Величайшее удовольствие, какое только может чувствовать честный человек, - это доставлять удовольствие своим друзьям. - Вольтер

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
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:

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


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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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.
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