GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW ARRANGEMENT WITH GAZPROM.
The government plans to review an arrangement whereby almost all of the state's 40% stake in the gas monopoly Gazprom is managed by the company's executives rather than by the state directly, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported yesterday. First Deputy Prime Ministers Anatolii Chubais and Boris Nemtsov both called for reviewing what Nemtsov described as an "inexpedient" arrangement. Chubais and Nemtsov co-chaired yesterday's cabinet meeting after Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who headed Gazprom from 1989 to 1992, unexpectedly went on leave for two days. Addressing the State Duma on 9 April, Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev claimed that international financial institutions and foreign gas companies were using the Finance Ministry to break up the Russian gas giant. Deputy Prime Minister Alfred Kokh said yesterday that it was "nonsense" for Vyakhirev to criticize his own beneficiary, pointing to Gazprom's administrative control over the government's share package.
REACTION TO YELTSIN'S ANTI-CORRUPTION ADDRESS.
Opposition figures were generally skeptical about President Boris Yeltsin's radio address yesterday focusing on anti- corruption measures (see RFE/RL Newsline, 10 April 1997). State Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin, a leading member of the Communist Party, said Yeltsin was fighting corruption only in words and had, in fact, appointed several corrupt officials, Interfax reported. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii argued that the president's words will remain "hollow phrases" until a list of corrupt officials is published, AFP reported. In contrast, Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev told ITAR-TASS that he welcomed Yeltsin's address.
GOVERNMENT INCREASES PRIVATIZATION TARGETS.
The government has increased its target for 1997 privatization revenues from 6.5 trillion rubles ($1.1 billion) to 10 trillion rubles ($1.7 billion), Russian news agencies reported yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister Alfred Kokh, who also heads the State Property Committee, told journalists that the government plans to sell off a 25% stake in the telecommunications company Svyazinvest, whose starting price will be $1.1 billion. In the third and fourth quarters of 1997, Kokh said, the government plans to sell a 50% stake in the Rosgosstrakh insurance company, 2% of the electricity giant Unified Energy System, and an unspecified stake in the oil company Rosneft. Kokh said privatization revenues last year were only about 10% of the budgeted $2 billion. He blamed the shortfall on last year's political uncertainty in Russia.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DENIES "ALUMINUM MAFIA" REPORTS.
Kokh says reports that criminals control Russia's aluminum industry are "completely wrong," ITAR-TASS reported yesterday. In particular, Kokh said the Trans-World Metals group and the brothers Lev and Mikhail Chernyi, who critics say dominate the industry, do not even control half of Russia's aluminum production. Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov has recently charged that mafia-like structures were monopolizing and destroying the aluminum market. In January, the private network NTV ran a three-part investigative report on privatization in the aluminum industry since 1992. NTV's reports linked the Chernyi brothers to various corrupt practices and alleged they maintained close contacts with some former Yeltsin associates, including former First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets.
IRANIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER IN MOSCOW.
Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, addressing the Duma this morning, urged Caspian states to reach agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which he termed "the core of Russian-Iranian cooperation," ITAR-TASS reported. Nateq Nouri, who is tipped to succeed Rafsanjani as Iranian president in next month's elections, arrived in Moscow yesterday with the Iranian defense and economics and trade ministers. He also met with Yeltsin, who described Russian-Iranian relations as "good and positive," according to Interfax.
MASKHADOV POSTPONES DEPARTURE ON HAJJ.
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov has postponed until later this month his departure for Saudi Arabia citing "a busy work schedule," ITAR-TASS reported yesterday. In Moscow, First Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov and Said-Hasan Abdumuslimov held talks yesterday on "a range of issues." Udugov told journalists that the issue of economic aid for reconstruction can be discussed only after a formal peace treaty is signed. Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin evaluates the ongoing negotiations in today's Rossiiskie vesti, noting the "fragile trust" that now exists between the two parties and praising the Chechen side's "constructive" approach.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS SAID TO BE UNDER PRESSURE IN REGIONS.
Human rights defenders such as Mariana Katzarova of Amnesty International and Lyudmila Alekseeva of the Moscow Helsinki group say regional authorities are arresting local critics in order to stifle publicity about human rights violations, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported yesterday. They said a human rights activist in Magadan was released yesterday only after intervention from the Kremlin. The activist had spent two weeks in detention. A human rights campaigner in Omsk was released last December following intervention from then presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais. The ITAR-TASS and Interfax news agencies, which did not report the findings of a recent Amnesty report on torture in Russia (see RFE/RL Newsline, 4 April 1997), also did not cover yesterday's press conference. Meanwhile, Yeltsin issued a decree yesterday declaring 1998 the "year of human rights in the Russian Federation," ITAR- TASS reported.
WAGE ARREARS PROMPT HUNGER STRIKES...
Primorskii power station workers have resumed a hunger strike to protest persistent wage arrears, ITAR-TASS reports today. Workers at the same station staged hunger strikes last August and September. Meanwhile, 44 workers at a nuclear power plant in Arkhangelsk suspended their four-day hunger strike last night after they were paid for the first time since October. Vladimir Yakovlev, leader of an education workers' trade union, told ITAR-TASS yesterday that 20,000 Russian teachers are on strike, and 30 are on hunger strikes. Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Sysuev said on 9 April that the government has enough money to pay teachers' wages. He blamed regional authorities for using federal funds earmarked to pay teachers for other purposes.
..AND OTHER DESPERATE ACTION.
About 700 coal miners in Kemerovo Oblast lifted a 16-hour blockade of the Trans- Siberian railroad yesterday, Russian news agencies reported. The miners have not been paid in six to eight months. Coal industry officials helped end the protest by promising to pay part of the miners' back wages soon. Meanwhile, 300 construction workers in Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk Oblast) have spent the last three days underground. The workers are refusing to emerge from a subway tunnel under construction until they receive their wages, which have not been paid since November.
PRIMORE RESIDENTS SEEK TO HOLD ON TO LAND DISPUTED BY CHINA.
Less than two weeks before Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to Moscow, Primorskii Krai residents are seeking to ensure a disputed piece of land is not handed over to the Chinese, Interfax reported on 9 April. Local deputies are planning to hold a referendum on whether to cede to China a strip of land south of Vladivostok. Primore residents say this will undercut trade with Japan because it will give the Chinese a new port at the mouth of the Tumannaya River. They also fear that if the Chinese farm the land around the basin of Lake Khasan, fertilizers and pesticides will pollute the lake, which is the primary source of fresh water for the area.
NORTH CAUCASUS LEADERS MEET IN MAKHACHKALA.
Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev says Moscow should not try to micro-manage relations between federation subjects but should encourage them to expand bilateral relations among themselves, RFE/RL's Makhachkala bureau reported yesterday. Stroev was addressing a Dagestani meeting of the Council of the Association for Social and Economic Cooperation of North Caucasus Republics, Krais, and Oblasts. The meeting was attended by leaders from the North Caucasus, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia but not Chechnya. The participants approved guidelines for a draft program on the North Caucasus, which is to be forwarded to the Russian government and president for approval, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported today.
TWO MORE AZERBAIJANIS KILLED IN BORDER SHOOTING.
Two Azerbaijanis were shot dead last night trying to cross the frontier into Armenia's Izhdevan Raion, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported today, citing a Defense Ministry press release. Armenian troops returned Azerbaijani fire and then gave warning shots as three men tried to cross the border. There were no Armenian casualties. Interfax yesterday quoted an Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman as denying reports that two Azerbaijani troops were killed in a border shooting earlier this week.
GEORGIA HOSTS "TRASECA" CONFERENCE.
The European Commission and the Georgian government have sponsored a conference on reviving the historic "Silk Road," which ran from China via Central Asia, the Transcaucasus, and Turkey to Europe, Russian agencies reported. Participants in the conference, which opened in Tbilisi on 8 April, include the deputy premiers and transport ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation member countries and IMF and EBRD representatives. The so-called TRASECA project foresees the expansion of existing road, rail, and telecommunications links as well as ferry services across the Caspian and Black Seas. It could earn Georgia more than $300 million in transit tariffs in 1998 alone. Although the proposed transport routes do not cross Russian territory, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze favors Russian participation in the project.
KAZAK PRESIDENT BACKTRACKS ON THREATS OVER PENSION ARREARS.
Nursultan Nazarbayev has extended the deadline for the payment of pension arrears to the end of this year, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported. Last month, Nazarbayev set 10 April as the deadline and threatened to sack both Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin and oblast governors who did not comply. But at a special government session yesterday, he extended the deadline, noting that there were signs of progress toward paying the arrears. As of 1 April, pension arrears totaled some 39 billion tenge ($500 million).
LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN CENTRAL ASIA.
Valdis Birkaus is on an official visit to Central Asia, RFE/RL's Central Asian and Latvian services report. He arrived on 9 April in Kyrgyzstan, where he signed agreements on transportation and mutual legal aid as well as a protocol on consultations with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Roza Otunbayeva. He also met with Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev. In Kazakstan yesterday, Birkaus met with his Kazak counterpart, Kasymzhomart Tokayev, to discuss the opening of a Kazak embassy in the Latvian capital and how to improve bilateral relations. Today in Tashkent, Birkaus is due to sign 12 accords, one of which will establish an intergovernmental commission on trade.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT WARNS BELARUS.
The Strasbourg-based European Parliament has warned it will block a planned trade and aid agreement between the EU and Belarus unless Minsk undertakes genuine political and economic reform. The European Parliament yesterday complained that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has adopted an increasingly "dictatorial style of government," which, it said raises serious questions about future EU relations with Belarus. In particular, the parliament accused Lukashenka of total disregard for the democratically elected parliament, which was disbanded last year, and of strongly repressing any opposition to his regime. All international agreements concluded by the EU must be approved by both the European Parliament and the 15 EU governments.
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PRAISES UNION ACCORD WITH RUSSIA.
Lukashenka says the Russian-Belarusian union accord, initialed in Moscow last week, will benefit both states. He said on Belarusian TV yesterday that the recent growth in bilateral trade is an indication of the benefits of closer ties. Referring to the crackdown on anti-government protests in Belarus, he commented that those who act within the law and the constitution "won't need to be afraid of truncheons." Opposition parties do not recognize the current constitution, approved in a controversial referendum last November, giving Lukashenka broad new powers.
UKRAINIAN BANK HEAD SUPPORTS NEW DEPUTY PREMIER.
Ukrainian Central Bank director Viktor Yushchenko says he is giving his "full support" to new Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Tigipko, who is to oversee economic reforms. Yushchenko told reporters in Kyiv yesterday that he hopes Tigipko will play a positive role in his new post. Tigipko is the former head of Privatbank, one of the top five banks in Ukraine. He replaced Viktor Pynzenyk earlier this week.
ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON FUTURE OF OSCE MISSION.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves has told the OSCE that he hopes its diplomatic mission in Estonia can soon be closed because its work has been successful. RFE/RL's correspondent in Vienna reported yesterday that Ilves told an OSCE meeting in the Austrian capital that the practical groundwork for the integration of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia is "in its final stages." Ilves also commended the work of OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Max van der Stoel, who has frequently visited Estonia to examine complaints by the Russian- speaking minority and suggest revisions to Estonian regulations. Earlier this week in Tallinn, Van der Stoel praised Estonian progress on integrating ethnic minorities.
LATVIA BROADENS ACCESS TO CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.
The Latvian parliament has amended the law on state secrets to extend access to classified information to non-citizen employees of the Interior Ministry and other state security agencies, BNS and RFE/RL's Latvian service reported yesterday. The amendment applies only to non-citizens who are already employed at those bodies. However, they will be stripped of access privileges if they do not become naturalized citizens within one year of becoming eligible for citizenship. Until now, non-citizens whose work required access to classified information had to leave their posts within three months. Meanwhile, Latvian authorities have handed out the first batch of special passports to resident aliens, BNS reported yesterday. The passports are meant for the one-third of Latvia's 2.6 million people, mostly ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, who did not qualify for citizenship under current laws. Non-citizens have been using old Soviet passports, which are often not recognized abroad.
POLISH AGRICULTURE MINISTER DISMISSED.
At the request of Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, President Aleksander Kwasniewski has dismissed Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Roman Jagielinski, RFE/RL's Warsaw correspondent reported yesterday. Kwasniewski had postponed announcing the dismissal for several weeks but came under increasing pressure from Jagielinski's Polish Peasant Party (PSL), which blamed the minister for last year's food trade deficit and low grain prices. The PSL wants Jagielinski to be replaced by its Sejm deputy Jaroslaw Kalinowski. Cimoszewicz said he regretted Jagielinski's departure, explaining that he submitted the motion only because, under the coalition agreement, the PSL has the right to designate the agriculture minister.
POLISH INTERIOR MINISTER UNDER INVESTIGATION OVER GUN POSSESSION.
A spokesman for the Warsaw Prosecutor's Office told journalists yesterday that an investigation has been launched into Leszek Miller after the minister admitted on national TV that he has an unlicensed pistol, RFE/RL's Warsaw correspondent reported. Miller said a he was given the gun in 1995 by a cabinet colleague but failed to obtain a license for it. The minister said he is willing to face the consequences of his oversight. He added that his offense was not serious, because he had kept the gun in his safe. Miller is in favor of a bill liberalizing conditions for obtaining gun permits.
CZECH DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS.
Vladimir Rudlovcak, who was responsible for the country's capital markets, has resigned following sharp criticism that he failed to carry out his duties properly. In particular, Rudlovcak came under attack for the transfer abroad of some 1.3 billion crowns from the investment fund C. S. Fondy. The Finance Ministry's role in the transfer prompted calls for Rudlovcak's departure. A ministry spokesman said yesterday there has been a media campaign against both the Finance Ministry and the deputy minister. Rudlovcak claims his department did all it could to carry out its duties under law.
SLOVAK PREMIER CRITICIZES CZECH REPUBLIC AGAIN...
Vladimir Meciar says he will go to the Czech Republic only if Czech President Vaclav Havel apologizes for calling him "paranoid" about his country's probable exclusion from the first wave of NATO expansion and only if the Czech Republic returns some 4.5 tons of Slovak gold, TASR reported. That gold is currently held in the Czech National Bank. Meciar warned that he could make public various episodes from his experience with Czech politicians but said he would not do so. He also said he knew Havel very well personally and that the Czech president is not the person his supporters "are making him out to be." Meciar was addressing a rally yesterday in Bratislava organized by his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. Czech TV crews were banned from the meeting.
...WHILE CZECH POLITICIANS LAUNCH COUNTEROFFENSIVE.
Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus yesterday criticized Slovak Premier Meciar for making his official visit to Prague conditional on the return of gold to Slovakia. Klaus told journalists in Trebic that it was "outrageous" that Slovakia had reopened the question of the division of former federal property. Czech Senate Chairman Petr Pithart said on Czech Radio that the current state of Slovak-Czech relations was undoubtedly connected to the forthcoming NATO's Madrid summit in July. He said Slovakia might be preparing for its exclusion from talks on joining NATO. President Vaclav Havel, who is vacationing in Italy, has not commented on Meciar's demand for an apology.
FIRST ITALIAN TROOPS ARRIVE IN ALBANIA.
Some 20 Italian soldiers disembarked at Durres today as an advance unit to safeguard humanitarian aid deliveries. The majority of the 6,000 international troops will start deploying on 14 April. Meanwhile, a team of military experts from six countries completed preparations yesterday for the force's arrival. Albanian Defense Minister Shaqir Vukaj says the troops will be safe and that all sides accept their presence. A French Defense Ministry spokesman said in Paris that the troops could be forced to disarm Albanian gangs if their own security is threatened but that this is not their mission. Portugal's defense minister said in Lisbon that Operation Alba is too risky and that Portugal will not take part.
ALBANIA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
President Sali Berisha and the main political parties agreed in Tirana yesterday that voters will choose in a referendum between a parliamentary republic, a presidential republic, and a monarchy. The vote may take place at the same time as early general elections in June. Meanwhile, the tiny royalist party Legality has said Leka Zogu, exiled pretender to the throne, will arrive in Albania tomorrow and stay for an "indefinite period."
SERBIAN DEPUTY INTERIOR MINISTER KILLED.
A masked gunman shot dead Radovan "Bazda" Stojicic early this morning in a Belgrade restaurant, an RFE/RL correspondent in the Serbian capital reported. Stojicic, a police general who headed the public security department, died immediately. Police have launched a manhunt. Stojicic was a long-time aide to President Slobodan Milosevic and was involved in planning the Bosnian and Croatian wars by arming Serbs in those republics.
U.S. ENDS BOYCOTT OF SERBIAN PRESIDENT.
The new top U.S. diplomat on implementing the Dayton peace accords left yesterday for the former Yugoslavia, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Washington. Robert Gelbard has replaced John Kornblum and will visit Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia over the next 10 days. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in Washington yesterday that his trip emphasizes that the U.S. expects greater efforts to implement Dayton, including the handing over of war crimes suspects. The visit will be the first high-level U.S. contact with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in five months. Washington suspended meetings with Milosevic to protest his refusal to accept the results of the November local elections.
MILOSEVIC LOYALIST KILLED IN KOSOVO.
The Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) said yesterday that it killed Ramiz Leka in the village of Banjica, RFE/RL's correspondent in Pristina reported. Leka belonged to Serbian President Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia. This is the sixth time this year that the UCK has killed an ethnic Albanian whom, it says, collaborated with the Serbian authorities. Since January, the UCK has switched from occasional attacks against random targets to much more professional and systematic operations.
CROATIAN PRESIDENT URGES SLAVONIAN SERBS TO VOTE.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman said yesterday that the 13 April elections are the first step toward guaranteeing the return of Croatian refugees to that region, the coexistence of local Serbs there as equal citizens, and the end of the war of independence. He urged all citizens to put the past behind them and to concentrate on building a better future. Jacques Klein, UN administrator for eastern Slavonia, says that everything is set to go for the elections. Some local Croats, however, say that they have received threatening telephone calls telling them not to vote, Vjesnik reported yesterday.
PLAVSIC ATTACKS HER ENEMIES.
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic told Banja Luka TV on 9 April that her rivals are denying her air-time on Pale TV and calling for her resignation. She said "this amounts to the destruction of the country." It was Plavsic's most open attack to date on the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, who controls Pale TV and with whom she is locked in a power struggle. She has launched moves against corruption and profiteering that threaten to undercut Krajisnik's business empire and power base.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA.
Jacques Santer told the Romanian parliament yesterday that the economic program of Victor Ciorbea's cabinet is "bold." RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported Santer as saying that in addition to the $ 482 million already promised by the EBRD, Romania will receive some $61 million to help balance its trade deficit. Santer was in Bucharest to met with Ciorbea, members of the cabinet, the chairmen of the two houses of parliament, and President Emil Constantinescu, with whom he discussed Romania's application for EU membership.
ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES ALBANIAN MISSION.
The parliament yesterday approved President Constantinescu's request that Romania send a 400-strong contingent to join the multinational mission in Albania, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The leftist and nationalist opposition opposed the motion or abstained. The legislature also approved Constantinescu's proposal that the Timisoara airfield be used as a logistics and supply base for the Albanian operation. In other news, Foreign Minister Adrian Severin and Austrian Vice Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel agreed in Bucharest on 9 April to set up what they call a "trilateral mechanism" to promote Romanian and Hungarian admission to the EU, Romanian TV reported. Hungary has not yet responded to the initiative.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN MOLDOVA.
Following his meeting yesterday with President Petru Lucinschi and leader of the Transdniester breakaway region Igor Smirnov, Yevgenii Primakov said negotiations between the two sides will be resumed. Primakov said Lucinschi and Smirnov have agreed to sign the "memorandum of understanding on normalizing relations" by 15 May. The memorandum was drafted last year, but Chisinau has refused to endorse it, saying it encroaches on Moldovan sovereignty. An article stipulating that Chisinau and Tiraspol will develop relations "as part of a single state" is to be added to the document. But Smirnov says he is pessimistic about the outcome of future negotiations. Primakov, who is in Chisinau on a two-day visit, also met with Premier Ion Ciubuc and Foreign Minister Mihai Popov. Primakov and Popv agreed that the State Duma should ratify the basic treaty between Russia and Moldova, which was signed in 1990.
OSCE MISSION IN MOLDOVA TO CONTINUE PARTICIPATION IN JOINT CONTROL COMMISSION.
The agreement on the participation of OSCE mission representatives in the Joint Control Commission has been extended to 1 September, Infotag reported yesterday. The new agreement also provides for a Ukrainian representative to the commission, which is overseeing the truce in the Dniester breakaway region. Other members represent Moldova, the Transdniester, and Russia. Since late March, Tiraspol has hindered the participation of OSCE mission representatives, claiming the original agreement expired in February and had to be renewed.
BULGARIAN PENSIONERS CONFRONT PRESIDENT OVER ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS.
President Petar Stoyanov was forced to retreat inside the presidency building in Sofia yesterday after being confronted by a group of angry elderly protesters, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. Stoyanov had sought to address the pensioners but had been shouted down with cries of "fascist" and "traitor." Security forces had to intervene to prevent Stoyanov from being physically attacked. Small groups of pensioners have been protesting economic hardships in front of the presidency building for the past several days. In other news, Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov accused the United Democratic Forces of making unrealistic electoral promises that might lead to social unrest.
RUSSIA ASKS SOFIYANSKI TO POSTPONE VISIT.
The Bulgarian government press service announced yesterday that Russia has asked caretaker Premier Stefan Sofiyanski to postpone his scheduled visit to Moscow at the end of this week. RFE/RL's Sofia correspondent says Moscow wants to clarify some aspects of the 8 April agreement on Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria and the construction of pipelines to the Balkans that will transit Bulgarian territory (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 April 1997). The press service said the visit has been re-scheduled for next week.
Neither Left Nor Right, But Simply Wrong
by Michael Shafir
A decade ago, the Israeli political scientist Zeev Sternhell wrote Neither Left, Nor Right, an analysis of the emergence of fascist ideology in France since the end of the last century. "Neither left, nor right, but [simply] Romanian" is how Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extreme nationalist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic Greater Romania Party (PRM), chose to describe his group's alliance with the extraparliamentary Socialist Labor Party (PSM), which was sealed two days ago, on 9 April. As Sternhell shows in his book, fascist ideology has often been misinterpreted as belonging to the "right" of the political spectrum. He demonstrates that those who embraced the ideology had little in common with the "traditional right" or what in the U.S. would be termed "conservatives." Rather, the "radical right," as it should be called to distinguish it from other right-wing formations, was bent on destroying the existing parliamentary and democratic order. Like the "radical left," it displayed a boundless hatred of individualism and used as its model a society based on communitarian values. This explains why so many original adherents of the "radical left" eventually ended in the opposite, "radical right" camp. History seems to be repeating itself in post-communist Eastern Europe. "Red-brown" alliances, as they are often called, are no longer rare. Communists march arm-in-arm with those nostalgic for the "Black Hundred" in Moscow at demonstrations against "imported" political and social models. The same phenomenon can be found in most of the other former communist states. Thus, the alliance forged by the PRM and the PSM comes as no surprise. The two formations were allied in the previous legislature as members of the so-called "red quadrangle" coalition, led by the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR). Last autumn's elections ousted not only the PDSR from power but also the PSM from the parliament. Now the PRM will represent the interests of the PSM in the legislature. The two formations will also run joint candidates in upcoming local by-elections. The two groups have much in common. Both are "national-communist nostalgics," and both are what may be described as parties of "radical continuity". Such parties blend extreme-nationalist ideology (of which Ceausescu's national communism was a variant) with populist jargon aimed at undermining the emerging democracies. They are also both led by former Ceausescu "court poets." Tudor progressed from the late dictator's humble bard to outspoken leader of the PRM, which was in coalition with the PDSR until Tudor turned against his post-communist mentors. Although in theory the PRM is headed by Ilie Verdet, a former prime minister under Ceausescu, in practice Adrian Paunescu, another "court poet," is largely responsible for determining the party's political line. Last week, Paunescu was reinstated as first deputy chairman--a post he resigned from after the PSM's dismal performance in last fall's elections-- prompting him to remark that the party "could not possibly afford to lose a man like me." Little else is poetic about the PRM and the PSM, however. Most worrying is that throughout the former communist bloc, parties such as the PRM--with or without allies--are now attempting to unify their forces. Indeed, the PRM leader announced earlier this week the imminent birth of the "Nationalist International," apparently an international offshoot of Jean Marie Le Pen's French National Front. The recent National Front congress in Strasbourg was attended not only by Tudor but also by East European leaders such as Istvan Csurka, head of the xenophobic Hungarian Justice and Life Party, and Jan Slota, chairman of the extreme nationalist Slovak National Party. Although those leaders may hate one another or, more precisely, one another's nations, they are united by a still stronger hatred: that of democracy and its values. Last January, Le Pen visited Belgrade, where he met with Vojslav Seselj, accused war criminal and leader of the Serbian Radical Party. In May, he will visit Bucharest, at Tudor's invitation. Slota has also invited the French leader to visit Slovakia and extended another invitation to Jorg Heider, leader of the populist Austrian Freedom Party, whom many suspect of pro-Nazi sympathies. And then, of course, there is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who calls himself a "liberal" as well as a "democrat." The Russian leader's religious wedding ceremony last year was attended by Le Pen, whom Zhirinovsky later visited in France. It is Le Pen whom Tudor is now emulating when he says the new alliance is "neither left nor right, but [simply] Romanian." Many view the new Romanian alliance with apprehension. They also fear that a more accurate description than Tudor's would be "neither left nor right, but simply wrong" for Romania's still fragile democracy.