The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. - Charles Darwin
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 235, Part I, 8 December 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 235, Part I, 8 December 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

* FORMER KGB OFFICIALS RISE TO TOP OF KREMLIN

* VLADIVOSTOK DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY

* DECISION ON AZERBAIJAN OIL EXPORT PIPELINE AGAIN
POSTPONED
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RUSSIA

FORMER KGB OFFICIALS RISE TO TOP OF KREMLIN... The new
head of the presidential administration, Nikolai
Bordyuzha, will continue as head of the Security Council
as well as personally investigate Yabloko's charges of
government corruption, presidential spokesman Dmitrii
Yakushkin told NTV. Bordyuzha had already met with the
heads of law enforcement bodies on 7 December. When
Bordyuzha, 49, was tapped to head the Security Council
in September, press reports characterized him as
"Primakov's man" and as someone known for his loyalty
and lack of political ambition (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
16 September 1998). Bordyuzha is also a colonel-general
who started his military career in 1972, after
graduating from a military academy in Perm. He has
occupied several important positions in the KGB. On 7
December, President Boris Yeltsin appointed another
former KGB official, Vladimir Makarov, as deputy chief
of staff of the presidential administration. JAC

...WHILE YELTSIN'S MOVE EXPLAINED AS JUST CLEANING
HOUSE. The presidential administration had been
coordinating its work poorly, presidential spokesman
Yakushkin explained as background to President Yeltsin's
decision to replace Valentin Yumashev with Bordyuzha as
head of the presidential administration. However,
Yakushkin added, the reshuffle does not alter the
president's positive appraisal of Prime Minister
Primakov's performance. Meanwhile, the Russian press
offered its own interpretation of the staff upheaval. A
popular theory was that Yeltsin sacrificed Yumashev to
make himself look more rigorous and firmly in charge.
The press also speculated that Yeltsin wanted to
distance himself from financial magnate Boris
Berezovskii, who was close to Yumashev. "Segodnya" noted
on 8 December that State Duma deputy and Our Home is
Russia faction leader Aleksandr Shokhin had said
Yumashev was unwise to state publicly that he would
support former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in the
next presidential election. JAC

DUMA, POLITICAL ELITE PRAISE KREMLIN RESHUFFLE. A wide
variety of politicians applauded Yeltsin's decision to
dismiss Yumashev. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said he
thought the president made the right decision, because
"the administration had been working more and more
ineffectively." Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev and
Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky
both praised the staff reshuffle. Yabloko leader
Grigorii Yavlinskii called the decision "one of the most
important steps taken by the president to date." He said
it was aimed at "intensifying the campaign against
corruption in the upper echelons of power." Agrarian
faction leader Nikolai Kharitonov was more skeptical,
saying Yeltsin should concentrate on the problems that
"make people wake up in their cold apartments in
Kamchatka and Sakhalin and shudder." JAC

VLADIVOSTOK DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY. City officials
in Vladivostok have declared a state of emergency
because half the buildings in the city are without heat,
Interfax reported on 8 December. Lack of heat and
electricity has been a chronic problem this winter as
well as last, but the situation worsened on 7 December
when a major storm dumped a thick layer of snow over the
city. Schools and day-care centers have been closed and
hospitals will soon be evacuated if conditions do not
improve soon. Some residents have already lost patience.
Earlier, violence broke out when hundreds of residents
who were protesting the lack of heat by blocking a
bridge into a local suburb attacked a television crew
that was trying to drive past them, the "Moscow Times"
reported on 4 December. JAC

START-II DEBATE DELAYED AGAIN. The Duma has postponed
discussion of the START-II treaty until 15 December,
ITAR-TASS reported on 8 December. Duma Deputy Speaker
and member of the Yabloko faction Vladimir Ryzhkov told
reporters that the Duma is set to ratify the treaty on
that date or send the draft law to President Yeltsin
with an explanation of its stance. Duma Foreign Affairs
Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin (Yabloko) told
reporters that the debate was delayed because no faction
beside Yabloko had submitted its proposals on the bill
and that leftist parties are deliberately delaying
discussion. Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor
Ilyukhin (Communist Party) said the treaty cannot be
discussed until the government submits a budget for
decommissioning part of its nuclear arsenal. Earlier,
Liberal Democratic Party leader Zhirinovsky declared
that he is "even more convinced [than ever] that the
Duma should not ratify START-II." JAC

IRAQI DEPUTY PREMIER IN MOSCOW. Tariq Aziz held talks in
Moscow on 7 December with Prime Minister Yevgenii
Primakov and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, both of whom
commended Baghdad's decision to resume cooperation with
UN weapons inspectors. Ivanov later told journalists
that a review of Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions
calling for the elimination of weapons of mass
destruction should begin immediately in order to
expedite the lifting of international sanctions. Aziz
also discussed with Russian officials Moscow's
participation in the UN "Oil for food" program, and
assured them that Iraq will meet its outstanding
financial obligations to Russia, according to
"Izvestiya" on 8 December. Ivanov met in Moscow on 4
December with UNSCOM head Richard Butler. LF

ARMED FORCES CHIEF VISITS U.S. Russian Armed Forces
Chief of Staff General Anatolii Kvashnin began the first
leg of a four-day trip to the U.S. by visiting the U.S.
Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December. Two
days earlier, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" called Kvashnin "the
second most important man in the Russian military's
hierarchy," who "enjoys the support of President
Yeltsin's family." The newspaper also picked up on
earlier speculation by "Moskovskii komsomolets" that
Kvashnin is orchestrating a "secret campaign against
[Defense Minister] Igor Sergeev" and Sergeev's plans to
form a joint command for strategic nuclear forces.
According to the newspaper, Kvashnin opposes the plan
because it would place Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces
Commander Colonel-General Vladimir Yakovlev in a prime
position to succeed Sergeev as head of the Defense
Ministry. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" receives financing from
Boris Berezovskii's LogoVAZ group. JAC

DZERZHINSKII OPPOSED, WHILE LENINS, STALINS POP UP.
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said in Germany that he will
fight efforts to resurrect a monument to Felix
Dzerzhinskii, the founder of the Cheka, or secret
police, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 December. Luzhkov called
the monument "a symbol of a return to the past."
Earlier, the Duma passed a draft resolution calling for
the monument to be restored to its former home in
Lubyanka Square in Moscow (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3
December 1998). Three days earlier, hundreds of
protesters gathered in front of the building of the
former KGB to protest the plan to reinstall the
monument. In other parts of the country, monuments to
other Soviet leaders are being unveiled. On 5 December,
a bust of Vladimir Lenin was dedicated in Murmansk
Oblast, and on 21 December a bust of Josef Stalin will
be installed at a school in Chelyabinsk, ITAR-TASS
reported on 23 November. JAC

RUSSIA EXTENDS INVESTIGATION OF BLISS. The Russian
government has decided to continue its investigation of
the espionage case against U.S. citizen Richard Bliss,
who was charged with spying in Russia while installing a
cellular telephone system in Rostov na Donu for the San
Diego-based Qualcomm, AP reported on 8 December.
According to a State Department spokesman, the
investigation will last for another four months. Bliss
has quit Qualcomm and is suing it on the grounds that it
knowingly sent him to Russia with illegal equipment. JAC

MOSCOW ELECTIONS ANNULLED. The Moscow Election
Commission declared the 6 December election in the
Lyublino district invalid because only 24.2 percent of
voters participated, while the law requires 25 percent,
Interfax reported. The elections were held to fill a
State Duma deputy seat vacated by Boris Fedorov, former
head of the Federal Tax Service. Of the 15 candidates
who ran, former presidential press secretary Pavel
Voshchanov, a member of Yabloko, won the most votes. The
seat will now remain vacant until regular Duma elections
in December 1999. JAC

NEW TEACHERS' STRIKE LAUNCHED IN FAR EAST. Teachers in
Nekrasovka, outside Khabarovsk, went on strike on 7
December to protest unpaid wages, ITAR-TASS reported.
According to union officials, Nekrasovka area teachers
are owed 8.8 million rubles ($450,000), while the total
debt to teachers in Khabarovsk Krai is 160 million
rubles. Also in the krai, teachers in the Verkhne-
Bureinskii Raion and Sovetskaya Gavan have stopped work
to protest wage arrears. JAC

LARGER BURYATIA PONDERED. Ust-Orda Buryatian Autonomous
Okrug is debating joining a future incarnation of the
Buryatian-Mongolian Republic, which existed in 1937,
"Delovoi vtornik" reported on 1 December. Duma deputy
Iosif Kobzon floated the proposal in September, (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 1998). According to the
newspaper, humanitarian and Buddhist organizations favor
the idea in order to preserve the Buryatian language,
but economists are less excited because the economy of
the okrug is too intertwined with that of Irkutsk
Oblast, to which it now belongs. JAC

LET THEM EAT DOG? Russian meat production is likely to
plummet 57 percent this year, compared with 1990 levels,
Interfax on 6 December quoted Viktor Kabanov, a member
of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, as
saying. Kabanov added that "current reductions in meat
production exceed the declines suffered during the two
World Wars taken together." Meat consumption dropped 25
percent between 1990 and 1995, according to the
Institute of Nutrition at the Russian Academy of Medical
Sciences, "The New York Times" reported. Meanwhile,
Boris Misnik, chairman of the Duma's Committee for the
North, told Reuters on 4 December that media reports
about people in the northern regions being forced to eat
dogs are true. He said "there are places in Yakutia
where dogs would normally be running about, but you do
not see them." JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

DECISION ON AZERBAIJAN OIL EXPORT PIPELINE AGAIN
POSTPONED... Representatives of the oil companies
represented in the Azerbaijan International Operating
Company engaged in exploiting three offshore Caspian oil
fields have again postponed a decision on the optimum
route for the Main Export Pipeline for that oil, the Dow
Jones Newswire reported on 7 December. The U.S., Turkey,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have all
pledged their commitment to routing that pipeline from
Baku via Georgia to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal
at Ceyhan, but the AIOC is reluctant to make a firm
commitment to that option, which is considerably more
costly than the alternative route to Supsa, on Georgia's
Black Sea coast. Interviewed by Reuters on 3 December,
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov expressed
confidence that the Baku-Ceyhan route will ultimately be
selected. Zulfugarov downplayed fears that rock-bottom
oil prices might render Caspian oil unviable. LF

...AS IRANIAN ALTERNATIVE LOOKS INCREASINGLY ATTRACTIVE.
Speaking at a conference in London on 5 December, a
senior Iranian analyst argued that routing the pipeline
southward from Baku to the Persian Gulf is the most
cost-effective and secure route, IRNA reported. Two days
later, a representative of the French oil company Total
told journalists in Baku that Total is considering
forming a consortium to build an export pipeline from
Baku to Iran, Reuters reported. U.S. oil companies are
banned from engaging in operations in Iran, but European
oil firms may do so. Moreover, some European governments
have reportedly endorsed that variant. LF

ARMENIA MARKS 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF SPITAK EARTHQUAKE.
Armenia observed a day of mourning on 7 December to mark
the 10th anniversary of the Spitak earthquake, which
destroyed one-third of the country's industrial capacity
and killed an estimated 25,000 people. President Robert
Kocharian and senior government officials toured the
region most severely affected, promising that
reconstruction will be completed within three years. But
regional governor Ararat Gomtsian said that the
government program for reconstruction of the earthquake
zone cannot be implemented within that period. He added
that of the $150 million needed, only $3 million was
allocated in the 1998 budget, according to "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" on 8 December. On 6 December, Kocharian
presented awards to 40 people who played a prominent
role in alleviating the consequences of the earthquake,
including former Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov, who
helped coordinate relief efforts. LF

TWO MORE ABKHAZ POLICEMEN SHOT DEAD BY GUERRILLAS. Two
Abkhaz policemen died on 7 December when unidentified
assailants ambushed and opened fire on their car in Gali
Raion, Caucasus Press reported. Abkhaz Security Minister
Astamur Tarba laid the blame for the killings on the
Georgian White Legion and Forest Brothers guerrilla
formations, adding that captured Georgian paramilitaries
have confessed to having undergone training at Georgian
military bases. The Georgian leadership has consistently
denied any connection with or control over those
guerrilla formations. LF

UNOCAL PULLS OUT OF TURKMEN PROJECTS. The U.S. company
Unocal has announced it will cease participating in
pipeline projects originating in Turkmenistan, ITAR-TASS
reported on 8 December. Unocal suspended its
participation in the pipeline project from Turkmenistan
to Pakistan via Afghanistan in August, when fighting
broke out in northern Afghanistan and the U.S. launched
rocket attacks there on camps under the direction of
suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden. On 7 December, the
official representative of Unocal, Barry Lain, said his
company is pulling out of projects in Central Asia owing
to "the lack of good possibilities for capital
investment, which have been accented by the low prices
for fuel." Unocal has pulled out of all projects around
the Caspian Sea excluding those in Azerbaijan. The
Anatolia news agency reported on 7 December that Turkish
officials are not concerned about Unocal's withdrawal
from the proposed Transcaspian pipeline. BP

NAZARBAYEV TOURS NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakh President
Nursultan Nazarbayev met with workers in northern city
of Karaganda on 7 December, telling them he expects
"total privatization" to take place next year, Interfax
reported. Nazarbayev said industrial facilities and
banks "must be private" but added that railways, power
transmission lines, and oil and gas pipelines "must
remain in the hands of the government." He noted that a
bill on private land ownership will be passed in 1999
and is expected to give "impetus to the advancement of
farming." With regard to the January elections,
Nazarbayev said he is sure international monitors will
be present during the ballot. BP

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER IN WASHINGTON. Kasymjomart
Tokayev, visiting Washington on 7 December, differed
with Nazarbayev over what will be up for sale in
Kazakhstan next year, Reuters reported. At a dinner in
the Kazakh Embassy, Tokayev told reporters that "if the
price of oil drops, the government in Kazakhstan is
going to sell its shares in various enterprises,"
singling out, among others, oil and gas, railroad, and
telecommunications companies. He did not name any of
those firms, however, nor did he say how low the price
of oil would have to drop before sales began. Tokayev is
visiting Washington to explain the decision to hold
early presidential elections, which the U.S. government
has criticized. BP

COMMUNIST CANDIDATE IN KAZAKH ELECTIONS MEETS WITH
PRESS. Serikbolsyn Abdildin, the Communist Party
candidate for the January presidential ballot, told
journalists in Almaty on 8 December that the Russian
Communist Party will send observers to the election,.
RFE/RL correspondents reported. Abdildin blamed
incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Kazakh
government for the "terrible economic situation in the
country" and accused them of involvement in corruption.
Abdildin said he will not heed a call from former Prime
Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin to withdraw from the race,
Interfax reported on 8 December. According to Reuters
the previous day, Kazhegeldin's press office had
released a statement calling on Abdildin, as the only
candidate outside Nazarbayev's sphere of influence, to
withdraw his candidacy so that "Nazarbayev cannot create
the impression of honest elections." BP

AKAYEV SPEAKS OUT ON DOMESTIC PROBLEMS. Kyrgyz President
Askar Akayev said at a 7 December meeting marking the
50th anniversary of UN Declaration on Human Rights that
"bureaucratic officials" sometimes do not pay attention
to the constitutional rights of Kyrgyz citizens,
Interfax reported. He noted that Kyrgyzstan still does
not have sufficiently stable democratic institutions,
legal standards are too low, and legislation is
imperfect. He added that the parliament will introduce
legislation on new criminal and civil procedural codes
as well as on the Supreme Court and local judiciaries.
And he warned that organized crime is putting additional
pressure on the economy and also involves senior
officials. BP

UZBEK PRESIDENT RECEIVES EMIR TIMUR AWARD. Islam Karimov
on 7 December was awarded the Emir Timur Order to mark
his achievements in creating a sovereign state,
increasing respect for Uzbekistan worldwide,
strengthening civil peace and national accord, and
preserving and boosting cultural values, Interfax
reported. BP

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