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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 8, Part I, 13 January 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 8, Part I, 13 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 II

* RUSSIA WARNS OF POSSIBLE DAMAGE TO U.S. RELATIONSHIP

* TOP RUSSIAN GENERAL RESIGNS

* DEFEATED COMMUNIST CANDIDATE TO PROTEST KAZAKH ELECTION
OUTCOME
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RUSSIA

RUSSIA WARNS OF POSSIBLE DAMAGE TO U.S. RELATIONSHIP... U.S.
National Security Council Chairman Samuel Berger told a
conference in Washington, D.C. on 12 January that the
administration will impose sanctions on a Russian university
and two research institutes for assisting Iran with nuclear
and missile technology. Russian Prime Minister Yevgenii
Primakov warned the next day that "the use of force or
sanctions against our organization is counterproductive for
Russian-U.S. relations," while Defense Minister Igor Sergeev
maintained that the sanctioned entities could not have
supplied sensitive technology to Iran since such technology
was not available to them. Sergeev suggested that the U.S.
decision "is a pretext for something, but exactly what is
still unclear." First Deputy Minister for Atomic Energy Lev
Ryabev added that the U.S. has failed to present specific
proof that Russian companies are illegally cooperating with
Iran and tends to make "excessively loose interpretations of
agreements in the nuclear sphere." JAC

...AFTER U.S. PROMISES MORE SANCTIONS FOR IRAN DEALINGS.
Under the sanctions, the Scientific Research and Design
Institute of Power Technology, the Mendeleev University of
Chemical Technology, and the Moscow Aviation Institute will
not be allowed to export or import goods to or from the U.S.
or receive U.S. government assistance. Last July, the U.S.
imposed sanctions on seven Russian research and manufacturing
enterprises for the same reason. In his remarks, Berger
acknowledged that Russian "weapons scientists and
institutions face increased financial pressure to sell their
wares to whomever is in the market" but that "the most
effective shield against proliferation from Russia is not
U.S. penalties but a Russian export control system that is
designed to work and does." JAC

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER WRAPS UP VISIT. During a visit to
Moscow, Hubert Vedrine met with Prime Minister Yevgenii
Primakov, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, State Duma speaker
Gennadii Seleznev, and First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii
Maslyukov on 12 January. After his meetings, Vedrine voiced
support for Russia's opposition to U.S.-U.K. air strikes
against Iraq, and Ivanov said that Russia is studying French
proposals to resolve the Iraqi crisis and reorganize UNSCOM.
Prime Minister Primakov asserted that Russia and France "have
very close positions on international affairs" and that
France has shown support for a more socially oriented
approach to economic reform. Paris is "prepared to support
Russia in its talks with the IMF," "Novie izvestiya"
suggested on 12 January. Vedrine also discussed preparation
for President Yeltsin's scheduled visit France on 28-29
January. JAC

KREMLIN STAFF FACING LAY-OFFS? Staff at the Russian
presidential administration will be trimmed by 20-25 percent
according to a decree being prepared by Security Council
Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha, Interfax reported on 13 January.
In addition, a new department responsible for regional policy
and local self-government will be created, which deputy chief
of the presidential administration, Oleg Sysuev, "may be
chosen to head," according to the news agency. Last month,
Sysuev hinted that another overhaul of administration was
pending (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 December 1998). Citing its
own source in the Kremlin, ITAR-TASS reported that the design
of a new administration structure is almost finished, with
only the question of which deputy chief will be in charge of
media relations unresolved. Earlier, Prime Minister Primakov
told government office personnel that their wages will not be
increased until the salaries of Russia's poorest citizens are
raised, Interfax reported on 31 December. JAC

TOP GENERAL RESIGNS. Lieutenant-General Anatolii Sokolov and
three of his deputies--Lieutenant-General Nikolai Kartashev
and Major-Generals Vitalii Dubrovin and Yurii Kabakov--have
tendered their resignation in a dispute over Sokolov's
opposition to deployment of the Topol-M missile system,
"Komsomolskaya pravda" reported on 12 January. According to
the newspaper, Sokolov maintains that the single-warhead
Topol-M is too easy to shoot down and that money would be
better invested in the development of information and
reconnaissance systems than in more nuclear missiles. Sokolov
and his team were in charge of the country's missile warning
systems. JAC

BASHKORTOSTAN LEANING TOWARD LUZHKOV? Bashkortostan's
parliament on 12 January voted unanimously in support of the
candidacy of first deputy chairman of the republic's
government, Rafael Baidavletov, for the premiership, ITAR-
TASS reported. Former Prime Minister Rim Bakiev offered his
resignation because he had reached retirement age,
"Izvestiya" reported, citing official sources. But a
correspondent for the newspaper maintains that the real
reason is that Bakiev plans to run the republican branch of
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's Otechestvo [Fatherland] party.
The newspaper speculated that the Ufa government's lack of
openness about Bakiev's future plans suggests a serious
disagreement has arisen within its ranks. It also noted that
Bashkortostan President Murtaz Rakhimov is a long-time loyal
member of the Our Home Is Russia party. JAC

YELTSIN LAUDS NAZARBAYEV'S 'SOUND' VICTORY. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin congratulated President of Kazakhstan Nursultan
Nazarbayev by telephone on his "sound victory" in the
country's recent presidential elections, Interfax reported on
12 January. Yeltsin expressed confidence that Nazarbayev will
"remain Russia's sincere friend and reliable partner."
Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev also congratulated
Nazarbayev on his "sweeping victory" and expressed his own
conviction that Nazarbayev will continue contributing "to the
consolidation of Kazakhstan's fraternal relations with
Russia," according to ITAR-TASS. JAC

GREENPEACE WARNS RUSSIA BECOMING WASTE DUMP. Greenpeace
representatives released a classified Swiss-German protocol
that Russia has agreed to accept 2,000 tons of nuclear waste
and 550 cubic meters of radioactive nuclear waste from
Switzerland over 30 years, "Trud" reported on 13 January. The
activists accused the Atomic Energy Ministry of trying to
transform Russia into a garbage heap for nuclear waste.
Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman Yurii Bespalko told AFP that
the agreement is preliminary and non-binding. JAC

A NEW STALIN FOR THE NEW CENTURY? Colonel Yevgenii
Dzhugashvili, a grandson of former Soviet leader Josif
Stalin, helped launch a new leftist electoral coalition
called the Stalinist Bloc on 12 January. The bloc is composed
of the Working Russia movement and Union of Officers, the
"Moscow Times" reported on 13 January. A retired air force
colonel who lives in Georgia, where he heads the 50,000-
member Stalin Society, Dzhugashvili is the son of Yakov
Dzhugashvili, Stalin's son from his first wife, Yekaterina
Svanidze. Dzhugashvili said that "in contrast to the war
against Nazi Germany, the enemy today is among us and
hiding." He also referred to President Yeltsin and Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze as "enemies of the people" for
assisting in the breakup of the Soviet Union. In November,
Andrei Brezhnev, grandson of Leonid Brezhnev, announced the
formation of a new leftist party. JAC

COMPUTERS BREAK THE DRINKING HABIT. Researchers at the
Siberian branch of the Institute of Molecular Biology and
Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences have
developed a method of treating alcoholism and drug addiction
that uses only a computer, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 January.
According to the institute's deputy director, people with
slower alpha-rhythms in their brains caused by the decreased
activity of their cerebral cortex are more vulnerable to
substance abuse. The institute trains patients with a sensor
attached to their head to increase their alpha rhythms.
According to the agency, the method has been successfully
tested at clinics in Novosibirsk and Kemerovo and has been
approved by the Health Ministry. JAC

CONFUSION OVER CHECHEN TERRORISM TRIAL. A spokesman for the
Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has rejected claims by
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov that the ongoing trial in
Stavropol of two Chechen women accused of terrorism is based
on evidence falsified by the FSB and maverick Chechen field
commander Salman Raduev, Interfax reported on 11 January. The
two women are accused of planting a bomb that exploded in the
railway station at the North Caucasus town of Pyatigorsk in
April 1997. Two people were killed and 20 injured in the
explosion (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 April 1997). Raduev told
journalists in Grozny on 12 January that the bomb was planted
on his orders but that the two women responsible escaped and
are now in Chechnya, Interfax reported. Raduev claimed the
two Chechen women on trial in Stavropol are innocent and were
tortured to make them confess. LF

CHECHEN PARLIAMENT APPROVES FIVE CABINET MEMBERS. Voting in a
secret ballot on 12 January, the Chechen parliament approved
five of 11 ministers proposed by President Maskhadov, Russian
agencies reported. The five include Aslanbek Arsaev as
Shariah security minister and Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov, former
head of the Chechen oil company, as fuel and energy minister.
LF

INGUSH OFFICIAL KIDNAPPED IN CHECHNYA. Chechen presidential
spokesman Mairbek Vachagaev told Interfax on 12 January that
Chechen law enforcement officials have no information that
would shed light on the abduction in Chechnya's Achkhoi-
Martan district the previous day of Ingush businessman and
presidential adviser Valerii Fatteev. Vachagaev termed the
kidnapping a deliberate attempt to discredit the Chechen
leadership and expressed his incomprehension as to why
Fatteev was travelling to Chechnya without an official
invitation. A former chairman of the Federation Council's
Defense and Security Committee, Fatteev served from 1993-1994
as a deputy minister of economics and then as a deputy
chairman of Russia's State Property Committee, according to
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 13 January. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

DEFEATED COMMUNIST CANDIDATE TO PROTEST KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION
OUTCOME. Serikbolsyn Abdildin told a press conference in
Almaty on 12 January that the results of the 10 January
presidential election were systematically falsified, Russian
media reported. Abdildin said that at many precincts,
officials did not even bother to count the ballot papers but
simply entered on the protocols figures predetermined by the
country's authorities. According to official returns,
incumbent president Nursultan Nazarbayev polled some 82
percent and Abdildin 12.08 percent. But ITAR-TASS quoted
Abdildin as saying that "it is difficult to give an overall
figure, but our observers confirm we won no fewer votes than
Nazarbayev." Abdildin said the alleged voter turnout of 86
percent is "unrealistic" and that election monitors witnessed
instances of multiple voting at almost 70 percent of local
electoral precincts, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 13
January. He said he will appeal to international
organizations not to recognize the poll results as valid. LF

JAPAN EXTENDS AID TO KYRGYZSTAN. The Japanese government has
granted Kyrgyzstan some 300 million yen (approximately $2.7
million) to underpin the country's structural reforms and
help overcome the repercussions of the 1998 Russian financial
crisis, Russian agencies reported. The grant is the fourth
that Japan has extended to Kyrgyzstan. LF

TAJIK SECURITY COUNCIL ASSESSES NOVEMBER INSURRECTION. The
Tajik Security and Interior Ministers and several local
administrators have been reprimanded by the Security Council
for their failure to prevent the uprising in Leninabad in
November 1998, presidential press spokesman Zafar Saidov told
ITAR-TASS on 12 January. The government has also assumed
control over the Uzbek-language newspaper "Halk ovozi" in
order to ensure its "appropriate coverage of questions of the
state's domestic and foreign policy," according to
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" of 13 January. The population of
Leninabad is predominantly ethnic Uzbek. Tajik President
Imomali Rakhmonov has accused neighboring Uzbekistan of
direct involvement in the November insurrection, which was
led by Colonel Mahmud Khudoberdiev and former Premier
Abdumalik Abdullodjonov. LF

TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZES RENEGADE FIELD COMMANDER.
At a meeting of the National Reconciliation Commission on 11
January, United Tajik Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri
condemned an incident in Sagirdasht, east of Dushanbe, on the
night of 5-6 January in which opposition fighters led by
field commander Rustan Zinnatov killed four civilians while
attempting to steal cattle, Asia-Plus reported from Dushanbe
on 13 January. Zinnatov has since been arrested. LF

ARMENIA'S CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES
NEW ELECTION LAW. The new election law, which the parliament
is expected to pass later this month, is flawed and needs
serious amendments, Khachatur Bezirjian told RFE/RL's Yerevan
bureau on 12 January. Bezirjian said the bill does not
outline "mechanisms" for election officials to deal with what
he called "technical issues" related to voting and ballot
counting. He deplored the fact that provincial commissions,
rather than the lower-level communal commissions, are charged
with counting the so-called "coupons" attached to ballots.
Those coupons are intended to expose any discrepancies
between the number of people who vote and the number of
ballots cast. Bezirjian argued that provincial commissions
will be unable to cope with the huge number of coupons and
that counting them will delay the final results. He also
objected to a clause allowing political parties to change
their representatives on commissions as many times as they
want. LF

RUSSIA DENIES DEPLOYING S-300s IN ARMENIA. Speaking at a news
conference in Yerevan on 12 January, Russian ambassador to
Armenia Anatolii Dryukov denied claims by senior Azerbaijani
officials that Moscow has deployed S-300 air defense missiles
in Armenia, RFE/RL's bureau in the Armenian capital reported.
But Dryukov said that Moscow does plan to upgrade the
weaponry of its forces based in Armenia, including anti-
aircraft defense systems. Also on 12 January, Dryukov met
with Prime Minister Armen Darpinian to discuss cooperation in
science, technology, power engineering, metallurgy and the
chemical industry, according to ITAR-TASS and Noyan Tapan. LF

GEORGIA LUKEWARM ON ABKHAZ REPATRIATION OFFER. Georgian
presidential adviser Levan Aleksidze has dismissed as "sheer
populism" Abkhaz President Vladislav Arzdinba's offer to
permit Georgian displaced persons to return to Abkhazia's
southernmost Gali Raion beginning 1 March, Interfax reported
on 12 January. Aleksidze said that the offer may have been
motivated by the Abkhaz leadership's need for economic aid.
Aleksidze said that the Georgian leadership insists that all
ethnic Georgians who return to Gali be permitted to
participate in the work of local councils and police, but he
claimed that the Abkhaz will not allow them to do so. The
Abkhaz have said they will allow some Georgian repatriates to
work for those bodies, but the criteria for determining who
is eligible are unclear. LF

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