There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won't, and that is the wife who can't cook and will. - Robert Frost
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 58, Part I, 24 March 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 58, Part I, 24 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

* RUSSIA CONDEMNS EXPECTED NATO STRIKES

* START-II'S FATE TIED WITH YUGOSLAVIA

* AZERBAIJAN DETAINS RUSSIAN PLANE TRANSPORTING MIGS
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

RUSSIA CONDEMNS EXPECTED NATO STRIKES... In a rare show of
unanimity, Moscow officials insisted that expected NATO air
strikes against Yugoslavia would widen the conflict and
dangerously undermine the role of the UN. Defense Minister
Igor Sergeev repeated an earlier prediction that air
strikes will result in "another Vietnam," and both Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov and Communist Party leader Gennadii
Zyuganov said Russia will reconsider its cooperation
agreement with NATO. Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said
that NATO troops in Yugoslavia would trigger a "very
difficult and bloody war" for which "Americans will have to
prepare zinc coffins." He added that if troops are
introduced without the agreement of the UN Security
Council, people "will start to question the need for the UN
in the first place." As of late morning 24 March, Russian
President Boris Yeltsin was reported still waiting for a
response from the U.S. to a message he sent earlier to his
U.S. counterpart. JAC

...PROMISES MILITARY ASSISTANCE. Seleznev pledged that if
NATO launches air strikes against Yugoslavia, Moscow will
immediately provide powerful weapons to Belgrade. Fellow
Communist faction member and Duma Security Committee
Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin called for an emergency meeting of
the Duma and the Security Council to discuss "whether to
provide Yugoslavia with a reliable air defense systems to
reduce their casualties." Meanwhile, General Anatolii
Kvashnin, chief of staff of the armed forces, held a
meeting of top military officials on 24 March to prepare a
possible Russian response if NATO bombs are dropped, ITAR-
TASS reported. Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir
Zhirinovskii told Ekho Moskvy that he is ordering charter
flights to dispatch volunteers to Yugoslavia. JAC

START-II'S FATE TIED WITH YUGOSLAVIA. Duma speaker Seleznev
suggested that the ratification of START-II will be in doubt
if airstrikes occur. He explained that although the Duma is
unlikely to be able to debate the treaty on 2 April, as
originally scheduled, it will take up the issue "soon" if the
Kosova situation "develops favorably." Defense Committee
Chairman and member of Our Home Is Russia faction Roman
Popkovich said earlier that the Duma will not be able to
consider the treaty before mid-April, even though it was
recently put on the Duma's schedule for 2 April. JAC

PRIMAKOV'S U.S. TRIP CANCELLED. Prime Minister Yevgenii
Primakov cancelled his trip to the U.S. in mid-air on 23
March to protest the expected NATO airstrikes. Primakov's
plane was heading to the U.S. when after a 15-minute
telephone call with Vice President Al Gore, Primakov
ordered the plane back to Moscow. Primakov told reporters
after landing that he had said to Gore: "Think it over once
more, Mr. Vice President. I have the impression that you
are not considering all the consequences," NTV reported. He
added that NATO strikes will not only destabilize the
situation in Kosova but "affect relations between Russian
and the U.S. and damage stability in Europe." As a result
of the cancellation, a ceremony unveiling two new large
U.S. company-sponsored projects in the Russian oil sector
was postponed, Reuters reported. JAC

RUSSIA, IMF TO MEET IN THIRD COUNTRY? After returning to
Moscow on 24 March, Prime Minister Primakov explained that
although the upcoming meetings with the IMF are important,
Russia "does not trade in principles: the [Kosova] problem
is one thing, and negotiations with the IMF are another."
Primakov told reporters that IMF Managing Director Michel
Camdessus said he would like to meet within the next few
days and did not rule out that their meeting might take
place in a third country. Communist Party leader Zyuganov
was blase about the meeting's postponement, saying that
"the IMF give these credits to itself not to us. They will
simply transfer the money from one account to another to
cover debts." JAC

LEBED EMERGES TRIUMPHANT IN COAL BATTLE? At a meeting of
the board of directors of the Krasnoyarsk Coal Company
(Krasugol) on 20 March, Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei
Generalov supported Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr
Lebed's new plan to save the company from bankruptcy,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 23 March. Board members also
elected Vladimir Bondarchenko, a former Krai level
official, as director of the company. The company's former
director was arrested last week on suspicion of
embezzlement. At the meeting, Lebed announced that he has
found the money to cover the company's 72 million ruble
($2.7 million) debt (see "RFE/RL Russian Federation
Report," 3 March 1999). According to the newspaper, a firm
controlled by Lebed's younger brother, Aleksei, who is the
president of the Republic of Khakassia, will supply the
funds. According to the older Lebed, the krai and federal
government officials will sign an agreement clearing up all
issues related to the company. JAC

MORE DISMISSALS FOLLOW. Prime Minister Primakov on 23 March
dismissed First Deputy State Property Minister Aleksandr
Braverman, Russian deputy manager at the EBRD Aleksei
Kudrin, and Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Igor
Kozhukhovskii. Kudrin has been replaced by First Deputy
Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. In addition, the
Argumenty i Fakty-Novosti news agency reported that first
deputy head of the presidential administration Oleg Sysuev
has tendered his resignation; however, Moscow's Center TV
was unable to verify that report. Sysuev has been under
fire recently, having been accused of arranging the showing
on national television of a man who looks like Prosecutor-
General Yurii Skuratov dallying with two young women.
Sysuev denied the allegation. JAC

NEO-NAZIS HOSTING GATHERINGS AROUND RUSSIA. After an
unsuccessful attempt to hold a national convention in Moscow,
the neo-nazi group Russian National Unity (RNE) has staged
smaller meetings in 10 Russian cities, "Kommersant-Daily"
reported on 23 March. Attendance varied from 30 persons in
St. Petersburg to 300 in Stavropol, according to the daily.
Meetings were also held in Krasnodar, Perm, Ekaterinburg,
Chelyabinsk, Kaliningrad, Novosibirsk, Dmitrov (Moscow
Oblast), and Berezniki (Perm Oblast). The organization is
strongest in Stavropol, according to the newspaper. The head
of the krai's governor's press service, Sergei Belokon,
explained that "Stavropol is prepared to work with all law-
abiding organizations. Of course, no one likes Nazi salutes
or swastikas÷but the governor will not support either the
Right or the Left." JAC

INDIA, RUSSIA PLEDGE TO DEEPEN MILITARY COOPERATION. Defense
Minister Sergeev wrapped up an official trip to India on 23
March by announcing that Russia and India will sign this year
a declaration of strategic partnership. According to Sergeev,
the two countries have a similar approach to "most of the
important problems of international security," such as NATO
enlargement, the Kosova and Afghan situations, and "U.S.
plans to withdraw from the [anti-ballistic missile] treaty."
Sergeev signed a military cooperation agreement with his
counterpart, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez, the
previous day. Under the agreement, Russia will train Indian
defense personnel at its military academies. Fernandez is to
visit Moscow later this year, and in June, Russia will
deliver its first model T-90S tanks to India for testing. JAC

CHECHEN AUTHORITIES DETAIN SHPIGUN ABDUCTION SUSPECTS.
Chechen Shariah Security Ministry officials told Interfax and
ITAR-TASS on 23 March that an unspecified number of people
have been arrested on suspicion of participating in the 5
March abduction from Grozny airport of Russian Interior
Ministry General Gennadii Shpigun. A Russian Interior
Ministry official told ITAR-TASS two days earlier that the
gang responsible for Shpigun's abduction also kidnapped
Russian Presidential envoy Valentin Vlasov last year. For
this reason, the official added, the group is known as
"Vlasovka." It is believed to be loyal to former Vice
President Vakha Arsanov, an ally of field commander Shamil
Basaev. The Chechen police have issued identikit pictures of
two persons suspected of exploding the car bomb that failed
to kill President Aslan Maskhadov on 21 March. Krasnoyarsk
Governor Lebed told Interfax on 23 March that he believes
Basaev and fellow field commander Khottab organized that
attack. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN DETAINS RUSSIAN PLANE TRANSPORTING MIGS. A Russian
cargo plane carrying six disassembled MiG-21 fighters remains
on the ground at Baku's Bina airport, where it landed late on
18 March for a routine refueling stop. Azerbaijani customs
officials impounded the aircraft, suspecting that the MiGs
were destined for Yugoslavia. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor-
General's Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry both said
that the cargo plane was en route from Taldy-Kurgan in
Kazakhstan to Bratislava, but crew members said initially
they were headed for Yugoslavia and then gave their
destination as Pyongyang, Turan reported on 23 March. Kazakh
officials confirmed that the cargo plane landed in Taldy-
Kurgan on 18 March and took off for Baku the same day, but
they disclaimed any knowledge of its cargo. Slovak Defense
Ministry officials told AP they are not aware of any planned
delivery of MiGs to that country. ITAR-TASS reported on 24
March that transportation of the MiGs was arranged by the
Czech firm Agroplast. LF

GERMANY HANDS OVER OTTOMAN DOCUMENTS TO ARMENIA. In a
ceremony in Yerevan on 23 March, Germany's ambassador to
Armenia, Carolla Mueller-Holtkemper, presented to President
Robert Kocharian 56 volumes of copies of archival material
collected by the German diplomatic missions in Istanbul
from1889 to 1920, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The
documents may shed light on the mass killings and
deportations of more than 1 million Armenians in Ottoman
Turkey in 1915. The German move was in response to what
Mueller-Holtkemper termed Yerevan's "noble gesture" in
handing back to the German government last May 575 old German
manuscripts that constituted Armenia's share of so-called
trophy art, which Soviet troops confiscated from Germany in
1945. LF

ARMENIAN HEALTH MINISTER OFFERS TO MAKE AIDS DRUG AVAILABLE.
Addressing a medical conference in Yerevan on 23 March, Hayk
Nikoghosian invited people who are suffering from AIDS or are
HIV-positive to participate in clinical tests of the
Armenicum drug, which has cured 14 persons who had contracted
the disease, Reuters and AP reported. A spokeswoman for the
Ministry of Health said that foreigners wishing to travel to
Armenia for treatment should apply to the Armenian embassy in
their country of residence. She added that a number of
Russians and Ukrainians have already contacted her ministry
to request treatment. LF

NEW ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER PLANNED? A
spokesman for Akezhan Kazhegeldin's Republican People's Party
of Kazakhstan told RFE/RL's Almaty bureau on 24 March that
the party has been informed by an agent for the country's
National Security Ministry of a new plan to kill Kazhegeldin.
The party has held a special congress to discuss that
information. Kazhegeldin, who was barred from participating
in the January 1999 presidential elections, was shot at while
exercising his horse near Almaty last fall (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 14 October 1998). LF

KAZAKHSTAN ASSESSES PROSPECTS OF WTO MEMBERSHIP. In
negotiating the terms for its admission to the World Trade
Organization, Kazakhstan must try to obtain most-favored-
nation status for its exports and schedule a transition
period during which its legislation will be brought into line
with international standards, Fakhra Usmanova, who is a
senior official in Kazakhstan's Energy, Industry, and Trade
Ministry, told colleagues at a workshop in Astana on 23
March, Interfax reported. Usmanova said Kazakhstan "is not in
a hurry" to join the WTO and that domestic industries have to
prepare for "stiff competition" on an open market. She added
that Kazakhstan has been engaged in negotiations with the EU
for three years over an increase in its rolled iron and steel
quotas. LF

CENSUS BEGINS IN KYRGYZSTAN. From 24 March to 1 April,
Kyrgyzstan will conduct a population census to provide
comprehensive information on which future economic and social
programs will be based, Interfax reported, quoting the
chairman of the country's National Statistical Committee,
Zarylbek Kudabaev. The census form contains questions on the
respondent's family status, nationality, native language, and
education. It also asks details of employment and sources of
income as well as whether a respondent without employment is
actively seeking a job. Women are required to state how many
children they have given birth to and how many survived. LF

SEVEN SENTENCED FOR ROLE IN TAJIK INSURGENCY. The Military
Collegium of Tajikistan's Supreme Court on 23 March handed
down sentences of 10-14 years in prison to seven people who
took part in the abortive attack in October 1997 on
presidential guard detachments in Tursunzade, western
Tajikistan. The attack was launched by supporters of rebel
Colonel Makhmud Khudoiberdiev, AP-Blitz reported (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 24 October 1997). LF

POLL SUGGESTS URBAN TAJIK SOCIETY POLARIZED. A USAID poll of
533 residents of Dushanbe indicates that 43 percent of
respondents would like to live in a "Western-style society"
while 36 percent prefer communism, Interfax reported on 23
March. While 42 percent preferred a one-party system, 38
percent were in favor of a multi-party one. The most popular
political party was the Communist Party (28 percent); only 5
percent of those questioned expressed support for the Islamic
Rebirth Party. But irrespective of other political
preferences, 71 percent of those polled expressed confidence
in the ability of President Imomali Rakhmonov to steer the
country out of its present crisis. LF

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