If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. - Carl Sagan
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 190, Part I, 1 October 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

CHERNOMYRDIN, SELEZNEV MEET ON EVE OF FALL DUMA SESSION. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin and State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev agreed at a
30 September meeting that closer cooperation was needed between the
government and Duma, ITAR-TASS quoted Seleznev as saying. The communist-
dominated Duma is set to open on 2 October. In addition to drafting the
1997 budget and analyzing the situation in Chechnya, the Duma will work
on tax legislation and the land code. It will also consider banning the
death penalty as part of Russia's commitment to the Council of Europe.
Seleznev said there are no plans to pass a law on certifying the health
of the country's top officials. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov
on 30 September repeated his call for such certification and suggested
again that President Boris Yeltsin should resign because of his
impending operation. -- Robert Orttung

YANDARBIEV'S MOSCOW TRIP POSTPONED. Chechen Minister of Information
Movladi Udugov told journalists on 30 September that acting Chechen
President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev will not travel to Moscow on 1 October
for talks with Russian leaders, as was previously announced, Radio
Rossii reported. He said that, instead, a representative of Yandarbiev
will fly to Moscow on 3 October to prepare for a visit by Yandarbiev at
a later (unspecified) date. Meanwhile, acting commander Yevgenii
Avakumyants told Russian Public TV (ORT) on 30 September that the
ongoing withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya is proceeding well
and will be completed by the end of October, two weeks earlier than
originally planned. A meeting of Chechen social and political
organizations held in Kabardino-Balkariya on 28-29 September proposed
the 35-year-old Ada-Shamala Deniev, the virtually unknown leader of the
self-proclaimed "government for the salvation of the Chechen people," as
the head of a new Chechen coalition government, ITAR-TASS reported. --
Liz Fuller

GOVERNMENT DIVIDED OVER ECONOMIC POLICY. Ministers are split into two
camps and "Russia is on the brink of a fierce bureaucratic battle
following a fairly long political breathing space," Nezavisimaya gazeta
argued on 1 October. The "finance" group, led by First Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Potanin and including Finance Minister Aleksandr
Livshits and Economics Minister Yevgennii Yasin, wants to concentrate on
reducing the interest rate (in part to allow more foreign borrowing),
fighting tax arrears, and breaking up monopolies like Gazprom. The
"sectoral" group, led by First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov,
wants to halt the slide in industrial production. This battle, based on
two different concepts of Russia's economic development, may remain
hidden from view because Chernomyrdin will not allow public attacks.
However, it will likely surface as the Duma begins to debate the 1997
budget. -- Peter Rutland

GAIDAR FORMS "LIBERAL COALITION." Seven groups, including Yegor Gaidar's
Russia's Democratic Choice, have joined forces, pledging to offer a
"liberal alternative to bureaucratic capitalism," Russian media reported
on 30 September. As expected, Democratic Russia co-leader Galina
Starovoitova, Common Cause leader Irina Khakamada, and former
presidential chief of staff Sergei Filatov joined Gaidar's
"confederation," along with four tiny parties that cooperated with
Gaidar before the 1995 parliamentary election. The alliance lacks
electoral clout, since the member groups gained less than 5% last
December, and neither the pro-government Our Home Is Russia movement nor
Grigorii Yavlinskii's Yabloko party will join. -- Laura Belin

COMMUNIST GROUPS FAIL TO UNITE. Representatives of various communist
groups failed to agree on forming a united party at a 28 September
meeting in Moscow, Russian media reported. The main organizer of the
conference, the Union of Communist Parties--Communist Party of the
Soviet Union, supports the moderate line adopted by Gennadii Zyuganov's
Communist Party of the Russian Federation. However, several small
radical groups have long criticized Zyuganov for abandoning the class
struggle and other aspects of Marxist ideology. -- Laura Belin

APPEAL AGAINST LEBED/MASKHADOV AGREEMENT TO BE SENT TO CONSTITUTIONAL
COURT. Ninety-three Duma deputies will appeal to the Constitutional
Court against the agreement reached on 31 August between Security
Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed and Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan
Maskhadov, Kommersant-Daily reported on 1 October. The court appeal was
initiated by two deputies from Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia, who claimed that Lebed exceeded his authority in
signing the document. In addition, they objected to a provision
recognizing Chechnya as a subject of international law and charged that
the agreement did not clarify how Russia should deal with the pro-Moscow
Chechen leadership. -- Laura Belin

NORTH KOREA BLASTS RUSSIAN ARMS DELIVERIES TO SOUTH KOREA. The official
North Korean press agency on 30 September denounced Russia over recent
weapons shipments to Seoul that included T-80 tanks and armored
personnel carriers, Russian and Western agencies reported. It described
the arms deliveries as "an irresponsible and reckless act" demonstrating
that Russia is "no less hostile" to North Korea than the U.S. The
shipments, which began last month, will total $451 million and are part
of a 1995 deal to partly repay $1.47 billion in Russian debt. -- Scott
Parrish

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONCERNED ABOUT AFGHANISTAN. Speaking in
Morocco on 30 September, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov
noted that Moscow has no plans to establish contacts with the Islamic
Taliban movement, Reuters reported. The Taliban now controls the Afghan
capital Kabul as well as most of the country. Primakov also denounced
the summary execution of former Afghan President Najibullah as an
"odious massacre." Reflecting Russian concerns that the Taliban victory
may spark a wave of regional instability in Central Asia, a Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman the same day described that victory as a
"catastrophe for the Afghan people" that threatened "the entire region."
-- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN URGES COMPROMISE IN BELARUS . . . President Boris Yeltsin on 30
September urged his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka to do
"everything possible" to forge a compromise with his parliamentary
opponents, Russian and Western agencies reported. In a message to
Lukashenka, Yeltsin said steps to avoid inflaming the situation in
Belarus were "very important" if the April agreement on forming a Russo-
Belarusian community were to move forward. Yeltsin's unusually frank
advice, which contradicts the Russian president's own use of force to
crush parliamentary opposition in October 1993, reflects concern in
Moscow over the consequences of the current political confrontation in
Minsk. Meanwhile, Belarusian Supreme Soviet Chairman Syamyon Sharetsky
met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Duma Speaker
Gennadii Seleznev in Moscow to discuss the development of the Russo-
Belorusian community. -- Scott Parrish

. . . WHILE LUZHKOV PRAISES LUKASHENKA. In contrast, Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov praised Lukashenka as "a dynamic, strong, open individual," NTV
reported on 30 September. Luzhkov said that in his struggle with the
parliament "my sympathies without question are with the Belarusian
president. The parliamentary path of development," Luzhkov continued,
will also only be suitable for Russia "after it has put itself on its
feet and strengthened its economy." Luzhkov's remarks were made as he
accepted a gift of a trolley from Lukashenka, marking his 60th birthday.
-- Peter Rutland

CHERNOMYRDIN ON RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin announced that he hopes to sign an agreement which will
"finally resolve the problem of dividing the Black Sea Fleet," during a
visit to Kyiv scheduled for late October, ITAR-TASS reported on 30
September. Chernomyrdin termed his 28 September meeting with Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma, "extraordinarily useful," saying that the two
sides had "synchronized" their views on issues like VAT on bilateral
trade and NATO expansion. Nationalist deputies in the Duma remain
discontented with the state of bilateral relations, however. Georgii
Tikhonov, chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, declared the
same day that his committee will submit draft legislation halting the
division of the fleet, Radio Rossii reported. Tikhonov also declared
that the Crimean capital of Sevastopol "was, is, and will be Russian," a
slogan sure to irritate Kyiv.-- Scott Parrish

TENSION RISING IN THE MILITARY. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 1 October warned
that the mounting state debt to the military is leading to a dangerous
rise in tension in Russia's armed forces. Noting that the Defense
Ministry is more than 30 trillion rubles in debt ($5.5 billion), the
paper asked how long the army can endure this situation. According to
opinion polls cited by the paper, about a quarter of servicemen are
ready to take part in protest actions if their financial situation
deteriorates further. Military personnel are barred from striking, but
the paper warned that there may be the creation of a wave of officers'
organizations and their integration into left-wing and nationalist
political organizations; and the development of separatist military
tendencies in some regions, such as Kaliningrad and the Far East. --
Penny Morvant

CHEREPKOV RETURNS TO OFFICE. Viktor Cherepkov, the newly reinstated
mayor of Vladivostok, returned to work on 30 September, Russian TV
reported. His first priorities will be looking into the city's finances
and making preparations for winter. He has promised not to fire city
officials appointed by his predecessor, Konstantin Tolstoshein, unless
they try to sabotage his work. But many have said they want nothing to
do with the mayor and have called for a referendum on his dismissal.
Cherepkov will also face considerable opposition from the krai
authorities--in particular, from Tolstoshein, who in his new position as
first deputy governor of Primorskii Krai will still have jurisdiction
over Vladivostok. The mayor's reinstatement was also opposed by the
president's representative in the krai, Vladimir Ignatenko. Cherepkov
was accompanied to Vladivostok by three Duma deputies and a senior
member of the presidential administration to ensure the orderly transfer
of power. -- Penny Morvant

ENERGY PRICE INCREASES. In accordance with its previous announcement,
the government is to raise energy prices beginning 1 October, ITAR-TASS
reported. Prices will eventually double for residential consumers using
more than 200 kilowatt hours per month. The increases will vary across
the country, since regional energy commissions will set rates taking
into account local energy costs. Oleg Britvin, vice president of EES
Rossii (Unified Energy System), said tariffs for industrial users are
lower than those for households. However, some populist regional
authorities are not complying with this policy. In Primore, for example,
the new tariffs for industrial users are twice as high as those for
residents. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CORRECTION: In the 30 September OMRI Daily Digest, the first sentence of
the item "Commission upholds Ter-Petrossyan's election victory" should
have read: 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 1,333,204
votes cast.

TER-PETROSSYAN SOFTENS RHETORIC IN TV ADDRESS. Speaking on state TV on
30 September, Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan acknowledged that
voter dissatisfaction with his leadership's social and economic policies
compelled more than 40% of the electorate to vote against him in the 22
September presidential elections, RFE/RL reported. He reiterated his
campaign promises of a government reshuffle and a crackdown on
corruption. Ter-Petrossyan characterized the 25 September attack on the
parliament building by supporters of his opponent Vazgen Manukyan as "a
sad event" but argued that it should not be turned "into a national
tragedy." A spokesman for the Armenian prosecutor told Reuters on 30
September that only nine arrest warrants have been issued so far, but
Western diplomats estimate that a total of 250 have been detained, many
of whom did not participate in the violence. -- Liz Fuller

GEORGIA DENIES ABKHAZ ALLEGATIONS. On 30 September, the Georgian Foreign
Ministry denied charges by the leadership of the breakaway region of
Abkhazia that Georgian troops were responsible for a series of
explosions and terrorist acts in Abkhazia's Gali and Ochamchira raions
over the past few days, ITAR-TASS reported. Also on 30 September,
Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told a news conference
in Tbilisi that the UN does not envisage any participation in
peacekeeping operations in Abkhazia, although he did not exclude the
involvement of other international organizations in mediating a peace
agreement between the central Georgian government in Tbilisi and the
separatist leadership in Sukhumi. -- Liz Fuller

AUTUMN SESSION OF AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT OPENS. Azerbaijan's parliament
began its autumn session on 30 September, ITAR-TASS reported, but failed
to elect a new speaker to replace Rasul Guliev, who stepped down last
month after harshly criticizing the country's economic policy. The
agenda for the session includes the establishment of free economic zones
and cooperation in the oil sector within the framework of the CIS,
according to the news agency Turan. -- Liz Fuller

CENTRAL ASIA VOICES CONCERN OVER KABUL'S FALL. The Tajik government on
30 September expressed its concern that the recent events in Kabul will
have a negative impact on efforts to secure the Tajik-Afghan border,
Russian media reported. Also on 30 September, the Kazakstani Foreign
Ministry called on the UN to take urgent measures to end the bloodshed
in Afghanistan, warning that economic collapse and political instability
there could threaten the stability of Central Asia, ITAR-TASS reported.
-- Lowell Bezanis and Bruce Pannier

KAZAKSTANI TRADE UNIONS IN DISPUTE WITH GOVERNMENT. The Federation of
Kazakstani Trade Unions has unilaterally suspended parts of the General
Agreement on cooperation with the government, ITAR-TASS reported on 30
September. In a document released the same day, it blamed the government
for the "collapse of economic, financial, and social policies" in the
country. It warned that in the future it would not refrain from actions
protesting "the mass impoverishment of the majority of the population."
-- Bruce Pannier

TAJIKISTAN: PEACE IN THE EAST, FIGHTING IN THE WEST. RFE/RL reported on
30 September that, with the truce agreement along Tajikistan's northern
highway still holding, a new peace agreement has been worked out between
the Tajik government and opposition guaranteeing that the southern
highway will be open to vehicles. Tensions along the Tajik-Afghan border
remain high following the downing of a Russian helicopter on 29
September by fire from the Afghan side of the border. Meanwhile, in the
western Tajik town of Tursun Zade, fighting is reported between two
local groups vying for control of the town. Ibodullo Baimatov, who
captured the town by force in January 1996, is battling a former ally
known only as Kadyrkul, Pravda reported on 28 September. Government
troops sent to the area are openly supporting Kadyrkul. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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