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Johnson's Russia List


April 16, 1998  
This Date's Issues: 21492150 

Johnson's Russia List
16 April 1998

[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Greg Myre, Post-Soviet Generation Rising.
2. Reuters: Russia's Kiriyenko vows to boost reforms.
3. Kennan Institute: “Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus.”
4. CSIS Briefing on Chechnya.
5. Pavel Rott: Re JRL 2144 #7 Latvia, Gunars Reinis.
6. Gunars Reinis: Immigrants in Latvia.
7. Interfax: Agency Names 50 Most Influential Russian Businessmen.
8. Moscow Times: Andrei Piontkovsky, SEASON OF DISCONTENT: 
Yeltsin Should Step Down To Solve Crisis.

9. Moscow Times: Pavel Felgenhauer, DEFENSE DOSSIER: Infighting 
by Other Means. (START II).

10. Pravda: Problems of Crime Among Illegal Immigrants in Moscow.
11. Philadelphia Inquirer: Richard Paddock, Aging pipes bring death 
to streets of Moscow.

12. Itar-Tass: Book on History of Russian Intelligence Published.
13. Reuters: Nature Blows Hot and Cold on Russian Sowing Campaign.
14. Interfax: Patriotic Union Statement Calls for Yeltsin's Dismissal.
15. Itar-Tass: Nikolayev Pledges To Set Up New Centrist Force.
16. Interfax: Russian Patriarch Cautious About Royal Remains Issue.]


Post-Soviet Generation Rising
April 15, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) - It's hard to imagine old-style Kremlin leaders wearing blue
jeans, baking or listening to American pop diva Whitney Houston on their
But would-be premier Sergei Kiriyenko, who makes a fine pastry and looks at
ease in casual clothes, represents a post-Soviet generation of young leaders
infiltrating the top ranks in politics, business, the media and almost every
other sphere of Russian life.
President Boris Yeltsin, who plucked the 35-year-old Kiriyenko from
said this week that Russia should not be governed by ``pensioners.''
``Russia must be run by a young premier and Cabinet members. I'm setting the
example myself by not running for a third term,'' Yeltsin was quoted as saying
by Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker of parliament's lower house. Seleznyov met
Tuesday with the president.
Kiriyenko is still struggling to win approval from a parliament controlled by
Communists and other members of the old guard whose world views were shaped
during the Soviet era.
The Communists describe Kiriyenko as too young and inexperienced. With the
Communists leading the way, parliament rejected Kiriyenko's candidacy last
week. A second vote was planned for Friday.
``I am not dying for this post,'' Kiriyenko said in a recent interview with
Russia's NTV. ``But if I'm fired after a while because I don't manage it well,
I would suffer and it would be a painful process.''
The son of a prominent academic, Kiriyenko was just 28 and beginning his
career as a private businessman when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. He
comes across as studious, earnest and self-effacing, and his meteoric rise has
been achieved in a decidedly post-Communist style.
He belonged to Communist youth groups, but as an adult was never part of the
old system that required decades of bureaucratic service before one could even
dream of reaching the upper echelons of government.
Kiriyenko ran a private bank and then an oil company in Nizhny Novgorod,
Russia's third largest city, before he was brought into the government in May
1997 as deputy energy minister.
``Kiriyenko represents a different generation. He came to adulthood as the
Soviet Union collapsed. He sees things in a different light, and that's
probably what attracted Yeltsin,'' said Andrei Kortunov, an independent
political analyst.
Before Kiriyenko hit the spotlight, his mentor was First Deputy Premier Boris
Nemtsov, who is only 38 himself. In the business world, many of the country's
leading entrepreneurs are still in their 30s or early 40s, such as prominent
bankers Vladimir Gusinsky, Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
For a recent interview with Russian television at his dacha outside Moscow,
Kiriyenko was dressed in blue jeans and a plaid shirt. He bounced his young
daughter on his knee, and played Whitney Houston in his living room. He and
his wife Masha discussed their courtship as teen-agers.
Kiriyenko, his wife revealed, enjoyed baking. Prodded by the interviewer,
Kiriyenko acknowledged that he liked making Napoleons.
Kiriyenko also laced up red boxing gloves and sparred with his teen-age son,
then practiced combinations on a punching bag.
``He knows how to communicate with people'' said political analyst Andrei
Piontkowsky. ``He understands the value of public relations.''
Kiriyenko's generation has adapted more easily to Russia's turbulent changes
than its elders. But the 67-year-old Yeltsin had generally reserved most
senior government posts - such as prime minister, defense minister and foreign
minister - for men of his own age and background.
Yeltsin dismissed the grandfatherly Viktor Chernomyrdin and the rest of the
Cabinet on March 23, saying he was frustrated with stalled reforms that have
failed to revive the anemic economy. He then tapped Kiriyenko, who had been
one of the least-known members of the Cabinet.
Kiriyenko's strength is his business background, but he has no political base
of his own. Many analysts question how long he would be able to endure in
Russia's rough-and-tumble political climate.
If confirmed, his survival probably will depend on how well the economy
performs. Despite recent signs of modest growth, Kiriyenko has no illusions
about the depth of the country's problems.
``For the past six months, the government spoke of economic growth but not a
single citizen of the country has felt it,'' Kiriyenko said.


FOCUS-Russia's Kiriyenko vows to boost reforms

MOSCOW, April 16 (Reuters) - Russia's acting prime minister, Sergei Kiriyenko,
said in an interview broadcast on Thursday he was sure the government he was
putting together could give a new impulse to economic reforms. 
Kiriyenko, who is seeking parliament's approval to become premier, told CNN
his economic programme offered foreign investors adherence to reforms, strict
financial discipline, a realistic budget and responsibility for paying debts. 
He gave no details of his planned government line-up if confirmed in office
but said: ``Of course there will be new people and, along with them, a new
impulse for reform. I think you will see that.'' 
Kiriyenko, 35, was nominated by President Boris Yeltsin to inject vigour into
market reforms. But the opposition-dominated State Duma, the lower house of
parliament, rejected his candidacy last week in a first ballot. 
The chamber holds a second vote on his candidacy on Friday and faces
dissolution if it rejects him in that vote and then in a third ballot. A new
parliamentary election would then be called by Yeltsin. 
In comments translated from Russian into English, Kiriyenko made clear he was
not about to make any changes to the economic programme he outlined to
parliament last week to try to win over the Duma. 
``I'm sure that if any investor picked up the plan we introduced last week,
they would feel calm because they would see the strict logic of our actions,
strict adherence to economic reform, strict financial discipline, a realistic
budget, responsibility for paying debts, internal and external,'' he said. 
He also reiterated that his government would be a team of professionals and
again ruled out demands by the opposition Communists for a coalition
``The only unacceptable thing is the idea that there should be some sort of
coalition government, a government of the people's trust,'' he said. 
``You can't pick people from different political parties according to their
political preferences and try to put them together. Such a government would
never work, it wouldn't be professional.''


Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 
From: Joseph Dresen <> 
Subject: Re: Carlotta Gall

is pleased to announce a public seminar with guest speakers

Carlotta Gall
journalist, Baku, Azerbaijan,
former Moscow Times Correspondent, Chechnya

Thomas de Waal
journalist, London, England,
former journalist, Moscow Times and
London Times, Moscow
“Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus”

Noon ­ 1:00 p.m.

Woodrow Wilson Center
Smithsonian “Castle” Building
1000 Jefferson Drive, S.W.
Third Floor

No RSVP is necessary/Seating is available on a first come, first served
Please call the Kennan Institute the morning of April 23 to confirm, (202)

Joseph Dresen
Program Assistant
Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies
Tel: 202-287-3400; Fax: 202-287-3772


Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998
From: "Keith E. Bush" <>
Subject: CSIS Briefing on Chechnya

In yesterday's take, I saw that you kindly gave space to a notice about
the Freedom Forum session in New York devoted to Carlotta Gall's and
Tom de Waal's book "Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus." Could you
please inform those who do not wish to travel to New York that the two
authors will be speaking at CSIS, 1800 K Street, NW, Washington, DC
20006 at 3:30PM on Thursday, April 23. All of your readers are most
welcome. Would those wishing to attend please call the Russian and
Eurasian Program at 202-775-3240. Thanks. Keith Bush


Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 
From: Pavel Rott <> 
Subject: [Fwd: JRL 2144 #7 Latvia , Gunars Reinis]

In the very first paragraph of his eloquent defense of the present policies
of the Latvian Republic, Mr. Reinis tries to ridicule Mr. Kurmayev by saying
that since there are international marriages there are no apartheid there.
And he is absolutely right. As a person born and raised in Latvia at the
wrong time and by the wrong parents I was always amused by the attempts to
intensify the spirit of lawlessness and powerlessness that Latvian Republic
tries to instill on its 45% non Latvian minority. Make no mistakes, there
are neither labor camps exclusively for Russians nor barbed wires around
Russian ghettos.

Then why do I feel so uneasy reading writing like that of Mr. Reinis and
such ? Am I the only one sensing the message: "Oh, dear reader, we ARE on
the same side. These poor, barbarous Russians, brainwashed by Soviet
propaganda, they just don't seem to appreciate the enlightened new order we
have put them in. They still spread lies and false horror stories about
humiliation and injustice in the place many of them call home. We and you
have fought the specter for so long that may be you should give us a little
slack in this matter, don't forget, we WERE on the same side."
Mr. Reinis is right in yet another matter - there are indeed countless
versions of history. He commits a severe blunder, in my opinion, when he
assumes that the version of history dear to him would justify the present
condition of "negrov" or "ne grazhdan" (grim joke heard on the streets of
Riga these days) - half a million or so of people who had neither hostile
intentions nor acted in some adversarial way towards the new Latvian state.

The population of Latvia was divided right after the declaration of
independence. This independence was supported by Russian-speaking minority
if we to believe the results of the famous referendum - more than 75% of the
total Latvian population voted for it. If you recall that 49% of those
voters were Russian-speaking, you have to wonder: "If they were clearly told
that after the declaration of independence they would be declared stateless
persons, that in order to travel outside Latvia they would have to purchase
"guarantee of return" ($40 nowadays I heard), that they would be denied due
naturalization process until some later time (like 2005 for some people),
that as a result they would have almost nonexistent representation in
parliament and no democratic way to participate in political life, that as
a result they would not be able to vote, buy land, carry weapons , serve in
military (and all other burdens that come with citizenship), that even their
children born in Latvia
couple of years too early would be put in the same powerless and rightless
category, that as a result they would be given a role of prized tortured
victims in a big diplomatic game between Russia and Latvia, if they were

In the beginning of 90's Latvian independence movement succeeded not only
because of determination and love for freedom of Latvians, but also because
the national accord towards the common goal - the independence of Latvian
Republic - was created. The new republic would redress the sins and heal

the wounds of annexation. The passage of the language law and the appearance
of local cells of Congress of Citizens should have foreshown what kind of
redress and healing Latvian leaders had in mind, but still Mr. Gorbunov
always started his speeches with "People of Latvia" which had certain
soothing effect in those turmoil years.

The promises of a new just world both stated and implied were promptly
forgotten after the hasty acknowledgment of independence first by Russia and
then by the rest of the world. Since the old republic's constitution was
reinstated together with the republic itself, a half of the population of
the new state who somehow never heard about this historic document found
itself in quite interesting position overnight. They would pay taxes but
have no vote. It was explained that the Russian-speaking minority
represents the fifth column who is always ready to support a communist led
invasion, that although there was already third generation born in Latvia
since the war, these people had no roots in Latvia, so of course they had to
be squeezed out by all means possible. Latvian justice doggie style.

So, please keep in mind, next time you read the works of Mr. Reinis, that
there are indeed no apartheid, no genocide, no concentration camps and no
massive violations of human rights in Latvia. It is just somewhat
uncomfortable place to live for a half million people, who had no other
intentions in their lives but to work, to have a family, to raise kids and
maybe to taste a little bit of freedom.

Another brainwashed Russian,
Pavel Rott.

PS. Just a note in case Mr. Reinis dignifies my notes with a reply or, even
better, his "3 point analysis". I voted for independence and in August of
91 I was at the Dome square waiting for what we thought at the time was the
last issue of "Atmoda" and fearing that OMON would storm the radio center.
Where have you been ?


Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 
From: Inara Reinis <> 
Subject: Immigrants in Latvia

On the “plight” of immigrants.

As a legal immigrant to the United States and a resident alien from
1949 untill 1956 I could not legally do the following:
• vote in elections
• carry weapons
• work in a government job
• work in defense industries, unless the firm applied for and
obtained clearance from the CIA
• obtain citizenship until:
-five years had passed
-I could pass an examination in the language of the country 
-pass an examination about the constitution of the USA,
election procedures, and other matters of citizenship.
However, I would not dream of blaming the Americans or anybody else. It
is the Americans country and they make the laws. To the countrary, I was
and allways will be gratefull for the opportunity to come here, work
whatever job I could find and was qualified for, obtain an education, to
serve in the armed forces ( before being eligible for citizenship ) and
to pay taxes from day one. I am particulary thankfull to President (
then general ) Eisenhover who prevented the Russins from grabbing us
from the displaced persons camps in Germany and deporting us to Siberian
slave labor camps. The American people deserve immense credit for giving
us shelter and oppurtunity, but no privileges or rights that some may
have considered due. Being saved from the Gulag was the ultimate
privilege. Thanks again.

P.S. Where was I in August 1991 while you were at the barricades ? I
was demonstrating at the Russian ( Soviet ) consulate in San Francisco
for Latvia’s independence and an end to the illegal Soviet-Russian
occupation, annexation and colonization ( see the Geneva Convention ) of
the Baltic states.

Gunars Reinis
( The bestial babushka bashing Balt )


Agency Names 50 Most Influential Russian Businessmen 

MOSCOW, April 11 (Interfax) -- Boss of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom
Rem Vyakhirev, Logovaz chief and former Deputy Security Council Secretary
Boris Berezovskiy, and Unexim Bank head Vladimir Potanin are way out in
front on a list of the 50 leading Russian businessmen compiled by the Vox
Populi public opinion service on request from the Interfax-AiF weekly.
Since December, when the rating was last carried out, two former
leading lights at Unified Energy Systems of Russia have lost influence due
to the conflict at the company: former chief executive Boris Brevnov and
former board chairman Anatoliy Dyakov have moved down the list. But among
the climbers are Boris Jordan of MFK-Renaissance and Kakha Bendukidze of
Overall, for the first time in the last year the average level of
influence held by Russian businessmen has declined, with major
entrepreneurs unlikely to gain more of a hold on political power,
Interfax-AiF experts say.


For more articles from The Moscow Times, check out their website at

Moscow Times
April 16, 1998 
SEASON OF DISCONTENT: Yeltsin Should Step Down To Solve Crisis 
By Andrei Piontkovsky 

The government crisis is dragging on. The State Duma is on the verge of 
being dismissed. Once again, the necessary votes are being gathered for 
impeachment proceedings against the president. The president's behavior 
itself is raising many questions about both his physical and 
psychological state. The vaguely formulated Russian Constitution also 
does not give a clear answer to power succession procedures in an 
emergency situation. 

A deep constitutional crisis that threatens the very foundations of the 
Russian state is at hand. In his speech before Duma deputies, however, 
Sergei Kiriyenko avoided analyzing the essence of the crisis, which is 
the incestuous relationship between power and money extending to the 
very top of the Russian political establishment. 

The problem with Kiriyenko lies not in his person or his program but in 
that all the nominations to his government, including his own, will be 
defined by a narrow circle of people known as the Family, with its own 
personal and financial interests. The current state of the president's 
health apparently does not allow him to control the behavior of his 
closeci rcle. One gets the impression that it does not allow him to 
represent the Russian Federation in the international arena as he 

His erratic behavior, including a string of misstatements and flip-flops 
during his Stockholm trip, the so-called troika summit and meeting with 
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan left a painful impression. 
With every public appearance, Yeltsin is becoming more and more 
difficult to watch. It is evident to more and more people that he is 
sometimes psychologically unfit to run the country. 

It is not easy or pleasant for a Russian to write about this. But it was 
more distressing to see the cool and detached curiosity with which 
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Jacques Chirac 
watched their partner's antics. 

The time has come for leading politicians of both houses of parliament 
to find the courage to say to the president that in the interests of the 
country, it is worth contemplating a voluntary and dignified resignation 
that would provide him after his retirement with all the respect the 
first president of the Russian Federation is due. 

The readiness of the president to take such a step would help relieve 
the constitutional crisis in Russia. The president could use the 
remaining third attempt to present Federation Council chairman Yegor 
Stroyev as candidate for prime minister to the Duma. As prime minister, 
Stroyev would be able in accordance with the constitution to fulfill the 
duties of the president after Yeltsin stepped down. Stroyev's main task, 
as a respected and recognized arbiter who does not intend to run for the 
presidential post, would be providing for fair presidential elections 
over the course of three months. 

The main virtue of such a scenario is not even that it would bring the 
country out of its current dangerous constitutional crisis. It would 
settle long-term tasks at the same time. Already after three months, the 
country would have a competent president, parliament and government and, 
most important, an election campaign that lay not ahead, but behind the 

As the past year of destructive banking wars and political infighting 
showed, neither the country's economy nor the political system will be 
able to endure another two-year election campaign. 


Moscow Times
April 16, 1998 
DEFENSE DOSSIER: Infighting by Other Means 
By Pavel Felgenhauer 

Five years after the START II nuclear disarmament treaty was endorsed, 
journalists are beginning to forget who actually signed it. This week 
The Associated Press ran an article, reprinted in these pages, saying 
the treaty was "signed by President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President 
Bill Clinton in 1993." 

START II was indeed signed in January 1993, but by Yeltsin and U.S. 
President George Bush, two weeks before Clinton's first inauguration. 
The Associated Press' mistake, however, is understandable. From the 
start it seemed strange that Russia had rushed negotiations with a lame 
duck Republican administration instead of waiting until a leftist, 
liberal Democrat took office. 

The Russian generals who took part in hammering out details of START II 
in the fall of 1992 say the Kremlin was constantly pressing them to get 
the draft ready as soon as possible. "The American team led by General 
Brent Scowcroft, Bush's national security adviser, understood we were 
keen to sign and was doing its best to insert clauses favorable to the 
U.S. But in the end we did our best to make START II more or less 
balanced," a general close to the talks told me. 

Still, by postponing the signing ceremony and continuing the 
negotiations the treaty could have been made even better. Maybe then 
there would have been no need to later amend START II, and the Russian 
parliament would have long since ratified it. 

Yeltsin's main reasons for rushing START II had to do with internal 
politics. In 1992 Yeltsin faced escalating confrontation with his 
legislature -- the Supreme Soviet -- and his Vice President Alexander 
Rutskoi. Yeltsin's opponents wanted to curb the president's powers and 
change the government's economic policies. They were also preparing 
impeachment procedures. The early signing of START II insured Yeltsin 
would have U.S. support in the coming struggle in Moscow. 

In 1993 Yeltsin used military force to dismiss parliament and foil an 
impeachment attempt. He also imposed on Russia a constitution that gave 
him monarchial powers. The West, led by the United States, fully 
supported all Yeltsin's moves. 

Since then the START II treaty has continued to be a bone of internal 
political contention. Many communist and nationalistic deputies in the 
State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said it was a sell out that 
gave the United States overwhelming strategic advantages. The liberal 
Yabloko Deputy Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the Duma committee for 
international affairs, has also often said that if START II were not 
amended, ratification would be impossible. 

For four years Washington has stubbornly pressed the Russians to ratify 
the original START II. The U.S. Senate ratified it in 1996, but the Duma 
still balked. 

So in March 1997 at a summit in Helsinki, Clinton and Yeltsin agreed on 
a compromise package to push START II forward. The U.S. agreed to 
postpone full implementation of START II until the end of 2007 instead 
of January 2003, and pledged to begin serious talks to finalize a 
follow-up START III nuclear disarmament treaty immediately after 
ratification of START II. 

The idea was that START III would turn START II and its ratification 
into a sheer formality. Also, the five additional years would allow 
Russia to destroy most of its multiple warhead intercontinental missiles 
only after they had served as long as technically possible. 

The Helsinki agreement was formalized in New York last September by 
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russian Foreign Minister 
Yevgeny Primakov who signed a protocol to modify START. 

START II has now been officially presented to the Duma with amendments. 
Yeltsin said it "corresponds to the interests of Russia." Duma Speaker 
Gennady Seleznyov and Lukin said they were optimistic that ratification 
would take place before summer. 

But these optimistic comments do not mean much. As in the fall of 1992, 
Yeltsin is again in conflict with his legislature over the appointment 
of a prime minister and overall government policy. If the conflict is 
resolved by a meaningful compromise, communists and nationalists may 
join the government. It is possible that once in government they will 
support START II to impress the West with their statesmanship. If there 
is no deal, they will continue to use START II as a bargaining chip. And 
if the Duma is disbanded, START II will not be ratified any time soon. 

Pavel Felgenhauer is defense and national security affairs editor of 


Problems of Crime Among Illegal Immigrants in Moscow 

9 April 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Report by Natalya Nikulina: "'Operation Foreigner.' Illegal
Communities Multiplying in Russian Capital"

More than 0.5 million people from China, Vietnam, Afghanistan,
Ethiopia, and Somalia are living illegally in Moscow. In the opinion of
staffers from law enforcement organs and the special services, the Asian
diaspora, which has literally occupied markets and entire residential areas
of the capital, is particularly large and a particular source of crime. 
The communities that are springing up are getting larger with every passing
day, and nobody knows exactly how many there are -- almost all the Chinese
and Vietnamese are living in Moscow illegally. Experts note that for most
of the illegals Russia has become a staging post to the West and European
Yet many Asians have settled in Moscow. Police officials admit that
it is very hard to combat them. Under the law any foreigner who arrives in
the country illegally should be deported. From time to time the Moscow
police and special services carry out "Operation Foreigner," during which
dozens of illegal Asians illegally trading in drugs, valuables, and
"household goods" are identified. The Vietnamese mafia (the toughest of
the Asian mafias, incidentally) is also engaged in racketeering against
their wealthier fellow- countrymen and in moving Asians illegally into
other states.
Student hostels and hotels like the Molodezhnaya and the Aziya, where
whole floors have been turned into veritable warehouses for all sorts of
things, including illegally imported goods, have become a breeding ground
for Asian crime. Asian mafiosi often use such premises to organize their
own secret hotels for fellow-countrymen who have been illegally smuggled
into Russia to make money. The police catch them during their raids, but
on being arrested the lawbreakers are found to have forged papers or no
papers at all. After spending a few unpleasant hours at police stations
and, having recovered from the shock, the illegals return to their hostel
"rabbit warrens."
There is nowhere to deport these foreigners, since their citizenship
has not been established. But these experienced "guests of the capital"
try not to get caught by police raids -- alarm signals work instantly among
the Asian diaspora. Often "Operation Foreigner" will barely have begun and
all the colored population at student "hostels" will already be moving with
their things to a place of safety. But the police have gotten crafty too
-- they will ask for identity papers at every turn. The Asians shrug, but
are not particularly bothered. They know they will not be deported from
Moscow, even though unpleasant contacts with the authorities cannot be
avoided. That is the fate of the illegals -- the risk of being caught is


Philadelphia Inquirer
12 April 1998
[for personal use only]
Aging pipes bring death to streets of Moscow 
They carry boiling water to heat buildings. When they leak, they create
scalding sinkholes. 
By Richard C. Paddock

MOSCOW -- Marina Yarovov was walking her two dogs in a field near her
when the earth opened beneath her and she fell into a pit of muddy, boiling

In agony, she tried to climb out of the hole as a friend ran for help. But
within minutes, the 43-year-old mother of two was dead -- boiled alive in the
water that heats the homes and shops of her neighborhood through a vast
subterranean network of pipes.

"Life is tough enough in Russia without such lethal traps," said her angry
husband, Igor Yarovov, vowing to pursue legal action against city officials.
"It's not wartime, and someone has to take responsibility for people dying in
the streets of Moscow in broad daylight."

Marina Yarovov, who died March 11, is one of the latest casualties of Moscow's
decaying Soviet-era public facilities, which were built on a grand scale but
are in constant need of repair. Officials say they have little money to
maintain the underground pipes, which bring boiling water from central
factories to heat city apartments, offices and schools. When the pipes leak,
hot water can saturate the soil so thoroughly that the weight of a person
walking above is enough to turn the ground into a seething sinkhole.

City officials bluntly acknowledge that Moscow has become a "mine field" and
predict that without a sudden infusion of cash to repair the pipes, more
people will die in the same grisly fashion.

"People will, I am afraid, keep falling in such pits in the future," said a
spokeswoman for the city heating agency, Mosenergo, who asked not to be
identified. "I realize that such problems relegate Russia to the status of a
Third World country, not a civilized industrial power. But for now we are
helpless and can only recommend that people be more careful about where they

Such explanations are not enough for the Mkrtumyan family. Six weeks ago,
Artyom Mkrtumyan, 10, was walking to the store in his neighborhood when the
ground dissolved under his feet and he fell into a boiling pit. His father,
Vladimir, jumped into the 225-degree water to rescue him, but it was too late.
Artyom died 11 days later, his father -- scalded from the waist down -- two
weeks after that.

"I hate the country where human life costs nothing, where children die and no
one is responsible," said Galina Mkrtumyan, the boy's mother. Both families
have pledged to sue the city -- a first in this kind of tragedy, Galina
Mkrtumyan said. But the legal system offers so little recourse for victims of
negligence that even if they win, they are likely to get almost nothing.

The Mosenergo spokeswoman said her office had received a flood of angry calls
from the public since Yarovov's death but was helpless to act because the
agency's customers -- Moscow's industries, institutions, businesses and
residents -- rarely pay their bills.

Mosenergo is millions of dollars in debt, she said, and maintenance crews sent
out to repair leaks keep working even though they have not been paid for
nearly a year.

After Artyom fell into the scalding pit in his neighborhood, his mother -- an
architect and construction engineer -- began an investigation of the city's

To her horror, she found that Moscow started saving money 10 years ago by
halting the installation of protective concrete casings around heating
pipes --
structures intended to prevent water from saturating the ground in the
event of
leaks. She said one official acknowledged that 80 percent of the city's
heating pipes no longer had protective casings.

An average of four children a year have died under the same circumstances as
her son since 1996, she said. The total is unknown because there are no
reliable records.

Oksana Terekhina, manager of the store where Artyom and his father were headed
that morning, said she had seen pools of water collecting early in the day and
reported it to Mosenergo. No crews responded. Two hours later, she heard
shouting outside and saw Vladimir Mkrtumyan in a cloud of steam pulling his
son from a newly opened pit.

"He was basically a living, swollen skeleton crying in pain and calling for
mother, calling for help, calling for someone to ease his intolerable pain,"
she said. Referring to the people responsible, she added: "I would not think
twice before throwing them into a pit like we had here. They must feel what a
child boiling alive feels like."


Book on History of Russian Intelligence Published 

MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) -- The Armada Publishing House has put
out the book "Intelligence Has Always existed". The collection contains
the latest works by historians, investigating the most mysterious episodes
from Russia's past. The book was authored by Vladimir Plugin, Andrei
Bogdanov and Vitali Sheremet. They examined dozens of interesting
Quite a number of books has been written on intelligence. All essays
are based on thorough studies of preserved documents. The authors
conducted their investigations in an absorbing way. For instance the book
contains a story about the emergence and establishment of secret services
in Kievan Rus.
Chapters, written by Andrey Bogdanov, describe heroes and systems of
intelligence and counterintelligence in the 16th-17th centuries. His
professional sphere is politics and culture of Russia before Peter the
Investigating "dark spots" in official history, he ran all the time
into actions, clearly classified or by-passed by subsequent "editors" of
national history. For instance attempts were made to forget Semen Maltsev,
a diplomat of the Ivan the Terrible time.
Maltsev, taken captive, could influence the course of history in the
most radical way: to stop a Turkish invasion.
Here is the epoch of the Russian Empire. The much publicised story
with the abduction of "Princess Tarakanova".
There are many mysterious spots in this story, prodding new
investigations. It is also one of the most spectacular ventures of Russian
Or take the biography of famous Field Marshal Kutuzov. It contains a
new trait that the great military leader was an adroit diplomat. 
Incidentally, the success of his diplomatic missions was always backed by
deep studies of intelligence data.
Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vitali Sheremet, military
historian, orientalist and board member of the association of veterans of
foreign intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement bodies,
writes about Kutuzov and "forgotten resident" Shchegolev. He describes the
work of diplomats and intelligence officers of the Russian Empire with a
biased look of a professional.


Nature Blows Hot and Cold on Russian Sowing Campaign 
April 14, 1998

MOSCOW -- (Reuters) Russia's spring sowing campaign will be held up by freak
snowfalls in the European part of the country, although the snow is not
expected to last long, meteorological and agricultural sources said on
A second weather-related factor -- unseasonably high temperatures in the
southern grain belt -- could also affect the outcome of the 1998 grain
campaign, they added. 
Victor Trenin, head of the State Meteorological Service, said he did not
major delays to spring sowing overall because snow had not affected many major
grain producing regions and should disappear within about a week as
temperatures rise. 
Andrei Sizov, a leading Russian agricultural analyst, said the central Black
Earth (Chernozem) region had been hit by blizzards, which would hold up both
plantings and harvesting of crops. 
"The snow will delay spring sowing, and if sowing is delayed, then the
could be also," Sizov said. 
"The regions affected may not be the most important, but the Chernozem region
is big and they will have delays." 
The Central Chernozem accounted for 9.2 million tonnes of grain production
last year out of Russia's total 88.5 million tonne harvest. 
Sizov added work on fields in areas under snow could be hampered well after
the snow melts. 
"The snow will leave a lot of water on the fields, meaning machinery will be
unable to operate properly." 
Much of European Russia was caught off guard by heavy snowfall over the
and Monday, which dumped over 30 centimeters of snow in central Moscow. The
temperature early on Tuesday was just above freezing. 
Farmers in the southern grain belt of Krasnodar are also watching the weather
closely, but for different reasons. 
"In the Krasnodar region temperatures have been very high at about 32 to 35
degrees (Celsius) -- about the highest we've seen for this time of year,"
Trenin said. 
"This is bad for crops during the active vegetation period and could hit
productivity of grain. But the situation is not critical yet, and we are
expecting temperatures to drop soon." 
Krasnodar produced 6.1 million tonnes of grain in 1997. The warm weather in
Krasnodar and other southern areas has at least allowed the pace of spring
sowing to pick up, Interfax news agency reported late on Monday. 
Ivan Gridasov of the Agriculture Ministry was quoted as saying 511,000
of spring crops had been sown by April 11, of which 376,000 hectares were
and leguminous plants. This compared with 119,000 hectares a week earlier. 
The biggest area of planting was in Krasnodar region, with 305,000 hectares
planted. The sowing campaign is now under way in 11 regions of the country,
Gridasov added. 
Trenin said crop conditions during the winter were generally favorable in
Russia, and that winterkill losses this season will be around 8 to 10 percent,
the statistical average. 
Analysts say it is too early to give accurate forecasts for this year's grain
output, but add the 1998 crop looks like being well down on 1997 levels. 
Output last year jumped by about one quarter from 69.3 million tonnes in


Patriotic Union Statement Calls for Yeltsin's Dismissal 

MOSCOW, April 13 (Interfax) -- Leaders of the People's Patriotic Union
of Russia support the will of the people as expressed in the slogans "For
Change of Policy" and "For Dismissal of (President Boris) Yeltsin" from the
nationwide protest April 9, reads a statement issued by the leftist
opposition organization Monday.
"The political and economic crisis in the country has reached its
climax," the statement reads. "The incapacity of the executive power has
led to a brink beyond which are national catastrophe, the power of thieves
and corruption," the statement says.
"The president, who is hardly in control of himself, is trying to
violate the constitution and is doing his best to isolate and destroy the
only capable organ in the country: the Federal Assembly (parliament)," the
statement says. "This will lead to total paralysis in the country,
immediate chaos, disorder, collapse and dictatorship."
The People's Patriotic Union of Russia instructed the three factions
that it includes, Communist, People's Power and Agrarian groups, to insist
in the State Duma on an extraordinary meeting of both chambers of
parliament "in order to prepare proposals for overcoming the crisis
The statement, signed by Chairman of the Communist Party of Russia
Gennadiy Zyuganov, says that the leftist deputies will request the
Constitutional Court to clarify whether the president had the right to
renominate Sergey Kiriyenko for prime minister. The People's Patriotic
Union of Russia recommended that the president propose other candidates for
prime minister.
Regional branches of the leftist opposition's organization should
picket local authorities and insist that the demands in favor of the
president's dismissal and in support of the parliament "as a guarantor of
stability in the country," made at the nationwide protest on April 9, be
implemented as soon as possible, the statement reads.
All branches of the People's Patriotic Union of Russia should be
prepared to hold "a nationwide protest against arbitrary rule and
violence," the statement says. "If the situation deteriorates, massive
delegations should be sent to Moscow to demand that Yeltsin step down and
to support the Federal Assembly.
"Measures should be prepared for paralyzing extremist forces that want
to destroy representative bodies in the country and carry on with arbitrary
rule and selling off the Fatherland," the statement says.


Nikolayev Pledges To Set Up New Centrist Force 

MOSCOW, April 13 (Itar-Tass) - Former Russian border guard chief
Andrey Nikolayev, sacked by President Boris Yeltsin last December and
elected to the State Duma lower house on Sunday, has said he is set to
create a centric force ahead of 1999 parliamentary elections.
Nikolayev, who has said he will leave military service to engage in
politics, told reporters on Monday that centrist forces might be set up in
both houses of parliament.
Such forces would be "able to get the country out of the economic
deadline and define the ways of its development in the 21st century," he
State Duma lower house members from Moscow might set up a "centrist
kernel" to consolidate forces which are united by "the idea of getting the
country out of crisis and working for Russia's future," he said.
A "centrist kernel" in the Duma will help set up a broad movement
there, to which small centrist-oriented parties might join, he said.
As for the Federation Council upper house, Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov
might create a "centrist kernel" there, he said, adding "Luzhkov is a
depoliticised leader because he does not represent any political party on
During his election campaign, Nikolayev had received backing from
Luzhkov and had repeatedly said he was a supporter of the Moscow mayor.
A group of centrist politicians "plus an active movement of trade
unions" can create conditions which will allow to set up "a really capable
and unifying movement" by 1999, Nikolayev said.
Yeltsin sacked Nikolayev, who had demanded excessive powers and
quarreled with other 'power' ministers, on December 19, 1997.


Russian Patriarch Cautious About Royal Remains Issue 

MOSCOW, April 15 (Interfax) - Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia has
urged the authorities "to demonstrate tact in relation to believers' feelings
and understand their concerns" in matters pertaining to the burial of the
royal remains. 

He said in an interview with the weekly Interfax-AiF that "it's extremely
important for the Church to ensure that the so-called "Yekaterinburg remains"
issue does not split either believers or society as a whole." "We cannot
sacrifice our fragile unity," he said. 

"It is the considerations of unity of the Church and public peace that do not
allow the Church to use its high authority and sanctify the decision taken by
one group of researchers and reject the opinion of the other group of
researchers, thus sowing the seeds of unrest in the souls of those who doubt
that the Yekaterinburg remains are the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and
members of his family," Alexy II said. 

"Just imagine what will happen if the emperor is canonized and part of the
believers will worship his remains as holy relics while the other part will
consider them to be false. This will mark a deep split," he said. 

Alexy II also said that "this problem must not be manipulated for attaining
momentary political gains, for spinning a web of intrigues or for circulating
superficial commentaries." 

"The question of the tsar's remains is of special significance for Russia and
the Russian people," Alexy II continued. "It should be tackled in such a
way as
to attain reconciliation at the tomb of the innocent victims, not to breed new
disagreements," he said. 

The remains found near Yekaterinburg in 1991 are to be buried in St Petersburg
on July 17. Most of the researchers have recognized them as the remains of the
last Russian tsar and his family. However, some experts still doubt their

Alexy II's complete interview can be read in the next issue of the weekly
Interfax-Aif which will come out on Monday April 20. 


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