We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 122 Part I, 26 June 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 122 Part I, 26 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

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Headlines, Part I

* IMF APPROVES LOAN TRANCHE

* RUSSIA TO CUT OIL EXPORTS

* GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS RESUME

End Note: A NEW NATIONAL SOCIALIST THREAT
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RUSSIA

IMF APPROVES LOAN TRANCHE. The IMF board of directors on 25
June approved the release of a $670 million loan tranche to
Russia, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. The
tranche will bring to $5.8 billion the funds allocated to
Russia under a four-year, $10 billion IMF Extended Fund
Facility. Unified Energy System chief executive Anatolii
Chubais, who is also President Boris Yeltsin's envoy to
international financial institutions, described the IMF
decision as "quite natural and logical," Interfax reported.
He argued that "it is important in principle that IMF board
members...regard the ailments of the Russian economy as
quite curable." Despite the news about the IMF loan tranche,
the main index of the Russian stock market fell more than 5
percent in early trading on 26 June. Negotiations between
Russian and IMF officials over a possible $10-15 billion aid
package are expected to take weeks. LB

COMMUNISTS WANT LOAN CONDITIONS MADE PUBLIC. Communist Party
leader Gennadii Zyuganov on 24 June demanded that the
government and Central Bank release all documents they have
sent to the IMF, along with information about the conditions
for receiving IMF loans and plans for spending such funds,
Russian news agencies reported. He claimed that the IMF has
made a possible $10-15 billion loan conditional on Russia
agreeing to break up its natural monopolies, raise the
pension age by five years, and push through legislation on
land sales and the ratification of the START-2 arms control
treaty. Zyuganov also mentioned that he met with a group of
Russia's leading "oligarchs" on 24 June to discuss the
economic crisis. Duma Economic Policy Committee Chairman
Yurii Maslyukov, also a Communist, said "the government
cannot do without foreign loans" but called for more
"transparency" in the process of receiving those loans. LB

ARGENTINE PRESIDENT IN MOSCOW. Argentina's President Carlos
Menem was in Moscow on 25 June, making the first ever
official visit by an Argentine head of state to Russia,
ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Russian Prime Minister
Sergei Kirienko welcomed Menem to the government
headquarters in Moscow, calling Argentina Russia's "most
important partner in Latin America." Menem later met with
Boris Yeltsin and signed agreements on the basic principles
of relations between the two countries, protection of
investments and combating illegal trafficking in narcotics
and weapons. However, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 26 June
that Yeltsin expressed his country's displeasure with
Argentina's relationship with NATO. Menem for his part noted
that Russia still supports Great Britain's position on the
Falkland Islands. BP

YELTSIN POSTPONES TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN. Following a telephone
conversation between Boris Yeltsin and Kazakh President
Nursultan Nazarbayev on 25 June, it was announced that
Yeltsin will not make a scheduled trip to Kazakhstan at the
end of June, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Yeltsin said
it is necessary to stay in Russia at this time and deal with
financial and socio-economic matters. Yeltsin was scheduled
to sign an "eternal friendship treaty" with Nazarbayev which
would define relations between their two countries into the
next century. A meeting of the leaders of the CIS "four plus
one" Customs Union (which also includes Belarus, Kyrgyzstan
and Tajikistan) was also scheduled, in addition to a meeting
with Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, Tajik
President Imomali Rakhmonov and Chinese President Jiang
Zemin to review the border treaty between the five
countries. Yeltsin has tentatively rescheduled his visit to
Kazakhstan for September. BP

GOVERNMENT SUBMITS MORE LAWS TO DUMA. Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Nemtsov on 25 June delivered to the State Duma six
more draft laws that are part of the government's anti-
crisis program, ITAR-TASS reported. The entire package
consists of more than 20 laws, including six submitted on 24
June, eight sent to the Duma earlier this year, and one that
has yet to be submitted to parliament. According to Reuters,
Prime Minister Kirienko said the package would increase
monthly federal budget revenues by 1.5-2.5 billion rubles
($240-$400 million), and both he and Nemtsov urged the Duma
to pass the package in its entirety. But First Deputy Duma
Speaker Vladimir Ryzhkov of Our Home is Russia told ITAR-
TASS that the Duma is likely to reject several of the
proposals, such as a fourfold increase in the land tax and a
freeze on the payment of child allowances. LB

DUMA DELAYS VOTE ON PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM. The government on
25 June withdrew its privatization program for 1998 from the
State Duma after it became clear that deputies would reject
the document in the first reading. Although the Yabloko, Our
Home Is Russia, and Russian Regions factions supported the
program, the Communist and Agrarian factions spoke out
against it. The program slated 57 companies for either
privatization or transformation into joint-stock companies
this year, Russian news agencies reported. After First
Deputy State Property Minister Aleksandr Braverman offered
to introduce some changes, the Duma postponed consideration
of the program until mid-July. Under a law that went into
effect in August 1997, the government must seek
parliamentary approval for its privatization plans.
Meanwhile, State Property Ministry officials met with
representatives of about a dozen foreign banks on 25 June to
encourage them to participate in Russian privatization
auctions. LB

RUSSIA TO CUT OIL EXPORTS. Russia agreed on 25 June to
reduce its exports of oil and other petroleum products by
some 100,000 barrels per day, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian
Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Generalov agreed to the cuts
during a meeting in Vienna with ministers from the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Earlier this year, OPEC asked Russia, the world's third-
largest oil producer and a non-OPEC country, to reduce its
oil exports by 100,000 barrels a day. Russian officials
first said exports would not be reduced and then agreed to
smaller cuts (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 April 1998).
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 26 June that if oil prices
rise as much as Russian and OPEC experts hope, Russia will
by the end of this year earn $500 million more from its oil
exports than it would have without the reductions agreed to
in Vienna. LB

CHERNOMYRDIN SAYS RESHUFFLE CONTRIBUTED TO ECONOMIC
PROBLEMS... Former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on 25
June charged that the economic crisis was exacerbated by the
dismissal of his government in late March, Interfax and
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Chernomyrdin noted that
Russia was without a government for a month during the
wrangling over the confirmation of his successor, Sergei
Kirienko. The other two main factors contributing to the
Russian economic situation, in Chernomyrdin's view, were
turmoil on Asian financial markets and falling oil prices on
world markets (which has hurt Russian budget revenues).
Although he has admitted that his dismissal came as a
surprise to him, Chernomyrdin has refrained from overt
criticism of Yeltsin. During his 25 June press conference he
slammed attempts by the president's opponents in the Duma to
launch impeachment proceedings. LB

...DENIES PLANS TO RETURN TO GAZPROM. Chernomyrdin on 25
June vigorously denied that he plans to return to a top post
at the gas monopoly Gazprom, which he helped found and
headed until he became prime minister in December 1992,
RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. The gas monopoly is holding
its annual shareholders meeting on 26 June, amid rumors that
the government's representatives in the company may try to
remove chief executive Rem Vyakhirev. In recent days,
Chernomyrdin has met with Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko and
Yeltsin's Chief of Staff Valentin Yumashev, fueling
speculation that he may be a candidate to replace Vyakhirev.
Two Moscow-based newspapers that are financed by Gazprom,
"Trud" and "Tribuna" (formerly "Rabochaya tribuna"), have
repeatedly criticized the government's economic policy since
Chernomyrdin's dismissal. Those newspapers alleged in April
that the new government is "hostile" to Gazprom. LB

LEBED WANTS GREATER ROLE FOR INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE.
Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr Lebed on 25 June
advocated allowing the International Court of Justice in The
Hague jurisdiction over war crimes no matter where they are
committed, Reuters reported. Speaking in Wiesbaden, where he
received a peace prize for helping negotiate an end to the
war in Chechnya in 1996, Lebed said that "when each
potential war criminal will imagine himself sitting in the
dock, he will think again before he gives an order to start
military operations." He also called for prosecuting in the
International Court those who committed crimes during the
war in Chechnya, charging that "the Russian justice system
is unable, for several reasons, to bring to justice those
who have profited from the war, and in the course of it
dealt with prisoners and civilians in an inhuman way." LB

CHUBAIS CONFIDENT ON FUTURE OF RUSSIA'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE.
Unified Energy System chief executive Chubais says Yegor
Gaidar's party Russia's Democratic Choice (DVR) can easily
clear the five percent barrier in the next parliamentary
elections if it forms a strong coalition with other like-
minded groups. In an interview with RFE/RL's Moscow bureau
broadcast on 25 June, Chubais predicted that the DVR will be
able to form an influential faction in the State Duma. He
did not name possible partners for an electoral coalition.
Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii has ruled out such an
alliance, and many other politicians are wary of associating
with the unpopular Gaidar and Chubais, who has no formal
leadership role in the DVR but has been a highly influential
member since the party's creation. Chubais said the DVR
already has a candidate in mind for the next presidential
election, but refused to name that candidate. LB

NTV CANCELS PROGRAM AFTER BELARUSIAN PROTEST. The private
network NTV has cancelled a morning talk show called "Chas
byka" after its host, Andrei Cherkizov, ran afoul of
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. On a 23 June
program, Cherkizov referred to Lukashenka as a "boor,"
prompting the Belarusian authorities to send an angry
message to NTV, an RFE/RL correspondent in Minsk reported.
An official in Lukashenka's administration suggested that
NTV transmissions could be cut off in Belarus. An NTV
newscaster apologized to Lukashenka and the Belarusian
public on the air on 23 June, but the following morning
Cherkizov compared Lukashenka to a "swine" during his
program. The same day, NTV's news director announced plans
to cancel "Chas byka." Although he will no longer appear on
NTV, Cherkizov will continue to work at the radio station
Ekho Moskvy, which, like NTV, belongs to Vladimir
Gusinskii's Media-Most holding company. LB

NETWORK HAS HISTORY OF STRAINED RELATIONS WITH LUKASHENKA.
In 1997 Lukashenka repeatedly found fault with Russian news
coverage of events in Belarus, and he particularly
criticized NTV. In March of that year, Belarusian
authorities stripped the accreditation of Aleksandr
Stupnikov, an NTV correspondent in Minsk, and expelled him
from the country. In the subsequent months, Lukashenka
accused NTV and 51 percent state-owned Russian Public
Television (ORT) of participating in a campaign orchestrated
by his political enemies to undermine the Russian-Belarusian
union. Relations have since improved. In January of this
year, Media-Most head Gusinskii and Boris Berezovskii, who
is an influential figure at ORT, travelled to Minsk with key
journalists from media they finance for a meeting with
Lukashenka (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 January 1998). LB

PROSECUTOR-GENERAL WARNS INTERIOR MINISTER OVER PRISON
CONDITIONS. Yurii Skuratov has written to Sergei Stepashin
warning that human rights are "systematically and massively
violated" in Russia's prisons, where sanitary conditions,
overcrowding, inadequate nutrition and lack of medicinal
facilities have caused epidemics of tuberculosis, dystrophy,
food poisoning and AIDS, Russian news agencies reported on
25 June. Skuratov alleged that lack of funding is less to
blame than "mismanagement and misuse" of budgetary funds
allocated for prison maintenance. An October 1997
presidential decree ordered the transfer of the penitentiary
system from the Interior Ministry to the Justice Ministry by
1 June 1998, to conform with Council of Europe
recommendations, but the transfer has not materialized (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 10 and 15 October 1997 and 26 February
1998). Meanwhile, on 25 June Russia's Main Government
Sanitary Doctor Gennadii Onishchenko told journalists that
tuberculosis rates in prisons are 5 times the national
average, ITAR-TASS reported. BT

STATE COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REELECTED IN DAGESTAN. Amid stringent
security precautions, Dagestan's Constitutional Assembly
elected a new 14-man State Council, whose members represent
the republic's various ethnic minorities, on 25 June.
Magomedali Magomedov, who has headed the State Council since
July, 1994, was reelected its chairman. 162 of the
Constitutional Assembly's members voted for Magomedov and 78
for his sole challenger, Pension Fund head Sharaputdin
Musaev, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 26 June. LF

SAMARA PASSES LAND LAW. The Samara Oblast Duma on 25 June
approved a law to legalize the purchase and sale of
farmland, ITAR-TASS reported. Governor Konstantin Titov is a
strong supporter of the legislation. Saratov Oblast adopted
a similar law last November, drawing protests from State
Duma deputies who charged that regions have no right to
legalize such land sales in the absence of a federal land
code. But those objections did not deter the legislature of
Tatarstan, which adopted a similar law earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Kaliningrad Oblast Duma on 25 June refused to
consider a land law proposed by the oblast administration,
which would have legalized the purchase and sale of
farmland, ITAR-TASS reported. Deputies voted down earlier
drafts of that law in January and March. They declined to
consider the latest version on the grounds that a federal
land code should first be adopted. LB

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS RESUME. Georgian Ambassador to Russia
Vazha Lortkipanidze met for three hours in Sukhumi on 25
June with Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba and
presidential envoy Anri Djergenia, Interfax and Caucasus
Press reported. Both envoys subsequently told journalists
that progress had been made towards reaching agreement on a
peace protocol, and two further protocols on rebuilding the
Abkhaz economy, and the return to their homes in Abkhazia's
southernmost Gali raion of the 35,000 ethnic Georgians who
fled during last month's fighting. Georgian President Eduard
Shevardnadze rejected an earlier draft protocol on
repatriation on 20 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 June
1998). LF

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION DEMANDS ABOLITION OF CENSORSHIP. The
Democratic Congress that comprises ten opposition parties
issued a statement on 25 June arguing that free and
democratic presidential elections will not be possible
unless political censorship and existing restrictions on the
activities of opposition political parties are abolished,
Turan reported. The Democratic Congress also demanded the
immediate release of two young opposition activists arrested
for drafting what the authorities have termed a blueprint
for destabilizing the political situation in Azerbaijan.
That document was confiscated during a search of the
editorial office of the opposition newspaper "Chag" (see
"RFE/RL Newsline, 18 June 1998). On 24 June, Azerbaijan
Popular Front Party deputy chairman Ulvi Hakimov, arrested
10 days earlier for obstructing the police, was released
from custody. Meanwhile Azerbaijani human rights activists
have founded a new organization to counter repression by the
Azerbaijani authorities of potential opposition presidential
candidates. LF

AZERBAIJANI EX-PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ACCUSES PRESIDENT. In an
interview given to "Moskovskie novosti" and summarized by
Turan on 25 June, Rasul Guliev alleged that President Heidar
Aliev and his family have misappropriated $900 million from
the sale of oil, metals and cotton. Guliev claimed that
Aliev knew in advance of the coup launched by rebel colonel
Suret Huseinov that resulted in the ouster of President
Abulfaz Elchibey in June, 1993. Guliev also alleged that
Aliev and former Armenian parliament speaker Babken
Ararktsian colluded in the surrender to Armenian forces in
summer, 1993, of six Azerbaijani raions bordering on
Nagorno-Karabakh. LF

WORLD BANK GIVES LOANS TO KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN. The World
Bank issued loans to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan on 25 June,
ITAR-TASS reported. Kazakhstan received $300 million for
pension reform making "transition from the Soviet-era
retirement system to a model using individual savings
accounts" possible. Kyrgyzstan received $15 million for
improving the heating and energy sector in the capital,
Bishkek. BP

IMF GIVES $128 MILLION CREDIT TO TAJIKISTAN. The
International Monetary Fund announced on 25 June that it
will grant Tajikistan a $128 million credit for
restructuring the country's economy, ITAR-TASS and the
Russian Information Agency reported. Tajikistan, in the
first year of three-year restructuring program, will receive
$48 million in 1998, half now and the rest in six months.
According to Tajik government plans, there will be 4 percent
annual GDP growth in the period 1999-2001, inflation should
drop to eight percent (from 164 percent in 1997), and the
fiscal deficit will drop from the present 3.3 percent to 0.3
percent. BP

END NOTE

A NEW NATIONAL SOCIALIST THREAT

by Paul Goble

	The same social problems that powered the rise of
national socialism in Germany in the 1930s have emerged in
many post-communist countries and now threaten their
transitions to democracy and the free market. Across this
region, a variety of sources suggest, all too many people
feel a sense of national humiliation and want to find a
scapegoat. They feel threatened by economic dislocations
that have allowed some to become fabulously wealthy while
leaving others more impoverished than ever before.
And they feel that they need a single ruthless leader rather
than a fractious parliament to lead them out of their
difficulties.
	Despite these obvious parallels and the appearance of
a small number of explicitly neo-nazi fringe groups in
several of the countries of this region, most people both
there and beyond have assumed that the post-communist states
are somehow immune to such a development precisely because
of their own experience with and struggle against Nazi
Germany a half century ago. But that may be changing. On 22
June, Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned that Nazi-like
extremism now threatened his country and called on everyone
to recognize just how dangerous it is.
	Speaking on the 57th anniversary of the Nazi invasion
of the Soviet Union, the Russian leader said that "those
obsessed with the ideas of national supremacy and anti-
semitism should ask themselves whether they realize what
they are doing." And noting that Russia "saved the world
from Nazism half a century ago," Yeltsin himself asked "Will
Russians allow the most fearful ideology ever known to
mankind to take root on our soil?"
	Some observers have concluded that Yeltsin's words,
coming on the eve of his announcement of a new anti-crisis
program, are simply intended to frighten the West into
providing his government with more aid. After all, no one in
the West would want to see Yeltsin supplanted by a fascist
dictatorship if sending more financial assistance alone
could prevent that from happening. Other reporters have
suggested that Yeltsin was only talking about those small
groups in Russian society that openly flaunt Nazi symbols
like the swastika or that have attacked synagogues and non-
Russians in the Russian Federation. Such groups, various
human rights organizations have concluded, now number only
about 4,000 people in Moscow itself.
	But regardless of Yeltsin's exact intention, his words
seem likely to have the effect of calling attention to a
broader set of problems not only in the Russian Federation
but in other post-communist states as well. And such
attention has the effect of highlighting both the reasons
that there is a new national socialist threat in these
countries and also why it may not come to pass.
	On the one hand, virtually all these countries are
suffering from the traumas of transition. And because they
still have little experience with the tensions inherent in
democratic politics and free market economies, some in their
populations are increasingly susceptible to the appeals of
those who would combine a nationalist message of revenge
with a socialist set of promises for economic security.
	Sometimes this combination is dismissed as the "red-
brown coalition, the coalition between the old communist
nomenklatura and the new nationalists found in many
parliaments and some executive offices. But often it is more
subtle and affects the styles and messages of otherwise
democratic leaders. And the fact that such messages are
being delivered by otherwise mainstream leaders has the
effect of opening the door to ever more extreme groups.
	But on the other hand, none of these countries yet has
the one element that linked these two sets of ideas together
in a way that tore apart the political fabric in Western
Europe in the pre-World War II period. That element is the
presence of a single charismatic leader who can convince
people that he and he alone can lead them out of their
current difficulties. If there is no such leader yet in
power in any of these countries, there are several obvious
candidates for the job in many of them.
	Yeltsin's warning by itself will not prevent them from
seeking such positions. But it may make everyone involved
more sensitive to the dangers their rise would inevitably
entail.

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