CHelovek nikogda ne byvaet tak neschasten, kak emu kazhetsya, ili tak schastliv, kak emu hochetsya. - F. Laroshfuko

No. 209, Part I, 29 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:


YELTSIN CANCELS ALL MEETINGS. In order to undergo a series of tests in
preparation for his heart surgery, President Boris Yeltsin has canceled
all meetings for the coming week, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 29
October, citing presidential spokesman Sergeii Yastrzhembskii. A date
has not yet been set for the surgery, though Sergei Mironov, one of
Yeltsin's main doctors, told Komsomolskaya pravda on 29 October that it
could be anytime from mid-November to early-December. -- Robert Orttung

Yeltsin instructed the head of the Federal Protection Service to prepare
documents for the dismissal from the armed forces of former top
presidential bodyguard Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, Russian and Western
media reported on 28 October. According to spokesman Sergei
Yastrzhembskii, Korzhakov slandered the president and his family and
disclosed confidential information he acquired as Yeltsin's bodyguard.
Korzhakov has recently threatened to release compromising material on
his opponents and has accused Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais of seizing
power with the help of Yeltsin's daughter. Citing military legal
experts, Izvestiya reported on 29 October that stripping Korzhakov of
his military rank in the security service "will not be easy." -- Laura

KORZHAKOV KEEPS UP ATTACK. In an interview published in the German
weekly Der Spiegel on 28 October, Korzhakov repeated his allegations
that Yeltsin's doctors warned as early as May that the president should
not work more than a few hours each day and might not survive the
presidential campaign, Reuters reported. He also accused the president's
daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, of controlling the flow of information to
the president. Dyachenko reportedly advised her father to fire
Korzhakov. -- Laura Belin

PREMIER MAKES UNUSUAL TV APPEARANCE. Viktor Chernomyrdin discussed his
personal life in an NTV interview on 28 October, ITAR-TASS reported. The
usually dour prime minister was shown relaxing with his family and
driving his car, Reuters reported. The prime minister played a Russian
folk song on the accordion and said he "noticed beautiful women" but
lacked time for anything else. The robust Chernomyrdin seems to be
presenting a new side of himself to Russian voters as Yeltsin's ability
to carry out his duties remains uncertain. -- Robert Orttung

CHUBAIS CALLS FOR DISCIPLINE. Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii
Chubais called for the establishment of a "dictatorship inside the
government" to facilitate democracy in society, Radio Mayak reported on
27 October. Chubais claimed that Security Council Secretary Aleksandr
Lebed was fired because he had spoken out about disagreements within
Russia's leadership, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. On 26 October,
Chubais tried to show solidarity with his former foe, Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov, a crucial member of Yeltsin's team, by jointly attending a
ceremony marking the construction of a new advanced submarine in
Severodvinsk, but neither could land at the airport due to heavy fog,
Izvestiya reported on 29 October. -- Robert Orttung

RYBKIN MEETS CHECHEN LEADERS . . . Russian Security Council Secretary
Ivan Rybkin met acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev and
Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov on 27 October in Nazran,
Ingushetiya and held "fruitful" talks on the withdrawal of the remaining
Russian forces from Chechnya and an exchange of prisoners, Russian and
Western agencies reported. Rybkin also gave the Chechens draft Duma
decrees on conditions for an amnesty for Chechen fighters and for the
creation of a special economic zone in Chechnya, according to ITAR-TASS.
After returning to Moscow on 28 October and discussing the Chechen
situation with Viktor Chernomyrdin, Rybkin stated that elections could
be held in Chechnya in January 1997 only if the demilitarization process
is completed. -- Liz Fuller

. . . WHILE CHECHEN CONGRESS GATHERS. 1,500 delegates gathered in Grozny
for the All-National Congress of the Chechen People on 27 October to
discuss the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for
January 1997, but then adjourned to Urus Martan after a bomb scare.
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev told delegates that Chechnya's independence is non-
negotiable, AFP reported. Meanwhile, the Russian State Duma expressed
concern on 25 October at the ongoing violations of the Chechen
demilitarization agreements by illegal armed groups and at the failure
to create a Chechen coalition government representing all political
factions, NTV reported. Deputy Prime Minister Ruslan Khutaev, however,
told Radio Rossii that his talks on the coalition government with Rybkin
on 25 October "reached complete agreement." -- Liz Fuller

DUMA BLASTS NATO ENLARGEMENT. The State Duma adopted a resolution by a
307-0 vote warning that enlargement of NATO could trigger a "serious
crisis" resembling the dispute between NATO and the Warsaw Pact over
intermediate-range nuclear missiles in the 1980s, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 25 October. The resolution argued that
"competition" between prospective NATO members in Eastern Europe could
have unpredictable consequences, and claimed that Poland, the Czech
Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia would face "catastrophic" military
expenditures of some $100 billion by 2010 if they join the alliance. --
Scott Parrish

threatened in an anonymous 17 October protest letter did not materialize
(see OMRI Daily Digest , 18 October 1996), some 30 senior officers
protested wage arrears in the parking lot of the General Staff building
in Moscow, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 26 October. The paper said
the Defense Ministry now owes 25 trillion rubles ($4.6 billion) in back
wages, while ITAR-TASS reported that payment of August salaries began
last week. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov renewed on 25
October his warnings that these financial problems could lead to
"uncontrollable developments." He said the military needs an extra 20
trillion rubles for 1996, and that the latest draft 1997 budget was
insufficient. -- Scott Parrish

Constitutional Court ruled on 28 October that if a criminal case is
closed before going to court, the accused cannot be presumed guilty,
ITAR-TASS reported. In addition, criminal proceedings cannot be
terminated at the investigation stage without the consent of a
defendant, who has the right to go to court to vindicate himself if he
so desires. Formerly, investigators and procurators had the right to
close a criminal case because of "a change in situation," leaving the
guilt of the accused an open question. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

THE PERILS OF DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA . . . Two Russian officials, who
were detained in China for seven months after a business row, were
released on 29 October following an appeal by Federation Council speaker
Yegor Stroev, ITAR-TASS reported. The two men, Vasilii Chalikov and
Aleksander Silchenko, had traveled to Weifang, Shandong province, to try
to regain a $1.3 million debt owed to a joint venture set up by Irkutsk
Oblast to import food and clothing. Chalikov is the director of the firm
and Silchenko is deputy governor of Irkutsk. -- Peter Rutland

. . . AND RUSSIA. Vladimir Strelikov, the deputy president of Russia's
Bank for Reconstruction and Development, was shot several times on 28
October by assassins dressed as police who flagged down his car near his
home in Moscow, AFP reported. His driver was shot dead. Izvestiya
reported on 15 October that there have been 450 contract murders in
Russia this year. -- Peter Rutland

TWO INCUMBENTS REELECTED . . Incumbent governors Ravil Geniatulin of
Chita Oblast and Aleksandr Filippenko of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug
were reelected, receiving 31% and 72% of the vote, respectively,
according to preliminary results of the 27 October elections, Russian TV
(RTR) and NTV reported the next day. A runoff will be held in Kaluga
Oblast and Stavropol Krai where no candidate received a majority. In
both regions, the opposition candidates, Kaluga Oblast Legislative
Assembly Chairman Valerii Sudarenkov and former Stavropol Komsomol
leader Aleksandr Chernogorov, each received about 47%, leading the
incumbents, Oleg Savchenko and Petr Marchenko, by approximately 10%. No
governor was elected in Agin Buryat Autonomous Okrug since both
candidates, the incumbent Bolot Ayushev and his rival Yurii Donkov,
failed to win a majority, taking about 49% each. Under the okrug law,
the gubernatorial race will have to be repeated with new candidates. --
Anna Paretskaya in Moscow

turnout lower than required by the krai's electoral law (43% instead of
50%), the Krasnodar Krai legislature has ruled that Nikolai Kondratenko
was elected governor in the 27 October election, NTV reported the next
day. Kondratenko, supported by the united opposition, outpolled the
incumbent Nikolai Yegorov by 57% to about 25%. Constitutional Court
member Valerii Zorkin said the decision by the krai legislature on
elections was illegal and that the voting will be ruled invalid. Yeltsin
reappointed Yegorov as the krai's governor after replacing him with
Anatolii Chubais as presidential chief of staff. -- Anna Paretskaya in

KAMAZ TAKEN OFF BANKRUPTCY LIST. The emergency tax commission (VChK) may
reconsider its decision to start a bankruptcy procedure against the
Tatarstan truck manufacturer KamAZ, Kommersant-Daily reported on 29
October. The head of the Federal Bankruptcy Administration, Petr
Mostovoi, said that the company has submitted documents proving that
KamAZ had been granted a tax deferment (as an investment credit) in May
1996. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, who has strongly criticized
the threat to bankrupt KamAZ and the oil company Tatneft, met with
Viktor Chernomyrdin on 28 October, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Natalia


MASS RALLY IN YEREVAN. The opposition National Accord bloc (AHD) held a
rally in Yerevan on 25 October, the first since the government lifted a
ban on public gatherings in the capital, Armenian and Western media
reported on 25 October. An estimated 40,000 people participated in the
sanctioned demonstration. Vazgen Manukyan, the defeated presidential
candidate and leader of the opposition, reiterated charges that the 22
September election results were falsified and said the opposition "will
continue to struggle to replace the current government" through legal
means. Manukyan called for a boycott of the local elections scheduled
for 10 November. -- Emil Danielyan

predicted on 27 October that the country would experience an "economic
miracle," with an annual increase in output of over 12%, ITAR-TASS
reported. Papava added that some 110,000 jobs had been created since the
beginning of 1996 and that it was hoped that unemployment would be
reduced to 5-6% by 2000. The leader of the United Georgian Communist
Party, Panteleimon Giorgadze, told delegates to the party's fourth
congress on 27 October that the economic situation is catastrophic and
that some 775,000 people are unemployed (from a population of some 5
million), according to BGI and ITAR-TASS. -- Liz Fuller

NAGORNO-KARABAKH. The Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned as "a
challenge to the international community" the decision by the parliament
of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh to hold presidential
elections on 24 November while "up to one third of the enclave's
population are living as refugees beyond its borders", Radio Mayak
reported on 26 October quoting ITAR-TASS. The presidents of Armenia and
Azerbaijan discussed the Karabakh peace process during the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation heads of state summit in Moscow on 25 October. A
further round of talks on the Karabakh conflict under the aegis of the
OSCE Minsk group opened in Moscow on 28 October. -- Liz Fuller

parade highlighted the 27 October ceremonies commemorating the fifth
anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence, Russian and Turkmen sources
reported. According to ITAR-TASS, Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov
met with Russian and Iranian officials in the days leading up to the
celebration, concluding a series of bilateral accords with both states
that underscore the country's "permanent neutrality." The Turkmen Press
Agency reported on 23 October that in the week before the anniversary a
monument to Gurbansoltan-edzhe, Niyazov's mother, was unveiled in
Chardjui. -- Roger Kangas

dismissed the Hokim (Governor) of Syrdarya region on 28 October, Uzbek
TV reported. Ghulomqodir Khasanov was officially relieved of his duties
because of his failure to meet grain and cotton harvest targets. He will
be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Utkam Ismailov. Karimov dismissed
the Hokim of Jizzak region, Alisher Toshkenboev, on 25 October for the
same reason. The firings follow a pattern of Hokim replacements that
began after last fall's poor grain harvest. -- Roger Kangas

TAJIK POLICEMEN TAKEN HOSTAGE. Forces of Tajik opposition field
commander Mullo Abdullo surprised two busloads of Tajik policemen on 24
October taking all 37 of them hostage near the town of Komsomolabad,
Russian and Western sources reported. The captors demand the dismantling
of all checkpoints along roads in the Karateginskaya valley because,
according to the opposition, they are a violation of the truce signed by
opposition and government commanders on 17 September. -- Bruce Pannier

Leghari made a three-day stop in Kyrgyzstan to hold talks with Kyrgyz
President Askar Akayev, RFE/RL reported. During the 25-27 October visit
agreements were signed on cooperation between interior ministries and
fighting drug trafficking. Leghari left on 27 October for the Kazakstani
capital Almaty to meet President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two
presidents discussed Afghanistan but found little common ground. Leghari
did find Nazarbayev supportive on the issue of Kashmir. -- Bruce Pannier
and Naryn Idinov

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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