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

No. 117, Part I, 17 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

YELTSIN HOLDS NARROW LEAD. Preliminary results of the first round of the
Russian presidential election available at noon, Moscow time, covering
89% of the electorate:
Turnout - 72%

Boris Yeltsin - 34.80%
Gennadii Zyuganov - 32.31%
Aleksandr Lebed - 14.38%
Grigorii Yavlinskii - 7.42%
Vladimir Zhirinovsky - 5.97%
Others - each below 1%
Against all - 1.55%
Since none of the candidates received a majority of the vote, a runoff
will be held on 30 June or 7 July. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN CALLS FOR COALITION WITH LEBED, YAVLINSKII, FEDOROV SUPPORTERS.
In a television address on the morning of 17 June, President Yeltsin
said that following the first round of voting the choice is now clear
between "turning back to revolutions and upheaval or forward to
stability and wealth," ITAR-TASS reported. He called on the supporters
of Aleksandr Lebed, Grigorii Yavlinskii, and Svyatoslav Fedorov to join
him in the second round. The president's campaign manager, Sergei
Filatov, said that Yeltsin would meet with Lebed on 17 June and ruled
out any possibility of meeting with Zyuganov, ITAR-TASS reported.
Yeltsin, who had repeatedly said that he wanted to win in the first
round, explained his failure to get more than 50% of the vote by saying
that the people "voted for a new life" and divided their sympathies
among several of the candidates. Yeltsin said that the main result of
the voting is that Russia has held a "free, direct, and honest"
election. -- Robert Orttung

THIRD PLACE FINISH MAKES LEBED POSSIBLE KINGMAKER. Lebed is a much
better third-place candidate for President Yeltsin than Zhirinovsky,
according to ITAR-TASS commentator Tamara Zamyatina. VCIOM Director
Yurii Levada said 32% of Lebed's voters prefer Yeltsin and12% Zyuganov.
Levada's polls show that about 65% of Yavlinskii's supporters would back
Yeltsin in the second round, while only 13% would vote for Zyuganov (see
OMRI Russia Presidential Election Survey, no. 8, 12 June 1996).
Presidential political adviser Georgii Satarov claimed that Yeltsin's
main coalition strategy before the runoff would be to try to form an
alliance with Lebed. In a 17 June interview, Lebed did not say whom he
would support, but he stressed the need for "order," "reforms," "reforms
in the military," and "suppressing crime." -- Robert Orttung

COMMUNISTS SEEK CONSULTATIONS. Zyuganov said that he considered his
showing a success since he won about a third of the vote. He said that
his bloc would meet on 18 June to discuss the makeup of the government.
He noted that the spot of prime minister is vacant and that he is
planning to meet with Lebed to discuss "all issues connected with the
election," ITAR-TASS reported. Communist campaign manager Valentin
Kuptsov on 17 June said Zyuganov may cooperate with Lebed "to a certain
degree" before the second round, ITAR-TASS reported. Additionally, the
Communists will want to hold "serious talks at the highest level,
including with Yeltsin's team," Duma deputy Vladimir Semago told ITAR-
TASS. He said that the election was a competition of ideas rather than
personalities, and the Communists would seek the support of
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. Semago is not as warm
about negotiating with Lebed as Kuptsov. -- Robert Orttung

YABLOKO WORRIED ABOUT LARGE LEBED TURNOUT. Yabloko was shocked by
Lebed's strong showing in the election and is concerned about the second
round. The deputy head of the bloc's Duma faction, Aleksei Zakharov,
said that it is unclear how many of Lebed's supporters would vote for
Yeltsin, making it difficult to predict the results of the runoff, ITAR-
TASS reported on 17 June. Yavlinskii rejected any cooperation with
Zyuganov but said his participation in a Yeltsin government would depend
on its composition, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 June. -- Robert Orttung

OSCE: ELECTION GENERALLY FREE AND FAIR. Even before the final results
had been tabulated, a delegation of 500 election monitors from the OSCE
issued a preliminary statement on 17 June declaring the first round of
the Russian presidential election "generally free and fair," Western
agencies reported. Teams of OSCE observers had planned to visit about
2,500 of the some 93,000 polling places during the vote. The statement
did note that some OSCE observers were concerned about biased election
coverage in the state-owned media, and admitted that there had been
scattered irregularities in some areas such as illegal proxy voting. AFP
reported anecdotal evidence of violations in several parts of the
country, notably in Chechnya, where the agency's correspondent was
permitted to vote at several different polling stations after showing
his French passport. Nikolai Ryabov, chairman of the Central Electoral
Commission, said that there were no "serious" irregularities during the
vote, and only a "miserly" number of minor procedural violations. --
Scott Parrish

ELECTION PASSES OFF QUIETLY. Despite a number of bomb threats, no
violence marred Russia's presidential election. Representatives of the
Federal Security Service in Moscow said on 17 June that they had
received 11 anonymous calls warning of bomb attacks in the capital and
surrounding area, but all proved to be hoaxes, ITAR-TASS reported. Bomb
threats were also made in Vladivostok, Stavropol, and Volgograd, but
again no explosives were found. Security was tight on polling day amid
fears of violence following the 11 June bomb on the Moscow metro that
killed four people and the attack on Valerii Shantsev, Yurii Luzhkov's
running mate in the capital's mayoral election. -- Penny Morvant

NO MAJOR VIOLATIONS IN MEDIA CAMPAIGN. Anatolii Vengerov, chairman of
the President's Judicial Chamber for Information Disputes, announced on
14 June that the presidential campaign in the media ran smoothly, with
fewer violations of the law than occurred during the 1995 campaign for
the State Duma. He claimed that although some candidates running for
parliament last year openly used offensive campaign agitation, this
spring only a few initiative groups or newspapers committed minor
violations of the law, and none of the candidates could be blamed for
those violations. Vengerov told OMRI that he did not view the Central
Electoral Commission's "Vote or You Lose" commercials, some of which
contained the slogan "Yeltsin--Our President," as hidden advertising for
Yeltsin. Vengerov reasoned that the slogan did not constitute agitation
on Yeltsin's behalf but was simply a statement of fact. -- Laura Belin
in Moscow

YELTSIN: MAJOR CABINET CHANGES ON THE WAY. Winding up his campaign in
Yekaterinburg on 14 June, President Yeltsin rejected rumors that he
would bring back into his cabinet "those people who started the
reforms." However, he said there would be "serious changes" in the new
government, bringing in new people "with fresh new ideas," ITAR-TASS
reported. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the future composition
of the cabinet is completely up to Yeltsin. Yeltsin said that by the
year 2000 it will necessary to groom a new president "who knows people,
who would be authoritative, who all Russians would love." He then said,
"I know such a person" without naming him. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN TRIUMPHS IN MOSCOW AND ST. PETERSBURG. As expected, President
Yeltsin far outshone his rivals for the presidency in Russia's two
largest cities, which have benefited the most from economic reform. With
45% of the vote counted, Yeltsin had almost 62% of the vote in the
capital. Zyuganov was in second place, with just under 15%, and Lebed
third with less than 10%. In Russia's second city, Yeltsin won about 50%
of the vote. The liberal Grigorii Yavlinskii was second, with 15%, just
ahead of Zyuganov and Lebed. -- Penny Morvant

RESULTS SHOW NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE. According to preliminary returns from
Russia's regions, Yeltsin did surprisingly well in the Far East and
eastern Siberia, with the exception of the Amur region. He also came out
on top in western Siberia and the Urals, although his Communist rival
took Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, and Orenburg oblasts. In the Volga region,
the two leading contenders performed about equal, with Yeltsin winning
in Udmurtiya and Nizhnii Novgorod and Samara oblasts, and Zyuganov
taking Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Ulyanovsk and Saratov oblasts. In
general, Yeltsin did well in the north of the country, while Zyuganov
was victorious in the south. As in the December Duma election, Zyuganov
triumphed in the "red-belt" oblasts south of Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported.
-- Penny Morvant

CHECHEN ELECTION. Simultaneous voting for a new bicameral Chechen
People's Assembly and in the Russian presidential election began in
Chechnya as scheduled on 14 June, Russian media reported. The Chechen
opposition initially refrained from carrying out its threats to disrupt
the poll, but on 16 June some polling stations were forced to close
early because of opposition threats. ITAR-TASS reported the final
turnout as 58.9%, but Reuters questioned that figure. No voting took
place in Vedeno Raion, which is controlled by the opposition. On 14
June, pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev met with the head of
the OSCE mission in Grozny, Tim Guldimann, after which the two men
agreed to "coordinate future activities," according to ORT. Zavgaev had
earlier criticized Guldimann's role in mediating talks between the
Chechen opposition and the Russian leadership. -- Liz Fuller

LUZHKOV WINS LANDSLIDE VICTORY IN MOSCOW MAYORAL POLL. As expected,
popular incumbent Yurii Luzhkov triumphed in Moscow's mayoral election.
With 99% of the vote counted, Luzhkov had more than 89%. His closest
rival, Olga Sergeeva, had 5%, ITAR-TASS reported. Turnout was about 68%.
-- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN SENDS NATIONAL SECURITY MESSAGE TO PARLIAMENT. President
Yeltsin's 13 June national security message to the Federal Assembly was
published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 14 June. Opposition deputies have
long criticized Yeltsin for failing to present a national security
concept. Despite its appearance on the eve of the presidential election,
Yeltsin's spokesman denied the message was a "campaign document."
Divided into five parts, the message outlines Yeltsin's vision of
Russian national security policy for 1996-2000. It emphasizes that
Russia's unique Eurasian location and its abundant natural resources
make it "a great power." Rather than external issues like NATO
expansion, however, it terms internal difficulties such as political
instability and separatism as the most serious threats to Russian
security. Arguing that instability in the CIS is the biggest external
threat to Russia, the document calls for giving the region top priority
in Russian policy. -- Scott Parrish

GRACHEV OFFERS NATO COOPERATION IF IT REFRAINS FROM EXPANSION. Meeting
in Brussels with his NATO counterparts on 14 June, Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev endorsed closer cooperation between Russia and the
alliance, international media reported. However, Grachev emphasized that
such cooperation is "incompatible" with NATO expansion. Grachev endorsed
making the current temporary Russian liaison office at NATO headquarters
permanent. NATO liaison officers will reportedly be invited to work with
the Russian General Staff. NTV reported that the Russian liaison office
would be headed by a Colonel General, which ITAR-TASS claimed would lend
it a "much higher status" than the liaison offices of other Partnership
for Peace countries. Grachev's remarks seem designed to encourage NATO
to compromise with Moscow over the terms of its enlargement. -- Scott
Parrish

ZHIRINOVSKY LINKED TO INTERNATIONAL ARMS SMUGGLER. Italian authorities
plan to question Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Moscow about an international
arms and nuclear material smuggling ring, the Sunday Times reported on
16 June. The paper reported that Zhirinovsky had been advised that he is
under investigation because of his connections with a Slovene arms
dealer who is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by
an Italian judge. The dealer is suspected of selling military equipment
obtained from the Russian mafia by Zhirinovsky aides. -- Doug Clarke

SITUATION ON GOVERNMENT SECURITIES' MARKET WORSENS. The government's
budgetary problems are causing a new wave of instability on the state
securities market, pushing annual yields to 212%, Segodnya reported on
14 June. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told ITAR-TASS that the
government is in control of the situation, and that the internal debt
will not be rescheduled. Meanwhile, the government is facing a crisis on
the state foreign bonds (OVVZ) market, following the Finance Ministry's
announcement that the payment of stolen OVVZs with a nominal value of
$30 million will be frozen pending criminal procedures, Kommersant-Daily
reported on 15 June. Foreign banks may now declare OVVZs to be
excessively risky, since some of them--including Solomon Brothers and CS
First Boston--hold large amounts of these securities. The move may also
have a negative impact on Russia's negotiations with the London Club of
commercial creditors. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

PRISONER AMNESTY IN UZBEKISTAN. The Uzbek government has released 80
prisoners, including members of the banned organization Erk, Western
media reported on 15 June. According to Reuters, among those released
are Rashid Bekjon, brother of exiled Erk leader Mohammed Solih, Abdulla
Abdurazzakov, and Safar Bekjon. All three had been found guilty of anti-
government activities. So far, the amnesty has not been reported in the
local media, nor has a clear explanation been given. The Uzbek
government may be attempting to improve its human rights image in
advance of President Islam Karimov's 21-30 June visit to the U.S. and
following a recent Helsinki Watch report on human rights violations in
the country. -- Roger Kangas

RUSSIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN VOTE FOR YELTSIN. According to preliminary data
released by the Russian Embassy in Almaty to ITAR-TASS on 16 June,
49.57% of the Russian electorate in Kazakhstan's capital voted for
President Yeltsin; 16.36% voted for Gennadii Zyuganov and 13.39% for
Aleksandr Lebed. -- Bhavna Dave

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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