If there is anyone listening to whom I owe money, I'm prepared to forget it if you are. - Errol Flynn
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 141, Part I, 23 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
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RUSSIA

RODIONOV PLEDGES TO FIGHT CORRUPTION IN MILITARY. Newly-appointed
Defense Minister Igor Rodionov met with the top leadership of the armed
forces in Moscow on 22 July, Russian media reported. Rodionov told the
assembled generals and admirals that reform of the Russian military is
an "urgent necessity," which will be "carried out immediately,"
according to ITAR-TASS. In a thinly-veiled criticism of his predecessor
Pavel Grachev, Rodionov argued that "any instances of corruption" among
the leadership of the armed forces will "be decisively combated." He
also said that his cadres policy would advance "independent" officers of
"irreproachable reputation." -- Scott Parrish

TsIK UPDATES ELECTION RETURNS. The Central Electoral Commission updated
the 16 June election results because 14 regions and republics made
"technical mistakes" in calculating the results, ITAR-TASS reported on19
July. Dagestan was the only republic to make mistakes in the 3 July vote
counting. As a result of the change in the runoff vote, Yeltsin's total
dropped about 4,500 votes and Zyuganov's 11,000. The Central Electoral
Commission punished the chairman of the Dagestan electoral commission
only by reducing the size of his bonus, Izvestiya reported on 23 July.
-- Robert Orttung

CHERNOMYRDIN, LEBED MEET. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed met for more than an hour on
22 July in what is expected to become a regular occurrence, Kommersant-
Daily reported. The paper described the meeting as one between "two
powerful political forces" involved in a Byzantine struggle for
influence within Yeltsin's inner circle. The meeting focused on crime,
corruption, Chechnya, and the problem of financing military reform. The
topics suggest that Lebed will not be able to expand his power to cover
economic questions as he had initially sought to do. The paper described
the relationship between the two leaders of the competing factions as on
a "normal and even fairly constructive track." -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN VETOES LAW ON FASCISM. President Boris Yeltsin vetoed a proposed
law banning fascism, describing it as vague, and called on the Duma to
develop a legal mechanism to fight any form of extremism, ITAR-TASS
reported on 22 July. Yeltsin noted that the Constitution and the laws on
the mass media, social organizations, and the criminal code already
regulate this issue. Similar charges were leveled against Yeltsin's own
23 March 1995 anti-fascism decree, Ekho Moskvy pointed out. The radio
suggested that Yeltsin's proposal could play a role in developing an
anti-communist majority in the Duma. -- Robert Orttung

NEW KRASNODAR GOVERNOR TO FACE COMMUNIST CANDIDATE. Nikolai Yegorov, who
was appointed Krasnodar Krai Governor after his 15 July dismissal as
presidential administration head, will face Communist Party candidate
Nikolai Kondratenko in the October gubernatorial election, Russian TV
(RTR) reported on 22 July. Kondratenko, the Soviet-era Krasnodar
executive committee chairman and a presidential election campaign aide
to Gennadii Zyuganov, has been one of the most popular politicians in
the region. Yegorov, whose dismissal was reportedly related to his
failure to build strong support for Yeltsin in Russia's southern
regions, announced his wish to stand for election two days after his new
appointment. -- Anna Paretskaya

CHECHENS ABJURE TERRORIST ACTS IN RUSSIA. Akhmed Zakaev, a former
Chechen field commander who is now national security aide to acting
President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, told ITAR-TASS on 22 July that the
Chechen forces would not launch any more terrorist attacks on Russian
territory. The spokesman for the Russian state commission on resolving
the Chechen conflict, Sergei Slipchenko, argued that discrepancies
between Chechen spokesman Movladi Udugov's claim that the various field
commanders are subordinate to Yandarbiev and the statement by Salman
Raduev that he rejects the Nazran peace agreement and will continue
combat operations demonstrate serious rifts within the Chechen
leadership. Pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev plans to
abolish the position, currently occupied by Nikolai Fedosov, of Russian
government envoy to Chechnya. Bad weather on 22 July halted Russian
attacks on the village of Shatoi. -- Liz Fuller

RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS WILL NOT ARREST KARADZIC. Col.-Gen. Yevgenii
Podkolzin, commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, announced on 22
July that Russian contingent in IFOR will not participate in any
operation to arrest former Bosnian Serb President and internationally-
wanted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Podkolzin said the Russian peacekeepers had not received any
orders to participate in Karadzic's arrest from IFOR's command. However,
Podlozkin added that if the Russian peacekeepers did receive such an
order he would countermand it. Moscow has repeatedly accused the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which
indicted Karadzic, of anti-Serb bias, and argues that the Bosnian Serb
leader's arrest would hinder the establishment of a stable peace in
Bosnia. -- Scott Parrish

DEPUTY: RUSSIA NEEDS FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO DESTROY CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
Nikolai Bezborodov, deputy chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, said
that Russia will need significant financial assistance to destroy its
stock of some 40,000 tons of chemical weapons, ITAR-TASS reported on 22
July. He was commenting on the latest session of the Preparatory
Commission for the Establishment of an Organisation for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague, which is reviewing progress
toward implementing the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Bezborodov
said Russia would need 17 trillion rubles ($3.3 billion) to liquidate
its chemical weapons stockpile, adding: "I think we will not manage
without serious foreign aid." Russia has still not ratified the
convention, and Bezborodov said it would not do so until after the
"material, legislative, and other preconditions for its implementation
are in place." -- Scott Parrish

PRIMAKOV MEETS JAPANESE, INDIAN COUNTERPARTS. On the eve of the
scheduled 23 July ASEAN Regional Security Forum, Russian Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov held separate meetings in Jakarta with
Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda and Indian Minister of External
Affairs Inder Kumal Gujral, Russian agencies reported on 22 July.
Primakov said that he and Ikeda had a "substantive" discussion of
bilateral issues, agreeing that the Russian diplomat will visit Japan
this November. Primakov said that while the issue of the disputed
southern Kuril islands was not directly addressed, the two ministers
agreed to push forward with ongoing talks on fishing rights in the
waters around them. Primakov and Gujral discussed the situation in
Afghanistan and Central Asia. Primakov admitted that India and Russia
continue to disagree over the terms of a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban
Treaty. -- Scott Parrish

VODKA RESTRICTIONS INTRODUCED IN MOSCOW. The Moscow city government has
banned the sale of vodka and other strong spirits near schools,
churches, hospitals, metro and railway stations, and airports, ITAR-TASS
and AFP reported. Under the new regulation, shops will no longer be
allowed to trade vodka if they are located within 150 meters of schools,
churches, child care institutions, and hospitals; for kiosks, the
distance is 500 meters from these sites. Sale of drinks containing more
than 12% alcohol will be also prohibited within 200 meters of entrances
to metro and railway stations and airports. Russia is said to have the
highest hard alcohol consumption in the world, with 14 liters consumed
per head of the population in 1992, according to AFP. -- Anna Paretskaya

JOURNALISTS' RIGHTS VIOLATED, 14 KILLED, IN CIS. Fourteen journalists
were killed in the CIS countries in 1996, Russian media reported,
quoting the head of the Glasnost Defense Foundation Monitoring Group,
Oleg Panfilov. Tajikistan and Chechnya remain the most dangerous
regions: 41 and 18 reporters, respectively, have been killed there since
the beginning of military conflicts. Belarus, Russia, Tajikistan,
Crimea, and the Transdniester region of Moldova, are the worst countries
regarding violations of journalists' rights, according to Panfilov. He
also pointed out violations of media rights in Tatarstan, where a June
presidential decree forbids publishing information and statements
insulting the republican president and other state employees. -- Anna
Paretskaya

HIV INFECTIONS INCREASE. Twice as many instances of HIV infections were
reported in Russia during the first six months of 1996 as in the same
period of 1995, according to Vadim Pokrovskii, the director of the
Russian Center for the Battle with AIDS, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 June.
There have been 1,269 registered cases of HIV infection in the country
overall since 1987, Ekspress Khronika reported. The cities with the
greatest number of infections are Nizhnii Novgorod, Krasnodar, Saratov,
Tyumen, and Kaliningrad. Drug users are the main means for spreading the
disease. Without a public education campaign, experts fear that there
will be as many as 100,000 cases by the year 2000. -- Robert Orttung

PROTESTS AT ST. PETERSBURG NUCLEAR PLANT. Workers at the Leningradskaya
nuclear power plant in St. Petersburg resumed protest action on 22 July,
Izvestiya reported. Their demands include the payment of 25 billion
rubles ($5 million) in wage arrears. The trade union committee said that
the protests will not affect the plant's security, since the action
takes place after working hours in the station's conference hall. One of
the protesters' demands has already been met: ITAR-TASS reported on 22
July that the plant's director, Anatolii Yerepin, had resigned. --
Natalia Gurushina

IMF DELAYS PAYMENTS TO RUSSIA. The IMF will delay payment of the next
$330 million monthly installment of its $10.1 billion loan to Russia,
the New York Times reported on 23 July, according to Reuters. The reason
is the worrying slump in tax receipts, which in June were only 58% of
the planned level, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 22 July. This
problem has been known for months, but the IMF delayed action until
after the presidential elections. The precise conditions of the IMF loan
have not been made public, and there seems to be disagreement between
the IMF and the Russian government over how to classify certain types of
spending and receipts. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported on 19 July that in
April and May to finance pre-election spending the Central Bank sold
$4.4 billion from its hard currency reserves, which now stand at $4.3
billion -- $300 million less than the minimum specified by the IMF. --
Peter Rutland

GOVERNMENT TO BUY CONTROLLING INTEREST IN AGROPROMBANK. President Boris
Yeltsin has signed a decree returning Agroprombank to state ownership,
Kommersant-Daily reported on 23 July. The bank will now be termed the
National Credit and Financial System for Agricultural Producers. Ninety
percent of the bank's funds came from state-allotted credits for the
farm sector, most of which were never repaid. The bank was on the brink
of bankruptcy, and a shareholders' meeting in April 1996 called for the
state to acquire a 51% stake. Agroprombank's effective renationalization
represents a step back towards the administrative system in agriculture
and is likely to put additional pressure on the budget. -- Natalia
Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

COMPROMISE REACHED ON RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN ABKHAZIA. At the ongoing
quadripartite talks in Moscow on a political settlement of the Abkhaz
conflict, agreement was reached on 22 July on broadening the mandate
(which expired on 19 July) of the Russian peacekeeping forces now
deployed there, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian troops stationed in Gali
raion, to which tens of thousands of ethnic Georgian refugees aspire to
return, will be granted police powers to enable them to protect Georgian
repatriants against possible reprisals by Abkhaz militants. In his
traditional Monday radio interview Georgian President Eduard
Shevardnadze proposed that future relations between the Georgian
government in Tbilisi and the Abkhaz leadership in Sukhumi should be
modeled on the draft agreement on relations between Moscow and Chechnya,
Western agencies reported. ITAR-TASS reported on 22 July that three
people have been killed in the past few days in a series of bomb
explosions in Abkhazia's Ochamchire raion. -- Liz Fuller

FIFTH ROUND OF INTER-TAJIK TALKS ENDS. The fifth round of negotiations
in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan between the Tajik government and the United
Tajik Opposition (UTO) has adjourned, ITAR-TASS and ORT reported on 22
July. The two sides agreed on an exchange of prisoners at the border
city of Khorog sometime before 20 August. Opposition leader Ali Akbar
Turajonzoda, however, said the UTO plans to hand over all remaining
prisoners from the government forces shortly after the official exchange
in Khorog. The agreement on a cessation of hostilities in the Tavil-Dara
area receives its first test on 23 July. Under the accord, a team of UN
observers is to be permitted access to the Tavil-Dara in order to fix
the positions of each side at the time the ceasefire was signed. No
outsiders have had access to the region for months and the opposition is
already charging that government forces launched an offensive to capture
the area's regional center after the agreement was in effect. -- Bruce
Pannier

ELECTRICITY NO LONGER FREE IN TURKMENISTAN. Turkmen residents are now
required to pay for electricity used above a certain limit, according to
a 12 July article in Turkmenistan, monitored by the BBC on 23 July.
Since independence in 1991, President Saparmurat Niyazov has declared
electricity to be free to domestic consumers. They will now be charged
for using electricity above the free limit at the rate used in industry.
-- Bhavna Dave

[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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