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No. 40, Part I, 26 February 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Turkish Government Coalition Talks Fail Again", by Lowell Bezanis
-  "Primakov in Central Asia:  A View from the South", by Roger Kangas

Available only via the World Wide Web:

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Council of Ingushetiya, meeting at night on 24 February, denounced a
military operation being carried out by federal troops in the republic
as unconstitutional and demanded the withdrawal of the units, Russian
media reported. According to Ingush President Ruslan Aushev, army units
and Interior Ministry troops entered the republic on 21 February and
sealed off two Ingush villages near the Ingush-Chechen border, Arshty
and Dattykh. According to commanders from the 58th Army, Chechen
militants ambushed Russian troops en route through Ingushetiya near
Arshty, killing 14 of them, NTV reported. The Ingush government claims
that the federal air force bombed Arshty and the Chechen village of
Bamut on 23 February, killing seven civilians. The Defense Ministry
denies that it used aviation and artillery in the area. -- Anna


Zyuganov continues to lead the presidential preference polls with 18%
support, 3% more than a month ago, NTV reported on 25 February.
Zhirinovsky is in second place with 10%, up 1% from a month ago, and
Yeltsin is third with 8%, up 2% from January. Yavlinskii dropped from
11% to 8% during the last month and lost his former second place
position. KRO leader Aleksandr Lebed dropped from 8% to 7%. These
figures include the 37% of repondents who said they do not intend to
vote. If they are excluded, Zyuganov's score rises to 24% and Yeltsin's
to 9%. Zyuganov was the first candidate to turn in the 1 million
signatures necessary to run, the BBC reported. -- Robert Orttung

ZYUGANOV SLAMS YELTSIN SPEECH. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov
denounced President Boris Yeltsin's 23 February speech to the
parliament, saying that it was a "populist" speech that had "no
conceptual view of the development of the country nor an honest,
critical evaluation of everything that is taking place," NTV reported on
23 February. Vladimir Zhirinovsky supported the speeches' "centrist
policy" of denouncing "capitalist ministers and communist deputies" in
the Duma. Duma Deputy Galina Staro-voitova described it as a "campaign
speech" in which the president simultaneously spoke as the head of state
and as an opposition leader criticizing his own policies, Radio Rossii
reported. -- Robert Orttung

ILYUSHIN NOW KEY YELTSIN ADVISER. First Presidential Aide Viktor
Ilyushin is now Yeltsin's key adviser, according to Nezavisimaya gazeta
on 23 February. With the removal of Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei
Filatov, he controls most personnel decisions. The article also asserts
that the head of Yeltsin's security service, Alexander Korzhakov, is
losing influence while the current chief of staff, Nikolai Yegorov, is
an "independent and weighty" figure. Yeltsin is unhappy with Korzhakov
because of the "scorched earth" tactics used recently in the Chechen
conflict. -- Robert Orttung

Minister Oleg Soskovets failed to testify before the Duma on the
activities of the office on preparing for the presidential elections,
ITAR-TASS reported on 23 February. Instead, he sent a letter saying that
he thought it is "pointless" for the Duma to examine the issue. Many
deputies believe that the president is using Soskovets' office to funnel
state money into his campaign. At a press conference following his
meeting with IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, Soskovets said the
president had asked him to organize his re-election campaign, Russian
Public TV reported. -- Robert Orttung

HOSTAGES IN CHECHNYA. Eleven Russian power plant workers were kidnapped
on 23 February in Grozny, then released when their captors' truck broke
down, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. A group of 29 power workers were
seized on 16 January and are still in captivity. Other hostages held by
Chechen rebels include 36 Russian construction workers, three Russian
Orthodox priests, a Muslim cleric, two ministers of the pro-Moscow
Chechen government, and nine Chechen police officers. The State Duma
commission on hostages and POWs negotiated the release of 12 Novosibirsk
OMON police officers who had been seized during the Pervomaiskoe raid
last month. They were released in Dagestan on 19 February in exchange
for 11 Chechen fighters, captured in Pervomaiskoe, who had been
amnestied by the State Duma. -- Peter Rutland

JOURNALIST BEATEN. Moskovskie novosti correspondent Aleksandr Krutov was
beaten by two men in the Volga region city of Saratov, NTV reported on
23 February, citing the Defense of Glasnost Foundation. The journalist
was hit over the head with metal pipe more than 10 times. The attack is
thought have been a response to an article written by Krutov for
Moskovskie novosti in early February, titled, "The Chechen syndrome in
the Volga region." -- Anna Paretskaya

FBI ARRESTS SUSPECTED SOVIET SPY. The FBI arrested Robert Stephan Lipka,
50, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), on charges
of espionage, Russian and Western agencies reported on 23 February.
Lipka worked at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland from 1964-67,
where he had access to top-secret intelligence communications data.
ITAR-TASS reported that the FBI arrest warrant for Lipka cited passages
from retired KGB Maj.-Gen. Oleg Kalugin's book, The First Directorate.
In the book, Kalugin, a former head of the KGB's foreign
counterintelligence operations who served at the Soviet Embassy in
Washington in the late 1960s, describes an unidentified Soviet agent who
worked at the NSA. The agency suggested that Kalugin's book may have
played a key role in Lipka's arrest. -- Scott Parrish

Yeltsin issued a directive on 23 February unilaterally withdrawing
Russia from UN sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs, Russian and Western
media reported. Russian UN Representative Sergei Lavrov told journalists
the directive implemented UN resolution 1,022, passed in November 1995,
which called for the automatic suspension of the sanctions after Bosnian
Serb forces withdrew behind separation lines designated in the Dayton
accords. A formal UN Security Council suspension of the sanctions has
been blocked by disagreement between Russia and the U.S. over whether
the Bosnian Serbs had met those conditions (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13
and 16 February 1996). A U.S. spokesman called the Russian decision
"premature" but described the differences between Russia and the other
members of the Security Council as technical, rather than substantive.
-- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN ON FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES. In his State of the Nation Address
on 23 February, President Yeltsin mentioned the possible expansion of
NATO as the most serious current challenge to Russian interests, ITAR-
TASS reported. The president also expressed concern with Western
policies which attempt to limit Russian influence in the CIS,
marginalize Russia's role in the Yugoslav settlement, and undermine the
1972 ABM treaty. Among the accomplishments of Russian foreign policy,
Yeltsin mentioned accelerated CIS integration, warming ties with China,
Russian admission to the Council of Europe, and ongoing nuclear arms
reductions. Yeltsin also appeared to undermine his own warnings about
NATO expansion when he declared that for the first time this century,
Russia does not face any real military threat. -- Scott Parrish

Constantinople patriarchate to reinstate its jurisdiction over the
Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church evoked a sharp protest from the
Russian Orthodox Church on 23 February, Western agencies reported. The
Moscow patriarch formally suspended relations with Constantinople. The
Estonian church split from Moscow in 1919 and its leadership moved to
Stockholm during World War II. After independence was restored, the
church registered again in Estonia. This move prevented Orthodox
believers who wanted to be subordinate to Moscow to register under the
same time. The Russian Orthodox Church has accused the Estonian
authorities of having an anti-Russian policy. -- Saulius Girnius

ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE INTENSIFIES. President Boris Yeltsin pledged to
wage a war on corruption in his state of the nation speech on 23
February, which was carried by Russian TV. He reported that 1,200 state
officials have been charged in 1995, including 109 from the procuracy
itself, which is charged with preserving the integrity of the legal
system. Some 23,000 personnel have been fired from the Interior Ministry
for disciplinary infractions, of which 1,500 are being prosecuted.
Aleksei Ilyushenko, acting procurator-general from February 1994 to
October 1995, has been in detention in Lefortovo prison since 15
February. He is charged with taking bribes (art. 173) and abuse of
office (art. 170). Ilyushenko is implicated in illegal dealing by Balkar
Trading, a small company licensed for oil exports, which has been under
investigation by the Federal Security Service since February 1995. --
Peter Rutland
SOVIET ARMY DAY HONORED. The Day of Defenders of the Fatherland,
formerly Soviet Army Day, was marked on 23 February by various events
held throughout the country. Some 5,000 communist-patriotic hardliners
marched in Moscow and were addressed by Gennadii Zyuganov. In other
cities wreaths were laid, medals awarded, and special privileges granted
to veterans, such as apartments and free transport passes. According to
a survey reported by ITAR-TASS on 23 February, 77% of Russians consider
the day a family holiday. -- Peter Rutland

RUSSIA AND DE BEERS SIGN NEW AGREEMENT. The Russian government renewed
its contract with South Africa's De Beers on 23 February, ITAR-TASS
reported the same day. The new agreement preserves De Beers's role as
the main agent for Russian diamonds. The present contract, which expired
in December and was extended until March, entitled De Beers to handle
95% of Russia's diamond exports. Details of the new agreement are not
yet available. The same day, ITAR-TASS reported that YUKOS plans to
cooperate with the U.S. firm AMOCO in the development of the giant
Priobskii oil field in northern Tyumen Oblast. The field is expected to
produce 20 million metric tons of oil annually. -- Natalia Gurushina


Adil Gadzhiev, a former state counselor to former Azerbaijani President
Ayaz Mutalibov has been apprehended by Russian intelligence and
extradited to Azerbaijan, Radio Mayak reported on 24 February. Gadzhiev
has reportedly confessed to involvement in what has been called a "coup
attempt" in March 1995. -- Liz Fuller

opposition representative to the UN commission on monitoring the
ceasefire agreement in Tajikistan was kidnapped in the capital,
Dushanbe, on 24 February, Russian and Western agencies reported. Four
men seized Zafar Rakhmonov as he exited a shop and threw him into a
waiting car. The government and the opposition are accusing each other
of the crime. News of Rakhmonov's abduction sparked fighting in the
Tavil Dara region, about 280 km east of Dushanbe. -- Bruce Pannier

Pravda on 22 February, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov voiced
his concern over CIS integration and objected to binding decisions being
passed at CIS sessions. He said Uzbekistan has shown its reluctance to
become enmeshed in an organization dominated by Russia by not signing
the CIS treaty on border protection and not attending the recent
Interparliamentary Assembly session held in St. Petersburg (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 19 February 1996). On 23 February, Segodnya noted that
during a recent visit to Tashkent, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii
Primakov managed to conclude only one of six proposed agreements with
his Uzbek counterpart. -- Roger Kangas

independent television companies, the national information agency
Khabar, and the association of independent electronic mass media of
Central Asia issued a statement criticizing the government's decision to
grant the state company Kazakh Kino the power to act as a "censor" over
other television stations in the country, ITAR-TASS reported on 23
February. The statement argues that under the guise of combating video
piracy, the government has vested Kazakh Kino with the right to charge a
fee for the screening of any film in a movie theater or on television.
-- Bhavna Dave
Oil Minister Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Iranian contractors have won a tender
for two projects in Turkmenistan worth about $150 million, Reuters
reported on 24 February, citing IRNA. The projects include the
construction of gas pipelines and an oil refinery. On the same day,
ITAR-TASS reported that Turkmen and Iranian telecommunications companies
signed a $22 million contract to lay the Turkmen section of the 19,000
km long Trans-Asia-Europe fibre-optic communications line. Iran's
telecommunications company is scheduled to complete the 711 km-long
Turkmen segment by March 1997. The Islamic Development Bank will finance
the contract with a loan, the agency noted. -- Lowell Bezanis

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

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