Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. - John F. Kennedy
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 86, Part I, 1 August 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/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* MORE FALLOUT FROM SVYAZINVEST AUCTION

* INGUSH PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RYBKIN

* AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT VIOLATES CONFIDENTIALITY OF PEACE
TALKS

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

MORE FALLOUT FROM SVYAZINVEST AUCTION. Oneksimbank head
Vladimir Potanin on 31 July expressed the desire for future
cooperation with Most Bank, which was founded by current Media-
Most head Vladimir Gusinskii, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported.
Commenting on the news that Gusinskii intends to sue him (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 31 July 1997), Potanin joked that he hoped
Gusinskii would not seek large damages, since buying a stake in the
telecommunications giant Svyazinvest has significantly depleted
Oneksimbank's financial resources. Potanin also said he did not
understand why Gusinskii is claiming that the Most group was not
involved in the consortium that submitted the losing bid in the
Svyazinvest auction. "We had a very worthy competitor," Potanin
added, according to "Kommersant-Daily" on 1 August.

NEMTSOV CONNECTION TO REPRESENTATIVE OF WINNING
SVYAZINVEST CONSORTIUM DENIED. First Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Nemtsov's press secretary Andrei Pershin has denied reports
that Leonid Rozhetskin, who represented the winning consortium at
the Svyazinvest auction, worked for Nemtsov when the latter was
governor of Nizhnii Novgorod, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 July. The
radio station Ekho Moskvy, which is owned by Media-Most, reported
that Rozhetskin had been an economic adviser to Nemtsov. But
Pershin said Rozhetskin had neither advised Nemtsov nor worked in
his administration. He added that Rozhetskin had represented the
losing side in an auction last year among banks seeking to participate
in the distribution of eurobonds issued by Nizhnii Novgorod.
Meanwhile, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 1 August that the
Svyazinvest sale was not discussed at a 31 July cabinet meeting
chaired by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and attended by
Nemtsov, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, and State
Property Committee Chairman Alfred Kokh, among others.

"KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA" ATTACKS NEMTSOV'S CRITICS.
"Komsomolskaya pravda" charged on 1 August that Nemtsov has
become the leading target of Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris
Berezovskii and Media-Most head Gusinskii, who cannot get over
losing the Svyazinvest auction. The newspaper accused Berezovskii of
continuing his business activities while serving in the government, in
violation of a May presidential decree on fighting corruption. It also
claimed that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin is Berezovskii's patron
and asked whether Nemtsov would suffer the same fate as former
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed, who was ousted from
the government in October 1996. (The media connected with
Berezovskii's and Gusinskii's financial empires ran a barrage of
unfavorable coverage of Lebed before and after his ouster.)
Oneksimbank is a major shareholder in "Komsomolskaya pravda."

"SEGODNYA" CRITICIZES INVESTMENTS IN RUSSIA BY SOROS.
"Segodnya" on 31 July published a profile of George Soros, whose
Quantum Fund was part of the winning consortium in the
Svyazinvest auction. The paper, which is owned by Media-Most,
charged that Soros has used his philanthropic activities to gain
influence in the economies of former communist countries during the
transition period. At his press conference the same day,
Oneksimbank head Potanin said that more than half of the
Svyazinvest stake would belong to the Russian partners in the
winning consortium. He added that Soros would not play a leading
role in managing the shares. Soros recently told the "Financial Times"
that Quantum put up $980 million for the Svyazinvest stake, roughly
half of the winning bid.

INGUSH PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RYBKIN. Ruslan Aushev and
Russian Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin met in Moscow on 31
July to discuss the attack two days earlier on Ingush displaced
persons in North Ossetia's Prigorodnyi Raion, Interfax reported.
Aushev reiterated that the North Ossetian leadership is incapable of
ensuring safe conditions for the repatriation of the 40,000 Ingush
who fled the district in 1992. He asked that Russian Interior Ministry
troops be sent there. Also on 31 July, North Ossetian President
Akhsarbek Galazov sent a telegram to President Boris Yeltsin
blaming "nationalist extremists" for the 29 July reprisals, according
to ITAR-TASS. Russian presidential envoy Aleksandr Kovalev said
"Chechen gunmen" were responsible for destabilizing the situation.
Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii said Yeltsin has
appealed to the presidents and people of both Ingushetia and North
Ossetia "to show common sense, wisdom, and restraint."
Yastrzhembskii also said that Yeltsin has called for a new decree on
measures to defuse tensions in Prigorodnyi Raion.

RUSSIAN, CHECHEN PRESIDENTS TO MEET? Following talks on 31 July
with Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on the failure of Russian
agencies to supply funding for Chechen reconstruction, Rybkin told
journalists that Yeltsin may meet with his Chechen counterpart,
Aslan Maskhadov, in early August in an attempt to break the
deadlock, Russian media reported. Rybkin said that a special decree
from Yeltsin may be needed to release the necessary funding, as
some Russian government officials are failing to comply with
requests from the Security Council to do so. Maskhadov, who recently
called for the suspension of talks with Moscow, is ready to meet with
Yeltsin "at any time," according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 1
August, which quoted presidential press spokesman Kazbek
Khadzhiev.

DISAGREEMENT OVER NEW RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TREATY. Rybkin also
said he considers that the existing treaty on the division of functions
between Grozny and Moscow corresponds to "the reality of the day,"
according to ITAR-TASS. But Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister
Movladi Udugov said that the Chechen leadership will soon submit to
Moscow a new friendship and cooperation treaty defining the
principles of Russian-Chechen bilateral relations in accordance with
international law, Interfax reported. Sergei Shakhrai, who heads the
presidential commission that drafts power-sharing treaties between
the federal center and federation subjects, considers that it is
currently impossible to sign a Russian-Chechen power-sharing treaty
"in its traditional, classic form" because of increasing discord within
the Chechen leadership, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 1 August.

FINANCIAL AID TO DAGESTAN TO BE INCREASED. A 31 July Russian
government meeting discussed proposals for improving the economic
situation in Dagestan, Russian media reported. Prime Minister
Aburazak Mirzabekov said his republic is one of the poorest in the
Russian Federation, with 60 percent of the population living below
the poverty line and with unemployment at 30 percent. He asked the
Russian government to grant Dagestan a 853 billion ruble ($147
million) credit to help create new jobs. Russian Premier
Chernomyrdin expressed skepticism that increased subsidies from
the federal budget would improve the situation. But he promised
that Russia will provide funding for specific projects proposed by the
Dagestani government, according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 1
August. Chernomyrdin also proposed the creation of a free economic
zone in Dagestan.

BEREZOVSKII TO SUE LEBED. Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris
Berezovskii told ITAR-TASS on 31 July that he will sue former
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed. At a recent press
conference, Lebed accused Berezovskii of profiting from the war in
Chechnya (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 July 1997).

SELEZNEV SAYS DUMA FACTIONS SHOULD HAVE RIGHT TO REVOKE
SOME DEPUTIES' MANDATES. State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev
has advocated changing the Duma's procedural rules to allow leaders
of factions to revoke the mandates of some deputies who violate
party discipline, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 31 July. The
proposed rule change would apply to the 225 Duma deputies who are
elected from party lists using a proportional representation system.
The 225 deputies who win their seats in single-member
constituencies could not be expelled from the parliament. Seleznev
said the Communist Party (KPRF), Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and the pro-government faction
Our Home Is Russia (NDR) support the rule change. Defectors from
the LDPR Duma faction include the party's former deputy leader
Aleksandr Vengerovskii. KPRF deputy Vladimir Semago and Duma
Defense Committee Chairman Lev Rokhlin of NDR, among others, have
opposed the leaders of their factions in Duma votes or public
statements.

PRO-LUZHKOV FACTION TO BE FORMED IN DUMA? Duma Labor and
Social Policy Committee Chairman Sergei Kalashnikov says a Duma
faction to support Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov will be formed this
fall, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 July. "Kommersant-Daily" on 1
August quoted Kalashnikov as saying that the faction will include
deputies from both Moscow and the regions. Kalashnikov, a member
of Zhirinovsky's LDPR, said he will not join the pro-Luzhkov faction
and declined to name the organizer of the group. Duma factions must
include at least 35 deputies in order to be registered. Earlier this
year, some Duma deputies from the Communist and Popular Power
factions announced plans to form a new faction called the Russian
Industrial Union but were unable to recruit 35 deputies.

"PRAVDA" RESURRECTED AS WEEKLY. Almost exactly a year since it
was forced to suspend daily publication, the opposition newspaper
"Pravda" has published its first regular weekly edition,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 31 July. In July 1996, the Greek-
financed publishers of "Pravda" shut down the paper, claiming that it
was loss-making and of low journalistic quality. The publishers
subsequently turned the former weekly supplement "Pravda-5" into
a daily. Since late 1996, the editors of "Pravda" have published
occasional special issues but only recently secured financing to begin
regular weekly publication. "Pravda" editor Viktor Linnik refused to
tell "Kommersant-Daily" the source of the newspaper's funding other
than to say that it is being financed by a Russian investor. He
confirmed that it will remain an opposition newspaper.

PROCURATORS INVESTIGATING CASE AGAINST KORZHAKOV. The
Moscow Procurator's Office is investigating the slander case against
Duma deputy and former presidential bodyguard Aleksandr
Korzhakov, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 August. The criminal case was
opened following a request from NTV anchorman Yevgenii Kiselev,
one of Russia's most prominent television journalists. Korzhakov has
accused Kiselev of cooperating with the KGB beginning in 1988 (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 1997). ITAR-TASS noted that Kiselev's
request was contradictory, since the journalist asked that Korzhakov
be charged with revealing state secrets as well as slander. The news
agency argued that if Korzhakov revealed state secrets, then Kiselev
really did work for the KGB. But it also argued that if Korzhakov
slandered Kiselev, then he cannot have revealed state secrets. Even if
the procuracy decides to press charges, Korzhakov cannot be tried
unless the Duma votes to lift his immunity.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT VIOLATES CONFIDENTIALITY OF PEACE
TALKS. In an address at Georgetown University on 30 July, Heidar
Aliev gave details of the Karabakh peace proposals that the U.S.,
French, and Russian co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group submitted to the conflict parties
in May 1997, Turan and Interfax reported. A first stage would entail
the withdrawal of Armenian forces from six Azerbaijani raions
adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh and the deployment of OSCE
peacekeeping troops along the enclave's borders. During the second
stage, Armenian forces would be withdrawn from the Lachin corridor
and the strategically located town of Shusha and talks would be held
on Nagorno-Karabakh's status within Azerbaijan. Aliev said Baku
accepts some points of the peace plan and wants others to be revised.
Armenian presidential adviser Zhirair Liparitian recently condemned
Azerbaijani officials for disclosing details of the proposals. Under an
agreement between the co-chairmen and the leaderships in Baku,
Yerevan, and Stepanakert, those proposals are to remain confidential.

ARMENIA ACCUSES AZERBAIJAN OF VIOLATING CFE TREATY. At a
news conference in Yerevan on 31 July, a Foreign Ministry
spokesman cited statistics published in Azerbaijan's Annual Exchange
of Military Information that demonstrate Azerbaijan is violating the
arms ceiling imposed by the1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in
Europe, Armenian agencies reported. Baku is exceeding its
entitlement by 50 tanks, 337 armored vehicles, and 16 artillery
systems. The spokesman claimed that in 1993-1994, Azerbaijan
received 947 armored vehicles, 436 tanks, and 388 artillery units
from Ukraine. He also noted that 50 percent of Azerbaijan's
weaponry is concentrated in the exclave of Nakhichevan, which
borders Armenia.

ABKHAZ PEACEKEEPERS' FUTURE UNCLEAR. Georgian Defense Minister
Vardiko Nadibaidze flew to Moscow on 31 July to discuss with his
Russian counterpart, Igor Sergeev, the future of the CIS peacekeeping
troops in Abkhazia, Interfax reported. A Russian military spokesman
told Reuters that it is unlikely the peacekeepers will be withdrawn,
even though their mandate expired on 31 July. Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Lev Mironov said a decision will be taken at the
CIS heads of state summit scheduled for late October, according to
ITAR-TASS. Another Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Gennadii
Tarasov, said it is "illusory" to believe that peace can be preserved in
Abkhazia if the peacekeepers leave, Interfax reported. Georgian
presidential spokesman Levan Aleksidze said, however, that new
fighting is not inevitable. Also on 31 July, the UN Security Council
extended for a further six months the mandate of its observer
mission in Abkhazia, Reuters reported.

CHECHNYA OFFERS TO MEDIATE. Chechen Deputy Prime minister
Akhmed Zakaev told journalists in Tbilisi on 31 July that Chechnya
"is ready to act as a mediator in the Abkhaz conflict," ITAR-TASS
reported. Zakaev met twice with Georgian President Eduard
Shevardnadze to discuss a possible meeting between Shevardnadze
and Aslan Maskhadov. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 1 August quoted
Shevardnadze's press spokesman as saying that Shevardnadze wants
to win the support of North Caucasian leaders in order "to prevent
any complications" in Abkhazia. The daily also published the text of
the draft protocol on preliminary measures to resolve the Abkhaz
conflict, which was accepted by the Abkhaz leadership in June but
rejected by Tbilisi. The newspaper commented that Georgian hopes
of a UN or NATO peacekeeping force for Abkhazia are "utopian,"
warning that the "arrival of Turkish troops in the Caucasus, under
whatever aegis and in whatever capacity, can only inflame the
situation."

RUSSIA ANNULS KYAPAZ CONTRACT. Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Valerii Serov informed Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov by
telephone on 1 August that an official statement will shortly be
issued confirming that Russia has annulled the contract to exploit the
Kyapaz Caspian oil field, ITAR-TASS reported. The contract was
signed on 4 July by the heads of the Azerbaijani state oil company
SOCAR, Rosneft, and LUKoil. The Turkmen Foreign Ministry
immediately protested that the Kyapaz deposit is located in
Turkmenistan's sector of the Caspian. Meeting with Niyazov in
Ashgabat on 28 July, Serov said that the Russian government
assumed Azerbaijan had coordinated its actions with Ashgabat. He
conceded that Russia's position was legally untenable and said the
contract would be annulled, according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30
July. A spokesman for Rosneft president Yurii Bespalov told Interfax
the next day that Rosneft would withdraw from the contract.

TURKMENISTAN EXPRESSES APPRECIATION OF U.S. DECISION ON
PIPELINE. The Turkmen Foreign Ministry released a statement on 31
July saying that Ashgabat "highly appreciates" the recent decision by
the U.S. not to apply the 1996 act imposing sanctions on Libya and
Iran to the proposed Turkmen-Iran-Turkey gas pipeline, ITAR-TASS
reported. The pipeline has been under discussion for five years and
would transport annually 30 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey
and Europe. Washington announced in late July that since the project
benefits Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Europe more than Iran, it will
not object to the participation of U.S. companies (see also "End Note"
in "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 July 1997).

TAJIK PARLIAMENT APPROVES GENERAL AMNESTY. The Tajik
parliament on 1 August approved an amnesty law allowing members
of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) to return to Tajikistan, according
to ITAR-TASS and AFP. Presidential adviser Khalifibobo Khamidov
said "all criminal cases are closed and no new ones will be opened"
against those who fought on the side of the UTO during nearly five
years of civil conflict in Tajikistan. The amnesty does not cover those
who engaged in "terrorism, banditry, drug-trafficking, large-scale
theft, premeditated murder, or rape." Of the 157 deputies attending
the session, 140 voted in favor of the law.

UYGHUR DEMONSTRATION IN ALMATY. Between 40 and 50 Uyghurs
attempted on 31 July to deliver a note to the Chinese Embassy in
Almaty protesting Beijing's policy in Xinjiang Province, RFE/RL
correspondents in the Kazakh capital reported. They were turned
away by Kazakh security guards but went on to stage a
demonstration in a nearby park. They carried placards that read
"Freedom for Uyghuristan" and "Down With Chinese Colonists." The
president of the Uyghur Association in Kazakhstan said the Uyghurs
do not want trouble with the Kazakh authorities but want to show
they are opposed to China's alleged repressive policy in Xinjiang
Province, where Uyghurs form the majority. China announced on 28
July that several Uyghurs had been executed on 22 July for their
alleged participation in riots in Yining and Urumqi early this year.


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

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