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Johnson's Russia List
19 November 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Yeltsin exit a symptom of Russia-Western chill.
2. AP: CIA Gave Early Warning of Gorbachev.
3. The Moscow Tribune: John Helmer, GERONIMO'S LESSON.
4. BBC: Full text of Boris Yeltsin's speech.
5. The Providence Journal: Phyllis Meras, Russians look forlornly for
6. Los Angeles Times: James Gerstenzang and Richard Paddock,
U.S.-Backed Caspian Oil Project to Skirt Russia.
7. Reuters: Russian Nuclear Expert Charged with Treason.
8. Itar-Tass: Over 65 PC Russians Back Force Methods in Chechnya.
9. Bloomberg: Russia to Accept High-Level Chechnya Peace Mission,
10. RFE/RL: Sophie Lambroschini, Russia: Analyst Comments On New
Cold War Scare. (Sergei Rogov)]
Yeltsin exit a symptom of Russia-Western chill
By Elaine Monaghan
WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin's early exit
on Thursday from a European summit with an earful of invective for his bloody
Chechen campaign was a symptom of Moscow's troubled relationship with the
West, analysts said.
Behind the bonhomie of a bear-hug as President Bill Clinton and Yeltsin
displayed their personal friendship in Turkey lies a difficult relationship
between two nuclear states still trying to understand each other and navigate
the post-Cold War era.
``The relations are continuing on a downward spiral. That's quite clear. It's
going to be very difficult to improve the atmosphere as long as Russia
continues its military operation in Chechnya in the manner in which it has
conducted it so far,'' said Thomas Graham at the Carnegie Endowment for
``Basically I think the relationship is colder than it's been since the Cold
War,'' said Keith Bush of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Suspicion of each other's motives remains a theme in the relationship -- for
example Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev's accusation this month that the
United States was trying to stir up the conflict in the north Caucasus for
its own reasons.
A GROWING UNDERSTANDING
The West's understanding of Russia has moved on significantly since the 1930s
when Britain's Winston Churchill described Moscow as ``a riddle wrapped in a
mystery inside an enigma.''
``With Soviet leaders we had one or two top people at the politburo, one or
two contacts a year at the most,'' one official said, speaking on condition
Now, strings of meetings between U.S. government officials and an array of
Russian political figures have made the two sides far less mysterious to each
other, a U.S. official said.
The U.S. agenda for Russia of arms control, financial openness and
democratization means its foreign policy position remains one of engagement
and analysts say it is highly unlikely to impose sanctions on Russia for the
blood shed in Chechnya.
That is how Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was able to claim success
in negotiations with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who Yeltsin left behind to
take the heat on Chechnya.
Ivanov agreed to invite the chairman of the 54-nation Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe to Chechnya and to give the OSCE a
political and a humanitarian role in the region, a reversal from seven weeks
of resistance from Moscow.
``If we want to keep Russia inside the tent, we want to keep talking to them.
We want to keep pushing them to observe certain norms of behaviour and be
transparent about their military deployment,'' the U.S. official said.
A CHILL WIND STILL BLOWS FROM MOSCOW
But Sergeyev's comments on television that the West's policy was aimed at
weakening its position and ousting it from the Caspian region, the
trans-Caucasus and Central Asia hit a nerve.
U.S. officials were clearly soothed by a belief they were addressed to a
military audience that has been stripped of its prestige by financial crisis
and is trying to restore its image after an embarrassing defeat in the last
They raised eyebrows nonetheless.
``Sergeyev's statement sounded like something you would have heard 10 or 15
years ago...It's one of the strongest statements I can recall,'' one U.S.
Unsurprisingly, U.S. officials remain optimistic about the future of the
relationship, saying it is progressing, only more slowly than had been hoped.
But there is no mistaking the cold wind blowing from Moscow, even if it does
not spell a new Cold War, analyst say.
The angry words in Istanbul followed a tentative Russian air force plan to
fly bombers to Cuba, evoking memories of the Cuban missiles crisis of 1962,
and Russian accusations that a U.S. probe into whether the Russian mafia
funnelled billions of dollars through the Bank of New York was politically
Analysts note a worrying increase in anti-Western sentiment in Russia
especially since NATO's campaign in Kosovo, and even before, as a result of
the sprawling country's financial crisis.
Focusing on Russia's opposition to NATO expansion and the alliance's action
in Kosovo, Bush said: ``About 90 percent (of the Russian population) was very
disturbed, very anti-NATO and anti-U.S. and this has extended not only to the
population but to the students and the intelligentsia.''
Paula Dobriansky at the Council on Foreign Relations noted a ``disturbing
phenomenon'' developing in the Russian elite.
``Commentators of all stripes express their concern about the unipolar nature
of the international system and in particular, they focus on the evils of
U.S. hegemonism,'' she said.
CIA Gave Early Warning of Gorbachev
November 18, 1999
By TOM RAUM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Mikhail Gorbachev's prospects for holding on as president
of the Soviet Union were ``doubtful at best,'' despite his forceful
personality and huge popularity in the West, the CIA concluded in a secret
report to President Bush in September 1989, two months before the fall of the
The report is among nearly 400 pages of documents, declassified Thursday,
chronicling the final days of the Cold War. They show that, of all
intelligence agencies, the CIA was the most pessimistic over the long-term
prospects of Gorbachev, who resigned in 1991 - though the CIA, too,
underestimated the pace of the Soviet collapse.
An April 25, 1991, report by the CIA's Office of Soviet Analysis asserted
that anti-Communist forces are breaking down the Soviet empire'' and
anticipated that a coup would be attempted against Gorbachev. In fact, there
was an unsuccessful attempt five months later.
``Forces unleashed by the collapse of the Soviet system are breaking up its
premier artifact - the Soviet military; the high command cannot stop this
process,'' asserted a December 1991 report, the final one in the series of
newly declassified material.
In November 1990, the CIA outlined various ``nightmare scenarios.'' One was
civil war between and among former Soviet republics, possibly even an all-out
war between Russia and Ukraine. Another was widespread famine. Still another:
loss of control of nuclear weapons to terrorists or a rogue regime, possibly
with some of the weapons winding up in Yugoslavia.
``For once it was good to be wrong,'' said Benjamin Fischer, the CIA analyst
who edited the collection of newly declassified documents.
The papers cover the last three years of the Cold War - roughly from November
1988, a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, to Dec. 31, 1991, when the
Soviet Union officially ceased to exist. The declassification - rare because
the period covered was of such recent vintage - was timed to coincide with a
conference on the Cold War at Texas A&M University's Bush School of
Bush was president through most of the time covered by the documents and
William Webster was CIA director.
``There is a conventional wisdom that the CIA and the intelligence community
got it wrong; we have sought to set the record straight,'' said Lloyd
Salvetti, director of the CIA center for the study of intelligence.
But Tom Blanton, director of the private National Security Archive, based at
George Washington University, suggested that the material - which includes
many blacked-out sections - was selectively released by the CIA to make the
agency look good.
Blanton said the CIA continues to keep under wraps its far-more-sensitive
``daily intelligence briefs,'' prepared for the president every day and
containing more specific information.
The documents released by the CIA ``are not the documents George Bush used to
make decisions,'' Blanton said.
Still, they provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the discussion at the
highest levels of government during the fast collapse of the Soviet empire.
Despite Gorbachev's popularity in the West, after he removed Soviet troops
from Afghanistan and agreed to reduce forces in Eastern Europe, the CIA's
September 1989 analysis concluded, ``The chances that Gorbachev will
successfully overcome the dilemmas (many of his own making) that confront him
are - over the long term - doubtful at best.''
Two months later, CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence John Helgerson offered
a dissent to more upbeat views by other intelligence analysts. He cited a
``significant chance'' that Gorbachev ``will progressively lose control of
An April 25, 1991, document asserted: ``As a result of his political
meandering and policy failures, Gorbachev's credibility has sunk to near
zero.'' It raised the possibility that either he or Russian President Boris
Yeltsin could ``be assassinated with incalculable consequences.''
The documents reflect a view by senior CIA analysts that Gorbachev had
unleashed forces he was unable to control, that he underestimated ethnic
unrest and that his reform policies hastened Soviet economic decline rather
than easing it.
The CIA's assessments of Yeltsin, at least the ones made public, were more
charitable. ``Yeltsin is the only leader with mass appeal and with support
outside the his own republic,'' said the same April 1991 document.
``The administration was not always pleased by the answers it received from
the intelligence community, especially on the touchy subject of Gorbachev's
prospects,'' said a a CIA introduction to the declassified materials.
However, the material suggested that Bush became increasingly concerned about
Gorbachev's safety - even passing on June 20, 1991, information of an
``impending coup.'' Gorbachev ``dismisses it,'' according to the newly
Gorbachev survived an August 1991 coup attempt, but his authority after that
waned while Yeltsin's increased as president of Russia. On Dec. 25, Gorbachev
resigned and the Russian flag replaced the Soviet one over the Kremlin.
The CIA may have accurately predicted Gorbachev's problems, but the agency
was off on timing. It predicted in July 21 that the Communist Party would be
swept from power and the country reshaped within a ``five year time frame.''
Instead, it happened in six months.
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Helmer)
>From The Moscow Tribune, November 19, 1999
"Take us to the reservation or fight!" That was the last offer by the
greatest fighter who ever fought against the United States Army -- the
Apache chief, Geronimo.
The year was 1886, and Geronimo had been at war, first with the Mexicans,and
then with the Americans, for thirty years. Geronimo was 60 years old,
and having surrendered three times already, only to be betrayed each time by
the U.S. Army and Indian administration, it was too late for him to retrieve
any land at all.
As Geronimo learned later, President Cleveland had ordered the Army to
negotiate unconditional surrender with the Apaches, preserving just one
thing -- their lives. Even that, Cleveland and his generals hinted in their
telegrams to each other, they would willingly have disposed of, if the
opportunity presented itself. When Geronimo surrendered for the fourth
and final time, his band had dwindled to just 14 warriors. The imprisonment
that followed for years killed most of the Apaches.
Geronimo lived for another 23 years, and in that interval witnessed the
betrayal of every promise the U.S. government had given him; and the total
destruction of the Apache tribe's ancestral land and property. Even on his
deathbed, the army doctor tending Geronimo refused to send a telegram to
summon his children before he died.
"We are vanishing from the earth," Geronimo said of the ethnic cleansing
he had fought against. "Yet I cannot think we are useless, or Usen (God)
not have created us."
Russia has been too big, its army too powerful, and its generals too
victorious for too long to understand warfare from the point of view of the
small, the weak, and the defeated. This is hardly the time for the military
academies to start teaching this perspective, let alone the history of the
Indian wars. At the moment, Russia's generals have much the same attitude
towards the Chechen conflict as Generals Crook and Miles
exhibited towards the Apaches.
There is one lesson, however, which Russia's generals should study from
Geronimo's story, and the convictions he carried with him to his grave.
The United States government, Geronimo concluded, can never be counted
on to honour its agreements, especially not the agreements it reaches
with adversaries it can't catch or kill.
This week's pow-wow in Istanbul demonstrates how ridiculous it should be to
believe anything else. The lack of credibility of the treaties and
agreements to which the Istanbul states are signatories ought to be
Russia's point of emphasis. Instead, the Russian position is a
contradictory mix of claims that the campaign in Chechnya violates
none of those agreements; and that if there are violations, they
are no worse than those committed by the NATO alliance in Yugoslavia.
"Just to remind them," warns Colonel-General Anatoly Kornukov, the
Russian Air Force commander. "Russia is not Iraq, nor is it Yugoslavia.
Let them not think we are totally impotent."
This is the way to talk to a potential invader. It is hardly a justified
posture in a civil war.
In Istanbul itself -- presently occupied by a regime
that is founded on ethnic cleansing (Greeks and Kurds), genocide (Armenians),
and invasion of other people's territory (Cypriots, Syrians, and Iraqis) --
Russia's position should be to point out that noone in Europe or the United
States is presently honouring the treaty they all came to sign on limits for
Nor can the U.S. be counted on to honour the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty, or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The U.S.
does not even honour its financial obligations to the United Nations.
For the European governments to meet with the United States, Russia, Turkey,
and the bordering states and pretend to agreement on any military limit to
the use of force, inside or across their frontiers, is a joke. It shouldn't
require Geronimo's experience to see that nothing honourable is
intended, and nothing good will come of it. This is reason enough to
understand that the war for the Balkans and the war for the Caucasus
have now become the war for southern Russia.
November 18, 1999 Published at 16:03 GMT
Full text of Boris Yeltsin's speech
The following is the text of President Yeltsin's speech to the summit of the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul.
This OSCE summit is the last of the outgoing century, which means it can sum
up the results of our joint activity, but also - what is even more important
- elaborate common approaches to the future of Europe in the 21st Century.
Russia is firmly intent on businesslike co-operation in the context of this
summit. I am convinced that both for Russia and for other members of the OSCE
what is especially necessary is dialogue based on respect and not mutual
recriminations and moralizing.
We all have an equal interest in stability and security throughout Europe.
The years the OSCE has existed, and particularly this year, have given rise
to great expectations and at the same time to powerful disappointments.
Europe has found itself confronted with fresh challenges - challenges of a
global character, the nature of which is directly connected with changes in
the international climate and the difficulties of seeking new models for
Such dangers as breach of strategic stability, transnational crime and the
spread of nuclear weapons are at this time topical for all European states.
Finally, we have all felt what evil international terrorism brings.
These challenges can be successfully met only by acting together.
We, Russia, are prepared to work with others. I am convinced that stability
and security in Europe cannot be considered without taking Russia into
'No right to criticise Russia'
You have no right to criticise Russia over Chechnya.
A total of 1,580 people, the civilian population, suffered as a result of the
bloody wave of terrorist acts that swept over Moscow and other towns and
villages of our country.
The pain of this tragedy was felt by thousands of families in all corners of
Russia. In the past three years, terrorists kidnapped 935 hostages - not just
Russians, but Britons, Americans, Frenchmen.
Some 200 captives are still being held by bandits, and they are being
subjected to terrible torture - one simply cannot remain indifferent.
A sense of proportion and humanitarian action are not issues for terrorists.
Their aim is that of killing and destroying.
We are grateful to those who at difficult times showed solidarity with us,
with what the people of Russia are going through, and still are doing so.
Cancer of terrorism
At the same time, we do not accept the prescriptions of the so-called
objective critics of Russia, those who have failed to understand that we are
quite simply obliged to put a stop in good time to the spread of the
cancerous tumour of terrorism, to stop it spreading far beyond the North
Caucasus and even outside the Russian Federation.
Thousands of mercenaries, who have trained in camps on the territory of
Chechnya as well as come in from abroad, are actually preparing to impose
extremist ideas on the whole world.
We are well aware from which countries and through which countries the
terrorists are receiving support. In the immediate future I shall be calling
upon the leaders of these states to put a stop to this kind of activity.
International terrorism is throwing down a challenge, and not just to Russia.
It was not born in Russia and the terrorists' ultimate target is not at all
No talks with 'bandits'
I would like to stress here that a lasting peace in the Chechen republic and
so-called peace talks with the bandits are not the same thing, and I would
ask everyone to make no mistake about that.
There will be no talks with bandits and murderers.
We want peace and a political solution to the situation in Chechnya.
To achieve this, there has to be complete elimination of the gangs,
eradication of the terrorists or their prosecution.
Not all the ideas which have come up during discussion of the future of
Europe seem well-founded to us.
I refer to calls for humanitarian intervention in the affairs of another
state - a new idea, this - even when they are made under the pretext of
defending human rights and freedoms.
We all already know to what disproportionate consequences this kind of
intervention can lead - suffice to recall USA-led Nato aggression against
Now, on the threshold of a new era, it has become topical as never before
that the principal commandment of our joint actions in Europe should be: "Do
When signing today - and I stress the word today, because the Russian
delegation is flying back later today - the European Security Charter, we
regard it as a kind of code of honest and fair relations throughout OSCE, not
just a code of rights, but also a code of mutual responsibility.
We see it as a guarantee of safe and happy life in our continent. We see it
as our joint contribution to the formation of a multipolar world in the 21st
Century. Russia is willing to share this responsibility with all the nations
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999
From: "Nicolai N. Petro" <email@example.com>
Subject: ProJo Comment
I suspect you don't ordinarily peruse our local paper, The Providence Journal,
so I am sending you an article that appeared in it today. Perhaps the readers
of JRL would find it of interest.
The Providence Journal (Providence, RI) November 18, 1999
Russians look forlornly for ideals
By Phyllis Meras
Phyllis Meras, a freelance writer based on Martha's Vineyard, is a retired
Journal travel editor.
WEST TISBURY, Mass.
I HAVE RECENTLY returned from Russia. I was there at the time of the three
explosions that left dozens dead. Two of the explosions were in Moscow
apartment buildings, one in the southern Russian city of Volgodosk. Almost
immediately, the retaliatory bombing of the breakaway province of Chechnya,
heavily criticized in the West, began. Its militant Islamic fundamentalists
were blamed for the city bombings, and Russia insisted that they be punished.
The day of the first bombing, I had dinner with old friends in the same
ordinary apartment house as the one bombed. On my last Moscow visit, six years
ago, the family had made room for me in their small flat. Dmitri Babich, the
son of the family, is a journalist with the daily Russian -- and English --
language Moscow News.
This time, over dinner, we nervously watched the news of the bombing on
television. Isabella Babich was shuddering as the pictures of those injured in
the explosion flashed across the screen. In her more than 50 years of
Moscow, she had never seen anything like it, she said. Her husband, Oleg, a
nearly retired professor at the Air Force Academy in Moscow, nodded
In the two weeks I spent in Russia after the explosions, the fear was
A bus I was on on a major four-lane highway going into St. Petersburg was held
up for 41/2 hours by a police roadblock. The search was on for the "Moscow
Bomber." By then, a picture of the suspect, a native of the North Caucusus
where Chechnya lies, had appeared in the papers.
Since I have been back in the United States, I have talked with Dmitri about
the mood now in Russia. I have asked what news Russians are getting of what we
are told here is the indiscriminate bombing that is killing Chechen civilians.
As a journalist, Dmitri was in Chechnya during the war. I wondered if he might
be going back.
"No Russian journalist will go there now," he said. "Too many have been
kidnapped. To go, you must pay a $100 a day fee for a Chechen government guard
and be accompanied by a resistance fighter. A French journalist who thought he
could do it alone is missing.
"Of course, the Chechen fighters take the journalists they are leading to
villages and show them screaming women. There are always screaming women. Yes,
civilians are being killed, but we are getting at the Chechen resistance, too.
Mind you, I hate this war, but those Chechen devils simply have to be stopped.
Chechnya is becoming the center of Islamic fundamentalism. Our prime minister
has been trying to tell your President that. There are Pakistani and Saudi
fundamentalists there now. We even hear that that terrorist Bin Laden may be
"The West accuses Russia of being cruel in Chechnya, but the Chechens had
years in which to do something with their independence and establish a good
government, and they certainly haven't done it. Just think of some of the
things that have happened since independence. Think of those English
telecommunications experts who were kidnapped and beheaded. They don't do
things nicely in Chechnya. When I was there, they were showing the
firing squad of a woman who had been unfaithful to her husband.''
"Bear in mind that the bombings when you were here in Moscow were done by the
Chechens, and before that they were bombing and attacking Dagastan. Dagastan,
remember, is still part of Russia. We're not trying to expand our territory to
include Chechnya again, but we are trying to protect Dagastan. These are
difficult times for us in many ways."
Clearly, on my visit, that was the case.
When I was in Russia six years ago, I had been glimpsing the early, hopeful
days of the new Russia. Now capitalism -- of a sort -- has made its changes.
Chomping on a 20-cent Ben and Jerry's White Russian ice cream cone in the
factory store in the provincial city of Petrozavodsk, I thought back to when I
had been in the old USSR. Then, I had often hungrily stood on a long line at a
Moscow street corner, waiting for a scoop of vanilla to be carefully weighed
out for me by a vendor in surgical white.
But now there is Ben and Jerry's and Pizza Hut and McDonald's and Kentucky
On St. Petersburg's main shopping street of Nevsky Prospekt, Versaci and
and Phillips Electronics have stores. Neon lights advertise Fuji Film. A Honda
banner streams over the street. Almost as many advertising signs are in Latin
as in Cyrillic script.
But on the sidewalk above the Nevsky Prospekt metro station, bent old women in
babushkas offer kittens or fading garden flowers for a ruble or two. (There
25 rubles to a dollar these days.) A pensioner gets the ruble equivalent of
a month now and those without family to help out have a hard time of it.
"We gave our childhood and our youth to the war," they say, "our middle age to
communism, and now we have nothing."
A 26-year-old teacher of French and English working nights selling
a theater says window-shopping on Nevsky Prospekt makes her upset. "I can't go
inside to buy. I make only $100 a month. Only the New Russians can afford to
buy in those places. Who are the New Russians? Who knows? All we know is that
they are rich and probably have friends in high places."
(The New Russians, according to the Russian history professor from Minsk who
was the lecturer on the Grand Circle cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg that
had taken me back to Russia, "are fabulously wealthy and showy people. Most of
them, at the break-up of the USSR when our new laws didn't work yet,
buy furniture, apartments and shops at low prices and sold them at high
On my evening with the Babiches, we not only talked about the bombings but of
Russian neo-Nazis. There are quite a few, Dmitri said, and they have weekly
open meetings in a Moscow park. We also talked of the expos of Russian money
laundered in the United States.
We talked of unemployment (about 12 percent across the country, but virtually
nothing in prosperous Moscow, according to Dima). We discussed high taxes and
people's refusal to report their full income and be taxed on it.
"For a Russian, it's unthinkable to give back any of the money you've earned,"
I learned that my host and hostesses' life savings of $6,000 had become $3,000
with the August 1998 devaluation of the ruble. In the months that followed,
inflation was at 200 percent, and even though there was some increase in
salaries, it hardly helped. Oleg Babich will manage in retirement, but it will
not be easy.
Just now, in addition to the economic and Chechen crises, crime is weighing on
"We have corruption in almost all spheres of life," the Minsk professor said.
"Organized crime is in nearly every bank and government agency. Virtually
owner of a shop pays a racketeer for protection. Thousands of Russians a year
are murdered these days.''
A school administrator in Petrozavodsk said her Communist parents could see no
future for Russia until, once again, its people have ideals. "You cannot live
only to make money,'' they say. ``Perhaps our generation was not right, but at
least we had goals and ideals. You cannot prosper without them.'"
Los Angeles Times
18 November 1999
[for personal use only]
U.S.-Backed Caspian Oil Project to Skirt Russia
Energy: Plan for pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey would
further erode Kremlin's grip on region and is likely to add to Moscow's
tensions with West at Istanbul summit.
By JAMES GERSTENZANG, RICHARD C. PADDOCK, Times Staff Writers
ISTANBUL, Turkey--The United States, Turkey and two Caspian Basin
nations will announce agreement today on a plan to build a 1,240-mile
pipeline that would tap rich oil fields in Central Asia while further
weakening Russia's grip on a region once firmly in the Soviet orbit.
The $2.4-billion project would carry up to 1 million barrels of oil a
day from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, through Georgia before finally
reaching Ceyhan, a Turkish port on the Mediterranean Sea, where it would be
pumped aboard tankers.
The agreement, while coming as no surprise to Moscow, is sure to cause
friction in what was already expected to be a difficult meeting today between
President Clinton and Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin on the fringes of a
European summit here.
U.S. officials, uncertain how Yeltsin will respond to increasing Western
pressure to restrain the Russian war in the separatist republic of Chechnya,
are approaching the meeting with the Russian leader with some trepidation.
"It is possible they will go on the offensive to avoid being put on the
defensive," a senior Clinton administration official said, adding, "There is
no such thing as a predictable meeting with Yeltsin."
The Russian president sounded defiant on his arrival in Istanbul.
Asked whether Russia will reach an understanding on Chechnya with the
West during the two-day summit, he replied: "I hope that, on the contrary,
everyone will realize that in Chechnya, Russia is acting in compliance with
international, civilized standards and rules. . . . I am sure this will
happen, especially after my speech at the summit."
Recognizing that the oil pipeline project will add fuel to the fire,
U.S. National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger on Wednesday tried to
reassure Moscow on the plan, saying, "This is not directed against Russia in
Russia made a last-ditch bid two weeks ago to halt the project,
dispatching a deputy prime minister to Azerbaijan and seeking to maintain
support for an existing distribution system that crosses Chechnya. But the
mission failed, with investors concerned about the risk to any pipeline built
through a region where Russian troops are battling Islamic insurgents.
Geopolitical issues were the key factor in the Clinton administration's
push for the Turkish pipeline route.
The oil-rich Caspian states are landlocked. To move the oil to Western
markets, pipeline builders had three choices: Move the oil by pipeline north
into Russia, south into Iran or west, toward Turkey.
By opting for the westward route, the United States and its partners in
the region are moving to loosen the potential grip by Moscow and Tehran on
the Caspian oil spigot--and, administration officials figure, similarly
restrict Russian and Iranian influence in the region and beyond.
"The route is not news. The U.S. government has been pushing for it
since 1997. It's an obsession of the U.S. government that it go through
Turkey," said Julia Nanay, director of Petroleum Finance Co. in Washington.
"The news is the cost issue and who's going to pay for it."
Nanay said cost is an issue because there may be too little oil in
Azerbaijan to justify the length and cost of a Baku-Turkey pipeline on a
strictly commercial basis. That's why lead Caspian Sea oil developer BP Amoco
had pushed for a shorter route before acceding to the U.S. plan last month.
"The question is where the oil is going to come from," Nanay added. "For
the pipeline to have enough oil to be economically viable, oil from
Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan will probably be added," she said.
The administration conceded Wednesday that commercial negotiations
covering the financing of the pipeline--and additional political
negotiations--must still be completed. Participating oil companies must still
negotiate agreements pledging shipment of specific volumes of oil to obtain
the necessary financing.
The pipeline, which is to be completed by 2004, will largely serve
refineries along the Mediterranean and in Western Europe, but it will have a
global impact by reducing reliance on Persian Gulf oil supplies.
Completion of the pipeline, said a senior Clinton administration
official, will be "a transforming event" in the struggling region: "It will
become a commercial corridor and strategic magnet to the West."
Clinton will sign the agreement today as a witness, along with the
participants in the project: Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Clinton is on a 10-day European trip. He spent much of Wednesday
sightseeing in the ancient city of Ephesus on the Aegean coast of Turkey and
met for 30 minutes with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Berger reported that the leaders discussed unresolved differences
between Israel and the Palestinians but made no progress.
Today, the focus of Clinton's schedule is the summit of the 54-nation
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The summit was called to
consider issues across a broad spectrum and to take stock of European
diplomacy and security at the end of the century, but like so many such
gatherings, one issue threatens to galvanize attention--in this case, the
fighting in Chechnya.
A top Russian official hinted Wednesday that Moscow expects to regain
control over Chechnya by February, declaring that all refugees who have fled
the fighting will be returned to their homes by then.
Russian Emergency Services Minister Sergei K. Shoigu, the point man for
dealing with the refugee crisis, said Russia had a three-stage plan for the
return of refugees by February, but he stopped short of promising that the
war would be over by then.
"I said only what I said, and I count on your guesswork," Shoigu told
reporters here. His statement marked the first time a Russian Cabinet
minister had suggested a timetable for ending the war--albeit one that some
might consider overly optimistic.
His comments appeared designed to defuse some of the harsh criticism
that Russia expects to receive at the summit.
The West is torn on the issue of Chechnya: Clinton acknowledges Russia's
right to counter what the Kremlin views as a terrorist threat, and he
recognizes the political popularity among Russians for the military campaign.
But he opposes tactics that have produced large numbers of civilian
casualties and 200,000 refugees.
"The situation is a mess for Russia," one senior Clinton administration
* Times staff writer Chris Kraul in San Diego contributed to this
Russian Nuclear Expert Charged with Treason
MOSCOW, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Russia's FSB counter-intelligence service said on
Thursday it had charged a leading nuclear arms expert with treason, a
catch-all that covers spying.
An FSB spokesman told Reuters Igor Sutyagin, who works at the prestigious USA
and Canada Institute in Moscow, was being investigated under Article 275 of
the criminal code -- high treason.
"I confirm he is been charged with treason," the spokesman said by telephone
from the Kaluga regional FSB office southwest of Moscow. "As we are
investigating we cannot give any details."
Sutyagin heads the military and technical studies section at the research
institute in Moscow and is an acknowledged expert on strategic nuclear
"They are investigating him under the suspicion of spying for a foreign
state," the institute's director, Sergei Rogov, told Reuters. "It is a very
serious matter. Of course, it is only the court which could decide whether he
is guilty or not."
Rogov said no employee had access to secret documents.
It was not clear which state Sutyagin was suspected of spying for but the
Washington Post quoted unidentified sources as saying it was the United
Relations between Washington and Moscow are under strain, including in the
area of arms control.
Pavel Podvig, editor of a Russian-language reference work on Russia's nuclear
weapons, said by telephone Sutyagin's apartment had first been searched on
October 27 and he had been charged on November 5 by the FSB, one of the
successors to the KGB security police.
"I'm 100 percent confident he didn't do anything wrong," Podvig said.
Sutyagin, a physics graduate, worked with Podvig on the reference book and is
listed as one of its contributors. Podvig said his own apartment had been
searched twice and the FSB confiscated all the remaining 500-600 copies of
A U.S. academic, Joshua Handler, was also questioned in the Sutyagin case and
his Moscow flat was searched. He has since left Moscow.
A number of Russian military researchers have been investigated or charged in
recent months in unrelated incidents.
A Russian military court sentenced a military journalist, Grigory Pasko, to
three years in jail in July for disclosing classified material but dropped
espionage charges and freed him under an amnesty.
Over 65 PC Russians Back Force Methods in Chechnya.
MOSCOW, November 18 (Itar-Tass) - Over 65 percent of Russians back force
methods in Chechnya. Out of the total, more than 45 percent favour combat
operation down to complete destruction of armed gangs, says a public opinion
poll, the results of which were supplied to Itar-Tass by the ROMIR
independent research centre here on Thursday.
Asked to what extent respondents back force measures, taken by the Russian
leadership in Chechnya, 38.8 percent of the polled replied that they support
them fully. Another 27.6 percent of respondents acknowledged that they are
likely to support force measures of the Russian leadership than not.
Only 14.8 percent of the polled are likely not to support these measures. A
total of 10.9 percent of Russians fully oppose force measures in Chechnya. As
many as 7.9 percent of respondents had difficulties with replying to this
Nearly 50 percent of Russians (47.7 percent) claimed that Russia should wage
combat operations in Chechnya till complete annihilation of armed gangs. The
idea of strengthening the border and establishing a sanitary conrdon was
supported by 27.4 percent of Russians.
Incidentally, 13.9 percent of respondents believe it expedient for Russia to
recognise Chechnya's independence. Some people (4.3 percent) believe that the
state should not prevent Chechnya from creating an Islamic state there, with
6.6 percent of respondents experiencing difficulties in replying to this
At the same time, 40.2 percent of Russians expressed apprehensions that the
threat of Chechen terrorism will increase in the near future. On the other
hand, 25.3 percent of Russians see a decline in this threat, with 22.1
percent claiming that the situation will remain the same. Difficulties with
replying to this question were experienced by 12.4 percent of the polled.
A total of 2,000 respondents participated in the poll which was conducted in
41 subjects of the Russian Federation.
Russia to Accept High-Level Chechnya Peace Mission, US Says
Istanbul, Nov. 18 (Bloomberg
)</A> -- Russia will sign a declaration tomorrow that would allow a
high-level mission to travel to Chechnya in a bid to pave the way for
negotiations to end Russia's military crackdown in the rebel province, U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said.
The more than 50 leaders of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe are expected to endorse three documents: a declaration that would
allow the OSCE chairman to travel to Chechnya to push for peace talks, an
amendment to the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty and a charter for the
``We came here trying to do something about the humanitarian situation in
Chechnya and we managed to get agreement on lots of parts of it,'' Albright
said after Russia agreed to invite the sitting OSCE chairman to Chechnya on a
mission to start peace talks. ``We've been given more tools to deal with''
the Chechen conflict, she said.
Russia's shift came after President Boris Yeltsin had rejected Clinton's
calls to allow the OSCE to mediate an end to the war. Yeltsin, who has seen
Russians' support for the war grow ahead of next month's parliamentary
elections, told other leaders at the summit that ``there will be no
negotiation with bandits.''
While Yeltsin returned to Moscow, his foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, agreed
to the OSCE mission, Albright said. The visit will take place ``soon,'' she
said without giving details.
U.S. National Security Council chairman Sandy Berger tried to soft-pedal the
dispute. ``We're not suggesting he should sit down with those forces who in
fact have been killing innocent people,'' he said. ``No one disputes the fact
Chechnya is a haven for terrorists but there are some factions that aren't.
An intermediary here may be able'' to find them.
The Russians now may sign a new OSCE charter, said Andreas Michaelis, a
German Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The war against Chechnya, where civilians have been kidnapped and Islamic
militants have attacked villages in neighboring republics, is popular in
Russia, opinion polls show. Russian forces lost a war in Chechnya that lasted
from 1994 to 1996; an estimated 80,000 people died in the bloodshed.
``The pain of this tragedy has been felt by thousands of families in every
corner of Russia,'' Yeltsin said.
Yeltsin said Chechens have kidnapped 935 hostages in the past three years,
and about 200 prisoners are still ``being held by the bandits and they are
suffering atrocious torments.''
Opposition from the U.S. and European Union to Russia's war in Chechnya has
mounted as about 200,000 refugees fled air and artillery strikes and now live
in tents and train cars in neighboring Russian regions. Chechen leaders
estimate civilian casualties at 4,000.
Clinton challenged Russia to reverse a strategy he said would only help
spread extremism. ``What (we) fear is that the means Russia has chosen will
undermine its ends,'' Clinton said at the summit, just before meeting
privately with Yeltsin.
``If the violence continues, the extremism they are trying to combat will
only be intensified,'' he said. ``The strength Russia rightly is trying to
build could be eroded by an endless cycle of violence.''
Mediation is the only way to end the fighting, Clinton said. ``In order to
isolate and undermine terrorists, there should be a political dialogue and a
political settlement -- not with terrorists but those who seek a peaceful
resolution,'' he said. ``The OSCE and others can play a role in facilitating
Russia: Analyst Comments On New Cold War Scare
By Sophie Lambroschini
As the conflict in Chechnya dominates discussions at the OSCE summit in
Istanbul, Russian media are talking of a "new Cold War." RFE/RL correspondent
Sophie Lambroschini talks to a Russian political analyst about the deepening
mistrust between Russia and the West.
Prague, 18 November 1999 (RFE/RL) -- International calls to put an end to
civilian casualties in Chechnya first sparked Russian indignation about
foreign intervention in its domestic affairs. But increasingly for many
Russian commentators, the issue at stake is becoming not Chechnya, but a more
primal dispute: Russia vs. the West.
Over the past several weeks, government-influenced television and newspapers
have been churning out anti-Western rhetoric. These media commentators say
the West has masterminded a plan to bring Russia to its knees by compromising
Russia's interests in the Caucasus and practicing financial blackmail.
Recently, the same media accused former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov of
conspiring with the United States to overthrow current Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin by sabotaging his Chechen policy.
A Russian government representative told RFE/RL last week that the government
considers this information to be, in her words, "close to the truth."
Sergey Rogov is the director of the USA and Canada Institute, a Russian
think-tank. He tells RFE/RL that the tension between Russia and the West over
the conflict in Chechnya is worsening relations that were already strained by
NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia and Russia's financial problems. He says these
events have heightened mutual distrust. But contrary to the view of some
Russian commentators, Rogov says the tension is not beneficial for the West.
"You can be sure that in the case of a confrontation with the West, neither
market reforms nor political democracy could hold for long in Russia. And it
would be silly for the West to make Russia into a new geopolitical opponent,
some sort of Weimar Russia that could become China's strategic partner. But
today other ideas are dominant in the United States, because a lot of
illusions [they had about] Russia failed to come true. So today, they want to
show more toughness."
Rogov says that one of the most urgent issues at hand is a rethinking of arms
control treaties. He explains why Russia seeks to amend the Conventional
Forces in Europe treaty (CFE), which Moscow has violated by sending troops
and weaponry into Chechnya.
"The CFE treaty was supposed to regulate and support an ideal parity between
NATO and the Warsaw Pact. But the Warsaw Pact disappeared a long time ago.
Because of inertia, both sides kept the limits, but [today] they lack all
rational grounds. For example, why can Belarus have 1.5 times more tanks on
its territory than France? And the treaty includes only half of the European
countries. With such a composition it cannot be a basis for European peace
and security. For example, in case of NATO enlargement, if the Baltic states
or the Scandinavian states enter into the alliance, [those states] wouldn't
fall under any limits."
Rogov says the Russian violation of the CFE's limits for the Caucasian flank
is also a Cold War leftover, because such flank limitations have disappeared
almost everywhere else with the redrawing of borders in Europe.
But he says the danger is that the growing tensions could lead to a complete
destruction of carefully constructed disarmament systems.
"If next summer Clinton's administration takes such a step as to announce the
deployment of a national anti-ballistic missile system, it would probably
automatically provoke Russia to step out of the START-ONE treaty. [There are
all] the more chances that this could happen since it will be on the eve of a
Russian presidential election. So such a reaction looks very probable. The
whole arms control regime could break into pieces."
Far from siding with the advocates of a Western conspiracy against Russia,
Rogov thinks that the United States, in its foreign policy, has not been
taking into account domestic politics in Russia ahead of parliamentary and
presidential elections. And Rogov says that Russian authorities that are
classified as reformers do not hesitate to use propaganda techniques that
sometimes surpass the Soviets.
"There's an electoral campaign going on here in Russia. There is the wish to
heap [everything] on the West -- the failure of interior reforms and all our
problems from corruption to Chechnya. And to present the West as some kind of
eternal enemy of Russia. I hope that in Istanbul [at the OSCE summit], the
state leaders will be guided by other ideas than political conjecture. Both
in Russia and in the West, radical circles don't play a key role [in
politics]. And actually I'm worried about the fact that some of our leaders
who were known as the brightest reformers with tight links in the U.S. and
with unlimited support from the West are all of a sudden thinking out loud
like [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky. [They're] branding with infamy and accusing of
betrayal everyone who expresses doubt about the political and military
tactics applied in Chechnya."
Rogov explains that Russians saw NATO's intervention in Kosovo as an act that
destroyed the whole post-Cold War logic that regional problems can only be
solved peacefully. The message Russia got, he says, is that now you can also
solve problems by using a big stick.