his recent visit to Tehran. -- Scott Parrish CAVIAR SUPPLIES DEPLETING. Caspian Sea sturgeon--the world's main source of caviar--could face extinction unless the five nations that border the sea reach an accord to protect them, Russian and Western agencies announced on 7 November. Stocks of sturgeon in the Caspian have dropped from 200 million five years ago to no more than 60 million today. The drop is attributed to pollution, low water levels, and increased poaching. Before 1991, the area's caviar industry was tightly controlled by Iran and the Soviet Union, but following the USSR's collapse, controls disappeared. The Russian Fisheries Committee recommends that Russia create a governmental body to monitor the fish. -- Thomas Sigel CHORNOBYL WORKERS PROTEST LACK OF BENEFITS. A group of workers who helped clean up the Chornobyl nuclear disaster continued their hunger strikes for the fourth day to protest cutbacks in benefits, Russian and Western agencies reported on 7 November. The strikers in the Ural city of Chelyabinsk are demanding the reopening of a regional rehabilitation center and the implementation of a law on social protection for citizens exposed to radiation. Many of the estimated 600,000 people who worked on the cleanup of the Chornobyl disaster in 1986 are sick from radiation and have suffered as a result of sharp reductions in health and social benefits. Ukrainian authorities estimate a total of 8,000 people have died as a result of the accident. -- Thomas Sigel MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX DEMANDS MORE MONEY FROM THE BUDGET. Spending on defense procurement for 1996 should be increased to 50-54 trillion rubles ($11-12 billion) from the current allocation of 13 trillion rubles ($2.9 billion), Viktor Glukhikh, the chairman of the State Committee for Defense Industries, told Interfax on 4 November. The Defense Ministry also needs 5 trillion rubles ($1.1 billion) to repay its debts to defense plants (including unpaid wages). -- Natalia Gurushina TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF GEORGIAN ELECTIONS. Parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze has won the Georgian presidential elections with more than 70% of the vote, while his main opponent, former Communist party leader Dzhumber Patiashvili, has received only 17% of the popular vote, according to the Central Electoral Commission. Turnout was reported to be 63%. Meanwhile, the results of the parliamentary elections are not clear yet, Russian media reported on 7 November. The commission said that so far only three parties have overcome the 5% threshold necessary to gain representation in the new parliament. They are: the Union of Citizens of Georgia, led by Shevardnadze, the National Democratic party, and the Revival All Georgian Union. The final results of the parliamentary elections will be announced next week. -- Irakli Tsereteli ELECTION PREPARATIONS IN AZERBAIJAN CRITICIZED. International observers in Azerbaijan have expressed their "unease" at the exclusion of a number of political parties and independent candidates from the parliamentary election scheduled for 12 November, AFP reported on 8 November. A joint statement by observers from the UN and OSCE said the elections could be illegal as the registration of candidates and parties are based on "disputable criteria," and independent experts have been unable to examine, confirm, or object to the official decisions. Azerbaijan's electoral commission has refused to register Musavat, the Communist Party, the People's Democratic Party, and the Hope Party; on 7 November, ITAR-TASS reported that 600 independent candidates had been barred from the elections. -- Lowell Bezanis NEW TALKS ON KARABAKH BEGIN IN MOSCOW. Talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia aimed at settling the prolonged dispute over the Nagorno- Karabakh enclave began in Moscow on 7 November, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 November. The Armenian delegation is headed by Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and the Azerbaijani team is represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov. The head of the press service of the Armenian embassy in Moscow, Gevorg Oganesian, told an ITAR-TASS correspondent that the first day of talks promise "the beginning of a dynamic process in search of solutions." The talks, which are to continue until 10 November, follow OSCE-mediated negotiations held in Finland in mid- October. -- Bhavna Dave UZBEK DEFENSE MINISTER SUPPORTS CIS MILITARY AGREEMENTS. In an interview with Radio Mayak on 7 November, Lt. Gen. Rustam Akhmedov, the Uzbek defense minister, voiced his support for greater cooperation within the CIS on military affairs. Speaking on the issue of defending Uzbekistan's borders, Akhmedov stressed that his government believes each country should be able to defend its borders independently. However, that does not exclude cooperative efforts, including the deployment of combined units, to defend CIS borders. Indeed, the defense minister noted that Uzbekistan has been interested in greater CIS military cooperation since 1992 and President Islam Karimov has called for a regional air defense network. Those efforts, Akhmedov concluded, would not compromise the independence of any CIS member state. -- Roger Kangas TALKS ON PIPELINES IN ASHGABAT. The five-nation Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) met in Turkmen capital Ashgabat on 7 November to discuss the creation of four major pipelines, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. Officials from Turkmenistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran discussed plans for the following pipelines: Baku-Ceyhan (Turkey); Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan to the Indian Ocean; Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkey toward Europe; and the supply of Uzbek and Turkmen gas to Pakistan through Afghanistan. -- Bhavna Dave NEW KYRGYZ POLITICAL PARTY. A congress of the new People's Party of Kyrgyzstan met in Bishkek on 7 November, Interfax reported. The party is led by Melis Eshimkanov, editor of the Asaba Kyrgyz newspeper. It is said to have 22,500 members, the next largest after the republic's Communist Party. The congress was attended by 500 delegates, who listened to Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev deliver the keynote address. Observers speculate that the new party was set up to create a base of support for Akaev, who will be running for re-election on 24 December. -- Bruce Pannier CORRECTION: In the 7 November OMRI Daily Digest, the item on the Medzamor nuclear power plant in Armenia incorrectly abbreviated megawatts. It should have been written Mw. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Victor Gomez The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet Union and Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The OMRI Daily Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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