What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 108 Part I, 8 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 108 Part I, 8 June 1998

A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern
Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by
the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part I, a compilation of news concerning Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Part II covers Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe and is distributed
simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of RFE/RL
Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's
Web site: http://www.rferl.org/newsline

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* YELTSIN AGAIN SEEKS TO CALM WESTERN MARKETS

* YELTSIN WARNS OF DANGER AFTER INDIAN, PAKISTANI TESTS

* TWO MORE CIVILIANS KILLED IN ABKHAZIA

End Note: PRESIDENTS, PARLIAMENTS, AND POWER
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

YELTSIN AGAIN SEEKS TO CALM WESTERN MARKETS. In an interview
with "Der Spiegel" published on 8 June, President Boris
Yeltsin stressed again that Russia's financial crisis is
over. Yeltsin said the "time for begging is over for Russia"
but added that Moscow will still seek foreign loans "for
strategic tasks...because our economy must be restructured."
Yeltsin acknowledged that past credits were misspent to
"patch a shabby skirt with good fabric." His comments came
ahead of a visit to Bonn later the same day for talks with
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that are expected to focus on
Russia's financial turmoil as well as security and bilateral
issues. AW

RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK SAYS MARKETS STILL FRAGILE. The Russian
Central Bank said in a statement on 5 June that financial
markets are still fragile and the recent upturn can be
consolidated only through cooperation between the bank and
the government, ITAR-TASS reported. The statement was issued
after Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin met with leading
commercial bankers to discuss the situation on financial
markets and the state of the banking system. AW

RUSSIAN TYCOONS THROW SUPPORT BEHIND YELTSIN. Three days
after meeting with Yeltsin, 10 leading industrialists and
bankers signed a statement on 5 June vowing support for the
president's efforts to stabilize Russia's finances and
urging their countrymen to do likewise. "The decisions taken
today by the government are very tough but they are
necessary and without them there can be no economic
development," according to the statement. The tycoons said
they expected more bankruptcies as a result of Russia's
financial crisis, but they also urged foreign investors to
take advantage of Russian business opportunities. The
statement was signed by the heads of Rosprom-Yukos, Most
Group, Interros, Alfa Group, SBS-Agro Bank, Rossiiskii
Kredit Bank, Gazprom, Unified Energy System, and the LUKoil
and Surgutneftegaz oil companies. AW

FYODOROV DENIES TARGETING RICH IN TAX COLLECTION CAMPAIGN.
One day after the Federal Tax Service announced it will
audit some 1,000 prominent Russians, director Boris Fyodorov
denied on 5 June that he is drawing up a "hit list" to
target wealthy tax dodgers. "I simply think that it is time
to start monitoring prominent people's tax history. They
must set an example of a tax-paying culture to other
citizens," Fyodorov told "Kommersant-Daily" in an interview.
Fyodorov gave no hint as to who might be on the initial list
besides himself. "Kommersant-Daily," however, came up with
its own short version of the 238 "most renowned and richest
people in Russia." That list includes Central Bank chairman
Sergei Dubinin, Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov, and
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zuganov. AW

YELTSIN WARNS OF DANGER AFTER INDIAN, PAKISTANI TESTS.
Yeltsin on 6 June told Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari
Vajpayee that Indian-Pakistani nuclear rivalry has set a
dangerous precedent and could lead to further proliferation
of nuclear weapons, Reuters reported. Speaking by telephone,
Yeltsin urged Vajpayee to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, according to the Kremlin press service. Yeltsin and
Vajpayee also discussed how Russia might play a role in
encouraging a dialogue between India and Pakistan. The same
day, Yeltsin spoke by telephone with British Prime Minister
Tony Blair about international issues, including the crisis
in Yugoslavia's troubled Kosova province. AW

KREMLIN STEPS UP DRIVE FOR START-2 RATIFICATION. Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov, Defense Minister Igor Sergeev
and other security officials met with State Duma faction
leaders on 5 June to urge the ratification of the START-2
nuclear arms reduction treaty. Asked later if START-2 might
be ratified before the Duma begin its summer recess on 10
July, Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev replied "No, there is
no point getting into a disarmament race." Vladimir Lukin,
the chairman of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, said he
"would be amazed if the Duma is ready for ratification
before the fall." Seleznev said he put forward two
conditions for ratification: the passage of a bill on
strategic nuclear forces and releasing funds allocated to
the defense budget. The government has released only 3
percent of the army budget since the beginning of the year,
he said. AW

U.S. MISSILE FORCE CHIEF SAYS RUSSIAN NUKES SAFE. General
Eugene Habiger, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said on
7 June that Russia's nuclear arsenal is under strict control
and observation, ITAR-TASS reported. Habiger made the
comment following a week-long tour of Russian nuclear sites.
AW

STEPASHIN DETERMINED TO COMBAT ORGANIZED CRIME. Interior
Minister Sergei Stepashin was quoted on 8 June by the German
newspaper "Die Welt" as saying it is necessary to "undermine
the financial foundations of organized crime." Stepashin
said organized crime has risen 8.5 times over the past seven
years. He stressed that Moscow needs international
cooperation in fighting organized crime, citing the
information exchange between Russian and German police. AW

LEBED SWORN IN AS GOVERNOR. Reserve General Aleksandr Lebed
on 5 June was sworn in as governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai in an
elaborate ceremony. Following the inauguration ceremony,
Lebed accused the federal government of monopolizing 84
percent of the country's wealth, but he pledged to work with
federal authorities. "All the blood has flown to the head. I
am afraid that the country might have a heart attack," Lebed
said in an obvious reference to Yeltsin, whom he may
challenge in the presidential elections in 2000, should the
incumbent seek a third term in office. AW

YELTSIN MEETS WITH REPUBLICAN HEADS. Yeltsin met with the
heads of 18 of Russia's 21 republics in Moscow on 5 June,
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported. Absent were Chechen
President Aslan Maskhadov, Ingush President Ruslan Aushev,
and Khakasian leader Aleksei Lebed. Yeltsin ordered the
leaders to economize on administrative costs and proposed "a
moratorium on pompous buildings, festivals, and receptions."
But he also hinted that Moscow may be prepared to amend the
power-sharing agreements concluded with federation subjects
if those agreements "have become outdated in some respects."
Yeltsin also held separate talks on the situation in
Dagestan with the head of that republic's State Council,
Magomed-Ali Magomadov. In an allusion to Chechen aspirations
to create an independent North Caucasus state that would
include Dagestan, Yeltsin warned that "we shall not allow
anyone else to interfere in Dagestan's jurisdiction over its
territory," Interfax reported. LF

POLICE CHIEF IN ST. PETERSBURG SACKED. Anatolii Ponidelko
was sacked on 6 June after being accused of breaking
Interior Ministry rules and manipulating official figures to
show a big drop in crime in the city, Russian Public
Television reported. Ponidelko said his dismissal was a
political decision prompted by his battle against corruption
in the city's law-enforcement bodies. "Somebody in St.
Petersburg does not want order enforced," he said in
televised remarks following his sacking. AW

BEREZOVSKII CONVINCED CIS HAS ROLE TO PLAY. CIS Executive-
Secretary Boris Berezovskii told NTV on 7 June that despite
its dismal record, the CIS can still play a role tackling
internal conflicts and solving other member-state problems.
Berezovskii said the root of the CIS's problems is its
bureaucratic administration, which, the Russian tycoon said,
is "cut off from reality." Berezovskii also said that in
recent talks with the presidents of CIS states, he found
that "the notion of the West as a kind of 'messiah' has
disappeared.... People now realize that free cheese is only
found in mouse traps and that Westerners are not just nice
gentlemen but rational people," he commented. AW

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

TWO MORE CIVILIANS KILLED IN ABKHAZIA. Two Georgians were
shot dead and another three injured by Abkhaz militants in
Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion on 6 June, Reuters
reported. Two days earlier, Georgian Prosecutor-General
Djamlet Babilashvili said that a total of 35 Georgian
civilians and 17 Interior Ministry troops were killed in
last month's hostilities and 1,695 Georgian homes burned,
according to ITAR-TASS. Caucasus Press on 5 June quoted
unnamed Georgian government officials as saying the number
of displaced persons who fled from Abkhazia to Georgia's
Zugdidi and Tsalendjikha Raions outnumbers permanent
residents of those districts. Those officials warned of
possible unrest if the fugitives are not quickly
repatriated. LF

ABKHAZ PEACE TALKS CONTINUE. Abkhaz and Georgian
presidential envoys Anri Djergenia and Vazha Lortkipanidze
continued their talks in Moscow on 5-6 June, Russian
agencies reported. On 5 June, they also met with CIS
Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii. The two envoys have
drafted several documents for discussion at the proposed
meeting between Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and
his Abkhaz counterpart, Vladislav Ardzinba. (No date has yet
been set for that proposed meeting.) The head of the Russian
Foreign Ministry special task force for Abkhazia, Lev
Mironov, told Interfax that one of the documents deals with
the repatriation of Georgian displaced persons to Gali.
Other Russian Foreign Ministry officials have cast doubts on
the effectiveness of Berezovskii's mediation. Georgian
Parliament Defense and Security Committee Chairman Revaz
Adamia told Caucasus Press on 5 June that he fears
antagonism between Berezovskii and the Russian Foreign
Ministry could negatively affect the chances of resolving
the conflict. LF

GEORGIAN COMMUNIST PARTY MAY BE BANNED. Speaking at a news
conference in Tbilisi on 4 June, Georgian Prosecutor-General
Djamlet Babilashvili said the United Communist Party, headed
by General Panteleimon Giorgadze may be banned for "anti-
constitutional activities", including calls for the
overthrow of the present Georgian leadership, Interfax
reported. Giorgadze, for his part, rejected the charge of
anti-state activities and said his party will go underground
if it is banned, Caucasus Press reported on 6 June. LF

ARMENIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION MEETS. President Robert
Kocharian on 6 June presented a nine-point program to the
first session of the recently created commission to amend
the country's constitution, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
reported. The proposals include restrictions on the powers
of the president, the decentralization of government,
greater access to the Constitutional Court, and the lifting
of the ban on dual citizenship. Kocharian said he is ready
to cede part of his powers to the legislative and judicial
branches, but he ruled out any "revolutionary" change in the
current constitutional order. His proposals would place
restrictions on the president's unlimited right to dissolve
the parliament and abolish the mandatory presidential
endorsement for government decisions. Those amendments,
together with others proposed by the commission, will be put
to a nationwide referendum after they are approved by the
parliament. LF

ARMENIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH CONTINUES. The Armenian economy
grew by 6.4 percent during the first three months of this
year, compared with the same period in 1997, RFE/RL's
Yerevan bureau reported on 6 June, citing official
statistics. Industrial output was up 4.3 percent, with a
dozen enterprises significantly increasing output. Foreign
investment totaled $100 million. Inflation reached 8 percent
in late March but fell 2 by percent in April. The annual
inflation rate is projected at 10 percent, While exports
rose by 58 percent to $56.7 million, they have failed to
substantially reduce Armenia's huge trade deficit because
imports totaled $201 million. The government also reported
vastly improved tax revenues, up 84 percent during the first
five months of this year, compared with the same period in
1997. LF

ANOTHER SEVEN UZBEK TERRORISTS SENTENCED. Uzbekistan's
Supreme Court on 5 June sentenced seven men to prison terms
of between six and 10 years , Reuters and Interfax reported.
All seven were found guilty of "undermining the
constitution, fomenting racial and religious hatred, and
illegally crossing the border." All were branded by the
government as "Wahhabis." The prosecution had demanded
sentences of 13-20 years, but the court took into
consideration the "sincere repentance" showed by the men.
The seven are the first to be sentenced in Tashkent for
crimes committed last December in the eastern Uzbek city of
Namangan. In May, a Namangan court found 12 men guilty of
involvement in the violence in Namangan and sentenced them
to between five and eight years. Another eight men are due
to go on trial in Tashkent soon. BP

TAJIK PRESIDENTIAL GUARD ATTACKED. A 4 June attack on a
presidential guard unit in the Faizabad District, 50
kilometers east of Dushanbe, left one Tajik soldier dead and
two others wounded, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported.
Presidential guards fought off the attackers, estimated to
have numbered 70 or so, and chased them into the nearby
mountains. Representatives of the government and United
Tajik Opposition have visited the area and are attempting to
identify who was responsible for the attack. BP

TURKMEN PRESIDENT INVITES CLINTON TO VISIT. During his 5
June meeting with Stephen Sestanovich, the U.S.'s special
envoy to the Newly Independent States, Turkmen President
Saparmurat Niyazov handed over an invitation for U.S.
President Bill Clinton to visit Turkmenistan, Interfax
reported. Niyazov and Sestanovich also reviewed progress in
finding a company to conduct a feasibility study for a
Trans-Caspian pipeline. Sestanovich said the winning company
will be announced soon. When Niyazov visited Washington in
April, the U.S. said it will donate $750,000 to the study BP

TURKMEN-PAKISTANI PIPELINE IDEA REVIVED? Despite renewed
fighting between groups in Afghanistan, a Turkmen official
said he has secured agreements from warring factions there
to allow construction of the Turkmen-Afghan-Pakistan gas
pipeline, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 June. Former Turkmen Oil
and Gas Minister Gochmurad Nazjanov, who is now the Turkmen
government's coordinator for the proposed pipeline, met with
leaders from Afghanistan's Taliban Movement and the Northern
Alliance at the end of May and received security guarantees
for "the pipeline and its builders." The project has been
discussed for several years, but fighting within Afghanistan
has prevented work from starting. The Turkmen government,
the U.S. company Unocal, Saudi Arabia's Delta Corp. and
companies from Japan, South Korea, and Pakistan are all
involved in the project. BP

KAZAKH PLANE WITH RADIOACTIVE CARGO GROUNDED IN UKRAINE. An
Il-76 cargo plane belonging to a Kazakh airline has been
grounded by Ukrainian authorities after police found 40 tons
of "unidentified" radioactive material aboard, Interfax
reported on 6 June. The plane, which was bound for Russia
from Germany, stopped at Ukraine's Rovno airport for
refueling when the discovery was made. The material was in
metal barrels and measurements near the containers showed
radioactivity levels "seriously above the norm." BP

END NOTE

PRESIDENTS, PARLIAMENTS, AND POWER

by Paul Goble

	The transition from Communism in the post-Soviet
states currently finds some countries with a strong
president, others with a strong parliament, and a growing
number in which real power lies outside the government
itself.
	Examples of each have been very much in evidence
recently. In Azerbaijan, where the executive is clearly in
charge, President Heidar Aliev has dominated the discussions
at a Baku meeting of Western oil companies interested in
gaining access to the petroleum of the Caspian basin.
	In Ukraine, where the parliament is predominant, the
failure of the parliament to elect a new speaker has sent
shock waves through the political system and prompted
predictions that Kyiv will remain unable to address the
country's numerous economic problems.
	And in Russia, the country's economic crisis has
highlighted just how much power has passed from the
government to institutions beyond its reach. Instead of
calling in bankers, journalists, and others and giving them
directions, as would have been true only a few years ago,
Russian officials from President Boris Yeltsin down have
been consulting with them and requesting their assistance.
	Such variations are entirely natural and up to a point
welcome. There is no one model for how democratic political
regimes should organize themselves, nor for what should be
the balance of power between the executive, the legislative,
and society as a whole. The devolution of power from the
executive, always the most powerful--in fact, if not on
paper--in the Soviet era, is a necessary part of the
transition from the communist past.
	But if this pattern is both natural and welcome, it
also presents some real problems for the countries
themselves, for their interactions with one another, and for
other countries that seek to deal with them.
	For each of the countries of the region, this pattern
has created two very different problems. On the one hand,
most people living in these states began their post-
communist existence with a belief that only a strong
legislature could guarantee democracy. But experience has
taught many of them that legislatures may, in fact, block
further change and that only a strong executive can help
them institutionalize the arrangements that make democracy
possible.
	On the other hand, everyone in this region recognized
that the all-embracing Soviet state was too strong. But ever
more countries confront a situation in which the state is so
weak that it cannot defend the interests of the population
against uncontrolled private power or outside interference.
	For the region as a whole, such variations make it
increasingly difficult for these countries to cooperate.
Most immediately, it makes it difficult to decide who should
meet with whom--sometimes the president in one country is
the appropriate representative and sometimes the prime
minister or speaker of the parliament. And perhaps more
important, it means that even when the appropriate officials
are brought together--which does not always happen--they
lack the power to implement any of the commitments they
make.
	For outsiders who want to work with the governments of
this region, this incredible variety also creates some
serious problems. Not only does it introduce a certain
confusion over whether ambassadors focus on presidents,
prime ministers, or someone else but it also means that
outside governments may create problems by the choice they
make in this regard.
	Some Western governments have promoted a
"presidentialization of politics" in these countries, both
for simplicity and out of a sense that it is easier to deal
with one person rather than a group. While understandable,
that approach carries with it some real dangers. Not only
may it restrict the transition to democracy by consolidating
executive power at the expense of the legislative; it also
tends to ignore the real devolution of authority away from
the governments to other centers of power in the society.
	Democracy, as any number of analysts have pointed out,
is often a very messy form of government. But as the
experience of the post-Soviet states shows, it can be even
messier if those involved with it fail to understand just
how many forms that messy system can take.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc.
 All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with the
word "subscribe" as the subject or body of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with the
word "unsubscribe" as the subject or body of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
webmaster@rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are
online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 18 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs for countries in Eastern Europe, the
Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and the South Slavic region
are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE Broadcast Studio.
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact
Paul Goble, Publisher
Email: GobleP@rferl.org
Phone: 202-457-6947
Fax: 202-457-6992
Postal Address: RFE/RL, 1201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036 USA
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Laurie Belin, BelinL@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org

Freelance And Occasional Contributors
* Fabian Schmidt
* Matyas Szabo
* Pete Baumgartner
* Jeremy Bransten
* Jolyon Naegele
* Anthony Wesolowsky
* Julia Guechakov
* Floriana Fossato

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole