If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 104, Part I, 27 August 1997


From: SipkovaE on Wed, Aug 27, 1997 3:03 PM
Subject: RFE/RL Newsline, No. 104, Part I, 27 August 1997
To: rferl-l@listserv.buffalo.edu
Cc: wwwsitemgr

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 104, Part I, 27 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

*GOVERNMENT SUBMITS 1998 PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM TO DUMA

*RUSSIA DENIES SUPPLYING MISSILE TECHNOLOGY TO IRAN

*AZERBAIJAN THREATENS COURT ACTION OVER PIPELINE

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx




RUSSIA

GOVERNMENT SUBMITS 1998 PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM TO DUMA.
State Property Committee Chairman Maksim Boiko on 26 August
announced details of the government's draft 1998 privatization
program, which was submitted to the State Duma the previous day
along with the draft 1998 budget. In accordance with a new
privatization law that recently went into effect, the government must
seek parliamentary approval for its annual privatization plans. The
1998 program includes a list of 37 companies in which some state-
owned shares may be sold. However, "Kommersant-Daily" argued on
27 August that Duma deputies are likely to advocate shortening that
list and passing special laws on the largest privatization deals. The
program also would provide more social protection and insurance for
privatization officials. Boiko said the recent assassination of St.
Petersburg Property Committee head Mikhail Manevich underscored
the need for such measures.

RUSSIA DENIES SUPPLYING MISSILE TECHNOLOGY TO IRAN. Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin on 26 August
rejected as "unfounded" the claims by Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu that Russia is helping Tehran develop guidance
and delivery systems for long-range ballistic missiles, Russian media
reported. Nesterushkin said that Russian-Iranian military
cooperation does not violate either international law or international
agreements on nuclear non-proliferation that Moscow has signed.
Nesterushkin confirmed that Netanyahu recently wrote to Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov. But Nesterushkin said the
subject of that letter was not alleged nuclear technology transfers
but the Middle East peace process, to which, he said, Russia remains
committed.

ARMS CONTRACT SIGNED WITH CHINA. A $100 million contract for
military equipment was signed in Moscow on 27 August by the arms
manufacturer Rosvooruzhenie and the chairman of China's Central
Military Council, Liu Huaqing, ITAR-TASS reported. The signing took
place during a session of the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental
commission for military-technical cooperation. Also discussed at the
session was construction of Russian Sovremenny-class destroyers for
China, payment of Russian debt to China with military hardware and
when to handover to the Chinese the blueprint for the assembly of
the Russian Sukhoi-27 fighter. Liu and the Chinese military
delegation will tour Russian military facilities in Yekaterinburg,
Novosibirsk, and Khabarovsk before returning to China on 4
September.

JAPANESE BOATS TRESPASS RUSSIAN WATERS. A Russian border
guard vessel chased four Japanese fishing boats from Russian waters
on 26 August, ITAR-TASS reported. The Russian ship spotted the
Japanese boats at a point, off Sakhalin Island, about 12 kilometers
inside Russian waters. It fired a warning shot when the fishing boats
failed to respond to radio and light signals. In a separate incident the
same day, a Japanese fishing boat was detained by the Russian coast
guard and taken to the port of Nevelsk. On 27 August, the command
of the Russian Pacific Border Guard District announced it will double
patrols in Russian waters.

FOREIGN MINISTRY REQUESTS RELEASE OF VESSEL DETAINED BY U.S.
The Foreign Ministry on 27 August sent a note to the U.S.
government requesting the release of a Russian trawler detained in
the Alaskan port of Kodiak since 18 August, ITAR-TASS reported.
The trawler was detained by the U.S. Coast Guard for trespassing U.S.
waters in the Bering Sea. The captain of the trawler denies he was in
U.S. waters and said that in any case he was not fishing. U.S.
authorities are conducting an investigation and have confiscated the
ship's log. They stress, however, that those sailors who wish to return
to Russia and have money to do so may leave. Russia has sent
diplomats based in the U.S. to Kodiak and is asking for copies of the
ship's log.

YELTSIN ON WAGE ARREARS, MILITARY REFORM. President Boris
Yeltsin on 26 August promised that all wage arrears to military
personnel will be paid by 1 September, Interfax reported. Speaking
to journalists during a one-day visit to Saratov Oblast, Yeltsin praised
the efforts of Defense Minister Igor Sergeev: "He does not whine like
his predecessor [Igor Rodionov] but works" to advance military
reform. Yeltsin replaced Rodionov with Sergeev in May, and
Rodionov has since been an outspoken critic of military reform plans.

WILL SOLDIERS' WAGES BE PAID ON TIME? "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on
26 August said the government has not transferred enough funds to
pay off all wage arrears to military personnel. The Finance Ministry
recently allocated 5.9 trillion rubles ($1 billion) to the Defense
Ministry to cover back wages. Finance Ministry officials have warned
that local commanders will be to blame if some soldiers are still
unpaid on 1 September. But according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta,"
Defense Ministry figures indicate that wage arrears to military
personnel total more than 5.9 trillion rubles. Defense Ministry data
also show that as of 18 August, only 48 percent of planned 1997
defense spending was allocated. The Defense Ministry has received
only 37 percent of planned budget funding so far this year, if the
budget cuts imposed by the government in the spring are not taken
into account.

YELTSIN AWARDS RTR RIGHT TO OPERATE NEW CHANNEL. Yeltsin on
25 August signed a decree awarding state-owned Russian Television
(RTR) the right to operate a new nationwide television network,
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Under the decree, the head of the
new network, called Kultura, will be appointed and dismissed
directly by the president (as is the chairman of RTR). Kultura will
essentially be a division of RTR and will produce its largely cultural
programs in Moscow. It will start broadcasting nationwide on 1
November, except in the city of St. Petersburg and in Leningrad
Oblast, where it will broadcast for at least three hours a day on the
wavelength currently used by the state-run network St. Petersburg
Channel 5. Under the decree, Channel 5 will be reorganized into a
joint-stock company to be 51 percent controlled by St. Petersburg
city authorities.

WHO WILL CONTROL NEW NETWORK'S FINANCING? The decree
making Kultura fully state-owned is a blow to powerful financial
groups that had sought to gain a stake in the new network and
broaden their influence over the electronic media. Kultura and RTR
will receive joint financing from the state budget totaling some 2
trillion rubles ($340 million) annually. However, RTR and Kultura will
likely need at least 300 billion rubles in additional funding, according
to RFE/RL's Moscow bureau. Since Kultura will not run commercial
advertising, sponsors will have to provide the extra financing. RTR
Deputy Chairman Mikhail Lesin is expected to have a strong say in
choosing those sponsors. He was one of the creators of the Video-
International advertising agency and is considered to have been an
influential figure in Yeltsin's 1996 election campaign.

DUMA TO REDUCE NUMBER OF ACCREDITED CORRESPONDENTS. The
number of journalists with permanent accreditation to work in the
Duma will be cut from 1,500 to about 300 in September, Duma
Speaker Gennadii Seleznev told Interfax on 26 August. Another 200
journalists will receive temporary accreditation, he added. Seleznev
also said that for now, the lower house of parliament will not
prohibit television companies from filming in the Duma chamber.
Earlier this year, the Duma voted to ban television cameras from the
chamber and to provide journalists with videos prepared by the
Duma's press service (see RFE/RL Newsline, 17 April 1997). The
Duma will again consider that issue in early 1998, Seleznev said. The
Duma speaker also blasted what he called biased coverage of the
Duma's activities in the electronic media and on state-controlled
television, in particular. Major television networks frequently
portray the Duma in an unflattering light.

OFFICIAL NAMES CELEBRITY TAX DODGERS. Col. Yurii Korotkii, first
deputy head of the operations department of the Tax Police, has
accused world chess champion Garry Kasparov and several other
Russian celebrities of evading taxes, ITAR-TASS reported on 26
August. Korotkii said Kasparov and popular singers Aleksandr
Mailinin, Dmitrii Malikov, Vika Tsyganova, Aleksandr Buinov, and
Filipp Kirkorov have not submitted income declarations for 1995.
Meanwhile, Sergei Frolov, first deputy of the investigation
department of the Tax Police, told Interfax on 26 August that Russian
law enforcement agencies and Interpol are conducting an
international search for Vadim Kisin, former deputy CIS Affairs
minister. Frolov said Kisin, who disappeared three months ago, has
not paid taxes on some $400,000 in income. Former State Duma
deputy Sergei Mavrodi, founder of the infamous MMM pyramid
scheme, is also being sought on suspicion of fraud and tax evasion,
according to Frolov.

COURT ORDERS FURTHER INVESTIGATION IN BANKRUPTCY CASE. The
Saratov Oblast Court on 26 August referred the case against Federal
Bankruptcy Administration deputy head Petr Karpov to the Moscow
City Procurator's Office for further investigation, ITAR-TASS
reported. The court ruled that procedural violations were committed
during the investigation against Karpov, who is accused of taking a 5
million ruble ($860) bribe from a Saratov businessman in 1994.
Karpov spent three months in pre-trial detention in 1996 and more
than one month in custody earlier this year on the bribery charge
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 June 1997). Some observers have claimed
the case against Karpov is intended to silence him from revealing
methods used by companies to evade taxes.

YELTSIN PRAISES SARATOV GOVERNOR. During his visit to Saratov
Oblast on 26 August, his first trip to the region since 1992, Yeltsin
said Saratov has "good leaders and a good team," Interfax reported.
Yeltsin also said, "We should give more rights to [Russian] Federation
subjects," according to ITAR-TASS. Speaking to journalists after
meeting with the president, Saratov Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov said
his region's officials have "never had problems" with the federal
authorities, Interfax reported. Yeltsin appointed Ayatskov as
governor in April 1996. Ayatskov easily won an election to that post
in September of that year. Saratov officials signed a power-sharing
agreement with federal authorities in July 1997.

SARATOV GOVERNOR ON PRESIDENT'S REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 26 August published an interview with
Saratov Governor Ayatskov in which he warned that if the powers of
appointed presidential representatives in the regions are enhanced,
"I will liquidate the post of presidential representative in Saratov
Oblast, because [that post] is unconstitutional." A July presidential
decree vastly expanded the powers of Yeltsin's representatives in the
regions (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 July 1997). The Federation
Council, which is made up of regional leaders, is expected to contest
the legality of that decree.

YELTSIN RENAMES MILITARY ACADEMY AFTER PETER THE GREAT.
Yeltsin has issued a decree changing the name of the Feliks
Dzerzhinskii Military Academy to the Peter the Great Academy of
Strategic Missile Forces "in order to revive historical traditions of the
Russian military and to recognize the unique contribution of [Tsar]
Peter I" toward creating a Russian army, Reuters and ITAR-TASS
reported on 26 August. Located in Moscow, the academy is an elite
officers' training school. During the Civil War, Dzerzhinskii founded
the Cheka, the first in a series of notorious Soviet-era security
services.

OREL GOVERNOR LOWERS BREAD PRICES. Yegor Stroev, who is
Federation Council Speaker and governor of Orel Oblast, has ordered
cuts in local bread prices, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 August. The
price of a loaf of black bread is to fall by 200 rubles to 1700 rubles
($0.29). Stroev told ITAR-TASS that "administrative intervention" on
bread prices did not contradict the rules of a market economy but
rather took into account the situation on the market. He noted that a
bumper harvest of cereal crops made the price reduction possible.
Stroev, who was elected governor of Orel in 1993, faces an election
on 26 October to retain his post. Losing the Orel gubernatorial race
would force Stroev to give up his seat in the Federation Council as
well.

NEW PRIME MINISTER IN DAGESTAN. The People's Council of
Dagestan on 25 August unanimously approved former Audit
Chamber chairman Khizri Shakhsaidov as prime minister, ITAR-TASS
reported. An ethnic Kumyk, Shakhsaidov was proposed for that post
following the dismissal of Abdurazak Mirabekov. "Segodnya" on 25
August said Shakhsaidov's appointment was intended to maintain
the balance between the two largest of Dagestan's numerous ethnic
groups. According to tradition, if the post of chairman of the People's
Council is held by an Avar (as is currently the case), the prime
minister must be a Kumyk. A similar correlation is observed at local
council level.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN THREATENS COURT ACTION OVER PIPELINE. Following
Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsanov's disclosure in Baku on 25
August that repairs to the Chechen sector of the Baku-Grozny-
Tikhoretsk oil pipeline have not yet begun, Azerbaijani officials are
considering other options. Natik Aliev, the deputy president of
Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR, told Interfax that Azerbaijan
may choose to refine the oil in Baku or to export it by rail to Batumi.
In the latter case, shipping the oil to world markets would depend on
Turkey's willingness to allow increased tanker traffic through the
Turkish Straits. Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will visit Baku
in September. Prime Minister Artur Rasi-Zade hinted that Azerbaijan
may sue Russia in an international court for breach of contract if the
repairs to the pipeline are not completed in time for the export of the
first "early" Caspian oil to begin on 1 October.

WORLD BANK APPROVES LOANS TO ARMENIA. The World Bank on 26
August announced that it has approved two International
Development Association credits to Armenia worth $65 million,
Reuters and dpa reported. The first $60 million credit is intended to
help consolidate macroeconomic stability and lay the foundations for
sustained growth led by the private sector. The second loan is to
finance technical assistance to underpin the government's economic
reform program.

MAYOR FLEES FROM STRIKING MINERS IN GEORGIA. The mayor of
the west Georgian town of Chiatura has fled to Tbilisi to escape
enraged miners and pensioners, the Caucasian Institute for Peace,
Democracy and Development reported on 26 August, citing
"Rezonansi". Several hundred miners from the Chiatura Manganese
Joint Stock Company, one of 14 enterprises that have declared
bankruptcy, launched a strike on 20 August to protest not having
been paid for 15 months. Together with local residents who have not
received their pensions, the miners then began blockading the
mayor's office and called on President Eduard Shevardnadze to
dismiss him. The government has transferred to Chiatura an
unspecified sum for payment of back wages and pensions.




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.acsu.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.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        unsubscribe RFERL-L
3) Send the message

CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:
RFE/RL Newsline is available online on the
World Wide Web.
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

BACK ISSUES OF OMRI Daily Digest:
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available on 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
Fax: 202-457-6992
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
Mike Gallant, gallantm@rferl.org.

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630.

[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