We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No.18, Part I, 28 January 1998



___________________________________________________________

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No.18, Part I, 28 January 1998


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


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

MonacoNow available on the RFE/RL Web site,
RUSSIA'S FINANCIAL EMPIRES. This special report profiles the "big
seven" Russian commercial banks and gives background information on
Russia's banking system. The report is located at:

http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rufinance/index.html



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Headlines, Part I


* RUSSIA TRIES TO DEFUSE IRAQ CRISIS


* PRIMAKOV TALKS TRADE IN BRUSSELS


* NATO MAY CONSIDER INTERVENTION IN ABKHAZIA


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



RUSSIA


RUSSIA TRIES TO DEFUSE IRAQ CRISIS. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Valerii Nesterushkin told journalists on 27 January that Moscow is
making every effort to avert the use of military force against Iraq,
Interfax reported. Similarly, participants in the first meeting of the
Russia-EU Cooperation Council in Brussels the same day were  unanimous
that the standoff with Iraq must be resolved by diplomatic means.
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov said that Moscow is "in
favor of the UN inspectors being allowed to continue their work,"
adding that "we are not certain whether Iraq is producing chemical and
biological weapons. We must be certain," dpa reported.  Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk arrived in Baghdad on 27 January and
met with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, but no details of
their talks have been released, Interfax reported.  LF


PRIMAKOV TALKS TRADE IN BRUSSELS...Foreign Minister Primakov on 27
January charged that the EU discriminates against Russian goods, an
RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported. Attending the first session of
the EU-Russia Cooperation Council in Brussels, Primakov told EU foreign
ministers that Russia will not meet EU demands on cutting import
tariffs. The EU has applied anti-dumping duties to more than a dozen
Russian goods, and Russian officials estimate that those duties cost
the Russian economy some $1 billion annually. Moscow also claims that
European quotas on textiles produced in Russia cost the domestic
economy some $400 million a year. Meanwhile, European officials object
to Russian quotas on imports of eggs, alcohol, and carpets from the EU.
Russian exports to the union totaled some $21.5 million in 1997, while
EU imports to Russia reached $20.8 million. LB


...CRITICIZES CLASSIFYING RUSSIA AS 'NON-MARKET' ECONOMY. Speaking to
journalists in Brussels on 26 January, Primakov criticized the EU for
classifying Russia as a non-market economy despite the fact, he said,
that 70 percent of Russian production comes from the private sector, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported. The current classification allows the EU
to decide whether to apply anti-dumping duties based on European
(rather than Russian) estimates of production costs for Russian goods.
In February, EU officials are likely to approve a proposal from the
European Commission to consider Russia a market economy in dumping
disputes, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported on 27 January. But
Russian First Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Georgii Gabunia told
reporters in Moscow that Russian companies should not have to prove
case by case that they are operating on market principles. He claimed
that "there are no economic reasons" for considering Russia a
non-market economy. LB


YELTSIN, ZYUGANOV COMMENT ON NEXT ELECTION. President Boris Yeltsin
announced during a 27 January Kremlin meeting with Luxembourg Premier
Jean-Claude Juncker that "we must work this year so that a president
capable of guaranteeing Russia's development along a democratic path
will be elected in 2000," Russian news agencies reported. Yeltsin did
not name a favored candidate or specify whether he will run for
re-election again. The president has called for the government to
provide strong economic growth ahead of the 1999 parliamentary
elections and the presidential race in 2000. Also on 27 January,
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov predicted that the next
presidential election will be held earlier than 2000,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 28 January. Speaking in Strasbourg,
Zyuganov argued that Yeltsin "is simply not in a condition to work, and
his trips to China and Sweden [last November and December] require no
additional commentary." LB


KULIKOV UNREPENTANT OVER CHECHNYA. Russian Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov, who was rebuked by Yeltsin last week for failing to request
the president's permission before advocating preemptive strikes against
Chechen guerrilla bases,  told journalists on 27 January that crime in
Chechnya is the most serious in the entire Russian Federation,
ITAR-TASS reported. Kulikov claimed that one in nine murders, one in
five bandit attacks, and two-thirds of all terrorist acts perpetrated
in Russia take place in Chechnya. He added that the Russian Interior
and Defense Ministries as well as the Federal Security Service are
carrying out "operational and radio surveillance" on the border with
Chechnya and will continue to do so.  Describing Chechnya as a region
"where Russian power and laws are not in effect," Kulikov blamed the
Chechen Interior Ministry for holding up a cooperation agreement with
its federal counterpart. LF


STEPASHIN DEFENDS PLAN TO COMBINE FSB AND BORDER SERVICE... Justice
Minister Sergei Stepashin, a former director of the Federal Security
Service (FSB), confirmed on 27 January that the Federal Border Service
is to be subordinated to the FSB, Interfax reported. Stepashin
commented that the plan is "justified," since it "is quite normal that
structures responsible for national security are under one command."
Stepashin also said "political concerns" lay behind the decision to
separate the border service from other security agencies, adding that
"one should remember when it was done and what the public attitude
toward the KGB was at that time." According to "Novye izvestiya" on 27
January, the Committee to Protect the State Border was removed from the
jurisdiction of the KGB in November 1991 and transferred to the
Ministry for Security in June 1992. A December 1993 presidential decree
created the Federal Border Service, which was directly subordinated to
the president. LB


...WHILE OTHERS EXPRESS CONCERN. State Duma deputy Valerii Borshchev of
Yabloko told Interfax on 27 January that the plan to subordinate the
Federal Border Service to the FSB reflects an "alarming trend" and "the
beginning of the process" of reviving the KGB. Borshchev, who chairs
the Human Rights Chamber of the president's Political Consultative
Council, an advisory body, warned that Russians may be faced with "that
most dangerous monster of all, which will not so much ensure the
security of our state as pose a danger to Russian citizens, as was the
case in the past." Similarly, "Segodnya" on 27 January argued that
subordinating the border service to the FSB will "revive half of the
structure of the KGB." "Novye izvestiya" commented the same day that
the plan is "a blow to the entire concept for the development of the
border service, approved by the president little more than a month
ago." LB


CHERNOMYRDIN TO MAKE FINAL DECISION ON ROSNEFT AUCTION. First Deputy
Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov announced on 26 January that Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin will soon select one of three possible
privatization plans for Rosneft, the last major fully state-owned
Russian oil company. Nemtsov said the government may sell a 75 percent
plus one share of Rosneft or a 50 percent plus one share and may retain
a "golden share" that would allow it to veto certain decisions of the
company's new owner, Russian news agencies reported. Potential bidders
for Rosneft recently criticized proposals to sell off less than 75
percent of the company, saying they would make the investment much less
attractive (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 January 1998). The official
government newspaper "Rossiiskaya gazeta" on 27 January announced the
terms for a contest to select the firm that will determine a starting
price for the Rosneft stake by mid-March. LB


FOREIGN PARTICIPATION IN AUCTION UNCLEAR. It is still not known whether
foreign investors will be allowed to bid for Rosneft. Gazprom head Rem
Vyakhirev, considered close to Chernomyrdin, recently predicted that
foreign investors will be barred from the auction. But government
spokesman Igor Shabdurasulov told Russian news agencies on 27 January
that the government's main goal in privatizing Rosneft is to receive
the maximum possible revenues for the budget. Meanwhile, Nemtsov said
on 26 January that the government would be disappointed if major
companies that have expressed the intention to bid for Rosneft were to
withdraw from the auction. Last November, Yeltsin issued a decree
lifting restrictions on foreign ownership of Russian oil companies (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 November 1997). LB


ROKHLIN NOT TO LEAVE DUMA POST QUIETLY. Lev Rokhlin told journalists on
26 January that he will not resign as chairman of the Duma Defense
Committee because "I want the Russian people to know who is who,"
ITAR-TASS reported. Duma leaders reportedly agreed recently to allow
the Our Home Is Russia faction to replace Rokhlin, but some Communists
are expected to oppose that move. Rokhlin confirmed that his Movement
to Support the Army will stage a demonstration on 22 February under the
slogan "If you can't, don't know how, or don't want to govern in the
interests of the people, then resign!" In an appeal for public support,
excerpts of which were published in "Sovetskaya Rossiya" on 27 January,
Rokhlin called for more financial support for the armed forces, defense
industry, and veterans. He also claimed that "unilateral disarmament is
the main condition for foreign loans" issued to Russia. LB


ILYUKHIN BLAMES YELTSIN FOR CORRUPTION. Duma Security Committee
Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin, a prominent member of the Communist Party,
argued on 27 January that Yeltsin "lacks the political will" to fight
corruption, Russian media reported. Ilyukhin named several former high
officials and Yeltsin associates who have been charged with corruption,
according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 28 January. In particular, he
cited First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, who was involved in
a scandal over book fees last November and  reportedly instructed his
associates to carry more than $500,000 in cash out of government
headquarters during the 1996 presidential campaign. Ilyukhin noted that
Yeltsin has vetoed three anti-corruption laws approved by the
parliament in recent years. He also accused the president of nepotism,
Interfax reported. Last summer, Yeltsin appointed his younger daughter,
Tatyana Dyachenko, as an official presidential adviser. LB


HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS SLAM TREATMENT OF REFUGEES. Representatives of
Amnesty International and other human rights defenders told RFE/RL's
Moscow bureau on 27 January that refugees and forced migrants are
routinely harassed and denied fair treatment by Russian border guards
and law enforcement officials. According to Petr Kaznacheev, police
officers regularly demand bribes from refugees and sometimes tear up
their documents. Boris Suvorov, a coordinator for Amnesty in Moscow,
told RFE/RL that asylum-seekers are kept in a special transit zone in
Moscow's Sheremetevo-2 airport, where they are denied access to the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees or the Russian Federal Migration Service
before being deported. Last April, Amnesty International issued a
report criticizing Russian asylum procedures. Russian government
officials have previously promised to improve refugees' access to the
UNHCR, according to a 1996 U.S. State Department report on human rights
in Russia. LB


PROTESTERS BLOCK TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILROAD IN PRIMORE. More than 2,000
people in Primorskii Krai blocked the Trans-Siberian Railroad for about
two hours on 27 January to protest continuing wage arrears, Russian
news agencies reported. Unpaid coal miners blocked the railroad at
Partizansk, and miners obstructing the railroad near Vladivostok were
joined by workers at major defense industry plants and some Vladivostok
city employees. Protesters addressing the rallies blamed Yeltsin for
the declining coal industry and high-level corruption,
"Kommersant-Daily reported." In Partizansk, protesters burned an effigy
of Yeltsin. Commenting on the action in Primore, government spokesman
Shabdurasulov told ITAR-TASS that it would be wrong to blame the
federal government alone for the wage arrears, since most of those who
protested in Primore are not state employees. LB


RUSSIA, MONGOLIA COOPERATE IN SECURITY. Russian Security Council
Secretary Ivan Rybkin and parliamentary deputy Puntsagiyn Zhasray of
the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) held talks on 26-27
January on security cooperation, ITAR-TASS and "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
reported. The two reviewed progress in implementing the security
agreement signed by their countries in 1995 and measures to be
undertaken in 1998. They also discussed cooperation between Russia's
Socialist Party, which is headed by Rybkin, and the MPRP. Zhasray,
however, said his party's platform differs significantly from that of
the Russian Socialists, who, he said, place more importance on
regulating ties between local branches. BP


PROSECUTOR-GENERAL CONDEMNS PLANNED INGUSHETIAN REFERENDUM. The federal
authorities have said that plans to hold a referendum in Ingushetia on
1 March on the reform of the republic's legal and judicial system are
"illegal," according to  "Russkii telegraf" of 27 January and
"Kommersant-Daily" of 28 January.  Those reforms would subordinate the
Ingushetian prosecutor-general, Interior Ministry, and the courts
directly to the republican president. Russian Prosecutor-General Yurii
Skuratov appealed on 26 January to the Supreme Court to adopt a
resolution condemning the referendum as illegal on the grounds that
under federal law, issues that come under the joint jurisdiction of the
federal center and federation subjects may not be submitted to a
referendum. Ingush presidential press spokesman Manolis Chakhkiev
denied that the new legislation would remove Ingushetia from Moscow's
legal jurisdiction. He attributed Moscow's reaction to its "eternal
failure to comprehend the problems of the North Caucasus." LF


NORTH, SOUTH OSSETIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. Aleksandr Dzasokhov, who was
elected president of North Ossetia last week, has met with  Lyudwig
Chibirov,  his counterpart from the former Georgian autonomous oblast
of South Ossetia, Caucasus Press reported on 28 January. The two
presidents discussed integration between the two regions and the
prospects for increasing investment in South Ossetia. That region
receives virtually no funding from the central Georgian government in
Tbilisi and is financially dependent on Russia. Dzasokhov assured
Chibirov that he will do his utmost to expedite a political solution to
the unresolved issue of South Ossetia's status within Georgia. In an
interview in "Izvestiya" on 23 January, Dzasokhov had pledged to
improve conditions for both Russian and foreign investment in his
republic. LF



TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA


NATO MAY CONSIDER INTERVENTION IN ABKHAZIA. Mikhail Machavariani,
secretary-general of the ruling Union of Citizens of Georgia, has told
journalists in Tbilisi that NATO would "definitely consider"
intervening to impose peace in Abkhazia if the UN and the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe requested such action, Caucasus
Press reported on 28 January. Machavariani headed a Georgian delegation
that met with  Deputy Secretary-General Sergio Balandini and other
senior NATO officials in Brussels on 20 January. Machavariani added
that the two sides discussed the possibility of a more substantive
cooperation program than provided for within the framework of
Partnership for Peace. He said  that such a program would be modeled on
the one agreed by NATO and Ukraine. Georgia has also discussed with
Armenia possible joint projects within the Partnership for Peace
program (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January 1998). LF


"INTELLECTUAL ARMENIA" QUITS RULING COALITION. Hovannes Tokmajian,
leader of the Intellectual Armenia party, told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
on 27 January that his party has quit the five-party Hanrapetutyun
coalition. Tokmajian said Hanrapetutyun has retreated from its 1995
election platform. He accused the Armenian Pan-National Movement--the
senior coalition partner--of obstructing the adoption of new election
legislation that would be  acceptable to all the main political forces.
He said his party demands the dissolution of the current parliament and
parliamentary elections. Tokmajian also expressed his support for Prime
Minister Robert Kocharyan, who has been criticized by the ruling
coalition for his rejection of the most recent draft Karabakh peace
plan proposed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe.  LF


AZERBAIJANI CENSORS CUT SUSURLUK ALLEGATIONS.  The Azerbaijani Censor's
Office on 27 January  excised from all opposition newspapers any
reference to the leaked Turkish government report on the Susurluk
scandal, Turan reported. Extracts from the official investigation that
appeared in the Turkish press claimed, among other things, that
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev handed over a Baku casino to Turkish
casino magnate Omer Lutfu Topal as payment for a $6 million gambling
debt incurred by Aliev's son Ilham (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January
1998). LF


TUBERCULOSIS RATE GROWS IN KAZAKHSTAN. Aman Zhangireyev, the director
of the Kazakh tuberculosis research center,  as said the country is
confronted by an "emergency situation" owing to the spread of the
disease, ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported on 27
January. The rate of deaths from tuberculosis has increased by 41
percent in the last three years. Currently,  53,000 people in
Kazakhstan are infected with the disease, and more than 13,000 are
carriers. Also on 27 January, the U.S. concern Chevron Oil announced it
will contribute $2 million to a special program to combat tuberculosis
in Kazakhstan. BP



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

               Copyright (c) 1998 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 Eastern Europe, 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, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org

* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org

* Laurie Belin, BelinL@rferl.org

* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org

* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org


Freelance And Occasional Contributors

* Fabian Schmidt

* Matyas Szabo

* Pete Baumgartner

* Jeremy Bransten

* Jolyon Naegele

* Anthony Wesolowsky

* Julia Guechakov


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