The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become, different- to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses. - John Fischer
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 193, Part I, 4 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 193, Part I, 4 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* YELTSIN PLANS TO SEND DISPLACED PERSONS BACK TO CHECHNYA

* NEW BUDGET ALLOCATES MORE FOR DEFENSE

* RUSSIA DENIES BOMBING NORTHERN AZERBAIJAN

End Note: ENTITLEMENTS, RIGHTS, AND DEMOCRACY
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

YELTSIN PLANS TO SEND DISPLACED PERSONS BACK TO CHECHNYA.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 4 October approved a plan
to repatriate Chechens who have fled to neighboring republics
to escape Russian bombing raids. Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin told journalists that Yeltsin has approved the creation
of a special commission to oversee the repatriation process.
On 3 October, the Ministry for Emergency Situations told
Interfax that the number of displaced persons in Ingushetia
alone has reached 88,000. Reuters interpreted Yeltsin's order
as corroborating speculation that Moscow intends to split
Chechnya into a northern, Russian-controlled and a southern,
Chechen-controlled zone. All except one bridge over the Argun
River, which divides lowland and upland Chechnya, had been
destroyed in bomb attacks by 1 October, according to
Interfax. LF

RUSSIAN FORCES ADVANCE SLOWLY. Having crossed the border from
Daghestan, Stavropol Krai, and Ingushetia on 1 October,
Russian troops advanced into Chechen territory the following
day, taking the village of Borodinovskaya in Chechnya's
eastern Shelkovskii Raion. On 2 October, Russian Army First
Deputy Chief Of Staff Colonel General Valerii Manilov said
that "minor clashes" had occurred between federal and Chechen
forces, while Chechen Security Minister Turpal-ali Atgeriev
told Reuters in Grozny that "there have been battles and
casualties." Chechen officials said the next day that 28
people were killed and 100 injured in Russian air raids on
the town of Urus-Martan, southwest of Grozny, on the night of
2 October. Russian aircraft also bombed the towns of Argun
and Vedeno, where the local hospital was destroyed, according
to Turan on 4 October. Artillery bombardment of presumed
militant positions continued on 3 October. As of late 3
October, Russian forces had advanced some 10 kilometers into
Chechen territory. LF

MOSCOW RESSURECTS CHECHEN PUPPET PARLIAMENT. Following the
Russian incursion into Chechnya, Prime Minister Putin met in
Moscow on 1 October with exiled deputies to the Chechen
parliament elected in 1996, whom he termed the only
legitimate authority representing Chechnya, Interfax
reported. One of the exiled deputies, Ali Alavdinov, said
after that meeting that those deputies will constitute the
backbone of a Chechen government in exile. Moscow's decision
to ditch Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov elicited an
extremely harsh condemnation from Ingushetia's President
Ruslan Aushev, who predicted that the creation of a
provisional government will only aggravate the situation. The
Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement on 1 October
arguing that Maskhadov's nomination of Shamil Basaev
(presumably at his 28 September meeting with field
commanders) to command the Chechen eastern front constitutes
active support for an internationally wanted terrorist,
Interfax reported. LF

RUSSIAN POLITICAL LEADERS ENDORSE TACTICS VIS-A-VIS CHECHNYA.
Russian Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov, State Duma
Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov and
former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin all expressed approval
of the Russian military's stated objective to create a buffer
zone in Chechnya to contain the putative Islamic terrorist
threat. Luzhkov also expressed support for the proposal to
split Chechnya into two zones (see above), noting that the
region north of the Terek River had earlier been part of
Stavropol Krai. Stepashin expressed his willingness to go to
Grozny as a hostage in return for the surrender of Basaev and
his fellow-field commander Khattab and the release of
abducted Russian Interior Ministry General Gennadii Shpigun
and some 180 other Russian hostages. But both Stepashin and
former Premier Yevgenii Primakov warned against a full-
fledged Russian ground offensive in Chechnya, which Stepashin
told Interfax could lead to "a political catastrophe." LF

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CALLS FOR RESTRAINT. U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State Strobe Talbott on 2 October expressed
understanding for Moscow's crackdown on terrorists but called
for "restraint and wisdom" and advocated dialogue with "more
pragmatic leaders" in the North Caucasus, according to ITAR-
TASS. Lord Russell Johnston, chairman of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe, released a statement on 1
October similarly expressing support for the Russian
crackdown on terrorism and stressing the need to respect
human rights and fundamental freedoms while doing so. German
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer telephoned with his Russian
counterpart, Igor Ivanov, on 3 October, and the two men
agreed that "the conflict in the Caucasus can only be solved
through political means," Reuters reported. The Turkish
Embassy in Moscow issued a statement on 1 October calling for
an immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of
dialogue. It also expressed concern over civilian casualties,
Interfax reported. LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL MEDIATE ONLY WITH RUSSIA'S
CONSENT. Eduard Shevardnadze told journalists in Tbilisi on 4
October that he will agree to mediate between Moscow and
Chechnya only with the consent of the Russian authorities,
Caucasus Press reported. Chechen President Maskhadov had
called for such mediation last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1
October 1999). On 1 October, Russian Nationalities Minister
Vyacheslav Mikhailov had said that dialogue between Moscow
and Maskhadov is contingent on the latter publicly condemning
terrorists and disassociating himself from Basaev and
Khattab. Speaking in Tbilisi the next day, Chechen Vice
President Vakha Arsanov said Grozny is counting on
Shevardnadze's help in arranging a dialogue with Moscow. He
said that Shevardnadze is capable of convincing President
Yeltsin that Russia risks "losing the Caucasus" if it
launches a full-scale war in Chechnya, according to Interfax.
Arsanov added that the Chechen leadership would be able to
restore order in Chechnya within three months and is ready to
hand Basaev and Khattab over to Interpol. LF

NEW BUDGET ALLOCATES MORE FOR DEFENSE. The conciliatory
commission has worked out a compromise version of the 2000
budget, State Duma Budget Committee Chairman Aleksandr Zhukov
announced on 1 October. According to ITAR-TASS, in the new
draft revenues amount to 791.3 billion rubles ($31.4 billion)
and expenditures 849.2 billion rubles. The previous draft,
which the Duma rejected on 28 September, provided for
revenues totaling 745.1 billion rubles and outlays of 803
billion rubles. More than half of the additional 46.2 billion
rubles found for expenditures--26 billion rubles--will be
devoted to defense needs, according to Zhukov. This
represents a 22 percent hike in the defense budget. The
revenue increase was accomplished by raising the target for
tax collection next year by 11.8 billion rubles and
increasing estimated GDP from 5.1 trillion rubles to 5.35
trillion rubles. According to First Deputy Prime Minister
Viktor Khristenko, the commission did not discuss the issue
of the distribution of revenues between federal and local
budgets. JAC

RUSSIA, U.S. OPEN CRISIS CENTER IN MOSCOW... In Moscow on 2
October, U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Russian
Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov opened a crisis center
that will allow U.S. and Russian officials to communicate by
voice and video during nuclear-related emergencies. The
inauguration came two days after Richardson and Adamov had
offered joint assistance to Japan in cleaning up after the
nuclear accident at a reprocessing plant near Tokyo. Adamov
was quoted as saying on 2 October that Japan has so far not
accepted that offer. The two ministers also signed agreements
on the monitoring and safeguarding of nuclear materials and
on U.S. experts conducting millennium-bug tests on various
key facilities in Russia, including nuclear reactors. JC

...RESOLVE DISPUTE OVER SALE OF IBM COMPUTERS... One day
earlier in Sarov, Richardson inaugurated a civilian computer
center incorporating high-performance computers that Russia
bought from IBM in 1996 for nuclear weapons research without
applying for the required export license. Moscow initially
rejected U.S. demands that the computers be either returned
or used for non-weapons research but eventually agreed to
their incorporation into the computer center. The center, one
of five projects planned in Sarov under the U.S. Nuclear
Cities Initiative, is a joint project of the U.S. Energy
Department and the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry. It is
intended to provide employment outside the weapons industry
for local scientists and engineers. Sarov was called Arzamas-
16 during the Soviet era and is home to a major nuclear
research laboratory and nuclear weapons production center. JC

...AGREE TO PONDER NEW WAYS TO MONITOR TEST BAN TREATY. "The
New York Times" on 4 October quotes Richardson as saying in
Moscow that he proposed to Russian officials several measures
that would boost monitoring the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty. Among those measures would be a visit by U.S. experts
to Russia's closed nuclear test site at Novaya Zemlya in the
Arctic. Adamov is reported to have agreed to discuss such
proposals. But at the same time he made clear that in return
Russia would want such cooperation to include Russian access
to U.S. supercomputers to ensure the safety and reliability
of Russia's nuclear weapons. A recent Central Intelligence
Agency report warns that the agency's monitoring of low-level
nuclear tests by Russia is not precise enough to ensure
compliance with the test ban treaty. Both the U.S. and Russia
have signed the treaty but have not yet ratified it. The U.S.
Senate is expected to debate ratification later this week. JC

KALYUZHNYI PRAISES 'COURAGEOUS' SADDAM. Russian Energy
Minister Viktor Kalyuzhnyi told reporters in Baghdad on 1
October that Moscow condemns U.S. and British bombing attacks
against Iraq and wants to see the Iraqi people "resist and
progress...under the leadership of President Saddam Hussein,
who is a courageous leader capable of making Iraq a developed
country," AFP reported. The previous day, the minister had
met with Saddam and delivered a message from Russian
President Yeltsin confirming that Moscow will work for the
lifting of UN sanctions against Iraq, according to the
official Iraqi News Agency. AP quoted unnamed Russian
officials as saying on 1 October that Iraq has consented to
give LUKoil another three months to explore ways of
developing the massive West Qurna oil field. They added that
Kalyuzhnyi made that request in the hope that the U.S.
Security Council will soon remove restrictions on foreign
companies involved in Iraq's oil industry. JC

DUMA APPROVES TAX BREAK FOR GAS PIPELINE PROJECT. State Duma
deputies voted overwhelmingly on 1 October to urge the
Russian government to expedite the signing of a Russian-
Turkish agreement under which the company engaged in
construction of the Blue Stream pipeline would be exempt from
taxes connected with implementation of that project, Interfax
reported. Russia's Gazprom and Italy's ENI are to form a
joint venture to build that pipeline, which will run from
Russia's Black Sea coast to the Turkish town of Samsun. It
will supply Turkey with 8-15 billion cubic meters of natural
gas annually beginning in early 2001. First Deputy Premier
Khristenko told deputies in late August that the project is
likely to earn Russia $3-4 billion annually. LF

MORE SCRUTINY OF YELTSIN'S SON-IN-LAW. "U.S. News & World
Report" said in its 11 October issue that it has obtained
Russian law enforcement documents containing information
allegedly linking President Boris Yeltsin's son-in-law,
Aleksei Dyachenko, with a tax-evasion scheme. According to
the magazine, "high level Russian officials" attempted to
obstruct a Russian police inquiry into the involvement of
Belka Trading, which Dyachenko allegedly heads, in an
elaborate effort to channel profits from the sale of refined
products abroad into foreign bank accounts. At the center of
the scheme is Sibneft, which is headed by Roman Abramovich, a
figure reportedly close to Yeltsin's family. The magazine
also reported that while Kremlin officials refer to Tatyana
Dyachenko's husband as Aleksei, his Russian identify
documents bear the name "Leonid." JAC

UNITY PICKS MVD OFFICER FOR NUMBER THREE SLOT... The
interregional movement Unity (Edinstvo) held its founding
congress in Moscow on 3 October and chose police Major-
General Aleksandr Gurov for the number three slot on its
federal party list for the upcoming State Duma elections.
Gurov told reporters later that candidates with criminal
records should not be allowed to run for State Duma. Unity
leader and Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said on 3
October that the party's federal list will be limited to
three names and other places will be given to candidates in
single-mandate districts. JAC

...AS NDR LEADER SAYS ALLIANCE STILL POSSIBILE. Former Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who heads Our Home Is Russia
(NDR), told reporters on 1 October that it is too early to
say that efforts to join NDR with Unity have proven
unsuccessful (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 1999).
Chernomyrdin said that "formal unification is not a simple
matter--the negotiating process is just beginning," according
to Interfax. In the meantime, seven small organizations have
agreed to ally with Unity: the Movement for Supporting
Independent Deputies, the All-Russian Union for Supporting
and Promoting Small Businesses, the movements Prosperity, My
Family, and Generation of Freedom as well as the People's
Patriotic and Russian Christian-Democratic Parties, "Vremya
MN" reported on 4 October. According to the daily, among
those regional leaders who confirmed their participation in
Unity at its congress were the governors of Omsk, Kursk, and
Tver Oblasts and of Primorskii Krai and Chukotka Autonomous
Okrug, together with the president of Kalmykia. JAC

FEWER OFFICERS REPRESENTED ON PARTY LISTS? "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" reported on 2 October that the number of active
officers on the various parties' electoral lists in 1999 has
considerably decreased, compared with the 1995 election.
According to the newspaper, the Fatherland-All Russia
alliance so far has the largest number of acting officers on
its list. Colonel General Boris Gromov, who is a Duma deputy,
for example, ranks number seven. Also included are Major
General Nikolai Stolyarov, who is also a Duma deputy, General
Aleksandr Piskunov, who is deputy chairman of the government
apparatus, and Marshal Viktor Kulikov, adviser to the defense
minister. Ironically, the Movement to Support the Army has
only a few active senior officers, according to the
newspaper, which receives funding from Boris Berezovskii's
LogoVAZ group. JAC

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION OF RELIGIOUS GROUPS TO BE EXTENDED.
The Committee for Religious Organizations has approved the
federal Justice Ministry's proposal to have the controversial
1997 law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious
Organizations" amended in order to prolong until 2001 the
period during which religious organizations must register
with the ministry, "Vremya MN" reported on 1 October.
According to the daily, three months before the deadline is
set to expire, only 20 percent of the country's religious
organizations had received the necessary documents. A Justice
Ministry official told the newspaper that while the majority
of large religious organization have registered, many local
and territorial branches are experiencing problems. JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PREMIER IN WASHINGTON. On the sidelines of the
annual IMF and World Bank meeting in Washington last week,
Vazgen Sargsian held talks with senior officials from both
organizations and with U.S. Vice President Al Gore, ITAR-TASS
and Armenpress reported. ITAR-TASS quoted Sargsian as telling
Gore that Armenia believes the U.S. occasionally pursues "a
policy of double standards" in the South Caucasus, for
example in promoting the planned Baku-Ceyhan oil export
pipeline while opposing construction of a gas pipeline from
Iran to Armenia. At a 30 September meeting with Sargsian,
World Bank President James Wolfensohn agreed to act as patron
for a meeting in London in May 2000 to promote business
contacts between Armenia and the diaspora, according to
Armenpress. LF

RUSSIA DENIES BOMBING NORTHERN AZERBAIJAN. Russian Air Force
Commander Colonel General Anatolii Kornukov on 2 October
denied that a Russian fighter aircraft dropped a bomb on the
village of Gymir in Zakatala Raion, northern Azerbaijan, the
previous day, Interfax reported. No one was injured in that
incident, but several houses in the village were damaged.
Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev dispatched Defense
Ministry experts to the village to investigate. Opposition
party leaders condemned the incident as showing disrespect
for Azerbaijan's sovereign status, according to Turan. They
also noted that it testifies to the Russian leadership's
inability to control the armed forces. LF

ABKHAZIA HOLDS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Some 69.7 percent of
Abkhazia's estimated 209,000 voters participated in the 3
October presidential poll and referendum, ITAR-TASS reported,
quoting Central Electoral Commission Chairman Vladimir
Tsugba. The central Georgian government, Russia and the U.S.
have condemned as illegal both the referendum and the poll,
in which incumbent president Vladislav Ardzinba ran unopposed
for a second term. No data are available on how voters
responded to the referendum questions. Voters were asked to
approve or reject the breakaway republic's 1994 constitution,
which defines Abkhazia as an independent sovereign state, and
a constitutional amendment whereby judges are to be elected
for a five-year term. LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT AMNESTIES PRISONERS. Eduard Shevardnadze
has signed a decree pardoning 1,759 prisoners who have served
two-thirds of their respective terms, Russian agencies
reported on 1 October. The amnesty does not extend to persons
convicted for murder, terrorism, kidnapping, rape, or drug-
related crimes. LF

GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF GIORGADZE'S
WHEREABOUTS. Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gela
Dumbadze told Caucasus Press on 1 October that the ministry
has no evidence that former security chief Igor Giorgadze is
currently in Syria. Rumors to that effect surfaced early this
year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January and 24 February 1999)
but were never confirmed. On 30 September, Georgian Interior
Minister Kakha Targamadze said that Georgia's efforts to
extradite Giorgadze from Syria have been thwarted by Russian
intelligence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 1999).
Giorgadze is suspected of masterminding an August 1995
attempt to assassinate then Georgian State Council Chairman
Eduard Shevardnadze. LF

MORE DETAILS EMERGE OF SALE OF KAZAKH MIGS TO NORTH KOREA.
Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General Yurii Khitrenko told
journalists in Almaty on 29 September that criminal
proceedings have been opened against all those involved in
the sale of 40 MiG-21 aircraft from Kazakhstan to North
Korea, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported the following day.
Khitrenko said the man arrested two weeks earlier on
suspicion of masterminding the $8 million deal is company
director Aleksandr Petrenko (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16
September 1999). AP quoted Petrenko's lawyer as saying the
sale was not illegal as it was based on earlier framework
agreements covering military cooperation with North Korea.
The Kazakh government has disclaimed any involvement in the
deal. LF

KYRGYZ TROOPS CLOSE IN ON HOSTAGE-TAKERS... Kyrgyz Defense
Ministry sources said on 1 October that army troops have
occupied strategic heights and are blocking all escape routes
open to the Uzbek guerrillas who took 13 hostages in southern
Kyrgyzstan in late August, ITAR-TASS reported. Meeting with
visiting OSCE Chairman in Office Knut Vollebaek in Bishkek on
1 October, Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev said that
efforts to eradicate terrorism and religious extremism in
Central Asia may take time, according to Interfax. The same
day, the news agency quoted an unnamed source in Kyrgyzstan's
National Security Ministry as saying that the radical Islamic
Hizb-i-Takhrir party is intensifying its activities in the
Osh and Djalilabad Oblasts of southern Kyrgyzstan. The source
added that an underground printing press belonging to that
party was recently discovered in Osh. It had reportedly been
used to publish leaflets calling for the overthrow of
existing governments in Central Asia and the creation of a
pan-Islamic state. LF

...AS CIS OFFERS ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE. On 2 October,
President Akaev and CIS Collective Security Council Secretary
General Vladimir Zemksii discussed the situation in southern
Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported two days later.
They signed an agreement on collective CIS military
assistance to Kyrgyzstan that has already been signed by the
presidents of several CIS member states, including Russia and
Kazakhstan. On 1 October, Uzbekistan's President Islam
Karimov also promised more assistance to Kyrgyzstan in
fighting the guerrillas, Interfax reported. LF

KYRGYZSTAN'S PARLIAMENT AMENDS PENSIONS LAW. Kyrgyzstan's
parliament on 29 September voted in the final reading to
approve amendments proposed by the government to the pensions
law, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Parliamentary deputy
Alevtina Pronenko told RFE/RL that under those amendments,
the basic pension rate will not be raised before 2005. That
basic rate is 12 percent of the average monthly salary of 957
soms (about $23), the official subsistence level being 1,123
soms a month. Some $18 million in aid from international
financial organizations was pegged to the passage of the
amendments. LF

KYRGYZ, UZBEK PLANES LAUNCH AIRRAIDS AGAINST GUERRILLAS.
Unidentified aircraft dropped bombs on villages in
Tajikistan's Garm and Tajikabad regions on 2 and 3 October,
but no deaths or injuries were reported, according to ITAR-
TASS. On 4 October, Kyrgyz Presidential Press Secretary
Kanybek Imanaliev told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau that "the
joint air forces of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan" bombed some
areas in southern Kyrgyzstan as well as neighboring
Tajikistan the previous evening. He did not elaborate. Uzbek
warplanes inadvertently dropped bombs in Tajikistan in mid-
August while targeting the guerrillas in southern Kyrgyzstan
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 August 1999). LF

TAJIKISTAN'S PRESIDENT URGES NEW EFFORT TO END AFGHAN WAR...
Addressing the UN General Assembly on 1 October, Imomali
Rakhmonov called on the international community to launch a
new effort to end the civil war in Afghanistan by political
means, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported. Rakhmonov expressed
his support for the so-called Six-Plus-Two group, which
comprises the six states that border Afghanistan (China,
Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) as
well as Russia and the UN. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on
27 September criticized unnamed members of that group for
supporting one or the other faction in Afghanistan. Rakhmonov
added that the CIS is doing everything in its power to
prevent the spread of the Taliban's "militant ideology" as
well as the export of drugs and arms. LF

...CALLS FOR INCREASED HUMANITARIAN AID. Rakhmonov also
appealed for humanitarian aid to assist Tajikistan in
overcoming the legacy of the civil war, noting that to date
donors have given "only a few percent" of the funds they
promised for that purpose, AP reported. Rakhmonov said that
the 26 September referendum demonstrated his country's
unswerving commitment to building a democratic, law-based
secular state. But on 2 October, Said Abdullo Nuri, United
Tajik Opposition leader and chairman of the opposition
Islamic Renaissance Party, told Interfax that the Tajik
government is trying to prevent that party's activists from
collecting the required 145,000 signatures to register its
candidate, Foreign Economic Relations Minister Davlat Usmon,
as a candidate for the 6 November presidential elections. LF

END NOTE

ENTITLEMENTS, RIGHTS, AND DEMOCRACY

by Paul Goble

	A major obstacle to the building of democracy in Russia
and other post-communist countries is that many people there
appear to be concerned more about what their governments can
give them than about what control they have over those
governments via democratic procedures.
	As a result, many of them may be inclined to support
political figures and movements that promise to guarantee
what they see as their substantive rights, even if these
individuals and groups are prepared to violate the norms of
democratic governance such as regular elections, freedom of
speech, and freedom of religion.
	That is the sobering message of the results of a recent
poll taken by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public
Opinion. When asked what is the most important factor
defining a democratic society, 75 percent of Russians replied
that it was a system of government that provides equal rights
for all.
	Seventy-one percent said that democracy meant having the
opportunity to influence the government in the interests of
the people; 62 percent said that it involves the chance to
choose leaders in free elections; and 58 percent said that
democracy is a system that provides opportunities for
expressing one's own opinion and criticizing the authorities.
	But when the same sample of Russians was asked which
human rights were most important to them, 68 percent said
that the right to free education, medical care, and financial
support in old age; 57 percent opted for the right to life;
53 percent chose the right to a well-paid job; and 46 percent
said it is the right to privacy.
	Only 23 percent said named the right to own property; 14
percent freedom of speech; 9 percent right to information; 8
percent freedom of worship; 8 percent the right to travel
abroad; and 8 percent the right to elect one's leaders.
	This combination of answers about democracy and human
rights suggests that many people in post-communist Russia
define democracy less as a system of government than as a
system that will protect what they see as entitlements--less
a question of procedures than one of substantive outcomes.
	On the one hand, such attitudes reflect the influence of
Soviet-sponsored values, of the communist-sponsored notion
that a government should be judged not by the procedures it
follows--as Western democracies maintain--but by what that
system provides for the mass of the population.
	And on the other, these views reflect the very real and
severe problems that many people in Russia and elsewhere are
experiencing during the transition. Even in long-established
democratic countries, people tend to focus on procedures only
when times are relatively good. When times are bad, people
tend to worry far more about outcomes.
	This poll and others like it do not provide sufficient
evidence to allow anyone to decide which of these factors is
the more important. But such samplings of opinion in Russia
point to a more general problem that many, if not all, post-
communist societies now face: namely, an understanding of
democracy that may allow some to subvert democracy as it is
understood in the West.
	To the extent that leaders can deliver the substantive
rights that many people in these countries want, they may be
able to violate democratic norms such as freedom of speech
and religion with impunity, as long as they cover what they
are doing with invocations of their commitment to democracy
as a general principle.
	But this combination of violations of democratic norms
with invocations of democracy as a guiding principle may have
three consequences that could undercut the possibility of
institutionalizing democracy in these countries.
	First, such a combination of actions by post-communist
leaders is likely to reduce the attractiveness of democracy
for many of their citizens precisely because it will
undermine the fundamental meaning of democracy itself.
	Second, actions of this kind may open the door to ever
less scrupulous leaders who are likely to be able to argue
that they can guarantee entitlements if only the people allow
them to ignore some procedural rights that are clearly less
highly-valued by the population.
	And third, such actions by post-communist governments
may lead Western governments to decide that it is more
important to support leaders who claim to be democrats than
to criticize the ways in which these leaders fail to live up
to democratic norms.
	Such decisions in turn will make it ever more likely
that these post-communist leaders will decide they can
violate procedural rights with impunity not only at home but
abroad as well.
	And that conclusion could further erode not only the
possibilities for establishing democratic systems in these
countries but even the attractiveness of democracy as an
idea, at least in the eyes of populations undergoing the
difficult transition from communism.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word subscribe as the subject of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
hermanoval@rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 25 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE
Broadcast Studio. http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble via
email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Fabian Schmidt, SchmidtF@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Asta Banionis, Pete Baumgartner, Victor Gomez, Dan Ionescu,
Zsolt-Istvan Mato, Jolyon Naegele, Matyas Szabo, Anthony
Wesolowsky, Marins J. Zvaners

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole