Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 173, Part I, 6 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 173, Part I, 6 September 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

* SKURATOV LINKS YELTSIN TO BRIBERY SCANDAL

* NEW INCURSION FROM CHECHNYA INTO DAGHESTAN

* KYRGYZ FORCES EXPEL SOME UZBEK GUERRILLAS

End Note: RUSSIA'S GOVERNORS PROVING TO BE UNPREDICTABLE
POLITICAL FORCE
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RUSSIA

SKURATOV LINKS YELTSIN TO BRIBERY SCANDAL. Yurii Skuratov,
who was suspended as prosecutor-general in May but who
continues in office because of parliamentary moves, told AP
on 3 September that charges against President Boris Yeltsin
and his family have an evidentiary basis. He said that he
cannot understand "the president burying his head in the
sand. Attempts to hush things up, to prevent the
investigation from getting to the end will only fuel all
kinds of allegations, gossip and inventions." Meanwhile,
Swiss businessman Beghjet Paccioli told "Segodnya" that
prosecutors have specifically sought evidence against Yeltsin
and his family, a charge that investigator Georgii Chuglazov
confirmed, Interfax reported. PG

BORODIN SAYS YELTSIN FULLY AWARE OF SCANDAL. Kremlin manager
Pavel Borodin told Ekho Moskvy on 4 September that Yeltsin
has been kept fully briefed about the money-laundering
scandal. Borodin added that it is his own view that the
entire set of charges is simply a political game. Yeltsin, he
continued, believes that the scandal is intended to deliver
"a blow against him personally" and has urged his entourage
to exercise "patience." Borodin described the charges as
"gibberish" and a reflection of the absence of a political
culture that places limits on how to conduct political
contests. PG

PUTIN SAYS SCANDAL MUST NOT DAMAGE U.S.-RUSSIA TIES. Speaking
on Russian Public Television (ORT) on 5 September, Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin said that the money-laundering
scandal must not be allowed to damage relations between
Moscow and Washington, AP reported. "Every Russian
businessman should not be considered...a Mafioso or connected
with the mafia," he said. And he added that "it is not
likely" that either Yeltsin or his family is guilty of
receiving kickbacks from Mabatex, as some media accounts have
charged. PG

FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS RUSSIA HAS NO NEED TO DEFEND ITSELF.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on 3 September that his
country "does not intend to defend itself in the wake of
media publications in some countries," Interfax reported. "We
have no reason to explain ourselves. As for Russia's good
name," Ivanov said, "it has one." PG

YAVLINSKII BACKS CUTTING OIL EXPORT DUTIES AS RESPONSE TO
SCANDAL CHARGES. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii said that
Moscow should respond to what he called the "baseless and
indiscriminate scare campaign" against Russia by slashing or
even abolishing oil export duties, Interfax reported on 3
September. He said the Russian government should now "offer
real support to leading Russian companies" in the wake of the
money-laundering charges. In other comments, Yavlinskii said
that the situation now is similar to the one a few years ago:
then the entire world press was "euphoric about the imaginary
successes of Russian reform." Now, this media "is equally
unanimous in its hysterical proclamation that all of Russia
is a kleptocracy." Both perceptions are equidistant from
reality, Yavlinskii argued. PG

YELTSIN APPOINTS TV BOSS TO HIS STAFF. President Yeltsin on 3
September named ORT Director-General Igor Shabdurasulov as
first deputy head of the presidential administration.
Shabdurasulov held that post until he became head of the
television network in October 1998. He will be replaced at
ORT by Konstantin Ernst. PG

PUTIN PLEDGES RESPECT FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Speaking on the
95th anniversary of the formation of the ITAR-TASS news
agency, Prime Minister Putin said the Russian government
"will back freedom of speech in every way" and will "not
allow undercover levers such as tax limitations, fire safety
regulations, or sanitary rules to be used to restrict that
freedom," ITAR-TASS reported. The prime minister added that
the government "will also try to do all in its power to
ensure the rights of citizens to receive objective and
reliable information." Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg
television and radio company was allowed to resume
broadcasting after it said it will obey existing regulations
on the coverage of political actions, Interfax reported on 3
September. PG

LIVSHITS SAYS IMF LOVED RUSSIA TOO MUCH, FORGAVE TOO LITTLE.
In an article in Turin's "La Stampa" on 3 September,
Aleksandr Livshits said the IMF's biggest mistake in dealing
with Russia was that "it loved us too much and forgave us too
little." In other comments, the Russian envoy to the G-8
acknowledged that no one knows the real amount of capital
flight from Russia. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mikhail
Kasyanov said on 3 September that the next tranche of the IMF
loan to Moscow may be delayed because the fund's board may
not meet until October, AP reported. PG

MOSCOW WON'T TAKE SPECIAL STEPS TO DEFEND RUBLE. Finance
Minister Kasyanov said on 3 September that Moscow will not
take any extra steps to defend the ruble, Interfax reported.
He pointed to the rising Russian trade surplus as one of the
reasons he is confident that the ruble will remain within its
specified range. While Russian exports fell by 5 percent in
the first eight months of 1999, imports declined by 45
percent, leaving Moscow with a large trade surplus that is
expected to support current exchange rates. PG

TAX COLLECTIONS SURGE TO RECORD LEVELS. Aleksandr Skvortsev,
an adviser to the Tax Ministry, said on 3 September that last
month taxes worth 30.834 billion rubles ($1.25 billion) were
collected, "the highest figure in the history of Russia's tax
agencies," Interfax reported. Meanwhile, Tax Minister
Aleksandr Pochinok said the authorities should be able to
collect some 370 billion rubles during the next budget year.
Also on 3 September, the Federal Tax Police announced that
they are now investigating 14 oil companies for possible tax
delinquencies. PG

SOME 1,000 RUSSIAN BANKS SAID TO BE PROFITABLE NOW. Vladimir
Smenkovskii, the director of research at the Russian Central
Bank, told the Moscow Invest 1999 Forum on 3 September that
up to 1,000 Russian banks are now turning a profit, Interfax
reported. But on 4 September, Central Bank Deputy Chairman
Georgii Lutonvskii said that the first stage of restructuring
SBS-AGRO Bank will cost approximately 6 billion rubles ($240
million). PG

COMMUNISTS, AGRARIANS, PATRIOTS ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF 'FOR
VICTORY' BLOC. The KPRF, some Agrarians, and the Patriots
have formally announced the setting up of the For Victory
electoral alliance, Russian agencies reported on 4 September.
At its extraordinary congress the same day, the KPRF
announced its program. According to party leader Gennadii
Zyuganov, the program seeks to eliminate "the consequences of
the severe genocide" perpetrated against the Russian people,
improve law enforcement, protect all social groups, and
cooperate with foreign governments in order to improve the
life of average Russians, Interfax reported. PG

RUSSIA HELPS SERBIA, HURTS BOSNIA. Although Serbian officials
said Moscow continues to be in "scrupulous compliance" with
the UN-imposed arms embargo, Moscow has moved to help
Belgrade by making preparations to reschedule its debts for
natural gas, Interfax reported. At the same time, however,
Gazexport, the export arm of Gazprom, has cut off supplies to
Bosnia's Muslim-Croatian federation because the latter has
failed to pay its gas bills in full this year. PG

IVANOV DOUBLY UNHAPPY WITH KOSOVA EXPERIMENT. Russian Foreign
Minister Ivanov said in Tbilisi on 3 September that he is not
only unhappy about the policy NATO adopted in Kosova but is
categorically opposed to any "transfer of the Kosovo
experiment" to other conflict situations, Interfax reported.
Ivanov said those who think that the Kosova experiment was
successful are "totally wrong" because in fact it had made
the situation there worse. He added that any repetition of
such actions would be extremely dangerous. PG

RUSSIAN FORCES IN FAR EAST DOWN BY 200,000 SINCE 1992.
Defense Minister Igor Sergeev told Interfax on 3 September
that Moscow has reduced its forces in the Far East by
200,000. He said that more than 200 formations have been
disbanded, 600 missiles scrapped, and 50 ships mothballed.
Such actions represent a renunciation of any moves "that
could provoke our neighbors to counteractions," Sergeev
concluded. PG

IRAN SEEKS RENEWED MILITARY TIES WITH MOSCOW. Mehdi Safrari,
Iran's ambassador in Moscow, told "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 4
September that Iran would like to see a renewal of military
and technical cooperation with Russia "regardless of what
anyone else thinks," Interfax reported. Without naming the
U.S., Safrari said countries that "used to have no presence
in Central Asia and in the Caucasus" have declared these
regions "zones of national interest" and are seeking to
"destroy" cooperation between Iran and Russia. PG

FSB SAYS 'EXTREMIST GROUPS' EXIST IN RUSSIA. The Federal
Security Service said on 3 September that extremist groups
exist "and not only in Moscow," ITAR-TASS reported. FSB
spokesman Aleksandr Zdanovich said that because such groups
"can turn into criminal gangs at any moment, we are
constantly watching their activities." Among the groups that
fall into this category are the Revolutionary Military
Council of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
and the Satanists. The latter had threatened to explode bombs
in the Russian capital on the 852nd anniversary of Moscow on
4 September. PG

NOVGOROD GOVERNOR EASILY WINS RE-ELECTION... Mikhail Prusak
scored a resounding victory in the 5 September gubernatorial
ballot in Novgorod Oblast. According to preliminary results
cited by ITAR-TASS the following day, the reform-minded
incumbent governor polled 91 percent of the vote. Together,
the other three candidates mustered only 3 percent. Turnout
was 50 percent. JC

...AS DOES HIS OMSK COUNTERPART. Also on 5 September,
incumbent Governor Leonid Polezhaev easily beat out his main
challenger for that post, Aleksandr Kravets, the regional
Communist head and the chief ideologist of the Russian
Communist Party. ITAR-TASS cited preliminary results as
showing 57 percent of the electorate backing Polezhaev and 26
percent Kravets. Turnout is estimated to have exceeded 50
percent. In both Novgorod and Omsk, at least 25 percent of
the electorate must vote for the ballot to be valid, and a
candidate requires only a simple majority to win. JC

NEW INCURSION FROM CHECHNYA INTO DAGHESTAN. The estimated
2,000 militants who congregated on the border between
Chechnya and Daghestan late last week crossed into Daghestan
early on 5 September, engaging Daghestani and Russian
Interior Ministry troops in the Kazbek and Novolaksk Raions.
The invading force, which sources in Makhachkala told ITAR-
TASS is predominantly composed of Chechens, seized the
villages of Gamiyakh, Duchi, Akhar, and Shushiya and
triggered a wave of fugitives from Novolaksk to Khasavyurt,
Interfax reported. Fighting also continued on 5 September
near the villages of Chabanmakhi and Karamakhi. The previous
evening, a bomb exploded in the town of Buinaksk, killing
some 36 people and injuring 110. On 4 September, the Russian
Defense Ministry again assumed control of military operations
in Daghestan once week after it had handed over that control
to the Interior Ministry. LF

CHECHEN PRESIDENT APPEALS FOR INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. In a
4 September statement, Aslan Maskhadov called on
international organizations and world leaders "to take a
resolute step in support of the Chechen people and recognize
the Chechen Republic," Interfax reported. Maskhadov added
that international recognition of Chechnya is an essential
precondition for establishing positive relations between
Moscow and Grozny and stabilizing the overall situation in
the Caucasus. He accused Russia of bringing pressure to bear
on Chechnya through economic sanctions and supporting the
activities of criminal gangs operating on Chechen territory.
LF

PUTIN SAYS MOSCOW WILL RE-ESTABLISH AUTHORITY IN DAGHESTAN.
In an interview with ORT on 5 September, Prime Minister Putin
said Moscow will re-establish its authority in highland
Daghestan, where, he acknowledged, "no Russian authority has
existed for almost two years." He added that such "a
challenge to Russia cannot be tolerated any longer." The same
day, Colonel General Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov arrived in
Daghestan to take control of Russian forces, which continued
to face fierce opposition. Earlier, Putin participated in a
high-level conference in Moscow to consider how to respond to
the deteriorating situation in the North Caucasus. PG

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESS RIVALS MEET IN MOSCOW... Vladimir
Semenov, whose victory in the 16 May runoff presidential poll
was formally recognized as valid by the republic's Supreme
Court late last month, and his defeated rival, Cherkessk
Mayor Stanislav Derev, met twice in Moscow on 4 September
with Prime Minister Putin and presidential administration
head Aleksandr Voloshin, Interfax reported. During those
talks, Derev reportedly rejected a compromise solution
whereby Semenov would assume his duties as acting head of the
republic and Derev would become acting prime minister pending
a decision by the Russian Supreme Court on the validity of
the runoff poll. That court had referred the dispute back to
the Karachaevo-Cherkess republican court in late July. LF

...FOLLOWING MORE VIOLENCE IN CHERKESSK. Twenty-six people
were injured, some seriously, when supporters of Semenov and
Derev clashed on 3-4 September in Cherkessk, the capital of
the republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Caucasus Press and
Interfax reported. Derev's supporters launched a protest
demonstration on 27 August after the republic's Supreme Court
formally recognized the outcome of the 16 May runoff
election. Police patrols in Cherkessk were increased after
the 3 September fighting, and a 100-strong OMON unit was
dispatched from St. Petersburg to Cherkessk. Also on 3
September, the International Cherkess Association, which has
been accused of spearheading the campaign for a separate
Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, issued a statement calling on all
religious, public, and political organizations in the North
Caucasus to condemn Wahhabism, according to Caucasus Press.
LF

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH MINSK GROUP CO-CHAIRMAN. Robert
Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian met in Yerevan
on 3 September with Carey Cavanaugh, the newly appointed U.S.
co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's
Yerevan bureau reported. Cavanaugh told journalists after
those talks that he believes the talks between Kocharian and
his Azerbaijani counterpart, Heidar Aliev, that took place in
July and August in Geneva "have shown a commitment by both
sides" to finding a solution to the deadlocked Karabakh
conflict. LF

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ARMENIA... Igor Ivanov
arrived in Yerevan on 3 September to meet with Kocharian,
Oskanian, and Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsian. Ivanov later
positively assessed all aspects of Russian-Armenian relations
but added that "more could be done" to expand those ties,
especially in the trade and economic sphere. Ivanov also
welcomed the recent direct talks between the presidents of
Armenia and Azerbaijan as "the best way" to begin looking for
a solution to the Karabakh conflict. At the same time, he
stressed that the Minsk Group should find a way to include
representatives of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
in the peace process, according to Interfax. He argued that a
final settlement to the conflict must include guarantees of
the enclave's security and unimpeded overland communications
with Armenia but must not impinge on Azerbaijan's territorial
integrity. Ivanov handed Kocharian an invitation from Russian
President Boris Yeltsin to visit Russia, which Kocharian
accepted, Noyan Tapan reported. LF

...AND GEORGIA. The next day, Ivanov held talks in Tbilisi
with his Georgian counterpart, Irakli Menagharishvili,
parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania, and Georgian President
Eduard Shevardnadze. All three Georgian officials agreed with
Ivanov's assessment that the present state of bilateral
relations is unsatisfactory. Revaz Adamia, chairman of the
parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security, told
Interfax on 5 September that while Ivanov's visit was "very
important," it failed to resolve serious differences between
Moscow and Tbilisi. Zhvania told Ivanov that Georgia wants
the Russian military presence in Georgia reduced in line with
the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, while Ivanov
advocated raising the level of bilateral military cooperation
to that between Russia and Armenia, according to Caucasus
Press. Ivanov assured Shevardnadze of Russia's willingness to
play a more active role in resolving the Abkhaz conflict. But
Ivanov later told journalists that Moscow considers
unacceptable any "peace enforcement" operation in Abkhazia
comparable to that in Kosova, Interfax reported. Shevardnadze
has repeatedly called for such intervention. LF

PUBLICATION OF ARMENIAN NEWSPAPER SUSPENDED... Nikol
Pashinian, editor of the newspaper "Oragir" and its
successor, "Haykakan zhamanak," told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
that Armenia's main publishing house had informed him that
the 4 September issue of "Haykakan zhamanak" would not be
printed because of a paper shortage. On 31 August, a Yerevan
district court sentenced Pashinian to one year in jail on
charges of obstructing the police, refusing to print a
refutation of materials published in "Oragir," and slander
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 and 2 September 1999). LF

...AS JOURNALISTS, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS PROTEST SENTENCE ON
EDITOR. Some 50 journalists and human rights activists staged
a silent protest close to the presidential palace in Yerevan
on 3 September against the jail sentence handed down to
Pashinian, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.
The protesters termed the sentencing a threat to freedom of
speech in Armenia. Meeting with the protesters, President
Kocharian declined to condemn the verdict or to interfere in
the workings of the judiciary. Kocharian suggested that
Pashinian should apologize to the persons, including National
Security Minister Serzh Sarkisian, who had brought lawsuits
against him. Pashinian later said he sees no reason why he
should do so. LF

DEFEATED AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CALL FOR REPEAT
ELECTIONS. Etibar Mamedov, Nizami Suleymanov, and Ashraf
Mehtiev issued a joint statement in Baku on 4 September
calling on the UN and all international organizations to
withdraw their recognition of the validity of the October
1998 Azerbaijani presidential election results, Turan
reported. The three opposition party leaders called for
repeat elections to be held under UN supervision and argued
that criminal proceedings should be brought against Central
Electoral Commission chairman Djafar Veliev. They claim that
Veliev himself admitted that the poll outcome was falsified.
The Central Electoral Commission has denied that charge (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 1999). LF

BAKU MAYOR BANS PLANNED DEMONSTRATIONS BY AZERBAIJANI
OPPOSITION. Rafael Allakhverdiev has issued a decree
prohibiting mass political demonstrations in the Azerbaijani
capital between 10-20 September, Turan reported on 3
September. The decree invoked the law on freedom of meetings,
which allows for such a ban during international events in
the capital. Baku is to host a celebration to mark the
signing in September 1994 of the first major oil contract
with Western companies. The 23 political parties aligned in
the Movement for Democracy had planned to begin mass actions
in Baku on 10 September to protest what they term President
Aliev's "defeatist" Karabakh policy. LF

KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT EXHORTS FOREIGN INVESTORS. Speaking at
a celebration in Atyrau on 3 September to mark the centenary
of Kazakhstan's oil industry, President Nursultan Nazarbaev
called upon international investors to respect their
commitments to specific projects, Interfax reported.
Nazarbaev also invited international investment in pipeline
projects to export Kazakhstan's oil, terming the Caspian
Pipeline Consortium "Kazakhstan's first hope." CPC Director
Viktor Fedotov said that the pipeline, which runs from Tengiz
to Novorossiisk, will be completed, as planned, by 30 June
2001. Nazarbaev also said that Moscow and Astana are close to
agreement on increasing the annual throughput capacity of the
Atyrau-Samara pipeline from 10 million to 15 million tons. He
added that Russia and Kazakhstan are also discussing a
project to export Kazakh oil via Baltic ports. LF

KYRGYZ FORCES EXPEL SOME UZBEK GUERRILLAS... General Bolot
Djanuzakov, who heads the Defense and Security department
within the Kyrgyz Presidential Administration, told
journalists in Bishkek on 4 September that earlier that day,
Kyrgyz government troops succeeded in dislodging a group of
ethnic Uzbek guerrillas from the Chon-Alai Raion of Osh
Oblast, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. The
militants crossed into the Djirgatal district of neighboring
Tajikistan, taking five Kyrgyz policemen whom they had seized
two weeks earlier, Djanuzakov added. He said the militants
have also surrendered control of two villages in Batken
Raion, leaving only one village there held by 400 guerrillas.
That group is still holding hostage four Japanese geologists
and a Kyrgyz Interior Ministry general. LF

...WHO INFORM KYRGYZ LEADERSHIP OF THEIR DEMANDS. The rebels
faxed their demands to the Kyrgyz leadership on 3 September,
RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported the next day, citing the
presidential press service. In that message, which was
written in Russian, Zubair ibn Abdurrakim, chairman of the
political council of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,
announced the beginning of a "Holy War" against Uzbekistan
with the aim of forcing the release of 50,000 Muslims held in
Uzbek prisons and the reopening of thousands of mosques and
religious training institutions. The statement calls on
Bishkek to allow the guerrillas to proceed unimpeded to
Uzbekistan and not to abet the Uzbek authorities or hand over
to "[Uzbek President Islam] Karimov's executioners" Uzbeks
who fled to Kyrgyzstan to escape persecution. The statement
threatened to launch a holy war against the Kyrgyz leadership
should it fail to comply with those demands. LF

TURKMENISTAN, IRAN MOVE AHEAD ON BORDER DAM PROJECT. During
talks in Ashgabat last week, Turkmen government and Iranian
energy officials approved a feasibility study and reached
agreement on financing construction of a reservoir and dam on
the Tedzhen River, which marks the border between the two
countries, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 September. The two
countries will contribute equally to the estimated $167
million project, which they first agreed on in May 1996. The
reservoir will have a capacity of 1.2 billion cubic meters,
making it possible to irrigate some 20,000 hectares of land
on each side of the border, according to Interfax. LF

UZBEK PRESIDENT OPENS ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY IN TASHKENT. Islam
Karimov attended the opening ceremony on 3 September of the
Tashkent Islamic University, which was established under a
presidential decree, Interfax reported. Karimov said that the
university will teach the history and philosophy of Islam,
Islamic law, economy, and natural sciences, noting that
instruction will be based "on original sources handed down
from [our] ancestors." Karimov added that inadequate
knowledge of Islam "results in delusions among young people
and tragic consequences." LF

END NOTE

RUSSIA'S GOVERNORS PROVING TO BE UNPREDICTABLE POLITICAL
FORCE

by Sophie Lambroschini

	The 29 August gubernatorial ballot in Sverdlovsk
highlights the growing influence of regions in Russian
politics and shows how unpredictable those politics can be.
	It was no surprise that Eduard Rossel, one of Russia's
best-known governors since he promoted an independent Urals
republic in 1993, won the first round and stands a good
chance of winning the run-off later this month.
	What was surprising, though, was the relatively poor
showing of Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadii Chernetskii. Despite
support from the powerful Our Fatherland-Russia alliance,
Chernetskii came in only third.
	Nikolai Petrov, an analyst with the Moscow-based
Carnegie Fund, says support from Moscow-based parties is not
enough to guarantee victory in regional elections. He told
RFE/RL that "more and more, the regions are evolving
according to a separate logic, where ideology doesn't play
much of a role." He says increasingly voters are looking to
regional leaders as "do-ers," as opposed to Moscow
politicians, who just talk.
	Regional expert Jean-Robert Raviot of the French
Foundation for Political Sciences says voters take into
account what works around them--schools, transport, and other
infrastructure--when they make a decision. These things, he
says, are more dependent on local authorities. He says that
voters also notice when pensions are not paid on time, for
which the federation has to assume responsibility.	As
December's parliamentary elections approach, politicians at
all levels, including the Kremlin, are looking at how best to
organize themselves. However, it is uncertain whether they
are taking into consideration the unpredictability of
regional voting.
	Political alliances have recently been formed. Tatarstan
President Mintimer Shaimiev's All Russia includes Saint
Petersburg Mayor Vladimir Yakovlev, Ingush President Ruslan
Aushev, as well as leaders from Bashkortostan and Primore.
	All Russia recently hooked up with Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov's Fatherland, when it became clear that former Prime
Minister Yevgenii Primakov would support the union. The
alliance is widely predicted to do well in the parliamentary
election.
	A rival group has not fared as well. Samara Governor
Konstantin Titov's Voice of Russia, reportedly encouraged by
the Kremlin, has fallen to pieces.
	According to Russian media reports, former Prime
Minister Sergei Stepashin's last tour in the Volga region a
few days before his sacking and new Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin's trip to Siberia shortly after taking office were
last-ditch efforts by the Kremlin to convince governors to
support Kremlin-backed candidates.
	"Nezavisimaya gazeta" reports that governors are looking
beyond the era of President Boris Yeltsin. They want a
presidential candidate who can guarantee their powers and
independence. But since none of the main candidates (all of
whom are from Moscow) supports regional independence, the
governors decided to choose candidates of their own. However,
they seemed to have failed in that effort.
	Russia's regional leaders first asserted themselves last
April when the Federation Council (which groups governors and
heads of regional legislative assemblies) twice refused to
dismiss Prosecutor-General Yurii Skuratov, as ordered by the
Kremlin.
	After the vote, Krasnoyarsk Governor Aleksandr Lebed
famously announced that the independent stance had led to the
"collapse" of presidential power.
	Such a slap in the Kremlin's face would have been
unthinkable a year earlier. The upper house, comprised of
many Yeltsin appointees, was conceived as a counter-weight to
the unruly opposition Duma.
	Raviot says the growing independence of the Federation
Council is explained by the fact that governors are no longer
appointed but have been elected. He notes it has taken the
governors some time to define their powers and policies--many
of which conflict with those of the center.
	Also, last year's economic crisis may have propelled the
governors toward more autonomous positions. Caught in
financial and political turmoil, the center de facto
transferred many federal powers to the governors. Several
regions, such as Krasnoyarsk and Krasnodar, experimented with
highly interventionist methods to stabilize their economies.
	Analysts note that the main lesson that Moscow political
parties and the Kremlin should remember when lobbying
regional leaders is their overwhelmingly pragmatic approach.
	Oksana Orecheva at the East-West Institute's Moscow
branch says that governors will make political decisions
while disregarding ideology. The main tactic of governors,
she argues, is to gain influence for their regions in the
State Duma. Oeretcheva notes that in Sverdlovsk, the governor
ran as an independent and the Yekaterinburg mayor as a
Luzhkov ally (similar configurations are evident in other
regions). That way in December, the region is bound not to
lose, she argues.

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