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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 141, Part I, 22 July 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 141, Part I, 22 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

* MORE MOVEMENTS TO GO IT ALONE IN ELECTIONS

* CONTROVERSIAL ELECTION LAW PASSES IN TATARSTAN LEGISLATURE

* DETAILS EMERGE ON ALIEV-KOCHARIAN TALKS
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RUSSIA

MORE MOVEMENTS TO GO IT ALONE IN ELECTIONS... Our Home Is
Russia (NDR) faction leader Vladimir Ryzhkov told Ekho Moskvy
on 22 July that the NDR will participate in parliamentary
elections independently, with NDR leader Viktor Chernomyrdin
heading its federal list of candidates. Other likely
candidates for top spots on the list are the governors of
Novgorod, Orenburg, Perm, Sakhalin, and Tyumen Oblasts.
According to Ryzhkov, the NDR will continue its dialogue with
leaders from Pravoe Delo (Right Cause), Novaya Sila (New
Force), and Vsya Rossiya (All Russia), and if they can forge
a single election platform, then it will be possible to talk
about a single election bloc. However, Ryzhkov said earlier
in the week that "an alliance with rightists could be
damaging," according to Interfax. Meanwhile, Viktor Ilyukhin,
leader of the Movement to Support the Army, repeated on 21
July that his movement will participate in elections
independently and not on the Communist Party's list. JAC

...AS VSYA ROSSIYA REVIEWS ITS OPTIONS... At the founding
conference of Vsya Rossiya's Moscow branch on 20 July,
movement member and St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev
reportedly expressed surprise at Ryzhkov's statement that the
NDR will run independently, since Vsya Rossiya is still
negotiating with NDR about the possibility of forming an
alliance, "Novye Izvestiya" reported the next day. At the
same conference, Vsya Rossiya coordinator Oleg Morozov said
that talks with Otechestvo are continuing and work on a
common federal party list is not yet finished. According to
the daily, two top Otechestvo officials attended the
conference, State Duma Deputy Artur Chilingarov and former
Tax Minister Georgii Boos. Vsya Rossiya informal leader and
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev told ITAR-TASS the same
day that Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, informal leader of
Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia), is welcome to join Vsya
Rossiya--on equal terms with the movements' other founders.
JAC

...AND YABLOKO REPORTS OTECHESTVO REJECTING JOINT LIST.
Deputy head of Yabloko's faction Sergei Ivanenko told
reporters the same day that Otechestvo opposes Yabloko's
proposal for an agreement on the joint nomination of 120
candidates in State Duma elections. Ivanenko said he met with
Georgi Boos, chief of Otechestvo's campaign staff, that day
and understood from Boos that Otechestvo is "not inclined to
conclude such agreements." However, later the same day,
Otechestvo leader Yurii Luzhkov denied that his movement has
rejected Yabloko's proposal, claiming he has not yet received
it. JAC

CONTROVERSIAL ELECTION LAW PASSES IN TATARSTAN LEGISLATURE.
The legislation on elections to Tatarstan's State Council or
legislative assembly that prompted representatives of 15 of
the republic's opposition movements to stage a hunger strike
in protest has passed in its third and final reading on 21
July, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 21 July (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 20 July 1999). A law on introducing a Latin-based
alphabet for the Tatar language passed in its second reading
the same day. The election bill will abolish party lists and
move State Council elections to December so that they occur
simultaneously with State Duma elections. Yabloko member and
State Duma Committee for Local Government Sergei Mitrokhin
condemned the legislation as "another strike at the federal
center" and called for the "the president and cabinet to take
urgent steps with regard to events in Tatarstan," "Izvestiya"
reported on 22 July. The daily claimed that Yabloko is the
only national party to respond publicly to developments in
Kazan. JAC

ORTHODOX CHURCH SACKS BISHOP. The Russian Orthodox Church has
asked Bishop of Yekaterinburg Nikon to retire for "mistakes"
that "divided the clergy and laymen," "The New York Times"
reported on 22 July. According to the newspaper, more than 50
priests accused Nikon of drunkenness, open homosexuality, and
demanding huge fees to resolve administrative disputes. Nikon
will be stripped of his Church rank but will not be
defrocked. "Nezavisimaya gazeta--Religii" reported on 14 July
that the raion level department of internal affairs has
launched a criminal investigation into Nikon on suspicion of
sodomy. "Versiya" reported in its 20-26 July issue that
priests under Nikon's authority have written an open letter
to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksii II demanding
that the Holy Synod review Nikon's activities. JAC

TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS RESHUFFLED. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin reportedly plans to offer the post of acting
prosecutor-general to Deputy General Prosecutor for the North
Caucasus Vladimir Ustinov, "Kommersant-Daily" claimed on 21
July, without reference to any source. According to the
daily, Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin got to know Ustinov in
the Caucasus and proposed his candidacy, assuring the Kremlin
of Ustinov's loyalty. Current acting Prosecutor-General Yurii
Chaika announced the same day that contrary to rumors, he is
going to remain in his post for the near future, according to
Interfax reported. "Kommersant-Daily" reported that Interior
Minister Vladimir Rushailo has removed Savelii Tesis, chief
of the Main Administration for Combating Economic Crime and
Vladimir Ovchinskii, head of Interpol's National Central
Bureau, from their posts. According to the daily, the
dismissals are part of Rushailo's effort to purge the
ministry of Stepashin's loyalists and replace them with his
own "hawks." JAC

RUSSIA-NATO RELATIONS ON BACKBURNER UNTIL YEAR'S END? Russian
Defense Ministry officials told Interfax on 21 July that they
doubt Russia's military relations with NATO will be fully
restored before the end of 1999. Those relations, they said,
will remain "frozen" not only with the alliance itself but
also with member states that directly participated in the
bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Cooperation will be
maintained, however, over the peacekeeping operations in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosova, they stressed. Russian
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is currently undertaking a visit
to London that he said is aimed at "overcoming the temporary
difficulties" between Russia and Britain in the wake of the
NATO bombing campaign. Also on 21 July, Reuters quoted Sergei
Stepashin's press service as saying that the Russian premier
plans to attend the 30 July Sarajevo summit on Balkan
reconstruction. JC

GOVERNMENT ALLOCATES $150 MILLION TOWARD REBUILDING
YUGOSLAVIA. Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants told
journalists on 21 July that the government has signed a
resolution allocating $150 million from this year's budget to
rebuilding Yugoslavia. Those funds will be used to finance
the delivery of Russian equipment, goods, and services to the
war-devastated country. Shapovalyants said that priority will
be given to diesel fuel and gasoline shipments to ensure this
year's harvest takes place. The same day, Nikolai Staskov,
head of Russia's Airborne Forces Staff, was quoted by ITAR-
TASS as saying that "despite the financial strain," Moscow
will maintain a peacekeeping presence in Kosova for as long
as necessary. JC

RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS TO TOTAL $3.2 BILLION THIS YEAR? Deputy
Director of the independent Center for Strategic and
Technological Analysis Konstantin Makienko told Interfax on
21 July that Russian arms exports are likely to total $3.2
billion this year. He noted that the main arms exporter
Rosvooruzhenie registered "record" sales of armaments and
military hardware in the first half of this year. He also
predicted that Russia may soon start selling to Syria and
Libya, which could bring in additional revenues of up to $400
million a year. Also on 21 July, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya
Klebanov called for tighter state control over weapons
exports, saying it is "unacceptable" that the prices of those
exports are being brought down as Russian arms exporters vie
with one another for customers, Interfax reported. JC

MYSTERY ILLNESS SPREADING? Two teenagers have been
hospitalized in the city of Ryazan with symptoms of the
disease plaguing a small town in Rostov Oblast, Russian
Television reported on 21 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20
July 1999). Similar cases have been reported in Stavropol and
Volgograd Oblasts over the past two days, according to AFP.
All victims of the disease in Stavropol and Ryazan came from
Rostov Oblast, according to the agency and television
station. Meanwhile, hospitals in Rostov have received no new
patients with the disease initially identified by Deputy
Health Minister Gennadii Onishchenko as Congo-Crimean
hemmorhagic fever, according to RTR on 21 July. The previous
day, Onishchenko appeared to back away from his diagnosis,
telling reporters that it might change after Russian
laboratories submit the results of their analyses in two
weeks, ITAR-TASS reported. JAC

MAYORS ATTACKED. Mayor of Kyzyl (Republic of Tuva) Genrikh
Ebb was assassinated on 21 July. Ebb was ambushed while on
his way to hand over to an "Izvestiya" journalist documents
proving corruption, "Komsomolskaya pravda" reported on 22
July. Ebb was the regional leader of Pravoe Delo (Right
Cause), and the movement's officials believe Ebb was killed
for his efforts to combat organized crime, Russian Radio
reported. The next day, Amursk Mayor (Khabarovsk Krai) Viktor
Kaglenko was stabbed several times in the chest by a man
reported to be mentally ill, ITAR-TASS reported. Kaglenko's
condition is listed as grave. JAC

PASKO TO APPEAL TO EUROPEAN COURT. Military journalist
Grigorii Pasko announced on 22 July that he will appeal to
the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for a full
acquittal of the charges against him. Pasko was convicted of
abuse of office for providing classified materials about the
Pacific Fleet and its handling of nuclear waste to Japanese
media. Pasko told RFE/RL's Russian Service that "there is no
evidence for the charge of Article 275 of the Russian
Criminal Code (on abuse of power), but not even under Article
285 (on misuse of office), for one very simple reason: I am
not a public servant." On 21 July, "Segodnya" published an
article on decommissioning nuclear submarines that Pasko
prepared several months before his arrest. According to
Pasko, nuclear safety requirements were being routinely
ignored, particularly with regard to the disposal of waste
nuclear fuel, because a lack of funds. Pasko said that the
situation he described is the same today. JAC

NORWEGIAN ECOLOGISTS SAYS NO CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON KOLA
PENINSULA. A spokesman for Norway's Bellona environmental
group told Interfax-Northwest on 20 July that the group has
no information to suggest that chemical weapons are being
stored near Murmansk. He added that the recent article in the
Norwegian newspaper "Verdens Gang" claiming such weapons are
being kept there is "untrue" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July
1999), and he stressed this is the "official viewpoint" of
his group. The statement comes amid a slew of statements by
Russian officials denying the presence of chemical weapons on
the peninsula. JC

CHECHNYA CLOSES MOSCOW MISSION. The Chechen representational
office in Moscow will be closed for an indefinite period
beginning 22 July, Mairbek Vachagayev, Chechnya's official
representative there, told ITAR-TASS. He said that Grozny
took that step to protest Moscow's failure to explain the
recent detention of Chechen Minister Turpal Atgeriyev. He
indicated that he will return to the Chechen capital later
this week to meet with President Aslan Maskhadov. And he said
that the closure of the mission could "become the first step
on the way toward the official freezing of all agreements
reached during the past few years on the governmental and
other levels." PG

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PREMIER MEETS RUSSIAN GENERAL 'BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.'
Vazgen Sarkisian met with the chief of the Russian General
Staff, Anatolii Kvashnin, "behind closed doors" on 21 July to
discuss military cooperation between Moscow and Yerevan,
ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Neither side provided
additional details about the meeting, except to say they were
of a "businesslike character." PG

DETAILS EMERGE ON ALIEV-KOCHARIAN TALKS. Vafa Guluzade,
President Heidar Aliev's chief foreign policy adviser, told
the Turan news agency on 21 July that Aliev met with Armenian
President Robert Kocharian on 16 July "without the
participation of a third person." Guluzade suggested that
such a "face-to-face" meeting was essential for beginning to
resolve the Karabakh dispute. Moreover, he said, such direct
contacts allowed the two leaders to explore a variety of
issues in a more open way. But the paucity of information
about the talks has led to criticism in the Azerbaijani
press, with "Azadlyg" suggesting on 20 July that Aliev is
pursuing a policy that will lead to the loss of Karabakh and
with "Yewni Musavat" saying on 21 July that Aliev's failure
to provide details suggests Baku rather than Yerevan suffered
a defeat in the talks. However, international praise for the
meeting continued to come in, with the EU adding its approval
on 21 July, ITAR-TASS reported. PG

RUSSIA STILL PREPARED TO TRANSPORT AZERBAIJANI OIL. The
Russian Fuel and Energy Ministry told Interfax on 21 July
that Moscow is still prepared to transport oil from
Azerbaijan to the West, despite tensions between the two
countries. But the Russian ministry underscored that it will
keep its part of the bargain only if Azerbaijan does the same
and ships 180,000 tons of oil each month. PG

SHEVARDNADZE URGES UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON ABKHAZIA.
President Eduard Shevardnadze has sent a letter to the chiefs
of states who are members of the UN Security Council urging
them to step up their efforts to resolve the Abkhaz dispute,
Caucasus Press reported on 21 July. Vazha Lortkipanidze, the
Georgian state minister who also signed the appeal, said
Tbilisi hopes that the international community will
eventually recognize that the Abkhaz have been guilty of
ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Georgian people.
Meanwhile, refugees from Abkhazia on 21 July attempted to
storm the Arts Academy building in Tbilisi both to find
shelter and to protest the way in which they have been
treated. And the Abkhaz parliament extended the state of
emergency for another three months, Prime News reported on 21
July. PG

UZBEKS, KYRGYZ, TURKS AMONG MUSLIMS ARRESTED IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Kazakhstan's Internal Affairs Minister Kairbek Suleymenov
told Khabar TV on 21 July that there were citizens of Turkey,
Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan among those arrested in the Zhabul
region last weekend for supposedly illegal religious
activities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 1999). He said
that most of them were not carrying documents at the time,
that 54 remain in detention, but that all the children have
been released. PG

NAZARBAEV STEPS UP ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE. In order to
increase the fight against corruption, Kazakhstan President
Nursultan Nazarbaev said on 21 July that all anti-corruption
agencies will now report directly to him, Interfax-Kazakhstan
reported. PG

HUNGER STRIKE CONTINUES AT EKIBASTUZ POWER STATION. Some 75
people are continuing their three-week hunger strike at the
Ekibastuz Power Station to demand the payment of back wages,
RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported on 21 July. Some of the
strikers have already been hospitalized. Local officials and
the central government have promised to pay them as soon as
possible, but the strikers say they do not trust such
promises. PG

ANTHRAX OUTBREAK IN KYRGYZSTAN. Three people have contracted
anthrax in Kyrgyzstan, Interfax reported on 21 July. And
another four are showing symptoms. All were among 700 workers
who butchered cattle infected with the disease. PG

TAJIKS BACK RAKHMONOV FOR RE-ELECTION AS PRESIDENT. More than
70 percent of the Tajik population currently backs the re-
election of President Imomali Rakhmonov at a November 1999
poll, according to data reported by Interfax on 21 July. PG

TAJIKISTAN COMPLETES REGISTRATION OF REBELS FOR ARMY SERVICE.
Tajik officials told Interfax on 21 July that Dushanbe has
completed the registration of 5,377 rebel fighters who are to
be integrated into the national army. Many of these were in
Afghanistan or in hiding and will now be included within the
standing military of that country. PG

TAJIK, UZBEK PRESIDENTS DISCUSS AFGHANISTAN. Tajik President
Rakhmonov and his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, discussed
by telephone the results of this week's "Six Plus Two"
Meetings on Afghanistan and repeated their common view that
"there is no military solution to the Afghan crisis," ITAR-
TASS reported. Rakhmonov thanked Karimov for his efforts in
holding the talks. Earlier that day in Tashkent, Karimov
received Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood, who was
invited to the earlier talks but did not show up until after
they were over. PG

TURKEY STRESSES SUPPORT FOR TRANSCASPIAN PIPELINE. In a
message to Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov, Turkish
President Suleyman Demirel urged that the Trans-Caspian gas
pipeline be completed earlier than scheduled and said Turkey
"will offer Turkmenistan all possible assistance to make that
a reality." PG

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