Ошибаться - человечно, прощать - божественно. - А. Поп

No. 197, Part I, 10 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

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: annual@omri.cz


FEDOROV FILES SUIT AGAINST KORZHAKOV. . . Boris Fedorov, former chairman
of the National Sports Fund, has formally accused Aleksandr Korzhakov of
trying to extort $40 million from him, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 9 October citing the Procurator General's Office. Fedorov
first made the charge publicly in television interviews over the weekend
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 October 1996). In an interview with Izvestiya,
Col. Valerii Streletskii, one of the men implicated by Fedorov, rejected
the latter's allegations. He contended that Fedorov was backed by
presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais who was trying to prevent
an alliance between Korzhakov and Lebed. Speculation has been rife that
Lebed wants access to the money and information Korzhakov accumulated as
head of the Presidential Security Service. Moskovskii komsomolets quoted
anonymous sources as saying Korzhakov would bring a libel suit against
Fedorov. -- Penny Morvant

. . . KORZHAKOV ATTACKS BEREZOVSKII. In an interview with the magazine
Litsa (no. 4), Korzhakov alleged that in 1993 Boris Berezovskii,
currently deputy chairman of the board of Russian Public Television
(ORT), sought to persuade him to arrange the assassination of Vladimir
Gusinskii, the head of Most Bank and Berezovskii's business rival. He
claimed that Berezovskii told him incredible stories about Gusinskii and
said he began to wonder whether Berezovskii was mad. Berezovskii is
thought to have been instrumental in the publication of the July Novaya
gazeta article accusing Korzhakov and the former sports committee
chairman, Shamil Tarpishchev, of corruption and involvement in organized
crime. In an interview with Komsomolskaya pravda, Gusinskii said he did
not believe the allegations, noting that Berezovskii had himself
survived an attempt on his life. -- Penny Morvant

LEBED WARMS TO NATO. On leaving Brussels on 9 October after his
"unofficial visit," Lebed said that "Russia's passivity in relation to
NATO" had left it on the periphery of constructing the "new architecture
of European security" and deprived it of influence, ITAR-TASS reported.
Lebed called for more active involvement with NATO, noting that Russia
has few other levers for influencing the alliance, and that the
organization is not a "monolithic unity." The Duma invited Security
Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed to explain his position on NATO
expansion at its 11 October session, NTV reported. Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party faction initiated the invitation
because it wants Lebed to be firmer in opposing NATO expansion. --
Robert Orttung

VOTERS TRUST LEBED. A VTsIOM poll conducted in September for Segodnya
asked voters to name politicians they trust, Reuters reported on 10
October. Aleksandr Lebed topped the list with 40%, followed by Gennadi
Zyuganov with 16%, Viktor Chernomyrdin 14%, Grigorii Yavlinskii 12%,
Boris Yeltsin 11%, and Yurii Luzhkov 7%. Before leaving Brussels Lebed
was asked by ORT whether his position as Security Council Secretary gave
him sufficient power to carry out his objectives, such as "putting
relations with NATO on a civilized basis." He replied "It does. Nobody
ever gives anybody any power. It is only taken." -- Peter Rutland

RODIONOV VISITS FAR EAST. Defense Minister Igor Rodionov traveled to
Kamchatka and Vladivostok to check the battle-readiness of the Far
Eastern Military District and the Pacific Fleet, ITAR-TASS reported on
10 October. In Kamchatka, Rodionov met with Governor Vladimir Biryukov,
who is contending the region's 17 November election, and said that there
would be no "sweeping cuts" in military personnel deployed there. The
two discussed paying the military's debt to local energy companies,
supplying housing to servicemen and retirees, and closer cooperation
with the local government. Kommersant-Daily reported on 9 October that
Rodionov has now cast his lot with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
and left his erstwhile patron Aleksandr Lebed. -- Robert Orttung

RADUEV RESURFACES; CHECHEN ROUNDUP. Chechen field commander Salman
Raduev, who led the hostage-taking attack on Kizlyar in January 1996,
intends to run for mayor in Gudermes, the second largest town in
Chechnya, NTV and Ekho Moskvy reported on 9 October. Acting President
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev plans to hold local elections across the republic
within two months of 20 October, when the Russian troop withdrawal from
Chechnya is scheduled to finish. In other news, the new Chechen
coalition government, which includes three ministers from the government
of pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev, will be comprised
primarily of economists rather than professional politicians, according
to ORT and Ekho Moskvy. Meanwhile, a Chechen government spokesman has
condemned the confiscation by Russian customs officials at the Russian-
Ukrainian frontier of 5,000 copies of Yandarbiev's memoirs,
Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 9 October. -- Liz Fuller

claims against its neighbors and rejects all such claims against it by
neighboring states, according to a document issued by President Yeltsin
on 9 October, ITAR-TASS reported. In addition to "mutual respect for the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and the inviolability of
borders," the document calls for the peaceful settlement of all border
conflicts. Russia has unresolved border disputes with China and Japan
and has accused Estonia and Latvia of having territorial claims against
it, although the Baltic countries deny the charge. -- Laura Belin

RUTSKOI'S DAY IN COURT POSTPONED. The presidium of the Supreme Court
delayed for one week its review of former Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi's appeal against the Kursk Oblast electoral commission, Radio
Rossii and ORT reported on 9 October. Rutskoi was denied registration
for the 20 October Kursk gubernatorial election on the grounds that he
did not meet a residency requirement (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11, 16 and
27 September 1996). He has already lost appeals to an oblast court and
the Supreme Court. Even if the court's presidium finds in favor of
Rutskoi next week, he will have just three days left to campaign. Still,
Rutskoi, a Kursk native, is considered the favorite if he is allowed to
compete. His Derzhava party gained about 30% of the vote in Kursk in the
December 1995 parliamentary election, despite winning only about 2.5%
support nationwide. -- Laura Belin

intends to put inspectors on 24-hour duty at enterprises producing
alcoholic beverages from 1 November in an attempt to improve the
collection of excise duties, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 October. About 4
trillion rubles ($740 million) in duties were collected in the first
eight months of this year--less than half the planned amount. The
service also recommended raising the minimum price for strong Russian
spirits from the current 18,400 rubles a liter. The same day, the
European Commission urged the Russian government to rethink its decision
to impose quotas on the import of vodka in 1997. The commission said the
limit--100 million liters of vodka and 10 million liters of ethanol--
would harm EU producers, who exported 200 million liters of spirits to
Russia in 1995, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported. -- Penny Morvant

call, on 9 October police detonated in a controlled explosion a bomb
containing 500 grams of TNT which had been planted in a St. Petersburg
railway station, ITAR-TASS reported. The bomber reportedly left a note
demanding $100,000. -- Peter Rutland

MINE DISCOVERED AT ROSVOORUZHENIE. Security guards found a OZM-72 anti-
personnel mine at the Rosvooruzhenie arms export company central office
in Moscow on 8 October, Moskovskii komsomolets reported. The mine was
found near the office of General Director Aleksandr Kotelkin. A
statement released by the company's press service linked the incident to
what it called a smear campaign against the company's management in the
mass media. It added that there have been several attempts on Kotelkin's
life since he took over as director in 1994 and that other officials
have been threatened after excluding "a number of semi-criminal
structures" from the arms trade, ITAR-TASS reported. Moskovskii
komsomolets noted that specialists had found that the mine was
"incomplete," while Izvestiya cited a police officer as saying the mine
was a dummy. -- Penny Morvant

RUSSIA'S DEMOGRAPHIC DECLINE. An article in Pravda-5 on October 9 noted
that average life expectancy in Russia had fallen to 64 years by the end
of 1995, 58 years for men and 70 years for women. It paid particular
attention to the fate of middle-aged men, noting that mortality rates
for men aged 40 to 44 had climbed from 7.6 per 1,000 in 1990 to 15.2 in
1995. In the age group from 55 to 59, the paper said, mortality rates
had climbed from 23.4 and 36.2. The paper attributed the deterioration
in Russia's demographic indicators to environmental pollution and the
increase in unemployment, poverty, crime, and drug addiction. -- Penny


Baku on 9 October, Terry Adams, chairman of the Azerbaijani
International Operating Committee (which represents the consortium of
international oil companies formed to exploit three Caspian oil fields),
said that the first oil deliveries from the Chirag field would begin
flowing north through Russia to Novorossiisk on 28 August 1997, ITAR-
TASS reported. When the consortium signed the "deal of the century" with
Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR in October 1994, it was anticipated
that the first "early oil" would begin to flow in 1996. -- Liz Fuller

committee organizing an international conference of the Lezgin people--
the ethnic group whose traditional homeland is now divided between
Azerbaijan and Dagestan--have called for an immediate dialogue with the
Russian and Azerbaijani governments "in order to preclude acts of
violence," Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 9 October. They have also
appealed to the two countries to alleviate the plight of families
prevented from visiting each other by the strict controls currently in
force on the Russian-Azerbaijani frontier, and they called on the
Azerbaijani leadership to abandon its policy of discrimination against
the Lezgin minority. The Congress of the Lezgin People is scheduled to
take place in Moscow in January 1997. -- Liz Fuller

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ARMENIA. Herve de Charette met with Armenian
President Levon Ter-Petrossyan on 9 October for the first-ever visit by
a French foreign minister to Armenia, AFP reported. De Charette said his
country is ready to help Armenia and Azerbaijan settle their dispute
over Nagorno-Karabakh. France is a member of a 10-nation OSCE Minsk
group involved in seeking peace in the troubled region. Ter-Petrossyan
and de Charette also discussed the possibility of boosting France's
current 3.5% share in Armenia's foreign trade and French assistance in
Armenia's plans to build a new atomic plant. Although defeated
presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan expressed a desire to meet with
de Charette, it is not clear if the meeting will take place. -- Emil

KAZAKSTAN'S FIFTH-LARGEST BANK CLOSES. The National Bank of Kazakstan on
4 October announced the bankruptcy of KRAMDS-Bank and annulled its
license, Kazakstani media reported. National Bank Deputy Chairman
Grigorii Marchenko said that the bank had a 2 billion tenge ($30
million) negative balance, had violated credit regulations, and had
wasted money on the construction of luxury bank offices. The National
Bank will fully reimburse individual depositors, though no decision has
yet been made about business clients. Among the latter was the capital's
major bakery, Almaty-Nan, whose operations were paralyzed by the loss of
$500,000 blocked in its KRAMDS account. The bankruptcy echoed in Moscow,
where the Moscow Inter-Bank Currency Exchange has frozen all trading
operations with tenge, Kazakstan's currency, because its account in
KRAMDS-Bank is now blocked as well. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

Ministry announced on 10 October that the country's grain harvest
yielded enough "not only to fully meet all the republic's requirements,
but also to export large amounts of grain," ITAR-TASS reported. More
than 11.5 million metric tons have already been thrashed which is an
increase of 1.5 million tons over last year's figure. -- Bruce Pannier

UZBEK MEDIA SHOOTS BACK. Uzbek media has lashed out at what it deems to
be the Russian media's recent slanderous coverage of Uzbekistan, RFE/RL
reported on 10 October. The usually cautious Uzbek media was responding
to a number of articles that appeared in late September in Izvestiya,
Nezavisimaya gazeta, and Komsomolskaya pravda pointing to corruption and
political repression in Uzbekistan. The Russian press was also charged
with wrongly accusing Tashkent of allying itself with Afghan General
Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, to seize territory from
Tajikistan. The Uzbek media said the "hostile coverage" was aimed at
Russia's efforts to play "big brother" in the region. -- Lowell Bezanis

Kyrgyzstan's only independent newspaper, Res Publica, was not published
by the state publishing house on 9 October, RFE/RL reported. The
publishing house, Uchkun, claimed Res Publica has a debt of 10,000 som
(about $800) and so refused to print the edition. The editorial staff of
the paper responded that the government daily newspaper Slovo
Kyrgyzstana owes 370,000 som (about $30,000) but continues to be
printed. Editor in Chief Zamira Sydykova told OMRI in September that the
paper frequently has problems with the Uchkun printing house. -- Bruce
Pannier and Naryn Idinov

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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