Be slow of tongue and quick of eye. - Cervantes
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 209, Part I, 26 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 209, Part I, 26 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

* RUSSIAN FORCES ADVANCE ON GROZNY

* AFTER LAST-MINUTE HAGGLING, BUDGET PASSES IN FIRST READING

* AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER RESIGN
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

RUSSIAN FORCES ADVANCE ON GROZNY. Federal forces deployed
along the Terek ridge north of Grozny advanced south and
eastward on 25 October and clashed the following day with
Chechen defenders in the villages of Sadovoe and
Pervomaiskoe, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Russian artillery
and warplanes continued to bombard Grozny's suburbs and
airport, and the towns of Vedeno and Tolstoi-Yurt. Reuters on
26 October quoted Lieutenant General Gennadii Troshev, who
commands one of the sectors of the Russian front, as telling
"Moskovskii komsomolets" that "the ring being drawn around
Chechnya will be gradually tightened until the full territory
of Chechnya is under the control of federal forces." He added
that "the main task is to avoid excessive casualties and
prevent the guerrillas from escaping." He said that operation
may last three months or two years. Troshev also disclosed
that a $1 million reward has been offered for field commander
Shamil Basaev. LF

UNHCR CONCERNED OVER CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN CHECHNYA. UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata on 25 October
expressed concern both at rising civilian casualties in
Chechnya and at the Russian military's closure of border
crossings to persons fleeing the fighting, AP reported. Tens
of thousands of uprooted civilians are trapped within
Chechnya following the 23 October closure of the border
crossing with Ingushetia. Interfax on 25 October quoted an
unidentified Russian Interior Ministry source as saying that
four corridors through the "security zone" surrounding
Chechnya will be opened on 29 October to allow forcibly
displaced persons to leave. Russia's Ministry for Emergency
Situations on 26 October estimated the number of displaced
persons from Chechnya in Ingushetia, Daghestan, North
Ossetia, and Stavropol Krai at 187,000, according to ITAR-
TASS. LF

AFTER LAST-MINUTE HAGGLING, BUDGETS PASSES IN FIRST READING.
State Duma deputies on 26 October voted 244 to 86 with 11
abstentions to approve the 2000 budget in its first reading.
According to First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko,
budget revenues have been increased by 20.1 billion rubles
($780 million) to 797.2 billion rubles and spending to 855.1
billion rubles. Khristenko suggested that more revenues would
be made available by making better use of state property
abroad and by improving tax collection, according to
Interfax. An unidentified source told the agency that the
budget is expected to state that 6 billion rubles in revenue
will be directed toward priority spending programs only if
additional revenues are collected. The Communist and Agrarian
factions earlier withheld their support for the budget in
order to win increased funds for agriculture, science, and
industry (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 October 1999). JAC

TONE OF U.S. STATEMENTS ON CHECHNYA HARDENS. U.S. Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright told reporters on 25 October that
she informed Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in two
telephone calls last weekend that Washington views current
Russian military activities in Chechnya as "ominous" and
"deplorable," RFE/RL's Washington bureau reported. She added
that she also told Ivanov that Russia is making "a
significant step in the wrong direction" in Chechnya and that
she was not particularly encouraged by Ivanov's response.
Ivanov said the same day that he hopes the U.S., when it is
assessing Russia's Chechen policy, "will proceed from
objective information, being guided by our joint goals of the
struggle against international terrorism and the development
of bilateral relations," ITAR-TASS reported. JAC

MOSCOW SAYS IT CAN 'OVERCOME' ANY ABM SYSTEM... First Deputy
Defense Minister Nikolai Mikhailov told journalists in Moscow
on 25 October that Russia has the technical capabilities to
"overcome" any anti-ballistic missile system, Interfax
reported. Such technology can "realistically be used and will
be used if the U.S. pushes us toward it," Mikhailov warned,
in a reference to U.S. plans to set up a limited national ABM
system. He added that the expenses entailed for Russia would
be several times lower than the cost of constructing a
national defense system. JC

...WHILE PRIMAKOV SAYS 'ASYMETRY' IN ARMS RACE MUST BE
AVOIDED. Also on 25 October, former Prime Minister Yevgenii
Primakov, who is a leader of the Fatherland-All Russia
alliance, told a roundtable of the Council for Foreign
Defense Policy that if the U.S. goes ahead with plans to
implement a national ABM system, Russia will have to develop
"its own [deterrent] strategic forces but in such a way that
would avoid an asymmetrical approach to the arms race,"
Interfax reported. He added that such forces should have
"great penetration capabilities" to ward off possible
attacks. Primakov also said that the West still sees Russia
as a potential enemy, claiming that a CIA report issued
several months ago directly identifies Moscow as such. JC

CHEMICAL WEAPONS DESTRUCTION BEHIND SCHEDULE. Visiting Kirov
Oblast on 25 October, Lieutenant General Valerii Kapashin,
the director of the federal special program for the
destruction of chemical weapons, announced that the program
is two years behind schedule because of insufficient funding,
"Izvestiya" reported. The governor of six regions, including
Kirov, where plants for the weapons' destruction are planned
recently urged the government to find additional funds for
the implementation of the program, according to "The Moscow
Times" on 14 October. Kapashin said on 25 October that the
governors will request some 3.8 billion rubles ($148 million)
for this purpose. The Chemical Weapons Convention requires
Russia to destroy its stockpiles by 2008, but Kapashin had
already warned last year that Russia may have recourse to a
provision of the convention allowing an additional five years
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 June 1998). JC

FEDERAL AUTHORITIES SEEK TO BAN NATIONALIST GROUP. Justice
Ministry officials on 25 October sent a petition to the
Supreme Court asking it to bar the Savior (Spas) movement for
violating the law on public associations, ITAR-TASS reported.
The Central Election Commission recently registered Savior's
party list for participation in upcoming State Duma elections
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 October 1999). According to a
Justice Ministry spokeswoman, the movement provided false
information about regional branches that do not in fact
exist, according to Reuters. Savior is headed by Aleksandr
Barkashov, the head of the ultra-nationalist Russian National
Unity (RNE). On 26 October, a court in Primorskii Krai passed
a resolution banning the activities of RNE on the region's
territory, ITAR-TASS reported. JAC

OUR HOME IS RUSSIA LEADERS SET SIGHTS ON SIBERIA... Our Home
Is Russia (NDR) head Viktor Chernomyrdin will seek a seat in
the State Duma from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug,
Interfax-Eurasia reported on 25 October. Former Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin will have to compete against six
candidates, including the head of a local geological
enterprise. NDR Duma faction leader Vladimir Ryzhkov will
compete against 17 candidates in a district in Altai Krai.
JAC

...AS SIBNEFT HEAD TO COMPETE AGAINST UNITY CANDIDATE IN FAR
NORTH. According to the election commission in Chukotka
Autonomous Okrug, Sibneft head Roman Abramovich has submitted
679 signatures--89 more than necessary--to support his
registration for State Duma elections in a single-mandate
district in that region, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 25
October. Abramovich will compete against seven candidates
including Deputy Governor Igor Shishkin. In an earlier
interview, Chukotka Governor Aleksandr Nazarov said that he
is unaware of any plans by Abramovich to run in his region
and that he personally will support a candidate from the list
of the interregional bloc Unity. Presumably, he meant Deputy
Governor Shishkin. Abramovich is considered a close ally of
media magnate Boris Berezovskii, who allegedly played a role
in forming Unity, one of whose founders was Nazarov. JAC

LDPR CANDIDATES STILL BARRED FROM MOSCOW MAYORAL RACE. A
Moscow court upheld on 25 October the decision of the city's
election commission to bar Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
(LDPR) member Aleksei Mitrofanov and his would-be deputy
mayor, Andrei Brezhnev, from participating in the Moscow
mayoral election, Russian Public Television reported (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 11 October 1999). The commission found
that Mitrofanov, who heads the Duma Geopolitics Committee,
violated campaign finance regulations when setting up his
election fund. JAC

FURTHER DECLINES IN MEAT CONSUMPTION FORECAST. Russia will
import 1.8 million tons of meat and meat products this year,
a decline of 0.5 percent compared with the previous year,
Interfax reported on 25 October, citing the Agriculture
Ministry. Per capita consumption of meat will amount to 42
kilograms in 1999, compared with a 12 percent drop over last
year. Per capita consumption of milk and dairy products is
also expected to show a decline of 8 percent. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture warned recently that Russia will
have to boost its imports of meat next year or risk a further
decline in the population's meat consumption (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 21 October 1999). JAC

RADICALS IN KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA REJECT COMPROMISE. Some
Cherkess and Abazin supporters of Cherkessk Mayor Stanislav
Derev have rejected the compromise agreement reached in talks
in Moscow on 23 October between Derev and the republic's
president, Vladimir Semenov, Caucasus Press reported on 26
October. Under that agreement, a republic-wide referendum on
confidence in Semenov will be held next fall (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 October 1999). The radical wing of Derev's
supporters continue to insist on the creation of a separate
Cherkess Autonomous Oblast that would administratively be
part of Stavropol Krai. LF

MORE ELECTION INTRIGUES IN VLADIVOSTOK. NTV reported on 24
October that according to the Interior Ministry, lists of
signatures in support of the candidacy of Viktor Cherepkov
for upcoming Vladivostok mayoral elections are currently
being calculated and verified. Cherepkov, who is a former
mayor of that city, accused the police of stealing his lists
of signatures during a raid on his campaign headquarters on
21 October, "The Moscow Times" reported two days later.
During that raid, police arrested Cherepkov's campaign
manager and former deputy, Sergei Markelov. Cherepkov said
that the raid was organized by his political foe, Primorskii
Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko. "The Moscow Times" could
not reach Nazdratenko or his aides for comment. However, the
deputy chairman of the krai's election commission suggested
that Cherepkov was to blame, saying that "when Viktor
Ivanovich [Cherepkov] was gone, everything was quiet, but now
he is back, the intrigues have started again." JAC

LIKE GOVERNOR, LIKE GOVERNMENT? Penza Governor Vasilii
Bochkarev has dismissed the oblast's government, saying he
needs "like-minded' people in the cabinet who will work for
the good of the oblast rather than for their own ends, ITAR-
TASS reported on 25 October. Bochkarev was also quoted as
saying that the actions of the dismissed government had
threatened to lead to a "crisis" in industrial output, which,
he noted, has registered stable growth lately. JC

ST. PETE POLICE CHIEF RESIGNS. Lieutenant General Viktor
Vlasov, head of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast
police force, has tendered his resignation to Russian
Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, saying he considered it
his duty to do so following recent inspections that had
revealed shortcomings in the work of the St. Petersburg
police force. According to "The St. Petersburg Times" on 26
October, during the ant-terrorist operation "Whirlwind,"
federal Interior Ministry officials had criticized the city
police for "serious violations" of federal orders regarding
the prevention of terrorism. A police statement claimed that
Vlasov's resignation is "not related" to the assassination
last week of local deputy Viktor Novoselov (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 20 October 1999). Since Vasilov's appointment as
police chief in summer 1998, there have been a string of
high-profile contract killings, including that of State Duma
deputy Galina Starovoitova last November. JC

HE'LL HAVE THAT ORDER 'TO GO.' An inebriated customer at a
food kiosk in Novosibirsk inserted his head through the
stall's narrow window to flirt with the salesclerk on the
evening of 23 October, ITAR-TASS reported. After his and the
clerk's efforts to free him failed, he remained there until
the morning of 24 October, when another customer suggested
telephoning the city's rescue service. JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADING IN ARMENIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Andranik Markarian, whose Republican Party of Armenia (HHK)
forms the ruling Miasnutyun (Unity) coalition with the
People's Party of Armenia, told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau on 25
October that in the previous day's nationwide local elections
in more than 900 communities, candidates affiliated with or
endorsed by the HHK were elected mayor in at least 25 of more
than 40 towns, cities, and administrative districts in
Yerevan. No major incidents or protests by candidates were
reported. Nationwide voter turnout was around 30 percent a
few hours before polls closed, according to the Central
Election Commission. The turnout in Yerevan was just 20
percent. In what Markarian termed "our main defeat," a well-
funded Republican candidate failed to unseat the incumbent
head of Yerevan's central district, Ararat Zurabian of the
former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement. Zurabian won by
a comfortable margin. LF

AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER RESIGN. At
a meeting of Azerbaijan's Security Council on 24 October,
Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov submitted his resignation
to President Heidar Aliev, with whom he has disagreed on the
optimum approach to resolving the Karabakh conflict, Turan
reported. Eldar Namazov, who heads the presidential
Secretariat, told Reuters on 25 October he has also informed
Aliev of his desire to step down, but he declined to explain
why. Aliev has not yet accepted either resignation. LF

KARABAKH ARMENIANS RELEASE TWO POWS. The government of the
unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic announced on 25
October that it will release two Azerbaijani prisoners of war
as a gesture of goodwill, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.
Armenia released three and Azerbaijan four POWs last month
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 September 1999). Armenia and
Karabakh admit still holding seven and three Azerbaijani
POWs, respectively. Azerbaijan, for its part, says it no
longer has Armenian captives on its territory. LF

KAZAKHSTAN ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY ELECTION RESULTS... Central
Electoral Commission chairwoman Zaghipa Balieva told
journalists in Astana on 25 October that results are
available in 44 of the 47 constituencies where a second round
of voting for the lower chamber of the parliament took place
the previous day, RFE/RL's bureau in the capital reported.
She added that the results in some constituencies may be
ruled invalid, according to ITAR-TASS. In almost all 44
constituencies, candidates from the pro-presidential Otan
Party were elected. Exceptions were Marat Qabanbaev of former
Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin's Republican People's Party of
Kazakhstan, Valeryan Zemlyanov of the Communist Party of
Kazakhstan, and former presidential candidate Gani Qasymov.
The last-named was backed by the Pokolenie movement, which
defends the rights of the elderly. LF

...WHILE OSCE SLAMS IRREGULARITIES. In an interim assessment
released on 25 October, the OSCE Monitoring Mission said the
two rounds of voting fell short of OSCE commitments to free,
fair, and accountable elections. The mission noted that
shortcomings identified in its preliminary statement after
the first round of voting on 10 October were not rectified in
all precincts; in particular, it noted restrictions on
allowing international observers to the vote tabulation
process. Dos Koshim, chairman of the Kazakh Local Observers'
Center, told RFE/RL's Almaty bureau that the 865 observers
deployed by his organization had registered instances where
local officials interfered in the vote count and tabulation.
LF

KYRGYZ PREMIER HOLDS TALKS IN MOSCOW. Amangeldy Muraliev
discussed bilateral military and military-technical
cooperation with Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev in
Moscow on 25 October, Interfax reported. Those talks also
focused on joint measures to eliminate terrorism and to
prevent further incursions into Kyrgyzstan by ethnic Uzbek
guerrillas. Colonel General Leonid Ivashev, who heads the
Russian Defense Ministry's Department for International Ties,
said that the two men agreed that there is a connection
between the Muslim guerrilla operations in both Kyrgyzstan
and Tajikistan and the events in Chechnya. The guerrilla
threat also figured in Muraliev's talks with Russian Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin, who assured him of Moscow's support
in efforts to contain that threat. Muraliev is also scheduled
to meet with Economics Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to discuss
the payment of Kyrgyzstan's $150 million debt to Russia. LF

TURKMEN PRESIDENT DEFENDS GRADUAL DEMOCRATIZATION. Meeting on
22 October with the heads of diplomatic missions in Ashgabat,
Saparmurat Niyazov denied that he has imposed a dictatorial
regime in Turkmenistan, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported.
Niyazov stressed his success in preserving the country's
national sovereignty, adding that Turkmenistan will proceed
along the path of democratization and market reform, but at
its own pace. He promised to unveil in December a new plan
for gradual political and economic development over the next
11 years. LF

UZBEK LEADER PLEDGES TO COMPLY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS NORMS. Islam
Karimov told visiting OSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities Max van der Stoel in Tashkent on 25 October that
Uzbekistan "will implement the international community's
human rights requirements," Interfax reported. Van der Stoel
told journalists after the talks that Karimov had briefed him
in detail on preparations for the 5 December parliamentary
elections. He said that he also discussed with Karimov the
threat posed to Uzbekistan by terrorism and Islamic
fundamentalism. Interfax on 21 October quoted U.S. Ambassador
David Johnson as calling for amending the election law to
reduce the number of signatures a candidate must collect to
register. Johnson added that the Uzbek leadership should meet
minimum standards in allowing international observers to
monitor the poll. LF

WORLD BANK CONCERNED OVER SLOW PACE OF UZBEK ECONOMIC REFORM.
In an assessment released on 21 October, the World Bank's
mission to Uzbekistan warned that failure to proceed
resolutely with comprehensive economic restructuring,
including privatization, could pose a threat to medium- and
long-term macro-economic stability, Interfax reported four
days later. Noting that economic decline in Uzbekistan during
the years immediately following the collapse of the USSR was
less than in other former Soviet republics, the report
pointed to factors that could undermine economic stability.
Those factors include a drop in exports since mid-1998,
falling world market prices for the country's main exports of
cotton and gold, an increase in foreign debt, and the growing
divergence between official and black market exchange rates
for the national currency. LF

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, Mel Huang,
Dan Ionescu, Jolyon Naegele, Matyas Szabo, Anthony
Wesolowsky, Martins J. Zvaners, Mato Zsolt-Istvan

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