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Johnson's Russia List


August 23, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4470 4471

Johnson's Russia List
23 August 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: How Can We Help the Families? 
2. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Borisova, Charities for Kursk Sprout Up.
3. AFP: Kursk families give Putin a grilling.
4. The Daily Telegraph (UK) editorial: A purge for Putin.
5. Izvestiya: Could it Have Been Different?
6. The Globe and Mail (Canada) letter: Russian time bombs.
7. AP: Russians Suspicious of US in Sub.
9. Obshchaya Gazeta: Irina Dementyeva, Russia's Chechen Blind Alley.
11. Moscow Times: Simon Saradzhyan, Another Energetic Lawman Gets Sack.
12. Segodnya: Speak Louder, FSB is Listening.
13. Monterey Institute of International Studies job posting.]


Moscow Times
August 23, 2000 
EDITORIAL: How Can We Help the Families? 

How can we help the families of the 118 men who died aboard the Kursk? 
Various charitable appeals have filled the Russian media f some of them 
little more than bank account information. Which charities can be trusted? 
Which can accept dollar bank transfers and which notes or gifts? 

These are among the most difficult sort of questions readers put to 
newspapers. As journalists, we are being asked to tie our own reputations to 
the future activities of organizations we have no control over f or 
alternatively, to express skepticism about organizations that are probably 
entirely noble. 

At the same time, what good are journalists if they are too timid to take 
such responsibility? We therefore offer the following recommendations f along 
with a pledge that, a few months from now, we will re-examine how charitable 
contributions for families of the Kursk have been used: 

-Those who want to send money should look first at Fond Pravo Materi, the 
Foundation for a Mother's Right. This charitable organization has an 
admirable 10-year track record; its volunteers document and investigate 
peace-time deaths in the military. 

Foreigners can send contributions in either rubles or dollars to the 
foundation's bank accounts, including one in New York. (Banking details and 
mailing addresses for charities discussed here can be found on our web site 

An added plus, from our point of view, is that donors to a Mother's Right 
have the option of asking that their gift be split between helping the Kursk 
families and helping hundreds of other families who have lost men to fighting 
in Chechnya. It is entirely understandable why the drama of the Kursk would 
grip the world more fully than the tragedy of a low-level, ill-reported 
guerrilla war f one that claims roughly every two weeks as many lives as were 
just lost beneath the Barents Sea. But for those who find themselves moved by 
all of Russia's many tragedies f a senseless war, a senseless naval accident, 
the pitiful living standards of so many honorable people in uniform f a 
Mother's Right provides a good answer. 

(And when employees of The Moscow Times passed the hat for the Kursk around 
the newsroom, they sent the money to a Mother's Right). 

-A second option would be to make contributions to a hastily set-up fund 
called Podlodka Kursk, or the Kursk Submarine. Irina Lyachina, the widow of 
the Kursk's captain, will sit on the board of this fund. Donations from 
abroad will be managed by the New York Public Health Research Institute f an 
organization that has a strong history distributing tens of millions of 
dollars here for financier-philanthropist George Soros and others. 

The Podlodka Kursk fund proclaims a simple and clear mission: to fairly 
distribute all money collected to the families of the Kursk. The presence of 
Lyachina on the board gives every reason to hope this fund will be honorable; 
while PHRI should bring a level of professional experience with handling 
large sums that, perhaps, the more modest Foundation for a Mother's Right 

The downside of the Podlodka Kursk fund is that it was set up by two 
politicians with checkered pasts and strong streaks of opportunism: Kursk 
Governor Alexander Rutskoi and oligarch Boris Berezovsky. 

Rutskoi in particular does not decorate this fund: When his Kursk region 
government decided to arrange transport for many family members to Murmansk 
last week, it put them on a train f in third class f condemning them to 45 
hours in transit. When they arrived, Rutskoi was there to greet them, having 
granted himself the luxury of a plane ticket. (We don't know if he flew first 
class, but would not be surprised if he had). 

-A third respectable option would be the St. Petersburg Submarine Seamen's 
Club, which unites former submariners from northwest Russia. Club members 
were among the first to pool their own resources to help Kursk family members 
f and were refreshingly slow to ask for money from anyone else. 

For those who wish to risk the Russian mails by sending cards or gifts, it 
seems to us this club would be the best of all possible way stations f the 
submarine seamen will make a point of passing such post on to Kursk family 
members. (But don't everyone flood them with fruit cakes and Christmas cards 
but no money f and then expect the poor submariners club to deliver tons of 
post at their own expense.) 

-If there is an option to avoid, we would recommend steering clear of all 
state-sponsored funds, such as those set up by the government of Murmansk or 
the Northern Fleet. State-sponsored charities worry us, particularly given 
how much we know about corruption in various government administrations. 


Moscow Times
August 23, 2000 
Charities for Kursk Sprout Up 
By Yevgenia Borisova
Staff Writer

As the tragedy of the Kursk submarine unfolded last week, individuals and 
businesses throughout the country rushed to help the families of the crew, 
with donations ranging from 60 kopeks to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

At least five funds have been created for the families of the 118 sailors who 
died last week in the Barents Sea. Two of them are managed by the state, two 
are connected to nongovernmental organizations with many years of experience 
in philanthropy and a fifth is sponsored by an association of naval officers. 

The plethora of funds has been met with cynicism by some observers, and many 
potential donors worry that contributions might not ever reach their intended 

"We know a lot of examples of numerous telemarathons after which millions of 
rubles vanished into thin air," said Valeria Pantyukhina, spokeswoman for the 
Foundation for a Mother's Right, an organization that for the past 10 years 
has assisted the families of soldiers and seamen who died in uniform. 

A Mother's Right keeps records of deaths of servicemen during peacetime due 
to hazing and accidents and provides legal aid to families, often helping 
them sue the Defense Ministry for such deaths. Pantyukhina said the fund her 
organization set up last week was reliable because Mother's Right is in 
direct contact with the families. 

A Mother's Right, along with St. Petersburg's Submarine Seamen's Club f which 
unites former navy officers in northwest Russia f were the first to start 
collecting cash, medicine and gifts for the families, and helped fund their 
sad trips to Severomorsk. 

About 400 family members are now in Severomorsk. Many of them require medical 
and psychological assistance. 

"We called the hospital in Severomorsk, and the doctors told us that 
everything that is said on TV about them being well equipped and having 
enough medicine is a lie," said Captain Yevgeny Zabava, a member of the 
Submarine Seamen's Club. "The doctors said they need a lot of medication for 
hearing and also a lot of tranquilizers." 

Zabava said his group had sent medical supplies along with relatives of the 
crew members who are from the St. Petersburg area. 

He said most of the money that the organization has collected has been 
brought in cash. "Already 131 people have brought money, about 100,000 
rubles. One boy brought 60 kopeks," Zabava said. 

After the needs of the 10 families in his area are met, Zabava said his club 
will use leftover money for a memorial plaque in St. Petersburg's St. 
Nicholas Naval Cathedral and will forward the rest to a state fund for the 

Another fund, Podlodka Kursk, or the Kursk Submarine, has been created by 
Kursk region Governor Alexander Rutskoi and tycoon Boris Berezovsky. 

Rutskoi told ORT television this week the fund would be headed by writer 
Vasily Aksyonov and that he, well-known lawyer Genri Reznik and Irina 
Lyachina f the widow of the Kursk's captain f would sit on the foundation's 

"The fact that Irina Lyachina will participate means that the help will get 
to families of the seamen," said Pavel Arsenyev, the fund's coordinator. 

Donations from abroad will be managed by the New York Public Health Research 
Institute, Arsenyev said. 

Alex Goldfarb, head of the Moscow office of the PHRI, said he was told by 
Rutskoi that various contributors had already pledged $1 million. 

"We opened a special bank account this morning and will be distributing money 
to personal accounts of the family members as the supervisory board decides," 
he said. 

Goldfarb's office is no amateur at managing charitable funds. Over the past 
eight years, about $140 million passed through the Moscow office, including 
donations for scientific research from George Soros and other American 
entrepreneurs, the U.S. government and the Russian government, Goldfarb said. 

The Murmansk region government and the Northern Fleet have also opened 
accounts for donations. 

Murmansk Governor Yury Yevdokimov said in televised comments that his fund 
had already received 500,000 rubles from his own administration and another 
500,000 from federal coffers. LUKoil spokesman Igor Beketov said his company 
had transferred 200,000 rubles to the Murmansk account and was planning 
further donations. 

The account set up by the Northern Fleet has received 500,000 rubles from 
Slavneft oil company, Slavneft spokeswoman Yekaterina Arkusha said. 

State aid has also been organized. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said each 
family would receive 1.5 million rubles from the government. It was not clear 
who would manage those funds. 

Meanwhile, at least one company is openly trying to make money on the 
tragedy. A message at the web site reads, "We are currnetly 
holding this domain for a client," against a grim photograph of waves 
crashing against rocks. 

Interfax quoted David Pearce of BLTC, the British owner of the domain, as 
saying the company was aiming to sell the domain for pounds 3,000. 

For banking details and mailing addresses of charities discussed here, check 

Sending Letters, Donations to Kursk Families

Where to Send Donations

The following is account information for three funds that have been setup to 
help the relatives of the victims of the Kursk disaster. (Note: Those who 
have Cyrillic fonts and would like to send donations in rubles, please click 

Murmansk Regional Government Fund
Receiver: Managing Department of the Governor of Murmansk Region
Currency Account in the Central Bank of Russian Federation in Murmansk 
No. 40603840541020300033
Cor. account 30101810300000000615
BIC 044705615 (Donation)

Podlodka Kursk
Donations in checks:
c/o PHRI (Public Health Research Institute),
455 First Ave.,
New York, NY


c/o PHRI (Public Health Research Institute)
8 Malaya Trubetskaya, 11th floor.

Bank transfers:
Chase Manhattan Bank,
New York,
Account 114917590,
ABA 021000021.

Mother's Right
Receiver: Pravo Materi
The Bank of Foreign Trade of Russia (Vneshtorgbank RF)
Account 40703840000000000262.
Correspondent bank:
Republic National Bank of New York,
New York,
Account 608-205-524 (Aid for families of the Kursk.)

Where to Send Letters

Those who wish to send cards or gifts to Kursk families, can do so through 
the following organizations.

St. Petersburg's Submarine Seamen's Club 
9 Liniya, 50
St Petersburg,
Tel. 812-323-2467

Mother's Right Foundation
Luchnikov Pereulok, 4, kv. 4
Moscow 101000
Tel. 206-0581


Kursk families give Putin a grilling

MURMANSK, Russia, Aug 23 (AFP) - 
A shaken Vladimir Putin underwent three hours of intensive questioning in a 
packed hall here Tuesday as the Russian president faced the bereaved families 
of the crew of the stricken submarine Kursk, witnesses reported.

But he was spared the frontal assault that officials had feared following 
mounting public anger at the way the naval authorities handled the crisis 
triggered by the sinking of the Kursk on August 12, with the resulting death 
of all 118 crewmen on board. 

The mood of the meeting was emotional but subdued, and few of the more than 
500 family members and friends at the meeting were inclined to blame Putin 
directly, Vladimir Gusenkov, the Murmansk deputy who attended the meeting, 
told AFP. 

A local correspondent also present said the proceedings were generally calm, 
though several women fainted during the meeting.

The hall in the House of Culture at Vidyayevo, the village and submarine base 
that is closed off to foreigners and most Russian civilians, contained around 
800 people, many of them standing around the edge and in the doorways, 
Gusenkov said. 

Dressed entirely in black, Putin was accompanied by the commander of the 
Northern Fleet Vyacheslav Popov, the governor of the Murmansk region Yuri 
Yevdokimov and several senior naval officers but was the only one to address 
the meeting.

The building was surrounded by military police and there was a large security 
contingent. A single Russian television channel was authorised to film the 
event. Several doctors were also visible in the hall. 

At times Putin was visibly moved by what he saw and heard, attempting to 
remain composed but not always succeeding, the witnesses said.

His tone was reassuring in regard to questions concerning the material 
well-being of the widows of the men who died on the Kursk, promising them a 
life pension and a lump sum equivalent to 10 times an officers monthly 
salary, plus the option of lodgings in an area of central Russian with a more 
congenial climate. 

On questions relating to the causes of the disaster, the handling of the 
rescue operations and plans to recover the bodies of the dead Putin was less 
successful in convincing his listeners, the witnesses said.

Though he was strongly critical of the lack of efficiency of the rescue 
effort and of the poor equipment in the Russian navy, he said that none of 
the naval command would be punished until their personal responsibility had 
been proven. 

He promised that every possible effort would be made to recover the bodies of 
the crew members so that they could be buried, but warned that he could not 
guarantee the Kursk would be raised this autumn because of the customary 
storms and winds, Gusenkov said.

"None of the relatives blamed the president for what had happened," the 
deputy said. "They felt that he has not been in his job long enough to make 
any real changes in the navy."

However many of those present at the meeting may simply have been tired. worn 
down by the long period of uncertainty and depression, the local 
correspondent said. "Some expressed a collective accusation, saying that 
everyone was guilty -- it's our country, we did it to ourselves."

After the meeting Putin was expected to visit the hospital ship Svir to talk 
with some of the relatives who did not attend the Vidyayevo meeting.

Wednesday has been declared a day of national mourning and a ceremony 
arranged to commemorate the dead. 

Putin has been widely criticised in the media and among the general public, 
particularly for remaining on holiday in the Black Sea while the crisis was 
unfolding, and analysts have seen his visit to the north as an exercise in 
political damage limitation. 


The Daily Telegraph (UK)
23 August 2000
A purge for Putin

TODAY, Russia officially mourns the 118 officers and crew who died in the 
nuclear submarine Kursk. Their end, in the cold and dark of the Barents Sea, 
was unimaginably grim. President Putin was right to call for a special day of 
remembrance and to fly north to meet the victims' families. 

His initial response to the sinking, to remain silent on holiday in Sochi, 
was both callous and politically inept. By Sunday, when he met members of the 
clergy in Moscow, he was expressing emotion suitable to the scale of the 
disaster. Now, at last, he is acting as a democratically elected head of 
state should.

Expressing sympathy for the victims and their families, however, is not 
enough. While it is encouraging that the defence minister and the northern 
fleet commander have publicly asked forgiveness for the loss of the Kursk, 
the Russians are still attempting to blame the accident on a British or 
American submarine. 

No evidence has been produced for this theory, which has been dismissed by 
the Norwegians, the most reliable source of information on the Kursk, as 
propaganda for domestic consumption. The apologies are a step away from old 
Soviet practice. Pointing the finger at foreigners is not.

The first thing required of Mr Putin is to order an investigation of the 
disaster. Events of the past 10 days indicate that if that were properly 
carried out it would indict the navy and defence officials first for gross 
incompetence, then for brazen lying in an attempt at exculpation. 

>From this should flow the sacking of those responsible. Heads rolled under 
Mikhail Gorbachev after the teenage German Mathias Rust landed his light 
plane on Red Square in 1987. How much more should they do so for the loss of 
the Kursk.

This poses a challenge to the president. He is politically indebted to the 
armed forces for the relative success of the second Chechen war and, as an 
ex-KGB officer, has constantly stressed that they are the key to Russia's 
reclaiming great power status. Yet over the Kursk their deficiencies, which 
have greatly angered the public, have been plain for all to see. 

There will never be a better opportunity for Mr Putin to shake off his 
obligations to the military and call to account those responsible for the 
deaths of 118 submariners and the blow thereby dealt to Russia's prestige. 
There is no doubting the president's energy and intelligence. 

His initially cold reaction from the distance of the Black Sea has gradually 
changed into something more appropriate. But he has yet to throw off the 
mantle of an ex-spy bent on applying military discipline to civilian life, 
and don that of a politician elected to represent all levels of Russian 


Russia Today press summaries
August 22, 2000
Could it Have Been Different?

It is considered that the Kursk crew was dead as soon as the dumped submarine 
was found on the sea bottom. The rescuing operation was not meant for them, 
but for saving reputations of politicians and officials, of generals and 
admirals, of designers and commanders and of bosses of various ranks. They 
also tried to rescue Russia's prestige of being great power and keep its 
military secrets intact. The weak knock of the Kursk crew that was heard on 
the first days of the catastrophe was only an impediment in this struggle.

Norwegians managed to get into the stern module of Kursk in less than a day. 
Had Naval commanders summoned them several days earlier, some sailors' lives 
could have been saved…

During the past weekend, information came that Russian military rejected the 
assistance of civilian divers. It was reported that the "Mikhail Mirchink" 
ship in Murmansk, could have provided rescue operations at the depth of up to 
three hundred meters. This news proved to be false, because Mihail Mirchink 
was sold abroad several years ago. Two other vessels of the same type are 
working abroad on contracts. Russian civilian divers could not be of any 
help, anyway, because thy have been out of practice for too long.

In the past, the Navy had its own rescuing service, which was on par with any 
its Western counterparts of that time. It was based in Lomonosov, under 
St.Petersburg, where the Institute for Deep-Water Studies had programs for 
training deep divers. In 1991, graduates of the Institute conducted a 
rescuing operation at the depth of 300 meters, for which they got "The Hero 
of Russia" golden stars. Some of them worked at this depth, looking for the 
remains of the Korean "Boeing" plane. But then the unit was disbanded, 
because of so-called uselessness and lack of funds.


The Globe and Mail (Canada)
August 22, 2000
Russian time bombs
>From R.G. McGillivray

Oakville, Ont. -- The world had better get ready for more made-in-Russia 
disasters (Divers Open Sub's Hatch -- Aug. 21). Much of the ex-Soviet Union 
is being held together by nothing more than bubble gum and duct tape. When it 
really begins to unravel, we all had better watch out. Planes and satellites 
will fall from the sky; ships and submarines will sink, and reactors will 
blow. Chernobyl and the Kursk are just warm-ups. Soon, The Globe is going to 
have to have a dedicated section: Russian Disaster of the Week.


Russians Suspicious of US in Sub
August 22, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) - Russia's initial suspicion of a sinister American role in 
the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk is rooted in distrust of U.S. 
motives - distrust so firmly held that Russian officials still press for 
answers in the sinking of a Soviet sub in 1968. 

Russian officials long have suspected that the Soviet sub K-129 was struck by 
an American submarine, the USS Swordfish. But the U.S. Navy says the Soviet 
vessel, armed with nuclear missiles and with a crew of 98, suffered a 
catastrophic internal explosion when it sank in the central Pacific on March 
11, 1968. 

As recently as last fall, Russian government officials complained that 
Washington was covering up its involvement. One accused the Americans of 
acting like a ``criminal that had been caught and now claimed that guilt must 
be proved,'' according to the notes of a U.S. participant in a November 1999 
meeting on the topic. 

The case is so sensitive that at least two CIA directors - Robert Gates and 
James Woolsey - met with Boris Yeltsin while he was the Russian president to 
review what the American spy agency knew about the sub loss. 

In the case of the Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea on Aug. 12 during a 
Russian naval exercise, the Pentagon insists that no American ships were 
involved, although U.S. officials have acknowledged that two U.S. submarines 
were close enough to record the sound of enormous explosions aboard the 

While presenting no hard evidence, the Russian military command has insisted 
from the start that the most likely reason for the loss of the Kursk and its 
118-man crew was a collision with an American or British submarine that 
survived and escaped. Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev went on television to 
air the theory, and Russian officers claimed fragments of a foreign submarine 
were found near the Kursk. 

``The military still sees the West as the Cold War enemy,'' said Alexander 
Pikayev, a military analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International 

Noting the lingering suspicions, Defense Secretary William Cohen felt 
compelled Monday to say ``there were no American ships involved'' in the 

That is what the Pentagon and the CIA have told the Russians repeatedly 
regarding the 1968 submarine sinking in the Pacific, but Moscow continues to 
insist that Washington is hiding its involvement. 

When the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POWs and missing servicemen met last 
November, a senior Russian representative said more than 90 families of the 
lost crew of the sunken sub - known in Russia as the K-129 but classified by 
NATO as a Golf II - are waiting for information on their loved ones' remains. 

The Russians believe not only that a U.S. submarine - the USS Swordfish, 
based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - collided with the K-129, causing it to sink, 
but also that secret U.S. salvage operations in 1968 and 1974 removed remains 
of crew members and highly sensitive equipment that went down with the sub - 
possibly including nuclear warheads. 

Russian suspicions about the Swordfish are based on records indicating it 
underwent nighttime repair of a bent periscope at Yokosuka, Japan, on March 
17 - six days after the K-129 sank. The U.S. explanation is that the 
Swordfish collided with an ice pack and was 2,000 miles away from the Russian 
sub when it sank. 

Moscow has requested the Swordfish's deck logs, to trace its movements, but 
the Pentagon has refused. The Swordfish apparently had a hand in some highly 
sensitive operations before and after the K-129 incident. Navy records show 
that in 1965 it was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation for ``special 
operations'' conducted in the western Pacific in the fall of 1963 and 1964 
and the spring and summer of 1965. 

The United States denies any involvement in the K-129 sinking, although it 
has acknowledged that it salvaged some parts of the sunken sub. U.S. 
officials provided the Russian government with a videotape of a burial-at-sea 
ceremony for six crew members whose remains were recovered when the 
CIA-financed Glomar Explorer salvage ship recovered parts of the submarine in 

Norman Kass, the executive director of the U.S. side of the joint commission, 
said Tuesday that all recovered personal effects of the Russian crew have 
already been provided, and nothing more can be done. 

``We're at an impasse,'' he said. 


Source: 'Izvestiya', Moscow, in Russian 22 Aug 00 

A Russian newspaper has urged people not to be over-critical of President 
Vladimir Putin's behaviour during the Kursk submarine rescue operation and 
thereby undermine society's faith in him by "pinning on him a disaster that 
was not his fault". In an article published on 22nd August, 'Izvestiya' said 
the fundamental choice facing Putin is between "soft reforms which preserve 
the current wretched state of affairs" and "truly revolutionary changes", 
such as "nationalizing the energy sector so as to renew industry through the 
revenues from exports of raw materials". It warned that, "if the people 
become disillusioned with their ruler yet again, complete contempt for the 
authorities in general will set in", leading to the country's collapse. The 
following is the text of the article: 

The mourning for the lost crew of the Kursk has coincided with a holiday - 
State Flag Day. On the day when we pay tribute to one of the main state 
symbols - the flag - that flag was lowered. This symbolism is no accident. 
The interregnum is drawing to an end. Flag Day arose in memory of what was in 
1991 called the triumph of democracy and is now called the collapse of the 
USSR and the start of Yeltsin's rule. This "holiday" was always a pro-forma 
one - the illusions about victorious democracy had been dispelled by the time 
we reached the first anniversary of the August events in 1992. What was left 
was the bitterness of self-deception and regret for a lost country. Now this 
will be the day of remembrance for both the Kursk and the USSR - the mourning 
falls on the ninth day since the explosion on the submarine and on the 10th 
anniversary of the death of a country. 

One Western newspaper wrote regarding the Kursk disaster that "Yeltsin would 
have coped better than Putin with this tragedy". The absurdity of that claim 
is clear to most of our fellow-citizens - the sense of shame that we felt at 
the sight of the ailing Yeltsin is still fresh in the memory. For Russia, 
Putin is primarily the anti-Yeltsin - even though the Kremlin "family" 
selected the efficient Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] as the outgoing 
president's successor, a "guarantor for the guarantor". The people expect 
change from Putin - the smashing of corrupt authorities and the elimination 
of the unjust redistribution of national wealth. It is these things rather 
than the "magic power of television" (in which various PR people and other 
players in the virtual world believe so strongly) that explain his high 
ratings. The ruling elite expects Putin to preserve the foundations of power, 
albeit redistributing property (between various elite clans) and dividing up 
powers. And this contradiction - between the people's perception and the 
elite's demands - cannot last forever. The problems facing the country are so 
serious that Putin's choice will also be the choice of the country's future. 

Putin will have to choose between soft reforms which preserve the current 
wretched state of affairs in general terms, and truly revolutionary changes. 
If he selects the former, he will not need to worry about support from the 
elite, but it can be guaranteed that after about a year he will have lost the 
people's trust. But - and this is the main point - the current thrust of 
Russia's development is steering us not just onto the rubbish heap of history 
but into its most radioactive, dirty areas. The question is not just one of a 
crippling foreign debt or the impending arrival of the time when our industry 
breaks down through physical wear and tear. Nor even of a geopolitical 
challenge to which we cannot respond - those who fail to respond are simply 
written off and handed over to "outside management". The fact is that if the 
people become disillusioned with their ruler yet again, complete contempt for 
the authorities in general will set in and no Federal Districts will be able 
to prevent Russia from collapsing. The overwhelming majority of the ruling 
class, which lives by the principle "it is enough for our era" (their era, 
admittedly, will last no longer than 10 years) categorically refuse to 
understand the need for fundamental reform. But does Putin himself understand 
it? Does he really want to continue the "work of Yeltsin" and become the head 
of a liquidation commission? If not, he will have to embark on fundamental 
reform - and of the kind that will make his current actions seem like child's 
play (for instance, nationalizing the energy sector so as to renew industry 
through the revenues from exports of raw materials). Having decided to embark 
on such reforms, Putin will, of course, run the risk of losing power - 
sensing treachery, the elite will organize a desperate "spoiler campaign" 
against him - but he can be confident of the love and support of the masses. 

The main problem for Putin will be that he will have virtually nobody to rely 
on within the ruling elite - the colonels of the "Putin draft" from the 
special services may be "revolutionary" in outlook, but by dint of the 
specifics of their education they are neither ideologically nor practically 
suited to the role of engines of fundamental reform. Is there any force 
within Russian society at all that is capable of engaging not in papering 
over cracks or in feathering its own nest, but in preventing the impending 

The problem is not whether Putin is good or bad, but whether we believe in 
our own abilities or consider ourselves inferior and inadequate. If we 
believe ourselves to be wretched, everything in our country will go on being 
wretched, and we will be treated accordingly. And we will never get out of 
our current mire - after all, a people's faith in its own resources is far 
more important than any economic programme. The loss of the Kursk is a human 
tragedy and a military disaster, but it is no reason for national 
self-disparagement and contempt for our own authorities. The authorities are 
indeed guilty of many things - primarily of running the country ineptly - but 
the new president is actually trying (insofar as his very modest resources 
and abilities permit) to get the country out of crisis. Why undermine 
society's faith in him, effectively pinning on him a disaster that was not 
his fault, just so we can then say: "that guy Putin won't rescue Russia, 
let's call on outsiders"? 


Putin Must Negotiate To End War 

Obshchaya Gazeta
August 17, 2000
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Irina Dementyeva: "Russia's Chechen Blind Alley" -- 

More than a year has passed since the beginning of 
the second Chechen war. Which of the declared goals of the 
"antiterrorist operation" have been fulfilled? Have the "main 
terrorists" been seized and publicly tried? Have the bandit formations 
been eliminated? Have the refugees returned from the camps? Have 
Russian and Chechen young men stopped killing each other? Has even one 
house in Groznyy been rebuilt? Have peace and calm been brought to the 
Chechen land? Where is the goal for the sake of which so much blood has 
been spilt? 

The longer the war lasts, the further we are from peace. It is a blind 
alley. Not so much for Chechnya as for Russia. 

Back at the beginning of the other Chechen campaign it was calculated 
that if the first 45 days of the war cost 800 billion rubles, military 
spending in Chechnya would come to 7.5 trillion rubles a year. Current 
military spending is the strictest state secret. 

Russia's strategic interests in the Caucasus are [highly] rated on the 
domestic political market. Justifiably supposing that the North 
Caucasus is the key to the Transcaucasus, in the fight for this key we 
have not noticed that they have changed the locks in the Transcaucasus. 
What has been done to Chechnya is above all a lesson for all Caucasians. 
That is why both Georgia and Azerbaijan have begun to exchange glances 
with NATO and Turkey (also NATO). And this time, the result is the 
opposite of what was expected. 

After listening to an eyewitness story about Chechnya having been smashed 
into gravel, a US political science professor remarked that he respected 
my emotions and sympathized with the dying people but that he was 
surprised at his interlocutor's lack of global thinking. He then 
briefly substantiated an upcoming world Islamic revolution. He pointed 
to the danger of the collapse of Christian civilization with its 
spiritual, material, and technological achievements while emphasizing the 
negation of individual rights peculiar to the East. Very recently our 
television screens have begun to show a map of the world with a 
fluorescent arc of the Islamic front from Indonesia to Bosnia. We must 
understand that with our vain, careerist, and selfish interests we have 
joined the world geopolitical consortium. For the umpteenth time, while 
trying to become a shield "between the Mongols and Europe," we are 
finding ourselves on both sides of the shield. This historical vanity 
makes us alien to both. We agree to bloodshed easily, supposing that 
otherwise it will be offensive for our power and are offended when people 
disdain us. Like in any blind alley, there is one way out here: To 
move backward until we find ourselves in Europe. 

The once-popular expression, "You can't make an omelet without breaking 
eggs" and another maxim "The end justifies the means" were once the most 
odious ones not only among former dissidents but also among simply decent 
people. Chechnya has confused everything in Russians' hearts. The 
"science of hatred" or the mythology of warriors engenders the most 
persistent prejudices, which even the critically thinking strata of the 
population are often incapable of resisting. This particularity of mass 
psychology is being used to justify the cruelties and war crimes and is 
turning into a trap, a blind alley in a maze. We are once again become 
used to hating enemies of the people only now this hatred is not a class 
hatred but an ethnic hatred. There is no way out of this blind alley. 
It is the path that the German intelligentsia once went down, first 
vanishing in camps and trenches, then wiped out by defeat. 

The results of the Chechen war for Russia are irreplaceable human and 
economic losses that will not end even after peace is established, the 
demoralization of the army, a fall in public morals, and a decline in 
Russia's prestige in the world. But, perhaps most importantly, a 
political system is being reestablished in Russia under which human and 
civic rights are not of any value and are not defended. 

Exactly four years ago in the same last days of summer, two military men 
stopped a war. After hot August, cool September came like a general 
sigh of relief. We do not recall that now. Now the name of the 
Dagestani town where Generals Lebed and Maskhadov signed the Khasavyurt 
accords is either not pronounced at all or is voiced with a shade of 
indignation as a synonym for treachery, almost state treason. There was 
no such thing in Khasavyurt. There was an agreement to cease fire and 
to pull out troops. All other problems were put off until later for 
coolheaded thinking. There was an agreement on peace, not on the status 
of Chechnya, as revanchistes from both sides and our political intriguers 
immediately set about misinterpreting it. 

"There will not be a second Khasavyurt," military bosses assure us and 
promise that if this is not the case, they will either rip off their 
shoulderboards or "cleanse" Moscow politicians. The politicians hang 
close to the walls and in fright and hang stars on the generals' chests 
and shoulderboards. Of course! After all, it was they, the 
politicians, who pulled the trigger for the war. 

But nevertheless, the only way out of this blind alley is through 
Khasavyurt, that is to say, through stopping the war. 

The Russian political initiators and military leaders of the total war do 
not have the opportunity to start talks without losing face. 
Nevertheless, the inevitability of peace will become clear to an 
increasingly large number of people, which will be promoted not only by 
the military leadership's lack of talent, and not only by the growing 
decay in the soldiers' and officers' environment (suffice it to recall 
Colonel Budanov), but also by the entirely objectively palpable fatigue 
and the war's rapidly dwindling economic resources. Attempts to agree 
with some marginal figures who are ethnically Chechen or attempts to 
"shift an imperialist war into a civil war" will worsen the already 
desperate situation of the local population and will only broaden the 
base for the guerilla movement. In these conditions, either Putin will 
find a way to enter into contact with Ichkeria's legally elected 
authorities, at least partially keeping face, or Russia will be awaited 
by more upheavals connected with a complete change in the country's 
sociopolitical structure and (or) a replacement of its entire political 


Source: 'Nezavisimaya Gazeta', Moscow, in Russian 19 Aug 00 

Winning a struggle for power without having access to the electronic and 
print news media is today impossible. But the experience of election 
campaigns in Russia has shown that there is also a new, far less laborious, 
way of influencing the minds of the electorate - via the Internet... 

It is no secret, after all, that the Internet has its own, particular 
specific features, thanks to which it cannot be compared with the 
conventional news media. Even if only because it is impossible to "monopolize 
it in an information respect", as distinct from the central television 
channels, for example. And the scale of influence which the Internet has on 
Russian society, according to studies of the agency, is not yet 
that great: 76 per cent of the population of Russia is beyond the Web's zone 
of influence. And the principal number of users live in Moscow and St 
Petersburg. The agency made this information public at its news conference 

Yet even this figure, considering our country's computer backwardness, is not 
that small. According to the results of the study, more than 26m people with 
an average age of 33 regularly obtain information from the Worldwide Web. We 
are talking both about those with direct access to the Internet and those who 
obtain their information from the Web through their friends and 
acquaintances. The zone of influence of the world computer web is thus far 
greater than might be supposed from the indicators of the visit "counters". 
It has been proven, what is more, that the majority of users use the Web as a 
source of information of a political nature (64 per cent of visits). On-line 
publications and on-line press agencies are the invariable leaders in the 
ratings of the most popular sites. It goes without saying that any insertion 
of information via these sites always meets response... 

That on-line "publications" are perceived as a serious instrument of 
political influence is indicated also by the amounts invested in them by the 
media magnates. Each self-respecting Internet publication now maintains its 
own correspondents, paying them much more than many printed news media. That 
the Web is beginning to perform a most active role in politics has been 
understood by the authorities also. They began to avail themselves of the 
possibilities of the Internet, what is more, in the December-March election 
period. It is sufficient to recall the sensational project of the Foundation 
for Effective Policy [FEP], when, availing itself of the absence of 
legislative regulation of the Internet, the FEP published on its site, in 
defiance of the protests of the Central Electoral Commission and the Office 
of the Attorney General, the provisional results of the elections. 

The law strictly prohibits the conventional news media from adopting this 
practice since it is alleged that this could influence the mood of the 
electorate. It was this fact that provoked attempts by the authorities to 
draft a law that would equalize the status of all Russian on-line 
publications without exception in the news media category. As a result, a 
bill that withstands absolutely no criticism appeared. We can understand the 
authors, though - the Internet is not susceptible to control in principle. 
For example, it is still not clear by what indications it may be determined 
whether a site is "Russian" or "foreign". Unfortunately for the authorities, 
the Web does not recognize borders. And we will very soon once again be 
seeing this for ourselves in the example of the coming elections in the 


Moscow Times
August 23, 2000 
Another Energetic Lawman Gets Sack 
By Simon Saradzhyan
Staff Writer

Nikolai Volkov, who has been investigating alleged multi-million dollar 
embezzlement from Aeroflot, said Tuesday he was forced to resign from the 
Prosecutor General's Office. 

His resignation, which was accepted Monday, puts the future of this 
high-profile case in doubt. 

Volkov said in an interview on NTV television that he had been planning to 
bring more charges in the case and hinted that he also intended to detain 
suspects and seize their property. He did not give names. 

Last year, Volkov filed charges against business mogul Boris Berezovsky, who 
was accused of diverting Aeroflot funds through two Swiss companies, Andava 
and Forus. The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence. 

Since then, Volkov has accumulated enough evidence to charge Berezovsky 
again, according to former Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov, Volkov's former 

Berezovsky has remained a witness in the case, and his accounts in Swiss 
banks remain frozen. Two former senior Aeroflot officials, Alexander 
Krasnenker and Nikolai Glushkov, are the only two official suspects. 

Volkov said the formal reason for his forced resignation was what his 
superiors considered an abuse of his powers. 

He said the Swiss Attorney General's Office contacted him to ask for an 
official invitation for a courier to deliver more documents seized from 
Andava and Forus. Volkov forwarded the Swiss request to his superiors, asking 
them to issue such an invitation. 

One week later, however, Swiss prosecutors called Volkov again to say they 
had not received the invitation and he said he decided to send it himself, 
only to be accused by his superiors of going over their heads. 

Volkov said his superiors, whom he did not name, may not be interested in 
obtaining more evidence of alleged embezzlement of more than $500 million in 
Aeroflot money. 

Volkov successfully investigated embezzlement within Chechnya's pro-Moscow 
government during the 1994-96 war and corruption in the State Statistics 
Committee. He has made his mark not only as an aggressive investigator but 
for being unusually willing to talk to the press. 

"From the point of view of the prosecutor's office's leadership, Volkov is 
out of control and unpredictable, he is not part of a team that obeys its 
superiors' orders regardless of whether they correspond with law," Skuratov 
said Tuesday in a telephone interview. 

Volkov's intentions to aggressively pursue the Aeroflot case have alarmed top 
officials in the prosecutor's office among whom Berezovsky has "good 
contacts," Skuratov said. He would not name any of the officials at the 
office, which is headed by Vladimir Ustinov. 

Berezovsky could not be reached by telephone Tuesday. His aide, Irina, who 
would only release her first name, would not comment. 

Skuratov said the investigation of the Aeroflot case, which Volkov said is 
now to be taken up by investigator Alexander Filin, will slow down 
"considerably" or even be closed. 

Whoever takes the case from Volkov will spend months just getting acquainted 
with this complicated case, he said. 

Also, Swiss prosecutors, who have established "very good relations" with 
Volkov and supplied him with hundreds of kilograms of documentation during 
his visits to Switzerland, may feel reluctant to continue cooperation with 
his successor, Skuratov said. 

Volkov's departure will also enable the Prosecutor General's Office to ignore 
his recent suggestion that a case should be opened to investigate possible 
misuse of a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan. 

Volkov was visiting Bern last month to collect more evidence on the Aeroflot 
case when Swiss prosecutors showed him documents on possible misuse of this 
loan, which the IMF released on the eve of the August 1998 financial 

Swiss authorities told Volkov that by law they can pass this evidence to 
Russian prosecutors only if they launch an official investigation, according 
to Skuratov. While still in Bern, Volkov told reporters July 28 that he would 
urge his superiors to open a case. There have been no reports since of such a 
case being opened. 

A Swiss magistrate investigating alleged Russian moneylaundering of billions 
of dollars, which could include parts of this IMF loan, told The Associated 
Press on Tuesday that during a trip to the United States last week he was 
provided with information that could push the case forward. 

Laurent Kasper-Ansermet said IMF loan funds for Russia were "deposited in an 
account of the Republic National Bank of New York. From there I am trying to 
trace where they went.'' 

Earlier this summer, Kasper-Ansermet reportedly ordered Swiss banks to advise 
him if they had handled any of the $4.8 billion loan and told them to block 
any of the money that might remain, according to the AP. 

Volkov is the latest in a long line of investigators from the Prosecutor 
General's Office who have been sidelined or fired while probing members of 
the business and political elite. 

Skuratov himself was suspended in February 1999 over what he maintains were 
his efforts to prosecute corruption in the Kremlin and embezzlement by 
business moguls. 

Georgy Chuglazov, who had been probing allegations of kickbacks paid by Swiss 
construction firm Mabetex to top Kremlin officials, was "promoted" f and 
taken off that case f just as he was preparing to fly to Switzerland to meet 
with investigators there. 

Deputy Prosecutor General Mikhail Katyshev also lost his job earlier this 
year. It was Katyshev who authorized searches in offices of the presidential 
administration last year as the Prosecutor General's Office was trying to 
collect evidence in the Mabetex case. Katyshev also personally signed the 
arrest warrant for Berezovsky and also banker Alexander Smolensky in April 

Also gone is Yury Bagrayev of the chief military prosecutor's office, who 
ruled last year to stop a probe into Skuratov's alleged misdeeds, arguing 
that the case did not hold water. 

Pyotr Triboi and Boris Uvarov, senior investigators of the Prosecutor 
General's Office who were probing the murder of TV celebrity Vladislav 
Listyev, also have resigned, according to Skuratov. 


Russia Today press summaries
August 22, 2000
Speak Louder, FSB is Listening

Unpopular decisions are always made in Russia at the end of summer, when 
political activity is very low. Think of what we had in various Augusts: 
default, two government dismissals and the second Chechen war. This August, 
an order has taken force that introduces total eavesdropping of communication 
lines. FSB has the opportunity to listen to common and cell phone 
conversations, to browse through messages for pagers and email letters. 
Previously this required court judgement, but now formalities like these have 
been cancelled.

Unlike Western countries, where similar decisions are always accompanied with 
heated debates in the Parliament, in Russia, this has been passed secretly. 
One document that imposed the system was Communications Minister Reinman's 
order "On the order of introducing the system of technical means to secure 
investigative and detective measures at the phone and wireless communication 
lines…" This document took force a few days ago.

Now all Internet providers, as well as all phone, cell and paging 
communications will have to prepare a plan and conciliate it with the FSB, 
according to which eavesdropping technologies will be able to be installed. 
At the beginning, they will have to open all access codes to special 
services, then they will install eavesdropping devices on the lines at their 
own expense and finally they will teach FSB personnel to use it.

The order says that "Information about clients, whom the operative and 
detective activities measures concern, as well as decisions, on the grounds 
of which operative and detective activities are conducted, are not provided 
to communication companies" – the order says. This means that FSB can
to everything successively and does not have to report to anyone about this. 
And you will never know if your messages are read by FSB first.


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