Ошибаться - человечно, прощать - божественно. - А. Поп
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 44, Part I, 5 March 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 44, Part I, 5 March 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

RFE/RL CAUCASUS REPORT: A WEEKLY REVIEW OF POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE
NORTH CAUCASUS AND TRANSCAUCASIA FROM RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY
This new email weekly covers Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia's
North Caucasus. To subscribe, send an email message to
caucasus-report-request@list.rferl.org with the word "subscribe" in the subject
line or body of the message. The first issue (March 3, 1998) and all future
issues will be online at the RFE/RL Web site.
http://www.rferl.org/caucasus-report/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* CHERNOMYRDIN THANKS DUMA FOR BUDGET VOTE

* PRIMAKOV CONDEMNS POLICE ACTION AGAINST RIGA DEMONSTRATORS

* FIVE PARTIES BACK KOCHARIAN'S PRESIDENTIAL BID

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


RUSSIA

CHERNOMYRDIN THANKS DUMA FOR BUDGET VOTE... Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin on 4 March thanked State Duma deputies for approving the
budget in the fourth reading, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. He expressed
hope that the Federation Council will approve the document on 11 March and
that President Boris Yeltsin will sign it soon thereafter. The draft calls
for 500 billion rubles ($82 billion) in spending and 368  billion rubles in
revenues, resulting in a deficit of 132 billion rubles. Speaking to
journalists in Bonn, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said the
budget approved by the Duma is "more realistic than the [draft] that was
considered several weeks ago," ITAR-TASS reported. The revenue and spending
targets have not been changed since then, but an amendment was added to
allow the government to cut expenditures in the event of revenue shortfalls
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 March 1998). LB

...AMID WIDESPREAD SKEPTICISM ON BUDGET TARGETS. Virtually all Duma
deputies expect the government to reduce planned spending this year, as it
did in 1997, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 4 March. Yabloko leader
Grigorii Yavlinskii told RFE/RL that the budget contains a "hole" of some
90 billion rubles ($15 billion). He predicted that the government will soon
declare that it has to "sequester" budget spending. The Yabloko faction
voted unanimously against the budget on 4 March, having done likewise in
all previous readings. LB

PROCEDURAL MANEUVER AIDED BUDGET PASSAGE. Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, a
prominent member of the Communist faction, helped secure approval for the
budget in the fourth reading by calling a vote on the entire document
without holding separate votes on each budget amendment, RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau reported. When the Duma last considered the budget in the fourth
reading, on 20 February, separate votes were held on each amendment before
the entire document was put to a vote. Most deputies had expected the same
procedure to be followed on 4 March. Some opposition Duma deputies were
angered by Seleznev's maneuver. LB

ZYUGANOV EXPLAINS COMMUNIST STAND ON BUDGET. The backing of some Communist
Duma deputies was crucial for the passage of the budget on 4 March, just as
limited Communist support had provided enough votes to approve the budget
in previous readings, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Although Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov announced on 3 March that his faction would
vote against the document, 52 Communist deputies supported the budget the
next day. Zyuganov explained that some of his colleagues were swayed by
appeals from regional leaders, who argued that the budget must be passed in
order to provide crucial finds for the regions. Nonetheless, Zyuganov
predicted that "not a single budget article will be fulfilled" by the
government. He confirmed that the opposition has formed a shadow cabinet
but did not name any of its members. LB

GOVERNMENT TO IGNORE BUDGET PROVISION ON OFFSETS. The budget approved on 4
March contains an article allowing the government to use offsets, rather
than cash payments, to settle its debts to budget-funded organizations,
including those in the science, health, and education sectors, RFE/RL's
Moscow bureau reported. In February, the government sought to remove that
provision from the draft, noting that a November 1997 presidential decree
banned the use of offsets. However, Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov, who
had previously suggested Yeltsin might veto the budget if the government's
amendments were not approved, was unperturbed by the decision to leave the
provision on offsets in place. He told Duma deputies on 4 March that the
government will abide by the presidential decree and ignore the budget
provision. LB

NEMTSOV, KOKOSHIN WARN AGAINST NATO EXPANSION. Speaking in Bonn on 4 March,
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov said a further eastward
expansion of NATO to incorporate unspecified former Soviet republics would
be "madness," ITAR-TASS reported. Nemtsov said that such a move would
destabilize the situation in Russia and thus be "bad for the U.S. and
Europe." Also on 4 March, newly appointed Russian Security Council
secretary Andrei Kokoshin told Ekho Moskvy that Russia will have "an
adequate response" if NATO deploys nuclear weapons in East-Central Europe.
Addressing his new responsibilities, Kokoshin said that Russian national
security requires amending existing laws to provide for a "smoother
interaction" of the country's power structures. He also said the choice of
countries to which Russia exports arms should be dictated not by commercial
interests but by national security. LF

ANKARA RESPONDS TO MOSCOW OVER CASPIAN MEETING. Turkish Foreign Ministry
spokesman Sermet Atacanli told journalists on 4 March that it is "out of
the question" that Ankara would  "exclude" Russia from projects to export
Caspian oil, the "Turkish Daily News" reported on 5 March.  Atacanli was
responding to charges made the previous day by his Russian counterpart,
Gennadii Tarasov, over the failure to invite Foreign Minister Yevgenii
Primakov to a recent meeting in Istanbul at which the proposed Baku-Ceyhan
main export pipeline for Caspian oil was discussed (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
3- 4 March 1998.)  Also on 4 March, Russian Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei
Kirienko said  Moscow does not oppose the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, but he
argued that it should be one of several that exports Caspian oil, Turan
reported. LF

SOROS DISCLOSES LOAN TO RUSSIA. U.S. billionaire George Soros told
journalists on 4 March that he extended a short-term loan to the Russian
government last June, Reuters reported. In an apparent reference to the
government's promise to settle all pension arrears by 1 July 1997, Soros
said the government needed money to pay wage arrears a week before it was
due to receive the proceeds from its third Eurobond issue. He said that the
government approached him for another loan last December but that he
declined. The "Financial Times" recently reported that the Russia drew $950
million in loans from Western banks in late 1997 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19
February 1998). Soros's Quantum Fund was part of a consortium that acquired
a stake in the telecommunications giant Svyazinvest last July, and Soros
said on 4 March that he may bid for another stake in Svyazinvest later this
year. LB

PREPARATIONS FOR ROSNEFT SALE IN FINAL STAGES. First Deputy State Property
Minister Aleksandr Braverman said on 5 March that the plan for privatizing
the oil company Rosneft will be announced by 20 March, RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau reported. Braverman told RFE/RL that foreign investors will be
allowed to bid for Rosneft shares. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin is to decide
whether the state will sell a 50 percent or 75 percent stake in the
company. Potential investors have warned that they may skip the auction if
less than a 75 percent stake is on offer (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 January
1998). Meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree on 4 March paving
the way for the Rosneft privatization, Russian news agencies reported. That
decree removes Rosneft's authority to manage state-owned stakes in other
oil and gas companies and to sell oil and gas extracted under
production-sharing agreements with foreign companies. LB

WOMEN'S MOVEMENT LEADER CONDEMNS STEREOTYPES ABOUT MEN. Yekaterina Lakhova,
who co-founded the Women of Russia movement in 1993 and now chairs a
presidential commission on women, children, and demographics, has assailed
Russian stereotypes about men, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 3 March.
She cited statistics showing that Russian men have a lower life expectancy
than do women and far higher rates of disease, alcoholism, drug addiction,
and suicide. She attributed some of those problems to the "ancient
stereotype" of the man as breadwinner. She also criticized the belief that
"every man must be a warrior" and that the army is a "school for bringing
up real men." Lakhova slammed "senseless brutality" in the army and argued
that mandatory conscription of men in peacetime is discrimination on the
basis of gender. She called for transforming the army into an all-volunteer
force that is open to men and women. LB

SOLDIERS' MOTHERS WANT AMNESTY FOR DESERTERS. Valentina Melnikova, the
co-leader of the Soldiers' Mothers Committee, favors an amnesty for
soldiers who desert the armed forces if they turn themselves in, RFE/RL's
Moscow bureau reported on 4 March. She estimated that 40,000 soldiers have
fled the army in recent years. Melnikova claimed that some 70 percent of
deserters are motivated by brutal hazing, adding that others commit suicide
to avoid hazing or kill their tormentors. Hazing is believed to be a major
cause of the high suicide rate in the military (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23
January 1998). However, military officials say only 20-30 percent of
deserters are trying to escape hazing. Appearing at the same press
conference as Melnikova, Colonel Sergei Zimin of the investigation
department of the Moscow military district argued against amnesty for
deserters, although he advocated lighter punishments for those who turn
themselves in. LB

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST MEMBERS OF JAPANESE SECT. The Prosecutor-General's
Office has closed a criminal case against three Japanese citizens who are
members of the sect Aum Shinri Kyo, Russian news agencies reported on 4
March. The leader of the sect's Moscow branch was arrested in July 1995,
and two other members were detained in early 1997. All three were
subsequently released on bail. Vladimir Kazakov, head of the
Prosecutor-General's Office's department on investigating serious crimes,
told journalists that the case was closed because of "changes in the
situation" surrounding the investigation into the sect in Japan and in
Russia. However, he noted that Aum Shinri Kyo remains banned in Russia.
That ban was imposed by a Moscow court in April 1995, shortly after the
sect was accused of staging a gas attack on the Tokyo subway (see "OMRI
Daily Digest," 19 April 1995). LB

LEBED REGISTERED AS CANDIDATE IN KRASNOYARSK. The Krasnoyarsk Krai
Electoral Commission on 5 March registered former Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed as a candidate for the 26 April gubernatorial
election, ITAR-TASS reported. Lebed is considered the strongest challenger
to Governor Valerii Zubov. In recent comments to journalists, Zubov has
sought to portray Lebed as an ambitious politician who wants to use
Krasnoyarsk as a stepping stone for a presidential bid instead of working
for the krai's residents. LB

REGIONAL AFFAIRS

PRIMAKOV CONDEMNS POLICE ACTION AGAINST RIGA DEMONSTRATORS... Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov on 4 March said Latvian police had
committed a "glaring violation of elementary human rights" while breaking
up a demonstration of largely Russian-speaking pensioners in Riga the
previous day, Russian news agencies reported. Primakov added that he
considers the use of force against the demonstrators "disgusting" (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 4 March 1998). Meanwhile, the Russian State Duma on 4
March rejected a proposal by Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia (LDPR) faction to postpone a Duma delegation's visit to
Latvia scheduled for 16 March, Interfax reported. Earlier the same day, the
LDPR faction walked out of the Duma chamber after Duma speaker Gennadii
Seleznev took the floor away from LDPR deputy Yurii Kuznetsov, who had
denounced Latvia as a "fascist regime." LB

...WHILE RIGA REFUTES ALLEGATIONS. The Latvian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile,
responded by issuing a statement saying that Russian politicians' attempts
to "politicize developments during the unauthorized picket at Riga City
Hall" are "inadmissible," BNS reported on 4 March. The ministry said it was
"astonished" over the way Russian officials were trying to "interpret an
administrative breach [to give it] a political and ethnic nature." It added
that such attempts were detrimental to the development of bilateral
relations, mutual trust, and understanding. Interior Minister Ziedonis
Cevers has asked the police leadership to provide a detailed report of the
demonstration as well as an evaluation of whether the police actions were
in accordance with the law and police regulations. JC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

FIVE PARTIES BACK KOCHARYAN'S PRESIDENTIAL BID. Five mostly center-left
parties have formed the  Justice and Unity alliance to support Prime
Minister and acting President Robert Kocharyan's candidacy in the 16 March
presidential poll, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 4 March. The
alliance is dominated by the nationalist Dashnak party (HHD) and the
Yerkrapah union of Karabakh war veterans. In a statement released on 4
March, the new alliance affirmed its support for Kocharyan's efforts to
"consolidate the entire Armenian nation," resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict, and establish democracy and social justice. The alliance will
continue to exist after the presidential elections. LF

KOCHARYAN UNVEILS PRESIDENTIAL PROGRAM. Unveiling his campaign program on 4
March, Kocharyan pledged to strengthen industry, create more jobs and
favorable conditions for attracting investment, and continue his crackdown
on the black market and tax evasion. He also promised to increase wages,
reform the social security and pension systems, and introduce free health
care for the most vulnerable social groups.  Foreign policy priorities are
unchanged and reflect the existing approach to balance developing ties with
Russia, the CIS, and  neighboring Georgia and Iran with strengthening
relations with the U.S. and the EU.  Kocharyan called for the consolidation
of all Armenians to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict
based on international law. Such a solution must allow for the
self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh "within secure borders
and with permanent geographic ties" to Armenia, he argued. LF

GEORGIAN POLICE CONFISCATE WEAPONS IN MINGRELIA. Following the abduction in
western Georgia last month of four UNOMIG observers, Georgian police are
systematically confiscating arms from the population of Mingrelia, Caucasus
Press reported on 4 March. That region has traditionally supported former
Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, some of whose supporters were
responsible for the recent hostage-taking. LF

INDEPENDENT JOURNAL CONFISCATED IN AZERBAIJAN. The Baku  police chief has
issued a statement on the  27 February confiscation from the city's
newspaper stands of all remaining copies of the latest issue of the
independent journal "Monitor." Turan on 4 March quotes the police chief as
claiming that the issue contained disinformation and materials aimed at
provoking a confrontation between various social groups.  The Human Rights
Center of Azerbaijan reported on 27 February that the relevant issue of
"Monitor" included an interview with former parliamentary speaker Rasul
Guliev, reports on the October presidential elections, and an article on
torture in Azerbaijani prisons. LF

IRAN REFUTES CHARGES OF ESPIONAGE IN KAZAKHSTAN. The Iranian Embassy in
Kazakhstan released a statement on 4 March denying three of its citizens
who are currently held by the Kazakh National Security Service have been
involved in any espionage activities, ITAR-TASS reported. The embassy said
that the Kazakh government has not given the names of those arrested on 24
February, nor have embassy personnel been allowed to meet with them.
However, ITAR-TASS also reported on 4 March that Iranian officials met with
the three detainees the same day and that the detainees claimed to be
businessmen who were in Kazakhstan to establish business contacts. The
three men were quoted as saying they consider the action of Kazakh security
agents to be a "rude provocation." BP

KAZAKHSTAN WANTS TO EXPORT GRAIN OUTSIDE CIS. Nurlan Smagulov, the chairman
of the Kazakh State Food Corporation, said on 4 March that his country is
"energetically searching" for new markets to export grain outside the
former Soviet Union, Interfax reported. Kazakhstan plans to export at least
2.3 million tons of grain this year, but that amount could be raised to 3.1
million tons, Smagulov said. He added that Russia usually buys up to 70
percent of Kazakhstan's grain but that 5,000 tons of grain have been sent
to Iran and 50,000 tons of barley to Saudi Arabia as samples. The
corporation is building a grain terminal at the Caspian port of Aktau to
facilitate shipments to Iran. BP

IMAM WANTED FOR QUESTIONING IN UZBEKISTAN. Uzbek security forces on 5 March
surrounded the house of Obidkhan Nazarov, the former imam of Tashkent's
Tokhtabai Mosque, in a bid to take both him and another imam to the
Prosecutor-General's office to answer questions about alleged interference
in state affairs, RFE/RL correspondents report. Nazarov, however, was
tipped off about the police action and  left his home to seek a lawyer. The
decision to question Nazarov may be connected to a 4 March presidential
decree dismissing Bakhtiyar Ghulamov, presidential adviser for national
security, and replacing him with Usmon Khudaykulov. Until now a first
deputy at the Prosecutor-General's Office, Khudaykulov has a reputation as
a hard-liner. BP

UN NEEDS $34 MILLION TO IMPLEMENT TAJIK PROGRAMS. UN agencies working in
Tajikistan say they  need $34.6 million this year to implement their
programs, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 March.  Fred Eckhard, spokesman for the
UN secretary-general, said 16 percent of the population is not receiving
essential foods, and  a shortage of clean water supplies has resulted in
cholera and typhoid outbreaks. In addition, thousands of families are
without shelter and clothing. 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 18countries
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]

Домашняя страницаж ° Комментарии ° Книга гостей


©1996 "Друзья и Партнеры"
Наташа Булашова,Грег Коул
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Основные разделы
Домашняя страница
Bulletin Board
Беседка
Листсервер Друзья и Партнеры

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Поиск

Новости
Новости из России и СНГ
Новости о России и СНГ
Газеты и журналы
Прочие новости
Погода


©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole