We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 79, Part I, 22 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
- "More Than a Cadre Reshuffle:  Nazarbayev Appoints New Head in East
  Kazakhstan," by Bhavna Dave

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
NUCLEAR SAFETY SUMMIT ROUNDUP. President Boris Yeltsin co-chaired a
meeting of the G-7 plus Russia on the topic of nuclear security on 20
April, Russian and Western agencies reported. The meeting issued joint
communiques calling for the signing of a comprehensive nuclear test ban
by September and pledging to implement more stringent nuclear safety
standards. Russia's support for a total ban on all nuclear tests was its
first official endorsement of this position, already supported by
Britain, France, and the U.S. but still regarded skeptically by China.
Although Russian media emphasized that the meeting showed that the West
is increasingly taking Russian interests into account, some
disagreements emerged. Yeltsin's proposal that nuclear powers base their
weapons only on their own soil did not meet with approval, nor did
another Russian proposal for a nuclear-free zone in Eastern and Central
Europe. -- Scott Parrish
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

CLINTON, YELTSIN: ATMOSPHERICS OVER SUBSTANCE. Following the G-7
meeting, Yeltsin held five hours of talks with his U.S. counterpart,
Bill Clinton, on 21 April, Russian and Western agencies reported. With
their eyes on their respective re-election campaigns, both presidents
tried hard to portray their 10th meeting as a success, despite its
meager substantive results. They announced "progress" toward resolving
long-running disputes involving the 1990 CFE treaty and the 1972 ABM
treaty but refused to give details. Similar vague statements about
resolving the CFE flank limits dispute at the presidents' previous
meeting in Hyde Park last October failed to deliver concrete results,
however. Despite the friendly atmosphere of the meeting, other
disagreements involving NATO expansion, Russian nuclear cooperation with
Iran, the Middle East peace process, and the Chechen conflict remained
unresolved. -- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN WINS FRENCH SUPPORT ON OSCE. The presidents of Russia and France
on 19 April issued a joint declaration saying that the OSCE should serve
as the basis for the new European security architecture, UPI reported.
Russia has long pushed the OSCE as an alternative to NATO in this role,
believing that it would have a stronger voice in the former
organization. France has often puzzled its NATO partners, and this
statement by President Jacques Chirac comes at a time when French
military cooperation with NATO is closer than it has been since the
French withdrew from the alliance's integrated military structure 30
years ago. French presidential spokeswoman Katerin Kolonna was quoted as
saying that France continues to support NATO expansion into Eastern
Europe "gradually and within the interest of our partners." -- Doug
Clarke

YELTSIN MEETS JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER. Before the G-7 meeting, Yeltsin
met with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 19 April. Yeltsin pledged that Russia will no
longer dump liquid radioactive waste in waters near Japan, and promised
that Russia will soon sign a protocol to the 1993 London Convention
banning nuclear waste dumping at sea. The two leaders agreed that
Japanese Defense Agency Director-General Hideo Usui will visit Moscow on
27-29 April. Usui will be the first Japanese defense chief to visit
Russia since the end of World War II. Hashimoto also announced that he
and Yeltsin had decided to revive talks on the disputed southern Kuril
islands--which would not begin until after the June presidential
election in Russia. -- Scott Parrish

CLINTON HEARS DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW. President Clinton met with a
diverse group of politicians on 21 April and emphasized that the U.S.
will respect whatever choice Russians make in the upcoming presidential
elections, Russian and Western media reported. Yeltsin's election rivals
Gennadii Zyuganov, Grigorii Yavlinskii, and Aleksandr Lebed were
present, but Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Mikhail Gorbachev were not invited
to the meeting. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, Nizhnii Novgorod Governor
Boris Nemtsov, and Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel, all
influential regional leaders who are backing Yeltsin's re-election, were
also present. Zyuganov, accompanied by Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev
and Deputy Speaker Svetlana Goryacheva, both members of his Communist
Party, assured Clinton that he supported political pluralism and a mixed
economy. However, Yavlinskii, former First Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Chubais, and others warned Clinton not to trust Zyuganov's
promises. -- Laura Belin

TsIK REGISTERS MORE CANDIDATES. The Central Electoral Commission (TsIK)
registered Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, eye surgeon and Duma
member Svyatoslav Fedorov, and Duma member Aleksandr Lebed as
presidential candidates on 19 March. Yavlinskii announced that
negotiations on forming a coalition were going well with Fedorov and
Lebed, Radio Rossii reported, while Fedorov said that they would choose
a single candidate based on the ratings of the three, according to
Russian Public TV (ORT). Lebed said "a tentative result may appear only
in May," Segodnya reported on 19 April. The TsIK rejected the signatures
of entrepreneur Artem Tarasov, NTV reported. However, the Supreme Court
ordered the TsIK to register Martin Shakkum, whom it had earlier refused
to register, by 23 April. The procurator general froze a court decision
to register Vladimir Bryntsalov after the TsIK rejected his petition. --
Robert Orttung

GRACHEV ANNOUNCES READINESS TO RESIGN. Answering questions put to him by
Duma members, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said on 19 April that he is
ready to resign if the deputies believed that he was personally
responsible for the disorder in the military and the heavy losses the
federal troops suffered in Chechnya on 16 April, Radio Mayak reported.
Grachev reported that 53 people were killed, while NTV said it was 93;
the Grozny garrison said that 76 were killed, ITAR-TASS reported.
Grachev also said that he did not implement Yeltsin's 31 March ceasefire
order until 6 April because it would have endangered his troops. --
Robert Orttung

RUSSIA SUSPENDS TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM CHECHNYA. The withdrawal of
Russian forces to the Chechen border has been suspended in reaction to
the deaths of an estimated 76 Russian troops in an ambush near the
Chechen village of Yarysh-Mardy on 16 April, Chechen head of state Doku
Zavgaev told Russian Public TV (ORT) on 19 April. Also on 19 April,
President Yeltsin accepted Moroccan King Hassan II's offer to mediate in
the Chechen conflict, NTV reported. Speaking at a 20 April meeting of
representatives from all Chechen political parties in Grozny, Zavgaev
called for a consolidation of Chechen society to achieve peace, ORT
reported. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's chief of staff, Aslan
Maskhadov, was invited to the meeting but failed to attend. On 21 April,
NTV quoted Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev as saying that he would
begin mediating between the Russian leadership and Dudaev only after
large-scale military operations in Chechnya have ceased. -- Liz Fuller

RUSSIA HALTS DIVISION OF BLACK SEA FLEET. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
has suspended the process of dividing up the Black Sea Fleet and related
infrastructure with Ukraine, AFP reported on 19 April. Grachev said it
is "useless" to continue dividing the fleet while "the main political
questions," such as the status and basing of the Russian part of the
fleet, remain unsettled. Ongoing talks have failed to resolve
differences between the two countries over the terms under which the
Russian fleet will use the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, and Grachev is
probably trying to pressure Kyiv into accepting Moscow's terms. -- Scott
Parrish

PRIMAKOV GETS COLD SHOULDER IN ISRAEL. As part of a multilateral
diplomatic effort to broker a ceasefire in southern Lebanon, Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov made a whirlwind trip to Syria,
Lebanon, and Israel on 20-21 April, Russian and Western agencies
reported. In Damascus on 20 April, Primakov met with Syrian President
Hafez Assad, and also held talks with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister
Ali Akbar Velayati. He also participated in a meeting of the Russian,
French, and Italian foreign ministers and the U.S. secretary of state
later that day. In Beirut on 21 April, Primakov reiterated that Russia
views the recent Israeli military actions against Hezbollah geurillas in
Lebanon as "unacceptable"--a stand that earned him a cold reception in
Tel Aviv, where Prime Minister Shimon Peres said he prefers U.S.
mediation in the conflict. -- Scott Parrish

PRIVATIZATION IN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1996. The press service of the State
Property Committee announced that 864 companies were privatized in
Russia in January-February 1996, a sharp decrease from the 2,000 firms
privatized in the first two months of 1995, ITAR-TASS reported on 19
April. The budgetary revenue from privatization was 270 billion rubles
($56.5 million). Such a slow start casts doubts on the 1996
privatization revenue target of 12.4 trillion rubles ($2.5 billion).
State Property Committee Deputy Chairman Alfred Kokh said a lack of
investor interest in companies' shares on the eve of the presidential
election and political considerations against the privatization of some
large companies make the figure look unrealistic. He suggested that the
privatization target be lowered to 8.6 trillion rubles. -- Natalia
Gurushina

IMF PRESSES RUSSIA ON ECONOMIC POLICY. The IMF mission, visiting Moscow
as part of the fund's program to monitor the Russian economy, has
succeeded in convincing the Russian government to stick to the
conditions of its three-year $10.2 billion loan agreement, Reuters
reported on 21 April. The fund warned last week that if the Russian
government steps up trade protectionism, a $340 million tranche
scheduled for disbursement at the end of April may be put at risk. The
IMF was also concerned with Russia's failure to halve taxes on oil
exports from 1 April, and with President Yeltsin's pre-election promise
to increase government social spending and strengthen support for the
defense and agricultural sectors. Russia's faithfulness to the IMF loan
conditions may also affect negotiations with the Paris Club over the
rescheduling of Russia's $38 billion public debt. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MORE ARRESTS IN AZERBAIJAN. Police in Baku on 18 April arrested Giyas
Sadykhov, the head of former President Abulfaz Elchibey's
administration, and Arif Hadjiev, the secretary of the Musavat Party,
Turan reported. During the late evening of 19 April, 20 police officers
occupied Elchibey's present headquarters in the Nakhichevan village of
Keleki; Elchibey whereabouts are not clear. Addressing a 19 April press
conference of representatives of human rights organizations in Moscow,
the chairman of the Social-Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Araz Ali-
Zade, claimed that 2,500 people are currently serving prison terms in
Azerbaijan for their political convictions, Kuranty reported on 20
April. Also on 20 April, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev signed a
decree commuting five death sentences, including one passed on a Russian
mercenary who fought in Nagorno-Karabakh. -- Liz Fuller

KAZAKHSTANI PROCURATOR GENERAL SEEKS BAN ON COMMUNIST PARTY. Kazakhstani
Procurator-General Maksut Narikbayev has appealed to the Justice
Ministry to ban the Communist Party, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 April.
Narikbayev claimed that the party's charter seeks to create "a unitary
state with a socialist orientation and pro-communist ideology," goals
which violate the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty
enshrined in Kazakhstan's constitution. A number of Communist Party
activists were fined for holding "unsanctioned meetings" on 16-17 March
in several cities in support of the Duma's denunciation of the Belavezha
accords (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 April 1996). The party recently
elected Serikbolsin Abdildin, the former speaker of Kazakhstan's Supreme
Soviet and until recently a member of the less radical Socialist Party,
as chairman. -- Bhavna Dave

A NEW OPPOSITION MOVEMENT EMERGES IN KAZAKHSTAN. A new nationwide
opposition movement called Azamat (Citizen) held its first congress in
Almaty on 20 April, ITAR-TASS reported. The 400 delegates elected a
coordinating council of 49 members and three co-chairmen: Murat Auezov,
Kazakhstan's former ambassador to China; Petr Svoik, the Socialist Party
leader and the former chairman of the State Committee on Pricing and
Anti-Monopoly Measures; and Turegeldy Sharmanov, a member of the
Kazakhstani and Russian academies of medical sciences. The movement
adopted a charter that pledges to form a government "of honest and
competent people, enjoying people's trust," and expressed willingness to
cooperate with the government in promoting these goals. Azamat is the
first large-scale opposition movement led by eminent public figures who
are not part of the government. The movement is seeking to register with
the Justice Ministry. -- Bhavna Dave

RURAL SETTLERS IN BISHKEK THREATEN CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. The leaders of
the Kyrgyz movement of rural migrants, Ashar, have threatened to start a
civil disobedience campaign outside the presidential palace on 26 April
if the Bishkek authorities fail to deal with the problems of about
100,000 former peasants who have been seeking permanent residency in
Bishkek, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 April. In a letter addressed to
President Askar Akayev, the leaders of Ashar complained that despite
promises, the government has failed to provide the settlers' quarters on
the outskirts of the capital with electricity, water, medical
facilities, or a transportation network. They have asked the government
to allocate 840 million som ($76 million) to create these basic
amenities and another 100 million som ($9 million) to build a service
infrastructure. -- Bhavna Dave

[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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