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Johnson's Russia List
18 October 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
CLARIFICATION: You only need to contact me if you wish
to change to JRL Lite, now renamed "JRL Weekly."
1. East View Publications: New catalog is online.
2. Reuters: Crime-hit Siberian region goes to polls.
3. RIA Novosti: A CLOSED KPRF PLENUM WHICH IS TO DETERMINE
THE PARTY'S POSITION ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN THE GOVERNMENT
IS BEING HELD TODAY.
4. Business Week: Carol Matlack, UP FROM THE WRECKAGE OF
RUSSIAN SCIENCE. Can private enterprise pick up where the
Soviets left off?
5. New York Times book review: Eric Schmitt reviews ONE POINT
SAFE By Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn.
6. Alan Fahnestock: Response to response. (Re Matt Taibbi and
7. RIA Novosti: 30 TO 40 PER CENT OF ALL MURDERS OCCUR IN FAMILIES,
AND THEIR VICTIMS ARE MAINLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN, YEKATERINA LAKHOVA TELLS ROUND TABLE.
8. Tanya Chebotarev: Re comment from Albert Weeks.
9. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Tatyana Koshkareva, YELTSIN'S CASTLING MAY
YET TAKE RUSSIA BY SURPRISE. Cabinet Crisis Stimulates Search of New
Candidate for Premiership.
10. Reuters: Russian Communists plot moves in row with Yeltsin.
11. Reuters: U.S. report on Russian military said not new.
12. Mon Lor: TB.
13. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: ECONOMIC BOOM OR BUST? Economic Growth
Possible, if We Reduce State Spending. (Views of Andrei Illarionov).
14. Itar-Tass: Parliamentary Commission Analyzes Auction Results.]
From: "Olga Tabolina" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: East View Publications, Inc.
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 15:50:45 -0500
Subject: New catalog is online!
East View Publications presents our new Books on Microfiche Catalog.
Unique books on WWI, WWII. Declassified materials, most of them were
never previously available in the West. Limited press run statistical
materials from Russia/NIS .
Please try our catalog at
Director of Microforms
Crime-hit Siberian region goes to polls
By Peter Henderson
October 18, 1997
KEMEROVO, Russia, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A Siberian region singled out by
Russian President Boris Yeltsin as a corruption disaster in a nation hit by
crime chooses a new governor on Sunday in a vote showing how political lines
have blurred in the new Russia.
The miners of the gritty Kemerovo region were the heroes of the Soviet
Union, mythic underground workers who toiled to build communism, and later
became the vanguard of support for Yeltsin's efforts to found democracy.
Sunday's poll will be Kemerovo's first chance to choose its own governor
after years of rule by presidential appointees. It is also the last of
Russia's 89 regions to switch to an elected governor.
The main candidates are shirking Moscow party labels in a trend emerging
across Russia. The clear message coming from all sides in this once-rich
area half the size of France is that crime must be stopped for the economy
Yeltsin fired his appointee in July amid allegations of regional
corruption and reform problems. This year he turned his wrath on a local
mayor charged with embezzlement.
The strong favourite for Sunday's poll typifies the increasing complexity
of a political scene which used to be divided neatly into communists and
Aman Tuleyev stood against Yeltsin on a leftist ticket in last year's
presidential election, but went on to serve as minister for relations with
other former Soviet republics.
In July, Yeltsin sent him home, four time zones east, to become acting
governor of Kemerovo after the incumbent was fired.
``I am myself. Not everyone is standard-issue,'' Tuleyev, 53, said in an
interview in which he used anti-Moscow rhetoric applauded in gubernatorial
polls this year in many Russian regions.
Voters embrace him as ``our man'' who lived in a workers' neighbourhood
in a normal squat concrete block building, the type already disintegrating
in this 60-year-old town.
His opponent, Viktor Melnikov, is a member of the State Duma lower house
of parliament who keeps closer to the communist line but promises to work
with reformers and communists.
Tuleyev says the strangled Kuzbass economy, caught in a cash-poor web of
nonpayments, needs more state control and more room for individual choice.
Coal production is about half the level of a decade ago, one union says.
``Thievery must be made unprofitable,'' Tuleyev told Reuters, blasting
the ``slave mentality'' which he said kept the region from standing up to
crime. ``Company directors must be owners, because they will not steal from
He links control of the economy to control of crime and has sacked 37 top
members of the local administration in his short term as acting governor.
But Tuleyev tempers the capitalist rhetoric, which has given him a
reputation as a political cross-dresser in Russia.
``Prices must be kept unchanged for the nation,'' he said, calling for
large government stakes in major companies to further control. Medikov also
calls for a strong hand.
``In situations demanding toughness, I can be a dictator,'' he told the
opposition newspaper Nasha Gazeta.
Nasha Gazeta also published a lone plea for fairness in what is seen as a
one-sided election. While Tuleyev dominated the media, Medikov was largely
left out in the cold.
The paper quoted a statement by the local council of workers' committees,
which said Tuleyev's lack of strong and visible opposition would leave the
region without a truly democratically elected leader.
``Just like in the 'good old days', Kuzbass has a single candidate,'' the
workers' committee said.
Polls open at 8 a.m. (midnight GMT) and close at 10 p.m. (1400 GMT).
Results are unlikely to be announced before Monday.
A CLOSED KPRF PLENUM WHICH IS TO DETERMINE THE PARTY'S POSITION
ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN THE GOVERNMENT IS BEING HELD TODAY
MOSCOW, OCTOBER 18. (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ALEXANDRA
UTKINA). A Plenum of the Russian Federation communist party
opend today. It will be held in "the closed regime". The agenda
has not been published, but it is obvious that the main question
will be to determine the position of the communists on the
no-confidence vote in the government. It has become known that
this question will be considered at the regular session of the
State Duma on Wednesday.
The KPRF leader, Gennady Zyuganov, answering the questions
put by journalists yesterday, expressed confidence that the
plenum wil make "a correct decision" on the no-confidence vote
in the cabinet of ministers. According to him, a lot will depend
on the reaction of the President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, to
the message of the three leaders of the opposition factions and
deputy groups of the State Duma.
One of the leaders of the people's-patriotic union of
Russia (NPSR), chairman of the Cultural Heritage movement Alexei
Podberezkin stressed in an interview given to a RIA Novosti
correspondent, that "no great news" will be received from
today's forum of the left, and Zyuganov, according to him, "will
not be removed" from the post of the KPRF leader.
An informed source in the leadership of the
people's-patriotic union of Russia, during a talk with a RIA
Novosti correspondent, did not exclude that in the course of the
work of the KPRF plenum an attempt would be made to remove
Zyuganov from the post of KPRF and NPSR leader. According to
him, this will be made by the "radical wing" of the communists
who do not agree of party leader's tolerance on the question of
no-confidence vote in the government.
The official results of the plenum's work will be known
today evening, the Gennady Zyuganov will hold its press
October 27, 1997
[for personal use only]
UP FROM THE WRECKAGE OF RUSSIAN SCIENCE
Can private enterprise pick up where the Soviets left off?
By Carol Matlack in Moscow
Sloshing water onto a filthy rag, a cleaning lady swabs the steps of
Moscow's A.N. Bakh Institute of Biochemistry. Few others are in sight.
It's a sad comment on the state of Russian science. Government science
spending has dropped by two-thirds in the past five years, and more than
half of Russia's 1.5 million scientists have abandoned their
professions. With salaries averaging $60 to $70 a month and no money for
supplies, most researchers have stopped coming to their labs.
But while most of the Institute is dark, a brightly lit office on the
top floor hums with activity. Several institute scientists have set up
Inbio, a biotechnology company, to market an industrial air-cleaning
device that uses chemical-eating bacteria. President Vladimir Popov
grumbles about the tedium of running a business, but he earns enough to
fund his research into enzymes and X-ray crystallography.
Popov and his colleagues are among the survivors of the wreckage of
Russia's research Establishment, which was once the largest in the
world, employing more than 3.4 million people. But the government's
continuing budget woes have cut deeply into research funding. Russia's
federal government released less than 40% of the $1.3 billion allocated
for science in 1996. In the Ural Mountains city of Snezhinsk last
November, the head of a nuclear-weapons research center committed
suicide in apparent despair over funding cuts.
SHAKEOUT. As government outlays shrink, the rough-and-tumble market
economy that has emerged since the breakup of the Soviet Union is
starting to move into territory once occupied by government research
labs. The new entrepreneurial ventures are, in some cases, strengthening
Russian science by shaking it out of its complacency and the
straitjacket of bureaucracy. Scientists are setting up businesses,
finding new sponsors for their work, and forging once unimaginable
partnerships with foreign researchers. ''We're going to have coming out
of this a much leaner, smaller Russian science Establishment,'' says
Loren R. Graham, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology expert on
Before the breakup of the Soviet Union, scientists were expected to
serve the needs of the planned economy--especially the defense complex,
which accounted for nearly three-quarters of science spending. While the
system produced some world-class research, especially in physics and
mathematics, many projects were of questionable value. One Moscow
institute had the task of preserving V.I. Lenin's embalmed corpse. And
institute directors were more often rewarded for their political
connections than for the quality of their research.
Today, lack of funds has already cut institute staffs by more than 50%,
and shrinkage is continuing. Former Science & Technology Minister Boris
Saltykov reckons that, eventually, no more than a dozen institutes will
remain under direct federal control. The rest will have to find other
sources of support or perish. In hopes of preserving the country's best
labs, the government since the early 1990s has channeled extra funds to
about 30 institutes designated as ''state science centers.'' A new
government-financed foundation, much like the U.S.'s National Science
Foundation, dispenses grants to individual scientists through
peer-reviewed competition. Another foundation helps
scientist-entrepreneurs commercialize their inventions.
BRAIN DRAIN. But funds for such initiatives total less than 15% of the
science budget. And while some industrial giants, such as natural-gas
provider Gazprom, maintain their own research departments, Russia lags
far behind the West in private-sector support for research and
Reform also has not stanched the exodus of some 30,000 top scientists
from Russia in the past four years. Popov says most of the best
researchers in his laboratory have left. ''They're working in Hamburg,
Boston, Montreal--everywhere but Russia,'' he says. ''As soon as they
get their doctorates, they leave.''
The transformation to market-based science ventures is most visible at
the country's 4,000 research institutes. Some have become ghost towns or
are renting out space to banks, restaurants, and even car dealerships.
But institutes keen on surviving are giving their blessing, usually in
the form of free rent and utilities, to employees who want to start
businesses. More than 50,000 scientists have already done so. Most
institutes remaining open have become ad-hoc associations of small
companies, says Saltykov, who was the first post-Soviet sci-tech
minister. Few are making profits, Saltykov says, but many businesses
generate enough money to let scientists continue their research. ''We
are in the process of not only surviving but developing,'' says Andrei
Fursenko, a scientist who left a prestigious physics institute in St.
Petersburg in 1991 to start a high-tech venture with several colleagues.
His business, which produces lasers for semiconductor manufacturing, now
employs 30 people. Fursenko says it makes a modest profit on annual
revenues of $1 million.
Scientist-entrepreneurs have found markets inside and outside Russia.
Space researchers in the Moscow suburb of Zelenograd set up a computer
company whose data-encryption software is being sold worldwide by
U.S.-based Sun Microsystems Inc. Other scientists are finding customers
closer to home. Researchers at Moscow's Plekhanov Economics Academy came
up with the idea of a fast-food chain for the local market, featuring
exclusively Russian fare. They sold Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov on the
idea, and they now have a consulting contract with a city-run restaurant
chain called Russkoye Bistro.
Even secretive military installations are getting into the act. Security
restrictions prevent many military labs from commercializing their
research, but about 10% of the 10,000 scientists and engineers in the
central Russian city of Sarov--once a top-secret, closed city known as
Arzamas 16--now work for startups that have commercialized technologies
developed at the city's Institute of Experimental Physics.
HANDS ACROSS THE WATER. The scramble for funds has also prompted
institutes to seek international research partners. The prestigious
Institute of Nuclear Physics in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk now
gets more than half its budget from outside Russia. It has cooperative
agreements with national laboratories in the U.S. and with the CERN
particle-accelerator project in Europe. Such cooperation has boosted
morale and attracted talented young scientists to the institute, says
Director Alexander Skrinsky.
Life isn't easy for Russia's scientist-entrepreneurs. Inbio, Popov's
company, hasn't turned a profit after five years, even though it gets
free rent and utilities from the Bakh Institute. Initially, the company
sold its air-cleaning device to Russian factories, but that market
collapsed as domestic customers slid into bankruptcy. Now, Inbio has
licensed its technology to a subsidiary of British engineering company
Sutcliffe Speakman, which is targeting customers in Asia and the West.
It recently won orders from five factories in Korea and Britain for the
device, which sells for about $150,000.
Others have turned to shady practices. A recent investigation by the
federal government's audit chamber found that employees of the Russian
Academy of Agricultural Sciences set up shell companies that then signed
contracts with the Academy for work that its employees were already
being paid to do. The Academy's leaders took part in the scheme and were
paid off with new cars and other benefits.
Popov still pines for the days when he could immerse himself in research
and let other people worry about money. But for now, he and other
Russian scientists will continue their experiments in the laboratory of
The Decline of Russian Science from 1991 to 1997
-- Government spending on science fell from over 3% of gross domestic
product to 1.2%
-- Employment in science dropped from 3.4 million to 1.3 million
-- At least 30,000 top researchers left Russia
New York Times
19 October 1997
[for personal use only]
Book Review section
October 19, 1997
Nuclear warheads: cheap, while supplies last (previous owner going out
By ERIC SCHMITT
Eric Schmitt, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times, covered
the Pentagon for six years.
ONE POINT SAFE
By Andrew Cockburn
and Leslie Cockburn.
288 pp. New York:
Anchor Books/Doubleday. $23.95.
One evening in November 1993, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn tell us, Russian
workers from a weapons plant deep in the Urals drove off with two
nuclear warheads. Only three days later did plant officials notice the
warheads missing and track them to a local garage. Earlier this year, a
former Russian national security adviser stated that more than 80
suitcase-size nuclear bombs were missing from Moscow's arsenal.
Chilling stories like these fuel the highly readable ''One Point Safe,''
a sobering look at the potential for nuclear mayhem in the post-cold-war
world. The Cockburns, contributing editors for Vanity Fair, rely on
classified documents and interviews with American and Russian nuclear
experts to weave a compelling, if at times breathless, anecdotal
account. They take readers into a shadowy netherworld of the Russian
mafia, Middle Eastern terrorists and rogue generals trafficking in
nuclear material stolen from Moscow's loosely guarded stockpile of
23,000 nuclear warheads. The book, which inspired the movie ''The
Peacemaker,'' begins with a little reported 1977 midnight commando raid
by the Baader-Meinhof gang against an American nuclear stockpile in
Germany. After a fierce firefight with United States troops, the
terrorists retreated before they could steal any bombs. The book then
chronicles 20 years of hair-raising security lapses and thefts of
nuclear materials, and efforts by various Administrations in Washington
to deal with them.
Clearly, the Cockburns are aiming to shock the reader whose eyes might
otherwise glaze over at the mention of arms proliferation and nuclear
weapons (though, with that in mind, they might have picked a more
accessible title; ''one point safe'' is a weapons-engineering term
referring to a safety standard all United States nuclear arms must
meet). Some of the bad guys are obvious, like the sinister terrorists
from breakaway Russian republics. But the authors also single out
Clinton Administration bureaucrats who, fearful of jeopardizing their
close relationship with Boris N. Yeltsin's Government, are unwilling or
unable to respond quickly to obvious danger.
The heroes, meanwhile, are a group of brilliant but maverick underlings
fighting to sound the alarm despite a resistant bureaucracy: a White
House physicist, a nuclear whiz at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, a
science attache at the United States Embassy in Moscow and a
middle-level aide at the National Security Council.
The Cockburns write in a breezy, descriptive style that sometimes gets
them into trouble. They can be irritatingly familiar with their heroes,
often calling them by their first names. (''Ken, Jessica and Frank''
always seem to be scheming at Au Bon Pain near the White House.) And the
prose can be purplish. On the relationship between Jessica Stern, the
security council staff member, and the Livermore whiz: ''If there was an
element of beauty and the beast in their relationship, neither of them
noticed. Jessica worshiped Jerry Dzakowic, and the feeling was mutual.''
The Cockburns are at their best describing the byzantine world of
Livermore (with its top-secret Z Division and Q security clearances) and
enterprises like a 1994 American project to airlift more than half a ton
of bomb-grade uranium out of Kazakhstan and a furious cat-and-mouse game
Iraq played with United Nations inspectors looking for nuclear
components after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
But the book falls short in other respects. The Cockburns have focused
on the sexiest threat -- missing or stolen nuclear weapons -- when most
experts say the bigger problem is the smuggling of nuclear components
and technological know-how. Moreover, ''One Point Safe'' is silent on
perhaps an even more alarming threat: chemical and biological agents,
which are easier to conceal and transport than nuclear components.
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997
From: Fahnest542@aol.com (Alan Fahnestock)
Subject: Response to response
Dear Mr. Taibbi:
Yes, I did criticise only you, which rather bothered me at the time because I
do not wholly disagree with you: I do not consider the World Bank to be
blameless. On the other hand, I have yet to encounter anyone or any
institution that is. I lie down with dogs continually, for lack of other
companionship (or, for that matter, a more laudable way to earn my daily
bread), and, consequently, have quite an assortment of fleas, no doubt. This
bothers me a good deal, but, naively perhaps, I consider it better to wear a
flea-collar if necessary than to simply curse the race. I envy you your
purity but sympathise with your presumed loneliness.
Please note: I did not say "So what?", but, "So what else is new?". The
Marshall Plan was an egregious example of interference in Europe's sovereign
affairs, yet many people now think it was rather a good idea at the time, not
least a substantial number of Europeans. The World Bank's efforts, while
clearly not strictly analogous, just might have the odd positive attribute as
well, and I don't know that anyone has proposed a truly viable alternative.
And, surely, as voluble as you are concerning your own rectitude, you
wouldn't expect them to advertise themselves as con-men, even if they could
be deemed such by a rational observer. Finally, did the miners get paid or
did they not? I've met them; they qualify as "absolute poor" in anyone's
book, and I suspect they were tickled to get the scratch, regardless of its
I have to agree that this is going nowhere rather quickly. I, again, laud
your lively prose and your commitment to what you see as the truth, even your
emulation of the great and the gonzo: such viewpoints are necessary. There
are times when I wish I could enjoy the luxury of such certainty, but I toil
amongst the great unwashed, where it is a commodity in rather short supply.
Let me know when your first tablets are published.
[Info supplied at DJ's request:
Mr. Fahnestock is a self-described poison-spitting gnome, ill-educated in a
large variety of subjects and intolerant of anyone who knows what he's
talking about. The recipient, against all odds, of an advanced degree from
the Jackson School of International Studies some years back, he gained little
thereby except an appetite for correcting other people's grammar and being
out of work. After several years disporting himself at the expense of
assorted multinationals in the CIS, he recently returned to polite society
and was treated appropriately. Currently, he is employed in the
telecommunications industry...what time is it?]
30 TO 40 PER CENT OF ALL MURDERS OCCUR IN FAMILIES,
AND THEIR VICTIMS ARE MAINLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN,
YEKATERINA LAKHOVA TELLS ROUND TABLE
By RIA Novosti correspondent Galina Baryshnikova
MOSCOW, OCTOBER 17, RIA NOVOSTI - Between 30 and 40 per
cent of all killings happen in families, and their main victims
are women and children.
According to the main interior department, there have been
36,000 cases of household battering over the past six months.
This was revealed today by Yekaterina Lakhova, chairwoman
of the presidential Commission on Women, Family and Demography.
She was speaking at a round table dealing with violence
against the individual in the household.
Every year, according to her, 14,000 women die at the hands
of their husbands or relatives. Law enforcement bodies are
particularly worried by a growth of child abuse in families,
She emphasised that about 2 million children are abused by
their parents, and 30 per cent of all sexual abuse is over
Because of psychological injuries received in families,
2,000 children commit suicide, and 50,000 run away annually.
Violence exists in families with different social and
economic status, noted representatives of women's public
organisations and members of a consortium of CIS and US
non-governmental associations, who took part in the round
No small role, according to women activists, is played by
the propaganda of violence in mass media.
Representatives of the public organisations reached a
consensus on the need to expand the network of crisis centres
and homes and set up, on the example of other countries,
shelters for psychological and social relief to victims, train
personnel for solving this problem, and provide a legal base to
protect the interests of household abuse victims.
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 14:46:16 -0400
From: email@example.com (Tanya Chebotarev)
Subject: Re: comment from Albert Weeks
Hi David, here is a brief remark on A. Weeks comments you can post: If I
understood correctly Dr. Weeks was thinking of Evgenii Zamiatin, not
Leonid while mentioning him as one of those who was banished by Lenin.
Dear Albert, where did you get this information? I am truly puzzled since
it is well- known fact that Evgenii Zamiatin, author of famous "MY", left
the country after an open letter to Stalin in which he asked Stalin for
permission to leave Russia some 12 or so years after Lenin's death. Can
you share your sources? Tanya Chebotarev, archivist.
>From RIA Novosti
October 17, 1997
YELTSIN'S CASTLING MAY YET TAKE RUSSIA BY SURPRISE
Cabinet Crisis Stimulates Search of New Candidate for Premiership
By Tatyana KOSHKAREVA
The vote of no confidence has been postponed, rather than
altogether removed from the agenda. And even though the
President has had a finger in the postponement, some initiators
may choose to go all the way since their partisan standing is
now directly dependent on their ability to topple premier
Moreover, the prospect of a prime ministerial vacancy
continues to excite the imagination of many a politician. This
is the reason why they have drawn detailed scenarios of
capturing the premiership, although nobody really believed in
Viktor Chernomyrdin's resignation.
There have been at least three scenarios of events in the
wake of a successful vote of no confidence in the cabinet. The
Duma was scared stiff by the prospect of Anatoly Chubais'
appointment to the post. The insurgent Duma would never put up
with it and thus might be dissolved. If this were the case, the
Duma would punish itself and the nation. Its members would lose
their cuddly working places, while the nation would go do with
the election fever for the next few months.
But a more serene analyst would conclude that Yeltsin
would hardly appoint Chubais the premier. The young reformer is
at his best in the role of a bugbear, and giving him too much
power would be risky.
Boris Nemtsov, the other first deputy premier and one more
potential candidate for premiership, was highly conspicuous on
Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a logic there: first, Nemtsov
is a less odious figure than Chubais and has a lot of fans in
the electorate. Secondly, his appointment would end the
abnormal coexistence of two first deputies to the premier. The
only deputy to Nemtsov the premier would be Grigory Yavlinsky.
Chernomyrdin's repeat appointment would be the best and
most promising compromise solution from the viewpoint of common
sense, if not high politics. It would satisfy all and, most
importantly, preclude a period of political and economic
Other scenarios were much more exotic. One was the
eventual coming to power of an Alexander Shokhin cabinet -
following the rejection of Chubais and Nemtsov.
But Duma watchers and political news analysts seem to have
forgotten that Boris Yeltsin hates standard decisions.
A ranking source in the Kremlin told this correspondent
that if the Chernomyrdin cabinet were to resign, the
premiership might go to the Russian Central Bank's chief Sergei
Dubinin or RAO Gazprom's boss Rem Vyakhirev.
One point in their favour is that they belong to
Chernomyrdin's political and economic camp and the coming to
power of either of them would not tip the current balance of
Moreover, they have never voiced any political ambitions
and the President would not have to expect any underhand play
if either of the two were to become the premier.
Dubinin's and Vyakhirev's candidacies would hardly be
rejected offhand by the Left, the Right or the 'young
reformers', if only because the resultant vacancies in the Bank
of Russia and the nation's largest company open up interesting
prospects for placing one's own people at the posts.
Russian Communists plot moves in row with Yeltsin
By Timothy Heritage
MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Russia's Communist Party meets on Saturday to plot
its next moves in a stand-off with President Boris Yeltsin and his government
over economic reforms.
Delegates at a party plenary meeting face a choice between outright
confrontation with the government or retreating from a no-confidence vote
proposed by Communist deputies in the State Duma (lower house of parliament)
and set for next Wednesday.
Yeltsin, his government and Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov all
signalled compromise was looming on Friday, two days after the president
appealed for reason and the Communists agreed to postpone the vote for a
``Our party is united and will find answers to all questions,'' Zyuganov told
reporters on Friday, dismissing reports that the party was divided and he was
under pressure to take a tougher stance against the government.
He welcomed Yeltsin's acceptance of a Communist demand for broad
``round-table'' talks on Russia's problems and added: ``I'm convinced there
will be a round table in Russia and it will find a way out of this
Despite his apparent confidence, the venue of the meeting has not been
announced and the media are being kept out.
Zyuganov said the Communists' decision on Wednesday's vote would untimately
depend on how Yeltsin reacts to a list of demands including a two-year
nationwide freeze on rent increases and opposition airtime on television.
The plenary meeting had been scheduled before the battle over the
no-confidence vote began, but it is expected to devote much of its time to
considering the dispute.
In one concession, Yeltsin has agreed to meet Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, the Duma's Communist speaker Gennady Zeleznyov and the upper
house speaker, Yegor Stroyev, on Monday for conciliation talks. They are
expected to set a schedule for the broader ``round-table talks.
First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais has already been quoted by
Interfax news agency as saying some of the Communists' conditions for
shelving the vote are ``quite acceptable'' and ``workable and substantive.''
Some, such as setting up supervisory panels for state broadcasters, would be
decided on within days. But others, such as the rent freeze, would face
government resistance, he said.
Zyuganov, 53, has been moving towards compromise despite his bitter
condemnation of the govermnent's record in a speech to the Duma last
He is wary of Yeltsin carrying out threats to dismiss the Duma if it provokes
him. The president can disband the chamber if it votes no-confidence in the
government twice in three months and Yeltsin could find ways to force a
Some Communists, especially delegates from regions where workers are angry
with the governemnt because they have not been paid for months, are likely to
criticise Zyuganov on Saturday.
Others, including deputies wary of losing their parliamentary seats in an
election, will back him. Zyuganov is expected to hold a news conference after
U.S. report on Russian military said not new
MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Russian defence experts on Friday shrugged off as
nothing new a U.S. press report saying that Moscow was increasing its
reliance on nuclear weapons.
They said it was well known the country's economic woes had long made such a
The Washington Times quoted a ``top secret'' intelligence report as saying
Russia would put greater emphasis on its nuclear armoury and planned deep
cuts in its ground forces.
The report was drawn up by the Joint Intelligence Committee, a forum
comprising intelligence officials from the United States, Britain, Canada and
Australia, the paper said.
Its main conclusions were broadly in line with stated Russian policy.
President Boris Yeltsin and his defence minister, the former head of the
strategic nuclear command, are trying to slim down and modernise the Cold
War-era armed forces.
``It is largely a question of economy. Russia must carry out military reforms
but has to preserve the backbone of its nuclear deterrent,'' said Vadim
Markushin, a journalist at the Defence Ministry newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.
Russia's status as a major nuclear power would be carefully protected despite
the planned reductions in other areas of the defence budget, including troop
numbers, he said.
``With all our economic difficulties...Russia must still preserve intact its
nuclear shield,'' Markushin said.
Officials at the Defence Ministry were not immediately available to comment
on the U.S. newspaper's report, which said Russia wanted to ``maintain a
credible strategic deterrent to compensate for the weaknesses in its
Earlier this year Ivan Rybkin, secretary of the policy-making Security
Council, recommended Russia abandon its principle of not using nuclear
weapons first in response to an attack by another country with conventional
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had pledged that the Soviet Union would not
use nuclear arms first in any armed conflict.
In Cold War days the West, and especially the European nuclear powers France
and Britain, was heavily reliant on nuclear arms to meet the overwhelming
conventional superiority of the now defunct Warsaw Pact.
In recent years both Russia and the United States have made deep cuts in
their nuclear arsenals and all short-range weapons for battlefield use have
However, Moscow is uneasy about the expansion of its old enemy NATO into
central and eastern Europe. Former Warsaw Pact members Poland, Hungary and
the Czech Republic were this year formally invited to join the Atlantic
Friday's report in the Washington Times also said Russia planned to cut its
ground forces in half by 2005.
Yeltsin has made clear he wants troop numbers cut by half a million to 1.2
million by the end of 1998 as part of radical reforms aimed at turning
Russia's cumbersome, conscript-based army into a leaner, professional
Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev, who previously commanded Russia's strategic
nuclear forces, reiterated this week that the country needed a smaller
professional army but said the goal would not be achieved by the year 2000.
He has also signalled recently that cuts in troop numbers and military
bureaucracy should help free up funds to update Russia's ageing weaponry and
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mon Lor)
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 23:33:00 -0700
To: David Johnson <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 1292-TB
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Your last mass e-mail contained a great deal of information. I'm not too
surprised to read about all the problems that the former Soviet Union is
having at this time. As a result of the downfall of the communist party in
the former SU, a great deal of reorganizing and rebuilding of the
infrastructure has occured. While attempting to reorganize the country's
military, the government has knowingly neglected the problems with the
spread of tuberculosis. Many people are being left to die by the
government. I say this blatantly because tuberculosis is a treatable
disease when it is diagnosed properly and treated immediately. The
government is responsible for the well being of the people. It should take
the necessary steps to prevent and control further outbreaks and to treat
those who are ill. What is your view on this situation? I understand that
there is a lack of funds and resources for all this to occur but there must
be something. Please respond with your comments.
>From RIA Novosti
October 9, 1997
ECONOMIC BOOM OR BUST?
Economic Growth Possible, if We Reduce State Spending
By Yelena KRYAZHEVA
Given long-term favorable external conditions, Russia can
chalk up 2-3-percent growth rates throughout 1998.
This was stated by Andrei Illarionov in charge of the
Economic Survey Institute.
Russia has so far failed to ensure economic growth, which
is seen as its main problem. Such growth seems distinctly
possible, in case we cut back on state spending.
According to Illarionov, the draft 1998 federal budget
should, first of all, be assessed in the context of its ability
to ensure sustainable nationwide economic growth.
Russia, which has lost a considerable part of its economic
potential during the 1991-1997 crisis, now lags behind many
industrial and developing nations of the world.
Russia came to have the world's 14-th biggest GDP
throughout 1997. And its per-capita GDP volumes now give this
country a befitting 102nd place among the world's 209
countries. Russia also has a less impressive economic potential
than the G-7, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and South
Therefore one can safely say that resumed economic growth
is now seen as an imperative task of our entire state policy.
Russian state-spending volumes had soared during the early
1990s, inevitably leading to economic recession. Specific
GDP-recession rates tally with state-spending volumes. The
reduction of state spending throughout 1993 (on 1992 levels)
had slowed down nationwide recession rates.
However, a new upsurge in populist policies in 1994, which
was marked by increased budgetary expenditures, had entailed
yet another recession.
The Russian Government had reduced state-spending ceilings
by an impressive 8-plus percent of the entire GDP over the 1995
period, thus slowing down local recession. Such recession,
which had totalled 12.7 percent throughout 1994, used to equal
4.1 percent in 1995.
However, state-spending volumes had soared once again
throughout 1996, thereby pruning the GDP still further.
Preliminary estimates show that the Cabinet have slashed
state expenditures by 5 percent of the nation's GDP throughout
1997. Incidentally, recession rates have slowed down by the
The Russian Federation's State Committee for Statistics
estimates that the January-August 1997 output didn't dwindle
for the first time in 9 years, totalling 100 percent on 1996
The draft 1998 federal budget stipulates an insignificant
reduction in state-spending volumes (by 1.2 percent of the
On the other hand, other components of the state's
financial system, e.g. regional budgets, extra-budgetary funds,
etc., don't stipulate any spending cuts whatsoever.
Consequently, overall spending volumes won't be reduced, what
with total budgetary expenditures equalling nearly 40 percent
of GDP levels.
Anyone, who wishes to overcome the persisting crisis and
to ensure Russia's genuine revival, has no other alternative
but to organize an economic boom, Illarionov said in
conclusion. This objective can be accomplished by reducing
state expenditures at all budgetary levels.
Parliamentary Commission Analyzes Auction Results
MOSCOW, October 14 (Itar-Tass) -- A parliamentary commission, which
analyzes results of auctions selling federal shares of the Svyazinvest
company, Norilsk Nickel, the Tyumen oil company and the Sibneft oil
company, summed up preliminary results on Tuesday [14 October].
"Our super-task is to find out on an instruction of the State Duma
whether it is necessary to sell the country's strategic resources, whether
this will do good for future generations and whether the federal budget
will gain necessary finances from the auctions," commission chairman and
Duma deputy from the Communist faction Valeriy Vorotnikov said at a news
The commission is "facing serious problems" in the investigation, he
said. One of its most important tasks is to find out the origin of
finances used by contest winners at the auctions. However, the commission
has not received "a clear and comprehensive answer" from the State Tax
Department, the Tax Police, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security
Service, Vorotnikov said.
The commission has reached a strategic conclusion -- contests and
auctions were held hurriedly and on a basis of departmental documents which
were not approved by the Justice Ministry, he noted.
"Expectations related to auction proceeds to the federal budget, which
clearly lost, also did not come true," the commission head stressed. In
his words, the commission is so far not prepared to make "final conclusions
and estimations." Still, he hopes they will finalize their work in due time
-- November 1, 1997.