|If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale|
No. 84, Part I, 29 April 1996
New OMRI Analytical Briefs: No. 82: "Tensions Rise Between Belgrade and Montenegro," by Stan Markotich No. 83: "Tensions Rise in Kosovo," by Fabian Schmidt No. 84: "Slovak Television and the Michal Kovac Jr. Kidnapping," by Sharon Fisher No. 85: "The China Summits: Old Games with New Rules," by Roger Kangas No. 86: "Tenth Anniversary of the Chornobyl Accident," by Ustina Markus No. 87: "Slovak Opposition Party Holds Congress," by Sharon Fisher No. 88: "Opposition Demonstrates Against Lukashenka Again," 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 RUSSIA DUDAEV'S SUCCESSOR ASSASSINATED. Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, the radical Chechen writer appointed to succeed Dzhokhar Dudaev as president on 24 April, was shot dead in a clash between rival Chechen factions during the night of 28-29 April, Russian and Western agencies reported, citing members of the pro-Russian Chechen government in Grozny. In other news, the pro-Dudaev coalition council of Chechen political parties on 27 April unanimously called for a ceasefire and peace talks, but Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev said none of the Chechen field commanders have enough authority to conduct negotiations. Zavgaev said he had met personally with Dudaev's chief of staff, Aslan Maskhadov, but that the latter was "out of his depth." On 28 April, leaflets were posted in Grozny threatening reprisals against the pro-Moscow Chechen government in revenge for Dudaev's death, ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile, thousands of people, including Chechen emigres, demonstrated in Turkey and Jordan to protest the killing of Dudaev, Turkish and Western media reported on 26 and 27 April. -- Liz Fuller and Lowell Bezanis BUSINESS LEADERS CALL FOR POLITICAL COMPROMISE. Thirteen leading bankers and entrepreneurs on 26 April issued a warning that because Russian society is deeply divided, the presidential election could lead to civil war no matter who wins. The statement, published in Izvestiya on 27 April, asked journalists and legislators, along with President Yeltsin and Gennadii Zyuganov, to seek a "political compromise" before June. Among the signatories were Logovaz President Boris Berezovskii, co- chairman of the Russian Public TV (ORT) board, and Most group Chairman Vladimir Gusinskii, whose empire finances NTV. Any meaningful compromise between Zyuganov and Yeltsin seems unlikely: on 26 April, Yeltsin called Russian Communists "fanatics," ITAR-TASS reported. However, speaking to ITAR-TASS on 29 April presidential economics adviser Aleksandr Livshits said that he would not rule out the possibility that some Communists could be offered ministerial positions in the post-election administration, if they accepted the government's general economic course. -- Laura Belin GAIDAR BACKS YELTSIN. Only a few months after urging President Boris Yeltsin not to run for re-election, Yegor Gaidar and the Moscow branch of his Russia's Democratic Choice (DVR) party endorsed the incumbent on 27 April after heated debate, Russian media reported. Human rights defender Sergei Kovalev, a co-founder of the DVR, urged his colleagues to back Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii. However, most of those present were swayed by DVR deputy chairman Anatolii Chubais, who asserted that Yavlinskii has little chance of winning and that all votes not cast for Yeltsin in the first round would work to the advantage of Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov. -- Laura Belin PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REGISTRATION UPDATE. The Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) on 26 April completed its review of presidential candidates, registering Kemerovo Oblast legislature chairman Aman Tuleev and former champion weight lifter turned nationalist Yurii Vlasov, Russian media reported. Tuleev was third on the Communist Party list for the parliamentary election and is considered a "back-up" candidate to Gennadii Zyuganov. Also on 26 April, the TsIK finally complied with a Supreme Court instruction to register millionaire Duma deputy Vladimir Bryntsalov for the ballot. However, citing irregularities on their signature lists, the commission denied registration to Democratic Russia co-leader Galina Starovoitova, Lev Ubozhko, head of the tiny Conservative Party, and Vyacheslav Ushakov, president of a Moscow-based investment fund. Eleven candidates will now appear on the ballot, but that number could increase if the Supreme Court finds in favor of Starovoitova, Ubozhko, or Ushakov this week. -- Laura Belin PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SUBMIT INCOME DECLARATIONS. All presidential candidates are obliged to submit income declarations to the Central Electoral Commission for 1994 and 1995, and these may be published if the candidate agrees. According to Vek (no. 17), Yeltsin had a gross annual income of 552 million rubles ($140,000) in 1994 and 27 million ($5,600) in 1995, while his main rival Gennadii Zyuganov earned 27 million in 1994 and 30 million in 1995. The top earner was former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, with an income of 2.3 billion rubles in 1994 and 1.1 billion in 1995. Candidates registered for the presidential election will receive a total of 4 billion rubles ($810,000) in government campaign funds, to be divided among them. They must submit reports showing where the money went within 30 days of the elections. Vek noted that some Duma deputies who received government funds in 1993 have yet to submit reports. -- Penny Morvant ZYUGANOV WARNS OF ELECTION RESULTS FRAUD. Communist Party (KPRF) leader Gennadii Zyuganov told OMRI on 28 April that he is sure there will be an attempt to falsify the results of the 16 June presidential election. Although he declined to say who he thinks will make the attempt and why, he indirectly pointed the finger at President Yeltsin. Citing information allegedly obtained from U.S. intelligence services, Zyuganov claimed that the results of the December 1993 referendum on the Russian Constitution were falsified to insure that the document endorsed by Yeltsin would pass. He said that the vote counting should be watched carefully. Zyuganov was on a three-day campaign swing through Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and Leningrad Oblast. -- Anna Paretskaya in St. Petersburg 18 CANDIDATES REGISTERED FOR ST. PETERSBURG ELECTION. Eighteen candidates have been registered to contest the 19 May gubernatorial election in the city of St. Petersburg, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 April. Forged signatures were found on the petitions of the other four candidates who tried to register, according to Ekspress-khronika. The most prominent challengers to incumbent Mayor Anatolii Sobchak are former Federation Council deputy Yurii Boldyrev, who was a founding member of Yabloko in 1993 but left Yavlinskii's party in September 1995, and Leningrad Oblast Governor Aleksandr Belyakov. -- Laura Belin RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY FORMED. At a ceremony in St. Petersburg on 29 April, the chairmen of both houses of the Russian Federal Assembly and the head of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet signed an agreement forming a Russian-Belarusian Parliamentary Assembly, ITAR-TASS reported. The new assembly was created under the terms of the 2 April agreement forming the Russian-Belarusian community. Although the final text of the 2 April agreement has not yet been published in the Russian press, a draft version in OMRI's possession provides for the parliamentary assembly to consist of 15 parliamentarians from each member-state. Apparently, the body will not have legislative authority but will instead prepare draft legislation for consideration by the Russian and Belarusian legislatures. -- Scott Parrish SELEZNEV LINKS START II WITH NATO EXPANSION. The recent intensification of preparations for the eastward expansion of NATO may threaten the ratification of the START II treaty, Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev told a press conference on 26 April. ITAR-TASS quoted Seleznev as saying that in January 1993, when the arms control agreement had been signed, NATO expansion "was not under discussion." He said that with the prospect of NATO expansion seeming increasingly likely, deputies now have "many questions" about START II, which have not yet been adequately addressed in committee hearings. Most commentators now give START II only a slim chance for ratification. -- Scott Parrish LEBANON CEASEFIRE A SETBACK FOR PRIMAKOV. Russian analysts have assessed the U.S.-brokered ceasefire in Lebanon as a setback for Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov, contending that despite his efforts, Russia remains marginalized in the region. Izvestiya commentator Maksim Yusin told AFP that as a result of his unproductive Middle East visit last week, "Primakov has been humiliated in the region which he considers he knows best." On 26 April, Izvestiya argued that Primakov's failed attempt to mediate a settlement in Lebanon had damaged Russian-Israeli relations, blaming Primakov for overly blunt criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. The paper argued that despite Primakov's personal contacts in the region, Russia is too economically weak to compete with the U.S. for influence there. -- Scott Parrish MIR SPACE STATION COMPLETE. A research module containing 900 kg of equipment, including devices for studying the earth's natural resources, docked successfully with the Russian space station Mir on 26 April, Russian and Western agencies reported. The Priroda module, which was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 23 April, is the fifth and final module to dock with Mir and marks the structural completion of the space station. Much of the equipment will be used by U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid, who will be aboard Mir for a five-month period. -- Penny Morvant CHERNOMYRDIN'S DOCTOR MURDERED. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's personal physician, Dmitrii Nechaev, was shot dead in a Moscow suburb on 26 April, Russian TV (RTR) reported. The motive for the killing is unclear. There were 216 contract killings in Moscow in 1995, up from 181 in 1994. Only about 10% of such murders are solved. -- Penny Morvant RUSSIA CONCLUDES DEAL WITH PARIS CLUB. Russia has reached agreement with the Paris Club to reschedule its debts to official creditors, Russian and Western agencies reported on 29 April. Russia's debts to the 20- nation club are estimated to exceed $40 billion, half of them held by Germany. For the past three years, Paris Club debts have been rolled over on an annual basis. Talks on an "exit rescheduling" began last November, in the wake of an agreement to postpone $32 billion worth of debts with the London Club of commercial lenders. The terms of the latest rescheduling are not yet known: Russia was thought to be holding out for repayment over 25 years and a seven-year grace period before payments begin. -- Peter Rutland TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA MEDIA CRACKDOWN IN ARMENIA. Representatives of Armenian opposition parties and newspapers have protested recent moves by the Armenian authorities against the opposition press, Noyan Tapan reported on 23 and 25 April. Following a split in the ranks of the opposition Ramgavar- Azatakan Party (RAP), which resulted in the creation of a pro-government splinter party named Mission of the Ramgavar-Azatakan Party (MRAP), the Armenian Justice Ministry revoked the registration of the existing editorial board of the RAP's daily newspaper Azg ("Nation"), and ruled that the MRAP has the right to publish a paper with the same title. On 26 April, a Yerevan Court is to hear a formal complaint by the Central Electoral Commission against the weekly newspaper Ayzhm ("Now")--the organ of the radical National Democratic Union--which in its 6 April issue published data on the results of the 5 July 1995 referendum on the new Armenian constitution that contradict the official results. -- Liz Fuller YELTSIN-NAZARBAYEV MEETING IN ALMATY. Following up on the series of meetings in China, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Kazakhstani counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, met for four hours in Almaty on 27 April and signed five bilateral accords, Russian and Western media reported. Among the agreements was a protocol reorganizing the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which is expected to break a three-year deadlock among the participant states. According to the agreement, Russia will now own 24% of the consortium shares, with the remainder divided among Kazakhstan, Oman, and the oil companies participating in the venture. In addition, agreements were signed on setting up Russian-Kazakh joint ventures, pension guarantees for residents of Baikonur, and a Kazakh commission for the Baikonur complex. In addition, Yeltsin "ruled out" any Russian territorial claims on Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Roger Kangas UZBEK PARLIAMENT DENOUNCES EFFORTS TO "REVIVE USSR." The Uzbek Oliy Majlis (parliament) passed a resolution condemning the Russian State Duma's vote to annul the Belavezha accord, Russian and Uzbek media reported. The resolution called efforts to create supra-state institutions "unacceptable" but stressed the need to "integrate" within the CIS as a sovereign state, according to a 25 April Uzbek TV report monitored by the BBC. The Oliy Majlis began its 5th session on 25 April with 20 issues on its agenda, including bills on citizenship, banks, joint-stock companies, free economic zones, and national security. The deputies will also discuss the creation of a new governmental award, the Order of Amir Timur, ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii reported. -- Roger Kangas IMMIGRATION LIMITS IN KAZAKHSTAN. A presidential decree issued on 26 April has set a ceiling on the number of ethnic Kazakhs moving to Kazakhstan from neighboring states that will be eligible to receive financial support, RFE/RL reported. Some 4,000 families moving from neighboring states will receive state aid and housing this year. Already, more than 3,400 families have moved to Kazakhstan in the first four months of 1996. The policy of state aid for ethnic Kazakhs "returning" to Kazakhstan was implemented shortly after the country became independent, but the government now seems concerned at the possibility of an influx of migrants. -- Roger Kangas [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Victor Gomez ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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