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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 7, Part I, 12 January 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 7, Part I, 12 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

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Headlines, Part I

* RUSSIA INCREASES VERBAL PRESSURE ON UNSCOM

* REGIONS TO GET MORE BUDGET CASH

* CONGRATULATIONS, CRITICISM FOLLOW ELECTIONS IN
KAZAKHSTAN

End Note: IS THE COLD WAR REALLY OVER?
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RUSSIA

RUSSIA INCREASES VERBAL PRESSURE ON UNSCOM... The
Russian Foreign Ministry on 11 January called for the UN
to investigate media reports that UN weapons inspectors
leaked confidential information to the U.S. government's
intelligence services. Foreign Ministry spokesman
Vladimir Rakhmanin also repeated the Russian demand that
UN weapons inspector Richard Butler resign. Foreign
Intelligence Services (SVR) spokesperson Tatyana Samolis
told Interfax that the SVR "warned several months ago
that U.S. intelligence officers had penetrated the
special commission." Meanwhile, air force commander
Anatolii Kornukov repeated assertions by the Russian
military that U.S. and British strikes in Iraq were less
efficient than had been expected or reported. According
to Kornukov, missiles hit their targets with a success
rate of only 50 percent. He added that foreign interest
in Russian defense systems has increased since "the S-
300 missile is no worse than the American Patriot." JAC

...PROMISES TO PROVIDE TOUGH COMPETITOR FOR THE PATRIOT
MISSILE. Kornukov also revealed that "an even more
sophisticated weapons system [than the S-300] might
appear soon," "Moskovskii komsomolets" reported on 12
January. The newspaper reported that the S-400 complex
is currently being tested. Kornukov told reporters the
previous day that the air force will give priority to
armaments and equipment that are multifunctional and
that the "Su-271B aircraft, the plane of tomorrow" will
form the core of the airforce's assault and
reconnaissance equipment. JAC

RUSSIA UNVEILS NEW, IMPROVED MIG. A new "super
sophisticated" prototype of a MiG fighter plane was
unveiled outside Moscow on 12 January, according to
"Rossiiskaya gazeta." The official government newspaper
hailed the plane as one of Russia's latest technical
achievements since it can perform multiple missions and
is "almost undetectable by radar." However, designers
and manufacturers claim that unless state support is
forthcoming, the aircraft will not go into full-scale
production. JAC

REGIONS TO GET MORE BUDGET CASH... The State Duma
Council has set the legislative calendar for the 1999
budget, Budget Committee Chairman Aleksandr Zhukov
(Russian Regions) told reporters on 12 January. A second
reading will be held on 19 January, a third on 29
January, and a fourth and final one on 4 February. When
the budget reaches the Federation Council, it will "be
passed only after it has been reasonably amended,"
Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev told Interfax.
According to Stroev, the council sent more than 300
budget amendments to the conciliatory commission.
Agreement on the issue of distributing revenues between
the regions and Moscow has already been reached, Deputy
Finance Minister Viktor Khristenko told reporters.
Budget revenues were originally set to be split into
50.3 percent and 49.7 percent shares, with the federal
government receiving the larger amount. Under the
current arrangement, Moscow will get only 49.5 percent
and the regions 50.5 percent. JAC

...AS DUMA RECOMMENDS MORE DEFENSE, SOCIAL SPENDING. A
Duma subcommittee has recommended that spending on
defense in the 1999 budget be increased by 1.5 billion
rubles ($58 million) before the budget is debated in its
second reading, Interfax reported. At the same time, the
chairman of the labor and social policy committee,
Vladimir Lisichkin, said that social spending in the
budget should be increased by 111.7 billion rubles,
according to ITAR-TASS. With regard to the ruble's
recent fall to levels below that envisioned by the
budget, First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Maslyukov told
reporters on 12 January that the government will keep
the ruble within the exchange rate set by the budget
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 January 1999). The same day,
the ruble rose more than 2 percent against the dollar.
It was its first increase against the U.S. dollar this
month, according to AFP. JAC

LEBED REMAINS UNPERSUADED ON WASTE... Minister of Atomic
Energy Yevgenii Adamov has failed to persuade
Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr Lebed to abandon his
opposition to shipments of nuclear waste from Ukraine,
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 11 January (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 7 January 1999). According to the
newspaper, Adamov needed a victory in Krasnoyarsk in
order to bolster his own weakening position in Moscow,
where "in the opinion of many people, Adamov has not
proved to be tough enough in upholding his ministry's
interests." The newspaper concluded that Lebed is
"trying to score badly needed political points in the
'ecological patriotism' sphere." "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
receives financial backing from Boris Berezovskii's
LogoVAZ group. JAC

...AS LOCAL SUPPORT CONTINUES TO RECEDE. Meanwhile, a
Lebed protege did not perform well in mayoral elections
in Achinsk, the "Moscow Times" reported on 12 January.
Entrepeneur Nikolai Ashlapov, whom Lebed publicly
backed, captured only 36 percent of the vote in the 10
January elections, compared with the 44.5 percent of the
vote cast for a Communist Party candidate Mikhail
Achkasov. The newspaper cited Yevgenii Volk of the
Heritage Foundation as saying that Ashlapov's failure to
beat Achkasov during the first round showed that Lebed's
popularity among both the elite and the rank and file of
Krasnoyarsk Krai has already weakened. He added,
however, that the city of Achinsk is too remote and
provincial to be a reliable bellwether for Lebed's
chances in a presidential election. Last month, chairman
of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum factory, Anatolii Bykov,
called his earlier support for Lebed a "mistake" (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 10 December 1998). JAC

TOP CENTRAL BANK OFFICIAL TO JOIN PRIVATE SECTOR.
Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Andrei Kozlov
announced that he will leave the bank effective 25
January in order to start his own new commercial bank,
the "Moscow Times" reported on 12 January. Kozlov was
one of the chief architects of the government's ill-
fated treasury bill program as well as the subsequent
treasury bill restructuring program. He also oversaw the
transfer of savings accounts from private banks to
Sberbank. That step was intended to safeguard
individuals' deposits. However, the Russian Consumer
Rights Advocacy Group warned on 22 December that
depositors in Rossiiskii Kredit and Inkombank were
unlikely ever to see their money because of pending
bankruptcy proceedings. JAC

SCHOOL'S STILL OUT IN IRKUTSK. More than 150 schools in
Irkutsk Oblast did not resume classes after the winter
holidays because teachers in three raions are on strike
to protest unpaid wages totaling almost 300 million
rubles ($12 million), ITAR-TASS reported on 12 January.
Some 500 teachers' collectives are on strike in eight
Russian regions, according to Interfax. JAC

PERM WATER SUPPLY POLLUTED? ITAR-TASS reported on 12
January that the Kosva River, which flows into the Kama
River, a primary source of drinking water for the city
of Perm's residents, contains 40 times the normal level
of the toxic chemical phenol. Later the same day,
however, the agency said that its earlier report  about
a local plant dumping phenol into the river was
incorrect. According to the agency, experts at the
federal Ministry for Emergencies and the local Committee
for Environmental Protection said that the one-time
leaking of phenol in November 1998 into the region's
water supply did not pose a serious threat to the
environment. JAC

BABURIN CALLS FOR NEW RUSSIAN FEDERATION. In an
interview with "Delovye lyudi" in January, Duma Deputy
Chairman and member of the People's Power faction Sergei
Baburin voiced concern about expansionist designs on
Russian territory among neighboring countries. According
to Baburin, Latvia "is demanding a return of part of the
Pskov region" and "Lithuania has a similar opinion on a
number of regions as well." Noting that "when a state is
weak, there are lots of scavengers out to get their
slice," Baburin concluded that Russia "ought to resolve
the border issue by way of another process of
integration of former Soviet republics." He added "I
don't mean that we need another Soviet Union--we need a
new federative state." JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

CONGRATULATIONS, CRITICISM FOLLOW ELECTIONS IN
KAZAKHSTAN...  Nursultan Nazarbayev received messages of
congratulations from heads of states around the world on
11 January following his victory the previous day in
Kazakhstan's presidential elections. Judy Thompson of
the OSCE indicated that the organization retains the
position it adopted before the elections.  At a press
conference in Almaty on 11 January, she said the OSCE
considers that "the electoral process was far from the
standards which [Kazakhstan] promised to follow as an
OSCE member," Interfax reported. Thompson pointed out
violations that the OSCE had previously noted, adding
that "the mandate of the mission does not include
recognition of the latest elections." Another critic of
the elections, the U.S., backed the OSCE's stance.
State Department spokesman James Rubin said on 11
January that "the electoral process in Kazakhstan fell
far short of international standards for open, free, and
fair elections." He added that the elections have
"tarnished Kazakhstan's reputation" and "cast a shadow
on our bilateral relations." BP

...WHILE DEFEATED CANDIDATES COMPLAIN. The Communist
Party's candidate in the elections, Serikbolsyn
Abdildin, said on 11 January that the election results
were falsified and numerous violations of the election
regulations committed, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty
reported. Another candidate, Customs Committee Chairman
Gani Kasymov, said he plans to appeal the results to the
country's Constitutional Court. BP

KIDNAPPINGS ON TAJIK-AFGHAN BORDER. Three Tajik border
guards in the Kalaikhum region, close to the Afghan
border, were taken hostage on 10 January by a group of
Afghans who had crossed the frontier, ITAR -TASS
reported. The three men are reportedly in good
condition. Their captors are demanding explosives to
clear away debris from a mountain path used by Afghan
villagers. The path was blocked in December when Tajik
road workers used explosives to clear a road on the
Tajik side of the border. BP

TAJIKISTAN CHANGES CUSTOMS REGULATIONS. The Tajik
government on 9 January ordered the Ministry of
Economics and the Customs Committee to alter tariffs and
import duties in order to facilitate the country's entry
into the CIS Customs Union, ITAR-TASS reported.
Tajikistan is expected to join the four-country Customs
Union (whose members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
and Belarus) when the union holds its next summit. Once
Tajikistan is admitted to the union, the new customs
regulations will go into effect. BP

TURKMEN MARK ANNIVERSARY OF RESISTANCE TO RUSSIANS...
Turkmenistan on 12 January marks the 118th anniversary
of the fall of the Geoktepe fortress to the Russian
army, ITAR-TASS reported. That battle was the last major
resistance the Turkmen mounted against Tsarist armies
and, according to  ITAR-TASS, "the deciding moment in
the annexing of Turkmen land to Imperial Russia." BP

...WHILE KYRGYZ TO BUILD MONUMENT TO SOVIET ENEMIES. A
group of people in the southern city of Osh have formed
a committee and are raising funds to build a monument to
"red terror victims," Interfax reported on 11 January.
The monument will be dedicated to the "Basmachi,"
guerrillas who fought against the Red Army until the
1930s. The committee has requested a site for the
monument that is located near a statue of Felix
Dzerzhinskii, the founder of the Soviet secret police,
the Cheka. BP

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT DECREES TIGHTER CONTROLS OVER
GOVERNMENT-GUARANTEED LOANS. Kyrgyz President Askar
Akayev has signed a decree "on urgent measures to ensure
timely return of budget loans and foreign credits
received under Kyrgyz government guarantees," Interfax
reported on 11 January. An aide to Akayev said the
decree gives the government one month to draw up
"austerity measures" that will ensure that such loans
and credits are repaid on time. Enterprises in Bishkek
alone owe 780 million som (about $26 million).  Akayev
said at a cabinet meeting on 10 January that from now
on, foreign loans and investments will be extended only
for the implementation of specific industrial projects.
Akayev said a priority for the government in 1999 is to
achieve 100 percent of budget revenues, which he said,
can be achieved only by collecting taxes in full. BP

REPUBLICAN PARTY AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR ARMENIAN PRIME
MINISTER. Andranik Markarian, a  leading member of the
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), said on 11 January
that the party will not seek to replace Armen Darpinian
as premier if it wins the May 1999 parliamentary
elections, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Markarian
added, however, that the party might demand other
cabinet changes, but he did not elaborate.  His comments
were in response to widespread speculation that
Darpinian will be sacked whatever the outcome of the
elections. The Republican Party recently merged with the
Yerkrapah union of Karabakh war veterans, which is
currently the majority group in the Armenian parliament.
LF

LEGAL EXPERT CRITICIZES NEW ARMENIAN CIVIL CODE.
Interviewed on 11 January by RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau,
former Supreme Court chairman Tariel Barseghian
described the authors of the new civil code that went
into effect on 1 January as "incompetents." Barseghian
said the authors of the new code, which contains some
1,300 articles, have no knowledge of commercial law and
that its introduction could have "dangerous
consequences." Law professors at Yerevan State
University appealed to the Armenian authorities last
month to suspend the introduction of the new code, which
is intended to underpin a market economy and is part of
a sweeping reform of Armenia's legal system. Under that
reform, the Supreme Court was replaced in 1998 by a
Court of Appeals and the Soviet-era "People's Courts" by
"Courts of First Instance." LF

ABKHAZIA TO ALLOW GEORGIAN FUGITIVES TO RETURN...
Meeting in Sukhumi on 11 January with UN special envoy
to Georgia Liviu Bota, Abkhaz President Vladislav
Ardzinba said Abkhazia will permit ethnic Georgians who
fled Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion either during
the 1992-1993 war or during the renewed fighting in May
1998 to return to their homes beginning on 1 March,
Russian agencies reported. Ardzinba said that Abkhazia
will create a special government commission to oversee
the repatriation process and to ensure adequate social
and economic conditions in Gali. He asked the UN and the
UN High Commission for Refugees to help with the
repatriation process, promising that Abkhazia will
guarantee the repatriates' "full security." Abkhazia
previously pegged the beginning of repatriation to
economic aid from Tbilisi. LF

...BUT TENSIONS PERSIST. Also on 11 January, the
administrative head of Gali Raion, Ruslan Kishmaria,
told journalists that Georgian media reports that Abkhaz
and Georgian detachments have begun jointly patrolling
the security zone along the border between Gali and the
rest of Georgia are incorrect (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11
January 1999), ITAR-TASS reported. Kishmaria also
accused the Georgians of failing to comply with an
agreement reached in December to withdraw its police
patrols from the border village of Khurcha. LF

GEORGIAN PREMIER, SOUTH OSSETIAN PRESIDENT MEET. Meeting
in Tskhinvali on 9 January, Vazha Lortkipanidze and
Lyudvig Chibirov discussed resuming economic cooperation
between the central Georgian government and the Republic
of South Ossetia,  which in the early 1990s was forcibly
prevented from seceding from Georgia and uniting with
the Republic of North Ossetia within the Russian
Federation. Further talks that included Russian, North
Ossetian, and OSCE representatives focused  on
cooperation in various sectors and culminated in
agreement on creating a working group to draft a program
for economic cooperation, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported
on 11 January.  The repatriation of Georgian displaced
persons to South Ossetia was apparently not discussed.
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze characterized the
talks as "useful" and "businesslike," but a spokesman
for the Georgian displaced persons criticized them as an
unwarranted concession to the South Ossetian leadership.
According to Caucasus Press, South Ossetia demanded
financial compensation from Tbilisi for damage inflicted
during the fighting. LF

END NOTE

IS THE COLD WAR REALLY OVER?

by Paul Goble

	A leading Russian foreign policy analyst has
suggested that the Cold War is not yet over, an argument
that not only challenges most assumptions about that
conflict but also underscores the difficulties its
participants may have in cooperating in the future.
	Writing in the current issue (No. 5, 1998) of the
Russian foreign policy journal "International Affairs,"
Sergei Kortunov argues that the Cold War has not been
about ideology or the containment of the Soviet Union,
as Western writers claim, but rather reflects the West's
"total rejection" of "the legitimacy and legality of
historical Russia."
	Kortunov, who is the vice president of the Russian
Foreign Policy Association, makes a number of points in
support of this position. He says that Moscow won World
War II "as Great Russia not as a Red Empire." He insists
that neither the Soviet Union nor Stalin had any
ambitions after 1945 and that that the West rejected all
Moscow's efforts to ease conflict.
	And he argues that the West not only continued but
expanded on the Nazi approach toward Russia by promoting
the idea of "mythical" states to dismember the Russian
heartland. Indeed, he says, "the world anti-Russian
center moved from Berlin to Washington" following the
defeat of Nazi Germany.
	Consequently, no right-thinking Russian, Kortunov
adds, can accept the idea that the West has been "right"
during the Cold War because that would mean not simply
"the renunciation of Communism" but the acceptance of
"the fallacy of the entire Russian historical idea--of
the entire Russian Orthodox idea in history." That, in
turn, would mean accepting what he suggests is the
Western view of Russia as an evil empire or even--and
here he quotes former U.S. National Security Adviser
Zbigniew Brzezinski--"a redundant country."
	Unfortunately, Kortunov goes on, "the most
democrats" in Russia itself do not deny Moscow's
"defeat" in the Cold War or conceal their "joy" over it
or even their role in bringing it about. And he cites
with approval the observation of one Russian analyst
that "it is much more convenient for the 'democrats' to
pretend that the West has never carried on an
unrelenting struggle against our former motherland,
Russia-USSR, and that it was only by our own efforts
that we destroyed the 'evil empire.'"
	Kortunov argues that any fair-minded assessment
will show that "strictly speaking, the Russian
Federation was 'fighting' against the USSR on the side
of the West" and that only after the 1991 breakup have
some Russians begun to recognize that they have been
helping the West to pursue an anti-Russian rather than
anti-Soviet strategy.
	On the one hand, Kortunov's article offers nothing
new. All his arguments have been made by Soviet
ideologues in the past and by Russian nationalist
writers in more recent times. And all his positions have
been dismissed by the most serious scholars in both
Russia and the West.
	On the other hand, Kortunov's argument is striking
both substantively and politically.
	Substantively, his suggestion that the Cold War is
not over and will continue until the West accepts
Russia's legitimacy and even its moral equivalence
highlights the deep suspicion many Russians now have
about the West.
	Politically, the appearance of this article in
Russia's premier foreign policy journal, one addressed
not only to its own diplomats but also to the West,
indicates that ever more people among the Russian
political elite share Kortunov's anti-Western positions.
	And by providing ideological justification for
those in Moscow who want to adopt a tougher line against
the West, Kortunov's argument may become a self-
fulfilling prophecy, exacerbating tensions between East
and West to such an extent that he and others will be
seen as justified in claiming that the Cold War is not
yet over.
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                     All rights reserved.
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