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Johnson's Russia List
7 September 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Gorbachev Chides Putin on Submarine.
2. Moscow Times: New Yeltsin Memoirs.
3. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Albats, Berezovsky the Victim of His Own
4. Reuters: Putin offers host talks on halting arms in space.
5. BBC MONITORING: POLITICAL ANALYST V.NIKONOV INTERVIEWED ABOUT
RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY UNDER PUTIN.
6. Mark Ames: Re:MT/Free Press.
7. PRESIDENT VLADIMIR V. PUTIN's ADDRESS TO THE UN MILLENNIUM SUMMIT.
8. State Department: Talbott Briefing on Clinton-Putin Meeting in
9. BBC MONITORING: DAILY DESCRIBES MOSCOW TV BROADCASTING SITUATION.
10. State Department: 2000 Annual Report on International Religious
Gorbachev Chides Putin on Submarine
September 6, 2000
By GERALD NADLER
NEW YORK (AP) - Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the man who set the Soviet Union on the
road to democracy, said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has
made ``mistakes of style'' but is a good leader who deserves his people's
Among Putin's mistakes, Gorbachev said, was waiting four days to inform the
Russian public of the Kursk submarine tragedy, and failing to interrupt his
vacation until a week after the sea disaster that killed all 118 seamen
aboard the most modern submarine in the Russian fleet.
Gorbachev, who himself was criticized for waiting several days before
commenting on the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station April 26,
1986, said Putin's initial response to the Kursk's sinking was 'inadequate.''
``He made a mistake,'' Gorbachev said.
Speaking to a small group of reporters, he said the loss of the Kursk was
part of an ``acute August crisis'' that also included a bombing at Moscow's
Pushkin Square that killed 12 people and a fire that roared through Moscow's
giant TV tower, leaving three people dead.
``The cause of the crisis was that the authorities showed a lack of
understanding of the need for informing the people - of glasnost,'' said
Gorbachev, using the Russian word for ``openness'' that characterized his six
years as the last Soviet communist president.
Gorbachev said that in the first hours after the Kursk tragedy became known
``there was an attempt to conceal the truth.'' Then, he said, ``the president
was misled'' so that he did not know the whole story.
Gorbachev also said Putin has not done enough to explain to the people his
economic policies and his legislative proposals that will make governors the
dominant leaders in Russia's regions.
``People are concerned that economic problems will be solved at their
expense,'' Gorbachev said.
But Gorbachev, who was in New York to launch a Foundation for the Development
of Democracy and World Peace, said Putin's errors were ``mostly mistakes of
style'' and that the leader was sensitive to criticism and ``recovered
``We need to support the president ... despite the mistakes,'' Gorbachev
Gorbachev, who stepped down as president on Dec. 25, 1991, when the Soviet
Union broke up, said he had met with Putin and told him of his errors. An
aide to Gorbachev said the former president had seen Putin several times,
with one meeting lasting three hours.
Gorbachev praised the Russian media for insisting that authorities give the
facts about the crippled submarine, but complained that Western news coverage
``smacked of the Cold War.''
Gorbachev, 69, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his policies that effectively
ended the Cold War. He was succeeded by Boris Yeltsin, who stepped down at
the end of 1999 and was replaced by Putin.
September 7, 2000
IN BRIEF: New Yeltsin Memoirs
MOSCOW -- Former President Boris Yeltsin's latest memoirs, "Midnight
Diaries," are scheduled to be published in October in the United States.
The book, published by PublicAffairs publishers and scheduled for an initial
print run of 75,000 copies, is adapted by Yeltsin's former chief of staff,
Valentin Yumashev, from a series of interviews conducted soon after Yeltsin's
resignation on New Year's Eve.
According to the PublicAffairs web site, the book will be also published in
France, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain. However, the simultaneous
Russian edition, which was announced earlier, may be delayed, Moskovsky
Komsomolets daily reported Wednesday.
The book is expected to provide a personal account of the decision-making
about Chechnya; the chain of prime ministers hired and fired by Yeltsin
during his last years as president; and his resignation.
September 7, 2000
POWER PLAY: Berezovsky the Victim of His Own Designs
By Yevgenia Albats
It's the talk of the day: Boris Berezovsky, in responding to pressure from
the Kremlin, has stated in a letter that he is giving up the jewel in his
crown: his shares in ORT, the nation's most widely watched TV network, in
favor of journalists and representatives of the creative intelligentsia.
With the exception of a few sentences, the letter Berezovsky addressed to
President Vladimir Putin sounds as if it was written back in the late 1980s
by none other than Andrei Sakharov. And, if not for the author's signature, I
would not think twice of putting my own name under the text. But I will not f
because it was written by a person whose four-year involvement in Kremlin
politics led to the very situation Berezovsky now decries.
I wouldn't even doubt the sincerity of the oligarch's concerns. But I don't
trust his purposes.
For the only rationale behind many of Berezovsky's adventures f both public
and private f has been self-enrichment at the expense of subverting all noble
desires that he presumably is fighting for now. He often was quick to cite
Henry Ford's famous maxim, "What is good for Ford is good for America." But
Berezovsky failed to learn from Ford's biography that it took the U.S.
automaker years of investing his own capital, brains and private life to
achieve what he did at the end of the road.
No, Berezovsky was never eager to invest. His know-how was in "management
privatization" i.e. buying managers f whether in the areas of cars, oil or
media f who controlled the cash flows of companies rather than the companies
That's how Berezovsky created his media empire. Actually, the word "created"
here is inappropriate. Berezovsky, unlike Vladimir Gusinsky, the founder of
NTV and another Kremlin opponent, has never created anything f any business f
except sophisticated and obscure financial schemes.
Berezovsky used to call himself a businessman; now he says he's a politician.
But he is neither, nor is he a political lobbyist whose moneymaking
capabilities were based largely on his self-promoting image as the one who
ran both the Kremlin and the government.
Now, having been distanced from the Kremlin, Berezovsky is losing his main
business. His attempt to claim his right and might after Vladimir Putin
assumed the presidency has gone unnoticed. Berezovsky was shown that he
doesn't hold a monopoly on using people. So now he is left with nothing but
to bargain for at least some insurance from the Kremlin, to protect himself
from possibly violent measures against him. And the only personal insurance
he has left are journalists loyal to him who wouldn't let those measures be
conducted in secret.
But Berezovsky may lose out there, too f because for everyone with big money,
there are those with even bigger money. And those who have served one master
may choose another. Consider this: Two years ago, Mikhail Leontiev, the
popular television personality, used to condemn Berezovsky on the television
channel controlled by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. A year ago, Leontiev started
criticizing Luzhkov on the TV channel owned by Berezovsky. Now Leontiev is
condemning both men and defending Putin in many media sources, including the
newspaper Vedomosti, which is owned by Independent Media.
Once again, Berezovsky has proved that he is good at short-term tactics but
no good at strategic thinking. He is the victim of his own designs. Of
course, the Kremlin is no smarter; if it were, it would do its best to
recruit Berezovsky as the leader of the "constructive opposition" f and hence
compromise in public opinion the idea of democratic opposition for years to
Yevgenia Albats is an independent journalist based in Moscow.
Putin offers host talks on halting arms in space
By Ron Popeski
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin took a swipe
Wednesday at U.S. proposals for anti-missile defenses and offered to host an
international conference next year on preventing the militarization of space.
President Clinton, who met Putin after both spoke at the U.N. Millennium
Summit, told the Kremlin leader he hoped his decision to put off a U.S.
national missile defense system would give both countries time to resolve
their row over it.
But Deputy Secretary of State Stobe Talbott said formal talks to press on
with reductions in long-range missiles depended on Russia agreeing to
discuss strategic defense -- generally assumed to mean anti-missile defense
In a low-key address to more than 150 leaders gathered at the summit, Putin
said proposals to use space for military purposes were ``particularly
Moscow, he said, would be a natural choice to discuss such issues in 2001 --
40 years after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first the first man
in space on April 12, 1961.
``We are suggesting the organization on that date under the aegis of the
United Nations of an international conference on the prevention of the
militarization of outer space,'' Putin said. ``If you, distinguished
colleagues, agree, then the place for holding that conference could be
Just before their talks later in the morning at a luxury hotel, Clinton said
a cooperative spirit was needed.
``We have worked together on nuclear issues very closely...,'' he said,
``The decision I made last week on missile defense will create an opportunity
for President Putin and the next American president to reach a common
position and I hope they can because it is very important that we continue to
Clinton last week announced that owing to technology difficulties and
international concerns, he had decided not to take steps to begin deployment
of a national missile defense.
The presidents signed a joint declaration on strategic stability pledging to
uphold the principles of disarmament pacts and pledging measures to implement
them more quickly.
RUSSIA WANTS FASTER ACTION ON DISARMAMENT
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Clinton's move last week made it
even more important to proceed more quickly.
``We therefore have a very favorable situation for constructive discussion of
all questions of strategic stability,'' he told reporters.
Talbott, however, sounded a more cautious note in Washington on the prospects
for talks -- particularly the START-3 agreement on further reductions to
long-range missiles. Formal talks on the proposed pact are already under way.
``Starting formal negotiations on START-3 is going to have to wait until
Russia is prepared to join us in formal negotiations on strategic defense,''
Talbott told reporters.
Russia, backed by China, has led opposition to the U.S. proposal to build a
national anti-missile shield on the grounds that it violates disarmament
tenets, particularly the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
Both candidates in the U.S. presidential election, Vice-President Al Gore and
his Republican rival Texas Governor George W. Bush favor some form of missile
Although the issue has not been a major one, it is likely to remain on
political agendas, with U.S. officials seeing it as vital to guard against
missile strikes from ``rogue states.''
Some senior officials have expressed hope they can persuade Moscow to alter
the ABM treaty, upheld by Russia as the cornerstone of disarmament.
PUTIN CONFIDENT AFTER DIFFICULT MONTH
Putin looked confident in making his first address to the United Nations
after fending off a series of crises over the past month in Moscow, but he
steered clear of open polemics and kept emotion to a minimum.
After cultivating a tough image to win election last March, Putin has been
accused of a sluggish reaction to the sinking of a nuclear-powered submarine
with the loss of 118 crew.
He also had to contend with a lethal bomb explosion in the center of Moscow
and a fire which crippled Moscow's television tower, an important national
Nuclear issues dominated much of the rest of Putin's address, with the
Kremlin leader stressing Russia's commitment to confine all use of enriched
uranium and plutonium to peaceful purposes.
POLITICAL ANALYST V.NIKONOV INTERVIEWED ABOUT RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY UNDER
Source: NTV International, Moscow in Russian 1525 gmt 6 Sep 00
Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the "Politics" foundation, gave a
15-minute interview in MTVNTI's "Hero of the Day" slot, which is no longer
presented by Svetlana Sorokina but by Andrey Norkin. The interview was
pegged to President Putin's attendance of the UN Millennium summit in New
Nikonov observed that Russia's relations with the West had turned cold,
compared first of all with the early Yeltsin period when the aim of Russian
policy was to become like the West and part of the West "by next Thursday".
Now such an aim is not being set.
"It seems to me that the aim of Russia's foreign policy is now more
pragmatic and, if I were to order the geographic priorities of current
Russian foreign policy or describe them, then I would probably put
relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States in the first place,
first of all from the point of view of economic cooperation, and perhaps
now in the first place from the point of view of problems of security. In
second place, it seems to me, for Putin, come relations with the countries
of Western Europe, as our main foreign economic partner. It seems to me
that the Orient, the Asian giants and problems connected with the entire
Islamic arc of instability come in third place. Only after this comes the
USA. On the whole this has not been the case during the past decades
because in the Soviet Union, too, issues of Russian - Soviet at the time -
- American relations ranked undoubtedly higher."
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000
From: "Mark Ames" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re:MT/Free Press
When Gusinsky framed Putin's attack on his media empire as a free speech
(and anti-Semitism) issue, the Western press didn't hesitate to back him up
to the full, painting him as a modern-day Sharansky. Now that Berezovsky is
under attack and is using the same defense, The Moscow Times jumps to be
the first to condemn his alleged "cynicism". You just knew this was going to
happen a few months ago, but it still raises my blood pressure to read
today's editorial. Why was Gusinsky a martyr, but Berezovsky a cynical
bastard? After all, they're both blood-soaked, mind-raping, budget-sucking,
cynical bastards, and they once worked hand-in-hand, first to elect their
man Yeltsin in 1996 in return for favor$ galore, and again in the fall of
1997 to smear the young reformers after the Gusinsky-Berezovsky
consortium got burned in the fix for the Svyazinvest auction.
The reason why Berezovsky is now cynical while Gusinsky was a victim is, as
always, that one looks like "our" kind of guy, and the other like a "bad"
kind of guy.
Berezovsky is a stooped, sweaty, self-hating Jew with a shifty expression
who courts his evil persona; Gusinsky is stylishly plump, effeminate, a
theater director, falsely self-deprecating, a "Westernized Russia", a
sell-out who likes Western trappings, and tries to fashion his media empire
Thus, the 60 Minutes-veneer of Itogi, (which during the Duma elections was
merely a lower-tech propaganda weapon than Dorenko's), the tie-up with
Newsweek for the Itogi magazine, the high-profile involvement in the World
Jewish Congress, etc.
The fact is that they are both evil slime balls who deserve the worst that
justice has to offer, and yet both (if Berezovsky is indeed under attack)
are being oppressed because their media outlets dared to criticize the
What is so galling about the Moscow Times editorial is that it goes even
further and attacks, seemingly out of the blue, the utterly impressive
Komsomolskaya Pravda scoop about how they had to bribe their way to obtain
the list of doomed sailors during the Kursk submarine tragedy:
>Komsomolskaya Pravda's decision to
>spotlight its 18,000 ruble ($650) purchase of the list of Kursk sailors was
>both a very savvy and a very cynical move: The story behind the story very
>nearly eclipsed the importance of the list itself.
>Likewise, Berezovsky's brandishing of the press-freedom ideal seems to
>a worthy battle cry to little more than a disposable and fairly obvious
>for furthering his standoff with the Putin government.
I am not sure what the link is here or why it's brought up, but when you
reread the editorial, the KP attack seems placed as if to please The
Teacher, attacking as it does the spectrum of those who pissed off Putin.
KP's scoop wasn't cynical, it was a great and inventive piece of journalism
(which is probably why the proud-to-be-bland Times hates it) that
highlighted, in the most pungent and memorable way, the root of the Kursk
tragedy: the blackest
corruption and the most disingenuous patriotism imaginable.
Furthermore, who the hell is the Moscow Times to speak about cynicism when
it comes to the issue of barking about press freedoms under Vladimir Putin?
JRL readers who read MT editor Matt Bivens' article in Brill's Content
(July/August 2000, "Back In The U.S.S.R.") may remember this
chillingly-worded account of how the Times earlier this year caved in to
"Three months after we received our tax bill, I and other editors were
summoned to a meeting with our publisher, Derk Sauer.
We feared the worst: that someone had gotten to our parent company,
Independent Media, and was shutting us down.
Instead, we found Sauer sober but as independent-minded as ever. He said
that friends in the government had warned him that The Moscow Times was
to irk the Kremlin and could get him in trouble. He criticized some of our
journalism where it had indeed been careless and insisted we tighten it up."
Bivens went on to claim that Sauer asked that they not change their Chechnya
coverage, but anyone who has lived here saw what happened to the Times, and
particularly, to the editorial page. For the first time, editorials were
bylined to distance the paper from the opinion, and the editorials were
themselves vastly toned down; by March, in-house editorials had been almost
totally replaced by harmless editorials from mainstream American newspapers.
Only recently did they return, un-bylined, but "tightened up".
One thing you have to hand to Berezovsky: he's got balls. If he is indeed
being attacked, it's unlikely he'll back down as easily as the Times did
(even though they didn't face Butyrka, just tax bills and career demotions).
As the Evil One himself wrote, "You know me rather well; therefore, in
contrast to your advisers, you will not be greatly surprised to know that I
will not bow to a dictate." That is what these papers-of-record should be
commenting on. That, and the fact that a Berezovsky-linked businessman just
gained control of 66% of the Novokuztesk aluminium smelter.
I expect other Gusinsky-sucking Western outlets to attack Berezovsky's
"cynicism" as well, because it reminds them of how deeply they are all
involved in this whole cynical mess of trying to make a living out of
telling readers who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are, while
hiding the fact that they're all collaborators with the bad guys to one
degree or another.
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
136 East 67 Street, New York N. Y 10021
PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
VLADIMIR V. PUTIN
ADDRESS TO THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT
New York, September 6,2000
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This summit is really the last one in this millennium. But it will go down in
history as the Millennium Summit by a different reason.
We and our predecessors have done much to fill in this symbolic image with a
profound meaning. The second half of the century, its international
constituent unconditionally passed under the UN sign. The very fact of
existence of this organization was a guarantee from an arbitrariness of
hegemony, from right to absolute truth and dictates.
When the United Nations was being established many of the states represented
here have simply not been on the world map. But the norms of the
international behavior were being formed taking them also into account. Today
they are accepted by all and serve the interests of the international
The principal result is obvious. What seemed unattainable half a century ago
today has become the norm of international relations. Respect for each other
and the UN instruments helped the countries and peoples to learn the art of a
dialogue and look for common decisions. Even global confrontation could not
impede a joint work in the extreme crisis and even dead-end situations.
All that can be called the "UN School" without any overstatement.
A political term given to leaders is usually not so long. We had luck to be
born and live during the threshold epoch. We were lucky to be called for by
our peoples at the momentous time. That is why a natural duty of a politician
is to see at least one step ahead.
We are bound to give a chance to those who will come after us.
The twentieth century will remain in history as a century of contradictions.
It has become an epoch of grandiose achievements and terrible wars, a century
of revolutionary breakthroughs and profound disillusionments. But our
countries and peoples managed to draw off hatred. They managed to overcome
the Cold War with its global confrontation.
That is an accomplishment of the United Nations.
Preceding generations have left us a unique organization as heritage. The
United Nations have learned to solve and it solves the most complicated world
problems. It is here where the international regime of human rights — the
most important characteristic of the modern world was born. This universal
instrument proved to be not vulnerable to ideological speculations, and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights has never been only a declaration. Up
to this day it definitely affects our lives.
We are convinced: we need to renovate and improve the UN mechanisms. This is
the imperative of our time. But no reforms should make loose its fundamental
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The new century of the United Nations should prolong itself into a millennium
of effective stability. It has to enter the annals of history as the period
of real disarmament.
Today we have already succeeded in creating an efficient mechanism for
disarmament. Its foundation comprises the 1972 ABM Treaty, regimes of
non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means for their
delivery, dozens of the most important agreements on limitation and reduction
of different armaments.
We should reliably block the ways for spreading of nuclear weapons. We can
achieve this by, inter alia, excluding usage of enriched uranium and pure
plutonium in the world atomic energy production.
This is technically quite possible to implement. But more important is that
incineration of plutonium and other radioactive elements creates
prerequisites for the final solution of the radioactive residues problem. It
opens fundamentally new horizons for secure life on the planet.
In this connection Russia proposes to work out and put into practice a
relevant mechanism with the participation of the IAEA.
Particularly alarming are the plans for militarization of the outer space. In
spring of 2001 we shall celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first flight of
man to the outer space. That man was our compatriot, and we suggest to
organize on that date, under the umbrella of the UN, an international
conference on prevention of the outer space militarization.
I think that the most proper place for it shall be Moscow.
Success in this world and respect of the partners is earned by difficult,
everyday work for the benefit of one's own people. For Russia these days the
priority of the internal national policy is unquestionable. Yet, we have the
right to consider something else as our achievement: our contemporary
positions are in maximum close to what is usually called in the world the
universally recognized standards. That is why Russia, with more reason than
ever, has the right to count on response in kind and the reciprocal movement.
For our country the final part of the 20th century, especially its last
decade is not simply a transitional period and even not a historic time. Not
every people had to make such a choice. The choice that changed not only us
but also the face of the world.
These days we are a new country, and at the same time very ancient one. We
returned to the scene as a democratic state and we have the intention to
become stronger in that capacity and earn more prestige.
The threats and challenges which Russia has to face are the common enemies of
the free nations. We consider terrorism to be the most dangerous and
treacherous phenomenons It is unscrupulous as to the means and is rather
skilful in changing its masks. But it survives only when it has a chance to
undermine the stability of a state, to saw seeds of mutual suspicion and
animosity. Our common task is to raise an efficient barrier against this
And the UN role in this sphere should grow.
We have to move to peace, stability and prosperity relying on all the wealth
of cultures and traditions. Even in the 21st century the right to national
self expression and independence shall continue to supplement with dignity
the already recognized approaches to the solution of basic problems.
Democracy in international relations means conscious understanding of all the
diversity of the world civilization.
I am convinced that relying on the just world order and strategic stability
we shall guarantee sustainable development of the civilization. And today's
Russia, as never before is open, responsible and ready for cooperation on an
equitable, partnership basis.
I wish all the success to our Summit and efficient implementation of its
Thank you for your attention.
US Department of State
06 September 2000
Transcript: Talbott Briefing on Clinton-Putin Meeting in New York
(Presidents focused on Balkans, Iraq, non-proliferation, Talbott says)
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott briefed journalists in New
York September 6 immediately after a 90-minute meeting between
President Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said the
two presidents focused on the Balkans, non-proliferation, and Iraq.
At the beginning of the meeting, Talbott told reporters, Clinton
offered his sympathies to the families of the victims of the Russian
submarine Kursk, and at the end of the meeting, he raised the case of
Edmund Pope, an American imprisoned in Russia and accused of spying.
On the Balkans, Talbott said, the two presidents discussed the
prospects for democracy.
On non-proliferation, he said the issue that was raised -- and "which
has come up in virtually every presidential meeting and for that
matter vice presidential meeting for the last number of years" -- is
stopping the illicit transfer of Russian technology, both on nuclear
weaponry and also on ballistic missile technology, to Iran.
On Iraq, Talbott said that Clinton "made a very strong push against
the notion that Saddam Hussein should be rewarded in any fashion for
his continuing pursuit of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] capacity."
Clinton and Putin also signed a Joint Statement on Strategic Stability
Cooperation Initiative during their meeting, Talbott said. The
statement commits the United States and Russia for the first time to
finishing an agreement on pre-notification of launches of ballistic
missiles, while in addition laying out specific steps for creating a
shared early warning facility in 2001.
The U.S. and Russian presidents were in New York to join dozens of
other world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit.
Following is a transcript of Talbott's briefing:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(New York, New York)
September 6, 2000
READOUT TO THE TRAVEL POOL BY DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE STROBE TALBOTT
AND JIM TIMBIE, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND ARMS CONTROL
New York, New York
12:50 P.M. EDT
Q: It's a beautiful day, huh?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Thank you for getting me outdoors.
Q: We did this for you.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I appreciate that. So what do you want to
MR. CROWLEY: The Deputy Secretary is ON THE RECORD.
Q: On the record? Okay.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: We think it was about 90 minutes, maybe just
a little bit shy of 90 minutes. I'm going to just give you the topics,
and I'll do what I can to amplify.
Opening discussion about the Kursk tragedy. President Clinton
expressed his regret and his sympathies to the families, of course.
And President Putin talked a bit about the episode itself and what it
revealed and how he had coped with it. There was some further
discussion on that.
The Balkans. Two issues in particular. The prospects for democracy
there; and, of course, there is some reason for hope and also some
reason for concern. The reason for hope being that there will be
elections, but there are strong reasons to doubt whether those
elections will be free and fair.
Also, some discussion of Kosovo; a sharing of assessment and a
decision that Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Ivanov, who will
be having a working dinner tonight, including with their Balkan
experts, will return to a number of very specific issues which Russia
and the United States will work on together.
Nonproliferation. The issue which has come up in virtually every
presidential meeting and for that matter vice presidential meeting for
the last number of years, which is stopping the illicit transfer of
Russian technology, both on nuclear weaponry and also on ballistic
missile technology, to Iran.
President Clinton reiterated something he's talked before with
President Putin about, and that is the extent to which this issue,
which is not SALT, is an obstacle to our ability to cooperate together
in other areas. And President Putin, on his side, assured President
Clinton that he and his government are working very hard on this, and
they agreed on a number of further contacts, which are basically a
continuation of ones that have already been going on.
Iraq and Saddam Hussein's defiance of the inspection regime, they
spent some time on. There was some discussion about U.N. scale of
assessments, and the importance of getting a resolution on that. And
then, towards the end, President Clinton raised, as he had before,
first in the Moscow meeting in early June, the case of Edmund Pope and
the importance that he attaches to that.
Q: What was that last part?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Edmund Pope -- the Pope case. I think I
would just say that President Putin certainly understands the
importance that President Clinton attaches to that. I might just add
that at the outset, I don't know how many of you were there for the
pool sprays, but you asked -- did you ask a question about NMD? I
can't remember --
Q: No, I did Mideast.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Okay, you did Mideast. NMD, START, did not
figure very much in this discussion, it was handled more by reference.
And what I mean by that is that a number of President Putin's
colleagues are here and have been working with several of us;
Secretary Albright, Sandy Berger, myself. And the work that has been
done was kind of captured in the document that was signed at the end
of the session. President Clinton did speak on the record about NMD,
and that was, I think, the fullest statement that was made during the
course of the meeting on NMD.
Q: Did he give any assurances on Montenegro? Did he say anything to
Putin about sending a message to Milosevic not to go after Montenegro,
there would be kind of consequences if that were to happen?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Well, President Clinton certainly expressed
his views on that, and I think rather than my characterizing the
Russian response -- and I'm sure you will find Russian sources who
would be delighted to talk to you during the course of the afternoon
-- I would just say that that's an important and urgent enough issue
that they spent some time on it themselves and they did remand it to
the foreign ministers.
I met with Secretary Albright immediately after this meeting to give
her a full brief on what had been discussed there, and they're going
to talk about it tonight over dinner.
Q: Is there a chance for sort of jump-starting of arms reduction in
the remainder of the Clinton presidency based on the NMD decision, or
is everything really going to be plowed up down the road?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: It's not only just the position of the
United States, it's a position that the Russians have recognized back
when they were the Soviets -- that there is a logical and inescapable
connection between strategic offense and strategic defense. We are
prepared -- we, the United States -- are prepared to proceed
vigorously with START III, including deeper reductions in strategic
weaponry, but that will have to be in parallel with meaningful and
productive discussions on strategic defenses.
And, as you know, we're not there yet with the Russians. What
President Clinton said -- and I would prefer here that you go back to
the words he gave you on the record earlier -- is that he feels that
the decision that he made last week establishes a basis for his
successor, whoever that is, and President Putin to keep working on
this tough issue.
Now, the President also feels that the document that was signed today,
which is the third in a series, is part of that basis as well. And if
you want later on today, we can --
Q: What is that -- the document basically --
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: What the document does is, it puts more
flesh on the bones of the documents that were signed at the beginning
of June in Moscow and in Okinawa, with regard to areas for us to
cooperate on strategic stability, which means kind of reinforcing the
nuclear peace, if I can put it that way, and also cooperation on
dealing with new threats.
Just to give you a couple --
Q: Dealing with what?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: New threats. I mean, basically, President
Clinton is very committed to the ABM Treaty of 1972, as you all know.
But the world has changed a lot in 28 years, including in good ways,
which is to say the reduction of the superpower arsenals, but it's
also changed in some bad ways -- the proliferation of ballistic
missiles to states that will not anticipate it as being nuclear weapon
states back when the original ABM Treaty was signed.
Now, among the specifics in this document today -- and I know you're
all rushed, and we can get you expert briefings later on -- are the
following: The two sides have committed themselves for the first time
to finishing an agreement on pre-notification of launches of ballistic
missiles. They also have agreed on a number of quite specific steps
for implementing, putting in place a shared early warning facility
next year. The document sort of spells out who will go where when, to
talk to whom; but as I say, we can probably give you -- is there a
Q: What is this called, and where was it signed?
Q: Is it like a joint communique?
MR. TIMBIE: Yes, it's a Joint Statement on Strategic Stability
Q: Is that out already?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: It's a Joint Statement on Strategic
Stability Cooperation Initiative.
Q: And where was it signed?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: It was signed by the two Presidents at the
Q: There's no handy acronym?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Well, if there is, we should have probably
Q: It's the JSSSCS.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: That's not bad. Whew, thank goodness.
(Laughter.) It was signed by the two Presidents at the end of their
meeting. They brought in a table, Secretary Albright, Foreign Minister
Ivanov, a number of other officials joined, and there was a formal
Q: You said something about it being a third of a kind; what were the
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: There was a Joint Statement on Strategic
Stability signed at the Moscow Summit in early June, and a Joint
Statement on --
MR. TIMBIE: -- Strategic Stability Cooperation.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: In Okinawa.
Q: Are there any more to come?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: There's Brunei; we'll see.
Q: More words though. Every time, it gets longer.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: That's actually not literally true. I think
the first document was longer than the second. This is an iterative
process. We have taken the position all along with the Russians that
there was a lot that we could do cooperatively, particularly if they
would join us in recognizing that it is going to be necessary,
probably sooner rather than later, to make amendments to the ABM
Treaty. But we don't want to have the whole process paralyzed. Where
we can find areas to work together and agree, we want to move ahead in
Your question was about START III. Actually, starting formal
negotiations on START III is going to have to wait until Russia is
prepared to join us in formal negotiations on strategic defense. But
there are these other areas where we can do a lot together.
Q: Were there any more key bullet points? You were sort of in the
middle of discussing the thing, and you got to I think Item number 2.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Yes, come on in here. Jim can be either ON
BACKGROUND or -- I haven't even told you his name, so just a guy named
Jim. Do you want to just tick off any of the other specifics?
MR. TIMBIE: Hi, I'm Jim Timbie. I worked on creating this thing. There
will be -- joint threat assessments, sort of joint assessments of the
missile threat to both countries. There will be cooperation on theater
missile defense where there will be joint exercises so that if the
U.S. and Russian TMD systems have to operate together someday, they'll
know how to communicate with each other, work together and so forth.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: There have only been a couple of joint
MR. TIMBIE: There have been two, and there will be more. And there
will also be a discussion of bringing other countries into the theater
missile defense cooperation.
Q: Did the Mideast come up at all?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: It came not in the sense of the Middle East
peace process. Again, it's a little bit like the NMD-START issue. It
didn't come up not because it isn't important, it didn't come up
because it is being dealt with so intensively in everything else
that's going on here, including between Secretary Albright and Foreign
There was discussion of the broader area, which is to say Iran and
Q: In Iraq, Tariq Aziz is here making a real push to end the
sanctions. He seems to have kind of support from the Russians for
lifting the sanctions. Did they talk about that?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: President Clinton made a very strong push
against the notion that Saddam Hussein should be rewarded in any
fashion for his continuing pursuit of WMD capacity. President Clinton
knows this issue very well, he used facts and figures, including on
the amount of money that Saddam Hussein has put into his defense
establishment as a result of oil revenues.
Q: Was there anything sort of tongue-in-cheek or otherwise regarding
NMD with Putin sort of congratulating Clinton for a wise decision,
given that it's so much what the Russians wanted, which is to --
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: The answer is no, okay?
MR. TIMBIE: We're serious on that.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Tongue-in-cheek satisfaction of that kind
would not be in order, because I think -- I know that President Putin
understands that the NMD issue is not off the table, it's not solved.
There is going to have to be over time a change in the way that, not
just the United States, but other countries, too, pursue active
defense -- by which I mean antimissile defense.
The ratio of active defense to what might be called pure deterrence is
going to have to change because of the way in which the world has
changed. And I think what has happened in the last week is that there
is a clarification that this is an issue that will need to be resolved
between President Putin and the next American president. President
Putin understands that. I would say he took this just as seriously as
Q: Did President Putin give any answer to the Pope when Clinton talked
about Pope? Did he say anything?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I'd rather not say anything more on Pope,
except that the President did raise it again very clearly, and they
did have an exchange on the subject.
Q: Did he tell Putin that there would be any kind of repercussions if
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I'm not going any further on that.
Q: Strobe, are you in a position to say anything more about President
Clinton today calling for reforms in the peacekeeping -- U.N.
peacekeeping mission? What does he want to do with that?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I think the only aspect of that, that he
addressed with President Putin, and therefore the only one that I want
to comment on here, is on the scale of assessments questions.
Q: Strobe --
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: He made a -- by the way, Ambassador
Holbrooke joined in the prebrief -- that is, when Secretary Albright
and Sandy Berger and a couple of the rest of us talked to President
Clinton before the meeting -- Ambassador Holbrooke was there, and the
issue did come up in the small meeting between the two Presidents.
Q: So what did he say about the scale of assessments again? I'm sorry.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: You know what the American position and we
can certainly flesh it out for you. He made the case for that -- and
he made the case also in the context of Russia's role, which is to say
Russia is a founding member; then, of course, in the capacity of the
Soviet Union, is a founding member of the United Nations, and Russia,
as a permanent member of the Security Council.
Q: On NMD, was it evident --
Q: -- pick up like its own scale of assessments, is that what you're
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Yes.
Q: On NMD, was it evident that the President's decision last week took
some of the tension or pressure off the meeting?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Yes.
Q: It was?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Yes.
Q: -- their relationship? Was their relationship any different?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: No. They've now seen each other -- since Mr.
Putin's been President, I believe three times. About three times. They
have a very comfortable and, at the same time, I would say, sort of
no-nonsense, businesslike relationship.
DAILY DESCRIBES MOSCOW TV BROADCASTING SITUATION
Text of report by Russian newspaper 'Kommersant' on 5th September
[Independent Media-Most-owned] NTV and [private] TV6 [close to Russian
Public TV ORT] broadcasting was resumed from the Ostankino tower yesterday.
The signals from the two TV companies are still subject to poor reception
in Moscow and cannot be seen at all in the oblast [Moscow Region]. We
should not expect better quality reception in the immediate future. Nor
should we expect numerous decimetre-band [UHF] channels to broadcast.
On Sunday [3rd September] ORT broadcast on its own frequency. At the cost
of heroic work during the night at the tower, which 'Kommersant' described
Saturday [2nd September]. The quality of ORT broadcasting in Moscow is
tolerable, but there is no signal in Moscow Oblast.
[State-owned Russian Television] RTR, TV6, and NTV are now broadcasting
from the same antenna installed at a height of 147 m on the Ostankino
tower. The antenna's capacity is 10 kW. But so far it is working at only 6
kW with RTR taking 4 kW (that is why reception is excellent) and NTV and
TV6 each getting 1 kW yesterday. They are almost invisible. The technical
directors of the two channels are dissatisfied with the signal, but
admitted to 'Kommersant' that there is nothing they could do in the
All these channels will now wait for mechanics from the main centre for
radio broadcasting and television to clear the Ostankino tower's feeder
channels of burnt cables to a height of 350-450 meters. The old antennae
have survived there, but so far no one knows whether it is possible to
connect to them. Perhaps new ones will be needed. So that poor television
broadcasting on the metre-band [VHF] channels is with us for a long time.
To improve the situation somehow, all television companies are continuing
to develop their satellite broadcasting programme. ORT, RTR, [Moscow-owned]
Centre TV, and Kultura are already transmitting via NTV Plus. But there is
no need to hurry to buy "dishes". The point is that the operators of the
numerous Moscow cable networks are buying them to provide their subscribers
with metre-band channels. No one is yet taking money for this. What will
happen in the future is not known.
So far there is no success in restoring broadcasting on decimetre-band
channels for STS, Ren TV, M1, Muz-TV, Daryal-TV and MTV. The transmitters
for STS and Daryal-TV are at a height of 350 m and have suffered severely
from the fire. MTV, Ren TV, and STS have reserve transmitters. And the
former two have very powerful ones - of 20 kW each. But STS only has a very
feeble transmitter of just 200 W. Nevertheless, it is so far unclear when
they will start broadcasting. MTV and STS are waiting for the feeder
channels to be cleared and then they will look for antennae and lay their
feeder cables. And STS is examining a plan to install a transmitter on the
chimney of a heat and electric power station near Moscow.
Ren TV officials told 'Kommersant' that the VGTRK [All-Russia State
Television and Radio Broadcasting Company] suggested yesterday they would
install a temporary antenna at a height of 147 m and that they connect it
to the surviving 20-kW transmitter. In that case broadcasting would be
successfully restored within two days and the power of the Ren TV signal
would be greater than all the other TV channels taken together. But Irena
Lesnevskaya, the television channel's leader, has refused this proposal.
According to her officials she is afraid that when the antenna are restored
at a height of 450 m, VGTRK will leave her channel without a high-level
So Ren TV is importing a very small 1-kw transmitter from Italy. According
to the TV channel's officials "within a couple of weeks" it hopes to
install it on the Ostankino tower and connect it to a high-level antenna.
The Ren TV signal will only be visible in Moscow, though not all of it. On
the other hand, perhaps, VGTRK will value this modesty.
Source: 'Kommersant', Moscow, in Russian 5 Sep 00
US Department of State
2000 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom:
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State, September 5, 2000
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government
generally respects this right in practice; however, although the Constitution
also provides for the equality of all religions before the law and the
separation of church and state, in practice the Government does not always
respect the provision for equality of religions, and some local authorities
imposed restrictions on some religious minority groups. The commitment of the
new Government under President Vladimir Putin to adhere to international
standards of religious freedom remained unclear by mid-2000.
There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the
period covered by this report.
The 1997 law on religion, which replaced a more liberal 1990 law, continues
to be the focus of serious concern about the state of religious freedom in
the country. One of the law's most controversial provisions is a requirement
that a church must prove that it has existed for at least 15 years in the
country before it is allowed to be registered as a full-fledged religious
organization. (Registration as a religious organization is necessary in order
for a religious community to rent or buy a facility, proselytize, publish
literature, provide religious training, or conduct other activities.) In a
November 1999 ruling, the Constitutional Court upheld the 15-year requirement
but also permitted the registration of organizations that already were
registered when the 1997 law was passed or that were willing to become a
local branch of a larger registered denomination. The provision still
severely restricts the activities of small, new, independent congregations.
The 1997 law also requires that all religious organizations be registered by
December 31, 2000. Due to several factors, the registration process has been
slow, and a large number of religious organizations may remain unregistered
by the end of 2000 and therefore may be subject to "liquidation" (that is
terminated as a legal entity) by local authorities at the end of 2000. The
lack of clarity in the 1997 law, combined with contradictions between federal
and local law and varying interpretations of the law, furnish regional
officials with pretexts to restrict the activities of religious minorities.
Discriminatory practices at the local level also are attributable to the
increased decentralization of power over the past several years and the
relatively greater susceptibility of local governments to lobbying by
majority religions, as well as to government inaction and discriminatory
attitudes that are widely held in society. For example, articles heavily
biased against religions considered "nontraditional" appear regularly in both
the local and national press. There were reports of harassment of members of
religious minority groups. Several religious communities were forced to
defend themselves in court from charges by local authorities that they were
engaging in harmful activities; however, in many cases local courts
demonstrated their independence by dismissing frivolous cases or rulings in
favor of the religious organizations. As of mid-2000, it remained unclear
whether any religious organization had ceased operations as a result of the
1997 religion law.
The U.S. Government has been active in encouraging respect for religious
freedom. The U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Consulates General actively
investigated reports of violations of religious freedom, including
anti-Semitic incidents. U.S. officials discuss these issues with a broad
range of government officials, representatives of religious groups, and human
rights activists on a daily basis.....