New Power Brokers of the Republics
Here are some of the key players who will share power with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin in the new State Council: * AYAZ MUTALIBOV
The 53-year-old Azerbaijani leader was the only candidate in Sunday’s presidential election, which was boycotted by the opposition movement. Mutalibov became Communist Party chief in January, 1990, after Soviet army tanks crushed a nationalist uprising. He has retained power by keeping the emotional issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been the scene of ethnic bloodshed, high on the agenda. The opposition maintains that Mutalibov, a critic of perestroika, supported the failed coup against Gorbachev. Mutalibov resigned from his Communist posts, and his republic proclaimed independence on Aug. 30 .
* LEVON TER-PETROSYAN
Armenia’s president was born in Syria 46 years ago. From December, 1988, to May, 1989, Ter-Petrosyan was in prison for participating in a committee that sought to take away from Azerbaijan the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region, which is 76% Armenian. In 1989, he became leader of the Armenian national movement, which ousted the Communists from power in free elections in 1990. His Christian republic is set in a Muslim region, which makes Armenia vulnerable from a geopolitical standpoint, although it has a strong agricultural and industrial base. He is guiding his republic toward independence, with a referendum scheduled Sept. 21.
* NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV
Kazakhstan’s president, who is emerging as the No. 1 politician in Soviet Central Asia, will have even more clout when Secretary of State James A. Baker III visits him next Sunday. Unlike other leaders, Nazarbayev has refused to play the nationalist card, seeing an improved economy as the key to a new and prosperous union of states. Nazarbayev, 51, was elected president in 1990. He denounced the coup against Gorbachev on its second day and then quit the Communist Party Politburo. Kazakhstan, which is second to the Russian Federation in size, is the home to 6.2 million Russians--and Nazarbayev has expressed concern that the Russian leadership might seek a redrawing of internal borders.
Source: Times Wire Services