|Some things have to be believed to be seen. - Ralph Hodgson|
No. 126, Part I, 28 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 FILATOV REJECTS COMMUNIST'S CHARGES... President Boris Yeltsin's campaign manager Sergei Filatov on 27 June rejected corruption charges levelled by the communist chairman of the Duma Security Committee, Viktor Ilyukhin, in connection with the 19 June incident involving the detention of two Yeltsin campaign aides (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 June 1996), Russian media reported. Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed also rebuffed Ilyukin's allegations, saying that they were merely a "provocation" by the heads of the Russian security services. -- Scott Parrish ...AS MORE DETAILS OF THE 19 JUNE EVENTS BECOME AVAILABLE. Obshchaya Gazeta on 27 June published a detailed account of the events of 19-20 June. The paper reports that early on19 June Boris Lavrov, the deputy head of the Natsionalnyi Reserv Bank, was told by Deputy Finance Minister German Kuznetsov to pick up $538,38,850 from the office of V. Dmitriev, head of the department of foreign credits at the ministry. The money was to be used to pay Yeltsin campaign expenses. The paper states that Lavrov took the money to the White House and was with Sergei Lisovskii and Arkady Yestafev, carrying $500,000 of the cash, when they were detained leaving the building that evening. They were released early the next morning on orders from Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's office. On 20 June campaign aide Anatolii Chubais denied that the men were carrying any money. Meanwhile, speculation continues over the fate of Aleksandr Korzhakov. Despite being fired from his position as head of the Presidential Security Service on 20 June, Russian media report that he continues to occupy his Kremlin office and to serve on the executive committee of Yeltsin's re-election campaign. -- Peter Rutland CAMPAIGN LULL... President Boris Yeltsin failed to attend a scheduled meeting with agricultural workers in the Kremlin on 28 June, Western agencies reported. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that Yelstin had strained his voice during the campaign: earlier Western reports had described him as appearing tired. Neither Yeltsin nor Zyuganov are planning any campaign trips before the 3 July election, and neither has held campaign rallies in recent days--although Zyuganov had dinner with a group of young supporters at the Moscow rock club Woodstock, ORT reported on 27 June. He was shown on television dancing to folk music. -- Laura Belin in Moscow ...AS CANDIDATES LEAVE REGIONS TO SUBORDINATES. Supporters of both candidates are campaigning actively outside the capital, especially in regions where they posted disappointing first-round results. On 27 June, high-ranking Communist Party member Svetlana Goryacheva stumped in Primorsk Krai, where Yeltsin surprisingly came in first on16 June, NTV reported. Meanwhile, the president's campaign launched a road tour from Moscow that will finish in Novokuznetsk in Kemerovo Oblast on 1 July, ORT reported. There will be rallies in several regions where Zyuganov outpolled Yeltsin in the first round, including Kurgan and Bashkortostan. -- Laura Belin in Moscow TV BOSSES REJECT ALLEGATIONS OF BIAS. In a joint statement issued on 27 June, ORT Director General Sergei Blagovolin, RTR Chairman Eduard Sagalaev and NTV President Igor Malashenko dismissed Gennadii Zyuganov's recent accusations that campaign coverage on their television networks is tantamount to a "psychological war," and that this "anti-communist hysteria" could lead to a real civil war (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 June 1996). The television executives argued that they are doing everything possible to ensure that elections will take place in accordance with the Constitution, Russian media reported. In addition, they accused Zyuganov of trying to intimidate the media before the second round of the presidential election. -- Laura Belin in Moscow LEBED ADDRESSES PATRIOTIC GROUPS... In his first campaign appearance as Security Council Secretary, Aleksandr Lebed addressed a congress of the Union of Patriotic and National Organizations of Russia, an association that supported his presidential bid, Russian media reported on 27 June. He suggested that millions of deceived investors could be compensated with land and other products rather than cash, according to ORT. He promised that reform of the army, police, and prison system will be implemented in the near future, as well as measures concerning Cossacks and Russians living in former Soviet republics. Lebed said the Security Council will soon launch an "experimental" program to fight crime and corruption in Moscow and Moscow Oblast. -- Laura Belin in Moscow ...SCORNS FOREIGN RELIGIOUS SECTS. Lebed also told the Union of Patriotic and National Organizations that he views the activities of a number of religious groups as a "direct threat to Russia's security," ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported. Giving Aum Shinrikyo and the Mormons as examples, he described foreign religious sects as "mould and scum" that "corrupt the people and ravage the state" and argued that they should be banned. Lebed advocated the development of Russia's traditional established religions, naming Orthodoxy, Islam, and Buddhism. He did not mention Judaism, although Russia has had a large Jewish community for centuries. According to The New York Times of 28 June, Lebed interrupted a Cossack who was asking a question in a halting manner and said "You say you are a Cossack; why do you speak like a Jew?" -- Penny Morvant ...AND SEEKS MORE AUTHORITY OVER "SPECIAL SERVICES." The same day, Lebed told ITAR-TASS that he will ask the president for more authority to oversee the activities of the special services, including the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) and the Federal Security Service (FSB). As for the Foreign Intelligence Service, which reports directly to the president, Lebed said he would ask Yeltsin to carry out intelligence activities facilitating programs to enhance Russia's "economic, information and ecological security," ORT reported. He noted that he can only make recommendations to the president on these matters. -- Laura Belin in Moscow RUSSIANS, CHECHENS AGREE ON FURTHER PRISONER EXCHANGE. Meeting at the Khankala military air base near Grozny on 27 June, the Russian and Chechen working groups charged with implementing the 10 June peace agreement exchanged lists of prisoners and agreed on an exchange of corpses and of 13 more prisoners, NTV reported. The planned meeting between the Russian federal delegation comprising Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov, Vladimir Zorin and the secretary of the State Commission for Regulating the Chechen Conflict, Sergei Stepashin, with Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov failed to take place because of a disagreement over the venue. The Russian side proposed meeeing in the Ingush capital of Nazran, but the Chechens rejected this option on security grounds, according to ORT. -- Liz Fuller COUNCIL OF EUROPE ON CHECHNYA. Following a debate on the Chechen conflict, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe announced that it will invite all parties to the conflict to its Strasbourg headquarters in September for talks aimed at a peaceful settlement, RFE/RL reported on 27 June. The talks were proposed by Hans Muehlemann, the Swiss chair of a council committe which recently visited Chechnya. A council delegation will soon travel to Moscow to prepare for the talks. The session did not adopt any formal resolutions, but during the debate, several speakers, including members of the Russian delegation, criticized Russian policy. Nikolai Fedorov, President of Chuvashiya, said the right of the Chechen people to self-determination should have priority over Russia's territorial integrity, while a Polish delegate said the Chechen fighters should not be termed "separatists," arguing that Chechnya never agreed to join the Russian Federation. -- Scott Parrish RUSSIA AND THE G-7 SUMMIT. Opening their summit in Lyon, France, G-7 leaders issued a statement denouncing international terrorism and convening a special meeting to discuss combatting it, Russian and Western agencies reported on 27 June. Russia was invited to participate in the meeting, to be held in Paris this July. While Russia has been granted a role at the political talks during the summit, which Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin will attend, it remains sidelined in the economic discussions. Some G-7 members, like France, have hinted that they would support making Russia a full member of the group, but others, notably Japan, have demurred. Nevertheless, Chernomyrdin is expected to raise economic issues at the meeting, asking that Russia be granted membership in the Paris Club of official creditors and promised eventual admission into international economic organizations like the OECD. -- Scott Parrish VORKUTA MINERS END HUNGER STRIKE; WORLD BANK APPROVES COAL LOAN. Eleven members of the Independent Miners' Union in Vorkuta ended a 10-day hunger strike on 27 June after funds were transferred to the region to pay wages, NTV reported. The city has received 130 billion rubles ($26 million), and the remaining debt of 29 billion will be paid in July. The miners' other demand-- the dismissal of Yurii Malyshev, the director of the national coal company Rosugol--was not met. Also on 27 June, the World Bank approved loans worth $525 million to Russia to help restructure the coal industry and provide for miners who are made redundant. Russia will receive the main $500 million loan in two tranches: the first $250 million in July and the second later, probably in December. The remaining $25 million is to cover consulting services, retraining, and computer equipment for local employment and social services offices. -- Penny Morvant WORLD BANK REAFFIRMS IMPORTANCE OF ECONOMIC LIBERALIZATION. On 27 June the World Bank launched its 1996 World Development Report, entitled "From Plan to Market." The report concentrates on an analysis of the economic transition in 26 countries of the former socialist bloc, plus China and Vietnam. The report concludes that countries which adopted consistent liberalization policies have fared better than those that did not, having a lower fall in GDP and quicker recovery. China is a special case since it has enjoyed rapid growth with only partial liberalization. However, all of the countries which the World Bank considers most successful (Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Macedonia, and the Czech and Slovak Republics) are adjacent to developed capitalist economies. Some more geographically isolated countries, such as Moldova, have also liberalized but have not experienced an economic recovery. -- Peter Rutland TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KAZAKHSTAN'S PARLIAMENT AMNESTIES 20,000 PRISONERS. Faced with reduced funds for prison upkeep, the upper house of Kazakhstan's parliament declared an amnesty for nearly 20,000 prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes, or about one-quarter of all prisoners in the country, RFE/RL reported on 26 June. Interior Minister Kairbek Suleimenov reported that some 1,270 prisoners died last year of tuberculosis, caused by malnutrition, shortage of medication and overcrowding, and about 540 have died so far this year. Suleimenov complained that his ministry received less than half the $650,000 needed to look after Kazakhstan's 77,000 prisoners. Kazakhstan's penal system and treatment of prisoners have come under attack by international organizations. -- Bhavna Dave OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE OPENS OFFICE IN UZBEKISTAN. An office of the Open Society Institute, established by George Soros in 1993, opened in Tashkent on 26 June, ITAR-TASS reported the following day. The office will distribute information about the Open Society Institute, offer scholarships to young people for studies in Western educational institutions, and promote international contacts in the educational sphere. Sharon Weiss, the U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Uzbekistan, noted that this event was further evidence of the U.S. offer of friendship to Uzbekistan. The inauguration coincided with President Islam Karimov's visit to the U.S. The Open Society Institute is to open centers in Tajikistan, Armenia, and Mongolia in the near future. -- Bhavna Dave TAJIK OPPOSITION NEGOTIATORS RETURN TO DUSHANBE. With inter-Tajik peace talks expected to resume sometime in July, the Tajik opposition on 27 June sent a new team to Dushanbe to monitor the ceasefire, ITAR-TASS reported. The Tajik opposition has not been represented on the monitoring commission since the disappearance of its co-chairman, Zafar Rakhmonov, in early March. Rakhmonov's whereabouts are still unknown. The new four-man team was allowed to cross into Tajikistan from neighboring Afghanistan. The UN special representative to Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, will meet with United Tajik Opposition (UTO) leader Said Abdullo Nuri in Kabul, then fly on to Dushanbe to meet with the new UTO representatives there. -- Bruce Pannier [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Steve Kettle ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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