He who knows nothing is nearer the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. - Thomas Jefferson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 145, Part I, 29 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

PAPER WARNS OF ATTEMPTS TO CO-OPT COMMUNISTS. The authorities hope to
trick the leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation
(KPRF) into supporting the government of Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, according to the latest edition of the nationalist weekly
Zavtra, which has backed KPRF leader Gennadii Zyuganov and his coalition
of communist and patriotic movements. The State Duma, which is dominated
by left-wing deputies, will be under pressure to confirm Chernomyrdin in
early August, since Yeltsin could dissolve the Duma if it refuses to
confirm his nominee for prime minister three times. The authorities know
that if KPRF deputies vote confidence in Chernomyrdin, they will be
discredited in the eyes of their grass-roots followers, the paper
asserted. Furthermore, the patriotic movements that supported Zyuganov
for president may switch their allegiance to Security Council Secretary
Aleksandr Lebed, one of Chernomyrdin's main rivals in the Yeltsin camp.
-- Laura Belin

SHOKHIN DESCRIBES POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS. Presidential advisor
Viktor Ilyushin is likely to become first deputy prime minister for
social issues, according to First Deputy Duma Speaker Aleksandr Shokhin,
Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 27 July. He also said that Presidential
Economic Advisor Aleksandr Livshits was qualified to serve as first
deputy prime minister for economic and financial issues. From Yabloko,
Shokhin believes that Duma Member Tatyana Yarygina could lead a ministry
dealing with social issues. Shokhin said that he would probably remain
in the Duma rather than take a government post. -- Robert Orttung

RODIONOV ON MILITARY REFORM, NATO. In his first major televised
interview since his appointment as Defense Minister, Igor Rodionov told
NTV's Itogi on 28 July that it will be "difficult, but possible" to
transform the Russian military into an all-professional force by 2000,
as President Yeltsin has ordered. He added, however, that the "necessary
economic preconditions" would have to be created for such a professional
military, which he suggested could remain at the current level of about
1.5 million troops, although he did not rule out further reductions.
Currently only 50% of military personnel serve on a professional basis,
while the rest are conscripts. Rodionov also reiterated his opposition
to NATO enlargement, to which he said, "for some reason, colossal forces
are being devoted." He dismissed as "just words" Western assurances that
NATO enlargement does not threaten Russia, arguing that "we must draw
conclusions from history." -- Scott Parrish

TsIK CHANGES RUNOFF RESULTS YET AGAIN. The Central Electoral Commission
(TsIK) of Mordoviya has corrected the presidential runoff results in one
of the republican constituencies, Ekho Moskvy reported on 26 July. An
investigation conducted by the commission revealed that 702 votes (less
than 0.001% of those who voted in the second round) were incorrectly
counted as "against both candidates" while they were in fact cast for
Gennadii Zyuganov. A TsIK representative, Nikolai Fadeev, acknowledged
that it was a "technical mistake" but ruled out any possibility of
deliberate forgery. A Communist Party Duma expert Vadim Solovev, who
initiated the investigation, claims that at least in five other voting
districts the runoff results were incorrectly counted. Last week, TsIK
updated figures received in Dagestan (see OMRI Daily Digest, 23 July
1996). -- Anna Paretskaya

EDITORIAL SHAKE-UP AT PRAVDA. The pro-communist newspaper Pravda, which
suspended publication on 24 July (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 July 1996),
may reappear soon, according to its weekly supplement Pravda-5 on 26
July. Pravda-5 also has a left-wing orientation, but its flashy format
and subject matter appeal to a more youthful audience. Its circulation
is about 270,000, while Pravda's has fallen to 200,000 in recent years.
Pravda-5's top editor Vladimir Ryashin will reportedly replace Pravda's
editor-in-chief Aleksandr Ilin, who was very close to Communist Party
leader Gennadii Zyuganov. Theodoros Giannikos, the Greek financial
director of the joint stock company that publishes Pravda and Pravda-5,
told Moskovskii komsomolets on 27 July that financial, not political
concerns lay behind the decision to replace Ilin with a "more competent"
editor. -- Laura Belin

REACTION TO ILYUKHIN ALLEGATIONS OF CIA PLOT. Most Russian media
ridiculed the allegations by Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor
Ilyukin that the CIA is plotting to overthrow Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 July 1996). NTV
commented on 28 July that Ilyukin's remarks showed that "all is not in
order with the heads" of leading Russian leftists, while Izvestiya
dismissed Ilyukin's allegations as "ravings." Deputy Duma Speaker
Aleksandr Shokhin also rejected Ilyukin's charges, and addressed an
official apology to the Belarusian Supreme Soviet, while Economics
Minister Yevgenii Yasin said Ilyukhin should see a pschyotherapist, and
accused him of deliberately fostering xenophobia. Nezavisimaya gazeta,
however, published on 27 July a series of articles arguing that
Ilyukin's allegations contain a grain of truth, contending that American
policy in Belarus, Ukraine, and the rest of the CIS deliberately aims to
undermine Russian influence there. -- Scott Parrish

DUMA DELEGATION IN CUBA. A Duma delegation led by speaker Gennadii
Seleznev visited Cuba on 25-28 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The delegation
met Cuban leader Fidel Castro on 26 July, and while Castro said that
"the Cuban people love Russians," he added that Cuban industry urgently
needs Russian spare parts for its Soviet-era equipment. Seleznev said
the issue should be resolved through intergovernmental talks. The Duma
speaker expressed support for plans to complete the controversial
Soviet-era nuclear plant at Juragua, but admitted that financing for the
estimated $750 million project remains a problem. The delegation wraps
up its Latin American tour, which began in Mexico, with a three-day
visit to Venezuela. -- Scott Parrish

ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN GROZNY. Some 200 people staged an
unsanctioned demonstration in Grozny on 26 July to demand the
resignation of the pro-Moscow Chechen government and the withdrawal of
Russian troops from Chechnya, AFP reported. Three of the organizers were
detained, according to ITAR-TASS. Also on 26 July, the head of the OSCE
mission in Chechnya, Tim Guldimann, met with pro-Moscow Chechen head of
state Doku Zavgaev who has repeatedly criticized his mediation efforts,
Reuters reported. Guldimann said he was in telephone contact with
Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov and is confident that the planned
meeting between Maskhadov and the head of the North Caucasus Military
District, Lt.-Gen. Anatolii Kvashnin, will take place soon. Guldimann
also denied Russian media reports that the OSCE had helped President
Dzhokhar Dudaev to escape from Chechnya to Turkey via Azerbaijan. On 27
July Chechen and Russian representatives met to discuss arrangements for
an exchange of prisoners, Reuters reported. -- Liz Fuller

SOLDIERS BITTER ABOUT STAYING IN CHECHNYA. Young conscripts who believed
president Boris Yeltsin had promised they would be sent home from
Chechnya have found out they were wrong, Reuters reported on 28 July. On
31 May, the president issued a decree saying that all those who had
served in the combat zone for six months would be sent home. Some 20
conscripts told the agency that they found out after the election that
the decree would apply only to those who had served this time before it
was issued. -- Doug Clarke

MORE BOMBS DISCOVERED. A bomb was discovered on railway tracks near the
city of Smolensk on 27 July, ITAR-TASS reported. It was defused without
incident. The previous day another bomb was found in a room reserved for
the military at a railway terminal in Astrakhan in the Volga region. The
device was later destroyed by security forces. On 25 July a bomb
exploded in a railway carriage in Volgograd. Last week a man claiming to
be Chechen leader Salman Raduev threatened to conduct a bombing campaign
against Russia's railways on the grounds that they constitute a military
target. -- Penny Morvant

UNEMPLOYED DIE OF MALNUTRITION IN ARKHANGELSK. A number of unemployed
people and members of their families have died of malnutrition in
Arkhangelsk Oblast, according to an official letter from the regional
employment center to the Federal Employment Service, ITAR-TASS reported
on 26 July citing Pravda severa. The letter said unemployment benefit
payments are delayed for as long as seven months because of lack of
funds. The region has a high unemployment rate: 8.5% compared with a
national figure of 3.6% (in June). -- Penny Morvant

ANGRY WIVES GROUND AIR FORCE REGIMENT. The wives of pilots in an air
force regiment near Kursk have been forming human chains on the runway
to protest the state's failure to pay their husbands' wages, Russian TV
(RTR) reported on 26 July. The men are owed about 6 billion rubles ($1.2
million). One woman said a divisional commander had told them that
criminal charges would be brought against them, AFP reported. Pilots'
wives have also been picketing a landing strip in Murmansk. Their
husbands have not been paid since May, according to RTR on 28 July. --
Penny Morvant

STRIKES, HUNGER STRIKES GATHER MOMENTUM IN FAR EAST. About 300 workers
are on hunger strike at a power station in Primore to protest wage
arrears dating back to February, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 July. The
protest, initially involving 50 workers, began on 26 July after
representatives of a commission from the national energy company refused
to meet with the workforce. Meanwhile, about 10,000 of Primore's miners
are also on strike. The protest began with a hunger strike by five
miners two weeks ago. The national coal company Rosugol transferred 7.5
billion rubles ($1.45 million) to Primorskugol on 26 July to help with
the problem of wage arrears, but union leader Petr Kiryasov said the
money was only a drop in the ocean. He said some miners are so desperate
they have threatened to throw themselves down mine shafts and block the
Trans-Siberian Railway. -- Penny Morvant

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIA AND RUSSIA SIGN MILITARY TREATY. Georgia's defense ministry on
28 July revealed that Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. Vardiko Nadibaidze
signed a military cooperation treaty with his Russian counterpart during
his visit to Moscow the previous week, ITAR-TASS reported. The statement
emphasized that Nadibaidze had been the first foreign military official
to be received by newly appointed Russian Defense Minister Igor
Rodionov. On 27 July, a Russian military spokesman had said the two
would discuss the operation of Russian military bases in Georgia and the
"flanks" restrictions of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty.
Georgia has agreed to "loan" Russia some of its entitlements. -- Doug
Clarke

AZERBAIJANI TRADERS BEATEN. Some 40 Azerbaijani traders were beaten by
police during a 26 July raid on the Krasnogvardeiskii market in southern
Moscow, RTR reported. One man was hospitalized. The ostensible purpose
of the raid was to check the traders' residence papers, but witnesses
reported that the police tore up the men's passports and registration
documents. The Azerbaijani ambassador lodged a protest, and a Ministry
of Interior investigation into the police action is under way. -- Peter
Rutland

UZBEK ECONOMIC FIGURES RELEASED. A government report summarizing
Uzbekistan's economic development for the first half of 1996 highlights
several positive trends, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 July. According to the
report, the budget deficit is currently 2.1% of GNP, compared to 3.5% in
the same period last year. The inflation rate dropped by over half from
last year (now at 4-5% per month), real income rose by 16% comapred to
the first half of 1995, and only 80 businesses are listed as in debt,
compared to 630 last year. President Islam Karimov was reported as
saying that the private sector now accounts for over 50% of industrial
output and 95% of agricultural output, and that "the current year will
become the year of economic growth for Uzbekistan." -- Roger Kangas

TAJIK CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT NEAR TOTAL COLLAPSE. With fighting continuing
in the Tavil-Dara region despite the Ashgabat ceasefire agreement signed
on 20 July, the Tajik Defense Ministry says it will no longer hold back
its forces in central Tajikistan, Russian Independent Television (NTV)
reported on 27 July. Tajik Radio reported that two government soldiers
were killed and five wounded in the Tavil-Dara region since the
ceasefire came into effect. Hostilities continue to spread in the region
with the town of Jirgatal being the latest area to report fighting.
Opposition forces shelled the town for two hours on 25 July, according
to ITAR-TASS. -- Bruce Pannier

OSH OBLAST GOVERNOR SACKED. During President Askar Akayev's visit to the
Osh Oblast of southern Kyrgyzstan on 27 July, the Osh "Kenesh" (regional
council) voted to sack Governor Janysh Rustenbekov, Vechernii Bishkek
reported on 29 July. Rustenbekov was critical of the results tallied
from his oblast during the December 1995 presidential elections. Akayev
reportedly won more than 50% of the vote from the Osh Oblast, where he
is rumored to be unpopular. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS
TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region.  There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


RUSSIAN DAILY DIGEST
The OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and distributed the
following day.
1) Compose a message to MAJORDOMO@DEMOS.SU
2) In the body of the message, write SUBSCRIBE OMRI 
   (be sure to replace  with your own name).
3) Send the message
 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole