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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 215, 99-11-04

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. 215, 4 November 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW PREMIER...
  • [02] ...PLEDGES ECONOMIC CONTINUITY
  • [03] MORE ARRESTS IN CONNECTION WITH ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN'S OPPOSITION DEMANDS CLARIFICATION OF KARABAKH
  • [05] GEORGIA EXPRESSES CONCERN AT RUSSIA'S VIOLATION OF CFE
  • [06] TALKS ON CLOSURE OF RUSSIAN BASES IN GEORGIA DEADLOCKED
  • [07] KAZAKH OFFICIAL PREDICTS CANCER CASES WILL DOUBLE AS RESULT
  • [08] KAZAKH LEADERSHIP WANTS TO EXPAND ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH
  • [09] HEAD OF KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL STAFF NAMED TO HEAD AUDIT
  • [10] OSCE DECIDES AGAINST MONITORING TAJIK PRESIDENTIAL POLL
  • [11] DEFENSE MINISTERS REVIEW CENTRAL ASIAN JOINT MANEUVERS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] U.S. TO LIFT SOME SANCTIONS IF FREE ELECTIONS HELD IN
  • [13] DJINDJIC EXPRESSES SATISFACTION...
  • [14] ...WHILE YUGOSLAV OFFICIAL SCOFFS
  • [15] DRASKOVIC'S PARTY TO CALL FOR EARLY ELECTIONS
  • [16] OSCE WARNS VIOLENCE IN KOSOVA COULD DISCOURAGE DONORS
  • [17] THACI GIVES AWARD TO U.S. DIPLOMAT
  • [18] YUGOSLAV GENERALS MEET MONTENGRO'S INTERIOR MINISTER
  • [19] UN SPECIAL ENVOY ASSESSES BALKAN SITUATION
  • [20] DODIK SAYS WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL CAN OPEN OFFICE IN BANJA LUKA
  • [21] PETRITSCH INSISTS THAT CROATIAN SERBS GET FAIR CHANCE TO
  • [22] WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL AGREES TO DELAY EXTRADITION OF 'TUTA'
  • [23] CROATIAN PRESIDENT STILL RECOVERING IN HOSPITAL
  • [24] MACEDONIAN PREMIER ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE
  • [25] ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY PAPER CALLS BERISHA A 'CRIMINAL'
  • [26] U.S. SENATE VOTES TO GRANT NORMAL TRADE STATUS TO ALBANIA
  • [27] MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REBUKES PRESIDENT
  • [28] MOLDOVAN PREMIER THREATENS TO QUIT
  • [29] BULGARIA PROTESTS AIR POLLUTION FROM ROMANIA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [30] WHEN 'SALVATION' IS DAMNATION

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW PREMIER...

    Robert Kocharian on 3

    November appointed Aram Sargsian to succeed his murdered

    elder brother, Vazgen, as prime minister, RFE/RL's Yerevan

    bureau reported. Sargsian's candidacy was proposed by the

    majority Miasnutiun parliamentary faction, one of whose

    leaders, Andranik Markarian, said there will be no changes in

    Armenia's economic policy or its approach to resolving the

    Karabakh conflict. Sargsian, who is 38, is a construction

    engineer who, like his brother, fought as a volunteer in

    Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. Since 1993, he has been

    employed at the Ararat cement plant and became its director

    in 1998, according to Noyan Tapan. A member of the Republican

    Party, Sargsian was elected a deputy to the parliament in May

    but has no other political experience. LF

    [02] ...PLEDGES ECONOMIC CONTINUITY

    Meeting on 3 November with a

    group of Armenian bankers, President Kocharian vowed that

    last week's murders of senior officials will not affect the

    country's commitment to economic reform, RFE/RL's Yerevan

    bureau reported. "We are able to overcome the existing

    problems and continue the country's development in a

    constitutional way," he said. Central Bank Chairman Tigran

    Sarkisian told the gathering that the IMF and World Bank have

    expressed their readiness to discuss possible additional

    economic and technical assistance to help Armenia recover

    from the aftermath of the shootings. The national currency

    continues to strengthen gradually against the U.S. dollar,

    but some analysts have expressed concern that the killings

    may deter potential foreign investors. LF

    [03] MORE ARRESTS IN CONNECTION WITH ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT

    SHOOTINGS

    Military police have detained an unspecified

    number of people in connection with the 27 October shootings

    in the parliament, Noyan Tapan reported on 3 November, citing

    an unnamed source close to the country's law enforcement

    agencies. The five gunmen directly responsible for the

    killings were taken into custody after surrendering on 28

    October. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN'S OPPOSITION DEMANDS CLARIFICATION OF KARABAKH

    NEGOTIATING STANCE

    Members of the opposition parliamentary

    Democratic Bloc called on parliamentary speaker Murtuz

    Alesqerov on 2 November to answer questions related to the

    ongoing negotiations with Armenia on a settlement of the

    Karabakh conflict, Turan reported. Those questions include

    which precise concessions the Azerbaijani leadership is

    prepared to make; whether the degree of self-government given

    to Nagorno-Karabakh includes the right to a separate

    constitution, legal system, and national army; whether the

    peace agreement under discussion provides for the return of

    displaced persons to Shusha, Lachin, and Kelbadjar; and

    whether the Azerbaijani leadership has taken into

    consideration the possibility that concessions could spark

    massive protests among the country's population. LF

    [05] GEORGIA EXPRESSES CONCERN AT RUSSIA'S VIOLATION OF CFE

    CEILING

    Shalva Pichkhadze, who is foreign policy adviser to

    President Eduard Shevardnadze, said on 3 November that if

    Russia continues its arms buildup in Chechnya in violation of

    the limits imposed by the CFE treaty, then Georgia will

    intensify its campaign for NATO membership, AP and Interfax

    reported. Shevardnadze said last week that he hopes for

    Georgian accession to the alliance by 2005. Also on 3

    November, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir

    Rakhmanin told journalists in Moscow that Russian will

    withdraw from the North Caucasus military equipment in excess

    of its CFE quotas as soon as the situation in Chechnya is

    "under control," according to Interfax. LF

    [06] TALKS ON CLOSURE OF RUSSIAN BASES IN GEORGIA DEADLOCKED

    Georgian parliamentary Defense and Security Commission

    Chairman Revaz Adamia told Interfax on 3 November that Moscow

    and Tbilisi are at odds over the timeframe for the closure of

    Russia's military bases in Georgia. Adamia said that Georgia

    wants those bases to be closed within six to 18 months, while

    Russia insists they should remain for 25 years as provided

    for under the terms of a 1995 bilateral treaty, which the

    Georgian parliament has not ratified. LF

    [07] KAZAKH OFFICIAL PREDICTS CANCER CASES WILL DOUBLE AS RESULT

    OF ROCKET EXPLOSION

    A senior medical official predicted on 2

    November that the incidence of cancer in the regions of

    central Kazakhstan affected by the 27 October explosion of a

    Russian Proton rocket will double over the next two or three

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

    Russian scientists have claimed that the adverse consequences

    of the blast will be minimal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3

    November 1999). LF

    [08] KAZAKH LEADERSHIP WANTS TO EXPAND ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH

    GERMANY, JAPAN

    President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Prime

    Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev met separately on 2 and 3

    November, respectively, with a visiting German delegation

    from Sachsen-Anhalt, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

    Delegation head Gerhard Glogowski told both Kazakh officials

    in response to their plea for greater German investment in

    Kazakhstan that the country should enact legislation

    protecting foreign investors. Germany is one of Kazakhstan's

    main trade partners, with annual trade turnover estimated at

    $650 million. Also on 3 November, Toqaev told a visiting

    delegation from Japan's Marubeni Corporation that Kazakhstan

    considers expanding economic relations with Japan "a

    priority," Interfax reported. Marubeni is interested in a

    $300-400 million project for reconstructing the Atyrau oil

    refinery. A feasibility plan for the plant's reconstruction

    is nearing completion. An agreement on the project is likely

    to be signed during Nazarbaev's visit to Japan at the end of

    the year. LF

    [09] HEAD OF KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL STAFF NAMED TO HEAD AUDIT

    COMMISSION

    President Askar Akaev on 3 November named Medet

    Sadyrkulov to head the Auditing Commission, a post that Akaev

    said entails coordinating the activities of all public

    organizations that support reform in the runup to the

    February 2000 parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's Bishkek

    bureau reported. Interfax quoted Akaev as saying that those

    elections are crucial to Kyrgyzstan's image as a democratic

    country. He told Sadyrkulov to ensure that criminal elements

    are prevented from entering the new parliament and that

    governors and ministers do not use budget funds to finance

    their associates' election campaigns. LF

    [10] OSCE DECIDES AGAINST MONITORING TAJIK PRESIDENTIAL POLL

    A

    spokesman for the OSCE has said that organization will not

    send a delegation to Tajikistan to monitor the 6 November

    presidential poll, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 3

    November. The spokesman said that given the restrictions on

    candidates and the activities of political parties, the

    election process does not meet the standards set by the OSCE

    for a democratic poll. Economics and Foreign Economic

    Relations Minister Davlat Usmon, whom the Central Electoral

    Commission has registered as a candidate, despite his failure

    to submit the required 145,000 signatures in his support,

    said on 3 November he will not formally withdraw his

    candidacy as it is illegal, ITAR-TASS reported. The Central

    Electoral Commission has confirmed that Usmon has not

    withdrawn from the poll and that his name is on the ballot

    sheet together with that of incumbent Imomali Rakhmonov. LF

    [11] DEFENSE MINISTERS REVIEW CENTRAL ASIAN JOINT MANEUVERS

    The

    defense ministers of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,

    Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have assessed the five-day joint

    exercises held in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Interfax and

    Asia Plus-Blitz reported. Those maneuvers, which ended on 1

    November, were aimed at coordinating measures to repulse a

    terrorist attack. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev told

    his colleagues that Russian and Uzbek forces will be ready by

    next spring to launch cross-border attacks into Tajik

    territory in order to preempt an anticipated strike by Uzbek

    Islamist forces. Sergeev added that Russia will extend

    assistance to Kyrgyzstan within the framework of the CIS

    Collective Security Treaty if those guerrillas launch a

    further incursion into Kyrgyzstan. Meanwhile in Astana, a

    Kazakh Interior Ministry press secretary denied that

    unidentified gunmen have crossed into southern Kazakhstan

    from neighboring Uzbekistan, Interfax reported on 3 November.

    LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] U.S. TO LIFT SOME SANCTIONS IF FREE ELECTIONS HELD IN

    YUGOSLAVIA

    Flanked by members of the Serbian opposition,

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on 3 November

    the U.S. will lift a ban on oil sales and flights to Serbia

    if free elections are held there, AP reported. Members of the

    Serbian opposition Alliance for Change were in Washington for

    talks with Albright. They also met with U.S. National

    Security Adviser Sandy Berger. Albright said the strategy is

    aimed at assisting the opposition's struggle "for the right

    of people to choose their own leaders." Albright dismissed

    the possibility that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic

    would win such an election, saying "I find it really, really

    hard to believe that Milosevic might win a free and fair

    election." VG

    [13] DJINDJIC EXPRESSES SATISFACTION...

    Opposition leader Zoran

    Djindjic said in Washington he is pleased with Albright's

    announcement. "It was more than we expected because we got a

    clear message about lifting sanctions after elections." He

    added that the opposition will continue their protests and

    work toward the ouster of Milosevic from power. VG

    [14] ...WHILE YUGOSLAV OFFICIAL SCOFFS

    In Belgrade, Yugoslav

    Federal Information Minister Goran Matic said the opposition

    leaders would win "less than 1 percent of the vote in

    Serbia." He added: " It seems that Washington is trying to

    prepare a jackass to win the horse races." The government

    also said there is no need to hold elections earlier than

    those that are scheduled for 2001. VG

    [15] DRASKOVIC'S PARTY TO CALL FOR EARLY ELECTIONS

    Vuk

    Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement on 3 November announced

    that it will officially demand early elections at the next

    parliamentary session on 9 November, Reuters reported. The

    party also demanded talks with the government on what

    measures can be taken to ensure that the elections are fair.

    Earlier, the Serbian Renewal Movement said that it would not

    make a call in the parliament for early elections, arguing

    that such a call was sure to be rejected. VG

    [16] OSCE WARNS VIOLENCE IN KOSOVA COULD DISCOURAGE DONORS

    The

    OSCE on 3 November warned that recent violence against ethnic

    Serbs and other minorities in Kosova could discourage

    potential donors from financing reconstruction projects in

    the province. The OSCE statement said the violence

    "jeopardizes the international reputation and standing" of

    Kosova. It called on Kosova's political leaders to join the

    international community in efforts to stop the violence. VG

    [17] THACI GIVES AWARD TO U.S. DIPLOMAT

    Ethnic Albanian leader

    Hashim Thaci on 3 November awarded a gold plate and honorary

    Kosova citizenship to U.S. diplomat William Walker, Reuters

    reported. Thaci thanked Walker, who is on a visit to Kosova,

    for alerting the world to the Serbian atrocities against

    ethnic Albanians in Kosova last winter. Walker said he is

    glad to have played a role in ridding Kosova of Milosevic

    "and his gang." However, he stressed his dismay at a recent

    spate of attacks against ethnic Serbs in the province (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 November 1999). VG

    [18] YUGOSLAV GENERALS MEET MONTENGRO'S INTERIOR MINISTER

    A group

    of generals from Yugoslavia's Army on 3 November met

    Montenegro's Interior Minister Vukasin Maras in Podgorica.

    The two sides pledged to work together to remove any barriers

    to future cooperation. Maras said that the situation in

    Montenegro is "very complex" but that the Montenegrin police

    will work to maintain good relations with the Yugoslav

    military. Yugoslav chief of staff Dragoljub Ojdanic, who

    visited military units in Montenegro the same day, did not

    attend the meeting. VG

    [19] UN SPECIAL ENVOY ASSESSES BALKAN SITUATION

    UN human rights

    envoy Jiri Dienstbier has submitted a report to the UN

    arguing that the current international presence in Kosova

    should not be restricted to a mere "holding operation," AP

    reported on 3 November. Dienstbier said Kosova should be

    viewed in the "overall context of the violent disintegration

    of Yugoslavia." He praised the expanded approach of the

    Stability Pact initiative for the Balkan region and noted

    that the primary goal in Bosnia-Herzegovina remains the

    creation of a multiethnic police force and judiciary. He also

    criticized the delays and "lack of transparency" in Croatian

    judicial proceedings as well as discrimination against

    Muslims in Republika Srpska and Serbia. VG

    [20] DODIK SAYS WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL CAN OPEN OFFICE IN BANJA LUKA

    Republika Srpska caretaker Prime Minister Milorad Dodik on 3

    November said the Bosnian Serbs will allow the Hague-based

    war crimes tribunal to set up an office in Banja Luka.

    Dodik's comments came after a meeting in Banja Luka with the

    tribunal's chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte. He described the

    opening of the office as the first step in the Republika

    Srpska's cooperation with the tribunal. He added that "all

    those who have committed war crimes have to stand trial.

    There is no collective guilt, crimes are individual," AP

    reported. VG

    [21] PETRITSCH INSISTS THAT CROATIAN SERBS GET FAIR CHANCE TO

    VOTE

    The international community's envoy to Bosnia, Wolfgang

    Petritsch, urged officials in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and

    Croatia to ensure that displaced Croatian citizens have equal

    and fair access to Croatia's parliamentary elections, Reuters

    reported. Petritsch said he wants to ensure that there will

    be an "equal chance for all those eligible to vote,"

    especially ethnic Serbs originally from Croatia and now

    living in Bosnia. Petritsch made the statement after a

    meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa in Zagreb.

    VG

    [22] WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL AGREES TO DELAY EXTRADITION OF 'TUTA'

    The Hague-based war crimes tribunal on 3 November agreed to

    delay extradition proceedings against indicted war criminal

    Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic on the grounds that he is "unfit to

    travel to The Hague." The tribunal has received a report from

    two Dutch doctors who confirmed that his health problems will

    prevent him from travelling to the Netherlands for some two

    to three weeks (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 November 1999). VG

    [23] CROATIAN PRESIDENT STILL RECOVERING IN HOSPITAL

    Franjo

    Tudjman was still in hospital on 3 November recovering from a

    recent intestinal operation, Hina reported. Doctors said he

    is in "good" condition. VG

    [24] MACEDONIAN PREMIER ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE

    Ljubco

    Georgievski on 3 November announced plans to reshuffle his

    cabinet, AP reported. The announcement comes after the

    presidential candidate of Georgievski's Internal Macedonian

    Revolutionary Organization (VMRO), Boris Trajkovski, finished

    second in the first round of voting on 31 October (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 November 1999). The VMRO has 13

    ministers in the coalition government, while Vasil

    Tupurkovski's Democratic Alternative has eight and the

    Democratic Party of the Albanians five. Georgievski also

    replaced nine local VMRO heads in municipalities where

    Trajkovski failed to win a majority of the vote. VG

    [25] ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY PAPER CALLS BERISHA A 'CRIMINAL'

    The ruling Albanian Socialist Party's newspaper "Zeri i

    Popullit" ran an editorial on 3 November comparing former

    President Sali Berisha to a "criminal." The editorial accused

    the leader of the opposition Democratic Party of gathering

    support from a group of "well-known criminals" and plotting

    to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Ilir Meta. The

    editorial also warned that the authorities might arrest

    Berisha. Berisha has said the Democratic Party will boycott a

    parliamentary session this week that is expected to give a

    vote of confidence to the new government. VG

    [26] U.S. SENATE VOTES TO GRANT NORMAL TRADE STATUS TO ALBANIA

    The U.S. Senate on 3 November agreed to grant permanent

    Normal Trade Relations status to Albania, citing that

    country's progress on setting up a free market economy. VG

    [27] MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REBUKES PRESIDENT

    The

    Constitutional Court on 3 November ruled that President Petru

    Lucinschi cannot order a referendum on changing the country's

    basic law. The court said that the holding of such a

    plebiscite must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the

    parliament and that therefore the president must submit his

    proposal to the legislature, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau

    reported. It added that before submitting to the parliament a

    proposal that envisages changing the constitution, the

    president must receive the approval of the Constitutional

    Court. Lucinschi responded that "the court's decision is

    final and we are obliged to abide by it." MS

    [28] MOLDOVAN PREMIER THREATENS TO QUIT

    Ion Sturza on 3 November

    said the cabinet will resign "within 10 days" if the

    parliament fails again to approve the laws on privatization

    and on amending this year's budget (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3

    November 1999). Sturza said the laws will be re-submitted to

    the legislature this week and "if they are not approved, this

    will be tantamount to a vote of no-confidence and...the

    government will resign," Reuters reported. MS

    [29] BULGARIA PROTESTS AIR POLLUTION FROM ROMANIA

    Bulgaria on 3

    November protested air pollution in Nikopol that is produced

    by a Romanian chemical plant in Turnu Magurele, located on

    the opposite bank of the River Danube. Environment Minister

    Evdokia Maneva said that after Nikopol was shrouded in a

    cloud of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, she sent a protest

    letter to the Romanian authorities. Ammonia concentration in

    the air around Nikopol was 20.4 times above safety levels and

    hydrogen sulfide exceeded those levels by 2.3 times, AP

    reported, citing the daily "Trud." Maneva said she has

    received no response from her Romanian counterpart, Romica

    Tomescu. However, the Romanian Environment Agency said on 2

    November that over the previous 48 hours, pollution levels in

    Romania were "normal." MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [30] WHEN 'SALVATION' IS DAMNATION

    by Michael Shafir

    It hardly matters whether the neo-Nazi group in Russia

    that calls itself Spas (Salvation) managed to have its list

    approved by the Russian Central Electoral Commission (CEC)

    for the 19 December State Duma elections as a result of

    official incompetence or because its leader, Aleksandr

    Barkashov, has cunningly calculated his moves. The second

    scenario would be nothing more than yet another example of

    the ongoing exploitation by extremist leaders of the

    weaknesses of the system they want to destroy--democracy.

    On 18 October, the CEC registered the list of Spas,

    which thereby became one of 31 organizations to submit

    registration documents before the 24 October deadline. On 25

    October, the Justice Ministry appealed to the Supreme Court

    to bar Spas from running on the grounds that the group has

    violated the law on public association. The ministry argued

    that Spas provided false information about the number of its

    regional branches. The law requires that nationwide movements

    have organizations in at least half of the 89 federation

    subjects, and Spas submitted data on 47 such organizations. A

    check carried out by the ministry, however, failed to locate

    such organizations in at least 10 of those regions, according

    to "Kommersant-Daily" on 2 November. That begs the question

    as to what the ministry was doing up to 25 October.

    It was certainly not in the dark about Barkashov's lack

    of scruples. His Russian National Unity (RNE) party had been

    set up in 1990, and if it acquired some notoriety, it was

    precisely because it played "the democratic game" and at the

    same time undermined democracy by, among other things,

    setting up illegal paramilitary formations. Spas was

    registered one year ago, to include RNE and two other small

    and unknown groups. Those facts again raise the question as

    to what Justice Ministry was doing until now.

    Justice Minister Yurii Chaika told Interfax on 2

    November that Barkashov must be stopped because "people

    sharing Nazi ideology cannot run for elected government

    bodies in Russia." But Barkashov's identification with that

    ideology is nothing new. In accordance with the law, the

    ministry should have warned Spas twice before asking for the

    organization to be outlawed. It failed to do so even once,

    however. Had it taken those steps, appealing to the Supreme

    Court to cancel Spas's registration might have been rendered

    unnecessary. Hence the question: what has the ministry been

    doing until now?

    After all, it could have followed the example set by

    Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, who last December prevented RNE

    from holding a congress in Moscow and, in response to

    Barkashov's threats to stage a march by 100,000 sympathizers,

    complained to the Prosecutor-General's Office. That agency

    pressed charges against Barkashov for instigation to

    violence. Furthermore, a court outlawed the Moscow branch of

    RNE, and another court in the capital annulled the

    registration of one of Barkashov's publications. While

    Luzhkov is hardly the personification of democracy, in this

    instance he acted correctly.

    To make matters even worse, the Russian Federation

    Supreme Court on 1 November refused to examine the ministry's

    appeal against the group's registration, referring it to a

    raion court. But the lower court did not rule by 3 November,

    meaning that the list approved by the CEC remains valid. Does

    this mean that the bureaucrats at the Justice Ministry are

    unaware of how justice is administered in their country?

    The name "Spas," chosen by Barkashov for his group,

    speaks volumes about what he himself stands for. Roger

    Griffin, a leading scholar on the history of fascism, defines

    that movement as "a genus of political ideology whose mythic

    core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of

    populist ultra-nationalism". The unusual term "palingenetic,"

    according to Griffin, expresses "the myth of rebirth,

    regeneration." This myth is common to all fascists--old and

    new, eastern or western, southern or northern. What it

    amounts to is a belief that democracy is a form of social and

    moral decay and that "regeneration" or "revival" not only

    justifies "drastic means" but is achieved by using such

    means. And thus it is no accident that a recently published

    book by Vladimir Tismaneanu, a Romanian-born political

    scientist, dealing with this phenomenon in the post-communist

    world, is called "Fantasies of Salvation."

    Spas is not the only dangerous fantasy to haunt Russia.

    Among the no fewer than 81 parties, movements or associations

    with extremist postures, there are groups called the Russian

    Party of Spiritual Revival, the Union for the Revival of the

    Fatherland, the Union of the Fatherland, and, of course, the

    Front of National Salvation. Post-communist Poland has its

    own National Rebirth of Poland party. In all likelihood,

    there are more.

    And thus the final question: Do officials at the Russian

    Justice Ministry understand that there comes a point in

    history at which "salvation" almost certainly leads to

    damnation?

    04-11-99


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


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