|I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. - Gale Wilhelm|
No. 192, Part I, 3 October 1996
*********************************************************************** Available now -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy." Published by M.E. Sharpe Inc., this 336-page yearbook provides a systematic and comprehensive review of the most pivotal events in the 27 countries of the former Communist bloc and former Soviet Union during 1995. Available to OMRI subscribers at a special price of $25 each (plus postage and handling). To order, please email your request to: email@example.com *********************************************************************** 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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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