There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 8, Part I, 13 January 1997

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

YELTSIN HEALTH UPDATE. President Boris Yeltsin remains at the Central
Clinical Hospital, being treated for pneumonia. The head of the Kremlin
medical center Dr. Sergei Mironov said that a fairly large area of both
lungs is affected, NTV reported on 12 January. Mironov believes Yeltsin
will stay at the hospital for the next 4 to 5 days, while his recovery
period will last at least through the end of January. On the same day,
the presidential press service asserted that President Yeltsin's
"activity level has increased markedly" and that he has begun working on
documents. No visitors are being allowed to see Yeltsin, Ekho Moskvy
reported on 11 January. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

LEBED ON EARLY ELECTIONS, KORZHAKOV. In an interview with the commercial
network TV-6 on 12 January, former Security Council Secretary Aleksandr
Lebed again expressed his presidential ambitions and asserted that
Yeltsin's poor health will force an early election. Lebed said the
country had been "without a government" since Yeltsin fell ill last
summer and warned of a possible "social explosion." Asked about his
relations with former presidential bodyguard Aleksandr Korzhakov, Lebed
said he meets with Korzhakov occasionally, adding, "the enemies of my
enemies are my friends." -- Laura Belin

STROEV CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE . . . Warning that the country
cannot live on the basis of presidential decrees, Federation Council
Chairman Yegor Stroev called for increasing the constitutional powers of
the parliament in determining economic and social policy, NTV reported
on 10 January. Stroev also called for giving both houses of the
parliament a say in the nomination of deputy prime ministers and power
ministers, currently the prerogative of the president. Stroev has
usually been careful to support the president and these statements may
signal an increasingly aggressive upper house. The Federation Council is
made up of the regional elite, almost all of whom were popularly elected
following the gubernatorial elections in the second half of last year.
-- Robert Orttung

. . . POLITICIANS, MEDIA REACT. Presidential representative to the
Constitutional Court Sergei Shakhrai spoke out sharply against changing
the constitution, reminding Russian Public TV (ORT) viewers on 11
January of the constitutional battles that led to bloodshed in October
1993. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov also spoke against changing the
constitution, according to Radio Mayak. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 11
January suggested that Stroev's statement reflected his efforts to block
a possible attempt to remove him as speaker by showing that he is
aggressively pursuing the parliament's cause against the executive. --
Robert Orttung

PRIEST KIDNAPPED IN CHECHNYA. Father Yefim, the head of the Orthodox
Church in Grozny, and fellow-priest Aleksei Vavilov were kidnapped on 9
January as they drove to the town of Urus-Martan, NTV reported the next
day. On 11 January Russian Patriarch Aleksii II appealed for their
release: the Chechen Mufti Haji Akhmad Kadyrov pledged his assistance.
Yefim was reportedly driving in search of another priest who was
kidnapped a year ago. An estimated 300 persons have been kidnapped in
Chechnya, including the brother of former Supreme Soviet chairman Ruslan
Khasbulatov, a professor at Grozny university, for whom the kidnappers
are reportedly demanding $1.5 million. -- Peter Rutland

POLL: MASKHADOV AHEAD IN RACE FOR PRESIDENT. According to a poll of
Chechen residents cited by ITAR-TASS on 12 January, former chief of
staff Aslan Maskhadov leads the presidential race with 65% support,
trailed by ex-press spokesman Movladi Udugov with 17%, while current
President Zelimkan Yandarbiev and field commander Shamil Basaev have 8%
each. The remaining 12 presidential candidates attracted 2% or less.
Moscow is hoping for a Maskhadov victory, since he is regarded as the
most reasonable of the Chechen leaders. On 10 January the National
Patriotic Party of Ichkeria announced they were backing Udugov, Radio
Mayak reported. -- Peter Rutland

CIS SUMMIT POSTPONED. CIS Executive Secretary Ivan Korotchenya announced
on 10 January that the scheduled 17 January CIS summit will be postponed
until the end of the month, Russian media reported. Korotchenya
attributed the postponement to a scheduling conflict involving Uzbek
President Islam Karimov, who plans to be in Slovakia on 16-17 January,
although the real reason is presumably President Yeltsin's health. --
Scott Parrish

RUSSIA CONDEMNS TURKISH THREATS AGAINST CYPRUS. The Russian Foreign
Ministry on 11 January denounced threats by Turkish Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller that Ankara "will do what is
necessary, even if that means strikes," to prevent the deployment of
Russian S-300 air defense missile in Greek-controlled Cyprus, Russian
and Western media reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov
said Ciller's remarks were "a direct threat to the security of sovereign
Cyprus." He reiterated the Russian view that the S-300 missiles which
Russia recently agreed to sell Cyprus are "purely defensive," and will
not upset the regional military balance. Tarasov urged Turkey to
consider Moscow's idea of full demilitarization of Cyprus. Western
governments, while critical of the missile sale, have also called on
Ankara to show restraint. -- Scott Parrish

INCUMBENTS REELECTED IN THREE REGIONS. The governor of Tyumen Oblast and
presidents of the republics of Adygeya and Kabardino-Balkariya were
reelected on 12 January, according to preliminary results, Radio Rossii
reported the next day. Leonid Roketskii, who received about 59% of the
vote, outpolled businessman Sergei Atroshenko by over 25% in the Tyumen
gubernatorial run-off. The turnout in the oblast was slightly over 25%.
The incumbent president of Kabardino-Balkariya, Valerii Kokov, ran
unopposed and was reelected with 97% turnout. Aslan Dzharimov, the
president of Adygeya, received about 58% of the vote; his two Communist-
backed rivals, Aslanbii Sovmiz and Kazbek Tsiku, won 20% and 16%
respectively. The results of all three regional races may be challenged
in court, as the elections were accompanied by irregularities and legal
violations. -- Anna Paretskaya in Moscow

TEACHERS GO ON STRIKE. Thousands of teachers across Russia are taking
part in protest actions on 13 January, ITAR-TASS reported. As in
numerous similar protests in previous years, the teachers' main
grievances are lengthy delays in the payment of wages and the low level
of state funding for the education sector. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 11
January said that more than 400,000 workers from 10,000 educational
establishments in 55 of the country's 89 regions intended to take part
in strikes and demonstrations. According to the paper, wage arrears grew
by almost 1.5 trillion rubles over the past month and currently exceed 6
trillion. A senior trade union official was quoted by the BBC as saying
that the situation was particularly serious in parts of Chita,
Novosibirsk, Arkhangelsk, Amur, and Bryansk oblasts, where teachers have
not been paid for six to nine months. -- Penny Morvant

NAKHODKA FOLLOW-UP. The Russian government is sending two ships to help
tackle the oil spill that followed the sinking of a Russian tanker in
the Sea of Japan on 2 January, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 January. An
estimated 4,000 metric tons of oil leaked when the Nakhokda broke apart,
polluting the Japanese coastline and fouling fishing grounds. On 11
January, Russia allocated 1.5 billion rubles ($270,000) to the clean-up
operation. The tanker's captain is still missing: the rest of the crew
have refused to talk to the press under pressure from Prisco Traffic,
the company that owns the tanker. Nezavisimaya gazeta alleged on 11
January that the wreck might be part of an insurance scam: the Nakhodka
was reportedly insured for $500 million with a London-based group. --
Penny Morvant

TOP U.S. OFFICIAL WARNS RUSSIA ON ECONOMIC POLICY. Larry Summers, Deputy
U.S. Treasury Secretary, has warned that market reform in Russia "has
lost momentum [and] key structural measures [have] dropped off the
reform agenda." Summers, the top U.S. official dealing with Russian
economic issues, was speaking to a conference of U.S. and Russian
businessmen at Harvard University on 9 January. The Russian delegation
was led by controversial businessman Boris Berezovskii, currently Deputy
Secretary of the Security Council. Summers said "1996 was a year
consumed less by policy than by politics and cardiology," and urged
Russia to tackle the problems of rampant crime and ineffective taxation.
Summers' comments seemed to signal a departure from the previous U.S.
administration line, that the market transition in Russia is basically
on track. -- Peter Rutland

SOSKOVETS' AMEX CARD. The three-part expose of criminal activities in
Russia's aluminum industry run by NTV's Itogi concluded on 12 January
and revealed the main piece of evidence - a copy of Oleg Soskovets'
American Express statement. Earlier episodes had alluded to Soskovets's
links with the aluminum industry (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 January
1997). The latest program detailed the killings of three bankers in 1995
who were involved in an attempt to win control over the Krasnoyarsk
aluminum works. The program then revealed that Soskovets, formerly First
Deputy Prime Minister, and his son have held an American Express
Corporate Account card, out of a Swiss bank, since 1994. The 20-year-old
Aleksei allegedly spent $103,532 with his card in six months in 1994,
including $25,000 in a Swiss jewelry shop and $724 for a dinner at
Moscow's Metropole Hotel. Soskovets senior was more modest, buying
$5,000 worth of groceries over the past two months. The program
complained that no-one from the Interior Ministry's department of
economic crime had contacted them after the two previous broadcasts. --
Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIA READY TO ACCEPT URANIUM FROM GEORGIA. Ministry of Atomic Energy
spokesman Grigorii Kaurov told ITAR-TASS on 11 January that "there is no
problem as such" with Russia accepting approximately 10 kg (22 lbs) of
highly-enriched uranium stored at an insecure Georgian research
facility. Kaurov said "it will take time to go through several judicial
formalities" to transfer the radioactive materials to Russia as a
special agreement with Georgia needs to be signed; other Russian
officials said the timing of the uranium's removal depends on resolving
"technical" issues. Repeated American offers of financial and technical
aid have failed to speed up the removal. The officials added that before
the uranium is removed, Tbilisi must agree to accept the radioactive
waste left after it is reprocessed. Georgian officials have balked,
because Georgia does not have a suitable storage facility. Kaurov
criticized the "unjustified furor" raised by media reports about the
uranium (see OMRI Daily Digest, 6 January 1997), which he argued poses
no proliferation threat. -- Scott Parrish and Emil Danielyan

U.S. TO PUSH FOR FRESH ELECTIONS IN ARMENIA? The United States will
press Armenian Prime Minister Armen Sarkisyan, currently visiting
Washington, to hold fresh parliamentary elections, an unidentified U.S.
official told AFP on 10 January. The official said early elections would
be "one way to give the opposition a constructive role and have a more
representative and democratic structure." AFP also quoted U.S. officials
as saying they hope that the elections could be held in March, and
Sarkisyan could foster the country's "political reform" in the wake of
the 22 September presidential vote that has caused doubts about the
legitimacy of President Levon Ter-Petrossyan. Opposition leader Vazgen
Manukyan has repeatedly said that fresh presidential and parliamentary
elections are the only issues the opposition is ready to discuss with
the authorities. -- Emil Danielyan

BISHKEK SUMMIT PRODUCES TREATY ON ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP. The presidents of
Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan met in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek
on 10 January, Western and Russian media reported. Nursultan Nazarbayev
of Kazakstan, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, and summit host Askar Akayev
signed a treaty declaring "eternal friendship" between their states.
They also agreed to form a Central Asian peacekeeping battalion which
will be based at Jibek-Jolu on the Kazak-Kyrgyz border. The three states
promised to cooperate militarily, agreeing to a mutual defense
arrangement. "If the territorial integrity and independence of one of
our states is threatened...the leaders of the three states may take
measures, including military ones, to defend our states," Nazarbayev
said. Also discussed was a means to make the Uzbek currency, the sum,
convertible into Kyrgyz som or Kazak tenge. A proposal to extend the
term of peacekeepers now serving in Tajikistan from the current three
countries was postponed until the forthcoming CIS summit. -- Bruce
Pannier

TALKS BETWEEN TASHKENT, DUSHANBE. Tajik Prime Minister Yahya Azimov held
two days of talks in Tashkent with his Uzbek counterpart Utkir Sultanov,
RFE/RL reported on 11 January. Discussion focused on Dushanbe's debt to
Uzbekistan for natural gas and electricity, as well as gas supplies for
1997 and transport-related problems. The sides failed to reach agreement
on these issues, but did sign an agreement on education. The magnitude
of the problems (last year Tajikistan acknowledged it owed Uzbekistan
$200 million) and Dushanbe's hopes to purchase gas at a subsidized rate
are likely to have made it difficult for the sides to agree. Last week
as a result of the conflict in Tursun Zade, Tajikistan, several shells
fell on Uzbek territory, wounding four. On 10 January Tashkent
officially protested the incident and called on Dushanbe to prevent its
repetition. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            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