|If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson|
Vol 1, No. 49, Part I, 10 June 1997
server. We regret the inconvenience and have re-sent NEWSLINE for Monday, 9 June 1997, today. RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 49, Part I, 10 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/ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part I * ZYUGANOV TO DEMAND INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED DOCUMENT ON DUMA DISSOLUTION * PRIMORE POLITICAL ELITE DENOUNCE FEDERAL POLICIES * RUSSIA SEEKS PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT TO AFGHAN SITUATION End Note NATO Is About Far More Than Russia xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx RUSSIA ZYUGANOV TO DEMAND INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED DOCUMENT ON DUMA DISSOLUTION. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov says he will demand a parliamentary investigation into alleged plans to dissolve the State Duma, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 9 June. The pro-communist newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya on 7 June published extracts from a document allegedly circulating among President Boris Yeltsin's advisers. The document suggests waging a media campaign to discredit the Duma's activities and seeking "moral support" for disbanding the Duma from foreign leaders at the June G-7 summit in Denver. The document also advocates filing appeals in the Constitutional Court to undermine the Duma's legitimacy and eventually issuing a presidential decree saying new parliamentary elections will be held only if the government has enough money. Speaking to RFE/RL, Sergei Shakhrai, Yeltsin's representative in the Constitutional Court, neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the document. NEMTSOV MEETS WITH JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov met with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on 10 June and delivered a personal letter from Yeltsin inviting Hashimoto to visit Russia later this year, according to Russian media and Japan's Kyodo news agency. Hashimoto said he will discuss the possibility of visiting Russia when he sees Yeltsin at the G-7 conference in Denver, Colorado, later this month. Nemtsov received assurances that loans worth $2 billion that Japan granted to the Soviet Union would be restructured. Japanese Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka said Japan will back Russia's bid to join the Paris Club as a creditor country. FEDERATION COUNCIL RATIFIES RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN TREATY. The Federation Council on 10 June ratified the Russian-Belarusian union treaty and charter by a vote of 144 to zero with three abstentions, ITAR-TASS reported. The State Duma ratified the documents on 6 June. PRIMORE POLITICAL ELITE DENOUNCE FEDERAL POLICIES. The Primorskii Krai administration has claimed that Moscow officials are "destabilizing" the situation in the krai, RFE/RL's correspondent in Vladivostok reported on 9 June. It has also accused the Moscow-based media of carrying out an "information terror" against the krai authorities. Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko says federal debts to Primore have caused persistent energy crises there. He continues to denounce proposed increases in local energy tariffs. Federal officials say the energy crises have been caused by a two-tier pricing system imposed by the Primore authorities. Favored local enterprises pay very low rates for electricity, while federal-funded organizations in the krai are charged exorbitant rates. Nazdratenko was elected governor in December 1995 and has said he will not leave office unless he loses a popular referendum or early gubernatorial election. OPPOSITION POLITICIANS, SOME GOVERNORS SUPPORT NAZDRATENKO. Former Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed has sent a telegram of support to Nazdratenko, asking the Primore governor to "stand firm" against pressure from the federal authorities, RFE/RL's correspondent in Vladivostok reported on 9 June. According to the krai administration's press service, several governors, including Eduard Rossel of Sverdlovsk, have also called Nazdratenko to express their support. Meanwhile, the editors-in-chief of Sovetskaya Rossiya and the opposition weekly Zavtra published an appeal on Nazdratenko's behalf in the 10 June issue of Sovetskaya Rossiya. The appeal said Nazdratenko had in effect been illegally removed from office when extensive powers were transferred to Yeltsin's representative in Primore, Viktor Kondratov (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 June 1997). The appeal also called on Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev to support Nazdratenko, whom it described as "a Federation Council member who is being persecuted by the [federal] authorities." CHUBAIS ISSUES INCOME DECLARATION. First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais on 10 June issued a declaration saying he earned 1.71 billion rubles ($297,000) in 1996, ITAR-TASS reported. Of that sum, Chubais reportedly earned 39 million rubles while serving as Yeltsin's chief of staff from July to December and the remainder for "lectures, consultations, salary, and income from stock transactions while working as the director-general of the Center for the Defense of Private Property." Chubais also declared bank accounts at Menatep (120 million rubles) and Most Bank (695 million rubles), a Suzuki car worth 212 million rubles, a two-room apartment in Moscow worth 28 million rubles, and land outside Moscow worth 35 million rubles. In January, Chubais paid some $92,000 in taxes after the weekly Novaya gazeta reported that he had evaded taxes on $278,000 earned during the 1996 presidential campaign. YELTSIN ENDORSES DEFENSE MINISTER'S REFORM PLANS. At a meeting with Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, Yeltsin approved a document outlining proposed reforms in the military, Russian and Western news agencies reported on 9 June. Sergeev vowed to stop bureaucratic waste and use scarce funds toward improving the troops' combat readiness. He said 60% of funds allocated to the military went to cover maintenance costs, such as the payment of allowances and the purchase of provisions. Sergeev added that money could be saved by cutting the number of installations and depots, reducing the duplication of responsibilities, and selling off unprofitable enterprises run by the military. Yeltsin appointed Sergeev in May to replace Igor Rodionov, who, according to the president, had made little progress in reforming the military. Many Russian commentators say Yeltsin himself is to blame for the slow pace of military reform. MOST OFFICERS PLAN TO LEAVE ARMED FORCES VOLUNTARILY. Most Russian officers say they will leave the armed forces when their current contracts expire, Interfax reported on 8 June, citing Defense Ministry sources. Because of persistent wage arrears, an estimated 61% of officers suffer from chronic financial problems and 29% are living beneath the poverty line. The five-year contracts signed by officers after post-Soviet Russia set up its armed forces in 1992 will start to expire later this year. Yeltsin has charged a government commission chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais with drafting proposals to "stabilize the financial and economic situation of the armed forces." CIS INTERPARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON TRANSDNIESTER, ABKHAZIA. At a plenary session in St. Petersburg on 8 June, the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution that approves the recent agreement between Moldova and the Transdniester breakaway region on normalizing relations and stresses that the conflict can be resolved only on the basis of recognition of Moldova's territorial integrity, according to BASA-Press on 9 June and Nezavisimaya gazeta on 10 June. The assembly also adopted another resolution calling for the implementation of the decision of the March CIS heads of state summit on broadening the mandate of the CIS peacekeeping force in Abkhazia. On 9 June, the Council of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly held its first joint session with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in St. Petersburg. The two bodies signed an agreement on cooperation, Interfax reported. INGUSH VICE PRESIDENT APPOINTED TO RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL. Yeltsin appointed Lt.-Gen. Boris Agapov as deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council on 9 June, Russian and Western agencies reported. Agapov, who is a former border guard general, is Ivan Rybkin's sixth deputy. Rybkin said he will be responsible for "crisis management," while Security Council press secretary Igor Ignatev said Agapov will focus on border disputes in the "post-Soviet space." FATE OF ST. PETERSBURG REFERENDUM IN DOUBT. The St. Petersburg electoral commission has decided to withdraw its request that the city's legislature set a date for a referendum on the performance of St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 June. Aleksandr Garusov, who heads the commission, explained that the St. Petersburg City Court recently declared the registration of the initiative group supporting the referendum illegal. The court ruled that one of the proposed referendum questions was improperly phrased. Although Garusov described the court's reasoning as "not convincing," he said his commission was obliged to abide by the court ruling. In May, Yakovlev's opponents collected more than 250,000 signatures in favor of holding the referendum. CASE AGAINST NOVODVORSKAYA CLOSED. The criminal case against Valeriya Novodvorskaya, leader of the radical Democratic Union, has been closed, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 10 June. Novodvorskaya was accused of inciting ethnic hatred in two newspaper articles published in 1993 and 1994 and in a 1994 interview on Estonian television. In particular, she had suggested that the typical Russian is afflicted with a "manic-depressive psychosis" and that "laziness, poverty, spinelessness, and slavery" are characteristics of the Russian mentality. Although similar charges against her were dropped in September 1995, procurators opened a second case based on the same alleged crime in April 1996. Novodvorskaya's defenders argued that she was being persecuted for remarks intended as political satire. The case was finally brought to trial in September 1996, but judges referred the case for further investigation the following month (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 September and 23 October 1996). EXPERTS SAY OIL, GAS INDUSTRY CAUSES WIDESPREAD POLLUTION. Experts appearing before the Government Ecological Committee announced on 9 June that widespread "environmental violations" in the country's gas and oil industry has polluted large swathes of Russian territory, ITAR-TASS reported. The specialists said soil around most oil and gas drilling operations was contaminated and that in oil-rich Tyumen Oblast alone, pollution has caused grazing pastures to shrink by 12.5% and has contaminated some 30,000 hectares of forest. The experts also said some 70 million cubic meters of untreated waste water was dumped annually into Russia's rivers and lakes. In Tyumen and Tomsk Oblasts as well as in Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrugs, water pollution exceeds accepted levels by ten times, the experts noted. TRETYAKOV GALLERY SHORT OF FUNDS. Valentin Rodionov, the director of Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery, says state subsidies to the museum are half of what it requires, Interfax reported on 9 June. Rodionov said the museum needs 118 billion rubles (more than $20 million) a year to cover costs. But he noted that the museum received only 15 billion rubles of the 50 billion rubles allocated to it last year. Also on 9 June, Moscow's Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said he would ask Yeltsin to ensure "proper" funding for the gallery. Luzhkov said he would head a new foundation to support the Tretyakov, ITAR-TASS reported. The 141-year-old Tretyakov reopened to the public two years ago after renovations that took 10 years. STAVROPOL GOVERNOR, TEREK COSSACKS DISAGREE OVER TERRITORIAL CLAIMS. At a press conference on 9 June, Stavropol Krai governor Aleksandr Chernogorov expressed disapproval of the stated intention of the Terek Cossacks to raise the issue of the return to Stavropol of two raions transferred to the Chechen-Ingush ASSR in 1958, ITAR-TASS reported. Chernogorov suggested he considered Stavropol's claims on the two raions are valid, but he noted it is Moscow's prerogative to rule on territorial divisions within Russia on the basis of its constitution. TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA RUSSIA SEEKS PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT TO AFGHAN SITUATION. Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk has confirmed he met with a representative of Afghanistan's Taliban during his recent official visit to Pakistan, Interfax reported. Posuvalyuk said he told the representative that there is no military solution to the problems in Afghanistan. He added that he encouraged political dialogue between the various groups in Afghanistan. Posuvalyuk also positively assessed his meetings with Pakistani officials, saying the results showed that Moscow and Islamabad have "possibilities to cooperate..., to reconcile the Afghans, and to achieve a settlement." Posuvalyuk confirmed this was not the first time Russian officials had met with the Taliban. U.S.-UZBEK MILITARY EXERCISES FINISH. The Ultra Balance-97 military exercises were completed on 9 June, according to Interfax. The four-day maneuvers took place in the Fergana Valley 80 kilometers from the Uzbek-Tajik border in accordance with a 1995 bilateral agreement between the Uzbek Defense Ministry and the U.S. Defense Department. U.S. officers also inspected sites in Uzbekistan and Kazakstan where an 11-country military exercise is scheduled to be held in late September under the Partnership for Peace program. SENTENCES REDUCED FOR KYRGYZ JOURNALISTS. A municipal court on 10 June reduced the sentences of four Kyrgyz journalists charged with libel, RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek reported. The four are from the Kyrgyz independent weekly newspaper Res Publica. Editor-in-Chief Zamira Sydykova's sentence was reduced from 18 months in prison to one year in a penal colony. Aleksandr Alyanchikov had also been given an 18-months jail sentence, which has been changed to a one-year suspended sentence. The decision to bar journalists Bektash Shamshiev and Marina Sivasheva from practicing journalism for 18 months was also overturned. Yrysbek Omurzakov, who is on trial for slandering the director of a Bishkek factory, has been released from detention until his case comes to court again. KYRGYZ SHARES ALLOTTED TO LOW-INCOME GROUPS. President Askar Akayev has signed a decree whereby 8% of shares in leading enterprises will be distributed free of charge among pensioners, invalids, World War Two veterans, and low-income families, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 9 June. Shares will include those in leading companies scheduled to be privatized such as Kyrgyztelekom, Kyrgyzenergo, the national airline, and the two largest publishing houses, Uchkun and Akyl. The measure is intended to "ensure social justice." U.S. COMPANY TO SUPPLY FARM MACHINERY TO TURKMENISTAN. The U.S. company Saba has signed a contract with Turkmenselkhoztekhnika to provide farming vehicles and irrigation equipment to Turkmenistan, according to ITAR-TASS on 9 June. Turkmenistan will pay for the machinery with a loan worth almost $100 million that the country received from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The U.S. company John Deere also supplies Turkmenistan with farming equipment. ARMENIAN SUPREME COURT HANDS DOWN SUSPENDED SENTENCE IN "25 SEPTEMBER" TRIAL. Dashnak party member Kim Balayan has received a two-year suspended sentence on charges of inciting mass disturbances, Noyan Tapan reported on 9 June. The charges refer to Balayan's alleged role in the 25 September attack on the Armenian parliament building, which occurred shortly after last year's disputed presidential election. Five other defendants were amnestied on 5 June after receiving sentences of between 18 and 30 months (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 June 1997). PREPARATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ABKHAZIA ALREADY UNDER WAY? In his weekly radio address, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said on 9 June that "hard work is under way" to convene an international conference on resolving the Abkhaz conflict, according to Interfax. Shevardnadze said Russia could organize such a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. He also reiterated that "Georgia's president and authorities have done everything to ensure the peaceful resolution of the conflict taking Russia's interests into account" but without success, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 10 June. Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba was scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Evgenii Primakov on 9 June, according to NTV. However, there have been no reports on whether the meeting took place. END NOTE NATO Is About Far More Than Russia by Paul Goble Both supporters and opponents of NATO expansion have tended to discuss t he issue in terms of its impact on Russia. As a result, the increasingly heated debate has failed to pay much attention to the other purposes that the Western alliance has served and the purposes that the prospect of expansion has promoted. Supporters of expansion typically argue that the Western alliance should expand now to provide an insurance policy for countries in Eastern Europe in the event that Russia regains its strength and reverts to the often aggressive ways of the past. Opponents of any growth in the alliance, on the other hand, have suggested that the Russian threat to Europe has disappeared along with the Soviet Union and that any expansion would undermine Russian reform at home and Russian cooperation abroad. Unfortunately, the heavy focus on Russia has obscured the multiple reaso ns that lay behind NATO's founding in 1949, the multiple roles it has played and continues to play in a variety of spheres, and the enormous contribution that the prospect of expansion has made to laying the foundation for a more stable and peaceful Eastern Europe. As more than one commentator has observed, NATO was established to keep the Russians out of Europe, the Americans in, and the Germans down. During the Cold War, attention to the first often obscured the other two. Indeed, by preventing Soviet expansionism, NATO helped its member countries to focus on domestic developments rather than on defense, as they often had in the past. But during the discussions on forming the alliance, most of its future members were far more worried about the two other factors: the possibilities of a resurgence of German militarism and an early U.S. exit from Europe, as had happened after World War I. By rooting Germany in a broader security arrangement, NATO has made an important contribution to the rapprochement of Berlin and Paris and to the construction of a more united Europe. And by creating an institution that linked the U.S.'s fate to Europe's, NATO has served to limit the reemergence of traditional isolationism in the United States. But NATO has, in fact, done far more than that. By promoting cooperation and interoperability among the military and political elites of its members, NATO has allowed them to explore their common interests and overcome their past suspicions. In times of crisis, this ongoing cooperation has allowed the West to act, as in the Gulf War, more quickly and easily than would otherwise have been the case. Moreover it has helped promote democracy in member states such as Turkey and Spain. It has integrated the military industries of its members in ways that limit the ability of any one of them to act unilaterally. And it has even contributed to the economic growth of all by eliminating many of the fears behind national protectionism. More recently, the possibility of the expansion of the alliance has made yet another contribution to European stability. It has prompted the countries that hope to be included in the alliance to try to resolve some of their historical quarrels. Among the pairs of countries that have done so are Hungary and Romania, Poland and Lithuania, and Ukraine and Romania. And finally, because NATO leaders have made it clear that any country ho ping to join must demonstrate a commitment to democracy, human rights, and a free market, all the countries seeking admission have done more in this direction than their past records on those issues might have led anyone to expect. Historians may ultimately conclude that those developments are among NATO's greatest achievements. But this particular contribution of the alliance will survive only if its current members demonstrate that they will admit new members not only now but also in the future. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx SUBSCRIBING: 1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.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), email@example.com Jiri Pehe ( Editor, Central and Eastern Europe), firstname.lastname@example.org Liz Fuller (Deputy Editor, Transcaucasia), email@example.com Patrick Moore (West Balkans), firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Shafir (East Balkans), email@example.com Laura Belin (Russia), firstname.lastname@example.org Bruce Pannier (Central Asia), email@example.com Jan Cleave, firstname.lastname@example.org. Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630. Current and back issues are available online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.