This Date's Issues: 2270
•Johnson's Russia List
17 July 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Russia Buries Its Final Czar.
2. AP: Text of Yeltsin's Speech at Burial.
3. Interfax: Russia's GDP For Jan-Jun 1998 Down 0.5% Against Last Year.
4. Moscow Tribune: John Helmer, RURAL IDIOCY MEETS CITY SLICK.
5. Mark Scheuer: Take it easy, people.
6. Center for Defense Information July 21 conference: Can We Learn to Live
Without Nuclear Weapons?
7. Stephen Blank: IMF.
8. Heritage Foundation July 23 conference: THE MEANING OF THE RUSSIAN
9. Dale Herspring: Jogging
10. Patricia Kranz: running
11. Cameron Half: Running in Moscow
12. Theodore Karasik: Baptists in the Russian Military.
13. RFE/RL: Ben Partridge, Central Asia: How Vast Are The Riches In The
14. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: Aleksei Baliyev, USA-BALTICS: FRIENDS AGAINST WHO?
15. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: MISSILE WARNING SYSTEM FAILS and DROUGHT
IN RUSSIA WILL HURT GRAIN HARVEST.
16. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: WHERE THE MONEY FOR THE UNEMPLOYED GETS LOST.]
Russia Buries Its Final Czar
By Maura Reynolds
July 17, 1998
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- With the scent of incense hanging in the
air, Russia buried its last czar today in a somber ceremony that President
Boris Yeltsin called an atonement for ``one of the most shameful pages of
On the 80th anniversary of the executions of the Russian royal family,
nine coffins with the bones of Czar Nicholas II, his wife, daughters and
servants were lowered into one large crypt beneath the floor of the gilded,
18th-century St. Peter and Paul Cathedral.
``We have long been silent about this monstrous crime,'' Yeltsin said of
the executions, carried out by Bolshevik revolutionaries at the dawn of the
communist era. ``Guilty are those who committed this heinous crime, and
those who have been justifying it for decades, all of us.''
Yeltsin said the burial should serve as a catalyst for national
reconciliation in a country that has lurched from one upheaval to another
during the 20th century -- from revolution and civil war, to famine,
political purges and the collapse of the Soviet empire.
``We must finish this century, which has become the century of blood and
lawlessness for Russia, with repentance and reconciliation,'' Yeltsin said.
Yeltsin has not advocated restoring the Russian monarchy, although he
has long spoken of the need for the country to reclaim its long-suppressed
history and condemn communist abuses.
The burial was officiated by a dozen bearded priests in gold-and-white
robes, with one gently swinging a censer that sent small puffs of burning
incense wafting over the coffins.
Dozens of the czar's relatives, diplomats from 50 countries, and Prince
Michael of Kent, a member of the British royal family, which is related to
Russian royalty, stood holding candles at the cathedral on the banks of the
The czar's family members tossed white sand, representing the earth,
onto the coffins before the crypt was covered. Outside on the river bank,
cannons boomed in a 19-shot salute -- two shy of the customary 21 because
the czar abdicated a year before he was killed.
``We must tell the truth -- the (czar's) massacre has become one of the
most shameful pages of our history,'' Yeltsin said. ``By burying the
remains of the innocent victims we want to expiate the sins of our
As the ceremony drew to a close, Yeltsin clasped the hands of Nicholas
Romanov, the most prominent of the czar's relatives at the service, and
they spoke briefly.
With its understated dignity, the burial was in sharp contrast to the
months of controversy that preceded it.
Many leading Russian figures, including the head of the Russian Orthodox
Church, skipped the service due to multiple disputes it generated. Yeltsin
was planning to stay away as well, but changed his mind Thursday.
The burial has reopened long-suppressed chapters of Russian history,
stirring fresh debate about the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Romanov
dynasty, and the nature of national guilt and contrition.
The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but Russia has not held any major,
formal ceremonies dealing with the abuses committed during communist times.
Today's service brought the issue to the fore.
``This is not just a funeral, but a national repentance,'' said Mstislav
Rostropovich, one of the world's leading conductors and cellists, who was
exiled during the Soviet era.
``It shows the entire world that Russia is changing and becoming more
humane,'' he said on Russian television.
It has been difficult to turn on a television in Russia this week
without seeing programs about the royal family, with archival footage of
Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their children. Russians who grew up in
the communist era knowing little about the Romanovs are being inundated
with their history.
But the burial also raised controversies. The Orthodox Church, as well
as some ordinary Russians, have questioned the authenticity of the remains
despite extensive DNA testing in the United States, Russia and Britain.
Largely because of that, the actual burial ceremony was relatively
simple. When the coffins were interred, the priest did not use the names of
the deceased, even though their name plaques were on the walls of the chapel.
About 1,500 people gathered outside the fortress this morning. A few
dozen were there to protest.
``Factories are closed. People aren't getting their pay -- what's going
on with this funeral?'' said Vyacheslav Marichev, a former politician.
Nicholas was the last of the Romanov emperors who ruled Russia for three
centuries. After abdicating in 1917 in the throes of the Russian
Revolution, he was killed on July 17, 1918, along with his wife, their five
children and four servants.
Bolshevik zealots who carried out the killings then tried to erase all
traces of the corpses.
Nine of the 11 bodies were recovered in 1991 from a desolate forest
outside the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. Two skeletons have never
been found -- Alexei, the czar's only son and a daughter that scientists
believe was Maria. Scientific tests indicate the bones of Anastasia, one
daughter some believe survived the shooting, were among the remains buried.
Text of Yeltsin's Speech at Burial
July 17, 1998
The text of President Boris Yeltsin's speech, translated by The
Associated Press, at the burial ceremony today for Russia's last czar and
his family in St. Petersburg, Russia.:
Dear fellow citizens,
It's a historic day for Russia. Eighty years have passed since the
slaying of the last Russian emperor and his family. We have long been
silent about this monstrous crime. We must say the truth, the Yekaterinburg
massacre has become one of the most shameful pages of our history.
By burying the remains of innocent victims we want to expiate the sins
of our ancestors.
Guilty are those who committed this heinous crime, and those who have
been justifying it for decades, all of us.
We must not lie to ourselves, explaining this senseless cruelty with
political goals. The execution of the Romanov family was the result of an
irreconcilable split in Russian society. Its results are felt to this day.
The burial of the remains of the Yekaterinburg (victims) is, first of
all, an act of human justice. It's a symbol of unity of the nation, an
expiation of common guilt.
We all bear responsibility for the historical memory of the nation. And
that's why I could not fail to come here. I must be here as both an
individual and the president.
I bow my head before the victims of the merciless slaying.
While building a new Russia, we must rely on its historical experience.
Many glorious pages of Russian history are linked with the Romanovs. But
also connected with their name is one of the most bitter lessons -- that
any attempts to change life by violence are doomed.
We must finish this century, which has become the century of blood and
lawlessness for Russia, with repentance and reconciliation irrespective of
political and religious views and ethnic origin.
This is our historic chance. On the eve of the third millennium, we must
do it for the sake of our generation and those to come. Let's remember
those innocent victims who have fallen to hatred and violence. May they
rest in peace.
Russia's GDP For Jan-Jun 1998 Down 0.5% Against Last Year
MOSCOW, July 17 (Interfax) - Russia's gross domestic product for the first
half of 1998 declined by an estimated 0.5% against the respective period of
last year, totalling 1.182 trillion rubles if measured in actual prices,
the State Statistics Committee has told Interfax.
GDP for June 1998 was 203.2 billion rubles, 1.6% down against June 1997
but 4.2% up against May 1998.
Commodities accounted for 40.3% of GDP for June 1998 against 40.5% for
June 1997, and services for 51.8% (49.5%). The proportion of GDP accounted
for by net taxes on goods and imports shrank from 10% for June 1997 to 7.9%
for June 1998.
Industrial output for the first half of 1998 rose 0.1% against the same
period of last year. Investments in fixed capital fell 4.3%. Agricultural
output grew by 0.6% and commodity retail turnover increased by 3.1%.
The real disposable income of the Russian population for January- June
1998 dropped 9% against the first half of 1997. The average wage per
employee was 12.3% above January-June 1997 levels. Real wages (adjusted for
inflation and after mandatory payments) grew only 3.7% against the first
half of 1997.
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Helmer)
The Moscow Tribune, July 17, 1998
RURAL IDIOCY MEETS CITY SLICK
By John Helmer
The pretty village of Ivanchikovo, 200 kilometres south of Moscow,
isn't named after me.
In fact, when I first came five years ago, I was the first foreigner
the villagers said they'd seen there since the Germans in 1942.
They had built a watch post on a hillside bend of the Osyota
("Sturgeon") river. They are remembered for stealing and shooting,
and forcing little boys to hide in cottage ovens. Those boys
are old men now, if they aren't dead.
It's been two years since I was in Ivanchikovo, and the old farmhouse
is surrounded by shoulder-high grass. My patch of sunflowers is gone. The
old log fence has disappeared without a trace, along with almost all
the oak fence posts meant to keep the neighbour from driving his truck
across the front meadow.
They remember my name, though, and tell lively tales about what's happened
in my absence. Thieves broke into the house. They seem to have made off
with sugar, salt, petrol, and an electric samovar. They must have done
better in the houses next door, for that's what got the village angry,
and ultimately sent them to prison, where they are now. Justice seems
to have been swifter in Ivanchikovo than in the rest of Russia. But as
they say, the kopek thief gets hanged, while the thousand rouble
thief is honoured.
My sour-cherries have already been stripped from the trees, which are
suffocating on weeds. The apples are thriving though, along with the worms.
The men of the village are like the apples, the women say. Next door,
two men are living together, because their wives got sick of their
drinking and brawling and refusing to work. The women have moved to
When the village women talk about politics, they are emphatic that the
stupidity of men is the root of all Russia's current troubles. They watch
television, which is free, but don't read newspapers because they can't
afford to buy them. They say they can see for themselves how President
Yeltsin has turned out. Just like their husbands, only there's no escaping
Yeltsin by taking the bus to Samara.
They weren't thinking of the national rouble crisis, because the few
roubles they see come in their pensions. Otherwise, they live on what they
can grow, cadge from the sovkhoz -- excuse me, joint stock company --
or borrow from their relatives in the towns. They haven't seen a man
from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank yet. But if he dared
to come, they already know that he's ordered the government to squeeze
their pension formula, so that it comes to less; add VAT and sales tax
to the things they buy, so they can't afford them; and cut off the trickle of
credit that's found its way to the farm on which everyone's life in the
They don't know that the government and the IMF have agreed
to default on the bonds which their savings in Sberbank were used to
buy. They haven't heard, and they wouldn't understand if they had, that
this is a "voluntary restructuring" -- voluntary only for foreign
bond-holders and for the government's banker friends. And since the interest
on the bonds was being paid for out of their overdue pensions, it's
difficult to say which theft they would be more against.
In the two years since I was last in Ivanchikovo, the loss of farm credit
has left the bulldozer sitting exactly where it was, unmoveable for lack
of parts. All the cows are gone, the milking paddock overgrown, the
sheds open to the elements and abandoned. None of the smart boys from the
International Finance Corporation has been around to distribute manuals
on farm privatization, like Mormons with their bibles. So the villagers
don't know that the explanation for their misery is their resistance to
reform. That's another word for thieving, the village women say.
But still, I say, the river runs clean and is filled with fish; the meadows
with wild strawberries; the forests with mushrooms; and the night air
with nightingales. You still have the most beautiful village in Russia, I
add. So why have you been gone for so long? they ask.
The sociologists have calculated that if the miserable standards of living
of 1990 had continued through to 1994, instead of falling, one and a half
million more Russians would have been alive. Between then and now the
calculation hasn't been made yet. Everyone in Ivanchikovo knows who didn't
make it through, and the small, local, personal reasons for their deaths.
They don't talk about that, like they do of the casualties when the Germans
came. I ask if they think it's the same thing, only instead of panzers,
there are Mercedes and BMW's. No reply -- it's not said that I'm a foreigner,
and it might be impolite for me to hear their answer.
In one of Ivan Turgenev's tales from rural life a century ago, an elderly
lady who was dying upbraided the priest for hurrying with his prayer and
cross. But she didn't have time to reach beneath her pillow before she
breathed her last. Under the coverlet she was reaching for, she had reserved
a rouble to pay for her last rites.
Turgenev thought the practicality of such dying was proof of a sensibility
among Russian country people that could preserve civilization, even when the
lives were lost, unfairly shortened, or wasted and forgotten as if they had
never been at all. That was what it meant to think like a liberal then.
From: "Scheuer, Mark" <MarkS@DIV317.T185.cpmspc.mail.saic.com>
Subject: Take it easy, people.
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 98 13:20:00 PDT
I've noticed something I hope does not become a trend among JRL readers.
In JRL 2260 and JRL 2260, Mssrs MacFarquhar and McIntyre respectively
express their discontent with the facts of two earlier and separate JRL
articles. Mr. MacFarquahar categorizes the target of his angst as "one
of the most shoddy piece (sic) of journalism on the Russian economy that
I have ever seen. . ." and Mr. McIntyre's subject line rants, "When will
this stupidity end?" I can appreciate JRL readers' desire for exact
reporting, and hope that anyone with better information for us
Russo-addicts would quickly address any posted mistake. But in light of
the high profile readership and (sometimes not so) tacitly competitive
nature of Russian studies arena (competition for recognition,
publication, etc) I hope that readers wanting to comment in the future
rein in their egos and leave out the insults. Let's be a bit more fair
and civil toward one another.
Center for Defense Information
invites you to a one day conference entitled:
Can We Learn to Live Without Nuclear Weapons?
July 21, 1998
Keynote speaker will be Jonathan Schell, author of “Fate of the Earth” and
“The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now.”
Admiral Stansfield Turner
former Senator Alan Cranston
Bishop Walter Sullivan
Admiral Noel Gayler
Ambassador Paul Warnke
Tuesday, July 21, 1998
9:00AM to 4:30PM
at the Carnegie Endowment Building
Root Room, Second Floor
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW
The speakers will address the legal, military, religious, arms control,
national command and public opinion facets of nuclear abolition.
Registration will begin at 9:00AM with the program beginning at 9:30 and
adjourning at 4:30PM. A Continental breakfast and lunch will be offered in
the Root Room on the 2nd floor of the Carnegie Endowment Building.
Unfortunately, due to limited space CDI may not be able to accommodate all
attendees. Please RSVP on or before Monday, July 20th by contacting Laura
Payne at (202) 332-0600, x135, by Fax at (202) 462-4559 or email@example.com.
From: "Blank, Stephen J. Dr." <BlankS@awc.carlisle.army.mil>
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998
I could spend a great deal of time on the whole IMF saga but I've
already noticed tha we can expect it to be honored more in the breach
than in the occurrence. For example, USE, not coincidentally
ocngtrolled by Potanin and Chubais, was allowed offsets in direct
violation of Rusisan decrees and the IMF settlement. For those who
watch Rusisa regularly the implicaitns of such actions ae, of course,
obvious. Mycolleagues are already predicting when the next crisis will
occur. Once again the IMF under american prodding hs screwed up a
situatio more than it needed to . We should be clear tha the main
beneficiareis of this are the banks and the speculators who tout the
free market like a mantra. After all their risk is socialized so why
should they worry? But as for inducing meaningful reform in the nature
of the state and the way it governs and makes policies, that is unlikely
except in a cosmetic fashion and then what?
From: "Cohen, Ariel" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Russia/IMF Seminar at Heritage
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
Enclosed please find the invitation to a very interesting seminar on
Russia/IMF bailout we are hosting next week. It features some of the key
players and experts/commentators on the subject.
Hope to see you at Heritage.
A tax-exempt public policy research institute
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO A PANEL DISCUSSION ON
THE MEANING OF THE RUSSIAN IMF BAILOUT
First Managing Deputy Director, International Monetary Fund
Executive Director for Russia, International Monetary Fund
WITH DISCUSSION TO FOLLOW FEATURING
Senior Policy Analyst, Russian and Eurasian Studies, The Heritage Foundation
Kathryn J. Davis Professor of Russian Economics, Wellesley College, and
Associate Director, the Davis Russian Research Center
JOHN P. HARDT
Senior Specialist in Public Policy, Congressional Research Service
ROGER W. ROBINSON
Former Senior Director for International Economic Affairs, National
On July 12, 1998, the IMF and Russia came to an agreement "in principle" to
approve $22.6 billion in loans to Russia. The loans will be provided by
the IMF ($15.1 bi1lion), the World Bank ($6 billion) and the Government of
Japan ($1.5 billion). This is the second IMF bailout for Russia in since
1996. The total Russian endebtness is a towering $200 billion.
The Russian economic crisis has much deeper roots than this bailout package
can possibly address. The economic breakdown also has dire political
consequences for the future of democracy in Russia and its relations with
the United States.
Our speakers and panelists will examine the latest crisis and consider its
implications for regional and world politics.
THURSDAY, JULY 23, 1998
THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION'S LEHRMAN AUDITORIUM
214 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE, NE, WASHINGTON, D.C.
PLEASE CALL PAUL LOVE AT (202) 675-1752
OR SEND YOUR E-MAIL TO: email@example.com
Visit our web site at: http://www.heritage.org
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
From: Dale R Herspring <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I could not let Yele Richmond's missive on jogging pass without mentioning
my own experiences. I don't know where I was in the list of joggers, but
I suspect I was far down the line (I served in Moscow from 1978-1980). I
lived about five miles away from the Embassy and I used to run back and
forth when weather permitted. I found Moscow to be one of the best
cities in the world to jog in. However, there were incidents that made
me realize that I was a bit wierd in the eyes of my hosts. Two episodes
may be of interest.
First, I used to run in shorts and t-shirt or shorts and sweat shirt
(unless there was snow in which case I dressed much more warmly). Running
I came to notice that a number of individuals would whistle at me. After
about three months of this I decided to go to the center of wisdom and
knowledge on such things -- our Russian drivers. I asked why the
whistles? The answer: "because you have bare legs. You are turning on
half the women in Moscow and the young men are jealous." While I am still
not certain if these drivers were telling the truth, I can say that once I
started wearing sweat pants the whistles stopped immediately.
Second, I was in Moscow when we boycotted the Olympics. My wife and
family had already left for the states, and I got up one morning and took
off jogging. I was running in the Moscow hills. While I was unaware of
it, my timing was horrible. Brezhnev was about to speak and they were
closing off the roads as I passed. To make a long story short, I ended up
running about twenty miles that day just in order to get back to my
apartment. I can still remember the militia officer outside our apartment
when I returned. He asked why I was so tired. I told him. His comment:
"well I guess the great Soviet Union got even with you for boycotting our
Olympics." I can't decide whether I deserve a medal for stupidity or one
for defying the Moscow cops by refusing to give up as they forced me
further and further away from my apartment.
From: email@example.com (Patricia Kranz)
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
My favorite place to run in Moscow is on the Naberazhnaya below Lenin
Hills. I start at the railroad bridge, then run past MGU to Gorky Park
and back - about six miles roundtrip. You can extend the run by going
into the park. But sometimes they charge admission. The air is about
the cleanest you can get in Moscow because there are few cars -
Luzhniki is on the other side of the river, so you are in a virtual
green zone. I like to run on level ground next to the water. But for
those who like hills, there are plenty of steep trails and roads.
Those who don't have a car can get there by taking the trolley-bus in
front of the Radisson Slavyanskaya. Get off just after the railroad
bridge that leads toward Novodyevichy and Luzhniki. It's also nice to
run in Luzhniki, but the road is only about two miles long.
Another nice place to run is in Fili Park. You can run along the river
all the way to Krylatskoe canal. But getting to the park's entrance
can be tough. You have to work your way through the crowds at the CD
Moscow Bureau Chief
From: Cameron_Half/FS/KSG@ksg.harvard.edu (Cameron Half)
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
Subject: Running in Moscow
As a fellow runner, I have been pleased to see the discussion of running in
Moscow which has developed over the last few days. While it is perhaps sad
that this topic, though important to many of us, should get more discussion
than Lieven's piece or Taibbi's account of Vorkuta, it also reflects an
issue of great concern to those of us who travel to and/or live Russia. On
my last two visits to Russia, I halted my routine of daily 5-7 mile runs,
for the reasons many contributors have cited. On past visits to Moscow, I
too have been chased by (large) dogs while their owners stood by laughing,
had children turn and ask the adults accompanying them, "Pochemoo on
begayet?", and received my share of stares and strange looks. Indeed,
while working in Moscow one summer, one of my Russian colleagues regularly
tried to convince me that running was in fact "bad for my lungs," and that
we Americans were all crazy for pursuing such a dangerous activity.
Coupled with these attitudes, on my last visit, I was forced to cut an
attempted run short (along the banks of the Moscow River, a route several
commentators have in fact suggested) because of the pollution. On a
Saturday morning with limited traffic in late May, I still found the
pollution so oppressive that I felt ill for several hours afterwards (note
that my usual routes in the US would also be considered relatively
high-pollution urban areas, so my reaction was not total unfamiliarity with
These comments demonstrate a tremendous disrespect for cardiovascular
exercise, and physical fitness in general, among the majority of the
Russian people. Say what you want about the culture of sport in the US,
one side benefit is that almost every American knows and admires what
physical training can mean, whether personally, professionally, or
medically. In the US, even those who do not exercise regularly have fond
memories of youth baseball, soccer, track, etc.--sentiments which I have
heard few Russians express. This, combined with the often-mentioned rather
unhealthy nature of many favorite Russian foods, may perhaps contribute
towards the poor life expectancy of many Russians.
All is not without hope, however. On one visit to Moscow several years
ago, while I was out for a run early one Saturday morning I came across a
race on a path around a pond (just off Olimpiyskiy Prospekt, near the
Renaissance Penta Hotel). There were separate men's and women's races,
with only perhaps 2-3 foreigners among the crowd of 40 or so runners. This
was not a major event, but very much like a small community road race which
one might find in the US, with a few token prizes and T-shirts, a
commentator with a bullhorn who tried to make even the last-place finisher
feel comfortable, etc. While the vast majority of the racers looked like
anything but serious runners, it was still heartening to see a group of
Russians seemingly running for the same reason that most of us do--that it
feels good. While I have long since lost track of the name of the
organizers or any other information, I would be interested in hearing if
any other JRL readers have come across this or similar groups. Indeed,
perhaps the joys of running might indeed slowly be catching on in Russia.
If so, we can hope that this may indicate a new concern with health and
physical fitness which is long overdue.
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
From: Theodore Karasik <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Baptists in the Russian Military
I would like to add some data concerning the story carried in JRL #2267
regarding Russia's religion law. As we all know, the law requires religious
organizations to re-register by a December 1999 deadline and imposes a
15-year waiting period for "nontraditional" religions. Many groups are
attempting to strike down this law as well they should.
One particular group affected by the law are converted Baptists in the
Russian military. Since the Soviet collapse, some officials have been
touring the United States sponsored by Revival Fires Ministries
(http://www.revivalfires.org) located in Branson West, Missouri (Revival
Fires sends teams to go to Russia every month on 8-10 day mission trips to
distribute bibles). One official, General Viacheslav Borisov, has described
his conversion experience at The Dallas, Texas Promise Keepers Rally in
Cowboy Stadium, the Pentagon, and in television interviews on TBN and CBN.
He is also slated for an interview on the BBC in late September. General
Borisov claims that he was Deputy Chief Commander of the Soviet Union's
100,000 combat troops in Russia's war with Afghanistan, infamous for his
persecution of the "Underground Church" and was given the code name "General
War" and a bounty of $1.5 million was offered for his execution. After
Afghanistan, he served in Cuba from 1986 to 1989, and then was a commander
of the Academy of Civil Defense from 1989 until 1998. According to Revival
Fires, in 1991, General Borisov allowed an American missionary team from
Revival Fires Ministries to conduct evangelistic meetings on his military
base near Moscow. Apparently, General Borisov was at that time the first
and only commander to open his military base to bible distribution.
[[May I note that verifying Borisov's background is another matter. There
are no traces of Borisov in any source. I have checked repeatedly through a
whole host of English and Russian language sources but General Borisov does
not appear anywhere. Lt. Col. Albert Isler, Pentagon chaplain, said Borisov
spoke there in 1996, but no background checks were made because he was on an
unofficial visit as a guest of Pentagon Bible-study groups. General Borisov
has also met with Marilyn Quayle in both the United States and in Russia
throughout the early and mid 1990s.]]
Borisov works with Evgenni Khatyushin and Anatolii Pchelintsev to reform the
religion law. Both men are former military officers who have converted;
Khatyushin helped put down the 1991 coup while Pchelintsev is a well-known
expert on religion and president of the Institute of Religion and Law. But
there are larger issues here-- to what degree is Borisov and others like him
influencing the placement of chaplains in the Russian military who preach
Baptist values? To what degree does this fact cause friction in the MOD
over the clash between Russian Orthodox beliefs and "nontraditional"
religions? These questions are critical in understanding other sources of
strain placed on the Russian military as it attempts to reform itself.
Central Asia: How Vast Are The Riches In The Caspian?
By Ben Partridge
London, 16 July 1998 (RFE/RL) -- British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook says
the Caspian region will supply a tenth of the world's oil within a decade,
a remark that promises a huge petrodollar boom for this impoverished
region. But is he being overoptimistic?
A more sober report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies
in London said the Caspian region holds perhaps only 3 percent of world oil
reserves, much lower than Cook's claim suggests.
The IISS report said estimates by politicians and journalists that the
energy reserves of the Caspian region are only a little smaller in scale
than Saudi Arabia are, in effect, far removed from reality.
In citing the 10 percent figure, Cook said this week that Britain is to
boost its diplomatic representation in the Caspian region because of its
growing strategic importance. This assertion is certainly true.
In the past few years, western politicians and oilmen have been drawn
like a magnet to the region, lured by the promise of fabulous wealth from
oil and gas fields that have yet to be fully explored, especially in
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
One report (Economist) said: "The world's oil bosses are falling over
themselves to secure a piece of the Caspian action."
Today, the five central Asian states (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,
Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan) and three Caucasian republics
(Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia) are grabbing world headlines, only six
years after emerging from the ruins of the Soviet Union.
Central Asian presidents are feted in Washington, Beijing and Bonn. All
the regional powers, Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, as well as the U.S. and
the west Europeans, are vying for power and influence.
So how important are the region's oil and gas fields, and what role will
they play in meeting world energy demands into the 21st century? The answer
to this question depends on who you listen to.
The U.S. Department of Energy said a few years ago that the potential
recoverable oil reserves in the region are some 200 billion barrels. This
estimate would suggest that the Caspian is only a little smaller in scale
as an oil province than Saudi Arabia.
But the recent IISS report said, within the global oil industry, the 200
billion barrels figure is widely dismissed, although it is the figure that
recurs most often in political and journalistic analyses.
The problem with this figure is that it leads to the conclusion that the
Caspian could somehow be a substitute for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf as a
source of oil supplies, leading to less dependence on these regions, with
all that this implies for the direction of foreign policy.
But this is highly misleading, according to the IISS report. It says the
consensus of oil industry forecasts of the recoverable reserves from the
Caspian lie in the region of 25 to 35 billion barrels, or more in line with
the more modest reserves of Europe's North Sea.
A report by the Wood Mackenzie consultancy, quoted by the Economist, put
it bluntly: the Caspian Basin is not in the same class as the Persian Gulf.
It says the region has proven reserves of 70 billion barrels of oil
equivalent (i.e. including natural gas). Most of the proven oil is in
Kazakhstan's 150 or so explored fields, and most of the gas is in
Turkmenistan's huge basin below the desert.
It says these reserves, though smaller than the Middle East, are big by
any other standards (and significantly larger than Europe's proven reserves
of about 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent). Still, seismic studies of
the Caspian indicate geological structures that might conceivably hold a
vast wealth of hydrocarbons (many areas have barely been explored.) The
Economist report says these seismic studies have tended to encourage
Caspian governments to be overoptimistic about the size of their energy
There is one big problem: the Caspian oil and gas is almost useless
unless it can gain access to world markets. That is the challenge for a
remote region that lacks access to an open sea. Much will depend on
"pipeline politics," or the ongoing debate over the routes of export
pipeline, to the north, south, east and west. Whether and when these
pipelines are built depends on healthy oil prices, and they have plunged
So will the Caspian region be able to supply one-tenth of world oil
supplies within a decade, as claimed yesterday by British Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook? The answer must be: well, perhaps.
>From RIA Novosti
July 17, 1998
USA-BALTICS: FRIENDS AGAINST WHO?
By Aleksei BALIYEV
The truth will out, they say, and so it did. It transpired
that the Pentagon had been drafting a long-term defence strategy
for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the past year. At least
Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbott said so during the first
session of the USA-Baltic partnership commission in Riga.
Against who is the USA going to protect the Baltic states?
Not against Russia?
The US statesmen like to repeat that the eastward
enlargement of NATO and military-political agreements with
certain CIS states do not threaten the interests and security of
Russia. That Russia is a partner in the new defence system, which
is being created in Europe and the Mediterranean-Caucasian region
under the auspices of the USA.
Indeed, this is so, and this scheme is sealed in the
NATO-Russia Founding Act. And yet, when that document was
negotiated, Moscow insisted that the sphere of the bloc's
responsibility should not spread to the territory of the former
Soviet Union. Nobody heeded these demands, as we see now.
One example is the communique of the aforementioned session
of the US-Baltic partnership commission. It provides for
US-Baltic cooperation in virtually all spheres of military-
technical policy, with the spotlight on the admission of these
states both to the World Trade Organisation, the EU and NATO,
Radio Liberty said.
Recently Vice-President Albert Gore reaffirmed this
direction of the US-Baltic cooperation when he told Landsbergis,
speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, that their countries are on
the way to NATO.
Indeed, geographically the Baltic states remain the shortest
bridge between Russia and Europe, and hence it is logical that
such statements are not made with regard to Romania or Bulgaria.
The US interest in the region is understandable. The Baltic
ports have a developed defence and technical infrastructure, but
many industrial enterprises, which used to service them, have
nothing to do now that all Soviet naval bases have been
liquidated there. The desire to give "work" to these enterprises
The main thing is not the economic interests of the Baltic
states, though, but the desire of the USA to get established on
the eastern shores of the Baltic and to incorporate them into the
sphere of NATO responsibility as soon as possible. The strategic
importance of Ventspils, Klaipeda, Tallinn, Paldiskov and Liepaja
from the viewpoint of more reliable control over the western
regions of Russia and the CIS can hardly be overestimated. The
more so that this part of the former Soviet Union will become a
part of the sphere of responsibility of the US European command
this coming autumn.
This reminds one of the numerous futile attempts by
Washington to include Sweden and Finland into NATO. But
provocation campaigns over Soviet submarines allegedly plying the
territorial waters of these countries, and the "leakage" to the
Scandinavian press of CIA and Pentagon reports on the growing
military threat coming to Helsinki and Stockholm from the Soviet
Baltic Fleet did not help.
Sweden and Finland still refuse to join NATO, and are not
overjoyed at the eastward enlargement of the bloc or its growing
activity in the Baltic region. Swedish and Finnish politicians
believe that the quicker NATO approaches the Russian borders, the
greater the probability of the aggravation of the military-
political situation in Eastern and Central Europe.
But why are we making such comparisons? The current Baltic
authorities are easily convinced that they are threatened by
Russia and nobody else.
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
July 17, 198
MISSILE WARNING SYSTEM FAILS. The second of two missile early-warning
satellites failed recently, seriously degrading Russia's ability to detect a
missile attack. (Kommersant-Daily, July 15) The Kosmos-2350 satellite was
launched into geostationary orbit on April 29, carrying one of Russia's
second generation early warning spacecraft--the 3,000-kilogram "Prognoz"
satellite, which was equipped with a telescope to scan for the hot exhaust
from a launching missile. The Prognoz system, inaugurated in 1988, has had a
troubled history. The paper reported that the latest in the series had
stopped responding to commands from its ground control station on July 6. A
government commission had concluded that there was no hope of reactivating
the satellite. The only other Prognoz in orbit had been launched in August
1997 but failed later in the year.
The Russians still deploy an older early-warning system called "Oko." These
smaller satellites are placed in a high elliptical orbit and can only
monitor potential missile launch sites when directly over them. The system
requires nine satellites to be effective. Only five are currently in orbit.
The military was far more enthusiastic about the Prognoz geostationary
system and hoped to keep seven satellites in orbit in order to provide
continuous global coverage. Money problems--to procure the satellites and
the Proton-K boosters which put them in orbit--forced them to settle for
just two satellites. Both of these are now dead. (Kommersant-Daily, July 15)
The failure of these early-warning satellites came at a time when the
military was beginning to improve its posture in space. In June, two
reconnaissance satellites were successfully put into orbit--the first such
missions launched this year. Russia had been without space reconnaissance
capability since April, when a previous satellite was brought back to earth.
(Aviation Week and Space Technology, July 13)
DROUGHT IN RUSSIA WILL HURT GRAIN HARVEST. Specialists are predicting that
more than one-third of this year's harvest in Russia will be lost due to bad
weather conditions. A late spring was followed by a severe drought that
began in April and deepened by June, affecting thirty-five regions and
devastating 20 percent of the sown area, especially in the Volga. The
projected harvest may be only 60 million tons of grain, compared to last
year's bumper crop of 89 million tons, which was up from the 68 million tons
of 1996. (Kommersant Daily, June 16)
The results of the drought will not be catastrophic, however. Last year's
harvest led some to hope that Russia could resume its historical role as a
grain exporter. Even this year's poor harvest should be nearly sufficient to
meet domestic demand, which runs at about 60-65 million tons per year.
Russia will thus need to import only perhaps 1 to 2 million tons of grain.
The main effect of the drought will be to push up prices, which have fallen
steadily in recent years. The grain price may go up from the current 700
rubles/ton to 1,000 rubles/ton by September. In any case, poor world market
conditions last year meant that only 2.5 million tons of Russian grain was
exported. The weak prices encouraged farms to cut back on sown acreage this
year (to a record low of 51 million hectares), which worsened the impact of
the drought this year.
The real problems in Russian agriculture, however, are to be found in the
meat and dairy sectors, which fell by 10 percent and 5 percent respectively
last year. Stocks of cattle, sheep and chickens are now one-quarter of the
level they were in 1990. The financial situation in the sector is dire: Even
last year, with the bumper grain crop, farms ran up losses of 25 billion
rubles (US$4 billion). The farm lobby will use the excuse of the drought to
try to extract subsidies from the federal budget, but knowing that the
cupboard is bare they are more likely to succeed if they push for more
protection from imports. The government already announced that it will
introduce temporary tariffs of 40-70 percent on imported sugar from August 1.
>From RIA Novosti
July 17, 1998
WHERE THE MONEY FOR THE UNEMPLOYED GETS LOST
By Vladimir KUCHERENKO
On July 16 the Government of the country held a regular
meeting. The budgets of the Social Insurance, Compulsory
Medical Insurance, and Employment Funds for the year 1997 were
* * *
The discussion of this question was purely technical,
without outbursts and emotions, though, as Premier Sergei
Kiriyenko noted, in the size of the financial resources
accumulated in these funds they are comparable with the
federal budget. One many-year problem arose again: the part of
the collected money which goes to the centre for
redistribution and for evening out the socio-economic
situation in the regions is too small. For instance, a mere 20
per cent of the collected money gets concentrated in the
Federal Employment Fund, and in actual fact the centre got
only 13 per cent last year. As a result of all this an absurd
situation arises when the largest sums of money designed to
combat unemployment get stuck in the regions where this
problem is the least acute while the frustrated entities of
the Federation suffer from a sharp deficit of
"anti-unemployment" money. As a result of the situation
obtaining, the money, centralised in Moscow, is spent mainly
on repaying the dole arrears, while the state is deprived of a
possibility to pursue an active employment policy.
Premier Sergei Kiriyenko holds the view that a better
system of consolidation of the financial resources of the
state non-budget funds is needed because the tough measures
which are being taken by the government will inevitably
aggravate the socio-economic problems in regions. For this
reason, Vice Premier Oleg Sysuyev who is in charge of the
social block was instructed to work out systems moves to even
out the socio-economic conditions in regions. It is gratifying
that at long last there is an intention to resolve these
problems which were raised during the past six years.
On that same day the Government approved in principle a
number of new draft laws which must be submitted to the
parliament for implementing the programme of economic and
financial recovery of the Russian Federation.
to CDI's Home Page I Return
to CDI's Library