The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 115 Part I, 17 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 115 Part I, 17 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

* KIRIENKO MEETS WITH FINANCIAL OLIGARCHS

* CHUBAIS SLATED FOR NEW JOB

* TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER MEET
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

KIRIENKO MEETS WITH FINANCIAL OLIGARCHS. Prime Minister
Sergei Kirienko on 16 June met with leading Russian
businessmen to discuss the economic situation and proposals
for the government's "anti-crisis program," Russian news
agencies and NTV reported. The group included all but one of
the 10 "oligarchs" who met with President Boris Yeltsin on 2
June: Unified Energy System chief executive Anatolii
Chubais, Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev, Interros head and
Oneksimbank founder Vladimir Potanin, Alfa group head
Mikhail Fridman, SBS-Agro chairman Aleksandr Smolenskii,
Rosprom-Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovskii, Rossiiskii Kredit
bank president Vitalii Malkin, Surgutneftegaz oil company
head Vladimir Bogdanov, and LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov.
(The 10th "oligarch," Media-Most head Vladimir Gusinskii,
was abroad on 16 June.) CIS Executive Secretary Boris
Berezovskii, who was not present at the 2 June meeting, was
reportedly invited to the latest meeting with Kirienko, but
it is unclear whether he attended. LB

CHUBAIS SLATED FOR NEW JOB. Kirienko told journalists on 17
June that Chubais is the "most likely candidate" for a new
post to be created: special presidential envoy to
international financial organizations. Kirienko said the
envoy will have a rank equal to that of deputy prime
minister, but he suggested that the holder of that office
will not be a cabinet member, ITAR-TASS reported. Chubais
was the government's long-time main contact with
organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF until
Yeltsin dismissed him as first deputy prime minister in
March. Citing unnamed government sources, Interfax reported
on 16 June that Chubais will retain his position as chief
executive of Unified Energy System if, as expected, he
becomes Russia's official liaison with international
financial organizations. LB

IMF CONFIRMS PLANS TO SEND DELEGATION TO RUSSIA. Martin
Gilman, the IMF's representative in Moscow, confirmed on 16
June that the fund is sending a delegation to Russia for an
"extensive dialogue" on possible aid and measures to
stabilize the situation on Russian financial markets,
Russian news agencies reported. The delegation is due to
arrive in Moscow on 22 June. Gilman said Russian officials
have not formally requested aid beyond the four-year, $10
billion Extended Fund Facility the IMF has been disbursing
to Russia in installments since 1996. However, there have
been rumors widely reported in the Russian media that
officials have raised the issue of a bailout package on
several occasions: during Chubais's visit to Washington in
May, during Prime Minister Kirienko's visit to Paris earlier
this month, and most recently during Yeltsin's trip to Bonn.
LB

COMMUNIST ALLY WANTS COOPERATION WITH 'PARTY OF POWER.' Duma
deputy Aleksei Podberezkin, the leader of the Spiritual
Heritage movement, favors more compromise between the
opposition and the "party of power" in order to combat
"criminal financial groups," RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported
on 16 June. Although Podberezkin is a member of the
Communist Duma faction and is considered an influential
adviser to Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov, he
sometimes disagrees with the party's stands. For example, in
his speech to the Spiritual Heritage congress, Podberezkin
criticized the Communists' strategy during the recent
gubernatorial campaign in Krasnoyarsk Krai. He said they
forged an alliance with the incumbent "too late" to prevent
the victory of Aleksandr Lebed. In his speech to the
Spiritual Heritage congress, Zyuganov rejected Podberezkin's
call for more cooperation with the authorities, saying "the
party of power itself is becoming more and more criminal,"
ITAR-TASS reported. LB

YELTSIN, LUZHKOV SIGN POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT. During a 16
June meeting in the Kremlin, Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov signed a power-sharing agreement on behalf of the
federal and city authorities, Russian news agencies
reported. Neither the Kremlin nor the Moscow government
revealed the details of the agreement. Luzhkov and
government officials clashed last year over plans to cut
federal compensation payments to the city of Moscow, and the
mayor threatened to impose new fees on federal facilities in
the capital. Compensation payments were eventually added to
the 1998 budget, but government officials have said payments
may fall below budget targets this year (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 4 May and 3 June 1998). Yeltsin told journalists
on 16 June that he has "excellent relations" with Luzhkov
and argued that the power-sharing agreement will help defuse
"tension" between Moscow and federal authorities by making
clear the obligations of each side. LB

OFFICIAL SAYS U.S. VIOLATING START-1 TREATY. An unnamed
senior Russian Defense Ministry official told Interfax on 16
June that "there remain concerns in connection with the U.S.
not observing a number of important parts of the START-1
treaty." By way of example, he said the U.S. is testing
ballistic missiles on Trident submarines and charged that
such tests may be aimed at increasing the number of warheads
on submarine-launched ballistic missiles above the level
permitted by START-1. Reuters quoted the U.S. embassy in
Moscow as saying that "we consider START-1 to be a
significant arms control success. In any agreement as
complex as this there are bound to be issues and questions
of interpretation." LB

DUMA DEPUTY LINKS START-2 WITH EVENTS IN KOSOVA. Duma
Geopolitics Committee Chairman Aleksei Mitrofanov of the
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia on 16 June said possible
military action by NATO in Kosova will rule out ratification
of the START-2 arms control treaty by the Russian
parliament, Interfax reported. Arguing that NATO has "put
its military machine into gear" and is likely to carry out
strikes in Kosova, Mitrofanov said "ratification of the
START-2 treaty is out of the question." Appearing on NTV
later the same day, Mitrofanov admitted that "our attitude
in the Duma toward START-2 has always been negative." But he
said opposition to the treaty has strengthened "because we
are told to ratify it at a time when we can see NATO
exercises near Kosova, when [U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine] Albright openly says that the U.S. does not want
to consult the UN Security Council or anyone else." LB

ORDINARY COURTS NOT ALLOWED TO INTERPRET CONSTITUTION. The
Constitutional Court on 16 June ruled that it is the only
court with the right to rule on whether federal or regional
laws violate the Russian Constitution, ITAR-TASS reported.
The court struck down rulings by the Supreme Courts of Komi
Republic and the Republic of Karelia that argued certain
provisions of republican laws are unconstitutional. The
Constitutional Court ruled that other courts are not
entitled to draw such conclusions on their own. Instead,
they must send an inquiry to the Constitutional Court if
they believe that a law violates the constitution. Verdicts
of the Constitutional Court are not subject to appeal, the
court noted. LB

COURT SAYS CITIZENS LIVING ABROAD MAY RECEIVE PENSIONS...
Emigres who have retained their Russian citizenship are
entitled to receive Russian pensions, irrespective of when
they left Russia and whether they lived in another country
before moving abroad permanently, the Constitutional Court
ruled on 15 June. The court struck down passages in a law
and a government resolution that deprived Russians of their
pensions if they left Russia before 1 July 1993 or lived in
another country immediately before emigrating, ITAR-TASS
reported. Seven Russian citizens, now living in Israel,
Bulgaria, and Germany, filed the court appeal. Two of them
had performed military service in Latvia during the Soviet
period and emigrated from that country rather than from
Russia directly. "Segodnya" predicted on 16 June that
emigres will have to "fight" to receive their pensions,
despite the court ruling. The Pension Fund already is unable
to meet its financial obligations LB

...UPHOLDS MOST PROVISIONS OF LAW ON VOTERS' RIGHTS. The
Constitutional Court on 10 June rejected all but one
challenge to the law on citizens' basic electoral rights and
their right to participate in a referendum, "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" reported on 11 June. Of the provisions disputed by
the Federation Council and the legislature of the Republic
of Karelia, the court struck down only the law's prohibition
of regional referenda on matters over which federal and
regional authorities have joint jurisdiction. The court
found the following provisions consistent with the
constitution: a requirement that electoral districts
represent roughly equal numbers of citizens; a prohibition
on referenda to end the term of elected bodies early; a
clause allowing regions to impose age limits on candidates
(if such limits are consistent with federal legislation);
and a provision stating that elections are invalid if more
votes are cast "against all candidates" than for any one
candidate. LB

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER GOES TO YELTSIN WITH CAP IN HAND.
Funding was high on the agenda during Oleg Mironov's meeting
with Yeltsin on 16 June, his first talk with the president
since the Duma elected him human rights commissioner last
month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 1998). Mironov noted
that the 1998 budget does not contain an article on funding
for his office, Russian news agencies reported. He said he
has "a pile of 600 complaints [from citizens] on my desk"
and estimated that he requires a staff of 200-250 people and
a budget of 30 million rubles ($4.8 million) for "normal
work" this year. Yeltsin has a presidential commission on
human rights, but before Mironov's election, Russia had been
without a human rights commissioner for three years. LB

RUTSKOI SAYS ARREST OF ASSOCIATES IS 'PROVOCATION.' Kursk
Oblast Governor Aleksandr Rutskoi says the recent arrest of
two of his deputies is a "provocation, " arguing they are
"pawns" in Kursk Prosecutor Nikolai Tkachev's campaign
against him, Interfax reported on 16 June. Deputy Governors
Yurii Kononchuk and Vladimir Bunchuk were arrested on 11
June, while Rutskoi was visiting Bashkortostan. They are
accused of large-scale embezzlement and corruption. For
example, Kursk Oblast allegedly purchased grain harvesters
using a firm owned by Kononchuk as a middleman, at great
cost to the oblast budget. According to Interfax, Kononchuk
and Bunchuk have begun a hunger strike. Also while the
governor was in Bashkortostan, his brother Mikhail Rutskoi
was sacked as deputy head of the Kursk branch of the
Interior Ministry. He is now under investigation for
swindling and abusing his authority, "Kommersant-Daily" and
"Komsomolskaya pravda" reported on 16 June. LB

EMPLOYEE OF OPPOSITION PAPER ATTACKED IN KALMYKIA. Semen
Ageev, an employee of "Sovetskaya Kalmykia Segodnya," was
beaten on 16 June as he was distributing the newspaper on a
bus in the capital of Kalmykia, ITAR-TASS reported. The
newspaper's editor, Larisa Yudina, was killed on 7 June.
According to the Yabloko press service, the bus driver hit
Ageev several times and said that "all of you should be
killed," before throwing him off the bus. Meanwhile,
"Komsomolskaya pravda" reported on 17 June that local
observers believe Tyurbi Boskomdzhiev, one of the two
suspects who has confessed to Yudina's murder, was "set up"
and had nothing to do with the crime. Citing unnamed
sources, "Komsomolskaya pravda" reported that Sergei Vaskin,
the other suspect who has confessed to the crime, had a
fresh deep scratch on his face when he was arrested--a
possible result of a struggle with the journalist. LB

MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX CLOSES RANKS. Heads of Russia's
largest defense plants and representatives of the federal
and regional governments attended a conference in Moscow
last week to devise a strategy for reversing the defense
industry's ongoing decline, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" and
"Izvestiya" reported on 16 June. The defense industry bosses
addressed a statement to Russian President Yeltsin
registering their objections to the "endless reform" of the
defense sector, in particular the frequent changes of
director of the arms export monopoly Rosvooruzhenie. Those
changes, they claimed, deter potential arms purchasers from
abroad. The conference participants also drafted measures
intended to increase Russian arms exports and expand
military-technical cooperation with foreign companies. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER MEET. Emomali Rakhmonov
met with United Tajik Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri
for three hours on 17 June to discuss opposition
representation in the new coalition government, ITAR-TASS
reported. They also discussed the recent law banning
religious parties, which the opposition argues violates last
year's peace agreement. A trilateral conciliation commission
established by Rakhmonov to review that law is due to
publicize its findings on 17 June. LF

RESULTS OF TURKMENISTAN CASPIAN TENDER ANNOUNCED. The U.S.
petroleum company Mobil and the Anglo-Chinese consortium
Kern Energy-Texuna have won Turkmenistan's first
international tender for the rights to exploit the country's
offshore Caspian oil deposits, Russian agencies reported on
16 June. They must now draft production sharing agreements,
which are to be submitted to President Saparmurad Niyazov
within three months. Mobil has acquired the rights to the
Serdar deposit, which has estimated reserves of 150-200
million metric tons of oil. Ownership of that deposit is
claimed by Azerbaijan. Kern Energy-Texuna will develop the
smaller Gaplan oil and gas field. Also on 16 June, Niyazov
signed an agreement with a U.S. company on cooperation in
developing and reconstructing water purification and
desalination facilities, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

BARSKOON EVACUEES BEGIN RETURNING HOME. A local official in
the Kyrgyz district of Issyk-Kul told RFE/RL's Bishkek
bureau on 16 June that residents of the Barskoon village
evacuated following the 20 May spill of sodium cyanide into
the Barskoon River have started to return to their homes.
Some 5,000 residents from the village were evacuated from 4-
9 June. Three people have died from sodium cyanide
poisoning, more than 2,500 have been poisoned, and some 800
have been hospitalized. LF

MOSQUES IN KYRGYZSTAN TO BE REGISTERED. Kyrgyzstan's Deputy
Mufti Lugmar Aji told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 16 June
that all mosques are to be registered with the country's
Muslim Board. He noted that there are currently some 1,500
mosques in Kyrgyzstan, some of which have been built at the
initiative of private individuals. LF

KAZAKH PENSIONERS GO TO COURT. Two Almaty pensioners have
lost a law suit against the Ministry of Labor and Social
Protection, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported on 17 June. The
two pensioners had demanded that the ministry implement a
1992 presidential directive index-linking pensions to
inflation. Pensions have remained unchanged for the past
four years, at 2,800 tenges ($35) per month. An Almaty city
court judge rejected the pensioners' suit but ordered the
ministry to implement future presidential decrees promptly.
LF

AIDES TO AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION LEADER ARRESTED. Two aides
to former Azerbaijan President Abulfaz Elchibey were
arrested in Baku on 14 June and a foreign-made pistol
confiscated from one of them, Turan reported. Elchibey's
Azerbaijan Popular Front has denounced the arrests as
politically motivated. Neither man has yet been charged. LF.

ADJAR LEADERSHIP TO FORM ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNISTS? Adjar
Supreme Council chairman Aslan Abashidze told journalists on
16 June that he is prepared to form an alliance with the
United Communist Party of Georgia, headed by Panteleimon
Giorgadze, Caucasus Press reported. Abashidze also said that
he may suspend some laws adopted by the Georgian parliament.
LF

FORMER SOUTH OSSETIAN LEADER AMNESTIED. Alan Chochiev,
former head of the radical South Ossetian Popular Front and
from 1992-1994 first deputy chairman of the region's Supreme
Council, was released from prison on 16 June, ITAR-TASS
reported. Chochiev was sentenced in July 1996 to five years
in jail on charges of large-scale embezzlement. A committee
created in his defense appealed to the South Ossetian
authorities earlier this year for clemency, claiming that
the evidence against him was fabricated, according to the 8
April "Nezavisimaya gazeta." LF

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