На нашей тесной планете люди больше не могут жить, как чужие.Эдлай Стивенсон. - Adlai Stevenson

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 185, Part I, 23 December 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:

Headlines, Part I

* Yeltsin Back in Kremlin, Roundtable Rescheduled

* Armed Attack on Russian Unit in Dagestan Repulsed

* Armenia Pleased by OSCE Copenhagen Meeting



RESCHEDULED. President Boris Yeltsin returned to the
Kremlin on 23 December after spending nearly two weeks in
the Barvikha sanitorium. Russian news agencies reported on
22 December that roundtable talks on land reform have
been rescheduled for 26 December. Senior officials
representing the government, presidential administration,
and both houses of parliament will take part in the
roundtable, which is to be chaired by Yeltsin. Those talks
were scheduled for 22 November, then postponed until 11
December in the midst of a government scandal over book
fees, and postponed again after Yeltsin's latest illness was
disclosed. LB

REPULSED.  A group of gunmen -- variously estimated as
numbering from 30 to 100 -- attacked a Russian army unit
in Geralakh, a village in Dagestan, early in the morning of 22
December and took several hostages, all of whom were
subsequently released, Interfax reported. The attackers
were driven off with an unknown number of wounded on
both sides. The Russian defenders also took a number of
prisoners. Russian officials said the attackers were Chechens
and Dagestanis, but the Chechen government in Grozny
denounced the raid as a provocation. In the aftermath of the
raid, border guards in Dagestan were placed on high alert,
reinforcements were sent to posts on Chechnya's border
with North Ossetia and Dagestan, and security was tightened
on the border between Chechnya and Stavropol Krai, the site
of a major hostage-taking by Chechens in 1995. PG

Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris Berezovskii has
charged that the Russian government and presidential
administration have no  "systematic program of building
strategic relations with Chechnya," Interfax reported on 22
December. Berezovskii warned that a "systematic approach
to resolving the Chechen crisis" is needed to prevent future
attacks such as the 22 December raid in Dagestan.
Berezovskii also commented that a planned trip to Chechnya
by Yeltsin in January is "simply out of the question."
Berezovskii was involved in negotiations with Chechen
leaders when he served on the Security Council from
November 1996 to November 1997. On 17 December, he told
Interfax that he maintains contacts by telephone and in
person with Chechen First Deputy Prime Ministers Movladi
Udugov and Shamil Basaev and with Chechen Deputy Prime
Minister Akhmed Zakaev. LB

Vyakhirev, the chairman of the gas monopoly Gazprom, and
Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Kirienko on 21 December
signed an trust agreement on management of a 35 percent
state-owned stake in Gazprom. Under the agreement,
Vyakhirev will be able to manage the stake until 1 March
1999 but will not be allowed to make certain kinds of
decisions (such as changing the Gazprom charter or issuing
more company stock) without the consent of the collegium of
state representatives in Gazprom. In addition, the
government may break the trust agreement, as long as
Gazprom is warned three months in advance. Yeltsin
recently removed several officials, including First Deputy
Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, from the collegium of state
representatives at Gazprom (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19
December 1997). Nevertheless, Nemtsov hailed the
agreement, saying it significantly strengthens the state's role
in managing Gazprom. LB

OF WAGE ARREARS. Nemtsov claimed on 22 December
that the federal government will on 23 December finish
transferring its share of the funds to pay wage arrears to
state employees, Russian news agencies reported. The
federal government is supposed to pay half the wage
backlog. Regional governments are to pay the remainder out
of their own budgets. Deputy Finance Minister Viktor
Khristenko said the federal government has already
transferred to the regions 97 percent of the 11.3 trillion
rubles ($1.9 billion) it is contributing toward paying the
back wages. Nemtsov charged that regional leaders will be to
blame if the arrears are not settled by the end of the year,
as Yeltsin has demanded. According to Khristenko, several
regions are unlikely to meet the deadline, including
Primorskii and Altai Krais, Sverdlovsk, Kemerovo and Chita
Oblasts, and the Republic of Khakassia. LB

Minister Anatolii Chubais will head a new interdepartmental
commission on cooperation with international financial and
economic institutions, Interfax reported on 22 December,
citing a government decision of 18 December. Chubais has
already been conducting negotiations on behalf of Russia
with institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and Paris
Club (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 June, 18 and 23 September
1997). The decision on creating the new commission was
made the same day that "Nezavisimaya gazeta," financed by
Boris Berezovskii's LogoVAZ empire, charged that
international financial institutions are trying to control
Russian economic policy. On 20 December, "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" directly accused Chubais of leaking information to
officials in the World Bank and the IMF. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin has said the government will find the
source of the alleged leaks. LB

SLANT. Russian Public Television (ORT) played up the
scandal involving alleged leaks to the World Bank and the
IMF on the weekly program "Vremya" on 20 December. ORT
is 51 percent state-owned but is largely influenced by
Berezovskii. Coverage of the scandal on the private network
NTV on 21 December also stuck close to the script followed
by ORT and "Nezavisimaya gazeta," implying that Chubais
gave information to the IMF and World Bank. NTV is owned
by Vladimir Gusinskii's Media-Most, and its coverage of
recent scandals has favored Berezovskii's version of events.
Meanwhile, fully state-owned Russian Television (RTR) on
21 December broadcast an interview with Economics
Minister Yakov Urinson, who denied there was anything
unusual about recent letters sent to Chernomyrdin by heads
of the World Bank and IMF. RTR chairman Nikolai Svanidze
is considered close to Chubais. LB

NEMTSOV. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 23 December argued
that First Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov is rapidly losing
influence in the government and may soon resign. The paper
noted that Nemtsov recently lost the portfolio of the Fuel
and Energy Ministry, and that Gazprom signed a trust
agreement with the government only after Yeltsin removed
Nemtsov from the collegium of state representatives in the
gas monopoly. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" argued that Nemtsov
may fade into obscurity, as have past "favorites" of Yeltsin
such as Sergei Shakhrai (now the president's representative
in the Constitutional Court) and Gennadii Burbulis (now a
State Duma deputy). On 19 December, the newspaper
slammed Nemtsov's conduct during his recent official visits
to Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, saying he was unprepared
for the trip and made statements that could harm Russia's
interests. LB

The Moscow Arbitration Court on 19 December ordered that
51 percent of the shares in the Sibneft oil company be
frozen pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the May
privatization auction in which those shares were sold,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 20 December. The Financial
Oil Company, which is linked to Boris Berezovskii, won the
May auction. The firm KM-Invest, which is part of the
Oneksimbank empire, was barred from competing in that
auction and filed the lawsuit. The court's decision will
prevent the Financial Oil Company from selling the Sibneft
shares to a friendly firm before the court case is resolved.
Hearings are scheduled to continue on 24 December. LB

PLANS. "Moskovskii komsomolets" argued on 23 December
that the ruling by the Moscow Arbitration Court will hamper
Berezovskii's efforts to find a foreign partner for the
upcoming auction of a stake in the state-owned oil company
Rosneft. Sibneft and Mikhail Khodorkovskii's Rosprom-Yukos
group intend to submit a joint bid in the Rosneft auction but
are still seeking a major foreign investor to join their
consortium (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 December 1997).
During the last six months, the popular "Moskovskii
komsomolets," which is close to Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov, has devoted substantial negative coverage to
Berezovskii and to his main business rival, Oneksimbank
head Vladimir Potanin. The paper has also sharply criticized
Berezovskii's leading enemy in the Russian government,
First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais. LB

AUCTIONS. The Audit Chamber has concluded that laws
were broken in the conduct of several privatization auctions
this year and has recommended that the government review
the results of those auctions, Interfax reported on 22
December. The chamber had previously announced that four
major sales of state property were conducted with legal
irregularities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 December 1997).
Two of those -- the July sale of a stake in Svyazinvest and
the August sale of shares in Norilsk Nickel -- were won by
companies linked to Oneksimbank. The Audit Chamber also
criticized the May auction for a stake in Sibneft (won by a
company linked to Berezovskii), and the July sale of shares
in the Tyumen Oil Company (won by Alfa Group). LB

Yeltsin signed a decree on 22 December posthumously
awarding Colonel Anatolii Savelev the title of "Hero,"
according to Russian media. Savelev died after volunteering
to exchange places with a Swedish diplomat taken hostage
by a terrorist in Moscow on 19 December. The terrorist was
later killed by Alpha antiterrorist force commandos.
Savelev's death is still the source of controversy in the
Russia.  The chief cardiologist of the Russian Federal Security
Service says Savelev died of a heart attack brought on by
the extreme stress of the situation, not the four bullet
wounds Savelev received during the attack which killed the
terrorist. According to the doctor Savelev's autopsy revealed
the colonel was already so stricken by the heart attack that
Savelev could not have felt the bullet wounds, not fatal in
any case.

elections to the Tambov Oblast Duma on 21 December, 13
candidates supported by the regional Communist Party
branch and another five candidates supported by local
communist organizations won seats, RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau reported the next day. No other political party won a
mandate in the 50-seat Tambov Duma. Communist-backed
candidates also won 11 out of the 30 seats in the Smolensk
Oblast Duma. A candidate from the Communist-allied
Agrarian Party won one seat, and the remaining 18
mandates were won by candidates not affiliated with any
political party, Interfax reported. LB

Party candidates won 17 of the 49 seats in the Novosibirsk
Oblast legislature on 21 December, and the Agrarian Party
won three seats, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 22
December. A "third force" alliance of supporters of Grigorii
Yavlinskii and Aleksandr Lebed won six seats, according to
ITAR-TASS. The remaining seats were won primarily by
independent candidates, many of whom are directors of
prominent local enterprises. Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia, which had performed well in
Novosibirsk in the past, failed to win any seats. In the most
high-profile race, LDPR State Duma deputy Yevgenii Loginov
came in last out of four candidates in a district that was
carried by Viktor Kuznetsov, the deputy chairman of the
Novosibirsk legislature and the first secretary of the
Communist Party in the oblast. LB

Preliminary results following the 21 December runoff
elections to the Krasnoyarsk Krai legislature indicate that the
Communist Party and the allied Agrarian Party have won 13
out of the 42 seats, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 22
December. Candidates considered to be on the democratic
end of the political spectrum gained 10 seats. Candidates
backed by former Security Council Secretary Aleksandr
Lebed won five seats, while Grigorii Yavlinskii's Yabloko
movement won three seats. LB

Independent candidates, many of whom are directors or
high-ranking executives in the local oil industry and banking
sector, won most seats in the Tomsk Oblast legislative
elections on 21 December, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported
on 22 December. Candidates supported by the Communist
opposition won only five out of the 42 seats in Tomsk. LB

Nikolai Gonchar has vowed to contest the results of the
Moscow City Duma elections in court, "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
reported on 23 December. Gonchar led a bloc that was
expected to win several seats in the city legislature but won
none in the 14 December election (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15
and 17 December 1997). Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov
actively campaigned against his critics, including Gonchar,
although by law he was not allowed to participate in the
campaign. In addition, Gonchar said he is gathering evidence
of vote fraud in favor of candidates backed by the mayor. A
commentary published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 19
December argued that there is ample reason to suspect that
pro-Luzhkov officials falsified the election results. The State
Duma has formed a commission to investigate alleged
misconduct related to the Moscow City Duma elections. LB

GAZ SIGNS DEAL WITH FIAT. Representatives of the
Gorky Automobile Factory (GAZ) in Nizhnii Novgorod and the
Italian car manufacturer Fiat on 22 December signed an
agreement creating a joint venture called Nizhegorodmotors,
Russian news agencies reported. Under the agreement,
which is to involve some $850 million in direct investment,
Nizhegorodmotors will produce three models of Fiats,
beginning in late 1998. The cars will be sold for $12,000 to
$17,000 each. According to GAZ President Nikolai Pugin,
Yeltsin is to sign agreements relating to the joint venture,
including a document on state support for the project, during
a planned visit to Italy in February. LB


First deputy foreign minister Vardan Oskanian told a press
conference 22 December that Yerevan was pleased that the
meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe had not produced any new documents on the
Karabakh issue, Interfax reported. He said that progress in
talks about the disputed area had been stalled following the
Lisbon OSCE summit at which a statement critical of Armenia
was adopted. And, consequently, the absence of any new
statement or even a reassertion of the old meant that more
progress could be made, Oskanian suggested.   PG

Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian told the founding
conference of the Armrosgazprom gas company on 22
December that this joint enterprise reflected the strategic
partnership of the two countries on a variety of issues,
Interfax reported. He expressed the hope that this company
would eventually be able to expand its activities throughout
the Caucasus.  PG

In his weekly radio address on 22 December, President
Eduard Shevardnadze said that a Georgian-Abkhaz meeting
held in Sukhumi last week was "extremely important" and
"an undoubted step forward" toward peace, Interfax
reported.  Shevardnadze said that he had received a letter
from U.S. President Bill Clinton guaranteeing American help
in settling the conflict and overcoming the destruction it has
wrought.  In other comments, the Georgian leader defended
his decision to lift diplomatic immunity for Gueorgui
Makharadze, a Georgian diplomat sentenced to seven years
in prison in the United States after an automobile he was
driving killed a pedestrian in Washington. Shevardnadze
said no Georgian court would have given a lesser sentence.

FACILITIES.  Georgian Defense Minister Vardiko
Nadibaidze said on 22 December that Tbilisi is asking that
Russia transfer to the Georgian military some 50 military
facilities on Georgian territory, Interfax reported. Nadibaidze
said his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev had suggested
Moscow might be willing to do so if the Georgian parliament
ratifies an agreement allowing for Russian basing in Georgia.

Viktor Chernomyrdin arrived in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent,
on 22 December, according to ITAR-TASS and Interfax.
Chernomyrdin and Uzbek President Islam Karimov signed
six agreements, including pacts on peaceful use of nuclear
power, protection of investments and means of counter-
acting illegal financial operations. The two denied relations
between their countries had worsened, noting that bilateral
trade this year has surpassed last year's figures.
Chernomyrdin also expressed satisfaction with the treatment
of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in Uzbekistan.
Chernomyrdin said his visit to Tashkent serves as a good
basis for next year's planned visit by Boris Yeltsin to
Uzbekistan. BP

CORRUPTION IN KYRGYZSTAN. Kyrgyzstan's Procurator
General Asanbek Sharshenaliev  said at a 22 December press
conference in Bishkek that 144 government officials at
various levels, including ten in the parliament, are guilty of
some economic crime, RFE/RL correspondents reported.
Sharshenaliev also reported that the more than 10,000
economic crimes registered in Kyrgyzstan over the last 3 1/2
years had cost the country about $70 million. He said the
legal system had recovered about 44 percent of the money.

Kyrgyzstan's Security Minister Feliks Kulov said on 22
December that the government is alarmed by "the activities
of extremist religious groups" in the country's southern
regions, according to ITAR-TASS. Kulov said the Kyrgyz
government is particularly concerned about Wahhabi sects
in light of recent events in neighboring Uzbekistan's city of
Namangan (See "Newsline" 22 December) . Kulov announced
that a special government commission will soon be formed
to "keep under control" the growth and activities of these
extreme groups.  BP


Migration Among CIS States Large and Variable in

by Michael Wyzan*

        The turmoil that accompanied the break-up of the
Soviet Union has set large numbers of people in motion.. CIS
Migration Report 1996, published recently by the Geneva-
based International Organization for Migration (IOM),
contains detailed information on these flows from 1989 to
        The biggest flows have involved Russians returning to
Russia from other republics, with similar movements among
the other 14 ethnic groups also reaching significant levels.
Another important motivation for migrants has been a
desire to leave republics troubled by civil strife (especially
Armenia, Georgia, and Tajikistan) to find work, generally in
Russia. Peoples deported by Stalin have migrated, returning
to their original homelands (e.g., Crimean Tatars), moving
somewhere else in the CIS (e.g.,
Meskhetians deported to Central Asia settling in Azerbaijan),
or outside the CIS altogether (e.g., Volga Germans leaving
Kazakhstan for Germany).
        Ecological and other disasters -have also produced
large migratory flows. The most important of these are the
1986 accident at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant
(affecting Ukraine, Belarus, and parts of Russia), the
shrinkage of the Aral Sea (in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan),
the problems around the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site area
(in Kazakhstan), and earthquakes in northern Armenia in
1988. The IOM study estimates that there have been
739,000 ecological migrants since the mid-1980s.
        In Armenia and Azerbaijan, large fractions of the
population have become refugees or internally displaced
persons as a result of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh
and related events. The Abkhaz conflict has created similar
problems within Georgia. Finally, recent years have seen a
flood of illegal migrants -- and smaller numbers of refugees
and asylum seekers -- from Africa, South Asia, and the
Middle East to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, usually
with hopes of finding their way legally or otherwise into
Western Europe. The IOM reports that there are between
500,000 and a million illegal migrants in Russia alone.
        The figures on migratory trends in Russia mirror major
socioeconomic developments there. The net balance of
immigrants and emigrants rose steadily from 104,906 in
1991 to 914,597 in 1994, before subsiding again to 355,384
in 1996. During the 1980s, immigration to Russia consisted
of both repatriation of Russians and inflows of other titular
nationalities. Over the period 1990-96, some 2.4 million
ethnic Russians were repatriated from other republics.
However, the break-up of the Soviet Union -- and especially
the partitioning of the Soviet Army -- abruptly reversed the
latter flow for all nationalities except Armenians.
        During 1993-94, the fact that economic reform was
proceeding faster in Russia than in most other CIS lands
spurred an economically-motivated inflow from all such
lands. The war in Chechnya and better economic
performance in much of the CIS played a role in reducing
this net inflow in 1995 and 1996. Over 1992-96, the Central
Asian countries produced the greatest inflows to Russia. A
surge in migration to Russia in 1994 came principally from
Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
        The average age of migrants into and out of Russia is
similar to that of the general population, unlike world
experience -- and that of the Soviet Union from the 1960s
through the 1980s -- where migrants are younger than
average. However, as elsewhere, Russia's immigrants and
emigrants are more educated than average.
        After Russians, the largest numbers of migrants to
Russia in 1996 were Ukrainians, other groups within Russia
(i.e., ethnic groups with their own autonomous republics or
administrative units), Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Belarusians,
Georgians, Kazaks, and Tajiks. The numerical ranking of
those leaving Russia is similar, except that Tajiks figure
higher and Belarusians lower.
        Repatriation of Russians from other republics began in
the mid-1970s, at which time repatriation had an economic
motivation. Subsequently, outflows large relative to the size
of the sending populations were generated by armed
conflicts; in Tajikistan and Transcaucasia, all four countries
lost about half of their Russians. Russian outmigration from
the latter peaked in 1992 at 70,300 and then declined to
23,000 last year. In 1996, the outflows were dominated by
republics with large Russian populations, such as Kazakstan,
Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, rather than trouble spots.
        As regards migration from Russia beyond the borders
of the former Soviet Union, the principal flows in the post-
Soviet period have been of Germans returning to Germany
and Jews moving to Israel or the United States. The outflow
of Jews declined from 61,000 in 1990 to 14,300 in 1996,
while that of Germans rose from 33,800 to 64,400 over that
period. Russians account for an increasingly large share of
such emigration.
        Research conducted at the Institute for Economic
Forecasting in Moscow suggests that there is no relationship
between where in Russia immigrants
chose to settle and local unemployment or production
statistics. There is, however, is a correlation between such
migration and  the extent of the local private sector.

*Michael Wyzan is an economist living in Austria.

               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
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