The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. - Paul Vale´ry
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 42, Part I, 2 March 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 42, Part I, 2 March 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

* BORDYUZHA ORDERS CABINET CORRUPTION PROBE

* SPLIT EMERGES AMONG RUSSIA'S CREDITORS

* GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS START RETURNING TO ABKHAZIA
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

BORDYUZHA ORDERS CABINET CORRUPTION PROBE... Nikolai
Bordyuzha, head of the presidential administration and
Security Council, instructed his staff to investigate
corruption allegations, specifically those included in a 25
February "Nezavisimaya gazeta" article, against members of
Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov's cabinet, Interfax reported
on 1 March. The article hinted that First Deputy Prime
Minister Yurii Maslyukov procured government contracts for
companies in which he or relatives had an interest. It also
suggested that the entire cabinet is riddled with corruption.
The previous day, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii repeated
his earlier demand that the government respond to charges of
corruption. Maslyukov said that they emanated from organs
controlled by politically powerful businessmen whose names
are "symbols of corruption, economic crime, and political
extremism." That "Nezavisimaya gazeta" receives financial
backing from Boris Berezovskii's LogoVAZ group has prompted
some analysts to speculate that Berezovskii himself is trying
to discredit Primakov and his cabinet. JAC

...AS BEREZOVSKII LABELS CABINET 'DANGEROUS.' Berezovskii
told reporters on 1 March that the course being pursued by
Primakov's cabinet is "very dangerous." Nevertheless, he
added, he will not push for the cabinet's resignation.
"Moskovskii komsomolets," a newspaper with close ties to
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, a Berezovskii foe, suggested on 1
March that the return to television of journalist Sergei
Dorenko was evidence supporting rumors that President Boris
Yeltsin ordered Primakov to put a stop to attacks on
Berezovskii. Russian Public Television, in which Berezovskii
reportedly owns shares, has recently come under pressure, and
the Duma has demanded that Berezovskii resign from his post
as CIS executive secretary. Dorenko is reportedly close to
Berezovskii. JAC

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS POSTPONED. President Yeltsin's
doctors on 2 March declared his health "normal." Presidential
spokesman Dmitrii Yakushkin told ITAR-TASS that Yeltsin's
annual state-of-the-nation address, which is usually
delivered at the end of February or the beginning of March,
will likely be pushed back until the end of March. Russian
newspapers widely blamed Yeltsin for his latest health set-
back, noting that he had attended the funeral of Jordan's
King Hussein against his doctors' advice. JAC

SPLIT EMERGES AMONG RUSSIA'S CREDITORS. Chase Manhattan on 1
March followed Deutsche Bank's lead in announcing an
agreement with the Russian government on terms for
restructuring frozen defaulted short-term treasury bonds,
Reuters reported. Headed by Deutsche Bank, the 19 foreign
banks negotiating with the Russian government had put up a
more or less united front. However, disagreements reportedly
emerged among those banks that wanted to settle and those
that are contemplating legal action against Russia in order
to obtain better terms. "Izvestiya" noted on 3 March that for
the last two months, German and Russian government officials
had been conducting talks on the issue, and "the role of
politics in Deutsche Bank's decision was apparently quite
large." According to the newspaper, the Ministry of Finance
asked on 26 February that creditors be given until 30 April
to accept or reject the government's terms. JAC

GOVERNMENT TO MEDDLE WITH FOOD PRICES. Deputy Prime Minister
Gennadii Kulik announced on 1 March that Primakov's
government intends to "strictly control prices on
foodstuffs," Interfax reported. According to Kulik, priority
will be given to regulating the prices of bread, dairy
products, and vegetable oil. He acknowledged that Russian
food prices are already much lower than world prices. For
example, the price of one ton of grain costs $110-$120 on the
world market and $50-$70 on the Russian market. Meanwhile,
First Deputy Minister of Agriculture Vladimir Shcherbak told
Interfax that Russia may set minimum prices for sugar beets
and sugar. According to Scherbak, "sugar prices are
artificially low" and do not provide enough incentive to
plant a large crop. JAC

PREPARATION OF POLITICAL PEACE TREATY NEARING COMPLETION. The
working group preparing a draft statement on the political
accord between Russia's branches of government met on 27
February and 1 March, Russian Television (RTR) reported. Duma
deputy and head of the Russian Regions faction Oleg Morozov
said the draft document is almost ready and will be forwarded
to the presidential administration, the cabinet, and
Federation Council on 2 March. According to RTR, the most
controversial elements of the accord will be a Duma proposal
for a constitutional amendment requiring the formation of a
government of the parliamentary majority after legislative
and presidential elections. JAC

MORE INDICATORS OF ECONOMIC DECLINE. More than 55 percent of
all large and medium-sized companies were unprofitable in
1998, according to the State Statistics Committee, ITAR-TASS
reported. Agriculture was among the sectors hardest hit,
registering a 35 billion ($1.5 billion) loss. Meanwhile, the
flow of foreign capital slipped 4.2 percent last year and
foreign trade turnover 17.6 percent. In January, five of
Russia's major industries--manufacturing, agriculture,
construction, transport, and trade/public catering--recorded
a decline of 6.6 percent in their output of goods and
services compared with the previous year, according to the
State Statistics Committee, Interfax reported. JAC

CHIZHOV DISMISSED. Before leaving for his vacation on 28
February, Prime Minister Primakov signed a decree dismissing
First Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Chizhov. Citing
"a source close to the government," Interfax reported that at
the request of Aeroflot general director Valerii Okulov,
Chizhov has been offered the post of first deputy director-
general of Aeroflot with special responsibility for the
company's economic and financial performance. Chizhov was
criticized by "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 24 February for his
role in the upcoming privatization of a Bulgarian oil
company. JAC

ORTHODOX CHURCH SPEAKS OUT AGAINST SCIENTOLOGY. Moscow
Patriarchate spokesman Father Vsevolod told Interfax on 1
March that the Russian Orthodox Church considers the Church
of Scientology a socially dangerous totalitarian sect that
negatively affects persons' personalities and family
relationships. He added that the Orthodox Church wants an
"appropriate legal assessment of the unseemly acts" of the
Russian Scientology community. Last week, policeman raided
the offices of Church of Scientology offices reportedly
looking for evidence of criminal activities. JAC

PENTECOSTALS MOUNT PROTEST IN SAKHA. About 60 members of a
Pentecostalist group seized a public building in the village
of Kutana in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), threatening to
commit suicide en masse if the police forced them to leave
that building, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 March. According to
the news agency, the group took over the building to protest
the local residents' decision to expel them from the village.
Two years ago, the group reportedly occupied a police station
in the neighboring raion of Ust-Mayskii. JAC

INGUSHETIA ELECTS NEW PARLIAMENT. Some 50.7 percent of
Ingushetia's 115,000-strong electorate cast their votes in
the republic's 28 February parliamentary elections. The
minimum required turnout was 25 percent. A total of 122
candidates contested the 21 parliamentary seats. Two seats
were earmarked for representatives of the Russian-speaking
population, and one for Ingushetia's Chechen minority. The
party affiliation of the new deputies is not known, with the
exception of one member of the pro-presidential Daimokhk
movement. A member of Ingushetia's electoral commission told
Interfax on 1 March that no complaints of procedural
violations have been filed either by candidates or voters.
President Ruslan Aushev said on 1 March that the immediate
priority of the new parliament is to prepare elections to a
state council that will amend the republic's constitution and
decide on procedures for electing the next president,
Interfax reported. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

NEW ARMENIAN ENVOY TO BELARUS, CIS APPOINTED. President
Robert Kocharian on 1 March named Suren Harutiunian as
Armenia's ambassador to Belarus and plenipotentiary
representative to the CIS. Harutiunian served as Armenian
Communist Party first secretary from May 1988 until April
1990, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. He then worked for
the Soviet Foreign Ministry and later its Russian
counterpart. LF

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION LEADER TO REMAIN HEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL
COMMISSION. Self-Determination Union chairman Paruyr
Hairikian has withdrawn his threat to resign as chairman of
the presidential commission on constitutional reform,
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 1 March. Hairikian had
said that he would tender his resignation if President
Kocharian did not overrule the commission's 19 February
decision not to include the introduction of dual citizenship
in a package of proposed constitutional amendments (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 23 February 1999). Senior members of the
Self-Determination Union said Kocharian asked the commission
last week to propose the abolition of the constitutional
article banning dual citizenship. LF

AZERBAIJAN SAYS NATO BASES SOLE DEFENSE AGAINST RUSSIA. In an
interview published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 27 February,
Azerbaijani presidential adviser Vafa Guluzade said his
recent proposals that Azerbaijan should host either U.S. or
Turkish military bases are "a cry of despair" prompted by
Russia's ongoing support for Armenia's occupation of
Azerbaijani territory. He said Azerbaijan "cannot exist if it
does not enter some security system or other." He added that
Baku cannot accept Moscow's invitation to enter its security
system while Azerbaijani territory is still occupied. Russia
must fundamentally revise its policy toward Azerbaijan if
does not want NATO bases to appear there, Guluzade continued.
The official also said that the work of the OSCE Minsk Group
has not yielded any progress toward resolving the Karabakh
conflict, which he characterized as between Azerbaijan and
Russia, not Azerbaijan and Armenia. LF

ARMENIA CALLS FOR DIRECT TALKS BETWEEN BAKU, STEPANAKERT.
Writing in the 2 March issue of "Nezavisimaya gazeta,"
Armenian Foreign Ministry official Arsen Gasparian affirmed
that "the territory of the former Azerbaijan SSR is the
homeland of two peoples, Azerbaijanis and Armenians, and
relations between them are not a question of a majority or a
minority but of a partnership of equals." Gasparian said that
progress in the deadlocked Karabakh mediation process is
contingent on direct talks between Baku and the Armenian
leadership of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. In
his interview with that newspaper, Guluzade had termed then
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's 1996 proposal to
embark on such direct talks one of the reasons for the
deadlock in the peace process. LF

GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS START RETURNING TO ABKHAZIA...
Abkhaz and Georgian officials have given widely differing
estimates of the number of Georgians who wish to take up
Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba's offer to allow Georgian
displaced persons who fled Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion
during the 1992-1993 war or the renewed hostilities in May
1998 to return to their homes beginning on 1 March. Georgian
parliamentary deputy Vakhtang Kolbaya told Caucasus Press on
1 March that only three Georgians have crossed the bridge
over the River Inguri, which marks the internal border. He
denied that the Georgian displaced persons who have been
picketing the bridge for the past two weeks to protest
Ardzinba's initiative have prevented persons who wished to
cross from doing so. But Abkhaz Security Minister Astamur
Tarba said some 300 persons have gathered near the bridge but
are being prevented by the picketers from crossing into Gali
Raion. LF

...AMID DIVERGING RUSSIAN ASSESSMENTS. Russian special envoy
for Abkhazia Lev Mironov predicted that only those Georgian
displaced persons whose living conditions in the west
Georgian town of Zugdidi are unbearable will accept
Ardzinba's invitation to return, Caucasus Press reported on 1
March. Echoing the standard objection voiced by the Georgian
leadership, he added that it is "risky" for Georgians to
return to Gali without adequate security guarantees. Mironov
pointed out that the Russian peacekeepers deployed along the
internal border cannot protect all villages and that
therefore the Abkhaz leadership must assume the
responsibility for the returnees' safety, which it has
undertaken to do. But ITAR-TASS on 1 March quoted Nikolai
Rusak, political adviser to the Russian peacekeeping force,
as saying that the Abkhaz leadership made the correct
decision in initiating the unilateral return of the displaced
persons. LF

ETHNIC GREEKS IN GEORGIA WANT DUAL CITIZENSHIP. Meeting with
the Georgian parliamentary committee for human rights and
national minorities, representatives of Georgia's ethnic
Greek minority, estimated to number some 100,000, affirmed
their support for the policies pursued by the present
Georgian leadership, Caucasus Press reported on 26 February.
At the same time, the Greeks expressed regret that the
Georgian Constitution does not allow dual citizenship and
that no Greeks are represented in the upper echelons of the
country's leadership. They called on the parliament to
expedite the passage of a law on national minorities. LF

AZERBAIJAN ACCUSES RUSSIA OF VIOLATING AIRSPACE. The
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 27
February claiming that a Russian MiG entered Azerbaijani
airspace from Armenia for a period of two minutes on 25
February, Turan and Reuters reported on 1 March. The
statement termed the incident the direct consequence of
Russian arms deliveries to Russian bases in Armenia and proof
that those arms deliveries are not, as Russia claims,
exclusively for defensive purposes. Reuters quoted an unnamed
senior Azerbaijani Defense Ministry official as saying that
Azerbaijan could have shot down the intruder but chose not to
do so. LF

AZERBAIJAN'S HONORARY CONSUL IN ST. PETERSBURG INJURED IN
SHOOTING. Gudsi Osmanov was hospitalized on 28 February after
being shot and wounded in his office, ITAR--TASS reported the
following day. A spokesman for the St. Petersburg police said
there were no political motive for the attack and that the
perpetrators are known with a reasonable degree of certainty.
LF

PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY IN KAZAKHSTAN HOLDS FOUNDING CONGRESS.
The reconfigured political party Otan held its founding
congress in Almaty on 1 March, ITAR-TASS reported. The 380
delegates unanimously elected President Nursultan Nazarbayev
as party chairman. Nazarbayev, who was present, declined to
assume that post, pointing out that the country's
constitution forbids an incumbent president to simultaneously
be chairman of a political party. The delegates accepted
Nazarbayev's recommendation that former Prime Minister Sergei
Tereshchenko be elected chairman. Tereshchenko was also
Nazarbayev's campaign manager during the recent presidential
election campaign. According to Tereshchenko, there are
35,000 members of Otan, which recently merged with the
Liberal Movement, the Popular Unity Party, and the Democratic
Party, hence the need for a founding congress. Nazarbayev
urged delegates not to allow Otan to become "a party of
elites" but rather to "unite a broad spectrum of people." BP

JAPANESE OIL COMPANY SIGNS CONTRACT WITH KAZAHSTAN. The
Japanese National Oil Corporation signed an agreement with
Kazakhstan's national oil company, Kazakhoil, in Astana on 1
March, Interfax reported. Under the terms of the agreement,
the Japanese corporation will spend $50 million during the
next three years to prospect in three different areas in
western Kazakhstan. BP

KAZAKHSTAN TO CUT ARMY BY 50 PERCENT. Kazakhstan's Defense
Ministry announced on 1 March that it intends to cut the
number of army personnel by 50 percent, Interfax reported.
The ministry plans to accomplish all the cuts "within
months," mainly by reducing the length of service for
conscript sergeants and privates from two years to one. The
Defense Ministry had announced on 24 February that it will
create an all-volunteer army by 2000. However, a law on
alternative service, which is to be drafted soon, will allow
draftees to avoid military service by paying a fee but will
oblige them to undergo basic military training. BP

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS KAZAKHSTAN. Raul Malk met
with his Kazakh counterpart, Kasymjomart Tokayev, in Astana
on 1 March, BNS and Interfax reported. The two signed an
agreement on avoiding double taxation. Malk mentioned his
country's desire to ship goods to China via Kazakhstan, and
Tokayev said Kazakhstan would like greater access to Estonian
port facilities for metals, oil, and grain exports. BP

GAS SUPPLIES FROM UZBEKISTAN TO KYRGYZSTAN RESUMED. The
managing director of Kyrgyzgaz, Ishenbek Omurbekov, told
RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek on 27 February that supplies
of natural gas from Uzbekistan have been restored (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 February 1999). Omurbekov said it may
take as long as one week for full supplies to reach
Kyrgyzstan. BP

UZBEK TELEVISION ACCUSED OF BROADCASTING ANTI-KYRGYZ
PROGRAMS. Parliamentary deputy Dooronbek Sadyrbayev told
Kyrgyzstan's Legislative Assembly on 1 March, that on a
recent visit to his constituency in Jalalabad he had seen
television broadcasts from Uzbekistan that were anti-Kyrgyz
in nature, RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek reported.
Sadyrbayev said the programming criticized political and
economic reforms in Kyrgyzstan and was partly targeted at
President Askar Akayev. The mountain ranges that divide
Kyrgyzstan mean that it easier for people in southern
Kyrgyzstan, particularly in the Kyrgyz section of the Fergana
Valley, to receive Uzbek broadcasts than national ones.
Sadyrbayev told a 19 February session of the parliament that
Uzbekistan has moved some of its border posts into Kyrgyz
territory by as much as 24 kilometers. BP

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TO GIVE LOANS TO TAJIKISTAN,
KYRGYZSTAN. The Asian Development Bank will grant Tajikistan
soft loans of $40 million annually from 1999-2002, Interfax
reported on 1 March. The bank will also extend loans of $4
million annually to develop Tajikistan's energy sector,
agriculture, the infrastructure, health care, and education
system. On 27 February the Asian Development Bank said it
will give Kyrgyzstan a $45 million loan this year, $40
million for the agricultural sector and $5 million for
reconstruction of the Bishkek-Osh highway, RFE/RL
correspondents in Bishkek reported. BP

ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL PARDON FOR FOREIGNERS IN TURKMEN JAILS.
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov on 1 March ordered 379
foreign nationals serving sentences in Turkmen jails to be
released and sent home, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported.
Niyazov called this latest pardon a "gesture of good will" to
strengthen friendly relations with "partner nations." Those
pardoned come from CIS countries, Pakistan, Latvia, Turkey,
and Syria. Niyazov has ordered thousands of prisoners freed
this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 February 1999). BP

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 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, Dan Ionescu, Zsolt-Istvan Mato,
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