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Johnson's Russia List
4 August 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russian Jewish Leader Gorin Mulls Life of
Jews in Russia.
2. Moscow Times: Sarah Karush, New State Council Remains a Mystery.
3. Vedomosti: Z. Alexeyev, NO ONE LOVES OLIGARCHS. (poll data)
4. Moskovsky Komsomolets: Nina MOSKVINA and Yekaterina
WHAT ARE RUSSIA'S NEW FEDERAL DISTRICTS?
5. Pete Glatter: Contribution on hypocrisy & human rights.
6. the eXile/Stringer: Alexei Fomin, The Making of...DEATH WISH 1996.
New Director's Cut-- Starring Paul Tatum.]
Russian Jewish Leader Gorin Mulls Life of Jews in Russia
1 August 2000
[translation for personal use only]
Interview with Yonya Gorin by Sergey Petrov; date and place not
given: "There Was a Time When Many Jews Were Longing To Get Out of
A conference of the Jewish communities of the
CIS and Baltic countries has just been held in Israel. In particular, it
debated the state of Russian Jews. Yonya Gorin, executive director of the
Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia relates the results of the
[Petrov] What questions were discussed at the conference of the
Jewish communities of the CIS and Baltic countries and why did the state
of Jewish communities in our country become one of the most important
points on the agenda?
[Gorin] There was an objective conversation about the organization of
Jewish life in all of Russia's communities at the conference. We
developed practical recommendations for setting up Jewish schools,
conducting religious and secular seminars, and organizing cultural
events. These problems are now being successfully resolved in all towns
where our communities operate.
[Petrov] Who came to the conference and what delegations took part in
[Gorin] It was chiefly the leaders of all the Jewish communities of
Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and representatives of the Ukrainian
and Belarusian communities that came to Israel Present from our country
were rabbis, leaders of the Federation of Jewish Communities, and
Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar. Aside from this, the conference was
attended by representatives of such major Jewish communities as the
Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, Samara, Saratov, Yekaterinburg, Novgorod,
Moscow, and St. Petersburg communities. Representatives of Jewish
communities from the United States and Western Europe also came.
[Petrov] It is known that many Jewish communities are now headed up
by newly arrived rabbis How can you explain this? How many rabbis are
there now who were born in Russia?
[Gorin] Indeed, many Jewish communities are headed up by rabbis who
were educated abroad This is very easily explained; Jewish education
was prohibited for a long time in the Soviet Union But at the same
time, there are more and more rabbis who were born and brought up in
Russia The work to instruct people was conducted by precisely those who
had come to Russia from other countries, including the United States. But
there is no difference between the local rabbis and the newly arrived
rabbis. They all work for the sake of strengthening the communities and
setting up Jewish schools, cultural centers, and charity canteens.
[Petrov] Russia's chief rabbi recent said that Jewish communities'
life in Russia is sorting itself out Do you agree with this assertion?
[Gorin] I will cite some figures. 21 Jewish schools will open in
various towns in our country in September. Children there will study
according to the usual school syllabus but will also study Hebrew, Jewish
history, and Jewish traditions. Only a couple of years ago, most of them
did not have this opportunity. In my youth I was sure that it was all
over for Jewish culture and religion in our country: There were neither
schools nor people who could hand over their knowledge to pupils; there
was nothing. People immediately became "noticed" by the special services
for visiting synagogues in Moscow, for example, and they were guaranteed
to have problems at work Everything is completely different now. These
changes are happening largely thanks to people like Berl Lazar.
[Petrov] It is known that Berl Lazar recently visited the United
States. What was this trip connected with?
[Gorin] Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar did indeed go on a short trip
to the United States. He met representatives of practically all US Jewish
organizations. The results of the visit are very important. Whereas
previously US Jewish organizations expressed some doubt, they now clearly
see that Jewish communities in Russia enjoy broad support from Russian
President Vladimir Putin, the government, the governors, and the city
mayors. This is very important because the US Jewish communities would
like to give us aid in reestablishing normal cultural and religious life
for the communities in Russia. We have now found complete mutual
understanding on this question.
[Petrov] What is your opinion, has there been a change in attitude
toward the activity of organizations like yours with the election of the
new Russian president?
[Gorin] The authorities have treated religious communities' activity
quite well over recent years As regards changes with the arrival of the
new president, I can only talk about my inner feelings. I think that
changes for the better are now taking place. Of course, nothing at all
radical has happened, but nevertheless, state functionaries have begun to
have a more attentive attitude toward their obligations and there is
becoming less callousness in their actions and that is a very gratifying
fact. Previously, unfortunately, we very often had to come up against a
lack of understanding. We now have a very good relationship not only with
the federal authorities but also with the regional administrations. After
all, we want to take part not only in the life of Jewish communities but
also in the life of the whole of Russian society. Jews are part of it.
The better the whole society, all people, live, the better Jews will live
too. I travel around the country a great deal and see how difficult it is
for people to live in the provinces. We would like to help hospitals,
kindergartens, and schools.
[Petrov] Are you more frequently turned to by people wishing to help
or those wishing to receive help? How is your work structured overall?
[Gorin] We do not conduct special campaigns to attract sponsors
striving to engage in charity Everything we do it connected with work.
Everyone sees its results and they themselves come and offer help. For
instance, we are organizing a charity canteen; it is a question of an
entirely tangible thing. Or we open a school in some town; the children
come and study, then they begin to visit our children's parties. It
frequently happens that the children then bring their parents along. This
summer, for instance, we had a session for girls in a summer camp in the
Moscow region. A session for boys is now beginning. So the development of
Jewish communities is now progressing very quickly and for us that is the
best proof that we are on the right road.
[Petrov] After his trip to the United States, Berl Lazar said that
Russian Jews are not now packed up and ready to go and that they do not
intend to leave either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Russia's chief
rabbi underscored that they are staying and intend to participate in the
efforts to revive a Jewish community in the country. According to your
assessments, do many Jews intend to leave Russia and go to Israel? What
is your attitude toward emigration?
[Gorin] Each Jew decides for himself the question of where to live
and whether to leave or not We do not interfere in this. I can say with
the utmost responsibility that there are fewer people wishing to leave
now. I think this is connected with the fact that Jewish cultural and
religious life in Russia itself is sorting itself out. A few years ago,
there was a very big flow of people to Israel Few are leaving Russia
August 4, 2000
New State Council Remains a Mystery
By Sarah Karush
After kicking regional bosses out of parliament, President Vladimir Putin has
tossed them a bone, promising to create an advisory body in which their
voices will be represented.
Other than its name f the "State Council" f little has been decided about the
new body, and skeptics say it will be purely symbolic with no real political
In a laconic decree last week, Putin approved the idea first suggested by the
governors during the debate on reforming the Federation Council, and asked
both houses of parliament to send him their suggestions on what the new
council should look like.
On Thursday, Interfax quoted Putin as saying that some of the nonlegislative
functions of the Federation Council could be transferred to the State
Council. Among the upper house's powers are appointing the prosecutor general
and top federal judges, and approving declarations of war.
Putin said the council should also discuss policy initiatives from the State
Duma and the governmentthat directly affect the 89 regions.
Sergei Samoilov, head of the Kremlin department overseeing the regions, told
Nezavisimaya Gazeta that one function would be to approve the outline of the
federal budget. "The backbone of the State Council will consist of leaders of
the executive branches of the regions," the newspaper quoted him as saying
Wednesday. "The State Council will be led directly by the president."
Itar-Tass quoted an unnamed Kremlin source as saying the council would have
only 20 members. Some of those seats would be occupied by Duma leaders and
perhaps representatives of the business elite, the source said.
Information on who would choose the representatives and by what criteria has
been even more scant.
In a recent interview with Kommersant, Vladislav Surkov, deputy chief of the
Kremlin staff, said the regional leaders, who would sit on the council, would
be chosen based on demographic and economic criteria. Such suggestions have
sparked protests from many governors.
"From my point of view it would be illegal to include in its makeup only some
of the leaders of the 'significant regions,' as they are suggesting in the
Kremlin," Chuvashia President Nikolai Fyodorov was reported as saying by
Interfax. "Such a principle contradicts the letter and spirit of the
Ruslan Aushev, president of Ingushetia, expressed doubts the State Council
will have any real power.
"If the State Council is comprised of regional heads and government ministers
f people directly dependent on the goodwill of the authorities f then it will
be just another organ reflecting only the position of the Kremlin," Interfax
reported him as saying.
An advisory council was created once already f and quickly became irrelevant.
In 1996, President Boris Yeltsin created the Political Consultative Council,
which critics said was thought up to reward allies for whom there was no room
in the Cabinet or presidential administration.
The council quickly faded from the public consciousness, though it still
formally exists. The Kremlin source said it would be replaced by the new
August 3, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
NO ONE LOVES OLIGARCHS
By Z. ALEXEYEV
There is a negative attitude to the oligarchs in our
country. Big business has become the synonym for the violation
of law while its representatives are perceived as law
offenders. According to data of the All-Russian Public Opinion
Research Centre (VTsIOM), from 60% to 70% of the respondents
are convinced that "quite considerable" and "very considerable
violations" can be found in the activities of Gazprom, Lukoil,
Media-Most, ORT, RAO UES Rossii, Siberian Aluminium, Sibneft,
and also of the heads of these companies.
The poll by the Public Opinion Fund (FOM) shows that 69%
of the respondents believe in the seriousness of charges
brought by law-enforcement bodies against the heads of large
companies in connection with privatisation. As many as 75% of
those polled believe that criminal proceedings must be
instituted against the owners of enterprises privatised in
violation of law.
Therefore, the oligarchs can't expect support from the
public opinion. The sympathies of society in this issue are on
the side of the authorities. Moreover, on the whole, the public
opinion accepts official and, namely, ideological explanations
for these events. As many as 46% of the respondents agree that
the measures by the law-enforcement bodies are dictated by the
need to "bring order to the economy and clear it of criminal
elements." Another 31% of those polled saw in the actions taken
by the authorities "instrumental" economic and political
motives which, however, do not evoke condemnation - the desire
"to squeeze money out of the oligarchs to replenish the
treasury" and the intention "to demonstrate the power of the
incumbent authorities." The actions taken by the authorities
against the oligarchs were criticised only by 15% of the
respondents who saw in them "a deliberate" economic and
political intention "to start re-distribution of property in
the country" and an attempt "to settle scores with those who do
not demonstrate submissiveness to the incumbent authorities."
The punishment of the oligarchs added to the President's
popularity: the above poll by VTsIOM registered a considerable
growth of the popularity rating of Vladimir Putin in the second
half of July. Does this mean that society has grown ripe to
pass a final political verdict on large private capital in
No, it doesn't. The data of the polls show that scepticism
prevails in relation to the proclaimed final goals of the
anti-oligarchic campaign. In this issue ordinary citizens and
the so-called leaders of public opinions hold actually the same
views. According to VTsIOM data, only 31% of the respondents
believe that the current campaign by the authorities against
the oligarchs "has been launched in earnest and will lead to
their limited influence." Most of the respondents, however, are
of the opinion that the campaign against oligarchs "has been
launched only to slightly scare them off and that they will
keep their influence" (54%).
The scepticism of the public opinion in relation to the
attainment of official goals of the anti-oligarchic campaign
looks especially surprising against the background of
optimistic assessments of the President's attempts to restore
"a power vertical" in the country. According to the data of
VTsIOM, the ratio between optimists and sceptics is quite a
different one in this respect - 73:14.
The results of the polls can be interpreted differently.
First of all, part of those polled expressed doubts about the
ability of the authorities to put big business in its place.
Let us note that there are more than enough grounds for this.
However, law-enforcement bodies themselves do not enjoy much
trust in society either. Secondly, sociologists note that in
assessing the anti-oligarchic campaign, two lines come to
collide with each other in the citizens' consciousness - one
for the restoration of justice and the other for the
preservation of stability. They are convinced that
privatisation was unfair but they fear that a new
re-distribution of property may turn out to be a national
disaster. The price of such restoration of law and order and
justice is perceived as unacceptable. In other words, the
entire contradictory variety of opinions can be brought down to
the following formula: "They must be pardoned rather than
executed." If so, the public opinion simply turns out to be
unable to give a non-contradictory assessment of oligarchs.
But it is also possible to assume a different thing.
Scepticism and caution revealed by the public opinion as
regards the outcome of the struggle of the authorities with the
oligarchs are fed by still a vague understanding of the fact
that a new market order can't do without large capital.
And the latter will enjoy considerable economic and political
The verdict of the public opinion in relation to the
oligarchs interpreted in this way becomes more sensible: to
punish but not to destroy. After all, the research of the
Public Opinion Fund (FOM) shows that only 31% of the
respondents believe that favourable conditions have now been
created in Russia for the development of big business. Another
32% consider these conditions unfavourable, and still another
37% found it difficult to answer this question. At the same
time, according to the poll carried out by VTsIOM, 53% of those
polled are convinced that the campaign against the oligarchs
"is in line with the continuation of market reforms" and only
16% think that this campaign serves as an "evidence of the
beginning of market reform curtailment." It is not ruled out
that a so far vague and unclear but still essentially realistic
understanding of the prospects of the country's development can
be discerned behind the scepticism as regards the final results
of the struggle against the oligarchs.
(Based on materials of VTsIOM and FOM.)
August 2, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
WHAT ARE RUSSIA'S NEW FEDERAL DISTRICTS?
By Nina MOSKVINA and Yekaterina KRAVCHENKO
President Vladimir Putin's seven general-governors will
get control over almost 350 billion of "alive" money a year.
Such was the revenue of the budgets of these seven territories
in 1999. It must be said, however, that the initially projected
sum was 523 billion. But it "shrunk" by 50%, which were used
for all kinds of writings-off and mutual offsets. This is
something that need to be clarified, because it is common
knowledge that mutual offsets hold out vast opportunities for
price manipulations and personal profits by participants in
"mutually advantageous" transactions.
What is more, the federal government is yet to assert the
fairness of budget loans and transfers to the regions. This
makes up a lot of money but its circulation remains an enigma
for the Finance Ministry.
Konstantin Pulikovsky, Vladimir Putin's envoy in the Far
East, has recently let the cat out of the bag concerning the
aim of the reform. He said that governors would not receive any
finances. They "can keep their mouths shut" for a year, as
their interests will be of no interest to anyone, he went on.
To believe Pulikovsky, from now on only Putin's envoys will
decide for what aims, and how much money is required and in
which way the money should be provided.
If things continue to develop this way, the governor-
generals are likely to turn into a new bureaucratic-oligarchic
superstructure. The romantically presented task of building a
"new Russia" and the declared striving to help regional leaders
will, in fact, turn into financial sanctions against governors
Right now the President's governor-generals have been
trusted with a crystal clear task - to make the inventory list
of their respective territories to appraise their economic
potentialities and find out a line-up of forces, including
political forces. Our newspaper is prepared, with the help of
ex- Natural Resources Minister Viktor Orlov, to ease this task
for them. Our only wish is that they should begin the country's
economic recovery as soon as possible.
1. In the Central Federal District mineral resources
probably have the least role to play in the economy, despite
the fact that the district is the country's leader in some
kinds of mineral resources. Concentrated in its territory are
66% of all industrial iron ore resources (their production is
more than half of their production for the whole of the
country), 25% of phosphorites, 25% of raw cement (production is
more than 40%) and 15% of bauxites. Of all the available
natural resources building materials (clay, sand, gravel and
crushed stone) and subsurface waters are used the most.
There was a time when coal was produced in this district
(the Moscow coal basin). But this industry is no longer
profitable and it amounts to 1% of coal production for the
country as a whole.
By and large, this district should orient to the handling
of the following socio-economic problems, which are connected
one way or another with production and provision of farming
with mineral fertilizers; transfer of drinking water supply to
ecologically safe subsurface sources (this also concerns Moscow
proper), and provision of the building industry (which is the
strongest in the country) with gravel and crushed stone out of
2. The economy of the Northwestern Federal District is of
a far greater raw-materials orientation. Almost 72% of the
reserves of apatites and nearly 100% of their production, about
77% of titanium reserves, 45% of bauxite reserves, 19% of
mineral waters reserves and about 18% of the reserves of
diamonds and nickel are concentrated in its territory. Oil and
coal production is a very important industry of its economy.
The oil and gas resources of the Nenets area and the
Barents Sea shelf are the most attractive for investment. Only
their largest projects are estimated about 25 billion dollars
in aggregate. According to expert forecasts, this district can
become the country's second largest fuel producer. If the
industrial production of the oil and gas reserves of the shelf
begins, this will give a strong impetus to the development of
coastal regions - local people will get jobs and defense
industry enterprises, of which there are a great many in the
territory, will receive orders connected with conversion.
3. The natural resources of the South Federal District
have been very well studied. The region boasts of about 73% of
Russia's thermal waters (the bearers of deepwater "natural"
heat), almost 41% of tungsten and about 30% of mineral waters.
There are also sulfur, raw cement, coal, gas, oil, copper,
zinc, gold, silver and lead reserves.
The region holds first place in Russia in the production
of mineral waters and second and third in the production of raw
tungsten and cement, respectively. It (Donbas) is the third
largest coal producer after Siberia and the Far East. But the
main prospects of this district's economic development are
connected with oil production.
Its oil reserves, which lie at the depth of five to six
kilometers, are estimated at five billion tons of conventional
fuel. The boring of the very first oil well on the Caspian
shelf immediately confirmed the serious fuel potential of that
But all the projects require huge investments - upwards of 15
billion to 20 billion dollars.
4. The Trans-Volga Federal District is called "the second
Baku." It has a clear-cut oil specialization. In addition to
huge oil and gas reserves, it has unique reserves of potassium
salts (about 96% of all of Russia's proven reserves), huge
reserves of phosphorites (60%), zinc, copper, raw cement,
silver, gold and mineral waters.
Today, the district is the monopolist in producing and
processing potassium salts, for which there is already high
demand in the international market and will soon be a similar
demand in the domestic market.
The country's main arable lands are concentrated in the
four European districts, in particular, the Trans-Volga,
Central and North Caucasian. The problem is that these lands
are in a critical state: practically no fertilizers have been
used in the past ten years. Upwards of 80% of Russia's quality
fertilizers are exported.
5. The Urals Federal District turns out to be the richest.
It has the most developed oil, gas and mining industries in
Russia. In addition, it has about 27% of manganese ores and
iron ores, silver and gold reserves. It also produces a certain
amount of lead, nickel and coal. Stone production is well
developed in its territory.
Gas is the indisputable leader in the economy of the
district. It produces 92% of all Russian gas and 65% of oil.
However, production is down today in the West Siberian oil and
gas province. The thing is that at one time the district's
oilmen received licenses to the development of more than 200
But the situation is at a standstill: some of the license
holders have no money, while others lack modern technology.
The Urals district is the most self-sufficient of all as
far as resources, technical means and know-how are concerned.
It can (and must) become the leader in the country's economy.
6. The Siberian Federal District us famous for its solid
mineral resources. It has 85% of the country's reserves of lead
and platinum, 80% of coal, 80% of molybdenum, 71% of nickel,
69% of copper, 67% of zinc, 66% of manganese, 44% of silver and
about 40% of gold plus certain reserves of titanium, tungsten,
raw cement, phosphorites, iron ores, bauxites and tin.
Another plus-factor of this district will be the
development of territories around the Baikal-Amur Mainline.
This railway line practically is out of use at present. But the
territory through which it passes has reserves of gold, rare
metals, copper, coal, asbestos, etc. The aggregate investment
capacity of corresponding projects (excluding oil, gas and
pipelines) is estimated at between seven billion and ten
7. The Far Eastern Federal District radically differs from
the others in terms of the development of its territory and
natural resources. It holds leading positions only in the
reserves and production of diamonds.
The region has considerable prospects to increase the
production of gold ore. But this requires investments and new
The industrial production of oil is developed only on
Sakhalin and its shelf. Small amounts of natural gas are
produced for local needs in Sakhalin and Yakutia. As a matter
of fact, there are deposits of quality coal in southeast
The beginning of oil and gas production in the Sea of
Okhotsk shelf can give a powerful impulse to the economic
growth of the district. Predicted oil and gas reserves
constitute 40% of all of their proven reserves in Russia. The
investment capacity of this project is between 12 billion and
15 billion dollars.
As we see the governor-generals have more than enough
problems. The districts have everything necessary for economic
growth. The question is how quickly they will be able to get
control over financial flows. This is unlikely to happen very
soon. The Russian methodology of building the budget is too
complicated and beyond stark estimates. And it by no means can
be understood in one go. It is also necessary to take into
consideration a very cautious attitude of the local elite too
all kinds of show of force by Moscow.
It goes without saying that much will depend on the work
of the apparatuses of the President's representatives and the
degree to which it will be possible to staff them with
professionals who will know the specific features of the
region. At this point, many analysts agree that some success
can be expected from Viktor Cherkesov (the Northwestern
district) and Konstantin Pulikovsky (the Far Eastern district)
who have an experience of previous work and good connections.
The other governor-generals can turn into nominal supervisors
who will from time to time fulfil "pin-point" assignments of
From: "Pete Glatter" <email@example.com>
Subject: Contribution on hypocrisy & human rights
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000
Hello, I hope the attachment shows I'm not just a passive recipient. I
wrote it partly as a distraction from the final heavings of a PhD on
Russian regional elites, as well as out of strong feeling on the subject.
I'm currently working at the British Library on a special collection of
informal/unofficial Russian-language periodicals from the early 1980s to
the present. Pete Glatter
31A Atherfold Road
London SW9 9LN
Britain Phone/fax: +44 (0)20 7733 1408
DONT READ MY LIPS, ESPECIALLY ON HUMAN RIGHTS
from Pete Glatter firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wests human rights record, itchy and scratchy at best, has acquired a
particularly loud Anglo-Saxon hiss with the rise of Vladimir Putin.
Lord Russell-Johnston, for example, who represented the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe, returned to a press conference in Moscow
from a day-trip to occupied Chechnya, just as the Russian offensive was
about to reach its height, to give a verbal carte blanche for the
pulverisation of Grozny. He now understood much better, he said, some of
the things the Russian government had been trying to explain. The Chechen
regime, he declared, had been corrupt and undemocratic and had failed to
provide its citizens with proper education and health services (how this
distinguished it from much of the rest of Russia he did not say). Although
he was still in favour of a cease-fire in principle, in practice, he
appreciated that there was no-one to negotiate it with anyway. It was
field day time for the pro-Putin media in Russia, at any rate.
Tony Blair's visit to Putin, less than two weeks before the presidential
election, was notable, as Nezavisimaia gazeta pointed out (14 March), for
the dramatic way in which western correspondents suddenly relegated
Chechnya to the background. Under the front page headline "Blair boosts
Putin", the paper quoted Blairs verdict on "Vladimir Putins Russia" (no
English modesty there about which way the democratic process was going to
go): "a strong power, where law and order reign, it is also a democratic
and liberal country".
Putin's return visit to London the following month was, if anything, even
more remarkable, as the business magazine Ekspert (24 April) was at some
pains to point out. Explaining that London was the only major capital in
western Europe where the wholesale violation of human rights by the
Russian federal forces did not put a serious obstacle in the way of such an
event, the magazine prominently quoted KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky:
"Theoretically, it is not the Queens habit to drink tea with murderers who
turn up with their hands stained with blood. This invitation is a real
miracle for Putins reputation."
A miracle for Putin has been a disaster for those at the sharp end of the
struggle for words like democracy and law and order, which tripped so
easily from Tony Blairs lips, as three examples indicate.
Bending to the pressure, not least from such as he, the human rights
organisation Memorial failed to make a stand in defence of the Chechen
right to self-determination. As a result, Yelena Bonner, the grand old lady
of human rights in Russia, felt obliged to leave the organisation to which
she and her famous husband, Andrei Sakharov, had been dedicated.
At the last call, Sovetskaya Kalmykia segodnya, a crusading anti-corruption
liberal and human rights weekly in a particularly tightly sewn-up
province, was facing an uncertain prospect when its Ford Foundation grant
runs out in September. The papers editor, Larissa Iudina, was murdered two
years ago. Her husband has gone on producing the paper in a neighbouring
territory with help from outside journalists before shipping it in to
Irina Grebneva, another crusading female editor, has just hunger-struck her
way through a 5-day jail sentence for "hooliganism" in the far east region
of Primorye. Her crime appears to have been that she failed to delete the
multitude of expletives from transcripts she published in her paper,
Arsenievskie vesti (http://personal.primorye.ru/arsvest/N29/N29_10.html,
and N30/N30_8.html) of tapes allegedly of the governor, the rather
notorious Yevgeny Nazdratenko, and others apparently engaged in arranging
the recent mayoral elections in Vladivostok (their man won). The electronic
version of the transcripts includes an natty little montage entitled:
"Project for a monument to the victors of the struggle against the voters
of Primorye". But the experience was no joke, as the authorities made clear
from the start when they kept 57 year-old Grebneva standing up for
six-and-a-half hours before taking her off to begin her sentence
While following the last story I recalled, not for the first time, the
admiring if muted noises with which Blair's visit to Russia was greeted at
the time. Blair was defended against me by a specialist I generally admire
and respect on the grounds that he hadnt explicitly condoned the Chechnya
offensive. The truth is that Blair's support for Putin has betrayed the
very people who really are trying to turn Russia into a "democratic and
liberal country" where "law and order reign".
Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2000
From: Matt Taibbi <email@example.com>
Subject: stringer-tatum piece
Sending to you the lead from the next eXile issue, written by Alexei Fomin
and originally published in this month's Stringer. It offers new
information about Paul Tatum's killing.
The Making of...
DEATH WISH 1996
New Director's Cut-- Starring Paul Tatum
By Alexei Fomin
Every foreigner in Moscow knows the Paul Tatum story. In the expat
religion, the assassination of the former Radisson-Slavyanskaya honcho
makes up a whole book-say, the Job-like fourth or fifth after the 1991
Genesis-of the local Bible. According to the book, Tatum was swallowed
whole by a great local mobster, and again vomited back up upon the land,
only with eleven bulletholes in him.
Like any legend, the Tatum story has many popular interpretations.
Tatum's proponents, like his moronic self-publishing brother-in-law Rick
Furmanek, insist that ol' Paul was just a good guy businessman, worshipped
by his employees, who was viciously blindsided by a gangland takeover.
Those same proponents tend to see in the Tatum story a metaphor for the
unhappy clash of ethical Western business with the ruthless criminal
"biznes" of Russia.
Tatum's detractors, who among Westerners willing to go on the record are
significantly fewer in number than Tatum's proponents, maintain that Tatum
was at best a fool who refused to read the writing on the wall, and at
worst a corrupt shyster no better or worse than the people who had him
The two schools have argued periodically and to little result in the nearly
four years since Tatum's death. In that time there has been little new
evidence to shed light on the matter. Until now, that is.
This month, Stringer obtained two documents which prove conclusively that
Tatum knew for a fact that he was in serious danger before his death-and
that his shooting came as a direct result of his decision to throw caution
to the wind and take his chances despite the dangers.
Not that anyone deserves to get shot. But no one deserves to be canonized
for throwing out a plank and walking oneself off of it. Paul Tatum could
have gone home to a cozy life of chat rooms and 24-packs. But instead...
instead, these are the fact of the case:
Paul Tatum was shot in cold blood with an automatic "Kalashnikov" before
the very eyes of several passers-by in the center of Moscow.
On November 3rd, 1996, around 5:00 pm, Tatum, accompanied by two
bodyguards, left the Slavyanskaya hotel and headed towards the Kievskaya
metro station, where he had arranged to meet someone. His killer, having
walked up to him in the underground passageway, shot him at point-blank
range. Having carried out his orders, the killer laid his gun down on the
passageway steps and walked away.
Eleven bullets, fired from a distance of five meters, ended his long
dispute with the Moscow City Government with the "Radisson-Slavyanskaya"
It was a big deal, initially. But the press forgot about Tatum's murder
within the span of two days. His relatives have been unable to get his
remains back to the US-he was buried in the Kuntsevsky Cemetery in Moscow--
and it seems to have been a while since anyone remembered him.
One might get the impression that someone put a gag in the the mouth of
the Muscovite press. This "someone," the theory goes, was working close in
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's circle. In any case, that's the conclusion that can be
made from Paul Tatum's statement to General Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, which
was written nearly seven months before his death, and which we reprint in
public for the first time now. The letter refers to several figures only by
nicknames and pseudonyms; who they are becomes clear later:
To the General Prosecutor of The Russian Federation
Yuri M. Skuratov
From: US Citizen Paul Edward Tatum
Moscow, Berezhkovskaya Nabarezhna dom 2, komnata 852
In 1990, the company "RedAmer Partnership," headed by myself, became a
partner with the Joint-Venture "Intourist - Radamer Hotel and Business
Center. The hotel "Slavyankskaya" later also joined this partnership.
Goskom Intourist, and subsequently the Moscow City Government, took part on
the Russian side. Eighty percent of the fifty percent of the stock
belonging to the American partners belonged to my company.
At that time, the General Director of the JV was an American citizen, and
the enterprise functioned normally. In January 1995, some problems arose
with the American partners, connected with the fact that the General
Director had not received his Russian visa. U.A. Dzhabrailov was named as
the acting General Director, since he had connections in the Moscow City
Government and was able to initiate his naming to the post. Despite
repeated statements to various levels of the government about the law
violations on part of our Russian partners, no actions have been taken. The
American partners, as a result, have suffered a huge loss.
By the end of February 1996, my acquaintance, Sasha, introduced me to Givi
(956-75-28) who mentioned in passing that he knew [Iosif] Ordzhonikidze
well, and promised to provide cooperation in solving the problems that had
turned up with the "Radisson-Slavyanskaya" Hotel. In March, an urgent
meeting was held with Givi, during which he informed me of the conditions
under which our firm would receive the possibility to name our General
Director and basically solve all of our problems with the hotel. According
to Givi, who is representing Ordzhonikidze, the Moscow City Government
promises to provide a letter which will apply to the mayor for the
selection of the General Director of the joint company who will represent
the American partners.
According to Givi, I am supposed to pay one million dollars towards the
development of a "Diplomatic Club," run by Givi. Supposedly, according to
Givi's figures, subsequently and basically on the terms of a trusteeship,
the Moscow City Government will be directing the club. Under these terms,
they will support various directors of the Judicial System, including three
of Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov's men. Givi explained that the one
million dollars transferred to the club would be given over to
Ordzhonikidze. Out of that sum, 500 thousand dollars would remain at his
disposal, and the other 500 thousand would be given to Dzhabrailov, who
allegedly, according to Givi, has previously handed out money to the Moscow
City Government. He explained that this amount would go towards the paying
off of his expenses -- basically, compensation by the Moscow City
Government to Dzhbrailov for the latter's payoff.
By my calculations, this is the only avenue open to me which would allow my
company to regain its rightful legal position. Givi further explained that
his personal interests consisted principally of the opportunity to earn
money by running this "Diplomatic Club."
Taking these facts into consideration, I ask you to take the necessary
measures which would , on one side, prevent me from having to deal with
extortion and on the other side, help us to restore our legal rights at the
order of CP "Intourist - Radamer Hotel and Business Center."
Right now, without handing out bribes, our problem will remain unsolved.
April 15, 1995
If we are to believe the author, then it seems like a certain chairman of
the Moscow City Government, Iosif Ordzhonikidze, asked Tatum for a bribe of
one million dollars in order to cover up a previous bribe of 500 thousand
dollars which Umar Dzhabrailov paid previously. Tatum apparently refused to
pay, and instead turned to The Law for help. How it all ended is clear.
Umar Dzhabrailov settled himself down permanently in the General Director's
chair, while Paul Tatum wound up in the Kuntsevsky Cemetery. The connection
between these two events, in our opinion, is more than clear.
Let's take a minute to review how the energetic young Paul Tatum got his
business started in Russia.
In 1987, after arriving from California, the businessman opened up his
first business center for foreign firms and companies in Moscow. Later, he
founded the company "Americom International Corporation," whose partner is
Bob Haldeman, the former head of the Nixon Administration.
In 1989, "Americom" joined up with the managerial company "Radisson Hotel
Corporation" and signed a contract with Goskom Intourist that agreed to
construct an American hotel combined with an enterprise that would go by
the name of "Intourist - Radamer Hotel and Business Center." Fifty percent
of the joint-venture stock belonged to the American partners, and the other
half was Goskom Intourist's. But even so, the hotel was on federal
property. The joint venture acted merely as a tenant of the building.
In August 1991, coincidentally the eve of the coup, the
Radisson-Slavyanskaya Hotel received its first guests. It was during these
very days that Tatum acquired his connections in political circles. It's
even rumored that during the coup, Tatum was in the beseiged White House,
where Yeltsin's opponents actively used his mobile phone.
A year later, problems arose back in the States for the businessman.
Several stockholders of "Amerikom" were suing him, saying that he had
embezzled the firm's funds. As he had received credit from various
investors in the US, there was no way Tatum could settle his accounts.
In 1992, Goskom Intourist was liquidated, and "Slavyanskaya" became city
government property. Within two years' time, squabbles broke out between
the two American partners regarding the privatization of the joint
venture's share, which had earlier belonged to the disbanded government
Tatum suggested giving out a part of the shares to the hotel workers and
selling the other part, so as to cover up any credit that had been received
earlier. The directors of "Radisson" demanded that Tatum review the joint
venture's share. They accused Tatum of destroying the accounting records,
taking a chunk of the income for himself, and deceiving his partners even
as the "Slavyanskaya" was becoming a five-star hotel.
While the Americans argued, the Russians -- more specifically, the
authorities at Moskomimushestvo -- got possession of shares of the former
Goskom Intourist. Umar Dzhabrailov was named the acting director of the
hotel, and Tatum gained yet another enemy.
At the same time, the city property authorities at Moskomimushestvo decided
to sell "Slavyanskaya", and put an end to all of the fuss with the
co-owner. But the problems did not end there. The Moscow City Government
turned out to have a too big of an appetite. The potential buyers were
faced with nearly impossible conditions by the bureaucrats.
They were told that not only would they have to lay out more than fifty
million dollars for the hotel itself, but that they would also be required
to pay 100 million dollars to the city to supposedly settle the joint
venture's debts, wipe the neighboring DK Gorbunov building off the face of
the earth, and finally, hand over 100 thousand dollars towards the
development of a children's recreation center in Moscow. We should mention
that so far, no one willing to take up these conditions has been found.
After having driven Tatum from "Slavyanskaya," Dzhabrailov demanded 300
thousand dollars from him for the hotels' residents and the office rent.
Tatum did not give him the money. Later, he had a nagging feeling that
Dzhabrailov wanted to kill him, but he said nothing of this to the media.
The "Tatum Affair" was buried for four long years. It flared back up again
on the very peak of the pre-election campaign, just when Luzhkov's team
announced a war against Yeltsin's "Family."
ORT Nazi Sergei Dorenko carried Tatum's name like a war banner under which
the people should go to battle against the "Moscow Family." Behind him
trudged the half-retarded relatives of the late entrepreneur, trying to
take advantage of the moment and get the trophy after the victory.
Dorenko's team explained to the members of Tatum's family that they could
easily, with help from the courts, get 36 million dollars from Luzhkov, or
at least confiscate the lush New York apartment allegedly owned by the
After the elections, when it became clear that Luzhkov was backing off with
his "Otechestvo," Tatum was forgotten once more.
The scandal about Tatum's relatives blaming Luzhkov for taking part in the
murder quieted down just as quickly. The Arizona courts, where a lawsuit
had been filed against the mayor of Russia's capital, didn't carry out even
one session regarding the issue.
It seems as though everything is rather clear. The "Tatum Affair" was used
to reach certain political ends and promptly forgotten about. But actually,
this is where the really interesting stuff begins. The main questions are:
Where did Sergei Dorienko get his information about Tatum-- and who put it
into the commentator's head to suggest suing Luzhkov in the American
Let's go back to the letter Tatum sent to the Yuri Skuratov. Contrary to
the usual practice, this letter did not go unnoticed. The paper turned up
in the office of the Presidential Bodyguard, headed by Alexander Korzhakov,
which was conducting the investigation in the affair.
The following is a report taken from the files of Korzhakov's office. In
it, an investigator summarizes the Tatum case:
On May 28th of the current year, a planned meeting with the director of the
Radisson-Slavyanskaya Hotel, US citizen Paul Tatum, took place. The latter
informed us that he had had a series of meetings with a well-known citizen
by the name of Givi, who, in his own words, is the middleman dealing with
Givi persistently asked to speed up the payment, since Tatum thus far had
not found a solution to the aforementioned problems. On his part, Tatum
chose to investigate Givi's reliability through an acquaintance of his, a
former worker in the Russian Embassy in America. The latter actually,
according to his words, met with the personal representative of "O", who
reaffirmed Givi's power. "O'"s trusted friend, in turn, requested five
thousand dollars in cash from Tatum in order to get him a letter, signed by
Luzhkov, where the details of the hotel's transfer to Tatum would be
Tatum explained further about the aforementioned issue regarding the
payment to Givi, in the near future, of one million dollars. It followed
from their conversation that the deal could take place in two stages. At
first, Tatum could pay 500 thousand dollars, not in cash, after which Tatum
would receive documents affirming the serious interests of the Moscow City
Government regarding Tatum. After that payment, according to Givi, "O"
would receive a commission, from which the decision would be made about the
General Director of P.T.'s hotel. Afterwards, Tatum would get to pay the
other 500 thousand dollars.
According to P.T., Givi gave him the idea that now "O" is being very
careful, and that if he did not receive the money, the problems would
Tatum was actually intending to demand this payment of the indicated sum,
since he had been forced to trick Givi for a long period of time and had
lied in order to postpone the payment. Later, when P.T. would receive the
documents, the second stage of the hotel's transfer would be put into
action for the usage of the American partners. P.T. intended to buy out
the hotel and give the Moscow City Government 74 million US dollars.
Basically, P.T. would pay the indicated sum, but 10 million dollars would
be given over as bribes. P.T. explained that if the first half of the
agreement was to be carried out and the other side was to reassure itself
that the Justice System remained unaware of the situation, and then
afterwards "O" would get in touch with his contact right away and solve all
of P.T.'s problems.
It follows from the information received that at the present, those who are
interested in receiving money from P.T. have had a wait-and-see kind of
attitude since the last concrete steps have been taken.
According to P.T., some outsiders are involved in the matter, for example
the astronaut Volkov, who is diligently searching for contacts with P.T. It
follows from the analysis of the information received that S. Borulnik is
displaying his "independence" and, most likely, unbeknownst to his boss, is
attempting to get financial compensation from P.T. in the amount of five
thousand US dollars.
Now remember the chronological events of the elections. At the very peak of
the war between Luzhkov and Yeltsin's circle, the former head of the
president's bodyguard, Korzhakov, made an unexpected statement about how
during his service, Boris Berezovsky tried to talk him into killing not
only Vladimir Gusinsky, but also Luzhkov and Iosif Kobzon.
The statement made a lot of noise in the press. Furthermore, Korzhakov gave
Moscow's mayor an additional trump card in his pre-election battle. He even
commented that Berezovsky and Korzhakov were basically one and the same.
After that, information about Tatum somehow turned up in Dorenko's hands.
>From here, two conclusions can be made. First of all, Berezovsky should
express his deep gratitude to Korzhakov for his victory over Moscow's
mayor. Secondly, Luzhkov needs to think again about treating people the way
he treated Korzhakov in this instance.
It's clear from Tatum's statement to the General Attorney and from the
latest investigation information that the people in Luzhkov's closest
circle live by their own rules and their own logic. Under the fulfillment
of certain circumstances (the payment of one million dollars) they were
ready to hand over Tatum's own hotel to Tatum and drive out Dzhabrailov.
But Tatum decided to play things differently. He took the case to the
authorities, and even to the intelligence services. He even approached
Alexander Lebed, who by then had assumed the head of the Security Council.
In short, he made such a fuss that he became genuinely dangerous to his
enemies, thereby hastening the fateful denouement.
[This article was originally published in the Russian publication
"Stringer", with whom the eXile has an editorial agreement.]