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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 7, 00-01-11

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. 4, No. 7, 11 January 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER DETAINED IN CONNECTION
  • [02] FORMER ARMENIAN MINISTER OF EDUCATION ON TRIAL
  • [03] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT VISITS TURKEY...
  • [04] ...COMMENTS ON UNREST IN TABRIZ
  • [05] GEORGIA CLAIMS TO INTERCEPT RUSSIAN ARMS BOUND
  • [06] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT OUTLINES ELECTION PROGRAM...
  • [07] ...DOWNPLAYS THREAT OF NEW ABKHAZ CAMPAIGN
  • [08] KAZAKH MIG SALE TRIAL RESUMES

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [09] SERBIAN OPPOSITION ADOPTS JOINT PROGRAM...
  • [10] ...WITH STRONG KOSOVA COMPONENT...
  • [11] ...PLUS INTERNATIONAL DIMENSIONS
  • [12] PREDICTABLE REACTIONS TO OPPOSITION PROGRAM
  • [13] MORE EU OIL FOR SERBIA
  • [14] GREEK ELECTRICITY FOR KOSOVA?
  • [15] ALBANIA, ITALY TO CURB MIGRATION
  • [16] AGREEMENT REACHED ON CROATIAN POWER TRANSFER
  • [17] CROATIAN TV DIRECTOR TO RESIGN
  • [18] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT PROMULGATES LAND
  • [19] ROMANIA RENEWS PARLEYS WITH IMF
  • [20] ROMANIAN RULING PARTY WARNS DISSENTERS
  • [21] RUSSIAN PUBLICATION'S PREMISES DEFACED IN

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [22] Former Soviet Defense Minister Yazov Speaks Out

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER DETAINED IN CONNECTION

    WITH ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SHOOTINGS

    Police

    lieutenant Artur Hakobian was detained on 10 January on

    suspicion of operational negligence, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau

    reported, quoting a senior official from the military

    prosecutor's office. Hakobian commanded the police platoon

    on duty at the parliament building on 27 October that failed

    to prevent the five armed gunmen who murdered eight senior

    officials including Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsian from

    entering the building. Hakobian is the third police officer to

    be detained in connection with the shootings. A total of 16

    people are under investigation for their alleged roles in the

    killings. LF

    [02] FORMER ARMENIAN MINISTER OF EDUCATION ON TRIAL

    The trial opened in Yerevan on 10 January of Ashot Bleyan, a

    former minister of education and leader of the Nor Ughi (New

    Path) Party, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Bleyan is

    charged with abuse of power and embezzling public funds. He

    has rejected those charges as politically motivated. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT VISITS TURKEY...

    On a visit to

    Ankara on 9-10 January, Heidar Aliev discussed with his

    Turkish counterpart, Suleyman Demirel, the proposed Baku-

    Ceyhan export pipeline for Azerbaijani oil and the prospects

    for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Aliev said the

    Karabakh conflict cannot be resolved without Turkish

    participation, according to AP. Also on 10 January,

    Azerbaijani presidential administration official Novruz

    Mamedov rejected media reports citing Aliev as having said

    prior to his departure from Baku that Azerbaijan might drop

    its objections to the reopening of transport connections

    between Turkey and Armenia, Turan reported. Such reports,

    he said, are "misconstrued." On returning to Baku on 11

    January, Aliev denied media reports that he underwent a

    medical checkup in the Ankara military hospital where he was

    treated for bronchitis in January 1999, Turan reported. LF

    [04] ...COMMENTS ON UNREST IN TABRIZ

    Turan on 11 January

    quoted President Aliev as saying that the ongoing

    demonstrations by ethnic Azeris in the Iranian city of Tabriz

    were orchestrated by unnamed forces interested in

    exacerbating relations between Azerbaijan and Iran. Aliev

    denied having received and rejected a request from

    Mahmudali Chehragani, an Azerbaijani professor at the

    University of Tabriz and one of the leaders of the so-called

    South Azerbaijan National Liberation Movement, to be allowed

    to travel to Azerbaijan for medical treatment. LF

    [05] GEORGIA CLAIMS TO INTERCEPT RUSSIAN ARMS BOUND

    FOR CHECHNYA

    Georgian parliamentary speaker Zurab

    Zhvania told journalists in Tbilisi on 11 January that earlier

    that day Georgian security officials detained a convoy of

    military vehicles from an unnamed Russian base in Georgia

    that was transporting arms to Chechnya, Caucasus Press

    reported. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT OUTLINES ELECTION PROGRAM...

    Eduard Shevardnadze confirmed in his weekly radio address

    on 10 January that he will run for a second term in office in

    the 9 April presidential poll. He said his primary objectives

    are to improve social and economic conditions in Georgia, to

    restore the central government's control over the entire

    country, and to raise Georgia's international standing,

    according to Caucasus Press. Also on 10 January, National

    Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Irina Sarishvili-

    Chanturia, who had been considered a possible presidential

    candidate, said her party will not support any candidate in

    the April poll. Socialist Party chairman Vakhtang Rcheulishvili

    said that the parties aligned in the Batumi alliance may

    propose as their presidential candidate either former

    Georgian Communist Party First Secretary Dzhumber

    Patiashvili or Adjar Supreme Council Chairman Aslan

    Abashidze. Patiashvili ran unsuccessfully against

    Shevardnadze in the November 1995 presidential poll. LF

    [07] ...DOWNPLAYS THREAT OF NEW ABKHAZ CAMPAIGN

    Shevardnadze told journalists in Tbilisi on 10 January that the

    threat made by the newly-formed Interim Committee for

    Liberating Abkhazia to resort to hostilities in order to bring

    the region back under the central government's control is

    not serious, Caucasus Press reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 10 January 2000). Georgian deputy parliamentary

    speaker Vakhtang Kolbaya similarly expressed concern that

    the committee's appeal could encourage ethnic Georgian

    displaced persons from Abkhazia, whom his parliamentary

    faction represents, to resort to arms. He called for the swift

    resumption of talks on a political settlement to the conflict.

    LF

    [08] KAZAKH MIG SALE TRIAL RESUMES

    The trial of two people

    suspected of arranging the illegal sale to North Korea of 40

    obsolete MiG aircraft resumed in Almaty on 10 January,

    Reuters and Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7

    January 2000). Vladimir Abiev, a lawyer for businessman

    Aleksandr Petrenko, said his client is accused of smuggling

    military property, while co-defendant Bakhitzhan Ertaev, who

    is chief of the army general staff, is accused of abusing his

    official position. Ertaev, who had earlier protested his

    innocence, claimed that Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry knew

    of the sale and that he "was merely fulfilling orders" from his

    superior, Defense Minister Mukhtar Altynbaev, who he

    demanded be summoned as a witness, RFE/RL's bureau in the

    former capital reported on 11 January. Altynbaev was

    dismissed when the scandal broke in August. Kazakh

    government officials have denied any knowledge of the affair

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 August and 7 September 1999).

    LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [09] SERBIAN OPPOSITION ADOPTS JOINT PROGRAM...

    Representatives of 17 opposition parties or coalitions

    agreed in Belgrade on 10 January to begin joint protests on

    9 March to demand that Serbian and Yugoslav elections be

    held at all levels by the end of April (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    10 January 2000). The opposition representatives called for

    an end to "state terror" and "repressive laws," including the

    1998 media law, the private Beta news agency reported. The

    signatories agreed to "cooperate in preparing for the

    elections, as well as during and after those elections." The

    opposition leaders added that they intend to "institutionalize"

    cooperation among themselves. They demanded equality

    between Serbia and Montenegro and decentralization of

    political power at all levels. Signatories included

    representatives of Vojvodina, Sandzak, and Kosova's Serbian

    minority. PM

    [10] ...WITH STRONG KOSOVA COMPONENT...

    The signatories

    also appealed to the foreign ministers of the EU, the U.S.,

    Russia, and China to fully implement Security Council

    Resolution 1244 on Kosova and allow "Serbian soldiers and

    police" to return there "in keeping with [existing] signed

    agreements." The opposition demands that KFOR protect "the

    state boundaries of Yugoslavia and Serbia with Albania and

    Macedonia" in Kosova and ensure full rights and local self-

    government for all minorities "in that Yugoslav and Serbian

    province." They call for an end to lawlessness there and for

    the return of all refugees and displaced persons. Kosova

    Serb leader Momcilo Trajkovic told the BBC's Serbian Service

    that he is pleased with the opposition's stand on Kosova.

    Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Artemije also represented the

    Serbs of Kosova at the opposition meeting. PM

    [11] ...PLUS INTERNATIONAL DIMENSIONS

    The opposition

    leaders appealed in their agreement for international aid for

    "about 1 million refugees in Serbia and Montenegro and for

    the more than 2 million [Yugoslav] citizens who live on the

    brink of starvation." The signatories asked for an immediate

    end to the ban on air flights and oil deliveries to Serbia. They

    appealed to the U.S. and EU to end all sanctions once

    Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agrees to hold

    elections. The international community should also return

    Yugoslavia to full membership in the OSCE and thereby help

    thwart the "regime's [campaign] to satanize everything in

    Serbia that is European and democratic," they commented.

    The opposition leaders added that Belgrade should resume

    full diplomatic relations with Washington, London, Paris, and

    Berlin. They also called for full membership for Serbia and

    Yugoslavia in the EU's Balkan stability program. PM

    [12] PREDICTABLE REACTIONS TO OPPOSITION PROGRAM

    The

    agreement is the first such pact between the main opposition

    groups in more than two years, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported on 10 January. Alliance for Change coalition leader

    Veran Batic hailed the move. Evidence of political jockeying

    among leaders was nonetheless evident. For example,

    Democratic Party chairman Zoran Djindjic and the Serbian Civic

    League's Goran Svilanovic did not sign the documents

    personally, but Batic did so on their behalf, "Danas" reported.

    This reflects Djindjic's insistence that he will not subordinate

    himself to the Serbian Renewal Movement's Vuk Draskovic,

    who hosted the meeting, the BBC's Serbian Service

    commented. Former General Momcilo Perisic said that he

    agreed with the documents but did not sign them because

    they did not include his key demand for the immediate ouster

    of Milosevic. Regime media claimed that the opposition also

    concluded an additional "secret" agreement pledging loyalty

    to "their masters" in the West, the BBC noted. PM

    [13] MORE EU OIL FOR SERBIA

    On 10 January, some 18 tanker

    trucks left the oil refinery in Skopje for the Serbian border

    with heating oil for the cities of Nis and Pirot (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 8 December 1999). The shipment is a gift from the

    EU in its Energy for Democracy program, which provides

    heating oil to municipalities governed by the opposition. PM

    [14] GREEK ELECTRICITY FOR KOSOVA?

    A government

    spokesman said in Athens on 10 January that Greece will

    supply some 60 percent of Kosova's imported electricity.

    Greece will send the electricity via Albania, but it is not clear

    when the program will begin, AP reported. On 11 January,

    however, a spokesman for Greece's Public Power Corporation

    said he doubts that either Albania or Macedonia has the

    technical ability to transfer the electricity, which his company

    is willing to provide. Kosova needs to import about 100

    megawatts daily, which is roughly half of its total

    consumption. Its main power plant is operational but in need

    of repair and improvements. PM

    [15] ALBANIA, ITALY TO CURB MIGRATION

    Italian and Albanian

    officials signed an agreement in Rome on 10 January aimed at

    reducing illegal migration from Albania to Italy across the

    Otranto Strait. Italy will supply two police helicopters to its

    neighbor and convert a Kosovar refugee camp in Albania for

    use by non-Albanians being repatriated, AP reported. Italian

    Interior Minister Enzo Bianco said that some 80 percent of

    the illegal immigrants leaving Albania for Italy are non-

    Albanians. PM

    [16] AGREEMENT REACHED ON CROATIAN POWER TRANSFER

    Acting President Vlatko Pavletic and opposition leaders Ivica

    Racan and Drazen Budisa agreed in Zagreb on 10 January

    that Pavletic will call on Racan to form a government as soon

    as the recent parliamentary elections are repeated in 11

    polling places and the result of that vote officially confirmed

    (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 3 January 2000). The repeat

    elections are slated for 16 January, which means that Racan

    can expect to receive a mandate from Pavletic by early

    February, "Jutarnji list" reported. The three men agreed on

    the importance of a smooth transfer of power from the

    Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to the opposition

    coalition with minimum delay. PM

    [17] CROATIAN TV DIRECTOR TO RESIGN

    Ivica Vrkic, who

    heads state-run television (HRT), said in Zagreb on 10

    January that he will offer his resignation once the new

    parliament convenes. This is the first time that a top HDZ

    appointee has publicly offered to resign once the transfer of

    power begins, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported.

    "Jutarnji list" wrote on 11 January that German Chancellor

    Gerhard Schroeder replaced 51 top political appointees when

    he succeeded Helmut Kohl in 1998, but it noted that Racan

    "can expect to replace even more" top officials once the

    HDZ's 10-year reign formally ends. The Zagreb daily added

    that evidence is increasingly coming to light of the HDZ's links

    to Herzegovinian mafia structures and even to international

    terrorists. PM

    [18] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT PROMULGATES LAND

    RESTITUTION LAW

    President Emil Constantinescu went on

    nationwide television on 10 January to promulgate the land

    restitution law, which the parliament had passed in December.

    Also last month, the Constitutional Court rejected an

    opposition appeal to declare the legislation unconstitutional.

    The law allows former owners to claim back up to 50

    hectares of arable land and 10 hectares of forest; a law

    passed in 1989 allowed the return of only 10 hectares of

    land and one hectare of forest. Constantinescu said he

    wanted to promulgate the law on television "not as a

    gratuitous gesture but as a sign that the year 2000 will

    remain in history as the year when land was finally returned

    to its lawful owners." He also harshly criticized the Party of

    Social Democracy in Romania for having attempted to block

    the legislation. MS

    [19] ROMANIA RENEWS PARLEYS WITH IMF

    An IMF delegation

    headed by the fund's chief negotiator for Romania, Emmanuel

    Zervoudakis, began a new round of talks in Bucharest on 10

    January on the implementation of the agreement reached

    with Bucharest last year. In August 1999, the IMF released

    the first tranche of a $547 million loan, but the second

    tranche has been delayed since October owing to IMF doubts

    about whether Romania can meet the fund's condition of a

    tight fiscal policy and given the political crisis in the country.

    Prime Minister Mugur Isarescu on 10 January convened a

    cabinet meeting to discuss strategy at the negotiations with

    the IMF, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Government

    sources said a deficit equal to 3 percent of GDP and annual

    inflation at 25-30 percent remain Romania's objectives for

    2000. MS

    [20] ROMANIAN RULING PARTY WARNS DISSENTERS

    National

    Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) Chairman Ion

    Diaconescu said on 10 January that no disciplinary measures

    have been taken "thus far" against the so-called Brasov

    group supporting former Premier Radu Vasile. He added,

    however, that the PNTCD intends to be "stern" in its handling

    of those who do not comply with the party statutes. The

    same day, members of the Brasov group met with Vasile to

    discuss "strategies" at a meeting of the PNTCD's leading

    executive body planned for later this month. Meanwhile, at a

    gathering that the Civic Alliance Movement had organized,

    the PNTCD, the National Liberal Party, the Union of Rightist

    Forces, and the National Christian Democratic Alliance all

    agreed that "solidarity" of the center-right forces is required

    to "coherently counter-balance" leftist "anti-reform"

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

    [21] RUSSIAN PUBLICATION'S PREMISES DEFACED IN

    MOLDOVA

    Unidentified persons have painted a swastika on

    the building housing the editorial offices of the Russian-

    language publication "Novii poryadok" (The New Order) in

    Chisinau, Flux reported on 10 January. They also painted

    slogans demanding that "Russian occupants, go home!" and

    "Freedom to Chechnya." "Novii poryadok" said the attack was

    "an intimidation attempt or a provocation." It added that a

    movement calling itself "Novii poryadok" will soon be formed

    in Moldova. Moldovan Journalists' Association Chairman Valeriu

    Sahnareanu said his group cannot respond to the incident

    before the results of a police investigation are made public,

    but he said he does not rule out that "Novii poryadok"

    staged the incident itself and that the publication has "neo-

    fascist leanings." The name of one of Aleksandr Barkashov's

    Russian National Unity publications in Russia is "Russkii

    poryadok." MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [22] Former Soviet Defense Minister Yazov Speaks Out

    (Part 2)

    This interview with the Soviet Union's last defense

    minister, Dmitrii Yazov, first appeared in the Czech daily

    "Lidove noviny" on 25 November 1999 (Part 1 was published

    in "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 January 2000). Petra Prochazkova

    conducted the interview.

    Q: Today, your name is mainly associated with

    the events of August 1991, which are interpreted as

    an attempt at a putsch. You and then KGB chief

    [Vladimir] Kryuchkov allegedly gave orders to isolate

    Gorbachev in Crimea on 18 August.

    This is an inaccurate interpretation of those events. We

    wanted to prevent the illegal break-up of the Soviet Union.

    Gorbachev wanted to liquidate the USSR against the will of

    the majority in August 1991. We tried to rectify the situation.

    Gorbachev was terribly confused, he had no idea what to do.

    He was most influenced by [Eduard] Shevardnadze,

    [Aleksandr] Yakovlev, and to a certain extent the Americans,

    the Germans, and Western European politicians. We went to

    Crimea to convince him that he was making a mistake, to

    remind him that on 17 March 1991, almost 77 percent of the

    USSR's citizens had voted to preserve the USSR. He took

    offense. That was the whole putsch. I told him that we have

    to fulfill the will of the people and preserve the integrity of

    the country. But Gorbachev went against the people, that's

    why I consider him to be a traitor.

    Q: Do you regret that you didn't arrest Boris

    Yeltsin back then?

    Perhaps it would have been better. I knew that things

    would be bad. But it was not in my jurisdiction to arrest

    Yeltsin. We had a legal president in Gorbachev.... But

    Gorbachev is a coward. He was the commander in chief of the

    Russian Federation's armed forces. Not me.... Gorbachev

    listened to his advisers, who were greater in number than

    the generals in our army. Thatcher, Reagan, and Bush

    unofficially belonged among them.... However, everything was

    just beginning in August 91.

    Q: And it resulted in the Belovezha accords on

    the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    But that was a crime, don't you understand? What right

    did the Ukrainian [Leonid] Kravchuk, the Belarusian [Stanislau]

    Shushkevich, and the Russian Yeltsin have to sign an

    agreement on the liquidation of a superpower? That did not

    conform to the law or democratic principles. Three drunkards

    met in a forest almost on the Polish border and signed a

    piece of paper. And Gorbachev, who was the head of state,

    didn't do anything. So who's guilty...? Gorbachev should have

    ordered the deployment of the paratroopers, and he should

    have had all three of them arrested as traitors.

    Q: Why do you think he didn't do it?

    Because he sold himself. Him and Yeltsin. For example,

    [former Czechoslovak communist leader] Gustav Nikodimovich

    Husak, who I met many times, was an extremely honorable

    man. Just like [Czechoslovak communist Jozef] Lenart. What,

    they were bad Czechs? Was [Klement] Gottwald a bad

    Czech? None of them was a Nobel Prize laureate. Why didn't

    a single socialist politician ever win that award--and then

    suddenly Gorbachev won it? He didn't win it for ending the

    Cold War, as they say he did, but because he sold the

    interests of socialist countries. In reality, the Cold War didn't

    end. It continues.... The Cold War is also continuing in relation

    to the events in Chechnya.

    Q: Who do you think is responsible for Chechnya?

    It is the result of the misguided policies of our

    leadership. They should have negotiated with [Dzhokhar]

    Dudaev as early as 1991. I knew him personally. He was an

    excellent airforce commander. An intelligent person, and you

    could talk to him.

    Q: So the Western protests against the military

    operation are justified?

    What business is it of the Americans? Why are they

    interfering in Russia's internal affairs? They say we don't have

    the right to bomb Chechnya.... War is not a political matter,

    but an economic matter. Politics only serves economics. Lenin

    correctly said that politics is just a concentrated expression

    of economics. Economic interests were also behind the

    disintegration of the USSR. And separatism was added into

    the mix. Western politicians had been preparing the situation

    for a long time. We knew it. But what were we supposed to

    do? Bomb the USA? The main goal of certain American

    politicians was to destroy the Soviet Union. Their radio

    stations did some 500 hours worth of broadcasts in the

    languages of all nations of the USSR. They induced people to

    get out of the evil empire, Ukraine to fight for its

    independence. But look at what their so-called freedom

    brought them! For a Ukrainian who worked in the mines, it

    means unemployment. Back then, he was not free according

    to you, but now he is free and has nothing. Many people

    became the presidents of sovereign states. That's the

    essence of the matter....

    Q: And us?

    Not even you. In the times of the USSR, Czechoslovakia

    produced a ton of grain per head and a ton of steel per head

    annually. Fifteen million people gained 15 million metric tons of

    steel and grain. Try asking how much you produce today....

    Q: Were you better off under the USSR?

    I wouldn't say so. The Communist leadership didn't have

    any privileges. We were allowed to buy goods directly from

    the warehouses without waiting in line, but I never used that

    advantage. I sent my assistant, sometimes my wife did the

    shopping. Otherwise, we didn't need anything. We drove in a

    government car to the government dacha. Now the Defense

    Ministry has sold off 427 of its sanatoriums and dachas. They

    were all bought up by businessmen, and the soldiers are left

    with nothing.

    Translated by Victor Gomez.

    11-01-00


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


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