26 October 2000, Volume
INTERNATIONAL HELSINKI FEDERATION ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.
The IHF cited individual cases from Austria, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan to illustrate egregious violations of freedom of expression and the media in its address to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 18 October. The IHF also observed that "the work of the media in the year 2000 has been affected by physical violence against journalists and by abusive lawsuits initiated by public figures. The rule according to which public figures and politicians do not enjoy the same level of protection against criticism as private individuals is generally ignored." The IHF also noted positive developments in Croatia and Serbia and thanked Freimut Duve, OSCE representative on media freedoms, for his work in his field. For the complete text see: http://www.ihf-hr.org (Greek Helsinki Monitor, 23 October)'CHALLENGES TO PRESS FREEDOM...'
Roger Parkinson, President of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), gave a speech in Warsaw during the FIPP/IWP Print Media Conference 2000 on 25 September. It was called "Challenges to Press Freedom in East and Central Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States," and is online at http://www.wan-press.org/pf/eastern.europe/warsaw.html (WAN Press Release, 26 September)
MEDIA MOGUL CALLS FOR COUP.
An influential media magnate, Arkady Vardanian, is calling on the Armenian people to overthrow the government. Now a Russian citizen, Vardanian started as a reporter for the state news agency Armenpress. On 14 October, staff at the "Novoe Vremya" Russian-language paper, owned by Vardanian, voted to suspend publication because the editors could no longer support the political line taken by their boss. Vardanian, however, has announced that the paper was forced to close "under pressure from the authorities," although he admitted, "The journalists don't share the same views on political struggle as their owner." (Institute for Peace and War Reporting's Caucasus Report, 20 October)PUBLICATION OF THE "YEZDINERY DZAIN" NEWSPAPER RENEWED.
After a seven month-long break, the only Yezidi-language newspaper in the world, "Yezdinery Dzain," will be published again in Armenia, Noyan Tapan reported on 2 October. Since it was set up in 1991, 46 issues have been issued in a print run of 1,000. Published in Armenian, the newspaper will contain rubrics on culture, history, and religion. In Armenia, where 25,000 Yezids live, there is also the world's only Yezidi-language radio broadcast. (MINELRES, 10 October)
Shahid Abbasov, chairman of the local branch of the opposition Musavat party in Sharur in Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, was abducted on 19 October and beaten by masked men who demanded that he stop criticizing the chairman of the exclave's parliament, Vasif Talibov, Turan reported. Abbasov and Talibov are both registered as candidates to contest the 5 November parliamentary election in the same single-mandate constituency in Sharur. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October)OPPOSITION POLITICIAN'S BODYGUARDS CHARGED.
Criminal proceedings have been launched against two of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party first deputy chairman Ali Kerimov's bodyguards on charges of hooliganism, Turan reported on 23 October. The two men are accused of having beaten the chairman of the Gyaanja branch of the association of Chornobyl invalids while Kerimov was addressing a meeting in that town the previous day. A spokesman for Kerimov said the man had tried to disrupt the meeting by addressing abusive remarks at Kerimov. Another of Kerimov's bodyguards was injured when someone threw a knife at Kerimov in the town of Masally, according to the independent newspaper "Azadlyg" on 21 October. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)
BELARUSIAN NGO LISTS ELECTION VIOLATIONS.
The Central Coordinating Council for Election Observation on 18 October said turnout in the 15 October ballot was below 50 percent in 31 constituencies, not 13 as announced by the Central Electoral Commission, Belapan reported. Council Chairman Mechyslau Hryb, who coordinated the activities of some 5,500 election monitors, said the most widespread violation among local electoral commissions was shortening the lists of registered voters in order to obtain turnout of more than 50 percent. According to Hryb, it was easy to falsify election results because half of the election commission members represented the authorities. Election violations were also facilitated by the early voting procedure, in which no monitoring was possible, he added. The Central Electoral Commission said 10 percent of the electorate voted ahead of 15 October, but in some constituencies, according to the Central Coordinating Council for Election Observation, this figure exceeded 45 percent. Overall, council monitors reported some 5,000 election irregularities. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October)OSCE OFFICIAL SAYS BELARUS 'MISSED' OPPORTUNITY FOR REFORM.
Hans Georg Wieck, head of the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Minsk, has said that the Belarusian government "missed a great political opportunity to broaden the political basis of state institutions and to engage in a moderate but ongoing reform process," Belapan reported on 23 October. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)LUKASHENKA ACCUSES OSCE OF CHANNELING MONEY TO OPPOSITION.
Lukashenka on 18 October told journalists that the Belarusian opposition has received $118 million from the West over the past six years. According to him, some of those funds were transferred to the opposition through the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Minsk. OSCE Minsk mission head Hans Georg Wieck told RFE/RL's Belarusian Service the following day that he does not know anything about the $118 million mentioned by Lukashenka. Moreover, Lukashenka revealed that "his hands are itching" to publish details in "Sovetskaya Belorussiya" about the financing of the Belarusian opposition by the West. He added that once such details are published, the opposition will "disappear as a class." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October)OSCE CONCERNED ABOUT HARASSMENT OF PRINTING HOUSE.
Freimut Duve, the OSCE's representative on the freedom of the media, has sent a letter to Belarusian Foreign Minister Ural Latypau about harassment of the Magic private printing house in Minsk, Belapan reported on 19 October. Magic prints some 20 independent periodicals, including "Rabochy," "Narodnaya volya," and "Belorusskaya delovaya gazeta." The Belarusian authorities seized Magic's bank accounts on 11 October and five days later moved to confiscate equipment that Magic had rented from the Belarus-Soros Foundation. Duve said he is viewing these acts as a "clear and flagrant violation of basic democratic principles" and as an attempt to silence the independent media in Belarus. The U.S. State Department also condemned the Belarusian authorities' moves vis-a-vis Magic, urging them to "cease persecution of the independent press." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October)
BOSNIAN SERB STUDENTS PROTEST FOR SEPARATE SCHOOLS.
For the third day in a row, some 1,000 ethnic Serbian high school students staged violent protests in Brcko on 19 October to demand separate schools from those of Muslims and Croats. Jacques Klein, who heads the UN's mission to Bosnia, said that Serbian extremists are behind the protests. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October)CPJ ANNOUNCES PRESS FREEDOM AWARD WINNERS.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) will present its International Press Freedom Awards for the year 2000 to four journalists, including Zeljko Kopanja from Bosnia-Herzegovina, on 21 November. Kopanja is the co-founder and editor of "Nezavisne Novine," the largest independent Serbian daily in Bosnia. Kopanja lost both his legs as a result of a car-bomb assassination attempt outside his home in Banja Luka in October 1999. Kopanja believes his attackers tried to kill him for publishing a series of ground-breaking articles that documented the killings of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serb authorities during the 1992-95 war. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 23 October)
CROATIAN EDITOR SACKED.
Igor Mandic has been ousted as editor in chief of the 61-year-old Zagreb daily "Vjesnik," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 17 October. He served for less than a year. Mandic succeeded in turning the paper from being a mouthpiece of the Tudjman regime into a serious daily but failed to boost circulation and make the paper profitable. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)
CZECH ROMA CRITICIZE MEMORIAL PLAQUE.
The government-approved text of a plaque to be unveiled at what was the Lety Nazi concentration camp, where many Czech Roma perished during World War II, is being criticized by the country's Romany community, CTK and dpa reported. Representatives of the community object to the formulation "forced concentration camp" approved by the cabinet and want it to be replaced with "concentration camp." The Roma also say the plaque fails to clearly mention the role played by Czech police in running the camp. In addition, Romany representatives consider it an insult that the Lety camp is now used as a pig farm and want the farm removed. Estimates of those killed at Lety vary between 300 and several thousand. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)
DRAFT LAW ON MESKHETIAN REPATRIATION.
The NGO "Young Lawyers' Association" worked out a draft law on the repatriation of Muslim Meskhetians, stipulating that the right for repatriation should not be granted to those who "may threaten state security or territorial integrity of Georgia, law and public order, or public health," or "may contribute to the propaganda of war or violence, ethnic, regional or religious conflicts." The newspaper welcomes such "a State approach" and suspects all those who disagree (including Guram Mamulia, the head of the Repatriation Service of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation), of being foreign security agents. "Alia" No. 144, September 12-13, reported. (South Caucasian Human Rights Monitor, September 2000)JOURNALIST'S MURDER PROTESTED.
The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) on 20 October protested the murder of Italian journalist Antonio Russo, who was working in Georgia to collect material on the Chechnya war. According to reports, Russo's body was found on a roadside about 25 kilometers northeast of Tbilisi. Russo had been living in Tbilisi for two months while reporting on the conflict in neighboring Chechnya. He worked as a correspondent for an Italian Radical Party radio station and was known for his work as a war correspondent in Kosova. Police reportedly found evidence that his apartment had been robbed. E-mail: email@example.com (World Association of Newspapers, 23 October)
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CRITICIZES HUNGARY.
The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International said in its 2000 report, which was released on 18 October, that Hungarian police frequently and unjustifiably mistreat Roma and refugees. The report singles out the case of two Romany youths beaten by two policemen in Hajduhaza, eastern Hungary, in January. Regarding the treatment of refugees, the report mentions the enforced return to Beirut of a Congolese refugee seeking political asylum and an incident in Szombathely in which gas spray was used against foreigners, Hungarian media reported. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October)
ACCESS TO EURASIA WEBSITE IS BLOCKED AGAIN.
The Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law reported that as of 15 September, users of two communication lines owned by the state companies "Kazakhtelekom" and "Nursat" have no access to the popular opposition website Eurasia (http://www.eurasia.org.ru). The two companies are the major Internet providers in Kazakhstan. Company representatives said that problems with the Eurasia site are purely technical; however, users of private Internet providers do not experience any difficulties in accessing the Eurasia site. There are reasons to believe that Kazakh authorities have blocked the site which includes articles critical of state policies, corruption, and criticism of the country's domestic and foreign policies. According to RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, this site is also known for its connections with Akezhan Kazhegeldin, the main political challenger to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Experts say that the blocking of most websites is quite easy; the Eurasia site was blocked in November last year. After the international community protests, Kazakhstan authorities removed the restriction. (Internews.kz, 20 October)REGIONAL PRESS WANTS TO 'EQUAL PARTNERSHIP' WITH STATE.
A meeting held on 12 October for editors of the main media outlets in Akmolinsk, Karaganda, Kostanai, Pavlodar, and Severo-Kazakhstan oblasts called for working with the government on an equal footing. Participants voiced concern about the effects of privatization, an increasing number of media outlets, and widespread government suspicion of the press. (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 18 October)QOSANOV AND BAPI AGAIN UNDER PRESSURE.
RFE/RL reported that on 23 October, policemen came to the apartments of Amirzhan Qosanov, vice chairman of the Kazakh Republican People Party's Executive Committee, and Ermurat Bapi, editor in chief of SolDat newspaper. The visitors introduced themselves as Almaty Migration Police officers and demanded to be given their travel passports. According to Ermurat Bapi, Almaty officials are trying to prevent him and Amirzhan Qosanov from travelling abroad. He told RFE/RL correspondents that the official reason for their passports being confiscated was the fact that both Bapi and Qosanov presumably were aware of some "secret data" they had gained while working at official positions in the past. ("RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 24 October)
REPORT CALLS FOR 'CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE' FOR KOSOVA...
An international commission has prepared a study for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that calls for "conditional independence" for Kosova. Full independence would come only once the leadership of the 90 percent ethnic Albanian province proves it can guarantee minority rights and establish stable relations with its neighbors. The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, which was formed at the initiative of Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, concluded that it has a "moral obligation" to make recommendations even though few leaders in the international community are willing to discuss independence. Commission head Richard Goldstone, who is a South African judge and former chief prosecutor of the Hague-based war crimes commission, said in New York on 23 October that "it's not realistic or justifiable to expect the Albanians in Kosovo to accept rule from Belgrade," AP reported. Goldstone added that an "international security presence" will be necessary in Kosova "for years to come," before local people are fully ready to take charge of their own affairs. ("RFE/RL Newsline, 24 October)...AND ANOTHER STUDY WARNS AGAINST CONCESSIONS TO BELGRADE OVER KOSOVA.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned the international community in a new report not to let its "new-found love affair with Belgrade" lead Kosovars to think the province will be returned to some form or other of Serbian rule, "The Guardian" reported on 23 October. The study warned that Kosovar extremists will gain popular backing if the population feels that the international community has turned a deaf ear to the idea of independence. The ICG believes that it would be "catastrophic" for the international community to allow Belgrade to send troops or police back into Kosovo, as some Serbian opposition leaders have demanded. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)
TWO INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS FINED...
A Bishkek district court on 17 October fined the independent newspaper "Res Publica," the paper's editor and one of its journalists a total of 25,000 soms ($5,000) for an article it published two years ago, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. That article criticized the Ministry of Justice's decisions to revoke the registration of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights in September 1997 and to register in 1998 an alternative body with the same name that was loyal to the government. In a later instance, a Bishkek district court ruled on 20 October that the independent newspaper "Asaba" must pay 5 million soms (about $105,000) in compensation to parliamentary deputy Turdakun UsubAliyev for having repeatedly insulted him over a period of eight years, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. "Asaba" editor Ernis Asek Uulu said he will appeal the court ruling. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 and 23 October)...AS OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CHARGE DISCRIMINATION.
Kyrgyz opposition presidential candidates Omurbek Tekebaev and Melis Eshimkanov told journalists in Bishkek on 20 October that local authorities are doing everything in their power to prevent campaigning on behalf of any candidates other than Akaev, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Also on 20 October, aides to opposition presidential candidate Almaz Atembaev said that Kyrgyz state radio and television and the independent television and radio station KOORT refuse to broadcast election propaganda on Atambaev's behalf. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October)PARLIAMENT, CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION AT ODDS.
The chairmen of three Kyrgyz parliamentary committees, including former Communist Party leader Absamat Masaliev, issued a statement on 21 October calling on the Central Electoral Commission to allow the Coalition of NGOs to monitor the 29 October presidential election, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported on 23 October. The statement noted the increasing role played by NGOs in Kyrgyzstan and characterized the coalition as an organization that is respected both in Kyrgyzstan and abroad. The Central Electoral Commission had refused to register the coalition's election observers, as the coalition itself has not been formally registered with the Ministry of Justice. ("RFE/RL Newsline, 24 October)
STATE TV/RADIO BANK ACCOUNTS FROZEN.
The bank accounts of the state-funded national TV and radio company were frozen on 16 October because it owes some $4 million; it cannot even pay for transmission of its own programs. According to the Lithuanian press, however, this action may actually be a way of pressuring state broadcasting employees to be more responsive to governmental pressures and the journalists' trade union is concerned about the possible future job status of the 1,000 journalists who work in this sector. (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 18 October)
MEDIA MINISTRY TO REMODEL GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER...
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed a decree on 23 October calling for the reorganization of the government newspaper "Rossiiskaya gazeta." According to the decree, the Media Ministry controls the newspaper, overseeing its organization as well as its editorial and financial policies, ITAR-TASS reported. "Segodnya" reported the next day that according to First Deputy Media Minister Mikhail Seslavinskii, the reorganization will seek to make the newspaper's financial activities transparent and the publication more attractive to the general reader. According to Seslavinskii, "people look at 'Rossiiskaya gazeta' only to examine materials of an official character, but for materials connected to the life of the country, they prefer to read other newspapers." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)...AS UNION HEAD SAYS JOURNALISTS BECOMING STATE BUREAUCRATS.
Igor Yakovenko, general-secretary of the Union of Journalists, said that the proposal to reorganize "Rossiiskaya gazeta" is "ghastly." Yakovenko told the daily that "this is part of the process that has been going on in Russia for more than two years, in which government newspapers are being converted in the expansion of state organs. In Russia there are more than 2000 regional government newspapers. Journalists are becoming government bureaucrats." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL SAYS FOREIGN JOURNALISTS SHOULD HAVE FEWER RIGHTS.
Speaking at a conference on Russia's mass media on 23 October, Anatolii Streltsov, deputy head of the Security Council's Information Security Department, said there should be a separate regulation or law defining the status of foreign media and foreign journalists in Russia, Interfax reported. When asked if the rights of such journalists should be different from those of their Russian colleagues, Streltsov answered in the affirmative, explaining that he "would give Russian journalists priority access to information and jobs in the economically lucrative sectors of the information market." Speaking at the same conference, Russian presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembskii said the Security Council's new information security doctrine contains nothing that would indicate censorship is imminent in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)INFORMATION SECURITY DRAFT URGES STRENGTHENING STATE CONTROL.
Vladislav Sherstyuk, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and one of the authors of Russia's new information security doctrine, said that the role of the state in controlling the media must be expanded because "citizens are not getting enough information on the activity of their government," "Nezavisimoye voennoye obozreniye," no. 41, reported. He added that the Security Council is currently developing additional documents on information policy. ("RFE/RL Security Watch," 23 October)MEDIA-MOST WINS SUIT AGAINST FSB.
A district court in Moscow found for Media-MOST in its suit against the FSB for "slandering its business reputation" as a result of information the FSB made public earlier this year, RIA- Novosti reported on 18 October. The Russian intelligence service had suggested that Media-MOST had been involved in illegal surveillance activities and the distribution of compromising materials. The court held that the FSB must apologize for this on ORT during prime time. But Aleksandr Zdanovich, the head of the FSB's public relations center, said that the court lacked jurisdiction and that the FSB will not follow its orders. ("RFE/RL Security Watch," 23 October)TOP NTV OFFICIAL LEAVES MEDIA-MOST FOR STATE NEWS COMPANY.
NTV First Deputy General-Director Vladimir Kulistikov has tendered his resignation, Interfax reported on 17 October. Kulistikov has confirmed that he will work at the RIA-Novosti agency. That agency is part of the federal mass media holding which includes the All-Russia Federal TV and Radio company, 99 regional state TV and radio companies, Kultura TV Channel 5, Radio Rossiya, and Radio Mayak. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)RADIO ROSSIYA NO LONGER IN THE RIGHT(S) BIZ?
The human rights program of Radio Rossiya, on the air for nine years, was taken off the air in August due to a "change in broadcasting policy." Tatiana Kasatkina, former head of the human rights radio show, along with Aleksei Simonov, head of the Glasnost Defense Fund and liberal parliamentarian Grigory Yavlinsky held a press conference on 18 October to protest the program's disappearance. Radio Rossiya did not attend the press conference, although it had been invited. http://www.online.ru/sp/chronicle/prima/index_prima.html#1 (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 19 October)FOUNDATION SEEKS TO DEFEND PRESS FREEDOM AHEAD OF BALLOT.
Relations between the oblast administration and the independent media have long been tense, but as the gubernatorial ballot looms, they have deteriorated significantly. In August, the head of Governor Yevgeny Mikhailov's administration was suspended after he physically attacked a journalist from the independent newspaper "Tak nado!" who had been barred from attending a public meeting with Mikhailov. Following that incident, "Tak nado!" appealed to the Glasnost Defense Fund, which responded by sending a representative to the oblast to investigate the situation there. Aleksandr Osipov told RFE/RL Russian Service's "Korrespondentskii chas" that his organization has decided to launch a pilot scheme in the oblast entitled "The Mass Media and Elections" in the hope that the presence of "detached observers" might prevent further such incidents. Osipov also told RFE/RL that when "Tak nado!" filed a complaint with oblast law enforcement organs over the treatment of its journalist, it was informed that no criminal proceedings would be launched because no crime had been committed. Gubernatorial elections are scheduled to take place in the oblast on 12 November. ("RFE/RL Russian Federation Report," 18 October)SAMARA OBLAST ESTABLISHES ITS OWN 'MINISTRY OF TRUTH.'
RFE/RL's Samara correspondent reported on 11 October that a new directorate is being established in the oblast that will control information security for the region. The new entity, the Department for the Coordination of Information Policy and Cooperation with the Mass Media, was created by a decree of Samara Oblast Governor Konstantin Titov. The head of the new directorate, Valerii Lebedev, told a press conference on 3 October that the agency's primary task is to "prevent materials of the mass media that would inflict harm on Samara Oblast from ever being published." According to Lebedev, articles and stories in the central mass media about the intense worsening of the criminal situation in Samara can lower the investment rating of the region and could lead to actual monetary losses. He explained that workers in his department will examine a variety of media sources and rate them for their objectivity. The department will then "begin work with those outlets, who discredit the Samara region." Commenting about the department's creation, one local journalist commented that "soon, independent journalists in Samara will discontinue their work with local publications and write for central mass media, because [in Samara] each of your words will be analyzed on the basis of how it creates an image of Samara Oblast." When RFE/RL's Samara correspondent called the office of the chairman of the region's union of journalists for a comment on the situation, her secretary asked the journalist "Who gave you permission to work with Radio Liberty? And why have you never shown the union [an advance] text of your reports?" ("RFE/RL Russian Federation Report," 18 October)'ENVIRONMENTAL SPIES' IN VLADIVOSTOK?
Crusading environmentalist journalist Grigorii Pasko reports that Aleksandr Savin, chairperson of the Primorskii Krai Committee for Natural Resources, said at a 16 October press conference that "There are a number of environmental organizations, primarily foreign ones, that are backed by special services and that act, without basis, to slow down economic development, citing a need to expand environmental protection activities." Pasko also referred to similar comments by Nikolai Sotskov, Rear Admiral and Director of the Federal Security Service for the Pacific Fleet. Pasko observes that Sotskov had referred to him as a "Japanese spy." Pasko said that "I think they're rather nervous about the upcoming session of the appeals panel of the military collegium of the Russian Federation Supreme Court. And they have reason to be nervous: professional judges can't help but notice that the case the Pacific Fleet security service geeks slapped together against me under the keen supervision of Suchkov isn't worth a plugged nickel and could, and should, end in only one manner: a censure of those who brought this case to the court in the first place." (Ecology And Human Rights, 19 October)KURSK CAPTAIN'S WIDOW RESIGNS FROM COMMISSION.
Irina Lyachina, the widow of the captain of the "Kursk" who perished in the August sinking of the submarine, has resigned from a commission overseeing the distribution of government and private funds for the families of the victims of the tragedy. In a letter published by "Komsomolskaya pravda" on 19 October, Lyachina said "there is no talk about help for the 'Kursk' crew member families." She pointed out that the commission had decided to spend 23,000 rubles ($821) on a commemorative book about the accident for libraries and schools and 5,000 rubles on mailing "thank you" letters to donors. According to NTV, the combined total of government funds and private donations for the "Kursk" victims' families is some 118 million ($4.2 million). ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October)MEASURING THE LABOR MARKET.
International Labour Organization-type surveys show that in early 2000 there were over eight million unemployed persons in Russia, or 11 percent of the potential workforce. The problem is that the Russian employment service records not so much the number of people who are actually unemployed as the number of those who want to receive unemployment benefits, according to the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Socio-Economic Problems of Population. Official statistics show that 70 percent of the unemployed are women, when other studies suggest that they represent less than half of the unemployed. Even official statistics show that the demand for manpower is almost as great as the registered unemployment rate. Of course, 1 million Russian unemployed cannot immediately fill the 950,000 job openings. The supply and demand do not coincide. An official from the Labor and Social Development Department of the Russian Federation has pointed out that today 80 percent of officially reported job openings are for blue-collar workers, yet they comprise only 60 percent of the registered unemployed. ("Izvestiya," 17 October)SUCCESSOR GROUP TO RUSSIAN NATIONAL UNITY FORMED.
A new nationalist movement has been founded in Moscow by the former deputy chairman of Russian National Unity (RNE), Oleg Kassin, "Vremya novostei" reported on 16 October. According to Kassin, Russian Revival will "take over where RNE left off," but will have a different organizing principle. "Emphasis will be placed on the propaganda of the national idea and of the organization rather than on the personality of its leader," Kassin explained. He added that the new group will participate in elections at all levels and will apply for official registration. RNE leader Aleksandr Barkashov was removed from leadership of that organization last month. NTV reported on 14 October that Russian Revival has the support of most of RNE's regional branches. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)CHECHEN DETAINEES FACE "HELL" FROM RUSSIAN CAPTORS.
Human Rights Watch released a report on 26 October which details the cycle of torture and extortion faced by thousands of Chechens whom Russian forces have detained in Chechnya. The rights group called on European states to file a case against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights for these and other abuses during the war in Chechnya. The 99-page report, titled "Welcome to Hell," describes how Russian troops have detained thousands of Chechens on suspicion of collaboration with rebel fighters. The report can be found at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/russia_chechnya4 (Human Rights Watch, 26 October)CHECHNYA'S DUMA DEPUTY ACCUSES RUSSIAN MILITARY OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
Echoing numerous western journalists' findings, Aslanbek Aslakhanov told fellow State Duma deputies on 19 October that the Russian military in Chechnya engages in the arbitrary detention, beating, and torture of Chechen civilians, 10,000 of whom he claimed have vanished without trace, Interfax reported. Aslakhanov said that military representatives routinely deny charges that they engage in such practices. He called on the Russian leadership to halt the "genocide" of the Chechen people and intervene to restore order in the republic. Aslakhanov also charged that the Russian military are obstructing the restoration of the judicial system in Chechnya. Meanwhile in Grozny, the city's newly appointed mayor, Beslan Gantemirov, has announced unspecified measures to stabilize the situation in the city, according to AP. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October)JOURNALIST CENSURED FOR WRITING ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM.
RFE/RL's Russian Service reported on 10 October that an editor for "Vecherni Ryazan" has been threatened with dismissal for publishing an article about the 17 September attack by some 15 youths on a Jewish Sunday School. Viktor Petrenko's article appeared in "Priokskaya gazeta" 10 days after the attack; during that period, the local press had refrained from reporting on the incident. Petrenko was informed that his decision to publish his article, which examined the growth of anti-Semitism in the region, warranted his dismissal. While the journalist has not yet been given notice, his articles have been subject to censorship by the chief editor of "Vechernii Ryazan." RFE/RL's Russian Service notes that "Vechernii Ryazan" is supporting the candidacy of Valerii Ryumin, a former mayor of Ryazan and a well-know anti-Semite, in the 3 December gubernatorial ballot. ("RFE/RL Russian Federation Report," 18 October)COSSACK CONGRESS ATTACKS JEWS.
The third World Cossack Congress in Krasnodar featured expressions of national and racial hatred, regions.ru reported on 17 October. Held under the slogan "Shame on Zionism," the group listened to the speech of Krasnodar Krai Governor Nikolai Kondratenko in which he called for "separating Moscow, with its Zionists and oligarchs," from the rest of Russia. ("RFE/RL Security Watch," 23 October)SYNAGOGUE RAIDED IN MEDIA-MOST INVESTIGATION.
Moscow's central synagogue was raided on 20 October during the Jewish holiday week of Sukkoth, the Feast of the Tabernacles. Moscow Jewish Community Vice President Pavel Feldblyum told Interfax that as they examined the synagogue's financial documents, law enforcement officers were interested in "practically everything" but primarily "in what way the Jewish community was 'laundering' money it is receiving from its sponsors," especially funds provided by Media-MOST. According to a World Jewish Congress official in New York, the synagogue's major donors are the Russian Jewish Congress and Media-MOST head Vladimir Gusinskii, Reuters reported. Aleksandr Osovtsov, vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress, condemned the raid, noting that "if they had come to the offices of the Moscow Jewish Community," that could have even been understood. But, he noted, "they came to the Choral Synagogue -- a place that is holy and special for all Jews of the former Soviet Union." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October)FSB CLAIMS 'MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD' HAS NETWORK IN RUSSIA, CIS.
The extremist wing of the "Muslim Brotherhood" has established a network of 49 groups throughout Russia and further organizations in unnamed CIS states, according to a Federal Security Service (FSB) press release of 17 October, as summarized by Interfax. The FSB claims that the main objective of that network is to fan separatist sentiments in those regions of Russia whose population is predominantly Muslim. It adds that they engage in charitable operations as a front for "spreading the ideas of militant Islam." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)KABARDINO-BALKARIA RELIGIOUS LEADERS DISOWN WAHHABIS.
The Muslim leadership in Kabardino-Balkaria -- including Shafig Pshikhachev, the head of the republic's Spiritual Islamic Leadership -- is speaking out about Wahhabism in the face of a media offensive on Wahhabi fundamentalism in the North Caucasus region. Despite an earlier statement that he "always believed that a truly democratic society needed a religious opposition as well as a political one," Pshikhachev now says that Wahhabism constitutes "a subversive outside force." (Institute for Peace and War Reporting Caucasus Report, 20 October)U.S. MISSIONARIES RECEIVE ICY WELCOME IN VLADIMIR.
Earlier this month, three U.S. missionaries were denied registration at their temporary place of residence in Vladimir, despite having been invited to Russia by a religious organization registered with the federal justice ministry, the Keston News Service reported on 12 October. When the missionaries arrived in Moscow, where the Association of Evangelical Christians Blagovest is located, they successfully registered with the authorities. But in Vladimir, the city authorities denied them registration because although the church with which they were to work is a member of the Association of Evangelical Christians Blagovest, it has not yet been registered locally, having been unable to find 10 Russian citizens willing to submit applications to join. The news service notes that even though the law does not empower them to do so, local authorities frequently refuse to register foreign missionaries if the religious organization that invited them is not registered in the region. ("RFE/RL Russian Federation Report," 18 October)
YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT ADMITS SERBIAN WAR CRIMES IN KOSOVO.
Vojislav Kostunica told the U.S. television news program "60 Minutes II" that he is "ready to...accept the guilt [sic] for all those people who have been killed. [I acknowledge] what [former President Slobodan] Milosevic had done, and as a Serb, I will take responsibility for many of these, these crimes," AP reported on 24 October. He made the statement in response to a question about whether Serbian forces were guilty of genocide in Kosovo in 1999. Kostunica added: "Those are the crimes and the people that have been killed are victims. [But] there are a lot of crimes on the other side [as well]. Serbs have been killed." Asked whether he thought Milosevic will stand trial for his crimes, Kostunica replied: "Somewhere, yes." This is the first time that a top-ranking Serbian leader has admitted that Serbian forces committed war crimes. Most opposition leaders prefer not to discuss the subject or give evasive answers. Officials of the Milosevic regime and many nationalists place the blame on "Albanian separatists and terrorists" and "NATO bombs." ("RFE/RL Newsline, 24 October)INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS SEEK DESTRUCTION OF FILES.
The Independent Association of Vojvodina Journalists has sent an open letter on 19 October to Novi Sad head of police General Marinko Kresoja, requesting that he order the public destruction of all criminal files opened on arrested journalists, Otpor activists, their mothers and supporters, Beta reported. "Members of your police force entered apartments without warrants, arrested young people and opened files on them as if they were criminals, thieves, and terrorists," said the letter. The Association stated that until it received a reply from Kresoja this letter would be published in every issue of Novi Sad daily "Nezavisni." (ANEM Weekly Report, 14-20 October)INDEPENDENT ASSOCIATION NOMINATES MATIC TO GOVERNMENT POST.
The Independent Association of Serbian Journalists on 20 October announced their acceptance of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia's offer to appoint its representative of the transitional republican government in a joint Information portfolio. The Association's Executive Committee voted unanimously for long-time journalist, daily "Politika" analyst, and president of the association's Court of Honor, Biserka Matic. (ANEM Weekly Report, 14-20 October)POLICE RETURN TRANSMITTER TO RADIO PANCEVO...
Radio Pancevo will shortly resume broadcasting at an FM frequency covering the same territory as before. Members of the Belgrade police's Communication Bureau on 19 October returned the broadcaster's stolen transmitter, worth more than 50,000 German marks, which mysteriously disappeared on 17 May. According to Radio-Televison Pancevo's lawyer, the Belgrade police who returned the transmitter said that they had only been authorized to hand over the equipment and not to release any information. (ANEM Weekly Report, 14-20 October)...AND RADIO B92 OFFICIALLY RETURNED TO ORIGINAL STAFF.
By court order, Sasa Mirkovic was reinstated as Radio B92's director and authorized representative on 20 October. Radio B92 employees expect a successful conclusion to the remaining court procedures launched for the protection of their rights and the return of their equipment. (ANEM Weekly Report, 14-20 October)STATE TELEVISION REBROADCASTS MONTENEGRIN NEWS.
Radio Television Serbia on 18 October began rebroadcasting the Montenegrin state television evening prime time news program on its second channel. Beta was told by the Radio Televison Serbia information section that neither media nor the Montenegrin state management had given their prior approval. (ANEM Weekly Report, 14-20 October)
THREE DETAINED FOR ATTACK ON KOREAN RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY.
Tajiks have been arrested in Dushanbe in connection with the 1 October bomb attack on a Korean religious congregation, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 October. Seven people died and some 50 were injured in that bombing. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October)TAJIKISTAN, IRAN DISCUSS BROADCASTING COOPERATION.
The chairman of the Tajik government's Television and Radio Committee, Ubaydullo Radjabov, told Asia Plus-Blitz on 24 October that during talks in Dushanbe the previous day, he and his Iranian counterpart, Saidmushin Sharifzoda, and Iranian Ambassador to Tajikistan Saidrasul Musavi had discussed possible cooperation, including the broadcast of joint television and radio programs. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is expected to arrive in Dushanbe on 25 October for talks with Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov and Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)
LEGISLATORS PROTEST NEWSPAPER'S CLOSURE.
Leftist and centrist deputies on 17 October left the parliamentary session hall to protest the closure of the "Silski visti" newspaper for non-payment of taxes, Interfax reported. Ivan Bokyy, of the Socialist Party caucus, demanded that President Leonid Kuchma "immediately" cancel the ban on "Silski visti." The State Tax Administration ordered the newspaper to pay 1.8 million hryvni ($330,000) in penalties for not having paid income tax on property it received eight years ago. The Kyiv City Arbitration Court rejected the newspaper's appeal to cancel the penalties. "Silski visti" has been known for its leftist political sympathies and criticism of the Kuchma administration. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)OFFICIALS ACCUSED OF HIDING INFORMATION ABOUT DISAPPEARED JOURNALIST.
Lawmaker Oleksandr Lavrynovych on 17 October said Ukraine's law enforcement bodies are giving only "a part of the information" to the public about their investigation into the disappearance of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, Interfax reported. Lavrynovych heads a special commission created by the parliament to look into Gongadze's disappearance. Alona Prytula, chief editor of the Internet newsletter "Ukrayinska pravda," for which Gongadze worked before his disappearance, said Security Service head Leonid Derkach and Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko "are interested in convincing" the president that Gongadze "disappeared on his own initiative." According to Prytula, Gongadze was kidnapped and "is now being kept somewhere." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October)NASHE RADIO WARNED FOR VIOLATING LICENSE REGS.
Nashe Radio has been given an official warning that it is in violation of a law which requires that over half the country's programming should be in Ukrainian. The station's management has been given one month to bring its programs in line with legal requirements. http://uatoday.net/ (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 19 October)
SERBIAN, RUSSIAN ACTIVISTS HONORED.
Natasa Kandic of Serbia became the first recipient of The Civil Courage Prize and a gift of $50,000, awarded by the Northcote Parkinson Fund on 26 September "for resisting evil at great personal risk." Kandic founded the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade in 1991, and it has been cited for its "accurate and unflinching reporting of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia." A special cash prize was also announced for Sergei Khodorovich, former representative of the Russian Social Fund, created by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to aid the families of dissidents imprisoned under the Soviet regime. The KGB arrested Khodorovich in 1983 and, unable to extract a "confession," sentenced him to hard labor in Siberia. After being amnestied by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Khodorovich moved to France, where he now lives. (Northcote Parkinson Fund, 22 September)RESETTLEMENT OF CRIMEAN TATARS EASED?
The presidents of Ukraine and Uzbekistan on 12 October agreed to help ethnic-Tatar natives of Ukraine who were deported to Uzbekistan by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, the AP reported. Stalin ordered some 500,000 Tatars deported from Crimea on the Black Sea to Central Asia in 1944, on allegations of collaboration with the Nazis. The exiles and their descendants were allowed to return to Ukraine shortly before the 1991 USSR collapse. Over 270,000 have returned to Crimea, but many remain in Uzbekistan and have difficulties getting citizenship and finding jobs. The agreement is intended to ease the process of acquiring Ukrainian citizenship for Uzbekistan's Crimean Tartars. (MINELRES, 19 October)
"Making Power-sharing Work: Lessons from Successes and Failures in Ethnic Conflict Regulation" (29 pages). It appeared as no. 19/2000 at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) and is available at the following website: http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~iniis/paper.htm Based on a comparative analysis of six cases (from Belgium, south Tyrol, Northern Ireland 1973, Cyprus 1960, Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995, Northern Ireland 1998), the paper aims to identify favorable conditions for power-sharing regimes and to evaluate different options of institutional designs. Dr. Ulrich Schneckener, University of Bremen, firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://alf.zfn.uni-bremen.de/~iniis/mitarb/us.htmINTERNET-BASED NEWS SERVICE SET UP IN KOSOVA.
KosovaLive, a daily wire service-style report in English and Albanian, was launched recently. It offers news and political analysis from Prishtina, Kosova's capital, and the province's regions. The site address is: http://www.kosovalive.com and focuses on issues such as health, education, social welfare, and good governance. KosovaLive is directed at local news outlets, Albanians overseas, and people in Kosova. KosovaLive is an independent, non-profit organization that is supported with contributions from the Open Society Institute, Press Now, the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), and the governments of Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. (International Journalists' Network, 23 October)U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES NEW RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE WEB SITE.
The State Department's Office of International Information Programs (IIP)officially launched its Russian-language website on 18 October with a special demonstration at the Foreign Press Center for journalists and Russian experts. The site is located at http://usinfo.state.gov/russki/homepage.htm. The goal is to inform the public about the policies of the United States and, more broadly, about U.S. society and values. The main categories of information on the website are highlights from IIP's daily Washington File (U.S. policy-related texts and transcripts); Electronic Journals on various topics dating back to December 1996; basic facts about the U.S. and historical American documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights; and links to other Internet sites including the UN, NATO, and the Voice of America. (U.S. Department of State, 19 October)NEW WORLD BANK STUDY ON CORRUPTION.
The World Bank conducted a survey in September on the transition economies in Europe and Central Asia ("Anticorruption in Transition: A Contribution to the Policy Debate," Washington DC, 2000; Joel S. Hellman, Geraint Jones, and Daniel Kaufmann, "Seize the State, Seize the Day: State Capture, Corruption and Influence in Transition," Policy Research Paper 2444, World Bank, Washington DC, September 2000.) The World Bank data suggests that there are five types of countries. First are those, such as Belarus and Uzbekistan, that are at such a low level of government capacity that little business activity occurs, and hence corruption and state capture are at low levels. Second is a group of countries, mostly in the eastern part of the region and including Russia and Ukraine, that have powerful enough governments and strong enough business opportunities to generate demands for government favors. They suffer from high levels of both state capture and administrative corruption. Third are countries, mostly bordering on Western Europe but including some of the Baltic states, that have medium levels of both administrative corruption and state capture. Corruption and cronyism exceed the levels in most of Western Europe, but the state functions reasonably well. The fourth and fifth categories score highly on just one of these measures. (Transitions Online, 24 October)