The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 2, Part I, 5 January 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 2, Part I, 5 January 1999

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
Headlines, Part I

* DUMA SCHEDULED TO CONSIDER START II RATIFICATION BY
MID-YEAR

* STANKEVICH GIVEN POLITICAL ASYLUM IN POLAND

* NAZARBAYEV SAYS HE HAS KEYS TO PROSPERITY

End Note: A REVOLUTION OF FALLING EXPECTATIONS
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

DUMA SCHEDULED TO CONSIDER START II RATIFICATION BY MID-
YEAR. Vladimir Ryzhkov, the deputy speaker of the State
Duma, told Interfax on 4 January that consideration of
the START II treaty is now on the agenda of the Russian
parliament for the first six months of 1999. But Ryzhkov
added that no vote will be taken until a majority of
deputies indicate that they will support ratification,
which, he said, is "so far not in evidence." Signed in
1993, the treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate in
1996. PG

ZHUKOV SAYS DUMA LIKELY TO PASS 'SURVIVAL BUDGET.'
Aleksandr Zhukov, the chairman of the Duma budget
committee, told Ekho Moskvy on 4 January that he expects
the Duma to adopt the 1999 state budget in the near
future. He called it "a survival budget" because the
funding requests are "at minimum levels." In other
comments, Zhukov said that the ruble-dollar exchange
rate will likely remain stable during the first quarter
and then rise, depending on Russian government policy.
And he said that he expects Russia to experience small
economic growth--perhaps 2 percent--by the end of 1999.
PG

YELTSIN, GOVERNMENT, DUMA ALL WORKING ON 4 JANUARY.
Russian government spokesmen went to great lengths on 4
January to report that President Boris Yeltsin, Prime
Minister Yevgenii Primakov, and other senior officials
were in their offices, even though the New Year's
holiday does not end until 5 January. Government
spokesman Igor Shchegolev told ITAR-TASS that Primakov
and four of his five deputies were at work. Yeltsin's
press service announced that he signed three new laws,
and Duma committees resumed debate on the draft 1999
budget. PG

YELTSIN APPOINTS FSB OFFICER TO SECURITY COUNCIL
STAFF... President Boris Yeltsin on 4 January appointed
Oleg Chernov as deputy secretary of the Russian Security
Council, ITAR-TASS reported. Until now, Chernov has
worked for the Federal Security Service. PG

...NAMES THREE COSSACK-GENERALS. Also on 4 January
Yeltsin issued a decree granting the rank of cossack-
general--the highest rank available--to the atamans of
the Don, Kuban, and Terek cossack troops, ITAR-TASS
reported. PG

STROEV SAYS FEDERATION COUNCIL STABILIZES RUSSIA.
Federation Council speaker Yegor Stroev told
"Rossiiskaya gazeta" on 5 January that the upper chamber
of the parliament prevents "social explosions" during a
time of change, ITAR-TASS reported. "For the first time
in the history of Russia," Stroev said, "a non-political
organ has emerged that both influences the policy of the
state and stands close to the people, as the Federation
Council is made up of people who know the real local
situation like nobody else," he said. He argued that
Russian legislation must conform "to the principles of
federalism," otherwise, "one will not succeed in
securing the unity of executive and legislative powers
at all levels and consequently in retaining the unity of
the country." PG

REGULATIONS SET FOR CONTRACT MILITARY SERVICE. President
Yeltsin on 5 January issued a decree that calls on the
leaders of the armed forces to establish standard
contracts for military service, ITAR-TASS reported. The
contracts are to be for one, three, or five years, with
a total duration of no more than 10 years. Moreover,
they cannot be extended for anyone over 65. The Defense
Ministry is to submit its own draft regulations for
military service by 15 April. PG

STANKEVICH GIVEN POLITICAL ASYLUM IN POLAND. The Polish
authorities have given former Yeltsin aide and Moscow
deputy mayor Sergei Stankevich political asylum, his
lawyers told Western news agencies on 4 January.
Stankevich had fled Russia in 1995 to escape what he
maintains are politically motivated charges that he
accepted bribes. In December 1995, he was stripped of
his immunity as a deputy. Stankevich told ITAR-TASS on 4
January that he will eventually return to Russia to
clear himself "in a fair trial as soon as this is a real
possibility"--something he said could not happen until
after Yeltsin leaves office. He said that his new status
does not affect his citizenship and allows him to stay
in Poland on a "regularized basis." He added that he is
"not in conflict with the Russian state and Russian
laws" but "with concrete people who use laws for their
own political ends." In April 1997, Stankevich was
arrested in Poland on an Interpol warrant but Warsaw
refused to extradite him to Russia. PG

MOSCOW HOPES FOR EXPANDED TIES WITH SOUTH KOREA.
Yevgenii Afanasev told the Seoul newspaper "Korea
Herald" on 4 January that he hopes 1999 will be "the
year of Russo-Korean relations," ITAR-TASS reported. He
said that Moscow is looking forward to a state visit by
South Korean President Kim Tae Jung and expanded
economic ties. And he said that Moscow expects to play a
role in any rapprochement between Seoul and Pyongyang.
PG

CHINESE POACHERS REGULARLY VIOLATE RUSSIAN BORDERS.
Eighty percent of the 282 people who violated the
Russian border in the Far East in 1998 were Chinese, the
Russian Federal Border Service's Pacific Regional Agency
told ITAR-TASS on 4 January. The agency said that it
held 357 meetings with the Chinese authorities over the
past year to try to improve the situation. Meanwhile,
the agency said, it allowed some 378,196 foreigners to
cross Russian borders in 1998. PG

ZHIRINOVSKY BACKS LIBYA ON LOCKERBIE CASE. Liberal
Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has
repeated his support for Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and the
latter's stand against "imperialism and Zionism" over a
possible trial of those accused of masterminding the
1988 bombing of a Pan American jet over Lockerbie,
Scotland, according to Libyan state radio, as monitored
in Tunis by Reuters. Zhirinovsky has been in Libya since
2 January, his fifth visit there in the last year. PG

VOLGOGRAD, KOMI COOPERATE TO STOP COUNTERFEITING.
Security officials from Volgograd and Komi Republic have
cooperated to seize more than 20,000 counterfeit U.S.
dollars and arrest those responsible, ITAR-TASS reported
on 4 January. The officials said that the dollars were
produced on a color copier. PG

STARAYA RUSSA, ESTONIAN DISTRICT COOPERATE. An accord
between Novgorod's Staraya Russa district and Estonia's
Valga district signed in late 1998 should expand
cooperation between the two, the head of the Staraya
Russia district told ITAR-TASS on 4 January. Yevgenii
Ryabov said that Estonians want to visit his region to
use its health resort, and Russians hope to make use of
Estonian experience in timber-processing. PG

TANKERS TO DELIVER FUEL TO KAMCHATKA. Two tankers
belonging to the Primore shipping company are to deliver
some 17,000 tons of fuel to Kamchatka on 6-7 January,
ITAR-TASS reported on 4 January. Some of the fuel will
be used to power the region's fishing fleet. But experts
told the Russian news agency that the region, which
faces a serious energy crisis, should begin to switch
over to volcanic-energy sources. PG

THIEVES TAKE ICONS FROM VLADIMIR CHURCH. As the Russian
Orthodox Church prepares to celebrate Eastern Christmas,
the Russian media on 4 January gave prominent coverage
to a case in which thieves broke into the Church of the
Intercession, near Vladimir, some 10 days ago.
Describing the church as "one of the true holy places of
Orthodoxy," an NTV television commentator said that the
thieves would be unlikely to sell what they took for
more than a few bottles of vodka. PG

CHECHEN PRESIDENT'S SUPPORTERS WANT FORMER PREMIER
BROUGHT TO TRIAL. Three senior Chechen officials,
including Deputy Prime Minister Turpal Atgeriev, have
asked the Supreme Shariah Court to open libel
proceedings against former acting Prime Minister Shamil
Basaev, Interfax reported on 4 January. The three
officials said that in 1998 Basaev made numerous
statements insulting President Aslan Maskhadov. (Basaev
is one of three former field commanders who in October
called on the Chechen Constitutional Court to impeach
Maskhadov for treason.) Meanwhile, Vice President Vakha
Arsanov has expressed his support for the Supreme
Shariah Court's decision to abolish the Chechen
parliament and transfer its powers to a state religious
council. Arsanov said such a move would contribute to
political stability and an economic upswing in Chechnya,
according to ITAR-TASS. LF

TATAR MINORITY WANTS TATAR DESIGNATED STATE LANGUAGE IN
BASHKORTOSTAN. Organizations representing the Tatar
minority of the Republic of Bashkortostan intend to send
a written protest to Russian Premier Primakov and to the
presidents of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, Murtaza
Rakhimov and Mintimer Shaimiev, expressing their concern
that the draft law on the state languages of
Bashkortostan fails to include Tatar, RFE/RL's Kazan
bureau reported on 5 January. Russian, by contrast, is
listed as a state language. The Tatar Congress has
proposed conducting a referendum on which languages
should be designated the state languages of
Bashkortostan. The Tatar minority of Bashkortostan
constitutes more than 30 percent of the republic's total
population. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAZARBAYEV SAYS HE HAS KEYS TO PROSPERITY... President
of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev told a 4 January
meeting of his supporters in Almaty that if re-elected,
he will "continue to pursue the creation of an
independent, democratic, and economically developed
state," Interfax and RFE/RL correspondents reported.
Nazarbayev said there are several "keys" to prosperity,
one of which is taking measures to avoid an economic
crisis and encourage growth. He also noted that the
country's gold and hard currency reserves remained
stable at $2 billion at the end of 1998 and that
inflation was only 2 percent last year, instead of the
estimated 9-10 percent. He added that the tenge dropped
only slightly against the dollar last year, from 75 to
$1 in January to 84 to $1 at year's end. BP

...PROMISES TO OPEN MORE LOCKS WITH THEM. Nazarbayev
went on to say that if he is re-elected, the government
will spend $100 million this year to support domestic
manufacturing and a campaign will be launched urging
consumers to buy products made in Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev
vowed tighter controls over the banking system and
repeated earlier promises to promote political
stability, ethnic harmony, and gradual measures toward
democratization. He added that he is in favor of further
measures against corruption and crime, an effective
social policy, and better ties with other CIS countries.
With regard to the economy, Nazarbayev said "there will
be no collapse," noting that the IMF will extend $217
million and the World Bank $75 million in loans.
According to president, "Nobody has been able to receive
such an amount of money at a time of crisis." Kazakh
writer Sherkhan Mutaza, attending the 4 January, called
Nazarbayev "the Kazakh Mustafa Kemal Ataturk." BP

OPPOSITION CAMPAIGNS, COMPLAINS. Also on 4 January,
presidential candidate Gani Kasymov visited Almaty's
Tastak market telling vendors he will liberalize import
regulations for shuttle traders, RFE/RL correspondents
reported. Another candidate, Serikbolsyn Abdildin of the
Communist Party, appealed to Nazarbayev, speaker of the
lower house of the parliament Marat Ospanov, the Central
Election Commission, and the OSCE about bias in the
campaign. Abdildin claimed it is unfair that popular
Russian actors and musicians are appearing in
advertising spots for the incumbent Nazarbayev. Abdildin
also said that Nazarbayev has greater access to the
media than other candidates. He called for the elections
to be postponed, threatening that otherwise he will
renounce his candidacy. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that
in a 4 January televised address, Nazarbayev said his
opponents' programs are "surprisingly similar" and that
some of their policies would "lead Kazakhstan down the
disastrous financial path followed by Russia." BP

GALE-FORCE WINDS WREAK HAVOC IN NORTHERN TAJIKISTAN.
Gale-force winds and blizzards on 31 December and 1
January caused more than $1million worth of damage in
Tajikistan's northern Leninabad Region, ITAR-TASS
reported. The storm left more than 1,500 people
homeless, tore down power lines, and damaged road. The
Tajik government expects the damage estimate to increase
as relief workers reach remote areas of the region. BP

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT LISTS PRIORITIES FOR 1999. In his
weekly radio address on 4 January, Eduard Shevardnadze
said Georgia's most important task for the coming year
is to overcome the repercussions of the 1998 financial
crisis, Caucasus Press reported. He warned against a
continuation of the lax fiscal measures that contributed
to last year's budget deficit and assured listeners that
all wage and pensions arrears will be paid in full
before the end of January. Georgia still has no budget
for 1999: the parliament returned the draft budget to
the government on 23 December for revision and postponed
resuming the budget debate until February. Shevardnadze
also divulged details of his income and property,
describing himself as "not the poorest man in Georgia."
He denied owning property either in Tbilisi or Moscow
but said he has a share in his family's home in the west
Georgian village where he was born. LF

HOW SERIOUS IS CRIME IN ABKHAZIA? Prosecutor-General
Anri Djergenia told Caucasus Press on 3 January that the
crime situation in Abkhazia is gradually improving, with
the exception of the southern-most Gali Raion, where he
claimed Georgian law enforcement officials are
obstructing a crackdown on terrorism. But Djergenia's
deputy, Tariel Parulua, has admitted that up to 100
criminal cases have been brought against members of the
Abkhaz police force, and Georgia's "Dilis gazeti" on 29
December quoted Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba as
threatening to resign if armed robberies on public means
of transportation continue. Abkhazia's economy is
virtually paralyzed as a result of restrictions on
exports to the Russian Federation. On 3 January, the
region's parliament raised the minimum pension to 10
Russian rubles (some 50 cents), according to Caucasus
Press. LF

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S BROTHER KILLED IN AIR CRASH.
Valerii Kocharian died on 4 January when his glider
crashed during what was described as a routine practice
flight from an airfield near Yerevan, RFE/RL's bureau in
the Armenian capital reported. Valerii Kocharian had
been decorated for valor during the Karabakh war, in
which he was seriously wounded. In recent years, he had
engaged in business. LF

END NOTE

A REVOLUTION OF FALLING EXPECTATIONS

By Paul Goble

	Buffeted by the difficulties they experienced in
1998, ever fewer people in the post-Soviet states expect
their situation to be significantly better in 1999.
Indeed, polls taken across the region suggest that many
there would now agree with Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma who said last week that there is no reason to
think that 1999 will be any easier for his country than
1998 was.
	This shift from optimism to pessimism is now so
widespread that it constitutes a veritable revolution of
falling expectations, one that may have just as many
serious political and economic consequences as the more
familiar revolution of rising expectations has had
elsewhere.
	Revolutions of rising expectations occur when
people begin to expect more owing to improvements in
their lives. And such optimistic attitudes sometimes
lead them to make demands that neither the economic nor
the political system is able to meet. That frequently
results in a crisis that can lead either to the
transformation of these systems or to the demobilization
of the groups making such demands. But in either case,
optimism that goes beyond the capacity of the country to
cope can create instability.
	A revolution of falling expectations--such as the
one that appears to be starting in some post-Soviet
states--can be equally destabilizing but in very
different and unexpected ways. Some observers have
suggested that declining expectations by leaders and
peoples in the post-Soviet states not only represent a
new form of realism on the part of both but also give
elites in these countries new opportunities to move
toward democracy and the free market.
	Certainly, popular and political recognition of the
difficulties involved in the transition from communism
is a more realistic stance than the often starry-eyed
optimism that characterized the immediate post-communist
period and that Western governments in fact promoted.
And it is obviously true that leaders have more room to
maneuver when they are not under pressure from
populations that expect and even demand that tomorrow be
better than today.
	At the same time, there are three compelling
reasons why such a view of what has been called "the new
realism" in these countries is likely too rosy and why
the revolution of falling expectations taking place
there may have some potentially frightening
consequences.
	First, populations that believe that tomorrow will
not be better than today and may even be worse have few
reasons to seek leadership from political or economic
elites. Not only does that make it more difficult for
such elites to generate the kind of authority they need
to make changes for the better, but it also means that
these elites may be tempted to defend their own
interests by force or at the expense of those of the
population as a whole.
	Second, when senior political leaders come to share
the pessimism of the population, they are unlikely to be
willing or able to take the risks necessary to help
their countries escape from current difficulties. And
that unwillingness is likely in many cases to reinforce
the pessimism of the population and the other problems
such pessimism entails.
	And third, when both populations and their leaders
become so pessimistic, the former are likely to be ever
more willing to listen to those who would blame someone
for their problems, and the latter are likely to be ever
more willing to participate in such scapegoating. That
helps explain the rise of anti-Semitism and growing
antagonism toward those viewed as outsiders -- such as
the North Caucasians in Russia -- in several of these
countries. It also helps explain why ever more people
and governments in these states are becoming more
hostile to the West.
	Such attitudes and the actions prompted by them
will make it more difficult for these countries to move
toward democracy and the free market or to integrate
into the international community.
	But while revolutions of rising expectations do not
last forever, neither do revolutions of falling
expectations. Both can end either when conditions
finally begin to improve or, more often, when leaders
seek to spread their own optimism to the population of
their countries.
	The role of leaders may be particularly important.
To paraphrase U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who
came to office in the depths of the Great Depression,
the only thing to be pessimistic about in this region is
the spread of pessimism to so many.

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