The discovery of a new dish does more for human happines than the discovery of a new star. - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 193, Part I, 4 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

YANDARBIEV, CHERNOMYRDIN SIGN FURTHER AGREEMENT. A delegation headed by
acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev held talks in Moscow on 3
October with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed, and Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav
Mikhailov, Russian and Western agencies reported. Yandarbiev and
Chernomyrdin signed an agreement on the creation of a joint Russian-
Chechen commission, in accordance with the agreement concluded on 30
August in Khasavyurt by Lebed and Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan
Maskhadov, which is to monitor the withdrawal of Russian forces from
Chechnya, implement measures to prevent crime and terrorism, and prepare
proposals for economic restoration, according to Reuters and ITAR-TASS.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Chernomyrdin noted
"differences" between the Russian and Chechen positions and stressed
that "the inviolability of the territorial integrity of the Russian
Federation is not open to question," according to ITAR-TASS. Yandarbiev
told Russian TV (RTR) that "the nature of relations between the Russian
Federation and the Chechen Republic will be decided over a protracted
period ... we have a minimum of about five years." -- Liz Fuller

LEBED THREATENS TO RESIGN, YELTSIN KEEPS HIM ON. President Boris Yeltsin
met with Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed on 3 October for the
first time since 12 August. Lebed offered his resignation since Yeltsin
replaced him with Defense Council Secretary Yurii Baturin as the
chairman of the commission that approves all high-ranking military
promotions, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Yeltsin rejected Lebed's
resignation and called on him to stop quarreling with the prime minister
and state bodies. Lebed had threatened to quit on 16 August if Yeltsin
did not remove Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov but later backed down
after Yeltsin refused. In his morning radio address, Yeltsin backed
Lebed's activities in Chechnya, saying he had fulfilled an order to stop
the fighting. Resigning would boost Lebed's chances of winning the next
presidential election since he could argue that he had made a valiant
effort to resolve the Chechen conflict but that the Kremlin prevented
him from implementing it. -- Robert Orttung

LEBED STAYS AWAY FROM DEFENSE COUNCIL MEETING. Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed did not attend the first session of the
Defense Council on 4 October, Reuters reported. ITAR-TASS quoted a
source in the Security Council staff who said that Lebed is busy working
with documents from the 3 October negotiations with acting Chechen
President Yandarbiev. Yeltsin established the Defense Council on 25 July
to counter Lebed's influence over military and security issues. --
Robert Orttung

YELTSIN ISSUES BLAND STATEMENT ON OCTOBER 1993 EVENTS, COMMUNISTS
DEMONSTRATE. President Yeltsin marked on 3 October the third anniversary
of his bloody battle with the Supreme Soviet without placing blame for
the conflict in which at least 150 people died. He said that the
authorities and the opposition learned from the violence that Russia's
future depends on "political dialogue and partnership," ITAR-TASS
reported. He also claimed that there are now "precise legal mechanisms"
to prevent such a conflict. Meanwhile, Communist Party leader Gennadii
Zyuganov attended a rally of about 150 people commemorating the street
clashes that occurred around the Ostankino TV headquarters during the
crisis. Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov led a march of a few
hundred demonstrators, some carrying photographs of those killed in
1993, to the White House, which formerly housed the Supreme Soviet but
is now the government headquarters, ORT and ITAR-TASS reported. --
Robert Orttung and Laura Belin

THREE GENERALS REMOVED. President Yeltsin has sacked Col.-Gen. Yevgenii
Podkolzin, the Airborne Forces commander, Col.-Gen. Vladimir Ivanov, the
Space Forces commander, and Col.-Gen. Vladimir Zhurbenko, the first
deputy chief of the General Staff, NTV and ORT reported on 3 October.
The removals, which followed a meeting with Defense Minister Igor
Rodionov, were officially attributed to the fact that the three generals
had reached the retirement age, 60, for their rank. However, Russian law
allows for exceptions to be made to this rule, and Izvestiya on 4
October linked Podkolzin's removal to a recent Defense Ministry
announcement that the Airborne Forces personnel will be reduced from
63,000 to 48,000 by 15 December. -- Scott Parrish

NUCLEAR MISSILES TESTED IN STRATEGIC FORCES EXERCISE. As part of the
"Redut-96" strategic command and control exercise, nuclear-capable
missiles, including a RS-12m "Topol" ICBM, a submarine-launched
ballistic missile, and two air-launched cruise missiles were test-
launched on 3 October, ITAR-TASS reported. The test missiles performed
satisfactorily and hit their designated targets, according to Russian
military officials. The exercise involved the use of the "nuclear
suitcase," and was directed from General Staff headquarters by Defense
Minister Igor Rodionov, who was joined by Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin. Chernomyrdin, who is not normally in the nuclear chain-of-
command, will become acting president for the period of Yeltsin's heart
surgery, and has been increasing his involvement in military and
security affairs in recent weeks. -- Scott Parrish

BORDER GUARDS SERVICE. The head of the Federal Border Guards Service,
Gen. Andrei Nikolaev, analyzed the work of his organization in an
interview published in Vechernyaya Moskva on 2 October. His 210,000
troops, equipped with their own artillery and helicopters, guard the
borders not just of Russia but also of Belarus, Armenia, Georgia,
Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakstan. Nikolaev explained
that "we follow the 'two borders' strategy, which means that we have to
protect the national interests and guard the borders of CIS countries,
along with protecting Russia's national interests on Russia's borders."
In 1995, 1,340 people were detained on the Russian border for
trespassing and 57,000 for having incorrect documents--which are small
numbers in comparison with, for example, U.S. border detentions. --
Peter Rutland

NORTH KOREA DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN SOUTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT'S MURDER. The
North Korean Embassy in Moscow dismissed as "rubbish" reports linking
Pyongyang to the recent slaying of a South Korean diplomat in
Vladivostok, ITAR-TASS reported. Choi Duk-kun, who worked on North
Korean issues at the South Korean consulate there, was found murdered in
his apartment block on 1 October. Since the diplomat still had his
wallet when he was discovered and some witnesses reported seeing
"Asiatic" men fleeing the scene, Russian media have speculated that the
killing was ordered by Pyongyang. Izvestiya on 4 October hypothesized
that it may have been linked to Pyongyang's outrage with recent Russian
arms shipments to South Korea (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 October 1996),
but the Vladivostok Procurator's Office regards any link to North Korea
as unlikely. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA, JAPAN DISCUSS PEACE TREATY. The Russian-Japanese working group
on a peace treaty held its sixth meeting in Tokyo on 3 October, Russian
and Western media reported. The head of the Russian delegation, Deputy
Foreign Minister Grigorii Karasin, said the two sides had agreed to
continue talks on the peace treaty within the framework of the October
1993 Tokyo declaration. But he responded negatively to Japanese
proposals to fix a definite date for the resolution of the territorial
dispute over the Southern Kuril islands, the main obstacle to concluding
the treaty. Karasin reiterated the traditional Russian stand that
bilateral ties should not be held "hostage" to the territorial dispute.
The two sides did agree to intensify talks on bilateral security and
defense cooperation, and Karasin announced that Foreign Minister
Yevgenii Primakov will visit Japan in November. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA THREATENS TO UNILATERALLY DEMARCATE BORDER WITH LATVIA. If Latvia
continues to "artificially hinder" ongoing border talks, Russia will
have "no other choice" but to "mark the location of the border
unilaterally," according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii
Tarasov on 3 October. ITAR-TASS quoted Tarasov as accusing the Latvian
side of "artificially politicizing" the talks by insisting that Russia
recognize the 1920 Soviet-Latvian peace treaty, a position which Moscow
rejects. Russia claims the treaty was invalidated when Latvia joined the
Soviet Union in 1940. Riga argues that since Latvia was illegally
occupied, the treaty remains valid. Because some territory that belonged
to Latvia in 1920 was subsequently transferred to Russia, Moscow accuses
Riga of having territorial claims, which Riga denies. In June 1994,
Russia unilaterally demarcated the Soviet-era border with Estonia in a
similar dispute that remains unresolved. -- Scott Parrish

MOSCOW GOVERNMENT REJECTS CHARGES THAT POLICE BEHAVED IMPROPERLY. Moscow
government officials on 3 October refuted charges of wrongdoing by the
capital's police in an incident at a mosque on 1 October (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 3 October 1996). Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said his government had
concluded after a thorough investigation that law enforcement bodies had
not acted improperly, insisting that only one police officer--a Muslim--
had entered the mosque while OMON officers conducting a check of
identity papers remained outside. Later in the day, his first deputy,
Ernest Bakirov, refuted charges by the Russian Union of Muslims that
police had desecrated the mosque, asserting that the aim of such "an
outrageous lie" was to "destabilize the situation in Moscow," Russian
media reported. A Moscow police spokesman said the force intends to sue
for libel. Representatives of Muslim organizations said after the police
raid that believers had been insulted and beaten. -- Penny Morvant

SITUATION DETERIORATES IN FAR NORTH. The situation in the Far North of
Russia is verging on the disastrous, as stocks of fuel and food are far
too low to see residents through the winter, Izvestiya reported on 2
October. The paper said that government officials are avoiding public
discussion in the hope of "preventing panic" but a number of settlements
in Magadan, Chukotka, and the Taimyr Autonomous Okrug will almost
certainly have to be evacuated. Security Council Secretary Lebed said
last week that if urgent measures are not taken soon, the government
would have to evacuate several hundred thousand residents from the Far
North. There are also problems in the Far East. At the Zvezda nuclear
submarine repair plant at Bolshoi Kamen, for example, coal and food
stocks for the winter are only 10% of the required levels. -- Penny
Morvant

NEGLIGIBLE INFLATION IN SEPTEMBER. Russia recorded consumer price
inflation of 0.3% in September, compared to a 0.2% drop in August, ITAR-
TASS reported on 3 October. If the present trend continues, the 1996
annual rate of inflation will be only 18%. At a press conference in
Washington on 2 October marking the conclusion of talks with IMF, World
Bank, and G-7 officials, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Potanin
said that the IMF and World Bank approved the government's tight anti-
inflation policy. However, Potanin admitted that the Russian government
had failed to comply with the timetable for disbursement to the regions
of the first tranche of a $500 million loan which the World Bank granted
for restructuring the coal industry. -- Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION REJECTS OSCE CRITICISM. Central Electoral
Commission Chairman Khachatour Bezirjian on 3 October rejected as
"misleading" the report issued the day before by the OSCE/ODIHR mission
that monitored the 22 September presidential election, Reuters and NTV
reported. Bezirjian and President Levon Ter-Petrossyan's spokesman Levon
Zurabyan both argued that the OSCE report contained mathematical
inaccuracies, and that even if the 21,000 ballots that the OSCE said
were unaccounted for had all been cast in favor of opposition candidate
Vazgen Manukyan, Ter-Petrossyan would still have won more than the 50%
voted required to avoid a runoff. The Council of Europe's Parliamentary
Assembly Committee for Non-Member States plans to send a delegation to
Armenia to assess the post-election situation there, RFE/RL reported on
3 October. -- Liz Fuller

ALMATY PREPARES FOR CIS SUMMIT. On 4 October Russian and Central Asian
leaders will gather in Almaty to discuss the implications of the Taliban
victories in Afghanistan, along with other issues. Turkmenistan
announced that it would not attend the Almaty summit due to its policy
of "positive neutrality," Russian and Western media reported on 3
October. Kazakstani Security Council chief Baltash Tursumbayev said
Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed has exaggerated the
threat posed to Central Asia by Taliban successes in Afghanistan,
Nezavisimaya gazeta and RTR reported on 3 October. Tursumbayev termed
Lebed's 1 October assertion that the Taliban coveted territory in
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, including Bukhara, as "rash and lacking
foundation." -- Lowell Bezanis and Bruce Pannier

TAJIKISTAN AKS FOR AID. Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov has requested
additional support for his country in light of recent events in
Afghanistan and it appears that he will get it, ITAR-TASS reported. The
head of the Federal Border Guards Service, Gen. Andrei Nikolaev, says he
has already made proposals to the Russian leadership that are scheduled
to be discussed at the CIS summit in Almaty. Nikolaev noted that extra
measures had already been taken this summer in response to a build up of
Tajik opposition forces along the Tajik-Afghan border. Nikolaev called
upon Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan to take a more active role in defending
this border, pointing out that each country has only 500 men guarding
the border while Russia has around 4,500. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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