|Sunday, 20 October 2019|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 2, No. 174, 98-09-09
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 2, No. 174, 9 September 1998
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 TRACECA CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS SIGN 'BAKU DECLARATION'...Participants at the 8 September TRACECA conference in Baku signed a multilateral framework agreement on construction of the Europe-Caucasus- Asia transport corridor, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported. Four technical agreements on road and rail transport and customs procedures were also signed. Speakers at the conference underscored that all states that participate in the corridor project stand to benefit, predicting that it will facilitate economic cooperation and trade and underpin regional stability. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma noted that the project will "put an end to the threat of the Balkanization of the Caucasus and Central Asia." LF
 ...WHILE RUSSIA, TURKEY FOCUS ON LIMITATIONSDeputy Transport Minister Yevgenii Kazantsev, the Russian representative at the conference, criticized the TRACECA concept as less cost-effective than existing communications via the Russian Federation, given that Russian transport tariffs are considerably lower than those envisaged within the TRACECA framework, Interfax reported. Turkish President Suleyman Demirel ruled out opening a frontier crossing between Turkey and Armenia, while Foreign Minister Ismail Cem rejected Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darpinian's proposal to route via Armenia the planned railroad from Kars to Tbilisi and to construct a second rail link from the Georgian Black Sea ports of Poti and Batumi via Nakhichevan and Armenia to Iran. Both Turkish officials said such transport links can be considered only after Armenian forces withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territory and the Karabakh conflict is resolved. LF
 CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN ARMENIATwo elderly residents of the village of Zartonk, west of Yerevan, have died of cholera and "several dozen" villagers have been hospitalized with the disease, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 8 September, quoting presidential spokeswoman Gassia Apkarian. Apkarian said that the outbreak has been localized and that no cases have been reported in Yerevan. Most residents of Zartonk are Yezidi Kurds. LF
 PROGRESS, RISKS IN RESOLVING SOUTH OSSETIAN CONFLICT"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 9 September quoted OSCE Ambassador to Georgia Michael Libal as expressing approval of the progress toward settling the South Ossetian conflict. Libal singled out the role in that process of South Ossetian President Lyudvig Chibirov but urged the resumption of talks between the Georgian and South Ossetian leaderships to find "new ideas" to resolve the conflict. He also warned against delaying such talks until the Abkhaz and Karabakh conflicts have been resolved. Since January, 363 Ossetian refugees have returned from North to South Ossetia under a program funded by the UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council. But a Georgian from South Ossetia told Caucasus Press on 8 September that the repatriation process is forcing the local Georgian population to leave and could ultimately trigger a new conflict. LF
 NETANYAHU CANCELS GEORGIAN VISITIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his one-day visit to Georgia on 9 September for health reasons, Caucasus Press reported. Netanyahu was to have participated in celebrations to mark the 2,600th anniversary of the arrival in Georgia of the first Jewish settlers. LF
 KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT OPPOSES PRESIDENT...The Legislative Assembly on 8 September convened to discuss amendments to the country's constitution proposed by President Askar Akayev, RFE/RL correspondents reported. Only 25 of the 35 deputies attended the session, but of those, 21 rejected Akayev's proposals. In particular, the deputies objected to the proposal to introduce private land ownership, saying it is still too early to adopt such a measure. They also objected to the proposal that a new government body, rather than the parliament, oversee financing for the parliament. The deputies suggested that in the October referendum on the proposed amendments, citizens be allowed to vote on each issue separately. The 1996 referendum on amending the constitution required only a single "yes" or "no" vote. BP
 ...OVERRIDES PRESIDENTIAL VETOAlso on 8 September, the Legislative Assembly overruled a presidential veto of an amendment raising the eligible age for drawing a pension, RFE/RL correspondents reported. The amendment, which was adopted by the parliament in June, raises the retirement age from 55 to 58 for women and 60 to 63 for men. Akayev signed a draft of the law but later refused to approve the official version. Several government officials claim there is no money in the budget to implement the legislative change. BP
 NUMBER OF UZBEK GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO BE CUTUzbek President Islam Karimov has signed a government resolution that will cut the number of state officials by 25 percent, Interfax reported on 8 September. The cuts must be made by 1 January 1999. BP
 ONE TURKMEN DISSIDENT RELEASED, ONE BADLY BEATENFormer presidential spokesman Durdumuhammed Gurbanov, arrested on embezzlement charges last month, has been released from detention, RFE/RL correspondents in Ashgabat reported on 8 September. The previous day, some 30 people demonstrated in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, to demand Gurbanov's release. Amnesty International issued a statement on 8 September expressing concern about the arrest and noting that his detention is more likely the result of political rather than criminal activities. In interviews with RFE/RL earlier this year, Gurbanov criticized the Turkmen government. Meanwhile, the head of Turkmenistan's unregistered Democratic Development Party, Durdymurat Khojamuhammedov, was severely beaten in Ashgabat on 4 September. BP
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ALARMED BY KOSOVA SITUATIONKofi Annan on 8 September expressed concern over the lack of progress in resolving the Kosova crisis and called on the international community to provide aid to avert a "major humanitarian disaster," AFP reported. In a monthly report to the UN Security Council, Annan said he is "alarmed" by the situation and the "further loss of life." Annan also said he has sent a letter to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic protesting the "excessive use of force" by Serbian forces in Kosova. And he criticized ethnic Albanian separatists for "acts of provocation." PB
 RUSSIA REPEATS OPPOSITION TO FOREIGN INTERVENTION IN KOSOVARussian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin on 8 September said that Moscow is against possible NATO intervention in Kosova because it would only exacerbate the humanitarian situation in the province, Interfax reported. Rakhmanin said this message was delivered by Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Milosevic on 4 September. Rakhmanin said Milosevic praised Moscow for the role it played "in the settlement of the Kosova crisis" and said that his government "guarantees safety for all refugees and displaced persons returning to their homes." PB
 MILOSEVIC TO SANCTION SELF-RULE?The independent daily "Glas Javnosti" reported on 8 September that Milosevic has instructed Serbian officials to begin drafting a plan to hold elections in Kosova. The newspaper said parliamentary elections would be held in three months and that the formation of a Kosova parliament could be the centerpiece of an accord between Belgrade and ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosova. Adem Demaci, the Kosova Liberation Army's political representative, said the proprosed draft of an accord has no guarantees that Milosevic would abide by the agreement. "Only force can make [Milosevic] carry out what he promises..., that's the only language he understands," Demaci said. PB
 BOSNIAN SERB HARD-LINER DENOUNCES SRPSKA LEADERSMomcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, has accused the leadership of the Republika Srpska of preventing it from uniting with Serbia, Reuters reported on 8 September. Krajisnik said that the goal of the Western-supported Bosnian Serb president, Biljana Plavsic, is to "destabilize the Serb ethnic region and weaken our emotional affiliation to Yugoslavia." Krajisnik is seeking reelection in the 12-13 September elections. In Yugoslavia, Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj said the Republika Srpska is under "foreign occupation," and he severely criticized OSCE mission chief Robert Barry for prohibiting him from campaigning in Srpska (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 1998), BETA reported. He called Plavsic and Bosnian Serb Premier Milorad Dodik "quislings." PB
 BOSNIAN CROAT PARTY WON'T BOYCOTT ELECTIONSAnte Jelavic, president of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (HDZ BiH), said on 8 September that his party will participate in the September elections, HINA reported. The HDZ BiH said it was considering a boycott after the OSCE banned 15 of its candidates for violating election regulations. Meanwhile, the OSCE said that Croatian television programs are now abiding by election regulations on media coverage of the Bosnian elections (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September 1998). PB
 U.S. OFFICIAL VOWS SUPPORT FOR MONTENEGROU.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck said on 8 September in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica that Washington supports democratization in Montenegro, AFP reported. Shattuck held talks with President Milo Djukanovic and Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic about the influx of refugees from Kosova. Montenegro Deputy Premier Dragisa Burzan said on 6 September that some 40,000 people from Kosova have fled to Montenegro and that the small republic does not have the resources to cope with the refugees. Germany pledged $4.3 million to Montenegro the next day to help provide for the refugees. PB
 NATO GENERAL IN LJUBLJANANATO's Supreme Commander in Europe, U.S. General Wesley Clark, met with Slovenian officials in Ljubljana on 7-8 September, AP reported. Clark discussed plans for NATO expansion and the situation in Kosova with President Milan Kucan, Defense Minister Alojz Krapez, and the chief of staff of the Slovenian army, General Iztok Podbregar. Podbregar told Clark that NATO membership is Slovenia's "strategic aim." Slovenia is a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. PB
 CORRECTION:In the 8 September issue of "RFE/RL Newsline," the U.S. ambassador to Croatia should have been identified as William Dale Montgomery.
 ALBANIAN PREMIER READY FOR RECONCILIATIONFatos Nano on 8 September said that he is willing to halt the prosecution of officials appointed by former President Sali Berisha, Reuters reported. Nano said in a speech to the parliament that he will support "initiatives which, without paralyzing and demotivating justice, bring to a formal end punishment of a political nature and aspire towards...national reconciliation." Six Berisha-era officials have been detained and accused of crimes against humanity for their roles in last year's unrest. Berisha has led demonstrations in Tirana to protest their arrest and vows to continue such protests until Nano steps down. PB
 ROMANIAN COALITION LEADERS FAIL TO COMPROMISE ON HUNGARIAN UNIVERSITYThe leaders of the ruling coalition parties have failed to reach an agreement that would satisfy the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR)'s demands for university-level instruction in the Hungarian language, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 8 September. They will meet again on 14 September to discuss the issue. Prime Minister Radu Vasile commented that he is "confident" a compromise solution can be reached. UDMR chairman Marko Bela said his party demands that the Chamber of Deputies' Education Commission change the wording of the provision prohibiting instruction in national minority languages at university level. Observers say this may be a hint that the UDMR is now ready to settle for the amendment passed last year by the Senate allowing private universities that teach in national minority languages and "multicultural" universities. MS
 ROMANIAN TABLOID DEPLORES 'LACK OF CYCLONE-B'In its 7 September issue, the tabloid "Atac la persoana" said there are too many "potential soap [people] from Tel Aviv" on Bucharest's streets. It deplored the fact that owing to its present economic "penury," Romania does not have "sufficient barbed wire and Cyclone-B gas" to provide a solution to this problem. The prominent columnist Cornel Nistorescu, in an editorial in "Evenimentul zilei" on 9 September, called upon the authorities to sanction the tabloid in line with existing legislation. MS
 SMIRNOV ON TRANSDNIESTER ARMYThe leader of the separatist region, Igor Smirnov, says the Transdniester has "sufficient military equipment," which is "domestically produced," and that its military forces are "consistently improving their training [methods]." Smirnov, whose speech marked the seventh anniversary of the separatist military forces, said the main objective of the Transdniester army is to defend "the state and the citizens' lawful interests," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported on 8 September. Transdniester media, citing military sources in Tiraspol, say the Transdniester army has 10,000 troops, of whom some 20 percent are retired Russian military and 10 percent new recruits. MS
 BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON INTER-ETHNIC TENSIONResponding to the removal of ethnic Turkish commemorative plaques in a village in southeastern Bulgaria, Petar Stoyanov on 7 September said he will "do his best to prevent any further exploitation of inter-ethnic relations in Bulgaria for cheap political dividends." Stoyanov said he is "convinced that neither Hasan not Ivan, who are now harvesting, are likely to become hostages to an artificially sought and inspired conflict" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September 1998), BTA reported. MS
 BULGARIA, ROMANIA, GREECE AGREE TO COMBAT CRIME TOGETHERBulgaria, Romania, and Greece have signed an agreement aimed at coordinating the struggle against organized crime. Meeting in Sofia on 8 September, the interior ministers of the three countries pledged to exchange information and launch concerted actions against drug and weapons smuggling, illegal immigration rackets, money laundering, and illegal financial operations, AP reported. MS
[C] END NOTE
 CADETS REMAIN FAITHFUL TO TSARIST IDEAby John Varoli
Amid Russia's economic and political crisis, cadets ended a 10-day convention in Moscow on 8 September that was designed to infuse them with the ideals of the Tsarist military.
The convention was the first-ever gathering in Russia of the United Russian Cadet Corps Abroad, a group of descendants of exiled White Army officers dedicated to preserving the military ideals of the Tsarist era. Since 1992, the group has been playing an active role in preparing new generations of Russian soldiers. Some 42 senior cadets, most between the ages of 60 and 75, returned to Russia for the convention.
The convention was the cadets' 16th major meeting since 1931.
"This is an extremely emotional event for us," Alexei Jordan, vice president of the New York chapter of the Russian Cadet Corps Abroad, told RFE/RL. "It is the first time that we, the sons of White officers who fought during the Civil War and who were educated as cadets abroad, have met in Russia."
Jordan is also the father of the leading Russian-U.S. banker Boris Jordan, head of MFK-Renaissance. Over the past three years, Boris Jordan has made significant personal contributions to the Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg. Also, according to the MFK- Renaissance public relations office, Jordan's bank has donated $200,000 to various cadet activities and to renovating the grave of the 18th-century Russian general Alexander Suvorov.
Russia's cadet corps dates back to the reign of Empress Anne. In 1731, she decreed the creation of the corps to prepare boys for study at an institution of higher education that would eventually lead to a career either in the military or in the state civil service.
But when the Russian Revolution of 1917 swept away the Tsarist order, only eight of Russia's 301 cadet corps were able to make their way to Crimea, then a stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, under the command of General Pyotr Wrangel. Those boys who did not make it were executed by the Bolsheviks. The Whites abandoned Crimea in 1920, and the eight cadet corps sailed with other refugees to Yugoslavia, whose king, Alexander I, had also studied in the Russian cadets school in St. Petersburg.
In Yugoslavia, a new generation of cadets were raised in the imperial spirit of, "Faith, Tsar, and Fatherland." There, they waited to return to Russia, hoping for the collapse of the Bolshevik regime.
The cadets were pushed farther west by Soviet troops entering Yugoslavia at the end of World War II. Many were scattered as far as the U.S. and France. By 1956, the last educational institution of the Russian cadet corps had closed its doors in Paris.
Igor Andrushkevitch, a chief ideologue for the Russian Cadet Corps Abroad, told RFE/RL that the so-called Soviet morality was based on economic materialism and this emphasis has led to moral decline in contemporary Russia. The Russian Cadet Corps Abroad offers to fill what its members see as a moral void with the ethics of bygone days. "The purpose of the cadet [corps] is to educate youths with the ideas of service to the Motherland," Yerzhan Yusupov, a former Soviet army captain and co-organizer of the conference, told RFE/RL.
"It is time to do something about the utter lack of values in the Russian military," Vladimir Braun, chairman of the Russian Order of St. George, told RFE/RL. "If we do not change the current situation in the military, then we'll have a potentially explosive situation on our hands."
It is unclear whether any representatives of the active Russian military took part in the convention either as participants or observers.
The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in St. Petersburg.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty