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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 117, 00-06-16

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. 117, 16 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN ENERGY OFFICIAL DOWNPLAYS CHARGES OF EMBEZLEMENT
  • [02] IRAN PROTESTS ASSAULT AGAINST ITS AMBASSADOR IN ARMENIA
  • [03] ARMENIA, KARABAKH AT ODDS OVER CONFLICT SETTLEMENT?
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI AUTHORITIES, OPPOSITION FAIL TO AGREE ON ROUTE
  • [05] GEORGIA BECOMES FULL MEMBER OF WTO
  • [06] GEORGIA, RUSSIA SIGN SECURITY AGREEMENT
  • [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARY DEPUTY REJECTS RUSSIAN STATEMENT ON
  • [08] GEORGIA TO INVESTIGATE CLASH ON BORDER WITH ARMENIA
  • [09] INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION SOARS IN KAZAKHSTAN
  • [10] DUMA COMMITTEE APPEALS TO PUTIN OVER KAZAKHSTAN TRIAL
  • [11] KYRGYZSTAN SETS DATE FOR KULOV TRIAL, PRESIDENTIAL POLL
  • [12] COURT REJECTS KYRGYZ OPPOSITION POLITICIAN'S APPEAL
  • [13] TAJIKISTAN SOLICITS ARAB INVESTMENT
  • [14] TAJIKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN SIGN 'ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP' TREATY
  • [15] BOMB HOAX AT U.S. EMBASSY IN UZBEKISTAN
  • [16] IS UZBEKISTAN HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT GUUAM?

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [17] SERBIA'S DRASKOVIC SURVIVES ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
  • [18] WHAT LIES BEHIND THE ATTEMPT ON DRASKOVIC?
  • [19] MONTENEGRO SEES 'DESTABILIZATION' ATTEMPT
  • [20] SPLIT BETWEEN SESELJ AND MILOSEVIC?
  • [21] SERBIAN JOURNALIST TO STAY IN PRISON
  • [22] BELGRADE REGIME PROMISES 'ANTI-TERRORISM' LAW
  • [23] SERBIAN WAR VETERANS PROTEST POVERTY
  • [24] NATO ROUNDS UP WEAPONS IN KOSOVA
  • [25] KOUCHNER SLAMS KILLING OF SERBS
  • [26] LI PENG CUTS SHORT VISIT TO SLOVENIA
  • [27] OSCE BLASTS ATTACKS ON BOSNIAN MEDIA
  • [28] UN SLAMS ATTACKS ON MUSLIM HOMES IN SREBRENICA
  • [29] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES FOR 1990 MINERS RIOTS...
  • [30] ..SUCCESSFULLY MEDIATES CONFLICT OVER SECURITATE FILES
  • [31] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS FORTHCOMING PUTIN VISIT
  • [32] FORMER RULING PARTY PROPOSES MOLDOVA-TRANSDNIESTER
  • [33] BULGARIA APPOINTS NEW CHIEF NEGOTIATOR WITH EU

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [34] GUSINSKII'S ARREST HAS SEVERAL GOALS

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN ENERGY OFFICIAL DOWNPLAYS CHARGES OF EMBEZLEMENT

    State Energy Committee Chairman Vartan Movsisian on 15 June

    dismissed as "too categorical" the findings of a

    parliamentary commission that alleged that Armenia has

    incurred financial losses totaling some $200 million due to

    corruption within the energy sector, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau

    reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 June 2000). He said the

    commission's findings, unveiled the previous day, need to be

    professionally verified. Also on 15 June, Hrant Bagratian,

    who served as prime minister from 1993-1996 (the period when

    much of the losses were said to have occurred), denied the

    allegations, claiming that the present authorities are

    seeking scapegoats to mask their own failures. LF

    [02] IRAN PROTESTS ASSAULT AGAINST ITS AMBASSADOR IN ARMENIA

    The

    Iranian Foreign Ministry has lodged an official protest with

    its Armenian counterpart following an 8 June incident at

    Yerevan's Zvartnots airport, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 June.

    Newly appointed Iranian ambassador to Armenia Mohammad-Farhad

    Koleini was assaulted in a limited access zone by a security

    guard after leaving the aircraft in which he was scheduled to

    fly to Tehran and whose takeoff had been delayed. LF

    [03] ARMENIA, KARABAKH AT ODDS OVER CONFLICT SETTLEMENT?

    In an

    interview published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 14 June,

    Naira Melkumian, foreign minister of the unrecognized

    Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, made clear that the disputed

    enclave will not agree to any peace settlement that entails

    an exchange of territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. "No

    one is planning to exchange anything," she affirmed. "I think

    this is simply a brilliantly staged political intrigue with

    far-reaching goals. It is most probably an internal political

    intrigue set in motion in Yerevan," she added. Meanwhile

    spokesmen for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation--

    Dashnaktsutiun predict that the party may succeed in winning

    the majority of the 33 seats in 18 June elections to the

    Karabakh parliament, an RFE/RL correspondent in Stepanakert

    reported on 14 June. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI AUTHORITIES, OPPOSITION FAIL TO AGREE ON ROUTE

    FOR MARCH

    Azerbaijani opposition parties on 15 June rejected

    all three routes proposed by the Baku municipal authorities

    for the march they want to stage on 17 June to demand free

    and fair elections, Turan reported. Baku police warned the

    following day that they will not permit an unsanctioned march

    along any other route to take place. Azerbaijan Popular Front

    Party deputy chairman Fazil Gazanfaroglu told Turan on 16

    June that the Democratic Congress, which is composed of 10

    opposition parties, will decide later that day whether to

    march on their desired route or to opt for one of the

    officially proposed alternatives. Dozens of people were

    injured or detained by police during an unsanctioned

    opposition march in late April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 May

    2000). LF

    [05] GEORGIA BECOMES FULL MEMBER OF WTO

    Georgia officially became

    the 137th member of the World Trade Organization on 14 June,

    dpa reported. Its application for membership in that body was

    approved in October 1999 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October

    1999), but the Georgian parliament failed to ratify that

    membership before the January deadline. Several prominent

    Georgian industrialists have argued that WTO membership is

    not in the country's interests. LF

    [06] GEORGIA, RUSSIA SIGN SECURITY AGREEMENT

    Russian Security

    Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov held talks in Tbilisi on 15

    June with his Georgian counterpart Nugzar Sadjaya, President

    Eduard Shevardnadze, Minister of State Gia Arsenishvili, and

    parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania, ITAR-TASS and Caucasus

    Press reported. Ivanov assured Zhvania that Moscow respects

    Georgia's territorial integrity and the inviolability of its

    frontiers, which it considers the basis for resolving the

    Abkhaz conflict. Ivanov and Sadjaya signed the first-ever

    Russian-Georgian statement on security issues, which listed

    as shared priorities the expansion of bilateral political,

    economic and military cooperation and pledged cooperation in

    the struggle against terrorism, organized crime, and arms and

    drugs trafficking. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARY DEPUTY REJECTS RUSSIAN STATEMENT ON

    WEAPONS

    Revaz Adamia, chairman of the Georgian parliament's

    Defense and Security Committee, on 15 June rejected as "a

    serious mistake" a Russian Defense Ministry official's claim

    that Georgia has received its full share of the assets of the

    former Soviet military, Caucasus Press reported. Colonel

    General Leonid Ivashov had said on 14 June that Georgia is

    not entitled to any of the equipment from the two Russian

    bases in Georgia that are to be closed next year (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 15 June 2000). Adamia added that Georgia will

    interpret any attempt by Moscow to postpone the deadline for

    those closures or to renege on related commitments as a

    violation of the revised CFE Treaty. LF

    [08] GEORGIA TO INVESTIGATE CLASH ON BORDER WITH ARMENIA

    The

    Georgian National Security Council has established a

    commission charged with investigating the circumstances of a

    fight at a border post on 12 June between Georgian border

    troops and local Armenian residents of the south Georgian

    town of Akhalkalaki who were returning from Armenia,

    Armenpress reported on 15 June. It is not clear how many

    persons were involved on either side or whether any were

    injured in the incident. LF

    [09] INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION SOARS IN KAZAKHSTAN

    Kazakhstan

    registered a 17.1 percent increase in industrial output

    during the first five months of this year, Interfax reported

    on 15 June, citing the State Statistical Agency. Extraction

    of oil rose by 16.8 percent compared with the same period in

    1999, iron ore by 250 percent, natural gas by 30 percent, and

    non-ferrous metals by 15.8 percent. Production in the

    engineering sector grew by 50 percent and in the ferrous

    metallurgy sector by 40 percent. For the first four months of

    the year, the combined national and local budgets registered

    a surplus of 15.7 billion tenges ($109 million), which is

    equal to 2.3 percent of GDP. LF

    [10] DUMA COMMITTEE APPEALS TO PUTIN OVER KAZAKHSTAN TRIAL

    The

    State Duma's Committee for Russian nationals abroad has

    written to President Putin asking him to intervene on behalf

    of the Russian citizens sentenced last week by a court in

    eastern Kazakhstan on charges of separatism, "Nezavisimaya

    gazeta" reported on 16 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June

    2000). The committee claimed that the rights of ethnic

    Russians and Russian citizens are being violated in

    Kazakhstan, and it reminded Putin of his inauguration pledge

    to defend the rights of Russians wherever they live. LF

    [11] KYRGYZSTAN SETS DATE FOR KULOV TRIAL, PRESIDENTIAL POLL

    The

    trial of opposition Ar-Namys party chairman Feliks Kulov will

    open at the Kyrgyz Military Court on 27 June, Kulov's lawyer,

    Lyubov Ivanova, told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 15 June. A

    Central Electoral Commission official told RFE/RL the same

    day that the parliament will set the date for the

    presidential poll during its session that opens on 27 June.

    She said the likely date is 29 October, adding that the poll

    date must be set no later than four months before the expiry

    of the incumbent president's term. Askar Akaev was re-elected

    in December 1995 for another five-year term. LF

    [12] COURT REJECTS KYRGYZ OPPOSITION POLITICIAN'S APPEAL

    The

    Bishkek City Court on 15 June upheld the 10 March ruling by a

    district court barring El (Bei Bechara) Party Chairman

    Daniyar Usenov from contesting the 12 March parliamentary

    runoff because of alleged irregularities in his property

    declaration, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and 13 March 2000). The municipal

    court ruled that Usenov's property declaration was accurate

    but that there is nonetheless no need to annul the results of

    the runoff poll. LF

    [13] TAJIKISTAN SOLICITS ARAB INVESTMENT

    During a roundtable in

    Dushanbe on 12-14 June chaired by Prime Minister Akil Akilov,

    representatives of the Islamic Development Bank shortlisted

    for further consideration 18 infrastructure projects for

    which Arab development funds may provide financing, Asia

    Plus-Blitz reported. Those projects include irrigation,

    highway construction, and construction of an international

    terminal at Dushanbe airport. LF

    [14] TAJIKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN SIGN 'ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP' TREATY

    Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov and his Uzbek

    counterpart, Islam Karimov, signed a treaty on eternal

    friendship in Dushanbe on 15 June, together with a memorandum

    on delimiting the border between their two countries, Russian

    agencies reported. Stressing that "Uzbekistan holds pride of

    place" in Tajikistan's foreign policy, Rakhmonov termed

    further bilateral cooperation "one of the most important

    prerequisites for strengthening our independence." Tajik

    Presidential press secretary Zafar Saidov told Interfax that

    the two heads of state focused on the prospects for economic

    cooperation, including joint ventures. LF

    [15] BOMB HOAX AT U.S. EMBASSY IN UZBEKISTAN

    Buildings adjacent

    to the U.S. embassy in Tashkent were evacuated on 15 June

    after an anonymous telephone caller warned of the possibility

    of a bomb in the vicinity, Reuters reported. Police and

    sniffer dogs combed the buildings in question but found no

    such explosive device. LF

    [16] IS UZBEKISTAN HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT GUUAM?

    Meeting on

    the sidelines of the 10-11 June Tehran summit of the Economic

    Cooperation Organization with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister

    Vilayet Guliev, Uzbekistan's President Karimov expressed

    irritation at the amorphous nature of the GUUAM grouping,

    which his country joined in April 1999, according to

    "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 16 June. Karimov reportedly asked

    whether that grouping intends to become a formal

    international organization or to continue to exist on the

    basis of the "word of honor" of its members. He noted that

    GUUAM has neither a permanent executive committee nor a

    secretariat and that it functions "on the basis of one of its

    members proposing an initiative and all then gathering to

    discuss it." LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [17] SERBIA'S DRASKOVIC SURVIVES ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

    An

    unidentified gunman fired an automatic weapon into the home

    of Vuk Draskovic in the Montenegrin resort of Budva on 15

    June. Two bullets left the leader of the Serbian Renewal

    Movement with slight head injuries. His spokesman, Predrag

    Simic, told the BBC's Serbian Service that Draskovic would

    have been killed had the bullets struck "only millimeters" in

    a slightly different direction. Spokeswoman Milena Popovic

    told AP that "this time again, only God saved Vuk," which was

    an apparent reference to a mysterious road accident he

    survived in Serbia in October 1999 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7

    October 1999). From Budva, Draskovic was taken to a nearby

    hospital in Kotor but soon released at his own request.

    Montenegrin police have surrounded Draskovic's home, set up

    roadblocks on all roads leading in and out of Budva, and are

    "questioning several subjects," AP reported. PM

    [18] WHAT LIES BEHIND THE ATTEMPT ON DRASKOVIC?

    Draskovic has

    repeatedly accused the government of Yugoslav President

    Slobodan Milosevic of using "state terror" against him and

    his supporters (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 June 2000). There

    has been, moreover, an unexplained spate of killings of

    prominent political, economic, and underworld figures in

    Serbia in recent months and years (see "RFE/RL South Slavic

    Report," 7 and 15 June 2000). Many of the murders appear to

    be the work of professional killers. But whoever tried to

    kill Draskovic in Montenegro took a large risk because

    President Milo Djukanovic is certain to make sure that his

    police spare no efforts to find the would-be assassin. If the

    attempted killing was indeed politically motivated on the

    part of the Belgrade authorities, it is possible that the

    assassin could find shelter among local pro-Milosevic

    elements or with the Yugoslav forces. Helicopters as well as

    cars and trucks connect Yugoslav military bases in Montenegro

    with those in Serbia. PM

    [19] MONTENEGRO SEES 'DESTABILIZATION' ATTEMPT

    Montenegrin Deputy

    Prime Minister Dragisa Burzan told RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service in a telephone interview on 16 June that Montenegro

    was selected as "the place of the assassination

    attempt...with the goal of spreading violence throughout

    Montenegro. It is an attempt to destabilize Montenegro, not

    only an assassination attempt on Mr. Draskovic." In Budva,

    Draskovic's wife, Danica, told reporters that Yugoslav

    President Slobodan Milosevic was behind the attempt, Reuters

    reported. "Slobodan Milosevic and [his wife] Mira Markovic,

    who else?" she said. PM

    [20] SPLIT BETWEEN SESELJ AND MILOSEVIC?

    Serbian Deputy Prime

    Minister Vojislav Seselj warned his coalition partners--the

    parties of Milosevic and his wife, Mira Markovic,

    respectively--not to undermine his Radical Party by

    publicizing a rival party with a similar name in the media

    run by Milosevic. Seselj noted that the tiny Radical Party--

    Nikola Pasic has been receiving much publicity lately in the

    daily "Politika" and from the Tanjug news agency. Seselj

    criticized a television station recently set up by Markovic's

    supporters in Montenegro with the help of the army. Seselj

    called the station's programs a "laughing stock." PM

    [21] SERBIAN JOURNALIST TO STAY IN PRISON

    A military court in Nis

    ruled on 15 June that journalist Miroslav Filipovic must stay

    in prison until his trial for espionage takes place (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 June 2000). It is not clear when the

    trial will begin. Filipovic's lawyer told Reuters that "the

    ruling to extend detention is not [justified by] the law on

    criminal proceedings." Meanwhile in Strasbourg, the European

    Parliament condemned what it called the "climate of terror

    and systematic intimidation" against the opposition and

    independent media in Serbia, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. PM

    [22] BELGRADE REGIME PROMISES 'ANTI-TERRORISM' LAW

    Nikola

    Sainovic, who is an indicted war criminal and Yugoslav deputy

    prime minister, told a press conference in Belgrade on 15

    June that the planned "anti-terrorism" law will be sent to

    the parliament "soon," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. He added that it will regulate some unspecified

    areas of activity not covered by current legislation. The

    opposition suspects that the law will mean the imposition of

    a state of emergency in all but name. PM

    [23] SERBIAN WAR VETERANS PROTEST POVERTY

    Some 30 members of an

    independent veterans group barricaded themselves inside the

    town hall in Kraljevo for two hours on 15 June. A spokesman

    for the veterans told AP that they intend to stage further

    protests until the authorities take steps to improve

    veterans' living conditions. The men, who fought in

    Milosevic's wars in the 1990s, charged the government with

    totally ignoring their situation. PM

    [24] NATO ROUNDS UP WEAPONS IN KOSOVA

    Some 400 British and other

    KFOR troops launched a raid at dawn in the Drenica valley on

    15 June to search for illegal weapons. A British spokesman

    told AP that "we have reasons to believe there are large

    numbers of weapons in the area and our task is to find them

    as quickly as we can." KFOR seized unspecified "large

    quantities" of arms and ammunition in the mainly ethnic

    Albanian region. PM

    [25] KOUCHNER SLAMS KILLING OF SERBS

    Two Serbs were killed on 15

    June when their van hit a land mine on a country road south

    of Prishtina that is used mainly by local Serbian villagers.

    Bernard Kouchner, who is the UN's chief administrator in

    Kosova, went to the area with top NATO and ethnic Albanian

    officials. Kouchner told AP that "this is a certain plan to

    destabilize Kosovo. They do not want us to succeed." He did

    not elaborate. Leading Albanian politician Hashim Thaci said

    that this latest in a series of violent incidents against

    Serbs "will make even more difficult the already unstable

    situation in Kosova." NATO commander General Juan Ortuno told

    Reuters, however, that "it is impossible to protect against

    such attacks--one or two people could have laid [the mine] in

    an hour or so last night. It was a professional job, but in

    Kosovo, so many people have military experience." PM

    [26] LI PENG CUTS SHORT VISIT TO SLOVENIA

    Li Peng, who is the

    speaker of the Chinese parliament, left Slovenia ahead of

    schedule on 15 June and arrived in Zagreb. Li cancelled a

    meeting with Slovenian Prime Minister Andrej Bajuk without

    giving a reason. Unnamed government sources told AP, however,

    that LI dropped the meeting after learning that Labor

    Minister Miha Brejc is also head of the Slovenian-Taiwan

    Friendship Association. Conservative Social Democratic leader

    Janez Jansa said that Slovenia has trade and cultural links

    with Taiwan through the same sort of semi-governmental

    channels as most EU countries do, the BBC's Serbian Service

    reported. Li's visit to Slovenia was overshadowed by protests

    against his record on human rights and Tibet (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 15 June 2000). Some members of the Social

    Democratic Party, which belongs to the governing coalition,

    questioned the propriety of inviting a Chinese political

    leader closely identified with the 1989 Tiananmen killings.

    PM

    [27] OSCE BLASTS ATTACKS ON BOSNIAN MEDIA

    A spokeswoman for the

    OSCE said in Sarajevo on 15 June that "we are becoming

    increasingly concerned about the stepped-up attacks on media

    representatives and consider the environment to be more and

    more perilous for journalists in Bosnia," Reuters reported.

    She noted that Edin Avdic of the independent magazine

    "Slobodna Bosna" was recently threatened verbally by a Muslim

    politician and later attacked physically by two unidentified

    men. The tax police recently searched the offices of the

    daily "Avaz," which had been considered close to the

    governing Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA). She added

    that the raid on "Avaz" "had an intimidating and chilling

    effect on the press." Earlier, a driver for a top SDA

    official physically attacked a journalist working for "Avaz."

    SDA officials have blamed the media for the party's poor

    showing in the local elections in April, the news agency

    added. PM

    [28] UN SLAMS ATTACKS ON MUSLIM HOMES IN SREBRENICA

    "The UNHCR

    strongly believes that incidents like the one in Srebrenica

    should not decrease the return process in Bosnia and

    Herzegovina," an spokeswoman for the UNHCR said in Sarajevo

    on 15 June. She was referring to recent arson attacks on

    three Muslim homes, Reuters reported. Serbian forces drove

    out the town's Muslim majority inhabitants in 1995. The

    subsequent massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim males is widely

    regarded as the largest single atrocity in Europe since World

    War II. PM

    [29] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES FOR 1990 MINERS RIOTS...

    Emil

    Constantinescu said on national television on 15 June that he

    considers it his duty "to apologize, on behalf of the

    Romanian state, to all those affected by the violence against

    citizens in June 1990." Constantinescu spoke as some 1,000

    people gathered in Bucharest's University Square to mark the

    date when miners went on a rampage in Bucharest in what was

    largely considered to be an action organized by the country's

    authorities. Constantinescu noted that "the authorities at

    that time directed part of the citizens against Bucharesters

    who were fighting for the democratization of the country,"

    Reuters reported. Former President Ion Iliescu responded the

    same day by saying the then opposition had been the first to

    resort to violence on the streets. Constantinescu also said

    the investigation into the 1990 events must be relaunched to

    punish all those responsible for the rampage. MS

    [30] ..SUCCESSFULLY MEDIATES CONFLICT OVER SECURITATE FILES

    Constantinescu the same day chaired a meeting between the

    chairman of the College of the National Council for the Study

    of Securitate Archives, Gheorghe Onisoru, and Romanian

    Intelligence Service (SRI) Deputy Director Mircea

    Ghiordunescu in a bid to solve the conflict between the two

    institutions (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 June 2000). The sides

    reached an agreement under which college members will have

    direct access to both the catalogue of the Securitate

    archives and to the archives themselves. They will set up a

    joint commission to establish whether a file can be

    classified as "affecting national security." Under the

    legislation passed by the parliament, the content of files

    classified as such must remain secret. Ghiordunescu denied

    SRI employees are misusing data in the files and said the few

    who have attempted to do so have been prosecuted and severely

    punished. MS

    [31] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS FORTHCOMING PUTIN VISIT

    'SIGNIFICANT'

    Petru Lucinschi told journalists on 14 June

    that during President Vladimir Putin's 16-17 June visit to

    Moldova, the two sides will discuss "all the complex

    questions pertaining to bilateral relations," RFE/RL's

    Chisinau bureau reported. Lucinschi emphasized the importance

    for Moldova of economic relations with Russia, which is

    Chisinau's "number one trade partner." He said the talks will

    also cover ways to solve the Transdniester conflict and that

    Putin's position is "clear-cut: the problem must be solved

    within the framework of Moldova's territorial integrity."

    Lucinschi said representatives from Transdniester will not

    participate in the talks because they have failed to abide by

    the provisions of the 1997 Moscow memorandum on settling the

    conflict. MS

    [32] FORMER RULING PARTY PROPOSES MOLDOVA-TRANSDNIESTER

    FEDERATION

    The extraparliamentary Democratic Agrarian Party

    of Moldova (PDAM) has proposed that the conflict with the

    separatists be solved by setting up a Moldova-Transdniester

    federation, Infotag reported on 14 June. PDAM leader Anatol

    Papusoi told journalists that the federation should have a

    bicameral parliament and that dual citizenship--Moldovan and

    Transdniestrian--should be recognized, alongside two official

    state languages: Moldovan and Russian. Papusoi sharply

    criticized what he called the "ultra-patriots" who advocate a

    Moldova-Romania union similar to that set up by Russia and

    Belarus. "More than 90 percent of the Transdniester residents

    wonder why should they re-unite with Moldova if Chisinau

    constantly speaks of re-unification with Romania," he said.

    MS

    [33] BULGARIA APPOINTS NEW CHIEF NEGOTIATOR WITH EU

    Vladimir

    Kisyov has been appointed Bulgaria's new chief negotiator

    with the EU, AP reported on 14 June, citing BTA. He replaces

    Alexander Bozhkov, who was recently fired on suspicion of

    corruption (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 June 2000). Kisyov, who

    is a deputy foreign minister, served as deputy chief

    negotiator with the EU until now. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [34] GUSINSKII'S ARREST HAS SEVERAL GOALS

    By Sophie Lambroschini and Floriana Fossato

    The arrest of Media-Most founder Vladimir Gusinskii

    earlier this week on charges of "gross fraud" came as a final

    blow to the Russian oligarch after months of pressure on his

    company by the Kremlin. Gusinskii has not yet been charged

    with a crime. Under Russian law, suspects may be detained up

    to 10 days without being charged.

    According to the prosecutor-general, Gusinskii is

    suspected of having defrauded the state of some $10 million

    with the help of managers of Russian Video, a Saint

    Petersburg-based cinema company that was transformed into a

    television network. In 1996, Gusinskii bought 70 percent of

    the company while developing a regional television network.

    Two years later, prosecutors brought a criminal case against

    the management of Russian Video, without involving Gusinskii.

    The Moscow daily "Vremya Novostei" argues that this means the

    case is simply a pretext to allow authorities to detain

    Gusinskii.

    The arrest sends a powerful signal to several groups.

    According to Gusinskii's supporters, it is part of a trend

    toward the muzzling of independent media and the intimidation

    of journalists. Independent TV Tsentr has been having trouble

    renewing its broadcast license, several newspapers have been

    reprimanded for publishing interviews with Chechen leaders,

    and the media minister recently announced his intention to

    enforce a law requiring all print media to be licensed.

    But silencing a free press does not appear to be the

    main goal of the arrest. According to Carnegie Endowment

    analyst Nikolai Petrov, all the oligarchs, except Gusinskii,

    have struck informal deals with the Kremlin. There has been

    no real press freedom in Russia, Petrov says, only competing

    political clans that controlled their own newspapers.

    Gusinskii is being targeted because he is the only media

    mogul who continues to overtly oppose the Kremlin.

    "The whole so-called freedom of the press [that existed

    in Russia in the last 10 years] was mainly linked to the

    existence inside the party of power of different clans that

    could each lean on its own media group," Petrov commented.

    "As soon as the struggle of those clans came to an end, as

    soon as one single group took the upper hand, and as soon as

    politics ceased to be public, right away, the possibility in

    principle of the existence of a media group or publications

    of relative independence, or not directly under the control

    of this group, turned out to be impossible."

    Putin has frequently said he intends to destroy the

    oligarch system by submitting the tycoons to the same

    treatment as any small businessman caught committing petty

    crimes. But if he wanted to show that he would treat all

    businessmen equally, targeting Gusinskii first raises doubts

    about such intentions. Frequently critical of the Kremlin,

    Media-Most news organizations are a symbol of independence

    for Russia's journalists, and the holding's influence in the

    regions has been growing.

    Boris Nemtsov, leader of the Union of Right Forces and

    deputy speaker of the State Duma, said on Media-Most's NTV

    television on 13 June that, "Before the elections, Vladimir

    Vladimirovich Putin talked about the oligarchs having to be

    equally far away [from political power]. So, if what he did

    with Gusinskii is the technological implementation of this

    equal distance, then I think he just didn't start with the

    right oligarch."

    Nemtsov mentioned other oligarchs that Putin could have

    dealt with first. Businessmen such as oil executive Roman

    Abramovich and financial tycoon Aleksandr Mamut, who are

    believed to be getting the upper hand in their fight with

    Kremlin insider and Duma deputy Boris Berezovskii for

    influence in the Kremlin, represent the major danger, he

    proposed.

    Nemtsov suggested that Putin should dismiss Kremlin

    administration head Aleksandr Voloshin over the Gusinskii

    case. Voloshin, formerly a Berezovskii ally, is believed to

    have switched allegiance to Abramovich and Mamut.

    "Nevertheless, I don't think it is a struggle between the

    authorities and powerful media structures," Nemtsov

    concluded. "In reality, it's a fight between one group

    against another enemy group."

    Berezovskii says Gusinskii "became the victim of a

    machine that he set in motion himself" by hiring former KGB

    staffers who were bound to turn against him eventually. But

    he also condemned the arrest, saying that Russian laws are so

    contradictory that everyone who has done business in Russia

    in the past 10 years has violated one law or another.

    According to Kim Iskyan, a political analyst with the

    brokerage firm MFK Renaissance, the offensive against

    Gusinskii is a signal to other oligarchs that from now on any

    moves not cleared with the Kremlin will not be tolerated.

    Iskyan, too, said that Gusinskii's arrest serves several

    purposes, in particular to make it clear that the Kremlin is

    serious about centralizing power.

    Media-Most's regional network, TNT, has profitable

    partnership agreements with private television companies in

    some 500 cities across Russia. Many Russian journalists have

    told RFE/RL that they are concerned that regional powers will

    now try to deprive Media-Most of some of this regional

    influence in order to display loyalty to the Kremlin.

    The authors are RFE/RL correspondents based in Moscow and

    London, respectively.

    16-06-00


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


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