|If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson|
No. 123, Part I, 25 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 FINAL OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS. The results printed in the OMRI Daily Digest on 21 June, taken from Reuters, were incorrect. Here are the correct final results published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 22 June. The percentages are calculated based on the number of voters participating in the voting (75,587,139), the method used in the 1995 Duma elections. Registered voters 108,495,023 Total valid ballots 74,515,019 Total invalid ballots 1,072,120 Turnout 69.8% % of votes / # of votes Boris Yeltsin 35.28 26,665,495 Gennadii Zyuganov 32.03 24,211,686 Aleksandr Lebed 14.52 10,974,736 Grigorii Yavlinskii 7.34 5,550,752 Vladimir Zhirinovsky 5.70 4,311,479 Svyatoslav Fedorov 0.92 699,158 Mikhail Gorbachev 0.51 386,069 Martin Shakkum 0.37 277,068 Yurii Vlasov 0.20 151,282 Vladimir Bryntsalov 0.16 123,065 Aman Tuleev 0.00 308 Against all candidates 1.54 1,163,921 -- Robert Orttung ZYUGANOV PROPOSES COALITION GOVERNMENT. Communist presidential candidate Gennadii Zyuganov said on 24 June that, in the event of his victory, he would create a coalition government that would include one-third from the present government, one-third from his "popular-patriotic bloc," and one-third from Duma factions not represented in the bloc, NTV reported. Zyuganov also proposed creating a new state institution to be called the Council of National Accord, which would form the government and determine key policies. The council would include Duma leaders, party leaders, government figures, and scholars, Russian Public TV reported. Zyuganov said that he had already talked to 12 unnamed ministers and 27 deputy ministers about the idea and that the council would include prominent members of the Communist bloc as well as key regional leaders, but not hard-liners like Workers' Russia head Viktor Anpilov. He did not explain how the council would interact with the government or other state institutions. -- Robert Orttung REACTION TO ZYUGANOV PLAN. Rossiiskaya gazeta on 25 June criticized Zyuganov's plan, arguing that it was not new since Yeltsin had proposed a similar idea in the Treaty on Social Accord in 1994 which the communists rejected. The paper also claimed that the communists were getting desperate if they sought to include in their coalition leaders who have made clear that they support Yeltsin. After meeting with Zyuganov, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said that he was not interested in participating in the government, NTV reported. Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov also rejected the idea, describing the inclusion of his name as a "provocation," Reuters reported. -- Robert Orttung CAMPAIGN IN MEDIA TO RESUME ON 26 JUNE. The Central Electoral Commission allocated the free air time President Yeltsin and Gennadii Zyuganov will receive between 26 June and 1 July by random drawing, Russian media reported on 24 June. Each candidate will receive a total of two hours (10 minutes per day) on Russia's three state-run national networks: Russian Public Television (ORT), Russian TV (RTR), and St. Petersburg Channel 5. They will also receive free air time on two state-run radio stations. In contrast to the rules on campaign before the first round, the candidates do not have to use their time each day all at once, but may divide it into blocks of one or two minutes, ORT reported. The candidates will not receive free air time over the weekend of 29-30 June, but they may air paid political advertisements on those days. -- Laura Belin in Moscow NO SHAKEUP YET AT SECURITY COUNCIL. Deputy Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rubanov refuted reports that he had been sacked by his new boss Aleksandr Lebed, Russian media reported on 24 June. ITAR-TASS had reported that Rubanov resigned at Lebed's request, speculating that Lebed did not want to work with Rubanov, a protege of former Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov. Rubanov had earlier made critical comments about Lebed's approach to his new position. -- Scott Parrish TIKHOMIROV SLAMS CHECHEN TALKS. Speaking at a press conference in Grozny on 24 June, the commander of the Russian federal forces in Chechnya, Lt.-Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, stated that attempts at constructive dialogue with the Chechen opposition were pointless, and that Chechen military units were still conducting operations in Grozny, Gudermes and Shali, Russian media reported. Tikhomirov said that, in spite of these violations of the 10 June ceasefire agreement, the 245th motorized infantry division would begin withdrawing from Chechnya on 28 June; ITAR-TASS reported on 19 June that this unit had already begun to withdraw. Sergei Slipchenko, spokesman for the Russian State Commission for a solution to the Chechen conflict, denied charges by the Chechen opposition that the Russian military were violating the ceasefire, ITAR- TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller RUSSIA CRITICIZES U.S. STANCE ON UN SECRETARY-GENERAL. An anonymous official at the Russian Foreign Ministry blasted the United States for publicly declaring that it will oppose UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's bid for a second term, Russian and Western agencies reported on 22 June. The official termed the U.S. declaration "unprecedented," claiming that decisions about who would be chosen as the next Secretary-General were traditionally made in private by consensus among the five permanent members of the Security Council--the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, and China. Moscow had seemed likely to back Boutros-Ghali for a second term before the U.S. announcement. He visited Moscow in May to discuss the issue, and in what some viewed as a quid pro quo, praised both President Yeltsin and lauded the success of CIS peacekeeping missions. -- Scott Parrish RUSSIA, CHINA, MONGOLIA SIGN BORDER AGREEMENT. Meeting in Beijing, Russian, Chinese, and Mongolian diplomats on 24 June signed a tripartite agreement defining the two points at which the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian borders intersect, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian delegation head Genrikh Kireev said the agreement was a significant step in legally defining the intersection of the three borders, reached after four years of negotiations. The intersection point of the three borders will also serve as a reference point in the ongoing process of demarcating the Russo-Chinese border, which runs along a 54 km stretch to the west of Mongolia and also extends some 4,300 km to the east of it. -- Scott Parrish FINES INTRODUCED FOR INSULTING TATAR PRESIDENT. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev issued a decree on 24 June imposing fines of up to 30 million rubles ($5,900) on those who insult him, ITAR-TASS reported. First offenders are liable to a fine equal to 20 times the minimum wage in the republic (about 4 million rubles), while recidivists and those who libel the president in the press could pay as much as 7 million rubles. Mass media that disseminate defamatory statements are liable to a fine of 30 million rubles, and all copies of the offending newspaper or magazine will be confiscated. Shaimiev, who became Tatar president in 1991, was reelected for a second term unopposed this March. -- Penny Morvant VOTERS SHOW LITTLE INTEREST IN TOMSK MAYORAL ELECTIONS. Less than 32% of registered voters took part in the first-ever mayoral elections in the Siberian city of Tomsk, Radio Rossii reported on 24 June. Of the four contenders, the current mayor Gennadii Konovalov won 38.5% of the vote and his main rival, Aleksandr Makarov, almost 47%. These two will face each other in a run-off. Radio Rossii said that many Tomsk residents had decided not to vote because of the dirty campaign tactics employed by the contenders. -- Penny Morvant BILL PROPOSES HIGHER FINES FOR DRAFT-DODGING. The Duma has adopted in the first reading a draft law envisaging tougher financial penalties for people who ignore a summons to the military registration and enlistment office, Russian television reported on 22 June. At present the fine is only one-tenth of the minimum wage, or about 8,000 rubles ($1.60). If the proposed amendments are incorporated into the Criminal Code, the fine will be raised to 500 times the minimum wage. Col.-Gen. Vyacheslav Zherebtsov, deputy head of the General Staff, said the number of offences linked to military registration in 1995 exceeded 400,000, a 50% increase over 1993. According to Duma Defense Committee member Eduard Vorobev, more than 30,000 people evaded the draft last year. -- Penny Morvant HARD TIMES IN CHUKOTKA. Aleksandr Nazarov, governor of Chukotka, reports that 60,000 of the region's 154,000 residents have left in the last three years. Chukotka lies across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Speaking on NTV on 21 June, Nazarov described much of the remaining population, which includes 15,000 pensioners, as "hostages of the north," because they have nowhere else to move to. Many wages have not been paid for three to 12 months, and food in shops and canteens is given out on credit "like under communism," Nazarov said. The main employer, the Anadyrsk coal mine, has seen output fall from 1 million tons to 300,000. -- Peter Rutland GOVERNMENT MUST CUT BACK ROLE IN ECONOMY. At a press conference on 24 June, the head of the Institute of Economic Analysis, Andrei Illarionov, and the head of the Institute of the National Economic Model, Vitalii Naishul, said that budgetary problems will not be solved until the government reduces its spending. Illarionov and Naishul remarked that only Aleksandr Lebed's economic program discusses the need to reduce the government's role in the economy. In May 1996 the deficit of the consolidated budget (federal and regional combined) reached 11.8% of GDP. Since January 1996 state borrowing has increased by $20 billion, including a $16 billion increase of the internal debt. Yet at the G7 meeting in Lyon on 25 June, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus told ITAR-TASS that the Russian government is on target to hold the budget deficit to 4% of GDP in 1996. -- Natalia Gurushina in Moscow DUMA PROPOSAL TO MANAGE NATIONAL DEBT. On 22 June Kommersant-Daily reported that the head of the Duma Committee for Financial Institutions and the Securities Market, Vladimir Tarlachev, has introduced new draft legislation for managing the national debt. Responsibility for debt management would be transferred from the Finance Ministry to the Central Bank, and there would be annual limits on the issuance of state securities in order to halt what Tarlachev regards as the government's "financial pyramid scheme." -- Peter Rutland NUCLEAR WORKERS NEAR ST. PETERSBURG PROTEST. A trade union leader at the Sosnovy Bor nuclear power plant near St. Petersburg went on hunger strike on 24 June to protest delays in the payment of workers' wages, Radio Rossii reported. Other plant operators are holding protest meetings at the end of their work shifts. The workers, who have not been paid since the middle of March, are owed about 50 billion rubles ($9.8 million). The plant's management blames nonpayments by consumers, but the trade union argues that the debts are due to managerial shortcomings. The Sosnovy bor plant has four upgraded RBMK reactors and is a principal souce of energy for the area. -- Penny Morvant TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA GEORGIAN DEMONSTRATORS PROTEST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. Georgian human rights activists staged a demonstration outside the EU mission in Tbilisi on 24 June to protest human rights violations by the Georgian government, specifically the death sentence passed last week on Badri Zarandia, who in 1992-1993 was military commander of the pro- Gamsakhurdia stronghold of Zugdid in western Georgia, Radio Rossii reported. Zarandia has been subjected to torture while in detention and subsequently had one leg amputated. -- Liz Fuller UNEMPLOYMENT IN KAZAKHSTAN. A survey by Almaty's independent Giller Institute has disputed the claim of the Employment Section in Kazakhstan's Ministry of Labor that unemployment in the country is 3.6%, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 June. The Giller Institute survey, conducted in eight major oblasts, shows that 28.8% of the 1,513 respondents admitted to having no fixed jobs in the course of several months. Sociologist Leonid Guryevich, the director of the Giller Institute, told ITAR-TASS that the unemployed in Kazakhstan number about 1 million, and not 236,000 as claimed by the Ministry of Labor. The survey noted that about 29% among the unemployed survive by selling crops grown in dachas, over 27% are engaged in re-selling foodstuffs and other goods, another 27% have irregular income and the remaining 13% survive with help from relatives and friends. -- Bhavna Dave NIYAZOV: CORRUPTION WIDESPREAD IN MILITARY. Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov criticized "widespread" corruption among the republic's military and law enforcement officials, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 June. According to the report, monitored by the BBC, Niyazov signed a decree which would strip negligent and corrupt personnel of their positions. When speaking to an enlarged session of the Defense and National Security Council one day earlier, he cited links between officials and the criminal world and demanded urgent measures to strengthen discipline. -- Lowell Bezanis UZBEKISTAN STRIKES DEALS WITH U.S. COMPANIES. Uzbek President Islam Karimov on 24 June attended a ceremony hosted by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and witnessed the signing of a protocol which will give his country $400 million, ITAR-TASS reported. The state- owned oil and gas company Uzbekneftegas signed agreements with Texaco to manufacture and sell lubricants in Central Asia, and also established a joint venture with the American Enron company to develop natural gas deposits. -- Bruce Pannier CRANS-MONTANA CONFERENCE FRUITFUL FOR KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN. The presidents of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Askar Akayev, attended the international conference at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and received the 1996 prize of the Crans-Montana foundation, RFE/RL reported on 24 June. The conference is an opportunity to court investment from companies around the world and the Central Asian presidents, along with their advisors, received positive signs from companies mainly dealing in oil and mineral wealth. Private meetings were held with potential investors from Singapore, Japan, and Iran as well as Europe. -- 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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