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Johnson's Russia List
18 November 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
Reports from the AAASS convention are welcome.
1. Moscow Times: Jen Tracy, Paper Claims to Find Yeltsin's Swiss
2. RFE/RL: Jeremy Bransten, Gorbachev Is An Irrepressible Optimist.
3. Interfax: RUSSIA MOVING TO SELF-ISOLATION - MEDIA FIGURE.
4. Interfax: CHECHNYA PROBLEM CANNOT BE SOLVED BY MILITARY MEANS -
5. Reuters: Chechnya fuels debate on whether to lend to Russia.
6. AP: Pipeline Could Bypass Russia, Iran.
7. Chris Stone: Lomonosov decision available?
8. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Albats, Only Trophy In Russia's War Is
9. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: Voters Set to Jettison Elite, Stereotypes.
10. Serguei Stankevitch: THE WEST TAKES THE WAR IN CHECHENIA
11. Ira Straus: Re JRL 3626: Are civilian casualties in Chechnya
12. AP: Patriarch Accuses Missionaries.]
November 18, 1999
Paper Claims to Find Yeltsin's Swiss Accounts
By Jen Tracy
Prosecutors on Wednesday threatened to summon top Kremlin official Pavel
Borodin - and perhaps President Boris Yeltsin himself - for questioning after
a newspaper printed what purported to be documents showing Borodin and
Yeltsin had Swiss bank accounts.
But officials with the Swiss bank concernced - Banca del Gottardo - told The
Moscow Times that the report in Sovershenno Sekretno's weekly newspaper
Versiya was a "blatant forgery."
Banca del Gottardo's comments were received late in the day on Wednesday, and
Versiya executives - who earlier had provided The Moscow Times with
electronic graphics of the documents in question - could not be reached for
But whatever its authenticity, the Versiya publication was making waves this
Ruslan Tamayev, investigator for particularly important cases in the
Prosecutor General's Office, was quoted as saying by Interfax that
prosecutors intended to question "everyone" connected to the probe into
whether Kremlin officials took bribes from the Swiss construction firm
Mabetex. That includes the president, he said.
"The law applies to everyone," Tamayev was quoted as saying. "If necessary
[Yeltsin] will be questioned, too."
He was responding to Versiya's article, in which the paper said it had
account documents from Banca del Gottardo in Switzerland bearing the
signatures of Yeltsin, Borodin and Yeltsin's daughter and adviser, Tatyana
The Kremlin on Wednesday denied again, as it has in previous cases, that the
president or members of his family have any overseas bank accounts. The
Mabetex probe has not resulted in criminal charges being brought against
Versiya journalist Oleg Lurye said in the article that sources at Banca del
Gottardo told him they had recorded at least $11 million passing through the
accounts since they were opened in March and May of 1995.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Lurye said he had been summoned by the
prosecutor's office for questioning last Thursday and had given the
investigators all the documents he had received from Switzerland, but refused
to name his sources there.
Versiya published copies of what it said was an agreement signed by Yeltsin
and Borodin to open bank accounts.
But a Banca del Gottardo legal department representative, who requested that
his name be withheld, denied the Versiya report in a telephone interview from
"The accounts do not exist and never have," he said. "The documents were
The bank said in a statement faxed to The Moscow Times that the paper's
graphic of the bank account documentation was a "blatant forgery" produced by
retouching documents belonging to another account.
"Boris Yeltsin and his family never had bank relations with this
institution," the statement added.
The Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera reported in August that Yeltsin and
his daughters had money transferred to their accounts by Mabetex, and said
that Mabetex head Behgjet Pacolli told Swiss investigators that he
transferred more than $1 million to the Yeltsins.
Swiss authorities are investigating two dozen bank accounts they say belonged
to Russian officials.
In early September, Felipe Turover, a Soviet emigrÎ who worked for a Swiss
bank as a debt collector in Russia, said he had seen credit card bills and
photocopies of credit cards bearing the signatures of the Yeltsins, and that
the cards had been provided by Mabetex.
The Prosecutor General's Office also said Wednesday that prosecutors were
still focusing on controversial tycoon Boris Berezovsky in connection with
allegations of draining money from Aeroflot - even though the office closed a
money-laundering investigation against him last week.
Prosecutors still suspect him of illegal actions and plan to continue the
investigation, Interfax reported Wednesday, quoting the lead investigator on
the case, Nikolai Volkov.
Russia: Gorbachev Is An Irrepressible Optimist
By Jeremy Bransten
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was in Prague this week, at the
invitation of Czech President Vaclav Havel, to help commemorate the start of
Czechoslovakia's 1989 "velvet" revolution. As Havel himself put it, without
Gorbachev there might not have been a revolution -- and certainly not a
velvet one -- anywhere in Eastern Europe.
During his visit, the Soviet Union's last leader spoke to a small group of
journalists, including from RFE/RL, on a broad range of issues, ranging from
the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe, to current Russian politics, to his
views on economics and international politics.
Prague, 17 November 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Gorbachev was first asked how he
assessed his role in Eastern Europe's 1989 revolutions. The topic, it is
clear, is one he enjoys discussing. While his Soviet policies might be more
controversial, Gorbachev's decision to allow the Soviet satellite states to
go their own way will ensure his historical legacy. Gorbachev was keen to
emphasize that he decided to implement this "new thinking" as soon as he
became the Soviet general secretary, in 1985.
"I have to say, to praise myself a bit, that on the day of Chernenko's
funeral, and a few hours after being elected general secretary of the
Communist Party, I spoke with the leaders of the Warsaw Pact. And I told
them: Friends, I want to confirm that we won't allow any interference in your
affairs. You are independent countries, you are sovereign, and you bear full
responsibility for your own policies.
I think they didn't pay the necessary attention, since similar words or
thoughts were probably expressed by [Yuri] Andropov after [Leonid] Brezhnev's
death and by [Konstantin] Chernenko after Andropov's death. So they probably
thought -- ah yes, the general secretary, to look respectable, makes such
statements. But time will show. They were skeptical. But we really didn't
interfere in anyone's affairs. Yes, there were consultations, there were
conversations, discussions, but our Politburo never ordered them to do things
one way or another."
By the time 1988 and 1989 rolled around, Gorbachev says, nervous Warsaw Pact
leaders were almost begging him for advice. His answer: You are on your own.
"There came a time when they (Warsaw Pact leaders) began to knock on our door
and come over. [Czechoslovak Communist leader] Gustav Husak came, seeking
advice on political appointments. And I told him: I trust you. You're very
experienced. If you feel you need a change in leadership, I accept it, since
it comes from a man who thinks about the Party and its future. I fully trust
you to resolve this problem."
Two years after Eastern Europe's revolutions, the winds of change struck home
with unexpected force. The Soviet Union fell apart. Gorbachev was asked
whether he foresaw a similar fate for the Russian Federation:
"There will be no breakup of Russia because, despite all the problems, there
is general agreement on retaining a common state both in the republics and
the regions. One mustn't forget that 83 percent of Russia's population is
made up of ethnic Russians, after all. This is very important. I think it
won't get to that."
Gorbachev admitted that for Russia and most of the former Soviet Union, the
past decade has seen many hopes disappointed. The transition to a successful
market economy has so far failed. The former Soviet leader blamed corrupt
leaders, a lack of democratic traditions, the loss of markets, and other
difficult starting conditions. But he added that Western governments and
financial institutions must also share the blame.
"That reforms in Russia and Ukraine have not succeeded is a fact. That these
past 10 years have not been fully used to create the conditions for
modernization and a smoothly functioning economy is also a fact. You have to
understand that the revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe -- those velvet
revolutions -- coincided with a period when the West was enamored with
extremely liberal or neo-liberal monetary fundamentalism. Now they themselves
are turning away from it. If even George Soros writes about it, then it must
be so. Although independent experts, democratic experts, have long spoken
about this issue."
Gorbachev saved particular criticism for the International Monetary Fund
"Take the World Bank -- things have finally taken another turn. One of the
main experts, a vice president of the bank -- [Joseph] Stiglitz is his name
-- recently cast doubts over the IMF's policies. He said that without the
role of the state, the problem of innovation cannot be tackled and without
that we will not be able to move towards the 21st century because heavy
capital investment is needed to develop new technologies -- and without the
state we won't resolve the issue of funding scientific research, education,
all this intellectual capital."
In the end, Gorbachev noted, the transition from a planned to a market
economy, being attempted by so many countries in the region, is
unprecedented. As such, many mistakes have been made and more can be
expected. There are no ready-made recipes to follow. These must be compiled
along the way.
"What we are undertaking -- this transition from totalitarianism to
democracy, to a market economy, to a completely new society -- is an
unprecedented turn. And to believe that it could be smooth was just not
serious. So to some degree I want to justify this difficult transition. It's
not even an issue of planning, when it is said that the transition wasn't
planned well enough, wasn't thought out enough.
"Concerning the freedom of choice at the outset: Every country and every
government has it. But when it comes to mapping out the whole process and
composing an exact menu or a precise train schedule, so to speak, for
modernization, that's nonsense!
"It's not a scientific task. The right choice must be made for freedom and
democracy, a market economy and openness. That's true. This is what will help
the country to move in the right direction, but the rest is decided by the
process of history. And here things depend on the level of society, its
political experience, its experience of democracy, its traditions and the
state of the economy. This is where the difficulties emerge. So it's
impossible to draw up a bill, primitively, like an accountant."
Crises in the Caucasus have dogged Russian leaders since Tsarist days. While
in office, Gorbachev experienced his share of Caucasian troubles, struggling
to cope with conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The
renewal of war in the breakaway republic of Chechnya has once again focused
the world's attention on the region. Gorbachev was asked about his view on
the Kremlin's Chechnya policy. The question engendered a passionate response.
"This is the result of the Russian leadership's policies over the past
decade. It decided to get rid of the nomenklatura head of the Supreme Soviet,
Doku Zavgaev. Instead, they installed a man they thought they could
manipulate like Zavgaev and they put in General [Dzhokar] Dudaev. And after a
year, he called a meeting of locals, based on the principles of Islam, and
"And at this time -- just imagine what a senseless, stupid policy this was --
Russia left all the weapons it had on Chechen territory to Chechnya. On what
basis? No republic had its own weapons. Not the Tatars, not the Bashkir,
nowhere. Why did they give them to Chechnya? They armed them with two hundred
units of heavy artillery -- even with airplanes! So, after getting rid of
Zavgaev, and leaving the weapons, they stopped worrying about Chechnya and
Chechnya turned into a black hole for money laundering, for contraband.
Airplanes landed in Grozny and there were no border controls. You could do
whatever you wanted.
"They made a total mess of this part of Russia. And when they wanted to bring
order, they could think of nothing better than to send in troops. They
delivered a 48-hour ultimatum. And I said at the time that this would lead to
a bloody conflict or to a Caucasus war. Well, there was no Caucasus war,
although the situation remains tense there and very dangerous.
"The fact that 100,000 people perished by one count or 200,000 by another --
it's hard to know exactly -- is a fact. So, they ended the war, signed the
Khasavyurt accords, and what was the next step? Again, they forgot about
Chechnya. Nothing was done. It was a destroyed republic, full of
unemployment. They didn't care. And people once again, in order to find the
means to feed themselves, started to act like bandits. I have to say that
neither [Chechen President Aslan] Maskhadov nor the Russian president have
come out of this looking very admirable. And as a result we got the situation
with Daghestan, etc. It was waiting to happen."
Gorbachev called for negotiations to end the current conflict, but he gave
guarded support for the current government's military incursion.
"And now, undoubtedly, an end must be put to banditism and terrorism. I think
even in Chechnya, the overwhelming majority of people favor this. But this
task must be accomplished without turning it into a war against the people of
Chechnya. Because if that's what happens, then we'll end up with an even
graver situation than in 1994 and 1995."
The former Soviet leader expressed his greatest bitterness towards the United
States, saying Washington's attempt to craft a new world order, in which it
is the sole superpower, is feeding reactionary forces in Russia. But more
than that, Gorbachev said he sees U.S. policy as a personal betrayal -- a
failure by the United States to live up to its end of the post-Cold War
"If the Americans are to be faulted for something, it's for their failure to
understand that they are launching new geopolitical games. They cast aside
the Paris Charter, and the Paris Charter was about creating a united Europe
and a common defense system for all of Europe. As soon as the Soviet Union
ceased to exist, everything was thrown aside. And NATO was resuscitated,
which the Americans themselves and the other NATO members had talked about
transforming from a military into a political organization, along with the
"There were three meetings on this subject and NATO's doctrines were changed.
And the process would have continued. But the Soviet Union vanished and they
again began to play at geopolitics, again the struggle began for spheres of
influence. This is a fact. I have to say that this was confirmed at NATO's
50th anniversary, when it decided, with absolutely no embarrassment, to say
before the United Nations that it was assuming responsibility for maintaining
"So what existed because of the United Nations, what existed even during the
Cold War years -- and some of these structures played a positive role, that
is to say, the Security Council and all the other structures -- all this was
"And why unnecessary? It turned out they were unnecessary because in all the
other international organizations, Western countries and foremost among them
the United States, imposed their own rules. In GATT (the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade, precursor to the World Trade Organization), the WTO and
other international organizations, the rules of the game were devised by the
major Western powers. And here in the UN you've got the veto, you've got the
roles of China and Russia, which are guaranteed under all circumstances. And
that is inconvenient.
"Ruud Lubbers wasn't convenient as NATO secretary-general, so they installed
Javier Solana, who initially demonstrated against Spain's entry into NATO and
then became its most ardent supporter -- more Catholic than the Pope. These
are the people they need. [Former UN secretary-general] Boutros Boutros-Ghali
proposed a reform program for increasing the effectiveness of the UN.
"Where is Boutros-Ghali and his program today? Neither of them is around.
Instead, Kofi Annan appeared, conveniently. They need puppets. But they see
that despite this, in this forum, they can't have their way, they can't
sidestep Russia and China. So what do they do? They act through NATO and they
announce a new doctrine allowing them, when necessary, to get involved
anywhere in the world. And who will determine when such action is necessary?
NATO. And who gave them the mandate? This, I think is dangerous."
Globalization based on U.S. hegemony or Western domination makes an unstable
and dangerous model for the 21st century, Gorbachev warned.
"This is not what is needed for the 21st century, when we live in a global
world, dependent on each other. We can't get away from each other. What are
these geo-political games? It's a waste of time when we should be building a
new world order based on the principles of balanced interests, patience,
tolerance, respect. Western countries can then have a good basis for
cooperation in all spheres with us. But it's not convenient for some. I think
this could lead to a new arms race, and this may already be starting. This is
The former Soviet leader said he fully understands the desire by Central and
Eastern European states to re-orient themselves towards the West. But he
appealed to countries like the Czech Republic not to forsake cooperation with
"These countries became so sick of us that they probably need to live on
their own for a while. Live! Live as you wish! There will be no interference.
But why destroy cooperation? We had such broad cooperation and compatibility
-- linguistically, and on a personal basis. To create such an environment,
you need decades! And we, all of a sudden, destroyed this colossal capital
without a thought."
Gorbachev, who announced plans to found a new Social Democratic Party, said
that ultimately, Russia must put its own house in order, if fruitful ties
with other countries are to be developed. But as has been proved so many
times by his ability to bounce back from adversity -- most recently after his
wife's death -- Gorbachev is an irrepressible optimist.
"I'm sure the situation is going to change for the better. But for this,
things have to change, primarily in Russia, after upcoming elections to the
Duma and the presidency. Much depends on Russia."
At times, anger, hurt, and disappointment all play across his face. But the
indulgent smile soon returns. The eyes sparkle. You can almost hear the
wheels spinning inside his brain, crafting new plans, new ideas for Russia.
"No, they haven't seen the last of Gorbachev," he chuckles. And with that,
this most unusual statesman -- a leader who ruled an empire, let it go, and
lived to tell the tale -- heads off to dinner.
RUSSIA MOVING TO SELF-ISOLATION - MEDIA FIGURE
MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) - Part of the Russian elite is
interested in the self-isolation of the country from the West, deputy
board chairman of Media Most holding Igor Malashenko has said.
"Today things are advancing to the self-isolation of Russia," he
said on a live program of Ekho Moskvy radio on Wednesday.
"Big interest groups, groups of prominent Russian politicians have
appeared interested in Russia's isolation from the West" because "they
have not learned to play according to the rules of the West beginning
with settling conflicts such as in Chechnya and ending with election
organization and attitude to the media," Malashenko said.
"The West is a devilish hindrance to them. They want to create in
Russia a regime that could function without minding the West and then
their interests will be guaranteed," he said.
In his opinion, such different people as business figure and former
CIS executive secretary Boris Berezovsky and chief of the General Staff
of the Armed Forces Anatoly Kvashnin are interested in self-isolation.
Malashenko said there is a group of ambitious military officers "who are
dissatisfied with the almost total absence of a political role and want
to change the situation."
However, he did not think that President Boris Yeltsin wants
Russia's isolation from the West.
According to Malashenko, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, if elected
president, "will radically change the political regime in Russia."
"In this situation a problem of not only their political survival
but personal security would arise for a number of people," he said.
"Russia is doomed to severe criticism of its actions at the
Istanbul summit," Malashenko said.
"Nobody can believe that the Russian military are making pinpoint
attacks at terrorist positions when television shows multiple rocket
launchers in action. It is technically impossible to make pinpoint
strikes with Grad or Uragan systems," he said.
Malashenko stressed that it is important that the upcoming
parliamentary elections in Russia would be honest. "The media should be
operating freely as a means of informing, not propaganda used for
destroying the unwanted, to literally wipe from the political map some
political forces and create others from practically nothing," he said.
"The actions of the Russian media - the press and television -
controlled by the Kremlin do not conform with the requirements of
professionalism or the idea of professional decency," he said.
Malashenko hoped that the situation in the Russian media would be
discussed at the Istanbul summit.
CHECHNYA PROBLEM CANNOT BE SOLVED BY MILITARY MEANS - PRIMAKOV
MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) - Leader of the Fatherland-All Russia
election coalition and former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov does not
think the Chechen problem can be solved by military means.
During an telephone press conference with more than 25 regions on
Wednesday, Primakov said "solving the Chechen problem militarily is
impossible," although "the military struggle against the terrorists is
He said that his coalition supports all moves "to suppress the
rebels and eliminate their danger" adding, however, "it is impossible to
determine Chechnya's status within Russia by military means."
He said that the problem of Chechen refugees "is not exaggerated"
and that civilians in Chechnya should be treated "the way we treat all
Concerning the possibility of more terrorist acts in large Russian
cities, he said, "no one is guaranteed against them." "We must be
vigilant," he said, adding that a great deal will depend on the
efficient work of law-enforcement agencies, primarily local police
In the wake of the bombings of two Moscow apartment buildings, the
Moscow police have defused several explosive devices, Primakov said,
adding that the police in other cities must be as active.
He said that he has a "positive" opinion of Governor of Krasnoyarsk
territory Alexander Lebed. "It is obvious that Lebed is making efforts
to restore order on the basis of the law and is fighting against
criminal elements," he said.
Chechnya fuels debate on whether to lend to Russia
By Janet Guttsman
WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - For the second time this decade, war in
breakaway Chechnya is casting an ugly shadow over Western ties to Russia, and
the question of lending or cutting off aid is surfacing again.
>From an economic point of view Russia, the world's largest country by area
and the biggest single borrower of the International Monetary Fund, is almost
doing enough to win a new injection of IMF cash, a $640 million payment which
will be used to pay back previous loans.
But some critics say a relentless Russian bombing campaign against towns and
cities in the separatist-minded Caucasus region should prompt the IMF to halt
"If the Russian government attacks innocent women and children in Chechnya,
it cannot expect international aid," Republican presidential hopeful George
W. Bush told Reuters this week.
His main Republican rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, said last week he would,
if elected, give Russia a week to halt the fighting before pressing the IMF
to cut off funding to Russia.
It is Russia's second venture into Chechnya. The last round of fighting ended
in 1997 with what amounted to de facto independence for the region, which
Russia says is a den of thieves, bandits and terrorists that must be cleaned
The U.S. administration admits it is worried by the bloody campaign, which
has sent refugees flooding for safety. But officials say cutting off IMF cash
could destabilize Russia.
European Union External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten took a similar
line on Wednesday when he said financial sanctions against Russia might
generate an anti-Western backlash, and it was better to carry on talking.
"There is a certain amount of satisfaction domestically in withholding the
IMF tranche because of Chechnya, but it is not going to have much impact on
Russia at this point," said Thomas Graham, a senior associate at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace.
"Russian export earnings are sufficient that they can keep current on IMF
payments without the IMF. And I would have great difficulty in persuading the
Russian leadership that Chechnya is the reason for the delay."
The IMF has already delayed the $640 million payment from its initial release
date of September because it is worried about a lack of transparency in the
Russian financial sector and is seeking additional action on structural
Media chief Thomas Dawson said this week that the IMF was watching the
financial implications of the Chechnya campaign. But he gave no sign that IMF
lending could be halted because of the fighting.
"The discussions that took place in Russia were looking at the fiscal
accounts and spending levels and an increase in spending that put the program
in jeopardy would be an issue of concern," he said. "That is all I would say
The IMF traditionally watches economic issues rather than political ones. But
it admits lending can be endangered by "unproductive expenditure" which
threatens an economic plan.
Dawson said Russia needed to meet some promises to win the next installment
of IMF cash and no date had been set for the IMF's board to meet on the
But Keith Bush, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said
an IMF decision to delay payments again could push the Russians into default
with "unforeseen and horrible consequences."
"Russia has enough reserves to muddle through this year without another
tranche, but it would be very, very hard if they had to service debt next
year. The IMF would be cutting off its nose to spite its face," he said.
Under the conditions of the IMF's latest loan to Russia, payments go from one
account at the IMF to another and are used to repay old credits. IMF figures
show that Russia paid back some $370 million in October. It owes the fund
$16.2 billion, down from an July 1998 peak of $19.4 billion.
Pipeline Could Bypass Russia, Iran
November 17, 1999
By SELCAN HACAOGLU
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - For years, U.S. diplomats have pressed the need for a
pipeline to bring oil from the rich fields of Central Asia to world markets
without crossing through a potentially hostile Iran or unstable Russia.
The goal is moving closer to reality this week, as Turkish officials
announced plans for several oil companies to sign agreements Thursday to
build a pipeline from the oil fields of Azerbaijan to Turkey's port of
Ceyhan. The oil pipeline is projected to carry 1 million barrels a day from
Baku, Azerbaijan to tankers in the Mediterranean.
The accord with Azerbaijan and Georgia will be signed on the sidelines of a
two-day summit meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe in Istanbul, Turkey. President Clinton is in Istanbul for the summit
and will attend a signing ceremony for the pipeline accord.
``This is not directed against Russia in any way,'' White House National
Security Adviser Sandy Berger said during a briefing for reporters traveling
with Clinton in Istanbul. He said Russia will benefit from increased transit
and sale of oil.
``I think not only the United States but, more importantly, the countries in
the region and the international oil companies have believed that it's
important,'' to create new options for the transit and sale of natural
resources, Berger said. The pipeline will help ``create a greater degree of
independence and a greater degree of wealth in that region of the world,''
The pipeline would cross through the former Soviet Republic of Georgia before
reaching Turkey, a crucial U.S. ally that would be strengthened by the deal,
American officials said.
Russia is the chief competitor for the proposed deal, expected to cost at
least $2.4 billion. It is trying to persuade Azerbaijan to agree to a
pipeline through Russia that would bypass the war-torn Caucasus republic of
Azerbaijan, a Turkic republic with close ethnic and religious ties to Turkey,
so far has rebuffed the Russians.
Turkey's state pipeline company Botas would head the expected five-year
construction of the 1,080-mile line. Turkey has pledged to cover any expenses
above the $2.4 billion estimate.
Questions linger about the project's profitability.
Officials at BP-Amoco, the main Western oil company working in the Caspian
oil fields, have cautioned that earlier estimates of huge oil reserves in
Azerbaijan may be overly optimistic. They maintain it is unclear whether the
former Soviet republic has sufficient reserves to make the pipeline
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999
From: "Chris Stone" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Lomonosov decision available?
As was discussed on JRL and elsewhere, last month the St. Petersburg
Arbitrage Court declaring that the Lomonosov Porcelain Plant was privatized
This decision is not yet in the Garant database. Does anyone either have a
copy of the court's decision, or at least know where it might be obtained?
If so, please contact me at email@example.com. Thanks.
J.D. candidate, 2001
University of California-Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
November 18, 1999
POWER PLAY: Only Trophy In Russia's War Is Racial Hate
By Yevgenia Albats
No one knows how the war in Chechnya will end. However, one result is already
obvious. This is the frenzied, repulsive racism that is flooding political
life with a muddy wave.
"Chechen terrorists," "Chechen bandits," and "Chechen extremists," are word
combinations that have already become common parts of speech for Russian
politicians, and they are migrating across the pages of newspapers.
It is surprising at the end of the 20th century that it again has to be
mentioned that every nation has a right to its own scoundrels. That there is
no such thing as a bandit nation, but there are bandits and monsters in every
society and faith. Politicians are hurrying to clamor atop the crest of
military passion that, according to the polls, has overwhelmed the country.
This monstrous wave of racism got its start back during NATO's war in
Yugoslavia. But if at that time you heard things like "we are defending our
brother Slavs," and "we are erecting a barrier against Islamic
fundamentalism," the adherents of which were the Albanians, then now the
Albanian's role is being played by the Chechens. Without exception - the
The Russian authorities are taking the old approach successfully honed by the
Nazis in Germany and Stalin in the Soviet Union: They create an internal
enemy in living flesh and blood, on which all the mistakes, inferiority
complexes connected with falling status of the great empire and poor living
standards can be dumped. This is the fiasco of 10 years of liberal reform in
Russia. Two people who will be vying for the presidency (both graduates of
that most repulsive institute of the Soviet system, the KGB) earned their
ratings on openly racist motivations - Primakov on the war in Yugoslavia, and
Putin on the new war in Chechnya.
Strictly speaking, what is now coming out of televisions screens about the
Chechens doesn't differ at all from the anti-Semitic howls of Makashov last
autumn and winter. Only when Makashov said he would urinate on the windows of
the Jews he hated was there a strong rebuke from the media and politicians -
that is, except the Communists. Now, everyone remains silent.
The experience of the Nazis shows it's not important who you begin with or on
whose backs the identifying stars hang. Many Europeans in the 1930s thought
Hitler would content himself with just the lives of the Jews - that he
wouldn't touch any one else. But he did. No one was safe.
If the fly-wheel of racism isn't stopped, Russia will be flooded with blood
and this fly-wheel will take mercy on no one. It is repulsive that even
politicians with democratic leanings are keeping silent for fear of slipping
in the ratings. They aren't raising their voices against the growing racist
wave, they don't understand that political correctness isn't just some
invention of rich Western democrats, but is a political imperative paid for
with thousands of lives. Racism in Russia is again losing its ruder tone and
is becoming a tool in the political struggle of the elite. The slogan divide
and conquer is again becoming a part of Russia's highest politics. We are
again striking out on the path of a cannibalistic state.
Yevgenia Albats is an independent political analyst and journalist.
November 18, 1999
EDITORIAL: Voters Set to Jettison Elite, Stereotypes
In one month's time, Russia goes to the polls to vote for its third
And as The Moscow Times reports in its election special today (pages I-VIII),
about 40 percent of Russians think that the Dec. 19 vote won't matter much at
At the same time, however, about 65 percent of all voters are planning to
cast ballots. So despite their willingness to slag off on the Duma - it's
useless, it's weak, it's corrupt - Russians are nevertheless determined to
use what little power the ballot box gives them.
The polls of what Russians are thinking, as laid out on pages IV and V, break
other political stereotypes.
Many a pontificator - both here and abroad - has waxed eloquent about the
supposed Russian love of a "strong hand."
The implication of such arguments is that Russians are somehow not suited to
run their own affairs - that they are serfs, begging to be marched obediently
back into political slavery.
How does that square with polls showing that only a fifth of the electorate
intends to vote for a given leader - while a majority either wants to bring
about change in the way the nation is ruled, or is backing a particular set
of political goals or programs?
With so many thoughtful voters ready to cast their ballot in just four weeks,
we'd like to hope that the 32.6 percent of voters who think the elections are
likely to be honest turn out to be right.
Then again, the fact that a majority believe they will be crooked - that, one
way or another, they will be hijacked by a corrupt elite - is also a sign of
After all, just the media coverage on television already provides grounds to
argue that this election - like the 1996 presidential race - will not be free
It's not just that ORT television has so viciously savaged Moscow Mayor Yury
Luzhkov and his Fatherland-All Russia bloc - accusing Luzhkov of everything
from murder to stealing money from hospitals, all while providing little
proof, in "reports" that are more smear than journalism.
State-owned media have short-shrifted all of the powerful opposition forces,
such as Yabloko and the Communist Party.
That has happened even as we see no end of Union of Right Forces faces like
Anatoly Chubais, Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Kiriyenko, all fielding questions
on softball talk or interview shows.
Sadly, the Duma race may indeed change nothing.
But let's hope the presidential race next year does - because Russia is in
need of change. The voters know this, and they should demand it as their
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999
From: "Serguei Stankevitch" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: THE WEST TAKES THE WAR IN CHECHENIA INADEQUATELY
Here is my comment to the situation around Chechnya. I hope it might be useful
to shift some attention on the Russian perception of the Western position.
Sorry if my language is somewhat inadequate.
Former Political Adviser to the President of Russia
now living in Poland
THE WEST TAKES THE WAR IN CHECHENIA INADEQUATELY
On the eve of the historic European Summit in Istanbul the confrontation
between the West and Russia over the Chechen war is growing dangerously. This
sad fact puts at risk the unique possibility to create a new long-term
system in Europe with participation of both the NATO countries and Russia.
The worst thing is that the polemics between the Russian and the Western
officials more and more reminds a typical Cold War style propaganda campaign.
Nobody wants to listen and understand the other side.
The main argument from the West is that the Russian operation in Chechnya is
inadequate to what? Probably, to the normal aims and means of an internal
operation. This thesis could be fully agreeable if properly elaborated but it
hangs in the air. The Western leaders use rather general terms insisting on
political settlement to be found and implemented in Chechnya. But to say only
this plain and simple things and to limit oneself only to the human
rhetoric means to have a position which is even more inadequate to the real
situation in Chechnya as well as in the whole Russian Federation.
The Russian Western discussion about a possible settlement for Chechnya is
non-productive largely because the West (that means NATO and EU countries)
consistently ignores the main issues most of Russians consider to be of prime
importance for them when the Chechen problem is at stake.
Contrary to the stupid caricatures resurrected again by the Western media,
modern Russians are not that blood-thirsty chauvinistic bustards eager to send
their sons to look for a death in the highlands in order to satisfy somebody s
imperial nostalgia. The slowly growing Russian middle class looks forward to
having a non-humiliative partnership with the West. But the response is more
Here are the principal statements which reasonable and liberally minded middle
class Russian pragmatics would like to hear from the West, but so far fail to
* Besides a peaceful population and the legitimate powers, there are armed
groups acting on the territory of Chechnya who are responsible for
systematic acts of violence and terror not justifiable with any fighting
for freedom claims. Any admission of terror for freedom argument as a
discussion point would be an invitation for terrorists from Bask ETA,
IRA, Palestinian Hammad and other extremist groups all over the world to
demand a status of a legitimate negotiation partners.
* The administration of the president Aslan Maskhadov obviously failed to
control the criminal activity of many Chechen armed groups or to stop the
acts of terror these groups systematically practice. This fact was one of
the main reasons why the war activity was restarted in Chechnya in 1999.
* Western powers not only denounce and castigate the acts of terror
practiced by some Chechen warlords, but are ready to cooperate with Russia
in order to capture and punish the persons involved in terrorist
activities as the most dangerous international criminals.
* The persons whose participation in terrorist acts is obvious and even
confirmed by themselves Shamil Basaev, Shirvany Basaev, Salman Raduev,
Khattab must be immediately accused as international terrorists to be
searched worldwide and to be brought to the International Haague
The same kind of responsibility must be applied to other terrorist
if Russian officials present enough proves confirmed by international
* The president of Chechen Republic Aslan Maskhadov can be considered
legitimate power in Chechnya and as a partner for negotiations only after
his official and practically confirmed denial of any relations with
Basaevs, Raduev, Khattab, Ben Laden and other internationally accused
* The mass exodus of about half of a million of people from the
Chechnya after 1991 is considered by the West as the humanitarian
be remedied. All citizens who lived in Chechnya in 1991 have an
indisputable human right to return back to their homes (or at least to
their land) and to live there safely. This return is an important
condition for a legitimate elections to be organized in Chechnya.
* The Western powers not only confirm the territorial integrity of the
Russian Federation, but also determinably denounce any violent attempt to
breach this integrity. The results of such an attempt will never be
recognized by the international community, and organizers of such an
attempt if involved in terrorist acts will be punished in accordance with
the international law.
* The West considers the battle activity of the Russian forces in Chechnya
as an internal police operation, but it s scale and methods appeared to be
inadequate to the normal aims and means of such an operation. The
sacrifices and suffering among the civilians in Chechnya are intolerable
and unacceptable. The Russian government must take immediate actions to
protect civilians in and around Chechnya from the consequences of the
* Basing upon the above mentioned pre-conditions, the West calls for a
negotiation between Kremlin and the legitimate government of Chechnya. The
issues of such a negotiation are (a) the special autonomous status of
Chechnya as the member of the Russian Federation, (b) a clearance of the
disastrous effects of the war and return of the refugees, (c) free
elections in the Chechen Republic in accordance with the Constitution of
the Russian Federation.
If something close to these arguments can be heard from the West the Chechen
problem could be settled in much less bloody and much more civilized way. The
clear Western position would encourage anti-war opposition in Russia to
increase it s pressure upon the political establishment.
The fact that the Western leaders when addressing the Chechen war problems
consistently ignore these Russian points of pain fuels the speculations about
double standards and double intent in the Western policy toward Russia.
To withdraw the Russian army to the North of Terek river before the sources of
terrorism are effectively neutralized and even before the very problem of
terrorism in Chechnya is adequately evaluated by the international community
means to have more explosions of Russian apartment buildings, more violent
attempts to create Islamic state in various parts of Russia, more blood, fear
and instability in the poor country.
Clear understanding of this linkage pushes the Russian middle class pragmatics
to support the prime minister Putin's hawkish policy toward Chechnya while
waiting for a constructive and balanced signal from the West.
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999
From: IRASTRAUS@aol.com (Ira Straus)
Subject: Re JRL 3626: Are civilian casualties in Chechnya genocide
"Ilyas Akhmadov, named foreign minister by Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov,
said on a private visit to the Czech Republic that 4,000 civilians and 1,600
Chechen troops had been killed. Moscow has said reports of civilian deaths
are exaggerated." ("Russia braces for more criticism over Chechnya" by
Patrick Lannin, Nov 16, Reuters.) Other figures often cited in Western
articles refer to "hundreds" of civilian casualties, "up to 2000".
In a recent comparative study on military and civilian deaths in war, it is
stated that in wars nowadays, 80-90% of the casualties are civilians. The
proportion has been constantly growing higher over the course of the century.
The numbers of the Chechen foreign minister -- which cannot be expected to be
biased in Russia's favor -- indicate that Russia is more discriminate than
average; only 70% of its victims in this war (4000 out of 5600) are civilians.
4000 civilians dead, even if true, is not an unusual number for a campaign on
this scale. The NATO bombing campaign is described as having killed about
2000 in a comparable time period; and far more would have been killed if it
had come to a ground war, such as the Russians are mounting.
That Russian bombing is less precise than NATO’s goes without saying. But the
numbers suggest that it is only the greater imprecision, not malice, which is
the reason for the somewhat greater quantity of civilian casualties in the
present war. The war in Chechnya does not appear from these numbers to be a
war of extermination, genocide, or anything else like that.
To be sure, the war could grow into a genocidal horror (as the war in Kosovo
also could have). But thus far it seems that it hasn’t, and that the numerous
commentaries that label it as genocidal are being seriously misleading.
The label of genocide has come to be grossly abused in recent times. There
were genuine genocides in this century. It cheapens their memory, and very
soon will come to undermine the idea of preventing their recurrence, when
every ethnic conflict gets labeled a 'genocide'.
The label of 'genocide' for Russia's actions in Chechnya has become
repeated, ritualistic, and virtually unanimous in the Western press in recent
weeks. Significantly, this rhetoric is very similar to the rhetoric that had
prevailed in Russia about NATO at the time of the war in Kosovo. (And to the
rhetoric in most NATO countries about the Serbs, who were constantly accused
of genocide against the Kosovar Albanians. Afterward, the UN has been able to
dig up only 2000 bodies in Kosovo. Arguments are beginning as to whether
Stratfor was right and the UN-NATO estimate of the total number killed -
11,000 - was grossly exaggerated. Even if this number were accurate, it would
still be a couple entire orders of magnitude short of any number that would
begin to look like genocide).
Russia is outraged, as we can read every day on JRL, by the dishonesty and
hypocrisy of Western accusations about the war in Chechnya. It is right. The
West was outraged by the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Russian accusations
about the war in Kosovo. It was also right.
But what are we doing here? Since when are we and Russia supposed to be
lobbing dishonest, hypocritical, and well-nigh hysterical accusations against
one another? We were supposed to be trying to be partners.
Partners should indeed be concerned about one another's good behavior, but in
a form that is sober not hysterical. Aside from a few people in the
leadership of the Clinton Administration, who have proceeded with caution
(and have been stoned for it by the publicists), there seems to be no
inclination on either side to behave in a sober fashion. Quite the opposite,
there seems to be a positive enthusiasm on both sides for hurling wild
accusations against one another. It bodes ill for the future.
Patriarch Accuses Missionaries
November 17, 1999
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II accused foreign
missionaries on Wednesday of feeding psychedelic drugs to young people as a
tool for winning converts, a news agency reported.
Alexy II frequently speaks out against foreign missionaries in Russia, who he
feels are winning souls from his traditional flock of followers.
The patriarch, speaking at a congress for Orthodox missionaries, said their
main task should be countering the work of missionaries from other faiths.
``I am convinced that foreign missionaries who arrive in this country are
anxious to divide Russians,'' the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.
In his comment about psychedelic drugs, the news agency quoted him as saying
foreign missionaries ``often'' use the substances as recruiting tools.
Alexy II was an outspoken supporter of a law passed in 1997 giving full
recognition only to three religions - Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam. Other
faiths must prove they have had a presence in Russia for 15 years before they
are given full legal status, and in the meantime face restrictions that
discourage missionary activities.
The patriarch refers to many other established churches as ``sects'' and says
they brainwash members and should be banned.