The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 210, Part I, 30 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

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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
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RUSSIA

YELTSIN NAMES BEREZOVSKII AS DEPUTY SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY.
President Yeltsin named Boris Berezovskii and Col. Gen. Leonid Maiorov
as deputy Security Council secretaries, ITAR-TASS reported 29 October.
Berezovskii is a wealthy businessman, director of LogoVAZ, and the key
figure controlling Russian Public TV (ORT). Maiorov, formerly first
deputy commander of the CIA armed forces, will handle issues relating to
the military industrial complex and Chechnya. Berezovskii said that
"Russia's strategic security is connected with the continuation of
economic reforms" and that he would work in this area. Berezovskii
played a key role in Yeltsin's re-election campaign and helped
Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais oust former Presidential
Security Service Director Aleksandr Korzhakov. He said that he would
withdraw from commercial enterprises while he holds the Security Council
post. -- Robert Orttung

SELEZNEV CALLS FOR CHUBAIS TO STEP DOWN. Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev
denounced Berezovskii's appointment as "one of the most serious mistakes
in personnel policy" and demanded the removal of Chubais, who he claimed
is behind Berezovskii's appointment. Seleznev accused Berezovskii of
carrying out "an anti-Russian informational coup on ORT" and warned that
he now was going to infiltrate "the holy of holies -- the security of
the Russian state." The Consultative Council, which brings together
Seleznev, Chubais, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Federation
Council speaker Yegor Stroev is set to meet on 1 November. Seleznev said
that he would not take part in the meeting if Chubais is present. --
Robert Orttung

YELTSIN'S SURGERY MAY BE NEXT WEEK. American cardiologist Michael
DeBakey said in Houston on 29 October that the surgery on Yeltsin's
heart could take place as early as next week, Reuters reported. DeBakey,
who will consult with the medical team during the operation, is
preparing to go to Russia later this week. On the same day the Kremlin
started issuing a medical bulletin about Yeltsin's condition. -- Nikolai
Iakoubovski

KREMLIN INTENDS TO CRACK DOWN ON "LEGAL SEPARATISM." Continuing his
campaign to strengthen the Russian state, Anatolii Chubais chaired a 29
October Kremlin conference on developing ways to prevent regional and
local governments from adopting laws that violate the Russian
constitution and federal legislation, NTV reported. Chubais proposed
creating a single authority for registering local and federal
enactments, expanding the procurator's power, and holding officials who
sign documents in violation of federal law personally responsible. The
chairman of the Constitutional Court, Vladimir Tumanov, pointed out,
however, that the local procurators are very weak and would not be
effective enforcers. The conference noted that it would be a long and
difficult process to end Russia's "legal chaos." Kommersant-Daily on 30
October suggested that Chubais is picking a fight with the regional
elite and it is not clear who is stronger. -- Robert Orttung

NATO WANTS PACT WITH RUSSIA BY 1997. NATO Secretary-General Javier
Solana hopes a "solid" Russian-NATO agreement will be signed by early
1997, Russian and Western agencies reported on 29 October. Solana said
Russian objections to the extension of NATO's military structures could
be addressed by modifying the 1990 CFE treaty, and declared that NATO
has no plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on Eastern European
soil. Vladimir Nasinovskii, an official of the Russian Security Council,
assessed Solana's statement as a response to President Yeltsin's
proposal that such a pact be signed before NATO accepts new members. A
NATO spokesman later clarified that Russian-NATO talks on the proposed
pact have yet to begin. -- Scott Parrish

CIS DEFENSE COUNCIL REJECTS RUSSIAN NOMINEE. The CIS Defense Ministers
Council met in Dushanbe on 29 October and rejected Russian President
Boris Yeltsin's nomination of General Mikhail Kolesnikov to head the CIS
military cooperation staff, AFP reported. The Uzbek delegation declared
that a non-Russian should now head the CIS staff, since its previous
chief, Army General Viktor Samsonov, was Russian. Most Russian news
reports glossed over this rejection, emphasizing the meeting's adoption
of a regional "collective security concept" which includes a
"comprehensive plan" for dealing with the situation on the Tajik-Afghan
border. Defense ministers from all CIS members except Moldova and
Turkmenistan attended the meeting. -- Scott Parrish

PRIMAKOV IN MIDDLE EAST. Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov began a
Middle East tour by meeting Syrian President Hafez Assad in Damascus and
Lebanese Foreign Minister Faris Bouez in Beirut, agencies reported on 29
October. Primakov's trip, designed to boost Russia's role in the Middle
East peace process, also includes stops in Egypt, Israel, the
Palestinian territories, and Jordan. In Beirut, Primakov criticized the
Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu for backtracking on commitments
made by its predecessor. He denied that Russia is competing with the
U.S. in the region, saying "We are not trying to go against the
Americans." -- Scott Parrish

BATURIN: RUSSIAN MILITARY TOTALS 2.5 MILLION. Defense Council Secretary
Yurii Baturin, in an interview with Itogi on 29 October, admitted "no
one can say how many people we have on active military service," Reuters
reported. He said the actual number of troops serving under the Defense
Ministry is about 2.5 million, not the frequently cited official figure
of 1.5 million. Baturin said the larger figure includes "ghost" units
not listed in official budgetary documents, which partly explains the
problem of military wage arrears. He suggested a 50% cut to 1.25 million
troops as part of a military reform program. Baturin's numbers
apparently do not include personnel serving in other agencies, such as
Interior Troops, Border Guards, and Railway Troops, which could total
another 1.8 million. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS SOLD STUDY ON NUCLEAR TESTS TO U.S. Under a 1992
contract with the U.S. Defense Department, scientists at the Arzamas-16
nuclear weapons lab produced a report analyzing some 715 Soviet nuclear
tests over a 41-year period, The Washington Post reported on 27 October.
The scientists each received about $500 for their work, which was
designed in part to keep them from peddling their skills outside Russia.
The report, which remains classified, does not discuss Soviet nuclear
weapons design or deployment, and its lead author, Aleksandr Chernyshev,
insisted that all materials used had been cleared for sharing with
Washington. Defense Department spokesmen said the data in the report
would help monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban
and prevent nuclear proliferation. -- Scott Parrish

KRASNODAR TO HOLD NEW ELECTIONS. In a reversal of an earlier decision
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 October 1996), the Krasnodar Krai legislature
has declared the 27 October gubernatorial elections in the Krai invalid
due to a low turnout: only 43% of voters participated, short of the
required 50%, NTV reported on 29 October. Krasnodar's legislature set
new elections for 22 December and lowered the minimum turnout required
to 25%. The main contenders are likely to be the opposition-backed
Nikolai Kondratenko and the incumbent Nikolai Yegorov. On 27 October
Yegorov won 25% of the vote to Kondratenko's 57%. -- Anna Paretskaya in
Moscow

REGIONAL SEPARATISM INCREASING. In the wake of the Yamal-Nenets
legislature's decision not to participate in the Tyumen Oblast
gubernatorial elections on 22 December, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug
legislature voted 29 October not to participate in the Arkhangelsk
Oblast gubernatorial and legislative elections set for 8 December, ITAR-
TASS reported. The administration of the Burlinskii Raion of Altai Krai
also decided to hold a referendum on seceding from Altai Krai and
joining Novosibirsk Oblast on 17 November, the day of gubernatorial
elections. Since regional borders can only be changed with the support
of all the federation members concerned, the referendum will not resolve
the issue. -- Robert Orttung and Ritsuko Sasaki

STUDENT RALLY IN ST. PETERSBURG. About 2,000 students and their teachers
rallied in St. Petersburg on 29 October to demand higher grants and
protest the government's low funding of higher education. The meeting
called on the government to honor legislation stipulating that monthly
student grants should amount to double the minimum wage (150,000 rubles,
or $27). Currently, they receive half that amount. -- Penny Morvant in
St. Petersburg

PRISON CONDITIONS CONDEMNED. Andrei Babushkin, head of the human rights
group New House, detailed the appalling conditions in Russia's prisons
at a Moscow press conference on 28 October, AFP reported. Babushkin said
that 208 people had died in prisons this year (which hold people
awaiting trial, as opposed to camps, where convicts are held). He cited
the case of an actor, Aleksandr Polyanin, who died in custody on 10
October after allegedly being tortured. -- Peter Rutland

DUMA DEPUTIES CALL FOR MORATORIUM ON DEATH PENALTY. Duma speaker
Gennadii Seleznev and Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman
Vladimir Lukin sent a letter to President Yeltsin on 29 October calling
for a moratorium to be placed on the death penalty in Russia in line
with the demands of the Council of Europe, NTV reported. When Russia
joined the Council of Europe early this year it undertook to abolish the
death penalty within three years. The CE also called on Russia to end
all executions immediately, but they have continued. -- Penny Morvant in
St. Petersburg

ACADEMY OF SCIENCES RE-ELECTS PRESIDENT. Mathematician Yurii Osipov was
re-elected president of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN), Russian
TV (RTR) reported on 30 October. Addressing a general assembly of the
Academy prior to the vote, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin promised
that the government would increase spending on scientific research, NTV
and ORT reported on 29 October. A leading academician went on a hunger
strike recently to protest the lack of funding for science. -- Penny
Morvant in St. Petersburg

SOROS INTERNET PROGRAM REACHES FAR EAST. Some 12,000 students and
teachers at the Far East State University in Vladivostok have been
hooked up to the Internet, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 October. The
connection is part of the 5-year program, financed by philanthropist
George Soros, to link 32 Russian provincial universities to the world
computer network, and follows similar projects in Novosibirsk and
Yaroslavl. An agreement on the program was signed in March 1996 by Soros
and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. -- Natalia Gurushina

FOREIGN INVESTMENT STILL LOW. According to preliminary estimates,
foreign direct investment (FDI) in Russia in 1996 will total only $800
million, down from $1.5 billion in 1995, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on
29 October. Political instability and a lack of clear rules governing
taxation, accounting, and property rights are named as the main reasons.
In the first eight months of 1996, 41% of FDI went into trade and
services, 14% to financial services, and 9% to the energy sector. Per
usual, Moscow absorbed the bulk of investment (47%), followed by
Tatarstan and St. Petersburg (6% each), and Western Siberia (5%). --
Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KARABAKH LEADER SAYS ELECTION WILL BE HELD. Robert Kocharyan, the
president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, said on
28 October that the presidential election in Karabakh will be held
despite criticism from Azerbaijan and Russia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29
October 1996), Noyan Tapan reported. Kocharyan predicted that the
Nagorno-Karabakh peace negotiations will drag on "for years" and did not
expect any progress from the upcoming OSCE summit. Meanwhile, the U.S.
State Department expressed its concern over the planned election and
warned against "complicating the outcome of the OSCE's Minsk Group peace
process," Turan reported on 29 October. -- Emil Danielyan

OPPOSITION LEADERS ON ARMENIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. Paruyr Hayrikyan,
the leader of the Union of National Self-Determination, said he hopes
that the Armenian Constitutional Court will rule in favor of the
opposition candidate Vazgen Manukyan and annul the results of the 22
September presidential elections, Noyan Tapan reported on 29 October.
According to a leader of the Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union,
Suren Zolyan, the court cannot be trusted because "it is not
independent." Zolyan alleged that the judicial branch did nothing to
prevent human rights violations in Armenia, and therefore "leadership
cannot be changed through elections." -- Emil Danielyan

NAZARBAYEV REPLACES DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, SECURITY CHIEF. Deputy Prime
Minister Garry Shtoik has been removed by Kazakstani President Nursultan
Nazarbayev, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 October. Shtoik was replaced by
Dyusembai Duseinov, an industry official. The following day Nazarbayev
appointed Beksultan Sarsekov as secretary of the country's Security
Council, replacing Baltash Tursumbayev. Continuing his changes,
Nazarbayev on 30 October signed a decree restructuring the country's
executive branch, disposing of several committees, among them the State
Committee on Cooperation with CIS states, RFE/RL reported. -- Bruce
Pannier and Merhat Sharipzhan

TAJIK OPPOSITION MAKES NEW DEMANDS. The United Tajik Opposition (UTO)
insists that the National Reconciliation Council that the UTO has
proposed be comprised 40% by the Movement for the Islamic Revival of
Tajikistan, 40% by other opposition groups, and just 20% by government
representatives, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 October. The next round of
talks between the Tajik government and UTO, to be held in Moscow, are
not expected anytime soon, a spokesman for the UTO said. -- Bruce
Pannier

FOUR CENTRAL ASIAN STATES ATTEND TEHRAN CONFERENCE. A conference on the
situation in Afghanistan opened in the Iranian capital Tehran on 29
October, ITAR-TASS and IRNA reported. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar
Velayati said "the countries in the region ... are obliged to do their
utmost to put a stop to outside interference in Afghanistan's internal
affairs." Representatives from all the Central Asian CIS states except
Uzbekistan were at the conference as well as Russia, Turkey, India, and
envoys from the UN and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia did not attend though Velayati noted "they
were invited." -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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