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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 4, 01-01-08

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. 4, 8 January 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AZERBAIJAN HOLDS REPEAT ELECTIONS
  • [02] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT DECREES SALARY INCREASE FOR TOP OFFICIALS
  • [03] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ARGUES MERITS OF 'ZERO OPTION'
  • [04] KAZAKHSTAN HOSTS CENTRAL ASIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT
  • [05] BELGIUM DEPORTS ASYLUM-SEEKERS FROM KAZAKHSTAN
  • [06] KAZAKHSTAN TO PAY LESS FOR UZBEK NATURAL GAS
  • [07] CHINA PROVIDES EQUIPMENT FOR KYRGYZSTAN'S ARMED FORCES
  • [08] PRESIDENT SAYS TAJIKISTAN WILL NOT ADMIT AFGHAN DISPLACED PERSONS...
  • [09] ...REJECTS PAKISTAN'S OVERTURE TO SHANGHAI FORUM
  • [10] PREPARATIONS FOR IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S TURKMEN VISIT DISCUSSED
  • [11] TWO ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH MASS MURDERS IN UZBEKISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] HAGUE TO SERBIA: WE MAKE DECISION ON TRIAL
  • [13] BELGRADE WANTS SERBIAN TRIAL
  • [14] YUGOSLAV MINISTER: TOP BOSNIAN WAR CRIMINALS NOT IN SERBIA
  • [15] YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER SEES END OF SANCTIONS
  • [16] YUGOSLAV BANK HEAD RULES OUT MONTENEGRIN DELEGATION TO SUCCESSION TALKS
  • [17] POLITICAL DEAL IN MONTENEGRO?
  • [18] SERBIAN MEDICAL OFFICIAL: NO RISE IN LEUKEMIA IN YUGOSLAVIA
  • [19] UN: INCIDENCE OF LEUKEMIA IN KOSOVA ON DECREASE
  • [20] POLITICAL MOTIVE BEHIND 'BALKAN SYNDROME' SCARE?
  • [21] BRITISH PEACEKEEPERS DETAIN ETHNIC ALBANIAN FIGHTERS
  • [22] MACEDONIA DENIES SERBIAN REPORTS OF GUERRILLA BASES
  • [23] BOSNIAN MUJAHEDEEN DETAINED
  • [24] ROMANIA FACING SEVERE DROUGHT
  • [25] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS NO SIGNS OF 'BALKAN SYNDROME'
  • [26] ROMANIAN COMMUNISTS WANT TO EXHUME CEAUSESCU
  • [27] TIRASPOL SAYS ROMANIA CANNOT BE OSCE MEDIATOR...
  • [28] ...SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH GAGAUZ-YERI
  • [29] MOLDOVAN CENTER-RIGHT PARTIES FAIL TO SET UP ALLIANCE
  • [30] BULGARIAN LEFTISTS FORM NEW ALLIANCE
  • [31] BULGARIAN PEACE KEEPERS SHOW NO SIGNS OF 'BALKAN SYNDROME'
  • [32] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DENOUNCES PRO-NAZI INCIDENT
  • [33] LIBYA POSTPONES TRIAL OF BULGARIAN MEDICS
  • [34] BULGARIAN ARCHIVE DOCUMENT LINKS COMMUNIST OFFICIAL TO PERSECUTION OF TURKS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [35] THE RISE OF RUSSIA'S SECURITY COUNCIL

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AZERBAIJAN HOLDS REPEAT ELECTIONS

    Elections were held on 7 January in 11 constituencies in Azerbaijan where the outcome of the 5 November parliamentary poll was invalidated. A total of 76 candidates contested those mandates, of whom 23 are members of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party, which already has a majority of 72 seats in the125-seat parliament. The only influential opposition party to field candidates was the reformist wing of the divided Azerbaijan Popular Front Party. Voter turnout averaged 43.5 percent, AFP reported. LF

    [02] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT DECREES SALARY INCREASE FOR TOP OFFICIALS

    President Heidar Aliev signed a decree on 4 January raising the salaries of government ministers and regional administrators effective 1 January, Turan reported the following day. The prime minister will in future receive 3 million manats monthly ($605), the head of the presidential administration 2.8 million manats, ministers 1.1 million, and the Baku city mayor 2.2 million. The average monthly salary in Azerbaijan is 204,000 manats. Aliev also charged the cabinet with implementing immediate salary increases of between 50-100 percent for all government employees except for the Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs. He ordered the cabinet to submit proposals for pay raises for employees of those ministries within three months. LF

    [03] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ARGUES MERITS OF 'ZERO OPTION'

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said on 8 January during his traditional Monday radio broadcast that he believes it imperative that Georgia agree to Russia's proposal to forfeit any further claim on a share of the assets of the former USSR estimated at $5 billion in return for the rescheduling of Tbilisi's $168 million debt to Russia, Caucasus Press reported. The IMF has pegged the release of a $12 million tranche of a new loan program aimed at overcoming poverty in Georgia to an agreement on rescheduling those debts. Shevardnadze denied a 4 January report in the newspaper "Rezonansi" that Tbilisi has already begun talks on selling its share of the former Soviet assets. Shevardnadze had urged the Georgian parliament on 5 January to agree to the Russian proposal, but parliament majority leader Niko Lekishvili said the following day it is doubtful deputies will agree to do so. Georgian State Minister Gia Arsenishvili told Caucasus Press on 6 January that the question of debt restructuring "remains open." He added that the conditions for doing so outlined in a recent letter from Russian Finance Minister Aleksi Kudrin differ from those agreed on during talks in Tbilisi last month, but did not elaborate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 December 2000). LF

    [04] KAZAKHSTAN HOSTS CENTRAL ASIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT

    Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov chaired a session of the Central Asian Economic Union in Almaty on 5 January, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. Rakhmonov and his Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Uzbek counterparts Nursultan Nazarbaev, Askar Akaev and Islam Karimov discussed the threat to their countries posed by Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan. Karimov subsequently told journalists they are seeking "a concrete solution," that would preclude a further incursion on to their territory of Islamic militants based in Afghanistan, Reuters reported. Following criticism by Karimov that, like the CIS, the Union has adopted numerous decisions but failed to implement most of them, it was agreed on Karimov's suggestion to rename the Union the Central Asian Economic Forum and to amend its statutes. The four presidents also agreed to designate this year as the Year of Mountains in Central Asia, and that experts from the four countries should conduct an audit of the Central Asian Development Bank. LF

    [05] BELGIUM DEPORTS ASYLUM-SEEKERS FROM KAZAKHSTAN

    The first group, numbering 33 people, of 2,500 citizens of Kazakhstan who had unsuccessfully applied for political asylum in Belgium were repatriated to Kazakhstan on 6 January, Reuters and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. Most of the repatriants were ethnic Russians. LF

    [06] KAZAKHSTAN TO PAY LESS FOR UZBEK NATURAL GAS

    During an informal meeting in Almaty on 6 January, Nazarbaev and Karimov reached agreement that Kazakhstan will pay $50 per thousand cubic meters for natural gas supplied by Uzbekistan to southern Kazakhstan in 2001, Interfax reported. Under a preliminary agreeement signed late last year, the price was set at $50 per thousand cubic meters, and it was agreed that Kazakhstan would purchase between 820-850 million cubic meters during the first six months of 2001. On 5 January, Kazakhstan's First Deputy Prime Minister Daniyal Asenov told journalists that tapping the Amangeldy gas deposits in southern Kazakhstan would obviate the need for purchases of Uzbek gas. He said it is hoped to do so within four years. LF

    [07] CHINA PROVIDES EQUIPMENT FOR KYRGYZSTAN'S ARMED FORCES

    A Chinese military delegation currently visiting Bishkek on 6 January presented military supplies worth 5 million yuan ($600,000) to the Kyrgyz armed forces, Reuters and RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. The supplies include uniforms and boots for approximately half Kyrgyzstan's 10,000 troops, but no weapons, according to AP. LF

    [08] PRESIDENT SAYS TAJIKISTAN WILL NOT ADMIT AFGHAN DISPLACED PERSONS...

    Speaking at a press conference in Almaty on 5 January following the Central Asian Economic Union summit, President Rakhmonov said Dushanbe will not allow a single one of the estimated 10,000-15,000 Afghan fugitives from the fighting between Taliban and Northern Alliance forces now congregated on islands in the Pyandj river that marks the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan to enter the country, Reuters reported. He claimed that those fugitives include "several hundred men armed to the teeth," according to Interfax. The UNHCR representative in Dushanbe had formally asked the Tajik government one month earlier to allow the fugitives to enter Tajikistan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 December 2000). Asia Plus-Blitz on 29 December quoted a Russian military officer who visited the border region as describing the fugitives' plight as "catastrophic." He said an unspecified number have died from cold or starvation. Iranian Ambassador to Dushanbe Saidrasul Musavi, who delivered a consignment of humanitarian aid to the displaced persons last month, similarly characterized their plight as catastrophic. LF

    [09] ...REJECTS PAKISTAN'S OVERTURE TO SHANGHAI FORUM

    Rakhmonov also told journalists in Almaty on 5 January that he opposes Pakistan's request for observer status with the Shanghai Forum, which comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 2001). "We're categorically against it-- against any application or wish to join," Reuters quoted Rakhmonov as saying. President Nazarbaev, for his part, said that the decision on whether to grant Pakistan's request should be taken jointly by all members of the forum, according to Interfax. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko said Moscow interprets Pakistan's request as reflecting the Forum's "growing international influence," according to Interfax. He said that criteria and procedures for admitting countries outside the region to the Forum "are at the discussion stage." LF

    [10] PREPARATIONS FOR IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S TURKMEN VISIT DISCUSSED

    Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov met on 5 January with Iranian Ambassador Seyed Abrahim Derazgisu to discuss the preparations for Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Ashgabat, for which no date has yet been fixed, Interfax reported. The primary issue to be discussed during that visit is increasing cooperation in the oil and gas sector. The co- chairmen of the Turkmen-Iranian commission for economic cooperation initialled an agreement last November on increasing supplies of Turkmen gas to Iran (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 November 2000). LF

    [11] TWO ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH MASS MURDERS IN UZBEKISTAN

    Police in Bukhara on 2 January arrested a married couple suspected of having murdered at least five people and selling their internal organs for transplants, Interfax and RFE/RL's Tashkent bureau reported on 5 January. The couple ran a travel agency offering to help secure visas for persons wishing to emigrate, according to AP. A search of their home yielded 60 passports and some $40,000 in cash. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] HAGUE TO SERBIA: WE MAKE DECISION ON TRIAL

    Florence Hartmann, who is spokeswoman for the Hague-based war crimes tribunal's Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, said on 5 January that "Yugoslavia as a member of the United Nations has to comply with its international obligations. They have to cooperate with us. We don't have to cooperate with them." She added that the location of the trial of former President Slobodan Milosevic is "not negotiable. It's clearly written [in his indictment] that he's expected in The Hague," AP reported. Hartmann noted that Del Ponte is not opposed to some of the hearings taking place in Serbia, but stressed that the tribunal will make the decisions, not the Serbian authorities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 2001). That same day, tribunal spokesman Christian Chartier reminded the Serbian authorities that they are "obliged" to extradite Milosevic as well as all other indicted war criminals on Serbian territory, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

    [13] BELGRADE WANTS SERBIAN TRIAL

    Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said recently that Milosevic should be tried in Serbia (see "RFE/RL Newsline, 5 January 2001). On 7 January, governing coalition leader Vladan Batic, who is widely expected to be the next Serbian justice minister, also called for the trial to take place in Serbia. He argued that "a locally held trial is being more and more mentioned as a realistic possibility," AP reported. Batic added that charges could include "inciting national, racial, and religious hatred and divisions...; abuse of public office..., violation of rights of citizens, (and) spreading of false information." Serbian Professor Dusan Batakovic told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service recently that it was not important how the U.S. authorities came to jail the gangster Al Capone, but that they jailed him. Capone ultimately went to prison on a tax evasion charge (see "RFE/RL South Slavic Report," 23 and 30 November 2000). The fundamental principle of the war crimes tribunal is that individuals must be tried for their war crimes lest entire peoples be tarred with the brush of collective guilt. PM

    [14] YUGOSLAV MINISTER: TOP BOSNIAN WAR CRIMINALS NOT IN SERBIA

    Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic said in Belgrade on 5 January that Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic are not on federal Yugoslav territory, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Mladic had been widely reported to be living in Belgrade prior to Milosevic's overthrow in October. Also on 5 January in the Serbian capital, Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia called Svilanovic's pledges to cooperate with the Hague-based tribunal "contrary to the national and state interests of the Serbian people." Svilanovic and President Vojislav Kostunica have argued that they are obliged to cooperate on the basis of the 1995 Dayton peace agreements, to which Milosevic himself was a signatory. Del Ponte is expected in Belgrade shortly to discuss the modalities of that cooperation. PM

    [15] YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER SEES END OF SANCTIONS

    Svilanovic told a Washington press conference on 5 January that his country's top priority is getting out of its economic crisis (see "RFE/RL Newsline," "Endnote," 5 January 2001). He called upon U.S. businesses to invest in the Yugoslav economy and help in its development, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Top German business representatives with long experience in the former Yugoslavia told "RFE/RL Newsline" recently that Serbia will have to make fundamental changes in its business culture and legislative framework if it is to attract any considerable amount of Western money. Several leaders of the governing coalition have also told "Newsline" that they are acutely aware of the magnitude of the problems, adding that they have no time to lose. In Belgrade on 6 January, Svilanovic said that he hopes that the U.S. will lift most of its remaining sanctions against Serbia in the "next few days." That, he added, will be the "main result" of his visit to Washington. PM

    [16] YUGOSLAV BANK HEAD RULES OUT MONTENEGRIN DELEGATION TO SUCCESSION TALKS

    Mladjan Dinkic, who is governor of the Yugoslav National Bank, rejected Montenegrin demands that the mountainous republic have its own representation at the next round of talks aimed at dividing the assets of the former Yugoslavia, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 5 January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 December 2000). Dinkic said that Podgorica has the right to its own representation only if it becomes an independent country. The Montenegrin authorities say they will refuse to recognize any settlement unless they have their own delegation. PM

    [17] POLITICAL DEAL IN MONTENEGRO?

    A deal between the two largest parties in Montenegro appears to be shaping up, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 6 January. Under the reported terms, President Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists would agree to hold early parliamentary elections separately from a referendum on independence. In return, the pro-Belgrade Socialist People's Party would agree not to boycott the referendum. PM

    [18] SERBIAN MEDICAL OFFICIAL: NO RISE IN LEUKEMIA IN YUGOSLAVIA

    Dr. Slobodan Cikaric, who heads the Belgrade Oncological Clinic, said on 5 January that there has been no recent rise in the incidence of leukemia or other cancer-related illnesses in Yugoslavia, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 2001). He added that it usually takes between two and five years for leukemia to develop, and that the illness can last for a decade. PM

    [19] UN: INCIDENCE OF LEUKEMIA IN KOSOVA ON DECREASE

    In Prishtina on 6 January, the WHO said in a statement that an "initial survey showed the incidence of leukemia in Kosovo has not increased. In fact there was a slight decrease in leukemia in the year 2000 as compared with 1997 and 1998. After consultations with nuclear and health experts, international health professionals in Kosovo determined the potential public health hazards related to depleted uranium exposure were not high. They decided to devote their major efforts to rebuilding the Kosovo health system, launching a vaccination program," Reuters reported. PM

    [20] POLITICAL MOTIVE BEHIND 'BALKAN SYNDROME' SCARE?

    Moderate Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova said in Prishtina on 5 January that he believes that that the current campaign is simply a continuation of a Milosevic-era one aimed at discrediting NATO intervention in Kosova in 1999. Rugova said in Prishtina on 5 January that he and Italian Deputy Defence Minister Marco Miniti "agreed that research should be carried out to prove this propaganda wrong, because this might be propaganda against Kosova by those who opposed NATO intervention. Among our population there haven't been cases of uranium-related diseases. We will look into this situation, and there will certainly be scientific explanations which will be made public," Reuters reported. The Sarajevo daily "Avaz" on 8 January quoted a Kuwaiti expert as saying that the scare is aimed at prompting Western countries to withdraw their forces from the Balkans. PM

    [21] BRITISH PEACEKEEPERS DETAIN ETHNIC ALBANIAN FIGHTERS

    British KFOR troops arrested nine armed, uniformed ethnic Albanians on 6 January after the men crossed into Kosova from the Presevo region of southwestern Serbia. A tenth man is still at large. Four men in civilian clothing were detained separately from the other nine at the U.S. base, Fort Bondsteel, AP reported. The uniformed men are suspected of being fighters of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB). NATO is seeking to block the flow of men and arms between Kosova and the other side of the border. PM

    [22] MACEDONIA DENIES SERBIAN REPORTS OF GUERRILLA BASES

    On 5 January in Skopje, the Interior Ministry denied recent claims by the Yugoslav Army that the UCPMB has bases on Macedonian territory from which fighters are infiltrated into Serbia, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. An unnamed "high officer" of the ministry said that the charges are aimed at dragging his country into the fight in southwestern Serbia. PM

    [23] BOSNIAN MUJAHEDEEN DETAINED

    Police detained three Islamic fighters of Middle Eastern origin in Bocinja on 4 January after SFOR peacekeepers tried to prevent a prayer meeting of Islamic veterans. SFOR has been trying for some time to encourage the remaining 14 mujahedeen families to leave the area. The men, who acquired Bosnian citizenship by marrying local women, say they have nowhere to go, AP reported. PM

    [24] ROMANIA FACING SEVERE DROUGHT

    The cabinet on 4 January discussed measures to cope with an expected severe drought and decided to introduce a water rationing and power cuts program. Petre Marinescu, chief of the National Water Utility, said Romania is facing its most severe drought in 50 years. He warned that water supplies to towns may have to be totally cut off and agricultural production may face further setbacks, after it already dropped by 6 percent last year. On 5 January, Water and Environment Protection Minister Aurel Constantin Ilie said that water rationing measures have already been introduced in several parts of the country. He said rationing of water for the population will be introduced "only as a last resort," to be preceded by rationing for industry and agriculture. MS

    [25] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS NO SIGNS OF 'BALKAN SYNDROME'

    The Defense Ministry on 5 January said no Romanian military personnel who participated in peace keeping operations in Bosnia have been found to suffer from any illness due to radioactive emissions, Romanian Radio reported. MS

    [26] ROMANIAN COMMUNISTS WANT TO EXHUME CEAUSESCU

    Ion Cristian Niculae, chairman of the extraparliamentary Romanian Workers' Party (PMR), on 7 January demanded that the remains of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu be exhumed. "We have information that he was tortured before he was shot and we want [President Ion] Iliescu to tell us what happened," AP cited him as saying. The PMR was set up in 1995. In 1998, the Bucharest Municipal Tribunal refused to approve the party's change of denomination to the Romanian Communist Party. MS

    [27] TIRASPOL SAYS ROMANIA CANNOT BE OSCE MEDIATOR...

    The Transdniester conflict "cannot be rapidly solved" if Romania takes over the role of OSCE mediator, as Bucharest has "a negative attitude" towards the "Transdniester Republic," the governmental newspaper "Pridnestrovie" wrote on 5 January. The publication also said Romania, which took over the rotating OSCE chairmanship on 1 January, is likely to raise the case of Tiraspol-imprisoned Ilie Ilascu, who has been elected a senator to the Romanian parliament. Valerii Litskai, the separatist "foreign minister," earlier said that the OSCE has designated Portugal to be the OSCE mediator in the Transdniester conflict, and "Pridnestrovie" says that decision is "rational" because "unlike Romania, Portugal is a neutral party in the conflict," Flux reported on 5 January. Ilascu has been appointed a member of the Romanian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. MS

    [28] ...SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH GAGAUZ-YERI

    Separatist leader Igor Smirnov and Dumitru Croitor, head of the Gagauz-Yeri autonomous region in Moldova, signed an accord in Tiraspol on 4 January for the "regional integration" of the two sides in the economic, financial. environmental, transportation, health care and cultural spheres. The sides will also open "representations" in Comrat and Tiraspol, respectively, Flux reported the following day. MS

    [29] MOLDOVAN CENTER-RIGHT PARTIES FAIL TO SET UP ALLIANCE

    Parleys between the Party of Conciliation and Rebirth headed by former President Mircea Snegur and the popular party Christian Democratic led by Iurie Rosca have failed to bring about an agreement on running jointly in the early elections scheduled for February, Romanian radio reported on 7 January. The two parties had run on the joint lists of the Democratic Convention of Moldova in the 1998 elections. Their leaders said that they hope to collaborate in the next legislature "in order to oppose the communists." MS

    [30] BULGARIAN LEFTISTS FORM NEW ALLIANCE

    The main opposition Socialist Party (BSP) on 7 January forged an electoral alliance with three leftist extra-parliamentary formations ahead of the new parliamentary and presidential elections later this year, Reuters and AP reported. The name of the alliance, which also includes the Social Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Movement, and the United Labor Bloc, is the New Left. The agreement stipulates that the alliance is based "on the values and principles of the modern European left and Social Democracy" and that it would "continue the policy of speedy accession to the EU and NATO." BSP leader Georgi Parvanov said the formation of the alliance means that "the left parties want power." He said the New Left will try to form a broad coalition government that will "implement a new, social-liberal political model." MS

    [31] BULGARIAN PEACE KEEPERS SHOW NO SIGNS OF 'BALKAN SYNDROME'

    Defense Minister Boiko Noev on 7 January said "no irregularities" have been found during the medical examinations carried on members of the Bulgarian peace keeping forces serving in Kosova, dpa and AP reported. A six-member military medical team traveled to the province last week to examine the Bulgarian contingent deployed there. Colonel Petar Petrov, head of the army's department of nuclear, chemical and biological defense, told reporters that testing also revealed "no radioactive contamination in the places where Bulgarian soldiers live and serve." MS

    [32] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DENOUNCES PRO-NAZI INCIDENT

    President Petar Stoyanov said on 4 January the Bulgarian people "will never accept individuals or groups with a Nazi ideology," BTA reported, citing the presidential office. The remarks were made following an incident on New Year's eve in Sofia's Alexander Batemberg Square, in which people waved a flag with the swastika. Stoyanov said Bulgaria "must on no acount allow a handful of people to stain its image, which has been created not only in the course of the last 10 years, but also during World War II, when Bulgarian citizens served as an example to many European nations by showing solidarity with, and tolerance toward, persecuted Jews." Interior Minister Emanuil Yordanov said he doubts the culprits can be identified from among the multitudes who were in the square at the time. MS

    [33] LIBYA POSTPONES TRIAL OF BULGARIAN MEDICS

    A Libyan court on 6 January postponed for the eighth time the trial of six Bulgarian medical staff charged with deliberately infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus, Reuters reported citing Bulgarian sources (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 2001). MS

    [34] BULGARIAN ARCHIVE DOCUMENT LINKS COMMUNIST OFFICIAL TO PERSECUTION OF TURKS

    A document discovered in the Interior Ministry archives and released by RFE/RL's Sofia bureau on 5 January shows that in December 1984 former communist Interior Minister Dimitar Stoyanov ordered his staff to force the million-strong ethnic Turkish minority then living in the country to adopt Slavic names. At a meeting of top ministry officials, Stoyanov instructed security officers to "start renaming all Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin, in all districts where such a population exists." Stoyanov, who served as Interior Minister between 1981 and 1989, died last year. The campaign directed against Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish minority by the Todor Zhivkov regime spurred some 300,000 members of that minority to flee to Turkey in the mid-1980s. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [35] THE RISE OF RUSSIA'S SECURITY COUNCIL

    By Donald N. Jensen

    Vladimir Putin has transformed Russia's Security Council, a traditionally advisory body, into a major policy-making forum. It is unclear, however, whether he seeks to use the Security Council as a counterweight to other presidential structures, or to give it the pivotal role in governing the country. Meanwhile, Council secretary and Putin ally Sergei Ivanov, perhaps the second most powerful politician in Russia, reportedly may be line to be the next Defense or Prime Minister.

    In addition to Ivanov and Putin, who serves as ex-officio chairman, Security Council members include Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, Chief of the General Staff Anatolii Kvashnin, as well as other cabinet members, the heads of the foreign and domestic intelligence services and law enforcement officials.

    Since its creation in 1992, the Security Council has functioned--not always successfully--as a permanent presidential staff and a forum for discussing policy. Although Yeltsin originally set up the Council as an alternative to existing security structures, opposition from entrenched bureaucratic interests prevented the Council from becoming fully established. Nevertheless, the body served as an effective war council during the first Chechnya conflict, when then-head Aleksandr Lebed used it to broker a settlement. (The Council also was influential when oligarch Boris Berezovsky held the post of deputy secretary in 1996-97.)

    In 1999, Putin combined the post of Security Council Secretary with that of head of the Federal Security Service. He began to build up the Council when he became acting president a year ago and named ally Sergei Ivanov, who like Putin is a career KGB officer from St. Petersburg, to head the body.

    Under Ivanov the council has given the broadest possible interpretation to the concept of national security, with the scope its work often resembling that of the old Soviet Politburo. The council has helped draft the country's new national security and foreign policy doctrines, took the lead in military reform--it was the arbiter of a dispute last summer between Defense Minster Sergeev and General Staff Chief Kvashnin--and led the recent reorganization of the military-industrial complex. In addition, the council has crafted the so-called information concept, which would impose restrictions on the country's press, and has debated the country's hemorrhaging of capital abroad.

    But there have also been several missteps along the way. It was the council, according to press reports, which recommended that the Kremlin continue backing Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosovic until just before his fall. Putin sent an initial draft of the military doctrine back to the council for review after some Russian generals complained about unspecified aspects of that document.

    Ivanov has repeatedly denied that the Security Council plays a role in policymaking. He claims it is advisory only and notes that many government ministers are members. In recent months, however, the Council has taken on executive and administrative functions. Several sources suggest that the security services have used the Council, via Ivanov, to lobby for increasing the state's role in the economy and to launch a severe crackdown on Russia's oligarchs.

    As with other Russian politicians, Ivanov has been linked to large sums of money. The recent reorganization of the country's lucrative arms export industry reportedly puts the profits from that sector under the control of Ivanov and his KGB associates from St. Petersburg. The Council's clout derives, above all, from Ivanov's close relationship to Putin. Ivanov is reportedly one of the few officials with direct access to the president and often accompanies Putin on his trips abroad. The Council's centralized, hierarchical structure, moreover, also matches Putin's governing style.

    Yet Putin has not indicated unequivocally that he wants to make the Security Council his principal instrument of rule. True, the President has given Ivanov responsibility for the seven viceroys overseeing Russia's provinces--regional policy had previously been the purview of the Presidential Administration, the council's powerful bureaucratic rival. But Putin has publicly stated that Presidential Administration chief Aleksandr Voloshin, a Yeltsin holdover, will continue in his post. Voloshin continues to play a key policymaking role. Competition between the two bodies is thus likely to continue, especially as Ivanov and Voloshin reportedly disagree on how much control to exert over the media and how the Kremlin should deal with the business oligarchs. The two men also backed different candidates in recent gubernatorial elections in Kursk and Kaliningrad. Although this competition can create policy confusion, it gives Putin political cover by allowing him to maneuver via an informal system of checks and balances.

    In the coming months, the Security Council's formal authority may grow. A bill pending in parliament provides that in cases of acute national crisis, the president can decree a state of emergency under which the Security Council would run the country. Another proposal would give the Council secretary the power to compel other officials to comply with its decisions.

    There are signs, however, that Ivanov may soon move on. His formal retirement as an intelligence officer last month was widely interpreted as a step toward his becoming a civilian Defense Minister--out of uniform Ivanov might be better able to restructure the armed forces, whose leaders have sometimes publicly disagreed with him. He is also seen by many as a possible replacement for Prime Minister Kasyanov, to whom Ivanov's rival, Voloshin, reportedly has close ties. Without Ivanov to head it, however, and given the court politics of the Kremlin--where personality counts for much--the Security Council might again fade into obscurity.

    Donald N. Jensen is Associate Director of Broadcasting at RFE/RL

    08-01-01


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


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