Issue No. 216 - March 26, 2001
Contents:

1. Macedonia: END OF BEING IN DENIAL
            By Zvezdan Georgievski

2. FRY/Kosovo: APPEAL TO STOP VIOLENCE
            By Ylber Emra

3. Bosnia and Herzegovina: ECONOMY AGAINST SEPARATISM
           By Radenko Udovicic

 4. Russia: BACKSLAPPING DAYS ARE GONE
           By Arkady Dubnov

 5. Special addition : NEW AT TOL
 


Macedonia: END OF BEING IN DENIAL
     By Zvezdan Georgievski
    Even before armed conflict between Albanian extremists and
Macedonian security forces, Macedonia was far from being a stable
and ideal country. But, as Macedonian finance minister Nikola
Grujovski said,  even if the fighting ceased this minute, its
consequences for Macedonian economy (and indirectly also to the
political situation) could be said to be catastrophic.
    So, disregarding the outcome or the future development of this
conflict, it is clear that the Macedonian economy and politics were in
denial and that they have reached the point of culmination. Rise
of unemployment (60 per cent of able citizens don't have a job)
was interpreted in Macedonia as a sign of economic restructuring:
always greater dissatisfaction of the people was explained by
implementation of social and economical reforms: decline in
standard of living was said to be the price Macedonia has to pay
in the transitional period, etc.
    Although until now Macedonia hasn't used to its advantage the
fact that it has emerged from Yugoslav crisis unscathed, at least
until now, with a decade that could have been used for real
development. Privatization turned to be robbery of the so-called
state capital, corruption spread to the whole society, smuggling
became dominant economy, organized crime is bland obvious, there
are suspicions that sale of capital object brought fat profits to
some politicians, the state is functioning according to whims of
politicians and not to the benefit of all...
    But it took this fighting to change the general climate in
Macedonia: it became evident that stability of the state is
fragile, that political problems are really fundamental, not to
speak about situation in economy. Of course, Macedonian state is
going through all the moves of a country just before the state of
war: the number of internally dislocated persons is increasing
every day, factories and other economical objects in the
endangered area are closed, and their workers became a burden to
the government. Negotiations with the World Bank and IMF were
canceled, already announced foreign investments were withdrawn,
money is rapidly leaving the country, prices of hard currencies
are skyrocketing and the currencies itself are hard to find.
Defense ministry is working on the balance of military budget
which will gobble up a great amount of money to the so-called
unprofitable sectors like food and arms, clothes and all related
to police and military forces...
    Privatization process with 89 per cent of the state capital
sold so far stopped. However, in Macedonian Privatization Agency
say that this is not a per cent grounded in reality since
privatization is still ongoing in some firms which means that one
might expect postponing of the final privatization stage in some
industries, which is only going to make situation worse.
    People in Macedonia still don't think that these armed
conflicts could escalate into war. In such a catastrophic case,
which is still possible, economy could be totally devastated,
farms and private property could be utterly destroyed and
workforce decimated. Of course, in such event Macedonia would need
a significant aid from the international community.
    Still, Macedonian finance ministry said that Macedonia has 4,5
billion DEM for this year (last years' budget suficit - 200
million DEM, financial reserves - 1,5 billion DEM, budget for 2001
is estimated at 2,2 billion DEM; money for the budget came from
privatization - Macedonian Telecom alone yielded a profit of 700
million DEM and there is also money from other sources, funds and
foreign donations) which is enough guarantee that Macedonia will
overcome also this crisis. Finance ministry claims that Macedonia
never had so much money available, and neither are reserves in
goods to be underestimated.
    However, local analysts think that the statements only serve
to pacify Macedonian people, because the consequences will be felt
by everyone. It is the factor of sobering up, taking up the whole
picture, which will inevitably reflect among the international
community, which makes further support to Macedonia uncertain.
    Vladimir Gligorov, a professor at the Vienna University for
comparative analysis of transitional countries, says that the
international community will ask itself whether it makes sense to
provide aid which is used for corruption and destabilization. So,
one might expect complete change in approach to support of all
political forces that have participated in power so far which
means that an average citizen will once again pay the highest
price. Gligorov claims that it is already clear that Macedonian
economy, which is already nearing collapse, will suffer a great
damage. These bleak forecasts also mean further destabilization of
political situation, a definite entrance into the never-ending spiral
of poverty and instability.
    Would a quick and efficient political resolution prevent a
bigger crisis? Former minister of the first interior and then external
affairs Ljubomir Frckovski thinks that there are some chances in
case of quick outcome. He claims that the international community is
without mercy, acknowledging only those who have won. And if
Macedonia lets rebels take control over a part of its territory,
then the international community will recognize their legitimacy to
have it and in that scenario there will not be a Macedonian state
to speak of, let alone economy.
    Talking about this context, one must know that all Albanian
parties (or at least those that have their representatives in
Macedonian parliament, including DPA, Democratic Party of
Albanians headed by Arben Dajferi that is part of the ruling
coalition and strongest opposition Party of Democratic Prosperity)
condemn violence, but support rebels' request for federalization
of Macedonia.
    One should have in mind that Macedonia is a tiny country of 2
million citizens (according to official data 23 per cent are
Albanians, 66 per cent Macedonians and the rest various national
minorities) so that in the consciousness of Macedonian people but
also neighboring nations, "federalization" means collapse of a
state. Also, historical lessons advise Macedonians to be cautious
when dealing with neighbors. It is well-known that Macedonian
territory was the cause of Balkan wars at the beginning of last
century so that neighbors here are treated with caution even when
they bring some presents with them. For example, already on the
first day of Macedonian crisis Bulgaria offered its military aid,
including soldiers, but even in a situation like this when future
of the country is really uncertain, Macedonian parliament decided
that Macedonia will ask for total military aid if necessary,
including soldiers, but not from armies of any neighboring
countries.
    There aren't many solutions for this situation. Long-lasting
military conflict is inevitably leading the country into disaster.
Negotiations with terrorists are out of question. Legitimate
Albanian parties claim that Albanians have been suffering from
national, political and economic discrimination for at least ten
years (and even before, during SFRY) and that the only solution is
the already mentioned federalization. Change of Macedonian
constitution (one of the rebels' requests, but also requested by
legitimate political parties of the local Albanians) to include
Albanians as equal to Macedonians in Macedonia, to introduce
bilingualism and so-called consensual democracy is felt among
non-Albanians as a national treason and beginning of the never-ending
hell.
    Still, it seems that Macedonian government is rapidly opening
up for discussion with representatives of Albanian political
parties and others interested in this issue, although current
discussions are held in secret, although one can see that there is
a good will to relax tensions.
    Secrecy is required because Macedonian government cannot allow
to give away impression that it has backed down because of
terrorists, although this situation served as a generator of
announced changes. Issue of higher education in Albanian language
is almost completed with a compromise - private university
supported by both the international community and the Macedonian state. To
calm down the situation, the government announced that one channel
of state TV will be set up for exclusive Albanian broadcast (there
are already numerous print and electronic media in Albanian),
there will be more Albanians in police and army forces, there is
even a possibility of admitting local population into border
patrol units. All these changes will certainly improve the
situation, but maybe the most important is the so-called law on
local government that is in the preparation stage. Its content is
still not public, but if Macedonia is really away from Europe in
one sense, then it is certainly the local government law.
    New law should enable a broad decentralization, more economic
freedom to local units and greater freedom in decision-making
regarding everyday life. To be honest, this law was being prepared
even before the fighting, but it has undoubtedly accelerated the
process and suspended some rigid solutions.
    Issue of human rights is also entering political analysis of
the situation. French ambassador to Macedonia, Jean Francois
Teral, said that the basic rule in EU is equality of
opportunities. One young Macedonian Albanian and one young
Macedonian should have equal access to university, culture, equal
chances to find a job in state or public sector; administration,
judicial system or politics.
    The only problem is that most Macedonians think Albanians
already have all these conditions, and that the fighting is in
fact aggression of Kosovar Albanians - those political forces that
instinctively realize that their time has run out and that they
don't have any chances at normal elections. In eyes of average
Macedonians, this situation is clean-cut aggression on territory
and separation, while many Albanians think that they are
discriminated and that this fighting is a result of their inferior
position in Macedonia.
    In other words, besides political and economic analyses, there
is also something called human factor that is affecting events in
Macedonia. Unfortunately, hate got the better of Macedonian
citizens so the longer the conflict the less control over
situation by local politicians.
    Not unreal is the possibility of not direct war, but latent
danger of it from terrorism. There is already an epidemic among
Macedonians to self-organize for defense. The country allegedly
isn't able to defend its citizens so they will deal with attackers
on their own, which is a kind of logic that was present in all
Yugoslav wars and which ended in tragedy.
    So, if foreign capital fears local "AK-47"s and very clearly
understands that the risk-zone will not only deny profit, but could
also gobble the capital itself; if politics is being exercised on
a thin wire between war and peace because of the fear of the same
weapons, then people won't be afraid to use them. And they won't
be afraid to say that their final goal is entrance into the EU.
    What is certain is that after this conflict there won't be any
place for politicians and citizens to be in denial. Neither in
Macedonia nor among the international community. The only question is
how difficult will sobering up of both parties be and what will be
done so that the country doesn't face total economic and political
collapse. Maybe this situation had in mind already mentioned
Macedonian finance minister, usually very talkative, when
answering how did he see situation in Macedonia, he very concisely
said: "bad!"
                         ***
FRY/Kosovo: APPEAL TO STOP VIOLENCE
     By Ylber Emra
    Kosovars look up to the events in Macedonia with fear and dismay.
    People in Kosovo pay a great deal of attention and dismay to the
latest events in Macedonia and almost two weeks of fighting, of
various intensity, between the Macedonian army and police with
members of the National Liberation Army .
    These fightings and victims on the Albanian side met fierce
condemnation of Kosovar Albanians and their political leaders but
there are some indications of a new, more tolerant course towards
them.
    All relevant political leaders of Kosovar Albanians angrily
condemned overuse of force by Macedonian forces, and they were
especially angry with accusations from the Macedonian government that
UCCK members were in fact "terrorists that came from Kosovo" and
that Kosovar politicians were involved in the recent events in
Macedonia.
    Since Wednesday night there have been student demonstrations
in the center of Pristina supporting the National Liberation Army,
new armed formation of Macedonian Albanians. As much as several
thousand students every night hold banners and voice their support
to demands of their compatriots in Macedonia for equality and
federalization of that country.
    Electronic media in Pristina, as well as all seven Kosovar
dailies, extensively cover even the minor details about the
fighting in Macedonia. That can be explained both by drama of the
Macedonian situation that has become a world issue, but also with
proximity and multi-layered connections between Kosovar Albanians
and Albanians living in Macedonia, located mostly in the western part
of that country of two million people, where every third resident
is an Albanian.
    Nobody here forgets that Macedonian Albanians sided with
Kosovars two years ago, during the fighting with Yugoslav security
forces; that many of several hundred thousand refugees found a
safe place in Macedonia, some in refugee centers, some among
friends and relatives, for months.
    Ordinary people find it harsh that the Macedonian authorities
closed borders to Kosovo so that Macedonian refugees have to use
mountain passes, like Kosovars did before them. Closed borders
also mean more difficult transport of supplies into Kosovo which
is also important, and one mustn't forget that border agreement
between Macedonia and FRY met with general displeasure in Kosovo.
    Now there are almost 14,000 Albanian refugees from Tetovar
vicinity in Kosovo and wounded Macedonian Albanians are being
treated in some hospitals in Kosovo. Therefore, political leaders
in Pristina are extremely harsh to accusations that they hide
behind the conflict. Macedonian prime minister Ljupce Georgievski
first put forth that accusation, which was later accepted by some
foreign politicians, but also some diplomats in Kosovo.
    Leader of the strongest political party Democratic Alliance of
Kosovo (LDK) Ibrahim Rugova immediately discounted such claims,
saying they were not based in reality. Especially was influential
his statement, uttered in Berlin, that Kosovo had to become
independent, that Macedonia had to accept legitimate Albanian
demands, including those for federation. According to Rugova,
southern Serbia and parts of Montenegro where there are Albanians
should have a special status and the international protection. With
these statements Rugova concisely put what was on the mind of
Albanians in this region.
    That was interpreted in Kosovo as his approaching to his main
political opponents, Hashim Taqi and Ramush Xaradinaj, who have
the reputation of extremist nationalists and cannot be labeled as
moderate politicians, as western diplomats see LDK leader.
    LDK vice-president Naim Jerliu accused the Macedonian government
that it was the cause of fighting, because they "haven't solved
problems of Macedonian Albanians for ten years". High LDK official
Ramadan Avdiu said that such claims serve to "Macedonian officials
to remove the blame from themselves" for position of Macedonian
Albanians.
    Such statements, especially if coming from a party seen as
moderate, have greatly increased national tensions among Kosovar
Albanians who are persuaded that Albanian national issue isn't
resolved.
    Therefore it's understandable that Kastriot Haxhirexhe, leader
of the newly formed Albanian party in Macedonia, National
Democratic Party, gets much media attention in Pristina. Same goes
for the leader of Democratic Party of Albanians in Macedonia Arben
Xaferi, who already had a reputation among Kosovars since he was
living in Pristina 15 years ago.
    Words of a Pristina publisher Veton Suroi that in a possible
war in Macedonia "neither side can win" was seen as a warning that
over-emotions and war cries cannot help solve situation in that
country. Suroi's evaluations and attitudes are still seen as
remarks of "a well-known politicians close to the West".
    Another publisher Shkezlen Maliqi is pointing out the need to
soften the extreme statements of Kosovar politicians regarding crisis
and conflicts in Macedonia. He says that the National Liberation Army
in Macedonia is a leftover of the organization that used to exist
in Kosovo and that this fraction now doesn't listen to any
politician from Kosovo, Albania or Macedonia nor anyone from the
former Kosovo Liberation Army command.
    Chief of the American office in Pristina Christopher Dell exerted
additional pressure to ease national and political passions. He
said to Kosovar Albanians that "their friends told them to deal
with Kosovo first, since it would be your contribution to all
Albanians".
    The calming, but also warning sentence, was immediately
understood by political leaders of Kosovar Albanians who signed a
declaration in Pristina, on March 23, calling members of the
National Liberation Army in Macedonia to sustain from violence. It
is not clear whether they will accept it, but it is certain that
it will be very important in easing emotional tension which got
the best of almost all Kosovar Albanians.

                         ***

 
Bosnia and Herzegovina: ECONOMY AGAINST SEPARATISM
     By Radenko Udovicic
    Although decisions about separation from the Federation B-H
that the Croatian People's Assembly passed at the beginning of March
looked ominous and were announcing unforeseeable crisis, situation
in the country looks normal, almost idyllic, at least where ordinary
people are concerned.
    There are usual activities going on - people travel without
worries over all parts of the country, there are new business
agreements among firms managed by owners from different nations
and political outlooks, there are new plans for more efficient
profit-making. Only by watching information shows on TV can one
see a big crisis within this Bosnian entity creating a rift
between already unstable national relations.
    The latest Bosnian crisis began when the Croatian People's
Assembly, a self-proclaimed law-passing body of Bosnian Croats,
decided to stop acknowledging central authorities of Bosnia and
Herzegovina and the Federation B-H. Logical outcome of that decision
is the creation of a separate territorial unit where Croats would have
autonomy. At the same time, Croatian leaders sent a proposal to UN
Security Council and most western countries, to organize a new
conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to make a new
territorial and legal organization. The reason for such radical
decisions was pushing HDZ out of the government. This party thinks
that government must be nominated according to national and not
majority principle and that HDZ has to remain in power since it
enjoys the biggest support among Bosnian Croats.
    Decisions of the self-proclaimed Assembly were refused both by
Serbian and Bosniak side, as well as by the international community,
that has used its emergency authority to relieve highest-ranking
HDZ officials of their public functions. Among them is also a
Bosnian presidency member, Ante Jelavic.
    Tensions were slightly eased  when the Croatian People's Assembly
(CPA) set 60 days deadline to the international community to find
political solution for the crisis in the country on its meeting on
March 16. This decision means postponing of the Croatian
self-management as well as a complete collapse of the Federation B-H.
CPA explained this decision as their wish not to rush final
solution for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    However, it is more likely that this readiness for political
negotiations was caused by the fact that the CPA was aware that full
realization of the third entity would mean collapse of the Federation
which would result in heavy sanctions of the international community
and even use of force by SFOR and central authorities in Sarajevo.
    Besides stumbling across united front of the international
community not to allow territorial restructuring in Bosnia,
Croatian political leaders met obstacles within their own -
Croatian - territory. They conflicted with management of many
profitable firms located in Herzegovina and central Bosnia that
are either reserved or downright refuse to accept a situation that
could endanger their business if sanctions were imposed.
    It would mean severed economic ties with other parts of
Bosnia, but also with Croatia which hasn't officially supported the
CPA's decision.
    The most profitable companies are owned by Croats and their
success came because they sell their goods across the Federation B-H
and the Serb Republic. Most loyal customers for most of those firms
are Bosniaks, a nation most criticized by HDZ. If decision of CPA
to round up all taxes from territories where Croats form majority
into the Croatian self-management, and not federal budget came true,
then those territories would be subjected to heavy economic
sanctions. The international community has already announced that in
that case it would block all banks that would make such illegal
transactions. Also, firms that would pay taxes into account of
Croatian territories would be isolated and cut off from the
market. That would be the end of trade empires in Vitez (central
Bosnia), of the biggest meat  industry "Lijanovici" located in
western Herzegovina and numerous successful Croatian firms that
represent the most prominent world companies that have been
directing their products mostly into Sarajevo. shouldn't be
surprised by the lack of unanimous support of such firms, because they
prefer economic well-being to national pride.
    Decision of the CPA to prolong the start of Croatian autonomy was
partly influenced by the US ambassador to Bosnia Thomas Miller. That
day, Miller met Mostar mayor Neven Tomic and representatives of
all Croatian political parties active in that town. It seems that
he met with a united opinion of Croatian representatives regarding
criticism of the new OSCE election rules. The rules that were
imposed by Bosnian OSCE mission before the last elections enabled
representatives of the House of Nations in the Federation B-H, where
consensus is needed for all decisions, to be elected by
representatives of local assemblies of all nations, and not only
Croats as was the case before.
    This change enabled Bosniaks who are more numerous than Croats
to influence who will be chosen in this house of parliament among
Croats. Since that moment came open displeasure of HDZ with
Bosnian regulations which has recently culminated in creation of the
Croatian People's Assembly.
    After the meeting, Thomas Miller said he understood
displeasure among Bosnian Croats and that he would try to help
solve the problem. Sympathy of an American ambassador gave signal
to HDZ that there was still a possibility to solve at least some
problems by negotiating. The same evening came the news that the
separation process was being prolonged for two months.
    Still, the most important power institution that best reflects
this polarization is the army. The Croatian component in the Federation
Army took off federal insignia from their uniforms and left only
those marking whole Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus showing that they
don't want to be partners with Bosniaks in the same entity
anymore, but that they don't want to separate from Bosnia. All
Croatian officials in the Ministry of defense and Joint HQs
resigned, but the new federal defense minister immediately placed
new officials who weren't HDZ members.
    But, the problem is that the civil commander of the Croatian
component is a Croatian presidency member. Since Ante Jelavic was
relieved from that duty, and there isn't his successor yet,
Jelavic "took away" office of civil commander and gave it to the
president of the self-proclaimed Croatian Assembly Marko Tokic.
    Tokic has been also relieved by the High representative
recently and, since he isn't recognized by the international community
and central authorities in Bosnia, Croatian part of the army is in
doubt - whether to accept new commanders who don't have majority
support of Croatian  people or to remain loyal to para-state
structures.
    The independent Croatian army isn't sustainable, because in case
of mutiny it would be denied finances from the federal budget.
Also, aid from Croatia doesn't come through illegal methods
anymore, but is directly filling the federal budget.
    Disregarding all that, majority of Croatian officers still
decided to transfer their loyalty to the CPA. As much as 66
high-ranking officers of the federal army and all 8 officials of
the Defense ministry resigned. All of them say that they don't
acknowledge new government without HDZ's participation, but
instead with minor parties which don't have support of Croatian
people. Especially difficult strike to the Federal army was given by
 the First Croatian Guard that, led by their general Mijo Jelic, proved
disobedient to the new authorities in Sarajevo. On that occasion,
Jelic said "Better to be protected by my own people from SFOR than
being protected by SFOR from my own people", alluding to the fact
that some current Croatian officials in central government cannot
enter western Herzegovina.
    Very important for Bosnian situation is also the announcement from
Croatia, from president of the parliament Zdravko Tomac who said
that Croatia will cancel special relations with the Federation. It
was explained by the fact that Croatia wanted to establish good
relations with the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not just
one part of it because it contributed to division of the country
that Croatia deems very important for the stability of the
Balkans. Political forces gathered around the CPA welcomed this
decision, saying that nobody had any benefit from that agreement
and was only providing fuel to accusations against Croats as
wanting to annex the entity to Croatia. Bosniak politicians also
welcomed this decision explaining it with necessity to save
country's integrity. One could say that Bosniaks and Croats here
have the same goal, to influence international community to deny
special relations between Serb Republic and Yugoslavia. But, such
initiatives will hardly have any significant effect, since the
international community doesn't think that Serbian politics is the
source of instability in the Balkans anymore, but is targeting the
Albanian nationalism and terrorism instead, as well as HDZ which
is the only political party in Bosnia that doesn't fit into the
international standards.
                           ***

 Russia: BACKSLAPPING DAYS ARE GONE
      By Arkady Dubnov
    Russia and America Begin New Era with the Spy Scandal.
    The front-page headlines and lead stories on the TV news are
all full of the same thing-the spy scandal between Russia and
Washington.  There has been nothing like it since 1986, when
Ronald Reagan ordered 80 Russian diplomats expelled from the
United States.  At that time, the Kremlin answered asymmetrically.
It banned Soviet workers from the service staff of the American
embassy in Moscow and consulate in Leningrad.  The American still
shudder when they think of those times.  They had to clean the
toilets and fix broken heating pipes themselves.
    The new Republican administration in Washington decided to
repeat the 15-year-old precedent.  Bush Junior authorized the
expulsion from Washington of four Russian diplomats within ten
days and another 46 by July 1 of this year.  They are all accused
of spying.  The move was intentionally publicized and had been
leaked to the American press in advance.  Since diplomats exposed
as spies are usually expelled without publicity, Moscow has taken
Bush's move, not without reason, as a political demonstration of
the United States' future intentions toward Russia.
    Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov has stated
that Moscow's response will be adequate.  It has already announced
the expulsion of four American diplomats and that there will be
more, a tooth for a tooth, 50 for 50.
    The expulsion of the Russian diplomats was under consideration
during the Clinton administration.  The United States has long
been annoyed with the high level of activity by the Russian
special services there.  As many as 200 Russian spies work under
diplomatic cover, more than during the Cold War.  Clinton was
supposedly convinced to wait until they ended the investigation of
FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who had worked for Soviet, and then
Russian, intelligence for 25 years.  Hanssen was arrested in
February 2001.  He is thought to have been fingered by Sergei
Tretyakov, deputy head of the Russian mission to the U.N., who
went over to the American side last summer.  Anonymous sources
within Russian intelligence in Moscow say that it is all a typical
spy story.  The Americans were unable to catch Hanssen material
evidence that would allow them to publicly accuse Moscow of
espionage.  Therefore, "they were very upset by this situation in
the FBI and decided to recoup their losses on diplomats, even
though it is not at all clear that they are engaged in intelligence,"
said one source.
    The point has been made that, after Moscow's response to its
moves, Washington may bear more losses than it caused.  There are
many fewer Americans working in Moscow and it is harder to train
Russian-speaking American specialists than Russians who speak
English.
    But it is the political element of the spy scandal that is
important for Washington today. Today, after the collapse of the
USSR and the end of the Cold War, in which Moscow suffered utter
defeat, Russia is not at the core of United States foreign policy.
Russia today sees Washington as one of the most important regions,
along with Japan, China, India and Europe.  So there is no need to
overestimate the role of intelligence on the Russian side.  It was
much more important to show Moscow its real place in the future
world, where the hegemony of the United States has been entrenched
for the long run.
    That is what is most painful of all to the Russian political
elite.  Not even the most liberal politicians, such as former
ambassador to the United States Vladimir Lukin, prepared to give
up the status of superpower.  Lukin, a member of the Yabloko
movement headed by Grigory Yavlinsky, thinks that America's
actions were appropriate in 1986, when America was facing "an
empire of communism," but, today, when "Russia is a modern,
democratic country," the Americans' decision signifies that they
"have confused freedom and democracy with America's very selfish
interests."  Nonetheless, "a large part of the world does not want
to be American," he continued.  He is urging all "not to give in
to emotions, not to fall into psychosis, but calmly to demonstrate
that America is trying to fight a chimera and Russia intends to
defend its interests in a civilized manner."
    The problem is that, this very month, Moscow demonstrated that
its interests are directly opposed to America's when it reached an
agreement to increase military cooperation with Iran sharply. This
became known while Iranian president Mohammad Khatami was on a
visit to Moscow. They claim that Iranian arms purchases in Russia
may reach $7 billion.  Typically, after Khatami's visit, there is
a goal to turn Russia into the world's second biggest arms
exporter, after the United States.
    The Bush administration reacted very nervously to the
Russian-Iranian agreement and it may be that that was when their
patience snapped and the spy scandal was initiated.
    Another scandal in American-Russian relations arose at exactly
the same time. Ilyas Akhmadov, minister of foreign affairs in the
Chechen Maskhadov government, arrived in Washington in the middle
of this week and will be officially received at the United States
Department of State.  Akhmadov's attempts to meet officially with
members of the Clinton administration last year were unsuccessful.
After pressure was applied from Moscow, an insignificant clerk
from the State Department talked to Maskhadov in the lobby of a
Washington hotel.  His reception this time is much showier.
    Moscow reacted to that with a frenzy in high places.  They
even cast doubt on the United States' commitment to fighting the
international terrorism because of that.
    Nonetheless, the general tone of Moscow's reaction to this
latest cold spot in U.S.-Russian relations reveals the Russian
leadership's unwillingness to enter into a confrontation for good.
Moscow is clearly not in shape for it.  Completely unexpectedly, the
Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov stated on March 23
that "in these circumstances, Russia needs particular restraint
and attentiveness to its interests."
    Of course, when the dust from the spy scandal settles,
relations between Moscow ad Washington will go back to normal. But
the friendly backslapping that characterized the Yeltsin-Clinton
days is gone.  Bush Junior doesn't want it and Putin can't do it.
The ex-spy doesn't have it in him to make up with his former
enemy.
                          ***
 

 Special addition : NEW AT TOL
  --- OUR TAKE: Combat Fatigue Life is a kopek in Russia--even
less if you're Chechen.
http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=16&NrArticle=658&ST1=body&ST_T1=wir&ST_max=1
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    - - - TOL Message - - -
   This message reaches 25.000 people. Want to reach the region?
Visit our mediakit at http://archive.tol.cz/mediakit/index.html,
or e-mail us at nicolaisenl@tol.cz.
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    --- TOL WEEK IN REVIEW ---
    From Bad to Worse
    Violence in Macedonia moves from the countryside to the
nation?s second largest city.
    by Gordana Icevska
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Commandeering Global Attention
    The hijacking of a Russian airliner by Chechens rebels ends in
bloodshed.
    by Sophia Kornienko
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Don't Show Him the Money
    Lukashenka announces sweeping restrictions on the use of
foreign aid funds in Belarus.
    by Alex Znatkevich
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Better To Give Than To Receive?
    Hungarian foreign direct investment--especially into
neighboring countries--reaches new heights.
    by Laszlo Szocs
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    All Work and No Play
    Government puts an end to partying in Mongolia in an effort to
get ready for another severe winter.
    by Nomin Lhagvasuren
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    MORE WEEK IN REVIEW:
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Russian-Iranian Cooperation Raises Western Ire
    Kyrgyzstan Launches Local Election Pilot Program
    Balkan Air Bankruptcy Creates Problems in Bulgaria
    Opposition to Romanian State Secrets Law Grows
    Tajik Government Fears Fundamentalist Spread
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- SPECIAL REPORT: Chechnya's Troubling Truths ---
    Rampant TB and Dirty Oil: Two Stories from the North Caucasus
    The fighting in Chechnya and neighboring republics has left
    environmental destruction and rapidly decaying health.
    by Nabi Abdullaev
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=1&NrArticle=655
    In the Spotlight
    A controversial journalist recently detained in Chechnya talks
    to TOL about her view from the ground in the war-torn
province.
    by Sophia Kornienko
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=1&NrArticle=656
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- IN THEIR OWN WORDS ---
    The Spying Game
    A new parliamentarian and former officer in Romania's
notorious Securitate
    gets misty-eyed about the good old days.
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=7&NrArticle=657
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- FEATURES ---
    Elections in Abkhazia Spark Controversy
    Officials in the contested region in Georgia ignore
international criticism
    and hold local elections anyway.
    by Dima Bit-Suleiman
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=2&NrArticle=654
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- TOL in Russian ---
    Bosnia: Judgement Day
    by Daria Sito
    Translated by Albina Egorova
    http://archive.tol.cz/russian/bosnia.html
    No Farewell to Arms
    by Nabi Abdulaev
    Translated by Yevgenia Avetisova
    http://archive.tol.cz/russian/nofarewell.html
    The Mother of Manipulated Elections
    by Seymur Selimov
    Translated by Marina Zhuravleva
    http://archive.tol.cz/russian/mother.html
    On the Air At Last
    by Laszlo Szocz
    Translated by Albina Egorova
    http://archive.tol.cz/russian/ontheair.html
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
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Internet journal of Central and East European politics, society,
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    -- Transitions Online - Intelligent Eastern Europe Copyright:
    Transitions Online 2001