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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 117, Part I, 16 June 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 117, Part I, 16 June 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

* IS RUSSIA WILLING TO COMPROMISE ON KOSOVA?

* STEPASHIN PREDICTS IMF CASH BY JULY

* NEW ARMENIAN CABINET NAMED

END NOTE: RUSSIA'S NEW BEZPRIZORNIKI
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RUSSIA

IS RUSSIA WILLING TO COMPROMISE ON KOSOVA? Vladimir Putin,
director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and chairman
of the Russian Security Council, told Interfax in Moscow on
16 June that Russia insists on "a certain degree of
independence in making decisions and
conducting...peacekeeping operations" in Kosova. He added,
however, that Russia is willing to cooperate with NATO
through an unspecified Russian officer in the Kosova
peacekeeping force (KFOR) command. Observers noted that such
a solution would be similar to that used to define Russia's
role in the Bosnian stabilization force. FS

SERGEEV PLEDGES 'CONSTRUCTIVE' TALKS. Russian Defense
Minister Igor Sergeev told AFP in Helsinki on 16 June that
"President [Boris] Yeltsin [asked him] to do everything, on
the basis of the UN resolution, in order to resolve all
litigious questions," over Russia's role in KFOR during his
meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Sergeev
added: "I think the negotiations will be constructive...The
West should not worry about our paratroopers in Prishtina."
Unnamed Defense Ministry officials told Reuters that Sergeev
will urge NATO to give Russian planes access to Hungarian and
Bulgarian air space to fly troop reinforcements to Kosova.
Russia, however, continues to deny NATO troops access to
Prishtina's airport (see related item in Part II). FS

COHEN PROMISES TO BE 'CREATIVE.' Cohen told AP aboard a plane
to Helsinki on 16 June that "we are now going to examine some
of those options, try to be as creative as we can, while
still adhering to the basic principle that there must be a
unified command." Cohen said the previous day in Washington
that any failure of the talks could have wide-ranging
implications for Russia's relations with the West in the
fields of arms control and Western economic aid for Russia.
He stressed that "there is a lot at stake here." Russian
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright will join the talks on 17 June. Both sides
hope to finalize an agreement quickly and submit it to a NATO
Council meeting in Brussels on 18 June. U.S. President Bill
Clinton and Yeltsin expect to sign the document at a G-8
summit in Cologne on 20 June. FS

STEPASHIN PREDICTS IMF CASH BY JULY... After meeting with IMF
Managing Director Michel Camdessus on 16 June, Russian Prime
Minister Sergei Stepashin said that the two officials reached
a "concrete agreement -- we will fulfill our obligations and
the IMF will fulfill its," according to Interfax. Stepashin
added that if the State Duma passes the package of bills
drafted in accordance with the government's agreement with
the IMF then Russia could receive a fairly big tranche in
July after the fund's board meets. Camdessus also met with
Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev. According to
Stroev, the two officials discussed boosting the fund's ties
with Russia's regions. Camdessus told participants at a
conference in St. Petersburg that he was "optimistic" about
Russia's long term prospects but that it would be difficult
for Russia to sustain economic stability without a return of
foreign investment capital. According to AFP, Camdessus also
warned Russia not to overestimate the amount of foreign
financing it could raise. JAC

...AS TOP ENERGY, RAIL COMPANIES PROMISE TO IMPOSE PRICE
CEILING. Representatives from more than 50 energy and rail
companies, including Unified Energy Systems, Gazprom, and a
variety of major oil companies, agreed on 16 June to limit
price increases through the remainder of 1999, Interfax
reported. According to the agency, the agreement calls for
establishing "economically justifiable" prices on energy,
metals, and transportation and encourages the adoption of
long term agreements between suppliers and their main
customers. ITAR-TASS reported that companies agreed to raise
prices at a maximum rate of 0.5 percent below the monthly
rate of inflation. According to First Deputy Prime Minister
Nikolai Aksenenko, said the agreement "is not a government
attempt to interfere in relations between producers and
consumers." He added that such attempts "are not market-
oriented." JAC

CHERNOMYRDIN TRYING TO RETURN TO GAZPROM. Presidential envoy
to Yugoslavia and former Gazprom head Viktor Chernomyrdin
said on 15 June that he does not exclude the possibility of
reassuming the chairmanship of Gazprom, ITAR-TASS reported.
He also confirmed that he is seeking a post on the company's
board of directors. The same day, when asked whether current
Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev might resign, Deputy Chairman Petr
Rodionov said that there will be no surprises at the
company's annual meeting scheduled for 30 June, Interfax
reported. Earlier in the month new Fuel and Energy Minister
Viktor Kalyuzhnii said that it would be "absolutely sensible"
for the government to review the trust agreement that it has
with Vyakhirev, which gives him 37.5 percent of the company's
stock in trust. Vyakhirev responded by telling reporters that
he would remain chairman of Gazprom. JAC

CHUBAIS TO RUN FOR OFFICE IN ST. PETERSBURG? The political
movement Right Cause (Pravoe Delo) will take part in
gubernatorial elections in St. Petersburg, according to Right
Cause member and Unified Energy Systems chief Anatolii
Chubais, "Izvestiya" reported on 16 June. The newspaper
speculated that Chubais's open criticism of incumbent
Governor Vladimir Yakovlev indicated that Chubais himself
intends to run. The previous day, "Kommersant-Daily" reported
that Chubais's "compatriots believe that only Chubais himself
can compete" with Yakovlev. Meanwhile, a Yabloko press
spokesperson told Mayak Radio that the movement will nominate
Igor Artemiev for the mayoral post in St. Petersburg. Last
January, Yabloko recalled Artemiev from the post of St.
Petersburg deputy governor and chairman of the city finance
committee, declaring that it will now be in opposition to
Yakovlev and his government (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18
January 1999). JAC

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO CONSIDER TAX LAWS. Russia's
Constitutional Court on 15 June began considering an appeal
by a group of Russian businessmen who are arguing that the
punishment for violating tax laws imposes an excessive
limitation on the freedom of enterprises and private property
rights and stifles economic independence, ITAR-TASS reported.
Previously, the court suspended a penalty of 32 billion old
rubles imposed on a Voronezh businessman for underreporting
his profits. Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Motorin, who
attended the court session, said that the businessmen's case
has no merit and almost all problems raised by entrepreneurs,
such as the excessive level of fines, have been addressed by
the new Tax Code, the first part of which entered into force
in January 1999. According to the agency, the court will make
a decision no earlier than in two weeks. JAC

AKSENENKO PROMISES NEW FUNDS FOR SIBERIAN RAILWAY PROJECT. At
a meeting of the State Construction Commission on 15 June,
First Deputy Prime Minister Aksenenko pledged the assistance
of the federal government in developing the Baikal-Amur
Railroad, ITAR-TASS reported. He said that the government has
"special programs and funds" to first build mining and then
processing plants along the railway line. The railway was
built 25 years ago as a more direct route to Russia's Pacific
ports than the existing Trans-Siberian Railroad and was
intended to allow for the extraction of mineral and other
riches from the Siberian wilderness, according to AP. More
recently, the East Siberian Railroad and the governments of
the Buryatia Republic and Chita Oblast have been attempting
to establish a special economic zone along the line to boost
the railway's flagging revenues and the economies of the
regions it traverses (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 April 1999.)
JAC

TOP ITALIAN LEGISLATOR ARRIVES IN MOSCOW. The speaker of the
Italian parliament, Luciano Violante, arrived in Moscow on 15
June for an official visit. After meeting with Violante that
day, Premier Stepashin declared that "Italy is approaching
the ranks of Russia's priority partners." According to ITAR-
TASS, Violante and Stepashin stressed the importance of
carrying out two important joint projects, the creation of
YAK/AEM-130 training planes and the production of Fiat cars
in Nizhnii Novgorod. The same day, Violante met with Moscow
Mayor Yurii Luzhkov and he was also scheduled to meet with
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksii II and top State
Duma officials. JAC

FIRST COUNCIL SESSION GATHERS COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC GLITTERATI.
Addressing the first session on 15 June of the Economic
Council established by his government, Prime Minister
Stepashin explained that the purpose of the council is to
provide a forum for the constant interaction of
representatives of the government, executive branch, and
differing economic schools of thought, Interfax reported.
"Izvestiya" reported the next day that rarely have so many of
the nation's best economic minds with such varying political
orientations been gathered together. Attending the meeting
were former acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, former
economics ministers Yevgenii Yasin and Yakov Urinson, former
Central Bank deputy chairman Sergei Aleksashenko, economists
from the White House and the Kremlin, Soviet-era economists
Nikolai Petrakov and Leonid Albalkin as well as leading
businessmen such as Transaero head Aleksandr Pleshakov and
LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov. JAC

ANDROPOV REMEMBERED. Vladimir Putin, head of the Federal
Security Service (FSB), laid flowers on the tomb of former
Soviet leader Yurii Andropov to commemorate his 85th birthday
on 15 June, ITAR-TASS reported. Andropov, a former head of
the KGB, the predecessor organization to the FSB, served as
general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
for just 15 months from November 1982 to February 1984.
According to former KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov, "Andropov's
personality is the most relevant in Soviet history after
Stalin's," "The Moscow Times" reported on 16 June. "He gave
the impulse to the policy [of reform that former Soviet
leader Mikhail] Gorbachev carried out later, but he didn't do
any harm to our state," he continued. According to "Segodnya"
the previous day, academic and human rights activist Andrei
Sakharov once remarked that under Andropov the KGB was the
only uncorrupted state structure in the USSR. JAC

KEMEROVO GOVERNOR TO CONTEST TATARSTAN PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS? Aman Tuleev "does not exclude" the possibility of
running for president in Tatarstan in next year's
presidential poll, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported citing APN
of 14 June. Tuleev was born in Turkmenistan. His father was
Kazakh and his mother Tatar, but he speaks neither of those
languages. LF

DEFEATED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE CALLS FOR DIVISION OF
KARACHAEVO-CHERKESS REPUBLIC. At a protest demonstration on
15 June in Cherkessk, the capital of the Republic of
Karachaevo-Cherkessia, supporters of Mayor Stanislav Derev
called for the republic's division into separate Cherkess and
Karachai entities, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported the
following day. That demand was prompted by the Cherkess
minority's rejection of the ruling handed down on 10 June by
the republic's Supreme Court recognizing as legal and valid
the outcome of the presidential election. In the first round
of voting on 25 April, Derev (who is a Cherkess) had polled
40.1 percent and his closest rival, Vladimir Semenov (a
Karachai), 17.9 percent. In the runoff three weeks later,
which both candidates claim was marred by voting
irregularities, Semenov garnered 75 percent of the vote (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 18 and 24 May 1999). LF

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NEW ARMENIAN CABINET NAMED. President Robert Kocharian
announced the lineup of the new cabinet late on 15 June,
RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Nine ministers from the
previous cabinet retained their posts, including Foreign
Minister Vartan Oskanian. Former Premier Armen Darpinian was
appointed economy minister, while the Interior and National
Security Ministry was split into two component parts, with
Serzh Sarkisian retaining responsibility only for internal
affairs. Yerevan Mayor Suren Abrahamian was named national
security minister. A young army general, Vagharshak
Harutunian, who formerly served at the Armenian embassy in
Moscow, succeeds Vazgen Sargsian as defense minister. The
People's Party of Armenia, one of the two partners in the
majority Miasnutyun bloc, acquired only one minor ministerial
post (postal services and telecommunications). The Armenian
Revolutionary Federation--Dashnaktsutiun--lost one of its two
ministerial posts, retaining only the Ministry of Culture. LF

ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ADVOCATES NEW FRIENDSHIP AGREEMENT
WITH GEORGIA. In an interview with Armenian Television,
Vartan Oskanian said that Armenia and Georgia should sign a
new and "more global" agreement that would reflect the
changed state of relations between the two countries,
Caucasus Press reported on 15 June. Oskanian added that he
hopes the new agreement will "include elements of strategic
partnership." He said that the agreement could be signed
during a visit to Armenia within the next few months by
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. LF

U.S. CALLS ON ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN TO OBSERVE KARABAKH CEASE-
FIRE... In a statement issued on 15 June, U.S. State
Department spokesman James Rubin called on "all sides" in the
Karabakh conflict to heed the appeal last month by the three
co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group to observe the cease-fire
agreement of May 1994, Reuters reported. Rubin also stressed
the need "to negotiate urgently a comprehensive and durable
solution to the conflict based on the proposals advanced by
the Minsk Group co-chairs." Turan on 11 June had quoted
Azerbaijani State Foreign Policy Advisor Vafa Guluzade as
stating that all points in the Minsk Group proposals that
"counter in spirit" international norms should be dropped.
Guluzade added that if Baku's opinion is not taken into
consideration, no progress can be expected during the co-
chairs' next visit to the region. No date has yet been set
for that visit. LF

... AS BOTH SIDES CONTINUE TO DISCLAIM RESPONSIBILITY. In a
statement issued on 15 June, the Foreign Ministry of the
unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic blamed Azerbaijan for
the fighting along the region's northeastern border the
previous day, RFE/RL's Stepanakert correspondent reported.
The statement said that the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army
repulsed an attempt by Azerbaijani troops to bring their
positions closer to the border. In Baku, the head of the
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry's press service, Colonel Ramiz
Melikov, told Turan that it was Armenian forces who launched
the offensive. Melikov said the attack demonstrated that
"Armenian military leaders still dream of capturing Ter-ter
and Yevlakh," which would enable them to isolate Gyanja, the
second city in Azerbaijan. He added that the Armenian losses
in the fighting were higher than those sustained by
Azerbaijan. LF

BAKU-NOVOROSSIISK PIPELINE CLOSED INDEFINITELY. The ill-
starred northern export pipeline for Azerbaijan's Caspian oil
will be shut down indefinitely following the explosion that
damaged the Chechen sector on 14 June, Interfax reported the
following day quoting unnamed Transneft officials. Transneft
had threatened to halt transportation of crude through the
pipeline unless the Chechen government took effective
measures to prevent thieves tapping into it and siphoning off
oil (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999). LF

TWO GEORGIAN POLICEMEN SHOT NEAR BORDER WITH CHECHNYA. Four
people--including two Georgian police officers--were killed
in a shootout on 15 June in the Pankisi gorge in eastern
Georgia when five masked men flagged down a police car and
opened fire on the two occupants, Caucasus Press reported.
The motives for the attack are unclear. LF

KAZAKH OPPOSITION PARTY PESSIMISTIC OVER ELECTION
PROSPECTS... Bigeldy Gabdullin, who is editor of the
newspaper "21 Vek" and vice chairman of former Premier
Akezhan Kazhegeldin's People's Republican Party of
Kazakhstan, told RFE/RL correspondents in Astana on 11 June
that local authorities are obstructing the registration of
the party's regional branches. Gabdullin said the party has
succeeded in registering branches in only three of
Kazakhstan's 14 oblasts. Under the new election law, only
those parties that have registered branches in at least seven
oblasts are eligible to contend the parliamentary elections
scheduled for this fall. LF

...AS IS EX-MAYOR OF KYRGYZ CAPITAL. In an interview
published in "Vechernii Bishkek" on 11 June, Feliks Kulov
announced his intention of founding a new political movement
named Ar-Namys (Honor), the founding conference of which will
take place "soon," RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Kulov,
who resigned in late April accusing President Askar Akaev of
condoning undemocratic practices by his subordinates, said
that he has decided to remain in politics because the Kyrgyz
economy "is headed for disaster" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28
April 1999). Kulov said that he will appeal to the
Constitutional Court to abrogate as anti-constitutional the
article of the election law that stipulates that only
political parties that were officially registered no later
than one year prior to the election date are eligible to
contend the next parliamentary elections. That poll is
scheduled for February 2000. LF

MINIMAL PROGRESS TOWARDS TAJIK RAPPROCHEMENT. Talks last week
between working groups representing the Tajik government and
United Tajik Opposition (UTO) on the terms for a resumption
of cooperation between the two sides within the Commission
for National Reconciliation failed to reach a compromise
solution on unspecified disputed issues, Interfax reported on
15 June citing a press release from the UN mission in
Tajikistan. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 16 June quoted the head
of the UTO working group, Mukhammadsharif Himmatzoda, as
saying that the talks achieved no positive results.
Himmatzoda added that he hopes the UN will embark on a
further round of discussions with both opposition and
government representatives. The two working groups were
scheduled to meet on 16 June to discusss a possible meeting
between UTO leader Said Abdullo Nuri and President Imomali
Rakhmonov. LF

END NOTE

RUSSIA'S NEW BEZPRIZORNIKI

By Paul Goble

	The social and economic disorder in the Russian
Federation has pushed more than 1.5 million school-age
children into the streets, a larger number of "unsupervised"
youths than the Soviet state faced in the 1920s and a
development which casts a shadow over that country's future.
	According to the journal of the Russian Ministry of
Education, unemployment, alcoholism, and assorted social
pathologies in the home are not only driving ever more young
people into the streets where they frequently drift into
crime but also having a serious impact on their physiological
development.
	Ministry analysts suggest that the rising tide of
criminal behavior by such young people reflects the collapse
of Soviet-era arrangements for structuring leisure time
activity and the rise of alternative and largely Western role
models in the media.
	One of these analysts, Vladimir Andreev, bemoans the
fact that Russian children today face a situation in which
the old system of organized activities and camps "is
basically in ruins." As a result, he says, an ever increasing
number of children take their behavioral cues from media
which glorify violence and get-rich-quick schemes and from
youths not much older than themselves who are already
pursuing what this analyst calls a false and perverted goal.
	In this, Andreev writes, the children have been
following their parents and Russian society as a whole. In
1991, he notes, Russians "once again decided to restructure
everything at one fell swoop, to start over again as we did
back in 1917--this time, however, exclusively on a solid,
'democratic' foundation. The new starting point was found as
well--just do everything completely opposite" to what had
been done.
	That radical change of sign posts, Andreev suggests, has
subverted the moral order without providing a new one. And
that pattern has been exacerbated by the fact that "every
autumn and every spring a new Moses swears that
stabilization" and prosperity "are just around the corner,"
thus undercutting any willingness by children or their
parents to defer gratification.
	Meanwhile, Vladimir Bazarnyi, a ministry doctor who
keeps track of child health issues, suggests in the same
journal that more than 90 percent of those who do remain in
secondary schools now have developmental problems, with 85
our of every 100 school-age girls suffering from physical
abnormalities in pelvic development.
	This latter figure, he suggests, is "simply horrifying"
because it points to a future in which "the overwhelming
majority of future mothers will not be able to give birth to
healthy offspring who are normal 'in all parameters.'" And
such statistics, the ministry figures imply, are even worse
for those 1.5 million children who have left school early.
	This is not the first time Moscow has faced the problem
of unsupervised youth or "bezprizorniki," as they are called
in Russian. Following the Russian Civil War, Soviet leader
Vladimir Lenin ordered his secret police chief Feliks
Dzerzinskiy to commit half of the Cheka's employees to
combatting the plague of homeless youth. And later, other
Soviet leaders used the police to limit the number of such
people on various occasions.
	The Russian Federation Ministry of Education refers to
these earlier approaches, but its officials call for more
money to be devoted to the health and well-being of children.
At present, they note that "there is a catastrophic lack of
funds everywhere" children are involved. But they complain
that even now there is "more than enough money" for other
things:
	There is "more than enough" for "the maintenance of two
parallel governments," for "squadrons of flights to places
like Davos and Strasbourg," for "multiple channels to
transfer money abroad," and even for "the purchase of
luxurious villas on the Cote d'Azur" where "obviously no
kindergartens are going to be built for our little ones."
	"Sackfulls of brand-new banknotes," these officials
continue, "are being spent to build marble and crystal bank
interiors, nightclub casinos, and personal mansions and
estates in the suburbs, and to pay for the foreign schooling
of the offspring of the hard-currency families that
especially distinguished themselves during the era of the
initial accumulation of capital."
	Such a cry from the heart of educators is perhaps not
surprising in the tough budgetary struggles in the Russian
capital. But the problems they point to affect not only
Russia's children but Russia's future. And analogous problems
are to be found in many other post-Soviet states as well.

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