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18 December 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
If you live in the Chicago area you can see my television
program "Whither Russia?," an episode of the Center for
Defense Information's television series America's Defense Monitor.
Sunday December 21 at 12:30 pm on WTTW, Channel 11. The rest of
you can order a VHS tape of this up-to-date documentary by
Some of you have been receiving duplicate messages over the
past few days. I think the problem is corrected.
1. AP: Aides Say Yeltsin Will Return Soon.
2. Sovetskaya Rossiya: Interview with Sergey Glazyev, chief of
the Russian Federation Council's Information Analysis Administration,
"Sergey Glazyev: 'The State Could Very Soon Be...Bankrupt'."
3. Ira Straus: Re 1430- Hough.
4. Reuters: New Hope for Russian Ratification of START-2.
5. AP: Ex-General Proposes Army Reform. (Rokhlin).
6. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Yeltsin's Security, Travel Arrangements
7. The Times (UK): Richard Beeston, Freezing Russians put their
trust in vodka.
8. RIA Novosti: RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN OUTGOING YEAR WAS ONLY
"50 PER CENT EFFECTIVE, WITH MANY THINGS DONE AND MANY NOT," BELIEVES
9. Commersant Daily: MOSCOW MAYOR GETS WHAT HE WANTS.
10. Interfax: Zyuganov Outlines Views on Land Code.
11. Interfax: Yeltsin on Possible Majority Government After Elections.
12. Itar-Tass: Russia "Concerned" at US Weapons.
13. Journal of Commerce: Michael Lelyveld, US: Stow the cell phone
when traveling in Russia.
14. Pravda 5: Post-Soviet Realities.
15. Smena (St. Petersburg): The Population of St. Petersburg Has
Declined by the Equivalent of the Population of Kostroma.
16. Sankt-Peterburgskye Vedomosti: We Are against Exporting Russian
Aides Say Yeltsin Will Return Soon
December 17, 1997
By SERGEI SHARGORODSKY
MOSCOW (AP) - Despite a bad cold, Boris Yeltsin talked on the phone Wednesday
with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and aides said the Russian president could
return to his Kremlin office in a few days.
Yeltsin and Kohl discussed ``plans for high-level contacts'' in 1998 as well
as a joint project to build a new transport aircraft, the An-70, the
president's office said.
The president has been working several hours a day at the Barvikha government
health clinic outside Moscow, which he entered a week ago with an acute viral
respiratory infection. Doctors have said he would need up to 12 days to
``Thank God, now he is better and he is working,'' Yeltsin's wife Naina said
Wednesday, according to the Interfax news agency. ``However, we say he should
(work) less, because he never completes the treatment.''
``Nobody is immune from the virus. He needs to recover. It's a pity that it
happened, but I think everything will be all right, he will soon be in shape
and discharged,'' Mrs. Yeltsin was quoted as telling school children near
Yeltsin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky also sounded optimistic at a Kremlin
``The doctors said the president would be back within 10 to 12 days, and
going to be back within that time,'' he said, denying Russian media reports
that Yeltsin might stay away for at least three more weeks.
The president's condition is stable, his temperature and blood pressure
normal, and there is no sign of wheezing in his lungs, Yastrzhembsky said.
Yeltsin was likely to deliver his regular radio address next Friday, he added
Last Friday, it was canceled on doctors' advice.
The president's schedule for January, including a visit to India, remains
unchanged, Yastrzhembsky said, adding that Yeltsin also planned to travel to
Malaysia in November 1998 for a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation forum. The 18-nation APEC has decided to accept Russia as a new
member in 1998.
Dr. Renat Akchurin, the president's heart surgeon, said Yeltsin's current
illness was not related to the heart bypass operation he underwent 13 months
Economist Glazyev Hits Current Money Policy
December 6, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Interview with Sergey Glazyev, chief of the Russian Federation
Council's Information Analysis Administration, by Yuriy Dyukarev, in
Moscow, date not given: "Sergey Glazyev: 'The State Could Very
Soon Be... Bankrupt'"
Our reformers' financial strategy is leading Russia toward
catastrophe. And if this happens it will be not only the government, lost
in its financial-economic fantasies, that appears before the world in the
role of the "emperor with no clothes" but also the majority of us and all
our unfortunate country.
Here is what Sergey Glazyev, the well-known economist and politician
and chief of the Russian Federation Council's Information Analysis
Administration, has to say about this.
[Dyukarev] In your opinion, Sergey Yuryevich, has the crisis passed
its peak now?
[Glazyev] Unfortunately the past few days' events in the financial
market suggest an increase in tension. The flight of non- residents from
our markets is continuing even after the Central Bank and the government
raised interest rates and the state short-term bond yield. The Central
Bank is essentially spending the country's last currency reserves on buying
up state short-term bonds and on ensuring the transfer of foreign
speculators' capital together with the superprofits obtained from state
short-term bond speculation. It is doing this in an attempt to cope somehow
with the fulfillment of its commitments to the IMF on the free transfer of
payments abroad. But as the foreigners dispose of their securities they
snatch their capital at the last moment from under the financial pyramid of
Russian state debt instruments that is threatening to collapse. At the
same time the Central Bank is buying up the state short-term bonds
discarded by the foreigners in an attempt to support this financial
[Dyukarev] How long can this last, in your opinion? Is there even a
distant light at the end of the tunnel?
[Glazyev] Judge for yourself. According to current assessments the
Central Bank has already spent around $8 billion on servicing the flight of
foreign speculative capital. If you bear in mind that its gold and
currency reserves totaled around $20 billion there will be enough currency
to last only until the end of the week if the current situation persists.
This could be followed by the state's financial bankruptcy.
[Dyukarev] Is this not unduly pessimistic?
[Glazyev] You must understand that the Bank of Russia's decision to
widen the currency band and the subsequent effective devaluation of the
ruble signaled its lack of potential in this regard. The country's gold
and currency reserves at the start of November were valued at approximately
$22.5 billion, whereas foreign investments in state securities were valued
at $20 billion. The outflow of Western investments from the state
short-term bond market, according to some estimates, is already approaching
$4-5 billion. The Bank of Russia spent 1 trillion rubles [R] a day all
last week supporting the state short-term bond market alone.
The Bank of Russia today remains virtually the only customer for state
short-term bonds and has amassed around one-half of all of them in its
hands. Together with the Sberbank, which is under its control, you get a
depressing figure of 85-87 percent. What does this mean? Just one thing:
In an attempt to preserve its reputation with the IMF and foreign
speculators at any price the Bank of Russia is "consuming" its final
currency reserves and the whole burden of the imminent financial collapse
is being borne by the population's Sberbank savings and by the state.
Unless there is a change in the Central Bank's priorities, it will
"spend" the gold reserves and then ask the IMF for new loans. But this
will not be enough to support the financial pyramid. After all, until
recently non-residents held state short-term bonds worth almost $15
Unfortunately, the Bank of Russia itself, it seems, has not abandoned
its policy. The "Basic Guidelines of Money-Credit Policy for 1998"
demonstrate this. It emerges from the document with complete inevitability
that the emphasis will continue to be placed on the inflow of foreign
capital by increasing foreign borrowings as a basis for the
non-inflationary increase of the money supply. In other words the flawed
nature of the previous policy highlighted by recent events is still not
obvious to the Bank of Russia....
[Dyukarev] It is being said that the government's experts are
currently working out the possible options for and consequences of the
granting of a major IMF loan to Russia. They are saying that if this loan
takes place it might be possible to support Russia's financial markets, as
happened in South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, which have received $5
billion, $16 billion, $7 billion, and $40 billion respectively [as
published]. What is your opinion?
[Glazyev] This policy can hardly be regarded as correct. It is
correct only from the standpoint of the international financial
speculators' community. Why is this? Because in these conditions they are
calmly shipping all their capital out of our country along with vast
amounts of interest. Whereas the Russian population and the bankrupt state
will continue to wear the shackles of debt.
[Dyukarev] What do you propose?
[Glazyev] I believe that it would have been in Russia's national
interests to temporarily suspend the free export of capital from Russia as
soon as the flight of speculative investments began. At the same time it
should stop the free conversion of the ruble into foreign currency except
for the servicing of import operations until the market calms down.
To broaden the state's stabilization potential it is also expedient to
adopt the long-needed decision on the conversion of export settlements to a
ruble basis. What does this mean? Hard currency export earnings should
remain entirely within the banking system and only rubles exchanged at the
current rate should be paid into the accounts of the exporter enterprises.
This would make it possible to consolidate the currency reserves of both
the Central Bank and the commercial banks and in the long term would aid
the policy of dedollarizing the economy.
You will note that such an approach fully corresponds to the Law on
Currency Regulation and Control. This would make it possible to protect
the residue of the country's gold and currency reserves from being
senselessly squandered. As for the Central Bank, it should abandon the
absurd practice of buying up state short-term bonds that have been dumped
by non-residents and allow these securities to fall sharply in price. This
would substantially ease the burden of redeeming the state debt and offer
an opportunity to get out of the debt crisis in a way that does not hurt
the population and saves state money.
But they are not the only losers now. Russia's banks are also
suffering enormous losses. Unlike non-residents, they cannot take all
their assets abroad. They also detest the policy of "muddling through
somehow." Operations in the interbank market have virtually ceased and
interest rates have soared to 50 percent.
In these conditions a very real paralysis could soon seize the
country's entire payments and money system.
From: "Ira Straus" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 1430- Hough
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997
Once again, in the midst of sometimes wild polemics, I find buried some
important Hough remarks:
> superpowers of the 21st century should be China and India, but countries
> like Indonesia and Pakistan have the potential to be far more troublesome
> than Iraq and Iran because of their size. The logic of Baker's "from
> Vladivostok to Vancouver" was the need for a European, Judeo-Christian
> super-power of a billion people in the 21st century. It assumed, unlike
> Huntington and Brzezinski, that the Russians are Europeans and part of
> our civilization and that, even if not, have the geopolitical interest
> to align with the West because of potential threats to the South.
> (Aleksandr Rutskoi was very explicit about this, and it is a widespread
> view in the military.)
How rarely do we hear this basic, indispensable point when the issue is
being discussed in the West! How much more do we need to hear it! Without
it, our entire perspective is skewed.
(I suppose Jerry H. will be joining the Committee on Eastern Europe and
Russia in NATO around about this time.)
The matter needn't, however, be viewed primarily from a standpoint of fear.
The billion people from "V to V", while numerically equivalent to a billion
anywhere eles (India, China), are geopolitically more powerful than all the
other 4.something billion combined. And will remain in this relatively
secure position well into the next century, or beyond it -- unless they're
so stupid as to quarrel with one another, seek and build up allies around
the world against one another, and spread their latest military equipment
and technologies around the world.
Unfortunately, such stupidity we've seen throughout the 20th century, and
we're seeing some of it now again before our eyes. That makes it all the
more important to re-iterate the basic point Hough makes about; but also to
go beyond making the point to actually organizing the "V to V" area in a
visible form, one that provides some significant reserves of institutional
capabilities, mutual identification, joint identity, joint initiative,
self-sustenance, and self-discipline. In that case, we'll have not just
another super-power, but a super-super-power (in a phrase of Rick Wicks).
One small correction. Actually Baker left space for inclusion of Japan and
other non-European OECD countries alongside all the OSCE countries in his
vision of the new Atlanticism "from V to V". Only the predominant, not the
exclusive, foundation was to be upon the European heritage -- call it
Judeo-Christian if one likes, to satisfy the proponents of deep
civilizational historical heritage as the criterion for membership; but the
Renaissance and Enlightenment heritage is probably more important, and has
the virtue of being a heritage that can with some effort (and luck and
skill) be imported not just inherited. Baker always referred to that
Enlightenment heritage; 18th century federalism was his explicit model,
which he counterposed to 19th century organic nationalism and historicism.
Of course, the 18th c. American federalists were well aware of historical
heritage, national characteristics and the like; they simply had the good
sense to be forward looking and use them pragmatically in conjunction with
construction of a common future for those capable of it, rather than be
beholden to the forms they took in some previous geopolitical
Fulbright Professor '97-98
Russian State University for the Humanities
New Hope for Russian Ratification of START-2
December 17, 1997
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov told U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday he was hopeful
Russia's parliament would ratify the START-2 strategic arms pact next
year, U.S. officials said.
"He expressed optimism that START-2 would be ratified next year," a
senior U.S. official said, reporting on breakfast talks between the
ministers on the fringes of a NATO meeting in Brussels.
The 1993 START-2 treaty, reducing U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear
arsenals to a maximum of 3,500 warheads apiece, or about one-third of
Cold War levels, has been ratified by the U.S. Senate but not the
Russian Duma (parliament).
Some Duma members say the treaty is unfavourable to Moscow, and
ratification has also been slowed by Russian anger over NATO's expansion
The U.S. official said Albright told Primakov ratification was important
so that a projected summit next year between U.S. President Bill Clinton
and Russian President Boris Yeltsin could focus on a projected START-3
The official said Albright also pressed Primakov for a concerted
response in the U.N. Security Council to Iraq's reported refusal to let
U.N. weapons inspectors enter its so-called presidential sites.
Russia has taken a line broadly sympathetic to Iraq in the dispute with
the United Nations, but the official said Albright reminded Primakov
that Security Council resolutions say Baghdad must open up any site the
inspectors need to see.
Albright again raised U.S. concerns over alleged transfers of Russian
missile technology to Iran, the official said.
He said Albright also raised the case of Richard Bliss, an American
telephone engineer arrested in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don last
month on suspicion of spying.
She reaffirmed the U.S. line that there was no basis to the spying
charge. The officials declined to give Primakov's response.
Ex-General Proposes Army Reform
December 17, 1997
MOSCOW (AP) - The head of Russia's parliamentary defense committee blasted
President Boris Yeltsin's military reform plans as empty talk and proposed his
own program Wednesday.
Retired Gen. Lev Rokhlin said his 40-page plan aims to transform Russia's
into a ``military organization of the state, with centralized control'' by
``The Russian army no longer exists as a single military institution,''
Rokhlin said. ``Russia's defense capability has been scattered between
different agencies. General-purpose forces have been driven to almost total
Yeltsin wants to slash Russia's demoralized and underfunded army and
it into a leaner professional force, ending the highly unpopular draft. But
only sporadic cuts have been achieved and no specific program has been
``The military reform declared many times from 1992 to 1997 has not just
failed or remained unimplemented, but its concept has not even been worked
out,'' Rokhlin said, according to the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies.
Rokhlin also maintained that Russia's security is threatened by the West - a
view widely popular among Russian hard-liners.
``On the one hand, NATO openly shows its force: large-scale NATO
held in the Black Sea, the Baltics and central Kazakstan; on the other hand,
the Russian armed forces continue to disintegrate,'' Rokhlin said.
One of Russia's few heroes from the 1994-96 Chechen war, Rokhlin stirred
controversy earlier this year when he quit a pro-government faction in
parliament and set up his own pro-military movement to ``dump the hated
regime'' of Yeltsin.
Yeltsin's Security, Travel Arrangements Described
December 5-11, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Aleksandr Gamov: "Naina Yeltsina Feeds Her Husband's
Bodyguards on Cabbage Pie. Although Korzhakov Stated That the
Presidential Security Service Fell Apart After His Departure, in
Fact It Is Just as Strong as Before"
[passage omitted describing movie about fictitious president] Before
the Presidential Security Service was made a separate special service in
November 1993 and effectively obtained federal status, it belonged to the
Russian Main Protection Directorate [GUO] and its chief, Aleksandr
Korzhakov, ranked as first deputy to GOU Chief Mikhail Barsukov. If
Yeltsin's bodyguard's ambitions had not then begun to stir, who knows,
perhaps such a "monster" as the Presidential Security Service, which was
rightly dubbed "Korzhakov's empire," would never have appeared in Russia.
There were rumors that it contained 2,000, 3,000 or even 4,000 armed
men. But that is a myth. Only 750 men were mobilized into the
Presidential Security Service. [passage omitted describing staff pay,
conditions under korzhakov]
Another myth, which was created by the ex-chief of the Presidential
Security Service himself after his expulsion from the Kremlin, is that the
best people left with him and the "empire" collapsed. I can testify that
this is not so.
Not more than 100 of the 750 were dismissed, and even those were
mostly people who had completed their term of service and were entitled to
a pension. But even they did not disappear. The celebrated Georgiy
Rogozin, Korzhakov's former deputy, is vice president of a respectable
Russian bank. Viktor Zorkin, the Presidential Security Service's former
deputy chief of staff, also pursued a banking career. Andrey Oligov, who
effectively ran the Presidential Security Service's press center, is now in
television. His former deputy Nikolay Nikolayev runs press and public
relations in the State Tax Service. The man who was only recently the
president's personal cook, Dmitriy Samarin, is now a chef in a prestigious
An insignificant proportion of his "supporters" stuck with Korzhakov
himself, and even they did so only out of material self- interest.
As for the remaining 600-650 people, they all remained with Yeltsin
and today form the core of the Presidential Security Administration, headed
by Anatoliy Kuznetskiy. This is why, in my view, it is entirely natural
that there have been no fundamental changes in the work of this
subdepartment, which is now part of the Federal Protection Service (the
former GUO). That is to say, the head of state continues to be under
reliable protection and in complete security. [passage omitted on how
staff are assumed to field phone threats, other perceived dangers]
In general Yeltsin's trips, both in this country and abroad, present a
gigantic workload for his security service. The election campaign, when
the president tried to fly around two or three regions in one haul, was a
real test of nerves and, of course, professionalism. [passage omitted on
practical preparations for such tours]
Nowadays as a rule only one region is chosen for Yeltsin's visits.
But his security is provided according to the same scheme as 18 months ago:
airplanes, helicopters, limousines, snipers in black jumpsuits, police
cordons.... In short, no end of trouble.
The presidential motorcade usually consists of five vehicles: The
leading vehicle contains security men and the second vehicle special
communications; Boris Nikolayevich himself rides in the third, with the
standard on its hood; the next car again contains security men, while at
the rear is a reserve limousine. The convoy usually travels through Moscow
in this formation also.
Yeltsin's "air" cortege consists of two planes: the leading plane, in
which aides, the press, and security men fly, and the president's airliner,
which, in addition to Boris Nikolayevich himself usually contains protocol
service chief Vladimir Shevchenko, the president's press secretary, several
of his closest aides, and his personal bodyguard....
But wherever the president flies, another plane flies after him,
literally on his heels -- this is the reserve plane, which usually lands 15
minutes after the main plane. There was a time when journalists for whom
there was no room on the leading plane were allowed on this reserve plane.
But they gave a poor account of themselves by smoking during the flight and
so forth, so now the reserve plane carries only air. True, during foreign
visits Foreign Ministry officials are allowed on board. [passage omitted
suggesting presidential security service is less political, less formal,
more family-oriented since korzhakov departure]
The Times (UK)
December 18, 1997
[for personal use only]
Freezing Russians put their trust in vodka
FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW
FLYING in the face of scientific research and basic common sense,
millions of Russians, including some of their pets, are getting through
the cold snap with the help of the country's favourite drink.
From hunters to ice-fishermen, market stallholders to elephants in the
circus, the fastest relief when the temperatures drop to record levels
comes in the form of a bottle, or two, of vodka.
As the toll from the current cold weather rose to 22 deaths in Moscow
and a state of emergency was declared in the Black Sea region, where
temperatures fell to -28C, doctors repeated their warnings against
Alcohol may make people feel warmer, but it slows the circulation and
can make drinkers more susceptible to frostbite. The sensible advice, to
stay off the bottle, generally goes unheeded.
"I know it is supposed to be bad for you, but there is not a man out
fishing today who does not have a bottle of vodka under his coat," said
one ice-fisherman. "It is the only way you can get through the cold."
Others not only swear by it, but even prescribe it to animals,
particularly the large performing variety, which can become unsettled in
"I know the trainers give wine or vodka to the elephants when it is cold
and they have to move them from place to place," said Aleksandr
Venediktov, the director of the main agency for circus performers. "It
has the same effect on them as it does on us. It makes you relaxed and
easier to deal with."
A doctor at one of the city's busiest casualty hospitals denied angrily
that consuming alcohol had any beneficial effects during the cold
weather, and noted that many of the victims were drunks who had passed
out in sub-zero temperatures.
"Alcohol can be used to massage parts of the body which have been
subject to frostbite, but that is about it," he said. It seemed unlikely
that anyone would take his advice. It is well-documented that Russians
have been enthusiastic drinkers for more than a millennium, although
there is little evidence supporting the medicinal benefits of their
In the Middle Ages, the Venetian Ambassador to Moscow observed that the
Russians were "great drunkards and take great pride in this, despising
Throughout history Russian writers have eulogised drinking. Venedikt
Yerofeyev, the high priest of drink and author of Moscow Stations,
claimed that he only found spiritual freedom when he was drunk. Vladimir
Mayakovsky, the Russian poet, once remarked: "It is better to die of
vodka than to die of boredom." His advice is followed by tens of
thousands of his compatriots each year, who die of alcohol poisoning,
often caused by drinking bootleg vodka.
Nevertheless, there is still hope that science may yet prove the
pro-drink majority have a point.
No less a man than Renat Akchurin, the heart surgeon who performed the
multiple bypass operation on President Yeltsin last year, said yesterday
that alcohol consumed in moderate amounts was beneficial. "We have no
objections to small amounts of alcohol," he told the weekly Argumenty i
Fakty newspaper. "There is even the so-called French phenomenon which
proves that 100-150g [4-6oz] of red wine a day prevent the development
However, he denied that Mr Yeltsin's present illness, blamed on a cold
virus, had anything to do with the Russian leader's well-known love of
RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN OUTGOING YEAR WAS ONLY "50 PER
CENT EFFECTIVE, WITH MANY THINGS DONE AND MANY NOT," BELIEVES
By RIA Novosti correspondent Sergei Ryabikin
MOSCOW, DECEMBER 17, RIA NOVOSTI - The effectiveness of
Russian foreign policy can be judged as fifty-fifty, with many
things done and many not, Vladimir Lukin, head of the Duma's
international affairs committee, told a news conference today.
It is very important that Russian foreign policy has become
less ideologically motivated and come closer to realities of our
life, he said.
Speaking of relations with CIS countries, Lukin pointed out
that there are some positive results here. He singled out the
settlement of Tajik-to-Tajik conflict, and also the easing of
tensions in relations with Ukraine and the signing of a treaty
with it after the Black Sea fleet issue was solved.
At the same time, Lukin did not rule out that in the future
Russian-Ukrainian relations "may suffer some trials".
He explained it by the fact that at the moment "Ukraine has
practically no political structures sympathising with Russia".
Lukin indicated that sensitive issues -- the crises in
Nagorno-Karabakh, Trans-Dnestria and Abkhazia -- have still not
Russian politicians, in his view, should be in close touch
with CIS countries and have a permanent presence in these
Our relations with Byelorussia, he indicated, have a minus
sign. "It is good that we have formed a union, but the treaty is
being badly implemented. As soon as practical matters come up,
serious problems arise at once," said Lukin.
Russia, in his view, has been able to take the edge off the
NATO expansion issue. It is now very important, he holds, to see
how the joint permanent Russia-NATO Council will be operating.
A "weak spot" of Russian foreign policy is, according to
Lukin, Russia's ties with East European countries: with all of
these state "the relations are worse than they might have
Also unsatisfactory, according to him, are relations with
North Korea, with which "we should have developed closer ties".
It is not accidental, he said, that Russia was practically
"elbowed" out of the settlement of the Korean crisis.
Russia, he believes, is too slow in fulfilling its
obligations to the Council of Europe. "The one at fault here is
the executive branch of government", which submits documents for
approval by lawmakers "in such a way that they are impossible to
This is not a matter of Russia's relations with the Council
of Europe. "It is a matter of our political credibility", said
Nor is Lukin pleased with Russian diplomatic efforts on the
Things are particularly bad, he holds, as far as the
Russian-speaking population is concerned, with Latvia.
Russia has resources to influence the matter, and "it is
high time to put them to use", he believes.
Fairly good results have been shown in Russian foreign
policy with Asia-Pacific region countries, noted the committee
Demarcation of the border with China has become a strategic
achievement, he emphasised. Big accomplishments also exist in
the development of relations with Japan, Lukin noted.
>From RIA Novosti
16 December 1997
MOSCOW MAYOR GETS WHAT HE WANTS
By Sergei AKSENOV and Vladimir SHPAK
The Sunday elections to the Moscow City Duma
have been recognised as effectively held. The little
known candidates to Moscow Duma members from the so
called Luzhkov List have easily overcome their better
Willingly or not quite willingly, but Moscow has
once again demonstrated its full trust in the Moscow
The Moscow electoral commission reports that some 30% of
the registered voters turned up at the polls on Sunday. There
is preliminary data to indicate that twenty-six of the
thirty-five newly elected Moscow legislators have been running
on the Luzhkov List.
As a result, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has got a Duma he
For Luzhkov's opponents on the federal level, the main
unpleasant surprise was the Moscow mayor's hands-up victory,
rather than the election of a pro-Mayor Duma. Moscow has
reiterated its loyalty to Luzhkov who thus strengthened his
positions on the federal level.
Luzhkov can now play an independent role in the federal
politics with no fear whatsoever. For instance, he can advocate
making Sevastopol a Russian city or oppose "Chubais' criminal
Reforms Luzhkov-style have once again been approved by
Muscovites and all Luzhkov's ill-wishers will have to face the
None of the candidates from Nikolai Gonchar's bloc has
been elected in Moscow although it has been waging a highly
aggressive campaign. There are no representatives of the
pro-Communist Moya Moskva (My Moscow) alliance in the Duma.
The current Moscow Duma speaker Vladimir Platonov can
receive well-earned congratulations. In the new Duma lineup, he
is sure to retain his post, something the Mayor has promised.
Moreover, by retaining Platonov, the Moscow Mayor reserves for
the capital city the post of the Federation Council's
legislation committee chairman, now occupied by Luzhkov's
Results of the 14 December elections to the Moscow Duma
Election blocs and alliances Ran Elected
Democratic Choice of Russia 12 8
Yabloko 11 3
Our Home Is Russia 5 3
For Justice 15 1
Party of Constitutional Democrats 1 1
Democratic Russia 1 1
Common Cause 1 1
Nikolai Gonchar's Bloc 32 0
Moya Moskva 25 0
Moscow Republicans 8 0
KEDR 8 0
Liberal Democratic Party 6 0
Muscovites 3 0
Capital City Housing Movement 3 0
Interior Handicapped Foundation 2 0
Labour Capital City 2 0
Medics For Revival of Medicine 1 0
Free Generation 1 0
Party of Scholars and Technical Intellectuals 1 0
Southeast 1 0
Russian National Council 1 0
Comrades-Rescuers 1 0
Independents 215 17
Zyuganov Outlines Views on Land Code
MOSCOW, Dec 9 (Interfax) - Communist party leader Gennadiy Zyuganov
told the press Tuesday he hopes the left-wing opposition will manage to
persuade President Boris Yeltsin to sign the land code at their first
roundtable meeting December 11.
Both houses of the Federal Assembly have overridden the presidential
veto on the code and approved it in the initial wording, which prohibits
free trade in farmland. Yeltsin refuses to sign the document, demanding
the right for individuals to dispose of their own land.
The land code is the only item on the agenda of the roundtable chaired
by Yeltsin and scheduled to begin in the Kremlin at 4:00 p.m. Thursday.
"The essence of our proposals is that (Yeltsin) sign the land code and
approve a package of supplementary laws strictly regulating land
relations. The sale of farmland is not permissible," Zyuganov said.
He feared participants in the roundtable would have too little time to
discuss this pressing problem. He said the roundtable regulations give
participants merely 3-5 minutes to speak, which in his opinion "is
absolutely ridiculous for making crucial decisions."
Zyuganov does not think the status of the roundtable should be defined
by a presidential decree or any other legal documents.
"Representatives of three branches of power (the president, Cabinet
and parliament) agree, so that if we manage to agree, laws can be passed
quickly," he said.
Yeltsin on Possible Majority Government After Elections
Moscow, Dec 9 (Interfax) -- President Boris Yeltsin believes that a
Cabinet of the parliamentary majority may be formed after the next
Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznev told the press Tuesday that at the
Kremlin session of the Big Four - the president, the prime minister and
chairmen of both houses of parliament - he spoke of the need for a majority
government. He said his proposal was supported by Federation Council head
According to Seleznev, Yeltsin invited the two speakers to work out
and submit to him the main principles of the proposals.
"However, the president said that the mechanism may be applied only
after the next presidential elections," he said.
Seleznev quoted Yeltsin as saying that such a mechanism is not
provided for by the constitution, but "if the president demonstrates
political will" it may be carried out in the future.
He also said that most of the half-hour meeting dealt with the
president's signing of the bill on government. Seleznev explained this by
the fact that some of the media erroneously reported that under the law
approved by the Federal Assembly but not signed by Yeltsin, the president
would lose his right to appoint ministers and deputy prime ministers.
Seleznev called the reports false and said Yeltsin is ready to sign
the bill any time with amendments to three articles on presidential powers
with regard to the leadership of the government and the Foreign Ministry.
He confirmed that the Duma legislation committee would meet ot discuss
the issue Tuesday "to remove all doubts" and that it would be attended by
the head of the legal section of the presidential administration Ruslan
Orekhov, presidential envoy in the Duma Alexander Kotenkov and heads of the
legislation committees of the houses Vladimir Platonov and Anatoliy
Russia "Concerned" at US Weapons
Moscow, 28 Nov (ITAR-TASS) -- Russia is concerned at the intensive
steps being taken by the US to develop high-precision conventional
weapons systems. Leonid Ivanov, chief of the main directorate of
international military cooperation, said at a briefing today that
"while agreeing to reduce its nuclear weapons the US is
increasing its efforts to produce high-precision and high-tech conventional
weapons systems, working on sixth-generation systems."
According to him, the American army is being reequipped with
these weapons. At the moment, while the talks on strategic offensive
arms (START) are going on, the US is not agreeing to begin a dialogue
on limiting sea-based conventional cruise missiles.
Because of its economic problems Russia cannot today "keep
pace" with the US, despite the fact that it has certain
types of conventional weapons which are on a par with the American
ones, Leonid Ivashov stressed. In his view, should the situation
worsen Russia would have to be dragged into a new spiral of the
In this connection, therefore, Russia is proposing political
and diplomatic steps, and not forceful methods, in creating a basis
for a European security system. This is what is behind Moscow's
desire to make the OSCE the coordinating body of European security.
Journal of Commerce
18 December 1997
[for personal use only]
US: Stow the cell phone when traveling in Russia
BY MICHAEL S. LELYVELD
JOURNAL OF COMMERCE STAFF
The Commerce Department has warned business travelers this week against
bringing unlicensed cellular phones and electronic equipment into Russia
following the arrest of an American telephone technician on charges of
The agency cited the U.S. Embassy in Moscow as advising caution in
taking any wireless communication devices into Russia, even if they are
only in transit and not intended to be used.
Visitors entering the country with such gear are required to obtain
certificates in advance from Glavgossvyaznadzor, Russia's Main
Inspectorate in Communications, the embassy said.
"This includes ALL emitting, transmitting, and receiving equipment, such
as cellular phones, satellite phones, GPS devices, and other kinds of
radio electronic equipment," the embassy emphasized. Only consumer AM/FM
radios are exempt. Officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the still
unresolved episode in which Ronald Bliss, a field surveyor for San
Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., was arrested by Russia's FSB security agency
on Nov. 25 for using a highly-accurate GPS, or global positioning
system, as part of a phone project for Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia.
On Wednesday, FSB director Nikolai Kovalyov insisted that spy charges
against Mr. Bliss, 29, are true, despite denials by both the U.S.
government and Qualcomm. Mr. Bliss has been released from jail, after
U.S. pressure, but has been barred from leaving Rostov.
Mr. Bliss's lawyer has blamed Qualcomm's Russian partner, Elektrosvyaz,
for not obtaining licenses for the GPS equipment, the Jamestown
Foundation's Monitor reported. The FSB said the system can pinpoint
objects to within three meters using satellites, the most accurate
version of GPS made.
GPS gear is often used in mapping for phone coverage, said Julie Altman,
an associate at Pyramid Research, telecommunications analysts based in
Cambridge, Mass. But the FSB has charged that Mr. Bliss used the system
near an unidentified military installation. The allegation has raised a
series of questions about the real cause of the spy flap.
"We're still trying to figure that out, too," said Qualcomm spokeswoman
Christine Trimble. The company said that Mr. Bliss was only using GPS
with 100-meter accuracy. "Our position, that we have made very clear, is
that this is groundless," a State Department official said Wednesday.
Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms
Control, said the most obvious security concern with three-meter GPS is
that it can be used to plot targets for a missile attack. But there are
no known nuclear installations in Rostov. The most sensitive military
facility is a helicopter plant.
Economic motive weighed
A U.S. government official echoed industry suspicions that some conflict
with a Russian competitor in the phone business may have sparked the
incident. But Russia may also be reacting to the proliferation of
wireless phone projects in the country since the Soviet collapse.
The rise of wireless systems has been a great coincidence of interests
for both Russian communications and U.S. intelligence. While wireless
has allowed phone service to expand rapidly to remote Russian areas, it
has also allowed foreign surveillance to listen in.
Until 1994, the United States blocked allied sales of modern fiber-optic
cable to Russia because of concerns that Moscow could use it to change
its own missile targets suddenly without detection. The export
restrictions were dropped under pressure from European nations and U.S.
companies led by AT&T.
But in the meantime, wireless projects in Russia had started to
flourish, helping U.S. intelligence to keep much of its edge. Although
companies, including Corning Inc. and Nokia, have started fiber-optic
manufacturing ventures in Russia, most of the fiber-optic installations
have been for business centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Ms. Altman
Cell networks abound
So far, there are some 85 cellular operators, which are typically
foreign joint ventures with a Russian partner, and an additional 20
projects for wireless local loop systems, such as that planned by
Qualcomm in Rostov.
It is unclear whether the FSB perceived a real threat to some unknown
military installation, or whether the former KGB is becoming fed up with
Russia's increasing reliance on communications systems that can be
monitored from abroad.
A U.S. government official said the Russian sensitivity is more likely
to be the result of competitive interests in the booming phone market.
"Competition is fierce," said one official. "The war is on."
>From Russia Today press summaries
17 December 1997
The daily wrote about the support that Russian President Boris Yeltsin
is giving his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, for the upcoming
"Czar Boris" has forgiven his "friend Leonid" for his games with
Ukrainian-ization of the Crimea, for the U.S. military exercises there
and for his anti-Russian speeches at the CIS summit, because Kuchma
still remains "reliable."
His contender, Ukrainian opposition leader Pavlo Lazarenko, is a tough
and deceitful politician with huge state ambitions, Pravda-5 wrote. He
is much less convenient for the Kremlin.
Supporting Kuchma was easy for Russia. Gazprom stopped cooperation with
the United Energy System of Ukraine (EESU), which is a stronghold of
Lazarenko's bloc, and delivered its gas to the Ukrainian Intergas, which
will become the financial base for Kuchma's presidential campaign.
However, Intergas cannot work as efficiently as EESU, the daily said. As
a result, the energy crisis in Ukraine is becoming worse. This year the
republic will get six million cubic meters of gas less than the previous
year, and the price will be 25 percent higher. Ukraine's industry will
totally collapse this winter, the daily predicted -- sacrificed to
Kuchma's presidential ambitions.
>From Russia Today press summaries
Smena (St. Petersburg)
17 December 1997
The Population of St. Petersburg Has Declined by the Equivalent of the
Population of Kostroma
Almost 300 years ago, Peter the Great's xenophobic step-mother cursed
his new city on the banks of the Neva River that was to be a "Window on
the West." She said, "May Petersburg become desolate!"
It now seems, said the daily, that her curse is having some effect,
because the city's population has declined by 257,000 since 1990.
This figure is the total population of cities such as Kostroma,
Novgorod, Vologda and Bryansk. According to demographers, this trend
will continue, and the city's population will only get smaller.
Each year since 1990, the city's population loss has totaled 30,00 to
50,000 people. In 1990, the city's population totaled 5,035,000 people.
As of Jan. 1, 1997, the total population was 4,778,000 people. Excluding
the suburbs, the city's population is now 4,216,000.
The only positive trend is that the number of migrants to the city is
more than the number of those who are leaving permanently. Still, the
daily said, nearly twice as many people are dying as are being born.
In the Leningrad region, however, the total population is increasing.
But this is due to migration to the region and not to an increase in
births, the daily added.
>From Russia Today press summaries
17 December 1997
We Are against Exporting Russian Children
In an open letter to the State Duma, St. Petersburg's leading radio
station, Radio Baltika, came out strongly against current practices in
the international adoption of Russian children.
The letter was signed by leading members of the country's intelligentsia
who live and work in the city. Among them were Mikhail Piotrovsky, the
director of the Hermitage Museum, Vladimir Gusev, director of the
Russian Museum and famous singer Edit Piekha.
The letter deplored corruption in the adoption process, by which foreign
couples have to bribe state sector child care officials in order to
adopt a Russian child.
But it also expressed concern about the overall "export" of Russian
children, claiming that Russian families are often at a disadvantage
when looking to adopt because they cannot pay such bribes.
The signatories called upon the government to carry out the adoption
process according to "international norms" (what those might be, it did
not spell out), to ban the "sale" of children and to exercise control
over the fate of Russian children adopted by foreigners to ensure that
they are in good hands.