A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 114, Part I, 12 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

FOUR KILLED IN MOSCOW METRO EXPLOSION. Four people were killed and
another 12 injured in an explosion on the Moscow metro on 11 June,
Russian and Western agencies reported. The blast, caused by about one-
half kilo of TNT, went off in a train leaving the Tulskaya station at
about 9 p.m. President Boris Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said
they believed it was a terrorist attack designed to disrupt the 16 June
elections. In a reference to the Communists, Luzhkov claimed the bombing
was carried out by people "shaking with fear," because of opinion polls
giving Yeltsin the lead in the presidential race. The Communists,
meanwhile, blamed Yeltsin and his entourage. Workers' Russia leader
Viktor Anpilov accused them of trying to whip up "anti-communist
hysteria," while Duma deputy Viktor Ilyukhin contended that the bombing
could be used by Yeltsin to "start to repress the opposition." Another
possibility is that the explosion was linked to Russia's conflict with
Chechen separatists, who have long threatened a campaign of terror in
Russian cities. -- Penny Morvant

MEDIATORS, JOURNALISTS ESCAPE CHECHEN BLASTS. The convoy in which OSCE
and Chechen mediators returned from Nazran to Grozny on 11 June was
halted twice by explosions and fired upon by unidentified gunmen near
the town of Achkhoi Martan, Western media reported. Eight people were
injured in the attacks. Also on 11 June, pro-Moscow Chechen head of
state Doku Zavgaev insisted that contrary to the agreement reached at
the Nazran peace talks on 10 June, the election to a new Chechen
People's Assembly will be held as originally scheduled on 14-16 June,
AFP reported. Zavgaev also postponed until 13 June a scheduled meeting
with the OSCE mission head in Grozny, Tim Guldimann, whose mediation
efforts he has harshly criticized, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Liz Fuller

GAZPROM ACQUIRES ABOUT 30% OF NTV. NTV President Igor Malashenko and
MOST Group Director Vladimir Gusinskii announced that Gazprom had
acquired approximately 30% of NTV's stock, Russian TV (RTR) reported on
11 June (see also OMRI Daily Digest 10 June). Gazprom President Rem
Vyakhirev explained that his firm has 1 million stock holders and that
he hopes to use NTV to communicate with them. Gazprom is backing Yeltsin
in the presidential campaign, as is Malashenko, raising questions about
the objectivity of the station's news programs. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN SEEKS COSSACK VOTE IN NOVOCHERKASSK. During a stop in
Novocherkassk on 11 June, President Yeltsin laid a wreath at the statue
of the city's founder, Cossack Ataman Matvei Platov, NTV reported.
Additionally, he sent a proposed law on Cossack communities to the Duma,
ITAR-TASS reported. He observed a moment of silence in honor of the
people killed in 1962 following a Soviet crackdown on protesters who
took to the streets to denounce price increases. Up to 120 people were
imprisoned and some of them thanked Yeltsin for signing recent decrees
rehabilitating them and raising their pensions. -- Robert Orttung

YAVLINSKII LEANS TOWARD YELTSIN IN THE SECOND ROUND. Yabloko leader
Grigorii Yavlinskii said that if Yeltsin and Zyuganov enter the second
round, he would ask Yeltsin to replace several key figures in the
government, remove those politicians involved in corruption, and end the
war in Chechnya, Russian Public TV reported 11 June. If Yeltsin agreed,
Yavlinskii said that he would then consult with his voters on whether or
not to back the president. He said that he would not accept any offers
to work with Zyuganov since his program "arouses no interest." -- Robert
Orttung

ZYUGANOV PROFESSES MODERATION. Although he was recently quoted in a
Hungarian newspaper praising Stalin (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 June),
Gennadii Zyuganov struck a moderate tone during 11 June appearances at
Moscow's Dom Zhurnalista and on NTV. He promised several times to
respect a multi-party system and freedom of speech if elected. When
asked about the more extreme elements in his coalition, Zyuganov argued
that the real radicals in Russia are President Yeltsin and his team, who
"unleashed a war in Chechnya" and "ruined the economy." He dismissed
recent opinion polls showing Yeltsin's support growing faster than
"bamboo," adding "ratings don't grow from 6% to 40%; any sociologist
knows that." Zyuganov also denied that he had offered Vladimir
Zhirinovsky several cabinet posts in exchange for his support. -- Laura
Belin in Moscow

DUMA TRIES TO BLOCK ENTRY TO PARIS CLUB. The State Duma has adopted a
resolution urging Russia not to join the Paris Club of creditor nations
until its auditing commission completes an investigation into Russia's
foreign loans, Kommersant-Daily reported on 11 June. Earlier this year
Russia negotiated a 25-year rescheduling of its $40 billion debt to
Paris Club members (see OMRI Daily Digest 29 April 1996). The government
wants Russia to join the Club in view of its own outstanding loans to
mostly Third World countries, which it claims total $130 billion.
Nationalist deputies expressed the fear that if Russia joins the Paris
Club it will have to forgive most of its loans to former clients. The
Duma's resolution is not binding on the government, which is expected to
press for Russia's entry to the Club at the G-7 meeting in Lyons,
France, later this month. -- Peter Rutland

ROSTOV SIGNS POWER-SHARING TREATY WITH MOSCOW. Rostov Oblast Governor
Vladimir Chub and President Yeltsin signed a power-sharing treaty during
the president's campaign swing through the oblast, Russian media
reported on 11 June. A similar agreement was signed with Nizhnii
Novgorod Oblast on 8 June. Rostov is the 23rd Russian Federation subject
to sign such a treaty; 12 of them have been signed since the beginning
of the presidential election campaign. A power-sharing treaty with St.
Petersburg is expected to be signed during Yeltsin's visit to the city
three days before the election. -- Anna Paretskaya

TATARSTAN SIGNS TREATY WITH MOSCOW CITY. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzkkov and
President Mintimer Shaimiev of Tatarstan signed a cooperation treaty in
Moscow on 12 June, ITAR-TASS reported. RFE/RL has acquired the text of
the three-year treaty, which details a number of economic and cultural
cooperation plans. Moscow will re-open the Tatar cultural center which
was closed in 1941, and provide accomodation for the republic's
permanent representative in the city. Oil refineries in Tatarstan will
cooperate with the Moscow Tire Factory in supplying rubber and tires to
auto producers in both regions. Tatarstan will supply the raw materials
for a new polypropylene line in Moscow and buy the finished product. --
Peter Rutland

RUSSIA REGRETS CHINESE NUCLEAR TEST. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail
Demurin on 11 June criticized the recent nuclear test conducted by
China, ITAR-TASS reported. Demurin said that the 8 June test explosion,
and Chinese plans to conduct another in September, would "create a
fertile climate for open and concealed opponents" of a Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty, negotiations on which are currently underway in Geneva.
However, Demurin welcomed the Chinese announcement that after the
September test, China will adhere to the voluntary moratorium on tests
being observed by the other four declared nuclear powers. China is the
only nuclear power currently conducting tests, and Demurin claimed
Beijing's decision to join the moratorium reflected President Yeltsin's
advice during his April visit to China. -- Scott Parrish

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CRITICIZES RUSSIA, UKRAINE ON DEATH PENALTY. Peter
Leuprecht, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, condemned Russia
and Ukraine on 11 June for failing to abolish the death penalty, Reuters
reported. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, which both
countries signed when admitted to the council, they agreed to abolish
capital punishment within three years and were urged to institute an
immediate moratorium on executions. Leaders in both countries have
hesitated to act, however, citing rising crime. In May, President
Yeltsin ordered preparations for the gradual phasing out of the death
penalty, but Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov publicly opposed its
abolition a few days later. While Justice Minister Konstantin Kovalev
claimed on 28 May that Yeltsin now commutes all death sentences, human
rights activists assert that the pace of executions has actually
accelerated since early 1995. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA ALLEGEDLY HINDERING JEWISH EMIGRATION AGENCY'S WORK. Russian
government actions are threatening the ability of the Jewish Emigration
Agency to operate in Russia, according to The Washington Post on 12
June. Although earlier reports had suggested that bureaucratic
difficulties with registration were hindering the agency's work (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 2 May 1996), the paper reported that recent events
suggest a more serious problem. Local authorities have closed the
agency's office in Pyatigorsk, and its offices in several other cities
have also been threatened with closure. Furthermore, Russian Justice
Minister Konstantin Kovalev recently declared that when its registration
is renewed under a 1995 law, the agency will be permitted to have only
one office, in Moscow, rather than the 19 currently operating. Jewish
leaders cited in the article speculated that the Russian government
actions are linked to the presidential campaign, in which nationalist
rhetoric has played a conspicuous role. -- Scott Parrish

NUCLEAR SPECIALISTS PROTEST WAGE DELAYS. About 5,000 nuclear industry
workers in the closed Urals city of Snezhinsk held a demonstration on 10
June to protest wage arrears, ITAR-TASS reported. The scientists and
construction workers were last paid in January and are now owed 35
billion rubles ($7 million). Participants in the demonstration warned
that if their demands are not met, the program of destroying nuclear
weapons could be placed in jeopardy. -- Penny Morvant

CHERNOMYRDIN: DEFENSE SECTOR TO GET 7 TRILLION RUBLES. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin on 11 June said at a meeting in Voronezh that the
government plans to spend some 7 trillion rubles ($1.4 billion) on the
defense sector, ITAR-TASS reported. He said that 6 trillion ($1.2
billion) would be used to clear up the government's debt for the 1994-
1996 defense order, while an additional 2 trillion ($400 million) "are
likely to be allocated to the implementation of the conversion program
in 1996." -- Doug Clarke

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN BETWEEN RUSSIA, TURKEY. Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev
told a visiting delegation of Russian parliament deputies in Baku that
Azerbaijan "gives priority" to relations with Russia, ITAR-TASS reported
on 11 June. He also said he was "pleased" that the emigration of ethnic
Russians from Azerbaijan had slowed, and offered to help find a
settlement to the Ossetiyan-Ingush conflict. The same day, Aliev hosted
a delegation from the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Turkish Daily
News reported. He thanked Turkey for its support in Azerbaijan's dispute
with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. In other news, nearly 200 kg of
explosives and printed propaganda literature, believed to be destined
for Chechen rebels, was intercepted on the Azerbaijani-Dagestani border,
Russian media reported on 11 June. -- Lowell Bezanis

KAZAKHSTAN AVERTS PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS. The Kazakhstani parliament on 11
June averted a political crisis by voting 76-29 in favor of a
controversial pension bill that raises the retirement age by three
years, according to RFE/RL and Reuters. If parliament had voted against
the bill for the second time, President Nursultan Nazarbayev would have
been constitutionally required to either accept the resignation of the
government or dissolve parliament for the third time in as many years
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 June 1996). Nazarbayev had blamed the
previous parliaments for blocking his reforms and this latest vote seems
to support his claim that the country needs a strong presidency to speed
up the pace of its social and economic transition. -- Bruce Pannier

U.S. TO GIVE MORE MONEY TO KAZAKHSTAN FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT. A U.S.
Defense Department official, Laura Holgate, on 10 June said that the
U.S. government will give Kazakhstan an additional $40 million for its
nuclear disarmament program, RFE/RL and AFP reported. Although
Kazakhstan turned over the last of its tactical weapons by mid-1995,
money is still needed to safeguard nuclear materials and destroy missile
silos. Under agreements signed in 1993 and 1995, the U.S. has already
given Kazakhstan more than $80 million for its disarmament program. --
Bruce Pannier

[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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