Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. - Henry Ward Beecher
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 155, Part I, 7 November 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

* COMMUNISTS MARK REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY

* LEBED ON BEREZOVSKII DISMISSAL

* NAGORNO-KARABAKH PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE OSCE PEACE PLAN

End Note
RETURNING TO THE BALTICS

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RUSSIA

COMMUNISTS MARK REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY. Communist Party
leader Gennadii Zyuganov led a demonstration of several thousand
protesters through Moscow on 7 November, the 80th anniversary of
the Bolshevik Revolution, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported.
Addressing the rally, Zyuganov slammed policies pursued by
President Boris Yeltsin and his government, charging that Russia now
has some 4 million homeless children. (Others have estimated the
number of homeless children in Russia at 1 million [see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 22 October 1997].) Zyuganov also said that supporters of
the opposition govern many Russian regions, singling out Kemerovo
Oblast Governor Aman Tuleev, Tula Oblast Governor Vasilii
Starodubtsev, and Krasnodar Krai Governor Nikolai Kondratenko.
Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov and State Duma Defense
Committee Chairman Lev Rokhlin also addressed the rally. Self-
styled "White Guards," dressed in pre-revolutionary style military
uniforms, staged a smaller anti-Bolshevik demonstration in Moscow
the same day. LB

YELTSIN RECALLS VICTIMS OF CIVIL WAR... In a nationwide
television address on 7 November, Yeltsin called on Russians to
remember all the victims of the Civil War that followed the 1917
revolution and to forgive those who "committed a fateful historical
error" by putting a "utopian idea" above human lives. He said he has
signed a decree on establishing a monument to all Civil War victims,
both those who supported the revolution and those who fought
against it. He also reminded viewers that while he did not remove
the 7 November holiday from the calendar, he decreed in 1996 that
the day should be marked as the Day of Accord and Reconciliation.
LB

...PRESENTS AWARD TO SELEZNEV. The previous day, Yeltsin stopped
by the State Duma to congratulate Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev,
a leading Communist, on his 50th birthday. Yeltsin gave Seleznev the
second-level "order for services to the fatherland" and praised
Seleznev's role in helping develop parliamentarism in Russia. First
Deputy Prime Ministers Anatolii Chubais and Boris Nemtsov
accompanied Yeltsin, Russian news agencies reported. Communist
Party leader Zyuganov told journalists he was surprised by Yeltsin's
visit, which, he said, shows that Kremlin officials have "begun to
understand that there is no alternative to dialogue" between the
legislative and executive branches. LB

JUSTICE MINISTER ON ROLE OF ANTI-EXTREMISM COMMISSION.
Sergei Stepashin, who is also the chairman of a new presidential
commission on fighting political extremism, has sought to allay fears
that the commission will be used to persecute opposition groups,
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 7 November. Stepashin told an
RFE/RL correspondent that the commission will be a consultative
body that develops general proposals for fighting extremism. Legal
action against specific groups or individuals will be taken by law
enforcement authorities, not the commission. Stepashin also noted
that Viktor Zorkaltsev, the Communist chairman of the Duma
Committee on Public Associations and Religious Organizations, has
been named to the commission (see also "RFE/RL Newsline," 30
October 1997). LB

ANTI-COMMUNISTS CRITICIZE ST. PETERSBURG AUTHORITIES.
Graffiti painted on three Lenin monuments and a hospital formerly
named after Lenin in St. Petersburg includes offensive comments
directed at the city's governor, Vladimir Yakovlev, RFE/RL's
correspondent in St. Petersburg reported on 6 November. Political
observers believe the vandals were responding to Yakovlev's
decision to allocate 250 million rubles ($42,000) from the city budget
for celebrations connected to the 7 November holiday. Vitalii Sychev,
head of the St. Petersburg branch of Yegor Gaidar's party Russia's
Democratic Choice, says taxpayers' money should not be used to pay
for political actions. Four major demonstrations are planned in St.
Petersburg for 7 November, including a pro-communist rally outside
the Winter Palace, which was stormed by the Bolsheviks, and an
anti-communist rally involving the symbolic exile to Finland of a
Lenin look-alike. LB

LEBED ON BEREZOVSKII DISMISSAL. Former Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed said on 6 November that a "battle over
property" lay behind the recent decision to sack Boris Berezovskii as
Security Council deputy secretary, Russian news agencies reported.
Lebed disputed claims that Berezovskii's efforts in the Caucasus
region were ineffective, although he argued that Berezovskii always
put his personal business interests before the government's. He also
characterized Berezovskii's dismissal as a "temporary victory" for
First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, predicting that Yeltsin
will soon offer Berezovskii another post. Berezovskii contributed
substantial funds toward Lebed's 1996 presidential campaign as part
of Yeltsin's re-election strategy, but relations between the two men
soon deteriorated. Since his own ouster from the Security Council,
Lebed has repeatedly accused Berezovskii of profiting from the war
in Chechnya (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 July 1997). LB

RUSSIA PLANS MORE CONSULATES IN CIS. Foreign Ministry
spokesman Gennadii Tarasov said Russia plans to open new
consulates in some CIS countries, especially in cities with large
Russian-speaking populations, Russian news agencies reported on 6
November. He said closures of some consulates will save enough
money to open new ones. However, Tarasov said the Foreign Ministry
has not yet sent the government any specific recommendations
concerning consulate closures. "Izvestiya" reported on 5 November
that the government is preparing to close 11 consulates in central
and eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia, in accordance with
Foreign Ministry recommendations. The newspaper said closing those
consulates will save an estimated $2.5 million. LB

'NOVYE IZVESTIYA' ON DUMA LOBBYING. "Novye izvestiya" on 6
November charged that "everything can be bought and sold" in the
Duma, where, the newspaper said, financial and industrial groups
routinely bribe deputies. It alleged that oil companies including
LUKoil and Yukos "negotiated" with Liberal Democratic Party of
Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky to secure approval for a list of
natural resource sites that can be developed under production-
sharing agreements. The newspaper also claimed that lobbyists
employed by Oneksimbank are offering Duma deputies bribes in
exchange for passage of a law on Russian Federation property located
abroad. LUKoil and Oneksimbank are major shareholders in
"Izvestiya," which some 30 journalists left in the summer to form
"Novye izvestiya." Former Security Council Secretary Berezovskii, a
business rival of Oneksimbank President Vladimir Potanin, is
reportedly helping finance "Novye Izvestiya" (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
29 October 1997). LB

NTV COMMENTATOR CRITICIZES CHURCH. A commentator on the
private network NTV criticized the Russian Orthodox Church during a
6 November broadcast and announced that the network will
broadcast Martin Scorsese's film "The Last Temptation of Christ" on 9
November, Reuters reported. The same day, the head of the Church,
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksii II, issued another appeal
urging the network not to "insult" millions of believers by airing the
film (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 1997). The NTV
commentator slammed "the temptation of top clerics in the Russian
Orthodox Church," noting that the Church never denounced the Soviet
regime or official communist ideology. LB

ORTHODOX COMMUNITY LOSES CHURCH IN RYAZAN. The Ryazan
Oblast authorities have transferred a church building from a
congregation affiliated with the Russian Church Abroad (founded by
Orthodox believers who fled Russia after the 1917 revolution) to an
affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the 2-9
November edition of "Moskovskie novosti." The church, closed by
Soviet authorities in 1939, had been used by the congregation linked
to the Russian Church Abroad since 1992. Official attempts to take it
away from that community began after Communist Vyacheslav
Lyubimov was elected governor of Ryazan in December 1996, the
newspaper said. The oblast department for protecting cultural and
historical monuments filed a successful lawsuit in September,
claiming that the congregation linked to the Russian Church Abroad
damaged the building during renovations. The congregation is
preparing to appeal the court ruling. LB

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR ACTION AGAINST SEX TRADE. Several human
rights groups have called for an "immediate response" from
governments to fight trafficking in women from Russia and other
former Soviet republics, "Reuters reported on 6 November.
Thousands of women are lured abroad each year with promises of
employment, only to be forced into prostitution after traffickers
confiscate their passports. Gillian Caldwell of the Global Survival
Network estimated that trafficking in women brings in $7 billion
annually for criminal groups. She called on Russia and other
countries in the region to investigate alleged official links to the sex
trade. A two-year undercover investigation by the Global Survival
Network found evidence of cooperation between traffickers and
officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, and
Federal Security Service, Caldwell said. LB

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SEEK REFERENDUM ON MOSCOW WOODS.
Greenpeace activists seeking to conduct a referendum on clearing
wooded areas in Moscow have appealed to the Moscow City Court,
ITAR-TASS reported on 6 November. The city electoral commission
recently refused to register a group seeking to conduct such a
referendum, saying the wording of the proposed question violated
the city law on referenda. If approved, the plebiscite would require
"extreme measures to provide for the health and security of the
population." Environmentalists say an estimated 45,000 trees are cut
down legally each year in Moscow to make room for new buildings.
In addition, more than 40,000 trees die each winter from salt spread
on pavements to melt ice and snow. LB

CHECHNYA'S STATUS AMBIGUOUS. Chechen First Deputy
Parliamentary Chairman Selim Beshaev told Interfax on 6 November
that the legislature has not yet enacted legislation changing the
republic's name, which, he added, remains the Chechen Republic of
Ichkeria. Beshaev said the parliament is currently drafting
constitutional amendments intended to eliminate contradictions
between some of the basic law's articles and the Koran. But he denied
that "laws will be passed modeled on Iran or certain Arab countries."
President Aslan Maskhadov had announced the previous day in
Antalya that Chechnya should be known as the Chechen Islamic
Republic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 1997). LF

WILL BEREZOVSKII'S DISMISSAL IMPACT ON CHECHEN PEACE
PROCESS? Khozh-Ahmed Yarikhanov, one of the Chechen team
negotiating with Moscow, told Interfax on 6 November that he feared
the dismissal the previous day of Security Council Deputy Secretary
Boris Berezovskii may hinder the ongoing peace process. Yarikhanov
said Berezovskii was "the politician who had the best understanding
of the status quo and...of the need to defuse the tension in the
Caucasus in general and Chechnya in particular." Also on 6
November, Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin and Russian
President Yeltsin discussed by telephone Berezovskii's dismissal and
the Chechen situation, according to council spokesman Igor Ignatev.
Ignatev said Yeltsin praised recent steps toward stabilizing the
situation in Chechnya, but the spokesman did not specify what those
steps were.

DAGESTAN TO BUILD TRENCH ALONG ITS FRONTIER WITH CHECHNYA.
Deputy Interior Minister Magomed Omarov told Interfax on 6
November that the Dagestani government has already provided
funds and equipment for digging a trench along the low-lying sector
of its frontier with Chechnya. Omarov said the measure is necessary
in the light of rising crime along the border region. Stavropol Krai
had considered digging a moat along its border with Chechnya in the
spring. LF

U.S. EX-IM BANK TO OPEN BRANCH IN TATARSTAN. First Deputy
Prime Minister Ravil Muratov and Ex-Im Bank Executive Committee
Chairman James Harman, meeting in Kazan on 6 November, signed a
memorandum on opening a Regional Development Bank in Tatarstan ,
RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. According to Tatarstan Television,
the Tatar government will have a 50 percent stake while the
remaining 50 percent will be shared between the U.S. Ex-Im Bank
and the private sector. Ex-Im Bank will grant Tatarstan a $270
million credit to finance the production at the YelAZ plant of
Chevrolet Blazer automobiles as part of a joint venture between
YelAZ and General Motors. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAGORNO-KARABAKH PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE OSCE PEACE PLAN.
The parliamentary presidium of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic has decided to debate the most recent draft peace plan
proposed by the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe's
Minsk Group, RFE/RL's Stepanakert correspondent reported on 6
November. The group of deputies who called for the debate oppose
the plan's provisions' for a "phased" rather than a "package"
settlement. Also on 6 November, the Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign
Ministry accused Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan of
misrepresenting Karabakh's position by saying in a 1 November
newspaper article that Karabakh first rejected the "package" and
then the "phased" approach. The statement explained that Karabakh
supports the package approach in principle but rejected the OSCE
draft package plan because that document "predetermined"
Karabakh's status within Azerbaijan. LF

ARMENIAN PREMIER ALSO VOICES DISSENT. Robert Kocharyan told
the parliament on 5 November that he opposes the proposed
"phased" solution of the Karabakh conflict but added he does not
think the mediation process is in a "critical" state, ARMENPRESS and
Interfax reported. Kocharyan was prime minister and then president
of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic from August 1994 until his
appointment as Armenian premier in March 1997. He noted that
responsibility for Armenian foreign policy lies with the president
and the Foreign Ministry. Meeting in Baku on 6 November with the
three Minsk Group co-chairmen, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev
expressed approval of Ter-Petrossyan's most recent statements,
Turan reported. Aliev noted that "no real progress" in resolving the
conflict has been made so far in 1997, but he added he hopes there
will be "real results" by the end of the year. LF

ARMENIAN COMMUNISTS STILL WANT TO JOIN RUSSIA-BELARUS
UNION. Communist Party chairman Sergei Badalyanon 6 November
urged Armenia to hurry to join the Russia-Belarus union before
Azerbaijan and Ukraine, which, he predicted, will do so "sooner or
later," RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Badalyanon said accession
to the union constitutes a security "guarantee" for Armenia and
Nagorno-Karabakh. He also demanded that the Armenian authorities
heed "the people's will," pointing to the 900,000 signatures the
Communist Party has collected in support of accession. Meanwhile, a
session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russia-Belarus Union
in Kaliningrad on 4 November granted the Armenian National
Initiative observer status, ARMENPRESS reported. In April, the
National Initiative launched a campaign to lobby for Armenian
membership in the Union. LF

GEORGIAN FUGITIVES FROM ABKHAZIA DIVIDED OVER TACTICS.
Boris Kakubava, a leader of the Abkhazeti faction in the Georgian
parliament, told Interfax on 6 November that representatives of the
more than 200,000 ethnic Georgians forced to flee their homes in
Abkhazia during the 1992-1993 hostilities will demand Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze's dismissal at their congress on 10-
11 November. Kakubava accused Shevardnadze of "pursuing a pro-
Russian policy" and the Abkhaz parliament in exile (all of whose
deputies are Georgian fugitives from Abkhazia) of ignoring the
interests of the Georgian displaced persons. Tamaz Nadareishvili, the
chairman of parliament in exile, said its deputies will not participate
in the planned congress, which, he said, is intended to destabilize the
internal political situation in Georgia. The Georgian Interior Ministry
plans to prevent displaced persons converging on Tbilisi to attend
the meeting. LF

AZERBAIJANI COMPANY BEGINS EXPORTING TURKMEN OIL. The
private company Transchart has begun transporting oil from
Turkmenistan by tanker across the Caspian for rail shipment to
Batumi, Interfax reported on 6 November. Transchart President Fuad
Rasulov said his company will ship 30,000 metric tons of Turkmen
crude in November and increase its exports from Turkmenistan and
Kazakhstan to 600,000-700,000 metric tons per year. Also on 6
November, Azerbaijan's parliament ratified a $2.5 billion agreement
between SOCAR and Russia's LUKoil to develop Azerbaijan's Yalama
Caspian oil field, AFP reported. LF

RFE/RL TURKMEN STRINGER DETAINED. Yovshan Annakurbanov
remains in a Turkmen prison, despite appeals from human rights and
journalists' protection organizations, RFE/RL's Turkmen service
reported on 7 November. Annakurbanov was arrested by police in
Ashgabat on 30 October as he attempted to board a flight to Prague
to attend a journalists' training program. Amnesty International, the
Glasnost Foundation, and International PEN have all issued appeals
for his release. Those organizations note that while police have
alleged that Annakurbanov was carrying a computer disc with
material from Turkmen opposition parties, no mention was made of
the disc at the time of his arrest. The appeals also refer to
Annakurbanov's claim that members of the Turkmen Committee of
National Security threatened in June 1997 that something might
happen to him or his children if he continued to work for RFE/RL. BP

END NOTE

RETURNING TO THE BALTICS

by Paul Goble

        A group of senior Russian politicians, academics, and
businessmen has urged President Boris Yeltsin to adopt a more
active, differentiated, and sophisticated policy toward the three
Baltic states. In a policy paper recently published in "Nezavisimaya
Gazeta," the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy argued that such
an approach would promote Russian interests both by keeping the
Baltic governments off balance and by limiting their ability to draw
on Western support.
        The report is attracting particular attention now because it
comes on the heels of Yeltsin's latest proposal that Moscow take
responsibility for the security of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania--an
idea all three governments have rejected. Moreover, it appears just
as the United States and its three Baltic partners are putting the
finishing touches to a U.S.-Baltic Charter. Its authors--who include
State Duma international affairs committee chairman Vladimir Lukin,
deputy director of the Institute of Europe Sergei Karaganov, and
industrialist leader Arkadii Volskii--have frequently been
bellwethers of Russian policy.
        The report itself begins with a stinging indictment of Russia's
approach to the Baltic countries since 1991. Not only has Russian
policy been reactive, the report suggests, it has been clumsy, often
alarming the West and preventing Moscow from achieving its goals.
Such an approach is unforgivable on two counts, according to the
report. On the one hand, Russia has fundamental interests in those
countries. On the other, it has significant leverage there both on its
own and because of the attitudes of the West.
        But the most intriguing part of the report is its assessments of
Russia's opportunities for increasing its influence in the region,
which, it claims, have increased in recent times because of the
attitude of Western countries. Not only have the three Baltic
countries virtually fallen off the West's "radar screen," the report
suggests, but Western governments have made it clear to the Baltic
governments that they can join the West only if they have normal
relations with Russia. That situation, the authors maintain, helps
define the limits within which Russian policy toward the Baltic
countries should proceed: avoiding threats that might raise the
profile of the Baltic States but exploiting Western "conditions" to
advance Russian interests.
        The report then outlines how Moscow should do just that in
three major areas. First, it suggests that Moscow should demonstrate
a genuine interest in the fate of ethnic Russians in all three countries
and take a hard line on border accords. In the past, the report states,
Moscow did less for Russians in those countries than did the West,
leaving itself open to the charge of hypocrisy. And it failed to
acknowledge that the status of ethnic Russians in the Baltic States is
"incomparably better" than in many CIS countries.
        The report urges that the Russian government and Russian
businesses spend more money on ethnic Russians there in order to
show that those Russians are not a "'fifth column'" but rather "a
weighty instrument of political and economic rapprochement of
peoples." This formulation may not please the Baltic governments but
it is likely to prove more acceptable in both Russia and the West.
According to the report, Moscow should use the West's concerns
about border agreements as another reason to press Russia's case.
        Second, the report argues that Moscow must use its economic
leverage to play off one Baltic state against the other. Because all
three have an interest in gaining transit fees, Moscow can have a role
in deciding through which Russian goods will pass. The authors of the
report claim that Estonia, which they identify as the least friendly
toward Russia, currently loses something like $500 million a year in
transit because of its attitude. At the same time, they acknowledge
some new limitations on Moscow's ability to conduct such a policy.
The Russian government would indeed like to reward Lithuania, but
Lithuania's tariff policies are not as favorable as those of Latvia. As a
result, Russian businessmen will almost certainly use the Latvian
route rather than the Lithuanian one, the report maintains.
        Third, the report urges Moscow to adopt a "carrots and sticks"
policy both to the Baltic countries as a group and to individual
regimes, offering concessions with one hand even as it applies
pressure with the other. It argues, for example, that Russia should
welcome the inclusion of all the Baltic countries into the EU while
opposing NATO membership for them.
        Such a differentiated approach would likely serve Russian
interests. At the very least, it would pose a challenge to both the
Baltic countries and the West, neither of which until now has had to
cope with such a sophisticated Russian policy toward the region.




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