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Johnsons's Russia List [list two]
16 October 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Ian Small in Tashkent: The Dream of Ships - A Letter Home.
2. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Interview with Valeriy Streletskiy,
"Morning of the Streletskiy Execution." ("Following in the footsteps
of the disgraced Korzhakov, his closest comrade-in- arms, the retired SBP
[Presidential Security Service] colonel, NFS [National Sports Foundation]
ex-president Valeriy Streletskiy settled down to write a book.")
3. Mark Fassio: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? For NATO Expansion,
the Answer is: Everything.]
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 10:20:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gunder Frank <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The Dream Of Ships - A Letter Home (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 18:09:27 +0500
From: Ian Small <MSFH-Tashkent@amsterdam.msf.org>
Subject: The Dream Of Ships - A Letter Home
The Dream of Ships
Three years and a couple of months later, with a world of stories in
between, I returned to my figurative dream again. Yesterday I went to
Muynak, the city at the end of the earth where the Aral Sea once brushed
up against its perimeter. The last time I went to Muynak, I was just
short of touching the ships that now lie rusting in the sands. It is a
dramatic image - ships lying in the sand with not a drop of water to be
seen. It goes completely contrary to what any kid learns as a child -
ships and water, ships and water; not ships and sand.
In the summer of 1994, while I was living in Tbilisi with Michelle and
Lola, concentrating on the wars of the Caucasus and the misfortunes of
its victims, I knew that I would have to go home to Canada in the near
future. After 4 years of running around thinking and trying to provide
health for countless numbers of faceless but real people, I then had to
confront my own decline in health. But I had to realize my dream of
travelling to this place called Muynak on the former shores of the
desiccated Aral Sea. It was not as if this was the only dream I ever
had, hell, dozens had preceded this one, but it was symbolic of the
perpetual desire to explore.
One of the reasons I work with MSF is precisely because the
organizations goes to places that you would typically never go to. In
general, MSF even has a reputation among other international
organizations - if anybody were there, there often being in the middle
of nowhere, it would be MSF. To travel to places that even MSF has not
been to represents even a greater charge and challenge. This has been my
experience all over the former Soviet Union.
In the middle of July, I left Tbilisi for Central Asia. I had to stop
off in our program area along the Black Sea coast, fly back and drive
the other way across the border into Azerbaijan to a place called Barda,
a small decrepit place about 10 km from the front line of the senseless
five year war with the Armenians next door. We had a project there as
well and as usual things had to be discussed with the team about our
program. I knew I could then catch a flight from Baku, the capital of
Azerbaijan, that would take me out and across the Caspian Sea to
Ashkabad, the capital of Turkmenistan. It was a tight schedule.
Amsterdam didn't want to commit to another program in the region as we
were already overextended in the Caucasus. But I new that MSF belonged
in the Aral Sea area and perhaps if I went on my holiday time, it would
be enough to keep the momentum going towards the Aral.
I convinced Huw, our medical doctor from our program in Barda, along
with Parves, his translator, to also take their holiday time and join
me. Throughout Central Asia and Azerbaijan, the several titular
languages are of Turkic descent, so Parves would save the hassle of
trying to find someone locally and Hue, despite being a quick witted
Welshman, good for any journey, would help me sort through the medical
complications of the situation in the region. Hue and Parves went a day
ahead to arrange a few things. When I arrived they greeted me at the
airport, we sat down and did what most people do in Central Asia: we ate
our fill of melons. The initial word was that we had to try to
officalize our trip so we could get into the local rates for
accommodation and air travel. Making brief cash counts, Hue thought I
brought the money and for some reason I thought I had issued him a
travel advance back in Baku. We were seriously short on cash.
The next day was spent doing the standard MSF routine; visits to the
Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to introduce
ourselves, the organization, our concerns and intentions. The ministries
were not all together helpful. I realized later that there was an
official denial of health concerns in the region, the logic being, if
they admitted that their people were suffering than the international
community would put pressure on them to address the problem and frankly,
they were part of the problem. I was not too concerned at that time
about the lack of cooperation, which normally is a major concern. I
simply wanted to get up to the Aral Sea and we couldn't afford the
"foreigners" air tariff. We could always drive the 10 hours north
through the desert but as it stood now, we would not have the money to
return to Baku by plane. The international rate would be over $400 but
if we could get permission, we could slide into the national rate which
stood at $20. As we ran around the Ministry of Whatever from office to
office, looking for the right person that carried the stamp, it got a
little desperate. Finally with a stroke of luck, always need when
chasing dreams, we entered the right office and convinced them of our
humanitarian purposes. We were off.
We got out of the building and grabbed the first car that came along;
such is the practice when needing a taxi throughout the former Soviet
Union. It was just past lunch and perhaps there was a plane flying north
to the Aral region. To increase our odds, on the way to the airport I
asked the driver how much it would be to drive to Dashhouz, the region
bordering the Aral Sea and the fee was not that bad. Better yet the
driver claimed he was from the region.
At the airport the plane had just left and the next one was not until
the next day. If we waited it would cut into our time up north and there
was nothing to do in Ashkabad, so I took the driver up on his offer.
That's one of the great things about working overseas. It is a bit of a
paradox, but even though we work in places often because things are not
working, all sorts of other arrangements can work out. You flag down
some car for a ride to the airport and 2 hours later, with a bag of
roasted chicken, biscuits and bottled water; the old beat-up Volga is
heading out of town.
His name was unpronounceable. It was either that or his character
warranted a change in name. For some reason, we called the driver
Elizabeth and he was only too glad to make some cash with a week's trip
up north. I was only to delighted and filled with great energy to be on
my way, across one of the largest sand deserts in the world, the Kara
Kum, heading towards the Aral Sea. With a Turkmen driver called
Elizabeth, an Azeri translator, a Welsh doctor and me bound for the Aral
Sea area, it was going to be a great road trip.
Driving through the desert is one of those things that you think it
would be cool to do, you are glad you did it, but would probably never
want to do it again. It was a 10-hour terrain of flat desert with only 2
cars and a dozen camels seen on the whole stretch. We arrived in
Dashhouz at 1:00 in the morning. Elizabeth drove around looking for his
friend's house where we could stay. The only problem with our driver
slash guide was that he neglected to tell us that he had not been home
for 10 years. Eventually, he managed to wake up the right house. At
least they invited us in and the typical Central Asian hospitality
ensued, greeting us with food, drink and after 4 years, questions and
answers I knew by heart.
We spent a couple days conducting what we refer to as a rapid
assessment. It entails starting at the top of the political structure
(usually the mayor or local Ministry of Health office) and ends up at a
little clinic out in the rural area. By this point I had changed the
focus of our visit from a holiday into a full fledge MSF thing. I was
impressed with all that we heard and saw. When one does this kind of
thing for a living, you drop the "de" from depressed and add an "im" in
order to survive. The highups continued with the party line to cover-up,
claiming a problem with drug supply but business as usual. It was not
until you talked with the doctors out in the field that they began to
talk about the environmental disaster. They talked about how women were
afraid to breast feed their young out of concern that their milk was
contaminated with chemicals after years of pesticides being applied to
the cotton crops. They talked about the water in their wells that had
become so salty after years of over irrigation that the milk curdled
when they added to their tea. One doctor was particularly forthcoming,
presenting us with pictures of birth abnormalities, informing us that
since 1992, all 10 district hospitals in the region, serving 800 000
people had opened up "Birth Defect Wards" in order to deal with the
Time was short; I had forgone my dream of actually seeing the Sea and
the ships in order to conduct the assessment of the health situation. We
had only one day left and it was simply too far to drive. Besides,
Dashhouz, located in northern Turkmenistan does not actually have a
border with the Sea itself. The Sea is located in Uzbekistan, the next
country north. I was at a loss, but feeling encouraged that all that I
had seen reaffirmed that indeed MSF needed to be in the region and our
trip would hopefully be the precursor. We went to the airport to inquire
about flying back to Ashkabad instead of doing the trip back down with
Elizabeth. His Volga was on the edge the way up and being stranded in
the desert would not round out a good trip. We again had a money count
and we had a couple of hundred bucks so we could afford the luxury of
flying for about $15. While at the airport, I could also discuss
logistical matters with the director, information that would be required
should we open a project in the region. He was quite helpful and
pleasant; also letting us pay the local rate.
It was actually Parves, who suggested we ask him about chartering a
flight to the Aral. I had mentioned it on the ride up as a possibility
but with only a couple of hundred I didn't even think to bring it up.
With a number of phone calls were the director had to yell to be heard
through the antiquated Soviet phone lines and some serious negotiating,
there was a possibility. It entailed flying from Dashhouz in a 1956 Yak
2 (the model is now up to number 40 and I am still not terribly
comfortable to fly in them), to Nukus, the capital of the Autonomous
Republic of Karakalpakstan within Uzbekistan in order to pay a $100
landing fee as the airport in Muynak, our final destination could not
accept it. The deal was made. We would leave early the next morning, get
up to the Sea and back before night fall in order to fly on to Dashhouz.
It was all too amazing. The number of variables was definitely not on
our side, but it seemed that it would all come together and I would
finally see the ships in the sand.
It was an incredible flight. We flew along the Amu Darya, the river that
at that point had traveled over 2000 km from the Pamir Mountains in
Tajikistan, across the desert to be the only inflow source of water for
the Aral Sea. Only, the Amu Darya no longer reaches the Sea. It has been
tapped all the way along in order to irrigate the cotton fields. This is
the cause of the Aral Sea disaster, to say nothing of its effects.
Flying above you can see the once mighty river gets weaker and weaker as
it dribbles north towards the Sea. Islands have appeared within. The
banks are often 3 times farther away than the width of the river itself.
The lines between desert and irrigated fields are stark.
We touched down in Muynak in the heat of the day. The sign above the
airport read, "Welcome to Muynak - the Home of Fisherman" despite the
fact that the Sea was now over 100 km's away. Before the effects of
years of Soviet mismanagement of vital water and land resources began to
surface, Muynak, a coastal city, was the fish basket of Central Asia.
Today it is nothing more than a town surrounded by desert dust and salt.
We had called ahead to announce our arrival. A car from the hospital
came to pick us up. It was lunch and we had to wait until the director
of the hospital came back. As we sat waiting, the police came along and
wanted to know what we were doing and to look at our passports. There
was confusion, as we certainly didn't arrive by conventional means.
Things got so messy that by the time the director came, he was gagged by
the police and not allowed to talk with us. I was furious. My adrenaline
was aflame. It was the most quintessential MSF moment of my life. The
essence of MSF is that we believe that everyone has the right to
adequate health care and we reserve the right to gain access to
populations in danger, and here I was being denied access to the doctor
to talk about sick kids. We were taken to the police station,
interrogated and held for a couple of hours. At one point I really
thought that nobody had bothered to tell these guys that Bresnev was
dead and so was the Soviet Union. They piped on about how Muynak was a
Forbidden City. Indeed it was in the good old days as the island in the
middle of the Aral Sea, which will actually soon become part of the main
land, was a biological weapons test site and indeed was one of these
secret Soviet Cities. But hell this was 1994. Eventually, they escorted
us back to the plane and made sure we left. What else could they do? I
was filled with conflicting emotions. On one had it was incredible to
have the MSF moment of your life, a moment everyone should have in some
form or another, but for all intensive purposes, I saw nothing of
Muynak: the airport runway (no planes are actually scheduled to land),
the inside of the hospital directors office and the police station - no
Yesterday, I left Nukus where we have based a team in order to develop a
health intervention in the Aral Sea area. After 3 years I was on my way
back to Muynak. We drove along the flat landscape passing fields of
cotton, ripe for picking. Arriving at lunch we thought it best to look
around town before going to the hospital. We went to the boardwalk at
the site of the Great War monument (the Soviet Union does not refer to
WWII as such) that at one time jutted out over the bay on a point. From
there the Sea used to slap up against the retainer wall. Standing today,
you can not even see the Sea. Out and beyond is a huge vast flat surface
of sand and scruff bushes. Further down the way is the ship graveyard, a
place like no other I have ever seen in its symbolism of the world gone
wrong. You park the car in a residential neighborhood and walk across a
sandy stretch of the former bed for about a kilometer. There, dead in
the sand are at least a half a dozen rusted hulks from ships that once
pulled in tones of fish to feed thousands of people. It is no less
haunting as it is surreal. I walked up to a ship and after 3 long years
I touched it. I went on to the hospital and the director told an
incredible story, a story that I hope he never tires to tell: a story
that the world must hear.
When I left the region 3 years ago to return home the fate of the people
and the Sea itself were always on my mind and often a source of strength
during my own struggle. MSF continued to be preoccupied in the Caucasus
with the violent wars in Chetchnya and all the other violent places on
earth. Nobody in the organization felt the way I did, nor knew as much
about the extent of the tragedy and its effects on human health. It is
not until 3 years later that I have finally returned in an attempt to
make sure that the people of the Aral Sea area are not left behind as
humanity approachs the next century. I have Michelle to thank. My next
trip will be beyond the ships to the shore of the Aral Sea with her.
October, 12, 1997.
V. Streletskiy on High-Level Corruption
October 8, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Interview of Aleksandr Khinshteyn with Valeriy Streletskiy:
"Morning of the Streletskiy Execution." [Pun on the name of a
painting of the same name by Vasiliy Surikov, depicting the
execution of the "streltsy," a rebellious infantry crushed by Peter
I]; First paragraph is editorial introduction
Bad examples are catching. Following in the footsteps of the
disgraced Korzhakov, his closest comrade-in- arms, the retired SBP
[Presidential Security Service] colonel, NFS [National Sports Foundation]
ex-president Valeriy Streletskiy settled down to write a book. To all
appearances, the forthcoming book will provoke a real fit of hysterics in
the Kremlin and the [Russian] White House. Streletskiy's memoirs
(according to his own assurances) will be based exclusively on hard fact
and documents. With names and numbers...
The sleaze war is entering a new stage.
Colonel Streletskiy really does have something to say. For two "hot"
years he commanded the P Department -- the SBP's agents in the government.
All materials on the corruption of [Russian] White House occupants one way
or other passed through the dashing Colonel's hands...
How serious they are you can judge for yourselves.
[end of introduction]
Sergey Filatov [subhead]
[Khinshteyn] Why did you decide to write a book? Did you envy
Korzhakov's success? Did you want to make some money?
[Streletskiy] Not the first, not the second...
...I worked in the SBP for some years. I saw a lot of things. It's
simply my duty to tell people what really went on in the "corridors of
power." What the politicians and officials of the highest level were up
[Khinshteyn] What will dominate your book: gossip and stories about
behind-the-scenes intrigue or arguments and fact?
[Streletskiy] No gossip. The book is based on real factual material,
which my department had to work with.
[Khinshteyn] And what were your department's tasks? You gathered
material on government members, employees of the apparatus? Then you took
it "upstairs"? Or how did the procedure operate?
[Streletskiy] Let me spell it out. We were assigned an area -- the
government. An objective was set: to protect that area from the
infiltration of evil spirits in the form of foreign special services and
On the other hand, [we were to] expose those people who had already
come under the influence of criminal groups or foreign intelligence
[Khinshteyn] You did not really manage to find hirelings of foreign
special services in the Kremlin or White House, did you?
[Streletskiy] Such people did come into the service's field of view.
An investigation was carried out on two members of the government. And one
official from the president's staff.
[Khinshteyn] What level were these people at?
[Streletskiy] Sufficiently high-up. I cannot say anything more
specific. Work on them is still continuing.
[Khinshteyn] It was dangerous to get involved with your service. It
was not by chance that one of the leaders back then maintained that the SBP
carried out nothing less than total control over officials. It listened in
on conversations, tailed [people]... How well-founded are these statements?
[Streletskiy] [They are] completely true. With only one "but": we
acted on a legal basis.
The only people who spoke about this were those who had something to
[Khinshteyn] Let's call things by their real names. The first to
state this was the presidential chief of staff, Sergey Filatov.
[Streletskiy] You see, I didn't say what I said by chance: Those who
shouted were the ones who had something to fear.
We can now admit: yes, Sergey Aleksandrovich, was indeed under our
[Streletskiy] Because we had at our disposal reliable information
about his very close ties with a major North Caucasian kingpin, a certain
In the past this Gavrilov served time in prison for embezzlement,
fraud, bribery and abuse of official position.
But this was in the eighties. In the nineties everything changed.
Gavrilov became just about the wealthiest and most influential person in
Stavropol Kray. What's more, according to our operational information,
Gavrilov received a significant part of his capital from Israeli special
Counterintelligence managed to pinpoint among his ties one of the
former Mossad directors, a former chief of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, and, also, a string of known Israeli intelligence agents and
persons suspected of espionage activity.
Gavrilov had a passenger plane. He organized regular charter flights
between Tel-Aviv and Mineralnyye Vody, without any border or customs
He himself and people acting on his behalf actively gathered
information about the political situation inside Russia and the alignment
of forces in the upper echelons of the government.
With all this as a basis, the service began out an investigation on
[Khinshteyn] That means you really listened in on the presidential
chief of staff, and put a tail on him?
[Streletskiy] That is only a part of the operational measures which
[Khinshteyn] What specifically constituted the Filatov-Gavrilov
[Streletskiy] Gavrilov, for example, built Filatov a dacha on
Nikolina Gora at his own expense. He sent workers specially from
We estimated the valua of that dacha at approximately one million
[Khinshteyn] A million, that is serious money. You have to deserve
[Streletskiy] If it were not for Filatov, Gavrilov would never have
had such great influence in the region. He could enter any office by
simply kicking the door open. At any convenient opportunity, he dropped
The presidential chief of staff also did not particularly conceal his
close ties with Gavrilov. When presenting the "kingpin" with the Order of
the White Eagle (the president had conferred the award on him through the
solicitation...of Academician Pavel Bunich), Filatov stated openly: "This
is my best friend."
[Khinshteyn] Besides the presentation of orders, did Filatov do
anything practical for Gavrilov?
[Streletskiy] When [the massacre at the hospital in] Budennovsk
happened, the Stavropol Kray governor Kuznetsov was removed from his post.
Gavrilov decided to fill the gap and make one of his men the governor, a
certain Korobeynikov. Filatov did everything possible to help him in this.
Luckily, nothing came of this.
He supported Gavrilov when the latter ran for the State Duma in
We even had to take an unprecedented step by publishing an article in
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, which told [exactly] what sort of person Gavrilov was.
As a result the "kingpin" lost the election.
Although Filatov was not named in the article -- only a mysterious,
"high-ranking patron" was mentioned -- Sergey Aleksandrovich understood
everything immediately. He immediately began to worry. He went to
Korzhakov a few times to explain himself.
In private talks with trusted friends he complained that the article
was aimed against him. And if it was against him, then it was against the
president, the state and democracy. Such a conversation took place, for
example, between him and the "architect of perestroyka" Yakovlev.
Our wire-tapping network [proslushka] recorded how Yakovlev asked
Filatov: How will you explain where the money for the dacha came from?
Sergey Aleksandrovich replied very modestly: It was built on credit.
[Khinshteyn] Was there such a credit?
[Streletskiy] There was. But not for a million dollars. That is a
totally different order of figures.
[Khinshteyn] Did Korzhakov report this to the president?
[Streletskiy] He did. The president reacted the same as always: You
are bringing me this crap again.
But constant dripping wears away a stone. In January 1996 the chief
of staff was at last dismissed.
[Khinshteyn] You gathered information on Filatov with Yeltsin's
[Streletskiy] Naturally. Korzhakov always informed the president
about the surveillance of people of such a level. Without his sanction it
would have been impossible.
Aleksandr Zaveryukha, Gennadiy Koshel [subhead]
[Khinshteyn] If Korzhakov brought information to the president, then
you most likely [brought it] to the premier?
[Khinshteyn] Were there occasions when after your warning signals
Chernomyrdin dismissed people -- or reacted somehow?
[Streletskiy] He did. Only in a very peculiar manner. Here is just
one such example.
At one point we learned that in 1993 Chernomyrdin's aide for
foreign-economic activities, Gennadiy Koshel, set up a firm [called] Delia,
Other founders were Rudolf Weibl, an Austrian citizen, the mayor of
Orenburg, Dankovtsev, and director of an Orenburg garment factory, Skubkov.
In 1994 Koshel became the premier's aide. However he did not leave
the ranks of the firm's founders, and continued to receive money there. We
established that for the first quarter of 1995 alone the trade turnover of
the firm amounted to $20 million. And the founders received $1.5 million.
Here there was a crudest violation of the law: Public servants do not
have the right to work in commercial structures. Moreover, Koshel actively
participated in lobbying for his firm's interests in the government.
[Streletskiy] In September 1994, a firm registered in the Duchy of
Luxembourg, Petroil and Arabko, came to Chernomyrdin with an offer to
provide humanitarian aid. The task of carrying out the talks for Petroil
and Arabko was entrusted to Weibl, who directed the Delia firm. That is,
The competent organs ran a check on Petroil and Arabko. They
established that the firm was not a proper one, with no experience of
carrying out such major actions.
However, in a few months Weibl again sent a letter to the government,
repeating everything that was said before. It offered humanitarian aid to
the order of $15 billion.
Koshel worked on this question in the government's Department for
[Khinshteyn] What is Koshel's interest in this?
[Streletskiy] The fact is that Weibl assessed the value of the
intermediary services at 5 percent of the total sum.
It is not difficult to find a firm that would be ready to offer Russia
major credit. Only one thing is required: a government guarantee. But, as
a rule, the government gives no guarantees.
If Koshel could have pushed this through, those guys would have
received $750 million net profit.
[Khinshteyn] What did Chernomyrdin say when he learned of his aide's
[Streletskiy] When I came to Viktor Stepanovich and told him
everything, showed him the documents, he answered: "It can't be." He
promised that he would look into everything.
And he did. He called for me again and said: "Koshel denies
everything. He is weeping and begging for forgiveness. But I still
decided to fire him."
However they did not fire Koshel. They made him the Orenburg Oblast's
representative in the government.
Now he heads the secretariat of Babichev, the government's chief of
staff, a similar sort of "pretty boy [krasavets]."
[Khinshteyn] Could you name the people who were implicated in
corruption by the materials that you forwarded [to Chernomyrdin]?
[Streletskiy] It would take a long time to name them all. I will
only name the most famous ones. First Vice Premier Bolshakov,
Chernomyrdin's secretariat head, Petelin, Vice Premier Davydov, the
government's chief of staff, Babichev, head of the economics department,
Zverev, and Vice Premier Zaveryukha.
[Khinshteyn] Zaveryukha, it seems, was also the minister of
agriculture? What did he do, steal ears of grain?
[Streletskiy] We mostly wrote of the negative aspects of his
In 1994 the Federal Food Corporation [FPK] was set up under the
Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Of the 3 trillion rubles [R] allotted
from the budget to the FPK only 18 billion were returned to the government
after sale of products. Almost R3 trillion disappeared in an unknown
When we began to work on this question, it turned out that financial
abuse had occurred with the direct participation of Zaveryukha's protege,
Abdulbasirov, the head of the FPK (also the minister's first deputy).
However, instead of taking some kind of measures, Zaveryukha forced
Abdulbasirov to tender his rsignation "at his own request." He forced
through a government decision on canceling the R3-trillion debt at the
expense of budgetary funds.
In covering his tracks, Zaveryukha in fact became an accomplice.
A second example. After Abdulbasirov's departure, the post of FPK
head was taken, again on Zaveryukha's initiative, by a certain Chaplygin,
who had directed the FPK's Volgograd branch. He was an accomplice in the
embezzlement of the three trillion.
Together with his deputy Lysenko, who before that had headed Insayd
Limited Partnership in Murmansk, Chaplygin received a multi- billion
[currency unspecified] credit for the purchase of foodstuffs for the
federal fund. And he simply appropriated it.
I don't know how it is now, but while I was still working not a kopek
of that credit was returned to the government.
Maksim Boyko, Dmitriy Yakubovskiy [subhead]
[Khinshteyn] Once, as he gave me an interview, Korzhakov maintained
that not only Berezovskiy but another high-ranking official also had
foreign citizenship. Maybe you know who that is?
[Streletskiy] It seems I do. According to our operational
information, the current chairman of Russia's Goskomimushestvo [State
Committee for the Management of State Property], Maksim Boyko, has, if not
foreign citizenship, then certainly a resident's permit...
[Khinshteyn] A permit for residence where?
[Streletskiy] In the United States.. It is called a green card
there... Boyko came into our field of view only because he was closely
connected with Chubays. We did not work on him in any more detail -- at
that time he was a nobody.
Though what we do know is quite enough. Boyko's parents -- and, by
the way, his real last name is not Boyko but Shamberg; he is the
great-grandson of the famous Lozovskiy, chief of Sovinformburo, shot over
the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee affair -- emigrated to the United States
to take up permanent residence. His father, Vladimir Shamberg, teaches at
a specialized college of the Central Intelligence Agency. Boyko himself
underwent a training period [stazhirovka] at the U.S. National Bureau of
[Khinshteyn] How did it come about that a person with this type of
background came to head one of the country's major ministries?
[Streletskiy] When Korzhakov worked at the SBP, Boyko had no post at
all. Therefore all questions should be addressed to Anatoliy Borisovich
[Khinshteyn] Does Korzhakov's successor, Krapivin, know about this?
[Streletskiy] Even if he does know, then he will prefer to forget
about it, like a nightmare. Just like everything else.
I know that FSB (Federal Security Service) director Kovalev made a
report to the president about Boyko's second "motherland." But, as you
see, no measures were taken....
It is much simpler for Yeltsin to blow up the scandal of the
Leninsk-Kuznetskiy mayor than to deal with a Chubays protege. That is the
whole essence of his character.
They say the mayor's criminal past bothers the president. However,
criminal experience did not stop [him] in his time from taking in many
people who had been through the "zone" [slang for prison camp]. For
example, [there is] the famous banker Smolenskiy, who has two convictions.
What is that if not hypocrisy?...
...Today there is a multitude of "shady" characters in power. Every
day there are more and more of them.
Of course, there were all sorts before [as well], but not to this
[Khinshteyn] What do you mean by the word "before"?
[Streletskiy] The Yakubovskiy epic, let's say. A most striking
example is the story of Shumeyko's former aide, Vladimir Romanyukha.
In 1992, the Moscow government allotted around $16 million for the
purchase of children's foodstuffs abroad. The money, of course, never
reached its goal. It ended up in some firm; and, not without Yakubovskiy's
help, they began to use the money illegally to earn interest. Somehow
Romanyukha got into the act.
Then Rutskoy began his crusade. The foodstuff affair surfaced; they
instituted criminal proceedings. They searched Romanyukha's workplace and
house. Knowing that a warrant for his arrest had been signed, Romanyukha
Several years passed. In 1995, information reached us from our
foreign sources that Romanyukha was forgotten, neglected, and living in
Israel. He was angry at the world and ready to tell what he knew.
Romanyukha proved easy to establish contact with. He said a lot of
interesting things: how in 1992-93 Yakubovskiy had tried to run the
country, putting [his] personnel into position.
[Khinshteyn] For example, [who]?
[Streletskiy] For example, with his participation, Vladimir Pankratov
was appointed as Moscow GUVD [Internal Affairs Main Administration]
...Romanyukha also spoke about other high-placed people. He showed us
a lot of documents. The information was so serious that we requested that
he write a statement to the president and forth everything there. The
statement turned out to be enormous -- more than 15 pages...
[Khinshteyn] Did Yeltsin read it?
[Streletskiy] In the evening, Korzhakov placed that document in the
president's folder. In the morning, the statement was returned but with no
markings; usually Yeltsin, after reading a document, put a check mark in
the upper left hand corner. Korzhakov again put [the document] in the
folder. The same thing again: no reaction at all. This went on for a
Of course, Yeltsin had read it. But he wanted to make as if he had
[Khinshteyn] What would have happened if the case was set in motion?
[Streletskiy] It is impossible to imagine. Most likely many major
officials, famous political figures would have been kicked out of their
posts. So that you might understand [how it was], let me say this: the
letter, for example, spoke about the pranks of Kobets. As is well known,
he is now under arrest.
[Streletskiy] What else did the letter say?
[Khinshteyn] You will read that in the book. Don't take away my
bread and butter.
Aleksey Ilyushenko, Oleg Davydov [subhead]
[Khinshteyn] If we are to believe you, it turns out that a large part
of the [Kremlin's] inner court [tsaredvortsy], who are now under arrest,
were once "in your care."
[Streletskiy] Yes, though we could have dealt with them back then,
when we reported to the president.
This is evidence of just one thing: Sooner or later the people whom
we have talked about for so long will follow the example of Kobets,
Ilyushenko, and others.
[Khinshteyn] The SBP also worked on Ilyushenko?
[Streletskiy] It worked on him. That Ilyushenko was abusing his
official position was well known at the Prosecutor General's Office, the
FSK [Federal Counterintelligence Service], and the MVD [Ministry of
Internal Affairs]. But no one dared to come out against him.
We hit upon Ilyushenko in quite a different case: Very high- ranking
government officials lobbied on behalf of his friend Yanchev's interests.
So we became interested. We put together all the information from the MVD
and the FSK. We reported [it] to the president. Only then did work on his
[There was] one telling detail: Ilyushenko was clearly never in need
of money. And still he would go after small-time stuff. For example, he
called Yanchev and said: I saw a vacuum cleaner in your warehouse, send it
Although, according to our operational data, his wife had an account
with a Swiss bank.
[Khinshteyn] Did you often succeed in finding foreign bank accounts
[belonging to] officials and their family members (which is probably one
and the same thing)?
[Streletskiy] There were many such accounts. We even worked out an
entire program to bring the money from those accounts back to Russia.
True, for well known reasons, we did not succeed in putting it into action.
[Khinshteyn] Can you name someone?
[Streletskiy] For example, the SBP revealed the minister of foreign
economic reations Davydov's personal [bank] accounts in the United States
[Khinshteyn] What did Davydov receive that money for?
[Streletskiy] What does an official usually receive money for?
[Khinshteyn] How should I know?
[Streletskiy] For certain services. From commercial firms. Some
information on Davydov was forwarded by us to the Prosecutor General's
Office. But I do not know what has happened to that information now.
[Khinshteyn] On the question of the SBP's materials, now. What
really happened with the Kremlin's compromising materials? Where is that
famous SBP data base located now?
[Streletskiy] Only one thing makes me happy: those materials did not
fall into [the hands of] the current "reformers."
[Khinshteyn] What, did you steal them!?
[Streletskiy] We stole nothing.
[Khinshteyn] Well, hid them maybe....
[Streletskiy] We did not hide them. We protected THE LAW. None of
us can break the law, physically. We would not be able to lift a finger
[against the law].
[Khinshteyn] However the "reformers" do not have your materials.
[Streletskiy] No. But you won't find any violations here. Everything
[Khinshteyn] I don't understand.
[Streletskiy} You don't need to.
Something like a finale [subhead]
[Khinshteyn] You said at the beginning that Korzhakov always got the
president's approval for "work" on high-ranking officials.
As a jurist you can not fail to know: The law does not recognize such
a practice, getting the president's approval. We are all equal under the
[Streletskiy] On paper, yes. In reality, all services operate on
this principle: What the boss says will be, will be.
What's more, do not forget: [It was] as if we existed on two planes.
On the one hand, we carried out the war on corruption. On the other, we
proceeded out of political interests.
Our top priority was the prestige of the president, and his will. It
is no accident that Korzhakov was ex-officio Yeltsin's first assistant.
[Khinshteyn] But it appears that in fulfilling the president's will,
you thereby condoned criminals. If the president ordered [you] not to
touch a person and you obeyed, it means that you automatically became
[Streletskiy] Don't lump everything together. In the case of those
files which contained no crimes, only the president could make a decision.
Or the premier.
I told you about the case of Chernomyrdin's aide Koshel. From the
legal point of view, it was impossible to hold him accountable [for his
actions]. Yes, he broke the laws On Government Service and On Corruption.
But it was impossible to invoke a single article of the Criminal Code
As for criminal violations, then, on the contrary, Korzhakov
frequently went against the president's wishes. Yeltsin often put on the
brakes. But Korzhakov forwarded information to the Prosecutor General's
Office on his own initiative.
So it was with the head of Chernomyrdin's secretariat, Gennadiy
Petelin, Viktor Stepanovich's [Chernomyrdin's] very close companion. So it
was with dozens of others.
[Khinshteyn] And what about Petelin?
[Streletskiy] It is not the time to talk about that yet...wait until
the book comes out.
[Khinshteyn] Can it be that no one has approached you [and] advised
you to pipe down?
[Streletskiy] There was such a conversation. I was invited to talk
with two directors of two very, very important departments. They tried to
persuade me not to raise too much of a stink.
[Streletskiy] As you see nothing [has happened]. The book is
practically ready. I hope that it will come out next year.
Even if something should happen to me....
[Khinshteyn] And something could?
[Streletskiy] ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING can [happen] in our country.
[Khinshteyn] And lastly, everything that you have said will be
included in the book?
[Streletskiy] This is only the most insignificant part. There is
enough material for ten interviews.
From: "Fassio, Mark MAJ SOC" <email@example.com>
Subject: article on NATO expansion
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 15:28:38 -0400
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
For NATO Expansion, the Answer is: Everything
By Mark Fassio
- Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Select) Mark A Fassio, a native of
Leechburg PA, is an Instructor of International Relations in the
Department of Social Sciences, US Military Academy, West Point, New
York. An alumnus of the Naval Postgraduate School, his previous
tours of duty include liaison work in Berlin, northern Iraq, and as
the senior American officer in the UN Observer Mission, Republic of
Georgia. His views do not necessarily represent those of the
Department of Defense, the United States Air Force, or the US Military
Driving Miss Daisy America. The debate about NATO expansion can be
likened to men and women driving together to an unknown destination.
If a strange stretch of road arises, the woman's impulse will be to
slow down, refer to the map, and consult with the locals for
directions. The man's response is generally more direct: ignore the
problem and drive faster, as if the increased speed will alleviate the
problem of ignorance. In this case, the Clinton Administration is
driving the 'Vehicle of State' rapidly through a blackened tunnel,
determined to arrive at the destination of "NATO enlargement"
irrespective of cautionary roadsigns. Is that light up ahead the sign
of a glorious new dawn of regional cooperation -- or is it an oncoming
The More Things Change... In May of this year the White House
published A National Security Strategy for a New Century. Regarding
NATO expansion, an extract from the document states, "...Enlarging the
Alliance will promote our interests by reducing the risk of
instability or conflict in Europe's eastern half...NATO enlargement
will not be aimed at replacing one division of Europe with a new one;
rather, its purpose is to enhance the security of all European
states." Having said that, what countries do we see as primed for
acceptance? The Visegrad Three (Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic) -- the most secure, most prosperous and most homogenous of
the former Communist bloc. In other words, the states that had the
least risk of instability in the first place! How does NATO
acceptance of these states "reduce the risk of conflict" in Eastern
Europe -- unless it is designed to keep The Wounded Russian Bear
fenced in its cage? Thus the stage is set for NATO expansion. To
read the document, one could assume we're on the verge of an
international relations "love-in," a promising future of regional
security through collective defense. Clearly the Poles, the
Hungarians and the Czechs see NATO membership as an expansion of the
US/NATO 'security umbrella,' while NATO sees new, viable democracies
becoming better trading partners (read: money). However, a good
insight into US intentions toward this arrangement were voiced by the
US Defense Secretary Cohen in a recent speech. His words were more
Cold Warrior than Conciliator, citing "...the power of military
alliances in defeating a common enemy" and lauding those "who have
seen the power of
alliances to deter aggression." His extracts sound as if we are
cost-accounting security against Russia, rather than promising
regional security to all. This sounds more like a "Back to the
Future" speech than a "Brave New World" plan.
Regional Apartheid. One of the cardinal rules of winning any contest
-- be it sports or, say, a Cold War -- is to be gracious to the loser,
and allow them to return to the fold. This is a key problem with NATO
expansion plans -- we allow the non-NATO expansionees to feel
marginalized and still seen as second-class citizens. Despite our
stated security goals, we are indeed replacing one division of Europe
with another. The Cold War's bipolar balance of power has been
replaced with an American assertiveness, a renewed flexing of muscle
that is taking advantage of our strength and position when its nearest
competitors have yielded the field. If "helping promote democracy"
and "providing security in Eastern Europe" are the reasons for
expanding this military alliance (rather than a politically-led
approach through the European Union or OSCE), then there are clearly
"haves" and "have nots" in this new division. Where are the nations
that could truly use NATO's security through its eastward expansion?
Why are we not considering Rumania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, or Slovenia?
All of these are experiencing growing pains, with some in a state of
unrest, or adjacent to countries who are. They are, to cite an old
Little Anthony song, "...On the outside looking in."
This new division will favor the "economic and democratic" at the
expense of the "autocratic and anemic" nations of Europe. "Folks like
us" will be the first to benefit, while the truly needy will continue
to beg at the table. And if that's the case, then these other
European states -- Russia included -- are going to feel uneasy. It
doesn't matter if we think they're swell people -- "perception is
reality," and if the Russians feel that an expanded NATO constitutes a
threat to their security and great power feelings, then we are in for
difficult interstate relations over the next decade. We are, in
essence, practicing 'regional apartheid' toward Russia. She is good
enough for secondary associations like Partnership for Peace and other
table-scraps of paper (the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council);
prospects are doubtful that her voice will really count in the big
picture, should NATO-Russian interests diverge. How quickly we forget
the Treaty of Rapallo in 1922, when the Russians and the Germans --
dual outcasts in the post-World War I scheme -- banded together in
expanded cooperative ventures and, over time, led inexorably to the
Second World War. NATO expansion is an unnecessary irritant that
allows Russian hyper-nationalists and other anti-Western elements to
potentially take potshots at the West and its calls for cooperation.
And why is this so?
If It Walks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck... Think quick: what
IS NATO? NATO is a collective defensive alliance, much like the Three
Musketeers' "all for one and one for all." In the past five decades
NATO has been at its "best" in deterring Soviet aggression into
Western Europe (if they ever did plan to invade) and also in keeping
our allies from nasty infighting (Turks vs Greeks, repressing German
militarism to prevent another war, etc). The "poster child of threat"
was, of course, the Soviet Union. The current question is, "What shall
NATO become?" If it is merely "the same old NATO with three new
members," then the logical follow-on question is, "Who's the beef
with?" Is it still an alliance directed against Russia -- the same
democratic Russia we praise as being "more like us" every day? The
same Russia we try to nurture with kind words? Again, from a
Russian's perspective, it seems very blunt: "you tell us we're
friends; you tell us things will change when we become democratic.
And now that we're trying to do all of this, you follow-up with an
expanded alliance that comes to our borders." Unless NATO finds a
doctor willing to do reconstructive surgery, its true face is easy to
"The Check, Sir." Forget the need to reassure a nervous Russia.
Forget the disenfranchisement of the non-NATO Europeans. The big
question for John Q Taxpayer is, "Who pays for this?" A recent RAND
study gives three estimates for NATO expansion, with ranges between
$20B and $110B. That's "billions" of tax dollars, over and above
normal military modernization. Granted, the cost is to be split
among the NATO allies--and I'm sure Greece and Iceland will easily
foot their millions with no protest. In an era of military
reductions, this cost seems rather steep -- especially when the NATO
wannabes are part of the downsizing military trend! We seem to be
alternatively spending big bucks for expanding the alliance at a time
when everybody's folding lots of their tents and reducing their
forces. Hello; Earth to NATO: is anyone out there?
GI Joe in Transylvania? Did you like the commitment of US forces to
Somalia, fighting for some blurred purpose with nothing to show for it
but dead soldiers? How about the "short-term" stay in Bosnia (so
"short," in fact, that we're almost at the two-year point, with a
"supposed" 1998 withdrawal)? Imagine what a NATO "hot war" would
entail. If the idea remains 'collective defense,' then NATO will try
to separate, say, Rumanian forces fighting Hungarians over the issue
of ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania. Do we really want to commit US
forces to something that non-vital to US security? Again, if Russia
is not a threat, then what's our role in this expanded alliance? Are
we the world's policeman and its baby-sitter?
Stop, Look and Listen. Before the US proceeds any further with its
plan for NATO expansion -- however noble and idealistic its intent --
Congress and the American people need to review the negative aspects
of expansion. NATO expansion is financially taxing (pardon the pun)
in an era of military cuts and the pressing need to fix our streets,
our inner cities and the myriad of other problems now attainable by
this "peace dividend" called 'the end of the Cold War.' NATO
expansion is also an unnecessary irritant in Russian-American
relations, and we will rue the decision in a few short years.
Instead of embracing the Russians in a new Great Power alliance in a
multipolar world order, we entice them with empty words and then push
aside their amorous advances. And finally, NATO expansion is a "blank
check" of open-ended commitment for increased American actions in an
area that either doesn't need us, or may erupt into something ugly
that we don't want. Either way, the costs outweigh the benefits. In
our driving analogy, the Clinton Administration needs to pull the
Vehicle of State off to the side of the road, pull out an updated
roadmap of the future, and give careful thought to its ultimate
destination -- and what it will find when it gets there. This is a
road best not traveled.