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Johnson's Russia List
18 February 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Financial Times (UK): Chrystia Freeland, Kremlin admits to
taking out 'discreet' loans.
2. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Alan Philps, What the Kremlin
3. The Times (UK) letter: Hugh Hanning, Russia and Nato.
4. The Athens News: John Helmer, PRIMAKOV THE STRATEGIST IS
5. RIA Novosti: MICHEL CAMDESSUS: COOPERATION BETWEEN
RUSSIA AND IMF IS MAJOR ELEMENT OF WORLD ECONOMIC SYSTEM;
WITHOUT RUSSIA'S SUPPORT IMF WOULD HAVE FAILED TO STABILISE
WORLD ECONOMY AFTER ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS.
6. Interfax: Duma Opposition Leaders Unsatisfied with Yeltsin
7. RIA Novosti: IN TERMS OF SAFETY INDICATORS RUSSIAN ATOMIC
POWER STATIONS HOLD THIRD PLACE IN THE WORLD.
8.Moscow Times: Lucy Jones, Buddhist Russia Undergoes Revival.
9. Boston Globe editorial: Saddam's partners in crime.
10. RIA Novosti: THE PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE IS ELABORATION OF THE
GOVERNMENT'S 12 PRIORITIES, YURI LUZHKOV THINKS.
11.Michael Kagalenko: Lend-lease.
12. Jacob Kipp: US-Soviet Relations and Lend-Lease.]
Financial Times (UK)
18 February 1998
[for personal use only]
Russia: Kremlin admits to taking out 'discreet' loans
By Chrystia Freeland in Moscow
The Russian government discreetly borrowed $950m from western banks late
last year at a time when pressure on the rouble and a Kremlin promise to
pay off wage arrears severely strained the country's public finances.
The finance ministry said the government had taken out some short-term
loans from western commercial banks in late November and early December,
but said the total amount was "much lower than $950m".
However, someone familiar with the government's borrowing said that in
late November and early December Russia had borrowed $700m in short-term
loans from western commercial banks. They said that over the same period
Moscow had borrowed an additional $250m in a "split-option" facility, a
loan that can be repaid at any time.
The loans will need to be refinanced in the first, second and fourth
quarters of this year.
Mikhail Kasyanov, the deputy minister of finance, confirmed that Russia
had quietly taken out some loans at the end of last year, but he would
not reveal the amount. "We have some short-term financing, but it is
much lower than $950m," he said in a telephone interview. "The exact sum
The private borrowing disclosure comes at a time when the Kremlin is
struggling to reassure foreign investors of its commitment to fiscal
In his annual state of the nation speech, Boris Yeltsin, the president,
demanded that by mid-May his cabinet produce a plan radically to slash
He also called for last-minute amendments to the draft 1998 budget,
insisting it was time the country produced and lived by a "realistic"
"It is necessary to introduce strict order in government finances," Mr
"It is time to learn to do what any housewife knows how to do - to spend
economically, rationally, to live according to one's means."
Economists said the confidential borrowing by Russia was far too small
to cause big financial concerns. Another factor in Russia's favour is Mr
Kasyanov's assurance that the International Monetary Fund was fully
informed about all of Russia's debts.
Mr Kasyanov said that the Russian government had "borrowed exactly under
the ceiling applied by law". In late December, at the Russian
government's request, the legislature increased the external borrowing
ceiling by $1.1bn, transferring to it funds that had been earmarked for
Several western bankers who lend to Russia said they believed Russia had
taken out large loans from western banks late last year. But they were
unwilling to comment on the record, fearing it would harm their business
The Electronic Telegraph (UK)]
18 February 1998
[for personal use only]
What the Kremlin butler saw
By Alan Philps in Moscow
NIKITA Khrushchev, the late Soviet leader, was a true proletarian in his
table manners and never failed to embarrass his guests.
While he could have drunk the finest wines, he preferred gut-rot
moonshine vodka. The secrets of the Kremlin table have been disclosed to
the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda by Akhmed Sattarov, who
served as butler to Soviet leaders from 1959 to 1972.
Khrushchev never learned which cutlery to choose, and would always use
the fish knives for his first course, putting his guests in a quandary
whether to follow him.
Once, at a reception given by Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Mr Khrushchev was
offered quails and presented with a finger bowl to wash his hands. He
speared the slices of lemon with his fork and chomped through them. He
was about to quaff the blue-tinted water, thinking it was an exotic
cocktail, when a waiter hurriedly removed the bowl. Afraid to embarrass
the Soviet leader, no one around the table used the finger bowls.
Mr Khrushchev's down-home palate was mightily pleased when, on a hunting
trip with Fidel Castro of Cuba, he was offered some local samogon, or
moonshine vodka. "Get the recipe from the simple folk," he ordered the
butler. "I want this drink on my dining table."
Mr Khrushchev was notoriously boorish and was famed for taking off his
shoe and banging it on the desk at the United Nations in New York. But
according to Mr Sattarov, things have not improved to this day.
"The current leadership still have not learned to eat politely," he
said. "How often have I seen them at a banquet; they don't know how to
hold a wine glass, they fill their glasses up to the brim, when it
should be no more than two-thirds, they wipe the sweat from their faces
and wave their arms about."
Diplomatic entertaining with the Chinese was not for the squeamish. At a
banquet for the premier, Chou En-Lai, the menu included snails, white
mice and a python. "The python was cut into slices, but it still had its
Though Mr Sattarov was carefully trained for the job of providing food
for foreigners, the Russians made some slip-ups. In 1962 a delegation of
Saudi Arabians - Muslims who do not eat pork - were offered pigs'
When Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Indian Prime Minister, died suddenly in
Tashkent (then part of the Soviet Union) in 1966, Mr Sattarov was
arrested at 4 am on suspicion of poisoning him and thrown into jail.
Only when it emerged that Shastri had died of a heart attack was he
freed. Mr Sattarov quit the service because he was "fed up with
constantly being under the eye of the KGB".
The Times (UK)
February 18 1998
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Russia and Nato
>From Mr Hugh Hanning
Sir, Your exposure of Russia's connivance with Iraq (leading article,
"From Russia with love", February 13) completely vindicates those who,
in your columns, have opposed the expansion of Nato.
As long as the West's main military machine continues to grind closer to
their borders, Russian politicians can hardly be expected tamely to
acquiesce in Western policies.
In 1990-91, Western governments, including our own, told President
Gorbachev that they had no intention or plan to expand Nato. Now that
the process has started, why should Russians accept assurances that it
will stop short of the Baltic states?
The expansion of Nato has completely smashed the new-found concord of
the Security Council. We will not recover it in Iraq or elsewhere until
we abandon this gratuitously offensive plan.
There is still time, because Nato members have yet to submit it to
ratification by their peoples' representatives, including those at
Atlantic Council of the UK),
18 Montpelier Row, SE3 0RL.
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998
From: email@example.com (John Helmer)
Subj: PRIMAKOV THE STRATEGIST IS UNSENTIMENTAL ALLY
>From The Athens News (Greece), February 17, 1998
PRIMAKOV THE STRATEGIST IS UNSENTIMENTAL ALLY
>From John Helmer in Moscow
Yevgeny Primakov is probably the strongest ally Greece has had
at the head of the Russian foreign ministry for a hundred and fifty years. But
that's not because he's sentimentally fond of Greece. The reason is that
Primakov is the best, possibly the only strategic thinker the Russian
government has at the moment -- and the only Russian policymaker
who views Russian and Greek interests from the long perspective.
One hundred and fifty years ago, when Russia was a great power in the
Mediterranean, the government in St Petersburg guaranteed the sovereignty
of Greece, against Turkish pressure, out of strategic concern for the
security of her own territories. These included the freshly conquered
Caucasus and the shores of the Black Sea. Support for Greece in Russian
policy also provided a key for the Russian Navy to sail through the
Bosphorus Straits -- "to be first on the ground, and strongest in the
theatre of events", in the words of Russia's Foreign Minister Nesselrode
in May of 1833.
Primakov remembers Nesselrode's purposes. He's also clearer and more
about the limits of Russia's power. This has been evident in the way
Primakov has handled the issues most directly affecting Greek security
since he became foreign minister just over two years ago. Before that,
he headed Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, after it was severed
from the old KGB in 1991.
He replaced Andrei Kozyrev, about whom it was joked in the Kremlin
that he was the best foreign minister the United States ever had
in Moscow. The same joke used to be told of Eduard Shevardnadze,
before he left the Soviet government and returned to Georgia.
It is the contrast between them and Primakov that has inspired
a drumbeat of criticism that has originated in Washington, and
appears daily in the American and British press. Primakov, they
claim, is the evil genius of anti-Americanism in Russia. Similar things have
been published in the Turkish press.
Ankara has its own specific reasons for faulting Primakov.
He has been a consistent advocate of the withdrawal of Turkish forces
from Cyprus. He was critical of Turkey's involvement in backing
the secession of the Chechen republic from the Russian federation.
He has endorsed the Greek proposal to build a pipeline to transport
Caspian Sea oil across Russia and the Black Sea, through Bulgaria to the
Greek port of Alexandropoulos. This put him at odds with supporters of
Turkey's proposal to route the pipeline across its territory.
Primakov has also remained firm, despite Turkish objections, saying
Russian deployment of S-300 missiles will go ahead this year in Cyprus,
On each of these issues, Primakov has not [NOT] taken the initiative. His
views represent the consensus, not only of the Russian diplomatic
and intelligence agencies, but also of the parliament and the majority
of the opposition deputies seated there.
Even his efforts to head off the impending American attack on Saddam
Hussein reflect the views of almost the entire Russian foreign policy
Primakov has not always been so fondly regarded by the Kremlin. Although
trained as an academic specialist on the Arab world, his Jewish origins
-- much rumoured about, and recently reported in the US press --
and his brains made him suspect, particularly when he counselled
against policy adventures favoured by Politburo factions or the
Primakov almost never gives interviews to the press, and his friends,
colleagues, and former students over the years are reluctant to speak about
his views. They say he was a strong opponent of the Soviet intervention in
Afghanistan that began in 1979. Likewise, they say he opposed President
Boris Yeltsin's war in Chechnya. "It's a pity," says one of Primakov's
academic collagues, "that so much of his skill has been spent extricating
us from the mess created by others he was powerless to dissuade or stop."
Iraqi and Russian sources confirm that, far from being Saddam
Hussein's "close friend", as London and Washington reporters claim,
he has long been highly critical of Saddam's regime and deeply
distrustful of Saddam's promises. The evidence, Russians say,
dates back to Saddam's liquidation of political allies, including
the Iraqi Communists; and then to Saddam's fateful decision to
launch a pre-emptive war against Iran in 1980. That move took
the Kremlin by surprise, and not just Primakov, who had warned the Iraqis
against squandering their growing wealth in open combat against
the Islamic revolutionaries in Tehran. When Iraq repeated the
folly by invading Kuwait a decade later, Primakov's suspicion
of Saddam was reinforced once more.
"A will that bordered on wilfulness," Primakov wrote in a rare
memoir about Saddam. "a readiness to push his way toward his goal
at any price, combined with a dangerous unpredictability."
Because of the visibility of his diplomatic shuttling, and the
American Administration's attempts to discredit and unseat him,
Primakov appears more powerful abroad than is true at home. Parliamentary
experts on foreign policy acknowledge that Primakov enjoys unusual trust and
respect, compared to most of Yeltsin's ministers. But they add this hasn't
made him a powerful innovator of Russian strategy and foreign policy.
He was cautious and slow in replacing the higher ranks of the Foreign
Ministry with his own men. It has taken him a long time to
ease rivals in the Kremlin from their posts as diplomatic and
national security advisors. And though he has retained the support of
the Foreign Intelligence Service, he was never able to prevail in
the debates over the Chechen war in the president's Security Council, or
in Yeltsin's personal circle. Yeltsin, who respects Primakov, no longer
has the mind for foreign strategy.
This has exposed Primakov to competition for the initiative from
some of Russia's powerful banking and oil interests. When their interests
have clashed, Primakov has found himself pilloried in the Russian press
for being anti-reform, as well as anti-American, and (ironically),
This was the context in which, late last year, Russian newspapers
in a plot to discredit Primakov, and force his resignation. The political
charge was led, behind the scenes, by first deputy prime ministers Anatoly
Chubais and Boris Nemtsov. They were doing the bidding of Russian oil
companies, including Sidanko, an affiliate of the Uneximbank group, LUKoil,
and Alfa-Eco, an oil trader belonging to Alfa Bank.
Ironically, Primakov was accused of doing too much to befriend Saddam
Hussein and undermine US pressure for enforcement of the sanctions. In
fact, the Russian oil companies have been the biggest beneficiaries of
the Iraqi oil trade that has been allowed under the current sanctions
regime. They have also been negotiating discreetly for the right to
develop Iraqi oilfields, once the sanctions are lifted. It is widely
believed in the international oil industry that these potentially
sanctions-busting negotiations by Russian oilmen, screen the financial
interests of British Petroleum and several American oil majors, who
have allied themselves with the Uneximbank and LUKoil groups, and
provide them with financing.
Through his Ministry's spokesmen, Primakov responded by saying that
he had had nothing to do with the oil company negotiations for Iraqi
projects, and hadn't been consulted about them in advance. He's made
a similar acknowledgement after Russia's leading company, Gazprom,
announced its participation in the development of an Iranian
gasfield, in defiance of US sanctions against Iran.
In yet another instance of oil policymaking Primakov has apparently been
unable to control, LUKoil and other Russian oil companies, who have cut
their own deals for Caspian Sea concessions, without consulting Primakov
in advance. Some of these deals openly flouted Primakov's policy,
and undercut his proposals for redrawing the territorial boundaries
of the Sea.
In retrospect, Primakov has generally managed to catch up with the
oil company initiatives, and force them to be withdrawn or modified.
This is the thorn the press campaign against Primakov was designed to
pull, and so far it has failed.
There is a lesson here for Greek policymakers, as they assess Russia's
minister face to face in Athens for the first time. Sympathetically
intelligent though Primakov may be, and better versed in the long history
of Russia's relations with Greece than his predecessors, he is only one
among the many forces currently making Russian policy. He may take Greece
more seriously than others, and be more resistant to Turkish lobbying.
But Primakov's history demonstrates he has rarely been on the winning
side in Kremlin decisions. (Text ends+)
MICHEL CAMDESSUS: COOPERATION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND IMF IS
MAJOR ELEMENT OF WORLD ECONOMIC SYSTEM; WITHOUT RUSSIA'S
SUPPORT IMF WOULD HAVE FAILED TO STABILISE WORLD ECONOMY
AFTER ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS
MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 18 (from RIA NOVOSTI's correspondent
Regina Lukashina) -- "Cooperation of Russia and the
International Monetary Fund is a major element of the world
economic system; without Russia's support and the measures taken
by its leadership, the IMF would have failed to achieve the
stabilisation of the world economy affected by the negative
consequences of the financial crisis on the Asian markets," IMF
managing director Michel Camdessus has said after his talks with
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.
In his turn, the Russian Prime Minister stressed that in
the course of 1.5 hours of his talk with Michel Camdessus they
discussed the basic issues "within the framework of cooperation
between Russia and the IMF in 1998." The sides did not specify
the subject of the dialogue, saying that "it would be
continued." "It is still in the works," said the Prime Minister.
At the same time, he noted that they had had a useful and
sincere talk, which touched upon the reasons of the crisis on
the Asian financial markets. Viktor Chernomyrdin emphasised that
Michel Camdessus was "in the know and in the centre of all
events;" as a "top class professional he knows what Russia needs
today and what it has to do as a full-fledged member of the
world economic system to avoid these negative consequences."
Michel Camdessus also said that he discussed with Viktor
Chernomyrdin all the measures which Russia had taken together
with the IMF "as counterbalance to the wind from Asia, which
affected by its wing Russia as well." He also stressed that
Russia needs to "be more careful about the events on the world
currency markets." At the same time, the IMF managing director
believes that Russia "takes tough measures to counter the
negative consequences, gains much from this and gets stronger."
Duma Opposition Leaders Unsatisfied with Yeltsin Message
17 February 1998
MOSCOW -- Leaders of parliament's opposition parties were less than
impressed with President Boris Yeltsin annual state of the nation address,
which he delivered to parliament on Tuesday.
In his speech before both houses of parliament, Yeltsin stressed the
need for sustainable economic growth, and said government officials may
find themselves replaced if they did not meet strategic targets for the
year. He also urged the government and the Duma to pass a realistic budget
for the year and to get a feasible new tax code in place as soon as possible.
Communist Party head Gennady Zyuganov, however, described Yeltsin's
message as "the most gray, empty and uninteresting address" he has ever
Yeltsin had three options, Zyuganov told reporters Tuesday. The first
option was to recognize that "there is no economic course" and that "the
country is falling apart."
The second option was a compromise which meant admitting that the
government had erred.
Instead, Yeltsin chose the third option, which listed all problems
"without mapping out priorities, without setting forth key tasks, without
determining tactics or strategy for coping with them," Zyuganov said.
Yabloko faction leader Grigory Yavlinsky said Yeltsin's speech showed
that "there are no changes in the life of the country."
He said he was satisfied that his faction was right when assessing the
draft 1998 budget negatively and that the president had conceded that the
draft was "unrealistic."
He added that Yeltsin had wrongly assessed the conditions for economic
growth and alleged preconditions for positive changes in the political
process, Yavlinsky said. "There is obvious economic stagnation without
signs of a revival," he said.
The fact that the president cited roundtable meetings with deputies as a
positive change in the political process shows that Yeltsin "very seriously
exaggerates the significance of this institution," Yavlinsky said.
He also said Russia should have a different government this year,
because the present Cabinet was incapable of coping with the range of tasks
the president set out in his message.
Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia faction,
ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, dismissed Yeltsin's address as
He said the president "repeated old dogmas and drew no new conclusions."
The president is less to blame for such a weak message than his
officials who prepared the draft address, Zhirinovsky added. "Boris
Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] is poorly aware of the situation in the country. He
does not know what is happening in Moscow."
He cited the president as saying that the draft 1998 budget was
unrealistic. Zhirinovsky said his faction "will not vote in favor of the
 budget yet."
IN TERMS OF SAFETY INDICATORS RUSSIAN ATOMIC POWER
STATIONS HOLD THIRD PLACE IN THE WORLD
MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 18. (FROM RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT OLEG
LEBEDEV). According to the reports of the World Association of
Atomic Power Operators, in terms of safety indicators Russian
atomic power stations hold third place in the world by the
results of 1997. As the RIA Novosti correspondent was told in
the ministry of atomic power engineering, by this indicator
Russian stations have surpassed the stations of France, USA,
Great Britain and are "slightly" inferior only to Japanese and
Last year a large volume of work has been carried out to
increase the safety of the Leningrad atomic power station, the
first unit of the Kursk atomic power station was commissioned
with due account taken of modern requirements, the construction
of the main unit of an enhanced safety reactor VVER-640 was
started in the city of Sosnovy Bor (Leningrad region). R&D work
was conducted to draw up feasibility studies for new-generation
In the number of violations of work, accounted according to
a 7-level international scale, there were three violations of
the first, lowest level last year at Russian atomic power
stations. There were no violations of higher levels at all.
For more articles from The Moscow Times, check out their website at
February 18, 1998
Buddhist Russia Undergoes Revival
By Lucy Jones
SPECIAL TO THE MOSCOW TIMES
ULAN-UDE, Eastern Siberia -- Saffron-robed and driving a BMW, Humbo, the
deputy chief Buddhist monk of Russia arrives in a leafy suburb of Ulan-Ude,
the capital of the autonomous Russian republic of Buryatia.
In this vast land, flanked by Mongolia, Humbo's morning task is to chant
a mantra to exorcise the spirit of a man who had hanged himself after a
vodka binge. Then he's off to read health horoscopes to Buryats and
Russians who travel huge distances with questions ranging from why they
have a fever to whether they can expect a safe childbirth.
Since the collapse of communism, Buryatia has experienced a huge
Buddhist revival. Only two Buddhist monasteries survived the Soviet era,
but residents have financed the construction of 30 monasteries, known as
datsans, in the past five years. In Ulan-Ude, a Buddhist center offering
courses on medicine, philosophy and religious instruction is about to open.
Once strictly out-of-bounds for foreigners because of the region's
proximity to the Mongolian border, Buryatia's datsans today are abuzz with
monks from India, Mongolia and most recently from Tibet. The Dalai Lama is
set to visit for a third time this year. Parents are now sending their sons
to the monasteries for education and are themselves flocking to temples on
weekends to leave money at the foot of portraits of the Dalai Lama and
"They couldn't worship under communism. They couldn't study Buddhism or
say they are involved. Now they come in droves," said Rimbould, an elderly
monk who moved here from Tibet four years ago.
The Buryats are an Asiatic people who traditionally practice the Tibetan
North Mahayana branch of Buddhism. They comprise a quarter of Buryatia's
population of 1 million.
Ivolginsk Datsan, a monastery surrounded by sandalwood trees near
Ulan-Ude that boasts two temples, is the focal point of the revival.
Buryats, as well as Russians, have come here from across the republic to
learn Tibetan and study Buddhism.
"Unlike the Orthodox Church, Buddhism is a way of life. It's your own
religion. It's with you in everything you do," said Oksana Kilishapova,
from Voronezh in southern Russia.
But while the Buryats rush to the temples, there are also signs of
corruption. Empty vodka bottles line the rooms of some of the most senior
monks even though drinking is frowned upon according to religious
teachings. Monks tell fortunes for large bundles of rubles. At lunch time,
monastic elders can be seen in Ulan-Ude's top restaurant, proposing
marriage to young girls. Photographing the vividly decorated temples is
forbidden, but Boris, the monk at the door, will let you take a snap if you
slip him a dollar.
Before perestroika, KGB agents sat in cars near the entrances to
datsans, noting anyone who took the risk of visiting a monastery. "I was
unable to enter the monastery as I had always wanted," recalled Banza, 25,
who two years ago returned from studying Buddhism in Burma. "I was refused
a place in the university because I had expressed an interest in Buddhism
and had to work in a factory."
In the 1930s the majority of Buryatia's monks were declared enemies of
the people and taken to labor camps. Buddhism had been an officially
recognized religion in pre-Revolutionary Russia, but under Stalin, all but
two of the region's 46 monasteries and 150 temples were closed.
"In 1937, I was taken to a labor camp with 300 other monks from the
monastery. I was there for 18 years," said Shalga Orabhanov, 87, lifting
his shirt to reveal how lumps of flesh had been removed from his armpits as
part of experimental surgical operations at the camp. "I nearly died.
Everyone else did. I was the only one who returned."
As the Buddhist revival gains ground, so too are political movements
calling for the Russian government to apologize for what some refer to as
the genocide of the estimated 30,000 Buryats who died in the camps.
18 February 1998
Saddam's partners in crime
Russian complicity with Saddam Hussein's concealment of chemical and
biological weapons in Iraq could challenge international security.
A report in The Washington Post last week disclosed not only an Iraqi
document describing negotiations for Baghdad's purchase of a Russian
fermentation vat suitable for biological weapons, but also instances when
inspectors of the UN Special Commission believed that Russian officials
were spying for Saddam and thwarting their surprise inspections of suspect
sites in Iraq.
A spokesman for Boris Yeltsin's government swiftly issued denials.
Despite the Iraqi document discovered by UN inspectors, Russian officials
said no such vat had been sold to Iraq and no such negotiations had taken
place. Officials of the Clinton administration broached the possibility
that any such commerce might have been a rogue operation conducted by
freelance businessmen trying to get around Russian export controls.
But the document leaves no doubt that the negotiations were between
Russian government representatives and Iraqi officials working at a plant
called Al Hakam, the site at which Baghdad had already admitted producing
tons of anthrax and botulinum toxin.
Even more disturbing are the accounts of Russian diplomatic and
intelligence officers seeking crucial information from the UN weapons
inspectors and passing that information to Saddam's regime. It would be bad
enough if the Russians had been trying to cover up their delivery of
material for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. But the suspected
Russian espionage, allowing Saddam to foil no-notice inspections of suspect
sites, appears of a piece with attempts by Yevgeny Primakov, Russia's
foreign minister, to terminate the inspections and permit Saddam to resume
Primakov, a former KGB boss, has been echoing the line of his old
protege Saddam for some time. President Clinton should warn Yeltsin that if
his ministers continue to ally Moscow with the mass murderer Saddam, Russia
will jeopardize its position in the fraternity of democratic states.
THE PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE IS ELABORATION OF THE
GOVERNMENT'S 12 PRIORITIES, YURI LUZHKOV THINKS
MOSCOW, February 17. (From RIA Novosti correspondent).
Today's speech by President Boris Yeltsin, who presented his
message to the Federal Assembly means an elaboration of the
government's twelve priorities, a list of its major tasks. The
above view was expressed by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov in an
interview with the RIA Novosti correspondent.
According to his assessment, a distinctive feature of this
year's message is a "well pronounced appeal" for making 1998 a
year of "positive trends in the economy." In this connection,
the Mayor pointed out that very important is the President's
proposal on the restructuring of taxes, as well as privileges
and preferences that should be urgently created in industry.
Luzhkov mentioned as a major matter the adoption of a budget for
1998, remarking that he, generally speaking, fails to comprehend
how the country could live without a budget. At the same time,
he specially emphasised that Moscow approved its budget even at
the end of November.
The Moscow Mayor described as a major aspect of the message
from the head of state the questions of support to small
businesses, emphasising that he had long waited for the time
when "the President will touch on this theme with the particular
emphasis." Yuri Luzhkov recalled that small businesses in Moscow
account for half of the budget. Precisely because Moscow has
been engaged in the development of support for
small-entrepreneurship for ten years now, the capital "feels so
well in the economic respect."
Luzhkov mentioned as the third important features in the
President's message an appeal for consolidation, pointing out
that in the event of political confrontation, "the interests of
society and the economy are lost." True, he expressed his doubts
as to the appeal ending in full-scale materialisation. As the
Mayor indicated, the interests of the diverse political
quarters, particularly those of the opposition, are opposite in
relation to the state.
Yuri Luzhkov thinks that documents pertaining to the
Russian President's message to the Federal Assembly, "the
essential matter which determines the objectives and their
elaboration," should be made public before the presentation of a
message itself by the head of state. In this case, the Moscow
Mayor thinks, budgets of the cities and regions and Federal
budget as a whole could have been adopted on the basis of the
President's ideas and a start made to executing them. Moreover,
Luzhkov pointed out, regions could have drawn up their
respective programmes with due account taken of the major tasks
set by the head of state.
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998
From: "Michael B. Kagalenko" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mr. Gary Kern alleges:
> Now that we have a consensus on who saved whom in WWII (the USA
> saved the USSR),
No such consensus have emerged, mostly because Mr.Kern's
statement is revisionism of the worst kind.
We indeed reached consensus that the economic aid of the USA to
the SU was significant. However, we also agreed that USSR
produced most of the weapons used in fighting against Germans
and that military contribution of USA and England was not crucial.
One must remeber that wars are not won by canned pork and
trucks (even though those are, of course, important)
- they are won by soldiers. It was the people of the Soviet
Union who defeated the Germany and thus saved themselves and
the world from fascism. All the money in the world
would not have helped USA if Soviet people were unwilling to fight
Hitler. For that reason, we agreed that lend-lease happened
because it was in the interests of the USA.
Mr.Kern then goes on to attempt to refute the assertion that USA
made lend-lease out of self - interest by alleging that some
officials of the US goverment were more sympathetic to Stalin
then Stalin warranted. That in no way undermines the simple
fact: no amount of good will towards Stalin would have
sufficed if lend-lease were not in the interest of the USA.
I note also, that in his contribution Mr.Kern acknowldges
that there have been no expectation of repayment of the
lend-lease loans. Why then he complained that the Soviet Union
have not repayed them in his previous letter ? USA
was the only country that profited enormously from WWII. It was WWII
that ended Great Depression and launched USA on the path to world
domination and unprecedented economic growth. Isn't it a bit
shameless to complain that USA have not got enough ?
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998
From: "Kipp, Jacob KIPPJ" <KIPPJ@LEAV-EMH1.ARMY.MIL>
Subject: US-Soviet Relations and Lend-Lease
USA-USSR in WWII
Just got back from some travel [DC-Oslo-Monterey] and have been catching up
with the list. Reading all the entries on the debate about the Soviet vs US
contribution to victory of the Allies in WWII brings two points to mind: 1)
not all the ideologues were in the Soviet nomenklatura and 2) naive
materialism in its capitalist variety is no better than the Marxist-Leninist
model. This debate reminds me of an exchange I had in Leningrad in 1971
with a militiaman. Noting my long hair, the cop said I should it cut and
wear a tie like that “solid citizen, Comrade Brezhnev. I told him that
Comrade Nixon wore a tie and I didn’t give a damn. To which he asked where
I was from. When I said the USA, he asked: “Who won the war?” To which I
replied: We did. The Allies. He said no. The Soviet Union had. It won
because it had great commanders . . . . Suvorov, Kutuzov, and Stalin. I
answered that two were, indeed, great commanders but had died well before
the event. And the third’s military credentials were up to question. At
that point my fiancé arrived and saved us from further confrontation. I
have little time for that Soviet militiaman or his Western counterparts.
We, let me repeat, we, the Allies, won the war.
For the last several years I have been chairing a panel on Allied military
strategy during World War II at the USMC Staff College. Ted Wilson from the
University of Kansas and Mark Stoler from the University of Connecticut
address Anglo-American strategy and I do Soviet military strategy. One of
the major themes of the presentation is the contribution of each power at
various stages of the war to the Allied victory in each of the major
theaters. There is, as there was among Allied strategists, a consensus that
the defeat of Germany was paramount to the winning of the war. Japan and
Italy were secondary opponents. The question of contribution to victory is
significant and has much to do with the identification of the German center
of gravity. Now, for me that was the Wehrmacht, the great bulk of which
after June 22, 1941, was committed to the Soviet-German Front. Lend-Lease
was designed to keep other Allied forces in the field. In the case of
England and the Soviet Union it played a capital role. It allowed the
United States to adapt a strategy of strategic reach by concentrating on air
and naval power and to reduce the size of the ground forces that it
mobilized (FDR’s 90 division gamble -- we actually only mobilized 89
divisions). The great bulk of ground forces in the European theater were
Soviet and the Red Army carried the war to victory at great cost.
Lend-Lease to the USSR had little impact in the first period of the war
(June 1941 to November 1942), the dleiveries amounted to a little over
150,000 tons of cargo -- it took time to organize the production, secure the
SLOCs, and make the deliveries via Murmansk, the Middle East (Iran), and the
Soviet Far East. During the second (November 1942 - July 1943 and third
(July 1943 - August 1945) it made critical contributions to the civilian
population, war production and stocks, and military equipment and weapons.
Fourth Protocol deliveries for the final phase of the war in Europe were in
excess of 6 million tons!
But goods, however necessary, do not make war. Men fight and die. Steve
Ambrose’s recent book on the GI’s in the European theater from Normandy to
Elbe makes this point dramatically. The same is true for the millions who
fought and died in the Red Army. My father-in-law, a student at the Academy
of Fine Arts in Leningrad, went off to war in 1941 as a volunteer on the
Karelian Front with a Czech rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition. He and many
others fought for Russia. That the USSR got lend-lease in no way
diminishes their bravery or patriotism. Count von Kielmansegg, a Major with
Army Group North, tells the story of an old military specialists, a colonel
who organized a particularly nasty defense on the Luga River against von
Leeb’s forces in August. When finally captured, the German interrogator
told the colonel that he had been too good a professional for the cause he
was defending. The colonel said he could spit on Stalin and his ilk. He was
defending Russia and the Russians would never be defeated. The colonel, of
course, was an exception. Most Red Army soldiers fought for the Soviet Union
and Stalin. That same regime committed the vilest crimes against its own
people and would commit more during and after the war. But Hitler’s
Vernichtungskrieg against Judischebolschivismus made even its crimes seem a
lesser evil. Hitler unleashed war upon the Soviet Union. No amount of
Suvorovian revisionism or Goebbels’s propaganda can change that fact. At a
minimum we should acknowledge the contribution that these men and women made
to victory. Indeed, it is time to acknowledge the contribution that all the
Allied soldiers and civilians made to what was a just war.
Much of the recent writing on Lend-Lease ignores the fact that the USSR
key industrial and agricultural regions in the first phase of the war and
had to move many of the plants and enterprises (a colossal undertaking) to
the deep rear beyond the Urals. Moreover, war is not just a matter of
industrial consumption but also imposed privation. The United States in
this regard has known only one total war and only part of its population --
the South -- experienced it. Not WWI, not WWII, not Korea, not Vietnam, and
certainly not the Gulf War imposed upon the civilian population the
draconian reduction in consumption and the extended hours of labor. Tsarist
Russia experienced it and collapsed. Churchill’s England endured, but in
the War’s aftermath a weary population turned the architect of victory out
of power. Moreover, a war fought to preserve England’s greatness saw the
loss of empire. Hitler, who knew what total war had done to Wilhelmian
Germany, avoided total war until 1943 and then relied upon the spoils of war
to sustain German consumption. Stalin imposed draconian sacrifices and
stayed in power. Lend-Lease helped to legitimize that terrible system.
Stalin had built a system to fight total, industrial war. Preparing for
that war, even when it was no longer a remote possibility became the curse
of his heirs and broke the USSR. The West won because it avoided that war,
thanks largely to the impact of nuclear weapons, which had made total war so
ghastly that it no longer could be considered a continuation of politics by
other means. In a fundamental sense both the West and the successor states
to the Soviet Union won the Cold War by avoiding nuclear war. In an age
when advanced conventional weapons seem to make war once again a rational
instrument of statecraft, we might wish to reflect on the modest ability of
human institutions to control war once it has been unleashed.
Finally, contemporary speculations about the contribution to victory should
be informed by historical insights, especially the judgments of
participants. General M. A. Gareev and I are working on a book about the
contribution of Lend-Lease to Soviet entry into the Pacific War. General
Gareev is a veteran of that campaign, having served with Meretskov’s Far
Eastern Front in 1945. US-Soviet negotiations for Soviet entry into the war
with Japan has much toi say about the nature and role of Lend-Lease.
•The earliest US proposal for Soviet entry into the war with Japan came only
a few days after Pearl Harbor. For obvious reasons the Soviet government
declined, citing the burden of the struggle with Germany, when the Wehrmacht
was just outside Moscow At the time of the Tehran Conference Roosevelt
raised the issue of Soviet entry into the war with Japan and Stalin agreed
in principle. From October 1944 until August 1945 the United States and the
Soviet Union were actively involved in the planning of that entry three
months after the end of hostilities in Europe. The Joint Chief of Staff
envisioned Soviet entry as part of the final struggle with Japan:
intensified blockade and air bombardment of the home islands, securing bases
in the Ryukyus, invasion of Kyushu, and a culminating invasion “through the
Tokyo plain.” The JSC wanted Soviet air fields for the bombardment of Japan
and the attack of the Red Army upon the Kwantung Army in Manchuria to
destroy its fighting power, reduce Japanese reserves available for the
defense of the home islands, and take out the Japanese industrial and
agricultural base there. For a complex set of reasons, the deployment of US
strategic bombers to the Soviet Far East never took place -- the Soviet
General Staff wanted to use its Far Eastern fields for its own air force
(5000+ planes) to support its ground offensive. Frantic took the bud off the
rose of shuttle bombing after major losses on the ground at Poltava. The
cpature of the Marianas provided secure bases to strike the home islands
with the new B-29s. The JSC position on the Lend-Lease deliveries to the
Far East was pragmatic. In November 1944 the JSC planners concluded:
Throughout current war planning there is implicit conviction that the
of Japan may be accomplished without Russian participation in the war. As a
corollary it has been considered that our main effort is a first charge
against our forces and resources and that no support which would prejudice
this effort could be afforded Russia, However, there is also general
recognition of the desirability, from our standpoint [JSC], of Russia’s
early entry into the war in order to add to the weight of force which may be
applied to obtaining the earliest possible Japanese defeat. Within
limitations imposed by time, availability of forces and resources, and by
lines of communication there will remain the capability for undertaking
measures to encourage Russian entry into the war and to provide some degree
of support prior to and after entry . . . .
Stalin asked for and got an endorsement of a political agenda in the Far
East -- return of Southern Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and a sphere of
influence in Manchuria -- and Lend-Lease at Yalta. The requirements, which
are part of overall Lend-Lease deliveries, were massive: 30,000 trucks, 3
million meter of overcoat cloth, 4.5 million meters of uniform cloth, 12
million meters of underwear cloth, 2 million pair of new boots, 720
automobile repair shops, and seven automobile assembly plants with a
capacity of 5,000 auto per month, and 336 C-47 transport planes. Additional
deliveries of food, ammunition, and POL to the Far East were to provide
sufficient stocks to sustain a combat force of 1.6 million men for three
months -- 860,000 tons of dry cargo and 206,000 tons of liquid cargo. Total
shipping tonnage for “Milepost” exceeded 1.5 million tons. The timely
completion of these deliveries made possible the Soviet entry into the
Pacific War on August 9th and the speed of the Soviet advance which overran
Manchuria in a few short weeks in a lightening operation.
Looked at from this perspective, Lend-Lease was a tool of victory. This is
quite obvious in Europe. In the Far East, however, it has been ignored. But
US and Soviet interests in the defeat of Japan were real. The atomic bombs
may make the military importance of Soviet entry less compelling.
Nonetheless, Soviet entry was another blow to the war party in Tokyo. It
removed the last dim hope for a brokered peace, the very rationale of the
supposed determined defense of the home islands. That these allies held
different political goals is equally true. Therein lies the roots of the
Cold War. But it should not excluded an appreciation of the pragmatism that
led to wartime collaboration in Europe and the Far East.
Ernest May in an article on US policy towards Soviet entry into the Pacific
War wrote in 1955 that it might be called morally flawed. But the flaw, if
there was one, had its basis in a desire of the American political and
military leadership to reduce casualties to US forces. That had been the
rationale of Lend-Lease from the beginning. It was the rationale in the Far
East. Of course, there was a capital trade-off. Land armies take and hold
ground. Once in place, they define political conditions. The advance of the
Red Army saved American lives even as it placed much of Eastern and Central
Europe and Northeast Asia under Communist control.