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Newsline - October 3, 2003


PUTIN UNVEILS RUSSIAN MILITARY-MODERNIZATION DOCTRINE...
President Vladimir Putin told Defense Ministry officials at a 2 October conference that the military faces no more radical cuts, Russian media reported. "Since 1992 the armed forces have been cut by more than half," he said. "This is enough. This painful and difficult process is for the most part completed, the period of radical reform is finished," he said. The conference was dedicated to the publication of a doctrine for military reform that was drafted by the General Staff. According to the doctrine, by 2007 the military will have established a rapid-reaction force, completed its transformation into a contract-based army, and cut service terms by half, Putin noted. He added that he supports the idea of allowing CIS citizens to serve in the Russian military. Putin also said that Russia will develop its strategic missile forces and re-deploy mothballed UR-100 NU heavy strategic nuclear missiles (classified by NATO as the SS-19), which will enable the country to reduce its Strategic Missile Forces. He said the country has a significant supply of the Soviet-era ICBMs and that "their capabilities to defeat any missile-defense systems are unmatched," Interfax reported. VY

...AS DEFENSE MINISTER STRESSES CRUCIAL ROLE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS...
During the presentation of the new doctrine, Defense Minster Sergei Ivanov said the role of nuclear weapons remains crucial to the country's defense and that there is even the possibility of transforming the "nuclear weapon into a real combat tool," RIA-Novosti reported. Ivanov said that according to the doctrine, Moscow will not exclude the possibility of conducting preemptive strikes in various regions of the world if they are required to defend Russia's or its allies' interests. He noted that Russia currently does not face significant military threats, but that might not be the case in the future. Ivanov added that in addition to such external threats as the proliferation of nuclear weapons and international terrorism, Russia now faces new threats such as "intervention into her internal affairs by foreign states or by organizations supported by foreign states, [and] instability in its border regions resulting from the weakness of central governments [in some neighboring states]." The latter point appears to be a veiled reference to the putative Chechen guerrilla presence in Georgia. VY

...AND GENERAL STAFF PLEDGES RADICAL REFORMS IF NATO MAINTAINS OFFENSIVE POSTURE
The text of the doctrine contains a direct warning to NATO that if the Atlantic alliance remains a military entity with an "offensive military doctrine," Russia will radically revise its own military planning and organization, "Izvestiya," Interfax, and other Russian news agencies reported. "Russia is carefully following NATO's transformation, and expects it to put a complete end to direct and indirect elements of its anti-Russian policy, which includes [NATO's] military planning" and declarations, according to the doctrine. In addition, it states that Russia will consider the limited use of its nuclear strategic deterrence forces as an "element of national military strategy." The main goal of such a strategy is "preventing any form of power pressure and aggression against Russia and her allies." At the same time, Russia strives to further develop constructive political and economic relations with the countries of NATO and the European Union, according to the doctrine. VY

FSB ARRESTS OFFICIAL FOR ALLEGED ILLEGAL URANIUM SALE
The officers of the Murmansk territorial Federal Security Service (FSB) Directorate in Murmansk on 2 October arrested Aleksandr Tyulyakov, the deputy director of the company Atomflot, who allegedly tried to sell an unspecified amount of uranium to undercover FSB agents, Russian media reported. Atomflot recharges ships' nuclear reactors and processes nuclear waste. The chief of the Murmansk FSB Directorate, General Aleksandr Malyuchenkov, refused to provide details of the case and advised journalists not to "hinder the investigation by their guesswork." VY

RUSSIAN MARKET HITS RECORD CAPITALIZATION
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov announced at a 2 October cabinet session that the Russian equities market this month reached a record level of capitalization, RTR and ORT reported. According to Kasyanov, capitalization currently stands at approximately $200 billion, compared to the previous record of $150 billion reached in 1997. Kasyanov also said the growth rate of Russian securities is the highest in the world and noted the government's successful implementation of tax reforms. Today's level of tax collection is 96 percent, he said, while in 1996 it was only 60 percent. VY

MEDIA MINISTRY CRITICIZES LAW ON ELECTION COVERAGE
Media Minister Mikhail Lesin said on 2 October that the recent cases being examined by the Moscow City Election Commission and by the Bryansk Election Commission show that the country's mass media cannot fulfill their mission of informing readers and viewers about ongoing election campaigns, Russian news agencies reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 October 2003). He said that "now, many mass media outlets are afraid to publish anything -- not just [controversial] materials on an election theme." As a result, he said, voters could develop a negative attitude toward voting, which could exacerbate the problem with voter turnout. Lesin suggested that regional election commissions should concern themselves not only with strictly enforcing the letter of the election laws but also with "creating an atmosphere in the federation subjects in which the electorate will know who their candidates are...and discuss these problems on the pages of the local press." JAC

MORE REGIONAL OFFICIALS FIND THEMSELVES IN TROUBLE WITH LOCAL PROSECUTORS...
RTR television reported on 2 October that investigators from the local prosecutor's office have searched the office of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii Mayor Yurii Golenishchev and taken documents related to the spending of budget funds. According to the station, a criminal case on suspicion of abuse of power has been launched. The mayoral administration is suspected of spending 30 million rubles ($1 million) sent by the oblast government to pay energy suppliers for other purposes. Golenishchev has been blamed by both the oblast gubernatorial administration and the office of the presidential envoy for the Far East Federal District for the energy crisis last winter (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 March 2003 and 11 December 2002). JAC

...AS SUSPECTS CLAIM CASES WERE 'ORDERED UP'
Former Kursk Oblast Governor Aleksandr Rutskoi has announced that he has been called in by police investigators regarding actions taken during his tenure as oblast head, Ekho Moskvy reported on 1 October. Rutskoi, who served as Russian vice president under former President Boris Yeltsin, told the station that he could be charged with abuse of office. He also noted that as soon as he announced his intention to run in the 7 December State Duma elections, Kursk Oblast police contacted him, telling him that he must meet with investigators. Former Kursk Mayor Sergei Maltsev, who recently lost a re-election bid, also claimed that a criminal investigation launched against him on suspicion of misspending city budget funds was the result of a political "order" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 July 2002). Earlier in the week, Tver Oblast Governor Vladimir Platov, who is also facing charges of abuse of office, said the criminal case against him was ordered by his political rivals (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 September 2003). JAC

OCTOBER EVENTS REMEMBERED
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the armed insurrection between supporters of then-President Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet, "Vremya novostei" on 3 October asked leading Russian political scientists to reevaluate the event. Politika Foundation Director Vyacheslav Nikonov commented that the insurrection could have been avoided. "Firing on the parliament from tanks was completely unnecessary -- there were other means of resolving the constitutional crisis, first of all through an appeal to the electorate," he said. One consequence of the event, he said, is the current constitution, in which "around 80 percent of the power is put in the hands of the president." Igor Bunin of the Center for Political Technology noted that at that time everything seemed "black and white," and that those leaders who then called for "crushing" their opponents -- such as Rutskoi, Ruslan Khasbulatov, and Yeltsin -- have all but disappeared from the scene, while those who sought consensus have remained; that is, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovskii, and Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov. JAC

DEFEATED PARTICIPANTS OF OCTOBER 1993 INSURRECTION ARE ALIVE AND WELL
Many of those who supported the Supreme Soviet during the 1993 crisis are doing well in Russia today, "Izvestiya" reported on 2 October. Dmitrii Rogozin, who served at the time as an expert for the Supreme Soviet, is currently the chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, the daily noted. Ramazan Abdulatipov, then chairman of a Supreme Soviet chamber, is now a representative in the Federation Council. Aman Tuleev, a Supreme Soviet deputy in 1993, is governor of Kemerovo Oblast. Aleksandr Veshnyakov, also a Supreme Soviet deputy, currently heads the Central Election Committee. Oleg Rumyantsev, former chairman of the Constitutional Commission, is now vice president of Shell's Russia division. And Andrei Dunaev, interior minister in 1993, is currently vice president of Globex bank. VY

THREE CATS PER KILOWATT HOUR?
The general director of a local electricity supplier in Primorskii Krai told ORT on 2 October that his company is prepared to confiscate the pets of persistent debtors in order to force them to pay their bills. Dalenergosbyt General Director Nikolai Tkachev commented: "Let dad answer to his daughter or son why their favorite cat has been taken away." However, Dmitrii Kuznetsov, deputy chief bailiff for the krai, said that implementation of such a policy could prove difficult. "You can do that with a small doggie, but how can you take away a large wolf-hound?" he asked. Dalenergo's press service told "Izvestiya" the same day that it is unaware of any company holding tank for domestic animals, noting that seizure of property is in the domain of court bailiffs and only after a court proceeding. JAC

MASKHADOV SAYS KREMLIN STILL CONSIDERS HIM LEGITIMATE CHECHEN PRESIDENT...
"Novaya gazeta" published on 2 October responses received by e-mail on 22 September to questions it submitted to Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Maskhadov said he does not consider the Chechen presidential elections scheduled for 5 October legitimate, and doubts that the Chechen electorate does either. He said the outcome of the ballot -- the "appointment" of Chechen administration head Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov as president -- will not affect the Chechens' armed struggle and said that the Kremlin continues to regard Maskhadov as the legitimate Chechen president. Maskhadov said radical field commander Shamil Basaev is no longer a member of Chechen resistance forces, having resigned as chairman of the State Defense Committee after the Moscow theater hostage taking in October 2002. LF

...CONDEMNS WAR CRIMES AGAINST CIVILIANS
Maskhadov also told "Novaya gazeta" that Basaev is prepared to use any tactics in the war against Russia. Maskhadov, by contrast, does not believe that the end justifies the means, and did not approve the 1 August truck bombing of a military hospital in Mozdok. He pointed out that, as Chechen president, he has personally signed international conventions abjuring war crimes. He claimed his men control all of Chechnya except for the locations where Russian troops are deployed. Maskhadov said he will never surrender. He said the optimum way to end the conflict would be to sit down immediately at the negotiating table and seek a mutually acceptable model for Chechen-Russian relations. LF

LOCAL ADMINISTRATOR GUNNED DOWN IN CHECHNYA
Shali Mayor Musa Dakaev and his son Said-Selim, who was a police officer, were shot dead by five men in camouflage uniforms in a drive-by shooting on the evening of 1 October, Interfax and "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 2 and 3 October, respectively. Musa Dakaev's deputy Abdula Sapiev described him as a militant opponent of both "illegal armed formations" and of Chechen administration head Kadyrov. LF

ARMENIA AGAIN ACCUSES AZERBAIJAN OF DESTROYING MONUMENTS
In an address on 2 October to UNESCO's biannual general conference in Paris, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian appealed to that organization to protest what he called the systematic destruction by the Azerbaijani authorities of carved Armenian gravestones at the cemetery in Djugha (Djulfa) in Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Three days earlier, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a statement accusing Armenia of conducting unauthorized archaeological excavations at sites in occupied Azerbaijani territory (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2003). LF

ARMENIAN MURDER-TRIAL WITNESS REFUSES TO TESTIFY
Hovannes Harutiunian (a.k.a. Aper), one of 13 men on trial for the December 2002 killing of Armenian National Radio and Television head Tigran Naghdalian, refused on 2 October to testify, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Harutiunian said the court should be guided by his pretrial testimony. In that testimony, Harutiunian said the killing was contracted by businessman Armen Sargsian, the brother of former Prime Minister and opposition Hanrapetutiun Party leader Aram Sargsian. On 25 September, the presiding judge postponed further testimony by Harutiunian after the latter announced that he wished to expand on his pretrial testimony. Two other key suspects have already withdrawn testimony incriminating Armen Sargsian (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 September 2003). LF

INCUMBENT WITHDRAWS CANDIDACY FOR AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
In a statement read by an announcer on Azerbaijani state television on 2 October, incumbent President Heidar Aliev announced that due to continuing unspecified health problems, he is withdrawing his candidacy for the 15 October presidential election, Azerbaijani and international media reported. President Aliev appealed to voters to cast their ballots in favor of his son, Prime Minister Ilham Aliev, in whom he said he has total confidence. President Aliev further praised his son's intellectual abilities, energy, initiative, and capacity for pragmatic thinking. The president also listed what he personally has accomplished for Azerbaijan in the 34 years since he was first elected first secretary of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. President Aliev also said he hopes soon to make a full recovery and to return to Azerbaijan. The U.S.-based Cleveland Clinic released a medical bulletin on 1 October saying that President Aliev continues to respond well to treatment, Turan reported on 2 October. But the fact President Aliev did not read the announcement of his withdrawal from the presidential ballot personally will no doubt fuel widespread speculation that he is no longer alive. No television footage has been shown of Aliev for more than three months. LF

OFFICIAL HARASSMENT, VIOLENCE FAILS TO CURTAIL AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES' RALLIES
Serious clashes took place on 2 October in the provincial center of Saatly between a crowd of up to 1,000 people mobilized by the local authorities -- including 100 young men armed with truncheons, iron bars, and axes -- and several thousand supporters of opposition Azerbaijan National Independence Party Chairman and presidential candidate Etibar Mamedov, zerkalo.az reported on 3 October. Dozens of people were reported injured; the police eventually switched from attacking Mamedov's supporters to trying to separate the two sides. Up to 20,000 Mamedov supporters attended the subsequent campaign rally in his support. Also on 2 October, police in Kedabek tried to prevent access to an election campaign rally by Civic Unity Party Chairman and presidential candidate Sabir Rustamkhanli, zerkalo.az reported. Fighting erupted among Rustamkhanli's supporters and local officials and police. LF

AZERBAIJANI OFFICIAL CRITICIZES OSCE MINSK GROUP
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group's activities aimed at mediating a solution to the Karabakh conflict have proved ineffective, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov told journalists in Baku on 2 October, Interfax reported. He said that Azerbaijan will continue to call for international pressure to be exerted on Armenia to withdraw from the territories currently occupied by Armenian forces. Also on 2 October, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev said he did not expect his meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen in Paris later that day to produce a breakthrough in the peace process. Guliev and his Armenian counterpart Oskanian were scheduled to meet separately with the three co-chairmen. LF

LAWYER BARRED FROM VISITING AZERBAIJANI POLITICAL PRISONER
Former Interior Minister Iskander Hamidov, who was sentenced three months ago in a retrial to 11 years' imprisonment on charges of embezzlement and abuse of power (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 July 2003), was refused a visit from his lawyer on 2 October, Turan reported. Hamidov, who was refused registration to contest the 15 October presidential election, appealed to his supporters on 26 September to vote for opposition Musavat Party Chairman Isa Gambar, Turan reported. LF

GEORGIAN ELECTION REGISTRATION ENDS
The deadline expired on 2 October for the registration with the Central Election Commission of lists of candidates who will contest the 150 seats in the new legislature to be allocated under the proportional system, Caucasus Press reported. A total of nine blocs and 15 individual parties will contest the ballot. Some, including the pro-presidential For a New Georgia (AS) and the opposition Burdjanadze-Democrats blocs, have made public the names of the persons on their party lists, while others have not yet done so. Also on 2 October, the Georgian Interior Ministry issued a statement calling on the opposition National Movement (EM) not to violate the law in the course of its electioneering, Caucasus Press reported. EM activists clashed with supporters of former regional administrator Levan Mamaladze of the AS in southern Georgia last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 and 29 September 2003). LF

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES NEW JUSTICE MINISTER
As widely predicted, President Eduard Shevardnadze has proposed the candidacy of his parliamentary secretary Mariam Tsatsanashvili as justice minister, Caucasus Press and the webpage of the independent television station Rustavi-2 reported on 2 October (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," 3 July 2003). Her nomination must be approved by parliament. Roland Giligashvili resigned as justice minister last month following a series of mass jailbreaks that he blamed on inadequate funding for security at prisons (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 and 22 September 2003). LF

SEARCH FOR ABDUCTED GEORGIAN POLITICIAN CONTINUES
At the weekly meeting in western Georgia among Georgian and Abkhaz security officials and members of the UN Observer Mission and the Russian peacekeeping force deployed under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone, the Abkhaz and Russian representatives said they will continue to search for Democratic Justice Party member Roland Changelia, who was abducted on 25 September, Caucasus Press reported. Friends of Changelia subsequently abducted a member of the Russian peacekeeping force whom they intended to exchange for him, and who was released following a joint Georgian police and Russian action on 30 September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September and 1 October 2003). LF

GEORGIA, FRANCE SIGN MILITARY-COOPERATION AGREEMENT
Georgian and French defense ministry officials signed an agreement in Tbilisi on 2 October on cooperation in 2004, Caucasus Press reported. The agreement envisages cooperation in the field of military medicine; the training in France of a Georgian mountain division and 10 Georgian officers; and compilation of a Georgian-French dictionary of military terminology. LF

EU, U.S. WARN OF PROBLEMS FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS IN KAZAKHSTAN
Hugues Mingarelli, head of the European Commission's Directorate for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Mongolia, and Central Asia, told a press conference in Astana on 2 October that European companies working in Kazakhstan are complaining that they are encountering difficulties in importing personnel, superfluous checks by tax agencies, and complicated customs procedures, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported the same day. These problems, Mingarelli said, are creating barriers to further expansion of European investment in Kazakhstan, although he said he considers the adoption of a new law on foreign investment as a step in the right direction. BB

KYRGYZ NATIONAL GUARD OFFICERS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH BOMBINGS
Three Kyrgyz National Guard officers have been detained in connection with bombings in Osh in 1998 and Bishkek in 2002, National Guard commander Lieutenant General Abdygul Chotbaev announced in Bishkek on 2 October, akipress.org reported. Kyrgyz law enforcement officials have attributed both attacks to the extremist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Chotbaev said the brother of one of the arrested officers is a member of the IMU and had obtained explosives with his brother's help. The brother, in turn, involved two other officers in obtaining the explosives. BB

KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTY PICKETS PRESIDENT'S UN SPEECH
Members of the Kyrgyz opposition Ar-Namys Party picketed outside the UN building in New York on 1 October while Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev was delivering a speech to the General Assembly, gazeta.kg reported on 2 October. As well as demanding the release from prison of party leader Feliks Kulov -- who is serving a 10-year sentence for alleged crimes committed while he held various government posts, including vice president, head of the National Security Committee, and mayor of Bishkek -- the picketers handed out leaflets critical of the current government of Kyrgyzstan. Party members reportedly intend to stage similar demonstrations in every country Akaev plans to visit. The New York-based human rights group Human Rights Watch has asked French President Jacques Chirac to raise the Kulov case with Akaev during the Kyrgyz president's stop in France on his way home from the UN (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2003). BB

OVER 600 HIZB UT-TAHRIR ACTIVISTS SENTENCED IN TAJIKISTAN SINCE 1998
Dushanbe city Prosecutor Habib Vohidov told a law enforcement council meeting in Dushanbe on 2 October that between 1998 and September 2003 more than 600 activists of the banned Muslim extremist party Hizb ut-Tahrir have been sentenced in Tajikistan to prison terms of 10-18 years, Asia Plus-Blitz and RIA-Novosti reported the same day. Thirty-four activists have been arrested in Dushanbe alone since 2001, from whom three tons of subversive literature were confiscated, Vohidov added. The usual charges against Hizb ut-Tahrir members are inciting religious hatred, seeking to overthrow the constitutional order, and membership in a criminal organization. BB

TURKMEN PRESIDENT TELLS SECURITY SERVICES TO ROOT OUT TERRORISM
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov told the National Security Ministry in a message commemorating the 12th anniversary of Turkmenistan's security services that one of the ministry's main tasks is to "wage an irreconcilable struggle against manifestations of terrorism and eliminate its hotbeds wherever they appear." He also asserted that some law enforcement officials have become involved with criminals --possibly an allusion to crimes allegedly committed by high-ranking officers of the then-National Security Service prior to a massive purge of that institution in early 2002. Niyazov's definition of terrorism includes any manifestations of opposition to his rule. He has repeatedly described the oppositionists who allegedly attempted to remove him in November 2002 as terrorists and has sought international approval of that definition (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 March 2003). BB

UZBEK OPPOSITION PARTY INTENDS TO HOLD CONGRESS
The unregistered Uzbek opposition party Erk intends to hold a congress in Tashkent on 22 October despite the government's failure to grant it permission to do so (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003), centrasia.ru reported on 2 October, quoting Deutsche Welle. According to party General Secretary Atanazar Orifov, Erk may legally hold a congress because the party has never been banned. In the absence of regular congresses, serious dissention has developed among party leaders in various parts of Uzbekistan, with some arguing that Orifov's term in office has expired and that Erk is being run like the Communist Party. BB

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT WANTS NEW MEDIA LAW SOON
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told his ministers on 2 October to finalize a new draft media law within the shortest possible time and submit it to the Chamber of Representatives for approval, Belarusian media reported. Lukashenka said the new media law should be "absolutely adjusted to the realities and the situation" in Belarus. "This law should guarantee the freedom of speech without turning it into the freedom of libel and of reporting in a biased fashion," Belarusian Television quoted him as saying. According to the network, the novelties of the planned law include, in particular, granting media status to Internet publications and introducing "penal sanctions" under "administrative responsibility" -- in addition to official warnings and media closures -- for media outlets that disseminate "unreliable information." Supreme Economic Court Chairman Viktar Kamyankov proposed a provision stipulating penalties for the defamation of judges, in addition to those for the defamation of the president and other top-ranking officials. Lukashenka reportedly supports Kamyankov's idea. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPEALS TO BUSH, BLAIR OVER ARRESTED SAILORS
The Verkhovna Rada appealed on 3 October to U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for their help in resolving the problem of the "Navstar-1" tanker with 21 Ukrainian crewmembers who were apprehended in the Persian Gulf in August by a British Navy ship for smuggling diesel fuel out of Iraq (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 August 2003), Interfax reported. The appeal says the Verkhovna Rada believes that "Ukraine may hope for your goodwill assistance in determining the fate of Ukrainian citizens who have found themselves in an extremely difficult situation." JM

KYIV WARNS MOSCOW AGAINST VIOLATION OF STATE BORDER IN KERCH STRAIT
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement warning the Russian government that its plans to build a dam between Russia's Taman Peninsula and the islet of Tuzla in Kerch Strait may violate Ukraine's state border and territorial integrity, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on 3 October. Following the construction of the dam, the Russian side is reportedly going to set a frontier post on the islet, which Ukraine considers to be its own territory. Kerch Strait is a shallow channel connecting the Azov Sea with the Black Sea and separating Crimea in the west from the Taman Peninsula in the east. JM

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT VISITS MALTA
Arnold Ruutel began a visit to Malta on 1 October with talks with his Maltese counterpart, Guido de Marco. During the talks the two expressed satisfaction that their countries have similar views concerning the structure and functioning of the EU, BNS reported. The next morning, Ruutel and Prime Minister Edward Fenech Adami discussed the development of relations between their countries. They agreed that tourism and potential cooperation in the area of shipping, maritime studies, and port services should be increased. Ruutel also met with parliamentary opposition leader Alfred Santi, and visited the Malta free port where Transport and Communications Minister Gensu Galea informed him about its operations. SG

AMENDMENTS TO LATVIAN LAW ON PORTS REJECTED
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga on 2 October returned to the parliament for repeated review the amendments to the law on ports that it had passed in September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 September 2003), BNS reported. She noted that the wish of Prime Minister Einars Repse and his cabinet to improve the work of the Riga Free Port was commendable, but the chosen method was incompatible with the goal. Vike-Freiberga said the amendments had been adopted without any coordination with the governments and port authorities of Riga and Ventspils, or taking into account their economic consequences. In her opinion, the existing laws were sufficient to solve the problems that have arisen. Repse agreed with the president that the amendments are not ideal and called on the parliament to solve the problems of the Riga Free Port so that Latvia would no longer suffer from possible illegalities or drawbacks in its operations. SG

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT HAS AUDIENCE WITH POPE
Rolandas Paksas had a 15-minute meeting with Pope John Paul II on 2 October during which the pope fondly remembered his visit to Lithuania 10 years earlier, BNS reported. Paksas then introduced the pope to his wife and two children, along with a 10-member delegation. In subsequent talks, Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Angelo Sodano praised Paksas for his stance on the need to mention Christian roots in the new EU constitution. He also had a meeting with his Italian counterpart, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, during which they discussed the future of the EU after the number of its members increases from 15 to 25. The presidents also spoke about the need to settle the question of compensation for Lithuania's pre-World War II embassy building in Rome. SG

POLISH PARLIAMENT ADOPTS STANCE ON EU CONSTITUTION...
The Sejm on 2 October passed a resolution supporting the government's stance on the EU Constitutional Treaty that is to be mulled in Rome on 4 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 and 22 September 2003), PAP reported. The resolution demands the placing of a reference to Christian values in the future constitution's preamble, the recognition of NATO as the base of European security, and the implementation of the principle "one country -- one commissioner." The Sejm said it expects that the Polish government will not consent to "the worsening of the position of Poland in the Council [of Ministers] of the EU regarding the principles that were adopted in Nice in 2000" and veto the Constitutional Treaty if it fails to meet Warsaw's expectations. The same day, the Polish parliament voted by 262-141, with two abstentions, to reject a no-confidence motion in European-Integration Minister Danuta Huebner (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 September 2003). JM

...PASSES NEW LAW ON BIOFUELS...
The Sejm on 3 October voted by 341-49, with 12 abstentions, to pass a new law on biofuels allowing fuel producers to add bio-components as of 1 January 2004, PAP reported. Under the bill, until 30 April 2004 bio-components may be produced only from raw material harvested in Poland. President Aleksander Kwasniewski vetoed a previous law on biofuels in January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 January 2003), following experts' doubts as to the quantity of bio-components in biofuels. JM

...AND LIFTS IMMUNITY OF FOUR RADICAL AGRARIANS
Also on 2 October, the Polish lower house lifted the parliamentary immunity of Self-Defense leader Andrzej Lepper and his three colleagues, Krzysztof Filipek, Alfred Budner, and Maria Zbyrowska, who in June 2002 dumped grain from railcars on railway tracks at a junction outside Warsaw to protest government agricultural policies (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 19 June 2002). Prosecutors are reportedly preparing an indictment against the four under Article 288 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment up to five years for destroying someone else's property, damaging it, or rendering it unsuitable for use. JM

POLAND NOTES BIG DROP IN TRAFFIC ON EASTERN BORDER
Major General Jozef Klimowicz, chief of the Polish Border Guards, told Polish Radio on 2 October that traffic at border crossings on Poland's eastern border dropped by 70-90 percent following the introduction the previous day of visas for citizens of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus. "At the section of the Bug Detachment of the Border Guards, some 8,000 people would normally cross the border, but yesterday [1 October] only about 700-800 people crossed the border," Klimowicz said. "So we can see what the situation is: citizens of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine simply do not have visas yet," but are likely to have them in the near future. JM

CZECH PRESIDENT MAKES NEW NOMINATION FOR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGE...
President Vaclav Klaus will nominate Prague Police Academy Deputy Chancellor Jan Musil as a judge on the Constitutional Court, CTK reported on 2 October, citing presidential spokesman Petr Hajek. The Senate, which must approve the nomination, has thus far rejected five Klaus nominees for the court, and approved three. Eight Constitutional Court vacancies were created in July 2003, when the 10-year terms of eight judges expired. MS

...SAYS OMBUDSMAN POSITION IS USELESS
In an interview with Czech Radio on 2 October, President Klaus said the position of ombudsman "has brought nothing and helped no one," CTK reported. Klaus described the position as "a fairly cozy job for someone" and said he has opposed its creation and continues to oppose it. "The effectiveness of that office seems to me very, very low," he said. Klaus said in every position he has filled -- from finance minister, to premier, to parliamentary speaker, to president -- he has always felt he must act like an ombudsman for citizens' rights. Ombudsman Otakar Motelj declined to react to the president's comments. MS

CZECH PARLIAMENTARY DEPUTIES TO GO DRY, OR WALK
Chamber of Deputies speaker Lubomir Zaoralek has banned the sale of alcohol in the buffet next to the assembly room, CTK reported on 3 October. The decision follows the recent scandal created by Civic Democratic Party representative Petr Kott, who is alleged to have missed a key vote because he got drunk in that buffet (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2003). Jan Prokes, head of Zaoralek's office, said the ban would not affect the restaurants on the lower house's premises, situated a bit further away in the building. MS

SLOVAK CABINET DISMISSES NBU HEAD...
The cabinet dismissed National Security Office head Jan Mojzis on 2 October, TASR and international news agencies reported. Having failed in his 10 September first attempt to have Mojzis sacked (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 September 2003), Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda succeeded in the second try due to support from newly appointed Economy Minister and Alliance for a New Citizen (ANO) Chairman Pavol Rusko. Ministers representing the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) in the cabinet abstained from the vote. Both SMK Chairman Bela Bugar and KDH Chairman Pavol Hrusovsky criticized Dzurinda for the move, saying he has failed to produce convincing proof to justify Mojzis's dismissal. Bugar said the SMK might propose a candidate of its own as new NBU head, while Hrusovsky said Mojzis's replacement would have to be a person acceptable to all members of the ruling coalition. Reuters cited Dzurinda as saying, "I am sure the future will confirm that this was the right thing to do, and even those who are against it now will agree with it." Dzurinda has already proposed his advisor Milan Jezovica for the post vacated by Mojzis, who said he will comment "in a few days." MS

...OUTLINES TASKS FOR DELEGATION AT EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION FORUM
The government decided on 2 October that the Slovak delegation at the Rome Intergovernmental Conference on the European Constitution will support the principle of "one country -- one vote" on the European Commission, CTK reported. The delegation has also been tasked with proposing the document be named "Constitutional Treaty" instead of European Constitution, and that a reference to Christian tradition be made in its preamble. The cabinet decided to support the proposal that individual country votes be weighted in line with population size, saying that in this case the Visegrad Four group -- which includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia -- will have the same weight as Germany and France together. Slovakia is to support preserving the current system of an EU rotating presidency. The cabinet voted down SMK's proposal that Slovakia support introducing in the document a reference to ethnic minority rights. KDH's minister voted against all proposals because the party objects to the reference made in the draft European constitution to the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 October 2003) KDH Interior Minister Vladimir Palko described the proposed constitution as an "ideologically leftist document," TASR reported. MS

HUNGARIAN PREMIER SAYS MINORITY PROTECTION IS AN ALL-EUROPEAN AFFAIR
In his address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Peter Medgyessy on 2 October emphasized the importance of protecting ethnic minority rights at the European level, and stressed the need to integrate Romany populations in mainstream societies, "Nepszabadsag" reported. Medgyessy also announced that Hungary will establish a European Minority Center in Budapest under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The new research institute would mainly deal with issues related to immigrant minorities. Opposition FIDESZ deputies in the assembly boycotted Medgyessy's speech, citing mainly private engagements as an excuse for their absence. FIDESZ deputy Laszlo Surjan said Medgyessy's speech was "poorly timed for the last session," when interest was sparse. He added, however, "the days are gone when citizens were ordered to attend the political leader's speech on 1 May." For his part, coalition member Free Democrat deputy Matyas Eorsi said such a boycott is "unprecedented, even for states living under civil-war-like conditions." MSZ

HUNGARY'S FIDESZ PARTY ESTABLISHES STATE-FUNDED PUBLIC FOUNDATION
The opposition FIDESZ-Hungarian Civic Alliance has established a public foundation named "Polgari Magyarorszagert Alapitvany" (Foundation for a Civic Hungary), party Chairman Viktor Orban announced on 2 October, "Magyar Nemzet" reported. Orban said the new foundation aims to promote the revival of civic and Christian values and traditions that were broken up by the dictatorships of the 20th century. The decision follows the recent passage of a law that would grant state money to foundations that help the functioning of political parties represented in the parliament. The 2004 budget, submitted to parliament on 30 September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003), sets aside 1 billion forints ($4.5 million) for that purpose. MSZ

BALKAN STABILITY PACT CHIEF TAKES STOCK OF SERBIA
Erhard Busek, who heads the EU-led Southeastern Europe Stability Pact, told RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service on 2 October that Serbia has made much progress since the ouster of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on 5 October 2000. Busek believes "that the main achievement was the reintegration of...Serbia and Montenegro in the family of the international community, especially its orientation towards Europe...Even though the assassination of [Serbian Prime Minister] Zoran Djindjic [revealed] a big danger, it proved that the way to democracy is irreversible. There has been some economic improvement as well; the conditions were created for the integration of Serbia and Montenegro into the Stability Pact and in other efforts of the EU and...within the region." Busek also feels that there is much work to be done. "It is not possible to achieve everything that is necessary within a period of three years. The lack of a Serbian constitution and the uncertainty as to when the elections will be held...are among the main problems now. Hopefully the dialog that has started between Belgrade and Prishtina will bring some results, but I do not expect them before the Serbian elections," he said. PM

SERBIAN POLICE ARREST ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN MURDER CASE
Serbian police officials said in Belgrade on 2 October that seven ethnic Albanians have been arrested in connection with the recent murder in Bujanovac of Selver Fazliu, an ethnic Albanian member of the Serbian police, AP reported. Four of the arrested men are also police officers, two are civilians, and one is a minor. They are also charged with the recent planting of a nail bomb in a school, which was defused before it exploded, and with illegal possession of weapons. Local ethnic Albanian political leaders protested the arrests. Politician Jonuz Musliu accused the Belgrade authorities of "deliberately provoking the situation in southern Serbia" and risking both the escalation of tensions and the emergence of unspecified "new crises" there (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14, 20, and 25 August 2003, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 8, 15, and 22 August 2003). PM

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ONLY INTEGRATED MACEDONIA CAN BECOME MEMBER
Speaking in Skopje after a meeting with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said on 2 October that "the doors for NATO membership are still open, and our message is that reforms must go on," MIA reported. Alluding to the internal division of the country along ethnic lines, he warned, however, that Macedonia can only be integrated into international structures as internally integrated state, RFE/RL's Macedonian broadcasters reported. Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski said he expects NATO will give Macedonia a clear understanding of its chances for membership at its 2004 Istanbul summit (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 2003). UB

KOSOVA'S PARLIAMENT DELAYS DECISION ON BELGRADE TALKS
On 2 October, Kosova's legislature decided to postpone until 9 October a vote on authorizing the government to represent Kosova at the 14 October Vienna talks with the Belgrade authorities, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. Legislators expressed their approval of the talks in principle but are unhappy with unspecified aspects of preparations for the discussions. Former communist-era leader Azem Vllasi told RFE/RL that the Kosovars would be well advised to show a more cooperative attitude. Harri Holkeri, who heads the UN civilian administration (UNMIK), said in Berlin that the talks will go ahead regardless of what the Kosova parliament does. In Skopje, Lord Robertson said that he and EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana will take part in the talks to demonstrate the international community's support for the negotiations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 13 and 20 June, 1August, and 26 September 2003). PM

CHANGING OF THE GUARD IN THE BALKANS
On 2 October in Sarajevo, U.S. General Virgil Packett took command of NATO forces in Bosnia from U.S. General William Ward, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. The following day in Prishtina, German General Holger Kammerhoff replaced Italian General Fabio Mini as commander of KFOR peacekeepers. PM

BOSNIAN MASS GRAVE YIELDS 629 BODIES
Bosnian forensics experts completed excavations at the Crni Vrh mass gravesite near Zvornik on 3 October, dpa reported. The grave contained the remains of 629 people, believed to be mainly Muslims killed by Serbian forces in the Zvornik area at the start of the 1992-95 war (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 2003). This is the largest single mass grave found in Bosnia to date. PM

CROATIA TO DECLARE ADRIATIC 'FISHING AND ECOLOGICAL ZONE'...
Under pressure from the EU, Italy, and Slovenia not to declare an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Adriatic until at least after the 25-26 November Mediterranean fishing conference in Venice, the Croatian government decided on 2 October not to proclaim a EEZ but to declare instead a more limited "fishing and ecological zone" in part of the Adriatic, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16, 17, and 23 September 2003, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 15 and 22 August, and 5 September 2003). It is not clear what this new "zone," which must first be approved by the parliament, would mean in practice. The governing Croatian Peasants Party (HSS) and most opposition parties criticized the government's move as not going far enough in defense of Croatian interests in the Adriatic. Former Foreign Minister Mate Granic of the opposition Democratic Center (DC) said the authorities should proclaim a EEZ and use it as a bargaining chip in future Adriatic talks. PM

...AS SLOVENIA STANDS FIRM
On 2 October, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry issued a statement repeating Ljubljana's long-standing objections to the EEZ and promising a further statement on the latest Croatian move once Slovenia has been officially informed of Zagreb's decision, Hina reported. PM

ROMANIAN PREMIER CONFIRMS VERHEUGEN STATEMENT
Prime Minister Adrian Nastase confirmed on 2 October that there is no guarantee that the negotiations process with the EU will be successfully concluded in 2004, Mediafax reported. European Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, who is in charge of EU enlargement, said on 30 September that the accession negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania are progressing, but there are no guarantees that they will be finalized by end 2004. Nastase said: "I believe that this is very accurate. We have obligations and responsibilities and I am convinced that by making a joint effort we shall be able to finalize the negotiations in 2004." MS

ROMANIA TO ABOLISH CONSCRIPTION IN 2007
Defense Ministry State Secretary George Maior said on 2 October that Romania will have a fully professional army in 2007 and will thus abolish obligatory military service, Mediafax reported. The amendments to the constitution that were approved by parliament make possible the abolition of conscription. Those amendments still must be approved in a referendum slated for 19 October. MS

FORMER ROMANIAN MINERS' LEADER FINED FOR 1999 INCIDENT
Former Romanian miners' leader Miron Cozma has been fined 15 million lei ($468) for physically attacking former Valcea County Prefect Nicolae Curcareanu in January 1999, Mediafax reported on 2 October. Cozma is serving an 18-year sentence for his role in events that led to the fall of the government headed by Petre Roman in September 1991. The Bucharest Court of Appeals overruled a sentence handed down by the Bucharest Tribunal in 2002 that pronounced Cozma not guilty in the incident in which the miners took Curcareanu hostage and Cozma physically abused him. That tribunal had in turn overthrown the sentence of a lower court, which had found Cozma guilty and sentenced him to one year in jail. MS

ROMANIAN AUTHORITIES ORDER 'ROYAL' ROMANY NEWLYWEDS TO LIVE APART
Anca Dragan, head of the child-protection services in the town of Sibiu, on 2 October ordered the daughter of self-appointed Romany "king" Florin Cioaba and her bridegroom Mihai Birita to live apart and "immediately stop any marital or sexual relations," Reuters reported. Dragan told the agency that if they refuse to do so, "we would be forced to consider other ways to protect them, such as placing them in a state child shelter." The traditional Romany marriage of 12-year-old "princess" Ana Maria and Birita has triggered international protests (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September and 1 October 2003). Meanwhile, one of Florin Cioaba's competitors for the title of Romany "king," Ilie Badea Stanescu, announced on 2 October that he has issued a "royal decree" prohibiting marriage for girls under 16 and young men under 17. The "decree" was said to apply to "all ethnic Roma in Romania and the diaspora." MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT CONTRADICTS ROMANIAN PREMIER AT PACE
Answering questions asked by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 1 October, President Vladimir Voronin said he disagrees with Romanian Premier Adrian Nastase on the issue of a basic treaty between the two countries, Infotag reported. Nastase earlier this week said the time for signing such treaties is passed and the two countries should instead sign a bilateral agreement on European partnership (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003). Voronin said neighboring states should sign basic political treaties and agreements on cooperation. He also said that Nastase's proposal makes no sense, since Romania is not a member of the EU. "In this respect, for Moldova it would be more important to sign European partnership agreements with EU members," he said. Voronin also said the same applies to the problem of visa requirements for Moldovans. "It is not with Romania that we should discuss this, but with members of the Schengen agreement," he said. MS

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO SELL BULGARTABAC IN PIECES
The government decided on 2 October to carve up the state tobacco monopoly prior to its privatization, the "Sofia Morning News" reported. According to the plan Economy Minister Lidia Shuleva has presented, Bulgartabac's loss-making sectors are to be shut down. The plan also envisions that the funds received from the privatization will also be used for social programs for those workers who had to be laid off. The remaining factories are to be sold by the monopoly's supervisory council, and not by the state Privatization Agency. The government controls the supervisory council but not the Privatization Agency, at least in theory, mediapool.bg reported. Thus, critics charge, the government is trying to avoid problems with the Supreme Administrative Court, which stopped the government's first attempt to privatize Bulgartabac because the Privatization Agency had breached the privatization rules (see End Note, "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 May 2002, and "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 and 27 September and 30 October 2002). UB

BULGARIAN COMPANY TO ARM NEW IRAQI ARMY
Speaking in Kerbala on 2 October, Chief of General Staff General Nikola Kolev said the Arsenal ordnance company has won a tender of the U.S. Central Command for light firearms for the new Iraqi army, mediapool.bg reported. Arsenal will deliver Kalashnikov assault rifles. Kolev also announced that the Bulgarian contingent stationed in Kerbala will receive a pay raise. He added, however, that he disapproved of the manner in which the troops had demanded an increase in their per diems. Kolev was accompanied by Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov, who said that upon his return to Bulgaria, he will ask parliament to approve the new per diem allowances, which will increase from currently $60 to $60-$85, depending on rank. UB

ELECTION EVE IN CHECHNYA
The 5 October Chechen presidential election is, in many ways, the culmination of a program for Chechnya's future that was proposed by Chechen administration head Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov in January 2001, barely six months after his appointment. At that time, Kadyrov offered President Vladimir Putin a three-step plan to stabilize the situation in his war-torn republic. Kadyrov's proposal envisaged the withdrawal of some Russian troops and the appointment of a consultative body subordinate to Kadyrov tasked with drafting a new Chechen constitution, to be followed by the election of a new Chechen leader.

With the exception of Kadyrov himself, all major contenders have been eliminated or have withdrawn from the presidential race. On 11 September, Aslanbek Aslakhanov, Chechnya's representative in the Duma, withdrew from the race to become an assistant to President Putin with responsibilities for the North Caucasus. Yet because Aslakhanov never mounted a serious campaign organization nor outlined a detailed platform, it is not clear that he was ever genuinely interested in the office.

Perhaps Aslakhanov entered the race in order to ensure that he remained at the center of the Chechen power struggle. Perhaps he intended either to negotiate a deal, or, alternatively, to raise his standard against the unpopular Kadyrov, knowing that Kadyrov would never permit him to win. Aslakhanov might then be well positioned in the aftermath of the election as Kadyrov's problems multiply.

By contrast, Malik Saidullaev, the popular, Moscow-based businessman who was eliminated from the race on 11 September on legal technicalities, genuinely wanted to be president. Another leading contender, Khusein Dzhabrailov, a Moscow hotel manager, withdrew from the race on 3 September, following a meeting with Putin's administration head Aleksandr Voloshin.

Although several polls showed these three Moscow-based Chechens with early leads over Kadyrov, their advantage probably would have decreased had they remained in the race. Moreover, the Moscow-based Chechens would probably have split the votes of those who preferred an outsider, while there was no Chechnya-based candidate to rival Kadyrov.

Even if, as one poll indicated, 60 percent of the Chechen electorate would not vote for Kadyrov, it is probable that no candidate would have received more than 40 percent of the vote in the first round. By the second round of the contest, negative charges might have piled up against any serious challenger.

Moscow clearly favored Kadyrov through the spring of 2003, but some Russian officials distanced themselves from him during the summer. The pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party withheld formal support for his candidacy. Presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembskii claimed that Moscow has no favorite candidate and wants the presidency to go to the candidate with greatest popular support.

While Kadyrov and the Kremlin remain mutually dependent, Kadyrov appeared in early August to have vastly augmented his freedom for maneuver, not least by virtue of the 3,000 gunmen under his control. Even if at that juncture some in Moscow might have had second thoughts about Kadyrov's suitability, they might have decided that continuing to support him was the lesser of two evils compared with the risk that he might respond to any attempt to curtail his power by "taking to the mountains" in opposition.

This might also be the rationale for Aslakhanov's appointment as Putin's assistant in the North Caucasus. The appointment allows the Kremlin extra latitude as it redefines its relationship with Kadyrov. In the unlikely event that Kadyrov proves compliant, then Aslakhanov can remain on the shelf. On the other hand, if Kadyrov proves difficult for Moscow to manage, then federal officials can bring Aslakhanov forward and rely on his unsullied popularity as a counterweight to Kadyrov. Aslakhanov would reenter Chechen politics with his reputation at home undiminished and plenty of political credit in the Kremlin.

For the moment, the Kremlin seems to have calculated that no one except Kadyrov is strong enough to govern Chechnya. Yet Kadyrov is deeply disliked in Chechnya, and it appears that he will suffer further delegitimization in what is likely to be an electoral backfire. In other words, efforts to manage the field of candidates in Kadyrov's favor have left him without the genuine electoral competition that would have been required for him to establish the sort of legitimate leadership that is necessary for the stabilization of the republic.

Without a genuinely open election, Kadyrov is likely to end the month of October with even less political legitimacy than he had at the end of August, and Chechnya might end up with even less stability. This result would be far from anything that could possibly have been intended by any side in this election, and just as far from anything that is likely to benefit the people of Chechnya.

There might yet be progress if Kadyrov successfully moderates his new administration in at least four ways. First, Kadyrov must seek firm power-sharing agreements with Chechen leaders such as Malik Saidullaev, Ruslan Khasbulatov, and Beslan Gantamirov. Second, he must restrict the brutal tactics that have been practiced by some of his supporters. Third, he must personally guarantee that allotted housing compensation and other forms of relief reach the ordinary Chechens for whom they are intended. Fourth, he must end profiteering activities on the part of his supporters.

After the election it is, unfortunately, more likely that Kadyrov will prove less compliant toward Moscow and more confrontational toward various groups of Chechens who surely will seek to oppose him, thereby inspiring increased intra-Chechen conflict.

Robert Bruce Ware is an associate professor at Southern Illinois University.

CANADIAN PEACEKEEPERS KILLED IN KABUL...
Two Canadian peacekeepers were killed and three others injured on 2 October when their vehicle hit an antitank mine or a buried shell in the Afghan capital, canada.com reported the next day, citing the "Ottawa Citizen" and "The Vancouver Sun." The Canadian soldiers were part of a 1,950-soldier contingent from Canada serving as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul. In June, four ISAF members from Germany were killed when a suicide bomber struck their bus (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 12 June 2003). AT

...THOUGH IT WILL NOT CHANGE CANADA'S MISSION
Canadian Defense Minister John McCallum said on 2 October that the death of two Canadian peacekeepers in Kabul "will in no way lessen" his country's commitment to ISAF, canada.com reported. There have been suggestions that the NATO-led ISAF should expand beyond Kabul to other Afghan cities (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 2 October 2003). AT

NEO-TALIBAN REPORTEDLY IN CONTROL OF EASTERN DISTRICT
Forces loyal to the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan are reportedly in control of the Barmal District in Paktika Province, Hindukosh news agency reported on 1 October. Pakistani forces on 2 October reported heavy battles on their side of the border with fighters crossing from "the Taliban-controlled district of Barmal and the Afghan border town of Shkin," AFP reported on 3 October. A U.S. solider was killed in Shkin on 29 September and a planned deployment of Afghan forces in Barmal was postponed because of security risks (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 2 October 2003). Afghan sources have not confirmed the fall of the Barmal District. AT

AFGHANISTAN TO DOWNSIZE NUMBER OF MINISTRIES...
The Afghan Transitional Administration is reportedly due to cut as many as 14 government ministries by merging or eliminating them, Hindukosh news agency reported on 1 October, citing a "reliable source." Currently, there are 28 ministries in Afghanistan, although some sources put the number at 31. The move is reportedly being planned because of complaints from donor countries that the Transitional Administration has many agencies doing similar tasks. The changes are due to be announced by Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai in the near future, the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran reported on 2 October. In addition, there are many ministerial advisers who hold a cabinet-level position. AT

...WHILE DISMISSED OFFICERS ARE PROMISED JOBS IN OTHER MINISTRIES
According to the Afghan Transitional Administration, officers who have been dismissed from the Ministry of Defense will be assigned jobs in other ministries, the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran reported on 3 October. On 29 September, about 200 recently dismissed officers staged a rally in Kabul to demand pensions or alternative posts in the civil service (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 September 2003). It is not uncommon in Afghanistan for dismissed officials, troublesome commanders, or people of influence to be given jobs in another ministry or for a new post to be created for them. AT

IAEA, IRANIAN OFFICIALS MEET IN TEHRAN
A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency met with Iranian officials in Tehran on 2 October, and Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Saber Zaimian predicted that the discussions could take up to three weeks, AP reported. A high-level committee of Iranian government officials met the previous evening to decide on the wisdom of signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol, the "Entekhab" daily newspaper reported on 2 October. Committee members include Intelligence and Security Minister Hojatoleslam Ali Yunesi, Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Minister Ali Shamkhani, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani, and Ali Akbar Velayati, the supreme leader's foreign-affairs adviser. President Mohammad Khatami, meanwhile, vowed on 2 October that "Tehran will continue its cooperation with the IAEA," state television reported. BS

IRANIAN STUDENT ASKS TO GO BEFORE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE
Meisam Julai, a student who was arrested in June, said on 2 October that he will appear in court that day, "Mardom Salari" reported. The Prosecutor's Office at Evin prison has accused him of acting against domestic security and causing disorder. Julai said he has done nothing wrong and expressed the hope that the case will be transferred to his university's disciplinary committee. Meanwhile, Qazvin parliamentary representative Hassan Abu-Torabi, who also serves at the supreme leader's representative at Tehran University, said on 30 September that no university students remain in prison, Fars News Agency reported. He said the disciplinary committees are dealing with all their cases, and this makes judicial action unnecessary. The committees are trying to be lenient but in some cases the nature of a student's actions precludes this, Abu-Torabi added. These disciplinary committees (komiteh-yi enzebati) are described as "a means to punish students for participating in political protests," Human Rights Watch stated in a 1 October press release. They have suspended some students and expelled others, according to HRW. BS

TEHRAN HOSTS INTERNET CONFERENCE
The International Gathering on Internet and Satellite Communications began in Tehran on 1 October, IRNA reported. President Khatami's special envoy for information technology and information and communications technology affairs, Nasrollah Jahangard, said at the conference that information exchange is the most important aspect of globalization. Jahangard said some 3.5 million Iranians regularly use the Internet and another 3.5 million use it less frequently. He added that the exchange of goods and investments can be controlled but no government can limit the exchange of information, IRNA reported. BS

IRAN LOOKS INTO STATOIL CASE
Tehran has asked the Norwegian police and Statoil for documents relating to a case involving the Norwegian oil company and a consulting firm that is reportedly connected with the son of former Iranian President and current Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, "Upstream" reported on 26 September. Statoil signed a contract worth more than $15 million with Horton Investments, which is incorporated in the Turks and Caicos Islands and owned by an Iranian living in London named Abbas Yazdi, according to the trade publication, which specializes in the oil-and-gas industry. Yazdi reportedly introduced Statoil officials to Mehdi Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the managing director of a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) called the Organization for Optimization of Energy Consumption. Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh said after an OPEC meeting in Vienna that "Iran will take action if there is any evidence of wrongdoing," according to "Upstream." He denied that NIOC had any knowledge of any Horton-Statoil arrangement and vowed that any NIOC employee will be punished for wrongdoing. Several top Statoil executives already have been dismissed over what is viewed as a bribery case (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 22 and 29 September 2003). BS

IRAQ SURVEY GROUP REPORTS THREE-MONTH FINDINGS...
David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) that is searching for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, presented the findings of the ISG's first three months of inspections in Iraq to three Congressional committees on 2 October. Kay's statement, posted on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) website (http://www.cia.gov), revealed that although the ISG has not found any WMD to date, it has uncovered significant intent of the deposed Hussein regime to produce WMD. The inspections have also uncovered evidence that the Hussein regime failed to reveal a number of programs to UN weapons inspectors, a requirement under UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions. Documents found in Iraq also reveal that Hussein attempted to procure technology from North Korea for Iraq's missile programs. Kay contended in his statement that former Iraqi officials went to great lengths before, during, and after the war -- in one instance, as late as July -- to conceal WMD evidence by destroying documents and computer hard drives. KR

...THAT REVEAL PROSCRIBED ACTIVITIES OF THE REGIME
Kay listed evidence of proscribed activities by the Hussein regime in his report to Congress. Such activities include an undeclared network of laboratories containing equipment suitable for chemical and biological weapons research; a prison laboratory complex that may have been used for human testing of biological warfare agents; a line of unmanned aerial vehicles, found at an undeclared site, which were not fully declared to the UN and exceeded the permitted range; advance design work for new long-range missiles capable of a 1,000-kilometer range (the permitted range under UN sanctions was 150 kilometers); a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B hidden in a scientist's home, which could be used to produce a biological agent; testimony by Iraqi scientists and senior regime officials in coalition custody that reveal Hussein's intention to restart Iraq's nuclear program if UN sanctions were lifted; and materials and testimony showing Iraq's effort to illegally procure parts and foreign assistance for its missile program. KR

U.S. AND TURKEY AGREE ON PLAN TO ELIMINATE PKK/KADEK FROM IRAQ
The United States and Turkey have reportedly agreed on a plan of action to eliminate the presence of Turkish-Kurdish rebels from the Kurdistan Democracy and Freedom Congress (KADEK), formerly known as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Reuters reported on 2 October. "We have agreed on an action plan with the United States to eradicate PKK/KADEK from northern Iraq," Turkish Foreign Ministry official Nabi Sensoy told a press conference in Ankara following the talks. Turkey recently said it would not consider committing troops to Iraq unless the United States dealt with the rebels. U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Cofer Black told the same press conference, "There is no place in Iraq for PKK/KADEK." U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell redesignated 25 international groups as "foreign terrorist organizations" on 2 October, including the PKK, and the Mujahedin Khalq, an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 2 October that he wants parliament to decide on the troop deployment "rapidly." Some Turkish officials said on 3 October that the vote may come in the next two weeks. KR

THOUSANDS GATHER IN AL-NAJAF FOR AL-HAKIM MEMORIAL
Thousands of Iraqis gathered in Al-Najaf on 3 October for a memorial service ahead of the 40-day commemoration of the killing of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, Reuters reported. Al-Hakim and more than 80 persons were killed in a car bombing in Al-Najaf on 29 August. The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported on 3 October that a convoy of 400 Iranians headed to Iraq on the same day to participate in the 40th day memorial service, which will be held next week. KR

IRAQ AND SYRIA WORKING ON SECURITY AGREEMENT
Iraqi Governing Council President for the month of October Iyad Allawi told Jordan's "Al-Ra'y" on 2 October that Iraq and Syria have decided to establish a border-security agreement during his visit to Syria this week. Iraqi Interior Minister Nuri al-Badran will conclude the agreement in a forthcoming visit to Syria, dpa reported on 2 October. Allawi said Iraq's security problems are directly related to border security. KR

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