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Johnson's Russia List


April 25, 2000    
This Date's Issues:  4266  4267 

Johnson's Russia List
25 April 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Anna Dolgov, Russian Aviation Is in a Tailspin.
2. Izvestia: Internet Has Become an all Hands Rush.
3. Bloomberg: US Congressmen in Russia for Bank of New York Talks.
4. Izvestia: Andrei Stepanov, PUBLIC OPINION POLL. (re optimism)
5. The Situation in Russia: Its Dark and Light Sides
6. The Times (UK): Alice Lagnado, Pro-Putin party offers Russians Bear's embrace.
7. CSIS events in Washington.
8. STRATFOR.COM: The Opening Moves in Putin's Game of Chess.
9. Jerry Hough: Re: 4264-Latsis/Putin and Energy Disputes.
10. Reuters: Kazakh leader marks 10 years at top, slams media.
11. Eurasian Center's Spring Celebration Dance Party in DC.
12. Boston Globe: David Filipov, Russian town wary of chemical weapons disposal.
13. Sean Holloway: US Embassy in Moscow.


Russian Aviation Is in a Tailspin
April 24, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) - The weary passengers sit in the airport hall surrounded by 
ratty suitcases and cardboard boxes. They don't even stir as a loudspeaker 
announces another flight delay. 

Scenes such as these - delayed or canceled domestic flights - seem as 
commonplace as actual departures at Moscow's Sheremetyevo 1 and other Russian 
airports of late. The country's civil aviation industry is in a nosedive, 
another victim of Russia's protracted economic decline. 

Overall air-passenger traffic shrunk from 135 million people a year in the 
1980s - the heyday of Soviet-era subsidized travel - to 20.1 million in 1999, 
according to government figures. Airlines in the United States carried some 
600 million people the same year. 

International service is getting by thanks to a steady flow of Western 
business travelers and tourists. But in a country that once relied on 
internal air travel, domestic routes are being abandoned, airlines are 
folding and the nation's fleet of planes continues to shrink. 

``What happened in the past 10 years, I would express in a very few words: 
The (civil) aviation market has disappeared,'' said Yevgeny Fedosov, head of 
Russia's State Research Institute for Aviation Systems. 

For the world's largest country, stretching 6,015 miles from the Baltic Sea 
to the Pacific coast, air travel is vital. In Siberia, planes are often the 
only practical way to reach isolated cities because harsh winters make roads 
impassable for up to nine months each year. 

But Russia has been closing airports. Of the 1,300 airports operating in 
1992, the year after the Soviet collapse, just 533 are still open, according 
to the Federal Aviation Service. 

Aeroflot, once the sole domestic air carrier, was split up into hundreds of 
smaller companies. many of which quickly collapsed. The airlines still in 
business often are too small to be effective and many have just one or two 
outdated Soviet-era airliners that should have been scrapped years ago, 
officials say. 

Transaero, often cited as a model airline because of its high standards and 
Western jets, has eight planes in its fleet, but only four are flying. The 
company lost money for years, and only began posting modest profits recently 
after cutting flights and forging partnership deals, said company chairman 
Alexander Pleshakov. 

Aeroflot, still the biggest Russian carrier, has fared somewhat better, 
earning $15 million in 1999, according to company deputy director Alexander 

The industry has a poor safety record by international standards, mainly 
because of its reliance on old planes that are poorly maintained. 

Most Soviet-era planes are 20 years or older and will have to be scrapped in 
the next few years, experts say. New planes are vital, but the airlines 
cannot afford them. 

The price of a long-range Ilyushin-96 plane can reach $75 million, and a 
medium-range Tupolev-204 goes for $30 million, Fedosov said. Comparable 
Western planes are more expensive. 

And the Russian aircraft industry is in even worse shape than the airlines. 
Soviet factories churned out about 2,500 aircraft a year, Fedosov said. 
Russian plants produce just a few dozen, mostly helicopters or military jets 
for export. 

``Aviation factories manufacture planes they expect somebody to buy, but 
there is no money to buy them,'' said Vladimir Shilov, a Federal Aviation 
Service official. 

Western airplane manufacturers hoped for a major new market in Russia 
following the Soviet collapse. A few Russian airlines have leased Western 
airliners produced by Boeing and Airbus, but actual sales have been almost 

Industry executives hope the government will find funds to keep civil 
aviation from crashing, but are not optimistic. 

``Then we should say ... be prepared, people, to get on carts and wagons, on 
reindeer, and trail across our Siberia on nobody-knows-what,'' said Alexei 
Mayorov of Transaero. 


Russia Today press summaries
April 24, 2000
Internet Has Become an all Hands Rush
Generation.Ru was Announced at the Congress of the Best Teachers in Russia

In these times of information revolution, which can be compared with the 
industrial revolution of seventeen hundreds, the rate of Russian people who 
use the Internet remains pretty low – two per cent of the population, as 
compared with 29 per cent in the West.

Only forty per cent of Russian households have phones, and most people do not 
have enough money to buy even the simplest computer. In this situation, rapid 
development of Internet seems a utopian project in Russia. Nevertheless, the 
Education Ministry has a plan to train 100 thousand teachers annually to use 
the Internet. There are two million teachers in Russia, and it is expected 
that those who have been educated in this field will pass their knowledge to 

In the 2001 budget, computerization of schools with obligatory Internet 
connection, will become one of the priorities. The objective of this program 
is to have, at least, one Internet connection at each school in Russia. The 
federal budget and local budgets will secure funding of the project by 
splitting the cost.

There are schools in Russia that are so poor, that the director gives each 
teacher one piece of chalk to write with and demands it to be used sparingly. 
There are also schools where teachers do not get their wages for months and 
have to sell their home-grown vegetables to students to make living.

We all know that what the budget law promises does not necessarily come true. 
The ambitious Internet project will hardly be realized unless it finds 
private sponsors.


US Congressmen in Russia for Bank of New York Talks

Moscow, April 24 (Bloomberg)
- U.S. and Russian legislators are set to discuss an investigation of 
alleged Russian money laundering through the Bank of New York Co. ahead of 
planned Russian parliamentary hearings. 

A group of U.S. Congressmen led by House Banking Committee Chairman James 
Leach arrived in Moscow for meetings with party leaders in the lower house of 
parliament, the Duma, First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and 
Russian central bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko in preparation for the 
hearings, scheduled for June in the Duma. 

``We expect specific recommendations to legislative and executive branches of 
both governments,'' said Alexander Shokhin, chairman of the Duma banking 
committee, who initiated the hearings. 

U.S. authorities began an investigation last year on allegations billions of 
dollars of illegally acquired money were transferred out of Russia through 
the Bank of New York. The probe contributed to strained relations between 
Russia and the International Monetary Fund and the Group of Seven 
industrialized nations, because the scale of money outflows suggested the 
government was aware of them and failed to stop them. They also raised 
questions in the West about how justified it is to lend to Russia if capital 
was continually leaving the country. 

The IMF stalled lending to Russia after the start of the investigation. 

The Bank of New York hasn't been charged in the case the U.S. brought against 
Lucy Edwards, a former vice president, two Russians and three companies. 
Edwards and her husband Peter Berlin in February pleaded guilty to running an 
illegal wire-transfer operation that laundered more than $7 billion through 
the Bank of New York. 

At hearings held by the House Banking Committee in September 1999 Bank of New 
York Chairman Thomas Renyi said the bank didn't vigorously investigate 
suspicious activity in certain accounts. 

Russian legislators are now seeking to determine how to improve laws to 
prevent capital flight estimated at about $1 billion a month. They also want 
to close the chapter on an affair that damaged the reputation of Russian 
banks and businesses with foreign operations. 

``We will review the situation (with the Bank of New York) as we are 
interested in developing a program to prevent capital flight from Russia and 
cooperate with Western partners to 

prevent money laundering,'' said Shokhin. ``The fact that the U.S. 
Congressmen are willing to visit us demonstrates that there are still issues 
to discuss.'' 

The hearings have been scheduled for June. 

``We hope to do preparatory work now,'' Shokhin said. 


April 24, 2000

Judging by public opinion polls, Russians continue to 
remain people who are very much concerned about all sorts of 
problems. Though they have some reasons for optimism, too.
Sociologists of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre 
(VTsIOM) asked people about the spheres which inspire them with 
the greatest optimism. Judging by the replies, relations in the 
family remain the greatest source of optimism for many Russians 
(34 percent). Another source, strange as it might seem, is 
their work collective, or just friends (24 percent).
There are many people who feel satisfied with their own health 
or that of their relations (11 and 10 percent, respectively).
Though, judging by these figures, the situation with Russians' 
health is far from being good in this country. About the same 
numbers of Russians take pleasure in studies and romantic 
adventures. Other reasons for joy turned out to be less 
significant on the country's scale (from 1 to 4 percent): the 
state of affairs in the former Soviet republics and foreign 
countries, the country's political and economic situation, the 
/respondent's/ material status, successes in Chechnya and the 
situation in one's own city or district. For instance, only 3 
percent of the respondents are satisfied with their family's 
income, which also evokes some sad thoughts. Perhaps, not all 
of them have heard about the unprecedented GDP growth, 
otherwise they would have been happier. However, the greatest 
number of Russians have chosen the following answer: "I'm not 
happy about any of these things." Perhaps, there are joys which 
have been unknown to sociologists so far, aren't there?
Naturally, sociologists asked people what they are unhappy 
about. The absolute leader is the war in Chechnya (51 percent), 
followed very closely by the material status of the family and 
the country's economic situation. Only 20 percent of Russians 
are dissatisfied with the political situation in the country, 
and about 25 percent are worried about it very much.
Against this dismal background, citizens get infected with 
the ideas which might give joy only to such personalities as 
Adolf Hitler or Vladimir Lenin. VTsIOM sociologists compared 
the figures (over the past few years) on Russians who are ready 
to give democratic freedoms in exchange for order. It turned 
out that before the financial crash about 71 percent of 
Russians did not care much about freedom. This figure went on 
growing, and by November 1999 it grew to 77 percent. As of 
today, it is ... 81 percent. At the same time, the number of 
those for whom personal freedoms are important has been 
shrinking. Today, they number about 9 percent.
Parallelly, another grievous process is under way: judging by 
the data of the Public Opinion Foundation, the number of 
Russians who favour the limitation of the president's powers is 
dwindling noticeably. If this authority lies at your feet, why 
not to bend and pick it up?
The APRI poll agency comes to the same sad conclusions.
The respondents were asked to name the most notable politician 
of the 20th century. Without a moment's hesitation, they named 
Joseph Stalin (11 percent), Vladimir Lenin (10 percent), and 
Leonid Brezhnev (5 percent). The only reason for joy is that 47 
percent of Russians plunged so deep in thought that failed to 
give an answer within the time given them. Finally, they put 
Putin in the third place (6 percent), ahead of Leonid Brezhnev, 
Pyotr Stolypin and Yevgeny Primakov. It is interesting that 
executives of all levels gave preference to Stalin, while 
communists preferred Lenin.


April 21, 2000
The Situation in Russia: Its Dark and Light Sides
[translation by Olga Kryazheva <> 
Research assistant, Center for Defense Information]

The All-Russia Center for Public Opinion Studies presents the results of the
poll held on April 14 -17, 2000. The poll represents Russia’s adult population
(18 and above) according to gender, age, level of education, location, and
type of populated area.

This poll was held in 83 areas of 33 regions of the country (150 poll
locations); 1600 people participated in the poll in every location. 

Possible error is around 3.8%.... 

To what extend do you currently support/oppose the following concepts?
(% of all total of poll participants)

Support of Private Business
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 64
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 25
Difficult to Say 11

Limitation of Freedoms and Rights of Groups of People That Are Potential
Threat to Society
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 79
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 12
Difficult to Say   9

Decreased State Interference in Economy, Development of “Market Mechanisms”
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 37
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 50
Difficult to Say 13

Protection of Home Commodity Producers
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 92
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose   4
Difficult to Say   4

Integration with the West, European and World Structures
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 58
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 24
Difficult to Say 18

Nationalization of the Key Economy Industries
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 72
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 13
Difficult to Say 15

Guaranties of Democratic Rights and Freedom of Every Citizen
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 89
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose   5
Difficult to Say   6

Strengthened State Control over Economy
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 79
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 13
Difficult to Say   8 

Involvement of Western Companies in Business in Russia
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 72
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 13
Difficult to Say 15

Increased Economic and Military Power to Oppose the West
Strongly Support/More or Less Support 75
Strongly Oppose/More or Less Oppose 15
Difficult to Say 10

Do you think that today Russia can do without new loans from International
Monetary Fund, or do you think that if Russia does not get these loans, the
country will enter the stage of complete economic chaos?   
(% of total number of poll participants)

Russia can do without IMF loans 60
Without IMF Loans Russia Will Enter the Stage of Complete Economic Chaos 18
Difficult to Say 22

What do you think is the most important for the country at the moment?
a. Order, even if it is necessary to break some democratic principles and
limit people’s personal freedoms to establish it. (%)

1998 February 71
       1998 August 73
       1998 February 74
       1999 September 73
       1999 November 77
       2000 April 81

b. Democracy, even if democratic principles produce certain freedoms for
criminal elements.

1998 February 14
       1998 August 14
       1998 February 11
       1999 September 15
       1999 November 14
       2000 April   9

Do you think Russia is currently a superpower? 

In 1999, 31% said “Yes,” 65% said “No,” and 4% did not know.
In 2000, 53% say “Yes,” 43% say “No,” and 4% does not know.

Do you think that in the near future the Russian government would be able to…
- reach a complete political settlement of the Chechnya problem?  
Yes 33
NO  36
Difficult to Say 21

- successfully complete military actions in Chechnya? 
Yes 51
NO  33
Difficult to Say 16

- lead the country out of economic crisis?
Yes 39
NO  47
Difficult to Say 14

- provide continuation of reform course?
Yes 58
NO  22
Difficult to Say 20

- provide the production increase?
Yes 48
NO  39
Difficult to Say 13

Do you think Vladimir Putin was right when he decided not to support Valentina
Matvienko and her campaign on the Governor’s elections in St. Petersburg
versus current governor Vladimir Yakovlev?
(% of total number of poll participants)

Definitely/More or Less Yes 42
Definitely/More or Less No 16
Difficult to Say 42

Some say that in this case Putin “made a mistake,” others say that he made a
politically smart decision. Which one of these two points of view do you
mostly support?
(% of total number of poll participants)

Made a Mistake 11
Made a Politically Smart Decision  44
Difficult to Say 45 


The Times (UK)
25 April 2000
[for personal use only]
Pro-Putin party offers Russians Bear's embrace

RUSSIA'S newly emerged Unity Party is seeking to become the dominant force in 
national life, under the guise of establishing itself as a conventional 
Western-style party. 

Unity, or "The Bear" as it is known in Russia, won nearly a quarter of the 
seats in last December's elections for the Duma, just three months after its 
creation. Now it says that it wants to transform itself from a new movement 
with various strands into a mature political party with a clear identity. But 
instead it is trying to gain increased influence in political life and ensure 
it can guarantee "jobs for the boys". 

Unity, a vaguely centrist party backed by President Putin, has not broken 
from the country's Communist past but is embracing it. Sergei Shoigu, Unity's 
unprepossessing yet popular leader, wants to take "the best" from Communism. 
This includes reviving symbols that provoke nostalgia in many and fear in 

He intends to reintroduce the party card that everyone had to have in order 
to get on. Unity has mentioned bringing back notions such as "discipline" and 
the "ideological vertical", which could be interpreted to mean almost 
anything - and be exploited to keep power in the hands of a few. 

Mr Shoigu is certainly in tune with the national mood. Many Russians are 
nostalgic for the days when sausage was cheap and drugs non-existent. 
Moskovsky Komsomlets newspaper this week reported that groups of children 
were patrolling parks on the lookout for drunks, and there have been appeals 
for city residents to again take part in subbotniki, days under the 
Communists when people had to help clean up backyards and gardens. 

Besides gaining support Mr Shoigu is intent on gaining power for his party - 
not on the scale of the Communists but as far as he can respectably go. He 
wants to establish Unity as the one major "party of power", with the 
Communists as the sole, harmless, opposition and other parties edged to the 
fringes of politics. 

Some of today's Russian politicians can barely hide their admiration for 
facets of the old regime. Mr Shoigu wants to bring back that system - with 
all the benefits it awarded loyal members. If he is successful, those who 
refuse to join up will not have a voice: not very unlike the old days. 

To that end, Unity is keen to make President Putin its leader. During the 
Yeltsin era, the President was meant to represent all Russians and therefore 
be "above" politics. In practice, a few corrupt oligarchs were represented. 
But with Mr Putin truly on their side, formally as well as behind the scenes, 
the politicians and bureaucrats in the Unity party, and those who finance 
them, would have less grounds to fear losing the President's favour. 

At the moment President Putin is, in typical fashion, waiting to see whether 
it will be worth backing the party more fully. 

The intentions of the Unity party are perhaps most significant in that they 
illustrate how little Russia has broken with the past. "This is yet another 
sign of the degree of continuity between the old and new system, which is 
under-rated. It's Soviet lite," said Jonas Bernstein of the Jamestown 
Foundation, a US-based thinktank. 


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 17:57:13 -0400
From: "Jeffrey Thomas" <JThomas@CSIS.ORG>
Subject: CSIS events in Washington


CSIS - 1800 K Street, NW - Washington, DC 20006
3:30-5:00 PM, Thursday, April 27

Speaker: Brigadier General Thomas Keunning, Jr, Director, CTR

Topic: General Keunning will report, on the record, on recent progress in
the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which is designed to help the
countries of the former Soviet Union destroy nuclear, chemical, and
biological weapons of mass destruction and to establish verifiable
safeguards against the proliferation of these weapons.

Admission: Free, but please register with Jeff Thomas by telephone
(202-775-3240) or fax (202-775-3132)


CSIS - 1800 K Street, NW - Washington, DC 20006
3:30-5:00 PM, Wednesday, May 3

Speaker: Dr. Robert Berls, Frontera Resources Corporation

Topic: For the past four years, Dr. Berls has spent most of his time
developing his company's business ventures in Georgia and Azerbaijan. He
will examine, off the record, the climate for foreign investment in these
two countries as it is today and as it has evolved since independence in
1991. He will also speculate on prospects for change.

Admission: Free, but please register with Jeff Thomas by telephone
(202-775-3240) or fax (202-775-3132)


STRATFOR.COM Weekly Global Intelligence Update
24 April 2000

The Opening Moves in Putin's Game of Chess


Russia's new president, Vladimir Putin, launched his foreign policy
last week. At first blush it appears conciliatory toward the West
in general and the United States in particular. But the new
president is in fact pursuing a more complex, dual-track foreign
policy. As his government moves nuclear arms control measures
forward, it also signals the development of next generation nuclear
weapons and helps set the diplomatic stage for deploying large
Russian forces near Poland. Putin is playing a complex game of
chess: making conciliatory gestures while setting the stage for
confrontation if conciliation should fail.


Last week, Vladimir Putin launched Russia's post-election foreign
policy. Now president in his own right, Putin set in motion a
series of policies, signals and gestures that were simultaneously
blatant, subtle, contradictory and, above all, centralized.

Amidst the complex, mixed signals sent out last week, one fact was
clear: the new president is moving to have his government speak
with one coordinated voice on foreign policy, with that voice
controlled by Putin himself. Inconsistencies in former president
Boris Yeltsin's foreign policy could best be ascribed to lack of
coordination and a multiplicity of forces competing to shape
policy. Putin's policy is, we think, coherent, if deliberately
subtle and ambiguous.

Dominating the news out of Moscow last week was the Duma's vote on
two arms control treaties. By wide margins, the Duma approved the
START II arms reduction agreement as well as the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty (CTBT). Together, these events were generally seen as a
comforting sign that Putin intended to follow a conciliatory policy
toward the West in general and the United States in particular.
Putin certainly intended that it be seen this way. From his point
of view, nothing would be better than to have the United States
reciprocate a more accommodating line from Russia.

The need for reciprocation is the kicker that Putin buried within
arms control ratification. The United States wants to deploy an
anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system. An expanded ABM system is
banned under a U.S.-Soviet treaty signed in 1972. The American
justification for the new system is that it is not directed against
the Russian arsenal, which is too large to stop. Rather, it is
directed against "rogue" states, like North Korea or Libya, which
might acquire a few missiles with nuclear warheads and launch them
against the United States.

In no position financially or technically to deploy an equivalent
system, Russia has consistently opposed an American national
missile defense. Moreover, the Russian leadership fears that
deployment would tilt an already lopsided balance of power even
further in the American direction. Such a system would likely close
off the possibility of limited nuclear exchanges; the United
States, if it chose, could strike a few targets in Russia and leave
Moscow with the choice of doing nothing or initiating total nuclear

But the most important reason for Russian opposition is rooted in
symbolism. Moscow needs Washington to acknowledge some degree of
equality. The only area in which any sort of equality exists is in
the arena of nuclear weapons. In this sphere the two nations can
continue to negotiate as equals. But if that equality slips away,
if the United States simply ignores its treaties with the Soviet
successor state, then Russia will have lost all equality across the

Putin can't afford to let that happen. He has therefore made it
consistently clear that he will not renegotiate the ABM treaty.
More important, he has made it clear that if the United States
deploys its system in violation of that treaty, all arms control
agreements will be in jeopardy. The United Nations will begin
debate over the extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
next week, and a high-level Russian delegation will be in the
United States for that discussion.

This series of ratifications on longstanding arms control measures
now puts Russia in a perfect position to confront the United States
- both on the ABM treaty and on the test ban treaty, which the U.S.
Senate rejected last October. Thus, the ratifications are
simultaneously conciliatory moves and traps for the United States.
If the United States proceeds with a missile defense in the face of
the Duma vote, Putin will have created precisely the record he
wants: he reaches out to the United States and is rebuffed.

Putin's shrewd ratification of the two arms control treaties
coincides with the formalization of a new Russian defense policy.
Already widely discussed in Russia, the new policy was made
official last Friday, the same day Russia ratified the test ban
treaty. While the president's security council has not yet released
the document to the public, Putin on various occasions has made
clear the premise and the consequence of the policy. The premise
lies in NATO's willingness last year to take military action
without prior approval by the U.N. Security Council, where Russia
wields a veto. For Russia, this creates a dangerous new situation
in which NATO's unpredictable behavior cannot be controlled by
international organizations. Therefore the consequence - and this
is the critical point - that Russia is prepared for the first use
of nuclear weapons in defending fundamental national interests.

Russia is also signaling that it is pressing forward with a new
generation of nuclear and conventionally-tipped munitions. The
Russian media has reported that the air force began testing a new
missile, designated X-55. The X-55 was originally designed to be
launched from Russian bombers and to be armed with a nuclear
warhead. In new tests, however, the X-55 will be used as a
precision guided munitions using conventional warheads. The point,
however, is not lost. Russia is carefully letting everyone know
that it continues its weapons development program and is capable of
fielding new generations of nuclear and non-nuclear munitions.

The approval of arms control treaties coincides, therefore, with
the implementation of a new nuclear policy that explicitly permits
a Russian first strike. This duality was repeated elsewhere. For
example, Russia made very public overtures toward Chechnya last
week, while other reports said that the Russians were sending in
more troops. Putin, meanwhile, said last week that Russia has
fundamental interests in the Caspian region and that Western
interests seemed ready to pounce on the area.

Putin's views seemed coordinated with the Communist speaker of the
Duma, Gennady Seleznyov. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
visited several Central Asian countries last week and Seleznyov
blasted the visit, saying, "As soon as links weaken, they (the
Americans) show up. Their principle is to divide and rule. And
that's how it will be in the 21st century." In Moscow, as well,
interior ministers of the Shanghai Five - Russia, China,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - met on Friday. ITAR-TASS
reported that the meeting focused on suppressing terrorists and
separatists. Both Russia and China have an interest in suppressing
militant Islamic movements in the region and the Friday meetings
were intended to set the stage for a summit of the Shanghai Five in
May. Thus, at the same time that Moscow made a gesture toward
Chechnya, it is gearing up to assert itself in Central Asia.

Similarly ambivalent behavior could be seen to the west, in
Russia's relationship with Belarus. Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka announced last week that an agreement had been struck to
create a joint military organization between Belarus and Russia.
Lukashenka said he expected the agreement to be signed by early
June and that it would rate a joint force of about 300,000 troops.
The agreement would place Russian troops directly on the Polish
border in large numbers. The Russians did not deny that the
agreement had been reached, though they tried to downplay the size
of the force or its strategic significance.

The Western media has chosen to focus on Moscow's conciliatory
gestures and is missing the wild crosscurrents in Russian foreign
policy. Those crosscurrents are far from random. To the contrary,
they make a great deal of sense. Putin would certainly like to
achieve some sort of solid reconciliation with the United States.
He understands two things. First, he understands that he will get
nothing from the United States unless he positions himself to
bargain. Yeltsin could not deal effectively with the United States
because he neither controlled his negotiating apparatus nor created
levers for effective negotiation. Yeltsin's successor does not plan
to repeat that error.

Second, Putin understands that no reconciliation may be possible
with the United States; American interests and Russian ones might
simply be too far apart. The United States does not want to have
its military operations limited by the U.N. Security Council.
Russia does not want to be frozen out of decisions. The United
States has major financial stakes in the Caspian region and wants a
degree of political influence to guarantee those interests. Russia
does not want to see U.S. client states created within what it
regards as its sphere of influence. Russia does not want an
American national missile defense deployed.

Therefore, if Putin's first priority is to create a firm
relationship with the United States, his second goal - if his first
fails - is to position Russia effectively in the event of a
collapse of relations. Putin does not want to recreate the
situation from 1946-49 in which the United States was able to
portray the Soviet Union as the prime culprit for the Cold War and
use that perception of Soviet aggression and duplicity to create a
hostile alliance. If U.S.-Russian relations collapse, Putin wants
to create a clear record of American responsibility.

Putin is trying to reach three audiences. First, domestically, he
will be in a position to further undercut liberal, pro-American
elements. Second, and more important, he will position himself for
the inevitable attempt to drive a wedge between Europe and the
United States, by showing that Washington, in pursuing its narrow
strategic interest, jeopardizes Europe's interest in good relations
with Russia. Finally, Putin is addressing an American audience,
which to the extent that it is cognizant of foreign policy at all,
does not want to see a return to the Cold War.

>From the Russian point of view, the same policy must be pursued
whether the goal is reconciliation with the Americans or
preparation for a breach. The best hope of reconciliation - on
terms acceptable to the Russians - is to convince the United States
that Russia is capable of threatening American interests.
Therefore, it is necessary to make conciliatory gestures while
simultaneously undertaking diplomatic initiatives that lay the
groundwork for challenging the Americans. This may persuade the
United States to be conciliatory. Should that fail, it positions
the Russians to pursue their national interest.

The ultimate audience is in Europe and, to a lesser extent, Japan.
Leaders there do not want to see a return to even a mini-Cold War.
The Germans in particular, with their heavy financial exposure in
Russia, do not want to see this happen. More than anyone, Putin
understands the Germans. He is now carefully laying out, very
publicly, both his willingness to work with the United States, and
the consequences should that fail. Putin wants to have a neutral
Europe or, at the very least, a neutral Germany. The new
president's conciliatory moves are quite real. They are also
crafting the structure of the world, if conciliation fails.


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <>
Subject: Re: 4264-Latsis/Putin and Energy Disputes

Latsis' complaint, if it is serious, that Putin resolves a conflict between 
Gazprom and UES is just sad. Gazprom is not privatized, but 
is a ministry; UES is not privatized, but is a ministry. Who other 
than the the head of government should resolve a cabinet dispute? That 
Putin resolves it is yet another confirmation that it is a cabinet 
dispute. As long as Russian intellectuals refuse to give any serious 
intellectual thought to their country and just mouth old cliches, we are a 
long way from any solution to Russia's problems.

And if I can be forgiven for beating a horse that is not dead, 
but well-beaten, why is Skuratov's removal supposed to be evidence that 
Putin is strong instead of Yeltsin having been strengthened by the 
"change in government?"


Kazakh leader marks 10 years at top, slams media
April 24, 2000
By Michael Steen

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (Reuters) - President Nursultan Nazarbayev marked 10 years 
as elected leader of Kazakhstan Monday and said his Central Asian nation had 
avoided the pitfalls that led to poverty and bloodshed in other ex-Soviet 

In a televised address marked by nationalistic appeals and veiled criticisms 
of Western countries, Nazarbayev also kept up a swinging attack against the 
media and threatened to punish those who harmed Kazakhstan's image abroad. 

``The Kazakh people have begun to understand what a market economy is ... and 
most importantly, we have preserved political stability and trust between 
Kazakhstan's various ethnic groups,'' the former Communist party chief said. 

``Without this stability ... we would have experienced what other former 
Soviet states have gone through. We would have had bloodshed, wars, 
conflicts. Mothers would have lost children and there would have been misery 
for everyone.'' 

He said political stability had fueled economic growth in the oil-rich nation 
bordering Russia and China, adding that he had been justified in pushing 
through economic reforms, which according to his critics, have caused 
widespread hardship. 

Nazarbayev, 59, said he was working to build a democratic society based on 
the rule of law, but reiterated harsh attacks made against the media last 


``There is a widespread misunderstanding of the words 'freedom of speech' and 
'the free press.' Those who violate the constitution ... will be punished and 
such media will not be allowed to work,'' he said. 

``I really don't want to do this ... but it all depends on those who stir up 
inter-ethnic hatred in the media which works against the state, (or) harms 
the country's image in the world.'' 

The Kazakh press enjoys relative freedom compared to some neighboring states, 
but experts say self-censorship is already common. Some independent media 
have shut down after facing allegations of tax violations. 

Political analysts say Kazakhstan is becoming increasingly authoritarian and 
recent elections have been severely criticized by the West for not living up 
to democratic norms. Nazarbayev was re-elected in 1999 after banning his main 

``And then there are our 'foreign well-wishers,' in inverted commas, who try 
to cause quarrels with our neighbors, with Uzbekistan, with Russia ... to 
show Kazakhstan in a bad light so that we don't get investment and lose 
respect abroad,'' he said. 

``Only enemies of Kazakhstan and her independence can act like that,'' he 
said, gesticulating across a long desk. 

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on a recent visit to various Central 
Asian countries including Kazakhstan, criticized leaders for failing to 
further democratic reforms. 

Nazarbayev's apparent criticism of the West comes just days after overtures 
by Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin. Putin urged Russian business to 
become more active in the Caspian area, where Russia's influence has waned in 
the past decade. 

Speaking first in Kazakh and then in Russian, Nazarbayev said the state had 
three tasks in coming years: to strengthen its independence, ensure political 
stability, and encourage economic growth. 


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 
From: "Heinrich Tann" <> 
Subject: Eurasian Center's Spring Celebration Dance Party

For those interested in socializing, read the following invitation, for 
those interested in Russian Art, we will send a special invitation 
concerning a Russian Master to be displayed at the Russian Cultural Centre 
at the end of the month...

For those outside the Washington, DC area please visit our website

You and your friends are E-vited to...
The Eurasian Center's FRIENDSHIP 2000's
Friday, APRIL 7th, (7:30 p.m. - Onward)

At the Newly Renovated CONCORDIA HOTEL
1250 New Hamp. Ave., NW (DuPont 21st & M Sts)
Donation: $10 men $7 women(women $5 before 8:30 p.m.)
Center Members: $5
Questions -, 202-966-8651

Bring a friend or make new friends, celebrate and enjoy the
festivities...featuring the best selection of wines, beers, spirits, dancing 
and free Russian hor d'oeuvres
Dress code - Nice casual...
Best in salsa, euro, house, disco, rock...etc...


Boston Globe
24 April 2000
[for personal use only]
Russian town wary of chemical weapons disposal 
By David Filipov

SHCHUCHYE, Russia - Distrust and fear run deep in this impoverished town in 
western Siberia, deeper than the large pools of snowmelt that have filled 
gardens and cellars, sewage ducts and wheatfields, streets and yards.

In 1993, the residents of Shchuchye were stunned to learn that they had been 
the unwitting hosts for one of the world's largest and deadliest stockpiles 
of chemical weapons - nearly 6,000 tons of lethal nerve agents, created to 
wipe out humans the way insecticides kill bugs.

And they have not forgotten that their leaders in faraway Moscow, 975 miles 
to the west, lied to them for years, repeatedly denying the arsenal's 
existence until long after the Cold War was over.

Now the Russian government plans to destroy the weapons, using American 
funding and know-how, and bury the residual waste in bunkers located above 
the level of groundwater. Ask folks in Shchuchye what they think of that and 
the answer, right now in flood season, is invariably the same: not in my back 

''Look around town, and tell me where the surface water ends and the 
groundwater begins,'' quipped Alexander Zaikov, the affable chief doctor at 
Shchuchye's woefully underequipped hospital, as he drove visitors through the 
waterlogged neighborhoods. 

Tatyana Sirota, a vendor at Shchuchye's small produce market, was more blunt.

''We feel like flies who will be poisoned,'' she said. 

But this is not just the story of an abusive, secretive government 
indifferent to the concerns of its people. Russia has changed, and nowhere is 
that more evident than in the efforts of the very people who once designed 
these weapons and kept them a well-guarded secret. Now they are trying to get 
rid of them safely and keep the people who live here informed and involved in 
the process.

The weapons, some 2 million shells and missile warheads laid out like wine 
bottles in a sprawling underground facility near Shchuchye, are an unsightly 
legacy of the Cold War.

Military officials and chemical arms specialists, until recently forbidden by 
law even to mention the weapons, now answer questions at public meetings and 
open hearings in the local legislature. Public outreach offices, with the 
approval of the military, issue detailed briefings to answer public concerns 
about the safety of the project. US military officials, once seen as the 
ideological enemy, are now accepted as partners.

''This,'' said Sergei Baranovsky, pointing to publicly available maps of 
once-secret weapons sites and military bases and piles of pamphlets and 
brochures, ''is nothing less than a revolution.'' Baranovsky heads the 
Russian chapter of the Green Cross, an international environmental group that 
runs the outreach offices in Shchuchye and the regional capital, Kurgan.

''Can you imagine anything like this being open 15 years ago?,'' he asked. 
''We would have been put in jail. Now, we can talk about the problem like 
civilized people.''

The problem is that so far, chemical weapons disarmament in Russia has been 
mostly talk. Russia has made headlines with its recent ratification of 
nuclear arms reduction and test-ban treaties. Its chemical arsenal, no less 
deadly, is all but ignored, like some second-rate weapon of mass destruction.

By April 29, states that signed the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention are 
supposed to have eliminated 1 percent of their stockpiles. The United States 
has already destroyed 17 percent of its 32,000-ton arsenal, the world's 
second largest.

Russia, with 44,000 tons, will miss that deadline. Lieutenant General Valery 
Kopashin, head of Russian's chemical weapons elimination program, said Moscow 
remains committed to the treaty, but cannot cover the $6 billion cost alone.

The $888-million, US-Russian project to build an industrial-sized weapons 
destruction facility in Shchuchye would help. But the project has met with 
numerous delays, and this year the US Congress cut all funds for the program 
from the budget.

That decision has not gone down well in the Russian military. Colonel Andrei 
Kosarev is one of the Russian officers who have been trying to convince 
people in Shchuchye that destroying chemical weapons with American help is in 
their best interests.

''Many people see NATO expanding to the east, they see the war in Kosovo, and 
they think, we may need these weapons,'' Kosarev said. ''It took a long time 
for people to believe the Americans wanted to help us. So when the US cuts 
off funding, what am I supposed to tell people?''

The US Congress wants to see more evidence that the Russians intend to 
fulfill their side of the bargain, which includes modernizing Shchuchye's 
infrastructure. That is a daunting task. The town is heated mainly by aging 
coal furnaces. Fresh water and electricity are sporadic. New housing is badly 
needed to replace the town's dilapidated wood huts.

Kopashin says he is working on it, but only $1.8 million of Russia's $20.5 
million budget for chemical weapons elimination is going to Shchuchye. The 
rest is probably earmarked for six other weapons stockpiles throughout 
Russia, though no one can say for sure. How any of the money gets spent is a 
state secret.

Townspeople in Shchuchye say they see no evidence of the new water and gas 
pipelines and 17 apartment buildings promised by the end of this year.

''There is no question the proof is in the pudding,'' said Thomas E. 
Kuenning, head of the US Cooperative Threat Reduction program that oversees 
joint disarmament projects, as he inspected the construction sites on the 
outskirts of Shchuchye. 

Kuenning traveled to Shchuchye this month as part of an effort to get US 
funding for the project back on track. As a symbol of progress, he and 
Kopashin received a deed from the regional governor for the land where the 
weapons destruction facility will be built.

Kuenning also got a firsthand look at what it will take to convince the local 

''The streets are under water; the lights go off twice a day. How can we talk 
about building a factory to destroy chemical weapons?,'' asked Yekaterina 
Ponomaryova, who was selling canned goods at the abandoned movie theater 
(still adorned with Lenin's motto ''Of all the arts, the most important for 
us is Cinema.'')

''If I had any money, I'd just leave,'' she said. Ponomaryova and other 
townspeople say they have heard that the military has begun burning phosgene, 
a choking agent that dates to World War I.

Kuenning's arrival stoked another favorite local rumor: that the United 
States is building Shchuchye so that it can destroy its own chemical weapons 
far from home.

These days, American and Russian officials can smile at that one. This is 
another job for the public outreach office.

The office, which occupies a room in the schoolhouse, is run by Galina 
Vepreva, a former teacher who has made herself an expert on chemical weapons 
and their destruction. She has been to the US facility in Tooele County, 
Utah. She has seen how each nearby house there is equipped with a radio that 
connects to an emergency center. She knows that in Shchuchye, most houses do 
not even have phones.

But Vepreva talks to people, and she has been sensing a change. If three 
years ago everyone was against building the facility, now she is asked 
whether there will be jobs there for local people.

Vepreva is also the one who handles the rumors.

She tells people the Russian plan to eliminate the weapons entails no 
burning. The two-stage process involves mixing the poisonous chemicals with a 
neutralizing agent that reduces toxicity well below lethal levels, then 
mixing the resulting liquid with asphalt to make solid ''bricks.''

The US and Russian governments are investigating whether the chemicals might 
leach from the asphalt bricks into rain or groundwater. So far, their studies 
have not found serious risks, though long-term investigations are still 
underway on whether the chemicals, if they escaped, could trigger cancer, 
genetic mutations, immune system effects, or birth defects.

One test involved feeding the mixture to rats.

''The rats love it,'' said Miguel Morales, a spokesman for the US Cooperative 
Threat Reduction program. ''They gained weight.''

Russian specialists are convinced the bricks pose no danger. One idea has 
been to use them to pave airport runways - except that the 30,000 tons 
expected to be produced by disarming the weapons at Shchuchye would provide 
only enough asphalt for half a mid-sized runway, said Valery Demichuk, deputy 
director of the research institute that developed most of these weapons.

The people of Shchuchye can be forgiven for not believing anything their 
government tells them. For years, people suspected that the stockpiles were 
here, but Soviet, and from 1991 until 1993, Russian, authorities denied it.

For years, the Soviets also denied three major accidents at the Mayak nuclear 
production facility in the neighboring Chelyabinsk region, which polluted the 
Techa River that runs through Shchuchye district with radionuclides.

''We found that it was worse here than in Chernobyl,'' said Lyudmila 
Ganeyeva, a regional legislator who helped uncover the Mayak disasters in the 
late 1980s. When people found out about the chemical weapons stockpiles in 
Shchuchye , Ganeyeva said, ''our first thought was `get it out of here.'''

But Russian law forbids the transport of chemical weapons; other regions do 
not want the stuff in their backyards, either.

''We needed some time to realize that there was nothing to do but destroy 
these weapons right where they are now,'' she said.


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 
From: "Sean Holloway" <> 
Subject: Re: 4264- Who's Ruder?

I can only second William Pease's thoughts on the US Embassy in Moscow.
When you start talking to members of the American ex-pat community and
discover just how poorly US citizens are treated, or how difficult it is to
actually take advantage of all the "services" the Embassy allegedly
provides, it becomes easy to understand why so many US citizens look upon
the Embassy with disdain and contempt.

On a personal level, my litany of complaints starts like Mr. Pease's, with
the infamous black hole of trying to get a hold of someone on the telephone
(the most ludicrous example of which was being flat out told that I could
NOT leave a message for my business contact), being berated by guards when
dropping off letters/parcels for my business contacts within the Embassy,
and also several times having to "talk" my way into the Embassy despite the
fact I'm a US citizen. And as Mr. Pease has rightfully pointed out, not
one of my American friends in Moscow would turn to the Embassy in Moscow for
help during a true crisis, instead relying on a mad dash to Sheremet'evo for
the next plane out. Others would be more likely to stay and march in the
next anti-US protest in front of the Embassy.

The fact that many Russians' first encounter with an official US government
body through an attempt to get a US visa is such a de-humanizing process is,
in my opinion, even more of an embarrassment and disgrace. I have numerous
Russian friends who have been through the visa gauntlet and have plenty of
horror stories concerning arbitrary decisions, differing rules for visa
applicants between the US Moscow Embassy and US Consulates in other Russian
cities, obnoxious behavior, and in general a we-hate-Russians attitude
expressed by both Russian and US staff. Thus, it's not difficult to
understand why Russians (and most ex-pats) believe the US Embassy in Moscow
has an unwritten agenda of denying as many visa applicants as possible.

What is probably the most ironic part of this whole mess (for both
foreigners and ex-pats) is that the US Embassy in Moscow is the epitomy of
arbitrariness, bureaucracy, and contradictory and inconsistent rules:
issues that I have heard echoed numerous times by Embassy officials when
discussing what problems plague Russia. Go figure.


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