Fear of life in one form or another is the great thing to exorcise. - William James
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 194, Part I, 7 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

CONFUSION OVER CHECHNYA. Russian Procurator-General Yurii Skuratov said
that the August agreements signed in Khasavyurt by Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed and Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov
have no legal force, and that a formal treaty should be signed on the
division of powers between the Russian Federation and Chechnya, ITAR-
TASS reported on 4 October. On 6 October, Maskhadov told Russian Public
TV (ORT) that Chechnya would not agree to be a constituent part of
Russia; the head of the Russian government's administrative department,
Sergei Shakhrai, told NTV that Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov had
warned several ambassadors in Moscow, including those from the Baltic
states, against granting Chechnya official diplomatic recognition,
Reuters reported. Seven people were killed and 24 injured when a Russian
military helicopter crashed near Grozny on 4 October, according to ITAR-
TASS. -- Liz Fuller

LIVSHITS THREATENS TO CUT CHECHEN FINANCING. Finance Minister Aleksandr
Livshits said that financing for reconstruction work in Chechnya should
be started in five years once the republic's political status becomes
clear, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 October. many opponents of the Khasavyurt
accord have expressed their unwillingness to incude Chechnya in the
Russian Federation budget and pay for its reconstruction if the country
intends to become independent. In the meantime, Duma deputy Sergei
Shakhrai said that the parliament is working on legislation to ensure
that the money sent to Chechnya is spent on projects for which it was
intended. -- Ritsuko Sasaki and Robert Orttung

LEBED SNUBS DEFENSE COUNCIL MEETING . . . Security Council Secretary
Aleksandr Lebed did not attend the inaugural 4 October session of the
Defense Council, Russian media reported. Officially, Lebed's press
service explained his absence as the result of his ongoing "intensive"
work on the Chechen conflict. Segodnya military commentator Pavel
Felgengauer speculated that Lebed boycotted the meeting to protest
President Yeltsin's decision to replace him as head of a presidential
commission overseeing military promotions with Yurii Baturin, secretary
of the Defense Council. Lebed may also have refused to sit at the same
table with Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov, who accused him of
"treason" in a 3 October speech in the Duma. -- Scott Parrish

. . . DEFENSE COUNCIL CALLS FOR MILITARY REFORM. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin told the first meeting of the Defense Council on 4 October
that Russia's armed forces should be downsized but professionalized,
complaining that the current manpower levels, which are 20-30% in excess
of those funded by the budget, have caused chronic financial problems.
According to Segodnya on 5 October, the council agreed to reduce
military personnel, but Defense Minister Igor Rodionov insisted that the
other "power ministries," such as the Interior Ministry and the Federal
Border Service, should share in the cuts. -- Scott Parrish

RODIONOV PROMOTED. President Yeltsin promoted Defense Minister Col.-Gen.
Igor Rodionov to the rank of army general on 4 October, ITAR-TASS
reported the next day. The promotion puts an end to speculation that
Rodionov would be forced to retire in December when he turns 60, the
retirement age under current Russian law for a colonel-general. Army
generals, however, can serve until age 65. -- Scott Parrish

TARPISCHEV SACKED . . . President Yeltsin has dismissed Shamil
Tarpischev from the posts of chairman of the State Committee on Sport
and Tourism and chairman of the Presidential Coordinating Committee for
Sport and Tourism, ORT reported on 5 October. Tarpischev was Yeltsin's
tennis coach and a close friend of the president's former chief
bodyguard, Aleksandr Korzhakov, who was ousted after the first round of
the Russian presidential election. An article published in Novaya gazeta
in July, citing information from former National Sports Fund head Boris
Fedorov, accused Tarpischev of embezzlement and involvement in organized
crime. Fedorov charged Korzhakov and former Federal Security Service
Director Mikhail Barsukov with covering up Tarpischev's crimes. -- Penny
Morvant

. . . CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AGAINST KORZHAKOV RENEWED. The day after
Tarpischev was sacked, Fedorov renewed his attacks on Korzhakov, Reuters
and AFP reported, citing NTV. Fedorov claimed that Korzhakov had accused
him of embezzling $300 million belonging to the Sports Fund and that
Korzhakov's deputy, Col. Valerii Streletskii, the new head of the fund,
had subsequently told him to pay $40 million to avoid prosecution. He
quoted Streletskii, who resigned in August, as saying: "This is a state
racket. You must understand that the steam roller is moving." Fedorov
denied stealing from the fund and said he had not paid the bribe.
Several days after the conversation with Streletskii, Fedorov was
seriously injured in an assassination attempt. The allegations coincide
with speculation by Pavel Felgengauer and others that Korzhakov may form
an alliance with Security Council Secretary Lebed, using information
acquired while he was head of the Presidential Security Service to
further his political ambitions. -- Penny Morvant

DUMA TAKES AIM AT ORT, JOURNALISTS RETURN FIRE. The State Duma passed by
a vote of 233 to 54 a non-binding resolution calling for the
renationalization of 51% state-owned Russian Public TV (ORT), Russian
media reported on 4 October. The resolution charged that news coverage
on both ORT and the state-owned Russian TV (RTR) network is biased and
unfairly portrays Duma deputies as irresponsible. The resolution is the
latest in a series of failed efforts by parliament to nationalize ORT,
informally known as "the president's television" because of its slanted
coverage. -- Laura Belin

PPOSITION MARCHES TO WHITE HOUSE TO COMMEMORATE 1993 EVENTS. Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov led a peaceful march of more than a
thousand people to commemorate the anniversary of the shelling of the
White House on 4 October 1993, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 October. The
march ended at the White House, which in 1993 housed the Supreme Soviet
but is currently the headquarters of the government. The most prominent
opposition leaders from 1993, including then-Supreme Soviet chairman
Ruslan Khasbulatov, did not take part in the march. -- Laura Belin

LEBED FLIPS-FLOPS AGAIN ON NATO. On the eve of his scheduled 7-8 October
visit to NATO headquarters, Security Council Secretary Lebed continued
to issue contradictory statements on NATO expansion. In a interview with
Der Spiegel published on 7 October, Lebed denounced NATO expansion as
"unacceptable," adding that if the alliance "pushed up to the Russian
border," Moscow would be forced to alter its military stance. Arriving
in Belgium on 6 October, however, Lebed declared that he intended to
establish a "constructive" and "civilized" dialogue with NATO (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 2 October 1996). -- Scott Parrish

RUNOFF FORECAST FOR KALININGRAD. Preliminary returns from the 6 October
Kaliningrad Oblast election show that there will be a runoff between
Governor Yurii Matochkin and Leonid Gorbenko, the head of the
Kaliningrad port, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 October. Matochkin won about
31% of the vote to Gorbenko's 22%, while the Communist candidate, Yurii
Semenov, won only negligible support. Turnout was reported at around
44%. On the eve of the election, Defense Minister Rodionov visited the
oblast, which has a heavy military presence, but claimed that he was not
involved in the campaign, ORT reported on 5 October. Kommersant-Daily
suggested, however, that his visit could help the incumbent. -- Robert
Orttung

INCUMBENT LOSES IN KIROV, WINS IN VOLOGDA. Duma deputy Vladimir
Sergeenkov, backed by the Communist-led Popular-Patriotic Union, won
about 40% of the vote in Kirov Oblast on 6 October, ITAR-TASS reported,
citing preliminary results. He will face Gennadii Shtin, the chairman of
the oblast Council of Economic Managers, in the runoff. The incumbent
Vasilii Desyatnikov, appointed to the post on 11 December 1991, won only
17.5% even though the oblast supported President Yeltsin in the 1996
presidential election. Turnout was 50.13%. Vologda Governor Vyacheslav
Pozgalev won more than 80% of the vote in his race. Yeltsin appointed
him governor on 23 March, after his predecessor, Nikolai Podgornov, was
removed on corruption charges. -- Robert Orttung

DUMA DENOUNCES LATVIA. The Duma passed a resolution on 4 October urging
the Russian government to impose economic sanctions on Latvia in
retaliation for what the chamber sees as the country's discriminatory
practices against its Russian minority, ITAR-TASS reported. The
resolution also asserted that "certain circles" in the Latvian
government are deliberately trying to aggravate Russian-Latvian
relations and stir up hatred between the Russian and Latvian peoples,
citing the 22 August resolution of the Latvian parliament on Latvia's
occupation by Soviet troops in 1940 as an example. -- Scott Parrish

ENERGY SECTOR STABILIZATION PROGRAM SIGNED IN PRIMORE. First Deputy
Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov, head of a government commission
looking into the energy crisis in Primore, has approved a program to
stabilize the situation in the region, ORT reported on 5 November. It
orders Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko to ensure that at
least 54 billion rubles ($10 million) is available each month to pay
miners' and power workers' wages. The federal government will transfer
43.4 billion rubles a month to pay wages as compensation for the Defense
Ministry's debts to power suppliers and arrange for the emergency
delivery of coal and fuel oil. Several federal bodies have been ordered
to pay their debts to the region's defense enterprises. The agreement is
a compromise between Nazdratenko and the central government, which have
accused each other of causing the crisis. -- Penny Morvant

BUDGET UNDER ATTACK IN DUMA. Mikhail Zadornov, the head of the Duma
Budget Committee, said that the government's draft budget for 1997 will
almost certainly be rejected in the first reading, ORT reported on 5
October. The Duma started discussing the draft on 3 October. Many
deputies questioned the value of debating the 1997 budget when the
government is failing to make payments in accordance with the 1996
budget, and called for procedural changes to increase the Duma's role in
budget implementation. There were also calls from many sides for an
expansionary budget that would stimulate economic growth. Deputies were
disturbed that the budget envisioned only 1% growth in GDP in 1997. In
an address to the president's Political Consultative Council on 5
October, Finance Minister Aleksandr Livshits defended the draft budget.
Yurii Skokov, a council member, called for a nationwide referendum on
the government's economic policy. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

EU DELEGATION CANCELS ARMENIA VISIT. An EU delegation has canceled its
scheduled trip to Armenia due to "security concerns" following last
month's Armenian presidential election, the head of the EU Transcaucasus
and Central Asia Department, Fokion Fotiadis, told Reuters on 5 October.
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Lenser Aghalovyan and
Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union leader Aghasi Arshakyan have been
released from custody, according to Noyan Tapan. They were detained in
Yerevan after the 25 September attack on the parliament building. Ayzhm,
the newspaper of defeated presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan's
National Democratic Union, resumed publication on 4 October,
presidential spokesman Levon Zurabyan told OMRI the same day. -- Liz
Fuller

AZERBAIJAN'S PARLIAMENT RATIFIES SHAH DENIZ CONTRACT. Azerbaijan's Milli
Mejlis on 4 October finally ratified the contract signed in early June
between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and a consortium
consisting of Russia's LUKoil, BP, Norway's Statoil, Turkey's TPAO, Elf
Aquitaine, and the National Iranian Oil Company, Turan and ITAR-TASS
reported. Shah Deniz contains an estimated 500 billion cubic meters of
gas, 190 million metric tons of oil, and 200 million metric tons of gas
condensate. Seven opposition deputies from the Azerbaijani Popular Front
and Azerbaijani Party of National Independence argued unsuccessfully
against ratifying the deal until a more detailed discussion can be held
on the contract. -- Liz Fuller

GEORGIA, EU SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli
Menagharishvili and the head of a 15-person EU delegation signed an
interim trade agreement on 4 October, Reuters reported. Delegation head
Francois Lamoureux said that talks with the Georgian government had also
focused on a $2.5 million assistance package aimed at helping Georgia
prepare for WTO membership. -- Liz Fuller

UZBEKISTAN GIVES RUSSIA SANITARIUM. Uzbekistan is to hand over a
sanitarium on the Black Sea to Russia as payment for part of its debts
to that country, ORT reported on 4 October. The 500-bed sanitarium in
Sochi is worth an estimated 16.6 billion rubles ($3 million) and will be
used by the Russian Interior Ministry. -- Lowell Bezanis

CIS MEETING ON AFGHANISTAN. Strong words were used at a 4 October
meeting in Almaty of the presidents of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
in discussion of the situation in Afghanistan. However, the participants
seemed to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward the Afghan conflict.
Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed concern that the
conflict is approaching the CIS border, and condemned the human rights
violations that followed the Taliban ascension to power, ORT reported.
But Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev claimed it would be a mistake to
repeat the Soviet experience by interfering directly in Afghan internal
affairs. Uzbek President Islam Karimov's motion calling for open support
of General Abdurrashid Dostum forces in northern Afghanistan was voted
down. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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