If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 230, Part I, 28 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
UKRAINIAN MINISTER WELCOMES SOCHI ACCORDS. Speaking in Kiev, Ukrainian
Defense Minister General Valerii Shmalov welcomed the results of the
military agreements signed with Russia last week in Sochi, ITAR-TASS
reported on 27 November. He said "our two powers have great military-
industrial potential, which must be used to the benefit of both sides."
As part of the agreements, Russia has agreed to hand over to Ukraine
some 150 naval installations belonging to the Black Sea Fleet, with all
their equipment, commencing on 1 December. -- Peter Rutland
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

YELTSIN LEAVES HOSPITAL FOR SANITARIUM. On 27 November, President Boris
Yeltsin left the hospital where he has been recovering from heart
trouble since 26 October. He will continue his treatment in the suburban
Moscow Barvikha sanitarium for several more weeks, Rossiiskie vesti
reported. Yeltsin's wife Naina, now in Paris for an international
conference on children's rights, repeated her wish that her husband not
seek a second term but added that "it is hard to give him advice." --
Robert Orttung

ROSSEL DENIES THAT HE WILL FORM BLOC WITH SHUMEIKO. Sverdlovsk Governor
Eduard Rossel denied that he would work with Federation Council Speaker
Vladimir Shumeiko to form a new bloc called Russian Reforms-New Course.
Only last week Rossel had signed the document creating the new movement,
Interfax reported on 27 November. Rossel apparently changed his mind
after a personal meeting with President Yeltsin on 24 November, during
which Yeltsin told him Shumeiko's bloc was "no good" and advised him not
to spend any time on it, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 27
November. Rossel also said that he did not like the bloc's name, since
the idea of a new "course" had been invoked too often in Russian
history. Rossel will continue to try to build his Transformation of the
Fatherland into a strong party of the regions. -- Robert Orttung

VOLSKII SEEKS ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNISTS. Arkadii Volskii, one of the
leaders of Trade Unions and Industrialists of Russia-Union of Labor,
announced that his bloc would be willing to work with Gennadii
Zyuganov's Communists if it wins seats in the next Duma, ITAR-TASS
reported on 27 November. However, Communist Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin
said that many people who two to three years ago rejected the word
"communist" now seek alliances with the party because it is leading in
the polls. He proposed that Volskii first get himself elected to the
Duma and then worry about forging alliances, Ekho Moskvy reported. --
Robert Orttung

FIRST CANDIDATE APPLIES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Vladimir Voronin,
the head of the TIBET Association of Investors, became the first
candidate to apply officially for the June 1996 presidential elections,
Russian media reported on 27 November. The same day Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
leader, confirmed that he intends to run for the office next summer,
according to Ekho Moskvy. On 28 November, ITAR-TASS reported that former
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he might join the presidential
race. Stanislav Govorukhin, a film director and leader of his own
electoral bloc, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, and deputy leader of
the Congress of Russian Communities Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed
announced last week that they would run for president, though none of
them has officially applied (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 November 1995).
-- Anna Paretskaya

ELECTORAL COMMISSION LOOKS INTO CAMPAIGN FUNDING. Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) Chairman Nikolai Ryabov said he is investigating some
parties' campaign financing for the Duma election, ITAR-TASS reported on
27 November. If a party is found in violation of the rules, the TsIK
will turn the case over to the Supreme Court, which could drop the party
from the December polls and forward the case to the Procurator General's
Office if violations are discovered. Ryabov said the TsIK will release
the results of its investigation on 1 December. -- Anna Paretskaya

YAKOVLEV ON COMMUNIST REPRESSION OF RELIGION. The Commission for
Rehabilitating Victims of Political Repression submitted a report to
President Yeltsin on 27 November calling for the rehabilitation of those
who were persecuted under communist religious repression from 1917 to
1980, Russian and Western agencies reported. Commission head Aleksandr
Yakovlev said that about 200,000 religious figures were brutally
murdered by the Soviet regime for their beliefs and that the communists
destroyed "40,000 churches, half of the country's Muslim places of
worship, and over half of the Jewish synagogues." He then blasted
Gennadii Zyuganov's Communists for "falling in love" with the Russian
Orthodox Church to enhance their public image, saying to do so "without
repentance shows the very extreme of moral decline." Yakovlev denied
that the timing of the report's release was intentional but added that
he would be "very satisfied" if it dealt a blow to the Communists'
election chances. -- Penny Morvant

MAVRODI LOSES CASE AGAINST IZVESTIYA. Sergei Mavrodi, chairman of the
notorious MMM investment fund, has lost a 400 million ruble ($90,000)
lawsuit against Izvestiya, the paper reported on 25 November. Mavrodi
sued because of two articles in which he was called a swindler and a
scoundrel (one of the articles was written by Forward, Russia! leader
Boris Fedorov). He argued that such labels are libelous since he has not
been sentenced by any court for a crime. Izvestiya asserted that Mavrodi
has filed similar lawsuits against other media organizations in attempts
to create a legal precedent that would shield him from future
accusations in the media. The Duma voted to strip Mavrodi of his
immunity and his mandate on 6 October so that he could be prosecuted for
the activities of the MMM fund (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 October 1995).
-- Laura Belin in Moscow

DEPUTIES DECRY MARKIDONOV INVESTIGATION. Duma Deputy Aleksei Levushkin
on 27 November attacked the security services' investigation into the
death of fellow Stability member Sergei Markidonov, arguing that the
killing was politically motivated rather than the result of a drunken
dispute between the deputy and his bodyguard as police in Chita Oblast
had initially concluded, NTV reported. Levushkin said that forensic
reports showed no alcohol in Markidonov's blood and that he had died
while sleeping. He also dismissed later suggestions by the Chita
Procurator's Office that the bodyguard had accidentally killed
Markidonov by mishandling his gun. Other Duma deputies, including Common
Cause member Irina Khakamada, have also criticized the investigation,
Izvestiya reported on 28 November. -- Penny Morvant

CHELYABINSK AUTHORITIES DEPORT ILLEGAL CHINESE IMMIGRANTS. Chelyabinsk
police sent nine illegal Chinese immigrants by plane back to China,
ITAR-TASS reported on 27 November. The immigrants were arrested during
raids conducted by local authorities, who claim that illegal immigrants
are involved in criminal activities and believe that most Chinese living
in Chelyabinsk do not have valid visas. The deportation is part of an
ongoing campaign against illegal immigration in the city which was
launched two months ago. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA AND SOUTH AFRICA SIGN ACCORDS. Russian First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets and South African Vice Premier Thabo Mbeki
signed a military-technical agreement, a tax accord, and a consular
agreement in Pretoria, Russian and Western agencies reported on 27
November. Soskovets, on a four-day visit, later met with South African
President Nelson Mandela, to whom he presented a medal and a personal
message from President Yeltsin. Accompanying Soskovets are officials of
Almazy Rossii-Sakha, Russia's largest diamond producer, who are
negotiating the renewal of a 1990 contract with De Beers Consolidated
Mines under which Russia markets 95% of its diamonds through the South
African firm. The contract expires this year, and although some reports
suggest that Russia might establish an independent marketing agency to
rival De Beers, Soskovets told journalists that he expects a new
agreement to be concluded. -- Scott Parrish

GRACHEV DENIES EXCLUDING FOREIGN MINISTRY. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev denied that there are differences between his ministry and
the Foreign Ministry over Russian policy toward NATO and possible
Russian participation in the planned Bosnian peace implementation force.
Grachev, contradicting comments made by Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
on 24 November, (See OMRI Daily Digest, 27 November 1995), said the
Russian position on those issues was worked out in consultation with
Foreign Ministry officials. A Defense Ministry spokesman later refuted
speculation in the Russian press that Grachev has taken over part of
Kozyrev's responsibilities. However, the denials do little to conceal
Kozyrev's increasingly marginalized position in Russian foreign policy
decision-making. -- Scott Parrish

ARKHANGELSK TEACHERS STRIKE, VORKUTA MINERS SAY THEY WILL TOO. Teachers
from 37 schools in Arkhangelsk went on strike on 27 November to demand a
raise and the timely payment of their wages, ITAR-TASS reported. Local
officials, however, say they have paid their debts to the schools and do
not have the resources to satisfy the teachers' demand that their
salaries be doubled to equal the average wage in industry. Meanwhile, in
another manifestation of worker discontent, miners in Vorkuta resolved
on 27 November to begin a regional strike on 1 December under the
slogan: "Don't vote on 17 December for blocs and parties that include
members of the Chernomyrdin cabinet," Russian TV reported. -- Penny
Morvant

RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS RISE. Russian arms exports could reach $3.5 billion
next year, presidential adviser Boris Kuzyk told ITAR-TASS on 24
November. Arms exports in 1995 will reach $2.5 billion, up from $1.7
billion last year, according to Russian Public TV (ORT) on 22 November.
Aleksandr Koletkin, the head of the Rosvooruzhenie company, said that $6
billion worth of future contracts have been signed this year, Russian
Public TV (ORT) reported on 24 November. Rosvooruzhenie, which has a
monopoly on arms exports, was set up in November 1993. Last week, an
additional body was established to supervise arms exports: the State
Committee for Military-Technology Policy. -- Peter Rutland

RUSSIAN ENERGY DEBTS. CIS and Baltic countries owe Russian energy
exporters 14.4 trillion rubles ($3.2 billion), an official from the
Ministry for Cooperation with the CIS told Interfax on 27 November.
Ukraine's debts total 8.7 trillion rubles ($1.9 billion), or 61% of the
total, followed by Belarus (17%), Kazakhstan (11%), and Moldova (9%).
The ministry is proposing the introduction of compulsory prepayment for
energy exports to those countries from the beginning of next year.
However, during his visit to St. Petersburg on 23 November Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that there are no plans to cut off
energy supplies to Russia's neighbors, ITAR-TASS reported the next day.
"We will not abandon anyone, we will support all," he said. "After all,
there are 11 million Russians in Ukraine, and in Kazakhstan half of the
population consists of Russians." -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TURKEY'S DIYANET VAKFI TO OPEN OFFICES IN CENTRAL ASIA. Turkey's richest
foundation, Diyanet Vakfi [Religious Foundation], is preparing to open
branches in Central Asia in an attempt to strengthen ties between the
governmental religious affairs' departments in that region and the
Turkic-speaking regions of the Caucasus, Russia, and the Balkans, Zaman
reported on 28 November. The undertaking follows the establishment of
the Eurasian Islamic Council Organization at an October conference of
top, official Muslim clerics sponsored by Turkey. Diyanet Vakfi is
independent of Turkey's Religious Affairs Department but supports that
body's work. It is financed by donors and eight corporations that it
controls. -- Lowell Bezanis

TURKMEN-RUSSIAN BORDER OPERATION. Turkmen and Russian border guards
completed what was described by RIA news agency as a joint operation on
the Turkmen-Afghan border on 23 November. The effort, termed a
"successful example" of coordinated efforts to protect the external
borders of the CIS, caught 19 intruders, 24 smugglers, 60 kg of
narcotics, a small number of firearms and grenades, and "a large amount
of ammunition." Speaking at a press conference on 21 November, an
officer with the Russian Border Guards in Turkmenistan said that 1,800
people, mainly Afghans, were detained on the border in 1995, Interfax
reported the same day. He also claimed his service, which confiscated
about 2 metric tons of drugs in that period, was involved in
approximately 50 armed clashes, mainly with drug smugglers. Russia
appears to be directing the Turkmen-Afghan border controls. -- 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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