The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 127, Part I, 29 September 1997



A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern Europe,
Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by the staff of Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part I, a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia
and Central Asia. Part II covers Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe and is distributed simultaneously as a second document.
Back issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are online
at RFE/RL's Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline

RUSSIAN MEDIA EMPIRES. Government and business entities control
many major Russian media. This special report on the RFE/RL Web
site lists the important players.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia/index.html

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

*RUSSIA, NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET


*SEVERAL ARMS CONTROL AGREEMENTS SIGNED


*TAJIK RECONCILIATION COMMISSION MEETS

END NOTE: RUSSIAN GOLD TO FEED KREMLIN POTTED PLANTS

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

RUSSIA, NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. The Russia-NATO
Permanent Joint Council held its first ministerial-level meeting in
New York on 26 September. The council, designed to give Russia "a
voice but not a veto" in the western alliance, was created under the
Founding Act signed by Russia and NATO in May. Russian Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov and NATO Secretary-General Javier
Solana told journalists that the two-hour meeting had been a success,
although Primakov noted that both Russia and NATO will have to
adhere to principles such as "equality between the parties" if
progress in Russia-NATO relations is to continue, Reuters reported. In
her address to the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright said she did not expect Russians to "suddenly fall in love
with NATO," but expressed hope that Russia will come to understand
that the alliance does not threaten it, according to AFP. (See related
item in Part 2 of today's "Newsline.")

SEVERAL ARMS CONTROL AGREEMENTS SIGNED. Russian Foreign
Minister Primakov hailed a package of arms control agreements
signed by the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan on 26
September as a major success that "will determine the course of arms
control for many years to come," Reuters and AFP reported. Among
the documents signed in New York were statements clarifying the
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, although Primakov said the
agreements did not resolve all disputes over the ABM Treaty. In
addition, a protocol was signed to extend the period of
implementation of the START-2 treaty for five years -- from the
beginning of 2003 to the end of 2007. U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright told reporters that the package of accords
"should pave the way for Russian [State] Duma ratification of the
START-2 treaty." There is strong opposition to ratifying START-2 in
the Duma.

CHIRAC WINDS UP RUSSIA VISIT... After his third meeting with
French President Jacques Chirac in two days, President Russian
President Boris Yeltsin told journalists on 26 September that he and
Chirac have "no differences" on any international issues or on
Russian-French bilateral relations, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Chirac told reporters that Yeltsin was right to say recently
that Europe should play a greater role in providing for its own
security, according to Interfax. Chirac and Yeltsin issued a joint
statement on several topics. The two presidents expressed concern
over recent complications in the Middle East and in Bosnia, and also
called for a settlement on Nagorno-Karabakh, "within the framework
of the UN and the OSCE." Speaking to students at the Moscow State
Institute of International Relations, Chirac announced that France's
nuclear missiles are no longer targeted at Russia. Yeltsin announced
in May that Russian missiles would no longer be targeted at NATO
member states.

...CALLS FOR INCREASED TRADE, INVESTMENT. Yeltsin and Chirac
agreed to set a goal of doubling the volume of bilateral trade
turnover in the next two years, Interfax reported on 26 September.
According to Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii,
Russian-French trade turnover was $2.8 billion in 1996. The same
day, Chirac discussed several joint business projects with Russian
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, including an oil refinery in the
Republic of Bashkortostan, an offshore oil terminal, and cooperation
between the automobile manufacturers Renault and Moskvich, AFP
reported. At a dinner for French and Russian entrepreneurs the same
day, Chirac called for increased French investment in Russia. Before
leaving for St. Petersburg on 27 September, Chirac met with
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov and Aleksandr Shokhin,
leader of the Our Home Is Russia faction in the State Duma. Chirac
returned to France on 28 September.

RUSSIA, TURKEY AT ODDS OVER CYPRUS ... Russian Foreign Minister
Primakov told his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, in New York on
26 September that the optimum solution to Turkish apprehension
over the planned sale by Russia to Greek Cyprus of S-300 anti-
missile systems would be the total demilitarization of the island, AFP
and Interfax reported. Cem told journalists on his return to Turkey
that none of the 50 colleagues whom he had told in New York of
Turkey's concern over the missiles had said he was wrong, according
to the "Turkish Daily News" of 29 September. On 26 September,
Rosvooruzhenie head Yevgenii Moskalenko said at an international
arms exhibition in Ankara that the S-300s do not constitute a threat
to Turkey, according to ITAR-TASS. "Striking ground targets in
Turkey with S-300 missiles is as feasible as hammering in nails with
a computer," according to Moskalenko.

... AND IRAQ. On 26 September, the Russian State Duma and the
Foreign Ministry both issued statements condemning the most recent
incursion by Turkish armed forces on to Iraqi territory, ITAR-TASS
reported. The Foreign Ministry argued that the need to eradicate
terrorism by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) does not
justify violating international law. The Duma accused Turkey of
"perpetrating acts of genocide against the long-suffering Kurdish
people."

TIES BETWEEN FORMER PRIVATIZATION CHIEF AND ONEKSIMBANK
REPORTED... "The Financial Times" on 26 September reported on a
$100,000 payment to former State Property Committee Chairman
Alfred Kokh by the obscure Swiss firm Servina. On his income
declaration, submitted in June, Kokh listed the payment as royalties
for a book on privatization. The "Financial Times" noted that not only
has Kokh's book not yet been published, Servina is not known ever to
have published a book before. (On 11 September, Procurator-General
Yurii Skuratov announced that a criminal investigation concerning
Kokh's royalty payment has been opened.) In addition, the paper
noted, there appear to be links between Oneksimbank and Servina.
Kokh and Oneksimbank president Vladimir Potanin admit to being
close friends but say their friendship has never influenced their
professional activities. Oneksimbank won controversial auctions for
major stakes in Svyazinvest and Norilsk Nickel in July and August.

...SOME RUSSIAN MEDIA PICK UP ALLEGATIONS. NTV on 28
September devoted substantial coverage to the "Financial Times"
report on its influential weekly program "Itogi," RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau reported the next day. In addition, "Segodnya" on 29
September and "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 27 September published
front-page accounts of the "Financial Times" report. "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" commented that the weekly "Novaya gazeta" recently
published its own investigative report on the "connections between
Oneksimbank and Kokh's publishing activities." "Segodnya" and NTV
belong to Vladimir Gusinskii's Media-Most holding company, also
said to be a financial backer of "Novaya gazeta." "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" is partly financed by the LogoVAZ group of Security Council
Deputy Secretary Boris Berezovskii. Media influenced by Gusinskii
and Berezovskii have repeatedly criticized Oneksimbank, Kokh, and
other government officials since the Svyazinvest auction. Kokh joined
a private investment firm shortly after being dismissed in August
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 1997).

DUMA PASSES SEVERAL RESOLUTIONS. The State Duma passed
several non-binding resolutions on 26 September, including a
statement expressing concern over military maneuvers involving
NATO members held near Russian borders, Russian news agencies
reported. That statement, proposed by the Duma's anti-NATO group,
drew particular attention to the recent military exercises in
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan involving U.S. units. Deputies also passed
a resolution asking Yeltsin to postpone implementing military reform
plans until a law can be passed outlining the concept and goals of
military reform. (Earlier in the day, the Duma voted down an attempt
to remove Lev Rokhlin, a sharp critic of the administration's military
reform plans, as chairman of the Duma Defense Committee. See
"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 September 1997.) In addition, the Duma urged
Yeltsin to take steps to restore the value of Sberbank savings
accounts that were eroded by inflation beginning in 1992.

RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TALKS CONCLUDE. The fourth session of the
Russian-Chechen joint commission charged with drafting a document
regulating bilateral relations between Moscow and Grozny concluded
on 27 September. Chechnya's future status within the Russian
Federation was not even discussed as the Chechen delegation was not
empowered to negotiate on that issue, deputy prime minister
Akhmet Zakaev told ITAR-TASS. First Deputy Prime Minister
Movladi Udugov told Interfax that he rejected Rybkin's proposal to
hold a referendum on whether Chechnya should be independent.
Rybkin suggested that a new meeting between Russian President
Yeltsin and his Chechen counterpart Aslan Maskhadov might help to
resolve the deadlock between the two sides' negotiating positions.

YELTSIN SACKS REPRESENTATIVE IN KEMEROVO. Yeltsin on 26
September dismissed Anatolii Malykhin, his representative in
Kemerovo Oblast, Russian news agencies reported. Earlier that day,
Malykhin had announced that a commission investigating Leninsk-
Kuznetskii Mayor Gennadii Konyakhin had concluded that Konyakhin
was elected in accordance with the law (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24-
25 September 1997). Aleksandr Zvyagintsev, an assistant to
Procurator-General Yurii Skuratov, told Interfax that "no one had
authorized" Malykhin to make such statements. Meanwhile, Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced on 25 September that the
government fully supports Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev in the
upcoming gubernatorial election in Kemerovo. Tuleev was a sharp
critic of Yeltsin and the government when he chaired the Kemerovo
legislature. He ran for parliament in 1995 on the Communist Party
ticket and supported Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov in
the July 1996 presidential election. He was appointed CIS affairs
minister in August 1996 and governor of Kemerovo in July 1997.

TWO MAYORS CLAIM LEGITIMACY IN VLADIVOSTOK. Vladivostok
Mayor Viktor Cherepkov has charged that the Primorskii Krai
authorities tried to take advantage of his absence to carry out an
"anti-constitutional coup" in the city, RFE/RL's correspondent in
Vladivostok reported on 29 September. Upon his return from North
Korea on 28 September, Cherepkov told journalists that he will not
step down, despite the Primorskii Krai Duma's attempt to suspend
him from office (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 September 1997). But
Deputy Mayor Yurii Kopylov, appointed acting mayor by the krai
legislature, has declared that he will execute the mayor's duties. He
held a meeting on 29 September with various former city officials
who were dismissed by Cherepkov during the last year. Meanwhile, a
government commission headed by First Deputy Fuel and Energy
Minister Sergei Kirienko arrived in Primore on 29 September to seek
a solution for the region's protracted energy crisis.

ATLANTIS DOCKS WITH "MIR." The American space shuttle "Atlantis"
successfully docked with Russia's "Mir" space station on 27
September, according to international media. The shuttle brought a
new computer and other essential supplies for the station. That
computer will begin functioning on 1 or 2 October, replacing the
present computer which has failed three times in September.
American astronaut David Wolf will take colleague Michael Foale's
place on the station when Atlantis leaves the station on either 3 or 4
October.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIK RECONCILIATION COMMISSION MEETS. The Tajik National
Reconciliation Commission concluded its second session in Dushanbe
on 26 September, ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL correspondents reported.
A representative of the commission, Latifi Otakhon, said the
commission would have a document with proposed changes to the
constitution ready at the beginning of November. October will be
spent discussing such changes at a "round table" where
representatives of the Tajik government, United Tajik Opposition
(UTO), the UN, OSCE and other international organizations will take
part. The commission also released two addresses, one asking for
nationwide support in returning and aiding Tajik refugees as they
come back from Afghanistan. The other was a warning to armed
groups to hand over their weapons by 16 November. Those who do
not comply face forced disarmament by forces of the Tajik
government and UTO.

TAJIK OFFICIAL'S SON MURDERED IN DUSHANBE. Bakhtiyar Sharipov,
the 31-year old son of Tajikistan's Procurator General Solomiddin
Sharipov, was killed In Dushanbe in a drive-by shooting on 26
September, according to RFE/RL correspondents. The driver of
Sharipov's car was wounded and is in the hospital. Authorities are
investigating and have not said yet whether the attack was
connected to the younger Sharipov's business or his father.

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON KARABAKH ... At his first press
conference in five years, Levon Ter-Petrossyan said on 26 September
that the co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe's Minsk Group that is mediating a solution of the Karabakh
conflict proposed on 21 September postponing a formal decision on
Karabakh's future status until other issues, including the withdrawal
of Armenian troops from occupied Azerbaijani territory and
repatriation of refugees, have been resolved, RFE/RL's Yerevan
bureau reported. Armenia has consistently espoused a "phased"
resolution of the conflict but the Karabakh Armenians want all
contentious issues resolved simultaneously. Ter-Petrossyan called for
a compromise settlement, arguing that neither continuation of the
conflict nor "forced capitulation" are realistic options for Armenia. He
said that the conflict parties are to submit a written response to the
Minsk Group's most recent proposals within 2-3 weeks.

 ... AND TURKEY, AND HIS POLITICAL FUTURE. Asked about
Armenian-Turkish relations, Ter-Petrossyan said Turkey will be
unable to influence the outcome of the Karabakh conflict unless it
normalizes relations with Armenia. Ankara says it will not open a
border gate with Armenia until Armenian forces withdraw from
Azerbaijani territory. Ter-Petrossyan predicted that Turkey will fail
in "its efforts to become a regional leader" because it has too many
unsolved problems with neighboring states. Ter-Petrossyan also said
that he would run for reelection in the year 2001 "if the people ask
me to." He was first elected president in 1991, and reelected in 1996.
The Constitution adopted in 1995 bars any one individual from
serving more than two consecutive terms. In April 1997, Ter-
Petrossyan said he would not seek a third term even if the
constitution were amended to enable him to do so.

KAZAKH PM IN SWITZERLAND FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT. Kazakh
Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, in Switzerland while being
treated for a blood clot in his lungs, said reforms in Kazakhstan will
continue even "in the case of my resignation," Reuters reported on 28
September. Kazhegeldin's hasty departure to "Europe" for medical
treatment on 22 September was announced after the Prime Minister
had already departed Kazakhstan. That and a series of reports
criticizing Kazhegeldin in Kazakh and international press led to
speculation he would soon be sacked. One of the most vocal critics of
Kazhegeldin, parliamentary deputy Zamanbek Nurkadilov, said "He's
destroyed Kazakhstan. He's done this (privatization) for the West -
not for Kazakhs." However, western businessmen in Kazakhstan are
already expressing doubts about the future of reforms in Kazakhstan
if Kazhegeldin should lose his office.

IL TURCO IN ITALIA. During his three-day state visit to Italy on 25-
27 September, Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev met with his
Italian counterpart Oscar Luigi Scalfaro and with Prime Minister
Romano Prodi. Talks focused on European and regional security,
including the Karabakh conflict, economic cooperation and the oil
sector. Aliev and Scalfaro signed a joint declaration of political
cooperation that notes Azerbaijan's role in promoting regional
stability in the Caucasus; Aliev and Prodi signed an agreement on
economic cooperation and policy, according to ITAR-TASS. Further
agreements on avoiding dual taxation and on the mutual protection
of investments also were signed. On 26 September, Aliev held talks
with the energy concern ENI, which includes AGIP. The president of
AGIP and the Azerbaijan state oil company SOCAR signed a protocol
on cooperation whereby AGIP will participate in exploration and
development in the Kyurdash sector of the Caspian.

END NOTE

RUSSIAN GOLD TO FEED KREMLIN POTTED PLANTS

by John Helmer

  The latest report from Russia's independent state auditor reveals
the Kremlin has been busier selling gold abroad than it has told
parliament. One reason for the sales also has been revealed. Kremlin
officials have had urgent needs for holiday homes, German
limousines, dishes to eat off, and potted plants for their offices.
        According to details just released by the Accounting Chamber,
Russian gold sales in 1995 and 1996 included sales of approximately
800,000 million rubles (160 million dollars) that were not covered
by legislative authority.
        The Chamber also has reported to the Duma that the state
agency for trading precious metals, Almazjuvelirexport (Almaz), and
the former State Committee for Precious Metals and Gemstones
(Komdragmet), unlawfully retained 99.2 million dollars in
commissions on foreign sales. The money should have been returned
to the federal treasury, the Chamber's report claims.
        According to this audit, one-third of the cash generated by
unauthorized sales of state gold was spent on perquisites for high
officials. Among the items of government spending from gold sales
uncovered in the Account Chamber report were: imported tableware
and porcelain services for the Kremlin and White House (4 million
dollars); purchase of homes for senior government officials (2 million
dollars); reconstruction of the Kremlin, Bolshoi Theater, the Duma
dacha at the Moscow lakeside resort of Serebryany Bor, and a
presidential dacha outside Moscow (30 million dollars); and
decoration of the Kremlin's winter garden (550,000 dollars). In
addition, there was renovation of the presidential aircraft (2 million
dollars), purchase of two VIP cars from Germany (1 million dollars);
and computer and communication technologies for the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (2 million dollars).
        The Accounting Chamber audit also calls into question official
claims about the size and movement of state gold reserves, apart
from the so-called monetary reserves which are held by Russia's
Central Bank, and their level regularly monitored by the
International Monetary Fund.
        According to the government version, in January 1995 the
state gold reserve amounted to 300 tons. However, according to the
latest audited figures, actual reserves at the time amounted to 78.4
tons of gold, including 14 tons of ingots. In 1994, it is now reported,
140 tons of gold ingots were sold out of state stocks, while another
120 tons were swapped for short-term loans from Swiss banks. By
January 1, 1997, the state precious metals fund (Goskhran) held 84
tons of gold, including 75 tons delivered from the mines, and nine
tons smelted from the other gold objects.
        In response to criticism of laxness in the government's gold
stocking and trading policies, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree
in March this year, ordering: "The money received for the sales of
gold is to be used to finance the spending of the federal budget, first
of all; to pay the gold-extracting organizations; and to pay for the
precious metals and gemstones for the State fund of precious metals
and gemstones."
        Although not yet accounted for by the auditors, government
spending this year has required an increase in planned gold sales. It
is now reported -- without official confirmation -- that 45 tons of
gold will be sold abroad by the end of 1997. Deputy Minister of
Finance, Alexei Kudrin, has told a Moscow newspaper that 31 tons of
gold have already been sold.
        This compares with the government's original gold sale plan for
the year, authorized in Yeltsin's March decree. That document
authorized the sale of 31.2 tons of gold to the Bank for Foreign Trade
to be sold for export. Another 54.8 tons of gold was ordered to the
Central Bank for adding to monetary reserves.

 John Helmer is a free-lance contributor to RFE/RL, based in Moscow.

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

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

Current and Back Issues
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are online
at:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

Listen to news for 13 countries
RFE/RL programs for countries in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia
and the South Slavic region are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour
LIVE Broadcast
Studio.
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html

Reprint Policy
To receive reprint permission, please contact
Paul Goble, Publisher
Email: GobleP@rferl.org
Phone: 202-457-6947
Fax: 202-457-6992
Postal Address:  RFE/RL,  1201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20036  USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Acting Editor (Transcaucasia) CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Acting Deputy Editor (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