This Date's Issues: 4632
Johnson's Russia List
11 November 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
DJ: A non-Russia query. I have three kids thinking about prospective colleges. As there are many academics who receive
JRL I would be interested in hearing suggestions about colleges
that we should know about that may not have come to our attention. At the moment I happen to be with my father in
Petersham Massachusetts doing some visits with my son Blake.
1. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: Russia Can Learn From U.S. Vote.
2. strana.ru: Vote recount in U.S. presidential elections may leave
Russians without last illusions about democratic rule.
3. Itar-Tass: Russian press club, UN launch demographic project in
4. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: RUSSIANS SAY THEIR COUNTRY IS
CAPITALIST, BUT NOT A DEMOCRACY.
5. RFE/RL: Sophie Lambroschini, Officials To Undertake Big Reductions In Military
6. Interfax: FIRST LARGE-SCALE CONSOLIDATION OF RUSSIAN BUSINESS
TAKES PLACE - POTANIN.
7. Trud: "THE MAN OF 2000" ON PROBLEMS OF RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC
RECOVERY. (St. Petersburg State University professor Yuri MALENKOV)
8. Stanislav Menshikov: ENERGY STRATEGY SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED.
Shortages Looming in the Years Ahead.
9. Interfax: NEW MATERIALS FROM SWITZERLAND WILL DETERMINE DESTINY
OF MABETEX CASE - INVESTIGATOR.
10. Interfax: LENIN MAUSOLEUM CLOSED FOR PLANNED EXAMINATION OF
LENIN'S EMBALMED BODY.
11. IWPR'S CAUCASUS REPORTING SERVICE: Mikhail Ivanov, RUSSIAN
DEFECTOR MAY PROVE A DISAPPOINTMENT. (Litvinenko)
12. Moscow Times: Boris Kagarlitsky, Grass-Roots Blues. (re parties)
13. Reuters: Polite NATO wearies of Russia's Kursk suspicions.
14. Itar-Tass: Russian inspectors uncover breaches of labour
15. BBC Monitoring: Russia's Security Council secretary could be next
prime minister - paper.]
November 11, 2000
EDITORIAL: Russia Can Learn From U.S. Vote
Even as the votes in the state of Florida are being recounted and the result
of the U.S. presidential election remains up in the air, Russian politicians
have been quick and joyful in pointing out the supposed flaws in the American
system. No doubt some in the State Duma are regretting that they voted
overwhelmingly last month not to send observers to monitor the election,
especially since the proposal presciently focused attention on "Texas,
California and other territories forcibly annexed to the United States,"
which would certainly include Florida.
The chairman of the Central Elections Commission, Alexander Veshnyakov, who
was in the States observing the voting, drew this lesson: "Our presidential
elections are conducted in a more democratic fashion and are more easily
understood by voters."
President Vladimir Putin couldn't resist joking during a visit to Rostov
that, "if necessary, [Veshnyakov] can tell his American colleagues how best
Such remarks could be taken in good fun if not for the sorry state of
elections in Russia and the role that Veshnyakov, Putin and many others in
power locally and nationally have played in perpetuating that state.
In September, The Moscow Times published compelling evidence of massive fraud
in Putin's March election victory. The only response to that investigation
from Veshnyakov's commission has been to remove the vote results in question
from the CEC web site and to dismiss the story as an obvious manipulation.
Likewise, there has been precious little response to the more than 2,000
complaints and 200 lawsuits that have been filed in connection with this
Hrair Balian, head of the election section of the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the March election, has said that
"the issue deserves a thorough investigation and a credible accounting."
Putin and Veshnyakov, quick with jokes about the U.S. Electoral College, have
been silent on this matter.
What lessons should Veshnyakov bring back from his trip to the States? He
should note that he is seeing a system that has earned the confidence of the
public in the past and therefore is able to weather this close election
without creating a national crisis. He should notice that aggrieved citizens
and political parties are getting a timely and thorough hearing in the
courts. He should notice that the election itself was held when it was
supposed to be held and not when it was more convenient for one or another of
And when he returns to Russia, Veshnyakov should devote himself to earning
the credibility that his commission will need to conduct the next election
November 10, 2000
Vote recount in U.S. presidential elections may leave Russians without last
illusions about democratic rule
By Vitaly Baskakov
The presidential election in the U.S. has unexpectedly taught Russians a
lesson of democracy, American style, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes in a
front-page editorial. The voting in the U.S. is over, but the President is
still not known. Scandals erupt now and again in Florida, in which the
election headquarters of both presidential candidates are involved.
The recount of election results only in one state, Florida, has already
evoked accusations typical of countries with developing democracies,
including Russia, but not of the U.S. Now two boxes have been reportedly
found in polling stations, and the Republicans and Democrats dispute over
what those boxes contain. Albert Gore's supporters claim that there are about
2,000 ballots unaccounted for, while the voters of George Bush insist that
the ballot boxes contain ball points. Three Americans suddenly realized that
they had filled their ballots in a wrong way and demanded repeated voting.
Evidently, the paper writes, Alexander Veshnyakov, chief of Russia's Central
Electoral Committee, who had gone to the U.S. to study the American practice
of democratic voting, could not have imagined what lessons young Russian
democracy would have to draw from the long-tested procedure of electing a
Possibly the ballots will be recounted in Florida in a clean and honest way.
At least the OSCE observers watching the elections keep silence these days,
though they have registered two violations. Anyway, the U.S. electoral
realities in this situation are unlikely to influence the conclusion to be
made by the authorities in the countries with developing democracies,
including Russia and the other CIS countries.
If Russian President Vladimir Putin says, smiling jokingly, that Veshnyakov
may teach his U.S. colleagues how to count ballots properly, and Veshnyakov,
who was in the U.S. during the election, arrives at the conclusion that
presidential elections in Russia are conducted in a more democratic
situation, what should we say about Belarus? The hitch in the U.S.
presidential elections places a good trump card into the hands of the Belarus
leadership, which suffered during the recent parliamentary elections from a
verdict, passed by the mission of the OSCE Human Rights Bureau, that the
elections in Belarus had failed to meet international standards. Any
electoral commission in Russia, or in any other post-Soviet country for that
matter, now may say in case of violations that, if such things as vote
recount happen in a country that regards its social organization as almost
ideal, what can one say about countries where democratic elections have been
held for only a decade? the paper asks. The vote recount in the U.S. fits
well into a Russian stereotype - "the election is being rigged."
An no matter what the current election scandal in the U.S. will end with,
Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes in conclusion, much advertised American democracy
has given other young democracies grounds to justify some faults or
wrongdoings by world practices.
Russian press club, UN launch demographic project in Russia
Moscow, 10th November: The "Demographic Mirror of Russia" project was
presented at the Four Sides Press Club on Friday [10th November] to draw
the attention of the authorities, politicians, public figures and
journalists to the unfavourable demographic situation in Russia.
The Russian population has been reducing by approximately 750,000 people
per annum. Forecasts say that there will be 22m less Russians in 15 years'
time. President Vladimir Putin raised the question in his message to the
The Health Ministry has been drafting a state report about the health of
Russian nationals for the past decade. The document was presented by Health
Minister Yuriy Shevchenko to Vladimir Putin last Friday.
Deputy Health Minister Olga Sharapova quoted a number of figures from the
report at the press club. She said the populace of Russia had dropped by
2.8m or almost 2 per cent over the past eight years. Last year alone the
drop was 0.5 per cent. The birth rate is on the decline, while the death
rate is on the rise in 82 regions of Russia. Most of these regions are in
central Russia and most of their residents are Russians.
The press club's campaign is supported by the UN Fund for Population
The press club has proposed that scientists and experts should hold
briefings to encourage a debate on the demographic situation in Russia. It
will also promote objective and precise reports about the issue.
The Four Sides Press Club was set up last summer to enable correspondents'
informal communication with politicians and statesmen.
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
November 10, 2000
RUSSIANS SAY THEIR COUNTRY IS CAPITALIST, BUT NOT A DEMOCRACY. According to
a poll carried out at the end of October, a majority of Russians do not
believe that their country is a democracy. The poll, which was carried out
by the All-Russian Center for Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), asked
respondents whether they thought there was a "democratic society" in Russia
today. Fifty-four percent answered "no," 26 percent said "yes," 20 percent
said the question was hard to answer. On the other hand, a large majority
of those polled said the believed their country now has a market economy.
Asked whether Russia has a "market" and "market relations," 61 percent
answered in the affirmative, 27 percent in the negative, and 12 percent
said the question was hard to answer.
At the same time, a majority of those polled expressed pessimism over the
Russia's overall course. Asked whether the country was moving in the right
direction or up a blind alley, 28 percent picked the first, 52 percent
picked the second, and 20 percent said it was hard to say. The breakdown of
answers to this question was roughly the same as in polls carried out by
VTsIOM in September and August of this year. However in May, June and
July--that is, in the spring and summer months prior to the Kursk submarine
disaster, the bombing at Moscow's Pushkin Square and the fire in the
Ostankino television tower--the number of respondents expressing pessimism
was considerably lower. On the other hand, 44 percent of those questioned
said they had adjusted to the changes which had occurred in Russia over the
last decade, while 31 percent they would never adjust, 20 percent said they
would adjust in the near future, and 5 percent said it was hard to say.
Forty-six percent of those polled said the situation with payment of
salaries, pensions, stipends and allowance in their regions or cities was
getting better; 16 percent said it was getting worse; 33 percent said they
had noticed no change in the situation; and 6 percent said it was hard to
answer the question. But while a plurality of those questioned expressed
optimism concerning payments, the number of optimists in this area was down
considerably from polls carried in March, May and June of this year.
VTsIOM carried out this latest poll October 27-30 among 1600 people in
thirty-three of the country's eighty-nine regions. The poll had a 3.8
percent margin of error (Russian agencies, November 9).
Russia: Officials To Undertake Big Reductions In Military Personnel
By Sophie Lambroschini
Russia has announced plans for significant reductions in its armed forces.
RFE/RL Moscow correspondent Sophie Lambroschini provides the background and
assesses Russian analysts' responses to the projected cuts.
Moscow, 10 November 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's top-level Security Council
decided yesterday on downsizing the nation's armed forces by almost 20
percent over five years.
The council called Russia's present military organization "unwieldy" and
"wasteful." President Vladimir Putin, who presided over the meeting, said the
reductions were needed to get what he described as "a more compact and
therefore a more mobile and professional army."
The reductions approved by the Security Council add up to 470,000 military
personnel, including 130,000 civilians -- and 380 generals. They represent
the latest step by Russian authorities to streamline the country's defense
and arms sector. Currently, Russian armed forces total some three million.
Russia's Security Council, an advisory body set up by Boris Yeltsin, is
composed of the heads of the main security ministries -- such as the Defense
Minister Igor Sergeyev -- the heads of the foreign and domestic intelligence
services, and the interior, emergency situations, and other ministers. In the
spring, the chief of staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, was also made a council member
by Putin, who chairs the council. Over the past several months, Kvashnin and
Sergeyev have made their disagreements over military reform public.
Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says the reductions have been
supported by Putin because of the war in Chechnya. Felgenhauer told our
"It turned out a year ago, when Putin was very actively taking part in
organizing, preparing, running the present new Chechen war, that Russia
cannot field more than a 100,000 men and the defense ministry can send to war
only less than 60,000 men -- whereas [on the military] payrolls there [are]
up to three million people."
The Security Council's decision comes more than six weeks after the last of
many failed attempts on its part to reach an agreement. At the time (Sept
27), analysts said that military leaders had strongly resisted reductions in
any of Russia's 11 paramilitary forces. They were said to have argued, for
example, that Interior Ministry troops -- one of the 11 paramilitaries --
were now being called on to play a bigger role in the face of threats to
Russian security posed by conflicts such as the one in Chechnya.
At yesterday's council meeting, a compromise was apparently reached. While
most of the proposed cuts concern Defense Ministry forces -- which will lose
360,000 personnel -- additional reductions of some 110,000 will trim down
Army General Vladimir Potapov, the Security Council's deputy secretary [that
is, deputy executive chief] in charge of military reform, said the proposals
reflect the leadership's analysis that for the next 10 years, "Russia won't
be in a position to wage a large-scale war with conventional weapons."
Potapov also emphasized that the reductions were not calculated on a
proportionate basis, but rather with regard to what he described as "the
whole scale of threats" Russia will have to face and which of its forces will
best withstand them.
Potapov's remarks are reflected in the details of the proposed reductions.
The Interior Ministry will lose 20,000 troops, about 20 percent of its
current force. Troops protecting the railways will be reduced by 10,000, and
border guards by 5,000 (or 5 percent). Other special troops that will be
reduced -- but in so far undisclosed numbers -- include those attached to the
Federal Security Service, the Communications Ministry, and the Emergency
But Yury Golotyuk, military analyst of the daily "Vremya Novostei," warns
today that the proposals are not final until Putin signs the necessary
decrees. Golotyuk argues that since it took no less than 17 council sessions
to reach the present compromise, more resistance can be expected, with
ministries lobbying for changes until the last minute.
For analyst Felgenhauer, however, the council's proposals are a big "step in
the right direction" of the military reform Russia has been seeking, he says,
for "centuries." According to him, "the Soviet leadership, the czars all had
the same problem: a gigantic army on paper, but no one to send to the front."
But Felgenhauer adds that the planned cuts are not sufficient for Russia to
align its armed forces with the country's economic and security realities.
"Actually, its defenses, its forces, should be remodeled to fight small local
wars and not try to balance or challenge countries like the United States
that have defense budgets 10 times, or maybe even 20 times bigger, an economy
that's 10 or maybe 20 times bigger. If Russia has an economy more or less the
size of that of Belgium, well, it should not just rationalize, it should
actually thoroughly rebuild its armed forces."
Other recent measures show that Putin is trying to realize a wider
streamlining of the defense sector by centralizing the nation's lucrative
arms trade. Earlier this week, all of Russia's $3.5 billion of arms exports
were put under the control of the new monopoly Rosoboronexport, now to be
directly managed by the Defense Ministry.
Until now, the business was split between two state-controlled companies
(Rosvooruzhenie and Promtekhexport).
Officials say the arms sales merger was undertaken mainly out of commercial
considerations. The competition between the two old firms had led, they say,
to what Putin called "an unjustified price drop in Russian arms."
But Felgenhauer suggests that the appointment of the new monopoly's head
reveals an effort to get the highly profitable -- but, according to some,
graft-ridden -- arms business under control. The new chief is former
Promtekhexport Deputy Director Andrei Belyaninov, a one-time intelligence
officer who -- like Putin -- once served in Germany.
A presidential decree yesterday giving Security Council Secretary [that is,
chief executive officer] Sergei Ivanov -- a foreign-intelligence general
known to be very close to Putin -- civilian status has also been noted by
analysts. Some, including Felgenhauer, see it as a political move made to
promote Ivanov eventually to the post of prime minister or, more modestly, to
that of defense minister. Felgenhauer explains:
"It's rather obvious that Putin is preparing Ivanov -- maybe someone else but
most likely Ivanov -- to be the new defense minister. It has already been
announced before-hand that Russia is going to have a civilian defense
minister. And since Ivanov was a two-star general of the KGB, actually, now
he has become a civilian."
While the growing role of the Security Council under Ivanov has been widely
noted, Felgenhauer also predicts an increasing role for the Defense Ministry.
He notes that over the past few days Putin has made the ministry chief the
overseer of arms sales and helped the ministry somewhat by the reductions
imposed on non-defense ministry troops.
FIRST LARGE-SCALE CONSOLIDATION OF RUSSIAN BUSINESS TAKES PLACE -
MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) - This is the first time the
consolidation of business, which is now occurring within the framework
of the Russian Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs, is taking place
on such a large scale, Vladimir Potanin, head of the Interros holding,
told a press conference at the Interfax main office on Friday.
The heads of Russia's largest corporations have succeeded in
sitting down at the negotiation table, working out constructive
decisions and making compromises, he said.
The Russian Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs does not yet
have a unified program, Potanin noted. Among the main tasks of the
organization he named dialogue with the government and the president.
Potanin said he believes the organization will be "a positive
force, the president's and the government's ally in economic reforms in
Russia." The union will also represent the interests of Russian business
abroad in its contacts with similar unions.
Union President Arkady Volsky said in turn that businessmen have
succeeded in overcoming disagreements and agreed to work together in the
name of reform and production growth.
The process of consolidation of large business within the Russian
Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs "was not initiated by Boris
Berezovsky," he said.
November 9, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
"THE MAN OF 2000" ON PROBLEMS OF RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The American Biographical Institute, which is the largest
authority in forming the world fund of outstanding
personalities, has recently named St. Petersburg State
University professor Yuri MALENKOV "The Man of 2000" for his
contribution to the development of modern society. The very
fact is quite extraordinary, especially because Malenkov is an
expert in management - the sphere in which we have been unable
to boast any achievements. Trud's correspondent Dmitry
STRUZHENTSOV asked the title-winner to talk on the problems of
Russia's economic recovery.
Question: Russia is entering the 21st century with a gross
national product equal to that of our northern neighbor Finland.
The latter is a small country, which does not have either raw
materials reserves or particularly fertile soil. In this
respect, it is ten times behind Russia in per capita terms.
Answer: Actually the lag is much wider. GNP does not
reflect the entire picture. It does not duly reflect, say,
differences in the economic systems. Most industrialized
countries today largely rely on high-tech production, the
growth of human capital and formulation of new structures and
methods of management. We continue to fall farther behind in
all these respects.
Question: Does this mean that our economy is in the state
Answer: A very complicated and contradictory process is
going on in Russia. We have stabilized the ruble, prevented the
collapse of our banking system and achieved growth in some
industries, on the one hand. But these results are not
sufficient for transition to dynamic development. There is the
danger of new hyperinflation. The achieved 8% of economic
growth, in which high-tech production constitutes a negligible
proportion, suddenly yields to a quick jump of prices on prime
necessities and a fast growth of transport fares. Instead of a
dynamic economy we have an economy of emergency situations,
when the country is all the time shaken by crises in one or
What is more, we are to find huge sums of money to update
completely basic assets in practically all the spheres in the
next few years. Otherwise, disintegration and decomposition,
accompanied technological catastrophes, will begin. In order to
avoid this GDP should grow the rate of at least 20% a year
without any adjustments for inflation.
The processes of the aging of society's scientific and
intellectual elite are developing even faster. Suffice it to
mention that pension age is the average age of the personnel of
our leading research institutes, design offices and higher
education institutions. Russia has the risk of losing its main
schools of science without which we have nothing to do in the
global community of high technologies. The demographic
situation is sharply deteriorating. There is mass-scale
degradation of workforce, including its main reserve - the
young. Alcoholism is sweeping society. Experts have estimated
that from 30% to 70% of the young use drugs.
Interaction of all these factors can destroy our society
within the next five to ten years, and not in a hundred years
as is believed by some of our leaders who would like to shift
these problems to the next generation.
Question: What does not allow us to get out of the
Answer: The shortage of investment, too high taxes, an
ineffective social policy but, most of all, the lack of
effective management. It so happened that we transferred
negative old principles of management to new national and
private enterprise structures. The worst of possible models of
management - neo-nomenklatura management - is widely spread in
our economy and its national and private enterprise structures.
In a closed stable social cross-section trusted with
special powers, which has formed in our country, everything
rests on personal connections; relations based on mutual
benefit, corruption and simulation of activity. It has been
believed for many years now that management does not require
any special qualities, that it is enough to prove to be well
suited and act according to regulations, regardless of
consequences. Our boss is tempted to develop the "emperor's
syndrome" in management characterized by omnipotent power,
intolerance with regard to bright personalities and elimination
of internal competition.
Nomenklatura-based structures are extremely viable. By
relying on personal connections, the so-called telephone right,
mutual "services" and even blatant graft, they practically have
the fullness of power and are absolutely out of control. It is
these people that have led Russia to the system crisis and can
lead us to a social catastrophe, because they block all the
roads leading to progress and innovations and thwart searches
for new ways of development.
From: "stanislav menshikov" <email@example.com>
Subject: ENERGY STRATEGY SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000
"MOSCOW TRIBUNE", 10 November 2000
ENERGY STRATEGY SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED
Shortages Looming in the Years Ahead
By Stanislav Menshikov
The long-term Energy Strategy is about to be discussed at the cabinet and
president's level. Hearings in the Duma were held in October but attracted
little public interest. However, the unsatisfactory energy situation is
obvious to the naked eye. Even Mr. Chubais who heads the electric power
monopoly admits he is not sure how much energy will be produced in the next
quarter, let alone next year. Widespread switching off of electricity and
heat has become a new and unprecedented reality of the Putin era.
Underlying these events is the continuous decline in the 1990s of primary
energy production ¾ oil, gas, coal, hydroelectric and atomic power. All
told, it fell by a quarter. Due to larger exports of oil and gas, primary
energy available for domestic consumption shrank even sharper, by 40
percent. Because GDP was also falling or stagnant this trend up to a point
was not very apparent. But in 1999-2000 total growth of GDP is about 10
percent while energy production lags far behind. And because exports keep
increasing, the nation is facing energy shortages which are a formidable
barrier to further general economic growth.
How does the Energy Strategy tackle this problem? It proposes, in the next
20 years, to increase oil production by 20 percent and gas by 18 percent,
less than one percent per year. To support an annual rise of GDP by 5-5.5
percent this is hardly enough. It is true that the Strategy also envisages
an increase in coal output and a doubling of electric power production. But
where is this electricity supposed to come from if total primary energy
production will rise by 28 percent only, and no new atomic plants or
hydroelectric dams are being constructed? The main source of electricity is
fuel, but there will simply be not enough of it.
To solve the energy equation a genuine technological revolution is required
that would reduce by half the current energy/GDP ratio. According to the
Strategy, nearly half of total needs in primary energy in 2020 should be
covered by energy saving technologies. In principle, this is not an
impossible goal. It would require substantially cutting the present
fivefold gap in the energy/GDP ratio with the US and eight-fold gap with
West Europe. Russia would still be behind but, considering its much colder
climate, the gap would not be too large.
Twenty years is a long period of time and planning for two decades borders
on wishful thinking. The Energy Strategy should rather be aiming at the
period immediately ahead. Let us assume the best possible scenario, i.e.
that the technological revolution starts immediately and by using modern
technology the energy/GDP ration is reduced by, say, 12 percent by 2005.
Then the economy would need only 14 percent more primary energy than today
to produce 29 percent more GDP. But according to the Strategy, energy
production would rise by only 6 percent, leading to inevitable shortages.
To avoid a crisis, a joint effort of the government and the energy sector
is necessary in three directions simultaneously: (1) investing in a more
rapidly rising energy production; (2) investing in faster technological
progress; (3) reducing energy exports and making more energy available for
More investment is possible because the pool to finance (depreciation and
profits) them is available. But today much of it is leaking abroad. To
redirect energy capital homeward, a change in taxation procedures is
essential. Today investment comes after taxes are deducted from profit. The
more profit a company shows, the more taxes it has to pay, the less is left
for dividends and investment. If taxes were calculated AFTER domestic
productive investment was first deducted from gross profit, there would be
less need to hide profits and more inducement to invest domestically. So
far, the tax reform has ignored this possibility. But the government has to
decide whether it wants more tax revenues or more energy. At this juncture,
it cannot have both.
Reducing energy exports is another tough issue. Today, more than 60
percent of oil produced is exported as crude and products, and more than 40
percent of gas. A 5-percent reduction in both would save 26 million tons
per annum of primary energy for domestic consumption and avert an energy
crisis in the next few years. Federal measures to reduce exports are not
too effective. Again it looks like the government's laxitude comes from its
preference for extra budget revenues from oil exports. Fiscal interests
take precedence over prudent economics. There is also the current grand
plan to build an "energy bridge" between Russia and Europe. It can be
understood on geopolitical grounds. But the plain truth is that Russia is
simply unable today to provide enough energy for both Europe and its own
For all these reasons, the Energy Strategy needs serious rethinking with an
accent placed on policies to resolve the immediate problems of the coming
months and years. In its present form, its usefulness for the economy is
NEW MATERIALS FROM SWITZERLAND WILL DETERMINE DESTINY OF MABETEX CASE -
MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) - The decision to bring charges against
someone or to close the so-called Mabetex case will be made after new
materials from Switzerland have been received and studied, Ruslan
Tamayev, senior investigator for especially important cases and the
chief investigator in this case, has said.
He also noted that it was this circumstance that led to the recent
decision to extend the investigation into the Mabetex case for another
In an interview published in the Friday edition of the Segodnya
newspaper, Tamayev said that "over the course of two years our Swiss
colleagues have not provided us with all the documents that we requested
in our international investigation requests."
Last week, eighty pages were forwarded to the Russian Prosecutor
General's Office through the Swiss embassy in Russia, the investigator
said. In addition, "in one of his recent letters the Swiss Prosecutor
General said that the last (15th) portion of documents will be forwarded
some time in late November," he said.
"In connection with this, I asked Deputy Prosecutor General
Kolmogorov to give me one more month. We have to translate these
documents into Russian, have a closer look at them before making a
decision," Tamayev said.
So far, the documents received from Switzerland "have not been
grounds for bringing charges against anyone," he said. "If this were not
the case, I would have been held responsible. I had no right to
procrastinate," the investigator said.
Speaking about some materials provided by Geneva-based investigator
Daniel Devaud pertaining to the case against Pavel Borodin that he is
>investigating, Tamayev said they have no relation to the Mabetex case
and are not grounds for opening a criminal case in Russia.
"An international commission issued by an investigating judge does
not represent such grounds. It is a reason, but not grounds. One should
not mix up [these terms]," Tamayev stressed. It is a signal to conduct a
pre-investigation inquiry. "[One should] conduct an inspection, have
people give explanations and only then decide. One cannot open a
criminal case based on every signal. [That way] we would open rather a
lot [of criminal cases]!", Tamayev said.
LENIN MAUSOLEUM CLOSED FOR PLANNED EXAMINATION OF LENIN'S EMBALMED BODY
MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) - From November 10, Lenin's Mausoleum is
closed to visitors.
This has been done because of the necessity to carry out "regular
maintenance work" in Lenin's burial-vault, Sergei Devyatov, the head of
the press and public relations department with the Federal Bodyguard
Service, has told Interfax. The work will go on until December 25, 2000,
The Federal Bodyguard Service representative said such maintenance
work in the mausoleum is "normal practice." "The mausoleum itself will
not be reconstructed," he added.
The research and scientific center, which is part of the
biological structures center of the All-Russia Institute for Medicinal
Herbs and Aromatic Plants, formally known as the Lenin Mausoleum
laboratory, told Interfax that the last time the mausoleum was closed
for such maintenance work was on February 2, 2000. "Just as before, we
will use this time to examine Lenin's body and conduct planned measures
aimed at maintaining its current condition," a representative of the
research center told Interfax.
Yuri Denisov-Nikolsky, deputy director of the center, told Interfax
that the specialists who examine the body twice a week have not found
"any irreversible pathological changes to it." He said that all of the
12 employees of the former Lenin Mausoleum laboratory still have "round-
the-clock and unrestricted access to Lenin's burial-vault."
From: Institute for War & Peace Reporting <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: IWPR'S CAUCASUS REPORTING SERVICE, NO. 57
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 18:02:52 -0000
RUSSIAN DEFECTOR MAY PROVE A DISAPPOINTMENT
COMMENT. The sensational defection of a former FSB officer is unlikely to
furnish Western intelligence services with anything more than speculation
By Mikhail Ivanov in Moscow
"Contrary to expectations, the former Federal Security Service agent
[Alexander Litvinenko] who fled to London saying he feared for his life will
not release a statement or hold a news conference for at least a week",
wrote the Moscow Times on November 4, quoting the London-based PR agency,
Clear, which represents the Russian defector.
Since then, the expectant public has been left in suspense. Litvinenko has
billed himself as the man who can reveal the truth behind the September 1999
apartment bombings - atrocities which some have blamed on the FSB. He also
claims to have damning information about a secret plot to assassinate the
media mogul Boris Berezovsky - allegations he made during a sensational TV
press conference in 1998.
But the days slip by and still there have been no startling revelations. And
probably the public will wait in vain because it is becoming increasingly
clear - even to Clear itself -- that we are dealing with what the Russians
call a "storm in a glass of kefir".
Litvinenko's "clandestine" escape from the Turkish health resort of Antalya
this month had all the hallmarks of a cheap spy thriller.
According to the Moscow Times, the would-be defector initially contacted
Alexander Goldfarb - the Moscow representative of the Public Health Research
Institute of New York. Goldfarb, a US citizen, flew down to Antalya and
offered to accompany Litvinenko and his family to London, acting as an
interpreter until their arrival at Heathrow airport. Here Litvinenko
approached a British policeman and asked for political asylum.
Of course, much of the speculation surrounding Litvinenko is based on
assumptions rather than facts. The Moscow Times, for example, happily
comments, "Reports [on the apartment bombings] in several Russian and
Western newspapers also cast suspicion on the FSB". However, the speculators
have apparently failed to examine the latest sequence of events through the
prism of common sense.
According to the reports, Goldfarb was able to drop everything and fly down
to Turkey just "hours after receiving [Litvinenko's] call". Who financed the
trip? His "New-York based research institute" - or someone else? What were
Goldfarb's motives anyway - was he prompted by human compassion or purely
The Moscow Times glibly tells us that, "despite being only barely acquainted
with the former FSB officer, Goldfarb volunteered to help". What does that
actually mean? Did they get to know each other when Litvinenko was in the
FSB or after he was dismissed from the service and went to work as
Berezovsky's aide? Perhaps they once had a couple of drinks together in an
Strangest of all, how did the FSB let Litvinenko slip through their fingers
- especially if, as the Moscow Times reminds us, he was facing criminal
charges of using undue force to extort confessions at the time of his
defection? How did he make his way to Turkey - in the hold of a petrol
tanker, perhaps, or disguised as a Russian "shuttle-trader" buying fur-coats
in the Antalyan markets?
Shortly after Litvinenko's arrival in London, Berezovsky described his
allegations of FSB persecution as "logical". But, if the FSB had plans to
abduct Litvinenko, why were they so slow to don their traditional cloaks and
daggers? Even if the days are long gone when a wagging tongue could be
conveniently silenced in the cellars of the Lubyanka prison. But perhaps the
former FSB colonel is the "elusive John" from the popular Russian joke, who
is elusive because "who the hell would want to search for him anyway?"
We can surmise that Litvinenko chose London because he had a high opinion of
the British secret services - which were recently praised by the KGB
defector Oleg Gordievsky in an interview with NTV. Unfortunately, he
probably doesn't have much to offer his debriefing team. Allegations of the
Berezovsky murder plot date back to 1998 and, by now, even the most
salacious "details" have passed their sell-by date.
And how much could Litvinenko really know about the Moscow apartment
bombings in 1999? At best, his information must be based on hearsay from
former colleagues at the FSB whom Litvinenko would be hard-pushed to
identify. After his scandalous press conference in 1998, it is hardly likely
that the disgraced FSB officer would have been party to any plans to stage
terrorist atrocities in a bid to turn the public opinion against the Chechen
rebels. Allegations which, I hasten to add, have never been supported by a
shred of hard evidence.
Mikhail Ivanov is executive editor of Russian Life, a bimonthly magazine
published by Russian Information Services, Inc.
November 11, 2000
By Boris Kagarlitsky
The Kremlin has begun to deal with Russia's numerous, dwarf-like political
parties. Indeed, the situation borders on the ridiculous. Among the 186
registered political parties, there are at least half a dozen "communist"
parties, and the same number of "socialist" parties. You can't even count the
"social-democratic," "liberal" and "nationalist" parties. If you look at the
register, you will see that the Block of Municipal Housing Workers is still
around from the 1995 elections. Sadly, the incomprehensibility and diffusion
of our political life precisely reflects the state of our society and the
general level of public political consciousness.
Nonetheless, the system of parliamentary parties is fairly stable. Year after
year, election after election, the same Gennady Zyuganov, Vladimir
Zhirinovsky and Grigory Yavlinsky appear on the ballots. Our Home Is Russia
has disappeared, but it was duly replaced by the identical Unity party, and
the familiar face of Viktor Chernomyrdin is right where it always was.
Likewise, the right-leaning liberals, who in 1995 were called Russia's
Choice, have once again reconstituted themselves as 1999's Union of Right
Forces. Only the centrist Fatherland has no direct antecedents from 1993 and
1995, but its leaders f Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and former Prime Minister
Yevgeny Primakov f can hardly be called newcomers. At the same time, however,
the number of candidates to the Duma decreases with each election cycle as
fewer people are willing to spend the time and money it takes to compete.
One would think, therefore, that the problem of mini-parties would resolve
itself. However, the Kremlin has introduced a new reform that is intended to
deprive these parties of their registration status. The official line of the
Central Elections Commission is that these tiny parties "are discrediting the
very concept of a multiparty system." If the commission has its way, Russia
will have nothing but big parties. There will be no local or regional
parties, only national ones. Each party will be required to have branches in
no fewer than 45 regions, and each branch will have to have no fewer than 100
members and the total party membership must be at least 10,000.
Also, each party will have to re-register annually to reconfirm the number of
its branches and members. Participation in elections will be mandatory. If a
party misses two successive federal elections, it will be automatically
liquidated for "not fulfilling its function." In a nutshell, the Kremlin will
now have a score of excellent ways to get rid of annoying political forces
without actually banning them.
However, participation in elections f both for parties and for individual
citizens f is not an obligation, but a right. The requirement to participate
in all federal elections is particularly amusing considering that the
government has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that it is incapable of
conducting fair elections. If, for instance, some party boycotts an election
to protest the unfair distribution of television broadcast time, the CEC will
be able to solve the problem by simply "liquidating" the protesters.
The requirement to re-register annually will guarantee that undesirable
political parties will be purged. The system of registering parties only
after collecting detailed information about their membershipis a gross
violation of human rights. The CEC is now essentially demanding that Russian
citizens denounce themselves to the government.
Ironically, the reform will not eliminate the problem of "dead souls." Any
procedure involving the mass registration of individuals will be prone to
abuse. In fact, it is easier for large parties to indulge in these practices,
since it is more difficult for the authorities to sort through their
Obviously, the Kremlin's goal is to simplify its management of the election
process. The fewer participants, the easier. Instead of 89 subjects of the
federation, we now have seven super-districts. Instead of 186 parties, there
will be three or four.
The present Duma has no opposition. Every faction has its own complaints
about the Kremlin, but no one has taken the step of offering itself as a true
opposition party. Whenever there is a vote on social or economic issues,
Unity votes together with Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces. Whenever
there are issues of security or bolstering the police state, Unity finds
allies among the communists. Since the Kremlin is f as tsarism was before the
revolution f essentially a "national-conservative" ideology, this system is
perfectly acceptable to it.
Unity will have no problem re-registering. The communists will also pass
easily. Fatherland, though, will have trouble. Many regional authorities that
supported Fatherland in 1999 will use the re-registration as an opportunity
to mend fences with the Kremlin. The new law may finally compel Yavlinsky to
combine his party with the Union of Right Forces, despite the distaste of
many Yabloko members for Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais.
The Kremlin wants to protect itself from any "popular civic activity."
Organizing a party from the ground up is far more difficult. Any such effort
must, by definition, start small and locally. And it is such parties that
will be immediately stamped out by the new reform. In other words, citizens
have been denied the right to form associations except by the initiative and
with the consent of the center.
This is President Vladimir Putin's concept of democracy. There may be a
number of parties, but they will all be more or less identical, and they will
all be under control.
Boris Kagarlitsky is a Moscow-based sociologist. He contributed this comment
to The Moscow Times.
Polite NATO wearies of Russia's Kursk suspicions
By Douglas Hamilton
BRUSSELS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The NATO alliance turned the other cheek on
Friday while Russia kept up dark hints that a Western submarine had collided
with the giant sub Kursk and sent its 118 crewmen to the bottom of the
Unwilling to embarrass the Russians, especially after a 1999 dispute over
Kosovo damaged their post-Cold War ties, the Western allies are refusing to
be drawn on allegations of coverup and conspiracy by Russian naval chiefs and
Firmly but quietly, NATO denies the charge.
A NATO military source noted one Russian newspaper recently printed a
satellite photo of the U.S. Los Angeles class nuclear submarine USS Memphis
in the harbour at Bergen in Norway, allegedly for emergency repairs.
"It was tied up next to a frigate that actually sank in 1994," he said. "The
photo also showed a strip of open water that has long since been filled in
TOM CLANCY RIVALS
The Russian story, printed in Versiya, suggested that the crippled Memphis,
or maybe the Toledo, limped back to Norway a week after ramming into the
Kursk on August 12, with "its thick resin-ceramic outer hull stripped off
like a banana peel."
The collision had fatally triggered the Kursk's torpedoes, but the U.S. sub
survived with the equivalent of big metal bruises, it said.
The story, worthy of a Tom Clancy novel and described by the author as a
"plausible theory," said it was no coincidence that CIA director George Tenet
had rushed to Moscow right away to smooth things over and "prevent a shooting
The collision theory has received widespread coverage in more respected
dailies than the tabloid Versiya.
Navy commander-in-chief Vladimir Koroyedov also recently said he was 80
percent sure a collision had sunk the Kursk.
Kuroyedov said Russia did not have the evidence yet but would publish it as
soon as it did.
While NATO officials are patently weary of rebutting a tale they say Russian
authorities must know is fiction, they are careful not to show exasperation
or to threaten exposure.
NATO sources say some believe that the Kursk blew up when an experimental
torpedo misfired. They will not say whether NATO has any proof of this.
CHECK YOUR SUBS?
The chairman of NATO's Military Committee, anti-submarine warfare expert
Admiral Guido Venturoni of Italy, told reporters on Friday that Russian Chief
of Staff Anatoly Kvashnin had made no explicit charges in talks at NATO
headquarters this week.
He also brushed aside a suggestion that Russian experts be allowed to inspect
the alliance's submarine fleet for tell-tale marks of a collision.
Such a request could only be addressed to the U.S. and British navies, whom
Moscow alleged had submarines in the vicinity of the naval exercise when the
"NATO itself doesn't have any submarines. The nations have submarines," he
said. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe had a mechanism
for permitting mutual inspection of forces, but it did not apply to naval
Venturoni quoted Kvashnin as reporting there were various theories in the
Russian military and "a lot of doubts."
One theory was about a possible underwater "contact" and perhaps NATO could
help clear up "whether there were certain objects in the area," he quoted the
general as saying.
Outside NATO's front door on Thursday evening, Kvashnin told a different
story, informing Russian reporters he had suggested an inspection of allied
subs by Moscow experts would help.
"This was apparently meant to make him look tough at home," said a NATO
Venturoni said anything that had collided with the 18,000 tonne Kursk and its
titanium double hull would likely have suffered massive damage itself.
But the Bergen theory takes that into account. The story says the hastily
patched up Los Angeles class submarine left Norway about the end of August
and headed for Southampton in England.
Russian inspectors uncover breaches of labour laws
Moscow, 10th November: More than 1.5m violations, including 1.1m breaches
of the labour rights of working people, were exposed by workers of the
State Labour Inspectorate in Russia in the first nine months of this year,
Deputy Labour and Social Development Minister Vladimir Varov told a news
conference on Friday [10th November].
According to Varov, the inspectors exposed 25,000 violations of collective
bargaining and contract procedures, 63,000 infringements of working time
provisions and 148,000 breaches of the law on remuneration for work.
The deputy minister said more than R3bn have been paid out in wage arrears,
which has abruptly reduced the number of strikes at enterprises. He
recalled that 720 strikes were registered in the first nine months of the
year 2000 as against nearly 6,000 for the same period of last year.
Vladimir Varov noted that, as a result of the activity of state labour
inspectors, 1,043 accidents concealed by employers were exposed, including
more than 140 fatalities and 440 grave accidents. A total of 3,925 people
died at work and 6,500 were seriously traumatized.
According to the deputy minister, most fatalities occurred in the farming
sector, the electrical energy industry, and the coal mining and the timber
He said over 10,400 cases related to industrial accidents have been sent to
the prosecutors this year. A total of 877 criminal cases have been opened
and 58 persons have been convicted. The demand to pay 10 minimal wages in
fines has been made with respect to 35,000 employers.
Russia's Security Council secretary could be next prime minister - paper
Text of article in Russian newspaper 'Segodnya' on 10th November
[Russian President] Vladimir Putin has signed an edict on the discharge of
Sergey Ivanov, secretary of the Security Council, from military service. In
Ivanov's own words, the decision was made after his conversation with the
president: He said that he explained to the head of state that he was
unable to perform all his functions both within the country and abroad
while remaining a general in the special services.
The argument is not unduly convincing when viewed against the background of
the mass march into power of military people, and especially people from
the special services. Ivanov's "demobilization" coincided miraculously with
the perceptible stepping up of work on his image as Security Council
secretary. In a number of his lengthy interviews he speaks as an advocate
of the free press, a theatre-goer, and a lover of Western cinema, and
furthermore he watches movies in the original language version (this is
interesting: In the early eighties there were rumors in the West that
[former Soviet leader] Yuriy Andropov was an avid reader of English novels
in the original language).
In short, the president's edict has generated quite a few unofficial
versions. Version one is the "premiership" version. General Ivanov is
resigning from the military so as to take up the post of head of the
government in the near future (this would be "inappropriate" for a
general). We recall that back in the summer there were rumours that Ivanov
would become [Prime Minister Mikhail] Kasyanov's successor in the autumn.
Then the rumours died down. But the Security Council secretary's recent
bureaucratic success revived them: According to certain information, he is
the man behind the creation of Rosoboroneksport [arms trading company
formed from the merger of Promeksport and Rosvooruzheniye] and the Family's
elimination from control of the arms trade. And this despite the fact that
neither the government nor the presidential staff desperately wanted the
removal of Aleksey Ogarev, former head of Rosvooruzheniye. It is no secret
that within the government there is a behind-the-scenes struggle between
the "Family" and the liberals with the power people in the role of the
"third-party beneficiaries". So there could be a scenario in which Ivanov
is entrusted if not with the number two role in the state then with an
equally important task - that of "controlling" the rival clans.
Version two is the "army" version. The president has tasked Gen Ivanov with
conducting the military reform. By resigning from military service, the
Security Council secretary resolves two problems. First, his present title
is inadequate when compared with those that [Defence Minister] Marshal
Sergeyev or [Chief of General Staff] Army General Kvashnin achieved (he
cannot be appointed generalissimo). But for a civilian, the concept of
military subordination does not exist - it is only the office and personal
trust of the president that matter. In addition, there will be some
generals among the military posts that are being axed and they are already
clearly not ecstatic now at the decisions adopted at the Security Council
session. It is not ruled out that the main military reformer is setting an
example by starting the painful transformations with himself.
However, one version does not preclude the other. In fact, by being
successful in the sphere of military reform, reserve Lt-Gen Ivanov can only
strengthen his position as a prospective premier. Be that as it may, one
thing is clear: Vladimir Putin planned the "reshuffle".
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