He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 204, Part I, 21 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

YELTSIN NAMES RYBKIN TO REPLACE LEBED. President Boris Yeltsin named
former Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin as Security Council secretary and
presidential representative in Chechnya on 19 October, ITAR-TASS
reported. Rybkin stressed that he would maintain "continuity" with
former Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed's policies in
Chechnya. Although Rybkin was elected speaker by the opposition, he
quickly became a loyal Yeltsin ally. After the pro-government Our Home
is Russia backed him in an unsuccessful attempt to retain the
speakership, Yeltsin named him as head of his Political Consultative
Council. Lebed charged that Rybkin could not secure the country's
security and that he would turn the Security Council into "a quiet,
bureaucratic office" that will not make waves. Political Scientist
Andrannik Migranyan told Radio Rossii that Rybkin seeks to please
everyone and that therefore the Security Council will lose its
influence. -- Robert Orttung

CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF SACKED. Yeltsin removed Army General Mikhail
Kolesnikov and replaced him with Army General Viktor Samsonov, 54,
previously head of the CIS military cooperation staff, ITAR-TASS
reported on 18 October. Simultaneously, Yeltsin nominated Kolesnikov to
replace Samsonov, subject to approval by the CIS heads of state council.
Samsonov served with Defense Minister Igor Rodionov in the former
Transcaucasian Military District in 1988-89. As commander of the
Leningrad Military District in August 1991, Samsonov initially supported
the hardline coup plotters, declaring a state of emergency in St.
Petersburg and dispatching tanks to the city. He later reversed course
under pressure from the city's mayor, Anatolii Sobchak. Samsonov briefly
served as Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces in
December 1991, before holding several CIS military posts. -- Scott
Parrish

MASKHADOV CONFIRMED AS INTERIM CHECHEN PRIME MINISTER. Senior Russian
government officials expressed satisfaction on 18 October at the
nomination of Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov as interim Chechen prime
minister and minister of defense, ITAR-TASS reported. At its first
meeting in Argun on 19 October, the new coalition government discussed
preparations for the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held
on 27 January 1997 and for the coming winter. Maskhadov told journalists
that if asked he would consider running for president. The Chechen
separatist leadership has welcomed assurances that newly appointed
Russian Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin will continue to
implement the peace agreement concluded by his predecessor. On 20
October--the deadline for the withdrawal from Chechnya of Russian
forces--Maskhadov met with the acting commander of the Russian forces,
Gen. Vladimir Sukhoruchenko. Meanwhile, a search is underway in Chechnya
for Aslanbek Khasbulatov, professor of history at Grozny University and
elder brother of Ruslan, who disappeared on 14 October, Ekho Moskvy
reported. -- Liz Fuller

DUMA FAILS TO PASS LAW ON CHECHNYA FUNDS. The Russian State Duma on 18
October failed on the first reading to pass a draft law on interim
financing for Chechnya pending the formation of "legitimate organs of
power" there, ITAR-TASS reported. The law would have frozen payments
from the federal budget and from individual Russian ministries to the
Chechen government, and was intended to preclude a recurrence of the
widespread misappropriation of funds allocated in 1995 for
reconstruction. On 20 October acting Chechen President Zelimkhan
Yandarbiev accused the Russian leadership of delaying the peace process
and failing to pay for Chechen reconstruction. He also criticized the
recently created Russian-Chechen joint commission that is to coordinate
reconstruction, saying that "it talks a lot but does nothing concrete,"
AFP reported. -- Liz Fuller

OPPOSITION DUMA DEPUTIES SUPPORT LEBED OUSTER . . . Opposition deputies
in the State Duma agreed with the decision to fire Aleksandr Lebed.
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov said, "We have always insisted
that we should have one government, not three," while a close ally,
Culture Committee Chairman Stanislav Govorukhin, said Lebed's dismissal
had somewhat "reconciled" him with the current authorities, because
Lebed had demonstrated "what a frightening face the other could have,"
NTV and Russian TV (RTR) reported on 18 October. The Yabloko faction
wanted to formally ask Yeltsin to fire Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov, whose accusations immediately precipitated Lebed's ouster, but
their plea was rejected by the Duma. -- Laura Belin

. . . BUT ALSO TAKE AIM AT CHUBAIS. Even as they welcomed Lebed's
dismissal, opposition Duma deputies still appeared concerned about the
power held by presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais. On 18
October the Duma approved a motion put forward by Legislation Committee
Chairman Anatolii Lukyanov of the Communist faction, which asked the
Constitutional Court to examine a recent presidential decree creating an
emergency commission on tax collection, Russian Public TV (ORT)
reported. That decree has been viewed as strengthening Chubais'
authority in economic matters. On 16 October, Communist Duma deputies
asked the Central Electoral Commission and the Procurator-General's
Office to investigate allegations published in Sovetskaya Rossiya that
President Yeltsin's reelection campaign illegally funneled millions of
dollars to politicians and media outlets sympathetic to the president
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 October 1996). Chubais was an important
figure in the Yeltsin campaign. -- Laura Belin

RUTSKOI ELECTED GOVERNOR OF KURSK. Former Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi was elected governor of his native Kursk region on 20 October.
Rutskoi gathered 78.9% of the vote, ITAR-TASS reported. Rutskoi was
registered as a candidate only on 17 October after the presidium of the
Supreme Court overruled the decision of the Kursk Electoral Commission
to disqualify him because he did not meet residence requirements.
Rutskoi easily defeated his main opponent, incumbent Governor Vasilii
Shuteev (who got 17.9%) even after the oblast Duma turned down his plea
to postpone the vote for a week to give him time to campaign. Rutskoi
was helped by the fact that the Communist and Agrarian Party candidates
withdrew in his favor on the eve of the election, since those parties
have performed well in Kursk in recent elections. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

GOVERNORS' ELECTION RESULTS. Leonid Gorbenko defeated incumbent
Kaliningrad Governor Yurii Matochkin in a runoff race on 20 October with
43% turnout. Matochkin had the strong support of Yeltsin's
administration. In the Kirov Oblast, Communist-backed Duma member
Vladimir Sergeenkov won 51% of the vote in a runoff with 54% turnout.
The incumbent did not even make it to the second round there. In Pskov,
Governor Vladislav Tumanov now faces a runoff against Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia Duma Deputy Yevgenii Mikhailov. Incumbent Igor
Farkhutdinov won his race in Sakhalin Oblast, as did Governor Nikolai
Volkov in Birobidzhan (the Jewish Autonomous Oblast). Thus the
opposition won two races outright on 20 October (Kursk and Kirov), while
the administration took Sakhalin and Birobidzhan, bringing the total
since the Saratov elections to six for the administration, four for the
opposition, and one anti-incumbent victory for an independent. -- Robert
Orttung

CIS PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN MOSCOW. CIS heads of government discussed
economic, political, and military integration at an 18 October meeting,
Russian media reported. Before the session, Russian Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin told ITAR-TASS that "incomplete" economic reform in
some CIS states was hampering the process of economic integration.
Nevertheless, Chernomyrdin declared in an address to the session that a
new model of "post-Soviet," or "Eurasian" integration is now "an
accomplished fact." Kommersant-Daily on 19 October termed the
establishment of a new CIS financial-industrial group, "Granit," the
meeting's most important decision. Officially slated to produce
equipment for the joint CIS air defense, the paper speculated that the
firm will engage in international arms sales, circumventing the scandal-
plagued Russian monopoly Rosvooruzhenie. -- Scott Parrish

U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY IN SEVERODVINSK. William Perry visited
Severodvinsk (Arkhangelsk Oblast) on 18 October and witnessed the
scrapping of a Yankee-class nuclear missile submarine under the
provisions of the START I arms control agreement, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Some 40 submarines have already been scrapped. Perry
later expressed "optimism" that Russia will ratify START II. Most
Russian media, however, concluded that Perry's visit and speech in the
Duma had done little to bolster the treaty's chances of ratification.
Nezavismya Gazeta said some Duma deputies regarded Perry's visit as a
"complete flop," while Segodnya complained that Perry had "demanded"
ratification rather than merely "urging" it. -- Scott Parrish

MOST ARMY VOLUNTEERS ARE WOMEN. Currently there are 230,000 contract
soldiers, making up 15% of the Russian army, and their number is
unlikely to rise above 30% before the year 2000, according to an article
in Segodnya on 17 October. A 30 November 1992 government decree
stipulated that volunteers should account for 10% of the army in 1993,
rising to 50% by 2000. However, more than half the volunteers are women,
mostly military wives, and the authors argue that "the army needs, first
of all, men." Many volunteers quit before the end of their term and many
are fired for poor performance--26,000 in 1993, 33,000 in 1994, and
46,000 in 1995. Volunteers currently earn 400,000 to 800,000 rubles
($75-150) a month. On 16 May President Yeltsin issued a decree calling
for Russia to shift to an all-volunteer force: the plan was greeted with
skepticism by most military officials. -- Peter Rutland

GAS, ELECTRICITY PRICES FROZEN. President Yeltsin signed a decree on 18
October freezing electricity and natural gas prices at their current
level until the end of the year, ITAR-TASS reported. On 8 October Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin had told the Federation Council that such a move
was in preparation. Radio Rossii also reported on 19 October that the
decree instructs the Federal Energy Commission to cut the price of
electricity from 1 November. The freeze is a response to the debt crisis
facing many regional power generation companies, and comes in the face
of pressure from the IMF to liberalize energy prices. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

UN DENIES ALLEGED SUPPORT FOR ABKHAZ ELECTIONS. The Political Department
of the UN has issued a statement denying that Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali's special envoy for Abkhazia, Edouard Brunner, expressed
"support" for the parliamentary elections to be held in Abkhazia on 23
November, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 October, quoting the Georgian Foreign
Ministry. Republic of Abkhazia Radio as monitored by the BBC quoted
Brunner on 11 October as stating that "when a parliament has run its
term ... it has to be renewed" and implying that ethnic Georgian
refugees from Abkhazia should be permitted to participate in the vote.
The Abkhaz Supreme Soviet in exile in Tbilisi denounced Brunner's
statement and demanded his replacement. -- Liz Fuller

LUKOIL DISCUSSES NEW CONTRACT WITH AZERBAIJAN. The president and vice
president of LUKoil held talks in Baku on 19 October with Azerbaijan's
state oil company SOCAR and President Heidar Aliev on the joint
exploitation of the Inam off-shore Caspian deposit, which has known
reserves of 120-150 million metric tons, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported.
LUKoil wants a 50% share in the project. Speaking at a press conference
in Baku on 19 October, Aliev mentioned as additional spheres for
cooperation with LUKoil the creation of a joint insurance company and of
a company for the overhaul of floating oil rigs. -- Liz Fuller

KAZAKSTAN, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON ENERGY. Kazakstani Prime Minister
Akezhan Kazhegeldin signed seven bilateral agreements with his Russian
counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin in Moscow on 18 October, ITAR-TASS
reported. The agreements cover a range of issues from rental of military
complexes in Kazakstan to the avoidance of double taxation. Also on 18
October, the Kazakstani government approved a resolution allowing
regional heads in six northern regions to make their own deals for
electricity supplies from Russia. Supplies to these regions were cut off
in August because of Kazakstan's unpaid bills, amounting to over $400
million. In exchange for supplies of electricity, the northern regions
are sending grain to Russia. -- Bruce Pannier

PAKISTAN'S PRESIDENT VISITS UZBEKISTAN. Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on 20
October concluded a three-day visit to Uzbekistan, where he met
President Islam Karimov and other government officials, ITAR-TASS
reported. The two leaders signed several agreements, ranging from anti-
drug trafficking cooperation to joint-venture trading. According to
Uzbek TV on 18 October, bilateral trade is restricted because of the
blockage of transport routes across Afghanistan. Trade between
Uzbekistan and Pakistan stood at $12.7 million for the first six months
of 1996, up from $11.6 million for all of 1995. -- Roger Kangas

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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