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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 117, 97-09-15

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 117, 15 September 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ANOTHER BOMB EXPLODES IN DUSHANBE
  • [02] CENTRAZBAT KICKS OFF IN KAZAKHSTAN
  • [03] VETERAN ARMENIAN DISSIDENT SLAMS AUTHORITIES
  • [04] ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN ANTI-CRIME COOPERATION

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] LARGE TURNOUT IN BOSNIAN VOTE
  • [06] BOSNIAN VOTE TALLY TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN ONE WEEK
  • [07] BELGRADE WILL NOT HAND OVER KARADZIC
  • [08] MORE ATTACKS ON KOSOVO POLICE STATIONS
  • [09] MONTENEGRIN ELECTORAL COMMISSION BOWS TO BELGRADE
  • [10] SLOVENIA TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER
  • [11] TURKEY TO HELP REBUILD ALBANIAN ARMY
  • [12] EXPLOSION CUTS TIRANA WATER SUPPLY
  • [13] IMF RELEASES LOAN TRANCHE TO ROMANIA
  • [14] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN HONG KONG
  • [15] MOLDOVA RATIFIES HUMAN RIGHTS CONVENTION
  • [16] SOFIA CONFERENCE URGES JOURNALISTS' RELEASE

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [17] TODAY'S MOSCOW IS NOT YESTERDAY'S CHICAGO

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ANOTHER BOMB EXPLODES IN DUSHANBE

    Just hours after President Imomali Rakhmonov and United Tajik Opposition (UTO) leader Said Abdullo Nuri spoke of "unity" and "peace" at a joint press conference, a bomb went off in a Dushanbe bazaar, RFE/RL correspondents reported on 12 September. The explosion, which left 16 people injured, was the third such incident in the Tajik capital in eight days. In other news, the UN Security Council voted the same day to extend the mandate of the UN observer mission to Tajikistan until 15 November. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a letter to the council that the mission should provide assistance in integrating the armed forces of the government and the UTO and help in the work of the National Reconciliation Commission. That body is scheduled to hold its first session in Dushanbe on 15 September.

    [02] CENTRAZBAT KICKS OFF IN KAZAKHSTAN

    The Centrazbat military exercises began in southern Kazakhstan on 15 September, RFE/RL correspondents reported. Some 40 soldiers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan and 500 troops from the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, led by Marine Corps General John Sheehan, parachuted into the area from U.S. airplanes to meet up with other Central Asian troops. Paratroopers from Russia and Turkey are to join them for the first stage of the exercises, which end on 17 September. U.S. troops are not taking part in the second stage, which will be held in Uzbekistan; but the Central Asian troops will be joined by soldiers from Georgia and Latvia for that part of the exercise. Sheehan said the message the US wants to send is "that the Central Asian republics live in stability."

    [03] VETERAN ARMENIAN DISSIDENT SLAMS AUTHORITIES

    Paruir Hairikyan, head of the Union for Self-Determination and a Soviet-era dissident, has said his party's efforts to cooperate with the authorities to "establish democracy" have failed, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 12 September. Hairikyan said the government did not want free and fair elections, and he claimed that Levon Ter-Petrossyan owed his reelection as president last year to hard-line politicians such as Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan and Yerevan Mayor Vano Siradeghyan. Hairikyan said deputy parliamentary speaker Ara Sahakyan's draft election law does not provide equal conditions for all parties. But he predicted that the united Armenian opposition could nonetheless defeat the ruling Republic bloc in future elections. Hairikyan was harshly criticized by other opposition parties for engaging in a dialogue with the Armenian leadership earlier this year.

    [04] ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN ANTI-CRIME COOPERATION

    Officials from the Armenian and Azerbaijani Interior Ministries have discussed joint efforts to combat crime in the regions adjoining their common border, Armenian and Azerbaijani news agencies reported. The discussion took place during the 11-12 September meeting of CIS interior ministers in Baku. Armenian Deputy Interior Minister Haik Harutyunyan told journalists in Yerevan on 12 September that there have been "isolated attempts" to use Armenia as a transit country for drugs. But he noted that those attempts do not yet pose a serious threat.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] LARGE TURNOUT IN BOSNIAN VOTE

    Spokesmen for NATO peacekeepers and for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which supervised the 13-14 September Bosnian local elections, said that more than 60 percent of those Bosnian citizens entitled to vote did so. Of those who voted, some 90 percent cast their ballots for local officials in the areas where those individuals had lived before the war. The OSCE's Robert Frowick and U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard said the strong turnout by refugees suggests that displaced people want to go home and undo the results of ethnic cleansing. Election monitors noted, however, that most refugees did not return to their old homes but voted by absentee ballot. The monitors added there were isolated incidents in Drvar, Mostar, central Bosnia, and eastern Bosnia in which the current authorities tried to prevent returning refugees from voting.

    [06] BOSNIAN VOTE TALLY TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN ONE WEEK

    OSCE officials said in Sarajevo on 14 September that the widespread use of absentee ballots means that final results will not be available for one week or so. In Tuzla, however, the Muslim Party for Democratic Action conceded defeat by Mayor Selim Beslagic's multi-ethnic Joint List. Frowick said the international community may have to maintain a civilian and military presence in Bosnia indefinitely. Some observers suggested that problems will arise in many localities in which refugees of one nationality elect a council that is not accepted by current authorities of another nationality. The observers added that this situation could lead to local governments-in-exile being set up across Bosnia.

    [07] BELGRADE WILL NOT HAND OVER KARADZIC

    Serbian Information Minister Radmila Milentijevic said in Washington on 12 September that Belgrade will not extradite indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. She added: "If you want Dr. Karadzic, you'll have to go and get him. No respectable Serbian leader today can deliver on this issue." Observers noted, however, that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and all other signatories to the Dayton peace accords are obliged to cooperate with the Hague-based war crimes tribunal.

    [08] MORE ATTACKS ON KOSOVO POLICE STATIONS

    Serbian police said in Pristina on 14 September that unidentified persons armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades attacked two more police stations in the mainly ethnic Albanian province. Ten police stations across the province were targeted the previous week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 September 1997). Observers suggested that the attacks were most likely the work of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which frequently singles out symbols of Serbian authority in Kosovo. Meanwhile in Feketic, in Vojvodina, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic opened a stretch of highway on 14 September, just one week before the Serbian legislative and presidential elections. Some 200 busloads of Milosevic supporters, mainly ethnic Serbs from Kosovo, arrived for the event, an RFE/RL correspondent reported.

    [09] MONTENEGRIN ELECTORAL COMMISSION BOWS TO BELGRADE

    The Republican Electoral Commission announced in Podgorica on 13 September that it has registered President Momir Bulatovic as a presidential candidate of the Democratic Socialist Party (DPS). The commission thereby complied with a ruling by the Yugoslav Constitutional Court, which on 10 September decided that more than one candidate may run for the presidency from the same party. The bulk of the DPS membership had earlier selected Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic as the party's sole presidential candidate. The commission's decision marks a setback for Djukanovic and for other reformists, who argued that the Belgrade court has no right to rule on Montenegro's electoral law and who made the issue into a test case for Montenegrin autonomy from Belgrade.

    [10] SLOVENIA TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER

    Janez Podobnik, the speaker of parliament, announced in Ljubljana on 12 September that presidential elections will take place on 23 November and parliamentary elections four days later. Polls show incumbent President Milan Kucan to be the runaway favorite in the presidential race. In other news from the former Yugoslavia, Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak returned from surgery in the U.S. and entered a Zagreb hospital. Susak, who is widely regarded as the second most powerful politician in Croatia, has been suffering from lung cancer for over a year.

    [11] TURKEY TO HELP REBUILD ALBANIAN ARMY

    Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Sezgin said in Tirana on 13 September that his government will help reorganize the Albanian military as part of a bilateral cooperation program. Turkey will train Albanian officers and give the army logistical and equipment support. Ankara will also back Tirana's bid to join NATO. Turkey has strong cultural and other links to Albania and other Balkan countries dating back to the Ottoman era. Since the fall of communism, Ankara has shown interest in promoting the political stability and general development of Albania, Bosnia, and Macedonia, in particular.

    [12] EXPLOSION CUTS TIRANA WATER SUPPLY

    An explosion, possibly caused by a bomb, destroyed part of the main water system in the Albanian capital on 13 September, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Tirana. Thousands were left without water for more than 24 hours. The authorities recently imposed restrictions on water use in the wake of a prolonged drought.

    [13] IMF RELEASES LOAN TRANCHE TO ROMANIA

    The IMF has released an $82 million tranche of its $414 million stand-by loan to Romania, RFE/RL's Romanian service reported on 13 September. The IMF approved the stand-by loan in April and made disbursement contingent on progress toward economic reform. The IMF's Bucharest representative issued a statement on 13 September saying that Bucharest has brought down monthly inflation to some 5 percent. He also praised Bucharest's efforts to restructure the state sector by launching plans to privatize 17 loss-making firms.

    [14] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN HONG KONG

    Emil Constantinescu concluded a five-day state visit to China on 12 September with a tour of Hong Kong. RFE/RL's Romanian service reported that Constantinescu visited the headquarters of Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption. He also met with officials from Hong Kong's Chamber of Commerce. Constantinescu is the first foreign head of state to visit Hong Kong since the former British colony became an autonomous region of China on 1 July.

    [15] MOLDOVA RATIFIES HUMAN RIGHTS CONVENTION

    The Council of Europe has announced that Moldova has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. A council statement said Moldova formally presented the ratification instruments on 12 September. The statement noted that by ratifying the document, Moldova has recognized the right of individuals to petition the European Commission with complaints about human rights violations.

    [16] SOFIA CONFERENCE URGES JOURNALISTS' RELEASE

    Journalists taking part in a UNESCO conference in Sofia have called on Turkey and Belarus to immediately release imprisoned journalists, RFE/RL reported on 13 September. The conference also criticized censorship in Azerbaijan and legislation in Croatia allowing prosecution for insulting the head of state. In a formal statement, conference delegates criticized strict state control over radio and television in Serbia and Montenegro. The delegates urged the UN General Assembly to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights binding for all signatory countries. Article 19 of that declaration recognizes the right of all people "to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."

    [C] END NOTE

    [17] TODAY'S MOSCOW IS NOT YESTERDAY'S CHICAGO

    by Paul Goble

    A recent World Bank report demolishes one of the most widely-held views about the nature of the Russian economy and the reforms taking place in that county. That view holds that Russia is now passing through the "robber baron" stage of capitalism, much as the U.S. economy did one century ago. And it implies that the Russian economy will just as inevitably graduate to mature capitalism.

    In its 20th annual world development report, which was released in late June and is entitled "The State in a Changing World," World Bank experts make three key arguments. They point out that the Russian economy is fundamentally different from the "robber baron" capitalism of the U.S. past. They suggest that there is nothing inevitable about a "robber baron" stage of economic development. And they also argue that a quick and easy escape from what many call the "robber baron" stage of economic development is not inevitable.

    The report makes a distinction between "robber baron" capitalism in the U.S. and what it calls "robber capitalism" in Russia. In the U.S. case, entrepreneurs during the latter part of the 19th century built enormous industrial enterprises, often flaunting the law in the process but creating something of real value for society. In the Russian case, various former Communist Party officials and economic managers have privatized the Soviet economy into their own hands, selling off assets rather than building up new ones and exporting capital instead of creating it.

    The report also notes that many of the more than 60 countries surveyed have developed free market economies without passing through a "robber baron" stage at all. In some of those countries, a strong legal system kept entrepreneurs from gaining control of the political system. In others, the legal system grew apace with the economic one, preventing outrages of either the U.S. or the Russian kind.

    Finally, the report makes it very clear that Russian "robber capitalism" today, just like U.S. "robber baron" capitalism of a century ago, does not necessarily contain within itself a cure for its excesses. Rather those excesses must be addressed by the political system and in a comprehensive way over time.

    That is what happened in the U.S. Popular revulsion at the behavior of the robber barons helped to power a political movement that imposed a variety of constraints on their behavior and thus allowed the U.S. economic system to mature. In Russia, on the other hand, that process has not yet really begun. Some Moscow officials are now trying to cope with some excesses of "robber capitalism" and are even having some success. But no mass political movement has emerged to push the process further.

    As a result, virtually all efforts to reform the Russian economy after privatization have been incomplete or have had consequences directly opposite to those the reformers have sought. Indeed, the World Bank report concludes that the successes to which Russian reformers point are almost always matched--or exceeded--by negative developments that the political leaders in Moscow have been unwilling or unable to address.

    But if the bank's conclusions about the current situation in Russia are largely negative, its findings do provide some guidance both for that country and for others who hope to see the Russian economy develop. The message is a simple one: Russia cannot overcome its own "robber capitalism" stage by economics alone. Instead, it must create a state that enjoys sufficient authority to erect the boundaries within which economic development can occur. If Russia achieves that political goal, it will have greater economic success. If it does not, the World Bank report suggests, Russia faces a bleak future economically as well as politically.


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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