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CDI Library > Johnson's Russia List

Johnson's Russia List
 

 

March 11, 1998  
This Date's Issues: 2104   

Johnson's Russia List
#2104
11 March 1998
davidjohnson@erols.com

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Interfax: Russia, U.S.A. Expand Business Cooperation.
2. Beau Brummel: Correction & resources re Russian Brides.
3. Renfrey Clarke: ``SCAM OF THE CENTURY'' ADDS TO CHERNOBYL DANGERS.
4. Andrew Howell: Note on "Great Schism."
5. the eXile: Boris Kagarlitsky, Dependent Media. How and Why Russian 
Reporters Sell Out.

6. AP: Russians Caught Picking Flowers.
7. AP: Yeltsin Meets With Caucasus Leaders.
8. MiraMedUSA: Russia as major source of international sex trade.
9. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: WINNERS AND LOSERS IN RUSSIAN 
CLAN WARFARE...CHUBAIS ISOLATED AGAINST CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC. 

10. Ekonomika i Zhizn: REFORM: A FEMALE FACE.
11. Obshchaya Gazeta: Anatoly Uralov, NATIONALITIES IN MIRROR OF 
STATISTICS.

12. Interfax: Spokesman: Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Overcomes 
Crisis .]


*******

#1
Russia, U.S.A. Expand Business Cooperation 

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Interfax) - A series of agreements promoting
Russian-American business cooperation in key areas were reached in
Washington Tuesday during the tenth session of the Gore-Chernomyrdin
Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Russian
Prime Minister *Viktor Chernomyrdin* told the press in Washington Tuesday
evening. 
He said there were "quite a few problems on which the sides are still to
state their positions." However, he said, Russian-American cooperation has
already made achievements which provide the edifice of bilateral relations
with the necessary reserve of strength. 
"We must now be guided by the need to strengthen and broaden positive
experiences in all directions," Chernomyrdin said. 
He said that Russia and the United States are just making the first steps
in reshaping the present-day architecture of business cooperation. Although
the annual trade turnover between Russia and the United States has more
than doubled over the past six years, reaching $8 billion, it is lagging
far behind the daily trade turnover between the United States and Canada
which currently amounts to $1 billion, he said. 
"Nor can the $5 billion in American investments in the Russian economy be
compared with the tens of billions of dollars which the United States has
put into China," Chernomyrdin said. 
He said that "the present parameters of Russian-American economic
relations may only suit lazy people who are not interested in cooperation." 
In his opinion, "there are irritants" in relations between the two
countries "which are causing unnecessary frictions in bilateral economic
relations." The Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission must concentrate on removing
these obstacles and "clearing the way for deeper and more efficient
economic cooperation between the two countries," Chernomyrdin said. 

********

#2
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 19:15:58 -0500
From: Beau Brummel <Beau@InfoAve.Net>
Subject: Correction & resources re:Brummel/Russian Brides

I wrote I was married to married to an American woman
for some reason, and I am married to a Russian woman.

Isvineetsha ...

Frustration. For more info on this topic feel free to
email me or visit related industry links at:

http://users.aimnet.com/~ksyrah/ekskurs/sing.html
http://web.infoave.net/~beau/rwl.html
http://www.webtelpro.com/~beau/drm.htm
http://members.tripod.com/~LamotheM/index.html 

Or, for the post by post version, subscribe to RWL by
sending email to:
listserv@maelstrom.stjohns.edu
with:
subscribe russian-women-l [firstname lastname]

There is another side to all of this worthy of investigation
before you fully form your opinions.

*******

#3
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 08:58:06 +0300 (WSU)
From: austgreen@glas.apc.org (Renfrey Clarke)
Subject: Chernobyl scam

#``SCAM OF THE CENTURY'' ADDS TO CHERNOBYL DANGERS
#By Renfrey Clarke
#MOSCOW - Battling the consequences of the world's worst-ever
nuclear disaster, at Chernobyl in 1986, the government of Ukraine
has received many hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid
for clean-up work and measures to improve nuclear safety.
#Now comes the embarrassing question: how much of the aid money
has been spent as intended? Ukrainian environmentalists believe
that vast sums have been embezzled by crooked nuclear industry
officials.
#According to one prominent spokesperson for the
environmentalists, the sum creamed off could have been as much as
US$740 million - making the theft ``the scam of the century''.
The same spokesperson has put the sum actually spent on
mitigating the dangers posed by the destroyed Chernobyl reactor
at ``no more than a few million dollars''.
#Surfacing early in March, these allegations provided a
sensational cap to a week of controversy over the Ukrainian
government's plans to shut down Chernobyl for good. Embroiled in
the furore have been the European Commission, via the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); the government of
Russia, with which Ukraine recently signed a long-term program
for economic cooperation; and US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright.
#After Ukraine became independent at the end of 1991, large
quantities of money began to be funnelled to the country's
nuclear energy authorities by Western governments anxious to be
seen responding to popular alarm at the Chernobyl disaster.
#In 1995 came an agreement with the Group of Seven advanced
countries that the Ukrainian government would close the remaining
reactors at the Chernobyl plant by the year 2000, in return for
further aid. To the consternation of environmentalists, it was
envisaged that much of this assistance, which was to be
channelled through the EBRD, would be used to fund the
construction of new nuclear power capacity to take the place of
Chernobyl.
#New reactor blocks were to be completed and commissioned at the
Khmelnitsky and Rovno plants in western Ukraine. The economics of
this decision were immediately queried, and in November 1996 an
independent panel, including two US experts, was appointed to
review the case for completing the reactors.
#The panel came out strongly against the Khmelnitsky and Rovno
reactors, which the experts concluded were not economic:
``Completing these reactors,'' the panel's report stated, ``would
not represent the most productive use of US$1 billion or more of
EBRD/EU funds at this time.''
#The panel pointed out that Ukraine could make up for Chernobyl
by using non-nuclear options such as reconstructing existing
thermal power plants and increasing the efficiency of energy
transmission and use.
#During 1997 energy use in Ukraine continued to decline; at
present, the country has installed energy generation capacity of
55,000 megawatts, with electricity demand of only 33,000
megawatts. The EBRD officials, however, continued to listen to
the arguments of the Ukrainian nuclear establishment. A further
study was commissioned, this time conducted by the US company
Stone and Webster, a nuclear power contractor.
#Then, late in February this year, the EBRD unexpectedly backed
away from the plan to complete the Khmelnitsky and Rovno
reactors. The reactor scheme was among eight of 13 projects,
approved in 1995, which the bank announced it would not finance.
#Also rejected was funding for new safety provisions at the
Chernobyl plant. The EBRD announced that about US$15 million
allotted for safety upgrades in the plant's no. 3 reactor block
would instead be reassigned to work on decommissioning the plant.
This decision was taken after the Ukrainian authorities, citing
economic reasons, refused to schedule a maintenance shutdown of
the no. 3 block for late in 1998. Without the shutdown, the
improvements to safety could not be made.
#In refusing the maintenance shutdown, the Ukrainian officials
were clearly emboldened by hints that if the EBRD cut back its
support, the Russian government would step into the breach.
During February, Russian and Ukrainian leaders negotiated a ten-
year economic cooperation agreement, signed by Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma during a state visit to Moscow at the end
of the month.
#On March 3 Kuchma announced that Russia had agreed to help
finish the Khmelnitsky and Rovno reactors. Russian sources
indicated that the cost of this work, put at US$150-180 million,
would be provided from the Russian budget. Ukraine would pay the
sum back in the form of electricity supplies to Russia over a
ten-year period.
#Environmentalists have warned repeatedly that the reactors under
construction at Khmelnitsky and Rovno - VVER-type pressurised
water units based on a Soviet design - are of dubious safety.
But the EBRD's decision to back away from the scheme was not
based on the dangers of nuclear power. By late February, the
bankers had become convinced that Ukrainian nuclear officials
were ripping them off on a colossal scale.
#On February 18 the EBRD's representative in Ukraine, Yaroslav
Kinakh, received a report by a group of Ukrainian environmental
organisations on the ``conservation'' work performed at
Chernobyl. A wide circle of nuclear experts and plant
administrators, the environmentalists charged, had joined
together in defrauding aid donors, siphoning off hundreds of
millions of dollars via dummy companies and consultancies.
#After further investigations, Kinakh reported that ``our workers
discovered cases of money being spent on inappropriate tasks
whose fulfilment would not have a significant effect on the
station's safety, and also on measures which had been implemented
in previous years.''
#A spokesperson for Ukraine's nuclear regulatory administration
retorted that misappropriating aid funds was ``absolutely
impossible''. But in a press interview in the first days of March
Vladimir Usatenko, the head consultant to the Ukrainian
parliament's Chernobyl Committee, described in detail how the
scam had worked.
#From 1991 through 1995, Usatenko estimated, the officials had
plundered about US$560 million on the basis of work that was
grossly overcharged, only partially completed, unnecessary, or
simply fictitious. They had then planned to pocket a further
US$300 million through charging a second time for investigative
work that had already been performed. In all, Usatenko
calculated, the officials had made off with about US$740 million.
Only a few million dollars, he considered, had really been spent
usefully.
#How could the bankers have allowed such carryings-on? Usatenko
recounted a conversation he had had with a senior European
Commission nuclear safety official, a man named Bonaccio.
According to Bonaccio, the EBRD's staff had been reluctant to
question the insistence of Ukrainian nuclear experts that
particular spending was necessary. Non-experts themselves, the
bank officials had feared to withhold funds, sensing they would
be held responsible if a further disaster occurred.
#Even where spending had been ill-documented, the bankers had not
protested. Responding to a question from a German deputy to the
European Parliament, Bonaccio had admitted that proper accounts
existed only for about a third of the total sum paid out.
#In gambling that there would not be another catastrophe at
Chernobyl, the embezzlers subjected the Ukrainian population and
environment to horrifying risks. The steel and concrete
containment vessel - the ``sarcophagus'' - that covers the ruined
reactor is deteriorating fast, and Usatenko speaks with alarm of
what might happen if large amounts of water were to penetrate to
the melted-down fuel.
#Neutron levels within the sarcophagus, Usatenko states, are
gradually declining. But there is still no consensus on what
long-term method to use in order to contain the dangers. And now
that most of the aid so far has been shown to have been
purloined, donors are unlikely to be generous when the hat is
passed around to fund further work.
#Meanwhile, the Russian government has agreed to help finish the
Khmelnitsky and Rovno reactors, which Ukrainian energy consumers
do not need and from which only the country's still-formidable
``nuclear mafia'' stands to benefit. The deal reflects strong
continuing ties between nuclear industry apparatchiks in Russia
and Ukraine. Together, these forces have mounted a push to win
new markets for the nuclear power technology of the former Soviet
Union.
#A major coup in this area has been the winning by Russia's
nuclear power industry of a contract - bitterly opposed by the US
- to build a nuclear plant in Iran. Projections were that the
turbines for this plant would be supplied by a firm in the
Ukrainian city of Kharkov.
#On March 4, shortly before setting out on an official visit to
Ukraine, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she would
press Ukrainian leaders to halt the sale of the turbines. US
officials understood that the Ukrainians would have to be
compensated if the sale, described as worth hundreds of millions
of dollars, were scuttled. ``To counteract these losses,'' Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on March 5, ``the US has
offered Ukraine an agreement on nuclear cooperation if Kiev
scraps the deal, including aid with construction of two key
reactors at Ukraine's Khmelnitsky and Rovno plants.''
#Following talks with Albright on March 6, Ukrainian officials
announced that the turbine deal would indeed be dropped. Whether
the building of Ukraine's new nukes will now become a three-way
enterprise, including the US as well as Ukraine and Russia, is
not clear. But any claims by the Clinton administration to be
defending economic rationality in Eastern Europe can now only be
looked at askance. Any further comment on the administration's
attitude to the Ukrainian environment, meanwhile, becomes
superfluous.

********

#4
From: ahowell@sprynet.com (Andrew Howell)
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 23:12:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: note on "Great Schism"

I noticed that a recent AP report (in JRL 2099) stated that the proposed
meeting 
between Patriarch Alexy and the Pope would be the first such encounter "in
more 
than 900 years, since the so-called 'Great Schism' in 1054, which divided 
Christians into the Catholic and Orthodox factions."

Any medievalists among your readers will have already noted the error in 
terminology here. The "Great Schism" is the term used for the turmoil
within the 
Roman church from 1378 to 1417, during which rival French and Italian Popes 
contended for rule over western Christendom.

The split referred to in the article occurred 300 years earlier, when a papal 
delegation to Constantinople formally excommunicated the Byzantine
Patriarch at 
Hagia Sophia; it is commonly referred to as the "Schism of 1054."

*******

#5
From: "Matt Taibbi" <exile.taibbi@matrix.ru>
Subject: exile submissions
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 14:13:59 +0300
The eXile, Moscow

Dependent Media
How and Why Russian Reporters Sell Out
by Boris Kagarlitsky

Westerners who want to be glad they won the cold war invariably believe
the multitudinous news reports which describe Russians basking in a sea of
new personal liberties-freedom to do business, freedom to practice
religion, freedom to read an uncensored press. They want to believe that
the collapse of communism really brought the goodies the West promised
democracy would bring. TV reports with pictures of Muscovites enjoying
McDonald's and Coca-Cola can reassure them somewhat about the economic
part; and if they want more detailed reassurance, every business
publication from the Wall Street Journal on downward is happy to comply
with tales of a raw but flourishing capitalist economy.
The free press is a harder thing to demonstrate, mostly because it
doesn't really exist in the way anyone hoped it would. Though the United
States continues to insist that Russia is "on the right path," the truth is
that the rise of a powerful press in post-communist Russia has nothing to
do with the rosy picture of editorial freedom the Western cold warriors
insisted would come true after 1991.
In the Soviet era the press was part of the State. Not just as an
instrument of propaganda, but as a representative of the power structures. 
Today's Russian press is still influential not because it is free, but
precisely because it has maintained this Soviet tradition. The symbiosis of
the press and the State has simply taken on a new form. The State has been
privatized, and for the most part is controlled by competing oligarchical
clans. These oligarchs also happen to own most of the mass media.
Where the press can still remain independent under such conditions the
reader himself can judge from the example of the Moscow newspaper,
Nezavisamaya Gazeta. This publication, thought up and created in 1990-1 by
Vitaly Tretyakov as an example of the new, free press, was initially one of
first mouthpieces of "reform." 
At that time, however, the newspaper's editorial slant simply coincided
with the prevailing mood in society (at least that part of the society
which lives in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other large cities). The
majority of Moscow's intelligentsia at that time sincerely believed in the
benificience of capitalism as a replacement for th Soviet system. Yet the
newspapers' desire to avoid being mere propaganda organs quickly led, in
spite of their popularity, to serious financial problems. The more often a
newspaper offended Yeltsin and the government of Yegor Gaidar, the more
difficult it became to get a hold of money. And the role of money swiftly
grew.
When Nezavisamaya Gazeta was founded, the Moscow Municipal Soviet gave
the newspaper a small, one-time subsidy, which carried it through half a
year of work. After the beginning of reform, that same amount of money,
even in dollar terms, could only support the newspaper for a maximum of two
months. The price of paper alone rose dramatically. Journalists' salaries
dropped, in the face of inflation, to almost nothing. 
Then, suddenly, MOST bank appeared on the publishing scene, putting out
its own daily newspaper-- "Segodnya." The new publication not only
plundered the entire staff of Nezavisamaya Gazeta, for whom money turned
out to be more important than freedom, but somehow also managed to acquire
Novaya Gazeta's subscription list as well. In the space of a few months,
the readers of Novaya Gazeta were also receiving Segodnya for free as part
of a marketing campaign.
However, the overwhelming majority of the subscribers remained faithful
to Nezavisamaya. The newspaper not only survived, but went decidedly to the
left. Those that remained with the newspaper still believed in the free
press, and a new cadre of young employees joined up. In October, 1993, the
newspaper survived a new crisis, printing with entirely white pages: the
editors refused to take out those pages that were censored by the Yeltsin
regime. They put out these blank pages over and over again.
Having survived the censor's pressure, the newspaper in 1995 became the
victim of another in a series of financial crises. Money needed to pay for
the paper ran out, and salaries were no longer paid. Tretyakov suggested to
those journalists who weren't receiving their pay that they publish
Nezavisimaya Gazeta themselves. Most of the free-lancers were willing to
agree, but for journalists it was more difficult. Most of the publication's
employees sought extra work on the side, leaving them less and less time
for their main professional duties. In 1992-3, people were able to work
just out of enthusiasm. 
But the psychological circumstances in society soon changed completely.
Reputation (not to mention the conviction) was suddenly valued less, while
there was more temptation than ever to make money at the expense of
editorial integrity. Many people who were very young when they came to the
paper three or four years before the big crisis now felt that the situation
had changed. They wanted stability, and they felt that their efforts gave
them back something quite different.
A mutiny started up in the newspaper. Tretyakov was overthrown.
Desperate to do something, the editor-in-chief left for Italy in order to
rest and calm his nerves. Here, the omnipotent businessman Boris Berezovsky
searched Tretyakov out. The infamous banker flew the journalist back to
Russia on his own jet, and Berezovsky's own armed guards suddenly assumed
security for the building. The mutiny was suppressed, and salaries were
paid. Those who were unhappy tried to put out their own magazine,
Ponedelnik, which closed down after the third issue because of a lack of
funds. 
Ponedelnik, eXile readers may recall, was the brainchild of publishing
strike-out king Andrew Paulson, whose most recent failures included a
bitter falling-out with Time Out London and Vechernaya Moskva, a nightlife
magazine which now cannot be found at a single kiosk in greater Moscow. 
Berezovsky, with Paulson's help, had added yet another publication to his
empire. You've got give him credit: after all of those shake-ups,
Nezavisamaya Gazeta, to the amazement of many, maintained its image.
Perhaps this is all thanks to Tretyakov, who stood up for the newspaper-or
maybe Berezovsky simply understood that instead of propaganda the press can
have a different function as well.
Even after the change to life under Berezovsky's patronage, Nezavisamaya
Gazeta remained a newspaper that paid its employees very little. Staff
employees received, and still receive, about 1200 to 1500 new rubles a
month. But at the same time a new internal elite formed: heads of
departments, their deputies and the editors of special supplements. Their
salaries are five to ten times more, making them, at the very least, no
worse off than those at competing newspapers.
The gap between the "elite" and the "masses"-- which is characteristic
of most publications, where the only question is the scale of the gap.
Several newspapers intentionally keep their new employees on beggars'
salaries, on the assumption that you can always find new entry-level
employees. This is due mainly to the efforts of the journalism schools,
which pump out a labor force of young people every year, ready to work for
practically free for a year or two while they try to break in and make
connections with the professional world. Once they gain a certain level of
professional success, the young as a rule will move to another publication.
The turnover in Moscow newspapers is unbelievable: people move rapidly from
one publication to the next, often changing even their political orientation. 
More than anywhere else, most young journalists cut their teeth at
Nezavisamaya Gazeta and Moskovksy Komsomolets before going on to other
publications. A few others start out at Kommersant. Even though journalists
were always paid well there, at the first opportunity they invariably jump
ship. The reason is simple: the owners of Kommersant figure that for good
money they buy not only the journalist's man-hours, but also his persona.
The editors of that paper believe that a newspaper should have a consistent
editorial slant and a consistent style in each article. As a result,
Kommersant keeps a team of special "rewriters" in order to unify the text,
through whom all material must pass. Much of the text that passes through
these people comes out unrecognizable. A significant number of the articles
are even published without the authors' approval. It isn't surprising,
therefore, that journalists who consider themselves creative quickly bail
on Kommersant. One winds up at Obschaya Gazeta, another at Moscow News,
while still others prefer to go unemployed and make money as they can. The
last mass exodus from Kommersant took place in 1997, when the new newspaper
Russky Telegraph was founded. If writers complained before about
ideological oppression, they now fled in reaction to the editorial policy
of a "consistent editorial slant." It turned out that the style of work
that evolved didn't correspond to their own conception of their personal
styles.
A shortage of funds forced most newspapers to return to their network of
correspondents within Russia and beyond. There, the correspondents usually
have some other relationship or work going with a local newspaper. For
their part, Moscow journalists make money under the table by working with
provincial newspapers or even with foreign publications, especially as what
is understood as "foreign" has grown. For example, Anna Ostapchuk, having
written for Moscow News, at the same time represents the Kiev-based
television company "Nova Mova" here in Moscow, as well as the
Ukrainian-language BBC. She has a rare advantage over local Moscow
journalists: fluency in Ukrainian.
Of course, the pay for journalists in Russia isn't the only source of
income. While the major businesses fight for political influence, buying
newspapers and television channels, and the government places its own
people at the head of mass media organs, small-time players in political
and business world are trying to solve their problems by placing so-called
"zakaznie materialy," paid-for articles.
Which is why you shouldn't be surprised if in the middle of a news
program on the television they show a tedious press conference of some
little-known character or a piece about the production success of some
private company, right in the best tradition of Soviet propaganda. There's
nothing strange in the fact that when some important event takes place,
they ask some statesman who has no relationship to the event in question to
comment on it (just as they ask an independent deputy to comment on
internal discord in the Communist Party factions, and ask politicians of
dubious reputations to comment on economic issues). All of these are
ordered and paid-for.
The "orders" are usually the most diverse of all. Sometimes they have to
pay just to show some face or other on the TV screen, or to send some
journalists to their press conferences. Oftentimes they pay not for the
article, but just in order to have the article or TV spot appear on the
right day, so that it corresponds to the commentary. Everything has its
price. A curious thing is that even though he demands money for his
"zayavka," the journalist will often insist that the information is
reliable and interesting for the public. It is a kind of professional
ethics. In professional circles, articles that are obviously false and also
boring are called "jeans." During Nikolai Goncharov's election campaign, I
managed to place, through a friend, several radio pieces for one hundred
fifty bucks apiece. "Just make sure there are no jeans!" my friends shouted
as they stuffed dollar bills in their pockets. Personally, I greatly value
this kind of principled attitude toward one's work. It's just too bad that
good an interesting pieces can't get published just like that, for no
reason, without a special fee. 
The price for prepaid articles runs from a hundred dollars to a few
thousand. The forms of payment vary. Far from every journalist is prepared
to accept cash. Some even insist on drawing up documents with receipts for
"informational services." Often the payment method depends on the ruling
morality in that particular journalist's publication. As far as I can tell
from my experience, practically every journalist in town runs "zakazniye"
stories, but the attitude towards them varies from place to place. In many
publications, the leadership of the paper is against these kinds of
materials on principle, but accepts them as a necessary evil borne of their
own inability to pay their employees real salaries. That attitude is most
characteristic of opposition publications. In "Pravda-5", for instance,
where the very best writers are paid less than $400 a month, the paper's
official ban on "zakazniye materiali" is impossible to enforce. Vitaly
Tretyakov led a prolonged battle against these kinds of pieces in
"Nezavisimaya Gazeta," but managed minor successes only when he was able to
raise salaries-and officially incorporate "zakazi" into the paper's policy.
Today, when a business-minded person wants information favorable to his
personal goal published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, he has to apply to the
advertising department, and formally fill out an order. The journalist
receives a 15% commission. Only clear disinformation is rejected.
These kinds of restrictions tend not to exist in the more liberatarian
publications, which more openly propagandize the "Get Rich!" attitude.
While journalists in these papers already receive decent salaries, nobody
ever gets fired for "moonlighting." In any case, I'm not aware of a single
example of this ever happening. Furthermore, the rank-and-file journalist
in these papers always clears his "zakaz" with his immediate superior,
usually the department editor, who takes a cut for himself. 
Of course, no matter how sweet the "zakaz" fee might be, the piece won't
run if it contradicts the general editorial slant of the paper. At
"Pravda-5," I was told that after Komsomolskaya Pravda fell into the hands
of Oneximbank, a whole range of commercial structures were suddenly
deprived of the ability to place articles in that paper. The only
alternative for these people was to place their stories in opposition papers. 
There are even scandalous instances in which money is paid, but the
articles are never published. Since the money isn't paid, officially, for
anything in particular, there's no legal avenue to get it back-and not
everybody has the muscle to wrest it away from the more powerful publications.
All the same, it's wrong to look upon all Russian journalists as
beady-eyed, greedy little creatures only worried about their own pockets.
Often a reporter will write some garbage on behalf of some businessman for
a few hundred bucks, then turn around the next day and risk his life to
publish some serious article that is sure to arouse the anger of his
sponsors and imperil his position in the paper. You can moralize all you
want about this sort of thing, but everybody needs money. Just not
everybody is prepared to change his political convictions for money.
In the end, everything in this country depends on personal relationships
between individual people. In 1992-93, I had a chance to work in the
Russian Federation of Independent Unions. We managed to get the stories we
wanted published in the press, and we didn't pay a single kopek. The fact
was, the journalists who wrote these stories just happened to agree with
us. Instead of stuffing money in people's pockets, we just invited them to
our offices for coffee.
In those days the press secretary for the Russian Federation of
Independent Unions, Alexander Segal, had a great reputation for attracting
the attention of journalists, in particular female journalists. He fed them
cake and told them Jewish jokes. I don't know how much money he saved the
Unions, but he was repaid in black ingratitude. When the unions, after the
bombardment of the White House in 1993, started to demonstrate loyalty to
the government, Segal, who continued to toe the more radical line of the
former union leaders, was fired. 
Today he works as the press secretary for the Tyumein Oil Company.

*******

#6
Russians Caught Picking Flowers
10 March 1998

MOSCOW (AP) -- Dozens of people were caught picking endangered flowers in
a Russian park near the Black Sea over the weekend, when International
Women's Day was celebrated.
Flower sales soar in Russia around March 8, when most people feel
obligated to present flowers and chocolates to female friends, co-workers
and relatives.
In the Matsesta wildlife park near the resort city of Sochi, police
caught more than 80 people who picked cyclamens, snowdrops and other
species of flowers that are endangered, foresters said Tuesday.
Senior forester Alexander Shavonin told the ITAR-Tass news agency that
the offenders were fined $2.50 for each flower -- a considerable amount in
Russia.
``However, the money collected in fines was not enough to compensate for
the damage caused to nature by poachers,'' Shavonin said.

*******

#7
Yeltsin Meets With Caucasus Leaders
10 March 1998
By JUDITH INGRAM Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Boris Yeltsin accused ``extremist masterminds''
Tuesday of stirring up ethnic tensions and discontent with his government
in the restive North Caucasus region.
The president told clan elders and other Caucasus leaders at a meeting in
Moscow that instability and unrest were growing in the southern Russian
region, the Interfax news agency said.
But he warned Russia is a ``powerful, multiethnic state'' with ``strength
and manpower to rebuff anyone.''
The North Caucasus is a mosaic of ethnic groups, languages and religions,
united by the Russian government. Crime is rampant throughout the region,
which also has some of the highest levels of poverty in the country.
The region includes the rebel republic of Chechnya, which considers
itself independent after a two-year war of secession against Russia. The
republic refused to send any representatives to Tuesday's meeting.
Leaders from seven other Caucasus republics and three neighboring ethnic
Russian regions attended.
``There are extremist masterminds in the Caucasus who are trying to set
ethnic groups against one another and provoke them to campaign against the
authorities,'' Yeltsin was quoted by Interfax as saying.
The government is most concerned about growing tensions in Dagestan,
where Chechens have masterminded kidnappings and attacks against Russian
government targets. An Islamic fundamentalist movement, Wahhabism, also
seems to be taking root there.
Returning order to Chechnya was a main item on the agenda, and Yeltsin
said that ``joint work to restore Chechnya is the best medicine to heal the
wounds that remain after the military confrontation,'' which ended with a
cease-fire in 1996.
In a statement issued by Yeltsin's office, the elders appealed for help
in easing social and economic problems, re-energizing industry and creating
jobs.
``Only on this constructive basis can conflicts be overcome,'' they said.

*******

#8
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998
From: MiraMedUSA <MiraMedUSA@aol.com> 
Subject: Russia as major source of international sex trade

We are a nonprofit that provides aid to women and children in Russia--our
focus is now orphanages. In January, the NY Times ran a front page story on
Russian
women sold into slavery after answering "ads" for "prettty girls wanted for
work in foreign hotels" etc. Article documented 2 year project by Global
Survival Network
which secretly taped Russians involved with the trade and women captives in
Israel and Europe. We have seen tape and read entire materials--much of this
is well known at highest circles, but Russian officials deny it. I do not
keep up with your mail as religiously as I should--anything recent on this
that we should
know about (in addition to your posting today?) Any personal comments? Keep
up the good work, we are. Bob Aronson, Program Director

******

#9
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
11 March 1998

WINNERS AND LOSERS IN RUSSIAN CLAN WARFARE... As the dust settles from
President Yeltsin's minipurge of the government, most commentators concur
that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has managed to re-establish full
control over the course of domestic policy. This was symbolized both by his
authoritative conduct of last week's expanded cabinet meeting, and by the
inauguration on Saturday of a weekly 15-minute prime minister's question
time on television. (Vek, no. 10, March)

The week, however, also saw a flurry of aggressive press interviews by First
Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, which were interpreted either as a
sign that he is contemplating leaving government, or that he is fighting to
retain his post. On March 7, Chubais's harsh critic, "Nezavisimaya gazeta,"
published the full text of an interview in which Chubais blasted the paper
as a tool of its owner, Boris Berezovsky. In a style reminiscent of James
Carville, Chubais said, "Many of my friends believe that your newspaper is
simply disgusting and revolting. One of them told me that he cannot control
his body's natural reaction when he reads it?. Lies! Your newspaper is all
lies! A corrupt newspaper, corrupt journalists and corrupt editors." Chubais
clearly has someone closely monitoring media coverage, because he complained
that prior to May 1997, 70 percent of the paper's references to him were
favorable, but by February 1998, 63 percent were negative. (Nezavisimaya
gazeta, March 7)

Chubais went on to suggest that, "The Russian people will not
psychologically tolerate being controlled by big financial companies like
puppets" and that they "hate Berezovsky much more than me." In another
interview, he bemoaned the fact that government ministers stop to discuss
"What will a certain oligarch think about this?" before making a decision,
and called for a strengthening of the Russian state to ensure that not all
officials have to "dance to the tune of big business." (Kommersant-daily,
March 5)

...CHUBAIS ISOLATED AGAINST CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC. This rhetoric is rather
ironic, coming from a man who has perhaps done more than any other
individual to empower that very financial oligarchy he now condemns. Since
last summer, Chubais has aligned himself with Vladimir Potanin's
Oneksimbank, which has been increasingly marginalized as the
Berezovsky-Chernomyrdin axis consolidates its grip. In New York on March 4,
Boris Jordan, a Potanin ally and head of the MFK-Renaissance financial
group, joined Chubais's chorus, describing the current Russian government as
"exhausted and incompetent" and criticizing "crony capitalists" who depend
on cheap government credits. Two days later, the Moscow MFK office received
its eleventh visit by tax inspectors. (Izvestiya, March 7)

Chubais's main ally in the government, fellow First Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Nemtsov, is looking equally isolated. A long article by respected
sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya detailed the reasons why the charmed life
of the "crown prince" has come to an end. She concludes that "this gifted
national politician does not have a ghost of a chance of winning the 2000
election." (Argumenty i fakty, No. 9, February)

The consolidation of the Chernomyrdin bloc is partly challenged by the
latest ratings on Russia's political and business elite from "Ekspert"
magazine. The journal asked 640 political and business leaders in Moscow and
four other cities to rate the influence of 100 leaders. As a political
leader Potanin still ranks number ten, higher than Berezovsky (at number
seventeen). As a businessman, however, he is judged less influential than
Berezovsky. Combining the rankings of leaders from each of the rival groups,
Ekspert assesses that Oneksimbank is still the leading clan, with a grand
total of thirty-five points, followed by Gazprom and Mikhail Khodorkovsky's
Menatep with twenty-five points each, the Moscow group (around Yury Luzhkov)
with twenty-two, Vladimir Gusinsky's Most group with twenty, and Berezovsky
with only thirteen. The methodology of such ranking is rather questionable,
but monitoring clan politics is more art than science. (Ekspert, March 2)

********

#10
>From RIA Novosti
Ekonomika i Zhizn, No. 10
March 1998
REFORM: A FEMALE FACE

* Women make up the majority of Russia's population. Their
number exceeded 78 million as of January 1, 1997, which was
equal to 53 percent of this country's population of 147.5
million.

* In today's social and economic environment, the ages-old
conflict between a woman's social roles has acquired an even
more painful form: her orientation on the family and household
inevitably means lower living standards, while her employment
outside home is one of the key factors of the low birth rate
and the small number of children per family.

* The present demographic situation is rather complicated,
too. According to a preliminary estimate, in 1997 the average
summary birth figure, which reflects the population's
reproduction level, was 123 per 100 women, whereas as many as
215 is the level needed to ensure the replacement of the
parents' generation by that of their children.

* As of the beginning of 1997, 64,200 early childhood
education centers operated in Russia serving 5.1 million
children, or 55 percent of all preschoolers.

* In 1996/97, women accounted for 55 percent of college
and university students, and 59 percent of those of secondary
professional schools.

* The number of women employed in the economic sphere has
been on a decline since 1991. In 1995 their number was 31
million, or slightly less than 50 percent of all working women.
The most "women's" branches are: health care; physical
education and social service (82 percent); education, culture
and the arts (79 percent).

* The past few years saw the number of women declining in
such fields as trade, public catering, credit and finance, and
insurance, which had been earlier considered mostly women's.
The share of women in these spheres fell by 15-17 percent
between 1990 and 1995. The growth of men's share there is
easily explained by the fact that the above jobs are becoming
increasingly better paid these days.

* Women aged between 31 and 54 run the greatest risk of
finding themselves below the poverty line. Even given the
general positive trends, the poverty level of this group has
practically not changed over the past three years. The public
social services (health care, education, and the arts), where
female staff still prevails, have the biggest share of
employees whose pay is below the subsistence level.

* The overall number of the unemployed was 6.4 million as
of the end of 1997, 46 percent of them being women. The number
of the unemployed registered with employment agencies had
reached 2 million by last year's end, 64 percent of them being
women. More than a half of the unemployed women choose to get
registered with labor exchanges in order to find jobs; only
two-fifths of men do that.

* In 1996, 36 percent of the unemployed women were
dismissed from their jobs on redundancy grounds. Women also
account for two-thirds of college graduates who failed to find
employment.

* The unemployed women include 41 percent of those under
30; and 4 percent slightly below the retirement age. Also 47
percent of them have university degrees or secondary
professional school certificates. The average duration of being
unemployed is 8.6 months for women and 7.9 months for men.

* Women accounted for 11 percent of State Duma members as
of the end of March 1997.

* Women accounted for 56 percent of the federal level
civil servants as of January 1, 1997. The women working with
the government include 9 percent occupying higher managerial
positions, with as few as 0.1 percent of them holding the
highest leadership posts. Women holding higher managerial
positions in every second federal executive body account for
less than 5 percent of all female civil servants.

* As of the beginning of 1997, large and medium-sized
companies in industry, construction, transportation and
communications, employed 969,800 women (or 12 percent of all
women in the above sectors) at work-places which did not meet
the sanitary and hygienic norms. This included 868,900 (14.9
percent) at industrial companies; 38,000 (6.3 percent) at
construction companies; 49,700 (4.7 percent) at transportation
companies; and 13,300 (2.4 percent) at communications
companies.
Compiled by M. Panova

*******

#11
>From RIA Novosti
Obshchaya Gazeta
February 12, 1998 
NATIONALITIES IN MIRROR OF STATISTICS
By Anatoly URALOV, Sociologist 

In the late 1980s, Russia experienced a surge of national
self-conscience, something which could not but affect the
public opinion. 
If the data provided by the national public opinion
research centre, better known as the VTsIOM, are to be
believed, in 1989 only 20% of the polled had no love lost for
'aliens', while in 1991, the figure approached 40%.
By the start of 1993, 48-54% of the Russians were
xenophobic. Today, the level is still appreciably high. 
Thus, 3% of Muscovites dislike Ukrainians, 7% have no
liking for Moldavians and Latvians, 8% for Jews and 11% for
Tatars. As many as 33% of the pollees have a negative vision of
Georgians and Gipsies, 34%, of Armenians, and 40%, of Chechens.
A great number of Muscovites - 46% - seem to dislike Azeris. 
Jews and the peoples of the Caucasus are disliked in both
Russia and Ukraine. In Lithuania, the least liked nationalities
are Poles, Russians, and Belorussians. 
Today's state of ethnic relations does not make one
optimistic. Citizens of the once single country, people of
various nationalities riven from the homes by hardships seek
protection in Russia. Which is only natural, albeit not
universally approved. 
Follows an excerpt from the Moscow Region's Russian
Party's address to the people of the region:
"Due to the unjust treatment of the indigenous Slavic
population in the Moscow Region, which makes up 80-85%, there
are conflicts between various nationalities and a growing
threat of bad consequences. We insist that the principle of the
proportionate national representation be implemented in
practice in the state and economic bodies of the Moscow Region
government."
If the polls are to be believed, meanwhile, approximately
60% of the Russians agree that the Russians themselves are to
blame for Russia's misfortunes, for they have failed to
preserve their best traditions and habits, as well as the
religion and culture of their country. 
There is no doubt that the largest ethnic group in Russia
is living through a contradictory and largely painful process
of giving up the model of a single state and adopting the idea
of the national statehood. 
Their identification with the authorities, with the
'derzhava', or great power, is weakening to yield to other
principles and criteria. The predominant criteria are: the
territory (I live in Russia), the family (the parents'
nationality), and the culture and language. 
Still, the problem persists. Our society is excessively
intolerant, something which cannot but make thinking people
worried.

*******

#12
Spokesman: Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Overcomes Crisis 

MOSCOW, March 11 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service has
overcome a crisis, the service's spokesman Gen. Yuri Kobaladze said in an
interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, published Wednesday,
"The crisis broke out five years ago, when the foreign intelligence service
became a target of vicious attacks. Today, the number of our mistakes has
decreased - knock on wood," Kobaladze said. 
"Perhaps, Russia is no longer considered to be a superpower, but no one
will dare disregard the Russian foreign intelligence service," he said. 
He complained that "the foreign intelligence service's setbacks are known
to all and are talked about everywhere." "But achievements are known only
to a narrow circle of professionals," he said. 
He said nothing suggests that there are "moles" in the foreign
intelligence service who sell information to commercial organizations or
abroad. 
He said, however, that "moles" may appear in the future. Western
intelligence services, he said, continue to work against the Russian
foreign intelligence service. "Even though the general climate in the world
has improved, confrontation between the foreign intelligence services
continue," he added. 
He admitted that it is as difficult for the foreign intelligence service
to survive as for the rest of the state organizations. "Salaries froze a
long time ago. The market buys our specialists at a much higher price than
the state, he said. 
Asked if the foreign intelligence service has given up the practice of
disguising its staff members as journalists, he said that the foreign
intelligence service had to give up many of its former "covers." "We were
simply ousted from Ostankino by Yegor Yakovlev who ran Channel 1 then,"
Kobaladze said. 
There were plans to remove all foreign intelligence people from the
Foreign Ministry, but there was too little time to fulfill this plan, he
continued. "Meanwhile, foreign intelligence services cannot do without a
cover," he said. 
He said that the foreign intelligence service is not engaged in
collecting compromising information. "If you convince the president that
this or that information benefits the country we shall fetch it. An order
must come from *Yeltsin* or Chernomyrdin," he added. 

*******

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