It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 107, Part I, 1 September1997



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

* FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES REPORTS ON POSSIBLE NUCLEAR TEST

* RUSSIAN, ARMENIAN PRESIDENTS SIGN NEW COOPERATION
AGREEMENT

* FATE OF TAJIK MUFTI

End Note: RIVAL MODELS OF CAUCASIAN COOPERATION

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RUSSIA

FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES REPORTS ON POSSIBLE NUCLEAR TEST.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin has denied reports
in some Western media that Russia may have recently conducted a
nuclear test near the Arctic site of Novaya Zemlya, Russian news
agencies reported on 29 August. Nesterushkin said Russia is adhering
to the moratorium on nuclear testing declared by Yeltsin in 1992,
adding that Russia refrains from all actions that would contradict the
provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Moscow has signed
but not ratified that treaty. Earlier in the day, Atomic Energy
Minister Viktor Mikhailov also categorically denied the reports,
saying an earthquake had caused a "seismic event" recorded near
Novaya Zemlya on 16 August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 August
1997). The U.S., Norway and Finland had officially asked Moscow for
an explanation of the event.

RUSSIAN, ARMENIAN PRESIDENTS SIGN NEW COOPERATION
AGREEMENT. Meeting in the Kremlin on 29 August, Boris Yeltsin and
Levon Ter-Petrossyan signed a bilateral Treaty of Friendship,
Cooperation and Mutual Assistance that supercedes an earlier
agreement concluded in December 1991, but never ratified. The
agreement provides for more intensive cooperation, particularly in
the military and economic sphere. Yeltsin characterized his talks with
Ter-Petrossyan as "candid, sincere and trustful," and said the new
treaty "marks a qualitatively new stage of Russian-Armenian
relations" on the level of "strategic partnership." The Armenian
president said that implementation of the treaty would result in
closer integration than the Russia-Belarus Union. Ter-Petrossyan,
who was accompanied on his three-day visit by the foreign, defense,
economy and finance and energy ministers and controversial
Yerevan mayor Vano Siradeghyan, also held talks with Viktor
Chernomyrdin, Yevgenii Primakov, Igor Sergeev, Ivan Rybkin and
Gennadii Seleznev.

ARMENIAN-RUSSIAN GAS VENTURE CREATED. On 30 August,
Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev, Armenian Energy Minister Gagik
Martirossyan and ITERA president Igor Makarov signed an
agreement creating the joint stock company ArmRosGazprom, which
will finance, construct and operate a gas pipeline network to supply
natural gas to Armenia and export gas via Armenia to Turkey,
Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Armenia will use part of the
Russian gas to generate energy, which will enable it to supply Turkey
with up to 3 billion kW/hours of electricity without building new
power lines. Ter-Petrossyan, who attended the signing ceremony,
termed the agreement as important as the reactivating of Armenia's
mothballed nuclear power station. Russia provided substantive
financial and technical help in restarting the Medzamor nuclear
power station in 1995.

RUSSIA, TURKEY SIGN GAS PIPELINE ACCORD. Gazprom head Rem
Vyakhirev and Turkish Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer signed a $3
billion preliminary agreement in Ankara on 29 August to build a
pipeline under the Black Sea from Tuapse to Samsun through which
Turkey will import Russian natural gas, AFP and ITAR-TASS
reported. The deal is to be finalized during a visit to Turkey by
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, possibly in November
or December. Construction of the pipeline may begin next year,
according to Vyakhirev. Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said
the agreement gives "a new dimension" to Turkey's economic ties
with Russia.

YELTSIN WON'T SEEK THIRD TERM. Yeltsin announced on 1
September that he will not run for president in 2000, Russian media
reported. While visiting a Moscow school on the first day of the
academic year, Yeltsin said a younger and "more energetic"
generation will govern Russia after his current term expires. Article
81 of the Russian Constitution forbids a president from serving for
more than two consecutive terms. Although Yeltsin was first elected
president in 1991 and re-elected in 1996, there had been some
speculation that he might seek a third term on the grounds that since
1991, Russia has gained independence and adopted a new
constitution.

OFFICIALS PROMISE HELP FOR TEACHERS. Deputy Prime Minister
Oleg Sysuev said on 1 September that the government is beginning
"intensive work" on paying its debts to teachers, ITAR-TASS
reported. A July presidential decree ordered all back wages to state
employees to be paid by 1 January 1998. But Sysuev noted that
while the federal government had paid pension arrears earlier this
summer, regional governments would have to provide half the funds
to pay back wages. In a nationwide radio address on 1 September,
Yeltsin blamed chronic wage delays to teachers on regional
authorities, saying, "I am ashamed for the governors of those oblasts
where such a disgrace goes on." Meanwhile, the teachers' trade union
in the Republic of Buryatia decided to call off a planned strike and let
the school year begin on schedule after teachers finally received
their salaries for October 1996, ITAR-TASS reported.

CHERNOMYRDIN ON DEPUTY'S DEPARTURE FROM PRO-GOVERNMENT
MOVEMENT. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, leader of the Our
Home Is Russia (NDR) movement, has described Sergei Belyaev as a
poor leader of the NDR State Duma faction and has said his departure
should not be considered a "tragedy," ITAR-TASS reported on 29
August. Announcing his resignation from the NDR council and Duma
faction, Belyaev accused the movement of becoming "bureaucratic"
and of not living up to its 1995 campaign promises (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 August 1997). The prime minister expressed regret
that Belyaev had issued an "inadequate" response to "tactful"
attempts by NDR colleagues to search for his replacement.
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 30 August that Chernomyrdin
recently met secretly with 26 NDR Duma deputies, 23 of whom
advocated replacing Belyaev. Duma deputy Aleksei Golovkov told
Interfax on 29 August that Belyaev may have feared being sacked
during an upcoming meeting with Chernomyrdin.

BELYAEV LEFT MOVEMENT WITH KREMLIN'S APPROVAL. "Izvestiya"
commented on 30 August that Belyaev appears to have quit NDR
"with the Kremlin's approval." On the eve of his 29 August
announcement, Belyaev met with Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana
Dyachenko and Presidential Chief of Staff Valentin Yumashev, the
paper said. (It is also notable that Belyaev sharply criticized NDR
leaders and spoke pessimistically about the movement's prospects in
a 26 August interview with "Rossiiskie vesti," the official newspaper
of the presidential administration.) "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30
August described Belyaev's departure as evidence of the "final
political divorce" between the prime minister and the government's
"young reformers" (First Deputy Prime Ministers Anatolii Chubais
and Boris Nemtsov). In a separate article published in that paper the
same day, Belyaev criticized Prime Minister Chernomyrdin for not
devoting the time or the effort to build NDR into a strong political
movement.

IMPACT OF BELYAEV'S DEPARTURE ON DUMA FACTION VIEWED.
"Kommersant-Daily" argued on 30 August that Belyaev's
unprecedented public criticism of the NDR has severely weakened
the movement's Duma faction. However, "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
speculated the same day that only about five NDR Duma deputies will
follow Belyaev's lead. So far only Nikolai Travkin has confirmed that
he will quit the faction. (Travkin gained fame in the early 1990s as
founder of the Democratic Party of Russia, but he was ousted from
that party in 1994 and was elected to the Duma on the NDR list the
following year.) On 3 September, NDR Duma deputies will consider a
replacement for Belyaev. Among the leading contenders are Duma
First Deputy Speaker Aleksandr Shokhin and Duma Nationalities
Committee Chairman Vladimir Zorin. The same day, NDR deputies will
decide whether to expel Duma Defense Committee Chairman Lev
Rokhlin, who recently created an opposition movement to support
the armed forces.

STATE MILITARY INSPECTORATE TO HAVE BROAD MANDATE. The
new State Military Inspectorate has a mandate to oversee the
activities of far more than the various branches of the armed forces,
"Izvestiya" reported on 30 August. The Interior Ministry troops,
Border Troops, Federal Security Service (FSB), and Federal Agency
for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) are among
organizations whose activities also will be monitored by the
inspectorate, the paper said. Yeltsin recently appointed Andrei
Kokoshin as head of the inspectorate and Defense Council secretary
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 August 1997). Kokoshin told "Izvestiya"
that the inspectorate will not "be in charge of the armed forces" or
ministers who are subordinated to the president. Rather, it will
"fulfill the president's will" by monitoring how defense policy and
military reform are progressing. The Defense Council will "examine
strategic questions" and make decisions, Kokoshin said, but those
decisions must be confirmed by the president.

SERGEEV PROMISES PAY RAISE FOR OFFICERS. Defense Minister Igor
Sergeev says that current military reform plans call for officers'
salaries to be increased by 50 percent by 2001 and to be 60 percent
above current levels by 2005, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 August. He
said military reform would amount to more than a "reshuffle of
furniture" in the armed forces and would raise the status and
material position of military personnel. Meanwhile, a Defense
Ministry statement released on 1 September warned that seven to
eight percent of instructors at military institutions of higher
education leave each year. The departure rate is two to three times
the rate at which new teachers are trained to replace them. Only 60
percent of Russian military educational institutions are fully staffed
with qualified teachers. The Defense Ministry runs 102 institutions of
higher education, down from 166 that existed before the collapse of
the USSR.

CULTURE MINISTER ON WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT. Newly appointed
Culture Minister Natalya Dementeva told "Kommersant-Daily" on 30
August that she is "inspired" by the increasing willingness to appoint
women to government posts. Tatyana Dmitrieva became health
minister in August 1996, and Natalya Fonareva was picked to head
the State Anti-Monopoly Committee just a few days before
Dementeva's appointment (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 August 1997).
"Izvestiya" on 30 August quoted Dementeva as saying that women
are more dynamic and decisive than men. Speaking to ITAR-TASS
the previous day, Dementeva said "women can be trusted with
important posts" because they bear many burdens in life and
consequently "understand and feel some things more subtly than
representatives of the stronger sex." Meanwhile, in her interview
with "Kommersant-Daily" Dementeva dismissed characterizations of
her as a "creature of [First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii] Chubais."
She said she had only met Chubais once before her appointment.

RUSSIA, IRAN TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION. Iran's new leadership
considers ties with Russia a top foreign policy priority, Russian
deputy foreign minister Viktor Posuvalyuk told ITAR-TASS on 31
August. Posuvalyuk was in Tehran for talks on bilateral relations,
regional problems, including Tajikistan, and economic relations.
Posuvalyuk said that Russia is keen to expand trade turnover with
Iran.

LEBED ON CHECHNYA ONE YEAR AFTER KHASAVYURT. Speaking at a
press conference at Interfax's Moscow offices on 29 August, former
Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed assessed the impact on
Russian politics of the accord signed by himself and Chechen chief of
staff Aslan Maskhadov in Khasavyurt on 31 August, 1996, RFE/RL's
Moscow bureau reported. That agreement outlined the framework
determining future bilateral relations between Moscow and Grozny
over a five-year period. Lebed claimed the credit for drafting the
agreement which formally ended the war, thereby saving Russia 365
trillion rubles ($62.7 billion) and "scores of thousands of lives." In a
separate interview published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 29 August,
Lebed claimed that Yeltsin had removed any mention of the
Khasavyurt agreement from the peace treaty signed with Chechnya
in May, and that his successor as Security Council secretary, the
"absurdly and insanely loyal" Ivan Rybkin, is systematically
discrediting it.

WORLD CONGRESS OF TATARS APPEALS TO YELTSIN, SHAIMIEV.
Delegates to the Second World Congress of Tatars on 29 August
adopted an appeal to Yeltsin to pay closer attention to the cultural
and spiritual development of the Tatar people, noting specifically
that RFE/RL is the only radio station with daily shortwave broadcasts
in the Tatar language that can be received throughout the Russian
Federation, according to RFE/RL's Kazan bureau. They also called on
Yeltsin to create a mechanism for ensuring adequate representation
of non-Russian ethnic groups in federal bodies. In a parallel appeal to
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, the congress delegates asked
him to expedite the transition from the cyrillic to the Latin alphabet
in order to facilitate communication among the world's 7 million
ethnic Tatars.

CHECHENS CLASH WITH POLICE IN DAGESTAN. One man was killed
and seven more wounded, including four police officials, in fighting
in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt during the night of 30-31
August, Russian media reported. Interfax reported that the violence
erupted after a group of local Akkin Chechens had tried to prevent
the arrest of another Chechen. But Chechen first deputy prime
minister Movladi Ugudov told ITAR-TASS that the incident was "a
provocation by extremist forces" aimed at disrupting the ongoing
Russian-Chechen talks. Russian deputy interior minister Petr
Latyshev and the commander of the Russian interior ministry troops
Leontii Shevtsov travelled to Khasavyurt on 31 August to investigate
the incident.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

FATE OF TAJIK MUFTI. The spiritual leader of Tajikistan's Muslims,
Amonullo Negmatzoda, is being held by Rezvon Sadirov and his
followers, international media reported. Sadirov is demanding the
government release his brother, Bahrom, in return for the Mufti and
his two sons. The Sadirov brothers' gang was responsible for taking
members of the U.N. observer mission to Tajikistan hostage, once in
December 1996 and again last February The government has
stressed the need for avoiding violence and has been negotiating
with Rezvon's group. However, the scheduled handover of
Negmatzoda and his sons did not take place as planned at 12:00 local
time on 1 September. But RFE/RL correspondents in Tajikistan report
that the Mufti and his sons will be freed later in the day. UN special
envoy to Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, has condemned the Mufti's
kidnapping but has emphasized it is not connected with the peace
process but is considered a "criminal" action.

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER VISITS BAKU. Benjamin Netanyahu made
a brief stopover in Baku on 29 August on his return from Japan,
Turan and Russian agencies reported. Netanyahu met with President
Heidar Aliev and with the foreign and economics ministers.
Netanyahu told reporters the talks focused on possible deliveries of
Azerbaijani oil to Israel, exports of Israeli technology to Azerbaijan,
and unspecified international and regional issues. On 30 August,
Iranian state radio termed Netanyahu's Baku visit "destabilizing" and
accused the Azerbaijani leadership of playing "a dangerous game,"
Reuters reported.

CHECHEN PRESIDENT VISITS GEORGIA. Aslan Maskhadov flew to
Tbilisi on 30 August for talks with Eduard Shevardnadze on regional
and economic issues, including the Abkhaz conflict, and the Chechen
proposals to create a Caucasus security organization similar to the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and to build a
pipeline for the export of Chechen oil via Georgia, Russian and
Western agencies reported. The two presidents also visited the north
Georgian town of Akhmeta, which has a sizeable Chechen population.
Shevardnadze termed the meeting, which had been postponed at
least once, "an important step towards good neighborly relations,"
while Maskhadov said it "will play a huge role for security in the
Caucasus," AFP reported. (See also "Endnote")

TURKMEN PRESIDENT LEAVES GERMANY ... Turkmen President
Saparmurat Niyazov, during his 27-30 August visit to Germany, met
with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Roman Herzog, ITAR-
TASS and DPA reported. Niyazov's meetings with the two leaders was
largely ceremonial but the Turkmen president's meetings with
business leaders proved fruitful. At a meeting with officials of the
Mannesmann company, a contract was signed for constructing a plant
in Turkmenistan to produce 200,000 tons yearly of ethylene and
polyethylene. The German company "Agrevro" will help with
agricultural work on a 10,000 hectare area in Turkmenistan.
President Niyazov and his delegation arranged 19 new projects with
German partners. The projects are worth an estimated $416 million.

...BUT WILL RETURN FOR SURGERY. On 31 August, the day after
Saparmurat Niyazov returned from Germany to Turkmenistan,
Turkmen television reported Niyazov will return to Germany for
heart surgery in September, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported.
Niyazov was examined by German specialists who concluded an
operation to restore normal functioning of the coronary-arterial
system is necessary. The date and location of the operation has not
been made public.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT IN KUWAIT. Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbayev arrived in Kuwait on 31 August for a two-day visit,
ITAR-TASS reported. Kazakh Foreign Minister Kasymjomart Tokayev
signed an agreement on cooperation between foreign ministries with
Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister Suleyman Majid Shahin.
Nazarbayev is scheduled to meet with Amir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed
al-Sabah and other Kuwaiti officials before traveling on to Bahrain
and Oman.

END NOTE

RIVAL MODELS OF CAUCASIAN COOPERATION

by Liz Fuller

        Russia's heavy-handed and proprietorial, but ultimately
ineffectual, approach to promoting regional cooperation and inter-
ethnic harmony in the Caucasus has inspired local leaders to devise
alternative strategems for achieving these aims, while circumscribing
Russia's influence. The Russian approach is epitomized by the
declaration "For Inter-Ethnic Accord, Peace, and Economic and
Cultural Cooperation in the Transcaucasus" signed in June 1996 by
the presidents of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The
signatories condemn any attempt to sow enmity between either
individual nations of the Caucasus, or between the region as a whole
and Russia. And they affirm their shared commitment to creating a
strong pan-European security system of which the Caucasus is
envisaged as a crucial component.
        But although numerous regional political figures favor the
concept of a pan-Caucasian organization that would unite the three
Transcaucasus states plus the North Caucasus republics of the
Russian Federation, there is no consensus over whether this
organization should focus on political, economic or security issues, or
whether several separate bodies should be created to perform
different and complementary functions. Predictably, each Caucasus
state/republic has expressed interest in those aspect(s ) which meet
its particular needs, rather than assessing the merits of each
alternative from the point of view of what is likely to benefit the
region as a whole.
        More crucially, some regional leaders have seized on the
concept of pan-Caucasus solidarity as a means of taking advantage of
Russia's lack of a comprehensive policy toward the region as a whole.
Some Russian observers suspect Georgian President Eduard
Shevardnadze of conspiring with the Chechens to create an
independent Caucasian Federation that would include Chechnya and
possibly several other North Caucasus Russian republics. It has even
been suggested that Shevardnadze has the backing of the West for
such an undertaking. Armenia, on the other hand, which is Moscow's
closest regional ally, opposes the exclusion of Russia from any new
supra-national regional body.
        Several separate models for a pan-Caucasus organization or
union are currently under discussion. At a meeting in late June in the
Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, of deputies to North and
Transcaucasus parliaments, representatives from Georgia, Azerbaijan,
Ingushetia and Dagestan informally proposed a pan-Caucasus
parliament. Other North Caucasus republics reacted with extreme
caution to this suggestion, however, fearing that it would be
construed in Moscow as "separatist." The Armenian leadership was
likewise said to be "wary" of such an initiative, but Shevardnadze
termed it "worthy of attention." As an alternative, or a complement,
to such a body, the Georgian parliament has advocated a Caucasian
inter-parliamentary assembly. Ingushetia's President Ruslan Aushev
has proposed a pan-Caucasian "consultative council."
        Somewhat more audacious (and, from Moscow's viewpoint,
more alarming) is the idea tabled by Chechen first deputy prime
minister Movladi Udugov for a pan-Caucasus security organization,
with its headquarters in Tbilisi, modelled on the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe. This proposal, too, found favor
with Shevardnadze, and also with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev,
although the heads of Azerbaijan's power ministries expressed
reservations on the grounds that such a body is superfluous, and that
it would create problems in relations between Moscow and the
Transcaucasus states. (One Georgian analyst has argued that a pan-
Caucasus parliament, inter-parliamentary assembly and security
organization are not mutually exclusive concepts, but
complementary.)
        Although Armenia is generally in favor of closer regional
cooperation on security issues, a Yerevan journalist close to the
country's leadership made it clear that Armenia would only join a
hypothetical Organization for Security and Cooperation in the
Caucasus if Russia were an equal partner in that organization. Other
Armenian commentators have similarly expressed concern that such
a security body is intended as a counterweight to Russia.
        Armenia and Georgia both agree, however, that closer economic
cooperation could serve as the motivating force for overcoming
regional conflicts. (Tbilisi is currently trying to wrest concessions
from the separatist Abkhaz leadership in return for a share of the
transit tariffs from the export of Azerbaijan's Caspian oil.) The
Chechens are reportedly trying to raise funding from Saudi Arabia
for a Caucasus-Eurasian Common Market comprising Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Georgia and Turkmenistan.
        While these various proposed schemes are both rational and
(with the possible exception of the Chechen grandiose economic
vision) feasible, they overlook the fact that, at least on paper, supra-
national organizations already exist to promote security cooperation
(the CIS Collective Security Treaty) and economic cooperation (the
Black Sea Economic Cooperation) between Transcaucasus states and
Russia. The current search for exclusively Caucasian alternatives
shows that the peoples of the region continue to mistrust Russia's
motives in the Caucasus and fear a possible resurgence of Russia's
influence in the region. Russian President Boris Yeltsin's
pronouncement on 20 August that "we need a common Caucasian
approach which is to be formulated here, within the [Russian]
Security Council" will only fuel these fears, and the search for
alternative security mechanisms.


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