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Johnson's Russia List
6 July 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuter: Leftist group protects Lenin by planting bombs.
2. RIA Novosti: RSFSR REVOLUTIONARY MILITARY COMMITTEE INTENDED TO
RUIN PETER THE GREAT MONUMENT.
3. Laura Belin (RFE/RL): new allegations against Chubais.
4. The Straits Times (Singapore): Referendum on Lenin's burial may be
against the rules: Judge.
5. Christian Science Monitor: Neela Banjeree, Russian Sports Teams
Learn Diversification Can Be Deadly.
6. The Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio): Barbara Galloway, From Russia, with
plenty of love. Louisville woman's mission to Moscow is Campus Crusade
for Christ ministry.
7. RIA Novosti: BORIS NEMTSOV HAS RECEIVED AN APARTMENT IN MOSCOW BUT
DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRIVATISE IT, YURI LUZHKOV DECLARED.
8. Reuter: Russia's Yeltsin starts holiday in Karelia.
9. Washington Post: David Ottaway and Dan Morgan, Former Top U.S. Aides
Seek Caspian Gusher.
10. The Sunday Times (UK): Moscow digs for Ivan's secret library.
11. RIA Novosti: CHRIST THE SAVIOUR CHURCH PLANNED TO BE OPENED ON
Leftist group protects Lenin by planting bombs
By Anatoly Verbin
July 6, 1997
MOSCOW (Reuter) - Police removed seven packets of plastic explosives from a
huge monument in Moscow Sunday, and a radical leftist group said it had
planted them to protest against plans to bury Bolshevik leader Vladimir
A police spokesman said the packages, containing altogether three pounds of
plastic explosive, had been found and removed from the giant 196 foot statue
of 18th century Czar Peter the Great on the bank of the Moskva River.
Moscow police official Pavel Ryabov told Interfax news agency investigators
had found a detonator and wires.
He said that if the devices, planted around the monument at the height of 12
feet had been detonated ``one of the most costly Moscow monument would have
definitely fallen down.''
Early Sunday, a group calling itself the Revolutionary Military Council faxed
a statement to Interfax saying it had planted the explosives inside the
monument but decided not to set them off for fear of hurting innocent
It said the explosives had been planted out of ``revenge against those lowly
politicians who have started a foul press debate over reburial of the leader
of the world proletariat, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.''
The statement threatened ``adequate measures of proletarian defense against
initiators and instigators'' of the discussion on Lenin's burial.
Interfax said a group with a similar name claimed responsibility for blowing
up Moscow's only monument to Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, on April 1. The
30-foot bronze statue was erected last year.
Lenin's embalmed body in its mausoleum on Red Square has been at the center
of heated public debate since President Boris Yeltsin's call for a national
referendum on whether to bury it.
Yeltsin, who has long supported the removal and burial of the corpse, says it
is un-Christian to keep a dead body on display and argues that the leader of
the 1917 Russian Revolution had himself wanted to be buried.
The communists have aggressively denounced Yeltsin's proposal as
``sacrilegious,'' saying that no one can deny Lenin's role in turning the
Soviet Union into a superpower feared by the rest of the world. They say
Lenin never expressed any wish for the fate of his body.
The communists warn that any attempt to remove Lenin from Red Square could
prompt public unrest around the country.
Last month the opposition-dominated State Duma, the lower house of
parliament, passed a resolution urging Russian citizens and the authorities
to oppose the burial of Lenin.
The Duma branded attempts to remove his body ``an act of political revenge
against Lenin'' that would ruin the square's historical associations.
Peter the Great's monument, the latest work of monumentalist sculptor Zurab
Tsereteli, is itself a subject of public dispute.
The work shows the czar, holding a ship's wheel as a symbol of the Russian
fleet he created, on a huge spiked pedestal in the style of the bows of an
ancient Roman warship. The monument looks something like a dragon's tail.
A group of intellectuals had demanded the demolition of the monument, whose
overall cost is estimated at $17 million. But a special commission, set up
after Yeltsin added his voice to Tsereteli's critics, decided to recommend
the monument be left in place.
Tsereteli told Interfax he was shocked by Sunday's incident and considered it
``barbaric'' to try to blow up his yet unfinished work. He said it was an
insult to all Russians.
RSFSR REVOLUTIONARY MILITARY COMMITTEE INTENDED TO RUIN PETER THE GREAT
MOSCOW, JULY 6. /FROM RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/. Police has
found 6 explosive devices planted under Peter the Great's
monument at Krymskaya embankment in Moscow. Ekho Moskvy
information agency reported as citing Moscow's Interior
Department, 2 bombs are already deactivated by police. Explosive
capacity of each device is about 250 grams of trinitrotoluene.
This morning, an organisation calling itself Revolutionary
Military Council of the RSFSR, declared that its members set off
explosives to the above monument in protest against an alleged
re-burial of Vladimir Lenin. The terrorists reported they were
planning to explode the bombs at about 6 a.m but eventually quit
their plans 'since there were many people in the area at the
Date: 6 Jul 1997 13:42:53 U
From: "Laura Belin" <email@example.com>
Subject: new allegations against Chubais
I see you distributed a translation of the Izvestiya article from 1 July
concerning an alleged suspicious loan granted to Chubais's Center for the
Defense of Private Property by Stolichnyi Bank. (JRL #1019)
It is worth noting that just a few weeks ago it would have seemed unthinkable
that Izvestiya would run an article attacking Chubais.
It is also notable that these allegations have been mostly ignored in the
Russian media. The scandals surrounding the $500,000 box or Chubais's taxes
caused quite a stir for a few weeks before dying down.
Now Chubais has gone on a three-week vacation without issuing a comment on the
Izvestiya story. By the time he gets back, the article may be forgotten.
I enclose a few recent items from RFE/RL's Newsline for the benefit of JRL
subscribers who have not yet read the Izvestiya piece. I also enclose a
feature on the controversy by my colleague Floriana Fossato, who discusses the
broader implications of Izvestiya's new editorial line. [DJ: The Fossato
piece was carried in JRL July 4, #1015]
>From RFE/RL Newsline, 2 July 1997:
CHUBAIS ACCUSED OF RECEIVING SUSPICIOUS INTEREST-FREE BANK LOAN. "Izvestiya"
on 1 July charged that First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais received a
loan from Aleksandr Smolenskii's Stolichnyi Savings Bank under suspicious
circumstances. The newspaper alleged that in February 1996, Stolichnyi Bank
extended a five-year, interest-free loan worth 14.5 billion rubles ($2.9
million) to the Center for the Defense of Private Property, which Chubais had
created shortly before. The center reportedly put up no collateral for the
loan, the stated goal of which was the "development of civil society." The
bank credits were allegedly used to speculate on the lucrative treasury bill
market. "Izvestiya" also claimed that Chubais helped Stolichnyi win a November
1996 competition to acquire Agroprombank and implied that Chubais's contacts
with international financial organizations have helped Stolichnyi to
participate in programs run by the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development and the World Bank. Since 1991, "Izvestiya" has almost always
supported Chubais .
>From RFE/RL Newsline, 3 July 1997:
MUTED REACTION TO NEW ACCUSATIONS AGAINST CHUBAIS. Neither First Deputy Prime
Minister Chubais nor the government's press service has issued a statement on
new accusations against Chubais published in "Izvestiya" on 1 July. The paper
claimed, among other things, that the Center for the Defense of Private
Property, founded by Chubais in early 1996, received an allegedly suspicious
loan from Stolichnyi Bank (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 July 1997). Citing the
U.S. journal "Demokratizatsiya," "Izvestiya" also said that the Russian Center
for Privatization, which Chubais had long coordinated, received more than $100
million in recent years from international financial organizations. But a 2
July press conference held by that center's director-general, Viktor
Pankrashchenko, was attended by only 15 or so journalists, none of them from
television networks, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Pankrashchenko discussed
his center's 1996 achievements and 1997 projects but declined to comment on
the "Izvestiya" article.
ONEKSIMBANK BEHIND "IZVESTIYA" ATTACKS? The formerly pro-government
"Izvestiya" followed up its unprecedented attack on Chubais with a 2 July
article by the same authors criticizing Menatep bank and its alleged
government patrons, such as Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin. Some
analysts believe the new editorial line of "Izvestiya" is related to the
recent election of Oneksimbank deputy chairman Mikhail Kozhokin as chairman of
the newspaper's board of directors. In a 2 July interview with RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau, Sergei Markov, senior associate of the Carnegie Moscow Center,
suggested that Oneksimbank President Vladimir Potanin has turned against the
government. Markov noted that Oneksimbank lost a bid to acquire the Sibneft
oil company in May and more recently failed to install the head of an
Oneksimbank affiliate on the Gazprom board of directors (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 30 June 1997). Potanin was first deputy prime minister from August
1996 to March 1997.
The Straits Times (Singapore)
July 6, 1997
Referendum on Lenin's burial may be against the rules: Judge
MOSCOW -- A proposed referendum on whether Lenin's body, embalmed in a
Red Square mausoleum, should be buried, could be unconstitutional, one
of Russia's top judges said yesterday. Constitutional Court Judge Ernest
Ametistov said that a referendum proposed by President Boris Yeltsin
last month, may violate the law on referendums and Russian
constitutional civil guarantees, Interfax news agency reported.
"There is a real danger that one ideology and one ideological symbol --
the body of Lenin -- will be imposed on the country's entire population,
which is unconstitutional," Mr Ametistov said, adding that "the
constitutional guarantees of those 'defeated' in the referendum will be
"I am convinced that a referendum on the subject is hardly reasonable,
even if this issue is considered a problem of national importance," he
Mr Yeltsin, backed by the Orthodox Church and numerous reformist
politicians, has long pushed for Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union,
to be given a burial. His body has been on display since his death in
This has infuriated the still-powerful communists, who dominate the
lower house of parliament, the State Duma.
Last month, the Duma passed a resolution saying that burying Lenin would
be an "act of political revenge". -- AFP.
Christian Science Monitor
July 7, 1997
[for personal use only]
Russian Sports Teams Learn Diversification Can Be Deadly
By Neela Banjeree, Special to The Christian Science Monitor
MOSCOW -- As she relaxed in her country home on a quiet Sunday morning
last month, Larisa Nechayeva, the general director of the national
champion soccer team Spartak, didn't notice the red car that had pulled
into her yard.
Two men left the car and went inside the cottage. Using Makarov handguns
outfitted with silencers, the intruders killed Ms. Nechayeva and a
friend and severely wounded her brother.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about this gangland-style killing is
that it's not new. Nechayeva's murder is the second of a top Russian
sports executive since April, and one of a half-dozen attempts since
Sports was once the pride of the Soviet state, an international forum
akin to the space program and the military, where the superiority of the
communist way could be flaunted. But today's chronically broke Russian
government can't fund the sports machine in the grand style of the
Soviets. What Westerners would consider traditional sources of income,
such as ticket sales and television rights, don't pay the bills for
teams. So in the scramble to stay afloat, sports organizations have
diversified into the same hugely lucrative deals as the rest of Russian
business, such as oil exports and alcohol imports.
But big money in Russia brings with it the risk of involvement by
organized crime. And as in many profitable spheres of Russian business,
the stakes are so great, and the judicial system so weak, that murder
often becomes the preferred method of conflict resolution. "Anyone who
has a link to money is getting killed now," says Lev Rassoschik, editor
of the newspaper Sport Express, "so why should sports be any different?"
Nechayeva's death comes two months after Valentin Sych, the president of
the Russian Hockey Federation, was murdered with his wife as they were
being driven from their suburban home into Moscow. Last year, assailants
tried to kill Boris Fyodorov, then head of the National Sports
Foundation, a shadowy organization set up by the Russian government
ostensibly to raise money for the sports machine built under the
Soviets. No one has been arrested in any of these cases, including
Nechayeva's murder two weeks ago.
Alexander Lvov, Spartak's spokesman, vigorously denies that Nechayeva's
death was linked to her work. Mr. Lvov says police have told Spartak
that gangsters were trying to extort money from Nechayeva simply because
she was well-off. Law-enforcement sources declined to comment on
possible motives for the murder, except to say that they are looking
into Nechayeva's business dealings at Spartak.
A former publisher, Nechayeva came to Spartak more than three years ago
at the behest of team president and coach Oleg Romantsev. Her main task,
say those who knew her, was to make money for Spartak.
The financial affairs of most sports teams, like that of most
businesses, are murky in Russia. Basic financial information, such as
the team budget, is hard to come by. But it's obvious that nearly all
teams and federations are weathering a tough time. Attendance at sports
events is low because Russians now have other entertainment options and
because most of Russia's best athletes play abroad. Tickets cost $3 to
$4. There's nothing in the way of team merchandising. And until
recently, teams had to pay television channels to carry games, not the
other way around.
Many teams, including Spartak, stay afloat by finding corporate
sponsors, whose logos are emblazoned on jerseys and stadium walls.
But Nechayeva also relied on other forms of business. Many who knew
Nechayeva say that she, as well as Mr. Sych, may have been killed
because their organizations at one time enjoyed tax exemptions on
imported goods that netted various companies tens of millions of
"There was a 'trail' of debt and obligations from when the tax breaks
were taken away," says Mr. Fyodorov of the National Sports Fund (NSF).
"Once the exemptions ended, the shooting began."
A NERVOUS man, Fyodorov says that the men who knifed and shot him last
year may have been sent from a company that owed NSF money from the
In late 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree that
allowed nonprofit groups and sports organizations to import consumer
goods duty-free, in an effort to provide them with income.
NSF quickly became the chief importer of alcohol and tobacco to Russia,
accounting for 70 percent to 80 percent of all such goods in 1994 and
1995, according to the World Bank. But critics of the tax exemptions,
such as the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), argued that
they cost the cash-strapped federal budget about $2.5 billion in lost
revenues until they were repealed in November 1995.
Fyodorov insists that the tax breaks were justified, though critics
argue that it's still unclear where NSF's millions went. According to
Fyodorov, who knew and worked with Nechayeva and Sych, Spartak and the
hockey federation also imported liquor and cigarettes duty-free.
In 1995, the hockey federation was Russia's third-largest importer of
alcohol, just behind two NSF organizations. Spartak used the exemptions
more sparingly, Fyodorov says. The hockey federation declined to
comment. Lvov denies that Spartak ever used tax exemptions.
Importers such as NSF and others made money by bringing in goods in
their own name and then turning over the goods to wholesalers and taking
a commission of 10 percent to 15 percent of the invoice price for
getting the shipment through customs duty-free. Even after paying the
NSF, Russian wholesalers saved money by avoiding huge customs duties.
But once the tax breaks were nixed under IMF pressure, wholesalers saw
their profit margins sharply narrow. They didn't have the money to pay
the importers. So debtors may have tried to liquidate their debts,
Fyodorov says, by liquidating their creditors - that is, people such as
Nechayeva and Sych.
Now at the height of its season, Spartak has shrugged off Nechayeva's
death as it tries to win another national championship. There are no
signs of mourning at the club's headquarters in central Moscow. Lvov
explains that the team owes its fans this business-as-usual attitude.
"Spartak for generations has been an unusual team, the nation's team,
you might say," he explains. "We belong to the people. We are their
achievement. We reflect their happiness and their grief."
The Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
>From Russia, with plenty of love
•Louisville woman's mission to Moscow is Campus Crusade for Christ
BY BARBARA GALLOWAY
Beacon Journal staff writer
PLAIN TOWNSHIP: The amateur video shows Stark County native Laurel Kehl
walking through the paint-bereft halls of a tenement, entering her
apartment through a padded steel door with an industrial-strength lock.
With crime on the rise in Moscow, foreigners especially must have doors
that cannot be kicked in, since the popular perception is that ``we have
all the money,'' she explained.
Outside on the streets, her narration is drowned by the sea of trucks
and vans behind her. When she boards a new-looking subway train, a young
man in a '70s-looking paisley shirt and polyester pants jumps in after
her. As the train pulls out of the station, the camera reveals no bright
colors, no trendy fashions among the weary-looking commuters.
The clerk at the new supermarket -- where shelves are full of imported
foods and, amazingly, there are no lines -- is dressed in a perky green
pinafore with matching sunshade. But outside, the old women are in their
regular uniform: black stockings, army boots, long print dresses and
They must work fast to sell the produce they've brought from their
gardens before police catch them, unlike the salespeople in numerous
kiosks, who sell pirated videos, software, food, clothing and alcohol
without fear of harassment.
This is the world that Kehl, 46, chose when she moved to Moscow 5 1/2
years ago as part of Campus Crusade for Christ. It's a world where
change has come so much and so fast since the fall of communism that
it's meeting with resistance -- some reactionary.
On June 18, the Duma, or lower house of parliament, passed a new law
that would make four ``traditional'' religions -- Russian Orthodoxy,
Judaism, Buddhism and Islam -- official ``religious organizations,''
offering them ``state respect.''
All others would be classified as ``religious groups'' that would have
to go through a 15-year waiting period in order to own property, have
bank accounts, publish, conduct services in public places, have
religious schools or do charitable work. While the law ostensibly was
meant to keep out extremist cults, it could instead place
long-established Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic
churches in the same category.
Lawrence A. Uzzell of the Oxford-based Keston Institute, which studies
religious life in Russia and Eastern Europe, said the bill would allow
foreign religious groups to operate in Russia only at the invitation of
one of the sanctioned groups. Before they could become ``official,'' the
groups would have to collect 100,000 signatures and have congregations
in at least half of Russia's provinces.
The Duma approved the bill, written by the Communist-dominated Committee
on Religion, by an overwhelming vote of 337-5, and it now goes to the
upper chamber, where it has strong support, Uzzell said.
Unless Russian President Boris Yeltsin vetoes the bill, ``which is far
from certain, the cause of human rights will have seen its most sweeping
legislative reversal in Moscow since the death of the Soviet Union,'' he
wrote in an opinion piece for the Moscow Times.
Kehl declined to comment on the new law, saying that she is a ``guest''
of the Russian government. But those in her organization have long been
aware that their status could change at any time.
A spokesman for the Campus Crusade for Christ responded for the
organization: ``Although it is too early to know the total effect, it
appears to be negative and we would pray that President Yeltsin will
veto the bill.''
Kehl is part of a team that develops Russian leaders and ``shepherds''
Russians who are already on the Campus Crusade staff.
``We're hoping to work our way out of business,'' she said.
Keeping the faith abroad
Kehl grew up in Louisville, where her grandfather founded Herman Kehl
Florist. After graduating from Louisville High School, she studied music
therapy at Western Michigan University.
But instead of going into that profession upon graduating in 1973, she
joined Campus Crusade. She has spent most of her 24 years with the
organization in the United States, but lived in Poland for one year
during the late 1980s.
The Iron Curtain was beginning to crumble and because of her experience
in Poland, Kehl was asked to go to Moscow. She had an interest in that
part of the world because her grandparents came from Czechoslovakia and
her grandmother, Emily Zika, ``loved the Lord deeply and influenced my
life as a child.'' She agreed.
She first worked with university students, who typically enter college
in Russia at age 16 or 17 -- ``a crucial age for making life-changing
decisions,'' Kehl said. Most of the teens she worked with had no
religious experience at all, having grown up in communist-imposed
The changes that have occurred in their country ``have been hard,
economically and socially, but overall the young people are very
positive about opportunities in the computer field and in business,
where they see their future,'' Kehl said.
She has found the Russians to be ``extremely creative -- they've had to
be to survive,'' with a much deeper appreciation of the arts and music
than most Americans.
Communism was supposed to be the great leveler, but instead created a
society of haves and have-nots that still exists, and may even be more
pronounced. Extended families usually live in tiny apartments. Both
parents must work while the children are raised by grandmothers.
There are very few grandfathers; most men were either killed in the war
or by Stalin, Kehl said. The communist leader ordered the deaths of
millions during the Great Purge, many for their religious faith.
Nonetheless, Russians remain soulful and ``deep thinkers who can find
beautiful things about their historically drab lives.'' Through
hardships, they can still ``find beauty in life, arts and literature,''
Ministry cautiously grows
Her organization has campus ministries in Moscow, St. Petersburg,
Volgograde, Rostov-on-the-Don and Novosivirsk and Yfa (pronounced
ooh-fah,) both located in Siberia. In Moscow, there are also Campus
Crusade ministries to high schools, prisons, military personnel and
athletes, she said.
Russian teens ``are very curious; they want to know and their parents
want them to have the opportunity to hear about God and choose for
themselves,'' Kehl said. Oddly, parents who are only in their 30s or 40s
will tell her it is ``too late for us to change,'' that their lives
``were too much set'' in the direction of atheism.
Some teens told her they had never heard about God -- unless from
grandmothers who kept their faith through 70 years of Communism -- and
had never celebrated Christmas, she said. New Year's Day is the big
holiday when gifts are exchanged.
The Campus Crusade staff offers suggestions, but allows native Russians
to structure worship services at the non-denominational Moscow Bible
``We want them to find what is Russian,'' Kehl said. ``We're not there
to propagate a church, even, but what is Christian: how to know Christ
through Jesus and his death.''
With the removal of communist restraints, organized crime has
infiltrated Russia and street crime is on the rise. Kehl said she
``takes precautions'' -- like the steel door -- and not wearing bright
colors to advertise herself as a foreigner. Only lately has she dared to
wear a purple coat.
Her father, Larry, was stationed in Vienna after World War II and
remembers seeing Russian soldiers who ``never put down their guns, even
though the war was over.'' He worries.
But her mother, Martha, said she was excited when her daughter announced
she was moving.
``I know this gal, and her life is planned by God and she's being
obedient,'' she said. ``She's in the center of God's will and I think
that's the safest place to be. She taught me that.''
`` 'Course I pray a lot,'' she added.
BORIS NEMTSOV HAS RECEIVED AN APARTMENT IN MOSCOW BUT DOES NOT HAVE THE
RIGHT TO PRIVATISE IT, YURI LUZHKOV DECLARED
MOSCOW, JULY 5. /RIA Novosti correspondent Yevgeniya
Yakuta/. Under current legislation, Moscow as the capital of the
country must provide housing for officials of state aiuthority
and First Vice-Premier Boris Nemtsov has received a service
apartment, Mayor of Moscow Boris Luzhkov told journalists today.
"We are law-abiding citizens," he stressed. However, the mayor
added, in Nemtsov's dispute with the city authorities the issue
was not about the provision of a service apartment, but about
the granting to the vice-premier of the right of ownership in
this apartment, that is, the right to privatise it. Such a right
Nemtsov does not have, said Luzhkov.
In June Nemtsov told an ITAR-TASS correspondent that he had
had some difficulties with registration in the Russian capital.
Russia's Yeltsin starts holiday in Karelia
By Anatoly Verbin
MOSCOW, July 6 (Reuter) - President Boris Yeltsin started his holiday on
Sunday at a lakeside state residence in the northwestern Russian region of
Karelia, the Russian media said.
The Kremlin press service said it was not able to confirm the reports
``Like you, I watched television news at 3 p.m. (1100 GMT) which said that
the president's plane had landed at Petrozavodsk (capital of Karelia),'' a
Kremlin spokesman said by telephone.
The Kremlin has stressed that Yeltsin's vacation was a planned one and was
not linked to the state of health of the 66-year-old-leader who had a
quintuple heart bypass operation last November and suffered double pneumonia
It has not been officially announced how long Yeltsin would stay on holiday
but Kremlin sources said it could last up to two months but Yeltsin intended
to keep in close touch with his reformist government and senior ministers
would report to him in person every week.
Itar-Tass news agency said Yeltsin made no commet to local reporters at the
airport and headed to the Shuyskaya Chupa pine-lined residence by a lake near
Petrozavodsk, 180 km (112 miles) from the border with Finland.
The residence, labelled ``President Hotel'' by local journalists, had fishing
facilities and an indoor tennis court, Tass said.
``There will be no problems for the president with fishing,'' a local fishing
official told Tass, adding Karelia had 62,000 lakes and 11,000 rivers.
Yeltsin is known to be a passionate fisherman and hunter and a doctor has
said he complicated preparations for his heart surgery last year by
relentless shooting at his residence near Moscow. The weapon's recoil
affected his chest, the doctor said.
But a Karelian hunting official told Tass hunting for most types of the game
was prohibited at this time of the year, but added wild boar was a
The Kremlin has announced that Yeltsin would spend only part of his holiday
in Karelia. It did not say where he would go for the rest of his vacation but
stressed he would not go to his once favourite Black Sea resort of Sochi.
In April Yeltsin cut short his holiday in Sochi and the Kremlin blamed bad
weather though television pictures from the area showed sunshine at the time.
In previous years Yeltsin used to spend much of his time in Sochi swimming
and playing tennis, something which he seems as yet unwilling to do after
Yeltsin returned to active work in February and has generally maintained a
busy schedule, though every now and then he escapes to his country residences
outside Moscow for a day or two where he works on documents, the Kremlin
During a number of foreign trips over recent months Yeltsin mostly appeared
mentally alert but his physical performance seemed unsteady at times.
Tass said Yeltsin's wife Naina was with him but it was unclear if his younger
daughter, Tatyana, was also with him.
Yeltsin named Tatyana, 37, his official adviser on image-making on June 30,
triggering accusations of illegal nepotism from the opposition, which he
Yeltsin has scored a number of diplomatic successes over recent months and
his main headache remains the economy.
He radically reshuffled the government under veteran Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin in March, putting liberals like first deputy prime ministers
Anatoly Chubais and Boris Nemtsov, into key positions to boost reforms.
He told the Russian people on Friday the economy had finally turned the
corner after years of industrial decline.
``The breakthrough has already happened,'' Yeltsin declared in a radio
address marking the first anniversary of his re-election for a second and
final presidential term on July 3, 1996.
He clearly stunned Chubais, who is also Finance Minister, by demanding all
huge wage arrears to public sector workers, such as teachers and doctors, to
be paid within three months while the debt to the armed forces should be
covered until September.
Chubais argued the deadline was too tight.
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Former Top U.S. Aides Seek Caspian Gusher
Scowcroft, Sununu, Baker, Bentsen Help Lobby for Oil Policy Change
By David B. Ottaway and Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writers
The last great oil rush of the 20th century -- targeted at a potential
$4 trillion patch in Central Asia's Caspian Sea region -- has lured a
prestigious group of U.S. prospectors: former high-ranking government
officials bent on winning a stake in the bonanza for themselves or their
These men come from different parties and different past
administrations, but they are working together for policy changes that
they say are needed to put U.S. companies on an equal footing with
foreign competitors in Azerbaijan, a small nation that is at the center
of a vast untapped oil basin. Involved in this effort are two former
national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski;
former White House chief of staff John N. Sununu; Defense Secretary
Richard C. Cheney and Secretary of State James A. Baker III from the
Bush administration; and President Clinton's former treasury secretary,
The involvement of these heavyweights has escalated an intense lobbying
and public relations campaign in Washington. American oil companies hope
to ease restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, allowing them to secure
U.S. government-backed loans and financial assistance as they tap into
fields believed to hold as much as 200 billion barrels, more oil than
any region outside the Persian Gulf. The restrictions were passed by
Congress in 1992, to protest an Azeri blockade of its fellow former
Soviet Republic, Armenia.
American oil company executives say Azerbaijan officials have hinted
that as long as official U.S. policy continues to regard the country as
something of a pariah, they might favor Norwegian, British, Russian,
French and Iranian oil companies in granting the next batch of drilling
concessions, which will cover the largest reserves of gas and petroleum.
U.S. oil companies and other potential investors also contend that
without U.S. government-backed loans and other support now forbidden
under restrictions imposed by Congress, non-U.S. oil companies backed by
their home governments will have an advantage.
For many of these old Cold Warriors, the Caspian oil boom has provided a
unique opportunity to help a former Soviet republic buttress its
independence from Russia while also taking advantage of a business
Scowcroft, for example, was paid $100,000 in 1996 by Pennzoil Co. for
"consulting on special international projects," according to the firm's
latest annual report. The former Bush adviser also earned a $30,000
director's fee from the company, which is a partner in the Azerbaijan
International Operating Company (AIOC), the main foreign oil consortium
Scowcroft confirmed in an interview that he advises Pennzoil on its
Caspian project but said his interest in the region stems from larger
concerns than his Pennzoil affiliation.
"I'm a big booster of Azerbaijan because the United States has big
interests out there," he said. "That's a huge pool of oil. It's time we
AIOC, in which American firms have a 40 percent stake, is a client of
the law firm of Baker, while Cheney is chairman of Halliburton Inc., an
oil services firm operating in the Caspian fields.
Sununu's management consulting firm, JHS Associates, is expected to sign
a major contract with the Azeri government during a U.S. visit next
month by President Geidar Aliyev, according to Azeri sources. At a gala
dinner here for visiting Azeri Prime Minister Artur Rasizade in May,
several hundred U.S. businessmen savored Caspian caviar and rubbed
shoulders with Azeri visitors. Featured speaker Sununu, just back from
the Azerbaijan capital of Baku, flattered the dignitary and expounded on
Azerbaijan's strategic importance.
At a reception the next night, Bentsen likened Azerbaijan's struggle for
independence to that of his home state of Texas, and beamed as an oil
executive presented the prime minister with a pair of shiny Texas cowboy
boots. Bentsen is a shareholder in Frontera Resources, an oil services
company working in Azerbaijan. Frontera is chaired by fellow Texan
William H. White, a former Clinton deputy secretary of energy.
Brzezinski is a consultant to Amoco, another AIOC partner promoting
Azerbaijan's cause in Washington. An Amoco spokesman confirmed that
Brzezinski advises the firm on Caspian oil matters but declined to
disclose his fee.
Along with those Washington powers, an assortment of only slightly
lower-ranking former officials have descended on the Baku oil frontier.
They include former representative Charles Wilson (D-Tex.), who is
working with an energy developer, and former assistant secretary of
defense Richard L. Armitage, whose consulting firm is helping U.S.
companies in the region. Adding a sense of intrigue, former Maj. Gen.
Richard Secord, chief covert operative for Oliver L. North in the
Iran-contra scandal, reportedly has been sighted in Baku.
None of the former officials is a registered lobbyist for Azerbaijan.
Some have testified in Congress or spoken at conferences to promote an
activist U.S. policy there. Most are members of the U.S.-Azerbaijan
Chamber of Commerce, the most forceful advocate in Washington for U.S.
Their presence has added a political and economic dimension to an annual
battle in Congress between supporters of Azerbaijan and backers of its
rival, neighboring Armenia. The powerful Armenian lobby -- reinforced by
the 42-member Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues -- blames the
Azeri government for repressing the Armenian population in the tiny
enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The enclave lies inside the borders of Muslim Azerbaijan but is
populated heavily by Christian Armenians and is claimed by both
countries. The longstanding dispute erupted into war as the Soviet Union
was collapsing and the Armenian majority demanded unification with
Fighting between the two nationalities inside and around the enclave
eased with a cease-fire in May 1994, but negotiations to resolve its
status have stalled. In the meantime, Azerbaijan -- long Armenia's
principal source of oil -- continues to impose an energy blockade on its
The U.S. policy at issue is a provision in the 1992 Freedom Support Act,
the broad legislation directing American aid to the newly independent
nations carved from the former Soviet Union.
The provision, inserted at the urging of pro-Armenian members of
Congress, prohibits direct U.S. economic and humanitarian aid to
Azerbaijan until the Baku government takes "demonstrable steps" to lift
As a result, Azerbaijan has received barely $100 million in U.S. aid for
limited humanitarian purposes, routed through private relief groups.
Armenia, by contrast, has received more than $600 million in direct
But the Armenian lobby's grip on Congress is now under challenge. Led by
Amoco and Pennzoil, U.S. oil companies and their supporters in Congress
are mobilizing to increase awareness of the stakes in the Caspian basin.
"This year the major American oil companies are working a lot more
closely to further the [Azeri] government's political objectives. . . .
They're clearly coordinating very closely with the government of
Azerbaijan," said Timothy Jemal of the Armenian Assembly of America, one
of several Armenian-American groups.
For its part, the Clinton administration is promoting an end to the ban
on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan. The United States already is a partner with
Russian in a diplomatic effort to settle the Nagorno dispute, which
could add to pressures on Armenia. A State Department report in April
noted, "The Caspian region could become the most important new player in
world oil markets over the next decade. The U.S. has critical foreign
policy interests at stake -- the increase and diversification of world
energy supplies, the independence and sovereignty of the NIS [Newly
Independent States] and isolation of [nearby] Iran."
Others have argued that a more balanced U.S. policy between Azerbaijan
and Armenia would help contain Russian dominance in the region.
In a recent op-ed article in the New York Times, former defense
secretary Caspar W. Weinberger weighed in with a warning about $1
billion in Russian arms deliveries to Armenia, a theme also seized on by
oil company lobbyists.
In contrast to Azerbaijan, Armenia has allowed Russia to maintain bases
and troops in its territory.
Oil and gas interests in Congress and forces harboring old fears of an
expansionist Russia combined in May when the Senate required Clinton to
submit a report to Congress by Aug. 1 on Russian arms shipments. Senate
appropriators, meanwhile, have voted to allow the U.S. Export-Import
Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., and the Trade and
Development Agency to operate in Azerbaijan.
The legislation is still pending in both houses.
Clinton has signaled new interest in Azerbaijan. Aliyev's trip here next
month will be an official state visit, the first since the country's
independence six years ago.
But Armenia's supporters are fighting back. Last week, the Armenian
National Committee of America launched a campaign to block the White
Its goal is to get 50,000 Armenian Americans to write Clinton, asking
him to cancel the visit and uphold the ban on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan.
The former Soviet Communist Party chief in Azerbaijan and a head of the
KGB, Aliyev was ousted after independence but regained power in an armed
revolt and won a controversial election in 1993.
"Aliyev is a very controversial figure," said Armenian National
Committee Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "His visit represents a
tilt, a bias, by the American government toward the Azerbaijan side."
The Sunday Times (UK)
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Moscow digs for Ivan's secret library
YURI LUZHKOV, the mayor of Moscow, has embarked on a quest to solve a
mystery that has enthralled Russian leaders through the centuries. He
has assembled a team of scientists to track down the missing library of
Ivan the Terrible, writes Mark Franchetti in Moscow.
Some experts dispute whether Ivan the Terrible ever had a library. The
tsar is remembered more for bloody deeds of infanticide and removing the
tongues of his critics than a love of learning. Others insist that a
treasure trove of books and manuscripts some dating from the days of
the pharaohs is buried somewhere beneath the Kremlin.
Luzhkov, a pugnacious, barrel-chested demagogue with ambitions to take
over from Boris Yeltsin as president, is undeterred by suggestions that
he is pursuing a fictitious holy grail. He has assembled a team of 20
experts and told them not to stop work until they solve the mystery. He
hopes they will triumph in time for the celebrations of Moscow's 850th
anniversary later this year.
Legend has it that the tsar, who had thousands of his political enemies
slaughtered, and who famously murdered his own son, inherited the
library from Sophia Paleolog, the niece of the last emperor of
Ivan is said to have kept the manuscripts believed also to include
thousands of documents dating back to ancient Greece and Rome in three
vast subterranean vaults.
The mystery came to obsess Russian leaders from Peter the Great to
Stalin. There were reports of the books going missing at some point in
the 1580s, shortly before Ivan's death, when he may have buried the
books to prevent them being stolen. The ailing tsar is then believed to
have moved the library to Alexandrova in the north of Moscow, where it
was again buried, this time under a monastery next to his palace.
"One of the versions [of the legend] which we are exploring is that he
destroyed the monastery, burying the library under the rubble," said
Vladimir Ivanovsky, a Moscow city official co-ordinating the search.
"He thought that the monastery would only be restored under a new,
enlightened Russia and that is when we would deserve to find his hidden
Clearly Luzhkov believes the time to uncover the priceless cache of
books is nigh. The mayor, who makes no secret of his presidential
ambitions, believes that finding the library will bring him kudos.
With the help of the latest computer technology, experts hope to narrow
down the number of potential hiding places for the treasure. They have
even ordered a detailed psychological profile of the tsar to help them
understand what he might have done with his books.
People claiming to possess extrasensory powers have also been called in
to help. "Nearly every tsar and Soviet leader looked for it but we will
be the ones to find it," Ivanovsky said. "We will be heroes, and Luzhkov
will be the greatest hero of all."
Luzhkov is not the sort of man to see his ambitions frustrated. However,
sceptics believe that even he may eventually have to admit defeat. "It's
absolute fantasy," said Dimitry Likhachev, doyen of Russian philologists
and historians. "I can't believe that Luzhkov is also looking for this
library. It's pure vainglory."
As Luzhkov prepares Moscow for the celebration of its 850th anniversary,
however, he is putting intense pressure on his scientists to come up
with new leads in the mystery.
"Luzhkov is a world statesman," said German Sterligov, in charge of the
experts involved in the search. "He has vision and a sense of history.
He will find Ivan's library and will be the envy of the world."
CHRIST THE SAVIOUR CHURCH PLANNED TO BE OPENED ON AUGUST 19
MOSCOW, JULY 6. /RIA Novosti correspondent Yevgeniya
Yakuta/. On August 19, the Orthodox holiday of the
Transfiguration, the Church of Christ the Saviour will be
formally opened in Moscow. The preliminary decision to this
effect was passed today at an operational meeting with the
participation of the members of the Moscow government and the
representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, which was conducted
on the site by Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov. He suggested
turning the inauguration of the church into a citywide festivity
in which the mayor himself and Patriarch of Moscow and All
Russia Alexy II should take part.
The mayor of Moscow also suggested holding a concert in
honour of the inauguration of the church at which popular
Russian artists could appear. In particular, Luzhkov thought,
Oleg Gazmanov could take part in this concert with his new song
"My Church." The Church of Christ the Saviour must become the
spiritual centre of Moscow, and its inauguration should be as
solemn as possible, stressed Luzhkov.
At present work on the construction of the church has
entered the concluding phase, stated the participants of the
operational meeting. The facing of the church is being
completed, and the adjacent area is being actively developed.
The temporary illumination has already been dismantled, and
during the next few days work on the installation of permanent
lighting and illumination of the church will begin. By August 1
the building cranes must be removed from the construction site,
and by August 15 the pavement of all the paths in the park
around the church will be completed.