A thing well said will be writ in all languages. - John Dryden 1631-1700
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 110, Part I, 6 JUNE 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

NAZRAN PEACE TALKS CONTINUE. The ongoing Russian-Chechen peace talks in
Nazran ran into difficulties on 5 June after Chechen Vice President
Said-Hassan Abdumuslimov demanded that all Russian troops be withdrawn
from Chechnya by 1 July, prior to the disarming of Chechen detachments,
Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Chechen Information Minister Movladi
Udugov told reporters to disregard Abdumuslimov's statements;
Abdumuslimov himself admitted that the Chechen camp is split between
those who want to continue talks with President Yeltsin, and a faction
that prefers to await the outcome of the Russian presidential election,
according to Reuters. The two sides signed a protocol on 5 June on
procedures for an exchange of all prisoners of war within the next two
weeks, ITAR-TASS reported. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow
after his regular weekly meeting with Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev said that 70
candidates have already registered for the 16 June election to a new 93-
seat Chechen People's Assembly, ITAR-TASS and NTV reported. -- Liz
Fuller

ZYUGANOV ANNOUNCES CHECHNYA PLAN. Communist presidential candidate
Gennadii Zyuganov on 5 June announced his plans for ending the Chechen
conflict, ITAR-TASS reported. Zyuganov intends to convene a congress of
the Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasus, and would withdraw troops
from those areas were there is no fighting, while blockading regions
where military activity continues. Although the Communists have
consistently criticized Yeltsin for his handling of the war, the
vagueness of these proposals suggests that they have no concrete ideas
about how to end the fighting and preserve the integrity of the country.
-- Robert Orttung

INDEPENDENCE OF CENTRAL BANK CHALLENGED. The State Duma rushed through a
bill on 5 June ordering the Central Bank to transfer 5 trillion rubles
($1 billion) to the federal budget, ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin signed
the measure into law the same evening, and the money must be released by
10 June. The funds in question are the 1994 profits of the Central Bank,
which the government has made several attempts to acquire. The money
will be allotted to defense plants, teacher's wages, and vacations for
inhabitants of the Far North. The Duma's move came in response to a
request from Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov, and was opposed by the
Duma's own Budget Committee, according to ORT. The bank is threatening
to go to court to block the law. The first deputy chairman of the bank,
Sergei Aleksashenko, said "This money does not in fact exist," and
argued that the measure violates the 1995 law on the bank's
independence. -- Peter Rutland and Natalia Gurushina

TULEEV TO DROP OUT OF RACE IN FAVOR OF ZYUGANOV. Presidential candidate
Aman Tuleev announced that he intends to drop out of the race and called
on his supporters to vote for Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov, Ekho
Moskvy reported on 5 June. Tuleev's move was expected from the time he
began the campaign. Zyuganov said that he expects an announcement at a
rally of patriotic groups in Moscow on 8 June, although Tuleev has said
his announcement could come as late as three or four days before the 16
June election. Tuleev will not formally withdraw from the race since he
would the have to repay the money the Central Electoral Commission
(TsIK) has given him as well as other costs incurred, Russian Public TV
(ORT) reported. Tuleev, the head of the Kemerovo Oblast legislature, has
said that he was running to give more attention to the Communists
because the media strongly favors Yeltsin. Last month, Tuleev
successfully sued the TsIK to change the way it identifies him on the
ballot, forcing the commission to reprint the papers. -- Robert Orttung

DUDAEV'S WIDOW, PAMYAT BACK YELTSIN. Dzhokhar Dudaev's widow, Alla, said
that she would vote for President Yeltsin since "only by defending him
can we save our democracy, that is our freedom," Russian TV (RTR)
reported on 5 June. Her remarks came at the founding congress of the
women's movement, United Russia. She also announced support for
Yeltsin's peace initiatives in Chechnya, called on both sides to stop
the fighting, and appealed for an amnesty of the Chechen field
commanders. She blamed Yeltsin's inner circle for convincing Yeltsin
that Dudaev did not want to negotiate with him, although Dudaev tried
four times to contact Yeltsin. Last month Dudaev's wife, who is an
ethnic Russian, was prevented for boarding a plane for Turkey since she
was carrying a false passport. In another surprising move, Pamyat leader
Dmitrii Vasilev announced on 4 June that his organization had decided to
back Yeltsin, Ekspress-Khronika reported. He said that if the Communists
returned to power, it will be "better to die on the field of battle,
than live in slavery." -- Robert Orttung

SATAROV READY TO PROVE CHARGES. Presidential aide Georgii Satarov said
that he is ready to prove in court that the Communists are preparing
"fighting units" and that they falsified the 1995 Duma election in their
favor, ITAR-TASS reported 5 June. He said that it would be hard to make
the charges stick to party leaders Gennadii Zyuganov and Valentin
Kuptsov, but that "Zyuganov is not an independent figure" and that he is
not in control of the more hardline figures in the party. Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 5 June described the falsification charges and countercharges
as "the new trump in the election battle." -- Robert Orttung

FEDERATION COUNCIL CALLS FOR ELECTION CALM. The Federation Council on 5
June adopted a declaration asking candidates and voters not to let the
"rise of social tensions threaten a split in society," NTV reported. The
declaration called on all sides to respect the will of the people, no
matter who is elected. -- Robert Orttung

NEW ST. PETERSBURG GOVERNOR TAKES OVER. Newly elected St. Petersburg
Governor Vladimir Yakovlev took his oath of office on 5 June in the
Marinskii Palace, where the city's Legislative Assembly meets. Sobchak
did not show up, although his arrival was anticipated. NTV reported many
Zyuganov activists in the hall. Yakovlev said that he intends to sign a
power-sharing agreement with the federal government and that he will
work to promote better cooperation between the city and Leningrad
Oblast, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 5 June. Oblast Governor Aleksandr
Belyakov supported his candidacy in the second round after failing to
enter the runoff himself. Meanwhile, in Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov is
running at 79% in the polls in advance of that city's 16 June mayoral
election. -- Robert Orttung

COMMENTATORS SKEPTICAL OF POSSIBLE DEAL WITH NATO. Writing in Segodnya
on 5 June, military commentator Pavel Felgengauer argued that Moscow
should insist that any compromise with NATO over the terms of its
expansion be codified in a binding international agreement. Felgengauer
lamented former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's failure to get a
written commitment that NATO would not expand when he agreed to German
reunification in 1990. He contended that any verbal assurances NATO
might make now to refrain from expanding its military infrastructure
into Eastern Europe could evaporate later. A commentary in Izvestiya on
6 June argued that instead of fruitlessly pushing for such a deal,
Moscow should broaden cooperation with NATO so as to minimize the effect
of expansion. -- Scott Parrish

CIS CHIEFS OF STAFF HOLD FIRST MEETING. The first session of the
Committee of CIS General Chiefs of Staff met in Moscow on 4 June, ITAR-
TASS reported the following day. Maj. Gen. Viktor Chernenko of the
Russian general staff said that strengthening the CIS security system is
a top priority for Russia, adding that the first meeting was a
"momentous step" in improving this structure. General Mikhail
Kolesnikov, who is both chief of the Russian General Staff and chairman
of the CIS body, chaired the meeting. While the list of participants was
not revealed, the CIS Collective Security Treaty has been signed by all
former Soviet republics except the Baltic republics, Ukraine, Moldova,
and Turkmenistan. -- Doug Clarke

ACCUSED RUSSIAN SPIES TO LEAVE CANADA. Two Russian spies who were
arrested in Canada and threatened with deportation have decided to
return to Russia voluntarily, Russian and Western media reported on 5
June. Canadians Laurie and Ian Lambert turned out to be Russians Dmitrii
and Yelena Ol-shanskii. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service
(CSIS) accused the Lamberts of illegally entering Canada in 1988 and
assuming false identities based on two deceased Canadian children. The
CSIS also accused them of trying to establish a spying net against
Canada, although there is no evidence that the Lamberts had undertaken
any espionage activity. Canadian authorities claim the Lamberts were
"sleeper" agents; such agents are trained to merge into a society and
are activated for espionage activities later. -- Constantine Dmitriev

GOROKHOVETS SHIPYARD WORKERS PROTEST. Workers of the Gorokhovets
shipyard, who claim that they have not been paid since December 1994,
blocked the main Moscow-Nizhnii Novgorod highway on 5 June for several
hours, ITAR-TASS reported. The yard used to build anti-submarine vessels
and other military craft; its workforce has fallen from 3,000 to 600. --
Doug Clarke

FEDERATION COUNCIL APPROVES CRIMINAL CODE. The parliament's upper house
voted on 5 June by a 121-2 margin with 2 abstentions to approve the
draft Criminal Code, ITAR-TASS reported. The latest draft of the code
was passed by the Duma on 24 May (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 May 1996).
The maximum single prison term envisaged by the code is 20 years, up
from 15. Among other innovations, it introduces criminal liability for
participation in an organized criminal group and the concept of
corruption. President Yeltsin is expected to consider the code within
the next two weeks. -- Penny Morvant

QUESTIONS RAISED OVER PRIVATIZATION OF METALS PLANTS. The deputy chair
of the State Committee on Metallurgy, Vsevolod Generalov, complained
that the privatization of Russia's metals plants has not led to the
influx of investment that they urgently need, ITAR-TASS reported on 5
June. Instead foreign traders have bought up blocks of shares (for
example, in the Bryansk and Sayansk aluminum works) in order to control
their lucrative exports. Generalov urged the firms to issue a fresh
batch of shares to raise new capital--although this will dilute the
value of the existing shares bought by investors. Of Russia's 400
metallurgy firms, only 12 remain in state ownership, although the
government still holds a "golden share" (allowing them a veto over
certain decisions) in 55 others. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TRIAL OF KAZAKHSTAN'S DISMISSED SUPREME COURT CHIEF IMMINENT.
Kenzhebulat Beknazarov, a spokesman for the Kazakhstani State Committee
on National Security, told ITAR-TASS on 4 June that the committee has
evidence that Mikhail Malakhov, the former chairman of the Kazakhstani
Supreme Court, received a foreign car worth $7000 as a bribe. Beknazarov
told ITAR-TASS that the Kazakhstani government may have to ask the
Russian government to extradite Malakhov, who is currenlty in Russia on
a "private visit." Malakhov lost his legal immunity after the Senate
voted on 3 June to dismiss him from his post. President Nursultan
Nazarbayev had suspended Malakhov in early April. According to a 3 June
Kazakhstani TV report monitored by the BBC, four other Supreme Court
judges have offered their resignations, bringing the total number of
those who resigned to nine; no reasons were given for the resignations.
-- Bhavna Dave

TASHKENT TO UNDERGO RENOVATION. . . Extensive changes are to take place
in Tashkent including the construction of new parks and housing
developments, the city's hokim, Kozim Tulyaganov, said in an interview
published in Pravda vostoka on 6 June. The plan, approved by the cabinet
at the end of 1994, calls for the renovation of the "old city" part of
Tashkent, which will entail the destruction of entire neighborhoods of
traditional Uzbek homes and their replacement with apartment buildings
and wide boulevards. OMRI has learned that UNESCO and residents of the
old city have repeatedly voiced their objection to the plan, which is
already underway. -- Roger Kangas in Tashkent

. . . AS PUSHKIN MONUMENT IS DISMANTLED. Uzbek authorities removed the
statue of Aleksandr Pushkin from a central square of Tashkent on the
night of 4 June and took it to an undisclosed location, Ekspress-
Khronika reported on 6 June. Russians celebrate Pushkin's birthday on 6
June. -- Bhavna Dave

TURKMEN ANTHEM WRITER SOUGHT. A presidential decree read on state radio
offers the equivalent of $10,000 to anyone who can pen a national anthem
for Turkmenistan, Reuters reported on 5 June. The anthem must reflect
the country's neutrality and historical traditions. President Saparmurad
"Turkmenbashi" Niyazov himself will be on the panel of 14 judges to
decide the winner. Results are expected by 1 October in preparation for
the 27 October celebration of Turkmen Independence Day. -- Bruce Pannier

TAJIK GOVERNMENT FORCES GAINING GROUND. Tajik government forces continue
to drive opposition forces eastward and southward in the latest
offensive, according to ITAR-TASS and Reuters. Fighting is now taking
place near the village of Sagirdasht, which lies between the town of
Tavil-Dara and the Kalai-Khumb border post, Russian TV (RTR) reported on
5 June. Four government soldiers are reported dead and 27 are wounded.
Presidential spokesman Zafar Saidov denied allegations that Russian
forces are providing air support for the latest drive but for the first
time mentioned that the opposition forces are in possession of four
helicopters. Fighting was also reported near Komsomolabad, north of
Tavil-Dara, and at the Khorog border post. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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