You can't fake listening. It shows. - Raquel Welch
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 81, Part I, 24 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
No. 76: "A New Opposition Movement is Launched in Kazakhstan," by Bhavna Dave
No. 77: "NATO Enlargement and Slovakia," by Sharon Fisher
No. 78: "Yeltsin and the Myth of the China Market," by Scott Parrish
No. 79: "Former Polish Prime Minister Cleared from Spy Allegations," by
        Jakub Karpinski
No. 80: "The Constitutional Debate in Ukraine," by Ustina Markus

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
IS DUDAEV DEAD? Conflicting reports appeared on 23 April over whether or
not Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev had been killed in a rocket attack
on the village of Gekhi-Chu southwest of Grozny during the night of 21-
22 April. Khodzh-Akhmed Yarikhanov, who initially represented the Dudaev
camp at last summer's Chechen-Russian peace talks, told ITAR-TASS that
Dudaev had been killed, but later on 23 April a Chechen government
official said in Istanbul that he had spoken to Dudaev by telephone that
day. Russian Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov questioned
Yarikhanov's reliability, saying he has had no contact with Dudaev for
three months, according to Ekho Moskvy. On 24 April, however, AFP
reported that Chechen military commander Shamil Basaev had confirmed the
reports of Dudaev's death and had told Interfax that Vice President
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev had assumed the presidency. Yandarbiev, 44, is a
former writer who founded the Vainakh Democratic Party in May 1990.
ITAR-TASS on 24 April quoted President Boris Yeltsin as saying that a
peace agreement would be signed with or without Dudaev. -- Liz Fuller
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

CHAIRMAN OF ST. PETERSBURG LEGISLATURE CHARGED WITH ABUSE OF OFFICE. The
Procurator General's Office has charged St. Petersburg Legislative
Assembly Chairman Yurii Kravtsov with abuse of public office, forgery,
and incitement to steal property from the mayor's housing department,
ITAR-TASS reported on 23 April. Kravtsov was ordered to remain in the
city, but this restriction will probably be lifted so that he can travel
to Moscow to participate in meetings of the Federation Council as a
member. In March, Kravtsov was charged with illegally using state money
to remodel his apartment at a cost of 350 million rubles ($73,000).
Kravtsov and many of the deputies in the assembly believe the charges
are an attempt to discredit the city legislature on the eve of the 19
May gubernatorial elections. Kravtsov has no intention of resigning and
the deputies will work to prevent any attempt to remove him. -- Robert
Orttung

ITAR-TASS: YELTSIN MUST BRING MILITARY LEADERSHIP TO HEEL. The president
must take action so that he does not appear before the voters as a
commander whose orders are not obeyed, ITAR-TASS commentator Tamara
Zayatina argued on 23 April. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's admission
that he did not implement the president's 31 March order to halt combat
activities in Chechnya until 6 April show that the "military leadership
is practically blocking presidential policy" (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22
April 1996). She added that Grachev's statements are causing "disorder
and unsteadiness" in the military. -- Robert Orttung

FEDOROV ANNOUNCES "THIRD FORCE" AGREEMENT. Presidential candidate
Svyatoslav Fedorov announced that he and fellow candidates Grigorii
Yavlinskii and Aleksandr Lebed would soon sign a charter on economic
priorities for the next two years and allow opinion polls to decide
which one of them should stand for the presidency a month before the
election, NTV reported on 23 April. Fedorov announced his willingness to
step aside and then either "disappear into the shadows" or take a
position in the executive branch. He said that different economic
approaches would not divide the candidates and that he would invite
Yavlinskii to his ophthalmological institute to convince him that "facts
are much more important than the theories of Milton Friedman and Adam
Smith." -- Robert Orttung

DEMOCRATS CALL FOR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY. Seven pro-reform Duma deputies,
including Sergei Yushenkov of Russia's Democratic Choice, Vladimir
Ryzhkov of Our Home Is Russia, Democratic Russia co-leader Galina
Starovoitova, Common Cause leader Irina Khakamada, and Forward, Russia!
leader Boris Fedorov, signed an appeal for holding "preliminary"
presidential elections on 15-16 May in the city of Moscow and in Moscow
Oblast, Russian media reported on 23 April. Republican Party leader
Vladimir Lysenko, who also signed the document, said a primary election
would reveal the most promising candidate from the democratic camp and
would allow other presidential contenders to drop out of the race
"without losing face." Many pro-reform politicians, in particular
members of Russia's Democratic Choice, are torn between supporting
President Yeltsin despite misgivings or supporting Grigorii Yavlinskii
despite his relatively small chance of winning. Our Home Is Russia,
Khakamada, and Fedorov have already endorsed Yeltsin's candidacy. --
Laura Belin

ANTI-COMMUNIST NEWSPAPER FOUNDED IN ZYUGANOV'S HOME REGION. A newspaper
called Ne dai bog (God forbid), which is entirely devoted to agitating
against Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov, has appeared in
Zyuganov's home region, Orel Oblast, Ekspress-khronika reported on 24
April. The first issue was left free of charge in the mailboxes of
practically all subscribers to other newspapers. It is not clear who is
financing the new paper, which did not call on readers to vote for any
other specific presidential candidate. President Yeltsin's supporters
are counting on the anti-communist press to help dissuade swing voters
from backing Zyuganov. -- Laura Belin

WORKERS AT SARATOV TRANSMITTER STATION GO ON STRIKE OVER WAGE ARREARS.
Workers at the Saratov Radio and TV Center have stopped transmitting
Russian Public TV (ORT) and Russian TV (RTR) programs because of delays
in wage payments, ORT reported on 23 April. The chairman of the
Communications Workers' Union, Anatolii Lazeikin, said that transmitter
stations are owed more than 700 billion rubles ($140 million) by
television companies. ORT and RTR are two of the biggest debtors. If the
issue is not resolved quickly, media coverage of the presidential
election campaign could be disrupted. Russian television stations will
begin broadcasting election campaign advertisements in mid-May. -- Penny
Morvant

SVERDLOVSK GOVERNOR FIRES HEAD OF REGIONAL GOVERNMENT. Sverdlovsk Oblast
Governor Eduard Rossel sacked Valerii Trushnikov, the head of the
region's government, ostensibly for failing to implement the regional
budget and pay wages and children's allowances, Kommersant-Daily
reported on 23 April. The move is widely seen as politically motivated,
since Trushnikov supported a competitor to Rossel's bloc, Transformation
of the Urals, in the 14 April election to the Sverdlovsk legislature
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 April 1996). Rossel admitted to Russian TV
(RTR) that those elections had exhausted his patience with Trushnikov.
Trushnikov ran against Rossel in the first round of the August 1995
gubernatorial election but supported him in the second round in exchange
for keeping his job as head of the oblast government. -- Laura Belin

OPEN COMPETITION FOR AIR TIME ON RUSSIAN PUBLIC TV. Three hours of air
time on Sunday mornings on Russian Public TV (ORT) will be distributed
after a competition in which any television program or production
company can participate, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 April. The network's
deputy general director said the open competition will be the first in
the history of Channel 1. -- Laura Belin

FOREIGN MINISTRY DENOUNCES ESTONIAN "PROVOCATION." Foreign Ministry
spokesman Grigorii Karasin accused the Estonian government of
deliberately pursing an anti-Russian policy and preventing the
development of friendly relations, ITAR-TASS and BNS reported on 23
April. Demurin denounced Estonian Foreign Minister Siim Kallas's recent
assertion that Russia is developing "a mentality of revanchism," saying
the remark was intended to frighten Europe with what he termed "a
mythical Russian threat." He accused Tallinn of fostering anti-Russian
alarmism in order to facilitate Estonian integration into Western
institutions and divert attention from discriminatory policies against
the Russian minority in Estonia. Recent Russian moves to deepen CIS
integration have increased tensions in already rocky Russo-Estonian
relations. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WRAPS UP MIDDLE EAST SHUTTLE TOUR. Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov returned to Moscow on 23 April after
shuttling between Damascus, Beirut, and Jerusalem in an attempt to
broker a ceasefire in Lebanon, Russian media reported. Primakov told
Russian Public TV (ORT), that Russia is "doing everything" to resolve
the crisis in Lebanon. He emphasized, however, that Israeli troops must
withdraw from southern Lebanon before a settlement can be achieved, a
position not shared by the U.S. Later the same day, First Deputy Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov accused the U.S. of attempting to "monopolize"
efforts to broker a settlement. Komsomolskaya pravda on 24 April
reported that Primakov had intended his visit to bolster Russia's role
in the region, where it has been marginalized by the U.S. in recent
years. -- Scott Parrish

LOCAL LEGISLATURES SEEK TO RESTRICT FOREIGN VISITORS. The Chita Oblast
Duma has voted to restrict visits by foreigners to the region to a
maximum of 15 days and to require all foreign visitors staying for more
than three days to register with the police, ITAR-TASS reported on 23
April. The law also stipulates that local residents may only rent
apartments to foreigners if there is at least 12 square meters of living
space for each guest. The law is probably aimed against visitors from
China, which borders the oblast. Legislators in Omsk Oblast, which
borders on Kazakhstan, have also passed a law imposing restrictions on
foreign visitors, Kommersant-Daily reported on 19 April. The regional
procurator opposes the law, arguing that federal laws already require
foreigners to register and that the passage of such a law at the
regional level is unconstitutional. -- Penny Morvant

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICE FORCE BEING SET UP. Yet another law enforcement
body, this time to protect the environment, is being created in Russia.
Moskovskii komsomolets on 23 April quoted Environment Minister Viktor
Danilov-Danilyan as saying the president's administration has already
approved a plan to set up an ecological police force and that discussion
is currently centering on whether it should be a department within the
Environment Ministry or a separate federal agency. The force's task will
be to prevent the violation of legislation on the environment. Danilov-
Danilyan said that the first units should be set up in Moscow within a
few months. -- Penny Morvant

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

SHEVARDNADZE FLIES HOME AFTER THREE KILLED IN TBILISI EXPLOSION.
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze interrupted his visit to Brussels
to return to Tbilisi on 23 April after three people were killed in an
explosion at a local store, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Preliminary
reports suggest the blast was an accident rather than sabotage. -- Liz
Fuller

RUSSIAN SECURITY CHIEF VISITS TAJIKISTAN. The Russian presidential
security adviser, Yurii Baturin, met with Tajik President Imomali
Rakhmonov in Dushanbe on 23 April to discuss bilateral military
cooperation, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 April. He also attended military
exercises of the Russian 201st Motorized Infantry Division, which is
based in the country. Baturin will also make an appearance at an OSCE
seminar on confidence-building measures that begins on 24 April. --
Roger Kangas

PRISON CRISIS IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstan urgently needs more prisons,
according to Deputy Interior Minister Nikolai Vlasov. He said the prison
system has only been allocated 1.9 billion tenge of the estimated 4.5
billion tenge ($70 million) that it requires, Reuters reported on 23
April. As a result, corruption and theft among guards is common and the
conditions in the prisons are "appalling." Health standards are
virtually non-existent, and of the 76,000 prisoner population, an
estimated 1,300 died from tuberculosis last year and an additional
10,000 were afflicted with the disease. Vlasov endorsed a proposed 10-
year program that is supposed to bring the country's prisons up to
international standards. The need for more prisons is expected to
increase if President Nursultan Nazarbayev continues to implement his
policy of handing down harsher prison sentences for convicted criminals.
-- Roger Kangas

OSCE SYMPOSIUM IN TASHKENT. Representatives from 30 countries, including
the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, and Korea, met in Tashkent on 23 April
to participate in an OSCE-sponsored conference on regional security,
Russian media reported. Topics ranged from the OSCE security model to
discussions of Tajikistan as the "southern gate" of the OSCE, ITAR-TASS
reported on 23 April. Russian Public TV (ORT) highlighted the pressing
need to resolve local conflicts in the region and the growing problem of
drug trafficking in Central Asia. This is the latest in a series of
conferences sponsored by the international organization in an effort to
bring the Central Asian states closer together on regional issues. --
Roger Kangas

[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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