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Johnson's Russia List


August 4, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4437  4438   

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 KRAVCHENKO,

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 

Rossiyskaya Gazeta
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 
its work? 
[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 


Moscow Times
August 4, 2000 
New State Council Remains a Mystery 
By Sarah Karush
Staff Writer

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 
State Council. 


August 3, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

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.)


Moskovsky Komsomolets
August 2, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only] 
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 
and mayors.
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 
local reserves.
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 
billion dollars.
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 
the Center.


From: "Pete Glatter" <>
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 

from Pete Glatter 

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 (,
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 <> 
Subject: stringer-tatum piece

Dear David,
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...
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 
Moscow mayor.

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 
Ordzhonikidze's finanaces.

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 
remain unsolved.

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.]


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