Volume I Number 1 (November 6, 1996)
DeBakey arrives in Moscow, operation believed imminent
American cardiologist Michael DeBakey arrived in Moscow on November 4 and
was taken to Barvikha without comment to the press. Yel'tsin's daughter
Tatiana Dyachenko has evidently requested a moratorium on press briefings
until after the operation, which may take place this week.
Korzhakov steps over the line; Yel'tsin responds with dismissal
In addition to his charges of corruption against Chubais and comments on
the untoward influence of Yel'tsin's daughter Tatiana, former presidential
bodyguard Aleksandr Korzhakov has leaked information of the President's
health prior to the elections. In an interview with Der Spiegel (10/28/96),
Korzhakov discusses a May 20, 1996 letter from doctors treating Yel'tsin,
in which they reportedly claim that the President should not work more than
a few hours per day. Early rumors suggested Korzhakov had released a full
medical report on the president to the journalists, and it is apparently
on the basis of this information that Yel'tsin ordered the Federal Security
Service to discharge Korzhakov. Among the reasons claimed for the dismissal
are "slanderous statements" Korzhakov made "against the President
of Russia and his family," as well as the disclosure of "confidential
information which became known to him in connection with his official duties."
Korzhakov is reportedly contemplating a lawsuit against the president for
Lebed comments on Chubais and Korzhakov
Der Spiegel (10/21/96) also published an interview with Aleksandr Lebed,
in which Lebed again accused Chubais, together with Dyachenko, of governing
in Yel'tsin's stead. Although Lebed and Korzhakov continue to sound the
theme of Chubais as regent and Tatiana as gatekeeper to the president, their
accusations have not brought a lessening of influence or circumspection
of activity on the part of the chief of staff (see below). Lebed also revisits
the ouster of Korzhakov in this interview. Denying his responsibility for
Korzhakov's sacking, he points out the similarity with his own dismissal:
"..our independent television channel suddenly spread a panic story
of a coup -- according to the same pattern as has happened in my case."
Chubais stresses need to consolidate branches of power
On a visit to St. Petersburg, Presidential Chief of Staff Anatoli Chubais
commented on the need for 'vertical obedience' in state bodies of power.
The problems with implementation of legislation have been particularly acute
in tax collection, and Chubais linked the creation of the Provisional Tax
Commission (VChK) with the need to enforce compliance. "Power should
use all measures it possesses," Chubais is quoted as saying, "including
punitive ones." On the effectiveness of the VChK, Chubais noted that
of the 17 companies threatened with bankruptcy, 13 paid their bills to the
budget before the Commission's first session. Chubais also announced that
he had suggested the creation of the so-called "Council of Four,"
which brings together the heads of the Duma, Federation Council, Government
and Presidential Administration.
FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICES:
Chernomyrdin, Chubais pay a visit
On the heels of threats to reveal compromising documents on leading officials
and accusations of a coup plot by Lebed, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and
Chief of Staff Anatoli Chubais made a joint visit to the Federal Security
Services' (FSB) office on October 23. Addressing senior FSB officials, Chernomyrdin
warned of "certain individuals and groups" trying to undermine
the country's security. While the meeting was explained as a necessary element
of coordination between the security services and the government, it's timing
suggests that events may have increased the necessity of the meeting. According
to one analyst (see October 1996 Prism, Vol. II, Part I), the documents
Korzhakov threatens to make public are in fact locked in FSB safes.
RF SECURITY COUNCIL
Berezovsky appointment sparks protest
Two new deputy secretaries have been named to the Security Council: Boris
Berezovsky will oversee economic reforms and Col. Gen Leonid Maiorov will
deal with issues concerning the military industrial complex and Chechnya.
The appointment of Berezovsky, an extremely controversial businessman, was
met with protest and surprise. The Speaker of the Duma, Communist Gennadi
Seleznev has accused Chubais of handing power to a clique of bankers and
financiers and has called for Chubais' resignation. Seleznev is also refusing
to attend meetings of the Council of Four with Chubais.
Boris Berezovsky, head of LogoVAZ and a top executive at ORT, has long
had connections with the government and played a crucial role financing
both the Yel'tsin presidential campaign and the last weeks of Lebed's campaign
as well. He has also had close ties with former Yel'tsin bodyguard Aleksandr
Korzhakov, but their falling out became evident when Korzhakov accused Berezovsky,
along with Chubais, with maneuvering to oust him. His appointment is widely
viewed as an asset for the Chubais camp, although Chernomyrdin also assesses
the appointment positively.
EAST AND CENTRAL EUROPE:
Former French Defense Minister was KGB spy
According to a report by L'EXPRESS, former French Defense Minister Charles
Hernu (1981-85), had been on the payroll of the Bulgarian, Romanian and
Soviet secret services beginning in 1953 at least until 1963. (United Press
International Wed, 30 Oct 1996 9:10:54 PST)
NATO-Russian deal in 1996, hint at Western promises
NATO Sec.-Gen. Solana hopes to sign an agreement with Russia on NATO enlargement
in 1996. This document will contain a declaration, a mechanism for consultations
and provisions for cooperation. Defense Minister Rodionov expressed interest
in such an agreement. In the context of the discussion on alliance expansion
Foreign Minister Primakov noted unwritten, and thus forgotten, western promises
when Soviet Forces pulled out of Eastern Europe. (UPI Wed, 30 Oct 1996 6:32:30
PST; Reuters Tue, 29 Oct 1996 11:00:57 PST)
Troop reductions on Chinese border discussed
Due to cooperation between Russian and Chinese border guards violations
of RF-PRC border have been reduced. Shortly following this statement by
the Pacific Border Guards District (Oct. 21), a new round of talks on border
troop reductions between Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
China began in Moscow on Oct. 25. (Moscow ITAR-TASS in English, 0956 GMT
21 Oct 96; Moscow INTERFAX in English, 0851 GMT 25 Oct 96)
SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH ASIA:
Agreements on military cooperation with India signed
During his visit to India, Russian Defense Minister Rodionov signed a defense
cooperation agreement providing for information exchange and training. At
the same time Moscow's mayor Luzhkov held talks in Delhi to promote Russian-Indian
economic cooperation. Shortly before the arrival of the Russian delegation
India approved the purchase from Russia of 40 Su-30MK fighter planes. (Moscow
ITAR-TASS World Service in Russian, 0748 GMT 21 Oct 96; Moscow ITAR-TASS
in English, 1329 GMT 22 Oct 96; Moscow TRUD in Russian, 22 Oct 96 p 4)
Primakov tours Middle East
To demonstrate Russian support for the Middle East peace process Primakov
visits Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestinian self-ruled areas.
On his lightening tour of the area the Russian Foreign Minister called for
a stronger European role in promoting Israeli-Arab peace. (Reuters Mon,
28 Oct 1996 6:51:03 PST; UPI Wed, 30 Oct 1996 9:10:53 PST)
KGB files on Holocaust handed to US
Alexander Yakovlev and secret service chief Kovalev handed over to the US
KGB files of NAZI atrocities against Jews in the USSR. This gesture is to
indicate "a new era in Russia's historically troubled relations with
its Jewish minority." (Reuters Mon, 28 Oct 1996 15:01:37 PST)
US objections to CIS "integration" are unwelcome in Russia
US congress resolutions on Ukrainian independence and stability in Baltic
region are perceived as biased and unfriendly by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
(Moscow INTERFAX in English, 1215 GMT 22 Oct 96)
FOREIGN POLICY DOCTRINE:
End of Presidential Foreign Policy
Due to Primakov's "balanced and authoritative" approach, Russian
foreign policy ceased to be Presidential, as it was termed under Kozyrev,
and becomes "simply national." NATO expansion is the sole issue
were the Defense Ministry maintains some influence on foreign policy. (Moscow
MOSKOVSKIYE NOVOSTI in Russian No 36, 28 Oct 96)
An axis of Russo-French cooperation has become visible not only in the context
of the discussions on NATO enlargement but also in the Middle East. This
link, apparently based on the traditional Franco-Russian interest in diluting
Washington's influence in Europe and the Middle East, was emphasized by
Primakov's call for a greater "European role" in the Middle East
peace process during his recent visit of the area.
The fact that the Russian Foreign Minister toured Israel and its Arab
neighbors only days after the French President Chirac failed at asserting
his influence in the troubled region suggests that Primakov provided a face-saving
measure for Paris. Considering Primakov's longstanding interest in Soviet/Russian
influence in the Middle East, the Foreign Minister killed two birds with
one stone: With his trip he showed Russia's flag in Israel and among former
Soviet clients once again, at the same time he cemented the Franco-Russian
The Workers' Party - a more Marxist-Leninist off-shoot of the CPRF - removed
its leader, Viktor Anpilov, who was considered to have become too moderate.
Anpilov led the bloody October 1993 raid on the Ostankino television complex.
The beginning of the end came for Anpilov when he agreed to support the
presidential candidacy of Gennady Zyuganov. (Moscow Times)
The Duma recommends nationalizing Russian public television
On 4 October 1996, the State Duma passed a resolution recommending the Russian
president and government to transform the Russian Public Television closed-type
joint stock company into a State TV company. A total of 233 members of parliament
has voted for and 54 against the decision. (ITAR-TASS World Service, 0930
Preliminary results from the Rostov Oblast gubernatorial elections,
Vladimir Chub has won re-election in the first round with 62.13% of the
vote. His main rival - the CPRF candidate Leonid Ivanchenko - polled 31.61%.
Vologda Oblast incumbent Vyacheslav Pozgalev was returned to office
with 80.5% of the vote. His nearest rival, CPRF candidate Mikhail Surov,
deputy in the local legislative assembly - received only 4.3% of the vote.
Pozgalev was supported by parties of democratic orientation, viz., NDR,
Yabloko, and Democratic Choice of Russia. (Komsomolskaya Pravda)
Preliminary results of gubernatorial elections of the Kirov Region
show that State Duma Deputy Vladimir Sergeyenkov, supported by the Popular
Patriotic Union, won about 40% of the vote. A second round will be required.
Gennadiy Shtin, the chairman of the industrial managers council, is in second
place with over 31% of the vote. The incumbent, Vasiliy Desyatnikov, received
17.5% of the vote. The turnout in the election was 50.13%. (ITAR-TASS, 0143
The preliminary results of the Kaliningrad Regiongubernatorial
elections show that a second round of elections will be necessary. The contest
will be between the incumbent, Yuriy Matochkin who garnered 31.33% of the
vote, and the director of the sea fishing port, Leonid Gorbenko, who received
22.29% of the vote. (Interfax, 0854 GMT)
The incumbent head of the Novgorod Region, Aleksandr Korsunov,
was returned to office handily, receiving over 78% of the vote. The average
turnout was 44.68%, with over 34% of the electorate voting in Novgorod.
(ITAR-TASS, 0556 GMT)
Primakov's actions on regions
In January Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov pledged assistance
to Russian regions in establishing and boosting their foreign economic ties.
Speaking at a meeting of the Russian regions' advisory council on international
and foreign economic relations in Moscow, Primakov stressed the need to
clearly define the powers of the federal and regional authorities, "while
focusing on the preserving the territorial integrity of the country."
Primakov also called on the regions of the country, which often maintain
their own international links, to coordinate the activities with his ministry
and to strictly share powers in the business. "A strict definition
and distribution of powers between bodies of state authority of the Russian
Federation and its subjects is, probably, the most important problem of
the construction of the Russian state at present", he told a session
of the consultative council on international and foreign economic relations
which unites regional representatives.
Why is Russia's Foreign Minister taking such an interest in Russia's regions?
Does he fear diminution of the central government's influence in negotiations
with foreign governments?
Air crew escapes from Afghanistan
Seven aircrew members held hostage by the Talibs escaped and returned to
Russia. After waiting for more than a year for diplomats to accomplish their
release, Russian aircrew members planned and conducted their own escape.
The crewman gained access to their own aircraft then took off and overflew
Iran and onto the U.A.E. before going on to Russia.
Lt-Gen Konstantin Pulikovskiy, Russian commander in Chechnya, interviewed
"There is one satellite intercept. He [Basayev] was reporting to
"all Europe": "I have been ordered to cease combat actions
and transfer to the Russian side the bodies of their soldiers. That is what
I am doing. According to our data, more than 2300 soldiers and their officers
have been killed in Grozny in recent days." He fiddled the numbers,
or perhaps just added a zero. According to my data, right now we have 230
dead in the entire grouping. Basayev goes on to say: "There were 216
armored vehicles knocked out." But I didn't send a quarter of that
number into the city. Sixteen were indeed knocked out, so he added a two
to the front of that number . . . I then asked Maskhadov to convey to Basayev
from me that I personally disrespect him twice."
A rather heart-felt interview by a "Professional Russian Soldier."
I include the article because it seems a realistic statement of a soldier
who is demoralized by the fighting in Chechnya and by the casualty "numbers
games." He seems a man of honor surrounded by men less honorable.
Defense Ministry looks to reorganize troops
Defense Ministry reviewing concept of reorganizing airborne assault troops.
Concept is to reduce strength of airborne troops and to subordinate airborne
forces to Ground Force Commander. Lebed is actively fighting this plan saying
the Airborne troops are among the best trained and are an integral resource.
Merger of Air Force and Air Defense Forces possible
In efforts to reduce the budget, Air Defense and Air Force troops may be
combined similar to what is done in US, Britain, France, and Germany thereby
removing the fifth structure of the Armed Forces.
Letter seeking justice written to NVO
Lt Smirnov writes a letter seeking redress for abuses he and his family
have suffered: officers selling blood in order to feed their families, leaving
the military just short of time needed to receive retirement benefits, sending
children to collective farms in order to survive, etc. Military channels
allow appeal for redress but system seems incapable.
Civilian strike planned over unpaid wages
Plans continue for proposed strike due to being owed months of back wages.
Army on verge of riot due to pay arrears
According to Lebed pay arrears in Army causing troops to be on verge of
riot. Current payment is for July. Suicides increasing among officers unable
to support their families.
Strength of army too high for federal budget
Numerical strength of Armed Forces was higher than allowance in the 1995/1996
Federal Budget. This added to the budget problems and inability to support
these forces with weapons and training. Korzhakov striped of rank, Rybkin
appointed to Security Council
Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, Yeltsin's former chief bodyguard, was stripped
of his military rank. Ivan Rybkin was named as Lebed's replacement as chief
of the Security Council.
First Russian Defense Council meeting held
Topic of concern is the Armed Forces, its associated problems and how to
resolve them. Desired goal was to determine way to maintain forces, keep
capabilities and prevent their collapse. Obvious solution is reduce size
of forces but increase quality. Numerous recommendations made with no solution
yet. Yeltsin must see and endorse whatever solution is to be implemented.
Arms trade with India
Russia working to boost Arms trade with India. Military-technological cooperation
has more than doubled since last year. Estimates are for 3.5 Billion in
sales by year end.
Military continues to suffer due to Russian economic woes. Replacement of
senior Russian officers may be an attempt to find someone with a solution.
No solutions are imminent.
Russian leaders appear to be looking at other countries for ideas on
how to restructure their Armed Forces along the lines of a professional
force. Their efforts are good but until they can resolve pay arrears, starvation,
and critical housing shortages, their attempts are likely futile as the
fall draft falls short of needs and unrest grows within the ranks.
Privatization of Arms manufacture seems a good prospect for continued
economic growth. Long term plans look to Russian weapon systems as competing
along the same markets as US industry. A question is whether or not economic
and resource shortages will effect production and subsequent earning of
hard currency needed to achieve/maintain world status. The Russians cannot
afford to be viewed as a second rate producer of armaments to their "buyer"
by LtCol Cathy Dreher
Continued pressure in Near Abroad
The Defense Ministers of the CIS declined an offer by Russia to speak for
them concerning the issue of NATO expansion. The Duma passed a unanimous
resolution indicating Sevastopol was Russian territory, and the Black Sea
Fleet should not be split up.
Russia delays START and ABM
START 2 is in danger of not being ratified by Russia. The Duma is balking,
and there are efforts to politically link ratification with a brake on NATO
expansion. Russia reneged on a deal to sign the ABM (phase 1) accord, having
to do with low(er) speed systems.
New submarine launched
Despite severe financial problems the Russian Navy has still managed to
launch a new "state-of-the-art" strategic missile submarine, the
Inadequate control over nuclear weapons reported
A leaked CIA study indicates that Russian nuclear weapons may not be under
The military continues it's slow downward spiral. With very few exceptions
the entire structure is deteriorating from neglect - morale at all levels
The military continues to be politically marginalized. The neglect is
so widespread and rampant, it's hard to believe it's not intentional. Maybe
the present decline is perceived as the only way to "break" an
historically powerful bureaucracy. On the other hand it could simple incompetence
and distraction. One might well find the former interpretation more reassuring.
by CDR John G. Steele
Lukashenka vs. Parliament -- dispute over referendum goes on
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka does not discount dissolving
the Supreme Soviet if the parliament takes a decision violating the existing
constitution. "A reason for dissolving the parliament may be the Belarusian
Constitutional Court's decision on overturning the deputies' earlier resolution
slating the referendum on the new version of the constitution for November
24," Lukashenka said. The President had earlier compromised with parliament,
agreeing to move the date of the referendum from Nov. 7 to Nov. 24th and
to drop the article allowing presidents to remain senators for life.
Lukashenka receives Russian gas pipeline delegation
President of Belarus Alyaksandr Lukashenka received on October 23 members
of the Russian delegation, which arrived in Minsk within the framework of
the events, connected with the beginning of the construction of part of
the "Yamal - Europe" transcontinental gas pipeline, passing through
the Belarussian territory.
Meanwhile three major Russian politicians have thrown their weight behind
integrating Belarus into the Russian Federation. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin met with his Belarusian counterpart on October 16. Yeltsin and Lukashenka,
who is also the chairman of the Supreme Council of the Community between
Russia and Belarus, agreed "not to lose steam" in the development
of bilateral integration, Yeltsin's spokesman Sergey Yastrzhembskiy told
Interfax. Recently-fired security advisor Alexander Lebed and Moscow Mayor
Yuri Lushkov have also strongly endorsed both integration and Lukashenka's
President Lukashenka seems embolden by the success of his end-run around
the opposition. Blocked from engaging state-owned collectives in the operation
of the referendum, Lukashenka has been able to fall back on the authority
of the extra-constitutional "All-Belarus People's Congress," which
he has said he hopes to include in the government after a change in the
constitution. This populist 'mandate of the people' has been condemned by
the U.S. Embassy.
BLACK SEA FLEET:
Russia and Ukraine agree division of BSF
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma settled
a long-standing dispute over the ownership of the Black Sea naval fleet,
paving the way to a friendship treaty and a vast improvement in relations
between the Slavic neighbors. Yeltsin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told
journalists the heads of state had agreed ``on all issues related to the
problem'' of the former 600-ship Soviet fleet, whose status has soured relations
between the Slavic neighbors. The deal will give Ukraine 18 percent of the
Parliament sets own economic priorities
Ukraine's parliament adopted a new three-year economic programme on Tuesday
aimed at helping flagging industrial enterprises, but it asked unpaid workers
to be patient while the economy struggles to turn itself around. Meanwhile,
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk promised on Thursday to
reduce the country's red-tape, blamed for hindering foreign investment.
``We are ready to cancel all unnecessary and artificially-created obstacles,''
he told a news conference.
Ukraine's parliament is taking a different strategy for economic growth
from the country's president. While Leonoid Kuchma has endorsed a hard-money,
radical reform program, the parliament seems to hope that easier access
for foreign investment will allow the state to afford to subsidize state
industries. This contradiction within the Ukrainian government does not
bode well for the newly-minted Ukrainian currency. Decreased tensions between
Moscow and Kiev may, however, make Ukraine a more attractive market for
Snegur tracks back to the middle
Moldovan President Snegur seems to be backing away from the hardline unionist
stance of his chief supporters for reelection, which Snegur will seek in
a Nov. 17 poll. Asked if he favors uniting with Romania, Moldovan President
Snegur said: "I want uniting with Europe, together with Romania, on
one side, and Ukraine, on another side..." Snegur stated that he signed
the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Chart "which make a certain order
in Europe" and rules out the actions which lead to secessionism or
The candidacy of Petru Luchinschi, meanwhile, has been hurt by allegations
that he is a shill for Russian interests. TARA, the newspaper of the opposition
Christian- Democratic Popular Front of Moldova, today published a letter
written by the Moscow Center for Electoral Technologies "Strategia-2"
to Moldovan Parliament Chairman Petru Luchinschi, which makes it clear that
independent candidate Luchinschi is consulted by experts directly related
to the Russian Communist Party. Luchinschi's chief rival, Moldovan Premier
Andrei Sangheli, has said he will not drop out of the presidential race
in the name of uniting the left.
Snegur seems confident that his left-leaning rivals, Luchinschi and Sangeli,
will split the left-wing vote and that he can count on the unionist right
against them. He therefore appears to be positioning himself closer to the
middle in the hope of defeating both with more than 50 % of the vote, thus
eliminating the need for a run-off against a united left.
DOMESTIC AFFAIRS: President Nazarbayev recently visited the site
of what is to become Kazakhstan's new capital city, Akmola, in the northern
part of the country. Nazarbayev announced his decision to relocate the capital
from Almaty to Akmola in mid-1994. Official reasons given for the move were:
Almaty's location in an earthquake zone, ecological problems and that it
is difficult to reach from the other areas of the country. The real motivation
behind the move is probably an effort to move a greater portion of ethnic
Kazakhs into the northern regions, which still have a Russian majority,
in order to circumvent any future movement on Russia's part to annex these
regions. Currently, there is a debate on whether or not to change Akmola's
name to something less morbid (Akmola means "white grave" in Kazakh).
COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS: An emergency summit meeting, suggested
by Boris Yel'tsin, was held in Almaty, between the Russian head of state,
and the leaders of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, the
Republic of Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, in order to discuss the leaders'
concerns about the current situation in Afghanistan. It was decided to establish
a special group under the auspices of the CIS Collective Security Council
to watch further Afghan developments. The leaders also issued a warning
that, should the Afghan conflict spread to the territory of the CIS, (unspecified)
"adequate measures" would be taken by the CIS states.
Nazarbayev traveled to Baku to meet with President Aliyev in the first
Azeri-Kazakh summit, and signed sundry agreements on trade, industry (oil
and gas), and land and air transportation.
Nazarbayev also met with President Shevardnadze in Georgia to discuss
economic cooperation and the Afghan situation. The two agreed upon their
mutual desire for a peaceful solution to this conflict, and its threat to
the entire CIS, not just to the countries in Afghanistan's immediate vicinity.
ECONOMY: Kazakhstan is seeking Russian, French, and German cooperation
in the further development of its uranium mines, as well as in the clean-up
of nuclear waste in Semipalatinsk (former testing ground for Soviet nuclear
weapons) and Aktau -- a total of 230 million tons of radioactive waste exists
in these two areas.
Kazakhstan and India are planning increased cooperation, especially in
nuclear power industry. Both countries insist, that it is to be used for
peaceful purposes only.
ENERGY: Kazakhstan faces a power crisis, especially in its northern
regions, which depend heavily on Russia for their power supply. Russia is
demanding 50% advance payment before supplying the power and Kazakhstan
is unable to pay. This, combined with the breakdown of a Kazakh power plant,
has deprived many homes and enterprises of electricity, and is making it
difficult to harvest the crops.
On his recent visit to Azerbaijan, Nazarbayev signed an agreement on
the extraction and transportation of Caspian oil resources, including the
building of an underwater trans-Caspian pipeline.
The Kazakh Prime Minister recently presented a Japanese delegation with
licenses to conduct oil explorations in the Aral and Caspian seas. In return,
the Japanese Export-Import Bank may issue Kazakhstan up to $600 million
in credit programs.
DOMESTIC AFFAIRS: Following a series of parliamentary hearings on the
adverse effects of economic reform on the country's female population, a
draft of the parliamentary recommendations was adopted to provide for an
affirmative action program for women, focusing on providing more training
programs for women, and tax cuts for enterprises which employ more than
ECONOMY: By the end of 1996, Kyrgyzstan will give $1.8 million
worth of shares in its enterprises to Russia, in settlement of its $132
million debt for technical assistance received from Russia.
India has granted Kyrgyzstan a $5 million credit with which to set up
joint ventures, and as soon as this process is underway, Kyrgyzstan will
receive a second credit.
ENVIRONMENT: Kyrgyz and Uzbek ecologists are trying to reach agreement
on a joint action to deal with 23 radioactive waste burial sites in the
town of Mayli-Say, located in the Ferghana Valley, on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: President Akayev and Prime Minister Dzhumagulov
met with Iranian Foreign Minister Velayati to economic cooperation and trade
relations, and also the situation in Afghanistan. They condemned foreign
intervention in Afghanistan, and called for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
MILITARY: Kyrgyzstan and Russia are to increase cooperation in
the military sphere. Russia is to take over a Kyrgyz military airport in
the city of Tokmak, to use it as a base and as a training center for Kyrgyz
aviation specialists, and Russia will also help restore a Kyrgyz defense
radar field. Kyrgyzstan will join in a united air defense system with Russia.
Kyrgyz and Russian defense ministers are also to consider issues related
to the situation in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan is reinforcing its border with Tajikistan, fearing that Afghan
fighters might enter via the Khorog-Osh highway.
GOVERNMENT: 7 Deputies of the Kyrgyz parliament accused the speaker
of the legislative assembly, Muktar Cholponbayev, of "criminal negligence
in controlling the spending of Parliament's budget funds" and set up
a financial commission in order to investigate his activities. They also
called for a vote of confidence, which was held 6 days later, and which
Cholponbayev won by 3 votes, permitting him to retain his position as speaker.
SECURITY: Kyrgyzstan's 2 biggest security concerns at the present
time are drug trafficking from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and corruption
among state officials. The black market accounted for 13% of GDP in 1996,
with over $100 million in state credit having been lost, and several state
officials have been accused of misusing state funds.
ENERGY: A Turkmen-Russian joint venture (Gazprom Russian Joint Stock
Company) has been established to sell gas and also to conduct explorations
for more. Further, a "memorandum of common understanding" was
signed by the Turkmen government, Gazprom, Unocal (an American oil company),
and Saudi Delta Petroleum to undertake the planning and construction of
a new pipeline from Southern Turkmenistan to Pakistan, via Afghanistan.
Iran has already begun construction of a new pipeline from Turkmenistan
to Iran, to be completed by the end of 1997. Iran is funding 80% of the
construction, and in return will receive Turkmen gas for 3 years.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Iranian Foreign Minister Velayati and President
Niyazov (Turkmenbashi) have been engaged in discussions over how to share
Caspian Sea resources between all the countries in the region. Niyazov also
mentioned his concerns about the Afghan conflict to Velayati.
An anonymous staff member of the Turkmen Foreign Ministry stated that
Niyazov is counting on US support, should the Afghan conflict spill over
into Turkmenistan, because of Brzezinski's assurance that the US would not
"leave Turkmenistan in the lurch", during his unofficial visit
several months ago. The US does indeed have interests to protect in Turkmenistan,
due to Unocal's involvement in the development of Turkmen oil reserves.
Niyazov is so firmly convinced of US support, that he did not find it necessary
to attend the emergency summit meeting in Almaty.
CONFLICT: The second round of peace negotiations between the Tajik
government delegation, represented by Ibrohim Usmonov and the Tajik opposition
delegation, represented by Haji Akbar Turajonzoda, deputy leader of the
Islamic Movement of Tajikistan, took place in Tehran from October 15-18.
The main goal of these negotiations was to prepare a draft agreement which
would then be signed in Moscow at the final meeting between Tajik President
Rakhmanov, and Tajik opposition leader Sayed Abdullo Nuri. Rakhmanov and
Turajonzoda were interviewed together on an Iranian radio program, and their
answers were contradictory. According to Usmonov, a draft agreement had
been prepared, and he was very optimistic about the last meeting between
Rakhmanov and Nuri. Turajonzoda, on the other hand, stated that no draft
agreement had been prepared, due to serious differences between the two
sides over what role the Tajik opposition should play in the government
and how much influence it should be granted. A later report by ITAR-TASS
confirmed the fact that no draft agreement had been finalized. The date
for the final meeting between Rakhmanov and Nuri has not yet been set, and
in fact, the meeting has already been postponed once.
Russian border troops have been coming under heavy fire from Tajik rebels
based in Afghanistan, and say that the situation along the border has become
extremely tense. They report the daily exchange of gunfire across the Afghan-Tajik
border. The Russian troops stationed along the border are there under a
CIS agreement on collective border-guarding. Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and
Kazakhstan have also contributed troops, and the presence of these border
guarding forces is supported by the current Tajik government.
In early October there were reports that Afghani Mujahedin groups were
joining Afghan-based Tajik rebels in a plan to simultaneously attack Tajikistan
in 4 places along the border. Russian troops were ordered to shoot on sight
anyone trying to cross the border in the Pyandzh River area.
The Tajik government is reportedly very concerned that the Tajik opposition
will establish ties and/or a coalition with the Taleban. This is unlikely,
if only because the Taleban are not Tajik themselves, but Pushtun. The Tajik
faction in Afghanistan is represented by Masood, whom the Taleban ousted
ECONOMY: The Worldbank has granted Tajikistan a $50 million loan
in support of macro-economic change and agricultural reform.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: President Rakhmanov has had numerous talks
with Iranian Foreign Minister Velayati, focusing primarily on the situation
in Afghanistan, the security risk it poses to Tajikistan, and the urgent
need for peace negotiations to begin between the warring factions there.
President Rakhmanov also visited China, and signed agreements for the
mutual reduction of border forces, for trade and economic cooperation, and
to receive Chinese military aid. He also refused to recognize Taiwan's existence.
CHECHNYA AND THE CAUCASUS
Aslan Maskhadov appointed Prime Minister
On October 19, at the first siting of the Chechen government, Zelimkhan
Yanderbiyev appointed chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov Prime Minister. The
move was well received in the Russian-Chechen conciliatory commission and
in Moscow since Maskhadov is considered a moderate figure. Due to a lack
of suitable premises in Grozny the government met in Argun.
Elections to take place Jan 27
A Chechen national congress took place in Urus-Martan on October 27. It
declared Chechnya independent and passed a resolution calling for parliamentary
and presidential elections to take place on January 27. The resolution also
stresses the need to conclude an agreement on relations with Russia and
to secure the removal of all Russian troops before the election date. (Ekho
Moskvy October 27)
Troop pullout continues ...
The last train of 104th Airborne Division left on October 23. The Division
reports 81 servicemen killed, 200 wounded and two missing in action.
Amid uncertainty over whether any Russian forces will remain
Under the accords signed with Lebed in August, all of the Russian forces
should be pulled out and the Chechen side is working to make that stick.
At his meeting with Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin, Maskhadov protested
against the intention to permanently base the Defense Ministry's 205th Motorised
Rifles Brigade and the 101st Brigade of the Interior Ministry in Chechnya.
Under the agreement signed in Grozny in July 1995, these divisions would
have been allowed to remain. Currently the 101st guards Severny airport,
where minor skirmishes were reported in the last days of October.
UN Envoy mistakenly accused of supporting Abkhaz elections
Reports alleging that Secretary-general's special envoy, Edouard Brunner
encouraged the Abkhaz separatists to hold elections during his meeting with
Ardzinba in mid-October are false, Brunner told Sakinform and added that
the rumors were a deliberate provocation instigated by certain political
circles in Russia. Brunner further maintains that elections can be held
only when all the residents of the region are able to participate (Sakinform,
Since then the Political Department of the UN has handed the Georgian
representative a formal statement condemning the planed elections. The OSCE
has likewise called on the Abkhaz to give up the idea of holding elections
and stated that its results would not be recognized by the international
community. (Contact Information Agency, October 24)
The Supreme Council rejects amendment on Russian border guards
Deputies to the Georgian Parliament unanimously turned down an amendment
to the Bill on the State Border regulating the presence of Russian border
guards on Georgian territory. The Bill currently reads that the protection
of Georgian borders is the exclusive prerogative of the Georgian border
guards. However, the deputies agreed that the President can substantiate
Russian presence on the Georgia's border with Turkey by signing a decree
to that effect. (Interfax, October 30)
Russian bases and border gourds have become the subject of heated debate.
In compliance with a parliamentary resolution, Shevardnadze has appointed
a delegation to hold talks with the Russian side reviewing the whole spectrum
of Russian-Georgian relations, and particularly the presence of Russian
peacekeepers in Abkhazia. Two weeks earlier the Georgian police impeded
the holding of a rally in front of the Russian embassy demanding the withdrawal
of Russian troops, still about 20 protesters managed to get to the embassy
and several others were detained. (Iprinda October 16)
Opposition calls for boycott of local elections
The opposition led by Vazgen Manukyan has called for a boycott of the November
10 municipal elections - the day before the presidential inauguration. The
action is meant to continue pressure on the government as the case calling
for a nullification of the presidential election goes to trial. (NTV October
25, Noyan Tapan October 26)
Two oil pipeline routes to be built
In his decree of October 17, President Aliyev approved the two year plan
put forward by AIOC (Azerbaijan International Operating Company) and SOCAR
(State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) which calls for the use of the northern
(Russian) oil pipeline route by August 1997 and the completion of the Western
(Georgian) route by the end of 1997. The Azeri portion of the pipeline that
will run to the Russian port Novorossiysk is scheduled for completion by
the end of 1996.
Russia and Iran may agree to Caspian Sea division
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister, Hasan Hasanov told Interfax that Russia and
Iran are becoming more flexible about the possibility of dividing the Caspian
into sectors. This issue emerged in 1994 when Azerbaijan concluded a contract
to develop oil wells in its sector and Russia challenged its validity on
the grounds that the resources of the Caspian should be jointly managed
by all the littoral states (Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan).
Since then negotiations on the status of the Caspian have failed to resolve