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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 193, 99-10-04

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. 3, No. 193, 4 October 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PREMIER IN WASHINGTON
  • [02] RUSSIA DENIES BOMBING NORTHERN AZERBAIJAN
  • [03] ABKHAZIA HOLDS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
  • [04] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT AMNESTIES PRISONERS
  • [05] GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF GIORGADZE'S
  • [06] MORE DETAILS EMERGE OF SALE OF KAZAKH MIGS TO NORTH KOREA
  • [07] KYRGYZ TROOPS CLOSE IN ON HOSTAGE-TAKERS...
  • [08] ...AS CIS OFFERS ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE
  • [09] KYRGYZSTAN'S PARLIAMENT AMENDS PENSIONS LAW
  • [10] KYRGYZ, UZBEK PLANES LAUNCH AIRRAIDS AGAINST GUERRILLAS
  • [11] TAJIKISTAN'S PRESIDENT URGES NEW EFFORT TO END AFGHAN WAR...
  • [12] ...CALLS FOR INCREASED HUMANITARIAN AID

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [13] DRASKOVIC SAYS HE SURVIVED ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
  • [14] OPPOSITION PROTESTS IN BELGRADE, OTHER CITIES CONTINUE
  • [15] SERBIAN ACADEMICIANS CALL FOR NEW GOVERNMENT
  • [16] THACI: BELGRADE WILL NEVER HAVE A SAY IN KOSOVA
  • [17] CLARK SAYS NATO HAS NO DATE FOR WITHDRAWING FROM BOSNIA,
  • [18] TOWN IN KOSOVA UNDER BLOCKADE
  • [19] HIGH COMMISSIONER REJECTS VICE PRESIDENT FOR TOP POST IN
  • [20] DODIK PLEDGES COOPERATION WITH TRIBUNAL
  • [21] SLOVENIAN POLITICIAN FOUND DEAD
  • [22] CROATIAN COURT CONVICTS SAKIC
  • [23] BERISHA RE-ELECTED PARTY HEAD
  • [24] ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS AGAINST 'RECONCILIATION PARK'
  • [25] FORMER BULGARIAN KING TO TAKE POSSESSION OF RESTORED
  • [26] SOCIALIST MAYOR CANDIDATE MURDERED IN BULGARIA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [27] ENTITLEMENTS, RIGHTS, AND DEMOCRACY

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PREMIER IN WASHINGTON

    On the sidelines of the

    annual IMF and World Bank meeting in Washington last week,

    Vazgen Sargsian held talks with senior officials from both

    organizations and with U.S. Vice President Al Gore, ITAR-TASS

    and Armenpress reported. ITAR-TASS quoted Sargsian as telling

    Gore that Armenia believes the U.S. occasionally pursues "a

    policy of double standards" in the South Caucasus, for

    example in promoting the planned Baku-Ceyhan oil export

    pipeline while opposing construction of a gas pipeline from

    Iran to Armenia. At a 30 September meeting with Sargsian,

    World Bank President James Wolfensohn agreed to act as patron

    for a meeting in London in May 2000 to promote business

    contacts between Armenia and the diaspora, according to

    Armenpress. LF

    [02] RUSSIA DENIES BOMBING NORTHERN AZERBAIJAN

    Russian Air Force

    Commander Colonel General Anatolii Kornukov on 2 October

    denied that a Russian fighter aircraft dropped a bomb on the

    village of Gymir in Zakatala Raion, northern Azerbaijan, the

    previous day, Interfax reported. No one was injured in that

    incident, but several houses in the village were damaged.

    Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev dispatched Defense

    Ministry experts to the village to investigate. Opposition

    party leaders condemned the incident as showing disrespect

    for Azerbaijan's sovereign status, according to Turan. They

    also noted that it testifies to the Russian leadership's

    inability to control the armed forces. LF

    [03] ABKHAZIA HOLDS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

    Some 69.7 percent of

    Abkhazia's estimated 209,000 voters participated in the 3

    October presidential poll and referendum, ITAR-TASS reported,

    quoting Central Electoral Commission Chairman Vladimir

    Tsugba. The central Georgian government, Russia and the U.S.

    have condemned as illegal both the referendum and the poll,

    in which incumbent president Vladislav Ardzinba ran unopposed

    for a second term. No data are available on how voters

    responded to the referendum questions. Voters were asked to

    approve or reject the breakaway republic's 1994 constitution,

    which defines Abkhazia as an independent sovereign state, and

    a constitutional amendment whereby judges are to be elected

    for a five-year term. LF

    [04] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT AMNESTIES PRISONERS

    Eduard Shevardnadze

    has signed a decree pardoning 1,759 prisoners who have served

    two-thirds of their respective terms, Russian agencies

    reported on 1 October. The amnesty does not extend to persons

    convicted for murder, terrorism, kidnapping, rape, or drug-

    related crimes. LF

    [05] GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF GIORGADZE'S

    WHEREABOUTS

    Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gela

    Dumbadze told Caucasus Press on 1 October that the ministry

    has no evidence that former security chief Igor Giorgadze is

    currently in Syria. Rumors to that effect surfaced early this

    year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January and 24 February 1999)

    but were never confirmed. On 30 September, Georgian Interior

    Minister Kakha Targamadze said that Georgia's efforts to

    extradite Giorgadze from Syria have been thwarted by Russian

    intelligence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 1999).

    Giorgadze is suspected of masterminding an August 1995

    attempt to assassinate then Georgian State Council Chairman

    Eduard Shevardnadze. LF

    [06] MORE DETAILS EMERGE OF SALE OF KAZAKH MIGS TO NORTH KOREA

    Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General Yurii Khitrenko told

    journalists in Almaty on 29 September that criminal

    proceedings have been opened against all those involved in

    the sale of 40 MiG-21 aircraft from Kazakhstan to North

    Korea, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported the following day.

    Khitrenko said the man arrested two weeks earlier on

    suspicion of masterminding the $8 million deal is company

    director Aleksandr Petrenko (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16

    September 1999). AP quoted Petrenko's lawyer as saying the

    sale was not illegal as it was based on earlier framework

    agreements covering military cooperation with North Korea.

    The Kazakh government has disclaimed any involvement in the

    deal. LF

    [07] KYRGYZ TROOPS CLOSE IN ON HOSTAGE-TAKERS...

    Kyrgyz Defense

    Ministry sources said on 1 October that army troops have

    occupied strategic heights and are blocking all escape routes

    open to the Uzbek guerrillas who took 13 hostages in southern

    Kyrgyzstan in late August, ITAR-TASS reported. Meeting with

    visiting OSCE Chairman in Office Knut Vollebaek in Bishkek on

    1 October, Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev said that

    efforts to eradicate terrorism and religious extremism in

    Central Asia may take time, according to Interfax. The same

    day, the news agency quoted an unnamed source in Kyrgyzstan's

    National Security Ministry as saying that the radical Islamic

    Hizb-i-Takhrir party is intensifying its activities in the

    Osh and Djalilabad Oblasts of southern Kyrgyzstan. The source

    added that an underground printing press belonging to that

    party was recently discovered in Osh. It had reportedly been

    used to publish leaflets calling for the overthrow of

    existing governments in Central Asia and the creation of a

    pan-Islamic state. LF

    [08] ...AS CIS OFFERS ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

    On 2 October,

    President Akaev and CIS Collective Security Council Secretary

    General Vladimir Zemksii discussed the situation in southern

    Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported two days later.

    They signed an agreement on collective CIS military

    assistance to Kyrgyzstan that has already been signed by the

    presidents of several CIS member states, including Russia and

    Kazakhstan. On 1 October, Uzbekistan's President Islam

    Karimov also promised more assistance to Kyrgyzstan in

    fighting the guerrillas, Interfax reported. LF

    [09] KYRGYZSTAN'S PARLIAMENT AMENDS PENSIONS LAW

    Kyrgyzstan's

    parliament on 29 September voted in the final reading to

    approve amendments proposed by the government to the pensions

    law, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Parliamentary deputy

    Alevtina Pronenko told RFE/RL that under those amendments,

    the basic pension rate will not be raised before 2005. That

    basic rate is 12 percent of the average monthly salary of 957

    soms (about $23), the official subsistence level being 1,123

    soms a month. Some $18 million in aid from international

    financial organizations was pegged to the passage of the

    amendments. LF

    [10] KYRGYZ, UZBEK PLANES LAUNCH AIRRAIDS AGAINST GUERRILLAS

    Unidentified aircraft dropped bombs on villages in

    Tajikistan's Garm and Tajikabad regions on 2 and 3 October,

    but no deaths or injuries were reported, according to ITAR-

    TASS. On 4 October, Kyrgyz Presidential Press Secretary

    Kanybek Imanaliev told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau that "the

    joint air forces of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan" bombed some

    areas in southern Kyrgyzstan as well as neighboring

    Tajikistan the previous evening. He did not elaborate. Uzbek

    warplanes inadvertently dropped bombs in Tajikistan in mid-

    August while targeting the guerrillas in southern Kyrgyzstan

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 August 1999). LF

    [11] TAJIKISTAN'S PRESIDENT URGES NEW EFFORT TO END AFGHAN WAR...

    Addressing the UN General Assembly on 1 October, Imomali

    Rakhmonov called on the international community to launch a

    new effort to end the civil war in Afghanistan by political

    means, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported. Rakhmonov expressed

    his support for the so-called Six-Plus-Two group, which

    comprises the six states that border Afghanistan (China,

    Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) as

    well as Russia and the UN. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on

    27 September criticized unnamed members of that group for

    supporting one or the other faction in Afghanistan. Rakhmonov

    added that the CIS is doing everything in its power to

    prevent the spread of the Taliban's "militant ideology" as

    well as the export of drugs and arms. LF

    [12] ...CALLS FOR INCREASED HUMANITARIAN AID

    Rakhmonov also

    appealed for humanitarian aid to assist Tajikistan in

    overcoming the legacy of the civil war, noting that to date

    donors have given "only a few percent" of the funds they

    promised for that purpose, AP reported. Rakhmonov said that

    the 26 September referendum demonstrated his country's

    unswerving commitment to building a democratic, law-based

    secular state. But on 2 October, Said Abdullo Nuri, United

    Tajik Opposition leader and chairman of the opposition

    Islamic Renaissance Party, told Interfax that the Tajik

    government is trying to prevent that party's activists from

    collecting the required 145,000 signatures to register its

    candidate, Foreign Economic Relations Minister Davlat Usmon,

    as a candidate for the 6 November presidential elections. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [13] DRASKOVIC SAYS HE SURVIVED ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

    Serbian

    opposition leader Vuk Draskovic said that a road accident

    that he survived on 3 October was "an obvious assassination

    attempt," the Serbian dailies "Glas" and "Blic" reported.

    Draskovic said it was a "pure miracle" that he sustained only

    slight injuries in that accident, in which a truck from the

    oncoming traffic suddenly swerved into Draskovic's car.

    Draskovic's aide and brother-in-law, Veselin Boskovic, was

    killed. A second car carrying two of Draskovic's bodyguards

    and his security adviser, Zvonko Osmajlic, drove under the

    truck and exploded into flames. A third car carrying

    Draskovic's wife managed to avoid the accident. The incident

    took place about 40 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, near

    the village of Petka. The driver of the truck reportedly fled

    the scene, and witnesses said the truck did not brake.

    Draskovic is the leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement and

    served in the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic earlier this year. He has refused to take part in

    opposition rallies, saying they are ineffective, and instead

    has called for early elections. PB

    [14] OPPOSITION PROTESTS IN BELGRADE, OTHER CITIES CONTINUE

    Opposition protests organized by the Alliance for Change

    (SZP) continued, with some 15,000 people marching in Belgrade

    on 3 October, Reuters reported. Similar-sized marches were

    held the previous two days--all without any clashes with riot

    police, who blocked and altered the march routes on all those

    days. Zoran Djindjic, a leader of the SZP, said the

    government will provoke violence using its own agents in

    order to have a pretext to crack down on demonstrators. He

    said such "troublemakers" have been spotted marching with the

    protesters. Large rallies of up to 10,000 people were held in

    Nis and Novi Sad on 1-3 October. Various other protests took

    place in more than a dozen smaller towns, although a march in

    Canak was called off on 2 October owing to a strong police

    presence, the Belgrade-based Beta news agency reported.

    Nikola Djurickovic, an opposition leader who was arrested

    last week, was released from prison on 2 October. PB

    [15] SERBIAN ACADEMICIANS CALL FOR NEW GOVERNMENT

    Forty-five

    members of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences signed a

    letter on 2 October demanding the resignation of the Serbian

    and Yugoslav governments, Radio B2-92 reported. Ljubomir

    Simovic said that the letter calls for new governments to

    lead the "people and the country...out of this abyss and

    embark on the road of recovery and return to the modern

    world." In other news, Radio B2-92 reported that the Belgrade

    daily "Glas javnosti," which was shut down last week, will

    resume publishing again on 4 October after Serbian

    authorities unsealed the newspaper's offices. PB

    [16] THACI: BELGRADE WILL NEVER HAVE A SAY IN KOSOVA

    Kosovar

    Albanian leader Hashim Thaci said on 3 October that "Belgrade

    will never again make decisions about Kosova," AP reported.

    Thaci, speaking to some 2,000 ethnic Albanians in the town of

    Gjilan, said "we will never again allow anyone outside of

    Kosova to decide about Kosova." Hydajet Hyseni, a former

    Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) officer, told the crowd that

    Kosova will be a "part of Europe...and with a defense force

    like everywhere else in Europe." Thaci said earlier that day

    that a military academy will be set up in Kosova to train

    officers for a future army of Kosova. He added that that the

    former UCK has agreed to set up a political party with the

    Party of Democratic Unity. The name of that party will be

    made public soon, he added. PB

    [17] CLARK SAYS NATO HAS NO DATE FOR WITHDRAWING FROM BOSNIA,

    KOSOVA

    NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe General Wesley

    Clark said on 1 October that the alliance has not set a date

    for withdrawing from either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosova, AP

    reported. Clark said NATO has a "strategy for success" in the

    Balkans and will continue to work to bring stability and

    peace to the region. Clark said he is satisfied with the

    UCK's compliance in demilitarizing. NATO has some 30,000

    peacekeeping troops in Bosnia and nearly 50,000 in Kosova. PB

    [18] TOWN IN KOSOVA UNDER BLOCKADE

    NATO peacekeeping troops in

    Kosova (KFOR) continue to maintain a "total blockade" on the

    mainly Serbian town of Kosova Polje and the surrounding area,

    Beta reported on 3 October. Large groups of Serbs and ethnic

    Albanians are maintaining barricades on a road leading to the

    town and are only a few hundred meters away from each other.

    A grenade attack on an outdoor market in Kosova Polje killed

    two and left dozens injured (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29

    September 1999). KFOR troops are not allowing anyone to leave

    or enter the area except for journalists. Ethnic Albanians

    briefly set up a roadblock on the railroad line leading into

    the town. Around Kosova, three Serbs were reported killed: an

    elderly couple shot dead in their home near Prizren and a man

    attacked near his cornfield in the town of Vitina. PB

    [19] HIGH COMMISSIONER REJECTS VICE PRESIDENT FOR TOP POST IN

    SRPSKA

    Bosnian High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch

    rejected an application for the vacant presidential post of

    the Republika Srpska, AP reported on 1 October. Mirko

    Sarovic, who had served as deposed President Nikola

    Poplasen's vice president, will not be allowed to take the

    post, which has been open since Poplasen was sacked in March.

    Poplasen has refused to recognize his dismissal. Both

    Poplasen and Sarovic are leading members of the Serbian

    Democratic Party of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. PB

    [20] DODIK PLEDGES COOPERATION WITH TRIBUNAL

    Bosnian Serb Premier

    Milorad Dodik said upon returning from a visit to the U.S. on

    3 October that the Republika Srpska will start cooperating

    with the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague, AP reported.

    Dodik said "there will be no secret indictments if the

    Republika Srpska establishes cooperation with the tribunal."

    Bosnian Serbs have thus far refused to detain or hand over

    indicted war-crimes suspects, thereby limiting international

    aid to that portion of Bosnia. PB

    [21] SLOVENIAN POLITICIAN FOUND DEAD

    Janez Gajsek, a Slovenian

    parliamentary deputy and prominent member of the Christian

    Democratic Party, was found dead on 1 October about 500

    meters from where his car was parked, Croatian Radio

    reported. Reports say a suicide note was found with the body.

    Gajsek was reported missing a week or so ago. PB

    [22] CROATIAN COURT CONVICTS SAKIC

    Dinko Sakic, the last known

    living commander of a World War II concentration camp, was

    found guilty in Zagreb on 4 October of crimes against

    humanity and sentenced to the maximum sentence of 20 years,

    AP reported. Chief Judge Drazen Tripalo said the seven-member

    panel found Sakic guilty of all charges, saying he

    "maltreated, tortured, and killed inmates and did nothing to

    prevent his subordinates from doing the same." He was also

    found guilty of personally killing four inmates. Sakic can

    appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court. PB

    [23] BERISHA RE-ELECTED PARTY HEAD

    Former Albanian President Sali

    Berisha was re-elected chairman of the opposition Democratic

    Party on 1 October, Reuters reported. The vote followed a

    purge of moderate leaders in the party (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 1 October 1999). Berisha received 594 out of 693

    votes. Berisha called for Genc Pollo, who withdrew his

    challenge to Berisha, to remain a member of the party. In

    other news, Albanian Premier Pandeli Majko, upon returning

    from an official visit to the U.S., dismissed Berisha's calls

    for early elections, saying the 2001 ballot will take place

    as scheduled. Majko said his trip to the U.S. was "very

    successful." He met with IMF and World Bank officials as well

    as with many U.S. politicians. PB

    [24] ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS AGAINST 'RECONCILIATION PARK'

    The Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) and the

    Greater Romania Party on 1 October criticized the

    government's intention to create together with the Hungarian

    government a "park of historic reconciliation" in Arad (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 September 1999), RFE/RL's Bucharest

    bureau reported. The PDSR said that a monument to displayed

    in the park commemorating the 13 Hungarian generals executed

    by the Austrians in 1848 has "a profound anti-national and

    anti-Romanian character." PDSR First Deputy Chairman Adrian

    Nastase said the ruling coalition is an "accomplice in

    serving the interests of Hungarian revisionism." On 4

    October, the Vatra romaneasca cultural organization is to

    protest the planned monument, which it called "a symbol of

    the Hungarian state." MS

    [25] FORMER BULGARIAN KING TO TAKE POSSESSION OF RESTORED

    PROPERTIES

    Exiled King Simeon II arrived in Bulgaria on 1

    October for a 10-day visit during which he will take

    possession of the properties that were returned to him under

    a Constitutional Court ruling last year, BTA reported. The

    former monarch said on arriving that he has not yet decided

    what to do with the restored properties, which include

    palaces near Sofia and in Tsarska Bistrica, as well as

    hunting lodges, a farm, and a village house. During a visit

    in 1998, Simeon said he might consider having the properties

    run "for the public benefit," AP reported. MS

    [26] SOCIALIST MAYOR CANDIDATE MURDERED IN BULGARIA

    The Socialist

    Party candidate for mayor of the village of Starevetsi in the

    Pleven district, northern Bulgaria, was found murdered on 2

    October, BTA reported, citing Bulgarian police. Police said

    Yanko Kozhoukarov was injured "with a sharp object in the

    region of the heart." Meanwhile, the campaign for the 16

    October local elections is heating up. Socialist Party leader

    Georgi Parvanov said in the parliament on 3 October that the

    opposition is subjected to "intimidation," while Movement for

    Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan remarked at a meeting

    with voters that the government's campaign is "imprudent."

    Interior Minister Bogumil Bonev dismissed as "absurd" claims

    by Dogan's party that mosques will be demolished if his

    party's candidates are not elected in Turkish villages. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [27] ENTITLEMENTS, RIGHTS, AND DEMOCRACY

    by Paul Goble

    A major obstacle to the building of democracy in Russia

    and other post-communist countries is that many people there

    appear to be concerned more about what their governments can

    give them than about what control they have over those

    governments via democratic procedures.

    As a result, many of them may be inclined to support

    political figures and movements that promise to guarantee

    what they see as their substantive rights, even if these

    individuals and groups are prepared to violate the norms of

    democratic governance such as regular elections, freedom of

    speech, and freedom of religion.

    That is the sobering message of the results of a recent

    poll taken by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public

    Opinion. When asked what is the most important factor

    defining a democratic society, 75 percent of Russians replied

    that it was a system of government that provides equal rights

    for all.

    Seventy-one percent said that democracy meant having the

    opportunity to influence the government in the interests of

    the people; 62 percent said that it involves the chance to

    choose leaders in free elections; and 58 percent said that

    democracy is a system that provides opportunities for

    expressing one's own opinion and criticizing the authorities.

    But when the same sample of Russians was asked which

    human rights were most important to them, 68 percent said

    that the right to free education, medical care, and financial

    support in old age; 57 percent opted for the right to life;

    53 percent chose the right to a well-paid job; and 46 percent

    said it is the right to privacy.

    Only 23 percent said named the right to own property; 14

    percent freedom of speech; 9 percent right to information; 8

    percent freedom of worship; 8 percent the right to travel

    abroad; and 8 percent the right to elect one's leaders.

    This combination of answers about democracy and human

    rights suggests that many people in post-communist Russia

    define democracy less as a system of government than as a

    system that will protect what they see as entitlements--less

    a question of procedures than one of substantive outcomes.

    On the one hand, such attitudes reflect the influence of

    Soviet-sponsored values, of the communist-sponsored notion

    that a government should be judged not by the procedures it

    follows--as Western democracies maintain--but by what that

    system provides for the mass of the population.

    And on the other, these views reflect the very real and

    severe problems that many people in Russia and elsewhere are

    experiencing during the transition. Even in long-established

    democratic countries, people tend to focus on procedures only

    when times are relatively good. When times are bad, people

    tend to worry far more about outcomes.

    This poll and others like it do not provide sufficient

    evidence to allow anyone to decide which of these factors is

    the more important. But such samplings of opinion in Russia

    point to a more general problem that many, if not all, post-

    communist societies now face: namely, an understanding of

    democracy that may allow some to subvert democracy as it is

    understood in the West.

    To the extent that leaders can deliver the substantive

    rights that many people in these countries want, they may be

    able to violate democratic norms such as freedom of speech

    and religion with impunity, as long as they cover what they

    are doing with invocations of their commitment to democracy

    as a general principle.

    But this combination of violations of democratic norms

    with invocations of democracy as a guiding principle may have

    three consequences that could undercut the possibility of

    institutionalizing democracy in these countries.

    First, such a combination of actions by post-communist

    leaders is likely to reduce the attractiveness of democracy

    for many of their citizens precisely because it will

    undermine the fundamental meaning of democracy itself.

    Second, actions of this kind may open the door to ever

    less scrupulous leaders who are likely to be able to argue

    that they can guarantee entitlements if only the people allow

    them to ignore some procedural rights that are clearly less

    highly-valued by the population.

    And third, such actions by post-communist governments

    may lead Western governments to decide that it is more

    important to support leaders who claim to be democrats than

    to criticize the ways in which these leaders fail to live up

    to democratic norms.

    Such decisions in turn will make it ever more likely

    that these post-communist leaders will decide they can

    violate procedural rights with impunity not only at home but

    abroad as well.

    And that conclusion could further erode not only the

    possibilities for establishing democratic systems in these

    countries but even the attractiveness of democracy as an

    idea, at least in the eyes of populations undergoing the

    difficult transition from communism.

    04-10-99


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


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