The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 122, Part I, 24 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

DUMA REFUSES TO LENGTHEN VOTING HOURS. The Duma on 21 June rejected a
Yeltsin-sponsored proposal to extend voting hours on 3 July from the
usual 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. to midnight. The vote was 202 against
and only 117 in favor, RTR reported. Yeltsin believes he will win more
votes with a higher turnout and sought to attract people to the polls
before or after they head out of the city to their country houses. --
Robert Orttung

YABLOKO INDIRECTLY BACKS YELTSIN. The fourth congress of Grigorii
Yavlinskii's Yabloko party agreed that under no circumstances could it
support Gennadii Zyuganov or ask its supporters to vote against both
candidates on 3 July, NTV and RTR reported on 23 June. However, rather
than formally endorsing Yeltsin, Yabloko leaders asked the president to
answer five questions: Is he ready to accept legislation to limit his
own power? How does he plan to develop democracy in the regions? What
steps will he take to end the war in Chechnya? Who will be in the
government after 3 July, and what policies will it carry out? Who will
head Russia's "power structures," and will they be placed under civilian
control? The questions are reminiscent of conditions Yavlinskii offered
Yeltsin in May in exchange for his potential support--terms Yeltsin
ignored (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 May 1996). -- Laura Belin in Moscow

CHERNOMYRDIN SAYS MORE PERSONNEL CHANGES IN THE OFFING. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin said that the personnel changes in the government
will continue, NTV reported on 22 June. However, he did not see a new
position for former Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, who has
gained renewed prominence following his press conference after the
sacking of several Kremlin hard-liners last week. Chernomyrdin said that
new Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed's powers will be limited
to those specified in the law on the Security Council, noting that
people could request new powers from the president, but not demand them.
He said that there was no coup attempt in the detention of two key
Yeltsin campaign aides, a charge made by Lebed, but that Yeltsin had to
take quick action if he wanted to retain the presidency. Chernomyrdin
described the scandal as "not the first case of people doing things to
undermine me," AFP reported. -- Robert Orttung

PREFERENCES OF LEBED, YAVLINSKII, ZHIRINOVSKY VOTERS. Attracting
supporters of candidates who did not advance to the second round will be
the key to winning the 3 July presidential election. The latest VCIOM
poll indicates that 39% of those who voted for Aleksandr Lebed plan to
vote for Boris Yeltsin on 3 July, while just 14% lean toward Gennadii
Zyuganov, 6% said they would vote against both, and 39% had trouble
answering the question, NTV reported on 23 June. 51% of Yavlinskii
voters said they will back Yeltsin, 6% plan to vote for Zyuganov, 7%
will vote against both candidates, and 32% had trouble answering the
question. Only 14% of Zhirinovsky supporters said they will back
Yeltsin, 25% lean toward Zyuganov, 21% plan to vote against both, and
32% had trouble answering the question. Between 2% and 4% of those
surveyed said they do not plan to vote at all on 3 July. -- Laura Belin
in Moscow

ZYUGANOV WORKS ON FORMING CABINET, CAMPAIGN STRATEGY. Gennadii Zyuganov
intends to name his shadow "government of national trust" this week, and
he has indicated that he would still welcome Aleksandr Lebed, NTV
reported on 23 June. Zyuganov also told NTV that Vladimir Zhirinovsky's
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia includes many "capable and competent"
people, such as Labor and Social Policy Committee Chairman Sergei
Kalashnikov. NTV speculated that the more extreme members of Zyuganov's
coalition, such as Viktor Anpilov, Albert Makashov, and Valentin
Varennikov, will be excluded from the shadow cabinet. Meanwhile, during
the final 10 days of the campaign, KPRF activists in the regions will
depict last week's scandal over the arrest of two leading Yeltsin
campaign organizers (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 June 1996) as proof that
the president's team has misused state funds. -- Laura Belin in Moscow

YELTSIN CAMPAIGNS IN KALININGRAD. President Boris Yeltsin wooed
nationalist and military voters in a campaign trip to the Kaliningrad
Oblast on 23 June, Russian and Western agencies reported. Addressing
sailors and naval officers in Baltiisk, the headquarters of the Baltic
Fleet, Yeltsin promised Russians "freedom and order" in a phrase
borrowed from the campaign rhetoric of his new security overlord
Aleksandr Lebed, who is popular with military voters. Yeltsin won a
plurality of the vote in the Kaliningrad exclave in the first round, but
Lebed finished a strong third with almost 20%. Yeltsin also promised
increased social support for the navy and pledged to protect the
interests of ethnic Russians in the Baltic states. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN AGAIN CRITICIZES NATO EXPANSION. Speaking at the Brest fortress
in Belarus, site of one of the first battles during the 1941 Nazi
invasion of the Soviet Union, President Yeltsin warned against NATO
expansion, Russian and Western agencies reported on 22 June. Striking a
familiar stance, Yeltsin said the expansion of the alliance would lead
to a "new confrontation" on the continent. Meanwhile, at an
international meeting in Switzerland on the same day, former Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev urged Yeltsin to compromise with NATO
over the alliance's plans to expand into Eastern Europe. Kozyrev, now a
Duma deputy from Murmansk, called on Yeltsin to denounce "the sinister
Communist lie" that NATO is an enemy of Russia. Segodnya on 21 June
published an article also urging a compromise with NATO, saying both
sides should quickly take steps to defuse tension over the issue. --
Scott Parrish

LEBED WITHDRAWS COUP ALLEGATIONS... Addressing the Duma on 21 June,
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed retracted his claims of three
days earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest,19 June 1996) and said that there
had been no coup attempt by military officers close to former Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev, Russian and Western agencies reported. Lebed
blamed journalists for misinterpreting his remarks, claiming that his
ironic comments about a "third State Committee for the State of
Emergency," had mistakenly been taken seriously. Lebed said that
Grachev's press Secretary, Yelena Agapova, had planned to pressure
President Yeltsin by having local military commanders send him telegrams
urging that Grachev be retained as Defense Minister. But Lebed said he
had blocked the plan by cautioning generals against sending such
protests. Lebed assured the Duma that "all was in order" in the Russian
military following Grachev's dismissal. -- Scott Parrish

...AND SUGGESTS DEFENSE MINISTER NOMINEE. At a press conference on 22
June, Lebed declared that he would like to see Col.-Gen. Yurii Rodionov,
currently head of the General Staff Academy, appointed as Defense
Minister, Russian and Western media reported. Lebed described Rodionov
as "an outstanding elite general" This declaration may emerge as a test
of Lebed's influence, as his position will be undermined if Yeltsin now
nominates someone else. Earlier, Lebed met with members of his
presidential campaign staff, telling them he had allied with Yeltsin in
order to prevent the country from slipping backward. He added that
President Yeltsin had granted him wide powers as head of the Security
Council, and said that the council would have its own network of
regional representatives, in addition to its Moscow staff. He denied he
would visit Chechnya soon, saying more preparatory work had to be
completed before a visit would prove useful. -- Scott Parrish

TENSION RISES IN CHECHNYA. Sporadic fighting continued in Chechnya on
21-23 June, while talks between separatist forces and the federal
military command on implementing the 10 June military agreement made no
progress, Russian and Western media reported. After a meeting on 22 June
between Chechen and Russian military negotiators, Vyacheslav Tikhomirov,
commader of federal forces, termed the talks "fictitious," and accused
the separatists of dragging them out in order to regroup and resume
fighting later. On 23 June, tension rose around the southeastern Chechen
town of Vedeno, where separatist forces say that federal troops are
preparing an attack. Meanwhile, in the Khasav-Yurt region of neighboring
Dagestan, two policemen were kidnapped and two killed on 21 June by
gunmen who local officials claim were Chechen fighters. According to
ITAR-TASS, the outraged local populace staged several demonstions
against such Chechen "provocations" on 22-23 June. -- Scott Parrish

JAPANESE BRIDLE AT PRIMAKOV'S REMARKS ON KURIL ISLANDS. A Japanese
Foreign Ministry spokesman said on 21 June that the Japanese government
felt the territorial issue between Russia and Japan over four disputed
islands in the southern Kuril chain "should be resolved by the current
generation and not by future ones," ITAR-TASS reported. Russian Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov suggested earlier that the dispute should be
solved by "future generations." In March President Boris Yeltsin
reaffirmed Russia's commitment to a 1993 pledge to bring about a speedy
resolution of the issue. The islands were seized by Soviet troops in the
final weeks of World War II. -- Doug Clarke

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NADIBAIDZE ON "COUP," RUSSO-GEORGIAN MILITARY TIES. Georgian Defense
Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze denied allegations that he was involved in
organizing a coup attempt in support of former Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev, according to a 21 June BGI report monitored by the BBC.
In rejecting the allegations made by Aleksandr Lebed, Chairman of
Russia's Security Council, Nadibaidze said the purpose of his visit to
Moscow was to confirm the schedule for upgrading Georgia's arsenal with
Russian assistance. He noted that Georgia is to receive 100 tanks, 100
personnel carriers, and six military launches, although he was unable to
sign the agreement on these deliveries due to Grachev's dismissal.
However, it was agreed that Russia will provide 10.5 billion rubles
($2.1 million) worth of equipment for Georgia's air defense system,
Radio Rossii reported on 21 June. -- Lowell Bezanis

ALIEV ORDERS RELEASE OF TURKISH JOURNALIST, ACCUSES EMIGRE ORGANIZATION.
Azerbaijan's President Haidar Aliev ordered the release of Turkish
journalist Isa Yasar Tezel, Turkish and Western agencies reported on 21
June. Tezel was detained in mid-April in the company of Panah Huseinov,
a former Prime Minister during the rule of pro-Turkish President Abulfaz
Elchibey, and charged with resisting arrest, misappropriating state
property and concealing a crime. His release was secured when a
delegation from Turkey's Igdir province --where many Turkish Azeri
dwell-- met with Aliev and presented him with a petition bearing some
5,000 signatures. Aliev used the opportunity to blast the Ankara-based
Azerbaycan Kultur Dernegi (Azerbaijan Cultural Association) for
involvement in activities hostile to Azerbaijan, Cumhuriyet reported on
23 June. --  Lowell Bezanis

KAZAKHSTAN'S TRADE UNIONS OBJECT TO PENSION LAW. Kazakhstan's trade
unions have urged President Nursultan Nazarbayev not to endorse the law
on raising the pension age by three years, ITAR-TASS reported on 21
June. The law proposed raising the pension age by 3 years--to 63 for men
and 58 for women. The rejection of the draft pension law by Kazakhstan's
Majilis (lower house) on 23 May heralded a constitutional crisis,
averted by Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin's mediation which resulted
in the parliament endorsing the pension bill on 11 June (See OMRI Daily
Digest, 12 June, 1996). A new confrontation between the cabinet and the
Majilis is likely if President Nazarbayev endorses the trade unions'
demands. -- Bhavna Dave

UZBEKISTAN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH EUROPEAN UNION. Uzbek President Islam
Karimov signed a partnership and cooperation accord on 21 June, at a
ceremony attended by EU leaders in Florence, Italy, Reuters and ITAR-
TASS reported. The accord allows for cooperation in "in most areas" but
does not include security and military issues. Uzbekistan hopes this
latest deal will pave the way for the Central Asian nation to join the
World Trade Organization. Uzbekistan is the fifth country from the CIS
to be recognized as a trade partner with the European Union. -- Bruce
Pannier

UZBEKISTAN'S ARMED FORCES. An interview with Colonel Shamil Gareyev,
chief of Uzbekistan's Defense Ministry's Operations Department,
published in the 20-26 June edition of Obshchaya Gazeta provides rare
insight into Uzbekistan's armed forces. In addition to the 70,000-strong
Uzbek army, another 180,000 troops are on "alternative service" whereby
they continue to hold their regular jobs for two years but pay 20% of
their salaries to the Defense Ministry. The "alternative servicemen" are
also employed two months per year in harvesting cotton. Garayev made it
clear that Uzbekistan did not want to rely on Russian troops. He also
said Russia "supports [Tajik President] Rahmonov" while Uzbekistan wants
all conflicting forces in Tajikistan to be reconciled. -- Lowell Bezanis


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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