We were born to unite with our fellowmen, and to join in community with the human race. - Cicero
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 135, Part I, 14 July 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 135, Part I, 14 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* MOSCOW WITNESSES ANOTHER ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENT

* U.S., RUSSIA FORGE LAST-MINUTE STEEL AGREEMENT

* KAZAKHSTAN PEGS SUPPLY ROCKET LAUNCH TO DEBT PAYMENT
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

MOSCOW WITNESSES ANOTHER ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENT... Twenty-year
old university student Nikita Krivchun repeatedly stabbed the
director of the Jewish Cultural Center in Moscow, Leopold
Kaimovskii, in his stomach and face on 13 July, according to
Interfax. Krivchun, who reportedly had a swastika drawn on
his chest, told NTV that he acted alone and that the attack
was "political" and part of his "struggle with evil, that is,
with Judaism." Vladimir Gusinskii, president of Media Most
group and the Russian Jewish Congress, called the attack a
"consequence of the anti-Semitic hysteria provoked by a whole
series of provocative statements made publicly by several
prominent Communist leaders and their allies from the left
wing and Nazi extremist organizations." Kaimovskii's
condition is serious, Interfax reported. JAC

...AS EMIGRATION TO ISRAEL CONTINUES TO PICK UP SPEED.
Meanwhile, "Novye Izvestiya" reported the same day that
emigration to Israel from Russia and other CIS countries is
rapidly increasing, with the number of people departing from
Russia rising by 128 percent during the first half of the
year. Almost one-third of the 1,054 Russian Jews interviewed
after emigrating during the first quarter of the year cited
rising anti-Semitism as the reason behind their move,
according to an informal poll (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 June
1999). JAC

U.S., RUSSIA FORGE LAST-MINUTE STEEL AGREEMENT... After weeks
of negotiations, U.S. and Russian trade officials on 13 July
signed agreements limiting Russian imports of steel to the
U.S. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin
said the agreements "do not fully meet the interests of
Russia's metallurgical industry" but they guarantee access to
the U.S. steel market, ITAR-TASS reported. One document
limits Russian imports of hot-rolled steel for the period
2000-2003, while a second sets quotas for 15 types of metal
products over five years, according to the agency. Prior to
the signing, Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin telephoned U.S.
Vice President Al Gore to discuss steel trade. JAC

...AS NEXT WTO ROUND CALLED PIVOTAL. "Kommersant-Daily"
concluded that Russian membership in the World Trade
Organization is crucial to avoiding having to sign similar
agreements in the future. It reported that according to Trade
Ministry sources, terms for the delivery of commodities will
be fully coordinated with the organization by the end of
2000, but negotiations over the services market will take
much longer. First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko
said the same day that the next round of talks on WTO
admission, scheduled for December, will be decisive in
enabling Russia to obtain the same rights as full-fledged
members of the organization. JAC

GOVERNMENT CLEARS ANOTHER HURDLE TO RECEIVING IMF MONEY...
After a series of unexpected delays, Russian Prime Minister
Stepashin and Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko on 14
July signed a joint statement of the government and Central
Bank on economic policy for 1999. Mikhail Zadornov,
presidential envoy to international financial institutions,
claimed that the document signed is "basically the same one
agreed upon in April." He noted, however, that the budget
deficit will be less than was agreed two months ago, Interfax
reported. The document reduces the number of goods eligible
for value-added tax relief and contains new clauses on
restructuring the banking sector. According to Zadornov, the
signing of the statement clears the way for Russia to receive
credits from the IMF worth about $4.5 billion, to be
realeased in seven tranches of roughly $630 million each,
after the fund's board of directors takes up the issue on 28
July. JAC

...AS WORLD BANK MAINTAINS PRESSURE? An unidentified Russian
negotiator in talks with the World Bank told Interfax on 13
July that the bank is dissatisfied with the government's
efforts to restructure the country's commercial banks.
According to the source, the bank is also unhappy with work
on the law on production-sharing agreements and planned price
control agreements. The source claimed that the bank's
management has reached an internal decision to disburse the
next tranche of Russia's structural adjustment loan "only in
the fall, most likely in October," after the release of an
IMF tranche. A confidential World Bank report on banking
reform harshly criticizes the Central Bank's supervision of
the banking sector and its practice of extending credits to
weak banks, such as SBS-Agro, "The Moscow Times" reported on
14 July. JAC

IVANOV REJECTS PARTITION OF KOSOVA. Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov told NTV's "Hero of the Day"
program on 13 July that "there have not been and there
will not be any attempts [to partition Kosova], these
are rumors." He said "I want to stress once again: it is
a unified peacemaking operation where servicemen of
different countries fulfill one and the same tasks and
shall act in close coordination.... We are trying to
prevent the separation of local residents" along ethnic
lines. Ivanov nonetheless accused NATO of committing
"endless mistakes." He said that its bombing campaign
was "insane," saying the alliance helped build up the
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), ITAR-TASS reported. Asked
about the future of Yugoslavia, Ivanov predicted that
the Yugoslav people will decide the country's leadership
"through democratic elections." FS

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY DEMANDS FASTER UCK DEMILITARIZATION.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Rakhmanin told Interfax on 13 July
that "the NATO contingents in the international peacekeeping
forces in Kosova are obviously not doing everything they
could" to demilitarize the UCK. He stressed that "the Russian
peacekeepers stand for the interests of an interethnic,
peaceful, and stable Kosova." Meanwhile, 460 Russian
peacekeepers with 100 armored vehicles and 99.5 tons of cargo
began to disembark from five navy vessels in Thessaloniki on
14 July, ITAR-TASS reported. They are expected to arrive in
Kosova later this week. FS

PRIMAKOV FAVORS REGIONAL BLOC ALLIANCE WITH OTECHESTVO... In
an interview with "Komsomolskaya pravda" on 14 July, former
Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov declined to clear up the
mystery surrounding his future political plans. Asked whether
he will run in the State Duma elections, Primakov said "it
depends a lot on circumstances" and "the most important
condition is whether there is a real base created for the
unification of [politically] sound centrist forces." Primakov
did speak out in favor of the proposed union between Vsya
Rossiya (All Russia) and Otechestvo (Fatherland), calling it
a "very good idea." Primakov also expressed his support for
amending the Russian Constitution to create the post of vice
president and to require the next president to cede "part" of
his authority to the government. JAC

...AS EFFORT TO FORM COMPETING BLOC FOUNDERS. Meanwhile,
"Izvestiya" reported on 14 July that at their 12 July
meeting, leaders of Pravoe Delo (Right Cause), Novaya Sila
(New Force), and Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) "seemed to
agree" to create a single ideological and economic platform
but did not even discuss the creation of a uniform election
list. The leadership of Our Home Is Russia (NDR) still has to
decide whether it will join the potential right-center
formation. According to the newspaper, it is rumored that "a
number of governors who are members of [NDR] and Golos Rossii
say that they will never be on a list with [Pravoe Delo
members] Boris Nemtsov and Boris Fedorov." One governor who
is a member of both NDR and Golos Rossii is Tyumen Oblast
head Leonid Roketskii. Saratov Oblast Governor Dmitrii
Ayatskov, who has flirted with the idea of joining a number
of different groups, is so far formally only a member of NDR.
JAC

FSB TARGETS PROMINENT SCIENTIST FOR PACIFIC FLEET
INVESTIGATIONS. Federal Security Service (FSB) agents in
Primorskii Krai searched the apartment of prominent physicist
Vladimir Soifer on 13 July, confiscating documents and
letters. According to Russian agencies, the agents presented
a search warrant claiming that Soifer's activities "pose a
threat to the Russian state and its military security."
Accusing the FSB of "persecuting those who care about
Russia's ecological safety," the Socio-Ecological Union
linked scrutiny of Soifer with another case in the region,
the espionage and treason trial of military reporter Grigorii
Pasko, who exposed the environmentally hazardous practices of
the Pacific Fleet. "Izvestiya" reported the next day that
Soifer is suspected of criminal negligence in his handling of
classified information. According to the daily, Soifer's
passport has been declared void and the laboratory he runs
has been sealed. JAC

SOBCHAK TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT? Speaking at a press conference
on 13 July, former St Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak said
he may run for president in 2000, Russian agencies reported.
He said he will make a final decision following the upcoming
State Duma elections, in which he intends to participate.
Meanwhile, citing sources within the law enforcement
agencies, Interfax reported the same day that at a meeting in
Paris last week, Sobchak had received guarantees from a high-
ranking official at the Prosecutor-General's Office of his
personal immunity. During that meeting, Sobchak was
reportedly interrogated in his capacity as a witness in the
criminal case opened against him last September (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 July 1999). JC

TATARSTAN'S OPPOSITION PLANS HUNGER STRIKE. Meeting in Kazan
on 13 July, leaders of 10 opposition parties and movements
vowed to begin a hunger strike on 19 July to protest what
they term infringements of voters' rights in the election
legislation of the Republic of Tatarstan, "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" reported. In an open letter addressed to President
Mintimer Shaimiev and parliamentary speaker Farid
Mukhametshin, the opposition leaders said that the recently
adopted amendments to the constitution and the election law
provide the authorities with "huge possibilities" for
manipulating the outcome of the poll and preventing the
election to the republic's parliament of candidates who
oppose Shaimiev's policies. They demand that between one-
third and half of all deputies to the new parliament be
elected under the proportional system and that the voting be
conducted openly in accordance with "the democratic
principles set down in the new Russian [election] laws." LF

CHECHNYA HALTS GASOLINE SALES. The Chechen government issued
a decree on 12 July shutting down all the republic's gas
stations after none of those facilities was able to provide
documentation proving it had acquired the gasoline on sale
legally, ITAR-TASS reported. The move is the latest in a
series intended to crack down on the illegal extraction and
refining of oil in Chechnya, which has reportedly caused
irreversible ecological damage to large areas. It is also
intended to halt thefts of crude oil from the Chechen sector
of the Baku-Grozny-Novorossiisk oil export pipeline, which
prompted the Russian pipeline operating company Transneft to
halt the export of Azerbaijani oil via that pipeline. On 13
July, Transneft President Dmitrii Savelev said his company
has been unable to reach an agreement with its Chechen
counterpart on a resumption of shipments of Azerbaijani oil,
as Chechenneft cannot provide security guarantees. LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

KARABAKH EX-PREMIER RELEASED. Zhirayr Poghosian, who was
arrested in Stepanakert on 9 July on charges of illegal
weapons possession, has been released but will face trial in
the next few months, RFE/RL's Stepanakert correspondent
reported on 13 July, quoting an unnamed senior prosecutor. He
has also been charged with the "loss of documents containing
state secrets." ITAR-TASS quoted the unrecognized republic's
prosecutor-general, Mavrik Ghukasian, as denying rumors that
a large sum of money was confiscated from Poghosian after his
arrest. LF

NEW ARMENIAN CATHOLICOS TO BE ELECTED IN OCTOBER.
Archbishop Garegin Nersisian told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
on 13 July that the Armenian Apostolic Church has decided
to convene a pan-Armenian National Ecclesiastical Assembly
from 26-31 October to elect a successor to Catholicos
Garegin I, who died of cancer late last month. The assembly
will be composed of hundreds of elected clerical and
secular delegates from the Republic of Armenia and all
Diaspora communities. The Church statutes stipulate that
the new catholicos should be chosen no earlier than six
months after the death of his predecessor, but Archbishop
Nersisian said the Church wants to enter the 21st century
with a new leader. He also argued that the next Catholicos
will have the urgent task of preparing for the celebrations
of the 1700th anniversary in 2001 of Armenia's adoption of
Christianity as the state religion. LF

ONE KILLED AT AZERBAIJANI-TURKISH FRONTIER. One man was
shot dead and four injured on 12 July in a confrontation
between local Azerbaijanis and customs officials at the
Sadarak border crossing between the Azerbaijani exclave of
Nakhichevan and Turkey, Turan reported. The following day,
some 200 Azerbaijani police forcibly dispersed a crowd of
local residents who had congregated at the site of the
shooting to pay their last respects to the dead man. Some
15 people, including some police officers, were injured in
the incident, during which some 50 mourners were detained
by police, according to the agency. ITAR-TASS on 14 July
reported that senior Azerbaijani officials are travelling
to Sadarak to investigate the incident and that journalists
have been banned from visiting the site. LF

MORE TERRORIST ATTACKS IN ABKHAZIA. Two Abkhaz police
officers were shot dead during an ambush in the breakaway
republic's southernmost Gali Raion on 13 July, Interfax and
AP reported. Two people were killed and one abducted two
days earlier in a similar incident in the village of
Pakuash in Ochamchira Raion, north of Gali. In the Abkhaz
capital, Sukhumi, three bombs exploded in an abandoned
building on the night of 8-9 July, and a further blast blew
out the windows of the Gali Raion administration building
on 12 July. LF

KAZAKHSTAN PEGS SUPPLY ROCKET LAUNCH TO DEBT PAYMENT...
Following a telephone call on 13 July from Russian Prime
Minister Sergei Stepashin, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan
Nazarbaev said a decision on whether to allow the planned
launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome of a supply rocket
bound for the orbiting "Mir" space station can be taken
only after Moscow meets specific conditions, Reuters
reported. Those conditions include a start to payment of
Moscow's $300 million debt for rent of the Baikonur launch
site. Kazakhstan's Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Pavlov,
who heads the state commission to investigate the aftermath
of the 5 July rocket explosion, repeated those conditions
on 14 July to his Russian counterpart, Ilya Klebanov, whom
Stepashin had sent to Astana to try to persuade the Kazakh
leadership to allow the launch on 16 or 18 July of the
"Mir" supply ship, RFE/RL's Astana bureau reported. LF

...AS UKRAINE OBJECTS TO SECOND LAUNCH DELAY. Speaking to
journalists in Kyiv on 13 July, Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma said he cannot comprehend Kazakhstan's decision to
block the launch, originally planned for 12 July, of a
Ukrainian rocket that is to release a Ukrainian-Russian
research satellite into orbit, Reuters reported (see also
Part II). Kuchma added that Ukraine is incurring huge
economic losses because of the delay. He noted that the
Ukrainian rocket does not use the same highly toxic heptyl
fuel as Proton rockets. Kazakhstan claims that spills of
heptyl fuel have contaminated large swathes of its
territory, a claim Russian experts have rejected. The head
of Ukraine's space agency, Oleksandr Nehoda, told Reuters
earlier on 13 July that Ukrainian Premier Valeriy
Pustovoytenko had appealed to his Kazakh counterpart,
Nurlan Balghymbaev, not to penalize Ukraine for the 5 July
Russian proton rocket disaster. LF

PENSIONERS IN FORMER KAZAKH CAPITAL WIN CONCESSION ON
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. The Almaty authorities have reduced
to 10 tenges (less than $0.10) the cost of using public
transport for pensioners and invalids beginning 14 July,
RFE/RL correspondents there reported. Pensioners had staged
demonstrations in the city earlier this month to protest
the abolition beginning 1 June of their right to free
travel (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 July 1999). LF

KYRGYZ DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION. Some
50 mostly elderly residents of Naryn Oblast picketed the
oblast administration building on 13 July to protest
worsening standards of living and demand the resignation of
President Askar Akaev, RFE/RL's Naryn correspondent
reported. Two local senior officials met with the
protesters. LF

NEW MAYOR OF KYRGYZ CAPITAL NAMED. At a special session on 12
July, the Bishkek City Council appointed Medetbek Kerimkulov
as mayor, RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek reported.
Kerimkulov had served as acting mayor since the resignation
in late April of Feliks Kulov (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28
April 1999). Kerimkulov had previously been mayor of the
cities of Tokmok and Osh. LF

TAJIK SECURITY OFFICIAL SHOT DEAD. The local security chief
in Khovaling district, Abdullo Boboradjabov, was shot dead by
unknown assailants on the night of 12 July, ITAR-TASS
reported the following day. Security Ministry officials have
declined to comment on the killing, saying only that an
investigation is under way. 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
hermanoval@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, Jeremy Branston,  Victor Gomez, Mel
Huang, 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