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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 71 Part I, 14 April 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 71 Part I, 14 April 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

RUSSIAN MEDIA EMPIRES II
Businessmen, government leaders, politicians, and financial 
companies continue to reshape Russia's media landscape. This 
update of a September report identifies the players and 
their media holdings via charts, tables and articles.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia2/index.html

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* SELEZNEV CHANGES TUNE ON KIRIENKO

* RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS 'NO SOFTENING' ON LATVIA

* ARMENIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW PRIME MINISTER

* END NOTE: ARMENIA'S NEW PRESIDENT: NOT A HAWK BUT A 
PRAGMATIST

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RUSSIA

SELEZNEV CHANGES TUNE ON KIRIENKO. State Duma Speaker 
Gennadii Seleznev, a prominent member of the Communist 
Party, has called on the Duma to confirm acting Prime 
Minister Sergei Kirienko, Reuters reported on 14 April. 
Following a meeting with President Boris Yeltsin, Seleznev 
told journalists that "the Duma's fate is 1,000 times more 
important to me than the fate of Kirienko." The constitution 
calls for the president to dissolve the Duma if his 
candidate for prime minister is rejected three times. 
Yeltsin renominated Kirienko on 10 April, within hours of 
the Duma's rejection of his candidacy. The president 
repeated on 13 April that he has "no other candidate" for 
prime minister. Seleznev had said before his 14 April 
meeting that he would urge Yeltsin to put forward a 
different nominee (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 April 1998). The 
Duma Council has scheduled the second vote on Kirienko for 
17 April. LB 

ZYUGANOV SAYS OPPOSITION WON'T CHANGE STANCE. Communist 
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov on 13 April announced that 
the presidium of the Popular-Patriotic Union of Russia 
(NPSR), a Communist-led alliance, has instructed the 
Communist, Agrarian, and Popular Power factions to vote 
against confirming Kirienko, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau 
reported. Following a meeting of the NPSR leadership, 
Zyuganov expressed the hope that the Duma will on 15 April 
vote to send an inquiry to the Constitutional Court 
questioning Yeltsin's right to nominate Kirienko a second 
time (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 April 1998). He also said the 
Communist faction and their allies will seek to amend the 
Duma's rules of procedure to allow an open vote on 
Kirienko's candidacy. Current rules demand that the Duma 
vote by secret ballot on prime ministerial nominees, but an 
open vote would be more likely to discourage Communist-
allied deputies from breaking ranks and supporting Kirienko. 
LB

FACTION WANTS TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED SCIENTOLOGY LINK. Duma 
deputy Yelena Panina of the Popular Power faction on 13 
April said her faction will seek to form a parliamentary 
commission to investigate Kirienko's alleged links to the 
Church of Scientology, Interfax reported. She said the 
commission will investigate reports in the German press that 
Kirienko attended seminars at and donated money to Hubbard 
College, a Scientologist organization in Nizhnii Novgorod. 
Kirienko has dismissed such reports as "rubbish" but has not 
denied that he had contacts with Hubbard College in 1995 
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 April 1998). Kirienko's opponents 
in the Duma have so far refrained from commenting on the 
alleged link to Scientology, criticizing the acting prime 
minister for his relative youth and inexperience instead. LB

YELTSIN AGAINST AMENDING SUCCESSION PROCEDURE. Yeltsin on 13 
April said calls to change the succession procedure outlined 
in the constitution are "illogical," adding that "the 
constitution will not be amended as long as I remain 
president," Russian news agencies reported. Our Home Is 
Russia Duma faction leader Aleksandr Shokhin on 10 April 
proposed amending Article 92 to allow the Federation Council 
speaker, rather than the prime minister, to assume 
presidential powers if the president is incapacitated. (Most 
Our Home Is Russia deputies voted to confirm Kirienko in the 
first Duma vote.) Duma Speaker Seleznev and Communist Party 
leader Zyuganov both criticized Shokhin's proposal in 
comments to Interfax. Although Communist politicians have 
long advocated constitutional amendments to reduce the 
president's authority and have expressed reservations about 
Kirienko's fitness to assume those powers, Seleznev and 
Zyuganov spoke out against amending the constitution in 
response to immediate political concerns. LB

GOVERNMENT, CENTRAL BANK SIGN ECONOMIC POLICY STATEMENT. 
Acting Prime Minister Kirienko and Central Bank Chairman 
Sergei Dubinin on 11 April signed a joint statement on 
Russian economic policy for 1998, the Central Bank's press 
service announced two days later. The statement expresses 
commitments to maintain macroeconomic stability, enact tax 
reform, improve tax collection, and reduce the budget 
deficit. It also promises changes in the regulation of the 
financial markets and banking sector as well as more 
transparency in the management of "natural monopolies" in 
the energy and transportation sectors. The economic policy 
statement was drafted earlier this year following tough 
negotiations between Russian officials and IMF experts, but 
its signing was delayed by the surprise dismissal of Prime 
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin last month. The IMF Board of 
Directors will meet in late May to consider the statement 
and whether to disburse the next tranche of a four-year, $10 
billion loan to Russia. LB

OFFICIALS SAY IRAN FAILED TO ACQUIRE RUSSIAN NUCLEAR 
TECHNOLOGY. Vladimir Orlov, the director of the Russian 
Political Research Center, told a press conference in Moscow 
on 13 April that Russian intelligence thwarted three 
attempts by Iran last year to acquire Russian ballistic 
missile technology, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. The same 
day, Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry spokesman Georgii 
Kaurov again denied an article in the "Jerusalem Post" 
claiming that Russia delivered two nuclear warheads to Iran 
in the early 1990s, Interfax reported. Kaurov insisted that 
"every warhead is accounted for and not a single one has 
disappeared." Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii 
Tarasov had made a similar denial on 10 April. Meanwhile on 
12 April, the Russian ambassador to Tehran inspected 
construction work at the Iranian nuclear power station at 
Bushehr, which is being completed by Russian specialists, 
AFP reported. LF
 
CHECHEN PRIME MINISTER DECLARES $2 MILLION INCOME. Shamil 
Basaev accumulated more than $2 million in income last year, 
primarily from donations, but gave most of that sum to 
charity after buying a $250,000 house in Djohar-gala 
(formerly Grozny), Interfax reported on 12 April. Chechen 
field commander Ruslan Khaikharoev, for his part, earned 
$1.75 million in ransom for 17 of the 24 people he kidnapped 
last year, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 April, quoting Deputy 
Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov. Also on 13 April, 
Chechen security officials secured the release of a Turkish 
businessman abducted in Chechnya in January. The fate of 
another 64 hostages remains unclear, however. LF

NIKOLAEV WINS DUMA SEAT AMID CONTROVERSY... Former Federal 
Border Service Director Andrei Nikolaev easily won a 12 
April by-election for a State Duma seat representing a 
Moscow district. Nikolaev gained 62.5 percent of the vote, 
nearly five times as many votes as his closest competitor. A 
last-minute attempt by rival politicians to derail 
Nikolaev's campaign failed. The Supreme Court on 10 April 
refused to consider an appeal to revoke Nikolaev's 
registration, and the Moscow City Court ruled the following 
day that the plaintiffs, most of whom dropped out of the 
campaign last week, failed to prove that the Moscow 
authorities gave Nikolaev an unfair advantage (see "RFE/RL 
Newsline," 9 April 1998). However, Nikolaev's opponents, 
including former Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, have vowed 
to file further court appeals seeking to annul the election 
result. LB

...EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR LUZHKOV. Nikolaev on 13 April 
praised Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov as a "depoliticized 
leader" and announced plans to form a "centrist" group in 
the Duma consisting of deputies who are Muscovites, ITAR-
TASS reported. Luzhkov publicly endorsed Nikolaev's bid for 
the State Duma seat. But in an interview published in 
"Kommersant-Daily" on 14 April, Nikolaev denied allegations 
that the Moscow authorities promoted his campaign. Asked 
about Luzhkov's public expression of support for him, 
Nikolaev responded that the mayor is "simply a citizen of 
Moscow." LB

YELTSIN CRITICIZES NIKOLAEV BUT PRAISES LUZHKOV. During a 13 
April meeting with Federal Border Service Director Nikolai 
Bordyuzha, Yeltsin remarked that he had been dissatisfied 
with the work of Nikolaev, whom he fired last December. 
Yeltsin charged that as head of the border service, Nikolaev 
had quarreled with other Russian "power ministers," Russian 
news agencies reported. Meeting the same day with Moscow 
Mayor Luzhkov, Yeltsin said he follows events in Moscow 
closely and supports the mayor's policies. In particular, 
Yeltsin praised plans to build an additional ring road to 
ease traffic in the capital. LB 

TOP LEGISLATOR ELECTED GOVERNOR IN LIPETSK. Oleg Korolev, 
the chairman of the Lipetsk Oblast legislature and deputy 
speaker of the Federation Council, won a crushing victory in 
the 12 April gubernatorial election in Lipetsk Oblast, 
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 13 April. Korolev gained 
some 79 percent of the vote, while incumbent Governor 
Mikhail Narolin finished second with slightly under 14 
percent. The Communist Party was Korolev's main supporter 
(party leader Zyuganov recently visited Lipetsk to campaign 
on behalf of Korolev), but the Lipetsk branch of Yabloko and 
at least 40 other local parties and movements also supported 
Korolev, according to an RFE/RL correspondent. Supporters of 
Narolin included the local branches of the Our Home Is 
Russia movement and Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal 
Democratic Party of Russia. LB

LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE LEADER WINS PENZA ELECTION. Vasilii 
Bochkarev, the head of a raion in the city of Penza, was 
elected governor of Penza Oblast on 12 April with some 59.5 
percent of the vote, an RFE/RL correspondent in Penza 
reported on 13 April. Bochkarev belongs to no political 
party and campaigned as a pragmatist and effective manager. 
His supporters widely publicized the fact that wages, 
pensions, and child allowances are paid on time in the raion 
he heads. State Duma deputy Yurii Lyzhin, the head of the 
oblast branch of the Communist Party, gained 16 percent, and 
incumbent Governor Anatolii Kovlyagin finished third with 13 
percent. The level of support for Lyzhin is low in 
comparison with Communist candidate Zyuganov's strong 
showing in the 1996 presidential election in Penza. Zyuganov 
outpolled Yeltsin in the oblast by some 59 percent to 36 
percent. LB

SVERDLOVSK VOTERS FAVOR OPPOSITION GROUPS. The biggest loser 
in the legislative elections held in Sverdlovsk Oblast on 12 
April was Governor Eduard Rossel, RFE/RL's correspondent in 
Yekaterinburg reported on 13 April. The Our Home-Our City 
movement, headed by Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadii Chernetskii, 
an outspoken critic of the oblast authorities, gained 16 
percent of the vote in the elections for seats in the lower 
house of the Sverdlovsk legislature. An alliance of 
Communists and Agrarians finished second with 12 percent, 
followed by Our Home Is Russia with 10 percent. Rossel's 
movement, Transformation of the Urals, gained 9 percent, 
roughly the same as a movement headed by a former prime 
minister of Sverdlovsk who now opposes Rossel. Opposition 
candidates also won most of the seats in the upper house of 
the Sverdlovsk legislature. The results suggest that Rossel 
will face a tough battle for re-election next year. LB

REGIONAL AFFAIRS

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS 'NO SOFTENING' ON LATVIA. 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeev told 
Interfax on 10 April that Moscow's decision not to introduce 
a resolution condemning Latvia at the UN Human Rights Review 
Conference this year does not represent a "softening" of 
Moscow's position. Rather, Avdeev suggested, it is intended 
to give Riga time to live up to its promises to modify 
Latvian citizenship legislation. If Latvia fails to do that, 
Avdeev added, Moscow would be prepared to consider 
introducing such a resolution next spring. PG

WORKING GROUP ON LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW REACHES AGREEMENT. 
A working group composed of representatives of the ruling 
factions has reached agreement on proposals for amending the 
citizenship law, BNS reported on 13 April. The group's 
members supported a proposal by Latvia's way to grant 
citizenship to children under 16 if those youths submit such 
a request and demonstrate adequate knowledge of the Latvian 
language. They also agreed that all people born in Latvia 
could be naturalized by 2001. The Cooperation Council of the 
ruling factions is scheduled to debate the draft on 14 
April. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Guntars Krasts, speaking to 
BNS and state radio, has again stressed he wants his 
government to stay on until the fall elections even if it 
lacks a parliamentary majority. JC

CLINTON SENDS LETTER TO LATVIAN PRESIDENT. U.S. President 
Bill Clinton has sent a letter to Guntis Ulmanis urging that 
Riga and Moscow engage in a dialogue to resolve a dispute 
over the rights of ethnic Russians living in Latvia, Reuters 
and BNS reported on 13 April, citing a statement issued by 
Ulmanis's office. Clinton stressed that a dialogue with 
Russia is necessary and noted that U.S. officials have 
spoken with the Russian government "to see what is needed to 
renew a constructive dialogue between Russia and Latvia. JC

MOSCOW RABBI SLAMS 'FASCISM' IN LATVIA. Russian Chief Rabbi 
Adolf Shaevich released a statement on 13 April blaming 
Latvia for all the current problems in relations with Russia 
and saying that "fascism will always raise its head where 
and when the persecution of national minorities begins." Two 
days earlier, some 300 Moscow residents gathered outside the 
Latvian embassy there to protest Latvia's failure to give 
full citizenship to ethnic Russians on its territory. PG

RUSSIAN REGIONS DIVERGE ON LATVIA. Primorskii Krai Governor 
Yevgenii Nazdratenko has offered his region's ports as a 
substitute for Latvian ones, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 
11 April. (As other Russian officials have conceded, the 
flow of oil through Latvian ports cannot be reduced much 
further without harming the Russian economy.) Other regional 
leaders--in Kemerovo, Saratov, Yaroslavl, and Altai Krai--
have called for an end to the import and sale of Latvian 
goods on their territory. Altai Governor Aleksandr Surikov 
urged all contracts with Latvian enterprises to be revised, 
ITAR-TASS reported on 13 April. At the request of Moscow's 
city administration, stores in the Russian capital have 
stopped selling Latvian goods. But Leningrad Oblast Governor 
Vadim Gustov said he is against sanctions because they would 
be ineffective. He called for talks, Interfax and BNS 
reported on 11 April. PG

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

RYBKIN IN YEREVAN, BAKU... Russian acting Deputy Prime 
Minister Ivan Rybkin held "very warm and comprehensive" 
talks with Robert Kocharyan on 9 April in Yerevan after 
attending the latter's inauguration, Russian agencies 
reported. The leaders agreed on implementing the August 1997 
pact on exporting Russian gas via Armenia. The following 
day, Rybkin was in Baku to meet with Azerbaijani President 
Heidar Aliev, who criticized Russia's reluctance to pressure 
the Armenian leadership to return arms worth $1 billion 
supplied clandestinely to Armenia from 1994-1996. Rybkin 
said the trilateral commission created to investigate the 
arms shipments will convene again after the new Russian 
government is formed. Aliev also complained about Moscow's 
refusal to extradite to Baku former chief of staff Shahin 
Musaev, who is wanted for his alleged role in a 1994 coup 
attempt. Also 10 April, the Azerbaijani parliament voted to 
ratify the treaty on friendship and cooperation with Russia, 
signed in July 1997, Turan reported. LF 

...AND TBILISI. Following his talks with Rybkin in Tbilisi 
on 10 April, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze played 
down the recent tensions over the Russian military presence 
in Georgia and vowed that the two countries will co-exist as 
good neighbors with an interest in each other's stability, 
Russian agencies reported. Shevardnadze said that Rybkin 
shares his views on how best to resolve the conflicts in 
South Ossetia and Abkhazia; in particular, both are in favor 
of meetings between Shevardnadze and the leaders of both 
regions. Rybkin suggested that the upcoming CIS summit may 
agree to Tbilisi's demand to expand the role of the CIS 
peacekeeping force in Abkhazia, according to an RFE/RL 
correspondent in the Georgian capital. LF

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW PRIME MINISTER. Robert 
Kocharyan on 10 April named 33-year-old Finance and Economy 
Minister Armen Darpinyan to head the new government. A 
graduate of Moscow State University, Darpinyan was appointed 
first deputy chairman of the Armenian Central Bank in 1994 
and finance minister in May, 1997, Noyan Tapan reported. 
Meeting on 13 April, Darpinyan and Kocharyan affirmed their 
commitment to economic reform and industrial revival, 
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. They also discussed the 
"structure and principles" of forming the new cabinet. Also 
on 13 April, the parties belonging to the pro-Kocharyan 
Unity and Justice bloc continued discussing the president's 
proposal to create a consultative council on which all major 
political groups would be represented. But there is 
disagreement within that bloc over the expediency of holding 
early parliamentary elections. The Dashnak Party favors such 
a vote, but the Yerkrapah parliamentary group has voiced its 
opposition, Noyan Tapan reported. LF

OSCE SLAMS ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. In its final 
assessment released on 10 April, the Organization for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe's observer mission in 
Yerevan concluded that last month's presidential poll did 
not meet the OSCE standards "to which Armenia committed 
itself in the Copenhagen Document of 1990," Turan and 
Reuters reported. While conceding that the poll was an 
improvement over the seriously flawed elections of 1995 and 
1996, the statement said the 1996 vote is not an appropriate 
yardstick against which to assess this year's ballot. The 
statement noted ballot-stuffing, discrepancies in the vote 
count, and the presence of unauthorized persons at polling 
stations. It also claimed that one mobile polling station 
crossed the frontier into neighboring Azerbaijan in order to 
enable Armenian troops there to vote. But the statement did 
not say whether the registered violations fundamentally 
affected the outcome of the poll. LF

MORE SHOOTINGS IN ABKHAZIA. Seven members of the CIS 
peacekeeping force deployed in Abkhazia and an Abkhaz police 
officer were injured on 11 April when unidentified 
assailants opened fire on their armored personnel carrier in 
Gali Raion, Russian agencies reported. Meeting the same day 
in Tbilisi with visiting Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister 
Vladimir Khandoga, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli 
Menagharishvili welcomed Kyiv's repeated offer to join the 
UN Secretary-General's Friends of Georgia group, which is 
seeking to mediate a political settlement of the Abkhaz 
conflict. Ukraine also offered again to send observers and a 
peacekeeping force to the region. LF

UZBEK PRESIDENT WAITS FOR RUSSIAN INVITATION. Islam Karimov, 
speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Turkish 
Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz on 13 April, said if he receives 
an invitation, he will go to Moscow in May to meet with 
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Interfax and dpa reported. 
Referring to recent political events in Russia, Karimov said 
the government shake-up was a "sign of instability of 
society and state." But he noted that "a Russia run by 
Yeltsin appeals to me but a Russia run by [Communist leader 
Gennadii] Zyuganov does not." Turning to his own country's 
political future, Karimov said Uzbekistan will do everything 
in its power to ensure the "spiritual revival of the nation 
in accordance with [Kemal] Ataturk's call." During Yilmaz's 
visit, agreements on economic cooperation, copyright 
protection, and preventing the smuggling of cultural 
artifacts were signed. BP

END NOTE

ARMENIA'S NEW PRESIDENT: NOT A HAWK BUT A PRAGMATIST

by Liz Fuller

	In a lengthy interview with "Izvestiya" on 8 April and 
in his inauguration address the following day, Armenian 
President Robert Kocharyan outlined his domestic and 
economic policy priorities. He also stressed his preferences 
for resolving the Karabakh conflict and for developing 
relations with Russia and the CIS. 
	Speaking at his inauguration ceremony, Kocharyan 
described the next five years as a period of "consolidating 
the foundations of our state," resolving social problems, 
and creating conditions for the population to exercise fully 
its constitutional rights and freedoms. Those tasks, he 
stressed, will require "internal unity and consent and 
constructive political dialogue." Kocharyan said sweeping 
constitutional amendments are "imperative" in order to 
provide for a more balanced interaction between the 
president on the one hand, and the government and National 
Assembly on the other. And the basic law must also be 
changed to redefine the responsibilities of the 
Constitutional Court, he said. 
	Taking a swipe at the previous leadership, Kocharyan 
argued that "everyone, from the president to ordinary 
citizens, should be equal before the law." He went on to say 
that all reforms, whether political or economic, should be 
geared to existing conditions and their possible social 
impact taken into consideration. In this context, he 
observed that it is now clear that the state should not have 
given up its regulatory role in the sphere of economic 
relations, especially since market institutions to replace 
the state have not been established. The resulting vacuum, 
Kocharyan continued, has above all damaged the agricultural 
sector, which badly needs state support.
	Kocharyan advocated economic policies aimed at 
establishing favorable conditions for attracting investment 
and for the development both of industry and of small and 
medium-sized businesses, with the goal of creating new jobs. 
He had told "Izvestiya" that Armenia has "the most open 
economic policy" of any CIS state, and he predicted that the 
optimal development of the country's technological capacity 
and its potential as a net exporter of energy could mean 
45,000-50,000 new jobs over the next two or three years. 
Asked whom he would select to implement his economic 
program, Kocharyan said only that "we know what needs to be 
done and how to do it." He said the idea of a coalition 
government is "unacceptable," but he did not exclude the 
inclusion in the new cabinet of "professionals" prepared to 
set aside their party affiliation. 
	Finance and Economy Minister Armen Darpinyan, whom 
Kocharyan named prime minister on 10 April, has also painted 
a rosy picture of Armenia's financial prospects. In an 
interview with "Respublika Armeniya" last month, he 
predicted foreign investment totaling $200 million this 
year. He also said he believes that by August, Armenia will 
receive an international credit rating that is "no lower 
than the best in the CIS." 
	Turning to foreign policy, Kocharyan pledged that 
Armenia will strive for "dynamic and mutually beneficial 
relations with our neighbors and with those states that have 
traditional strategic interests in the region" (meaning, 
above all, Russia). He also stressed that Yerevan will abide 
by the international agreements it has signed. He noted the 
importance of "a strong and disciplined army" as a guarantor 
of national security. And he underlined that it is "a 
responsibility of our generation" to ensure the active 
participation of the Armenian Diaspora in the social, 
political and economic life of the country, specifically 
through the introduction of dual citizenship. 
	As for Karabakh, which had precipitated the 
resignation of his predecessor, Levon Ter-Petrossyan, 
Kocharyan termed it a "pan-national issue" that should be 
resolved peacefully and "with dignity." A solution to the 
conflict, he added, must entail international recognition of 
the right of the people of Karabakh to self-determination 
and must guarantee the region's development within secure 
borders and "in constant geographical connection" with 
Armenia. That formulation implies demilitarization and 
international control of the strategic Lachin corridor 
linking Karabakh with Armenia.
	 Kocharyan discussed the Karabakh conflict in greater 
depth in his interview with "Izvestiya."  Declaring that 
"I'm not a hawk--I'm a pragmatist," the president again 
rejected Ter-Petrossyan's equation of his resignation with 
the advent to power of the "party of war." Kocharyan 
suggested that the differences between Armenia and 
Azerbaijan are so great that the Organization for Security 
and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group is unlikely to 
succeed in mediating a solution to the Karabakh conflict, 
especially as Baku's offer of broad autonomy for Nagorno-
Karabakh is "unacceptable." 
	At the same time, he affirmed his readiness for direct 
talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Heidar Aliev. 
Arguing that the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is 
already de facto independent, Kocharyan proposed that its 
future status be defined in terms of either a federation or 
a confederation with Azerbaijan or of establishing "equal, 
horizontal relations." But Kocharyan stressed that making 
such a decision is the prerogative of the Karabakh 
leadership. 


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