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From: "Peter Lavelle" <plavelle@metropol.ru>
Subject: Untimely Thoughts
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2001

Peter Lavelle: Untimely Thoughts -

Forty-four lines on twenty-two wishes for Russia in 2002

1. I wish oil prices to stabilize at around $18.50 a barrel. It would be a shame to have to fiddle with a Duma's budget so diligently put together.

2. I wish Russians would listen to Andrei Illarionov more often. He understands and values what Russia can do for itself -- far better than any world financial aid agency.

3. I wish Russia a year of peace. End the war in Chechnya, bring peace to its people and end Russia's awful nightmare.

4. I wish Grigory Yavlinsky could become friends with like-minded politicians. Being liberal should mean greater tolerance.

5. I wish Anatoly Chubais would get an MBA. The utility monopoly needs a brighter light at the helm.

6. I wish Russia patience and wisdom with the euro. How many euros are there to an old ruble?

7. I wish Viktor Gerashchenko a wonderful retirement in the New Year. It would be real a bonus if the rumors were true about his retirement as of Jan. 1.

8. I wish Vladimir Ustinov and Sergei Stepashin could collectively figure out who the bad guys really are. At least they could pool their resources in determining who stole what, when, and how much.

9. I wish the Communist Party to continue its current state of paralysis. The party's problem with the "vision thing" only positively contributes to the democratic process.

10. I wish Boris Berezovsky would return from exile. The new legal code needs a high-profile test case.

11. I wish civil society would start being more civil. Civil society doesn't start with government recognition; it starts by respecting your neighbor -- or at least holding open the huge doors at the metro for the babushka following behind.

12. I wish Russia patience with its new pal the United States. Americans are good folks; even if they think what is good for them is just as good for everybody else in the world.

13. I wish greater wisdom with the calendar. Pretending Saturday is a Monday because of a holiday only hinders the work ethic in particular and reform in general.

14. I wish politicians and would-be media magnets greater restraint. Why not allow TV6 to turn into a PBS of sorts?

15. I wish Interfax would stop its almost daily reporting of hypothermia cases in Moscow. A Good Samaritan report would be much more uplifting.

16. I wish the State Customs Committee, German Gref's Economic Development and Trade Ministry and the Energy Ministry would report the same export figures. There is hell to be paid from foreign investors when the numbers reported by each ministry is (sometimes dramatically) different.

17. I wish the new chief at Sheremetyevo Airport would do something about the passport control area. Nothing puts off visitors more about this country than that godforsaken place.

18. I wish Russians better quality foreign videos. If bootlegging is to be allowed, can't the government create some kind of quality control commission?

19. I wish the RTS to reach 500 points. Investing in Russia is very risky, but there are some real cherry-picks out there and, in the scheme of things, 1998 was ages ago.

20. I wish my girlfriend Svetlana to expand her cultural horizons. A little less Alla Pugachova and a little more Rachmaninoff would be a start.

21. I wish Vladimir Putin good health, foresight and creativity. The year 2002 could be very trying; it's doubtful he will make many new friends.

22. I wish Yury Luzhkov would fix the muddy sidewalks near my apartment. My dog King (of Russian origin) doesn't mind, though I will need to buy a new carpet if the mayor does not act upon this messy problem.

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