A good eater must be a good man; for a good eater must have a good digestion, and a good digestion depends upon a good conscience. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 26, Part I, 06 February 1996


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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
CHUBAIS: ZYUGANOV'S ECONOMIC POLICY WOULD LEAD TO "BLOODBATH." Russian
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov made headlines over the weekend
with his assurances to investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, but former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais
warned the same Western businessmen on 5 February not to fall for a
"classic Communist lie," Russian and Western agencies reported. Chubais
claimed that there are "two Zyuganovs," one for domestic and one for
foreign consumption, and that the Communist leader's economic policy,
which calls for a revision of the privatization program, would lead to a
"bloodbath." He also warned that Russia could be in for financial
disaster this spring if President Boris Yeltsin goes on a pre-election
spending spree. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii had hoped to present
himself as the main alternative to Yeltsin at Davos, but he has been
eclipsed, first by Zyuganov's speeches and now by Chubais' accusations.
-- Laura Belin
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMO IN GROZNY CONTINUES. Supporters of Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev continued their demonstration in central
Grozny on 6 February for the third straight day to demand the withdrawal
of Russian troops from Chechnya, the resignation of Doku Zavgaev's
government and direct talks between Dudaev and Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, Russian media reported. On 5 February, Russian Television
reported that Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov had ordered the
release of 29 Russian energy sector workers abducted by Chechen forces
last month. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Russian
Prosecutor-General Yurii Skuratov said that 12 criminal cases had been
instigated in connection with the embezzlement of funds intended for
Chechen reconstruction, but that the present Chechen government was not
involved. He further argued that the Russian internal troops' presence
in Chechnya should be increased as federal troops are gradually
withdrawn, according to NTV. -- Liz Fuller

GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIOS DEFINED. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin left
for a two-week vacation in Sochi on 3 February, and in his absence the
government will be led by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets. A
full listing of the division of duties between Soskovets and newly-
appointed First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kadannikov has been made
public, Radio Rossii reported on 5 February. Soskovets will supervise
industrial policy, including energy, engineering, transport, and
military industry. Kadannikov will monitor financial and monetary
affairs, including foreign loans. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Kazakov, the new head of the State Privatization Committee, will also
answer for the committees dealing with anti-monopoly policy and the
securities market. -- Peter Rutland

YELTSIN MEETS PRIMAKOV, LOBOV. President Boris Yeltsin met Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov on 5 February and discussed the results of
the foreign minister's recent visits to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus,
and Ukraine, Russian agencies reported. The visits were Primakov's first
as foreign minister, and underline Yeltsin's declared intention to make
the CIS a priority in Russian foreign policy. Primakov is scheduled to
meet U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 9-10 February in
Helsinki. Also on 5 February, Yeltsin met Security Council Secretary and
Presidential Representative in Chechnya Oleg Lobov, and discussed "means
of normalizing" the situation in Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish

NEW DEPUTIES FOR PRIMAKOV. A presidential decree from 3 February has
appointed two new deputies to Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov,
Russian agencies reported on 5 February. Boris Pastukhov, formerly
Deputy Minister, has been promoted to First Deputy Minister. Pastukhov,
62, a former first secretary of the Komsomol, has been a diplomat since
1986 and served as ambassador to Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992. He has
recently been involved in talks on the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. He told
journalists he will concentrate on resolving conflicts in the CIS. Rear-
Admiral Yurii Zubakov, 53, who served as deputy director of the Russian
Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), will serve as Deputy Foreign
Minister for personnel matters. He had similar duties at the SVR, where
he reportedly developed a close relationship with Primakov. -- Scott
Parrish

EYE SURGEON RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. Renowned eye surgeon Svyatoslav
Fedorov announced that he will run for president in June, since he
believes "the policies of the current president and government are
leading us nowhere, into a dead end, to primitive capitalism and gradual
transformation into a colonial state," Russian media reported on 5
February. He pledged to double Russia's gross national product within
five years if elected. Fedorov's Party of Workers' Self-Government
gained a surprising 4% in the December elections, and he was elected to
the Duma in a single-member district. Also on 5 February, a group was
formed to nominate pro-reform Nizhnii Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov
for president, Radio Mayak reported. -- Laura Belin

FOUR MORE QUIT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION. Four members of the presidential
Commission for Human Rights, including Deputy Chairman Sergei Sirotkin,
have followed Sergei Kovalev's example and resigned their posts, Russian
media reported on 5 February. Kovalev resigned as commission chairman on
23 January. According to Sirotkin, another member also plans to quit. If
he does, the commission will have three members: Deputy Chairman
Aleksandr Kopylov, former Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, and writer
Fazil Iskander. The resignations followed the release of the
commission's report on human rights in Russia in 1994-1995, which noted
"a visible retreat from democratic achievements" in many areas. Among
human rights violations, the commission highlighted the increasing
militarization of society; the increasing tendency to resolve internal
conflicts by force, most notably in Chechnya; and a rise in racial
discrimination and intolerance. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN'S REPRESENTATIVES TO PARLIAMENT AND HIGH COURT RESIGN. President
Boris Yeltsin accepted the resignations of his representatives to the
parliament and Constitutional Court, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Valerii
Savitskii respectively, Russian media reported. Yakovlev reportedly left
because he reached retirement age. Though agencies reported that
Savitskii was released from the post at his own request, Savitskii said
he did not know why he was dismissed, NTV reported. A presidential
decree appointed Mikhail Mityukov, a deputy chairman of the previous
State Duma and a member of the Russia's Choice faction, to represent the
president in the Constitutional Court. -- Anna Paretskaya

OFFICIALS SAY NEW LAW MEANS REAL MONEY FOR MEDIA. Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Vitalii Ignatenko, who is also the director general of the
ITAR-TASS news agency, and State Press Committee Chairman Ivan Laptev
said that the law on financial support for the mass media will mean
several trillion rubles a year for the media, ITAR-TASS and Russian
Public TV (ORT) reported on 2 February. Unlike media subsidies, which in
the past benefited a small number of publications, more than 14,000
newspapers, hundreds of television and radio companies, and several
thousand printing presses will be eligible for the new tax breaks and
financial privileges. Some local tax services have reportedly refused to
grant the financial privileges to newspapers, but Ignatenko promised to
take steps to educate tax inspectors about the terms of the law. Only
erotic publications and those devoted exclusively to advertising are not
covered by the law. -- Laura Belin

AVTOVAZ OWES 400 BILLION RUBLES IN WAGE ARREARS. The troubled AvtoVAZ
car manufacturer owes 400 billion rubles ($85 million) in wage arrears
and nearly 1 trillion rubles to suppliers, Aleksei Nikolaev, the
company's new general director, told reporters in Togliatti on 5
February. Nikolaev replaced Vladimir Kadannikov, who became Russian
first deputy prime minister on 25 January. The company's press service
said tough cost-cutting measures planned in December would be
implemented. AvtoVAZ, which produces Ladas and is one of the ten largest
industrial enterprises in Russia, plans to make 650,000 cars in 1996,
170,000-180,000 for export. In 1990, it produced 740,000 cars, 40% of
which were exported. -- Penny Morvant

PRIVATIZATION REVENUES MODEST IN 1995. Receipts from privatization
totalled 2.8 trillion rubles ($590 million) in 1995, according to a
State Statistics Committee report cited in Russian media on 5 February.
Only one-third of the total came from sales of federal property, the
remainder was generated by city and regional sales. Moscow alone raised
716 billion rubles ($150 million). The federal budget received 720
billion rubles from privatization, plus another 5.1 trillion ($1.1
billion) in credits and debt repayments as a result of the controversial
share-loan auctions in the last two months of 1995. Thus, the auctions
brought the government near the 8.7 trillion ruble target for
privatization receipts it had set in October. -- Peter Rutland

MOSCOW REGION ATTRACTS MOST FOREIGN INVESTMENT. Foreign investment into
Moscow city and region rose from $189 million in 1994 to $889 million in
the first nine months of 1995, Russian news agencies reported on 4
February, citing the State Statistical Committee. The 1995 figure
represents 57% of all the foreign capital flowing into Russia. After
Moscow, favored destinations were the oil regions of Tyumen ($71
million) and Tatarstan ($63 million), and the industrial cities of
Nizhnii Novgorod ($46 million) and Samara ($41 million). -- Natalia
Gurushina

GERMAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES CREDITS TO CIS STATES. The German government
has approved export credits worth 2.3 billion marks ($1.5 billion) for
Russia and other CIS countries, Western agencies reported on 5 February.
Russia will receive 1.5 billion marks of credits, followed by 300
million marks to Ukraine and 200 million marks to Uzbekistan. Belarus,
Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan will receive 100 million marks of credit
each. The credits are administered by the state-owned insurance company
Hermes. For the first time the credits to Russia will be backed by
guarantees from Russian commercial banks rather than from the
government. -- Natalia Gurushina and Roger Kangas

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CRISES ABATE IN TURSUN ZADE, KURGAN-TYUBE . . . The commanders of the
"mutineers" in Tursun Zade and Kurgan-Tyube began ordering their
supporters to withdraw to those cities on 5 January and are collecting
weapons distributed to the population, Russian and Western media
reported. The Tajik government met some of the rebels' demands by
sacking Tajik First Deputy Prime Minister Makhmadsaid Ubadollayev and
two others. The Tajik government also agreed to grant amnesty to those
involved in the uprisings, another part of the demands. Both groups have
withdrawn to the cities they captured at the end of January, although
they had advanced to within 20 miles of the capital, Dushanbe. -- Bruce
Pannier

. . . BUT MORE FIGHTING IN TAVIL-DARA. After a pause due to snowfall in
the Garm region, fighting resumed on 5 February between Tajik government
forces and opposition fighters near Tavil-Dara, international agencies
reported. Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Khairulloyev said
reinforcements were preparing to leave for the area, about 280
kilometers east of Dushanbe. There are conflicting reports on the
casualty figures from the battles with between four and six government
troops dead and at least 19 wounded. On 2 February it was reported that
as many as 100 government soldiers were unaccounted for in the Tavil-
Dara region. -- Bruce Pannier

KAZAKHSTANI PARLIAMENT TO "FUNCTION DIFFERENTLY." Marat Ospanov, who was
appointed speaker of the lower house of parliament (Majilis), assured
the deputies that the new Kazakhstani parliament will follow "Asian
traditions" and function very differently than the two previous ones,
Russian TV reported on 4 February. He defended President Nursultan
Nazarbayev's dissolving of the parliament in March 1995 after "the
entire parliament turned itself into an opposition bloc." Earlier,
speaking at the inaugural session of the parliament on 30 January,
Nazarbayev warned that he would dissolve the new parliament and dismiss
the government if they repeated the mistakes of the old parliament. --
Bhavna Dave

SEMIRECHIE COSSACKS REELECT GUNKIN, SEEK REGISTRATION. The Semirechie
Cossacks re-elected Nikolai Gunkin as their ataman for two years at
their congress in Almaty on 5 February, Russian TV reported. Gunkin was
released from an Almaty prison last week after serving a two-month
sentence for allegedly organizing unsanctioned political rallies. Gunkin
said the Semirechie Cossacks are seeking to register as a public
organization with the justice ministry and will refrain from holding
unsanctioned rallies. The meeting was attended by 135 Cossack leaders
from southern oblasts, as well as from the Ust-Kamenogorsk and Pavlodar
regions. -- Bhavna Dave

TURKMENISTAN CUTS OFF GAS TO ARMENIA. Turkmenistan cut off its gas
supply to Armenia on 4 February because of Erevan's failure to pay a $50
million debt for natural gas, Russian media reported. In other news, a
storm ruptured an underwater gas pipeline in the Caspian Sea, disrupting
the flow of gas to many parts of Azerbaijan, Western and Russian media
reported on 2 February. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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              Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                       All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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