Center for Defense Information
Research Topics
CDI Library
What's New
CDI Library > Johnson's Russia List

Johnson's Russia List


September 11, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4503  4504 4505



Johnson's Russia List
11 September 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Safin thrashes Sampras to win U.S. Open.
2. The Independent (UK): Helen Womack, Million people 'invented' 
for Russian election.

3. Albert Weeks: re Rice/4502.
4. The Russia Journal: Andrei Denisov, Inside the economy: 
Concerns from the IMF.

5. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Borisova, Baby Boom or Dead Souls? 
6. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Borisova, How Many Forgeries? 

8. Mark Hertsgaard, Mikhail Gorbachev explains what's 
rotten in Russia. In a rare interview, the former Soviet leader says 
glasnost is working, but globalization isn't.]


Safin thrashes Sampras to win U.S. Open
September 10, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) - Marat Safin, a giant with a peach-fuzz face and a grown-up 
game, turned Pete Sampras into a weekend hacker. 

In as thorough a thrashing as anyone has ever given the all-time Grand Slam 
champion, the 20-year-old Safin became the first Russian to win the U.S. Open 
with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory Sunday as he stamped himself the player of the 
future in men's tennis. 

Boyish and emotional and blessed with talents beyond his natural power, Safin 
celebrated by getting down on his knees and kissing the court in Arthur Ashe 

The youngest champion since Sampras won the first of his four U.S. Open 
titles a decade ago, Safin won his first major title and only the fifth 
tournament of his brief career in the most lopsided victory over a former 
champion in 25 years. 

``He reminded me of myself when I was 19 and came here and won for the first 
time,'' said the 29-year-old Sampras. ``The way he's playing he's the future 
of the game. I didn't feel old. I felt I was standing next to a big dude. 

``It's a bit of a humbling feeling to have someone play that well for that 
long. He serves harder than I did at 19. He's more powerful. He doesn't have 
many holes. He moves well. He's going to win many majors.'' 

Safin, serving at up to 136 mph and whacking a dozen aces to push his 
tournament total to 115, never faced so much as a single break point until 
the last game when Sampras finally got two after Safin opened with a double 
fault, only his second of the match. 

``I felt no pressure until last game,'' Safin said. ``He becomes huge, the 
racket was huge, everything was huge.'' 

Safin wiped away those break points quickly, and closed the 1-hour, 38-minute 
match with a backhand pass that zipped by Sampras as so many others had 

Sampras, holder of 13 Grand Slam titles, had lost only twice before in a 
major final - against Stefan Edberg in the 1992 U.S. Open and Andre Agassi in 
the 1995 Australian Open. 

No one had lost in the final so badly since Edberg beat Jim Courier in 1991. 
And no former champion had gone down so hard since Jimmy Connors lost to 
Manuel Orantes in 1975. 

Asked how he returned Sampras' serve so well, Safin replied, ``You think I 

Sampras unleashed a 131 mph ace to start the match, a message intended to 
intimidate the Russian in his first major final. But Safin resolutely stood 
his ground time after time, waiting for his chances. 

At 3-3 in the first set, on a mild afternoon with a slight breeze, Safin 
created his first break point at 15-40 with a sizzling forehand pass into the 
corner that Sampras watched like a spectator. Two points later, Safin 
rocketed back a return winner that seemed faster than Sampras 124 mph serve. 
Sampras barely caught a glimpse of the ball going past him. 

That was all Safin needed as he cruised on his serve, yielding only nine 
points in five service games and going to deuce only once.... 


The Independent (UK)
11 September 2000
Million people 'invented' for Russian election 
By Helen Womack in Moscow 

Ballot papers were burnt, voters bullied and entire electorates invented in 
large-scale fraud perpetrated during Russia's presidential election in March, 
The Moscow Times newspaper has claimed. In its weekend edition, the respected 
English-language daily said its journalists had gathered enough evidence to 
question the legitimacy of the vote that brought Vladimir Putin, an obscure 
former KGB agent, to the pinnacle of power. 

The defeated Communist Party candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, complained at the 
time that he had been robbed of the chance to go into a second round against 
Mr Putin. And observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in 
Europe, while finding the elections on the whole "democratic and a step 
forward for Russia", spoke of abuses. However, the newspaper's inquiry, 
carried out over the last six months, was the most far-reaching and 
hard-hitting critique of the poll on 26 March. 

Perhaps the most startling discovery, it said, was that 1.3 million new 
voters had appeared between the State Duma elections on 19 December 1999 and 
the presidential election just over three months later. These were not "dead 
souls", as described in Nikolai Gogol's famous novel of that name, but 
"new-born souls" who were given the vote. Not only were children listed as 
adults but also corrupt officials added fictional floors to multi-storey 
apartment buildings and had their occupants vote for Mr Putin. 

The newspaper did not even consider the gross manipulation of the media that 
smeared and sidelined the opposition and made Mr Putin seem the only viable 
candidate. It concentrated only on the instances of bosses bullying workers 
to vote for Mr Putin or risk losing their jobs and of election officials 
"correcting" unacceptable results. It interviewed a policeman who witnessed 
government officials burning sacks of votes for Mr Zyuganov. 

In the Caucasian region of Dagestan, the newspaper said, theft of votes from 
opposition candidates amounted at a conservative calculation to 551,000 and 
there were disturbing discrepancies in Saratov, Kabardino-Balkaria, 
Bashkortostan and Tatarstan as well. The latter two regions voted en masse 
for Mr Putin even though their leaders had been involved in the opposition. 
In Chechnya, the public was asked to believe that 50.63 per cent of a 
population whose lives and homes had been destroyed by Russian bombing had 
voted for Mr Putin. 

"Fraud was far from insignificant," The Moscow Times commented. "Given how 
close the vote was - Putin won with just 52.94 per cent or by a slim margin 
of 2.2 million votes - fraud and abuse of state power appear to have been 
decisive. The inescapable conclusion is that Putin would not have won 
outright on March 26 without cheating." 

While the Communists and other opposition candidates complained, however, all 
seemed to accept that after a second round, victory would have gone to Mr 
Putin in the end. And in a country where people still fear the authorities, 
few seemed inclined to take the matter of vote-rigging to the courts. 


From: "Albert L. Weeks" <>
Subject: Rice/4502
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 

In a new 572-page book by Russian professor, doctor of historical sciences
A. I. Utkin, titled "Russia and the West The History of Civilizations,"
published in Moscow this year, sets out a number of mistakes and historical
factors affecting politics and U.S.-Russian relations during the post-Soviet
For JRL scholars who want a comprehensive summary of the events, issues and
problems revolving about U.S.-Russian relations up to the present, this book
is a must-read. Moreover, when viewed against the positions taken on Russia
by Condoleeza Rice, George W. Bush's No. 1 adviser on Russia, which are
in the UK Sunday Times (reproduced by JRL #4502), Utkin's trenchant,
fair-minded analysis is disturbing. For it would seem from reading Utkin
that Ms. Rice
is living in the past, that her get-tough-with-Russia line is
counterproductive and will only make things worse, both for U.S.-Russian
relations and for Russia itself. Perhaps Ms. Rice should examine the book as


The Russia Journal
September 9-15, 2000
Inside the economy: Concerns from the IMF
By Andrei Denisov, writer for Vremya Novostei
Worries about shortcomings in Russian economic policy linger despite
seemingly healthy indicators.
Triumphant reports on Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov’s first 100 days in
office came at the same time the International Monetary Fund concluded work
on its annual review of the Russian economy. The review will be presented
on Sept. 15 to the IMF board of directors. The Russian government is
looking through it now. Once the IMF board has seen it, it is expected to
be published. 

Even though economic indicators are seemingly healthy, Russian authorities
are unlikely to be overjoyed by the report. Although the public hasn’t seen
it yet, the IMF review should contain few surprises. 

The IMF thinks Russian authorities have become too complacent, using
continued high oil prices as a pretext not to push so hard for reform. IMF
officials have emphasized that the government has come up with a good
economic program, but everything will depend on how closely it sticks to
it. Three broad shortcomings are likely to figure prominently. 

The first is that Russia needs stronger implementation of banking reform.
The IMF has acknowledged, for instance, that Russian officials had the
right idea when they set up the Agency for Restructuring of Credit
Organizations. But they also point out that the agency has since only
targeted a couple dozen "problem" banks: hardly a strong sign of effort.

Indeed, a recent joint mission by the IMF and the World Bank demonstrated
just how knotted Russia’s banking system is. Those Russian banks still
afloat, the mission concluded, have become little more than clearinghouses,
catering only to a limited circle of clients and barely engaged in any real

Much of this is because banks lack competition, IMF officials have said.
Several measures could help improve the situation — increasing supervisory
requirements, accelerating bankruptcy procedures against infirm banks, and
admitting more foreign banks into the Russian market. But instead of taking
such measures, the Central Bank has preferred to keep the status quo.

The second shortcoming involves monetary policy. For the past six months,
the IMF has been telling Russian authorities to tighten its policy. While
the Central Bank has doubled its gold reserves from $11 billion to $23
billion since the beginning of the year, its main regulatory instrument has
been printing new rubles and shoring up incoming currency flows from the
sale of exports, primarily gas, oil and metals.

The newly printed rubles are intended to compensate for money leaving the
country, which the Central Bank struggles to buy back. But, because
investment is so low in Russia, much of the new money stays tied up in
banks and eventually find its way back to the Central Bank’s own reserve,
where it sits, uninvested and unused. 

These inactive rubles have come to be called the "money overhang," because
analysts expect that they will either come crashing down upon the currency
market, knocking the exchange rate out of control, or will flood the
consumer market and trigger explosive inflation. But there are less
cataclysmic consequences: The welling up of rubles in the federal reserve
means that banks are not investing and will have difficulty paying interest
on their client’s savings. 

The IMF, along with many Russian economists, has outlined two possible
antidotes. The state could either increase the banks’ reserve requirements,
or could prop up Russia’s financial markets by issuing bonds. But Russian
authorities have been hesitant to try either approach; the first because it
would be a blow to the banks; the second out of fear of creating another
financial pyramid. 

The third troubling aspect for the IMF regards regulations on oil exports.
The fund has expressed dissatisfaction with a Russian law requiring oil
businesses to sell a certain quantity of petroleum domestically before

The policy, initiated last summer to ease the pain of a domestic energy
crisis, drew immediate protest from the IMF, which assailed it as being an
anti-free-market measure. But the threat of social unrest sparked by petrol
shortages forced the Fund to soften its tone. In return, the government
promised to lift the export restrictions by spring, which it did. 

But last month, Russian officials declared that, starting September, the
restrictions, known as "balance requirements," would be reintroduced. And
again, the IMF expressed concern. Moscow’s IMF representative, Martin
Gilman, sent Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko a letter reminding the
government of the promise to liberalize, and warned that renewing the
practice could seriously complicate future cooperation.

IMF and Russian officials will be discussing their relationship in Prague,
where the IMF and World Bank are to hold their annual summit Sept. 25.
Then, in October, an IMF mission is expected in Moscow to further hammer
out details. But, though Russian officials say there won’t be any problems,
the outcome of these negotiations looks very murky. Perhaps this is why the
same officials are saying that Russia can manage its budget even without
any new IMF loans.


Moscow Times
September 9, 2000 
Baby Boom or Dead Souls? 
By Yevgenia Borisova 

Were 1.3 million voters simply made up and added to the election's rolls? It 
sure looks that way. Yevgenia Borisova reports. 

Russian and foreign demographic experts have wondered how 1.3 million new 
voters could have materialized in just three months last winter. Perhaps they 
could find enlightenment by talking with Alkhat Zaripov, a 65-year-old 
pensioner who lives in a multistory apartment block in Kazan. 

"I came to vote, but suddenly I noticed that there were extra apartments 
registered in the form where we all sign and give our passport details," said 
Zaripov, in anApril interview outside his apartment at 107 Ulitsa Fuchika. 

Zaripov remembered being confused: The form listed 209 apartments in the 
building, while he knew in reality there were only 180 apartments there. 
Twenty-nine apartments, filled no doubt with at least 60 or 70 fictional 
voters, had apparently been created by the imagination of the local election 

A list for the apartment block next door, a building that held 108 
apartments, recorded that it had 125. 

Zaripov said he asked for an explanation _ but a commission member just 
picked up the form and walked away. 

"This is a lie! Why is this called democratic elections?" Zaripov said. 

"I decided to tell [Vladimir] Putin's elections headquarters, but I could not 
find it. I then asked for the Yabloko headquarters, but no one knew where it 
was. Someone told me where the Communist Party office was. I went there and 
filed a complaint. I am not a Communist, I only wanted justice," Zaripov 

'Dead Souls' Walk 

Officially, 108,073,956 voters were registered for the 1999 Duma elections _ 
of which 66,667,682, or 61.69 percent, actually voted. By March 26, just 
three months later, the CEC was reporting 109,372,046 _ of which 75,070,776, 
or 68.64 percent, participated. 

In other words, an additional 1.3 million voters appeared on the rolls. 


Remember: Any citizen over 18 is automatically registered. 

Central Elections Commission chief Alexander Veshnyakov, in a written reply 
to questions, stated that the December national election had not been held in 
Chechnya, but the war-torn republic and some 480,748 voters were hurried back 
into the fold for the March vote. Veshnyakov also said that some 550,000 
Russians turned 18 between the elections. Taisiya Nechiporenko, a CEC 
spokeswoman, offered a third explanation, suggesting that immigration into 
Russia from former Soviet republics and elsewhere had added tens of thousands 
of new voters from December to March. 

Yet another explanation, suggested by others scratching their heads and 
struggling to come up with 1.3 million new adult citizens in such a short 
period, focused on the possibility of mass releases from the nation's prisons 
_ convicted criminals cannot vote in Russia. 

But there are problems with all of these explanations. 

Russia's declining population is a well-documented fact, as the birth rate 
has for years lagged behind the death rate. Last year, the national 
population actually shrank by 836,000 people, according to the State 
Statistics Committee. 

And the pool of registered voters, of course, should be shrinking even more 
rapidly under this dynamic: Each year's deaths overwhelmingly represent lost 
voters _ while not a single new birth represents a new voter. 

State Statistics Committee data for the first three months of 2000 _ which 
covers most of the period between the two national elections _ show the 
nation lost another 235,100 people to the discrepancy between the birth-death 
rate. At the same time, the statistics committee reports a mere 53,000 people 
immigrating from abroad. In other words, between the elections the country 
effectively lost 182,100 people, presumably most of them voters. 

It is still possible, of course, that even as the population shrank, the 
number of voters grew, provided that hundreds of thousands of people turned 
18 between December 1999 and March 2000 _ in other words, provided that there 
was a baby boom about 18 years ago. 

But there wasn't. 

Murray Feshbach, a professor at Georgetown University specializing in Russian 
demography, pronounced himself "very confused by these data" from the CEC 
about 550,000 new 18-year-olds. 

Feshbach, who made his name in demographics debunking falsified Soviet census 
data in the Stalin era, said various data on the Soviet population showed no 
significant spike in births over all of 1981 and 1982 _ which was 18 years 

Yevgeny Andreyev, a demography expert with the Institute of National Economic 
Forecasting, came to the same conclusion as Feshbach after studying much the 
same population data and pondering the CEC's claim of 550,000 new 

"The explanation of a boost in the numbers of 18-year-olds is not 
satisfactory. Perhaps polling stations started to more thoroughly compose 
their [voter] lists _ or perhaps this boom [of 1.3 million people] is just 
made up," Andreyev said. 

Statisticians with the State Statistics Committee were equally flummoxed. 

"[The Central Elections Commission] is taking liberties with the truth when 
they explain such a figure with a boost in the 18-year-old population and 
immigration," said Irina Rakhmaninova, head of the committee's department 
tracking the national population. 

And did Russia's jails release 1.3 million convicts back into the voting 
rolls? No. According to the Justice Ministry's Prison Department, the number 
of prisoners increased _ and the number of voters decreased _ by 38,000 in 
the first three months of 2000. 

The Oldest Joke 

Intriguingly, thousands of new voters seem to have appeared in regions most 
often named as likely sources of falsification. Calculations made using data 
from the CEC web site _ data that was inexplicably removed in August from the 
site, after The Moscow Times had pestered the CEC with questions about it _ 
show 24,910 new voters appearing in Saratov from December to March, 23,509 in 
Dagestan, 18,018 in Tatarstan and 32,002 in Bashkortostan. 

And opposition forces in places like Tatarstan have no doubt that officials 
conjured up "dead souls" to vote for Putin. 

At Kazan's 372nd voting precinct, for example, a complaint written by three 
elections observers and signed by a precinct elections commission member, 
Alexander Vladimirov, alleges that "names of voters were printed twice in the 
registration forms in a very large quantity, while the same names were listed 
by different [passport] numbers." The complaint, provided by Tatarstan's 
Communist Party, quotes Zukhra Anisimova, the head of the precinct elections 
commission, as saying that the double-barreled lists were provided to her by 
the local government. 

Ildus Sultanov, head of RIZ _ an umbrella uniting opposition to the Mintimer 
Shaimiyev's administration, from Russia's Democratic Choice to the Communists 
_ tells similar stories. 

"Our observers were checking registration lists just before the elections, 
and they found a strange phenomenon: In one apartment at 25A Dubravnaya 
Street, electoral precinct No. 326, there were three old people _ all born in 
1901 _ listed as living together with one couple," Sultanov recounted. 

"Our observers went to that apartment to check up on these three people who 
were almost a 100 years old. And what did they find? These three elders were 
actually the small children of that couple. 

"And there were a few other such 'elders' listed in the same apartment block. 
There were several cases like that, and strangely enough all these 'dead 
souls' spread across different electoral districts were listed as having been 
born in 1901." 

Disorderly Behavior 

Ramai Yuldashev, leader of the Azatlyk youth movement in Tatarstan and a 
member of Kazan's 418th polling precinct elections commission, recounted 
catching a colleague red-handed at such fraud _ but when he complained, his 
colleagues had police remove him as a drunk. 

Yuldashev teaches history, law and economics at a Kazan college, and in 
precinct No. 418 all of the elections commission members but him worked as 
employees of the same school. On voting day, the precinct commission chief 
summoned him for tea to discuss his status as an outsider. 

"She told me, 'Look, we are all afraid of you. I have two children and I will 
need you to sign a document saying everything was all right here,'" Yuldashev 
said. "I said that if they worked honestly and without violations I would be 
only happy to sign such a document, declined the food and drink they offered 
and went back to work. 

"But at 7:55 p.m., I saw that one of the commission members was writing 
something on a registration form. I was surprised and started to watch. She 
had some sheet of paper she was peeping at, and she was writing down passport 
details and signatures. I saw her fill in at least eight people's names. 

"I put my hand on the list and demanded to have a look at what she was doing. 
But they would not let me and started to shout at me. I said I want to check 
if the lists were falsified. They told me I had no right to see them. She 
grabbed the lists and managed to hide the sheet with the names." 

Soon the police were there to show him the door, and in mid-April Yuldashev 
was fined 50 rubles for disorderly behavior. 

A Last-Minute Rush 

Also curious is the huge number of people who apparently opted to vote at the 
last minute on elections day. Timur Dzhafarov, a reporter for Interfax in 
Dagestan, recounted in an interview how he came to vote just 30 minutes 
before the end of elections day _ and saw registration forms listing voters 
only half full. 

"Only half of our people voted in these elections," said Dzhafarov. "And I 
just laughed upon hearing the next day that close to a 100 percent of the 
people participated. They must have added people, but I have no facts to 
prove it." 

According to CEC data, 59.23 percent of Dagestan's registered voters had cast 
their ballots by 6 p.m. But two hours later, turnout soared to 83.6 percent. 

"Normally most people come in the morning, then attendance decreases slowly 
and in the end, there is a small rise, but not a vertical skyrocket of 
visitors," said Boris Kagarlitsky, a sociologist who has examined the 
elections data. 

"I think at some of the precinct offices _ if you were to look at the shoe 
sizes of all these people who came at the last moment according to the 
official statistics _ they simply would not all fit. This is a direct sign 
that there were 'ghost voters' or 'dead souls' created by elections 


Moscow Times
September 9, 2000 
How Many Forgeries? 
By Yevgenia Borisova 

Able to obtain only a fraction of the protocols, Alexander Saly's Duma 
commission has resorted to extrapolating from the roughly 88,000 stolen votes 
he has documented to conclude that 700,000 votes were stolen across Dagestan. 
A more conservative guesstimate by The Moscow Times puts the figure at 

How could observers be denied protocol copies? 

In an interview in Dagestan in April, Natalya, a teacher at a local 
agricultural school, recounted her experience trying to monitor a precinct in 
Makhachkala's Kirovsky district. 

"I just wanted elections to be fair," said Natalya, who did not want her last 
name used. She was not a Communist Party member, or a member of any party for 
that matter, but because the Communists are the big name in elections 
monitoring she signed up as a Communist observer. 

"I was warned that in 1996 ballots were stuffed in boxes in big packets _ and 
that during the last elections, in December, they even replaced the whole 
ballot box after the voting was over. I told [the precinct officials]: 'I 
signed my ballot in a special way and I will create a problem for you if I 
don't find it [during the vote count].' But no, they were not scared. I don't 
think they are afraid of us." 

"When they turned the ballot boxes upside down, there were two big packets of 
ballots there on the top [i.e. they had been at the bottom of the box at the 
beginning of the day]. Clearly they had been inserted altogether _ and one 
even had a sheet of paper around it. 

"Each [packet] was this thick," Natalya said, indicating with her fingers an 
imaginary 5-centimeter stack of paper _ or perhaps 200 ballots. 

"I rushed on them, grabbed both packets and saw they were all filled in for 
Putin. I pressed them tightly to my chest. The others were astonished. I 
said, 'Each person must vote separately, these are fake.'" 

But Natalya quickly understood she was alone. She said election observers 
from the Putin camp took the two packets of ballots from her and gave them to 
the precinct commission head. 

"And he just spread them over the pile. They all got mixed together," Natalya 

And that wasn't all. She said that when the ballots cast for each candidate 
had been divided into different piles, the stack of votes for Zyuganov was at 
least 15 centimeters thick. She then watched commission members take about 
half of those ballots away into another room, with no explanation. 

"They simply threw away a big part!" she said. "I am not a Zyuganov 
supporter. Let Putin win, but let him win fairly and not this way." 

"They [territorial commission members] tried to get me drunk on election 
day," said Abdusalam Magomedov, a private businessman and member of 
Makhachkala's Leninsky territorial commission, noted foul play in his 
district. He was also in touch with observers who were stationed at the 23 
polling stations that make up the Leninsky district territorial commission. 
They said the tallies at each of the polling stations were padded. In the 
district of 71,114 registered voters, observers said that 14,000 votes _ or 
nearly 20 percent of the vote _ were forged. 


Source: 'Kommersant', Moscow, in Russian 8 Sep 00

Viktor Zakharov chief of the Moscow directorate of the Russian Federal
Security Service, has said that the authorities now know exactly who was
behind the explosions in Moscow this time last year and that the chain
leads to Wahhabi warlord Khattab. Interviewed by the Russian newspaper
'Kommersant' on 8th September, he also described the explosive used and
said it was a common feature in blasts in Moscow, Volgodonsk, Buynaksk and
Tashkent but that the authorities could see no links between these
explosions and the one last month on Moscow's Pushkinskaya Ploshchad. The
following are excerpts from the interview published on 8th September. 

A year ago, on 8th September, at 2359 hours, a powerful explosion destroyed
a residential building on Ulitsa Guryanova [in Moscow]. Ninety-four people
were killed. Four days later, terrorists killed another 121 people on the
Kashirskoye Shosse. Today practically all the details of the terrorist acts
committed are known. Nonetheless, the persons who ordered them and most of
the perpetrators of the crime are still at large. Viktor Zakharov, the
chief of the Federal Security Service directorate for Moscow and Moscow
Region, told `Kommersant' correspondent Dmitriy Pavlov about the course of
the investigation of the explosions. 

[Pavlov] Who carried out these terrorist acts? 

[Zakharov] We know the entire chain. The notorious Khattab is the head.
There were two demolition instructors under his leadership, the Arabs (?Abu
Umar and Abu Jafar). They train saboteurs and provide them with explosives.
The immediate organizer of the terrorist acts in Moscow was Achimez
Gochiyayev, known in Chechnya by the name of Lisa [The Fox]. He in fact led
the perpetrators of the terrorist acts. All of them are devotees of the
radical Islamic sect Wahhabism. 

[Q] Have any of them been arrested? 

[A] Two of them, Taykan Frantsuzov and Ruslan Magayayev were arrested and
brought to Lefortovo prison. They have been charged with terrorism. By the
way, both of them were detained when they were leaving Chechnya for the
scene of further acts of sabotage. They had 20 kg of plastic explosives, a
detonator, a radio-controlled device, weapons and ammunition. In total,
about 15 people who were involved to some extent in the terrorist acts have
been detained in connection with the explosions in Moscow, Buynaksk and
Volgodonsk. We were forced to release some of them since we only had
operational information on their involvement and the evidence was clearly
not sufficient to bring charges. 

[Q] And where are the rest? 

[A] We have definite information that after the explosions, they all left
for Chechnya. Some of them later died in the fighting. Others are there
still. Work is in hand to detain them. There are complications, of course.
They are in the combat zone, know local conditions well and hide carefully.
But I can assure you that the hunt will continue until they are detained,
handed over to the court and convicted. 

[Q] What specifically was used to bomb Moscow? 

[A] It was a so-called compound explosive substance consisting of ammonium
nitrate and aluminum powder. By the way, similar charges have been used by
the terrorists not only in Moscow but also in Volgodonsk (a sabotage group
consisting of Yusuf Krymshamkhalov, Adam Dekkushev, and Timur Batchayev
operated there) and Buynaksk (the perpetrators have already been arrested).
The scheme was the same in all cases. Identical fuses, delay mechanisms
(Casio watches) and electrical impulse sources (Krona batteries) were used
and the same kind of wire was used to join the elements of the electrical
chains. All this suggests that the saboteurs underwent the very same
training in Khattab's camps near Urus-Martan. 

Nine tonnes of this kind of explosive were confiscated in Moscow overall
and another five tonnes were found in Chechnya. Moreover, remember that
there were explosions in Tashkent. This compound was used there too. When
the perpetrators were arrested, they gave testimony that they had also
undergone training at training centres run by Khattab and Basayev. 

[Q] Do you know how much the saboteurs were paid for the terrorist acts in

[A] According to our information, Gochiyayev received 500,000 dollars from

[Q] A year later can you say why our special services were unprepared for
such large-scale terrorist acts? 

[A] There has never been anything like it, either in Russia or in the USSR.
Even in 1977, when the KGB was a powerful structure, the terrorists who
blew up the metro (the Azatikyan gang) were hunted for almost a year even
though every effort went into finding the criminals. And at that time even
in our worst nightmares we would never have dreamed of the things that we
encountered last year. Especially against the background of the reform of
the entire law-enforcement system, including the FSS. Downsizing, the
exodus of personnel - all this together meant that there could be no
adequate response. 

[Q] Is there now a threat of bombings and what measures are being taken to
prevent them? 

[A] Terrorist acts on that scale will not be repeated again. All the
necessary steps have been taken. Special antiterrorist commissions have
been created with the participation of associates of the Interior Ministry,
the FSS, the prosecutor's office and representatives of the administrations
of Moscow and Moscow Region. There is a constant exchange of information
and testing of alarm signals. All facilities that could be of interest to
the terrorists are checked, including production facilities where dangerous
chemical substances are used, oil storage tanks and so forth. Their
security procedures are being checked... Moreover, virtually all heavy
freight vehicles heading to Moscow are tracked. But it is impossible to
preclude sorties by lone terrorists. It is extremely difficult to track
everything. Here it is important that people themselves be vigilant. Each
person must remember that there is still a threat. 

[Q] What about the recent explosion on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad? 

[A] We do not see any links between this explosion and the ones that were
committed a year ago. The design and components of the explosive device do
not correspond at all to those that the terrorists used in bombing the
buildings. Trotyl components (about 600-700 grams) were used on
Pushkinskaya Ploshchad, not compounds. The expert study found that a
canister filled with flammable liquid was used there. When the explosion
occurred, it ignited, and taking into account that this was an underground
crossing, it caused a fire draft. That was the reason for the large number
of victims. 

[Q] How is the investigation going? 

[A] Three theories are still being examined there. Terrorism, a criminal
division of property, and domestic motives. Composite pictures have been
compiled. There have already been 45 tips that deserve attention. We have
taken around 30 people under operational surveillance. Another 12 have been
detained by the internal affairs bodies and are now under investigation in
connection with the bombing. 

[Q] By the way, an explosion that was very similar to the one that occurred
on Pushkinskaya Square ripped through the shopping centre on Manezhnaya
Ploshchad last year, not long before the residential buildings were bombed. 

[A] Our belief is that this explosion was the result of a criminal division
of property. There is no connection here... 


September 7
Mikhail Gorbachev explains what's rotten in Russia
In a rare interview, the former Soviet leader says glasnost is working, but 
globalization isn't.
By Mark Hertsgaard
About the writer
Mark Hertsgaard is author of "Earth Odyssey" and "On Bended Knee: The Press 
and the Reagan Presidency." He recently wrote about money and the 
presidential race for Salon Politics. 

Editor's note: While the United Nations Millennium Summit meets in New York 
this week, nearby at the State of the World Forum, another group of world 
leaders and activists is meeting to broaden input into the globalization 
process and to ensure greater equity, justice and environmentally sustainable 
economic growth. 

Many of the participants at the U.N. will be making the six block journey 
west to participate at the State of the World Forum. The more than 2,000 
participants include Colombian President Andres Pastrana, 
financier-philanthropist George Soros, Queen Noor of Jordan, anti-WTO 
activist Lori Wallach from Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, Bono from U2 
and high-tech visionary Joseph Firmage. Watch for regular reports from the 
State of the World Forum on Salon. For daily dispatches, check out the World 
Forum ezine. 

Sept. 7, 2000 | NEW YORK -- Mikhail Gorbachev has a new mission: saving the 
world's environment. In an interview at the State of the World Forum in New 
York Tuesday, the former leader of the Soviet Union said, "I think the 
environmental problem will be the number one item on the agenda of the 21st 
century ... This is a problem that cannot be postponed." 

Gorbachev linked the planet's worsening health to globalization and the 
growing gap between rich and poor it has produced. But he emphasized, "We 
cannot just criticize, cannot just blame. We should try to understand what is 
happening and what we need to do." 
The former Soviet leader also spoke at length about Russian President 
Vladimir Putin, rebutting criticisms that Putin is returning Russia to 
authoritarianism and crippling the nation's environmental regulations. After 
the two men met this summer, at Putin's invitation, Gorbachev had praised 
Putin for restoring "order" in Russia. 

In Tuesday's interview with Salon and National Public Radio's "Living on 
Earth," Gorbachev stood by his comment, asserting that Putin is "in favor of 
laws and courts being effective, because in the chaos that existed in Russia 
under Yeltsin ... dishonest people ... appropriated a lot of property." 

Gorbachev added that he had criticized Putin's handling of the Kursk nuclear 
submarine tragedy, and that the public and media outcry against Putin left 
Gorbachev "rubbing his hands" with satisfaction that "glasnost is working 
after all." As for Putin's abolition of Russia's environmental protection 
agency and persecution of environmental dissident Alexandr Nikitin and other 
green activists, Gorbachev said Putin had made a mistake. "I believe that 
decision will be reconsidered," he said. 

Gorbachev was in New York to address the United Nations Millennium Summit and 
to preside over the annual gathering of the State of the World Forum, an 
organization of politicians, activists, scientists and business leaders that 
Gorbachev founded in 1995 to address such global problems as environmental 
sustainability and poverty. He also heads the Green Cross International, a 
global environmental organization that works toward sustainable development. 
Globalization is the theme of this year's forum, and Gorbachev chaired an 
opening session that included financier and philanthropist George Soros and 
AFL-CIO president John Sweeney. 

Except for a few more wrinkles around the eyes, Gorbachev looks little 
changed from the late 1980s, when he astonished the world by dismantling 
Soviet totalitarianism, ending the Cold War and reversing the nuclear arms 
race before being driven from power following a failed military coup in 1991. 
Striding down the corridor of the Hilton to the interview suite, he was 
surrounded by half a dozen aides and security men. Yet it was his aura of 
calm authority that commanded attention. 

Dressed in a gray pin-striped business suit with matching shirt and tie, 
Gorbachev looked healthy and fit, with no apparent aftereffects of the 
devastating loss of his wife and political confidant, Raisa, to cancer last 
winter. His handshake was a firm, thick-fingered grasp that harked back to 
his peasant upbringing. 

In his speech to the World Forum, Gorbachev argued that there is great public 
disappointment at the direction global affairs have taken since the end of 
the Cold War. Wealthy nations and transnational corporations have benefited 
from globalization, he said, but 1 billion people now survive on less than $1 
a day. To reshape globalization, Gorbachev said, the forces of civil society 
should organize regular "people's forums" to work for alternative policies. 

"As always," he concluded, "I am optimistic." 

In the 1980s, you warned about the unprecedented dangers of nuclear weapons 
and took very daring steps to reverse the arms race. Have things gotten 
better or worse in the last 10 years? And do we need equally daring steps 
today to avert environmental degradation? 

I would say that both threats are really extremely dangerous to mankind. 

The environment has been greatly damaged by the nuclear arms race. Models 
made by Russian and American scientists showed that a nuclear war would 
result in a nuclear winter that would be extremely destructive to all life on 
Earth; the knowledge of that was a great stimulus to us, to people of honor 
and morality, to act in that situation. 

Similarly regarding the environment, a great deal has changed in the world 
during the 20th century. Imagine, in the beginning of this century, the 
annual gross product created by all countries was worth $60 billion. Today, 
$60 billion is produced in one day, in 24 hours. Imagine the kind of overload 
that creates on the environment, the kind of heat and waste that is created. 

All of that has damaged the environment already. We see that species are 
disappearing. We see that many areas of the world are no longer fit for human 
living. We see the death of forests, desertification, pollution of the oceans 
with nuclear waste and other kinds of waste. 

My experience with the environment began many years ago when I was a small 
child. I grew up in a family of peasants, and it was there that I saw the way 
that, for example, our wheat fields suffered as a result of dust storms, 
water erosion and wind erosion, I saw the effect of that on life, on human 

When I began to work in Moscow on the Central Committee, I saw a really 
terrible picture of the consequences of what we had done to the environment 
and a certain view of nature took shape for me, which was very important. 
Then I had to go through many other experiences, including Chernobyl. 

In 1992, right after the Earth Summit, more than a hundred scientists from 
throughout the world, including dozens of Nobel Laureates met in Washington 
to discuss the Earth and the Earth Summit. Their verdict was very definite 
and merciless. They said that if the destructive trends continued, then 
within 30 or 40 years -- and now 10 years have already passed -- irreversible 
changes would begin to happen in the biosphere. That's a real threat. 

If current technological processes continue without change, the environment 
will change and we, the human species, will either have to mutate or even 
die, to disappear, as many species have disappeared. 

There are countries where a lot has changed in very practical terms -- in 
environmental legislation, in the behavior of business, in the responsible 
behavior of people. I include here countries like the Netherlands, 
Switzerland, Belgium. I believe that over the past years, a lot has been done 
in the United States, too, even though there's still a lot of pollution here. 

In Russia, which is going through a very difficult transformation, the 
possibility of environmental action is rather limited. Nevertheless, there is 
an environmental movement in Russia. During perestroika, when people had a 
chance to speak out for the first time in a democratic situation, the first 
thing they spoke for, the most massive rallies, were for the environment. It 
was also very important that the government began to respond to the demands 
of the people. During perestroika, we closed down 1,300 factories because of 
the damage that they did to the environment. 

This is a problem that cannot be postponed. I think the environmental problem 
will be the No. 1 item on the agenda of the 21st century. If we just hope 
that we'll make it somehow, that nature will cope with these problems somehow 
through its own resources, and we can just do what we've been doing, we could 
face an even graver situation. 

What, in very concrete, specific terms, can we do as a community of nations 
to solve this problem and the related problem of rich and poor? Is there 
something as imaginative as your unilateral moves on disarmament that could 
be transferred to the environmental field? 

Global institutions must play a role here, particularly the United Nations. 

Number one, we need to implement the Earth Charter, launched by [my 
organization] the Global Green Cross. This document took us six years to 
prepare. It's a very important declaration. Without shaping world public 
opinion, we will not be able to make sure that in every household, in every 
city, in every locality, people really remember to act on the environmental 

So the shaping of a new set of values, a value shift, is extremely important. 
People first need to understand. Then, based on this awareness, they will be 
able to behave in everyday life in accordance with that. Those who think that 
the answer is just changing the laws, that's a mistake. I emphasize 
environmental education. 

I also think that the media needs to write about these issues at all levels, 
from very local, small newspapers, all the way to national newspapers and 
television. I appreciate so much the initiative of Ted Turner, with whom we 
have started working this year on some kind of daily presence of the 
environmental concerns. Every day, there's something about the environment 
and every week a major program on the environment on CNN. 

Also very important, there is a draft convention on the environment that was 
drawn up years before the Earth Charter and submitted to the United Nations. 
But not one nation has decided to sponsor that convention. The ideas that 
inspired us in the Earth Charter are shaped there in the form of 
international law, based on which national legislation could be adopted. Also 
in the international court at The Hague, we could have an environmental 
tribunal that would take charge of implementation of that convention. 

We should also encourage the business community to work on the environment. 
We need to give recognition to environmentally clean products. We need to 
protect water -- a deficit of safe drinking water is now a problem in many 

In Russia, with its vast open spaces, with its tremendous natural wealth, 
rivers and forests, for many years we had the philosophy of unlimited 
resources, everything is so plentiful. Now we understand that everything is 
in short supply. 

Putin recently abolished Russia's state committee for environmental 
protection. His government has apparently been harassing environmental 
activists. The government also wants to change the laws to allow the import 
of nuclear waste. All of this suggests that Putin believes there is no 
serious environmental crisis in Russia today. What is your own view? 

Right now, air pollution in Russia has decreased because almost half of our 
industry has been virtually destroyed. That's the only positive result of 
what's happened in recent years to our economy. I think that more will be 
done for the environment as our economy improves. 

Russia needs help to do away with dangerous hotspots that pose environmental 
danger. Russia needs to clean up the Kola Peninsula where there are old 
nuclear submarines. I had a meeting with Minister of Atomic Energy [Yevgeny] 
Adamov, who is looking forward to working with other countries, including 
Nordic countries, on this. 

About Putin, I think it was indeed a mistake he made. They wanted to reduce 
the bureaucratic organizations, and one mistake they made was incorporating 
the committee on the environment into the Ministry of Natural Resources. One 
might think that there is some logic to that decision. I don't think so. I 
believe that decision will be reconsidered. I believe it will be changed. I 
believe the people -- not just environmentalists -- are concerned about this. 

But this mistake was not made because Putin ignores the environment, or 
doesn't understand that Russia is facing an environmental problem, or wants 
to fight against the environmentalists. No, that would not be a serious thing 
to say. 

You say this situation will be changed. Will it be changed because of the 
national referendum that activists are now organizing to overturn Putin's 

No, I don't think it'll take a referendum. 

You think Putin will do it himself? 

The problem can be solved. The environmentalists have a right to demand a 
referendum, but it's just a form of pressure on the government that needs to 
be applied. On this issue, I am on the side of the environmentalists. 

What about the case of Alexandr Nikitin, the environmentalist who blew the 
whistle on the Russian navy's dumping of radioactive submarine reactors on 
the Kola Peninsula? The Putin government, as I'm sure you well know, is 
seeking permission from the Russian Supreme Court to re-prosecute Nikitin 
next week, on the absurd grounds that they violated his civil rights the 
first time they tried to convict him. This seems to send a message that 
environmental activism is not welcome in Russia. 

I know this matter only in terms of the basics. I believe that some of the 
Russian institutions are going overboard on this issue and we must help them 
to put an end to this prosecution. Perhaps some government secrets were 
affected, but we are dealing here with a storage base for old submarines. I 
don't think that's a secret; all of us know it exists. I'm not really 
familiar with the details, but it seems to me that someone is aggravating 
that matter. 

Some observers have looked at the apparent harassment of Nikitin, and the 
fact that Putin used to run the Federal Security Police (Russia's recast 
KGB), and concluded that democracy is very much under threat in Russia -- not 
just in the environmental area, but in general. The Western press reported 
that you met with Putin and afterwards praised him for restoring order to 
Russia. Is that true? And is there any contradiction between that and his 
apparent harassment of Nikitin and other environmentalists? 

I don't see any contradiction. If there is a contradiction, well, life is 
sometimes contradictory. 

When I met with Putin, I put a number of very direct questions to him. I 
asked him, 'Do you know that in our society and also in the media a lot of 
concerns are being expressed that you are trying to create a new 
authoritarian regime, that Putin will be a new [Yuri] Andropov, that Putin 
like Andropov wants to rule with a strong hand?' He rejected these concerns. 
He said he was very much against returning to the past, returning to the 
Communist system. He wants liberal reforms to take place in the country. 

As regards his position on law and order, he said, 'I am in favor of a legal 
order. I'm in favor of laws and courts being effective, because in the kind 
of chaos that existed in Russia under Yeltsin, we had a situation of total 
disorder and arbitrary rule, and that was used by certain people, dishonest 
people.' So, when Putin speaks about order, he means we should combat that 
kind of lawlessness and crime and those people who appropriated a lot of 
property -- they too need to be dealt with. The Russian people support that. 

The press often criticizes Putin, but people support action against organized 
crime, against corruption, against bribery. Unless Russia addresses this, 
Russia cannot succeed. What Yeltsin did resulted in a merger of corrupt 
elements of society with the government and business. Many people in 
government were promoted by Mafia-like structures. That is why I do support 
steps that are being taken, and I support Putin's position on this. 

At the same time, I criticized Putin on a number of occasions. I criticized 
his behavior during the nuclear submarine situation. It was a mistake for him 
to act so late. It's interesting that the Russian society reacted so acutely 
to this -- not just the media, but public opinion, too, reacted to that kind 
of behavior. 

And the president found it very difficult. We saw how Putin aged 10 years in 
just a few days. It was a difficult time for him. He's responsive, he's 
sensitive, he wants to look positive to people. And when he looked so stupid 
at a certain point -- he probably had been misinformed, I must say -- he made 
some accusations against the press, this is true. But this is because the 
press went overboard a little bit in criticizing the president. I believe 
there should be some limit to this. 

The entire situation showed our people have a voice and a character, that 
they will not yield their rights and freedoms. And the media, too. Even 
though it was sometimes overly emotional, generally I would say that the 
press acted properly, the press forced the authorities to give information in 
the end. [It left me] rubbing my hands, I was saying, "Glasnost is working, 
it is working after all." Generally, I would say that Putin is committed to 
democracy, that he would like to help create real democratic political 
parties during his time as president. That would be a great success. I think 
Putin takes a very open-minded stand towards the West. He wants a 
constructive relation with the West. 

He will be submitting to the state Duma a number of draft laws on the 
protection of investors and private property, on support for 
entrepreneurship. But all of us, both you here and those of us in Russia, 
should bear in mind that we cannot immediately apply all the Western criteria 
of democracy to Russia. Russia needs to go a long way to reach normal 


Return to CDI's Home Page  I  Return to CDI's Library