Every man passes his life in the search after friendship. - Emerson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 189, Part I, 30 September 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 189, Part I, 30 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* PRIMAKOV APPEALS FOR REGIONAL UNITY

* NEW TAX CHIEF APPOINTED

* SOLANA IN TBILISI
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

PRIMAKOV APPEALS FOR REGIONAL UNITY. Russian Prime Minister
Yevgenii Primakov on 29 September called on governors from
Russia's 89 regions to put an end to their "fiefdom
mentality" and mobilize local resources within the context of
a national, coordinated effort. Primakov promised to continue
his consultations with regional leaders, pointing out that he
has invited many of them into the government. But he
suggested that the central government expects these gestures
to be reciprocated by local authorities. Primakov backed up
his general appeal for unity with the implicit threat of
retaliation against rebellious leaders. He said that the
national government is drafting legislation setting out
procedures for firing elected governors who abuse their
power. According to "Izvestiya," Justice Minister Pavel
Krasheninnikov said the law will be ready by the end of the
week and will suppress attempts by some regions to violate
the constitution. JAC

GOVERNORS REACT WITH OBEDIENCE, SKEPTICISM... The reactions
of the governors was--not surprisingly--as varied as their
numbers. According to NTV, Sverdlovsk Governor Dmitrii
Ayatskov is drawing up his own initiative on "how governors
should be subordinate to the federal government." St.
Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev said that he doubts
whether a law to remove elected officials will really be
passed but said that criminal proceedings against regional
leaders for non-payment of taxes is appropriate. President of
Ingushetia Ruslan Aushev also thought legislation on removing
governors will "lead to nothing." Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard
Rossel, who earlier agreed to become a member of the
government's presidium, stressed that only legal means should
be used to dismiss a governor, according to ITAR-TASS. JAC

...AND RESENTMENT. "Trud" reported on 30 September that
Primakov's efforts to include governors in the government may
have had the unintended effect of alienating those governors
who were left out. According to the newspaper, some local
leaders believe including some governors in the government
may "only amount to certain regional leaders gaining access
to ruling powers and lobbying the interests of their
regions." On the issue of consolidating regions into a
smaller number, Ryazan Governor Vyacheslav Lubimov said that
regional associations in Russia historically tend "to lack
vitality." He drew an analogy with the practice of merging
collective farms during the Soviet era. Lubimov also revealed
that agriculture in his region receives more financial
support from Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's government than
from the federal government and that therefore Ryazan would
be unlikely to stop supplying foodstuffs to the capital.
"Trud" is financed by Gazprom. JAC

NEW TAX CHIEF APPOINTED. Duma deputy Georgii Boos was
appointed head of the Federal Tax Service, ITAR-TASS reported
on 29 September. In the Duma, Boos was a member of the Our
Home is Russia faction and the Budget Committee. According to
"Parlamentskaya gazeta" on 30 September, Finance Minister
Mikhail Zadornov said that the government collected more
taxes in September than in August. Zadornov's claim
contradicts an earlier report by the Federal Tax Service that
tax revenues had dropped. Zadornov added that large
taxpayers, such as Gazprom, still have not paid all the taxes
they owe. He reported that in September Gazprom paid nothing,
while oil companies paid less than 10 percent of their total
debt. JAC

COMMUNISTS, TRADE UNIONS FORM ALLIANCE? "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
reported on 29 September that top Communist Party officials
finally agreed to cede leadership of the national day of
protest on 7 October to the Federation of Independent Trade
Unions. The Communists also agreed to follow the union's
wishes on a number of other issues, including support for a
law raising the official minimum wage. The newspaper
concluded that only time will tell whether Russia has
witnessed the formation of a "mighty new opposition
alliance." "Nezavisimaya gazeta" receives financial backing
from Boris Berezovskii's LogoVAZ group. On 30 September,
Communist Party activists, members of some trade unions, as
well as scientists and teachers are planning to hold a
protest action and block several major highways to Moscow for
one hour beginning at mid-day, local time. The protesters are
demanding the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin. JAC

DUBININ AT CENTER OF NEW SCANDAL. Despite having resigned on
7 September, former Central Bank chairman Sergei Dubinin is
still finding himself a target of critical press coverage.
Investigative journalist Yurii Shchekochikhin, writing in
"Novaya gazeta" on 29 September, reported that Dubinin's
annual salary as bank chair was equal to $240,000 at last
year's exchange rate--"equivalent to the budget for five
prominent Moscow high schools or 12 villages." According to
"Moscow Times," such a wage is only half of what the governor
of the Bank of England earns but is almost twice what US
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan earns. Perhaps more
troubling than Dubinin's high salary, a banking analyst
pointed out, is the information that bank deputies accepted
seats on the boards of commercial banks, which the Central
Bank in theory regulates. "Novaya gazeta" is reportedly
financed by Vladimir Gusinskii's Media-Most group, while the
"Moscow Times" is owned by Independent Media, a company
controlled by Menatep. JAC

RUSSIA TO SEND NEW AMBASSADORS TO FRANCE, U.S. In an
interview with "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30 September, Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov confirmed earlier press speculation that
Russian ambassador to the U.S. Yulii Vorontsov is to be
replaced. He disclosed that Deputy Foreign Minister Yurii
Uzhakov is preparing to become Russia's ambassador to the
U.S., while another deputy foreign minister, Nikolai
Afanasyevskii, will become the new ambassador to France (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 28 September 1998). JAC

SCHROEDER TO VISIT MOSCOW. After telephoning outgoing German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl on 29 September, Russian President
Yeltsin called Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder to
congratulate him on his victory and invite him to Moscow.
According to ITAR-TASS, the summit will take place "shortly."
"Noviye izvestiya" concluded on 29 September that while a
hardening of the German position on Russia's repayment of its
debts is to be expected, "Bonn's fundamental line in Russia
will remain the same." German businesses have heavily
invested in Russia. JAC

MOSCOW TARGETS RELIGIOUS GROUP. Moscow has become the latest
locality to try to take advantage of a 1997 law on freedom of
conscience and religious organization. According to Reuters
on 29 September, Moscow's prosecutors have accused Jehovah's
Witnesses of violating the Russian Constitution with their
missionary activities and are seeking to ban them.
Evangelical Christians in Magadan and a Lutheran group in
Khakassia have complained of similar efforts to circumscribe
their activities. ITAR-TASS reported that the Prosecutor-
General's Office launched the proceedings following a
complaint from a group that seeks to unite people whose
relatives have been drawn into totalitarian sects. The
Russian agency cited an earlier case in which the father of a
minor was stripped of his parental rights for trying to
involve his son in activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses
against his former wife's wishes. JAC

LUZHKOV TO RUN AS NEW LABOUR CANDIDATE? In an interview with
Reuters on 29 September, Moscow Mayor Luzhkov hinted that he
might run for president in Russia's elections in 2000. He
said, "If I see that the only [candidates] with a change of
getting elected are those who are not capable of leading the
country sensibly and correctly, then I will enter the race."
Currently on a trip to England, Luzhkov also said that he
found the philosophy of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's
New Labour party appealing. He said, "It's organizing the
economy on market principles--it's capitalism but with a very
serious system of social support for the people. The Moscow
city government is following these principles, perhaps in a
rather primitive way. Our slogan is: working like
capitalists, sharing like socialists." The following day,
ITAR-TASS cited members of Luzkhov's delegation in England as
saying that media reports that Luzhkov will run for president
are "premature." JAC

CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDERS CALL ON PRESIDENT TO RESIGN.
Addressing a congress of some 5,000 fighters who took part in
the 1994-1996 Chechen war, maverick field commander Salman
Raduev accused President Aslan Maskhadov of "grave crimes
against the Chechen people," Russian agencies reported.
Delegates to the congress, which opened in Grozny on 29
September, adopted a resolution castigating Maskhadov for his
alleged inability to govern the republic. They accused him of
violating the constitution and thereby bringing Chechnya to
the verge of civil war. And they also called upon the Chechen
parliament and Constitutional Court to take appropriate legal
action against the president. First deputy parliamentary
speaker Selim Beshaev told Interfax that the parliament will
set up a commission to investigate the congress's accusations
against Maskhadov, which he described as groundless. Beshaev
argued that it is the congress that has violated the
constitution by calling for the overthrow of the leadership.
LF

ANOTHER RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE ABDUCTED IN
CHECHNYA. Akmal Saitanov, head of the socio-economic
department of the Russian government mission in Chechnya, was
abducted in Grozny on 29 September while on his way to attend
the field commanders' congress, Interfax reported on 30
September, quoting Georgii Kurin, the Russian government's
envoy to Chechnya. Kurin said he believed the motive of the
kidnapping was to extort a ransom, but he added that "whether
we like it or not, this crime is also aimed against Chechen
President Aslan Maskhadov." LF

RYBKIN CRITICIZES KIRIENKO GOVERNMENT'S APPROACH TO CIS.
Russian Presidential Envoy to the CIS Ivan Rybkin told
Interfax on 29 September that the Kirienko government's
"neglect" of the CIS undermined bilateral cooperation between
Russia and other CIS states. Rybkin noted that Kirienko had
named the Russian co-chairmen to the various CIS commissions
for bilateral cooperation among the commonwealth states only
days before he was fired in August. Rybkin added that he has
asked Prime Minister Primakov to relieve him of his duties as
a member of the presidium of the CIS Inter-State Economic
Committee and has proposed First Deputy Prime Minister Vadim
Gustov as his successor in that post. LF


TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

SOLANA IN TBILISI. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana and
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze held talks in Tbilisi
on 29 September on the Abkhaz conflict and on Georgia's
participation in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and
NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Solana pledged that the
current crisis in Russia will not adversely impact on NATO's
plans for cooperation with Moscow. Speaking on Georgian
Television shortly before Solana's arrival, Georgia's
ambassador to the Benelux countries, Zurab Abashidze, said
that it is premature to speak of Georgia's possible admission
to the alliance, as state-building in that country has not
yet reached the required level. Russia's opposition to NATO
membership for the former Soviet republics would also have to
be taken into consideration, Abashidze said. LF

GEORGIA TO CUT POWER SUPPLIES TO DEBTOR DISTRICTS. As of 1
October, supplies of electricity to Samtredia, Borjomi,
Chiatura, and other cities will be cut because of the
population's failure to pay outstanding bills, Caucasus Press
reported on 29 September. Supplies to Tbilisi will be
considerably reduced. Those measures should benefit other
districts, especilly since Armenia resumed regular supplies
of electricity to Georgia on 25 September. Armenian Energy
Minister Gagik Martirosian told reporters that those supplies
are part of a "long-term agreement" between the Armenian and
Georgian governments. "This winter Georgia will have no
energy shortages," he said. LF

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION CONDEMNS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING. In
a statement released on 29 September, the Hanrapetutyun
faction, which is the second-largest in the parliament,
condemned the Constitutional Court's 26 September ruling. The
court had said it has "no authority" to rule in the dispute
over whether President Robert Kocharian violated the law when
he failed to meet a demand by parliament deputies to convene
an emergency debate on the controversial privatization of the
Yerevan cognac factory, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The
statement charged that the ruling is itself a violation of
the law and a "retreat" from democracy. Also on 29 September,
the Hayrenik deputies' group demanded that Kocharian
"apologize to the people" for his actions. It also called on
him to renounce "pressure" on the Constitutional Court and to
appoint a new prime minister from the opposition. LF

AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER AT UN. Addressing the UN General
Assembly on 29 September, Tofiq Zulfugarov said that a
settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the key issue
of his nation's foreign policy, according to an RFE/RL
correspondent. Zulfugarov repeated that Azerbaijan is willing
to give the enclave a high level of autonomy within the
Azerbaijani state. But he added that a just and lasting
settlement cannot be achieved by what he termed Armenian
military pressure on Azerbaijan. Interfax on 29 September
quoted the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry as claiming that two
Armenian intelligence operatives were killed the previous day
when a reconnaissance group up to 20-strong tried to
infiltrate Azerbaijani army positions east of Nagorno-
Karabakh. LF

KAZAKH EX-PREMIER MOVES TO PROTECT BUSINESSMEN'S UNION.
Speaking at a press conference in Almaty on 29 September,
Akezhan Kazhegeldin announced that he will step down as
president of the Kazakh Businessmen's Union in the hope of
precluding difficulties in renewing the union's registration,
which is due next week, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported.
Kazhegeldin, who founded the union, told Interfax in June he
intended to transform it into a political party. Kazhegeldin
is widely regarded as a possible challenger to incumbent
President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the presidential poll in
2000, although he has not formally announced his candidacy.
Kazhegeldin's press secretary, Amirjan Qosanov, was badly
beaten in August, and his aide Mikhail Vasilenko was arrested
and detained for several days earlier this month (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 21 and 23 September 1998). LF

KAZAKH NEWSPAPER PROTESTS CLOSURE. The editorial staff of the
Russian-language newspaper "21-iy vek" have appealed to the
Almaty City Court to overturn a ruling by the Almaty City
Juridical Board closing down the publication, RFE/RL
correspondents in Almaty reported on 30 September. The
newspaper's premises were bombed and burned out on 26
September. LF

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT PLEDGES NOT TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT. In his
annual budget message to both chambers of the Kyrgyz
parliament on 29 September, President Askar Akaev told
deputies that as the country is currently at a "difficult
stage" in the process of implementing political and economic
reforms, all branches of power should consolidate, according
to Interfax. Therefore, Akaev reasoned, the next
parliamentary elections should take place only in 2000, as
prescribed by law. Explaining the rationale for the
introduction of private land ownership, which much of the
population opposes, Akaev said that farmers should feel
themselves masters of the land they cultivate. Opposition
parliamentary deputies picketed the session, demanding that
the referendum on private land ownership and other
constitutional changes, which is scheduled for mid-October,
be canceled. LF

TAJIKISTAN DENIES HOLDING TALIBAN PRISONERS. The Tajik
Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 29 September denying
Pakistani media reports that some 90 Taliban fighters taken
prisoner by General Ahmed Shah Massood have been transferred
from Afghanistan to the Tajik city of Kulyab, Russian
agencies reported. Also on 29 September, Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin expressed satisfaction
at the United Tajik Opposition's decision to resume
cooperation with the Tajik government and National
Reconciliation Commission, according to ITAR-TASS. LF

TURKMENISTAN TO PURSUE "PERMANENT NEUTRALITY." Turkmen
Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov told the UN General
Assembly on 29 September that Ashgabat intends to pursue a
policy of "permanent neutrality," seeking to maintain equal
and equitable relations with all countries through economic
cooperation and political impartiality, according to an
RFE/RL correspondent. Such a policy, Shikhmuradov continued,
will allow Turkmenistan to exert an active influence on
regional developments. Shikhmuradov also called for a
peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict and a "dialogue of
civilizations" between the U.S. and Iran. LF

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 of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject 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 23 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs 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 via
email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 1-202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
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
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Pete Baumgartner, Jolyon Naegele, Fabian Schmidt, Matyas
Szabo, Anthony Wesolowsky

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