Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important, in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 224, Part I, 16 November 1995

************************************************************************
Would you like more details and expanded analysis on many of the topics
covered in the Daily Digest? OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal
Transition. The 17 November issue examines the changing nuclear threat
in the former USSR and Eastern Europe, including these titles: "Nuclear
Arms -- A Soviet Legacy"  "The 'Sapphire' File: Lessons for
International Nonproliferation Cooperation" and "The Chornobyl Fallout
Persists"  The 1 December issue takes a special look at the Russian
election campaign ahead of the crucial 17 December Duma elections with
such articles as: "Are the Communists Poised for Victory?" "Divided
Democrats Face Uncertain Prospects" and "Zhirinovsky's Uphill Battle"
For subscription info, send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ By mail to
OMRI Publications, Motokov Building, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech
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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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TO BE HELD 16 JUNE 1996. The Federation
Council voted 123 to 0 to set the presidential elections for 16 June
1996, four days after Yeltsin's term in office expires, Russian and
Western media reported on 15 November. A minimum of 90 votes (half the
seats in the Council) was needed to take the decision. Earlier this
week, President Yeltsin asked Council speaker Vladimir Shumeiko to hurry
the vote on the election date to reduce speculation about possible post-
ponement. On 14 November, Yeltsin said that he favored holding both
presidential and parliamentary elections on time, but would like the
electoral legislation improved first, Reuters reported. Among the
possible presidential candidates are Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed,
economist Grigorii Yavlinskii, Communist Gennadii Zyuganov, and
ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Yeltsin himself has not announced
yet whether he plans to seek another term. -- Anna Paretskaya
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

YELTSIN AIDE ON ELECTIONS. Presidential aide Georgii Satarov told ITAR-
TASS on 15 November that he believes that the opposition won't get two-
thirds of the Duma seats, a qualified majority that would allow them to
override vetos from the upper house and the president. The same day,
Ekho Moskvy reported that Satarov said if the Constitutional Court rules
that the electoral law violates the constitution (see OMRI Daily Digest,
14 November 1995), the December elections might be cancelled. -- Anna
Paretskaya

CHAMBER RULES AGAINST CAMPAIGN ADS. The head of the Judicial Chamber on
Informational Disputes, Anatolii Vengerov, said that a 15 November ad by
Konstantin Borovoi's Economic Freedom Party was "illegal," ITAR-TASS
reported. The ad included an accordion band singing a mischievous ditty
about the other parties, according to Reuters. Such violations could
result in the party being disqualified from the campaign, although the
Chamber's decisions are only advisory and do not carry any sanctions.
The Chamber has also ruled against an ad aired by Vladimir Zhirinovsky's
Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) in which Peter the Great, Field Marshal
Mikhail Kutuzov, and dissident Andrei Sakharov are said to support the
LDPR. The Chamber ruled that these people did not know what the LDPR was
and therefore could not support it. -- Robert Orttung

CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION REGISTERS ANOTHER PARTY. The Central
Electoral Commission (TsIK) registered the Union of Russian Housing
Industry Workers on 15 November as the 43rd party to compete in the
December Duma elections. Four other parties have complaints against the
TsIK pending in the Supreme Court, ITAR-TASS reported. The Court has
ruled against the TsIK in almost every case. The TsIK must have the
final text of the ballot ready by 18 November, according to the
electoral law. -- Robert Orttung

DUMA OVERRIDES FEDERATION COUNCIL ON CONSCRIPTION LAW. The State Duma
managed to override the Federation Council's earlier veto of proposed
amendments to the conscription law, NTV reported on 15 November. The
amendments stipulate that the extension of the service term from 18 to
24 months should not apply to those conscripts who were drafted before 1
October 1995 or those who have served in "hot spots." The amendments now
go to President Yeltsin for his consideration. -- Constantine Dmitriev

YELTSIN CAN VETO NATO ORDERS TO RUSSIAN TROOPS IN BOSNIA. President
Boris Yeltsin will be able to countermand any order the NATO commander
of the planned Bosnian peace implementation force might give the Russian
contingent, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told a Moscow news conference
on 15 November. Western agencies reported him as saying that such a veto
would only be given after Yeltsin had consulted with his Security
Council. A brigade of 1,500 Russian paratroopers, to be commanded by
Gen. Leonid Shevtsov, has been designated to serve in the Bosnian force.
Shevtsov will take orders from American Gen. George Joulwan but will
notify Moscow should he question them. -- Doug Clarke

YELTSIN ENDORSES ELECTIONS IN CHECHNYA. After meeting with President
Yeltsin on 15 November, presidential representative in Chechnya Oleg
Lobov told journalists that Yeltsin had endorsed holding simultaneous
elections in Chechnya for the Duma and for a new Chechen head of state
on 17 December, Russian and Western agencies reported. Separatist
President Dzhokhar Dudaev has vowed to oppose any elections until
Chechnya's constitutional status is settled. Lobov said an agreement
delineating the division of local and federal powers between Moscow and
Grozny, similar to those signed with seven other Federation subjects,
would be concluded with Zavgaev's goverment soon. -- Scott Parrish

GRACHEV WARNS AGAIN ABOUT NATO EXPANSION, SAYS RUSSIA WON'T MEET CFE
DEADLINE. Grachev told senior military commanders meeting in Moscow on
15 November that the admission of East European countries to NATO would
damage Russian political, military, and economic interests, and would
call for "appropriate moves" from Moscow, Interfax reported. Western
agencies quoted him as saying we would "reshape all our strategic
nuclear forces" in the event of NATO expansion. Describing Russia's
geopolitical situation as "fairly difficult", Grachev said that threats
to Russian security had moved to a regional level. Grachev also told the
Moscow news conference that Russia would not meet all the terms of the
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty when they go into effect on
17 November. This especially concerns the flank limitations, which limit
the amount of arms the Russians can deploy in the North Caucasus
military district. "According to other western agencies, he charged that
the treaty "ties us hand and foot." Western diplomats in Vienna and
Brussels continued working in an effort to find a compromise, and a
diplomatic source told Reuters that they were "still hopeful that it
will all be worked out." -- Doug Clarke

INTERNATIONAL ANTI-TERRORISM SEMINAR HELD IN MOSCOW. The Russian
Interior Ministry has organized a closed international seminar on
hostage-rescue operations, NTV reported on 15 November. Representatives
of Russian security services, FBI and Scotland Yard met in Moscow to
exchange information on rescue techniques and to watch videos of past
operations. -- Constantine Dmitriev

RUSSIA USES ARMS TO PAY FINNISH DEBT. Under the terms of agreement
reached earlier, Russia will supply arms worth a total of 1 billion
Finnish markka ($239 million) to Finland, Finansovye Izvestia reported
on 16 November. Finland will pay only 150 million markka for the arms,
while the remaining 850 million markka will be accepted as a payment of
Russian debt to Finland. -- Constantine Dmitriev

NUCLEAR REACTOR SHUT DOWN FOR REPAIRS. A reactor was shut down for
unscheduled repairs at a nuclear power station near Yekaterinburg in the
Ural mountains, AFP and Interfax reported on 15 November. The reactor,
the only one at the Beloyarsk power station, 30 kms from Yekaterinburg,
was shut down after fluctuations in hydrogen levels in a cooling unit,
station director Oleg Sarayev said. There was no danger of a nuclear
accident. -- Thomas Sigel

TUBERCULOSIS ON THE RISE. Twenty-four out of every 100,000 Muscovites
have tuberculosis, according to Moscow health official cited by ITAR-
TASS on 15 November. Most afflicted are men between the ages of 40 and
59, and women between the ages of 20 and 29. The majority of the victims
are alcoholics, former convicts, migrants, and homeless people. --
Thomas Sigel

BUDGET ONE STEP CLOSER TO APPROVAL. The State Duma on 15 November
approved by 237 to 77 the draft 1996 budget prepared by the Conciliation
Commission, Russian media reported the following day. The surprisingly
wide margin raised hopes that the budget will not fall prey to pre-
election political maneuvering, and will pass the required three
readings in the Duma and Federation Council before the Duma is dissolved
for the December election. If so, it will be the first time since 1990
that the Russian parliament approved a budget before the beginning of
the new financial year. The Duma rejected the draft the previous day,
but agrarian deputies changed their vote after First Deputy Prime
Minister Anatolii Chubais addressed the chamber and promised to find an
additional 4.9 trillion rubles ($1.1 billion) in subsidies for
agriculture, defense, and social programs. -- Peter Rutland

DETAILS OF BUDGET DRAFT. The draft budget for 1996 which the Duma
approved on first reading on 15 November assumes a monthly inflation
rate of 1.9%, Rossiiskie Vesti reported on 16 November. Planned income
will be 343 trillion rubles ($7.6 billion) and spending 431 trillion
($9.6 billion), leaving a deficit of 88.6 trillion ($2 billion). The
government's initial draft envisioned inflation of 1.9%, revenue of 443
trillion rubles, and expenditure of 414 trillion rubles. Thus the Duma
increased spending by 17 trillion rubles and only agreed to raise taxes
by 10 trillion, widening the deficit by 6.7 trillion rubles. The draft
expects to raise foreign loans worth 33 trillion rubles to help finance
the deficit. -- Peter Rutland

CONFIRMATION OF NEW CENTRAL BANK HEAD IS LIKELY. The Duma Budget
Committee voted unanimously on 15 November to approve the candidacy of
Sergei Dubinin, Yeltsin's new nominee to head the Central Bank, Russian
media reported. The full Duma will probably consider the nomination next
week. Speaking on Russian Television, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
described Dubinin as a " a good, tough, market man" (tverdyi rynochnik).
Even Communist party leader Gennadii Zyuganov described Dubinin as
"relatively sober and competent," in an interview with Radio Rossii. --
Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

IOSSELIANI ARRESTED. Dzhaba Iosseliani, the founder of the Mkhedrioni
paramilitary organization, was arrested in a night raid on 15 November,
Western and Russian media reported. A warrant for his arrest was issued
30 August, accusing him of possession of drugs and weapons, and
subsequently of involvment in the attempted assassination of Georgian
President-elect Eduard Shevardnadze. As a sitting deputy Iosseliani was
immune to arrest, but he lost his seat in the 5 November elections. The
central election commission called for his release on the grounds that
his immunity lasts until the person who won his seat is officially
registered next week. The procurator's office argues that they had
information that Iosseliani planned to flee the country. Russia's NTV
reported that Interior Minister Shota Kviraya personally carried out
Iosseliani's arrest. -- Lowell Bezanis

EXPERTS DISAGREE OVER CAUSE OF EXPLOSION IN BAKU METRO. Experts
investigating the fire in the Baku metro on 28 October in which about
300 people died do not agree on what triggered the explosion that caused
the fire, Ekho Moskvy reported on 15 November. The specialists of the
Kharkov plant Dinamo who had repaired the train in which the explosion
occurred said poor maintenance of the train carriages was the reason for
explosion. However the experts of the Russian manufacturer Metromash
assert that a mere short circuit could not have caused such large-scale
damage, as inspection after the accident showed the wiring to be in
"ideal condition." -- Bhavna Dave

NEW PARTY IN TAJIKISTAN. A new Justice and Progress of Tajikistan Party
has been formed, according to a Radio Voice of Free Tajikistan broadcast
monitored by the BBC. The co-founders of the Khojent-based party are
Karim Abdulov, former press secretary to the Tajik president, and
Safarali Kenjayev, the former chairman of the Tajik parliament.
Kenjayev's role in the party is especially alarming for the opposition
as he was the head of Tajikistan's Security Committee (KGB) during the
riots in Dushanbe in April and May of 1992. Kenjayev, after being forced
from this position, led an attack on government buildings in Dushanbe in
October 1992 in an attempt to overthrow the Islamic-Democratic coalition
government. Many in the country still blame Kenjayev for thousands of
deaths during this period. The radio broadcast asserts that Kenjayev is
trying to gain politically what he could not gain militarily. -- Bruce
Pannier

NAZARBAYEV ATTACKS RUSSIAN PRESS, LEADERS AGAIN. In a press conference
in Almaty Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed anger at
the "negative statements" on events in Kazakhstan by several Russian
leaders, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 November. Nazarbayev said certain
Russian figures would go to any length "in slandering neighboring
friendly states and interfering in their affairs" in order to further
their own electoral prospects. -- Bhavna Dave

RUSSIANS RELEASE TRAIN WITH KAZAKHSTANI ARMS FOR NORTH KOREA. A train
carrying howitzers and radars from Kazakhstan to North Korea that was
detained by Russian customs agents in the Far East on 20 October has
been allowed to continue its journey, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 November.
A senior Russian customs official told Interfax that the train had
arrived in North Korea on 12 November and had been allowed to pass
following a special order from the State Customs Committee in Moscow. --
Doug Clarke

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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
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Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to
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OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
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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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