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24 August 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuter: Ships arrive in Crimea for controversial
2. AP: U.S.-Ukraine Exercises Annoy Russia.
3. President Yeltsin's August 22, 1997 radio address.
4. Boston Globe: David Filipov, Yury Nikulin, his antics
and wit kept Russians laughing; at 75.
5. New York Times: Michael Specter, Mir Bobbles Dim the
Evil Empire's Aura.
6. Sunday Times (UK): Christian Lowe, Yeltsin sells the
Kremlin silver to California.
7. Los Angles Times: Carol Williams, The 'Simple Politics'
of Murder. Friends, family of slain U.S. businessman say
killing remains unsolved because Washington and Moscow want
harmony. (DJ: The Tatum case is not the most egregious example
of official American politically-driven carelessness. An
American student was killed in front of Ostankino during the
violent events of October 1993. In all likelihood he was
shot by Yeltsin's forces--as were most of the casualties
at Ostankino--but my attempts at the time to find out what
sort of investigation the State Department had conducted
resulted in a big nothing. Strobe Talbott had no information.
The Washington Post had a major Style section story about
the death of the American, without raising the issue of who
shot him, demonstrating that blindness is not limited to
officialdom. If any journalist cares to look into this
please contact me.)
8. AP: Russia Tax Collecting Dangerous.
9. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: New Industrial, Social Policies Called
For. (Views of Nikolay Shmelev).
10. Interfax: Deputy Chief of General Staff on Reform Timetable.
11. Interfax: Duma's Rokhlin on Chechnya, Nuclear Deterrent.
12. Vladivostok News: Heidi Brown, Duma to sue Cherepkov.]
Ships arrive in Crimea for controversial exercises
By Mykhailo Yelchev
August 23, 1997
DONUZLAV, Ukraine (Reuter) - Ships from five countries, including the United
States, arrived at Ukraine's Crimean peninsula Saturday to take part in naval
exercises opposed by Moscow.
Russia, whose Black Sea fleet is based nearby in the port of Sevastopol,
rejected an invitation from Ukraine's Defense Ministry to take part in the
Sea Breeze 97 exercises, but agreed to send observers.
The ships from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and the United States
arrived at Donuzlav naval base in western Crimea to the sound of music from a
Ukrainian military band.
``These exercises are of great importance,'' Gennady Khaidarov, deputy
commander of the Georgian navy, told Reuters.
The week-long exercises, due to start Monday, were also opposed by Ukrainian
communists who advocate anti-NATO policies and closer ties with Moscow.
Local Crimean communists plan to hold a march and rally against Sea Breeze
Monday in the town of Yevpatoria, 25 miles south of Donuzlav.
Ukraine changed the initial plan, which foresaw troops disembarking onto the
Crimean coast, and switched the main part of exercises from Crimea, where 75
percent of population is ethnic Russian, to the southern regions of Mykolayiv
The exercises, initially due to include combat training, will now have a
strictly humanitarian theme.
The deputy commander of the Ukrainian navy, Kostyantyn Lebedev, said Sea
Breeze was largely sponsored by the United States in the framework of NATO's
Partnership for Peace program (PFP).
He was responding to criticism from leftists that the government was spending
too much at a time when Ukraine's economy was still in poor shape. Defense
Ministry sources put the cost of the exercises at $2 million.
After the three Baltic states, Ukraine was the first of the former Soviet
republics to join PFP. It has taken part in dozens of joint exercises with
NATO troops abroad and hosted several ground exercises on its territory.
U.S.-Ukraine Exercises Annoy Russia
By Steve Gutterman
Associated Press Writer
August 23, 1997
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- This year, when scores of American Marines land on
Ukraine's Crimean coast for military exercises they will be carried
ashore unassumingly rather than storm the beach Hollywood-style.
And instead of a combat theme, the mission will take place under a more
The Sea Breeze '97 drill that begins today will differ little from other
exercises that have brought thousands of Western troops onto Ukrainian
soil since the former Soviet republic joined NATO's Partnership for
Peace program in 1994.
But the exercise has raised the hackles of Moscow officials,
pro-Russians in the region, Crimean separatists and Ukrainians who
oppose President Leonid Kuchma's quest for closer ties with NATO.
And so the event has been tweaked to take away some of its thunder.
Russia added Crimea to its empire in the 18th century, but Kremlin boss
Nikita Khrushchev ceded it to the then-Soviet republic of Ukraine in
1954. The peninsula -- which juts into the Black Sea and boasts
extensive naval facilities -- became part of an independent Ukraine in
That galls nationalist politicians in Moscow and an outspoken segment of
the ethnic Russian majority on Crimea, who have turned Sea Breeze into a
symbol of what they see as Ukraine's pro-Western, anti-Russian policies.
Leonid Grach, head of Crimea's Communist Party, says thousands of
Crimeans will demonstrate Monday against both Sea Breeze and Ukraine's
growing NATO ties.
Last month, Russia-friendly lawmakers sought -- unsuccessfully -- to
pass legislation calling off Sea Breeze and banning NATO troops from
The tensions have prompted Ukraine to change its plans for Sea Breeze,
moving the land-based portion of the exercise off Crimea.
Changes have been made in the Crimean landing as well. For instance,
instead of charging ashore from landing boats, some 150 Marines will be
carried in on a barge in what officials call an ``administrative
Also, the theme of the exercise is one intended to evoke peace rather
than war -- a disaster relief mission to help the civilian population
after a devastating earthquake.
That's a far cry from an earlier scenario that would have had American
troops landing on Crimea to intervene in unrest by an ethnic group aided
by a neighboring state.
It was that blueprint -- a thinly-veiled allusion to ethnic Russian
separatists aided by Russia -- that first hit raw nerves on Crimea and
in Moscow last winter.
Despite the changes, Russian nationalists have denounced Sea Breeze as
everything from an American show of military might aimed at the Kremlin
to a plot to ruin the vacation season at Crimean beach resorts.
In addition to Ukraine and the United States, other countries --
including Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia -- will take part.
Russia has turned down repeated offers to join in, but has decided to
To counter Sea Breeze and retain a balance between ties to Russia and
the West, Ukraine is planning exercises with the Crimean-based Russian
Black Sea Fleet this fall.
In those exercises, the two Slavic countries are slated to simulate the
defense of Crimea against an invasion from the sea.
President Yeltsin's August 22, 1997 radio address
My fellow Russians,
I would like to devote my radio address today to our aviation and space
exploration. An international aerospace show is currently taking place
in the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow. I was at the opening. And I must
tell you that it made a very powerful impression on me. It's a wonderful
spectacle. The airmen do miracles in the sky. You have to see it to
believe. The possibilities of modern airplanes and helicopters, the
skill of the pilots arouse admiration. Taking part in the air show are
328 leading aerospace firms from 24 countries. The Russian exhibition is
the most representative. Not only because we are the hosts of the show.
Few countries are capable of building planes and helicopters. Even the
most prosperous and economically developed countries have to pool
resources to afford major aviation projects.
There are only two states which are capable of producing all the types
of aviation technology by themselves -- Russia and the United States.
Our military aviation is rightly considered to be among the best in the
world. On a number of important counts it is noticeably superior to
foreign analogs. So, it is readily purchased, both the aircraft and the
licenses for their production. When we win, in tough competitive
struggle with the major Western companies, this, you would agree, is
heartening. And besides, it is very important for the budget. We are
talking about trillions of rubles.
But most of our achievements are in military aviation. In civil aviation
we have more troubles and problems than successes. There is no longer a
monopoly of Aeroflot. But this has not improved matters. Every republic,
almost every region feel that they should have their own air company,
and perhaps several. As a result there are more than 300 air companies.
But small companies have small opportunities. They are short of money
for repairs, for the purchase of new planes, and for providing quality
service to passengers. These companies sometimes are able to survive
only by increasing fares. Many people cannot afford to pay such fares.
As a result the volume of passenger and cargo services has dropped. Many
airports are idle, almost 500 have closed down. But Russia cannot exist
without a developed and reliable civil aviation, it will simply not
survive. Planes provide the link between the regions of our boundless
land, the Far East and the Baltic coast, the Far North and the Center of
Russia. Without aviation, economic and human ties will be severed
because for many Russians this is the only kind of transport. This is a
serious problem. We are looking for ways to mend the situation.
There should be no delay. Our civil aviation cannot and must not go to
seed and decay, especially since designers already have ideas of good
Not long ago I visited the Khrunichev Space Center which is building a
new international space station Alfa. It is expected to be put in order
by the year 2002. The project involves scientists and specialists from
14 countries, with Russia playing the leading role. But if we are
concerned about the prospects of the industry, we should give thought to
the problem of personnel. At present the most highly skilled personnel
in aviation and space exploration are aging. The priceless experience
and knowledge of the patriots and enthusiasts of this industry may be
lost. But it offers enormous opportunities for the application of
effort, knowledge and energy. And I would like to encourage young people
to go to work in aircraft factories and design offices. They hold the
promise of new discoveries, heady prospects, the future belongs to them.
The 1998 budget will increase allocations for aerospace and aviation,
fundamental sciences and high technologies. I will pay special attention
to the development of these sectors. Russia must not yield the positions
it has secured here, it must not yield its leading position. One should
remember that the state of our aerospace complex goes a long way to
determine the status of Russia as a great power. Of late, we have become
somewhat indifferent to outer space. Either we have become weary of
fanfare, solemn speeches and applause, or we have decided that earthly
problems are more important.
We only remembered about aerospace when we were keeping our fingers
crossed for our guys aboard the Mir station. As long as everything was
normal up there in orbit many people down on earth felt like saying,
what is so special about the job they are doing there? They are just
flying. It looks as if we have forgotten that space exploration is not a
propaganda show. Outer space is above all hard and perilous work
involving a maximum of responsibility because as a result of a slightest
error of cosmonauts years of work by thousands of scientists,
technicians and workers may be lost. We must remember that cosmonauts
work in extreme conditions probing the limits of human possibilities. If
they sometimes err, this can be pardoned. Working under extreme
situations and constant stress takes its toll. A person is only human.
The pilot, the navigator and the engineer are challenging professions.
And they enjoy well-earned glory and decorations, they are doing a
difficult and extremely important job.
These professions pick the worthiest of people, the most courageous of
people, people who can be relied on at a difficult moment, people who
will not let you down. Therefore aviation and space exploration rightly
continue to remain the pride of Russia. And so, the time will come when
young guys will again dream of sitting at the controls of a plane and
young women too will dream of piloting planes, but also of marrying an
airman or a cosmonaut. Thank you.
23 August 1997
[for personal use only]
Yury Nikulin, his antics and wit kept Russians laughing; at 75
By David Filipov, Globe Staff
MOSCOW - Yury Nikulin, Russia's favorite clown, comic actor and circus
master, died yesterday of complications following heart surgery. He was
A decorated World War II veteran who became a clown in 1950 and later
headed the Moscow Circus, Mr. Nikulin made generations of his countrymen
laugh with his witty characters, irreverent jokes and wry observations
He was beloved by generations for his roles in some of Russia's favorite
comedy films, in which he often played simple, somewhat bumbling, but
essentially goodhearted characters who evoke mix of Jerry Lewis and
Jimmy Stewart, all with a healthy dose of Russian cynicism.
''Everyone likes to see someone stupider than himself on the big
screen,'' Mr. Nikulin once said, explaining his own popularity.
But Russians saw more than that. In Mr. Nikulin, they saw a reflection
of the best of Russian national character.
''In Russia there are many talented and good people, but the most
talented and good was Yury Nikulin,'' a visibly shaken President Boris
N. Yeltsin said in a brief nationally televised address.
''He belonged to all of us,'' said a commentator on Russian state
television, which, like all major channels, showed snippets of Mr.
Nikulin's most popular roles. Among these are the Soviet comedy classic
''Caucasian Prisoner'' (1967), in which Mr. Nikulin played the leader of
an incompetent trio of crooks, and ''Diamond Arm,'' (1968) in which he
played a mild-mannered man who gets caught up in a diamond-smuggling
scheme during a trip abroad.
Mr. Nikulin was no political dissident - he was awarded the title
People's Actor of the USSR in 1973 and in 1990 won the former Soviet
Union's top peacetime award, the Hero of Socialist Labor. But his
cynical humor nonetheless nipped at the edges of the acceptable of the
intolerant Soviet state.
''Tell me, doctor, am I going to live?,'' a patient asks a doctor in one
joke. ''What's the point?,'' counters the doctor.
Another joke referred to how ''medicine is powerless when the patient
wants to live.''
Several Russian publications referred to that punch line during Mr.
Nikulin's 15-day struggle for life in an intensive care unit after what
was supposed to be a routine angioplasty. But unlike the patients in his
medical jokes, Mr. Nikulin received VIP treatment at Moscow's
well-equipped Center for Endrosurgery as a team of top specialists tried
in vain to revive his heart.
In recent years, Mr. Nikulin appeared on his own television variety
show, always in his trademark white captain's hat.
He also supported the political campaigns of Yeltsin and Moscow's Mayor
Yury M. Luzhkov. At Mr. Nikulin's 75th birthday celebration at the
Moscow Circus last December, Luzhkov was supposed to perform a trapeze
act, but sprained his ankle in practice and instead pranced around the
stage in a leg cast warbling an out-of-tune version of Mr. Nikulin's
signature song ''Ah, It's All The Same To Us.''
''In the circus, first you have to frighten the audience, then make it
laugh,'' Mr. Nikulin, always irreverent, commented at the time.
One more joke: A patient goes to see an ear specialist.
''Doctor,'' says the patient. ''I have a fork stuck in my ear.''
''Visiting hours are over,'' says the doctor. ''I only work until 7.''
''But I'm in great pain,'' says the patient.
The doctor rips the fork out of the patient's ear and sticks it in his
''Go see the eye doctor,'' the doctor says. ''He works until 8.''
New York Times
August 24, 1997
[for personal use only]
Mir Bobbles Dim the Evil Empire's Aura
By MICHAEL SPECTER
MOSCOW -- For months the Russian space station Mir has truly inhabited
the twilight zone, performing what usually seems like slapstick comedy
until it begins to verge on tragedy.
Since a nearly fatal collision in June, when an overloaded supply ship
was steered into the station's science module instead of into its
docking port, every mishap up there has seemed like another episode of
"Lost in Space."
And before the cosmonauts finally carried out their vital repair mission
Friday, there were a lot of episodes. The 11-year-old computer that runs
the world's only manned space station, less powerful than some of the
chips now found in cellular telephones, went out of service three times,
once when a cosmonaut accidentally disconnected it. There were
brownouts, blackouts, losses of oxygen and heat, and a problem with the
water. The last commander became so stressed by it all that he developed
To raise money, Russia's space program takes part in TV ads. In an
Israeli ad, flight command asks for milk.
So it is now clear that the prophecy delivered so trenchantly 10 years
ago by John Le Carre in "The Russia House," his novel about the end of
the great Soviet myth, turns out to be true. When his dissident
scientist asserted that the "Soviet Knight is rusting in his armor" and
that "our backwardness is our greatest military secret," Le Carre seems
to have been writing history, not fiction.
So then why did the people of the United States spend most of the second
half of the 20th century convinced that those technically superior
Soviets were always three steps away from conquering the world?
Sure, Sputnik beat America into space, and so did Yuri Gagarin. But what
of the space race now? The United States has a rover on Mars, while the
impoverished Russian Space Agency has trouble getting replacement parts.
Don't two generations of paranoia seem a little silly when Russian
cosmonauts whip out compasses and navigate by the light of the stars, as
if they were Magellan?
"Of course it was all madness," said Jonathan Sanders, who followed the
Soviet Union at Columbia University's Harriman Institute for the
Advanced Study of the Soviet Union and now covers Russia as a
correspondent for CBS. "The whole policy of the United States was based
on insecurity and fear and irrational thought. They called it national
security policy. But to anyone who ever came here and looked at the
place, it was obviously something else, it was really a national
insecurity policy, and it guided American thinking for decades.
"The best thing we got out of it all was the Interstate highway system,"
Sanders said, only half in jest, recalling that President Dwight
Eisenhower sold the enormously expensive public works project to the
American people as a way to move military materiel, and the population,
when the Russians started coming.
It is true that a visit to Moscow would have had to throw any Cold
Warrior into denial. How could a country with (it always seemed) no
working elevators, with long bread lines and with clothing that fell
apart at the seams threaten the peace, security and supremacy of a
nation that was richer than any other place had ever been?
From 1980 to 1986 alone, in the new tough era of facing down the "evil
empire," the Pentagon's budget doubled, to $281.4 billion from $140.7
billion. After inflation, that still was a 50 percent increase, the
biggest peacetime expansion of the military in the United States'
history. Most of it was justified in terms of the possibility of war
with the Soviet Union. And this was just when the Soviet military was
beginning to fall apart.
Of course, the Soviets DID have the bomb, and they still do. They said
they spent 15 percent of their gross national product on defense (nearly
twice America's highest level of spending), and they spent even more
because thousands of factories that were not explicitly defense plants
would have shut in an instant (and now have) without the backing of the
Ministry of Defense.
"You can say we were hoodwinked by the Cold War, but I don't think that
is completely fair," said Marshall Shulman, who for four decades has
been one of the most acute and active Sovietologists. "They focused on
certain things like their missile system. They put all their money into
what they could do. We couldn't have ignored that. It would have been
America's interest in the Russian space program, he said, was like "a
boxer's clench," where they couldn't hurt us as long as we were engaged.
And as to the harm they might do us if we weren't with them?
"That era is over," he said without a trace of regret. "I think we
should just move beyond it."
Sunday Times (UK)
August 24 1997
[for personal use only]
Yeltsin sells the Kremlin silver to California
by Christian Lowe
IT IS the final outrage to Russians who are nostalgic for totems of the
old order. Behind the walls of the Kremlin bordering Lenin's tomb,
bureaucrats are selling the Soviet family silver.
President Boris Yeltsin has given permission for tens of thousands of
items used by his communist predecessors at state banquets to be sold
off. The plate is politically tainted; the hammer and sickle embossed on
the bottom of the items has rendered them anachronistic in the Kremlin,
which has reverted to the old double-headed imperial eagle as the
To Russian nationalists, however, family silver is family silver
whatever stamp it bears. To their fury, a Californian company has been
granted the right to market the collection through a catalogue. Mitch
Siegler, the businessman who has bought up the Kremlin silver, said his
stock was disappearing fast. "There seems to be a good level of
interest," he said.
The items certainly make for unusual Christmas presents. For the
discerning collector, $99 will buy a sterling silver tea glass holder
elegantly embossed with wild swans. Or, for the same price, a canny
buyer might plump for a pair of silver vodka glasses that may well have
been used at one of Leonid Brezhnev's infamously drunken banquets.
Also on offer are silver sugar bowls and hand-enamelled silver and gold
teaspoons the crockery and cutlery the politburo enjoyed while the
rest of the proletariat nation ate potatoes and porridge off whatever
chipped dishes they could find.
A 35% shortfall in tax revenue this year has left Russia's government
almost bankrupt. Not that this has unduly affected the country's rulers.
Hard times rarely have in Russia. More than $5m are being spent on
renovating the Kremlin's churches and lavish state rooms.
Now even the Kremlin has decided it needs to make some sacrifices some
little ones, anyway by selling off some of the old family possessions.
"The country needs the money very badly," said Siegler. "They are
selling it for the same reason that the Mir space station is falling
apart and oil companies are being sold off."
Siegler would not reveal how much he paid for the collection, or who in
Russia would be netting the money from the sale. The pieces are all up
to 40 years old, the most expensive being $119. The Kremlin looks set to
make a handsome profit.
Although the new-look Russia may want to clear its cupboards of this
politically incorrect cutlery, the Soviet peasant and worker crest
stamped on the pieces in Siegler's catalogue make them attractive to
buyers abroad. "It's not made any more and it's from a country that
doesn't exist any more," explained Siegler.
The sale of national valuables has been used as a source of income
before by new regimes in Russian history. Under the Bolsheviks, the
Russian Orthodox Church lost many of its treasures abroad as the
country's rulers traded icons and other sacred items for cash.
More recently, an auction was held in the United States to sell Russian
memorabilia from the space race.
The Kremlin was reticent about details of the silverware sale, however.
Its enemies thought they knew why.
"The Kremlin bureaucrats will pocket the money from the sale and the
Russian budget will never see a penny of it," claimed Emina Kuzmina, a
consultant on a Russian parliamentary culture committee, who has led a
bitter campaign to stop cultural treasures being hawked overseas.
"Millions will just disappear down a black hole."
Los Angles Times
August 23, 1997
[for personal use only]
The 'Simple Politics' of Murder
Friends, family of slain U.S. businessman say killing remains unsolved
because Washington and Moscow want harmony.
By CAROL J. WILLIAMS, Times Staff Writer
MOSCOW--Fallen apples and yellowed leaves from a tree sheltering the
grave of Paul Edward Tatum are the only tributes to the slain American
hotelier whose ashes now rest at Kuntsevo Cemetery in a remote Moscow
Nine months after the 41-year-old Oklahoman was gunned down in an
apparent contract killing, his memory and legacy have been virtually
erased from the booming capitalist landscape he helped bring into being.
As founder of the first Western-style hotel and business center in
Moscow, the brash entrepreneur soared to fame and fleeting fortune and
was credited in the early part of this decade with nurturing a consumer
consciousness in Russia's notoriously indifferent service industries.
But Tatum's slaying, amid a dispute with his Russian partners, and
its harrowing implications for other U.S. business-people here have been
swept under the carpet by both Washington and Moscow to avoid straining
diplomatic relations, his relatives and friends contend.
"Paul was killed because he had the courage to ask the questions
all of us want to know the answers to, like why all the property of the
Soviet Union ended up in the hands of a small and criminal nomenklatura
[elite]," says Natalya Bokadorova, a friend who fought for
months--unsuccessfully--to have Tatum buried at the more prestigious
Bokadorova and others believe the late entrepreneur was barred from
Novodevichy to deprive him of visibility that might allow him to speak
out against corruption from his grave.
The Moscow City Property Committee was Tatum's partner in the
Radisson-Slavyanskaya hotel and, as a result of a complicated tax
structure, has acquired the late businessman's 40% share.
Suspicions immediately fell on Moscow's city fathers when a gunman
fired 20 bullets at Tatum's back--11 of which struck him--at a busy
subway station in November. An investigation continues, but, as with
most of the 500-plus contract slayings in Russia last year, no one has
been brought to justice.
U.S. government officials likewise recite hollow assurances that
the hunt for Tatum's killer continues.
"We are hopeful it will be resolved successfully," says U.S.
Embassy spokeswoman Olivia Hilton, "and it is our understanding that
Russian authorities continue to actively investigate the case."
But Tatum's family complains that, for reasons of political
expediency, Washington has allowed Moscow to act as though the killing
never happened. "It's simple politics. Weighed in the balance of things,
they feel like Paul's killing doesn't really matter compared to the risk
of damaging relations with the Russians," says Robin Furmanek, Tatum's
sister in Arizona.
Tatum was fatally shot Nov. 3, after a long battle in which the
property committee's appointees sought to force him out by withholding
his share of profits and filing lawsuits.
The International Court for Arbitration in Stockholm ruled in the
city's favor in January that the partnership should be dissolved and
that Tatum's estate should pay the joint venture $2.7 million in claims.
But a parallel case seeking the court's judgment on $8 million Tatum
insisted he was owed by the joint venture has yet to be decided.
"If Paul was alive, I know he certainly would pursue it, but Paul
was a much stronger personality than the existing shareholders," says
Ray Markovich, Tatum's Moscow-based American attorney.
Markovich claims that the joint venture clearly owes Tatum millions
in profits and incentive fees withheld by the city in the last three
years of their acrimonious partnership and that the Stockholm court is
likely to rule in his favor.
But unless Tatum's relatives and former business partners decide to
ante up the legal costs of presenting the case in Stockholm, the
entrepreneur's financial legacy could be wiped out as thoroughly as his
Friends cling to slim hopes that history will be kinder to Tatum's
memory than have been his contemporaries in these frontier days of
post-Communist Russia. "If a monument is ever built to remember the
pioneers of the new Russia, Paul's name will be on it," says Bokadorova,
as she lays a clutch of fake red roses on his barren grave.
Russia Tax Collecting Dangerous
August 23, 1997
MOSCOW (AP) - Tracking down tax evaders is a dangerous pursuit
in Russia, where more than 10 officers have been killed and another
40 wounded this year, a news report said today.
State Tax Service spokesman Vyacheslav Soltaganov said agents
are being attacked by irate tax payers and by criminals trying to
cover up fraudulent reports, according to the ITAR-Tass news
Russia's cash-strapped government has become more aggressive in
combating tax evasion in an effort to boost collections.
In addition to the deaths and injuries, more than 500 other
crimes were directed against tax police officers in the first half
of 1997, Soltaganov said.
He attributed the attacks to rampant crime in Russia and poor
protection given the tax police, who carry out investigations and
arrests linked to tax evasion.
New Industrial, Social Policies Called For
August 29, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Nikolay Shmelev, corresponding member
of the Russian Academy of Sciences, under the "Point of View" rubric:
"A Surgeon Causes Pain. But the Treatment Is Necessary"
The most serious and painful problem of Russia today is the
necessity for gradually getting rid of many plants that are not
viable in normal market conditions.
This is a very, very expensive task: According to various
estimates, it is a question of the closing or radical modernization
of from one-third to two-thirds of our industrial potential. Part
of this task has already been completed: At the present time, about
one-fifth of the country"s previous production capacity
have been closed down.
And this process will continue. In the coal industry, this
fate probably awaits all of the mines in Vorkuta, with the exception
of one or two that produce high-quality, entirely competitive coal.
In Kuzbass, the number of miners, according to some professional
assessments, should in the relatively near future be reduced from
the current 300,000 to 30,000. The same is in store for the Moscow
Region Coal Basin, a considerable part of the Russian Donbass, the
Urals coal mines, many (if not all) of the Maritime Kray mines,
and so on. It is a sad but true fact that today it is cheaper to
import coal from Poland, South Africa, or even from Australia than
to continue to extract it from numerous hopeless Russian mines.
The coal industry is an important one, but it is only a part
of the problem of the current inefficiency or complete nonviability
of many of our industrial production facilities. A significant segment
of the chemical industry is nonviable—evidently, we will
no longer be producing chemical weapons. Our capacity for producing
conventional weapons requires further reduction—during
the years of the Cold War, we planed more tanks than the entire
rest of the world. An unclear fate awaits about 70 of our "numbered"
monoindustrial cities, where the flower of the country"s
scientific and technological thought and the most high-tech production
is still concentrated. Tragic? Certainly, it is tragic. But there
is no way out other than their gradual reorientation into other
directions of activity more necessary for the country.
Also necessary is a radical restructuring of such giants of
Russian industry as the Automotive Works imeni Likhachev [ZIL],
the Kama Automotive Works, the Moscow Automotive Works imeni the
Leninist Komsomol [AZLK], Rostelmash, and others. The example of
the Gorkiy Automotive Works, which switched over in time to putting
out more competitive production ("Gazel") shows that even such unwieldy
monsters of ours can survive in the new, market conditions, if the
appropriate efforts are undertaken and the money necessary for their
modernization is found. Opposite examples are ZIL and AZLK, which
the mayor of Moscow is trying now to save by artificial, extreme,
essentially nonmarket methods. Probably, he is acting correctly
in the present, most difficult, stage of their modernization. But
in the future, certainly, everything will depend on these enterprises
themselves: If they are able to find their niche on the market,
they will live; if they are not, they will not.
In all, even according to the most superficial estimates,
in the next eight to 10 years, investments in the amount of not
less than $500 billion (that is, approximately 4-4.5 times the country's
annual budget) will be needed for modernization and renovation of
Russia"s antiquated fixed capital.
Meanwhile, behind all these torturous processes are people,
many millions of people, who need to be found other work, to be
retrained, and to be relocated from depressed areas to new ones
with good prospects. Simple common sense prompts us: A problem of
such a scale cannot without ruinous social shocks be solved haphazardly,
relying only on market forces and the spontaneous flows of capital
from sector to sector. We do not yet have an automatic mechanism
of capital flow through the market, and it is not known how much
time will pass before we will have one.
It is for just that reason that we need not a slackening,
but an intensification of state regulation both at the central and
at the regional levels. We need a well-considered, future-directed
industrial (structural) policy, which would have a clear "schedule
plan" of whom to support via state "oxygen tank," and whom to allow
to die a natural death today, or at least tomorrow. Among the former
should be priority sectors, which either already occupy a firm position
on world markets today (these are our fuels and raw materials sectors)
or have serious chances for the future (high-technology sectors,
first and foremost our aerospace industry). And we need, I am convinced,
a new State Planning Committee, but precisely as the country"s
main strategic headquarters, and not in its previous form, when
it dealt practically only with dispatcher and distributive functions.
In the social sphere, a successful industrial (structural)
policy is impossible without the creation of a state "social safety
net" reliably insuring the dismissed, those being retrained, and
those being relocated against the most painful consequences of the
structural changes taking place.
It is necessary, however, to realize that some of the direct
efforts of the state in resolving this problem under any political
regime will be insufficient. An inalienable part of the policy of
structural, market transformations (aside from any ideological
should also be all possible incentives for and support of small
and medium-sized entrepreneurship in all sectors of the economy,
and first and foremost in production. We already have complete and
partial unemployment at the rate of 12-13 percent (with its total
potential in the country on the order of 30 percent of the active
population), while our major state and privatized enterprises are
doomed for the foreseeable future to get rid of their surplus work
force, and not to "draw" to themselves the labor resources newly
coming onto the market. There is no real alternative to small and
medium-sized private entrepreneurship in the resolution of the problem
of unemployment, which is getting worse and worse in our country.
And this factor alone is sufficient to prove the lack of prospects
of the current policy of de facto suppression of private entrepreneurship.
Deputy Chief of General Staff on Reform Timetable
MOSCOW, Aug 21 (Interfax) -- The Russian Armed Forces will not be
fully staffed by contract servicemen by 2005, First Deputy Chief of General
Staff Colonel-General Valeriy Manilov said at a press conference in Moscow
Thursday [21 August].
The implementation of these plans will depend "on the real
socioeconomic conditions," he said.
"Contract service must be financially worthwhile," and "the
population's negative attitude to the Armed Forces must be overcome," he
The concept of the military reform approved by the president and
government is being implemented, he said.
The Armed Forces will be reorganized with due account taken of the
political and economic situation, and the defense capability and combat
readiness of the Army will be preserved, he said. "The reform will involve
minimal expenses, and the number of structures in the Armed Forces will be
optimized," he said.
"In doing so, we must not exceed the limit of 3.5% of gross domestic
product set by the president," he said.
Money for implementing the reform will be obtained by selling released
military property and infrastructure, he went on. "We insist that this
property be sold under strict control of a commission comprising
representatives of the Defense Ministry, State Property Committee and
Ministry of Justice," Manilov said.
Among the main results of the reform is the revival of exercises. War
games are being held by the Pacific and Baltic fleets and by the North
Caucasus Military District, he said. "For the first time in recent years,
officers have got an opportunity to do their chosen job," he added.
He announced that before September 1, 1997, proposals on restructuring
the Armed Forces' central control bodies are expected to be approved.
These proposals envisage considerable cuts in the number of officers,
Duma's Rokhlin on Chechnya, Nuclear Deterrent
MOSCOW, Aug 18 (Interfax) -- Duma Defense Committee Chairman Lev
Rokhlin told a news conference in Moscow Monday [18 August] the prospects
for Russian-Chechen relations are unfavorable.
He said the Russian political leadership "will inevitably resort to
pressure on Chechnya to prevent its separation from Russia."
"Chechnya's separation from the Russian Federation will lead to the
federation's breakup," he said.
Rokhlin, a retired general, said attempts of economic pressure on
Chechnya will result in a Chechen attempt to organize "a major act of
sabotage in a neighboring republic." All this will inevitably spread
hostilities to the neighboring areas. Rokhlin said the Russian leadership
should adopt the same policy as the U.S. president, who imposes economic
embargos on certain countries, such as Iraq and Cuba.
He said attempts are being made in circumvention of the Duma and to
the detriment of Russian interests to destroy means of nuclear deterrence.
Rokhlin said some 150 submarines are slated to be cut for scrap in the near
future, some of them with titanium hulls which have a potential service
life of up to 150 years.
He said in the future China may pose a threat to Russia. He forecast
that due to its high population growth rate that country will "explode" in
about 20 years.
Former Defense Minister Igor Rodionov told the same news conference
that the Russian armed forces do not exist as a single government
institution. He claimed there is no concrete plan for army reform at the
He said the commission for army reform led by Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin and First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy Chubays is not
professionally competent to make reform plans.
August 21, 1997
Duma to sue Cherepkov
By Heidi Brown
For the first time in post-Soviet history, the mayor of a Russian city
is being sued for allegedly breaking the law.
The krai-level Supreme Court case against Vladivostok Mayor Victor
Cherepkov has been set for Sept. 4. The plaintiff, the Krai Duma, says
Cherepkov broke the law several times since he has been in office.
There is no federal law pertaining to the punishment of local elected
officials, which leaves regional legislatures to create their own.
In Primorsky Krai, the only body authorized to remove a mayor is the
Krai Duma, said the head legal advisor to the duma, Vladimir Sokolov.
And the duma can oust the mayor only if the krai’s Supreme Court finds
that the city administrator has broken the law.
The mayor’s press center said Cherepkov would have no comment on the
Neither the governor nor the courts can force the mayor to leave office.
Cherepkov has twice failed to show up for discussions about his case,
and he was also absent on the first court date, Aug. 5. If Cherepkov
does not appear Sept. 4, the case can be decided in his absence, Sokolov
The krai alleges the mayor’s most egregious violation of the
constitution was his repetitive canceling of city duma elections. The
law guarantees the right to elect and to be elected.
Cherepkov’s controversial redistricting attempt was also illegal, the
suit states. The krai court declared his abolition of Vladivostok’s
five-district system invalid, but the mayor has continued to operate the
city according to his vision.
Cherepkov has also failed to approve a city code, essential for the
legal management of Vladivostok, the krai states.
“There is nothing democratic about Cherepkov, except for the fact that
he was elected,” said Sokolov. And Cherepkov has broken the law by not
providing for the needs of city residents, Sokolov said. His slow action
on the trash strike, his refusal to pay doctors and teachers months of
back wages and his bickering with city housing maintenance unions has
resulted in negligence to tax payers, said Sokolov.