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18 April 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Clinton to meet Putin in Moscow June 4-5.
2. Reuters: Who succeeds Putin in case of death or injury?
3. Reuters: Putin's passion meets Blair's understanding.
4. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: It Meant Little, and Reveals Less.
5. Bloomberg: Russia to Increase Domestic Gas Prices Starting May 1.
6. Itar-Tass: Zyuganov Says Duma May Confirm Kasyanov as PM if Nominated.
7. Itar-Tass: RUSSIA'S Economic Programme Is Being Drafted, Kasyanov
8. Reuters: Putin Memoir to Appear on Internet.
9. APN: Russia without Satan.
10. Moscow Times: Konstantin Preobrazhensky, Resurgent KGB.
11. gazeta.ru: FSB Detains Moscow Blasts Suspects.
12. RFE/RL: Askold Krushelnycky, Ukraine: Voters Support More Powers
For The President.
13. Reuters: Chechens eke out a living -- by stealing petrol.
14. John Wilhelm: Andrei Illarionov.
15. AP: Russia High Court Clears Researcher. (Nikitin)]
Clinton to meet Putin in Moscow June 4-5
EAST PALO ALTO, Calif., April 17 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton will hold
his first summit with Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin in Moscow on
June 4 and 5, the White House announced on Monday.
In a written statement, the White House said Clinton will also visit Kiev,
Ukraine on June 6, as part of a trip in which he will attend a U.S.-European
Union summit in Lisbon May 30 through June 1, and travel to the German cities
of Aachen and Berlin on June 1-3.
In Moscow, the White House said Clinton would meet with Putin and other
``The president also hopes to use his visit to speak to a broad spectrum of
Russian leaders who are building new democratic institutions, civil society
and a market economy,'' the White House said.
Clinton spoke to Putin for about 10 minutes on Saturday by telephone. The
White House said he congratulated Putin on the Russian parliament's vote to
approve the long-delayed START-2 arms control treaty.
At the time White House officials said the two leaders at their summit would
discuss a START-3 treaty that would make more reductions in nuclear warheads,
as well as Russia's conflict in the breakaway region of Chechnya, economic
reform in Russia and Washington's desire to modify the 1972 Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty to be able to deploy a national missile defence.
Who succeeds Putin in case of death or injury?
April 17, 2000
By Andrei Shukshin
MOSCOW (Reuters) - President-elect Vladimir Putin's abandoning of a
self-imposed foreign travel ban highlights legal problems Russia could face
if he died or were badly injured, a leading law expert said Monday.
Putin, elected president on March 26, remains in the post of prime minister,
which he has held since last August. He imposed the travel ban on grounds
that as he held both top jobs he could not be absent from the country.
Sudden death or inability to continue in office leaves open the question of
who would succeed him. The constitution authorizes only the prime minister to
take over the president's duties.
A spokeswoman for the Constitutional Court, Russia's highest authority in
constitutional law, said the situation was so delicate that none of its 19
judges wanted to comment unless the court was summoned to make a formal
A Kremlin spokesman also declined all comment.
But Suren Abakyan, head of the faculty of constitutional law at Moscow
University, suggested the job was likely to fall to Putin's highest placed
minister -- First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. Kasyanov is tipped
to become prime minister after the president-elect's inauguration on May 7.
``If something happens to Putin, it is an open-end situation,'' Abakyan said
by telephone. ``We have nothing like the U.S. constitution which specifically
names, in order, 14 officials bound to take office.''
By law, a presidential election is to be called within three months if the
president steps down early. The prime minister becomes acting president in
the interim period -- as Putin did when Boris Yeltsin resigned on New Year's
FIRST DEPUTY PM KASYANOV MOST LIKELY SUCCESSOR
Abakyan said the only legal document offering a clue on who might succeed
Putin was the law on the government which stipulated that a deputy prime
minister takes over if the prime minister gives up his office.
``But the constitution makes no mention of an acting prime minister
fulfilling presidential duties,'' he said. Logic, he said, dictated that
Kasyanov, as first deputy prime minister, would take charge despite a lack of
``If something happens, naturally, Kasyanov will become acting president. Not
because the law clearly points to him, but because in the situation of legal
instability and in the face of looming chaos he will have to take power to
Complicating the problem even further, Kasyanov himself left Moscow last week
for International Monetary Fund-World Bank meetings in Washington.
``If something happens to him, it will be even worse because after Kasyanov,
the next in line are several deputy prime ministers who could start arguing
who is first,'' Abakyanov said.
Putin gave no reason for lifting the travel ban when he left Moscow Sunday
for Britain -- with stops in two former Soviet republics, Belarus on the way
there and Ukraine on the way back.
Since entering the Kremlin, Putin has flown in the back seat of a Sukhoi-27
fighter jet over Russia's rebel Chechnya province and gone on an underwater
mission aboard a nuclear submarine.
Putin's passion meets Blair's understanding
By Susan Cornwell
LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - The Russian leader was the passsionate one, the
British leader more cool and collected.
But if Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin came to London seeking
understanding from Prime Minister Tony Blair, then his visit on Monday would
seem to have been a success.
Speaking to reporters, Blair argued for a "bridge of understanding" with
Russia and seemed to see himself as its keystone.
Britain and Russia will have regular meetings, Blair announced. He said he
saw himself as a mediator between Russia and the United States on the
anti-ballistic missile treaty, and he even urged reporters to consider what
was behind Putin's controversial policy of crushing dissent in separatist
After Putin spent several minutes fuming about Islamic extremists in Chechnya
and warning that the rest of the world should wake up to the threat, Blair
observed: "I think you will have heard the passion ...
"I think it's important we realise how deeply held that belief is," Blair
Putin's temper showed briefly again at another moment when he denounced as
"hyperbole" a reporter's question about "gangsters" in Russia's economy.
HE "TALKS OUR LANGUAGE"
Blair, who had spent some three hours with Putin in talks and lunch, opened
the news conference by introducing him as someone whose leadership that could
be the basis for more pragmatic links between Russia and the West.
"I believe that Vladimir Putin is a leader who is ready to embrace a new
relationship with the EU and the United States," Blair said.
"There is no doubt he talks our language on reform," the British prime
If the West competed with Russia, problems could perhaps be contained, "but
if we work with Russia as full partners, we open up possibilities of solving
some of the world's problems," Blair said.
It was Putin's first appearance on the world stage as the new leader of
Russia. A former KGB spy, he took over when Boris Yeltsin abruptly resigned
on New Year's Eve and endorsed by the voters last month.
Blair, who next month will be 47, the same age as Putin, visited Putin in St
Petersburg last month even before the presidential elections.
And to some ears Putin already seemed to be picking up some of Blair's
language, referring to the "new Russia" -- somewhat reminiscent of Blair's
1997 campaign slogan, "New Labour, New Britain."
Blair indicated they may be on a first name basis. After Putin was asked at
one point how it felt to be having tea with Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Blair
said, "I can't give you any advice on how to answer the latter part of that
But Putin seemed not to need any advice. He didn't answer the question at
all, choosing instead to address himself to the previous question to Blair,
about world market turbulence.
With some British opposition politicians and human rights advocates
criticising Blair as naive for having received Putin in the wake of alleged
human rights atrocities by Russian forces in Chechnya, Downing Street
remained on the defensive about any characterisation of the two men as
"Look, it's only the second time they've met," Blair's spokesman said.
April 18, 2000
EDITORIAL: It Meant Little, and Reveals Less
"If the foreign minister is implicated in maintaining contacts with
representatives of foreign states that go beyond the boundaries of his
official duties, then he - as with any other members of the government, State
Duma deputies, heads of [parliamentary] factions, and as with all citizens of
the Russian Federation - will be subject to a particular procedure in
correspondence with criminal law. And it must be said that recent operations
being carried out by the Federal Security Service suggest that this is
entirely possible." - Vladimir Putin at the Duma on Friday.
When President-elect Putin urged the State Duma to ratify START II, this was
apparently one of his behind-closed-doors comments: A confusing warning that
seems to say that Russian citizens who have contacts with representatives of
foreign states must be able to defend those contacts as necessary to their
occupations - or be "subject to a particular procedure."
Traditionally liberal media such as Kommersant and NTV's Sunday "Itogi" saw
this as an eyebrow-raising remark. After all, it could conceivably be
understood to govern, say, getting a visa to visit the United States, or
giving a tour of a school or hospital to a visiting French parliamentarian.
But despite all the hand-wringing this remark has provoked, there's little
here of significance - just an unfortunately phrased, off-the-cuff statement.
It does not seem to reflect any new government policy. And it was made in a
very specific context: Trying to out-tough the Communists during the START II
Putin did not himself bring up the foreign minister's foreign contacts. He
was defending Igor Ivanov from an allegation by Communist leader Gennady
Zyuganov that his foreign minister has too many ties with the West. Putin was
apparently trying to definitively put down Zyuganov with the message that
Putin is even less likely to tolerate a traitor - and more likely to catch
him - than is Zyuganov.
It is true, of course, that Putin betrays himself here as a former KGB agent
- someone who has long looked at the West as both an intriguing potential
ally and a potentially dangerous competitor - and as a colorless bureaucrat
capable of stringing together a phrase like "will be subject to a particular
procedure in correspondence with criminal law," to say nothing of the
baffling continuation that "recent operations being carried out by the
Federal Security Service suggest that this is entirely possible" (what is
But we already knew that much about Putin. So what's the sensation?
- Matt Bivens
Russia to Increase Domestic Gas Prices Starting May 1
Moscow, April 17 (Bloomberg)
-- Russia plans to increase domestic natural gas prices to businesses
and households beginning May 1 to help cover costs at OAO Gazprom, Russia's
natural gas monopoly and largest company.
Gas prices for industrial users will rise an average 21 percent, the
government said, without saying how much it hoped to raise in the rate
increase. Household prices will climb an average 15 percent. The new rates
also vary by region.
``We analyzed Gazprom's growing expenses for replacing pipes and electricity
charges,'' said Andrey Zadernyuk, chairman of the Federal Energy Commission.
``The company requested a 42 percent increase, which we could not justify.''
Gazprom has been reporting falling gas production because it lacks funds to
invest in extracting natural gas from deposits. Domestic industrial and
household consumers owe more than 100 billion rubles ($3.51 million) in
overdue payments to Gazprom. OAO Mezhregiongaz, Gazprom's marketing
subsidiary, collected 30.2 percent of its payments from Russian customers in
cash last year, compared with 20 percent in 1998.
The rate increase comes after RAO Unified Energy Systems, Russia's monopoly
electricity utility, said it would cut power to this quarter to some
customers for unpaid bills. State-owned companies and government agencies owe
15 billion rubles to UES and 1.3 billion rubles to Gazprom.
Rates for industry are currently an average of 308 rubles per 1,000 cubic
meters and 212 rubles a 1,000 cubic meters for household consumers, according
to the Ministry of Fuel and Energy statistics. The average price for natural
gas exported to Western Europe is $80 per cubic meter, according to Gazprom.
``The Federal Energy Commission serves as a government regulator for the gas
prices,'' said Vladimir Nosov, an analyst with Moscow-based Fleming UCB
brokerage. ``All the revenue goes to Gazprom.''
The state does not have a legal mechanism to ensure that part of the extra
revenue generated from price increases is spent towards production projects,
said Nosov. The price increase will also boost the volume of unpaid gas
bills, as some Gazprom customers won't be able to pay the new rates in full.
The government last raised rates in October, 16 percent for industry and 5
percent for households. Before that, the last price raise was in 1996.
Russia has produced 590.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year, of
which Gazprom, the world's largest gas company by reserves, extracted 545.6
billion cubic meters of gas.
Zyuganov Says Duma May Confirm Kasyanov as PM if Nominated. .
MOSCOW, April 17 (Itar-Tass) - Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said
a candidate for premiership should have profound knowledge of industry.
In an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station broadcast live on Monday,
Zyuganov said his party has not considered possible Communist candidates for
the post of prime minister.
He believes that the State Duma would confirm Mikhail Kasyanov as prime
minister if he were nominated by the president- elect.
Zyuganov noted that Kasyanov "has good knowledge of finance".
RUSSIA'S Economic Programme Is Being Drafted, Kasyanov Says. .
MOSCOW, April 17 (Itar-Tass) - The programme for Russia's economic
development is now being drawn up, First Vice-Premier and Finance Minister
Mikhail Kasyanov told the newspaper Izvestia. The interview with him is
published in the Monday issue of the daily. He said that it would have three
sections. The first one will deal with the country's strategic development in
the coming ten years, the second, more detailed one, will cover a four-year
period, and the last, still more detalised section -- the next eighteen
months. "We shall presumably ask the International Monetary Fund to back a
part of this programme -- most likely its last section," the vice-premier
stated. In his opinion, "this document, which can be called a programme, will
be ready by the end of May or early in June".
Dwelling on the G-8 meeting, which was held at the level of finance ministers
on April 15, Kasyanov, who represented Russia there, noted that the Russian
leadership was well aware of the difficulty of the economic problems that are
facing it. "It is most important for us to prevent the expectations of
Russian people and of international organisations from being merely
expectations," the vice-premier stressed.
"We are waiting for the West to confirm its readiness to back up our desire
to carry out market reforms and to resolve the accumulated problems,"
Kasyanov stated. "We have already learned how to promote macroeconomic
stability, and our task today is to achieve stabilisation at micro-level, at
the level of enterprises," he added.
Asked whether the executive authorities were ready to sacrifice some of their
reputation by submitting to the State Duma some bills that "will not add any
popularity to the cabinet," Kasyanov said: "The realisation is bound to
appear that some political resources will have to be spent to carry out the
programme, to do sometimes unpopular things."
Putin Memoir to Appear on Internet
April 17, 2000
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin will be emulating
best-selling horror story writer Stephen King as a cyberspace author later
Putin, whose inauguration is May 7, is making his translated memoirs "First
Person" available on the Internet at the same time it lands in U.S.
bookstores on the weekend of April 29 and 30, U.S. publisher PublicAffairs
Putin's book follows the example of King, who last month published his latest
ghost story "Riding the Bullet" exclusively on the Internet.
"In addition to having a printed version of the (Putin) book available
everywhere there will also be an e-version," said publisher Peter Osnos of
New York-based PublicAffairs.
His company struck a deal with netLibrary, a Boulder, Colorado, electronic
distributor that obtained exclusive rights to issue Putin's book over the
Internet on its Peanut Press Web site http://www.peanutpress.com. Readers
will be able to read the book online by personal computer or on a Palm Pilot.
"We were putting the print book together as the Stephen King book came out so
we looked into it and decided we should be doing this too," PublicAffairs
publicity director Gene Taft said.
"First Person" is based on interviews the former KGB security police spy
Putin did with three Russian journalists over a period of a week to 10 days.
The memoir has been published in Russian but will not appear on the Internet
17 April, 2000
Russia without Satan
Prominent Russian political analysts Iosif DISKIN, Valery KHOMYAKOV and
Alexei CHESNAKOV make comments, specially for APN, on after-effect of the
START II treaty which has been ratified by the State Duma stipulating to
scrap Russian CC-20 nuclear missiles called «Satan» in the West.
Russia won independence from Ukraine
Iosif DISKIN, doctor of economy, political analyst: Ratification of the
START II treaty is a positive factor for us. First, it gives a chance to
reduce Russia`s dependence on Ukraine. Most part of CC-20 missiles which
the lefts insist to have preserved are produced in Ukraine. If Russia had
kept refusing to ratify the START II treaty Americans could have pressed on
Ukraine. As a result we could have no strategic nuclear arms and no
Besides it has been an important move toward a strategic meeting of the
Great Seven in Japan. Putin demonstrates his openness to the West and
being ready to have a dialogue with it.
The approval of the treaty opens the way to global stabilisation through
the decision to reduce limits of nuclear warheads, in other words it is a
way to the START III treaty. If this treaty is under discussion other
nuclear powers will join consultations: France, Britain and China.
We kill all birds with one stone
Valery KHOMYKOV, director of Agency for Applied and Regional Politics: The
mere fact of ratification shrinks a negative effect the PACE resolution has
caused. The PACE resolution is a path to international isolation of Russia.
Ratification of the START II treaty offers a way to take Russia back in
There are important military consequences. There are a lot of worn-out
wells in Russia with their life time having been expired. They need to be
modernised or replace. In the given situation we dismantle them as if in
the performance of the treaty. So we kill two birds with one stone – have
Russia`s image improved and our military and strategic matters settled.
The third aspect: we hinder US in going on with a new Anti-Ballistic
Missile (AMB) system. Some of politicians in US Congress say that they need
the new AMB system because Russia has not ratified the START II treaty. The
idea has been well getting in average citizens` heads. Ratification
deprives the politicians, who are lobbing ABM, of this argument.
Subject of wrangling has not been existed anymore
Alexei CHESNAKOV, director of Political Situation Foundation: Ratification
of the START II treaty witnesses that Putin effectively controls
pro-government Duma factions. The ratification seven years after the treaty
had been signed demonstrates the new President-elect being able to control
the parliament at large. Denial to ratify the treaty would have ruined
Putin`s reputation. Those abroad would have done a simple conclusion that
it has been him to instruct the State Duma to wreck ratification in order
to have more chances to bargain with Americans.
For Russia, ratification is ambivalent. Having ratified the treaty we gave
a chance to the Clinton-Gore administration to say, within the framework of
presidential campaign in US, that a policy to cooperate with Russia was
right. With strengthening American democrates` positions we also strengthen
our own`s. But, at the same time, there is no subject for further wrangling
with Americans anymore. Now our government can not declare during talks in
Washington: our Duma is dangerous and out of control and if you do not meet
us half-way Russia’s reforms will be derailed.
There is one more point of political sort: treaties are drawn up for a weak
party. It is a strong party`s right to breach them or not to sign at all.
United Stated routinely exercises the right. It is a serious but irrational
political factor. When ratifying the treaty we do it from the position of
weakness but not of strength recognising for all that Russia occupies this
April 18, 2000
By Konstantin Preobrazhensky
Konstantin Preobrazhensky is a former KGB lieutenant colonel and author of
the forthcoming book "The FSB Today." He contributed this comment to The
The KGB is being resurrected in Russia. After Vladimir Putin's election, fear
has taken hold in Russia. An open letter from former KGB General Oleg Kalugin
to Putin - accusing the new president of placing Russia once again on a
totalitarian track - has struck like a thunderbolt.
Kalugin wrote the letter because Putin called him a traitor in a pre-election
interview with Kommersant. Putin, a lawyer, called Kalugin a traitor without
a trial, ignoring the presumption of innocence. That's the logic of the KGB.
As a democrat, appointed by Boris Yeltsin, Putin should have fought against
such views; instead, he has used them cynically, leading us to understand
that the KGB will be the main organ of power in Russia.
Interpreting Putin's statement as a danger for Russian democracy, Kalugin
announced his decision to request political asylum. "I will not return to the
Russia of V. V. Putin, criminal and corrupt, with its pocket justice and
court system," Kalugin wrote.
Many newspapers were afraid to print the letter, and the security services
did everything to ensure it didn't see the light of day. But the popular
weekly Versia decided to publish the entire text. This has caused
consternation in the halls of the security services.
Democracy in Russia is threatened today. Once again, the KGB is coming to
power. Although various activists in the first-wave democracy movement - the
late, former St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak and former Yeltsin adviser
Sergei Stankevich - have been rehabilitated, Kalugin, also a member of this
first wave, is still being pursued. The KGB generals are out to get him
because, at the end of the 1980s, he destroyed the KGB with a single word:
"truth." After Kalugin's exposÎs were published, the KGB lost society's moral
support. Used to society's slavish obedience, the KGB was not ready for
criticism and started to fall apart.
Kalugin committed a courageous, self-sacrificing deed. The abolition of the
KGB played a positive role in Russian history: It allowed democratic reforms
Dozens of highly placed generals lost their posts as a result of Kalugin.
Unable to do anything other than "manage," they are forced to live on
niggardly pensions. In their impotence, they pour heaps of dirt on Kalugin.
The offended generals appear on television, and Putin himself has pronounced
their baseless accusations of Kalugin's betrayal. Among the generals are
those who took part in the August 1991 coup, including Vladimir Kryuchkov and
Viktor Grushko. It was Grushko, according to Kalugin, who threatened him at
the end of the 1980s, saying that, for his pronouncements against the KGB,
Kalugin would be declared insane. But fate decreed otherwise: Grushko was the
one accused of being disloyal to the government and sent to prison. It turns
out that, in today's Russia, it is better to have been a coup organizer in
1991 than a first-wave democrat who put the country on the path toward
democracy and freedom.
This is no accident. The hounding of Kalugin acts as a backdrop to the
resurrection of the KGB. This is the security services' vengeance for a
decade of humiliation by democrats. There is no operative necessity for the
creation of a powerful counterintelligence organ in Russia; the goal here is
purely political, an attempt by the security services to occupy a "proper"
place in society.
But this is also an attempt to hide the real status of the security services:
Each is suffering its own deep crisis. This is particularly true of
intelligence-gathering, the child of the Iron Curtain. In setting it up,
Soviet leaders protected themselves from foreign information, peeking through
that curtain to see what was being said about them.
After the Iron Curtain fell, the wiles of the intelligence community were
exposed. Today, it is not experiencing the best of times; no one in the
Kremlin needs information culled from newspapers.
Nor is the scientific-technological intelligence community, the "T" division,
experiencing the best of times. The military-industrial secrets it stole were
difficult to put into production in our collapsing military-industrial
Then there's economic intelligence-gathering, created at the end of the 1980s
by one of my acquaintances; he wasn't an economist, but a skillful courtier
and consultant to Kryuchkov. He convinced his superiors to create a new
department whose task would be to discover the economic secret of the
bourgeoisie. By using that secret, the Communist Party could lead the Soviet
economy out of its crisis and maintain its leadership role.
The intelligence community has started dealing with things foreign to it,
e.g., issuing political declarations. It has become the initiator of the
anti-Western mood in Russia, which has allowed it to play a greater role in
Nor has the crisis left the Federal Security Service, or the FSB, unscathed.
It now deals with issues with which the KGB had little experience: the fight
against the mafia, the drug trade, corruption, terrorism. It has been forced
to cede its position, while adopting some of the police's courser methods.
A newly resurgent KGB will use old KGB methods: creating a cult of secrecy,
"imposing order" in dealings with foreigners, trips abroad. Not everyone wi
ll like this. Dissidents will appear once again. That's just what the
security services need, someone to work on, to compromise, to arrest.
The hounding of General Kalugin has exposed the dangerous process of the
KGB's resurgence and the rise of the role of the security services in the
political life of Russia.
April 17, 2000
FSB Detains Moscow Blasts Suspects
By Svetlana Nesterova
The Federal Security Service has managed to detain a group of terrorists
headed by Achimez Gachiyaev, the main suspect in the case of the Moscow and
Volgodonsk apartment blocks’ explosions. Nevertheless the FSB could not
arrest Gachiyaev himself, so the whole operation cannot be called a total
On Saturday the FSB had managed to track down a group of terrorists
that might be involved in Moscow and Volgodonsk bomb attacks. The explosive
devices found in possession of these suspects are similar to those used in
the last September explosions. All in all the FSB arrested nine persons.
Their names have not been made public yet. Only one thing is known – the head
of the group is Achimez Gachiyaev.
It must be mentioned here that Gachiyaev, is one of the principal
suspects in the case of apartment blocks’ explosions that happened in Moscow,
Volgodonsk and Buinaksk last September. It was him who, using the name Mukhit
Laypanov, rented the storage facilities where the bags containing hexogen
were later placed. The bags exploded killing several hundred people.
Nevertheless it is not yet established whether he actually gave the order to
detonate the hexogen. It is rumored that he was seen in St. Petersburg on the
days of the Moscow explosions. In spite of the fact that Gachiyaev’s
photographs and those of his accomplices were sent everywhere across the
country, neither one of these people had been detained. According to FSB
information Gachiyaev underwent training in the ‘Caucasus’ camp, run by the
infamous Chechen warlord Khattab. It was there that the supposed terrorist
learned to work with explosives. Gachiyaev is a native of Karachi-Circassian
Republic where his relatives are quite well known. According to some reports,
his uncle is the director of the Circassian Sugar Factory. The bags
containing hexogen proved to come from this particular factory.
FSB investigators hold the opinion that by detaining this group they
averted a whole series of terrorist attacks in the Northern Caucasus and
central Russia. Nevertheless according to Alexander Zdanovich, the head of
the FSB press service, several such groups were prepared in Chechnya. They
were trained to blow up apartment blocks, military objects and transport
All the suspects have been moved to Moscow Lefortovo prison and have
started giving evidence.
Ukraine: Voters Support More Powers For The President
By Askold Krushelnycky
Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma won overwhelming endorsement for changes to
parliament that increase his powers, in a controversial referendum which
ended Sunday. That was a victory for Kuchma in his battle with parliament,
but the war looks set to continue. RFE/RL correspondent Askold Krushelnycky
Prague, 17 April 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Electoral commission results today showed
that Ukrainians gave overwhelming backing for President Leonid Kuchma's
proposals in a referendum.
Nearly 29 million people -- about 80 percent of those eligible to vote --
took part in the referendum, which officially began on April 6 and ended with
its heaviest day of polling on Sunday.
Between 80 and 90 percent of respondents voted the way Kuchma hoped they
would on the four referendum issues.
Voters supported giving the president increased powers to dissolve the
parliament; to lower the number of parliamentary deputies from 450 to 300; to
remove deputies' immunity to criminal prosecution; and to create a second
parliamentary chamber. The president would appoint members of the second
chamber, which is intended to represent the interests of the regions.
Kuchma said the referendum was needed to end years of infighting among
parliament deputies and a deadlock between the presidency and parliament. He
said the deadlock had crippled attempts to introduce vital economic reforms
and had prolonged the country's decline into poverty.
But his opponents from across the political spectrum criticized the
referendum, saying it undermined parliament. They said the referendum was
unconstitutional, although Ukraine's Constitutional Court ruled it could go
The Council of Europe, the 41-nation body that monitors democratic and human
rights standards, also criticized the referendum. It has said Ukraine's
membership could be suspended if Kuchma tries to impose the referendum's
results without parliament's approval.
The Council of Europe and other international bodies did not send observers,
and some accusations of vote-rigging have surfaced. The Election Commission
said it is investigating, and added that any violations were few in number.
But parliament has such a poor reputation among many Ukrainians, who regard
most of its members as corrupt and incompetent, that an outcome against
parliament was almost a certainty.
Indeed, the questions that gained the highest popular approval were for
reducing the number of deputies and stripping them of their immunity from
But although Kuchma has convincingly won the first battle -- to hold the
referendum and secure the results he wanted -- he could now face months of
feuding with parliament to implement those results.
The very threat of the referendum prompted parliament to reorganize itself
last January into a majority that has been supporting Kuchma's reform
proposals. But he says the majority is unstable and the referendum results
must be implemented.
But to do that, a parliamentary majority must first vote in favor of a bill
proposing the amendments. Next, a two-thirds majority of parliament must vote
in favor of each of the actual amendments.
To get a two-thirds majority is going to be extremely difficult. But
Ukrainian legal experts are not sure whether deputies may vote against
constitutional changes legally approved by Ukrainian voters.
Also unclear are what steps, if any, the president may take if deputies
reject the results of the referendum. If he tries to impose them against
parliament's will, that could not only provoke suspension from the Council of
Europe but, more important, could again wreck Ukraine's chances to press
ahead with essential economic reforms.
Chechens eke out a living -- by stealing petrol
April 17, 2000
By Adam Tapsurkayev
KIROVO, Russia (Reuters) - Amerkhan Aiyubov knows tapping into underground
pipelines to steal petrol can be a dangerous business, even considering all
the other pitfalls of war-shattered Chechnya.
So he gets his 10-year-old son to help by making sure he stays awake and does
not succumb to the fumes.
``If you spend any length of time down here you have to have something to
eat. Otherwise you faint. People have suffocated to death,'' Aiyubov said
from the depths of a pit as he siphoned petrol into a battered jerrycan.
``I lost consciousness three times today. That's why he keeps tugging at my
sleeve to make sure I'm awake,'' he said, turning to his son. ``If I fall
asleep, I'll end up down here for good.''
Aiyubov, 48, ekes out a living supplying petrol skimmed from pipelines
leading from huge round storage tanks about a hundred yards away. The village
of Kirovo stands just outside Chechnya's battered capital Grozny.
Each liter (0.26 gallons) fetches seven roubles (about 25 U.S. cents) --
about the same price as in Moscow -- when sold on the black market in a city
all but leveled by months of Russian bombing and hand-to-hand fighting.
Wasteland outside Kirovo is pocked by about 90 such pits, about 50-65 feet
Aiyubov, balding and looking older than his years, finds the illicit
siphoning repugnant. But he says he has little choice given the destruction
of his home region in more than six months of fighting between Russian troops
``What will become of him?'' he asks, pointing to his son, who scampers
deftly up and down a ladder into the pit.
``He'll get sick down here.''
VISITORS AMAZED AT GROZNY DESTRUCTION
Successive Western delegations have expressed astonishment at the degree of
destruction wrought upon Grozny, comparing it to the ruins of cities at the
close of World War II.
One of the latest visitors, Austrian Foreign Minister and head of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Benita Ferrero-Waldner,
saw workers picking through rubble last weekend to salvage mortar for future
``We found nothing at all, not even a spoon,'' said one elderly woman who
returned home to find her house leveled in the hand-to-hand fighting.
``There's a smell of death all over here,'' said another gesturing to a
The mass deaths caused by the fighting have generated problems in disposing
Specialists from Russia's Emergencies Ministry, clad head to toe in white
sanitary uniforms, dug up 115 bodies of Chechen rebels which had been
hurriedly buried in a Grozny park. They hoisted them onto a truck in plastic
bags for reburial.
The rebels' remains, placed in temporary graves topped with wooden markers,
had been left behind by their comrades as Russian forces closed in on the
city in late January.
Emergencies Ministry teams also sifted through rubble in the village of
Komsomolskoye, site of more than two weeks of fierce battles pitting Russian
troops against rebels.
The Ministry says 642 bodies have been recovered in the village, but another
100 people were still missing.
From: John Wilhelm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Andrei Illarionov
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000
If it would be of interest to its readers, I would like to pass on to
the list some personal observations about Andrei Illarionov. I would
like to do so in the context of a few comments about Vladimir Mau as
well and also in the context of some issues which I wish to bring to
the attention of readers both here in the States and in Russia.
In 1990 the journal Novy Mir republished an article written by the
great Russian economist Boris Brutzkus in 1921-22. I regard the
article to be the greatest work on economics written in Russian in the
20th century because, amongst other things, it anticipated 60 years of
serious (largely western) scholarship on the Soviet economic system.
The article was republished in Novy Mir (No.8, 1990), as the editors
acknowledged, due in part to my having sent a copy of it to Zalygin,
Novy Mir's editor. At the time I sent the article to Novy Mir, I had
sent it to 17 other people including Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Gabriel
Popov, Anatol Sobchak, Aleksandr Yakovlev, Yuri Afanasev, Tatyana
Zaslavskaya a couple of friends and several economists whom I either
knew or, as in the case of Andrei Illarionov, knew about.
Aside from the late Professor Leonid Stupin of St. Petersburg
University, Andrei Ilarionov was the only person who wrote me to
acknowledge receipt of the article and the accompanying copy of my
letter to Gorbachev which I had sent with it. Later, when he was
studying or working at an English university, the University of
Birmingham I believe it was, Illarionov wrote me again on this
which I regarded as an extremely generous gesture.
I knew about Andrei Illarionov and his address from an article that
Roger Clarke had published by him which had made a very strong
impression on me. Some of the other articles I had read by Illarionov
also made a good impression on me and I made an effort on a trip to
Russia in the mid-1990s to meet him which I did. I did so after
Illarionov had broken with Chernomyrdin. For me that meeting was
something of a strange experience, in part I think because Illarionov
did not quite know what to make of me, but also clearly in part
because he was obviously very disillusioned.
It was clear from what I recall of his correspondence that Illarionov
had very high regard for Brutzkus as an economist. Probably about the
same time that I meet Illarionov I also had a brief telephone exchange
with Vladimir Mau. I was referred to him by a person at Moscow State
University who was working on Brutzkus and knew that Mau had an
interest in Brutzkus as well. It turned out that Mau was extremely
well informed about work being done on Brutzkus, especially at the
St. Petersburg University of Economics and Finance.
To the extent that Brutzkus has influenced the economic thinking of
Illarionov and Mau, I regard the rise of these two to prominence as
economic advisors to Putin's government as an encouraging sign.
Although Brutzkus sided very strongly with the Austrians, Mises and
Hayek, in the socialist controversy debate, he decidedly was not of
their ilk. While Brutzkus very much appreciated the advantages of a
free market system he also strongly felt that government had a role to
play in softening the hard edges of the system for the less
advantaged, something which I think is very much needed in Russia
At the time I wrote Gorbachev about Brutzkus, I tried to advise in my
letter to him that in considering a workable economic reform that he
consult with economists who had a good knowledge of the Soviet
economic system and a good knowledge of the market system as well. As
examples of this I cited Jan Winiecki in Poland, Janos Kornai and
Martin Tardos in Hungary and Igor Birman and Aron Katsenelinboigen,
two former Soviet economists in the United States. Even with a
capable advisor like Illarinov, I still believe that this advice would
be relevant for Putin as well. Given his clearly limited background
in economics, I think it would be useful for someone in Putin's
position to have some broad input from such people before deciding on
a specific economic program. In advising on economists to consult
today I would also include people like (with apologies to Grzegory
Kolodko) Leszek Balcerowicz in Poland, Pekka Sutela in Finland and
Marshall Goldman here in the States.
Given the disastrous consequences of trying to impose an economic
reform from above under Yeltsin without building a national consensus
as to where the country wanted to go, I believe that Putin would be
wise in crafting an economic reform to first engage in a dialogue with
the country to develop a consensus that could then inform his economic
policy choices. In addition, I think that Putin also needs to
recognize that the structures and incentives of the current political
system in Russia are not conducive to either good governance nor to
pursuing a workable economic reform. I believe that he would be wise
in working out a solution to Russia's problems to support the calling
of a special constituent assembly to work on drafting a new
constitution to be put before the country independent of the current
legislature. If Russia is to have effective government, I believe
that there is an urgent need to have a unicameral legislature with far
fewer delegates, a clearer separation of the powers and
responsibilities of the central government from that of local
government and a structure that while allowing the election of
governors would permit both the courts and the president to remove
governors from office of malfeasance. Also, if Russia is to have a
successful economic reform, I believe that there is a need both there
and here to realize that the situation Putin's has inherited is far
graver than commonly understood and that outside help in the form of
grants rather than loans are sorely going to be needed especially in
dealing with the terrible health crisis affecting the country.
Despite what is commonly thought in Russia, I believe that the U.S.
has a vital interest in a successful recovery of the country and of
the other former Soviet republics. Unfortunately, there currently
exists in the U.S. no consensus on what our stake is in the former
Soviet Union and how we can effectively respond to the situation
there. As a result of a number of concerns I have about this, I
wrote former President Ford last November to ask for his support for
an initiative to promote a nonpartisan national dialogue on American
policy towards Russia. Given the response I received from President
Ford in a letter dated December 7, I am hopeful about the possibility
of initiating such a dialogue with the help of the Ford Presidential
Library here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is clear from his comments
that President Ford read the materials I sent him carefully and with
interest. He forwarded copies of my correspondence and enclosures
to the Director of his Presidential Library, Richard Norton Smith,
with the suggestion of the feasibility of a seminar at the Ford
Library on U.S./Russian relations. In a response to me, Richard
Norton Smith indicated that the Ford Library does not have the
resources to pursue such a program on its own but might be able
to do something in cooperation with the University of Michigan.
Several of us here in Ann Arbor are trying to explore this
If the Ford Library could sponsor a seminar on U.S./Russian
relations, especially for the major presidential candidates as
I suggested in my original letter to President Ford (copy below),
I believe that it could serve as a catalyst for a much needed
national discussion in the United States on this issue. I would
very much like to have input from others here who might agree and
could help on this as well as from those in Russia who might have
an interest in supporting such a dialogue here as well as supporting
a similar dialogue in their own country about the vital question of
what our two societies could and ought to do together.
November 27, 1999
The Honorable Gerald R.Ford
P.O. Box 927
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Dear President Ford:
During the consideration of NATO expansion we had an exchange on our
policies towards the former Soviet Union. This past spring I received
a private communication from the well-known former Soviet dissident
Vladimir Bukovsky, which I am taking the liberty of sending you.
>From what I am told by young friends in Russia, it is quite obvious
that Russian youth have become vehemently anti-American for the first
time in Russian history as Bukovsky correctly points out. While
part of this clearly reflects a disturbing tendency on the part of
Russians to blame others for their own failures, the situation has
certainly been greatly aggravated by the unwise policies pursued by
our current and former administration.
I believe that our policy failures in this area have been engendered
by a lack of an understanding of the wonderful opportunities opened
up to us as a result of the Soviet collapse and by the absence of a
national consensus on how to respond to these opportunities.
Some of us here in Michigan with specializations and concerns in this
area have tried to engage our representatives in a dialogue on these
matters. Unfortunately, our efforts have had little success. It has
been made clear to me, especially in conversations with a key staff
person of Lynn Rivers, our Congresswoman, that there is unlikely to
be leadership on changing our Russian policies from our representatives
in the absence of pressures from American public opinion.
This coming year with both the United States and Russia having
presidential elections there is a pressing need, if we are to have
a more stable international environment for ourselves, for both sides
to have national discussions on their policies towards each other.
In response to this need, I would like to try to push for promoting
a nonpartisan national dialogue on our Russian policy and having an
opportunity as a specialist to have some input into this.
While you are no longer in government, as one of our most respected
former presidents your help in promoting a national discussion of our
Russian policy could be of great assistance to those of us interested
in this issue. I would hope that it mighty be possible to get your
support for promoting a discussion early next year between specialists
in this area and major presidential candidates by using your Presidential
Library and its programs here to initiate such an exchange.
John Howard Wilhelm, Ph.D.,
University of Michigan 1974
Russia High Court Clears Researcher
April 17, 2000
MOSCOW (AP) - A branch of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court's
acquittal of Alexander Nikitin, a former navy captain who was arrested after
he exposed unsafe storage of nuclear waste by the Russian navy.
Prosecutors can appeal to the high court's presidium under Russian law, but
defense lawyers said the strong wording in the court's ruling all but
eliminates this possibility.
Security agents arrested Nikitin, a soft-spoken naval engineer and expert in
nuclear waste issues, in 1996 and held him for 10 months in an isolated
chamber in a Federal Security Service jail in St. Petersburg. He was working
on a report for the Norway-based Bellona environmental group at the time.
Nikitin's case wound through the courts for four years. Human rights groups
said it pitted Russia's security apparatus, with its emphasis on secrecy and
avoiding embarrassment for the state, against fledgling values of civil
society and independence in post-Communist Russia.
``It's our victory. By the law, this is a final decision,'' Nikitin said
A municipal court in St. Petersburg acquitted Nikitin in December.
Prosecutors appealed that decision to the Criminal Collegium of the Supreme
Court, which ruled against them on Monday.
In it's ruling, the court agreed with chief defense lawyer Yuri Schmidt, who
said the laws Nikitin had been charged under were applied retroactively, the
Interfax news agency reported.
Also, the court ruled that prosecutors failed to present a list of state
secrets Nikitin had allegedly revealed in the report he co-authored in 1995.
Nikitin was denied permission to travel abroad while the case was pending to
visit his wife and daughter, who reside in Canada. Monday's decision lifts
this restriction. He said he plans to continue research work for Bellona on
nuclear waste dumps in Russia's Arctic.
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