The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 145, Part I, 28 July 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 145, Part I, 28 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

* DUMA MAY CONSIDER START-II IN OCTOBER

* U.S. TO PROVIDE ELECTION ASSISTANCE IN FORM OF FOOD?

* AZERBAIJAN SETS DATE FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

End Note: THE SEDAKA DOCTRINE VERSUS THE LAW OF ENTROPY
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

DUMA MAY CONSIDER START-II IN OCTOBER... Russian Prime
Minister Sergei Stepashin and U.S. Vice President Al Gore on
27 July agreed to begin talks on the START III and ABM
treaties in Moscow in August. According to "The Washington
Post" the next day, Gore said that the U.S. will not conclude
a START III agreement until the Russian legislature approves
START II, while Stepashin said the Russian government will
try to bring the treaty to the State Duma again in the fall.
Duma Defense Committee Chairman Roman Popkovich (Our Home Is
Russia) told Interfax on 28 July that the treaty might be
ratified sometime in October or November, but "deputies will
proceed to ratification only under certain conditions--the
international situation should be favorable." U.S. and
Russian leaders also discussed cooperation on technology for
missile defense systems or on intelligence to alert each
other about missile threats from third countries, according
to "The Washington Post." JAC

...AS RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS SUGGEST U.S. LEADS IN
SPYING OPERATIONS. During a joint news conference after their
discussion, Stepashin revealed that the two leaders had
discussed the issue of spying. The same day, when asked to
comment on a "Washington Times" article alleging that the
Clinton administration asked Russia to voluntarily reduce its
number of intelligence officer operating on U.S. soil, a
Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) spokeswoman said
that "if the Russian intelligence presence in the U.S. is
compared with the presence of U.S. intelligence [operatives]
in Russia, Washington has far surpassed Moscow." Another
unidentified SVR official told Interfax that the appearance
of the "Washington Times" article "was timed to coincide with
Stepashin's visit to the U.S." and that both sides "might
discuss mutual reductions in intelligence presence, but
wealthy Uncle Sam's demands to what it thinks is a poor, and
for that matter, weak Russia are inadmissible." JAC

U.S. TO PROVIDE ELECTION ASSISTANCE IN FORM OF FOOD?
Unidentified U.S. government officials told the "Journal of
Commerce" on 27 July that a new program of food aid to Russia
will start before December elections to the State Duma. The
officials cite poor harvest forecasts and the requests to the
U.S. Embassy by some Russian officials in regions south of
Moscow to consider a new grain program. The previous day,
Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Vladimir
Shcherbak said that despite a revision in official
predictions for this year's grain harvest from 70 million
tons to 60 million tons, the country is not planning any
large-scale centralized grain imports this year. He added,
however, that Russia does intend to ask the U.S. to donate 2-
3 million tons of high-protein animal feed this year to ease
the consequences of the poor harvest, Interfax reported.
Shcherbak also conceded that the government might purchase a
small amount of grain to assist remote regions in the Far
East and North. JAC

NEW ROUND OF TALKS ON ELECTION ALLIANCE ENDS
INCONCLUSIVELY... One of the movement of governors and
republic presidents, Vsya Rossiya (All Russia), will hold its
second congress on 21 August in Ufa, Bashkortostan, RFE/RL's
Kazan bureau reported on 28 July. According to the bureau,
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev and Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov, who heads Otechestvo (Fatherland), met on 27 July to
discuss cooperation in the upcoming Duma elections. Shaimiev
told Tatar Radio that discussions on an alliance between the
two groups is continuing but that such a matter is not easily
accomplished (see "Endnote" below). He added that he is not
the only leader of Vsya Rossiya and therefore would not like
to make statements on its behalf. According to "Vremya MN" on
26 July, Shaimiev and other Vsya Rossiya leaders consider
former Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov the ideal leader of a
Otechestvo-Vsya Rossiya tandem because this would give both
parties and their leaders equal status. JAC

...AS LEFT FORCES ANNOUNCE NEW CONFIGURATION. Communist Party
(KPRF) leader Gennadii Zyuganov announced plans on 27 July
for a new bloc of left forces called Za Pobedu (For Victory),
Russian Public Television reported. According to "Kommersant-
Daily" on 28 July, Tula Governor Vasilii Starodubtsev,
Krasnodar Governor Nikolai Kondratenko, and leaders of the
People's Power and Agrarian factions in the State Duma,
Nikolai Ryzhkov and Nikolai Kharitonov, have all signed an
appeal distributed by State Duma Deputy Valentin Varennikov
calling on all patriots to joint the Za Pobedu bloc.
According to the newspaper, consultations that Zyuganov is
conducting with the Agrarians, Spiritual Heritage, and
Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev, the leader of Rebirth and
Unity, are continuing. However, Agrarian Party leader Mikhail
Lapshin told "Nezavisimaya gazeta" that day that if his party
were to join the KPRF list, then it would cease to exist.
Movement in Support of the Army leader Viktor Ilyukhin also
confirmed that his group will remain independent of the new
bloc. JAC

IVANOV PROPOSES BARTER TRADE WITH ASEAN COUNTRIES. Speaking
to reporters on the last day of the annual meeting of the
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore,
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov proposed that Russia and
the association establish a barter trade mechanism in order
to avoid mutual foreign-exchange constraints, AP reported on
28 July. By way of example, he proposed that ASEAN countries
offer food supplies to Russia's Far East regions in exchange
for Russian machinery and equipment. Ivanov also called for
boosting cooperation in science, technology, and space
exploration. "Russia possesses a number of cutting-edge
technologies in the area of peaceful use of nuclear power,
which could be widely applied in the ASEAN countries," the
agency quoted him as saying. JC

RUSSIA, IRAN CONFIRM SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR FREE ZONE IN MID-
EAST. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement released on 27
July noted that Russia and Iran have confirmed their support
for the initiative to create a nuclear free zone in the
Middle East, Russian agencies and Reuters reported. The
statement, which was issued after a meeting in Moscow the
previous day between senior officials from the Russian and
Iranian Foreign Ministries, reaffirmed plans to broaden
cooperation in disarmament, nonproliferation, and export
control. Meanwhile, First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai
Aksenenko told reporters on 28 July that Russia and Iran are
negotiating a series of trade agreements worth $8 billion and
that a number of bilateral scientific and trade agreements
will be signed during a visit to Teheran by Foreign Minister
Ivanov in the coming weeks, according to Interfax. JC/JAC

IMF MONIES TO COVER LESS THAN HALF OF DEBT PAYMENTS. Finance
Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told reporters on 27 July that
Russia will make foreign debt payments totaling $4.15 billion
before year's end, excluding any payments to members of the
London or Paris Clubs of creditors. Zadornov added that a
recent vote by London Club members showed that only 3 percent
favor declaring Russia in default on its Soviet-era debt. If
the IMF board approves new loans for Russia at its meeting on
28 July, Russia should receive $1.9 billion before the end of
year, according to Mikhail Zadornov, presidential envoy to
international financial institutions. In an interview with
"Segodnya" on 23 July, Zadornov concluded that Russia made a
"deadly mistake which cannot be corrected" when it assumed
responsibility for the debts of the former Soviet Union. JAC

CHECHEN PRESIDENT APPOINTS RIVAL NEW FIRST DEPUTY PREMIER.
Aslan Maskhadov has named Ruslan Gelaev first deputy premier
with responsibility for law enforcement structures, Interfax
reported on 27 July. Gelaev, together with former acting
Premier Shamil Basaev and radical field commander Khottab,
heads the domestic opposition to Maskhadov. The president
told cabinet members he hopes that Gelaev's appointment will
lead to a drop in crime, abductions and oil thefts. Also on
27 July, Chechnya's National Guard and Presidential Guard
deployed forces to protect the section of the Baku-
Novorossiisk oil export pipeline between Grozny and the
border between Chechnya and Dagestan. It was the first time
that those agencies were charged with guarding the pipeline.
New presidential spokesman Said Abulmuslimov told Interfax
that Chechnya must prove it is capable of abiding by the 1997
tripartite agreement with Russia's Transneft and the
Azerbaijani authorities on ensuring the export of
Azerbaijan's Caspian oil via the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 1997). LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT ASSESSES DOMESTIC, FOREIGN POLICY. In an
interview with "Moskovskie novosti" cited by Noyan Tapan on
27 July, Robert Kocharian expressed satisfaction at the
domestic political stability resulting from the 31 May
parliamentary elections. Kocharian stressed his respect for
parliamentary speaker Karen Demirchian and noted the
willingness of the Miasnutyun faction, of which Demirchian is
co-leader, to cooperate with other political forces.
Kocharian said he anticipates that Armenia will be admitted
to full membership in the Council of Europe in late 1999 or
early next year. He expressed doubt that NATO will accept
Baku's invitation to establish a military base in Azerbaijan
and declined to comment on the possibility of routing a
Caspian oil pipeline via Armenia, stressing that the oil
export should not be linked to the search for a solution to
the Karabakh conflict. Kocharian also stressed Armenia's
readiness to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey. LF

AZERBAIJAN SETS DATE FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. President
Heidar Aliev signed a decree on 27 July scheduling the
country's long-overdue municipal elections for 12 December,
ITAR-TASS reported. Aliev also signed into law the bill on
municipal elections passed by the parliament on 2 July (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1999). The local elections to
between 3,500-4,000 municipal councils will be conducted
under the majoritarian system. Speaking at a news conference
in Baku on 25 July, parliamentary speaker Murtuz Alesqerov
dismissed as "slanderous" claims made two days earlier by
National Independence Party of Azerbaijan chairman Etibar
Mamedov that changes recommended by the Council of Europe
were made to 14 articles of the bill after it had been passed
by the parliament. LF

AZERBAIJANI FRONTIER RESIDENTS PROTEST POST-SHOOTING
CRACKDOWN. Representatives of residents of the town of
Sadarak, on the border between Azerbaijan's exclave of
Nakhichevan and Turkey, told journalists on 27 July that
tensions in the district remain high following the 12 July
disturbances in which one person was killed and dozens
injured, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July
1999). The villagers claimed that residents are being
arbitrarily detained by police for questioning, and they
demanded the dismissal of the local customs official they
believe is responsible for the fighting. They also demanded
that Azerbaijani President Aliev take control of the
investigation into the incident. The official originally
appointed to conduct the investigation has been dismissed,
according to Turan. LF

KAZAKH LEADERS ASSESS ECONOMIC SHORTFALL... Kazakhstan's
Prime Minister Nurlan Balghymbaev told a cabinet session on
27 July that in the first six months of 1999, Astana and 10
of the country's 14 oblasts registered a decline in output,
compared with the same period in 1998, Interfax reported.
Budget revenues amounted to 86 percent of the planned amount,
and the total taxes collected are inadequate to fund all
state programs. On the plus side, Finance Minister Uraz
Dzhandosov told the cabinet meeting that Kazakhstan earned
almost $190 million from privatization during the first half
of the year. He said the government's share in another 10
major companies, mostly in the oil and mining sector, will
also be sold off. Oil and production during the first six
months totaled 14.2 million tons, which was 5.5 percent above
the figure for 1998 but still short of the planned 14.27
million tons. LF

...SOFT-PEDAL ON PRIVATIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL LAND.
Balghymbaev also told his cabinet colleagues on 27 July that
the majority of the country's population is neither morally
nor financially ready for the privatization of land, which he
said will therefore be implemented "stage by stage,"
according to Interfax. He hinted that the new law on
privatization of land will favor those engaged in the
agricultural sector and bar the sale of land for other
purposes, including "the burying of poisonous waste." LF

KYRGYZSTAN UNVEILS FOOD PROGRAM. First Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Silaev outlined Kyrgyzstan's national food program at
an international conference in Bishkek on 27 July, Interfax
reported. The program, for which the EU has provided a grant
of 8.5 million euros [$8.55 million], is intended to ensure
uninterrupted supplies of basic foods to all regions of the
country. Silaev noted that the present problems and delays in
doing so could negatively affect political stability. LF

KYRGYZSTAN RISKS FORFEITING UN VOTING RIGHT. Kyrgyzstan owes
the UN $1 million in membership fees and will be stripped of
its voting right unless it pays at least half that sum by
September, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported on 27 July. UN
representative Zamira Eshmambetova told journalists in the
Kyrgyz capital that the country has no funds to pay the debt.
Georgia had its UN voting right restored last week after
paying its annual $200,000 membership dues but still has
outstanding debts to the UN totaling $7.2 million, according
to Interfax on 22 July. LF

TURKMEN PRESIDENT APPROVES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. At a cabinet
session on 27 July, Saparmurat Niyazov approved
Turkmenistan's development program for 2001-2010, Russian
agencies reported. That program entails massive increases in
the extraction of oil and natural gas, with production of the
former slated to rise from 6.3 million tons to 27-30 million
tons. The increase in gas production is presumably predicated
on implementation of the planed Trans-Caspian gas pipeline
project, for which the Georgian government expressed support
on 27 July. More moderate increases are anticipated in cotton
and grain production. The country's population is expected to
increase from the present 5 million to 6.5 million in 2005.
LF

END NOTE

THE SEDAKA DOCTRINE VERSUS THE LAW OF ENTROPY

by Julie A. Corwin

	In coming weeks, the unexpected announcement on 23 July
that leaders of the self-proclaimed right-center groups have
formed a coalition may seem a little less surprising. After
all, Anatolii Chubais, leader of Pravoe Delo (Right Cause),
Sergei Kirienko, leader of Novaya Sila (New Force), and
Konstantin Titov, informal leader of Golos Rossii (Voice of
Russia), have agreed only to a "Declaration of a Union" and
its theses. They have not yet approved something more
substantial--a common party list and platform. As a result,
the new and as yet unnamed coalition consists primarily of an
agreement to agree sometime later.
	Indeed, on Russian soil, just the opposite of Neil
Sedaka's song appears to be true: breaking up is NOT hard to
do. If any general rule applies, it may be the law of
entropy--that organized systems tend to become disorganized.
As the date of the election approaches, fears of smaller
groups that they may not overcome the 5 percent barrier could
drive them together, but until that happens, personal
ambition and conflicting philosophies appear more likely to
cause fragile alliances to fall apart.
	In recent weeks, for example, the Democratic Party of
Russia opted to leave Golos Rossii, and both the Agrarian
Party and the Movement to Support the Army have declared
their intention this time around to run independently of the
Communist Party in upcoming State Duma elections. Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov pooh-poohed these
announcements, hinting at that time that he had some
mysterious plan to somehow unite all left forces. With the
announcement on 27 July of the new coalition called Za Pobedu
(For Victory), Zyuganov appears to be putting a new label on
an old package since leaders of both the Agrarian Party and
Movement to Support the Army continue to insist that they
will participate in the election separately.
	Regardless of how these moves work out, the right-
center's announcement of a new union might have a galvanizing
effect on the efforts of Otechestvo and Vsya Rossiya (VR) to
unite. At their next meeting, leaders of those two groups may
be tempted to issue their own press release declaring a
meeting of minds similar to that supposedly experienced by
the right-center groups. They may also want to counter
increasing skepticism in the Russian media and among
political analysts about an Otechestvo-VR alliance.
	On 23 July, "Izvestiya" declared that the situation
around the proposed coalition had become "more tense," noting
that numerous negotiations between the two blocs have not yet
yielded any noticeable results. The previous day,
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" argued that Otechestvo "is the only
realistic partner" left for VR, since the VR governors cannot
find points of agreement with Golos Rossii or former Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home is Russia (NDR).
However, according to the daily, many governors "dislike"
Luzhkov and display a certain envy of Luzhkov's successes in
Moscow. Of course, "Nezavisimaya gazeta," which receives
financial backing from Boris Berezovskii's LogoVAZ group, may
not have the most objective view of either Luzhkov, an enemy
of Berezovskii, or Luzhkov's potential allies. But even more
disinterested sources, such as "EWI's Russian Regional
Report," have concluded that Luzhkov's current battle with
the Kremlin could put him at odds with Shaimiev, who is more
supportive of President Boris Yeltsin.
	At the level of policy, the two so-called governors'
groupings, VR and Golos Rossii, appear to have more in common
with each other than with any of the other established
political movements such as Otechestvo or NDR. Both groups
are seeking increased power for the regions. In the most
recent example of this aim, Golos Rossii leader Titov at a
recent meeting in Khabarovsk suggested that an amendment to
the law on presidential elections be adopted that would
require the country's leader to win the popular vote in at
least 45 of Russia's 89 regions in order to become president.
VR members made a similar suggestion in May at their founding
congress in May, proposing that all deputies from the State
Duma be elected on the basis of the country's 450 electoral
districts--rather than half by party lists, as under the
current system.
	On economic policy, the view of the two groups tend to
diverge, with VR favoring "state capitalism" and Golos Rossii
hewing to a more liberal economic line. But the real bloc-
breaker is more likely personality and/or personal ambition.
Shaimiev is only VR's de facto leader; officially, the group
has no head and claims that its ranks are free of members
with higher political ambitions or claims to top Kremlin
posts. However, Titov, like Luzhkov, is believed to be a
presidential contender.
	Because the forces driving the politicians apart appear
stronger than those driving them together, announcements of
new unions are likely to be more frequent than the actual
formation of genuine new parties or even electoral
coalitions. But the fact that various groups are talking to
one another highlights the growing power of elections in and
of themselves: As every politician knows, it is usually
better to be on the winning side even if one has to change
his label or even his positions in order to be there.

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