The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 57, Part I, 21 March 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

________________________________________________________________________
************************************************************************
In the 21 March issue of OMRI's journal TRANSITION**:

THE MIDDLE CLASS
 Economic Reform Casts a Long Shadow in Russia
 The Making of the Middle Classes
 Poland's Perpetually New Middle Class
 Some Russians Are Learning to Be Rich

PLUS...
RUSSIA: The NATO Distraction (A discussion with Grigorii Yavlinksii)
UKRAINE: Caution is the Key for Ukraine's Prime Minister
(a profile of Pavlo Lazarenko)
CENTRAL EUROPE: Security Services Still Distrusted
TAJIKISTAN: Defining the 'Third Force'

MEDIA NOTES: Journalists as Physical Pawns;
Political Moves at Russian TV

For subscription information about OMRI's new monthly, send an e-mail
message to transition-DD@omri.cz

Note: Transition is not available electronically

**See important message below on the upcoming changes to TRANSITION
________________________________________________________________________
************************************************************************

RUSSIA

YELTSIN, CLINTON OPEN SUMMIT . . . Russian President Boris Yeltsin and
his American counterpart Bill Clinton opened their summit meeting in
Helsinki on 20 March with a formal dinner, international agencies
reported. Upon arriving, Yeltsin declared, "let us not lose the
partnership we have established and developed." In contrast to
statements by both Russian and American officials downplaying the
possibility of any agreement on the disputed issue of NATO enlargement,
Yeltsin expressed hope that he and Clinton would "seek agreement," and
"part as friends, as we always have." At the opening dinner, Clinton,
confined to a wheelchair owing to a knee injury, said he was pleased to
see Yeltsin looking "so fit and well," adding "I hope we'll work
something out." The two leaders will hold a series of talks on 21 March
at Maentyniemi, the Finnish presidential residence located in a Helsinki
suburb. -- Scott Parrish

. . . WITH MORE PROGRESS LIKELY ON ARMS CONTROL THAN NATO. Sources in
Yeltsin's delegation told ITAR-TASS on 21 March that Yeltsin and Clinton
would issue three joint declarations after the summit: on economic
cooperation, arms control, and European security issues. U.S. officials
told AFP that Clinton will show Yeltsin new nuclear arms control
proposals , aimed at encouraging the Russian Federal Assembly to ratify
START II. Under the treaty's current terms, missiles and their silos
which are slated for elimination must be destroyed by 2003. Some Russian
critics of the treaty have complained that Russia cannot afford such a
quick timetable. Clinton will reportedly indicate that Washington is
willing to extend the timetable for destroying the missile silos as long
as the warheads are dismantled by 2003. However, cost is only one of
several issues that Russian legislators have linked with START II
ratification. -- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN'S SPIN DOCTORS TOP CLINTON'S AT HELSINKI. Yeltsin's press
spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembskii, had a slick media operation up and
running in Helsinki long before Clinton's delegation even arrived,
Reuters reported on 20 March. The agency said that from a specially-
built Russian press center, Yastrzhembskii and his assistants were
smoothly feeding international journalists a series of tirades against
the American stance on issues ranging from visa policies to NATO
expansion. For example, Russian Foreign Ministry official Mikhail
Timoshkin gave a briefing in which he blasted the restrictive visa
policies of several Western countries, accusing them of creating a new
"iron curtain," by "trying everything they can to complicate procedures
for receiving Russian citizens." He complained that one in four Russians
who applies for an American entry visa is turned down, which he said is
not an "acceptable norm for countries with partnerly relations." --
Scott Parrish

FOREIGN MINISTRY PANS "PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN" IN PRAGUE OVER AMBASSADOR'S
COMMENTS. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Andreev criticized
on 20 March what he termed a "propaganda campaign" carried out by Czech
politicians in response to comments by Nikolai Ryabov, Moscow's
ambassador to Prague (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 and 19 March 1997),
Russian media reported. Andreev described the reaction in Prague to
Ryabov's 16 March interview with NTV as designed to "fan anti-Russian
sentiment and raise additional pseudo-arguments in favor of the Czech
Republic's admission to NATO." In contrast, Izvestiya on 21 March
harshly criticized Ryabov, and blamed the incident on the practice of
awarding ambassadorships to unqualified political allies of the
president. Ryabov, the former chairman of the Central Electoral
Commission, was appointed ambassador to Prague after President Yeltsin
won re-election last July. -- Scott Parrish

NEW GOVERNMENT MEETS. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin chaired the
first meeting of the new government on 20 March, NTV and Kommersant-
Daily reported. He described the new ministers as "a team ready for real
action" and said he expected "colossal changes." He said the absorption
of the industry and defense industry ministries into the economics
ministry means "an end to the old sectoral, Gosplan approach." He gave
First Deputy Prime Ministers Anatolii Chubais and Boris Nemtsov two
weeks to prepare a new pension budget for 1997, since the Pension Fund's
draft has a 16 trillion ruble ($3 billion) deficit. Journalists noted
that Chubais entered the room before Nemtsov and sat on Chernomyrdin's
right, suggesting that he is the "first" first deputy. More ministerial
changes are expected early next week. Yegor Gaidar suggested on 19 March
that the new government should be given a grace period of 100 days,
since by then "it should be clear whether or not it is able to formulate
and implement a sensible policy," NTV reported. -- Peter Rutland

REGIONAL LEADERS GENERALLY APPLAUD GOVERNMENT CHANGES. Yaroslavl
Governor Anatolii Lisitsyn wrote in the 21 March Izvestiya that "Russia
needs Chubais and Nemtsov," warning that Russians feared them because
they are young, smart, and strong. Voronezh Governor Ivan Shabanov said
he supported the rise of regional stars like Nemtsov since government
policy would now take better account of regional interests. He
nevertheless decried the lack of a high-level minister to cover
agricultural questions, ITAR-TASS reported. Kareliya Prime Minister
Viktor Stepanov warned that if there was no change in the government's
tax, financial, and credit policies, there would be a new influx of
ministers, "maybe within the coming months," Russian TV (RTR) reported.
-- Robert Orttung

GOVERNMENT WARNS DUMA NOT TO INSULT MINISTERS. A statement issued by the
government on 20 March warned that if State Duma deputies do not change
the "unacceptable" tone of their comments about cabinet ministers,
government members will reconsider their participation in sessions of
the lower house of parliament, ITAR-TASS reported. Various Duma deputies
have condemned First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais in insulting
terms. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met with leaders of the seven
registered Duma factions on 20 March. -- Laura Belin

CHUBAIS IN KEMEROVO. First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais told
workers from Kuzbass mining towns on 21 March that the government will
pay off pension arrears by 30 June and its wage debt to public sector
workers by the end of December, ITAR-TASS reported. In an attempt to
demonstrate the government's commitment to solving the problems of
Kuzbass--one of the areas worst affected by payments arrears and labor
unrest--Chubais said the Finance Ministry has transferred 170 billion
rubles to pay off debts to public sector employees there. At the
beginning of the year regional budget workers were owed 500 billion
rubles in overdue wages. Chubais flew to Kemerovo to attend the 21 March
opening of the All-Russian Coal Industry Workers' Congress. The main aim
of his visit, Kommersant-Daily speculated on 21 March, is to test the
mood of miners ahead of the national trade union protest scheduled for
27 March. -- Penny Morvant

RUSSIAN-CHECHEN COMMISSION ON MISSING PERSONS MEETS. A joint Russian-
Chechen commission to determine the fate of those missing or forcibly
held met for the first time in Grozny on 20 March, ITAR-TASS reported.
The two sides exchanged lists of individuals whose fate is unknown:
1,346 from the Russian side and about 1,500 from the Chechens. The
Russians believes that 440 of the people on its list may be dead. The
Chechen authorities have already set aside a building for the purpose of
identifying dead bodies and the commission hopes to set up a database
listing those missing. -- Robert Orttung

CHAMBER ON INFORMATION DISPUTES COMPLAINS ABOUT OPPOSITION NEWSPAPERS.
The President's Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes has asked
Procurator-General Yurii Skuratov and State Press Committee Chairman
Ivan Laptev to examine whether the editors of the opposition newspapers
Zavtra and Sovetskaya Rossiya could be held legally responsible for
misusing press freedom and violating the law on the mass media, ITAR-
TASS reported on 20 March. The chamber described various articles
published this month, some of them signed by Sovetskaya Rossiya Editor
Valentin Chikin and Zavtra Editor Aleksandr Prokhanov, as "large-scale
political provocations aimed at destabilizing the situation in the
country." One article signed by both editors reportedly encouraged
Russian citizens to "study Albanian," which the chamber characterized as
a call to emulate the massive armed unrest that has swept Albania in
recent weeks. -- Laura Belin

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS UNHAPPY WITH PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION. A group of
prominent human rights activists told a news conference in Moscow on 20
March that they will no longer cooperate with the Presidential
Commission on Human Rights, ITAR-TASS reported. "We want to cooperate
with the authorities, but we cannot work with this commission and
therefore are demanding its dissolution," Moscow Helsinki Group
Chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseeva said. She and other human rights
activists, including Lev Ponomarev, Valerii Abramkin, and Boris
Altshuler, signed a statement calling for the disbanding of the
commission and the establishment of a new body in consultation with
Russia's major human rights groups. The Presidential Human Rights
Commission, headed by Vladimir Kartashkin, is accused of being too close
to the authorities (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 November 1996). -- Penny
Morvant

MAFIA NOT A MAJOR THREAT FOR FOREIGN FIRMS IN RUSSIA. At an
international conference on business security in Moscow, American
experts said that organized crime was not the major problem foreign
investors have to deal with in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 March.
According to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, only 20 of 350
surveyed foreign firms in Russia reported being approached by the mafia,
and only one company was forced to pay them money. Inefficient tax and
customs legislation (particularly the existence of tax privileges) and
corruption are considered more serious obstacles to foreign businesses.
This finding somewhat contradicts a recent study by Louise Shelley from
the American University in Washington, which suggested that the mafia
controls more than 40% of the Russian economy, damaging its tax base and
contributing to capital flight, Reuters reported on 19 March. -- Natalia
Gurushina

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KOCHARYAN NAMED ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER . . . Armenian President Levon
Ter-Petrossyan on 20 March appointed Robert Kocharyan, the leader of the
self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, as Armenia's new prime
minister, international media reported. Kocharyan said he is confident
that despite the appointment his supporters will implement his "program
to strengthen Nagorno-Karabakh's statehood and defense capability."
Kocharyan, an engineer by training, was one of the leaders of the 1988
movement for the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and is
respected by many opposition groups, including the banned Dashnak party.
It appears that his appointment is aimed at easing the tense internal
political situation in Armenia caused largely by the controversial 22
September presidential election. The deputy speaker of the Armenian
parliament, Ara Sahakyan, one of the closest figures to Ter-Petrossyan,
said Kocharyan will "play a consolidating role in Armenian society." --
Emil Danielyan

. . . AMID AZERBAIJAN'S CONDEMNATION. Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign
Minister Araz Azimov said that Kocharyan's appointment may sour already
strained relationship between Baku and Yerevan and slammed the move as a
"provocation," Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 20 March. Azimov
added that Kocharyan should abandon "Azerbaijani citizenship and resign
from the post of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian community leader."
According to Western agencies, the U.S. State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns expressed the hope that the appointment of the Karabakh
leader as prime minister of Armenia is not an attempt by Yerevan to
"annex" the region. -- Emil Danielyan

NAZARBAYEV TEMPERS STATEMENT ON PRIME MINISTER. Kazakstani President
Nursultan Nazarbayev on 20 March withdrew his threat to sack Prime
Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin if he didn't show progress in addressing
the wage and pension arrears problem by 10 April, Reuters reported.
Nazarbayev said "as long as reforms continue, the premier will retain
his post." Foreign investors were alarmed by the earlier statement
concerning the reformist prime minister's possible ouster. Kazhegeldin
is largely seen as the guarantor of market reforms in Kazakstan.
Concerning the matter of arrears, Finance Minister Aleksander Pavlov
said on 20 March that the state pension fund is bankrupt. The government
plans to establish a private pension fund but the chairman of the
National Securities Commission, Grigory Marchenko, said the fund could
atake up to 30 years before it becomes effective. -- Bruce Pannier

UZBEK DISSIDENT WRITER IN FINLAND. Uzbek writer Albert Musim, who was
detained and eventually released by authorities in Moscow in February in
connection with an extradition request from the Uzbek government,
arrived in Finland on 18 March seeking political asylum, RFE/RL
reported. Musim was wanted in Uzbekistan for criticizing the government.
According to a 19 March broadcast by Radio Finland as cited by the BBC,
Musim is the first writer to be granted asylum in Finland. -- Bruce
Pannier

NEWSPAPER QUESTIONS RUSSIAN ROLE IN TAJIKISTAN. The Russian daily
Segodnya on 20 March shed some light on the myths and realities of
politics in Tajikistan. The article claimed the Tajik government is not
in control of events, and questioned the wisdom of continuing to prop it
up. On the Islamic threat in Tajikistan, the paper said "only people
holding the most primitive notions" of Tajikistan make this statement,
noting that the leader of the Ismaili Muslims in Gorno-Badakhshan, the
Aga Khan, advocates a secular state. As to the "Dushanbe regime" being
pro-Russian, the article questioned the allegiance of a country which
owes millions dollars to Russia yet the leading trade partners for
Tajikistan are now Switzerland, Holland, and Turkey. The paper argues
that Tajikistan is disintegrating economically and politically, and the
country is a "black hole" into which the Russian taxpayers are throwing
their money. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!
What's in Store for the magazine Transition

We've learned much in the last two years about what sort of magazine
Transition can be and what role it should play in Central and Eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union. Of greatest help in this process has
been the advice of readers. Among some of the desired changes are for
Transition to offer even more articles by writers in the region - lively
opinion pieces as well as fact-filled analysis and expanded departments.

Accordingly, Transition will be substantially restructured and
relaunched as a monthly with the issue dated June 1997. The last
biweekly issue will be 6 April, followed by a brief hiatus. All existing
subscriptions will be honored and extended according to the new monthly
frequency, which is priced at $65 for 12 issues. As before, we offer a
substantial discount for readers in and of the countries we cover (apply
to the contacts listed below for more information).

For engaged intellectuals, policymakers, journalists, and scholars from
the region, the new Transition will provide a rare forum for the
exchange of ideas and criticism on political, economic, and cultural
issues and events.

For more information, contact the OMRI Marketing Department at tel.
(420-2) 6114 2114, fax (420-2) 6114 3181; email: transition-DD@omri.cz
*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1997 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to listserv@listserv.acsu.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


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
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


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