I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. - Aldous Huxley
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 135, Part I, 9 October 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

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Headlines, Part I

*NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET PRESENTED TO DUMA


*TALBOTT IN MOSCOW FOR ARMS CONTROL TALKS


*GEORGIAN INTELLIGENCE TRIED TO FRAME LEADING POLITICIANS


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RUSSIA

NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET PRESENTED TO DUMA... Economics Minister
Yakov Urinson and First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov
addressed the State Duma on 9 October to present the draft 1998
budget before its first reading, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported.
They argued that the budget is realistic and will help Russia achieve
economic growth in 1998. The draft calls for expenditures of 472
billion new rubles ($80 billion), taking into account the planned
redenomination of the ruble in January 1998, according to Interfax.
Revenues are projected at 340 billion new rubles, with a planned
budget deficit of 132 billion new rubles, or 4.8 percent of projected
GDP.

...BUT BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN NOT IMPRESSED. Following
the speeches by Urinson and Petrov, Duma Budget Committee
Chairman Mikhail Zadornov of the Yabloko faction reminded Duma
deputies that the government has promised imminent economic
growth every year since 1995, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on
9 October. Zadornov noted that of the 14 Duma committees that
examined the draft budget, only one recommended approving the
budget in the first reading. Zadornov acknowledged that the budget
is more realistic than the 1997 one, but he questioned some of the
assumptions on which it is based. In particular, he expressed doubt
that a new tax code can be put into effect by 1 January 1998.
Projected revenues in the draft budget are based on that code.

ZYUGANOV CALLS FOR CONCILIATORY COMMISSION, NO-CONFIDENCE
VOTE. In a speech to the Duma on 9 October, Communist Party leader
Gennadii Zyuganov called for rejecting the budget in the first reading
and forming a conciliatory commission representing the government,
the Duma, and the Federation Council, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported. He repeated his calls for a round table to discuss various
government policies, which would include representatives of trade
unions, political parties, and the Central Bank as well as government
and parliamentary officials. Zyuganov repeated that in a forthcoming
Duma session, his faction will support holding a vote of no confidence
in the government. After Zyuganov voiced similar plans in a speech
to the Duma on 8 October, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii
questioned the logic of calling for both a no-confidence vote and
negotiations with the government.

DUMA DECLARES GOVERNMENT'S PERFORMANCE UNSATISFACTORY.
The Duma on 8 October voted by 380 to zero with five abstentions to
declare the government's performance during the first nine months
of 1997 "unsatisfactory," RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. In
speeches before the vote, only Our Home Is Russia faction leader
Aleksandr Shokhin defended the government's performance, arguing
that Russia has made economic progress. Yabloko leader Yavlinskii
said a special economic culture has developed in Russia, according to
which "banks do not take money from people and invest it in
industry; rather, banks take money from the budget and send it to
Malta." After the speeches, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii
Chubais told ITAR-TASS that the government is ready to cooperate
with the Duma. But Chubais said Yavlinskii "should remember his
own mistakes more often," noting that Yavlinskii predicted two years
ago that the government would not bring down inflation.

TALBOTT IN MOSCOW FOR ARMS CONTROL TALKS. U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State Strobe Talbott met with Russian Foreign Minister
Yevgenii Primakov and Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedov in
Moscow on 8 October, Interfax reported. The START-2 treaty and
negotiations on a START-3 accord were the main items on the
agenda. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Talbott's visit aims to
implement a package of arms control agreements recently signed by
Primakov and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 29 September 1997). Also on 8 October, Talbott
met with Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, who indicated that the
Duma will ratify START-2 only if experts conclude that the treaty
"does not threaten Russia's security." According to the Duma's press
service, Seleznev also told Talbott that if NATO had not embarked on
expansion plans, the Duma might have ratified START-2 in 1994 or
1995.

INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN MOSCOW. Singh Yadav was upbeat at
an 8 October press conference following talks with President Boris
Yeltsin and Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev the previous day,
Reuters and Russian news agencies reported. Yeltsin, who is
scheduled to visit India in January 1998, told Yadav that there are
"no problems" in Russian-Indian relations. Yadav, who came to Russia
primarily for talks on arms sales and military cooperation, also met
with Russian Defense Council Secretary Andrei Kokoshin and
representatives from the arms exporter Rosvooruzhenie. He is to tour
military bases in Moscow and St. Petersburg before departing Russia
on 10 October. India is a major buyer of Russian weapons, and
Russian government sources indicated that a military cooperation
program signed by the two countries in 1994 will be extended
beyond 2000, when it is scheduled to expire, "Segodnya" reported on
8 October.

PRESIDENTIAL REPRESENTATION IN CHECHNYA DOWN-GRADED.
President Yeltsin on 8 October stripped Security Council Secretary
Ivan Rybkin of his duties as presidential representative to Chechnya
and appointed one of Rybkin's deputies, Valentin Vlasov, to replace
him. Security Council spokesman Igor Ignatev said Rybkin will retain
responsibility for negotiations with the Chechen leadership. Rybkin
told journalists that in the light of the 43 agreements concluded
between Moscow and Grozny, it was logical to downgrade Russia's
representation in Chechnya to the level of that in other republics.
Rybkin displayed uncharacteristic irritation following the 30
September expulsion from Grozny of the entire Russian federal
representation there.

'AVRASIYA' HIJACKERS ESCAPE, FLEE TO CHECHNYA. Two men
sentenced to jail terms in Turkey for their role in the January, 1996
hijacking of the ferry Avrasiya in the Black Sea port of Trabzon
escaped from jail on 6 October and have fled to Chechnya, according
to the "Turkish Daily News" on 9 October. The hijacking staged in an
attempt to gain publicity for the victims of the war in Chechnya.

OPPOSITION DOUBTS LEGALITY OF THIRD TERM FOR YELTSIN.
Communist Party leader Zyuganov has said presidential spokesman
Sergei Yastrzhembskii used "totally groundless" reasoning to argue
that President Yeltsin is legally entitled to seek a third term in office,
Interfax reported on 8 October. Deputy leader of the Communist
Party Valentin Kuptsov and Popular Power faction leader Nikolai
Ryzhkov agreed that a third term would be unconstitutional and
suggested that Yastrzhembskii's comments were probably intended
to test public reaction to a possible Yeltsin candidacy in 2000 (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 8 October 1997). Agrarian Duma faction leader
Nikolai Kharitonov called Yastrzhembskii's statements "absurd,"
adding, "I understand that Yeltsin would like to be president forever,
but it is not serious or appropriate for a person of his age to dream of
a third term." Constitutional Court Judge Anatolii Kononov remarked
that only the court is entitled to make binding interpretations of the
constitution.

LUZHKOV SAYS NEW TAX CODE WOULD HURT MOSCOW. Moscow
Mayor Yurii Luzhkov says that if the government's proposed tax code
is approved, the capital will lose 8 trillion rubles ($1.4 billion) in
annual tax revenues, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 October. According to
Luzhkov, the code would force Moscow to transfer 70 percent of the
taxes collected on its territory to the federal budget, up from 50
percent under current law. He argued that the federal government
should increase its tax revenues not by demanding more
contributions from the regions but by implementing a policy to boost
domestic production. Luzhkov previously complained that the draft
1998 budget would deprive Moscow of compensation payments for
the costs of maintaining federal government facilities in the capital.
Also on 8 October, Luzhkov met with the U.S. billionaire and
philanthropist George Soros and argued that Russia is in need of
humanitarian aid.

LENINSK-KUZNETSKII MAYOR ARRESTED. Gennadii Konyakhin, the
controversial mayor of Leninsk-Kuznetskii, Kemerovo Oblast, was
arrested in Moscow on 8 October on charges of embezzling state
property. Following the publication of an investigative series in
"Izvestiya" in September, Yeltsin ordered a commission of the
Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor-General's Office, and the Federal
Security Service to investigate whether "criminals" had come to
power in Leninsk-Kuznetskii. Three criminal cases involving
Konyakhin were recently opened, according to "Kommersant-Daily"
on 9 October. When the mayor flew to Moscow, the Kemerovo Oblast
prosecutor reportedly filed embezzlement charges against Konyakhin
and informed federal investigators. Liberal Democratic Party of
Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky told ITAR-TASS that Konyakhin
was in Moscow at his personal invitation and was arrested en route
to the Duma to hear a speech by Zhirinovsky.

INVESTIGATORS QUESTION FORMER PRIVATIZATION CHIEF.
Investigators from the Moscow Prosecutor's Office on 8 October
questioned Former State Property Committee Chairman Alfred Kokh
for some two hours, "Kommersant-Daily" reported. Kokh is being
investigated for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by
accepting $100,000 from a Swiss firm for an unfinished book on
privatization. As yet, no criminal charges have been filed against
him. The firm is believed to have connections to Oneksimbank, which
won several major recent privatization auctions (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 September through 2 October 1997). Appearing on
Russian Television on 5 October, Kokh said he has finished the book
and paid taxes on the $100,000 payment. He has also accused the
losers in recent privatization developments of trying to settle scores
with him.

PRIMORE GOVERNOR SEEKS SUPPORT FROM FEDERATION COUNCIL. In
an appeal to his colleagues in the Federation Council, Primorskii Krai
Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko said federal officials should be held
"personally responsible" for discrediting regional authorities, ITAR-
TASS reported on 8 October. Nazdratenko argued that at its next
session, the Council should ask Yeltsin to consider the issue. He also
argued that biased media reports about Primore indicate that "the
head of state is being given distorted reports on the situation in the
krai, and, I think, not only in our [region]." Moscow-based
newspapers and television have frequently reported that
Nazdratenko's administration is to blame for persistent energy crises
in the krai. On 3 October, Nazdratenko sent a letter to Federation
Council Speaker Yegor Stroev arguing that the media are carrying out
an "unprecedented campaign to discredit the Primorskii Krai
authorities."

AVTOVAZ DIRECTOR OBJECTS TO COMPETITOR'S DEAL WITH FIAT.
Aleksei Nikolaev, the president of Russia's largest car manufacturer,
AvtoVAZ, says the GAZ factory in Nizhnii Novgorod acted unethically
when it signed a recent deal with the Italian company Fiat,
"Segodnya" reported on 8 October. Nikolaev argued that GAZ will now
assemble types of cars traditionally produced by AvtoVAZ.
Meanwhile, the AvtoVAZ board of directors on 2 October agreed to a
10-year plan for paying back taxes and fines estimated at some 8
trillion rubles ($1.3 billion). The company is to pay 100 billion rubles
a month toward settling the debt in addition to current monthly tax
payments of some 200 billion rubles, according to the 4 October
"Kommersant-Daily." A stake of 50 percent plus one share in
AvtoVAZ will be transferred to the government and may be sold if
the company breaches the payments schedule (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 30 September and 2 October 1997).

BAN ON ETHNIC MOVEMENTS PROPOSED IN DAGESTAN. Unspecified
political organizations in Dagestan have called for imposing a ban on
political movements representing the interests of the republic's more
than 30 ethnic groups, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 9 October.
Advocates of the ban argue that the activities of such movements
deepen divisions between ethnic groups. A group of parliament
deputies has similarly proposed a ban on political parties active in
southern Dagestan in a bid to prevent the escalation of tensions on
the frontier with Azerbaijan. On 8 October, Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Ramazan Abdulatipov, an ethnic Avar from Dagestan, told
Interfax that Moscow must try to avoid repeating in Dagestan the
mistakes it made in Chechnya. He said Dagestan is "Russia's main
outpost in the south" and the "key to the Caucasus, the Caspian, and
the Muslim world."

CIS SECURITY MINISTERS MEET. A session of the CIS Council of Heads
of Security and Secret Service Agencies opened in Chisinau on 8
October. Russian Federal Security Service head Nikolai Kovalev told
journalists on arrival in Chisinau that the agenda includes terrorism,
organized crime, arms and drugs trafficking, and the transit across
the CIS to western Europe of illegal emigrants from Southeastern
Asia. Kovalev said that foreign intelligence services continue to target
the CIS states. He also noted that criminal groups in the various CIS
states are integrating faster than the agencies whose aim is to
disband them, "Segodnya" reported on 8 October. Addressing the
opening session, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi warned against
politicizing multilateral relations among CIS member states, Infotag
reported on 8 October.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN INTELLIGENCE TRIED TO FRAME LEADING POLITICIANS.
Former businessman Temur Maskhulia told journalists in Tbilisi on 8
October that while he was under arrest earlier this year, senior
security officials, including former Security Minister Shota Kviraya,
had sought to pressure him into giving false testimony implicating
leading politicians, the agency Caucasus press reported. He added
that the officials threatened to fabricate charges of treason against
him if he did not comply. Maskhulia was asked to testify that
Georgian Ambassador to Russia Vazha Lortkipanidze, parliamentary
deputy Vakhtang Goguadze, and former Commander-in-chief of
Russian troops in Georgia Fyodor Reut were involved in the August
1995 assassination attempt against Eduard Shevardnadze. He was
also told to testify that the lion's share of drug-trafficking in Georgia
is controlled by Adzhar Supreme Soviet Chairman Aslan Abashidze.

GEORGIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ON TERRORIST INCIDENT. Avtandil
Ioseliani told Georgian Television on 8 October that unnamed foreign
intelligence services may have carried out the two bomb explosions
in the west Georgian town of Zugdidi at the end of September,
Interfax reported. A woman was seriously injured in one of the
explosions. Alternatively, Ioseliani commented, there may be a link
between the explosions and the demand by Georgian displaced
persons from Abkhazia for the withdrawal of the CIS peacekeeping
force currently deployed in western Georgia. Meanwhile, the
Georgian daily "Akhali taoba" has claimed that Georgian President
Eduard Shevardnadze's rationale for dividing the National Security
Ministry into two separate agencies is intended to undercut the
ministry's influence in domestic politics, according to Interfax.

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION ACTIVIST RELEASED. Parliamentary deputy
Norayr Khanzadyan, who is the Union for Self-Determination's
representative on the Central Electoral Commission, was released
from detention on 4 October, Noyan Tapan reported four days later.
Khanzadyan had been detained on 1 October in connection with a
scuffle between Union for Self-Determination leader Paruir Hairikyan
and a former member of the Union, Aramazd Zakarian in the National
Assembly building on 18 September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6
October 1997). No charges have been brought against Khanzadyan.

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT REJECTS CULT OF PERSONALITY. Ramiz
Mekhtiev, the head of the presidential administration, summoned
government media heads on 5 October to inform them that Heidar
Aliev is "discontent" with the adulation lavished upon him by the
local media, Turan reported on 8 October. In particular, Mekhtiev
added, Aliev objects to being referred to as "His Majesty." In an
official statement, the presidential press service also castigated the
media for engaging in flattery of the president rather than
objectively reporting on foreign and domestic policies.

MOVE TO NEW KAZAKH CAPITAL IN DOUBT? The planned move of
the government from Almaty to Aqmola on 23 October is in doubt,
an RFE/RL correspondent in Almaty reported on 7 October. The move
was originally scheduled to take place on 10 October, but President
Nazarbaev postponed it by two weeks in August. Visiting Aqmola on
4 October with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin,
Nazarbaev expressed satisfaction with progress in the construction of
new ministries, the parliament, and apartment blocks. He also
affirmed that the city will be ready by 23 October. But thousands of
apartment buildings are either incomplete or have been built so
hastily that they will be unfit for habitation in winter temperatures
of minus 50 degrees Celsius. Parliamentary deputies are to be
temporarily housed in hotels, government officials in hostels, and
technical workers in kindergartens.

KAZAKHSTAN, TURKEY SIGN OIL DEAL. The Kazakh government and
the state-owned Turkish oil company TPAO have signed a $750
million contract to develop oil fields in Kazakhstan's Aktyubinsk
Oblast, Interfax and the "Wall Street Journal" reported on 9 October.
A senior Kazakh official told journalists that the region contains an
estimated 45 million metric tons of oil. TPAO and Amoco are to
create a joint venture to explore and develop the reserves.

KAZAKH MINERS STRIKE. Several thousand miners and industrial
workers in Qaraghandy Oblast went on strike on 8 October, RFE/RL's
Almaty bureau reported. The strikers are protesting the planned
closure of several coal mines in the oblast.

TURKMEN PRESIDENT BACK IN SADDLE. Saparmurad Niyazov chaired
a cabinet session on 6 October to assess the ongoing cotton and grain
harvests, Interfax reported. It was Niyazov's first day back at work
since undergoing cardiac surgery in Germany on 1 September.
Niyazov, who pronounced himself in good shape, also attended a
ceremony commemorating the victims of the 1948 earthquake that
destroyed Ashkhabad. His mother and brothers were among the
victims.

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