He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 124, Part I, 26 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

AX FALLS ON 7 GENERALS... President Boris Yeltsin on 25 June fired seven
top generals, international and Russian media reported. All had close
ties to fired Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. They included three deputy
chiefs of the General Staff: Col.-Gen. Viktor Barynkin, Col.-Gen.
Anatolii Bogdanov, and Col.-Gen. Vyacheslav Zherebtsov. Also removed
were Lt.-Gen. Sergei Zdorikov, the head of the ministry's Main
Directorate for Educational Work; Lt.-Gen. Dmitrii Kharchenko, who
headed the International Military Cooperation Directorate; the head of
the ministry's administrative staff, Col.-Gen. Valerii Lapshov; and a
deputy commander of the Ground Forces, Lt.-Gen. Vladimir Shulikov. Four
of them had been named by Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed as
participants in an attempted coup--a charge Lebed later retracted.
Lapshov, Kharchenko, and Zdorikov were military academy classmates of
Grachev, and Kharchenko's daughter was married to Grachev's son. The
same day, ITAR-TASS reported that Yeltsin appointed Lebed to head the
commission which vets candidates for the highest military posts. -- Doug
Clarke

... AND AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL. President Yeltsin on 25 June dismissed
two deputy secretaries of the Security Council, Vladimir Rubanov and
Aleksandr Troshin, ITAR-TASS reported. Two new deputies--Vladimir
Denisov and Sergei Kharlamov--were appointed. Former Federal Security
Service head Mikhail Barsukov also lost his seat on the council. Yeltsin
decreed on 25 June that the Security Council secretary will have one
first deputy and three deputies and that the council's staff should be
cut to 183. Yeltsin also instructed Lebed to draft a new statute
governing the work of the council, its structure, and staff. According
to presidential press secretary Sergei Medvedev, Yeltsin wants to
broaden the functions of the council. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN CREATES POLITICAL CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL. President Boris Yeltsin
has transformed his presidential Social Chamber, created in 1994, into a
Political Consultative Council (PKS) to incorporate the opinions of a
wider body of political parties and movements into the process of
defining political and economic policy, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 June.
Yeltsin invited the political parties represented in the Duma, as well
as those parties that did not gain seats in the December elections, to
join the body. Gennadii Zyuganov made a similar proposal on 24 June and
published a long list of the members he would include in his council in
the 25 June edition of Sovetskaya Rossiya. Yeltsin's proposal is merely
cosmetic since he expects to win the 3 July presidential vote without
establishing a broad coalition with the communists. -- Robert Orttung

FURTHER REACTION TO ZYUGANOV PROPOSAL. Presidential spokesman Sergei
Medvedev criticized Zyuganov's call for a coalition government, saying
it was a pity that he concluded the need for "civil peace and accord"
only after losing the first round of the elections, ITAR-TASS reported
25 June. Medvedev also rejected the idea of creating the Council on
National Accord, saying that the Constitution did not make a provision
for it and that it was not necessary. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii
and Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev also rejected Zyuganov's
overtures, as did a host of other regional leaders, such as Novosibirsk
Governor Vitalii Mukha. NTV declared that Zyuganov's announcement of the
plan was well-timed since it did not have to compete with other events
and brought him a lot of attention, but that his initiative is faltering
since he has nothing new to add to it. -- Robert Orttung

ZYUGANOV REJECTS CLAIM THAT THE COMMUNISTS ARE OUT OF MONEY. Zyuganov
rejected the assertion of key campaign aide Aleksei Podberezkin that the
communists were out of money for the election campaign, NTV reported on
25 June. He said that his staff had just sent 1,000 workers to the
provinces and that he was concentrating on forming a coalition
government in Moscow. Podberezkin, the head of the Spiritual Heritage
think tank which is supporting Zyuganov, had blamed Zyuganov's low
visibility on his lack of funds and a bias in the media, Reuters
reported. Zyuganov said he was confident of victory in the second round
and called the reports of the numerous rebuffs to his coalition
government proposal incorrect. Zyuganov also played volleyball on 25
June to demonstrate his vigorous health, NTV reported. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN CAMPAIGN EXPECTS TURNOUT AT 64%. Deputy Chairman of the All-
Russian Movement for the Social Support of the President (ODOPP)
Vyacheslav Nikonov said that the president expects turnout at 64% and
that Yeltsin will win 50.8%, while Zyuganov will take 46.8%. If turnout
is below 60%, Nikonov warned, Zyuganov could win, NTV reported on 25
June. Nikonov claimed that, in the first round on 16 June, Zyuganov was
leading before 6 p.m. and that Yeltsin's supporters only voted in the
evening, demonstrating their "lack of discipline and even
irresponsibility," ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN ORDERS PULLOUT FROM CHECHNYA. President Boris Yeltsin signed a
decree on 25 June calling for the "gradual withdrawal of forces and
material" from Chechnya, Xinhua reported. The withdrawal is to be
completed by 1 September. Previously, military sources had indicated
that troops not permanently assigned to the North Caucasus military
district would be pulled out. These include forces from the Leningrad,
Moscow, Volga, and Urals MDs. The same day, NTV quoted the deputy
commander of the North Caucasus MD as saying that the 205th Motorized
Rifle Brigade would remain in Chechnya, with its 204th Regiment to be
stationed in the foothills near the village of Shali. Novosti quoted Lt.
Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, the commander of the federal forces in
Chechnya, as saying the pullout would begin on 28 June with troops from
the 245th regiment. -- Doug Clarke

PRIMAKOV OUTLINES FOREIGN POLICY GOALS. In a speech to the Moscow State
Institute of International Affairs last week, Foreign Minister Yevgennii
Primakov laid out the main principles behind Russian foreign policy,
Trud reported on 25 June. He challenged some widespread ideas about the
character of the international system, denying that there had been
"winners" and "losers" in the Cold War, or that the U.S. was the sole
superpower in a "unipolar" world. Primakov also argued that the opening
of Russia's economy did not condemn it to the position of a "raw
materials appendage." He said it was a "very important priority" to
build relations with China as a strategic partner. He warned against
excessive focus on relations with the U.S., and argued that Russia
should not seek to join "the club of civilized nations" at any price.
His two leading concerns at present are NATO expansion and Western
objections to CIS integration, which he described as the "main task" of
his ministry. -- Peter Rutland

ARMS TRADE BREEDS CONSPIRACY ACCUSATIONS. A Nezavisimaya gazeta report
on 25 June claimed that the U.S. has adopted a deliberate policy of
trying to block sales of Russian weapons in Asia, the Middle East, and
Latin America. For example, the paper alleged that U.S. officials are
trying to prevent the sale of Russian helicopters to Colombia, Peru and
Ecuador, even arguing that the "fabrication" of evidence of corruption
among Russian officials may be part of the strategy. -- Peter Rutland

RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN JOINT ASSEMBLY MEETS. The Russian-Belarusian
Parliamentary Assembly met for the first time on 25 June in Smolensk,
Russian and Belarusian agencies reported. The assembly is meant to
provide a basis for the merger of the two countries' economies, and some
other government functions under the terms of the 2 April Agreement on
the Formation of a Community. Belarusian parliamentary speaker Syamyon
Sharetsky was elected Chairman of the Assembly, and Russian State Duma
speaker Gennadii Seleznev was voted first deputy chairman. Six
commissions were set up: legal affairs, economics, social issues,
foreign policy, crime, and ecology. The first three are chaired by
Russians, and the remaining three by Belarusians. The assembly is to
meet at least four times a year. The next session will take place in the
fall. -- Ustina Markus

MURMANSK OBLAST ASKS NORWAY FOR AID. Murmansk Oblast has asked Norway
for a loan to help pay wages, a Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman
said on 25 June. Spokesman Ingvard Havnen said the oblast had asked for
$12 million to help cover expenses such as the wages of teachers and
doctors, AFP reported. Havnen said Norway would normally turn down
requests to cover running expenses but added that the application would
be considered. In 1995 Norway gave Murmansk more than $11 million in aid
to help clean up pollution and improve the region's infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Izvestiya reported on 26 June that opposition parties in the
Norwegian parliament have spoken out against a joint Russian-Norwegian
project to ensure the safety of nuclear waste dumps on the Kola
Peninsula. Norway has said it will allocate about $24 million to the
program. Its opponents claim it will help Russia increase its nuclear
potential. -- Penny Morvant

FRATERNIZATION RULES TIGHTEN AT U.S. EMBASSY? Sources in the U.S.
embassy in Moscow leaked a copy of a State Department memorandum, issued
on 4 June, that specifies the rules governing romantic relations between
U.S. embassy employees and local personnel, Western media reported on 25
June. According to the reports, it was only last year that the rules
were relaxed for U.S. personnel: in future, they must officially report
all "continuing" intimate relations with Russian citizens. The
memorandum reportedly stated that Russia still represents a "formidable"
intelligence threat to the U.S. A State Department spokeswoman denied
that there had been a change of policy, and said the document merely
reaffirmed previous practice. -- Peter Rutland

JUSTICE OFFICIAL MURDERED; JUDGES UNHAPPY WITH MINISTER. Galina
Borodina, acting head of the Moscow Oblast Justice Administration, was
shot dead in the stairwell of her apartment block in Podolsk, south of
Moscow, on 25 June, ITAR-TASS reported. It was the second murder of a
justice official within a month. In late May Deputy Justice Minister
Anatolii Stepanov was found dead in his apartment near Moscow.
Meanwhile, Moskovskie novosti (issue 25) reported that the All-Russian
Council of Judges has adopted a resolution expressing lack of confidence
in Justice Minister Valentin Kovalev. The council said that courts have
received less than one-fifth of the sums required to cover
administrative costs and other expenses, and that some courts have had
to stop hearing cases. The judges want responsibility for financing and
administering courts to be transferred from the Justice Ministry to the
Supreme Court's Judicial Department. -- Penny Morvant

BUDGET UPDATE. Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov provided the latest
budget information in Ekonomika i zhizn no. 25. By 1 June budget
receipts from all sources totaled 103 trillion rubles ($20.3 billion),
or 11.6% of GDP. Only 53% of receipts were taxes and other payments. The
remaining income came from the sale of treasury bonds (29%), foreign
currency (15%), and precious metals (6%). The share of the federal
budget in the consolidated budget fell abruptly from 48% in March to 35%
in April, showing that regional authorities were better able to generate
tax revenue than was Moscow. Tax arrears by the end of April stood at 21
trillion rubles for regional budgets and 38 trillion for the federal
budget. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

UZBEK PRESIDENT MEETS BRIEFLY WITH CLINTON. After meeting with the
presidents of the three Baltic States, U.S. President Bill Clinton had
talks with visiting Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Washington on 25
June, Reuters and AFP reported. White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry
said later the two discussed "key political, economic, and security
issues of mutual interest, including progress in political and economic
reform." Before the presidents met, McCurry told a press conference that
human rights would be a topic but downplayed the issue. Uzbekistan
attempted to improve its poor image on human rights by announcing at the
start of June that it would release some 80 political prisoners.
However, the Washington Post noted in a 25 June article that only a
handful had been freed and Radio Liberty could confirm the release of
only five. -- Bruce Pannier

KAZAKHSTANIS URGED TO GATHER THEIR OWN FUEL. Kazakhstan's chief energy
inspector, Yeset Zhumabekov, has urged its citizens to collect their own
winter fuel--including dung--given the inability of the country's power
sector to meet consumer demands, a BBC monitoring of a 20 June article
in Karavan-Blitz reported. Kazakhstan's power sector is bankrupt and has
no prospects of collecting the $1 billion debt owed by its consumers.
Kazakhstan's debt to CIS countries for electricity exceeds $400 million.
-- Bhavna Dave

TAJIK GOVERNMENT FORCES TAKE LOSSES. A 24 June report from ITAR-TASS
quoted the Tajik opposition press service as saying its forces had
"resolutely rebuffed the Dushanbe elite troops" in fighting near Tavil-
Dara and Sagirdasht in central Tajikistan. The opposition claimed to
have killed at least 21 government soldiers. Meanwhile, as many as 70
opposition fighters attacked a police station in Komsomolabad, a town on
a strategic road linking the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to the eastern
regions of the country, according to Reuters. During the 12-hour attack,
the opposition killed five militiamen before retreating into the hills.
-- Bruce Pannier

GEORGIA TO RETURN WAR TROPHIES TO GERMANY.  The Georgian government is
preparing to return to Germany some 120,000 books from the 1600-1900s
that were confiscated from libraries in Bremen and Magdeburg by Soviet
troops in 1945, Die Welt reported on 26 June, quoting the Georgian
Ambassador to Germany, Konstantine Gabashvili. He said that Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze had wanted to give several of the most
valuable volumes to his German counterpart Roman Herzog during the
latter's visit to Tbilisi earlier this month, but had been pressured not
to do so by Moscow.  -- Liz Fuller

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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