It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 153 Part I, 11 August 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 153 Part I, 11 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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SPECIAL REPORT: TURKEY AT A CROSSROADS
A veteran RFE/RL correspondent reports from Turkey on
politics and religion, minorities, economics and foreign
relations.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/turkey

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Headlines, Part I

* GOVERNMENT TO PRESENT NEW ANTI-CRISIS LAWS

* SUPPORT FOR CHUBAIS REVIVING AMONG RUSSIAN ELITE

* UZBEKISTAN READY FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES

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RUSSIA

GOVERNMENT TO PRESENT NEW ANTI-CRISIS LAWS... According to
Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, the government has
prepared seven new anti-crisis laws for the State Duma's
special mid-August session (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August
1998). ITAR-TASS reported on 10 August that two of those
laws, "On the Financial Rehabilitation of Insolvent
Enterprises" and "On Changes to the Code for Administrative
Offenses," will be reviewed by the cabinet on 13 August and
immediately sent to the Duma. The other legislation included
in the anti-crisis package is a draft law proposing  changes
to legislation regulating the Federal Tax Service, a law
establishing a fund from 2.8 percent of increased tax
collections to assist the activities of tax agencies, a law
restructuring enterprises' debts to the federal budget, a law
on changes in the taxation of companies providing mobile
communications or paging services, and a law introducing a
tax on private means of transportation. JAC

...ALONG WITH OLD LAWS. The government will also resubmit the
draft law on the individual income tax . According to
"Kommersant-Daily" on 8 August, the government is not seeking
to revise the income tax scale but to broaden the tax base by
levying a tax on the interest earned on bank deposits. The
government will also propose that 40 percent of income tax
revenues go to the federal budget and 60 percent to regional
budgets. Under current legislation, 100 percent of income tax
revenues flow to local budgets. Aleksandr Zhukov, Duma Budget
Committee Chairman, told ITAR-TASS that the government will
also submit draft laws on social spending and on changes in
the fees paid to the social and extra-budgetary funds. JAC

DUBININ, ZADORNOV TO SUE 'NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA.' "Nezavisimaya
Gazeta" on 8 August reported that Central Bank Chairman
Sergei Dubinin and Minister of Finance Mikhail Zadornov plan
to sue the newspaper for a report two days earlier alleging
that the Central Bank had closed off the Finance Ministry's
access to its own account so that it could misuse the funds
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 August 1998). The Central Bank and
Finance Ministry have issued a joint statement charging
"Nezavisimaya Gazeta" with trying to destabilize relations
between the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance and in
the country as a whole. The newspaper contends that the
original article was correct in substance, if not in every
detail. JAC

SUPPORT FOR CHUBAIS REVIVING AMONG RUSSIAN ELITE.
"Nezavisimaya Gazeta" argues that many prominent Russian
politicians and businessmen consider Anatolii Chubais,
presidential envoy to international financial institutions,
an ideal candidate for president. "The elite's attitude
toward Chubais has shifted from tender love to intense hatred
and now back again," it argued. Only Chubais exhibits the
qualities of leadership needed for a country in crisis,
according to the newspaper. And it also wrote that the
political experience of former Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov is no longer
relevant, while Chubais understands world financial markets
and can manage fiscal federal relations. Boris Berezovskii's
LOGOvaz group is a financial backer of "Nezavisimaya Gazeta."
JAC

RUSSIAN-U.S. HI-TECH VENTURES GARNER SUSPICION. "Delovoi
Vtornik" on 4 August charged that the U.S. company Lockheed
Martin colluded with the U.S.  National Security Agency to
construct a satellite so powerful that its true purpose, the
newspaper argued, must be surveillance. According to "Delovoi
Vtornik," as soon as Russian specialists from the company
Intersputnik voiced their suspicions about the company's true
intentions, Lockheed Martin decided it no longer needed a
Russian partner. Meanwhile, "The Washington Post" reported on
8 August that the U.S. State Department has ordered Boeing to
suspend work on a project to develop commercial satellites
with Russian and Ukrainian rocket manufacturers because
sensitive U.S. space information had been  passed along to
Russian and Ukrainian engineers. JAC

AIR FORCE SLIMS DOWN. Air Force commander Anatolii Kornukov
told Interfax on 10 August that more than 90,000 officers and
servicemen have been put on reserve because of a merger
between the air force and air defense forces. He added that
another 40,000 positions are likely to be cut during the
second stage of the air force's reorganization. By
redistributing equipment from the eliminated units, the air
force has been able to increase the condition of its aircraft
to almost 80 percent suitability, he noted. JAC

RUSSIAN TV COMPANIES LODGE PROTEST. According to Interfax on
10 August, the heads of more than 30 Russian television
companies, including Russian Public Television director-
general Xeniya Ponomareva and NTV director-general Oleg
Dobrodeyev, sent a written appeal to the government,
protesting government ordinance No. 844 of 27 July 1998. The
new law gives the All-Russian State Television and Radio
Company (VGRTK) the right to oversee other stations' use of
regional television transmitters as well as significant tax
and custom breaks. The other television companies claim that
the new law gives VGRTK an unfair advantage and is
inconsistent with Articles 8 and 27 of the constitution. JAC

KLIMENTEV HEADED FOR PRISON. The elected mayor of Nizhnii
Novgorod, Andrei Klimentev, lost his appeal in the Russian
Supreme Court on 10 August, ruling out the possibility that
he will compete in new elections scheduled for September. In
May, Klimentev was convicted for forging documents and
embezzling part of a government loan to a local shipyard
plant. He was sentenced to six years in prison. JAC

MILITARY ANALYST: BOMB IRAQ--SAVE RUSSIA'S ECONOMY. Writing
in "Segodnya" on 7 August, Pavel Felgengauer argues that
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's victory in arranging
within the UN that Iraq be allowed to double its oil exports
was actually a defeat for Russian economic interests. The
real cause of Russia's current economic difficulties is not
the Asian financial crisis but the dip in oil prices caused
by new Iraqi volumes on the world oil market, he argued.  "If
just one bomb fell on Baghdad, oil prices would double by the
beginning of heating season in the northern hemisphere," he
wrote, adding "that would be good for everyone." Rosneft
might be sold for a handsome price and the extra money could
be given to the miners and servicemen, he concluded. JAC

CHECHEN COURT SENTENCES TWO FOR ESPIONAGE. The Chechen
Supreme Shariat Court on 10 August sentenced a man and a
woman to five years' imprisonment for collaborating with the
Russian Federal Security Service, ITAR-TASS reported. Both
are residents of Chechnya and were detained in February on
the border between Chechnya and Stavropol Krai in possession
of files on Chechen police officers and Russian police
identity cards. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

UZBEKISTAN READY FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES. UN High Commission for
Refugees representative in Uzbekistan Taslimar Rahman on 10
August said the Uzbek government is prepared to provide
temporary shelter and help to transport any Afghan refugees
across its territory, Interfax reported. The UN refugees
office was moved to Termez, Uzbekistan, on the border with
Afghanistan, after the Taliban overran Mazar-i-Sharif on 8
August. Formerly, the office had been located in the Afghan
city. Rahman said no fugitives have crossed CIS borders so
far. Meanwhile, there are numerous reports that  people have
fled northern cities as the Taliban troops advance northward.
BP

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR JOINT ACTION OVER AFGHAN
SITUATION. Kasymjomart Tokayev on 10 August said that the
situation in Afghanistan should be discussed "immediately" by
the foreign ministers of those countries that are concerned
about the conflict, Interfax reported. Tokayev referred to a
statement adopted by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in October 1996, after Kabul fell
to the Taliban. That statement urged an end to the bloodshed.
Tokayev noted that action will be taken in accordance with
the CIS collective security treaty if the CIS's southern
borders are threatened. BP

KILLERS OF UN OBSERVERS IN TAJIKISTAN IDENTIFIED. UN special
envoy to Tajikistan Jan Kubis told ITAR-TASS on 11 August
that the Tajik government finished its investigation into the
murders of four UN employees on 20 July. Kubis said "the
identities of those responsible for the heinous crime have
been established without doubt." He did not give any names
but said he is now waiting for the quick arrest of the
killers and an explanation of their motives. The results of
the investigation have not yet been made public. BP

TURKISH COMPANY WINS RIGHTS TO SELL TURKMEN ELECTRICITY. The
Turkish company  STFA has been granted exclusive rights by
the Turkmen Energy and Industry Ministry to sell Turkmen
energy to third countries, Interfax reported on 7 August and
ITAR-TASS on 10 August. A condition of the agreement is that
STFA use profits to finance projects to develop
Turkmenistan's energy infrastructure and to increase the
country's potential for  exporting energy. STFA will build an
electric substation to transport power to Turkey via Iran and
will lay a 500-kilowatt power line to Pakistan via
Afghanistan. The combined cost of those two projects is
estimated at more than $300 million. BP

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW ADVISOR. Vahram Nercissiantz,
former head of the World Bank mission to Armenia, was
appointed adviser to President Robert Kocharian on 10 August,
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. His area of responsibility
was not specified, but he is expected to focus on economic
issues. Nercissiantz, who is a U.S. citizen, said on
completing his tour of duty in Yerevan in June  that Armenia
needs a special presidential body to oversee the use of
international loans. LF

GHUKASIAN WELCOMES ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S INVITATION TO BAKU.
Speaking on Karabakh state television at the weekend, Arkadii
Ghukasian, president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic,  said Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev took a
"very serious step" in inviting his Armenian counterpart,
Robert Kocharian, to attend an international conference in
Baku, an RFE/RL correspondent in Stepanakert reported on 10
August. Ghukasian welcomed the possibility of direct talks
between Armenia and Azerbaijan but warned that Stepanakert
should not be excluded from the Karabakh peace process. He
praised Armenia's "clear approach" to resolving the conflict,
saying that "we have a considerable capacity to jointly
defend our positions on the international stage." Ghukasian
described the economic situation in Karabakh as
"unsatisfactory" but expressed the hope that privatization
will bring improvement. He pledged to ensure fairness in
privatizing agricultural land and to ensure that the local
elections scheduled for September are democratic. LF

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADERS TRADE ACCUSATIONS.
Musavat Party chairman Isa Gambar has sent a written response
to President Aliev's appeal to five prominent opposition
politicians to abandon their proposed boycott of the 11
October presidential elections, Turan reported on 10 August.
While describing the abolition of censorship as a positive
development, Gambar said progress toward democratization in
Azerbaijan is insufficient. He expressed doubt that the
existing Central Electoral Commission will be enable to
ensure free and  democratic elections. The majority of the
commission's members were nominated either by Aliev or by the
parliament. Aliev had told journalists on 9 August that
charges made by Azerbaijan Popular Front Party chairman
Abulfaz Elchibey in his response to Aliev's appeal are
groundless. Aliev added that the opposition "does not have
the right to put forward conditions," claiming that it was
involved in earlier attempts on his life. LF

AZERBAIJAN EXPELS TURKISH KURDS. Azerbaijani Interior
Minister Ramil Usubov has confirmed media reports that a
group of ethnic Kurdish Turkish citizens who entered
Azerbaijan illegally has been expelled from the country,
Caucasus Press reported on 11 August, citing ANS-Press. But
Usubov added that his ministry cannot confirm that those
persons were members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
In early July, the Azerbaijani National Security Ministry
denied reports in opposition publications that the PKK has
established an official presence in Baku (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 3 July 1998). LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT GIVES REASONS FOR PENSION ARREARS. In his
weekly radio broadcast on 10 August, Georgian President
Eduard Shevardnadze said corruption and shortcomings within
the tax system are to blame for frequent delays in paying
pensions and wages, Caucasus Press reported. Meeting with tax
department officials on 6 August, Shevardnadze had called for
"serious structural changes" within the tax service. He said
corruption was the sole reason for the failure to collect all
budget revenues in 1997, noting that only 79 percent of
planned tax revenues were collected during the first six
months of this year. Also on 6 August, the government
approved a proposal to raise state-sector wages by an average
of 10 percent beginning on 1 September. It also announced
that pensions and unemployment benefits will be increased
beginning 1 November, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

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