You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 96 Part I, 21 May 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 96 Part I, 21 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx SPECIAL REPORT xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: MAKING IT WORK FOR HUMANITY Next
month, work will begin on the creation of a permanent
International Criminal Court. This four-part series explores
the ramifications of a new criminal court and how the
current war crimes tribunals are handling cases related to
the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/courts/index.html

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* NEMTSOV SAYS GOVERNMENT WON'T GIVE IN TO MINERS'
'BLACKMAIL'

* SHOOTINGS, ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMO IN DAGESTANI CAPITALE

* GEORGIANS FLEE AS ABKHAZ FIGHTING INTENSIFIES

End Note: FORMER KREMLIN SECURITY CHIEF MAKES MORE
DISCLOSURES
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

NEMTSOV SAYS GOVERNMENT WON'T GIVE IN TO MINERS'
'BLACKMAIL.' Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov announced
on 20 May that striking coal miners will not succeed in
"blackmailing the government," Russian news agencies
reported. Addressing the Federation Council, Nemtsov said
that those who are blocking railroads will not be paid more
than they are slated to receive from the 1998 budget. He
noted that while the constitution guarantees the right to
strike, "no one has the right to destroy the country" and
paralyze the economy by blocking railroads. Meanwhile, Tax
Police chief Nikolai Medvedev said tax police squads will be
sent to five coal-mining regions to investigate the causes
of the current crisis, ITAR-TASS reported. He suggested that
directors of private coal companies employ dubious financial
practices and are responsible for many of the problems
afflicting unpaid miners. LB

UPPER HOUSE SEEKS JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SESSION WITH YELTSIN.
The Federation Council on 20 May voted in favor of inviting
President Boris Yeltsin to a joint session of both chambers
of the parliament, Russian news agencies reported. Earlier
in the day, the State Duma passed a similar appeal for
convening a joint session of parliament, to be attended by
Yeltsin, to discuss the current situation in the coal
industry. Yeltsin has not yet responded to the proposal,
which Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev vowed to raise
in person at a meeting of the "big four" scheduled for 21
May. In televised remarks on 20 May, Yeltsin cautioned
against "over-dramatizing" the situation in the coal
industry, saying he recently signed a decree that satisfied
miners, trade unions, regional authorities, and railroads.
LB

RAILROAD OFFICIAL SAYS MINERS' PROTESTS MISGUIDED. Railroad
Minister Nikolai Aksenenko on 20 May expressed sympathy for
unpaid coal miners but criticized the practice of blocking
railroads, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Suggesting that
the miners are hurting their own cause, Aksenenko said some
factories that cannot receive coal shipments are seeking to
purchase coal from abroad in order to meet their needs for
fuel. (ITAR-TASS reported that the Severstal metallurgical
plant in Vologda Oblast has already starting buying coal
from Finland.) According to the Railroad Ministry's press
service, nearly 300 trains have been delayed because of the
miners' strikes. As of 20 May, the blockages have cost
Russian railroads 111.2 million rubles ($18 million). Miners
have entirely cut off the Trans-Siberian and North Caucasus
railroads and are allowing only passenger trains to pass a
blockade on the Moscow-Vorkuta railroad. LB

STUDENTS, EDUCATORS HOLD ONE-DAY PROTEST. More than 50,000
people took part in dozens of protests staged on 20 May by
students, teachers, and professors in 32 regions of the
Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported, citing estimates
released by the Interior Ministry. Some 10,000 people
attended a rally in St. Petersburg, at which speakers
slammed education reform plans and the chronic underfunding
of the education system, RFE/RL's correspondent in the city
reported. In Moscow, protesters marched to the government's
headquarters. In many cities, educators suspended classes or
attended demonstrations. Teachers in Arkhangelsk Oblast went
further, announcing that they will not conduct graduation
exams until they receive all back wages, ITAR-TASS reported.
LB

MINISTER TRIES TO ALLAY FEARS ON EDUCATION REFORM. Deputy
Prime Minister Oleg Sysuev, who is in charge of coordinating
the government's social policies, announced on 20 May that a
proposal to reform Russia's education system has been
withdrawn from the agenda of a cabinet session scheduled for
June, ITAR-TASS reported. Speaking to a group of
participants in the teachers' and students' protests, Sysuev
also said the government will on 21 May consider urgent
measures to settle wage arrears to workers in the education
sector. Earlier this year, officials announced planned cost-
cutting reforms in Russia's education system (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 19 and 25 March 1998). The plans have triggered
anxiety among students and teachers. Several protesters
interviewed on 20 May by an RFE/RL correspondent expressed
concern that the reforms will put higher education out of
reach for those who do not come from wealthy families. LB

SHOOTINGS, ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMO IN DAGESTANI CAPITAL. Police
in Makhachkala have surrounded a house owned by State Duma
deputy and chairman of the Union of Muslims of Russia
Nadirshakh Khachilaev, Russian media reported. A group of
gunmen took refuge in the house after shooting dead one
police official and injuring three more in a dispute on 20
May. The gunmen again clashed with police while trying to
break through the cordons the next day. Also on 21 May,
several thousand people occupied the government building in
the center of Makhachkala to call for the resignation of the
region's government and for free presidential elections,
ITAR-TASS reported. The republic's parliament amended the
constitution in March to allow the present state council
chairman Magomedali Magomadov to seek a second term. The
state council chairman is elected by a 242-person
Constitutional Assembly, not by direct vote. LF

DUMA APPROVES SPENDING CUTS TO AID COAL INDUSTRY. The Duma
on 20 May approved in the second and third readings a
government-backed amendment to the 1998 budget calling for
526 million rubles ($86 million) in spending cuts, ITAR-TASS
reported. The law calls for saving 94 million rubles in
spending on the presidential administration, 90 million
rubles on maintaining the Duma, 32 million rubles on the
Federation Council, 296 million rubles on executive agencies
(including 32 million rubles in spending reductions on the
government's apparatus), as well as 14 million rubles in
savings on holding elections and referenda. The law earmarks
the saving for state support for the coal industry and now
goes to the Federation Council for approval. The 1998 budget
calls for 499.9 billion rubles in total expenditures. LB

GAZPROM TO FORGE AHEAD IN IRAN. Gennadii Yezhov, press
secretary to Gazprom board chairman Rem Vyakhirev, said on
20 May that Vyakhirev welcomes the U.S.-EU agreement not to
impose sanctions on the three companies that intend to
exploit Iran's South Pars natural gas field, Interfax
reported. Gazprom formed a consortium last year with
France's Total and Malaysia's Petronas to develop South
Pars. Vyakhirev affirmed that Gazprom intends to continue
its activities in Iran regardless of the possible threat of
penalties. On 19 May, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov
had welcomed the U.S.-EU decision not to impose sanctions,
which he termed a victory for common sense. LF

DUMA DEPUTY CLAIMS OLIGARCHS COMPETE FOR FISSIONABLE
MATERIALS. Aleksandr Pomorov of the Communist faction
charged on 20 May that influential businessmen Boris
Berezovskii and Vladimir Potanin have abandoned their
competition to control oil reserves and are now engaged in a
struggle to gain control of nuclear enterprises, Interfax
reported. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Pomorov
claimed that some provisions of the Russian-U.S. agreement
on the use of highly enriched uranium extracted from nuclear
missiles violate existing non-proliferation agreements. He
said the Duma has prepared a draft law on ending the non-
regulated export of fissionable materials. LF

TURKISH CHIEF OF STAFF IN MOSCOW. General Ismail Hakki
Karadayi held talks in Moscow on 20 May with his Russian
counterpart, Anatolii Kvashnin, and Russian Defense Minister
Igor Sergeev, the "Turkish Daily News" reported. Karadayi
and Kvashnin signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at
strengthening the national security of both countries and
security in the Black Sea region as a whole. The document
also seeks to step up the participation of both countries in
joint exercises within NATO's Partnership for Peace program.
The two generals also agreed to prepare an accord on
cooperation in the defense industry. Karadayi later told
journalists he asked for "clarification" of Russia's
position on the sale to Greek Cyprus of S-300 air defense
missiles. "There is not yet a clear Russian position on this
issue..., we don't yet know what the Russians will do," he
commented. LF

STAGE SET FOR IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS. Communist Party
leader Gennadii Zyuganov announced on 20 May that his
faction and its allies have collected 177 signatures in
favor of initiating proceedings to remove Yeltsin from
office, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. The Duma can now
create a special parliamentary commission to consider the
charges against the president before an impeachment motion
is put to a vote. According to Interfax, the Communist
faction has prepared a 12-page document outlining evidence
of "high crimes" committed by Yeltsin. The document cites
the economic hardship that has accompanied the
implementation of policies supported by Yeltsin. It also
blames Yeltsin for current demographic trends and says the
president must be called to account for signing the
agreement to dissolve the USSR in December 1991, for
carrying out a "state coup" in October 1993, for the war in
Chechnya, and for the decline in the Russian armed forces.
LB

DUMA REPLACES ROKHLIN AS DEFENSE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN. The
Duma on 20 May approved an agreement distributing the
chamber's leadership posts among the seven Duma factions,
Russian news agencies reported. Of the 28 Duma committees,
25 retain the same heads that were selected in January 1996.
But Our Home Is Russia member Roman Popkovich will replace
Lev Rokhlin as chairman of the Defense Committee. Rokhlin
was the number three candidate for Our Home Is Russia in the
1995 Duma elections, but last year he became an outspoken
critic of the authorities. Russian Regions faction member
Aleksandr Zhukov will chair the powerful Budget Committee,
which was headed by Yabloko member Mikhail Zadornov before
he joined the government last November. In exchange, Yabloko
member Boris Misnik will become head of the Committee on the
Far North, replacing Russian Regions member Vladimir Goman,
who was recently appointed to the cabinet. LB

FEDERATION COUNCIL IGNORES YELTSIN'S OPINION ON LAWS. The
Federation Council on 20 May overrode a presidential veto of
the law on the status of military personnel, despite
Yeltsin's objection that the state lacks the financial
resources to implement that law, ITAR-TASS reported. In
addition, the Council overrode a veto of a law making it a
crime to carry out "unlawful" power cuts that could lead to
deaths. Anatolii Sliva, the president's representative in
the upper house, called on deputies to postpone
consideration of that law pending clarification of the term
"unlawful stoppage." Earlier in the day, the Council
approved a land code that is almost certain to be rejected
by Yeltsin (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 May 1998). From 1994-
1996, when Yeltsin had the power to sack most regional
leaders, the Federation Council rarely passed laws opposed
by the president or garnered the two-thirds majority needed
to override a presidential veto. LB

LUZHKOV LOSES LIBEL SUIT AGAINST GAIDAR. A Moscow municipal
court has rejected Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's and the Moscow city
government's libel lawsuit against Russia's Democratic
Choice leader Yegor Gaidar, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on
20 May. The lawsuit was based on an article Gaidar wrote for
"Moskovskie novosti" in February. In particular, the city
authorities objected to the following passage: "Economic
life in Moscow is terribly bureaucratized and regulated, the
result of which is a massive proliferation of corruption,
and everyone who has had and has dealings with the Moscow
municipal structures knows this very well." During the court
hearings, Gaidar's attorney submitted evidence of numerous
cases of bribe-taking by city officials. He also criticized
Luzhkov for refusing to implement a Constitutional Court
decision banning the system of residence permits (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 12 and 13 March 1998). Luzhkov has long
been a vocal critic of the economic policies advocated by
Gaidar. LB

MOSCOW AGAIN REJECTS CHECHEN CALL FOR DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.
A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman told Interfax on 20 May
that Moscow has again rejected a proposal by the Chechen
government to establish diplomatic relations. Noting the
Chechen leadership's "exceptional stubbornness" in raising
the issue, the spokesman said Moscow's top priority is to
establish economic cooperation with Chechnya. He noted that
under the 1996 Khasavyurt agreement, a decision on
Chechnya's status vis-a-vis the federal center must be taken
no later than 2001. But Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi
Udugov told journalists that Chechnya formally declared its
independence from the Russian Federation on 6 September 1991
and that the bilateral treaty signed in May, 1997,
constituted Russia's formal recognition of Chechen
independence. He also said Chechnya has asked the German and
Turkish governments to recognize its independence. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIANS FLEE AS ABKHAZ FIGHTING INTENSIFIES. Ethnic
Georgian repatriates are fleeing from Abkhazia's
southernmost Gali Raion as fighting between Georgian and
Abkhaz guerrilla formations continues, Caucasus Press
reported on 21 May. Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli
Menagharishvili told journalists on 20 May that Abkhaz
guerrillas began reprisals against the Georgian repatriates
the previous day. A spokeswoman for the so-called Abkhaz
parliament in exile, composed of Georgian deputies from the
Abkhaz parliament elected in 1991, told Caucasus Press that
the Abkhaz are wearing the uniforms and using the heavy
weapons of the Russian contingent of the CIS peacekeeping
force stationed along the border between Abkhazia and the
rest of Georgia. Abkhaz Defense and Interior Ministry
spokesmen said the fighting is solely between Abkhaz forces
and guerrillas from the Georgian White Legion. Estimates of
the death toll range from 10 to 30. Both the Abkhaz and
Georgian armed forces have been placed on alert. LF

ARMENIA REPORTS PROGRESS IN SOLVING HIGH-PROFILE KILLINGS.
Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatrian told reporters on 20
May that progress has been made toward solving a series of
murders of prominent figures in 1993-1994, Noyan Tapan and
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Those deaths include the
killings of Hambartsum Ghandilian, former railroad chief,
and Hambartsum Galstian, ex-mayor of Yerevan and a member of
the Karabakh Committee. He said fresh facts are being
discovered about two dozen men arrested last January on
charges of murder and robbery and suspected of involvement
in Ghandilian's murder. Khachatrian has also reviewed the
investigations into the deaths of former KGB chairman Marius
Yuzbashian, shot while walking his dog, and former Writers'
Union chairman Vardges Petrossian. He disclosed that an
arrest warrant has been issued for Romik Ghazarian, former
head of the presidential security service, who is currently
in Moscow. LF

ARMENIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER OUTLINES PRIORITIES. Yervand
Zarkarian told journalists in Yerevan on 20 May that his
primary task is to ensure safe and reliable communications
with the outside world via Georgia, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
reported. He noted the importance of rail communications
with the Georgian Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti, which
are the transit points for most of Armenia's foreign trade.
Zarkarian said Armenia hopes to receive funding from the EU
to upgrade the Yerevan-Giumri-Batumi highway within the
framework of the EU's TRACECA project. That project entails
expanding the existing road, rail, and ferry network linking
Central Asia and the Transcaucasus with Europe via Turkey.
LF

DONOR CONFERENCE PROVIDES FUNDS FOR TAJIKISTAN. At a donor
conference in Paris on 20 May, Tajikistan received pledges
of $280 million in aid over the next three years, RFE/RL
correspondents reported. A statement released by the World
Bank says there is need for greater donor involvement in
Tajikistan and that the World Bank will lend Tajikistan $220
million. The statement also notes that 80 percent of
Tajikistan's population is currently living in poverty and
urges the Tajik government to "pay particular attention to
privatization and farm restructuring." Another $60 million
will be given as humanitarian aid, and the European
Commission promised $220,000 to the Red Cross/ Red Crescent
for alleviating the effects of flooding and landslides in
southern Tajikistan. BP

NEW UN ENVOY FOR TAJIKISTAN. Jan Kubis of Slovakia was named
to replace Gerd Merrem as UN special envoy to Tajikistan on
20 May, Reuters reported. Kubis faces the task of
accelerating the reconciliation process in Tajikistan, which
is lagging behind the schedule established last June, when
the Tajik peace accord was signed. Last week, UN Secretary-
General Kofi Annan urged Tajikistan not to hold
parliamentary elections this year, as stipulated in the
peace accord. Annan said the continued unrest would make it
difficult to hold free and fair elections. BP

NIYAZOV APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF GAS, OIL INDUSTRY. Turkmen
President Saparmurat Niyazov on 20 May signed a decree
dismissing Oil and Gas Minister Batyr Sarjaev and replacing
him with Turkmenneft deputy chairman Rejepbai Arazov,
Interfax reported. The previous day, Niyazov had attended a
ceremony marking the beginning of oil production at western
Turkmenistan's Burun oil field. Niyazov said his country has
created the proper conditions for foreign investment,
pointing by way of example to the Monument-Mobil company, a
U.S.-British joint venture, which runs the field. Niyazov
also mentioned his country's cooperation with Iran, which,
he said, was based on "geopolitical and economic realities."
BP

FBI ARRESTS THREE IN KAZAKH KIDNAPPING CASE. Agents from the
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation have arrested three
people who are allegedly part of a Russian mafia group and
responsible for a kidnapping in Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS
reported on 19 May. The operation was coordinated with
Kazakhstan's secret services and began after a Kazakh
businessman was abducted in Almaty and held for a $100,000
ransom. The ransom was paid in installments to a bank
account at a New York branch of Chase Manhattan bank. FBI
agents traced the owner of the account and the owner's
accomplices, while agents in Kazakhstan made the three
arrests and continue to search for another four suspects. BP

END NOTE

FORMER KREMLIN SECURITY CHIEF MAKES MORE DISCLOSURES

by John Helmer

	Aleksandr Korzhakov, the former Kremlin security chief
and confidante of President Boris Yeltsin, has made more
revelations that may have a bearing on the fate of Andrei
Kozlenok, a Russian diamond trader who is currently in an
Athens jail awaiting extradition to Moscow.
	Kozlenok was arrested by Greek police as he arrived at
Athens airport in January. In a warrant issued by the
Russian prosecutor-general, he is accused of embezzling some
$180 million in diamonds and precious metals from Russian
state stocks in 1993 and 1994. Russia has applied for his
extradition, and last week, Greece's Supreme Court ruled
that Kozlenok should be extradited. The Greek Justice
Ministry, which has the final say on extraditions, is
expected to approve the ruling.
	Kozlenok argued that the case against him is
politically motivated and that Russian authorities will
intimidate or silence witnesses who could vindicate him. He
also said that if he returns to Russia, he may suffer the
same fate as a former associate found hanged in his jail
cell. Russian authorities say that death was suicide.
Several former high-ranking officials in the government and
the State Committee on Precious Metals may be implicated in
the case as a whole.
	Kozlenok has also claimed that his diamond operations
were authorized by the Kremlin for political purposes.
Kozlenok told a Russian newspaper in April that one of those
operations paid for the publication of a book of memoirs by
Yeltsin. According to Kozlenok, money from his diamond
operations went "into the fund of presidential programs of
Russia. Probably, the money was used for publication of the
book."
	Russia has been applying intense diplomatic pressure
on the Greek government to return Kozlenok. The Russian
press has been filled with unsubstantiated speculation about
Kozlenok's spending sprees and the involvement of high-
ranking officials in the alleged embezzlement.
	During the period of Kozlenok's activities, Korzhakov
was the head of Yeltsin's personal security service and one
of Yeltsin's constant companions. In time, Korzhakov became
a powerful and influential decision-maker in his own right,
keeping watch over all the president's subordinates and
ministers.
	However, four days after the first round of the 1996
presidential elections, Korzhakov was sacked after officers
from the Presidential Security Service apprehended two
Yeltsin campaign aides carrying more than $500,000 out of
government headquarters. The two aides were associates of
Anatolii Chubais, who misleadingly portrayed their detention
as a frame-up by Korzhakov's men.
	Korzhakov then successfully campaigned for a seat in
the State Duma, where he remains today. He has also
published a memoir of his time with Yeltsin in which he
openly attacks the president, his family, and those who
currently run the Kremlin. "The president is an empty
bottle, filled by others around him," Korzhakov told RFE/RL
in a recent interview.
	Korzhakov publicly warns that he has details of
corruption among Yeltsin's advisers and high-ranking
government officials amassed from investigations he and his
subordinates conducted when they were in the Kremlin. A new
book containing those details is to be released very soon,
Korzhakov said.
	Asked what he knows about Kozlenok, Korzhakov told
RFE/RL he had investigated the diamond transactions by
Kozlenok's San Francisco-based company, Golden ADA. "I
received the materials about Golden ADA, and sent them to
the President. They were met with total indifference. There
were major violations and shady deals, but nothing was
done."
	Korzhakov suggests the Kremlin investigation he
ordered could substantiate the claim that some of the money
generated by the scheme was diverted to Yeltsin's book. "I
don't exclude this," Korzhakov said, adding that he thinks
it likely because Boris Berezovskii, the Yeltsin family's
adviser and a wealthy financier, "was in charge of this
book." Korzhakov expresses deep hostility toward
Berezovskii.
	Korzhakov returned several times in his interview with
RFE/RL to the theme of Yeltsin's betrayal of those closest
to him. He also claimed he had predicted former Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's dismissal well before it
happened--in an interview with "Argumenty i Fakty" that was
never published.
	According to Korzhakov, the president "now lives in a
virtual world. He is not in control of himself." And
Korzhakov claims the dominant influence is exercised by
Yeltsin's daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko. The appointment of
Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko was arranged by her,
Korzhakov argues, after a family business associate brought
Kirienko to Dyachenko's attention.
	Kirienko is "the president's Barbie doll", Korzhakov
said, adding that he is convinced Yeltsin intends to run for
a third term.

The author is a Moscow-based journalist who routinely
contributes to RFE/RL.

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