Volume II Number 12 (July 12, 1997)
Yel'tsin finally confirms daughter's status
On June 30, President Yel'tsin appointed his daughter, Tatiana Dyachenko,
as presidential adviser and image maker. Acknowledging her role on last
year's campaign staff and her continuing advisory role, Dyachenko remarked
that the appointment gave her an official status and "put an end to
certain awkwardness." (ITAR-TASS, 30 Jun 1997)
Dyachenko's position in the president's entourage has received a great
deal of attention in the press over the past year. Her critical-moment intervention
following the arrest of campaign staffers Yevstafyev and Lisovsky (see previous
digests) led to Yel'tsin's decision to fire Kremlin hardliners Barsukov
and Korzhakov. Her constant presence near the president (she has even begun
accompanying him on foreign trips) reinforces her image as a filter of information
and contacts for Yel'tsin. With this appointment, Dyachenko becomes part
of the presidential administration and "structurally" answerable
to Chief of Staff Valentin Yumashev.
Yel'tsin election anniversary address
Calling the year since his election as president of the Russian Federation
the "most difficult year of his life," Yel'tsin noted the hardships
facing the country, but promised that prosperity is "just around the
corner." (RIA-Novosti, 3 Jul 97) In this election anniversary radio
address, Yel'tsin also claimed that production would increase in the coming
year and promised to focus on the public health system and military reform.
In what may be a signal that he has reached a decision not to dissolve
the Duma, despite persistent rumors, Yel'tsin claimed "I've also started
trying more insistently to come to terms with the State Duma, which had
provoked the President for a long time. Previously, I would have exploded
and dealt a smashing punch. But, right now, I've launched a calm discussion
with the Duma in a bid to find a way out of the situation." While many
still believe a confrontation with the Duma is likely, it is possible that
negotiations, most likely between Chernomyrdin's NDR and Zyuganov's Communist
Party, will forestall a dissolution of the current Duma.
A friendship revived?
Moskovsky komsomolets (5 Jun 97) is reporting that President Yel'tsin recently
dined with old friend and former FSB head Barsukov and thanked him for foregoing
the noisy Korzhakov route of disgruntled employees. Barsukov has avoided
comment on his dismissal or any Kompromat he may have on leading political
figures apparently in the hopes of returning to Kremlin service. While this
may appear overly optimistic with the Chubais faction so clearly ascendant,
Barsukov would certainly be aware of the president's inclination to surround
himself with a balance of viewpoints, especially in the form of good friends.
New book from former guard
Former Korzhakov deputy in the Presidential Security Services, Col. Valeri
Streletsky, has published a memoir. In addition to discussing corruption
in the Kremlin, Streletsky revisits the Lisovsky-Yevstafyev arrests. Excerpts
recently appeared in Pravda-5. For a discussion of his earlier comments
about the affair, see previous digests.
Kovalev out, Stepashin back in the spotlight
Justice Minister Valentin Kovalev, pressured out of office following the
publication of a steamy sauna video purportedly of him and some female companions,
has been replaced by the irrepressible Sergei Stepashin. (Segodnya, 3 Jul
97) Stepashin was Barsukov's predecessor as head of the Federal Security
Services (at the time the FCS). He was forced out in the aftermath of the
Chechen raid on Budennovsk. Most recently, Stepashin has been chief of the
Administrative Department of the Government Staff, where he coordinated
the activities of the power organs. He was also an instrumental member of
the commission negotiating the Chechen settlement.
Prosecutor seeks supervision of wiretapping
General Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, acting on instructions from President
Yel'tsin, recently announced a new effort to "step up supervision over
the observance of legality in the sphere of telephone tapping in the country."
(Novaya gazeta, 9-15 Jun 97) Skuratov is seeking new legislation to strengthen
the role of the prosecutor's office in fulfilling its supervisory role in
As a reminder of the extent of wiretapping authority among Russia's security
organs, the Law on Operational-Investigative Activity provides the following
agencies with rights to conduct phone surveillance: MVD; FSB; tax police;
Main Protection Directorate and Presidential Security Services [recently
merged and renamed the Federal Protection Service (FSO)]; border guards;
customs organs; and the Foreign Intelligence Service. Skuratov also listed
the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff. One more service
comes to mind: FAPSI, although rumors persist as to its planned envelopment
in the FSB.
by Susan J. Cavan
Yel'tsin addresses G-7 in Denver, but will not attend NATO's July meeting
At its late-June summit in Denver, the G-7 admitted Russia to the "Paris
Club," a collection of industrialized, creditor nations. Russia's admittance
will allow it more easily to collect and forgive international loans first
extended by the former Soviet Union, particularly loans to African states.
(Rossiyskiye vesti, 24 Jun 97).
Speaking at the opening of the G-7's Denver meeting on 20 June, Russian
President Boris Yel'tsin described the political situation at home as "stable"
and the economic prospects as "promising." He praised the Founding
Act on NATO-Russia relations, signed last month in Paris, and called for
a European Security Charter and speedy revision of the Treaty on Conventional
Forces in Europe. (ITAR-TASS World Service, 21 Jun 97)
Yel'tsin turned down an invitation, however, to attend the July 9-10
meeting of NATO, to be held in Madrid, due to his continued opposition to
NATO expansion. The sixteen member states of NATO are expected to approve
the admittance of Central European states to the alliance by 1999. Deputy
Prime Minister Valeriy Serov, whose specialty is Russia's relations with
the Commonwealth of Independent States, will instead lead the delegation.
(Interfax, 26 Jun 97)
French diplomat warns NATO-Russia accord will confuse decision-making
The envisioned "permanent joint council" to be established between
NATO and Russia will likely render decision-making within the alliance "unclear,"
a former representative of France to the Atlantic Council has predicted.
Writing in Paris' Les Echos, Francois Rose warned that the definition
of "joint decision-making" included in the Founding Act on NATO-Russian
relations is too vague. The Founding Act states that the permanent joint
council will "be the main forum for consultation between NATO and Russia
in the event of a crisis and in any other situation jeopardizing peace and
"There is every reason to suspect, therefore, that under these circumstances
the NATO-Russia Council could become a kind of appeal body appended to the
Atlantic Council," Rose wrote. (Les Echos, 26 Jun 97)
Nemtsov secures deals in Tokyo and Beijing, rebuffs EU representative
First Vice Premier Boris Nemtsov, Russia's rising political star, secured
trade deals with Japan and China on a Far East tour that he undertook after
rebuffing the European Union.
In Japan, Nemtsov secured agreements on Russian debt and $400 million
in investment, for which he pledged to "personal support" for
the first three private investors from Japan to pass the $100-million mark.
(Trud, 14 Jun 97) At least one Japanese analyst has concluded that Russia
and Japan will henceforth be tied by personal relations rather than "rigid
bureaucrat-led interaction." (Mainichi Shimbun, 21 Jun 97).
In Beijing a week later, Nemtsov attended a meeting of the Russian-Chinese
Inter-governmental Commission, at which the two nations agreed to build
a gas pipeline from Irkutsk to South Korea. The pipeline will cross Mongolia
and China. (Interfax, 24 Jun 97).
Before leaving for the Far East, Nemtsov refused to meet European Commission
Vice President Sir Leon Brittan, in protest of anti-dumping restrictions
that the EU had placed on Russian raw materials. (Delovoy mir, 19 Jun 97)
Comment: Is Nemtsov Primakov's man?
Whether analyzing the imminent return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule, or attempting
to pick sides within the post-Communist states of Eastern Europe, the West
has a bad habit of finding political virtue in politicians whose primary
interest is economic reform. The enthusiasm with which Western capitals
greeted the promotion of Boris Nemtsov must now be tempered by concern.
Nemtsov's recent actions may indicate that the young reformer is a vigorous
proponent of economic reform because he seeks a nation strong enough to
assert itself on the international stage.
Nemtsov's tour of the Far East was, at the very least, scripted by Foreign
Minister Yevgeni Primakov, not known as a man endeared of Western foreign
policy. Nemtsov's emphasis on bilateral deals with both China and Japan
certainly fits Primakov's goal of a "strategic partnership" with
both nations. Nemtsov's curt dismissal of Sir Leon Brittan over anti-dumping
regulations also reveals a streak of petulance that would promote Primakov's
It is still too early to dismiss Nemtsov. One only hopes that it is not
too late for Western nations to learn not to embrace every free-market economist
by Chandler Rosenberger
POLITICAL PARTIES & LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Duma condemns Turkish genocide of Kurds
Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Geopolitics Aleksei Mitrofanov
said Turkey resorted to the use of power to establish control over the region
through creating a pro-Turkish regime, which means gross interference into
internal affairs of a neighbour state. The Geopolitics Committee believes
the Turkish army should be immediately pulled out from the Kurdish autonomous
district of Iraq. Mitrofanov urges the Council of Europe and other international
organizations to put a stop to Turkish aggression in Northern Iraq.
It is comforting to see Russian concern for human rights abroad, but
this pronouncement is more in keeping with what could be considered Russia's
paranoid fear of Turkey, than with some newly emergent international altruism.
Plus, it is unclear how annoying a member of NATO is going to benefit the
Russia-NATO agreement. (ITAR-TASS, 19 May 97)
The Democratic Union of Russia (DUR) tells UK to keep Hong Kong
Perhaps benefiting from personal experience, the DUR told Queen Elizabeth,
among other British officials, that Communists cannot be trusted. "No
international treaties with China justify the betrayal which is to happen
in a month...." The central coordinating council of the Democratic
Union is asking Great Britain to send its troops into Hong Kong, and to
add to them, if necessary, NATO troops, and to hold a referendum on independence.
(Informatsionnoye agentstvo ekho moskvy, 24 May 97)
New center-right political coalition emerges
The coalition, tentatively called the Union of Progressive Russian Forces,
is described as being "center-right." The agreements were signed
on 6 June 1997. The coalition will include Our Home is Russia, chaired by
Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin; Reforms - New Course, lead by Vladimir
Shumeiko; and People's Homes, headed by Sergei Filatov.
This is yet another attempt to fashion, or refashion, the political party
structure in the Russian Federation with an eye toward the construction
of a two- or three-party system. But as long as parties are based on personalities
rather than ideas, coalitions will inevitably be temporary. (Interfax in
English, 1300 GMT, 27 May 1997; wnc.fedworld.gov)
Magadan region electoral results
Lawyer Vladimir Butkeev was elected to the Russian State Duma in Magadan
region. The turnout for the State Duma and local elections was 43.79%. This
makes the elections valid under regional law. Nikolai Karpenko has been
reelected Magadan mayor (Interfax, 19 May 97).
by Michael Thurman
Moscow bargains with missile sales as lever
Moscow has agreed to forego the sale of S-300 PMU1 anti-aircraft missiles
to Cyprus if the island is declared a "demilitarized zone" --
a sure non-starter from the Turkish perspective. (Monitor, 17 Jun 97)
The Russians appear to be attempting to leverage arms sales into increasingly
close Greek relations, which in turn drives a wedge in NATO. There is a
lot going on here, not just relative to the Aegean, and arguably none of
it good for regional stability or long-term peace.
Russian border guards fired on Japanese fishermen near the Kuril Islands;
two Japanese were injured. (RFE/RL Newsline, 26 Jun 97)
Both countries claim the Kurils, and the Russians, defensive and preoccupied
with loss of empire, are not disposed to accept any perceived encroachment
-- this isn't the first time this has occurred and look for more of these
types of incidents.
A similarly perceived encroachment resulted in the Russians protesting
the use of a specially configured U.S. P-3 aircraft performing geographic
survey work in Kazakhstan. The Russians claim the plane is spying on Russia
and former Soviet test ranges in Kazakhstan. (Reuters, 26 Jun 97).
Duma cites need for more money to destroy weapons
Russia says it needs $5 billion to destroy chemical weapons. (Reuters, 20
Russia's Duma has failed to ratify the chemical weapons convention, citing
the need for additional foreign funding and an extension on the destruction
time limit. Russia is having no trouble funneling money into R&D and
high priority strategic systems. The U.S. and Germany have already provided
funds for chemical weapon destruction, but the Russians clearly think there
may be more where that came from -- the technical term is extortion.
by CDR John G. Steele
Aliev receives Maskhadov
Maskhadov met a far warmer reception in Baku than in the Baltic capitals
he visited a week earlier. The 1 July interview with the Azeri president
was Maskhadov's first reception by a head of a foreign state. The two discussed
"broad political questions" and issues pertaining to the transport
of Azeri oil to Novorossiisk. (Reuters, 1 Jul 97)
Customs and banking deals may expedite agreement on oil
Since January Chechnya sought a voice equal to Azerbaijan and Russia in
the negotiations regarding the transport of oil across its territory, which
Russia and Azerbaijan have conceded during June. Chechnya has held out for
favorable terms in the banking and customs agreements and Maskhadov has
insisted that they precede the oil agreement. Chechnya's tactic has proven
largely successful, because Moscow can ill afford to further delay the operation
of the Novorossiisk line.
The banking agreement, which was concluded by the Russian Central Bank
and the National Bank of Chechnya in May, was not approved by the Russian
government until Chernomyrdin signed it on 9 July. The July text has not
been made public but the head of Russia's Central Bank, Sergei Dubinin,
described its basic provisions. The National Bank of Chechnya will open
a correspondent account in the Russian Central Bank through which all the
financial settlements between Chechnya and Moscow will be conducted. The
Chechen bank will regulate banking in Chechnya and will not be part of the
Central Bank of the Russian Federation. The ruble will remain Chechnya's
currency. The Chechen banks will not be authorized to have foreign currency
accounts in Moscow banks, but may set up such accounts in foreign countries.
The agreement will be in effect one year. (Interfaks-Aif, 19-25 May 97)
The early oil from the Azeri fields is supposed to begin flowing along
the Russian route by the end of this year. The failure to resolve peripheral
issues, such as the status of Djokar-gala's Sheik Mansour airport, have
held up the customs agreement and the oil agreement and pushed forward the
date when repairs and operations of the pipeline can begin. Transneft, the
Russian pipeline monopoly, estimates that it will need $2 million and 20
days to repair the Chechen portion of the pipeline. Transneft, which is
obligated by an agreement with Azerbaijan to ensure the safe passage of
oil, also seeks a separate agreement with Chechnya's Southern Oil Company
(Yunko). (Reuters, 1 Jul 97)
Yunko president declares Chechnya environmental disaster zone
Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov, Yunko president, has called on international environmental
and relief organizations as well as oil companies that have experience in
clean-up activities to aid Djokar-gala. Tens of thousands tons of oil products
form underground lakes under the Chechen capital and surrounding regions.
These shallow deposits, that in some cases rise to the surface, can catch
fire or explode. The vapors may also cause mass poisoning. Many Chechens
rely on the wells they dig for their own fuel needs and for cash income.
But this dangerous practice has led to increasing numbers of deaths from
poisoning, fire, and explosion. (Interfax, 14 Jun 97)
Poll shows most Russians think Chechnya will be independent
Of 1,600 Russians polled on June 7 and 8 by the All-Russian Center for Public
Opinion Studies (VTsIOM), 74% approve of the recent peace treaty with Chechnya,
12% disapprove and 14% are undecided. In response to another question, 52%
thought that Chechnya would eventually become an independent state, 25%
said it would remain in Russia and 23% did not know. (Interfax, 19 Jun 97)
By Miriam Lanskoy
NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
Ruble may be made reserve currency of CIS nations
Noting that since detailed talks on the subject are already underway, representatives
of the Bank of Russia proposed to make the ruble the reserve currency of
the entire CIS. The same representatives claimed that proposals to this
effect have been recently forwarded to most of the national banks of Commonwealth
countries (ITAR-TASS, 9 Jun 97). First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance
Minister Anatoli Chubais commented while in Denver that although Russia
is not imposing the idea on anyone, the ruble is the leading non-national
currency in most CIS countries and will most likely evolve into the CIS
reserve currency. (Interfax, 22 Jun 97)
Presidents sign accords
The presidents of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan held a summit where they signed
15 bilateral agreements. The more notable accords focused on development
and cooperation in the areas of transportation, the oil and gas industries,
sea navigation, and customs affairs. In a press conference after the signing,
the presidents discussed the possibility of constructing a pipeline linking
the two countries. The pipeline would be built under and stretch the entire
length of the Caspian Sea, allowing Kazakhstan a non-Russian controlled
route to export its oil and gas (ITAR-TASS, 10 Jun 97). Such cordial relations
between the two countries point to the ever-deepening ties between the Central
Asian and Caucasus states and may signal the rise of yet another power center
within the CIS.
Evolution of the border troops
The director of the Russian Federation Border Service, Andrei Nikolaev,
has announced that his organization is evolving from a mere guard force
to "a single master on the border." According to Nikolaev, the
Border Troops have changed their name to the Border Guards Service and will
be expanding their scope of duties. Soon, and with the blessing of President
Yeltsin, a border guard will be "a single representative of the state
who carries out all the necessary formalities for leaving or entering the
state." These formalities will include matters of "international
law, intelligence, counter-intelligence, military security itself, border
checking procedures" and eventually customs and immigration controls.
Nikolaev also noted that no border guards will be stationed on the Russian-Kazakh
border, but that Russians will still stand on the CIS "outer borders"
to show the "existence of our strategic interest on these [outer] borders"
(Radio Moscow, 11 Jun 97).
In another interview, Nikolaev claimed that Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan,
and Tajikistan "delegated to [the] Russian Federation's border troops
the prerogative of guarding their state borders..." (Panorama, 6 Jun
97). We can see that senior Russian officials have not lost their ability
to spin revisionist yarns.
What does this evolution mean? The implications are best summed up in
an article in Rossiyskiye vesti (19 Jun 97). According to the paper, "while
politicians look for ways of rapprochment between the states of the commonwealth,
the border guards, as we can see, have engaged in earnest in this task."
The Border Service, so expertly exploited in the past to maintain Russian
dominance in the NIS, will now be in an even better position to continue
doing so in the future. It may yet prove the instrument of choice to "reintegrate"
CIS committee meets in Minsk
The CIS Joint Consultative Commission on Disarmament met for two days to
discuss how "to adapt the [CFE treaty] to present day conditions."
By the end of the meeting, the commission supported the establishment of
a nuclear free zone in Central Europe and also favored banning the use antipersonnel
mines. Details on what will be done with respect to CFE were not forthcoming.
(ITAR-TASS, 17 and 19 Jun 97)
The hazards of peacekeeping duty, part 2
Another Russian has been killed while on peacekeeping duty. A Russian major
was shot to death and a warrant officer was severely wounded in Dushanbe.
This killing, on the heels of similar incidents in Georgia at the beginning
of the month, brings to 24 the number of Russian "peacekeepers"
killed in June. (Interfax, 17 Jun 97)
by Mark W. Jones
Operation to arrest President Rahmonov's attackers turns violent
On 4 May 1997, a special rapid reaction force consisting of members of Tajikistan's
Security Ministry, Interior Ministry, and the Prosecutor's Office launched
an operation to arrest the members of a criminal gang who were accused of
masterminding the 30 April assassination attempt on President Rahmonov.
The gang contained at least 10 members, including Firdaws Dustboboev (he
was arrested on 30 April in connection with the assassination attempt) and
was led by Khurshed Abduhafizovich Abdushukurov. Government investigators
also charged the group with planning "terrorist attacks" on regional
Leninobod authorities and justified the rapid reaction force's actions by
stating that in order to prevent further attacks of this nature, the group
had to be immediately neutralized. Most of the group's members were hiding
in the village of Qistakuz (15 km southeast of Khojand, in Leninobod Oblast')
when the rapid reaction force was sent in to arrest them. Government officials
stated that the group's members were given a chance to surrender peacefully,
but chose to use armed resistance instead. As many as five members of Abdushukurov's
group may have been killed during the shoot-out (Radio Tajikistan Network,
5 May 97). Two of the men allegedly committed suicide, including Abdushukurov
himself. (ITAR-TASS World Service, 4 May 97)
It is interesting to note that Tajik government officials have made no statements
about possible motives for the Abdushukurov group's alleged crimes. Immediately
following the attempt on President Rahmonov's life, theories as to who was
responsible for the attack and the reasons behind it were abundant. One
of the theories most popular in Tajik government circles seemed to be that
it was Abdumalik Abdullojonov's National Revival Bloc (which has a great
deal of support in Khojand and which has been denied a voice in the transitional
government) and/or disenfranchised Khojandi political factions which carried
out the attempt on the president's life in an effort to destabilize the
current Tajik government and derail the inter-Tajik peace process. The mayor
of Dushanbe, Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev, openly accused Abdullojonov of perpetrating
the attack and Deputy Prime Minister Abdurahmon Azimov stated that the goal
of those responsible for the assassination attempt was to throw Tajikistan
into a state of complete political instability (ITAR-TASS World Service,
1 May 97). Abdushukurov's group, however, has thus far been dismissed as
a criminal gang or as a "group of robbers" (Radio Tajikistan Network,
5 May 97) and no reasons have been offered for why they might have been
planning additional attacks on regional officials. Firdaws Dustboboev, one
of the men who was arrested on 30 April in connection with the assassination
attempt and an alleged member of Abdushukurov's group, was also one of the
organizers of anti-government rallies held in Khojand in the spring of 1996.
One possible conclusion then, is that whether Abdushukurov's group was responsible
for the assassination attempt, the Tajik government wanted to halt its anti-government
activities, as part of what seems to have become a general crackdown on
political opposition in Leninobod Oblast', whether that opposition emanates
from National Revival Bloc sympathizers or from UTO supporters.
Final round of inter-Tajik peace negotiations successfully concluded
Despite a number of misgivings voiced by UTO leaders Said Abdullo Nuri and
Haji Akbar Turajonzoda about the sincerity of the Tajik government's commitment
to the peace process, the final round of the inter-Tajik peace negotiations
came to a successful conclusion in Tehran on 28 May, with the signing of
a protocol detailing the steps of the peace process. The protocol established
that the National Reconciliation Commission would be led by a UTO representative
and allocated 30% of the positions in the government's executive power structures,
as well as 25% of the seats on the Central Election Commission to the UTO.
The protocol provides for the legalization of all political opposition parties
and movements, as long as their activities do not contradict the Tajik constitution
or existing laws. The governments of Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan are to act as guarantors
of the implementation of the measures set out by all of the peace agreements
(Interfax, 28 May 97). The ambassadors of these countries are to form a
contact group which will be stationed in Dushanbe in order to monitor the
carrying out of the peace agreements and to provide any consultations or
good offices which either the UTO or the Tajik government might require
(Xinhua, 28 May 97). CIS peace keepers already stationed in Tajikistan are
to be responsible for overseeing the return of UTO forces from Afghanistan
to Tajikistan, although the UN mission is charged with overseeing the whole
operation. As soon as this general agreement has been signed, the National
Reconciliation Commission will be able to begin its tasks (Interfax, 28
May 97). [Although scheduled to be signed in mid-June, the general agreement
was not signed until the end of the month in Moscow (ITAR-TASS, 27 Jun 97).]
It was also agreed that before the National Reconciliation Commission
begins functioning, 460 UTO troops will be stationed in Dushanbe in order
to guarantee the commission's security, and each side's representatives
on the commission are permitted to have an additional 40 bodyguards for
their personal security (Clandestine Voice of Free Tajikistan, 30 May 97).
One of the UTO leaders' main reasons for doubting the strength of the Tajik
government's commitment to the peace process is the recent arrest of a number
of opposition supporters. It was the arrest of 10-15 opposition members
which caused the April peace negotiations to break down, and since the assassination
attempt on President Rahmonov, the arrests have continued, especially in
Leninobod Oblast', where both UTO supporters and people affiliated with
the National Revival Bloc seem to be targeted. In fact, the Tajik government
seems to have seized upon the assassination attempt as an excuse to crack
down on the disenfranchised Khojandi faction (which has been excluded from
power since 1993) at least some of whose members now appear to support the
National Revival Bloc. Abdumalik Abdullojonov's younger brother was detained
by the police on 23 May. On 25 May Said Abdullo Nuri sent a statement to
Interfax from Tehran, in which he condemned the Tajik government's persecution
of the UTO and other regional political opposition groups and called for
an end to the arrests and reprisals, on the grounds that these actions constituted
a threat to the peace process. He also stated that the UTO does not want
its truce with the Tajik government to be used against any other political
opposition movement (Interfax, 26 May 97). Nuri, at least, seems to have
recognized that only a government which includes representatives of all
the major opposition groups and regional power blocs can succeed in rebuilding
Officials deny former Afghan president's presence inTajikistan
According to a source in the Afghan embassy, former President Burhanuddin
Rabbani (he is allied with General Ahmad Shah Mas'ud) arrived in the southern
Tajik town of Kulab either on 25 or 26 May, ostensibly to seek refuge from
the Taleban, who it was feared would soon control all of northern Afghanistan
(ITAR-TASS World Service, 26 May 97). Rabbani left Kulab for Iran on 26
May, according to an anonymous member of the Russian border guards stationed
in Tajikistan (Informatsionnoye agentstvo ekho moskvy, 26 May 97). A spokesman
for President Rahmonov vehemently denied that President Rabbani had ever
been on Tajik territory, but a source close to President Rahmonov stated
that the Tajik government had provided Rabbani with an air corridor to fly
to Iran (Interfax, 27 May 97).
Six more of Sodirov's supporters arrested in Dushanbe
The Tajik Presidential Guard arrested another six of Rezvon Sodirov's field
commanders in Dushanbe on 11 May, according to Tajik military sources. Rezvon
Sodirov himself was still suspected to be hiding in a mountain gorge with
a few of his supporters, and authorities continued to look for members of
his militia group in Dushanbe (ITAR-TASS,
by Monika Shepherd