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Johnson's Russia List
30 October 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Itar-Tass: Russian Scientists Urge Presidents for Consent.
2. Itar-Tass: US Ambassador Denies Rumours about Sanctions Against Russia.
3. Reuters: Some Moscow U.S. embassy staffers to get Y2K leave.
4. Moscow Times: Brian Whitmore, Kuchma Takes Lesson From Yeltsin.
5. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Regional Governors' Careers Profiled.
6. Star Tribune: Eric Black, Russia's heritage sets it apart; 'not for us'
are Western ways. (Interview with Alexei Podberiozkin)
7. Edwin Dolan: Hough on visas.
8. Jim Vail: Bank of NY.
9. Joan Seder: It's called friendship.
10. Robert Pringle: Visas in Moscow.
11. Ray Smith: Whose Brain Drain, Whose Brain Gain?
12. Pavel Palazchenko: Re: 3591/Piontkovsky.
13. Los Angeles Times: Alexander Cockburn, Where's the Evidence of Genocide
of Kosovar Albanians? Yugoslavia: Uncertainties are immense, but body counts
still don't show extermination plan.
14. Itar-Tass: Commemoration Ceremony in Moscow. (Re victims of political
15. Vladivostok News: Joshua Handler, FSB searches Moscow reader's
16. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Yevgeny Primakov: A Time of Difficult Choice.]
Russian Scientists Urge Presidents for Consent.
MOSCOW, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - The current state of Russo-US relations has
been affected by sharply increased negative attitudes to Russia, says a
message of a group of Russian academicians to Russian President Boris Yeltsin
and US President Bill Clinton, circulated on Friday.
The message says it is not only Russia's economic structure, but also its
political federal structure that comes under sweeping criticism. It is
asserted that "democracy in Russia does not work but merely generates new
The message says Russia is faced with two historic events --the lawful acts
of transfer of power from the outgoing parliament to new parliament and from
the outgoing president to new president chosen by the people, the first ever
legal acts of transfer of power in Russian history. Against the background of
these events the prominent scientists urge the presidents of the two
countries to extend hands to each other again, thus confirming their consent
worthily to conclude the historic decade of their rule.
The message was signed by prominent nuclear scientists -- Laureate of the
Nobel prize Alexander Prokhorov, President of the Russian Scientific Centre
Kurchatov Institute Yevgeny Velikhov, and one of the founders of Russian
nuclear science and technology Nikolai Dollezhal.
US Ambassador Denies Rumours about Sanctions Against Russia.
ST. PETERSBURG, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - US Ambassador to the Russian
Federation James Collins stated on Friday that he did not know about any
talks concerning sanctions of the American government against Russia in
connection with the situation in Chechnya.
He said the official stance of the United States is that Chechnya is part of
the Russian Federation, and the US intends to give a support to Russia in the
fight against lawlessness and international terrorism.
According to him, the problem is that it is necessary to clear up whether the
Russian government shows sufficient respect for the rights of civil people in
Chechnya and whether it is humane enough with regard to them.
The US ambassador considers a serious humanitarian problem the fact that the
number of refugees from Chechnya amounts to 150,000-200,000.
In this connection he informed that the United States had urged the Russian
government to show more concern for the civil people in Chechnya who are not
involved in terrorist activities.
Some Moscow U.S. embassy staffers to get Y2K leave
WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - The United States will let nonessential
embassy staff members leave Russia and three other former Soviet republics
before feared year 2000 disruptions to key services, the State Department
said on Friday.
Under an "authorized departure" policy, U.S. employees and their family
members in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus will be allowed to take
leave, it said.
The United States is particularly concerned that the Y2K glitch, a design
flaw that could scramble unprepared computers on Jan. 1, might disrupt energy
supplies, possibly posing a risk to the health and safety of Americans, it
The department also advised U.S. citizens to postpone travel to the four
countries until the extent of disruption becomes clear after Jan. 1.
U.S. officials said employees judged by the chief of mission not to be needed
during the 2000 rollover period, and their dependents, would be eligible for
free tickets home.
In a travel warning for Russia, the State Department said: "Prolonged
disruptions in energy supplies ... could put other systems dependent on
electrical power at risk. In practical terms this could mean disruption of
basic human services such as heat, water (and) telephones."
Separate travel warnings for Belarus and Moldova said the problem was the
dependence of the two countries on foreign energy supplies, which could be
disrupted. They import most of their oil and gas from Russia.
A warning on Ukraine said a study funded by the U.S. government found that
the risk of major disruptions was low, but the embassy will allow the
voluntary departure anyway.
The travel warnings say U.S. citizens in the four countries should "consider
their personal situations". If they decide to leave, they should remember
that it may be difficult to find seats on commercial flights closer to Jan.
U.S. concern about the Y2K vulnerability of Russia and its neighbors is
greater than it might be otherwise because the date change comes while they
are in the grip of winter.
Russia and Ukraine are particularly threatened because they got a late start
in fixing the problem and lack the resources to address it fully, Lawrence
Gershwin, the national intelligence officer for science and technology, told
Congress earlier this month.
Other highly vulnerable countries include China, Egypt, India and Indonesia,
Gershwin said. He said the intelligence community also saw a chance of "some
significant failures in countries such as Italy."
October 30, 1999
Kuchma Takes Lesson From Yeltsin
By Brian Whitmore
The unpopular president of a large former Soviet country with a failing
economy calls himself the only bulwark against a communist revival and unites
the media and business elite behind his re-election bid.
Boris Yeltsin's Russia in 1996?
No, Leonid Kuchma's Ukraine in 1999, where the incumbent - Č la Yeltsin - is
using the threat of a red revanche to keep himself in power.
"Under no circumstances can we turn back," Kuchma said Thursday in remarks
reported by The Associated Press. "It is impossible to build socialism or
some military communism in Ukraine."
Kuchma's comments were clearly directed at his two main rivals for the
presidency, hardline communists Petro Symonenko and Natalya Vitrenko.
On Sunday, Ukraine's 38 million voters will go the polls to elect a president
for the second time since gaining independence in 1991. Kuchma, the former
head of a rocket plant, became Ukraine's president when he defeated the
country's Soviet-era leader, Leonid Kravchuk, in 1994 in a close election.
If none of the 13 registered candidates wins a majority on Sunday, a runoff
will be held on Nov. 14. Kuchma, 61, is leading in the polls, but he is not
expected to win outright and will probably end up facing one of the two
hardline communists in a second round.
Kuchma's message to voters is clear: Things may not be great with me, but
under those communists it will be downright scary.
Vitrenko and Symonenko, who are running neck-and-neck in second place behind
Kuchma, appear to be playing right into the president's hands.
The firebrand Vitrenko, 47, leader of the extreme left-wing Progressive
Socialist Party, promises to close Ukraine's borders, send the current
political and business elite to labor camps, freeze all payments on Ukraine's
foreign debt, break off all relations with the International Monetary Fund
and set up an "anti-NATO front" with Russia and Belarus.
Symonenko, also 47, is less radical - but only slightly. If elected, the
soft-spoken leader of Ukraine's Communist Party promises to abolish the
presidency and try to re-create the Soviet Union, restore socialism,
redistribute property and end cooperation with NATO and the West.
"There is no significant difference between Symonenko and Vitrenko," the AP
quoted Kuchma as saying. "They both profess the same ideology that is
dangerous for the country."
"Why is the present-day dictatorship of bandits better than the upcoming
dictatorship of the proletariat?" Symonenko said in remarks reported by Radio
According to English-language newspaper The Ukrainian Weekly, most polls put
Kuchma in the lead with 29 percent to 31 percent of the vote. Polls indicate
that Vitrenko is supported by 14 percent to 15 percent of the electorate and
Symonenko by 11 percent to 13 percent.
Kuchma's opponents complain that they have been denied media access. They
also accuse the incumbent of financing his re-election bid with state funds,
using police intimidation against campaign workers of rival candidates and
stifling the opposition press with politically motivated tax audits.
At a campaign rally last month, Vitrenko was wounded in a mysterious grenade
attack, which also injured 33 others.
"It's very obvious to us that it was a political order to kill me," The Kyiv
Post, an English-language newspaper, quoted her as saying after the attack.
Radio Liberty recently reported that over a 25-day period monitored by the
National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, an independent
media-watchdog organization, Kuchma received more air time than all 12 of his
In comments reported by Rossiskaya Gazeta, Vladmir Lukin, chairman of the
State Duma's foreign affairs committee, said that Ukraine's election campaign
is "very reminiscent of Russia's in 1996, when all the media worked for one
Kuchma has also managed to get the country's business elite behind him.
The Kyiv Post reported that Kuchma has particularly close relations with
Viktor Pinchuk, a wealthy commodities trader and media magnate who runs the
country's largest circulation newspaper and two television stations.
Pinchuk reportedly has access to Kuchma through the president's daughter,
Olha Franchuk - a relationship that uncannily mirrors that of Russian
oligarch-supreme Boris Berezovsky and first daughter Tatyana Dyachenko.
According to The Kyiv Post, other Ukrainian oligarchs backing Kuchma include
Hryhoriy Surkis, head of Ukraine's largest trading company, and Ihor Bakai,
who runs the country's natural-gas and oil monopoly
If Kuchma faces either Vitrenko or Symonenko in a runoff, he is widely
expected to win. If he faces a more moderate opponent, like the popular
socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz or former Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk, he
could be in trouble.
Last week, an alliance of four second-tier candidates - including Moroz and
Marchuk - fell apart, apparently leaving Kuchma without any serious opponents
other than the two extremists.
Ukraine, a country of 50 million people, is sharply divided between the
mostly Russian-speaking, industrialized east and the rural west, where
Ukrainian nationalism reigns supreme.
In eastern Ukraine, where dying coal mines and outdated factories dominate
the economy, voters tend to be more pro-communist and at the same time favor
greater integration with Russia. Here, mine and factory workers have failed
to find a way to survive in a market that does not need their products and
under a government that is unable or unwilling to assist them.
In the rural and predominantly Catholic west, people tend to favor closer
ties with the European Union and NATO. Western Ukraine, which during various
times was part of Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was annexed by the
Soviet Union in 1939. Ukrainian nationalists in the west struggled bitterly
against the Soviet incursion; a guerrilla force called the Ukrainian
Insurgent Army fought Moscow's rule into the late 1940s.
In Ukraine's 1994 election, ethnicity rather than ideology was the main
theme. The Russian-speaking Kuchma carried the more populous industrialized
east. Kravchuk, who repackaged himself as a moderate Ukrainian nationalist,
took the west.
This time around, Kuchma appears to own western Ukraine - which fears a
communist revival and sees him as the lesser of two evils - and is dueling
with his communist opponents for votes in the east.
In his five years in office, Kuchma has strived to bridge the ethnic divide.
He began speaking Ukrainian in public, for example, at first haltingly, and
later with more confidence.
Kuchma has also tried to delicately balance Ukraine's foreign policy between
Russia and the West.
His government opposed NATO's campaign of airstrikes against Yugoslavia
earlier this year, for example, although he has sought out close ties with
both NATO and the European Union.
Regional Governors' Careers Profiled
23 October 1999
[for personal use only]
Anna Kozyreva report: "Portrait of Local Power in the Interior of
We recall that each of the 21 republics that are a part of Russia has
adopted its own constitution (Chechnya has not sent its representatives
to the Federation Council). The executive branch of power is headed,
therefore, either by presidents (12), heads of the republics (4),
chairmen of the government (3), or a chairman of a state council (1). The
executive of krays, oblasts, and autonomous okrugs are headed by
The leader's average age is 49.6. But the majority of governors and
presidents long since passed the 50-year mark. The average indicator has
been improved by several representatives of the youth. Thus Mikhail
Prusak, governor of Novgorod Oblast, is 39, and Aleksandr Chernogorov,
governor of Stavropol Kray, 40. The elders in the Federation Council are
Magomedali Magomedov, chairman of the State Council of the Republic of
Dagestan (69) and Vasiliy Starodubtsev, governor of Tula Oblast (67).
The typical average governor, regardless of his present party
predilections, has on his resume the Higher Party School or the Academy
of the CPSU Central Committee and also experience of work in top party
positions. Yuriy Spiridonov, head of the republic, was first secretary of
the Komi Oblast Committee of the CPSU, and President Mintimer Shaymiyev,
first secretary of the Tatar Oblast Committee of the CPSU, for example.
The average leader of a region began his career in the most modest
positions here. Judge for yourselves: Konstantin Titov, governor of
Samara Oblast, was a milling machine operator, Vyacheslav Lyubimov,
governor of Ryazan Oblast, a carpenter and concrete worker, and Valeriy
Sudarenkov, a technician at a turbine plant.
Russia has just one woman governor. She is Valentina Bronevich, who is
head of the Koryak Autonomous Okrug. She does not influence the male
statistics in any way.
All are married. They have one or two children, as a rule. They all
have higher education. There are among them candidates and doctors of
October 29, 1999
Russia's heritage sets it apart; 'not for us' are Western ways
By Eric Black
MOSCOW -- Alexei Podberiozkin, 46, is the leader of the Russian political
movement Spiritual Heritage. Podberiozkin was a Communist until 1989, and
Heritage supported the Communist grouping in the 1995 parliamentary elections.
But he says he is not a Communist now and will not back the Communists in the
December elections for the Duma, the lower house of Parliament.
The movement stands for the proposition that Russia has a great cultural
heritage, based foremost on the national religion of Russian Orthodoxy, and
that its first priority for improving the country is to preserve its heritage
and build on it. At party headquarters a picture of Vladimir I. Lenin, the
of Soviet communism, is displayed, as well as one of Alexander Solzhenitsyn,
the anti-Communist novelist whom the Communists kicked out of Russia.
Although it receives only 2 to 3 percent support, the movement's emphasis on
Russian traditions and its desire to resist Western influences is widespread
these days. It represents a form of sane, dignified nationalism different from
the clownish nationalism of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the racist nationalism of
anti-Semitic groups such as Pamyat. In the exchange below, Podberiozkin
explains this view of Russian specialness and politely tells the West to back
Q: Most Americans probably believe that its experience has demonstrated that
democracy as a political system and a free-market economic system is the best
way to organize a society. Are you saying that those conclusions don't
apply to Russia or that those systems won't work in Russia?
A: America is a very new society, only 200 years old. It has very little
history and nothing that is old enough to really be called tradition. If
Americans believe they have discovered the most effective way to organize a
society, let it be so. It's your state, your nation, your culture, your
future. But not ours. What's best for you is not best for Russia.
Russia has a long history and a great history. Many centuries ago, Europe was
divided between the Roman empire and the Kiev empire, which became Russia. For
many, many centuries, these two civilizations developed separately -- two
empires, two religions, two mentalities, two traditions and so on.
History and traditions like this are not something that can be eliminated. You
cannot cut yourself loose from such deep roots to accept new values, new
principles, just because it appears in a given moment that some new system is
most effective at that moment.
Personally, I don't believe the American system is the most humane one in the
world. I don't. When I am in America for more than a couple of days, I start
feeling very uncomfortable. People there don't read books. Everything is about
money, about getting a big house and a big salary and good insurance. To me,
that is not interesting. Russia is very different. Russians give spiritual
values top priority, over material values and even over the law. In a liberal
society like yours, the law is the most important thing. Not for us.
Let Americans believe that everything they have is best. Fine. What I'm
strongly against is when Americans try to push their values as the best for
nation. Americans say: Our democracy is the best in the world. I don't think
they even know that democracy in Russia was born more than 1,000 years ago in
Pskov. It was a democracy under the protection of a strong monarchy. It was
very effective and it proved this by protecting Europe from Asia for many
centuries. Two centuries ago, Napoleon was able to conquer all the rest of
Europe and then turn it all against Russia. But Russia won that war. Imagine
how strong the Russian state had to be to survive.
America has not been tested and proven in that way. America is very lucky to
have as its two biggest neighbors the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. I'm not
at all sure that America, with its system, could have won the war against
Germany if you were situated as we are. In fact, I am absolutely certain that
you would have lost the war to the Nazis. Russia won that war.
I think that Russia can be only Russia. It is neither Asian nor European.
It is just Russia.
If you want to understand me and respect me, that is one thing. I understand
that America is the only superpower and that it has interests all around the
world. But not in Russia. Not in Ukraine. I can never accept that America
national interest in the Ukraine. And not in the territory of the former
I think that Russia can be only Russia. It is neither Asian nor European.
It is just Russia.
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999
From: Edwin Dolan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Hough on visas
In JRL 3590, Jerry Hough characterizes university and graduate-level
educational exchange programs as "nothing but brain drain" and limited to
children of the nomenklatura. Our experience does not support these
Over the past 7 years, approximately 50 former students of our Moscow
business school, the American Institute of Business and Economics, have gone
on to further graduate study abroad in business or related areas. A list of
these students can be found on our web site, www.aibec.org, at the "pre-mba"
tab. As far as I can determine, only two of the students on that list have
remained in the United States. One married a US citizen after having earned
his MBA, and the other, a citizen not of Russia but of one of the
trancaucasian republics, joined his family who had earlier come to the US as
refugees from one of the post-Soviet conflicts. Of the rest of those who
have finished their studies, about 90 percent are back in Russia. Here they
are rapidly acheiving positions of real leadership and authority in the
local business community, either working in Russian companies or replacing
ex-pat executives in multinational firms. A handful are currently working
for multinationals in Western Europe, usually on Russia-related projects,
and that I consider that they, too, are contributing to Russia's economic
development and its integration into the world economy.
Those 50 or so who have continued their studies abroad are a small number
among the total of 1100 English-speaking students from Russia and other CIS
countries who have attended our school over the years. About 80 percent of
these have had prior education in science or math, and have sweated out
their knowledge of English on the basis of the usually mediocre language
instruction available at their undergraduate institutions. The most common
social background of these students is the now-impoverished class of
educators and scientists. Of the nonscientists, the most common educational
background is Russia's system of far-from-elite pedagogical institutes. As
nearly as I can determine, no more than 5 percent of our students have come
from schools like the M. Thorez Linguistic University or MGIMO, which were,
at least at one time, perhaps fairly characterized as favorites of the
nomanklatura. Even then, we cannot presume that all students from those
institutions have such a social background.
Furthermore, I might note that although our institution is located in
Moscow, examination of students' passport data shows that two-thirds are
non-Muscovites in origin. In my view this indicates just the kind up upward
mobility of talented young people from the provinces that Hough says he
would like to see.
We have been lucky up to now in that few of our alumni have been denied
student visas to the United States. However, visa problems are perhaps one
reason for the rising popularity of Western European MBA programs like LBS,
INSEAD, and IMD. Sending students to the UK, France, or Switzerland is fine
from Russia's point of view, but it is hard for me to see how keeping them
out of Wharton or Harvard is a big gain for the United States.
Edwin G. Dolan, President
American Institute of Business and Economics
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999
From: JVAIL900@aol.com (Jim Vail)
Subject: Bank of NY
I hope this important forum on Russia news didn't miss what I think was one
of the most important stories to come out of the incredibly overblown scandal
on the Bank of NY money laundering scheme. A group of Russian individual
depositers of Incombank are sueing the Bank of NY for robbing them of their
money. I believe Incombank transfered funds to the Bank of NY, in whatever
high risk game they were engaged in at the time, and the poor Russian
individual depositers were fucked once again. Let's put it in more clear
terms for all you hysterical people out there who can't believe how horrible
and corrupt the Russian government is. Russian teachers, scientists, miners,
and workers in all different professions haven't been paid their wages for
months, or even years. A few of them actually listened to this free market
thing and put their money in the bank. That bank then sent its money to safer
havens, certainly a good thing to do. So the fat cats in NY sit back paying
handsome tips to their waiters and bellhops with money that could be traced
back to these poor Russians who were working and not getting paid but were
told to trust Uncle Sam and join the free market. (American banks obviously
generate good portions of their income on laundered drug money which due to
secrecy laws is too tough to detect.) But it's nice to feel good about
ourselves and complain about how bad the Russians and the mafia are. No way
will we punish the Bank of NY, because that would essentially be punishing
ourselves for doing good business in the wonderful free market. We can
conveniently use this 'laundered' money to stay fat in the US, while the
Russians get thinner and thinner, and take the full blame should the
American's money games go array as they did in NY. One of the great stories
today is that the Russians haven't fully fallen for this free market trap,
instead they're all grabbing what they can and keeping most of their money
under their mattresses. To play by the rules, otherwise, would see more poor
depositers like the Incombank people go to the courts demanding their money
back, and we know that's just not going to happen anytime soon.
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999
From: "Joan Seder" <email@example.com>
Subject: It's called friendship
The current Visa discussion hits a sensitive point. I have close friends
in Russia who I consider a second family. Until 1992 we were complete
strangers. We met because there was once a time of hope, optimism and
newly opened borders. We connected at the human level and became friends.
Friends who are members of the human race, but citizens of different
countries. Happens all the time.
My friends open their homes to me for extended stays. They house me, feed
me and keep me warm and safe. They open the window into their lives and
the lives of their friends. They ask nothing in return. I only ask that
they come visit me in the US so I can reciprocate their hospitality. It's
what friends do.
The mother came to visit in late 1993. There was no problem getting a visa
-- she had a husband, two children and an apartment to document her Russian
ties. She sampled the wonders of American highways in the blizzard of the
decade. She went to a Rotary meeting and chatted and made new friends.
She had a good time, missed her family, left me with a great recipe for
Georgian Chicken, and went home. In my world, this is the essence of
In 1994, her daughter and my original sponsor for the introductory
homestay, way back when, got married. I went to the wedding. Her parents
and I went to the Black Sea for a vacation. I went home.
When the newly married daughter's husband went off to army camp to fulfill
obligation the summer of 1995, we adults all thought it was a good time for
her to come visit the US. She did not -- as a new bride, she felt it was
rather unseemly to have a vacation while her husband was away. Five years
later, it remains: vacation together or no vacation. It's the universal
In 1996, the son applied for one of those high school exchange programs
sponsored by the US, and was accepted. They got a great deal since it was
subsidized by US grants -- it only cost $2000 and another $750 for
spending money. The profits from engineers turned shuttle-traders. (Where
did the rest of the US government subsidy go?) It was the six month deal,
with the potential for 12 months. My young friend was more than happy to
leave the US after six months. He saw what he wanted, improved his English
and found out US teenagers have no legal rights. He missed the freedom of
the European lifestyle -- and especially the ability to travel about
without a car. He missed Russia. He did not want to attend an American
university. Perhaps for graduate school -- like so many others from other
places. He also needed to shed himself of the two new extra mothers and
grandmother that came with being a family friend visiting in the US. A
quite normal reaction for a teenager. I promised to wait until he was well
into adulthood to tell the funny tales of teenage trials and tribulations.
It's a friendship thing.
His father being one of those Russians working with former scientific
colleagues to figure out how to re-build their country, came over on a six
week exchange program to learn the how-to-do's in the US. He came to
visit Labor Day Weekend and met my extended-family. He loved the rural
southern New England. Relished the business and civic-minded life of
small-city America. Another friendship thing.
We had anticipated his return this year -- only to hear the US trip was
cancelled because his Russian NGO believes a trip to China is now more
important for Russia's future. (To know what is going on in Russia, I just
ask my friends what they're up to -- then I wait for the US experts to
verify it with a new round of woe-is-us-Russia-doom-and-gloom. It works
like a charm -- every time.)
So still left to visit is the errant daughter and her husband. But alas,
they are a young couple with no baby to leave at home and no documented
apartment ownership. All they had were jobs and vacation time to see the
world. And they did -- Greece, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Israel, and to
Canada to visit their legally emigrated brother, sister-in-law and new-born
But, no United States. They won't even bother going to the US
Consulate to apply for a Visa. They know this mere American peasant can
not gain them a tourist visa. So, there is no memory of a whirlwind tour to
see America, to ride river rapids, see the city life, and drive the
countryside. Or visit to a friend.
Anyway, it's a moot question: the husband's salary from his well liked
Russian employers is not what it was and the young wife's 2 years off to
earn a doctorate in economic policy for supporting small business
development ended in late 1998 -- just in time for sadness to replace hope.
So, for all of us who want to show the friendly, true and human side of
Americans, we are fools caught in the web woven by the failed policies of
bean counters, arrogant macro-economists and the hot air of US foreign
policy rhetoric. Gone are the days when we thought we were to transfer the
reality of the American model: hard work, small businesses creating jobs,
common sense, and -- above all -- inclusiveness. Gone are the days when we
believed in our own sense of place in the world. Gone are the days when we
believed the garden-variety American peasant could represent what makes us
great. Our transformation is now complete -- by default we are represented
by a cadre of in-your-face bullies who exclude those who don't talk their
Kudos to the new land of smooth talking elites smoozing with those
able to fill rat-holes with greenbacks from those who tell us they know
best and do best-- just because they tell us so. Hats off to the global
mafia of elitism -- you are the best gatekeepers around. Failure is now
success and you have taught us well on how to lose the human connection to
reality. Thanks so much... and do enjoy eating those bacterium laden
greenbacks you covet so much. Yes, it's an anger thing -- and no apology
And to think, all I want is to convince my young friends that a visit will
reveal that there are really more than two Americans who are not complete
idiots... Maybe in the next millenium Americans will have the right to
invite friends for a visit -- it's a freedom thing...
With a spirit of hopefulness,
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999
From: Robert Pringle <rwprin0@Pop.uky.edu>
Subject: Visas in Moscow
RE: Dale Herspring's Comments on Visas
I served in Moscow as a Consular Officer from 1977 to 1979, at the same
time Dale served in the Political Section. Dale's remarks are to the
point. Consular Officers in Moscow in the dark days of Leonid Ilyich were
asked by the Department to break US law every day to:
--allow Soviet citizen with KGB and GRU contacts to go to the United
states as part of exchange programs, and
--to expedite the travel of Soviet citizens -- the majority of whom were
Jews or Armenians -- to the United States to join their US relatives.
Most of us who served in Moscow believe based, on our conversation with
fallen members of the nomenklatura, that our visa program did help change
minds. Today, the Consular section acts like that in Warsaw, Lagos, and
many Latin American countries. Consular officers have only moments to
decide the fate of applicants, some of whom have forged documents, and many
of whom have every intention of working illegally. Added to this, as Dale
notes, is pressure from Congressmen, which is rarely abated by the
Department of State. This isn't rocket science: in that field you have
some rational plan and adult direction from your superiors.
Pity the poor Muscovite trying to understand American visa law: how can
Russians comprehend how and why we broke rules in the Cold War, but are now
self-righteously maintaining the sanctity of American immigration law.
Jerry Hough is of course also right: we want to have immigration laws, but
we don't want to obey them.
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ray Smith)
Subject: Whose Brain Drain, Whose Brain Gain?
Perhaps one of your readers can clear up something that has been puzzling
me. Why is it that when Russians, citizens of a country that has not been
particularly successful socially or economically, come to live and work in
the U.S. it is a brain drain and Russian is the worse for it.
And when Americans, citizens of a country that has been fairly successful
socially and economically, go to live and work in Russia, they are overpaid
expats interested in nothing more than cruising bars and chasing skirts, and
Russia is the worse for it. Am I missing something?
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999
From: Pavel Palazchenko <ppalazchenko@MAIL.COLGATE.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3591/Piontkovsky
Pontificating pundit Piontkovsky puts down personalities of popular
politicians Primakov and Putin. Poor people! Perhaps, Piontkovsky for
But seriously, Mr. Piontkovsky seems to be overstaying his welcome at JRL.
Repeating in one column after another that Primakov is looking more and more
like Brezhnev is not a serious argument, so I am not even surprised that no
one has until now bothered to respond. Arguing about Primakov's or Putin's
"scale of personality" (by the way, what does that mean? caliber? compared
to whom?) is also rather silly. As for the two men's popularity while in
office, there is a simple explanation: Russians tend to respect the boss.
Whoever is on top is therefore "popular," at least for some time; once
kicked out, their popularity wanes, and some get kicked while lying down. Of
course, Piontkovsky is a "politologist" and presumably an "astute observer,"
so the simple explanation is not for him.
Los Angeles Times
October 29, 1999
[for personal use only]
Where's the Evidence of Genocide of Kosovar Albanians?
Yugoslavia: Uncertainties are immense, but body counts still don't show
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Alexander Cockburn Writes for the Nation and Other Publications
So, is there serious evidence of a Serbian campaign of genocide in
Kosovo? It's an important issue because the NATO powers, fortified by a
chorus from the liberal intelligentsia, flourished the charge of genocide as
justification for bombing that destroyed much of Serbia's economy and killed
about 2,000 civilians.
Whatever horrors they may have been planning, the Serbs were not engaged
in genocidal activities in Kosovo before the bombing began. They were
fighting a separatist movement, led by the Kosovo Liberation Army, and
behaving with the brutality typical of security forces. One common estimate
of the number of Kosovar Albanians killed in the year before the bombing is
2,500. With NATO's bombing came the flights and expulsions and charges that
the Serbs were accelerating a genocidal plan; in some accounts, as many as
100,000 were already dead. An alternative assessment was that NATO's bombing
was largely to blame for the expulsions and killings.
After the war was over, on June 25, President Clinton told a White House
news conference that tens of thousands of people had been killed in Kosovo on
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's orders. A week before came the
statement from Geoff Hoon of the British Foreign Office that, according to
reports, mostly from refugees, it appeared that about 10,000 Kosovar
Albanians had been killed in more than 100 massacres.
Of course, the U.S. and British governments had an obvious motive in
painting as horrifying a picture as possible of what the Serbs had been up
to, since the bombing had come under increasingly fierce attack, with rifts
in the NATO alliance.
The NATO powers had plenty of reasons to rush charges of genocide into
the headlines. For one thing, it was becoming embarrassingly clear that the
bombing had inflicted no significant damage on the Serbian army. All the more
reason, therefore, to propose that the Serbs, civilians as well as soldiers,
were collectively guilty of genocide and thus deserved everything they got.
Teams of forensic investigators from 15 nations, including a detachment
from the FBI, have been at work since June and have examined about 150 of 400
sites of alleged mass murder.
There's still immense uncertainty, but at this point it's plain that
there are not enough bodies to warrant the claim that the Serbs had a program
of extermination. The FBI team has made two trips to Kosovo and investigated
30 sites containing nearly 200 bodies.
In early October, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported what the
Spanish forensic team had found in its appointed zone in northern Kosovo. The
U.N. figures, said Perez Pujol, director of the Instituto Anatomico Forense
de Cartagena, began with 44,000 dead, dropped to 22,000 and now stand at
11,000. He and his fellows were prepared to perform at least 2,000 autopsies
in their zone. So far, they've found 187 corpses.
A colleague of Pujol, Juan Lopez Palafox, told El Pais that he had the
impression that the Serbs had given families the option of leaving. If they
refused or came back, they were killed. Like any murder of civilians, these
were war crimes, just as any mass grave, whatever the number of bodies,
indicates a massacre. But genocide?
One persistent story held that 700 Kosovars had been dumped in the
Trepca lead and zinc mines. On Oct. 12, Kelly Moore, a spokeswoman for the
International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, announced that the
investigators had found absolutely nothing. There was a mass grave allegedly
containing 350 bodies in Ljubenic that turned out to hold seven. In Pusto
Selo, villagers said 106 had been killed by the Serbs, and NATO rushed out
satellite photos of mass graves. Nothing to buttress that charge has yet been
found. Another 82 Kosovars allegedly were killed in Kraljan. No bodies have
been turned up.
Although surely by now investigators would have been pointed to all
probable sites, it's conceivable that thousands of Kosovar corpses await
discovery. As matters stand, though, the number of bodies turned up by the
tribunal's teams is in the hundreds, not thousands, which tends to confirm
the view of those who hold that NATO bombing provoked a wave of Serbian
killings and expulsions, but that there was and is no hard evidence of a
Count another victory for the Big Lie. Meanwhile, the normally reliable
Society for Endangered People in Germany says 90,000 Gypsies have been forced
to flee since the Serbs left Kosovo, with the KLA conducting ethnic cleansing
on a grand scale. But who cares about Gypsies?
Commemoration Ceremony in Moscow.
MOSCOW October 30 (Itar-Tass) - A mourning ceremony in memory of victims of
the political repressions in Russia will be held in Moscow on Saturday,
Itar-Tass was told at the Presidential Public Relations and Culture
Alexander Yakovlev, chairman of the Commission for the Rehabilitation of
Victims of Political Repressions under the President of the Russian
Federation, is expected to take part in the ceremony. An address from
President Yeltsin will be read out on the occassion of commemortion day, and
flowers from the head of state will be laid on the rock, which was brought
from one of the most terrible Soviet concentration camps on Slovetsky Island
and installed on Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow, opposite the building of the
The Day to Commemorate the Victims of Political Repressions (October 30) was
inaugurated by decision of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet in 1991.
Millions of people were subjected to political repressions during the years
of the totalitarian regime. For instance, 4,060,306 people were repressed in
the period from 1921 to 1953. As many as 799,455 of them were sentenced to
death. The repressions reached their peak in 1937 and 1938, when 1.3 million
people were sentenced and 682,000 of them were executed.
Different sections of the population were subjected to repressions: the
peasantry (more than one million husbandries suffered in the course of farm
collectivisation and about five million farmers were exiled), the clergy
(more than 200,000 religious officials were subjected to repressions), the
armed services (40,000 servicemen were repressed in the period from 1937 to
1941 and 994,000 more during the war against Germany. As many as 157,000 of
them were executed). Whole nations were exiled in the course of political
repressions against ethnic minorities. Fourteen nations were exiled
completely, and 48 - partially.
Dissidents were mostly subjected to repressions in the sixties-eighties. The
KGB disclosed more than three thousand dissident "groups" and 13,500 of their
memebers were persecuted.
The process of rehabilitating the victims of political repressions began
after Nikita Khrushchev's report "On the Personality Cult and its
Consequences", delivered to the Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union on February 25, 1956. More than 500,000 people were rehabilitated in
the fifties and sixties.
More than 435,000 people were rehabilitated after the RSFSR Supreme Soviet
approved the law "On the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repressions"
on October 18, 1991.
October 29, 1999
FSB searches Moscow reader's apartment
By Joshua Handler
On Wednesday afternoon, about eight Federal Security Service (FSB) agents
came to my apartment in Moscow, where I have been living since late
August, doing research for my dissertation. They arrived with a search
warrant in relation to a Criminal Case No. 52, signed by the senior
investigator with the Kaluga Region FSB, S.V. Varochko. This case seemed
to involve my longtime friend, Igor Sutyagin, who lives in Obninsk
(outside of Moscow in the Kaluga region) and is researcher at the USA and
Canada Institute in Moscow, as many of their questions involved my
relation to him and his activities.
I learned today that Igor had been arrested Wednesday morning in Obninsk.
He was planning to visit me on Wednesday evening before he departed to
Italy for some conference on Thursday, so his arrest may indeed explain
the search. However, during the search they also came across my materials
relating to naval nuclear waste problems, the Pasko case, etc. This also
seemed to be of interest to them.
They were in my apartment from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. and were accompanied by
an interpreter and two witnesses. They systematically went through all my
belongings. Since I have been doing research on U.S. and Russian nuclear
disarmament in the 1990s, they found many things interesting to them, and
they frequently stopped their work to ask what was this or that document,
newspaper article, diskette, etc. They also suggested they may ask me to
come to Obninsk in the future to answer more questions.
At the end of their search, they confiscated my portable computer, address
and small notebooks, many newspaper articles, reports, journals, and
magazines, the START I Memorandum of Understanding relating to Russia, 120
photographs, developed and undeveloped film, videotape, business cards,
maps, the microcassettes in my answering machine, and a point-and-shoot
camera. They also gave me an official document "Protocol Obiska," which
lists out the things taken. It was 13 pages long due to the amount of
materials they carried off. Finally, they warned me it would not be such a
good idea to contact the U.S. Embassy about this. Not a pleasant
development after many years of research in Russia.
There were three to four agents who seemed to be in charge. Only two
showed me their IDs and gave their names. The list of what was taken was
prepared by Alexander Nikolayevich Khokhlov, a senior lieutenant in the
Kaluga Region FSB. Also, Lt. Col. Victor Sergeevich Kalashnikov of the
Kaluga Region FSB gave his name and office number: 7 (08422) 91-309. He
seemed to be one of the main people in charge and was one of the ones
suggesting contacting the embassy was not such a good idea.
After the search, I called Alexei, who has put out some information about
what happened via e-mail. I also spoke to Alexei Simonov of the Fund for
the Defense of Glasnost, and he has provided some good advice. I spoke
with people at the U.S. Embassy in the consular, political and science and
technology sections. In addition, I am starting to talk to the press. As,
thank heavens, I have not been charged with anything (yet), my main
concern, aside from Igor's situation, is to get my computer and things
back quickly. To that end, I am working on a letter to the responsible
Russian government officials to ask that my things be returned
I have known Igor since 1990 and I find it hard to believe he is guilty of
whatever charges they are bringing against him. I imagine they are trying
to do with him what they have done with Nikitin and Pasko: Pick somebody
that has had a few too many contacts with Westerners and is doing
interesting work and try to put a stop to it. The situation has been
worsening here over the last few years, and unfortunately this seems to be
but the latest example of it. So, you may wish to add to your comments or
concerns that the Russian authorities seem to be continuing to crack down
on international contacts between academics and NGOs as well as domestic
Russian NGOs and researchers.
Since they took my computer, I am not receiving email, but I hope either
directly or through other people, friends will continue to be informed
about any developments. For those who got through to my home phone, thanks
for the phone calls of support. I may not be in much in the next few days,
but the answering machine may be able to take your message.
Russia Today press summaries
29 October 1999
Yevgeny Primakov: A Time of Difficult Choice
TODAY THE FORMER PREMIER WILL BE SEVENTY
Yevgeny Primakov has preserved a very high popularity rating in society,
despite his dismissal from the post of premier in May 1999.
One reason for people's support of Primakov is his stability and
predictability. He is considered to be the politician who can secure a real
agreement between Russia’s branches of power. He has always said that the
government can only work efficiently in Russia if it is supported by a
People of older generations perceive Primakov as a link with the past, with
the Soviet Union and a great state. People hope that he will be able to
return at least part of the prestige and respect to the country. And they
hope that he will start a "collection" of lands, first of all securing a real
union with Belarus.
People also think that Primakov can make some progress in the country’s fight
against corruption and thus change the attitude of the world that Russia is a
totally criminal state.
People think that, under Primakov, the transition to a post-Yeltsin political
era will go most smoothly. He will be able to avoid confrontation with "the
Society is waiting for Primakov's decisive "yes" regarding his intention to
run for president. And Primakov should not be connected with any single
political party. In this case, he has a chance to become the leader of the