Silence is the real crime against humanity. - Nadezhda Mandelstam

No. 181, Part I, 18 September 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:


remain in the hospital undergoing medical tests until the end of the
week, NTV reported on 17 September. Ekho Moskvy reported that his
operation may be postponed. A date has not been set, but it was expected
at the end of the month. Press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembskii denied
rumors that the president's condition has worsened. Yeltsin met with
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on 17 September and discussed the
main issues of the day. Argumenti i fakti reported that Yeltsin's
politically influential daughter Tatyana Dyachenko also entered the
hospital with a cold, AFP reported. Yeltsin's wife Naina remains
hospitalized after her 24 August kidney operation. -- Robert Orttung

LEBED VISITS GROZNY... Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed went
to Chechnya on 17 September to resume the pullout of Russian troops,
resolve difficulties surrounding the POW transfer, discuss the
composition of the coalition government, and begin restoring normal life
in Grozny. Lebed described his trip as "highly successful," ITAR-TASS
reported on 18 September. He met with the commander of the federal
troops, Lt.-Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, acting Chechen President
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, and Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov. Lebed
returned to Moscow on 18 September and plans to discuss the results of
his work with Chernomyrdin. -- Robert Orttung

...ANNOUNCES RESULTS. Lebed announced that the pullout of Russian troops
will resume in three days and that he had reached a complete
understanding with Tikhomirov on the issue. However, the commander of
the Interior Ministry troops, Col.-Gen. Anatolii Shkirko, said that his
soldiers would not be withdrawing from Chechnya, according to Rossiiskie
vesti on 18 September. Lebed said there were no major disagreements
between the two sides over the composition of the coalition government
to rule Chechnya until free elections are held, AFP reported. The
government will now include more representatives of Doku Zavgaev's pro-
Moscow government as well as Chechens not linked to Zavgaev or to the
separatist fighters. Lebed said he hoped that Chernomyrdin will
participate directly in these negotiations. He also announced that the
demilitarization of the city would continue and that joint law
enforcement groups would start functioning on 18 September. Lebed said
that both sides would trade their POWs "all for all" by the end of the
week. He also said that the Chechens agreed that Russian law would
remain in force in the republic, superseding Yandarbiev's introduction
of a criminal code base on Islamic law. -- Robert Orttung

Komsomolskaya pravda on 17 September how much the Chechen war had cost,
Lebed said there were no hard data but estimated the price tag at $12-15
billion. He also cited Zavgaev as saying that 8 trillion rubles ($1.5
billion) were allocated for reconstruction work in the republic in 1995
and another 2.5 trillion this year. He said nothing had been rebuilt,
claiming that 90% of the money had been stolen. Izvestiya on 4 September
cited an unpublished report by the Russian Federation Accounting Chamber
as saying that 11 trillion rubles not envisaged in the budget were sent
to Chechnya for reconstruction in 1995. Other reports have pointed out
that the renewed battles in Grozny this summer make it difficult to
check that funds were properly spent. -- Penny Morvant

Security Council press service released a statement denouncing "several
officials in the presidential administration" for trying to drag Lebed
into a dispute about his responsibilities, NTV reported. On 16
September, ITAR-TASS cited sources close to the prime minister saying
that Lebed's responsibilities in Chechnya would be reduced so that he
could focus on other issues (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 September 1996).
Lebed had earlier complained that Yeltsin was not signing his own
decrees (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 August 1996). -- Robert Orttung

...CHUBAIS DENIES TENSION... Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii
Chubais claimed in an interview with Izvestiya published on 18 September
that he is working in "close cooperation" with Lebed. He warned that it
was not in his, Yeltsin's, or Chernomyrdin's interests for there to be
renewed fighting in Chechnya. Chubais said the main job of the
presidential administration is to work on issues of personnel and to
improve the quality of civil servants. A second crucial task for the
administration is the distribution of money between regions, a job he
claimed that the government could not perform. He said that his
dismissal from the government in January was a political decision by
Yeltsin and not the work of former Presidential Security Service Chief
Aleksandr Korzhakov. Chubais also claimed that he did not want the job
as chief of staff and would have preferred to set up his own consulting
company. -- Robert Orttung

Yeltsin's health increasingly in doubt, the Democratic Party of Russia
(DPR), whose leader Sergei Glazev is one of Lebed's deputies in the
Security Council, issued a statement accusing Chernomyrdin and Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov of conspiring against Lebed and planning
a "creeping coup d'etat," Izvestiya reported on 18 September. The
statement said both government figures and Communists are waging a
campaign to discredit Lebed and his peace initiatives in Chechnya.
Izvestiya said the DPR press service later told the paper that its
statement was mainly directed against Zyuganov, not Chernomyrdin. --
Laura Belin

accept an invitation from the Council of Europe to hearings on the
Chechnya crisis later this month, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 September. He
added that there was "no sense" in the council discussing human rights
in Chechnya when Chechen separatists are implementing a criminal code
based on Islamic law. The council had earlier invited Lebed and Chechen
Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov to the hearings, prompting a storm of
protest from Russian politicians. -- Laura Belin

YAVLINSKII OUTLINES PRIORITIES. In an interview published in Trud on 17
September, Yabloko leader and failed presidential candidate Grigorii
Yavlinskii said poverty is the main problem facing Russia and described
Yabloko as the only political force defending the interests of working
people. He said the authorities do not worry when Communists speak out
against poverty, because the Communists have shown themselves to be a
"convenient" opposition (for instance, by voting to confirm Chernomyrdin
and sending one of their allies, Aman Tuleev, to join the government).
Yavlinskii, who has kept a low profile since the presidential election,
said no Yabloko members joined the cabinet because it soon became
apparent after the election that Yeltsin did not plan to change his
social and economic policies. Instead, he said, Yabloko hopes to build a
strong democratic opposition, so that Russian voters are not forced to
choose "between two evils" in future elections. -- Laura Belin

NO MONEY FOR ARMED FORCES IN AUGUST. Defense Ministry officials told
ITAR-TASS on 17 September that the ministry had received no money at all
from the federal government in August and only 4.4% due it in July.
Officials of the Information Department were quoted as saying: "The time
has come for state officials to look in the eyes of the military and
honestly say whether Russia needs the army at all." The officials
complained that the other "power structures" were getting most of their
funds. -- Doug Clarke

QUALIFIED SUPPORT FOR START 2. Leading a delegation of parliamentarians
to Washington, Duma Defense Committee chairman Lev Rokhlin said on 18
September that it was in Russia's interest to ratify the Start 2 nuclear
weapons treaty, ITAR TASS reported. However, Rokhlin still expressed
some reservations about the treaty. He said that it was more beneficial
to the U.S. than to Russia, and that it would cost Russia $40-50 billion
to dismantle the old missiles and build 500 new single warhead missiles.
He urged the preparation of a START 3 to correct these deficiencies. --
Peter Rutland

IRAQI PRAISE FOR MOSCOW. During a visit to Moscow, the deputy foreign
minister of Iraq, Riyad al-Kaisi, said that there is "unity in the
evaluation of events [in the Gulf] between Russia and Iraq," ITAR-TASS
reported on 17 September. The Iraqi minister said that Russia was a firm
supporter of the territorial integrity of Iraq, and claimed that Russian
protests had helped deter the U.S. from further military action. Russian
diplomats have tried to take a more even-handed stance than the minister
suggests, urging Iraq not to take provocative actions. -- Peter Rutland

by 10,000 Dalenergo power workers entered its third day on 18 September,
ITAR-TASS reported. Power output -- already low -- has not been reduced
significantly, but all maintenance work and storing of supplies has
stopped. At the Primorskii power station, 189 workers are now into the
third week of a hunger strike over wage arrears, a union representative
told ITAR-TASS. One billion rubles have been transferred to the plant by
Dalenergo, but the strikers are determined to hold out for the entire
22.6 billion owed. Meanwhile, the Primorskii Krai Duma canceled a
scheduled referendum on confidence in Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko. The
governor said the plebiscite was unnecessary because solutions worked
out with the federal government would stabilize the situation in the
krai's energy sector. A spokesman for the Energy Ministry told Reuters,
however, that he knew of no comprehensive deal. -- Penny Morvant

State Anti-Monopoly Committee has organized the first hearing in Russia
on the violation of intellectual property rights and business
reputations, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 September. The committee found the
Russian computer firm Bit Software guilty of spreading false information
which damaged the reputation of a competitor. The hearing creates an
important legislative precedent, the results of which may be closely
studied and used by some commercial banks which have recently been
misreported in the Russian media. -- Natalia Gurushina

SHUTDOWN OF REGIONAL INDUSTRY One of the industrial giants of Russia,
the coke and chemical plant Altai KKS in Altai krai, is in a critical
financial situation and on the brink of complete shutdown, ITAR-TASS
reported on 17 September. Mines have stopped supplying coal, protesting
arrears of 44 billion rubles from the plant. The production of coking
and chemical gas has fallen fourfold from last year. Presidential Chief
of Staff Anatolii Chubais recently requested Altai krai's administration
to take drastic measures to deal with the region's budget debts of 60
billion rubles. Meanwhile, the Vladivostok distillery has declared
bankruptcy, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 September. The company will pay off
3.6 billion rubles of its debts in vodka. -- Ritsuko Sasaki


BADALYAN'S CAMPAIGN PROGRAM. Interviewed in Yerevan on 16 September,
Armenian Communist Party leader Sergei Badalyan highlighted the key
points of his program for the 22 September presidential election.
Badalyan advocates "renewed socialism," which he argues is an ideology
uniquely suited to the Armenian mindset; a new NEP (New Economic
Policy); the creation of agricultural collectives which peasants may
join on a voluntary basis without relinquishing the land they acquired
through privatization; and the revision of the constitution adopted in
1995 to limit the powers of the president and subordinate the government
to parliament. Badalyan's foreign policy focuses on Armenian membership
of the Russia-Belarus Union "in order to guarantee Armenia's national
security." He believes that in seeking a solution to the Karabakh
conflict the right to national self-determination should take precedence
over the principle of territorial integrity. RFE/RL reports that there
are now only three candidates for the 22 September election. Incumbent
Levon Ter-Petrossyan faces the communist Badalyan and the unified
opposition candidate Vazgen Manukyan. -- Liz Fuller in Yerevan
(monitoring the presidential election for the European Institute for

NAZARBAYEV IN TBILISI. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and his
visiting Kazakstani counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev signed 14 bilateral
agreements in Tbilisi on 17 September, RFE/RL reported the same day. The
accords cover economic cooperation, sport, transport, transit and trade
as well as cooperation between the security agencies of the two
countries. -- Lowell Bezanis

UZBEKISTAN HOSTS AFGHAN TALKS. An Afghan government delegation arrived
in Tashkent on 17 September for three days of what were described as
"secret" talks with Afghan General Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek
commander in control of much of Afghan territory south of Uzbekistan,
AFP reported the same day. Dostum, widely considered to be under
Tashkent's patronage, is being vigorously courted by Kabul after the
government lost the strategic town of Jalalabad last week, giving rise
to fears Kabul may be overrun by the Taliban militia which presently
controls an estimated 60% of the country. -- Lowell Bezanis

CEASEFIRE IN KARATEGIN VALLEY. Tajik government officials and opposition
field commanders agreed to a ceasefire in the Karategin valley on 16
September, Western and Russian news agencies reported. The agreement
appears to stipulate that checkpoints established by both sides are to
be lifted in Garm, Jirgatal and Tajikabad, thereby permitting transit on
the solitary artery linking the country's capital with the Pamirs and
Kyrgyzstan. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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