|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 178, Part I, 13 September 1999
___________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 178, Part I, 13 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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Russian Media Empires V (In English and Russian) http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia5/index.html A pre-election analysis of media owned by Russian government and business entities. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part I * ANOTHER MOSCOW APARTMENT BUILDING RAZED IN EXPLOSION * PUTIN, CLINTON DISCUSS CORRUPTION, ARMS CONTROL * FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER ARRESTED IN MOSCOW END NOTE: Giving Yalta A New Meaning xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx RUSSIA ANOTHER MOSCOW APARTMENT BUILDING RAZED IN EXPLOSION. Just four days after an explosion destroyed an apartment house in Guryanov Street in southeastern Moscow, a blast has leveled a residential building on Kashirskoe Highway, also in the southern part of the capital. At least 34 people are dead and dozens of others missing following a powerful explosion at 5:00 a.m. local time on 13 September. A police spokesman cited by AP said the incident is being treated as a suspected bombing, while police chief Colonel General Nikolai Kulikov has appealed for public help in finding a man who rented premises on both Guryanov Street and Kashirskoe Highway, Interfax reported. Last week, Russian President Boris Yeltsin designated 13 September a day of mourning for the victims of the Guryanov Street blast as well as for those killed in the explosions at the Russian capital's Manezh shopping mall and in the Daghestani town of Buinaksk. JC YELTSIN URGES COUNTRY TO UNITE IN FACE OF TERRORIST THREAT. Speaking on national television on 13 September, President Yeltsin said that "terrorism has declared war on the Russian people" and that it is therefore "necessary to unite all forces of society and the state to rebuff the internal enemy." He did not specify who that enemy is. Yeltsin also noted that Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo has been appointed head of an "operations headquarters" for fighting terrorism and will coordinate the activities of the power ministries. Earlier, at an emergency meeting in the Kremlin, Yeltsin said that security will be tightened immediately in all major cities, noting that particular attention should be paid to nuclear power stations and other strategic facilities, as well as oil depots and pipelines, ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has cut short his visit to Auckland, New Zealand, where he was attending the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, in order to return to Moscow. He called this latest blast "a clear terrorist act." JC DUMA TO DEBATE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN SOME REGIONS? State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev has said that when the lower house reconvenes on 14 September, it is expected to consider a draft law on imposing a state of emergency in some regions, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Federation Council, Yegor Stroev, was reported to be consulting with members of the upper house about convening an extraordinary meeting over the situation in the country. Two days earlier, on 11 September, Stroev had told Interfax that "in view of the upcoming parliamentary elections," the council would vote against declaring a state of emergency. JC BASAEV DENIES CHECHEN INVOLVEMENT IN GURYANOV STREET BLAST. In a telephone interview with AP on 12 September, Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev denied that his men were responsible for the 9 September explosion in Guryanov Street, saying that it is "not our style" to kill civilians. The same day, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov told NTV that he is "confident" that the blast was the work of "Chechnya, not Daghestanis." "There should be no doubt that this was a terrorist act," he commented. Investigators, meanwhile, are still seeking to determine whether last week's explosion was a deliberate act or caused by the mishandling of explosives illegally stored in the basement of the building. Two people have been detained in connection with the blast at Guryanov Street, in which 93 people are now known to have died. JC PUTIN, CLINTON DISCUSS CORRUPTION... Meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Auckland on 12 September, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian Premier Putin discussed the recent allegations of Russian corruption and money- laundering. U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger quoted Clinton as saying he hopes that Russia will deal with those allegations "because it could eat the heart out of Russian society if the problem of corruption is not dealt with." Putin commented that corruption is a "matter of concern" for Moscow but suggested there are some political dimensions to it, according to Berger. The U.S. official also quoted the Russian premier as saying that Moscow and Washington must develop a "cooperative approach" toward dealing with the problem of money-laundering. JC ...AND ARMS CONTROL. Clinton and Putin also tackled the issue of arms control, with the latter stressing that Moscow is committed to trying to persuade the State Duma to ratify START-2 but that achieving that goal will be "difficult." Clinton, for his part, repeated the U.S.'s desire to amend the 1972 ABM treaty so that it can deploy a system to protect itself against possible attacks by such "rogue states" as North Korea and Iraq. Putin reportedly said that he understands Clinton's concerns but that they must be addressed in such a way as to take into account the security concerns of other countries. At a meeting in Auckland on 10 September with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov underlined Moscow's continued opposition to the U.S. deploying a limited ABM system, arguing that the 1972 treaty is the "cornerstone of strategic stability" and should not be changed. JC IVANOV SAYS RESTORING RELATIONS WITH NATO 'NOT ON THE AGENDA.' Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov told Interfax in Auckland on 10 September that restoring full fledged relations to NATO is "not on the agenda today." He made the remarks after meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Madeleine Albright. Ivanov added that "if it becomes possible at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November to develop the main principles for European security that presuppose strict respect for the UN Charter and international law, there will emerge a chance for gradual unfreezing of relations." Interfax also quoted him as saying that the situation in Kosova is "more complicated now" than before the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia. Ivanov argued that Kosova's political future and the organization of civilian life "appear extremely problematic today." FS PUTIN ALSO MEETS WITH ZEMIN, OBUCHI. In talks with Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in Auckland on 12 September, Putin stressed the importance of developing bilateral trade and economic relations, noting that there are a number of energy projects in which Russia would like to participate, Russian agencies reported, quoting Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov. Discussions between the Russian premier and his Japanese counterpart, Keizo Obuchi, the same day in the New Zealand city side-stepped the issue of the Kuril Islands while touching upon the pending Russian-Japanese peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities. Ivanov, who participated in the talks, was quoted by Interfax as saying that both sides are "patiently and consistently dovetailing positions on cooperation." JC YELTSIN ASKS UPPER HOUSE TO EXTEND BOSNIAN PEACEKEEPING. President Yeltsin asked Federation Council chairman Stroev on 10 September to extend the term of the Russian SFOR peacekeepers in Bosnia until 31 July 2000, Interfax reported. The UN Security Council extended the mandate of SFOR to that date on 18 June. FS VOLOSHIN, CHUBAIS STRIKE BACK OVER SCANDAL ALLEGATIONS. In a letter published in the 12 September issue of the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera," Russian presidential chief of staff Aleksandr Voloshin wrote that some media outlets have launched an "unprecedented campaign" to discredit the Russian Federation and its president, according to ITAR-TASS. Arguing that all corruption allegations are "purely political," Voloshin commented that the "flow of lies must be stopped." Meanwhile, in an interview with "Kommersant-Daily" on 11 September, former First Deputy Prime Minister and current United Energy Systems head Anatolii Chubais "categorically" rejected allegations made by Britain's "The Observer" that the EES is linked to the main bank at the center of the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September 1999). Chubais said that if the newspaper does not publish a retraction, his company will file suit in Britain. JC PROSECUTOR SAYS BEREZOVSKII'S SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS FROZEN. Nikolai Volkov of the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office told NTV on 12 September that Swiss bank accounts belonging to or linked with business magnate Boris Berezovskii have been frozen, according to ITAR-TASS. Among other cases, Volkov is investigating whether Berezovskii set up two companies in Switzerland to misappropriate Aeroflot funds totaling some $250 million. The state-owned airline is headed by Valerii Okulov, who is President Yeltsin's son-in-law. JC TWO GERMAN BANKS REQUEST PROBE INTO POSSIBLE MONEY- LAUNDERING. In its latest issue, the German weekly "Der Spiegel" reports that two of Germany's biggest banks, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, have asked German prosecutors to examine whether Russian account-holders have engaged in money-laundering, dpa reported on 11 September. According to the news agency, both banks have handed over lists of all dubious transfers by firms and individuals under investigation in the U.S. Last week, Deutsche Bank head Rolf Breuer said he could not rule out that his bank has been used by Russian money-launderers. JC SKURATOV SAYS HOME SEARCHES WERE INTENDED TO 'SCARE' HIM. Following searches at his apartment and dacha last week, suspended Prosecutor-General Yurii Skuratov told "The Moscow Times" of 11 September that those measures were "designed to scare" him. "This is a reaction to the degree of frankness I had allowed myself in recent interviews with the media," Skuratov commented (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 September 1999). JC YELTSIN URGES ACCESSION TO INTERNATIONAL CRIME CONVENTIONS. President Yeltsin has told Prime Minister Putin and other senior officials that Russia must do more to join European anti-crime conventions and an international commission combating money-laundering, Interfax reported on 10 September. The president also urged his representatives in the two houses of the parliament to push for ratification of European conventions on extraditing criminals and on mutual assistance in investigating criminal cases. JC RUSSIA TO PARTICIPATE IN Y2K MONITORING CENTER IN COLORADO. Moscow has accepted an offer to station military officers at a joint monitoring center in Colorado that will observe missile warning data during the year 2000 transition, AP reported on 11 September, citing an unidentified Pentagon senior official. Between 10 and 20 Russian officers are to be placed at the Y2K Center for Strategic Stability, which will close down after the New Year. An agreement on Russia's participation in the project is to be signed during U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen's visit to Moscow on 13-14 September, the news agency reported. JC SVERDLOVSK GOVERNOR RE-ELECTED. Eduard Rossel was re-elected as governor of Sverdlovsk Oblast, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September. According to preliminary results, Rossel garnered some 64 percent of votes in the 12 September run-off, while Aleksandr Burkov, an oblast Legislative Assembly deputy and leader of the leftist regional movement May, won 27 percent support. Turnout was estimated at 36 percent. JC PRIMAKOV BEATEN OUT BY BREZHNEV, ANDROPOV. Asked whom among living and deceased politicians they would elect as president, Russians taking part in a nationwide survey by the Public Opinion Foundation opted for two late Soviet leaders, according to Reuters, citing NTV. Leonid Brezhnev and Yurii Andropov both gained 12 percent support, while former Prime Minister and current leader of the Fatherland-All Russia bloc Yevgenii Primakov came a close third, with 10 percent backing. Russian Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov and Josef Stalin received the same rating, 7 percent, while Moscow Mayor Luzhkov garnered 6 percent and Lenin 3 percent. JC RUSSIANS OBJECT TO SPLITTING KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. Almost 4,000 ethnic Russians, together with some Karachais, attended a demonstration on 10 September in republican capital, Cherkessk, to protest demands by the republic's minority Cherkess population to divide the republic into Karachai and Cherkess entities, Interfax reported. Russians are the largest ethnic group, acounting for some 42 percent of the region's 441,000 population; Karachais account for 31 percent and Cherkess less than 10 percent. Some speakers at the rally argued that if the republic is divided, the Slav populations should also receive territorial autonomy including Cherkessk, which the Cherkess also claim. On 11 September, supporters of Cherkessk Mayor Stanislav Derev (a Cherkess) ended the protest meeting they began two weeks earlier following a ruling by the republic's Supreme Court that the 16 May presidential election victory by General Vladimir Semenov (a Karachai) is valid, Caucasus Press reported. One of Semenov's supporters was hospitalized with gunshot wounds following an attack on 9 September, Interfax reported. LF MASKHADOV SEEKS LEBED'S SUPPORT TO END DAGHESTAN WAR. Chechen President Aslan Mazkhadov has written to Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr Lebed proposing that they meet in the Daghestani town of Khasavyurt to try to avert "another large- scale war" between Russia and Chechnya, Interfax reported on 11 September. Lebed, then Russian Security Council secretary, and Maskhadov, then commander of the Chechen forces, signed an agreement in Khasavyurt three years ago ending the war in Chechnya. Maskhadov suggested that tensions between Moscow and Grozny stem from Russia's failure to fulfill the provisions of the Khasavyurt agreement. He added that Chechnya could become Moscow's most important partner in the North Caucasus. Maskhadov also denied any Chechen government involvement in the ongoing fighting in Daghestan, which he blamed on armed groups subordinate to Russian State Duma deputy Nadir Khachilaev. LF CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDER WITHDRAWS FORCES FROM NOVOLAKSK. Shamil Basaev said on 12 September that his forces have been withdrawn completely from Daghestan's Novolaksk Raion, Reuters reported. He also denied any connection with the recent explosions in Moscow. On 10 September, Russian forces had dislodged the Chechen militants from the Novolaksk village of Gamiyakh. The following day, a Russian military helicopter crashed during a combat msission over the vilage of Duchi. Also on 11 September, Interfax quoted the Russian Interior Ministry as stating that the Wahhabi leader of the contested village of Karamakhi has been arrested. LF TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS IN YALTA WITH AZERBAIJANI, GEORGIAN COUNTERPARTS. Robert Kocharian met for half an hour on 10 September on the sidelines of the Baltic-Black Sea summit in Yalta with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Heidar Aliev, to discuss the Karabakh conflict. It was the third meeting between the two men within two months (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July and 23 August 1999). Kocharian told journalists after the talks, which according to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma were held "in a very friendly and comradely atmosphere," that the discussion was "interesting" and "another step forward in the negotiating process," Reuters reported. Kocharian also met with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze on 10 September to discuss regional affairs prior to Kocharian's planned visit to Georgia next month, Caucasus Press reported. LF AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PROTESTS SENTENCE ON JOURNALIST. The Azerbaijan Popular Front Party issued a statement on 10 September condemning as "inhumane and unfair" the suspended sentence handed down the previous day on Irada Huseynova, a journalist with the Russian-language newspaper "Bakinskii bulvard," Turan reported. The statement termed the sentence part of the campaign of repression of the media by the Azerbaijani government. Huseynova was found guilty on charges of having slandered parliamentary deputy Djalal Aliev, brother of the president (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 September 1999). On 9 September, the international journalists organization Reporters sans Frontieres wrote to Azerbaijani Minister of Justice Sudabah Hasanova protesting the sentence on Huseynova. LF GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY STRIPPED OF IMMUNITY. Parliament deputies voted overwhelmingly on 9 September to strip Boris Kakubava of his deputy's immunity, removing the obstacles to his arrest on suspicion of involvement in the most recent foiled assassination attempt against President Shevardnadze, Caucasus Press reported on 10 September. Georgian police detained eight people in May in connection with that undertaking (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 1999). Kakubava is also charged with maintaining criminal contacts with former Georgian security chief Igor Giorgadze, who is wanted in connection with the August 1995 bid to kill Shevardnadze. Kakubava claims to represent the interests of part of the ethnic Georgians who fled Abkhazia during the 1992-1993 war (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 1, No. 37, 10 November 1998). LF FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER ARRESTED IN MOSCOW... Akezhan Kazhegeldin was detained by Russian police at Moscow's Sheremetevo airport late on 10 September on his arrival on a flight from London. He was hospitalized several hours later with a suspected heart attack. He told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service in a telephone interview from his hospital bed the following day that he had planned to return to Kazakhstan to visit the cities of Atyrau and Oral following the publication in "The Washington Times" of an article by Kazakhstan's ambassador to the U.S., Bolat Nurghaliev, saying that Kazhegeldin is free to return to Kazakhstan and no legal proceedings will be brought against him there. Reuters quoted a spokesman for the Russian Prosecutor-General's office as saying that Kazhegeldin would be handed over to the Kazakh authorities if the latter produced an arrest warrant. A spokesman for Kazakhstan's National Security Committee said the decision on whether or not to demand Kazhegeldin's extradition would depend on his state of health. LF ...APPEALS TO YELTSIN. In a 12 September letter addressed to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Kazhegeldin said that his life may be endangered if he is extradited to Kazakhstan, Reuters reported. Kazhegeldin said that the charges of tax evasion brought against him by the Kazakh authorities are without foundation, and intended solely to prevent his participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He appealed to Yeltsin to enable him to return to his temporary home in Switzerland. On 9 September, Kazakhstan's Central Electoral Commission had refused to register Kazhegeldin as a candidate for the 10 October poll (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 September 1999). LF KAZAKH OPPOSITION CONDEMNS ARREST. Members of Kazhegeldin's People's Republican Party of Kazakhstan picketed the Russian Embassy and the National Security Committee building in Almaty on 11 September to protest his arrest, RFE/RL's bureau in the former capital reported. Around a dozen of the protesters were arrested. At a press conference in Almaty the same day, the party issued a statement condemning Kazhegeldin's arrest as involvement by undemocratic forces in Russia in the suppression of dissent in Kazakhstan, according to Interfax. Other opposition party leaders, including Serikbolsyn Abdildin (Communist Party) and Seydakhmet Quttyqadam (Orleu) endorsed the protest statement. LF U.S. TO CUT AID TO KAZAKHSTAN? Washington may cut financial aid to Kazakhstan, which now stands at $75 million per year, in retaliation for the sale of MiG fighters to North Korea, Interfax reported on 10 September, quoting an unnamed U.S. Embassy official in Astana. On 12 September, Kazakhstan's foreign minister, Qasymzhomart Toqaev, issued a statement saying that the government had no prior knowledge of that sale which, he continued, was the result of a "criminal and irresponsible" violation of the existing export control system, according to Reuters. Toqaev added that the government is "truly sorry about what has happened." LF KYRGYZSTAN SEEKS TALKS WITH GUERRILLAS. Kyrgyz human rights activisit Tursunbek Akunov, who on 10 September relayed to the Kyrgyz government in Bishkek the demands put forward by ethnic Uzbek guerrillas who took four Japanese geologists and some Kyrgyz police officials hostage in southern Kyrgyzstan three weeks ago, returned to Batken on 12 September to try to arrange unofficial negotiations with the guerrillas, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Akunov had told the RFE/RL bureau on 10 September that the guerrillas' leader had assured him that they bear no grudges against Kyrgyzstan, but want simply to obtain the release of Muslim colleagues imprisoned in Uzbekistan. Kyrgyz Deputy Defense Minister Valentin Verchagin said on 10 September that some of the hostages may have been taken to neighboring Tajikistan, but all are alive and well, according to Interfax. Defense Minister General Esen Topoev met in Batken on 11 September with Uzbek Defense Minister Khikmatulla Tursunov and a Kazakh government representative to discuss the hostage situation. LF TAJIK OPPOSITION DENIES LINKS WITH UZBEK HOSTAGE TAKERS. Leaders of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), have rejected claims published in the official Uzbek press that the ethnic Uzbek guerrillas responsible for the hostage-takings in Kyrgyzstan are acting on orders, and receive arms and ammunition from the UTO (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 September 1999), ITAR-TASS reported. In a statement released in Dushanbe on 10 September, the UTO rejected those allegations as fabrications aimed at undermining peace and concord in Tajikistan. It also said that the UTO is making every effort to resolve the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan, which it describes as the direct consequence of the policies pursued by the Uzbek leadership, acording to Asia Plus-Blitz. LF TURKMENISTAN EXPRESSES INTEREST IN DEFENSE COOPERATION WITH CHINA. Turkmen Defense Minister Batyr Sardzhaev, who recently ended a 10-day visit to China, has expressed an interest in defense cooperation with that country, Interfax reported on 10 September quoting an unnamed Turkmen government source. Sardzhaev named personnel training and the use and repair of military hardware as areas of particular interest. LF TURKMEN POLITICAL PRISONER DIES IN JAIL. Khoshali Garaev, who was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment in 1995 on charges of conducting anti-state activities, has died in unclear circumstances, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported on 11 September. Garaev's relatives were informed of his death by prison officials in the Caspian town of Turkmenbashi. Amnesty International has said it has what it calls strong evidence that Garaev was a political prisoner jailed to prevent him from associating with exiled opponents of President Saparmurat Niyazov. LF END NOTE Giving Yalta A New Meaning By Paul Goble Yalta, the place where Moscow and the West divided Eastern Europe in 1945, is now the symbol of the new and independent role the countries between Russia and Germany and the Baltic and Black Seas hope to play in the future. On 10-11 September, 14 presidents and other senior officials from these and adjoining countries met there to promote cooperation among themselves, to denounce the emergence of any new dividing lines in Europe, and to demand that no decisions about them be taken without them. This, the third international conference in a series launched in Vilnius in 1997, represented the latest and most dramatic effort by these countries to repudiate the great power politics that dominated thinking at the Yalta conference in 1945. At that first Yalta conference, Soviet leader Josef Stalin, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill effectively created new spheres of influence in Europe without consulting any of the nations thus affected. From that decision, one that has many precedents in European and world history, many once independent and proud peoples were consigned to Soviet rule for nearly half a century. And none of those affected has ever forgotten or forgiven either that meeting or its results. Now, and largely as a result of the efforts of these nations themselves, they are once again in a position to be the active subjects of history rather than its mere objects. And thus virtually all of the leaders there echoed in one way or the other the words of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk who said that " Yalta-99 has done away with the spirit of Yalta-45." But that celebratory spirit was undercut not only by the tight security arrangements surrounding the meeting but also by expressions of genuine concern about whether the goals of Yalta II, as some of the leaders described it, were likely to be achieved anytime soon. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, the host of this year's meeting, pointedly appealed to the European Union not to create a new "paper curtain" of travel restrictions in place to the now-collapsed "Iron Curtain" of the Cold War. Such restrictions on the "free movement of law-abiding citizens of states aspiring for European integration," Kuchma suggested, could effectively divide the continent in ways that would make it difficult, if not impossible, for states once submerged in the Soviet empire to recover. Then, Estonian President Lennart Meri called attention to one of the problems that many of the other leaders only alluded to. While the countries of this region are now the subjects of history, he said, "none of us are simply subjects." As a result, the Baltic leader continued, his country and its neighbors "remain its objects as well, driven hither and yon by larger forces and larger states." Because of that, Meri said, the countries of this region cannot take anything for granted but must work together to defend their interests. And finally, in words that confirmed both the fears and the appeals of Meri and the others, the Russian representative at the Yalta meeting used the occasion to oppose the expansion of a Western institution that many of the countries in this region hope to join. Speaking on 10 September, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko argued that "NATO's further expansion--including the Baltic states--would lead to the creation of new division lines and would in no case assist in the consolidation of security." Khristenko's appeal in itself reflects the continuing view of many in Moscow that it and no one else should play the dominant role in this region, a role that Stalin believed the West had ratified at the first Yalta conference. But at the same time, Khristenko made these comments in a city that is now part of an independent Ukraine and to an audience consisting of leaders of countries who have either gained or regained their independence from Moscow. And that fact demonstrates more clearly than anything else just how much the world has changed since 1945 and how significant Yalta II in fact was, both as a symbol of those changes and as an expression of hope for the future. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Send an email to email@example.com with the word subscribe as the subject of the message. 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