A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. - Jonathan Swift

No. 115, Part I, 13 June 1996

Available soon -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the
Former Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy."
Published by M.E. Sharpe Inc., this 336-page yearbook provides a
systematic and comprehensive review of the most pivotal events in the 27
countries of the former Communist bloc and former Soviet Union during
1995. Available to OMRI subscribers at a special price of $25 each (plus
postage and handling). To order, please email your request to:

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


LAST POLLS GIVE YELTSIN STRONG LEAD. The last polls to be published
before election day give President Boris Yeltsin a strong lead over
Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov. A VCIOM poll found that 36% of
respondents would vote for Yeltsin, only 24% would back Zyuganov, and 9%
of those who plan to vote are still undecided, NTV reported on 12 June.
ROMIR gave Yeltsin 34% and Zyuganov 23%, with 18% undecided. Both polls
showed Aleksandr Lebed, whose campaign is making a strong finish, in
third place. The polling agencies anticipate that Zyuganov's support
will be higher than indicated in the polls, but not enough to overtake
Yeltsin who is also expected to win the runoff. Institute for the
Sociology of Parliamentarism Director Nugzar Betaneli, often cited as
having made the most accurate predictions in the 1993 and 1995 Duma
races, gave Yeltsin 40% and Zyuganov 31%, Ekho Moskvy reported. In
contrast, the pro-communist Sovetskaya Rossiya on 13 June published a
poll showing Zyuganov with 36% and Yeltsin with only 27%. -- Robert

REACTIONS TO BOMB BLAST. President Yeltsin on 12 June condemned the
previous day's "brutal, barbaric" bomb attack on the Moscow metro and
promised that the 16 June election would go ahead as scheduled despite
what he termed the attempt to "destabilize the situation in the
capital." In a bid for support, he urged Russians to respond to the
"extremists" by voting for "stability," Russian and Western agencies
reported. The Communist Party also expressed outrage at the attack, and
Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov angrily denied allegations by
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov that left-wingers were behind the bombing,
calling the accusations an "evil fabrication." ITAR-TASS on 13 June
reported that two people of Caucasian nationality had been detained in
Moscow after allegedly making a call to the police threatening further
terrorist acts, but there is no evidence that the two were behind the
metro blast. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN LEADS RED SQUARE RALLY. Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov
held a large rally and concert near the Kremlin on 12 June, a holiday
marking Russian independence, despite concerns over additional terrorist
attacks following the metro bombing on 11 June. Organizers expected
300,000 participants, according to Russian TV (RTR), but observers
reported a turnout of 40,000 to 100,000 people. Yeltsin said that the
bombers wanted to disrupt the election, but that the "motherland would
not let them." The rally was held amid tight security. The bands seemed
to be the main draw, but most of the crowd of young people seemed
inclined to support Yeltsin, AFP reported. -- Robert Orttung

COMMUNISTS HOLD COUNTER-RALLY IN MOSCOW. Several hundred supporters of
Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov marched to Lubyanka Square, in the
shadow of the former KGB headquarters, to support Communist candidates
for the presidency and Moscow Mayor's office on 12 June. In contrast to
Yeltsin, Anpilov marked the day as a tragedy since the 1990 declaration
of Russian sovereignty foreshadowed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Officers' Union leader Stanislav Terekhov claimed that Yeltsin had
brought several regiments into the city to impose martial law in case of
a Zyuganov victory, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Both speakers
called on the crowd to be vigilant against provocations from the
authorities. Zyuganov did not attend the rally. -- Robert Orttung

about a thousand supporters in Moscow's Teatralnaya Ploshchad on 12 June
that only three candidates are seriously contesting the election: the
current president, the "left forces" led by Zyuganov, and himself, "in
the middle." "People are tired of extremes," he added. During his 35-
minute address, Zhirinovsky repeatedly stressed that his Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia will not tolerate any extremist acts or
violence, whatever the election results. He drew cheers by condemning
the so-called "fifth column" in the presidential election and what he
called attempts by the U.S. to turn Russia into a colony. Lauding his
own party's staying power, Zhirinovsky mocked the "dozens of artificial
parties" that were once powerful but have "disintegrated" in recent
years, such as Democratic Russia, Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic
Choice, and Sergei Shakhrai's Party of Russian Unity and Concord.
-- Laura Belin in Moscow

Tuleev announced that he has withdrawn from the race in favor of
Gennadii Zyuganov, according to a statement published in Pravda on 13
June. He called on voters not to believe the "lies" of President
Yeltsin's campaign, claiming for example that the store shelves were not
empty under the "Communists" but only under the "traitor" Gorbachev.
Tuleev also argued that there was a much better selection of hard
alcohol and wine under the Communists, charging that lines for vodka
only appeared under Gorbachev. He also engaged in populist media-
bashing, asking whether NTV's popular "Itogi" host Yevgenii Kiselev
could have been responsible for the heroic deeds of the Soviet Union.
-- Robert Orttung

KRO BLASTS TsIK. The Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) held a rally
in Moscow on 12 June, protesting against "depriving millions of former
Soviet citizens of their right to vote," ITAR-TASS reported. KRO and the
Russian Popular Party argued that, according to the Russian
Constitutional Court, all people born in the Russian Federation before
the break up of the USSR--including those who left Russia for one of the
Soviet republics but never gave up Russian citizenship--are automatically
entitled to Russian citizenship and therefore a right to vote (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 21 May 1996). KRO leader Dmitrii Rogozin said the very
fact that "the Central Electoral Commission ignores this issue casts
doubt on the legality of the 16 June presidential election."
-- Constantine Dmitriev

MAYOR OF MOSCOW OBLAST TOWN MURDERED. Viktor Mosalov, the mayor of
Zhukovskii, was shot dead outside his apartment on 13 June, Reuters
reported, citing Interfax. Zhukovskii, a town about 20 km east of
Moscow, has a population of about 100,000 and houses a major Russian
space research center. It is not clear why Mosalov, who was elected
mayor in March, was killed. The murder comes less than a week after
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's running mate was badly hurt in an
assassination attempt. -- Penny Morvant

Zelimkhan Yandarbiev on 13 June vowed to employ "any means" in order to
disrupt the scheduled 16 June election to a new Chechen People's
Assembly, AFP reported. Speaking in Moscow on 12 June, Arkadii Volskii
argued that the pro-Moscow Chechen government should postpone the
election in accordance with President Yeltsin's decision and the
agreement reached at the Nazran peace talks. But pro-Moscow head of
state Doku Zavgaev claimed that Yeltsin had personally told him that the
election should go ahead as scheduled; Yeltsin's press service has
refused to comment, according to Russian Public TV (ORT). The commander
of the Russian federal forces in Chechnya, Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav
Tikhomirov, denied reports that the Russian troop pullout from Chechnya
has already begun, and said that no date has been set for the
withdrawal. -- Liz Fuller

victims of Stalin's slave labor camps was unveiled in Magadan on 12
June, Russian and Western agencies reported. The 15-meter high monument,
the first of its kind, portrays a haunting face called the Mask of
Sorrow and stands on the site of the area's first transit camp. From
1932 to 1956, millions of political prisoners were shipped to Magadan,
the administrative center of the northeastern corrective labor camps.
Yeltsin sent a number of representatives to the ceremony, including his
campaign head Sergei Filatov and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Zaveryukha. Reiterating a common campaign theme, they cautioned that
voting for Zyuganov in the presidential election could bring back the
terror. Reuters reported, however, that local officials who urged the
crowd to vote for Yeltsin were heckled. Magadan is one of the most
expensive cities in Russia. -- Penny Morvant

Minister Vladimir Karastin announced on 12 June that Russia will supply
Iraq with food and medicine under the terms of a recent UN resolution
allowing Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil in exchange for
humanitarian goods, AFP reported. Karastin, on a visit to Baghdad, added
that Russia had also received permission from the UN Sanctions Committee
to supply Iraq with spare parts for several thermal electric plants.
Russia and France pushed the "oil-for-food" deal through the UN Security
Council, hoping it would facilitate a full lifting of the UN economic
embargo on Iraq, with which both countries had extensive trade with
prior to 1990. Iraq's refusal on 11 June to allow UN inspectors access
to a suspected weapons site, however, has torpedoed any hopes that the
sanctions might be lifted soon. -- Scott Parrish

Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on 12 June protested against
possible Russian government restrictions on the activity of the Jewish
Emigration Agency, AFP reported. While Washington opposes the
restrictions reported on 12 June by The Washington Post, Burns said it
has no evidence that "there has been any effect on the ability of Jews
to emigrate from Russia." Burns said U.S. Ambassador to Russia Thomas
Pickering had met with Moscow's chief rabbi to discuss the issue but
attributed the restrictions to "bureaucrats," and said the U.S. remains
confident that the current Russian government is committed to freedom of
movement, expression, and immigration. -- Scott Parrish

human rights agency Amnesty International sent an open letter on 12 June
to Russia's presidential candidates deploring the continuation of human
rights abuses in the country, Ekspress-khronika reported the following
day. The letter argued that Russia's promises to become a true member of
the Council of Europe were no more than an exercise in diplomacy and
public relations, adding that abuses still abound both in civilian life
and in the conflict in Chechnya. Repeating criticism made by other human
rights groups, it noted the infringement of human rights in prisons and
the army, the continued use of the death penalty, and abuses perpetrated
by Russian troops in Chechnya. The letter called on Russia's future
president to meet the obligations the country assumed when it joined the
Council of Europe and take steps to improve human rights. -- Penny

OUTCOME. The largest U.S. investors in Russia--including the oil
companies Amoco, Conoco, and Mobil, and the consumer goods manufacturer
Procter and Gamble--intend to stay in the country regardless of the
outcome of the presidential election, AFP reported on 13 June. Officials
from the companies say they can work with any government, adding that
the next president should be judged by "actions and not words." They
also noted that Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov may not necessarily
be opposed to foreign businesses. U.S. direct investment in Russia last
year amounted to $812 million, or 41% of total foreign investment.
Meanwhile, uncertainty over the outcome of the election caused a decline
in share market volume in Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest, Reuters reported
on 12 June. -- Natalia Gurushina


GEORGIAN DEPUTY COMMENTS ON CFE QUOTAS. The chairman of parliament's
Committee for Security and Defense, Revaz Adamia, denied reports that
Georgia may hand over part of its weapons quota under the CFE treaty to
Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 June. He said that the legislature is
unlikely to consider the issue in the near future, adding that the
protocol on the quotas of weapons and military equipment is part of a
bilateral treaty on Russian military bases in Georgia, which will be
ratified only after Georgia restores its territorial integrity. -- Irakli

GOVERNMENT FORCES BOMB TAVIL-DARA. Tajik government forces backed by
Russian aircraft on 11 June attacked the rebel occupied town of Tavil-
Dara in central Tajikistan, AFP and ITAR-TASS reported. Warplanes struck
Tavil-Dara with such ferocity that United Tajik Opposition leader Said
Abdullo Nuri described the town as "flattened" and opposition
representative Ali Akbar Turajonzoda, speaking from Tehran, claimed
Tavil-Dara "has been practically wiped off the face of the Earth."
Government troops were also reported to be conducting operations in the
Kulyab region of southwestern Tajikistan. Nuri sent a letter to UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, saying that all out war could
start within the next few days. No exact casualty figures were given,
but reports say that hundreds of people have died. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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