Accessibility links

Newsline - June 10, 2002


WORLD CUP LOSS SETS OFF RIOT IN MOSCOW...
Massive street rioting broke out in downtown Moscow following Russia's 1-0 loss to Japan in the World Cup soccer championships on 9 June, Western and Russian news agencies reported. Some sources reported that two people were killed in the violence, but that information remains sketchy and unconfirmed. An estimated 7,000 to 8,000 fans -- many of them intoxicated -- gathered in a central square to watch the match on a big-screen television, while only about 150 police were on hand to control the crowd. After the match, fans rampaged along Moscow's main street, damaging the building that houses the State Duma, vandalizing about half a dozen restaurants in a fashionable pedestrian area, and attacking several tourists of Asian appearance. One hundred and eighteen people were arrested, and more than 100, including 20 police officers, were hospitalized. Duma Deputy Vladimir Reznik, a leader of the pro-Kremlin Unity faction, said that the Interior Ministry (MVD) must bear responsibility for the rampage because of its poor crowd control. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said that he will personally look into the matter. VY

...BUT WAS THE VIOLENCE SPONTANEOUS?
Many observers, including some leading politicians and pro-Kremlin commentators, labeled the 9 June violence an "orchestrated action." Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov called the riots "a well-planned escapade," and Aleksandr Oslon, head of the Public Opinion Foundation, said the disturbances "must have been prepared by somebody," strana.ru reported on 10 June. The pro-Kremlin website also speculated that journalists on the scene may have been "intentionally assaulted." According to "The Moscow Times," anchorman Yevgenii Krivenko said on state-run RTR's evening newscast on 9 June that the violence underscores the need to adopt quickly the controversial, government-sponsored bill on extremism that passed its first reading in the State Duma on 6 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 June 2002). The incident is reminiscent of a case in 1999 when crowds of soccer fans rampaged near the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during NATO's military action against Yugoslavia. VY

KALININGRAD TO BE FOCUS OF BALTIC REGION SUMMIT...
The prime ministers of 11 Baltic-region countries plus representatives of the European Union gathered in St. Petersburg on 10 June for a two-day meeting of the Council of Baltic Sea States, Western and Russian news agencies reported. Much of the discussion centered on Russian concerns about EU expansion and the Kaliningrad exclave. Speaking to journalists before the meeting, Prime Minister Kasyanov said that Russia insists on "the unimpeded transit of cargo and movement of Russian citizens from Kaliningrad Oblast," ITAR-TASS reported. Denmark takes over the rotating EU presidency in July, and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arrived in Copenhagen on 10 June for talks on the Kaliningrad problem, ITAR-TASS reported. In St. Petersburg, the Baltic leaders also discussed regional environmental problems, organized crime, and energy cooperation. VY

...AS MOVEMENT SEEN ON KOLA PENINSULA CLEANUP
Sweden expects to sign an agreement worth several hundred million dollars before the end of the year to assist Russia with the cleanup of nuclear waste on the Kola Peninsula, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 June. Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson made the announcement prior to his departure for the Baltic region summit in St. Petersburg. The agreement, which will involve a number of other donors -- including, most likely, Norway, Finland, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, Great Britain, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development -- will cover the scrapping of decommissioned nuclear submarines that have been abandoned on the peninsula and the safe storage of the radioactive waste that has accumulated there, the news agency reported. RC

RUSSIA, UKRAINE PUSH AHEAD ON ENERGY COOPERATION...
President Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met in St. Petersburg on 9 June and signed a joint statement ordering their respective governments immediately to prepare a bilateral agreement on strategic cooperation in the natural gas sphere, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. The statement outlined the proposed agreement, calling for the creation of a consortium that would manage and develop Ukraine's gas-transport system. Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko said that the agreement "will enhance the reliability of Russian gas deliveries to Europe in the long term," the news agency reported.

...AS BELARUS LOOKS FORWARD TO INTEGRATION
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived in St. Petersburg on 10 June for talks with President Putin on 11 June, ITAR-TASS reported. The presidents are expected to discuss the prospects for a formal union of the two countries, including the introduction of a common currency. On the eve of the visit, Lukashenka chaired a meeting of his summit working group and later told journalists, "We consciously made headway toward integration." RC

CHUBAIS ASSOCIATE TARGET OF CORRUPTION PROBE
The MVD has initiated an investigation of Mosenergo Director Arkadii Yevstafiev, a close associate of Unified Energy Systems (UES) head Anatolii Chubais, Interfax and NTV reported on 8 June. Mosenergo is a UES subdivision. According to investigators, the case against Yevstafiev is linked to his business activity before becoming head of Mosenergo. Yevstafiev became known during the 1996 re-election campaign of then President Boris Yeltsin when he was caught leaving a government building with $538,000 in cash in a cardboard box; Yevstafiev declined to explain anything about the money. Commenting on the MVD investigation, gazeta.ru wrote that it is linked to another 1996 episode, in which Yevstafiev and Chubais took a loan of several million dollars for an NGO called the Center for the Protection of Private Property, which they headed. The loan was allegedly never paid back. In his 1998 book "Obscurantism," MVD Colonel Valerii Streletskii wrote that significant evidence of fraud had been uncovered in both cases but that the investigations were stopped for political reasons. VY

SIGNING OF AZERBAIJANI-RUSSIAN CASPIAN AGREEMENT POSTPONED
Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev announced on 8 June on his departure for a two-day visit to St. Petersburg that he and President Putin would not, as originally planned, sign an agreement on the division of their countries' respective sectors of the Caspian Sea, Interfax reported. Spokesmen for the two countries had said in April following a meeting between Aliev and Putin on the sidelines of the abortive Caspian summit in Ashgabat that such an agreement would be signed this month. Aliev said on 8 June that several points of the agreement have not yet been finalized, but that "there are no disagreements on matters of principle," according to AFP. Deputy head of Putin's staff Sergei Prikhodko similarly said that the uncoordinated points "are not political," and predicted that the agreement will be ready for signing "soon." Deputy Prime Minister Khristenko said the following day that the agreement "is being coordinated," and that "there are certain technical questions in the wording," ITAR-TASS reported. LF

AZERBAIJANI, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS MEET
Aliev and Putin together attended the unveiling on 9 June of a monument in St. Petersburg to the medieval Azerbaijani poet Nizami of Gyanja. They then held wide-ranging talks that focused among other things on the potential for expanding bilateral economic cooperation, especially in the energy sector, and bilateral trade, and on the Karabakh conflict, Russian agencies reported. Aliev recalled Putin's insistence during his visit to Baku in January that the Karabakh conflict be resolved without winners or losers, and expressed the hope that Russia's new foreign policy will facilitate reaching solutions to all regional conflicts based on that formula, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

PUTIN MEETS WITH FELLOW PRESIDENTS ON SIDELINES OF SCO SUMMIT
President Putin met on 7 June in St. Petersburg on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Russian agencies reported. The two signed an agreement on exports of Kazakh natural gas via the Russian Federation. Putin praised the "phenomenal progress" made over the past decade in bilateral relations, specifically the agreement signed last month on dividing the Caspian seabed (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 May 2002). At the same time, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Khristenko and his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov signed 15-year agreement on the export via Russia of Kazakh oil (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 June 2002). During talks with Kyrgyzstan's Askar Akaev, Putin noted that delegations from the Defense Ministry and the State Security Council will visit Bishkek shortly to discuss combating terrorism, Interfax reported. Putin also discussed bilateral relations, regional security, and the situation in Afghanistan with Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov, Russian agencies reported. Meeting with Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov, Putin noted "positive trends" in Russian-Uzbek relations, specifically the 20 percent increase in bilateral trade registered in 2001. LF

'NOVAYA GAZETA' ON BRINK OF CLOSURE
Dmitrii Muratov, editor in chief of the liberal weekly "Novaya gazeta," told journalists on 7 June that a court bailiff had appeared at his office earlier that day and announced that he was enforcing a Moscow court order freezing the paper's property, polit.ru reported. According to a February court ruling, the paper must pay 15 million rubles ($482,000) in damages to Mezhprombank as compensation for business allegedly lost as a result of an article printed in the paper (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 May 2002). Muratov said that the paper, which is controlled by self-exiled oligarch Boris Berezovskii, is appealing the verdict, but added that if the bailiff fully enforces the decision before the appeal is heard, the paper will have to close. "Novaya gazeta" is the second newspaper in recently whose fate has become uncertain. At the end of May, journalist Yegor Yakovlev announced the sale of the weekly "Obshchaya gazeta" and the new owner immediately fired the entire staff and suspended publication until at least the fall (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 and 31 May 2002). VY

BOOK ON 1999 APARTMENT-BLOCK BOMBINGS WINS NATIONAL AWARD
Ardent anti-Western author and publisher Aleksandr Prokhanov won on 31 May the prestigious 2002 National Bestseller Prize for his controversial book "Gospodin Geksogen" ("Mr. Gexogen"), Russian news agencies reported. The book, which is posted on the Internet at http://www.geksogen.ru, is a thinly fictionalized account that maintains the 1999 apartment-block explosions in Moscow and other cities, the renewal of fighting in Chechnya, and the election of Vladimir Putin as president were all the result of a security-organs conspiracy led by veterans of the KGB. The book features characters closely based on former President Yeltsin, former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, former Prosecutor-General Yurii Skuratov, KGB General Fillip Bobkov, and mass-media magnates Berezovskii and Vladimir Gusinskii. Putin appears in the book under the name "Chosen One." Accepting his $10,000 prize from jury chairman and St. Petersburg banker Vladimir Kogan, Prokhanov said that he will donate most of the money to the defense of his "national-patriotic" comrade, Eduard Limonov, whose trial on charges of illegal arms possession and attempting to overthrow the constitutional order is expected to get under way in Saratov in the near future. VY

RUSSIA TO SEEK EXTRADITION OF GUANTANAMO DETAINEES
Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov said on 10 June during talks in Moscow with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft that the main goal of cooperation between their respective agencies is the aggressive prosecution of criminals and the active protection of citizens, RIA-Novosti and RTR reported on 10 June. Ashcroft said that one of the purposes of his visit was to thank the Russian people for their contribution to the fight against international terrorism. Ustinov asked Ashcroft for assistance in extraditing five Russian citizens who were captured in Afghanistan as alleged supporters of the Taliban and who are currently being held at a U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ITAR-TASS reported. Ashcroft told journalists after the meeting that he would look into the matter upon his return to the United States. VY

DEFENSE MINISTER WANTS MORE MILITARY COOPERATION WITH GERMANY
Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Germany after talks with his counterpart Rudolf Scharping that both countries are willing to expand military cooperation both within the framework of NATO and on a bilateral basis, Russian and German news agencies reported. Ivanov said that special attention is being paid to cooperation in the area of military transport aviation and joint military training, ITAR-TASS reported. Ivanov added that although he believes the issue of expansion is an internal matter for NATO, he thinks that doing so would create "some problems" for the alliance. He said that he does not understand how expanding the alliance will help combat international terrorism or assist in coping with other contemporary threats. VY

CHECHEN PRESIDENT CONVENES COUNCIL OF WAR
Aslan Maskhadov convened a meeting of field commanders -- including Shamil Basaev -- and senior Muslim clerics on 6 June, chechenpress.com reported on 10 June. Participants agreed unanimously on the need to intensify military operations throughout Chechnya. On 6 June and again during the night of 9-10 June, Chechen fighters attacked the home of Ramzan Musaev, administrator of the village of Shalazhi in Urus-Martan Raion. Late on 9 June they subjected Russian posts in Alkhazurovo and Gekhi-Chu to artillery fire. LF

THIRTY DETAINED IN CONNECTION WITH KASPIISK BOMBING
The number of persons detained in connection with the 9 May bombing in the Daghestani city of Kaspiisk has risen to around 30, Interfax reported on 8 June quoting Daghestan's Interior Minister Adilgirei Magomedtagirov. But none of them has yet been formally charged with the bombing, in which 45 people died and 130 were injured. LF

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTIAL REPRESENTATIVE MEETS NARDARAN RESIDENTS
An unnamed representative of President Heidar Aliev met on 8 June with inhabitants of Nardaran, the village on the outskirts of Baku where police clashed with residents five days earlier, Hadji Djabrail Alizade -- chairman of the Union of Baku and Baku Villages -- told Turan the same day. The presidential representative promised to reduce gradually the number of police checkpoints that were set up around the village after the 3 June clashes. President Aliev said on 8 June, prior to his departure for St. Petersburg, that he is prepared to meet with Nardaran residents if they request such a meeting, Turan reported. But Aliev declined to comment on the situation in Nardaran, saying that it is a matter for the police. In a 7 June press release, Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation into the Nardaran clashes, which, it noted, marked the first time that Azerbaijani police have opened fire with assault rifles on demonstrators. The organization appealed to Aliev to ensure that the authorities avoid unnecessary force in response to illegal actions committed during public protests. LF

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION POSTPONES PLANNED RALLY
In order to avoid renewed clashes with police, the United Azerbaijani Opposition (BMH), which comprises some 25 opposition parties, decided on 7 June to postpone a rally scheduled for the following day because the Baku municipal authorities had failed to respond to their request to hold it at a specific venue, Turan reported. Some 25 people were detained and several injured when police resorted to violence on 26 May to prevent the most recent BMH-sponsored demonstration (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May 2002). LF

GEORGIAN OPPOSITIONIST ACCUSES STATE MINISTER OF ENGINEERING ELECTION OUTCOME
Koba Davitashvili, a leading member of the opposition National Movement-Democratic Forum (EMDP), accused Minister of State Avtandil Djorbenadze in an interview published in "Akhali taoba" on 7 June of altering the outcome of the 2 June elections. Davitashvili told the paper that Labor Party Chairman Shalva Natelashvili went to the State Chancellery on the evening of the vote and, at that meeting, Djorbenadze agreed to manipulate the outcome of the poll so that the Labor Party, rather than the EMDP, would emerge the winner in Tbilisi. Davitashvili said that agreement explains why Natelashvili opposed a recount of the vote in the capital. (In fact, Natelashvili agreed to such a recount provided that it was televised live.) Also on 7 June, opposition National Democratic Party leader Irina Sarishvili-Chanturia announced in Tbilisi that she will appeal the results of the 2 June ballot, Caucasus Press reported. The Prosecutor-General's office announced on 7 June that it has begun investigating 14 complaints of procedural violations during the voting. Meanwhile, Natelashvili has begun consultations with representatives of the "New Rightists," the Industrialists, and the pro-Russia Unity movement with the aim of forming a majority on the 49-seat Tbilisi municipal council. LF

POLICE CHIEF TORTURED, MURDERED IN WESTERN GEORGIA
Djemal Narmania, security police head in the west Georgia raion of Zugdidi, was found dead at his home on 7 June, Caucasus Press reported. He had been tortured with a hot iron and then hanged. His wife has been hospitalized with injuries. Zugdidi police sources told Caucasus Press they believe the killers broke into the house the previous evening and demanded money. LF

ARRESTED KAZAKH OPPOSITIONIST'S WIFE BEGINS HUNGER STRIKE
Karlyghash Zhaqiyanova, whose husband Ghalymzhan is hospitalized and awaiting trial on charges of financial crimes in Pavlodar Oblast, began a hunger strike on 7 June to protest the treatment he is receiving, AP reported. Police, not doctors, are reportedly deciding which medications he should receive. Zhaqiyanov has twice been placed in intensive care in recent weeks, the first time after collapsing during an eight-hour police interrogation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 May and 3 June 2002). LF

KAZAKH OPPOSITION NEWSPAPER EDITOR'S CAR SABOTAGED
Ermurat Bapi, editor of the Almaty-based opposition newspaper "SolDat," discovered on the morning of 7 June that the brake cable of his car had been professionally severed with a sharp instrument, forumkz.org reported the same day. Automobile mechanics said the damage could under no circumstances have happened accidentally. LF

PROTEST PARTICIPANTS DETAINED IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN
Police on 8 June dispersed several hundred people who had resumed a protest blockade of the Bishkek-Osh highway near the town of Tash-Komur in Djalalabad Oblast on 5 June, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported. The demonstrators, who blocked the highway for a week last month, demanded that the sentence recently handed down to parliament deputy Azimbek Beknazarov be annulled and that those responsible for the March bloodshed in Aksy Raion (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 and 22 May 2002) be punished. Some 40 protesters were detained, and criminal proceedings have been brought against seven of them, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT APPEALS TO CHINESE COUNTERPART, CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
On 5 June, 21 Kyrgyz parliament deputies appealed to China's National People's Congress to declare the Sino-Kyrgyz border agreement signed in 1999 invalid, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. The Kyrgyz parliament ratified that agreement last month under pressure from President Askar Akaev (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 and 17 May 2002). On 7 June, the parliamentary group Kyrgyzstan and the Communist faction similarly appealed for a second time to the Kyrgyz Constitutional Court to declare the border agreement invalid. The court rejected the first such request on the grounds that Akaev had not signed the agreement into law (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 May 2002), which he did on 28 May. LF

KYRGYZ NGOS PROTEST LAW ON POLITICAL EXTREMISM
Several Kyrgyz human rights organizations appealed on 4 June to President Akaev to withdraw the draft law on fighting political extremism that he submitted to both chambers of parliament on 24 May, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. They argued that the law could be misused in order to crack down on the political opposition. LF

TURKMENISTAN ESTABLISHES WORKING GROUP FOR TRANS-AFGHAN PIPELINE...
President Saparmurat Niyazov announced on 8 June that the heads of state of Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to his proposal to set up a joint government working group to oversee construction of the planned pipeline to export Turkmen natural gas via Afghanistan to Pakistan, turkmenistan.ru reported. He gave the planned construction time for the 1,460-kilometer pipeline as 2 1/2 years, saying it could be completed by the end of 2005. No offers have yet been forthcoming from investors willing to finance the estimated $2 billion project, although Niyazov said the World Bank and several major Asian banks have expressed interest. LF

...REACHES AGREEMENT WITH UKRAINE ON GAS DEBTS
Agreement has been reached on a schedule for repayment of Ukraine's $46 million debt to Turkmenistan for supplies of natural gas received in 2002, Neftegaz Ukrainy President Yurii Boyko told journalists in Kyiv on 8 June ITAR-TASS reported. A protocol has also been signed on the repayment schedule for an outstanding $65 million debt for Turkmen gas supplied in 1999. LF

U.S. DIPLOMAT URGES SWIFTER DEMOCRATIZATION IN UZBEKISTAN
During talks in Tashkent on 7 and 8 June, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Lorne Craner noted that Uzbekistan has recently made progress in improving its human rights situation, uza.uz and uzreport.com reported on 10 June. But he warned after his talks with Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov, Prosecutor-General Rashit Kadyrov, Justice Minister Abdusamat Palvan-Zade, and Interior Minister Zokirzhon Almatov that if bilateral relations are to expand beyond security issues, economic and political reforms must be implemented. LF

BELARUS WANTS TO EXPAND TRADE WITH ARMENIA...
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met again with his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian, in Minsk on 7 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 2002), Belarusian media reported. Lukashenka stressed that political relations between the countries are excellent, adding that it is time to place these relations on a solid economic foundation, Belarusian Television reported. The two sides signed an agreement on visa-free travel, a protocol on free trade, and an accord on cooperation between the capital cities of Minsk and Yerevan. Armenia is reportedly interested in purchasing Belarusian tractors. JM

...AND KAZAKHSTAN
Lukashenka met with Zharmabai Tuyakbaev, speaker of the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament, on 8 June in Minsk, Belarusian Television reported. "I think the flow of shipments between Kazakhstan and Belarus will increase in connection with the fact that [Belarus] will have the same transportation tariffs as the Russian Federation as of 1 July," Lukashenka told Tuyakbaev. "We should be able to reach a [Belarusian-Kazakh] trade turnover of $150 million [annually]," Lukashenka added. JM

NGO APPEALS FOR SATELLITE TV IN BELARUSIAN
The Belarusian Language Society (TBM) has appealed to European organizations to support a project to create a satellite television channel to broadcast in Belarusian to Belarus, Belapan reported on 8 June. In particular, TBM urged UNESCO to assist in launching a broadcast on the preservation of Belarus's cultural heritage and language on the Discovery Channel. TBM expressed concern about the domination of Russian broadcasters in Belarus, noting that broadcasts in Russian account for 97 percent of television programs available in the country. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HOPES FOR PARLIAMENT'S SMOOTH OPERATION...
President Leonid Kuchma said on 7 June that following the distribution of the posts of committee heads among parliamentary caucuses, "the Verkhovna Rada has finally unblocked its work," UNIAN reported. "Now it is necessary calmly to pass the laws required by the country," he added. Earlier the same day, parliament voted by 235 to seven, with three abstentions, to approve a resolution whereby Our Ukraine will head 10 parliamentary committees, the Communist Party six, United Ukraine four, the Socialist Party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc two each, and the Social Democratic Party one. JM

...AS DOES PRIME MINISTER
Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh sent a letter to Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn assuring him that one of the cabinet's priority tasks is to ensure stable and efficient cooperation between the government and the parliament, UNIAN reported on 8 June. The previous day, Kinakh told journalists that the cabinet will introduce a special ministerial post for coordinating all issues connected with such cooperation. JM

KYIV HAS 2.6 MILLION RESIDENTS
According to last year's national census, 2,607,400 people lived in Kyiv as of December 2001, UNIAN reported on 10 June. JM

RUMSFELD SEES NO SHORTCOMINGS IN BALTIC NATO PREPARATIONS
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attended a meeting of Baltic and Nordic defense ministers in Tallinn on 8 June, ETA reported. Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser said the fight against international terrorism was the main topic of the meeting. Rumsfeld told a press conference after the meeting that he sees no shortcomings in the Baltic countries' preparations for NATO membership. "I can only see their efforts and mutual cooperation," Rumsfeld said. He particularly praised their cooperation with Nordic countries, noting that this is important because NATO countries also cooperate closely. Rumsfeld added that the Baltic states have made serious contributions to the war on terrorism, particularly by allowing aircraft of countries in the antiterrorism coalition to use their airspace without any conditions and to land on their territory if necessary. However, he cautioned that no decisions on which countries will be invited to join NATO at the alliance's November summit in Prague have been made and that, therefore, all candidate countries must continue their efforts. SG

LATVIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES NATO'S NEW ROLE IN THE WORLD
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga told the 41st annual Academy of Achievement summit in Dublin on 8 June that the new cooperation between NATO and Russia is beneficial for global security, LETA reported. Vike-Freiberga noted that Russia does not have a veto right on NATO expansion and expressed the hope that Latvia's relations with Russia will improve after it becomes a NATO member, just as Poland's did after it joined the alliance in 1999. Current and former Supreme Allied Commanders Europe Generals Joseph Ralston and Wesley Clark also spoke at a session devoted to NATO's new role in the world. At the summit's closing ceremonies, Vike-Freiberga presented the organization's Gold Medal to former Estonian President Lennart Meri. SG

LITHUANIA, PORTUGAL SIGN DEFENSE-COOPERATION TREATY
At a meeting of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) defense ministers in Brussels on 7 June, Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius and his Portuguese counterpart Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas signed a treaty on bilateral cooperation in defense, BNS reported. The EAPC is composed of 19 NATO member countries and 27 countries participating in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. Lithuania has signed defense cooperation treaties with 26 countries, including all NATO members except Iceland and Luxembourg. A similar treaty with Luxembourg is currently being drafted. Linkevicius was the first speaker at the meeting, stressing that the council should maintain strong ties with the Partnership for Peace program as an instrument of successful practical cooperation. He also held talks on bilateral military cooperation with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian, who accepted an invitation to visit Lithuania at the end of August. SG

POLISH RADICAL AGRARIAN EXCLUDED FROM PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE, FINED
Sejm deputy speaker Donald Tusk excluded Self-Defense leader Andrzej Lepper from a Sejm session on 7 June after futile attempts to persuade him not to obstruct the debate, PAP reported. Lepper took the floor during a discussion on the state of the agricultural sector and tried to deliver a speech without being recognized by Tusk, who was chairing the debate. Exclusion is a new penalty recently added to Polish parliamentary regulations. In addition, Lepper was fined by the Sejm Presidium: He will lose half of his parliamentary salary this month and next. "The extent of the turmoil that Mr. Andrzej Lepper allows himself is decisively too much to bear," Sejm speaker Marek Borowski commented. JM

POLISH AUTHORITIES TO TAKE TOUGH STANCE AGAINST BLOCKADES
Premier Leszek Miller said on 9 June that police will not allow farmers from the radical Self-Defense union to block traffic in Polish cities, Polish media reported. Miller was responding to Self-Defense's announcement earlier the same day that it will organize nationwide protests and blockades on 25 June. "Wherever the law is broken, police will intervene with full determination, regardless of whether those who break it are [Sejm] deputies or not: Being a deputy does not give [one] permission to violate law and order, or to deride Poland," Miller said on Polish Radio. JM

POLISH PRESIDENTIAL RUNNER-UP TO RUN FOR WARSAW MAYOR
Civic Platform (PO) leader Andrzej Olechowski announced during a party electoral convention on 8 June that he will seek mayoral office in the capital in the autumn local elections, PAP reported. Olechowski finished second in the 2000 presidential election with 17.3 percent of the vote. JM

CZECH PARTY LEADER RULES OUT ALLIANCE WITH CIVIC DEMOCRATS
Less than a week before the Czech general elections, Vladimir Spidla, leader of the ruling Social Democrats (CSSD) and a deputy prime minister, has ruled out the possibility of a coalition with the Civic Democrats (ODS), Czech media reported on 9 June. Spidla said there are large differences between his left-of-center CSSD and Vaclav Klaus's right-of-center ODS. Specifically, Spidla cited pension reform, taxation, and his party's unequivocal support for EU membership. He added that he would prefer to form a government with the Coalition electoral bloc but would form a minority government if necessary. According to the latest opinion polls, the CSSD is slightly ahead of the ODS, but neither party is expected to win an outright majority in the 14-15 June general elections. After the 1998 elections, the CSSD and ODS formed a so-called "opposition agreement," under which the Social Democrats controlled the government and the Civic Democrats took key parliamentary posts. BW

CZECHS MARCH AGAINST BREAST CANCER
Around 2,000 people marched through downtown Prague on 8 June to raise awareness of breast cancer, Czech media reported on 9 June. The march, attended mostly by young women, was organized to raise awareness about a new law allowing all women over 45 years of age to be tested for breast cancer free of charge. According to official statistics, about 4,500 women contract breast cancer annually in the Czech Republic, and one-third of the cases are fatal. BW

JUSTICE MINISTER DENIES CZECH COURTS ARE CORRUPT
Czech Justice Minister Jaroslav Bures has dismissed allegations that the country's court system is riddled with corruption, "Pravo" reported on 7 June. Bures said, however, that the Czech judicial system suffers from a shortage of funding and staff, especially judges. Critics say the system is riddled with influence peddling and is slow to handle cases against former communist officials. BW

CZECH POLICE BREAK UP HUMAN-TRAFFICKING RING
Czech police have broken up a major human-trafficking ring, CTK reported on 8 June. The group has organized at least 700 refugees' illegal entry into Germany and Austria via the Czech Republic, police spokeswoman Blanka Kosinova said. The ring, part of a larger international operation, has been under surveillance since 4 November 2000, Kosinova added. Thirteen suspects of what police say is a 17-member organization in the Czech Republic have been taken into custody. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison. BW

SLOVAK PRESIDENT BELIEVES HE DISPELLED U.S. CONCERNS
President Rudolf Schuster said following a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush that he dispelled the Bush administration's concerns about Slovakia's post-election path, SITA reported on 7 June. Presidential spokesman Jan Fule said after the 30-minute talk that the United States emphasized the need for political stability in Slovakia after the elections. Schuster said he gave Bush an independent view of the situation, while Bush stressed that Slovakia must have a government before the NATO summit in November and that Washington must view that government as trustworthy. AS

U.S. PRESIDENT RECOGNIZES SLOVAK ARMY REFORMS
President Bush congratulated Slovak Defense Minister Jozef Stank on the progress Slovakia has made in reforming its armed forces and in shouldering its share of responsibility in Europe and around the world, SITA agency reported on 8 June. Stank, who was accompanying President Schuster on his U.S. visit, said the United States is satisfied with the professional preparedness of the Slovak Army. Stank also met with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other senior U.S. officials, who reportedly praised a Slovak cabinet decision to deploy an engineering corps to Afghanistan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 June 2002). U.S. officials further highlighted the joint Czech-Slovak battalion operating in Kosova. AS

NATIONALIST GROUP SAYS IT IS BEING 'THROTTLED' AMID SLOVAK DECLINE
Leaders of the nationalist Matica Slovenska, a self-styled cultural organization, sought to mobilize the public against the alleged national, social, and political decline of the country, CTK and SITA reported on 9 June. About 300 members attending the group's 17th meeting of Slovaks in southern Slovakia signed a petition decrying the sale of national property, "permanent discrimination of against the majority population," and "diversion throughout the Slovak Republic." Chairman Jozef Markus complained that the current government rarely talks about the state, statehood, or sovereignty. He charged that Matica Slovenska is being "throttled" because its state subsidies have been cut by 90 percent. AS

SLOVAK CURRENCY HITS 20-MONTH LOW DESPITE ECONOMIC GROWTH
The Slovak currency took a beating last week, falling by about one crown to 44.61 crowns to the euro, SITA reported on 9 June. The cross rate for Czech crowns also broke records last week, the agency noted. Industrial growth in April, meanwhile, exceeded forecasts at 7 percent year-on-year and hit a six-month high, SITA reported on 9 June. Analysts said the growth in industrial output accompanied an increase in mining and minerals extraction as well as an April increase in the production of motor vehicles. AS

FIDESZ CHAIRMAN ASSAILS 'RETURN TO KADAR ERA'
FIDESZ Chairman Zoltan Pokorni said on 8 June that the social philosophy of the "paternalistic [Janos] Kadar era" has returned and is reflected in the new government's program, Hungarian media reported. Pokorni said the government is trying to "give a little bit to everyone to keep their mouths shut." He was reacting to the package of measures approved by the cabinet one day earlier, which will be submitted for parliamentary approval to fulfill campaign promises made by the Socialists. Pokorni dismissed as "a lie" claims that the previous government overspent before leaving office, saying the current cabinet has a 320-billion-forint (over $1.2 billion) surplus. MS

ORBAN SAYS PARTIES ARE LOSING POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE...
Former Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on 7 June that the Alliance for the Nation should start rallying its forces ahead of the autumn local elections, Hungarian media reported. Addressing a forum of the "civic" (polgari) groups from Szabolcs County, Orban said he hopes that by autumn more people will realize that while political parties still matter, they have lost their former significance. He added that, following their electoral defeat, rightwing forces realized they should think less in terms of parties and more in terms of "polgari forces." Reacting to Orban's statement, Democratic Forum Chairwoman Ibolya David -- who is Orban's chief ally in the opposition bloc -- told MTI that the idea of relegating parties to the background is "an interesting thought," but that it is risky to speed up the process and that she does not really know what Orban means by it. The daily "Magyar Hirlap" commented that Orban wants to prove that 60 percent of Hungary's population supports the nationalist right and added that the former prime minister is keeping the right wing "ready to jump," since he believes there is a chance of early parliamentary elections. MS

...AND SUPPORTS DRIVE FOR RECOUNT
In a letter made public on his website on 8 June, Orban expressed support for a drive to collect signatures to force a recount of the votes cast in the April parliamentary elections. He said the right has acknowledged its electoral defeat but must now become convinced by the recount that the defeat reflects the actual ballot. "There is only a hairsbreadth's difference between parties that won seats in the parliament and those that failed to do so, as well as between the parliamentary majority and the minority," he said. MS

EX-POLICE CHIEF GUNNED DOWN IN SERBIAN CAPITAL...
Unidentified gunmen killed Major General Bosko Buha outside Belgrade's Hotel Jugoslavija in the early hours of 10 June, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. Buha was chief of the Belgrade riot police under former President Slobodan Milosevic, but ordered his men not to attack the opposition during the October 2000 protests that led to Milosevic's fall. Buha then became a top security official in the Serbian Interior Ministry. He was one of several one-time Milosevic loyalists who entered into secret talks with the opposition in the days and weeks before the October protests. His killing is one of several gangland-style murders of prominent Serbs or Montenegrins in recent years. Most of those crimes remain unsolved. PM

...AS LEADERS CALL FOR CRACKDOWN ON CRIME
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said that Buha's murder constitutes a "most serious threat" to the country's security, AP reported from Belgrade on 10 June. He added: "After all of Yugoslavia's troubles of the past years, the one true danger to this country today is from organized crime." Dragan Jocic, who is a senior official of President Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), called the murder an "attack upon the state" and demanded that the authorities take a tougher stance on organized crime. Under Milosevic, there were often close links between politicians, the security forces, the business community, and the criminal underworld. More recently, supporters of Kostunica and Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic have accused each other of having similar links. PM

KOSTUNICA'S PARTY NAMES SERBIAN SHADOW CABINET
On 8 June, the DSS named a shadow cabinet for the Serbian government, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. The government is headed by Djindjic and made up of members of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition, to which the DSS nominally belongs. Several observers pointed out that this is a rare -- if not unique -- case of a party naming a shadow cabinet to a government in which it is nominally represented. Djindjic said that he would welcome a return of the DSS to the government, but is not sure if their ministers would be better than the ones he has now. The shadow cabinet is headed by DSS's parliamentary faction head Dragan Marsicanin and includes 11 additional members. There are no foreign or defense portfolios in the Serbian government or in the shadow cabinet. PM

MACHINE-GUN PHOTO CONTINUES TO HAUNT KOSTUNICA
Former Kosovar guerrilla leader Shukri Buja has told the war crimes tribunal in The Hague that all important Serbian politicians had their own paramilitary units in Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported on 8 June. He showed those present at Milosevic's trial a well-known 1998 photo of a grinning Kostunica holding a machine gun. Kostunica, who has criticized the idea of inviting former guerrillas to testify in The Hague, said that the photo was taken during the visit of "some village watchmen" when "someone gave [me] the gun to look at." Kostunica stressed that Buja's charge is unacceptable because it "is less than a step away from condemning the entire [Serbian] nation and from the thesis of collective Serbian guilt" for the four wars launched by Milosevic between 1991 and 1999 (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 17 May 2002). Deutsche Welle's Bosnian Service reported on 9 June that many Serbian leaders did have paramilitary forces, the best known of which were those of Vojislav Seselj and Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan. PM

DRASKOVIC THREATENS MASS PROTESTS
Vuk Draskovic, who heads the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), told a crowd of several thousand in Novi Sad on 8 June that he will organize roadblocks unless early Serbian parliamentary elections are held, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL South Slavic Report," 6 June 2002). He did not give a time frame. Draskovic criticized the Djindjic government for "selling off state property and driving citizens to the brink of ruin." He also charged that the government is betraying national interests, which will lead to independence for Kosova by the end of 2002. Draskovic was once the most powerful opposition leader in Serbia. He refused to join DOS in 2000, and the SPO has no seats in the current parliament. PM

MILOSEVIC'S PARTY SET TO SPLIT?
Mihajlo Markovic, who is the former vice president of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and its chief ideologue, announced a special congress of that party for 23 June, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported from Belgrade on 8 June. He said that delegates will be elected in 65 districts. The purpose of the congress will be to "democratize and carry out the moral renewal" of the SPS. But at the party headquarters, officials said that Markovic represents only an "informal group" and a "phantom congress." "Vesti" wrote on 10 June that the SPS might now be heading for the split that many have considered inevitable since Milosevic's fall and subsequent extradition to The Hague. In the 1960s and 1970s, Markovic was known as one of former Yugoslavia's most innovative Marxist political philosophers and was linked to the Praxis Group of progressive thinkers. He subsequently became an ardent Serbian nationalist and theoretician of the SPS. PM

SOLANA WARNS SERBS AND MONTENEGRINS NOT TO WASTE TIME
EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana arrived in Belgrade on 10 June to encourage Serbian and Montenegrin leaders not to lose any more time in preparing a constitution for the new loose union between the two republics, AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 6 June 2002). After meeting with Solana, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus said that talks between Serbian and Montenegrin officials on a draft constitution will continue, and that the document could be ready as early as the end of July, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. PM

KOSOVA SERBS TO RETURN ON THEIR OWN
Some 5,000 Kosova Serbs assembled in Kraljevo on 8 June and vowed to return to their homes on their own if no organized program is offered them by 15 September, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. They called for a "return en masse regardless of the cost." They said they will hold the UN civilian administration in Kosova (UNMIK), the UN, the EU, and other unnamed institutions of the international community responsible for their fate. PM

RUGOVA RE-ELECTED PARTY LEADER
Kosova President Ibrahim Rugova was unanimously re-elected head of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) in Prishtina on 8 June, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. He said that he will place renewed emphasis on the protection and integration of the province's ethnic minorities. Also at the congress, delegates called for making 12 June a national holiday. On that date in 1999, international forces entered Kosova and effectively ended Serbian rule. PM

APPEALS FOR CALM AFTER KILLING IN PRESEVO VALLEY
Authorities in the area of the Presevo Valley bordering Kosova and Macedonia have called for calm following the killing of Agim Agushi, an ethnic Albanian, near Miratovac, AP reported from Belgrade on 10 June. A Yugoslav soldier has been suspended from duty pending an investigation of the incident (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June 2002). PM

WASHINGTON STEPS UP DIPLOMATIC EFFORT TO BREAK ELECTION-LAW DEADLOCK IN MACEDONIA
Talks on 7 June between Macedonia's political leaders under the auspices of U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Lawrence Butler and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones to ensure passage of key election legislation failed, "Utrinski vesnik" reported. U.S. special envoy James Holmes is expected to arrive in Skopje on 11 June to continue the effort. Legislative approval has been blocked since the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) requested that parliament adjourn its session on 31 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 and 14 May and 3 June 2002). Points at issue include the languages to be used on ballots as well as the nomination procedure for election commission members. UB

ROMANIAN TRADE UNIONS, GOVERNMENT SPEED UP NEGOTIATIONS
Labor leaders and government representatives have been negotiating since 7 June on wage hikes and reduced taxation, Romanian media reported. Late on 9 June, union leaders and Labor Minister Marian Sarbu agreed on 24 of the unions' 32 demands. According to the agreements, next year the monthly minimum wage will be raised to 2.5 million lei (about $75) and state employees will receive a 3 percent increase in real wages, Romanian Radio reported on 10 June. While Sarbu was confident an agreement will be reached on all disputed points later today, union leaders made no comments. Labor leaders have announced a marathon protest in Bucharest for 11 June. ZsM

ROMANIAN LIBERALS BLAST PREMIER OVER REMARK AIMED AT MULTINATIONALS
National Liberal Party leaders in a 7 June press release criticized Premier Adrian Nastase for suggesting that multinational companies do not pay taxes in Romania, Romanian media reported. The National Liberals dubbed Nastase's declaration a "political gaffe" that shows the government "is not capable of understanding Romania's economic priorities or the necessities of economic reform." During a 6 June roundtable organized by the Economist Group in Bucharest, Nastase said many of the large companies in Romania "use different options to avoid paying taxes." He did not mention any companies specifically. Asked if such statements do not deter foreign investors, he said it is good that every party's position on the subject is well known. ZsM

EU WARNS MOLDOVAN LEADERS ABOUT STATE BROADCASTER...
The leader of an EU delegation visiting Chisinau on 8 June, Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs Ramon de Miguel, warned Moldovan authorities that failure to implement resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) "will have catastrophic consequences both for the current government and the citizens," Flux reported. He added that during the delegation's talks with local authorities, he had the impression they are aware of such consequences. As a result, he said, "we must let the government assume responsibility for what it is doing." De Miguel said the delegation's visit is a "crucial moment" for the future of EU-Moldovan relations. PACE on 24 April called on the Moldovan government to transform state-owned television into public television by the end of July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 May 2002). ZsM

...WHILE VORONIN CONFIRMS MOLDOVA'S DESIRE TO JOIN EU
Meeting with the same EU delegation in Chisinau on 7 June, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin reiterated his country's desire to join the EU, Flux reported. He added that local authorities wish to fulfill all commitments necessary for improving relations with the EU and its members. Also meeting with the EU delegation, ruling Party of Moldovan Communists parliamentary group leader Victor Stepaniuc said the EU representatives insisted on local authorities registering the Bessarabian Metropolitan Church. He said the Bessarabian and the Moldovan Orthodox Church should start a dialogue to find "a compromise" for dividing their property. He added, however, that he considers it "a great stupidity" to "divide the church on ethnic" criteria. ZsM

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS RE-ELECT PARTY LEADER...
The 45th congress of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) re-elected Sergey Stanishev as party chairman with almost 95 percent of the votes, BTA reported. Stanishev has headed the party since November, when chairman Georgi Parvanov resigned after winning the presidency. Stanishev, a 36-year-old Moscow-educated historian and specialist in international relations, also heads the BSP's parliamentary group. In his report to the party congress, Stanishev said the BSP's main goals will be winning the next local and parliamentary elections. He named the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) as a potential coalition partner, "Dnevnik" reported. The congress also elected the 155 members of the party's Supreme Council. UB

...WHO DOES NOT RULE OUT SOCIALIST PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT
Reacting to a proposal made by Deputy Party Chairman Rumen Ovcharov on 6 June that the BSP consider joining the government of Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski, Stanishev told the congress that he does not rule out this possibility, "Dnevnik" reported. "The BSP can join the government only on the basis of a clear program, with consistent priorities, and with a clear definition of rights and responsibilities within a coalition," Stanishev said. Ovcharov's proposal failed to spark a debate on the issue at the congress, as he had hoped (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 2002). UB

BULGARIAN CUSTOMS SEIZES 80 KILOGRAMS OF HEROIN
Customs officers seized more than 80 kilograms of heroin at the border checkpoint of Malko Tarnovo on the Turkish-Bulgarian border on 8 June, BTA reported. The drugs were found under the floor of a Bulgarian-registered van. Agents found 35 kilograms of heroin at the same checkpoint one week ago. UB

There is no End Note today.


XS
SM
MD
LG