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Johnson's Russia List
21 April 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Top Russian banker backs Kiriyenko for PM.
2. Reuters: Hardline Communist tries to impeach Yeltsin.
3. Moscow Times: Yulia Latynina, INSIDE RUSSIA: Kiriyenko
Can Afford to Show Duma Stiffness.
4. Christian Science Monitor: Judith Matloff, Land of Tolstoy,
Pushkin Now Likes Crime Novels.
5. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Kremlin Team Said Harming Kiriyenko's
6. NTV: TV Airs Controversy Over Plutonium Recycling.
7. VOA: Peter Heinlein, Norilsk.
8. Philadelphia Inquirer: David Hess, NATO expansion splitting
national security establishment.
9. Newsweek Periscope items.
10. Reuters: Russia to export $3.5 bln of arms in 1998-agency.
11. Itar-Tass: Average Monthly Pay Increases 9 Percent in March.
12. ABCNEWS.com: Bill Blakemore, Russia’s Unsteady Arsenal.]
FOCUS-Top Russian banker backs Kiriyenko for PM
By Mike Collett-White
MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - Russia's political vacuum comes at a bad time for
the economy, but the worst of the crisis should be over soon, Vladimir
Potanin, one of the country's most powerful businessmen, told a news briefing
He said he supported Sergei Kiriyenko, President Boris Yeltsin's
the post of prime minister, and expected him to be accepted by the State Duma
lower house of parliament at a third and final vote due to be held on Friday.
"Frankly, the government crisis has come at a bad time, because Russia has,
with some difficulty, only just overcome the financial crisis," said Potanin.
He heads Uneximbank and will soon become president of Interros, a vast
business empire which controls Uneximbank.
"From an economic point of view, any removal of a government can neither be
timely nor good," he said.
So-called "oligarchies," including Potanin's Interros, wield significant
in Russian politics, particularly after a small group of them united behind
Yeltsin in the 1996 presidential election.
They control a huge swathe of Russia's industrial might, through mining, oil
and telecoms interests among others.
Interros alone claims to account for over four percent of total GDP, about
seven percent of exports, and employs 400,000 people. Several of the
conglomerates also hold extensive media interests, further boosting their
Yeltsin sacked his entire government last month, and is looking to push his
nomination for prime minister through the opposition-dominated Duma.
Parliamentarians have a third and final chance to approve Kiriyenko this
failing which Yeltsin can dissolve the Duma, sparking a fully-fledged
"The executive powers have adopted a reasonable enough approach and the
lawmakers also understand that the country cannot live without a government,"
Potanin said. "I believe a new prime minister will be appointed in the near
Potanin backed the young reformer's candidature, stressing that Kiriyenko's
background as a businessman and banker should stand him in good stead.
"I hope Sergei Kiriyenko will be approved. He has potential...of which the
public is not aware...I can see this potential."
Kiriyenko, a 35-year-old former banker and oil refinery manager, would be
of a new generation of young politicians needed in Russia, Potanin said.
"The time has come for a younger generation of politicians to come to power.
This new generation should be more involved in the life of the country," he
Not all Russia's business leaders fully back Kiriyenko, the quiet, unassuming
technocrat who until the government was dissolved was Russia's fuel and energy
Another influential tycoon, Boris Berezovsky, voiced reservations about the
nominee in a recent television interview.
"I think there is a problem, a serious one," Berezovsky said on Thursday. "In
our constitution there is a written a scenario where Kiriyenko could be in a
situation where he had to fulfil the president's duties. That worries me."
Berezovsky is widely reported to have particularly close ties to the
FOCUS-Hardline Communist tries to impeach Yeltsin
By Kevin Liffey
MOSCOW, April 21 (Reuters) - The Russian parliament on Tuesday continues its
countdown to a make-or-break vote that will decide whether the country,
without a government for a month, faces an early election and more political
The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is almost certain on
set Friday as the date for President Boris Yeltsin's nominee, 35-year-old
technocrat Sergei Kiriyenko, to make a third and final attempt to secure its
If he fails, Yeltsin must dissolve parliament -- and can rule by decree
pending a new election, with Kiriyenko or any other prime minister of his
On Monday, the leader of parliament's small conservative Agrarian Party
the latest to hint that, with the stakes so high, the deputies would finally
``Now it's not about Kiriyenko, the vote is about whether the Duma will
continue to exist or not,'' Nikolai Kharitonov, the leader of the Agrarian
Party, told Itar-Tass news agency. Almost all the party's 35 deputies voted
against Kiriyenko last time.
``The president has made tough use of his constitutional possibilities --
common sense suggests that we should keep the two chambers of parliament
operating,'' he said.
But senior hardline Communist Viktor Ilyukhin added spice to the impending
face-off by saying he expected to force the lower house of parliament, the
State Duma, to discuss impeaching Yeltsin. If the process was formally begun,
this would hold up any dissolution.
It would be a desperate last resort, requiring an unlikely two-thirds
and a legal justification which analysts say will be very hard to find.
However, Ilyukhin, the chairman of the Duma's security committee who has
himself appeared resigned to losing the confirmation vote, said he expected to
present the documents to start the procedure ``in the next day or two.''
``We will insist that the question of the impeachment of the president be
placed on the agenda (of the Duma) and we will convince the leaders of all the
parliamentary factions of the need for it,'' he told NTV television on Monday.
He said he planned to accuse Yeltsin of being ``the main guilty party in the
destruction of the country's economy and social sphere.''
Ilyukhin, whose party is the largest in the Duma with 138 seats, said he
expected to get both the 150 signatures required to put the item on the Duma's
agenda and the two-thirds majority for a decision. One deputy said he already
had 50 signatures.
In two confirmation votes held so far, Kiriyenko received 143 and 115 votes
respectively, well short of the required majority of 226 in the 450-strong
Ilyukhin said this showed that there were ``almost 300 deputies, such a huge
number, who share the same opinion about the role of the president and the
government in what has been happening in Russia.''
The Communists say Kiriyenko is too young and inexperienced to be number two
in the state hierarchy. Other parties have rebelled against what they see as
But Ilyukhin himself and Communist Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov appeared at
the weekend to offer their own deputies a face-saving justification for
backing Kiriyenko by pointing out the enormous cost and unpopularity of an
First deputy speaker Vladimir Ryzhkov, a Yeltsin supporter, flatly dismissed
Ilyukhin's impeachment bid -- which requires the president to be accused of
treason or a severe crime.
``It's perfectly obvious that the Russian president could not commit state
treason in the past, present or future,'' he told RIA news agency. ``This is a
very crude way of trying to put off the question of the fate of the Duma.''
April 21, 1998
INSIDE RUSSIA: Kiriyenko Can Afford to Show Duma Stiffness
By Yulia Latynina
According to Russian labor law, a person cannot be fired from work
without prior warning, even if he is the junior helper of a senior
janitor. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin was fired with
lightening speed, which has caused the country to live through a
government crisis for almost a month now.
The government crisis consists in the State Duma using the situation in
order to increase its rations and the government using the situation in
order to maximally compromise the lower house.
Such a course means, first of all, confrontation that could end in the
early dismissal of the government. Second, for the first time, it is a
matter not of confrontation between the Duma and the government, but
between the Dumaand the president, who has ceased holding a position
"above the fray."
When Duma deputies take up any matter, they bargain. The communists are
asking for a change in the economic course; the extremist Liberal
Democratic Party is asking for money; and Yabloko's Grigory Yavlinsky,
having fallen into the ultimate solecism, is asking for a place for
himself in government and is the only leader who is voting against a
Cabinet in which the key post of finance minister is occupied by a
member of his own faction.
Even the law-abiding Alexander Shokhin of the Our Home Is Russia faction
very much wants to be deputy prime minister or, at the very least,
economics minister. True, Shokhin has run into some difficulties along
the way. One of the cardinal plans of reforming the government is that
deputy prime ministers should die off as a class. As for the post of
economics minister, the oligarchy got together and decided that Yakov
Urinson should not be removed from his position. The plan to get rid of
the deputy prime minister posts seems to have fallen victim to Shokhin's
persistence. And the difficulties of getting Our Home Is Russia to vote
for acting Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko have now disappeared.
From the point of view of the Duma, Kiriyenko has many shortcomings.
First, he is young. Second, he is not a communist. Third, he has the
loathsome habit, uncharacteristic of Chernomyrdin, of responding
intelligently to any question. (In the best of instances, Chernomyrdin
responded with wit.)
The ancient Greek statesman Phocion, after the Athenian crowd applauded
him, asked in horror: "What silly thing did I say?" Kiriyenko won't be
saying anything silly, and therefore he won't win the applause of the
Duma, which is the quintessence of a crowd.
Clearly, the Duma will vote in Kiriyenko the third time. Clearly, it
would have voted for him the second time if there were the slightest
worry that the president would propose confirming either of the former
first deputy prime ministers Anatoly Chubais or Boris Nemtsov.
The government and the Duma are going head to head, but the Duma knows
that it will be the first to give way. And it knows that the government
knows this. All the pompous rhetoric of the Duma is not worth a brass
farthing. This is why, while distinctly demonstrating his ability to
compromise with those who are truly running Russia and sponsoring the
Duma deputies (Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and the oilmen, for example),
Kiriyenko is so clearly -- and effectively -- underscoring his
inflexibility in addressing the parliamentary rabble.
Yulia Latynina is a staff writer for Expert magazine.
Christian Science Monitor
APRIL 21, 1998
Land of Tolstoy, Pushkin Now Likes Crime Novels
•Some say Western pop culture is killing Russia's intelligentsia as
effectively as Stalin's purges.
By Judith Matloff
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
On Saturday evenings, when most Muscovites are preparing for parties,
the theater, or dinner, an earnest group of people huddles around stacks
of journals in a bookstore cellar to discuss lofty ideas.
One week, the topic is a Russian essayist. The next, it's socially
critical poetry or similar cerebral agendas. But talk invariably circles
back to one major point: the group's own identity.
"Is there an intelligentsia? Does it still live?" asks publisher Natasha
Perova, throwing down the gauntlet.asks publisher Natasha Perova,
throwing down the gauntlet. The topic was supposed to be American writer
Gertrude Stein. But discussion diverted, as usual, to the raison d
The response was passionate, with battle lines drawn over whether the
enlightened class, which helped shape Russian politics before, during,
and after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution is irrelevant now that the
Communist state is dead.
Perhaps more than any other country in the world, Russia can claim a
unique historical distinction between mere intellectuals and the
Traditionally, it was a special class of thinking people who took moral
stands, generally in opposition to the totalitarian state. The
intelligentsia's vanguard counted not only artists and writers, but also
They were the bourgeois theorists of the Russian revolution. They were
the dissidents whom Joseph Stalin sent to Siberian gulags. They were the
Alexander Solzhenitsyns and Andrei Sakharovs who bravely challenged
Soviet repression while most stayed silent about the thousands of
executions, exiles, and jailings.
It was this sense of responsibility to society that made the Russian
intelligentsia distinct, some say. They argue that in the seven years
since the Soviet Union collapsed, the small circle of people who huddled
over kitchen tables to read banned poetry are a dying breed. Democracy
has eroded their critical distance from society.
"I don't think that intellectual professionals today are
intelligentsia," says author Masha Gessen. Her recent book, "Dead
Again," insists that present-day intellectuals lack the sense of
communal responsibility for Russia.
Film critic Ilya Lepekhov, who in the old days would certainly have been
counted among the intelligentsia, says the onslaught of Western popular
culture has killed off the intelligentsia as effectively as Stalin's
purges. E-mail, American TV shows, and CDs make it easier to stay home
than attend a concert or poetry reading. There is also now a greater
economic pressure to survive.
"We are witnessing the last climax of our great intellectual tradition.
This is partly because writers today must work like horses rather than
live for ideas. We must provide food for our kids to live," Mr. Lepehov
says, cradling his baby daughter as though to make his point.
This is nonsense, Ms. Perova says. She insists that the loyal Saturday
crowd shows that devotion to culture still endures. She points to the
popularity of a recent spate of memoirs by writers, and the tenacious
survival of "Glas," the literary journal she has edited since 1991, as
proof that the Russian literary tradition is alive.
"Not only is the intelligentsia not dead, it is more alive than ever.
The intelligentsia are maybe 3 percent of the population, but they are
like yeast in the dough - they make society rise," she says.
"We are witnessing a time of changing values, a reappraisal of
everything. But that doesn't change the fact that there are more
thinking persons than before. Their minds are being stimulated by the
end of censorship and more books from the West," Perova argues.
Beyond the debate over the existence of the intelligentsia is the
question of whether intellectuals will survive the onslaught of mass
consumerism, which especially appeals to the young. Talks are under way
to sell an icon of the Soviet intelligentsia, the Literaturnaya Gazeta.
Published in Moscow since 1929, it has seen a dramatic drop in
circulation to a paltry 160,000 from 6 million during perestroika - the
sweeping 1980s reforms that were a prelude to the collapse of Soviet
Publishers lament the declining popularity of fine literature. Russia's
bestsellers are no longer by the likes of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov,
or Pushkin, but by detective writer Marina Alekseyeva. Under the
pseudonym Aleksandra Marinina, this police officer-turned-author churns
out lurid but highly popular crime fiction.
Even the detractors, however, are not completely certain that the
intelligentsia are gone for good.
"Entitling my book 'Dead Again' was optimistic," Ms. Gessen says. "It
implies that the intelligentsia can die and be reborn - again."
Kremlin Team Said Harming Kiriyenko's Chances
17-24 April 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Nikolay Yefimovich: "Kiriyenko Is Advised To Climb
Trees To Reach the Premiership. Although an Entire Team Has Been
Set Up To 'Work on' the State Duma, the President's Nominee Could Be
It will soon be a month since the country became hostage to the
It will soon be a month that the country has been without a
government. And it does not seem to matter -- life goes on. The food has
not disappeared from the stores, the trains have not stopped. True, things
are strained as regards the payment of wages. But judging by the pomp with
which the former premier [Chernomyrdin] staged a show to mark his birthday
on the day of the All-Russia Protest Action, this has been taken for
granted for a long time.
However, it is only on the surface that things seem to be proceeding
A well-known businessman returned from St. Petersburg the other day.
The business talks with the leaders of a state department had failed.
Nobody is making any major decisions. They are waiting to see....
And the whole country, it seems, is now like one huge "waiting room."
They say that no major decisions are being made in the White House
itself at the moment. Everyone is playing endless guessing games --
whether this or that deputy will vote for Kiriyenko. And the results, thus
far, are not reassuring for Sergey Vladilenovich's supporters. In the view
of many White House analysts, the presidential nominee for premier will be
rejected again today in the Duma. At best, 210 deputies will vote for him.
And 226 votes are required. Neither the president nor his entourage has
yet managed to override the aspirations of many Duma members.
Although, as Komsomolskaya Pravda's correspondent has learned, a whole
team has been set up to "work on" the State Duma. According to
Komsomolskaya Pravda's sources in the Kremlin and the White House, it
includes the regular Kremlin image-makers Tatyana Dyachenko, Valentin
Yumashev, and Mikhail Komissar, Igor Shabdurasulov, chief of the government
Department of Culture and Information, and people from the leadership of
NTV and the other television channels. As well as Gleb Pavlovskiy with his
fund of political techniques, the author of the notorious "Theory..." of a
certain coup d'etat. He, incidentally, is also credited with the
authorship of other political "insinuations." The team is said to meet
nearly every day. Its mission is to secure the recognition of Kiriyenko by
deputies, governors, and bankers as the best candidate for premier, to
formulate the public behavior of Sergey Vladilenovich... In short, the
image of the president's nominee is being built up.
However, it seems that thus far the team has nothing much to boast
about. Indeed, if Kiriyenko had followed the Kremlin image- makers' plans
to the letter, he would have fallen flat on his face long ago. But he has
turned out to be a smart guy and sufficiently independent not to take full
advantage of, for instance, the so- called personal "stories." The team
had worked out several for Kiriyenko: "meeting my wife," "swimming,"
"school," "grandpa saved Beriya when an attempt was made on his life in
Sukhumi"... (See below for the full text of the "stories" -- author's
note) Even White House officials can only laugh at these "masterpieces."
There are also recommendations on what to say and where. When Kiriyenko
was on his way to congratulate Chernomyrdin on his birthday, the team
warned that facing the TV cameras jointly would be of doubtful expediency.
Some people explain the team's disastrous work by saying that it
consists of not entirely the right people. It is no secret that Tatyana
Dyachenko and Valentin Yumashev have kind feelings for the magnate
Berezovskiy, who is vigorously pushing Ivan Rybkin to replace Chernomyrdin.
Shabdurasulov, a loyal Chernomyrdin man, also has little interest in
Kiriyenko coming to power. The NTV members of the team have their own
interests too: The magnate Gusinskiy would like to see Vice Premier
Vladimir Bulgak, who is friendly to him, as premier. He was the one, it is
said, who helped Most to acquire a certain improbable communications
satellite on "concessionary" terms. If those people were running for
premier, it is said, then the Kremlin image-makers would be working
Other White House analysts believe that the team is doing a poor job
of building up Kiriyenko's image simply because it cannot do any better.
And it is already being said that some team members from among the White
House officials can pack their bags. After all, even Kiriyenko's personal
meeting with Duma intellectual Yavlinskiy was organized by people who are
not on the team. Sergey Kiriyenko himself apparently has no doubt that
sooner or later he will be confirmed as premier anyway.
Meanwhile Duma Vice Speaker Artur Chilingarov received an important
instruction: to prepare a "memo" for deputies on how to behave in the
event of the dissolution of parliament. Chief presidential lawyer Sergey
Shakhray has already named the possible date for early elections of a new
parliament -- 27 September or 11 October. And he warned the Duma that this
time the elections will take place without the notorious 5-percent barrier
and not on party lists. Which means that Zhirinovskiy's people and other
party factions will be unlikely to be able to get into the new Duma so
[Item includes following boxed passage] Versions of Personal Stories
Drawn Up by the Kremlin Image-Makers for the Acting Prime Minister
"Meeting my wife": I met my future wife while I was still at
school. It's a classic example of schoolboy love. We have a lovely
family. I trust her completely and sense her support in everything. I have
strong support behind me.
"Swimming": I spent my childhood at sea and learned to swim at sea.
The first time I saw a big river it made no impression on me at all. But
when I came to a little "wild" forest stream in the famous Semenovskiy
forest, I was absolutely delighted and swam without getting out until late
in the evening. Since then I have loved best of all swimming in small
streams, especially against the current.
"School story": I sat at the front bench. Although kids who excel at
school are not liked, they didn't hold it against me. I remember more than
once I was sent out of the class for letting my classmates crib from me and
"Grandpa saved Beriya when an attempt was made on his life in Sukhumi":
At the time of Beriya's arrival a situation arose in which his life was in
danger. Grandpa helped rescue him, and that subsequently saved the family
from the repressions.
"Soccer": When I worked at the Krasnoye Sormovo plant I organized a
soccer tournament and set up a soccer team. The team even came second in
one tournament. I am still in touch with some of my buddies from the
"Trees": As a child I used to love climbing trees. I used to climb up
pretty sharply, but I never climbed down -- I always jumped.
"Playing at war in childhood": As a child I used to love playing at
war. But I didn't like it when all the boys immediately started running
and shouting, brandishing sticks. I always wanted to agree on the rules
first, dig a trench, make a cover from branches, and then start
TV Airs Controversy Over Plutonium Recycling
8 April 1998
[translation for personal use only]
>From the "Environment" program: Video report presented by
Natalya Velikodnaya, identified by caption; figures in brackets
denote broadcast time in GMT in hours, minutes, and seconds
 [Velikodnaya to camera and over unidentified nuclear
facilities] What is to be done with weapons-grade plutonium? Specialists
are proposing that it be mixed with uranium and used as fuel in nuclear
power stations. But there are serious objections from environmentalists.
[Unidentified female correspondent] MOX stands for mixed oxide - - a
mixture of uranium and plutonium dioxides. Nuclear power industry
specialists regard MOX as a promising fuel for the nuclear power stations
in the 21st century. After all, it uses up weapons- grade plutonium, and
this in turn furthers disarmament, which Russia and the United States have
agreed to complete by 2030.
However, things are not that simple.
[Aleksey Yablokov, director of the Environmental Policy Center,
identified by caption] This does not resolve the plutonium problem. What
happens to the MOX fuel in a nuclear power station? It produces more
plutonium. The plutonium problem which we are allegedly tackling is not
being resolved but merely put off to a future date.
[Correspondent] The utilization of MOX fuel is above all a new and
very expensive twist in the nuclear power industry development spiral. New
radio-chemical plants will have to be built to produce MOX fuel and process
the nuclear waste, and that in addition to new nuclear power stations.
Even leaving aside possible accidents, radioactive pollution will grow.
After all, waste-free production facilities are a rarity.
Environmentalists regard plutonium as an extremely dangerous element.
Its radioactivity is many times higher than that of uranium. Only 5 kg of
plutonium are needed to build an atom bomb.
[074902-074919 -- passage omitted -- a Socioecological Union expert
warns about nuclear terrorism]
[Correspondent] Environmentalists favor a different disarmament
method. Plutonium can be vitrified, that is to say, it can be dissolved in
glass and buried. This is what the Americans wanted to do. But now they
have their own MOX program.
[Yablokov] It seems to me that our nuclear experts are very quickly
finding a common language with U.S. nuclear experts. And what you get is a
fearsome alliance -- U.S. nuclear experts and our nuclear experts begin to
act against the American people and against the Russian people, they act
against their national interests in favor of corporate interests. 
[video shows unidentified nuclear facilities]
Voice of America
TITLE=RUSSIA / NORILSK
INTRO: HIGH ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE IN THE SIBERIAN TUNDRA LIES
NORILSK, WHERE ONE OF THE WORLD'S RICHEST DEPOSITS OF PRECIOUS
METALS CAN BE FOUND BENEATH THE EARTH. SOVIET LEADER JOSEF
STALIN SET UP A LABOR CAMP AT NORILSK IN THE 1930'S AND SENT
POLITICAL PRISONERS TO WORK THE MINES. THE CITY BOOMED AFTER
WORLD WAR TWO, AS YOUNG COMMUNIST VOLUNTEERS POURED IN, DRAWN BY
HIGH WAGES AND A SENSE OF ADVENTURE. BUT TODAY, THE MINES ARE
BEING PRIVATIZED. FROM NORILSK, V-O-A'S PETER HEINLEIN REPORTS
ON A CLASSIC ONE-INDUSTRY SOVIET CITY TRYING TO COME TO TERMS
TEXT: EVEN IN LATE APRIL, IT IS 20 BELOW ZERO (CELSIUS) ON THE
STREETS OF NORILSK. SHOPPERS LEAN INTO A BRISK SIBERIAN WIND, AS
THEY BUY FOOD AT AN OUTDOOR STALL. THE 260-THOUSAND RESIDENTS OF
THIS BLEAK SIBERIAN OUTPOST THRIVE ON HARDSHIP.
THE MINES AND SMELTERS AROUND NORILSK BELCH OUT NOXIOUS FUMES 24
HOURS A DAY. VISITORS FIND BREATHING DIFFICULT. BUT MANY LOCAL
PEOPLE SAY THE SULFUR DIOXIDE AND OTHER CHEMICALS IN THE AIR
PROTECT THEM AGAINST DISEASE.
THE REGION HAS ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THE WORLD'S NICKEL RESERVES,
AND SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF PLATINUM, PALLADIUM, COBALT, AND
COPPER. BUT SIX DECADES OF WASTEFUL PLANNING HAVE TURNED NORILSK
INTO WHAT ONE RUSSIAN GEOLOGIST DESCRIBES AS AN ECOLOGICAL
THE HEAD OF THE LOCAL OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE, VITALY SAVCHENKO, SAYS THE
REGION SHOULD BE OFFICIALLY DECLARED A DISASTER AREA.
/// SAVCHENKO ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
MR. SAVCHENKO SAYS AN EMERGENCY DECLARATION IS NEEDED. BUT IT IS
NOT LIKELY BECAUSE IT WOULD REQUIRE ALL FEDERAL TAXES FROM THE
REGION TO BE USED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP. HE SAYS THAT WILL
NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE MOSCOW WANTS TO KEEP REVENUE FROM THE MINES
RESIDENTS SAY THAT IN SOVIET TIMES, THE ONLY GOAL OF THE MASSIVE
STATE-RUN NORILSK NICKEL COMPANY WAS PRODUCTION. BUT LAST YEAR,
RUSSIA'S MOST POWERFUL BANK, UNEXIMBANK, BOUGHT CONTROLLING
INTEREST IN THE FIRM. BANK PRESIDENT VLADIMIR POTANIN IS
PLEDGING TO RESTRUCTURE NORILSK NICKEL AND MAKE IT PROFITABLE.
COMPANY SPOKESMAN ALEXANDER CHULKOV SAYS ONE OF THE FIRST TASKS
IS CUTTING THE WORK FORCE FROM 150-THOSAND TO LESS THAN
/// CHULKOV ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
MR. CHULKOV SAYS THAT IN THE PAST YEAR, THE WORK FORCE HAS BEEN
REDUCED BY 10-THOUSAND PEOPLE, BUT NO ONE WAS FIRED. PEOPLE
WHO LEAVE ARE SIMPLY NOT REPLACED.
HOWEVER, THAT MEANS TOUGH TIMES FOR NORILSK. AS PEOPLE MOVE
AWAY, JOBS IN SUPPORT SERVICES ARE DISAPPEARING TOO. WITHOUT
SOVIET-ERA SUBSIDIES, LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS ARE SHRINKING.
AND RESIDENTS SAY MUNICIPAL SERVICES ARE IN A STATE OF
BUT MANY CITIZENS WHO WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE. A
40-YEAR-OLD NORILSK NATIVE, SVETLANA EBEDJANTS, SAYS THOUSANDS OF
PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED.
/// EBEDJANTS ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
SHE SAYS EVERYONE LOST THEIR LIFE SAVINGS WHEN THE RUSSIAN
CURRENCY, THE RUBLE, WAS DEPRECIATED, AND NOW THEY HAVE NO
MONEY AND NO PLACE TO GO.
MANY OF THOSE REMAINING ARE ELDERLY. SEVENTY-THREE-YEAR-OLD
SEMYON GOLOVKOY WAS SENT TO NORILSK MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO AS A
POLITICAL PRISONER. AFTER SERVING A 30-YEAR SENTENCE, HE DECIDED
TO STAY ON. NOW, HE SAYS, HE IS A PRISONER AGAIN.
/// GOLOVKOY ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
HE SAYS, "THERE ARE 27-THOUSAND OF US. WE CANNOT LEAVE."
HE SAID HE HAD HOPED TO TRADE APARTMENTS WITH SOMEONE IN SOUTHERN
RUSSIA WHO WANTS TO MOVE TO NORILSK. IT WAS A COMMON PRACTICE
WHEN JOBS WERE PLENTIFUL HERE. BUT TODAY, NO ONE IS MOVING TO
THIS SIBERIAN WASTELAND.
BANKER VLADIMIR POTANIN SAYS NORILSK WILL ONCE AGAIN BE A
THRIVING CITY. BUT EVEN THE MOST OPTIMISTIC EXPERTS SAY THAT DAY
IS A LONG WAY OFF.
IN THE MEANTIME, NORILSK -- ONCE SOUGHT OUT BY YOUTHFUL
ADVENTURERS -- IS BECOMING A CITY OF THE ELDERLY AND UNEMPLOYED.
AS SVETLANA EBEDJANTS OBSERVED, THE YOUNG AND THE WELL-EDUCATED
HAVE ALREADY MOVED AWAY
April 20, 1998
[for personal use only]
NATO expansion splitting national security establishment
Critics say adding Eastern European nations will upset Russia. Backers
say the plan will help stability.
By David Hess
INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON -- For months now, senators have been conducting a
surprisingly quiet debate over a treaty that would extend NATO to
Most Americans are not even aware of the issue, polls indicate, but
critics on the right and the left have warned that the proposed security
guarantee unnecessarily rattles Russia and carries a potentially high
cost in American wealth and, possibly, lives.
"NATO is a military alliance, and any decision to extend the U.S.
security guarantees is serious business, not cost-free political
symbolism," said Ted Galen Carpenter, head of defense and foreign policy
studies at the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank in Washington.
"U.S. troops might very well die defending those countries."
That argument is likely to get a more public airing in coming days as
the Senate prepares to vote on whether to bring Poland, the Czech
Republic and Hungary into NATO. Ten other countries, ranging from the
three Baltic republics to Ukraine and Macedonia, also want in, but their
bids must await a later time.
At least some of the impetus for expanding NATO membership comes from
nationality groups in the United States that want the countries of their
forebears gathered under the shelter of the West. For them, even a
shrunken and weakened Russia remains a threat.
Although the prospective members have conceded that Russia poses no
foreseeable threat, they view membership in NATO as a ticket to
increased aid from the West. Several already have applied for inclusion
in the European Union.
It appears likely there will be a sufficient majority in the Senate --
at least 67 votes are required to ratify or alter treaties -- to adopt
the expansion proposal offered by President Clinton.
But the issue has driven a wedge in the ranks of America's national
security establishment. Many foreign-policy analysts and scholars are
questioning why the Senate and the President are trying to "fix"
something that isn't broken.
"There are a lot of reasons why this is a bad idea," said Edward Rhodes,
director of the Center for Global Security and Democracy at Rutgers
University. "But in a nutshell, it all hinges on the fact the [ Senate
resolution ] is a solution to a problem we are not facing and could
create problems if it passes."
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.) and Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Jesse Helms (R., N.C.) are the Senate's chief proponents of the
"Enlargement will extend the zone of stability and help eliminate the
gray area in Central and Eastern Europe," Biden said. "Just the prospect
of it already has stimulated internal reforms in Hungary, Poland and the
Czech Republic, and encouraged them to resolve historic disputes with
But opponents have argued that there is no current military threat in
Central Europe that would warrant spending the money to expand NATO and
offending Russia, whose cooperation is needed to further reduce nuclear
arms and eliminate chemical weapons.
Michael Mandelbaum, a foreign policy expert at Johns Hopkins University,
in Maryland, said NATO "is a military alliance. Russia is not a threat
now, and NATO expansion is at best premature and at worst
U.S. relations with Russia were foremost in the minds of 17 former
senators, spanning the political spectrum from conservative Republican
Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire to liberal Democrat Gary Hart of
Colorado, who have written to the Senate opposing the expansion.
"We should concentrate on reducing Russia's arsenal of nuclear weapons
and bringing Russia into the Western family of democratic nations," they
asserted. "The tensions raised by expanding NATO toward Russia's borders
can only make more difficult our effort to ensure Russian nuclear
warheads do not fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue regimes."
Other critics have argued that a provoked Russia could make trouble for
the West in other world hot spots, particularly Iran and Iraq, which are
in the market for Russian arms and missile technologies.
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has insisted that Russia should
not feel threatened.
Despite the Russian government's objections to the expansion, he said,
his "private conversations" with Russian legislative leaders indicated
it was not a "serious issue." And he maintained that the United States
had made it clear to Russia that "we are willing to engage with them in
a very constructive way" and expanding NATO "spreads stability in ways
that benefit them as well as us."
Cohen acknowledged that any further expansion, particularly to embrace
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- on Russia's doorstep -- would be met
with stiff Russian opposition. Clinton has already promised that those
Baltic nations would be considered later for inclusion in NATO, although
other alliance powers (Britain, France and Germany) have not signed on
to that pledge.
April 27, 1998
[for personal use only]
Periscope/ Russia: Coming Together
Concerts in the great Hall of Moscow's Conservatory don't usually make news.
But a performance last Wednesday of Haydn's Seven Last Words by the Kremlin
Chamber Orchestra was an exception. Scheduled between Orthodox and Western
Easter celebrations, the milestone concert brought together clergy from seven
faiths, including the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church,
whose relations have been anything but warm. When the orchestra's musical
director Misha Rachlevsky first proposed the idea two years ago, the Russian
church reacted coolly. Late last year, Ernst Jorg von Studnitz, the German
ambassador to Russia and a fan of the orchestra, appealed to the Moscow
church. Finally, in February, the church gave its blessing. The result? A
Periscope/ Russia: The Joys of Capitalism
Moscow's got a supply-and-demand problem. Apparently, the city's nouveaux
riches have plenty of income, but not enough outlets where they can dispose of
it. Which is why owners of The World of New Russians have set up shop in
Moscow's fashionable Manezh Square mall. The new boutique specializes in high-
priced gifts that take a tongue-in-cheek approach to traditional Russian
wares. Among The World's wackier items: porcelain trays that look like
American Express cards, gold-painted wooden spoons with the Versace logo and
$1,500 Palekh lacquer boxes, normally adorned with scenes from fairy tales,
now updated with fat cat biznesmeny flanked by nubile women and bodyguards.
For $3,000 you can play with a ceramic chess set featuring goons in sunglasses
as pawns, Jeep Cherokees and Mercedes-Benzes as knights, gang molls as queens
and mobile-phone-toting mob bosses as kings. So much for the hammer and
Russia to export $3.5 bln of arms in 1998-agency
MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - Russia, the world's biggest arms exporter after
the United States, plans to sell $3.5 billion worth of arms in 1998, $1
billion more than last year, Interfax news agency said on Monday.
Interfax quoted the general director of Rosvooruzheniye, the Russian export
sales monopoly, as saying ships and naval arms would be the biggest single
item in 1998, amounting to 18 percent of total exports.
Yevgeny Ananyev said military enterprises which sell their products through
the company would receive $2.5 billion in cash this year.
The other $1 billion received from sales would go to cover old debts.
Ananyev said the situation with cash returns from arms sales had improved
dramatically since the Soviet era, despite a sharp fall in overall arms
exports since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
He said that in 1990 the former Soviet Union had exported $16 billion
arms. But it had received less than $1 billion of cash in return because most
agreements had been made with Moscow's allies on a non-cash basis.
``Now these disproportions have been sorted out,'' Interfax quoted Ananyev as
He said cash returns from arms exports in 1997 totalled $2 billion.
The Russian government sees the export of arms and military technology as a
major contributor to the national budget. It also believes increased arms
exports could help the struggling military sector during the transition to a
Russia: Average Monthly Pay Increases 9 Percent in March
Moscow, 16 Apr (ITAR-TASS) -- Average monthly pay in Russia in March
1998 went up by 91 rubles, or 9.15 percent, and was 1,085 rubles, 16.6
percent up on March 1997. This was officially reported by the State
Statistics Committee of the Russian Federation which PRIME-TASS received on
Thursday [16 April].
Average monthly pay in March went up in real terms by 8.2 percent,
compared with February, and by 7.3 percent, compared with March 1997.
The average subsistence level in Russia in March 1998 increased by
three redenominated rubles to 427 rubles per capita a month. For the
working population the subsistence level was 54 rubles above the average,
but at the same time last month it went up by 4 rubles. The children's
subsistence level was 432 rubles and pensioners' 301 rubles.
At the same time, the Russian population's March incomes in real terms
-- calculated after deduction of compulsory payments and adjusted for
changes in the consumer prices index -- turned out to be 5.9 percent down
on March 1997, but 2.5 percent up on February 1998. The ratio of average
income per capita and the subsistence level in March 1998 was reduced to
205.2 percent against 208.6 percent in March last year.
The population's total incomes in March 1998 were 128 billion rubles
and the population's total expenses 128.8 billion rubles, which means that
expenses exceeded incomes by 800 million rubles.
According to the State Statistics Committee, Russia's unemployment
rate in March went up by 1 percent compared with February and stood at
6,527m, which is a reduction of 6.6 percent on March last year. At the
same time, compared with February, the number of officially registered
unemployed went down by 1 percent and amounted to 1,964m, which constitutes
2.7 percent of the whole economically-active population.
Could a Mistake Still Trigger Nuclear War?
Russia’s Unsteady Arsenal
By Bill Blakemore
M O S C O W, April 20 —It almost happened in 1995.
A Norwegian-American research rocket launched from Norway was
mistaken for a possible nuclear attack by Russian military officers at a
radar station near Moscow. President Boris Yeltsin was told of the
launch immediately and had eight minutes to decide whether or not to
fire off a nuclear counter-attack.
“No human is capable within those few minutes of making such a
decision,” said Gen. Igor Rodionov, who was named defense minister soon
after the incident. His investigation into the state of the Russian
arsenal raised alarms about nuclear safety.
“It depends on the health and psyche of the person making the
nuclear decision,” said Rodionov. “It’s a nightmare.”
Superpower in Disrepair
Former Russian Defense Minister Gen. Igor Rodionov. (AP Photo) Luckily,
the Russians figured out after several tense minutes in 1995 that the
rocket was in fact not a threat. But experts in bth Russia and the
United States will tell you such terrifying mistakes are becoming more
A crushing lack of funds means that Russia’s entire 30-year-old
nuclear command-and-control system is becoming unreliable. Little gets
replaced and spare parts are growing scarce. Nuclear submarines go
without maintenance, making mishaps more likely. Half of Russia’s early
warning satellites have been shut down and half its radar sites cut off
by the breakup of the Soviet Union. That makes accurate predictions more
difficult —and overreaction more likely.
One Russian colonel told ABCNEWS that such facts make him and his
fellow officers in nuclear command feel uneasy.
Sagging Morale, Unsteady Silos
Morale is a problem too: Officers who handle Russia’s nuclear weapons
are among the millions in this country going months without pay. Some of
them are taking to the streets to try and change that situation.
“If they’re not paid, I cannot count on such an officer’s
conscientious fulfilling of duties with nuclear arms,” said Rodionov.
“If his morale is low, it affects his actions regarding safety.”
In fact, one retired Russian colonel told us that on a few
occasions missile silos have accidentally been put into “combat mode.”
Rodionov was fired by Yeltsin after he called attention to the
state of nuclear security in Russia. But many Russian and American
experts believe he is right: These nuclear systems are becoming