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The NIS Obvserved: An Analytical Review
Volume IV Number 18(15 November 1999)

Russian Federation

Executive Branch by Susan J. Cavan
Foreign Relations by Chandler Rosenberger
and Sarah K. Miller
Domestic Issues & Legislative Branch by Michael DeMar Thurman
Armed Forces by LCDR James J. Duke Jr.
and LtCol Jill Skelton

Newly Independent States

CIS by Sarah K. Miller
Western Region by Tammy Lynch
Caucasus by Miriam Lanskoy
Central Asia by Monika Shepherd
Baltic States by Kate Martin

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The NIS Observed: An Analytical Review
Volume IV, Number 18 (15 November 1999)


Leadership questions

President Boris Yel'tsin has finally confirmed that he will be attending the OSCE summit in Istanbul this week, however, serious doubts about his control of Russia's Chechnya policy have emerged. Since the onset of the attack on Chechnya, Yel'tsin clearly laid political responsibility for the conduct of the war on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. When the possibility of political talks threatened the military campaign, however, Yel'tsin abruptly cut short his Sochi vacation, apparently to reassure the General Staff that the military's plans to push further into Chechnya would trump any suggestion of a political settlement.

Several news accounts (Moskovsky komsomolets and Komsomol'skaya pravda among others) report that Chief of the General Staff Anatoli Kvashnin threatened to resign when he learned the Kremlin was considering suspending the military campaign to begin negotiations with the Chechen leadership. According to these reports, Chief of the President's Staff Aleksandr Voloshin and the presidential adviser on foreign affairs, Sergei Prikhodko, recommended commencing political talks, due, in part at least, to international pressure. Therein lies the good news in this story: The West can have some influence on Russian policy. Unfortunately in this case, the military seems to have short-circuited the decision-making process in order to redeem itself after the previous Chechen debacle.

Deputy Chief of the General Staff Valeri Manilov has denied that Kvashnin delivered an ultimatum to the president, but it is clear that any consideration of a halt to the war has been shelved. (IZVESTIA, 6 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis) Anatoli Chubais previewed the shift in The Family's position when he criticized a peace proposal from YABLOKO leader Grigori Yavlinsky, claiming it would "stab the Russian army in the back." (INTERFAX, 12 Nov 99; via Johnson's Russia List) President Yel'tsin, appearing with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, confirmed the new determination to reject international concerns and continue with the attack on Chechnya until every "terrorist was eliminated." (BBC WORLD SERVICE, 0921 EST, 15 Nov 99; via WBUR)

There have also been almost daily rumors and reports that the president will dismiss the prime minister. On Sunday, Yel'tsin, describing Putin in glowing terms, reaffirmed his support for the prime minister and reasserted his belief that Putin would make an appropriate successor: "With each day, I am convinced that it is the only solution for Russia...that Mr. Putin as president can pull Russia behind him." (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 1220 PST, 14 Nov 99; via ClariNet) How long the president's support will last, however, is always an open question.

Putin in print
Vladimir Putin presented the Russian government's position on Chechnya in the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times (14 Nov 99). In his article, Putin leaned quite heavily on the bombings in Moscow not only to justify the military response, but to attempt to evoke both sympathy and empathy from the American public. He cites American response to the bombing of the World Trade Center, but seems to forget that we investigated, arrested and prosecuted the terrorists responsible for that attack; we did not launch a saturation bombing in response.

In the end, Putin asks for the "understanding" of Russia's "friends abroad" as Russia continues to bomb and "liberate" Chechen cities. In order to reach understanding, however, one needs concrete answers to essential questions. Among the first I would ask are: Just what is the evidence of a Chechen connection to the Moscow bombings? How long has this military operation been planned? When will you be certain you've eliminated all the terrorists and just how far are you willing to go after them? Outside Russian borders?

Terror suspect detained
Speaking of the Moscow bombings, a spokesman from the Federal Security Services (FSB) has announced that one suspect is currently in custody and charged in connection with the apartment building explosions, and two other suspects, believed to be hiding in Chechnya, are being sought. (INTERFAX, 1106 GMT, 3 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1103, via World News Connection) The spokesman also unlinked the investigation into the apartment complex bombings and the bomb which exploded the Manege shopping mall, claiming that the shopping mall explosion was not necessarily a terrorist act.

The FSB are also warning that their intelligence reports suggest new acts of terrorism are likely to occur across Russia, specifically in Moscow, the Voronezh, Saratov and Rostov regions. (INTERFAX, 1035 GMT, 6 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1106, via World News Connection)

Shoigu still in office
Despite earlier plans to take a sabbatical from his post as emergencies minister in connection with his leadership of the new regional political movement, Unity, Sergei Shoigu will stay on at the ministry and is now heading up efforts to assist the refugees from the Chechen war.

by Susan J. Cavan

Aiding a Russia at war

Give the Russian government its due: It knows how to wipe clean the memory of its past transgressions. As stories of indiscriminate killing and mayhem poured out of beleaguered Chechnya, all the fretting over money laundering and misspent aid seemed trivial. The question now, for those willing to ask it, was whether the West could continue to fund a Russian government so bent on the murder of its own citizens. It was a question the Europeans were willing to raise, but one the White House seemed determined to ignore.

In the first blush of the war, European and American governments both softened their criticism of Moscow's methods with endorsement of its nominal goals. The Russians, all agreed, had an unquestioned right to fight "terrorists"; the only question was whether they were going about it in the right way. Now no one but Turkey, with restless Kurds on its mind, is still singing along to Russia's "anti-terrorism" tune. Dropping Russia's cover story, however, is not the same as criticizing its actions.

Backbone in Europe
Here the Europeans have been far tougher on Russia than the White House has. Jean-Pierre Masseret, the French Secretary of State for Defense, condemned Russia's attacks on civilian areas of Chechnya as "unacceptable"; his government later infuriated Moscow by welcoming Chechnya's unofficial "foreign minister" in Paris. (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 10 Nov 99; via ClariNet) A German official responsible for economic cooperation said Russia deserved economic sanctions just as richly as Serbia had during its Kosovo campaign. (DPA, 30 Oct 99; BBC Worldwide Monitoring, via lexis-nexis)

The Europeans have also been turning the diplomatic screws. European Union officials refused to sign agreements on economic and technical cooperation during an EU-Russia summit in Helsinki, even though the Russians had come fully armed with films purportedly showing Chechens torturing their captives. The Council of Europe called on Moscow to end the war and "abstain from any human rights violations or raids on civilian populations." (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 5 Nov 99)

The greatest blow to Russia's hopes, however, came behind closed doors. Moscow had wanted to renegotiate the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, which limits the number of troops it may deploy in the Caucasus. But technocrats of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sponsors the treaty, failed to agree on a new draft during a session in Vienna. (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 8 Nov 99) It seems unlikely that Moscow will have its way when the full OSCE meets in Istanbul on 18 November.

America: aiding and abetting?
In comparison to the outrage of the Europeans, American words and deeds were meek. US President Bill Clinton was alleged to have criticized the Russian premier in private talks during a summit in Norway, but in public would only warn that the war might "entail major loss of life of innocent people" and thus "affect Russia's international reputation, which it's been working very hard to restore." (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 3 Nov 99) Clinton threatened no reprisals. Putin appeared to ignore him.

Why does the White House seem so soft in comparison with European governments? The Clinton administration appears to believe that Russia will pose the greatest threat if its economy collapses and military hard-liners and freelancing nuclear weapons experts emerge from the chaos. Speaking at Georgetown University on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Clinton evoked a Russia that cannot receive too much aid. America's top foreign policy priority was "building the right kind of partnership with Russia -- a Russia that is stable, democratic and cooperatively engaged with the West. That is difficult to do," Clinton said, "because Russia is struggling economically."

Russia's transformation, Clinton said, "is incomplete; it is awkward. Sometimes it is not pretty." But America had to help regardless. "Years from now, I don't think we will be criticized, any of us, for doing too much to help," Clinton said. "But we can certainly be criticized if we do too little." (SPEECH OF PRESIDENT CLINTON, 8 Nov 99, at Georgetown University; via

But Clinton's policy of pay first, ask questions later was coming under attack even before the war in Chechnya reached its current ferocity. Russia is still waiting for a tranche of $640 million in loans from the International Monetary Fund that was held up last summer when a banking scandal raised fears that aid was being stolen. (The NIS Observed, 27 Sep 99) The Russian government has not yet met the new conditions the IMF imposed in the wake of the revelations.

As the war in Chechnya has expanded, Russia's financial plight has grown worse. The government estimates it must pay $155 million more a month in soldiers' salaries and will spend between $1.5 billion and $1.9 billion on military hardware. (NORASCO-RUSSIA JOURNAL, 25 Oct 99; via Leaving moral considerations aside, the war has given the IMF financial reasons to withhold the upcoming tranche -- Russia's big defense bill has blown the limits the IMF set for next year's budget. (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 3 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis)

Not that Russia's rulers see the relevance of any moral considerations. With a technocrat's arrogance, longtime Yel'tsin advisor Anatoly Chubais dismissed talk that the money-laundering scandal would affect the IMF loan. "Some people in the West," Chubais said, "would like to insert into a normal negotiation process populist and hysterical statements about the laundering of the $100 to $500 billion misappropriated by Russia bandits," an argument that Chubais said "grossly violates IMF principles." (INTERFAX, 3 Nov 99) Ironically, Chubais himself has helped delay the IMF funds: As director of Russia's largest electricity company, he has refused to yield to demands that he privatize five regional branches of the company. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 11 Nov 99)

Besides, the Russian government seemed as quick to blame the Chechens for fraud as it had been to blame them for terrorism. "One has to bear in mind," Putin told Russia's regional governors, "that for a number of years, Chechnya has been a black hole into which billions of roubles and dollars have disappeared without a trace." Moscow was not merely misspending IMF money again, Putin claimed; if anything, it was plugging a "channel for the flight of Russian money, including its flight abroad." (RUSSIAN PUBLIC TV, 13 Oct 99; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, via lexis-nexis) Add tricky accounting to the list of Chechen crimes.

At hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, human rights activist Yelena Bonner painted a different picture: Aid is not the part of the solution, but part of the problem. The rulers of Russia, Bonner reminded the committee, were deeply discredited by the very way in which they used the aid they had already received. The current war, she noted, exploded just after the depth of the government's abuse of power had been revealed -- and just in time to cover its stench.

"For the presidential administration, for government ministers, and for Duma politicians," Bonner said, "the war is needed to resuscitate patriotic slogans and divert the public's attention from corruption and financial scandals to the enemy -- in this situation, the Chechens." (FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, 4 Nov 99) Aid sent to Moscow now, in other words, will merely help the Kremlin erase the memory of how aid was abused in the past.

Your tax dollars at work
Bonner was quite sure what further aid would buy. "[T]he Russian generals are trying to annihilate a large part of the Chechen nation and drive out those who survive from their native land," Bonner told US Senators. "This is genocide. This is not just another routine violation of human rights -- this is a crime against humanity. And this can no longer be exclusively the internal affair of Russia, no matter how often President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Putin try to assert this point of view."

Worse, there have been signs that Russian troops might use chemical or biological weapons. The security services, for example, have been planting insidious stories that Chechens will use such weapons first. The same papers that repeat these unconfirmed tales have been bloodthirsty in their calls for revenge against the Chechen "terrorists."

"It is necessary to put the question before Chechnya," Komsomol'skaya pravda thundered "either they cease all military activity on Russian territory or face the physical destruction of the whole republic with air raids, bacterial weapons, psychotropic nerve gas, napalm, everything that our once-strong army has at its disposal." (THE MOSCOW TIMES, 15 Oct 99; via lexis-nexis)

Western governments must now decide: Do they want to wait to see what new course the war they are helping to fund takes? Or is Russia's slaughter in the Caucasus already disturbing enough?

by Chandler Rosenberger

* * * * *

Russia's multi- (military-technical) polar diplomacy
Renewing old friendships isn't always easy, but it helps if you have military production licenses for sale. The "strategic triangle" concept may not have worked to bring India and Russia closer together, but Russia has found other ways to boost ties with India. In early November, Russian and Indian representatives signed a protocol paving the way for a formal military-technical cooperation agreement to be signed next year. Russia has pursued better relations with India as part of its multipolar strategy of diplomatic engagement. Despite its lack of interest in the "strategic triangle," India quickly accepted a "military-technical cooperation" proposal from its "closest friend," according to Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes. (INTERFAX, 1516 GMT, 9 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1109, via World News Connection) The military-technical agreement not only contributes to Russia's political strategy but also its economic objectives. Under the new agreement, Russia and India will establish joint arms production ventures and India will possibly receive a production license for Su-30 aircraft. (ITAR-TASS, 1656 GMT, 5 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1102, via World News Connection)

Meanwhile, Russia is moving right along in China, using its strategic-cooperative partnership with its former foe to pursue diplomatic and economic objectives. According to a Chinese source, Russia and China are consolidating plans to invigorate cooperation over the next five years. By the reported plan, China will buy and help Russia produce high-tech weaponry worth $20 billion. Measures to increase cooperation will include joint military exercises, military intelligence exchanges, and a new mechanism for joint production. (BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 2 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis) In conjunction with other economic initiatives and border control cooperation, Russo-Chinese relations are the best they've been in years. It seems that seeing eye to eye on international issues and Russia's multipolar strategy has had an impact on the bilateral economic relationship as well.

Even in Libya, which was under UN sanctions until April 1999, Russia has quickly resumed its military-technical diplomacy. Russian and Libyan officials are currently discussing a $1 billion deal by which Russia would upgrade and rearm Libya's military in exchange for oil and gas. The Soviet government had used a similar energy-for-arms arrangement. (INTERFAX, 1307 GMT, 26 Oct 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1026, via World News Connection)

Meanwhile, Russia is not boasting about cooperative military-technical ventures with Iran. Following reports that Iranian and Russian companies were secretly importing missile components and weapons of mass destruction into Iran, both governments issued categorical denials. Russian Prime Minister Putin has even defended Russian defense contractors, saying that while the government won't turn a blind eye to proliferation, he won't allow Russian companies to be forced out of the international arms markets. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 3 Nov 99)

All of these efforts indicate that, while Russian diplomacy rests on the theory of multipolarism, the fuel and incentive behind it is the promise of military-technical deals for nations with long ties to Russian assistance. With this kind of precedent and economic incentive, military-technical diplomacy is naturally proving to be Russia's favored option.

by Sarah K. Miller

CEC certifies 28 electoral blocs for the Duma election
The blocs are presented in the order in which they will appear on the ballots:
Conservative Movement of Russia; Russian All-People's Union; Women of Russia; Spas (The Savior); Stalin Bloc-for the USSR; YABLOKO; Working People of Russia-for the Soviet Union; Peace-Labor-May; Bloc of Gen Nikolaev and Academician Fedorov; Spiritual Heritage; Congress of Russian Communities and Yuri Boldyrev's Movement; Peace and Unity Party; Russian Party for the Protection of Women; Bear (Unity interregional movement); Social Democrats; (Movement) in Support of the Army, (the Defense Industry and Military Science); Zhirinovsky's Bloc; For Civic Dignity; Fatherland-All Russia; Communist Party of the Russian Federation; Russian Cause; All-Russian Political Party of the People; Union of Right Forces; Kedr (Cedar Ecological Party of Russia); Our Home is Russia; Socialist Party of Russia; Party of Pensioners; and Russian Socialist Party. (ITAR-TASS, 0850 GMT, 5 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1105, via World News Connection)

Ballots for election from the single-member districts will not only contain the candidate's name and party affiliation, they will also contain information about a candidate's past criminal record and if he or she is presently under criminal investigation. The ballot will also register if a candidate holds a foreign passport, an issue of popular concern in the past. (ITAR-TASS, 1544 GMT, 29 Oct 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1029, via World News Connection)

Even though the parties have been registered, there are still a few issues to clear up. Minister of Justice Yuri Chaika has vowed to disqualify the far right party, Spas (The Savior), by filing a suit with a Moscow court. The minister argued that Spas' registration papers were not in order, the CEC's findings notwithstanding. Spas apparently does not have the requisite number of local chapters to register as a national party, and it seems that some of the chapters it claimed existed are not in fact there.

But Chaika had other concerns. "People sharing Nazi ideology cannot run for elected government bodies in Russia [T]he Justice Ministry should have broader powers to stop such associations." (INTERFAX, 1032 GMT, 2 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1102, via World News Connection)

It is not at all clear if Chaika will succeed, of course. Two issues are at stake: Can a fragile society such as Russia's tolerate anti-system parties? The new Federal Republic of Germany found it could not and banned the Nazi party and similar organizations, although that ran counter to its commitment to free speech and association. On this level, banning Spas might make sense. However, Russia must begin to rely on the rule of law and learn that an inconvenient law cannot be ignored or circumvented. If Spas was legally registered, it should not be revoked by the fiat of the Justice Ministry. So if Chaika succeeds in banning or disqualifying Spas, let us hope it will be by the successful application of law and not by its abrogation.

CEC draws lots for airtime, warns of legal spending limits
Aleksander Veshnyakov, chairman of the Central Electoral Commission, warned that election blocs or parties that exceed legal spending limits, will be immediately withdrawn from the race. By law, election blocs or parties are allowed to spend no more than 42 million rubles, and in no case exceed that amount by more than 0.5 percent. Veshnyakov said that, on 9 December, election blocs and parties are to submit spending and donor reports. These data will be made public. In the absence of violations, the blocs and parties will receive an additional 200,000 to 250,000 rubles from the government. (ITAR-TASS, 1107 GMT, 5 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1105, via World News Connection)

Participating electoral blocs and parties have drawn lots to distribute free airtime on six radio stations as well as on ORT, RTR, and TVC television networks. Broadcasting will begin on 19 November. Each station is required to provide one hour of airtime per day, not including weekends, for the use of electoral blocs and parties. Additionally, one-third of free airtime must be in the form of debates or discussions, not just the airing of campaign spots. If a small party does not receive two percent of the vote in the general election, it will be required to pay for its "free" airtime.

The lots drawn have netted the following, rather interesting results, including: YABLOKO will debate Spas on Luzhkov's Center TV; Zhirinovsky will go head to head with Zyuganov on ORT, as will Medved (acronym for the pro-Yel'tsin Unity party led by Sergei Shoigu) and Fatherland-All Russia. On RTR, the All-Russia Movement in Support of the Army, the Defense Industry, and Military Science will take on the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Also on Center TV, the Women of Russia will debate the Russian Party for the Protection of Women, and the CPRF will debate the Stalinist Bloc for the USSR. (KOMMERSANT DAILY, 10 Nov 99; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, via lexis-nexis)

Berezovsky registers as Duma candidate
Kremlin insider and "oligarch" Boris Berezovsky has registered to run for the Duma in district 15 in Karachaevo-Cherkessia. To be sure, running for the Duma seems to be a popular thing to do. But why would someone as powerful as Berezovsky be interested in such a powerless post? Berezovsky must certainly be concerned about the post-Yel'tsin period; sitting in the Duma, he would enjoy parliamentary immunity from prosecution. Another interesting point is that he is running from the troubled region of Karachaevo-Cherkessia in the Caucasus. The region is bordered by the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and the Russian Federation regions of Krasnodar, Karbardino-Balkaria, and Stavropol. Is it because Berezovsky thinks he stands a better chance in a faraway region, torn by ethnic distrust? Is it because his deep pockets can buy him success in a poorer part of the country? Does he have business or personal contacts among local notables who would help him win? Only time will tell. (INTERFAX, 0854 GMT, 3 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1103, via World News Connection)

by Michael DeMar Thurman

ABM treaty fireworks

Russia announced the launching of an antiballistic missile on 3 November from the Saryshagan test site in Kazakhstan. Russian strategic forces Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev said the launch should be seen in the context of "possible symmetrical and asymmetrical response measures" if the US amends or withdraws from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 4 Nov 99) The US State Department found the launch "distressing." Fortunately, US Defense Secretary William Cohen's comments were more relevant: "It only proves they have an ABM system, which we do not." A US Department of Defense spokesman later emphasized that only Russian public announcements of the launch had been received, while hard evidence to back up the claim still was being sought. (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 5 Nov 99)

Russia's present ABM system became operational in 1989. In accordance with the ABM treaty, the system is comprised of 100 missile interceptors and associated radar systems intended to protect Moscow from ballistic missile attacks. Russia's system, although relatively new, has a major weakness: it cannot protect against a large-scale ballistic missile attack. However, the system could provide defense from a limited missile attack or accidental launch. (SOVIET MILITARY POWER, US Department of Defense, 1990) This is precisely the goal of the proposed US National Missile Defense (NMD) program.

Why is Russia so vehemently opposed to the US NMD effort? Moscow may be trying to extract huge concessions from the US, such as reducing Russian and US nuclear arsenals to 1,000-1,500 warheads. Such a reduction would require complete restructuring of the US nuclear triad and even places the triad's viability in question. Russia benefits because it would no longer feel pressured to maintain nuclear warhead levels it cannot afford; a level reduction would allow for the maintenance of strategic and associated political parity with the US. Russia's arms race threats and recent efforts to internationalize the dispute and turn world opinion against the US reflect its desire to harass and inhibit US intentions whenever possible. Russia's alleged missile launch is just another act, albeit a clumsy one, indicating it believes the US is the fundamental threat to its national security.

Chemical weapons in Chechnya?
The propaganda battle between Russia and Chechnya took a new turn when Russia's military spokesmen warned of Chechen fighters seen on the outskirts of Dzhokhar "wearing special white uniforms" associated with handling chemical weapons. Chechnya responded by accusing Russia of waging a disinformation campaign. Chechnya believes the disinformation campaign is a Russian ploy to provide an excuse to use chemical weapons on the Chechens. (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 9 Nov 99) Prior to 8 November, Moscow never reported a possible Chechen chemical weapons capability. When Russians entered Chechnya to remove the "terrorist bandits," they did not raise the possibility of Chechen chemical weapons either. Russian forces in Chechnya may use chemical weapons to resolve the ongoing conflict. Supposedly gas masks have already been distributed to Russian troops. Central European intelligence sources believe this is part of preparations for the final phase of Russia's plans to destroy Chechnya. (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10 Nov 99)

There is no doubt that Russia's army has the capability to use chemical weapons. However, Chechnya's ability to use such weapons is doubtful even under the most inflated intelligence estimates. Although the Chechens possess delivery vehicles (artillery), the handling and use of chemical projectiles requires an extraordinary level of technical sophistication not observed in the Chechen military. For reliability reasons, a chemical projectile must be meticulously maintained. The projectile's complex fuse must be set to explode at a precise altitude above enemy troop formations. A shell exploding at too high an altitude or after ground impact nullifies the chemical's effectiveness. The disorganized Chechen resistance does not even wear uniforms, therefore, the assertion they have the capability to employ chemical weapons is dubious. Chemical weapons usage is also not compatible with the Chechen's hit-and-run guerrilla warfare tactics. On the other hand, Russia has a motive to use chemical weapons and end the conflict quickly. The challenges of maintaining morale and fighting effectiveness in deployed units through the Caucasus winter, coupled with growing international outcry over the conflict, may force the Russian military to end the conflict soon. Russian generals have threatened revolt, however, if Moscow politicians repeat the 1994-96 war's negotiated settlement. (INTERFAX, 0964 GMT, 4 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1104, via World News Connection) The complete absence of civilian oversight over Russia's forces in Chechnya gives the military an unfettered hand to wage the Caucasus conflict. Employing chemical weapons would be an efficient military means to crush the Chechen resistance. The political fallout is an entirely different issue.

by LCDR James J. Duke Jr.


* * * * *

Russian generals send out ominous signals
In an unprecedented move, senior field commanders in Chechnya have warned Russian leaders that they would react unfavorably to any halt in current military actions. A number of Russian generals stated that if the military operation were to be terminated short of completing the stated objectives to destroy Chechen terrorists and take control of Chechnya, they would resign their commissions. General Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the western grouping of forces in Chechnya, stated on 4 November, that "there will be a powerful exodus of officers of various ranks, including generals from the armed forces, because the officer's corps may not survive another slap in the face." He went even further to state that "with such a course of developments the country will be driven to the brink of civil war." (INTERFAX, 0946 GMT, 4 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1104, via World News Connection) Col Gen Viktor Kazantsev, commander of North Caucasus federal forces, stated on 10 November that the operation in Chechnya must not be suspended. If this ever happens, he said, Russia will perish. (INTERFAX, 1019 GMT, 10 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1110, via World News Connection)

Senior Russian military leaders were quick to refute the implied threat of these statements. Defense Minister Sergeev assured politicians and the public that the military was under control and insisted that Shamanov would follow orders. "He is a subordinate, and is and will be under control." (THE WASHINGTON POST, 12 Nov 99) Col Gen Valery Manilov, first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, described the statements as "emotional outbursts" which did not reflect the real position of the leadership of federal forces. (ITAR-TASS, 1437 GMT, 11 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1111, via World News Connection)

Despite these assurances, it is clear that the Russian generals in Chechnya are flexing their muscles and not just at the Chechens. Particularly for those in the West, this concept of the military threatening civilian leadership is very foreign and disturbing, and to understand it one must consider the current situation surrounding Chechnya. Two of the military's unstated objectives from the beginning have been to restore their credibility and to exact revenge following their demoralizing defeat in the previous Chechen 1994-96 war. (NIS Observed, 18 Oct 99) In order to do this they must overwhelmingly defeat the Chechen resistance. To end the conflict before they can say this has been accomplished would leave the military with only a qualified victory. A negotiated settlement would be held up as an ultimate victory for Russia, but would not allow the military to ride off the battlefield with the enemy's banner on its lance.

Throughout the present Chechen conflict, it has been clear that the Russian leadership has pretty much given the military commanders a free hand in conducting operations. The Russian armed forces have been strongly supported by President Yel'tsin and Prime Minister Putin. Additionally there has to this point been overwhelming public support. Even after the first ugly rumblings of Russian military threats began to surface, instead of coming down hard on the ringleaders, Russian officials were quick to placate them -- promising to keep going in Chechnya and withdrawing any suggestion that military operations would be curtailed. (INTERFAX, 0827 GMT, 3 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1103, via World News Connection)

The aura of power created by unlimited authority given to the military in Chechnya is further strengthened by the confusing, often conflicting, statements and actions coming out of the Russian civilian leadership. For instance, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and a top aide to President Yel'tsin, Igor Shabdurasulov, announced recently that Russia was eager to start negotiations with appropriate Chechen representatives. They were contradicted by another senior official, Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Rushailo, who said that there would be no negotiations until all terrorists were eliminated. These confusing signals are not just limited to Russian politicians. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev recently appeared to change his mind regarding the length of military actions in Chechnya. Originally he took an open-ended position, stating that Russian troops would occupy Chechnya "for a long time" and would not stop until "all of Chechnya" was taken. However, on 12 November he said "there is a chance the operation will be over by the end of the year." Sergeev's statements come amidst rumors of friction among senior military officials, particularly between Sergeev and Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin. These rumors became serious enough for Sergeev to issue a rare public statement denying a split between him and Kvashnin. (THE WASHINGTON POST, 12 Nov 99)

A final factor that must exist within the minds of the Russian military is the outlook for improved support. It has been clear for many years that the Russian military is seriously underfunded; soldiers are not paid, weapons are deteriorating, new and state-of-the art weapons are not forthcoming as needed, training is seriously curtailed, and morale is at an all-time low. In October, soldiers in the Altai Territory took over a local electrical power station. The power had been cut off to their base because of unpaid bills. If the military can come out of Chechnya as the victor's champion, then this may lay the groundwork for an increased defense budget and improved conditions for the armed forces. To take a dramatic view, soldiers are not only fighting for their literal lives; the military also is fighting for its future.

About that electrical power station...
In early October, an armed military patrol assigned to the Altai Territory reportedly took control of the Himprom power substation belonging to the North Eastern Power Grid System. Apparently the patrol, arriving in an armored personnel carrier, took over the facility, going so far as to set up a perimeter defense. What is more amazing, according to ITAR-TASS, is that this is not an isolated event: Soldiers have stormed other substations in the district as well. They have threatened electrical workers and placed sentries at the control boards. The reason for the military's actions is an inability to pay power bills. According to the Altaienergo Power Company, the military's debt has reached 44 million rubles and is growing. The power company says it cannot give energy away for free. The military argues it does not have the money to pay. (ITAR-TASS, 1053 GMT, 27 Oct 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1027, via World News Connection)

This story brings to light, once again, the increasingly dire circumstances of the Russian armed forces, particularly the army. According to Col Gen Georgy Oleynik, chief of the Main Directorate for Military Budget and Finance, in real terms funding for the Russian armed forces declined by a factor of more than four over the last year. It is estimated that the military owes its suppliers approximately 48 billion rubles for weapons and equipment, foodstuffs, clothing and related gear, and railroad and aviation transportation. (ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA, 4 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1104 via World News Connection)

by Lt Col Jill Skelton

The new enemy

Thanks to Russian rhetoric, the CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) has identified a new threat other than the West. With "terrorism" flaring up in Chechnya and Central Asia, and Russian anti-terrorism rhetoric stoking the flames, the Russian-led CST has been busy finding ways to protect the CIS.

In early November, the CST members carried out a week-long joint command and staff exercise, "Southern Shield Commonwealth-99," to rehearse and test joint "anti-terrorism" tactics. The exercise, described as "the most realistic yet," by Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, was followed by a meeting of the CIS Security Council's Group to discuss a new joint "anti-terrorist" defense force. (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 5 Nov 99) Leading the way on the exercise and new initiative was Russia, which seeks to expand its influence in the CST and CIS as a whole. Russia enjoys a dominant position in the CST; no other member seems to have the military strength or will to rival it.

Rule of law-based appeal made to CE
The CIS Interparliamentary Assembly (IPA) did its bit for the war effort earlier this month when its representatives traveled to the Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg. The IPA's representatives presented their findings from a tour of the North Caucasus and successfully persuaded the body to adopt a less anti-Russian position regarding the situation in Chechnya. The Russian head of delegation for the IPA apparently convinced his counterparts in the Council of Europe with his rule of law-based appeal. He argued that the Chechen problem must be solved within the framework of the Russian Constitution. He did, however, welcome any humanitarian aid to those displaced by the ongoing bombing campaign. (ROSSISKAYA GAZETA, 5 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1105, via World News Connection) Even through the CIS, the Russians have found a way to remind the West that the issue is an internal one.

by Sarah K. Miller

How to lose an election 101
Just hours after President Leonid Kuchma was named the winner in Sunday's
run-off election in Ukraine, his spokesman, Olexandr Martynenko, exclaimed, "We were counting on just such a result." (REUTERS, 15 Nov 99; via America Online)

They must have been, given the ineptitude of the campaign run by Petro Symonenko and his Communist Party. Despite fairly recent opinion polls suggesting that a majority of Ukrainians support a market-based economy and do not favor a return to central planning, Symonenko campaigned loudly for just such a thing. Despite the fact that most Ukrainians have expressed aversion toward Soviet-era symbols, Symonenko waved the old Soviet flag, and marched alongside pictures of Stalin at rallies. Despite the opposition of a majority of Ukrainians to joining a union with Russia and Belarus, Symonenko made that very task one of the central points of his manifesto. Ukraine, Symonenko said, "needs actual, not merely verbal integration with Russia," and then suggested that his country stop developing independent industry. "Instead of putting so much strength and resources into building additional industrial facilities, one should restore economic cooperation [with Russia]." (INTERFAX, 11 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis) And finally, despite widespread support (with the notable exception of Eastern Ukraine) for keeping Ukrainian as the only state language, Symonenko suggested making Russian one of "two national languages."

All President Kuchma had to do was sit back and watch, while continually reminding people that they must vote to guard against a Communist victory.

The ending to the election story was actually predicted by some observers to be much closer. When discussing the decision of former candidate Yevhen Marchuk to support Kuchma in the second round, for example, the Financial Times wrote, "On October 31, the left-wing parties won 45 percent of the vote ... in the first round of voting, and Mr. Kuchma gathered 36 percent. Analysts say most of the left's votes should go to Mr. Symonenko on Sunday, meaning Mr. Marchuk's eight percent could be critical in determining the winner." (FINANCIAL TIMES LONDON, 11 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis)

This was before Symonenko began giving extended press conferences, however. Curiously, in a country where access to the media was limited for many of Kuchma's opponents, Symonenko suddenly seemed to be allowed much more coverage at the end of the second-round campaign. Kuchma seemed to discover that, with some candidates, the more people see, the less of a threat there will be for him.

Of course, following the election, Symonenko complained that the election results were "falsified." (REUTERS, 15 Nov 99; via America Online) What he failed to realize, however, was that no falsification was necessary at the end of the second round. Kuchma couldn't have fixed the outcome any better if he had scripted it himself -- thanks to Symonenko, his yearning for a Slavic Union, and his pictures of Stalin.

Union treaty signing just days away! Well ... maybe not
If this were the pre-digital 1980s, it would be easy to wonder, when listening to rhetoric about the Union Treaty, if we were listening to a broken vinyl record. Unfortunately, we are not. Instead, observers of this Belarus-Russia "unification" process are forced to read new, but almost identical statements, made over, and over, and over. Last week, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced that the Union Treaty would soon be signed. In fact, he claimed that the signing would occur on 25 November in Moscow. (INTERFAX, 1243 GMT, 9 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1109, via World News Connection)

Hmmmm. Where have we heard this before?

Let us return to December of 1998, the day after the outline for the Union Treaty was signed by Boris Yel'tsin and Lukashenka. Following the joint Yel'tsin-Lukashenka press conference, Interfax reported, "In February [of 1999], a special agreement should be signed that will regulate prices and tariffs on goods and services in transport, communications, energy and gas industries. Also in February, the pricing principles of the two countries should be standardized." In addition, a plan would reportedly be implemented "to secure the mutual convertibility of the two currencies." (INTERFAX, 1318 GMT, 25 Dec 98; FBIS-SOV-98-359, via World News Connection)

Fast forward past the original February deadline to 5 July 1999. "The treaty with Byelorussia (sic) is ready," then-Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said. "All will be decided within a month." (ITAR-TASS, 5 Jul 99; via lexis-nexis) Later in July, Stepashin claimed, "The treaty may be signed as early as this autumn." (NTV, 1200 GMT, 7 Jul 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-0707, via World News Connection)

By September, newly appointed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had given up on the "autumn" idea, and stated that he "would like the signing of the union treaty to take place before the presidential elections [in June 2000]." (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 8 Sep 99; via lexis-nexis)

Now, we come to 25 November 1999. May we have a show of hands? Will the treaty be signed on that day? Those who answered negatively aren't alone. Just four days before Lukashenka made his statement, members of the Russian Federation Council began examining the treaty. Member Nikolai Volodin explained that it would probably not be signed "before the year is up." (ITAR-TASS, 1544 GMT, 5 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1105, via World News Connection)

Of course, as long as the treaty is debated and discussed in Belarus, the mounting pressure on Lukashenka to take part in OSCE-mediated talks with his opposition won't be. Gee, maybe this broken Union Treaty record has a point, after all.

Power struggle dooms cabinet
For months now, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi has been demanding increased powers in order to deal with the crises that have gripped his nation. To secure these powers, Lucinschi has been attempting to call a referendum that would change Moldova's status to a presidential republic.

For months now, the Moldovan parliament has blocked Lucinschi's attempts to increase his power, and has pointed out that only the parliament may call for a referendum. Recently, the country's Constitutional Court sided with parliament, frustrating Lucinschi's hopes for a referendum.

One of the most important powers that the proposed referendum would have granted the president was the ability to choose his own cabinet, without taking into consideration party blocs, and without asking for parliament's approval. Now, it appears that Lucinschi will not be granted this power.

As president, however, Lucinschi does hold the power to help influence the effectiveness of the cabinet in place. His influence has been particularly important in the last year, as the Communist Party has grown more boisterous and has repeatedly attempted to stop the reforms instituted by the ruling coalition. This week, Lucinschi appears to have used that influence very effectively, but not to shore up the unstable, reformist cabinet. He used it instead to let the Communists tear down that government. It seems that if Lucinschi can't have his own cabinet, he doesn't want any cabinet. So there.

When Prime Minister Ion Sturza pushed for IMF-requested legislation that would have privatized a large portion of the country's wine and tobacco industries, Lucinschi did little, if anything, to support him. When the parliament, as expected, rejected that legislation, Lucinschi blamed the cabinet for its ineffectiveness. When the parliament announced plans to call for a vote of no confidence, Lucinschi refused to interfere. When the government fell, Lucinschi kicked it while it was down. "If I were a lawmaker, I would have cast my vote for the dismissal of Premier Ion Sturza," Lucinschi said, and criticized "the inability of the cabinet to cope with the economic crisis and corruption." (BASAPRES, 1751 GMT, 8 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1109, via World News Connection, and ITAR-TASS, 9 Nov 99; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, via lexis-nexis)

Unfortunately, the government's fall came just as the IMF and other Western financial institutions were beginning to have faith in Sturza's reform programs. The IMF and World Bank both recently began lending to the country again, after cutting off funding for months. Sturza had begun to build relationships with the country's neighbors, and had been reaching out, with increasing success, to both the European Union and NATO. Already, discussions about Moldova's participation in the Partnership for Peace program have been delayed, the IMF and World Bank have again cut off funding, and Romania has cut desperately needed electricity supplies, canceling a just-negotiated payment plan. Romanian Industry and Trade Minister Radu Berceanu may have spoken for more people than he realized when he explained, "Now we no longer have partners for dialogue." (ROMPRES NEWS AGENCY, 0724 GMT, 11 Nov 99; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, via lexis-nexis)

It's going to be a cold winter.

by Tammy Lynch

Define 'minimum'
Russia continues its unabashed destruction of Chechen villages and cities, ignoring the growing chorus of international concern. The OSCE delegation which visited tent camps in Ingushetia in the second week of November warned that the "significant humanitarian problem," characterized by a lack of medicine, heat, and sanitation, would be exacerbated with the onset of winter. (ASSOCIATED PRESS and DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR, 11 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis) Yet, even that high level and officially sanctioned delegation was not permitted to see the scale of destruction in the Russian-controlled northern districts of Chechnya.

In comparison with other humanitarian organizations, the OSCE delegation used very guarded language. Others have been more forthright on the matter. CARE's representative in Ingushetia, Jurgen Bartelis, blamed President Yel'tsin for the conduct of the war, saying "It is inhumane because he is trying to annihilate an entire people." ( The veteran Russian human rights campaigner Yelena Bonner told the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that Russian actions in Chechnya constitute "genocide." (FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, 4 Nov 99)

Although human rights groups have called attention to the atrocities being committed in Chechnya, the US government has not articulated a similar degree of outrage. President Clinton's comment, that the US is pressing for a "minimization of civilian casualties," could only be interpreted as a green light in the Kremlin. (VANCOUVER SUN, 10 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis) This very unfortunate wording makes it sound as if some degree of civilian casualties is permissible, when according to the Geneva convention it is strictly forbidden.

Naturally, the Russian policymakers have not responded to such feeble pleas. In fact some of the recent statements from Russian officials are even more troubling than the rhetoric had been earlier in this war.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and envoy to Chechnya Nikolai Koshman advised residents of Dzhokar to leave the city through a temporary humanitarian corridor. He also suggested that Dzhokhar would not be rebuilt since the devastation of the last war and the present war is irreparable. Instead, Gudermes, Chechnya's second city which was taken over by the Russians on 14 November, could become the new capital. (INTERFAX, 15 Nov 99; via lexis-nexis) Koshman's comments indicate just how severely the city has suffered, a far cry from the earlier Russian promises not to engage in an all-out war or attempt to take the major cities. Aside from the practical advantage of setting up a government in a city the Russians already control, moving the capital to Gudermes also serves a symbolic purpose: Dzhokhar, named posthumously for the first Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, represents Chechnya's independence movement and its defiance of the Russian state.

Major General Vladimir Shamanov denied Chechen reports that he had threatened artillery bombardment against Argun unless the elders of that town agreed to force out the local fighters. Shamanov said his men would conduct negotiations with elders in the town, "so they can drive the rebels out of their villages themselves." (ASSOCIATED PRESS, 16 Nov 99; via Chechnya List) The approach of convincing the elders to give up the town in return for promises to spare the civilian population is not new. This was standard operating procedure during the last war. In fact, the most famous massacre of that war, in Sumashki, occurred in April 1995 after the village elders had convinced the fighters to withdraw. Sumashki was captured by the Russians last week and, according to The Boston Globe, this time around the offensive was even more savage. (THE BOSTON GLOBE, 13 Nov 99)

Memorial, a leading Russian human rights group, recently stated that the military has revived the filtration camps which operated during the last war. In 1995 Memorial found that the camps, whose function ostensibly was to verify identification, were used to detain even Chechen men who had proper papers and carried no weapons. The group further concluded that the camps functioned with no legal basis and served to terrorize the men through a regime of beatings, starvation, and torture. Reportedly such camps function again, although now they are used to filter the "wahhabis" from the general population. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, 16 Nov 99; via Chechnya List)

How much longer can the Russian military bomb cities, villages, and humanitarian convoys before the US administration deems the destruction greater than "minimum?"

by Miriam Lanskoy

Uzbek rebels' retreat to Afghanistan brings only temporary end to crisis
The Uzbek rebels' release of the four Japanese hostages on 24 October (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 25 Oct 99) and their subsequent withdrawal from Tajikistan to Afghanistan during the first week of November temporarily ended the latest in a series of armed conflicts in Central Asia. The insurgents had left Kyrgyzstan's Batken District by the end of October, returning to their original refuge in eastern Tajikistan. (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 9 Nov 99) Following intensive negotiations with Tajikistan's Security Council Secretary Amirqul Azimov and former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) Commander-in-Chief Mirzo Ziyo (sometimes also called Zioyev), who is now minister for emergency situations, the rebels and their families relocated to Taliban-controlled territory in northern Afghanistan on 5-7 November. Major-General Ziyo's past links with the insurgents' leaders, who appear to include Juma(boi) Namangani, allegedly a former UTO supporter, apparently played a significant role in persuading the rebels to leave Tajik territory. (ITAR-TASS, 1249 GMT, 24 Oct 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1024, via World News Connection, and Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 9 Nov 99)

There are two other factors which may have been instrumental in achieving the rebels' withdrawal: an ultimatum issued by the Tajik government on 25 October, threatening the use of force against Mr. Namangani's supporters (ITAR-TASS, 0524 GMT, 25 Oct 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1025, via World News Connection), and statements by both the Russian and Uzbek defense ministers on 3 November, indicating that their governments may be planning a joint operation against the insurgents for next spring. The Uzbek government has blamed Juma Namangani's supporters, who are allegedly also connected to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (led by Tohir Yuldosh, who currently resides in Iran) for participating in the 16 February bomb attacks in Tashkent. Uzbek Defense Minister Hikmatullah Tursunov told journalists that he believes the insurgents are planning to invade Uzbekistan in the spring and that in order to forestall this attack and neutralize the rebels' forces, it will first be necessary to destroy their bases of operation in eastern Tajikistan. (REUTERS, 3 Nov 99; via Turkistan Newsletter) Mr. Tursunov did not mention whether the Tajik government had been consulted or even apprised of these plans.

The fact that the rebels have vacated Tajik territory need not deter either the Russian or Uzbek defense ministries from invading Tajikistan, once warmer weather returns to Central Asia. On the contrary, the insurgents' presence in northern Afghanistan may cause the Uzbek and Russian regimes to portray the threat of an Islamic terrorist invasion in even more inflated terms, claiming that Juma(boi) Namangani's forces have formed a military alliance with the Taliban and are planning to stage an Islamic revolution in all of Central Asia. Such a claim would provide both the Uzbek and Russian governments with a pretext for establishing military control over not only all of Tajikistan, but also over at least part of Kyrgyzstan, which shares borders with Afghanistan and Tajikistan and has shown itself to be vulnerable to outside attacks. The real issue is how long such a joint Uzbek-Russian military force would be able to withstand the already-existing tensions which have arisen as a result of each government's efforts to establish its hegemony over Central Asia.

Rahmonov re-elected after last-minute compromise with UTO
Tajikistan's first post-war presidential elections took place, as originally scheduled on 6 November, despite earlier calls for a boycott by the opposition candidates. According to most reports, the incumbent President Imomali Rahmonov easily won a second term. Thanks to a twelfth-hour compromise reached between UTO chairman Said Abdullo Nuri and Tajikistan's president, the elections were not interrupted by any violent incidents or opposition protests. At the same time, both the US State Department and the three opposition candidates (Dawlat Usmon, Saifiddin Turaev, and Sulton Kuvvatov; only Usmon's name was included on the ballot) have claimed widespread voter fraud. The opposition candidates have gone so far as to refuse to recognize the election results, based on their belief that less than the required 50 percent of Tajikistan's eligible voters actually went to the polls. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 9 Nov 99, and INTERFAX, 1500 GMT, 7 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1107, via World News Connection)

There were few international observers on hand to monitor the election proceedings, other than those from the CIS. The OSCE announced on 4 November that it would not send a monitoring team, stating that the Tajik elections had failed to meet its standards for a democratic polling process. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 4 Nov 99) The same day, a spokesman for the UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) told journalists that, although his office planned to send personnel to the voting stations, it would be solely for the purpose of providing advice on both the polling process and the vote-counting procedure. The spokesman also stated that none of the UN representatives would be permitted to comment publicly on the elections after they were completed. (ITAR-TASS, 1143 GMT, 4 Nov 99; FBIS-SOV-1999-1104, via World News Connection) Consequently, the only international officials who were able to monitor thoroughly the entire election process cannot share their evaluations of this rather significant milestone in the inter-Tajik peace process with the rest of the world. This seems an odd prohibition to place on an organization whose main role has been to supervise the implementation of the peace agreement and see that its terms are carried out fully. If the Tajik presidential elections were marked by voter fraud, then surely this would constitute a violation of the peace agreement and the UNMOT would be duty-bound to make the matter public.

The CIS observers, of course, reported that the elections took place without any procedural violations or irregularities. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 8 Nov 99) Somewhat surprisingly, Tajikistan's first deputy premier and deputy chairman of the UTO, Haji Akbar Turajonzoda, echoed their comments when he told journalists that in his opinion, the elections had been free and fair. He also repeated his previous condemnations of Dawlat Usmon's behavior during the election preparations, accusing him of having jeopardized Tajikistan's peace process. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 12 Nov 99) While Mr. Turajonzoda's colleague, UTO Chairman Said Abdullo Nuri, did not comment on the elections themselves, he expressed satisfaction that they were able to take place without incident and that the Tajik government had finally given in to the UTO's demands at his 5 November meeting with President Rahmonov. (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 10 Nov 99) It was as a result of this meeting that Mr. Nuri decided to lift the election boycott and recognize the voting outcome as valid. In return, the government has released another 93 opposition members from prison (RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 12 Nov 99) and has agreed to meet the demands the UTO originally issued with regard to the presidential elections in the upcoming parliamentary elections, which are slated to take place in February 2000. (Jamestown Foundation MONITOR, 11 Nov 99) Based both on what the UTO chairman said and on what he preferred to leave unsaid, it appears as though he decided to accept President Rahmonov's reign over Tajikistan's national government for a second term in return for the promise of genuinely competitive elections in parliament. Unfortunately, one needs to remember that President Rahmonov's promises to the UTO have all too often been sacrificed to his personal ambition.

by Monika Shepherd

Second verse, same as the first

Perhaps forgetting that he no longer leads the Russian government, or, more likely, trying to position himself for the job once more, former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov reiterated his oft-cited claim that "[t]here is a red line in NATO's enlargement, and that line runs along the borders of the former Soviet republics," last month in Moscow. (INTERFAX, 1028 GMT, 27 Oct 99; via World News Connection)

As Russian military action focuses on killing Chechen civilians, it apparently is left to those out of office to spout such mantras more for the sound of their own voice than in response to any real or imagined change in the alliance. Such statements do serve to underscore to Baltic leaders the continuation of Russian hegemonistic desires, and make Western alliances appear all the more attractive, however. Days after the Primakov statement, Latvian Foreign Minister Indulis Berzins, for example, pleaded with the Nordic states for support with his country's application to join the European Union. "I believe that Russia readily wants to retain the Baltic states as the grey zone. Why? Simply just because in the event Moscow becomes much stronger again it may use different mechanisms than currently for increasing its influence in this region...." Berzins said. (BALTIC NEWS SERVICE DAILY REPORT, 1700 GMT, 2 Nov 99)

While the Baltic states understandably continue to pursue NATO membership, there has been little talk in the international community of late to warrant Primakov's statement. Then again, the refrain that the Baltic states are trampling on the rights of Russian ex-servicemen who have stayed on Baltic territory lost some of its punch with a statement by a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), so maybe Primakov sang the other Baltic-related chorus simply out of habit. After all, in response to protesting against recent amendments to the Estonian Law on Aliens, OSCE representative Uwe Mahrenholtz determined that the amendments would not adversely affect the Russian-speaking population. The amendments will help the authorities to deal with ex-servicemen who have stayed in Estonia without permits, despite being provided housing in Russia through foreign assistance programs. During negotiations on troop withdrawal after Baltic independence, Russia often cited a lack of housing for demobilized servicemen as a reason for the delay of the process. In response, many countries donated money and materials to build new housing, residences which apparently are not being used for the purposes built, since many servicemen remain in the countries they occupied. About 500 persons received such housing and are therefore compelled to leave Estonia, but have not done so. "These people should not receive Estonian residence permits," Mahrenholtz said. (BALTIC NEWS SERVICE DAILY REPORT, 1900 GMT, 3 Nov 99)

Interestingly, another agreement that took a while to hammer out -- that of military transit -- also seems to be tripping up some members of the Russian military. For the fourth time this year, Lithuanian authorities detained a group of servicemen headed from Moscow to Kaliningrad without the appropriate permission. Nineteen members of the Russian military were removed from the Moscow-Kaliningrad train on 2 November until the paperwork could be obtained, delaying the train and reminding the authorities that vigilance is the best guarantee that agreements will be honored. (BALTIC NEWS SERVICE DAILY REPORT, 1400 GMT, 2 Nov 99)

by Kate Martin

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