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JRL #7045 Plain Text - Entire Issue

1. Reuters: Russian cargo rocket blasts off for ISS.
2. San Francisco Chronicle: Anna Badkhen, Putin offers sympathy to Bush, Sharon. Dilapidated Russian space vehicles are, temporarily, the only ones capable of flight.
3. Los Angeles Times: Michael McFaul, U.S. Ignores Putin's Assault on Rights.
4. The Hindu: Vladimir Radyuhin, Boris Yeltsin Clan Keeps Russia In Its Grip.
5. New York Times: Michael Wines, Putin, Dobby and the Axis of Weirdness.
6. St. Petersburg Times: Vladimir Kovalev, Let's Start Naming Names, With Putin First.
7. The Observer (UK): Nick Paton Walsh, Putin threat to $8 trillion gene treasure.
8. The Times (UK): Robin Shepherd, Coming to terms with legacies of Stalingrad. On the 60th anniversary of the battle, Russia wants to honour the place but not the man.
9. AP: Russians Mark Battle of Stalingrad.
10. The Times (UK) interview: Vanora Bennett, Why cast me as a criminal? Chechen freedom fighter Akhmed Zakayev was once the only separatist Moscow would negotiate with. Today he is in London, Fighting extradition on terrorism charges.
11. Los Angeles Times: Nicholas Eberstadt, Bracing for AIDS Crisis in Eurasia. U.S. must push Russia, India and China to pay urgent attention to pandemic.
12. RFE/RL: Michael Lelyveld, Russia: Government Seeks Compromise With Big Oil Companies.
13. The Russia Journal: Andrei Piontkovsky, The great watershed year.
14. Scott Sonders: Re: 7043-Fisher/Lada.
15. Los Angeles Times: Jane Engle, Celebrate all things Russian in Baltimore. Get your fix of Tchaikovsky, Kandinsky, ballet and regional food at St. Petersburg festival.
16. Baltimore Sun: Douglas Birch, Russians catch up on Baltimore. Festival: As Charm City honors St. Petersburg, many there know Baltimore as a condiment, not a city.

*******

#1
Russian cargo rocket blasts off for ISS
By Oleg Akhmetov

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A Russian cargo rocket carrying
food and fuel blasted off for the International Space Station on Sunday, a
day after the U.S. shuttle Columbia broke up minutes before landing,
killing seven astronauts.

"The launch has gone ahead as planned. So far, everything is fine," said a
spokesman at ground control just outside Moscow.

Russian experts, speaking at the launch of the Progress rocket, said the
Columbia disaster could prove a serious setback for the ambitious 16-nation
ISS programme.

Sergei Gorbunov, a spokesman for Russia's space agency, said work on the
$95 billion station would be reduced until launches of U.S. shuttles, used
for heavy payloads, could be resumed.

"Cosmonauts will be able to carry out various scientific experiments,"
Gorbunov was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying. "But we have to
forget about further construction work on the station until launches of
U.S. shuttles, used to carry large pieces of equipment, resume."

He said shuttles would be grounded "for at least a year." This would make
the ISS dependent on Russia's Soyuz passenger craft and Progress cargo ship.

The cash-strapped space agency, Rosaviakosmos, has said it would need
financial help to build spacecraft for additional launches.

"(Five launches) is all that we can realistically propose at the moment,"
Gorbunov told Tass. "It takes two years to build a Soyuz and just slightly
less to build a Progress, not to mention the gigantic financial investment."

STRANDED CREW?

The Progress cargo ship carries enough food and supplies to keep the ISS's
current three-strong crew in orbit for two months beyond their scheduled
departure date.

The current staff of two American astronauts and one Russian, aboard the
ISS since November, was due to be replaced in March by a fresh crew
arriving on the U.S. shuttle Atlantis, which is now most unlikely to be
launched on schedule.

But Rosaviakosmos said the ISS crew would not be stranded as they could
return to earth at any time aboard their Russian-made Soyuz lifeboat.

"The Progress should supply cosmonauts with everything they need for at
least three months," Gorbunov said. "The cosmonauts are safe. At any moment
they can evacuate the station aboard the lifeboat, currently a Russian
Soyuz docked on the ISS."

To save food and fuel aboard the station, a manned Soyuz mission planned
for April could be postponed, he said.

Gorbunov said neither American nor Russian space experts would want to
leave the ISS unmanned. "Without cosmonauts regularly working there, we
could lose control of such a big station," he said.

At Baikonur, Russia's top launch site, residents grieved for the Columbia
as they watched Progress pierce the sky.

"Nobody had expected a tragedy like this, and we are in mourning and
grief," Oleg Urusov, editor-in-chief of Baikonur's main space magazine
Kosmodrom, told Reuters.

"Baikonur residents, as people close to the space industry and space
exploration, take the Columbia catastrophe as they would the loss of their
own loved ones."

Baikonur has seen several disasters, of which the worst occurred in October
1960 when 91 people were killed when an R-16 rocket exploded.

********

#2
San Francisco Chronicle
February 2, 2003
Putin offers sympathy to Bush, Sharon
Dilapidated Russian space vehicles are, temporarily, the only ones capable
of flight
Anna Badkhen, Chronicle Staff Writer

Moscow -- Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to
President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday after
the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over central Texas, killing the
six Americans and one Israeli on board.

But as the Kremlin offered condolences to the United States, its long-
standing rival in space, the demise of Columbia fueled Russia's hopes for a
return to its onetime status as the leader in space exploration.

Putin told Bush in a telegram that Russia "sympathizes deeply with you over
the tragedy which has struck your country." He said the Columbia crew had
"given their lives to conquering the dangers of space in the name of peace,
science and progress of civilization."

Just a few months ago, Russia's future role was in doubt as the
impoverished nation struggled to scrape together enough cash to manufacture
vessels for manned flights to the 16-nation, $100 billion international
space station.

But Saturday, with NASA suspending all shuttle flights for an indefinite
time, Russian space experts pointed out that that will make the dilapidated
Russian fleet -- if only temporarily -- the only vehicles capable of flying
into space.

"It is obvious that (U.S.) shuttle launches will most likely be canceled,
possibly for several years, until the reasons for the Columbia accident are
finally worked out," said Russian Space Agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov.

This would reinstate Russia as a leader in space, if only for several years,

until the United States resumes launching shuttles, Gorbunov said.

This could be the biggest boost for Russia's once-proud space program since
the Kremlin had to pull the plug on its Mir spaceship in 2001. The decision
to scrap the 15-year-old Mir was so unpopular that for years Russians had
sought novel ways to raise funds to keep it aloft -- including sending
space tourists to the international station for $20 million a pop.

When the dearth of funds finally forced Russia to down the aging vessel,
the cash-strapped nation turned to the international space station, which
has become its last hope for leadership in space.

The United States pays most of the space station's costs, but Russia, which
has designed and built some of its key parts, provides two Soyuz craft each
year to take astronauts to the station; the Soyuz vessels remain as
lifeboats for six months. Russia also provides five or six Progress cargo
ships each year to deliver supplies to the station.

Last year, Russia's space officials warned that the government had no money
to continue manufacturing enough Soyuz craft components for the station,
which has been manned since 2000. But later, the Kremlin assured that
Russia will continue to meet its financial obligations to the ambitious
international project.

A crew of three -- Americans Ken Bowersox and Don Pettit, and Russian
Nikolai Budarin -- is currently aboard the station. A Russian-made Progress
10 cargo ship will take fuel, equipment, food and documents to the crew
this week.

Gorbunov said the ship would launch on schedule today from Baikonur
cosmodrome in Kazakstan, which Russia leases from the ex-Soviet Central
Asian republic, and dock with the station on Tuesday.

*******

#3
Los Angeles Times
February 2, 2003
U.S. Ignores Putin's Assault on Rights
By Michael McFaul
Michael McFaul is a Hoover fellow and professor of political science at
Stanford University.

STANFORD -- In May 1988, President Reagan traveled to Moscow for a summit
with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. When he became president, Reagan
had called the Soviet Union the "evil empire," but at the time of his
historic trip its leader was a personal friend. Reagan didn't allow his
friendship with Gorbachev to overshadow his human rights agenda. Speaking
in Helsinki two days before entering the Soviet Union, Reagan proclaimed:
"There is no true international security without respect for human
rights.... The greatest creative and moral force in this new world, the
greatest hope for survival and success, for peace and happiness, is human
freedom."

In Moscow, Reagan echoed this theme at a luncheon at the American
ambassador's residence with nearly 100 Soviet human rights activists.
Reagan ordered that the ambassador's finest silverware and linens be used
to symbolically underscore his respect for the activists, the same as he
would accord to Gorbachev.

Reagan's dual-track diplomacy produced results. A few years later, many of
his lunch guests occupied positions of authority in a democratizing Russia,
a change that had national security implications. Although Russia still
possessed thousands of nuclear weapons, its intention to use them against
the United States greatly diminished as democratic and market institutions
took hold there.

Like Gorbachev and Reagan in 1988, presidents Vladimir V. Putin and Bush
have a budding friendship, one that has fostered U.S.-Russian cooperation
on important strategic matters like anti-terrorism. Yet, there's a
disturbing difference. Some of the same people who attended Reagan's
luncheon are again fighting for basic human rights and democratic practices
in Russia -- and Bush seems indifferent to their fate.

Putin's backsliding on democracy can no longer be ignored. The Russian
leader has overseen a war in Chechnya marked by summary executions, rape,
indiscriminate bombing of villages and the inhumane treatment of prisoners
of war.

The two largest national television networks do Putin's bidding, and his
government and its surrogates have now wrested control of NTV, Russia's
third-largest TV network and the only station truly critical of Putin.
Print journalists reporting the "wrong" news about Chechnya have been
either intimidated, arrested or pushed into exile. Oleg Panfilov, head of
the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, says, "The number of
criminal cases opened against journalists in three years of Vladimir
Putin's rule is more than the number during the entire 10 years of Boris
Yeltsin's regime."

There is more unnerving evidence of Putin's slide toward authoritarianism.
The State Security Service, whose budget is dramatically rising,
increasingly harasses human rights activists, environmental leaders and
religious groups. Recently, the Russian government expelled the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from Chechnya,
terminated its agreement with the U.S. Peace Corps and refused reentry into
Russia to American Irene Stevenson, director of the AFL-CIO's Solidarity
Center in Moscow. The government has even interfered in electoral politics,
removing opposition candidates from the ballot and preventing incumbents
from seeking reelection in various regions of the country.

Putin didn't personally orchestrate all these democratic rollbacks, but he
also has done nothing to reverse them. The battle over democracy within
Russia will largely be won or lost internally. Fortunately, in poll after
poll, Russians continue to value democratic ideals and practices. But the
Bush administration cannot continue to sit on the sidelines.

Amazingly, it has proposed drastic cuts in the amount of democratic
assistance earmarked for Russia next year on the ground -- ironic in light
of recent evidence -- that Russian democracy is firmly enough established.

Bush's stance is perplexing. His new national security doctrine declares
the promotion of liberty abroad a U.S. priority. Tell that to Russian human
rights activists, who feel alienated by the lack of U.S. encouragement.

But democratic activists in Russia need more than words of support. They
also need continued U.S. financial and technical help. At a minimum,
budgets for democracy assistance, already minuscule, cannot be reduced
further. Cutting assistance now, moreover, would send a terrible message
about U.S. staying power, not only to democrats in Russia but to those in
Afghanistan, Iraq and Uzbekistan.

Congress also has a role to play. Last year, the House and Senate
overwhelmingly approved, and Bush signed into law, the Russian Democracy
Act, which establishes a minimum for democratic assistance to Russia.
Budget cutters in the administration have found creative ways to meet these
minimal thresholds by calling programs like high school exchanges
"democracy assistance." This sleight of hand must not become law.

Furthermore, in a major report on U.S.-Russian relations a few years ago,
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) called for increased engagement "of
the Russian people, not just the Russian government." Now more than ever,
Cox and the other authors of this congressional study need to reaffirm
their recommendations.

Bush and his foreign team certainly have their hands full. Yet, they cannot
allow past victories to slip away while pursuing new ones. A return of
dictatorship in Russia, a country armed with thousands of nuclear weapons,
would present a much greater threat than the current set of tyrants now
threatening U.S. security. To maintain U.S. credibility on issues of
democracy and to encourage those within Russia dedicated to the cause of
democracy, the Bush administration has to find a way to work constructively
with Putin without ignoring Russian society. A good way to start might be a
luncheon at the American ambassador's residence in Moscow.

*********

#4
The Hindu
February 2, 2003
Boris Yeltsin Clan Keeps Russia In Its Grip
By Vladimir Radyuhin

Three years ago, Russia's first post-Communist President, Boris Yeltsin,
sprang a stunning New Year surprise on the nation by stepping down a full
six months before his second and last term expired. The decision confounded
political pundits, who had predicted the power-addicted leader would cling
to the throne to the very end.

Today, the pundits can feel partly vindicated. The Yeltsin clan, known as
The Family, has not only retained power, but increased it, resisting timid
attempts by Mr. Yeltsin's hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, to ease
the stranglehold of the Family-linked oligarchs on the Russian economy. The
Family dramatically demonstrated its might earlier this month by snapping
cheap the last big state-controlled slice of Russia's lucrative oil
industry, the Slavneft giant. What was touted to become Russia's first open
and fair auction, turned out to be a carbon copy of the rigged sell-offs of
the Yeltsin era. A front company set up by two oil tycoons acquired
Slavneft for a fraction over the $ 1.7 billions starting price in the
absence of any credible challenge. The Russian budget lost over $ 1 billion
it would have earned if other big bidders had not been discouraged from
taking part in the auction or disqualified through dubious court rulings.

The auction also dealt a painful blow to Mr. Putin, who during his recent
visit to Beijing, had personally invited the Chinese National Oil
Corporation to bid for Slavneft. However, on the eve of the auction,
Russian Government officials persuaded the Chinese company to pull out. A
handful of magnates belonging to The Family reportedly control 30 per cent
of Russia's economy, including oil, aluminium, coal, copper, steel,
automotive, aviation, pulp and paper and other industries.

Roman Abramovich, whose acquisition of Slavneft has made him one of the top
Russian oil moguls, had the reputation of being the former President's
family purse.'' His partner in the RusAl company, which controls 80 per
cent of aluminium production in Russia, Oleg Deripaska, is married to the
daughter of Mr. Yeltsin's former speech writer, Valentin Yumashev, who, in
turn, is married to Mr. Yeltsin's younger daughter, Tatyana.

They all have close links with Mr. Putin's Chief of Staff, Alexander
Voloshin, who was appointed to the job way back by Mr. Yeltsin. Mr.
Voloshin is believed to be even more powerful than even the Prime Minister,
Mikhail Kasyanov, who is also regarded as being close to The Family. The
retention of both officials in their posts is said to have been part of the
succession deal between Mr. Yeltsin and Mr. Putin. The Moskovsky
Komsomolets daily calls Mr. Yeltsin "the main transmitter of the political
will of his clan'' who has virtually unlimited access to the incumbent. But
Mr. Yeltsin also plays a broader role of standing guard on the economic
system he helped set up, when Kremlin-connected oligarchs snatched up oil
wells, mines and factories for a song.

During his presidential campaign three years ago, Mr. Putin vowed to
dismantle the system, saying, "the oligarchs will cease to exist as a
class.''

He launched judicial inquiries into the two most politically-active
tycoons, Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky, and drove them out of the
country. Yet, on the whole, the oligarchs have grown more powerful today. A
hundred or so people are estimated to control 85 per cent of Russia's
economy.

Not surprisingly, while Mr. Putin's popularity has recently exceeded 80 per
cent, only 33 per cent think his handling of the economy has been a
success, while 62 per cent consider it a failure. Analysts believe Mr.
Putin will mount a major offensive against the oligarchy next year to
establish a solid base for his re-election in 2004.

During a call-in interaction with Russians earlier this month, Mr. Putin
promised to take away super-profits in the commodity sector by taxing
natural resources on which the oligarchs sit.

Sergei Markov of the Institute of Political Studies warns that the
oligarchs will put up fierce resistance to the plan.

"They may even hatch a conspiracy against Mr. Putin if he acts in a radical
way,'' the analyst said. But the President has no option but cut the
oligarchs to size. It is basically a question of who has power in this
country - the oligarchs or the Government,'' Mr. Markov said. "Putin just
can't go for re-election without first resolving this problem.''

********

#5
New York Times
February 2, 2003
Putin, Dobby and the Axis of Weirdness
By MICHAEL WINES

MOSCOW The president of Russia holds a black belt in judo, once worked
for the K.G.B. and has been known, when angered, to make pointed allusions
to killing enemies in their outhouses and telling journalists to undergo a
bris by a surgeon with lousy aim. Superman wouldn't tug on this guy's cape.

So what was Novaya Gazeta thinking when it compared Vladimir V. Putin to
Dobby the House-Elf?

The decidedly liberal Moscow daily reported on Jan. 20 that a major Moscow
law firm was preparing to sue Warner Brothers, the factory that churns out
the Harry Potter movies, for adapting Mr. Putin's likeness to Dobby, a
computer-generated elf in its latest release, "Harry Potter and the Chamber
of Secrets."

For those who haven't seen the film, Dobby appears near the start to warn
young Harry against returning to Hogwarts. He is a kindhearted fellow who
gains his freedom from evil masters, a not-unflattering story line that
could well fit Mr. Putin, depending on one's view of the K.G.B.

But Dobby is also a wizened midget with bulging green eyeballs and floppy
ears who wears a pillowcase. Mr. Putin is perhaps slightly shortish as
world leaders go, but wizened he is not. He is a pretty snappy dresser, too.

Despite that, the supposed Putin-Dobby resemblance has become something of
a news event, and is clogging the chat rooms of Harry Potter Internet fan
sites.

Russians have reacted with an equal measure of good humor and wounded
national pride.

"The only difference is in the ears and height," a Potter devotee named
AnaBell wrote on the Russian Internet site Snape (www.snape.by.ru). "And
probably, also Dobby doesn't have a black belt."

To which another blogger replied: "It's not even funny. I think Putin
should sue our journalists (or who's making the public comparison?)."

Helpful foreigners have pointed out elsewhere on the Web that some American
presidents are regularly ridiculed, usually over canards like low I.Q.'s.
And several people have said Dobby actually resembles another world leader,
the long-departed King Charles II of Bourbon.

Almost lost amid this was the fact that no lawsuit has been filed. A call
to Novaya Gazeta failed to elicit the identity of the angry lawyers, or the
names of those they represent.

Absent legal action, one news article has suggested that the Dobby-Putin
nexus is a funny news story, but maybe not much more.

The Kremlin is silent on the entire issue.

********

#6
St. Petersburg Times
January 31, 2003
Let's Start Naming Names, With Putin First
By Vladimir Kovalev

I'M not a fan of Vladimir Putin at all. Fortunately, for private citizens
and, most of the time, journalists, the days when we were only able to make
comments like this without the fear of negative consequences around a
kitchen table, complete with a bottle of vodka and an ashtray full of
smoldering Belomorkanal cigarette butts, are gone.

But it appears that this is only the case for ordinary St. Petersburgers.
Local politicians, it seems, have been returned to the kitchen table, so to
speak. For them, the president and his administration have become the new
equivalent of "Jehovah" - the name that may not be spoken.

A few recent examples:

"It is not him. It is the people around him," said Alexander Afanasyev, the
spokesperson for Governor Vladimir Yakovlev.

"Let's not name any names. This is a very long story and a very difficult
point to discuss," said Legislative Assembly Deputy Vladimir Yeryomenko.

"Let's not discuss this topic, it's going to be solved without asking us,"
said Sergei Tarasov, the former speaker of the assembly.

The topic? The installation at the Legislative Assembly of a new,
anti-Yakovlev speaker as just one of a number of signs that the governor's
chances at being allowed to run for a third term - a subject that has come
a close second to the city's 300th anniversary in monopolizing his public
statements over the last six months - are being undercut by Putin and his
administration. The candidacy of Vadim Tyulpanov was openly supported by
local members of the pro-Kremlin Unity Party, of which he is himself a
member. Everyone knows who Afanasyev means when he says "him."

The Kremlin's involvement seems to have played a big part in sparking the
formation of a pro-Yakovlev bloc - United City - in the assembly. The new
bloc gave us a little taste of how serious they were in the fight on
Wednesday, when they neglected to turn up at the assembly. Thus prevented a
quorum from being formed and, as a result, scuttled plans to name the heads
of a number of vital committees - positions it appears that they would have
been denied.

While they are flexing their muscles in the assembly, United City members
don't dare badmouth the Kremlin. They would sooner blame Dobby, a character
from the latest Harry Potter movie, whose likeness to Putin has prompted
threats of court action - than name the president himself.

But Dobby has nothing to do with this mess. It is Putin.

Putin has been waiting for his chance to get back at Yakovlev for years. It
was Putin, then a deputy mayor under Anatoly Sobchak, - as was Yakovlev -
who branded Yakovlev a "Judas" for running against his boss in 1996. It
seems that Putin has a good memory and now, with the advantages that being
the biggest kid on the block brings, he's going to sort things out.

But it is not safe for politicians here to just come out and say it. How,
after all could such an honest and respectable figure as Vladimir Putin be
involved in such a dirty St. Petersburg political battle?

This, you must remember, is the same man who is acclaimed for his excellent
work. This, for example, is the man who announced this month that he had
managed to find $600 million for the completion of a flood-protection
barrier for the city. When the media and politicians here talked about this
story, we didn't hear the phrase "certain circles around the president."
All the credit went to him. No mention was made of the "certain circles
around the president" and in the St. Petersburg government who had been
involved in negotiations with the EBRD to get the money before Putin was
even elected.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not championing either Yakovlev or his attempt
to be allowed to stand for a third term. What I am championing is a move
away from the stealth-like character of the way decisions and careers
continue to be made here. By dancing around naming the president as the one
behind the moves to ensure that Yakovlev won't stay, those on the
governor's side are just buying into the stealth system.

But do they have much of a choice?

On the same day that they chose Tyulpanov as the new speaker, the
Legislative Assembly re-elected Sergei Mironov, a Putin ally, as its
representative in the Federation Council. Five of the members present cast
their votes against the president's choice in what was a secret ballot. A
comment made by one lawmaker, in between puffs on his cigarette, after the
vote, said it all for me.

"It would be interesting to see what would happen if they found out who
they were."

I wonder whom he meant by "they"?

*******

#7
The Observer (UK)
February 2, 2003
Putin threat to $8 trillion gene treasure
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow

One of the world's greatest genetic resources, which survived the Second
World War siege of Leningrad in which many of its scientists died, is to be
thrown out of its home and risk destruction in order to make room for the
luxurious tastes of President Vladimir Putin and his administration.

The Nikolai Vavilov Institute of Plant Growing and Research, situated on St
Isaac's Square in St Petersburg, one of Russia's most historic squares, is
one of four buildings that Moscow has ordered to be vacated to make room
for government offices and accommodation and a possible presidential flat.

The institute, where priceless samples of plants and seeds have been
collected since 1922, is valued by the World Bank at an incredible $8
trillion. It was founded by Nikolai Vavilov, a distinguished botanist and
geneticist, whose team made 110 expeditions around the world collecting
samples of 330,000 plants.

A quarter of the institute's samples are now thought to be extinct, and
modern conservation laws prevent similar samples being taken from the wild
again, making it a priceless resource.

But Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed a decree on 17 December
declaring that the institute must vacate the building, along with three of
its neighbours on St Isaac's Square.

'This is a catastrophe,' said Viktor Dragavtsev, director of the institute.
'A transfer from here would mean the destruction of the institute.' He said
that after a personal visit to the institute in 1993, former US
Vice-President Al Gore had sent 92 US military refrigerators from army
bases in Scotland and Sicily, which had been specially adapted to the
building to keep its samples below minus 10 degrees Celsius.

During transfer, the seeds' temperature will rise and they will lose their
ability to reproduce. 'Building a new DNA bank for the institute's
collection would cost at least $30 million,' he said.

Dragavtsev has written to Putin to ask him to stop the transfer. Yuri
Vavilov, the son of Nikolai, the institute's founder, said: 'This is
terrible news. If the institute loses its building, the collection which my
father began to gather would vanish. This would be a real tragedy for
science and an insult to the memory of my father.'

Critics have leapt upon the assigning of the buildings to the Presidential
Logistics Department as a sign that the prestigious square will be another
jewel in the increasingly weighty crown of the Putin administration. St
Petersburg is Putin's hometown, and speculation that one of the buildings
will be used as a presidential city flat has grown. The main presidential
residence, the Konstantinovsky Palace, restored at a cost of 120 million,
is too far from the city centre to be a useful working residence, some argue.

Viktor Khryekov, a spokesman for the federal government's general
management department who ordered the eviction, said: 'Firstly, all these
buildings are falling down. Despite a beautiful faade, inside the state of
all the buildings is terrible. Our task is not to make it worse, but to
improve it.

'We will think this out in the most serious way and discuss it with the
scientists, in order to give these institutions new homes,' he said.

*******

#8
The Times (UK)
February 1, 2003
Coming to terms with legacies of Stalingrad
On the 60th anniversary of the battle, Russia wants to honour the place but
not the man
By Robin Shepherd

MIKHAIL MATROSOV has good reason to wince at the name of Stalin. In 1937,
when he was just 13, his father was shot as an Enemy of the People one
of the countless millions who perished in the greatest political terror of
the 20th century.

Five years later, at the age of 18, Stalins name acquired a very different
meaning for him. Mr Matrosov was posted to the front line at Stalingrad.

The Battle of Stalingrad marked a turning point of the Second World War,
the beginning of the end for the Nazi scourge which had threatened to
engulf Europe. In a century that most Russians would prefer to forget, the
battle stands out in the national consciousness as a moment of true
heroism. For Mr Matrosov, the memory of Stalin arouses very different
emotions but it is a conflict that he, unlike modern Russia, is adamant
that he has resolved.

It is too painful to talk about my father I cant go down that road,
says the 79-year-old veteran. But you must understand that Stalingrad was
the symbol. We didnt fight for Stalin. We fought for the Motherland, for
Russia. We saved Europe.

As veterans prepare to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of
Stalingrad this weekend in what is now called Volgograd, the conundrum at
the heart of Mr Matrosovs life will once again be played out in the public
domain: how can Russia honour the memory of those who gave so much, without
simultaneously insulting the memory of the millions who died at Stalins
hands?

President Putin and other Russian dignitaries attending this weekends
commemorations are likely to sidestep the problem. Veterans demands to
have the city renamed Stalingrad will not be met. But neither will those
assembling to celebrate the anniversary expend much energy on what many in
the older generation call raking over the past, which means talking about
Stalins crimes.

Few would dispute the significance of Stalingrad in the defeat of Hitler.
After the battle, which consumed the lives of more than a million Russian
soldiers and civilians, the German armies were in almost constant retreat.
Hitler and Stalin had invested huge prestige in winning the battle of
Stalingrad, and Nazi morale never recovered.

Nor could anyone dispute the suffering of those who lived through it. The
constant fear of death from bombing, artillery and sniper fire was matched
by the daily struggle to survive. Thousands died of disease. People ate
rats to avoid starvation. If hunger, disease or the Germans did not get
them first, the Russian soldiers were also under constant threat from the
omnipresent NKVD Stalins secret police. More than 13,000 Russians were
executed in Stalingrad for desertion, insubordination or cowardice.

Mr Matrosov sighs at the authorities refusal to reinstate the name
Stalingrad a refusal that he and many like him consider to be an affront
to the memory of the veterans. If he can cope with Stalin, why cant modern
Russia? Look at this, he says with pride as he pulls out of his wallet a
yellowing cutting from a front-line newspaper called Na Razgrom Vraga (To
the defeat of the Enemy). The article is about him and is headlined
Communists and Kosmol Members in the Front Ranks Soldiers and Heroes!
He wears 23 medals on his jacket and is proud of every one.

But his pride, and the anger he feels at a generation which does not
understand, is matched by the financial distress of many elderly Russians
since the end of Communism. He lives on a pension of 80 a month.

Mr Matrosov is not bitter, but the irony does not escape him when he meets
German veterans who return every year and enjoy far fatter pensions.

It just seems so strange, he says. When they come back to Stalingrad
today, they all seem to look so rich.

******

#9
Russians Mark Battle of Stalingrad
February 2, 2003
By SERGEI VENYAVSKY

VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) - Aging Soviet veterans watched Sunday while young
Russian soldiers marched to mark the 60th anniversary of the Battle of
Stalingrad, a blood-drenched World War II turning point.

The war remains a powerful source of pride and pain in Russia that lost
millions of soldiers and civilians in the fight against Nazi Germany.

Some 250 veterans from across Russia, joined by political leaders and
foreign ambassadors, including Germany's, placed flowers and wreaths at a
memorial in downtown Volgograd - formerly Stalingrad - before watching a
parade of soldiers in uniforms tailored like those worn by Soviet troops of
60 years ago.

Minutes of silence were held throughout the city, and the ceremony shifted
to a massive monument - a woman representing the Motherland, holding a
sword high in the air and towering near a mass grave of 35,000 veterans and
civilians of the victims who died defending the city against Nazi invaders.

President Vladimir Putin arrived laid a wreath, standing silently and then
bending to one knee, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

Putin also placed a bouquet at the grave of a marshal who died in the
1942-43 battle. The president attended with three Stalingrad survivors
whose numbers are fast dwindling.

``I cried this morning because only three World War II veterans are left
alive in our village and only I was able to come here. The others are
ill,'' said Valentin Antyukheyev, 80, a resident of Krasnooktybrskaya
outside Volgograd. ``I remember how we fought for every meter of this soil
and how badly the city was ruined.''

Ambassadors from the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy and other
nations that fought in World War II took part in the ceremonies marking 60
years since the end of the grueling battle, which came Feb. 2, 1943, when
German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered in the basement of the
city's main department store.

One million Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed in the fighting in
and around the city, while hundreds of thousands of German soldiers died at
Stalingrad or in prison camps afterward.

The German defeat marked a turning point in the war, crushing Hitler's
drive to isolate the Soviet heartland from the southern oil fields, and the
battle remains a powerful symbol of Soviet courage and perseverance during
the second world war, which is often called the Great Patriotic War in Russia.

The anniversary ceremonies came amid a movement to restore the name
Stalingrad to this industrial river city 550 miles southeast of Moscow.
Formerly called Tsaritsyn, the city became Stalingrad in 1925, and then
Volgograd in 1961 when the Soviet Union began facing up to the horrors of
Stalin's rule.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder offered a message of sympathy Saturday
on behalf of his country. ``Stalingrad is a symbol for the immeasurable
suffering that the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union brought upon
millions of people. The events of Stalingrad will remain in the collective
memories of our peoples,'' it said.

********

#10
The Times (UK)
January 31, 2003
Interview
Why cast me as a criminal?
Chechen freedom fighter Akhmed Zakayev was once the only separatist Moscow
would negotiate with. Today he is in London, Fighting extradition on
terrorism charges. Our correspondent reports
By Vanora Bennett

AT FIRST, the scene looks as beguilingly wistful as a Chekhov play. Vanessa
Redgrave flits around her kitchen, passing around steaming teacups and
murmuring in broken Russian. Her guest, a tall man with a touch of silver
in his beard, is reminiscing about why he is in exile from the homeland he
loves. But it doesnt seem like Chekhov for long. The story that this man
is caught up in is far less refined, a blood-drenched drama with hundreds
of corpses. And the script, written by Russias President, Vladimir Putin,
says he killed them all.

By training, Akhmed Zakayev, like his hostess, is a classical actor. But
life has given him a very different role. Today he is the only
representative in the West of the President of Chechnya, whose people have
been trying to throw the Russian Army out of their homeland for nearly a
decade.

And Russia is out to get him. Suddenly, almost a year after he came to live
in Britain, as Redgraves guest, to plead the cause of Muslim Chechens to
Western politicians, Moscow has started demanding that this country throw
him out. He has been accused of being an international terrorist and mass
murderer the Russian Foreign Minister has made him out to be Moscows
equivalent of Osama bin Laden.

He was arrested in Copenhagen last autumn, and it is only because Redgrave
stepped in when he got back to London, and put up 50,000 in bail, that
Zakayev is at liberty today. If an extradition hearing due to start today
goes Moscows way, he could be dispatched to undergo what Russia says
will be a terrorism trial, but which Zakayev fears would be torture and
death.

All this is only the latest abrupt transformation for a man of 43 who,
during the fear-filled years of war, has gone from actor to culture
minister to separatist fighter to field commander. When I first saw him, in
1996, he was still a field commander: a broad-shouldered, dignified man
dressed in camouflage gear and a green headband. The sight of him on
television in Moscow always reduced my Chechen actor friends to hysterical
laughter his metamorphosis was akin to Kenneth Branagh suddenly throwing
away his greasepaint and living by the gun. Its crazy: hes the last
person you can imagine going into battle. Hes one of us: an educated
intellectual, they would howl, wiping tears from their eyes.

Zakayevs last metamorphosis but one turned him into the high-profile good
guy of Chechen affairs the moderate right-hand man of the beleaguered
President, Aslan Maskhadov, and the only separatist with whom Moscow would
negotiate. So it came as a complete surprise, he says, to find that he
had been recast as the bad guy.

Still, the man sitting across the table from me now, reaching for a pack of
cigarettes and revealing the one note of colour in his sombre outfit a
signet ring enamelled in Chechnyas national colours of green, white and
gold is not too downcast. Moscow has made a lot of random accusations
against me, and is obviously hoping to drag this case out for years to
prevent me from doing my job of making friends for Chechnya in the West,
Zakayev says, sparking up and grinning mischievously.

But Im optimistic. I think that Ill get a fair hearing in Britain. I
think that this is a country where the law counts for more than emotion.

In a way, the Russian prosecutors office is actually doing us a favour.
This court case is the chance weve wanted for years to show the world what
the Chechen-Russian conflict is about, and get an independent legal opinion
on it. Its our big opportunity for a public hearing on our cause.

Russia has put together a damning charge sheet. It accuses Zakayev of being
behind the siege of a Moscow theatre by young Chechen suicide bombers last
autumn. It alleges that he has killed 300 Russian policemen. It blames him
for kidnapping and murdering two Orthodox priests. But most of the charges
have turned out to be nonsense most embarrassingly for Moscow, one of the
dead priests is alive and talking to the Russian press.

The implausible accusation that Zakayev somehow, from three time zones
away, masterminded the theatre siege which ended in tragedy after the
Russian authorities ordered the theatre to be filled with gas, killing many
of the 750 hostages along with all of their captors has also been quietly
dropped.

All that leaves is the killing of 300 Russian policemen during the war. And
that just makes Zakayev look baffled. There has been enormous loss of life
on both sides in a war waged largely across forlorn urban housing estates.
Zakayevs men took life at his command, he admits; after all, their wartime
job was to fight Russian troops: Thats no secret, and theyve known it
perfectly well for all the years theyve been asking for me as a
negotiator. It was never a problem before.

So why is Moscow hunting down the one Chechen whom it used to treat with
respect? And what does the way this case is being put together reveal about
how Russia conducts the rest of its war, far from Western eyes, in a remote
corner from which it has banned visitors? This has always been a conflict
in which reality is kept backstage and illusion presented for public view.
Russia has never admitted officially that the fighting is about stopping
separatism and forcing the Chechens back under Moscows rule. Instead, its
line is that its troops are stopping a crimewave spreading out of Chechnya
into the rest of Russia, and it always refers to the separatists as armed
gangs and bandits to make the point that they are no more than criminals.

From the moment that the first 100,000-man army was dispatched south,
Moscow has been economical with the truth about its motives. Official press
releases throughout that first day insisted that the army was going into
Chechnya to hand out food aid, and gave detailed lists of the number of
bags of flour and pork sausages on offer.

But since September 11, 2001, Russia has been claiming that the war in
Chechnya is about containing Islamic fundamentalism in its own little
Muslim hotspot. These days, Russian propaganda officials are always
reporting that they have arrested Chechen separatists with maps of the
World Trade Centre in their pockets, with Arabic words and pictures of
aircraft scrawled over them in red pen. In case listeners dont get the
message, press conference after press conference is told that the Chechens
are the creatures of al-Qaeda.

The hawkish Putin, who came to power in 1999 on a promise to flush the
Chechens down the crapper, now claims the same rights as America to crush
the enemies whom he says threaten his countrys security. The quid pro quo
of Russias support for the post-September 11 War on Terror is that the
West gives him carte blanche to finish off the Chechen rebellion by force.

Zakayev has no time for al-Qaeda talk. If the world were having problems
with Martians, the Russians would say the Martians had links to the
Chechens.

Zakayev thinks that his real crime is giving the West a rare image of
Chechen moderation. It doesnt suit the Kremlin to have me around, when it
is so determined on war. My presence here means that every day there are
more people who understand how hopeless it is to go on fighting, at a time
when even in Russia some politicians have started calling on the President
to stop the killing. And thats why the Russian prosecutors office has
decided to neutralise me politically, and perhaps physically.

Even if labelling him a criminal does not result in him being deported, the
fact that he is involved in a criminal case will make it almost impossible
for him to obtain visas to continue travelling. A plan to visit Washington,
for example, is on hold.

Whether Washington would be sympathetic to Zakayev is, in any case,
doubtful. All that most people know about the Chechens is the atrocities
they have committed: six workers from the International Committee of the
Red Cross butchered in their beds at a hospital in Chechnya in 1996; four
telecoms engineers working for a British company beheaded in 1998, their
headless corpses left by the roadside. And the televised images of last
autumns theatre siege will take a long time to fade.

Zakayev has explanations, even if they take some swallowing. The
kidnappings and killings, he admits, were carried out by Chechens but he
claims that they were sponsored by huge payments from the Russian successor
bodies to the KGB.

Even when the Russian Army withdrew, we were still fighting the Russian
special services, and they turned out to be much stronger, more experienced
and better equipped than us, he says. They dared to do things that were a
nightmare for us, and discredited the Chechen leadership in the eyes of the
world, making it seem that we were incapable of governing.

Zakayev is on surer ground when he says that the suicide bombings are the
tragic response of individual young people who have grown up knowing
nothing but war, and who have been driven to desperation by the relentless
Russian atrocities that are never reported in the Russian press.

There wasnt a single suicide attack in the first part of the war. It
wasnt in our national mindset. It simply never happened. That it happens
now is a great sorrow and problem for the Chechens, and the Russians, too,
he says. But, unfortunately, these people make their decisions for
themselves. They dont come to our headquarters and get orders.

It is unlikely that there will ever be conclusive proof either way on any
of these questions.What we can say with certainty is that the history of
Russian and Chechen mutual hostility goes back much farther than the
current war. There is a hint of racism in it (Russians call the
Mediterranean-looking Chechens darkies) and an element of the ancient
religious suspicion between Christian and Muslim.

It first surfaced during the long wars of the 19th century, when the Tsars
were trying to bring the mountain peoples of the south under their rule.
Tolstoy wrote about Chechen villagers then finding their homes burnt by
Russian troops: No one spoke of hatred for the Russians. The feeling they
experienced was stronger than hate. It was not hatred, for they did not
regard those Russian dogs as human beings, but it was such repulsion,
disgust and perplexity at the senseless cruelty of these creatures that the
desire to exterminate them like the desire to exterminate rats, poisonous
spiders or wolves was as natural an instinct as that of self-preservation.

Meanwhile, elderly people in Chechnya today still remember being rounded up
at gunpoint when Stalin deported the entire Chechen population to the
frozen steppes of Central Asia in 1944 (his excuse was that they had been
fraternising with the Nazis, even though the advancing Nazis had not
reached Chechen territory). Zakayev is of the generation born in that
13-year exile or just afterwards, who remember being brought up under the
strictest Moscow rule when they were finally allowed back to Chechnya.

We werent allowed to talk Chechen, even among ourselves, he says now,
his voice tinged with bitterness. If they caught us talking our own
language, in our own homes, the Russians would start telling us off, and
they never said dont talk Chechen just talk human.

The Chechens declared independence in 1991, after a failed coup attempt in
Moscow by hardliners wanting to bring back old-style communism brought down
the Soviet Union. The immediate reason for their rush towards freedom was
the rumour, which spread panic through their towns, that the coup plotters
had wanted to show their power by sending the Chechens into exile again.

The modern war has been marked by massive human-rights abuses against
Chechen civilians, and massacres. But the only human-rights court case
against a Russian colonel who admitted dragging a Chechen teenager from her
bed, then raping and stabbing her has been quietly dropped.

Zakayevs younger brother was killed early in the war. His wife is with him
in London, as is one of their four grandchildren, but the rest of the
family ekes out a precarious existence in the refugee camps on Chechnyas
southern border with Georgia.

What Zakayev and his separatist colleagues want is a Kosovo-type solution:
international supervision of a peace settlement by foreign observers who,
they hope, would at least keep them safe.

If the extradition case in London against Zakayev sheds some public light
on the reality of one murky conflict, and encourages more politicians in
the West to think about taking the heat out of it with an internationally
monitored settlement, Russias inept casting of Zakayev as a villain could
end up doing some good after all.

*******

#11
Los Angeles Times
February 2, 2003
Bracing for AIDS Crisis in Eurasia
U.S. must push Russia, India and China to pay urgent attention to pandemic.
By Nicholas Eberstadt
Nicholas Eberstadt is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
in Washington.

With his $15-billion "Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief," unveiled in the
State of the Union address, President Bush has altered both the level of
commitment and the depth of resources in the worldwide struggle against the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. This new plan will focus on just 14 countries in Africa
and the Western Hemisphere (Haiti, Guyana and a dozen sub-Saharan states).
The rationale for this intense concentration is, quite simply,
international arithmetic: Of the roughly 40 million HIV-positive people
worldwide, fully half are thought to live in these 14 targeted countries.

The emergency plan is thus an attack against the HIV pandemic as we know it
today. But AIDS is a fast-moving and utterly global plague. Its front lines
tomorrow will not necessarily be the spots where we are preparing to wage
major campaigns today. In fact, there is reason to believe that the locus
of the worldwide AIDS problem is shifting -- from sub-Saharan Africa to the
Eurasian landmass (defined here as Asia plus Russia). Devastating as the
African AIDS epidemic has been, HIV breakout in Eurasia threatens to be
more disastrous.

According to the United Nations, roughly 30 million HIV sufferers today are
sub-Saharan Africans, and some 8 million people are living with HIV in
Eurasia. And these Eurasian figures may be too low. A recent study by the
U.S. National Intelligence Council, for example, suggests that the totals
for three Eurasian countries alone -- Russia, India and China -- may
already be as high as 12 million, with up to 2 million HIV sufferers in
Russia and China each and as many as 8 million in India.

It took less than a decade for the sub-Sahara's estimated HIV-positive
population to jump from 8 million to today's 30 million. There is still no
reliable means for accurate long-term HIV projections, but expert opinion
is already contemplating mind-numbing totals for Eurasia in the years
immediately ahead. By 2010, the intelligence council study argues, there
could be nearly 50 million people living with HIV in just three of
Eurasia's countries. Just seven years hence, in this grim imagining, as
many as 8 million Russians could be stricken with HIV -- more than
one-tenth of the reproductive-age population. In China, the corresponding
number for 2010 might be as high as 15 million. India's HIV count in 2010
could be 25 million.

If one looks a bit further into the future, the reverberations of HIV in
Eurasia could be even worse. Even a relatively "mild" HIV epidemic could
result in suffering of an entirely new magnitude. For the quarter-century
spanning 2000-25, projections based on this "mild" scenario envision more
than 40 million AIDS deaths just for Russia, India and China. That would be
almost twice the death toll from the worldwide AIDS pandemic up to this
point. In sub-Saharan Africa, the AIDS catastrophe has been mainly
humanitarian; the economic and political repercussions of the disaster have
been minimal because Africa is marginal to the modern world economy and the
global power balance.

Not so Eurasia, which is a major and growing center of economic and
military power. The now-unfolding HIV epidemics in Russia, India and China
could directly and tangibly darken economic prospects for any and all of
these countries. For the outside world, the costs of local AIDS disasters
in each of these Eurasian centers would certainly be measured in terms of
lost trade opportunities. And perhaps in other terms as well: We cannot
forget that these three states maintain massive conventional armies and
nuclear arsenals.

Effective national AIDS campaigns require top-level commitment and
leadership. Unfortunately, despite some positive stirrings, the highest
authorities in Russia, China and India still seem largely in denial about
their mounting domestic HIV crises.

The Bush administration would be well advised to devote more of its
anti-AIDS energies into rousing these three governments to embrace HIV
strategies of their own. Prevention is said to figure prominently in the
president's plan. Across Eurasia, preventive actions today can still reduce
the scale of the AIDS emergency we will face tomorrow.

*******

#12
Russia: Government Seeks Compromise With Big Oil Companies
By Michael Lelyveld

The Russian government stressed compromise with the country's oil companies
this week after rising tensions over plans to build private export
pipelines. But the state monopoly Transneft blasted a project for the
Arctic port of Murmansk as potentially illegal, challenging both the
companies and the government to make tough decisions that could set the
course for investment in the industry.

Boston, 31 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian government and private oil
companies both tried to cool down their confrontation over exports this
week, but the state pipeline monopoly Transneft continued to throw fuel on
the fire.

After two months of conflict over plans to increase exports with privately
owned pipelines and port facilities, the government took the unusual step
of denying on 29 January that there has been any battle with Russia's
independent oil giants.

Government spokesman Aleksei Gorshkov said, "There is no confrontation at
all," the official RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Gorshkov was responding to a "Wall Street Journal" report on a struggle
between the state-controlled pipeline operator Transneft and independent
oil companies, which has threatened to turn into the biggest issue for the
Russian oil industry since the 1995 loans-for-shares scheme gave rise to
most of the firms.

Oil majors like Yukos were first encouraged by the government to invest in
new production, helping to pull Russia's finances back from oblivion
following the 1998 ruble collapse. Last year, the government again touted
the capacity of the companies in offering the West an alternative to the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, when it cut oil exports to
drive up the price.

Last November, the companies took the next step in building their empires
by banding together to build a pipeline and terminal for the Arctic port of
Murmansk to export more oil to the West in a project costing up to $4.5
billion. But Transneft stepped in to fight the plan, seeing it as an
attempt break its monopoly. The companies are now balking at investing
billions of dollars if Transneft can set export volumes and transit fees at
will.

Transneft and Yukos are locked in a nearly identical match in the Far East,
where the nation's second-largest oil company is trying to build a
privately run pipeline to China. Transneft wants to build its own line for
the same resources to a port that would serve Japan and other countries
instead.

The government has been caught in the middle, dealing with the consequences
of its own private enterprise policies while refusing to give up state
controls over oil exports. So far, the government has tried to keep a foot
in both worlds. The fear is that oil could rush out toward markets that are
willing to pay higher prices, leaving the low-priced Russian market with a
shortage instead of the glut it has now.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Gorshkov specifically denied that the
cabinet had rejected the plan to expand the pipeline system and insisted
that the companies had not pressed for control over their new projects. He
suggested instead that the companies could get greater access to the new
facilities and better rates. Gorshkov noted that pipeline privatization in
Russia remains illegal, but he added that "the cabinet is ready to
cooperate with private capital in implementing projects of [the] building
of export pipelines."

The Reuters news agency quoted unnamed industry officials, who hailed the
government's tone of flexibility. Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko
is due to meet with the companies today (31 January) to discuss a
300,000-barrel-per-day boost in exports on sections of the main Druzhba
pipeline, a plan that would not entail compromise of Transneft's power.
Reuters quoted one company official as saying, "The fact that the
government agreed to meet us is already positive."

Some companies seem glad to turn down the level of confrontation after
Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky suggested that he would cut some
production unless he could build new export pipelines. But the slight
increase under discussion is unlikely to provide a solution to the conflict
over privatization.

This week, the RosBalt news agency reported that the group of five oil
firms behind the Murmansk project has already chosen a contractor for the
pipeline from the Kola Peninsula. The Starstroy company, which has worked
on Sakhalin Island projects in the Far East, has been chosen to develop a
line that would eventually carry up to 120 million tons of oil per year, or
2.4 million barrels per day.

The huge size of the plan may be a sign of why Transneft has put up so much
resistance. This week, Transneft Vice President Sergei Grigoriev said the
company would have "no part" in the project, RosBalt reported. Grigoriev
said dismissively, "The project is being developed by oil companies in
order to pressure the government, and we stay out of politics. There is no
project yet. All there is so far is intent, while the oil companies are not
yet even certain about the route."

Grigoriev said the companies want to force the government to lower export
tariffs or "slip from under the government's control altogether, as
concerns exports."

Grigoriev challenged both the practicality and legality of the private
plan, noting that only 30 percent of Russia's oil output can be exported
under the law, while Russia will produce no more than 450 million tons of
oil by 2010. Besides, Transneft is promoting an export route through the
Gulf of Finland that it hopes will draw away any new growth.

But Transneft and the law may be precisely what the companies are
challenging in a confrontation where the pipeline monopoly seems to be
acting as a competitor to the private firms. If the companies succeed, they
could also take on the gas monopoly Gazprom, which would force them to sell
all their gas in the domestic market rather than allow access to pipelines
for export.

********

#13
The Russia Journal
January 31-February 6, 2003
The great watershed year
By Andrei Piontkovsky

Three years of Vladimir Putins presidency have been enough to totally
dispel illusions including Putins own, it seems that it would be
enough to push a few liberal laws through the Duma and replace a few bad
Jewish oligarchs with a few good Orthodox ones to ensure Yeltsins mutant
would simply fade away of its own accord, to be replaced with a dynamic and
transparent market economy. Not only has the mutant not disappeared, it is
still stopping the country from modernizing and entering a post-industrial
development phase.

For all its achievements in the early 1920s, the rickety NEP couldnt
ensure the countrys transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial
economy. There were two possible ways out of this crisis. The first was to
take the NEP further with economic liberalization and bring about
industrialization through an authoritarian but economically liberal regime,
as happened 50 years later in a number of south-east Asian countries.

Young, aggressive and still convinced it had historic truth on its side,
the Soviet communist regime finally chose a path more in line with its
ideological dogma and the traditions of state power in Russia. This path
led the country toward a mobilization economy, maximum concentration of
resources in state hands and political terror against whole groups of
people, above all, against the peasants.

The great watershed year put a definitive end to the NEP period and ushered
in a new era, in which the country was dragged into industrialization
through barbaric means and at a huge, perhaps irreversible cost.

Russia still has no real civil society, and this means that, just as it was
80 years ago, the authorities will decide how to get the country moving
forward in the 21st century. Essentially, the authorities have three options.

The first and most tempting is to do nothing. Of course, problems would
build up and social tensions would rise, but nothing would threaten the
ruling elite, at least not in the short term. The population spent its
political energy during the upheavals of the 1990s and has now sunk into
apathy and a feeling of deep disappointment with all forms of political
activities. Putins high ratings are often referred to as a rating of the
publics hopes, but I think it is more of a rating of hopelessness and
indifference.

Perhaps the "do nothing" scenario is not only the most convenient for the
authorities, but also the most humane. After all, when a cancer has
progressed too far and can no longer be operated on, isnt it better to put
the patient in a hospice and prescribe painkillers in the form of the
revived Soviet anthem, communist stars and soothing chats between the
president and the people?

The second option, increasingly called for not just by the left wing, would
certainly ensure a short-lived burst of enthusiasm, but it is remarkably
reminiscent of the 1929 watershed-year scenario. To follow this path would
be to take the analogy made by Yegor Gaidar to its logical conclusion.

The program would "return to the people what was stolen from them,"
introduce a mobilization economy and concentrate resources in the hands of
a state bureaucracy, all overseen by "patriotic secret service officers."
This concoction would ensure that Russia surges forward and return it to
the ranks of the leading countries, or even better, to its rightful
superpower status.

The tragedy of 1929 would repeat itself as a farce, and the great leap into
the future would send the country tumbling into the black hole of the past.
Means such as these are unsuitable for taking a country into
post-industrial society. What is needed, rather, are maximum economic and
political freedoms. And in any case, where are these fearless knights of
the secret services who will lead the mobilization economy and spearhead
the charge into the future? In the three years theyve had free reign in
the jungles of Russian business, theyve proved themselves no different
from the "Family," but even greedier and less competent.

The third option is the most difficult for the authorities, and therefore
the most unlikely. It would require a degree of civil responsibility and
commitment to moral rigor that is hard to imagine the modern Russian
political elite possessing. The authorities would have to change the very
rules of the game on which their self-serving interests hinge, which made
them the elite in the first place.

This would mean separating money and power, putting raw-materials profits
at the service of society, bringing corporate management into the open,
making the courts independent, forming a government of people not linked to
oligarchic clans and not caught up in business interests of their own, and
encouraging the development of a civil society that would become an
effective lever for controlling the elites actions.

Critics have repeatedly reproached Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky for
giving too big a role to the figure of the "good tsar" or "clever tsar" in
the proposals he makes in his "demodernization" for leading Russia forward.
But the issue is not one of Putin himself and his personality; rather it is
about the specific nature of the post Putin holds. It is the authorities
that would have to choose between the three development scenarios mentioned
above.

The modern Russian political system is designed in such a way that the
decision will be 90 percent the responsibility of one man. And you know who
this man is.

*******

#14
From: Scott Sonders <media411@rampageusa.com>
Subject: Re: 7043-Fisher/Lada
Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2003

In response to Matthew Fisher's "Little love lost for Russia's forlorn
Lada..."

With all due respect to Matthew Fisher's otherwise academic expertise, I
felt the pivot of his commentary about Ladas felt a bit like a sophomoric
tirade and, as such, more akin to propaganda than objective journalism. He
glosses over the most relevant point. The reason Lada's are often rejected
as a new car choice has nothing to do with quality. But it has everything to
do with the universal appeal of snobbery amongst the nouveau riche and petit
bourgeois. Has Matthew ever driven in a Lada? Doubtful. I have. Dozens upon
dozens of times. And yes, they have no import emissions restrictions and as
such tend to be somewhat noxious. But they are also, as Fisher is generous
to briefly mention, quite reliable and easy to repair. And most importantly
and contrary to the propaganda, Ladas are very well appointed, comfortable
and, of course, an amazing value. If Russians, or anyone really, bought cars
solely for QUALITY, the whole world would be driving a Honda or Toyota. But
they're not. People buy most things for, what we call in the media trade,
"PERCEIVED value." In America, German auto makers have done a stellar
marketing job. Americans spend $60,000 on a car that is no faster, no more
agile, no more comfortable and no more safe in rush hour traffic than a
top-of-the-line Japanese car for $30,000. But in Estonia, for example, BMW's
are avoided because they break down quickly on their poorly surfaced winter
roads.

I was recently a "visiting professor" (and am still on consulting staff) at
a major university in the ex-CIS. Matriculation at this school costs a
relative fortune. So the students, mostly the offspring of nouveau riche
parents, mostly drive PRESTIGE foreign cars, including, as Fisher nods to,
the most popular of all, the Ford Focus. Now, fellow Americans are probably
laughing at this thought: when given the choice, someone actually choosing
to spend MORE money (double, in fact) on a F.O.R.D. (Fix Or Replace Daily)
auto. But again here's the parallel to the incredible power of snobbery. As
anyone who has spent some time in Russia knows, virtually no Russian would
condescend to drinking Stolichnaya vodka in any public place, bar or
restaurant. And, as such, it is rarely even offered in those establishments.
Why? Because in Russia it's CHEAP. It's what you buy at kiosks and liquor
stores to drink at home, maybe around a dollar for a fifth. And anyone who
can afford to go out for dinner would want to SHOW they can afford it. They
would be humiliated to buy something cheap. So, instead they order Absolut,
Finlandia, or even Smirnoff (which again, is a cheaper brand in the USA). I
guess turnaround is, indeed, fair play. "Stoli" is the primary vodka of
choice in America! Why? Well, "it's authentic, ain't it?" Go figure!

My best regards,
Scott Alixander Sonders, Ph.D.
ex-Visiting Professor of Media Studies,
Concordia International University

********

#15
Los Angeles Times
February 2, 2003
Celebrate all things Russian in Baltimore
Get your fix of Tchaikovsky, Kandinsky, ballet and regional food at St.
Petersburg festival.
By Jane Engle, Times Staff Writer

A three-week-long celebration of Russian culture opens Feb. 13 in Baltimore
to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg, Russia.

One of the largest cultural festivals ever mounted in Baltimore, "Vivat!
St. Petersburg" has enlisted more than 60 arts organizations. Restaurants
will serve Russian dishes, and hotels will offer packages.

Why Baltimore? The area is a sister region to the St. Petersburg area, said
Larry Noto, spokesman for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Assn.
Another link is Yuri Temirkanov, music director of the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra. He holds the same post with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and
commutes between the two cities.

It was Temirkanov who three years ago suggested holding "Vivat! St.
Petersburg" ("Long Live St. Petersburg!"), officials said. The effort began
with just five city organizations and mushroomed.

The festival runs through March 2. For a schedule and other details, call
(877) BALTIMORE (225-8466) or visit www.vivatfest.com.

Highlights include:

"The Faberge Menagerie" and "Origins of the Russian Avant-Garde": The first
exhibit, Feb. 13 to July 27, features about 100 miniature animal figures by
Russia's master goldsmith and jeweler, Peter Carl Faberge (1846-1920). The
second, Feb. 13 to May 25, pairs works by Wassili Kandinsky, Kasimir
Malevich and others with folk art that influenced them. Both are at the
Walters Art Museum. Adult admission is $12.

"Art of the Ballets Russes": Scores of stage and costume designs by Henri
Matisse, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and others for 25 productions of the
renowned early 20th century ballet company. Feb. 12 to May 4. Baltimore
Museum of Art. Adult admission is $7.

Concert series: Music by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and other Russians will
be played by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Various dates, Feb. 13
through March 2. Tickets are $20 to $47.

"Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk": Dmitri Shostakovich's opera, starring Karen
Huffstodt, will be performed four times between Feb. 22 and March 2 by the
Baltimore Opera Company. Tickets $60 to $95.

Several Washington, D.C., museums are also marking the anniversary. Among
them are the National Museum of Women in the Arts, which will display works
by women artists from St. Petersburg's Hermitage museum (Feb. 14 to June
18; [202] 783-7370, www.nmwa.org) and Hillwood Museum & Gardens, with a
show called "The Myths of St. Petersburg" (Feb. 4 to Dec. 31; [202]
686-5807, www.hillwoodmuseum.org).

*********

#16
Baltimore Sun
February 2, 2003
Russians catch up on Baltimore
Festival: As Charm City honors St. Petersburg, many there know Baltimore as
a condiment, not a city.
By Douglas Birch
Sun Foreign Staff

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - A world away, an American city called Baltimore
has spent millions of dollars and marshaled all of its cultural muscle to
salute Russia's imperial capital, St. Petersburg, on its 300th birthday.
And here is what Yevgeny Martinyenko, standing on an ice-paved sidewalk in
St. Petersburg, wants to know:
"Is this about ketchup?" he asks, tentatively.

Here, Baltimor is the brand name of a Russian-made tomato-based condiment.
But Martinyenko seems dubious that an American newspaper reporter would be
interested in what he pours on his shashlik and sausages.

Told Baltimore is a city, not a Reagan-era vegetable, the 23-year-old
student at St. Petersburg's Railway Construction Institute nods. Further
informed that Baltimore has a historic port and that two Baltimore brothers
(Thomas and William Winans) helped build the first railroad linking St.
Petersburg and Moscow in the 19th century, he smiles blankly.

During the course of what turns into a brief cross-examination, no bells
ring. No memories are jogged. "This is the first time that I've heard of
it," he says. "I know Las Vegas and Los Angeles, New York and Washington."

But Baltimore? Beats him.

Baltimore's art and cultural institutions are celebrating the 300th
anniversary of the founding of Russia's mythic and melancholy former
imperial capital with "Vivat! St. Petersburg." The St. Petersburg-related
exhibitions and performances, scheduled from Feb. 13 to March 2, have
become the centerpiece of a Baltimore winter tourism campaign.

One avowed purpose of Vivat! is to help introduce Americans to a city that
since its founding in May 1703 has produced some of the world's best-loved
music, painting, literature, dance and theater. But it's safe to say that
residents of the city of Dostoevski, Tchaikovsky and Pavlova have a lot to
learn about the city of H. L. Mencken, Blaze Starr and John Waters.

'Not far from Chicago'

Among those Russians who have heard of Maryland's major metropolis, many
hazily recall the Soviet-era reports of Baltimore's blast furnaces and
factories.

A terse entry in The Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1976 called Baltimore a
"big industrial center due to easy use of coal from the nearby Appalachian
coal basin," and described Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant. There
was little mention of the city's contribution to American art, literature
or science.

"Of course, I have seen the name somewhere," says Yevgeny Kozlov, a
graduate student in literature and part-time critic. "But only the name. In
my mind, it is connected with some steel production. I think it is
somewhere not far from Chicago."

Russia's makers of Baltimor ketchup sponsor a weekly comedy show named -
coincidentally - Gorodok or "small city," on the RTR television network.
The show's two stars often toss tomatoes at each other to mock their
patrons. Once they hawked the product by rephrasing an old Russian proverb
about - what else? - vodka.

"Russians can't decide anything without a bottle of ketchup," one announced.

But the name Baltimor has nothing to do with the American city, the
manufacturer says. It is a contraction of Baltiskoye Morye, which in
Russian means Baltic Sea.

"The ketchup Baltimor is very famous," explains Simeon Mikhailovsky, an
architect and historian with the Russian Academy of Arts.

The city Baltimore? Much less so.

Mikhailovsky knows a bit about Baltimore because as a historian he is
familiar with the city's celebrated Basilica of the Assumption, dedicated
in 1821. Designed by Benjamin H. Latrobe, the basilica was the first Roman
Catholic cathedral in the United States and is generally regarded as one of
the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the world.

Baltimore is also home to one of only a handful of American newspapers
whose name Mikhailovsky has heard over the years: The Baltimore Sun.

No kidding, he says. (During the Cold War, Voice of America and Radio
Liberty read articles from The Sun, which has had a Moscow bureau for 47
years, to listeners in the Soviet Union.)

Among prominent physicians and scientists, Baltimore is widely recognized
as a center for research. "It's a nice city with a wonderful aquarium, and
the remarkable Johns Hopkins University," says Zhores I. Alferov, director
of St. Petersburg's A.F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute and winner of
the 2000 Nobel Prize in physics.

He was honored for work that made possible the development of cell phones,
without which, it sometimes seems, Russians would be unable to sit still
for long in restaurants or aboard aircraft.

Alferov, the first Russian to win a Nobel Prize in the post-Soviet era,
visited Baltimore twice in the late 1980s and early 1990s to attend
conferences on lasers and electronic optics.

He praises the city's hospitality, seafood and - by comparison to St.
Petersburg - mild climate. (St. Petersburg is almost as far north as
Anchorage, Alaska, while Baltimore is farther south than any city in Russia.)

"When I was in Baltimore, the weather was always fine," he says, sounding a
little wistful.

Some widely traveled St. Petersburg artists and athletes have also been to
Baltimore. Diana Vishneva, one of the most acclaimed young performers with
the Mariinsky - formerly the Kirov - Ballet, remembers seeing the sharks at
the National Aquarium during a U.S. tour several years ago.

But she doesn't recall much else. "We had a lot of cities to visit," says
the 26-year-old, struggling to dredge up another memory of Charm City.

Daniil Granin, an 85-year-old St. Petersburg novelist - one of Russia's
most prominent living writers - has no such difficulty. He visited
Baltimore in the 1980s.

"I am very pleased that Baltimoreans decided to have such a festival," says
Granin, who was nominated for the 2001 Russian Booker Prize for Evenings
with Peter the Great.

"Unfortunately, little is known about Petersburg in the world. People know
about Moscow. Far fewer know that Petersburg is the cultural capital,
guardian of culture and major scientific center" of Russia.

'A nice clean city'

St. Petersburg's Tamara Moskvina, a figure-skating coach who has guided
four couples to Olympic titles, has been to Baltimore a half-dozen times
with ice shows, recalling "a nice clean city." And she waxes enthusiastic
about the plans for "Vivat! St. Petersburg."

"I think that this festival will make Baltimoreans open-eyed with surprise
and exclaim 'Wow!' as Americans do," she says. "I also hope that they will
have a burning desire to visit our city. They will see for themselves that
there are no bears on the city streets, that Petersburg is not a fabricated
myth but is indeed a mine of artistic and cultural values."

All that Kirill Lavrov, a prominent Soviet actor and now artistic director
of the Bolshoi Drama Theater in St. Petersburg, knows about Baltimore comes
from his longtime friend, Yuri Temirkanov, the director of the St.
Petersburg Philharmonic.

Temirkanov also serves as music director of the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra and inspired the Vivat! St. Petersburg festival.

"I know that Baltimore's orchestra is very good, very famous," Lavrov says.
"As for the theater life there? I have no idea what is going on."

The silver-haired actor has known Temirkanov since the conductor's days as
a student.

Graciously, Lavrov agreed to a one-question quiz about Crab Town.

Where is it located?

He brooded for a few moments, then offered: "It seems to me that it is in
the East?"

That would be right.

"Really?" he replied. "So I have deep knowledge!"