|Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne|
No. 232, Part I, 30 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ TOP POLICE OFFICIALS FALL VICTIM TO "CLEAN HANDS" CAMPAIGN. As part of the "clean hands" anti-corruption campaign, Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov said on 29 November that he had sacked a string of senior officials, including four generals, Russian and Western agencies reported. Those dismissed included Moscow's deputy police chief, Valerii Aksakov, who reportedly gave classified information on a witness to a criminal group. Back in August, Kulikov said he was horrified by the level of police corruption, noting that his own agents had been asked for bribes at all but two of 24 checkpoints they had encountered while driving a truckload of vodka across southern Russia, Reuters reported. -- Penny Morvant ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ RUSSIA SHUMEIKO MOVEMENT TO SUPPORT PRESIDENCY, NOT PRESIDENT. At an organizing conference of his new movement, Reforms-New Course, Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko said that the group is seeking to "unite all Russia and become a bulwark of presidential power," Russian TV reported on 29 November. The bloc plans to support an as yet unnamed candidate in the June 1996 presidential election. Shumeiko said his movement rejects the government's policies but will not call for personnel changes. He also announced that Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel will remain in the bloc despite Rossel's 27 November announcement to the contrary, after President Boris Yeltsin told him the bloc is "no good," ITAR-TASS reported. Shumeiko refused to comment on the president's remarks, but said that the head of state does not have the power to stop social movements from forming. The founding congress is scheduled to take place on 21 December. -- Robert Orttung KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA: YELTSIN BUILDING LUXURY DACHA WITH FEDERAL FUNDS. President Boris Yeltsin is using the taxpayers' money to build a luxury dacha in Kareliya, about 860 km north of Moscow, that will include a helicopter pad, sauna, elevator, and tennis courts, according to Komsomolskaya pravda on 29 November. Viktor Savchenko, a member of the president's administration, admitted the building is nearly complete but denied that it is exclusively for Yeltsin, saying that any top leaders visiting Kareliya will be able to use it. -- Robert Orttung KRO LEADER WANTS TO LIMIT VOTING RIGHTS. Sergei Pykhtin, deputy chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities' Executive Committee, believes that voting should be compulsory in Russia. However, he said he would take away the right to vote from "approximately 10-12 million foreigners" who lived in Russia when the USSR disintegrated but belong to ethnic groups from the other 14 former Soviet republics. He clarified the statement by saying, "I mean Georgians, Armenians, Tajiks, Uzbeks, the Balts, and so forth." Pykhtin is running for the Duma on the KRO ticket in Moscow, Moskovskie novosti reported on 26 November. -- Robert Orttung GRACHEV HAILS AGREEMENT WITH NATO . . . At a 29 November press conference in Brussels, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev hailed the Russia-NATO agreement on political control of the Bosnian peace implementation force (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 November 1995) as a "model" for cooperation between Russia and NATO, international agencies reported. Grachev rebuffed critical questions from Russian journalists who wondered whether the agreement, that grants Russia a consultative voice but no veto, actually gives Russia any influence over the peacekeeping operation. Grachev also rejected suggestions that the agreement indicated Russia had accepted a subordinate role in its relationship with NATO. "This is only the first step," he added, noting that the agreement allows Russia to engage NATO in an ongoing political dialogue. -- Scott Parrish . . . WHILE OTHERS ARE MORE SKEPTICAL. Some commentators in Moscow shared Grachev's enthusiasm for the agreement with NATO, but others did not. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told Moscow TV on 29 November that cooperation with the alliance could be used to counteract its plans for expansion by allowing Russia a greater voice in NATO decisions. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Sergei Yushenkov (Russia's Democratic Choice) said Russia should use the agreement to become an associate member of NATO. However, the deputy chairman of the same committee, Nikolai Bezborodov, said that the "16 + 1" formula used in the agreement does not allow Russia to actually participate in the control of the operation but only to acquire information about decisions that will be made by NATO. -- Scott Parrish RUSSIA SENDS AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA. Following the conclusion of the Dayton agreement, Russia has dispatched its first ambassador to Bosnia- Herzegovina, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. Yakov Gerasimov, a 49- year-old career diplomat, will present his credentials to the Bosnian government later this week, fulfilling a February 1995 agreement on establishing full diplomatic relations between the two countries. An anonymous Russian diplomat told Interfax that full diplomatic ties were not established earlier "exclusively" as a result of Russian financial difficulties. A Bosnian representative, Ibrahim Dzikic, has been working in Moscow since 1992. -- Scott Parrish MORE MONEY FOR THE COAL INDUSTRY. After President Yeltsin ordered the government to take urgent measures to pay overdue wages to miners, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais announced the allocation of an additional 500 billion rubles ($110 million) to the coal industry by the end of the year, Public Russian TV (ORT) reported on 29 November. The government will also take 1.5 trillion rubles' ($330 million) worth of coal in exchange for canceling tax debts, postpone tax payments, and allow the mines to continue withholding some tax payments in order to pay wages. The government has also recently allocated more money to pensioners as part of a campaign to boost living standards and prevent industrial unrest before the December elections. Miners in Vorkuta had threatened to strike on 1 December, and their action was supported by miners elsewhere in the country. -- Penny Morvant NO GERMAN OR SWISS NUCLEAR WASTE TO KRASNOYARSK-26. Germany and Switzerland have decided not to send spent nuclear fuel to Krasnoyarsk- 26 for processing, Krasnoyarsk Krai Deputy Governor Sergei Arinchin was quoted as saying in Izvestiya on 30 November. The waste would have been processed at the RT-2 plant--still under construction--in the formerly secret nuclear center in Siberia. The Russian authorities had hoped to finance the project by accepting foreign waste, enabling them to process their own stocks. The Swiss and German pullout will deal a major blow to the project. The decision is likely to be hailed by environmental groups, which have strongly opposed the importation of nuclear materials, arguing that Russia's waste storage sites are already overflowing. -- Penny Morvant WORKERS THREATEN TO SHUT DOWN NUCLEAR PLANTS. Workers at nuclear power plants have threatened to shut down the facilities unless they receive overdue wage payments, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. Union officials say they have scheduled warning protests, but it is not clear what form they will take. Energy consumers owe nuclear power plants about 2.5 trillion rubles ($555 million), and on average workers have not been paid for three months, according to the deputy head of Rosenergoatom. -- Penny Morvant UP TO 5 MILLION PEOPLE EXPECTED TO MIGRATE TO RUSSIA. The director of the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS), Tatyana Regent, said at a conference held by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva that between 2 and 5 million refugees and forced migrants may move to Russia from the CIS states and the Baltics due to military conflicts, economic dislocation, and social difficulties, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. The FMS is also concerned with the large number of African and Asian illegal migrants who are attempting to reach the West through Russia, she added. -- Constantine Dmitriev RUSSIAN BORDER HAS "MASSIVE HOLES." A letter signed by 12 generals complaining that the Border Guards are underfunded and unable to perform their duties was published in Pravda on 29 November. The letter, addressed to the Communist faction in the Duma, claims that the external Russian borders are about 40% undermanned, and the situation on the CIS external borders (such as Turkmenistan) is even worse. As a result, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have allegedly managed to penetrate Russia, and 20% of the country's oil and minerals is illegally exported. Pravda bemoans the fact that the "Iron Curtain" is no longer there "to stop those who would steal our natural riches." Although the Border Guards requested 12 trillion rubles ($2.7 billion), the 1996 budget allocates them 4 trillion rubles ($875 million). The letter claims that guards have died because they lacked bulletproof vests (the force has only 10% of what it needs). -- Peter Rutland BANK WAR INTENSIFIES . . . Menatep bank will file a libel suit against the three banks that accused it of having an unfair advantage in the government's loan/share auctions (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 November 1995), ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. It has emerged that the guarantee letter from the Bank of Tokyo which Euroresursy used on 17 November to obtain 15% of shares in Nafta-Moskvy was a forgery, and the auction has been annulled, Kommersant-Daily reported on 28 November. Mounting political pressure led to the cancellation of the sale of federal shares in three defense plants (Sukhoi Design Bureau, Arsenevsk Aviation Plant, and Ulan Ude Aviation Plant) planned for 7 December, according to Finansovye izvestiya on 30 November. -- Peter Rutland . . . BUT SOME AUCTIONS WILL CONTINUE. Despite those problems, the government intends to press on with the loan auctions, since it needs the money to cover the budget deficit. The acting chairman of the State Property Committee, Alfred Kokh, told Russian Public TV (ORT) on 29 November that auctions have raised 2 trillion rubles so far and another 1.5 trillion rubles is expected by the end of the year. In one week, 78% of the shares in the second-largest oil company, YUKOS, will be go on the block--in an auction organized by Menatep on behalf of the State Property Committee. The three protesting banks announced that they will lodge a deposit of $350 million in order to bid for YUKOS shares. -- Natalia Gurushina and Peter Rutland TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AZERBAIJANI ELECTED PRESIDENT OF BLACK SEA ASSEMBLY. Rasul Guliev, who was reappointed to the post of Azerbaijani parliament speaker on 24 November, was elected to the rotating presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) at that body's sixth plenary session in Istanbul on 29 November, Turan reported. Guliev has reportedly been under a cloud of suspicion for his alleged involvement in violations of voting procedure during the 12 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. On 28 November, Guliev met in Baku with the UN Development Program representative, Paolo Lembo, to discuss the creation of a free economic zone in Sumgait. -- Liz Fuller GEORGIAN OPPOSITION MEETS TO DISCUSS COALITION. Members of approximately 15 opposition parties and organizations that did not win seats in the new Georgian parliament met at the headquarters of National Independence Party on 28 November to discuss possible unification, Iprinda news agency reported the same day. At a post-meeting press conference, representatives said consultations would continue in the future and that 99% of those assembled agreed to unite in one coalition of national forces. -- Irakli Tsereteli AKAYEV LEADING POLLS IN KYRGYZSTAN. With the presidential election less than a month away in Kyrgyzstan, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Bishkek has released the results of a recent poll in which President Askar Akayev received the support of 76.5% of the respondents, Svobodnye gory reported on 25 November. None of the other potential candidates, who have yet to be registered, received more than 4.4% in the poll. They are: Omurbek Tekebayev from the Ata Meken (Fatherland) Party (4.4%), Bekmamat Osmonov, parliament deputy and chairman of Osh Regional Council (3.9%), Medetken Sherimkulov, former speaker of parliament, (3.5%), Jumgalbek Amanbayev, former first secretary under Akayev in 1990-91 (1.9%), Absamat Masaliev, former first secretary of Kirghiziya and current head of Communist Party (1.3%), and Yuruslan Toychubekov from the Adilet Movement (1.1%). The opposition claims that the media has a pro-Akayev bias. -- Bruce Pannier [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 email@example.com 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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