You always pass failure on the way to success. - Mickey Rooney
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 175, Part I, 8 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 175, Part I, 8 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

* FEDERAL FORCES HALT ADVANCE ON KHASAVYURT

* YELTSIN DEMANDS TOUGHER ACTION AGAINST INSURGENTS

* KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT MULLS MEETING WITH MILITANTS
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RUSSIA

FEDERAL FORCES HALT ADVANCE ON KHASAVYURT. Russian Defense
and Interior Ministry forces, together with Daghestani
Interior Ministry troops, succeeded on 7 September in halting
some 1,000 advancing Chechen militants 5 kilometers south of
the strategic town of Khasavyurt, Interfax reported, citing
the Russian Defense Ministry press center in Makhachkala. In
Vladikavkaz, the commander of the Russian 58th Army, General
Shamanov said Russian military forces are being concentrated
in Khasavyurt, from where a key highway leads to Makhachkala.
He added that some of the town's estimated 100,000 population
are ethnic Chechens who support the invading force. The
Chechens still occupy six villages in Novolaksk Raion, south
of Khasavyurt, but Russian forces managed to dislodge the
Chechens from their fortified positions on a strategic
mountain. LF

HEAVY FIGHTING CONTINUES FOR CHABANMAKHI, KARAMAKHI.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continued their intensive air and
artillery bombardment of Chechen positions near the villages
of Chabanmakhi and Karamakhi on 7 September. Later the same
day, ground forces entered Karamakhi, ITAR-TASS and Interfax
reported. Daghestani Interior Ministry forces repelled two
attempts by Chechen forces to cross the border into
Daghestan's Kazbek and Kizlyar Raions, according to
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 8 September. In Grozny, Chechen
field commander Shamil Basaev's press service said the
attacks on Novolaksk were intended to divert federal forces
from their punitive operations against Wahhabis in Karamakhi
and Chabanmakhi. LF

MORE RUSSIAN AIR RAIDS ON CHECHNYA. Russian air force planes
again bombed Nozhai Yurt and Vedeno, in southeastern
Chechnya, early on 7 September, killing two people and
injuring seven, Interfax reported, citing the office of
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Later the same day, the
Chechen Foreign Ministry protested to the Russian government
over the bombings, which Russian officials say are directed
against Chechen guerrilla bases. Chechen Presidential
Spokesman Selim Abdulmuslimov told Interfax that no such
bases exist in Chechnya and that the militants currently
fighting in Daghestan have no links with Chechnya. LF

RUSSIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY CLAIMS CHECHEN GUERRILLAS USING
FEDERAL FUNDS. Major General Kuzma Shalenkov, who is first
deputy head of the Russian Interior Ministry's anti-economic
crime department, said on 7 September that the Chechen
guerrillas receive funding from official and unofficial
sources both in Russia and abroad, ITAR-TASS reported. Those
sources include federal funds allocated for the development
of the education and health sectors in the North Caucasus;
donations from Russian businessmen who sympathize with the
Chechens, and "extremist organizations" that aim to
destabilize the situation in Daghestan, Shalenkov said. LF

RIVAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA
CONTINUE TALKS. Vladimir Semenov, whose victory in the 16 May
presidential runoff poll was endorsed last month by the
Supreme Court of the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia,
continued talks in Cherkessk on 7 September with his defeated
rival, Stanislav Derev. Derev refuses to recognize either the
poll outcome or the court ruling. His supporters have staged
daily demonstrations to demand the restoration of the
Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, abolished in 1957. "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" quoted Derev on 8 September as stressing that neither
the Cherkess (of whom he is one) nor the Karachais (including
Semenov) want to secede from the Russian Federation. But the
newspaper also quoted a spokesman for the republic's Cossack
community as saying that the Cossacks oppose any division of
the republic, even though they theoretically have the right
to demand the restoration of the territorial autonomy they
enjoyed until 1927. LF

YELTSIN DEMANDS TOUGHER ACTION AGAINST INSURGENTS. At a
meeting of the Russian Security Council on 7 September,
President Boris Yeltsin demanded greater coordination among
and more effective action by Russian forces operating in
Daghestan, Russian agencies reported. He lashed out at the
insurgents, saying that "it is incorrect to call those
bandits Islamists. They are fighting against Muslim peoples
in Daghestan." He added that "the terrorists have no faith
and no Allah." In other comments, Yeltsin said that he has
drawn three conclusions about the Daghestani events: "First,
the defeat of the bandits has led them to resort to
especially cruel actions.... Second, we have not been able to
destroy the roots of the virus of terrorism.... And third, up
to now federal forces have been acting in a favorable
information environment, but the longer the confrontation
takes place and the more victims there are, the less trust
there will be." PG

SECURITY COUNCIL MAKES NO PERSONNEL CHANGES. Federation
Council Chairman Yegor Stroev told ITAR-TASS on 7 September
that the Russian Security Council sharply criticized the
heads of the country's defense and law enforcement agencies
but decided not to dismiss anyone for now. "It is time to
coordinate efforts, not dismiss officials," Stroev said. He
added that the council decided to expand "work with
neighboring countries" from which a large quantity of
weaponry enters Russia. But he added that "there can be no
combat operations against Chechnya." PG

PUTIN SAYS MOSCOW MUST 'BRUSH AWAY' GUILT SYNDROME. Calling
for harsh measures in Daghestan, Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin told Interfax on 7 September that "we must
brush away the syndrome of guilt developed in previous
years," an apparent reference to reluctance to use force
after the Chechen war. "We have been attacked," Putin said,
arguing that Russia should move quickly to eliminate the
bandits in Daghestan. He said that "much time" will be needed
to resolve the socioeconomic problems in the North Caucasus
but "we cannot afford to spend too much time on eliminating
the bandits." Meanwhile, Oleg Mironov, Moscow's human rights
ombudsman, said in London on 7 September that Russia has
already prepared a package of aid for Daghestan, ITAR-TASS
reported. PG

YELTSIN, AUSHEV FEAR FOR INTEGRITY OF RUSSIA. Presidential
press spokesman Dmitrii Yakushkin said on Russian Television
on 7 September that Yeltsin believes the developments in
Daghestan constitute "a real threat to the integrity of
Russia," Interfax reported. Yakushkin added that there are no
simple or quick solutions to the problems in the North
Caucasus. Meanwhile, Ingushetia President and Federation
Council member Ruslan Aushev told ITAR-TASS the same day that
"the latest events in Daghestan and the scandal over the
elections in Karachaevo-Cherkessia may trigger a total
Caucasian war," as a result of which the entire region "will
then be lost to Russia, despite heavy sacrifice and
bloodshed." In other comments, he rejected suggestions that
Chechen President Maskhadov has been passive, noting that the
Chechen leader has expelled Movladi Udugov and Shamil Basaev
from the republic's Security Council. PG

DAGHESTAN FIGHTING CONTINUES TO CAUSE CONCERN IN MOSCOW.
Russian politicians and news outlets continued to focus on
the events in Daghestan and their implications for Russia as
a whole. State Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev repeated his
view that there is no need to impose a state of emergency in
Moscow, Interfax reported on 7 September. He lashed out at
Yeltsin's criticism of the military, noting that "the easiest
thing is to accuse servicemen of being negligent." Meanwhile,
Vladimir Ryzhkov, the leader of the Our Home Is Russia
faction in the Duma, warned that the war in Daghestan will go
on for a long time, ITAR-TASS reported. And Moscow Mayor
Yurii Luzhkov said the army is fighting a "just war" in
Daghestan and deserves the country's support, according to
Interfax. PG

GOVERNMENT SETS UP MEDIA CENTER, HOTLINE. In order to ensure
that its message gets out on Daghestan, the Russian
government has established a media center to coordinate
reporting, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 September. The news agency
also said that a special telephone hotline has been set up to
allow families to learn about the status of their relatives
in the fighting. According to a press spokesman in the North
Caucasus military district, it takes only a few minutes for
family members to find about the fate, health, and
whereabouts of Russian soldiers there. PG

MORE CHARGES THAT NEW YORK SCANDAL POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.
Presidential spokesman Yakushkin told ITAR-TASS on 7
September that people interested in making the political
situation worse in both Russia and the U.S. are responsible
for coverage of the Bank of New York scandal. Meanwhile,
Prime Minister Putin said corruption is "transnational" and
that Russia will cooperate with the U.S. in investigating the
current charges, Interfax reported. These comments were
echoed by other Russian political figures. Duma Speaker
Seleznev said that "Russiangate" is "undermining the prestige
of Russia" as a whole, a development that he said is
"absolutely groundless and unfair." PG

YABLOKO BLAMES REGIME, CHUBAIS DENIES INVOLVEMENT. Yabloko
leader Grigorii Yavlinskii told Interfax on 7 September that
the Yeltsin regime is behind the current scandal, having
"abused the patience of the whole world." He suggested that
the West is simply waking up to what has been going on for a
long time. "For 10 years, the West has found Russian partners
whom Russia itself considered absolutely useless. This has
ended in such a scandal." Meanwhile, Unified Energy Systems
Chairman Anatolii Chubais has denied any involvement with
Treasury bill fraud and said he will sue those who have
suggested otherwise, Interfax reported on 7 September. PG

COLLINS SAYS SCANDAL WON'T HARM U.S.-RUSSIA TIES. Speaking on
Ekho Moskvy on 7 September, U.S. Ambassador James Collins
said the scandal about money-laundering at the Bank of New
York will not harm U.S.-Russian relations. He said that these
are based on a solid foundation, although he acknowledged
that corruption and crime are serious problems. PG

SCANDAL AFFECTS INVESTORS, RUSSIAN BANKING ABROAD. The
International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank
group, told Interfax on 7 September that it will be "more
prudent in selecting investments in the Russian banking
market" following the ongoing scandal charges. Meanwhile,
Interfax reported, at least one U.S. bank has refused to
honor a payment made through one of its Russian correspondent
banks. PG

VOLKOV RETURNS FROM SWITZERLAND, DOCUMENTS TO FOLLOW. Nikolai
Volkov, who is investigating the Aeroflot case, returned to
Moscow on 7 September, Interfax reported. He said that the
Swiss authorities will be sending documents seized by police
there but that these documents are unlikely to reach Russia
prosecutors before the end of 1999. PG

SKURATOV CLARIFIES HIS CHARGES. Suspended Prosecutor-General
Yurii Skuratov told Interfax on 7 September that he did not
tell journalists that Yeltsin's daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko,
was involved in the alleged theft of IMF loans. Such
assertions, he said, "are too straightforward and not
entirely precise." In other remarks, he said that Mabetex
President Behgjet Pacolli gave more than 15 million Swiss
francs ($10 million) in bribes to senior Russian officials
and their families. And he called for a thorough
investigation, although he expressed doubts about whether
this will be possible given that he does not know the fate of
documents he had before being suspended from office. PG

SELEZNEV SEES NO CHANCE OF EARLY PRESIDENTIAL VOTE. Duma
speaker Seleznev told Interfax on 7 September that he does
not believe that Yeltsin will hand over office to Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin on 19 September, as some have
suggested, and thus trigger a presidential vote at the same
time as the Duma elections. But he said "Russia would
benefit" if Yeltsin took that step. In other comments, he
said the Duma may soon take up a number of constitutional
amendments aimed at limiting the power of the presidency. PG

LIBEL CHARGES LODGED AGAINST ST. PETERSBURG NEWSPAPER.
Leningrad Oblast prosecutors have brought libel charges
against a St. Petersburg newspaper for materials the
officials alleged defame Fedor Shkrudnev, former presidential
representative to the city and a candidate in the 19
September gubernatorial ballot in Leningrad, ITAR-TASS
reported on 7 September. PG

MOSCOW LOOKS TOWARD ASIA. The Russian Foreign Ministry on 7
September issued a statement saying that "acts of violence in
East Timor must be stopped immediately," Russian agencies
reported. Meanwhile, shortly before departing for the Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in New Zealand, Prime
Minister Putin signed a directive for increasing oil supplies
to China over the next year, And Moscow received the first
$50 million of a $1.5 billion Japanese credit line on 7
September, Interfax reported, while First Deputy Prime
Minister Viktor Khristenko said that no date has been set for
Yeltsin's visit to Japan. PG

MOSCOW UNHAPPY WITH WEST'S APPROACH ON KOSOVA. Colonel
General Leonid Ivashov, the chief of the Russian Defense
Ministry's Department for International Military Cooperation,
told ITAR-TASS on 7 September that Moscow is unhappy with
KFOR operations in Kosova. He argued that KFOR has not moved
to disarm the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK). According to
unnamed Russian diplomats cited by Interfax, Moscow believes
the UCK must be disbanded as well as disarmed and will oppose
"all plans to retain the UCK as an organization of any kind."
PG

NIKITIN CASE SENT BACK TO COURT. The St. Petersburg
Prosecutor-General's Office has returned the case of naval
officer Aleksandr Nikitin to the courts for trial, Interfax-
Northwest reported on 7 September. According to that office,
a new examination of the facts of the case revealed that
Nikitin handed over secret information to a foreign outlet,
in this case the Norwegian Bellona organization. Nikitin was
first arrested in February 1996, but at his trial, the judge
sent the case back to prosecutors for further consideration.
PG

NEW RUSSIAN BUSINESS NEWSPAPER LAUNCHED. The "Financial
Times" and "The Wall Street Journal" have joined forces with
a Dutch publisher to launch a new Russian-language business
paper, "Vedomosti," in Moscow, Reuters reported on 7
September. The newspaper claims to be the only "truly
independent" publication of its type in the Russian capital.
PG

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION OBJECTS TO THIRD PRESIDENTIAL TERM FOR
ALIEV. The leaders of the Azerbaijan National Independence
Party, Musavat Party, Democratic Party and Azerbaijan Popular
Front Party, Etibar Mamedov, Isa Gambar, Ilias Ismailov and
Abulfaz Elchibey, told Turan on 7 September that they do not
consider the results of the October1998 presidential
elections valid. They added that President Heidar Aliev's
statement that he may run in 2003 for a third term is
therefore inappropriate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September
1999). Elchibey noted that many Azerbaijani citizens likewise
believe that Aliev's re-election was not legitimate. LF

AZERBAIJAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROTESTS FALSE REPORTS OF
LEADER'S DETENTION. Also on 7 September, the Democratic Party
announced it will hold a demonstration outside the U.S.
Embassy on 14 September to protest the erroneous report
circulated by the Azerbaijani authorities that the party's
co-chairman, Rasul Guliev, was detained in the U.S. by
immigration officials, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
7 September 1999). Senior Democratic Party official Nuraddin
Mamedli has filed suit against the Prosecutor-General's
Office and demanded a published official refutation of the
report. LF

NO ARMS REACHING DAGHESTAN VIA AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA. Georgian
Border Guard Service chief Valerii Chkheidze on 7 September
rejected Russian State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev's call
earlier that day to close Russia's borders with Georgia and
Azerbaijan in order to prevent the shipment of arms to the
Chechen militants fighting in Daghestan, Caucasus Press
reported. Chkheidze said that Georgia's borders with Chechnya
and Daghestan are reliably controlled. There are no longer
any Russian border guards deployed along the Chechen side of
that border. In Baku, a National Security Ministry official
similarly told Interfax that Seleznev's charges are
unsubstantiated. Moscow closed its borders with Georgia and
Azerbaijan in December 1994 at the start of the war in
Chechnya. LF

GEORGIA SAYS RUSSIAN OBJECTIONS TO WARGAMES UNFOUNDED.
Georgian Defense Minister David Tevzadze said on 7 September
that the two-day military maneuvers that began the same day
at the Kulevi training ground in western Georgia do not
violate any regional peace agreements, ITAR-TASS and Caucasus
Press reported. Colonel-General Sergei Korobko, who commands
the Russian peacekeeping force deployed along the border
between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, wrote to Tevzadze
to object that the maneuvers entail bringing heavy military
equipment into a zone from which such weapons are banned
under the Georgian-Abkhaz cease-fire agreement of May 1994.
Russian Foreign Ministry special envoy for Abkhazia Lev
Mironov termed the maneuvers an "outrageous violation" of the
1994 agreement. But Georgian parliamentary defense and
security committee chairman Revaz Adamia pointed out to
Caucasus Press that Kulevi is the only suitable training
ground available to the Georgian forces. LF

DATE SET FOR PAPAL VISIT TO GEORGIA. Pope John Paul II will
visit Georgia on 8-9 November, Caucasus Press reported on 8
September. The visit had originally been planned for early
summer but was postponed because of the pontiff's poor
health. Agreement that the pope would visit Georgia before
the end of 1999 was reached during a visit to Tbilisi last
month by Vatican Assistant Secretary of State Giovanni
Battista Re (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 August 1999). LF

KAZAKH OPPOSITION TERMS ELECTION PROSPECTS DISCOURAGING.
Alash Party leader Zhaqsybay told journalists in Almaty on 7
September that he has decided to withdraw his candidacy for
the 10 October elections to the lower house of the
parliament, RFE/RL's bureau in the former capital reported.
Bazylbaev explained he has received telephone threats. At
another press conference in Almaty, Serikbolsyn Abdildin, who
heads the Kazakh Communist Party, said he does not believe
his party has any chance of success in that poll. He
predicted that international observers, including the OSCE,
will prove incapable of ensuring free and fair elections
since the existing election law enables election commissions
to falsify the vote count in favor of the two "parties of
power," according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 8 September.
Those parties are Otan (Fatherland) and the Citizens' Party.
A recent opinion poll showed 21.4 percent support for Otan,
9.4 percent for the Communists, and 4.6 percent for the
Citizens' Party, "Novye izvestiya" reported on 2 September.
LF

KAZAKH DEPUTY PREMIER DISCUSSES TENGIZCHEVROIL SALE. Daniyar
Abulgazin told journalists in Astana on 7 September that the
precise date for the sale of part of Kazakhstan's 40 percent
stake in the Tengizchevroil consortium will depend on
fulfillment of the state budget, Interfax reported. "If the
budget situation is okay, the Kazakh stake will not be sold
before the end of 1999," he said, adding that current tax
revenues "give grounds for optimism." Abulgazin confirmed
that Kazakhstan will sell 40 percent of its stake, which is
equal to a 10 percent stake in the consortium, and that some
20 oil companies have been invited to participate in the
tender. But he declined to specify the asking price. LF

KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT MULLS MEETING WITH MILITANTS. General Bolot
Djanuzakov told journalists in Bishkek on 7 September, after
President Askar Akaev named him to head the Kyrgyz Security
Council, that the government will not conduct official
negotiations with the ethnic Uzbek guerrillas who still hold
a dozen hostages in southern Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Bishkek
bureau reported. Djanuzakov did not rule out lower-level
talks with the guerrillas and suggested that some members of
the Kyrgyz government might participate. The guerrillas have
sent a letter to the Kyrgyz authorities, via intermediary
Tursunbek Akunov, proposing talks either in southern
Kyrgyzstan or the Djirgtal region of neighboring Tajikistan
to discuss the release of the hostages. Four Japanese
geologists who are among the hostages have also sent a letter
to the Kyrgyz leadership urging that everything possible be
done to secure their release, Reuters reported. Meanwhile the
situation in the south of the country remained calm on 7
September. LF

UZBEKISTAN REJECTS MILITANTS' DEMANDS... The Uzbek Foreign
Ministry issued a statement on 7 September rejecting as a
"provocation" and "scandalous outrage" the Islamic Movement
of Uzbekistan's demand for the release of 50,000 Muslims
imprisoned in Uzbekistan in exchange for freeing the hostages
held by the movement's guerrillas in southern Kyrgyzstan,
Reuters and Interfax reported. The Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan faxed that demand to the Kyrgyz leadership on 4
September, insisting that the Kyrgyz leadership allow the
guerrillas to cross unimpeded into Uzbekistan (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 6 September 1999). Uzbek National Security Council
Secretary Mirakbar Rakhmankulov told Uzbek Television on 7
September that the militants aim to destabilize the whole of
Central Asia, according to Interfax. He added that they are
supported by the Afghan Taliban movement and other
organizations with the same goal. LF

...WHILE CHINA OFFERS HELP. An unnamed government official
told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 7 September that China has
offered help to Kyrgyzstan to resolve the hostage crisis. The
official said Beijing is ready to block the state frontiers
between China and Kyrgyzstan and between Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan. An agreement on strengthening frontier security
measures was signed by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
and Tajikistan in April 1996. LF

TAJIK RENEGADES SENTENCED. Tajikistan's Supreme Court has
handed down sentences ranging from three to 15 years in
prison to 12 members of a gang headed by Rezvon Sodirov,
ITAR-TASS reported on 7 September. The gang was charged with
murder, gangsterism, and hostage-taking in 1997 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 3 and 10 October 1997). LF

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