When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary. - Anonymous
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 82, Part I, 25 April 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
No. 81: "Chechnya after Dudaev," by Liz Fuller

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

RUSSIA

YELTSIN IN BEIJING. Russian President Boris Yeltsin received a warm
welcome in Beijing on 24 August, marked by a 21-gun salute and a bear
hug from his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, international agencies
reported. After a formal dinner that evening, Yeltsin and Zemin signed a
joint declaration and 13 other bilateral agreements at a 25 April
ceremony. Yeltsin declared that Russia and China have "no areas of
disagreement." He also pointedly noted that China supports Russian
opposition to the eastward expansion of NATO, and added that he believes
China will soon join the other major nuclear powers in supporting a
total ban on nuclear tests, a position that China has previously
rejected. The two presidents also agreed to establish a direct "hot-
line" between Moscow and Beijing, the first such communications link
between Beijing and a foreign capital. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA, CHINA CRITICIZE U.S. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov
and his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, meeting in Beijing on 25
April, issued a joint statement saying that both Russia and China
"oppose any country's attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of
other countries," Russian and Western agencies reported. The statement
also attacked attempts by unnamed countries to "monopolize international
affairs," a thinly-veiled reference to the U.S. Moscow supports China's
"one China" policy, while Beijing terms Chechnya an "internal affair" of
Russia. Primakov and Qichen rejected suggestions that China and Russia
intend to form a new alliance, however, asserting that the further
development friendly ties between the two neighbors "is not directed
against any third country." -- Scott Parrish

CONFUSION OVER DUDAEV'S DEATH. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev was
buried on 24 April in the village of Shalazhi, NTV reported, quoting
acting President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev and military commander Shamil
Basaev, both of whom claimed to have attended the funeral. Russian media
have, however, quoted both Chechen and Russian officials as continuing
to doubt reports of Dudaev's demise. Russian Public TV (ORT) cited a
Russian Interior Ministry official as saying that Dudaev was killed in
revenge for the deaths of some 70 Russian Interior Ministry soldiers in
a 16 April ambush; the commander of Russian federal forces in Chechnya,
Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, told ITAR-TASS that the Russian military
was not responsible for killing Dudaev. Russian Nationalities Minister
Vyacheslav Mikhailov told Radio Rossii on 24 April that the search for a
peaceful solution to the Chechen conflict will continue, but on 25 April
Tikhomirov told Russian media that gunships inflicted considerable
damage on the village of Shali, where Chechen chief of staff Aslan
Maskhadov is reportedly under siege, Reuters reported. -- Liz Fuller

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CRITICIZES RUSSIA OVER CHECHNYA. The Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe blasted Russian policy in Chechnya on
25 April, AFP reported. Parliamentarians from the 39 member states of
the council, which Russia joined in February, passed a resolution
unconditionally condemning the "indiscriminate use of force" by Russian
troops in the breakaway republic. The motion also accused Moscow of
failing to honor its commitment to find a peaceful solution to the
Chechen conflict, which Moscow promised to do when it was admitted to
the council. At the request of former Lithuanian President Vytautas
Landsbergis, the assembly also observed a minute of silence in memory of
separatist Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. Critics have charged that
the council, which has the declared mission of promoting human rights,
has not done enough to pressure Russia on the Chechnya issue. -- Scott
Parrish

CANDIDATES RELY ON DIFFERENT GROUPS FOR SUPPORT. Presidential candidates
Boris Yeltsin and Gennadii Zyuganov appeal to very different social
groups, according to polling data in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 24 April.
Yeltsin draws support from men and women under 30, the technical and
humanitarian intelligentsia, office workers, members of the military,
and entrepreneurs living in big cities and oblast capitals. Zyuganov
attracts men and women aged 41-60, members of the technical
intelligentsia, members of the military, agricultural workers,
pensioners, and residents of big cities, small towns, and villages.
Looking at possible matches in the second round, Zyuganov would defeat
all potential opponents, with Yeltsin giving him the most competition in
a predicted outcome of 36.5% to 31.7%. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN LAGS IN CAMPAIGN "STREET WORK." While thousands of Communist
Party campaign volunteers have already begun to distribute leaflets
promoting Gennadii Zyuganov, supporters of President Yeltsin do not yet
have a single leaflet ready for mass production, Segodnya reported on 24
April. The paper said so-called "street" agitation using posters,
leaflets, and rallies may be more important for the June election than
they were for last December's parliamentary election, because candidates
will receive less free air time in the electronic media during this
campaign. Communist Party leaflets obtained by OMRI reflect several
aspects of Zyuganov's strategy: some are entirely devoted to attacking
Yeltsin, some emphasize Zyuganov's biography, and some focus on
Zyuganov's promises to restore social guarantees to impoverished groups
and protect "Russia, Motherland, [and] The People!" -- Laura Belin

YELTSIN PLAYS REGIONAL CARD IN KHABAROVSK. Hoping to make the Far East
more friendly electoral territory, President Yeltsin used his visit to
Khabarovsk to hand out favors to regional constituencies. Before
departing for China on 24 April, Yeltsin signed a power-sharing
agreement between the federal authorities and Khabarovsk Krai, gave the
federal program to develop the Far East presidential status, froze
tariffs on electricity and heating for residents of the Far East, and
promised to pay off debts owed by the Defense Ministry to defense
enterprises in the region, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 25 April. In the
December parliamentary election, the pro-government Our Home Is Russia
won only about 4% of the vote in Khabarovsk Krai, compared with 16% for
the Communist Party and 12% for the Liberal Democratic Party. -- Laura
Belin

LEBED: COMMUNIST NOMENKLATURA RESEMBLES CURRENT AUTHORITIES. As the
presidential campaign appears more and more to be a two-man race between
President Yeltsin and Gennadii Zyuganov, presidential candidate
Aleksandr Lebed argued in Izvestiya on 25 April that the front-runners
are not as different as they appear, since both descended from the same
"old communist nomenklatura." Lebed portrayed Zyuganov and other
Communist Party leaders as the "younger, unsuccessful but voracious
brothers of the current authorities," who no longer believe in the dogma
of the Soviet period and merely aspire to gain power. He also argued
that Zyuganov plays up his party's staunch opposition to the current
government, while Yeltsin plays up the communist threat, but these
campaign postures are merely a "game" designed to trick voters. The idea
that voters must choose the "lesser of two evils" is a threat to the
prospects of third-party candidates like Lebed. -- Laura Belin

ZHIRINOVSKY'S CAMPAIGN POSTERS. Several posters obtained by OMRI
promoting the presidential candidacy of Liberal Democratic Party of
Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky use familiar slogans, such as
"You will all be better off with me" and "I will raise Russia from her
knees!" One leaflet shows two smiling elderly women holding pictures of
Zhirinovsky, and a poster shows an elderly woman asking the LDPR leader
to "Defend us from them!" Other posters show Zhirinovsky next to smiling
children or an Orthodox priest. In contrast to Communist Party campaign
materials, which rarely include pictures of Gennadii Zyuganov,
Zhirinovsky's picture dominates every LDPR poster. Candidates are
allowed to begin campaigning with posters and leaflets as soon as they
are registered by the Central Electoral Commission. Campaign advertising
on television will begin on 14 May. -- Laura Belin

MINERS DIVIDED. Representatives of the Independent Coal-Industry
Workers' Union (NPRUP), whose annual conference opened in Moscow on 24
April, do not support any one candidate for the Russian presidency. The
union's chairman, Vitalii Budko, was quoted by Russian TV (RTR) as
saying that the union would not officially endorse any of the contenders
because its members have widely divergent views. Some back Zhirinovsky,
others Zyuganov, and still others Yeltsin. Russian miners used to be
firmly behind Yeltsin, but the downsizing of the industry and the
perennial problem of wage arrears have prompted many to switch their
allegiance. The union, which has about 700,000 members, is the largest
representing coal miners. -- Penny Morvant

TsIK REJECTS PODOPRIGOR AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) denied registration to Vladimir Podoprigor, a former
member of the Federation Council and chairman of the Assembly of
Parliamentarians, on the grounds that he did not turn in 1 million valid
nomination signatures, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 April. Of the 17
candidates who submitted signatures, the TsIK has registered eight,
denied four, and is reviewing five. Millionaire Duma member Vladimir
Bryntsalov said that the Procurator General's Office has decided that
there are no grounds to withhold registration from him and that now the
TsIK should carry out the Supreme Court order to register him, NTV
reported. -- Robert Orttung

GORBACHEV ATTACKED ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL. A young, unemployed engineer
punched former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in the face at a
campaign meeting in the Siberian city of Omsk on 24 April, ITAR-TASS
reported. The man later told police he did it because of "what
[Gorbachev] had done to the country." Reuters quoted Gorbachev as saying
that the attack was a professional assassination attempt, but Russian
agencies described the incident as "hooliganism." After the incident,
Gorbachev cut short his visit to Omsk and returned to Moscow. Gorbachev
is trailing badly in opinion polls, with less than 1% support. -- Penny
Morvant

DUMA PASSES LAW ON DEFENSE . . . The State Duma passed a compromise
version of the law "On Defense" on 24 April, Krasnaya zvezda reported
the next day. An earlier version was vetoed by President Yeltsin and
sent to a conciliatory commission. Under the law, all branches of the
armed forces will be placed under a single command in wartime,
regardless of their ministerial subordination during peacetime. The law
allows the president to deploy the armed forces for "other than their
primary purpose" only with the consent of the Federation Council, the
upper house of parliament. (Parliamentarians have long complained that
Yeltsin waged the military campaign in Chechnya without ever taking the
issue to a vote in the Federation Council.) The law also prohibits
political parties and social organizations from agitating or
distributing materials at military installations, Russian Public TV
(ORT) reported. -- Laura Belin

. . . AND ON BODYGUARDS. The Duma also adopted a draft law on state
security providing for bodyguards to be assigned to the country's top
leadership, ITAR-TASS reported. The bill stipulates that the bodyguards
will be assigned to the president from the day his or her election is
announced officially, as well as to the prime minister, the speakers of
the Duma and Federation Council, the procurator general, and the
chairmen of the Constitutional, Supreme, and Arbitration courts. The
president has no right to reject such measures. Former presidents will
retain guards for life, but those assigned to family members will be
withdrawn when the president leaves office. Segodnya on 11 April
reported that there are now three times as many state bodyguards as in
Soviet times. -- Penny Morvant

22 CANDIDATES SEEK GOVERNOR'S SEAT IN ST. PETERSBURG. The electoral
commission accepted nomination signatures from 22 potential candidates
for the 19 May St. Petersburg gubernatorial election, ITAR-TASS
reported. Among the competitors claiming to have collected the necessary
40,000 signatures are Mayor Anatolii Sobchak, Leningrad Oblast Governor
Aleksandr Belyakov, former Federation Council members Yurii Boldyrev and
Aleksandr Belyaev, former Liberal Democrat Duma member Vyacheslav
Marychev, Deputy Mayor Vladimir Yakovlev, former Leningrad Ispolkom
Chairman Vladimir Khodyrev, and Communist Yurii Sevenard, Sobchak's
opponent in the 1991 mayoral campaign. So far, four of the candidates
have been registered. St. Petersburg has changed the name of its
executive from mayor to governor to reflect the city's status as one of
the 89 components of the Russian Federation. -- Robert Orttung

GOVERNMENT APPROVES DECREE ON FINANCING SPACE PROGRAM. The government
has passed a set of financial support measures for Russia's
international space program, Finansovye izvestiya reported on 23 April.
The government will allocate 1.1 trillion rubles ($223.4 million)--on
top of the 3.3 trillion rubles already earmarked for the space industry
in this year's budget--for state purchases of serial equipment and
research and development. The measures will also allow the Russian Space
Agency to open special purpose credit lines worth up to 700 billion
rubles in total with Russian commercial banks and banking consortiums
this year. The Finance Ministry will guarantee the credits. -- Natalia
Gurushina

MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX'S OUTPUT SLIDES DOWN, INDEBTEDNESS GROWS.
The output of companies in the military-industrial complex declined by
30% in March 1996 compared to the same month a year earlier, Segodnya
reported on 24 April. The only firm that reported an increase (15%) was
Energiya company in Voronezh. At the end of the first quarter of 1996,
the military-industrial companies' debt to the federal budget topped 3
trillion rubles ($625.4 million). At the same time, the government owes
the sector 4.8 trillion rubles in payments for the 1994-1995 defense
order. Moreover, only 11-13% of the scheduled defense orders were
financed in the first quarter of this year, Segodnya reported on 24
April. Of the 1.4 trillion rubles ($307 million) earmarked for five
conversion programs in the 1995 budget, the industry received only 250
billion rubles, or 18% of the total. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIA TO GET LATEST RUSSIAN AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM. Russia plans to supply
its most modern air defense missile system, the S-300, to Armenia, Turan
reported on 22 April, citing sources in the Russian Caucasian Special
Border District. Also known as "Buk-M1," the missile/radar complex has a
range of up to 100 km and can engage up to six targets at the same time.
The report noted Azerbaijani concerns that the new missiles would
greatly expand Armenia's capability to strike targets over Azerbaijan.
-- Doug Clarke

NAZARBAYEV TO IGNORE UIGHUR PLEAS WHILE IN CHINA. Prior to his departure
for Shanghai to attend the signing of a five-nation treaty to
demilitarize the Chinese border with three Central Asian states and
Russia, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized that
minority issues will not be raised at the summit, AFP reported on 25
April. Nazarbayev was referring to the Uighur population that straddles
the Chinese-Central Asian border. The United National Revolutionary
Front of East Turkestan, which is based in Almaty, appealed to the
summit participants not to "sacrifice" the Uighurs to the Han (Chinese).
The group's leader, Yusupbek Moukhlissi, warned that violence may be the
only way to achieve independence, noting that there are currently 27
secret Uighur organizations active in the Xinjiang region. -- 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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