Issue No. 241. - September 28,  2001

            By Lulzim Mjeku

            By Valeri Kalabugin
            By Ivan Lozowy

 4. Special addition : NEW AT TOL

    By Lulzim Mjeku

 Kosovar elections will create people to run it, a Kosovar politican
    The leading opposition politicians are only rarely in their
offices in Pristina, the capitol of Kosovo. Despite the fact that
the election campaign for the general elections of November 17 will
officially start on October 3rd. They are visiting small towns,
meeting teachers, municipal authorities in an already campaign
    For the first time since 1989, the year when its autonomy was
abolished and parliament dissolved, Kosovo will have its own
assembly. Under the Serb regime during the nineties, Kosovo had
its own parallel elections, unrecognized by the international
community and heavily harassed by the police. During last year's
local elections, 900,000 Kosovars have been registered as voters.
Now,including Serbs, the voters' list names more than one milion
persons. According to the head of OSCE Mission, 83 per cent of the
voters are Albanians, 17 per cent ethnic minorities. In a
parliament of 120 seats, 10 are reserved for Serbs. After last
year's local elections, Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) headed
by Ibrahim Rugova won 58,13 per cent votes; Kosovo Democratic
Party (PDK) led by former KLA commander Hasim Thaqi won 26,95 per
cent; Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), a coalition of
minor parties headed by former Kosovo Liberation Army commander
Ramush Haradinaj won 7,72 per cent, and Albanian Christian
Democrats of Kosovo, won 1,22. On 17th November, voters at the
general elections will cast their ballots for faces rather than
programs. According to an Index Kosova poll, voters will be focused
on three major political parties, LDK, PDK, and AAK.
    In an atmosphere of everybody doing their own business, chief of
OSCE mission to Kosovo Daan Evarts who is in charge of preparing
the elections declared the Registration of Serb voters a success
and announced that Serbs have registered their civil initiative
Coalition  "Return"  with the OSCE  mission and will  participate
in Kosovar general elections.
    Leader of Democratic Party of Kosovo, Hashim Thaqi, expressed
his doubts with the number of 170,000 Serb voters, saying "we know
how many Serbs use to live in Kosovo even before the war, and
these numbers are more speculations than a reality". Ambassador
Everts said that the upcoming elections would be very Successfull
because all communities announced they would participate. Serb
community  refused to take part in last year's local elections in
Kosovo. UN Chief  administrator in Kosovo , Haekkerup  Hans ,
rejected every possibility of accepting any condition for
participation of Serbs in general elections. "We think that
participation of Serbs in general elections is very important",
Haekkerup said.
    Rada Trajkovic, a member of the Kosovar Interim Administration
Council which is headed by Haekkerup, said that her main concern
during the election campaign is security. "My main problem is how
to travel from one to another Serb populated area", Trajkovic told
to KosovaLive, a local news agency.
    It's a national consensus among Kosovar Albanian politicians
that the main issue of independence of Kosovo is unavoidable in
this electoral campaign. "But the issue of independence does not
need to be exploited so much", says Bajram  Kosumi from Alliance
for the Future of Kosovo(AAK).
    "If political parties have nothing else to offer to their
voters except giving independence issue top priority, than they
will be on the same level as  citizens. Parties should find the
ways to resolve everyday problems of citizens, so AAK focused
mainly in this direction. Independence we will reach anyway, but
to reach that stage, we should pass several processes, and
political parties are those catalizators which will orient the
Kosovar society to make progress on this road. This stage will
differentiate which parties are able to do it and which are unable
to respond to various challenges on our road to independence",
says Bajram Kosumi, vicepresident of the Alliance for Kosovo
Future (AAK). According to Kosumi, major objectives of AAK will be
creation of a stable government, openings of new workplaces,
creation of a developing economy rather than resorting to economy
based on donations. He said that AAK seeks power to govern in
order to pass good laws in Kosovo and lead the people toward a
better future, with the help of experts from different fields.
    "I'm not saying that the next government should  be technical,
but AAK does not want to see the youth leaving the country or hate
it because of lack of their perspective. We should brace ourselves
to be able to resolve these negative processes", said Kosumi.
    The Central Election Commission said that they expect free and
fair elections, with the election campaign starting on 3rd
    "I hope political parties will respect the Code of Conduct in
order to have a successful election. So far signs tell us that
everything will be all right and elections for Kosovar Parliament
will be as calm and peaceful as last local elections of October
2000", Daut Dauti said to Stina.
    Naim Jerliu, Ibrahim Rugova's deputy head of Democratic League
of Kosovo (LDK), expects to have a normal and tolerant election
campaign which will show that the citizens of Kosovo have a
democratic potentials and are able to enter in a substantial
democratic development in Kosovo.
   "It's very important that with the creation of institutions,
Kosovo will have a chance to go forward on its road to establish
rule of law and democracy, and then open the door to the
integration into Europe",Jerliu said to Stina.
    LDK vice-president hopes that situation NATO forces in
Macedonia will stay there longer, and situation will become
calmer.  We hope that there will be no implications of Macedonian
tensions in Kosovo, as it was shown. Kosovo has its borders, it
respects the territorial integrity of Macedonia and Kosovars has
shown they had no influence there, except they are for recognition
of more rights for the Albanians there . Bajram Kosumi, considers
that, above all, these elections will create Parliament and other
institutions.  For the first time, a parliament will have
historical chance to create the foundations of the future state of
Kosovo, Kosumi said to Stina.
    The situation in Macedonia had its reflection in the region as
well in Kosovo. "Except some good signs of development of the
situation there, the perspective is bleak", Kosumi says.
Macedonian politicians have signed peace agreement, but they are
not showing readiness to implement it, says Kosumi. "If the
situation there aggravates, then it will have its repercussions in
Kosovo, too. It cannot change the situation here, but in the case
of deteriation in Macedonia, Kosovar citizens cannot remain calm",
he said. He considers that Belgrade is the most interested party
to create tensions in  the region undertaking a fierce diplomatic
campaign based on lies, designs, in order to cause irregularities
in the election process.
    "Belgrade officials are aware that when Kosovo will have its
own parliament and government, they can not behave in
international politics as are behaving up to now", says Kosumi and
adds: "Kosovo will have its own householder  - us, Kosovars."

    By Valeri Kalabugin

    On September 21, ex-communist Arnold Ruutel was elected the
next president of Estonia. The term of office of the current
president, Mr. Lennart Meri who has served since 1993 and was
re-elected in 1996, will end on October 7. The new president will
assume the office on October 8.
Tough electoral fighting

    Altogether, the voting had to be repeated five times until the
winner was ascertained. At its August session, the parliament
voted thrice with no result. Thereafter the body named 'the
electoral college' was convened on September 21, consisting of all
101 parliament members plus 266 representatives of local
governments. It voted twice until it finally elected the
    It may be said that the 2001 presidential election progressed
the same troublesome way as in 1996. And somewhat like the last
Bush-Gore election in the United States. Until the last moment it
was unclear who would win. However, whereas in the U.S. this
points at a similarity of the dominant parties, in Estonia it is
rather an evidence of the society being deeply splintered into
those who seek for progress and those who partly linger in the
pink socialist past.
First consolidating, then splitting

    Before the voting at the parliament, there were two candidates
only. The ruling right-wing coalition of the Pro Patria Union, the
Reform Party and the Moderates closed the ranks by jointly
nominating Andres Tarand (Moderates). The same did the left
opposition: the Centre Party and the People's Union nominated
Peeter Kreitzberg (Centre Party) as their joint candidate.
    To be elected by the Estonian parliament, a presidential
candidate must obtain two thirds of voices, which is 67 out of the
total 101 deputies. However, neither Kreitzberg nor Tarand
achieved this (40:38 respectively). Then the coalition changed its
candidate, replacing Andres Tarand with Peeter Tulviste (Pro
Patria Union). The result was the same: at the second round, the
votes divided between Kreitzberg and Tulviste as 36:35. And at the
third round, the vote was a plain 33:33.
    After that, both the coalition and the consolidated opposition
broke down into pieces. By September 21, when the electoral
college had to be convened, the number of candidates doubled. The
Reform Party nominated a popular politician, the parliament
speaker Toomas Savi. The People's Union nominated Arnold Ruutel
who is its chairman. At the second round these new candidates
became leaders, bypassing others and entering the third round
where Ruutel finally won 186 votes leaving Savi behind (with 155

An unpleasant background

    The next day after the election, major Estonian daily Eesti
Paevaleht made a poll among its Internet readers, asking them the
question: 'Are you disappointed at Arnold Ruutel being elected as
the President?' Those who answered 'yes' made up 61 per cent. Only
35% said 'no' and 4% answered 'cannot tell'.
    The election progressed against a background of scandals. An
unsuccessful privatisation of the Estonian Railroads. Criminal
proceedings against the Director General of the Estonian
Privatisation Agency accused of abuse of power. In the beginning
of September the country was shocked by a tragedy of mass
poisoning of people who bought underground vodka containing methyl
spirit: 58 dead, 51 at hospitals, 80 back at their homes. Perhaps
this has filled people with some feeling of uncertainty and
influenced the elections?
Who is Arnold Ruutel?

    However, the Estonian president is not elected by direct
voting. Otherwise, Arnold Ruutel might take the office already in
1993 when independence was restored. Most of common people then
admired the Chairman of the puppet Supreme Soviet 'firmly driving'
their country along the perilous way by politely discussing and
arguing with Gorby, politely reconciling die-hard communists in
the Supreme Soviet with uncompromising fighters for independence
from the Congress of Estonia... He was popular and considered 'a
good guy'. The red media started calling him 'president', yet
untimely. In 1993 he became a loser. He stepped aside but, again,
did this very politely. His overwhelming politeness stands up to
his family name that means 'knight'. However, to be a good
diplomat does not mean being a good politician. One can find
Ruutel an excellent person to co-operate with, since he can
co-operate equally well with Stalinists, with centre-rightists,
with you and me and with everyone, perhaps down to the devil
    What if he became and remained the President for eight crucial
years when the country needed all kind of reform? Surprisingly,
this might have been of no much difference. Thanks to the father
of the new Estonian constitution Juri Adams (from the Pro Patria
Union), the political system was redesigned in 1993. Indignant at
the shameful sell-out of Estonia in 1940, Adams proposed to change
it from a presidential republic into a parliamentary democracy.
The president has now virtually no power, with his role limited to
purely representative functions.
    On the other hand, he might not have been elected at all if
the referendum on lustration, proposed by the Congress of Estonia
and barring former communists from important offices, were held in
1993. The Supreme Soviet then did its best to torpedo this plan.
And succeeded.

Future prospects

    Actually, Arnold Ruutel is not a danger in himself. A 'velvet'
communist indeed, he may well be a pleasant president. Nothing
will depend on him, since he is rather passive and lacking in
character. He will be particularly passive in external relations:
unlike the present president Lennart Meri, he speaks no foreign
    The danger in not as much in him as around him: he is viewed
by former communists and modern lefties as their 'tankist' to pave
them way to a greater role in the political scene. Around him
there are a plenty of former members of the communist party,
former factory directors, former kolkhoz chairmen, former
functionaries of Soviet administration. One of them is Andres
Varik, Secretary General of Ruutel's party. In his maiden speech
at the parliament in 1995, Varik proposed to halt privatisation.

A Belarussian president to Estonia?

    Why did the 'electoral college' make such a strange choice,
electing a former leading communist who, beside, speaks no foreign
languages? There is a possible explanation which, besides, implies
that the electoral college has a certain political shift.
    According to the Estonian constitution, the 'electoral
college' is convened in case the parliament fails to elect the
president. The underlying idea seems to be that extending the
circle of electors by including representatives of local
governments would bring the election 'closer to the people'.
However, it is instead brought... closer to Russia and to the
colonial past. For, in fact, participants in the local elections
are also foreign residents. Those are mostly Russian colonists
resettled by the Soviet Union to Estonia during the occupation.
Their total number is estimated to be around 400 000. Casting
aside an unknown number of still illegal and therefore
unregistered aliens, Estonia has over 320 000 documented resident
aliens, including 80 000 citizens of the Russian Federation. These
people participate in the local elections. Their political
sympathies are reflected in the composition of local governments.
Now, their representatives take part in electing the president via
th e 'electoral college'. Legitimacy of such election is
    Some parallel with the former Soviet republic of Belarus may
be drawn here. Citizenship was granted unconditionally to everyone
in Belarus. At the general presidential election, Russian
colonists and russified locals voted for Lukashenka. He is now the
last dictator in Europe, he seeks to re-unite his country with
Russia, and his guards once tore the national banner to pieces on
the roof of the presidential residence; photos of the event are
available in the archives of news media. Politically, via the
institution of 'electoral college' some element of Lukashenka is
in the institution of Estonian president, too. However, the newly
elected president is a very polite person. And he is a 'knight',
by name at least.
                               * * *
    By Ivan Lozowy

    Ukraine's President, Leonid Kuchma, is a candidate for
"come-back kid of the year".  Kuchma's candidate for Prime
Minister, Viktor Yushchenko, had gotten out of control during the
year 2000 by amassing popularity ratings which exceeded by a
factor of two to three those of any other politician.  Thus, this
past spring Yushchenko was removed from office by a parlimentary
vote which was supported by Kuchma.
    Much worse for Kuchma was the battering received from the
"cassette-gate" scandal, which started with a sensational
announcement November 28, 2000 by Socialist Party Chairman
Oleksandr Moroz that taped conversations prove Kuchma instigated
the murder of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.  As it turned out, the
tapes made by former secret service bodyguard Major Mykola
Melnychenko were real enough.  They revealed a completely corrupt
president obsessed with harrassing opposition figures.
    Kuchma's image as revealed in the Melnychenko tapes was so bad
that Ukraine's president became an international pariah.  For
close to a year Kuchma has not received a single invitation to
visit a developed Western country.  To counter this loss of face,
Kuchma wrangled invitations from Slovakia and Romania, not exactly
the premier foreign circuit for dignitaries.  He did achieve a
coup by inviting Pope John Paul II to visit Ukraine for the first
time, though the Pope's visit raised Kuchma's prestige only a
notch or two.
    Kuchma has hung on to power because he has used the passage of
time to his advantage.  The crucial factor is that he is nowhere
near as susceptible to pressure as his counterparts in more
developed, and democratic, countries.  The passive Ukrainian
public is largely resigned to being ruled by corrupt politicians.
The press is also mostly inert, practicing self-censorship on a
wide scale.  The Verkhovna Rada, or parliament, which had been
showing signs of a backbone after a non-communist majority was
worked out at the start of 1999, suffered a relapse.  The Rada's
Chairman Ivan Pliushch has a cosy, though subservient,
relationship with the President and the oligarch-communist block
that threw out Yushchenko has continued to cooperate.  The
communists themselves have faced internal criticism for playing
out the role of a "meek opposition".
    With so many institutions directly linked to or relying on the
President, Kuchma never came close to the stage where mounting
attacks in the press combined with a near empty schedule would
have left him little choice but to resign.  The opposition to
Kuchma has remained disorganized, with several pretenders to the
post of leader, allowing Kuchma to weather out the storm.  On the
other hand, there have been hitches along the way.  Just one
example is the Third World Forum of Ukrainians held August 16-23,
at which Kuchma addressed what he thought was a docile audience.
"Bankova" - as his Administration is sometimes referred to - had
tried to pack the audience of 3500 at the "Ukrayina" Palace with
loyal representatives from the regions.  Yet when Kuchma ineptly
referred to the "cassette-gate" scandal about a third of the
audience erupted in derision.
    Nevertheless, at this point Kuchma has little to fear.  He has
consolidated his power, even extending it by imposing the
institution of "state secretaries," reminiscent of the Soviet-era
communist party's analogues (See Ukraine Insider, vol. 1, no. 3
from June 1, 2001).  And not visiting the West is something Kuchma
can get along without.
    Ironically, though, the scandal may propel Kuchma to new
heights.  Starting some time ago, persistent denials of rumors
that Kuchma was considering going for a third term began to
emerge.  Such an approach is a standard tactic. For example, when
the Prime Minister's post was vacated, head of the Tax
Administration Mykola Azarov called a press conference to deny
that he was being considered for that position.  Azarov insisted
that such rumors, which had apparently not been noticed by anyone
else, were put out by his enemies who would "just love" to see him
removed from his current post.
    With Bankova putting out initial feelers for a third term,
Kuchma has eliminated the surprise and shock factor such a move
would entail closer to presidential elections due in 1994.  He
also sent a signal to his supporters that he will not transform
into a lame duck president any time soon.  A third term would
offer the chance, in Kuchma's mind, to erase the stains of the
past scandal-ridden year.  Finally, the opposition to Kuchma had
gotten strident.  Renowned corruption fighter and People's Deputy
Hryhoriy Omelchenko announced that he wishes Kuchma a long life-
so that the latter can live to stand trial.  So long as the
possibility of retribution hangs in the air Kuchma is loathe to
    Strictly legally, Kuchma has an argument, though not a
convincing one.  Ukraine's Constitution forbids more than two
terms for a president, but Kuchma was elected to his first term
when the Constitution had not yet been adopted.  The Constitution,
however, stipulates that no person may be president more than two
terms in a row.  This clearly applies to Kuchma's second term,
since he was already serving his first term when the Constitution
was adopted in June of 1996.  Kuchma's serving first one, and then
another, term in a row has no relation to when he was first
elected, as far as the Constitution's article 103 is concerned.
Kuchma's lawyers and PR tacticians would disagree.  But then they
Special addition : NEW AT TOL September 2001
    --- WEEK IN REVIEW ---
    Exit Poles
    As expected, Poland's main opposition party storms elections
and Solidarity fails to get into parliament.
    by Wojtek Kosc
    Bin Laden Was Here
    Serbia warns against more terrorist attacks from ethnic
Albanians in the south.
    by Dragan Stojkovic
    Surprise, Surprise
    Big changes may be in store for Georgia's ruling government in
the run-up to the October parliamentary elections.
    by Dima Bit-Suleiman
    Open Case
    A year after the disappearance of journalist Gongadze in
Ukraine, the case is still unsolved.
    by Oleg Varfolomeyev
    Fighting Terrorism
    Support for U.S. action against terrorists is high in
Uzbekistan, although many worry emergency measures will be
    by Saidazim Gaziev
    Balkan Countries Pledge to Combat Organized Crime and
    Slovakia Passes Municipal Competencies Bill
    New President Elected in Estonia
    Bulgaria Hosts Multinational Military Training
    Slovenia's Largest Bank Accused of Shady Practices
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    --- OUR TAKE: Donít Open the Champagne Yet ---
    Poland's SLD scored a major electoral victory over the
weekend, but it still must assemble a functional government.
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    --- IN FOCUS: Polish Elections 2001 ---
    Inevitable Victory There are few surprises in Poland's
parliamentary elections as the main opposition coalition romps
    by Wojtek Kosc
    Poland's New Partitions The outgoing government reached new
heights in divvying up state spoils and packing the civil service
with its supporters--another reason for its downfall.
    by Janina Paradowska
    Voting Amid a Slowdown
    The winners of Poland's elections will have to deal with a
slowing economy and a gloomy electorate.
    by Magdalena Szarafin
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Fooled by a Common Enemy
    The American tragedy marked the beginning of a new type of
warfare in the 21st century. It shall require a new type of
international security.
    by Elena Chinyaeva
    Media Notes: No Pogroms and No Panic
    It's taken long enough but, after last week's terrorist
attacks in the United States, the Russian media began to behave in
a responsible fashion.
    by Alexei Pankin
    Letter from Dagestan: The Soccer War
    Our columnist had the fates of millions of dollars and
millions of sports' fans partly in his hands--all over a football
    by Nabi Abdullaev
    The Deep End: Living Standards to Skyrocket in Belarus More
quirky news from around the region.
    by TOL
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    --- OUR TAKE: Donít Open the Champagne Yet ---
    Poland's SLD scored a major electoral victory over the
weekend, but it still must assemble a functional government.
    Poland's voters are not in the cheeriest of moods these days.
In Sunday's election, many of them appeared to be out to vent
frustrations--if they turned out at all.
    True, a large chunk of them handed a massive victory to the
moderate Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and its coalition partner
the Labor Union (UP). While SLD has its roots in the former
communist regime, it has managed to turn itself into a modern
social-democratic party over the past 10 years.
    But at least part of the reason for the landslide win can be
attributed to a protest vote against the hugely unpopular
government of the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), which has
angered many Poles with its arrogance and infighting.
    The voters also delivered a severe trouncing to the Freedom
Union, a former ally of Solidarity. Neither of those two parties
won enough votes to get into parliament. Many voters chose to
support two oddball radical formations bearing the somewhat
disturbing names of Self-Defense and the League of Polish
    More worryingly, the largest group of voters steered clear of
the ballot boxes altogether. Preliminary results estimate voter
turn-out at about 46 percent, suggesting a large degree of
dissatisfaction with all of the parties or perhaps even with
politics in general.
    Small wonder, perhaps: Over the past few years, the country's
political leaders--including, but not just, the outgoing
government--have been prone to intense political bickering and
turf wars. Many voters have become disenchanted with the
oft-criticized spoils system in Polish politics as well as the
frequency of corruption allegations. In addition, the country's
economy has been slowing in recent months, unemployment has
reached a distressing 16 percent, and any government that comes
into power will have to deal with a yawning gap in public
    Partially for those reasons, many people placed their hopes in
the center-left SLD-UP coalition's chances of securing an outright
majority in parliament, which would give it a clear mandate to
govern the country with a firm hand, but no such luck. While final
results have yet to be tallied, the SLD-UP looks likely to fall a
few seats short of a majority in the Sejm, Poland's key lower
    Now the real work begins. The SLD-UP must decide how to use
the massive support it has received from voters. But while the
situation is not ideal, it is also far from total gridlock. After
all, the majority of voters threw their support behind mainstream
parties who are in general agreement about Poland's main foreign
policy goal of gaining entry to the European Union.
    With this in mind, the Alliance has a handful of options. For
one, it could try to form a coalition government with the Polish
Peasant's Party (PSL). That is what the party did when it ruled in
a coalition with the PSL from 1993 to 1997. But many SLD veterans
are loathe to go down that path again, pointing to the party's
difficult and turbulent relationship with PSL in that coalition.
    Another option would be for SLD to swallow hard and try to put
together a coalition with the center-right Civic Platform (PO), a
recently created party that includes many former members of
Solidarity and the Freedom Union. Both parties share a strong
commitment to getting Poland into the European Union. But neither
SLD nor PO would be particularly eager to get into bed together.
Both of them have distinct ideological priorities and voters--who
would be none too pleased about an SLD-PO union. There is also the
option of working with the Law and Justice party, but they are
even more right-wing than PO.
    And, of course, SLD-UP could always set up a minority
government. That would be an unsettling option, considering the
work that lies ahead. If the government is to deal effectively
with the slowing economy and the gap in public finances, it will
need to be strong. On the other hand, SLD-UP could come to some
agreement with the pro-EU and non-populist forces in parliament to
support a clear--albeit limited--agenda focused on shaping up the
economy and getting the country safely into the EU. SLD might be
able to count on the support of PO on such an agenda, and perhaps
even PSL on some questions.
    So, barring the unthinkable thought of working with the
radical parties, those are the realistic options in front of
SLD-UP at the moment. Each one has its pitfalls--for SLD as well
as for the other parties involved. But if there is one message
that Polish voters sent to their politicians on 23 September, it
was to stop the bickering and get back to work.