A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 192, Part I, 3 October 1996

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Available now -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former 
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and former Soviet Union during 1995. Available to OMRI subscribers at a 
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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

YANDARBIEV GOES TO MOSCOW, KHASBULATOV ARRIVES IN GROZNY. Acting Chechen 
President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, accompanied by four senior government 
members and OSCE representative Tim Guldimann, left Nazran on 3 October 
for talks in Moscow with Russian leaders including Prime Minister Viktor 
Chernomyrdin, Western agencies reported. Argumenty i fakty reported on 2 
October that Yandarbiev wants to discuss the ongoing withdrawal of Russian 
troops from Chechnya and compensation for war damages. Other Russian 
sources suggested that the two sides will also discuss the future Chechen 
coalition government, which Yandarbiev wishes to head. Yandarbiev also 
argued that the 30 August Khasavyurt agreement confirmed that Chechnya had 
been independent since 1991 since it stipulated that Russia and Chechnya 
should formulate their relations in accordance with international law. 
Also on 2 October, former Russian parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov 
arrived in Grozny to attend the congress of the People's Union for Rebirth 
Party which he chairs, NTV reported. -- Liz Fuller

YELTSIN ADDRESSES COUNTRY BY RADIO. In a 3 October radio broadcast, 
President Boris Yeltsin sought to reassure his country that he was still 
in charge despite the fact that he has been in the hospital since 12 
September, ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin rebutted those like Communist 
leader Gennadii Zyuganov, who have called on him to step down, saying that 
they are "working only for themselves." He also expressed concern about 
the situation in the military and said that he expected the first meeting 
of the Defense Council on 4 October to "yield concrete decisions." 
Yeltsin's staff announced on 2 October that he plans to make regular radio 
addresses, "since some parts of the country still don't receive TV 
broadcasts," Kommersant-Daily reported. The newspaper noted that the 
timing of this decision suggests that Yeltsin does not look healthy enough 
to appear on TV. -- Robert Orttung 

DUMA OPENS WITH POLITICAL SPEECHES. . . Members of the pro-government Our 
Home Is Russia (NDR) State Duma faction complained that "there was a great 
abyss between the legislative work plan and the speeches of the opposition 
leaders" on the first day of the Duma's fall session on 2 October, 
Nezavisimaya gazeta reported. Among the leading items on the agenda are 
discussion of the government's package of tax proposals and the 1997 
budget. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov called for the creation 
of a state council that would bring together legislative and executive 
branch leaders to resolve priority problems, warning that Russia could 
suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union unless it is guided by strong 
leadership. He did not, however, call for a commission to examine 
President Yeltsin's health as many observers had expected. -- Robert 
Orttung

. . . AND DISCUSSION OF CHECHNYA. Arguing that there is no way to solve 
the Chechen conflict through force, Security Council Secretary Aleksandr 
Lebed told the Duma on 2 October that 80,000 to 100,000 people died in the 
fighting, including 3,726 federal troops, NTV reported. An additional 
17,892 troops on the federal side were wounded and 1,906 are missing. In 
contrast, Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov warned against "appeasing the 
aggressors" and described Lebed's Khasavyurt agreement as "a cover for 
unilateral, boundless concessions in the most humiliating and destructive 
forms" that will lead to a "state catastrophe" and numerous new conflicts. 
Duma Defense Committee Chairman Lev Rokhlin warned that the peace in 
Chechnya would send "a huge criminal mass" into Dagestan and suggested 
sending additional troops there to secure the republic's border with 
Chechnya. -- Robert Orttung 

LEBED WILL NOT CONTROL MILITARY APPOINTMENTS. Presidential Chief of Staff 
Anatolii Chubais announced that Yeltsin overrode Security Council 
Secretary Lebed's objections and appointed Defense Council Secretary Yurii 
Baturin to head the presidential commission that approves all high-ranking 
military promotions, Kommersant-Daily reported on 3 October. Chubais 
rejected Lebed's accusations that he has been issuing decrees without 
President Yeltsin's knowledge. Chubais also denied rumors that he has 
millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts. However, he said his income 
increased significantly during the six months that he did not hold a 
government position, when he was paid "tens of thousands of dollars" for 
lectures. Chubais also called for the creation of a data base that would 
contain the names of all civil servants in Moscow and the regions to 
improve the efficiency of the state's overall personnel policies. -- 
Robert Orttung 

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN DEFENSE MINISTRY. President Yeltsin issued a decree on 
2 October filling six high-ranking positions in the Defense Ministry, 
Russian media reported. Kommersant-Daily reported the next day that the 
appointments had resulted from Defense Minister Igor Rodionov's 28 
September meeting with Yeltsin, and demonstrated that the minister is 
finally assembling his leadership team, after months of having 
difficulties getting appointments approved. Among the new appointees was 
Maj.-Gen. Georgii Oleinik, who was named to the position of chief of the 
Main Directorate of Budget and Finance. The post has been vacant since 
last November, when former chief Col.-Gen. Vasilii Vorobev was dismissed 
amid allegations of corruption. Oleinik, who previously headed the 
economics and finance department at a military academy, met Rodionov's 
main requirement of having no connections with the financial machinations 
of former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's era. -- Scott Parrish

COMMUNISTS TO CONTEST ROSTOV RESULT. Duma deputies from the Communist 
Party (KPRF) announced on 2 October that they will create a special Duma 
commission to investigate evidence of falsification in the 29 September 
gubernatorial election in Rostov Oblast, Izvestiya reported. According to 
official results released by the Rostov Electoral Commission on 2 October, 
incumbent Governor Vladimir Chub received 61% of the vote to just 32% for 
his main challenger, KPRF Duma deputy Leonid Ivanchenko, ITAR-TASS 
reported. However, the KPRF deputies said representatives of Ivanchenko's 
campaign were unlawfully barred from the territorial electoral 
commissions, where votes were tallied before being passed along to the 
regional commission, according to Nezavisimaya gazeta on 3 October. They 
also claimed that a precedent for vote-rigging in Rostov was set during 
the presidential election, when Zyuganov outpolled Yeltsin in the first 
round but finished far behind in the 3 July runoff. -- Laura Belin

MAYORAL ELECTION IN VLADIVOSTOK CANCELED. The Primorskii Krai legislature 
canceled the mayoral election set for 6 October in Vladivostok and 
postponed the election set for the city Duma until 22 December, as newly 
reinstated Mayor Viktor Cherepkov had demanded, Russian media reported on 
2 October. However, more than 80 employees of the city administration, who 
are still loyal to former acting Mayor Konstantin Tolstoshein, expressed 
their discontent with recent events by setting their vacations to coincide 
with Cherepkov's return, Kommersant- Daily reported on 3 October. Since 
the absent officials include all of Vladivostok's deputy mayors and heads 
of departments, their temporary departure could hamper efforts to prepare 
the city for winter. According to ITAR-TASS, Cherepkov has said previously 
that he will sack officials who try to sabotage his efforts. -- Laura 
Belin 

PRIMAKOV ON AFGHANISTAN, NATO. In an interview with NTV on 2 October, 
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov rejected the idea that Russia 
should aid Afghan groups opposing the Taliban, as Security Council 
Secretary Lebed had earlier suggested, saying it was better to "wait and 
see" how the situation develops. Primakov reiterated Russian opposition to 
NATO expansion, and warned that Russia would only sign a proposed 
Russia-NATO charter if it substantively addressed Russian concerns. He 
added that whether NATO expands or not, Russia wants a "modernization" of 
the 1990 CFE treaty which would reflect the new European security 
situation. Primakov dismissed as a "maneuver" recent suggestions that 
Russia apply for NATO membership. -- Scott Parrish 

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN SWITZERLAND. On a two-day visit to Switzerland, 
Viktor Chernomyrdin met with Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti and 
President Jean Delamuraz, Russian and Western agencies reported on 2 
October. As Switzerland currently holds the rotating presidency of the 
OSCE, Cotti and Chernomyrdin discussed Chechnya and European security 
issues. Chernomyrdin also met in Lausanne with the head of the 
International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, to discuss St. 
Petersburg's bid to host the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kommersant-Daily on 3 
October suggested that the Olympic discussions may have been the main 
objective of his visit. -- Scott Parrish 

MOSCOW POLICE RAID MOSQUE. The Union of Muslims of Russia on 2 October 
accused the Moscow police of inciting racial hatred, charging that police 
officers had burst into a mosque and arrested about 20 worshippers as they 
prayed. According to NTV, one man was beaten by OMON officers before the 
detainees were finally released. Reports on the incident are conflicting. 
A police spokesman interviewed by Nezavisimaya gazeta said that militia 
and OMON officers were conducting a check of identification papers near 
the mosque and that only one officer had entered the building. He was then 
allegedly asked by a mosque official to remove three people, who were 
arrested along with another nine people from a nearby cafe. According to 
ITAR-TASS, Moscow police have launched an investigation into the incident. 
-- Penny Morvant 

FSB WINDS UP INVESTIGATION INTO NIKITIN CASE. Final formal charges have 
been brought in the case of retired Navy Captain Aleksandr Nikitin, who 
was arrested on 6 February in connection with his work for the Norwegian 
environment organization Bellona, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 October. Nikitin 
has been formally indicted for treason in the form of espionage, 
disclosing state secrets, and using fake identification papers. A 
spokesman for the Federal Security Service asserted that Nikitin used an 
out-of-date pass to visit military facilities in St. Petersburg, where he 
examined top-secret documents. He allegedly copied passages of those 
documents and used them in the Bellona report on radioactive contamination 
of the Kola Peninsula. Bellona argues that all the information contained 
in the report was publicly available. Several international organizations, 
such as the European Parliament, have demanded his immediate release. -- 
Penny Morvant 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

OSCE CASTS DOUBTS ON ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL POLL. The OSCE/ODIHR mission 
issued a statement in Warsaw on 2 October noting "very serious breaches of 
the election law" during last month's Armenian presidential election, AFP 
and RFE/RL reported. The mission noted a discrepancy of 21,000 between the 
number of ballots counted and the number of votes cast; President Levon 
Ter-Petrossyan has claimed victory by a margin of less than 22,000 votes. 
Central Electoral Commission Chairman Khachatour Bezirjian rejected the 
OSCE claims on the grounds that the organization's tallies of 
irregularities are "not mathematically correct," according to AFP. 
Opposition presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan on 2 October called for 
a second round of voting or a new election. -- Liz Fuller

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT MAY REASSESS POLICY TOWARDS RUSSIA. Meeting in 
emergency session on 2 October, the Georgian parliament adopted a 
resolution condemning as illegal the Abkhaz parliamentary election 
scheduled for 23 November, NTV reported. The resolution further described 
Russia's mediation role as "unsatisfactory" and advocated the creation of 
a state commission to reassess Georgia's entire policy toward Russia, 
including the issue of Russian military bases, according to ITAR-TASS. 
Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov, who has been 
involved in mediating between Georgia and Abkhazia since 1993, on 2 
October said the Abkhaz decision to hold a new parliamentary election was 
"not constructive" and added that it would disrupt the ongoing search for 
a political settlement of the conflict, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller

TRADE GROWTH REGISTERED BETWEEN KAZAKSTAN, RUSSIA. Trade between Kazakstan 
and Russia grew by 80% in the first half of this year compared with the 
same period last year, RFE/RL and Nezavisimaya gazeta reported. Credit for 
the increase was given to the customs union, of which Kyrgyzstan and 
Belarus are also members, by Kazakstani Deputy Prime Minister Nigmatzhan 
Isingarin, who is the head of the customs union integration committee. 
However, Russia is criticizing Kazakstan for permitting travelers to take 
as much as $10,000 with them when they go abroad. Russian travelers are 
limited to $500 cash per person. -- Bruce Pannier and Merhat Sharipzhan

UZBEKISTAN BREAKS SILENCE ON AFGHANISTAN. Uzbekistan's Security Council 
held an extraordinary session on 1 October to discuss the situation in 
Afghanistan, Russian media reported the next day. Tashkent officially 
declared its "serious concern" over events in that country and pledged 
itself to pursuing a "peaceful foreign policy aimed at non-interference in 
the internal affairs of neighboring countries" and a "peace settlement" in 
Afghanistan, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. These remarks, virtually 
identical to those expressed earlier by other Central Asian states and 
Russia, are the first to emerge from Tashkent since the 26 September 
seizure of Kabul by Taliban fighters. -- Lowell Bezanis 

KYRGYZ JUDGES SACKED. The Kyrgyz government dismissed 39 judges and an 
additional 11 resigned after they failed to pass a test on legal 
knowledge, RFE/RL and Kyrgyz Radio reported on 30 September. Kyrgyzstan 
has only 237 official judges and 14 acting judges so the outgoing judges 
represent 20% of the magistrates in the country. So far, 150 people have 
applied for the positions, but only seven of the 30 who have taken the 
test actually passed it. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov 

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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