here for the NIJ Archive
Issue No. 189 - September 7 , 2000.
1. FRY/ Serbia : IT'S TIME FOR SERBIA TO ABANDON MILOSEVIC
By Sanja Vukcevic
2. FRY/ Montenegro: ELECTIONS AMID UTTER SILENCE
By Slobodan Rackovic
3. Croatia : IS TERRORISM A THREAT?
By Stojan Obradovic
4. Special addition : AZERBAIJAN
5. Special addition: NEW AT TOL
FRY/ Serbia : IT'S TIME FOR SERBIA TO ABANDON MILOSEVIC
By Sanja Vukcevic
In the opinion of Vukasin Petrovic, spokesman for
National movement Resistance, even if Vojislav Kostunica, the
presidential candidate of the united Democratic opposition of Serbia,
wins the elections, system changes won't be possible since the real
power is exercised by two republics, and Kostunica himself is ready
to abandon nationalistic concept and all bad elements of the
nationalist politics which he supported until now. Petrovic
is visiting Croatia to review experience of Croatian NGOs which
motivated citizens to vote.
Resistance was founded at the end of 1998 as a protest
the passage of a new law on universities which cancelled the autonomy
of the Belgrade University It grew from a student into national
movement of approximately 70,000 members. The regime of Slobodan
Milosevic refused to register it and, according to Petrovic,
continues with the everyday repression.
Resistance is the greatest enemy of Milosevic's
regime and is
treated by the regime accordingly. Since the beginning, the regime
doesn't know how to fight ideas and not persons, mass movements,
positive ideas and all that is characteristic of Resistance.
Government doesn't know how to treat us. It's repression
used to be logical is now uncoordinated, pointless, regime is
striking at Resistance randomly, without a plan. There are
increased arrests of our activists, confiscations of material,
break-ins into our premises, there is a new wave of movement
discrimination by the state-controlled media... But all these
actions are counter-productive and reflect very badly on the
regime. They try to destroy us, but they are failing, said the
spokesman Vukasin Petrovic.
Q: What is the goal of Resistance during
the election period?
A: We have set the aim to motivate over 4
million people to
vote. We think that 4 million and one voters who go to elections
will provide victory to democratic forces in Serbia. The
mathematics is very clear: Milosevic is currently supported by 26
per cent of voters and can count on a maximum of 35 per cent,
which is about 1.4 million votes. Let him steal another 600
thousand votes: 200,000 in Montenegro since Montenegrin parties
refused to participate, 200,000 votes from Kosovar Serbs and as
many in Serbia brings us to the number of 2 million votes. Any
vote over 4 million is certain victory for opposition and we are
currently motivating Serbian citizens to vote. Our goal is to
personally contact more than 4 million people and to tell them
that Milosevic is finished and that they can win if they vote in
the elections on 24th September. It is 70 per cent of the total
voters, since estimates say that there are about 6.3 million
voters in Serbia, although there are no exact data.
Q: Will non-partisan monitoring of elections
since there are no laws on it in Serbia?
A: We have existed for two years already,
in a very difficult
environment and despite the regime which refused to register us.
We got used to it and we have just finished third of our campaign,
during which we issued 2 million leaflets and other propaganda
material, like matchboxes or stickers with the message "He's
finished!". We organized many roundtables, numerous concerts and
protests together with G-17. We finished first round of our "door
to door" campaign in Belgrade and major Serbian cities and we will
continue despite the problems. Milosevic and his regime cannot
stop us from contributing to his final retirement from politics.
Besides the fact that more than 4 million people have to vote, a very
important segment is also election control. What will bring
victory to democratic opposition is monitoring the vote
counting. However, NGOs specialized in civil and non-partisan
control of Serbian elections, especially CESID (Center for free
elections and democracy) cannot monitor the elections like GONG
did in Croatia, due to new Elections law. But, elections can be
monitored by opposition parties' representatives and we are sure
they will not do it quite right. Considering the bad situation in the
Serbian media, do you expect more abstention of the voters? No. Last
data show that there are less and less of those who abstain from
voting, more and more people have decided who to vote for. Adding
our campaign and the campaign of other NGOs, we expect these
elections give us the best turnover. Research carried out by
state-controlled TV Serbia for the ruling SPS and JUL said that
there will be between 4.7 and 5 million active voters.
Q: What do you think about voting of Kosovar
Serbia and can such voting be monitored?
A: Control of such voting is possible. The
question is only
will all political parties reach an agreement on how to control
it. We find it significant that some ruling parties in Serbia are
also very interested in strict control of those places where
refugees from Kosovo cast their votes. There can not be much theft
at the election booths. The main and greatest theft is possible
during computer processing of the data and it is very difficult to
control. That is basically the main problem of the election
monitoring. After all, we in advance disregarded 200,000 votes of
Q: What do you think about the Montenegrin
decision to boycott the
elections and announcements that elections will be organized there
A: Elections in Montenegro will most probably
be organized in
the official buildings of the counties ruled by Serbian national
party headed by Momir Bulatovic and firms owned by members and
avtivists of SNP. Decision of Montenegrin government to boycott
elections is a legitimate political decision. However, we disagree
with it since at this time elections are not anymore issue of
political struggle but fight for life. So we cannot agree with
political decisions regarding the elections. From a political
viewpoint, decision is completely correct, but speaking from
life's standpoint, it is wrong. Montenegro sacrifices 10 million
Serbian citizens for its politics. The boycott enables Milosevic to
advance have 30 more seats in the Council of citizens which
significantly lowers the chance for overall victory of Yugoslav
Q: Taking into account the presidential candidates,
radical changes of the system in Serbia now possible?
A: Victory of opposition at the presidential
won't alter anything . The main authority is exercised by the
republics, federal state has ony protocolary authority. Even with
changes at the republic level in Serbia, it will only be a change of
regime, not a change of the system. We need more time for system
changes and we need not only to change our leadership, but also to
the conciousness of ordinary citizens, educate them and further
society as a whole. Our optimistic evaluations say that laying out
the basics for the new system requires 10 to 15 years, while for
total change of system we need much, much more.
Q: Is time ripe in Serbia for ending the
concept adopted by part
of Serbian elite and intellectuals and are people ready to truly
face consequences of ten years of deadly politics of Milosevic's
A: It is certainly time for that. I think
national-chauvinistic policy became dead during the last year and
that definite victory of the civil over nationalistic option came
after NATO air strikes in Serbia. The citizens definitely realized
the deadliness of Slobodan Milosevic's regime and his politics as
well as the politics of many intelectuals concentrated primarily
around Serbian academy of science and arts. There are new
alternatives now, different mottos, programs, programs of civil
option and European and Balkan integrations. The best indicator
for it is popularity and acceptance of the program made by a group
of independent Serbian economists and reformers "G-17+" based on
radical economic and political changes in Serbia. The fact alone
that at several meetings organized by "G-17" during past seven
days there were more people than at the meetings organized by both
government and opposition in the last ten years tells volumes
about the need of people to get rid of the old politics and
finally go in a new direction.
Q: If the candidate of united Democratic
opposition of Serbia
(DOS) and president of Serbian democratic party Vojislav Kostunica
wins the elections, do you think he can really dedicate himself to
the new direction?
A: Nothing changes with Kostunica's victory.
Not because he
doesn't want changes, but because the real executive power is in
the hands of the republics' governments and parliaments. One should
wait for republican elections next year for real changes in
politics of Serbia and Yugoslavia and for final victory over
regime of Slobodan Milosevic. Then one should expect Kostunica
together with the federal and new republic parliament, Serbian
president, government and prime minister to put out to realize
Q: Do you think Kostunica is ready to abandon
concept he has been insisting on for ten years, although in a more
sophisticated manner than Milosevic or Seselj? Besides, he always
emphasizes his explicit anti-US attitude?
A: Ten days ago Vojislav Kostunica informally
presented the leader
of "G-17" group Mladan Dinkic as his future prime minister.
Kostunica promoted their program as same to his own political
program which is based on the concept of civil society, open
economy, integrations, etc. So I claim that Kostunica is ready to
abandon all bad elements of the nationalist policy he supported in
many instances until now.
FRY/Montenegro : ELECTIONS AMID UTTER SILENCE
By Slobodan Rackovic
By permitting voting in the federal elections, although
estimated that 80 per cent Montenegrins will abstain, Djuaknovic
is once again very skillfuly evading giving a motive to Milosevc
for war in Montenegro.
As the election campaign is moving into finale in
Republic of Yugoslavia, it is becoming more and more evident that
Montenegro did well when it decided to boycott parliamentary and
presidential elections to be held on 24th September despite
pressure from part of the local and international public not to do
it. It is now clear that the campaign is irregular and unfair,
with the use of all allowed and prohibited methods. The same can be
said for the election process itself. The ruling parties in Serbia
and their allies in Montenegro have developed such agressive and
unscrupulous activity that it already guarantees that the
elections will be in fact only a sole choice and that the winner
is known in advance. He is the one most close to the voters'
boxes, and famous communist rule is that it not important who got
most votes, but who was counting the ballots. So the winner can be
only one - Slobodan Milosevic, current Yugoslav president and his
Socialist party and Yugoslav united l JUL) headed by his wife
Mirjana Markovic. That has become so obvious now that their up
now partner in the government coalition - ultranationalist Serbian
radical party led by Vojislav Seselj - is more and more warning
against incredible manipulations of public that are proclaiming
Slobodan Milosevic to already be a winner. Pro-Serbian Socialist
people's party of Montenegro is much addding to those
manipulations. Besides SPS and JUL, this party has also nominated
Milosevic for the president of the federation that has in reality
ceased existing long time ago. Thus the leader of that
cheauvinistic and anti-Montenegrin party Momir Bulatovic who is
the Yugoslav prime minister (not recognized by official Podgorica)
said that as much as 181,600 Montenegrin citizens supported
Milosevic's nomination for president, but he was caught in the lie
as it became evident that the number is 11,000! It is a grave
fraud of the Montenegrin nation. Even the expression "lie" is not
enough to use with tho se manipulations without limits. Montenegro
has to stop them. Also, we would like to warn democratic Serbia
what it will face on 24th September" - bitterly said president of
the Executive comittee ofthe ruling Democratic socialists' party
and advisor to the president Miodrag Vukovic.
All this, as well as the persuasive arguments used
Montenegrin officials when talking to the world leaders, not only
justified Montenegrin decision to boycott the elections, but
further improved democratic ratign of the government. That was
stated after talks with Montenegrin prime minister Filip Vujanovic
and president Milo Djukanovic by US state secretary Madeleine
Albright, senator Bob Dole, special UN envoy Carl Bildt, high EU
representative for security and foreign policy Xavier Solana,
Croatian president Stjepan Mesic and many other foreign officials
and diplomats. As this article is going to print, president
Djukanovic is at the millenial assembly of the General UN Council
in New York, where Yugoslav delegation was prohibited from
coming. Djukanovic is there explaining position of his government
on the elections in Serbia and about more and more strained
relations between Podgorica and Belgrade, at the same time trying
to open wide already slightly ajar UN inten to elect permanent
representative of Montenegro. "Belgrade cannot explain the
position of Montenegro to the world and we will do it ourselves in
the future" - is the official attitude of Montenegrin government
that is gathering more and more supporters around the world. If
only Djukanovic and his associates could soften the international
community in its strange position that FR Yugoslavia must be saved
at any cost - and Montenegro is at the brink of real independence.
However, Montenegro is firm not to do anything by
only after much thinking and agreement with her foreign friends,
especially Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. Podgorica
reacted in such calm manner when it decided not to ban federal
elections in the country, although it considers them irregular and
staged in advance. After evading the trap of proclaiming
independence (much wanted here and in the world) after changes of
the Yugoslav constitution which should have given motive for
Yugoslav troops for a military coup, Djukanovi was recently facing
dilemma of banning federal elections and thus giving Milosevic a
pretext for coming into Montenegro with tanks as he did in other
Yugoslav republics, or not. After short unvertainty about what
will Montenegro do, Milo Djukanovic issued a calm statement: "We
don't think about banning voting on the territory of Montenegro to
the small number of citizens who want to do so. Montenegro has
developed democratic capacity to ho gainst such attempt of
political and security destablization, but also has state
mechanisms to completely control the situation and prevent
The more evident indignation, almost contempt, was
very influential vice prime minister, socialdemocrat Dragisa
Burzan. "One cannot say federal elections will be boycotted in
Montenegro. They simply don't exist for us!" - said he, addding
that the government won't do anything to encourage voting in
Montnegro, but also will not allow any conflicts. Furthermore -
says dr. Burzan - we won't feel any consequences of the voting.
All this is of no interest to us whatsoever!
Undoubtedly, official Podgorica at first glance
has no good
countermove Milosevic's federal elections, but made very
elaborated strategy to neutralize the effects of this dangerous
political game coming from Belgrade. Primarily, ruling parties
Democratic socialists ' party, Socialdemocrat party and People's
party will appeal to their members and supporters not to vote
which will probably be repeated by other parliamentary parties,
too: Liberal alliance, Democratic alliance and Democratic union of
Albanians, as well as almost all non-parliamentary parties. It is
estimated that only Socialist people's party and several tiny
Serbian parties won't be able to draw upon much more than one
fifth or one fourth of the registered voters. President of
Excutive Comittee of People's party and a minister in Montenegrin
government Predrag Drecun even says that less than 20 per cent of
the voters will come to elections, which would diminish any
importance of the election process in Montenegro.
State-controlled and independent media in Montenegro
not only ingoring the elections, but also develop strong
anti-election campaign. State secretary for information Bozidar
Jaretic issued a clear message that state media will be completely
prohibited to present parties and individuals during the election
campaign. If we consider huge infuence of Montenegrin radio and TV
as well as newspapers "Pobjeda"; independent radio and TV stations
and popular newspapers "Vijesti" and "Monitor"- then it is clear
that the election campaign and the voting in Montenegro will be
held amid utter silence.
Besides, Montenegrin ruling parties said they would
strict control of regularity of the elections and that they would
not allow Bulatovic's socialists to manipulate with the number of
voters and results of the voting after the 24th. The control is
even more needed if we take into account that Yugoslav authorities
will prohibit foreign monitors to come to elections. However,
parties failed to explain how they will exercise control of the
elections without accepting their legitimacy. There is a danger of
Milosevic's supporters in Montenegro reporting the turnover of
more than 50 per cent which could make boycott worthless and give
political score to Belgrade oligarchy. That is why strict control
of the elections in Montenegro is a very important issue. Were the
monitors prevented or harassed while doing their job, there could
again be some serious struggle between political opponents, much
wanted by Milosevic.
Still, one should believe that Montenegrin
independency-inclined government will come out of these elections
even stronger and more independent comapred to Belgrade than is
the case now. Montengrin prime minister Filip Vujanovic explained
it thusly: "If Milosevic wins, which is almost certain, Montenegro
will proclaim independence. If Serbian opposition wins, and don't
acept redefining of Montengrin - Serbian federation under our
terms (practically a loose confederation - author's remark) then
FR Yugoslavia is once again unsupportable to us."
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the unnatural remains
Tito's Yugoslavia is in any case a matter of histoy.
Croatia: IS TERRORISM A THREAT?
By Stojan Obradovic
On August 28th Milan Levar was killed by an explosive
in the backyard of his house in Gospic, a small provincial town 100
miles south of Zagreb. This murder shocked the Croatian public
and caused fear and worry for many who had thought they were a
matter of history since the downfall of Tudjman's authoritarian
Milan Levar was the most prominent potential witness in
for the International court for crimes committed in the former
Yugoslavia (ICTY). He was among the first who openly spoke the about
mass murders of Serbian civilian at the end of 1991 in the Gospic
area during intense Croatian-Serbian fighting. The Hague Tribunal
started an offical investigation of it last spring initiating a
search for corpses of possible victims. It is estimated that over
a hundred persons were killed and that orders to kill were issued
by the persons still high in military hierarchy as, for example,
general Mirko Norac who is one of the commanders of Croatian army.
At the end of 1991 Gospic area was one of areas
bordering with the territory of the so-called Srpska krajina with
the centre in Knin controlled by Serbian rebels who were helped by
Yugoslav army and official Belgrade.
Levar was an especially interesting witness since
member of Croatian army during the events and claimed in many
interviews in Croatian press that such crimes could not have been
comitted without knowledge of Croatian high political and military
Some well-known Croatian NGOs for protection of
and independent media who also published information that in
Gospic 1991 there were crimes against Serbian civilians emphasized
that those crimes were the part of politics of ethnic cleansing of
There were similar killings of Serbian civilians
escalation of war in Croatia in other cities (Zagreb, Osijek,
Split), but nowhere on so large scale as was the case in Gospic
Croatian police initiated investigations into those
but they were never finished. Neither was the public informed
It is interesting that Hague Tribunal interviewed
1998 as a potential witness and offered him protection (change of
identity and relocation into another country) but he refused it so
the Court in March 1998 asked Croatian authorities to protect him
which they officialy accepted, but never implemented. The Ministry
of interior affairs is now looking into it.
Croatian public thinks that the murder of Milan
Levarw was a
clear message of Croatian extremists that they will now, after
downfall of Tudjman's regime accused of readiness to cover
Croatian war crimes, try to "silence" dangerous witnesses.
However, many are warning, among them Croatian president
Mesic, that the new government is too much tolerable with
occurences of right-wing extremism and neofascism in Croatia.
Tudjman's regime was benevolent towards such events and they think
that the assasination of Milan Levar is only a logical consequence
of such relaxed attitude.
Croatian prime minister Ivica Racan openly confirmed
authoritites expect further tries of escalation of terrorism by
"those who came to know that they can no longer hide under the
aegis of war in Croatia, nor even HDZ".
Is "case Levar" a test that will show how serious
potential terrorists and how serious is the government?
High-ranked Croatian politicians said that murder
caused huge damage to political image of Croatia in the
international public that has been on a very dynamic rise after
political changes at the beginning of the year, since cooperation
with the Hague court is one of the most important tests of
credibility and trustworthiness of new government.
Relationship with the Hague court is thus once again
the tensions on Croatian political scene. Ex-regime led by
president Tudjman fought heavy political battles with the Court
trying in all possible ways to escape its jurisdiction in war
events in Croatia, that is war crimes comitted by the Croatian
side. It seems also that the former government was hiding some war
crimes of Croatian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina during
Croatian-Moslem war of 1993 with the reasonable doubt that some
circles from Zagreb were also involved.That is why Croatia was
permanently at the edge of international sanctions and in some
kind of permanent international isolation.
New government promised to fully co-operate with
court but it was soon clear that not all government members were
united in that decision. At the time when it is becoming clearer
that Hague could put indictments against even some high-ranked
generals of Croatian army, maybe even against some politicians,
individuals in Croatian government think it cannot be allowed and
that co-operation with the Hague "has its limits". More or less
openly such message was stated by vice-president of Croatian
parliament dr. Zdravko Tomac who is among the key men of
Socialdemocrat party headed by the prime minister Ivica Racan but
also defeated presidential candidate and main Racan's coalition
partner, president of Croatian socio-liberal party Drazen Budisa.
There is no doubt that Croatia faces harsh crossroads
harder decisions. The worst that is to be faced is that Hague
indictments could cast completely different light to Croatian war.
There has already emerged a new approach and judgement of war
events in Croatia which is "agreed war".
A war agreed between Tudjman and Milosevic. That
there are those who claim that there have been at least two wars:
one fought by those who thought they defended Croatia and who were
really the victims of an agression and another war, it is
suspected, led by special agreement of war lords in the former
Yugoslavia aimed at dividing the territory and emigrating the
population. War masters used first war as means for the second. It
was known that war was led by Milosevic. Now more and more
documents found in the archive of deceased presdient Tudjman are
coming to light. Documents are publicly released by president
Mesic and they hint at Tudjman's partnership in the "parallel"
New Croatian president Mesic at the beginning of
90s a close
associate of the former president Tudjman and one of the highest
ranking men in Croatian political hierarchy. However, he
definitely disagreed with Tudjman in 1994 accusing him of leading
a policy towards dividing Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Facing Hague indictments that could soon arrive
Croatian addresses will certainly create much shock in Croatian
politics and to overcome them will require strength as well as
wisdom since upon it depends the future of (European) Croatia.
New Croatian government could at the same time be
difficult social situation threatening to escalate this autumn and
culmination of political divisions about the character of the
so-called Patriotic war caused by international indictments.
However, for now is important case Levar since some
if executors of such vicious assassination remain unknown, it
could lead Croatia into another phase of instability since
assassination could be the worst pattern of the further
development of situation.
Special addition: AZERBAIJAN URGENT FROM THE INSTITUTE
FOR DEMOCRACY IN EASTERN EUROPE. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IRENA LASOTA
AT IDEE@IDEE.ORG AN UNPRECEDENTED GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MUSAVAT PARTY IN AZERBAIJAN
Recently in Azerbaijan, a peculiar event touched
extraordinary defamation campaign against the most important
element of the democratic opposition, the Musavat Party, and its
chairman Isa Gambar. The party has been proclaimed to be a
"terrorist organization," although nothing in its past, activities,
program, nor philosophy warrants such accusations.
The goals of this government-orchestrated operation
- Opening a process of delegalization of the Musavat
order to prevent it from participating in the parliamentary
elections on November 5, 2000;
- Unleashing a mass hysteria leading to violence
Musavat's leadership or its more endangered members in the
- Preventing the Musavat Party from collecting the
number of signatures needed to put it on the ballot.
- Poisoning the pre-electoral campaign; creating
and subconscious image of the Musavat Party as a "terrorist
organization" which is a danger to the ordinary voter.
- Preventing other parties from forming electoral
with the Musavat Party;
- Intimidating members and sympathizers of the Musavat
- Paralyzing the normal functioning of the party
its leadership and activists in lawsuits, interrogations,
repudiations of terrorism, etc.;
The events started when on August 18 a certain Mehdi
attempted to hijack a plane. Guseynov, apparently terminally
and distraught about the illness of Azerbaijan's former president
and chairman of the Popular Front Party, Abulfaz Elchibey,
demanded democratic changes in the election law. He also happened
to be a member of the Musavat Party. Even though the would-be
hijacker maintained that he acted alone, members of the Musavat
Party and the Popular Front Party in the man's native region of
Nakichevan were arrested and an attack against the Musavat Party
was launched in the government press and on government-controlled
television. The defamation campaign started on August 22, the day
Abulfaz Elchibey died, and escalated throughout the days of
national mourning. Hundreds of meetings were organized against the
Musavat Party in government-owned or controlled enterprises
throughout the country. At these meetings, on which the national
press and television dutifully reported, employees expressed their
anger towards "the terrorist Musavat Party."
A survey of the government-controlled press and
(see below) points to a concerted effort to discredit the
democratic opposition and create a hysterical climate in which
citizens are afraid to be identified with the Musavat Party.
isolated incident of an attempted hijacking is being portrayed as
an organized campaign of terrorism. On August 27, Azerbaijani
National Television broadcast, for example, the program "Terror,"
which focused on the attempted hijacking and featured a moderator
who proclaimed, "This case shows that the Musavat Party, having
lost support among the people, wants to return to power by force."
The program News of the Day runs on official television
(Azerbaijani National Television) five times a day. In the last
two weeks some 15-20 minutes of each 30 minute installment has
been dedicated to the "Musavat Party's terrorist act." Thus every
day 50% of the news on AzTV-1 concerns the accusations against the
In the two weeks after the event, dozens of articles
daily in the government press in which inflammatory terms like
"terrorist organization" were used in association with the Musavat
Party. While a full investigation has yet to be completed, the
press has already implicated several Musavat leaders, most
importantly Isa Gambar, chairman of Musavat, and Rauf Arifoglu,
editor of Yeni Azerbaijan, a newspaper known for its criticism of
the administration. The hijacker had contacted Arifoglu from
plane, hoping to have his demands publicized. The editor
discouraged the man's actions and contacted the police. Shortly
thereafter, the authorities searched his apartment, where they
claimed to find a gun, and Arifoglu was arrested on weapons
charges. He was then accused of helping to plot the hijacking,
despite the hijacker's testimony to the contrary. Facing 5-10
years imprisonment, Arifoglu continues to be detained, and thus
cannot publish nor run in the November election. The
government-controlled press is calling for the Musavat Party to be
banned from the elections altogether.
In an August 31 appeal to the Commission on Security
Cooperation in Europe (enclosed), chairman of the Musavat Party
Isa Gambar likened the atmosphere in Azerbaijan today to that of
1933 Germany after the burning of the Reichstag. At the time
an election campaign should be taking place, the most outspoken
voices of the opposition are being eliminated, and the national
press and television provides a Soviet-style barrage of "worker's
rallies" and "peoples' councils" calling for retribution against
Musavat. The Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe joins
Gambar and the Musavat Party in calling for the international
democratic community to defend participatory democracy, freedom of
the press, and human rights in Azerbaijan.
EXCERPTS FROM AZERBAIJANI PRESS AND TELEVISION
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MUSAVAT PARTY AUGUST 27 - SEPTEMBER 1
"This terrorist act testifies to the fact that the
Party is capable of doing anything in order to come to power.
Esteemed Mr. President! This horrible incident [the hijacking
attempt] has incensed the people of the Sheki region and the whole
Azerbaijani nation... We in Sheki demand the legal and political
assessment of the actions of the Musavat Party, which wants to
come to power by such dirty methods."
("Address to President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev,"
from public meeting in Sheki, Respublika, September 1)
"Esteemed Mr. President! Recent events prove
members of the opposition are irreformable and they should deserve
punishment for their crimes. Mr. President! We ask you
the security forces to take all measures to see that the guilty
("Address to President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev,"
from public meeting in Mingecevir, Respublika, September 1)
"We believe that the order to carry out this act
came from Mehdi Guseynov and that he must be appropriately
punished, along with Musavat Party chairman Isa Gambar, who wants
to destroy stability in the republic, Rauf Arifoglu, editor of the
paper Yeni Musavat, who is known to readers for his accusations
against the government, and all other people who took part in this
terrible act." (Statement of representatives of three
pro-government parties in the Imishlin region, in "Activity of the
Party Musavat, Which Propagates Violence and Provocations, Should
Be Halted," Khalk Gazeti, August 29)
"The treachery of the Musavat leadership against
and their people disturbs every veteran of the war, every veteran
of labor, every veteran of the armed forces... The Veterans of the
Republic declare that they are incensed by this terrorist act and
call for every citizen of Azerbaijan to fight against such people
[as Musavat]." (Bakhadur Guseynov, Chairman of the Council of
Veterans of the Republic, "The Terrorist Activity of the
Opposition Must be Prevented," declaration of the leadership of
the Council of Veterans of the Republic, Azerbaijan, September
[National Television of Azerbaijan]:
Moderator: "This case shows that the Musavat Party,
lost support among the people, wants to return to power by force."
A resident of Nakhichevan: "I want this party to
Safel Mirzayev (a resident of Khamazskii region):
opinion, Mehdi Guseynov controls the leadership of the Musavat
Party from the sidelines. Personally, I think the Musavat Party
was a destructive party from the very start. Who needs that kind
of party? No one."
Tofig Gaflanov (a resident of Khachmazskii
praises Heydar Aliyev] "I ask for the terrorism to be investigated
by the security forces. If the Musavat Party is involved in
terrorism, then their registration with the Justice Ministry
should be rescinded and their activity suspended."
Najima Babayeva (a resident of Khachmazskii region):
party which engages in terrorism should cease its activity. After
this the Musavat Party cannot continue. Thus as an Azeri woman
demand the suspension of activity by this party."
(Transcript of "Terror," a television program shown
reprinted in "Public Opinion Angrily Condemns the Act of Terrorism
and Seeks the Punishment of the Guilty," Khalk Gazeti, August 29)
"Already for some time the pro-Musavat papers have
served as a
mouthpiece for Mahir Javadov and Ayaz Mutallibov [opponents of
both Heydar Aliyev and Isa Gambar, in exile in Teheran and Moscow
respectively-Ed.] and praised Isa Gambar... the incident with Rauf
Arifoglu, who helped to organize the act of terrorism and wanted
to flee to Iran [?]... indirectly proves that Ayaz Mutallibov gave
approval for the terrorist plan masterminded by Isa Gambar and
Mahir Javadov." ("The Facts Give Reason to Believe Isa Gambar
Coordinated the Terrorist Plan with Mahir Javadov and Ayaz
Mutallibov," Naib Niftaliyev, Ses, August 29)
"...Rauf Arifoglu, who planned the act of terrorism,
arrested along with another perpetrator, Mehdi Guseynov... but one
of the other organizers, Isa Gambar, is still free. The facts
show that the hand of Isa Gambar was in this terrorist act... we
also expect that the Musavat Party, having acquired the image of a
terrorist party, will not be allowed in the elections and that the
question of their registration will be put before the Ministry of
("Isa Gambar and Rauf Arifoglu Worked Together," Ilham
(first name unknown), Ses,
"As in 1992, the leaders of Musavat have not abandoned
attempts to come to power through blackmail, terror, and violence,
and on their way they have allowed the possibility of the most
serious crimes... (From a meeting in Devechi region attended by
members of local government and the local branch of the party Yeni
Azerbaijan, "Terror is the Activity of an Enemy," Azerbaijan,
"Starting on August 18 our intelligentsia have been
the proper ministry to ask that the Musavat Party be considered a
terrorist party and that its activities be suspended." (Hanlar
Handjanov, head of local government, Sabirad region, Respublika,
MUSAVAT PARTY CHAIRMAN ISA GAMBAR'S LETTER TO OSCE
CHAIRMAN CHRISTOPHER SMITH ( August 31,
Commission on Security and Cooperation in
234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-6460
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Dear Mr. Smith
I would like to appeal to you at a responsible period
country - in the eve of parliamentary elections.
As probably you remember from the Helsinki Commission
on May 25 on Elections, Democratization, and Human Rights in
Azerbaijan where representatives of democratic forces of
Azerbaijan predicted expected repression against political
opponents of current regime and independent media on the eve of
To my great regret these dark prognosis have been
proved. Today's situation in Azerbaijan reminds us the situation
with the arson of Riex in Nazi Germany. On August 18 Nakichevani
resident Mehdi Huseynov made failed attempt of hijacking
flight Nakichevan-Baku demanding democratization of election law.
Regrettably this man turned up to be member of Musavat. Party.
Despite the fact that Musavat party officially condemned any
terrorist action and this action as an act of attempted hijacking
the authorities launched the campaign of repression and chase
against Musavat Party across the country.
Many members of democratic parties of Nakichevan
had any relations with the hijacker have been arrested. Editor in
Chief of leading opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat" has
arrested who has been contacted from the board of airplane by the
hijacker to make public his statement.
Organized by the government campaign with well-known
of soviet totalitarianism like "meetings of labouring" where
angrily condemn "terrorist Party Musavat " and demand closing
party. These " meetings of working people" have been continuing
for the past 10 days and are being broadcasted by the state
controlled TV. And in these "equal" conditions pre-election
campaign is being conducted.
All abovementioned and our bitter experience
with the current
regime give us argument to conclude that this is just a beginning
of a large scale of campaign of repression against Azerbaijanian
democrats and against Musavat Party.
I am glad to inform you that the society being concentrated
exert enormous resistance to the current campaign of repression.
So about 30 newspapers and magazines went on strike to protest
arrest of editor in chief of Yeni Musavat and in defense of free
Democratic opposition is united in its ambition
legislature and conduct free and fair elections. We would be very
grateful if our struggle would get support from international
democratic society. For this support I would like to appeal to
you dear Mr. Smith to raise your voice in defense of democracy in
Azerbaijan. Current parliamentary elections are not only vital for
the future of the country but also for the development of sincere
Azerbaijanian -American relations.
With best wises,
Isa Gambar Chairman of Musavat Party
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Assassination, Abduction Mark Run-Up to Yugoslav Elections
Key War-Crimes Witness Killed in Croatia
NATO Peacekeepers Search for Escaped Prisoners in Kosovo
Masked Gunmen Raid Moscow's Glasnost Foundation
Russia Seeks Bureaucratic Divorce With Troublesome CIS Countries
More Money For Refugee Returns in Bosnia
Eastern Europeans Reassured by Schroder
Estonia, Russia in Tit-for-Tat Spy Quarrel
Hungarian Oil Scandal Winding Down
NRG Deal Almost Wrapped-Up in Estonia
Our Take: Living With The Lingua Franca
A TOL editorial
The full text of this article also appears below.
This month's "In Focus" package: Teachers, Dictators, and
Post-communist education is struggling to pull itself
the boot straps, and to sustain itself--often at the tangible and
intangible expense of students. Although education is nominally
state-funded, in the embryonic market economies of the region,
more often than not the state cannot pay.
IN FOCUS: Cotton-Pickin' Students
by Rustam Temirov
(Free Access For a Week)
Uzbek students started the school year on 1 September.
like every year, it's a time of stress. But only two weeks after
the term gets underway, all students outside the capital city of
Tashkent are obligated to suddenly pack up their books and head to
the cotton fields to work until December.
IN FOCUS: Learning To Love Turkmenbashi
by Mariya Rasner
(Free Access For a Week)
Turkmenistan, my beloved motherland,
my beloved homeland!
You are always with me
in my thoughts and in my heart.
For the slightest evil against you
let my hand be lost.
For the slightest slander about you
let my tongue be lost.
At the moment of my betrayal
to my motherland, to her sacred banner,
to Saparmurat Turkmenbashi let my breath stop.
In the morning, children line up at school, recite
and kiss the national flag. Afterwards, they attend lectures on
"Domestic and International Politics of Turkmenbashi" and
"Saparmurat Turkmenbashi's Teachings About Society."
IN FOCUS: The Shady Side of Education
by Nonna Chernyakova
It's either pay or fail in Russia's "free" university
students say. Financially strapped Russian institutions of higher
education are increasingly hitting up students to fund everything
from maintenance to the salaries of professors. While
administrators say their students are simply eager to help their
cash-strapped universities, students say the schools are
strong-arming them to make up for a public failure to fund higher
learning since the collapse of communism.
IN FOCUS: Teaching Tolerance
by Burton Bollag
It is mid-afternoon and the 200 students of Gandhi
are lounging around the premises. The day's classes have ended,
and the students, all Roma, have a couple of hours' break before
the start of the 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. "silencium" period, when they
are all required to be in their rooms studying. The atmosphere is
relaxed: Students chat in small groups, and one student is playing
the guitar while others sing along. The school provides an
environment quite different from the one often experienced by
Romani children--although segregation is still a factor here, the
quality of education is not.