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. 131, Part I, 8 July 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 131, Part I, 8 July 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

* RUSSIAN, NATO LEGISLATORS PLEDGE TO RESUME RELATIONS

* ECONOMIC POLICY STATEMENT 'READY FOR SIGNING'

* KAZAKH PRESIDENT SETS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION DATES
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RUSSIA

RUSSIAN, NATO LEGISLATORS PLEDGE TO RESUME RELATIONS. State
Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev and NATO Parliamentary
Assembly chairman Javier Ruperez told ITAR-TASS in St.
Petersburg on 7 July that their respective legislatures will
resume relations, which the Duma suspended after NATO
launched its air campaign against Yugoslavia. They made the
announcement after the eighth annual session of the OSCE
Parliamentary Assembly. Seleznyov noted that "we have not
burnt the bridges because I am sure that the deputies, unlike
the heads of executive power bodies, have to communicate with
each other, even at the most dramatic and critical moments."
Ruperez confirmed that normal relations between the two
organizations will be restored "within months." He said his
discussion with Seleznev was "very friendly, warm, sincere,
and positive". FS

RUSSIA TO SEND 210 POLICEMEN TO KOSOVA. Aleksandr
Malinovskii, who is the deputy chief of the Interior
Ministry's foreign relations department, told ITAR-TASS on 7
July that Russia will send 210 policemen to the UN Mission in
Kosovo (UNMIK). They will include 110 specially trained
officers from OMON and other elite police forces. Meanwhile,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin told Russian high-ranking
military and Interior Ministry officials in Moscow on 8 July
that "we will not clash with NATO, but neither will we flirt
with it. We shall closely follow NATO's activities and
develop our tactics jointly," Interfax reported. Yeltsin also
admonished the officials to "follow one line in life--the
line of the president." FS

YELTSIN PUTS PRISHTINA GENERAL IN FOR A MEDAL. President
Yeltsin instructed Defense Minister Igor Sergeev on 8 July in
Moscow to propose Colonel-General Viktor Zavarzin for a
medal, ITAR-TASS reported. Zavarzin led 200 Russian
paratroopers into Kosova on 11 June, one day before the
arrival of NATO troops. On 12 June, Yeltsin promoted Zavarzin
to Colonel-General from Lieutenant-General (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 14 June 1999). Until March 1999 Zavarzin
represented Russia at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Meanwhile in Bucharest on 8 July, NATO Secretary-General
Javier Solana said: "Let me say clearly that I am very, very
pleased with Russian participation in KFOR.... The
negotiations in Helsinki and Moscow allow for positive,
contractual cooperation between the different countries
participating," according to Reuters. FS

ECONOMIC POLICY STATEMENT 'READY FOR SIGNING.' Mikhail
Zadornov, presidential special envoy for relations with
international financial organizations, told journalists on 8
July that the statement on economic policy in 1999 is "ready
for signing" by the government and the Central Bank, Interfax
reported. Zadornov was speaking after meeting with Premier
Sergei Stepashin and Central Bank chairman Viktor
Gerashchenko. He refused to say when the statement would will
be signed, noting that "small details of a stylistic nature"
remain to be sorted out. JC

DEPUTY SAYS IMF KNEW ABOUT FIMACO 'YEARS AGO.' Independent
State Duma deputy Nikolai Gonchar told journalists in Moscow
on 6 July that the IMF was informed several years ago that
the Central Bank had used the off-shore company FIMACO to
manage some of its hard-currency reserves, "The Moscow Times"
reported the next day. Gonchar pointed to documents in which
the Central Bank's auditors in 1993-1994, Coopers and
Lybrand, criticize its use of FIMACO. Those documents, which
were obtained from "well-informed sources" in Washington,
were handed over to the IMF in 1995 at the latest, Gonchar
said. The IMF has consistently denied any knowledge of bank's
use of FIMACO since the scandal broke in February (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 11 February 1999). On 5 July,
Central Bank chairman Gerashchenko announced that the final
version of the audit requested by the IMF found no evidence
of "significant illegal activity." JC

MUSLIMS FOUND BLOC AHEAD OF DUMA ELECTIONS. Four groups
representing Muslims in Russia have founded the bloc Mejlis,
which will take part in the State Duma elections later this
year, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 7 July. The bloc
consists of the Nur (Light) movement, the All-Russian Islamic
Congress, Muslims of Russia, and Refakh (Prosperity). Leonard
Rafikov, who leads the bloc, said the new grouping intends to
take a centrist line with "healthy conservative traditions,"
according to AFP. Estimating the number of Muslims in Russia
at 20 million, its founders said they hope the bloc will win
up to 8 percent of the vote. JC

WAGES, PENSIONS BEING PAID ON TIME. Addressing a conference
in Moscow on reforming the social sector, Finance Minister
Mikhail Kasyanov said that delays in paying wages and
pensions currently do not exceed "a few days," AP reported on
7 June. Prime Minister Stepashin told the same meeting that
pension arrears still owed amount to 12 billion rubles
($490.6 million), which he called "an impermissibly large
sum," according to ITAR-TASS. Stepashin pledged that the
state's pension debt will be paid by September. JC

SPOKESMAN CLARIFIES STEPASHIN'S COMMENTS ON LAND LAW.
Speaking to Interfax on 7 July, government spokesman
Aleksandr Mikhailov denied media reports that Prime Minister
Stepashin "favors a law that would ban the sale of land to
foreigners" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1999). Mikhailov
said that at a meeting devoted to the problems of Russia's
border territories, the premier asked governors to sum up
their proposals for a new land law so that the government
could discuss them and submit a bill to the parliament in
September. Several regional leaders, including Khabarovsk
Krai Governor Viktor Ishaev and Samara Oblast Governor
Konstantin Titov, had spoken against land sales to
foreigners. JC

INFLATION DOWN IN JUNE. Consumer prices rose by 1.9 percent
last month, down from 2.2 percent in May, ITAR-TASS reported
on 6 July, citing data released by the State Statistics
Committee. Inflation for the first six months of 1999 totaled
24.5 percent, according to the Goskomstat report. "Segodnya"
reported on 7 July that during the same period, food prices
increased by 26 percent, non-food prices by 23.7 percent, and
tariffs for services by 19.3 percent. JC

CENSUS POSTPONED. The national census has been postponed from
the fall of 2001 to September 2002, Russian media reported on
3 July. Goskomstat officials said the reason for the
postponement is that the government does not have the 3
billion rubles ($123 million) required to conduct the census.
Interfax on 6 July quoted Goskomstat acting head Vladimir
Sokolin as stressing that the decision is not politically
motivated. He was responding to media reports that the aim of
the postponement was to overstate the number of voters by
including so-called "dead souls" in voter lists for the
upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. Earlier
this year, Goskomstat officials had asked for more time to
prepare for the census, saying they had been unable to
finalize their cost estimates for conducting it (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 27 May 1999). JC

IL-96T WIDE-BODIED AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATED. At a ceremony in
Moscow celebrating the certification of the IL-96T wide-
bodied aircraft, which was attended by Premier Stepashin,
Russian and U.S. officials hailed cooperation on the
construction of the plane. Under an agreement partly worked
out by former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and U.S.
Vice President Al Gore within the framework of the U.S.-
Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological
Cooperation, the U.S. pledged to lend $1 billion to Aeroflot
to start building a fleet of the wide-bodied jetliners. Those
funds covered the sale of jet engines and electronic
components that officials from the Ilyushin design and
production organization said will help produce three IL-96Ts
and 17 IL-96Ms for Aeroflot. U.S. Ambassador James Collins
said the project was a test for both countries and the way is
now open to cooperation in other fields of high technology,
Reuters reported on 7 July. JC

U.S.-RUSSIAN COMMISSION TO RECONVENE AT END OF MONTH. Premier
Stepashin is to meet with U.S. Vice President Gore in
Washington at the end of this month. The 27 July meeting will
mark the first gathering in a year of the U.S.-Russian Joint
Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation.
According to AP, 10 committees will meet on business
development, energy, health, environment, science and
technology, and other subjects. Former Prime Minister
Yevgenii Primakov had been on his way to Washington in March
to attend a meeting of the commission when he ordered his
plane to be turned around to protest the imminent
announcement of NATO air strikes against Kosova (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 24 March 1999). JC

NEW HEALTH MINISTER APPOINTED. President Yeltsin on 5 July
appointed heart surgeon Yurii Shevchenko as health minister.
Until now, the 52-year-old Shevchenko was head of the St.
Petersburg Military Medical Academy. ITAR-TASS quoted Premier
Stepashin as saying that Shevchenko is considered "one of
Russia's best surgeons." The appointment filled the last
vacancy in Stepashin's government. JC

SHAIMIEV URGES TWO 'GOVERNORS GROUPS' TO JOIN FORCES.
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, speaking to
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" of 6 July, stressed the "necessity" of
forming a union between Vsya Rossiya (All Russia), of which
he is the informal leader, and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's
Otechestvo (Fatherland) party before the upcoming State Duma
elections. Shaimiev remarked that while Otechestvo is ready
to join forces with Vsya Rossiya, some questions remain open
about forming such a union. Last week, four right-of-center
groups--Pravoe Delo (Right Cause), Novaya Sila (New Force),
Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia), and Our Home Is Russia--
agreed to form an election bloc (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2
July 1999). The leaders of those groups are to meet on 12
July to discuss their joint ticket for the elections,
Interfax quoted Kirienko as saying on 7 July. JC

TULEEV REFUSES YELTSIN AWARD. Kemerovo Oblast Governor Aman
Tuleev has turned down the Order of Honor, which President
Yeltsin had awarded him in a 6 July decree, ITAR-TASS
reported on 7 July. Tuleev explained his decision by pointing
out that for many years he has opposed the reform course
pursued by the Yeltsin administration: "I cannot accept the
award when many people do not receive wages, when more people
die than are born in the country, and when...education and
healthcare [are] paralyzed." Last year, Nobel Prize-winning
writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn turned down the Order of St.
Andrew, saying he was unable to receive an award from the
authority that had "brought Russia to its present state of
ruin" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 December 1998).JC

INTERIOR MINISTER MEETS CHECHEN SECURITY OFFICIALS. Colonel-
General Vladimir Rushailo held talks in Moscow on 7 July with
a delegation from the Chechen Interior and Shariah Security
Ministries, Russian agencies reported. The two sides
discussed joint efforts to reinforce security along the
border between Chechen and Dagestan, where Chechen militants
again attacked a Russian border post during the night of 6-7
July, wounding several Russian servicemen, one of them
fatally. Rushailo told Interfax after the talks that Russia
is "not at war" with Chechnya, and that his ministry and its
Chechen counterpart agree on the need to eliminate "criminal
gangs" that target Russian police posts on the Chechen-
Dagestan border and elsewhere in the North Caucasus. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT SIGNALS SUPPORT FOR NKR LEADERSHIP.
Presidential press secretary Vahe Gabrielian told RFE/RL's
Yerevan bureau on 7 July that "Armenia will not act as an
indifferent observer with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh if any
illegal attempts are made against its legitimate
authorities." Tensions between Arkadii Ghukasian, the
president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and
Defense Minister Samvel Babayan rose after Ghukasian sacked
the premier and cabinet on 24 June following the discovery of
an electronic surveillance device in his office (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 and 29 June 1999). Police in Stepanakert were
placed on full alert for several hours on 5 July. But the
same day, the enclave's new prime minister, Anushavan
Danielian, met with Babayan and asked him to join the new
cabinet. Ghukasian reportedly met with senior army officers
on 6 July for what one of them subsequently told RFE/RL's
Stepanakert correspondent was a "useful dialogue." LF

IMF DELAYS LOAN TRANCHE FOR ARMENIA. Armenian Finance
Minister Levon Barkhudarian said on 7 July that the IMF has
delayed the release of the final $32 million tranche of a
three-year $154 ESAF loan, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.
He listed as the most important reasons for the delay over-
optimistic projections by the previous government of
anticipated growth rates and budget revenues for 1999, which
have not been met. The lasting impact on Armenia of the
Russian economic crisis was also underestimated. An IMF
mission met in Yerevan on 7 July with Prime Minister Vazgen
Sargsian to discuss the economic situation, and a decision on
the final tranche is to be made by 19 July, according to
Interfax. The World Bank has also delayed a $15 million
payment from a $65 million loan package it approved in
December 1998 and which is intended to cover Armenia's
anticipated 1999 budget deficit. LF

GEORGIAN-SOUTH OSSETIAN TALKS POSTPONED. Talks between
representatives of the central Georgian government and the
leadership of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia
that were to have been held in Djava on 7-8 July have been
postponed at the request of the South Ossetian side, Caucasus
Press reported on 8 July citing "Dilis gazeti." South
Ossetian President Lyudvig Chibirov told the newspaper that
because of the May parliamentary elections the South Ossetian
leadership had no time to create a working group to prepare
for those talks, which were to discuss an interim agreement
on temporary status for South Ossetia within Georgia,
according to "Svobodnaya Gruziya" of 2 July. LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT RULES OUT CLEMENCY FOR JAILED WARLORD.
Eduard Shevardnadze told journalists in Tbilisi on 5 July
that the preterm release from prison of Mkhedrioni leader
Djaba Ioseliani "is not on the agenda," Caucasus Press
reported. Members of the Georgian intelligentsia are
collecting signatures to lobby for the ailing Ioseliani's
release from jail. He was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment
in November 1998 on charges of terrorism, murder and a failed
attempt to assassinate Shevardnadze, but denies all those
charges (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 July 1999). LF

GEORGIA TO REPAIR TURKMEN JET FIGHTERS. The governments of
Georgia and Turkmenistan have concluded a contract whereby
the Tbilisi Aviation Plant will repair 45 Turkmen SU-45
fighter aircraft at a cost of $46 million, Caucasus Press
reported on 7 July. But Turkmenistan will pay for those
repairs only after Georgia repays its $400 million debt for
supplies of Turkmen natural gas. LF

DEVOTEES WANT STALIN REBURIED IN GEORGIA. Grigol Oniani,
chairman of Georgia's Stalin Society, told journalists in
Tbilisi on 7 July that he has discussed with Moscow Mayor
Yurii Luzhkov the possibility of exhuming Stalin's remains
from the Kremlin wall and transporting them to Georgia for
reburial at an undisclosed location, Caucasus Press reported.
LF

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SETS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION DATES... In a
decree made public on 7 July, President Nursultan Nazarbaev
scheduled elections to the upper and lower chambers of
Kazakhstan's new parliament for 17 September and 10 October
respectively, RFE/RL's Astana correspondent reported.
Addressing parliament on 31 March, Nazarbaev had assured
deputies that the election to the lower house would take
place in October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 April 1999). Some
observers had nonetheless predicted that they would be held
in December 1999, four years after the previous parliamentary
poll. Earlier on 7 July, several leading opposition parties
and movements, including the Communist Party, the Republican
People's Party headed by former premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin,
the Orleu movement, the Association of Russian, Slavic and
Cossack Associations, and some trade unions, announced the
creation of a pre-election coordinating bloc that will target
"the entire protest electorate," according to Interfax. The
parties will not compete against each other in the 67 single-
mandate constituencies. LF

... MEETS WITH TURKISH COUNTERPART. Nazarbaev, who left
Astana on 5 July for a brief vacation in Turkey, has met with
Suleyman Demirel to discuss bilateral relations, unspecified
regional problems and the export of Kazakhstan's oil and gas,
Interfax reported on 7 July. The two presidents also pledged
to take steps to double bilateral trade, which currently
stands at approximately $500 million. LF

CONFUSION OVER KAZAKH BAN ON BAIKONUR LAUNCHES CONTINUES.
Kazakh officials continue to make contradictory statements
about the extent of the temporary ban on launches of Russian
rockets from the Baikonor cosmodrome. Interfax on 7 July
quoted the Kazakh Foreign Ministry's Press Service as stating
that the 6 July protest note to Moscow did not specify what
types of rocket are banned, but Science Minister Vladimir
Shkolnik told the agency that the ban extends to all
launches. A third Kazakh government representative said,
however, that the ban extends only to Proton rockets, which
burn envirnmentally hazardous heptyl fuel, but not Zenit and
Soyuz rockets fuelled by kerosene. A spokesman for the
Russian Aviation and Space Agency told Interfax that Moscow
will ask the Kazakh leadership to make an exception for the
launches of a Ukrainian-Russian satellite scheduled for 8
July and a supply craft bound for the orbiting Mir space
station scheduled for 14 July. LF

TAJIK INTERIOR MINISTRY SPOKESMAN SHOT DEAD. Lieutenant-
Colonel Djumakhon Hotami died shortly after being shot at
pointblank range by unidentified attackers near his home in
Dushanbe on the evening of 4 July, Russian agencies reported.
Unidentified sources told Interfax Hotami may have been
killed for having identified members of drug-running gangs on
his weekly TV program on crime and corruption. LF

TAJIK OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVE APPOINTED TO SENIOR DEFENSE
POST. Among the five Tajik opposition representatives
appointed by President Imomali Rakhmonov to leading
government positions on 6 July was former field commander
Gairat Adkhamov, who was named first deputy defense minister,
according to Interfax. AP quoted presidential spokesman Zafar
Saidov as saying that in accordance with the 1997 peace
agreement, opposition nominees will be appointed to 21 of a
total of 69 local government posts. LF

TWO SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HOSTAGE-TAKING IN UZBEKISTAN. A
regional court in the Uzbek city of Khorezm has passed
sentence on 16 men found guilty of hijacking a bus and taking
the passengers hostage, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported on 7
July. Two of the accused were sentenced to death, and seven
more received prison terms of 20 years. The hijackers had
sought the release of comrades arrested in connection with
the 16 February bombings in Tashkent. Nine people were killed
during a shootout on 30 March between the hijackers and
police seeking to free the hostages (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1
April 1999). LF

UZBEK PRESIDENT CHAIRS MEETING ON SECURITY. Also on 7 July,
Islam Karimov chaired a session of the National Security
Council devoted to the implementation of government decisions
aimed at improving security and reorganizing the armed forces
and border troops, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported.
Particular atention was paid to improving cooperation between
the army and interior ministry forces, to preventing
terrorist and subversive groups from illegally entering
Uzbekistan, and to creating "mobile and well-equipped units
capable of safeguarding peace and calm," according to
Interfax. LF

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