One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol 1, No. 40, Part I, 28 May 1997


Vol 1, No. 40, Part I, 28 May 1997

This is Part I of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Newsline.
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 RFE/RL NewsLine are available through RFE/RL's WWW
pages: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

Back  issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through OMRI's
WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* CONFUSIOIN OVER YELTSIN'S STATEMENT ON MISSILES


* MIXED REACTION IN RUSSIA TO ACCORD WITH NATO


* FINAL TAJIK PEACE AGREEMENT SIGNED


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

CONFUSION OVER YELTSIN'S STATEMENT ON MISSILES. President Boris Yeltsin's 27
May promise that Russia's nuclear missiles would no longer be aimed at NATO
countries stole the show on the day Russia and NATO signed the Founding Act on
their relations. Early translations of Yeltsin's remarks suggested he had
pledged to remove warheads from missiles currently aimed at NATO. Yeltsin's
spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii later clarified that missiles would be
targeted away from NATO member states rather than disarmed. The Russian
Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that in line with Yeltsin's
announcement, Russia's missiles would no longer be on "combat duty against
NATO countries," ITAR-TASS reported. Although it is primarily a symbolic
act--Russia already had agreements not to target missiles at the U.S. and
U.K.--Yeltsin's gesture nonetheless won praise from NATO leaders and the
European press (see also "End Note" below).

MIXED REACTION IN RUSSIA TO ACCORD WITH NATO. While official spokesmen hailed
the signing of the Founding Act, others had mixed views on the agreement. The
Carnegie Endowment's Dmitrii Trenin said the current situation was a
"lose-lose" affair for Russia, regardless of whether Yeltsin signed an deal
with NATO, Reuters reported on 27 May. Speaking in Denmark, State Duma Speaker
Gennadii Seleznev neither praised nor criticized the accord. He said Duma
deputies would approve the Founding Act "only if it really meets Russia's
security interests." Addressing lawmakers in Sweden on 28 May, Federation
Council Speaker Yegor Stroev praised the document and said he believed the
upper house of the Russian parliament would approve it, ITAR-TASS reported.
The Founding Act does not require ratification by the parliament, but Russian
officials have said it will be submitted to the Duma and the Federation
Council for approval.

RUSSIA, OECD SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov
and OECD Secretary-General Donald Johnston have signed a cooperation agreement
in Paris, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported on 27 May. Under the agreement,
high-level meetings between Russia and the organization will take place twice
a year. An OECD statement said the organization would help Russia "in its
progress to establishing a fully-fledged market economy." Russia and the OECD
signed a declaration on cooperation in 1994, and Russia formally applied to
join the OECD two years later. OECD officials continue to say Russia is a long
way from qualifying for membership in the organization.

BELATED RUSSIAN REACTION TO IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Four days after the
unexpected landslide victory of former Minister of Culture Mohammad Khatami in
the Iranian presidential elections, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Gennadii Tarasov told journalists on 27 May that Russia welcomes "the election
of a new president of a neighbor [sic] country," Russian agencies reported.
Tarasov said Russia is prepared to cooperate with Khatami and his future
cabinet "in the interests of the development of good-neighborly and mutually
advantageous bilateral relations and the settlement of crisis situations in
the region," according to ITAR-TASS. Interfax quoted an unnamed Russian Atomic
Energy official as saying Khatami's election will not affect the agreement
under which Russia is completing construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power
station. Khatami's defeated rival candidate, Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, was feted
by Russian officials during a visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg in April.

CHERNOMYRDIN CHAIRS MEETING OF NEW GOVERNMENT COMMISSION ON MILITARY. Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin chaired the first meeting of the government
commission on military construction, one of two commissions Yeltsin created
last week, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 May. Few details were released about the
meeting, which was attended by Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, General Staff
head Anatolii Kvashnin, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, Deputy
Prime Minister Oleg Sysuev, Federal Border Service director Andrei Nikolaev,
and Defense Council Secretary Yurii Baturin. According to ITAR-TASS, the other
new government commission, which is to be headed by First Deputy Prime
Minister Anatolii Chubais, will deal with financing the armed forces.

DUMA'S PROXY VOTING UNDER ATTACK. Duma First Deputy Speaker Aleksandr Shokhin
says the Duma should change its rules to eliminate the practice of proxy
voting, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 May. Shokhin, a leading figure in the
pro-government faction Our Home Is Russia, said the Duma must introduce "a
legitimate method of counting deputies." Presidential legal adviser Mikhail
Krasnov and Yeltsin's representative in the parliament, Aleksandr Kotenkov
have said recently that allowing deputies to vote on behalf of their
colleagues violates the Russian Constitution. Since the Duma began its work in
January 1994, the lower house has frequently passed laws with fewer than a
majority of deputies present in the chamber.

BABURIN CRITICIZES DUMA OPPOSITION LEADERS. Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei
Baburin, a co-leader of the Popular Power faction, says the so-called
"irreconcilable" parliamentary opposition is more concerned about preserving
the Duma than about saving Russia. In a commentary published in Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 28 May, Baburin slammed leaders of the Communist Party and Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia for not supporting a vote of no confidence in the
government. (If the Duma votes no confidence twice within three months, the
president could dissolve the lower house.) Baburin argued that the government
has not met any of the 11 conditions Communists laid down last December in
exchange for their support of the 1997 budget. For example, wage and pension
arrears persist, Rossiiskaya gazeta is still strictly a government newspaper,
there is still no parliamentary television program, and, most important,
Chubais continues to run Russia's economic policy.

CHUBAIS OUTLINES 1998 BUDGET TARGETS. First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais says
the 1998 budget is being drafted in line with government forecasts of 5%
annual inflation and 2% GDP growth in that year, Russian news agencies
reported on 27 May. Chubais, who is also finance minister, told Finance
Ministry officials that 1998 budget revenues were planned to be 12.5% of GDP,
while expenditures would be 4.5%. The budget deficit is expected to amount to
0.5% of GDP, he said. This would be by far the lowest deficit in Russia in
recent years.

LUZHKOV BLASTS GOVERNMENT OVER FUNDING FOR MOSCOW FESTIVAL. Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov says the federal government has "spit on" the festival planned to mark
Moscow's 850th anniversary, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 May. He slammed the
government for refusing to help fund the festival and, in particular, for not
helping pay for renovations to Moscow's Luzhniki stadium. Luzhkov argued that
Russia's image abroad would suffer if the capital city did not look good in
its anniversary year. The Moscow mayor has frequently criticized federal
authorities for ignoring regional interests. On 23 May, he complained that
Moscow was under an "economic blockade" from the federal authorities, even
though, he said, 43% of the federal government's total revenues in April came
from taxes collected in Moscow.

KULIKOV ON FAR EAST REGIONS. Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov said at a 27
May news conference that the Far East regions could "effectively be torn away
from the rest of Russia," Interfax reported. According to Kulikov, who visited
the regions earlier in May, the economic situation in the Far East has led a
large shadow economy that circumvents customs regulations, particularly in the
fishing industry. Kulikov said illegal fishing often takes place outside the
12-mile zone of Russia's territorial waters and that fish are sold off to
foreign vessels "at dumping prices." He added that the Russian budget calls
for increasing revenues from the Far East and that greater coordination with
police and tax and custom's services in the region is therefore necessary.
Kulikov wants the creation of a federal body to begin such coordination. The
Far East's leading trade partner is Japan, followed by China, South Korea, and
the rest of Russia.

BLAME GAME ON WAGE, PENSION ARREARS CONTINUES. Aleksandr Lapenkov, a
high-ranking official in the presidential administration's Main Control
Department, says regional authorities have diverted 5 trillion rubles ($870
million) allocated to regions to pay salaries of state employees, ITAR-TASS
reported on 27 May. Appearing at a conference in Yekaterinburg, Lapenkov said
misuse of budget funds had occurred in almost every Russian region. On the
same day, Chubais told Finance Ministry officials that regional governments
owe an additional 13 trillion rubles in back wages to Russians. On 24 May,
Vladimir Putin, the head of the Main Control Department, said pension arrears
fell from 13 trillion rubles in February to 12.5 rubles by 1 April. But he
noted that 667 billion rubles allocated to regions for pension payments had
been misused.


TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

FINAL TAJIK PEACE AGREEMENT SIGNED. Representatives of the Tajik government
and the United Tajik Opposition have signed a protocol ending hostilities
after five years, Interfax reported. The agreement gives the UTO 30% of the
posts in the executive and 25% of the posts in the Central Election
Commission. It calls for Tajikistan to disarm and disband UTO military units
and to reform the country's power structures. It also allows the voluntary
return of refugees and displaced persons, provides amnesty for those who took
part in the civil conflict, and removes bans on opposition mass media and
political parties that belong to the UTO. The agreement was also signed by
"guarantor" countries and organizations: Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, the OSCE, and the
Organization of the Islamic Conference.

PREPARATIONS BUT NO REFUGEES YET IN KYRGYZSTAN. UN High Commissioner for
Refugees Sadako Ogata spoke with the governor of the city of Osh, in southern
Kyrgyzstan, on 27 May about preparations for a possible influx of refugees
from Afghanistan, RFE/RL correspondents and Interfax reported. Temporary
accommodation is under construction to house up to 20,000 refugees in areas
near the Kyrgyz border with Tajikistan. But at the UNHCR headquarters in
Tajikistan, workers said they have no reports of refugees gathering near the
Tajik border in northern Afghanistan. A scheduled repatriation of refugees is
to take place on 28 May, and workers predict more refugees will cross into
Tajikistan than previously expected. The UN estimates there are 20,000 Tajik
refugees in Afghanistan.

UZBEK PRESIDENT SEEKS U.S. HELP IN SOLVING AFGHAN, TAJIK PROBLEMS. Uzbek
President Islam Karimov met with visiting U.S. congressmen on 26 May and
requested the U.S. take an "active role" in settling the problems in both
Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Interfax reported. Karimov told the congressmen
there was still much room for "closer cooperation" between his country and the
U.S.

BOOKS IN LATIN ALPHABET FOR TURKMEN SCHOOLS. The first shipment of schoolbooks
printed in the Latin rather than Cyrillic alphabet will soon arrive in
Turkmenistan, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 May. The 3 million books are being
printed in Turkey and are to be delivered in time for the beginning of the
next school year.

MORE KARABAKH DIPLOMACY. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott,
together with ranking Russian and French diplomats, will visit Armenia,
Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh from 30 May to 1 June in an attempt to
restart the deadlocked negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,
according to a correspondent for RFE/RL. Writing in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 24
May, Armenian presidential adviser Jirair Liparitian argued that the principle
of territorial integrity applies only to international conflicts between two
recognized states and that the international community should therefor not
expect Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh to respect it. Azerbaijan's Foreign
Minister Hasan Hasanov told the newspaper on 28 May that Armenian Prime
Minister Robert Kocharyan's proposal that Armenia should consider
incorporating Karabakh as an autonomous territorial unit proved "Armenia is
waging a war against Azerbaijan". Hasanov warned that his country will use any
means to defend its territorial integrity.

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS ABKHAZ PEACE PROPOSAL. Addressing the Georgian
parliament on 27 May, Eduard Shevardnadze rejected the recent proposal by
Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba that Georgia should conclude a peace
agreement with his breakaway region modeled on the Russian-Chechen treaty
signed on 12 May, ITAR-TASS and BS-Press reported. Shevardnadze argued that
Chechnya wanted to break away from Russia whereas Abkhazia wants to join the
Russian Federation. This, however, is incorrect: Ardzinba wants either
international recognition for Abkhazia as an independent state or equal status
with Georgia within a confederation. Shevardnadze called for an international
conference on resolving the conflict under UN auspices with the participation
of the OSCE, the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and North Caucasus leaders.

GEORGIA, UKRAINE SIGN AGREEMENTS ON MILITARY COOPERATION. Georgian Defense
Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze and his Ukrainian counterpart, Aleksandr Kuzmuk,
signed six agreements in Tbilisi on 27 May ITAR-TASS and BS-Press reported.
The accords cover cooperation between the two countries' air forces and air
defense systems and the training of Georgian military personnel in Ukraine.
Kuzmuk reiterated that Ukraine supports Georgia's claim to part of the Black
Sea Fleet.

GEORGIA TO HOST COSSACK GATHERING. The Council of Atamans of Cossack Forces of
Russia and Abroad will convene in Tbilisi in July to coordinate its position
on the settlement of conflicts in the former USSR, according to Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 28 May. Ranking Russian Cossack leaders discussed preparations for
the congress in Tbilisi with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and the
leader of the Georgian Cossack Force, Vasilii Kadenets. The convention is
clearly part of Shevardnadze's "Peaceful Caucasus" initiative and aims to
promote cooperation between Georgia and Russia's North Caucasus republics.




xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SUBSCRIBING:

1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        subscribe RFERL-L YourFirstName YourLastName
3) Send the message

UNSUBSCRIBING:

1) To un-subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        unsubscribe RFERL-L
3) Send the message

ON-LINE ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:

On-line issues of RFE/RL Newsline are available through the World
Wide Web: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

BACK ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:

Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline are available through the World
Wide Web: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

BACK ISSUES OF OMRI Daily Digest:

Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, and by FTP.

WWW: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/DD/
FTP: ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/

REPRINT POLICY:

To receive permission for reprinting, please direct
your inquires to Paul Goble, publisher.

Email: goblep@rferl.org
Phone (U.S.) : 202-457-6947
International: 001 202-457-6947
Postal Address: RFE/RL, Connecticut Ave. 1201, NW, Washington D.C., USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:

Paul Goble (Publisher), goblep@rferl.org
Jiri Pehe ( Editor, Central and Eastern Europe),  pehej@rferl.org
Liz Fuller (Deputy Editor, Transcaucasia), carlsone@rferl.org
Patrick Moore (West Balkans),  moorep@rferl.org
Michael Shafir (East Balkans), shafirm@rferl.org
Laura Belin (Russia), belinl@rferl.org
Bruce Pannier (Central Asia), pannierb@rferl.org
Jan Cleave, cleavej@rferl.org.

Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630.

Current and back issues are available online at:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

[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