To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 226, Part I, 20 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
DUMA PASSES FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW. In a third attempt to reach
agreement with President Boris Yeltsin, the Duma voted on 17 November by
263 to 27 to approve a draft law on the formation of the parliament's
upper house, Russian and Western agencies reported. Under the bill, the
chamber will include the heads of the executives and legislatures of
Russia's 89 regions, but the governors must be elected by December 1996.
The previous version had called for gubernatorial elections before the
June 1996 presidential elections (see OMRI Daily Digest 12 October). The
change is a concession to Yeltsin, who signed a decree on 17 September
calling elections in December 1996 for all the governors he had
appointed (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 September). Duma Speaker Ivan
Rybkin said that he had shown the new draft to Yeltsin in the hospital
and that the president's reaction was positive. -- Robert Orttung
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

IT'S FINAL: 43 PARTIES TO COMPETE FOR DUMA. The Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) has approved the party-list ballot, which includes 43
parties, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 November. The ballot will be printed
on a sheet of paper the size of a newspaper. The Supreme Court denied
the appeals of the Union of Patriots, Our Future, the Russian Union of
Muslims, and the Assembly of the Land to overturn the TsIK's earlier
decisions rejecting their registration. -- Robert Orttung

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DECLARE THEMSELVES. Stanislav Govorukhin, film
director and leader of his own electoral bloc, announced on 17 November
that he would run for president in 1996, Ekho Moskvy reported.
Govorukhin said his previous statements that he had no intention of
running were made in jest, according to Radio Mayak. Meanwhile, NTV
reported on 19 November that Yurii Skokov, number one on the Congress of
Russian Communities (KRO) list, had told close advisors that he intends
to run for the presidency next summer. The report could damage his
alliance with Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed, deputy leader of the KRO,
who also has presidential ambitions. Lebed unexpectedly cut short a
campaign trip in southern Russia to return to Moscow on 17 November. --
Anna Paretskaya

COURTS SAID TO LIMIT PRESS FREEDOM DESPITE GOOD MEDIA LAWS. Although the
constitution and the Law on the Mass Media protect the press against
censorship in theory, in practice court decisions substantially limit
journalists' freedom to criticize public figures, according to
participants at a 17 November roundtable sponsored by the Center for the
Study of Constitutionalism in Moscow. Maks Khazin, who represents
Izvestiya in legal disputes, said several libel suits brought and won by
politicians have had a chilling effect on press freedom. Several
speakers, including Glasnost Defense Foundation chairman Aleksei
Simonov, noted that Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's recent court
victory over Moskovskii komsomolets journalist Vadim Poegli (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 30 October) also set a dangerous precedent. -- Laura Belin
in Moscow

ELECTION UPROAR CONTINUES IN CHECHNYA. On 18 November the self-
proclaimed Chechen Supreme Soviet approved plans to hold elections on 17
December for the Chechen head of state, Russian and Western agencies
reported. The Supreme Soviet did not, however, endorse holding Duma
elections on the same day, saying that should be decided by federal
authorities. Movladi Udugov, a spokesman for separatist President
Dzhokhar Dudaev, warned on 17 November that participation in the
elections would be regarded as "treason" by pro-Dudaev forces and
punished according to "wartime realities." In a rare public appearance
near Urus-Martan, only 20 km from Grozny, Dudaev on 18 November
threatened that the planned elections could have "sweeping consequences"
in Russia. -- Scott Parrish

BOMB ATTACK MISSES ZAVGAEV. An attempt was made to assassinate the head
of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, Doku Zavgaev, on 20 November,
Russian agencies reported. A large bomb was detonated on a sidewalk in
central Grozny as Zavgaev's motorcade passed by, and snipers then raked
the vehicles with automatic weapons fire from nearby roofs. The
motorcade was able to escape the ambush, and Zavgaev was unhurt,
although five of his bodyguards were wounded, according to ITAR-TASS. --
Scott Parrish

KOZYREV WELCOMES CFE PLEDGE. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on 18
November welcomed a statement by the 30 signatories of the Conventional
Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty pledging to try harder to resolve Russia's
objections to the so-called "flanks" limits, ITAR-TASS reported. Russia
has more military equipment in the North Caucasus Military District than
is allowed by the treaty, whose terms formally became binding on 17
November. "This decision corresponds to Russia's line on adhering to the
CFE treaty," Kozyrev said, "while taking into account the interests of
our country under new conditions." Russian ambassador to Georgia
Vladimir Zemskii and Georgian First Deputy Defense Minister Mikhail
Ukleba have discussed the possibility of temporarily deploying in
Georgia some of the excess Russian military hardware from the North
Caucasus Military District, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 November." -- Doug
Clarke and Liz Fuller

PRIME MINISTER SAYS GOVERNMENT TO PAY DEBTS TO MILITARY. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin on 17 November told Russia's top military commanders
that the government had decided to pay out all overdue budget
allocations to the Defense Ministry, Interfax reported. He said the step
would cost about 2.6 trillion rubles ($575 million). Defense Minister
Grachev welcomed Chernomyrdin's statement and promised to urge service
personnel to vote for the prime minister's party in the upcoming
elections. -- Doug Clarke

DUMA PASSES SECOND PART OF CIVIL CODE. The second part of Russia's Civil
Code, which regulates the legal aspects of economic relations, was
approved by the Duma in its first reading on 17 November by 295 votes to
47, ITAR-TASS reported. The first part of the new code came into force a
year ago; the Soviet-era code, adopted in 1964, also remains in force
for the time being. -- Penny Morvant

TWO MORE CONTRACT KILLINGS IN MOSCOW. A local government official and
the president of the Stinolneftegaz oil company were shot dead in
separate incidents in Moscow on 17 November, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Crime has risen by more than 10% this year in
comparison with 1994. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN SIGNS DECREE PROTECTING INVESTORS. President Yeltsin signed a
decree on 17 November instructing the government to come up with a plan
to compensate defrauded investors, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. A
special fund will be established, with funds raised through sales of
bankrupt companies' assets. The decree appears to be vague on specifics
and does not satisfy the demands of defrauded investors, who are
estimated to number from 20 to 40 million. Mikhail Shevtsov, addressing
the first congress of the All-Russian Union of Investors in Moscow,
claimed that 2,000 companies had cheated investors, ITAR-TASS reported
on 20 November. He said that 2 million investors have formed 500 groups
to reclaim their assets. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin told Russian Public
TV on 18 November that investor groups will be directly involved in
running local compensation funds. -- Natalia Gurushina and Peter Rutland

FIRST EQUITY/LOAN AUCTIONS HELD. On 17 November the first two auctions
were held under a government scheme to swap federally owned
shareholdings in return for loans. Euroresursy won 15% of the shares in
the Nafta Moskva company by offering a $35 million loan, while
Oneksimbank gained 38% of the shares of Norilsk Nickel with a $170
million loan, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 November. Kommersant-Daily had
reported on 11 November that Oneksimbank itself was in charge of running
the auctions. The loan scheme was devised to get around the parliament's
refusal to approve a bill on the sale of federal shares. On 11 November
Yeltsin vetoed a bill that gave parliament control over the disposition
of federal shares, and on 15 November Interfax reported that the
Federation Council overrode the veto. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

SECOND ROUND OF GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. The second round of
parliamentary elections in single-mandate constituencies took place in
Georgia on 19 November, Russian TV reported. The turnout was not as high
as in the first round on 5 November, and international observers and
representatives of the Central Electoral Commission registered no major
violations. Of the 147 deputies who won seats on 5 November, 91
represent the Union of Citizens of Georgia, led by Eduard Shevardnadze;
31 belong to the National Democratic Party, led by Irina Sarishvili; and
25 to the All-Georgia Union for Revival, led by the head of the
autonomous republic of Adzharia, Aslan Abashidze. The inauguration of
Shevardnadze, elected president on 5 November, and the swearing in of
the new parliament will take place on 26 November. -- Irakli Tsereteli

UZBEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN SAUDI ARABIA. Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz
Komilov arrived in Riyadh on 18 November for a series of meetings with
Saudi government officials, ITAR-TASS reported. Komilov and Saudi Prince
Saud al-Faisal signed a general agreement on cooperation, covering
issues ranging from trade and cultural exchanges to the official opening
of a Saudi embassy in Tashkent, scheduled for early 1996. In an
interview with the Egyptian news agency MENA, Komilov stressed that such
agreements are between equal states, declaring that Uzbekistan will not
tolerate the policies of Islamic powers that wish to "extend their
influence" in Central Asia. The same, he noted, applies to Russian
policies as well. -- Roger Kangas

NEXT ROUND OF TAJIK TALKS SCHEDULED FOR 30 NOVEMBER. The Tajik
government announced on 18 November that it is prepared to send a
delegation to Ashgabat to meet representatives of the opposition on 30
November, Russian and Western agencies reported. The fifth round of
talks was initially scheduled for 18 September but has been repeatedly
postponed because of disagreements over venue and agenda. Fighting in
the Garm region, 240 km east of Dushanbe, has seen 54 government
soldiers captured and 50-60 killed since October, -- Bruce Pannier

KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO HAVE 13 CANDIDATES. The Kyrgyz Central
Electoral Commission said on 18 November that 13 candidates have been
nominated for the presidential election scheduled for 24 December,
according to an RFE/RL correspondent. To complete the registration
process candidates must hand in lists of 50,000 signatures from voters
by 3 December. The current president, Askar Akayev, has already met this
requirement, turning in 800,000 signatures. -- Bruce Pannier

REGISTRATION COMPLETED FOR KAZAKHSTANI ELECTIONS. Kazakhstan's Central
Election Commission head Yurii Kim told Interfax on 17 November that the
registration of candidates for the country's parliamentary elections in
early December has been completed. Indirect elections to the 47-seat
Senate (upper house) will be held on 5 December, and the 67-seat Majlis
(lower house) will be elected by popular vote on 9 December. Among the
pro-government parties, the Party for National Unity has nominated 38
candidates, the Democratic Party 22, the Cooperation Party 15, and the
National Rebirth Party 5. From the opposition, the communists have
fielded 9 candidates and the People's Congress Party 8. Other opposition
groups are boycotting the elections. -- Bhavna Dave

DUMA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER RUSSIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN. The Russian Duma has
issued a statement expressing "deep concern" over "violations of the
rights of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan," ITAR-TASS reported on 17
November. It demanded the release of the "illegally arrested" Semirechie
Cossack leader Nikolai Gunkin and called on President Yeltsin and the
Russian government to protect the rights of Russians in Kazakhstan.
Radio Rossii on 19 November reported that Cossack groups in Russia's
Kurgan Oblast threatened to mount an economic blockade of the border and
called for the suspension of diplomatic relations between the two
countries. -- Bhavna Dave

TURKMENISTAN TO SUPPLY GAS TO UKRAINE. The newly established Russian-
Turkmen natural gas company Turkmenrosgaz will supply 23 billion cubic
meters of gas to Ukraine in 1996, Interfax reported on 17 November. The
agreement was reached during a visit to Ashgabat by a Ukrainian
delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenk. As part of an
education cooperation agreement, Turkmenistan will send 200 students to
Ukrainian military academies for training. -- 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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