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Johnson's Russia List
13 November 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times: Jonas Bernstein: The Big Lie: Alive and Well.
2. Interfax: UES CHIEF SLAMS LIBERAL'S CHECHNYA PLAN. (Chubais)
3. Interfax: GOVERNOR LEBED SUPPORTS NO PARTY IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.
4. Itar-Tass: Anti-Russia Hysteria Caused by Desire to Forget
5. Itar-Tass: Link Between Operation in Chechnya and next Polls Denied.
6. Interfax: RUSSIA COMMANDER REPORTS IMBALANCE OF FORCES. (Russia vs.
7. Laura Belin: Limonov on signature forging/3620.
8. Stanislav Menshikov: correct URL.
9. Washington Times: Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, Missile terror II.
10. The New Republic editorial: Grudge Genocide.
11. AFP: Camdessus Maintains Hopes For Russia's Future.
12. AFP: Anti-western feeling grows in Russia over Chechnya.
13. Albert Weeks: Denisov on the Russian military.
14. Reuters: Russia fears losing to U.S. on Caspian oil.
15. St. Petersburg Times: Fyodor Gavrilov, Why Do We Long for That Soviet
16. Segodnya: Spy Story or Historical Espionage? Employee of United States
and Canada Institute Accused of Giving Away Russian Missilemen's Secrets.
17. Moscow Times: Brian Whitmore, As Rumors Fly, Putin Prepares for 2000.
18. Interfax: EX PM HAS NOT DECIDED ABOUT RUNNING FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY.
November 13, 1999
PARTY LINES: The Big Lie: Alive and Well
By Jonas Bernstein
While it was drowned out by the Chechnya crisis and the ongoing Kremlin power
struggle, a relatively small but significant "blank spot" in Russia's recent
history was cleared up this week. During an appearance on NTV's new program,
"Vox Populi," Anatoly Chubais, who ran President Boris Yeltsin's 1996
re-election campaign, was confronted by a pro-communist audience member. This
man asked about the June 1996 arrest of two top Yeltsin campaign officials
who were smuggling $538,000 out of the Russian White House in a
photocopier-paper box. Where did the money come from, the hostile questioner
asked, and what was it supposed to be used for? Chubais - ever true to
himself - evaded the question, but did offer this: "As the Prosecutor General
of Russia reports in an official letter, the money was transferred to the
budget of the Russian Federation."
Most reasonable observers at the time assumed the bucks in the Xerox box were
a tiny part of the Yeltsin campaign's pool of illegal campaign funds, and
Russian officials did, in fact, report later that the money had been turned
over to the government (to go toward building orphanages or something of the
sort). Back in June 1996, however, Chubais denied that the now-legendary
Xerox box or its contents even existed. "I am deeply convinced that the
so-called box with money is a traditional element of a traditional,
Soviet-style KGB provocation," he pontificated shortly after his victory over
the arresting authorities - the Presidential Security Service, then headed by
Alexander Korzhakov. Immediately after defeating Korzhakov, Chubais held a
press conference to herald the event as nothing less than a "victory for
democracy" - winning applause (literally) from Western and Russian
Now Chubais has confirmed that the so-called money inside the so-called Xerox
box was real. While it might be tempting to thank him for correcting the
record, it is more likely that he simply forgot about his earlier explanation
- or assumed that everybody else had.
Indeed, in watching Chubais and his leftist enemies this week excoriate one
another and the systems they represent, it was striking how much they
actually have in common. Such as a fondness for the Big Lie.
The central role of the Big Lie in Russian politics explains why contemporary
Russia-watching strongly resembles old-time Kremlinology, with its emphasis
on reading between the lines. Just take the chronology of Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin's relations with the Kremlin. In August, Yeltsin declares he
has confidence in his new head of government and asks "those who go to the
polls next July to be confident in him as well." The heir to the throne has
been anointed - apparently. One fine day 2 1/2 months later, Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin says "the question of a presidential heir does not
stand now," shortly after which Yeltsin himself calls media claims that he
has cooled on Putin "lies" and declares his "respect" for the prime minister.
Several days later, Igor Shabdurasulov, first deputy Kremlin administration
chief, says that while Yeltsin "is very impressed with Putin's performance,"
Cabinet "changes" may "arise" after December's Duma elections.
So all this means that Putin is ... what? The head of state could clarify it,
but he is now on vacation again at a country house just outside Moscow.
But first place in the Orwell sweepstakes goes to Boris Berezovsky's media.
Last weekend, they warned in unison that the Fatherland-All Russia bloc has
dispatched agents to the West to undermine both Putin's reputation and his
pet project, the Chechen war. This week, these same media charged that
Grigory Yavlinsky's Chechnya cease-fire proposal has the same nefarious aims.
At the same time, the Berezovsky media itself published some of the most
damning material yet on the Chechen conflict - testimony from wounded
soldiers that up to 70 percent of some Russian units in Chechnya have been
killed or wounded. On top of this, two Berezovsky-controlled newspapers
reported Friday that a headquarters for Putin's presidential bid, manned by
Kremlin insiders, will be set up before year's end. Putin immediately denied
it, but mission accomplished: Yeltsin, as everyone knows, doesn't like overly
The message between the lines? That Putin, barring a systemic upheaval, is
destined to become yet another ex-heir apparent.And that, until nature takes
its course, an absent Boris Yeltsin will remain at the helm.
And that may be the only truth in Russian politics.
UES CHIEF SLAMS LIBERAL'S CHECHNYA PLAN
MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) - Head of Russian UES energy corporation
Anatoly Chubais has sharply criticized the peace plan for Chechnya
recently proposed by leader of liberal Yabloko movement Grigory
He told the Moscow press on Friday he was shocked by the proposals.
Chubais said that if implemented, the Yavlinsky plan "will not just stab
the Russian army in the back but help [Chechen president Aslan]
Maskhadov take militant gangsters beyond the boundaries of Chechnya and
hide them from justice."
"The Russian army is reviving in Chechnya, faith in the army is
growing and a politician who does not think so cannot be regarded a
Russian politician. In this case there is only one definition - a
traitor. And Yavlinsky's attempts to justify himself, to say that he was
misinterpreted do not change matters," Chubais said.
GOVERNOR LEBED SUPPORTS NO PARTY IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) - Krasnoyarsk region's Governor Alexander
Lebed has no intention to support any political party or coalition in
the election campaign for Russia's State Duma. In his Friday interview
with Interfax he said he has no regrets about taking no part in the Duma
election and no wish to support any political forces. 'The election
fight is taking on an ever dirtier character and that bodes no good,' he
Commenting on the fact that Russia's ex-premier and leader of the
'Fatherland - All Russia' election bloc Yevgeni Primakov took part in
opening the festival of the Krasnoyarsk region in Moscow, Lebed said
'This results from our stable good relations. Primakov did a lot for the
Krasnoyarsk region when he was Prime Minister, but his part in the
celebrations does not mean I will support his bloc at the Duma
Anti-Russia Hysteria Caused by Desire to Forget Kosovo.
MOSCOW, November 12 (Itar-Tass) - The anti-Russian hysteria, pumped up by
some countries on the eve of the OSCE Istanbul summit, is caused by a strong
desire "to forget and to push aside the Kosovo problem as soon as possible",
said here on Friday first deputy head of the Russian president's staff Igor
Shabdurasulov, speaking at the Ekho Moskvy radio.
"They want to do this very much, but what's to be done, let us start from
there (Eds: from Kosovo)," the deputy head added.
He claimed that the fanning up of anti-Russian sentiments is caused by "the
situation connected with political aspects in various countries or with their
relations with Russia now".
These interests, Shadburasulov added, "also make these countries to pursue
common policy" towards Russia.
"Regrettably, this present common trend is more negative with respect to
Russia," he noted. "But we lived through different times. I believe that we
shall overcome this one too."
Speaking on Thursday at a meeting of the third committee of the U.N. General
Assembly, dealing with human rights, representative of the Russian mission to
the United Nations Alexander Zmeyevsky emphasised that "Russian servicemen
now risk their lives for the sake of liberating Chechen people from terrorism
"Arbitrary executions, tortures, mass capture of hostages, rapes and slave
trade, that is the most crude and mass violations of human rights on which
the third commission is now centred, were committed too long and with
impunity in and outside Chechnya," the Russian diplomat noted.
Following the armed invasion by gangs into Dagestan, Zmeyevsky continued, and
brutal mass murders of innocent people in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk,
Russia "clearly saw the need to protect democracy as well as law and order in
the country from 'aggression' of shock forces of international terrorism".
"We had no other alternative," Zmeyevsky stressed. bur/
Link Between Operation in Chechnya and next Polls Denied.
MOSCOW, November 12 (Itar-Tass) - Deputy head of the presidential
administration Igor Shabdurasulov has categorically turned down any attempts
to link the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya with the forthcoming
elections in Russia. It is blasphemous to link an operation to liquidate
terrorists and bandits in Chechnya and Vladimir Putin's position on this
problem with imaginary campaigning connected with the next presidential
elections, Shabdurasulov said.
Shabdurasulov noted that the Russian leadership had not set concrete dates
for ending the operation in Chechnya. "We shall continue the operation as
long as need be," Shabdurasulov stressed.
Russia's military command has tightened control over the real situation
during the operation. A strict order has been issued to give maximum
assistance to the peaceful population and reduce to a minimum losses among
army servicemen and casualties among peaceful civilians, Shabdurasulov said.
RUSSIA COMMANDER REPORTS IMBALANCE OF FORCES
MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) - The correlation of air forces between
NATO and Russia in the west of the country is 7:1 in quantity and 4:1 in
quality, Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief Anatoly Kornukov has told
"The geopolitical state of the Russian Air Force is depressing," he
He said that at the time of the collapse of the USSR the air force
had a fleet of over 10,000 aircraft. In 1992 Russia inherited 62% of it.
"Calculations indicate that with poor financing the fleet may shrink by
25% more," he said.
The network of airdromes was slashed 50% after the collapse of the
Soviet Union, he said. Besides, 40% of airfields "are in critical
condition and require fundamental repairs," Kornukov said.
He said that a powerful NATO military force is approaching the
Russian border. The combat component of the grouping may be increased
from 48 to 62 ground divisions at the expense of Hungary, Poland, the
Czech republic and Slovakia. The joint NATO air fleet will raise by 17%
and the helicopter fleet 13%. Besides, it is getting 285 well-equipped
To keep the Russian Air Force in due shape, financing should be
raised by at least 10%, Kornukov said. "Under present conditions and in
the foreseeable future Russia's national security and defense cannot be
guaranteed without a strong Air Force formed through the merger of the
old air force and air defense," he said.
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
From: "Laura Belin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Limonov on signature forging/3620
Forgery of signatures on petitions for candidates seeking office has been a
serious problem in Russia, and it wouldn't surprise me if the practice
remains widespread. However, Eduard Limonov is wrong to say that most of the
blocs registered for the Duma elections "have bought a computer database of
citizens' names and signatures for copying by their activists into
registration petitions." (JRL 3620)
Most of the 28 blocs on the ballot did not bother to collect signatures,
because the electoral law no longer requires them to submit 200,000
signatures in order to gain registration. The revised electoral law allows
political parties and movements to submit a monetary deposit instead, which
they will lose if they gain less than three percent of the party-list vote
on 19 December. Most of the tiny electoral blocs took advantage of the new
More detailed information about how specific groups registered for the
ballot can be found in the 12 November issue of "RFE/RL Russian Election
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
From: email@example.com (Stanislav Menshikov)
Subject: PLEASE POST - error in my message
I am getting messages from JRL subscribers complaining that they are not
able to open my article on Scenarios of the Russian Military-Industrial
Complex on my homepage.
In my posting I inadvertedly made an error in the address. The correct
address is http://www.fast.ane.ru/smenshikov.
November 12, 1999
[for personal use only]
Inside The Ring
By Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough
Missile terror II
Outrage is growing inside the Pentagon over the refusal of the Clinton
administration and private peace groups to
condemn ongoing Russian ballistic missile attacks against the Chechen
capital of Grozny. We reported earlier in this
space how Pentagon satellites tracked two short-range missiles that hit a
crowded market and a nearby maternity ward
Oct. 21, killing 143 persons.
Now comes word that the Pentagon has tracked 61 Russian short-range
ballistic-missile attacks on Chechnya since Sept.
30 when Russian military forces began large-scale military attacks on
The missiles have carried high-explosive warheads -- no chemical munitions
have been detected and all originated from
a single base: Russia's Mozdok air base some 60 miles northeast of Grozny.
They included SS-21s and longer-range
Scud Bs. One particularly deadly missile strike occurred early Sunday when
six SS-21 Scarabs were launched and landed in and around Grozny.
The missile attacks on civilian targets are viewed by the Pentagon as
terrorist strikes because of their inaccuracy. The
target circle of a Scud B -- the area where a launched missile is likely to
land -- is 10 city blocks and that for the SS-21
is one block.
A senior Pentagon official told us he is disgusted that not only is the
pro-Moscow Clinton administration silent, but leftist
peace groups are as well.
"Where's Greenpeace on this atrocity? Where's Doctors Without Borders?
Where's the Union of Concerned Scientists?" the official said.
"Why is the Clinton administration silent?" he said. "The National Security
Council knows this. Why is the Clinton
administration saying nothing about people launching ballistic missiles on a
capital? If the United States did this, there would be an outrage."
Strobe Talbott, the deputy secretary of state, has been briefed on the
missile attacks but has done nothing and said nothing
to the Russians to stop it. "Why isn't he saying anything to the Russians to
stop this atrocious outrage?" the official said.
The New Republic
November 29, 1999
[for personal use only]
"You and I live in the East, not the West," Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin
jingoistically told a Russian audience recently. "We have to decide for
ourselves what we want: to get credits to buy lollipops or agree to an
annexation of our territory from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea." Putin was
defending the Russian war on Chechnya against Western criticism. It was more
than a little unsettling to hear the cheap vocabulary of reactionary
nationalism from the leader of Boris Yeltsin's government--the same
government that has been protesting for most of a decade that it lives in the
West, not the East. The long-suffering suits at the International Monetary
Fund will be interested to hear of the Russian government's loss of interest
In truth, Putin's belligerent outburst was nothing but the rankest cynicism.
It is not lost upon the prime minister that he is profiting politically from
the atrocity in the Caucasus (he scored a magnificent 29 percent in last
week's poll about presidential candidates); and it is not lost upon anyone
else that he is now at the mercy of Russia's generals. The new Russian
assault on Chechnya has brought together many of the most alarming traits of
the new Russia, and one of them is the increasingly agitated state of the
Russian military. The "officer corps of Russia will not stand for another
slap in the face," the commander of the Russian forces in western Chechnya
resentfully told a Russian newspaper. He was referring to the Russian army's
defeat in Chechnya in 1994-1996, when 6,000 Russian soldiers were killed and
Russian forces were driven ignominiously out of the land of the Chechens by
warriors straight out of Tolstoy. The Russian generals explain that defeat
(which also killed 50,000 Chechens) with a stab-in-the-back theory about the
Russian politicians. The soldiers could have won, but the Kremlin lost its
nerve. This time, the general in western Chechnya warned, the consequence of
an order from the Kremlin to "stop the army ... would be a massive defection
of officers of all ranks from the armed forces, including the generals."
This is a situation, then, with all sorts of foul historical odors. And the
wasting of Chechnya--for that is what is taking place before our eyes--is
something new in the annals of modern atrocity: a grudge genocide, or
something close. "We're not going to let the brotherhood down," a Russian
soldier in Chechnya ominously announced on television. "The [Chechens] have a
blood vendetta. So do we." The objective of the Russian campaign is total
victory. Chechnya is to remain in Russia no matter how many Chechens have to
die. Savagery is the Russian strategy: the slow Russian advance into Chechnya
was prepared by a vicious air and artillery assault. At first the Russians
pretended that the campaign was designed to prevent the loss of civilian
life, but Putin admitted on October 31 that there "might have been some
mistakes" during the bombings. Grozny--the capital of the Chechen republic,
where the democratically elected government of Aslan Maskhadov sits--is now
besieged. The Russians have opened and closed and opened the border between
Chechnya and Ingushetia capriciously, producing 200,000 refugees. On November
9, Russia banned foreign trade with Chechnya and suspended foreign flights to
the region, isolating the bloodied republic even more. The area has long been
too perilous for humanitarian workers, but the reports from the refugees
describe a terrible slaughter. With the exception of Grigory Yavlinsky, the
leader of the liberal Yabloko Party, the actions of the Russian government
have provoked no Russian dissent. And negotiations are out of the question,
according to the Kremlin. "While he supports terrorists," the Russian prime
minister said of the Chechen president, "it is unlikely that anyone will talk
to him." By "terrorists," Putin means Chechens.
"The Chechen people have huge hopes that the United States will use its
authority to defend human rights." That melancholy sentence was uttered by
Maskhadov on November 7, as reported by the Interfax news agency. The poor
president had better reconcile himself to low hopes. For the Clinton
administration does not defend human rights in big countries. It has
protested this and that about the Russian depravity in Chechnya: the State
Department objected that the Russian attacks have been "indiscriminate," and
also that they violate the Geneva Conventions. But foreign policy, remember,
is not social work. Also, the Clinton administration has a near-mystical
belief in the Yeltsin government, even though it is headed by a near-dead
man. There is no evidence to date that the United States will respond to the
Russian crime by curtailing any aid or cooperation at all. Is the Russian
offensive in Chechnya an internal Russian affair? Of course it is, in the way
that the Yugoslav offensive in Kosovo was an internal Yugoslav affair. But
this time Milosevic-like deeds by Milosevic's allies will provoke only
scolding followed by winking. Even if we do live in the West, not the East.
Camdessus Maintains Hopes For Russia's Future
PARIS, Nov 12, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse) Soon-to-retire IMF chief Michel
Camdessus expressed guarded optimism Friday about the future of Russia.
Russians had reacted dolefully to news that Camdessus, who has been deeply
involved in International Monetary Fund negotiations with Moscow, was to step
In an interview with the French Catholic daily La Croix, Camdessus said he
believed Russia "can still get off on a good footing, provided strong
figureheads emerge from the December legislative elections and from the
presidential elections in June 2000."
"What annoys me is that so many people look only at corruption in Russia and
forget that there are many honest citizens working hard to help their country
get back on its feet," he added.
"We have to support these people in the face of everything, and that is what
we are doing," Camdessus said.
Russians said the IMF leader's decision to step down was bad news for Russia.
Moscow fears a new chief might undermine Camdessus' generous Russia program.
Moscow has run up debts of $17 billion to the IMF since Camdessus began
guiding Russia's post-Soviet reform efforts shortly after assuming office 13
Anti-western feeling grows in Russia over Chechnya
MOSCOW, Nov 12 (AFP) -
Foreign pressure and criticisms over the war in Chechnya have inflamed
anti-western feeling in Russia, where the vast majority of the population
unreservedly backs Moscow's bloody military operations there.
Russian newspapers have accused western countries of starting an
"anti-Russian campaign" and being "provocative", criticising France in
particular for welcoming the "foreign minister" of the breakaway republic.
"The French have sat down at the negotiating table with the terrorists," the
daily Izvestia said, denouncing the talks in Paris on Tuesday between a top
official of the French foreign ministry and Chechenya's Ilias Akhmadov.
Western criticism has amplified in recent days. On Monday, the US accused
Russia of violating the Geneva conventions by its actions in Chechnya while
France on Tuesday said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) would exert strong pressure on Russia at its summit in Istanbul
on November 18-19.
Meanwhile an OSCE representive in Ingushetia said Wednesday that Chechnya was
not an internal Russian problem.
"The west has no right to preach morality to us over Chechnya. When it suits
them, they bomb Iraq or Yugoslavia, killing civilians as well as soldiers,"
said Vassili, a 40-year-old Muscovite.
According to an opinion poll by the Regional Politics Institute on Thursday,
60 percent of Russians said they believed there should be no negotiations
with the Chechen leaders, and 51 percent said they believed in a military
Calls for talks by the United States and an offer of mediation by the OSCE
were rejected by Moscow and raised indignation in the press.
"The US decided that it was time to interfere directly in Russia's internal
affairs, said Dmitry Gornostaev, a foreign policy commentator for the
influential daily Nezavissimaya Gazeta, which is close to the Kremlin.
The daily Segodnia, close to Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, said it was
"stupefying to see Washington showing concern for international law after not
long ago it was bombing a sovereign country, Yugoslavia."
The NATO attacks on Yugoslavia last March-April caused strong anti-western
feeling in Russia, with demonstrations in front of the US embassy and
threatening statements by political and military officials.
The anger had since cooled, although many Russians still thought that the
western powers, and the US in particular, were intent on dominating the world
to the detriment of Russian interests.
Russia began its military operations in Chechnya on October 1, accusing it of
harbouring Islamic terrorists, charged with staging a bombing campaign that
killed 293 people in Russia in August-September. Islamists last summer also
organised two rebellions in the Dagestan republic, which borders on Chechnya
in the Russian Caucasus.
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
From: Albert Weeks <AWeeks1@compuserve.com>
Subject: Denisov on the Russian military
Writing on Interfax (JRL #3619), Igor Denisov raises
the question of military involvement in Russian policy-making.
This is a nostalgic question. During the cold War, it was repeatedfly
alleged by Western Sovietologists that "civilian control
over the military in Moscow" was a long Soviet and Russian "tradition,"
that this tradition meant that sensible civilians would check the
brasshats. Alas, a comforting thought.
But Russian and Soviet history has shown quite the opposite.
For what is overlooked in this sanguine view of Russian politico-military
culture is the deeply ingrained Russian penchant (likewise tradition)
going back centuries of blithely resorting to arms to solve questions
of self-determination relating to Russia's borders or to non-Russian
populations at the fringes.
How many examples of this intolerant Russian behavior over the past 85
and years before under the tsars, up to and including latterday incursions
the Caucasus, Afghanistan, riverine territory on the Sino-Soviet border,
the Baltics, Japanese Islands, etc., need to be reproduced
for observers finally to perceive this as a deeply-running Russian
Russian behavior towards Chechnya and Moscow's jealous preoccupation
with the oil pipeline that traverses that tragedy-ridden, largely Muslim
territory is quite predictable. As are the perennial quests in Chechnya for
Chechen independence that continue to fall on deaf ears just as they did in
both Russian capitals before and after 1917.
It seems to me that it is not a question of "civilian control" in Moscow or
of the military "getting out of hand" at the center. What we are witnessing
is simply the
long-established Russian, "hyphenated" phenomenon of politico-military
thinking and collaboration that has colored violent-prone Russian history
for hundreds of years. And which, sadly, is likely to continue to do so
for many years to come.
ANALYSIS-Russia fears losing to U.S. on Caspian oil
By Sebastian Alison
MOSCOW, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev's claim on
Friday that the U.S wants a weak Russia and to dominate the Caucasus reflects
growing Russian anger that the U.S. is winning the race to control Caspian
oil, analysts said.
Sergeyev said U.S. and NATO policy towards Russia was of ``weakening its
international position and ousting it from strategically important regions of
the world, above all the Caspian region, the TransCaucasus and Central
Oil and gas are the economic lifeblood of the Caspian basin, and oil exports
from the region have traditionally moved by pipeline across the Caucasus and
through Russia's rebel region of Chechnya to Russian ports on the Black Sea.
This gave Russia effective control over the region. But since the end of
Soviet power in 1991, the new Caspian states have been trying to secure their
independence from Russia by seeking new export routes.
The United States has given them enthusiastic support, to Russia's
The U.S. has for years employed a special adviser to the President on Caspian
energy issues, whose main function is to persuade governments and companies
in the region of the desirability of building export routes avoiding Russia
``One of the key tenets of U.S. energy policy is to prevent dependence of
Central Asia and the TransCaucasus on Russia, and to allow them independence
not only politically but economically,'' Stephen O'Sullivan, head of research
at United Financial Group in Moscow, said.
``Obviously transport routes are part of this.''
He added that U.S. interests in the region included energy and general
political stability, ``but the political stability is only important because
energy routes transit the region.''
RUSSIA LOSING INFLUENCE TO U.S. INTERESTS
Russia has suffered significant setbacks in recent months.
At the beginning of the year, Russian crude oil pipeline monopoly Transneft
effectively lost control of the main crude pipeline running across Chechnya
from Baku in Azerbaijan to the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, and was forced
to close it.
It attempted to limit the damage by moving oil by rail through Dagestan,
which neighbours Chechnya, and last month began building a new pipeline there
But while Azerbaijan has agreed to export a certain volume of oil every year
across Russia, it has so far failed to agree to commit any extra volumes
through the new line, making it a potential white elephant.
In April a pipeline opened from Azerbaijan to the Georgian Black Sea coast,
allowing Azerbaijan's main foreign producer, a consortium led by BP Amoco, to
avoid Russia altogether.
And persistent diplomatic pressure from the U.S. Caspian energy adviser, John
Wolf, appears to be paying off.
In a major about-turn, BP Amoco said last month it supported a main export
pipeline from Azerbaijan and the Caspian which would run to Ceyhan on
Turkey's Mediterranean coast, a key U.S. aim which incidentally ensures main
exports will avoid Russia.
On top of this, the U.S. is also urging that Turkey should receive natural
gas from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan by a pipeline running under the Caspian
Russia sees this as undermining its own project to supply gas by a pipeline
from Russia running under the Black Sea.
Analyst Julian Lee of the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London said
Sergeyev's belief that the U.S. was trying to weaken it was justified.
``The Russian attitude is very understandable. There is a genuine desire (by
the U.S.) to make sure that Russia doesn't have a stranglehold over
hydrocarbon exports from the Caspian.''
``This is not necessarily because Russia is a bad business partner, but more
because the U.S. is keen to see the development of independent states between
Russia and Iran.''
O'Sullivan said no regional country was deliberately looking to keep Russia
from acting as a regional power, but by supporting other routes they were
diminishing its influence.
``U.S. policy is not necessarily opposed to Russia, but it actually does
oppose Russia because of what it's saying.''
St. Petersburg Times
November 12, 1999
NOTES OF AN IDLER
Why Do We Long for That Soviet Salad?
By Fyodor Gavrilov
AT least once a year I ask myself: Who do I hate more - the last Rus sian
tsar, Nikolai Roma nov, or the founder of the Bolshevik empire, Vladimir Ulya
nov? In looking for the answer to this question, I am provoked by the yearly
celebrations that take place on Nov. 8 of the Communist revolution in
Petrograd, which, I would like to remind you all, took place in the Fall of
1917. In recent years this date has been fixed in the calendar as the Day of
Re con ciliation. Alas, there's no reconciliation to be seen.
Although many of the crimes of the Communist regime have been described in
detail, they have not been judged - neither lawfully or morally. Gov.
Vladimir Yakovlev (Luzhkov, Nazdratenko, Rutskoi etc.) does not divide people
into "red" and "white," or so a propaganda leaflet tells us. The pages of
investigative magazines such as Ogonyok had hardly begun to burn in dacha
ovens before society was already longing for cheap Soviet sausage, for the
artists of the so-called "Soviet stage," and for various rituals from Soviet
Chronological nostalgia for Soviet times (i.e. for a stable way of life)
began after the formal end of the war of society (of society as a whole or
just of the active part - this issue isn't quite clear to me) in the Fall of
1993. It probably began because there was a demand for it, and continued so
the demand could be met, which is natural in capitalist conditions. The
innocent "nostalgic" trade lay at the foundation of the current "centralism."
A material symbol for nostalgia for the "good old USSR" appeared - the
traditional dish of Soviet cuisine, the "Olivier" salad, a cheap mix of
pieces of boiled potato and meat, green peas and pickles; this mix is
garnished with mayonnaise. And, of course, demagoguery.
Every year on Nov. 7, television channels show films about the revolution,
sometimes anti-communist films, but more often than not pro-communist. Quite
honestly, I can't understand how we are supposed to eat our dinner in front
of this Soviet rubbish about Red commissars fighting for the happiness of the
working people. Don't we feel sorry for the people whom the commissars
killed? Don't we feel sorry for the commissars themselves, who were executed
not long afterwards? The situation with anti-communism is somewhat better. In
Russia, monarchism makes a good final ingredient to the ideological Olivier
salad: fake aristocracy, operatic Russian orthodoxy, some Cossacks in
uniforms and with awards from Tsarist times.
All this amoral clowning around on the post-Soviet "Day of Reconciliation"
hides a bitter fact: the amount of coming to terms with the past is minimal -
rather it is obvious that it has not yet even begun. To this day, the main
issues of economic, political and spiritual life in Russia are still
undecided. Agrarian reform has not been finished, we don't know what to do
with the "nationals," the proletariat is cold, the intelligentsia is hungry,
the army is ineffective, the government administration is in chaos, and so
on, and so on. This is why reading a stenogram from the State Duma in Tsarist
times makes a strong impression - with rare exception, they discussed there
the problems that we should be solving today.
Who really led Russia to this dead end? Vla di mir Ulyanov. Who allowed
Vladimir Ulyanov to begin his experiment? Wasn't it Nikolai Romanov? Which of
them is guilty, who should we blame more? What we are reconciling ourselves
with on Nov. 7? After all, to forgive someone you have to understand them, as
the French say.
11 November 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Stepan Krivosheyev plus report by Aleksey
Makarkin under heading: "Spy Story
or Historical Espionage? Employee of United States and
Canada Institute Accused of Giving
Away Russian Missilemen's Secrets"
Today Russian counterintelligence officers are
increasingly frequently encountering foreign special
services' recruitment of people in
"peaceful" professions -- employees of scientific
establishments and ecological organizations
-- to gather secret information. Candidate of Historical
Sciences Igor Sutyagin, deputy chief of
the Military-Technical Research Department of the Institute
of the United States and Canada,
was charged recently with espionage and divulging state
secrets (Article 275 of the Russian
Criminal Code). Staffers of the Kaluga Oblast Federal
Security Service [FSB] Directorate
Investigation Department, who have instituted criminal
proceedings against Sutyagin,
assume that the academic had been passing secret information
on Russian missile units to
foreign special services for several months.
Igor Sutyagin was detained in his own apartment in Obninsk
at the end of October, at the
very moment when he was intending to travel to Moscow to
work (it is noteworthy that the
academic was to have flown to Italy the next day for some
conference). The Kaluga
counterintelligence officers took him to the local detention
center and greeted Irina, the
academic's wife, when she returned home in the evening, with
words about her husband's
arrest and an offer for her to be present during the search.
She maintains that the three task
force members were particularly interested in her husband's
work records and computer.
The FSB task force members left after packing all the papers
into five large cardboard boxes
and taking with them the computer's system unit and the
academic's personal notebooks and
manuscripts. A few hours later Irina learned that the search
in Obninsk was only the first
part of the operation. Soon after the historian's arrest the
task force members visited an
apartment on Bryansk Street in Moscow, which had been rented
by Josh Handler, a U.S.
ecologist who has been acquainted with Sutyagin for almost
10 years and has repeatedly
turned to him for assistance.
Segodnya's correspondent learned yesterday what happened in
the apartment on Bryansk
Street from a letter received in the editorial office from
Josh Handler himself (it had been
written several days after the search). The U.S. ecologist
maintains that the "agents"
explained to him that they had come to him "in connection
with Criminal Case No. 52"
instituted by the Kaluga FSB Directorate against Igor
Sutyagin. After spending seven hours in
the American's apartment, the counterintelligence officers
took away with them Handler's
personal notebooks, a camera, "120 photographs, developed
and undeveloped films, video
tapes, visiting cards, maps," a portable notebook computer,
and answering machine cassettes
-- the search record left with the academic took up 13
pages. At the same time, so Josh
Handler writes, one of the counterintelligence officers
advised him, on leaving, "not to
approach the embassy."
Unlike the fate of Captain Nikitin or the journalist Pasko,
the affair of the arrest of Igor
Sutyagin and the search of the U.S. ecologist's apartment
has not elicited such a fuss.
Surprisingly, even the historian's colleagues at the
Institute of the United States and Canada
do not comment too readily on his being detained and
charged. They declared in a telephone
conversation with Segodnya's correspondent that Igor
Sutyagin had worked at the institute
since 1988 and mainly tackled problems of nuclear
disarmament. Admittedly, the institute's
staffers are sure that there was no secret information in
the documents to which the
academic had access, but our correspondent was told by the
Kaluga FSB Directorate that,
according to the available information, the historian had
been passing information about
missile units -- information containing state secrets -- to
foreign special services.
I do not know what Vladimir Vaseltsov, the Russian
academic's attorney, thinks about this: In
a telephone conversation with our correspondent he declined
to comment, declaring that
"such a conversation may harm the defendant's interests."
Josh Handler is sure, in turn, that
"they want to do the same thing to him (Sutyagin -- editor's
note) as they did to Nikitin and
Pasko: They select someone who had too many contacts with
Western people and who does
interesting work and try to stop this work." Retired
high-ranking counterintelligence officers,
who wished to preserve their anonymity, are sure that the
arrest of Sutyagin is nothing but
an attempt to obtain from him the information necessary to
bring a charge against the
American, for whom preventive restrictions have not yet been
[Makarkin report] The Russian Academy of Sciences Institute
of the United States and
Canada was founded in 1967 by Academician Georgiy Arbatov,
who headed it right up until
1995, when he was replaced by Doctor of Historical Sciences
Sergey Rogov (Academician
Arbatov now holds the post of honorary director). The
institute is one of the main centers
that draws up recommendations for high-ranking state
structures relating to questions of
domestic, foreign, and military policy and problems of the
economic restructuring of the
Russian national economy.
The institute employs 243 people, including 172 scientific
associates, of whom one is an
academician, 36 are doctors of sciences, and 75 are
candidates of sciences. There are retired
officers of the special services among the institute's
employees. For example, KGB Colonel
Radomir Bogdanov, now deceased, who earlier held the post of
the KGB's resident agent in
India, was for many years the institute's deputy director.
The institute's academics conduct military-strategic
research in close cooperation with
representatives of the Russian Armed Forces. This sphere of
research includes study of the
U.S. approach to the problem of using armed forces and
policy in the sphere of disarmament
and of conventional and nuclear arms limitation. The
institute's specialists also study the
political role of armed forces, military doctrines and
blueprints, international aspects of
various military actions, questions of NATO expansion, and
measures to maintain stability.
The institute's employees prepare materials for state
structures in the form of memorandums
or analytical reports (they differ in the volume and depth
of "immersion" in a topic).
According to some data, some of the institute's employees
work with "closed" information.
Until the early nineties most of the institute's scientific
output had varying degrees of secrecy
or confidentiality, but the situation has changed since then
and the number of classified
documents has fallen substantially.
November 13, 1999
As Rumors Fly, Putin Prepares for 2000
By Brian Whitmore
With rumors swirling around Moscow that he is about to be sacked, Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated Friday that he will run for president in
Also on Friday, Putin met with Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, one of the
Kremlin's most bitter enemies, to discuss Russia's political situation and
the 2000 federal budget, Interfax reported. It was the second time in as many
days that Putin had met with Luzhkov, who together with former Prime Minister
Yevgeny Primakov heads the opposition bloc Fatherland-All Russia.
Primakov publicly expressed support for Putin on Friday and said somebody was
"trying to create a smoke screen to carry out certain steps" against the
prime minister, Interfax reported.
The developments could indicate that yet another political shake-up is
Putin's announcement that he plans to run for president is a repeat of a
pledge he made in August when President Boris Yeltsin named the sullen ex-KGB
spy as his fifth prime minister in 17 months - and his preferred successor.
Then, however, Putin was clearly speaking with Yeltsin's blessing. Now, the
president's sentiments are less clear and Putin's position looks increasingly
A political unknown when Yeltsin plucked him out of obscurity three months
ago, Putin has since seen his popularity soar - mostly on the wings of the
military campaign he has orchestrated in Chechnya. Putin now enjoys strong
support among the military and security services, and polls show him as
Russia's leading presidential candidate.
But recently, Moscow has been rife with speculation that Putin has fallen out
of favor with Yeltsin - who has fired four prime ministers since March 1998 -
and will soon be sacked. Some press reports suggested that Putin was simply
becoming too popular for the mercurial Yeltsin, who jealously guards his
power. Others claimed that Western governments were pressuring Moscow to end
the war in Chechnya, a move that would seriously undermine Putin's
credibility and public standing.
Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said it would be "premature"
to consider Putin as Yeltsin's successor.
Speculation about Putin's imminent demise increased Thursday when the Kremlin
made a surprise announcement that it was ready for peace talks in Chechnya -
and apologized to Chechen civilians for "mistakes" that were made in the war.
At the time, Putin was away in Izhevsk celebrating the 80th birthday of
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle.
Putin's spokesman, Mikhail Kozhukhov, said Friday "there is no reason" for
the prime minister to be removed. He also said Putin expected to remain prime
minister until the end of Yeltsin's term.
But Alexander Zhilin, a well-connected political and military analyst for the
weekly newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti, said powerful Kremlin insiders,
including tycoon Boris Berezovsky and Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana Dyachenko,
fear and distrust Putin and are scheming to get him sacked.
The newspaper Kommersant, which Berezovsky owns, ran a front-page story
Friday describing in detail how Putin is putting together a campaign staff
that includes Kremlin and government officials.
Analysts said the report looked suspiciously like an attempt by Berezovsky to
sabotage Putin by making his presidential ambitions clear to the notoriously
Putin said Friday that he was indeed planning to run for president, although
he denied that he was using government resources or personnel in his
"There can be no election headquarters within the government," he was quoted
as saying by Interfax. "As for my presidential candidacy, I was asked the
question on my first day of work in the government and I said yes. As you
know, I do not go back on my word."
Putin's lack of support among Russia's powerful financial-industrial groups
and his inability to influence the country's lucrative state-owned
enterprises make him particularly vulnerable.
This was starkly illustrated in September when Putin was unable to prevent
the firing of Dmitry Savelyev, head of Russia's state-owned oil pipeline
company, Transneft. Savelyev was ousted in a much-publicized coup
orchestrated by First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko, a Berezovsky
ally, while Putin was out of Moscow.
"Putin is prime minister only on paper," said Nikolai Petrov of the Moscow
Carnegie Center. "He is playing a largely symbolic role and is not really a
strong independent player. This was clearly demonstrated by the situation
with Transneft. He would be easy to replace."
Putin, however, has been trying to fight back by courting Russia's military
and security services.
"Putin has turned to the military and security services for support,"
military analyst Alexander Pikayev said. "He is limited in his political base
and doesn't have the complete support of the Yeltsin administration."
Putin vowed Friday to provide more money to Russia's cash-starved armed
forces to make them more powerful and effective, Itar-Tass reported. Putin
already increased military spending by $387 million for this year and his
2000 budget calls for another increase of $1 billion. Next year, Russia's
proposed military budget will be $5.57 billion.
And the military - at least the part that is active in Chechnya - has
responded in kind.
"I would say that [Putin] is today a symbol behind which many people march. I
am in the first rank, without a doubt," Reuters quoted General Vladimir
Shamanov, who commands Russia's forces in the Caucasus, as saying. "All
Russians are sick of the fact that Russia is humiliated, insulted and asking
"A large part of the military establishment sees Putin as a guarantee that
the war in Chechnya will continue, that the military budget will increase and
that Russia will take a more assertive stand abroad,'' said Pikayev. ''For a
long time the military has been dissatisfied with what it sees as Yeltsin's
weak foreign policy. Putin's style and behavior contrast with this sharply.''
Meanwhile, relations between Putin and Fatherland-All Russia - the Kremlin's
chief political opponent - seem to have warmed considerably.
Earlier this week, NTV television suggested that Putin could join forces with
Primakov and Luzhkov if fired.
EX PM HAS NOT DECIDED ABOUT RUNNING FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY
MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) - Leader of Fatherland-All Russia
coalition Yevgeny Primakov regrets having agreed to become prime
minister in autumn 1998 and has not decided whether he will run for
president next year.
He said he accepted the Cabinet offer after declining it five
times. "Evidently my common sense failed me and I was taken away by
emotion," he admitted in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets
published on Friday.
Primakov said he was undecided about the 2000 presidential race.
However, in his opinion age is no obstacle. "I am 70 and I do not
conceal it. I want to wish all young people to live to this age and
remain energetic," he said.
To prove he had no presidential ambitions at the time of his
premiership, Primakov said that two weeks after appointment President
Boris Yeltsin invited him to "think about strategic matters" and said he
saw Primakov "at the highest post in the country."
"I answered that I was not ready for the conversation. Was not
ready and did not want to have it," Primakov said.
He sharply criticized Yeltsin's entourage. "He [Yeltsin] is under
the influence of the one-sided information which he is getting from his
inner circle. This information is not objective," Primakov said.
In his opinion, when he was prime minister "the presidential
administration purposefully worked" against him. On his relationship
with administration chief Alexander Voloshin Primakov said: "Voloshin is
a person who, it seems to me, has largely harmed the country because he
concentrated on the task of setting the president against the prime
minister. By the way, he was reprimanded for that in my presence by
Boris Yeltsin. But unfortunately, it did not end at that."
Asked about his relationship with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the
other key figure in Fatherland-All Russia, Primakov said they are
developing an increasingly friendly relationship as they come to know
each other better and as their political partnership develops.
He denied assumptions that Fatherland-All Russia may collapse after
the Duma elections. "I don't think it will be so. Fatherland-All Russia
is strong in every sense," he said.
Primakov gave a generally positive assessment of the Cabinet of
Vladimir Putin. "Though there are weaknesses in the efforts of the
cabinet, of course, especially in the economy and social life. But what
Putin is doing in Chechnya is generally correct," he said.