The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. - Paul Vale´ry
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 129, Part I, 3 July 1996

                               *   *   *
Note to readers:
Due to American and Czech holidays, the OMRI Daily Digest will not appear
on 4 and 5 July, 1996. OMRI Special Reports on the Russian presidential
election will, however, be published on both of these days.
                               *   *   *

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

YELTSIN AVOIDS JOURNALISTS AS HE CASTS HIS BALLOT...
President Boris Yeltsin voted near the Barvikha sanitorium where he
is recuperating from his illness and avoided the throngs of
journalists who were waiting for him at the polling place where he
usually votes in Moscow, Reuters reported on 3 July. No journalists
were present when Yeltsin voted, except an official photographer
and a camera crew from ORT. The Kremlin released a one-minute film
clip showing Yeltsin walking awkwardly, but speaking clearly as he
exhorted all Russians to vote. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov reassured journalists that Yeltsin
was fine, ITAR-TASS reported. Communist challenger Gennadii
Zyuganov voted according to plan at his polling station in central
Moscow, announcing that "the West should not be afraid of me" and
that Yeltsin's health was "not good," Reuters reported. -- Robert
Orttung

...AFTER WEEKEND IN ISOLATION. Yeltsin was isolated at the
Barvikha sanitarium under medical supervision with only his family
present over the weekend of 29-30 June, the Washington Post
reported on 2 July. No presidential or campaign aides were present,
suggesting that the president was seriously ill. Yeltsin cancelled
a meeting with the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine scheduled for
1 July. The Russian media have generally ignored the issue of
Yeltsin's health, fearing it will hurt his chances of reelection.
On 2 July the Kremlin issued a press release officially denying
rumors that Yeltsin was dead. -- Robert Orttung

VOTING BEGINS IN RUSSIA... Polls opened early on 2 July in
2,200 of Russia's 93,500 polling stations, in regions where voting
would be difficult to complete in one day. These included Chechnya
and geographically isolated regions in the north. Regular voting
will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on 3 July. Voting
began in the region of Chukotka in the Far East at 8:00 am local
time on 3 July, which was 1900 GMT on 2 July. By 10:00 GMT on 3
July, voting returns from the Far Eastern regions showed turnout by
midday was some 5% to 6% below the level in the first round on 16
June. -- Peter Rutland

...AS VOTERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO TURN OUT. The government and
Central Election Commission (TsIK) stepped up their efforts to
ensure a high turnout on 3 July. It is widely assumed that a good
turnout (above 65%) will favor President Yeltsin. Advertisements
encouraging voters to turn out continued to be shown on television.
On 1 July the government announced that all train travel would be
free on election day - to encourage people to travel back from
their cottages. ORT ran the climax episodes of Brazilian soap opera
on the morning of 3 July to encourage people to stay at home rather
than go to the country. Other vote-boosting measures included a
TsIK statement that voters would be allowed to use other forms of
identification besides passports, such as military IDs, and that
extra mobile voting boxes will be placed at stations and airports.
AFP reported on 2 July that some Moscow residents were getting
phone calls from TsIK workers asking if they intended to vote. --
Peter Rutland

COMMUNISTS ATTACK ORT OVER CANCELED AD. The Communists vowed
to take Russian Public TV to court after the station pulled a 10-
minute ad featuring filmmaker Stanislav Govorukhin, AFP reported on
2 July (See OMRI Daily Digest, 1 July 1996). ORT had claimed that
the Communists had not paid for the extra five minutes the ad would
have run over the free time they were alloted. However, Communist
campaign manager Valentin Kuptsov produced receipts for the money
which he claimed had been blocked. Central Electoral Commission
Chairman Nikolai Ryabov said that he had protested the move to ORT
and that an investigation was underway. The ad reportedly directed
attention to Yeltsin's poor health, Reuters reported. At a 1 July
news conference, Govorukhin said: "We are being asked to vote for a
living corpse," and compared the situation with Stalin's death in
1953, which remained unannounced for three days, Nezavisimaya
gazeta reported on 2 July. -- Robert Orttung

REGIONAL COMMUNIST ACTIVISTS VIOLATE CAMPAIGN RULES.
Communist Party (KPRF) local activists in several Russian regions
have violated the electoral campaign rules, which prohibit any
agitation on the day prior to elections, ITAR-TASS reported. It
said a KPRF member appeared on local radio in Ust-Bachkare village
in Tomsk Oblast on 2 July and called on local residents to vote for
KPRF leader Gennadii Zyuganov. The same day in Ufa, the capital of
Bashkortostan, Zyuganov supporters put flyers in city residents'
mail boxes which imitated a ballot with a tick next to Zyuganov's
name. Khabarovsk Krai electoral commission member Vladimir
Prokopenko, who was nominated by the KPRF, was fired from his
duties for violating the electoral law by visiting a sick voter,
who was unable to visit a polling station by himself, without the
required mobile ballot box and an observer. -- Anna Paretskaya

LEBED SEEKS MORE POWERS, HITS OUT AT ENERGY BARONS...
Presenting his national security concept to journalists on 2 July,
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed said he needs additional
powers to tackle Russia's immense security problems, Russian and
Western agencies reported. He outlined a wide range of issues
requiring attention, from the economy to the army to the
environment, and promised to oversee the implementation of reforms.
He was particularly critical of energy producers, accusing them of
plundering the country's resources, and called for state regulation
to ensure that they invest more of their profits in modernizing the
oil industry. In what appeared to be a dig at Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, who has close ties with the oil and gas industry,
Lebed said the "energy barons" had acquired "overwhelming
influence" in several regions, the government, and the president's
entourage. -- Penny Morvant

...ADVOCATES TOUGH ANTICRIME MEASURES... In his national
security concept, Lebed also proposed a variety of measures for
stepping up the fight against crime and corruption. According to
NTV on 2 July, he said he intends to toughen the Criminal Code to
introduce harsher penalties for members of organized crime gangs,
bribe-takers and bribe-givers, and those who fail to observe
contractual obligations, as well as set up special courts to deal
with particularly grave crimes. The previous day, in an interview
with Russian TV, Lebed spoke out more forcefully. Asked how he
intended to combat crime, Lebed replied: "I will shoot them
[criminals he cannot reason with], reasonably, with minimum wastage
for the police...those who cannot be persuaded, I mean. In a
civilized fashion." -- Penny Morvant

...AND REITERATES OPPOSITION TO FOREIGN SECTS. Lebed
apologized on 2 July for criticizing the Church of the Latter-Day
Saints but reiterated his opposition to foreign sects in Russia. He
said he did not want to offend anyone, but reiterated that sects
such as the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo are alien to Russia and have no
place there, Russian and Western agencies reported. He also
qualified remarks he had made about Russia's main religions, which
caused a stir because he had not included Judaism in his list. He
said that the three he mentioned (Orthodoxy, Islam, and Buddhism)
were just examples, adding "Judaism exists, just like Catholicism."
-- Penny Morvant

BATURIN ON LEBED. In an interview with Moskovskie novosti (no.
26), former presidential national security adviser Yurii Baturin
spoke about his successor, Aleksandr Lebed. Asked to comment on
Mikhail Gorbachev's allegations that Lebed was "bought" by
Yeltsin's supporters before the election, Baturin rejected the idea
that an agreement had been concluded beforehand. He said, however,
that non-government structures close to the president's position
did give Lebed both financial aid and guidance organizing his
campaign. -- Penny Morvant

DEFENSE MINISTRY PURGE IN OFFING? Rumors continue to circulate
in Moscow over the anti-corruption purge which Aleksandr Lebed is
thought to be planning for the defense ministry. Komsomolskaya
pravda reported on 2 July that many "enthusiasts" in the ministry,
emboldened by Lebed's appointment, are collecting data on "by who,
when, where, and how much was stolen." Attention is likely to focus
on the acquisition of dachas and apartments. Novaya gazeta reported
on 1 July that Yelena Agapova, the press-secretary of fired
Minister Pavel Grachev, had acquired a dacha with a market value of
$300,000, and an equally well-appointed apartment. -- Peter Rutland

CHECHEN PEACE TALKS IN JEOPARDY. At a meeting of the Chechen
defense council on the night of 1-2 July, military commanders
resolved not to attend the meeting with the Russian federal
delegation scheduled for 3 July to discuss implementation of the
peace agreement signed in Nazran on 10 June, Russian media
reported. Ekho Moskvy quoted Chechen Minister of Information
Movladi Udugov as stating that further such meetings were pointless
as the Russian side was "openly ignoring" the peace agreement. The
OSCE mission in Grozny called on both sides in the peace talks to
avoid actions or statements that could jeopardize the agreements
already signed, according to ITAR-TASS. Also on 2 July, pro-Moscow
Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev flew to the town of Achkhoi-
Martan to cast his vote in the second round of the Russian
presidential election. Russian Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav
Mikhailov and the deputy head of the Russian state committee for a
settlement of the Chechen conflict, Sergei Stepashin, traveled to
Gudermes to assess the situation there. -- Liz Fuller

BAIL-OUT FOR BALTIC SHIPPERS. President Yeltsin signed a
decree on 2 July ordering a state bail-out of the troubled Baltic
Shipping Line, ITAR-TASS reported. The shipping company, which is
29% state-owned, owes foreign suppliers some $150 million, as a
result of which 21 of its 90 ships were detained in foreign ports
as of 1 June. The company also owes 245 billion rubles ($48
million) to Russian creditors. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ALIEV IN BONN. Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev, on the second
day of a four-day official visit to Germany, met in Bonn with
Chancellor Helmut Kohl on 2 July, ITAR-TASS reported. Kohl affirmed
his country's support for democratic and market reforms in
Azerbaijan and for the ongoing efforts of the OSCE's Minsk Group,
of which Germany is a member, to mediate a political settlement of
the Karabakh conflict. -- Liz Fuller

FEARS OVER "MAD COW" BEEF SALE IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstan's
health officials are seeking to confiscate large quantities of
Irish beef, believed to have been infected by the "mad cow" virus,
which has been illegally brought into the country, ITAR-TASS
reported on 2 July. Almaty's veterinary inspectorate reported that
around 100 tons of infected beef has been smuggled into the
country, possibly via Uzbekistan, since June. About 3.3 tons of
infected beef has been confiscated and destroyed so far. -- Bhavna
Dave

WORLD BANK LOAN TO BOOST KAZAKHSTAN'S OIL PRODUCTION. The
World Bank will offer a $109 million loan to Kazakhstan to aid the
rehabilitation of the Uzen oil field, the country's second largest
after Tengiz, AFP reported on 2 July. World Bank sources say that
due to financial and operating problems, crude oil output in
Kazakhstan has fallen to 17 million tons in 1995 from a peak of 25
million tons in 1991. The Bank predicts that by developing reserves
oil production could be doubled by the turn of the century. --
Bhavna Dave

CHINESE PRESIDENT ENDS VISIT TO UZBEKISTAN. Jiang Zemin
concluded a two-day official visit to Tashkent on 3 July, which
included meetings with Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Foreign
Minister Abdulaziz Komilov, international sources reported. The two
sides signed 21 intergovernmental agreements, ITAR-TASS reported,
which address trade and economic relations, transport, and avoiding
double taxation. Mutual trade dropped from $165 million in 1994 to
$59 million in 1995 and $37 million for the first five months of
1996. According to Reuters, Jiang praised Uzbekistan's role in
stabilizing Central Asia and expressed his appreciation for
Karimov's supporting China's policies in Tibet and Xinjiang. Jiang
will also meet with the Presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan
before returning to China on 6 July. -- Roger Kangas

INDIA MAY BUY TANKER AIRCRAFT BUILT IN UZBEKISTAN. India is
interested in buying several Ilyusin-78 airborne refueling tankers,
an official of the Ilyushin design bureau told Reuters on 1 July.
The Russian-designed aircraft, which is a modification of the Il-76
cargo plane, is built at the Valery Chkalov Aircraft Plant in
Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The plane was offered to the Indians by
Tashkent Aviation, a joint venture of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and
Uzbekistan. They currently operate 17 Il-76 transports. -- Doug
Clarke

RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS IN TAJIKISTAN DETAIN OPPOSITION
FIELD COMMANDER. A group of 11 men were apprehended by Russian
border guards near Khorog on 28 June, ITAR-TASS and Russian
Independent Television (NTV) reported. The 11, who were in
possession of weapons and drugs, included opposition field
commander Khudoidod. According to the 2 July NTV broadcast,
opposition members surrounded the border post and demanded the
release of Khudoidod, threatening to resort to violence. The
commander of the border guards in Tajikistan, Lt.-Gen. Pavel
Tarasenko, flew to the area to negotiate with the opposition. The
Russians finally handed Khudoidod and six others over to Tajik
authorities. -- Bruce Pannier


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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