If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 189, Part I, 30 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: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

************************************************************************
Do you need sharply focused economic news? OMRI's weekly Economic Digest
provides thorough coverage of business and financial developments
throughout the region.

The latest edition includes stories on the new quotas for vodka imports
to Russia, the level of foreign investment in Eastern Europe, and how
Polish banks are moving closer to privatization.

For subscription and rate information, please send a message to
econ@omri.cz
***********************************************************************

RUSSIA

LEBED: YELTSIN SHOULD TRANSFER POWER UNTIL RECOVERY COMPLETE. In an
interview published in the 28 September issue of Moskovskii komsomolets,
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed said that until President
Boris Yeltsin makes a full recovery from his heart problems, he should
hand over his authority to an acting president. Lebed argued that it was
a "dangerous precedent" for Yeltsin to remain in power nominally while
others run the country for him. Presidential aides have indicated that
Yeltsin will formally transfer power to Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin for a brief period during his heart operation. Unlike
Communist Party leaders, who recently called for the creation of a state
medical commission that could force the president to step down, Lebed
stressed that the decision should be entirely up to Yeltsin. -- Laura
Belin

LEBED MEETS WITH NORTH CAUCASUS LEADERS. Russian Security Council
Secretary Lebed met in Nazran on 27 September with leaders of the North
Caucasus republics who unanimously expressed their support for the
Chechen peace process, Russian and Western agencies reported. Lebed
subsequently announced that acting Chechen President Zelimkhan
Yandarbiev (who did not attend the Nazran meeting because of health
problems) will travel to Moscow on 1 October for talks with Russian
leaders, AFP reported. Sergei Glazev, head of the Security Council's
Economic Department, accompanied Lebed to Nazran and met with Yandarbiev
in Novye Atagi to discuss Russian-Chechen economic relations, according
to Radio Mayak. Also on 27 September, representatives of the Chechen
separatists and Russian federal forces met in Grozny to discuss an
exchange of prisoners, ITAR-TASS reported. On 29 September, AFP reported
that three Italian medical aid workers have disappeared in Chechnya. --
Liz Fuller

"NUCLEAR SUITCASE" SECRETS DISCUSSED. As President Yeltsin prepares to
temporarily sign over his powers to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, an
article in Ogonek no. 39 lays out the history of the "suitcase" through
which the Russian president can authorize the launch of nuclear weapons.
Three officials carry "suitcases": the president, Defense Minister Igor
Rodionov, and Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov. It is not
clear how many of the three "suitcases" are needed to authorize a
launch. The article points out that the suitcase has more political than
military significance. Information about its existence is periodically
leaked for political effect--as in January 1995, when President Yeltsin
said he was monitoring the launch of a weather rocket from Norway.
Discussing whose finger is on the button is a way of reminding the West
that Russia is still a nuclear power. The current "Kazbek" suitcase
system was introduced in 1983, and is reportedly in need of a technical
overhaul. -- Peter Rutland

DAY OF MOURNING FOR VICTIMS OF BUS/TRAIN COLLISION. President Yeltsin
declared 28 September a national day of mourning for the 21 children
killed in Rostov Oblast when a train crashed into a school bus on 26
September, Russian media reported. Another 16 children and three adults
were injured in the collision. Since both the president and his wife
Naina remain hospitalized (she is recovering from a recent kidney
operation), Yeltsin's younger daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, traveled to
Rostov to attend the 28 September funeral. -- Laura Belin

INCUMBENT RE-ELECTED EASILY IN ROSTOV . . . Preliminary results for the
29 September Rostov Oblast gubernatorial election indicate that Governor
Vladimir Chub easily defeated his main challenger, Communist-backed
candidate Leonid Ivanchenko, by a margin of 62% to 32%, ITAR-TASS
reported on 30 September. Despite the recent traffic tragedy in the
oblast and heavy rains on election day, turnout was about 42%, which is
higher than in other regions that have recently held gubernatorial
elections. -- Laura Belin

. . . BUT OPPOSITION WINS IN LENINGRAD OBLAST. Governor Aleksandr
Belyakov, the incumbent, lost out to Communist-backed challenger Vadim
Gustov in the 29 September Leningrad Oblast gubernatorial election,
ITAR-TASS reported the following day. Belyakov, appointed by President
Yeltsin in 1991, had been expected to win. According to preliminary
data, Gustov took about 53% of the vote to Belyakov's 32%. Turnout was a
low 34%, a factor that likely aided the challenger. Gustov headed the
Leningrad Oblast Soviet until that body was dissolved in 1993 in the
wake of the standoff between Yeltsin and the Russian Supreme Soviet.
Though backed by the Communists, Gustov insists that he is an
independent who favors the free market. He campaigned vigorously in
rural areas, while Belyakov dominated local television screens, RFE/RL
reported. -- Penny Morvant

COMMUNIST WINS AMUR OBLAST GOVERNORSHIP. Confirming earlier unofficial
reports, the Amur Oblast Electoral Commission announced on 27 September
that Communist candidate Anatolii Belonogov won the region's 22
September gubernatorial election, according to an Interfax report
monitored by the BBC. It said that 102,684 votes (41.77%) went to
Belonogov and 102,495 (41.69%) to incumbent governor Yurii Lyashko. But
it appears the result may be challenged. The regional procurator claimed
that there were many irregularities during the voting, while Central
Electoral Commission (TsIK) head Nikolai Ryabov earlier urged the local
commission to defer any official announcement of the result until such
irregularities were examined. -- Penny Morvant

POWER WORKERS' STRIKE ENDS IN PRIMORE. Following the transfer of 180
billion rubles ($33 million) to Primore to pay overdue wages to power
workers, employees of the Dalenergo electricity company on 27 September
suspended a regional strike begun on 16 September, ITAR-TASS reported.
The head of the strike committee, Gennadii Tkachuk, said the decision
had been made after the arrival of a payment order and detailed
instructions to Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko from First
Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov stipulating how the money should
be spent. The 25-day hunger strike at the Primorskii power plant was
also suspended, but subsequent reports said that 16 power workers were
continuing their fast. Meanwhile, Nazdratenko signed a resolution on 27
September appointing Konstantin Tolstoshein, the mayor of Vladivostok
until Viktor Cherepkov was reinstated to that post, first deputy
governor of Primorskii Krai. Cherepkov returned to Vladivostok on 29
September. -- Penny Morvant

YELTSIN: NATO-RUSSIA PACT MUST PRECEDE EXPANSION. President Yeltsin has
demanded that a NATO-Russia partnership agreement be concluded before
the alliance "decides the issue of restructuring and expansion," Russian
and Western agencies reported. Yeltsin, who made the demand at a 28
September meeting with Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, said "it would
not do" for the alliance to expand first, and then work out the details
of its relationship with Moscow. Building on a recent proposal by U.S.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher for a NATO-Russia pact, Yeltsin's
comments are the latest sign that Moscow views NATO expansion as
inevitable but still hopes to influence the terms under which it occurs.
The next day, Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov reiterated his long-
standing threats to revise "a whole series" of arms control agreements
if NATO expands. Such threats may now aim at influencing the proposed
NATO-Russia pact, rather than blocking expansion altogether. -- Scott
Parrish

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON MIDDLE EAST CRISIS. Arriving in Morocco for
a two-day official visit on 29 September, Primakov implicitly blamed
Israel for the recent fighting in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Russian
and Western agencies reported. Primakov said "Israel should put an end
to actions against Palestinians," and hailed the passage of a UN
Security Council resolution urging the immediate resumption of the
Middle East peace process and indirectly calling on Israel to close the
disputed tunnel in Jerusalem. While Russia supported the resolution, the
U.S. took Israeli objections into account and abstained. -- Scott
Parrish

SHARE-LOAN AUCTION FOLLOW-UP. The government has reached agreement with
the Security Council over the rules under which shares won in last
year's loan auctions will be sold off, ITAR-TASS reported on 27
September. Banks that gained blocks of shares in return for loans to the
government will now be allowed to sell them. However, foreigners will
not be permitted to acquire more than 15% of the shares of the oil
companies involved, and will be entirely barred from purchasing shares
in Norilsk Nickel and the North West River Steamer company. The
government will have the right to participate in the sales (and thus
repurchase the shares). The fact that First Deputy Prime Minister
Vladimir Potanin felt obliged to sign an agreement on this subject with
Aleksandr Lebed indicates that the Security Council is an organization
that cannot be ignored. -- Peter Rutland

RUSSIA GETS NEW WORLD BANK LOANS. The World Bank has agreed to provide
Russia two more loans worth $159 million, ITAR-TASS reported on 30
September. The first credit ($89 million) is for the development of the
securities market, and the remaining $70 million is for energy
conservation. Russia will also receive a $80 million loan to finance
environmental protection. In negotiations with World Bank officials in
Washington on 28-29 September, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir
Potanin argued for more loans programs aimed at stimulating Russia's
exports and hence foreign exchange earnings, since over the next three
years it will have to repay $900 million of its debt to the bank. --
Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

COMMISSION UPHOLDS TER-PETROSSYAN'S ELECTION VICTORY . . . Armenia's
Central Electoral Commission on 29 September released the final results
of the 22 September presidential election in which incumbent Levon Ter-
Petrossyan received 51.75% of the 2,210,189 votes cast and his rival,
National Democratic Union (NDU) chairman Vazgen Manukyan, only 41.29%,
Western agencies reported. Speaking at a press conference in Yerevan on
27 September, Manukyan's wife, Vardouhi Ishkhanyan, said that the NDU
would hand over evidence that the vote count had been falsified to
international observers within two days. Manukyan is currently in
hiding. Also on 27 September, Communist presidential candidate Sergei
Badalyan, who received 6.34% of the vote, announced that his faction of
eight deputies would no longer participate in the work of the
"undemocratic" National Assembly, AFP reported. -- Liz Fuller

. . . AND MORE ARRESTS IN YEREVAN. Three NDU deputies and the sole
Dashnak parliamentary deputy were arrested in Yerevan on 27 September,
Noyan Tapan reported. Western diplomats estimate that in all some 200
people have been detained since the election, including the chairman of
the Artsakh-Hayastan party, Lenser Aghalovyan, who withdrew his
presidential candidacy to support Manukyan, according to Western
agencies. Police are still searching for Democratic Party Chairman Aram
Sarkisyan, who also withdrew his candidacy in Manukyan's favor. The
third candidate who withdrew, Paruir Hairikyan, is under house arrest.
Most of the troops and tanks deployed in Yerevan on 26 September
following an attack on the parliament building by Manukyan's supporters
were pulled back on 29 September. The city was reported to be calm. --
Liz Fuller

THIRD CONGRESS OF OSSETIANS CONVENES IN VLADIKAVKAZ. Meeting in
Vladikavkaz on 27-28 September, representatives of the Republic of North
Ossetiya-Alaniya and the disputed Georgian region of South Ossetia
discussed how to improve the social-economic situation in North Ossetiya
and to overcome the aftermath of the North Ossetiyan-Ingush and
Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts, Radio Rossii reported. Galazov
expressed his support for the normalization of relations with Georgia
and for any initiatives aimed at substantiating the peace process in the
North Caucasus. On 24 September, the South Ossetiyan Supreme Council
dismissed Prime Minister Vladislav Gabaraev for failing to resolve the
region's social and political problems, according to a Kontakt News
Agency report monitored by the BBC. Gabaraev may stand in next month's
South Ossetian presidential election. -- Liz Fuller

VIOLENCE IN ABKHAZIA. There are conflicting reports of violence that
erupted on 27 September in Abkhazia. It seems that several
administrative buildings in Gali city were attacked and artillery shells
were lobbed at the town of Ochamchira. Georgian television attributed
these events to infighting among Abkhaz military units angry at
personnel changes; the Abkhaz side, for its part, put the blame for the
violence squarely on Georgian "bandits," and demanded that the Russian
peacekeeping command take action to prevent further acts of "terrorism."
The date 27 September is considered to be the third anniversary of
victory for Sukhumi in its fight with Georgia. Meanwhile, hundreds of
ethnic Georgian refugees from Abkhazia have begun a sit-in near the
Inguri River to protest talks between Tbilisi and Sukhumi and Abkhazia's
scheduled November election. -- Lowell Bezanis

NIYAZOV TURNS DOWN LIFE-LONG PRESIDENCY. Turkmenistan's socio-economic
development through the year 2001 was the main subject at a joint
session of the Turkmen Peoples' Council, the Council of Elders, and the
Movement for National Revival in Bayram-Ali, RFE/RL reported on 27
September. At the session, Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov said he
would not accept the title "president for life" as had been suggested
late last year, saying such a move would violate the country's
constitution. He was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying "we will
decide together" who should be Turkmenistan's next president when his
term expires in 2002. -- Lowell Bezanis

FIGHTING ERUPTS ALONG TAJIK-AFGHAN BORDER. Russian border guards have
repelled an attempt by 300 opposition fighters to cross over from
Afghanistan into Tajikistan, Russian and Western media reported. The
fighting began on 27 September when opposition groups south of the
Kalai-Khumb border posts tried to infiltrate Tajikistan. The opposition
forces were largely unsuccessful in their attempts to penetrate the
border, but ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported that some managed to enter
Tajikistan. As of 29 September, the border guards had pushed them some
10 km back into Afghanistan. One opposition leader, Ali Akbar
Turajonzoda, denied that his side had started the trouble, saying "in
view of the uncertain situation in Afghanistan, it's not in our
interests to provoke the enemy." -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            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

                                    BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/Index.html

FTP
ftp://194.108.1.176/Pub/DailyDigest/

E-Mail
Send the words "index daily-digest" to MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ


                                  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 or visit the Transition
Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/TransitionInfo.html


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 to ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


OMRI RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The OMRI Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published
every Wednesday) on initially focusing on the local elections taking
place throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election
season is over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to
broader social, political and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS YourName
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace focuses on the implementation of the Dayton
Accords in the former Yugoslavia.  This weekly publication, published
every Tuesday, contains both brief news summaries and longer essays on
specific events or issues facing the people of the region.  To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE YourName
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI YourName
   Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message

Ken Varnum
Internet Services Manager
Open Media Research Institute

tel:  (+42 2) 6114-2162
fax:  (+42 2) 6114-3184

 
         

[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