The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 150, Part I, 5 August 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
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RUSSIA

MOSCOW SEEKS TO RESOLVE PRIMORE ENERGY CRISIS . . . First Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Kadannikov said on 2 August that the government has
transferred 50.7 billion rubles ($9.7 million) to Primorskii Krai to pay
miners' back wages and that another 77.6 billion rubles will be
transferred on 5 August to be split among miners and electric power
workers, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kadannikov blamed the
payments crisis, which has resulted in lengthy protests, on the
electricity pricing policy of the local authorities. In the last quarter
of 1995, for example, the electricity tariff to consumers was 162 rubles
per kWh, although it cost the local power company Dalenergo 240
rubles/kWh to produce the energy, Izvestiya reported on 1 August. Also
on 2 August, President Yeltsin ordered his Oversight Administration to
find out what happened to 60 billion rubles transferred to the krai for
miners at the beginning of 1996 (only 20 billion was reportedly
distributed). -- Penny Morvant

. . . HUNGER STRIKE AT POWER PLANT SUSPENDED. Workers on hunger strike
at the Primorskii electric power plant decided on 4 August to end their
protest after a visit by Fuel and Energy Minister Yurii Shafrannik,
Russian agencies reported. If, however, Shafrannik's promise to clear
wage debts by 15 August is not kept, the workers will renew their
action. Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko, however, blames
the problems of the energy sector on the central government's failure to
adequately finance state-funded industry and military bases in the krai.
The 10,000 or so miners on strike in Primore also began to receive money
over the weekend, but they have pledged to continue protests until all
their back wages, totaling more than 110 billion rubles, are paid. --
Penny Morvant

CHERNOMYRDIN MEETS WITH AGRARIAN REPRESENTATIVES. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin has asked State Duma deputies from the Agrarian faction to
recommend candidates for the leader of the agro-industrial complex and
deputy finance minister in charge of financing agriculture, Russian
media reported on 2 August. Agrarian Party (APR) leader Mikhail Lapshin,
who did not meet with the prime minister, said the Agrarian Duma faction
will vote to confirm Chernomyrdin only if Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Zaveryukha is excluded from the new cabinet, NTV reported on 2
August. (A founding APR member in February 1993, Zaveryukha was expelled
from the party in March of this year for helping draft a presidential
decree allowing the private ownership of farmland.) Chernomyrdin
affirmed his support for Zaveryukha, along with pro-reform Agriculture
Minister Viktor Khlystun, Radio Rossii reported. -- Laura Belin

CHUBAIS BUILDS A PETERSBURG CLAN, LEBED BARELY KNOWS HIS DEPUTY.
Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais is building up his team
from others who are from St. Petersburg, Izvestiya reported 3 August.
Three of the five deputies he has named so far (Yurii Yarov, Aleksandr
Kazakov, and Aleksei Kudrin) are from Russia's northern capital. The
paper noted the role of such "clans" in Kremlin politics, comparing the
group to Yeltsin's Sverdlovsk team. Meanwhile, the new deputy secretary
of the Security Council, Nikolai Mikhailov, admitted that he had only
met his new boss Lebed a week ago, Radio Rossii reported 3 August. Lebed
is often cited as having little experience on the "parquet battlefields"
of the Kremlin, while his rival Chubais is seen as a brilliant
administrator. -- Robert Orttung

SATAROV ON KORZHAKOV, YELTSIN'S HEALTH. Presidential aide Georgii
Satarov told Segodnya on 2 August that former Presidential Security
Service Director Aleksandr Korzhakov had "hindered work" in the Kremlin
and with his associate Federal Security Service Director Mikhail
Barsukov had "pushed misinformation." Satarov did not rule out that
Korzhakov would return but added that if he did, his power would be
greatly reduced. Satarov also said that Yeltsin's health is obviously
much worse than it was in May. He said the president is in "excellent
intellectual and psychological shape" but added that he is "tremendously
tired" and needs rest. -- Robert Orttung

COMMUNIST PARTIES DISCUSS FUTURE STRATEGY. Representatives of 22
communist organizations from Russia and other CIS countries met in
Moscow on 3 and 4 August to discuss future strategy, Russian media
reported. Gennadii Zyuganov's Communist Party of the Russian Federation
(KPRF) was by far the largest and most powerful of the groups
represented. Oleg Shenin, chairman of the Union of Communist Parties-
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, asked delegates to set aside
ideological disputes and support the KPRF's initiative to form a broad
Popular-Patriotic Union. Despite protests from several radical groups
over what they view as Zyuganov's excessively moderate line, a narrow
majority of those present supported Shenin's motion, ITAR-TASS reported.
-- Laura Belin

AID WORKERS ABDUCTED IN CHECHNYA. A French and a British aid worker with
Action Against Hunger were abducted in Grozny on 27 July, and a ransom
of half a million dollars was demanded for their release on 3 August,
Western agencies reported. A spokesman for the Chechen leadership denied
that Chechen field commanders were responsible, according to AFP. -- Liz
Fuller

CHECHEN PEACE TALKS SUSPENDED. Russian Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav
Mikhailov and the secretary of the Russian State Commission for
resolving the Chechen conflict, Sergei Stepashin, announced in Grozny on
3 August that they are ready for direct talks with representatives of
acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, NTV reported. However,
Chechen spokesman Movladi Udugov has said that peace talks cannot be
resumed as long as Russian forces continue hostilities, Russian TV (RTR)
reported. Meanwhile, commission member Vladimir Zorin accused Chechen
Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov of avoiding talks on implementing the 10
June Nazran peace agreement. On 4 August, following a meeting with
Mikhailov and Stepashin, OSCE representative Tim Guldimann told ITAR-
TASS that no further meetings between Russian and Chechen
representatives have been scheduled. The same day, pro-Moscow Chechen
head of state Doku Zavgaev told ITAR-TASS that all Russian troops will
be withdrawn from Chechnya by 1 September. -- Liz Fuller

REGIONAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN HEATS UP. The executive committee of Our Home
Is Russia has announced that it will join other political organizations
that supported President Yeltsin's reelection campaign to present a
joint list of candidates for the 47 gubernatorial elections that are
scheduled to take place later this year, Russian Public TV (ORT)
reported on 2 August. Opposition groups gathered around the Communist
Party (KPRF) are also trying to field a joint list of candidates. For
instance, in Saratov Oblast's 1 September election, incumbent Dmitrii
Ayatskov's main rival will be Anatolii Gordeev, a local KPRF activist
and aide to Gennadii Zyuganov. -- Anna Paretskaya

KRASNODAR GOVERNOR CANDIDATE MURDERED. Aleksandr Rozhin, a candidate for
the post of Krasnodar Krai governor, was shot dead on 1 August, Russian
TV (RTR) reported. Rozhin, who was elected to the local legislature on
the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, was one of 17
people to have announced their intention to run in the 27 October
gubernatorial election. Former presidential Chief of Staff Nikolai
Yegorov is also a candidate in the election. Rozhin was the president of
a real-estate company that went bankrupt in 1994 and still owes
investors money. Law enforcement agencies are treating the murder as a
common crime rather than as a politically motivated case. -- Penny
Morvant

AIRBORNE FORCES COMMANDER: NO PROFESSIONAL ARMY BY 2000. Col. Gen.
Yevgenii Podkolzin, Russian Airborne Forces commander, told Radio Mayak
on 2 August that "we won't have a professional army by the year 2000"
due to "difficult economic circumstances." Podkolzin argued against
making the military an all-professional force, saying that "specialists"
should be professionals but that "all the other soldiers should be
conscripts." Podkolzin's comments contradict both President Yeltsin's
May decree ordering the abolition of conscription by 2000, and recent
comments by Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, who said it would be
possible, if difficult, to convert the Russian military into an all-
professional force by then. -- Scott Parrish

TATARSTAN AIRCREW MARK FIRST ANNIVERSARY IN CAPTIVITY. The seven crewmen
of a Tatarstan-based IL-76 transport forced down by the Afghan Taliban
marked a year in captivity on 3 August, Russian media reported. The
plane was ferrying Chinese-made ammunition from Albania to the Afghan
government in Kabul when a MiG fighter belonging to Taliban forced it to
land in Kandahar. Negotiations to obtain the crew's release collapsed
late last year, and no progress toward securing their release has been
made. -- Scott Parrish

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER FINISHES MOSCOW VISIT. Ukrainian Foreign
Minister Hennadii Udovenko met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin on 2 August, international media reported. At a joint press
conference, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov and Udovenko
admitted that no progress has been made toward settling the Black Sea
Fleet dispute, and Primakov reiterated that Russia will not conclude a
long-delayed friendship treaty with Ukraine until that issue is
resolved. -- Scott Parrish

SOUTH KOREA TO GET RUSSIAN URANIUM, HELICOPTERS. South Korean officials
on 2 August said they had agreed to accept Russian enriched uranium and
helicopters as partial repayment of the former Soviet Union's debt,
Reuters reported. A government statement said that Russia would provide
$75 million worth of enriched uranium and $15 million worth of
helicopters. Russia currently owes South Korea $450 million. In 1995,
Russia agreed to provide tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and anti-
tank and anti-aircraft missiles to South Korea in partial repayment of
its debt. -- Doug Clarke

TATARSTAN INTRODUCES ALCOHOL MONOPOLY. The government of Tatarstan
introduced on 1 August a state monopoly on the manufacture, storage, and
sale of alcohol products, Izvestiya reported on 3 August. The decree
transfers the republic's 15 alcohol-producing plants to a specially
created production unit called Tatspirtprom. The new rules also ban
firms from using alcohol in barter deals. -- Natalia Gurushina

TAX POLICE ANNOUNCE HALF-YEAR RESULTS. The Federal Tax Police Service
uncovered 7,300 serious tax violations in the first half of 1996, Radio
Rossii reported on 3 August. About 12,000 cases were recorded in total,
and the service delivered 13 trillion rubles to the state's coffers;
another 9.3 trillion are expected. In 1995, 13,000 violations were
recorded for the year as a whole. One of the Tax Police's biggest
catches was Vladimir Shchukhin, the mayor of Snezhinsk (formerly the
top-secret nuclear center Chelyabinsk-70), Izvestiya reported on 3
August. Shchukhin is suspected of embezzling state funds and gaining 2
billion rubles in interest by depositing local tax-payers' money in
commercial banks. -- Penny Morvant

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

WARRANT ISSUED FOR ARREST OF FORMER GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER. The
Georgian procuracy on 1 August issued a warrant for the arrest of
businessman Murman Omanidze on charges of illicit financial dealings,
according to an Iprinda News Agency reports monitored by the BBC.
Omanidze was the foreign minister in Zviad Gamsakhurdia's government in
1990-91. -- Liz Fuller

NEW HARDLINE ABKHAZ FOREIGN MINISTER. Leonid Lakerbaya, who resigned as
foreign minister of the breakaway Abkhaz Republic, has been replaced by
Konstantin Ozgan, former first secretary of Gudauta Raikom and later
chairman of the Abkhaz Oblast Soviet, who was accused by Georgian
intellectuals of instigating the July 1989 clashes in Sukhumi during
which 25 people died, according to a 1 August Interfax report monitored
by the BBC. -- Liz Fuller

PROTESTS IN YEREVAN. Some 1,600 striking workers from the Sipan
construction trust demonstrated in front of the parliament building in
Yerevan on 2 August, Noyan Tapan reported. They claim to be owed 11
months of back wages, and protested their director's decision to shut
down their trade union. The Sipan enterprise is part of the Defense
Ministry and works on military projects. The same day, 1,500 members of
the Communist Party of Armenia gathered to protest the dismantling of
the pedestal in Republic Square on which a Lenin statue formerly stood.
The statue itself was removed several years ago. -- Peter Rutland

UZBEK PRESIDENT PROPOSES ARMS EMBARGO ON AFGHANISTAN. Uzbek President
Islam Karimov has sent an official petition to the UN Security Council
calling for a general arms embargo on Afghanistan, ITAR-TASS reported on
3 August. Pakistan supports the proposal, and top Pakistani officials
are currently in contact with their Uzbek counterparts to work out the
details. Karimov first suggested such an embargo at the UN in October
1995. -- Roger Kangas

TAJIK SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS. The Tajik Security Council on 3 August
ratified President Imomali Rakhmonov's decree on the formation of a
commission to coordinate the activities of all branches of the Tajik
military, Radio Rossii reported. The Tajik Defense Ministry reported
that government troops in central Tajikistan are coming under attack
"every day," according to Tajik Radio. A planned meeting between
Rakhmonov and opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri, scheduled for August,
may be delayed. The opposition Radio Voice of Free Tajikistan reported
on 30 July that Nuri is now demanding that Rakhmonov come to the meeting
prepared to sign an agreement on the formation of a coalition
government. -- Bruce Pannier

PASHA'S REMAINS RETURNED TO TURKEY. The remains of Gen. Enver Pasha were
flown from Dushanbe to Istanbul on 3 August and were reinterred with a
military ceremony the next day, Turkish and international media
reported. The return was agreed during Tajik President Imomali
Rakhmonov's early May visit to Ankara. Enver Pasha was the leading
member of the triumvirate that effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire from
1908 until its collapse. He later attempted to lead the indigenous
Central Asian anti-Bolshevik guerrilla war--the so-called Bamachi
Revolt--and was believed to have been killed near Baljuvan, Tajikistan,
on 4 August 1922 by Red Army troops. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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