There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won't, and that is the wife who can't cook and will. - Robert Frost
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 80 Part I, 27 April 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 80 Part I, 27 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

* KIRIENKO WORKS ON FORMING NEW GOVERNMENT

* LEBED TO ENTER KRASNOYARSK RUNOFF WITH 10 PERCENT LEAD

* SHEVARDNADZE DISMISSES DEFENSE MINISTER

End Note: DUMA RELENTS, APPROVES KIRIENKO
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RUSSIA

KIRIENKO WORKS ON FORMING NEW GOVERNMENT. Prime Minister 
Sergei Kirienko is to hold final consultations with State 
Duma deputies on 27 April to discuss the formation of the 
new cabinet. In an interview with Russian Television (RTR) 
on 26 April, Kirienko said he will submit his 
recommendations to President Boris Yeltsin on 28 April and 
the first cabinet appointments will be announced soon after. 
Yeltsin has the final say over ministerial appointments. 
Kirienko told RTR that he hopes to establish "constructive 
cooperation" with the Duma and to avoid "witch hunts" or 
"retaliation" in relations between the legislative and 
executive branches. He also confirmed that he will recommend 
some Duma deputies for cabinet posts, adding that those with 
the right professional qualifications will be nominated 
"regardless of which political parties or [Duma] factions 
they belong to, and regardless of how those factions voted" 
on his candidacy for prime minister (see also "End Note"). 
LB
 
MOST POLITICIANS HAIL KIRIENKO CONFIRMATION. Most leading 
Russian politicians breathed a sigh of relief after the Duma 
confirmed Kirienko on 24 April. In a televised address, 
Yeltsin described the vote as a "victory of reason over 
emotion," and "an understanding that we should keep the 
political balance and let the government work normally." 
Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev also praised the 
Duma deputies for allowing all state institutions to 
continue to function. (If the Duma had rejected Kirienko a 
third time, Yeltsin would have been obliged to dissolve the 
Duma and call new parliamentary elections within four 
months.) In contrast, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii 
said his faction's deputies voted three times "against 
bribes, pressure, and the decision" to nominate Kirienko, 
ITAR-TASS reported. Yavlinskii added that Kirienko's program 
is a "dead end" and argued that "the government is just an 
appendage of the presidential administration." LB

WILL COMMUNISTS WHO VOTED FOR KIRIENKO BE EXPELLED? 
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov has told Interfax 
and NTV that his party will consider expelling members who 
voted for Kirienko on 24 April. The party's Central 
Committee instructed Communist Duma deputies to oppose 
Kirienko and to boycott the vote if it were held by secret 
ballot (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 April 1998). Zyuganov, who 
advocated an open vote on Kirienko's candidacy, also 
described the final ballot on the acting prime minister as 
"dishonest." It is impossible to know exactly how many 
Communist Duma deputies broke ranks. Interfax quoted sources 
close to Zyuganov as saying that there were 12 defectors. 
But on 26 April, NTV estimated that approximately 40 
Communist deputies voted for Kirienko. Duma Speaker Gennadii 
Seleznev and Duma deputy Aleksei Podberezkin have admitted 
that they were among the members of the Communist faction 
who voted to confirm Kirienko. LB 

ZYUGANOV BLASTS POLITICAL RIVALS. Speaking to Interfax on 25 
April, Zyuganov sharply criticized the leaders of other 
major Duma factions. He said the Liberal Democratic Party of 
Russia's support for Kirienko demonstrated that party leader 
Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a "direct puppet of the Russian 
president." He also predicted that the Our Home Is Russia 
movement will "disintegrate" and do poorly in the next 
parliamentary and presidential elections. Both the LDPR and 
Our Home Is Russia Duma factions voted unanimously for 
Kirienko. Zyuganov also had harsh words for Yabloko leader 
Yavlinskii, whom he called a "false opposition member and 
opportunist." Yavlinskii has frequently said the same about 
Zyuganov, noting that only Yabloko has voted unanimously 
against many important government policies, such as the 1998 
budget. LB 
 
LUZHKOV WARNS KIRIENKO AGAINST 'RADICAL-LIBERAL' POLICIES. 
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov says the Moscow city government 
will support Kirienko as long as the new prime minister 
supports domestic industry and does not follow the "radical-
liberal" economic policies advocated by Russia's Democratic 
Choice leader Yegor Gaidar, Interfax reported on 25 April. 
Luzhkov strongly supported Kirienko's nomination after he 
and Kirienko signed an agreement on the transfer of a 
controlling stake in a major car manufacturer to the Moscow 
city government (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 April 1998). The 
Moscow mayor has long been a vocal critic of Gaidar and 
former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, saying 
their "monetarist" policies were destroying Russian 
industry. LB

LEBED TO ENTER KRASNOYARSK RUNOFF WITH 10 PERCENT LEAD. 
Preliminary results show that former Security Council 
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed gained 45 percent of the vote in 
the first round of the Krasnoyarsk Krai gubernatorial 
election on 26 April, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. 
Incumbent Governor Valerii Zubov gained 35 percent and will 
face Lebed in a runoff election tentatively scheduled for 17 
May. Duma deputy Petr Romanov, the Communist Party's 
candidate, came in third with 13 percent. Turnout was high 
at more than 61 percent. Lebed posted his strongest showing 
in rural areas and small cities, while Zubov outpolled Lebed 
in the capital city of Krasnoyarsk. An intense campaign 
against Lebed in the media controlled by krai authorities 
appears to have backfired. In addition, Lebed has received 
substantial financial support, especially from the 
businessman Boris Berezovskii. Zubov is now expected to 
court Romanov, but the support of the Communist candidate 
may not be enough to swing the race in his favor. LB

CLOSE RACE FOR TOP POST IN KARELIA. Sergei Katanandov, the 
former mayor of Petrozavodsk, and incumbent Viktor Stepanov 
will compete in a runoff election for the post of prime 
minister of the Republic of Karelia, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau 
reported on 27 April. Karelia does not have a presidency, 
and the prime minister is the republic's top elected 
official. In the first round on 26 April, Katanandov gained 
36 percent of the vote, compared with 34 percent for 
Stepanov. Katanandov was expected to post a stronger 
showing, according to an RFE/RL correspondent in Karelia. He 
had the support of the republican branch of Our Home Is 
Russia and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov. The Karelian branch 
of the Communist Party and directors of large enterprises 
are backing Stepanov, ITAR-TASS reported. Yabloko candidate 
Aleksandr Chazhengin finished third with 8.5 percent and may 
be a kingmaker in the second round. LB

IS RUSSIA HELPING INDIA WITH MISSILE DEVELOPMENT? Following 
an article in the 27 April "New York Times," concerns have 
again been raised that Russia is exporting military 
technology. According to that article, which cited unnamed 
senior U.S. officials, India is developing a sea-launched 
missile based on technology acquired from Russia. The new 
"Sagarika" missile, which would likely be launched from a 
submarine, would have a range of 320 kilometers, sufficient 
to hit targets well inside Pakistan and capable of carrying 
a nuclear warhead. India already has one Russian-built Kilo-
class submarine and is expected to receive another within a 
few months. ITAR-TASS reported on 30 March that India is 
considering buying more such submarines. India, meanwhile, 
insists that it is developing its missile system without 
outside help. BP

OUR HOME IS RUSSIA CARVES OUT NEW NICHE. The Our Home Is 
Russia (NDR) movement--informally known as the "party of 
power" when its leader, Viktor Chernomyrdin, was prime 
minister--held its fifth congress in Moscow on 25 April, 
Russian news agencies reported. In his address to the 
congress, Chernomyrdin congratulated his successor as prime 
minister and said the NDR will not be in opposition to the 
president or government. However, Chernomyrdin added that 
his movement will not "be silent when the authorities make 
mistakes." He advised Kirienko to form a "professional" 
team. (Within hours of Kirienko's confirmation on 24 April, 
NDR Duma faction leader Aleksandr Shokhin predicted that at 
least two NDR members will become government ministers.) 
Chernomyrdin also called on NDR members to pay special 
attention to issues such as wage and pension delays, job 
creation, and social protection for children and pensioners, 
Interfax reported. LB 

LDPR HOLDS PARTY CONGRESS. The Liberal Democratic Party of 
Russia (LDPR) re-elected Zhirinovsky as party leader at its 
eighth congress on 25 April (which was also Zhirinovsky's 
birthday), Russian news agencies reported. In a message to 
the congress, Yeltsin said the LDPR has "played a 
significant part in establishing political pluralism" in 
Russia. The president also said Zhirinovsky's party has 
"provided political support for implementation of decisions 
that were crucial for the country" and "devotes much 
attention to foreign policy issues and protection of the 
civil rights of our compatriots abroad." Zhirinovsky's 
behavior has often sparked scandals both on the Duma floor 
and outside the chamber (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 February 
and 13 March 1998). However, the LDPR usually votes with the 
government on important issues such as the budget. Most 
recently, the LDPR unanimously supported Kirienko's 
nomination for prime minister on 24 April. LB

RUSSIAN ARMS MONOPOLY DENIES HUGE FINANCIAL LOSSES. 
Rosvooruzhenie's press service issued a statement on 24 
April denying allegations that the company has lost $10 
billion since the sacking of former director Aleksandr 
Kotelkin in late August 1997, Interfax reported. Liberal 
Democratic Party of Russia Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovsky 
made those allegations while addressing the Duma earlier 
that day. Kotelkin's successor, Yevgenii Ananev, announced 
last week that Rosvooruzhenie exported arms worth $2.5 
billion in 1997 and plans to sell arms worth $3.5 billion to 
58 countries in 1998. LF

ANOTHER SUSPECT ARRESTED IN KHOLODOV CASE. Law enforcement 
authorities on 24 April arrested a third suspect in the 
October 1994 murder of "Moskovskii komsomolets" journalist 
Dmitrii Kholodov, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 April. The 
Prosecutor-General's Office has not released the new 
suspect's name, but Vladimir Kazakov, who heads the 
department in the Prosecutor-General's Office on 
investigating high-profile cases, told ITAR-TASS on 27 April 
that the latest person to be arrested is a civilian. Two 
former officers who served in the Airborne Troops were 
arrested in the Kholodov case in February (see "RFE/RL 
Newsline," 13 and 23 February 1998). Kholodov was 
investigating alleged military corruption when he was killed 
by a booby-trapped briefcase. LB

RUSSIAN PUBLISHING HOUSE SHELVES RUSHDIE TRANSLATION. 
Konstantin Tublin, one of the owners of the St. Petersburg 
Limbus Publishing House, announced on 24 April that he has 
abandoned plans to publish a Russian translation of Salman 
Rushdie's controversial novel "Satanic Verses," Interfax 
reported. Several Russian Muslim leaders had warned the 
previous day that the proposed publication was "an insult" 
to Russia's Muslims and could provoke a violent retaliation 
against the publisher (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 April, 
1998). Tublin argued that it is "abnormal" for writer, 
translator, or publisher to be sentenced to death over a 
book. He called on Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii 
Primakov to help achieve "a civilized settlement" to the 
controversy. LF 

CHECHEN-DAGESTANI CONGRESS ELECTS BASAEV. A 26 April 
congress of the Chechen and Dagestani peoples in Djohar-gala 
(formerly Grozny) selected Chechen Prime Minister Shamil 
Basaev as its chairman, ITAR-TASS reported. Sponsored by 
Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov's Islamic Nation 
movement, which advocates the annexation by Chechnya of 
several raions of Dagestan, the congress called for 
strengthening "the unity of the peoples" of the North 
Caucasus. Addressing delegates, Chechen Vice President Vakha 
Arsanov said that the congress's main aim is "to consolidate 
Islam in Chechnya and to spread it throughout the Caucasus." 
LF/PG

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

SHEVARDNADZE DISMISSES DEFENSE MINISTER. Georgian President 
Eduard Shevardnadze announced on 27 April that he will call 
a special session of the Georgian Security Council and will 
accept the resignation of Defense Minister Vardiko 
Nadibaidze, an RFE/RL correspondent in Tbilisi reported. 
Observers believe Shevardnadze initiated the defense 
minister's removal. In a radio interview broadcast on 27 
April, Shevardnadze cited many "mistakes" made recently by 
Nadibaidze, noting by way of example that two military 
planes were not able to accompany him to a 26 April meeting 
in Trabzon with his Azerbaijani and Turkish counterparts 
(see below). He also charged that a Defense Ministry tank 
unit failed to close off the main roads to Tbilisi on 9 
February, allowing terrorists who nearly assassinated 
Shevardnadze to escape. According to RFE/RL's correspondent, 
Nadibaidze was considered among the most pro-Russian 
officials in Shevardnadze's circle. His removal comes before 
the summit of CIS presidents scheduled for 29 April in 
Moscow. LB

RUSSIA WARNS AGAINST PLANNED GEORGIAN PROTEST. The Russian 
Foreign Ministry has issued a statement saying the 28 April 
mass protest planned by the youth wing of the Union of 
Citizens of Georgia on the internal border between Abkhazia 
and the rest of Georgia is "a new big provocation," ITAR-
TASS reported on 25 April. The protesters are to demand the 
redeployment throughout Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion 
of the CIS peacekeeping force currently stationed along the 
border. They argue that this measure is needed to expedite 
the repatriation of Georgians forced to flee the district 
during the 1992-1993 war. The Russian statement claimed that 
the Georgian government ignored earlier requests to put an 
end to "inadmissible" acts of violence against the 
peacekeepers. Also on 25 April, one person was killed and 
three injured in an exchange of fire between Abkhaz and 
Georgians in Gali, according to ITAR-TASS. And in a related 
development, the Georgian Foreign Ministry on 27 April said 
Tbilisi will not raise the issue of the withdrawal of 
peacekeepers at the upcoming CIS summit. LF/PG

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS DATA ON OUTMIGRATION. 
Shevardnadze on 25 April denied that up to 1.5 million 
people have left Georgia in recent years in search of 
employment, ITAR-TASS reported. He said that the number does 
not exceed 300,000-350,000. Caucasus Press on 24 April cited 
the figure of 1.5 million, which, it said, was based on data 
released at a government session earlier that day. LF

AZERBAIJANI, GEORGIAN, TURKISH PRESIDENTS MEET. Heidar 
Aliev, Shevardnadze, and Suleyman Demirel met in the Black 
Sea town of Trabzon on 26 April to discuss trilateral 
cooperation and construction of the planned Baku-Ceyhan 
export pipeline for Caspian oil. They planned to focus on 
the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process as well, AFP reported, 
citing "Azadlyg." The three presidents also attended a 
ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the 
Deriner hydro-electric project on the Chorokhi River south 
of the Turkish-Georgian frontier. Georgian ecologists have 
protested the proposed construction of the 200-meter high 
dam, claiming it will result in the mass erosion of 
Georgia's Black Sea beaches and the flooding of coastal 
areas (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 1, No. 7, 14 April 
1998). LF

IRANIAN AMBASSADOR REITERATES STANCE ON CASPIAN. Iranian 
Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Safari has affirmed that his 
country still opposes the Russian-Kazakh proposal to divide 
the bed of the Caspian Sea into national sectors, Interfax 
reported on 24 April. Safari said Tehran believes that each 
littoral state should have jurisdiction over a 10-mile zone 
and that the rest of the sea, including the sea bed, water, 
and surface, should remain common property. He argued that 
all questions related to the legal status of the sea should 
be resolved by consensus between all five littoral states. 
LF 

ARMENIA MARKS GENOCIDE ANNIVERSARY. President Robert 
Kocharian and members of the Armenian government on 24 April 
laid wreaths at a Yerevan memorial to the victims of the 
1915 genocide. Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, 
Kocharian confirmed his government's stated intention that 
in relations with Ankara, it will raise the issue of 
recognizing the genocide. He denied that the move will harm 
Armenian-Turkish relations. Kocharian also advocated that an 
article pledging to achieve recognition of the genocide be 
included in the Armenian Constitution, RFE/RL's Yerevan 
bureau reported. In a 23 April address to mark the 
anniversary, Kocharian argued that the absence of either 
recognition of or expressed regret for the genocide 
contributed to the mass killings of Armenians in Sumgait in 
1988 and Baku in 1990. He said that recognition of the 1915 
genocide will "advance world peace," Noyan Tapan reported. 
LF

NATURAL DISASTERS ASSAIL TAJIKISTAN. Over a 48-hour period 
last week, heavy rains resulted in four times the average 
monthly precipitation in large areas of Tajikistan, cutting 
off communications to many parts of the country, ITAR-TASS 
reported. Both heavy rains and a small earthquake on 24 
April are being blamed for landslides that have killed at 
least 15 people. In central Tajikistan's Garm region, a 
landslide hit the village of Navdi, leaving 12 dead and 
injuring 15. Damage to crops is likely to be severe. Health 
officials, meanwhile, are concerned that floods will wash 
bacteria into the country's water system, resulting in the 
spread of typhus and cholera. BP

KYRGYZ POLICE APPREHEND UZBEK SECURITY OFFICER. Kyrgyz 
police have taken a Security Service officer into custody 
after finding more than 3.5 kilograms of narcotics in his 
car, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 April. The officer was 
attempting to return to Uzbekistan from Kyrgyzstan's Osh 
region when a routine inspection at a customs post revealed 
a briefcase on the back seat filled with heroin and opium. 
BP

END NOTE

DUMA RELENTS, APPROVES KIRIENKO

by Floriana Fossato

	Sergei Kirienko, President Boris Yeltsin's nominee for 
prime minister, was confirmed at the end of last week after 
being rejected twice earlier this month. As expected, 
deputies of the State Duma (lower house) decided to cast 
their ballots in private, using special ballots in an 
election-style polling booth. This slower method allowed 
Communist deputies to depart from the Party line against 
Kirienko, agreed by Party leaders, and to vote without being 
seeing.
	Only members of Grigorii Yavlinskii's Yabloko faction 
kept their word and refused--as a bloc--to vote. Most other 
factions were split. 
	Kirienko needed 226 votes to be approved by the 450-
member Duma. With a total of 251 deputies backing Kirienko 
and 25 voting against, the outcome is seen as a clear 
victory for Yeltsin, who had refused to compromise with the 
Communist opposition and to offer another candidate. Having 
waited until the very last moment before acknowledging that 
Yeltsin would resolutely stick with Kirienko, Communist 
leaders seem to have lost their opportunity to take part in 
consultations with the Kremlin on the formation of the new 
government. 
	Even if the Duma had again rejected Kirienko, Yeltsin 
would have had the constitutional right to appoint the young 
technocrat as premier. He would also have had the right to 
dissolve the Duma and call early elections. That would 
effectively have paralyzed the adoption of much-needed 
economic legislation for most of 1998. By contrast, the more 
pragmatic Federation Council (the upper house), had urged 
the Duma to confirm Kirienko and avoid plunging Russia into 
new political and economic uncertainty.
 	The leader of the Our Home is Russia faction, 
Aleksandr Shokhin, said after casting his ballot that he 
would meet with Kirienko the same day to discuss cabinet 
posts. Our Home is Russia is led by former Prime Minister 
Viktor Chernomyrdin, who the day before the vote had said 
the movement's 67-member parliamentary faction would support 
Kirienko. Shokhin said that, in his opinion, "at least two 
representatives" of Our Home is Russia will join the 
government and that one would possibly even be a deputy 
prime minister.
	Russian media noted before the vote that Shokhin, a 
former economics minister, was hoping to replace acting 
First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov in a new 
government. Most analysts agree that Nemtsov, who originally 
brought Kirienko to Moscow, is likely to retain a prominent 
post in the new government.
	In recent weeks, "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" has led a 
strong campaign against Kirienko--apparently reflecting the 
view of Boris Berezovskii, the business magnates who 
controls the newspaper. Yeltsin is reported to have recently 
warned the magnate that he should limit his intrigues or 
leave the country. Berezovskii has denied those reports. 
However, Kremlin officials said in private conversations 
with RFE/RL correspondents that they believe unnamed 
"business interests" had influenced some deputies during the 
second round of vote, resulting in Kirienko's rejection. 
	Shortly before the third vote on Kirienko's 
nomination, "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" argued that the 
appointment of Kirienko might prove a "Pyrrhic victory" for 
Yeltsin if it prompted unnamed "oligarchs" to become the 
president's opponents. The newspaper also claimed that since 
Yeltsin sacked Chernomyrdin's government, Yeltsin has been 
unable to realize his goal of obtaining an "apolitical 
government of technocrats" that would better manage the 
economy. 
	On the same day as the third vote, Russian media 
controlled by business interests seen as close to 
Berezovskii ran reports about former Deputy Prime Minister 
Anatolii Chubais's possible appointment at Unified Energy 
Systems. First Radio Ekho Moskvy and then the commercial NTV 
television station quoted an unnamed source close to the 
presidential administration as saying that Yeltsin had 
assented to the appointment. Both the radio and the 
television are part of NTV Media Holding, a powerful media 
conglomerate controlled by Vladimir Gussinskii. 
	The presidential press service immediately 
"categorically denied" the rumor, and Chubais's spokesman 
Andrei Trapeznikov told RFE/RL that the reports were 
"political disinformation" designed to spoil the Duma vote 
and deter deputies from voting for Kirienko.
	In contrast, media financed by Oneksimbank, seen as 
close to Chubais and the so-called "reformist camp," have 
advocated appointing Chubais to head the electricity-
generating monopoly and putting Nemtsov in charge of 
supervising natural monopolies in the energy and 
transportation sectors. 
	Chubais's appointment, if confirmed by a meeting of 
the EES board of directors this month, would be welcomed by 
investors but would likely be bad news for some influential 
businessmen and politicians. Most observers agree it would 
keep Russia's second-largest company and most-traded stock 
in the hands of the reformist camp, thus giving the company 
the possibility to control one of the possible strategic 
sources of financing for the 2000 presidential election.
	Communist leaders' attempt to try to negotiate 
Chubais's possible appointment as a main condition for 
backing Kirienko was most likely a tactical mistake--
because, in the president's eyes, it may have linked the 
opposition with the "oligarchs." As one unidentified Kremlin 
official said recently, "Yeltsin is more and more convinced 
that he himself is a young reformer. After sacking 
Chernomyrdin and saying he wanted young people in the 
government to increase the pace of reform, the president is 
trying to stick exactly to what he said." 
	Skeptics, however, are asking how long Yeltsin will 
continue supporting the young reformers. He has provided 
ample proof in the past that his decisions can be most 
unpredictable. Also, Yeltsin's support will certainly not 
make it easier for Kirienko to work with a Duma that voted 
for him above all to maintain its own existence.

The author is a Moscow-based RFE/RL correspondent.

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