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21 July 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Australian Financial Review: Stephen Wyatt, Soviet meltdown
keeps metals scrap.
2. Gigiyena i Sanitariya: The Moscow Population's Health.
3. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: Alexei Chichkin, FIGHTING RUSSIA'S
4. Newsday: A PLACE WHERE MUSIC MATTERED / `ROSTROPOVICH:
THE RUSSIAN YEARS, 1950-1974' - a 13-CD set - shows that even
during some of its bleakest days, Russia was not the culturally
stifled country of Cold War rhetoric. [DJ: Author?]
5. Jamestown Foundation: SPECIAL NOTICE re exhibit of paintings
by Nikolai Getman in Washington DC.
6. Sydney Morning Herald: Robyn Dixon, THE GLORY THAT IS GEORGIA.
7. Kyodo: Depositions from "Sorge Incident" convict unearthed.
8. Christian Science Monitor letter by C. Barton Etter: Fairness
to all NATO Members.]
Australian Financial Review
July 21, 1997
[for personal use only]
Soviet meltdown keeps metals scrap
By Stephen Wyatt
You wanna buy some copper? How about some aluminium or some nickel? What
about some zinc? How about just some scrap?
In fact, the sell-off of Soviet base metals was so rampant in the early
1990s that road signs on the Polish border, written in Russian, were
erected for the sole purpose of directing trucks full of scrap metal
where to dump their loads.
So it is no surprise that, with this sort of wild liquidation, the
collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 devastated base metal markets. And
the markets are still feeling the heat from the Soviet meltdown. Exports
of metal from the countries of the former Soviet Union continue to flood
Right now, the nickel market is copping the Russian export wrath. So far
this year, there has been a sharp rise in CIS (Commonwealth of
Independent States refers to the States of the former Soviet Union)
nickel exports and also a large rise in exports of, nickel intensive,
stainless steel scrap from the CIS.
And this influx of material is causing most analysts to review their
forecasts of nickel prices over the next two years. "We had been
predicting that (nickel) prices would recover strongly during the second
half of this year," said Mr Jim Lennon, commodity analyst with the
Macquarie Bank group. "Instead, prices appear to be worsening not
improving." And he points to the CIS as a primary reason for price
The average forecast of prices by analysts has been reduced from around
$US8,300/tonne for the second-half of this year to $US7,500/tonne for
this quarter and $US8,000/tonne for quarter four, said Mr Andrew
Wolfson, manager, commodity derivatives at Tokyo-Mitsubishi
International in London.
Apart from lower forecasts, the nickel market itself has fallen 20 per
cent in the past four months. Three months LME nickel prices have
dropped from $US8,320 a tonne last March to $US6,700 last week.
What surprised the market was that the nickel price declined in spite of
record stainless steel production and nickel supply disruptions that
knocked about 30,000 tonnes from nickel supply. Stainless steel
production accounts for about two thirds of nickel consumption. And so
far this year, stainless steel production has risen an impressive 13.7
per cent, year-on-year, (in nickel grades) according to UK commodities
research group, CRU.
But, it was Russian supply that knocked the market. The giant Russian
nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, which accounts for about 90 per cent of
CIS nickel production, increased its production in the first five months
of this year by 9.2 per cent on year earlier levels and more increases
are in the pipeline.
The company recently announced that it intended to increase production
this year by 20 per cent to 213,000 tonnes. And this increased
production will not be absorbed by the devastated domestic economy.
"As there are few signs of domestic (Russian) demand recovering, there
will remain ample supplies for export, even if (these) production
targets are not met," said Mr Angus MacMillan, research manager at
Billiton Metals in London.
But it's not just nickel that has had its price knocked down by surging
Russian exports. All the other base metals have been affected to varying
Even though CIS production of all the base metals slumped from the early
1990s, CIS consumption fell even harder. This resulted in the export
surge. Now, however, CIS domestic consumption is showing signs, albeit
early signs, of some recovery.
This is still not going to slow exports to the West because domestic
Russian fabricators have collapsed. They are the major consumers of
metal in Russia, but they cannot afford the material. They have poor
credit, poor distribution systems and produce poor quality products, Mr
This means that the Russian smelters, refiners and miners, whose product
is readily exportable with no attached credit or transport problems,
will continue to export.
"The result: exports to the West of primary metal will, in most cases,
remain high for the foreseeable future," Mr MacMillan said.
The impact of the imploding Soviet economy on base metal production and
consumption levels is staggering. Between 1990 and 1994, production of
both mined and refined copper, for example, plummeted by around 30 per
cent. But copper demand fell even more -- from around 1 million tonnes
in 1990 to 230,000 tonnes last year. The result was a sharp increase in
CIS copper exports in the early 1990s. And it's not over yet.
"There is every reason to believe that they will rise further as
production is being increased at a number of plants and domestic
fabricators are unable to secure credit to buy metal," Mr MacMillan
The same story holds for zinc. CIS zinc production collapsed from
920,000 tonnes to just 382,000 tonnes in 1994 and has since stabilised.
CIS demand however slumped even further. In 1990 demand matched supply.
By 1994 demand had fallen to 249,000 tonnes and stayed around that
The result is, again, a sharp rise in CIS exports to the West. But
exports rose even more because of significant CIS toll-smelting of
Western concentrates. Last year "net exports peaked at 170,000 tonnes
and look set to remain high this year as a result of increased
toll-smelting activity in the region again", Mr MacMillan said.
CIS aluminium exports also surged from 750,000 tonnes in 1992 to 2.6
million tonnes last year. This was a primary reason for Western
aluminium producers agreeing to production cuts (Memorandum of
Understanding -- a euphemism for a selling cartel), which are now just
beginning to come back on-stream.
CIS aluminium exports are showing no tendency to decline. Latest figures
put CIS exports for the first five months of this year at 1,080,700
tonnes, just marginally down on the corresponding period last year, when
1,085,100 tonnes were exported.
In contrast, lead exports were little affected by the collapse of the
Soviet economy. But this was not because production and consumption of
lead did not collapse. It did. What happened though was the fall in
production was matched by the fall in consumption. This did not result
in an increased exportable surplus.
Ironically, the impact on the tin market by the much greater collapse in
CIS tin demand (20,000 tonnes in 1990 to 5,000 tonnes in 1994 and
steady) than production (from 18,000 tonnes to 12,000 tonnes) is now
just being felt. This is because the production surplus was not rushed
out as exports to the West but instead stockpiled.
Mr MacMillan said that this tin is now finding its way into the West
with 2,000 tonnes recently appearing in Europe and another 6,000 tonnes
rumoured to be on the way. Little wonder the tin price is struggling,
having fallen to its lowest level since March 1995 last week.
The Moscow Population"s Health
Gigiyena i Sanitariya, No. 3
Article by O. I. Aksenova, I. F. Volkova, M. V. Yefimov,
and A. P. Korniyenko, Center for State Sanitary and Epidemiological
Surveillance, Moscow; UDC 312.6-25(470)
The premise that health is determined by four leading
factors--ecological (up to 20 percent), socioeconomic (up to
55 percent), genetic (up to 20 percent), and the state of
public health care (up to 10 percent)--as well as by some
others has now been indisputably demonstrated and
accepted by the world community [1-3]. Being integral characteristics,
health indicators reflect the influence of all of the factors listed
above, and the social policy of the city and the country as a whole.
The effectiveness of decisions and the prospects for society's
development may be judged from the dynamics of health changes. Hence
the importance of a system for monitoring health while simultaneously
observing and evaluating the role of the leading factors (socioeconomic,
ecological, etc.) and revealing the relationship between these factors
and health becomes understandable. The following tasks were assigned
to the system of social-hygienic monitoring, which is now being
actively introduced in Moscow: maintaining continuous surveillance
over habitat factors and the health of the population; revealing
and establishing the causes of certain unfavorable effects so that
decisions could be made to optimize the environment and the people"s
Being one of the largest industrial centers, Moscow is subjected
to great technogenic chemical pressure. Industrial enterprises remain
the main source of pollution of air and water basins. The role of
motor transportation in polluting the habitat has risen abruptly
in recent times. The levels of pollution of the air by carbon monoxide,
nitrogen dioxide, aldehydes, and so on are continually growing.
An elevated background concentration of ammonia and phenol persists.
The soil in Moscow is contaminated by heavy metals, with the maximum
permissible concentrations being exceeded by up to 4.5 times in
relation to copper and up to 3 times in relation to zinc.
Changes that occurred in Moscow"s socioeconomic development
in the late 1980s and early 1990s determined in many ways the present
demographic situation, which continues to be evaluated as unfavorable.
Since 1991 the city"s population decreased under the influence
of natural loss. By early 1996, 8,662,000 persons were living in
Moscow, which is 341,000 less than in 1990-1991. In addition to
the population decrease, aging of the population is noticeable.
Retired persons comprise 23.4 percent of the city"s population
(19.8 percent of Russia"s).
Despite the fact that the decrease in birth rate and growth
of mortality in the last five-year period enjoyed certain positive
changes in 1995 (the birth rate grew from 7.6 in 1994 to 8.0 in
1995, mortality fell from 17.6 to 16.9 per 1,000 persons), mortality
remained high, especially among children and persons of working
age, while the birth rate remained low. Mortality among people of
working age exceeds this indicator for economically developed countries
for both men and women. In 1995 the proportion of persons of working
age relative to total deaths reached 30.5 percent, while in 1991
it was 20.7 percent. The overwhelming majority of the decedents
of working age are men—81 percent.
Infant mortality remains the most important problem, despite
the fact that it is somewhat lower in Moscow than the average for
Russia, which is doubtlessly the consequence of implementing the
program "Protection of the Health of Mothers and Children" in the
Mention should be made of the significant increase in mortality
due to tuberculosis—from 6.6 in 1990 to 16.0 per 100,000
in 1995—that is, an increase by a factor of 2.4, which
is a reflection of negative socioeconomic phenomena in society in
The dynamics of the general morbidity of the population as
a whole in Moscow in all age groups (children, juveniles, adults)
observed over a period of several years (1991-1995) exhibit a growing
trend. Morbidity for which a diagnosis was established for the first
time grew the greatest degree among juveniles—15 percent.
The structure of overall and primary morbidity among children
and juveniles is dominated by diseases of the respiratory organs,
the nervous system, sense organs, and digestive organs; in addition
to the listed classes of diseases, circulatory diseases are prevalent
The dynamics of primary morbidity of the population in the
case of circulatory diseases are exhibiting a persistent growing
trend not only among adults but also among children and juveniles.
The incidence of circulatory diseases among adults was 241.2 in
1995, at the same time that in Russia this indicator was equal to
135.5 per 1,000 population.
The high incidence of cardiovascular diseases in the populations
of large modern cities is associated with the high risk of these
diseases—concentration of the population in confined space,
excessively frequent contacts, psychological stresses, and a break
in the ties with nature. Medical services are a factor that affects
Moscow"s morbidity to a certain degree: Diagnoses are more
qualified, health care is more accessible, and leading cardiological
Significant growth of diseases of the nervous system and sense
organs has been noted among all population groups. Near-sightedness
occupies a significant proportion in the structure of diseases of
the nervous system and sense organs, comprising 62 percent of all
diseases of this class among juveniles and 22 percent among children.
The results of medical examinations of children and juveniles revealed
significant worsening of visual acuity among first through ninth
grade students (from 7.7 to 24.4 per 100 subjects).
Unfavorable conditions of the school environment are risk
factors: the unsatisfactory sanitary and technical condition of
a large number of Moscow"s schools, contamination of classroom
air by toxic substances (mercury, chemical compounds released upon
breakdown of polymers), violation of lesson schedules, overloading,
Endocrine diseases increased abruptly in the Moscow population.
The increase was especially significant in 1995 compared to 1991
among children—by a factor of 2.2. Growth of the incidence
of blood diseases among children continued: Compared to 1991, morbidity
doubled (6.8 and 3.6 per 1,000 respectively), and 85 percent of
cases were of iron-deficiency anemia.
The main factors influencing the health of the population
are the socioeconomic conditions of life and ecological factors.
Chemical contamination of the environment acts especially strongly
on the health of the most sensitive population groups—children
and juveniles. Thus, children 10-14 years old suffer bronchial asthma
more frequently than in younger age groups; among juveniles (15-17
years), these illnesses are even more widespread. In 1995, incidence
of bronchial asthma was 9.5 per 1,000 among children and 13.8 among
juveniles. Growth of the morbidity increment is equal to 35 and
44 percent respectively over the course of 1991-1995.
We can suppose that the increase in incidence of both acute
diseases of the upper respiratory tract and aggravations of chronic
diseases is the result of the irritant action of both the widely
occurring substances (sulfur dioxides, nitrogen, carbon monoxide)
and aldehydes, which contaminate the air of the city to an ever-increasing
degree, upon the respiratory tract.
Over the last 5 years, digestive tract diseases have been
acquiring increasingly greater incidence in the Moscow population.
In 1995, morbidity was 40 percent above the 1991 level among children
and juveniles, and 15 percent higher among adults. In this case
the frequency of gastric and duodenal ulcers grew by a factor of
1.6 among children and 2 among juveniles; gastritis and duodenitis
are encountered 1.8 times more frequently and among juveniles 1.4
times more frequently than in 1991. The occurrence of diseases of
the pancreas tripled among children, quadrupled among juveniles,
and increased by a factor of 2.5 among adults in 1995.
Infectious pathology remains one of the most urgent problems
for Moscow in terms of its medical and socioeconomic importance.
Acute respiratory viral infections and influenza are economically
the most significant.
Owing to a considerable amount of work done in mass immunization
of the public, a decline in the occurrence of diphtheria was noted
in 1995. At the same time the incidence of syphilis continues to
grow. Special attention should be turned to the 1.5-time increase
in the morbidity indicators for children. The city continues to
experience a stressful epidemic situation in regard to tuberculosis,
and the proportion of patients with infectious forms of tuberculosis
among those revealed for the first time is not decreasing, which
is evidence of the need for improving epidemiological surveillance
of tuberculosis infection. A tendency for pediculosis to decrease
among persons without a permanent place of residence can be noted.
Oncological morbidity is registered at a stably high level,
and in recent years it has been on the order of 310.0 per 100,000
population, which exceeds the average indicator for Russia. Growth
of incidence of malignant breast cancers and a certain decrease
in the incidence of malignant stomach cancers was noted. The structure
of morbidity among children is dominated by malignant neoplasms
of lymphatic and hemopoietic tissues and brain tumors.
An analysis and evaluation of overall morbidity on the basis
of the frequency of admissions, and of illnesses diagnosed for the
first time, revealed significant negative trends attesting to worsening
of the health of the city"s population.
Unfavorable changes in health are also expected in the future:
The forecast of demographic indicators in 1996 and up to the year
2005 shows that if the current trends in health, socioeconomic position,
and air pollution persist, the mortality of the population will
increase even more, reaching 17.52-19.07 per 1,000 population, while
the birth rate will stabilize at low figures—9.3-9.6 per
The forecast of overall morbidity shows that it stabilized
in 1996-1997: at a level of 1,270.0-1,299.0 for adults, and 1,921.0-1,967.0
for children, while it is expected to increase among juveniles to
1,500.0 per 1,000.
An increase in incidence of respiratory diseases is predicted,
including growth of incidence of bronchial asthma among all population
Incidence of blood diseases among children and juveniles will
continue to grow: to figures of 7.7-8.5 among children and 2.2-2.5
per 1,000 among juveniles; endocrine diseases: to 23.1-26.0 among
children and to 26.5-28.8 per 1,000 among juveniles; digestive tract
diseases: 111.1-118.8 among children, and 124.6-133.6 per 1,000
among juveniles; skin diseases, especially among children—up
to 85.8-91.2 per 1,000.
These materials persuasively show that the health of the population
of Moscow is not at a very high level, and it is exhibiting a tendency
for further deterioration. To fundamentally solve the problem of
the health of the population of a megalopolis such as Moscow, a
number of additional medical and social programs have to be implemented
to prevent chronic diseases, and chiefly the main cardiovascular
diseases, diseases of digestive organs, and endocrine and renal
pathology. These programs must be based on a modern concept of prevention
of these diseases—the concept of risk factors, and they
must include measures aimed at improving the sanitary and epidemiological
well-being of the population.
1. Belyakov, V. D., in "Regionalnyye problemy zdorovya naseleniya
Rossii" [Regional Problems of the Health of the Russian Population,]
Moscow, 1993, pp 212-213.
2. Izmerov, N. F., Med. Truda i Prom. Ekol., No 1, 1996, pp
3. Kutepov, Ye. N., "Methodological Principles of Evaluating
the Health of the Population in Response to the Effects of Environmental
Factors," Abstract of Dissertation in Pursuit of the Degree of Doctor
of Medical Sciences, Moscow, 1995.
>From RIA Novosti
July 18, 1997
FIGHTING RUSSIA'S NUMEROUS MONOPOLIES
By Alexei CHICHKIN
There are much more monopolists than we think, Russian
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin pointed out the other day.
Chernomyrdin was commenting on the Russian economy's
monopolism, as the Government's Presidium moved to discuss the
regulation of natural monopolists.
The Russian Economics Ministry furnished some materials
showing clearly that a number of important decisions pertaining
to the regulation of electricity, natural-gas and
railroad-freight rates had been made during the first six
months of 1997.
Among other things, the Federal Energy Commission has
started differentiating various power rates. Gas prices (as
regards all consumer groups) are also being regulated
accordingly. As a result, prices for natural monopolists'
products kept growing more slowly during the January-June 1997
period (on preceding periods).
However, much still remains to be done inside this sphere,
with the Presidium's session noting that the relevant
statistical base needed for elaborating the required pricing
policy in the field of power, gas and railroad-freight rates
still left a lot to be desired.
Top executives in charge of the nation's Economics
Ministry believe that the entire data-exchange network needed
for finalizing specific price-regulation measures (as regards
natural monopolists' products) must be considerably simplified
during the July-December 1997 period, becoming more authentic
and realistic all the same.
The main priorities for regulating the natural-monopolists
block are as follows. Speaking of the Russian power industry,
the state must toughen control over the operation of the
federal wholesale electricity and power market (Russian
acronym, FOREM). Besides, the concerned parties should reduce
all those "cross-fire" consumer subsidies to a greater extent.
All "popular" power rates must depend on specific
power-consumption levels, the Government Presidium pointed
The Economics Ministry should more quickly float and sell
the Russian Joint Power Grid's bond loan. Deputy Economics
Minister V. Morgunov, who dwelled on those issues, believes
that all Gas-Prom entities should become more transparent than
before. According to Morgunov, starting with December 1, 1997,
the gap between minimal and maximum wholesale-gas prices (as
regards all gas being delivered to Russian regions) shall total
at least 25 percent in comparison with the current 12 percent.
Gas-Prom board chairman Rem Vyakhirev addressed the
Government Presidium. In his opinion, the Government's pricing
policy (as regards gas and other fuel-and-energy resources)
must hinge on specific presidential decrees and existing
"sectoral" state decisions.
According to Vyakhirev, such a policy cannot but heed real
consumer solvency, as well as those particular working and
living conditions of many regions and economic sectors.
Chernomyrdin continued to discuss this issue, noting that
a greater number of realistic estimates (and less forecasts and
models) were needed today. According to the Prime Minister, we
must accurately calculate the impact of modified power-and-gas
rates on real consumers, the Russian population, first and
foremost. The Premier made a rather tough-worded statement,
stressing that fewer forecasts and models were needed; what we
need is more realistic calculations and information, he went on
Apart from that, Viktor Chernomyrdin noted that Russia had
much more natural monopolists than is usually believed. Such
monopolists are just round the corner at a time when everyone
keeps talking about two or three sectors, the Premier went on
According to Chernomyrdin, the nation's Anti-Monopolist
Committee should play a more important role as regards the
formulation and realization of the appropriate state policy in
the natural-monopolists field.
July 20, 1997
[for personal use only]
A PLACE WHERE MUSIC MATTERED / `ROSTROPOVICH: THE RUSSIAN YEARS,
1950-1974' - a 13-CD set - shows that even during some of its bleakest
days, Russia was not the culturally stifled country of Cold War rhetoric
IT IS NOT EASY for Americans, who live in a place of disorienting
artistic plenty, to imagine a life in which a mere orchestral concert
could be a matter of desperate importance. There was no such thing as
"just music" in the Soviet Union, and the performance of a new work was
often an event that trembled with multiple meanings - some secret, some
flaunted, some even unintended.
Many of those crucial, polysemous concerts are captured in
"Rostropovich: The Russian Years, 1950-1974," a 13-CD set of recordings
that cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich mined from the
Ostankino Radio Archives and that EMI has reverently restored. Like many
of the performances he played, Rostropovich's new collection is laden
It is, in part, the musical memoir of a man who went from symbol of his
country to enemy of his people. There is a tantalizing first movement of
Beethoven's Triple Concerto, recorded live at a concert by the
magisterial triumvirate of David Oistrakh, Rostropovich and Sviatoslav
Richter. Some of the electricity in this 1970 performance was generated
by the fact Rostropovich had just published a letter supporting the
dissident writer Solzhenitsyn. The Communist Party had already tried to
cancel the concert, and there was always the possibility the KGB would
be waiting in the dressing rooms at intermission. Damocles' sword
finally fell four years later, when Rostropovich was stripped of his
citizenship and expelled.
In another sense, these CDs constitute a manifesto of Russian-ness, a
concept of great reach and embrace that has nothing to do with the
narrow, vitriolic dogmas of the Soviet state. First among the 53 works
on the set is a transcription of "Parasha's Aria" from Stravinsky's
"Mavra," a Russian folk song with roots in Pushkin, but also a
composition by an exiled White Russian who had become one of the USSR's
But the real value of these recordings - apart from being "just" music
supremely played - is that of a palimpsest or an archeological site, a
layered guide to a culture that no longer exists. There is a story
between each line of music, and to do justice to the swirl of subtexts,
the liner notes would have to be expanded into an impracticable tome.
Even the absence of certain names from the credits should be annotated:
Evgeny Mravinsky, for example. Mravinsky, the composer's friend and the
conductor of many of his symphonic premieres, shied away from Dmitri
Shostakovich after the composer used the untouchable Yevtushenko poem,
"Babi Yar" (about the 1941 Nazi massacre of Jews in Kiev) in his 13th
Symphony. Even five years later, Mravinsky still evidently feared
Shostakovich's guilt might be contagious, and in 1967 pulled out of the
premiere of the Second Cello Concerto (the performance on this disc),
thereby earning Rostropovich's loathing.
Besides the inevitable missing background, there are a few musical
lapses, even in such a voluminous set, as well as some curious emphases.
Two of Benjamin Britten's solo suites for cello are here - recorded when
the composer arrived in Moscow in the mid-'60s, bearing gifts for
Rostropovich - but not the third, which includes a Russian Orthodox
liturgical melody whose authenticity Shostakovich disputed. There is an
entire CD devoted to the music of Boris (not Pyotr Ilyich) Tchaikovsky,
a composer multiply oppressed - by the state; by the reputation of his
teacher, Shostakovich; and by his illustrious namesake. Rostropovich
plays the original version of Schumann's Cello Concerto, but not the
orchestration that Shostakovich made specifically for him.
But then, "The Russian Years" is neither an exhaustive nor a neutral
document, but a musical monument to the end of the Cold War. The last of
the 13 CDs is victory music. It contains, among other things, the world
premiere recording of Galina Ustvolskaya's 1959 Grand Duo, written for
the drawer in 1959, when the Soviet state could not have tolerated its
At the center of this moving portrait of Russian musical life stands
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, a serious, tight-lipped, nervous
figure, standing in a defensive slouch and staring out at us from behind
a pair of shield-like glasses. He was a prodigiously gifted composer, a
man whose talents the government both honed and warped, keeping him in a
permanent state of neurosis. His works were reviewed in the press even
before they were performed - Rostropovich learned he had written a cello
concerto by reading it in a newspaper. Shostakovich raged and fretted at
a vindictive state and its capricious strictures, yet he never left, as
Rostropovich did, perhaps in part because he lived in a country where
the fact that a composer had finished a new work was considered national
Looming in the background of all Russian music of those years was the
Communist Party's 1948 decree banning "formalism" (read: modernism) and
decadent experimentation as politically unjustifiable. Prokofiev was
censured, duly beat his breast and returned before the public with his
creativity cowed. The 1950 premiere of his Cello Sonata, Op. 119,
recorded on this set, was the first performance of Prokofiev's music
after the decree. It is a good piece but also a sad artifact of
totalitarian illogic: All that the composer of vast patriotic cantatas
and barricade-storming piano music now had to offer was an intimate and
timid cello sonata that reeked of the drawing room. The Revolution had
managed to drag a revolutionary back into the bourgeoisie.
It is morally expedient now to look back at the art of the Communist
years and draw thick lines between the principled and the compromised,
between official propaganda and underground truth. In reality, though -
and particularly in the high-profile concerts at the Moscow Conservatory
- dissidence and acquiescence mingled in a murky solution, rich in irony
Take, for instance, the temporarily state-sanctioned music of
Warsaw-born Moyssey Weinberg (EMI uses the Polish spelling: Mieczyslaw
Vainberg). His Cello Concerto, full of Russian mournfulness with a
Semitic cast, was written in 1948, the year of the musical crackdown,
and the year that Stalin ordered the murder of the composer's
father-in-law, the actor Solomon Mikhoels. Some months later, the
ignominious composer-apparatchik Tikhon Khrennikov singled Weinberg out
for tainted praise: His style, Khrennikov said, was "dedicated to the
theme of the shining, free working life of the Jewish people in the land
Nevertheless, Weinberg was arrested in 1953 and released (with help from
Shostakovich) a month later, after Stalin's death. He revised the
concerto in 1956, the year that Khrushchev made his "secret speech,"
yanking the veil off the Stalinist meat grinder that very nearly
devoured Weinberg. The music, as Rostropovich recorded it in 1964, may
be melancholy, but its composer was a man who had earned his tears.
And yet these tragic recordings leave one with the terrible suspicion
that the Cold War may have been as good for the arts as it was bad.
Careers were stunted and expression was fettered, yes, but music, at
least, benefited from being a battleground. To write a piece of music
that was not banal was a political triumph, one that even the regime
acknowledged. Today, when the U.S. government is busy dismantling its
instrument of cultural policy (the National Endowment for the Arts), and
in Russia, the arts, like aging pensioners and antiquated steel mills,
are left to scrabble for survival, it is bittersweet to look back on
that bleak time when music really mattered.
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 14:23:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jamestown Foundation <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: SPECIAL NOTICE
The following will be of interest to Monitor readers,
especially those living in the Washington, DC area.
In 1946 an artist named Nikolai Getman was imprisoned in the
GULAG, thus becoming one of the millions of victims of Josef
Stalin's purges and political repressions.. Getman's "crime"
was that he had been present in a cafe with several fellow
artists, one of whom drew a caricature of Stalin on a
cigarette paper. An informer told the authorities, and the
entire group was arrested for "anti-Soviet behavior". Getman
spent eight years in Siberia at the Kolyma labor camp where he
witnessed firsthand one of the darkest periods of Soviet
history. Although he survived the camp, the horrors of the
GULAG were seared into his memory. Upon his release in 1954,
Getman commenced a public career as a politically correct
In his dreams, however, Getman experienced recurrent visions
of multitudes of dead prisoners, begging him not to let them
be forgotten. He answered that plea by beginning in secret to
record on canvas his memories of the camps. Not even his wife
knew that he was engaged in a project which, if discovered,
could have sent him back to the camps or even to his death.
For more than four decades, Getman labored at creating a
visual record of the GULAG. Eventually his secret collection
grew to 50 paintings which vividly depict all aspects of the
horrendous life (and death) which so many innocent millions
experienced during that infamous era.
Getman's collection is unique because it is the only visual
record known to exist of this tragic phenomenon. Unlike Nazi
Germany, which recorded and preserved in detail a visual
history of the Holocaust, the Russians prefer not to remember
what happened in the GULAG. Not a single person has been
punished for the deaths of the more than 50 million people who
perished there. If film or other visual representations of
the Soviet GULAG existed, they have been largely destroyed or
suppressed. The Getman collection stands alone as a most
important historical document.
Getman, now 79, lives in Oryol, in the communist-controlled
part of Russia. For years, he feared that after his death his
paintings would be destroyed, split up and sold, or otherwise
lost to posterity. In early 1997 he asked the Jamestown
Foundation to assist him in moving the paintings to a place of
safety in the West, arranging their display here, and
developing a plan for their preservation as an historical
record. Although such a project is not within the sphere of
Jamestown's normal activity, the foundation quickly realized
the necessity and importance of Getman's request and, after
months of arduous effort, managed to bring both the paintings
and the artist to the United States.
Thanks to the good offices of Senator John McCain, a selection
of the Getman paintings will be on display in the rotunda of
the Russell Senate Office Building from July 21-25. Monitor
readers in the Washington area may wish to visit the rotunda,
and get a look at a portion of this remarkable collection.
Sydney Morning Herald
21 July 1997
[for personal use only]
THE GLORY THAT IS GEORGIA
Wine, women and bribes on the road from Tbilisi
By ROBYN DIXON in Tbilisi
Take the road from the Georgian capital in any direction and somewhere
along the way you might lose your heart to this country
But better not be in a hurry - so many things can go wrong on the
Georgian roads it is just as well this big-hearted little country is
full of the kind of people who make the journey worthwhile.
The Georgian leader, Mr Eduard Shevardnadze, is always talking about the
republic's future as a transport corridor from the Black Sea to the
oil-rich Caspian Sea - but travel the highway inland from the port of
Poti and you find one lane in each direction pocked with potholes,
forcing drivers to swoop frequently into the wrong lane.
Our driver, Avtondel, swings the car deftly between a couple of cows on
the highway. With mournful eyes, salt-and-pepper hair and a serene
philosophy, he motors along like a man at peace, waving between
potholes, geese, goats, piglets and shambling dogs.
The road is also an open-air market, lined from one end to the other
with women and children selling wild mushrooms, black cherries and
strawberries, straw baskets and terracotta wine jugs.
Every few kilometres you come across a broken-down bus, with passengers
gathered round while someone tries to fix a wheel or engine. Soon enough
we have our own breakdown. Horse-drawn carts piled with families jingle
by as Avtondel pulls out a tool kit and makes a temporary repair.
On Saturdays the road is full of funerals and weddings. The Georgians
carry their dead in open coffins, scattering flowers on the the road as
they go. They place glasses and open bottles of champagne at the
graveside for the dead, and on the headstones are large full-length
portraits of the departed, with a hand in a pocket or even a smile -
friendly open faces which somehow take the fear out of death.
Wedding convoys speed along with headlights flashing to banquet halls
with tables so crammed with food the white tablecloths can barely be
seen. Get too close and the guests will drag you in to join the wedding
On a Saturday night, the whole country seems to have someone something
to celebrate. As evening draws in on the road out of Poti port, an
elderly woman trails a bottle out of a car window, baptising the passing
road with her wine.
And not everyone has sobered up by Sunday night. The Sunday sun is
setting when Georgia's drinking tradition comes hurtling towards us in
the shape of a wild-eyed horseman, bouncing almost out of his saddle as
he gallops headlong down the middle of the road.
When a heavy storm floods the highway and strands dozens of cars, there
is hilarity as the Georgian men roll up their trousers and wade into the
floods to push out the cars, scooping up their giggling women to carry
them to safety.
Avtondel is pulled up by three fat police who wait in the shade of a
tree. They tell him they did not like the way he stopped the car: he
could have caused an accident. But the matter can be settled with two
bottles of champagne as a bribe.
Of all the nations of the former Soviet Union, Georgia is the most
unspoilt. It remains as it always was - full of friendly people
legendary for their hospitality and their enormous capacity for the
wonderful local wine.
Depositions from "Sorge Incident" convict unearthed
TOKYO, July 20 (Kyodo) - Japan's wartime public security authorities were
very cautious about global communization movements after obtaining
depositions from one of the two convicts in a 1941 espionage scandal
involving a German journalist who allegedly worked for the Soviet Union,
The documents cover depositions from commentator Hotsumi Ozaki, who was
executed after being convicted in the spy case, known widely as ''the Sorge
Incident,'' named after German newspaper correspondent Richard Sorge.
Ozaki had predicted in his statements to investigators that as a result of
World War II, the economic system of imperialist powers would collapse,
according to the documents, which were kept by a prosecutor and donated to
the University of Tokyo.
He had also told investigators that the Japanese Communist Party at the time
was on the verge of collapse but if it was restructured, with workers at its
base, the party could spur a social revolution with the aid of its friendly
forces such as the Soviet Union.
The start of hostilities between the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and
Japan's initial victories were unexpected, Ozaki said, adding in terms of
military endurance Britain was the most vulnerable among the big powers,
followed by Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States.
The then Justice Ministry instructed public security authorities to crack
down on ideological crimes, noting that communists saw World War II as a
struggle to destroy capitalism and achieve a global revolution, according to
ministry documents also discovered recently.
Ozaki and Sorge were arrested by Tokyo police in 1941, on suspicion of being
part of the spy ring organized and directed by Soviet military intelligence
Both Sorge and Ozaki were sentenced to death in 1943 and hanged in November
At the time the documents on Ozaki depositions were prepared, prosecutors had
almost completed investigations into the espionage scandal.
The documents were kept by prosecutor Daikichi Imoto, who became prosecutor
general after the war, and donated to the history records center of the
University of Tokyo.
Ozaki, a critic and an expert on China, was one of the foremost intellectuals
advising Prince Fumimaro Konoe who became prime minister in 1937.
Imoto, who dealt with many ideological crimes before and during the war, led
the investigations of Ozaki and Sorge.
The documents found among articles left behind by Imoto consist of 12 pages
of B4 sized paper which were drawn up in March 1942.
Christian Science Monitor
21 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Fairness to all NATO Members
Regarding the opinion essay "The Real Problem With NATO Expansion" (July
11): I have the distinct privilege to serve with author Ira Straus on
the Committee on Eastern Europe and Russia in NATO. This committee is
not a part of either government or NATO, but is rather an international
group of concerned individuals.
I am very sorry to see our United States government wield such a heavy
hand. We seek to foster democratic institutions, ensure peace on the
European continent, and get European nations to bear their share of the
economic and human costs of defense. Does it not ill befit a
non-European member to try to ride roughshod over the remaining members?
Should we be surprised that France now expresses unwillingness to pay
its share of a program forced on NATO by the US? Was not the notion of
resisting "taxation without representation" born on these shores?
Given that democratic values are central to NATO's priorities, no NATO
member deserves a veto, perhaps least of all a superpower. NATO is made
up of mature democracies. A mature group of nations or individuals does
well to seek to operate by consensus. Mr. Straus and Henry Kissinger
call "consensus" a polite euphemism for the fabled every-member veto,
which is nowhere to be found in the NATO charter. By what perversion of
democratic values does consensus come to mean unanimity? Anyone who has
striven for consensus knows that it is achieved by negotiation, not by
I take exception to suggestions that new members should be denied the
veto. To grant lesser rights or responsibilities to new members creates
the "second-class" [status] that prospective members have feared all
The NATO version of consensus has been a charade of diplomatic polity
aimed at coddling the sensitivities of some evidently not- so-mature
democracies. Like many others, I believe the solution to the majority of
NATO's problems would be to replace the illusion of consensus with a
system of weighted voting, based on each member-nation's population.
Even Russia could attain full NATO membership without being in a
position to exert undue influence. If Russia were a full member under
such a system - in this NATO without an "exit door" - it would have no
prospect of blocking the admission of a deserving prospective member,
even if that nation happened to have a name like Lithuania, Latvia,
Estonia, or Ukraine!
C. Barton Etter Jr.