No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. - Edmund Burke
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 205, Part I, 20 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 205, Part I, 20 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

* PUTIN TELLS RENO RUSSIA WANTS TO COOPERATE

* YELTSIN SEEKS TO REASSURE CLINTON OVER CHECHNYA

* AZERBAIJAN'S MUSLIM LEADER ACCUSES MOSCOW OF GENOCIDE

End Note: OSCE EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER ELECTIONS IN CENTRAL
ASIA
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RUSSIA

PUTIN TELLS RENO RUSSIA WANTS TO COOPERATE... After meeting
with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno on 19 October, Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin declared that the U.S. and Russia
have combined efforts to combat money-laundering and
"experts" from both countries have exchanged information that
is currently being analyzed, Interfax reported. Putin added
that State Duma deputies and government officials are working
on a new version of a draft law on money-laundering.
Aleksandr Livshits, presidential envoy to the Group of Seven,
told NTV that Duma deputies intend to pass the money-
laundering legislation before the end of the year. Reno
commented that she is "very gratified by the commitment of
[Putin], by the introduction of legislation and most of all
by his thoughtful appreciation of our comments and
suggestions," according to AP. JAC

...AS TALBOTT SAYS MISTAKES WERE MADE. Addressing a U.S.
congressional committee on 19 October, Deputy Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott acknowledged that there have been
mistakes in the Clinton administration's policy toward
Russia, such as its weak support for bills passed by the Duma
that would have fought money laundering, RFE/RL's Washington
bureau reported. However, Congressman Dana Rohrbacher
(Republican) responded that "your goals are certainly
laudable, but your policies to achieve those goals have been
miserable failures." At the same hearing, Congressman Tom
Lantos (Democrat) noted that "crime used to be a monopoly of
the government; it has now become privatized. But to be
surprised, to be surprised that there is crime and corruption
in Russia reveals to me a degree of historical amnesia which
is almost frightening." JAC.

YELTSIN SEEKS TO REASSURE CLINTON OVER CHECHNYA... Russia
"must" restore constitutional order in Chechnya and
neutralize "all international terrorists and their
chieftains," Russian President Boris Yeltsin told his U.S.
counterpart Bill Clinton in a 19 October letter. Yeltsin said
the entire international community should unite in the face
of the "global challenge" posed by terrorism. He added that
Russia will seek to resolve the political aspects of
relations with Chechnya, including the republic's status
within the Russian Federation, in "talks with those Chechen
leaders who reject violence and terrorism," Reuters and
Interfax reported. LF

...AS RUSSIAN AIR ATTACKS CONTINUE. Meanwhile, Russian
aircraft bombed the town of Urus-Martan, southwest of Grozny,
on 19 October, killing six people, including three children,
a Reuters correspondent who witnessed the attack reported.
Russian aircraft also targeted suspected guerrilla positions
in four locations near Grozny, AP reported. Chechen officials
claimed to have repulsed a Russian assault on the town of
Gudermes, east of Grozny, killing 25 Russian troops. But
Russian officials denied any such attack took place,
according to AP. LF

INGUSHETIAN PRESIDENT VISITS CAMPS FOR DISPLACED PERSONS.
After inspecting several camps for Chechen fugitives on 19
October, Ruslan Aushev said his republic is experiencing
serious problems in providing them with accommodation, food,
and medical supplies, ITAR-TASS reported. Aushev said that
Russia's Federal Migration Service has not sent any
humanitarian aid over the past few days. A spokesman for the
Ministry for Emergency Situations said on 19 October that in
Ingushetia, 8,000 fugitives from Chechnya are still sleeping
in the open air or in cars and buses, according to Interfax.
LF

MOSCOW REJECTS U.S. PRESS REPORTS ON ABM TALKS... The Russian
Foreign Ministry on 19 October rejected as groundless U.S.
press reports that Washington has offered to help Russia
complete a radar station in Siberia in exchange for its
consent to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October 1999). A ministry spokesman
stressed that the Foreign Ministry is holding "consultations
on strategic stability with the Americans, including ABM and
START," and coordinates all arms talks. The same day, General
Makhmud Gareev, the president of Russia's Academy of Military
Sciences, told ITAR-TASS that the ABM treaty must not be used
for "political bargaining." Saying that the treaty is an
integral part of the global security system and therefore
affects all states, Gareev argued that "it would be wrong to
reduce everything to a particular problem--the construction
of a radar station with fairly limited use." JC

...WHILE RUSSIAN PRESS POINTS FINGER AT U.S. WHITE HOUSE.
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 19 October commented that the U.S.
press reports on Washington's alleged offer to Russia over
the ABM Treaty constituted the White House's "latest attack"
in its "massive offensive against Russia's stance on the
question of revising the ABM Treaty." Noting that U.S.
efforts to "punch a hole" in the treaty at the diplomatic
level have come to naught, the daily remarked that Washington
now seems to have decided on "measures of public pressure
that are unbecoming in the world of diplomacy." The same day,
"Kommersant-Daily" asserted that the time of the purported
U.S. offer is :"easy to understand": Vice President Al Gore,
"who is rapidly losing points in the pre-election race," must
"demonstrate firmness in defending U.S. national interests"
but must do so "as tactfully as possible in order not to
alienate Russia." Both "Kommersant-Daily" and "Nezavisimaya
gazeta" are controlled by media magnate Boris Berezovskii. JC

YELTSIN TO HANG OUT UNTIL ELECTIONS. In an interview with
"Segodnya" on 19 October, Duma deputy Aleksandr Shokhin
revised his forecast that President Yeltsin would resign on
that date (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 September 1999). Now
Shokhin is suggesting that if Yeltsin wants to ensure that
his anointed successor, Putin, is "invulnerable to the Duma,"
then he will resign following Duma elections but before it
assembles for its first meeting. Shokhin added that he bases
his predications on Kremlin officials' thinking "rationally"
but does not exclude the possibility that Yeltsin's inner
circle will encourage him to stay on. According to Shokhin,
the chances of the Communist Party forming the largest
faction in the Duma have been increasing as Kremlin efforts
to undermine the Fatherland-All Russia alliance and promote
the Unity bloc are succeeding. JAC

NEW EFFORTS TO PROMOTE INVESTMENT LAUNCHED. A group of
Russian business leaders and public figures have announced
the formation of a National Investment Council, which will be
headed by Vneshekonombank Chairman Andrei Kostin during its
first six months, Interfax reported on 19 October. Organizer
of the council and head of the National Reserve Bank
Aleksandr Lebedev said the council will try to counteract the
negative image of Russian business in the West and create an
investment rating system for Russian regions. Also on 19
October, the Coordination Center for the Protection of the
Legal Rights of Investors announced that it has established a
center to defend shareholders' rights in Russia, which will
be headed by the former Federal Securities Commission chief
Dmitrii Vasiliev, "The Moscow Times" reported the next day.
During the first half of 1999, indirect foreign investment
dropped 44 percent compared with the same period last year,
Deputy Economics Ministers Vladimir Kossov told reporters the
same day. JAC

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION CONTINUES TO SOAR... Industrial
production jumped 7 percent during the first nine months of
1999 compared with the same period the previous year,
Interfax reported on 20 October, citing the Russian
Statistics Agency. The agency also reported that consumer
prices climbed 31.4 percent during the same period. JAC

...AS FUEL PRICES RESUME CLIMB. After appearing to stabilize
late last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 1999),
fuel prices jumped in early October. Gasoline retail prices
rose by 4 percent from 1-10 October across Russia, while
certain regions, such as the Jewish Autonomous and Orel
Oblasts, experienced a price spike of 26.1 and 20.9 percent,
respectively. Meanwhile, the Russian Oil Exporters Union has
appealed to Prime Minister Putin to cancel restrictions on
oil exports, because the current decree in force violates the
law on the state regulation of foreign trade, "Vremya MN"
reported on 19 October. According to that law, the government
is required to issue and publish regulations three months
before those regulations go into force, but the decree
limiting oil exports was issued on 30 July, published on 5
August, and went into effect on 1 August. JAC

MOSCOW SAYS IT'S READY TO DELIVER ARMS TO SYRIA. Russian
Ambassador to Syria Robert Markaryan told reporters in
Damascus on 19 October that Russia is ready to supply Syria
with "any sort of sophisticated military technology" as well
as deliver new defensive weapons and upgrade military
equipment bought in Russia," AFP reported. Markaryan added
that Moscow wants to boost relations with Syria in other
areas as well, including trade. JC

IVANOV URGES WEST TO AVERT 'HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE' IN
YUGOSLAVIA. Following talks with his Bosnian counterpart,
Jadranko Prlic, in the Russian capital on 19 October, Russian
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov stressed Moscow's position that
international aid to Yugoslavia must not be linked to a
"settlement of that country's internal political situation,"
Interfax reported. With winter looming, Ivanov continued, "a
large part of the population of Yugoslavia may find itself on
the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe" as a result of the
NATO air strikes earlier this year. "It's the duty of all
countries, primarily those that were involved in the
aggression against Yugoslavia, to do everything possible" to
prevent such a catastrophe," Ivanov said. JC

ST. PETERSBURG ASSASSINS SUCCEED SECOND TIME ROUND. After
surviving an earlier assassination attempt that left him
confined to a wheelchair, Deputy Speaker of St. Petersburg's
Legislative Assembly Viktor Novoselov was killed by a car
bomb on 20 October, Interfax-North West reported. Novoselov
was one of the main candidates for the post of speaker of the
assembly. The attack on Novoselov is the latest in a series
of acts of political violence in St. Petersburg (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 17 September 1999). JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER IN MOSCOW. Visiting Moscow for
the first time since his election in June as parliamentary
chairman, Karen Demirchian met with Russian Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Federation
Council chairman Yegor Stroev on 18-19 October, a
correspondent for RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. Ivanov
characterized bilateral relations as "developing in a spirit
of strategic partnership," according to ITAR-TASS. Demirchian
told both Putin and Stroev that he hopes for a reversal of
the decline in bilateral trade and, in particular, for more
Russian investment in Armenia. Demirchian also met with
Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov to discuss
Armenian payment for fuel supplies to the Medzamor nuclear
power station. Armenia plans to sell electricity to other
countries to pay for those shipments, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

THREE ARMENIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES WANT CATHOLICOS ELECTION
POSTPONED. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-
Dashnaktsutyun on 18 October issued a statement advocating
postponing the election of a new Catholicos, which is
scheduled for later this month, Noyan Tapan reported. The
Self-Determination Union issued a similar statement the
following day. Both parties argued that the allegations by
some senior clerics that the Armenian authorities are seeking
to secure the election to that post of a specific candidate
may undermine Church unity and reflect adversely on whichever
candidate is elected. On 19 October, National Democratic
Union Chairman Vazgen Manukian told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
that he thinks the election should be delayed for a couple of
years and that Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian should continue
to head the Church during that period. LF

AZERBAIJAN'S MUSLIM LEADER ACCUSES MOSCOW OF GENOCIDE.
Allakhshukur Pashazade, who is head of the Spiritual Board of
Muslims of the Caucasus, has written to Russian President
Boris Yeltsin to protest what he terms Moscow's deliberate
policy of genocide in Chechnya, Turan reported on 19 October.
He charged Russia with masterminding the August incursion
into Daghestan in order to provoke a violent reaction from
Chechnya that could be presented as terrorism and banditry
and thus serve as the rationale for a new war against
Chechnya. Pashazade expressed concern that Moscow could also
accuse Azerbaijan and Georgia of aggression against Russia.
LF

LAWYERS SAY CLOSURE OF AZERBAIJANI TV COMPANY ILLEGAL.
Lawyers acting for the independent Sara TV company issued a
statement on 19 October asserting that the Azerbaijan's
Justice Ministry's 9 October decision to close the station
was illegal and must be revoked, Turan reported. The station
rejected the ministry's claim that under Azerbaijani law,
media outlets may not be owned by foreign nationals. Also on
19 October, 34 employees of the company, including its
president, Rasul Rauf, began an indefinite hunger strike to
protest the imposition by the Baku City Court of a 250
million manat ($62,000) fine on the company for insulting the
honor and dignity of a government official. LF

RUSSIA TO EXTRADITE SUSPECT IN GEORGIAN ASSASSINATION BID.
Russian Federal Security Service spokesman Aleksandr
Zdanovich said in Moscow on 19 October that Russia will hand
over to Georgia Nugzar Khuchua, who the Georgian authorities
believe participated in the February 1998 attempt to kill
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, Caucasus Press
reported. Khuchua was apprehended in North Ossetia last month
on suspicion of involvement in the bomb attack on the
Vladikavkaz central market in March 1999 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 27 and 29 September 1999). LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT CONDEMNS ATTACK ON JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES.
Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgian NGOs, and a Tbilisi City
official have all condemned the 17 October assault on the
Tbilisi offices of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Caucasus Press
reported two days later. A group of Georgian Christians who
support a priest excommunicated for his disagreements with
the leadership of the Georgian Orthodox Church broke into the
offices, beat up several members of that sect, and destroyed
religious literature. Representatives of the Georgian
Patriarchy called on the country's leadership in July to ban
Jehovah's Witnesses, terming their activities "anti-state and
anti-national." LF

CONSORTIUM LEADER ENDORSES AZERBAIJAN OIL EXPORT PIPELINE. BP
Amoco, the senior partner in the 11-member Azerbaijan
International Operating Company engaged in extracting
offshore Caspian oil, has signaled its backing for plans to
route the main export pipeline for Azerbaijan's Caspian oil
from Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Dow
Jones reported on 19 October. The AIOC had earlier voiced
doubts that it would ever extract large enough volumes of oil
to render that project economically viable. But BP now hopes
to reach the required 1 million barrels a day by using that
pipeline to transport oil from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
BP has a 9.5 percent stake in the Kazakh OKIOC consortium.
AFP on 19 October quoted Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
as saying in Baku the previous day that Turkey and Azerbaijan
could sign a final agreement on building the pipeline at the
November OSCE summit in Istanbul. Turkey has agreed to cover
construction costs in excess of the estimated $2.4 billion.
LF

KAZAKH OPPOSITION LEADERS DEPLORE 'CRISIS.' Former Customs
Committee chairman Ghany Qasymov, who unsuccessfully
contended the January presidential elections, told
journalists in Almaty on 19 October that Kazakhstan is facing
"a systemic total crisis," Interfax reported. He called for
changes to the constitution to strengthen the role of the
parliament and ensure that the party that wins parliamentary
elections is able to form a government and its leader become
prime minister. At a news conference in Almaty the same day,
Orleu (Progress) party chairman Seydakhmet Quttyqadam
similarly characterized the present situation as "a deep
social and economic crisis," RFE/RL's correspondent in the
former capital reported. Quttyqadam argued that presidential
elections should be held next year and that the country's
1993 constitution should be revised and reinstated. LF

KAZAKHSTAN'S PREMIER SPELLS OUT ECONOMIC PRIORITIES.
Kasymzhomart Toqaev told cabinet members on 19 October that
his policies are aimed at implementing "the long-term
strategy of the head of state," Interfax and ITAR-TASS
reported. He said the cabinet will pursue an austerity course
aimed at boosting budget revenues and reducing the country's
trade deficit. Toqaev said he hopes an agreement with the IMF
on terms for a new loan can be reached by the end of this
year. He added that he opposes any renationalization of
privatized enterprises. LF

SOME COSSACKS READY TO MOVE FROM KAZAKHSTAN TO CHECHNYA.
Interfax on 19 October quoted an unnamed senior Russian
official in Stavropol Krai as saying that some Semirechie
Cossacks from southern Kazakhstan have volunteered to settle
in Chechnya on the left (northern) bank of the Terek River.
Two rival organizations in Kazakhstan claim to represent the
Semirechie Cossacks. The leader of one of those organizations
has said the entire Cossack community may emigrate if the
Kazakh authorities continue to discriminate against them (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 11 August 1999). Stavropol Krai
official Vassilii Belchenko told ITAR-TASS on 19 October that
two companies of Cossacks from Stavropol will be sent to
Chechnya's Nauri and Shelkovo Raions, which are under federal
control, to keep the peace and protect civilians there. LF

KYRGYZ MEDIATOR OPTIMISTIC ON RELEASE OF JAPANESES HOSTAGES.
Parliamentary deputy Tursunbek Bakir Uulu told journalists in
Bishkek on 19 October that the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan, whose members are holding four Japanese
geologists they seized two months ago, may release those
hostages soon, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Tajikistan's
Minister for Emergency Situations Mirzo Zieev, who helped
Bakir Uulu negotiate with the Uzbek guerrillas in Tajikistan
the release of several Kyrgyz hostages, similarly expressed
optimism that the Japanese will be freed by the end of this
week, Reuters reported. Zieev denied media reports that the
guerillas are demanding a $2 million ransom for the four
Japanese. In Bishkek, parliamentary deputy Baiaman Erkinbaev
told an RFE/RL correspondent on 19 October that he, too, is
engaged in talks with the guerillas aimed at securing the
hostages' release. He did not elaborate. LF

OSCE APPEALS TO TAJIK OPPOSITION TO RESUME COOPERATION WITH
GOVERNMENT. Meeting in Dushanbe on 19 October with United
Tajik Opposition chairman Said Abdullo Nuri, head of the OSCE
mission in Tajikistan Marin Buchoara handed over a letter
from several OSCE member states asking that he reconsider the
UTO's decision to suspend participation in the work of the
National Reconciliation Commission, ITAR-TASS reported. The
UTO had recalled its representatives on that commission to
protest the government's refusal to convene an emergency
parliamentary session to discuss the 6 November presidential
election (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October 1999). Nuri
rejected the OSCE request, accusing the Tajik government of
seeking to undermine the UTO's efforts to implement the 1997
peace agreement. LF

SOUTH KOREAN COMPANY TO SUSPEND PRODUCTION IN UZBEKISTAN.
Samsung Electronics has suspended indefinitely the production
of household appliances in Uzbekistan, Interfax reported on
19 October, quoting an Uzbek official. The decision was
prompted by problems in ensuring the regular import of
components owing to the non-convertibility of Uzbekistan's
currency. LF

END NOTE

OSCE EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER ELECTIONS IN CENTRAL ASIA

By Roland Eggleston

	The OSCE says it expects to issue this week a new report
on the 10 October parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan that
will be sharply critical of some aspects of the way the
ballot was conducted.
	A senior OSCE official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, told RFE/RL that the OSCE election mission
reported several instances of falsification of results. It
also cited a lack of transparency in vote counting and other
breaches of international standards.
	On 17 October, Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission
said that preliminary results indicated that the OTAN party--
which is closely identified with Kazakhstan's power
structures--had garnered nearly 31 percent of the vote. Its
closest rival was the Communist Party with nearly 18 percent,
followed by the Agrarian Party (some 13 percent) and the
Civic Party (about 11 percent).
	The election commission has said that the majority of
districts in the country will hold a second round of voting
on 24 October.
	An interim report issued by the OSCE immediately after
the elections pointed to several areas in which the first
poll failed to meet international standards. However it said
the election was an improvement on the heavily criticized
presidential vote last January.
	In its interim report, the OSCE noted what it called
"serious violations" in vote counting, despite new rules by
the Central Election Commission intended to make the process
more transparent. The interim report was particularly
skeptical of vote counting in the Almaty constituency. It
said that in one case, forged returns were uncovered in
Almaty reflecting different results for the same polling
station. This took place in clear view of international
observers.
	The OSCE also complained about the lack of neutrality
among commissioners administrating the elections. It said
that in many cases the commissions were directed by regional
and local government authorities and were made up of
individuals who were dependent on the favor of those
authorities for their livelihood. It added that many members
of the election commissions were affiliated with the OTAN
party.
	The OSCE also said it is disappointed in the
preparations for the 6 November presidential elections in
Tajikistan and the parliamentary elections there early next
year. A senior OSCE official told RFE/RL on 19 October that
if there is no improvement, the OSCE will drop plans for a
full-scale election-monitoring team in Tajikistan even though
opposition parties have requested such a mission.
	The official said that despite this appeal, the OSCE
might send only one expert to assist the local OSCE mission
in monitoring the vote. Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov
visited OSCE headquarters in Vienna last week to urge it to
send a mission.
	On 15 October, the main opposition group, the United
Tajik Opposition (UTO), said the presidential election should
be postponed because of irregularities in the way it was
being conducted. In particular, the UTO complained that
opposition candidates have been prevented from collecting
signatures required to register. Earlier last week, the
election commission had ruled that three opposition
candidates failed to meet the requirement, thereby leaving
incumbent President Imomali Rakhmonov as the sole candidate.
	The UTO also wants a new Central Election Commission to
be formed and has urged that all presidential candidates have
equal access to state media.
	Meanwhile, the OSCE has expressed concern about the
preparations for elections in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. An
assessment team left for Uzbekistan on 19 October to see
whether the conditions for the 5 December parliamentary
elections sufficiently meet international standards for the
OSCE to send a full election team.
	Uzbekistan has formally asked the OSCE to send a full-
scale monitoring team for the elections. In a visit to that
country last month, OSCE Chairman Knut Vollebaek told
President Islam Karimov that the OSCE is not satisfied with
some of the preparations for the elections.
	Vollebaek later told journalists that there are "flaws"
in the process and cited election laws. He also pointed to
the whole area of human rights, including "freedom of speech
[and] freedom of religion where we see clear shortcomings."
	But he told Karimov that the OSCE did not expect that
countries in transition--like those in Central Asia--would be
able to conform immediately with international standards on
elections. He also said that the assessment mission will make
an "objective assessment" of whether a full observation team
should be sent to the elections.
	Meanwhile, an assessment team is scheduled to travel to
Turkmenistan on 8 November to examine whether a monitoring
team should be sent for that country's 12 December
parliamentary elections. President Saparmurat Niyazov urged
the OSCE to do so when he met Vollebaek last month. But OSCE
officials are already skeptical of whether conditions will
permit the presence of a monitoring team.
	There are no political parties in Turkmenistan. Niyazov
told the OSCE last month that political parties will appear
when the people want them, adding that there is not sign of
that.. He also denied that there are any political prisoners
but said he is planning another amnesty for some other
prisoners shortly before the election.
	OSCE officials in Vienna said it could be years before
conditions for democratic elections appear in Turkmenistan.
Niyazov told Vollebaek during last month's visit that he
hopes to introduce what he called a "new, democratic society"
by the year 2010. But he did not spell out what sort of
society he has in mind.
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