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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 199, 99-10-12

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. 199, 12 October 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] MILITARY NOT TO VOTE IN ARMENIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS
  • [02] ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTS MEET
  • [03] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PROTESTS CLOSURE OF TV STATION
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN MILITARY OFFICIAL ARRESTED
  • [05] AZERBAIJAN, IRAN SEEK TO EXPAND COOPERATION
  • [06] GEORGIAN AMNESTY DISPUTE INTENSIFIES
  • [07] GUARD ATTACKED AT RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE IN GEORGIA
  • [08] OSCE CRITICIZES KAZAKH ELECTIONS...
  • [09] ...AS INITIAL RESULTS DELAYED
  • [10] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT NAMES NEW PREMIER
  • [11] KYRGYZ TROOPS ADVANCE ON GUERRILLA BASE
  • [12] TAJIK OPPOSITION CANDIDATES CALL FOR POSTPONEMENT OF
  • [13] ...AS UTO WITHDRAWS FROM CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION
  • [14] SECOND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NOMINATED IN UZBEKISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] ALBANIA'S MAJKO TO REMAIN PRIME MINISTER
  • [16] UCK COMMANDER DENIES WAR CRIMES CHARGES
  • [17] SERBIAN NGO CALLS FOR RELEASE OF KOSOVAR PRISONERS
  • [18] UN ADMINISTRATOR KILLED IN PRISHTINA
  • [19] NO MASS GRAVE IN KOSOVA MINE
  • [20] NEW IDEAS FOR RAHOVEC?
  • [21] EU TO LAUNCH LIMITED FUEL PROGRAM FOR SERBIA
  • [22] MILOSEVIC BLASTS OPPOSITION
  • [23] MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER 'DISAPPOINTED' BY OPPOSITION
  • [24] PETRITSCH TO INVESTIGATE BOSNIAN SERBS' VISIT TO MILOSEVIC
  • [25] ROMANIAN COALITION IN DISARRAY
  • [26] DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF ROMANIA DEPLETED BY DESERTIONS
  • [27] BULGARIAN PREMIER WARNS AGAINST EU 'ILLUSIONS'

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [28] A REAL BATTLE ON THE VIRTUAL FRONT

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] MILITARY NOT TO VOTE IN ARMENIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS

    The

    Armenian parliament on 11 October voted to amend the election

    law to allow Armenian servicemen to cast their votes in local

    elections only in their place of permanent residence,

    RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. That measure will affect

    the majority of army conscripts who normally perform their

    compulsory military service away from their native towns and

    villages. Opposition parties and international monitors have

    claimed in the past that tens of thousands of soldiers are

    ordered by their commanders to vote for pro-government

    candidates. Voting by the military has consistently figured

    in the list of election drawbacks reported by OSCE election

    monitoring missions. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTS MEET

    Robert Kocharian and

    Heidar Aliev met on the border between Armenia and

    Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhichevan on 11 October for a

    fourth round of talks on Karabakh. The meeting, which lasted

    just over two hours, was held behind closed doors. Kocharian

    told journalists later that he and Aliev discussed "the

    entire spectrum of issues" related to the settlement process,

    in particular "the degree of compromise." He declined,

    however, to give details. Aliev, for his part, noted that

    successive peace proposals by the UN and the OSCE have failed

    to yield a solution to the conflict. Aliev termed his direct

    talks with Kocharian "very useful" but said "more time,

    meetings and talks, and of course mutual compromises" are

    needed to reach a peace settlement, Noyan Tapan reported. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PROTESTS CLOSURE OF TV STATION

    Meeting in Baku on 11 October, representatives of leading

    Azerbaijani opposition parties formed a committee to defend

    the rights of the independent television station Sara TV,

    which was shut down by the Ministry of Justice on 9 October,

    Turan reported. Turan quoted a member of the Azerbaijani

    presidential administration as saying that the reason for the

    closure was that the station's original registration in 1994

    was illegal because its owners are not citizens of

    Azerbaijan. But Sara TV president Rasul Rauf, who has a

    British passport, said on 11 October that the Justice

    Ministry claimed that the station "interferes in the public-

    political life of Azerbaijan" and has departed from its

    customary focus on entertainment. Rauf told Reuters that the

    closure was "politically motivated." LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN MILITARY OFFICIAL ARRESTED

    Djanmirza Mirzoev, a

    former instructor at the Baku Higher Naval Academy who

    incurred the wrath of Defense Minister Safar Abiev for his

    disclosures of corrupt practices and dissenting views within

    that ministry, was arrested on 10 October, Turan reported the

    following day quoting "Yeni Musavat" (see "RFE/RL Caucasus

    Report," Vol. 2, No. 34, 26 August 1999). It is not clear

    what crime Mirzoev has been charged with. LF

    [05] AZERBAIJAN, IRAN SEEK TO EXPAND COOPERATION

    Visiting Iran

    last week at the head of an Azerbaijani delegation, deputy

    parliamentary speaker Yashar Aliev discussed with Iranian

    Majlis speaker Ali-Aqbar Nateq-Nouri and with Foreign

    Minister Kamal Kharrazi the need to expand bilateral

    relations, which Aliev said should not be impeded by "minor

    problems," IRNA reported. The talks focused on cooperation in

    the oil, gas, and road construction sectors as well as in

    cross-border trade. Yashar Aliev also attended a session of

    the Tehran-Baku economic commission, which is intended to

    explore how to increase trade turnover between the two

    countries from the present level of $160 million. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN AMNESTY DISPUTE INTENSIFIES

    The Georgian

    Prosecutor-General's Office has made good on its 6 October

    threat and brought criminal proceedings against the

    authorities of the Adjar Autonomous Republic for that

    region's failure to free all 28 prisoners eligible for

    release under Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's 1

    October amnesty (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 and 8 October

    1999). Three of the 28 men remain in jail. Speaking on

    Georgian Radio on 11 October, Shevardnadze said the Adjar

    authorities' refusal to comply with his amnesty decree

    constitutes a threat to Georgia's territorial integrity. LF

    [07] GUARD ATTACKED AT RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE IN GEORGIA

    Four

    Armenian youths attacked a guard at the Russian military base

    in the south Georgian district of Akhalkalaki on 11 October,

    Caucasus Press reported. The guard shot and mortally wounded

    one of the youths in self-defense. No details of the motive

    for the assault are available. LF

    [08] OSCE CRITICIZES KAZAKH ELECTIONS...

    In its preliminary

    assessment released on 11 October, the OSCE observer mission

    to the parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan termed the poll

    an improvement on the January 1999 presidential elections,

    Reuters and dpa reported. But the monitors noted that while

    the actual conduct of the vote was relatively free of

    violations, intimidation and obstruction of opposition

    candidates and parties "seriously undermined" democratic

    principles during the election campaign and "contributed to

    widespread expectations that the election results would be

    falsified and that nothing would change as a result of the

    elections." LF

    [09] ...AS INITIAL RESULTS DELAYED

    Central Electoral Commission

    chairwoman Zaghipa Balieva told journalists on 11 October

    that the preliminary results of the poll, which were to have

    been released that day, will be available only on 12 October,

    Reuters reported. Meanwhile Communist Party Chairman

    Serikbolsyn Abdildin said in Almaty on 11 October he believes

    that his party will win five or six of the 10 seats allocated

    under the proportional system but that none of its candidates

    in single-mandate constituencies received the required 50

    percent of the vote to win outright in the first round,

    Interfax reported. Azat Peruashev, head of the pro-government

    Civic Party of Kazakhstan, told Interfax that eight of the

    party's candidates have won in single-candidate

    constituencies. A total of 64 candidates contested the 10

    party-list seats, while 549 competed in the remaining 67

    single-candidate constituencies. ("RFE/RL Newsline"

    incorrectly reported on 11 October that 65 candidates

    contested the party-list seats and 484 took part in the

    remaining single candidate districts.) LF

    [10] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT NAMES NEW PREMIER

    Kazakhstan's

    outgoing parliament on 12 October unanimously approved the

    candidacy of Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Toqaev as the

    country's new prime minister, Reuters reported. President

    Nursultan Nazarbaev had named Toqaev acting premier on 1

    October following the resignation of Nurlan Balghymbaev (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 1999). Toqaev, who is 46, is a

    trained diplomat with little economic expertise. But

    parliamentary speaker Marat Ospanov, who had been fiercely

    critical of Balghymbaev and was regarded as a possible

    successor to him, told Interfax on 11 October that he

    considers Toqaev "a suitable figure" for the post. Ospanov

    argued that tensions between the parliament and the

    Balghymbaev cabinet deterred badly-needed foreign investment,

    which he hopes will now be forthcoming in the light of the

    international community's "recognition and trust" in Toqaev.

    LF

    [11] KYRGYZ TROOPS ADVANCE ON GUERRILLA BASE

    Kyrgyz government

    forces advanced into the Khodjo-Achkhan gorge on 11 October,

    where ethnic Uzbek militants had retreated together with the

    13 hostages they seized in August, Interfax and ITAR-TASS

    reported. The Kyrgyz troops met with little resistance there.

    Presidential press secretary Kanybek Imanaliev told

    journalists in Bishkek the same day that all but 100 of the

    estimated 1,000 guerrillas have retreated into Tajikistan.

    The whereabouts of the hostages are unclear. LF

    [12] TAJIK OPPOSITION CANDIDATES CALL FOR POSTPONEMENT OF

    PRESIDENTIAL POLL...

    Economics and Foreign Economic Relations

    Minister Davlat Usmon (Islamic Renaissance Party), Sulton

    Kuvvatov (Democratic Party/Tehran Platform) and Saiffidin

    Turaev (Justice Party) issued a statement on 11 October

    calling for the postponement of the 6 November presidential

    elections, Interfax reported. They also asked for an

    emergency session of the parliament to discuss the situation.

    The three had threatened last week to boycott the poll to

    protest what they termed interference by local district

    administrators intended to prevent them from collecting the

    signatures required to register as presidential candidates

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 October 1999). Central Electoral

    Commission chairman Mirzoali Boluev, who met with the three

    candidates on 8- 9 October, rejected their criticism of local

    administrators as "illegal propagandist pressure" aimed at

    winning the support of the international community, Asia

    Plus-Blitz reported on 11 October. He offered to extend the

    deadline for the submission of registration documents until

    11 October. LF

    [13] ...AS UTO WITHDRAWS FROM CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

    The

    United Tajik Opposition issued a statement on 10 October

    supporting the claim by the three opposition candidates that

    local administrators are sabotaging the election campaign,

    Asia Plus-Blitz reported on 11 October. The UTO announced

    that since the Central Electoral Commission is incapable of

    taking measures to ensure that the poll is free and fair, the

    UTO will withdraw its representatives, who account for 25

    percent of the commission's members. LF

    [14] SECOND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NOMINATED IN UZBEKISTAN

    The

    People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, which is the

    successor organization to the Communist Party of Uzbekistan

    and has the largest faction (71 deputies) in Uzbekistan's

    250-seat parliament, has named its leader, Abdulkhafiz

    Djalalov, as its candidate for the January 2000 presidential

    poll, Reuters and AP reported on 11 October. Djalalov, 52, is

    director of the department of philosophy and law of the Uzbek

    Academy of Sciences. The People's Democratic Party was headed

    until 1994 by incumbent President Islam Karimov, who has been

    nominated as presidential candidate by both the Social

    Democratic Party (Adolat) and the Fidorkorlar. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] ALBANIA'S MAJKO TO REMAIN PRIME MINISTER

    Pandeli Majko said

    in Tirana on 11 October that his government will remain in

    office "until a change is appropriate...while respecting the

    [need to preserve the] stability of the country," Reuters

    reported. He added that he feels "hurt in his moral and

    political legitimacy" by his recent defeat by Fatos Nano in

    the contest for the Socialist Party leadership (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 11 October 1999). Majko had previously threatened

    to resign the prime minister's post if he failed to gain the

    party chair. Nano, who pledged to nominate a woman for

    Majko's job if Majko quit, appealed to the government on 11

    October "not to take any hasty decisions." He added that the

    government "is legitimate and has the backing of the

    Socialist Party." Elsewhere, opposition leader Sali Berisha

    said that Majko no longer enjoys the backing of his own party

    and should call early elections. PM

    [16] UCK COMMANDER DENIES WAR CRIMES CHARGES

    General Agim Ceku,

    who headed the general staff of the former Kosova Liberation

    Army (UCK), told Zagreb's "Jutarnji list" of 12 October that

    only Serbs committed war crimes on Croatian territory during

    the 1991-1995 war. He added that he will not comment on

    allegations that the Hague-based war crimes tribunal is

    investigating him for war crimes in 1993, when he was a

    Croatian army commander in the Medak area near Gospic. Ceku

    said, however, that he expects that the Croatian government

    will "react" to the charges, which appeared in the latest

    issue of London's "The Sunday Times." The general told the

    Croatian daily that he has no information to suggest that he

    might have been secretly indicted for war crimes. PM

    [17] SERBIAN NGO CALLS FOR RELEASE OF KOSOVAR PRISONERS

    The

    Humanitarian Law Center said in a statement on 10 October

    that Serbian authorities continue to hold 2,000 ethnic

    Albanian prisoners. These include 25 minors, 11 women, about

    200 wounded, and some 50 people who are sick. The statement

    stressed that "their immediate release is above all required

    on humanitarian grounds and is not subject to political

    debate." Some of the wounded were injured in the NATO attack

    on the Dubrava prison in Kosova in May. Some former inmates

    of Dubrava charge that Serbian security forces killed about

    100 and wounded some 200 ethnic Albanian prisoners following

    the air attack, the statement added. Observers note that the

    June agreement between Belgrade and NATO did not oblige the

    Serbian authorities to release or provide lists of prisoners.

    UN and Red Cross officials argue that this was a key omission

    in the agreement. PM

    [18] UN ADMINISTRATOR KILLED IN PRISHTINA

    The UN's Bernard

    Kouchner said in Paris on 12 October that the UN civilian

    administrator beaten and shot dead in Prishtina the previous

    day "was apparently an American of Bulgarian origin," Reuters

    reported. Kouchner suggested that Valentin Krumov, who had

    arrived in Kosova earlier that day, spoke Bulgarian in a

    restaurant and the local inhabitants mistook him for a Serb.

    In Prishtina, a UN police spokesman said that a crowd

    attacked and beat Krumov in Mother Theresa Street before

    killing him. It was the first killing of a civilian

    administrator in Kosova. AP quoted an unnamed Polish member

    of the UN police force as saying that he never speaks Polish

    in public in Prishtina because local Albanians are often

    unable to distinguish Serbo-Croatian from other Slavic

    languages and react with hostility to the sound of any Slavic

    language. PM

    [19] NO MASS GRAVE IN KOSOVA MINE

    A spokeswoman for the Hague-

    based war crimes tribunal said in Prishtina on 11 October

    that international forensic investigators have found no bones

    or bodies in the Trepca lead and zinc mine near Mitrovica.

    She stressed that "they found absolutely nothing..., not even

    animal bones." Reuters noted that rumors have been

    circulating in Kosova that Serbian forces dumped the bodies

    of as many as 700 Kosovars in the important mine. PM

    [20] NEW IDEAS FOR RAHOVEC?

    NATO's General Wolfgang Sauer said in

    Rahovec on 11 October that there has been little progress in

    talks between local ethnic Albanians and Russian

    peacekeepers. KFOR has assigned the Russians to the town, but

    the Kosovars say that Russians are pro-Serb and hence

    unwelcome. Sauer added that a former UCK commander proposed

    that the Russians stay out of Rahovec for one year "while the

    citizens rebuild their lives." After that, the local people

    "might" agree to a Russian presence, the UCK official argued.

    Elsewhere, Rahovec's Mayor Agim Thaqi suggested that Russians

    might immediately begin patrolling outlying villages but not

    the town itself, AP reported. In Moscow, Foreign Minister

    Igor Ivanov sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

    again charging that the UCK "and other armed groups of

    Kosovar Albanians" have not yet been demilitarized, Interfax

    reported. PM

    [21] EU TO LAUNCH LIMITED FUEL PROGRAM FOR SERBIA

    EU foreign

    ministers agreed in Luxembourg on 11 October to try to send

    fuel trucks to the opposition-controlled towns of Nis and

    Pirot. How the EU will do this without encountering the

    opposition of the Yugoslav government remains unclear, the

    "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. The ministers

    agreed to maintain a ban on civilian flights to and from

    Serbia. German and Finnish diplomats sought to lift the ban,

    arguing that it affects ordinary people more than the top

    regime officials. Germany's Joschka Fischer stressed that the

    EU's ban on visas for leading officials is its key means of

    pressuring the Belgrade elite. Most leading members of the

    Serbian opposition stayed away from the meeting because of

    their objections to the EU's proposed text of a joint

    declaration (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 October 1999).

    Elsewhere, Kouchner said that he doubts that the opposition

    has the strength to overthrow Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic, Radio Svobodna Evropa reported. PM

    [22] MILOSEVIC BLASTS OPPOSITION

    In Belgrade on 11 October,

    Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic said that the EU's

    demand that the opposition pledge to extradite war criminals

    to The Hague was "irresponsible at such a critical moment in

    Serbia's history." In Leskovac, Milosevic nonetheless accused

    his opponents of being the West's "bootlickers." He appealed

    to citizens not to "be fooled by those who drag themselves

    along the streets of our towns in the evenings," by which he

    apparently referred to the opposition's protest marches.

    Milosevic charged that the opposition wants to launch a

    "civil war." PM

    [23] MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER 'DISAPPOINTED' BY OPPOSITION

    Filip Vujanovic said in Luxembourg on 11 October that he was

    "disappointed" by the decision of most Serbian opposition

    leaders not to attend the conference. He called their

    decision a "wrong move," the Frankfurt-based Serbian daily

    "Vesti" reported. PM

    [24] PETRITSCH TO INVESTIGATE BOSNIAN SERBS' VISIT TO MILOSEVIC

    A

    spokeswoman for the international community's Wolfgang

    Petritsch said that his office will ask Zivko Radisic, who is

    the Serbian representative on the Bosnian joint presidency,

    to explain his recent visit to indicted war criminal

    Milosevic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 October 1999),

    Sarajevo's "Dnevni avaz" reported on 12 October. Republika

    Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik criticized the visit by

    Radisic and two other Bosnian Serb politicians, which has led

    to a strain in relations between Dodik and Radisic, the daily

    added. PM

    [25] ROMANIAN COALITION IN DISARRAY

    The Senate on 11 October

    voted to set up three investigation commissions to examine

    the management of budgetary funds, privatization, and reform.

    Two commissions will investigate the activities of the

    Ministry of Culture and the State Property Fund, while the

    third will examine how RomTelcom was privatized. The ministry

    and the fund are both headed by members of the National

    Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD). The initiative to

    set up the commissions came from the Democratic Party, the

    PNTCD's minor coalition partner. In the vote on forming the

    new commissions, the opposition backed the Democrats, while

    the PNTCD and other coalition members opposed the initiative.

    The Democrats are also demanding that a special commission be

    set up to examine whether the Environment Ministry (also

    headed by a PNTCD member) is meeting conditions for EU

    membership, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

    [26] DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF ROMANIA DEPLETED BY DESERTIONS

    Deputies

    Romeo Trifu and Liviu Spataru from the Democratic Party

    announced on 11 October their resignation from the party,

    which is headed by Senate chairman Petre Roman, RFE/RL's

    Bucharest bureau reported. Two weeks earlier, the Democrats

    were deserted by deputy George Serban and Senator Radu F.

    Alexandru. Trifu said he is leaving the party owing to the

    Democrats' "arrogance" in relations with coalition partners

    and with rank-and-file members of the party. Spataru said his

    decision was prompted by the party's having distanced itself

    from a social-democratic orientation and by the fact that

    Roman is "the prisoner" of a "group of Democratic Party

    ministers who are demolishing the party's structures." MS

    [27] BULGARIAN PREMIER WARNS AGAINST EU 'ILLUSIONS'

    Ivan Kostov

    on 9 October warned Bulgarians that they must not entertain

    "illusions" about being accepted into the EU without building

    a competitive economy and a modern infrastructure, AP

    reported, citing BTA. Addressing a public rally in

    Dimitrovgrad, Kostov said that "some people imagine Europe as

    a charity organization." BTA reported the previous day that

    British Premier Tony Blair has addressed a letter to Kostov

    saying Sofia's commitment to close down the controversial

    Kozloduy nuclear plant will improve its chances of EU

    integration. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [28] A REAL BATTLE ON THE VIRTUAL FRONT

    By Paul Goble

    Russians and Chechens are fighting not only on the

    physical battlefield in the North Caucasus. They have taken

    their fight to the virtual world of the Internet, with each

    side trying to seize the advantage there as well.

    Last week, Moscow officials denied that Russian forces

    had attacked a bus carrying Chechen fugitives and killed many

    of them. But before that report could be aired on central

    Russian television, the Chechens used their Internet Website

    to post photographs of the incident.

    Not only did this call into question Russian claims

    about the way in which Moscow is conducting the current

    campaign, but it forced Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

    to focus ever more closely on the role of the Internet in

    deciding the outcome of conflicts.

    Speaking to journalists last week, Putin openly

    acknowledged that Moscow was playing catch-up on this

    battlefield: "We surrendered this terrain some time ago," he

    said, "but now we are entering the game again."

    The prime minister's remarks came on the heels of

    reports that Russia's evolving national security concept now

    calls for tightened control over the media during crisis

    situations.

    Indeed, the Russian government's own newspaper

    "Izvestiya" noted rather critically that "the introduction of

    centralized military censorship regarding the war in the

    North Caucasus is the only new idea" in the much vaunted

    national security doctrine.

    But if battlefield censorship is nothing new--most

    governments have sought to impose it in most wars--then the

    war in the virtual world of the Internet is. And because of

    that, the attackers still have significant advantages over

    the defenders, even though that pattern may be reversed.

    Since declaring their independence from the Soviet Union

    in November 1991, the Chechens have pioneered the use of

    Website as a weapon to try to break the information blockade

    that the Russian authorities have tried to impose over the

    conflict.

    In recent weeks, the Russian government responded on a

    number of fronts. It has tried to close down the most

    important of the Chechen Websites---http://www.kavkaz.org--

    and even sought help from Western governments to that end.

    But Moscow has not limited itself to official moves

    against the Chechen efforts in cyberspace. The Russian

    authorities or their supporters have routinely hacked into

    Chechen sites, destroying or distorting the materials and

    information they contain.

    And taking a leaf from the Chechens' book, the Russian

    government's news agencies have expanded their activities on

    the web, not only increasing the number of Websites they

    operate but tailoring them to deliver specific messages to

    specific audiences.

    Control of information has always been a key element in

    military strategy and has often determined the outcomes of

    military campaigns. For most of human history, commanders on

    the scene and their political superiors were in a position to

    determine what was reported and what was not.

    But the rise of mass circulation newspapers in Europe

    during the last century and even more the appearance of radio

    and television in this one has limited the ability of both

    generals and politicians to control the situation. Now the

    Internet has reduced their ability to do so still further.

    If Moscow eliminates one Chechen site, another is likely

    to replace it within hours, if not minutes. If those

    supporting the Russian side hack into a Chechen site, the

    Chechens are likely to respond by hacking into a Russian one.

    Indeed, there are suspicions that the Chechens or their

    backers may have been behind the defacing of Moscow Mayor

    Yurii Luzhkov's Website two weeks ago precisely because of

    his statements against Chechnya and his efforts to expel

    Chechens from the Russian capital.

    The Internet and the World Wide Web have thus become yet

    another field of battle in modern war, one in which neither

    side has yet been able to declare any final victory.

    But this new, virtual, but all too real battlefield

    appears likely to be one in which those who seek to control

    the free flow of news are likely to suffer more defeats than

    those who sponsor it. And the victories of the latter in

    cyberspace may ultimately translate into other victories as

    well.

    12-10-99


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


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