Все почести этого мира не стоят одного хорошего друга. - Вольтер

No. 236, Part I, 6 December 1995

No. 236, Part I, 6 December 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/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Duma overrode the Federation Council's veto of the law on the formation
of the Council, by a vote of 311-0 and five abstentions. The upper house
will be formed from the governors (chief administrators) and legislative
heads in each of the 89 federation subjects. The governors must be
popularly elected by December 1996. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin said
President Boris Yeltsin told him that he will sign the Duma's bill into
law, Russian TV reported on 5 December. -- Peter Rutland


DUMA AVOIDS CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. By moving to approve the formation of
the Federation Council, the Duma has averted a potentially serious
constitutional crisis. The term of the current Council expires on 12
December, and the constitution does not appear to allow the Duma to
function as a law-making body without an upper house. The Duma
acquiesced to Yeltsin's preference that the gubernatorial elections be
postponed for up to one year. Among the 25 other decisions the Duma took
yesterday was a vote overriding the Council's veto of a law on
production sharing (the earmarking of a fixed share of output for
investors). The absence of such a law has deterred foreign investors
from entering energy and mining projects. -- Peter Rutland

YAVLINSKII OUTLINES PROGRAM. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii
presented his electoral program at a meeting in Moscow on 5 December. He
said that reducing Russia's dependence on exports of raw materials is
his first priority, NTV reported on 5 December. His other goals are to
correct the errors in privatization, to revive the Far East, and to
rebuild ties with the CIS. "The present government and president are not
only unable to solve these problems, they are not even able to identify
them," he said. Yavlinskii confirmed that in contrast to other parties,
Yabloko is not using its leader's face in its campaign advertising.
Yavlinskii told Interfax on 4 December that he intends to use a strong
showing in the Duma elections as "a springboard to win the presidential
ones." He expects only three forces to emerge from the Duma elections:
the present government, the Communists, and himself as the only viable
democratic alternative. -- Peter Rutland

LANGUAGE. The draft of the Karachaevo-Cherkess republic's constitution,
which has been released to the public, defines Russian as the republic's
official language, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 December. The draft
guarantees equal rights for the languages of other nationalities
residing in the republic. Russians form the largest ethnic group in the
republic, making up 41% of the population. The rest of the population is
made up of Karachais (30%), Cherkes (11%), Abazins (6%), and Nogais
(3%). In the March 1992 referendum, 79% of republic's population voted
for a united Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Before 1991, Karachaevo-Cherkessiya
was an autonomous oblast within Stavropol Krai. On 3 July 1991, it was
granted the status of a republic. -- Anna Paretskaya

VOTING BEGINS IN POLAR TUNDRA. Pre-election voting for the 17 December
Duma elections has started in the polar tundra zone of Yamalo-Nenets
Autonomous Okrug, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 December. The law allows
voters to cast early ballots if they will be unable to cast a vote on
election day. About 20,000 people are expected to vote early in the
okrug. According to opinion polls, 70% of Yamalo-Nenets voters plan to
participate in the elections. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc
is leading in local polls with 15% support, followed by Grigorii
Yavlinskii's Yabloko (9%) and Women of Russian (8%). Russian TV reported
on 5 December that early voting also began among the 12,000 Russian
Border Guards in Tajikistan. -- Anna Paretskaya

Dmitrii Volkogonov died during the night of 5-6 December at age 67,
Radio Rossii reported. He entered the army in 1949 and after teaching in
military academies he became the leading specialist in psychological
warfare. He emerged as an important public figure in the Mikhail
Gorbachev era, when he wrote a critical biography of Josef Stalin,
followed by books on Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin. It was revealed
that his own father had been shot in 1937. Many of the 30 books he
authored were published in the West. He was elected to the Congress of
People's Deputies in 1990 and became an adviser on military questions to
President Yeltsin. -- Peter Rutland

EXPLOSION ROCKS PARLIAMENT. An explosion damaged the Duma office of
National Republican Party head Nikolai Lysenko on 5 December, Russian
and Western media reported. There were no casualties. Lysenko, an
ultranationalist deputy known for his outrageous behavior, told
reporters the blast was caused by a small explosive device. He claimed
it was an attempt on his life, blaming it on "the Caucasian mafia" or a
Turkish group and linking it with his calls for a stringent border
regime and tough measures against criminals from Central Asia and the
Transcaucasus. Lysenko gained notoriety when he tore up a Ukrainian flag
in the parliament during a debate on the Crimean port of Sevastopol and,
on another occasion, seized a crucifix from around the neck of the
priest Gleb Yakunin during a brawl in the Duma. -- Penny Morvant

MOSCOW OFFICIAL MURDERED. The body of Aleksei Baryshnikov, a senior
official in the Moscow government's Transport and Communications
Department, was discovered on 4 December in the entrance to his
apartment building, ITAR-TASS reported the following day. Police suspect
three young Muscovites of murdering him. -- Penny Morvant

TERRORIST ATTACK IN VLADIKAVKAZ. Three children died and seven people
were injured when a would-be hijacker exploded a hand grenade in a
Vladikavkaz kindergarten on 5 December, Russian media reported. The
hijacker had demanded a bus and was negotiating with local police when
the explosion occurred. -- Liz Fuller

December urged its NATO allies to quickly resolve the dispute with
Russia concerning the so-called flanks limitations in the CFE treaty,
Reuters reported. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher told the
other NATO foreign ministers that the working group meeting in Vienna
should intensify its work and that "policy-making officials, with
decision-making authority" from national capitals should join it no
later than mid-February. At the moment, Russia has more tanks, armored
fighting vehicles, and artillery in the North Caucasus Military District
than the treaty allows. -- Doug Clarke

Minister Andrei Kozyrev arrived in Brussels to participate in a meeting
of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, ITAR-TASS reported on 5
December. Before leaving Russia, Kozyrev said that President Yeltsin had
instructed him to support cooperation with NATO but to oppose the
alliance's eastward expansion. Kozyrev confirmed that Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin will head the Russian delegation to the signing of
agreements on the former Yugoslavia in Paris on 14 December. According
to Interfax, U.S. and Russian officers will prepare for the peacekeeping
operation in Bosnia by participating in a joint exercise to be conducted
between 11 and 15 December at a U.S. military base in Germany.
Meanwhile, the chief spokesman of the Russian air defense forces, Leonid
Shirobokov, accused NATO of conducting more than 900 reconnaissance
flights along Russia's borders in 1995. -- Constantine Dmitriev

within law enforcement agencies is one of the main tasks facing the
Interior Ministry and General Procurator's Office, Vladimir Kirakozov of
the Procurator's Office said at a briefing on 5 December. According to
Russian TV, 773 criminal cases were opened against police officers and
employees of the Procurator's Office for bribe-taking and abuse of
office during the first nine months of 1995--a 20% increase on the same
period of 1994. Participants in the briefing blamed the increase in
corruption on the lack of highly qualified officers and low wages. Since
his appointment this summer, Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov has been
waging a well-publicized "clean hands" campaign against crime within law
enforcement agencies. -- Penny Morvant

Inkombank, Alfa-bank and Rossiiskii kredit will not be allowed to
participate in the shares-for-loans auction for YUKOS, Russia's second
largest oil company, due to be held on 8 December. ITAR-TASS reported on
5 December that the State Property Committee refused to accept their
deposit because it consisted in part of treasury bills instead of hard
currency, as stipulated in the regulations. Earlier, the three banks
threatened to undermine the securities market by unloading a large
amount of treasury bills to raise their $350 million deposit (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 30 November 1995). The Central Bank warned that in this
case it would not support the rebellious banks in their efforts to open
branches abroad. -- Natalia Gurushina

REGULATION OF ENERGY PRICES. President Yeltsin signed a decree creating
a new Federal Energy Commission on 5 December, Russian TV reported the
same day. The commission will regulate the pricing policy of "natural
monopolies" including the transport of gas and oil and the supply of
heat and electricity. The government froze energy prices during the last
quarter of 1995: Rossiiskie vesti reported on 2 December that from 1
January energy producers will be allowed to increase prices but only in
line with the general inflation level. -- Peter Rutland


GAS EXPLOSION IN TASHKENT. A gas explosion in downtown Tashkent on 5
December killed three people and injured 21, ITAR-TASS reported. The
explosion was apparently caused by a gas leak on the premises of a
commercial firm. A government committee has been formed to investigate
the tragedy. -- Roger Kangas

ELECTIONS TO KAZAKHSTANI SENATE. Indirect elections to the 47-member
upper chamber of the Kazakhstani parliament, the Senate, took place on 5
December in which deputies from the 19 oblast legislatures (maslihats)
of the country cast their votes, local media reported. Each oblast, as
well as the capital Almaty, elected two deputies to the Senate. The
remaining seven members of the Senate will be nominated by the
president. The regional maslihats nominated a total of 67 candidates for
the Senate; deputies who had already been elected twice to the previous
parliament were given preference in the voting. In many oblasts, there
were only two nominees for the two Senate seats. -- Bhavna Dave in

MAJILIS ELECTION CAMPAIGN. The Party of National Unity of Kazakhstan
(PNEK) and the Democratic Party are expected to win more than half of
the seats in the 9 December elections to the Majilis, Kazakhstanskaya
pravda reported on 5 December. The two parties will likely form a
coalition government after the vote. Both of them, as well as a number
of other parties running in the elections, were created by incumbent
deputies and members of President Nursultan Nazarbayev's government.
Most opposition parties have boycotted the elections, calling them
"illegal," while a few opposition candidates have decided to run as
independent candidates. The election campaign has been very low-key and
the public has demonstrated little knowledge of the parties or their
platforms. -- Bhavna Dave in Almaty

DAMAGED PIPELINE IN GEORGIA REPAIRED. A high voltage power transmission
line linking the Georgian and Russian energy systems, which was blown up
at the beginning of November (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November 1995),
has been repaired, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 December. The deputy chief of
the Georgian Energy Department, Gogi Makashvili, said that the line is
now ready to be re-connected to the Russian network. Russia is planning
to send 300 MW of energy during peak hours, 120 MW during the day, and
100 MW at night, on the condition that Georgia will make payments every
10 days. -- Irakli Tsereteli

[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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