Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 246, Part I, 20 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
ESTIMATES OF SEAT TOTALS FOR PARTIES IN RUSSIAN ELECTIONS. With about
two-thirds of the party-list votes counted and 215 of the single-member
seats determined, the 450 seats in the Russian State Duma will be
allocated among the top parties roughly as follows:
         %(party list)   party list seats   single-member seats   total
                          (225 total)          (225 total)   (projected)
KPRF          21.0%            97                  53            150
NDR           10.1%            42                  10             52
Yabloko        7.2%            37                  14             51
LDPR          11.0%            49                   1             50
APR            3.9%             0                  20             20
DVR            4.2%             0                  10             10
VN              na              0                   7              7
KRO            4.1%             0                   5              5
ZhR            4.7%             0                   3              3
PST            4.2%             0                   1              1
KTR            4.6%             0                   0              0

Note: Independent candidates have won 73 out of the 225 seats determined
in single-member districts, and a number of small parties have won up to
three seats each.
Abbreviations: Communist Party (KPRF), Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR),
Our Home Is Russia (NDR), Women of Russia (ZhR), Agrarian Party of
Russia (APR), Russia's Democratic Choice (DVR), Power to the People
(VN), Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), Communists-Working Russia
(KTR), Party of Workers' Self-Management (PST). (Sources: RIA-Novosti on
19 December and ITAR-TASS on 20 December.) -- Laura Belin
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

CHERNOMYRDIN: ELECTIONS WON'T FORCE CABINET RESHUFFLE. Following a 19
December meeting with President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin continued to insist that the election results will not
force a cabinet reshuffle, Russian media reported. He said he and the
president had discussed possible changes in the government but that
these changes were not connected to the elections. The prime minister
also said there "could be no doubt" that First Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Chubais will remain in the cabinet, ITAR-TASS reported. --
Laura Belin

SATAROV: YELTSIN WILL WORK WITH NEW DUMA. Presidential adviser Georgii
Satarov told Russian TV's "Podrobnosti" on 19 December that the
president may consider offering some government posts to the Communist
Party but will not offer it any key cabinet positions. Satarov said the
president "answers for the whole country, he cannot allow himself such
experiments." He added that Chernomyrdin had long ago offered the
Communists a place in the government when they were only the third- or
fourth-largest Duma faction, but they had refused. -- Laura Belin

BATTLE BEGINS FOR DUMA SPEAKERSHIP. Both the Communist Party and the
Liberal Democratic Party want one of their deputies to be named Duma
speaker, but the position is likely to go to someone who is a not a
member of either of the big parties, according to Izvestiya on 20
December. Representatives from smaller parties and independents will
work to ensure that a major party candidate does not assume such a
powerful position. The article claims that Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky are
purging the leading members of their factions in order to remove
"dangerous rivals." The Liberal Democrats' diminished faction in the new
Duma, compared to the one elected in 1993, may allow them to win
chairmanships of second-tier committees only. The Communists will likely
maintain their leadership of the committees on legislation and security
and possibly gain control of the committees on agriculture and
information policy. -- Robert Orttung

LEBED CHARGES THAT RESULTS WERE FALSIFIED. Aleksandr Lebed, one of the
leaders of the Congress of Russian Communities, blamed his bloc's poor
showing on "trickery" and "falsification," Reuters reported. His bloc
appears very unlikely to cross the 5% barrier required to win
representation in the Duma in party-list voting. He said that he would
investigate the vote counting himself. Meanwhile, Central Electoral
Commission officials have blamed the slow pace at which results have
been coming in on bad weather, roads, and telephone lines. They said it
is better to get the results right rather than to add them up too
quickly, and they ruled out fraud. -- Robert Orttung and Penny Morvant

ZHIRINOVSKY REJECTS ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNISTS. Liberal Democratic Party
of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky rejected an alliance with the
Communists on 19 December, Russia TV reported. He said that the election
results would have little influence on the government, except to replace
three or four ministers, "which would not change anything," ITAR-TASS
reported. His party will hold its 7th congress on 10 January to
officially nominate him as its presidential candidate. -- Robert Orttung

ZYUGANOV CLAIMS SUCCESS FOR LOW COST STRATEGY. Communist Party leader
Gennadii Zyuganov claimed that his party's low cost strategy fueled the
party's campaign success in an interview published in Pravda on 20
December. However, he accused Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Filatov
of intervening in the vote counting process and temporarily suspending
the reporting of the results. He said that his party would work in the
Duma with representatives of the Agrarian Party, Power to the People,
trade unions, and goods producers. Zyuganov added that the percentage
his party won in the Duma elections is not enough to win the June
presidential elections and that much work remains to be done. He said
that the left should name its candidates for the office of president,
prime minister, and key ministerial posts. Earlier, he claimed, the
opposition had discussed doing that, but at that time there were too
many candidates for the positions. Now that the support for each group
is clear, however, it will be easier to solve those personnel questions.
-- Robert Orttung

KOZYREV WARNS AGAINST OVERREACTION TO ELECTION RESULTS. As returns from
the 17 December Duma elections continued to indicate a strong showing by
communist and nationalist parties, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev warned against "drawing hasty conclusions," Russian agencies
reported on 19 December. Kozyrev argued that despite a weak showing by
liberal Western-oriented parties, "neither we, nor our foreign partners
should fall into despair or panic." The embattled minister added that
his own victory in a single-member constituency in Murmansk, a city with
a large naval base, showed that Russians did not reject either the idea
of partnership with the West or domestic reform, and said he would
discuss his future in the cabinet with President Yeltsin within the next
few days (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December 1995). -- Scott Parrish

INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO DUMA ELECTIONS. U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Thomas Pickering downplayed the impact of the elections, saying they
would not cause "revolutionary" change in Russian policy, Izvestiya
reported on 20 December. Pickering emphasized that U.S. policy toward
Russia would remain unchanged despite the election results and pointed
out that under the Russian constitution, the president directs foreign
policy, not the Duma. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told ITAR-
TASS on 19 December that China would adhere to its current course of
"constructive partnership" with Russia, irrespective of the final
election results. Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen later said the
election results showed the "dissatisfaction" of the Russian people,
adding that "raising the living standards of the population is more
important than any slogans." -- Scott Parrish

ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA SUSPENDS PUBLICATION. The heavily-subsidized
government newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta has suspended publication,
proving that even the official press is not immune to financial
difficulties, Russian TV and NTV reported on 19 December. The paper's
editor in chief, Anatolii Yurkov, complained that the Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) owes the paper 5 billion rubles ($1 million) for
publishing about 100 pages of election-related materials during the
campaign but refuses to pay. Rossiiskaya gazeta has a circulation of
approximately 500,000. In addition to news coverage and commentary, it
routinely publishes the full texts of official documents, including
laws, presidential decrees, and some Constitutional Court decisions. --
Laura Belin

FEDERATION COUNCIL TURNS DOWN CHANGES TO CONSCRIPTION LAW. The
Federation Council on 19 December turned down amendments to the law on
military service which had been approved by the State Duma on 8
December, ITAR-TASS reported. The changes would have granted exemptions
from service to any draftees with a single parent over the age of 52.
The Council Defense and Security Committee concluded that adopting the
Duma's proposals would damage the armed forces by giving many university
graduates a legal basis for avoiding military service. The Federation
Council has consistently rejected attempts by the Duma to moderate the
terms of military service. -- Constantine Dmitriev

RUSSIA TO JOIN POST-COCOM. Twenty-eight countries, including Russia and
several other members of the former Warsaw Pact, have agreed to create a
new multilateral body to control the export of weapons and sensitive
technologies, Western agencies reported on 19 December. The new body,
named the Wassenaar Accord, will replace the Cold War era Coordinating
Committee for Multilateral Export Control (COCOM) and will be based in
Vienna. A spokesman said it would aim to prevent the export of arms and
advanced technology to countries that "constitute a menace to peace and
international security," including Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea.
The agreement has yet to be formally approved by the governments of the
member states and no date has been set for an official signing ceremony,
but the body will hold its first meeting in early April. -- Scott
Parrish

NEW NATO CHIEF CALLS FOR EXPANSION OF THE ALLIANCE. Former Spanish
Foreign Minister Javier Solana formally took over as NATO secretary-
general on 19 December and immediately pledged to expand the alliance
eastward, Reuters reported. He said NATO's enlargement is "the single
most important contribution the alliance can make to the aim of creating
a more integrated and united Europe." He termed closer cooperation and
the creation of stronger ties with Russia as one of NATO's main tasks,
adding that Europe's new security architecture should be built with
Russia rather than against it. -- Doug Clarke

FEDERATION COUNCIL PASSES BUDGET . . . On 19 December, the Federation
Council passed the draft 1996 budget by a vote of 90-14, Russian Public
TV (ORT) reported the same day. The budget, which had been approved by
the Duma on 6 December, now goes to President Yeltsin for signing. It is
the first time since 1991 that parliament has approved a budget before
the start of the financial year. The budget represents a continuation of
the government's tight financial policy, although the Communist Party
also voted for the budget in the Duma, after it was amended to include
increased spending. -- Peter Rutland

. . . AND PRODUCTION SHARING LAW. Parliament's upper house also approved
a law on production sharing on 19 December, Reuters reported the same
day. The absence of legislation allowing the direct allocation of
proceeds from fuel and mineral extraction has been an important
deterrent to foreign investors. A draft of the new law was passed by the
Duma in June but was blocked by the Federation Council as deputies tried
to limit the advantages for foreign investors. A joint commission was
set up to work out a compromise bill acceptable to both houses, and on 5
December the Duma passed the bill with a majority sufficient to override
a Federation Council veto. However, Segodnya on 15 December reported
accusations that Duma Deputy Sergei Glazev switched texts at the last
minute, which meant that the bill the Duma approved differed from that
drawn up by the conciliation commission. Glazev's version gives the
state the right to unilaterally amend production sharing agreements
after they have been signed. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

OPPOSITION TO RECENT ELECTION RULING IN KYRGYZSTAN. Three former
presidential candidates have started a hunger strike with 12 supporters
to protest the Supreme Court's decision to bar them from running in the
24 December election, Western agencies reported. Jumgalbek Amanbayev,
Mamat Aybalayev, and Omurbek Tekebayev were all removed from the
presidential ballot due to "irregularities" in collecting the necessary
50,000 signatures required to stand for election. An estimated 100
people have set up a picket line outside the building in which the
hunger strikers are staging their protest as a show of support. Interfax
reported on 20 December that the three are also calling on the Kyrgyz
Legislative Assembly to consider postponing the election date. The three
candidates were not considered to have had a chance at winning the
election. According to a recent poll, President Askar Akayev would
receive 76.5% of the vote. -- 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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