|The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger|
No. 121, Part I, 21 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 CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMITTEE PUBLISHES FINAL RESULTS. The final results of the 16 June voting were published on 20 June, Reuters reported. Registered voters 108,494,533 Total valid ballots 74,514,804 Total invalid ballots 1,072,119 Turnout 69.8% % of votes / # of votes Boris Yeltsin 35.28 26,664,890 Gennadii Zyuganov 32.04 24,211,790 Aleksandr Lebed 14.52 10,974,597 Grigorii Yavlinskii 7.34 5,550,710 Vladimir Zhirinovsky 5.70 4,311,469 Svyatoslav Fedorov 0.92 699,166 Mikhail Gorbachev 0.51 386,069 Martin Shakkum 0.37 277,058 Yurii Vlasov 0.20 151,281 Vladimir Bryntsalov 0.16 123,065 Against all candidates 2.96 1,163,682 -- Robert Orttung COMMUNIST REACTION TO YELTSIN FIRINGS. Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov on 20 June charged that the arrest of President Yeltsin's two campaign aides was an attempt to stop the second round of the election from taking place, NTV reported. Zyuganov also complained that the firings of Oleg Soskovets, Mikhail Barsukov, and Aleksandr Korzhakov represented "the decapitation of the power structures." Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said that Korzhakov and Barsukov were fired because they "encroached on the holy of holies--the secret financing of the Yeltsin campaign," ITAR-TASS reported on 20 June. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin argued that the firings were the result of a battle between "mutually exclusive" factions within the president's inner circle. The Communist faction of the Duma also announced that it will demand a detailed report on the events during the night 19-20 June and the reasons for the removal of the three figures. -- Robert Orttung CHUBAIS EXPLAINS RECENT EVENTS. Yeltsin campaign adviser Anatolii Chubais said that Korzhakov, Barsukov, and Soskovets decided to arrest Yeltsin campaign aides Sergei Lisovskii and Arkadii Yevstafev because they believed that they were about to lose their own jobs, NTV reported on 20 June. The arrests of the two aides was merely the first step in a plan to discredit Yeltsin's entire campaign headquarters, Chubais claimed. Chubais described the events as the conclusion of a power struggle in the Yeltsin camp between a group that wanted to take power by force and a group that wanted to win the election legitimately, ITAR- TASS reported. He praised the efforts of Lebed in blocking the actions of the hardliners. -- Robert Orttung YEVSTAFEV, LISOVSKII DESCRIBE ARREST. "I was arrested at 5 p.m. at the White House by men claiming to represent the president's Security Service," Yevstafev told NTV on 20 June. The men held him until 3 a.m. without explanation and asked numerous questions about the election. Lisovskii said that the box of money allegedly found in his possession was planted, Reuters reported on 20 June. He said that he and Yevstafev had been collecting documents and surveys to prepare for the second round. Lisovskii noted that his interrogators were particularly interested in getting information about the role of Anatolii Chubais. -- Robert Orttung KORZHAKOV PLEDGES LOYALTY TO YELTSIN. The former head of Presidential Security Service (SBP), Aleksandr Korzhakov, said on 20 June that he will remain in President Yeltsin's team and "will make every effort to ensure Yeltsin's victory," Russian and Western media reported. Korzhakov blasted Chubais for his critical comments on 20 June, describing him as a "nightmare for Russia." Yeltsin had recently made Korzhakov a minister and "first adviser," and granted broad new powers to the SBP (see OMRI Daily Digest, 23 May 1996). Like Korzhakov, ex-FSB Director Mikhail Barsukov began his career in the 9th KGB Directorate and allegedly was Yeltsin's trusted adviser and drinking buddy. According to Izvestiya, Barsukov's son is married to Korzhakov's daughter, and Korzhakov reportedly helped his in-law obtain the position of counterintelligence chief. -- Constantine Dmitriev LEBED PRESENTED TO SECURITY COUNCIL. Shortly before firing Korzhakov, Barsukov, and Soskovets, on 20 June President Yeltsin introduced newly- appointed Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed at a Kremlin meeting of the council, Russian media reported. The council, including former Federal Security Service chief Mikhail Barsukov, unanimously endorsed Lebed's appointment. ITAR-TASS reported that Yeltsin charged Lebed "personally" with strengthening the security of society and the individual, as well as insuring political stability. During the meeting, Yeltsin criticized the government for failing to prevent energy companies from cutting off supplies to essential military installations, and blasted the security ministries for "criminal mismanagement" of budget funds, saying that the Defense Ministry had squandered more than 300 billion rubles ($60 million). After the meeting, Lebed said Yeltsin had given him "carte-blanche" to reform the council. -- Scott Parrish LEBED SAYS YELTSIN FIRED COUP PLOTTERS. Lebed was greeted "like a national hero" by a crowd that gathered to hear him at a press conference following the Security Council meeting, NTV reported. Lebed declared that Yeltsin had personally decided to fire Barsukov, Korzhakov, and Soskovets after the session. While Yeltsin did not publicly link the sackings with the 19-20 June incident involving the arrest of two Yeltsin campaign staffers, Lebed did. He said an "attempt to pressure the president had been organized," and suggested that the plotters had tried but failed to attract the support of the armed forces. "A certain number of stupid people involved in it will be dismissed," he added. Some observers have suggested that Yeltsin's campaign staff are deliberately exaggerating the danger presented by the recent incident in order to convince voters that Yeltsin and Lebed saved the country from a major crisis. -- Scott Parrish NEW RESPONSIBILITIES FOR LOBOV. Oleg Lobov will take over the industrial policy portfolio previously held by sacked First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, Russian and Western agencies reported on 20 June. Soskovets was in charge of the Energy, Transport, Construction, Health, and Nuclear Power ministries, among others. He also supervised various state committees, including those on the defense industry and metallurgy, and chaired the powerful Committee on Operational Questions. Lobov was given the post of first deputy prime minister on 18 June after losing the post of Security Council secretary to make way for Lebed. He is still Yeltsin's special representative in Chechnya but said he will soon relinquish that job. Lobov briefly held the posts of first deputy prime minister and economics minister in 1993; at the time, he called for increased state regulation of the economy and a slowdown in privatization. -- Penny Morvant ACTING SECURITY CHIEF NAMED. Following the abrupt dismissal of Barsukov, President Yeltsin on 20 June named a deputy director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Nikolai Kovalev, as its new acting chief, ITAR- TASS reported. Born in 1949, Kovalev has worked in state security since 1974. He served for two years in Afghanistan and worked in the Moscow and Moscow Oblast branches of the FSB before being made deputy director with responsibility for economic counterintelligence. He was promoted to the rank of colonel general this May. Barsukov served as FSB head for less than a year, taking over from Sergei Stepashin last July in the wake of the Budennovsk hostage crisis. -- Penny Morvant NEW BODYGUARD CHIEF FOR YELTSIN. To replace Aleksandr Korzhakov, President Yeltsin signed a decree on 20 June appointing head of the Federal Protection Service (FSO) Lt. Gen. Yurii Krapivin acting chief of the Presidential Security Service (SBP), ITAR-TASS reported. It was the second new title for Krapivin in two days: on 19 June, Yeltsin issued a decree renaming the Main Protection Administration, which Krapivin had headed since 1995, the FSO. That change was mandated by the recently approved law on state protection, which regulates the provision of bodyguards to senior state officials. According to the law, the FSO and the SBP are under the command of the president. Their powers include the right, in relation to their duties, to conduct searches, check identity papers, make arrests, give orders to other state organs, enter premises without the owners' consent, ban access to public places, and recruit and use secret informants. -- Penny Morvant IS THE CHECHEN PEACE AGREEMENT UNRAVELLING? Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov on 20 June ordered his forces to refrain from further hostilities until after the second round of the Russian presidential election, reiterating a similar statement of 17 June, ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported. Russian Public TV (ORT) quoted the head of the OSCE mission in Grozny, Tim Guldimann, as implying that the implementation of the 10 June peace agreement has been stalled. A meeting between Chechen and Russian military representatives planned for 21 June has been postponed because agreement could not be reached on a venue for it. Each side continues to accuse the other of violating the ceasefire agreement. A Russian armored column is reported to have opened fire on the village of Alkhan-Yurt on 19 June, and 15 Russian troops were killed in the ensuing fighting, according to Ekho Moskvy. On 20 June, a Russian transport helicopter was shot down over the village of Tsentoroi in southeastern Chechnya, killing one person and injuring seven others, AFP reported. -- Liz Fuller CENTRAL BANK MAY REVOKE NEW RESERVE REQUIREMENTS. The Central Bank may reverse its 10 June decision to increase mandatory reserves for commercial banks by some 2 trillion rubles ($395 million) (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 June 1996), ITAR-TASS reported on 20 June. The bank took the step to neutralize the inflationary effect of transferring $1 billion of the bank's profits to the federal budget. However, the increase in reserves has worsened the commercial banks' liquidity problems, already exacerbated by pre-election deposit withdrawals by their customers. The Association of Russian Banks and the Central Bank have agreed to set up a working group to resolve the problem. -- Natalia Gurushina FINANCIAL-INDUSTRIAL GROUPS ON INCREASE. The government's Commission on Operational Questions held a meeting on 19 June to discuss the role of financial-industrial groups (FPGs) in the economy, Kommersant-Daily reported. The commission was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, who was dismissed the next day. FPGs are voluntary conglomerates of legally independent firms: conservative figures in the government see them as a way of fighting off foreign competition and replacing the coordinating role formerly played by the central ministries. There are currently 34 FPGs, uniting 1,457 firms and 49 banks. They account for 10% of GDP, up from 2% a year ago. Despite a presidential decree and a law regulating FPGs, their status remains unclear with respect to tax and investment privileges. Their future is still more uncertain given the removal of Soskovets, their chief sponsor. -- Peter Rutland TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA DEMONSTRATION IN BAKU. More than 100 people on 20 June staged a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Baku and submitted a petition to the embassy urging the U.S. Senate not to approve an amendment passed by the House of Representatives that would provide humanitarian aid to the mainly ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno- Karabakh, RFE/RL reported. Under the terms of Amendment 907 to the Freedom Support Act, the U.S. does not provide aid to Azerbaijan in retaliation for the ongoing blockade of Armenia. Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev lodged a protest with the U.S. ambassador in Baku over the amendment on 13 June. -- Liz Fuller GEORGIA ISSUES WARRANT FOR BASAEV'S ARREST. The Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government in exile has issued a warrant for the arrest of Chechen military commander Shamil Basaev for his participation in the war in Abkhazia in 1992-1993, and has requested the assistance of the Russian Procurator-General's Office in apprehending him, Radio Rossii reported on 20 June. Earlier this month, the Abkhaz authorities in Sukhumi denied Georgian media reports that Basaev was vacationing in Abkhazia -- Liz Fuller DECLINE IN EMIGRATION FROM KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstani First Deputy Labor Minister Alikhan Baymenov claims that the country's "increasing political and economic stability" led to a sharp decline in the number of people emigrating from Kazakhstan in the first quarter of this year, RFE/RL reported on 21 June. About 309,000 people left Kazakhstan in 1995, compared with 480,000 the previous year. Anatolii Puzhai, the head of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Kazakhstan, told ITAR-TASS on 20 June that the number of people arriving in Kazakhstan has steadily increased since 1991. About a third of the 122,000 who came to Kazakhstan between 1991-94 are ethnic Kazakhs and the remaining Russians and Ukrainians, Puzhai added. -- Bhavna Dave IRANIAN RADIO BROADCASTS IN CENTRAL ASIA. Iran's state radio began broadcasts in the Kazakh language on 19 June, according to Tehran Radio and IRNA reports on 20 June monitored by AFP. IRNA described the 30- minute program as "a message of peace and friendship," and said it would be broadcast daily in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well. The Iranian radio station broadcasts programs in some 20 languages. -- Bhavna Dave KYRGYZ PRIME MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH TURKEY. In the wake of a six-day visit to Turkey, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Apas Jumagulov said Bishkek's relations with Ankara are set to improve, according to a 19 June Interfax report monitored by the BBC. He pointed out that "many agreements" on economic cooperation have been signed but are not working; for example only $39 million of a $75 million loan extended in 1992 had been used to date. In the wake of Jumagulov's visit, it appears the remainder of the promised funds will be disbursed for the development of Kyrgyzstan's hydroelectric sector. -- Lowell Bezanis MORE FIGHTING IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajik government forces on 19 June launched an attack on rebel troops near Tajikabad, killing 16 opposition fighters and wounding eight, according to government sources. Also on 19 June, eight government soldiers were killed at a checkpoint near the town of Kijak, 35 km east of Dushanbe, when unidentified gunmen in a KAMAZ truck opened fire on the checkpoint. Despite this latest violence, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov on 20 June offered to meet with Tajik opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri as soon as possible, suggesting Moscow as a venue. -- Bruce Pannier [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Victor Gomez ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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