Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death. - Erick Erikson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol 1, No. 44, Part I, 4 June 1997


Vol 1, No. 44, Part I, 4 June 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/

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Headlines, Part I

* OFFICIALS PRESS FOR DUMA TO PASS TAX CODE

* NEW TWIST IN RUSSIAN-JAPANESE RELATIONS

* ANOTHER RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPER KILLED IN ABKHAZIA

End Note : The Revival of Fascism

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RUSSIA

OFFICIALS PRESS FOR DUMA TO PASS TAX CODE. President Boris Yeltsin has urged
the State Duma to pass the new draft Tax Code in its first reading before the
Duma's summer recess begins in late June, Interfax reported on 3 June, citing
presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii. First Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Chubais told Kommersant-Daily the same day that Russia's economy will
be set back by a year and a half and the draft 1998 budget ruined if deputies
fail to pass the code. Although failure to pass the either the code or the
1998 budget would not in itself give Yeltsin grounds to disband the Duma, the
comments by Yeltsin and Chubais have fueled speculation that the president may
be seeking early parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, Duma Speaker Gennadii
Seleznev said the Duma will consider legislation according to its own
schedule. He added that "we're not the fire brigade," RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported.

WOULD GOVERNMENT BENEFIT FROM EARLY ELECTIONS? Although some Yeltsin
supporters argue that new parliamentary elections would diminish the influence
of the opposition, others say that, given Russia's current economic
conditions, early elections would improve the opposition's standing in the
lower house of parliament. Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov of the pro-government
Our Home Is Russia faction warned against dissolving the Duma, Russian news
agencies reported on 3 June. He argued that the opposition Socialists in
France soundly defeated the governing party after French President Jacques
Chirac called early parliamentary elections. Ryzhkov also noted that Communist
candidate Nikolai Kolomeitsev won twice as many votes as former Labor Minister
Gennadii Melikyan in a 1 June by-election for a Duma seat in Rostov.
Similarly, Duma Speaker Seleznev, a Communist, commented on 3 June that
Yeltsin's advisers should consider Chirac's mistakes before moving to disband
the Duma.

GOVERNMENT SUBMITS TO DUMA MEASURES TO INCREASE REVENUES... The government has
submitted proposals for collecting some 34 trillion rubles ($5.9 billion) in
additional revenues this year, Russian news agencies reported on 3 June. The
measures include plans to bring in 4 trillion rubles by cutting aid to
enterprises that owe taxes, 3.5 trillion rubles by limiting access to export
pipelines to oil companies that owe no money to the federal budget, 5 trillion
rubles by selling state-owned shares in some enterprises, and 8 trillion
rubles through changing customs regulations. The government has proposed
spending cuts of 108 trillion rubles from the 1997 budget, but the Duma
postponed discussion of the proposed cuts pending government proposals on
collecting more revenues. The Duma is scheduled to consider the budget
reductions on 11 June.

...AND NEW GROWTH FORECAST. Also on 3 June, the government submitted to the
Duma a revised forecast for Russia's economic performance in 1997. The
government now predicts that GDP will be between 2,550 trillion and 2,600
trillion rubles ($450 billion) in 1997--zero growth at best and a 2% decline
from 1996 levels at worst. Earlier this year, the government had predicted GDP
growth of up to 2% in 1997. Meanwhile, the Financial Times on 3 June cited a
new forecast by analysts of the Chase Manhattan Bank, who predict that
Russia's GDP will increase by up to 5.4% this year, mostly due to the growing
"shadow economy."

YELTSIN TELLS LUZHKOV NOT TO "QUARREL" WITH GOVERNMENT. President Boris
Yeltsin has told Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov not to "quarrel with the
government," Russian news agencies reported on 3 June. During a meeting with
Luzhkov, Yeltsin also expressed his disagreement with the mayor's statements
on Sevastopol, where the Black Sea Fleet is based. Luzhkov has repeatedly
claimed that the Crimean port is a Russian city. Luzhkov reportedly told
Yeltsin that he has no fundamental objections to government policy, except
over housing reform. The mayor recently accused the federal government of
imposing an "economic blockade" on Moscow and of "spitting on" a festival
planned to mark Moscow's 850th anniversary (see RFE/RL Newsline, 28 May 1997).

MOSCOW GOVERNMENT APPROVES HOUSING REFORM PLAN. Moscow residents whose
apartments are larger than limits defined by the city will have to pay more in
rent and municipal services for the extra space beginning on 1 July. According
to a reform program approved on 3 June by the Moscow city government, the
higher charges will apply to Muscovites whose apartments are larger than 30
square meters per family member, ITAR-TASS reported. Under the reform plans,
costs for rent and municipal services will be shifted to city residents in
full by the year 2006, although subsidies will be provided if these costs
amount to more than 25% of a family's income. Under the federal government's
planned housing reform, costs for rent and municipal services would be fully
shifted to the population by the year 2003.

YELTSIN HAPPY WITH FOREIGN POLICY RESULTS. In a partly-televised meeting with
First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais, Yeltsin hailed the government's
achievements during the first five months of the year, especially in foreign
policy, Russian news agencies reported on 3 June. Yeltsin noted that in May,
Russia signed agreements or treaties with Chechnya, Belarus, Ukraine and NATO.
He told Chubais that the government's next important task is paying pension
arrears and other debts to Russian citizens. Government officials have
repeatedly pledged that all back pensions will be paid by 1 July.

MORE RUSSIAN-CHECHEN ECONOMIC TALKS. A Chechen government delegation headed by
First Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov held talks in Moscow on 3 June with
Russian First Deputy Premier Anatolii Chubais and Security Council Secretary
Ivan Rybkin, Russian and Western agencies reported. The talks focused on
implementing several points of a 12 May economic agreement that deal with a
draft customs accord, banking, and the transit through Chechnya of
Azerbaijan's Caspian oil. Interfax reported that Russia and Chechnya have not
yet agreed on the tariff for transporting Caspian oil via Chechen territory,
but NTV quoted Udugov as saying that the talks were "productive and
successful."

NEW TWIST IN RUSSIAN-JAPANESE RELATIONS. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Nemtsov has said the issue of the Kuril Islands will not be on the
agenda when he visits Japan on 9-11 June, Interfax reported on 3 June. Nemtsov
said that talks will focus on economic cooperation, adding that the Kuril
problem is "an issue for the Russian tsar," meaning Yeltsin. Russia's expected
admission to the Group of Seven leading industrial nations is almost certain
to be discussed. But Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Kadzuo Ogura said on 4
June that Russia must show "not only a political but also an economic
contribution to world affairs," ITAR-TASS reported. He commented that Russia
places more emphasis on relations with Europe and the U.S. than with Asia. He
added that if Russia is admitted to the G-7, Japan will propose China as a
candidate for entry as China's foreign trade is twice that of Russia.

RUSSIAN-MONGOLIAN MILITARY COOPERATION. A Russian Security Council delegation
led by the council's deputy secretary, Leonid Mayorov, has agreed to
strengthen ties with Mongolia, ITAR-TASS reported. The Russian delegation is
on a five-day visit to Mongolia to improve cooperation between the security
structures and regular armies of the two countries. Mayorov said that although
there is currently no apparent military threat against either country, it is
prudent to reach agreement on cooperative action should the situation in the
region change.

RUMORS OF IMPENDING TULEEV DISMISSAL. CIS Affairs Minister Aman Tuleev told
Interfax on 3 June that a decree on his dismissal is on the president's desk,
although he does not know whether Yeltsin has signed it. Tuleev did not
accompany Yeltsin on his recent trip to Ukraine and criticized the agreement
on dividing the Black Sea Fleet. Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev called
for Tuleev's dismissal after Tuleev criticized the treatment of ethnic
Russians in Kazakstan. Kommersant-Daily argued on 3 June that Tuleev has
damaged Russia's relations with leaders of all CIS countries except Belarus.
Appointed last August, Tuleev is the cabinet minister with the closest ties to
the opposition. He supported Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov's
presidential bid last year and is a leading figure in the Communist-led
Popular-Patriotic Union of Russia.

NOVOSIBIRSK GOVERNOR CRITICIZES PROPOSED TAX CODE. Vitalii Mukha says that
while the proposed new Tax Code has many merits, its terms do not fully take
into account regional interests, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 June. Mukha praised
efforts to lower tax rates and simplify the tax system by reducing the overall
number of taxes. However, he criticized a provision that would allow the
federal government to collect all value-added tax revenues. Mukha said he and
other Siberian leaders had expressed their concerns about the new Tax Code to
First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais at a May meeting of the Siberian Accord
association. Yeltsin spoke with Mukha by telephone on 3 June, but no details
of their conversation were released. Presidential spokesman Sergei
Yastrzhembskii said Yeltsin will have more frequent conversations with
regional leaders in the future.

BANKRUPTCY OFFICIAL RELEASED PENDING TRIAL. A Moscow municipal court ordered
on 3 June that Petr Karpov, deputy director of the Federal Bankruptcy
Administration, be released from pre-trial detention, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported. The charges against Karpov have not been dropped, and he had to sign
a pledge not to leave Moscow. Karpov is accused of taking a 5 million ruble
($870) bribe in 1994, but many observers believe the case against him is
driven by wider political or financial motives (see RFE/RL Newsline, 12 and 30
May 1997). In an interview with RFE/RL shortly after his release, Karpov said
that he plans to return to work and denounced the charges against him as
fabricated.

IZVESTIYA SIGNS CHARTER WITH SHAREHOLDERS. The editorial board of Izvestiya
has signed a charter with the paper's two major shareholders, the oil company
LUKoil and Oneksimbank. The document, published in Izvestiya on 4 June,
promises readers that the paper's editorial policy will be determined by its
journalists "without any outside influence." The journalists also promised to
ensure that Izvestiya's objectivity is not tainted by any "conflict of
interests" or "corporate goals." The editor-in-chief will be nominated by
journalists but must be confirmed by the paper's board of directors.
Journalists are outnumbered by representatives of the shareholders on that
board. The charter is aimed at settling the acrimonious dispute between
Izvestiya's editorial board and LUKoil (see RFE/RL Newsline, 15 and 23 April,
16 May 1997).


TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ANOTHER RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPER KILLED IN ABKHAZIA. One Russian officer was killed
and two servicemen injured on 2 June when their armored vehicle hit a mine in
Georgia's Gali Raion, Russian and Western agencies reported. Abkhaz Security
Minister Astamur Tarba blamed the incident on Georgian saboteurs. An unnamed
Russian Defense Ministry official told Interfax on 3 June that his ministry is
already making plans for the withdrawal of the peacekeeping force when its
mandate expires on 31 July. The Georgian parliament has demanded its
withdrawal after that date if the peacekeepers' mandate is not broadened to
redeploy them throughout Gali Raion. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 4 June quoted
Georgian Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze as saying that after the
peacekeepers' withdrawal, Georgian and Abkhaz police could maintain order in
Gali and protect ethnic Georgian repatriates from reprisals by Abkhaz
militants.

MORE DETAILS ON NEW KARABAKH PROPOSALS. The new plan for a settlement of the
Karabakh conflict is based on several compromises, according to
Asbarez-on-line of 3 June. Armenian forces must be withdrawn from seven
Azerbaijani raions beyond the internal borders of Karabakh (including Lachin)
and from the Karabakh town of Shusha. OSCE peacekeeping forces from the U.S.,
Russia, and Europe will be deployed in those raions, oversee the repatriation
of displaced persons, and ensure road communications through the Lachin
corridor, which links Karabakh with Armenia. Baku and Stepanakert will begin
negotiations on the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which will be allowed
to keep its well-trained armed forces until agreement is reached on its
status. The Karabakh army will then be downsized to a military police force.
However, an inventory will be made of Karabakh's armaments, which are to be
considered part of Armenia's CFE quota.

LEZGINS CLAIM AZERBAIJAN IS PERSECUTING ETHNIC MINORITIES. The Russian State
Duma's Committee on Nationality Affairs has recently held hearings on the
plight of the Lezgins, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 3 June. The Lezgins are
a Caucasian ethnic group whose traditional homeland straddles the frontier
between the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan. Shamil Murtuzaliev, chairman of
the Union of Muslims of South Dagestan, claims that the Azerbaijani leadership
has launched a harsh campaign of repression against the 1.2 million Lezgins in
Azerbaijan and other ethnic minorities, including the Avars and Kurds. He also
claims that Baku has banned the Lezgin National Movement, Sadval. Azerbaijan's
Lezgins are lobbying for the transfer of the raions where they live to Russia
and for dual (Azerbaijani and Russian) citizenship to facilitate communication
within families whose members live on either side of the frontier.

SIGNING OF TAJIK PEACE AGREEMENT POSTPONED. The signing of the final agreement
between the Tajik government and United Tajik Opposition, scheduled to take
place on 13 June in Moscow, has been postponed for "organizational and
technical reasons," according to Interfax on 3 June. RFE/RL correspondents in
Tajikistan say the reason for the delay is the opposition's insistence that
prisoner exchanges begin prior to the signing ceremony. The official signing
is to take place after 20 June.

DEMONSTRATORS BEATEN IN BISHKEK. Four people taking part in a demonstration in
the central square of Bishkek were beaten in the early hours of 4 June by
members of the Kyrgyz militia, according to RFE/RL correspondents in the
capital city. One of the four had to be hospitalized. They had taken part in a
demonstration outside the government building the previous day to protest a 23
May court decision to imprison two journalists and bar two others from
practicing journalism for 18 months (see RFE/RL Newsline, 26 May and 3 June
1997). The four demonstrators had remained in the square after beginning a
hunger strike. They were beaten by militiamen when they refused to leave.

END NOTE

The Revival of Fascism

by James Hooper

The revival of fascism is a greater threat than most observers realize. In its
various guises--ultra-nationalism, neo-fascism, post-fascism, proto fascism,
or some other form -- it now endangers democracy in many countries. Unless
recognized and checked in time, the rise of fascism will undermine hopes for
democratic expansion and improved security in the post-Cold War international
order.
Extreme nationalist parties have scored unprecedented post-war success in
Western Europe. Some have attracted broader constituencies through
sophisticated propaganda that downplays their extreme nationalist roots and
exploits mainstream concerns about immigration and corruption. But the goal
shared by all European extreme nationalist leaders is political legitimization
as responsible, democratic politicians. The public-policy issue for the U.S.
is to determine the standard to be met by such leaders before deciding whether
to accept them as legitimate democratic partners.
The Balkans provide a grim reminder that the hard-knuckled fascism of the
1990s can induce political psychosis in societies where it takes hold and
historical amnesia in leaders who have the capacity and responsibility to
resist it. Serbian President Milosevic used classic fascist means to define
and pursue national aims: dictatorship, aggression, seizure of territory by
force, destruction of pluralism and democracy, concentration camps, genocide,
and reliance on diplomacy as bluff, gamble, and institutionalized duplicity.
By modeling a violent and intolerant style of politics for a new generation of
European political activists, he projects the power and discipline the fascist
myth can invoke.
Russian ultra-nationalists benefit from Serbian fascism. While extreme
nationalist groups have not gained executive power in Moscow, they have seized
and distorted the democratic political agenda. If fascism moves from agenda
setting to office holding, the U.S. and Europe will be faced with a threat
more dangerous than Soviet communism. The issue for Western policy-makers is
to determine whether concessions to self-professed Russian democrats on
important matters of principle and policy contain or embolden the
ultra-nationalists.
In Asia, Japanese ultra-nationalism is an incipient but containable threat.
China is a different matter. As noted in Bernstein and Munro's book The Coming
Conflict With China, "early twentieth-century fascism," rather than democracy,
is one possible outcome of China's political transition. The inability of
China's repressed democrats to play an active role in the transition
significantly weakens the democratic cause there and shifts the burden of
responsibility to advocates of democracy abroad who have a stake in
influencing the outcome.
What is to be done? The first step is to recognize that democracy is imperiled
when the aim of politics becomes the process of defining enemies, especially
when the enemy is pluralism. For example, to forestall additional defections
by their own supporters, some otherwise democratic parties have begun to
advocate firmer measures to trim the numbers of and social services provided
to immigrants and refugees. In this way, the agenda of fascists begins to
shift the policies of democrats.
The irony of fascism is that its recognized hostility to multiculturalism
gives it a genuinely cross-cultural appeal. Fascism is equally accessible to
Chinese leaders seeking an integrative nationalist ideology in the waning days
of communism, to Hutu leaders pursuing tribal dominance, to Russian and Hindu
ultra-nationalists to Iraqi Baathists, to Austrian neo-fascists; and to U.S.
militiamen, skinheads, and racists.
The most pressing need at the moment is to acknowledge the global nature of
the problem and ensure that policy-makers are properly informed about it. This
will stimulate debate that takes account of the regional diversity and
differing implications of the challenges fascism poses. And from this will
come a better perspective for framing practical public-policy decisions that
reflect the U.S.'s strategic interests, democratic values, humanitarian
concerns, and commercial goals.

The author is director of the Program for the Study of Contemporary Fascism
and Democracy at the Balkan Institute, Washington D.C.


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