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Johnson's Russia List


September 15, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4514  4515   4516

Johnson's Russia List
15 September 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. The Independent (UK): Patrick Cockburn, 'Kursk' sunk by cruiser's 
missile in training accident, inquiry reveals.

2. Moscow Times: Simon Saradzhyan, After One Year, Blast Probe Still 
Drags On.

3. Obshchaya Gazeta: Suspicion Lingers Over Official Line on 
Russian Apartment Bombings, Special Services Connection Not Ruled Out. 

4. T. S. White: Re: 4510-Engel/SexualTrafficking.
6. Jerry F. Hough: Re: 4510-Latynina/Kasyanov.
7. Reuters: Russia's new media doctrine sparks freedom fears.
8. Western Media Will Be Shown Their Proper Place in Russia.
9. Segodnya: RUSSIAN SYSTEM OF POWER OBSOLETE. How will Putin "cure" 

10. Trud: DEMOGRAPHIC HOLE. Russia has reached the edge of extinction, 
says Professor Dr. Vasily ZHUKOV (History), Rector of the Moscow State 
Social University.

11. Reuters: In Russia, it is still buyer beware.]


The Independent (UK)
15 September 2000
'Kursk' sunk by cruiser's missile in training accident, inquiry reveals 
By Patrick Cockburn in Moscow 

A misdirected missile from a Russian cruiser caused the disaster of the Kursk 
nuclear powered submarine during a training exercise, says a member of a 
Russian parliamentary team investigating the disaster. 

Sergei Zhikov, a deputy and a former submariner, said yesterday that the 
Kursk and the Peter the Great, a Russian cruiser, were on an exercise in the 
Barents Sea in which "the cruiser acted as an enemy aircraft carrier and the 
submarine was expected to attack it". He said the Peter the Great fired five 
anti-submarine missiles at the Kursk but only four could be found afterwards. 

"It looks like the submarine was hit by the missing [anti-submarine] 
missile," Mr Zhikov told the Interfax newsagency.The Kursk then tried to rise 
to the surface in an emergency but had hit the bottom of the Peter the Great. 

The cause of the sinking of the Kursk and the death of its 118 crew is an 
episode that President Vladimir Putin wants to put behind him. The Kremlin 
now says that nobody survived the initial explosion and that tapping sounds 
from inside the hull, which the Russian navy said showed that some sailors 
were alive 48 hours after the disaster, were made by automatic machinery. The 
claim by Mr Zhikov is similar to a report in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper 
last week, which said that an investigation by the Russian Federal Security 
Service had concluded that the Kursk had been sunk by a Granit missile fired 
by the Peter the Great. It said that the Granit had travelled 12 miles 
underwater before exploding close to the Kursk. 

Russian officers have hotly denied that the Kursk could have been sunk by one 
of their own ships, but have been unable to explain exactly what happened. 
The Pentagon said that there were two explosions in the vicinity of the Kursk 
at 7.28am and 7.30am on 12 August. 

The second was 45 to 50 times bigger than the first, suggesting that one or 
more of the Kursk's own torpedoes had exploded. That appears to be confirmed 
by the extent of the damage to the forward part of the submarine, but the 
cause of the first explosion is still unknown. 

A problem for the Russian authorities is that they have now changed their 
story so often that what they say carries little credibility. Mr Putin 
revealed to a meeting of American media personalities in New York last week 
that survivors had never tapped on the hull of the submarine as claimed at 
the time of the disaster by senior Russian naval officers. The sounds were 
from "a mechanical device on board", he said. 

Mr Putin's claim is in keeping with the present Kremlin line that all on 
board the Kursk were killed immediately, which meant no crew member died 
because of the incompetence of the Russian rescue effort or the failure to 
call for foreign help quickly enough. 

He was also noticeably more forthcoming to the American media gathered in the 
21 Club in New York than he was to the relatives of the dead sailors. 


Moscow Times
September 15, 2000 
After One Year, Blast Probe Still Drags On 
By Simon Saradzhyan
Staff Writer

Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series looking back on the 
apartment building blasts one year ago. 

One year after a wave of deadly apartment building explosions rocked Moscow 
and two other cities, killing over 300 people, federal law enforcement 
officials have charged only a handful of the suspected culprits, despite 
dozens of arrests in the cases. 

Investigators from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the Interior 
Ministry f who say they have identified over 50 suspects in the four blasts 
and have prevented numerous terrorist attacks in the making f continue to 
adhere to the original explanation for the attacks touted by officials and 
widely publicized last fall: The trail leads to Chechnya. 

The head of the FSB's anti-terrorism department, Vladimir Kozlov, told a 
press conference on Sept. 7 that all of the terrorists had been trained in 
Chechnya and most of them are members of a radical Islamic sect. 

Nonetheless, the official "Chechen version" has been repeatedly questioned in 
the press. Some journalists have gone so far as to speculate that federal 
agents took part in organizing some of the explosions. 

Regardless of who was responsible for the blasts, most observers agree that 
the Chechen version played an integral role in securing overwhelming public 
support for President Vladimir Putin's military crackdown in Chechnya and 
laid the groundwork for his meteoric ascent to the presidency and his 
popularity in the post. 

The FSB and other law enforcement agencies say they have arrested 33 
suspects, but only six of those who have remained in custody will be charged 
with terrorism in connection with the blast in the southern city of Buinaksk. 

Investigators have detained two men suspected of involvement in the Moscow 
attacks, Taukan Frantsuzov and Ruslan Magayayev. But the other suspects f 
identified by the FSB as Achemez Gochiyayev and several accomplices f are 
still on the run, according to investigators. The two blasts, the first on 
Ulitsa Guryanova and another less than five days later on Kashirskoye Shosse, 
claimed the lives of 92 and 130 sleeping Muscovites, respectively. 

Neither have law enforcers managed to apprehend Yusuf Krymshamkhalov, Timur 
Batchayev and Adam Dekkushev, who they allege were behind the powerful blast 
that killed 17 in the southern city of Volgodonsk on Sept. 16, three days 
after the second Moscow blast. Krymshamkhalov is also suspected by the FSB of 
having helped Gochiyayev and Denis Saitakov in organizing the two blasts in 

Many of those who have been arrested were subsequently released for lack of 

Among them was Timur Dakhkilgov, an ethnic Ingush, who was seized hours after 
the second apartment blast in Moscow and spent weeks in jail, repeatedly 
beaten and harassed by police. According to Dakhkilgov, his only crime was 
that he is a native of Grozny and that his palms were found to have traces of 
hexane, a chemical widely used in dying fabric and similar to hexogen, the 
explosive believed to have been used in most of the blasts. Dakhkilgov worked 
at a textile factory. 

Many rights organizations have said that, apart from the official arrests, 
police have been routinely and indiscriminately arresting and harassing 
Chechens and other natives of the Caucasus. These organizations have 
collected broad anecdotal evidence of such abuses. 

The FSB said that, while detectives grilled the innocent Dakhkilgov, more 
than a dozen suspects managed to flee to Chechnya, including Gochiyayev, who 
was allegedly paid $500,000 for arranging and executing the Moscow blast by 
warlord Khattab. 

Most of the suspected culprits remain in the restive province, according to 
the FSB. Six of the suspects, including Batchayev, have been killed in 
fighting with federal forces in Chechnya, the FSB said. 

Investigators say the most progress has been made in the Buinaksk attack, the 
first of the four blasts, which killed 62 when a powerful bomb went off in 
front of a 50-apartment residential building on Sept. 4, 1999. 

Isa Zainudinov, whom prosecutors in the republic of Dagestan believe to have 
masterminded this blast as well as a second, abortive bomb attack in 
Buinaksk, and five of his accomplices are to go on trial within the next few 
months, according to the office's spokeswoman, Zulfia Gasanaliyeva. Six more 
suspects in the Buinaksk explosion, including Khattab, remain at large. 

Over the last several years, investigators have come under fire for their 
failure to solve the high-profile crimes that have come to characterize 
Russia in the public imagination. 

But an FSB official reached by phone Wednesday defended his agency's record 
in investigating the blasts and averting more attacks by "Chechen-trained 

"These cases have been solved. þ There is only one thing left f to catch the 
perpetrators," said the official, who asked not to be named. 

FSB officials have explained the methods used by the terrorists in the 
following way. 

Having undergone training, they were dispatched to neighboring North 
Caucasian republics, such as Karachayevo-Cherkessia, with tons of explosives. 
There they rented trucks and smuggled the explosives to Moscow, Volgodonsk 
and Buinaksk, usually camouflaged as sugar, potatoes or some other produce. 

Not all of these bombs went off, however. And in addition to the averted 
second bomb in Buinaksk, police and FSB agents pride themselves on preventing 
several other attacks. 

Some nine tons of explosives, which officials say were stored by Gochiyayev 
and his team, were found as Moscow police combed the city's cellars and 
storage facilities after the September blasts. Five more blasts were averted 
in Pyatigorsk and another in Vladikavkaz, according to the FSB. 

Most of the bombs were made of a mixture of potassium nitrate and aluminum 
powder with Casio watches used as timers, according to Kozlov. 

FSB detectives say they also found 500 kilograms of this mixture near the 
Chechen city of Urus-Martan last December, citing this as proof that those 
responsible for the attacks were not only trained in Khattab's camps in 
Chechnya, but also obtained explosives there. 

Despite the evidence collected by investigators, some newspapers have 
repeatedly questioned the FSB's findings. Moreover, the biweekly Novaya 
Gazeta claimed that agents of the secret services could have been involved in 
arranging the blasts. 

Such suspicions were fueled by the lightning speed with which the remnants of 
the Ulitsa Guryanova building were hauled away just three days after the 
explosion, in what some saw as an attempt to cover up traces of foul play. 

But the strongest tide of speculations came when a vigilant resident in 
Ryazan spotted two men unloading sacks into the basement of his apartment 
building on Sept. 23 and contacted police. 

Upon inspection, local residents found that the sacks were wired to a 
detonator and a watch, and an initial test exposed vapors of hexogen. 

However, attempts to detonate the substance in the sacks at a testing range 
failed and FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev said soon afterward that the sacks had 
contained sugar and were planted as a dummy bomb to test the vigilance of 
local law enforcers and residents. 

This statement caused an uproar in the press, with Novaya Gazeta running a 
series of articles on the Ryazan incident, claiming the bomb was real and 
could have been planted by the FSB. 

The suspicions gradually subsided, but reappeared in March when Novaya Gazeta 
alleged that sacks of hexogen were found at a military unit in the Ryazan 
area last fall. However, the paper failed to substantiate its claims and 
prompt an investigation. 

Despite a lack of undisputable evidence, the exposÎs "feed doubts" among the 
Russian public, said Alexander Pikayev of the Moscow Carnegie Center. 

But the impact on public opinion seems to have been minimal. 

Only 9 percent of some 1,500 people surveyed by the Public Opinion Fund on 
Saturday believe that the secret services organized the blasts, while another 
23 percent could not decide who was behind the attacks. These opinions are 
outweighed by far by the 65 percent of those questioned who blame the blasts 
on Chechen rebels. 

Where most of the respondents agree is that the culprits are unlikely to be 
punished: 70 percent said those guilty of the blasts will never be found, 
while only 19 percent thought law enforcement officials would find the 


Suspicion Lingers Over Official Line on Russian Apartment Bombings, 
Special Services Connection Not Ruled Out. 

Obshchaya Gazeta
9 September 2000
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Igor Korolkov:"A Country of Delayed Action" 

An explosive wave of cynicism has swept away the 
official version of last year's terrorist acts. 

In the first half of September last year explosions rang out in the 
Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk. Four multi-storey 
apartment blocks were destroyed, 305 people died and more than 500 were 
injured. A year has passed. As we were informed in the Directorate for 
Assistance Programs of the FSB [Federal Security Service] of the RF 
[Russian Federation], law enforcement agencies have managed to establish 
the identity of virtually all those suspected of carrying out the 
terrorist acts. In Buynaksk these are the father and son of the 
Zaynutdinov family, Makhach Abdusamedov, Abdulkadyr Abdulkadyrov and 
Magomed Magomedov. They have been arrested, the investigation 
completed and 23 volumes of criminal proceedings passed to the Dagestan 
Supreme Court. 

The Salikhov, Ziyavudinov, Omarov and Khattab brothers are also wanted 
for their part in the bombing. 

It has been established that the Moscow explosions were organized by 
Achemez Gochiyayev, Denis Saytakov, Yusuf Krymshamkhalov and Khakim 
Abayev. The last two have been arrested, while the others are lying 
low in Chechnya, presumably hiding in detachments of fighters. 
Krymshamkhalov also participated in the bombing of a house in Volgodonsk, 
together with Adam Dekkushev and Timur Batchayev. The FSB reports that 
in the course of the investigation, the plan for the preparation and 
execution of the crime has been recreated in full, and the necessary 
evidence, operational data and material proof has been gathered. Those 
suspected of the terrorist act are now under official investigation.. 
In the opinion of the investigators, virtually all of the terrorists are 
adherents of a radical branch of Islam known as Wahhabism. Many of 
them have undergone training in Chechnya in the "Kavkaz" center organized 
by the Jordanian Khattab. The fact that the same explosives were used in 
the execution of the terrorist acts indicates that the deadly broth was 
prepared from one and the same recipe. Material seized by Federal 
troops in the village of Urus-Martan, the site of a training school for 
saboteurs, also points to the same scenario, for the pyrotechnic mixture 
found stored here was identical to that which the terrorists were 
intending to use to blow up apartment blocks in Buynaksk, Pyatigorsk and 
Moscow. Luckily, they (the federal troops) succeeded in rendering the 
bandits harmless. 

An open-and-shut case, or so it would seem. All that remained to be 
done was to smash the detachments of fighters and seize the terrorists 
who are hiding from retribution, and yet distrust of the official version 
still lingers. 

Even today, no one knows with any certainty what really happened last 
fall in Ryazan: were exercises being carried out, as FSB director 
Patrushev stated, or did terrorists really deliver bags of cyclonite to 
the basement? Or was this an unsuccessful trap set by the special 
services which was discovered in time by the occupants of a building 
prepared for detonation? 

The Ryazan story offers more than serious grounds for setting up a 
competent state commission to either dispel or confirm these monstrous 
suspicions once and for all. However, the authorities do not wish to 
clarify the situation, and this means that the version claiming Russian 
special services involvement in the explosions will circulate for a long 
time to come. 

At the same time, it is inappropriate to speak of morality where the 
special services are concerned: examples abound which bear witness to 
the high level of cynicism displayed by the henchmen of those in power. 

The case of Radio Liberty correspondent Andrey Babitskiy offers a 
revealing example. The special services employed their own specific 
methods to discredit and neutralize the journalist. He was supposedly 
"handed over" to fighters about whose existence the fighters themselves 
had not the slightest idea. Criminal proceedings were instigated on 
the basis of a false passport discovered on the journalist's person. 

One of the Moscow papers published sensational details to the effect that 
this passport had been prepared in the MVD of the RF. In any normal 
state, a report of this kind would be followed by an immediate 
investigation, and those found guilty of fabricating the criminal case 
would have been prosecuted. In Russia, however, no scandal ensued, and 
the false passport serves as the main piece of evidence in the Babitskiy 
All of this is still to be confirmed: the special services, so it 
was said, could not have had any connection to the explosions, simply 
because this would have been too cynical. This explanation represents 
a weighty argument in a country where the special services are at the 
service of society, but not in Russia; not one single institution of 
state power is subject to effective control here, and this is especially 
true where such secret departments as the FSB and GRU [Main Intelligence 
Directorate] are concerned. Material proof, and not evidence of good 
intentions, will be required if society is to be convinced that the 
special services have no connection to the terrorist acts. 


Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 
From: "T. S. White" <> 
Re: 4510-Engel/SexualTrafficking 

I would like to commend Ms. Engel for her work on sexual 
trafficking in Russia. This subject does not get enough exposure 
and only exposure will embarrass the world powers enough to help 
curtail the activity. 

In her article Ms. Engel state that the recruiting of the women 
for foreign prostitution is done through legal businesses. Also, 
she observes that any "crime" that occurs begins in a foreign 
country. Yet she seems convinced that the root of the problem is 
the lack of judicial effort on the part of Russia.

I think the root of the problem is that there are safe harbors for 
the criminal prostitution rings to operate in. Ms. Engel does 
speak to the lack of legal recourse these women are exposed to in 
Amsterdam, Paris, Helsinki, Rome, New York, and Tel Aviv. While 
Russia may lack laws pertaining to trafficking in humans, 
certainly there are international and national laws that make 
slavery a crime. Certainly in the United States, if not all the 
other countries involved, illegal aliens have as much right to 
protection under the law as citizens. When the governments of the 
United States and foreign countries enforce those laws the problem 
of trafficking in women will be properly addressed.


Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 
From: Patrick Armstrong

I am not a demographer so I would welcome comments from those who are. 
But here are some calculations to show that there could have been quite 
a few new voters added to the rolls quite legitimately. But I don't see 
how you can get to 1.3 million.

According to data from the US Census Bureau 
( the second-largest age 
cohort in Russia in 2000 are the 15-19 year olds. There are 12 million 
of them. How many would have turned 18 in the 98-day period between the 
elections? If we assume an even distribution through the age group (an 
estimate almost certainly wrong in detail) we would have 2.4 million 
turning 18 in a year or 644,000 in the period. If we add to that the 
500,000 or so voters in Chechnya added to the list, we have a potential 
of something like 1,144,000 new voters to add to the electoral rolls.

>From that we have to deduct those who died in the period and add net 
migration. GosKomStat told us that in the first six months of 2000, 
1,170,100 immigrated; 1,069,400 emigrated (net gain 100,700) and 
1,146,200 died. So the net change in 98 days is a loss of 561,000 
(assuming the numbers are evenly distributed). How many of the 
immigrants and dead were voters? I don’t know but if we assume 
two-thirds were, there is a net loss of 374,000 and a gain of 1,144,000 
for a net increase in voters in the 98-day period of 770,000. If we 
assume half of them were voters, the net increase would be 863,000.

This is a very rough eyeball guesstimate with several gross assumptions 
(even distribution, migration treated as a single event etc). But as a 
back of the envelope calculation it is far superior to the one that we 
are already hearing ­ namely that as the Russian population declined 
425,000 in the first half of 2000, how can there be any new voters at 

The conclusion is that some ­ quite a few ­ of the so-called “dead 
souls” can be explained by demography. But, it seems, certainly not all. 
As to Veshnyakov’s other explanation that more of the number is 
accounted for by the “otkrepitelniy talony”, as I understand how they 
work from my observer days, I don’t see how they could produce more 
names on the voters’ list.

As to “caterpillar voting” or “chain voting” as we call it in Canada, I 
was aware of it when I was an elections observer. The signs are a lot of 
people hanging around near the polling station and people in the polling 
station not marking their ballot (they deposit the already marked one 
and bring a blank one back to keep the chain going). I didn’t see any 
but it’s a tough thing to catch and, therefore, very commonly practised 

By the way, the 10-14 year cohort is nearly as large (11.9 million) so 
we will see quite large numbers of new voters coming on line in the next 
few elections also.


Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <>
Re: 4510-Latynina/Kasyanov

I hope that people will explore the Latynina theme about what the 
government is doing about "shared production." On the surface, it 
sounds like the old inter-enterprise loans and barter in which Gosplan 
(that is Gref's ministry) distributes concrete production (especially 
oil, gas, and electricity) in lieu of payment of taxes. That is, it 
is the old non-transparent subsidy system in place since Yeltsin's 
January 1991 "correctives" to Gaidar's program. That is, what is 
important is what government does with the production it receives. But, 
of course, if they did something like this with new production and the 
tariffs meant something and in the manufacturing realm, it might go 
toward an industrial policy. The Ministry of the Economy has been a 
Soviet-style Gosplan distributing hard goods in a non-market 
manner, and it would move toward a Japanense MITI. We can only hope, 
but it sounds bad.

But there is no reason to focus on Gref becoming prime minister. 
The shared production is the natural job of his ministry.


ANALYSIS-Russia's new media doctrine sparks freedom fears
By Gareth Jones

MOSCOW, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Russia's new information security doctrine is 
vaguely worded and open to diverse interpretation, but commentators say its 
message is clear enough -- the Kremlin is tightening the screws on the mass 

The doctrine, drawn up by Russia's increasingly influential Security Council 
and signed last weekend by President Vladimir Putin, does not have legal 
force, but it lays out guidelines for relations between the Russian state and 
its mass media. 

One of the authors of the doctrine, Anatoly Streltsov, has said it might 
require changes to a liberal media law dating back to the heyday of glasnost 
under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. 

Political analyst Yevgeny Volk of the Heritage Foundation said the new 
document underscored a move towards more authoritarian rule under Putin, 
adding that it could never have seen the light of day under his liberal 
predecessor Boris Yeltsin. 

``The general intent is quite clear -- the authorities are trying to increase 
their control over all aspects of the mass media, including the Internet,'' 
he told Reuters. 

He said the doctrine's stress on building up state media and countering 
perceived threats to ``national interests'' from foreign news organisations 
highlighted the growing role of the security services under Putin, a former 
KGB agent. 

``The special security forces have never liked the media or the policy of 
openness...It is quite a change after Yeltsin who for all his faults was a 
politician, not a bureaucrat, and who understood the value of the press,'' 
said Volk. 

The Russian Union of Journalists' general secretary, Igor Yakovenko, sounded 
an equally pessimistic note. 

``This document is itself a real danger to the country's information security 
in that it is written in a spirit at odds with the principles of freedom of 
expression...enshrined in Russian law,'' Interfax news agency quoted him as 

He attacked the call for expanding state-owned mass media. ``Only Russia, 
Cuba and a few formerly socialist countries have state-owned newspapers,'' he 


Putin himself, who has been in the public arena for barely a year, has 
repeatedly pledged to uphold democratic freedoms but has also declared war on 
powerful media barons who he accuses of manipulating news for their own 
commercial ends. 

More recently, he has been stung by media coverage of the Kursk disaster, 
when he was widely criticised for reacting slowly and inadequately to the 
sinking of the submarine with the loss of all 118 men on board. 

In an emotional outburst during a meeting with relatives of the dead men, 
Putin even blamed television for the parlous state of Russia's cash-starved 
armed forces. 

However the 46-page information security doctrine contains frequent 
references to the importance of media freedom and of public access to 

It also talks vaguely of supporting Russia's ``spiritual renewal...and 
traditions of patriotism and humanism.'' 

More controversially, it calls for a ``clearer definition of the status of 
foreign information agencies, mass media and journalists,'' sparking fears in 
some quarters that the state might try to curb the activities of 
international media. 

``It is just too early to say what this doctrine will mean,'' said Alexander 
Pikayev of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank. 

``To a large extent, it reflects the wider political struggle between those 
pushing for more state control of the media and those opposed to such an 


Sergei Markov of the Institute for Political Studies played down any direct 
link between the doctrine and feuds between the Kremlin and media magnates 
like Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky. 

``This doctrine has been three years in the making...though we cannot ignore 
the timing of its publication,'' he said. 

Gusinsky, owner of the Media-Most holding which includes Russia's only 
independent television network NTV, was briefly jailed this summer on 
embezzlement charges in what he described as an attempt by the Kremlin to 
intimidate his media outlets. 

After his release, Gusinsky left Russia and has yet to return home, where he 
fears for his safety. 

Berezovsky, a one time Kremlin insider turned fierce critic of Putin, says 
the authorities are forcing him to give up his 49 percent stake in ORT public 
television. He has proposed turning over his stake to a group of journalists 
and entertainers. 

Television is by far the most crucial source of information in Russia, a vast 
country straddling 11 time zones in which no newspapers enjoy nationwide 
circulation. Yeltsin owed his election victory in 1996 over the Communists to 
strong support from Berezovsky's ORT and Gusinsky's NTV. 


September 13, 2000
Western Media Will Be Shown Their Proper Place in Russia 

The Doctrine of Information Security of the Russian Federation, approved by
President Vladimir Putin, envisages "defining more exactly" the status of
foreign news agencies, mass media and journalists, as well as that of
investors in cases when foreign investments are called for in developing
the information infrastructure of Russia. As Anatoly Streltsov, Deputy Head
of the Department for Information Security of the Staff of the Russian
Federation Security Council, told journalists, it is a question, in
particular, of creating equal conditions for foreign and Russian mass media
on the territory of the country. Answering questions from reporters, Mr.
Streltsov also expressed the opinion that "the Law on the Media must change." 

Comment: Mr. Streltsov is one of the chief ideologists of the Doctrine of
Information Security of Russia. He took an active part in developing the
Concept of the same name. Within the Department headed by him, there exists
a very clear understanding that, in present-day conditions, a country
lacking national, truly independent, media swiftly loses its independence
and becomes an information satellite of third countries. Therefore the
Russian nationwide media must enjoy equal rights with Western corporations,
the latter being greatly superior to the Russian resources in terms of
their organizational and financial capabilities. It is no secret that
Russian media controlled by foreign capital as often as not take part in
propaganda campaigns that infringe upon the interests of the Russian State.
Therefore "defining more exactly" the status of foreigners on the Russian
media market will inevitably entail certain restrictions and toughening of
control over them, as well as a certain kind of protectionism for the
Russian media.

September 13, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
How will Putin "cure" it?

The departing century was hardly unequivocal for Russia, 
or rather for its system of power. There were major 
achievements, such as the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 
1941-45, and the short-lived attainment of the status of a 
superpower in the 1970s, judging by the GDP. But there were 
also major losses, in particular the collapse of autocracy in 
1917 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 1991, which 
marked the disintegration of two historical structures of 
Russian power. What will happen next? This was the main subject 
of the interview granted to Alexander CHUDODEYEV by Yuri 
PIVOVAROV, Director of the Institute of Research Information 
for Social Sciences, and Andrei FURSOV, Director of the 
Institute of Russian History. 

Question: What are the main results of the 20th century 
for Russia?
Fursov: On the one hand, it was a century of triumph for 
Russia, because it reached the highest stage of might during 
the communist rule. On the other hand, it is ending just as it 
began - with a catastrophe. It is very sad that two absolutely 
different forms of development failed alike. And it became 
clear after the default in August 1998 that the third, 
"anti-Communist," variant did not work in Russia, too. All 
these three variants of development ensured certain 
achievements to Russia in the short term, but were a complete 
failure in the longer term. 

Pivovarov: The current situation is similar, to a degree, 
to the situation a hundred years ago. Quite a few pessimistic 
forecasts were made then, too. At the same time, the departing 
1990s can be easily compared to the pre-revolutionary period. 
For example, the first Russian constitution was approved six 
years after the beginning of the century, and the recent 
constitution was enforced six years before its end. And these 
constitutions are very much alike. The circle is complete from 
this viewpoint.
As for Russia's triumphs in this century, it really became the 
world's second most powerful country, and this is an objective 
conclusion that is not designed to play into the hands of 

Question: But a famous Western politician once described 
our country as "Upper Volta with missiles."
Fursov: This is not true. The level of education and 
technical progress attained by the Soviet Union at that time 
was much higher than in Upper Volta.

Pivovarov: And the catastrophes and falls of Russia in 
this century cannot be reduced only to the fall of this or that 
socio-political regime. In fact, we have been destroying 
ourselves all through this century. We were destroying our 
elite, without which no state can live normally. When President 
Putin said in connection with the Ostankino fire that the 
catastrophe was indicative of the general situation in the 
country, he actually meant that it is indicative of the genuine 
situation in the country now and in the past. 

Question: Does this mean that the reforms invariably led 
to tragedies for Russia, while counter-reforms ensured its 
Fursov: The notions of "reforms" and "counter-reforms" 
presuppose a certain point of departure. From the viewpoint of 
Russian power, there is no difference between a reform and a 
counter-reform, or even between a reform and a revolution.
Because all reforms of Peter the Great were both a reform and a 
revolution carried out by the authorities. Everything depends 
on what we regard as the system-forming element of the given 
system of power. And the system-forming element of "the Russian 
system" is power. 

Pivovarov: The main task of the Russian power has always 
been the preservation and strengthening of power. Today it is 
more profitable to be a reformer, but the situation may change 
tomorrow. Take the life of Alexander II, Emperor-Liberator. Why 
did he abolish serfdom? Largely because we lost the Crimean War 
and needed a new army and economic development, which was 
impossible without the abolition of serfdom. The same happened 
in Soviet times, meaning Khrushchev's thaw and Gorbachev's 
perestroika. The power does only what it wants to do. A thaw 
today, a freeze tomorrow. 

Question: Why did the communist regime collapse? You said 
about its major achievements and even triumphs. 
Pivovarov: The communists failed to resolve two problems 
of key significance for any society: the translation of power 
and property. The under-the-carpet struggle for the "throne" 
began each time a secretary general died (or was toppled, as in 
the case of Khrushchev). There was no transition of power from 
one person to another. 

Question: In this case, the latest transfer of power from 
Yeltsin to Putin was a step in the right direction?
Pivovarov: Formally, Yeltsin did not exceed the limits of 
the constitution. Although there was a strong monarchic taste 
in the "appointment" of Putin. It was done in accordance with 
the Russian tradition. And completely right are those political 
scientists who describe our institute of presidency as "elected 
monarchy." But a legitimate, elected, monarchy. This is the 
major step forward. 

Question: What should Vladimir Putin do in this situation?
What system of power should he choose if Russia has tried them 
all in the 20th century and they all failed?
Pivovarov: There is very little room for Putin's manoeuvre.
And not enough resources (of any kind). So far, his actions are 
understandable and apparent. I mean the reform of the 
Federation Council, the creation of the Council of State and 
seven federal districts. The diagnosis is correct: Russia needs 
an effectively operating power machine. But the treatment was 
not chosen correctly, I think. Moreover, this treatment might 
even provoke a deterioration of the patient's condition. 


September 2, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
Russia has reached the edge of extinction, says Professor 
Dr. Vasily ZHUKOV (History), Rector of the Moscow State Social 

Russia's population diminished by 425,400 people in the 
first six months of 2000, or enough to populate a whole 
regional centre. President Vladimir Putin said in his address 
to the Federal Assembly: "The number of Russian citizens is 
dwindling with each passing year." 
To prove his point, he provided the following alarming 
figures: "To believe forecasts based on the work of those who 
devoted their life to them, the Russian population can diminish 
by 22 million in the next 15 years. Just think about this 
figure, which equals one-seventh of the country's population." 
How deep is the demographic crisis? Is it fraught with the 
extinction of the nation? These and other questions are 
discussed with Vasily ZHUKOV interviewed by Rustem URMANTSEV. 

Zhukov: The demographic situation in Russia is truly 
alarming. The president was right to term it as one of the most 
acute problems facing Russia today. It is the first time in the 
history of the state that the death rate is higher than the 
birth rate in peacetime. The trend began in 1992. It means that 
we have stopped on the road of depopulation, which in common 
language means the extinction of the nation. 
Just look at the figures. The country "lost" 700,000 of 
its citizens in 1992, another 800,000 in 1993, and 960,000 in 
The population diminished by another 1 million every year after 
that. Mind you, this is taking place in peacetime! There are 
145 million people in Russia now, but the figure will go down 
to no more than 137 million by the year 2010 - unless the state 
amends its demographic policy. 

Question: What are the reasons for this tragic development?
Answer: Let's begin with factors that characterise the 
demographic situation as such. They are the death and the birth 
rates, the number of weddings and divorces, migration, life 
expectancy, and so on. Well, all of them are negative in Russia.
And the main reason for this is that the social health of the 
nation plummeted with the beginning of perestroika.
Disillusionment and pessimism, engendered by the unprecedented 
growth of poverty, hit tens of millions of people. The result 
was the unprecedented fall in the birth rate, a key demographic 
factor. In 1990, we had 13.4 newborns per thousand of 
population, but the figure for 1999 was only 8.4. Sociological 
polls show that young families would like to have two or even 
three children, but refuse to have them as they do not envisage 
a bright future for them. 
I would like to explain one thing here. Some 
pseudo-specialists warn against dramatising the situation on 
the grounds that a low birth rate is not a purely Russian 
feature but is characteristic of the bulk of industrialised 
Indeed, egocentrism is becoming the lifestyle of a considerable 
part of the population of prosperous states. They argue that 
their children should be ensured prosperity and parents should 
have more time for themselves, and hence there should be fewer 
children. But the reason is completely different in Russia. It 
is the loss of social confidence, which provoked an alarming 
fall of the birth rate. No other country in the world saw such 
quick falls in the birth rate in such a short time. 

Question: Or such quick growth of the death rate?
Answer: Yes. The natural increment of the population 
depends on a balance between the birth rate and the death rate. 
Before 1992, the birth rate was higher than the death rate in 
But the situation changed after that, with the death rate 
exceeding the birth rate. This has been going on for eight 
years now. For eight years the bell has been tolling for us, 
trying to tell us that Russia is an endangered nation. 
I am especially worried by the following fact. The plague 
of depopulation has hit only three Slavic (relatively speaking) 
members of the CIS: Ukraine in 1991, Russia in 1992, and 
Belarus in 1993. The population of all other CIS countries is 
growing, while the Slavic states are sinking ever deeper in the 
demographic hole. Besides, the high death rate is 
characteristic above all for the economically active sectors of 
population. This is a purely Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian 
Able-bodied people are dying. 
Next, cardio-vascular diseases are the most frequent cause 
of death everywhere in the world, including Russia. The second 
place in the world is held by all kinds of tumours, meaning 
cancer. But in Russia they hold the third place, while the 
second most frequent causes of death are poisoning, alcoholism, 
murders, suicide, and injuries, or purely social reasons. In 
the past, we were shocked to learn that we had lost 15,000 in 
This is a tragedy, indeed. But 202,000 out of the 520,800 who 
died in the economically-active age in 1998 died for external 
reasons, meaning murders, suicide, accidents, poisoning and 
injuries (60,000 more than in 1990).

Question: You said 1992 was the turning point. Does this 
mean that the demographic situation was normal before that in 
Russia and in the Soviet Union?
Answer: Let's begin with the beginning of the century. At 
the turn of the 20th century, life expectancy equalled 31 for 
men and 33 for women. This was 15 years less than, say, in 
France and the USA. It grew to 40 and 46 years, respectively, 
by the beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. After 
that war, life expectancy grew consistently and approached the 
standards of the leading countries (69.94 years) in 1987. After 
that, it went down again. In the seven years after 1987, life 
expectancy plummeted to 65.9 years. The situation with men's 
life expectancy was especially tragic: it fell from 65 in 1987 
to 59.8 in 1996.
And the government plans to raise pensionable age to 65. Who 
will it pay pensions to? The average life expectancy is 79 in 
Japan, 78 in Sweden, 77 in Canada and France, 76 in the USA and 
Britain, 72 in Chile and 70 in Mexico. 
Meanwhile, life expectancy is a key integral 
characteristic of the health of the population. Its component 
parts are the quality of foods, the environment, health care 
standards, protection of mothers and children, labour 
conditions, and many other things. If all these factors remain 
at the current low level, the average Russian man will live 
only 53 years in 2005. 

Question: An average Russian citizen is a very relative 
term. We know that some regions are famous for their 
Answer: There are long-livers in all regions, but they 
hardly influence the demographic situation. And here is the 
situation in regions: A fall in the number of population was 
registered in seven constituent members of the Russian 
federation in 1989, in 33 members in 1991, and already in 78 
members in the first quarter of this year. The only exceptions 
are Dagestan, Ingushetia, the Tyumen Region, the republics of 
Tyva and Sakha (Yakutia), the Taimyr, Evenk, Aginsk-Buryat and 
Chukotka autonomous areas. I want to draw your attention to the 
following alarming factor: It is not just that the population 
of Russia is dwindling. Worse still, depopulation, meaning 
extinction, has hit above all the titular nation, meaning 
It is true that representatives of nearly 130 ethnic 
groups regard themselves, with full reason, as the citizens of 
Russia. I am not for creating ethnic states, for this would run 
contrary to the development trends of civilisation, human 
rights and democratic principles. But the choice of a model of 
social progress and the responsibility of the leading ethnos 
for the future of the country and people living in it 
(especially in periods of global change) are the permanent 
features of civil and state-political importance. 

Question: You mean the verdict has been read. And the 
saving lies only in an immediate improvement of the social 
situation of the people?
Answer: Not only that. Demography passed the verdict on 
both the present and the future. I mean the demographic threat 
facing Russia. It is becoming one of the largest threats at the 
turn of the third millennium. You can even describe it as the 
challenge of the time. 
Russia now stands not on one-sixth, but on one-eighth of 
dry land, although it remains the largest state of the world in 
terms of territory. But the density of population is very low: 
barely 8.6 people per one square kilometre. Beyond the Urals, 
population density is only 2.5, and there is only one person 
per 2.5 square kilometres in the area with the capital city of 
Anadyr. Now look at these figures: There are 122 people per one 
square kilometre in China, 344 in Japan, and 444 in South 
Korea. As a result of the low demographic potential, 
ineffective regional policy, the weakness of federal 
authorities and political flabbiness in Russia, the Far East is 
being drawn into the sphere of interests of the quickly 
developing economies of Asia Pacific countries.
There are demographic reasons to fear a possible colonisation 
of the Far East and a considerable part of Siberia by Russia's 
powerful neighbours. However, there are no signs in the 
government's policy to show that the authorities are aware of 
the scale of the problem. Anyway, the population of the Russian 
North is dwindling. 
On the other hand, there are no norms determining the 
optimal density of population. But international practice shows 
that there should be 30-50 people per square kilometre to have 
the requisite social environment meeting modern demands. 

Question: Does this mean that Russia, with its vast 
territory and low density of population, has incredible 
reserves for the growth of population and its prosperity?
Answer: Yes, this is one of the powerful but yet untapped 
resources of the country. If we really want to restore the 
might of Russia, we should remember that this is possible only 
with a substantiated demographic policy. We will rise again 
only if we invest the state's fixed capital into the family, 
into children, their health and education. And this should 
become one of the main ideas rallying all Russian citizens. 


ANALYSIS-In Russia, it is still buyer beware
By Peter Henderson

MOSCOW, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Russia's booming economy and rising stock market 
obscure a conclusion by many working here that this is still a dangerous 
place to invest because property rights are weak and uncertain. The recent 
woes of two mobile phone firms pressured to give up radio frequencies shows 
either the government's internal divisions or ignorance of businesses' 
rights, analysts said. 

Industrialists also say they are in limbo because the government will not 
decisively end speculation that privatisations may be revised, meaning 
nothing is safe to buy. 

Tax reforms earlier this summer were seen as evidence of the government's new 
will to change, but more meaty proposals aimed at business are only due to be 
considered later this year. 

This week Russia's two main mobile phone carriers, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) 
and Vimpel Communications VIMP.RTS, have been battling regulators who say 
they must give up previously allocated frequencies used for Moscow networks. 

The two companies are Russia's best recent investment successes -- they have 
raised a total of nearly $600 million on foreign markets in the last few 
months, and Vimpelcom in particular is known for doing things by the Western 

Both say their rights to the channels are clear: they were allocated specific 
bands of the 900 MHz spectrum which by law can only be cancelled in extreme 
cases of state need, but each received a letter cancelling the rights without 

The government appears to want the frequencies back to give to another 
operator, although no officials will comment on the reasoning. Communications 
Minister Leonid Reiman suspended the seizure on Thursday to study the issue, 
which is still open. 

``If those agreements are reneged on, essentially, by the regulatory 
authorities, then that creates a huge problem for further development of 
capital markets,'' said Philip Poole, chief economist at ING Barings. 

``There has to be a much clearer delineation of what is agreed and acceptance 
that once it is agreed, it is agreed and doesn't get changed.'' 


Business leaders also say one effect of a broad uncertainty regarding 
privatisation is that companies wishing to expand are inclined to build from 
scratch rather than take the often cheaper and economically healthy step of 
buying bankrupt firms. 

The government earlier this year questioned the results of some selloffs and 
essentially said that it would reserve the right to review privatisations 
carried out incorrectly, which most analysts see as potentially every one 
ever done in Russia. 

``Recent steps by politicians still keep the situation unclear -- will the 
results of privatisation be revised or not?'' Alexander Zurabov, first deputy 
chief executive of national airline Aeroflot AFLT.RTS, told a recent 
investment conference. 

Aeroflot is eager to expand by acquiring some of the roughly 300 domestic 
carriers, which Zurabov predicts cannot survive more than five years because 
they cannot afford new planes, but it will build, not buy, faced with the 
threat of repossession. 

Stan Shulman, a board member of Russia's largest pulp and paper company, 
Syktyvkar Forest Enterprise, said for the same reason his firm had put on 
hold deals to buy bankrupt companies. 

``We are still waiting for the government to put together a political 
statement,'' he told the investment conference. 

``What we all hope to hear from the government is 'yes, we do understand 
there were some problems in the early days of privatisations, but what is 
privatised, is privatised, and if you want to invest, go ahead and buy the 

Shulman said he expected his firm to do well by new tax laws coming into 
force next year, but many major reforms on the governments agenda have yet to 
take effect, from a proposed corporate governance code applauded by portfolio 
investors to corporate tax changes that would improve the business climate. 

``The major changes which would affect companies have yet to become law,'' 
David Hexter, deputy vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction 
and Development, a major foreign direct investor in Russia, told the 


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