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Issue No. 176. - June 2, 2000.
    Contents :
       By Slobodan Rackovic
       By Zoran Mamula
       By Arkady Dubnov

    By Slobodan Rackovic
    If someone believed up until now that the long Montenegrin-Serbian
dispute about the secession of Montenegro from Yugoslavia's two-member
federation could be resolved peacefully, it is now much more probable, after
the frequent and direct threats of violence the Yugoslav Army
has been addressing to the Montenegrin government, that there will be
another violent outbreak in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia!
    Yugoslav Army under undisputed command of Yugoslav president
Slobodan Milosevic has finally put down its mask and has openly
sided with Belgrade in its long political and constitutional
dispute with Podgorica about the probable secession of Montenegro
from Yugoslav federation . Past week saw primitive demonstration
of brutal force Yugoslav Army exercised against Montenegro and an
attempt to frighten pro-western regime in Podgorica.
    "We will not allow Montenegro to use separatist model as seen
in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia!" -  said head of General Staff of
the Yugoslav Army colonel-general Nebojsa Pavkovic who is one of
the most violent army officers and totally loyal to Milosevic.
After he warned Montenegrin police not to enter fight with the
army, this perky general cleared away all doubts about who's in
charge of the army - Supreme Defence Council, consisting of
presidents of Montenegro, Serbia and FR Yugoslavia (as it is
written in the Yugoslav constitution) or Yugoslav president alone?
    "All world armies have a supreme commander as president of the
state, or government, or a monarch. Sometimes its denoted by words
'supreme commander', sometimes its regulated by the laws of the
states. Attacks on Yugoslav president and rejection of his role as
a supreme commander are also attacks on the Yugoslav Army and
basic principles of its organisation" - emphasised general
Pavkovic, adding that such attacks (addressed from Montenegro)
"are initiated in the propaganda centres of NATO and have the goal
of destroying defence capabilities of FR Yugoslavia".
    Second Yugoslav Army, stationed in Montenegro and Sandzak,
went to action immediately afterwards: its commander
colonel-general Radomir Obradovic gave order to all units and
individuals saying there will be ruthless fight with Montenegrin
independence supporters ("separatists"), that any plane that
appears in Montenegrin skies without Belgrade authorities' consent
will be shut down, that all citizens speaking at public places and
political rallies calling for disobedience towards the army,
desertion or draft evasion will be taken into custody by military
    Yugoslav Army certainly wants to avoid all that has befallen
its predecessor - Yugoslav National Army - in the former, great
Yugoslavia, because all indicators show that Montenegrin citizens
do not accept YA as its own, which was stressed several times even
by Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic. There were suggestions
from high places to cut off garrisons and deny them water, power
and food, which is a strategy implemented in the former Yugoslav
republics, now independent states, when they fought Slobodan
Milosevic's armies during the first half of the nineties.
    Everything says that there will be dangerous clash between
Yugoslav Army and Montenegrin police here. During past few years,
the police, due to fear of army, has grown into real army, with
20,000 men with excellent arms, even AA and AT guns.
    The same number of people is on the other side, with the 2nd
army, so that the odds are rather even and both parties avoid
direct confrontation for now, although there was an abundance of
crises like the one several months ago, when military commando men
captured civil airport in Podgorica and had it occupied for
several hours, which almost led into armed clashes. Danger was
also high during NATO bombardments last year, and a dangerous
provocation happened on 30th May, when the army almost shot down a
police helicopter in the North of the country.
    Culmination of meddling of Yugoslav army into politics of
Montenegro is military TV station called "Yu info" that was
illegaly installed into all military objects in this republic
three months ago. This TV station, controlled by communist
Yugoslav Left - YUL - the leader of which is Milosevic's spouse
Mirjana Markovic, has been promoting dirty campaign to promote
proSerbian and proMilosevic parties in Montenegro, openly breaking
the Law on public informing. It is dangerous inasmuch Montenegro
in the middle of campaign for the local elections to be held on
11th of June, which prompted Montenegrin Ministry of informing
into prompt action.
    Trying to frighten government in Podgorica and directly help
their satellites in Montenegro, Belgrade launched bombastic
information that Slobodan Milosevic would  visit this republic in
the middle of elections. The news had the effect of atomic bomb,
since all too well is known the antagonism between Podgorica and
Belgrade and presidents Djukanovic and Milosevic. Montenegrin
authorities would find themselves in difficult position if there
was a visit, since Milosevic is a wanted criminal wanted by the
Hague Tribunal. Milo Djukanovic would have a complex alternative:
either to arrest Milosevic and hand it over to the Hague but risk
war with Yugoslav Army or turn his head the other way which could
have serious impact on his relations with the international
community. (similar was the case of general Ojdanic while visiting
Moscow) Filip Vujanovic, Montenegrin prime minister, has already
hastened to defend against the plague such as Milosevic's arrival
to the country saying that, despite excellent co-operation with
the Hague Tribunal, Montenegrin government couldn't arrest the
Yugoslav president without disrupting the country's stability.
    The situation is extremely complicated, full of tension and
only a spark is needed to light yet another (fifth) war in the
Yugoslav area. In this situation, where Montenegro is literally a
prisoner of Belgrade and its strong army, a clear message of the
international community, especially NATO and Pentagon, saying that
Montenegro is not alone and that the world will defend it if
necessary would be more than welcome. A few days ago president
Djukanovic bravely stated that Montenegro can alone defend itself
from the Serbian threat, but that is more an encouragement note
than true evaluation of force between two formerly friendly
republics. Djukanovic noted that endangering Montenegro could
endanger stability in the region and be a slap in the face of
international community. He asked the world to stop insisting that
Montenegro stays in Yugoslavia, a state without perspective, which
means that the country is rushing forward on its road to
independence. "Nobody has the moral right to keep us down in a
community which has no future" - said Djukanovic. The least right
to ask it of Montenegro has the international community which
doesn't recognise FR Yugoslavia that was thrown out of UN, EU,
OSCE , all financial and other international institutions, now
also out of Pact for stability. It would be a top hypocrisy to ask
of Montenegro to be in the country that it itself refuses to

An interview with Veran Matic, President of the Association of
Independent Electronic Media (ANEM)
    By Zoran Mamula
    On the 17th of May Serbian authorities "shut down" all
non-regime-controlled electronic media in Belgrade. Bursting into
city radio and TV station Studio B in the middle of night, under
pretext that the station called for the violent overthrow of the
constitutional order, the ruling coalition not only took control
over that media outlet, but also shut down independent Radio
B2-92. After the regime had confiscated the stations' name (it was
called Radio B-92 before) and equipment last year, Radio B2-92 was
broadcasting its program on one of the Studio B frequencies.
Student radio Index, the premises of which are located in the same
building with Studio B and Radio B2-92, was also prevented from
regular broadcast so that Index's program now consists only of
music and short news.
    Serbian opposition which is in power in the city of Belgrade
called the citizens on the same day to demonstrate before the city
hall, but only several thousand Belgrade residents showed up at
the protest. The number decreased after the first two protests
when the police intervened and dispersed the demonstrators who
were taking a protest walk towards the building of Studio B. Even
the joint opposition meeting staged on central Belgrade square on
27th of May attracted no more than 20 000 demonstrators, which
caused many speculations about the reasons behind such poor
response from the citizens.
    Some analysts think that the reason is displeasure towards
ten-year-long fruitless attempts of the recently united opposition
to topple the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, other say that
shutdown of Studio B was not a motive enough for all opposition
supporters, since until the 17th of May that media outlet was
under complete control of the strongest opposition party Serbian
revival movement, which had advantage over all other opposition
parties in the station's program. However, both groups of analysts
agree that important factor was an evident fear of now greater
government repression. Veran Matic, president of the Association
of independent electronic media and the head of Radio B-92, which
against all odds continued with its broadcast, talks for NIJ about
all thes e issues, and of course, about the overall media
situation in Serbia.
    Q: Authorities banned Radio B2-92 program for the fourth time
in the last ten years. However, you somehow managed to go on with
producing information program. How do you do it?
    A: Radio B2-92, that is B-92, as our radio was called until
the government took it away, has been functioning for years in
extreme conditions, partly as a virtual media - an institution
which doesn't have its permanent residence because of the constant
threat of ban. We have always been functioning in several
different variants and that is why it was possible for us to be
banned four times in ten years. If we hadn't functioned that way,
we would have been banned only once and would have never again
appeared on air. It was the fact that we had decided rather long
ago that we shouldn't let to be banned that we created concepts
which enabled us to broadcast our program even in the gravest
situation. We were helped by new technology. Only few hours after
the most recent occupation of our premises and confiscation of
technical equipment, we started the production of information
program and its distribution over satellites and Internet. What is
more important is that our information ram is re-broadcast by 30
radio stations all over Serbia, all of them being members of the
Association of independent electronic media (ANEM). It is, on the
other hand, a certain paradox since radio station from Belgrade
can be heard by people from inner Serbia, but not those living in
Belgrade, except the ones who have satellite receivers, and there
are not many of them in such a poor country.
    Q: Do you fear that the regime will ban broadcast of your
program as it is now?
    A :  As long as there is a regime headed by Slobodan Milosevic
and his clique, we will always be in situation that something bad
can happen to us. Even now , after we have been occupied, we are
under not only verbal pressure but also threatened by arrest and
imprisonment. That could even be the mildest penalty now, since we
could fare far worse, according to our previous experience and
present rhetoric. That is the fate of objective and professional
journalism in Serbia so that we can expect new bans during the
next couple of days. Few days ago we celebrated 11 years of our
officially "non-existent" radio station, and we can see that they
banned something that doesn't exist. Today, such thing is possible
only in Serbia, but we will not allow them to silence us.
    Q : How would you comment on the opposition actions after the
newest wave of repression in Serbia?
    A: Actions which the opposition tries to coordinate into some
kind of serious project are the true image of what opposition
parties represent in this society. Few months ago when there had
been some serious estimates that Studio B would be occupied,
opposition swore that, if that would be the case, it would
organize large demonstrations immediately and would not leave the
streets until the station is returned to the Belgrade citizens.
However, during first two days of demonstrations which were
organized because of overtaking Studio B, we could see a lot of
tactical moves, negative energy and impossibility to unite all
those protests into one - fight for democratic changes on all
levels, not just media. When we speak of relatively mild reactions
on Studio B case, we mustn't forget that in this moment, thanks to
ANEM, the inside of Serbia is better informed than Belgrade, so
that residents of the Serbian capital phone their friends in the
inner Serbia to find out what is happening in Belgrade. However,
relationship between opposition leaders are still the main
problem. For example, the government recently confiscated
transmitter from local TV station, an ANEM member, in Kraljevo.
Coalition Together (that is still functioning in that town as
opposed to the Belgrade headquarters) joined spontaneous citizens'
protest and all united their forces. Such attitude made the ruling
coalition to return confiscated equipment to Kraljevo TV station
and to issue it a broadcast license. That is much harder to
achieve in Belgrade since here there was the first strike to
coalition's unity when three years ago, few months after local
elections which the opposition parties had won, Serbian revival
movement took complete control over the city council and removed
then mayor and coalition partner Zoran Djindjic, president of
Democratic party. Since something like that happened, it is hard
to suppose that the same Djindjic will bring himself into fight
for Studio B, despite the fact that the opposition has been once
again working together for five months. I think that this problem
could be alleviated by proclaiming city council people's council
so that it could be rightly called the council of all Belgrade
citizens. Opposition leaders who hold daily meetings in the city
council due to this new situation should rule this city, where
they have some kind of government, in a constructive way and solve
everyday problems. That would make conditions for the real
opposition unity and party leaders could return the trust of
citizens who would in turn support demonstrations against the
regime in much greater number than now and would accept the call
for civil disobedience. Most citizens in Serbia is against this
government, but the problem is that they have no faith in the
opposition parties.
    Q: You pointed at the fruitlessness of the opposition and now
greater apathy of the citizens. In such light, how would you
comment on the evident nervousness of the authorities, which
manifests not only in shutdown of independent media, but also with
arrests and physical violence of police over the opposition
    A: It is very difficult to get information about what is
really going on in the ruling coalition. We can only describe what
we hear from some our sources and they say that there is a serious
detoriation within the government. There are many fights and
problems, and some of them are caused by EU sanctions against
regime officials and persons close to the government. They cannot
move their money from the private bank account abroad and there
is, of course, ban on travels to EU countries. The ban is valid
not only for politicians but also, which is more important to
regime, for businessmen close to government. Many of them feel
that this regime cannot last long. Also, there is now a great deal
of terror within the government itself, and that instills fear not
only in regime representatives but also in  common citizens. I
think that the basic reason for the nervousness of the authorities
lies in the fact that this system simply cannot function anymore
with this degree of separation from the rest of the world and with
terror within the regime. Yet, international community doesn't
have any serious strategy for fight against this government or
serious help program for democratic opposition and that is a great
encouragement to the regime. Also, neither the opposition has a
vision, the serious vision of how to peacefully change the
government and return the trust of the citizens who are tired of
ten years of fruitless opposition parties' actions and their
constant internal struggles. All these factors compensate for
evident erosion of the government and enable it to survive.
    Q: At recent meeting in Brussels, organized by International
federation of journalists (IFJ), international community announced
that it will help independent  media in Serbia. What can be
expected in the near future?
    A:  International community cannot save us, and that goes both
for opposition and independent media, since they have completely
isolated this area and Milosevic's regime. He doesn't have much
choice, the only option is the Hague and I  don't believe that
anyone, at his point, can open negotiations with Milosevic - and
trade his departure to Hague for something else. Thanks to double
isolation independent media experience here, even when we receive
some kind of help we cannot use it since we have our hands tied.
It is the aid that only enables us to survive, barely. Situation
is now extreme since there was never such a level of repression
and we need more support from abroad which is impossible. At this
time, all depends on how will resistance be created here, in
Serbia. If it fails, there will be no help. International
community cannot use artificial revival, the most important issue
is whether opposition parties will succeed in articulating their
unity and resistance program to Milosevic's regime in the right
way. If that doesn't happen, there is no program that can help
independent media on a long-term basis.***
    By Arkady Dubnov
    The new Russian president is outstandingly mobile, especially
as compared to his predecessor.  Vladimir Putin leaves the
confines of Moscow at least once a week.  Two of his recent
trips--to Central Asia and to Belarus--however, are especially
important.  His visits to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Ashghabad
(Turkmenistan) were his first after taking office as president of
Russia.  This was called for to show how much Moscow values its
relationship with Tashkent.
    In the Uzbek capital, presidents Putin of Russia and Karimov
of Uzbekistan, who had met once before when Putin came to Tashkent
as prime minister, found common ground in a discussion of the
Islamic extremism directed against their countries.  It hits
Russia from Chechnya.  For Turkmenistan, it comes from within,
mainly from the Fergan Valley, home base of rebel fighters from
the underground Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.  That organization
gained attention after last year's invasion of Kyrgyzstan and the
rebels' attempts to break through into the Fergan Valley, where
they intended to mount a rebellion against the Karimov regime.
But, since the internal threat to Uzbekistan's stability is not
mentioned publicly in that country, the discussion centered on
external threats coming from Afghanistan, from the Taliban
    Moscow declared its readiness to help Tashkent with arms
deliveries.  For its part, Tashkent will provide Moscow with
cotton on advantageous barter terms.  As a result, Putin and
Karimov made it clear that they were ready to conclude a close
military and political union between their countries.  "Russia has
been here, is here and will remain here," Karimov stated, adding
that "I am ready to work with a person like Putin."
    Thus Russia has given serious indiciations of its return to
Central Asia as a military power, for the first time in ten years.
Characteristically, the other power that has shown interest in the
region, the United States, is in favor of this tendency.  Amongst
the multitude of diplomatic missions accredited in Tashkent, there
was great intrigue about Putin's real intentions.  The Chinese
were jealous:  why was the first visit to Tashkent and not Peking?
The French were irritated by and the English hailed the Russians'
fast action.  The Americans remained calmest of all, for the
obvious reason that Washington's only overriding interests in
Central Asia are the region's resources (oil and gas).  Therefore,
it is in the interests of the United States to have a shield
against the Islamic threat, which Russia can provide.
    It is not by chance that American generals show up frequently
in Uzbekistan and inspect the country's southern borders, provide
assistance with personnel training, communications, and so on.
    Putin's visit to Ashghabad went somewhat differently.
President Saparmurat Niyazov  of Turkmenistan  prefers a different
approach to the problem of Afghanistan.  His attitude toward the
Taliban is not marked by the same intolerance as his neighbors in
the region experience.  Ashghabad prefers to maintain equal
relations with the Taliban and its internal opposition, the
"Northern coalition" headed by the noted Ahmad Shah Masud. Niyazov
tried to convince Putin that the solution to the Afghanistan
problem lies elsewhere:  the warring sides should be lured into
participating in economic projects profitable to both sides, such
as a gas pipeline across Afghanistan from Turkmenistan to
Pakistan.  They developed that idea in Ashghabad seven years ago
already.  It would allow that country, which is incalculably rich
in gas, easier access to world markets.  However, the on-going
Afghan war makes those plans unrealistic.  In addition, Niyazov
cautioned Putin against involving Russian forces internal Uzbeki
    Putin listened attentively to these assertions and even
thanked the "Father of all Turkmens" (the exact translation of
Niyazov's title Turkmenbashi) for presenting arguments that he had
not heard before.
    The most surprising result of those visits were seen just a
few days after Putin's return to Moscow.  Russian presidential
aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky issued a direct threat to the Taliban,
promising "preventative" strikes against Chechen  rebel camps
located on territory controlled by the Taliban.  Yastrzhembsky
made reference in that address to a meeting held in Mazari-Sharif
in northern Afghanistan between well-known terrorist Usama ben
Laden, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader Juma Namangani,
Taliban representatives and emissaries of Aslan Maskhadov.  No
evidence for this otherwise mythological meeting was presented.
Nor is there likely ever to be any.  This correspondent's sources
in Afghanistan say that there never was such a meeting, that Juma
Namangani is in Tajikistan, ben Laden never leaves his Afghani
dug-out and the Taliban representative mentioned by name could not
have been in Mazari-Sharif at that time because he was busy making
preparations for his wedding.
    Two days later in Minsk, where the presidents of the six
countries of the CIS that are party to the Agreement on Collective
Security (Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan) were meeting, two high-placed Russian officials named
Ivanov--Igor, head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and
Sergei, secretary of the Security Council of Russia--in answer to
a question by this correspondent, repeated that threat.  Thus, the
"week of hatred" toward the Taliban continued in Moscow.
Furthermore, Sergei Ivanov made it known that, in preparation for
Bill Clinton's visit to Moscow, he has discussed the issue of
preventative strikes with American presidential aide for national
security Samuel Berger.  That fact shows the true motives for
Moscow's propagandistic moves against Afghanistan.  On the eve of
Clinton's visit, the Kremlin wants to look as decisive and
independent on the "world scene" as the United States.  If
Washington can strike against ben Laden's cam n Afghanistan
(albeit not very effectively) without a conferring word with
anyone, why shouldn't Moscow strike Chechen camps there?
    In other words, Moscow wants to exert its right to "keep
house" in its own zone of interest and would like to split up such
zones of responsibility with the United States.
    However, the Russian leadership is running the risk of setting
the Islamic world against it again.  That world includes 20
million Muslims who are Russian citizens.  Nor does it need to be
pointed out that Moscow is losing the chance to realize its
economic interests in South Asia, while the Americans are pursuing
theirs quite successfully.  High-placed U.S. State Department
officials are in constant contact with the Taliban and American
businessmen, notwithstanding all the sanctions now in place
against Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, are poised for eventual
economic expansion into that country.