What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 220, Part I, 13 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

***********************************************************************
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
***********************************************************************

RUSSIA

RODIONOV WARNS OF "CATASTROPHE" IN MILITARY . . . Addressing an annual
gathering of military commanders on 12 November, Defense Minister Igor
Rodionov warned that if "extreme measures" are not taken to reform the
Russian military or if any further reduction is made in the combat
readiness of the Russian armed forces, "the consequences could be
tragic," Russian and Western agencies reported. He also declared that
the current international situation could "broaden the zone of
instability" and possibly provoke "conflicts that would threaten Russian
security," although he gave no details. In a break with tradition,
according to Krasnaya zvezda on 13 November, the meeting was also
addressed by diplomats, policy analysts, Economics Ministry officials,
and Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais, who described Russia's
overall strategic and economic situation to the officers. -- Scott
Parrish

. . . WHILE CHERNOMYRDIN ENDORSES FORCE REDUCTION. Addressing the same
meeting, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that the principle "not
numbers, but skill" should guide military reform, adding that "unpopular
and harsh" measures are necessary to "save the country's defense
capability," ITAR-TASS reported on 12 November. Chernomyrdin said that
cuts would affect not only the Defense Ministry, but also other agencies
with uniformed servicemen. Despite the objections of some military
officers, reportedly including Rodionov, Chernomyrdin also endorsed the
speedy development of a new military doctrine to guide reform, arguing
that it cannot be postponed until the current financial crisis is
resolved. Chernomyrdin supported another Rodionov proposal, however,
saying the General Staff should be given increased authority over armed
formations outside the Defense Ministry, like the Border Guards and the
Interior Troops. He also pledged again to liquidate military wage
arrears by mid-November. -- Scott Parrish

CHERNOMYRDIN POSTPONES VISIT TO UKRAINE . . . Foreign Ministry spokesman
Mikhail Demurin said on 12 November that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin's
planned mid-November visit to Kyiv would be postponed until "the
documents that must be prepared for his visit are ready," ITAR-TASS
reported. The announcement comes after Russian and Ukrainian negotiators
failed to resolve differences over the terms under which the Russian
portion of the Black Sea Fleet will lease facilities in the Ukrainian
port of Sevastopol (see related story in Central and Eastern Europe
section). The postponement continues a well-established pattern in which
Ukrainian and Russian leaders publicly announce the resolution of the
fleet dispute, but disputed details block final agreement (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 25 October 1996). -- Scott Parrish

. . . AND MEETS NEW GOVERNORS. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin met on 12
November with the 15 recently elected regional governors, saying later
that he is in favor of signing more power-sharing treaties with the
regions but only in places where the local authorities can cope with
more power, Russian media reported. The same day, Chernomyrdin asked
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov to solicit proposals from the regions for
possible changes to the 1997 federal budget. President Yeltsin is
satisfied with the results of regional races and believes that it is
incorrect to characterize them as a red revanche, Segodnya reported on
13 November, citing presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii. Eight
out of 15 regional executives have been re-elected. The governors who
ousted incumbents in Leningrad, Kaliningrad, and Magadan oblasts are
thought to be supporters of the president. Opposition members won in
Kaluga, Kursk, Pskov, and Kirov oblasts, while the opposition's narrow
victory in Amur is still being disputed. -- Anna Paretskaya in Moscow

JOINT COMMISSION CONVENES IN GROZNY. The joint commission to coordinate
the reconstruction process in Chechnya, which comprises 39 Russian
ministers and deputies and 31 members of the interim Chechen coalition
government, convened in Grozny on 12 November to discuss socio-economic
issues and the restoration of communications between Grozny, Moscow, and
Rostov-na-Donu, Russian media reported. Security Council Secretary Ivan
Rybkin said the reconstruction should be jointly financed by both sides
with the help of private Russian investment and advocated inviting
international observers to monitor the January 1997 parliamentary and
presidential elections in Chechnya, according to Russian Public TV
(ORT). Rybkin then traveled to Nazran where he held talks with the
leaders of the North Caucasian republics on a political settlement of
the Chechen conflict; the participants decided to prepare a temporary
agreement defining relations between Chechnya and the Russian Federation
before the Chechen elections take place, NTV reported. -- Liz Fuller

ABOUT ONE-QUARTER OF RUSSIANS SUPPORT CHECHEN INDEPENDENCE. Twenty-six
percent of Russians support granting Chechnya independence, according to
a survey in which individuals were asked to indicate which ideas they
supported from a list provided by VCIOM, Segodnya reported on 13
November. Twenty-four percent back a complete withdrawal of Russian
troops and 23% want to close the Russian-Chechen border. On the other
hand, 22% support the idea of maintaining Chechnya within the Russian
Federation. -- Robert Orttung

YAROV IMPLICATED IN CEMETERY BOMBING. Orenburg Oblast Fund for Invalids
of the Afghan War Chairman Andrei Chepurnoi suggested that Deputy
Presidential Chief of Staff Yurii Yarov was involved in the 10 November
Kotlyakovskoe cemetery bomb blast that has claimed 14 victims, Trud
reported on 13 November. Chepurnoi claimed that the fund's problems
began after he, Mikhail Likhodei, and Sergei Trakhirov had met with then
Deputy Prime Minister Yarov and asked him what had happened to the large
amounts of money earmarked for disabled veterans. Both Likhodei and
Trakhirov are now dead. Trud's reporters could not contact Yarov, being
told that he is in a meeting, but Radio Mayak reported on 12 November
that Yarov claimed to have met the fund's leaders only once and denied
that he was involved in its work. -- Robert Orttung

DEPUTIES WALK OUT DURING LUKASHENKA SPEECH. About 70 deputies, including
the entire Yabloko faction, several independents, and members of the Our
Home Is Russia faction walked out of the Duma as Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka began to address the chamber on 12 November, ITAR-
TASS reported. Deputies from the Communist faction and the LDPR stood to
applaud him. Before Lukashenka's address, Yabloko leader Grigorii
Yavlinskii made an unsuccessful last-minute attempt to postpone his
appearance until after the 24 November constitutional referendum in
Belarus, arguing that Lukashenka would use his Duma speech to "pressure
Belarusian public opinion." Communist and LDPR deputies insisted that
Lukashenka be allowed to speak, saying he leads "a brother republic, the
only one which is really friendly toward Russia." -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA DEMANDS RELEASE OF EX-INTELLIGENCE AGENT. Foreign Ministry
spokesman Mikhail Demurin demanded the immediate release "without any
conditions" of former Russian intelligence agent Vladimir Galkin, ITAR-
TASS reported on 12 November. He termed Galkin's 29 October arrest by
the FBI (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 November 1996) a "deliberate
provocation," and warned Washington that "irresponsible actions may have
negative consequences for Russian-American relations." The same day,
Galkin was arraigned in a Massachusetts federal court on espionage
charges. On 13 November, ITAR-TASS reported that discussions with U.S.
officials on Galkin's release were making little progress, as Moscow has
rejected a U.S. offer to release him on bail pending his trial. -- Scott
Parrish

ONLY 16% OF RUSSIAN COMPANIES PAY TAXES REGULARLY. Speaking at a meeting
on tax and financial policy, Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev
has announced that only 16% of Russian companies honor their tax
obligations, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported on 12 November. Of 2.6 million
firms, 436,000 companies pay taxes regularly and in full, whereas at
least 882,000 firms publish no accounts and make no tax payments at all.
As of 1 October, tax arrears in Russia reached 132 trillion rubles
($24.4 billion). The problem of tax collection will be crucial in the
ongoing negotiations with the IMF monitoring mission on the disbursement
of the next tranche of the $10.1 billion extended facility fund. --
Natalia Gurushina

SITUATION IN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY DETERIORATES. At a meeting of the
Committee for Operational Questions, Defense Industry Minister Zinovii
Pak said that in 1995 the government was able to purchase only two war
planes and five helicopters, compared with some 400 in 1991, ITAR-TASS
reported on 12 November. Pak noted that although the aviation industry
needed 3.5 trillion rubles of state financing in 1996, the budget
earmarked only 562 billion rubles for this purpose, of which only 200
billion rubles was actually released. According to ORT, Russian civil
aviation companies sold only eight airplanes in 1996, compared to more
than 200 a year at the beginning of the 1990s. Pak said the 1997 budget
should allocate 1.3 trillion rubles to the civil aviation technology
program and another 2.5 trillion rubles to finance aircraft leasing. --
Natalia Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TURKMENISTAN, RUSSIA, IRAN SIGN AGREEMENT. Russia, Turkmenistan, and
Iran signed a memorandum on 13 November on cooperation in developing the
Caspian Sea oil resources, Russian TV (RTR) and Reuters reported. Signed
by Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov, his Iranian counterpart
Ali Akbar Velayati, and Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov, the
memorandum establishes a joint company to further explore the Caspian's
resources. The other two Caspian states, Azerbaijan and Kazakstan, are
invited to join, but according to the RTR report, Azerbaijan is
"unsatisfied" with this agreement. -- Bruce Pannier

ARDZINBA ON ELECTIONS, PEACE PROCESS. In an interview published in
Nezavisimaya gazeta on 13 November, Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba
stated that there are no obstacles to the Georgian population of
Abkhazia, which he estimated at 90,000, participating in the 23 November
elections to a new Abkhaz parliament. Unlike its predecessor, the new
parliament will not comprise specific quotas from different ethnic
groups. Ardzinba further accused the Georgian leadership of preparing
terrorist acts against members of the Abkhaz leadership and of
pressuring the Abkhaz side to make "unacceptable" compromises regarding
the region's future political status vis-a-vis Georgia. On 12 November,
Abkhaz-Press carried a statement by Ardzinba, summarized by ITAR-TASS,
in which he reiterated his readiness to continue negotiations under the
aegis of the UN and with Russian mediation. -- Liz Fuller

NAGORNO-KARABAKH ELECTION UPDATE. The leader of the self-proclaimed
Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Robert Kocharyan, called on residents of
the region to take part in the 24 November presidential election, Noyan
Tapan reported on 12 November. During one of his campaign speeches,
Kocharyan said the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as an equal side to
the conflict by the OSCE and creation of a strong army are among the
biggest achievements of his government. According to Kocharyan, the
development of small and medium-sized enterprises and tax privileges for
agriculture will remedy Karabakh's economic hardships. -- Emil Danielyan

KAZAKSTANI AIRLINE CRASHES IN INDIA. An IL-76 cargo plane from the
troubled Kazakstani airline company KazAir collided with a Saudi Arabian
passenger plane in mid-air on 12 November, killing everyone on both
aircraft, international press reported. The plane from Kazakstan was
descending to land at Delhi Airport in India when it struck the Saudi
plane while the latter was climbing. The KazAir plane had 38 people on
board, including the crew, the Saudi plane had 312 people. KazAir had
been shut down after it incurred a debt of $149 million by August 1996
and was alleged to be using substandard aircraft. The crash is being
called the worst mid-air collision in aviation history. -- Bruce Pannier

CHOICE OF KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER "INVALID." The Constitutional Court
of Kyrgyzstan on 12 November found that the selection of Mukar
Cholponbayev as parliamentary speaker was not valid, RFE/RL and ITAR-
TASS reported. When Cholponbayev was chosen by the Legislative Assembly
in March 1995 only 29 of the 35 deputies were present (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 7 November 1996). Cholponbayev received 17 votes, a majority of
those present but not a majority of the entire upper house. His re-
election process can begin when the house meets on 13 November. The
decision has deeper implications as it opens the way for opposition
deputies to raise the question of the validity of the December 1995
presidential election. The Legislative Assembly voted to move that
election forward by one year at a session that also did not have a
quorum. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov

UZBEKISTAN GETS MORE BLACK MARKS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. According to an 11
November press release from Human Rights Watch (HRW), Hasan Mirsaidov,
son of Uzbek dissident Shukhrullo Mirsaidov, was abducted by three armed
men on 9 November, beaten, blindfolded, handcuffed, and held for 12
hours before being freed. According to Erika Dailey of HRW, this is only
the latest event in a campaign to apply pressure on the Mirsaidov
family. The Uzbek government has renewed attempts to legally deport the
family from Uzbekistan although the original case was filed some time
ago and remained "dormant" for 18 months, being brought up again shortly
before the kidnapping. Although HRW is calling for a complete
investigation into the case, the organization acknowledges that "there
is little hope of an impartial investigation since the incident was
undoubtedly carried out at the behest of the Uzbek government." -- Bruce
Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                    BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/Index.html

FTP
ftp://194.108.1.176/Pub/DailyDigest/

E-Mail
Send the words "index daily-digest" to MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ


                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For subscription
information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit the Transition
Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/TransitionInfo.html


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write to ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


OMRI RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The OMRI Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published
every Wednesday) on initially focusing on the local elections taking
place throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election
season is over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to
broader social, political and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS YourName
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace focuses on the implementation of the Dayton
Accords in the former Yugoslavia.  This weekly publication, published
every Tuesday, contains both brief news summaries and longer essays on
specific events or issues facing the people of the region.  To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE YourName
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI YourName
   Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole