I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 104, Part I, 29 May 1996

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 GROZNY. In the course of a brief four-hour visit to Chechnya
on 28 May, President Boris Yeltsin visited a village behind the Russian
lines and a Russian military base in Grozny where he told troops that
although "the war is over," it is unlikely that the Chechen fighters
will surrender their arms, and that "any attempts to resume terrorist or
criminal activities will meet with the toughest measures in response,"
Russian media reported. Yeltsin also told the 205th motorized-rifle
brigade that conscripts with 18 months of service in the military who
have served in "danger areas" for six months are to be sent home. Acting
President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev flew back to Ingushetiya on 28 May after
continuing talks with Russian officials on the implementation of the 27
May ceasefire agreement. Yandarbiev said that the Chechen side had made
"great compromises," and would not abide by the ceasefire agreement if
the Russian military failed to observe it and "dirty politics"
continued, according to AFP. -- Liz Fuller

REACTION TO CHECHNYA EVENTS. Predictably, government figures and
supporters of President Yeltsin lauded his trip to Grozny and the
ceasefire agreement as vital steps toward solving one of Russia's most
important problems. However, rival presidential candidates Gennadii
Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky dismissed the visit and the deal as a
campaign trick, NTV reported on 28 May. While NTV supports Yeltsin, the
network's coverage was skeptical about the long-term prospects for
peace, noting that no one in Chechnya entertains the illusion that the
war will end quickly. At the same time, one NTV reporter criticized
Yeltsin's political opponents for seeming to have an interest in
prolonging the war for their own electoral benefit. The strongly pro-
Yeltsin but anti-war Izvestiya on 29 May praised the president for
opening the road to peace but regretted that such steps were not taken
earlier. -- Laura Belin

IZVESTIYA: MILITARY SKEPTICAL OF CHECHEN ACCORD. An article published in
Izvestiya on 29 May contends that the leadership of the Russian Defense
Ministry is not enthusiastic about the Chechen ceasefire agreement.
Officially, ministry officials are reluctant to comment on the
agreement, saying they are charged with implementing the orders of the
president, not discussing them. But unofficially, the paper claimed that
top brass believe the new agreement will merely repeat the experience of
last July's Russian-Chechen military agreement. Many Russian officers
feel that the agreement prevented them from crushing the Chechen
separatist forces and winning a military victory. The paper also
suggested that Yeltsin had intentionally refrained from personally
signing the 27 May agreement in order to keep his future options open.
-- Scott Parrish

JUDGES: VERDICT ON COMMUNIST PARTY NOT FULFILLED. Two of the 19
Constitutional Court judges, Ernst Ametistov and Tamara Morshchakova,
charged that a May 1992 ruling prohibiting the recreation of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (KPSS) has not been enforced, ITAR-
TASS and Ekspress-khronika reported on 28 May. In 1992, the court upheld
in large part President Yeltsin's August 1991 decrees banning most KPSS
activities. Gennadii Zyuganov was among those who appealed to the court
on behalf of the KPSS. Ametistov noted that since its creation in
February 1993, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF)--
which Zyuganov now leads--has built national structures and become very
much like the KPSS. The press conference at which Ametistov and
Morshchakova appeared was organized by the movement supporting President
Yeltsin's re-election, even though the federal law on the Constitutional
Court prohibits judges from taking part in political activities or
election campaigns. -- Laura Belin

ROSTOV MINERS DENOUNCE COAL INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP. A Rostov Oblast
regional conference of the Russian Coal Industry Workers' Union,
representing divisions of 150,000 members, passed a resolution
expressing the miners' disagreement with the government's current
economic policies and demanding the resignation of Russian Coal
corporation (Rosugol) President Yurii Malyshev, Nezavisimaya gazeta
reported on 28 May. A recent conference in the Kuzbass basin (Kemerovo
Oblast), attended by Malyshev, passed a resolution supporting the
economic reforms in general while appealing to President Yeltsin to
change the tax system and resolve the nonpayment crisis in the industry,
Rabochaya tribuna reported on 25 May. Nezavisimaya gazeta speculated
that despite the president's recent promises to coal miners in Vorkuta
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 May 1996) the Rostov Oblast coal miners will
not support Yeltsin. -- Laura Belin

OUSTED VLADIVOSTOK MAYOR DECLARES HUNGER STRIKE. Viktor Cherepkov, the
first democratically-elected mayor of Vladivostok who was ousted on
corruption charges in March 1994, announced plans to begin a hunger
strike in front of a Moscow court, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 28
May. The charges against Cherepkov were later dropped and the tax police
chief of Primorsk Krai was arrested for fabricating them, but Cherepkov
was never reinstated as mayor (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 May and 25 July
1995). The Helsinki International Human Rights Organization will request
that Cherepkov's case be considered by the European Court, according to
Moskovskii komsomolets. -- Laura Belin

NORTH KOREA WANTS NEW TREATY WITH RUSSIA. Meeting with visiting Russian
Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, North Korean Foreign Minister Kim Yong-
nam said his country wants to conclude a new bilateral treaty with
Russia to replace the 1961 Soviet-North Korean Treaty of Friendship and
Cooperation. In 1993, Moscow unilaterally annulled the military
assistance clauses of the old treaty, and has since pressed Pyongyang to
negotiate a new agreement. Kim said North Korea is carefully studying a
new draft treaty, which Russia sent it last August. However, he
complained that "tactless" reporting on North Korea by Russian media is
hampering the development of bilateral ties. Seleznev and Kim also
discussed North Korea's Soviet-era debt to Russia, valued at 3 billion
foreign-exchange rubles. -- Scott Parrish

PRIMAKOV VISITS ITALY, VATICAN. Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov began
a two-day official visit to Italy and the Vatican on 28 May, meeting
with his Italian counterpart, Lamberto Dini, President Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro, and Pope John Paul II, Russian and Western agencies reported
on 28 May. According to a Vatican spokesman, Primakov and John Paul II
discussed "the situation in Russia," including religious freedom and
ecumenical dialogue. At his meeting with Dini, Primakov held talks on
bilateral ties, the Yugoslav peace process, and Russia's integration
into Western international institutions. Dini said he expected the 27-29
June G-7 summit in Lyon, France, to boost links between Russia and the
leading Western powers. Before leaving Italy on 29 May, Primakov will
meet with the EU "troika" of foreign ministers, composed of
representatives from the previous, current, and next countries to hold
the rotating EU presidency--Italy, Spain, and Ireland. -- Scott Parrish

CIS INTER-PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY MEETS. The CIS Inter-parliamentary
assembly met for its seventh session in Bishkek on 28 May, Russian media
reported. Delegates from Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus,
Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan discussed a draft
agreement on social guarantees for former Soviet veterans living in the
CIS, other draft integration legislation, and their own budget for the
coming year. On the same day, also in Bishkek, parliamentarians from
Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement forming
a quadripartite inter-parliamentary committee, as called for by their 29
March integration agreement. The committee, which will draft proposed
integration legislation, will consist of 40 deputies--10 from each
member-state. -- Scott Parrish

SCIENCE MINISTER BEMOANS LOSS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Russia is losing
millions of dollars in intellectual property to foreign countries,
Science Minister Boris Saltykov told a meeting of the State Commission
on Science and Technical Policy on 28 May. The loss to the U.S. alone is
estimated at $600 million to $700 million, ITAR-TASS reported. About
8,000 Russian scientists are said to be participating in U.S. government
programs. Saltykov attributed Russia's poor record in protecting its
intellectual property rights to a lack of experience and legislative
shortcomings. He added that presidential decrees have been drafted on
licensing consulting services and introducing a system of state
registration for agreements envisaging international cooperation. The
government has also drafted a resolution on state ownership rights over
the results of all work carried out with federal budget money. -- Penny
Morvant

STATUE OF LAST TSAR UNVEILED. An 11-meter high monument to Tsar Nicholas
II was unveiled in Moscow Oblast on 27 May to mark the 100th anniversary
of the last tsar's coronation, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 28 May.
First lady Naina Yeltsin and presidential Chief of Staff Nikolai Yegorov
attended the ceremony in the village of Taininskoe, north of Moscow.
Yegorov said that the statue of the tsar, who was killed by the
Bolsheviks in 1918 in Yekaterinburg, was a monument to all the victims
of "malice and mistrust." Sculptor Vyacheslav Klykov, who designed the
monument, had sought permission to place it in Moscow, near the Kremlin,
but was turned down by the government. -- Penny Morvant

CENTRAL BANK TAKES NEW STEPS TO STABILIZE BANKING SYSTEM. Central Bank
Chairman Sergei Dubinin on 20 May unveiled a new plan to head off a
looming banking crisis at a closed meeting of 22 commercial banks,
Kommersant-Daily reported on 28 May. Dubinin called for still tighter
restrictions on the licensing of new banks, including "daughter banks,"
to prevent the appearance of new problem banks. The new stricter
accounting rules introduced for all banks on 1 March are to be modified.
By way of risk allowance, loans with government or securities guarantees
will be written down by 10% instead of the previous 50% requirement, and
the coefficient on long-term loans to local authorities will be cut from
50% to 20%. On the other hand, the risk assessment of loans to other
banks will increase from 50% to 70%, and that of bank premises from 20%
to 70%. The net impact of these changes will probably be to increase the
liquidity of average banks. -- Natalia Gurushina and Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

IRANIAN AZERIS PROTEST ARRESTS IN AZERBAIJAN. A rally protesting the
arrest of nine Islamists in Azerbaijan took place in Ardabil, in the
Iranian province of East Azerbaijan, AFP reported on 28 May. The report
did not say how many Iranian Azeri protesters took part in the rally,
which was held during the Ashura ritual of mourning for Imam Hussein,
the seventh century Shiite Muslim martyr. The agency noted that
authorities in Baku arrested three Islamists on 21 May, and charged them
with illegally transporting Azerbaijani citizens to Iran. -- Lowell
Bezanis

KARIMOV VISITS GEORGIA. Uzbek President Islam Karimov arrived in Tbilisi
on 28 May to sign 16 bilateral agreements with his Georgian counterpart,
Eduard Shevardnadze, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Speaking at a
press conference after their talks, Karimov and Shevardnadze emphasized
the importance of the agreements in principle on forming financial and
industrial groups and cooperation in air and rail transport.
Shevardnadze noted that an ad hoc group will work on opening a ferry
link between Georgian and Bulgarian ports. Uzbekistan is interested in
reaching European markets through Georgia. Both leaders stressed that
there is no alternative to the CIS, RFE/RL reported. -- Lowell Bezanis

NAZARBAYEV VISITS MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE. Kazakhstani President Nursultan
Nazarbayev concluded his four-day visit to Malaysia by signing several
bilateral agreements to promote investment, trade, and scientific and
technical cooperation, AFP reported on 29 May. Nazarbayev invited
Malaysian companies to take part in development projects in Kazakhstan,
including the construction of the new capital, Akmola. From there,
Nazarbayev, accompanied by a delegation consisting of government and
private sector representatives, arrived in Singapore. Nazarbayev is
expected to sign an agreement on establishing air links between the two
countries and on expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation. --
Bhavna Dave

FLOODING IN TAJIKISTAN. Heavy rains that began on 27 May have caused
flooding in many areas of Tajikistan, ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL reported.
ITAR-TASS reported that the Kofirnikhon, Varsovskii, and Leninskii
regions are among the hardest hit. The Tajik commission for emergencies
said that hundreds of homes have been destroyed, bridges and roads have
been washed out, and power lines are down in several places. Thousands
of hectares of winter crops and cotton have been lost. The flooding is
expected to compound a recent outbreak of typhoid. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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