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7 July 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Brian Taylor: re Blauvelt and views of Russian officers.
2. J.C. Platt: Covert ops and other Bug-a-boos.
3. Carl Olson: ABC policy (Anybody But Communists).
4. RIA Novosti: ANY PENSIONER PHONING OVER THE "CONFIDENCE
TELEPHONE" TO THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT'S ADMINISTRATION MAY SUDDENLY
DISCOVER THAT HIS INTERLOCUTOR IS NONE OTHER THAN BORIS YELTSIN.
5. The Times (UK) editorial: MENACE IN MADRID. An unnecessary
blurring at Nato's boundaries of freedom.
6. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Threat to landmark by Lenin
7. RIA Novosti: YURI LUZHKOV HAS MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THE LAW
REDUCING FINES FOR THE VIOLATION OF ROAD TRAFFIC RULES AND
PROHIBITING THE USE OF WHEEL BLOCKING DEVICES.
8. Washington Post: Edward Luttwak, Don't Offer the Alliance
To Those We Can't Protect.
9. Washington Post letter: Nuclear Weapons and Russia, by
10. From InterPress Service: Andrei Ivanov and Judith Perera,
RUSSIA: Unwanted Elderly Nuclear Subs Threaten Pacific Coast.
11. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Nato's three new armies 'in
all kinds of mess.']
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 1997 17:44:13 -0400
Subject: re: Blauvelt
Timothy Blauvelt writes:
"Many Russian opinion polls in the last few years have suggested that
military officers have a much
higher preference for the restoration of empire than does the population at
I would be interested in seeing this data. I have seen other data that
contradict this view.
For example, in 1994 68% of the populace agreed with the statement that the
collapse of the Soviet Union was a great misfortune. 70% of mid-level and
senior officers held the same view. (cite: James Brusstar and Ellen Jones,
"Attitudes within the Russian Officer Corps," _Strategic Forum_, No. 15,
Thus, there was no difference between officers and the population at large
on this question.
Moreover, although a majority of citizens and officers believe that the
collapse of the USSR was a misfortune, there is not support for using force
to restore the Union. In the most comprehensive survey yet of the Russian
officers corps, Deborah Yarsike Ball and Theodore Gerber found, "contrary
to claims that officers wish to reconstitute the Soviet empire, our
evidence shows that they pragmatically accept current borders." 75% did
not agree with the statement that Russia must rule over the former Soviet
republics to be respected as a great power, and a majority (58%) disagreed
with the view that the dissolution of the USSR should have been halted with
force. Over 80% of officers agreed that good relations with CIS countries
was an important foreign policy goal.
Ball and Gerber also found, contrary to much speculation, that the Russian
officer corps does not hold anti-democratic views. For further details,
one can consult:
Deborah Yarsike Ball and Theodore Gerber, "The Political Views of Russian
Field Grade Officers," _Post-Soviet Affairs_, Vol. 12, No. 2 (April-June
1996), pp. 1551-180.
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 1997 20:45:28 -0400
From: PGP_JCP <PGP_JCP@compuserve.com> (J.C. Platt)
Subject: Covert ops and other Bug-a-boos
In response to your "just wondering" of June 28th, allow this jaded soul to
throw some cold water on the conjecture of a successful and well funded
intel community assault on virulent communism alive and well in Russia? I
won't be long.
1. I am somewhat taken aback at you choice of Russian news to hang this
conjecture by. "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" is well known to you. If the
sensation news editors could afford it, I am sure they'd have a news buro
in Roswell too... Lets please not accept their coverage of CIA espionage
and NSC [National Sec. Council] policy decisions as the fulsome picture of
covert action being directed against the Russian state. That said, it IS
a fair topic to address.
2. But let us address it in context. I believe the sad truth is that your
central gov't and mine is just as perplexed about "outcomes" in Russia as
the Russians in charge --and out of charge-- are. The ONLY coherent policy
that one sees is the enduring desire to back a horse rather than than the
stable. So, all the white hats in WDC are probably delighted that, should
Boris N. Yeltsin stumble or overdose, they now have youthful faces like
Boris Nemtsov and Anatoliy Chubais to bet the house on.
We sure don't have the lock on this short-sighted "far abroad" policy. So
did --and does--Ivan. It's a human trait that only rare strategists can
outwit. So far, Washington hasn't found one.
3. No coherent policy? No coherent covert action policy. If this sounds
far-fetched, then please tell me what "dark side secret" has stayed as such
in Washington circles from 1991 to 1997? Covert action operations against
Iraq? Covert purchases of fissile materials from the "near abroad"
republics? Covert training of the palace guard for Georgian President
4. As you rightfully inveigh against a narrow policy of anti-communism as
a bad basis for a broad and successful foreign policy, I admonish you to do
same-same with something else that's outlived its usefulness. The vesting
of the intelligence community, and the CIA as the designated lightning rod,
with black magic and black money galore are just as much a disservice to
reality as the effectiveness of virulent anti-communism is. I am not alone
being concerned that we have a lame and blinded and therefore ineffective
intelligence gathering agency. Imagine for a moment the state of readiness
in an organization that has had five chief executives in seven years; has
suffered major treason from within (and won't recover if at all in less
time than did the Brits after their Cambridge four..); has had budgets
slashed like others, but also lost its main focus of 40 years as well (and
I don't care if CIA helped slay the Red Dragon or the poor thing ate its
own food and died); and has traded professionalism, performance, the perils
of making mistakes and the pride of workmanship for the fringe benefits of
new buildings, CIA monogrammed pens and pins, satellite parking and day
care centers, and feel-good management that knows how to "feel the pain" of
its badly mauled work force but cannot put the solutions in place.
5. From this gooey mix, how can one expect "assets" available for us in
Russia, and budgets to buy a lot of clout? UNLESS of course, you believe
this disarray in the CIA in particular and the establishment in general is
"THE BIG HOAX" on all of us while a secret agency unbeknownst to us
citizens continues playing the black art role. If there are a few who
want to buy into this one, I know a guy who will lend them booth
space................ in Roswell again.
6. The concern should be the LACK of an intelligence agency in troubling
and murky times, not the presence of one. One of the great spy masters in
history was and is an arch rival, Marcus Wolf [who ran the East German
external service for 30 years]. Before one of Wolf's trials in Germany, a
journalist chided Wolf for not letting go of a Cold War era mentality.
Wolf smiled, remarked that spying was here to stay, and explained that
".. .the mission of a foreign intelligence service is to prevent unpleasant
7. Inside the unsettled and disturbing planet of the Russian Federation of
Oz, I would like to see that mission reassigned. Sorry; this took too long
to say. Cheers, David. Please continue undaunted on your self-appointed
and greatly appreciated mission. JCPlatt
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 1997 16:51:34 -0700
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carl Olson)
Subject: ABC policy (Anybody But Communists)
You asked for comments on an "ABC" thesis. That is,
that there are some U.S. covert special operations (CIA,
NSA, Rangers, Seals, etc.) within Russia to support Yeltsin
or "Anybody But Communists". The supposition being that the
present day "Communists" are the most dangerous to the U.S.
The first question is why should we fear the Communists?
They lost the Cold War royally. They insisted on a
centrally-dominated unproductive economy. They devoted an
extraordinary percent of the GNP to the military effort
(20%+). They spent 50 to 70 years occupying countries in
Eastern Europe and the northern Mideast in pursuit of a
Russian Empire; but ended up without so much as winning any
hearts or minds, but rather stirring up hate and discontent.
They ran an economy that is has been such shambles for half
a century that almost every American can't think of anything
that he/she has ever even thought of buying from Russia.
The Russian Communist rulers seem to have capitulated in
the Cold War to the Western ruling interests somewhere
around 1986 or 1987. Maybe it was when they finally decided
it just cost too much to occupy so many ungrateful colonies,
especially when the US/NATO countries were coming up so many
sophisticated weapons/intelligence systems to counter. The
glasnost/perestroika propaganda campaigns started up under
Gorbachev to put a best foot forward to salvage as much as
The massive sell-off of Russian assets started about
this time (numerous metals, oil, uranium, and anything else
that wasn'tnailed down except for diamonds). The
nomenklatura scooped up probably a half trillion dollars in
sales, and most of this money is still held outside Russia.
(Where all these funds are is another major story.)
For no apparent good reason, the Russians abandoned
Afghanistan in early 1989. This had been a stupendous
earner of billions of dollars of hard Western currency via
the sale of vast amounts of illegal drugs (Afghanistan being
one of the largest opiate production countries in the
world). This left the funds now in the hands of Western
illicit drug dealers.
The fall of the Berlin Wall 1989 and the 1991 break-up
of the Soviet Union are symptoms of the capitulation, as
Western interests kept the squeeze up.
Naturally the West (dominated by the U.S. superpower)
has used all military, financial, and political means to
prevail, including the use of "covert operations". I would
suspect that they were/are prioritized at targets worth
billions or tens of billions of dollars, and generally not
at the micro level.
As some of your commentators have reported, some church
groups have been able to get in on the spoils, including
Billy Graham and the Unification Church (Reverend Moon), who
are allowed to proselytize in Russia.
As to "covert operatins" being used, I'd estimate that
the intelligence that the CIA, DIA, NSA, etc. actively
collect on Russia finds its way into the hands of certain
privileged Western interests. After all, we know that all
radio and phone transmissions (including cellular phones in
Moscow) are routinely available for interception and
exploitation. (They are also available in the U.S., but we
won't speak of that now.)
Finally, as to whether the thrust of "covert operations"
is to keep the Russian group calling itself "Communist" from
gaining any more electoral or other political power, they
really are marginalized into insignificance. Since they
include only those backward-looking groups who think the
"good old days" are better than they really were. They
don't even have much in the way of terrorizing gangster
troops a la Lenin/Stalin Moreover, the actual oldtime
Communist apparatchiks of any consequence have jumped ship,
and now are the new nomenklatura that dominates all the
industries, bureaucracies, and financial institutions. The
current Communist party has no real economic or political
strength. So what's there to fear?
State Department Watch
ANY PENSIONER PHONING OVER THE "CONFIDENCE TELEPHONE" TO THE RUSSIAN
PRESIDENT'S ADMINISTRATION MAY SUDDENLY DISCOVER THAT HIS INTERLOCUTOR
IS NONE OTHER THAN BORIS YELTSIN
MOSCOW, JULY 6. /RIA Novosti correspondent Natalya
Salnikova/. Any pensioner phoning over the "confidence
telephone" to the President's administration yesterday could
suddenly by chance discover that his interlocutor was none other
than Boris Yeltsin. At least this possibility Mikhail Mironov
did not rule out. He is the head of the Department for Work with
Citizens' Applications. "Both morally annd technically we are
ready to provide the Head of State with an opportunity of having
a talk with any citizen who has phoned over the 'confidence
telephone'," Mironov told a RIA Novosti correspondent. He
reported that such practice exists in other countries as well,
for example the United States where the President, visiting a
special telephone centre, "someimtes picks up the receiver,
talks and replies to questions."
As Mironov explained, the aim of the work of a
round-the-clock "confidence telephone," over which each
pensioner may phone free till July 15 is "to reduce to zero, to
exclude instances of untimely payment of pensions." In the
opinion of the department head, "the first few days of work have
revealed that the President's idea of creating a "confidence
telephone" has fully acquitted itself." Thus, wheres on the
first day of operation of the telephone half of those phoning
complained of pension delays, on the second day it was only
every fifth and more than 70 per cent reported that they had
received the money on time. It is possible, though, that these
indicators will vary. Besides that, according to Mironov, some
regions have already responded to the instructions sent them by
the President's administration. For example, the Krasnodar
Territory leadership has already transmitted to Moscow
information that all the pension arrears in the territory have
been liquidated. "Thus," noted Mironov, "the organisation of the
'confidence telephone' and the instruction of the Head of State
to tell him, or officials in his administration about
shortcomings is having an effective influence on the regional
leaders themselves and on those engaged in the organisation of
the timeous payment of pensions in the localities."
Taking into account the effectiveness of the "confidence
telephone," the department head did not rule out the possibility
that a similar form of feedback from citizens will also be used
by the central authorities in the solution of the next task of
the state - the timeous payment of wages to the workers in the
publicly-financed sector and to the military.
The Times (UK)
7 July 1997
[for personal use only]
MENACE IN MADRID
An unnecessary blurring at Nato's boundaries of freedom
The leaders of the 20th century's most successful military alliance
descend on Madrid tomorrow for a fateful summit. Agreement on two
momentous decisions, a new military structure for Nato and the early
enlargement of the alliance, is claimed by the Clinton Administration to
be indispensable to the forging of a "peaceful and undivided" post-Cold
War Europe. But rarely have the allies appeared less of one mind; and in
Washington itself, the Clinton-Albright strategy for Nato is under fire
from such experienced and influential critics as George Kennan, Paul
Nitze, Sam Nunn and Susan Eisenhower.
So far nothing is settled. There is disagreement about who should join,
about Europe's weight in Nato's new command structures and about what
sort of alliance Nato should become. France and America lead opposing
camps; and by publicly declaring last month that the US is now prepared
to include only Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in the first
round of Nato enlargement in 1999, the Clinton Administration ensured
that this will be a needlessly acrimonious summit.
If American tactlessness were the only problem, there would be little
novelty here, and still less cause for alarm. Nato is no stranger to
periodic crises; and out of anxiety that the US might otherwise scale
down its commitment to European security, the allies have usually
suppressed their irritation at heavy-footed US diplomacy and fallen into
line. On enlargement, if not on Nato's military structure, that is also
the most likely outcome at Madrid. But this time, America will have
misused its power in pursuit of an ill-judged strategy, whose most
obvious principal effect has been not only to foment division in Central
and Eastern Europe but to place a question mark over the future
credibility of Nato.
Damage limitation is now the name of the game; and the most important
task by far is to understand that a stable, democratic Russia at ease
within its shrunken post-imperial frontiers is the grand strategic prize
without which Europe can never be durably secure. The political risks
may be somewhat diminished by the deal concluded in May, which at least
potentially meets Washington's pledge to include Russia in "a security
circle for all of Europe". But it will take more than a piece of legally
non-binding paper to convince Russians that Nato enlargement is not a
stab in the back.
Instead, the alliance seems destined to spend much of the next two years
arguing about who is going to pay for integrating Poland, Hungary and
the Czech Republic into Nato. This dispute could bring about the worst
possible outcome, a decision to expand which was then stymied by the US
Senate. A likely result is that little money will be invested in
strengthening the new members' military capabilities. They will be
second-class Nato members, and seen to be such particularly as in its
efforts to assuage Russia, Nato has no plans to deploy substantial Nato
forces there after 1999.
The post-enlargement Nato map makes even less military than political
sense. If America has its way at Madrid, Romania the only militarily
serious applicant besides Poland will be excluded and Nato will not
even have a common frontier. Hungary will be a blob in the middle of no
man's land. Post-Madrid, Nato will be under fresh pressure to respond to
the anxieties and resentments that an enlargement limited to three not
particularly insecure countries generate in the lands beyond what Mrs
Albright called "freedom's boundaries".
The Western governments' first idea, the Nato Partnerships for Peace,
was also their best; it was a non-confrontational way of anchoring not
only Central and Eastern Europe but Russia itself to the West. Instead
of ending the division of Europe at Madrid, Nato will merely shift the
dividing lines. If there is indeed a security vacuum, Madrid will
provide no solution. Nato must live with the consequences of this
strategic muddle of its own making; but it would be better able to do so
if, in the process, it had not also enfeebled itself.
The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
7 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Threat to landmark by Lenin loyalists
By Nanette van der Laan in Moscow
POLICE yesterday removed bombs planted inside a gigantic Moscow statue
by Leftist radicals protesting against plans to remove the remains of
Lenin from his mausoleum in Red Square and bury them.
Detonators and three pounds of plastic explosive were found inside the
200-ft statue of Peter the Great that towers over the bank of the Moskva
River in the city centre.
According to the news agency Interfax, a group calling itself the
Revolutionary Military Council had said it planted the bombs but decided
not to set them off for fear of hurting innocent victims. Officials said
the bombs were professional and could have obliterated the statue.
The group said it was acting "out of revenge against those lowly
politicians who have started a foul press debate over the reburial of
the leader of the world proletariat, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin".
Last April, the "Military Council of the Red Army of Workers and
Peasants" blew up Moscow's only monument to Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas
II, saying it was an "act of retribution for outrageous plans to destroy
the Lenin mausoleum".
YURI LUZHKOV HAS MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THE LAW REDUCING FINES FOR THE
VIOLATION OF ROAD TRAFFIC RULES AND PROHIBITING THE USE OF WHEEL
MOSCOW, JULY 5. /RIA Novosti correspondent Yevgeniya
Yakuta/. Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov has mixed feelings about
the law passed by the Russian parliament on Friday reducing
fines for the violation of road traffic rules and prohibiting
the use of devices which block a wheel of the car and do not
allow it to be driven away from the place of the traffic rules
In a conversation with journalists today Luzhkov declared
that he supports the first part of this law which states the
reduction in fines. In the mayor's opinion, "this is the right
decision because the fines have already reached entirely
But so far as the ban on the use of wheel blocking devices
by road traffic inspectors is concerned, Luzhkov called this
decision "anti-Moscow" and declared that the capital intends to
"use its city laws to ensure that this mechanism continues to
operate." This will be done in the first place in the interests
of the Muscovites themselves, stressed the mayor. In Moscow,
according to him, "there is a rather large part of drivers who
behave impudently - for example, park their cars across
sidewalks." In the mayor's opinion, this "is an absolutely
inadmissible thing requiring the authorities' intervention,"
which in such cases must be able to use technical means for
In the opinion of the mayor of Moscow, in such a vast and
many-faceted country as Russia relations between drivers and
road traffic inspectors altogether cannot be regulated by just
one normative act, because "the road situation somewhere in
Kamchatka, or the Chukchi Peninsula differs considerablye from
Moscow or St. Petersburg." Therefore in a number of regions,
including Moscow, this law simply won't operate, believes
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Don't Offer the Alliance To Those We Can't Protect
By Edward N. Luttwak
Edward Luttwak is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and
Very late in the day, President Clinton's plan to extend the military
organization of the North Atlantic Alliance all the way east to the
Russian border is finally attracting public attention -- and evoking
acute concern, as it should. For we are faced with a plan that is
strategically dangerous, not least for those it is meant to benefit.
The problem stems from the collapse of Europe's Communist regimes in
1989 and the breakup of the Soviet Union the following year. All of a
sudden, 17 large and small countries emerged as independent states
between Western Europe and Russia. Very different in every other way,
all 17 countries discovered that post-communism meant more than freedom;
it also meant a peculiar kind of economic distress. What they needed was
plenty of Western investment and markets for their exports. But it was
their supremely bad luck that post-communism coincided with the reign of
extreme monetarism and fierce budget cutting in both the United States
and Western Europe.
With the European Union unwilling to enlarge eastward in these
conditions, the idea emerged to offer something else to mollify the
newly independent states: membership in the North Atlantic Alliance. It
seemed only logical that an alliance of democratic states should include
those that were newly democratic. In addition, alliance membership had
the supreme attraction of being infinitely cheaper than massive economic
The Clinton administration was at first lukewarm to the idea. In fact,
its Russia experts, beginning with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe
Talbott, were strongly opposed. Their argument -- still entirely valid
-- was that to enlarge the alliance when the Soviet Union was gone, and
a much smaller Russia was rapidly disarming, could only strengthen the
nationalists, militarists and Communists in Moscow at the expense of the
modernizers striving to construct a peaceful, democratic Russia. NATO
expansion was obviously provocative and something of a betrayal, too,
because the United States would be enrolling as allies a group of
countries the Russians had peacefully allowed to go free when they
voluntarily dissolved their empire. Moreover, the administration's
defense experts insisted that it was far more important to cooperate
with Russia's armed forces in getting rid of left-behind nuclear weapons
and encouraging democratization than to offer security guarantees to
countries less threatened than ever before in their recorded history.
But U.S. policy changed abruptly and absolutely during the 1996 election
campaign when President Clinton set out to take the socially
conservative Polish American vote from Bob Dole. There was a sudden,
enthusiastic eagerness to admit Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary
right away, with more to come. Overruled, Clinton's top foreign policy
officials, most of whom had strongly opposed the move, quickly changed
If Poland were being offered just membership in the alliance, that would
be serious enough, since under the North Atlantic treaty the allies
would be bound under Article 5 to regard an attack on Poland as an
attack on all of them.
But what is being offered to Poles and the rest is far more than that:
full participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- and NATO
is not a security-talking shop but a veritable military force, complete
with a hierarchy of operational war headquarters, intelligence and
planning staffs, a joint surveillance force of AWACS aircraft, an air
defense network with radar from Norway to Turkey and elaborate logistic
facilities. All U.S. and German air, ground and naval forces in Europe
are already under the command of various NATO headquarters, as are other
combat-ready forces of member countries (except France, which withdrew
from the integrated command in 1966, and Spain, which is not yet fully
part of the integrated military command).
In other words, NATO is a fighting force, temporarily at peace. No
wonder that even the most sincerely liberal Russians are dismayed by its
eastward expansion through the enlistment of their immediate neighbors.
All the friendly declarations and consultation arrangements since
offered to Russia's leaders cannot assuage this resentment.
Americans should be concerned about that. Yet if NATO's eastward
expansion were strategically sound, if it would add to U.S. and Western
security, Russia's objections would have to be ignored. Unfortunately,
the opposite is true. That is why U.S. military leaders were firmly
opposed to NATO enlargement -- until they, too, were overruled along
with their civilian chiefs. What they offered instead -- to Russia as
well, it should be noted -- was the "Partnership for Peace," a friendly
embrace of officer training in U.S. military schools, reciprocal visits
by senior officers and joint peace-keeping exercises.
The reason why U.S. military leaders did not want Poland in NATO (let
alone the Baltic states or Ukraine) was that they could never forget
that a promise to fight on behalf of another country is the most weighty
of commitments, entailing unlimited risks in this nuclear age. More
immediately, they knew how NATO has actually functioned, what the
quality was that made it the most successful multinational force in
history: an instantaneous readiness to reinforce any especially insecure
Poland shares a border with Russia in the Kalingrad sector, the three
Baltic states are indefensible and Ukraine's border with Russia is deep
inland. It is obvious that NATO membership for any of them would be a
cruel deception. Once bolstered by NATO membership, some countries might
be emboldened to act provocatively (the Poles especially can rarely
resist baiting the Russians), but none would actually be reinforced in a
crisis. Which NATO ally would be willing to send its troops? Not the
Germans, of course -- they have been there before. Nor the Italians, for
that same reason and others. Sending U.S. or British troops would
immediately escalate the crisis, while the French do not yet contribute
forces to NATO, and besides they are Russia's traditional friend in the
West. Perhaps the Portuguese or the Belgians might be willing to go, but
to send their forces as a token would be a mere bluff. In other words,
there would be no reinforcement -- and once that essential mechanism
broke down, so would NATO's credibility, for its older members as well.
That is the central truth that seems to have eluded President Clinton:
Membership entails automatic military protection, and if NATO no longer
offers that, it ceases to be what it still is, and becomes a very
expensive debating society.
At bottom, matters are even simpler: Neither Americans nor Western
Europeans will fight Russia for the sake of Poland, the Baltic states or
Ukraine. Giving them NATO membership cannot change geographic and
political reality, while it could just possibly turn today's peaceful
Russia into a threatening imperialist neighbor once again, by gaining
majority support for its most retrograde segments. The attempt to defend
against a now nonexistent threat might bring it about, a paradoxical
outcome all too common in the annals of strategy.
That still leaves the option of admitting into NATO the countries that
share no border with Russia, thus being most unlikely to need
reinforcement or external security of any kind, such as the Czech
Republic and Hungary, to which Slovenia might be added, along with
Romania and Bulgaria, now both under democratic rule. But the price of
providing even more security for the already secure would be to
emphasize by an act of humiliating exclusion the indefensibility of the
rest, dividing Europe once again. What is now being proposed is actually
even worse than that, for while indefensible Poland would be included,
along with the Czech Republic and Hungary, other deserving new
democracies would be excluded for no good reason.
It is fortunate that the U.S. Senate must ratify the proposal to expand
NATO, and even more fortunate that it has a better option at hand that
allows it to withhold its consent with no real harm done: an improved,
more generous Partnership for Peace open to all the newly independent
and democratic states, including Russia. That way the threat may be
averted altogether, instead of being provoked into existence, only to be
countered by empty promises.
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Nuclear Weapons and Russia
Jessica Stern's criticism of the House National Security Committee's
reduction of the Clinton administration's funding request for programs
to reduce the threat from Russia is off target ["Preventive Defense,"
op-ed, June 23].
Since 1992, Congress has supported efforts to reduce the threat to the
United States posed by former Soviet weapons of mass destruction and to
control the proliferation of these weapons and technologies to other
states. However, only three-fourths of the almost $1 billion approved by
Congress for such activities in Russia to date has been committed to
this effort, while less than half actually has been spent.
Ms. Stein's attack on the committee's action focuses on three areas:
nuclear weapons security, employment for former Soviet weapons
scientists and plutonium production in Russia. In each case, the
author's arguments are unfortunately misleading.
First, after noting concerns that "nuclear security has not improved in
Russia," Ms. Stern asserts that the committee "wants to cut funding by a
third" for these important cooperative projects. What Ms. Stern either
did not know or failed to explain is that the committee's reduction of
$12.5 million to the administration's budget request is based on
Russia's own determination that it no longer requires additional
containers for the safe transport of nuclear weapons. Consequently, the
administration itself has proposed using funds already approved for
these purposes on other projects.
Second, Ms. Stern contends that the committee "isn't worried that
underpaid [Russian] weapons scientists could sell their expertise
abroad. They voted to zero out the Department of Energy-led program"
that pays to keep these scientists employed, ostensibly in "peaceful"
pursuits. Unfortunately, Ms. Stern neglects to note that according to
recent news reports nearly half of the aid intended for Russian
scientists is being siphoned off by regional taxes and duties, overhead
charges and suspected payoffs. This is hardly an appropriate use of
American taxpayer money and certainly does nothing to reduce the risk of
proliferation or the threat to the United States.
Finally, with respect to the program to end plutonium production in
Russia, Ms. Stern asserts that the committee "wants to cut the program
by three-quarters, making it impossible to stop plutonium production in
Russia by the year 2000, as agreed by the vice president and Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin."
In fact, timely implementation of this program already is in jeopardy
due to Russian intransigence. Last year, Congress approved $10 million
for this program, yet the money still cannot be spent because Russia has
refused to sign the necessary agreement that would allow the program to
proceed. Approving more than four times as much money this year for a
project that cannot even spend the money Congress approved last year is
hardly sound policy or prudent fiscal management. It also demonstrates
again the simple truth that for "cooperative" programs with Russia to
have some chance of success, Russian cooperation is required.
The House Committee on National Security remains a strong advocate of
cooperative programs with Russia that serve to reduce the threat to the
United States. However, it is important that these programs be executed
wisely and efficiently. It is also important that the American people
understand the facts.
FLOYD D. SPENCE
The writer, a Republican representative from South Carolina, is chairman
of the House Committee on National Security.
>From InterPress Service
RUSSIA: Unwanted Elderly Nuclear Subs Threaten Pacific Coast
By Andrei Ivanov and Judith Perera
MOSCOW, July 2 (IPS) - The troubles facing Russia's nuclear
shipyards on the Pacific coast continue to mount.
Strikes and protests are increasing at both the Komsomolsk na
Amur shipyards where submarines are constructed and at the Zvezda
shipyard in Bolshoi Kamen where the Russian Navy's old nuclear
vessels are being decommissioned.
Both these facilities have potentially dangerous nuclear
facilities which need constant monitoring. The situation is being
complicated by the overall energy crisis in the region with
frequent power cuts to both yards, endangering vital safety
The risk of a nuclear accident at the Amur Shipyards is
increasing daily, with four-fifths of the work force on indefinite
According to Grigoriy Sobolev, chairman of the company's trade
union the strike was called because of wage arrears dating from
last November and a failure to finance the company's activities
Sobolev says the situation at the company was exacerbated by the
fact that, in 1993, a nuclear reactor had been installed in one of
the two submarines still under construction in the yards, and it
was costing 12 billion roubles (2.1 million dollars) a month to
Because of the desperate financial situation highly qualified
nuclear safety specialists are leaving the company, which
currently has 1,500 sources of radiation to monitor.
Protest action is also continuing at Zvezda's nuclear submarine
repair yard to demand payment of wage arrears going back to
In April pickets sealed off the yards, mounting round the clock
pickets around the management building. The protesters threatened
to take managing director Vasiliy Maslakov hostage if their
demands were not met.
The workers were also objecting to the various private businesses
that had set up inside the shipyard and the constant thefts of
highly valuable non-ferrous metals. The federal government
currently owes Zvezda employees more than 150 billion roubles
(27.2 million dollars) for work to complete state orders for the
repair or scrapping of decommissioned submarines.
The developing crisis over the deteriorating condition of
decommissioned submarines reached peak on May 30 when a nuclear-
powered submarine sank at the Russian Pacific Fleet base in
Avachinskaya bay on the Kamchatka peninsula.
A salvage operation launched on Jun. 2, to recover the vessel
from a depth of 20 metres is still under way. The Charley-I class
submarine's rusting hull was punctured in a collision with another
vessel while it was being moored.
According to a Navy official in Moscow, the reactor has had is
fuel removed and Pacific Fleet officials say the remaining reactor
section is properly sealed and no radioactivity can leak into the
environment. However, the head of the local emergencies committee,
Colonel Valery Sukhoborov, says his staff is monitoring the
radiation situation on the city side of the bay.
There are 11 submarines of Charley-I class stationed in the
Pacific fleet, each one fitted with one PWR type reactor. They
were built at the Gorkiy (Nizhny Novgorod) shipyard between 1967
and 1972. In addition, a large number of decommissioned submarines
are moored in Kamchatka and Maritime Territory but the Zvezda
shipyard in Bolshoi Kamen can process no more than two a year.
Fewer than half the submarines removed from combat duty in the
Pacific have had their fuel removed, and only four reactor
compartments have been prepared for long-term storage.
Some 60 are awaiting decommissioning moored at the Pavlovsk naval
base some 65 kilometres from Vladivostok. Others are moored at a
small base in Vladimir Bay some 300 kilometres north east of
Vladivostok and at the Zavety Ilyicha base over 900 kilometres to
the north east.
Storage of liquid and solid wastes from the dismantled subs also
pose a problem as facilities are inadequate. However, residents of
Bolshoi Kamen in June voted against allowing a floating nuclear
waste processing plant to be docked nearby.
Some 94 percent of participants in a non-binding poll did not
want the plant established anywhere near the town. The official
said 13,000 people of Bolshoi Kamen, or 44 percent of eligible
voters, took part in the poll.
The floating plant, due to arrive in Bolshoi Kamen later this
month, is intended to solve the problem of neutralising liquid
waste from the decommissioned submarines. The waste is now kept at
two floating storage tanks outside docks where the submarines are
Regional governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko has warned that unless the
problem of processing the waste is solved it will be dumped into
the Sea of Japan. Sea dumping of liquid wastes in the Pacific took
place at five sites between 1966 and 1991. In terms of volume most
of the dumping took place south east of Kamchatka but the most
radioactive wastes were dumped in the Sea Of Japan, mainly between
1986 and 1987.
Sea dumping of liquid wastes in the far east continued into 1993
and officials at the Zvezda Plant warned in mid-1994 that it would
have to resume as stores were full. Dumping of low-level liquid
wastes into the Sea of Japan in October 1993 caused an
international outcry with strong protests lodged by Japan and
South Korea. Japan has financed construction of the new processing
Around 5,000 tonnes of liquid waste are generated each year and
makeshift storage facilities at on-shore dumps and in special
vessels moored near the coast are full. The shore facilities are
in Kamchatka north of the Gornyak shipyard and near Vladivostok at
Over 2,000 tonnes of wastes are stored in various vessels
including the TNT-5 (794 tonnes), the TNT-27 (905 tonnes), two
small PE-50 type tanks (100 tonnes each) and the most recent
addition to the 'waste fleet', the 1,000-tonne Pinega.
Most of these are moored in the Vladivostok area at various naval
facilities. In the opinion of environmentalists at Greenpeace
Russia, the Pacific coast is a nuclear accident waiting to happen.
The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Nato's three new armies 'in all kinds of mess'
By Francis Harris in Prague and Krzysztof Leski in Warsaw
WHEN Nato's military chiefs finally reach agreement on enlarging the
alliance this week, their new central European allies will be unable to
contribute to their own defence, let alone fight.
On Tuesday, Nato leaders meeting in Madrid will invite Poland, the Czech
Republic and Hungary to join the alliance in 1999. The summit will crown
United States-led efforts to expand Europe's "Zone of Stability" into
the territory of the former Warsaw Pact. But beneath the growing tide of
rhetoric about new dawns and historic ties of friendship, Nato staff are
grappling with grim military reality.
Officials estimate that the only contribution the new allies will be
able to make to any international crisis arising in the next 10 years
would be to provide airfields and interpreters for Nato reinforcements.
As a senior Nato official in Brussels said last week, the Polish, Czech
and Hungarian armed forces are respectively, "a mess, a bigger mess and
a total mess".
Ageing Russian equipment, public mistrust, professional incompetence and
a dire shortage of experienced NCOs have left the central European
military floundering and Nato wondering how to cope. Their problems
extend to almost every aspect of military life. In Hungary, the ancient
radar system is so ineffective that an intruder could cross the country
before MiG-29 aircraft scrambled to intercept.
The Czech air force is so sensitive to its weaknesses that it said
pilots were too busy to talk to The Telegraph, although the men complain
that they rarely fly their old MiG-23s. The few hours allowed are taken
by senior officers too old for combat duties.
Budget cuts by impoverished governments have also taken a toll on the
three armies. Some Polish officers have been reduced to buying
ammunition with their own money, while troops in Hungary exercise with
tin cans rather than practice grenades. Czech conscripts have complained
that they only fired a rifle once during their 12-month service.
Central European military organisation dates from Warsaw Pact days. The
Czechs have 15 commissioned officers for every NCO and 500 pilots for
just 30 combat aircraft. Only seven per cent of Poland's soldiers are
NCOs, compared with 20 per cent in Britain. In Hungary, the glut has
resulted in officers carrying out work normally done by NCOs.
Czech press reports that the army was busy refurbishing Maginot-style
defences built 60 years ago were later denied. Nonetheless, a Czech
officer confided that the military was considering sowing minefields
along the Slovak border, apparently unaware that Nato plans for a war of
Western officers and military attaches in the region are generally
sympathetic. They stress the progress made by all three armed forces by
reorganising into Nato-style brigades, by contributing troops to the
alliance-led force in Bosnia and by attempting to improve foreign
language training. All three plan to purchase Western fighter-bombers.
But when it comes to serious soldiering, it is a different story.
Although Nato armies exercise with the central Europeans under the
Partnership for Peace programme, the central Europeans are excluded from
The British Army now holds large-scale manoeuvres in Poland. Asked why
the Poles were not invited to join in, the Nato official said: "Because
the Brits are scared of friendly fire. I don't think they're willing to
risk the casualties.
"At the moment, they're a liability. It's possible that in five to 10
ten years, they could make a military contribution," the official said.
Until then, Nato's existing members will have to fill the breach.
In the meantime, the region's armies are struggling to make themselves
understood. No one in the Czech army press office speaks English and
even the head of a Czech military language school has yet to pass Nato's
English language test. Fortunately, the new central European members
face no foreseeable external threat. If they did, Western officers
estimate that the 65,000-strong Czech and Hungarian armed forces could
only field a couple of battalions and half a dozen combat aircraft each,
not much more than Luxembourg.
In the Czech Republic, the standing of the military is so low that many
doubt whether young conscripts would fight for their country. Soldiers
at a base on Nato's new frontier hung an improvised white flag of
surrender from their barracks during a visit by a foreign journalist
last year and most viewed military service as a bad joke.
There is greater confidence in the 215,000-strong Polish armed forces.
The national pride and tradition which spurred Polish cavalry units to
charge German tanks in 1939 still lives on. Even so, Col Jerzy
Markowski, the deputy editor of the armed forces magazine Armoured
Poland, was cautious when asked about the current capabilities of the
armed forces: "They are capable of running a defensive campaign, for a
short period, on their own territory, in a low-intensity conflict," he
Proponents of Nato expansion such as Paul Latawski at the Royal United
Services Institute in London argue that criticism was unfair. "No Nato
army except the US could defend its own territory," he said. "On the
whole, the central Europeans are making good progress with the resources
available to them, with the Poles ahead of the others."
But the Nato official predicted problems. "We shouldn't be surprised
it's a mess. The question is what they're going to do to get out of it.
I think they're hoping that Nato will solve their problems for them.
These guys were trained to wait for orders from Moscow."