Everyone knows it is much harder to turn word into deed than deed into word. - Maxim Gorky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 201, Part I, 16 October 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 201, Part I, 16 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

* YELTSIN ISSUES INSTRUCTIONS ON KOSOVA

* RUSSIAN FOREIGN TRADE DOWN

* ALIEV CONFIRMED AS AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT
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RUSSIA

YELTSIN ISSUES INSTRUCTIONS ON KOSOVA... Meeting with Prime
Minister Yevgenii Primakov, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov,
and Defense Minister Igor Sergeev on 14 October, Russian
President Boris Yeltsin "gave instructions on how to act to
settle" the situation in Kosova, Ivanov told reporters the
following day, before departing for Paris to attend a
meeting of the International Contact Group. Interfax quoted
him as saying that the instructions were "not to slacken
attention or vigilance" because the threat of the use of
force in Kosova has not been fully removed. Yeltsin called
for "Russia to take a most active part" in the OSCE mission
in Kosova, Ivanov said, adding that it was Russia's idea to
send the OSCE mission to the province. JN

...WHILE DEFENSE MINISTRY DECLARES READINESS TO PARTICIPATE
IN OSCE MISSION. Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the head of
the international military cooperation department of the
Russian Defense Ministry, told reporters in Moscow on 16
October that Russia is ready to participate under the
auspices of the OSCE in monitoring Belgrade's implementation
of the UN Security Council's resolution on Kosova. But he
said it would be premature to speak about the specific forms
of Russian involvement because the subject is still under
negotiation. Ivashov said the Defense Ministry is ready to
offer AN-30 aircraft to participate in air monitoring. He
did not rule out sending Russian officers as international
observers to Yugoslavia, Interfax reported. JN

RUSSIA PLANS TO STEP UP ITS ROLE IN PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI
TALKS. Ivanov also told reporters that Russian Ambassador to
the U.S. Yulii Vorontsov has been instructed to step up
Russia's participation in the coming Palestinian-Israeli
talks in Washington, D.C. During his recent visit to Moscow,
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat invited Russia to take a
more active part in the talks. Ivanov said Vorontsov has
"received corresponding instructions," Interfax reported. JN

RUSSIA RATIFIES MILITARY SECURITY AGREEMENT WITH BELARUS.
The Russian Federation Council on 14 October ratified a
Russian-Belarusian agreement on joint efforts to ensure
military security in the region. The agreement defines the
procedure to create a regional unit, Interfax said, adding
that the document outlines structures responsible for the
formation of the military group, strategic planning, and the
use of air space and military infrastructure. The agreement
supplements the clauses on collective security in the Union
Treaty of Russia and Belarus and the Union Charter and is in
accordance with the CIS Collective Security Treaty. The
Federation Council also ratified an agreement on defense
cooperation with Belarus that includes preparation of
government defense production orders and the planning of
joint defense operations. JN

FOREIGN TRADE DOWN. The State Customs Committee and the
State Committee for Statistics announced on 16 October that
Russia's official foreign trade totaled $81.6 billion during
the first eight months of 1998 or 7 percent less than in the
corresponding period of last year, PRIME-TASS reported. The
volume of trade with CIS countries shrank by 5.1 percent.
Russian exports dropped by 14 percent to $47.3 billion while
imports grew by 4.7 percent to $34.3 billion. Imports from
foreign countries were almost three times higher than those
from ex-Soviet republics. JN

GRAIN HARVEST BELOW LAST YEAR'S. As of 12 October, Russia's
grain harvest totaled 49.7 million tons, which is 46.7
percent below the 1997 level, according to an official
report of the State Committee for Statistics, PRIME-Tass
reported on 15 October. Agricultural enterprises, which
account for some 90 percent of farmland sown to grain crops,
have so far harvested 70.7 percent of the crop, compared
with 90 percent at the same time last year. By 12 October,
potato output was 30 million tons--down 10.7 percent on
1997. However, the vegetable harvest was 7.4 million tons,
up 3 percent on the previous year, while sugar beet output
exceeded the 1997 level by 22.9 percent and sunflower seeds
output was almost double last year's level. JN

GAZPROM SIGNS DEBT SETTLEMENT ACCORD WITH FUEL MINISTRY.
Gazprom, the Fuel and Energy Ministry, and the State Tax
Service on 15 October signed an agreement on debt settlement
by the gas monopoly and the Fuel Ministry. Fuel and Energy
Minister Sergei Generalov told reporters the accord also
covers payment of current tax debts to the federal budget,
ITAR-TASS reported. Generalov said the agreement will remain
in effect until Gazprom and the state pay their mutual debts
for 1998. JN

FORMER SOVIET, RUSSIAN JUSTICE MINISTERS ORGANIZE. Russia's
Justice Ministry announced on 16 October that Justice
Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov has issued an order founding a
Council of Domestic Justice Ministers consisting of former
Soviet and Russian Federation justice ministers. These
include Vladimir Terebilov, Sergei Stepashin, Aleksandr
Sukharev, Nikolai Fedorov, and Veniamin Yakovlev. ITAR-TASS
said the council will help to ensure continuity of juridical
policy, promote the development of legal awareness, foster
legal culture, train young legal staff, and monitor the
activities of the Justice Ministry. JN

SHABDURASULOV NAMED ORT DIRECTOR-GENERAL. Igor Shabdurasulov
was unanimously elected director-general of Russian Public
Television ORT, at a 15 October shareholders' meeting in
Moscow, Interfax reported Shabdurasulov has been acting
director-general since 15 September. He is a member of the
ORT board of directors and one of the state's
representatives at ORT. He succeeds Kseniya Ponomareva who
resigned on 1 September after nine-and-a-half months in the
post in protest at not having been consulted when Sergei
Dorenko, chief producer of the ORT information programs
directorate, was made an anchorman on "Vremya." JN

MOSCOW PLANS TO ENFORCE BAN ON HARD LIQUOR SALES. The city
of Moscow plans to enforce a ban on the sale of hard liquor
at produce and wholesale markets. Moscow municipal official
Vladimir Malyshkov said the ban, which took effect 16
October, is needed because 80 percent of alcohol sales
infractions occur at those markets. He said the city will
set up a new network of 100 wholesale and retail alcohol
distributors. Meanwhile, the Federal Tax Service announced
on 15 October it will audit the tax returns of alcohol
producers and revoke the licenses of those who fail to
settle their tax debts. The government established a state
monopoly on alcohol sales and distribution last month in the
hope of boosting tax collections. JN

SOBCHAK INCRIMINATED IN FOUR BRIBERY CASES. Prosecutor-
General Yurii Skuratov said that an investigation into the
case of former St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak,
currently in France, "has established four incidents of
bribery" in an interview with the daily "Komsomolskaya
pravda" on 16 October. Skuratov said "forces in opposition,"
many of whom are convinced of his innocence, have seriously
impeded the investigation. The prosecutor-general declined
to explain the origins of Sobchak's alleged wealth, saying
only that "we have materials that might shock and cause
confusion among normal people." JN

NEW MAYORAL ELECTIONS IN VLADIVOSTOK SLATED FOR JANUARY.
Vladivostok's Municipal Election Committee on 16 October
scheduled new mayoral elections for 17 January after
declaring the 27 September vote invalid, ITAR-TASS reported.
The number of votes cast against all candidates exceeded the
combined total in favor of office-seekers. This was an
apparent protest after the incumbent, Viktor Cherepkov, was
struck from the list of candidates just hours before polling
began. The Election Committee ruled that Cherepkov can run
for office again but banned all other contenders who
competed in the 27 September ballot on the grounds they are
untrustworthy. JN

URALS LEADERSHIP CHALLENGED? A possible competitor
organization to the Urals interregional economic
association, set up by Sverdlovsk governor Eduard Rossel
several years ago, has emerged, "Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Regiony" reported on 13 October. The "Edinenie" organization
held its first conference in Perm, which was attended by
representatives from Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Udmurtia, and
Perm. Heading the organization are directors of large local
factories. The next meeting will be held in October in
Izhevsk, the capital of Udmurtia. JAC

TATAR OPPOSITION ADVOCATES VOLGA-URAL REPUBLIC. The Tatar
Public Center (TOC) unveiled its new draft program at a
press conference on 12 October, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau
reported. TOC chairman Gayal Murtazin summarized the new
program, which calls for the creation of a Volga-Ural
Republic uniting the national republics of the Volga region.
(An Idel-Ural Republic existed briefly in 1918-1919 before
the creation of the Bashkir and Tatar ASSRs.) The program
also calls for the national and state independence of
Tatarstan and for designating the Tatar language as the only
state language of the Republic of Tatarstan. Murtazin denied
that this latter provision is aimed at curtailing the rights
of Tatarstan's Russian population or downgrading the status
of the Russian language, which is currently the second
official language in Tatarstan. LF

ELECTION IRREGULARITIES IN KALMYKIA? The office of the
Russian prosecutor-general has predicted that the 18 October
elections to Kalmykia's parliament may be declared invalid,
"Izvestiya" reported on 15 October. The newspaper reported
that candidates loyal to Kalmykia's president, Kirsan
Ilyumzhinov, have had an unfair advantage. One opposition
candidate, Yurii Oglaev, an assistant professor at the State
University of Kalmykia, received a court order requiring
election authorities to register him. However, just days
before the election is scheduled to take place, they told
him to wait for an invitation. Meanwhile, local law prevents
his supporters from campaigning until he has certification
of his candidacy. JAC

POLICE IN ALTAI ARREST SUSPECTED TAJIK TERRORIST. Police in
Altai Krai, southern Siberia, have arrested a Tajik citizen
on suspicion of involvement in terrorist attacks, ITAR-TASS
reported on 15 October. Amridin Zubaidov had been wanted by
the Tajik Prosecutor-General's Office for an attempted
overthrow of the constitutional system, involvement in
paramilitary groups, and committing violent acts against
civilians. Discussions on extraditing Zubaidov have begun.
JN

FEDERATION COUNCIL CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO
DAGESTAN. The Federation Council on 15 October addressed an
appeal to Prime Minister Primakov to expedite the transfer
of funds to Dagestan, Caucasus Press reported. The appeal
noted that over the past five years, the republic has been
subjected to an "economic blockade," which led to economic
disaster and the impoverishment of the population and
changed the republic's status from "a donor region into a
disaster region." The repeated orders of the Russian
president, resolutions of the Russian government and both
chambers of the Russian parliament aimed at improving the
situation in the region have been ignored by the Ministry of
Finance, the appeal claimed. On 14 October, Dagestan's
president, Magomedali Magomedov, had appealed to the Council
and expressed the hope that the new Russian government will
render Dagestan economic assistance. LF

BASAEV STEPS UP CRITICISM OF CHECHEN PRESIDENT. Speaking on
Chechen Television on 14 October, former acting Chechen
Premier Shamil Basaev accused President Aslan Maskhadov of
striking secret agreements with members of the Russian
leadership, Interfax reported. Basaev claimed that Maskhadov
had assured former Russian Security Council Secretary
Aleksandr Lebed that he would refrain from pushing for
Chechnya's formal independence for an unspecified period.
Basaev also accused Maskhadov of holding covert talks with
Russian Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin on supplying
Russian arms for Maskhadov's personal bodyguard. Together
with fellow field commanders Salman Raduev and Khunkar-pasha
Israpilov, Basaev last month accused Maskhadov of violating
the Chechen Constitution and called for his resignation (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 1998). A parliament
commission created to investigate the allegations against
Maskhadov dismissed them as groundless on 12 October. LF

RUSSIA SURPRISED BY INCLUSION OF NORTH CAUCASUS REGIONS IN
POLISH FORUM. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed
surprise that the list of countries participating in an
international human rights conference under way in Warsaw
includes "Russia's territories" of Chechnya, Dagestan, and
Ingushetia, Interfax reported on 15 October. A Foreign
Ministry statement said the admission of those territories
to the conference contradicts international conventions,
including "the letter and spirit of the OSCE, which Poland
chairs this year." The statement termed the Polish move
"provocative" attempts to present the status of certain
Russian territories as unclear. Chechen President Maskhadov
is among the participants in the conference. JN

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ALIEV CONFIRMED AS AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT. The Central
Electoral Commission released the final results of the 11
October presidential poll on 15 October, Turan reported.
Those data differ only slightly from the preliminary returns
and confirm the reelection of incumbent Heidar Aliev, who
polled 76.11 percent of the vote. His closest rival, Etibar
Mamedov, received 11.6 percent and Independent Azerbaijan
Party chairman Nizami Suleymanov 8.6 percent. The remaining
three candidates each polled less than 1 percent. Reuters
quoted Mamedov as saying the results were falsified and that
he does not recognize Aliev as president. He predicted that
the Azerbaijani people will demand that Aliev step down.
Mamedov's representative on the Central Electoral
Commission, Fuad Agaev, said that he was barred from
participating in the protocol tally and that commission
chairman Jafar Veliev refused to accept documentation giving
details of vote falsification. LF

DASHNAK PARTY CALLS FOR PRE-TERM PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
Meeting on 15 October with Robert Kocharian, leading members
of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (HHD) again urged
the president to dissolve the parliament and convene pre-
term elections, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The HHD
representatives argued that the July 1995 parliamentary
elections, in which they were barred from fielding
candidates, were "undemocratic" and that the present
parliament "does not reflect the correlation of political
forces." To date, Kocharian has consistently rejected calls
for pre-term elections by either the HHD or other opposition
parties, reasoning that such elections should be held only
in an "emergency situation." LF

KAZAKH AUTHORITIES CRACK DOWN ON POTENTIAL OPPOSITION.
Leaders of several of Kazakhstan's opposition parties and
movements were taken into custody on 15 October and some
were fined and/or jailed, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty
reported. Pyotr Svoik of Azamat, Irina Savostina of the
Pokoleniye [Generation] Movement of elderly citizens, Mels
Eleusizov of the Green Party, political activist Dos Koshim,
and others were all accused of "taking part in sessions and
mass gatherings of an unregistered movement." That movement
is called For Fair Elections. Eleusizov and Svoik were
sentenced to three days in jail, while Koshim and Savostina
were fined 6,600 tenge ($82) and 3,300 tenge respectively.
Under Kazakh law, no one who has been fined or imprisoned is
eligible to run for public office. JC

OPPOSITION CANDIDATES FOR KAZAKH PRESIDENCY RUN INTO
DIFFICULTIES... Murat Auezov, a former leader of Azamat,
announced the same day that he is unable to run as a
candidate in the January presidential elections. Auezov was
found guilty of and fined for organizing an unsanctioned
demonstration. There are also reports that former Prime
Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin is wanted for questioning by
law enforcement authorities. Kazhegeldin announced his
candidacy for the presidency on 14 October. BP

...WHILE A NEW CONTENDER EMERGES. Kazakhstan's ambassador to
Turkey, Baltash Tursynbayev, announced his candidacy for the
presidency on 14 October, RFE/RL correspondents reported.
Tursynbayev made the announcement in Moscow. At the same
time, he said he is stepping down from his post as
ambassador to Turkey. Tursynbayev is also the former
governor of Kostenai Oblast. BP

BOMBS GO OFF IN TAJIK CAPITAL. Three bombs exploded in
Dushanbe on 15 October, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. The
first went off outside the building that is the headquarters
of the National Reconciliation Commission. The other two
exploded 30-40 minutes later in suburban districts of the
Tajik capital. No casualties have been reported to date. BP

MORE "WAHHABIS" ON TRIAL IN UZBEKISTAN. Fifteen men from the
eastern Uzbek city of Andizhan went on trial on 15 October
on charges of, among others, terrorism, possession of arms
and drugs, robbery, and extortion, Interfax reported. The
men are allegedly Wahhabis, the religious group held
responsible for several murders in eastern Uzbekistan last
December. Five other men, also reported to be Wahhabis, went
on trial in Tashkent the same day on similar charges. All
suspects face five to 15 years in jail if convicted. These
are the first trials involving Wahhabis since early summer,
when a series of trials resulted in 26 people receiving
prison terms and one being sentenced to death. BP

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