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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 147 Part I, 3 August 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 147 Part I, 3 August 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 OFFICIAL WINDS UP TRIP TO MOSCOW

* KIRIENKO, MASKHADOV MEET IN NAZRAN

* GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ASSESSES UN ABKHAZ RESOLUTION

End Note: PRIMAKOV'S 19TH CENTURY MODEL
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RUSSIA

IMF OFFICIAL WINDS UP TRIP TO MOSCOW. No sooner was the
government's anti-crisis plan in effect than a top IMF
official was in Moscow urging compliance before the release
in September of a second tranche worth $4.3 billion. IMF
Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fisher met with Russian
Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko on 31 July and with Finance
Minister Mikhail Zadornov and Anatolii Chubais, presidential
envoy to international financial institutions, the next day.
Fisher said that the Russian government has made progress
toward improving its revenue collection and has tightened
controls over spending, but he cautioned that "complacency
must be avoided." On 31 July, Federal Tax Service director
Boris Fyodorov reported that the government collected $80.6
million more in taxes in July than in the previous month, an
increase of about 7 percent, according to Reuters. JAC

CHUBAIS KEEPS JOB--FOR NOW. Fisher's visit had sparked
rumors in the Moscow press that President Boris Yeltsin
would invite Chubais back into the government. But Yeltsin
concluded a meeting with Chubais on 31 July without making
any such announcement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1998).
Some newspapers continue to predict Chubais's return. On 1
August, "Russkii Telegraf" reported that the decree for the
resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko has
already been signed but that news of his departure and
Chubais's return will be released at the end of Yeltsin's
vacation. JAC

GOVERNMENT TELLS OIL COMPANIES TO PAY UP OR SHUT IN. The
selection of which Russian oil companies will have
restricted access to export pipelines in August appears to
depend on size of the company and its political influence
rather than on its tax debt, according to the "Vremya MN" on
31 July. The daily argued that Moscow bureaucrats have
chosen companies that are too small to defend themselves,
such as SIDANCO and ONAKO. On 31 July, Minister of Fuel and
Energy Sergei Generalov said that because of a credit from
Western banks totaling $4 million, LUKOIL will be guaranteed
the right to export 12 million to 15 million tons annually.
He added that this agreement will later be legalized by
presidential decree. JAC

YELTSIN SCUTTLES FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW... President Yeltsin
has apparently decided that it is better to have no foreign
investment law than to sign the poorly drafted version
passed by the Duma in July, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 August.
According to the presidential press service, Yeltsin
rejected the law because it was in conflict not only with
existing legislation but also with international agreements.
Drafters of the original version of the legislation had
intended the law to provide foreign investors with a
"grandfather clause" that would protect them from changes in
tax legislation. However, the law became so diluted after
its passage through the State Duma that it was unclear
whether investors would be protected even for so short a
period as seven years (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 1998).
JAC

...REJECTS TWO MORE LAWS. Yeltsin also rejected two other
laws passed by the legislature last month: the law on
leasing and the law on the protection of the earth's
atmosphere. ITAR-TASS reported that Yeltsin determined that
both laws were incompatible with existing federal
legislation. JAC

KIRIENKO, MASKHADOV MEET IN NAZRAN. Prime Minister Kirienko
flew to Vladikavkaz on 1 August, from where he traveled with
Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin and Ingush President
Ruslan Aushev to Aushev's residence near Nazran for talks
with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, RFE/RL's
correspondents in Moscow and Grozny reported. At a two-hour
meeting behind closed doors, Kirienko and Maskhadov
discussed Moscow's failure to implement bilateral
agreements, in particular the accord signed last year by
Maskhadov and Kirienko's predecessor, Viktor Chernomyrdin,
on Russian economic aid for Chechnya. Kirienko admitted that
failure at a press conference after the meeting, stressing
that "we need peace and stability in the North Caucasus...,
we need to find solutions to the economic problems of the
Chechen Republic Ichkeria and the neighboring regions."
Maskhadov said he is confident that the meeting with
Kirienko served to "break the deadlock" in Russian-Chechen
relations. LF

ZYUGANOV APPROVES, YANDARBIEV CONDEMNS TALKS. Russian
Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov told Interfax on 1
August that he welcomes the Kirienko-Maskhadov meeting.
Zyuganov, who had just returned from a two-week tour of the
Russian North Caucasus, said the situation in the region "is
deteriorating." He called for the adoption of a new national
policy for the Caucasus. But former acting Chechen President
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev said on 2 August that Kirienko insulted
the Chechen people by proposing to establish a free economic
zone in Chechnya comparable to that in Kaliningrad.
Yandarbiev said that Russia does not have the financial
means to resolve Chechnya's problems. LF

MASKHADOV IN TURKEY. Maskhadov arrived in Istanbul with his
family on 2 August for a four-day unofficial visit, Russian
media reported. Speaking on his arrival, the Chechen
president criticized unidentified Arab countries that,
according to him, are seeking to "provoke confusion" in
Chechnya and to "teach us Islam." Maskhadov has publicly
blamed radical Islamists for the fighting in Gudermes in
June between members of the National Guard and units of the
Special Purpose Islamic Regiment and Shariah Security Guard.
LF

MAYOR, STATESMAN, PRESIDENT? Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, who
is a likely presidential contender in 2000, is again trying
to display his foreign-policy acumen. Last month, he sided
with Belarusian President Lukashenka in the latter's
controversial attempt to oust foreign diplomats from their
compound (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 1998). At a 31 July
meeting with visiting South Korean Ambassador to Russia Lee
Ing Ho, Luzhkov proposed that the embassies of South Korea
and North Korea be located next door to each other.
According to Interfax, he explained that since Korea will be
reunited sooner or later, "it will be enough to remove the
fence for a single embassy to be established." JAC

LUZHKOV ON CHECHNYA. Luzhkov on 1 August also weighed in on
another issue of national importance, relations with
Chechnya, according to Interfax. In an apparent departure
from his earlier condemnation of the Chechnya peace accords,
he declared that Chechnya should become independent. In fall
1996, Luzhkov had joined critics of General Aleksandr
Lebed's efforts in Chechnya, saying "Russia has effectively
surrendered to bandits." JAC

LOCAL ELECTION CANCELED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST? Election
officials in the Republic of Tuva said on 2 August that they
fear they will have to declare local elections invalid
because of insufficient voter turnout, ITAR-TASS reported.
Two hours after polls opened that day, only 3.35 percent of
the city of Kyzyl's 52,000 eligible voters had cast their
votes. On the ballot were candidates for 10 seats in the
republic's parliament and 25 seats in the city's
legislature. JAC

DIAMONDS AREN'T FOREVER. Russia's diamond industry lost one
of its top officials on 1 August, when Aleksandr Shkadov,
executive director of the Kristall diamond company and
president of the Russian Association of Diamond Processors,
was shot and killed in an apparent contract murder.
According to ITAR-TASS, his body was found outside the city
of Smolensk in an area littered with bullets and cartridges.
JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ASSESSES UN ABKHAZ RESOLUTION. In his
weekly radio broadcast on 3 August, Georgian President
Eduard Shevardnadze termed the 30 July UN Security Council
resolution on Abkhazia "another success of Georgian
diplomacy," Caucasus Press reported. Shevardnadze said the
tone of the latest resolution is "more firm and categorical"
in its condemnation of Abkhaz reprisals against the ethnic
Georgian population of Abkhazia's Gali Raion. But the deputy
chairman of the Abkhaz parliament in exile, Gia Gvazava,
expressed disappointment that the resolution does not
condemn the Abkhaz reprisals as ethnic cleansing, in
accordance with Tbilisi's request. In Moscow on 31 July,
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said
the resolution is a "clear message" to both Georgia and
Abkhazia to abide by their commitments under the 25 May
cease-fire protocol, according to Interfax. That document
provides for maintaining a cease-fire and preventing
terrorist activities against the Russian peacekeepers
deployed in the border zone between Abkhazia and the rest of
Georgia. LF

RADIOACTIVITY DISCOVERED AT FORMER SOVIET MILITARY BASES IN
GEORGIA. Environmental Minister Nino Chkhobadze told
journalists on 1 August that radioactivity has been detected
near two former Soviet army bases in Khoni and Terdjola
Raions, western Georgia, Caucasus Press reported. She said
that cleanup operations have already been completed at the
Terdjola site and are continuing in Khoni, where the
radioactivity level was 230 roentgen. Several Georgian
servicemen were hospitalized with radiation sickness in
October 1997, after being exposed to radioactive equipment
at a former training base for Soviet border guards base near
Tbilisi (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 October 1997). LF

ARMENIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY DENIES EX-PRESIDENT'S RESIDENCE
ATTACKED. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and National
Security issued a statement on 2 August denying media
reports of automatic rifle fire close to the Yerevan
residence of former President Levon Ter-Petrossian at 2:00
a.m. local time the previous day, ITAR-TASS reported. He
described those reports as based on "unfounded rumors." The
daily "Aravot" reported the shooting on 1 August, adding
that police and Ter-Petrossian's bodyguards were immediately
alerted but could find no trace of the attackers, RFE/RL's
Yerevan bureau reported. LF

U.S. REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR BAKU-CEYHAN PIPELINE... U.S.
special envoy for Caspian affairs Richard Morningstar told
journalists in Baku on 30 July that both Washington and
Ankara support plans for construction of an oil export
pipeline from Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal at
Ceyhan and for a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline from
Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, Interfax reported. But
Morningstar also conceded that pending an agreement among
all five Caspian littoral states on the sea's status, Iran
and Russia have a "sovereign right" to protest the planned
Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. LF

...AS DOES TURKEY. Turkish Foreign Ministry official Yaman
Bashkut, who accompanied Morningstar to Baku, told
journalists on 31 July that "there will be no problems" in
raising the estimated $3 billion needed for construction of
the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. He said that "the U.S. in the
person of EximBank, the World Bank, and other financial
organizations" will provide the funds, according to Turan.
Bashkut rejected the argument that falling world oil prices
mean that the Baku-Ceyhan route is no longer economically
viable. He also warned again that Ankara will not permit the
lion's share of Caspian oil to be exported by tanker via the
Turkish straits. LF

AZERBAIJANI LEADERSHIP, OPPOSITION SIGNAL READINESS FOR
DIALOGUE. Presidential administration official Ali Hasanov
has said there are no obstacles to meetings between
opposition leaders and himself, presidential administration
head Ramiz Mehtiev, or even President Heidar Aliev to
discuss the conditions under which the opposition leaders
are prepared to participate in the October presidential
elections, Turan reported on 31 July. Azerbaijan Popular
Front Party chairman Abulfaz Elchibey and Musavat Party
leader Isa Gambar, both of whom have announced their
intention to boycott the poll, similarly announced their
readiness to participate in such a dialogue. The head of the
pro-government Center for Democratic Elections, Motherland
Party chairman Fazail Agamali, has offered to mediate that
dialogue. But presidential legal adviser Shahin Aliev
repeated in Washington on 31 July that the Azerbaijani
leadership will not grant the opposition's demand for the
right to nominate half the members of the Central Electoral
Commission. LF

WIDOW OF TAJIK CUSTOMS OFFICIAL KILLED IN CEMETERY. The
widow of deputy customs head Ali Imomnazarov was shot and
killed on 2 August, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Saida
Imomnazarova was killed by two masked gunmen while visiting
the cemetery where her husband had been buried the previous
day. Ali Imomnazarov died on 31 July from wounds he received
from a bomb planted in his car. BP

TREASON TRIAL OPENS IN TAJIKISTAN. The Prosecutor-General's
office has completed its investigation of four men involved
in mutinous activities in July and August 1997 and has
charged the men with treason, attempting to overthrow the
government, and other "grave" crimes against the country,
ITAR-TASS reported on 31 July. Kosim Boboyev, the former
governor of Khatlon Oblast, Toshtemir Odinamadov, Sherali
Mirzoyev, and Sulton Kurbonov allegedly cooperated with
former Popular Front field commanders led by Colonel Mahmud
Khudaberdiyev in order to establish a defense council for
Khatlon Oblast. That council was against allowing fighters
from the United Tajik Opposition to return to the region in
accordance with the June 1997 peace accord. Armed units
under Khudaberdiyev subsequently advanced on Dushanbe but
were defeated by forces of the presidential guard.
Khudaberdiyev, who has been in hiding for nearly a year, is
also wanted by the prosecutor-general. BP

UZBEKISTAN CUTS OFF GAS SUPPLIES TO KYRGYZSTAN. The
director-general of the Kyrgyz state gas company, Shalkhar
Jaysanbayev, said on 3 August that Uzbekistan has cut off
supplies of natural gas to Kyrgyzstan, ITAR-TASS reported.
The reason for that move is unpaid bills totaling $2.5
million. Jaysanbayev said the Kyrgyz government has already
begun talks with Uzbekistan on the resumption of supplies
and has provided written guarantees for payment of those
supplies. He added that in order to pay Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan will increase the price of gas for consumers
during August by 25 percent. BP

END NOTE

PRIMAKOV'S 19TH CENTURY MODEL

by Paul Goble

	Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov has
identified his 19th century predecessor Aleksandr Gorchakov
as a model for Moscow's approach following the collapse of
the Soviet Union. In a speech on the 200th anniversary of
Gorchakov's birth, published in the current issue of the
Russian foreign-policy journal "International Affairs,"
Primakov notes that Gorchakov was able to rebuild Russia's
power and influence after its defeat in the Crimean War.
	When Gorchakov assumed office after that defeat, in
1856, many people "thought that they were present at a
funeral for the Russian Empire or at any rate witnessing its
turning into a second-rate power," Primakov argues. Such a
conclusion seemed reasonable, according to the current
foreign minister. The Crimean War had demonstrated a variety
of internal weaknesses in the Russian Empire. Most of the
important powers were "rallied against Russia." And the
North Caucasian leader Shamil was able to stage a daring
raid into Russia itself.
	Given these obstacles, Primakov points out, many in
the Russian Empire argued that it had to turn inward,
"resign its great power status," and accept the leadership
of others. That had been the policy of Gorchakov's
predecessor, Count Nesselrode, who went so far as to propose
abolishing the Foreign Ministry altogether. But Gorchakov
urged "a different course of action." Primakov not only
approves of that course but argues it should be a model for
Russian actions in the future.
	According to Primakov, Gorchakov believed that "a
vigorous foreign policy" was essential for creating the
conditions that would allow Russia to renew itself at home
and regain influence abroad. Over the next 30 years,
Primakov says, Gorchakov did just that, far more
successfully than many of his contemporaries assumed he
could.
	Primakov draws five lessons from Gorchakov's approach.
Those lessons, he argues, should guide Moscow's actions
today.
	First, Primakov says, Gorchakov demonstrated that
Russia, even when weakened by defeat, can pursue an active
foreign policy. Indeed, Primakov insists that his
predecessor showed that it has no other choice.
	Second, Gorchakov insisted that Russian foreign policy
must not be limited to a single direction or area of
concern. Instead, it must seek to be active in all areas.
	Third, as Primakov notes with approval, Gorchakov had
no doubt that Russia at all times has "enough strength" to
play a leading role in the world.
	Fourth, Gorchakov understood that Russia could always
exploit the resentment many smaller powers inevitably feel
vis-a-vis larger ones. In this way, Russia can rebuild and
then expand its own influence.
	Fifth, Gorchakov's actions provide one negative
lesson. According to Primakov, Gorchakov's maneuvering among
the great powers of Europe is now "out of date." Instead,
Primakov notes, Moscow must seek constructive partnerships
with all countries rather than seeking some "mobile" or
permanent coalition.
	Together, these five principles show that Gorchakov
understood what Primakov argues is the fundamental basis of
Russian foreign policy: "There are no constant enemies, but
there are constant national interests." According to
Primakov, that principle means that Russian foreign policy
must adopt a balanced approach--neither advancing "excessive
claims" that fail to recognize what has happened in the last
decade nor setting "deliberately low standards" that ignore
Moscow's continuing possibilities. And it also means,
Primakov continues, that Russia will not seek improved
relations with "the 'civilized West' at any cost."
	In his concluding remarks, Primakov focuses on one
foreign-policy area where Gorchakov's approach seems not to
apply but in fact does. As Primakov points out, his 19th
century predecessor was "striving to consolidate the Russian
Empire's territorial integrity." Now, Primakov acknowledges,
the situation has changed: Both the Empire and the Soviet
Union are "gone" and he argues that "the present reality is
such that sovereignty of the ex-USSR republics should not be
subject to any doubt."
	But at the same time, Primakov concludes, Moscow must
do everything it can to bring "the states formed on the
territory of the former Soviet Union" closer together
through economic integration and "the creation of a single
economic area." Many people, in both these countries and the
West, are likely to see such a proposal as anything but
reassuring, particularly since Primakov advances it even as
he praises one of 19th-century Russia's most passionate
defenders of empire.

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