Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow; Naught may endure but Mutability. - Percy Shelley
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 120 Part I, 24 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 120 Part I, 24 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

* OFFICIALS SAY TALKS WITH IMF SUCCESSFUL

* CHUBAIS OPPOSED TO BREAKING UP GAZPROM

* TURKEY, U.S. CRITICIZE IMPUTED ARMENIAN THREAT

End Note: ENVOYS REFUSE TO DANCE TO LUKASHENKA'S MUSIC
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

OFFICIALS SAY TALKS WITH IMF SUCCESSFUL. Unified Energy
System chief executive Anatolii Chubais on 24 June said
talks between Russian and IMF officials on the disbursement
of a $670 million loan tranche "ended successfully," ITAR-
TASS reported. IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley
Fischer described his meeting with Russian Prime Minister
Sergei Kirienko as "highly constructive." Reuters quoted
Kirienko's spokesman as saying Fischer agreed to recommend
that the board approve the release of the tranche, which is
part of a four-year $10 billion loan. Chubais predicted the
board will consider the negotiations on 25 June. Meanwhile,
Chubais suggested on 23 June that talks over a possible
stabilization loan worth $10 billion to $15 billion may take
one to two months. He added that such a loan may come from
several sources, including foreign commercial banks, foreign
governments, the World Bank, and the IMF, Reuters reported.
LB

CHUBAIS OPPOSED TO BREAKING UP GAZPROM... Chubais also
announced on 23 June that Russian and IMF officials
discussed the issue of splitting up Russia's "natural
monopolies" in the energy sector during negotiations over a
possible stabilization loan, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported. The "New York Times" and several Russian
newspapers have reported that the IMF wants Russia to
separate the production and transportation divisions of the
gas monopoly Gazprom and the electricity monopoly Unified
Energy System (EES). Chubais argued that such a proposal was
"erroneous" for Gazprom and said the government will stand
by its opposition to breaking up the company, Russian news
agencies reported. As for EES, Chubais claimed that
President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree in April 1997 on
separating the company's power generating facilities from
its transmission facilities. That transformation will take
two to three years, he added. LB

...AS OFFICIAL SAYS IMF NOT DEMANDING COMPANY BE SPLIT.
Deputy Finance Minister Oleg Vyugin, who is involved in the
negotiations with the IMF, told Interfax on 23 June that the
fund is not making the breakup of Gazprom a condition for
granting a new stabilization loan to Russia. However, he
acknowledged that IMF experts "raise that topic from time to
time." Vyugin argued that raising more budget revenues would
allow Russia to take a "tough" stance in negotiations with
international financial institutions. He added that "if
those natural monopolies would regularly pay their taxes in
full, then there would be no question about breaking them up
or any other restructuring." LB

KIRIENKO OUTLINES TAX PROPOSALS... Prime Minister Kirienko
promised during an expanded cabinet session on 23 June that
the government is seeking to reduce taxes on industry but
will intensify its efforts to collect taxes owed by
individuals and legal entities, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported. The premier called for an end to "double
standards" on tax collection and decried the public "uproar"
that, he said, accompanies each effort by the authorities to
fight tax evasion. He warned delinquent taxpayers that there
will be lawsuits against tax evaders, bankruptcies, and
property seizures. Kirienko also said foreigners working in
Russia earn some $5 billion in untaxed income. The
government approved the "anti-crisis program," which calls
for spending cuts of 42 billion rubles ($6.8 billion) and
revenue increases of 20 billion rubles. (ITAR-TASS initially
reported erroneously that the plan calls for boosting
revenues by $20 billion.) LB

...FAVORS INTRODUCING SALES TAX. As part of a policy to
"shift the tax burden from industry onto consumption,"
Kirienko told journalists on 23 June that he supports the
introduction of a sales tax to increase regional budget
revenues, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. He did not
propose a single nationwide tax but said regional
authorities should be allowedc to impose sales taxes of 5-10
percent if they so desire. (Those taxes would not alter the
value-added tax of 20 percent already levied on most Russian
goods.) Sales taxes are easier to collect than taxes on
industrial enterprises, which often conduct much of their
business in barter transactions rather than cash. In a
telephone interview with RFE/RL, Stanford University
Professor Mikhail Bernshtam said "it would be difficult to
think of a worse measure" than increasing taxes on
consumption, which, he argued, would be detrimental to the
Russian economy. LB

GOVERNMENT TURNS UP PRESSURE ON DUMA. Prime Minister
Kirienko warned on 23 June that if the Duma does not approve
the government's anti-crisis program, it will depress budget
revenues and could provoke a "global economic crisis,"
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. He said the government will
submit to the parliament some 20 draft laws that are needed
to implement the program. However, few political observers
expect the State Duma to approve all of the laws before the
summer recess, as Yeltstin and Kirienko have demanded. Even
though the draft laws have not yet arrived in the Duma,
representatives of various factions have already begun to
criticize some of their provisions, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
reported on 24 June. Our Home Is Russia faction leader
Aleksandr Shokhin told Interfax the same day that "not all
the [government-backed] measures" are likely to be passed by
the Duma. LB

COMMUNISTS UNIMPRESSED BY ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAM. Influential
members of the Communist Party, which along with allied
groups has a near-majority in the Duma, have criticized the
government's anti-crisis plan. Speaking at the 23 June
cabinet session, Duma Economic Policy Committee Chairman
Yurii Maslyukov said the government "has no new ideas,"
adding that Russia can "forget about prospects for economic
growth" for several years, Interfax reported. Duma
Legislation Committee Chairman Anatolii Lukyanov said "many
solutions [proposed by the government] are unacceptable for
the Duma" and discounted speculation that "threats" could
influence deputies to approve the entire plan, Reuters
reported. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov
criticized Yeltsin for "initimidating and threatening the
State Duma" and then leaving the cabinet session without
listening to parliamentary representatives. Both Zyuganov
and Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, also a Communist, told
Interfax that they believe a sharp devaluation of the ruble
is likely. LB

GOVERNORS HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT PROGRAM'S IMPLEMENTATION.
Regional leaders have for the most part praised the
government's anti-crisis program, but many have expressed
skepticism about the government's ability to implement that
plan, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported on 23 June. Kemerovo
Oblast Governor Aman Tuleev told RFE/RL that some points in
the program have been under discussion for two years and
predicted that the plans will not be carried out rapidly
this time either. Saratov Oblast Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov,
Samara Oblast Governor Konstantin Titov, and St. Petersburg
Governor Vladimir Yakovlev all told ITAR-TASS that the plan
contains good proposals and that the main challenge will be
to put those into effect. Federation Council Speaker Yegor
Stroyev praised the anti-crisis program, which, he claimed,
is the first recognition by the president and government
that state regulation must play a role in stabilizing the
economy. LB

GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OUTLINES PROPOSALS ON PENSIONS. Yevgenii
Gontmakher, the head of the department on social protection
in the government apparatus, outlined some proposals to
tackle the problem of pension arrears in an interview with
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau on 23 June. Gontmakher said that
pension arrears now total 9 billion rubles ($1.5 billion)
and that in some regions pensions are paid with a delay of
up to a month. He said the government is to submit to the
parliament a law to alter the procedure for making
contributions to the Pension Fund, as well as legislative
amendments to introduce fines for employers that do not make
pension contributions. He also said the government is
seeking to delay further indexation of pensions until
pension arrears are cleared. Under a law that went into
effect in February, the government is to adjust pensions
quarterly. LB

RUSSIA CANNOT FULFILL TREATY ON DESTROYING CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
Russia will be unable to destroy its chemical weapons by
2008, according to Stanislav Petrov, the head of chemical
and biological defense forces, Interfax reported on 23 June.
The Chemical Weapons Convention requires Russia to destroy
its stockpiles by 2008. Russia's program sets a deadline of
2005, but Petrov says that owing to underfunding, "at least
an additional five years" will be needed. Despite aid from
the U.S. and Germany, foreign assistance may constitute only
5 percent of the program's total cost of 32.7 billion rubles
($5.3 billion), Petrov claimed. Lieutenant-General Valerii
Kapashin, director of the program for chemical arms
destruction, agreed that Russia will miss the deadline but
said "there is nothing criminal" in using a provision of the
convention allowing an additional five years, Reuters
reported on 23 June. Russia has the world's largest chemical
weapons stockpile, estimated at 40,000 tons. BT

TOP OFFICIALS DECLARE 1997 INCOME. The official government
newspaper "Rossiiskaya gazeta" on 23 June published
information about the income and property declarations of
top Russian officials. Yeltsin declared income of some 1.95
billion old rubles ($325,000) in 1997, a sevenfold increase
on his earnings the previous year. According to the 24 June
edition of the "Moscow Times," a Kremlin spokesman refused
to comment on the steep increase in the president's income.
Prime Minister Kirienko claimed to have earned some 752
million old rubles in 1997. Deputy Prime Ministers Boris
Nemtsov, Viktor Khristenko and Oleg Sysuev declared incomes
of 555 million old rubles, 177 million old rubles, and 137
old rubles, respectively. Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei
Generalov, who joined the cabinet in April, declared nearly
4.4 billion old rubles, more than any other government
official. In 1997, Generalov was a vice president of the
Menatep Bank. LB

SAMARA GOVERNOR DOUBTS CHERNOMYRDIN'S PRESIDENTIAL
PROSPECTS. Samara Oblast Governor Konstantin Titov, the Our
Home Is Russia (NDR) movement's deputy chairman for economic
issues, does not consider NDR leader and former Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin a promising presidential
candidate, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 24 June.
Earlier this month, Titov said he sees only two "realistic"
candidates for the presidential election in 2000: Yeltsin
and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov. In addition, the Samara
branch of the NDR has in recent months expressed differences
with the NDR leadership in Moscow. The Samara governor was a
close ally of Chernomyrdin and was first deputy chairman of
the NDR from its creation in May 1995 until the movement's
last conference in April. Other regional leaders have also
distanced themselves from Chernomyrdin since Yeltsin sacked
him as prime minister in late March (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
7 May 1998). LB

CHECHNYA DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY. On 23 June President
Aslan Maskhadov declared a three-week state of emergency and
a night curfew, Russian media reported. Security Minister
Kazbek Makhashev told local television that the restrictions
are necessary because of the deteriorating crime situation
in Chechnya, in particular the clashes in central Grozny on
21 June, in which National Security Service commander Lecha
Khultygov and the chief of staff of maverick field commander
Salman Raduev's army were killed. Russian commentators have
rejected the official Chechen statement describing the
shootings as "a tragic accident." "Segodnya" reported that
the shootings occurred shortly after Raduev had harshly
criticized the Chechen leadership in a speech to
demonstrators on Grozny's central square. "Kommersant-Daily"
on 23 June pointed out that Khultygov tried to prevent
Raduev's supporters from occupying the Grozny television
building and that he had also incurred displeasure through
his resolute struggle against hostage-taking. LF

CHUVASH PRESIDENT WANTS ABDULATIPOV AS NATIONALITIES
MINISTER. Nikolai Fedorov said at a government session on 23
June that former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ramazan
Abdulatipov should be appointed Minister for Regional and
Nationality Policy in place of Yevgenii Sapiro, ITAR-TASS
reported. Fedorov argued that the nationalities question
"requires a special approach" and "wisdom" and that
Abdulatipov embodies those qualities. Fedorov had earlier
criticized Sapiro's appointment to replace Vyacheslav
Mikhailov. LF

WORKERS STAGE PROTESTS IN PRIMORE. Workers in the defense
industry led energy sector workers and employees of some
budget-funded organizations in protests across Primorskii
Krai on 23 June, RFE/RL's correspondent in Vladivostok
reported. Workers from defense industry enterprises that are
owed large sums by the government initiated the protests,
which involved demonstrations outside official buildings and
temporary blockades of a railroad and a major highway in the
krai. Some local observers estimated that tens of thousands
participated in the protests, but the Primore branch of the
Interior Ministry put the number at 8,000. Contrary to
reports in Moscow-based media that the protesters were
demanding payment of wage arrears, RFE/RL's correspondent
said political demands dominated the protests. In
particular, demonstrators called for Yeltsin's resignation
and the temporary transfer of most powers to the federal
parliament. LB

CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION DOUBTS FAIRNESS OF BASHKIR
ELECTION. Central Electoral Commission Chairman Aleksandr
Ivanchenko on 23 June called for investigating whether all
candidates seeking to compete in the 14 June presidential
election in Bashkortostan were granted equal conditions for
opening campaign funds, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 24
June. Ivanchenko said his commission will look into the
matter and will announce its conclusions at an upcoming
Supreme Court hearing. Two would-be candidates are seeking
to have the election result overturned, saying they were
unfairly barred from the competition (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
15 and 23 June 1998). Speaking to journalists in Moscow on
23 June, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov defended the
conduct of the election and cast doubt on whether the
Supreme Court will be objective in its consideration of the
case, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. LB

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

TURKEY, U.S. CRITICIZE IMPUTED ARMENIAN THREAT... Turkish
Foreign Ministry spokesman Necati Utkan told journalists on
23 June that Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's
imputed threat that Armenia may consider annexing Nagorno-
Karabakh "reveals the real intentions and uncompromising
attitudes of the Armenian government," according to the
"Turkish Daily News." Utcan added that "the fundamental
fault in the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is
Armenia's." The previous day, U.S. State department
spokesman James Rubin had termed Oskanian's alleged
statement "disturbing" and "unacceptable." Oskanian had told
journalists on 17 June that if Azerbaijan continues for a
period of years to reject a settlement of the conflict based
on compromise, Armenia would have to consider all
alternative options, including the possibility of
reunification with the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic. LF

...WHILE ARMENIAN OFFICIALS DENY SUCH A THREAT WAS MADE.
President Robert Kocharian told journalists in Yerevan on 23
June that he thinks Oskanian's statement was taken out of
context and misinterpreted, Armenpress and Interfax
reported. Kocharian said Armenia "does not reject a solution
to the Karabakh conflict" and hopes that resumed peace
negotiations will yield a solution acceptable to all
parties. Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arsen Gasparian
similarly told Snark that it is "unfortunate that one
segment from Oskanian's statement has been taken out of
context and is being characterized in ways that are
unfounded." He, too, stressed Armenia's determination to
resolve the conflict peacefully. " Also on 23 June, the
Karabakh Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that
Oskanian's insistence that Yerevan is not currently raising
the issue of either independence for Karabakh or its
unification with Armenia is consistent with Yerevan's
rejection of any preconditions for resuming the negotiating
process, Noyan Tapan reported. LF

U.S.-ARMENIAN BILLIONAIRE TO HELP FUND IRAN-ARMENIA-GEORGIA
HIGHWAY. President Kocharian told journalists on 23 June
that U.S.-Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian has donated
$85 million toward the construction of a highway linking
Iran and Georgia's Black Sea ports of Poti and Batumi,
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The highway will cut 50 km
from the shortest route from the Persian Gulf to the Black
Sea at present. Kocharian said the project has already been
approved by Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, and he
expressed hope that the EU will provide the rest of the sum
in its TRACECA project. Kerkorian, who has just completed
his first-ever visit to Armenia, is also said to have
allocated $15 million to complete reconstruction of the area
around Gyumri, Armenia's second-largest city, devastated by
the 1988 earthquake. LF

GEORGIA ACCUSES ABKHAZIA OF ARMED INCURSIONS. The Georgian
Foreign Ministry has issued a statement accusing Abkhaz
armed detachments of attacking villages in Georgia's Zugdidi
and Tsalendjikha Raions, according to an RFE/RL
correspondent in Tbilisi on 24 June. Speaking to Georgian
journalists, Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba warned that
if the White Legion Georgian partisan organization continues
its operations in Abkhazia's Gali Raion, Abkhazia may create
its own legion to engage in similar activities on Georgian
territory. LF

GEORGIAN ELECTION CONTROVERSY CONTINUES. In the repeat by-
election in the southeastern district of Lagodekhi on 21
June, the candidate of the ruling Union of Citizens of
Georgia (SMK) defeated his rival from the Socialist Party by
80 votes, according to Caucasus Press. The SMK had demanded
repeat elections, claiming that the Socialist Party
candidate's victory by an equally slim margin in the first
round of voting was due to mass violations. Socialist Party
chairman Vakhtang Rcheulishvili has alleged that the second
round was also falsified. He noted that local authorities
had threatened reprisals against members of the local
Azerbaijani minority who voted in the first round for the
Socialist candidate. Meanwhile, Socialist Party deputy
Tengiz Djushia told Caucasus Press that he will bring
criminal charges against several SMK supporters who
physically attacked him outside a polling station on 21
June. LF

U.S. CRITICIZES AZERBAIJANI ELECTION LAW. U.S. State
Department spokesman James Rubin on 22 June expressed the
hope that the Azerbaijani leadership will amend the Law on
the Central Electoral Commission passed in May, Turan
reported. Rubin said that in its present version, the law
"is not sufficiently representative of the whole political
spectrum and will limit the ability of the opposition
parties to play a role in the election process." Rubin also
called on the Azerbaijani leadership to ensure all
presidential candidates have access to the print and
electronic media in accordance with OSCE standards. LF

KYRGYZ LAWMAKERS RAISE RETIREMENT AGE... The Legislative
Assembly of the Kyrgyz parliament adopted an amendment to
the law on pensioners raising the retirement age by six
months every year over the next six years, RFE/RL
correspondents reported on 22 June. The current retirement
age for men is 60 and for women 55. The chairwoman of
Kyrgyzstan's Social Fund, Roza Uchkempirova, told a news
conference in Bishkek on 23 June that there are now 543,000
pensioners in the country. Those continuing to work after
they reach the eligible age for retirement will receive 50
percent of their pension. ITAR-TASS reported on 23 June that
only 15 percent of the funds necessary to pay pensions are
available in the state budget. BP

...WHILE UNEMPLOYMENT REACHES DANGEROUS LEVELS. While
freeing up some $23 million from the state budget, the
amendment to the law on pensioners is bound to add to the
problem of unemployment in Kyrgyzstan, according to RFE/RL's
Kyrgyz Service. The chairman of the parliament's Committee
on Social Affairs, Jangoroz Kanimetov, said on 22 June that
out of a population of 4.65 million, 2.38 million are of
working age but only 1.88 million are considered active.
This contradicts the registered unemployment figure of
54,000 and an unofficial government estimate of 100,000. On
20 June, the chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Patriotic Party,
Nazarbek Nyshanov, claimed there are currently 1.2 million
unemployed in the country. BP

FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER CLEARED OF FINANCIAL ABUSE. An
investigation carried out by the Kazakh National Security
Ministry has cleared former Prime Minister Akezhan
Kazhegeldin of using his position for personal financial
gain, Interfax and RFE/RL correspondents reported. Committee
chairman Alnur Musaev said on 22 June in Astana that the
property worth millions of dollars that Kazhegeldin owns was
acquired through commercial ventures before he joined the
government in 1994. The findings of the investigation were
released one week after Kazhegeldin hinted he may transform
his Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs into a
political party. Such a move may pave the way for
Kazhegeldin's nomination as a candidate for the 2000
presidential elections. BP

TAJIK LAWMAKERS ENDORSE BAN ON POLYGAMY. The Tajik
parliament has upheld the ban on polygamy, the Russian
newspaper "Trud" reported on 20 June. The debate among Tajik
lawmakers was described as "heated." Nonetheless, they voted
to keep in place the existing law and to impose a fine equal
to 500 minimum wages or two years in a forced labor camp for
those who break law. "Trud" claims that half of the men in
Tajikistan over 40 have two wives. BP

END NOTE

ENVOYS REFUSE TO DANCE TO LUKASHENKA'S MUSIC

by Jan Maksymiuk

	The Drazdy residential compound north of Minsk was
built in a pine forest in the late 1940s for the Minsk
nomenklatura. In the early 1990s, its wooden houses became
the residences of two dozen ambassadors to the newly
established Republic of Belarus. After the 1994 presidential
elections, Drazdy also became the residence of President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka. This month, the compound made the
headlines as the setting for the most bizarre diplomatic
conflict in modern history, which journalists have dubbed
the "sewer war."
	In late April, foreign diplomats living at Drazdy
were notified that they would have to move out owing to
urgent repairs to the compound's utility systems. Nobody
took this warning very seriously, particularly since most
ambassadors had extended their leases until the end of 2001.
But the ambassadors subsequently received an order to move
out by 10 June. To add weight to the written word, the
authorities dispatched a team of workers to weld shut the
gate to U.S. Ambassador Daniel Speckhard's residence. They
left the compound only after the diplomat, alerted by his
wife, arrived with a group of reporters.
	On 10 June, Lukashenka stepped in and extended the
eviction deadline by one week, saying the move was in
response to Speckhard's request that the diplomats be given
time to pack their belongings. The latter strongly denied
having made such a request. In fact, together with other
Western ambassadors, he demanded that Belarus observe the
Vienna convention on the treatment of diplomatic
representatives. Lukashenka later hinted that he did not
feel comfortable living in close proximity to Western
diplomats.
	That hint was unexpectedly confirmed on 17 June,
when the Drazdy site was declared the "residence of the
president of the Republic of Belarus" and a sign to that
effect appeared over the main entrance. The ambassadors were
to be allowed to stay in the compound but were to have the
status of "guests of the Belarusian president," as a deputy
foreign minister put it. As such, they would have to apply
for special passes to the compound for both themselves and
their guests. The same deputy foreign minister also warned
that would have to suffer "a lot of inconveniences" in
connection with the repairs. Water, electricity, and
telephone services were promptly cut off from diplomatic
residences, and a ditch was dug in front of the compound's
gates to prevent the diplomats from entering the area by
car.
	Until that time, the ambassadors had behaved as
Lukashenka wanted them to behave: they had protested but had
essentially accepted his rules of the game and tried to
adapt. They had declared themselves ready to suffer
hardships during the repairs. But they had not suspected
that the Belarusian authorities would force them to "float
in sewage," as Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich had
graphically described their prospective lot one week
earlier. The diplomats appear to have finally lost their
patience when it became evident that there was no office
where they could apply for entry permits to the compound. On
22 June, six nations--Britain, France, Germany, Greece,
Italy, and the U.S.--recalled their ambassadors for
consultations.
	For people in the West, Lukashenka's apparent
motive for the eviction order is the most baffling aspect of
the diplomatic row. Has he really risked an international
scandal simply to enlarge his own residence? Belarusian
independent journalists would answer in the affirmative,
having repeatedly stressed that Lukashenka, a former
collective farm director, manages Belarus's affairs like
those of a kolkhoz--in a callous, authoritarian, and
uncivilized manner. It seems he cares no more about foreign
ambassadors than he does about Belarusian kolkhoz workers.
	But his attempt to humiliate Western envoys may
also be guided by personal revenge. Owing to his dictatorial
ways and numerous violations of human rights, Belarus has
become almost completely isolated in the West. Few Western
statesmen will risk shaking hands with Lukashenka today.
This is undoubtedly a festering wound to the pride of the
self-styled leader of the East Slavic world, who some
observers claim is still aspiring to the Kremlin throne. And
that wound prompts him to hit back wherever and whenever he
can.
	Apart from expressing indignation and outrage, the
West has virtually no means to punish Lukashenka. The
Belarusian economy is virtually independent of the West;
therefore, economic sanctions would have no impact. On the
other hand, the Drazdy debacle has shown Lukashenka that he
is fully at the mercy of Russia, Belarus's only ally. Moscow
supports Lukashenka's blatantly undemocratic regime while
claiming to build democracy at home. But it cannot be ruled
out that the Kremlin will undertake a mediation mission to
try to curb Lukashenka's diplomatic vagaries.

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
listmanager@list.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
* Benjamin Tromly

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