The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol 1, No. 67, Part I, 7 July 1997


Vol 1, No. 67, Part I, 7 July 1997

Note to readers: the RFE/RL Web Site will be providing detailed coverage of
NATO's Madrid Summit from 8-9 July. News updates, analysis, and RealAudio will
be posted on the following page:

http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/madrid-nato/index.html

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

*FEDERATION COUNCIL APPROVES LAND CODE


*RUSSIA, AZERBAIJAN SIGN TREATY ON FRIENDSHIP, COOPERATION


*PROGRESS IN GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS

End Note
WHY ONLY THREE COUNTRIES WILL LIKELY BE INCLUDED IN FIRST WAVE OF NATO
ENLARGEMENT

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

FEDERATION COUNCIL APPROVES LAND CODE... The Federation Council on 3 July
approved by 107 to zero a new land code prohibiting the purchase and sale of
farmland, Russian news agencies reported. Ilya Yuzhanov, chairman of the State
Committee on Land Resources and Land Tenure, said President Boris Yeltsin is
certain to veto the code, which Yuzhanov called "reactionary" (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 12 June 1997). At a cabinet meeting the same day, Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin ordered Yuzhanov's committee to draft four presidential
decrees and two government directives on land reform. The issue can be
regulated by decrees and directives as long as no land code has been signed
into law. Also on 3 July, the Council overrode by 135 to nine with four
abstentions a presidential veto of a law on state regulation of the
agro-industrial complex. The Duma overrode Yeltsin's veto of that law on 19
June.

...PASSES LAW ON PRIVATIZATION. The Federation Council on 3 June approved a
law on privatization allowing the state to appropriate privatized property
without compensating new owners if they failed to meet either investment
commitments or social obligations to employees, ITAR-TASS reported. The law
would also give the state a veto at shareholder meetings of "strategically
important" privatized enterprises and require the government to submit its
privatization plans for parliamentary approval (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 June
1997).

LAW RESTRICTING SOME RELIGIOUS GROUPS PASSED. The Federation Council on 4 July
approved the controversial law "on freedom of conscience and religious
associations" by 112 to 4 with one abstention, Russian news agencies reported.
The law would limit the activities of foreign missionaries and grant
unregistered "religious groups" fewer rights than accredited "all-Russian
religious organizations," such as Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
Human rights activists protest that it would punish some minority groups and
sects that were banned during the Soviet period (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 and
30 June 1997). However, Kaluga Oblast Governor Valerii Sudarenkov, who chairs
the Federation Council's Committee on Science, Culture, Education, Health, and
Ecology, argued the law is needed to "protect society from the massive
expansion of pseudo-religious cults and organizations that through their
proselytizing endanger individual rights and freedoms and the health of
citizens."

LIST OF SITES FOR PRODUCTION-SHARING AGREEMENTS APPROVED. The Federation
Council on 3 July approved a law authorizing five oil and gas fields, one gold
mine, and one iron ore deposit for development under production-sharing
agreements, Russian news agencies reported. Deputies approved the
production-sharing list by 127 to 11 with 10 abstentions. Yeltsin is expected
to sign the law, clearing the way for foreign companies to invest in the seven
sites in exchange for a portion of the natural resources extracted in the
future. Supporters of the law estimate that up to $16.5 billion may be
invested in the approved sites over the next 20 years.

UPPER HOUSE TO APPEAL TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT AGAINST PRESIDENTIAL VETOES. The
Federation Council voted unanimously on 4 July to appeal to the Constitutional
Court against Yeltsin's actions over the laws on trophy art and the
government, Interfax reported. The trophy art law would prohibit the transfer
to foreign countries of cultural valuables seized during World War II, and the
law on the government would require the entire cabinet to step down if the
prime minister resigned or was sacked. Yeltsin recently vetoed both laws for a
second time, charging that the State Duma and Council had used
unconstitutional voting procedures to obtain the two-thirds majority needed to
override his earlier vetoes (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 July 1997).

LAWS ON COOPERATION WITH IRAQ, LIBYA REJECTED. The Federation Council on 4
July rejected laws sponsored by Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia calling for increased cooperation with Iraq and Libya, Russian
news agencies reported. One law would have resumed purchases from Iraq of oil
and petroleum products and sales to Iraq of Russian equipment and spare parts.
The other would have allowed Russian companies to sell any product other than
weaponry to Libya (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 16 June 1997). Foreign
Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin praised the Council's decision, saying
Russia must not violate international sanctions. Russian Foreign Minister
Yevgenii Primakov met with Iraqi National Council Chairman Saadoun Hammadi on
3 July and said the two countries are preparing to resume cooperation after
sanctions against Iraq are lifted, Interfax reported. Hammadi was in Moscow
following an invitation from the Federation Council.

SUPPLY SHIP DOCKS WITH "MIR." The "Progress-35" cargo ship docked with the
damaged "Mir" space station at 7:59 a.m. Central European time on 7 July,
Russian media reported. "Progress-35" is carrying the necessary parts for the
temporary repair of the station's "spektr" module as well as regular supplies.
Repair work will not begin for 10 days or so to allow technicians on Earth to
further study possible repair techniques in underwater simulation facilities.

BRITISH AID WORKERS ABDUCTED IN CHECHNYA. A British couple engaged in relief
work in Chechnya were abducted in Grozny on 3 July, Russian agencies reported.
Three days later, President Aslan Maskhadov ordered the creation of a special
anti-kidnapping unit with "unlimited powers," according to AFP. Maskhadov has
already warned that kidnappers who are brought to trial face a possible death
penalty.

RUSSIA, AZERBAIJAN SIGN TREATY ON FRIENDSHIP, COOPERATION. Yeltsin and Heidar
Aliev on 3 July signed a treaty on friendship, cooperation, and security that
provides for the promotion of international security systems and respect for
the territorial integrity of both countries, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Five intergovernmental agreements were also signed. Yeltsin
subsequently told Interfax that he and Aliev had "resolutely solved" all
outstanding problems in bilateral relations but that some issues remain to be
clarified. Aliev said the next day that Moscow's refusal to extradite former
President Ayaz Mutalibov is "inconsistent with the close and friendly ties
that bind our countries," according to Interfax. Aliev had met on 3 July with
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev but failed to reach agreement on
Russia's continued use of the Gabala early-warning radar station in northern
Azerbaijan.

YELTSIN CALLS FOR CONFERENCE ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH... Following his talks with
Aliev, Yeltsin said he has reached agreement with his U.S. and French
counterparts, Bill Clinton and Jacques Chirac, to convene a meeting with the
presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on ending the Karabakh conflict, Interfax
and Reuters reported. Yeltsin said he instructed Foreign Minister Yevgenii
Primakov to pay greater attention to the issue. Armenian presidential adviser
Zhirair Liparitian told Interfax on 4 July that he welcomes Yeltsin's proposal
for a conference of the five presidents plus representatives from
Nagorno-Karabakh. Two days earlier, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arsen
Gasparyan had called on the U.S., France and Russia as co-chairmen of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group to press for
direct talks between Baku and the Nagorno-Karabakh leadership, Noyan Tapan
reported.

...AND TRILATERAL COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE ARMS SUPPLIES. Yeltsin also
proposed to Aliev that a commission of Russian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian
deputy prime ministers be set up to investigate the allegations of illegal
Russian arms supplies to Armenia, Turan and Interfax reported. Aliev denied
that Azerbaijan had received any weaponry from Russia. Russian Defense
Minister Igor Sergeev said after his talks with Aliev on 4 July that Russia
will not send any more arms to either Azerbaijan or Armenia until the Karabakh
conflict is resolved.

AGREEMENT ON EARLY OIL "IMMINENT." Aliev also discussed the export via
Chechnya of Azerbaijan's Caspian oil during his talks with Yeltsin, First
Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, and Russian Security Council secretary
Ivan Rybkin, Russian agencies reported. Nemtsov told journalists on 4 July
that a corresponding agreement will shortly be signed by the presidents of the
Russian pipeline company Transneft, the Chechen state oil company Yunko, and
the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR.

CHERNOMYRDIN IN GERMANY. During a two-day visit to Berlin, Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin suggested to German officials that Russian and Germany could have
joint jurisdiction over some disputed trophy art transported to the USSR
during World War II, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 July. Chernomyrdin said he wanted
to settle the restitution problem in a "civilized fashion," and he criticized
the trophy art law recently passed by the Russian parliament. In meetings with
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and German President Roman Herzog, Chernomyrdin
also called for more German investment in Russia and repeated Moscow's
opposition to NATO expansion. Addressing a symposium in Berlin on 4 July, Kohl
commented that the "German-Russian relationship is better than ever before in
history," AFP reported.

CHAIRMAN OUTLINES PLANS FOR ELECTRICITY GIANT. Boris Brevnov, the chairman of
the board of Unified Energy Systems (EES) and an ally of First Deputy Prime
Minister Nemtsov, addressed a cabinet meeting on 3 July, Russian news agencies
reported. Brevnov asked the government to shorten the list of consumers that
can buy electricity at discount rates as well as the list of organizations and
enterprises to which power cannot be cut. Brevnov also said EES plans to raise
$1.25 billion this year by issuing convertible bonds and seeks to reduce the
government stake in the company from 52.3 percent to 50 percent plus one
share, Interfax reported. The Duma recently passed a law that would require
the government to retain a 51 percent stake in EES (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23
June 1997). According to Interfax, EES holds controlling stakes in 72 regional
utilities, which produce about 75 percent of total Russian electricity.

"IZVESTIYA" EDITOR SACKED. The board of directors of "Izvestiya" voted on 4
July to sack editor-in-chief Igor Golembiovskii. "Kommersant-Daily" suggested
that the board was displeased with recent articles on the activities of
Stolichnyi and Menatep banks, for which Golembiovskii assumed personal
responsibility (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 3 July 1997). The board also
approved a process for selecting Golembiovskii's successor that is expected to
reduce the influence of the paper's journalists. Meanwhile, "Izvestiya" on 5
July published a letter from First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais
refuting allegations published in the newspaper on 1 July. Chubais said he
would have expected to see such accusations published in the opposition paper
"Sovetskaya Rossiya." He noted that he had personally helped "Izvestiya" fend
off attempts by the opposition-dominated Supreme Soviet to take over the paper
in 1992.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

PROGRESS IN GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS. Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary
Boris Berezovskii returned to Moscow on 3 July following three days of shuttle
diplomacy between Tbilisi and Sukhumi, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Both Berezovskii and Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba said they were
satisfied with the ongoing talks. Berezovskii told journalists on 3 July that
agreement has been reached on a mechanism, but not a specific timetable, for
the repatriation of ethnic Georgians who fled Abkhazia in 1992-3. Neither he
nor Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze divulged any details, however.
Interfax on 4 July quoted an unidentified source in Moscow as claiming that
talks in Moscow last month between Russian, Abkhaz, and Georgian
representatives resulted in almost complete agreement on a protocol on
resolving the conflict. Berezovskii said the signing of that document "will
not be delayed."

GEORGIAN SECURITY MINISTER RESIGNS. Shevardnadze on 5 July accepted the
resignation of Security Minister Shota Kviraya, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Opposition parliamentary deputies have accused Kviraya of
black-marketeering, telephone-tapping, and shooting six men suspected of
looting. Kviraya has rejected the accusation as "lies and insults." The
following day, Shevardnadze named Deputy Security Minister Maj.-Gen. Guram
Gakhokidze as acting security minister.

TURKMENISTAN PROTESTS CREATION OF NEW CASPIAN CONSORTIUM. The Russian oil
companies LUKoil and Rosneft will have 30 percent and 20 percent holdings,
respectively, in a consortium to explore and develop the Kyapaz oil field, 145
km east of Baku on the border between the Azerbaijani and Turkmen sectors of
the Caspian Sea, Turan reported on 4 July. The Azerbaijani state oil company
SOCAR will have the remaining 50 percent. The presidents of the three
companies signed a corresponding agreement in Moscow on 4 July after talks
between Aliev and Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. The
following day, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry issued a statement disputing
Azerbaijan's ownership of the deposit and demanding the immediate annulment of
the agreement, Interfax reported.

AFGHAN REFUGEES RETURN FROM TURKMENISTAN. Most of the 8,000 Afghan refugees
who fled to Turkmenistan at the end of June and early July have returned to
their villages in northern Afghanistan, according to Interfax and Reuters.
Fighting between forces of the Taliban militia and Anti-Taliban coalition led
by Gen. Abdul Malik has virtually ceased, allowing the refugees to return
home. Conditions in the refugee camp in Turkmenistan were poor; 14 are
reported to have died there and five are too ill to return. More than100 young
men who do not wish to go back are currently being interviewed by the UNHCR's
protection officer.

JAPANESE DELEGATION VISITS KAZAKSTAN. A Japanese delegation led by Keizo
Obuchi, the head of the Economic Cooperation Committee of Japan's ruling
Liberal-Democratic Party, pledged on 4 July to assist Kazakstan in its efforts
to join the Asian-Pacific Cooperation Organization. Obuchi said Tokyo wants to
participate in pipeline projects that will bring oil and gas from Kazakstan to
China. He told journalists there are no obstacles to developing relations
between Japan and Kazakstan and that Japan plans to increase investment in
Kazakstan. Japan's Eximbank will finance 15 projects in Kazakstan and has
increased the funds to finance those ventures to $6 billion, he added.
Meanwhile, the IMF has announced that, based on Kazakstan's progress toward
reforms in 1996, it will allocate some $1.35 billion instead of $200 million.

DEMONSTRATION IN BISHKEK. Some 400 people took part in a demonstration outside
the government building on 7 July to protest the arrest two days earlier of
Nurlan Alymkulov, leader of the Yntymak movement, for planning a public rally,
RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek reported. Yntymak represents the young,
unemployed, and homeless people of the Kyrgyz capital. The police asked the demo
 nstrators
to disband, telling them that Alymkulov has requested they do not hold any
demonstration. When police attempted to take into custody Tursunbek Akunov,
the chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Human Rights Movement, several women intervened
to prevent them from doing so. The police then began using force to disperse
the crowd. One woman has been hospitalized. This is the fourth demonstration
in Bishkek in just over a month.

END NOTE

WHY ONLY THREE COUNTRIES WILL LIKELY BE INCLUDED IN FIRST WAVE OF NATO
ENLARGEMENT

by Michael Mihalka

NATO will likely invite only three countries--the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland--to join the alliance at the Madrid summit on 8-9 July. Several NATO
members wanted to extend an invitation to Slovenia and Romania, but the United
States has made it clear that it would like the first wave of NATO enlargement
to be small. The U.S. government's decision says a great deal about the
current dynamics of European security.

First, by restricting the first wave to the three Central European countries,
the U.S. has removed the Baltic States' candidacy from the security agenda for
the time being. Both Washington and Bonn wish to avoid needlessly antagonizing
Moscow, which strongly objects to NATO enlarging to include countries from the
former Soviet Union. Russia acquiesced to the first wave of enlargement by
signing the Russia-NATO Founding Act, which states that NATO has neither plans
nor reasons to deploy nuclear weapons or foreign troops on the territory of
the new members. Russia has interpreted this to also mean that NATO will not
build any new infrastructure there either.

Second, the U.S. government is particularly concerned about how the debate on
enlargement will unfold in the Senate. To date, the NATO enlargement process
has failed to prompt a public debate in the U.S. This is surprising, since
enlargement will entail not only clear obligations but also costs that have
not yet been determined.

Third, many feel that Romanian democracy and economic reform, despite having
made significant progress in the last year, need more time to take root before
that country can be considered for NATO membership. The government of Vladimir
Meciar in Slovakia has come under fire from both the EU and U.S. for its
anti-democratic tendencies. And in Sofia, it is only recently that a
center-right government in favor of NATO membership has been reinstalled to
replace the Socialists, who had shown greater interest in siding with Moscow.

Fourth, while few observers dispute Slovenia's democratic credentials and its
economic successes (despite lagging behind other countries in the region with
regard to privatization), some point out that, with its population of some 2
million, it is unlikely to make much of a military contribution to the
alliance. That argument has also been made against the candidacy of the Baltic
States, whose prospects for NATO entry would be undercut by Slovenia's
inclusion.

Fifth, the admission of Romania and Slovenia would cause a shift in the
strategic focus of the alliance to southeastern Europe. This is one of the
reasons that countries like Italy, Turkey, and Greece have been supporting
Bucharest and Ljubljana. However, the implications of such a shift have not
yet been thought through. And in the meantime, NATO's continued participation
in Bosnia following the expiry of SFOR's mandate remains in doubt.

Sixth, the Madrid summit will cover a number of topics that will command the
attention of the alliance. These include the enlargement of NATO's integrated
military structure to include Spain and possibly France.

Finally, the alliance will also embark on an enhanced Partnership for Peace
program to promote integration with those countries that are not be invited to
join in the first wave. Planning cells will be set up in NATO headquarters in
which the military from partnership countries will be invited to participate.
The North Atlantic Cooperation Council has already been transformed into the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which has increased responsibilities.

Thus, enlargement of the alliance to include the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland will take place at a time of considerable change within the alliance.
Those three countries have sound democratic and economic credentials, and
their accession to NATO will not significantly alter the alliance's strategic
focus.

The author teaches at the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies in
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.



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