Volume II Number 18 (October 9, 1997)
Yel'tsin address broadsides Duma
President Boris Yel'tsin chose to mark a particularly grim anniversary,
the confrontation at the Ostankino Television Station, with a renewed verbal
assault on the current Duma. In the 1993 confrontation between the executive
and legislature, Ostankino signaled the descent into armed conflict to resolve
the dispute. Yel'tsin acknowledged the weighty symbolism of the timing of
his remarks, but his decision to "speak about the Duma precisely on
this day" suggests the threat of dissolution underpins his critique.
(Official Kremlin International News Broadcast, 3 Oct 97; NEXIS.)
The president's specific criticisms include the Duma's adoption of the
Land Code, which does not permit private ownership of agricultural land;
lack of parliamentary action on social legislation and the 1998 budget;
and interference in foreign policy. While certain Duma actions have certainly
merited presidential concerns, it is astonishing that Yel'tsin would choose
to react by threatening a return to one of the ugliest chapters in current
Russian political history. It is also indicative of the tenuousness of Russian
democracy that Yel'tsin would rely on forced dissolution of the parliament,
rather than the appropriate institutional recourse. With a functioning Constitutional
Court, the Duma's Land Code could be overturned as unconstitutional as the
right to private ownership of property is enshrined in the current constitution.
Perhaps President Yel'tsin can yet be persuaded to turn his attention to
building up democratic institutions, rather than tearing them down.
Corruption probes target reformers
The Moscow City Prosecutor's Office has opened an investigation into
the financial affairs of former Privatization Committee Chief Alfred Kokh.
Investigators focused on Kokh following allegations that his handling of
the Svyazinvest auction was prejudicial. The issue under investigation is
a $100,000 book advance paid to Kokh for a forthcoming economics text. The
company involved in the transaction allegedly has ties to the winner of
the Svyazinvest bid, Uneximbank. (The St. Petersburg Times, 6-12 Oct 97)
Also under investigation is former St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoli Sobchak.
Sobchak had previously been described as only a "key witness"
in an ongoing probe into corruption in his administration. (St. Petersburg
Times, 6-12 Oct 97) Last week, however, he was detained and interrogated
by the St. Petersburg MVD/FSB and suffered heart problems during questioning,
which required his hospitalization. (Agence France-Presse, 4 Oct 97; clari.net)
President Yel'tsin has made the fight against corruption a central theme
in his new initiative to reform the economy. It is unlikely, however, that
he anticipated the first publicized targets would prove to be such high-profile
reformers. These investigations will undoubtedly cause First Deputy Prime
Minister Chubais some distress as well, as they are both close allies. The
Kokh inquiry is potentially quite dangerous, especially if the probe widens
to include the conduct of previous state property auctions.
by Susan J. Cavan
Primakov will use NATO-Russia council to protect Serb war criminals
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov has said he will use a new NATO-Russia
working commission on peacekeeping to slow down the alliance's pursuit of
war criminals in the Serbian enclave of Bosnia.
The first ministerial-level meeting of the NATO-Russia Joint Permanent
Council established a new working commission on joint peacekeeping missions,
including the mission in Bosnia. The commission will pass on its first recommendations
to the next ministerial meeting, scheduled for December 17 in Brussels.
(ITAR-TASS, 1929 GMT, 26 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-269)
"Russia continues to be supportive of the Dayton accords and has
an interest in having them implemented," Primakov told the Washington
Post before the council met. "...But I think that the move to arrest
war criminals through the use of force is not part of the mandate of the
multinational force. " (The Washington Post, 21 Sep 97).
Following the meeting, Primakov told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag
that he intended to use a new working group on peacekeeping missions to
prevent the arrest of accused Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic
as long as he remains on the territory of his own ethnic enclave.
"According to the wording of the present mandate," Primakov
said, "he can only be arrested if he crosses a border that is protected
by the troops. I do not think that he will do that. . . The SFOR mandate
that applies now does not include the right to arrest persons by force,
even if they have been accused of war crimes." (Bild am Sonntag, 28
Primakov's statement flatly contradicts the findings of a report issued
by the Center for International Programs at The University of Dayton earlier
"Unequivocal legal authority exists for the United States military
personnel to engage in operations in Bosnia to apprehend indicted war criminals,"
the reports states. "Article 29 of the substantive law of The Hague
Tribunal mandates the arrest or detention, as well as the surrender or transfer,
of any accused individual to the International Tribunal... Under Rule 40,
the Prosecutor is also permitted in urgent situations to request the provisional
arrest of a suspect even before he or she has been formally accused by the
International Tribunal. To further the success of the International Tribunal's
mandate, the Prosecutor, in such situations, is also given the power to
request 'all necessary measures to prevent the escape of a suspect or an
accused, injury to or intimidation of a victim or witness, or the destruction
of evidence.' " (Bringing War Criminals to Justice: Obligations, Options,
Recommendations. Center for International Programs, University of Dayton,
Primakov claims that neither Russia nor NATO has veto over NATO actions
In several instances, Primakov's words following the NATO-Russia meeting
could be taken to mean that he believes the Permanent Joint Council has
considerably more power over the alliance's affairs than Western diplomats
have yet admitted. The English-language account of ITAR-TASS's interview
with Primakov, for example, reported in indirect speech that he believes
the Founding Act signed in May 1997 gives neither Russia nor NATO a veto
over the Council's work. (ITAR-TASS, 1929 GMT, 26 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-269)
American diplomats had insisted at the time of the Founding Act's adoption
that it gave Russia a "voice, not a veto" over NATO affairs. In
denying that NATO itself could unilaterally reject the council's work, Primakov
appears to have suggested that Russia has, de facto, a veto over a NATO
In the same interview, Primakov offered Russia's assistance in the presumed
modification of the Alliance. "We are trying to help the transformation
of the Alliance with our participation in the Council," he was quoted
There was no report of NATO extending a request for such aid, but neither
was Primakov's offer refused.
Primakov also frankly portrayed his own country's interest in the council.
"Those who think that Russia is participating in the NATO-Russia joint
standing council in order to save its face, are mistaken," he said.
"Russia is taking part in the work of the Council in order to protect
its interests." (RIA Novosti, 27 Sep 97; Johnson's Russia List #1240)
In Moscow, French president signs Iranian oil deal
Visiting Moscow, French President Jacques Chirac signed an economic cooperation
deal with Russian President Boris Yel'tsin that will help to finance a natural
gas pipeline from Iran. (The New York Times, 5 Oct 97)
Chirac signed the pipeline deal despite growing evidence that Russia
is helping the Iranians to develop a long-range ballistic missile that could
threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and US troops stationed in the Persian Gulf.
(Please see ISCIP Editorial Digest, vol. II, no. 17)
As Boris Yel'tsin called for Europe to take a leading role in its own
security, and blasted "interference from outside Europe," Chirac
noted only that his position on the Europeanization of NATO lies "somewhat
midway" between those of Moscow and Washington." He did not object
either that the presidents' joint statement addressed the issue of Bosnia
without mentioning the arrest of suspected war criminals. (Liberation, 27
Sep 97; FBIS-WEU-97-272)
Russia, US agree extension of deadline for START-II compliance...
The United States and Russia agreed on 26 September to extend the deadline
for compliance with the START-II Treaty by five years, from the beginning
of 2003 to the end of 2007. The two countries also agreed that START-III,
a treaty on further reductions, must be signed before January 2003.
The START-II Treaty sets the reduction ceilings at 3,000 to 3,500 warheads
for each side, while START-III sets them at 2,000 to 2,500 warheads.
START-II has not yet been ratified by the Russian Duma. Russian Defense
Minister Igor Sergeev and Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov met with heads
of Duma factions on 17 September, in an effort to convince them that Russia
could not in any case afford to maintain the current arsenals. (Rossiyskiye
vesti, 17 Sep 97; FBIS-TAC-97-260)
Sergeev also assured the commanders of the Moscow military garrison that
Russia's strategic arsenal would remain the guarantor of the nation's security.
(Interfax, 1051 GMT, 24 Sep 97; FBIS-UMA-97-267)
A spokesman of the Strategic Missile Troops said that the extension of
the START-II deadline would allow Russia to keep its arsenal of SS-19 rockets
until the end of their usefulness, and will allow Russia to deploy the Topol-M
missile, now in development, at the moment of its readiness. (ITAR-TASS
World Service, 0907 GMT, 25 Sep 97; FBIS-UMA-97-268)
Meanwhile, the United States, Russia, and three ex-Soviet republics on
26 September signed amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that
had been drafted in August (Please see ISCIP Editorial Digest, vol. II,
no. 16). (Nezavisimaya gazeta, 1 Oct 97; Johnson's Russia List #1247).
Russian mafia: a threat to the West...
Normal relations with the Russian government will become impossible if a
network of criminal gangs and corrupt officials succeed in creating "an
emergent Russian criminal-syndicalist state," a report by the Center
for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) predicts.
"In many respects such a criminal-syndicalist state already exists
in Russia today," said the CSIS panel, citing government, business
and academic leaders. Corruption pervades "every level of Russia's
bureaucracy," the report said, and is the major obstacle to defeating
organized crime. (Reuters, 29 Sep 97; Johnson's Russia List, #1243)
...and active in Colombia
Russian organized crime groups are establishing alliances with Colombian
drug traffickers that will allow delivery of narcotics to Europe and sophisticated
weaponry to Latin American criminals, according to The Washington Post.
The Russian criminals have already attempted to sell the traffickers
a submarine, helicopters and surface-to-air missiles, the Post said.
"The Russians, along with the Nigerians, are the most threatening
criminal organization based in the United States," White House drug
policy director Barry R. McCaffrey told the newspaper. (Associated Press,
29 Sep 97; Johnson's Russia List #1241)
Meeting Mubarak, Yel'tsin decries Israel's "rigid stance"
on Middle East
Following meetings with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Russian President
Boris Yel'tsin complained that the crisis in the Middle East was largely
the result of "the rigid stance of Israel."
Accusing Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat of staging acts of terrorism,
Yel'tsin said, was "ridiculous." (Interfax, 1035 GMT, 23 Sep 97)
In a joint statement that repeated the rhetoric of the Russian foreign
minister, Yel'tsin and Mubarak argued that overweening influence of the
United States upset the balance of power in the world. Speaking afterwards,
Yel'tsin elaborated in comments that reflected the doctrine of "multipolarity"
frequently advanced by his foreign minister.
"As for the idea that one country preaches to several others, telling
them what to do -- no," Yel'tsin said. "There is the United States,
one region; Africa with Egypt, another region; Latin America, another; Asia,
Japan, China, a world of many regions." (NTV, 1500 GMT, 23 Sep 97)
Comment: Who are Russia's criminals?
In both the popular imagination and in most of the scholarly community,
post-Communist Russia is portrayed as a typical case of "primitive
capitalism." A weak government struggles in vain against unscrupulous
gang leaders, who, being half Al Capone and half J.P. Morgan, write the
rules of post-Soviet life to suit their accumulative appetites.
In The Peacemaker, Hollywood's latest attempt to grope through the wreckage
of the Cold War, George Clooney and Nicole Kidman chase "rogue elements"
in the Russian military who are trying to sell nuclear warheads. In the
latest study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the
next threat to world order is forecast to be a "criminal-syndicalist"
state that binds the Kremlin to international drug cartels.
All of which brings to mind the answer that a Polish philosopher gave
when asked if the growth of crime in his native land after the collapse
of Communism bothered him.
"What you don't understand," he replied, "is that the
Communist state itself was a criminal conspiracy, one that had a complete
monopoly on all the activities that have since been spread among mafiosi.
The amount of crime has not increased -- if anything, it has decreased,
now that the main criminal gang, the Party, has been broken up."
Given the recent activities of Russia's foreign minister, it is perhaps
time to abandon our search for a sexy new enemy, and return to the dull
work of fending off plodding, yet persistent, foes. The Peacemaker portrays
a Russian general who inadvertently helps a Balkan terrorist. As they used
to say at the New York Times, "interesting, if true." Back in
the real world, we find that the Russian foreign minister, representative
of the supposedly weak state itself, is working consciously to protect Radovan
Karadzic, Balkan Terrorist Number One.
Yevgeni Primakov has made his intentions clear. He will use his influence
in Western organizations, especially the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council,
to subvert attempts to arrest Bosnian Serb war criminals. He will sell missile
technology to the mullahs of Iran. He will woo European governments away
from the trans-Atlantic alliance. And he will do it all to "protect
by Chandler Rosenberger
Luzhkov faction said to be emerging in the Duma
Supposedly, the faction will include more than 35 deputies representing
the Moscow Region in the lower house of parliament according to Sergei Kalashnikov,
chairman of the State Duma Committee for Labor and Social Policy. Kalashnikov
noted that there are no real (that is, ideological) parties in contemporary
Russia that would represent the interests of specific social groups and
that there only is a "constellation of prominent political leaders."
Seen in this light, a Luzhkov bloc is unsurprising and, arguably, overdue
(Trud, 1-7 Aug 97; FBIS-SOV-97-216)
Presidential appointments to the regions continue
At the end of July the president appointed Valeri Sychov to the post
of plenipotentiary representative in the Ulyanovsk region (ITAR-TASS, 0659
GMT, 3 Aug 97; FBIS-SOV-97-215). Yel'tsin also appointed Vladimir Ilyich
Gaydukov to the same post in the Bryansk Region (ITAR-TASS World Service,
1130 GMT, 8 Aug 97; FBIS-SOV-97-220). Aleksandr Vladimirovich Orlov was
similarly appointed in the Kaliningrad Region a few weeks later (ITAR-TASS
World Service, 0820 GMT, 13 Aug 97; FBIS-SOV-97-225)
The role of the president's regional representatives continually evolves.
At first, resented by the regions as evidence of Moscow's heavy-handed politics,
it has become clear to many regional leaders that having a direct line of
communication to the Kremlin could be beneficial. The regional representatives
are in a difficult position since they must concurrently please the president
while needing to cooperate with the region's leaders if they are to be useful.
Functioning effectively as the president's ambassadors to the regions, these
representatives are in a position to be of great help -- especially now
while center-region relations are in such flux.
Irkutsk has a new governor
Boris Yel'tsin sent a telegram to Irkutsk Region's Governor Boris Govorin.
The president congratulated Govorin on his "convincing victory"
and noted that the election was an indication of the voters' desire for
continued "economic reform and [the] strengthening of its social orientation."
A governor welcome to Yel'tsin in the independence-minded East must be comforting,
however, such independence will also limit Moscow's influence. (ITAR-TASS
World Service, 1724 GMT, 4 Aug 97; FBIS-SOV-97-216).
Leftists form their own news agency
During a news conference marking the first anniversary of the establishment
of the People's Patriotic Union of Russia (NPSR), journalists were introduced
to the Patriotic News Agency (Agentstvo Patrioticheskoy Informatsii-API).
The decision to set up the API was made by the NPSR. The agency has already
begun operations, according to the NPSR press service. Gennadi Zyuganov
is, not surprisingly, very supportive of the development -- perhaps unaware
that he is conceivably as likely a target of the API's partisan wrath as
Zyuganov claimed that parties of the left and "patriotic" forces
were publishing at present some 300 newspapers and magazines and running
three radio stations (Moscow ITAR-TASS World Service, 1300 GMT, 8 Aug 97;
by Michael Thurman
Suitcase "nukes" issue will not go away
General Lebed's repeated accusations that the former Soviet Union manufactured
over 100 suitcase-size nuclear weapons and that some of these weapons are
unaccounted for will not go away. Although some skeptics point out that
Lebed may be using his accusations to bolster his year 2000 presidential
bid, others believe there may be some cause for concern.
Aleksei Yablokov, a prominent environmentalist and former environmental
advisor to President Yel'tsin, said the bombs were built for the KGB and
were never under the control of the military. The defense ministry has consistently
claimed there are no such weapons in its nuclear arsenal and that all nuclear
weapons are accounted for and under strict controls. At a meeting of NATO
defense ministers in Maastricht, Defense Minister Sergeev told his American
counterpart that he would be glad to have General Habiger, Commander of
the US Strategic Command, come to Russia and inspect the way nuclear weapons
Despite all the official assurances from both Moscow and Washington that
Russian nuclear weapons are under tight control, doubts persist in both
capitals. Senator Lugar stated "The Russian inventory system is so
antiquated and inefficient that the Russians do not have an accurate count
of nuclear weapons or materials." (Reuters, 1344 PDT, 2 Oct 97; clari.net)
Both the Defense Department and the FBI have stated there is no evidence
of missing nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons falling into the hands of
terrorists or rogue states. (Agence France-Press, 21, 26 Sep 97, 1-2 Oct
97; clari.net; ITAR-TASS, 1313 GMT, 22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-265)
Nuclear weapons workers get paid
In addition to answering concerns over nuclear weapons, the Russian government
has grappled with problems at two of its leading nuclear weapons laboratories.
At Arzamas-16 in the city of Sarov, layoffs have been reported and crime
has been increasing in what was once a crime-free city. The average worker's
wage at Arzamas-16 had dropped below the subsistence level and most workers
have not been paid since 1996. On 30 September the Russian government announced
that it had transferred sufficient funds to Arzamas-16 and Chelyabinsk-70
to settle all the wage arrears at the two nuclear centers. Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin said the actions taken would settle nearly 80 percent of the
wages owed for the first nine months of 1997. The shortfall in paying workers
at the two nuclear facilities developed as money was only available to make
partial payments to the military. (Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, 29
Aug-4 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-262; ITAR-TASS, 0854 GMT, 30 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-273)
Revelations made at Sputnik anniversary
October 4 marked the fortieth anniversary of the Sputnik launch. At a NASA
conference marking the anniversary, Sergei Khrushchev, son of the late Soviet
Premier Nikita Khrushchev, said his farther had decided to accept President
Kennedy's 1963 invitation to participate in a joint US-USSR mission to place
a man on the moon. Although the Khrushchev government rejected Kennedy's
proposals, Khrushchev began having second doubts and reversed himself in
early November 1963, according to his son. Kennedy's assassination and Khrushchev's
ouster in 1964 prevented any public announcement of the decision. (Christian
Science Monitor, 30 Sep 97; clari.net)
Baturin to travel in 1998
In other space news the Russian government announced that Yuri Baturin would
travel to the Mir space station in 1998. Baturin is an advisor to President
Yel'tsin and serves on the Defense Council. Although a lawyer by trade,
he studied aerophysics and space research at the Moscow Technical Institute
in the early 1970's. (Agence France-Press, 2 Oct 97, clari.net)
by CDR Curtis Stevens
Border troops train to fight illegal migration
A summation of the recent "Baltic Guard '97," a wide-scale
international operation to fight illegal migration in the Baltic Sea, was
provided in an Strazh Baltiki interview with Lieutenant General Yevgeni
Bolkhovitin. Bolkhovitin is the commander of the Kaliningrad Border Group.
He stated that the operation was supported by eight countries of the Baltic
region. Both the coast guards and corresponding border services of Russia,
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and Poland took part.
He pointed out that illegal migration was a serious issue for all participants,
adding that "shipping Asian, African, and Latin American citizens to
Europe is a wide-scale business among mafia structures."
According to Bolkhovitin, more than 3,000 people were involved, including
250 border troops and two ships, and the operation consisted of identifying
and inspecting approximately 100 fishing ships. Revealing no specific head-count
on detained illegal immigrants, Bolkhovitin stated that besides identifying
the routes and scale of migration, the operation signified the cooperation
between Baltic states' border services. (Strazh Baltiki, 9 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-260)
In an apparent effort to further this cooperation, Andrei Nikolaev, Director
of the Russian Federal Border Service, and Marie Hastrom, general director
of the Swedish Coastal Guard Service, signed a protocol on 19 September
which seeks to deepen cooperation in fighting illegal migration and smuggling,
protecting the environment, monitoring navigation, and observing fishing
regulations. This type of cooperation is seen as fundamental in forming
a system of non-military security in the Baltic Sea region. (ITAR-TASS,
0751 GMT, 19 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-263)
Russian-Moldova-Transdniestr discussions on military hardware continue
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Serov held talks with the leaders
of Moldova and the Transdniestr Moldovan Republic on 22-24 September to
determine the disposition of Russian military and engineering hardware amassed
in the Transdniestr region. The equipment cache is a result of Russian troop
withdrawal from Germany and Poland and the assets of the former 14th Russian
Army. (Interfax, 1732 GMT, 22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-265) Serov called for
an urgent evacuation of "special assets" from the region. Serov
was quoted as saying, "The presence of such large amounts of special
military assets on such a small territory as Moldova is inadmissible, and
we must do the best we can to withdraw them as soon as possible." (Basapress,
1900 GMT, 22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-266)
The arsenal of hardware and munitions includes: 54 railroad carloads
of guided anti-tank missiles, 83 pieces of artillery, over 1200 tons of
explosives, 119 tanks, 43 infantry combat vehicles, 112 armored personnel
carriers, 220 anti-aircraft mobile missile systems, 33 mobile anti-tank
missile systems, carloads of munitions, 30,000 assault rifles, machine guns,
and sidearms, and 35 carloads of non-military material, according to an
unnamed Interfax source in the Russian government. Transdniestr leaders
have wanted control over most of the assets and some pressure groups plan
to block the withdrawal of military hardware from the region. (Interfax,
1732 GMT, 22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-265)
Additionally, the future of the arsenals of the limited contingent of
Russian troops currently deployed in the region is still a point of discussion.
Moldova's Defense Minister, Valeriu Pasat, described the situation (of the
contingent's presence) as "getting more and more difficult." (Basapress,
1900 GMT, 22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-266)
The meeting closed with no accord, but Serov appeared positive, directing
that specific implementation proposals be developed within the next ten
days. The Moldovan president was reported to be satisfied with Moscow's
position. Igor Smirnov, a Dniestr leader, while still maintaining that the
equipment is the property of the Dniestr people, stated that the issue amounted
to an economic question. His position is that, after Russia takes what it
needs, the surplus should be sold and profits plowed into the Dniestr's
economy. (Basapress, 1700 GMT, 24 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-268)
With the current track record of privatization embezzlement in Russia,
it will be very interesting to see where the market is for the sale and
how the profits will get into the economy. The issue of maintaining a Russian
troop contingent is still open.
Greece hosts Russian warplanes for first time
On 16 September, an air wing of the Russian Air Defense Troops consisting
of two Su-30s, two Su-27, and an Il-76 arrived in Greece at the Tangara
air force base. Piloting one of the fighters was Commander of Aviation of
the Air Defense Troops, Colonel General Vladimir Andreev, who is leading
the delegation. Greek Minister of National Defense Apostolos Tsokhatzopoulos
said that "the presence of Russian pilots and their cooperation ...is...a
signal to other European nations..." of the need to cooperate to ensure
security. A Greek delegation was also in Moscow simultaneously, discussing
increased technical cooperation to include arm sales. Tsokhatzopoulos suggested
that the Greek Air Force is considering adopting Russian warplanes. (ITAR-TASS,
0955 GMT, 17 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-260)
From a NATO member perspective, it is unclear where Tsokhatzopoulos sees
any shortfall in security. While Russia may fear NATO expansion, it is unclear
what security is gained by a NATO country having unilateral joint exercises
and arms sales discussions with Russia. One result of this event will likely
be a feeling of lessened security on the part of another NATO member, Turkey.
by LtCol Dwyer Dennis
NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
CIS presidents comment on relations within the Commonwealth
Several CIS presidents made disparaging remarks concerning the commonwealth
in recent days. Although this is nothing new for the presidents of Ukraine
and Belarus, it is a shift from the tacit approval the Uzbek leader has
until now given the organization. Uzbek President Islam Karimov reserved
his harshest words for Moscow. "Not everyone in Russia has renounced
the imperial vision with regard to the former USSR republics, and it is
still being witnessed even among the (Russian) leadership," he noted.
He went on to say that relations in the CIS have been built "according
to Russia's desire" and not based on the principal of parity originally
called for in the CIS Charter (Interfax, 17 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-260).
Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine was more prognostic in his statements. Referring
to Russian dominance of, and the low level of cooperation in, the commonwealth,
he said, "If it goes on like this, I do not believe in the future of
the CIS" (Interfax, 27 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-270).
Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus had similar thoughts, commenting that
the CIS may break up in two or three years if no changes in policy are made.
His solution to rejuvenate the organization includes developing "machinery
to implement decisions" of the CIS bodies. In other words, he wants
a supranational enforcement arm for the CIS Heads of State, Government,
and Parliamentary Assembly to use (Interfax, 1 Oct 97: FBIS-SOV-97-274).
Kiev, Minsk reach border demarcation accord
A joint Ukrainian-Belarusian commission hammered out an agreement on delimitation
and demarcation of the countries' common border. The accord will govern
"the behavior of the sides in carrying out work on the border."
The demarcation, which may be completed as early as 1999, will include the
emplacement of marking poles at 1 km intervals along the length of the boundary.
Both sides expressed optimism that the agreement, which must be signed by
both governments, will "definitely settle all problematic questions
of the border between the two states" (Belapan, 25 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-268).
Ukraine, Moldova to "exchange territories" for 99 years
According to a Basapress report (24 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-268), Moldova and
Ukraine will exchange territories for a period of 99 years. The agreement
was reached in Odessa by Moldovan President Lucinschi and the leadership
of the Odessa administration. Under the accord, Ukraine will administer
a portion of the Odessa-Ismail thoroughfare which lies close to the Moldovan
village of Palanca. In exchange, Moldova will administer the area near the
Basarabeasca offices of Moldova's railways
Bad news for Belarus...
The European Union Council of Ministers decided to limit political and economic
ties with Belarus. Belarus' foreign ministry released a statement condemning
the decision and stating that it puts "direct pressure on the development
of internal political processes in a sovereign country" (Interfax,
22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-265).
...And for its leader
President Lukashenka was informed that he will not be invited to represent
his country at the Summit of the Council of Europe to be held on 10 October
in Strasbourg. France is hosting the event and currently has the chair of
the Council of Ministers. Explaining the snub, the French delegate minister
for European affairs pointed out that the "trend of developments in
Belarus gives no grounds for reinstating ... its special guest status."
The only other European country denied representation was Yugoslavia (Belapan,
24 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-267).
Lukashenka was snubbed further when his planned visit to the Russian
regions of Lipetsk and Yaroslavl, scheduled for October 2-4, was canceled
by the Kremlin. President Yel'tsin ordered the Russian air control system
to deny access to Lukashenka's plane. Explaining his action to journalists,
Yel'tsin claimed that Lukashenka had failed to "coordinate" the
visit with him and then added: "Let him first release [Russian ORT
TV correspondent] Sheremet. So there!" (Monitor, 3 Oct 97).
Official travels to Iran
Belarusian Leonid Rachkov, Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for
International Affairs and Ties with CIS States, met with Deputy Speaker
of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Hasan Rowhani, in Tehran recently.
The officials discussed economic issues and elaborated on the expansion
of relations between Tehran and Minsk since the breakup of the USSR. Rachkov
called for the formation of a parliamentary friendship council between the
NATO-Kiev information link established
An information system linking Kiev to NATO's information network has been
established. The purpose of the link is to ensure proper coordination within
the framework of the "Partnership for Peace" program and peace-keeping
operations. The system includes a satellite station, a central computer-server
and terminals linked to NATO's PIMS center. The system was installed in
the Verification Center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Interfax, 23 Sep
Symbolism in Dniestr
The leader of the unrecognized Dniestr republic signed documents adopting
the flag of the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, complete with hammer
and sickle, as the official emblem of the region. He also adopted a new
national anthem, the lyrics of which are written in Russian. Smirnov promised,
however, that versions written in Moldovan and Ukrainian will soon follow
(Basapress, 20 Sep 97: FBIS-SOV-97-263).
Serov leaves without accord on arms division
Russian Deputy Premier Valeri Serov traveled to Moldova to meet with Petru
Lucinschi and Igor Smirnov. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the
status of the 14th Army's equipment currently stationed east of the Dniestr
river. Serov was not able to broker an agreement amenable to both sides.
As the discussions broke up, Smirnov insisted he would block the removal
of the equipment and further said he expected the issue to be resolved only
through Tiraspol-Moscow negotiations (Basapress, 24 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-268).
The value of the arms was estimated at $4 billion two years ago. In addition
to tons of outdated ammunition, at least 83 artillery pieces, 119 tanks,
43 infantry fighting vehicles, 112 armored personnel carriers, 220 anti-aircraft
systems, and 14 Grad multiple rocket launchers are stored in the unrecognized
Dniestr republic (Interfax, 22 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-265).
by Mark Jones
Kazakhstan, China sign their own "deal of the century"
On 24 September, Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng and President Nazarbaev
witnessed the signing of an agreement which the Kazakh president has called
the "contract of the century." According to the terms of this
contract, the China National Petroleum Company (the company which won the
tenders to two of Kazakhstan's oil fields last June -- see Editorial Digest
on Central Asia for July 1997) and Kazakhstan's Ministry of Energy will
cooperate in the development of three of Kazakhstan's hydrocarbon deposits
located in Aktyubinsk Region (the fields of Aktyubmunaigaz hold approximately
130 million tonnes of oil in proven reserves) (Interfax, 1600 GMT, 26 Sep
97; FBIS-SOV-97-269) and in the Uzen oil field (Kazakhstan's second largest
oil deposit) on the Mangyshlak Peninsula. In conjunction with the development
of the three deposits, the China National Oil Company will undertake the
construction of two new pipelines. One pipeline will need to be built from
Aktyubinsk Region to China's western border (approximately 3,000 km) (ITAR-TASS,
1834 GMT, 24 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-267), and the second pipeline will reach
from Kazakhstan to the Turkmen border (250 km) for eventual extension to
Iran. Starting and ending dates for the pipelines' construction were not
given in the agreement, however, the construction of the Aktyubinsk-China
pipeline is to begin immediately and should be ready for full operation
by 30 June 2005. The Chinese oil company representatives agreed to include
a statement in the contract, whereby they pledge to complete the actual
building of the pipeline by 1 January 2005 (Interfax, 1405 GMT, 24 Sep 97;
According to the agreement, the China National Oil Company is allocated
five years for the pipeline's construction, with an additional 2.5 years
in case of unforeseeable delays. If the pipeline is not finished within
this amount of time, all of China's investments will remain in Kazakhstan.
The construction of the pipeline between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is
expected to require only one year and will be carried out by a consortium
including China, Kazakhstan, and possibly Turkmenistan and Iran, according
to Kazakhstan's Acting Prime Minister, Akhmetzhan Yesimov. The total cost
of the pipelines' construction, as well as the development of the oil deposits
themselves is estimated at $9.5 billion (Interfax, 0958 GMT, 25 Sep 97;
Once these two pipelines are completed, Kazakhstan will have two additional
access routes to the international oil market (assuming that the Kazakh-Turkmen
pipeline is connected to Iran), and will no longer need to depend solely
on Russia in order to export oil. Thus, President Nazarbaev's efforts to
establish good relations with a country strong enough to provide a counterweight
to Russia's still considerable influence may finally be coming to fruition,
especially when one considers reports that the Chinese government also wants
to increase its military cooperation with Kazakhstan. Of course, there are
still potential obstacles to the further development of Kazakh-Chinese relations.
The Russian government may try to hinder the implementation of the pipeline
projects and exert pressure on the Kazakh government to distance itself
from China. A second issue to consider is the Uighur separatist movement
in northern China, which also has supporters in Kazakhstan. The Chinese
government's conflict with its Uighur population has intensified in recent
months and although the Kazakh government has officially declared its opposition
to all separatist movements, it has not made any real efforts to crack down
on Uighur separatist groups in Kazakhstan. This has caused some anger among
various Chinese officials, although it has not yet affected Kazakh-Chinese
relations at the highest level. Furthermore, should the Aktyubinsk-China
pipeline pass through any part of Xinjiang (the province where most of China's
Uighur population still lives), the Uighur separatists' leverage over the
Chinese government would increase dramatically.
Kazakhstan, Italy to sign oil agreement
In a press release issued by Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry, President
Nazarbaev and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi confirmed their governments'
commitment to finalize the contract between the Italian National Oil Company
(AGIP), Texaco, British Gas, and Kazakhstan for their joint development
of the Karachaganak oil field (located in northern Kazakhstan). The contract
is scheduled to be signed by 30 October 1997 and, according to Prime Minister
Prodi, all remaining difficulties regarding the contract concern the logistical
problems of transporting the oil across a number of other countries to the
sea, and not from any obstacles in the Kazakh government's relationship
with AGIP. Once the Karachaganak oil field is fully operational, it will
be able to produce over 20 billion cubic meters of gas and 10 million tons
of crude oil and byproducts per year. The finalization of this oil contract
was one of Prime Minister Prodi's main goals during his September visit
to Kazakhstan (Il Sole-24 Ore (Internet Version), 17 Sep 97; FBIS-WEU-97-261).
Kazakhstan will protest Russian development of Caspian reserves
In an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta, Kazakh Foreign Minister Qosymzhomart
Toqaev stated that the Kazakh government would make an official protest
to Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources over its planned development of
a number of offshore oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea. Part of these
reserves fall under Kazakhstan's jurisdiction, and although Toqaev stated
that he would be willing to allow Russian companies to develop the Kazakh
sector of the Caspian reserves, a violation of Kazakhstan's sovereign rights
would not be tolerated (Interfax, 1636 GMT, 18 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-261).
Refugee repatriation partially completed
7,000 Tajik refugees have been repatriated thus far, leaving at least
another 7,000 still in Afghanistan. The repatriation process began on 17
August, under the terms of the General Agreement on Inter-Tajik peace. Three
checkpoints were established to handle the returning refugees: one at Nizhnyi
Pyandzh (located on the Tajik-Afghan border), one in Ishkashim (a town in
Gorno-Badakhshon Oblast', close to the Afghan border), and one near the
Kampe-Sahi (Afghanistan) - Termez (Uzbekistan) passage. Half of the refugees
have returned to Tajikistan via the Nizhnyi Pyandzh checkpoint; the last
group crossed the border on 25 September. Another 7,000 are waiting in Kampe-Sahi.
Their return home is prevented by a new outbreak of fighting between the
Taleban and General Abdumalik's (General Dostum's former ally) anti-Taleban
forces. Repatriation via the Ishkashim checkpoint also has not yet begun.
The National Reconciliation Commission hopes to have the repatriation process
fully completed by the end of December, including the return of the UTO
troops who still remain in Afghanistan (Interfax, 1051 GMT, 25 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-268).
Their return has been the subject of considerable controversy among Tajik
military commanders, even leading to acts of mutiny against the government
(see Editorial Digests on Central Asia for July and August 1997).
Although it is certainly a positive sign that so many refugees have
returned to Tajikistan over the past two months, their repatriation is only
the first step of what will undoubtedly prove to be a long and difficult
process of reintegration into society. Many of the refugees will need immediate
shelter, food, and medical care, as well as permanent housing (many houses
were destroyed during the war), jobs and schools in the long run. Tajikistan's
budget does not appear to be able to meet even these needs, judging by President
Rahmonov's recent appeal for additional funding at a 25 September meeting
in Dushanbe with deputy envoy of the UN secretary-general in Tajikistan
Paolo Lembo. President Rahmonov particularly stressed the need for outside
financial support to aid in Tajikistan's socioeconomic development, as well
as continued support of the inter-Tajik peace process. A UN-sponsored international
conference is planned for the end of October, to discuss what type of economic
aid to provide for Tajikistan now that the civil war has ended. The UN has
already asked donor countries to contribute $64 million in development aid
to Tajikistan (Interfax, 1559 GMT, 28 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-268).
In addition to the financial strain that the refugees' return poses for
the Tajik government, it could also result in considerable social strain.
Those refugees who choose to return to their home towns and villages may
come into conflict with the current inhabitants of those communities. Many
of the houses abandoned by the refugees when they fled during the war were
appropriated by others, who will probably not be inclined to return their
new homes to the original owners. Furthermore, a large number of the refugees
were driven out of their communities because of acts of violence committed
against them by other members of the same community. Reestablishing normal
relations between the refugees and those responsible for causing them to
flee will be very difficult and could lead to further violent incidents.
Afghan missiles strike Uzbekistan
On 18 September, 10 rocket shells fired in clashes between the Taleban
and anti-Taleban forces led by General Dostum's former ally, General Abdumalik,
landed in the Uzbek city of Termez, leaving three people seriously injured
(ITAR-TASS, 1641 GMT, 18 Sep 97; FBIS-UMA-97-261). On 19 September, a spokesman
for the Uzbek Foreign Ministry flatly denied rumors that Taleban forces
had actually crossed over into Uzbek territory during their attack on the
Afghan town of Hairaton (located across the Amudarya River from Termez).
The spokesman further stated that Uzbek border guards were in complete control
of that section of the Uzbek-Afghan border (ITAR-TASS World Service, 1216
GMT, 19 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-262). This portion of the Afghan-Uzbek border
was subsequently sealed by Uzbekistan's border guards, an action no doubt
intended as a safeguard to keep the violence from spilling over onto Uzbek
territory, but which has also had the unfortunate consequence of cutting
off the Tajik refugees waiting in camps near Mazar-i-Sharif from their planned
route of return to Tajikistan (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 2 Oct 97). The original
plan was for this group of refugees to return to Tajikistan through the
Kampe-Sahi (Afghanistan) - Termez (Uzbekistan) corridor, but now an alternative
route must be sought.
by Monika Shepherd
Governments just say "no" to Russia's offer for protection
During the international forum on "Peaceful Coexistence of Nations
and Good Neighbour Relations" held in Vilnius in early September, Russian
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin once again offered to provide security
for the Baltic states. In his speech, Chernomyrdin explained what he saw
as the benefits of Baltic isolation: "[I]n our opinion, the non-alignment
of the Baltic nations will give Russia a chance to make new additional and
concrete steps towards strengthening trust and security in the region."
(ITAR-TASS, 0708 GMT, 5 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-248). Alas, the presidents of
the three Baltic states were quick to point out that their views on NATO
membership differed significantly from that of Russia. However, Lithuania's
Algirdas Brazauskas was pleased to note that Chernomyrdin's proposal demonstrated
"the peace-loving mood in Russia regarding neighbouring countries."
(Interfax, 1857 GMT, 5 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-248)
Training tragedy leads to resignations
Estonia's three top defense leaders have tendered their resignations in
the wake of the training tragedy that ended with the deaths of 14 soldiers
on 11 September (Agence France-Presse, 1401 PDT, 16 Sep 97; clari.net; Monitor,
18 Sep 97). Defense Minister Andrus Oovel, Maj. Gen. Johannes Kert, the
commander of the army, and Toomas Kitsing, the defense ministry's chancellor,
submitted resignations after 14 members of the Estonian contingent to the
Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion drowned while on maneuvers. The soldiers were
undergoing training exercises off the coast of Paldiski when bad weather
caused conditions for crossing the strait to change dramatically. Eight
soldiers of the 22-man reconnaissance team survived. (Agence France-Presse,
1421 PDT, 11 Sep 97; clari.net)The drowning incident was not the end of
the military's woes. The following week, 18 Estonian soldiers went absent
without leave for over 24 hours, reportedly for a drinking party. Later,
three soldiers from an Estonian peacekeeping platoon, serving in Bosnia
with a Danish platoon, were sent home due to "disciplinary problems."
(Monitor, 18 Sep 97) Col. Oskar Mark, acting chief of staff of the military,
subsequently denied that there was any crisis in the defense forces. (Estonian
Television Network, 1845 GMT, 18 Sep 97; FBIS-UMA-97-261)
Rights of non-citizens under revision
The treatment of non-citizens in Estonia continues to garner attention and
has begun to prompt action, although apparently not sufficiently for some.
President Lennart Meri has promised that the country will have implemented
OSCE recommendations on human rights by year's end. (Radio Tallinn Network,
1600 GMT, 5 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-248). In an address to the Paasikivi Society
in Finland, Meri promised that citizenship requirements would ease, and
noted that some requirements of the qualifying examinations already had
been loosened. (Radio Tallinn Network, 1200 GMT, 4 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-248)
The parliament began to institute changes shortly thereafter, first by extending
the amount of time until Estonian becomes the official language in what
are now Russian-language schools (the original deadline of the year 2000
has been amended to 2007) (Radio Tallinn Network, 1700 GMT, 10 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-253),
and then exempting some Russian-language television programs from regulations
which required an Estonian translation accompaniment (Radio Tallinn Network,
0900 GMT, 11 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-254).
These changes do not meet the expectations of some observers, notably
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who alluded to alleged continued
rights violations in the Baltic states during the Vilnius conference on
"Good Neighbourly Relations," and EU parliamentarian Jorn Donner,
who proposed in August that Estonia establish Russian as an official language
and ease up on citizenship requirements. Donner's bilingualism proposal
set off uproars in his native Finland and, not surprisingly, in Estonia
as well. The Russian-language media in Estonia, on the other hand, welcomed
the proposal by Donner, who was described in one publication as a "person
with a wide vision." (Helsingen Sanomat, 9 Aug 97; FBIS-WEU-97-240)
by Kate Martin