The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. - Franklin P. Jones
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 87, Part II, 5 May 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 87, Part II, 5 May 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 II, a compilation of news concerning Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I covers Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed
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Headlines, Part II

* SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW MAKING PROGRESS

* REFUGEES CONTINUE TO FLOOD MACEDONIA

* UNHCR TO CLOSE KUKES REFUGEE CAMPS

* End Note: THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICS
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

INFLATION IN UKRAINE EXCEEDS 2 PERCENT. Ukraine's monthly
inflation rate reached 2.3 percent in April, up from 1
percent in March and February, AP reported on 4 May, citing
the State Statistics Committee. The hike was triggered by the
government's April resolution increasing the price of
electricity and gas, in compliance with the IMF requirements.
Ukraine's planned inflation rate in 1999 is 19 percent, but
many analysts see this figure as overly optimistic, arguing
that the government is likely to print money to pay off wage
and pension arrears before the 31 October presidential
elections. JM

BELARUSIAN LEGISLATURE BACKS YUGOSLAVIA'S ADMISSION TO UNION
WITH RUSSIA. The Chamber of Representatives, the lower house
of the Belarusian legislature, on 5 May supported the
Yugoslav parliament's decision on the accession of Yugoslavia
to the Union of Belarus and Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. The
Russian Duma adopted a similar resolution on 16 April. JM

BELARUSIAN EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PROCEDURE CONFIRMED.
The opposition Supreme Soviet Presidium on 4 May confirmed
the legality of the Central Electoral Commission's resolution
stipulating that presidential elections in Belarus will take
place over 10 days, from 6-16 May, RFE/RL's Belarusian
Service reported. The resolution was questioned by Zyanon
Paznyak, one of the two candidates in the elections (see
"RFE/RL's Newsline," 4 April 1999). The presidium said that
early voting at voters' homes--given the "impossibility of
organizing the ballot at specially assigned and equipped
facilities"--is in full accordance with the law on
presidential elections The presidium also adopted an appeal
urging voters to participate in the elections. JM

SPECKHARD ADVISES AGAINST ANY ATTEMPT TO PREVENT OPPOSITION
ELECTIONS. U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Daniel Speckhard told
"Naviny" on 4 May that the Belarusian authorities should
regard the opposition presidential elections as an expression
of the political will of a part of the Belarusian people and
should not use force to prevent the vote, Belapan reported.
Speckhard added that the authorities' attempts to suppress
opposition protests by force do not meet Belarus' long-term
interests. Speckhard, who is currently on a short visit to
Minsk, said certain progress has been made in his talks on
the U.S. ambassador's new residence, but he did not specify
when he will resume working in Belarus. JM

BELARUS DELIVERS HUMANITARIAN AID TO BELGRADE. A convoy of 30
trucks has delivered humanitarian aid to Belgrade and headed
back for Minsk, Belapan reported on 4 May. The trucks carried
food, tents, clothing, and blankets. Meanwhile, Belarusian
Television quoted President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as saying
that Belarus is ready to participate in the reconstruction of
facilities destroyed by NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia. JM

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT ENDORSES AUSTERITY BUDGET. The cabinet on
4 May approved a negative supplementary budget that reduces
the volume of this year's budget by 1.03 billion kroons (some
$70 million), ETA reported. Subsidies to farmers, which were
to have been cut by almost one-sixth, have been left intact,
while the biggest reductions were made in the reserve fund
and in administrative costs. Budget expenditures currently
exceed revenues by some 900 million kroons and less than one
quarter of targeted annual revenues has been collected. Prime
Minister Mart Laar warned that it may be necessary to make
further cuts later this year. Under Estonian law, the budget
must be balanced. JC

LATVIA ISSUES EUROBONDS. Latvian eurobonds worth 150 million
euros (some $160,000) were issued on 4 May, LETA reported.
The bonds have an annual interest rate of 6.25 percent.
Credit Suisse First Boston organized the issue. Roberts
Grava, the head of the Currencies Department at the Bank of
Latvia, commented that "it is less risky and more profitable
to take out loans abroad than within the Latvian domestic
market at the current time." JC

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT OPPOSED TO EARLY ELECTIONS. A statement
issued by Valdas Adamkus's office on 4 May said the president
is opposed to holding early parliamentary elections as a way
of solving the situation that resulted from the resignation
the previous day of Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 3 May 1999). Following Adamkus's meeting
with representatives of the opposition Social Democrats, the
office issued a statement saying that "the participants of
the meeting agreed that early Seimas elections would be
extreme and the least desirable measure to solve the current
situation," Reuters reported. The next parliamentary
elections are due in 18 months. The previous day, Adamkus had
praised the Christian Democrats, the junior coalition partner
of the Conservatives, for their position that the next
government should be formed on the basis of the ruling
coalition's majority in the parliament. The coalition is due
to meet on 5 May to discuss the current situation. JC

POLISH PREMIER SUGGESTS REFERENDUM ON EU ENTRY. Prime
Minister Jerzy Buzek said on 4 May that in late 2002 or early
2003 Poland is likely to hold a referendum on joining the EU,
AP reported. Buzek added that the government will prepare
Poles for the ballot by launching a comprehensive information
campaign on the EU entry process. "All citizens should be
informed of the benefits and problems related to the
integration," the agency quoted Buzek as saying. JM

SPY CASE INVESTIGATION BEGINS IN POLAND. The Warsaw Military
District Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation
into two Polish Army officers suspected of spying for the
former Soviet Union and Russia, Polish Radio reported on 4
May. State Protection Office (UOP) spokeswoman Magdalena
Kluczynska declined to explain why the military prosecutor
was notified about the case only now, even though the UOP had
been "handling the case" since 1991. JM

DIENSTBIER SLAMS NATO. Jiri Dienstbier, the UN human rights
commissioner for the Balkans and a former Czechoslovak
foreign minister, said on 4 May in Prague that NATO should
immediately stop its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, CTK
reported. Dienstbier said the bombs are killing not only
people but also local economies and the last vestiges of
democratic development in Serbia. Dienstbier added that NATO
underestimated Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's
resistance and was unprepared for the ethnic purge and vast
numbers of refugees. Finally, Dienstbier accused the West of
applying double standards over the lives of "their" people
and those of the Kosovars. He said a massive operation is
used to retrieve one downed NATO pilot, but there were no air
drops for tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanians because
"some low-flying aircraft might be hit." PB

CZECH ARMY TO USE SLOVAK FIRMS TO MODERNIZE. Czech Defense
Minister Vladimir Vetchy said on 4 May in Brno that some
Slovak firms will be contracted to help upgrade the country's
military equipment, CTK reported. Vetchy did not mention
which firms but said they will be involved in the
modernization of T-72 tanks, combat helicopters, and
ammunition. He added that about 25 percent of the defense
budget has been allocated toward modernization. In other
news, doctors announced that a bone marrow donor has been
found for Josef Lux, the former head of the Christian
Democrats, who was stricken with leukemia last year. PB

SLOVAK PREMIER UPBEAT ON WESTERN INTEGRATION. Saying that his
government has made great progress in "de-Meciarizing" the
country, Mikulas Dzurinda expressed optimism on 4 May about
Slovakia's chances to join NATO, the EU, and the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development, CTK reported,
citing the daily "Le Monde." Dzurinda, who is in France for a
two-day visit, said Slovakia will fulfill the requirements
for OECD membership by the end of the year. Dzurinda and
French Defense Minister Alain Richard unveiled a statue of
Milan Rastislav Stefanik in Meudon, where the Slovak co-
founder of Czechoslovakia worked. It was the 80th anniversary
of his controversial death, and Czech President Vaclav Havel
paid tribute to Stefanik at a statue of him in Prague the
same day. PB

SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW MAKING PROGRESS. The Slovak cabinet met
on 4 May to discuss a proposed law on the use of minority
languages, according to the daily "Novy Cas." Progress was
reported to have been made during the session, which was
chaired by Premier Dzurinda. The government hopes the bill
can be approved by mid-July. Pavol Hamzik, the deputy premier
for European integration, said a special session of the
parliament might be held to expedite the law, which provides
for a return to the pre-1995 situation. The EU is pressuring
Bratislava to pass a language law as one of the conditions
for joining the "fast track" countries in EU accession talks.
PB

NATO TRANSPORT PLANES ARRIVE IN BUDAPEST. Five NATO transport
planes carrying technical and small transport vehicles
arrived at Budapest airport on 4 May, Hungarian media
reported. U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Peter Tufo said it is
probable that NATO will officially ask the cabinet to allow
allied fighters to use Hungarian airports in launching
attacks against Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, the opposition Free
Democrats have withdrawn their support for a Socialist Party
motion demanding that no attack be launched on Serbia from
Hungarian territory. MSZ

HUNGARY ALLOWS TRANSIT OF POLISH TROOPS TO ALBANIA. The
Hungarian parliament on 4 May voted to allow 140 Polish
troops headed for Albania to transit Hungary by railway, MTI
reported. The Polish military contingent, intended to protect
NATO command posts and to assist in delivering humanitarian
aid, was ready to set off for Albania last week (see
"RFE/RL's Newsline," 30 April 1999). JM

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

REFUGEES CONTINUE TO FLOOD MACEDONIA. Two trains brought more
than 5,000 Kosovars to the Blace border crossing on 4 May. A
spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that
in recent days, refugees have been arriving faster than the
UNHCR can process previous arrivals and send them on to other
camps (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 May 1999). He added that work
in Blace has "turned into an exercise of trying to juggle and
shuffle people." A spokeswoman for the UNHCR noted that some
refugees reported that Serbian forces separated young men
from the rest of the expellees at Prishtina train station.
She added that other refugees "showed signs of heavy
beatings." According to UNHCR statistics, there are 110,700
Kosovars in camps in Macedonia and an additional 93,370
staying in private homes there. PM

UNHCR TO SEND REFUGEES TO ALBANIA? UNHCR spokesman Kris
Janowski said in Geneva on 4 May that the UN body will soon
move several thousand refugees from Macedonia to Albania in
order to reduce the overcrowding in Macedonian camps. He
added that "taking people out of Macedonia...is designed to
allay fears of the Macedonian government and keep them on
board," Reuters reported. Janowski described sending Kosovars
to Albania as a "last resort," because that country is
already "swamped" with some 400,000 refugees. He noted that
refugees who go from Macedonia to Albania will be volunteers
and that they will still be eligible for transfer to third
countries. In Skopje, some 248 Kosovars left on a flight to
Canada. The following day, an additional 453 refugees flew
from Skopje to New Jersey. The two flights are the first
taking Kosovars to new homes in North America. PM

UNHCR TO CLOSE KUKES REFUGEE CAMPS. Ray Wilkinson, who is the
UNHCR's spokesman in Tirana, told AP on 4 May that his agency
plans to move a refugee camp from Kukes to another location
in Albania, farther away from the frontier. That camp
accommodates some 30,000 people. Altogether the UNHCR plans
to evacuate 100,000 people in several camps from the northern
town. Wilkinson said that the UNHCR is concerned about
security in the border region, where villages are a frequent
target of Serbian artillery. A UN World Food Program
spokeswoman said her agency turned down a request to improve
the quality of the basic food relief it supplies in Kukes,
arguing that "we don't want to seduce [the refugees] or
increase the comfort level." Many refugees prefer to stay in
Kukes rather than go elsewhere in Albania in the hope of an
early return to Kosova or of finding relatives among new
arrivals. FS

THOUSANDS MORE REFUGEES ARRIVE IN ALBANIA. Some 7,000
additional refugees arrived in Kukes on 4 May. Many told
stories of a new wave of killings and robberies and of men
being separated from women and children in several regions of
Kosova in recent days, AP and Reuters reported. One refugee,
who had been hit by a bullet, said he saw 20 to 30 people
shot dead in Studime, near Vushtrri. Others said they saw at
least 100 dead bodies along the road in that village. The
Kosova Liberation Army's (UCK) news agency, Kosovapress, also
said that Serbian forces killed about 100 civilians there,
adding that the Serbs subsequently dumped the bodies into a
mass grave. FS

SERBIAN SHELLS KILL ALBANIAN VILLAGER. One villager was
killed in a Serbian artillery attack at Letaj, in the Has
Mountains, on 4 May, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Tirana. Elsewhere, Allied Commander Europe General Wesley
Clark told journalists that NATO is determined to destroy
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's war machine. He said
that NATO takes seriously repeated border violations by
Serbian forces and noted that the Apache helicopters in
Albania are ready to go into battle. He did not give details
of the planned operations. Meanwhile, two U.S. Army pilots
were killed north of Tirana when an Apache helicopter crashed
during a training mission. They were the first U.S.
fatalities in the current Balkan campaign. It was the second
crash of an Apache in Albania. FS

NAUMANN SAYS NATO SHOULD HAVE BEEN 'MORE ROBUST.' German
General Klaus Naumann, who heads NATO's Military Affairs
Committee, said in his farewell speech in Brussels on 4 May
that the Atlantic alliance would have been more successful in
its campaign against Milosevic if it had used "surprise and
overwhelming force" from the very start. Naumann added that
the alliance's credibility will ultimately depend on whether
it can adapt its strategy to make "credible preparations" for
a ground war, the "Financial Times" reported. He noted that
it is more difficult for a coalition of countries, such as
NATO, to take firm and decisive action than it is for a
single state to do so. Naumann added that, unless NATO
changes its tactics, it is likely that Milosevic will succeed
in his "mass deportation campaign." Italian Admiral Guido
Venturoni succeeds Naumann in the powerful Brussels military
post. PM

SHEA: SERBS USING SLAVE LABOR TO BUILD 'MAGINOT LINE.' NATO
spokesman Jamie Shea said in Brussels on 4 May that reports
from refugees suggest that Serbian forces have "virtually
emptied" Prizren of its 180,000 inhabitants, including some
50,000 expelled in recent days. He added that the Serbs are
"holding back" many men and using them...as human shields
[and] to build a kind of Maginot Line" [of trenches] around
Prizren." Shea said that the alliance is "very concerned
about [the Kosovars] condition." He also presented a "macabre
tally of this chamber of horrors" since Milosevic launched
his crackdown in early 1998: 800,000 Kosovars have fled the
province, 650,000 are internally displaced, 100,000 men of
military age are missing, and 4,000 men are known to have
been executed. Shea added that NATO has reports of mass
killings in some 65 towns and villages and of mass graves in
at least seven locations, Reuters reported. PM

NATO ATTACKS SERBIAN FORCES... NATO's General Walter Jertz
said in Brussels on 4 May that aircraft of the Atlantic
alliance made an "especially strong" attack on the Yugoslav
army's 125th motorized brigade in western Kosova and its
233rd brigade in the east of the province, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman
noted that a U.S. F-16 fighter shot down a Yugoslav MiG-29
jet, the sixth plane of that type that NATO has downed since
the air campaign began in late March. In Belgrade, Milosevic
congratulated "the army and police for preventing the biggest
aggressor in the world from capturing an inch of our
territory." He added that the Serbian forces have "prevented
incursions by terrorist gangs and fully destroyed units,
headquarters, and infrastructure" of the UCK. PM

...USES PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE. Shea said on 4 May in Brussels
that NATO has begun temporarily cutting off electricity to
Serbian communities in an effort to "turn the lights on in
the heads and minds of the Belgrade leadership" and persuade
them to seek a settlement on NATO's terms (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 4 May 1999). In Croatia, state-run television
reported that the authorities turned down a request by the
Serbian government to "urgently supply it with electricity."
The broadcast noted that Croatian officials made their reply
"following urgent diplomatic consultations with the U.S.
[government] and the NATO high command.... The Croatian
government said that its decision is in accord with its
support for NATO forces." PM

COHEN: U.S. TO FREE TWO SERBIAN SOLDIERS. Secretary of
Defense William Cohen said at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany
on 5 May that he plans to recommend to President Bill Clinton
that he release two Serbian soldiers captured by the UCK in
Kosova and being held by the U.S. in Germany. Clinton is
visiting Spangdahlem, where many of NATO's aircraft for
Operation Allied Force are based. He will also visit Ramstein
Air Base, from which many of the humanitarian relief missions
depart for the Balkans. Before leaving Washington for Europe,
Clinton stressed that any peace negotiations with Belgrade
must lead to the "safe and secure" return home of the
refugees (see also Part I). PM

MONTENEGRIN BUSINESSMEN TELL MILOSEVIC TO SETTLE OR QUIT. The
Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce said in a statement on 4 May
in Podgorica that Milosevic should either negotiate a
solution to the crisis in Kosova soon or resign. The
businessmen added that "the country will collapse completely"
if the crisis continues much longer. PM

BLAIR ADDRESSES ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT. British Prime Minister
Tony Blair called Yugoslav President Milosevic a "pariah in
his own region" and said Romania's stability is threatened by
the Kosova crisis, AP reported on 4 May. Blair thanked
legislators for supporting NATO's air campaign against
Yugoslavia and said his government will formally support
Romania's accession to the EU. Blair said that "Milosevic and
his hideous racial genocide will be defeated." He said Serbia
could "rejoin the world community" when the "dictatorship is
cast out and real democracy returns." PB

FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS ROMANIA COULD JOIN NATO IN THREE
YEARS. Alain Richard told his Romanian counterpart, Victor
Babiuc, in Paris on 4 May that Romania could become a NATO
member by 2002, Romanian Radio reported. The greatest
obstacle to Romania's accession to NATO is the state of the
country's economy, Richard commented. Babiuc said the two
also discussed compensation to Bucharest for the losses it is
incurring as a result of the conflict in Yugoslavia. PB

POPE SENDS MESSAGE TO ROMANIANS. Pope John Paul II sent a
message to Romanians ahead of his visit to the country on 7
May, Mediafax reported. The pope said he will bring "no
sterile polemics over the worldly powers" but the "one and
only God." The visit will be the first by a pope to a mostly
Orthodox country. Airport officials announced the same day
that journalists will have to pay special fees for access to
the airport. An official said it will cost "billions of lei"
(hundreds of thousands of dollars) to spruce up the airport
for the papal visit. PB

LUCINSCHI WORRIED ABOUT DELAY IN WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN ARMS.
Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi said on 4 May that he is
concerned that the second postponement of the scheduled Kyiv
summit will delay the withdrawal of Russian weapons and
military equipment from the separatist Transdniester region,
Basapress reported. Lucinschi, Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma, Russian Premier Yevgenii Primakov, and Transdniester
leader Igor Smirnov were to meet in Kyiv on 30 April, but the
meeting was canceled due to Primakov's back ailment. Some 12
trainloads of Russian arms are to return to Russia this month
under an agreement signed by Moldovan Premier Ion Sturza and
then Russian First Deputy Premier Vadim Gustov on 21 April.
Gustov was sacked one week after his Moldovan visit. PB

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NATO ACCORD. After nearly five
hours of debate, the Bulgarian parliament voted on 4 May to
approve the NATO accord granting the alliance limited use of
the country's air space, AP reported. The vote was 154 to 83
with one abstention. After the vote, Premier Ivan Kostov said
"this is a good day for Bulgarian democracy, which draws us
closer to Europe." Hundreds of riot police were called in to
keep apart pro- and anti-NATO protesters. Police said several
thousand people took part in each of those demonstrations.
Before the debate, the parliament unanimously approved a deal
sending 94 tanks and 108 howitzers to Macedonia. In other
news, Bulgarian Deputy Premier Aleksander Bozhkov said the
U.S. has removed Bulgaria from its blacklist of countries
that severely violate copyright laws. He said the U.S. ruled
that the Bulgarian government has shown a commitment to
enforcing such laws. PB

END NOTE

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICS

By Paul Goble

	Several post-Soviet leaders are seeking to defeat their
opponents in the courtroom rather than at the ballot box, an
abuse of still fragile legal systems that threatens not only
to poison political life but to further limit the chances
that these countries will move toward democracy.
	The latest example of such an effort and its
consequences appear to be taking place in Kazakhstan. Late
last month, Yuri Khitrin, Kazakhstan's chief prosecutor,
announced that he has reopened an investigation into the
affairs of Akezhan Kazhegeldin, a former prime minister who
now leads the opposition to President Nursultan Nazarbaev.
	Khitrin said that he is again looking into charges that
Kazhegeldin and his wife engaged in money laundering and
failed to pay taxes on their earnings. In Washington during a
speaking tour of the U.S., Kazhegeldin proclaimed his
innocence, vowed to fight the charges in court, and suggested
that this legal move is intended to intimidate him.
	Whatever the merits of these specific charges against
Kazhegeldin, his suggestion that the Nazarbaev government is
using the veneer of legality to drive him from political life
appears credible, given the ways in which the authorities
have deployed the legal system against him.
	Earlier this year, officials in Nazarbaev's entourage
prevented Kazhegeldin from running against the incumbent
president in the 10 January poll. And they clearly hope that
this latest charge will prevent him from taking part in
parliamentary elections slated for this fall. Indeed, even if
he is able to demonstrate his innocence in court, the charges
themselves may be enough to prevent him from participating.
	Using the legal system to block political challengers is
hardly unique to Kazakhstan. Legal maneuvering against
serious political challengers has taken place in Azerbaijan,
Ukraine, and the Russian Federation. And most recently, the
Belarusian authorities arrested Mikhail Chyhir, also a former
premier and a candidate in the opposition presidential
elections scheduled for this month, on charges of "grand
larceny" and abuse of office in his former capacity as a top
bank official.
	The advantages of such a strategy to incumbents are
obvious. A legal challenge has the effect of discrediting
opponents they do not want to face both at home and abroad.
Many people in these countries hear such charges and assume
that there must be some truth to them. And many abroad find
the charges plausible enough to cause them to back away from
supporting opponents of the current regimes.
	But this misuse of the legal system does far more than
exclude opponents from taking part in elections. First, it
sends a chilling message to all citizens of these countries.
If the regime is prepared to go after a former prime minister
like Kazhegeldin, it will certainly be willing to go after
anyone, from the highest official to the most ordinary
citizen.
	While no one is above the law, this use of legal
proceeding suggests that there can be no certainty that the
authorities in these post-communist countries will employ
such measures in a lawful manner. And that reduces the
chances that these countries will be able to become
democratic and law-based societies.
	Second, it undoubtedly limits the number of people who
will think about going into political life and challenging
incumbents. Anyone who sees what the authorities can do to
someone who challenges their power is likely to think twice
before trying to get involved.
	Such fears narrow the politically engaged class and make
it more likely that future political change will come in a
ratchet-like rather than evolutionary manner, a pattern that
could throw some of these countries into chaos when the
current incumbents inevitably pass from the scene.
	And third, such actions increase the value of
incumbency. Many officials will do what they can to remain in
office lest they find themselves subject to legal challenges
following their departure. Not only will such efforts tend to
further restrict the possibilities of political evolution,
but they almost certainly will reduce the opportunities for
the development of another generation of active political
leaders.
	Moreover, such legal actions against political opponents
have the effect of increasing the importance of the immunity
from prosecution that members of most of the parliaments in
this region now enjoy. Few current members will want to give
that protection up by leaving office, and thus many of them
may be willing to vote for measures that extend their terms
or guarantee their reelections.
	At the same time, many may try to become deputies
precisely to gain that advantage. But such efforts have
another and perhaps more insidious consequence: they tend to
isolate the political class from the population and thus
reinforce the Soviet-era notion that the elite is permitted
to do things that the citizenry cannot.
	It is a fundamental principle of democratic governance
that no one should stand above the law. But it is equally
important that no one should be victimized by the political
misuse of legal norms.

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