|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 28, Part I, 08 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ YELTSIN CALLS FOR IMPROVED HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE. At the meeting of the Security Council on 7 February, Yeltsin called on Russia's special services to find ways to better utilize scientific information collected by foreign intelligence agencies in the interests of "technological rearmament," Ekho Moskvy reported. He told the Council that "it is better to have a leading technology than a leading ideology," Rossiiskie vesti reported on 8 February. He said only 10-20% of the information received from foreign intelligence is used, and argued that the key to success was not leadership in a particular technology, but the quick application of new technology in the economy, ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin also expressed concern about the departure of Russia's most qualified specialists and the low level of university instructors. -- Robert Orttung ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ RUSSIA YELTSIN'S HEALTH. A leading Russian cardiologist, Mikhail Alshibai, discussed Yelstin's heart condition in an interview for Novoe vremya, no. 5. Yelstin was hospitalized on 11 July and 26 October suffering from ischemia, or inadequate supply of blood to the heart. Alshibai, who did not treat the president, said that the second hospitalization was clearly more serious than the first. He argued that the condition can only be improved by surgery, which was presumably rejected for political reasons. Alshibai said that judging by Yeltsin's television appearances featuring slurred speech, that "There are some symptoms of arteriosclerosis of the vessels supplying blood to the brain." -- Peter Rutland ZYUGANOV RESPONDS TO CHUBAIS' CHARGES. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov rejected former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais' charge that he said one thing at home and another abroad in a speech to the Duma, Izvestiya reported 8 February. Zyuganov stressed his party's "social-democratic" goals, emphasizing that the party supported private property and did not intend to carry out a policy of renationalization. However, the communists plan to prosecute instances of "illegal" privatization and do not support the selling of land. Zyuganov's attempts to move toward the center will undoubtedly complicate his relations with more orthodox communists. -- Robert Orttung SPOKESMAN: NEMTSOV WON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Nizhnii Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov is not going to stand for the June presidential elections, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February citing the governor's spokesman, Aleksandr Kotyusov. The spokesman said that a group formed earlier this week in Moscow to nominate the popular Nemtsov for president was created without the governor's knowledge. -- Anna Paretskaya CHECHEN GOVERNMENT ASKS DEMONSTRATORS TO DISPERSE. In a television address on 7 February, Chechen Prime Minister Doku Zavgaev called on the Dudaev supporters who have been demonstrating in Grozny the past four days to disperse, Russian media reported. ITAR-TASS quoted Deputy Premier Abdulla Bugaev as stating that the authorities would not use force against the demonstrators in what they describe as an "unsanctioned meeting" unless they resisted police. Russian Television reported that the withdrawal of Russian federal troops from Chechnya would begin on 8 February with a pullout from Shatoi raion, which is under the control of the pro-Moscow Chechen government. -- Liz Fuller OFFICERS TO GO ON TRIAL FOR ACTIONS IN CHECHNYA. Several Interior Ministry troops, including the commander of a division, will be tried for impeding a military prosecutor in carrying out his duties, Russian media reported on 6 February. The Main Military Prosecutor's Office said that case involved an incident on the Chechen-Ingush border on 24 December when federal soldiers beat up the driver of an inter-city bus. The report said the division commander would not allow prosecutors to visit the crime scene. -- Doug Clarke FEDERATION COUNCIL WANTS NEW COMMISSION FOR CHECHNYA. The Federation Council on 7 February called for the formation of a new governmental commission representing both houses of parliament, the president, the government, and the constitutional court to hammer out a unified policy toward the Chechen crisis, Russian and Western agencies reported. The Council said that "a resumption of large-scale military actions must be prevented...and the war ended." President Yeltsin apparently plans to launch a new Chechen initiative soon. -- Scott Parrish REGIONAL GOVERNORS ACTIVE IN FEDERATION COUNCIL. Krasnaya zvezda reported on 8 February that Aleksandr Ryabov, recently elected governor of the Tambov Oblast on the Communist Party ticket, was picked to chair the upper house of parliament's Committee for Security and Defense Issues. Among his deputies are the respective governors of Sverdlovsk Oblast and Primorsk Krai, Eduard Rossel and Yevgenii Nazdratenko. The pro-government Yevgenii Savchenko, elected governor of Belgorod in December, will head the Federation Council's Committee for Agrarian Policy, while Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, will head the Budget and Finance committee, according to Rossiiskaya gazeta on 1 February. -- Anna Paretskaya YELTSIN APPOINTS REPRESENTATIVES TO PARLIAMENT. President Boris Yeltsin appointed his representatives to both houses of the Russian parliament, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. Anatolii Sliva, who headed the Committee on Local Self-Government in the previous State Duma, will represent the president in the parliament's upper house, while Deputy Minister of Nationalities Aleksandr Kotenkov will be his representative to the Duma. The former presidential representative to the parliament, Aleksandr Yakovlev, resigned earlier this week (see OMRI Daily Digest 6 February 1996) -- Anna Paretskaya DUMA PASSES LAW RAISING MINIMUM PENSION, WAGE. The parliament's lower house passed a bill on 7 February raising the minimum wage to 75,900 rubles ($16) a month as of 1 February; 255 deputies voted for the hike and 17 against with four abstentions. According to ITAR-TASS, the Duma also raised the minimum pension to 75,900 rubles as of 1 March; this bill had the support of 282 deputies. Both the government and the Pension Fund are against the increases, arguing that they are unaffordable (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 January). The law must still be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the president. -- Penny Morvant ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR READY TO SUE YELTSIN. "If Boris Yeltsin issues an edict forbidding St. Petersburg mayoral elections, then I will sue in the Constitutional Court," said St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak, according to Rossiiskaya gazeta on 7 February. Under a decree of the city's Legislative Assembly, the mayoral elections are to be held on 16 June, along with presidential poll. Sobchak's term expires four days earlier. However, Yeltsin is against any local elections or referendums to be held that day, according to Sergei Tsyplyaev, a Yeltsin representative in St. Petersburg. Under a 17 September presidential decree, the elections of executive heads of federation subjects should be conducted in December 1996, with the exception of Moscow, where Yeltsin will allow a mayoral poll on 16 June. -- Anna Paretskaya THERE WILL BE NO SUSPENSE IN TATAR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The incumbent Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev is the only candidate for the March republican presidential elections, Russian news agencies reported. Communists, who had nominated local factory director Ramil Gabdrakhmanov as their candidate, decided "to quit the race" a few minutes before the deadline for handing in signatures for candidates expired. According to Russian federal laws, elections with only one candidate are illegitimate. However, re-election of the unopposed Kalmykian president in October caused nothing but verbal denouncement of the Central Electoral Commission's Chairman Nikolai Ryabov. -- Anna Paretskaya RUSSIA AND GEORGIA DISCUSS AIR DEFENSE COOPERATION. Georgian Defense Minster Vardiko Nadibaidze and First Deputy Commander of the Russian Air Defense Forces, Col.-Gen. Sergei Sapegin discussed the development of the integrated CIS air defense system in Tbilisi on 7 February, ITAR- TASS reported. Nadibaidze said that joint training exercises were already underway for the unified air defense system, which was formed by a February 1995 agreement signed by all CIS states except Moldova and Azerbaijan. Under a decision made at the January CIS summit, Russia will finance upgrades in the air defenses of Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Sapegin said that Russia planned to provide Georgia with 10 billion rubles ($2.1 million) for its air defenses. -- Scott Parrish RUSSIA, U.S. TO JOINTLY CLEAN-UP LAKE BAIKAL. An agreement to work jointly to protect the ecology of Lake Baikal has been reached at the Russian-U.S. intergovernmental commission on economic and technical cooperation headed by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and U.S. Vice President Albert Gore, Russian media reported on 6 February. The commission agreed to overhaul the Baikalsk pulp and paper factory, which according to the Russian branch of Greenpeace is the only firm that dumps its waste directly into the lake. -- Anna Paretskaya NIZHNII NOVGOROD FIRM FINISHES BLUEPRINT OF NUCLEAR WASTE REPROCESSING VESSEL. The Vympel design office in Nizhnii Novgorod has finished the blueprint for a vessel to reprocess liquid nuclear waste, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 February. The vessel will be built by a shipbuilder in Komsomolsk-na-Amure and will be able to reprocess 7,000 tons of waste a year. The project is a joint effort by Russian, Japanese, and U.S. firms aimed at safeguarding the ecological security of the Russian Far East. It costs $26 million and is being paid for by the Japanese government as part of funds allocated in 1993 to support Russian nuclear disarmament. -- Penny Morvant PRISON GUARDS PROTEST DELAYED WAGES. Over 60 guards at a jail in Petrozavodsk in the republic of Kareliya have been on hunger strike for three days to protest wage arrears, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. The guards, who are Interior Ministry (MVD) employees, were last paid in October. On 7 February, a battalion of the MVD's service for transporting detainees in Tula Oblast also proclaimed a hunger strike, again to protest arrears in wages and other payments. According to Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Durbazhev, the MVD began 1996 with debts of 3.4 trillion rubles ($720 million). He said the MVD needs 42 trillion rubles this year but has been allocated only 25 trillion in the 1996 budget. -- Penny Morvant CANNIBALISM IN KEMEROVO. Police in the Siberian city of Kemerovo said on 7 February they have detained a man who confessed to killing a local criminal, making ravioli out of him, and then eating the dish during a drinking session with two friends, Russian and Western agencies reported. Details of the crime emerged when a group of homeless people rummaging through a rubbish dump discovered a human head and other body parts later identified as the remains of Vladimir Laptin, a criminal with a string of convictions. An investigation led police to three suspects, one of whom confessed to the killing. Last July two prisoners in a Siberian prison were accused of eating their cell-mate. -- Penny Morvant RUSSIA IMPOSES EXCISE DUTIES ON UKRAINIAN GOODS. A presidential decree on levying excise taxes on goods manufactured in Ukraine will come into force on 18 February, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. The introduction of this measure signed on 19 January (which may seriously affect Ukraine's exports of tobacco, alcohol and cars) follows the Ukrainian government's decision to lift excise taxes from all goods exported to Russia, making them cheaper than Russian commodities. Officials at the State Customs Committee told OMRI that hitherto the trade flows between the two countries were exempt from import duties, excise tax, and value added tax. -- Natalia Gurushina TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA GOVERNMENT TROOPS PULL BACK IN TAVIL-DARA. Tajik government troops on 7 February pulled back to positions in the Lyulikharv area, according to ITAR-TASS. The fighting has been going on for a week and according to a radio Voice of Free Tajikistan report on 7 February, the government dead total about 60 and more than 250 soldiers and officers have been taken prisoner. There was no mention of opposition force losses or any confirmation from the Tajik government on their casualties. The same radio report claimed opposition forces in Tavil-Dara have captured two ammo dumps, two tanks, and eight armored vehicles. Bad weather has so far prevented the Tajik government forces from employing air power. -- Bruce Pannier TAJIKISTAN FACES SERIOUS FOOD SHORTAGE. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a statement on 6 February warning that Tajikistan is facing a serious food shortage, according to Western agencies. The FAO claims that Tajikistan has roughly 40% of the required food grain imports necessary this year. A poor harvest coupled with Tajikistan's emphasis on cotton has contributed to the situation as well as bad harvests in Russia and Kazakhstan, Tajikistan's main suppliers. Tajik authorities requested the U.S. government to speed up delivery of 20,000 tons of grain on 19 January, Tajik Radio reported. -- Bruce Pannier NIYAZOV HOSPITALIZED FOR TESTS. Before attending to official business in Turkey, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov will undergo a medical check up at the American Hospital in Istanbul, the paper Yeni Yuzyil reported on 8 February. The duration of his stay in hospital is unclear his doctor said, noting that cardiological tests on Niyazov can take several days. Niyazov's health has been monitored periodically over the past two years at the American Hospital following an operation on his leg in the U.S. in 1994, the paper reported. -- Lowell Bezanis [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Pete Baumgartner 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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