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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 197, Part I, 12 October 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 197, Part I, 12 October 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

* NEW SPECULATION ABOUT YELTSIN'S HEALTH

* RUSSIA ASKS EU FOR HUMANITARIAN AID

* ALIEV BACKERS CLAIM VICTORY IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

End Note: THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEPOLITICIZATION
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RUSSIA

NEW SPECULATION ABOUT YELTSIN'S HEALTH... Yeltsin
appeared fatigued upon his arrival in Tashkent on 11
October (see below). He was described as "pale and
unsteady" by Russian media, and Uzbek President Islam
Karimov reportedly helped support Yeltsin as the two
were reviewing the Uzbek presidential guard. Russian
presidential spokesman Dmitrii Yakushkin said Yeltsin
was suffering from a cold and was coughing after "a
rough [three-and-a-half-hour] flight" from Moscow.
Shortly after Yeltsin's arrival in Kazakhstan on 12
October, it was announced the president is cutting short
his visit to that country by one day. BP

...AS CALLS FOR RESIGNATION MULTIPLY. According to Ekho
Moskvy, Russian television stations did not show Karimov
assisting Yeltsin as they walked. However, NTV carried
coverage of Yeltsin's health, commenting on the dramatic
narrowing of his base of support and questioning whether
he will be "allowed" to remain in office another two
years. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" declared that the issue of
Yeltsin's resignation has become a key question of
Russian political life. While earlier that subject was
discussed only by the opposition, "the taboo has finally
been lifted." The newspaper concluded that the
opposition, "having gained support from the street and
from regional elections," needs only "to come to an
understanding with the remnants of the oligarchs."
Together, they may arrange for some special agreement to
be signed between the executive and legislative that
would severely limit Yeltsin's powers for the duration
of his term. NTV is owned by Vladimir Guzinskii's Media-
Most holding company, and "Nezavisimaya gazeta" receives
financial support from Boris Berezovskii's LogoVAZ
group. JAC

RUSSIA ASKS EU FOR HUMANITARIAN AID. As the Russian
delegation to the IMF/World Bank talks returned to
Moscow having received only a promise to conduct more
negotiations, Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov concluded
talks on 9 October with European Commission Chairman
Jacques Santer without any pledge of new loans. Santer
told journalists that new loans were not discussed
because Russia needs to draft its economic plan without
"any outside interference." Reuters reported that
Primakov asked Santer for food aid to be provided on a
humanitarian basis and that Santer is examining the
proposal. According to Interfax on 10 October, U.S.
Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said that the U.S.
will resume exports of grain and meat to Russia, despite
an unpaid debt of $50 million, and begin extending
humanitarian assistance. JAC

RUSSIA CONTINUES TO WARN NATO. Russian policymakers
continue to voice fears about a second Cold War in
connection with possible NATO air strikes against
Yugoslavia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 October 1998).
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Russian Public
Television on 11 October that "by taking one reckless
step" in Kosova, "we may destroy irrevocably everything
we have been building with great effort for the last few
decades." However, Ivanov ruled out the possibility of a
"forcible reply" from Russia. The previous day, NTV
reported that Defense Ministry representatives announced
they will resume weapons sales to Yugoslavia in the
event of a NATO attack. The newscast concluded that "we
should not discount the possibility that as soon as a
bomb falls on Yugoslavia, the Serbs will receive anti-
aircraft missiles from Russia on credit. These will most
likely be modern S-300 [air defense] missiles." JAC

ECONOMIC PLAN TO EVOLVE PIECEMEAL? State Duma Budget
Committee head Aleksandr Zhukov told Ekho Moskvy on 9
October that the emergency budget for the fourth quarter
does not need to be approved by the Duma. The previous
day, Vadim Gustov, first deputy prime minister, told
reporters that the government will submit its draft
budget by the 14 or 15 October. "Kommersant-Daily"
published one draft version, which envisioned a budget
deficit of 103.3 billion rubles ($6.5 billion) in the
worst case and 34.4 billion rubles in the best. Finance
Minister Mikhail Zadornov told Russian Television on 11
October that the nation's economic problems are so
complex that the government is having difficulties
drawing up a comprehensive program to tackle them. He
admitted that a long-term program may require three
months to complete. JAC

COAL STRIKE ENDS. Coal miners in the city of Vorkuta
ended a three-month long strike on 11 October, according
to Interfax. Miners at the Vorgashorskaya mine resumed
shipping coal to their customers, after 44 million
rubles ($2.8 billion) in back wages were transferred and
ownership of the mine changed hands. The Primakov
government has made the payment of back wages a
centerpiece of its economic policies. A spokesman for
the Communist Party's Moscow City Committee told
Interfax that miners who had been picketing a government
building in Moscow had left the city because the police
had forcibly removed them and dropped them off at a
railway station. JAC

US-RUSSIA STEEL BATTLE BREWING. U.S. steel companies
petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S.
International Trade Commission to impose duties on steel
from Russia, Russian Television reported on 10 October.
According to the television station, the nation's metal
exports are its "last hope" because of the decline of
world oil and gas prices. ITAR-TASS reported that
Russian steel exporters could face an increase in
tariffs of up to 200 percent. Mikhail Tarasenko, head of
the Russian Metallurgical Union told reporters on 9
October that the U.S. does not have grounds to impose
anti-dumping tariffs on the import of Russian metals
since the prices on exported metals are higher than on
the Russian domestic market. The "Moscow Times" reported
on 7 October that Russian steel sells for about $263 per
ton, compared with the U.S. price, which dropped from
$480 per ton last year to $320 in July. JAC

CHUBAIS TO RETURN? A last-minute meeting between Prime
Minister Yevgenii Primakov and Anatolii Chubais, former
presidential envoy to international financial
institutions, unleashed speculation in the Russian press
on 8 October that Chubais will be invited to return to
the government. The press went on to comment that the
Russian government delegation that conducted talks with
the IMF and World Bank must have failed miserably (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 9 October 1998). "Kommersant-
Daily" proposed on 10 October that Primakov will wait to
invite Chubais until a default on the foreign debt
appears inevitable, thus eroding likely Duma opposition.
After his meeting with Primakov, Chubais denied that he
has been offered a political post. JAC

VOTERS SELECT MAYORS. Yurii Lebedev, former presidential
representative to Nizhnii Novgorod, and Alexander
Korobeinikov, incumbent chairman of the Lipetsk City
Council, have been declared winners of mayoral elections
in their respective cities, according to preliminary
results of mayoral elections held on 11 October
throughout Russia. ITAR-TASS reported the next day that
elections in Kaliningrad and Sovetsk attracted the
requisite minimum number of voters and were declared
valid. Yurii Savenko, acting city administration head
and Anatolii Khlopetskii, director-general of the
Transrailwest Company, will compete in run-off election
in Kaliningrad, while Vyacheslav Svetlov, deputy
chairman of the city council, and Nikolai Nikolaev,
director of the Sandorgaz Company, will compete in
Sovetsk. A second round will be held in those cities on
25 October. JAC

CHURCH ELICITS POLITICIANS' PROMISE. Patriarch Aleksii
II of Moscow and All Russia hosted a forum for top
Russian politicians on 9 October at which they pledged
to start working together to ease the nation's economic
crisis. According to Interfax, forum participants
included State Duma chairman Gennadii Seleznev,
Federation Council chairman Yegor Stroev, First Deputy
Prime Minister Vadim Gustov, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov,
armed forces chief of staff Colonel-General Anatolii
Kvashnin, a number of regional governors including
Kemerovo head Aman Tuleev, and Duma faction leaders such
as Communist Party head Gennadii Zyuganov. JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ALIEV BACKERS CLAIM VICTORY IN PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS.... Campaign workers for incumbent Heidar
Aliev on 12 October claimed the-75-year-old candidate
has won presidential elections the previous day, beating
five other candidates. However, the Central Elections
Commission said it will not announce results until 15
October owing to delays in relaying results from
outlying regions. Interfax and ITAR-TASS quoted sources
in the commission as saying Aliev won about three-
quarters of the vote. Turnout was put at 74 percent.

...AS OPPOSITION RAISES CHARGES OF FRAUD. The main
opposition candidate, Etibar Mamedov, has refused to
concede defeat, while his spokesman alleged Aliev has
not won a majority and that run-off elections will be
inevitable. Baku's ANS TV reported voter fraud,
including ballot box stuffing and attempts to
disenfranchise refugee voters. The co-chairmen of the
Movement for Democratic Elections and Electoral Reform
issued an appeal to voters on 9 October not to take part
in the presidential elections, Turan reported. The same
day, several thousand demonstrators attended a protest
rally in Baku. Dozens of people were beaten and detained
by security forces attempting to disperse the
demonstration. JN

ALIEV PROMISES TO KEEP HIS TEAM, BACKS TURKEY IN DISPUTE
WITH SYRIA... When casting his vote, Aliev told Turan he
does not intend to change his "team" if elected, adding
"Who else has a team like I do?" Aliev then told
Turkey's state-financed TRT TV that his country will
always be on Turkey's side in the crisis with Syria. He
added, "Turkey is our friend and our brother. Its policy
on Syria is right and justified." JN

...WHILE TURKEY ALLEGES PKK LEADER HAS LEFT SYRIA FOR
ARMENIA. Turkish State Minister Metin Gurdere said on 11
October he has received reports that Syria sent Abdullah
Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdish separatist PKK, to
Armenia, Turkey's semi-official Anadolu news agency
reported. "We will find him wherever he is hiding....
Let Armenia take heed. Whatever befell Syria might
befall Armenia as well. If Armenia supports separatists,
then we have made our decision, the button has been
pressed. A war might break out any moment." Gurdere
called on Armenia and Syria not to interfere in Turkey's
domestic affairs. JN

BAKU RELEASES 11 OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS. Azeri authorities
on 10 October released 11 opposition activists,
including the deputy chairman of the People's Front of
Azerbaijan, Fazil Mustafayev, who were arrested during
and after a demonstration on 12 September, Turan
reported. The released detainees told journalist that
they were tortured by police and were kept in solitary
confinement cells. The chairman of the front's Fizuli
branch, Vagif Guliev, said he was beaten during the 12
September protest by 10 police officers. He added that
those officers suggested he become a member of Aliev's
New Azerbaijan Party. Guliev said he was later beaten in
custody for four hours and received electric shocks. JN

RUSSIA SENDS PROPOSALS FOR BUILDING PIPELINE TO
AZERBAIJAN. A feasibility study for transporting
Azerbaijani oil via Russia has been sent to Azerbaijan,
vice president of Transneft company Sergei Ter-
Sarkisiants told the Interfax Petroleum Information
Agency. The Russian government was briefed on the
proposals, Ter-Sarkisiants said. He rejected as
"groundless" Azerbaijani allegations that Russia has
failed to submit a feasibility study. JN

KOCHARIAN RULES OUT CHANGE IN PRIVATIZATION POLICY.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian said on 9 October
that his government's policy on privatization will
undergo no changes, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported.
He pointed to the continuing dispute with the
opposition, which nearly revoked a number of deals with
foreign investors last week. Kocharian said the existing
privatization law, which gives preference to so-called
money auctions in the sell-off of remaining state
assets, is "quite good" and meets "all international
standards." He told reporters while visiting a Yerevan
enterprise slated for privatization that unlike voucher
privatization, whereby vouchers were distributed free of
charge to every citizen, the new strategy has ensured
substantial revenues to the state budget. JN

GEORGIA HAS 600 MILLION TONS OF OIL. Georgia's deposits
of crude oil are estimated at 600 million tons by
foreign experts, President Eduard Shevardnadze told
staffers of foreign companies prospecting and developing
oil fields in Kakheti, eastern Georgia, on 11 October,
ITAR-TASS reported. Most of the stock is located in
eastern Georgia, while the country's off-shore oil
deposit are estimated at some 200 million tons,
Shevardnadze said. JN

YELTSIN WRAPS UP VISIT TO UZBEKISTAN... Russian
President Yeltsin concluded his two-day visit to
Uzbekistan on 12 October, his first official visit to
that country as president, Russian media reported.
Before leaving for Tashkent, Yeltsin told reporters in
Moscow, that continued efforts by Afghanistan's Taliban
movement to gain complete control over that country by
force are a "threat to security and stability in the
region." Yeltsin and Uzbek President Islam Karimov
discussed the situation in Afghanistan and signed a
document promising aid in the event one of their
countries is attacked. Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov
had already signed that document, which also includes
reference to cooperating with the UN, the OSCE, and CIS
countries to bring about "full political stabilization
in Tajikistan." BP

...AFTER SIGNING ECONOMIC COOPERATION ACCORDS. Yeltsin
and Karimov also discussed improving economic ties
between their countries. Karimov said he favors
developing such ties at the regional level (among
Yeltsin's delegation were Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor
Eduard Rossel and the president of Tatarstan, Mintimer
Shaimiev). The two sides signed an agreement on
expanding economic cooperation over the next 10 years.
According to ITAR-TASS, the accord aims at creating
"favorable conditions" for organizing "tariff and non-
tariff regulation of foreign economic activity, indirect
taxation, customs services, and coordination of measures
to protect national manufacturers." BP

TAJIK HOSTAGE-TAKERS RECEIVE DEATH PENALTY. Tajikistan's
Supreme Court on 9 October sentenced two men to death
for their part in several kidnappings in Tajikistan from
December 1996 to November 1997, Reuters and ITAR-TASS
reported. Bahrom Sadirov and Kiroatsho Nosyrov are to be
executed by firing squad. Sadirov was the leader of a
group involved in kidnapping members of the UN mission
to Tajikistan in December 1996 and again in February
1997. In both cases, he was seeking to force the
authorities to have his brother, Rezvon Sadirov, brought
from Afghanistan to Tajikistan. Bahrom Sadirov
eventually succeeded in that goal but soon after was
wounded in a shootout with government forces and handed
over to Tajik authorities. Rezvon continued taking
hostages to gain Bahrom Sadirov's release. In November
1997, one hostage, French national Karen Maine, was
killed during a rescue attempt. Rezvon Sadirov was
killed several days later by government forces. BP

TAJIK AUTHORITIES BEGIN OPERATIONS AGAINST OUTLAWS.
Tajik government forces began operations against outlaw
groups on 11 October, ITAR-TASS reported. At the
beginning of this month, the government had issued an
ultimatum calling on all armed groups to surrender their
weapons by 8 October or face the consequences. The 11
October operation on the eastern outskirts of Dushanbe
left several armed militants dead, while four were taken
prisoner. There are no reports of casualties among
government forces. BP

CIS PEACEKEEPERS MARK ANNIVERSARY IN TAJIKISTAN.
Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the stationing of
the CIS peacekeeping force in Tajikistan, Lieutenant-
General Nikolai Pugachev, commander of the force, said
the people and government of Tajikistan support the
force's continued presence as a guarantor of stability,
ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 10 October. Pugachev
also noted that the force has helped in returning some
10,000 refugees to Tajikistan and delivered more than
5,000 tons of humanitarian aid to remote villages in the
mountains. The negative balance is that 202 force
members have been killed over the past five years. BP

FIRST CANDIDATE ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR KAZAKH
PRESIDENCY. The Kazakh Communist Party has named its
first secretary, Serikbolsyn Abdildin, as its candidate
for the January 1999 presidential elections, Interfax
reported on 11 October. A statement released after the
party congress that day called on current President
Nursultan Nazarbayev not to run for the presidency,
reminding him he has already been elected twice as head
of state (which Nazarbayev supporters contend). Former
Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin resigned his position
as presidential adviser on 9 October, criticizing the
Kazakh parliament's decision to move elections up by
almost two years as leaving "a very short time to
prepare for presidential elections." He stopped short,
however, of announcing his own candidacy. Nazarbayev has
not announced whether he will run again, but he told
journalists on 9 October he was opposed to holding early
elections. BP

TWO OIL TRANSPORTATION DEALS SIGNED IN TURKMENISTAN. A
spokesman for the Turkmen president's directorate in
charge of hydrocarbon resources announced on 10 October
that two deals on exporting Turkmen oil to Iran have
been signed, ITAR-TASS reported. French company Total
will conduct a feasibility study for a Kazakh-Turkmen-
Iran pipeline that would bring oil from Kazakhstan's
Tengiz and Novy Uzen fields through western Turkmen oil
fields to Tehran and the Harg oil terminal. The other
deal, which provides for delivering Turkmen oil to Iran
via the Caspian Sea, was signed by Malaysia's Petronas
and Britain's Monument Oil and Gas. Both deals foresee
the exchange of Turkmen crude for Iranian refined oil.
BP

END NOTE

THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEPOLITICIZATION

by Paul Goble

	The failure of Russian Communists last week to
mobilize the large number of demonstrators party leaders
had predicted and Russian officials had feared appears
to reflect a fundamental shift in popular attitudes on
the role of the state rather than support for or
opposition to any particular program or policy.
	According to a recent poll by the Moscow Center for
International Sociological Studies, only 12 percent of
the Russians surveyed said that they count on the state
to take care of them. In contrast, some 61 percent said
that they now rely only on themselves.
	Judging from earlier polls, this represents a major
shift away from the attitudes toward the state that
Russians and others living under communism often
displayed in the past.
	But while this depoliticization of the population
is both a necessary precondition for and a reflection of
the emergence of a civic space between state
institutions and individual citizens, it also has three
consequences not only for the Russian Federation but
also for other post-communist countries. Those
consequences may present problems for both the state and
its citizens.
	First, as people turn away from the state as the
source of support, they inevitably care less about what
the state does and are less willing to take action to
assert their views. That means that neither the state
nor the opposition can mobilize them to take action for
or against anything.
	As a result, the opposition cannot easily get large
numbers of people to demonstrate even if the opposition
is taking positions that polls suggest most people agree
with. And the government cannot draw on popular support
even when it may be doing things that the people have
said they want. That means that the size of
demonstrations for or against anything or anyone are an
increasingly poor indicator of what the people want or
do not want the state to do.
	Second, precisely because people are focusing on
their private lives and taking responsibility for them,
they are likely to become increasingly upset when the
state attempts to intervene in their lives even for the
most benign purposes, particularly if it does so in an
ineffective manner. Such attitudes, widespread in many
countries and important in limiting the power of state
institutions, nonetheless pose a particular danger to
countries making the transition from communism to
democracy.
	While those views help promote the dismantling of
the old state, they also virtually preclude the
emergence of a new and efficient one. As a result, these
countries are often likely to find themselves without
the effective state institutions that modern societies
and economies require if they are to be well regulated.
	And third, countries with depoliticized populations
are especially at risk when they face a crisis. The
governments cannot count on support because people no
longer expect the governments to be able to deliver. By
the same token, the opposition cannot generate support
because people no longer think that the opposition can
do anything either. That danger is especially strong in
countries where the governments cannot draw on strong
national sentiments. In the Baltic States, for example,
the governments have been able to keep depoliticization
in check because of the importance of national rebirth
to most people living there.
	But in other countries--and Russia is the classical
example--neither the government nor the opposition is in
a position to draw on national sentiments. Not only do
many Russians blame the current political system for
their problems, but both they and the government are
aware that an openly nationalist course would cause
alarm bells to ring in many places.
	As a result, the depoliticization of the population
in the Russian Federation is very much a double-edged
sword. It has helped to open the psychological space
necessary for the emergence of a vibrant civil society
capable of regulating itself on many issues. But it has
also hobbled the regime in a way that means the Russian
government is likely to have a harder time in coping
with crises and the Russian opposition is likely to have
an equally difficult time in responding to whatever the
Russian government does.

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