It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. - Erasmus
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 102, Part I, 26 May 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 102, Part I, 26 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* CABINET SELECTION PROCESS NEARS COMPLETION

* GOVERNMENT SURVIVOR TAPPED TO STEER ECONOMY

* TAJIK GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS OPPOSITION ULTIMATUM
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

CABINET SELECTION PROCESS NEARS COMPLETION... State Duma
Budget Committee Chairman Aleksandr Zhukov was not appointed
first deputy prime minister on 25 May, as NTV had reported
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 1999). Instead, Mikhail
Zadornov, who was finance minister in the cabinets of Viktor
Chernomyrdin, Sergei Kirienko, and Yevgenii Primakov, was
promoted to First Deputy Prime Minister, while First Deputy
Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was tapped for the top spot
at the Finance Ministry. According to Reuters, a decree
naming Zhukov was prepared but never issued. So far, the
futures of acting Economic Minister Andrei Shapovalyants and
Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak have not been
clarified. The new finance minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, was
earlier responsible for conducting negotiations with Russia's
various creditors. JAC

...AS MANY MINISTRIES RETAIN CURRENT LEADERSHIP. Also on 25
May, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Aleksandr Pochinok
minister of tax, replacing Georgii Boos. Pochinok is a former
head of the State Tax Service. As expected, Deputy Prime
Minister Valentina Matvienko, Transportation Minister Sergei
Frank, Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov, Labor Minister
Sergei Kalashnikov, Education Minister Vladimir Filippov,
State Property Minister Farit Gazizullin, Science Minister
Mikhail Kirpichnikov, Culture Minister Vladimir Yegorov, and
Natural Resources Minister Viktor Orlov were all reappointed,
Interfax reported. Viktor Kalyuzhnii was promoted from first
deputy minister for fuel and energy to the top spot at the
ministry, replacing Sergei Generalov. Kalyuzhnii, a former
executive with Tomskneft, is reported to have close ties with
LUKoil, according to "Segodya" and "Vremya MN." Mikhail
Fradkov was appointed trade minister, replacing Georgii
Gabuniya. JAC

GOVERNMENT SURVIVOR TAPPED TO STEER ECONOMY. New First Deputy
Prime Minister Zadornov, a former member of Yabloko, is the
last remaining member of the team that oversaw Russian
monetary policy when the de facto devaluation of the ruble
occurred in mid-August 1998. During his tenure at the Finance
Ministry, Zadornov has earned harsh criticism from military
officials and certain regional leaders for keeping too tight
a rein on financial flows. Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev
told Interfax that he feels "positive in principle" about
Zadornov's appointment, calling him "a professional who knows
his job." Deputy Chairman of the Yabloko faction Sergei
Ivanenko called Zadornov's appointment "a reasonable and
perhaps most optimal decision." Duma deputy and Communist
Party Deputy Chairman Valentin Kuptsov was less pleased,
predicting that Zadornov's appointment might elicit "a lot of
puzzling questions since he was one of the culprits of the
financial crisis of 17 August." JAC

STEPASHIN TO CREATE NEW TOP SPOT FOR DEFENSE. Prime Minister
Sergei Stepashin said on 25 May that he will appoint a deputy
prime minister to oversee defense policy. AFP reported the
same day that Federal Security Service head Vladimir Putin
and Foreign Intelligence chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov have been
"confirmed" in their posts. JAC

NEW AGRICULTURAL POLICY HEAD HAILED. Vladimir Shcherbak was
named both minister for food and agriculture and deputy prime
minister with responsibility for agricultural issues,
Interfax reported. Shcherbak had been first deputy minister
of agriculture since 1992, before which he headed the Russian
branch of Agroprom, "Izvestiya" reported on 26 May. During
his tenure at the Agriculture Ministry, Shcherbak was
responsible for negotiating with the EU and U.S. for some
$1.5 billion in food aid, "The Moscow Times" reported on 26
May. Both AKKOR head Vladimir Bashmachnikov and Leonid
Kholod, a former deputy economics minister and agricultural
expert, praised Shcherbak's appointment. Kholod called him a
"better choice" than his predecessor, former Deputy Prime
Minister Gennadii Kulik, according to the daily. JAC

TALBOTT REAFFIRMS NATO POSITION. U.S. Deputy Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott, after talks with Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov in Moscow on 26 May, said that NATO
stands by its demands for a complete withdrawal of Serbian
and Yugoslav troops from Kosova. He stressed that conditions
for the return of refugees cannot be "favorable" as long as
Yugoslav soldiers remain there. He also made clear that "NATO
will certainly be involved in a very central way in [any]
international [peace-keeping] force," Reuters reported. The
previous day, Talbott said he is "well aware of the strains
the NATO air strikes have created for U.S.-Russian
relations." Talbott is due to hold talks later on 26 May with
Russian special envoy to Yugoslavia Chernomyrdin and Finnish
President Martti Ahtisaari. FS

CHERNOMYRDIN ANNOUNCES ANOTHER BELGRADE MISSION. Chernomyrdin
said in Nizhnii Novgorod on 25 May that he will meet with
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade on 27 May
(see "RFE/RL Newsline" 21 May 1999). Chernomyrdin told
Reuters that "the main thing now is to sit both sides down at
the negotiating table with the participation of the competent
international organizations and not to let Russia be dragged
into the war, though many want this." Chernomyrdin also told
Interfax that he rejects the suggestions of unspecified
"hard-liners in the Russian establishment" to supply military
technology to Yugoslavia in defiance of an international
embargo. He made clear that "we will not supply anything." FS

MORE REPORTS OF RUSSIANS FIGHTING IN KOSOVA. "Segodnya" on 24
May reported that the Russian Guard, the Russian Party of
National Revival, Officers for National Revival, and other
nationalist organizations have been recruiting volunteers to
fight in Kosova. An unnamed volunteer leader said that "a
couple of weeks ago" a small group of radio specialists,
anti-aircraft gunners, and other anti-aircraft specialists
left for Yugoslavia. He added that other military experts are
ready to follow them. "There is nothing for us to do there at
the moment: the Serbs can manage [the guerillas] by
themselves," he said. But at the same time, he warned that
"if NATO dares send in its ground forces..., Russian
volunteers will immediately go to Serbia." Cossack Colonel
Vladimir Simonov told the daily that a Cossack delegation met
with Milosevic over Easter and gave him lists of 12,000
volunteers, all of whom reportedly have military experience.
FS

MOSCOW, DELHI TO SIGN STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP DECLARATION.
Russia and India plan to sign a declaration of strategic
partnership, Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov told journalists
following a meeting with his Indian counterpart, Jaswant
Singh, in Moscow on 25 May, Interfax reported. The principles
of that declaration, expected to be signed at a Russian-
Indian summit later this year, will become the "foundation
for [bilateral] cooperation in the 21st century," he added.
Discussing the Kosova crisis, the two foreign ministers
agreed that NATO should immediately stop its bombing campaign
and seek a political solution to the crisis. Singh also
discussed the Kosova crisis, among other issues, in a
telephone conversation with President Yeltsin, who is
currently in Sochi. Both leaders expressed satisfaction with
the level of bilateral cooperation, which, they said, plays
an important role in regional stability and in the creation
of a "multi-polar world order." JC

PENSION BACKLOG REDUCED... As of 1 May, the level of unpaid
pensions --16.5 billion rubles ($670 million)--dropped almost
by half, compared with the figure of 30.5 billion rubles
recorded on 1 October 1998, Deputy Prime Minister Valentina
Matvienko announced on 25 May. According to ITAR-TASS,
Matvienko promised that all pension arrears would be wiped
out by October 1999. In the meantime, 32 regions have
eradicated their pension debts altogether, while 34 regions
are only one or two months behind. According to "Izvestiya"
on 26 May, as of 1 May only 10 regions owed no back wages to
state workers, while another 17, including Vologda, Murmansk,
Leningrad, Bryansk, and Kaluga Oblasts, were experiencing
delays of no more than a month. JAC

...BUT TIMELY WAGE PAYMENT REMAINS PROBLEM. First Deputy
Chairman of the Pension Fund Aleksandr Kutrin told reporters
the same day that the regions with the largest pension
backlogs are Altai Krai, the Republics of Buryatia and
Khakassia, Tula Oblast, and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
"Izvestiya" reported that regions with wage delays ranging
from three to seven months include Kemerovo, Omsk, Chita,
Magadan, and Sakhalin Oblasts, the Republics of Altai,
Khakassia, and Buryatia, and the Koryak and Chukotka
Autonomous Okrugs. JAC

PRIMAKOV TO PEN BIOGRAPHY, AS ASSOCIATES SET UP OVERSEAS.
Former Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov has begun writing his
memoirs, RIA news agency reported on 25 May. Former Deputy
Prime Minister Kulik told the agency that Primakov is
considering several possibilities for the future but wants
first to deal with his health problems. "Kommersant-Daily"
reported on 26 May that two of Primakov's closest associates
are to be assigned to diplomatic posts overseas. Former head
of the government apparatus Yurii Zubakov will head the
embassy in Lithuania, while former head of the Prime
Minister's Secretariat Robert Markarian is going to Syria.
JAC

NATIONAL LEADER CALLS FOR REFERENDUM ON BURYING LENIN. Moscow
Mayor Yurii Luzhkov on 25 May welcomed Patriarch of Moscow
and All Russia Aleksii II's proposal to bury the embalmed
body of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin but added that
the issue should be resolved by consensus, Interfax reported.
Patriarch Aleksii II had lamented the previous day that the
"beautiful Red Square" has been turned "into a cemetery for
revolutionaries." "Kommersant-Daily" reported the next day
that according to its sources, President Yeltsin considers
the "'liberation of Russia from the heritage of Communism' to
be his mission and intends to clear Red Square of any symbols
of Bolshevism before the end of his reign." Konstantin Titov,
Samara Oblast governor and informal leader of Golos Rossii,
echoed Luzhkov's call for reaching consensus on the issue,
telling Interfax that the country "shouldn't act too hastily
in trying to resolve this issue." JAC

WOULD-BE 'MIR' BENEFACTOR GROUNDED? Head of the Gagarin
Cosmonaut Training Center Petr Klimuk told Interfax on 26 May
that British businessman Peter Llewellyn will not fly to the
"Mir" space station in August 1999. Llewellyn had promised to
raise funds for a children's hospital by making that flight
as well as attracting new loans for the station. According to
Reuters, Llewellyn could not be reached for comment and an
official at the training center did not know the
businessman's future plans. JAC

CHECHEN MUFTI'S BODYGUARDS KILLED BY BOMB. Five men
identified as bodyguards of Akhmad-hadji Kadyrov died when
their car was destroyed by a bomb blast in Grozny on 25 May,
Russian agencies reported. Interior Minister Khizar Mezhidov
said the bomb was identical to those used in earlier such
attacks. Kadyrov narrowly escaped death in a similar attack
last year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 1998). LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

SALE OF ARMENIAN BRANDY PLANT FINALIZED. Representatives of
the Armenian government and France's Pernod Ricard group
signed an agreement in Yerevan on 25 May finalizing the
French concern's purchase of the Yerevan Brandy Factory,
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Pernod Ricard won a tender
for the factory in 1998, but opposition parliamentary
deputies, protesting that the $30 million price tag was too
low, tried unsuccessfully to block ratification of the sale.
In December 1998, Pernod Ricard requested a six-month
postponement in finalizing the deal, saying that the Russian
financial crisis had seriously affected the market in Russia
for Armenian cognac. A spokesman said on 25 May that Pernod
Ricard no longer has any doubts about the factory's economic
viability. LF

AZERBAIJAN'S LIBERAL PARTY WITHDRAWS FROM OPPOSITION
ALLIANCE. The Liberal Party of Azerbaijan issued a statement
on 25 May saying it considers "inexpedient" its continued
membership in the Movement for Electoral Reform and
Democratic Elections, created one year earlier, Turan
reported. The statement said the movement's members have
become mired in disputes among themselves. Musavat Party Isa
Gambar, Democratic Party chairman Ilyas Ismailov, and
Azerbaijan Popular Front Party first deputy chairman Ali
Kerimov all expressed regret at the decision. LF

AZERBAIJAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY CALLS ON OPPOSITION TO JOIN
DEBATE ON ELECTION LAW. Fazail Agamaly on 25 May requested
parliamentary deputy speaker Arif Ragimzade to ask the 17
opposition Democratic Bloc deputies to participate in the
second reading, scheduled for that day, of the draft Law on
Municipal Elections, Turan reported. The Democratic Bloc,
which has been boycotting parliamentary proceedings for
almost a month to protest alleged restrictions on its
activities, criticized that bill as "reactionary" and
"undemocratic" after its first reading (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 April and 17 May 1999). Meanwhile more than 60
deputies have appealed for an emergency parliamentary session
to be convened on 1 June. They fear the municipal elections
bill will not be passed before the end of the spring session,
on 31 May. Those elections were scheduled to have been held
two years ago. LF

MORE ALLEGED COUP PLOTTERS ARRESTED IN GEORGIA. Interior
Minister Kakha Targamadze told parliamentary deputies on 25
May that 12 people have now been arrested on suspicion of
planning terrorist acts and the assassination of President
Eduard Shevardnadze with the aim of seizing power, Interfax
reported. At least four of them are former Security Ministry
officials, according to Caucasus Press, quoting Prosecutor-
General Djamlet Babilashvili. Targamadze added that the
police have secured evidence of contacts between the plotters
and former Security Minister Igor Giorgadze. Security
Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze declined to comment on
allegations that some Russian servicemen based in Georgia
were involved in the conspiracy. LF

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS GEORGIA. Victor Babiuc met
with President Shevardnadze in Tbilisi on 25 May, Caucasus
Press reported. The two discussed ways of expanding ties
between the countries' Defense Ministries, the situation in
the Balkans, and the need to strengthen ties between GUUAM
(Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova) and NATO.
According to unconfirmed reports, Romania, along with Poland,
may be interested in joining that alignment (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 4 May 1999). The previous day, Babiuc and his
Georgian counterpart, Davit Tevzadze, had discussed
cooperation prospects, including the training of Georgian
officers in Romania and cooperation between the two
countries' military-industrial complexes. LF

FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER SUMMONED TO COURT. Akezhan Kazhegeldin
has been summoned to appear at the Almaty City Court on 1
June, RFE/RL's bureau in the former capital reported. Kazakh
National Security Committee chairman Nurtay Abyqaev told
"Kazakhstanskaya pravda" that two criminal cases have been
opened against Kazhegeldin, one in connection with alleged
tax evasion and the other to determine the origins of
Kazhegeldin's allegedly huge fortune in foreign banks. The 31
Kanal Almaty TV channel reported that the National Security
Committee has created a special team to investigate
Kazhegeldin's case. LF

KAZAKH CENTRAL ELECTION COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN MEETS POLITICAL
PARTY LEADERS. Zaghipa Balieva met with representatives of
Kazakh political parties and movements in Almaty on 25 May to
discuss the new election law, RFE/RL correspondents reported.
Balieva said that any one of 43 minor offenses could
disqualify potential candidates from participation in
elections at any level. LF

KAZAKH HUNGER-STRIKERS RECEIVE INTERIM PAYMENT. Serik
Umbetov, governor of Zhambyl Oblast in southern Kazakhstan,
has distributed some 50,000 tenges ($450) among workers at
the Phosphorus Producing Plant in Taraz who have been on
hunger strike for almost three weeks to demand the payment of
back wages, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 May 1999). After Umbetov had promised to pay
all outstanding wages by 10 June, the protesters agreed to
suspend their hunger strike until that date. LF

KYRGYZSTAN PASSES NEW LAW ON POLITICAL PARTIES. The
Legislative Assembly--the lower house of Kyrgyzstan's
parliament--passed a law on political parties on 25 May,
RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported, citing the parliamentary
press service. That law no longer designates political
parties as public organizations and reduces from 500 to10 the
minimum number of persons who need to found a party. Those
amendments are unlikely, however, to affect the outcome of
the parliamentary elections in February 2000, as only parties
that were registered with the Ministry of Justice one year
before those elections are eligible to participate. LF

KYRGYZ FOREIGN MINISTER IN CHINA. Muratbek Imanaliev held
talks in Beijing on 25 May with China's Minister of Foreign
Trade Zhang Xiang, ITAR-TASS reported. Both sides expressed
their wish and determination to expand economic ties.
Imanaliev predicted that in the 21st century, China will
become Kyrgyzstan's main trading partner. LF

TAJIK GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS OPPOSITION ULTIMATUM. The Tajik
government issued a statement on 25 May dismissing as
"unacceptable" conditions that the United Tajik Opposition
stipulated the previous day for its continued participation
in the peace process, Reuters and Interfax reported (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 1999). Those conditions include the
naming as defense minister of opposition field commander
Mirzo Zioev and the holding of parliamentary elections before
the presidential poll, which the Tajik government had said
will take place before 6 November. The statement blamed the
lagging implementation of earlier agreements on the recent
two-month absence from Tajikistan of UTO Chairman Said
Abdullo Nuri. Earlier on 25 May President Imomali Rakhmonov
met with ambassadors from the eight countries, including
Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, that are guarantors
of the peace process. LF

TURKMENISTAN TO TERMINATE BORDER AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA. The
head of the Russian border guard contingent in Turkmenistan,
Vladimir Konovalov, told Reuters on 25 May that Ashgabat has
informed Moscow it plans unilaterally to revoke the open-
ended treaty it signed with Russia in 1993, which allows for
Turkmen and Russian border troops jointly to guard
Turkmenistan's frontiers with Iran and Afghanistan. Konovalov
commented that he considers the Turkmen move justified, as
the country's border service is fully capable of performing
that task without the assistance of the 300 Russian border
guards currently serving in Turkmenistan. LF

UZBEKISTAN, U.S. DISCUSS DEFENSE COOPERATION. U.S. special
envoy to the Secretary of State for the Newly Independent
States Stephen Sestanovich attended a session of the U.S.-
Uzbek Joint Commission in Tashkent on 24-25 May. Sestanovich
and Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov signed six
documents, including a two-year program for defense
cooperation and agreements on combating terrorism and the
demilitarization of some Uzbek chemical plants that
previously contributed to the Soviet chemical weapons
program. The U.S. agreed to grant Uzbekistan some $30 million
to implement that demilitarization program and to pursue
market reform. A joint press release issued after the session
noted that the U.S. welcomes Uzbekistan's pledge to make its
currency freely convertible next year. 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
allenm@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 25 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
* Fabian Schmidt, SchmidtF@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Pete Baumgartner, Victor Gomez, Dan Ionescu, Zsolt-Istvan
Mato, Jolyon Naegele, 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