One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 74, Part I, 15 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
- "Amnesty International on Turkmenistan:  Words for Deaf Ears?," by
  Lowell Bezanis
- "Improving Czech-Polish Relations," by Jiri Pehe

Available on the World Wide Web:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Analytical/Index.html

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
EASTER CELEBRATED AT CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOR. President Boris
Yeltsin on 14 April headed a 1,500-strong congregation at an Easter mass
at the newly rebuilt Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow, Russian and
Western agencies reported. The mass was celebrated by Patriarch Aleksii
II, who called the restoration of the cathedral "a symbol of the
resurrection of Russia." Both Yeltsin and his main rival for the
presidency, Communist contender Gennadii Zyuganov, have taken pains to
express support for the Orthodox Church, and the Easter mass, which was
televised nationwide, provided Yeltsin with useful pre-election media
coverage. -- Penny Morvant
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

SUPREME COURT SUSPENDS ORDER TO TsIK. The Supreme Court on 13 April
suspended for further study its order to the Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) to register Duma member Vladimir Bryntsalov as a
presidential candidate, NTV reported. The TsIK had protested a 10 April
court order to register Bryntsalov to Procurator-General Yurii Skuratov,
who told the Duma on 12 April that the court could overrule the TsIK's
decision not to register Bryntsalov but could not force the TsIK to
register him, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Meanwhile, the TsIK
registered former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev as the fourth
candidate and denied registration to Martin Shakum, president of the
International Foundation for Economic and Social Reform, on the grounds
that he did not submit enough valid nomination signatures. -- Robert
Orttung

GRACHEV PREVENTS COMMUNISTS FROM CAMPAIGNING AMONG TROOPS. Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev has turned down a request from Communist Party
campaign organizer Valentin Kuptsov to allow Zyuganov to meet with
servicemen during the presidential campaign, ITAR-TASS reported 12
April. Zyuganov had planned a series of meetings with military units in
the coming months. The Defense Ministry's top leadership has strenuously
denied that there are political divisions among the ranks, and has
signaled its support for Yeltsin. -- Robert Orttung

POLL SHOWS WEAK SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY, MARKET ECONOMY. A recent VTsIOM
poll found that 41% of respondents believed that the Soviet political
system existing before the 1990s was the best option for Russia, 27%
supported Western-style democracy, and 9% favored the current system,
Radio Rossii reported 14 April. Also, 42% said that they favored an
economic system based on state planning, while approximately one-third
favored a market economy and 25% chose "difficult to say" as a response.
-- Robert Orttung

NOVODVORSKAYA CHARGED FOR BELITTLING RUSSIAN NATION. Valeriya
Novodvorskaya, the head of Russia's Democratic Union, is facing criminal
charges for "repeatedly expressing opinions and spreading ideas
suggesting the inferiority of the Russian nation," ITAR-TASS reported on
11 April. She is being charged under Article 74 of the Russian Criminal
Code for "deliberate instigation of interethnic enmity." The writ cites
articles by Novodvorskaya in Novyi vzglyad on 29 August 1993 and 15
January 1994 and an interview with Estonian television. It said she used
"tendentiously selected facts and false statements about the Russian way
of life" to generate "negative attitudes toward people of Russian
nationality." Novodvorskaya was a prominent dissident in Soviet times
and was imprisoned during perestroika for publicly calling President
Mikhail Gorbachev a fascist. -- Penny Morvant

BARSUKOV EMPLOYS EX-KGB OFFICERS AS ADVISERS . . . Federal Security
Service (FSB) Director Mikhail Barsukov has decided to restore the
institution of veteran-advisers, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 13
April. Barsukov has reportedly appointed Col. Gen. Nikolai Golushko
(Rt.), former security minister (1993-94), as a special adviser to the
FSB director. Golushko served in the KGB for 34 years and was the last
head of the Ukrainian KGB. -- Constantine Dmitriev in Moscow

. . . WHILE COMMUNISTS FEAR SECURITY SERVICE PROVOCATIONS. Communist
deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, the head of the Duma Committee on Security, told
Ekho Moskvy on 12 April that the Russian security services are preparing
three scenarios to discredit the Communist Party presidential candidate
and his campaign. Ilyukhin said that the security services may accuse
the Communist Party of creating paramilitary units to take power by
force; of financial machinations during the 1995 parliamentary campaign;
and of conducting separate negotiations with the Chechen separatist
leaders. -- Anna Paretskaya in Moscow

ST. PETERSBURG DVR BACKS YELTSIN, NATIONAL LEADERSHIP DIVIDED. The St.
Petersburg branch of Russia's Democratic Choice (DVR) voted 49-25 to
back President Yeltsin in the presidential campaign on 13 April, Express
Khronika reported. The day before, the party's national Political
Council failed to come to a decision. Party leader Yegor Gaidar told
Segodnya that "Sergei Kovalev supports Yavlinskii, Anatolii Chubais is
for Yeltsin." The 18 May party congress will resolve the issue. --
Robert Orttung

SPLIT IN DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Twelve Democratic Party of Russia (DPR)
regional branches have declared that they disagree with the party's
decision at the 9th DPR Congress to support Duma deputy Lt. Gen. (ret.)
Aleksandr Lebed for the presidential bid, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on
13 April. Twelve DPR regional branches, which include the Moscow,
Sverdlovsk, Kaluga, and Primorie organizations, have created an
association supporting President Yeltsin for re-election. -- Anna
Paretskaya

NEW CHECHEN PRIME MINISTER NAMED. The Supreme Soviet on 13 April voted
to appoint the former deputy head of the Russian railway troops, General
Nikolai Koshman, as Chechen prime minister, NTV reported. Sporadic
fighting in the west Chechen villages of Bamut, Goiskoe, and Stary
Achkhoi between Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's forces and Russian
federal troops continued on 13-14 April, but the commander of the
Russian federal troops, Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, announced on 13
April that the first contingent of Russian troops would begin
withdrawing from Chechnya on 15 April. In an interview with NTV cited by
AFP on 14 April, Dudaev's chief of staff, Aslan Maskhadov, said he is
ready for peace talks, and blamed Russian forces for not observing the
ceasefire proclaimed by President Yeltsin on 31 March. Meanwhile,
Nadezhda Chaikova, 33, a reporter for the Moscow weekly Obschaya Gazeta
became the 16th journalist killed in Chechnya since the conflict began
in December 1994, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller

CIS PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN MOSCOW. The prime ministers of the 12 CIS
member-states signed an integration plan for 1996-97, a crime-fighting
agreement, and several other economic accords at a 12 April meeting in
Moscow, Russian and Western agencies reported. The anti-crime agreement
calls for the coordination of criminal codes and the creation of a
united CIS criminal data base. NTV reported that the session, which
dealt with 30 agenda items in less than three hours, had been much more
productive than anticipated. Also concluded at the session were
agreements bolstering the CIS unified air defense system and
coordinating oil transit policy. -- Scott Parrish

PRIMORSK GOVERNOR CLAIMS MISUNDERSTANDING. Primorsk Krai Governor
Yevgenii Nazdratenko announced on 12 April that he has "no disagreement
with the president over the Russo-Chinese border," Russian and Western
agencies reported. Nazdratenko said journalists had misinterpreted him,
and denied that he had announced that Yeltsin was suspending the ongoing
demarcation of disputed segments of the Russo-Chinese border along the
Tuman River. Yeltsin later angrily refuted Nazdratenko's remarks. (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 11 and 12 April 1996). On the same day, Ussuri
Cossack Ataman Vitalii Poluyanov announced that his troops would picket
the disputed segments, which they claim are traditional Cossack
territory, in order to prevent the demarcation. -- Scott Parrish

NORILSK NICKEL DIRECTOR FIRED. Anatolii Filatov, the head of the Norilsk
Nickel plant, has been fired by a decision of the Russian government,
Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 13 April. The giant combine has been
mired in controversy since ONEKSIMbank acquired 38% of its shares in
return for a $170 million loan last November. Filatov was preventing the
bank from calling a shareholders meeting in order to appoint new members
to its board. On 27 February, ONEKSIMbank won a court case the firm had
brought to try to have the bank's purchase of shares declared illegal.
The first deputy chairman of the State Metallurgy Committee, Vsevolod
Generalov, will now take over as Norilsk director. -- Peter Rutland

TAX REVENUE PROBLEMS. The Federation Council was told that budget
revenues reached only 56% of the planned level in the first two months
of this year, Russian TV reported on 13 April. The volume of uncollected
taxes had risen to 40 trillion rubles ($8 billion) by the end of that
period. Nizhnii Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov complained that his
province had received only 16 billion rubles in transfers from the
federal government, instead of the allotted 100 billion. Leningrad
Governor Aleksandr Belyakov said that inflation had been needed to keep
revenues rising: now that it has slowed, the government is in a
quandary. -- Peter Rutland

GOVERNMENT TO WRITE OFF FARM DEBTS. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Zaveryukha said that the government will write off 18 trillion rubles
($11 billion in 1993-94 prices) borrowed by the agro-industrial complex
from banks in 1993-1994, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 April. He also said
the government will write down the 5 trillion rubles "commodity credits"
given to farms in the form of tractors, machines and equipment during
the same period. Zaveryukha said that unfavorable shifts in prices were
largely responsible for the fact that farms lost a total of 46 trillion
rubles ($10.1 billion) in 1995. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN'S EX-PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN MOSCOW. Former Azerbaijani
President Ayaz Mutalibov and former Defense Minister Rahim Gaziev were
arrested in Moscow on 11 and 14 April respectively, Turan and Western
agencies reported. Mutalibov, who was ousted by the Azerbaijani Popular
Front in May 1992, and has been living in Moscow ever since, was briefly
detained by Russian police in May last year. The Azerbaijani authorities
have repeatedly demanded his extradition, claiming that he was
implicated in the alleged coup attempts against current President Heidar
Aliev in October 1994 and March 1995. Gaziev, a former leading member of
the Azerbaijani Popular Front, was arrested for allegedly surrendering
the towns of Shusha and Lachin to Armenian forces in the spring of 1993.
He escaped from prison in September 1994 and fled to Moscow but was
tried and sentenced to death in absentia in February 1996. -- Liz Fuller

ARMENIAN ENVOY IN ANKARA. Gerard Libaridian, chief adviser to Armenian
President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, arrived in Ankara on 12 April in a visit
aimed at urging Turkey to balance its Caucasus policy by undertaking an
unconditional dialogue with Armenia, Turkish and Western media reported
the same day. Libaridian will meet with Turkish President Suleyman
Demirel for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. His arrival
immediately preceded the departure of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut
Yilmaz for Baku. -- Lowell Bezanis

UZBEKISTAN STOPS TAJIKS GOING TO MECCA. Some 2,000 Tajik pilgrims en
route to Mecca were detained on Tajikistan's southern border with
Uzbekistan because their travel documents were allegedly incomplete,
according to an opposition Voice of Free Tajikistan report monitored by
the BBC on 11 April. -- Lowell Bezanis

CADRE CHANGES IN KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN. Kazakhstani Supreme Court
Chairman Mikhail Malakov was suspended on 11 April pending investigation
into charges that he accepted bribes from a convicted criminal, ITAR-
TASS reported (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 February 1996). The day before,
Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev sacked the head of East
Kazakhstan, Leonid Desyantik, for "serious mistakes and neglecting his
duties." He was replaced by Kazkhymurat Nigmanov, formerly head of
Zhezkazgan, which will now be headed by Yerlan Smailov, according to a
Kazakh Radio report monitored by the BBC. In Kyrgyzstan, police Colonel
Omurbek Kutuyev was appointed to the post of interior minister on 11
April, according to a Kyrgyz TV report monitored by the BBC. Former
Interior Minister Modalbek Moldashev was obliged to resign on 2 April
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 April 1996). -- Lowell Bezanis

PRESS FREEDOM IN THE CIS. Press freedom is in a sorry state in the
countries of the CIS, according to the latest report from the Glasnost
Defense Fund, Russian TV reported on 12 April. Aleksei Simonov said that
journalists throughout the region find it difficult to get hold of
information. The report divided the CIS into five groups. In Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, freedom of speech is completely absent.
Things are a little better in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, where on
occasion journalists are jailed. In Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, independent
journalists are harassed, and Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova are not far
behind. There are also "black holes" in press freedom in Russia--most
notably, Chechnya. -- Peter Rutland

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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