The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. - Paul Vale´ry
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 231, Part I, 29 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS DUMA BILL ON ITS FORMATION. With its term
about to expire, the Federation Council rejected the most recent Duma
bill on the rules of the Council's formation with a vote of 22 to 73 in
an emergency session on 28 November, Russian TV reported. Most senators
objected to the Duma bill on the grounds that they want the upper house
to be a full-time legislature, with each region authorized to send
deputies if the heads of local legislatures and executives choose not to
join the body. President Yeltsin's representative to the Federal
Assembly, Aleksandr Yakovlev, said the president's team supports the
Duma version of the law. The Duma needs a two-thirds majority to
override the Council's veto and send the bill to the president. --
Robert Orttung
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

RYABOV GIVES OVERVIEW OF ELECTIONS. The 43 parties registered for the
elections are fielding 5,675 candidates for the 225 seats to be
determined by party list, three times more than in 1993, Central
Electoral Commission Chairman Nikolai Ryabov announced on 28 November.
There are some 2,700 candidates running in the single-mandate districts,
of which roughly 1,000 are independents. Seven blocs are the most active
in the districts: the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (187
candidates), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (131), Our
Home Is Russia (108), the Congress of Russian Communities (90), the
Agrarian Party (90), Russia's Democratic Choice-United Democrats (75),
and Yabloko (71). The number of candidates in each district ranges from
three to 27, with an average of 12. Women make up 10% of all candidates,
while residents of Moscow make up 20%. Overall, the government has set
aside 374 billion rubles ($83 million) for conducting the elections,
ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN DISMISSES HEALTH MINISTER; OTHER GOVERNMENT CHANGES. President
Boris Yeltsin signed a decree on 28 November dismissing Health Minister
Eduard Nechaev, ITAR-TASS reported. Nechaev, who was appointed in
December 1992 to replace Andrei Vorobev. Yeltsin also agreed to a
proposal from Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that newly appointed
Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin and Russian Academy of Sciences
head Yurii Osipov be given the status of federal government ministers
with the right to full participation in government meetings. Finally,
Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Kuramin to head the State Committee for
Development Questions in the North. Born in 1937 in Saratov Oblast and
an engineer by profession, Kuramin most recently held the post of first
deputy minister for nationalities and regional policies. -- Penny
Morvant

COMMUNIST SPLITS BENEFIT KRO. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov's
recent "non-aggression pact" with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and
his decision to support the government's budget has caused increasing
dissension within Communist ranks, according to an article in Trud on 28
November. The greatest threat to the party is the growing strength of
the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), which is attracting
discontented Communists. The paper claims that many of KRO Deputy
Chairman Aleksandr Lebed's meetings with local voters are being arranged
by Communist activists, and that the KRO has taken the "patriotic idea"
away from the Communists. For the first time in 18 months, Public
Opinion Foundation polls show that the Communists are falling in the
polls. Further evidence of the split among the Communists can be found
in Pravda which has recently published both articles that praise KRO and
others that denounce it. -- Robert Orttung

KHABAROVSK GOVERNOR FAVORS CREATION OF FAR EASTERN REPUBLIC. Khabarovsk
Krai Governor Viktor Ishaev said he was in favor of creating a Far
Eastern republic, Izvestiya reported on 29 November. He said Khabarovsk
has to send 50% of its tax receipts to the federal budget, while the
ethnically-based republics pay less than 25%. He regards this a
violation of the constitution, which declares the equal rights of all
federation's constituent members. "We do not want to secede from
Russia," Ishaev said, but raising the status of the region to the level
of republic may be the only way to improve its economic situation.
Decrees issued by President Yeltsin ordering increased asistance to the
far east are not being implemented by executive authorities, he added.
-- Anna Paretskaya

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON FEDERATION MEMBERS' NAMES. The
Constitutional Court has ruled that the president has no authority to
refuse name changes proposed by subject-regions of the Russian
Federation, and that he must formally sign them into the constitution,
ITAR-TASS reported on 28 November. Last week, a group of Duma deputies
asked the court to clarify Article 137 of the constitution. According to
this law, each federation member is free to change its name, although
they are prohibited from choosing names which include such phrases as
"Islamic republic" or "soviet," because they violate constitutional
principles. -- Anna Paretskaya

RUSSIA AND U.S. COMPROMISE ON MISSILE DEFENSES. U.S. officials announced
an agreement with Russia that partially resolves a dispute over the
terms of the 1972 ABM Treaty, Western agencies reported on 28 November.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis and Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Georgii Mamedov agreed that only systems which could intercept
missiles with a velocity greater than 5 km/second or a range of more
than 3,500 km would violate the treaty, while those which target
missiles travelling at less than 3 km/second would not. The agreement
will allow the U.S. to proceed with the development of "tactical"
defenses against short-range ballistic missiles, which Russia had
contended would undermine the treaty. The agreement still leaves some
issues unresolved, such as what to do with planned U.S. defensive
systems with velocities greater than 3 km/second but lower than 5
km/second. -- Scott Parrish

KOZYREV CRITICIZES U.S. DIPLOMAT'S ARTICLE. Speaking at a 28 November
press conference, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev sharply criticized
Thomas Graham, a political officer at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, for
his recent article in Nezavisimaya gazeta, Russian and Western agencies
reported (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 November 1995). Kozyrev expressed
surprise at the article's content, saying, "some of its theses are
somewhat unusual to come from an official." The State Department has
defended the controversial article as expressing only Graham's personal
views, not those of the U.S. government. -- Scott Parrish

GROMOV BLASTS NATO MISSION IN BOSNIA. The Russian Foreign Ministry's
chief military adviser, Col. Gen. Boris Gromov, blasted NATO's planned
peacekeeping operation in Bosnia as an attempt to expand the Western
alliance eastward, according to an interview published in Komsomolskaya
pravda on 28 November. Gromov, who also heads the My Fatherland
electoral bloc, said NATO's deployment in Bosnia will bring it closer to
Russia's borders, a move he views as a "violation of the existing
European balance." Gromov criticized the command arrangements for
Russian participation in the operation, saying they are tantamount to
placing Russian troops under NATO command. -- Constantine Dmitriev

RUSSIA TO HAVE A VOICE IN NATO BOSNIAN DECISIONS. NATO agreed on 28
November to give Russia a voice--but not a veto--over the political
control of the Bosnian peace implementation force, Western agencies
reported. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev and his U.S.
counterpart, William Perry, unveiled the accord at NATO headquarters in
Brussels. Vitalii Churkin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, has been
appointed Moscow's official liaison to the North Atlantic Council, the
body that will make the political decisions. "Everything is all right at
this stage," Grachev said. "Now all we need is the formal approval by
the NATO council and the Russian political leadership. I have no doubt
that these will be approved in due time." He said that Russia would
contribute a brigade of about 1,500 soldiers to the force and another
1,500 to participate in civil clean-up operations. -- Doug Clarke

RUSSIA AGAIN PLEDGES TO HALT PLUTONIUM PRODUCTION. Russia will halt the
production of weapons-grade plutonium by 2000, Nuclear Energy Minister
Viktor Mikhailov said on 27 November. He said the last three reactors
producing plutonium--two in Tomsk-7 and one in Krasnoyarsk-26--would be
converted to solely peaceful purposes, ITAR-TASS reported. In 1994,
Russia announced it would no longer fully process the weapons-grade
plutonium at those sites and would place it in storage and in June of
that year it agreed with the U.S. to shut down the three reactors by
2000 provided alternative energy sources would be made available. U.S.
officials have been denied permission to visit the militarily sensitive
reactors and several Western experts have suggested that they are
unsafe. -- Doug Clarke

COSSACK POGROM IN KUBAN TARGETS MESKHETIANS. Cossacks in the Krasnodar
area have staged several progroms against Meskhetian Turks, Nezavisimaya
gazeta reported on 28 November. On 11, 12, and again on 19 November,
Cossacks attacked local Meskhetian Turks in their rural homes, beating
them and burning at least one house. Local doctors refused to treat
their injuries, saying that the Turks do not have permanent residency
status. The Cossacks say the Turks, "are foreigners and occupy the
living space of Russians." Meskhetian Turks had been forcibly resetlled
under Stalin from Georgia to Uzbekistan. After Uzbeks launched pogroms
against them in 1989, 208,000 of them left, and 70,000 now live in
Russia. Their appeals to be allowed to return to Georgia remain
unanswered. -- Alaina Lemon

RUSSIAN BANKS CHALLENGE PRIVATIZATION AUCTIONS. Three of Russia's
largest banks (Rossiiskii kredit, Inkombank, and Alfabank) have issued a
letter criticizing the government's privatization program, NTV reported
on 27 November. The banks claim that poor preparation of the current
round of investment tenders and auctions "is leading to irretrievable
losses for the Russian economy." They urged the suspension of the
share/loan auctions and warned that Menatep bank is over-extended, with
loan guarantees amounting to $600 million. A Menatep vice president said
on Russian Public TV (ORT) on 28 November that the three banks were
complaining "simply because they have no money" to participate in the
auctions. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ECONOMIC REFORM PLAN APPROVED IN KAZAKHSTAN. The government of
Kazakhstan accepted an economic reform plan extending through 1998 and a
draft budget for 1996 at a 28 November session, Interfax reported.
Kazakhstani Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin pledged to continue
macroeconomic stabilization and economic restructuring. The program aims
to bring inflation below 12% in 1998, a significant drop from the 42.4%
it ran in the first 10 months of 1995. It is hoped that next year's
inflation rate will be 26% to 28%, while the tenge will drop from 63.3
to $1 down to 71 to $1. GDP should reach 1.31 trillion tenge. -- Bruce
Pannier

TAJIK BORDER GUARDS CLAIM 700 FROM OPPOSITION KILLED THIS YEAR. The head
of the Russian Border Guards, General Pavel Tarasenko, said on 28
November that so far this year, guards along the Afghan-Tajik border
have killed at least 681 Islamic rebels, according to Western sources.
Tarasenko added that 62 border guards had also been killed, 20 of them
Russians. At a 28 November news conference, the Russian Border Guards
produced two of the six opposition militants allegedly handed over to
them by Afghan border commissioners, Interfax reported. The two men
confessed to taking part in a 10 October attack in which eight Russians
were killed. The two also claimed they had acted under orders from
United Tajik Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri and had been trained in
Afghanistan by Iranian, Pakistani, and Arab instructors. All six could
face the death penalty. -- Bruce Pannier

FATE OF UZBEK CLERIC STILL UNKNOWN. Repeated requests for information on
the whereabouts of Abduvali Mirzayev are still being met with silence
from the Uzbek government, Reuters reported on 29 November. Mirzayev was
last seen at the Tashkent airport on 29 August, when he was taken into
custody by Uzbek security (see OMRI Daily Digest 16 October 1995).
Mirzayev's assistant, Abdukarim Ramazanbeki, was also abducted at the
airport. Family and members of the Juma Mosque in Andijan, where
Mirzayev is the imam, report that they are harassed if they openly
appeal to the government and have been denied permission to publicly
demonstrate. This is not the first time religious officials have been
taken into custody. Abdulla Utayev of Namangan, head of the Islamic
Renaissance Party, has not been seen since his arrest in December 1992.
-- Roger Kangas

[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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