Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. - Sigmund Freud
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 207, Part I, 26 October 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 207, Part I, 26 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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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
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Headlines, Part I

* ANTI-KIDNAPPING OFFICIAL KILLED IN CHECHNYA

* FAVORED MISSILE FAILS TEST

* ALIEV URGES NATO TO HALT 'MILITARIZATION OF ARMENIA'

End Note: PROMOTING FEDERALISM, FIGHTING DISEASE
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RUSSIA

ANTI-KIDNAPPING OFFICIAL KILLED IN CHECHNYA... A car
bomb killed General Shaid Bargishev on 25 October, only
a day after he had said that his anti-kidnapping unit
would launch a military sweep against criminal groups
there, ITAR-TASS reported. Those groups are currently
holding some 40 hostages. On 23 October, Bargishev
acknowledged that criminal groups have failed to comply
with his demand that they immediately release their
hostages. The next day, he and other Chechen officials
said they would attack and summarily execute hostage-
takers. Following Bargishev's death, President Aslan
Maskhadov pledged to crack down on all hostage-takers,
Interfax reported. PG

...WHILE CHECHEN MUFTI ESCAPES ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT. A
bomb exploded 20 meters from the Muftiat building in
Grozny on 26 October as Mufti Ahmad Haji Kadyrov's car
was approaching, RFE/RL correspondents reported. The
mufti's driver was injured, but Kadyrov escaped
unharmed. A nearby building was completely destroyed and
the mufti's car "burned to ashes," ITAR-TASS reported.
Kadyrov blamed the attack on the same people who killed
Bargishev the previous day, while an investigator
confirmed that the same kind of explosive device was
used in the attack on Bargishev as in that on Kadyrov.
BP

CHECHEN OPPOSITION DEMANDS MASKHADOV'S SUSPENSION.
Speaking to a rally in Grozny on 23 October, Chechen
opposition leaders Shamil Basaev and Salman Raduev said
that the parliament should suspend President Aslan
Maskhadov until the Supreme Shariat Court can rule on
the charges brought against him, Interfax reported.
Basaev said that Maskhadov had signed a decree to disarm
Chechnya's paramilitary formations "at the request of
the Russian interior minister" arguing that "God gave
each of us the right to carry weapons." For his part,
Raduev said that anyone in Chechnya who backs Maskhadov
now will "be held accountable." He suggested that
opposition leaders will seize a Russian city if the
Chechen president refuses to face the charges. PG

FAVORED MISSILE FAILS TEST. A single-warhead Topol-M
missile exploded on 22 October during the first stage of
its test launch, "Izvestiya" and "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
reported two days later. General Vladimir Yakovlev, head
of the strategic rocket forces, said on Russian Public
Television that the test was "very difficult" but he did
not elaborate. "Izvestiya" concluded that the missile's
failure could have a "crucial impact on Russia's defense
capability," calling it "Russia's last remaining hope
for providing strategic nuclear deterrence against
possible aggressors in the first decades of the 21st
century." Earlier, First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii
Maslyukov proposed that Russia concentrate its resources
on the construction of 35-45 Topol-M missiles a year
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 21 October 1998). In
addition, Defense Minister Igor Sergeev said that the
government would make restructuring of nuclear
deterrence forces a priority in future military reform,
Russian Television reported on 24 October. JAC

ANTI-CRISIS PROGRAMS PROLIFERATE. The State Duma on 23
October adopted its anti-crisis program, which requires
the lower house to debate and enact at least 10 pieces
of legislation. "Izvestiya" the following day
characterized the program as a "terrible mess" that
combines the methods of the marketplace and the command
economy. According to the newspaper, the program calls
for the establishment of state control over prices as
well as the introduction of a market for interenterprise
debt. The same day, a draft of the government's own
anti-crisis program was submitted to Prime Minister
Yevgenii Primakov, Interfax reported. ITAR-TASS reported
on 26 October that Primakov had convened a meeting of
top-level cabinet officers to discuss the draft.
Meanwhile, the IMF mission currently in Moscow is
reported to be analyzing the government's draft fourth-
quarter budget. JAC

RUSSIA KNOCKS UN RESOLUTION. Russia on 24 October
abstained from voting on a UN Security Council
resolution authorizing ground and air monitors in
Kosova. Russia objected to a number of provisions of the
resolution, even after Security Council members dropped
any clauses that seemed to directly or indirectly
sanction the use of force. According to NTV, Sergei
Lavrov, Russia's permanent representative to the UN,
said the resolution still does not acknowledge that
Belgrade has already complied with many of the UN's
demands. Speaking on Russian Television on 24 October,
Prime Minister Primakov noted that Russia's position on
Kosova "annoys [Western powers] most of all." He added,
"Let them get irritated. Russia is a great power." JAC

RUSSIA PRAISES NEW MIDDLE EAST ACCORD. Russian officials
hailed the accords signed by Israeli and Palestinian
officials in Washington on 23 October. Deputy Foreign
Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk told Ekho Moskvy that Russia
will do "everything possible" to continue the Middle
East dialogue "in consultation with the U.S. co-sponsor
but acting separately, in contact with the Arab states
and Israel." Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir
Rakhmanin said that Russia "as a co-sponsor of the
Middle East peace process contributed to advances in the
Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and will do so in the
future." Rakhmanin also hailed the "important role"
played by U.S. diplomacy and called for a "coordinated
international effort to support the Middle East peace
process." JAC

VODKA PRODUCTION SET TO SOAR? Deputy Prime Minister
Gennadii Kulik told fellow members of the Agrarian Party
on 23 October that Russian vodka production will
increase by 60 percent next year, Interfax reported. The
previous day, Prime Minister Primakov supported an idea
floated by the Trade Ministry to impose a temporary
embargo on imported alcohol. At the same time, the
government lowered duties on food imports for next six
months. Earlier, Kulik pledged that a government decree
imposing tighter regulation over alcohol would not
increase prices or diminish the choice of imported
alcohol (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"7 October 1998). JAC

GOVERNMENT NAMES GAZPROM PRICE? A "government source"
told Interfax that the Russian government hopes to
attract 10 billion-11 billion rubles ($600-660 million)
from the sale of a 2.5 percent stake in the company (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October 1998). The source also
claimed that Germany's Ruhrgaz is interested in
purchasing the stake. In August, when the government was
contemplating sale of a 5 percent stake in the company,
"Kommersant- Daily" reported that Gazprom chairman Rem
Vyakhirev wanted Royal Dutch Shell, its "strategic
partner," to purchase the stake (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
4 August 1998). In the spring, Vyakhirev thought $1
billion was a fair price for a 3 percent stake. JAC

LUKASHENKA WINDS UP VISIT TO SIBERIA... Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka completed a three-day
working visit to Omsk and Kemerovo Oblasts on 23 October
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1998). One possible
result of his visit is that Belarus will "take delivery"
of up to 1 million tons of coal as soon as 1999, while
Kemerovo may receive up to 400 BELaz trucks a year. It
is unclear from media reports whether cash or barter
will be used for the coal and/or trucks. Lukashenka told
reporters that Belarus has established direct economic
ties with 60 Russian regions. During his visit,
Lukashenka also expressed support for Russian President
Boris Yeltsin and advised members of Russia's Communist
Party not to rewrite the constitution and weaken the
presidency. He urged, "I appeal to you to get your hands
off the constitution." JAC

...URGES RUSSIA TO STOP ARGUING ABOUT MUTUAL DEBTS.
Lukashenka has proposed to resolve the problem of
Belarusian and Russian mutual debts by creating a single
economic area, Belarusian Television reported on 23
October. He told journalists in Kemerovo that both
countries should end disputes over mutual debts. The
Belarusian president admitted that Belarus owes Gazprom
$240 million for gas deliveries but added that Russian
companies owe Belarus more that $800 million for
deliveries of machines and equipment. Lukashenka added
that he will soon meet with Yeltsin in Moscow to discuss
prospects of the Belarusian-Russian Union. JM

"MONICAGATE" IS BAD FOR RUSSIA. The impeachment of U.S.
President Bill Clinton would be disadvantageous for
Russia, "Noviye izvestiya" concluded on 23 October.
Clinton, according to the newspaper, continues
conducting a policy that is "very advantageous for
Russia, if not pro-Russian." It added that U.S.
congressmen's criticism of Clinton's "amoral behavior in
his private life" invariably includes attacks on his
policy concerning Russia, saying that he "granted Russia
piles of money and gambled on a sick president." The
newspaper also predicted that if Clinton is impeached,
"the Gore-Primakov Commission will go downhill at such a
rapid pace that many Russian enterprises, particularly
those in the defense and space industries, will be
carried along with it." JAC

MAYORAL ELECTIONS RESULTS TALLIED. The acting mayor of
Kaliningrad, Yurii Savenko, won a second round of
mayoral elections on 25 October. Savenko defeated
Anatolii Khlopetskii, director-general of a local
transport company. In Sovetsk, Vyacheslav Svetlov,
deputy chairman of the city council and director of a
local film school, captured 51.1 percent of the vote,
compared with 43.1 percent for his rival, Nikolai
Nikolaev, director of the joint-stock company Sandorgaz,
ITAR-TASS reported on 26 October. On 18 October, voters
in Kalmykia elected members of the local legislature,
none of whom was from opposition parties (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 16 October 1998). JAC

KRASNODAR ACTIVIST BEATEN. Human rights activist Vasilii
Rakovich was brutally beaten in the Krasnodar region by
attackers armed with a baseball bat and a brick, the
"Human Rights Network" reported on 24 October. The
attack was reportedly linked to Rakovich's defense of a
fellow activist, Vasilii Chaikin, who has been under
arrest in the region for 18 months. Rakovich was
attacked close to the courthouse during a break in a
court hearing of Chaikin's case. JAC

SVERDLOVSK SUGGESTS SCRIP AS RUBLE SUPPLEMENT.
Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel's 1999 budget contains
some unusual features, including introduction of a form
of a new regional currency, a $500 million Eurobond
issue and the nationalization of banks and various
industries, the "IEWS Russian Report" reported on 22
October. Governor Rossel responded to questions about
the proposed new currency by saying that it was not
really a new "monetary unit" but trade coupons issued in
accordance with the volume of goods produced in the
oblast. Local businessmen and legislators questioned the
wisdom of introducing a monetary surrogate, arguing that
it will not protect the oblast from a shortage of cash
but instead speed up the destruction of a unified
market. Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadii Chernetskii also
criticized the budget, saying that the oblast government
is trying to solve its problems at the expense of
Yekaterinburg. He noted that the oblast lowered the
city's share of income tax revenues by 70 percent. JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ALIEV URGES NATO TO HALT 'MILITARIZATION OF ARMENIA.'
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev told visiting NATO
officials on 24 October that Russia is "arming Armenia
against" the Western alliance and suggested that NATO
should make a "serious effort" to prevent the
"militarization of Armenia," ITAR-TASS reported. Aliev
said that various Russian officials had told him that
Moscow is supplying weapons to Armenia not to help
Yerevan in its fight with Azerbaijan but rather to
counter NATO. "If Russia is arming Armenia against
NATO," the Azerbaijani leader said, "this should make
you think." Speaking in Moscow on 25 October, Armenian
Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisian suggested that there
is a balance of forces in the region now, but he said
that Azerbaijan might try to gain military superiority
"given its close contacts with Turkey and NATO,"
Interfax reported. PG

AZERBAIJAN, KAZAKHSTAN EXPAND COOPERATION. During a
visit to Baku on 23 October, Kazakh Prime Minister
Nurlan Balgimbayev signed three intergovernmental
agreement with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Artur
Rasizade, that will increase economic cooperation
between the two Caspian states, ITAR-TASS reported. The
accords call for Kazakhstan to double the amount of oil
it exports via Azerbaijan as well as increase the
exports of metals, grain, and other goods to Azerbaijan.
On 25 October, President Aliev announced that the EU
plans to extend a 30 million ecu ($25.4 million) loan to
Azerbaijan to promote the TRACECA corridor project,
which is intended to link Europe and Asia through the
Caucasus, Interfax reported. PG

AZERBAIJANI PREMIER RECONFIRMED BY PARLIAMENT. The
Azerbaijani parliament on 23 October reconfirmed Artur
Rasizade as prime minister, ITAR-TASS reported. An oil
engineer with long ties to President Aliev, Rasizade has
been prime minister of Azerbaijan since November 1996.
PG

AZERBAIJANI DEMONSTRATORS CALL FOR NEW ELECTIONS. An
estimated 2,000-3,000 people rallied in Baku on 24
October to demand that the 11 October vote be declared
invalid and new elections held, ITAR-TASS reported.
First Deputy Chairman of the People's Front Party Ali
Kerimov called on all opposition groups to close ranks
and the prosecutor-general to launch criminal
proceedings against Aliev and other officials for "vote
rigging." Other speakers said they will continue their
protests until Aliev resigns. They added that they
wanted all foreign governments and companies to know
that a post-Aliev government may not honor agreements
they have reached with the current Baku authorities. PG

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT NOT TO ATTEND TURKISH CELEBRATIONS.
Citing pressure of work, President Robert Kocharian has
announced he will not visit Ankara on 29-30 October to
take part in the commemoration of the 75th anniversary
of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Interfax
reported on 23 October. PG

ARMENIA CONCERNED BY COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELAY. Khosrov
Arutyunyan, the speaker of the Armenian parliament, on
24 October telephoned Bruno Haller, the secretary-
general of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe, to say that Yerevan does not understand why the
assembly has agreed to Azerbaijan's request that
hearings on the Karabakh conflict, scheduled for 3
November, be delayed for at least another month, ITAR-
TASS reported. Officials from Yerevan and Stepanakert
had confirmed that they would attend the meetings in
Strasbourg, which originally had been scheduled for
November. PG

GEORGIA FIRES TOP GENERAL AFTER MUTINY ATTEMPT. The
Georgian Defense Ministry on 24 October dismissed
General Zaur Uchade as commander of the western group of
Georgian armed forces for failing to prevent the 19
October mutiny in his region, ITAR-TASS reported. The
Georgian military also relieved two other senior
officers as it continued its hunt for mutiny leader
Akaki Eliava, who is thought to be in hiding somewhere
within Georgia. More than 30 other people involved in
the mutiny have been arrested, ITAR-TASS reported on 26
October. PG

EBRD TO DOUBLE ASSISTANCE TO GEORGIA. A delegation from
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
told President Eduard Shevardnadze on 24 October that
the bank will double its financial assistance to Georgia
next year, ITAR-TASS reported. The new assistance is
intended to help Georgia improve its ability to serve as
a transit corridor and to rehabilitate the Ingouri
hydroelectric station. Shevardnadze said that "close
cooperation" with the EBRD is "one of the main
guarantors of Georgia's stability." He pledged to
increase tax collections and fight corruption. PG

UZBEK TAX COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN SACKED, JAILED. Murudulo
Kurolov, who was dismissed by presidential decree on 21
October, was taken into custody three days later, ITAR-
TASS reported. Kurolov was sacked for "serious
violations," which Uzbek Radio reported to be "excessive
vanity, pomposity..., contempt for national customs and
traditions, disgracing the honor and authority as a
leader, and abusing his post." His assistant, Masur
Zakirov, committed suicide by jumping from a fifth floor
window the day Kurolov was arrested. BP

END NOTE

PROMOTING FEDERALISM, FIGHTING DISEASE

by Paul Goble

	A dramatic rise in the number of tuberculosis cases
across the Russian Federation reflects a situation in
which Moscow no longer has the administrative
responsibility for fighting the disease and the regions
do not yet have the resources to do so.
	Speaking to journalists last week, Aleksandr
Khomenko of Moscow's Tuberculosis Institute said that
2.5 million Russians--or one in every 60 residents of
the country--now have tuberculosis. He added that this
figure is a 8.5 percent increase on the level at the
beginning of this year.
	One of the reasons for this development is the lack
of money available to Russian hospitals and public
health institutions. At present, Russia spends
approximately 1 billion rubles--some $62 million--a year
on treating tuberculosis sufferers. That is equivalent
to some $25 dollars and is far below the amount needed.
For most strains of tuberculosis, treatment costs
between $50 and $10, while for some new killer strains
that have appeared in the Russian Federation in the last
several years, treatment costs are estimated at $10,000
per person or even more.
	As a result, many of those infected either remain
untreated or not cured and thus continue to spread the
highly infectious disease to those with whom they come
into contact. Thatmeans that the number of tuberculosis
cases in Russia will continue to grow. Indeed, Khomenko
said that Russia "can no longer control" this situation.
	The impact of Russia's declining economic fortunes
and state revenues on the health of the population has
already drawn a great deal of attention. But Khomenko
suggested that the lack of resources has been seriously
compounded by a change in the country's administrative
arrangements. During the Soviet period, the central
Health Ministry directed and paid for the fight against
tuberculosis. But since 1991, this situation has
changed. The regions are now responsible for combating
the disease, and they lack both the personnel and the
funding necessary to do the job, Khomenko explained.
	Moreover, when one region fails in its efforts to
combat tuberculosis, an outbreak there can rapidly
spread elsewhere, further complicating the battle. The
government of Altai Krai, in southern Siberia, recently
reported that it no longer has funds to deal with a
rising number of tuberculosis cases among children,
raising the specter that the disease there will quickly
spread.
	This human tragedy, one that international medical
groups in August called on Russian President Boris
Yeltsin to address, reflects an underlying and as yet
unresolved political problem in the Russian Federation:
a growing gap between those with responsibilities for
doing something and those with the resources to do it.
In the field of public health, this gap is especially
critical and obvious. But it is true in many other areas
as well, including education, crime fighting, and
economic development.
	Both by decision and default, Moscow increasingly
has left to the regions the responsibilities for taking
action but has not been willing or able to devolve to
the regional governments the resources that these
regions need to do the job. That situation helps to
explain why many regional governors are pressing Moscow
for more resources and why many in Moscow appear
increasingly willing to argue that responsibility as
well as resources should be returned to the center.
	In the short term, a return to the more centralized
pattern of the past might help to alleviate the human
suffering that tuberculosis and other diseases have
inflicted on the Russian people. But in the longer term,
matching resources with responsibilities at the local
and regional level appears more likely to allow Russia
to overcome the plague of tuberculosis as well as the
other challenges of fiscal and political federalism.

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