Живущим для будущего неизбежно приходится выглядеть эгоистами в глазах живущих одним настоящим. - Р. Эмерсон

No. 213, Part I, 4 November 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


Yeltsin granted Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin the authority to sign
power-sharing agreements between federal and regional authorities,
Russian media reported on 1 November, citing presidential spokesman
Sergei Yastrzhembskii. Yeltsin had previously granted Chernomyrdin some
authority to oversee the "power ministries" (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10
and 11 September 1996), but aides have said he will only transfer his
full powers to Chernomyrdin for a short period during and after his
heart operation. Meanwhile, in an opinion poll published in Moskovskii
komsomolets on 1 November, only 18% of respondents said they believed
Yeltsin was governing the state, while 56% said "other people" were
running state affairs, and 26% did not know. -- Laura Belin

YELTSIN SURGERY UPDATE. Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii
declined to tell the press when President Yeltsin's multiple coronary
artery bypass operation will take place, indicating that the exact date
will remain a secret until after of the surgery, Russian and Western
media reported on 1 November. American surgeon Michael DeBakey arrived
in Moscow on 3 November, but, contrary to earlier reports, he will only
be a consultant and not participate in Yeltsin's operation.
Yastrzhembskii said that only Russian doctors will attend Yeltsin's
surgery, which he said would last six to eight hours. Aides had
initially estimated that the surgery would require no more than two
hours. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

KOHL, CHERNOMYRDIN MEET. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl briefly met with
Chernomyrdin on 2 November at Moscow's Vnukovo-2 airport, Russian and
Western agencies reported. Although Chernomyrdin said the two men
discussed "a wide range" of bilateral issues, NTV speculated that the
meeting focused on Yeltsin's health. Chernomyrdin later told journalists
that NATO's proposed eastward expansion was not discussed at the
meeting, but Kohl declared that enlargement would not be "forced" until
after Yeltsin fully recovers. On the same day, German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel proposed that Russia be given an "equal rights" with
current NATO members in a new "S-17" security consultation committee,
rather than the current "16+1" format. -- Scott Parrish

KORZHAKOV TO SUE YELTSIN. Former Presidential Security Service head
Aleksandr Korzhakov filed a slander lawsuit against Yeltsin and the
presidential administration over Yeltsin's recent decree on preparing
documents for Korzhakov's removal from the army, Moscow's TV-6 reported
on 2 November (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 October 1996). Korzhakov claims
the decree, which accused him of slandering Yeltsin and divulging secret
information, was based on disinformation fed to Yeltsin by Chief of
Staff Anatolii Chubais and media mogul Boris Berezovskii, who has since
been appointed to the Security Council. -- Laura Belin

CHUBAIS MEETS WITH RUTSKOI. Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais
met with the newly elected governor of Kursk Oblast, Aleksandr Rutskoi,
in Moscow on 1 November, Russian Public TV (ORT) and Russian TV (RTR)
reported. Chubais noted that Rutskoi supports the presidential decree on
establishing the Emergency Tax Committee for strengthening tax
discipline, and that Rutskoi, referring to the all-Russian action of
protest planned for 5 November, has disapproved of strikes and
demonstrations in Kursk. Chubais welcomed Rutskoi's stance of
constructive cooperation with the federal government. -- Ritsuko Sasaki

Secretary Boris Berezovskii on 2 November flew to the Ingush capital
Nazran for talks with Chechen government officials Akhmed Zakaev and
Movladi Udugov on reconstruction in Chechnya, Russian media reported.
Berezovskii told journalists that "there is no alternative" to
continuing the peace process. Udugov said that "political issues" were
not discussed. On 3 November, after further talks with Udugov and
Zakaev, Berezovskii proceeded to Grozny where he toured the city and met
with OSCE representative Tim Guldimann. Berezovskii also discussed with
Chechen Prime Minister Aslan Maskhadov arrangements for an upcoming
meeting between Maskhadov and Chernomyrdin. -- Liz Fuller

BASAEV, YANDARBIEV INTERVIEWS. In an interview published in the London-
based Arab newspaper Al Hayat on 2 November, radical Chechen field
commander Shamil Basaev claimed that 10 Arabs from Syria, Jordan, and
Saudi Arabia participated in the hostage takings at Budennovsk in June
1995 and Kizlyar in January 1996, ITAR-TASS reported. On 1 November,
acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev told Al Hayat that he
intends to run in the January 1997 Chechen presidential election, and
that his leadership is conducting talks with unnamed Eastern and Western
countries on extending international diplomatic recognition to Chechnya.
On 1 November, the commander of the Russian federal forces in Chechnya,
Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Sukhoruchenkov, met with acting Chechen commander
Mumadi Sadaev to discuss measures to neutralize renegade Chechen
formations who have repeatedly attacked Russian forces deployed at the
airport in Grozny, NTV reported. Also on 1 November, forces loyal to
pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev issued an ultimatum to
separatist troops to leave the town of Znamenskoe, according to AFP. --
Liz Fuller

BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS STALLING? Prime Minister Chernomyrdin told
journalists in Ryazan on 1 November that talks with Kyiv had not
produced a final decision on the issues surrounding the Black Sea Fleet,
Russian agencies reported. In a sign that the 24 October Yeltsin-Kuchma
agreement on the fleet may be hitting some snags, Chernomyrdin said his
scheduled mid-November visit to Kyiv to sign an agreement on the fleet
will only take place if "constructive solutions" are found by then.
Previous agreements have repeatedly foundered on disagreements over the
terms under which Moscow will lease base facilities for its share of the
fleet in Sevastopol. -- Scott Parrish

PRIMAKOV ENDS MIDDLE EAST TOUR. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii
Primakov met Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on 1 November
and King Hussein of Jordan the following day, Russian and Western
agencies reported. After meeting Arafat, Primakov urged Israel to
implement "earlier agreements" and withdraw Israeli troops from
Palestinian autonomous territory. Departing for Moscow on 3 November,
Primakov said Arab countries "insist on a more active role for Moscow"
in the peace process, and said Moscow supports the creation of a
Palestinian state, which Israel opposes. -- Scott Parrish

ABM TALKS ADJOURN. A Geneva session of the standing consultative
commission of the 1972 ABM treaty has adjourned without reaching
agreement, Russian and Western agencies reported on 2 November. Russian,
American, Belarusian, and Kazakstani negotiators had aimed to salvage a
two-part proposed agreement outlining the technical parameters of
tactical systems permitted under the treaty, which collapsed last week
amid mutual recriminations (see OMRI Daily Digest, 31 October and 1
November 1996). The Russian Foreign Ministry said "dramatic differences"
persist on the issue of high-velocity interceptor systems, to be
addressed in the second stage of the talks. Russian officials have
expressed concern that American development of tactical missile defenses
might undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent. -- Scott Parrish

governors of Pskov and Magadan oblasts, Vladislav Tumanov and Viktor
Mikhailov, were ousted in the 3 November elections, according to
preliminary results reported by Radio Rossii and Ekho Moskvy the next
day. Tumanov, who led by an 8% margin in the first round on 20 October,
lost the Pskov runoff by about 20% to Yevgenii Mikhailov, a State Duma
deputy from Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party. Mikhailov,
who was supported by the communists in the runoff, gained more than 55%
of the vote. The Magadan Oblast incumbent Mikhailov was defeated by
Valentin Tsvetkov, the chairman of the Duma Committee on the North; he
received about 46% of the vote and won by 5%. Tsvetkov, who was elected
to the Duma as an independent candidate last December, was supported by
most opposition groups in the governor's race, according to Ekho Moskvy.
-- Anna Paretskaya in Moscow

AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN ASSASSINATED. Paul Tatum, a U.S. businessman, was
shot dead in Moscow on 3 November, Reuters reported. Tatum's compay,
Americom, had been locked in a legal battle with Moscow city authorities
for ownership of the Radisson-Slavyanskaya hotel, which opened in 1991.
Tatum, who was accompanied by two bodyguards, was shot five times as he
left the hotel. -- Peter Rutland

GOVERNMENT PLACATES LABOR UNIONS. Ahead of a national day of industrial
action planned for 5 November, Viktor Chernomyrdin met with
representatives of employers and unions on 2 November, ITAR-TASS
reported. Chernomyrdin told the emergency meeting of the tripartite
commission that he supported the unions' suggestion that they be given
the right to monitor company accounts to ensure that wages are paid if
cash is available. Chernomyrdin said he had taken steps to ensure that
wage arrears for workers in the courts, education, and health care be
paid within two weeks. By 28 October wage arrears totaled 43 trillion
rubles, including 9 trillion in the state sector. -- Peter Rutland

WORLD BANK COAL LOAN GOES AHEAD. The World Bank has agreed to release by
the end of the year the second half of a $525 million loan to aid the
restructuring of the Russian coal industry, ITAR-TASS reported on 1
November. The second installment was approved despite reports that the
first tranche, paid in June, had not been spent according to the agreed
program. The Bank has been criticized for channeling the loan through
the centralized state-run monopoly Rosugol. Rosugol argues that
preparations are well advanced for the creation of five independent coal
companies. Since 1991 the World Bank has allotted a total of $6.4
billion to 28 projects in Russia, of which $2.2 billion has been
disbursed. -- Peter Rutland

parliament and government budget commission has approved the new 1997
budget targets, ITAR-TASS and Segodnya reported on 1-2 November. The
projected monthly inflation rate will be marginally increased from 0.8%
to 0.93%, the budget deficit will widen from 3.3% to 3.5% of GDP, the
annual average ruble-dollar exchange rate will go down from 5,560 to
5,750, and forecasted GDP will remain at 2,727 trillion rubles ($500
billion). According to First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov,
the government intends to cover the wider deficit mainly by increasing
foreign borrowing by some 4 trillion rubles ($732 million), which is
considered unlikely by many experts. The new draft does not include
spending on restoring the Chechen economy as an individual item, but
envisages 1 trillion rubles on paying wages and social benefits there.
-- Natalia Gurushina


concluded visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan in connection with the end of
Finland's almost two-year co-chairmanship of the OSCE-sponsored
negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, ITAR-TASS reported.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev told Halonen that his country is
ready to grant Nagorno-Karabakh "the highest autonomy status," citing
the examples of the Aland Islands in Finland and "some republics of
Russia." Aliev reiterated that Azerbaijan's territorial integrity must
be preserved and criticized the OSCE's Minsk group for its insufficient
emphasis on the principle of inviolability of borders. The next round of
Karabakh talks will begin on 18 November in Helsinki. -- Emil Danielyan

national security adviser and leader of the opposition Scientific-
Industrial and Civic Union Ashot Manucharyan claimed that Armenia may
face a threat of "military aggression" from the Nakhichevan sector of
the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Noyan Tapan reported on 1 November.
Speaking about the country's political situation, Manucharyan said the
authorities and opposition should start a "strictly confidential"
dialogue to overcome the current stand-off. He suggested that the
establishment of a consultative council and fresh elections might be
among possible compromises. According to Manucharyan, the U.S. can use
its "great influence" with the Armenian government to make the latter
respect human rights and democratic principles. -- Emil Danielyan

armed forces general staff, headed by Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Cetin
Dogan, met in Baku on 31 October with Azerbaijan's defense minister
Safar Abiev, Turan reported on 1 November. The two men signed protocols
on cooperation between the ministries of defense of the two countries.
Azerbaijani politicians have condemned recent Turkish statements about
the possible opening of a frontier crossing between Armenia and Turkey;
Azerbaijan Popular Front Deputy Chairman Ali Kerimov argued that
Azerbaijan's Milli Mejlis should appeal to the Turkish parliament not to
do so, according to Turan of 2 November. -- Liz Fuller

Hassan Habibi on 3 November ended a four-day official visit to Georgia,
signing four bilateral agreements on economic cooperation, ITAR-TASS
reported. Habibi met with President Eduard Shevardnadze, parliament
chairman Zurab Zhvania, and the chairman of the Adzhar Supreme Soviet,
Aslan Abashidze. Issues discussed included the construction of a
motorway from Georgia through Azerbaijan to Iran, and Iranian access to
Georgian Black Sea port facilities. -- Liz Fuller

TAJIK OPPOSITION RELEASES 10 HOSTAGES. Ten of 35 police officers taken
prisoner by the Tajik opposition near Komsomolabad on 27 October were
released unconditionally on 1 November, according to ITAR-TASS and
RFE/RL. Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri said the remaining hostages
would be freed when the government removed its checkpoints along roads
in central Tajikistan, the opposition's original demand, but added a new
demand that four opposition members be freed from government jails. --
Bruce Pannier and Abbas Djavadi

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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