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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 177, Part I, 14 September 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 177, Part I, 14 September 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

* REFORMERS LAMENT LEFTIST VICTORY

* RUSSIA PROMISES DEBT REPAYMENT IN FULL

* AZERBAIJANI POLICE, DEMONSTRATORS CLASH IN BAKU

End Note: THE PASSING OF A GIANT
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RUSSIA

REFORMERS LAMENT LEFTIST VICTORY... Former Deputy Prime
Minister Boris Nemtsov, former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar,
and Yabloko member and State Duma Committee on International
Affairs Chairman Vladimir Lukin have all described Primakov's
ascent to the office of Prime Minister as a significant shift
to the left. As expected, the Duma on 11 September confirmed
Primakov by a large margin: 317 to 63 with 15 abstentions.
Gaidar told Interfax that it is hard to say how long the
"government of Communists" will take to "destroy elements of
a free market in Russia," but "unfortunately, it is clear
that it will surely do that." JAC

...APPOINTMENT OF MASLYUKOV. The 11 September appointment of
former Minister of Trade and Communist Party member Yurii
Maslyukov to a cabinet post in charge of economics appears to
have generated the most criticism from economic reformers.
While a member of Sergei Kirienko's government, Maslyukov
advocated the protection of domestic industries by providing
them with cheap raw materials and low energy prices. Because
of the appointments of Maslyukov and Viktor Gerashchenko as
Central Bank chairman, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii has
said he will not accept a position in the government. The
fate of acting Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fedorov and acting
Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov--two of the few reformers
remaining from Kirienko's cabinet--is not yet known, but
Fedorov told Interfax that he is not going to resign.
"Komsomolskaya Pravda" on 12 September reported that Russian
Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Chairman Arkadii
Volskii "would like to become minister of industry" and that
his friendship with Primakov "goes back a long way." JAC

GROUP OF 7 PLUS 1 DISCUSSES RUSSIA. Senior officials from the
Group of Seven industrial nations are meeting in London on 14
September for an emergency session on Russia's economic
crisis. Russian Ambassador to Britain Yurii Fokin told
Interfax on 11 September that Russian would participate in
"the G-8 meeting on a footing equal to the other nations
represented" and that the originally planned G-7 meeting had
become a G-8 meeting. Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedov
and Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will represent
Russia. JAC

DUMA DISMISSES CENTRAL BANK BOARD. The Duma on 11 September
voted by 265 to two to dismiss the entire board of directors
of the Central Bank. New Central Bank head Gerashchenko had
reportedly made the dismissal of the board a condition for
his return to the bank. Gerashchenko promptly restored some
members, but not Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Sergei
Aleksashenko. According to "Kommersant-Daily" on 12
September, Tatyana Paramonova, former acting Central Bank
chief, is likely to be tapped for a seat on the board.
Earlier the same day, Gerashchenko himself was confirmed by a
Duma vote of 273 to 65 with two abstentions. According to
Interfax, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir
Zhirinovsky suggested postponing the vote because the Federal
Security Service and Interior Ministry needed to examine
"compromising" materials about Gerashchenko. Before the Duma
voted, Gerashchenko voiced his support for a "controlled"
printing of new money. JAC

RUSSIA PROMISES DEBT REPAYMENT IN FULL. Prime Minister
Primakov on 12 September told Russian media that Russia will
repay all its debts. He said "Russia is not a country to
declare itself bankrupt and never will be." During his speech
to the Duma the previous day, Primakov called for new
negotiations to restructure Russia's foreign debt. The German
Finance Ministry said that Russia failed to pay 750 million
German marks ($446 million) in interest payments due at the
end of August. According to "Russkii telegraf" on 12
September, Deputy Finance Minister Kasyanov said Russia paid
only $115 million in August, but he assured Paris Club member
countries that by the end of the year, the government will
pay the full amount due. JAC

PRIMAKOV OFFERS "NEW DEAL" FOR ECONOMY... With the
appointment of Maslyukov and his speech to the Duma on 11
September, Primakov gave some indication of the general
direction of his administration's economic policy. He said
the "government should interfere in economic affairs and
regulate them, but this is not a return to the administrative
and command system." Anticipating likely criticism, he noted
that "it did not occur to anybody to criticize the U.S. when
President Franklin Roosevelt, for example, after the Great
Depression, undertook measures toward state regulation of the
economy." Previously, Maslyukov and Communist Party leader
Gennadii Zyuganov also said their economic theories draw
heavily upon Roosevelt's "New Deal," according to the "Moscow
Times" on 12 September. On 14 September, Maslyukov told
reporters that his top priority will be paying off huge wage
and pension arrears. JAC

...MORE OF THE SAME FOR FOREIGN, DEFENSE POLICY. On 11
September Prime Minister Primakov quickly announced his
choices for key cabinet posts. To head the Foreign Ministry,
he tapped his first deputy prime minister, Igor Ivanov. In an
interview with NTV on 13 September Primakov explained that
Ivanov frequently filled in for him when he was out of Moscow
on business and "was permanently in touch." One of Ivanov's
first tasks will likely be selling START II ratification to
the Duma. Acting Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, acting
Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin, and acting Minister for
Emergencies Sergei Shoigu were all asked to retain their
posts. JAC

YASTRZHEMBSKII SACKED. President Yeltsin on 12 September
dismissed his spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembskii. Sergei
Prikhodko, presidential adviser, is likely to replace
Yastrzhembskii, according to Interfax. On 11 September,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported that Yastrzhembskii, along with
then National Security Council chief Andrei Kokoshin and
deputy heads of the presidential administration Mikhail
Komissar and Yevgenii Savostjanov, had formed an unofficial
opposition group within the Kremlin, opposing the nomination
as premier of Viktor Chernomyrdin and supporting Moscow Mayor
Yurii Luzhkov. Those promoting Chernomyrdin, according to the
newspaper, were Boris Berezovskii, Presidential Chief of
Staff Valentin Yumashev, and Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana
Dyatchenko. Kokoshin was dismissed on 10 September (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 11 September 1998). JAC

REGIONS CONTINUE BATTLE AGAINST INFLATION. In Nizhnii
Novgorod, mobile task forces composed of police, tax
inspectorate and consumer rights officials are carrying out
random checks to catch vendors engaged in illegal price mark-
ups, according to ITAR-TASS on 12 September. In St.
Petersburg, wholesale companies engaged in trading staple
goods, such as bread, meat, and sugar, now have to obtain a
one-year license from the city's committee on consumer
protection. In Khabarovsk, prices for food have been kept
comparatively cheap because vendors have been allowed to
import food without paying the usual customs duties. In
Kazan, the government of Tatarstan banned any exports of food
and prepared barter deals, offering to exchange polyethylene,
auto tires, and vodka for food. On 13 September, ITAR-TASS
reported that the situation in Omsk has eased considerably
since residents have stopped hoarding food and are no longer
standing in long lines to buy food. JAC

PRIMAKOV WARNS REGIONS TO TOE THE LINE. In his speech to the
Duma on 11 September, Prime Minister Primakov cited the
"danger of Russia being split up." He promised to include
several regional governors in the government's Presidium,
which would participate in the work of his cabinet. He also
said that "there will be no indulgence toward trends aimed at
disrupting the balance of power, weakening the central
leadership, or ignoring the central leadership." JAC

SOBCHAK SUBJECT OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS. The Office of the
Prosecutor-General on 13 September opened a criminal case on
various charges of corruption against former mayor of St.
Petersburg, Anatolii Sobchak. Sobchak went to Paris last
November to undergo heart surgery. He said he will not return
to Russia until the prosecutor-general clears his name. JAC

SHABDURASULOV SHIFTED TO ORT. The chief of the presidential
information department, Igor Shabdurasulov, after only a
short time in that post, will assume the position of
director-general of Russian Public Television. JAC

MORE KILLINGS, REPRISALS IN NORTH OSSETIA. Five Ossetian
police officers were shot dead on 12 September at a police
checkpoint in the village of Maiskii in North Ossetia's
Prigorodnyi Raion. That territory is claimed by neighboring
Ingushetia. In an act of reprisal later that day, Ossetians
set fire to 58 trailer homes and nine houses belonging to
ethnic Ingush in two villages in the district. The following
day in the Ingush capital, Nazran, Russian Deputy Interior
Minister Colonel-General Petr Latyshev met with Ingush
President Ruslan Aushev and the Russian presidential
representative to Ingushetia and North Ossetia, Vladimir
Kalamanov, to discuss the incident. Latyshev also met with
North Ossetian Prime Minister Teimuraz Mamsurov to determine
measures to stabilize the situation in Prigorodnyi Raion. LF

RADUEV RESCINDS THREAT AGAINST DAGESTANI LEADERSHIP. Maverick
Chechen field commander Salman Raduev on 13 September
withdrew his threat of reprisals against the Dagestani
leadership in the event that they failed to release arrested
Lak leader Magomed Khachilaev by midnight on 13 September,
Russian agencies reported. Raduev explained that he is
thereby giving the Dagestani authorities the chance to free
Khachilaev voluntarily. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJANI POLICE, DEMONSTRATORS CLASH IN BAKU. Police armed
with batons used force to prevent several thousand opposition
supporters from congregating on Baku's central Freedom Square
on 12 September. The demonstrators were demanding the
postponement of the 11 October presidential elections and
equal representation for the opposition on electoral
commissions. Police then attacked a group of demonstrators
gathered outside the nearby headquarters of the opposition
Azerbaijan Popular Front Party and tried unsuccessfully to
storm the building. Ten police and between 70 and100
demonstrators were injured, some seriously. Police claim they
arrested 15 people, but opposition spokesmen estimate that
between 50 and 200 were detained. German Ambassador to
Azerbaijan Christian Siebeck said he considers the police
action unwarranted and a violation of citizens' democratic
rights, according to Reuters. LF

ARMENIAN, CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTERS SIGN COOPERATION
AGREEMENTS. Meeting in Yerevan on 12 September, Vartan
Oskanian and his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Cassoulides,
signed cooperation agreements on economics, air transport,
agriculture, science, and culture, ITAR-TASS reported.
Oskanian characterized bilateral relations as "not just
friendly, [but] fraternal." Cassoulides also agreed to
support a resolution condemning the genocide of Armenians in
Ottoman Turkey, which Armenia will propose to the OSCE and
the UN General Assembly, according to AP. Oskanian said
Turkey "applies double standards" to both the Cyprus and
Karabakh issues. LF

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN. In a
statement adopted at its 11 September conference, the
National Democratic Union (AZhM) affirmed that only the
immediate resignation of the present government and pre-term
parliamentary elections can reverse Armenia's "drift away
from democracy," RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The
statement accused the present leadership of corruption and of
falsifying the results of the March 1998 presidential
elections. AZhM chairman Vazgen Manukian criticized the
Dashnak party, which supported Robert Kocharian's
presidential candidacy, for not condemning the falsification
of the vote. Also on 11 September, "Hayk," the newspaper of
the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement, reported
that Manukian has been asked to head a new government but has
said he will do so only on condition that Defense Minister
Vazgen Sargsian and Interior and National Security Minister
Serzh Sargsian vacate their posts. LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ADVOCATES NEW MEASURES FOR DISPLACED
PERSONS. Eduard Shevardnadze has proposed that until a
political solution to the Abkhaz conflict is reached , the
displaced persons who fled that conflict should receive the
same rights and privileges as those to which refugees are
entitled under the 1951 UN Convention, Russian and Georgian
agencies reported. He stressed that the abandoned homes of
displaced persons should be declared inviolable. He also
advocated the systematic monitoring of the implementation of
rulings by the UN High Commission for Refugees. Some 200,000
ethnic Georgians were expelled from Abkhazia during the 1992-
1993 war. Some subsequently returned to their abandoned homes
but were forced to flee again in May of this year when
renewed fighting destroyed their homes. LF

UN MURDER SUSPECTS CONFESS. Three men detained by Tajik law
enforcement authorities have confessed to killing four UN
employees in late July, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September.
The men reportedly confessed after they were confronted with
"irrefutable evidence." All three are members of the United
Tajik Opposition, while one is said to have admitted that he
received training in terrorist activities in Afghanistan in
1994. The Tajik Interior Ministry refused to comment on the
motive for the murders. But a press spokesman for the
ministry said that "interesting facts were brought to light"
and that personal or criminal motives have been ruled out. BP

RUSSIA OFFERS TO TRANSPORT TURKMEN OIL. Russian First Deputy
Minister of Transportation and head of the Russian Merchant
Marine Aleksandr Lugovets said his country is offering to
ship Turkmen oil to the ports of Makhachkala and Tuapse, from
where it would transported to Europe, Interfax reported on 13
September. Lugovets said 2 million tons of oil can be
transported annually under existing conditions but that
improvements at port facilities on the western bank of the
Caspian Sea could make possible shipments of up to 12 million
tons annually. Lugovets also said Turkmen interests would be
taken into account when selecting trans-shipment ports. He
stressed that while other projects may be attractive to
Turkmenistan, "Russia today has real and inexpensive routes
of oil transportation," including for Turkmen oil. BP

END NOTE

THE PASSING OF A GIANT

by Paul Goble

	Estonian Ambassador Ernst Jaakson will be buried in New
York today in a ceremony certain to be like the man himself:
modest, dignified, and symbolic of issues larger than any
individual.
	Following his death on 5 September, Mr. Jaakson--as he
was universally known--garnered tributes from around the
world focusing on his remarkable diplomatic career, which
extended from 1919 until his death.
	That record of unbroken service--first as a translator
for Estonia's ambassador in Riga, then as an Estonian consul
in the U.S. before and during the Soviet occupation, and
finally as Estonian ambassador to Washington and the United
Nations--will never be equaled.
	But in many ways, Mr. Jaakson's length of service--some
79 years--is far less significant than the way in which he
filled it. A man of genuine modesty, Mr. Jaakson never
confused himself with the cause he represented, nor did he
place his own interests above those of his country.
	Indeed, when he published his memoirs a few years ago,
many readers were disappointed that he had included so few
details about himself, focusing instead on the great events
through which he lived.
	But as Mr. Jaakson would have told them, that was
precisely the point of his life. He represented Estonia when
it was a small country far away from the United States. He
represented it during the long years when it was occupied by
the Soviet Union and when few thought it would ever be free
again. And Mr. Jaakson lived to represent it once Estonia
recovered its independence in 1991.
	Consequently, for many in both Estonia and the West, to
an important degree Mr. Jaakson was Estonia precisely because
he invariably subordinated himself to its cause.
	A man of enormous dignity, Mr. Jaakson performed all the
duties he was given with integrity, good manners, and charm.
During the long years of the Soviet occupation when Baltic
representatives in the West were often the object of
curiosity or humorous dismissal, Mr. Jaakson commanded
universal respect. And he did so not peremptorily but by his
personal authority.
	Even those inclined to dismiss the Baltic cause often
went away from meetings with him convinced that indeed
Estonia and her Baltic neighbors would be free again. And
when Estonia and her neighbors were working together to
recover their independence, Mr. Jaakson's personal authority
was such that presidents, prime ministers, and secretaries of
state always listened to him.
	Compared with his two Baltic colleagues in Washington,
Mr. Jaakson said relatively little in public or private. But
when he spoke, often after all the others, his interlocutors
knew that they had heard the voice of someone special.
	Mr. Jaakson helped guide the Estonian people and their
leaders toward regaining independence, and he helped to
provide them--always gently but firmly--in learning how to
interact with the rest of the world once they achieved it.
 	Finally, Mr. Jaakson was a symbol. Throughout his career
and especially during the darkest days of Soviet occupation,
he was called Mr. Estonia. More recently, as Estonia moved to
recover its independence, many referred to him as "the
conscience of Estonia," the man who kept the Estonian dream
alive at a time when so many gave up.
	Indeed, and in recognition of this special status, he is
the only Estonian official other than the pre-war presidents
to have a bust in the Estonian presidential palace at
Kadriorg. And most recently, he has been characterized as the
"legendary" diplomat because of his unparalleled length of
service.
	But Mr. Jaakson was more than that.
	He was a symbol of another age, a time when personal
integrity was paramount, when self-sacrifice to a greater
cause was the ideal, and when diplomats made their mark by
long years of work, rather than by flashy media plays.
	As all those who knew him will confirm, Mr. Jaakson was
a giant not only among diplomats or among Estonians. He was a
giant among human beings.
	Those who knew him were privileged; they know how rare a
man Mr. Jaakson was.

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