True heroism consists not in fighting under a flag but in not fighting at all. - Freidrich Nietzsche
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 91, Part I, 11 May 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 91, Part I, 11 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 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

* IMPEACHMENT FIXED ON DUMA AGENDA

* RUSSIAN UN AMBASSADOR SAYS CHINA WANTS CRIMINAL
INVESTIGATION

* AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT LEAVES HOSPITAL

End Note: MORE THAN AUTONOMY, LESS THAN INDEPENDENCE
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RUSSIA

IMPEACHMENT FIXED ON DUMA AGENDA. The State Duma Council
confirmed on 11 May that the process of impeaching Russian
President Boris Yeltsin will begin on 13 May and continue
through 15 May, Russian Public Television reported. Duma
deputies will consider separately the five charges against
the president. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii said that
his party will support three of those charges, while Liberal
Democratic Party member and Chairman of the Committee on
Geopolitics Aleksei Mitrofanov said on 11 May that his party
has not yet decided how it will vote, Interfax reported.
Meanwhile, Ekho Moskvy reported the same day that an informed
Kremlin source has claimed that Yeltsin will propose Railways
Minister Viktor Aksenenko as a replacement for Prime Minister
Yevgenii Primakov before the vote takes place. Writing in
"Trud" on 8 May, political analyst Vyacheslav Nikonov
predicted that a dissolution of the Primakov government would
trigger "a tremendous political crisis, comparable only to
the events of the fall of 1993." JAC

RUSSIAN UN AMBASSADOR SAYS CHINA WANTS CRIMINAL
INVESTIGATION. Following a closed Security Council session in
New York on 10 May, Russian Ambassador to the UN Sergei
Lavrov said that "China insists on an official apology, on an
official investigation, and on bringing to court those guilty
for the [accidental NATO] attack" on the Chinese embassy in
Belgrade during the night of 7-8 May. He added that the
embassy bombing, "whether it was [done] deliberately or
inadvertently, is a glaring violation of international law,"
ITAR-TASS reported. FS

CHERNOMYRDIN SAYS CHINA'S VIEWS 'CLOSE' TO RUSSIA'S...
Yeltsin's envoy to Yugoslavia Viktor Chernomyrdin told ITAR-
TASS in Beijing on 11 May that Chinese President Jiang Zemin
and Prime Minister Zhu Rongji have views on the Kosova crisis
"close" to those of Russia. After meeting with both Chinese
leaders, Chernomyrdin said that he discussed with them a
possible UN Security Council Resolution based on the
principles adopted at last week's G-8 summit (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 7 May 1999). He did not say, however, whether
China will support the resolution that G-8 Foreign Ministry
officials are preparing in Bonn. Chernomyrdin also told the
state-run Xinhua news agency that the NATO bombing of the
Chinese Embassy in Belgrade constituted "aggressive behavior
and a brutal act." FS

...PRAISES PARTIAL SERBIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Chernomyrdin
told Interfax in Beijing that a partial troop withdrawal
announced by Yugoslav officials (see Part II) is "important
for resolving the Yugoslav crisis." He added, however, that
that all corresponding documents must be "studied carefully
to find out the details of the announced move." His aide,
Valentin Sergeev, said in Moscow that the withdrawal may be
"one of [Belgrade's] most serious moves in the process of
resolving the Yugoslav crisis," Reuters reported. He claimed
that the move was largely the result of Russia's mediation
efforts. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said in Brussels on 10 May
that a partial troop withdrawal is not sufficient to fulfill
NATO's five key demands to end its air-campaign. FS

GOVERNMENT TO REINTRODUCE FIXED PRICES ON VODKA... As part of
the government's pursuit of budget revenue to satisfy IMF
requirements for disbursement of a new loan, the Primakov
government is drafting a resolution requiring that state
distilleries manufacture and distribute vodka according to
retail and wholesale prices fixed for the country as a whole,
"Moskovskii komsomolets" reported on 11 May. According to the
daily, First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Maslyukov, among
others, believes that this measure will bring an additional
2.5-3 billion rubles ($104-125 million) into the state
coffers. The newspaper cites unnamed analysts at the Finance
Ministry who believe that the policy will only increase
"vodka piracy," thus increasing the amount of lost revenues
from the vodka excise tax. JAC

...AND NATIONALIZE INSOLVENT BANKS? "Kommersant-Vlast"
reported in its latest issue that the package of bills
prepared by the government in compliance with its agreement
with the IMF will attract opposition not only from the Duma
but also from the presidential administration. Citing an
unnamed high-ranking Kremlin official, the publication
reported that the Yeltsin administration opposes the bill on
the insolvency of lending organizations, which would
reportedly require that banks be nationalized if they become
insolvent. According to "Kommersant-Vlast," the "IMF believes
that another wave of bank privatizations will be the next
phase" after nationalization. However, the publication noted
that while Duma deputies may be willing to support banks'
nationalization, they will never support those institutions'
re-privatization. JAC

FEWER RUSSIANS FILE PERSONAL INCOME TAX RETURNS. According to
preliminary estimates, the number of individuals who filed
personal income tax returns for 1998 was down 7 percent on
the previous year, "Finansovaya Rossiya" reported in May. Two
reasons for this drop, according to Max Sokol, director of
the Individual Taxation Directorate, are because some
citizens decided to wait to declare their income in May and
because those who earned less than 20,000 rubles ($832) do
not have to file a return. The proportion of residents who
filed returns was higher in Moscow and some large cities in
southern Russia than in other parts of the country, according
to the publication. JAC

'MIR' STILL LOOKING FOR FINANCING. Vladimir Nikitskii,
Energiya's deputy director-general, told Interfax on 10 May
that sufficient funding to keep "Mir" in orbit has not yet
been found, and if no investors are lined up by June, the
space station will drop into the Pacific Ocean in late
August. According to Nikitskii, British businessman Peter
Llewellyn helped Energiya secure a $100 million loan, which
will help finance only the station's 28th mission. He added
that Llewellyn's promotional flight is just part of a broad
search for sources of funding outside the federal budget. JAC

LENINGRAD NARROWLY MISSES DEFAULT? In contrast to coverage by
other media outlets, such as AP, "The St. Petersburg Times"
and "Vremya MN" reported on 7 May that the Leningrad Oblast
did not default on a $50 million syndicated loan on 5 May but
managed to persuade its creditors to reschedule the loan (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 6 May 1999). According to the St.
Petersburg daily, the oblast's Finance Committee Chairman
Aleksandr Yakovlev, told reporters on 6 May that, after
visiting the construction site of a new Philip Morris
factory, creditors agreed to a restructuring proposal that
called for the loans to be repaid in full by May 2001.
Revenues from a tobacco excise tax will be a key source of
new financing for the oblast government. JAC

SVERDVLOVSK GOVERNOR SUGGESTS GOLD REPLACEMENT FOR DOLLAR.
Eduard Rossel is proposing that a gold coin worth more than
the U.S. dollar be introduced in Russia, Interfax reported on
10 May. After the introduction of the coin, "all dollars must
be loaded on a barge and shipped to" the U.S. Rossel added
that Russia "should stop enriching the U.S. economy."
Earlier, Rossel, who appears to fancy himself as an innovator
in the realm of monetary policy, suggested that Russia impose
a ban on circulation of the dollar (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2
October 1998). In addition, one version of the oblast's 1999
budget called for the introduction of a local currency. JAC

SMOLENSKII RETURNS. So-called oligarch and head of SBS-AGRO
bank Aleksandr Smolenskii returned to Moscow from Austria on
10 May, Interfax AiF reported. On 6 April, the office of the
Prosecutor-General announced its intention to arrest the
banker on suspicion of money-laundering and other illegal
financial machinations. Later, it was announced that a
warrant for his arrest had been withdrawn. JAC

CHECHNYA PREPARES FOR PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO MOSCOW. Aslan
Maskhadov met for two hours on 10 May with members of the
commission that traveled to Moscow later that day to finalize
the agenda for Maskhadov's upcoming meeting with Russian
President Yeltsin, Interfax reported. Former Deputy Prime
Minister Akhmed Zakaev said that meeting may take place on 13
or 14 May. It is to focus on why earlier agreements signed by
the two sides were not implemented and how to set about doing
so. Russian Nationalities Minister Ramazan Abdulatipov said
on 7 May that Yeltsin is prepared for the meeting, which
Abdulatipov predicted will be "useful for both sides,"
according to ITAR-TASS. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT LEAVES HOSPITAL. Heidar Aliev was
discharged from the Cleveland Clinic on 10 May, his 76th
birthday, eleven days after undergoing cardiac surgery,
Reuters reported. Aliev said he is feeling "much better than
before the operation," but an Azerbaijani embassy spokesman
said the president must undergo further checkups. He declined
to specify when Aliev will return to Azerbaijan. In a live
television broadcast to Azerbaijanis the previous day, Aliev
congratulated his countrymen on the anniversary of the end of
World War II. He also said he is conducting telephone
conversations with leading Azerbaijani officials and
commended their running of the country in his absence,
according to Turan. LF

U.S. HOPES FOR RELEASE OF IMPRISONED AZERBAIJANI JOURNALIST.
At a press briefing in Washington on 10 May, U.S. State
Department spokesman James Rubin expressed disappointment
that the Azerbaijani authorities have rejected appeals for
the release of Fuad Gakhramanly, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. Gakhramanly was sentenced in November last year to
18 months' imprisonment for an unpublished article that the
prosecution claimed outlined tactics for overthrowing
President Aliev (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 November 1998).
Rubin said he hopes Gakhramanly will be released under an
amnesty to mark Azerbaijan's national independence day on 28
May. The International League for Human Rights has also
appealed to President Aliev to release Gakhramanly, Turan
reported on 10 May. LF

AZERBAIJANI JOURNALIST GIVES VARYING EXPLANATIONS OF
DETENTION IN IRAN. "Ekspress" editor Ganimat Zahidov briefed
journalists in Baku on 10 May on the circumstances of his
detention by the Iranian authorities at the Astara frontier
crossing on 3 May, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7
and 10 May, 1999). Zahidov said Iranian officials had
objected to his having conducted an interview in Tabriz with
a prominent representative of Iran's ethnic Azerbaijani
population while he, Zahidov, was travelling on a tourist
visa, which, the officials said, did not entitle him to
engage in journalistic activities. Zahidov then had to go to
Enzeli in order to acquire a valid visa before returning to
Baku. Speaking later on 10 May on private ANS-TV, however,
Zahidov said that Iranian intelligence operatives had
detained him at Astara and taken him to Enzeli, where they
threatened him with imprisonment unless he agreed to
cooperate with them, including preparing an assassination
attempt on former President Abulfaz Elchibey. LF

GREEK, GEORGIAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS COOPERATION. Visiting
Tbilisi on 9-11 May, Constantine Stefanopoulos met with his
Georgian counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, Minister of State
Vazha Lortkipanidze, parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania,
Patriarch Ilia II, and members of Georgia's ethnic Greek
minority, Caucasus Press reported on 10 May. Shevardnadze and
Stefanopoulos discussed bilateral cooperation within the
Council of Europe and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
Organization, the conflicts in Kosova and Abkhazia, possible
enhanced Greek involvement in the TRACECA transport corridor,
and the export via Georgia of Caspian oil. Stefanopoulos said
Greece still supports plans for a pipeline from the Bulgarian
port of Varna to Alexandropoulis that would bypass the
Turkish straits. Two inter-governmental agreements on
avoiding dual taxation and on assistance in the field of
civil and criminal law were signed on 10 May. LF

CIS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY VISITS KAZAKHSTAN. Yurii Yarov flew
to Astana on 11 May where he briefed Kazakhstan's President
Nursultan Nazarbaev on the implementation of decisions
adopted by the 2 April CIS summit, including the creation of
a CIS free trade zone, RFE/RL correspondents reported. At a
subsequent meeting with journalists Yarov declined to comment
on Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's 7 May
statement that "the CIS has absolutely no prospects for
development..., it doesn't even fulfil the role of a
political club" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 May 1999) LF

KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT MEETS WITH MINISTERS. Nazarbaev met on
10 May with Justice Minister Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov, Natural
Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Serikbek
Daukeev, and Transport and Communications Minister Serik
Burkitbaev, RFE/RL's Astana bureau reported. The discussions
focused on implementation of presidential decrees on
combating corruption, expanding natural gas supplies from the
North Aral region to the south of the country, which has
recently been hit by shortages, and improving the country's
telecommunications system. Also on 10 May, First Deputy
Prosecutor-General Onalsyn Zhumabekov told ITAR-TASS that the
Kazakh authorities have compiled a "black-list" of some 3,000
officials sacked or sentenced for, or merely suspected of,
corruption or economic crime and who will be barred from
holding government posts. LF

KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT DEPUTY REPORTS ON AFTERMATH OF BARSKOON
DISASTER. Jypar Jeksheev briefed journalists in Bishkek on 10
May about his trip the previous week to the Issyk-Kul region,
scene of the May 1998 spill of toxic chemicals that caused
four deaths, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Jepsheev said
that some 60 local residents are still suffering from the
symptoms of poisoning and that the local authorities ignored
a 6-9 May picket by residents demanding help. LF

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ASSESSES SITUATION IN TAJIKISTAN. In a
letter to the UN Security Council on 10 May, Kofi Annan
recommended extending for a further six months the mandate of
the UN Observer Mission in Tajikistan, which expires on 15
May, ITAR-TASS reported. Annan noted that progress in
implementing the 1997 Tajik peace agreements has been
complicated by the "deeply-rooted mistrust" between the
government and the opposition. He added that tensions between
the government and the United Tajik Opposition have delayed
the involvement of other political forces in the peace
process. LF

END NOTE

MORE THAN AUTONOMY, LESS THAN INDEPENDENCE

by Paul Goble

        Discussions about Kosova's future status, one likely to
be more than autonomy but less than independence, call
attention to an increasing willingness on the part of the
international community to consider political arrangements
that the existing state system had seemed to preclude.
        Most proposals currently on the table about that war-
torn land include some kind of international military
presence--although disagreements remain about its size,
composition, and armaments--that would allow the Kosovars to
return to their homes in security. But none of these
scenarios calls for the recognition of Kosova as a full-
fledged independent state. Indeed, most seem designed to
prevent that very outcome.
        On the one hand, these various proposals to give Kosova
a special status reflect an effort by the international
community to solve the immediate problem. And most of the
governments making them have gone out of their way to insist
that arrangements designed for Kosova will not become a
precedent either for other ethnic communities seeking greater
rights or for an international community interested in
defending those rights.
        But on the other hand, the debate about how to deal with
Kosova appears to reflect the convergence of three major
shifts in the international system over the last few decades.
A Kosova settlement of virtually any kind seems certain to
increase those shifts, regardless of what any participant in
this debate now says.
        First, sovereignty no longer means what it did in the
past. The heightened role of the UN, particularly since the
end of the Cold War, has led ever more states to accept
restrictions on activities that they had earlier viewed as
their sovereign right to engage in. Government leaders no
longer insist that they have unlimited rights with respect
either to the treatment of their own populations or in their
relations with other states.
        That has not meant the end of the international system
of states. Indeed, far from all countries have accepted these
new arrangements. But it has meant that the component parts
of that system have changed, even though few of them are
prepared to recognize the full magnitude of consequences that
these changes entail.
        Second, the international system, or at least major
parts of it, is apparently now prepared to intervene in the
affairs of other countries in ways that most of its members
earlier had felt were prohibited.
        Until very recently, neither individual governments nor
groups of states were prepared to argue that they had the
right to intervene on the territory of another state in the
name of protecting human rights or combating crimes against
humanity. Now in Kosova, NATO has done just that, intervening
to protect the Kosovars but insisting that the Western
countries will not, at least not yet, recognize an
independent Kosova.
        Such intervention further limits the meaning of
sovereignty not only of Yugoslavia but potentially of other
countries as well. That is the foundation of some objections
to what NATO is doing, but the crimes against which NATO is
acting have overwhelmed these objections in the minds of most
people and governments in the West.
        And third, these two shifts have combined to power a
third one: a willingness to accept the possibility that
particular territories might enjoy something more than
autonomy but less than independence.
        Most analysts trace the history of the current
international system of states to the Treaty of Westphalia in
1648. That agreement created the system of nation-states by
recognizing the power of any given state to be absolute and
unquestioned on its territory. That system allowed other
states to compete with it externally, but it did not allow
any of them to make demands that would lead to shared
sovereignty.
        In fact, that idealized picture never existed, and it
has become ever less true in the 20th century. Perhaps the
clearest example of the way in which the international system
has accepted a kind of shared or restricted sovereignty
concerns Taiwan, an island most countries around the world
consider to be part of China but which they treat for all
practical purposes as an independent country.
        Yet another concerns the efforts to promote shared Irish
and British rule over Northern Ireland, an arrangement that
has yet to bear fruit but is seen by many as the only way out
of the tragic conflict that has torn that region for much of
the past generation.
        And Kosova represents yet another step in the
refashioning of the international state system, a step that
is likely to have ever broader consequences in the future.
And that is even more likely to be the case if, as now, those
taking that step seek to deny that outcome.

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