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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 192, Part I, 1 October 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 192, Part I, 1 October 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

* MOSCOW LAUNCHES GROUND CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHECHNYA

* LEADING FIGURE AMONG RUSSIAN INTELLIGENTSIA DIES

* KAZAKHSTAN PREMIER RESIGNS TO HEAD NATIONAL OIL COMPANY

End Note: KARL HEINRICH MENGES (1908-1999)
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RUSSIA

MOSCOW LAUNCHES GROUND CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHECHNYA. Spearheaded
by tanks, Russian ground forces moved as much as 10
kilometers into Chechnya on 30 September, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The campaign is intended to seize
"commanding heights" in the republic, rather than occupy its
entire territory, Russian commanders said. Meanwhile, the
Russian air campaign continued with attacks on dams, oil
wells, bridges, and other infrastructure. Chechen officials
said that several people have been killed in the attacks. PG

CHECHENS PLEDGE TO RESIST... Magomed Khambiyev, Chechnya's
defense minister, said on Grozny television 30 September that
if Russia invades Chechnya, "highly professional special
units" will take actions in the rear of the Russian army,
Interfax reported. But other Chechen officials stressed that
Grozny was opposed to anything connected to terrorism. The
deputy speaker of the Chechen parliament, Selim Beshaev, said
in Baku the same day that "the Chechen people and the
leadership of the Chechen government" oppose terrorism,
Reuters reported. And Chechen presidential spokesman Selim
Abdulmuslimov told ITAR-TASS that Grozny has invited leaders
of all North Caucasian republics to take part in a national
congress of the Chechen people on 2 October. PG

...WANT SHEVARDNADZE TO MEDIATE. Chechen representatives in
Tbilisi on 30 September said that Grozny would like Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze to serve as a mediator between
Russia and Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. The Georgian side
has not yet responded to that proposal. Meanwhile, Chechen
President Aslan Maskhadov said he believes that Russian
authorities foiled his plans for talks with Daghestani leader
Magomedali Magomedov, Chechen State Secretary Khisein
Akhmadov told Interfax on 30 September. PG

MOUNTING REFUGEE CRISIS FORCES MOSCOW TO ASK FOR AID. As the
Russian attacks continue, Chechens are fleeing their homeland
at a rate of 6,000-7,000 a day, Ingush officials told ITAR-
TASS on 30 September. Almost 80,000 Chechens are reported to
be in that republic alone. Various Russian regions, including
Moscow, have dispatched food and medicine to help out, but
the number of refugees is now so large that Moscow has been
forced to ask the UN for assistance, Reuters reported. The UN
High Commissioner for Refugees will dispatch some $500,000 in
assistance immediately as well as a team of experts to help
local officials cope. PG

YELTSIN PLEASED WITH PUTIN'S TOUGH LINE. Boris Yeltsin's
press spokesman Dmitrii Yakushkin told Interfax on 30
September that the Russian president is pleased with Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin's "decisiveness" on Chechnya.
Yakushkin said the president believes that Moscow failed to
punish the Chechens for far too long and that Putin is now
taking care of that. At the same time, Yakushkin said,
Yeltsin has not ruled out talks with Chechen leaders. He
added that, "Today Russia holds a very decisive stance and
there is a certain support for the line pursued by the
Russian leadership." PG

PUTIN DOESN'T RULE OUT TALKS WITH CHECHEN LEADERS... Arguing
that the Russian military has the right to go anywhere in
Chechnya because it is part of Russia, Putin said that the
Russian army will choose where to base itself in terms of
military advantage, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 30
September. At the same time, Putin, too, did not rule out the
possibility of talks with Chechen leaders. Putin's strategy
was praised by State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Roman
Popkovich, who said Moscow had to act in Chechnya because "we
faced there a real regular well-trained and strong army armed
with state-of-the-art NATO weapons." But former Prime
Minister Sergei Stepashin warned against any full-scale
invasion of Chechnya lest it interfere with Russian elections
and economic reform, Interfax reported. PG

...WELCOMES FOREIGN SUPPORT, DISMISSES CRITICISM. Russian
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in St. Petersburg on 30
September that Western leaders support Russia's anti-
terrorist measures, ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile, the
Russian Foreign Ministry "accepted with satisfaction" a
statement by Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev supporting
harsh action against terrorism. But Putin said that Chechnya
is a purely domestic Russian affair and that no other country
should interfere. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov underscored
that position, welcoming European and EU support for Russia's
territorial integrity, while ignoring their calls for
negotiations and caution, Reuters reported. PG

RUSSIANS WANT CHECHEN BORDER CLOSED, WHILE MUSCOVITES OPPOSE
BOMBING. A poll reported by Interfax on 30 September showed
that 82 percent of all Russians favor closing the border with
Chechnya, while only 7 percent opposed such a move. A poll of
Muscovites, meanwhile, found that only 34 percent of the
residents of the capital support Russia's air campaign
against Chechnya. That sampling found that 73 percent believe
that "too many Chechens" live in Moscow. Only 15 percent
disagreed with that viewpoint. PG

LEADING FIGURE AMONG RUSSIAN INTELLIGENTSIA DIES. Dmitrii
Likhachev, literary historian and prominent cultural figure
in Russia, died on 30 September at the age of 92. A
specialist in Russian medieval literature, Likhachev authored
more than 1,000 works, according to Reuters. He spent 1928-
1932 in prison camps, and from 1986-1991 he was a member of
the USSR's Congress of Peoples' Deputies. Russian President
Yeltsin said that Likhachev represented "the best traits of
the Russian intelligentia," adding that his death is "an
irrevocable loss for science, Russian culture, and all of
Russia," according to ITAR-TASS. Last year, Yeltsin awarded
Likhachev one of Russia's highest honors, the order of St.
Andrei. JAC

BUDGET FIGHT BEGINS IN EARNEST. State Duma Deputy Chairman
Boris Kuznetsov told Interfax on 1 October that the first
reading of the new version of the 2000 budget will take place
on 20 October and the second reading will likely occur on 29
October. Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said on 30
September that basic budget parameters, such as revenues,
will be revised upward but the level of the deficit must
remain the same, according to ITAR-TASS. Agrarian Party
faction leader Nikolai Kharitonov announced earlier that his
party will insist that appropriations to agriculture be
raised from 7.2 billion rubles ($285 million) in the current
draft to at least 12.5 billion rubles. Otherwise, he said,
the Agrarians will not vote for the budget "under any
circumstances." JAC

COURTSHIP BETWEEN UNITY, NDR FAILS. The newly formed regional
bloc Unity (Edinstvo) has issued a statement that it will not
form an alliance with Our Home Is Russia (NDR) because the
latter is imposing unacceptable conditions, Interfax reported
on 1 October. According to the statement, Unity has two
principles that it cannot relinquish: it must fight for the
maximum number of regional representatives in the State Duma
and it cannot follow any ideology. The previous day, NDR Duma
faction leader Vladimir Ryzhkov told reporters that the main
requirement for the alliance "is to preserve the NDR as an
independent political organization." He added that the party
must retain its name and symbols and be first in the name of
the alliance. According to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30
September, Ryzhkov continued to oppose the merger of the two
parties, despite the likelihood that his name would have been
among the top three on the party list. JAC

LEBED SUGGESTS HE WAS MISQUOTED. Following the Kremlin's
harsh denunciation of his remarks in French newspaper, "Le
Figaro" on 29 September, Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr
Lebed's press service said the following day that Lebed is
"unhappy over the translation of his words into French" and
that "the correspondent omitted part of the interview thus
twisting ideas and shifting emphases" (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
29 September 1999). Presidential spokesman Dmitrii Yakushin
said that Lebed's allegation that the Kremlin might have been
involved in the bombing of apartment houses in Moscow went
"beyond all bounds of acceptable behavior for an official of
his standing." He added that Lebed's accusations "are blatant
abetting of terrorists." "Izvestiya," which is owned by
Vladimir Potanin's Inteross financial group and LUKoil,
suggested on 1 October that in order to have made such
remarks, Lebed must have fallen out completely with his
financial backer, Boris Berezovskii, or Berzovskii must have
broken with the Kremlin. JAC

RUSSIA, CHINA TO HOLD NAVAL EXERCISES. Russia and China are
to stage joint naval exercises from 2 to 6 October as part of
celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of
the People's Republic of China. Reuters on 30 September
quoted the "Beijing Youth Daily" as saying that a destroyer
and a missile-armed escort ship from Russia's Pacific Fleet
will take part in maneuvers with Chinese vessels off
Shanghai. Also on 30 September, President Yeltsin telephoned
with Chinese leader Jiang Zemin to congratulate him on the
occasion of China's half-century celebration. Interfax qouted
both leaders as expressing satisfaction with the "significant
progress" made toward consolidating bilateral relations. JC

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY WARNS AGAINST NATO BASES IN
BULGARIA. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir
Rakhmanin said on 30 September that Bulgarian leaders'
statements suggesting that U.S. and NATO bases might be set
up in their country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 27
September 1999) do not "promote security and stability in
Europe, particularly in its southeastern part, Interfax and
ITAR-TASS reported. Such bases, he asserted, would harm
relations between countries. The same day at a press
conference in Brussels, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
stressed Moscow's position that it will resume cooperating
with NATO once the alliance creates the necessary conditions
for such cooperation. Ivanov was in the Belgian capital to
unveil a statute of Aleksandr Pushkin. JC

SEMENOV TAKES OFFICE IN KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. After weeks of
uncertainty and conflict, Vladimir Semenov, who won the 16
May elections by a landslide, assumed the presidency of
Karachayevo-Cherkessia on 30 September, ITAR-TASS reported.
He moved into the offices that had been occupied by acting
Governor Valentin Vlasov. PG

MORE JOURNALISTS ATTACKED IN SVERDLOVSK... Journalists in
Sverdlovsk Oblast decided to protest on 1 October recent
attacks on a fellow journalists, "Izvestiya" reported that
day. All newspapers were to run a blank front page, while
radios intended begin their broadcasts with a minute of
silence and television programs with a blank screen.
According to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" the previous day, Dmitrii
Bondarev, director-general of the Channel 10 television
station, was beaten by a group of assailants not far from his
home on 28 September. The attack follows an assault last week
on Kirill Derbenev, a correspondent for the local ATN
television station. Both journalists received anonymous
threats following reports on the narcotics business in the
oblast. JAC

...AS GOVERNOR WANTS TO CRACK DOWN ON DRUG TRADE. Sverdlovsk
Governor Eduard Rossel on 29 September proposed holding a
regional referendum on introducing the death penalty for drug
trafficking, Interfax reported. According to the governor,
the referendum might be held at the same time as the upcoming
State Duma elections. Sverdlovsk Deputy Governor Semen Spektr
reported that drug abuse has spiralled among the local
population, particularly among teenagers, while local doctors
believe that more than 10,000 drug addicts will probably be
registered in the region at the beginning of the year. Along
with rising drug use, Sverdlovsk has experienced an increase
in the cases of AIDS. Other Siberian regions, such as
Irkutsk, have also seen a sharp increase in AIDS cases linked
with rising rates of drug abuse. JAC

STALIN'S SON REHABILITATED. The Russian Supreme Court's
Military Collegium acquitted Vasilii Stalin, the late son of
former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, on 30 September on
charges of anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation, ITAR-TASS
reported. The court also reduced charges of embezzlement and
abuse of power. The court's decision was in response to an
appeal filed last year by Vasilii Stalin's friends in the
army and his relatives, "The Moscow Times" reported on 1
October. The case against Vasilii Stalin was launched just a
month after his father's death. According to the prosecutor
in the recent case, Stalin's son spent a considerable amount
of state money creating hunting resorts, modernizing his
state-owned dacha, and hosting extensive private parties.
Stalin, who became a general at the age of 26, spent eight
years in prison after his conviction. In 1962, he died at the
age of 41 from alcoholism. JAC

BUT WILL THEY DELIVER? Russian Space Agency press secretary
Sergei Gorbunov told Interfax on 30 September that Russia may
sell its slots on future crews on the International Space
Station. According to the agency, Russia is alloted three of
the seven spots on the station's permanent crews and is
currently holding talks with the Japanese National Space
Agency and the European Space Agency. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut
announced that it will have its logo placed prominently on
the Proton rocket that will launch the station in November,
according to AFP. The Pizza Hut logo will measure some 30
feet on the fuselage of the 200-foot rocket. Mike Rawlings,
Pizza Hut president and chief concepts officer, said "Pizza
is the most popular food on earth--now Pizza Hut pizza will
become the most popular food in space." U.S. astronaut Rick
Hieb called the Pizza Hut initiative "a major step toward
commercializing space." JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIA, GEORGIAN PRESIDENTS SEEK CLOSER TIES. During a two-
day visit to Yerevan, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze
told his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian, that he
wants priority to be given to the development of closer ties
among the three southern Caucasus countries, ITAR-TASS
reported on 30 September. Kocharian, for his part, welcomed
Shevardnadze's support for signing more agreements between
their two countries. PG

TBILISI FEARS MOSCOW WANTS TO INVOLVE GEORGIA IN CHECHEN
CONFLICT. Levan Aleksidze, a foreign policy adviser to
Georgian President Shevardnadze, said that he fears Moscow
may want to push Chechens into fleeing to Georgia and then
use that as an excuse to attack his country, Interfax
reported on 30 September. "If the Georgian side lets the
Chechens in," he said, "Russia will start destroying them in
Georgia." Meanwhile, Georgian Interior Minister Kakha
Targamadze denied in Kyiv that Georgia has anything to do
with the supply of arms to the Chechens, ITAR-TASS said. PG

TBILISI SAYS GIORGADZE NOW IN SYRIA. Igor Giorgadze, the
former Georgian security chief who is wanted on suspicion of
involvement in terrorist attacks on President Shevardnadze,
is now in Syria, Georgian Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze
told Prime News on 30 September. Targarmadze indicated that
Georgia has been unsuccessful in seeking his extradition,
largely because of the work of "Russia's special services."
PG

KAZAKHSTAN PREMIER RESIGNS TO HEAD NATIONAL OIL COMPANY.
Nurland Balgimbayev resigned as prime minister on 1 October
to become head of KazakhOil, the company he had worked for
before becoming premier two years ago, Interfax reported.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had been critical of
Balgimbayev's leadership, immediately appointed Kasymzhamart
Tokayev as acting prime minister. Until now, Tokayev was
deputy prime minister and foreign minister. PG

ASTANA THREATENS TO FORCE KAZHEGELDIN'S RETURN. Kazakhstan's
Prosecutor-General Yuri Khitrin told ITAR-TASS on 30
September that if former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin
does not return home after receiving medical treatment, the
Kazakh authorities will try to compel him to return, using
what Khitrin said would be "unpopular but forced measures."
Khitrin said he has sufficient evidence to convict
Kazhegeldin of money laundering, abuse of office, and tax
evasion. In other comments, Khitrin said he is supervising
the investigation of an illegal sale of MIG-21 fighters to
North Korea and that he knows of no evidence to support
claims that there are foreign militants operating in Almaty.
PG

KYRGYZSTAN TIGHTS SECURITY ACROSS COUNTRY. Facing a
continuing challenge from rebels in the southern region of
the country, Bishkek has increased security throughout the
country, increasing its monitoring of mosques and checking
the passports of those suspected of not having legal
residence permits, Kabar reported on 30 September. Meanwhile,
rebels in the south continued to hold 13 hostages, Interfax
reported. The news agency quoted Kyrgyzstan Interior Minister
Omurbek Kutuyev as saying that the current situation in his
country "is similar to events in Daghestan." PG

TAJIKISTAN REGISTERS CANDIDATES, PARTY. Tajikistan's Central
Electoral Commission registered incumbent President Imomali
Rakhmonov, leader of the Congress of People's Unity Party
Sayfiddin Turayev, and former tax official Sulton Quvvatov as
presidential candidates, Iranian radio reported on 29
September. The same source added that the commission has also
registered the Islamic Rebirth Party. PG

KARIMOV CHALLENGES 'FORCES WITH EVIL INTENTIONS' IN
UZBEKISTAN. Speaking on 30 September near the Uzbek-Kyrgyz
border, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov said he is
prepared to defend his country against all those "with evil
and bad intentions" who might seek to "stir up trouble" in
his country. PG

UZBEKISTAN AGREES TO RESUME GAS SHIPMENTS TO KAZAKHSTAN.
Uzbektransgaz will resume shipments of gas to southern
Kazakhstan under the terms of an agreement reached between
Astana and Tashkent, Kazakhstan's Khabar TV reported on 30
September. The two countries will settle their accounts by
writing off Kazakhstan's debts for gas against Uzbekistan's
debts for rail service. PG

END NOTE

KARL HEINRICH MENGES (1908-1999)

By David Nissman

	Last week, Karl Heinrich Menges, one of the world's
greatest Altaists and Turkologists, died in Vienna at the age
of 91. His knowledge is not adequately represented by his
published books, book reviews, and articles because he saw
the Altaic languages as a linguistic spectrum: each of his
writings expressed only a small part of that spectrum, and to
understand his thoughts it was necessary to have known him
personally.
	I was a student of his from the late 1950s until the
late 1960s, and a friend and colleague later. He imparted to
me and his few other students his knowledge not only of the
classics of Central Asian literature but also the cultures,
folklore, and language of the Turkic and Tungusic peoples of
Siberia and the Russian East.
	Menges was a survivor. His sense of humor and ability to
imitate accents and mannerisms did not always stand him in
good stead. When he was a professor at Berlin, his occasional
parodies of Adolph Hitler drew unwelcome attention from the
Gestapo. That, together with his work in the anti-Nazi
resistance, resulted in his interrogation and arrest. He was
released shortly thereafter, and one of his students in the
Japanese diplomatic corps advised him that he had heard he
was to be arrested shortly. He went home, packed a few
things, and left for Turkey.
	In Turkey, he settled in at the University of Ankara.
Conditions in Turkey at that time were not good for emigre
German scholars, so he left for Russia in 1940. When he
arrived in Moscow, he was contacted by the U.S. Embassy and
offered a job at the University of California. He left
immediately, taking the Trans-Siberian Railroad to
Vladivostok. He was able to take a Japanese freighter to San
Francisco, arriving there in December 1941, just before the
outbreak of war between Japan and the United States. As noted
above, he was a survivor and occasionally lucky.
	Of his published works, his study of the Altaic words
embedded in the Old Slavic epic poem, "The Lay of the Host of
Igor," is perhaps his most original. He was able to
demonstrate the openness of the steppe and the way different
languages and cultures intermingled under the conditions of
the freedoms available in a region without boundaries.
	His study, "The Turkic Languages and Peoples: An
Introduction to Turkic Studies," was published in Wiesbaden
in 1968. It was one of the essential works for newer
generations of Central Asian and Turkic scholars.
	Karl Heinrich Menges could have published more, but in a
way he knew too much and had too little time.
	But remarkable people like Menges always have too little
time. His death is not only a loss to scholarship but also a
personal loss to all who knew him.

The author is the editor of the "RFE/RL Iraq Report."

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