Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 219, Part I, 10 November 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 219, Part I, 10 November 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

* RUSSIA HOPES FOR DECEMBER DISBURSEMENT OF IMF FUNDS

* TOP KREMLIN OFFICIAL SAYS PUTIN'S TENURE NOT UP YET

* TALKS ON NEW ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT DEADLOCKED?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

RUSSIA HOPES FOR DECEMBER DISBURSEMENT OF IMF FUNDS... First
Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko told reporters on 9
November that the IMF mission currently visiting Moscow wants
to complete its work on 12 November. However, mission head
Gerard Berlanger told reporters the same day that his team is
not yet ready to evaluate its talks with Russian officials.
Khristenko predicted earlier that the second installment of
the IMF's loan to Russia would be disbursed mid-December.
"Kommersant-Daily" suggested on 9 November that key issues in
this round of talks will be the liberalization of oil product
exports and the audit of the Central Bank. Before the mission
arrived, Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kalyuzhnyi declared
that the fund's insistence that limits on oil product exports
be removed is a non-starter because the center must ensure
that regions have sufficient fuel supplies (see "RFE/RL
Russian Federation Report," 10 November 1999). JAC

...AS ALLEGEDLY PRO-RUSSIA ADVOCATE SET TO LEAVE. Russian
newspapers commented on the announced departure of IMF
Managing Director Michel Camdessus from his post at the
beginning of 2000. "Segodnya" noted on 10 November that the
beginning of Russian economic reforms coincided with the
beginning of Camdessus era, while "Vremya MN" reported the
same day that Camdessus "came into conflict with the U.S.
administration over the introduction by the Group of Seven of
political conditions for credits to Russia." JAC

TOP KREMLIN OFFICIAL SAYS PUTIN'S TENURE NOT UP YET. Asked to
comment on rumors about the possible departure of Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin, first deputy head of the
administration Igor Shabdurasulov told Mayak Radio on 9
November that "no dismissals are under discussion." He added
that such rumors are being spread "deliberately" by people
"playing a very dirty game." Boris Kagarlitskii of the
Institute of Comparative Political Studies told RFE/RL's
Moscow bureau that rumors of a rift between Putin and
business magnate Boris Berezovskii may have been initiated by
the Kremlin to give Putin more support since Berezovskii is
so unpopular. Kagarlitskii also predicted that Putin's
popularity ratings are likely to drop soon as the public
begins to realize that an all-out victory in Chechnya is
unlikely. In an interview with "Kommersant-Daily" on 6
November, Putin said "if you think about whether or not you
will be dismissed, there will be no time left for work." JAC

YAVLINSKII AGAIN CALLS FOR PEACE TALKS WITH CHECHNYA. Yabloko
leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, who has repeatedly protested the
Russian military campaign in Chechnya, issued a statement on
9 November calling for a halt to Russian bombing raids and
ground operations, Interfax reported. Yavlinskii advocated
beginning peace talks on the liberation of all hostages, an
end to abductions, the handover to Moscow of all
internationally wanted terrorists, and measures to disarm
military formations that are not subordinate to the current
Chechen government. Yavlinskii had argued earlier this month
that the time had come to begin peace talks with Chechen
President Aslan Maskhadov (See "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 November
1999). LF

SHOIGU SAYS THERE IS NO HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE. Speaking in
Moscow on 8 November after talks with G-7 ambassadors,
Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu said Russia
is capable of resolving the problems that have arisen in the
North Caucasus without outside help, according to Interfax.
He denied that the exodus of civilians from Chechnya
constitutes a humanitarian catastrophe but said that Moscow
is ready to consider offers of humanitarian aid from
international organizations. LF

U.S. NGO CALLS FOR EVACUATION OF CHECHEN NON-COMBATANTS. Also
on 8 November, the Washington-based Institute for Democracy
in Eastern Europe appealed to Russian President Yeltsin and
to Chechen President Maskhadov to declare the towns of
Shatoi, Shali, and Goity and the villages of Starye Atagi,
Nozhai-Yurt, and Benoi a safety zone or neutral zone in
accordance with the Geneva Conventions. Tens of thousands of
fleeing civilians from Grozny and other locations in Chechnya
have taken refuge in those towns and villages. The institute
also called on the international community to pressure Russia
to allow the evacuation of all civilians from Grozny and
other besieged towns. LF

RUSSIA RESTRICTS TRAVEL TO NORTH CAUCASUS... Russian Prime
Minister Putin signed a government resolution on 9 November
outlining what were termed temporary measures to prevent the
transport of arms and foreign mercenaries to Chechnya. Those
measures include the suspension of flights between southern
Russia and Georgia, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan,
Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Syria, the United Arab
Emirates, Cyprus, Qatar, and Iran; the closure of Russian
border crossings with Georgia and Azerbaijan to foreigners,
except those who are citizens of other CIS member states;
intensified searches of shipping entering the port of
Makhachkala; and a blanket ban on imports to Chechnya. LF

...DENIES REQUESTING USE OF GEORGIAN AIRSPACE. The Russian
Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 10 November rejecting
as "groundless" claims by President Eduard Shevardnadze and
other Georgian officials that Moscow asked permission to
launch strikes on Chechnya from Russian bases in Georgia,
Caucasus Press reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November
1999). LF

GEORGIA RESTRICTS VISAS FOR CITIZENS OF MUSLIM COUNTRIES.
Georgian Border Department commander Valerii Chkheidze told
journalists in Tbilisi on 10 November that Georgia's
consulates have "practically stopped" issuing entry or
transit visas to citizens of 21 countries including
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Marocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria,
Sudan, and Tunisia. Chkheidze said that measure is in
response to repeated Russian accusations that mercenaries
from those countries are entering Chechnya via Georgia. LF

TURKEY EXPRESSES CONCERN AT POSSIBLE CHECHEN SPILLOVER. In a
statement issued in Ankara on 10 November, Turkish Foreign
Minister Ismail Cem expressed concern lest the ongoing
Russian military offensive in Chechnya compound instability
elsewhere in the Caucasus, Reuters reported. LF

SPAS BUYS TIME... "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 10 November
that attorneys for the Spas (Salvation) election alliance are
"doing everything possible to drag out the legal process"
recently initiated by the Justice Ministry, which hopes to
have the group's registration for the upcoming State Duma
elections invalidated (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 November
1999). The Spas bloc is headed by Aleksandr Barkashov, leader
of the ultra-nationalist group Russian National Unity. The
daily commented that "for Justice Ministry officials, who
would like the matter resolved quickly, the tactics of their
opponents were a genuine surprise." On 9 November, a Moscow
court judge devoted more than four hours to hearing the
claims presented by Spas attorneys. JAC

...AS OTHER MOVEMENTS' FATE HANGS IN BALANCE. The previous
day, "Vremya MN" reported that the number of election
movements, parties, and blocs registered to participate in
the 19 December elections may decrease by election day,
because a party or movement will be disqualified if more than
25 percent of its candidates are excluded from its electoral
list. Three parties are already close to this level: the
Union of Rightist Forces, Our Home Is Russia, and Ivan
Rybkin's Socialist Party, according to the daily (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 4 November 1999). Some 28 blocs and parties are
currently registered to take part in the upcoming ballot. JAC

ELECTION MONITORING BEGINS. The OSCE on 9 November officially
began observing preparations for the upcoming State Duma
elections, following the arrival in Moscow of Edward Brunner,
the head of the OSCE delegation, Interfax reported. The
observer mission is expected to consist of about 500 people,
who will reportedly visit "every part" of Russia. According
to the Foreign Ministry, the Duma elections will be observed
by as many as 1,200 international monitors. JAC

MOSCOWS URGES END TO 'BLOC MENTALITY' IN EUROPE. In a
statement marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of the
Berlin wall, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir
Rakhmanin said that the anniversary is a good occasion to
"think about the inadmissibility of drawing new dividing
lines in Europe and reviving thinking based on bloc
affiliation," ITAR-TASS and AP reported on 9 November. He
urged joint efforts to deal with contemporary challenges. JC

FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES PLANS TO HAND OVER KURILS. The
Foreign Ministry on 9 November denied that Moscow is planning
to begin handing over the Kuril Islands to Japan. A ministry
spokesman was quoted by Russian agencies as saying that
Moscow believes it is necessary to seek a "mutually
acceptable" solution to the Kurils issue that would not be
"detrimental to the territorial integrity of the Russian
Federation." That statement followed a press conference
earlier the same day at which Chairman of the State Duma
Security Committee Viktor Ilyukhin (Communist) had announced
that by 2000 President Boris Yeltsin might gradually transfer
the islands to Japan. Ilyukhin claimed that Yeltsin and
former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto had reached
agreement on this at their informal meeting last year (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 20 April 1998). Ilyukhin told journalists
that he has submitted to the Duma Council a draft statement
"warning" the president about his "equivocal position" over
the Kurils. JC

RUSSIA TO SCRAP 18 NUCLEAR SUBS NEXT YEAR. Deputy Atomic
Energy Minister Valerii Lebedev told the International Forum
of Northern Territories in St. Petersburg on 9 November that
next year Russia plans to scrap 18 nuclear submarines out of
a total of 107 earmarked for dismantling. Lebedev
acknowledged that existing technologies available to Russia
do not permit the process of scrapping the submarines to be
speeded up, but he noted that the ministry's research centers
are working on a new concept for their disposal. According to
Lebedev, some 500 million rubles ($19 million) in federal
funds were allotted this year for dismantling the submarines
but that current funding was 80 percent of that level. JC

CYPRUS FOR BANKING, GREECE FOR SAFE HAVEN? Following a number
of reports that well-known Russian politicians and
businessmen, some with criminal ties, have Greek passports,
the Greek government has ordered an inquiry into the matter,
AFP reported on 9 November. Russian election commission
officials discovered that both Sergei Mikhailov, whose alias
in organized crime circles is allegedly "Mikhas," and
Krasnoyarsk Aluminum head Anatolii Bykov have dual Greek-
Russian citizenship (see "RFE/RL Russian Federation Report,"
10 November 1999). Bykov was arrested by Hungarian
authorities on an international warrant for money laundering
and other charges. A prominent foe of Bykov, Krasnoyarsk Krai
Governor Aleksandr Lebed, also has a Greek passport and
drivers' license. According to "Kommersant-Daily" on 9
November, other Russian citizens with Greek passports include
three members of a crime group based in Kurgan Oblast, one
accused murderer, and one embezzler. JAC

SUICIDES INCREASING. Six percent more Russians committed
suicide during the first half of 1999 compared with the same
period last year, "Moskovskii komsomolets" reported on 9
November. According to the daily, a "suicide epidemic" began
in October 1998 because of the mid-August financial crisis.
One of the leading causes of suicide are workplace conflicts.
The newspaper also noted that men are four times more likely
than women to commit suicide. JAC

BLACK GOLD EXPORTS TO SHRINK. Smaller fishing quotas in the
Caspian will force Russia to slash its black caviar exports
this year, Interfax reported on 9 November citing Deputy
Chairman of the State Fisheries Committee Vladimir Izmailov.
So far in 1999, Russia has caught less than half the amount
of sturgeon compared with the previous year. Black caviar
production will likely total only 100 tons this year compared
with 120 tons produced only for export last year. JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

TALKS ON NEW ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT DEADLOCKED? President Robert
Kocharian and Prime Minister Aram Sargsian have agreed that
the security portfolios in the new cabinet should go to
career professionals with no political affiliation, but they
still disagree over the future of Vahan Shirkhanian, who is
minister for industrial infrastructures in the outgoing
cabinet, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 9 November
quoting a source close to the Armenian government. A former
deputy defense minister, Shirkhanian was close to murdered
Premier Vazgen Sargsian (Aram's elder brother). Kocharian
reportedly opposes his being given a new cabinet post. The
disagreement over Shirkhanian is reportedly delaying the
announcement of the composition of the new cabinet, which is
expected this week. The current ministers dealing with
economic issues will remain in their posts to underscore the
government's continued commitment to market reforms, the
source said. LF

ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT ALLOWS DEPUTY'S ARREST IN CONNECTION WITH
SHOOTINGS. Deputies voted on 10 November to lift the immunity
of independent legislator Mushegh Movsisian, who can now be
charged with involvement in the 27 October shootings of Prime
Minister Vazgen Sargsian and seven others, RFE/RL's Yerevan
bureau reported. Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian told the
parliament that the leader of the five gunmen who committed
the killings implicated Movsisian, claiming that the latter
began planning the murders last March. Movsisian has denied
any involvement in the killings. Ten people have now been
detained in connection with the murders, according to Noyan
Tapan on 9 March. LF

KAZAKHSTAN ROCKET LAUNCH BAN MAY AFFECT INTERNATIONAL SPACE
STATION. Nurlan Utembaev, who is deputy head of Kazakhstan's
National Space Committee, told Reuters in Almaty on 9
November that the temporary ban on launches of Russian Proton
rockets from the Baikonur cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan
may delay the launch of a module that is to form part of new
International space station. That launch is scheduled for
December or January. Utembaev said the ban on Proton rocket
launches could be lifted "fairly soon" after completion of
the investigation into the explosion of a Proton rocket
shortly after blastoff on 27 October. But Meirbek Moldabekov,
who is director of Kazakhstan's Space Agency, said that no
Proton launches will be allowed before February or March, AP
reported on 9 November, citing Interfax. Also on 9 November,
Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov told RFE/RL
correspondents that Kazakhstan will demand substantial
financial compensation from Russia for the 27 October
disaster. He said that Russia receives $70-90 million for
each commercial Proton rocket launch, whereas all Kazakhstan
gets is ecological damage. LF

KAZAKHSTAN ADOPTS NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY. President
Nursultan Nazarbaev chaired a session of the National
Security Council on 9 November that adopted a new national
security strategy for the period until 2005, Interfax
reported. That document identifies the most serious short-
and long-term threats to the country in the foreign,
military, economic, political, social, environmental, and
information spheres. Journalists were not admitted to the
session, RFE/RL's Astana bureau reported. LF

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT NAMES NEW TOP SECURITY OFFICIAL. Askar Akaev
on 9 November appointed 56-year-old Tashtemir Aitbaev as
minister of national security, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau
reported. A former Kirghiz Komsomol first secretary, Aitbaev
served as deputy KGB chairman and then as a Kirghiz Communist
Party Central Committee secretary in the late 1980s. In that
latter capacity, he expressed support for the unsuccessful
August 1991 putsch. Aitbaev replaces Misir Ashirkulov, who
was named on 5 November to head the presidential
administration. Akaev on 9 November also named Tilekmek
Meimanaliev Minister of Health Care and appointed Colonel
Anarbek Shamkeev commander of the Interior Ministry forces.
The previous commander resigned in September after he was
taken hostage and then released by ethnic Uzbek guerrillas in
southern Kyrgyzstan. LG

KYRGYZSTAN DENIES THEFT OF HOSTAGES' RANSOM. An unidentified
spokesman for the Kyrgyz presidential administration denied
on 9 November Japanese media reports that Kyrgyz and Tajik
officials embezzled part of the multi-million dollar ransom
allegedly paid by the Japanese government to secure the
release of four Japanese geologists taken hostage in southern
Kyrgyzstan in August, ITAR-TASS reported. Japan's "Mainichi
Shimbun" on 9 November had claimed that Tokyo paid $3 million
under the guise of Official Development Assistance to ransom
the four hostages, according to dpa. In Dushanbe,
Tajikistan's Minister for Emergency Situations Mirzo Zieyev,
who helped negotiate the hostages' release, told Reuters that
"as a Muslim" the leader of the guerrillas who seized the
hostages freed them "without asking for or receiving any
money." LF

TAJIK NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION RECONVENES. The
Commission for National Reconciliation convened on 9 November
to discuss the work of its joint committees charged with
drafting legislation on the media and the conduct of
parliamentary elections scheduled for February, Asia Plus-
Blitz reported. The United Tajik Opposition (UTO) had
suspended its participation in the work of the commission on
18 October to protest the authorities' refusal to convene an
emergency parliamentary session to debate deliberate
obstruction of opposition candidates' efforts to register as
candidates for the 6 November presidential poll (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 18 October 1999). LF

TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER OPTIMISITIC. UTO leader Said Abdullo
Nuri told journalists in Dushanbe on 9 November that although
the opposition formally withdrew its boycott of the 6
November presidential poll, its members did not vote for
opposition candidate Davlat Usmon because his candidacy was
illegal, ITAR-TASS reported. Nuri expressed relief that the
poll did not exacerbate tensions and that the Tajik
leadership acceded to what he termed the opposition's "fair
demands." Nuri and incumbent President Imomali Rakhmonov
signed a protocol on 5 November containing political
guarantees related to the preparations for and conduct of the
February parliamentary elections. LF

ANOTHER TAJIK DEFENSE MINISTRY OFFICIAL MURDERED. A
lieutenant-colonel with the Tajik Defense Ministry was shot
dead in a Dushanbe suburb late on 8 November, Reuters and AP
reported the following day. It was the second such murder of
a military official in less than a month (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 18 October 1999). LF

UZBEKISTAN, CHINA SIGN LOAN AGREEMENT. China will advance an
$11 million loan to Uzbekistan under the terms of a framework
agreement signed during President Islam Karimov's ongoing
visit to China, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 November. Meeting
that day with China's Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangshen,
Karimov called for expanded cooperation in the chemical,
aircraft building, and light industry sectors. The annual
trade turnover between the two countries totals $830 million,
which Karimov termed insufficient. 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
listmanager@list.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