Every man passes his life in the search after friendship. - Emerson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 75 Part I, 20 April 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 75 Part I, 20 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

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Headlines, Part I

* YELTSIN, HASHIMOTO MEET "WITHOUT NECKTIES" IN KAWANA

* SELEZNEV SETS OUT TO SAVE DUMA

* KOCHARIAN NAMES NEW ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT
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RUSSIA

YELTSIN, HASHIMOTO MEET "WITHOUT NECKTIES" IN KAWANA... 
Russian President Boris Yeltsin met with Japanese Prime 
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto at Kawana resort, 130 kilometers 
south of Tokyo, on 18-19 April. The two leaders, who were 
meeting for the second time "without neckties," reviewed 
progress on implementing agreements they had concluded in 
Krasnoyarsk last November. The two leaders agreed that a 
joint investment fund will be established involving both the 
two governments and private companies. Yeltsin proposed that 
a Japanese automobile factory be built in the Moscow region. 
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. has already expressed interest in 
such a project. Yeltsin and Hashimoto also agreed that the 
joint commission on drafting a peace treaty between the two 
countries to end World War II must speed up its work. 
Yeltsin said he favors expanding the treaty to make it a 
"friendship" document as well. BP

...WHILE TWO VIEWS ON FOUR ISLANDS REMAIN. During their 
talks, Yeltsin and Hashimoto also discussed the four Kuril 
Islands, which both Russia and Japan claim as their 
territory. ITAR-TASS on 20 April reported that Japan was 
"flexible in discussing the line of the border in the South 
Kuril area." But the same source quotes Russian presidential 
spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii as saying "the Constitution 
of the Russian Federation declares Russian territory 
inviolable and indivisible." Yeltsin proposed joint projects 
on the islands, in particular fishing ventures. Hashimoto, 
for his part, proposed re-drawing the Russian-Japanese 
border between the islands of Iturup and Urup, in accordance 
with the dividing line in the 1855 treaty of Shimoda. The 
Japanese premier is also reported to have made another  
proposal about the islands, but the details are being kept 
secret until later this year. Yeltsin, however, revealed 
that it is "an interesting proposal," Japan's Kyodo news 
agency reported. BP

KIRIENKO SAYS CABINET POSTS NOT ON NEGOTIATING TABLE. Acting 
Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko has repeated that he will not 
use cabinet posts as bargaining chips in his battle to be 
confirmed by the State Duma. On 17 April, soon after the 
Duma rejected his candidacy for the second time, Kirienko 
said he is willing to hold more meetings with Duma members 
but will neither engage in "political discussions" nor 
"agree to any conditions," ITAR-TASS reported. In an 
interview with NTV on 19 April, Kirienko said he believes he 
has a "sufficiently high probability" of being confirmed in 
the third ballot. Even if the Duma rejects Kirienko on 24 
April, he will become prime minister unless Yeltsin decides 
to withdraw his nomination. The constitution obliges the 
president to dissolve the lower house and appoint a prime 
minister if his nominee for that post is rejected three 
times by the Duma. LB

SELEZNEV SETS OUT TO SAVE DUMA. Duma Speaker Gennadii 
Seleznev, a member of the Communist Party, announced on 17 
April that he will definitely vote for Kirienko in the third 
ballot, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. In an interview 
with Russian Public Television the next day, Seleznev argued 
that "Russia will not forgive us if we sacrifice the State 
Duma over a nomination for the prime minister." On 19 April, 
Seleznev told Russian Television that at a meeting of the 
Communist Party leadership later this week, he will argue 
that the Communists "do not have the right" to "leave Russia 
without a legislative assembly" by rejecting Kirienko. 
Seleznev added that new parliamentary elections would 
require at least 2 billion rubles ($326 million) in 
government funds and suggested that the costs would be at 
the expense of teachers, doctors, and soldiers. LB

ZYUGANOV SAYS STANCE ON KIRIENKO UNCHANGED. Communist Party 
leader Gennadii Zyuganov told NTV on 19 April that his party 
considers Kirienko "not acceptable" for the post of prime 
minister and will not support him in the third vote. 
Kirienko could be confirmed without the support of most 
Communist Duma deputies if the Agrarian and Popular Power 
factions back him. Four Agrarian deputies and five members 
of the Popular Power faction voted for Kirienko on 17 April, 
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Nikolai Kharitonov, the 
leader of the Agrarian faction, has called on Yeltsin to 
come to the Duma on 24 April to present Kirienko in person. 
A similar gesture by Yeltsin last December was credited with 
securing the approval of the 1998 budget in the first 
reading (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 December 1998). LB

ZHIRINOVSKY AGAIN DEMANDS GOVERNMENT POSTS. Liberal 
Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir 
Zhirinovsky has said his faction will support Kirienko in 
the third ballot if two or three "professionals" nominated 
by the LDPR are appointed to cabinet posts. Kirienko is 
unlikely to be confirmed without the support of the 51 LDPR 
Duma deputies. LDPR opposition is primarily responsible for 
Kirienko's relatively poor showing in the 17 April vote in 
the Duma, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. In the first vote 
on Kirienko's candidacy on 10 April, most deputies from 
Zhirinovsky's party voted to confirm Kirienko. LB

YABLOKO NOT TO BACK KIRIENKO. In an interview with RFE/RL's 
Moscow bureau on 18 April, Yabloko leader Grigorii 
Yavlinskii confirmed that his faction will not support 
Kirienko on the third ballot. He criticized Yeltsin for 
insisting on a prime ministerial candidate who has so little 
support in the Duma. He also called on the president to 
solve the political crisis by nominating someone for prime 
minister who does not belong to any political party and does 
not plan to run for president but has the experience to 
manage the economy. Yavlinskii declined to name possible 
candidates who, in his view, meet those requirements. LB

REGIONAL LEADERS WEIGH IN FOR KIRIENKO. Several regional 
leaders have called on Duma deputies to approve Kirienko on 
the third try, Russian news agencies reported on 17 and 18 
April. They include St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir 
Yakovlev, Kemerovo Oblast Governor Aman Tuleev, and 
Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petr Sumin. Before the Duma 
voted on 17 April, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said Kirienko 
"will be useful to Russia as prime minister" because he "is 
intelligent, can listen to others and find solutions," 
Interfax reported. Kirienko secured Luzhkov's support in 
part by signing a deal on transferring shares in the 
Moskvich car factory to the Moscow city government (see 
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 April 1998). LB

RUSSIA OFFICIALS SAY COOPERATION WITH IMF ON TRACK. Yevgenii 
Yasin, acting minister without portfolio, on 17 April said 
Russia's economic program for 1998, negotiated with IMF 
officials, will be implemented on schedule, an RFE/RL 
correspondent in Washington reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 
14 April 1998). At the same press conference, Central Bank 
Chairman Sergei Dubinin said Russia's 1998 budget meets 90 
percent of the IMF's new code of principles for fiscal 
transparency. Yasin and Dubinin said the Russian political 
situation was not discussed during the spring meetings of 
the IMF and the World Bank, and Dubinin told Interfax that 
the Duma's rejection of Kirienko will not affect talks 
between Russia and the fund. However, "Russkii telegraf" on 
18 April quoted an unnamed Russian government official as 
saying it took a long time to persuade IMF officials that 
the Russian delegation in Washington has sufficient 
authority to conduct talks, given the uncertainty 
surrounding the next government. LB

RUSSIA CHAFES AT SECOND-CLASS MEMBERSHIP IN G-8. Russian 
officials in Washington skipped a 15 April meeting of G-8 
finance ministers because they were not invited as full 
participants, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported 
on 16 April. It was the first time in five years that 
Russian officials did not attend the annual spring meeting 
of the finance ministers. As in previous years, they were 
invited only to report on economic reform in Russia. In 
explaining his intention to stay away from the meeting, 
Central Bank Chairman Dubinin called for Russia to be 
treated as a full member of the G-8 in economic as well as 
political matters. The next G-8 summit is to be held in the 
United Kingdom in May. Several member states believe Russia 
is not ready for full membership concerning economic 
matters. LB

LUZHKOV DISPUTES COMPARISON WITH LEBED. Moscow Mayor Luzhkov 
on 17 April denied that there any political similarities 
between himself and former Security Council Secretary 
Aleksandr Lebed, Russian news agencies reported. The 
influential businessman Boris Berezovskii announced the 
previous day that he is supporting Lebed's gubernatorial bid 
in Krasnoyarsk Krai in order to boost Lebed as a viable 
competitor with Luzhkov for the nationalist vote in the next 
presidential election (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 April 
1998). Luzhkov described himself as a "citizen of my 
country" and an outspoken patriot but claimed that 
Berezovskii had confused "sincere patriotism" with 
"chauvinism and nationalism." The mayor charged that Lebed 
is a "dangerous" and unpredictable politician who might 
impose "ruthless and bloody" dictatorial rule if he came to 
power. In addition, Luzhkov again denied that he harbors 
presidential ambitions but claimed that Lebed is running for 
governor only as a springboard for a future presidential 
bid. LB

LEBED RULES OUT PRESIDENTIAL BID IF HE LOSES IN KRASNOYARSK. 
Lebed told the network TV-Center on 19 April that his 
performance in the upcoming gubernatorial election in 
Krasnoyarsk Krai will determine whether he runs for 
president in 2000, Interfax reported the next day. Lebed 
said that if he loses the governor's race, he "will not 
waste either the time or the nerves" on running in the next 
presidential election. Many Russian media have predicted 
that Lebed will lose in Krasnoyarsk (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 
7 April 1998). He finished third in the first round of the 
1996 presidential election with some 15 percent of the vote. 
LB

FORMER GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL WINS DUMA SEAT IN KAMCHATKA. 
Aleksandr Zaveryukha, former deputy prime minister in charge 
of agriculture, won a 19 April by-election for a State Duma 
seat from Kamchatka Oblast, Russian news agencies reported. 
Zaveryukha won some 20 percent of the vote, followed by 
Vladislav Shved of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 
(17 percent) and Communist candidate Yurii Golenishchev (13 
percent). According to ITAR-TASS, some 20 percent voted 
against all the candidates. Zaveryukha was a founding member 
of the Agrarian Party of Russia, but that party revoked his 
membership in March 1996 after he supported a presidential 
decree giving farm workers the right to own and sell 
farmland (see "OMRI Daily Digest," 12 and 14 March 1996). 
Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov won the Kamchatka seat in 
1995 as a Yabloko candidate, but Yavlinskii's party failed 
to come up with a strong contender for the by-election. LB

FACTORY OFFICIAL WINS DUMA SEAT IN SVERDLOVSK. Dmitrii 
Golovanov, a 25-year-old deputy director of a factory in 
Yekaterinburg, has been pronounced the winner of a 
controversial by-election for State Duma seat from 
Sverdlovsk Oblast. Golovanov gained more votes than his 
rival, but a plurality of voters--some 40 percent--cast 
their ballots against all candidates, ITAR-TASS reported on 
17 April. The Central Electoral Commission pronounced 
Golovanov the winner, "Segodnya" reported on 18 April, even 
though the 1997 law on guarantees of voters' rights calls 
for elections to be declared invalid if more votes are cast 
"against all" than for the leading candidate. The newspaper 
also criticized Central Electoral Commission Chairman 
Aleksandr Ivanchenko for supporting the decision to annul a 
mayoral election in Nizhnii Novgorod, despite the fact that 
no court has ruled on alleged violations during the campaign 
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 and 8 April 1998). LB

STEPASHIN BLAMES CHECHENS FOR ATTACK ON RUSSIAN MILITARY. 
Acting Russian Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin has 
demanded that Chechnya extradite to Moscow Jordanian field 
commander Khottab, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 18 April. 
Stepashin claimed that Khottab masterminded the 16 April 
ambush of a Russian military convoy on the North Ossetian-
Ingushetian border. Lieutenant-General Nikolai Mukhin, who 
was wounded in the attack, told "Noviye izvestiya" that he 
is not certain that the attackers were Chechens. At the same 
time, he said he is convinced that they had been notified by 
an informer of the convoy's planned route. Chechen President 
Aslan Maskhadov on 18 April rejected accusations of Chechen 
involvement. He suggested that subordinates of former 
Russian Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov perpetrated the 
assault in the hope of taking advantage of the Russian 
government crisis to come to power, Interfax reported. 
Russian President Yeltsin blamed the attack on the 
"irresponsibility" of local military commanders, who, he 
claimed, failed to take the necessary security precautions. 
LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

KOCHARIAN NAMES NEW ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT. Armenian President 
Robert Kocharian issued several decrees on 20 April 
approving the new cabinet of Prime Minister Armen Darpinian. 
Acting Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian was confirmed as 
foreign minister, while Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsian and 
Interior and National Security Minister Serzh Sargsian (no 
relation to Vazgen) retained their posts. Eduard Sandoian, 
the head of the Armenian Central Bank Department for 
Control, Regulations, and Licensing, was named to replace 
Darpinian as finance and economy minister. Levon Mkrtchian 
of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), 
which was legalized by Kocharian immediately after the 
February resignation of President Levon Ter-Petrossian, was 
appointed minister of education and science. Addressing the 
parliament last week, Darpinian had said his ministers will 
be selected on the basis of their professionalism, 
regardless of their party affiliation. LF

ABKHAZIA ASKS GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT TO RECOGNIZE ITS 
INDEPENDENCE. The Abkhaz parliament on 17 April issued a 
statement requesting that the Georgian parliament formally 
recognize the region's independence, Interfax reported. The 
statement said that no lasting peace is possible until 
Georgia abandons its "unjustifiable and unworthy" claims on 
Abkhazia. The following day, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei 
Shamba criticized what he termed Russia's policy of agreeing 
to all Georgia's demands to increase pressure on Abkhazia. 
Shamba rejected as "unacceptable" measures outlined in the 
draft document "Decision on Additional Measures for 
Resolving the Conflict in Abkhazia," which is to be 
discussed at the upcoming CIS summit. In particular, he 
rejected the proposed creation in Abkhazia's southernmost 
Gali Raion of an interim administration that would include 
representatives of the UN and the Organization for Security 
and Cooperation in Europe. LF

GEORGIA SAYS BAKU-SUPSA PIPELINE TO BE COMPLETED ON 
SCHEDULE. Two Georgian companies engaged in repairs to the 
Georgian sector of the Baku-Supsa oil export pipeline issued 
a statement on 17 April denying press speculation that 
completion of the project may be delayed, Russian agencies 
reported. The statement affirmed that the pipeline will be 
completed on schedule by the fourth quarter of 1998, but it 
conceded that a decision has still not been taken on whether 
to expand the pipeline's capacity (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 
April 1998). If such a decision is taken, the schedule for 
completion of the project will be amended, the statement 
added. Also on 17 April, a spokesman for the Turkish company 
repairing the Azerbaijani sector of the pipeline told Turan 
that work on that sector is 80 percent completed. LF

U.S. AGAIN AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR CASPIAN ENERGY CORRIDOR. U.S. 
Ombudsman for the Newly Independent States Jan Kalicki and 
U.S. Assistant Energy Secretary Robert Gee held talks in 
Baku on 17 April with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, 
Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov, and Azerbaijan state oil 
company chairman Natik Aliev. The U.S. officials underlined 
Washington's support for the planned construction of an oil 
export pipeline from Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and 
of Trans-Caspian oil and gas pipelines to complement the 
existing northern pipeline from Baku via Grozny to 
Novorossiisk and the Caspian pipeline from Tengiz via 
Astrakhan to Novorossiisk, Turan reported. Heidar Aliev said 
Azerbaijan will "speed up" implementation of both the Baku-
Ceyhan and the Trans-Caspian projects. But a final decision 
on their construction has not yet been taken, and it is 
unclear how they will be funded. LF

TURKMEN OPPOSITION LEADER DETAINED IN ASHGABAT. Turkmen 
authorities took opposition leader and former Foreign 
Minister Avdy Kuliev into custody upon his arrival in 
Ashgabat on 17 April, RFE/RL correspondents reported. Kuliev 
was accompanied by his wife and Russian human rights 
activist Vitaly Panamarov. Kuliev's wife was briefly 
detained also, but Panamarov was put on a airplane back to 
Moscow. Kuliev is charged with trying to organize a coup, 
extortion, and organizing an unauthorized protest rally in 
July 1995. He told RFE/RL correspondents in early April that 
he would return to Turkmenistan following President 
Saparmurat Niyazov's announcement to the parliament in 
February that he is prepared to allow opposition parties in 
the country (see also "End Note"). BP

RAKHMONOV ELECTED PARTY LEADER IN TAJIKISTAN. President 
Imomali Rakhmonov has been elected chairman of the Tajik 
People's Democratic Party, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported 
on 18 April. Rakhmonov, who has been president since 
November 1994, is not a member of any party. His membership 
in the party paves the way for his nomination to the 
presidency in 1999 elections. BP 

RUSSIAN RADIO BECOMES VICTIM OF UZBEK CENSOR. State censors 
in Uzbekistan are prohibiting the dissemination of 
information about the launching of the radio station Evropa 
Plus Tashkent, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 17 April. The 
station is an affiliate of Moscow's Evropa Plus, and its 
broadcasts are in the Russian language. "Kommersant-Daily" 
noted that the radio station is not the first Russian 
organization to have problems with the Uzbek censor. 
Articles about Uzbekistan in the Russian newspapers 
"Argumenty i Fakti" and "Trud" (which are also printed in 
Uzbekistan) are regularly cut by local censors and replaced 
with "Uzbek advertising blocks." BP

END NOTE

WHEN INTERESTS COLLIDE

by Paul Goble

	Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's visit to the 
U.S. this week highlights the difficulties Western countries 
often face in combining the economic, political, and 
geopolitical interests they have in many of the post-Soviet 
states.
	At the same time, his visit calls attention to the 
dangers of pursuing one set of interests to the exclusion of 
others. It consequently highlights the need for an approach 
that takes all those interests into account. 
	As media coverage in advance of Niyazov's arrival has 
made clear, Turkmenistan now presents three very different 
faces to the world, some extremely attractive to the West 
and others precisely the opposite. 
	First, Turkmenistan has one of the largest reserves of 
natural gas in the world. Because of that, Ashgabat has 
already attracted enormous Western interest. Several former 
senior U.S. officials have taken up the cause of developing 
the gas fields there. And many of them have suggested that 
U.S. interests in securing access to this energy source 
should define U.S. policy toward Turkmenistan.
	Indeed, while some of those former officials have 
argued that the development of Turkmenistan's natural gas 
sector will lead to economic and later political change in 
that country, most have suggested that the stability 
provided by the current regime is so valuable that it should 
be exempt from the kind of withering criticism that its 
political system would seem to invite.
	Second, the Turkmen government is one of the least 
democratic in the entire region. Not only does Turkmenistan 
have a dismal record on human and civil rights, as 
documented by the U.S. Department of State and human rights 
groups, but the Turkmen authorities continue to show their 
contempt for both Western public opinion and the rule of 
law.
	With an eye on his upcoming visit, Niyazov said on 26 
March that he would be willing to yield some of his enormous 
political powers to the parliament and that he favors giving 
the citizens of his country an expanded role in the 
government. He even announced plans to amend the 
constitution to do so just that.
	Not unexpectedly, Niyazov's promises were greeted by 
many in the West as an indication that "Turkmenbashi," as 
Niyazov styles himself, really plans to change. But any 
optimism on that score must be tempered both by his own 
statement and by the more recent actions of his officials.
	While the Turkmen president said he was prepared to 
devolve power to the parliament and the people, he noted 
that he would introduce the necessary constitutional changes 
only after the December 1999 elections. And on 17 April, on 
the eve of Niyazov's visit to the U.S., Turkmen officials 
detained Avdy Kuliyev, the former Turkmen foreign minister 
and leader of the opposition in Turkmenistan, as he 
attempted to return to Ashgabat from Moscow. 
	Third, Turkmenistan--by virtue of its geographic 
location--will play a key role in the establishment of a 
new, post-Soviet balance of power in Central Asia and the 
Caspian basin. How Ashgabat relates to Russia, Iran, and the 
other countries of this region will define not only the 
direction Turkmenistan is likely to go but also the status 
of other countries as well. 
	If Turkmenistan remains dependent on Russia for 
pipeline routes to the West, then Moscow will be able to 
project power far more easily across all Central Asia. If it 
reaches an accommodation with Iran, the geopolitical balance 
will tilt in a different direction. And if it moves its gas 
in another direction, that balance will again shift.
	Because the consequences of Turkmenistan's decisions 
are so fateful, many foreign policy analysts have urged that 
they should be at the center of U.S. and Western concerns 
and should determine how the U.S. and other Western 
countries deal with Ashgabat on economic and human rights 
concerns.
	Advocates of giving primary attention to one of these 
three areas--economic, political, and geopolitical--often 
take positions that suggest the West should virtually ignore 
the other two. For example, supporters of economic 
involvement urge that the West downplay its human rights 
concerns, and human rights advocates sometimes dismiss the 
West's obvious economic interests.
	While superficially attractive, a Western approach to 
Turkmenistan or other countries in the region that reflects 
only one of these sets of interests will almost certainly 
prove self-defeating, just as has happened elsewhere when 
Western countries have focused on only one of the three and 
neglected the other two. 
	Consequently, President Niyazov's visit offers an 
opportunity to demonstrate that the West's interests in 
Turkmenistan are far broader than natural gas: they include 
a commitment to the democratic transformation of that 
country and a new geopolitical arrangement that gives the 
Turkmen people the chance to have a better future, both 
politically and economically.


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