Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 243, Part I, 18 December 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 OMRI Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are
available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

RUSSIA

RADUEV BACKTRACKS ON HOSTAGES. Chechen field commander Salman Raduev
said on 17 December that he would not release any of the 21 Russian
Interior Ministry troops taken hostage by his men on 14 December, ITAR-
TASS reported. Dagestan Security Council Secretary Magomet Tolboev
described talks with Raduev on the hostages' release as "difficult."
Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov said that Chechen
police were undertaking unspecified special measures to release the
hostages, but Raduev warned that he would respond to any attempt to free
the men by force by shooting them, according to Russian Public TV (ORT).
Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris Berezovskii, who met in
Grozny on 17 December with Udugov and field commander Shamil Basaev,
said he would remain in Chechnya until the hostages were released. --
Liz Fuller

RED CROSS KILLINGS CONDEMNED. The UNHCR and the French organization
Medicins du Monde formally announced the suspension of relief operations
in Chechnya and neighboring North Caucasus republics following the
murder of six Red Cross workers on the night of 16-17 December, Western
agencies reported. Speaking to journalists in Moscow on his return from
Grozny, Russian Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin condemned the
killings, as did Presidential press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembskii, who
described them as a "provocation" and expressed the hope that they would
not derail the ongoing peace process, according to ITAR-TASS. AFP quoted
Chechen security chief Abu Movsaev as stating that "there are suspects"
and that his men are currently trying to apprehend them. The murders
have also been widely condemned by Western governments. -- Liz Fuller

LEBED WINS CASE AGAINST KULIKOV. Former Security Council Secretary
Aleksandr Lebed won a libel suit against Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov on 17 December, international agencies reported. A Moscow
district court judge ruled that Kulikov had defamed Lebed's character at
a press conference on 16 October when he accused him of plotting an
armed mutiny. Lebed was fired soon after. The court awarded Lebed the
symbolic damages of 1 ruble he sought and ordered Kulikov to take back
the allegations at a news conference within 15 days. Kulikov, who is
himself suing Lebed over remarks he made to Argumenty i fakty, plans to
appeal. Lebed and Kulikov have been bitter foes since the summer, when
Lebed called for the interior minister's resignation over Chechnya.
Moscow is currently awash with rumors that Kulikov will be promoted to
the post of deputy prime minister, although on 18 December he checked
into hospital for a week-long "check up." -- Penny Morvant

FSB CHIEF ON ESPIONAGE AGAINST RUSSIA. Federal Security Service (FSB)
Director Col.-Gen. Nikolai Kovalev told reporters on 17 December that
combating foreign espionage remains the principal activity of his
agency, Russian and Western media reported. He argued that Western
interest in spying on Russia has increased because of "Russia's place
and role in the international community" and complained in particular
about the activity of British, Turkish, and Baltic intelligence agents.
Kovalev, who was appointed in July, said that over the last two years
the FSB has exposed 400 foreign agents, arrested 39 Russian citizens on
espionage charges, and blocked more than 100 attempts to transfer
classified information to foreign intelligence services. On the other
hand, he said the FSB is cooperating with foreign colleagues in the
fight against terrorism, organized crime, corruption, and drug
trafficking but admitted to less success in these areas. -- Scott
Parrish

YELTSIN WITHDRAWS COURT CHALLENGE TO FOREIGN TRADE LAW. Sergei Shakhrai,
President Yeltsin's recently appointed representative to the Russian
Constitutional Court, withdrew a presidential request that the court
review the constitutionality of the law on "state regulation of foreign
economic activity," ITAR-TASS reported on 17 December. The presidential
appeal, which was lodged last year, contended that the law grants
unconstitutionally broad foreign trade authority to regional officials
and infringes on the president's constitutional mandate to direct
foreign policy. Shakhrai told Kommersant-Daily on 18 December that the
original appeal had been poorly argued and said he planned to resubmit
it after revisions. But the paper speculated that the decision reflected
Shakhrai's "cautious" attitude toward building Russian federalism, which
requires a new approach now that all regional executives will soon be
elected rather than appointed by the president. -- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN VETOES PENSION INCREASE. President Boris Yeltsin on 17 December
vetoed a bill raising the minimum pension by 10% on the grounds that the
country could not afford it, Russian TV (RTR) reported. In a letter to
Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev and Federation Council Speaker Yegor
Stroev, the president said that the increases envisaged by the law would
cost an additional 815 billion rubles a month and push the Pension Fund
further into debt. Delays in the payment of pensions have sparked
protests in some areas and prompted local officials to devise schemes
for paying pension arrears in kind. -- Penny Morvant

MOSCOW MAYOR INJURES LEG PRACTICING CIRCUS NUMBER. Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov injured his leg while rehearsing a parachute jump from the top
of the Moscow Circus tent, AFP reported on 17 December. Luzhkov, 60,
planned to perform the number at the special celebrations this week
marking the 75th birthday of the circus director and famous clown Yurii
Nikulin. Despite the accident, Luzhkov intends to attend the
celebrations on 18 December. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

FOREIGN MINISTRY REJECTS CLAIM ON SEVASTOPOL. Belatedly rejecting the 5
December Federation Council resolution claiming Sevastopol, Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov reiterated that the Russian
government accepts that "Sevastopol and all of Crimea belongs to
Ukraine," Russian media reported on 17 December. Tarasov expressed
"bewilderment" at the Ukrainian parliament's 6 December protest against
Russian territorial claims (see OMRI Daily Digest, 6 and 7 December
1996). He stressed that under the 1993 Russian constitution, it is the
executive and not the Federal Assembly that directs foreign policy. He
also harshly criticized Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko
for his continuing opposition to the demarcation of the Russo-Chinese
border under a 1991 bilateral agreement. Tarasov said the agreement
would be "unconditionally fulfilled," adding that Nazdratenko's "crude"
and "demagogic" attacks on it were "unacceptable." -- Scott Parrish

YAMAL-NENETS DUMA RETURNS TO HARD-LINE POSITION. The Yamal-Nenets Duma
has restated its opposition to holding the Tyumen Oblast gubernatorial
elections on its territory despite earlier indications that it was ready
to compromise on some points. During a morning session on 17 December,
the Duma agreed to allow citizens of Tyumen Oblast and Khanty-Mansi
Autonomous Okrug currently in Yamal-Nenets to vote for the Tyumen
govenor at special polling stations. In the afternoon, however, the Duma
reversed its decision. First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff
Aleksandr Kazakov called the Duma's opposition to holding the Tyumen
elections "a serious challenge to Russia's sociopolitical structure."
Tyumen Oblast Governor Leonid Roketskii and four other candidates have
asked Yeltsin to intervene to enable all Yamal-Nenets voters to
participate in the elections, RIA Novosti reported. -- Robert Orttung

RADIO AND TV BROADCASTS RESUME IN MURMANSK. Communications workers in
Murmansk on 17 September called off a week-long strike that prevented
more than 1 million residents of the region from receiving central
television and radio broadcasts, ITAR-TASS reported (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 17 December 1996). The workers warned that they will take
further strike action in the new year if the central broadcasters do not
pay off their debts. -- Robert Orttung

LENINGRAD MILITARY DISTRICT COMMANDER KILLED IN PLANE CRASH. Seventeen
people were killed on 17 December when an AN-12 transport plane crashed
shortly after takeoff from the Andreapol military airbase in Tver
Oblast, ITAR-TASS reported. The casualties included Col.-Gen. Sergei
Seleznev, commander of the Leningrad Military District. -- Scott Parrish

WESTERN OIL COMPANIES URGE RUSSIA TO BE MORE OPEN TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT.
The Petroleum Advisory Forum, which unites 30 Western corporations,
released a plan prepared jointly with the Russian Academy of Sciences on
17 December detailing the possible benefits for Russia of six major oil
and gas projects, Reuters reported. The projects would require $100
billion of Western investment over the next 50 years but could boost
annual oil output by 90 million metric tons, create 550,000 new jobs,
and generate $590 billion in revenue, 87% of which would go to Russia.
Progress on these projects has been blocked by ambiguous tax legislation
and the Duma's failure to pass a list of approved sites covered by the
1995 production-sharing law. Russia's oil production fell from 570
million metric tons in 1987 to 305 million tons in 1995, largely because
of lack of investment in new fields. It dropped another 2% in the first
10 months of 1996. -- Peter Rutland

CAPITAL OUTFLOW STILL STRONG. Deputy Procurator General Vladimir Davydov
told a press conference that capital flight from Russia tops $12 billion
a year, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 December. Russian individuals and
companies hold a total of $40-50 billion abroad and operate an estimated
60,000 off-shore companies. Davydov said the situation is exacerbated by
discrepancies in customs practices between Russia and other CIS
countries. He estimated that the absence of customs duties on foreign-
currency transfers between Russia and Belarus cost the Russian budget $2
billion in 1996. -- Natalia Gurushina

FARM SUPPORT SYSTEM STRUGGLES TO SURVIVE. The share of federal budget
spending allocated to agriculture (as estimated by the Duma's Agrarian
faction) declined from 12% in 1991 to 6% in 1994 and 3.8% in 1996,
Kommersant-Daily reported on 18 December. On 17 December the Duma passed
on first reading a new law creating a network of federal and regional
funds to subsidize farms, with funds to be raised from customs duties on
food and alcohol imports and from taxes on food production. -- Natalia
Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

FREEDOM HOUSE REPORT NOTES LACK OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CENTRAL ASIA. In its
annual survey of freedom and democracy worldwide, the U.S.-based Freedom
House identified Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as among the 17 most
repressive regimes in the world, RFE-RL reported on 18 December.
Uzbekistan, which last year also appeared in the worst category,
improved its record in 1996. Among the CIS countries, Armenia, Georgia,
Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine are rated "partly free;" and Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
are listed as "not free." Freedom House ratings are based on a check-
list of political rights and civil liberties, including the degree of
autonomy for minorities, the status of the opposition, the nature of
electoral laws, and the degree of freedom of assembly and freedom of the
media. -- Lowell Bezanis

CHECHNYA DEMANDS SHARE OF TRANSIT TARIFFS FOR CASPIAN OIL. Chechen
government representative Eduard Khachukaev met recently in Baku with
the chairman of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC),
Terry Adams, to discuss the transportation of Azerbaijani oil through
Chechnya, Turan reported on 17 December. Khachukaev said that Chechnya
should receive a share of the transit tariffs from the transportation of
Caspian oil via the Baku-Chechnya-Tikhoretsk-Novorossiisk pipeline and
that it wants a share in the AIOC. Adams assured Khachukaev that he
would raise the issue with the Azerbaijani leadership. Under the terms
of an agreement signed by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and
interim Chechen Prime Minister Aslan Maskhadov on 23 November, the
Russian and Chechen authorities were supposed to conclude an agreement
by 1 December on the unimpeded transportation of oil through Chechnya.
-- Liz Fuller

DEMONSTRATION IN KYRGYZSTAN. About 300 people, mostly pensioners,
gathered in front of the government building in Bishkek on 17 December
to demand compensation for savings lost when several state banks
collapsed, RFE/RL reported. The leaders of the demonstration met with
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Apas Jumagulov, but no agreement was reached. One
of the protesters, Topchubek Turgunaliyev of the Erkin Kyrgyzstan Party,
was detained by police as he left the government building. Turgunaliyev
was accused of embezzling state property, but Jumagazy Usupov, leader of
the Ashar movement, argued that Turgunaliyev's detention was linked to
his role in the recent formation of the "For Deliverance from Poverty"
movement. Usupov speculated that the detention is aimed at stopping
Turgunaliyev from organizing further protests and preventing the new
movement from holding a congress scheduled for 21 December. -- Bruce
Pannier and Naryn Idinov

UN OBSERVERS IN TAJIKISTAN VICTIMS OF "MOCK EXECUTION." Two teams of UN
observers in Tajikistan were stopped at a government checkpoint,
verbally and physically abused, and subject to forced to stand in a line
for a mock execution, according to an 18 December UN press release. The
teams were traveling to Garm to verify reports of cease-fire violations
in the area when they were stopped at the Saripul post. Their
communications equipment was confiscated and members of the teams were
ordered to line up in a field for execution. Government soldiers then
fired above and around the men. The UN team was able to escape when the
appearance of a car on the road diverted the soldiers' attention. This
is the second time this month that government forces have mistreated UN
observers. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Penny Morvant

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            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/DD/Index.html

FTP
ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/


                                  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/Reprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the OMRI 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/Index.html


OMRI 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
OMRI Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/ED/Index.html


RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published every
Wednesday) 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
Novemberveument. Back issues of subscribe, please follow these
instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace contains the latest news about developments in the
Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other countries of Southeastern
Europe. Published every Tuesday, it 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 Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE TRANSLATION OF THE 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 Your Name
   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