ALMATY, Feb 21
The supposition by most western politicians has come true. Gradual (and non-aggressive) spread of the �peace-making� NATO eastwards, has earned first fruits: in the post-Soviet space great Russia established the first stable Union. Some people may deny this as a reason for uniting the Russian Federation and the Republic of Byelorussia, and these people are write, as there are a lot of reasons. This time we will not touch the above-mentioned reasons.
The union has been established. Whether it is good or not, is a different question that does not trouble the West. The main point is to be able to predict how the UBR (Union of Byelorussia and Russia) will act further. The proportion to the former Soviet republics is unequal: two to fifteen. Nevertheless, the West would like to bring it to naught.
When we speak of the Union, we should remember the circumstance (western experts often forget it): how our northern neighbor can influence Minsk. The Union�s future seems especially interesting in the light of Vladimir Putin�s recent announcements regarding too wide authority of some autonomies of the Russian Federation, in his opinion.
We first of all consider this issue in the light of recent events in Kazakhstan. A couple of meetings, of course, do not reflect the entire problem, however, we cannot ignore the people�s opinion and the authorities have proved this.
Sabit Zhusupov, the director of the Kazakhstani Institute of Social-Economic Information and Prognoses mentioned two aspects, according to which Kazakhstan�s joining the Union is very problematic.
First, Russia proved that it is not going to give up its status of the super-country and the Putin�s rigid policy confirms this. The Kazakhstani authorities would reject from some of their authority, if the country enters the Union.
Second, we should not forget about the Kazakhstan�s national ideology, which, in its own turn, is based on sovereignty. The recent announcements by Slavic organizations again proved that people differently treat the possible union with Russia. Sabit Zhusupov thinks that the intelligentsia will play a decisive role in this regard. Most population is politically passive. On the whole, the Kazakhstani intelligentsia that is a thin layer of the society, expresses people�s opinion.
Another important thing is that Kazakhstan does not choose its role in relations with the UBR independently. Sabit Zhusupov reminds that the country has great debts to investors, the default of which is possible only through the international Arbitration. This may cause serious negative consequences for Kazakhstan. We may characterize this aspect as the economic method to keep Kazakhstan outside the Union.
There are also political methods. The main one of them is the notorious multi-vectors diplomacy. Obviously, this policy is absolutely inappropriate for Russia. Thus, in Zhusupov�s opinion, Kazakhstan has to wait passively, as the above-mentioned restraining factors will not allow the country to break this balance.
Bakhytzhamal BEKTURGANOVA, President of ASaP
ALMATY, Feb 21
Almaty, Feb 5 -12
1013 persons were questioned
After the court acquitted the accused B. Yertaev and A. Petrenko, what shall heads of the KNB and the Office of Public Prosecutor do? (% of the polled people)
|Publicly apologize to the former accused
|Compensate the moral and financial damage
|Send in their resignations
|It�s difficult to answer
|The government should make answerable for illegal actions and fabrication of the case
It is known that serious things are within a step from funny ones. The answers prove this. If after the joke �about MIGs� people who joked will not be punished properly, the Almaty people will be last who laughs.
To joke with the whole country is incorrect, if wags pay for these jokes. But these jokes become dangerous, if expenses are covered from the national pocket. We should not forget the results of the Akimats� playing a joke on voters during the Parliamentary election. Today the appointment of Akims by election is pending.
The joke �about MIGs� is a clinical case and it is possible to treat it in two ways: either instituting a criminal case or with the help of the reform in the KNB and in the General Office of Public Prosecutor.
By CELESTINE BOHLEN
�OSCOW, Feb. 20
Anatoly A. Sobchak, the former mayor of St. Petersburg and democratic reformer who gave Acting President Vladimir V. Putin his start in public life, died of a heart attack this morning, officials said. He was 62.
Mr. Sobchak, who underwent treatment for heart problems for several years, died while in Kaliningrad, Russia�s Baltic Sea enclave, where he had been sent as a personal representative of Mr. Putin.
A television report this evening said Mr. Putin, who had been Mr. Sobchak�s student in law school and his deputy mayor in St. Petersburg, had sent a special plane to Kaliningrad to bring the former mayor�s body back to St. Petersburg for burial.
Mr. Sobchak emerged as a leading member of Russia�s democratic movement in the late 1980�s, together with Boris N. Yeltsin, who became Russia�s first elected president in 1991.
In that same year Mr. Sobchak became the first elected mayor of Leningrad, Russia�s second-largest city. After the collapse of a Communist-backed coup that summer, Mr. Sobchak renamed his native city St. Petersburg, the name it bore when it was Russia�s imperial capital.
With his legal knowledge and lucid, eloquent speeches, Mr. Sobchak was one of the best-known spokesmen for the democratic movement, at home and abroad.
After Mr. Yeltsin�s violent showdown with his opponents in Parliament in October 1993, Mr. Sobchak was called on to help draft a new Constitution, which provided Mr. Yeltsin with the system of strong presidential power that Mr. Putin has now inherited.
In a condolence message to Mr. Sobchak�s wife, Lyudmila Narusova, and their daughter, Ksenya, Mr. Yeltsin praised the former mayor as ��an extraordiary personality, a highly educated person who firmly upheld his positions.�
��His special service was his participation in the work on the Constitution that laid the foundation of Russia�s new statehood,� Mr. Yeltsin said.
As mayor of St. Petersburg, Mr. Sobchak traveled abroad extensively, promoting his city as a future financial capital of Russia and drumming up sponsors to save its graceful palaces and cultural legacy from further decay and collapse.
But while Moscow, St. Petersburg�s historic rival, thrived during the early years of Russia�s economic transformation, with new high-rises clogging its skyline and luxury shops and restaurants opening in its downtown streets, St. Petersburg lagged behind, looking ever more bedraggled and forlorn.
In 1996 the city�s voters turned in their verdict on Mr. Sobchak�s term as mayor and voted him out of office, electing his archrival and former deputy, Vladimir Yakovlev, in his place.
In that period Mr. Sobchak came under heavy attack in the press and by investigators, mainly on charges that he arranged for friends and relatives to acquired city-owned apartments on preferential terms.
Although the charges were relatively minor compared with the compromising material that has since surfaced against other Russian public figures, they tarnished not only Mr. Sobchak�s reputation, but also that of the democratic movement generally.
In November 1997, Mr. Sobcak left Russia for Paris after falling ill while being questioned by federal prosecutors. His wife, then a member of Parliament, said he had left the country to seek adequate medical treatment. He spent a year and a half in voluntary exile in France, returning to Russia only last summer, a month before Mr. Putin was appointed prime minister.
Greeted by more than 100 journalists at the St. Petersburg airport, the former mayor, as exuberant as ever, said he would never go away again. ��You don�t need to rush,� he said, �because I have returned forever. I have arrived in my city, and I am happy to be home.�
By late last year the criminal charges against him were dropped, and Mr. Sobchak appeared ready for a return to national politics, helped by his former prot�g� and law student, Mr. Putin. But the former mayor and his wife lost separate bids for Parliament in elections last December, and he instead accepted a position as legal adviser to the Kremlin.
In eulogies broadcast tonight on Russian television, several leading Russian political figures, including former Prime Minister Sergei V. Stepashin and Anatoly B. Chubais, author of Russia�s privatization program, both natives of St. Petersburg, said the corruption charges had taken their toll on Mr. Sobchak and weakened his health.
Both pointedly mentioned his accusers by name, including a former national prosecutor general, Yuri I. Skuratov.
��Sobchak was unlike most politicians,� Mr. Stepashin said. ��Most politicians sometimes choose to remain quiet, or to pretend. Sobchak said what he thought. ��
His supporters said Mr. Sobchak had keenly felt the betrayal of many of his old allies, which made him all the more grateful for the loyalty of others � like Mr. Putin, who stood by the former mayor after his defeat in 1996. The two men had first met at Leningrad State University in the 1970s, where Mr. Sobchak, a law professor, taught Mr. Putin in a course on economic law as the younger man prepared himself for a career in the K.G.B., the Soviet state security agency.
They became better acquainted in the late 1980�s, when Mr. Putin, returning from a K.G.B. tour in East Germany, took a top administrative job at the university. He was later recommended to the city�s new mayor, who chose him to run his international affairs office.
Feb 21 (Stratfor)
The next round of NATOs eastward expansion has emerged. Exemplifying the newest manifestation of NATO policy is the U.S. Defense Departments encouraging statements about Slovakias preparations to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the arrival of a new government in Austria and recent European Union (EU) statements concerning security guarantees. Yet, facing an increasingly resurgent Russia, NATO will only expend resources to protect states that have a value both to current NATO members and core EU concerns. The result will be a limited NATO enlargement admitting Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia that leaves the Baltics and the Balkans to fend for themselves.
European Commission President Romano Prodi implied on Feb. 10 that all EU members would receive absolute security guarantees. This indicates an EU willingness to allow NATO a still greater role in European security issues. Yet the move toward tighter cooperation between the EU and NATO has its limits. Neither has the forces necessary to carry out Prodis promise and protect the vulnerable Baltics.
The last round of NATO expansion admitted the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. This greatly complicated NATOs strategic commitments by admitting a large and almost indefensible Poland and a Hungary not linked to any other alliance members. NATO has had considerable difficulty integrating these new states due to Russian intelligence operatives in the Czech Republic, the Hungarian militarys dependence on Russian weapons systems, and a host of other political and strategic issues.
As a result of these issues, a second large-scale expansion would be very difficult to justify strategically. A more likely scenario would be a less ambitious expansion that reduces NATOs strategic exposure and increases its strength. Such an expansion would entail absorbing smaller states that possess developed militaries, that border other alliance countries and that are important to the EU. Fitting this category are Austria, a current EU member, and Slovakia and Slovenia, states expecting to be admitted into the EU shortly.
�taly is helping Slovenias military become the EUs new external border guard; this will help put the Slovene military in line with NATO norms. Meanwhile, high-ranking U.S. military officials are telling Slovakia it is all but guaranteed to become a memberin 2002.
As to traditionally neutral Austria, the two parties in Austrias current coalition government are both strongly pro-NATO. And even under left-leaning governments Austria has always been a staunch supporter of NATOs Partnership for Peace program and directed its military to maintain a high level of interoperability with NATO forces. The commitment of the Austrian public to neutrality is waning as well. According to a poll taken by the Austrian newspaper Der Standard, 68 percent of Austrians support their countrys participation in Europes efforts to develop an independent military capability hardly a position of neutrality.
This second NATO expansion will mark the commencement of an unspoken strategy between the EU and NATO on enlargement issues roughly simultaneous expansion. With the exception of the vulnerable Baltics, the EU and NATO will only extend membership to countries they can quickly integrate and protect. This means leaving the poorer states of southeastern Europe for a later date.
A possible realpolitik exception to this expectation is the case of Romania. Culturally, Romania is Latin not Slavic and therefore has closer connections to Europe. But Romanias true value to the West is its function as the back door to the Balkans. If integrated into the West, Romania would geographically isolate the Balkans from Russia and provide a Western window to Ukraine. But as a country friendly to Russia, it would allow direct Russian access to the entire region and permanently split the EU. In the years ahead NATO, the EU and Russia will all intensify their efforts to woo Romania southeast Europes economic and geopolitical center into their respective camps.
A small enlargement admitting only Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia would rationalize NATOs front lines and make EU and NATO frontiers identical in mainland Europe. From now on EU and NATO enlargement will be roughly shoulder-to-shoulder. In time, the West will consider where in the Baltics and Balkans to expand Romania being the next focal point. The question that remains is how long in time will be and how far west Russia can project while the West digests Central Europe.
1. International Law:
On December 30, 1999 Kazakhstan ratified the Treaty on simplified granting of citizenship. Other parties under the agreement were Byelorussia, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. On the same day the country ratified the Treaty on free and equal crossing of borders of the states-participants of the Customs Union by individuals, transportation of products and currency.
2. National Law:
On December 24, 1999 the Kazakhstani government issued the new Decree �Issues on the Investment Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan.� The principal innovations of the Decree were: 1) both the Board of Directors and the Director excluded from the Agency�s structure, but the Chairman and the Board remain; 2) the Agency prohibited from concluding any deals with business structures concerning the fulfillment of Agency�s responsibilities.
According to the Governmental Decree dated 24.12.99, the prohibition on export of mazut prolonged to 01.03.2000. The Decree banned the export of diesel fuel until 01.04.2000.
On January 6, 2000 the Government issued the Decree on strengthening control for economic entities dealing with gathering, storage, processing and sale of ferrous and non-ferrous metals scrap.
3. Official interpretation and court practice:
On December 20, 1999 the Plenum of the RK Supreme Court, issued the Decree #21 that stipulated procedures of appealing against court sentences.
3. Expected laws (bills, prognoses, etc.):
The beginning of this year was full of global law events that are of a great interest to analysts.
The issue regarding specialized courts to consider tax disputes has been submitted to the working group for further consideration. The probable establishment of tax courts or the arbitration will obviously not meet taxpayers� interests, as: 1) the proposed mechanism of consideration of tax disputes contradicts the legal essence of the Arbitration; 2) this will probably allow tax organizations, including the Ministry of State Revenues, to affect sentences by these courts (the Arbitration), that will infringe principals of trials� objectivity and impartiality; 3) it will either abandon or significantly restrict taxpayers� right to appeal against sentences by the courts (the Arbitration); 4) it will allow the Arbitration to introduce a high duty (fee) for consideration of tax disputes (the present duty rates are 1% for individuals and 3% for juridical persons); 5) this will allow the Arbitration to work out its juridical regulations different from the Civil Code of Kazakhstan, and to announce this regulation a commercial secret giving it to applicants, only when they have paid money; 6) will cause a structural confusion in the existing court system.
The Parliament Mazhilis is considering the bill on lobbying the laws. Independent experts may interpret the present wording of the bill as the official permission for corruption.
The government of the Republic of Kazakhstan has prepared supplementation to the Law on joint-stock companies. They plan to supplement the law with 167 changes and supplementation, including both wording and principally new provisions. Possibly, the procedure of calling of a joint meeting of shareholders (article 51), the order of taking decisions by the meeting (article 54), some issues that are in exclusive competence of public bodies, etc. will change completely.
According to the Governmental Decrees dated 28.12.99 and 03.01.2000, the bills �On contract Service in the Army of the Republic of Kazakhstan� and �On Alternative Service in the Army of the Republic of Kazakhstan� temporarily (?) excluded from the Government�s plan. The discussion of these bills proves that the levy system will change in future.
You may get the detailed information and qualified services on any law matters in the Almaty office of the law firm LEX ANALITIC. Tel./fax: 63-17-11, tel.: 63-72-26.
Hoping for cooperation,
ALMATY, Feb 21
Do you remember how the blind man from the film Woman�s Scent told about a woman by her scent? So, women may learn many things about men, if they watch them choosing perfumes. Men are divided into several psychological types in their passion for perfumes. But before we classify men, let�s refer to the history.
The history of perfumes is as old as the mankind�s history. The first men�s aroma is considered �Four Thieves� Vinegar�. Four friends who robed dead bodies during plague made it famous. They invented a mixture that protected them from the infection and had a pleasant scent. They avoided the gallows only because they told the Marseilles authorities the secret of the antiseptic mixture. In a week the survived population used the aromatic vinegar.
The next successful experience was of Jovanni Paulo Femini. He managed to come into the St. Maria Novella monastery in Florence and learnt the secret of the divine mixture from the Mother Superior who was seduced by him. Jovanni hastened to make and sell �his� invention that he called �Eau de Cologne�. The most famous user of this perfume was Napoleon who dropped in on sugar and� sucked. The perfumer invented a special bottle for the emperor for Napoleon to carry it in his boots. During a month Napoleon used about thirty bottles.
But the real revolution in the men�s perfumery happened in the mid 20th century. Many designers asked themselves: if there is women�s dress and perfumes are the final element emphasizing their individuality, why not to create men�s perfumes?
Of course, men�s taste is variable as weather or mood. Hence, they may like different, sometimes absolutely different scents, but the most favorite elements are to remain. For example, people who admire the nature, the so-called naturalists prefer herbal, flower scents, and aromas of wood and moss. They like Havana, Green Jeans. They will like for sure Dark Blue that has become the season�s hit. People devoted to classicism will use perfumes with scents that they know from childhood. He will look for pleasant aromas that were used by their fathers, uncles or even grandfathers everywhere. He will find the perfumes Farenheit, Sculpture and One Man Show, a very popular toilet water in Kazakhstan.
As a rule, bankers and businessmen prefer toilet water. It is not so stable and obtrusive. These people choose Black Jeans, Boss Elements, Boss, Polo or Romo Uomo. They are very manly aromas. Men at 30 to 40 and older use these aromas.
Young people just want to be ultra-fashionable. You may easily recognize such a �dandy�, as he smells as the shop�s window with perfumes. He likes to experiment with everything at once. He rather buys Aqua di Gio, Blue Jeans, Live Jazz, Escape or Dolce&Gabbana.
Some years ago Janfranco Ferre brought the new perfume for true man to Moscow. This aroma marks the beginning of the third millenium and is intended for man who is self-confident and doubting, strong and vulnerable, brave and refined. His man is sensitive and can meet fantasies of the most unpredictable woman. the new creation by Ferre is full of decisiveness and energy. Despite the master is 58, this aroma suits him too: �Possibly, because I feel myself 26!� he smiles.
More nonsense has been written about the Hindu Rope Trick than any other feat in magic�s 5,000-year history. Scarcely a year goes by but what the most controversial mystery of all time gets more publicity in the world�s press. A retired British army officer writes a letter to the Times recalling a performance seen long ago in a remote Indian province or the London Magic Circle offers a considerable sum for a single open-air demonstration. Photographs of the trick appear frequently in the picture magazines. Double exposures and paste-ups, not magic, produce the illusion.
Those who claim to have seen the rope trick in the open are never magicians, nor are they able to offer evidence documenting their statements. Many magicians have capitalized on the notoriety of the trick by offering stage versions. Servais LeRoy, Goldin, Thurston, Blackstone, Devant and Dante are only a few of the wizards who have featured it.
It will come as a surprise to most readers that China, not India, was the scene of the first recorded story about the trick and no rope was used.
The legend started in Ibn Batuta�s 1355 manuscript, which told of his curious adventures while traveling. In Hangchau, China, Batuta while a guest of the Amir, was entertained by his chief hocus-pocuser.
The magician tossed a wooden ball, to which several leather thongs were attached, skywards. The ball went out of sight. The wizard commanded one of his assistants to climb up a leather thong after the ball. When the boy was out of sight, the magician called for him to return. There was no answer from above. A second and third command to return were ignored. The magician grasped a knife and went up the thong himself. Soon severed hands, legs, arms, a torso and a head fell to the ground. Then the magician slid back down into view, his clothes thick with blood.
He kissed the earth in front of the Amir, spoke several magic words, then heaped together the dismembered pieces of his assistant�s anatomy, and gave them a kick. Instantly the boy jumped up fully restored.
Ibn Batuta wrote that when he saw this he was so astonished he had an attack of palpitations. A few sips of cordial straightened him out. His table companion, a Mohammedan judge, was less affected. He calmly gave his opinion that it was simply hocus-pocus, or juggling.
The Emperor Jehangir of New Ddhi described another version of the �rope trick,� which took place at his court some time between 1605 and 1627. Again no rope was used. A member of a Bengalese troupe threw one end of a 50 cubit length of chain in the air, where it remained standing erect. A dog ran up the chain and vanished, then a hog, panther, lion and tiger followed. All were swallowed up in space. At the end of the trick, the performers took down the chain, coiled it up in a bag and bowed off leaving their spectators completely nonplussed.
An even more fascinating twist on the �rope trick� was reported in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1550 according to the accounts of Johann Weir. A magician wound up his performance by saying he could make so little money among men that he would go to heaven. He hurled a cord upwards. His pony ascended it. The magician followed holding the pony�s tail. His wife tagged after the trickster and her maid accompanied her. At this point in Weir�s tale a curious passerby joins the wide-eyed spectators and asks why they are looking skyward. He quickly is informed about the vanishing magician and his companions, whereupon the newcomer blandly assures the crowd it has been deceived for he has just seen the wizard down the road going into a tavern.
Any one of the three �rope tricks� described above would be an absolute sensation today. Perhaps some modern wizard will find Aladdin�s lamp or an obedient genie. Without the lamp or genie, I�m sure the tricks as described will never be done.
Hindu street magicians - but no rope trick.
There are two other legendary Oriental tricks which you won�t be seeing in your local theatre. Marco Polo, the 13th century traveler, tells of one. When Kublal Khan was thirsty during state dinners he would give a signal and cups, filled automatically from containers some distance away, would be whisked through thin air to his outstretched hands.
Ibn Batuta, who started the �rope trick� legend, recorded another dazzler. During a visit with the Sultan in Delhi he saw a man assume the shape of a cube and rise in the air over his head. When he saw this, Batuta tells us, he was so flabbergasted that he fell over in a dead faint. When he was revived, he looked up. The cube was still hovering in space. Another per- former took a sandal and rapped it against the ground. It rose until it reached the floating cube, then it struck out with a kick. The cube descended at once to the ground and Ibn Batuta had his customary palpitations of astonishment.
Getting back to the �rope trick,� a few years ago a Canadian magician announced he would present the feat during a stage performance with all the classic trimmings. His rope rose on schedule, his assistant climbed the rope and he climbed after his assistant. Soon the stage was littered with pieces of anatomy, which dropped from above. The magician slid back down the rope, wiped the blade of his sword and gathered the pieces of his helper�s body in a wicker basket. Hocus pocus, the boy jumped out intact. But instead of gasping with amazement, the audience howled with laughter. The magician was puzzled until he saw an extra arm, which he had forgotten to toss into the basketet, on the side of the stage.
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
© 1998 IPA House. All Rights Reserved.