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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 225, 00-11-20

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. 225, 20 November 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] PROTESTERS DEMAND AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN'S ELECTION COMMISSION CONFIRMS WINNERS
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN UNHAPPY WITH WORLD'S APPROACH TO KARABAKH PROBLEM
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN REJECTS WORLD BANK CORRUPTION REPORT
  • [05] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES BETTER ENERGY SUPPLIES...
  • [06] ...WARNS OF CHAOS
  • [07] GEORGIAN ARMY ON BRINK OF DISASTER
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT IN LONDON, MOSCOW
  • [09] KAZAKHSTAN TO REPLACE SOVIET-MADE PLANES
  • [10] DRUG USE SURGES IN KAZAKHSTAN
  • [11] KYRGYZSTAN LOOKS TO MALAYSIA AS A MODEL
  • [12] TAJIKS ARREST ISLAMISTS, TALIBAN RECRUITER
  • [13] OFFICIALS TO CHECK ANCESTRY OF TURKMEN OFFICIALS
  • [14] UZBEK COURT SENTENCES TWO TO DEATH FOR 'TERRORISM'

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] KOSOVAR LEADER CALLS ON WEST TO STAY IN BALKANS...
  • [16] ...PLANS NEW ELECTIONS
  • [17] KOSOVARS FIRM ON INDEPENDENCE
  • [18] HOLBROOKE, PETRITSCH CITE BOSNIAN PROBLEMS. U.S.
  • [19] DAYTON CONFERENCE CALLS ON SERBIA TO SEND MILOSEVIC TO HAGUE
  • [20] CROATIAN PRESIDENT WANTS FORMER YUGOSLAV GENERALS IN THE HAGUE
  • [21] DJUKANOVIC OPTIMISTIC ON INTERNATIONAL BACKING FOR MONTENEGRO
  • [22] KOSTUNICA SETS CONDITIONS FOR SERBIAN VOTE
  • [23] ALLIES DESERT FORMER SERBIAN LEADER
  • [24] TEENAGERS FIRE ON SLOVENIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY
  • [25] MACEDONIAN LEADERS VISIT RUSSIA, GREECE
  • [26] CROATS MARK VUKOVAR ANNIVERSARY
  • [27] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY BREACHED UN EMBARGO ON YUGOSLAVIA
  • [28] ROMANIAN BANK APPEALS FOR HELP TO SUPPORT BANKING SYSTEM
  • [29] ORTHODOX CHURCH THREATENS MOLDOVAN LAWMAKERS WITH EXCOMMUNICATION
  • [30] OSCE DISSATISFIED WITH LACK OF PROGREES IN THE TRANSDNIESTER REGION
  • [31] BULGARIAN BOMB BLAST SAID TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY WOULD-BE TERRORISTS
  • [32] BULGARIA ARREST IRAQIS ON BORDER

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [33] COMPOUNDING A DEMOGRAPHIC DISASTER

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] PROTESTERS DEMAND AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION

    Up to 15,000 people marched in Baku and unspecified numbers in half a dozen other Azerbaijani cities on 18 November to denounce the recent parliamentary elections there as rigged and to demand the resignation of the country's leadership, Azerbaijani and Western news agencies reported. Sardar Jalaloglu told the Baku crowd that opposition parties are prepared to move toward a "Yugoslav scenario" and "take power from [President Heidar] Aliev and give it to the people." Musavat leader Isa Gambar said that "the people of Azerbaijan are ready for democracy" and that "they understand that the main obstacle to this is President Heidar Aliev, who is trying to put his own son in power." The demonstration in Baku was peaceful, but protesters clashed with police in Saki. ANS television reported that officials in Baku had sought to block its coverage of the rally, and Reuters reported that Musavat organizational secretary Arif Hajiev had been detained for two hours. Opposition groups added that they planned to boycott the new parliament, but the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party said that it had enough seats to conduct parliamentary meetings. PG

    [02] AZERBAIJAN'S ELECTION COMMISSION CONFIRMS WINNERS

    Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission on 17 November confirmed 92 winners in single-member districts, TURAN reported. It also canceled the results in four other districts and referred complaints about possible criminal violations in almost 50 districts to prosecutors. PG

    [03] AZERBAIJAN UNHAPPY WITH WORLD'S APPROACH TO KARABAKH PROBLEM

    Azerbaijani National Security Minister Namig Abbasov told Alexander Cornelissen, the head of the OSCE office in Baku on 17 November, that Baku is dissatisfied with the approach of international organizations that are attempting to resolve the Karabakh problem, the Azerbaijani television station ANS reported on 17 November. Abbasov noted that 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory remains under occupation, that Azerbaijan has lost 18,000 dead and more than 50,000 wounded in the fighting, and that the country has suffered financial losses on the order of $22 billion without any resolution in prospect. PG

    [04] AZERBAIJAN REJECTS WORLD BANK CORRUPTION REPORT

    Azerbaijan's Deputy Finance Minister Ogtay Hagverdiev dismissed as "ridiculous" the findings of a World Bank study that Azerbaijan ranks first among all countries with regard to the level of official corruption, Azerbaijani TV station ANS reported on 16 November. The study found that the level of corruption in Azerbaijan equals $1.4 billion, but Hagverdiev said that the real figure was somewhere in the area of $100 million. PG

    [05] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES BETTER ENERGY SUPPLIES...

    Following yet another power blackout in Tbilisi on 17 November as well as a cutback to only six hours of supplies to private residences, Eduard Shevardnadze said on 18 November that he has formed a commission that he said will lead to improved electricity supplies over the next week to 10 days, Western agencies reported. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Aliev said Baku will supply Georgia with 1,000 tons of diesel fuel, and Russia's ITERA group said it will increase the flow of natural gas to the country, Prime-News reported on 18 November. And Interfax reported that Armenia is also sending additional electricity to its neighbor. PG

    [06] ...WARNS OF CHAOS

    Shevardnadze on 18 November said that anger about power cuts could lead to "mass disorder and complete chaos," Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Georgian Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze said on Georgian television on 17 November that the police have evidence that criminals and political groups are seeking to exploit the situation. He urged people not to take part in any further protests and said that violators will be prosecuted. Meanwhile, Tbilisi's "Rezonansi" newspaper suggested the same day that many Georgians now refer to the Georgian government as the GKChP, a reference to the group that led the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991. PG

    [07] GEORGIAN ARMY ON BRINK OF DISASTER

    Colonel Akia Barbakadze, the chief of the main rear logistics directorate of the Georgian Defense Ministry, told the Iprinda news agency on 18 November that current levels of government funding of the military have "doomed" the country's military to "starvation." He said that the military is short of most foodstuffs, owed more than 20 million lari to food suppliers, and is considering canceling the fall draft as a result. He said that underfunding of the army means that energy suppliers may cut off power to the military and that the Defense Ministry may have to close the central military hospital. PG

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT IN LONDON, MOSCOW

    Nursultan Nazarbaev said in London on 17 November that "the priorities of Kazakhstan's leadership are strengthening of security and territorial integrity of the country, internal political and economic stability, and development of international cooperation," ITAR-TASS reported. On his way back to Astana, Nazarbaev stopped in Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At that meeting, Nazarbaev stressed Kazakhstan's interest in joining APEC. PG

    [09] KAZAKHSTAN TO REPLACE SOVIET-MADE PLANES

    Air Kazakhstan plans to replace all Soviet-made aircraft with Western airplanes by mid-2002, Interfax reported on 17 November. PG

    [10] DRUG USE SURGES IN KAZAKHSTAN

    Kazakh officials told Interfax-Kazakhstan on 18 November that the number of registered drug users in that country has tripled over the last five years and that the total number of those using illegal drugs may have risen 10 times during that period. PG

    [11] KYRGYZSTAN LOOKS TO MALAYSIA AS A MODEL

    Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Amangeldi Muraliev said in Kuala Lumpur on 18 November that his country views Malaysia as a model for its future development, dpa reported. Meanwhile, in Bishkek, the Kyrgyzstan government announced that it has established diplomatic relations with Myanmar (previously known as Burma), ITAR-TASS reported on 17 November. PG

    [12] TAJIKS ARREST ISLAMISTS, TALIBAN RECRUITER

    The Tajik Interior Ministry told Asia-Plus on 17 November that it has arrested nine activists of the banned Islamist party Hizb-e Tahrir who had been distributing leaflets calling for the overthrow of the country's government. Meanwhile, police officials added that they have arrested a recruiter for the Afghanistan-based Taliban movement. PG

    [13] OFFICIALS TO CHECK ANCESTRY OF TURKMEN OFFICIALS

    Turkmen President Sapurmurad Niyazov said on 16 November that his government will conduct background checks on officials and their wives going back three generations as part of an effort to improve government performance, AP reported on 17 November. He did not say just what these background checks would involve but stressed that he is not restoring Soviet-era practice but rather using "the experience of our ancestors." PG

    [14] UZBEK COURT SENTENCES TWO TO DEATH FOR 'TERRORISM'

    The Uzbek Supreme Court on 17 November sentenced two men--Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader Takhir Yuldashev and field commander Dzhuma Namagani-- in absentia to death and 10 others to various terms of imprisonment for their role in the February 2000 bombings in Tashkent, Uzbek television reported. Also tried and sentenced in absentia was Muhammad Salih, the leader of the Erk Party, who now is in exile. Uzbek officials portrayed the sentences as lenient, noting that prosecutors had asked for stiffer punishments, but New York-based Human Rights Watch said the trials violated international law and called into question Tashkent's promise to move toward eliminating the death penalty. PG

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] KOSOVAR LEADER CALLS ON WEST TO STAY IN BALKANS...

    Ibrahim Rugova told a meeting of Balkan leaders and U.S. diplomats in Dayton to mark the fifth anniversary of the Bosnian peace accords that NATO and the UN should remain in Kosova in order to guarantee regional stability. Rugova said on 18 November: "We urge for those forces to stay there maybe forever. In the future [they] may have a different role, [such as serving as] a presence in the region with bases in Kosova [rather than as peacekeepers]. I consider the presence of NATO there as [a precondition for] our independence," AP reported. He added that "it will take quite some time" before Kosova and the Balkans can ensure their stability without outside help, according to Reuters. PM

    [16] ...PLANS NEW ELECTIONS

    Referring to the 28 October local elections, in which his Democratic League of Kosova won control of 21 out of 30 municipalities, Rugova said in Dayton on 18 November that the vote "proved that the people of Kosova are capable of governing [themselves] successfully, in cooperation with the international community." He added that Kosovar leaders "are [soon] going to organize national elections, presidential and parliamentary elections that will make it possible for the institutional [political] framework to be complete," Reuters reported. PM

    [17] KOSOVARS FIRM ON INDEPENDENCE

    Speaking at the Dayton conference on 18 November, Rugova and former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci called on Belgrade to free the at least 700 Kosovars held in Serbian jails. The two men stressed that the new Belgrade leadership's policy on Kosova is no different from that of Milosevic, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 November 2000). Rugova and Thaci added that Kosovars are determined to win independence. PM

    [18] HOLBROOKE, PETRITSCH CITE BOSNIAN PROBLEMS. U.S.

    Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke said in Dayton on 17 November that "as long as Bosnia has three armies, as long as refugees can't return home, as long as corruption remains rampant and unchecked, as long as press freedom is threatened, and as long as dangerous and divisive war criminals are allowed to run free, then the potential of [the] Dayton [accords] will remain unfulfilled," AP reported. Wolfgang Petritsch, who is the international community's high representative in Bosnia, argued that "five years after Dayton, taxpayers in our countries are running out of patience. We need to tell the Bosnian politicians they need to do the job [of implementing the accords]... That is the reason why I am pushing, cajoling, threatening, [and] dismissing public officials. We need to get the Bosnians to take on ownership of their problems and resolve them in a spirit of compromise in a true democratic way. That is what is still lacking." PM

    [19] DAYTON CONFERENCE CALLS ON SERBIA TO SEND MILOSEVIC TO HAGUE

    Organizers of the Dayton conference issued a declaration on 18 November in which they called on the international community to make future support for Serbian and Yugoslav membership in international institutions contingent upon Belgrade's extraditing former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague. The participants also urged the strengthening of central political and economic institutions in Bosnia and the extradition of indicted Bosnian Serb war criminals Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic to the Hague-based tribunal. An additional recommendation from the conference included allowing the citizens of Montenegro to determine their own political future. Participants also urged the international community to set a deadline for resolving the political status of Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

    [20] CROATIAN PRESIDENT WANTS FORMER YUGOSLAV GENERALS IN THE HAGUE

    Speaking at the Dayton conference on 19 November, Stipe Mesic called on the Hague-based tribunal to launch war crimes proceedings against former Yugoslav generals Veljko Kadijevic and Blagoje Adzic for their involvement in Milosevic's war in Croatia in 1991, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. He made his remarks after a discussion with Carla Del Ponte, who is the tribunal's chief prosecutor. The previous day, Mesic called on Belgrade to distance itself from Bosnian Serb nationalists. He noted that Zagreb has told the Herzegovinian Croats that they are part of a Bosnian "entity and not a [sovereign] state." PM

    [21] DJUKANOVIC OPTIMISTIC ON INTERNATIONAL BACKING FOR MONTENEGRO

    After returning from the Dayton conference, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said in Podgorica on 19 November that his proposal for the future of Serbian-Montenegrin relations received "great understanding" in Dayton, Montena-fax reported. Djukanovic called for the international community to simultaneously recognize both Serbia and Montenegro as sovereign states, which will then consider setting up federal relations between themselves in a limited, unspecified number of areas. Djukanovic said that his discussions with unnamed U.S. and other foreign leaders led him to conclude that his country continues to enjoy the backing of Washington and the international community. PM

    [22] KOSTUNICA SETS CONDITIONS FOR SERBIAN VOTE

    Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica told a meeting of his Democratic Party of Serbia in Belgrade that the Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition has his permission to use his name on its lists in the 23 December Serbian elections provided that it meets two conditions. The first is that all coalition members support the continuation of the federation between Serbia and Montenegro and agree that the future of that federation cannot be decided by the leaders in Belgrade and Podgorica alone. The second condition is coalition members agree that political changes in Serbia must come about only by legal means, "Vesti" reported on 20 November. PM

    [23] ALLIES DESERT FORMER SERBIAN LEADER

    Zoran Lilic, who was formerly a close associate of Milosevic, said in Belgrade that the former leader should leave politics and retire, AP reported on 19 November. Lilic recently quit Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) to form his own Serbian Social Democratic Party. On 18 November, four prominent Socialists resigned from the party to protest its failure to transform itself into a democratic organization. Three other party leaders resigned from the committee that is preparing for the SPS's upcoming congress, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Nationalist political philosopher Mihajlo Markovic, who is one of the three, said that the party's top leadership lacks any basic understanding of democratic practice and is "divorced from reality" in its thinking, "Vesti" reported. PM

    [24] TEENAGERS FIRE ON SLOVENIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

    Police in Ljubljana arrested four young people on 19 November after unidentified persons fired gunshots at the offices of the Defense Ministry, breaking two windows, "Dnevnik" reported. The daily add that the young people appeared to have been under the influence of alcohol. PM

    [25] MACEDONIAN LEADERS VISIT RUSSIA, GREECE

    Savo Klimovski, who is the president of the parliament, left Skopje for Moscow on 19 November for a visit that will include meetings with leaders of the Duma and government, Makfaks news agency reported. On 22 November, Foreign Minister Aleksandar Dimitrov is slated to hold talks on bilateral and regional issues in Athens with his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou. The meeting is part of the runup to the EU-sponsored Balkan summit that will open in Zagreb on 24 November. PM

    [26] CROATS MARK VUKOVAR ANNIVERSARY

    Several thousand people took part in a commemorative meeting in Vukovar on 18 November to mark the anniversary of that town's fall to Serbian forces in 1991. Some 1,200 Croatian soldiers and civilians died in the fighting and in subsequent atrocities. Vukovar is widely regarded in Croatia as the single most important symbol of the 1991 conflict. PM

    [27] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY BREACHED UN EMBARGO ON YUGOSLAVIA

    Emil Constantinescu said on 17 November that between 1994 and 1995, "entire trains" loaded with ammunition and gas were smuggled into Yugoslavia from Romania, Romanian media reported. He said the operations were supported by the Romanian Customs Office, the Transportation Ministry, and the police, and were controlled by the Romanian Intelligence Service. According to Constantinescu, the Prosecutor General's Office has finished investigating the case. Observers note that Constantinescu's accusations a week ahead of the 26 November elections are mainly directed against presidential candidate Ion Iliescu. Iliescu, who leads all opinion polls, was president from 1990-1996. Meanwhile, former Romanian King Mihai on 18 November called on all Romanians to exercise their right to vote and to cast their ballots for the candidate that will aid the country's EU and NATO integration efforts. ZsM

    [28] ROMANIAN BANK APPEALS FOR HELP TO SUPPORT BANKING SYSTEM

    Anthony van der Heijden, the chairman of Romania's Ion Tiriac Bank, appealed on 18 November to the Romanian Central Bank, the government, and the public to "prevent the destruction of the banking system, "Ziarul Financiar" reported. The appeal came amid rumors that the bank is facing problems. A bank press release said that such rumors came from, among others, competing banks. Reports of problems with the Ion Tiriac Bank began after the Turkish-Romanian Bank was reported to have liquidity problems (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 November 2000). Political analysts quoted by the newspaper say rumors about the banking sector's problems might be connected to an effort to discredit Prime Minister and presidential candidate Mugur Isarescu before the 26 November presidential election. Isarescu was governor of the Central Bank from 1991 to 1999. ZsM

    [29] ORTHODOX CHURCH THREATENS MOLDOVAN LAWMAKERS WITH EXCOMMUNICATION

    The Moldovan Orthodox Church said in a letter to the parliament that any deputy that votes for an abortion bill will be excommunicated, AP reported. The letter said that "legalizing abortion means legalizing the killing of children, and those who decide to end the life of a child...can be qualified as killers." The letter was signed by two top Church officials "with the blessing of [Metropolitan] Vladimir," who heads the Church. The Moldovan Orthodox Church considers itself independent, although the Romanian Orthodox Church regards it as being under Bucharest's authority. The bill would legalize abortion, for which there is no legal provision in Moldova, set deadlines for having abortions, and allow minors to have them as well. The bill is expected to pass. PB

    [30] OSCE DISSATISFIED WITH LACK OF PROGREES IN THE TRANSDNIESTER REGION

    The OSCE mission to Moldova on 20 November expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of progress toward a settlement in the breakaway Transdniester region of Moldova, AP Flux reported. In a statement, the OSCE mission also said it regretted that Russia hadn't started removing its armament from the region as pledged one year ago at an OSCE summit in Istanbul. ET

    [31] BULGARIAN BOMB BLAST SAID TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY WOULD-BE TERRORISTS

    Slavcho Bosilkov, Bulgaria's chief of police, said on 17 November that the bomb that blew up in the Ambassador Hotel last week was mistakenly set off by the two victims in the blast, AP reported. Bosilkov said the Armenian Artashes Ter-Ovsepyan and Russian A. Romanov, the two men killed in the incident, set off the blast while working on an explosive device. Ter- Ovsepyan was wanted by Bulgarian police and is known to have links to Armenian mafia groups in Bulgaria. PB

    [32] BULGARIA ARREST IRAQIS ON BORDER

    Border police detained 74 Iraqis trying to enter Bulgaria from Greece on 19 November, AP reported. Some of the Iraqis resisted arrest by throwing rocks. The arrests were made near the village of Dolno Lukovo, some 320 kilometers southeast of Sofia. Eleven Iraqis were arrested the previous day attempting to cross the same border point. All will be returned to Greece. The EU regards Bulgaria as a major transit route for refugees seeking to come to Western Europe and has placed a visa regime on Bulgarian citizens, which the government in Sofia says is unfair and unwarranted. PB

    [C] END NOTE

    [33] COMPOUNDING A DEMOGRAPHIC DISASTER

    By Paul Goble

    President Vladimir Putin's suggestion that increased immigration from former Soviet republics could help solve Russia's demographic crisis may trigger new problems in both those countries and Russia itself as well as in relations between the two.

    Speaking in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on 17 November, Putin said that "we could have a perfect opportunity to attract labor resources from the former USSR through immigration." Moscow, he added, would have to rigidly control where such migrants settled, noting that "in our country, the immigrants settle on the Black Sea coast and live in Sochi," while in reality such people are most needed in Siberia and other regions.

    And while Putin was not specific, he almost certainly hopes that this immigration will consist primarily of some of the more than 20 million ethnic Russians who remain in the 11 former Soviet republics and three Baltic states rather than of non-Russians from these countries.

    But regardless of whether that is the case--although Putin's remarks elsewhere strongly suggest that it is--his proposal now highlights both the seriousness of Russia's demographic situation and the political risks he is willing to run to try to address it.

    The extent of Russia's demographic debacle was outlined the same day by Russian Labor and Social Development Minister Aleksandr Pochinok, who told the State Duma that the country's demographic situation now threatens not only economic progress but also national security. The population of the country, he said, has fallen by 6 million since 1992 and could sink another 7.2 million by 2015 if current trends continue. In such an event, Pochinok added, Russia would fall from the seventh largest country in the world in terms of population to the 14th.

    Pochinok also noted that the extremely high death rate and low birth rate in Russia are "incomparable" with the demographic situation elsewhere in Europe, and he noted that in the last year, average male life expectancy in Russia fell below the pension age "for the first time ever." This means that Russia may soon face not unemployment but a lack of workers for the economy, he argued, adding that such a shortfall would represent an additional restriction on Moscow's ability to maintain a sizeable military force.

    Pochinok told the Duma that the Russian government has "worked out" a demographic policy for the future to change these negative trends, but he gave few details. Consequently, Putin's remarks on the same day take on greater importance as a clue to future Russian policy.

    But to the extent they do, the Russian president's words point to serious problems ahead across the region. The non-Russian countries could be the most affected. If a large number of ethnic Russians in these countries-- almost all of whom are citizens of the states in which they live--were to respond, their economies would be negatively affected and ethnic tensions exacerbated, possibly leading some to view ethnic Russian communities there as disloyal.

    And if a large number of their own co-ethnics were to move to Russia, something Putin does not appear to want, that, too, could hurt the economies of these states, especially given Moscow's exit from the CIS visa free regime.

    But Russia too could face numerous problems. Since 1991, Moscow has generally discouraged any Russian return, not only because of the lack of housing and jobs for such immigrants but also out of a desire to use its "compatriots" as a political lever in these states.

    If sizeable numbers of ethnic Russians were to return, that would put a large burden on the country's housing stock and challenge the government's ability to ensure that the immigrants went where Moscow would like them to go.

    But if sizeable numbers of non-ethnic Russians were to enter the country, that would almost certainly exacerbate ethnic tensions in Russia itself and possibly lead to a new outburst of extremist nationalism.

    Russian politicians, such as Vladimir Zhirinovskii and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, have played on the anger many Russians feel toward "persons of Caucasus nationality." Opinion polls show that relatively few Russians would welcome even more such Gastarbeiter in their midst. And because of the consequences such immigration would have in both the non-Russian countries and in Russia itself, such a policy almost certainly would cast a shadow on relations between Moscow and the 14 other states involved.

    For most of the last decade, both Russian and non-Russian leaders generally have sought to promote the integration of all those living on the territories of their countries as the best means of preserving both internal stability and ethnic accord. But because the situation in Russia has become so grave, Putin now appears prepared to move in a very different direction, one that could add a political dimension to that demographic disaster.

    20-11-00


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


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