|Saturday, 7 December 2019|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 55, 97-06-18
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 1, No. 55, 18 June 1997
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 UN DELEGATION WRAPS UP VISIT TO TAJIKISTANA delegation from the UN High Commission on Human Rights has concluded a week-long review of the human right's situation in Tajikistan, Dushanbe Radio reported. The delegation, which visited the cities of Khojand and Kurgan-Teppe as well as Garm and Jirgatal districts, concluded that human rights are often ignored. Most disturbing, it said, were the frequent hostage-takings, lack of access to legal counsel for suspected criminals and detainees, poor conditions in prisons, and growing violence against women. The delegation also identified other social ills such as lack of food for a balanced diet, lack of medical supplies, unemployment, and difficulties in receiving an education.
 ROGUE COMMANDER DISARMS GOVERNMENT TROOPSSoldiers loyal to Col. Mahmud Khudaberdiyev, the commander of the Tajik Army's First Brigade, have disarmed government troops at the Fakhrabad and Dakhanakiik checkpoints (30km and 70 km south of Dushanbe, respectively), Russian media reported on 17 June. Khudaberdiyev is demanding that Khatlon Oblast Governor Davlatali Sharipov be replaced with the head of the regional trade board, Sherali Mirzoyev, and that Khatlon be divided into two oblasts, Kurgan-Teppe and Kulyab, as was the case before1993. He is also seeking guarantees that no fighters of the United Tajik Opposition will return to Tajikistan bearing arms after the 27 June signing of the Peace and National Reconciliation Accord between the government and the UTO.
 ATTACK ON RUSSIAN SOLDIERS IN DUSHANBEOne Russian soldier was killed and another seriously wounded in a 17 June attack by unknown assailants, Russian media reported. Maj. Gennadii Fedorov of the 201st Division died after he was shot in the back, while a warrant officer had to be hospitalized. The two were in uniform and returning from work when they were attacked.
 25 CHORNOBYL VICTIMS ON HUNGER STRIKE IN KAZAKSTANIn the northern city of Kokchetau, 25 Kazak citizens who were "mobilized" by the state to take part in clean-up operations at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant after the 1986 disaster are still on hunger strike after 20 days, according ITAR-TASS on 17 June. The group are demanding compensation for their loss of health. Local officials said the 25 receive special benefits as invalids, but the group claims those payments are not enough for basic foods, let alone the expensive medicines they require. The Kazak government has said it recognizes their demands are justified. The Ministry of Labor and Social Care will discuss the issue in September.
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 ATTACK ON ALBANIAN POLICE AFTER SOCIALIST RALLYUnidentified assailants shot at a police cordon and several private cars leaving Berat after Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano held a rally there on 17 June, "Koha Jone" reported. The attackers reportedly fired Kalashnikovs and anti-tank weapons, killing one civilian and one policeman and injuring seven policemen. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear. "Koha Jone" pointed out that the police forces belonged to a contingent that had guarded Nano during the demonstration. But "Rilindja Demokratike" charged "Nano's gangs" with having attacked the police. Another pro-government daily, "Albania," runs the headline: "Nano causes blood-bath in Berat." Meanwhile, six people were killed in an armed confrontation between two rival families in a land dispute near Skrapar.
 VRANITZKY INSISTS ALBANIAN ELECTIONS GO AHEAD ON TIMEOSCE mediator Franz Vranitzky on 17 June rejected a proposal by the U.S. National Democratic Institute to postpone elections in some areas, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. Austrian Radio added that Vranitzky told President Bill Clinton in Washington that the elections must go ahead on schedule, and Clinton agreed with him. Meanwhile, not all candidate lists from all electoral districts have reached the Central Election Commission in Tirana. And in some communes and municipalities, voters lists have not yet been publicly posted, "Koha Jone" reported on 18 June. The lists were to have been displayed by 12 June to give voters the opportunity to register if their names did not appear on the lists.
 DESERTIONS FROM ALBANIAN PRESIDENTIAL GUARDSome 130 soldiers of the presidential guard have deserted in recent days, "Dita Informacion" reported on 18 June. The desertions apparently came as a reaction to the shoot-out at a Democratic Party rally in Elbasan on 12 June, in which eight people were wounded (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 June 1997). Most of deserters reportedly come from Mirdita in northern Albania. The presidential guard was recently involved in various violent incidents, including an attack by guardsmen on the military hospital in Tirana and a shoot-out with gunmen in Cerrik in which five guard members died and 12 were wounded. Guardsmen on 16 June beat up a journalist for "Koha Jone," who was working on a story about activities at police roadblocks after curfew. The journalist reportedly had an accreditation from Tirana police chief Pashk Tusha to cover police work. The police did not intervene on behalf of the journalist out of fear of the elite guardsmen, the independent daily added.
 IMMINENT MILITARY COUP IN MONTENEGRO?Opposition leader Novak Kilibarda charged in Podgorica on 17 June that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his Montenegrin backer President Momir Bulatovic may launch a putsch rather than allow Bulatovic's enemies come to power. Kilibarda added that a 12 June meeting of federal Yugoslavia's Military Council discussed the possible coup, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital. The opposition leader claimed that the Second and Third Armies are on alert for possible action in the mountainous republic. Kilibarda compared Milosevic's current attempts to pressure Montenegro into submission with his ham-fisted efforts to bully Slovenia in 1991. Milosevic is trying to force Montenegro to agree to constitutional changes that will greatly diminish that republic's power within the Yugoslav federation.
 MONTENEGRIN OPPOSITION WANTS LEADERS TO TELL ALLThe opposition "Popular Concord" coalition called in parliament on 17 June for Bulatovic and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic to appear before a televised session of the parliament, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Podgorica. The coalition wants the two to explain the development of their feud, which has dominated political life in recent weeks and threatens to split the governing Democratic Socialist Party (DPS). Djukanovic is slated to address the parliament on 18 June. Also in Podgorica, Deputy Prime Minister Slavko Drljevic resigned to protest what he called slander by Bulatovic and the president's allies. Meanwhile in Kolasin, the governing body of the DPS rejected Bulatovic's call for a special party congress.
 MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT WANTS NATO TO STAY ONPresident Kiro Gligorov told his U.S. counterpart Bill Clinton in Washington on 17 June that NATO peacekeepers should stay on in the Balkans once their mandate in Bosnia expires in June 1998. Gligorov said the troops have a stabilizing effect on the region and that he would like some of them to remain in his country. There is already a small force of peacekeepers in Macedonia, including U.S. soldiers. Macedonia has been at the center of many past Balkan conflicts but was not involved in the recent wars in the former Yugoslavia. Macedonia's leaders and their allies abroad are now concerned about the impact of the current troubles in Albania on Macedonia and on the Balkans as a whole.
 UPDATE FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIAIn Nis, veterans and invalids from Serbia's recent wars in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia launched a hunger strike on 18 June in support of a similar protest in Belgrade. The ex-soldiers want the Yugoslav and Serbian governments to extend full veterans' benefits to them and to the families of those killed in the fighting. In Belgrade, some 10,000 students protested government plans to hike tuition costs. Stevan Vrbaski replaced Mihajlo Svilar as mayor of Novi Sad following Svilar's decision to change parties. In Sarajevo, representatives of the World Bank and the Bosnian government reached an agreement on 17 June on repaying Bosnia's share of the former Yugoslav debt. In Zagreb, representatives of 140,000 Croatian refugees from Serbia demanded that the Croatian government obtain for them from Belgrade any rights or benefits that Zagreb grants to its ethnic Serbs.
 ROMANIAN PRESIDENT INVITED TO WASHINGTONPresident Bill Clinton has invited his Romanian counterpart to Washington for an official visit, Radio Bucharest reported on 17 June. The date of the visit is yet to be established. In a letter to Emil Constantinescu, Clinton said the decision to limit the expansion of NATO in the first wave to three states was made "after careful deliberation." He says he "highly appreciates...the enormous progress" Romania made under Constantinescu and that the decision should not be interpreted as a rejection of Romanian aspirations. Clinton also said he hopes to see Romania "integrated into the community of Western states, including NATO," in the near future. Constantinescu also received a letter from French President Jacques Chirac, who says France continues to back Romania's NATO candidacy. Meanwhile, Premier Victor Ciorbea has departed for Washington, where he will discuss NATO enlargement with Vice President Al Gore and other officials.
 JIU VALLEY MINERS UPDATEThe striking miners in the Jiu valley have rejected a protocol signed after all-night negotiations between their representatives, the government, and the state mining company, Radio Bucharest reported on 18 June. The protocol provides for an immediate 15% increase in wages and for negotiations on a possible additional increase in August. The miners, however, are refusing to go back to the pits. Rail traffic to the valley was restored on 17 June after interruptions earlier that day. Minister of Transportation Traian Basescu said the authorities suspended or re-routed trains after receiving information that the miners were planning to descend on Bucharest, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Rail links were restored only after the Ministry of Interior and the Romanian Intelligence Service established that the miners had renounced their intention to go to the capital.
 UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON MOLDOVAN SETTLEMENTLeonid Kuchma, in a letter addressed to his Moldovan counterpart, Petru Lucinschi, has restated his country's willingness to participate in the settlement of the Chisinau-Tiraspol conflict. The Ukrainian embassy in Chisinau told Interfax that Kuchma voiced support for setting up groups of experts who will draft the legal framework for stationing Ukrainian peacekeeping forces in the security zone of the breakaway Transdniester region. Kuchma also reiterated his country's willingness to guarantee the implementation of a final settlement.
 MOLDOVA ASKS FOR "DEVELOPING COUNTRY STATUS" IN WTOAddressing a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Moldovan Deputy Minister of Economy and Reforms Dumitru Braghis requested that Moldova be admitted to the organization as a "developing country." This would allow Chisinau to bring its policies into line with WTO regulations within a time-table framework to be agreed with the organization, Reuters reported on 17 June. Braghis said Chisinau was requesting "some flexibility" in view of the current economic situation. "Despite all efforts made at the macro-economic level, including a program for privatization and agricultural reform, we have not yet achieved macro- economic growth," he said, adding that "most of our companies show a declining record, while others struggle to survive."
 FRANCE EXTRADITES BULGARIAN WANTED FOR FRAUDA Bulgarian citizen whose pyramid investment scheme wiped out the savings of thousands of his countrymen was extradited by France on 17 June. BTA said Ivo Nedialkov was taken into custody as soon as he landed at Sofia airport. His East-West International Holding Group collapsed in 1994, costing 9,000 Bulgarians their savings. Investigators said he misappropriated around 360 million leva (some $10 million at the exchange rate of the time) using income from new investors to pay off old investors. In other news, Reuters reported that a powerful bomb, apparently targeting the president of the Multigroup company, Ilia Pavlov, wrecked his car on a mountain road near Sofia. Pavlov was not in the car and his office declined to comment on the incident. Multigroup has been suspected of ties with former communist officials.
[C] END NOTE
 IS CRIMEAN DEMOCRACY CONTAGIOUS?by David Nissman
The Crimean Turkic National Movement, which began in the Central Asian resettlement camps in the mid-1950s, now flourishes in Crimea, the ancestral homeland of the Crimean Turks and site of the present Crimean nation. The movement survived under very unusual conditions and is now having an unexpected influence.
When the Crimean Turks were deported from Crimea in 1944, they were deprived of their government, their culture, and their rich heritage. In short, they were denied the right to develop their nation. The establishment of the National Movement, with its tight and democratic structure, permitted the leaders of the movement to be in constant contact with the people. When the Soviet Union broke up, the Crimean Turks did not have to dismantle Soviet institutions and the thought patterns associated with them. As a result, the Crimean parliament has evolved into what is arguably one of the most democratic in the former Soviet Union.
By contrast, the former union republics continue to be burdened by the last vestiges of the Soviet command economy and have thus faced extraordinary challenges in moving toward a market system. That struggle has sometimes compromised their ability to proceed toward a democratic system as well. Thus, it is not surprising that some politicians in the former Soviet republics have expressed admiration for the Crimean democratic system, even if they have not attempted to apply the Crimean experience at home.
But now the Unified Independent Azerbaijan Front (in southern or Iranian Azerbaijan) appears interested in following the Crimean model. Like the Crimeans, the Iranian Azeris have been deprived by state of their national and political rights, their culture, and even an education in their mother tongue. Tehran has reacted with varying degrees of hostility to any effort by the Iranian Azeris to claim those rights.
The UIAF recently drew up a platform that bears a striking resemblance to that of the Crimean Turkic National Movement. It has proclaimed that it "believes in a state of law and freedom and rejects any form of individual or ideological dictatorship or a one-party system." The UIAF also states that it is "opposed to a mixture of religion and politics" and actively encourages a diversity of opinions.
Even the Iranian Azerbaijani's newly created national flag and the political hierarchy it represents appear to be a copy of the Crimean Turkic model. The flag's nine stars each stand for a province of the territory on which the Iranian Azeris hope to create their state. Each province will be ruled by a representative parliament, which will send its representatives to the "high parliament" in the capital.
In Crimea, the political structure is remarkably similar: each community has its own parliament or mejlis. Each local mejlis sends representatives to the mejlis that comes next in the hierarchy. The central mejlis in the capital has 33 members selected by the mejlises lower in the hierarchical structure.
Neither the platform of the Crimean Turkic National Movement nor that of the Unified Independent Azerbaijan Front mentions economic programs. As the Crimean experience shows, a free people is able to generate a free market on its own. The Crimean Turks have chosen to give priority to the development of free, national, democratic institutions.
That the Crimean model already appears to have inspired the Iranian Azeris gives some reason to hope that it may inspire others as well.
The author is an independent specialist on the region.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty