Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 142, Part I, 20 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

CENTRAL ASIA IN TRANSITION: Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This
six-part report on the RFE/RL Web site details how much has
changed since the collapse of the USSR -- and how much has not.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/asia/index.html

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Headlines, Part I

* SELEZNEV LEAVES DOOR OPEN ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE

* REGIONAL LEADERS GAIN CONCESSIONS ON BUDGET

* AZERBAIJAN WANTS "SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP" WITH NATO

End Note
THE SECURITY NATO CAN'T PROVIDE

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RUSSIA

SELEZNEV LEAVES DOOR OPEN ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. State Duma
Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, a prominent Communist, told NTV on 20
October that the Duma may remove a planned no-confidence vote
from its agenda for 22 October if the authorities demonstrate they
are ready for genuine cooperation with the opposition. Seleznev
made the remarks shortly before he was to attend talks in the
Kremlin with President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, and Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev.
According to presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii, the
"council of four" is to discuss upcoming "round table" negotiations
between the government and opposition, the draft budget for 1998,
and the proposed land code. Meanwhile, Grigorii Yavlinskii confirmed
on 18 October that his Yabloko faction will vote no confidence on 22
October. Yabloko will change its stance only if the government agrees
to withdraw its proposed tax code, Yavlinskii said.

COMMUNISTS TO CONSIDER OUTCOME OF KREMLIN TALKS. During his
20 October meeting in the Kremlin, Seleznev is expected to discuss
several demands outlined in a recent letter signed by Communist
leader Gennadii Zyuganov, Agrarian faction leader Nikolai
Kharitonov, and Popular Power faction leader Nikolai Ryzhkov. The
letter demanded that Yeltsin clarify the prospects for adopting the
law on the government, which would force the entire cabinet to step
down if the prime minister resigned, and that the parliament be
given more radio and television air time. Other demands are that
rent and utility payments be frozen for at least two years and that
"round table" negotiations involving all branches of government
cover major issues, such as the land code and tax code. A closed
plenum of the Communist Party's Central Committee on 18 October
instructed the Communist Duma faction to decide whether to pursue
the no-confidence vote following Seleznev's talks.

WHICH COMMUNIST DEMANDS WILL GOVERNMENT MEET? First
Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais and Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin have indicated that the government is willing to meet
parliamentary demands for more exposure on state-controlled
television and radio. The Kremlin has also indicated that major policy
issues will be discussed during round-table talks. However, Chubais
and other ministers have made clear that the government will not
agree to a two-year freeze on rent and utility payments, which
would directly contradict the government's housing policy, RFE/RL's
Moscow bureau reported on 17 October. Likewise, Yeltsin is not
expected to change his position concerning the law on the
government, which he refused to sign this summer even after both
houses of the parliament overrode his veto. The previous day, Duma
Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin said the Communists
may demand that Chubais be sacked, but Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin and Yeltsin's spokesman Yastrzhembskii have both
ruled out any cabinet reshuffle.

ROKHLIN ON PLANS TO OUST YELTSIN. Duma Defense Committee
Chairman Lev Rokhlin may face criminal charges after announcing
that his Movement to Support the Army plans to remove Yeltsin and
his "hated regime" in spring 1998, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported
on 20 October. The previous day, Interfax quoted Rokhlin as saying
his movement will hold a "rehearsal" in February to determine
whether it is strong enough to "overthrow the regime." Rokhlin was
elected to the Duma on the pro-government Our Home Is Russia
ticket, but since moving into open opposition in June, he has
repeatedly called for Yeltsin's resignation. Ekho Moskvy quoted
unnamed law enforcement officials as saying Rokhlin's statement is
an illegal appeal to change the country's constitutional structure by
violent means. The offense is punishable by up to five years in
prison.

REGIONAL LEADERS GAIN CONCESSIONS ON BUDGET. First Deputy
Prime Minister Chubais announced on 17 October that the trilateral
commission on the 1998 budget has agreed to raise federal funds
transferred to regional governments to 14 percent of total revenues,
Russian news agencies reported. The government's original draft
lowered such transfers from 15 percent of total revenues to 13
percent. The commission also agreed to restore a separate budget
item on expenditures for transporting winter supplies to far northern
regions, although the amount to be allocated for that purpose has yet
to be agreed. The concessions indicate that Federation Council
deputies are playing an influential role on the commission. Also on
17 October, ITAR-TASS reported that the commission has agreed to
increase budget expenditures by 4.8 billion new rubles to 344.8
billion new rubles ($59 billion). Projected GDP for 1998 has been
increased to 2.84 trillion new rubles.

MINISTER PROMISES HELP FOR FOOD PRODUCERS. Economics Minister
Yakov Urinson announced on 17 October that the government will
take steps to protect Russian food producers, although he stressed
that tariffs on imported food will not be raised, RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau reported. The opposition Agrarian faction has called for
higher customs duties on imported food. Urinson said such a policy
would lead to retaliatory measures against Russian exports and cause
the quality of domestically produced food to deteriorate. He added
that Russian efforts to protect domestic food producers will be in
compliance with rules of the World Trade Organization, Interfax
reported. Russia hopes to join the WTO. Minister without portfolio
Yevgenii Yasin suggested on 14 October that tariffs on food imports,
especially meat and dairy products, may be gradually increased.

LUZHKOV KEEPS UP ATTACK ON TAX CODE... Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov on 17 October warned that the Russian economy will
collapse within six months if the government's proposed tax code is
adopted, Interfax reported. Speaking to mayors representing the
Union of Russian Cities, Luzhkov said the code would grant the
federal government all proceeds from taxes that are easy to collect,
while local governments would have more trouble collecting
revenues. On 16 October, Luzhkov sent a letter to Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin warning that electricity and heating may be cut to
federal buildings in Moscow that have not paid their energy bills.
Luzhkov strongly opposes the government's plans not to provide
1998 budget funds to compensate Moscow for the costs of
maintaining federal facilities in the capital (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
15 October 1997). Chernomyrdin met with Luzhkov on 17 October,
but no details about their discussion were released.

...ACCUSES MILITARY IN KHOLODOV MURDER. Luzhkov on 18 October
said the Russian military was behind the October 1994 murder of
"Moskovskii komsomolets" journalist Dmitrii Kholodov, who was
killed by a booby-trapped briefcase while investigating military
corruption. On 17 October, Vladimir Kazakov, the head of the
department on high-priority cases in the Prosecutor-General's Office,
told Russian news agencies that those investigating the Kholodov
murder will be able to report "good results" in the near future.
Several army officers are suspected of involvement, Kazakov said.
Since 1995, Russian law enforcement officials have periodically said
they know who killed Kholodov or are on the verge of cracking the
case, but no arrests have been made.

DUMA CALLS FOR INVESTIGATING COSTS OF NO-CONFIDENCE
DEBATE... The Duma on 17 October asked its Budget and Security
Committees to investigate whether the political instability
surrounding efforts to vote no confidence in the government caused
Russia economic harm on foreign financial markets, ITAR-TASS
reported. Several government officials have warned that by pushing
for a no-confidence motion, Duma deputies could cause share values
of Russian corporations to lose billions of dollars on foreign markets
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 1997). The Central Bank issued a
press release on 17 October saying Russian financial markets were
not influenced by recent Duma debates over a no-confidence vote.

...APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ON TROPHY ART LAW. Also
on 17 October, the Duma voted to appeal to the Constitutional Court
against Yeltsin's refusal to sign the law on cultural valuables, ITAR-
TASS reported. The law would prohibit the transfer abroad of trophy
art seized by Soviet troops during the Second World War. The
Federation Council has already filed a similar court appeal, claiming
Yeltsin was obliged to sign the trophy art law after parliament
overrode his veto. On slightly different grounds, the Duma recently
asked the Constitutional Court to rule on Yeltsin's refusal to sign the
law on the government (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 October 1997).

RUSSIA CHANGES CASPIAN POLICY. Moscow has dropped its proposal
that Caspian littoral states have jurisdiction over a 72-kilometer
offshore zone and that all those states have equal rights to develop
the mineral resources elsewhere, Interfax reported on 17 October,
quoting an unnamed Russian Foreign Ministry official. That proposal,
floated at a meeting of littoral states in November 1996, was
supported by Iran and Turkmenistan but not by Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan. The spokesman hinted that Moscow will make an
alternative proposal for dividing the sea. He denied that talks on
defining its legal status are deadlocked. Also on 17 October, a Foreign
Ministry official told Interfax that Moscow rejects Kazakhstan's
objections to a Russian tender for exploration rights to a sector of the
Caspian. He argued that the tender "corresponds to the current legal
status of the Caspian."

RUSSIA WANTS TO REPLACE BELARUS AS CUSTOMS UNION CHAIR.
Moscow will propose at the CIS summit on 22 October that Belarus
cede the chairmanship of the four-nation CIS customs union, AFP and
Ekho Moskvy reported on 19 October. The news agency quoted an
unnamed Kremlin official as saying Russia is "disappointed" that the
union, which comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan,
has not achieved more since its creation in 1995. The official did not,
however, specify any grievances with Belarus. Ekho Moskvy cited a
presidential administration official as saying Russia will propose that
either Kazakhstan or Russia take over the chairmanship.

RUSSIAN-JAPANESE RAPPROCHEMENT CONTINUES. Cooperation
between Russia and Japan has increased in several areas since the
two sides decided to ignore for the time being the territorial dispute
that has kept Moscow and Tokyo at odds for many years. Vasilii
Saplin, a senior Russian diplomat, told ITAR-TASS on 18 October that
some progress has been made toward an agreement on fishing rights.
Meanwhile, Japan is preparing a proposal for participation in the
development of a major Siberian gas deposit near Irkutsk, the news
agency reported the next day. And the Sakhalin authorities have
called for a bilateral working group to prepare proposals for the
upcoming Russian-Japanese summit in Krasnoyarsk on 1-2
November.

MVD DENIES PLANS EXIST TO REVIVE NKVD. Igor Zubov, the deputy
chief of the Main Staff of the Interior Ministry, told journalists on 17
October that there is no truth to press reports suggesting Interior
Minister Anatolii Kulikov wants to restore the Stalin-era's NKVD by
assuming control of all criminal investigations, "Kommersant-Daily"
reported on 18 October. Zubov was responding in particular to an
article in the 16 October issue of the newspaper that said Kulikov
wants to act much as his Soviet-era predecessors had done and
control all criminal investigations.

COURT REJECTS SLANDER LAWSUIT AGAINST NEMTSOV. A Nizhnii
Novgorod district court has rejected State Duma deputy Gennadii
Khodyrev's slander lawsuit against First Deputy Prime Minister Boris
Nemtsov, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 October. Khodyrev ran
unsuccessfully for governor of Nizhnii Novgorod in the summer. His
court appeal argued that Nemtsov slandered him and all Communists
when, in televised remarks, the first deputy prime minister asked an
audience in the Republic of Mordovia whether they would like to see
a "Communist or a normal person" as governor of neighboring Nizhnii
Novgorod (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 1997).

INCUMBENT WINS LANDSLIDE VICTORY IN KEMEROVO. Aman Tuleev
won the 19 October gubernatorial election in Kemerovo Oblast with
nearly 95 percent of the vote, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on
20 October. Preliminary results showed that State Duma deputy
Viktor Medikov of the Russian Regions faction came second with 2
percent. Duma deputy and Communist Nina Ostanina finished last
with 0.4 percent. (On a national level, the Communist Party
supported Tuleev, rather than Ostanina, as did the Kremlin.) Turnout
was 53 percent. Tuleev, a former head of the Kemerovo legislature,
has long been an outspoken critic of Yeltsin and his government. He
supported Gennadii Zyuganov's presidential bid in 1996. But Yeltsin
appointed Tuleev to the cabinet in August 1996 and governor of
Kemerovo in July 1997.

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST DENOUNCES OFFICIAL RACISM IN
KRASNODAR. Duma deputy Sergei Kovalev, the leader of the human
rights organization Memorial, has denounced official racism in
Krasnodar Krai, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 16 October.
Kovalev said pervasive discrimination against some ethnic minorities,
especially Meskhetians, has worsened since Communist Nikolai
Kondratenko was elected governor last December. Having been
deported to Central Asia under Stalin, thousands of Meskhetians
were forced to leave Uzbekistan following ethnic clashes in 1989. In
Krasnodar, some 12,000 Meskhetians are unable to receive
permanent residency permits and must pay to renew their
registration with the police every 45 days, ITAR-TASS reported.
They are regularly harassed by Cossacks charged with patrolling the
streets. In addition, Krasnodar authorities do not recognize marriages
between Meskhetians. A new krai charter adopted since
Kondratenko's election declares Krasnodar the "historical territory of
the Kuban Cossacks" and "place of residence for the [ethnic] Russian
people."

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN WANTS "SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP" WITH NATO. Foreign
Minister Hasan Hasanov said on 19 October that Baku wants a
"special partnership" with NATO on the basis of Azerbaijan's
"strategic position" and its present level of cooperation with the
West, AFP reported, citing Interfax. Hasanov had met with U.S.
Ambassador to NATO, Robert Hunter, in the Azerbaijani capital the
previous day. Hunter similarly stressed the importance of
Azerbaijan's location and expressed support for Baku's desire for
closer integration with the alliance. Meanwhile on 16 October, the
Armenian National Committee of America reported that Azerbaijan's
annual military expenditure is four times higher than Armenia's and
constitutes 2.8 percent of GDP.

MILITARY CENSORSHIP PERSISTS IN AZERBAIJAN. President Heidar
Aliev's 17 September decree abolishing military censorship in
Azerbaijan is being ignored, according to Arif Aliev, the chairman of
the independent journalists' union Yeni Nesil. Arif Aliev told
"Ekspress-Khronika" on 11 October that military and political
censorship persists. He added that of the material excised by the
military and political censors' offices last year, 40 percent were on
human rights and 25 percent were statements by opposition
politicians.

ARMENIAN INTELLECTUALS DENOUNCE PRESIDENT'S KARABAKH
POLICY. Meeting in Yerevan on 17 October, several hundred
Armenian intellectuals and opposition leaders condemned Levon
Ter-Petrossyan's recent statements on Nagorno-Karabakh, RFE/RL's
Yerevan bureau reported. They singled out Ter-Petrossyan's
acceptance of the "phased" solution to the conflict, proposed by the
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group,
whereby Armenian forces would be withdrawn from occupied
Azerbaijani territory before a decision is taken on Karabakh's future
status vis-a-vis Baku. Speakers also rejected any status for Karabakh
within Azerbaijan. Rafael Ghazarian--who, like Ter-Petrossyan, is a
former member of the Karabakh Committee created in 1988 to
support the unification of Karabakh with Armenia--suggested that
Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan, Karabakh's former president, and
the "power" ministers should seek to oust Ter-Petrossyan, according
to Noyan Tapan.

ABKHAZ UPDATE. Talks on resolving the Abkhaz conflict scheduled to
take place in Geneva from 14-16 October under UN auspices were
postponed at the request of the Abkhaz, Georgian Ambassador to
Moscow Vazha Lortkipanidze told "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 18
October. The agenda of the talks included the status of the CIS
peacekeeping force currently deployed along the border between
Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. Tbilisi intends to call for the
peacekeeping force's withdrawal at the upcoming CIS summit in
Chisinau if Abkhazia continues to block the force's entry into Abkhaz
territory to facilitate the repatriation of Georgians forced to flee their
homes during the 1992-1993 war. Some 3,000 displaced persons
demonstrated in Tbilisi on 17 October to demand that the Georgian
government take measures to expedite their return home, ITAR-
TASS reported.

PRISONER RELEASE UNDER WAY IN TAJIKISTAN. The first group of
more than 80 Tajik government troops whom opposition field
commander Mirzo Ziyeev had held prisoner in Tavil-Dara since 1993
were released on 19 October, Russian agencies reported. United Tajik
Opposition chief of staff Davlat Usmon said their release is a
"humanitarian action" within the framework of the peace accord
signed by the Tajik government and the opposition in May. The
release by the Tajik authorities of some 170 imprisoned opposition
activists, scheduled for 17 October, was delayed because the Tajik
government failed to provide fuel for transportation, according to
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 18 October. The same day, a bomb
exploded outside a department store in downtown Dushanbe, but no
one was injured.

END NOTE

THE SECURITY NATO CAN'T PROVIDE

by Paul Goble

        Ever more East Europeans recognize that there are threats to
their national security that NATO membership, in itself, will not
solve. That recognition has not made most East Europeans any less
interested in being included in the Western alliance. But it has
transformed discussions about NATO in Eastern Europe and led an
increasing number of countries in the region to take steps aimed at
promoting their national security regardless of whether NATO invites
them to join.
        With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and then of the Soviet
Union, virtually all countries in the region saw NATO membership as
the foundation of their future security. Many even tended to view
NATO membership as a panacea for all their problems. If they got in,
they would be taken care of and their security would be assured. But
if they did not, then they would be left without hope of a secure
future.
        Such perspectives helped frame the debate about security in
many of those countries, but three developments have helped change
both the understanding of NATO and the role those countries can
play in promoting their own national security.
        First, countries in Eastern Europe have had to deal with a West
that has been anything but unanimous about the desirability or even
the possibility of expanding the alliance eastward anytime soon.
Many Western leaders have worried about the dangers involved in
offending Russian sensibilities, and many Western populations have
been concerned about the costs involved, which many in the West
are reluctant to pay now that the Cold War is a thing of the past. As a
result, East European countries have had to think about a future in
which only a few may become members of the alliance soon and in
which many of them will never join.
        Second, NATO's outreach programs such as Partnership for
Peace have taught many East European leaders just what NATO can
do and even more important what it cannot. As ever more of them
understand, NATO is a military defense alliance intended, in the first
instance, to prevent or, in the worst case, to respond to military
aggression. Its goal is not to deal with violence within countries. And
as the West's reluctance to become involved in Bosnia has shown, the
alliance remains hesitant to deal with such violence.
        Moreover, NATO, as a political and military organization,
provides neither the structure nor the weapons to combat other
threats to national security that many countries in that region now
face. The Western alliance cannot prevent illegal migration or
develop a legal or judicial system for countries lacking such systems.
Nor can it create a stable banking system or tax regime, without
which any government is at risk of subversion. At best, the Western
alliance can create a climate in which governments and peoples can
take those often difficult steps. Indeed, many East European
countries have learned that NATO member states face many of the
same threats--such as illegal migration, organized crime, and
subversion of banking systems--without being able to count on
Brussels for a solution.
        Third, ever more East Europeans recognize that the threats that
NATO cannot defend against are precisely the ones they must
overcome and that the threat NATO was intended to combat is for
most of them less immediate. Virtually all East Europeans continue to
fear the possibility that Russia will once again seek to dominate the
region; they thus see NATO membership as a guarantee against that
possibility. But ever more of them also understand that the threat to
their countries over the next decade is less likely to take the form of
an invading army than that of the subversion of their banking
systems or economies.
        They also recognize that improving their own domestic
situations will have security consequences: it will attract ever more
Western investment, and that investment will tend to provide a
bulwark against the more immediate, non-military threats.
        Again, this new understanding in Eastern Europe has not made
the governments and peoples there any less interested in joining
NATO. Nor has it made NATO any less important for the future of
Europe. But it has meant that the countries of the region now
recognize just how much they must do to promote their own security
rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them. Paradoxically,
that, in itself, makes them even better candidates for inclusion in the
Western alliance.




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