|JRL #7048||Plain Text - Entire Issue|
1. Reuters: U.S. slashes aid to Russia, Ukraine.
2. RIA Novosti: WHITE HOUSE ACKNOWLEDGED RUSSIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH.
3. Interfax: Russian official reacts to US aid cut, warns against return to
Cold War thinking. (Stepashin)
4. Interfax: Russia sees new Harry Potter parody; copyright-holder does not
5. Rosbalt: 40% of Russia's Citizens Have No Access to Good Medical
6. RFE/RL: Gregory Feifer, Antiwar Movement Works To Gain Momentum.
7. Luba Schwartzman: TV1 Review.
8. AFP: Gorbachev's Soviet past comes back to haunt him in Azerbaijan.
9. BBC Monitoring: Gorbachev justifies 1990 crackdown in Baku - Azeri TV.
10. pravda.ru: Mikhail Gorbachev Going To Genocide Trial?
Azerbaijan government accused Mikhail Gorbachev of genocide crimes.
11. BBC Monitoring: Opinion poll suggests Russia's ruling party lost half
its support in a month.
12. Christian Science Monitor: Claudia Kolker, Taking the wheel puts
women in the hot seat. In capitalist Russia, more women are on the road - and
driving men crazy.
13. Edward Lozansky: McFaul's Embassy Lunch.
14. Catherine Fitzpatrick: Reply to McFaul 7044.
15. RIA Novosti: Russian Interior Ministry to step up campaign against
16. ITAR-TASS: Putin rights aide questions Western-style lawsuits for
Moscow siege victims.
17. Reuters: OSCE to send team to Chechnya before poll.
18. radicalparty.org (Italy): The FSB as a criminal grouping. (re Alexander
Litvinenko book LPG, the Lubyanka Criminal Group)
19. RIA Novosti: PUTIN'S ADVISER OFFERS 3 WAYS OF RUSSIAN ECONOMY TO
20. RIA Novosti: "ABSURD," SAYS PUTIN'S ADVISER AS WTO CALLS RUSSIA TO
SKYROCKET FUEL PRICES.
21. Reuters: Tennis-We're underdogs says Russian Davis Cup chief.
22. BBC Monitoring: Poles say USA friend, Russia enemy - poll.
23. AFP: Latvia approves site of controversial NATO-compatible radar.
24. Reuters: Kuchma says at a loss over poor US-Ukrainian ties.
25. BBC Monitoring: Russian deputy says country's chemical weapons will be
destroyed by 2012.
26. Arab News (Saudi Arabia): Michel Cousins, The Russians are coming...
and in a big way.
27. BBC Monitoring: Modernizing army remains top priority, says Putin.
28. Interfax: Russian foreign minister stresses need for cooperation with
USA on missiles.
29. ITAR-TASS: Russian expert casts critical eye over space shuttle's
U.S. slashes aid to Russia, Ukraine
February 3, 2003
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration has slashed the amount of aid
Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union will receive under the
Freedom Support Act, according to budget documents released Monday.
The administration is asking Congress for $576 million for 12 countries in
fiscal year 2004, a 24 percent cut from the $755 million it requested for the
current year ending Sept. 30.
The allocation for Russia falls to $73 million from $148 million and
Ukraine's to $94 million from $155 million.
The reduction for Ukraine is especially steep because of U.S. displeasure
with President Leonid Kuchma, whom Washington suspects of selling an air
defense system to Iraq.
A U.S. official said the cuts were driven by the Office of Management and
Budget in the White House and, in the case of a country like Ukraine, it was
harder to argue in favor of maintaining assistance at current levels.
A State Department review of policy toward Ukraine has concluded that the
United States should divert aid money from the government toward
The only countries of the former Soviet Union that can expect more U.S. aid
are some of the Central Asian states that played a role in the U.S. campaign
against the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan and their allies in al Qaeda.
The State Department has asked for $42 million for Uzbekistan, up from $31.5
million in the 2003 budget, $40 million for Kyrgyzstan, up from $36 million,
and $35 million for Tajikistan, up from $22.5 million.
Russia and some of the other countries also receive U.S. aid under global
programs not tied to any particular country, such as funds to help secure
nuclear materials or clean up former nuclear facilities.
WHITE HOUSE ACKNOWLEDGED RUSSIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH
WASHINGTON, February 4th, 2003 /RIA Novosti correspondent Arkady Orlov/ --
The US administration has announced its intention to gradually halt its
financial aid to Russia, beginning with 2004, in view of the strengthening
This is stated in the covering letter of the White House's budgetary
department to the US draft federal budget for 2004, which was submitted to US
Congress on Monday.
Ten years after the start of the financial aid to Russia and a number of
other republics of the former Soviet Union, the time has come to exclude them
from the economic aid list as has been the case with many East European
states, the document says.
As the information service of the Department of State reports, in 2002 and
2003 the American financial aid to Russia amounted to 159 million and 148
million dollars respectively. But the draft budget for 2004 allocates the sum
of only 73 million dollars.
In comparison with this year, the financial aid by the United States to
Russia will be cut by 32 percent and later on will be stopped at all. The US
will only contribute to the programmes for strengthening democracy and a
In the opinion of the American analysts, the decision of the George W. Bush
administration to start "withdrawing" Russia from the list of countries
receiving economic aid signifies the recognition of the fact that the present
Russian leadership has succeeded in reaching the point when such aid is no
Russian official reacts to US aid cut, warns against return to Cold War
Moscow, 4 February: Russia's chief auditor has expressed confidence that a
planned US reduction in financial aid to Russia will not affect the Russian
Sergey Stepashin, chairman of Russia's Audit Chamber, was responding to
reports that the US administration had put before Congress a 2004 draft
budget that would cut financial aid to Russia and other members of the
Commonwealth of Independent States.
Russia is to borrow about R9.5bn abroad under its 2003 budget, which is 40
per cent less than last year. This, an Audit Chamber release quotes Stepashin
as saying, is part of a policy consistently to reduce foreign sources of
He says Russia has been showing stable growth and has achieved political
stability, and that this has enabled the country to borrow less abroad. Yet
foreign borrowings remain standard practice for many countries, including
Russia, he says.
He expressed the hope that the proposed cut in aid is not a concession to
advocates of Cold War-style discriminatory measures along the lines of the
Russia sees new Harry Potter parody; copyright-holder does not object
MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) - Russia has seen another parody on the Harry Potter
books by J. K. Rowling, titled Porry Hatter and the Stone Philosopher. The
parody was written by Andrei Zhvanlevsky and Igor Mytko, Belarussian authors
of shows broadcast on Russian television, and published by the Vremya
"As for the second imitation of Harry Potter, this book is a real parody
created according to all canons of the parody genre. It deliberately
grotesquely describes adventures of Porry Hatter, a negative double of Harry
Potter, who finds himself in an unusual magic family," said Natalya Dolgova
of the Rosman publishing house, the copyright-holder of the Harry Potter
books in Russia.
Speaking to Interfax, Dolgova said Rosman does not intend to sue the
publishers of the Porry Hatter books, unlike those of Dmitry Yemets's books
about Tanya Grotter.
"The book about Porry Hatter definitely has the right to exist, unlike
Yemets's books, which are not parody but actual plagiarism, which has been
confirmed by assessments from independent literatary experts," Dolgova said.
The situation surrounding the Eksmo publishing house, the publisher of
Yemets's books, "will definitely be developing," Dolgova said. Rosman is
currently expecting a decision from London publishers and lawyers, and the
probability that the copyright-holders of the Harry Potter books will sue the
publisher of the Tanya Grotter books remains high, she said.
If the London law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, L.L.P., which
protects the rights of both J. K. Rowling and Warner Brothers, the
copyright-holder of the Harry Potter logo, decides to file a suit against the
Tanya Grotter publishers, it will appeal to the Russian district court near
the Eksmo publishing house.
40% of Russia's Citizens Have No Access to Good Medical Services
ST. PETERSBURG, February 3. Speaking at a roundtable held at the
Inturfest-2003 exhibition underway in St. Petersburg, Nikolai Storozhenko,
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Resort Association, said
that good medical services were unavailable to 40% of Russia's population.
Mr. Storozhenko said that the number of people staying at resorts decreased
10 times as compared with the Soviet times. The total annual cost of
post-operative treatment of patients at resorts amounts to over USD 53
million and that of the prophylactic treatment of children - to USD 258.5
million. 'The current prices destroy resort business in Russia', he said,
'because they are too high for our citizens'.
Many of those who spoke at the roundtable noted that the interests of resort
goers and Russia's resorts coincided. Sergei Spitsyn, General Director of the
Dyuny sanatorium in St. Petersburg said that, 'If just one tenth of Russia's
tourists, instead of going abroad, went to domestic resorts, Russia's resort
business would begin developing. We must have a department controlling
resorts because the Ministry of health does not pay us enough attention'.
Russia: Antiwar Movement Works To Gain Momentum
By Gregory Feifer
Moscow's war in Chechnya has dragged on for 3 1/2 years with no end in sight.
But the devastating campaign, which has claimed huge numbers of casualties on
both sides, has raised barely a murmur of protest from the Russian public.
Some 60 percent of Russians now favor a peaceful resolution to the war, a
trend that Russia's small antiwar community hopes will finally tip the scales
in their favor. As RFE/RL reports, they say public protest is the only way to
force an end to Russia's war in Chechnya.
Moscow, 4 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Several hundred protesters gathered in
central Moscow over the weekend braving subfreezing temperatures to proclaim
"No to war in Iraq and Chechnya." The protesters were denouncing war in
general and Russia's campaign in Chechnya in particular.
The conflict is now in its fourth year and has claimed thousands of lives on
both sides. The protest's organizers argue that the government has run out of
excuses for not seeking a political solution to the crisis. They say it is
time for Russian officials to sit down at the negotiating table with
separatist militants and find a peaceful way out of the seemingly intractable
One of the organizers is Lev Ponomarev, a veteran human rights activist who
heads the group For Human Rights. Ponomarev, a mild-mannered 61-year-old, has
almost single-handedly kept Russia's protest movement alive over the past
Ponomarev says most Russians believe war is not the only way to resolve the
protracted conflict in Chechnya. He cited a recent poll by the All-Russia
Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) showing that 63 percent of
respondents favor peace talks with Chechen separatists.
Ponomarev called that figure, nearly two-thirds of Russian society, a
majority" the government cannot ignore, adding that he hopes to mobilize them
behind protests to be held every two months. "We are calling them into the
streets because we know international experience shows wars are ended
precisely when hundreds of thousands take to the streets," Ponomarev said.
"That happened in France, when France pulled out of Algeria. That also
happened in the United States, when it ended the war in Vietnam. It seems
there's no other solution."
But last weekend's modest turnout, if anything, might help the government's
cause more than Ponomarev's by showing that the protest movement remains all
The Liberal Russia and Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) parties were billed as
co-organizers of the protest, but representatives of SPS, which
enthusiastically backed the beginning of the war in 1999, did not even show
The rally follows a previous one last December, which organizers say
attracted 700 people -- tiny by most standards, but praised by Ponomarev as
significantly larger than usual.
The activist said that one of the reasons for the low turnout at antiwar
protests is that the country's main media outlets, especially the top two
state-controlled television stations, barely cover the Chechen conflict and
are discouraged from carrying criticism of the government. "I know that a
very high-ranking bureaucrat from the Kremlin administration, while
criticizing some people for upholding our manifesto [on an end to the war],
ended the conversation saying: 'O.K., to hell with you. Hold your protest. We
won't show it on television anyway.' That's the logic of this Kremlin
bureaucrat, you see? He controls television," Ponomarev said.
Those Russians following the war in Chechnya get news about protests from
posters printed by rally organizers and from the few media outlets that carry
news about the breakaway republic, chiefly Ekho Moskvy radio. Ponomarev said
that even small-circulation newspapers that once printed announcements about
upcoming protests, notably "Novaya gazeta," did not agree to run
advertisements for last weekend's protest.
Duma Deputy Sergei Yushenkov is co-head of the Liberal Russia party, which
helped organize the weekend rally. He said that not only society, but also
parliament, has failed to confront the issue of Chechnya, adding that the
conflict is unconstitutional because it was not sanctioned by the Duma, the
lower house of parliament.
Yushenkov said that the only time the Duma tried to call the government to
account over Chechnya came during the first war in 1994, when legislators
discussed a resolution to press then-President Boris Yeltsin to introduce
martial law in the breakaway region. The attempt failed. "Both the Kremlin
and deputies in the State Duma were scared by their own audacity in demanding
that authorities observe their own constitution and laws," Yushenkov said.
Yushenkov said the antiwar movement will likely remain small for now, but he
added that he hopes it will gather force by spring.
That is a view shared by several of the weekend protesters who spoke to
RFE/RL. Aleksandr, 42, said the lack of widespread interest is no excuse to
stand by silently as the war continues with no resolution in sight. He said
that he expects a future "critical mass" of antiwar protesters to ultimately
stem the tide of the war. He also expects violent incidents such as last
year's hostage taking by Chechen rebels, which shocked the country, to cause
a shift in Russian public opinion. "This war is not for any kind of normal
goals but a war for the ruling elite to grow fatter," Aleksandr said. "What's
more, questions of nationality can't be solved by war."
Lyuba, a 20-year-old peace activist, handed out leaflets during the protest.
"I'm against the war in Chechnya and against the amoral conduct of our
[parliamentary] deputies," she said.
Dmitrii, 35, said he came to the rally to protest the actions of the Russian
military, which he said is a "prison" for draftees. "I'm just shocked by the
passivity of our people. It's horrible: the attitude of all Russians to the
Chechen war. Everyone keeps silent and does nothing. It's a terrible
situation, of course," Dmitrii said.
Yushenkov, meanwhile, expressed a common complaint about the Kremlin's plans
to carry out a referendum on a new Chechen constitution in March. The
government says the scheme, which allows Russian troops to vote but is likely
to exclude thousands of Chechen refugees, represents the only way forward for
a political solution.
Critics say that only negotiations with rebels can work. Yushenkov said the
referendum "will not be able to reflect the real will of Chechnya's
population and is not likely to have any positive effect."
The legislator also criticized a recent draft resolution by the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the continent's most important
human rights watchdog. Yushenkov said the draft resolution should have asked
Russia to cancel, rather than postpone, the referendum.
The resolution finally passed by PACE was rather toothless. It expresses
concern about the lack of "necessary conditions" for a proper referendum but
makes no recommendations. This prompted the assembly's special envoy on
Chechnya, Lord Frank Judd, to threaten to resign if the referendum goes ahead
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (email@example.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office
Monday, February 3, 2003
- An auditing service has been created under the electoral commission of the
Republic of Chechnya. It will monitor spending on the referendum. This
week, several thousand copies of the draft of the Chechen Constitution will
be delivered to the republic for public orientation.
- Members of the Chechen Referendum Initiative Group met with the Chechen
Territorial Directorate of the State Property Ministry after a member of the
Directorate, who appealed to the Chechens to vote in the referendum on
public television, was brutally murdered.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi to discuss the situation in Iraq. Berlusconi arrived in Moscow
after meeting with US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair in Washington and London. Putin and Berlusconi also spoke about
Russia’s relations with Europe, and bilateral relations, including trade and
cooperation in the banking sphere.
- The trial concerning the theft of ammunition from the 136th motorized
artillery division was resumed in Makhachkala. Seven soldiers are accused
of stealing, illegally holding, and selling powerful anti-personnel land
mines, such as the one used in Kaspiisk last May.
- The directors of the transportation police discussed the results of their
work over the last year. They fulfilled their first goal – there were no
terrorist acts on rail, water, or air transportation in 2002. Their work
has been eased by portable computers with active databases – they were able
to check 420 million passengers over the last year and detain 7,000 who were
on wanted lists.
- A Russian ship sank in the Black Sea last night, 130 miles away from the
Bosphor Straits. The Strelets is registered in St. Petersburg.
- President Putin met with key members of the government to discuss the
federal program for the development of Russia’s southern regions. The
President also announced that the winners of the Teacher of the Year award
will receive presidential premiums.
- The first group of Russian Muslims has left for the Hajj to Mecca. Every
year the number of Russian ihram grows.
- Four Chechen rebels from the band formation of Abu Al-Valida have
voluntarily laid down their arms. They brought the security organs in the
Vedeno Region documents that included a list of 85 fighters who belong to
- Nizhny Zamarg, a new international automobile transit point, has been
opened in North Ossetia, at the site of two federal roads connecting Russia
and the Transcaucasus.
- The Spirit of Fire International Film Festival was held in Khanty
Mansiisk. This is the only festival in the world during which film
directors and stars participate in the rituals of the Siberian peoples.
- Preliminary results show that Magadan City Mayor Nikolai Karpenko is
leading in the gubernatorial elections to the Magadan Oblast. He has 38% of
the votes, with acting governor Nikolai Dudov following at 26%. The second
round of the elections is scheduled for February 16th.
- The search for the tunnel blocked by a glacier last fall continues in the
- Scientists in the Far East are inspecting a videotape of an unidentified
flying object resembling a comet that hovered over the city of Amur for
- Goalie Maksim Levitsky will remain with Moscow’s Spartak soccer team.
- Russian drivers Aleksei Vasiliev and Nikolai Fomenko are taking part in
the legendary Rolex 24 at Daytona road race for the first time this year.
Gorbachev's Soviet past comes back to haunt him in Azerbaijan
February 4, 2003
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, should be indicted
for "crimes against humanity" for his role in crushing a 1990 uprising in
Azerbaijan, Azeri officials said Tuesday.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Gorbachev is being blamed for the deaths of about
170 people killed when troops and tanks were sent into the capital, Baku on
January 20, 1990, in the dying months of Soviet rule.
The Azeri prosecutor's office refused to say if it was preparing to bring
charges against Gorbachev, and it was unclear if a prosecution against him in
Azerbaijan would have any legal force. Gorbachev, now 72 and running a
political foundation in Moscow, this week defended his actions, saying the
troops were sent in to put a stop to vicious pogroms against ethnic Armenians
living in the Azeri capital.
But the calls to bring him to trial have been endorsed by Azerbaijan's
President Heidar Aliyev and other public figures, and have tapped into a well
of popular resentment against the former Soviet leader.
"It was a terrible tragedy and a crime against humanity," Ali
executive secretary of Azerbaijan's ruling YAP party told AFP in an
"Gorbachev committed a crime against Azerbaijan and he should be brought
justice before an international court. ... At that time he was president and
as such he must bear responsibility for what happened."
Ahmedov also said Gorbachev should be made to answer for bloodshed in other
Soviet republics, including Georgia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic republics,
where troops were also sent to put down uprisings.
He added: "Even though these things happened a long time ago, there is
time limitation for this sort of crime."
Though he is lauded in the West for helping bring an end to the Cold War,
Gorbachev is disliked by many of the people he used to rule over.
In Russia he is despised for allowing the breakup of the Soviet empire and
blamed for the economic meltdown which followed his rule, while the former
Soviet republics blame him for attempting to crush their efforts to achieve
The bloodshed of January 20, 1990, is seen in Azerbaijan as a defining moment
in the country's struggle for independence. The victims are celebrated as
martyrs and the anniversary is marked by a national day of mourning.
But the official version of events glosses over the violence against ethnic
Armenians by mobs of vigilantes in the weeks before the troops were sent in.
Gorbachev justifies 1990 crackdown in Baku - Azeri TV
Source: ANS TV, Baku, in Azeri 1700 gmt 3 Feb 03
[Presenter Aytan Safarova, over archive footage of Gorbachev] The former
president of the former USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, has commented on accusations
that he is to blame for the Baku events of 20 January 1990 and that a lawsuit
was filed against him in this regard.
Gorbachev believes that before the troops arrived in Baku, the [Azerbaijani]
Supreme Soviet and other political bodies were paralysed, dozens of people
had fallen victim to extremists, power had been toppled by force in some
regions, the 200-kilometre section of the USSR's border [with Iran] had been
destroyed and a state of emergency had been declared to prevent arbitrariness
Gorbachev admits that the events of 20 January 1990 were a tragedy. However,
Gorbachev believes that the measures taken in the prevalent conditions of the
time prevented greater dangers.
February 4, 2003
Mikhail Gorbachev Going To Genocide Trial?
Azerbaijan government accused Mikhail Gorbachev of genocide crimes
Six months before the presidential election in the former Soviet republic
of Azerbaijan, the government of this country found a brilliant PR method
to guarantee the victory to incumbent President Geidar Aliyev (or to his
protege). This method does not require great energy, or big money. Most
likely, the opposition will have to acknowledge its defeat at the election,
in spite of the fact that it was seriously going to compete with the
government of the republic. President Aliyev became a national hero just in
a few days. Everyone started liking and respecting him. All that was
possible to achieve owing to only one statement. As it was officially
announced by the Azerbaijan government, the country was going to institute
criminal proceedings against former President of the USSR, Mikhail
Gorbachev. The ex-president is accused of the genocide of the Azerbaijan
people in January of 1990 and of inciting the Karabakh conflict (Azerbaijan
lost a part of its territory as a result of the conflict). As a matter of
fact, each citizen of the Azerbaijan republic got an explanation to the
reasons of all troubles in the country. Geidar Aliyev became a
super-persona, who administers justice, as the republic’s people think.
This retaliation was initiated by a very respectable person in Azerbaijan –
the head of the Caucasus Muslim administration, Allahshukur Pashazade. It
is curious that his personal initiative was quickly backed by the
republic’s Office of the Prosecutor General. As it turned out, the office
finished the investigation on the matter in 1994. However, the facts to
prove Gorbachev’s guilt were hidden from the public eye for years. Nobody
knows the reason why. A spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor General
stated that Mikhail Gorbachev violated several articles of the Soviet Union
and Azerbaijan Constitutions. Particularly, Gorbachev made a decision to
institute a state of emergency in Azerbaijan in 1990 without any
coordination with the republic’s government. Azerbaijan’s Office of the
Prosecutor General believes that the illegal actions of the Soviet Union
administration resulted in the bloody events in Baku (the capital of the
republic) 13 years ago. About 20 thousand military men of the Soviet Army,
Alfa special group and a group of KGB commandos participated in operation
Blow in January of 1990. According to the official information,
“establishing the constitutional order” resulted in 134 casualties, 700
civilians were wounded and 12 were missing.
The incumbent government of the republic lays all responsibility for
further events in the republic on Mikhail Gorbachev. President Alieyv said
that the suggestion to institute the criminal persecution against Gorbachev
was a “right suggestion.” This statement became news number one not only in
Azerbaijan, but also far abroad. However, mass media did not pay attention
to a very important stipulation: Gorbachev trial will become possible only
if all procedure formalities are observed.
Those formalities make a criminal case against the former president of the
Soviet Union absolutely impossible. Yury Kolosov, a specialist of law from
the Moscow State University of International Relations said in his
interview to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper: “The given situation looks
like the one with Pinochet, from the legal point of view. Mikhail Gorbachev
is a foreign citizen for Azerbaijan. Needless to mention that he will not
rush to yield to the Azerbaijan government. As a matter of fact, Baku will
have to address to Moscow with a request to deliver the genocide crime
suspect. However, there are no bilateral agreements between Russia and
Azerbaijan to deliver criminals. Russia is a member of the European
Convention for delivering criminals, although Azerbaijan is not. This means
that the only thing that Baku can do about it is to put Mikhail Gorbachev
on Interpol’s wanted list. Azerbaijan should have very weighty arguments to
prove Gorbachev’s guilt at that. If Mikhail Gorbachev goes somewhere
abroad, Interpol agents will be authorized to arrest him then.”
Another well-known lawyer, the chairman of the Moscow Bar, Henry Reznik,
believes that no country will ever get involved in the intrigue of the
Azerbaijan government: “Interpol will ask them to get the hell out of their
office! – laughs Reznik. – there is a notion of statute of limitation. They
accuse Gorbachev of power abuse? I am sorry, but it’s been 13 years, the
statute of limitation was over in ten years. I don’t know, maybe, they want
to equate those events in Baku with crimes against humanity that do not
have the statute of limitation. However, one can hardly compare genocide
and the institution of a state of emergency. As a lawyer, I believe that
President Aliyev should identify those PR technology people and fire them.”
Even the people from the Azerbaijan’s Office of the Prosecutor General
could not clarify anything about their own actions. Furthermore, they even
felt a doubt about the whole matter, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, the
Azerbaijan society perceived the statement of its government with great
optimism. After the deployment of Soviet troops in Azerbaijan, the people
of the republic have been bearing malice about it for years. The USSR
management arranged a massacre in the republic under the disguise of
constitutional law and order slogans. They simply did not want to let
Azerbaijan pull out from the USSR. Rasim Musabekov, Azerbaijan-based
scientist of politics believes that the whole scandal was ultimately
arranged as a way to win electors: “They do not like Mikhail Gorbachev in
Azerbaijan. People think that he is responsible for the lives of thousands
of people, who fell victims to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
It is easy to organize a pre-election PR campaign against such a
background,” said he. Dmitry Oreshkin, the manager of the analytical group
Merkator, pointed out: “Geidar Aliyev is an experienced fighter. He has
proved it again that he can manipulate the public opinion.”
Indeed, the republic’s people like those home policy victories that Aliyev
makes effortlessly. More importantly, those victories do not cost anything
for the treasury. By the way, it is curious, but all Gorbachev Foundation
employees were rather lazy and unwilling about their comments on the
situation. As they say, it is all about political motives.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Opinion poll suggests Russia's ruling party lost half its support in a month
Source: TVS, Moscow, in Russian 1200 gmt 4 Feb 03
[Presenter] The Political results of the first month of the year 2003 are
being summed up. January ratings are outlined and a scandal is already
developing around these figures. Social scientists' assessments show that the
One Russia party which persists in calling itself the power party have lost
half its supporters. This conclusion was made by the All-Russia Public
Opinion Research Centre [VTSIOM]. Their poll has shown that the ratings of
all the leading parties in the country went down in January. However, while
for some parties the fluctuations lie within the margin of error, the rating
of the One Russia party has undergone drastic changes. It went down from 27
per cent to 14 per cent. VTSIOM says that this result reflects mainly changes
in the party's leadership.
[Irina Palilova, head of VTSIOM press service] The main reason for the rating
to go down is seen in the change of the leader, namely in replacing [Sergey]
Shoygu [Russian minister of emergencies], [Yuriy] Luzhkov [mayor of Moscow]
and [Mintimer] Shaymiyev [president of Tatarstan] with Boris Gryzlov [Russian
interior minister]. The poll procedure has remained the same. It is still a
representative poll -1,600 people across Russia. The only thing that has
changed is a bigger number of regions. We work in 40 regions and at 100 poll
[Presenter] What the members of the One Russia party think about this remains
unclear. Lyubov Sliska, State Duma first deputy speaker and member of the
Unity faction [one of the three factions comprising the One Russia party],
after a time-out of 40 minutes refused to comment. The new party leader,
Boris Gryzlov, was due to take part in signing the Honest Election-2003
charter. Our correspondent was waiting for him there, but Gryzlov never
showed up. All we have for now are comments by competitors of the One Russia
[Boris Nemtsov, leader of the Union of the Right Forces party] Our people are
smart, they understand that the One Russia party is a party of Russian
bureaucracy and Russian bosses. They do not like bosses here. The bosses have
promised to pay everybody's salaries, but there is a teachers' strike going
on in Kirov now. The bosses have promised heat in flats, but 30m people live
in flats where the temperatures vary between just eight and 14 degrees
Celsius. The bosses have promised jobs and wages, but 40m people live below
the poverty line. They have installed billboards all over the country saying
that wages and pensions are under control. Even in Moscow you can see such
billboards. The whole country has been mocking them and demanding that the
money spent on these ads Should be re-routed to pay salaries and pensions.
[Nikolay Kharitonov, leader of the Agro-Industrial Group of Deputies] They
have made a political hole in their own ship by this manipulation with the
leadership. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov has been forced into heading a
political movement while he remains in a ministerial post; he understands the
situation on the scale of the Russian Federation with all the economic crimes
and all the street crime everywhere. They are killing themselves with their
own hands in the eyes of the people and in the eyes of the voters.
[Presenter] However, some commentators explain the scandal in a different
way. The parties have begun their pre-election confrontation and the
catastrophic poll data could have been ordered by the One Russia party's
competitors. Besides, other opinion poll research has appeared which contrary
to VTSIOM data does not have a hint of the One Russia party's failure.
Christian Science Monitor
February 5, 2003
Taking the wheel puts women in the hot seat
In capitalist Russia, more women are on the road - and driving men crazy
By Claudia Kolker
The worried woman hunches at the wheel as if bracing for a crash and peers
warily at the clogged highway. Plastered on her rear window, a perky
sticker showing a high-heeled shoe implores all drivers behind her:
It's a wilderness out there for Moscow's women drivers.
In Soviet times, economics kept most Russians from owning cars, and custom
kept most women from taking the wheel. But with the advent of capitalism,
prosperity began refashioning Moscow. Although interrupted by an economic
implosion in 1998, the boom has resumed. And as salaries and consumer
spending have increased, so have the traffic jams caused by the swarms of
new vehicles on the capital's roads. The number of cars in Moscow rose from
about 2 million in 1997 to 2.5 million in 2001.
While Russian agencies don't analyze car ownership by gender, the throngs
of drivers now include more women, motorists and officials agree.
Today, one driving instructor says, most students in a class of 12 are
female. A decade ago, only one or two women would surface in a class of the
The woman driver's emergence has fueled debate, ridicule, and at times
harassment in this forward-looking city with some very old-fashioned ways.
In self-defense, many women now paste triangular warning stickers on their
car windows. Besides the high-heeled shoe, there's a picture of a girl in a
bouffant hairdo, and the Cyrillic letter, "Sh," standing for "student
driver." There's even a sticker with a teapot - a reference to Russian
slang for "bumbling amateur."
The stickers are supposed to prompt automotive gallantry, says auto-parts
vendor Mikhail Brizgin, who began selling them two years ago and now sells
about 10 a week.
But just as often, male drivers respond by honking, barking insults, or
cutting women drivers off in traffic.
Both sides seem to agree on one thing, however: Women really do drive
differently from men.
"I don't know how to put this so as not to offend," offers Roma
young male photographer. "Women are either oriented toward the rules they
learned in driving school, or guided by intuition to avoid risk. Here, at
least a third of the drivers don't follow rules at all. So safe driving
creates dangerous situations."
But bank manager Yevgeniya Volokva says it's men who make driving dangerous.
"Women drive more carefully and more slowly," she says. "They
may have kids
in the car, and they're not as crazy. They're not showing off.''
The emergence of the woman driver reflects changes in the marketplace.
Though women worked during Soviet times, they tended to stay in the
background professionally. In today's Russia, businesswomen are in the
foreground of the capitalist landscape. And companies are hiring them for
career-track jobs, which often means travel.
"Women have started to live another way - as much more a part of
says Olga Vazhbina, a young pharmaceutical company executive. "Driving
becomes really necessary if you want to work."
Ms. Vazhbina exemplifies the new businesswoman. She is also an object
lesson in the road shock experienced by some of Moscow's new female drivers.
After her firm assigned her a car three years ago, she ventured into the
capital's harrowing traffic - and soon after landed in a spectacular accident.
"I lost control of the wheel, then I lost the road altogether," she
"I hit 15 construction barrels on the way. Then I hit a big stone
construction barrier. Then I went over a fence... It was like a movie. When
it stopped, I escaped from the car, and I was OK. The car was on the edge
of a giant precipice."
She's back behind the wheel now, and pronounces herself a rather good driver.
In fact, a recent study indicated Moscow women drive more safely than men.
Here are some comments on Mike McFaul's Los Angeles Times
article (JRL-7044) where he advises President Bush to host a luncheon using
the "finest silverware" for Russian human rights activists at the US
Embassy in Moscow to show his displeasure with the Putin's crackdown on
basic freedoms in Russia. There are other questionable points in his
article but Robert Bruce Ware has already addressed them. Therefore, here I
will only discuss the suggestion of an Embassy luncheon.
McFaul, I do not claim to be an advisor to American Presidents,
Vice-Presidents and National Security Advisors. However, if some of them
happen to see the above mentioned article on their no doubt most favorite
Johnson's Russia List I strongly recommend ignoring Mike's advice, at least
on this issue.
When Ronald Reagan decided to host such a luncheon it was
certainly a great idea. During his White House tenure, the Soviet Union
with or without Gorbachev was our mortal enemy and anything we could do to
weaken or at least to publicly embarrass it was the right thing to do. U.S.
support of the human rights movement in the USSR was no doubt a part of the
Cold War strategy and there should be no apology for this. This strategy
largely contributed to the relatively bloodless collapse of communism thus
benefiting both American and Russian people. I am very proud to have been
actively participating in this work with the Reagan White House, State
Department, and U.S. Congress.
Now the situation is very different
and modern Russia, definitely not the perfect democracy in the world (show
me who is perfect) is our strongest ally in the war on terrorism and a
potentially major partner in oil and energy trade, space exploration,
science and cultural cooperation, and many other areas.
We should have
a great respect for human rights activists and those who try to build a
free and democratic society in Russia. However, this lunch idea is
absolutely counterproductive and will do nothing but harm. Many Russians
who are considered to be pro-democracy, pro-western activists are frequent
visitors to U.S. Embassy anyway. Every time I go to an Embassy reception I
see them freely talking to Americans, exchanging ideas, notes, business
cards. They are not harassed by Russian police, secret services or at work
like there were during the Soviet times. They can freely print and
distribute materials, form organizations and political parties, travel
abroad, and enjoy practically all freedoms we have in the West. There is no
need to embarrass the most pro-Western president in Russian history,
especially now when we need Russia probably as much as Russia needs
America. Another may be small but rather symbolic proof of major progress
in Russia is that for the first time in history the American Flag is
proudly displayed on the private building in downtown Moscow where our
university offices are located and so far neither authorities nor private
citizen raised any issues with this I'd say rather unusual for this country
As for the lunch, I think it still should take place but my
advice to George Bush is to invite Vladimir Putin instead and offer him the
strongest possible assurances and guarantees for Russia's economic and oil
interests in the post-Sadam Iraq. I believe this will be the best strategy
for America, for Russia, and the whole world.
President, American University in Moscow
From: "Catherine Fitzpatrick" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Reply to McFaul 7044
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003
I believe Michael McFaul may be correct that the Bush administration has
not put sufficient emphasis on engaging civil society actors and their
issues like human rights and press freedom in Russia – a short-sighted
policy with long-term damage to the effort of building democratic
institutions in Russia. Part of the problem is the flawed democracy
assistance bureaucracy and its failure to deliver really effective
assistance to the right people at the right time, and to stand up to
Russian bureaucrats about the details that matter. For example, even under
Clinton, and again under Bush, we have warned various assistance officials
of the impending restrictive draft tax legislation that would hurt Russian
human rights NGOs, since “human rights” was not going to be included as a
subject in the acceptable list of NGO charitable activities. The response
from U.S. officials? “But people should pay their taxes,” or “but that’s
not a human rights issue,” or “Our USAID lawyer is working on that” –
working on a special dispensation for his specific large project employing
his pals, with his specific Russian crony, but not negotiating it as a
right for all NGOs across the board receiving U.S. democracy aid. The kind
of taxes I might pay for an NGO payroll in New York State -- the only taxes
I would pay as an 501-c-3 non-profit -- are about eight percent, and
businesses that make charitable contributions to my NGO would get a tax
exemption. Yet Russian NGOs already face payroll and other social taxes of
at least 40 percent, and now apparently will be facing further crippling
taxation of foreign and domestic donations, and their donors do not have a
tax-exemption system to encourage them. The failure of the U.S. government
to gain tax-exemption privileges (such as in the U.S.) for the “third
sector” or non-profit segment of Russian society across the board in all
types of endeavors from human rights to education to social services is one
of the big lost opportunities of American democracy assistance diplomacy in
the last decade. It may not be too late to challenge the taxation, but in
the current climate, with the expulsion of foreign do-gooders, it might be
much harder to do than it would have been a decade ago.
McFaul remembers the luncheon for 100 dissidents in the Reagan Era,
something I was actively involved with back when I worked at what was then
Helsinki Watch. We attempted to get State Department bureaucrats to include
various invitees from a broader spectrum of Soviet dissent. I remember we
jokingly dubbed the lavish event “smoked dissident on a platter” because
there was something a little bit too patronizing and demonstrative about it
all, and the initial drafts of invitees' lists were more about making a
political point and satisfying various domestic constituencies than about
actually representing nascent civil society. In fact, I remember both the
American human rights movement and the Soviet domestic groups struggling to
get American policy-makers at the Embassy, State and Congress to realize
that human rights and civil society in the Soviet Union was not just about
gaining exit visas for some select groups (Soviet Jewry, Pentacostals, and
Volga Germans) on grounds of ethnic or religious persecution, as laudable
as that effort was. Rather, there were also domestic movements like the
Helsinki groups that wanted to remain in the country and change the law
from inside, and they also needed support. It would be very telling to take
out that list of 100 today and see who was on it and where they really are
now. McFaul has the impression that these individuals “rose to positions of
responsibility” in the Yeltsin era. I don’t believe that’s actually the
case, although we could debate it. Perhaps out of that list, we might find
a few individuals like Sergei Kovalev, who went from becoming a political
prisoner to becoming a Duma deputy – although today he is among a handful
of liberal exotics in that body without much possibility to influence
policy. Most likely a figure like Gleb Pavlovsky wasn’t at that luncheon
because he was not really considered part of the dissident movement
(despite the stories told of his past dissenters' credentials, now that he
is a Kremlin advisor trying to coopt the old dissidents and the new civil
society groups). A hard look at that list will find that many emigrated, or
if they remained in the country, they are still continuing the same
difficult and unsung work of defending human rights under increasingly
harsh conditions, but without many people listening to them in the Duma or
the Kremlin or even the society at large. Indeed, the more I think about
it, it really would be intriguing for Sovietologists to dig up that old
Embassy list to really take the pulse of what has happened to civil society
in the last 15 years or so – because the story will be a lot more
complicated than the one McFaul is somewhat exhuberantly telling now -- as
much as I am a believer in the old Soviet dissident toast, "to the success
of our hopeless cause." Unlike Eastern Europe, civil society activists in
the Soviet Union pretty much tended *not* to become leaders of their
country. No, it’s the former KGB officials – from the old agency that
persecuted the dissidents – that tended to become the leaders of these
countries. There aren’t your Havels, your Walesas. There are your Putins,
We could argue that the purpose of civil society groups isn’t really to
come to power or to positions of responsibility, anyway. In a country like
Russia, where the historical and political realities of state power and the
"gosudarstvenniki" and the "derzhavniki" are so overwhelming, civil society
in the Havelian sense of the word is always going to be a relatively small
and less influential affair. And in any country, even the most free, civil
rights groups find that in some eras, they have a huge following when this
or that issue is a hot public topic (we see this in the U.S.) but then
public support wanes, and most people can't really sign on to the “pure” –
and sometimes too utopian – human rights agenda for the long run, so as to
actually create a mass movement and come to power. Most often the struggle
for human rights is about limiting power, not coming to power; the
intermingling of democracy and human rights movements at certain historical
junctures in this region means there is a lot of confusion between the two.
Russian Interior Ministry to step up campaign against Satanists
Moscow, 4 February: The Russian Interior Ministry is concerned about the
expansion of activities of Satanic sects.
Aleksandr Grichanin, deputy chief of a department in the main criminal
investigation directorate in the Russian Interior Ministry, said this on
Tuesday [4 February], a RIA-Novosti correspondent reports.
Investigations into the activities of Satanic sects fall under the competence
of the department for the fight against extremism.
According to Grichanin, Satanists frequently carry out ritual sacrifices.
Therefore, in a number of cases their activities are connected with carrying
out particularly severe crimes, in particular, killings and causing serious
According to Interior Ministry data, there are several thousand participants
in Satanic sects in Russia, about 500 in Moscow and as many in St Petersburg,
and also in the order of 100 in major regional centres of the country.
Unfortunately, Grichanin said, in the main it is teenagers aged 13-17, drawn
by the attributes and rituals of the Satanists, who are members of the sects.
The Russian Interior Ministry is planning to step up the fight against
stopping the activities of such sects, assured Grichanin.
Putin rights aide questions Western-style lawsuits for Moscow siege victims
Moscow, 30 January: Court examination of
lawsuits filed by some of those affected in last year's Moscow theatre
siege is expected to help deal with the mass of problems that judges,
human rights activists and lawyers have faced when evaluating the moral
and material damage.
The biggest problem of all is that Russian society still lacks a
proper understanding of the real value of people's lives and health,
deputy head of the presidential human rights commission Vilyam Smirnov
said on 30 January. He was speaking in the wake of reports that some
plaintiffs had appealed against a Moscow court's decision to reject their
demands for compensation.
Smirnov is certain that the case will eventually make its way up to
the Supreme Court and that hearings will take many months. He believes
that this will be good for society. A court is capable of setting a
precedent that will make it possible to find proper legal solutions to
all compensation cases, to formulate criteria and establish an adequate
scale for such payments.
Russian society has yet to evaluate the country's resources and
identify budget spending priorities. "Many citizens, including those
resident in Moscow, are still unaware that all compensation, social
benefits and privileges are financed by the tax-payer," he said.
"Strictly speaking, people should decide whether such compensation should
be paid at the levels adopted in wealthy Western countries, or whether
the interests of millions of poor, homeless, sick, disabled and
pensioners, who need help from the government and society to no lesser
degree, should be taken into account, too," Smirnov said.
In a situation like this, the lawyers' attempts to make the Moscow
authorities pay grossly overstated compensation are devoid of both legal
and ethical reason. The compensation demanded by the plaintiffs may total
ninety million dollars.
Court hearings will offer another chance for open and comprehensive
discussion of the amount and source of payments, and help society develop
a more responsible approach to this problem, Smirnov said.
OSCE to send team to Chechnya before poll
February 4, 2003
By Ron Popeski
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The biggest pan-European security organization said
Tuesday it would send a team to Chechnya to determine whether conditions were
right for a referendum next month on a constitution anchoring the rebel
region in Russia.
The announcement by the Dutch Foreign Minister, current chairman of the
Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, follows widespread
criticism that Chechnya remains too dangerous for such a vote.
Rebels fighting to drag the predominantly Muslim province out of the vast
Russian Federation have already denounced the March 23 poll.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after talks in Moscow that the
findings of the mission would allow the OSCE to take a stand on the vote.
"It is without prejudice ... the special mission ... will soon go to
Chechnya," he said alongside Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and the
country's top electoral official.
De Hoop Scheffer said the OSCE, ordered out of Chechnya in December because
of differences over its mandate, would resume talks on the issue with Russia.
Moscow wants the mission confined to humanitarian work, while the OSCE has
taken up human rights themes, including alleged abuses by Russian forces.
President Vladimir Putin sees the referendum as a first step toward a
political settlement to a decade of violence in which two Russian military
drives have left most of Chechnya in ruins.
Critics, including an envoy from the Council of Europe, say violence is too
widespread for a vote to take place only months after Chechen militants held
hundreds hostage in a Moscow theater and blew up the region's main
The head of Russia's Central Election Commission, Alexander Veshnyakov, said
the OSCE mission would prove the vote was being prepared properly.
February 4, 2003
The FSB as a criminal grouping
di Andrei ANTONOV
The New-York-based publishing house GRANI has just published in Russian a
book by Lt.-Col. Alexander Litvinenko, who used to work for Russia’s
Federal Security Service (Russian acronym FSB) but is now residing in Great
Britain. The book is entitled “LPG, the Lubyanka Criminal Group”. What the
book is about is easy to guess from the title (Lubyanskaya Square, or
Lubyanka, is the place where the FSB headquarters, successor of the KGB,
are located.) The more so since everybody heard about Litvinenko’s
exposures of his former bosses’ misdeeds ranging from conspiracy to kill
Boris Berezovsky to plotting apartment explosions in Russian cities.
The book has already got some reviews. “Terrifying, gripping and
instructive” called the book Viktor Suvorov, author of the much-talked
about “Ledokol” (Icebreaker). “Litvinenko eloquently depicts that what was
long considered to be the “shield and sword” of the communist party is in
reality a huge criminal mechanism,” stated Russian dissident and former
political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky.
The book is a compilation of interviews given by Litvinenko in London to
Moscow journalist Akram Murtazaev. Each interview is an argument against
the Lubyanka. However, Litvinenko does not portray his former place of
employment only in black colors, he presents the FSB as an intricate and
dubious structure. Take, for example, their agent’s network, he says.
“There are agents and agents. There are agents who are engaged in the dirty
business of political harassment … And there are real heroes who risk their
lives to rescue complete strangers … . There are many others who work under
cover within criminal groups … and save lives of innocent civilians … And
it is the latter group of agents that makes any security service strong and
powerful. Not all these PR men like Zdanovich, a FSB official spokesman,
who tell lies on television.”
By the way, when ‘arranging’ infiltrations into criminal groups,
came across a phenomenon of ‘fusion of power structures with the criminal
world’. Citing one of his agents, Litvinenko tells about cases when agents
were asked by policemen to form and lead a criminal gang. When asked what
for, police frankly replied that would have helped them clamp down on
businessmen who ‘gone loose’ and refused to pay their dues. In this game,
FSB agents’ role was to intimidate and threaten disobedient businessmen,
and the police’s, to feign protection, and to squeeze money out of
businessmen. Part of the money would have then gone to FSB agents as a
reward. There is one more interview in the book that touches upon this
There is no point retelling here all Litvinenko’s arguments against the
Lubyanka. Russia’s readership would read and make their own opinion of the
book. One thing, however, is obvious: the way Litvinenko sees it, the FSB
is clearly a criminal and even terrorist organization. And not only because
of apartment explosions or alleged conspiracy against Berezovsky.
Litvinenko is certain that security services were behind the murder of
Galina Starovojtova, a prominent figure in Russia’s democracy movement, and
the death of Anatoly Sobchak, … and many, many other things.
“I wish all these accusations against the FSB appeared to be false. I
sincerely do not want to believe that security services of my country are
capable of doing such things,” stated in an interview Viktor Pokhmelkin,
co-chair of the Liberal Russia party. True, nobody here wants to believe
that security men are ready and able to kill their fellow countrymen in
cold blood. Interviewing Litvinenko, journalist Murtazaev exclaimed, “You
are bringing such terrible accusations against our own people, are they
really capable of doing that?”. Litvinenko replied: “These sort of people
are not our own people. For them, Sudoplatov (a top Cheka official in
Stalinist times) is a bigger personality than Andrei Sakharov. What is
Sakharov for them? A dissident, a traitor.”
Regretfully, one should acknowledge this mentality is still there. From the
very start the state security agency had been intended for safeguarding the
illegal and criminal regime. Even if judged by the goal alone, it just had
to be the criminal agency. Just remember their crackdown on dissidents —
telephone threats, beatings under disguise of hooligans’ attacks. In their
strive for democracy dissidents did not violate Soviet law because the
Soviet Constitution did — on paper — guarantee democracy freedoms.
What is then the purpose of today’s FSB terrorist, according to Litvinenko,
activity? In his response to that worrying question, Litvinenko recalls the
situation when police asked security agents to form a gang to deal with
unruly businessmen. In his opinion, the FSB resorts to terrorist acts like
police to security agents. Same purpose, same tactics, but at a different
level of authority. At the state level. Like in the case with police, the
state hires, or puts up with, a gang of bandits to create an atmosphere of
fear … To make people live in constant fear of terrorists so that they
yield to passport checks … and sacrifice part of their freedom space.
PUTIN'S ADVISER OFFERS 3 WAYS OF RUSSIAN ECONOMY TO PROGRESS
MOSCOW, February 4 /from RIA Novosti's Elena Fedorova/ - Russia's government
expenditures ought to make 25% of its gross domestic product, as against a
current 37.8%, said Andrei Illarionov, presidential economic adviser, as he
was speaking today at the Nikitsky Club, a Moscow-based academic and
entrepreneurial debating society.
The expert offered three sets of blueprints and forecasts of Russian economic
progress up to 2015.
With the first, government expenditures rise to 40% of the GDP. A second
demands them shrinking to 35%, and a third to 25%.
The first option will not allow to increase the per capita GDP, warned Mr.
Illarionov, while the second promises a 12% increase, and the third a
A 25% shrinkage of the share of government expenditures will offer the
quickest per capita progress of their actual amount-60% by the deadline year
2015, he forecast.
"ABSURD," SAYS PUTIN'S ADVISER AS WTO CALLS RUSSIA TO SKYROCKET FUEL PRICES
MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 4 /from RIA Novosti's Elena Fedorova/ - Moscow ought to
drastically raise domestic fuel prices, says the World Trade Organisation as
negotiations are underway to grant Russia its membership.
"An absurdity," Andrei Illarionov, presidential economic adviser,
the WTO proviso as he was speaking today at the Nikitsky Club, a Moscow-based
academic and entrepreneurial debating society.
Russia has fully liberalised its petroleum and fuel prices, so the government
has no chance to change them. As to electricity tariffs, they are bloated but
have a chance to get down after the industry undergoes a reform.
On the whole, the expert approves the present stance, on which Russia intends
not to send domestic fuel and energy prices up but spread liberalisation to
Tennis-We're underdogs says Russian Davis Cup chief
By Gennady Fyodorov
MOSCOW, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Russia's tennis chief thinks his team will be the
underdogs in defence of their Davis Cup title against the Czech Republic.
"We're definitely the underdogs in this tie," Tarpishchev,
president of the
Russian tennis federation and their Davis Cup captain, told Reuters in a
telephone interview on Tuesday from Ostrava, the site of the first-round
world group tie.
"Taking into account everything that has happened to us in the last few
weeks, the Czechs must be considered big favourites. They are playing at
home, their doubles team also looks much stronger than ours," Tarpishchev
"But most of all, we've been heavily handicapped by (Marat) Safin's
It threw all our preparation off track."
Last week, 2000 U.S. Open champion Safin pulled out of the February 7-9 tie
after injuring his left wrist at last month's Australian Open.
In his absence, Davis Cup hero Mikhail Youzhny will lead the Russian team
which also includes former world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov and newcomers
Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreyev.
Youzhny won the decisive singles match last December when Russia won their
first Davis Cup with a dramatic 3-2 victory over holders France in December.
Playing as a substitute for Kafelnikov, the 20-year-old came from two sets
down to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 3-6 2-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 in Paris.
Kafelnikov, 28, who has shelved his plans to retire after helping Russia win
the Davis Cup, last week reached the ATP tournament final in Milan, where he
lost to Dutch qualifier Martin Verkerk.
"Both Youzhny and Davydenko are looking fine, but unfortunately
far from his best," Tarpishchev said. "He still needs a lot more conditioning
under his belt to be a threat on clay. But we're running out of time here."
Asked who would be given the nod to play the singles, Tarpishchev said:
not going to put all my cards on the table just yet. We still have a couple
of days to get ready."
Poles say USA friend, Russia enemy - poll
Source: PAP news agency, Warsaw, in English 1610 gmt 4 Feb 03
Warsaw, 4 February: Half of Poles (50 per cent) believe that the United
States is Poland's friend, and for 50 per cent Russia is Poland's enemy,
according to a survey conducted by OBOP in January.
Over a half (54 per cent) of those polled are convinced that Poland has
friends among other countries, while 22 per cent claim that Poland has no
Nearly a half (45 per cent) of respondents think that Poland has no enemies,
but more than one in four believes that there are states hostile to Poland.
Fifty per cent claim that Poland has enemies, first of all Russia.
The poll was run by OBOP between January 11 and 13 on a 1,007-person sample
of Poles over 15 years of age.
Latvia approves site of controversial NATO-compatible radar
RIGA, Jan 4 (AFP) - The government in the Baltic state of Latvia
approved on Tuesday the site of a NATO-compatible radar close to its border
with Russia, despite residents' safety fears, a defence ministry spokesman
"It's important not only for military purposes but for the security of
civilian flights," the spokesman, Airis Rikvelis, told AFP.
Latvia considers the radar, which will be able to peer some 400 kilometres
(250 miles) into Russian air space, an essential part of its preparations to
join the NATO military alliance, to which it received a membership invitation
Citing safety fears some 20,000 people last year signed a petition against
plans to site the TPS-117 three-dimensional radar near Audrini village, 40
kilometres (25 miles) from Latvia's border with Russia.
However, the spokesman defended the decision.
"Our confidence (in the radar's safety) is based on experience in other
countries, such as Germany, where there are homes right next to such radars
-- in Audrini the houses are further away," Rikvelis said.
He said discussions were underway over the possibility of monitoring the
health of local residents -- a group of whom were recently flown to Germany
to see similar radars at work.
Opinion polls have shown residents of the eastern Latvian region where the
radar is to be sited are predominantly opposed to NATO membership, while
Moscow also continues to criticise Latvia's membership plans.
The radar, for which Latvia is paying the US company Lockheed Martin some
eight million lats (14.1 million euros/12.6 million dollars), could start
operating this summer as part of a network spanning Latvia and neighbouring
NATO invitees Estonia and Lithuania, Rikvelis said.
Kuchma says at a loss over poor US-Ukrainian ties
February 4, 2003
KIEV, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said Tuesday he
was at a loss over what to do to patch up ties with the United States after
it slashed the amount of aid for the ex-Soviet state over his alleged arms
sales to Iraq.
A resigned-looking Kuchma, who weathered the toughest months of his tenure
last year after failing to dispel concerns he had approved the sale of a
"Kolchuga" air defense system to Baghdad, said he just hoped the dispute
would soon be forgotten.
"On my word, I do not know what else we need to do to change the mind of
United States," Kuchma told a news conference.
"It will pass. Our strategic interests match, we do not have
the main questions ... Let's see how to sort out the problems which have been
discussed in the United States. Our guys came back from there in a good mood,
although to be frank, I do not share it."
He reiterated that Ukraine had proven its innocence to U.S. and British
experts probing the Kolchuga charges.
According to U.S. budget documents, Washington has cut an aid allocation for
Ukraine to $94 million from $155 million because of U.S. displeasure over
Kuchma's alleged breach of U.N. sanctions over the arms sales.
A recent Ukrainian delegation, headed by Economy Minister Valery
Khoroshkovsky, left Washington largely empty handed with few promises but a
clear message that the country of 49 million people must reform to secure
Economic growth has faltered recently but the country's newly appointed
Finance Minister Mykola Azarov has boasted that Ukraine, sandwiched between
Russia and an expanding European Union, does not yet need help from Western
Isolated by the West over alleged human rights abuses, money laundering and
the arms sales, Kuchma, who is due to step down in October next year, also
faced months of mass street demonstrations last year over his alleged link to
the killing of a reporter critical of his rule.
The veteran leader, who has served two four-year terms as president, has
repeatedly denied the charges.
Western diplomats say that relations with Ukraine are unlikely to improve
until the leader leaves office.
Russian deputy says country's chemical weapons will be destroyed by 2012
Source: Radio Russia, Moscow, in Russian 1230 gmt 4 Feb 03
Radio Russia's "Persona Grata" programme, broadcast at 1230 gmt on
February, featured State Duma deputy and member of the state commission for
the disposal of chemical weapons Nikolay Bezborodov, being interviewed by
Vitaliy Ushkanov on the problem of recycling warfare chemicals in Russia.
Bezborodov said about 40,000 t of warfare chemicals was stored in Russia, and
these are to be destroyed by the year 2012. He said that under the first
targeted federal programme adopted in 1996, Russia was expected to build
seven full-scale facilities in every area where chemical weapons were stored.
"These are seven places and I will probably even mention them today.
not a military secret today. These are Kambarka and Kizner in the Republic of
Udmurtia, the village of Gornyy in Saratov Region, the village of
Maradykovskiy in Kirov Region, (word indistinct) in Bryansk Region,
Leonidovka in Penza Region and the town of Shchuchye in Kurgan Region, which
is my constituency. We were supposed to build these seven facilities.
However, Russia was hit by financial and economic difficulties, on the one
hand, whereas financial aid promised to Russia during the ratification of the
convention [on the prohibition of chemical weapons] has not be provided,
unfortunately," he said.
Therefore, the programme for the recycling of chemical weapons was amended,
he continued. "We rejected the plan to build seven projects. As a matter of
fact, we will uild only two full-scale facilities - one in Shchuchye and
another one in Kambarka. And, of course, there is a facility in Gornyy, which
was commissioned on 19 October. A total of 70 t of yperite has already been
destroyed there. And the task is to destroy 400 t of warfare chemicals this
year - the 1 per cent which we must destroy under the amended programme,"
As regards methods of recycling warfare chemicals, Bozborodov said that
Russia now employed the so-called wet and cold method. "In other words, we
destroy warfare chemicals not by means of evaporating them and not by
subjecting them to high temperatures reaching 2000 degrees Celsius and to
high pressure, as they do in the USA, but, on the contrary, we deactivate
them, induce the necessary reaction and obtain a substance which is then to
Bezborodov continued by saying that the obtained substance is harmless and
can be subsequently recycled either by evaporation or some other method. "It
is clear now that nobody is going to bury it, and nobody is going to store
it. It will definitely be recycled," he said. As regards such chemical agent
as lewisite, it will be used to produce arsenic. "It turns out that it can
replace some components in the electronic industry. In particular, in
batteries," Bezborodov said.
As regards the funding of the chemical weapons disposal programme, he said
Russia spent R3bn in 2001, R5,4bn in 2002, and earmarked R5.36bn in 2003,
whereas R9bn was required last year. Bezborodov expressed regret that the USA
suspended the funding of the construction of the Shchuchye facility in 1999.
"Under the new programme, the first stage of the Shchuchye facility should be
built and commissioned by 2005 with the US aid. About 500 t of warfare
chemicals a year will be recycled at the first stage of the Shchuchye
facility. The second stage will be built at our own expense. This will
recycle about 1,600 t a year. Therefore, we are expected to destroy chemical
weapons stored in Shchuchye, as well as those to be transferred from Kizner,
by the year 2012," Bezborodov said.
Bezborodov said the state should pay more attention to the health and social
problems of the people who live near the facilities where warfare chemicals
are either stored or recycled.
He said the methods of recycling warfare chemicals were completely safe for
people, and all the necessary measures were being taken to prevent terrorists
from getting access to chemical weapons. He said people should be well
informed of what was being done towards that end.
At the end of the programme Bezborodov spoke of the army call-up problems. In
particular, he pointed to the low level of education and poor health of most
young men called up in the armed forces.
Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
February 5, 2003
The Russians are coming... and in a big way
By Michel Cousins, Arab News Staff
JEDDAH, 5 February 2003 — The Russians are coming. Not Russian tanks, but
Russian businessmen, Russian companies, Russian products and Russian
It is all a far cry from the old Cold War days when an impenetrable
ideological wall kept the world’s two biggest oil producers firmly apart.
The wall started to crumble with the fall of Communism, but even then
issues like Chechnya kept them apart.
The ice finally started to break with the visit of Foreign Minister Prince
Saud Al-Faisal to Moscow last April. Russian and Saudi views on a wide
range of international issues are now close, and on the Middle East are
virtually identical. Russia has endorsed Crown Prince Abdullah’s Middle
East peace proposals and, more recently, both have said that an Iraq war
should be avoided.
Perhaps the most important outcome of Prince Saud’s visit was a
Saudi-Russian intergovernmental commission for technical, scientific and
cultural cooperation. The commission held its first meeting in Moscow last
October, led on the Saudi side by the Minister of Finance & Economy Ibrahim
Al-Assaf and for the Russians by Energy Minister Igor Yusufov. It resulted
in an agreement proposing a program of economic and technical cooperation,
in particular on energy, telecommunications and construction. At the
meeting Yusufov singled out the Gas Initiative. Russia’s gas giant, Gazprom
— the largest gas company in the world — ought to be part of it, he said at
Last month, the advance party arrived. Accompanying Yevgeny Primakov, the
former Russian prime minister who was the star speaker at this year’s
Jeddah Economic Forum, was the largest, most high-powered Russian business
delegation ever to visit the Kingdom. It included captains of finance, the
oil and gas industry, construction, mining, agribusiness and other leading
Russian companies. By coincidence, Saudi Arabia’s top businessman, Prince
Alwaleed ibn Talal, was in Moscow at the same time looking at investment
Georgy Petrov, vice president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce &
Industry, told Arab News that the delegation aimed to make contacts and
spot opportunities. It first met with a team from Jeddah’s Chamber of
Commerce and then, before flying off to Dammam to meet with Saudi Aramco,
met with a group representing all the GCC chambers of commerce.
One Russian company with an obvious interest in the Gas Initiative is
Stroytransgaz, Russia’s leading pipeline construction company. Although no
newcomer to the Middle East — it is building an oil pipeline in Algeria and
last month signed a deal to develop Block Four in Iraq’s western desert
once UN sanctions are finally lifted — it has never been involved in the
Gulf region. Six months ago, however, it decided to explore opportunities
in Saudi Arabia.
“We want to get involved in the Gas Initiative,” Stroytransgaz’s
promotion manager, Konstantin Dudarev, told Arab News. A memorandum of
understanding was signed in October with Saudi Oger, one of the Kingdom’s
largest construction companies, and in November the two were in Dammam for
talks with Saudi Aramco.
Documentation has now been submitted for registration with Aramco, a
similar application will be submitted to the Saudi Arabian General
Investment Authority (SAGIA) and a consortium, Stroystransgaz-Saudi Oger,
will be unveiled this month.
“We intend to work here,” he told Arab News.
There is also talk that Baltic Construction Company, one of Russia’s
largest civil and industrial contractors, is about to win a contract here
for a desalination plant.
What makes the big difference, the Russians say, is that there is now an
economic as well as a political will to do business with them.
“The Saudi attitude to Russia has changed,” says Dudarev.
There is, however, still a long way to go. Saudi exports to Russia in 2001
were worth a paltry SR7 million, and Russian imports no more than SR384
million. But Saudi business is clearly now interested in Russian
technology, and in becoming less reliant on Western companies.
Petrov and Dudarev point out that thanks to years of involvement in
Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, Russian businessman are more likely than
their Western counterparts to speak Arabic.
“Russia would like our relations with Saudi Arabia to grow at the expense
of the Americans,” Petrov said with a wry smile.
Modernizing army remains top priority, says Putin
Source: RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 1100 gmt 4 Feb 03
[Presenter] Modernizing the country's armed forces is a priority objective,
and the main aim at the current time is to optimize the structure of military
units and to transfer them to a contract basis, Vladimir Putin said today at
a meeting with top officers of the Russian army in connection with their
appointments to higher ranks and the conferral of top military awards. The
president stressed that the main role in ensuring the country's security
belongs to our own defence potential.
[Putin, addressing officers] It would be an unforgivable act of stupidity to
forget that the main role in ensuring the security of Russia and its citizens
belongs, of course, to our own defence potential. It is for this reason that
the modernization of our armed forces remains, of course, a top priority.
It is no less important to take care of enhancing the military capability of
the forces, equipping them with weapons and hardware of the latest
generation. It is also essential to ensure the continuity of command and
officer personnel and the observance of discipline in the forces.
And finally, one of the most important objectives is improving the work of
the military prosecutors' bodies, raising the level of their personnel's
A key role in ensuring the security of our citizens belongs to the bodies of
the Interior Ministry. People expect reliable and effective protection of
their legitimate rights and interests from the personnel of the Interior
Ministry and other law-enforcement bodies, and such results have to be
demonstrated to society.
[Presenter] Vladimir Putin also noted that the past year had confirmed the
timeliness of action aimed at raising the performance of the entire military
and security apparatus as a whole. He said the fight against international
terrorism and its latest manifestations remains a most important task. It is
precisely in this context that Russia is making efforts to strengthen
collective security measures, including cooperation in the antiterrorist
coalition. Also, cooperation is being established through Russia-NATO
Russian foreign minister stresses need for cooperation with USA on missiles
Moscow, 4 February: Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has criticized the United
States for some of its unilateral steps.
At the Khrunichev Space Scientific and Production Centre on Tuesday, Ivanov
noted that "there are some negative trends in global politics today that run
counter to Russian security interests".
"Scores of issues in strategic stability remain unresolved, with US
unilateral moves adding to the complexity of the situation," he said...
"It is also of fundamental importance that today, we have a viable
that enables us to search for solutions to these problems by working
together, not through confrontation," Ivanov said.
He stressed that Russia favours the development of international cooperation
in the areas that would strengthen international security, rather than
undermine it. "I am principally referring to a non-strategic theatre missile
defence system," the foreign minister stressed.
He said that a bilateral programme, in addition to the Russia-NATO Council's
multilateral programme, has already been agreed upon.
"This area of cooperation is really useful and viable, and the contacts
should proceed with the involvement of a large number of participants, rather
than within the bloc. This approach can be applied both in Europe and in
other regions of the world," Ivanov said.
He stressed that "the problem of nonproliferation of weapons of mass
destruction has become increasingly acute" at the moment.
"The danger of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons falling into the
of extremist groups increases the destructive potential of the international
terrorism manifold [many times over]," Ivanov said. He underscored the need
to intensify efforts to reinforce the non-proliferation regime...
[According to a report from ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1046
gmt 4 Feb 03, Igor Ivanov stressed the importance of the Treaty on the
Reduction of Strategic Offensive Potentials signed with the USA. He said this
document "will allow a legal vacuum to be filled and will also give us the
chance to independently define the structure of our nuclear arsenal".]
Russian expert casts critical eye over space shuttle's performance
Moscow, 4 February: The loss of the reusable space transport vehicle Columbia
does not cast doubt on its advantages as a concept. The future belongs to
new-generation reusable aerospace systems, although it cannot be said today
that the space shuttles are either effective or profitable. Valeriy
Menshikov, director of NIIKS (Research and Development Institute of Space
Systems), told Arms-TASS correspondent Nikolay Novichkov this in an exclusive
Political rather than any other motives drove the development of the US Space
Shuttle system and Russia's Energiya-Buran, both of which were designed in
the 1970s-80s. In the event, no use was found for the Russian development,
while the performance of the US system fell short of the design parameters
its makers had hoped it would be able to achieve, Valeriy Menshikov said.
Instead of the 480 flights it was initially said they would make, the five
space shuttles have flown just over 100 missions. Two vehicles have been lost
in accidents. As for how much it costs for a space shuttle to place a payload
in orbit, it is twice the amount for single-use carrier rockets.
At their design stage, virtually every single element of the space shuttles
was expected to be reused. Initially, their solid-fuel boosters were to be
parachuted to the ground, for them subsequently to be rebuilt and used again.
Later, it was planned that it would also be possible to save their main fuel
tank. In practice, that never came to be. The orbital module is the only
element of the system that is truly reusable.
Nevertheless, the Space Shuttle is, without any doubt, a step forward. That
is why work to develop reusable space transport systems continues apace,
Valeriy Menshikov concluded.