Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

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

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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