He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 245, Part I, 19 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
COMMUNISTS MAINTAIN LEAD AS VOTE COUNT ADVANCES. With 65% of the vote
counted, Gennadii Zyuganov's Communist Party of the Russian Federation
(KPRF) has won 22.3% of the vote on the party list, twice as much as its
nearest competitor, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, which
received 10.9%, Russian and Western media reported on 19 December. The
only other parties to break the 5% barrier were Our Home is Russia
(9.6%) and Yabloko (7.6%). Zyuganov said the KPRF would form a shadow
government in parliament and propose a "realistic" economic program. He
said his party will decide next month whether to nominate him for the
presidency. -- Laura Belin
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

DISAPPOINTMENT FOR GAIDAR. According to results released by the Central
Electoral Commission at 12:30 Moscow time on 19 December, with 45
million votes counted Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice-United
Democrats had only 4.4% of the party-list vote, trailing Women of Russia
(4.7%), and Viktor Anpilov's Communists-Working Russia (4.5%). Gaidar
chose not to run for a single-member seat, so he will not be a member of
the new Duma if his party fails to clear the 5% barrier. Earlier reports
had put Gaidar's party over 5%, but they were never confirmed. The
Central Electoral Commission issued some contradictory statements about
the proportion of votes counted on Monday, and has come under criticism
for the unexplained delay in completion of the count. -- Penny Morvant

COMMUNISTS CRUSH OUR HOME IS RUSSIA IN SINGLE-MEMBER DISTRICTS. Despite
having recruited prominent local figures to contest many of the 225
single-member districts, Our Home Is Russia has also lost to the KPRF in
the single-seat competitions. Returns from 179 districts indicate that
the KPRF had won 45 seats to just nine for the prime minister's bloc,
ITAR-TASS reported on 18 December. The Agrarian Party, which is
ideologically close to the KPRF, won at least 15 seats. Yabloko won 12
seats, Russia's Democratic Choice-United Democrats won eight, Women of
Russia won two, and the Congress of Russian Communities won a
disappointing three seats. Independent candidates are likely to win more
seats than any single party. -- Laura Belin

WELL-KNOWN POLITICIANS ENTER DUMA IN SINGLE-MEMBER DISTRICTS. Many
famous politicians will join the next Duma from single member districts,
according to NTV on 18 December. They include current Duma Speaker Ivan
Rybkin, Power to the People's number two candidate Sergei Baburin, Party
of Workers' Self-Management leader Svyatoslav Fedorov, My Fatherland
leader Boris Gromov, former Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov, Duma
Defense Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin, presidential aide Gennadii
Burbulis, film director Stanislav Govorukhin, and Congress of Russian
Communities leader Aleksandr Lebed. Among the losers were hard-line
Communist Viktor Anpilov and the MMM fund chairman Sergei Mavrodi. --
Robert Orttung in Moscow

INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS APPROVE DUMA ELECTIONS. At an 18 December Moscow
press conference, international observers from the EU, Council of
Europe, and OSCE characterized the 17 December Duma elections as free,
fair, and democratic, NTV reported. The 434 observers from 32 countries
concluded that the elections were carried out in accordance with
democratic standards, despite isolated violations at some polling
stations. The observers did however, criticize Russian Public TV (ORT)
for biased campaign reporting, which gave a disproportionate amount of
favorable coverage to Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home Is Russia and Yegor
Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice, while running negative stories
about various opposition parties. The observers praised Russian TV and
NTV, on the other hand, for their unbiased election coverage. One issue
that remains unresolved is that several parties have not yet provided a
full account of their campaign spending. -- Scott Parrish in Moscow

PRESIDENTIAL AIDES TRY TO STRIKE POSITIVE NOTE. Commenting on the
preliminary election results on 18 December, presidential aide Georgii
Starov told Interfax that he did not find them alarming. He denied that
the "political pendulum" had swung to the left, arguing that Our Home Is
Russia, Yabloko, and Democratic Russia, will together have enough seats
to balance the Communists, Radio Rossii reported. Yeltsin's economic
adviser Aleksandr Livshits said he did not think that the composition of
the new Duma would be radically worse than the old one from the point of
view of economic reform. However, the president's chief of staff Sergei
Filatov said the number of votes won by the Communists and the LDPR
reflect the dissatisfaction of poorer sections of society and the need
to alter government policy, NTV reported. Yeltsin himself refrained from
public comment on the election results. -- Penny Morvant

CHERNOMYRDIN PUTS BRAVE FACE ON OUR HOME IS RUSSIA'S SHOWING. Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said he is "satisfied" with the election
results, characterizing his bloc's worse than expected showing as
neither a success nor a failure. "The Communist Party has existed for 97
years and won only 20%. Our Home Is Russia has worked only four months
and we were able to win 10%," he told Russian TV on 18 December. He did
not say whether he planned any cabinet changes but described the
government as a "living organism," which suggests that changes cannot be
ruled out. -- Robert Orttung in Moscow and Penny Morvant

LUKIN: "NOTHING SUPER-DRAMATIC" IN EARLY RESULTS. Yabloko's Vladimir
Lukin declared that there was "nothing super-dramatic" in the early
returns of the elections before noon on 18 December, Russian media
reported. He said that the Duma will be balanced between the democratic
parties and the communist and nationalist parties. Lukin also said that
Yabloko is willing to work with other pro-reform parties, including Our
Home Is Russia, and urged the "non-left" forces to unite behind a single
candidate for the presidency. Speaking on NTV on19 December, Yabloko
leader Grigorii Yavlinskii welcomed the victory of only four parties in
the party-list contest as a sign that Russia had outgrown the "infantile
stage of multi-partyism." -- Robert Orttung in Moscow

KOZYREV TO LEAVE FOREIGN MINISTRY FOR DUMA? According to preliminary
data released by the Central Electoral Commission, Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev is almost certain to win the Duma seat from the Murmansk
single-member constituency, NTV reported on 18 December. Kozyrev,
running as an independent, faced 12 opponents in the district, including
Vladimir Zhirinovsky's sister. Should Kozyrev take the seat, he will
likely resign as foreign minister. Under the 1993 constitution, members
of the just-elected Duma will not be permitted to hold ministerial
posts. Resigning to take a seat in the Duma would be a face-saving way
for the heavily-criticized Kozyrev to leave the government. -- Scott
Parrish in Moscow

EARLY RETURNS IN GOVERNORS' RACES. Incumbents appear to have triumphed
in most of the 13 regions that also held gubernatorial elections on 17
December, Russian TV reported on 18 December. Boris Nemtsov was re-
elected in Nizhnii Novgorod with more than 60% of the vote, and Primorsk
Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko also won about 60% compared with just
15% for his main rival, the ousted mayor of Vladivostok, Viktor
Cherepkov. Yaroslavl Oblast Governor Anatolii Lisitsyn, Orenburg Oblast
Governor Vladimir Yelagin, and Novgorod Oblast Governor Mikhail Prusak
were also re-elected. Observers reported that the gubernatorial races
generated more media coverage than the Duma elections in those regions.
-- Laura Belin

BASHKORTOSTAN REFERENDUM RESULTS. Voters in Bashkortostan were also
asked to give their opinion on land reform and the republic's economic
policies when they went to the polls on 17 December. According to
preliminary results cited by Ekspress-khronikha, about 83% of voters
voted against the unrestricted sale of land, while about 80% voted in
favor of strengthening the republic's economic independence. According
to Interfax, the Communists won about 30% of the vote in Bashkortostan,
the Agrarians 20%, and Our Home Is Russia 16.5%. -- Penny Morvant

MIXED VERDICT IN LIBEL CASE AGAINST YELTSIN. Former Supreme Soviet
Deputy Iona Andronov plans to appeal to the Supreme Court following a
mixed verdict in his libel case against President Yeltsin, Pravda
reported on 19 December. Andronov was called a fascist in the English-
language version of Yeltsin's memoirs Presidential Notes. The judge
found that the book incorrectly labeled Andronov a fascist but rejected
the plaintiff's demand that Yeltsin apologize publicly and pay damages.
Andronov spent several years in the U.S. during the 1980s as a
correspondent for Literaturnaya gazeta. He was a close supporter of
Yeltsin during the 1991 presidential campaign. In late 1991, he became
the main foreign policy adviser to then-Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi. -- Laura Belin

RUSSIAN ADVANCE PARTY TO BOSNIA. An advance team of 12 paratroop
officers flew to Belgrade on 18 December, then on to Croatia where they
joined other Russian peacekeepers, Interfax reported. The team, led by
Maj. Gen. Nikolai Staskov, second in command of the Airborne Troops,
will travel to Tuzla where, among other things, they will establish an
air traffic control center to receive the Russian brigade that will be
part of the international peace implementation force. Interfax also
quoted the Ministry of Defense as saying that the brigade, from the
106th Airborne Division, was also leaving for Bosnia that day. -- Doug
Clarke

RUSSIA SIGNS DEBT-RESTRUCTURING AGREEMENT WITH TURKEY. The Russian and
Turkish governments signed an agreement on rescheduling Russia's $370
million debt and on the clearing of mutual debts amassed by companies in
the two countries, Segodnya reported on 16 December. Under the
agreement, Russia's debt to Turkey will be reduced by $112 million (via
$100 million in arms deliveries from Russia and the writing off of
Turkey's $12 million debt to Russia). The deal is expected to stimulate
Turkish investment in Russia. Turkey will also open a $350 million
credit line to the Russian government. -- Natalia Gurushina

PLANE WRECK FOUND. The wreckage of the TU-154 airliner that went missing
on 7 December en route from Sakhalin to Khabarovsk Krai with 97 people
on board has been found in Khabarovsk Krai, Russian Public TV (ORT)
reported on 18 December. The chairman of a government commission
investigating the accident said he does not believe that anyone could
have survived the crash. -- Penny Morvant

WAGE ARREARS EQUAL 13.6 TRILLION RUBLES. The total amount of overdue
wages in Russia increased by 11.7% in November, reaching 13.6 trillion
rubles ($2.9 billion) on 1 December, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 December,
citing officials from the Economics Ministry. Delays in the payment of
wages are the main cause of industrial disputes in the country. -- Penny
Morvant

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

IMF EXTENDS NEW CREDIT TO UZBEKISTAN. The IMF approved a $259 million
credit to Uzbekistan on 18 December, which will be used to continue
market reforms in that country, Western sources reported. As part of a
larger two-year aid package, the new credit will include $185 million in
stand-by credit and $74 million from the IMF's systemic transformation
facility, and will be used to help turn around the decline in GNP as
well as hold the annual inflation rate to an anticipated target of 21-
25%. IMF officials expressed their approval of the Uzbek government's
tight monetary and fiscal policies, paralleling an October World Bank
report (see OMRI Daily Digest, 24 October 1995). -- Roger Kangas

TAJIK OPPOSITION RELEASES 17 PRISONERS. After a month of promises, the
Tajik opposition has released 17 government soldiers, part of a larger
group taken hostage in the Tavil Dara region in the middle of October,
Radio Rossii reported on 16 December. Despite the release and the
ongoing peace talks in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the fighting in Tavil
Dara continues. -- Bruce Pannier

THREE CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS LOOK TO FORM UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE. The
presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, meeting in
Zhambyl, Kazakhstan on 15 December, agreed to ask for UN approval to
form a joint peacekeeping battalion, according to Reuters. Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the force could serve "anywhere in
the world, including Bosnia." All three countries currently have
peacekeeping troops in Tajikistan, but they operate under CIS auspices.
It is unclear whether the units now in Tajikistan would be part of the
proposed UN force. The three leaders also sanctioned investments by the
new Central Asian Bank for Reconstruction and Development. -- Bruce
Pannier

[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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