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Johnson's Russia List
26 July 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Michael Taylor: Re:#2280 Size of Russian families.
2. New York Times: Thomas Friedman, Two Sick Nations, One Cure.
3. Moscow Times: Jean MacKenzie, Living With the 'Ultimate Souvenir.'
(Review of Lynn Visson's book "Wedded Strangers: The Challenges of
4. Renfrey Clarke: RUSSIAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FIGHT SECURITY POLICE
FRAME-UP. (Grigory Pasko).
5. Interfax: Russia's Nikolayev Comments on 2000 Presidential Election.
6. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Aleksandr Gamov, "Election 2000. Have Yeltsin
and Chernomyrdin Formed Pact? It Seems That First Scene of Great
Political Drama Has Been Played Out Before Us."
7. Financial Times (UK): Chrystia Freeland, Lebed raises spectre of
Russia split into nuclear-armed provinces.
8. Reuters: Yeltsin ditches domestic security boss-Kremlin.
9. Moscow Times: Andrei Piontkovsky, SEASON OF DISCONTENT: Will Burial
Be Only Sign of Repentance?
10. AP: Russian Writer Dudintsev Dies.
11. AP: Russia's Borderlands Face Unrest.
12. USIA: TEXT: GORE-KIRIYENKO JOINT STATEMENT AT WORKING MEETING.
13. Reuters: Greenpeace tried to obtain Russian nuclear bomb.]
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998
From: Michael Taylor <RossHenson@compuserve.com>
Subject: Re:#2280 Size of Russian families
Re:#2280 24 July Jenni Bennett
In her comments on Mike Snow's "The One" Jenni Bennett said:
"I never met a large Russian family - usually there's only
1 or 2 kids - the marriage never seems to last much longer or to be stable
enough to have big families"
Can I add a few comments. My experience of Russia is limited to three
brief visits so my comments may not be typical.
On my first visit, in 1992, I met a family with eight children. The
parents were Baptists and explained the age difference between the two
elder children (late teens) and the six younger children (all under 10) by
the fact that they had only been converted ten years previously - i.e. they
had been using abortion to limit the size of their family but once they
were Christians they could no longer do this on moral grounds.
Most of the (secular) families that I know that have one or two children
still have both parents together - so marriage stability does not appear to
be the primary factor - at least among families where the parents are in
their 40's. It may be different among younger couples. Also my experience
is limited to a city of 1 million on the Volga - again it could be
different in Moscow or St. Petersberg.
I have also found that when Russians discovered that I have five children
often the reaction has been envious that I can afford to have so many
In my experience Russian men are very tolerant of small children. When I
had my five year old daughter (as she then was) with me they would give her
shoulder rides and although they complained to each other about the way she
twisted their ears they would not tell her to stop it - even when I told
them to do so.
In summary my impression is that family size is primarily limited by
economic considerations and that many families would have more children if
they thought they could afford it and if they thought that the future would
be stable enough for their children to grow up safely.
New York Times
July 25, 1998
[for personal use only]
Thomas L. Friedman: Two Sick Nations, One Cure
Here's Saturday's news quiz:
1. Is there really any difference between Boris Yeltsin and Suharto or
between Russia and Indonesia?
2. Isn't the real reason that the I.M.F. is giving Russia $17 billion and
Indonesia only fish bait simply the fact that Russia has 20,000 nuclear
weapons still pointed at the West, while Indonesia is only capable of shooting
itself in the foot?
Let's answer these one by one. First, Indonesia and Russia are suffering
from the same general disease -- microchip deficiency disease. It is no
accident that the Soviet Union, General Motors, I.B.M. and centrally directed
Asian capitalism all were forced to restructure in the same decade. They could
not deal with the new dynamic created by the microchip and the personal
computer -- which made dispersed systems of business, production, information
gathering and governance much more efficient than centrally commanded ones.
As Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers likes to put it: "Communism,
planning ministries and corporate conglomerates all ran into great
difficulties in the same era because with the P.C. and the microchip it became
much more efficient to empower individuals, who could get more information and
make more decisions themselves, rather than having a single person at the top
trying to direct everything." Companies and countries that did not empower
individuals that way ended up with a lot of obsolete people, which breeds
counterproductivity, misallocated resources and ultimately stagnation.
G.M. and I.B.M. restructured. Russia and Indonesia, however, went from one
extreme to the other. They went from centralized states -- where the bloated
center dominated everything -- to non-states, with no strong, legitimate
institutions to collect taxes, regulate capitalism or provide a social safety
net. Both Russia and Indonesia are now learning a fundamental truth about this
high-speed, free-market era: The state and institutions matter more, not less.
While you need to get the size of your government down, you need to get the
quality of your government up. Otherwise your free market is all freeways and
no stoplights, and that breeds chaos.
Second, there is no doubt the I.M.F. backs Russia because it has 20,000
potentially loose nukes. But there is another reason. Boris Yeltsin, for all
his faults, is a real reformer, freely elected, with a team that understands
the challenge of this era and is on the right side of history. That is simply
not the case in Indonesia, where President B. J. Habibie is an unelected,
kinder, gentler Suharto.
Russia's top negotiator with the I.M.F., Anatoly Chubais, remarked in
Washington last week that despite all the tough conditions being imposed on
Russia by the I.M.F., anti-Western feeling in Russia has not been growing --
because an increasing number of Russians get it. True, Russia's Communist
Party still regularly smears Mr. Chubais as an agent of the C.I.A., the I.M.F.
and the Mossad. " 'O.K.,' I tell them," said Mr. Chubais of his debate with
the Communists, " 'Chubais is a spy for the C.I.A. and I.M.F. But what is your
substitute? Do you have [any alternative] workable ideas?' " They have none,
which is why even some of the Communists are now coming around.
"Recently," said Mr. Chubais, "I was testifying before the Duma and [a
Communist member] challenged me: 'What is the level of money supply you are
planning to have? What is your M2 target? You gave us wrong M2 numbers.' "
Such a conversation with a Communist was unimaginable six years ago, he said.
That's the good news, and it justifies the I.M.F.'s bet on Russia. But let's
be clear: It's still a bet, because this is hard stuff. To use a computer
analogy, Russia first needed to get a whole new operating system -- capitalism
-- plus the software to go with it, i.e., the rule of law. Indonesia had the
operating system -- capitalism -- but it stuck with an old, centrally directed
version (DOScapital 1.0) that was fine in the 1970's but unsuited for the
high-speed 90's. And Indonesia had very little software.
Getting your operating system and software up to speed requires cultural
changes and institution-building, often in an environment of economic
inequality, democratic chaos and global competition. Politics in places like
Russia and Indonesia is going to be about managing this painful process. That
they have no other choice is for sure. That we have no other choice but to
support those who "get it" is for sure. The outcome, though,
July 25, 1998
Living With the 'Ultimate Souvenir'
By Jean MacKenzie
"One thing no American married to a Russian seems to have complained of
is boredom," writes Lynn Visson in Wedded Strangers: The Challenges of
Russian-American Marriages. As her intriguing new book demonstrates,
this may be because the couples are too busy fighting about sex, money,
interior decorating or cabbage soup to have time for ennui.
>From Isadora Duncan and Sergei Yesenin in the 1920s to Susan Eisenhower
and Roald Sagdeev some six decades later, the history of such couplings
has been fraught with difficulty. The emotional roller coaster and
conflicting feelings that many foreigners experience when living in
Russia are magnified and compounded when the cultural clash is brought
home to stay.
"A foreign spouse is the ultimate souvenir from a trip abroad," Visson
writes. But unlike a Hawaiian shirt or a plastic model of the Eiffel
Tower, a husband or wife cannot be shoved to the back of the closet when
the first attraction fades.
Visson knows whereof she speaks: For 22 years she has been married to a
Russian and has had, she confesses, her share of misunderstandings and
cultural contretemps. The pair is still together, and Visson makes no
secret of the fact that the idea for the study was conceived during
extended conversations with her husband.
Visson herself is a blend of the two cultures, having been brought up in
a Russian household in the United States. She is fluent in Russian, has
taught Russian language and literature at the university level, and
works as a simultaneous interpreter at the United Nations.
The book is largely anecdotal in nature. The author wisely does not
attempt to over-categorize her subjects, or trim the personal stories to
fit rigid philosophical or emotional categories.
The first half of the volume deals with history, and follows the
development of Soviet-American relations through romantic entanglements,
both successful and star-crossed. Visson has chosen her examples well,
and the chronicle makes for lively and fascinating reading.
The 1920s gave us one of the most famous, if spectacularly ill-matched,
couples in the Russian-American pantheon, Isadora Duncan and Sergei
Yesenin. She was an aging but still prominent American dancer of 44, he
a talented and revered young poet of 25. Neither spoke the other's
language, and their passionate infatuation reflected more a starry-eyed
view of each other's culture than a real attachment. Headstrong and
tempestuous, the pair raged through two years before separating, he to
commit suicide in a Petersburg hotel in 1925, she to die two years later
in a bizarre accident in Nice.
The romance and allure of the Bolshevik Revolution drew waves of
Americans who wanted to contribute to the great Soviet experiment.
Margaret Wettlin, a teacher from Philadelphia, was one of these eager
idealists. In the early 1930s she met and married Andrei Efremoff, a
theater director, and spent the next four decades in the Soviet Union.
Wettlin, according to her own writings, considered herself privileged to
witness Russia's great historical upheavals. Her son, however, who held
an American passport, spent years trying to get himself and his family
out of the Soviet Union, and was given permission to leave only in the
The Cold War claimed its share of victims among lovers, as witnessed by
the tragic story of actress Zoya Fyodorova and her doomed romance with
an American naval attache.
The two met and fell in love during World War II, but were unable to
The American, Jackson Tate, was ejected from the country, and the
pregnant Fyodorova was imprisoned for eight years. The couple did not
see each other again until near the end of Tate's life.
Their daughter, Viktoria, also fell in love with an American in 1975.
While her story had a happier resolution (she married and moved to the
United States) her mother's life was blighted until the end: In 1981
Zoya was murdered in her Moscow apartment "under mysterious
circumstances, allegedly during a burglary."
The second half of the book is a romp through cultural differences, and
should be obligatory reading for anyone contemplating marriage to, or
even a casual friendship with, a Russian. It provides many amusing and
wry insights into the pitfalls of such relationships, and can help
cross-cultural couples sort out real problems from surface dissonance.
Where do personal peculiarities end and culturally dictated behavior
begin? And can recognizing the forces behind certain habits and
expectations help couples to adapt more easily to each other? Visson
raises, but does not fully answer, these questions.
When a Russian husband complains that his wife is a lousy cook because
she does not serve him a three-course meal at midday, it may help to
realize that Americans are more apt to grab a sandwich for lunch and
save the fancy stuff for dinner. Hubby may still be annoyed, but perhaps
his irritation can be better deflected if he understands that cultural
differences are responsible for his hunger, not some plot by his wife to
starve him to death. Of course, this is presupposing that the American
wife is willing to cook for him at all. Gender roles are an extremely
fertile ground for conflict even in relationships between people from
the same culture. When more "traditional" Russians team up with
relatively liberated Americans, fireworks are sure to follow.
Much of this is familiar to anyone who has spent time in Russia and has
close Russian friends. Readers will smile in recognition at accounts of
disagreements over money, health care and personal hygiene. When your
Russian spouse tells you that drinking water causes high cholesterol,
fresh air is dangerous and sitting on the floor makes women sterile, it
may help to know that he/she is echoing folk wisdom, rather than just
The main shortcoming of this study is that it, like so much else these
days, is being overtaken by events. As one Russian remarked after a news
conference Visson gave in Moscow in May, the book would have been a
revelation 10 years ago. Now so much is changing, such as attitudes
toward work, time, money, even friendship, that Visson's book risks
becoming a relic before it has a chance to hit the mainstream.
But there will always be cultural difficulties and misunderstandings in
any "mixed marriage" and Visson's "Wedded Strangers" will be there to
help smooth out the rough spots.
"Wedded Strangers: The Challenges of Russian-American Marriages" by Lynn
Visson. Hippocrene Books. 256 pages. $24.95.
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 22:53:41 +0400 (WSU DST)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Renfrey Clarke)
Subject: New developments in Pasko case
#RUSSIAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FIGHT SECURITY POLICE FRAME-UP
#By Renfrey Clarke
#MOSCOW - In a grim reflection on the state of human rights in
present-day Russia, naval journalist and environmental campaigner
Grigory Pasko remains in prison on charges of high treason
brought against him by the country's security police. Alarmed and
angered by the case, Moscow environmentalists and human rights
supporters have now set up a committee to agitate in Pasko's
#A captain in the Russian navy's Pacific Fleet, Pasko until his
arrest last November was a journalist for the fleet's newspaper
<I>Boevaya Vakhta<D> (``Combat Watch''). Throughout the 1990s he
has sought to expose the dumping by the navy of nuclear wastes in
the Pacific and the Sea of Japan. Video footage of dumping
operations which he shot in 1993 caused an international furore
when shown on Japanese television.
#The Pacific Fleet apparatus of the FSB (Federal Security Service
- the main successor to the KGB) moved against Pasko last year
after he had emerged as a leading candidate for the editorship of
his newspaper. At the time, he was also reportedly investigating
the dumping of chemical weapons in the Sea of Japan. He was
arrested on November 20 as he returned to his home city of
Vladivostok following a trip to Japan, where he had been
researching a story about the graves of Russian sailors.
#When he left home on November 13, Pasko had taken with him a
sheaf of documents related to his environmental concerns,
intending to work on them while in Japan. But as he went through
customs at Vladivostok airport, these materials were confiscated.
After he returned a week later and was arrested, his apartment
was searched and his personal archives were seized.
#In statements to the media, the FSB alleged that Pasko had
collected and stored information containing state secrets, with
the intention of divulging it. He was also accused of breaching
sections of the criminal code that prohibit Russian citizens from
providing ``aid to a foreign state, to a foreign organisation or
to its representatives in the conducting of hostile activity to
the detriment of Russian security.''
#The FSB now faces the challenge of showing that Pasko had secret
materials in his possession. According to lawyers who have
examined the seized documents, there is nothing in them that can
be considered a state secret or that is classified as such.
#Establishing that Pasko helped a hostile foreign organisation to
harm Russian security will also pose problems for the FSB. The
foreign organisations with which Pasko has worked are the
Japanese newspaper <I>Asahi<D> and the television company NHK. If
the Russian authorities have decided that the Japanese media are
actively working to undermine Russia's security, the effects for
Russian-Japanese relations will be interesting, to say the least.
#Although the investigation has now been completed, Pasko has not
been granted bail. The Vladivostok environmental group Ecologos,
which has actively supported Pasko, reported late in July that a
local court had extended his custody ``despite the breach of all
imaginable articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian
Federation relating to detention and investigation.'' According
to Ecologos spokesperson Andrey Kubanin, the judges ignored
complaints from Pasko's defenders, and failed to substantiate
their decision, which in itself was a breach of the Criminal
#``The investigators are afraid that if Grigory is freed, he will
reveal the fakery upon which the accusation is constructed,''
#According to Ecologos, the general prosecutor's office - which
is formally responsible for all criminal prosecutions in Russia -
has ignored calls to take up the irregularities in the FSB's
handling of the case. The general prosecutor himself made a
strange statement affirming the correctness of all the FSB's
#``Either the general prosecutor forgot the Criminal Code,''
Kubanin observed, ``or he had by that time forgotten the
complaints and enquiries we had directed to him, or else we are
falling rapidly into a situation where the interests of the
authorities (read: of the country's main organ of repression) are
rated higher than all values.''
#Also disturbing have been efforts by the authorities to deter
the media from covering the case. As related by Kubanin,
journalists in Vladivostok who have taken up the story have
encountered harassment by the FSB and in at least one case,
direct threats of prosecution. Editors now prefer not to get
into fights with the security police, and as a result, ``an
information vacuum has been created around the case.'' A recent
issue of the newspaper <I>Novosti<D> containing a report by a
Moscow-based writer on the Pasko case was withheld from retail
sale, and was sent to only some of its subscribers.
#Defence lawyers have now finished studying the materials related
to the case, and the trial is likely to go ahead relatively soon.
It will be held in a closed military court, and if Pasko is found
guilty, he could be jailed for as long as 20 years.
#In Moscow, journalists' rights activists have joined with
environmentalists, lawyers and human rights campaigners to set up
a Public Committee in Defence of Grigory Pasko. The committee's
best-known member is Professor Aleksey Yablokov, who for years
was President Boris Yeltsin's advisor on environmental issues.
#In its initial statement on July 13, the committee argued that
the investigation had ``found no facts to support the charges.''
Meanwhile, the investigative procedures had been ``accompanied by
such gross breaches of the law that these facts alone...would
provide a basis for throwing the case out.''
#In sum, the committee argued, the Pasko case represented ``a
continuation on the part of the security services of a deliberate
campaign to control the spread of information which under Russian
law and all international agreements cannot be secret.''
Russia's Nikolayev Comments on 2000 Presidential Election
MOSCOW, July 22 (Interfax) -- Ex-director of Russia's Federal Border
Service and now State Duma Deputy Andrey Nikolayev thinks "none of the
current political figures can win the 2000 presidential elections."
At a press conference at Interfax's main office on Wednesday [22 July]
Nikolayev said "none of them is supported by a majority," he said the
presidential elections would be won by someone else.
He added that "money will not play the decisive role in the 2000
elections" and that "no early parliamentary or presidential elections will
be held in Russia."
He denied rumors that he is planning to run for governor of Sverdlovsk
region. "It's not true. I have no gubernatorial plans," Nikolayev said.;
[punctuation as received]
He declined to say whether he had any presidential plans. "We have
overly personalized this question. Authority today is not trusted by the
majority of the population. The only possibility of regaining this trust
is to shape a parliament of the majority in 1999," he said.
Only afterwards can life be improved in Russia, he continued. "A new
parliament and Russia's new leader must shape an efficient government and
make changes in the Russian constitution that have to do with executive
authority. These changes must ensure that the president work, not reign,
and that every presidential decree become an event of great importance for
the country," Nikolayev said.
"We must offer the public a model of life which may be built jointly,
and submit this model to a national referendum," he said.
Regarding the formation of the Union of Popular Rule and Labor, he
said that "there is no efficient political movement in Russia on which the
future authority, based on the majority, might rely on. The Union's leader
Nikolayev said that his movement is expected to become a consolidated and
centrist force of this majority.
He said that he and Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov "have the same views on
the cardinal strategic issues." In the future "we may decide to
consolidate efforts in tackling the most important problems facing
society," Nikolayev said. The Union of Popular Rule and Labor, which is to
become a consolidating force, "cannot disregard Luzhkov" as a potential
presidential candidate, he said.
He announced that the Union's second congress, scheduled for the end
of October or the beginning of November will be of special importance
because "it will offer a program to society and each citizen."
[Interfax]: Non-government information agency known for its
aggressive reporting, extensive economic coverage, and good coverage of
Russia's regions; its director serves in the presidential Administration.
Chernomyrdin, Yeltsin Playing Out 'Political Drama'
July 17, 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Aleksandr Gamov: "Election 2000. Have Yeltsin and
Chernomyrdin Formed Pact? It Seems That First Scene of Great
Political Drama Has Been Played Out Before Us"
I must confess that in yesterday's issue of Komsomolskaya Pravda I
only gave you a glimpse of the president and ex-premier's "last supper"
that took place on Tuesday in Gorki- 9. (See "What Yeltsin and
Chernomyrdin Whispered About.") But today, after some reflection, I have
in the end decided to make a full disclosure and tell readers more or less
the whole truth. The fact is that to all intents and purposes our brother
voters are, not to put too fine a point on it, being duped.
After Viktor Stepanovich Chernomyrdin's dismissal I asked him
directly: "Tell me honestly, have you by any chance made a pact with the
president and was your departure some kind of theatrical electoral ploy?"
Chernomyrdin became embarrassed at this: "Whatever we might say to you now,
you will still go on suspecting us...." I even "went into raptures" myself
over the cleverly laid plan: "Heck, the two comrades in arms will now be
on the same side!"
But this will not happen. Now that the NDR [Russia Is Our Home] "team
leader" is virtually assured of being elected as Yamalo- Nenetsk State Duma
deputy, I assume the strategic move conceived by the president's and
premier's brilliant minds becomes clear. They will not, indeed, touch the
Duma until 1999. And during this time Viktor Stepanovich Chernomyrdin will
be made so attractive that he and his fellow NDR members will achieve
incredible results in the new parliamentary elections and he will
become...none other than the speaker of the upper house! But why then did
he proclaim at every juncture: "I have saved the Duma!"
The next scene is the presidential election in the year 2000. Here the
NDR surprises itself by banking on Yeltsin while Chernomyrdin implores his
electorate to vote for the "reformer for all times and peoples." There is
applause and the curtain falls. In the VIP box we see the bald head of the
venerable premier, Kiriyenko.
But the fact that Viktor Stepanovich is now skillfully playing the
role of the maligned dismissed official while Boris Nikolayevich subtly
plays up to him: "You see, I would be quite incapable without my faithful
Stepanych [familiar form of Chernomyrdin's patronymic name]...." Well,
whatever is the case, both were involved in amateur dramatics when young:
One was a pretty good tragic actor while the other played comic roles.
Maybe had they not become big-time politicians they would have become great
actors. Which, incidentally, are practically one and the same thing.
But let them be. If only there was stability on our stages....
Financial Times (UK)
July 25, 1998
[for personal use only]
Lebed raises spectre of Russia split into nuclear-armed provinces
By Chrystia Freeland in Moscow
Alexander Lebed, the maverick Russian general who is a leading contender
to succeed Boris Yeltsin as president, yesterday volunteered to take
over a Siberian missile unit if the Kremlin did not begin paying the
The offer, which evoked the nightmare of a Russia split into separate,
nuclear-armed provinces, was precisely timed to coincide with the visit
of Al Gore, US vice-president, to Moscow. It was an inflammatory
reminder of the potential danger posed by the country's under-financed,
"The officers are hungry, the officers are very angry," Mr Lebed, who is
now governor of the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk, warned in a letter
to Sergei Kiriyenko, the Russian prime minister, made public yesterday.
"We, the people of Krasnoyarsk, are not yet a rich people. But in
exchange for the status of a nuclear territory, we will, if you like,
feed the unit, becoming, with India and Pakistan, a headache for the
Mr Lebed's rhetorical blast offered a jarring counterpoint to the
determinedly upbeat pronouncements of Mr Gore and his Russian
Mr Gore praised Russia's efforts to end its economic crisis, commended
Moscow for promising to punish companies exporting military technology
to Iran, and announced a $3m programme to help nine closed Russian
nuclear cities convert to civilian production.
"I am optimistic ...I admire what the prime minister is doing in putting
forward a Russian reform package and I have every confidence that he
means exactly what he says when he says that they intend to bring these
changes to pass," Mr Gore said.
His words of encouragement came just a few days after the International
Monetary Fund, acting under strong pressure from the US, led a $22.6bn
international emergency package for Russia.
But Mr Lebed's warning that the supervision of Russia's nuclear arsenal
may be on the brink of collapse highlighted the apocalyptic fears which
were part of the unspoken rationale for the expensive foreign bail-out.
Mr Lebed now rules a region four times the size of France. He has warned
of the dangers of a mutiny in the past, but his letter is one of the
first public suggestions that Russia's nuclear forces could be split up
among the country's regional leaders.
Mr Gore played down the ex-paratrooper's threat, saying Mr Lebed was
probably just trying to attract federal attention to the problem of
unpaid salaries in the military. However, the Russian government is
unlikely to be as sanguine about Mr Lebed's emergence as a media-savvy
champion of the army and the often ignored Russian hinterland.
"All the facts taken together lead to the sad conclusion that for the
Russian government there is no land beyond the Urals," Mr Lebed charged,
in a complaint which could become a rallying cry for Siberia.
And he took care to inform the capital that his views were mild compared
to the bellicose mood of local officers.
"I am not an extremist," he wrote. "Compared to the thoughts of the
officers at the Uzhursk missile unit, my thoughts are as pure as a
Yeltsin ditches domestic security boss-Kremlin
MOSCOW, July 25 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin dismissed the head of the
Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor of the Soviet KGB, on Saturday and
replaced him with a presidential administration official who once spied in
It said Yeltsin had signed a decree removing Nikolai Kovalyov ``in connection
with a move to other work'' and appointing Vladimir Putin, a deputy Kremlin
administration chief and former spy in Germany, to replace him.
It was not immediately clear why Kovalyov had been replaced but Yeltsin said
earlier on Saturday he had detailed information on every government member.
``You sometimes fail to understand sackings,'' Yeltsin told reporters at his
holiday retreat in northwest Russia. ``You ask questions -- he was good,
shaves every day. Well, I have significantly more information.''
The FSB is responsible for counter-intelligence and domestic security
including monitoring extremism. Its director has ministerial rank and is
considered one of the ``power'' team covering the defence, interior and
Kovalyov tackled his job with some vigour, periodically briefing media on his
agency's spy-catching achievements and setting up a hot-line last year for
Russians to call to confess working for foreign intelligence services. He said
that had been a great success -- although he was coy about the details.
Putin, 45, had worked as first deputy chief of Yeltsin's administration since
May this year. Prior to that he had other jobs in the Kremlin and St
Petersburg, his home town.
After graduating from law school in 1975 and before the break-up of the Soviet
Union, Putin worked for the KGB's foreign intelligence wing. He speaks
flawless German after long spells in Germany, according to his official
biography. It is not clear whether he served in former East or West Germany,
After Soviet communism fell in 1991, the KGB was split into various parts
including the FSB and the SVR foreign intelligence service.
July 23, 1998
SEASON OF DISCONTENT: Will Burial Be Only Sign of Repentance?
By Andrei Piontkovsky
President Boris Yeltsin's last minute decision to go to St. Petersburg
for theburial of the remains of the imperial family was very
characteristic of the president, who is known for his contradictoriness
His entire biography, way of life and cast of mind are those of a
dyed-in-the-wool regional Communist Party secretary. But he differs from
all other such secretaries, which is precisely why Yeltsin became what
he is, in that every so often something humane unexpectedly breaks
through from him.
The president's original decision not to attend the funeral -- made
immediately after the Moscow Patriarchate's conclusions on the bones --
was politically shameful and cowardly. It kept exactly with the standard
model of behavior of a Soviet regional party leader. These old communist
atheists have come in their declining years to think to themselves: "The
devil only knows, maybe there really is a God," and have begun, just in
case, to stand with candles before television cameras in cathedrals and
fawn on the church hierarchs. Therefore, no matter what uneducated
nonsense the hierarchs spout, our secular authorities, from Yeltsin to
Gennady Zyuganov, heed them with invariable deference.
The comrades in the Patriarchate doubt, you see, the results of the
expert genetic examination. Indeed, more than half of them probably
still doubt Copernicus' theory. These chubby ignorant old men, who were
assigned to their cozy positions by the KGB back when it was still in
place, would do better to spend less time speculating on vodka and
tobacco and devote more to self-education.
Yeltsin's final decision to go put practically the entire Russian
political establishment in a silly position. Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov
fiercely fought for the right to bury the tsar's remains in Moscow. He
had not the slightest doubt about the authenticity of the remains, about
which he personally wrote in a letter to the president. When he lost out
to his St. Petersburg colleague, he suddenly remembered that he is
Orthodox and that he had his doubts. The fledgling, smooth Komsomol
functionary Sergei Kiriyenko darted off somewhere in order not to be in
St. Petersburg on that day, and his mature predecessor simply stupidly
snarled into the television camera that there was nothing for him to do
One must even wonder whether Yeltsin thought up this combination of
refusing, and then agreeing, to go in order to again demonstrate that
his comrades-in-arm's successors and rivals are nobodies.
The president's speech was short and dignified. He pronounced the word
"repentance" over the graves of the bestially murdered members of the
imperial family and their retinue because "We all bear responsibility
for that evil act."
These were necessary words, although they came with an 80-year delay. I
hope that the words repentance "from us all," and from the president
above all, will be pronounced far sooner than 80 years hence for the
death of tens of thousands of people in Chechnya.
P.S. Having read Yulia Latynina's Tuesday column, I can't help but say
that at the burial last Friday, the issue was not how many lovers
Catherine the Great had or how competent Tsar Nicholas II was. The issue
was whether armed men may murder helpless women, girls and an invalid
boy and throw their bodies into a ditch and whether the nation's leaders
may encourage and praise such behavior for 80 years.
Russian Writer Dudintsev Dies
July 25, 1998
MOSCOW (AP) - Vladimir Dudintsev, a dissident writer best known for the novel
``Not by Bread Alone,'' has died, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported today. He
was one week short of his 80th birthday.
Dudintsev's ``bold and uncompromising work'' laid the foundation for a
generation of dissident writers, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, ITAR-Tass
The agency said Dudintsev died Thursday, but did not say how or where.
Although Dudintsev flourished during the relative liberalization fostered by
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, his work was later suppressed as part of a
general crackdown on dissent by Khruschev's successor, Leonid Brezhnev.
``Not by Bread Alone'' was the story of an inventor's struggle with the Soviet
bureaucracy to have his metallurgical invention accepted. Dudintsev also wrote
the novel ``White Garb,'' which was turned into a television film.
President Boris Yeltsin sent a note of condolence to Dudintsev's family, ITAR-
Tass said. Funeral services were to scheduled for today at a cemetery just
Russia's Borderlands Face Unrest
July 23, 1998
By MAURA REYNOLDS
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's fringes have long been rough, ragged regions, but
recently they appear to be fraying faster than usual.
A series of clashes and killings in recent days has underscored the fact that
the former Soviet Union remains troubled by deep, volatile conflicts.
Some politicians, including likely presidential candidate Alexander Lebed,
have warned that unrest in Chechnya or other regions could flare into open
warfare and spread into other areas.
``Some people think: Let the Chechens fight it out and everything will be
fine,'' Lebed said this week, according to the Interfax news agency. ``It
would not be fine. Everybody would fight.''
Others see the upsurge as part of a regular cycle of violence in these
regions, where ethnic groups and historical grievances have long been on a
Here are some of the regions that are experiencing increased violence.
Chechnya's president narrowly escaped a car bomb attack Thursday that gutted
his car and killed two bodyguards.
The attack comes amid growing tensions between the government's secular
leaders and Islamic fundamentalists, who would like to rule the southern
Russian republic according to Islamic law.
Internecine conflicts have contributed to the republic's lawlessness since the
end of its war of secession against Russia two years ago. Since then, Chechnya
has largely governed itself even though no country recognizes it as
Dagestan borders Chechnya and has been troubled by spillover violence as well
as its own conflicts.
On Wednesday, unidentified attackers fired grenades at the offices of the
mayor of Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala. Mayor Said Amirov was not hurt in
what he said was the seventh attempt on his life, one of which left him partly
In May, gunmen loyal to the leader of a local Muslim ethnic group, the Laks,
stormed a government building, starting gunbattles that killed two police
officers. Wahhabis in Dagestan have also had standoffs with police who have
tried to disarm them.
Georgia's northern region of Abkhazia has been fighting a war of succession
since 1992. Although Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the region
since 1994, clashes between separatists and pro-Georgian forces are frequent.
Nine Russian peacekeepers were injured Wednesday when their truck struck a
radio-activated mine. Five Russian soldiers were killed July 11 in a similar
Georgia has accused Russian peacekeepers of being too sympathetic to the
separatists, and has suggested they may not renew their mandate when it comes
up for renewal at the end of the month. Peace talks are stalled.
Tajikistan's government and mostly Muslim opponents ended their five-year
civil war with a peace deal last year, but clashes continue.
Four members of a U.N. observer mission were ambushed, shot and killed on
Monday. The president blamed forces trying to undermine the peace agreement.
Various warlords continue to battle among themselves, and 15 people were
killed in such a fight earlier this month. Clashes also continue between
government troops and remnants of the rebel forces, and one battle in late
April left at least 45 dead.
United States Information Agency
24 July 1998
TEXT: GORE-KIRIYENKO JOINT STATEMENT AT WORKING MEETING
(Co-chairmen of U.S.-Russian Joint Commission meet July 23-24) (610)
(The White House Office of the Vice President released in Moscow the
following text of a joint statement by Vice President Al Gore and
Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Sergei Kiriyenko
July 24, 1998, following a working meeting July 23-24, 1998.)
JOINT STATEMENT OF THE CO-CHAIRMEN OF THE U.S.-RUSSIAN JOINT
COMMISSION ON ECONOMIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION
Vice President of the United States of America Al Gore and Chairman of
the Government of the Russian Federation Sergei Kiriyenko, the
co-chairmen of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and
Technological Cooperation, held a working meeting in Moscow on July
The Vice President also spoke with Russian Federation President Boris
Yeltsin about the outcomes of the conversations. The Vice President
and the President discussed the approaches of the two sides to
preparations for the presidential summit, scheduled for September 1998
in Moscow. They also exchanged views on key issues on the U.S.-Russian
bilateral agenda, including the implementation of the agreements
achieved at the Birmingham Summit. The Vice President reaffirmed U.S.
support for Russia's efforts to accelerate reform.
The Vice President and the Prime Minister reviewed the work of the
Commission since its founding in 1993 and discussed its future
direction. They reaffirmed the key role of the Commission in
coordinating bilateral economic and other cooperation based on the
principles enumerated in the April 1993 Vancouver Summit Declaration
and the March 1997 Joint Statement on U.S.-Russia Economic Initiative
signed in Helsinki. These principles include a shared commitment to
democracy and human rights, support for market economies and the rule
of law, and the promotion of international peace and stability.
The Vice President and the Prime Minister discussed issues and trends
that are high priorities for the United States and Russia. They
covered trade and investment, nuclear and non-nuclear energy, space,
science and technology, defense cooperation, health, agriculture, and
the environment. They also exchanged views on the range of economic,
non-proliferation, security, and regional issues expected to be
discussed at the summit.
The Vice President and the Prime Minister focused special attention on
the state of the global economy and measures that the United States
and Russia are taking to overcome the consequences of the Asian
financial crisis. The Commission co-chairmen exchanged views on
implementation of the Russian Government's economic reforms and
measures taken by the international financial organizations to support
them. The Vice President stated that Russia's economic program is
aimed at placing Russia on a positive course toward sustainable
economic growth. The Vice President again affirmed U.S. support for
Russia's integration into the global economy. He noted the progress
made on the G-8, the Paris Club and APEC. Both sides reaffirmed their
commitment to work together on Russia's accession to the World Trade
Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
The Vice President and the Prime Minister expressed their intention to
continue adapting the Commission to meet new bilateral and
international situations and requirements, including enhanced economic
cooperation between the United States and Russia. They directed the
Commission secretariats to develop recommendations on the frequency
and format of meetings and how to engage more fully the private sector
and other non-governmental entities. The sides also agreed to take
steps soon to establish new, direct telephone communications between
the Vice President and the Prime Minister.
The Vice President and the Prime Minister agreed to hold the next full
meeting of the Joint Commission in the winter months.
July 24, 1998
Greenpeace tried to obtain Russian nuclear bomb
LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - Environmental group Greenpeace
said on Friday it had tried to obtain a nuclear warhead from a Soviet army
officer at the end of the Cold War.
But the plan to take possession of the nuclear bomb in East Germany in 1991
fell through when the officer, who had sought payment of $250,000, was posted
away from the area after a security shake-up, a Greenpeace spokesman said.
The decision to try to get hold of a nuclear warhead was taken to highlight
the danger of ``loose nukes'' as the Soviet Union began to break up.
The spokesman defended the action despite its dangers, saying Greenpeace
wanted to highlight major environmental problems.
The United States and Russia still hold 12,800 nuclear warheads, and with
India and Pakistan emerging as nuclear weapons states, ``It is clear the
problem is not being dealt with by the politicians,'' he said.
Greenpeace had been contacted by the Soviet officer, and the former head of
Greenpeace's Disarmament Research Unit, William Arkin, had corresponded with
him with a view to getting hold of the device.
``It would have been the biggest nuclear event since Hiroshima,'' Arkin was
quoted as saying in Saturday's edition of The Independent newspaper.
``We planned to line up a scientific team to verify the bomb's authenticity,
and then we were going to unveil it in front of the world's media to show them
that loose nukes were a problem, that disarmament was necessary and that
controls on existing weapons needed to be tightened up, said Arkin, a former
U.S. army intelligence officer.
``Then we were going to say to the Russians: 'Here's your bomb. Come and get
it,''' he said.