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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 9, Part I, 12 January 1996


We welcome you to Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily
Digest. This part focuses on Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia.
Part II, distributed simultaneously as a second document, covers
Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.  Back issues of the Daily
Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through our WWW
pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
DEADLOCK IN PERVOMAYSKOE. Talks continued on 11 January in Pervomayskoe
between the Chechen militants under Salman Raduev and representatives of
the Dagestani leadership, Russian media reported. A request by the
Chechens to negotiate directly with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
was refused, according to Interfax and Russian Public TV (ORT). The
Chechens are now demanding that they be allowed to move on to the
village of Novogrozny in Chechnya, accompanied by foreign journalists,
representatives of international organizations, and State Duma deputies,
after which they will release their hostages. The Chechens seized an
additional 100 hostages from among the population of Pervomayskoe on 11
January and Raduev threatened to open fire on them if Russian tanks and
troops advance to within 100 meters of the village, according to ITAR-
TASS. Speaking to journalists in Paris on 11 January, President Boris
Yeltsin said Russian troops will be withdrawn from Chechnya as soon as a
peace agreement is concluded, Radio Rossii reported. -- Liz Fuller
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

RUSSIA

WHO IS SALMAN RADUEV? Salman Raduev, the leader of the Chechen fighters
that attacked Kizlyar, is thought to be 27-28 years old and the husband
of either the daughter or niece of separatist Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev. ITAR-TASS on 9 January reported that Raduev graduated from a
construction school, after which he rose to head the Chechen-Ingush
Komsomol organization. In 1989, he became the leader of a union of
volunteer construction brigades in Gudermes, where Dudaev appointed him
prefect in 1992. Russian commentators regard Raduev, nicknamed the "Lone
Wolf," as more violent and irrational than Shamil Basaev, who led the
Budennovsk raid. Last year, Raduev is reported to have executed a
wounded Russian soldier in front of witnesses and in March had police
fire on anti-Dudaev demonstrators in Gudermes. -- Peter Rutland

MEDIA INTERPRETATIONS OF KIZLYAR EVENTS. The military newspaper Krasnaya
zvezda claimed on 10 January that the hostage-taking at Kizlyar was the
direct result of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's decision to
negotiate an end to the June Budennovsk crisis, rather than using "more
forthright methods," as the military recommended. Izvestiya on 11
January rejected that argument, saying that the massive use of force had
failed to end the Chechen conflict and asserting that it was "the
appalling realities of the massacre in Chechnya" which provoked the
"terrible barbarities" of Budennovsk and Kizlyar. The media discussion
mirrors the ongoing debate in Moscow between those who advocate a
military solution to the Chechen conflict and those who favor
negotiations. -- Scott Parrish

NO CONGRESS OF CHECHEN PEOPLE IN VOLGOGRAD. In reaction to events in
Kizlyar, Volgograd Oblast Governor Ivan Shabunin has protested against
holding a congress of Chechen representatives in Volgograd, ITAR-TASS
reported on 11 January. Shabunin said that the congress could increase
tensions in the region. The leaders of Chechen communities that live in
other Russian regions outside Chechnya were scheduled to meet in
Volgograd in the second half of January to discuss "the situation in
Chechnya and rights of Chechens in Russia." -- Anna Paretskaya

KRO NOMINATES LEBED FOR PRESIDENT. Although the Congress of Russia
Communities (KRO) failed to win 5% of the vote in the December
elections, the party shows no signs of disappearing and on 11 January
unanimously nominated Aleksandr Lebed to run for president in June 1996,
Russian media reported on 11 January. KRO co-leader Yurii Skokov, who in
the past has had presidential ambitions himself, appeared at the
congress to back Lebed. However, KRO's number three candidate, Sergei
Glazev of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Russia, was absent,
ostensibly for health reasons. Declaring his candidacy on 28 December,
Lebed asked for an alliance with the Communist Party, but KPRF leaders
are for now remaining loyal to Gennadii Zyuganov. Yesterday, Lebed told
reporters that the KPRF "doesn't want victory in the presidential
elections, they wouldn't know what to do with a victory." -- Laura Belin

"REGIONS OF RUSSIA" DUMA FACTION FORMED. At least 41 Duma deputies have
agreed to form a "centrist" faction called Regions of Russia to
represent the interests of the regions in parliament, ITAR-TASS and
Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 11 January. The faction was
organized by Vladimir Medvedev, who chaired the New Regional Policy
faction in the last Duma, and Artur Chilingarov, one of five deputy
speakers in the last Duma. Regions of Russia will have several co-
chairmen, and its members will include former Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai, Col. Gen. (ret.) Boris Gromov, and former Federation
Council Deputy Chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov, in addition to well-known
"democratic" politicians such as corruption investigator Telman Gdlyan,
Ella Pamfilova and Vladimir Lysenko of the bloc Pamfilova-Gurov-V.
Lysenko, and Common Cause leader Irina Khakamada. -- Laura Belin

FIRST MEETING OF OUR HOME IS RUSSIA DUMA FACTION. The pro-government Our
Home Is Russia (NDR) Duma faction held an organizational meeting on 11
January, Russian media reported. It has 58 deputies, indicating that
only three independents have joined. NDR Duma leader Sergei Belyaev said
Yabloko was his party's closest ally in parliament and described the new
Duma as "balanced" enough not to allow the passage of laws that would
threaten reform, Russian TV reported. Belyaev also said Ivan Rybkin
would be a good choice for Duma speaker. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Lev
Rokhlin, who was third on the NDR party list, has changed his mind about
serving in the Duma. Rokhlin initially turned down his seat, but he has
reconsidered because in his view and in "the opinion of the Defense
Ministry leadership," someone should represent the army in parliament,
ORT reported. -- Laura Belin

ANATOMY OF THE RUSSIAN ELITE. Sociologist Olga Kryshtanovska presented
the results of a survey of the new Russian elite in Izvestiya on 10
January. According to her calculations, 75% of the new political elite
and 61% of the new business elite comes from the old Soviet
nomenklatura. The businessmen mostly came from the Komsomol (38%) and
from economic positions in the old nomenklatura (38%). She stressed the
crucial role played by a few leading banks that were favored by the
government in unifying the new elite in the wake of the collapse of the
Communist party-state apparatus. -- Peter Rutland

YELTSIN MAY SUSPEND LOCAL ELECTIONS. President Boris Yeltsin may move to
ban all local elections until after the June presidential vote unless
the Constitutional Court rules on his appeal of the local election law
soon, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 January, quoting Presidential
Administration head Sergei Filatov. Filatov said that the State Duma
legislators had exceeded their authority by setting election dates for
the local and regional legislatures. In August, the Duma passed a law on
local self government stipulating that regional elections be held by
March 1996. Yeltsin signed that law, but in September, he decreed that
local governors be elected in December 1996, and local legislatures in
December 1997 (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 September 1995). -- Anna
Paretskaya

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SIGNS POWER SEPARATION ACCORD WITH SVERDLOVSK,
KALININGRAD. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and the
governors of Sverdlovsk and Kaliningrad oblasts, Eduard Rossel and Yurii
Matochkin, signed an accord on separation of powers, ITAR-TASS reported
on 12 January. Another package of agreements with Kaliningrad Oblast
will be signed after President Yeltsin approves the creation of the free
economic zone on the oblast's territory (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8
January 1996). Already, nine Russian Federation ethnic republics have
signed such accords; the first accord with regional subjects was signed
last month with Orenburg Oblast. -- Anna Paretskaya

YELTSIN MEETS CHIRAC, KOHL. In Paris to attend memorial services for
former French President Francois Mitterrand, President Yeltsin met his
French counterpart Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl,
Russian and Western agencies reported on 11 January. Yeltsin and Chirac
agreed to form a new joint economic commission, chaired by Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his French counterpart Alain Juppe,
which will hold its first meeting in Moscow this February. Yeltsin
described as "interesting" Chirac's proposal that any further discussion
of NATO expansion be postponed until after Russia's June presidential
elections to avoid "irritating the Russians." Yeltsin later told Kohl
that the results of the 17 December Duma elections "were not a tragedy,"
saying he would use his veto powers to keep the Duma in check. -- Scott
Parrish

RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS DEPART FOR BOSNIA. The first detachment of the
Russian brigade slated to join the Bosnian peace implementation force
(IFOR) departed for Tuzla on 11 January, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Eleven transport planes carrying 150 paratroopers and their
equipment flew from an Ivanovo air base to Tuzla, from where the Russian
peacekeepers will move to their deployment area near the Serb-held town
of Brcko in the Posavina corridor. Colonel Aleksandr Lentsov, commander
of the brigade, said all of his 1,600 troops will be fully deployed by
the end of January. The Russian brigade will work together with elements
of the U.S. First Armored Division in what will be the first joint
Russo-U.S. operation in a possible combat zone since WW II. -- Scott
Parrish

KINELEV TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SCIENCE, EDUCATION, AND CULTURE. Russia's
newest deputy prime minister, Vladimir Kinelev, who was appointed on 10
January, will have responsibility for education, science, and culture.
Interfax, citing an unnamed high-ranking government official, said
Kinelev will continue to chair the State Committee for Higher Education.
-- Penny Morvant

VORKUTA MINERS URGE GOVERNMENT TO RETHINK NORTHERN POLICY. The Vorkuta
Independent Miners' Union has sent a letter to the president and
government urging them to rethink their financial policy toward the far
north or resettle Vorkuta residents in more hospitable climes, Russian
TV reported on 11 January. The union, which is planning to picket
government buildings in Moscow from 24 to 26 January to protest the
government's economic policy, said some employees of the Vorkutugol coal
association have not been paid since October. Wage arrears and the issue
of social benefits for miners laid off from unprofitable pits in the
Pechora coal basin have provoked a number of strikes and hunger strikes
in recent months. The Pechora region produced 22 million tons of the
country's total 1995 coal output of about 250 million tons, according to
Interfax on 11 January. -- Penny Morvant

RUSSIA STILL NOT A FREE MARKET ECONOMY. The Heritage Foundation, a
Washington think-tank, has released its 1995 economic freedom rating.
The ranking is based on 10 criteria, such as the size of the state
sector and the degree of legal protection for private property. The
report considers 65 of the 142 countries surveyed to be "free market
economies." Russia is ranked at 100th on the list, on a par with
Moldova, Bulgaria, and Nepal. Russia is ranked ahead of Belarus,
Armenia, and Ukraine, but behind Estonia and Latvia. -- Peter Rutland

INDUSTRIAL PRICES IN 1995. Industrial prices rose only 2% in December,
but nearly 200% over the whole of 1995, ITAR-TASS reported on 11
January. They outpaced consumer prices, which rose only 130% last year.
Energy prices rose 170% and electricity 180%--despite the fact that
these prices were frozen by the government for the last three months of
the year. The price of washing machines rose 196%, tractors 288%,
refrigerators 164%, paper 200%, televisions 83%, and aluminum 98%.
Buyers prefer imports over Russian manufactures not just because of the
poor quality and design of the latter but also because their prices are
rising closer to world levels. -- Peter Rutland

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

HEAD OF KAZAKHSTANI STATE SECURITY GIVES INTERVIEW. The most serious
domestic problems facing Kazakhstan are forged banking documents,
economic and technological espionage, illegal exporting, and money
laundering, according to an interview with Kazakhstani State Security
Committee Chairman Jenisbek Jumanbekov published in the 30-31 December
edition of Kazakhstanskaya pravda. Jumanbekov said that in 1995 his
service confiscated $6 billion worth in false bank guarantees and
registered 406 incidents in which people attempted to illegally export
raw materials and products from the country. He said his committee is
working to prevent spies from acquiring information on nuclear and
aerospace technology. He also claimed that some countries are trying to
launder money through Kazakhstan, noting a group from the Nigerian
government who allegedly wanted to transfer $30-40 million into
Kazakhstani bank accounts. -- Bruce Pannier

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It is published
Monday through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute.  The OMRI
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              Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                       All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
                  
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