Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 140, Part I, 22 July 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

STEPASHIN ASSERTS THAT DUDAEV IS DEFINITELY DEAD. Following a session on
19 July of the Russian government commission on resolving the Chechen
conflict, commission secretary Sergei Stepashin told journalists he can
assert with 100% confidence that Chechen President Dzhokar Dudaev is
dead, Reuters reported. Stepashin also said he does not doubt that the
Chechen field commander who claimed in a televised press conference in
Gudermes on 18 July that Dudaev is alive is Salman Raduev. ITAR-TASS
quoted a senior German government spokesman as stating that Germany has
no record of Raduev's presence in Germany, where he claimed to have
undergone plastic surgery. -- Liz Fuller

CHECHEN COMMANDER ACCEPTS OFFER OF TALKS. Chechen chief of staff Aslan
Maskhadov on 20 July accepted an offer made the previous day by the
commander of the North Caucasus Military District, Lt.-Gen. Anatolii
Kvashnin, to meet and discuss implementation of the 10 June Nazran peace
agreement. Russian Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov similarly
stated that the Russian government is ready to resume talks on
implementation of the demilitarization agreements. On 20-21 July Russian
air, artillery and infantry forces launched an attack on Chechen
detachments in the southeastern village of Shatoi. Both sides claimed to
have inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy; a Russian military
spokesman rejected Chechen claims to have shot down a Russian helicopter
and warplane and destroyed several armored vehicles, AFP reported. --
Liz Fuller

RUSSIA DENOUNCES EUROPARLIAMENT RESOLUTION ON CHECHNYA. The Russian
Foreign Ministry on 19 July rejected as "unacceptable" a resolution on
the Chechen conflict passed by the European Parliament the previous day,
Russian and Western media reported. The Europarliament's resolution
condemned Russia for violating the recent ceasefire accord in Chechnya,
and called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region. A
Russian Foreign Ministry statement charged that the resolution
"misinterpreted" recent developments in Chechnya, and blamed the current
upsurge of fighting on "aggressive terrorist actions" by Chechen
fighters. Meanwhile, Amnesty International blasted the Clinton
Administration for failing to criticize human rights violations in
Chechnya, charging that the administration views the conflict there as
merely "a footnote" to the development of democracy in Russia. -- Scott
Parrish

YELTSIN UNDER DOCTORS' CARE. President Boris Yeltsin is under doctors'
care, according to his spokesman Sergei Medvedev, Russian TV reported on
21 July. Medvedev said the president is undergoing "necessary
restorative procedures." The spokesman said that the president is
spending time watching television, especially news programs from state
broadcasters. -- Robert Orttung

CASE OPENED AGAINST CAMPAIGN AIDES. The procurator general has opened a
criminal case against Sergei Lisovskii and Arkadii Yevstafev, the two
Yeltsin campaign aides detained while allegedly taking more than
$500,000 out of the White House, Ekho Moskvy reported 19 July. The
procurator's Moscow office will conduct the investigation. Lisovskii has
denied that they were carrying the money, although Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin has stated that they were authorized to have the cash. (See
OMRI Daily Digest, 21 June 1996.) -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN NAMES KAZAKOV AS CHUBAIS' FIRST DEPUTY. President Boris Yeltsin
named Aleksandr Kazakov as his first deputy chief of staff under Chief
of Staff Anatolii Chubais, NTV reported 19 July. Kazakov was the head of
the State Property Committee (GKI) and a deputy prime minister just
before his new appointment. He served as Chubais' assistant at the GKI
when Chubais headed it. Additionally, he is chairman of the Gazprom
board of directors, a member of Our Home is Russia, and known to have
close relations to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. Kazakov headed the
presidential administration's office for coordinating regional policy
from 1994 to 1996, experience that will be valuable as the president
seeks to influence the outcome of regional elections set for later this
year. Kazakov's replacement at the GKI has not been announced. -- Robert
Orttung

ROKHLIN FLESHES OUT CORRUPTION CHARGES . . . Speaking to the Duma on 19
July, Defense Committee Chairman Lev Rokhlin brought further charges of
corruption against senior military officers. Rokhlin caused a stir on 5
July by accusing former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev of allowing
massive embezzlement in the armed forces (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 and 9
July 1996). Rokhlin has now accused Col.-Gen. Vasilii Vorobev, former
head of the Defense Ministry's Main Administration for Military
Financing and the Budget, of making money out of a currency speculation
scam using Defense Ministry funds and of shady dealings with the Gorno
Altai commercial bank, Dom i otechestvo (no. 19) reported. Rokhlin also
detailed further alleged cover-ups by chief Accounting Chamber auditor
Yurii Rodionov, contending that Rodionov had failed to report on large
amounts precious metals collected from military scrap. -- Penny Morvant

. . . MILITARY PROCURATOR CONFIRMS SOME IRREGULARITIES. In a report to
the Duma on 19 July, Military Procurator Valentin Panichev said that
checks carried out by his office corroborated Rokhlin's allegations of
financial irregularities in the construction of housing for servicemen,
ITAR-TASS reported. He said new violations had been uncovered in
dealings between the construction firm Lyukon and the Defense Ministry.
Panichev also said criminal proceedings had been launched in connection
with servicemen repairing generals' apartments for free but he had found
no violations in the construction of generals' dachas. A number of
newspapers have published reports on luxurious dacha complexes built for
high-ranking generals near Moscow using soldiers' labor. Panichev said
that the generals had borrowed money from commercial banks to construct
the dachas and that it is not illegal to employ servicemen for
construction work, Russian Public TV reported. -- Penny Morvant

CHERNOMYRDIN HINTS AT COMPOSITION OF NEW GOVERNMENT. Chernomyrdin said
that there will be three first deputy prime ministers in the new cabinet
supervising financial-economic, social, and industrial issues,
Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 20 July. A fourth first deputy prime
minister may cover the defense industry. Three deputy prime ministers
will oversee the agrarian sector, the media, and the power ministries
(which are directly subordinate to the president), Kommersant Daily
reported on 20 July. Chernomyrdin ruled out the return of former First
Deputy Prime Minster Oleg Soskovets, who was purged with several other
hardliners following the first round of the presidential election. He
also cast doubt on the inclusion of Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii,
calling him a "strong economist" but one whose "character and personal
ambitions hinder him," ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung

ANPILOV EXPELLED FROM HARDLINE COMMUNIST LEADERSHIP. Viktor Anpilov, the
leader of the Working Russia movement, has been dismissed from his
position as first secretary of the Moscow branch of the radical Russian
Communist Workers Party (RKRP), because the party's work was deemed
inefficient, Radio Rossii reported on 21 July. The closed plenum of the
RKRP leadership also decided to join the new opposition movement formed
on the basis of Gennadii Zyuganov's electoral bloc only if it proclaims
its definite pro-socialist orientation. Zyuganov's opposition movement
will not be weakened by the radicals' absence, Valentin Kuptsov, one of
the leaders of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF),
announced. -- Anna Paretskaya

PRIMAKOV IN INDONESIA. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov
arrived in Jakarta on 20 July to attend several meetings under the
auspices of ASEAN, Russian and Western media reported. The same day,
Primakov met his Indonesian counterpart Ali Alatas, and the two
diplomats emphasized the importance of ASEAN's recent decision to grant
Russia "dialogue partner" status at its upcoming postministerial
conference. Primakov described building ties with ASEAN as a "priority"
which would help "diversify" Russian foreign policy. On 22 July,
Primakov met with Indonesian President Suharto, and declared that Russia
supports ASEAN's push to establish a nuclear-free zone in Southeast
Asia. His remarks indirectly criticized the United States, whose worries
about transit rights through Indonesian territorial waters for nuclear-
armed American naval vessels have kept Washington from joining the
Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, signed last December by ASEAN
leaders. -- Scott Parrish

DUMA RAISES MINIMUM WAGE, PENSION. The Duma voted on 19 July to increase
the monthly minimum wage from 75,900 rubles ($14.70) to 95,320 as of 1
August, ITAR-TASS reported. It also voted to increase pensions by 37% as
of 1 August, bringing the minimum up to 95,320 as well. Both bills will
now go to the Federation Council. Pension Fund head Vasilii Barchuk
spoke against the proposed pension hike, noting that it would require
additional expenditure of 15 trillion rubles by the end of the year and
lead to massive delays in pension payments, Radio Rossii reported. --
Penny Morvant

POWERFUL BOMB FOUND IN VORONEZH. A bomb containing about 1.5 kilograms
of TNT was discovered by police at the railway station in Voronezh on 19
July, international media reported. The bomb failed to explode because
of a faulty detonator. Russian police have been high alert for bomb
attacks since an explosion in the Moscow metro in June and two bombs
went off on Moscow trolley buses earlier this month. -- Penny Morvant

DUMA PASSES BILL LIFTING IMPORT TARIFFS. The Duma unanimously approved
on third reading a bill lifting tariffs on imports of equipment paid for
by international loans or with government guaranteed credits,
Kommersant-Daily reported on 20 July. Such imports had been tariff-free
until 15 March 1995. Since then many firms, especially in the energy
sector, complained that they lacked the money to pay tariffs, which
meant machinery was sitting unused in customs warehouses. The new
measure, if signed into law, will cost the budget about 6 trillion
rubles ($1.2 billion), although First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir
Kadannikov claimed that increased output at the firms receiving the
machinery will lead to higher profit tax revenues. -- Peter Rutland

MORE PROBLEMATIC BANKS. Kommersant-Daily reported on 20 July that one
more commercial bank -- Kontinent-bank -- has stopped operations.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Central Bank Sergei Dubinin rescinded on 20
July the license of Tveruniversalbank (See OMRI Daily Digest, 9,11 July
1996). However, he asserted that the situation at Inkombank is stable,
RTR reported on 21 July, contradicting widespread press speculation
about Inkombank's imminent demise. Dubinin blamed the rumors on the
unapproved publication of the TsB's preliminary inspection report, parts
of which were later withdrawn. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GOVERNMENT PURGE IN AZERBAIJAN. President Heidar Aliev on 19 July
accepted the resignation "on health grounds" of Prime Minister Fuad
Kuliev, Western agencies reported. At a session of the Cabinet of
Ministers to assess the country's economic performance for the first six
months of this year, Aliev then dismissed several more senior ministers
and officials, including Deputy Premier and Economics Minister Samed
Sadykhov and managers in the oil, gas and transport sectors. All were
accused of incompetence or corruption. Both Aliev and Parliament
Chairman Rasul Guliev had previously criticized Kuliev's government for
failing to expedite economic reform. No replacement for Kuliev has yet
been appointed. -- Liz Fuller

FIRST CENTRAL ASIAN AUTO PLANT OPENS IN UZBEKISTAN. The Daewoo plant in
Asaka, Andijon region, officially opened on 19 July with a ceremony
attended by President Islam Karimov, ITAR-TASS reported. The automotive
plant, the first of its kind in Central Asia, will produce minivans and
two models of cars and will be at full capacity in 2002. Karimov said
that the goal is to have 70% of the parts manufactured in Uzbekistan,
RFE/RL reported on 19 July. -- Roger Kangas

TAJIK CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT QUICKLY BROKEN. An agreement by
representatives of the Tajik government and United Tajik Opposition on
ceasing hostilities in central Tajikistan was broken within 48 hours of
its signing, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Though the agreement on a
ceasefire in the Tavil-Dara region of Tajikistan was signed on 19 July,
reports from 21 July indicated that fighting had resumed between
government troops and the opposition. Both sides accuse the other of
initiating the latest battles. -- Bruce Pannier

TYPHOID EPIDEMIC WORSENS IN TAJIKISTAN. An epidemic of typhoid which
broke out in late May has worsened, AFP reported on 22 July. Heavy rains
and flooding devastated sewage and drainage systems, spreading the
infection that has now been reported in areas as close as 18 kilometers
to the capital Dushanbe. The World Health Organization representative in
Tajikistan, Rakhmatullo Rakhmonov, said 3,500 cases of typhoid have been
registered, mainly in rural areas, and 45 people have died so far. He
added that the "epidemic is generally under control." -- Bruce Pannier

THREE BOMBS EXPLODE IN KYRGYZ CAPITAL. Bombs exploded on 19 July at
three buildings belonging to Kyrgyzstan law enforcement organizations,
Russian television and Reuters reported. No casualties were reported.
The bombs were detonated almost simultaneously at the Alamedin district
prosecutor's office, a Bishkek police headquarters, and a prison
administration building. The Interior Ministry blames the incidents on
smuggling groups, which vowed to avenge police confiscations of
contraband alcohol, leather, and non-ferrous materials earlier this
year. However, there were also bomb explosions in April 1996 and police
later arrested a former disgruntled member of its own ranks. -- Bruce
Pannier

[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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