Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important, in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 93 Part I, 18 May 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 93 Part I, 18 May 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSPECIAL REPORTxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
COMMUNIST HOUSING: A FLAW IN THE DESIGN
More than 170 million people in Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union live in decaying housing complexes. This
five-part series examines the issues, compares East Berlin's
rehabilitation success story with Prague's less than
successful efforts, and describes the state of U.S. public
housing.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/housing/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* YELTSIN AT G-8 SUMMIT IN BIRMINGHAM

* LEBED WINS KRASNOYARSK ELECTION

* MINSK GROUP CO-CHAIRMEN CONTINUE TALKS

End Note: STILL STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN HOMELAND
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

YELTSIN AT G-8 SUMMIT IN BIRMINGHAM. President Boris
Yeltsin said he was satisfied with the results of the G-8
summit in Birmingham, England, Russian media reported.
Yeltsin said he spoke on all 12 issues on the summit's
agenda and "defended our stance if it did not coincide with
the opinion of the other summit participants." Russian press
hailed the summit as the first at which Russia participated
as a full member but noted that Yeltsin did not attend a
meeting to discuss the Asian financial crisis and that the
Russian financial minister was not invited to an earlier
session of the group's ministers. Yeltsin, however, pointed
out that no one referred to the summit as the "G-7." British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, for his part, on 17 May praised
the Russian contribution to the "G-8" summit. Members voted
to postpone a decision on Yeltsin's proposal to hold the
2000 annual gathering in Russia, rather than Japan, but
expressed support for his suggestion to organize a meeting
in Moscow next year on combatting crime. BP

YELTSIN MEETS WITH CLINTON... Yeltsin held a one-hour
meeting with President Bill Clinton on 17 May, ITAR-TASS and
Interfax reported. Yeltsin told the U.S. leader that he is
"determined" to have the START-2 treaty ratified and that
he is looking forward to Clinton's visit to Russia, which,
he said, he hopes will take place in July. Russian
presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii went one step
further, saying that after ratification of START-2, Russia
will begin a "practical phase of negotiations" designed to
facilitate the signing of START-3 and establish the
"complete parity of Russia and the United States in that
sphere." Both presidents called for the G-8 members to
increase controls over the export of military, rocket, and
dual-purpose technology. Yeltsin backed a continued U.S.
military presence in Macedonia. And he introduced Saratov
Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov to Clinton as the "next Russian
president." BP

...AND WITH BLAIR, BRITISH BUSINESSMEN. Yeltsin met
separately with Tony Blair on 15 May and reached tentative
agreement on an informal "meeting without neckties" (a term
used in Yeltsin's recent meetings with the Japanese prime
minister) in Russia next year. Yeltsin invited Britain to
participate in a project with Russia, Ukraine, France, and
Germany to produce An-70 transport planes. Yeltsin also met
with leading representatives of the British business
community, whom he called "our tried and trusted partners."
Some of the businessmen complained that starting prices for
shares in the Russian company Rosneft are too high. Yeltsin
said he will examine the issue. BP

YELTSIN TO HOLD TALKS WITH LATVIAN PRESIDENT? Arriving in
Birmingham on 15 May, Yeltsin said he is confident he will
soon meet with Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis and "reach
an agreement." He welcomed recent proposals by Riga to relax
citizenship regulations, noting that the "message" of those
proposals is "not to discriminate against Russians." "There
will be no discriminatory measures against the Baltic States
on our part," Yeltsin said. The president added that
relations with Estonia are "somewhat more complicated but we
will reach a solution to the problem." The next day,
Yastrzhembskii sounded a somewhat less conciliatory note,
saying Yeltsin plans to meet with Ulmanis but only "on the
basis of a request from the Latvian side." He said that
without changes in the citizenship law recommended by such
international bodies as the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, "it is hard to expect progress in
Russian-Latvian relations." JC

LEBED WINS KRASNOYARSK ELECTION... Former Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed won the 17 May gubernatorial
election in Krasnoyarsk Krai with 57 percent of the vote.
His rival, incumbent Valerii Zubov, gained 38 percent,
despite running a more active campaign than Lebed in the
runup to the second round. Turnout was some 63 percent,
roughly the same as in the first round. After the early
returns were announced, Zubov told NTV that he will not
contest the election results. But ITAR-TASS quoted an
unnamed source in the Krasnoyarsk Krai Electoral Commission
as saying Lebed's staff violated several campaign
regulations. The source said the violations were sufficient
to justify annulling the election and that the prosecutor's
office has already been informed about those violations.
Some commentators have predicted that the authorities would
annul the election in the event of a Lebed victory (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 7 and 12 May 1998). LB

...LEAVES DOOR OPEN ON PRESIDENTIAL BID. Appearing on NTV on
18 May, after the early election results were announced,
Lebed said he has no plans "for now" to run for president in
2000. He noted that presidential campaigns are expensive and
time-consuming and that "big and difficult" work awaits him
as Krasnoyarsk governor. However, he did not rule out a
presidential bid "if I am needed." During the campaign,
Zubov repeatedly charged that Lebed has no roots in
Krasnoyarsk and merely wants to use the Siberian region's
natural resources to help finance a presidential campaign.
Lebed has repeatedly said he will not run for president
until he improves the Krasnoyarsk economy. During a 15 May
appearance on local television, he appeared to rule out
running in 2000, saying that "it is not possible to turn
around the situation in the region within two years," AFP
reported. LB

GOVERNMENT PROMISES SUPPORT FOR COAL INDUSTRY... Prime
Minister Sergei Kirienko announced on 16 May that the
federal government has found additional funds for the coal
industry, although he did not specify how much will be spent
on top of the 5.7 billion rubles ($930 million) allocated in
the 1998 budget, Russian news agencies reported. Speaking to
journalists after a meeting with leaders of trade unions
that represent coal industry workers, Kirienko said
privatization and alcohol sales will bring in additional
revenues, and money will be saved by limiting energy
consumption by budget-funded organizations. Deputy Prime
Minister Boris Nemtsov, who also attended the meeting, said
the government will spend 385 million rubles on back wages
for miners by the end of May. LB

...AS KIRIENKO LINKS ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO BUDGET CUTS.
Kirienko addressed the State Duma on 15 May after Communist
deputies threatened to block parliamentary proceedings if
the prime minister did not come to the chamber to report on
the situation in the coal industry, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported. Kirienko proposed a draft law that would cut 1998
spending on the State Duma, the Federation Council, the
government, the Audit Chamber, and the presidential
administration by 25 percent. He said the measure would save
500 million rubles ($81 million), which would be used to
support the coal industry. The Duma passed the law in the
first reading by 369 to two, Russian news agencies reported
on 15 May. However, Agrarian faction leader Nikolai
Kharitonov accused Kirienko of using the difficult situation
in the coal sector to propose a "hidden sequester of the
1998 budget." The budget projects 500 billion rubles in
total 1998 spending. LB

MINERS UNIMPRESSED BY PROMISES. The promises by top
government officials to find more money for the coal sector
did not persuade miners in Komi Republic or Kemerovo Oblast
to end their blockades of the Moscow-Vorkuta railroad or the
Trans-Siberian railroad (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 May
1998). Meanwhile, 100 coal miners in Perm Oblast blocked a
major highway on 18 May, ITAR-TASS reported. LB

KIRIENKO OUTLINES HIS RESPONSIBILITIES... Prime Minister
Kirienko has signed a document assigning the
responsibilities within his cabinet, Russian news agencies
reported on 15 May. In addition to supervising the
activities of other cabinet members, Kirienko will be
directly involved in the work of the following ministries:
Atomic Energy, State Property, Science and Technologies,
Agriculture, Finance, Economics, and Justice. He will also
monitor the work of the "power ministries," which are
directly subordinate to the president, and will coordinate
Russian policy on arms exports, military and technical
cooperation with other countries, and military reform. LB

...AND DIVISION OF LABOR AMONG HIS DEPUTIES. Deputy Prime
Minister Nemtsov will carry out the prime minister's duties
in Kirienko's absence, according to the document signed by
Kirienko. He will also be responsible for land reform and
housing policy and will coordinate government policies on
energy, transportation, regulating natural monopolies,
ensuring competition, and supporting small businesses.
Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko will be responsible
for a wide range of economic issues, including the
development of the banking sector, the management of state
property, privatization, revenue collection efforts, and
matters related to Russia's internal and external debt.
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Sysuev will supervise the
government's social policies, in particular pension reform,
restructuring the social benefits system, and health and
education matters. He will also coordinate the government's
relations with the mass media, trade unions, public
associations, and religious organizations. LB

CHUBAIS REASSURES FOREIGN SHAREHOLDERS. Unified Energy
System (EES) chief executive Anatolii Chubais on 16 May said
a new law on the distribution of the company's shares does
not threaten foreign shareholders, Interfax reported. He
criticized the law, which restricts foreign ownership of EES
to a maximum of 25 percent, but added that the Russian civil
code protects the rights of shareholders. The law does not
specify how foreign ownership of EES, currently above 25
percent, is to be reduced (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 May
1998). Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Yastrzhembskii on
15 May charged that the Duma "stabbed the market economy in
the back" by passing the law on EES shares. He did not
comment on the fact that Yeltsin was compelled to sign the
law only after the Federation Council, made up of regional
legislative and executive leaders, also overrode the
president's veto. LB

MAYOR CRUSHES INCUMBENT GOVERNOR IN SMOLENSK. Smolensk Mayor
Aleksandr Prokhorov won the 17 May gubernatorial election in
Smolensk Oblast with 67.3 percent of the vote, ITAR-TASS
reported. Incumbent Anatolii Glushenkov gained just 26.5
percent, according to preliminary returns. The Smolensk race
was unusual in that Prokhorov had the backing of both the
Communist Party and the presidential administration,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 16 May. The Communists were
disillusioned with Glushenkov, whom they supported in the
1993 gubernatorial election. The Kremlin recognized that
Prokhorov had better electoral prospects and is counting on
him to "forget" the promises he made to the Communists
during the campaign. The oblast has traditionally been a
Communist stronghold: Gennadii Zyuganov received 56 percent
of the vote in the region in the 1996 presidential election,
while Yeltsin gained just 38 percent. LB

INCUMBENT LEADER LOSES IN KARELIA. Preliminary returns
suggest that Sergei Katanandov gained 49.5 percent of the
vote in the 17 May election for the top executive post in
the Republic of Karelia, ITAR-TASS reported. Incumbent
Viktor Stepanov, who was backed by the Communist Party and
its political allies, gained 43.4 percent. Katanandov was
until last month mayor of Petrozavodsk, the republic's
capital city, but he did not seek re-election, choosing
instead to challenge Stepanov. His supporters included the
Our Home Is Russia movement, the Liberal Democratic Party of
Russia, and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov. Katanandov told
ITAR-TASS that among his first actions will be to conduct an
audit of his predecessor's allocation of funds. LB

COURT APPROVES DECISION TO ANNUL NIZHNII ELECTION. A raion
court in Nizhnii Novgorod on 15 May approved the decision by
the city's electoral commission to annul the 29 March
mayoral election, Russian news agencies reported. The court
found that Andrei Klimentev, the apparent winner of the
election, and several rival candidates violated various
campaign rules in the weeks leading up to the election. The
city's electoral law allows election results to be canceled
if candidates break campaign rules. But some observers have
said the Nizhnii Novgorod statute violates federal law (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 8 April 1998). A representative for
Klimentev announced plans to appeal to the Nizhnii Novgorod
Oblast Court. LB

RUSSIAN, CHECHEN INTERIOR MINISTERS DISCUSS COOPERATION.
Meeting in the Ingush capital, Nazran, on 16 May, Sergei
Stepashin and Kazbek Makhashev agreed on measures to
intensify cooperation between their ministries. Makhashev
told journalists that the talks were "productive and
useful" and that, as a professional, Stepashin understands
the importance of coordinating measures to combat kidnapping
and political terrorism. He also said that the man who shot
dead Chechen Deputy Security Minister Shamsudi Uvaisayev,
former Foreign Minister Ruslan Chimaev, and two others
during the night of 15-16 May was insane. Makhashev ruled
out any political dimension to the murders. The following
day, Stepashin met with Chechen field commanders to discuss
how to secure the release of some 50 Russian and foreign
hostages, including Russian presidential envoy to Chechnya
Valentin Vlasov. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

MINSK GROUP CO-CHAIRMEN CONTINUE TALKS. The co-chairmen of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's
Minsk Group met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian in
Yerevan on 15 May. Kocharian again called for direct talks
between the Karabakh and Azerbaijani leaderships and ruled
out any direct subordination of Nagorno-Karabakh to
Azerbaijan. He also advocated establishing a "sub-regional
security system" to create a balance of forces in the
region. The president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic, Arkadii Ghukasyan, said on 15 May that he believes
the conflict can be resolved if all sides demonstrate the
necessary political will, Interfax reported. Ghukasyan said
that the Minsk Group co-chairmen showed "understanding" for
the Karabakh Armenian position. Azerbaijani President Heidar
Aliev told the co-chairmen in Baku on 16 May that he hopes
for a swift solution to the conflict. He also reaffirmed his
commitment to the cease-fire agreement signed in May 1994.
LF

UN SPECIAL ENVOY ASSESSES ABKHAZ SITUATION. Speaking in
Sukhumi on 16 May, Liviu Bota expressed concern at the
increased incidence of what he termed professionally planned
and executed terrorist activities in Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS
reported. Bota said that neither Abkhazia nor Georgia
appears to want peace and that the withdrawal of
peacekeeping forces from the region would render the
situation potentially explosive. Bota also rejected Georgian
calls for a stricter economic blockade of Abkhazia, saying
he does not believe the embargo is conducive to resolving
the conflict. The Georgian leadership wants the blockade to
remain in force until ethnic Georgians who fled Abkhazia
during the 1992-1993 fighting have been repatriated. But
Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba on 15 May told
representatives of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
that the beginning of repatriation should be contingent on
lifting the embargo. LF

ABKHAZ PARLIAMENT, PRESIDENT REJECT CIS PROPOSALS. The
Abkhaz parliament on 15 May adopted a resolution rejecting
the "Additional Measures on resolving the Abkhaz conflict"
adopted at last month's CIS summit, Caucasus Press reported.
The resolution said those measures are a concerted effort
to exert pressure on Abkhazia by the Russian and Georgian
Foreign Ministries. It called on Ardzinba to propose that
the CIS peacekeeping force's mandate be revoked and to
reject further Russian mediation. Ardzinba, for his part,
rejected the proposals contained in the "Additional
Measures" to extend the security zone in which the CIS
peacekeepers are deployed and to create joint Abkhaz-
Georgian local government bodies in Abkhazia's southernmost
Gali Raion. Ethnic Georgian displaced persons are to be
repatriated to that area. LF

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION AGAIN PROTESTS ELECTION LEGISLATION.
Musavat Party chairman Isa Gambar and Azerbaijan Popular
Front chairman Abulfaz Elchibey said that the parliament's
adoption in the third and final reading of a new law on the
creation of the Central Electoral Commission is "an
erroneous step by the authorities," Turan reported on 15
May. Under that law, half of the 24 members of the Central
Electoral Commission are to be appointed by the president
and the other half by the ruling New Azerbaijan party.
Elchibey hinted that opposition parties may boycott the
October presidential poll to protest the law. By the same
token, Gambar said that his party may boycott the elections
if changes are not made in the draft law on the presidential
elections to remove the minimum 50 percent plus one turnout.
LF

UTO COMPLAINS ABOUT 'TROIKA' AGREEMENT. The leader of the
United Tajik Opposition, Said Abdullo Nuri said the decision
to form a "troika" of Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to
combat the threat of fundamentalism in Central Asian
endangers the Tajik peace process, ITAR-TASS reported on 15
May. Nuri called the threat "an invention" of "certain
circles" and said "fundamentalism does not exist in
Tajikistan." The next day, ITAR-TASS quoted Tajik President
Imomali Rakhmonov as a saying fundamentalism is a real
threat in the region and claiming that religious radicals
are already disseminating fundamentalist propaganda in
Tajikistan. BP

AKAYEV TO RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM AS KYRGYZ PRESIDENT? Kyrgyz
Prime Minister Kubanychbek Jumaliev on 14 May said that
current President Askar Akayev is eligible to run in the
2000 presidential elections, RFE/RL correspondents reported.
Akayev was elected by the Supreme Soviet as president of the
Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990, and he was
twice voted Kyrgyz president in direct elections, in 1991
and 1995. The Kyrgyz Constitution stipulates that a
president may stay in office for only two terms, but
Jumaliev said the constitution was adopted in 1993 and
therefore covers only the last presidential election. There
are also reports that parliamentary deputies are drawing up
an amendment to make possible a third term in office for the
president. BP

END NOTE

STILL STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN HOMELAND

by Mubeyyin Batu Altan

	On 18 May, Crimean Tatars mark the 54th anniversary of
their mass deportation from Crimea by the Soviet
authorities. Although that was one of the saddest days in
the history of the Crimean Tatar people, they are by no
means the only ones who have to live with such a heritage.
Among the other nations deported by Stalin were the Koreans,
Chechens, Ingush, Karachais, Volga Germans, and Kalmyks, to
name just a few. Why then do we, the Crimean Tatar
community, consider 18 May so important?
	The reason is simple: the "Surgun," as the mass
deportation is called in Crimean Tatar, has not yet ended.
More than half of the Crimean Tatars deported 54 years ago
have so far been unable to return, even though most other
deported groups are now back in their historical homelands.
Along with the Ahiska (Meskhetian) Turks, the Crimean Tatars
stand out as the nation that continues to experience the
direct effects of deportation and not just the resulting
dislocation.
	If the Crimean Tatars had been helped to return to
their homeland, had received an apology from those
responsible, and had been compensated for their losses, 18
May would not have the significance it is currently
accorded. It would, of course, be commemorated as a time of
mourning. But the next day, Crimean Tatars would return to
normal life.
	Unfortunately, they do not have that option. And as a
result, the Crimean Tatars have no choice but to make a big
fuss about their deportation and thus keep the memory of 18
May 1944 alive. Their nation remains divided; many still
have relatives in Uzbekistan or other parts of the former
Soviet Union who cannot yet return to Crimea . Indeed, many
continue to search for relatives lost during the "Surgun,"
as a glance at Crimean Tatar newspapers shows.
Advertisements in those papers reveal that even now, many
Crimean Tatars have been unable to find out whether their
loved ones are alive or dead.
	Moreover, it appears that many Crimean Tatars are
losing ground in their peaceful struggle to return and
resettle in their Crimean homeland. Some 90.000 Crimean
Tatars were denied the right to cast their ballots in the
March 1998 Ukrainian elections because Kyiv does not
consider them citizens of Ukraine--despite the fact that
they were forcibly and unjustly uprooted from their homeland
and did not become Uzbek citizens by choice. As a result,
the Crimean Tatars have almost no representation in the
current Crimean parliament--in sharp contrast to the
situation before the March ballot, when they had 14
representatives in the legislature.
	 Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov, the two Crimean
Tatar representatives in the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv,
are bound to find it extremely difficult to shoulder the
responsibility for an entire people, even with the support
of the Ukrainian government. And unfortunately, it appears
that there are many in Kyiv who will seek to block their
efforts to help the Crimean Tatars.
	On 17 May, Crimean Tatars living in the U.S. once
again peacefully gathered to commemorate the "Surgun." At a
special ceremony in Corum, New York, they dedicated the
first Crimean Tatar monument in honor of all Crimean Tatars
who were killed or died during the "Surgun" and its
aftermath. And, in particular, they remembered those whose
bodies were thrown off the trains carrying the Crimean
Tatars from their homeland to Uzbekistan.
	But for the Crimean Tatars in Crimea and for those
still living in exile, everyday is another "18 May." This
will remain the case until all the Crimean Tatars are able
to return and settle in their ancestral homeland, until they
are allowed to live there in peace and harmony with other
nationalities just as they did before the "Surgun." But as
they continue their struggle, it is both their hope and ours
that there will be no more martyrs to add to the long list
of those who have already died for the Crimean Tatar
national cause.

The author is editor of "Crimean Review," a U.S.-based,
English-language publication dedicated to recording the
history and current status of the Crimean Tatars.

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