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

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 206, Part I, 23 October 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 206, Part I, 23 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Russian Media Empires IV
Media have closed or merged, advertising is shrinking,
and layoffs and salary cuts are widespread as Russian
media try to survive the financial crisis that began in
August.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia4/index.html
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* POST OF VICE PRESIDENT TO BE REINSTATED?

* DUMA SEEKS TO STAMP OUT MONEY-LAUNDERING

* KAZHEGELDIN RETURNS TO KAZAKHSTAN
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

POST OF VICE PRESIDENT TO BE REINSTATED? In a television
interview on 21 October, First Deputy Prime Minister
Vadim Gustov raised the idea of restoring the office of
vice president, saying such a move is "quite likely."
The next day, Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii
Nazdratenko volunteered to serve as vice president,
provided that the State Duma reestablish the position
and Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov decides to run for
president. Nazdratenko's spokesperson, however, later
clarified that the governor was speaking only
hypothetically. Primakov has repeatedly denied that he
will run for president. Viktor Chernomyrdin, former
prime minister and leader of the Our Home is Russia
movement, praised Gustov's idea, telling reporters that
the position probably should not have been scrapped.
President Boris Yeltsin did away with the post when
former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi sided with the
rebellious parliament against Yeltsin. Chernomyrdin said
"If a good vice president were working now, there would
be no concern over the health of the president or early
presidential elections." JAC

DUMA SEEKS TO STAMP OUT MONEY-LAUNDERING. The Duma
adopted on 21 October adopted in the third reading a law
on money-laundering . According to the law's principal
author, Communist party member and parliamentary deputy
Viktor Ilyukhin, state comptrollers will inspect all
transactions by individuals that exceed 2,000 times the
minimum wage and those by firms that exceed 20,000 times
the minimum wage. According to "Kommersant-Daily" on 22
October, 2,000 minimum wages equals $10,000. The
newspaper also reported that Central Bank Chairman
Viktor Gerashchenko protested the law's adoption in a
letter, noting that the law was drafted when Russia was
still able to attract funds from financial markets and
individuals investors. That is no longer the case,
Gerashchenko noted, adding that the law may discourage
both the "reacquisition of funds from abroad" and from
the Russian population. JAC

GOVERNMENT TO SELL SMALL GAZPROM STAKE? As part of a
package of measures to finance an expected budget
deficit of some 60 billion rubles ($3.7 billion) in the
fourth quarter, the Finance Ministry has suggested
selling a 2.5 percent stake in Gazprom. According to
ITAR-TASS on 22 October, the tender for the sale will be
held on 5 November and the results announced on 20
December. A "government source" told Interfax that
investment consultants are currently calculating the
price of the share package. JAC

BANKS NEED ANOTHER RUBLE INJECTION... Andrei Kozlov,
first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, told the
State Duma's Finance Committee on 22 October that
Russia's commercial banking system requires at least 37
billion rubles ($2.2 billion) to begin functioning
normally again. Arguing that the Central Bank "should
not print money to rescue banks," Kozlov said that it
will make use of some ruble bonds from its portfolio and
is trying to redirect earlier agreed-upon "small" loans
from the EBRD to the restructuring of the banking
system. Central Bank Chairman Gerashchenko met with EBRD
President Horst Kehler in London, after which
Gerashchenko declared that the EBRD is still ready for
close cooperation with Russia. JAC

...WHILE FOREIGN INVESTORS OFFERED EQUITY. Kozlov also
told the Duma that the Central Bank will try to persuade
foreign holders of defaulted bank debt to accept equity
stakes in the most salvageable banks. The Russian
government recently began a second round of negotiations
with foreign creditors on debt restructuring. According
to Kozlov, Russian commercial banks owe foreign banks
about $6 billion for unfulfilled forward contracts.
Gerashchenko told a conference in London that he does
not exclude the possibility that the Western share in
Russian banks amounts to almost 50 percent, ITAR-TASS
reported. JAC

RUSSIA WARNS ALBANIAN 'TERRORISTS'. Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters on 22 October that
Russia is seriously concerned about increased activity
among Kosova "terrorists," suggesting that forces in the
region "would like to undermine a peaceful settlement."
According to ITAR-TASS, he said that "on behalf of the
international Contact Group, we want to issue a very
serious warning to all forces and Albanian terrorists in
Kosova." He added that the "UN Resolution No. 1199
passed by the Security Council applies in full both to
Belgrade and the Albanians." "Segodnya" characterized
the agreement reached by U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke as
a "useful respite for no one likes to fight in the
Balkans in the winter." The newspaper added that the
"value of the agreement will depend on whether Russia
and Yugoslavia strengthen their mutual relations and
create something like the Belarus-Russia alliance.
"Segodnya" is owned by Vladimir Gusinskii's Media-Most
Group. JAC

GREECE, RUSSIA SEE EYE-TO-EYE ON NATO. On an official
visit to Moscow, Greek Foreign Minister Theodhoros
Pangalos met with Russian Prime Minister Primakov and
Foreign Minister Ivanov on 22 October. Pangolos and
Ivanov discussed, among other issues, the Kosova crisis
and the delivery of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles
to Cyprus. Primakov, Ivanov, and Pangalos all expressed
their desire that the Kosova situation be resolved
without the use of force. Ivanov also told reporters
that Russia and Greece agreed to pursue large projects
in the energy and defense sectors. Earlier, Greece had
been poised to purchase S-300 missiles for its own
defense needs but instead opted for U.S.-made equipment.
Pangalos told reporters that the decision was one of
"national choice" rather than one resulting from
pressure from Washington. Russian Public Television
noted that "as Russia's old ally, Greece is now the only
NATO member whose viewpoints are close to those of
Russia and sometimes even coincide." JAC

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS WITH CHINESE PRESIDENT.
Igor Sergeev met with Jiang Zemin on 23 October, ITAR-
TASS reported. The two discussed topics that Sergeev had
covered with his Chinese counterpart Chi Haotian the
previous day, agreeing that their countries are against
use of force in Kosova and Afghanistan, that their new
military cooperation is not aimed at any third party,
and that further reductions of troops and weapons along
the Russo-Chinese border are essential. Jiang confirmed
China will cut its troops along the border by 500,000
men and Sergeev promised unspecified cuts on the Russian
side. With regard to the U.S.-Japanese plan for creating
a close range anti-ballistic missile system, Sergeev
said that it would result in "tipping the balance in the
region." Jiang commented that he is anxiously awaiting
his meeting with Boris Yeltsin in the second half of
November. BP

CHINA PROTESTS ZHIRINOVSKY'S VISIT TO TAIWAN. The
Chinese Embassy in Russia has protested the 18-22
October visit to Taiwan of a delegation from the Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) led by Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 October. A
statement by the Chinese Embassy in Moscow notes that
"there is only one China in the world. The government of
the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate
government representing all of China...and Taiwan as an
inseparable part." Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev tried
to downplay the event, saying the LDPR delegation visit
was a private one and representatives of the party had
no right to make any official statements. Reuters
reported on 20 October that Zhirinovsky invited
Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, to visit Russia.
Zhirinovsky told the Duma on 23 October that he was
acting on behalf of "the millions who voted for us
(LDPR)." He also said he plans to visit Beijing and "go
to the [Russian] embassy with my thugs and blockade it."
Seleznev responding by turning off Zhirinovsky's
microphone. BP

MORE ARRESTS, STRIKES IN KRASNOYARSK. Another official
from the Krasnoyarsk administration preceding that of
current Governor Aleksandr Lebed has been arrested.
Former Deputy Governor Valentina Cherezova was taken
into custody on 21 October on suspicion of complicity in
embezzlement. Another former first deputy governor,
Vladimir Kuzmin, was arrested for allegedly
misappropriating funds intended for residents of
Krasnoyarsk. That money was instead deposited in an
interest-bearing account in a Moscow bank (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 7 October 1998). "Vremya MN" reported at the
time that many in Krasnoyarsk believed that the local
prosecutor's pursuit of Kuzmin is primarily political.
Lebed denied these charges at a meeting with striking
local schoolteachers, according to Interfax. He said,
"These arrests are not settling political scores with
the former administration." According to "Izvestiya" on
23 October, 5,000 teachers demanded a meeting with
Lebed, despite a statement by one of his aides that
Leben was suffering from food poisoning. JAC

MIKHALKOV TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT? In an interview with
"Izvestiya" on 23 October, "Our Home is Russia" (NDR)
faction leader Aleksandr Shokhin revealed the name of a
possible new contender in the 2000 presidential
elections: Nikita Mikhalkov, Russian film actor and
director. According to Shokhin, Mikhalkov is "no less
photogenic than Ronald Reagan and has won an Oscar for
directing." During the 1996 Duma elections, Mikhalkov
came in second on the NDR party list but gave up his
seat in order to concentrate on film-making. At the
time, he said that he joined NDR to help prevent a
victory for the radical opposition. JAC

CHECHEN PRESIDENT CALLS ON RIVALS TO DISARM... Aslan
Maskhadov issued an ultimatum on 22 October to illegal
military forces to lay down their arms within seven
days. The commanders of the groups in question were not
named, but the districts of Serzhen-Yurt, Vedeno, and
Urus-Martan, where the units in questions are said to be
deployed, are the fiefdoms of the Jordanian commander
Khottab, former acting Premier Shamil Basaev, and former
acting President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, respectively,
according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 23 October. The
same day, Maskhadov met behind closed doors with 10 of
Chechnya's most influential field commanders, who
pledged their support for Maskhadov's anti-crime
measures, Interfax reported. LF

...BUT THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO COMPLY. Radical field
commander Salman Raduev, who together with Basaev and
Khunkar-Pasha Israpilov is demanding Maskhadov's
resignation, told Interfax that he will not disband his
General Dudaev Army, as it is formally registered with
the Ministry of Justice, and therefore does not qualify
as an illegal armed formation. But presidential
spokesman Mairbek Vachagaev said that Maskhadov's
ultimatum applies to any military unit that is not part
of Chechnya's armed forces. On 23 October, Dagestani
police halted a Chechen-registered vehicle whose
passengers claimed to be personal bodyguards of Chechen
Vice President Vakha Arsanov and confiscated several
machine-guns, Caucasus Press reported. Arsanov has
consistently espoused a far more radical position than
Maskhadov on the need to make Chechnya an Islamic
society and to sever all ties with the Russian
Federation. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY.
Robert Kocharian met for the second time in 10 days with
members of the Yerkrapah parliament group on 22 October,
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported quoting the
presidential press service. The discussion focused on
"all major spheres of state policy," including the
ongoing disagreement between the Yerkrapah and other
parliamentary groups over the draft election law.
Kocharian told the Yerkrapah deputies that the group
constitutes "the government's support base in the
National Assembly" and that close cooperation between
the government and the legislature is "a necessary
precondition" for the parliament's activity to be
effective. The Yerkrapah deputies called for more
frequent discussions of policy issues with members of
the government. A dozen Yerkrapah deputies sided with
the opposition in a failed vote earlier this month to
revoke several major privatization deals in which
Yerevan enterprises were sold to foreign investors. LF

KAZAKHSTAN PREPARED TO JOIN ABKHAZ MEDIATION. Speaking
at a Tbilisi press conference on 22 October, Kazakh
Prime Minister Nurlan Balghymbayev said his country "is
not opposed" to joining the UN Secretary-General's
Friends of Georgia group, Caucasus Press reported. The
group, which comprises the U.S., France, Germany, the
U.K., and Russia, is engaged in trying to mediate a
political settlement between Georgia and Abkhazia.
Balghymbayev added that Kazakhstan may provide a
peacekeeping battalion to serve in Abkhazia under either
UN or CIS auspices. LF

TWO MORE POLICEMEN KILLED IN ABKHAZIA. Two Abkhaz
policemen were killed and two more wounded in a shoot-
out on 22 October with ethnic Georgians in the village
of Nabakevi in Abkhazia's Gali Raion, Caucasus Press
reported. The policemen had tried to steal belongings
from the Georgians' homes. LF

USE OF GEORGIAN ARMY AGAINST INSURGENTS DISCUSSED.
Mikhail Saakashvili, chairman of the majority Union of
Citizens of Georgia group within the Georgian
parliament, told journalists on 22 October that the use
of regular army troops to quash the 19 October
insurgency in western Georgia was not a violation of the
Georgian Constitution, Caucasus Press reported.
Saakashvili argued that if the army had not intervened,
the several hundred rebels could have taken Kutaisi,
Georgia's second-largest city, and marched on Tbilisi.
Vakhtang Khmaladze, chairman of the League for
Protection of the Constitution, argued in an article
published in "Akhali Kartuli gazeti" the same day that
the use of army troops is prohibited by the constitution
unless a state of emergency has been declared and that
Interior Ministry troops should have been deployed
instead. LF

MEHTIEV SAYS HE HAS PROOF ALIEV IS A KURD. Ashraf
Mehtiev, chairman of the Association of Victims of
Illegal Political Repression who was defeated in the
recent Azerbaijani presidential elections, has told the
independent Azerbaijani television station ANS that he
has proof corroborating persistent rumors that President
Heidar Aliev is an ethnic Kurd and a Yezidi, "Vremya-MN"
reported on 22 October. Mehtiev referred to an article
published in the daily newspaper of the Azerbaijan
Communist Party Central Committee in 1934 stating that
Aliev's elder brother Hasan was the first Kurd to embark
on graduate studies in the USSR. LF

KAZHEGELDIN RETURNS TO KAZAKHSTAN. Former Prime Minister
and presidential hopeful Akezhan Kazhegeldin returned to
Kazakhstan on 22 October following a week spent in
Moscow and London, RFE/RL correspondents in Astana
reported. Kazhegeldin brought with him documents that he
believes will clear him of all charges of corruption
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October 1998). Kazhegeldin
handed over to the Central Electoral Commission the
necessary documents proving he is mentally competent to
serve as president, and he passed the Kazakh language
proficiency test necessary to run in the presidential
elections. He has also filed a protest with the Kazakh
Supreme Court against a ruling that could lead to a
three-day jail sentence or a fine for participating in a
meeting of the For Fair Elections movement in early
October. Kazhegeldin arrived at the court with a team of
lawyers from Washington D.C. to file the protest. BP

KAZAKH NEWSPAPER'S PROPERTY IMPOUNDED BY AUTHORITIES.
Law enforcement officials on 22 October seized property
of the newspaper "DAT" were seized by , RFE/RL
correspondents in Almaty reported. The newspaper was
fined 35 million tenge (some $437,000) earlier in
October for "publishing false information about Kazakh
officials." BP

KAZAKH OFFICIAL HINTS AT CHANGES TO COUNTRY'S BUDGET.
First Deputy Prime Minister Uraz Jandosov said on 22
October that the current world economic situation will
decide if Kazakhstan's 1999 budget needs to be changed,
Interfax reported. Jandosov said if the international
economic crisis abates by the middle of next year and
prices for Kazakhstan's major exports do not continue to
drop, the budget will remain unchanged. Interfax also
reported that Kazakhstan will not achieve the predicted
3 percent rise in GDP this year. Figures for January-
August indicate a growth of 1.2 percent. That figure is
unlikely to change for the year as a whole. BP

SHELLS FROM AFGHANISTAN LAND ON TAJIK TERRITORY. Three
mortar shells from Afghanistan landed near the Pyanj
border crossing in Tajikistan on 22 October, ITAR-TASS
reported. No one was injured, but the Russian border
guards said the incident is evidence that fighting is
moving closer to Tajikistan. In related news, UN special
envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Dushanbe
on 23 October to discuss the Afghan situation with
members of the Tajik government. While in Dushanbe,
Brahimi is also scheduled to meet with Afghan General
Ahmed Shah Masoud, who is fighting against Taliban
movement forces. BP

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