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JRL #7054 Plain Text - Entire Issue

1. Baltimore Sun: Douglas Birch, Guardian of Russian culture. Arts: Mikhail Y. Shvydkoi is entrusted with not only safeguarding the traditions of his nation's
creative life but also ensuring that it has a future
2. AFP: Campaign to canonise Ivan the Terrible, Rasputin, worries Russian church.
3. National Post (Canada): Matthew Fisher, Judaism's Russian revival. Under the Soviets, the Jewish culture was forced into hiding. Now Jews are rediscovering their heritage.
4. Los Angeles Times: Robyn Dixon, The Show Goes On in Moscow Again Months After Siege.
5. David Filipov: re: Ware/7045.
6. P.P. Sharikov: re: Robert Bruce Ware (#7045, #7052).
7. Cheryl Garner: Re: Catherine Fitzpatrick 7049 (reply to Ware 7045).
8. BBC: Nikolai Gorshkov, Displaced Chechens wary of referendum.
9. Times Higher Education Supplement (UK): Nick Holdsworth, Russians flock to study in Britain.
10. Washington Post book review: David Hoffman, All Hands Lost. 'A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy' by Robert Moore.
11. Scotland on Sunday: Tom Parfitt, A whole Lada love for old banger Russia knows best.
12. Philadelphia Inquirer: Peter Nicholas, Weldon indulges passion for Russia amid grumbles.
13. The New York Times: Michael Wines, How Do You Say 'Shut Up' In Russian? 
14. AFP: Russian oil magnates at odds over pipeline shortage.
15. pravda.ru: Harry Potter of Our Own.
16. AP: Putin Decorates Favorite Russian TV Spy.


Baltimore Sun
February 9, 2003
Guardian of Russian culture
Arts: Mikhail Y. Shvydkoi is entrusted with not only safeguarding the
traditions of his nation's creative life but also ensuring that it has a
By Douglas Birch

MOSCOW - Mikhail Y. Shvydkoi, Russia's minister of culture, is entrusted
with keeping the flame of Russia's high culture flickering during these
turbulent times. 

The 62-year-old theater scholar is responsible for his nation's most
prominent arts institutions, including the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and
the Hermitage Museum and the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg. He has
been named by Art Review magazine as one of the 100 most influential people
in the art world. 

Shvydkoi was invited to visit Baltimore for the Vivat! St. Petersburg
festival but was unable to attend. The Baltimore festival, which opens
Thursday and runs through March 2, is a celebration of St. Petersburg's
300th anniversary and its great artistic wealth. 

Born in Kyrgyzstan, then a part of the Soviet Union, Shvydkoi graduated
from the State Institute of Theatrical Art in 1971 and served for 17 years
as deputy editor of the Soviet Theater magazine. He also worked as a drama
critic and screenwriter. 

He was named deputy minister of culture in 1993 and later became chief of
the television channel Kultura and of the Russian State Television and
Radio Company. Vladimir V. Putin, then-acting president, appointed him
culture minister in February 2000. 

Shvydkoi was the only high-ranking Kremlin official to take on the public
defense of modernist writers who were attacked last year by the pro-Putin
youth group "Moving Together." The group filed pornography charges against
a novelist who lampooned Stalin. 

"A criminal case should not be opened against a writer, for writers can
write whatever they see fit or want," Shvydkoi told Ekho Moskvvy radio in
July. "This is written in the constitution." 

Shvydkoi talked with The Sun a few days ago in his Moscow office, a short
stroll from the Kremlin. 

Baltimore's major arts and cultural institutions will mark the 300th
anniversary of St. Petersburg with Vivat! St. Petersburg, a two-week
celebration of Russian culture. What, in your opinion, does this say about
Russian-American relations? 

I think today's Russian-American relations in the cultural field may be
better today than in the last 15 years. We have found new interest in the
United States in Russian culture - more than maybe five or 10 years ago. 

I'll explain to you why. During perestroika, in the middle of the 1980s,
Russian culture and Russia were interesting [to the West] as the culture of
the empire of the devil. There was the Iron Curtain, and people looked
through the Iron Curtain through small holes. And through holes, everything
looks more interesting. 

To Americans on the street, Russia lost its image [as the home] of the
Bolshoi Ballet and its symphonies. To them, Russia is still a country of
ecological catastrophe and prostitutes, of criminals, of [money
laundering]. The image of Russia today, I think, is not the image of a
country with high culture. 

But through the culture, through the emotional information, we can give
them a much more real image of the country. 

If you want to present the real cultures, we must have much more support
from the governments of both sides. This is very important. I explain to my
children that American culture is not just thrillers and blockbusters. It
is something more. 

Can St. Petersburg once again become a center for modern art? Or will it
become, like Venice, a sort of living museum? 

St. Petersburg is our European capital in Russia. Moscow is much more of an
Asian capital. During the Soviet times, a lot of creative artists left St.
Petersburg and came to Moscow, because the creative atmosphere was more
flexible, more free. 

But during the 1980s, a lot of the young people created the St. Petersburg
avant-garde. They tried to re-create the glamour of St. Petersburg. And I
think they have a chance, although the '90s was not the time for that. 

Why does Russia have a Ministry of Culture and centralized control of its
arts institutions? 

This is a European tradition. In every country where there was a monarchy,
there was a ministry of culture. And this is more or less the Russian
tradition, too. 

It is my position that we must decentralize a lot of the function in the
cultural field, of course. 

But on the other hand, our heritage - the level of quality of the
philharmonic orchestras, of high-brow arts, of cultural education - we must
keep under the federal control. We must keep our standards of quality high,
during decentralization. 

It's very complicated. ... Each provincial governor has his own imagination
about what is good, what is bad. 

Without state support, what would happen to the arts in Russia? 

I will give you just two figures. The budget of the Ministry of Culture
today is about $700 million. The total cultural budget - regional,
municipal and federal - is approximately $1.5 billion. This is tax money. 

If you talk about private sponsorship, it is less than 10 percent of this. 

If the Ministry of Culture didn't exist? This is quite dangerous. All main
museums of Russia get 90 percent of their support from the state. If we
don't support these institutions, today there would be a collapse. 

We are trying to adapt the cultural institutions to a market economy. But
this is very complicated. Because we must change some of the [tax] laws [on
gifts to nonprofits]. We must change management [of arts institutions]. We
must change the system of regulations. 

The Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg is seeking to build an important
addition, and a group of modern architects are competing for the project.
What do you tell St. Petersburg residents who fear that a modern building
will scar the center of their city? 

This is a real problem. All the Petersburg inhabitants cry, 'This is
horrible! It's destroying the city!' and so forth. 

The center of Petersburg is the product of 200 years of architectural
development. One should understand that the center was formed during the
process of development. It is impossible to repeat the work of Rossi or
Rastrelli [two of the city's most prominent early architects] or the
Classical architectural style. 

This would be absolutely wrong. 

Of course, this must be a modern building. But it's a problem of [creating
a] natural, organic combination with the old city. They should not destroy
the image of the city. 

It's been reported that one out of five string players in major orchestras
around the world was trained in Russia. Yet instructors in Russia's music
academies are poorly paid. They are emigrating or retiring. So are talented
young musicians. Where will the next generation of Russian musicians come

We are very glad the Russian musical schools are so strong and so well
known. This is important. This makes an impact on world musical culture.
It's not bad, in my point of view. 

At the end of December 2002, President Putin signed a decree giving new
grants for seven musical institutions. This is quite big money: $30 million
for seven institutions. The conservatories in Moscow and St. Petersburg,
the Mariinsky and Bolshoi, and three symphony orchestras. And people in
this institution will have wages approximately the same as in Europe. In
this way, I hope we can keep these people in the country. 

A year ago, we prepared new contracts with soloists at the Bolshoi Theater.
They don't get huge money, by American standards. They get approximately
$1,000 per performance. For Russia, this is not bad money. They have money
enough for a normal life in this country. 

How important a role does Yuri Temirkanov, director of the St. Petersburg
Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony, play in Russia's musical culture? 

He is my favorite conductor. He is a real great musician. And I think the
competition between Temirkanov and [Mariinsky Theater director Valery]
Gergiev is a good chance for the development of Russian musical culture. 

When we asked people in St. Petersburg about Baltimore, many recalled only
that it is the name of a popular Russian ketchup. Do you think St.
Petersburg will ever hold a Vivat! Baltimore festival? 

In educated circles in Russia, the Baltimore Symphony was a symbol of the
best quality in the musical world. Everybody knows about the Baltimore
museums and the spirit of Baltimore. 

I think it is absolutely possible. Why not? 


Campaign to canonise Ivan the Terrible, Rasputin, worries Russian church 
February 9, 2003

Russian Orthodox authorities are attempting to damp down a heated debate
sparked by nationalist believers demanding the canonisation of the
bloodthirsty Ivan the Terrible and the debauched healer Grigory Rasputin. 

The drive to make saints of two of Russia's most notorious villains comes
from a growing sect of enthusiasts who pursue their goal via Internet
sites, marginal religious publications, radio broadcasts and personal
contacts within an increasingly divided church. 

In their proposed makeover, the sanguinary 16th century tsar becomes a
wise, generous leader, while the mystic healer whose sexual excesses did
much to discredit the monarchy prior to the 1917 revolution is seen as a
martyr killed by Freemasons, which in the Russian context is a codeword for
Jews. The historical record -- the incontrovertible facts that Ivan,
Russia's first tsar, was a mass murderer, killing numerous clergymen and
eventually his own son, and that Rasputin held orgies and was killed by
monarchists -- is swept aside as wrong, irrelevant or wilful "slander." 

The Moscow partriarchate is firmly opposed to the movement but worried
about the ease with which it is finding supporters. 

For Alexei Beglov, a historian of the Russian Orthodox church, the
phenomenon is rooted "in a form of counter-culture, the popular religiosity
that sprang up in the 1940s during the era of the Stalinist repression." 

So harsh was the persecution of religion that in some remote regions the
peasantry, seeing Moscow as the capital of the anti-Christ, dropped out of
society altogether, refusing to vote, to work in the agricultural
collectives, or even to attend the churches authorised by the Communist

Some began to see the last tsar, Nicholas II, as a new Messiah, redeemer of
the Russian people, with Rasputin as his precursor or John the Baptist. 

This current of thought has revived recently, nurtured by anti-globalist
resentment occasionally expressing itself in such movements as the refusal
to accept tax identification numbers, Beglov told AFP. 

A concession granted by the Russian Orthodox authorities in August 2000 to
grant the canonisation of Nicholas II and his family as passion-bearers --
people who accepted their deaths with Christian humility -- is seen as
wholly insufficient. 

"They're only a small sect, but they make a lot of noise. Some of them are
on the fringes of the church, others are outide it," said Alexander
Dvorkin, an expert on sects at the Moscow patriarchate. 

The militants are able to attract ardent neophytes with little
understanding of the nature of religious belief. 

"These people want a schism at any cost. And there's a definite risk of
that happening, that's why we have to talk about it," he told AFP. 

Russian Orthodox patriarch Alexy II has pointed out the absurdity of the
idea of canonising a man believed to have killed thousands, including
clergy who were themselves later canonised. 

"This is madness. We can't at the same time praise the martyrs and their
killer," he said last month. 

"Nor is there any reason to envisage canonising Grigory Rasputin, whose
loose morals threw a shadow over the future martyrs of the august family of
Nicholas II," he said. 

Despite the warnings, icons depicting Ivan the Terrible and Rasputin as
saints have been appearing since the mid-1990s, with groups of supporters
holding prayer services to glorify them. 


National Post (Canada)
February 8, 2003
Judaism's Russian revival
Under the Soviets, the Jewish culture was forced into hiding. Now Jews are
rediscovering their heritage
By Matthew Fisher 

MOSCOW - Until a few years ago, all Jana Yavich knew about being Jewish was
that she was described as such on line five of the internal passport
Russians must carry with them at all times.

Now 21 years old, the vivacious woman from a town near St. Petersburg has
just graduated from a three-year course at the Jewish Women's College of
Moscow. In a few weeks she is to marry a young man from Uzbekistan who,
like her, has just rediscovered his Jewish roots.

"I always lived in Russia, but I never felt Jewish before," Ms. Yavich said
proudly last week as she and a girlfriend left an evening class at Moscow's
new Jewish Community Centre, about 15 minutes by car from the Kremlin.

She is in the vanguard of a remarkable revival of Jewish traditions and
faith across Russia. After enduring enormous persecution by the Communists,
millions of Russian Jews left for Israel, the United States and Canada
during the last years of perestroika and glasnost and the first years of
Russian democracy.

Now, the hemorrhaging has stopped and Judaism is making a comeback across
the former Soviet Union.

Russia now has 250 rabbis, including 100 who trained here, working in 30
cities. There are 40 more in other former Soviet republics. This is in
sharp contrast to the Communist years, when the KGB approved only a handful
of rabbis.

Even more astonishing, there are 70 Jewish day schools in 60 communities
and 20 Jewish schools of higher learning. There are also 4,000 field
workers spread across 400 towns and cities. And last month saw a mass bar
mitzvah for 52 Russian Jewish boys, who until recently knew little about
their faith.

"We've just begun. Come back in a few years and see what we have achieved,"
said Berel Lazar, Russia's Chief Rabbi, during an interview in his office
at the Jewish Centre that was interrupted frequently by visitors or phone
callers speaking Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and English.

Only 38 years old, the Milan-born Lubavitch rabbi first came to Russia from
New York as a religious student in 1987. He returned as a rabbi three years
later and hasn't preached anywhere else since.

"I grew up on stories of the Russian Jewry," said Rabbi Lazar, clad in the
dark clothes and broad black hat of the Lubavitch sect. "If I left food on
my plate, my mother would tell me Jewish kids in Russia would love to have
what I was refusing. I closely followed the refuseniks. I was so touched by
these Jewish activists that I would sometimes cry in the night after
reading of what problems they faced."

One of those who suffered was Rabbi Zev Vagner. A great bear of a man with
a barrel chest, long, white beard and an infectious smile, he is now a
roving rabbi, overseeing the work of dozens of rabbis in the hinterlands.

But for much of his life in the Soviet Union, he dared not wear any Jewish

"The renaissance started with perestroika," said Rabbi Vagner, who left the
Soviet Union in 1976 and spent 13 years in Israel before returning toward
the end of Mikhail Gorbachev's turbulent reign.

"Every little detail of my life is different today than it was under
Communism. To wear a yarmulke at work was impossible. So was wearing a
tefillin [phylactery]. To even find one to buy required a horrible amount
of work.

"As for kosher meat, well ..."

Judaism in Russia was in a perilous state at the end of the 1980s, Rabbi
Lazar said. Moscow's two synagogues had been penetrated by the KGB or were
watched closely by the secret police from literally across the street.

"All I saw during my first few years here was people with suitcases ready
to leave for Israel or [the United States," he said. "We spent our time
teaching them how to live in English or Hebrew. There was never an idea to
rebuild the community."

A novel strategy was needed because most of the Jews who remained were
little interested in Judaism. In fact, many, like Ms. Yavich, barely knew
they were Jewish.

To woo them back to their religion, the leaders have set up schools and
community centres such as the one in Moscow. This includes a synagogue,
kosher meat and milk restaurants, and an amphitheatre that regularly
features evenings of intellectual discussion and humour on such topics as
"How to Become a Jewish Billionaire." Members can take classes in Jewish
history, Hebrew, English, French and computers. Copies of the Jewish Voice,
a Russian-language weekly with a circulation of 35,000, are also available.

Like any other community centre, it also has a gymnasium and a weight room,
a disco and an Internet caf.

Up to 400 people an evening flock to the Moscow community centre, which is
free except for the restaurants, and the building is packed on Sundays.

While not supplying precise figures, Rabbi Lazar said it cost "millions and
millions of dollars a year just for the food we give out to children at our
schools across Russia and the food packages they take home."

About half the money comes from wealthy Russian Jews, the rest from
Israelis and Jews living abroad.

"We are trying to make sense out of how to rebuild Jewish life in this
country," he said. "You cannot attract people to the Jewish religious life
immediately. You have to get them involved in anything Jewish. We do this
through theatre, music and sport."

However, the first step was simply getting people to acknowledge they were

"No one person made this happen. It evolved," Rabbi Lazar said.

"Jews came out of the closet. They were no longer afraid to proclaim that
they were Jewish. In Soviet times, parents did not tell their children they
were Jewish. Hiding your Jewishness was the norm."

This was the case with Ms. Yavich's family. Her parents were not very happy
when she received a phone call asking if she was interested in meeting
other Jews.

"They remembered how difficult it was to be Jewish in the Soviet Union,"
she said. "Jews were restricted. We couldn't have higher jobs or places in
the best schools. And to be a religious Jew was impossible. But my parents
are really glad now. They knew nothing about Jewish life and I do."

Israel Bierenbaum, now a rising Talmudic scholar, faced similar resistance
from his parents in Kyiv when he said he was interested in studying Judaism.

"In my family we always understood we were Jewish, but at the beginning, my
parents were quite opposed to my studying because they thought it would
bring new hardships," Rabbi Bierenbaum said.

"But it was something I had thought about for many years. Beginning in the
1990s, the meaning of being Jewish here began to change."

Russia has a long history of often-virulent anti-Semitism, but "other than
a few slurs, I've heard nothing really," he added, a view shared by a dozen
middle-aged and older students attending an English class at the centre.

"There is anti-Semitism here from time to time," said Raisa Gleizer, who is
a scientist. "But this does not only happen in Russia. It can happen

Rabbi Vagner grinned when asked this question. "You can generally wear your
yarmulke everywhere in Moscow just like you would in London," he said.
"People stare at you, but nothing more than that. This has become a
comfortable place for a Jew to live."

He described his joy at a recent visit to Tombov, about 500 kilometres from
Moscow, where, for the first time in many years, there had been enough Jews
to officially observe the Sabbath.

Still, a group of skinheads recently broke into a Jewish community centre
in Ulyanovsk, 700 km east of Moscow, and a young Jewish leader was badly
beaten by a similar group last spring.

Avraham Berkowitz, an American and executive director of the Moscow-based
Federation of Jewish Communities, said undoing decades of history could not
be achieved in a few years. But he believes anti-Semitism in Russia today
is sometimes exaggerated.

"The media love sensationalism, so when someone paints a swastika, there is
a lot of publicity," Mr. Berkowitz said.

"My American friends ask me why a Jew would want to live in Russia. But
Judaism was ripped away from these people. To date, most Russian Jews have
still never been to a synagogue. Yet in 10 years, they have got to the
point where there is a rabbinical school."

Programs have reached one million Jews, he said, and there were at least
two or three million more Jews to be contacted.

"We have to reach out now, because these people will soon not remember that
their parents were Jewish."

One of the reasons for Russian Jewry's new confidence is that many of
Russia's most successful businessmen are Jewish. Another important factor
is the return of Russian Jews from Israel, while a third group of Russian
Jews make their homes in both countries.

"Flying between Moscow and Tel Aviv is like taking the Long Island commuter
train into New York," said Hillel Scheinfeld, a New Yorker who works for an
Israeli high-tech company in Moscow.

"I take the flight to Moscow every Monday morning and it is packed.
Everyone knows each other."

There were many different ways to measure the progress of Judaism and
Jewish life in Russia, Rabbi Lazar said.

"Anti-Jewish jokes here are not considered anti-Semitism in Russia," he
said, laughing. "They are part of life.

"But there are no governors running for office on anti-Semitism platforms.
When a new party is formed that is anti-Semitic,we try to prove its
anti-Semitic agenda. We must always be ready to stop this at the very

The Chief Rabbi praised Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, with whom he
has often met, for convincing regional leaders not to prevent Jews from
celebrating their faith.

"Mr. Putin has not only been involved," he said. "He has given us a ton of
help. He has been giving us back our property."

However, Jews overseas have not yet been as engaged as the Chief Rabbi
would like.

"There was a time when world Jewry did a lot for Russian Jewry and for the
refuseniks," he said.

"There were demonstrations, they sent food and medicine and they visited.
One of the reasons Communism fell was due to the effort of Jews who
wouldn't give in. Canadian and American Jews cared for Russian Jewry.

"Russian Jewry is not in style any more. But it is slowly picking up again.
The American Jewish community is losing members. This Jewish community is
growing. It's a good investment."

One of the community's most enthusiastic supporters is Nathan Jacobson, a
third-generation Winnipegger of Russian Jewish heritage. He is perhaps the
most successful Canadian businessman in Russia, now involved in building
hundreds of gas stations.

He also sponsored last month's mass bar mitzvah and invited Rabbi Lazar to
Canada, where he met members of the country's Jewish establishment and its
burgeoning Russian Jewish community.

"I'm thrilled" by the rebirth of Jewish life in Russia, Mr. Jacobson said.
"Tears come to my eyes every time I come here. Most Canadian Jews don't
know about this, but if they did, I think that they would care."

Rabbi Lazar said the battle to help Russian Jews rediscover their roots is
still at an early stage.

"I do not think there is a country anywhere where Jews are so poor
materially and so poor in terms of information about Jewish life," he said.

"They are ignorant. There is zero knowledge. This has been an incredible
experience for me.

"I have met Jews in the Russian Far East who looked Chinese, yet they were
100% Jewish.

"What you discover in Russia is that to be Jewish has nothing to do with
political boundaries or geography."


Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2003
The Show Goes On in Moscow Again Months After Siege
By Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW -- Just over three months ago, it was a hall of death. But Saturday
night, cheerful ticket-holders hurried up to the Dubrovka Theater here,
their faces alight in anticipation of a good night's entertainment at the
reopening of the musical "Nord-Ost."

Among them were few mourners for those who died in the theater in October
after Chechen terrorists took the audience and cast hostage. Most came
Saturday with the simple wish for an enjoyable evening out. 

A few elderly people were hanging around in hopes of seeing flashy VIPs
like Moscow Mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov.

"I don't think about the dead," said Konstantin Grishin, 29, a serviceman
who was selling tickets outside the theater for about $30 apiece. "Of
course I pity those who died, but that's over."

Saturday was Nina Milovidov's 15th birthday, or would have been, had she
not died after Russian security forces pumped gas into the theater, where
she was a hostage, stormed in and killed the terrorists in an operation
that cost 129 captives their lives. Of those, 127 -- including Nina -- were
killed by the gas.

Her parents, Dmitri and Olga Milovidov, were unable to get tickets for the
reopening. Instead, they spent Saturday at a cemetery and a church, and
then mourned Nina at home.

Nina and her sister, Lena, 13, were both in the theater at the time of the
attack, but Lena was released by the terrorists.

"The musical must go on as life must go on," Dmitri Milovidov, 39, an
engineer who also has a 2-year-old son, said in a telephone interview. "But
the tragedy must not serve as an advertisement for the show.

"My children are growing. I don't want them to be afraid to go outside. I
want them to go to shows and movies without fear. And I will do my best to
try to make them live in a safer country. What happened at 'Nord-Ost' must
never happen again."

He and his wife plan to see the show this month with Lena, who has told her
parents that she wishes she could have seen it to the end.

Posters around Moscow are advertising "Nord-Ost," the first Broadway-style
musical in Russia, with the slogan "Full Speed Ahead!"

Although many audience members felt no qualms about a night's light
entertainment at the site of such a tragedy, others confessed to deep

For Olga Plakhotnik, 33, who came from Ukraine to see the show, a heavy air
of tragedy lingered about the theater.

"Actually, it is a very sad place. But I think that art is stronger than
death and tragedy," she said. "It is right that the music should continue
here, in this very place. It must continue because our life is continuing."

Elena and Nikolai Tersky, 41 and 43, respectively, had seen the show five
times and love it.

"It's a very symbolic play. It's very Russian. Nothing should end, not in
such a tragic way," said Nikolai Tersky, a manager. "We feel some hope in
this revival."

Regina Livshetz, 44, from Los Angeles, was on a five-day visit to Moscow
and agreed to take a relative to the show.

"Actually, I was depressed when I found out it was the first night," she
acknowledged. "I'm not in a good mood to go here because it's tragic. I
don't have a good feeling here. Just to sit here and understand that so
many people died -- it's not a good feeling. It feels very painful."

Twenty-seven "Nord-Ost" cast members died in the siege, including two

Still, as part of an effort to expunge the aura of death around the
musical, the Dubrovka was not merely cleaned and repainted but renovated
and remodeled. The Moscow government footed the $2.5-million bill.

The seats, once red and spattered with the blood of female terrorists shot
dead by security forces, have been replaced by blue seats. The orchestra
pit, which hostages were forced to use as a lavatory, now is on the same
level as the audience.

Director Grigory Vasiliev took his parents into the theater to show them
exactly where he sat while he was a captive. "But I couldn't find the
seats," he said at a news conference Friday.

Security was tight before Saturday's performance. Sniffer dogs and bomb
experts checked the theater before the show, and audience members passed
through a metal detector.

For survivors of the events in October and the bereaved, questions remain.
Dmitri Milovidov and his family are among 61 victims suing the Moscow
government for more than $60 million in compensation for suffering.

But Russian law protects the authorities from negligence related to
terrorist attacks. Nor will the case answer why so many died from the gas
used to subdue the terrorists.

"I blame the authorities for what happened and ultimately for my daughter's
death," Milovidov said. The desperate sadness and grief of the last 3 1/2
months have led him to a sinister conclusion: "I have been thinking a lot
about what happened, and I become more and more convinced that the
authorities didn't really want to save all the hostages. You can't help
reaching the conclusion that they deliberately let a certain number of
hostages die to keep up the anti-Chechen sentiment in the society, for
their own ends."

Other Russians, like the Terskys, feel certain that many of the dead could
have been saved. But they find it difficult to allocate blame.

"It was just circumstances," said Nikolai Tersky, "or some mismanagement.
It was everything together."

Saturday's show began with a minute's silence.

But addressing the audience before the performance, Mayor Luzhkov struck an
ebullient note.

"Life goes on," he declared. "Nothing can stop it!" 


From: David Filipov <dfilipov@globe.com>
Subject: re: Ware/7045
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 

I'd like to set straight one misconception raised by Robert Ware.
Journalists did not rush back into Chechnya in 1999 because the Russian
military suddenly made it safe for them. The return of journalists to
Chechnya in 1999-2000 went in four phases.

1) Before Aug. 1999 -- Journalists approached the area with great caution,
because of the great danger to any non-Chechen posed by kidnapping gangs of
Chechen and other origin (During a visit to the Chechen border in July
1999, I was told by Stavropol police that many of the "chechen" kidnapping
bands were in fact multinational groups who took advantage of the "legal
black hole" of Chechnya to ward off investigators).

2) Aug. 1999-Oct. 1999 -- The Chechen-led incursion into Dagestan brought a
number of journalists into Dagestan to report on the fighting. In September
1999, Maskhadov organized two trips for Moscow-based journalists to
Chechnya with his personal guards. About 40 journalists took part.

3) Oct. 1999-Dec. 31 1999 -- dozens, if not hundreds, of Western
journalists poured into Ingushetia and on to Chechnya to report on the
fighting in the region. They travelled on risk of arrest and deportation by
Russian troops, and risked fire and bombardment by Russian troops, as well
as kidnapping by hostage-taking gangs who were still operating at this
time. After interrogating the journalists who had gone on Maskhadov's
trips, the Russian government sponsored three trips beginning Oct. 16;
about 150 journalists were allowed on these official trips. Only two
Western media outlets, one newspaper and one television station, were
allowed permanent accreditation to the Russian military base in Mozdok and
threrefore in Chechnya. All others were unwelcome, and travelled to
Chechnya at their own risk. This stage culminated with the arrest of 7
journalists who had managed to sneak into Grozny on Dec. 30, 1999.

4) Since Jan. 2000, the Russian government has had a system under which
Western journalists can get accredited to Yastrzhembsky's office, which in
turn organizes occasional trips to Chechnya. The trips last several days
and the agenda is entirely controlled by Russian troops. Western
journalists are not allowed to use their satellite phones or travel through
Chechnya separately. While some have tried to do so, anyone apprehended
inside Chechnya without permission to be there has been deported and
prohibited from receiving a Russian visa for 5 years.

Hopefully this clears up the misunderstanding that could result from Robert
Ware's claim that journalists cowered from the dangers of Chechnya until
the Russian military made it possible to travel there.

David Filipov
Moscow bureau
Boston Globe


From: "P.P. Sharikov" <ppsharikov@hotmail.com>
Subject: re: Robert Bruce Ware (#7045, #7052)
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 

Robert Bruce Ware has much to contribute in regard to contemporary 
socio-political conditions in Dagestan, as evident from his personal 
experience in the North Caucasus and his extensive list of publications. It 
is not clear, however, why it is necessary for someone of Ware's caliber to 
lace his frequent contributions to JRL with such hostility and sarcasm, as 
this personal invective only undermines the credibility and depth of his 

But more frustrating is Ware's use of fieldwork as a litmus test with which 
to silence opinions that run counter to his own. Few would disagree that 
fieldwork is one component of a sound research methodology, and Ware has 
repeatedly proven this with the usefulness of his work on the ground in 

That said, Ware appears to be somewhat less rigorous when it comes to 
Chechnia. It is unclear, for instance, how much fieldwork he has actually 
conducted among Chechen-speakers in this troubled republic. Moreover, even 
the most exacting sorts of empirical research would be unable to prove many 
of Ware's most provocative hypotheses.

One example is Ware's claim to McFaul and Fitzpatrick (JRL #7052) that 
Chechen social instability stems from the absence of a Dagestani-like system 
of political alliances that might temper kinship and clan fragmentation. A 
thought-provoking idea, it is unclear how Ware would conclusively verify 
such a claim through conventional sorts of fieldwork.

Another example is Ware's assertion to McFaul (JRL #7045) that regional 
order has collapsed to such an extent that "there is no government on the 
planet that could succeed in effectively enforcing order and protecting 
rights in Chechnya. Russia has done a terrible job, but everyone else would 
have failed at least as spectacularly. . . . . If Russia had not returned 
to Chechnya in 1999 the scale of violence and human rights abuses in the 
region would not be less than it is today, it would be much greater." An 
eye-opening contention, it is also utterly counter-factual. No amount of 
fieldwork or experience in the region could confirm this claim.

But perhaps most striking is Ware's notion that "wars sometimes occur when 
cultures need to change" (JRL #7052). As in the case of the previous two 
examples, it is not clear how research on the ground in the North Caucasus 
gives Ware the unique authority to make such a broad and simplistic 

Ware is at his best when publishing the results of rigorous fieldwork in 
Dagestan. And he has every right to advance speculative claims regarding 
Chechnia as well. But if he is to make claims that stray from his immediate 
area of expertise, he ought to concede the same opportunity to others as 


From: "Cheryl Garner" <intelgal@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: Catherine Fitzpatrick 7049 (reply to Ware 7045)
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 

I've subscribed to JRL for a number of months now and while I do not agree
with everything I have read, I never felt compelled to actually write a
response until I read Ms. Fitzpatrick's critique of Bruce Ware. In her
response Ms. Fitzpatrick distinguishes between state actors and non-state
actors, arguing that human rights organizations "have to be preoccupied
mainly with states because states are responsible for human rights, and
(human rights organizations must) address the violation of rights by
states, not the commission of crimes by non-states which states themselves
must address." Firstly, one of the major points of the war in Chechnya is
that Russia has no effective control over the area. I would have thought
this was blatantly obvious. That being the case, if there is no effective
control, how on earth does Ms. Fitzpatrick propose the Russian government
take care of their internal "crime"? There are a number of areas in the
world (Chechnya, Somalia, and Columbia to name a few) where the government
is not able to exercise full control over a particular area within its
borders. When law and order in these areas begin to break down and the
government proves ineffective in resolving the problem, I don't think it is
asking too much of human rights organizations to investigate ALL suspected
violations, not just those of state actors. 

Secondly, and more importantly, I can't help but think that if one truly
believes in human rights then the principles of human rights should be
applied across the board to ALL persons. Both state actors and non-state
actors alike should be held accountable. When human rights organizations
begin to apply their principles selectively and inconsistently then they
loose credibility and demean a very noble cause. These organizations need
to be above politics, not a propaganda tool for non-state actors, which is
what Ms. Fitzpatrick's argument makes them, whether she realizes it or not.
After all, when there is a conflict between a state actor and a non-state
actor, with atrocities committed by both sides, how can your organization
claim true neutrality when it will only investigate and report on the
atrocities committed by one side but not the other? Case in point, we
continually read in the news about human rights organizations' objections
to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, yet we never hear
anything about what happens to US and other NATO soldiers when they fall
into the hands of the Taliban. What about THEIR human rights? Where is
the outrage of human rights groups in this example? There is none.
According to Fitzpatrick, that's not part of their job. How reassuring.
Is it any wonder then that our current Commander and Chief is opposed to
the ICJ? It shouldn't be after reading Fitzpatrick's response. The fact
that non-state actors do not fall nicely into one of Ms. Fitzpatrick's
bureaucratic legal categories is no excuse for not rising to meet the
challenge of engaging them in dialogue and holding them every bit as
accountable for their actions as is done with a state. The bottom line is
that non-state actors are taking on an increasing political role in a
post-Cold War world and human rights organizations need to adapt to this
fact of life rather than ignore it. If that means changing international
law to reflect this dynamic, then so be it. That's the great thing about
the law - it can change and evolve.

Another area of Ms. Fitzpatrick's response I took exception to was her
attempt to excuse Chechen atrocities. Understand that by acknowledging
Chechen atrocities I am in no way denying, condoning, or excusing Russian
atrocities. Russian human rights violations are numerous and well
documented. Regretfully, Chechen human rights violations are not as well
documented by human rights organizations, as these organizations have been
reluctant to take on the challenge presented by "non-state actors". That
being said, I think that by comparing the number of violations by Russians
to the number of violations committed by Chechens Fitzpatrick is not only
starting with skewed data, but she also she sets a dangerous precedent -
that human rights violations are relative to a comparison, i.e. because the
number of Russian atrocities is higher than the number of Chechen
atrocities, the Chechen atrocities are excusable. By inferring this, Ms.
Fitzpatrick completely misses the point: human rights enforce a standard
of conduct. Actors either meet the standard or they don't. The standard
isn't relative and it most definitely should not be open to compromise. By
citing Russian atrocities to excuse Chechen atrocities, Ms. Fitzpatrick
undermines this standard.

Her attempts to absolve the Chechens of any responsibility do not end with
the comparison of counts of violations though. In her response Ms.
Fitzpatrick presents the weak argument that Chechens commit atrocities
because Russians have historically conditioned them to do so. As part of
this argument, she highlights the challenges facing the Chechen people in
attaining a decent education from which they might be able to "grow an
educated urban elite some day." I completely agree that education is a
key issue. The Chechen people will never be able to effectively build a
peaceful or orderly society without an educated populace. However, I do
not think that a degree from Harvard is required to understand that killing
innocent civilians in theaters in Moscow or bombing civilians in Grozny
government buildings are actions which are not only reprehensible, but are
also likely to alienate the international community from your cause. 

The highlight of Ms. Fitzpatrick essay however, is when she makes the
suggestion that should the local populace in Chechnya find themselves the
victims of Chechen militants they should form "community groups concerned
with common decency and public safety which forces the Russian police to
operate effectively and lawfully stop ordinary crime.", rather than look to
human rights organizations for help. Local populaces have actually
attempted her suggestion in a number of places around the globe, except
they aren't called "community groups" they're typically called "armed
opposition factions" or "armed opposition tribes", and they normally tend
to further complicate already complex situations. If Fitzpatrick thinks
for a moment that it is possible for the locals living in a lawless society
to simply set up an effective non-violent civic group which will succeed at
stopping inhumane acts of roving militants and thugs, then she has proven
Ware's argument about the need for field work far better than Ware could
himself. As an active duty military intelligence officer I've been to a
number of "hot spots" of lawlessness first hand, primarily in South
America, and I've done enough field work of my own to realize just how
ludicrous Ms. Fitzpatrick's suggestion of "community groups" is. She makes
this suggestion as if Chechen civilians are trying to reclaim an intercity
neighborhood from drugs dealers or set up a neighborhood watch, rather than
acknowledging the fact that the situation is far beyond that of simple
"crime" as she calls it. The Chechen people are in the middle of a WAR
ZONE, they've been victimized by both Russians and Chechens alike, and they
face a complete break down in social order. Ms. Fitzpatrick's inability to
apparently grasp this concept is proof enough to me that she needs to come
down from the ivory tower and immerse herself in actual field work. 

Capt Cheryl Garner, USAF
Advanced Academic Degree Student
University of Washington


February 9, 2003
Displaced Chechens wary of referendum
By Nikolai Gorshkov 
BBC correspondent in Volgograd 

The Russian Government is determined to hold a referendum in Chechnya on a
new constitution that will enshrine the territory's status within Russia. 

The vote is scheduled for late March, despite criticism from the Council of
Europe - Europe's top human rights watchdog - whose envoy says Chechens are
unfamiliar with the draft constitution. 

But the most contentious issue is whether to hold the referendum in the
whole of the Russian Federation, or just in Chechnya. 

There is a huge Chechen diaspora living in other parts of the Russian
Federation - and many of its members mistrust Moscow's plans. 

Helping countrymen 

The region of Volgograd, in southern Russia, is home to about 80,000
Chechens - one of the largest communities outside Chechnya itself. 

Chersi Gudiev, a children's surgeon who fled Grozny at the height of the
first Chechen war in 1995, said: "Most of them are not even considered by
the authorities as refugees. It's difficult to get jobs, or social benefits." 

He is now trying to assist others who are not so lucky. 

"People have to survive, I try to do whatever I can to help them," he said. 

Mr Gudiev's own business was ruined at the start of the second Chechen war. 

But he has established a working relationship with the local authorities,
and has secured some assistance in resettling Chechens on abandoned state


One of the resettled Chechens, Giri Gudiev, is trying to breathe new life
into a dilapidated dairy farm left over from Soviet days. 

He has hired five local farm hands to help him out - but it is a daily

His wife and four children have to stay in a nearby village until their own
house is ready. 

But they do not want to go back to Chechnya, and they do not believe in the

Back in Volgograd, Vahid Shamayev runs a local Chechen society as well as
being a successful businessman. 

Like so many Chechens, he is in two minds about the referendum. 

When asked who will decide where Chechnya stands, he replies: "Allah. And
President Putin." 


Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)
Januarey 31, 2003
Russians flock to study in Britain
Nick Holdsworth 

The number of Russians taking British university degrees has risen steeply
in the past two years to almost 1,500, figures released by the British
Council reveal.

British universities saw a 40 per cent increase in the number of Russians on
full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses, from 1,050 to 1,470, for
the academic year 2001-02, research conducted by the council's Moscow office

Further education colleges in Britain had a total of 542 Russians in
2000-01, the last year for which figures are available, a 25 per cent
increase on the previous year.

Recruitment from Russia to degree courses has more than doubled (up 122 per
cent from 663) since 1996-97, when the council first began collating
figures, said Paul Norton, assistant director for education promotion at the
British Council in Moscow. Further education recruitment to the UK grew by
38 per cent from 392.

"The main reason numbers are rising is the demand for practical business
skills, an area in which the UK excels," Mr Norton said. "The most popular
subject at higher education level is business. A more stable economic and
political climate has boosted the growth in demand for business degrees."

The council estimates that up to 143,000 Russians have studied in Britain in
the past decade.

The figures show that 63 per cent of those who studied at higher education
level in Britain in 2001-02 were self-financed. This underlined both the
growing strength of the Russian economy and the importance attached to
high-quality, internationally recognised degrees, said British university
officials involved in attracting overseas students.

Benjamin Plummer, international liaison officer at Warwick University, said:
"Russian families regard education as very important, and they make a lot of

The university recruited 85 students from other countries in eastern Europe,
the Caucasus and Central Asia. Warwick is among the top six British
universities recruiting Russians, according to Higher Education Statistics
Agency figures for 2001-02.


Washington Post
February 9, 2003
book review
All Hands Lost 
'A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy' by Robert Moore 
Reviewed by David E. Hoffman
David E. Hoffman is foreign editor of The Washington Post. 

The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy 
By Robert Moore
Crown. 271 pp. $25

At 11:28 on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 12, 2000, the Russian
nuclear-powered submarine Kursk was just below the surface of the Barents
Sea, preparing to fire a practice torpedo in a large-scale naval exercise.
The huge submarine, covered in special sound-absorbing rubber tiles, was
one of the most modern in the Northern Fleet, and all appeared calm as the
crew spotted its two targets on the surface: some fishing boats and the
giant warship Peter the Great.

But all was not calm. The sub had been loaded with a torpedo that used
hydrogen peroxide as fuel. Colorless and odorless, the fuel causes a
violent reaction when it comes into contact with such metals as copper, and
the reaction gives off intense heat. The 650mm torpedo loaded in tube No. 4
on the Kursk was old, having been manufactured in 1990, before the collapse
of the Soviet Union. It had never been launched before.

What happened at 11:28 that morning is not known for certain, but all
indications are that the hydrogen peroxide fuel leaked, touched metal and
triggered an inferno in the torpedo room. The Kursk was instantly disabled
and dove to the sea bottom, and much of the crew perished immediately. Just
over two minutes later, the remaining torpedoes exploded, sending out
seismic waves that were detected hundreds of miles away.

The disaster is a story unto itself -- the most dramatic example yet of
frightening deterioration in the former Soviet Union's military machine.
Worn-out submarines, aging intercontinental ballistic missiles, decrepit
early-warning systems and loose nuclear materials are all part of this
legacy of decay. In A Time to Die, journalist Robert Moore does not probe
deeply into the reasons for the Kursk disaster; instead, he chronicles the
failed effort to rescue the Kursk survivors. This is an emotion-packed and
ultimately heartbreaking story that also sheds light on the Soviet
military's decay. The book's title is drawn from a poem one sailor wrote to
his wife before the voyage.

Twenty-three men in the aft compartments of the submarine survived the
explosion and sinking, according to notes they left behind. It is not known
how long they were alive, but they huddled in the rear of the vessel, and
did not try to escape the doomed sub, which suggests that they were waiting
to be rescued. Moore, who is based in Washington as chief U.S.
correspondent for Britain's ITN News, shows how the Russians badly bungled
the emergency and how British and Norwegian teams struggled to assist them
when the Russians belatedly sought international help.

As the shock waves of the Kursk explosion pulsed through the Barents Sea,
they were monitored by another Russian submarine, the Karelia. In the first
of many astounding miscalculations, its captain decided not to report what
he had heard, figuring the explosion was just part of the exercise. The
Peter the Great warship, the ostensible target of the Kursk practice
torpedo, also detected the shock waves. A report was sent to the Navy
brass, but they ignored it.

It was only later, when the Kursk failed to send an expected signal, that
the Russian Navy launched a hunt. But the search and rescue teams were
totally unprepared. The primary rescue ship was 20 years old and originally
designed to carry timber. The vessel did not reach the area where the
stricken sub went down until 21 hours after the Kursk sank. One Russian
rescue submersible reached the Kursk but ran out of power; another
submersible began to sink almost immediately on deployment and had to abort
its mission. Meanwhile, Russian officials repeatedly lied to the public and
the sailors' families about the sinking and the mishandled rescue.

Moore, relying on the British and Norwegian experts who joined the rescue
operation, provides a vivid account of the last desperate efforts to open
the hatch. At one point, foreign divers were struggling to open a key valve
that would indicate whether there was still air behind the hatch. Russian
experts at the surface insisted that the valve must be opened
counter-clockwise, and they said it would break if turned the other way.
The valve didn't budge. After much debate, the divers tried turning it
clockwise -- and the valve moved. The Russians were wrong about a simple
valve on one of their most technologically advanced ships. Precious hours
had been lost. When the hatch was opened, it was too late. There were no
survivors among the 118 on board.

Moore's narration is fast-paced, but he disappoints on sources and offers
no footnotes. With few exceptions, he does not indicate to the reader what
information came from his own interviews and research and what was taken
from other sources. Overall, however, his findings parallel those of the
official investigation, which was closed last summer.

Though Moore lightly sketches the role of President Vladimir Putin, who was
acutely embarrassed by criticism of his slow initial reaction to the
disaster, he does not delve more deeply into the disaster's implications
for contemporary Russia. The tragedy was a telling example of how the
Soviet legacy still lingers. The Kursk families and the Russian people were
repeatedly misled by the authorities, in true Soviet-era fashion. In the
absence of a strong civil society, Russian leaders still assume they don't
have to communicate with the people they govern. Until they do, the most
important lessons of the Kursk disaster will not have been learned. 


Scotland on Sunday
February 9, 2003
A whole Lada love for old banger Russia knows best 

IT IS approaching midnight in a cafe on the outskirts of Moscow and a group
of enthusiasts are waxing lyrical on the subject of their favourite car,
the Lada. 

"OK, we know its rubbish," said Dmitry Zhukov, an intense young man
wearing spectacles and a tie patterned with cartoon turtles. "But if you
nurture it, repair it, give it part of your heart, then you will be
rewarded with a fine machine." 

Not discouraged by its poor ergonomics, lousy brakes, woeful handling and
wheezy engine, Dmitry and his friends meet every Thursday night to discuss
their passion for the much-derided Lada, or Zhiguli, as it is known in

"Its something spiritual, sharing our love of a great car," explained
Andrei Maslov, 40, a champion driver known as The Beard who races a
four-wheel-drive Lada Niva in off-road rallies. 

Almost 40 years after it was first introduced, the Lada remains the car of
choice in Russia, but the love affair is cooling. 

From Moscow to Vladivostok, the roads are still dominated by swarms of boxy
Zhigulis, chugging and spluttering across potholes. This Soviet stalwart
has kept its popularity as a cheap - if shoddily built - means of transport. 

But its fortunes may be fading. AvtoVAZ, the cars producer, slashed output
at the end of last year as it struggled to compete with sales of imported
second-hand cars from Europe and Japan. Production at the manufacturers
vast plant at Tolyatti near the Volga river was halted for several weeks. 

Russias burgeoning middle class, buoyed by growing wage packets and easy
access to credit, is opting for flashier motors. 

Vladimir Savov, an analyst with Brunswick UBS Warburg in Moscow, said:
"Disposable income is growing. People know that a new Russian car will
probably break down all the time. A five-year-old Volkswagen is not much
more expensive and far more reliable." 

Not long ago a basic Zhiguli cost only 2,000. But prices have leapt by 50%
in recent years, in tune with soaring energy and labour costs. 

Soviet experts introduced the Lada in the 1960s as a universal peoples
car. Their design, based on an Italian Fiat, is still in production as the
clunky klassika. 

Since the break-up of the USSR, however, many aspiring Russians have
preferred to snap up more dependable - and slicker - Western cars such as
BMWs and Audis. Only last month, Ferrari announced it was seeking an
official distributor in the country. 

But Dmitry, Andrei and their friends are not discouraged. "Even if they
stopped producing Ladas altogether the parts would still be available for
another 10 years," said Andrei, brushing snow from the windows of his
battered Niva. "We have nothing to fear." 

In fact, the enthusiasts may be right. AvtoVAZ sold more than 700,000 cars
last year and with monthly wages around 120 a month, for many families a
Lada is all they can afford. 

Whatever the fortunes of the car market, one tradition seems assured of
survival - the Lada joke. As one Muscovite put it: "Why is there a light
under the Ladas bonnet? So you can fix it 24 hours a day." 


Philadelphia Inquirer 
February 9, 2003 
Weldon indulges passion for Russia amid grumbles 
By Peter Nicholas
Inquirer Washington Bureau 

U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, a Delaware County Republican, has a plan to bolster
the middle class. 

Russia's middle class. 

Weldon minds his casework, too. Right now, he's helping a young man who was
hit by a car five years ago and paralyzed from the chest down. The only
difference is the victim is Russian and the collision took place in
Vladivostok. Smitten with the former Soviet Union since college, Weldon,
55, at times seems to have turned his congressional office into a one-man
version of the State Department's Russia desk. 

He has visited Russia and other former Soviet republics 30 times in his
life - twice since Thanksgiving. He is on a first-name basis with members
of the Duma, the counterpart to the House of Representatives. 

A self-made freelance diplomat without portfolio, he bounces from Moldova
to Belarus, Georgia to Uzbekistan - setting up softball games with members
of Congress, addressing parliaments in weekend sessions specially arranged
for his visit, pushing bilateral accords that reflect his own vision of
what the U.S.-Russian relationship ought to be. 

There are no votes for Weldon to pick up in Russia. But the East is giving
this Russian studies major from West Chester University a measure of
recognition that he can't get back home. 

"Whenever I go, I'm on Russian TV all the time," Weldon said in an
interview in his congressional office. 

Last year, Weldon was inducted into the Russian Academy of Social Sciences.
In his office, he shows a visitor mementos from the ceremony: a picture of
himself in cap and gown, along with his official academy ID card. 

"From mayor of Marcus Hook to the Russian Academy of Sciences," said
Weldon, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee first elected
to Congress in 1986. 

The taxpayer-funded trips aren't cheap. In 2001, Weldon led a six-member
delegation to Russia. The Navy C-9 plane trip alone cost nearly $30,000. 

In Pennsylvania's Seventh Congressional District, Weldon's critics are
puzzled by his fascination with Russia, wondering what any of it has to do
with his constituents. 

"In an opportunistic way, he seems to try to muscle his way into things
that are high-visibility at the moment," said David Landau, a local
Democratic Party official and Weldon's opponent in the 1988 campaign. "It
doesn't seem part of any congressional or officially sanctioned effort.
It's, 'I'm Curt Weldon and I want to get into this debate.' " 

The executive branch also has worried about Weldon's forays, wincing at his
penchant for leaping into diplomatic muddles and meeting with mysterious
characters in hopes of brokering agreements that have eluded the pros at
the State Department. A Bush administration foreign-policy insider
describes Weldon as a "well-intentioned dabbler" when it comes to Russia. 

In recent weeks, Weldon has sought unsuccessfully to get into North Korea,
in hopes of opening a dialogue the White House has shunned. 

None of the criticism particularly troubles Weldon, who holds the safest of
seats. He sees himself as a member of a coequal branch of government eager
to spare the nation bloody, expensive wars. If the diplomatic set doesn't
like his style, so what? 

"State Department people come and go... . When the [Russian] Academy of
Sciences chose to put someone in the academy, they didn't pick our
ambassador," Weldon said. "They didn't pick someone back here from the
State Department. They picked me. So I don't have to worry about what the
State Department thinks. 

"I know what I'm doing is the right thing and is connecting with the

If he doesn't like the direction of the Bush administration's Russia
policy, Weldon won't let party loyalties keep him from giving a very public

In 2001, he sought to broaden talks between Bush and Russian leader
Vladimir V. Putin at a summit in Washington and Crawford, Texas. In a bid
to shift the discussion from security matters to a range of issues
including health care and energy policy, Weldon gave the two leaders a
44-page call for a better U.S.-Russian relationship, titled "A New Time; A
New Beginning." 

Still, most of the publicity following the summit centered on arms control. 

Weldon has met some odd characters on the international stage. Such
meetings can be touchy, with the congressman at risk of being used. 

In December, he had a long dinner with the leader of Belarus, Alexander G.
Lukashenko, described by critics as Europe's last dictator. After the
meeting, Lukashenko put out a news release saying that Weldon's delegation
had endorsed his leadership. "Outrageous lies," Weldon countered at the time. 

Back in Delaware County, some of Weldon's constituents ask about the
relevance of the congressman's adventures to their own lives. 

Told of Weldon's interest in Russia, Dave Coulter, clearing snow off his
car on a recent afternoon in Marcus Hook, said: "I'd like to see him
spending more time on needs back here. He's only spending taxpayer money." 


The New York Times 
February 9, 2003
How Do You Say 'Shut Up' In Russian? 
By Michael Wines

TAKING a leaf, perhaps, from the English-first movement in the United
States, Russia's dominant lower house of Parliament, known as the Duma,
passed legislation recently designating Russian as the nation's official

And why not? Talk about polyglot: depending on where they live, Russians
speak Svan, Laz, Kumyk, Dido, Olonets and scores of other tongues. Russian,
the Duma said, "is a language promotive of mutual understanding,
strengthening international ties between the peoples of the Russian
Federation as a single multinational state." In Russia, where the
collective urge is strong, that would have been uncontroversial enough. But
the proposed law went a step further. 

"When using the Russian language as the state language," a final draft
states, "the use of colloquial, disparaging or obscene words and
expressions, as well as foreign words having Russian equivalents in common
use, is inadmissible." 

Enter Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky, the xenophobic, voluble and frequently
outrageous deputy speaker of the Duma. 

He professes to be close to Saddam Hussein, and his Liberal Democratic
Party promotes Mr. Hussein -- and Russian oil interests in Iraq. The NTV
television network broadcast a grainy video of Mr. Zhirinovsky, shot in
Baghdad last September. In it, he takes the United States and President
Bush to task. 

For Mr. Zhirinovsky and the Duma, the tape could hardly have come at a more
awkward moment. 

Forget that the deputy speaker may have been somewhat under the influence.
Mr. Zhirinovsky's scatological description of Mr. Bush as an "(expletive
deleted) cowboy" could hardly be "strengthening international ties." 

Moreover, his portrayal of President Bill Clinton as one of America's
"damned (expletive deleted), (expletive deleted), (expletive deleted),
(expletive deleted) pederasts" would appear to breach the Duma's proposed

In Mr. Zhirinovsky's defense, none of his expletives are identifiably
foreign. Twenty-seven are one Russian slang word for "prostitute." A number
of others, referring to male genitalia, have no easy English analogues. 

In the Duma, there has been talk of punishing Mr. Zhirinovsky. One
legislator urged his removal as deputy speaker. The ruling pro-Kremlin
party, represented by the woman who heads the Duma's ethics commission,
batted that down. For all his rhetorical flamboyance, Mr. Zhirinovsky and
his bloc are reliable backers of the established powers. 

"I am sure that no one will actually cut down on their use of 'taboo
words,' " said Sergei Mitrokhin, a member of the Western-style Yabloko
faction. "But if Duma members are seriously intent on penalizing those who
break this law, then the Duma ethics commission -- and incidentally, the
chairwoman who supported Vladimir Zhirinovsky today -- will have volumes of
evidence to consider." 


Russian oil magnates at odds over pipeline shortage 
February 9, 2003

Tensions have risen in recent weeks between Russian oil magnates, angered
by a shortage of oil pipelines that is constricting their exports, and the
Kremlin, keen to keep a stranglehold on the country's infrastructures. 

The vice president of Russia's leading oil producer LUKoil, Leonid Fedun,
said last week that up to 25 million tonnes of oil were being held up
within Russia's borders due to the insufficient capacity of the pipelines
network run by the state-owned Transneft monopoly. 

The head of Yukos, Russia's second producer, Mikhail Khodorkovsky took the
dispute to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month,
slamming Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov for allegedly trying to impose
"Saudi-style government" in Russia. "Our biggest problem is the friction
between the enterpreneurial class and the bureaucrats," Khodorkovsky charged. 

The oil producers recently urged the government to allow them to construct
their own pipeline to make good the deficiencies of Transneft and help them
cope with booming production. 

"In January, Russian oil exports fell by 0.3 percent," noted analyst Valery
Nesterov of the Troika Dialog bank. 

Poor weather conditions impaired the movement of oil through Russia's Black
Sea ports, while the government blocked exports carried to the Latvian port
of Ventspils, further aggravating the problem. 

Meanwhile Russia aims to produce up to 424 million tonnes of oil this year,
a significant boost compared to 379 million tonnes produced last year --
and 80 percent of that amount is intended for export. 

"Russia must step up its exports in 2003 and it needs additional transport
capacity. If the oil companies cannot export they will have to cut
production," Nesterov said. 

However, Transneft has so far been lagging in taking the technical measures
needed to cope with an increase in production. 

"Oil producers are prepared to invest in their own pipeline network, but
the government is opposed as the Transneft monopoly gives it leverage over
the companies," Nesterov noted. 

Moscow also wants to ensure that the internal market is supplied at
affordable prices. 

During a visit to the northern port of Murmansk, Kasyanov vowed that all
existing and future oil pipelines would be state property. 

LUKoil and Yukos, along with fellow oil giants Sibneft, TNK and
Surgutneftegaz, have suggested that Murmansk could be equipped with a
shared oil terminal with a pipeline connected to oil fields in the north or
eastern Siberia, which would facilitate oil exports to the United States. 

The companies said they were ready to finance the project if given
preferential access rights. 

"Transneft could thus remain the pipeline operator, as it retains the
technical capacity, but the project would require a change in legislation,"
Stephen O'Sullivan of the UFG investment group said. 

"The oil companies were incensed" by Kasyanov's intention of keeping the
pipelines in state hands, O'Sullivan explained. 

"But I don't think that was the last word" on the matter, he added. 

The oil companies' owners have appealed to the Russian government to ease
its stranglehold on Russian exports on several occasions. 

But so far they have failed to agree with Transneft over priorities. 

"The oil producers want the emphasis to go on exports to Murmansk and
China, while Transneft is looking to deliveries to Japan, and would like to
develop an already existing pipeline to Primorsk" on the Baltic coast, the
analyst noted. 


February 8, 2003
Harry Potter of Our Own

Potter-mania has seriously gripped not only the territory of Russia, but of
the whole CIS already. Some man in Ukraine comes to different publishing
houses and offers to publish a book called Magicians Handbook. 

The time of such literary trash has gone long ago, however, when the
Ukraine publishing houses see this very man, they feel agitated as they
immediately start considering the copyright subject. The problem is that
when the man offers to publish his Magicians Handbook, he immediately
shows his passport, and the document distinctly says that the name of the
man is Harry Zakharovich Potter. 

Editor-in-chief of Ukrainian publishing house Folio even had to contact
Moscows publishing house Rosman, the owner of the copyright for edition of
the books about Harry Potter in Russia. But the Ukrainian publishing house
got a distressing reply from Moscow saying that if Folio publishes this
book, Moscows Rosman will institute proceedings. That is why Folio had to
give up the idea of publishing the Magicians Handbook. Ukrainian Harry
Potter is an extraordinary personality. He is living in a remote Ukrainian
village of Krysino, 50 kilometers from Kharkov. But journalists managed to
get even there. 

When journalists came to the village and asked where Harry Potter was
living, one woman said that before the man changed his name, he was known
as Vasily. At that, she supposed that probably the man had stolen money
somewhere, that is why he decided to hide from police under an assumed
name. Another woman joined the conversation and said that the man bought a
house in the village there or four years ago, but the house was so old that
couldnt even be reconstructed. It sounded strange, but the woman said that
Vasily was going to open a cryptolistic institute in the village. The women
explained that the institute was meant to study the influence of stars upon
people. At first, the village administration raised claims against the
initiative man, as the latter paid no taxes from his activity. But when he
changed the name for Harry Potter and wanted to get new documents, he
immediately paid all taxes, which in its turn eliminated all claims of the
village population. 

The street where Harry Potter bough a lot of land is quiet; a line of
one-storey houses is standing to the left, and there is an abandoned lot to
the right. A concrete frame is standing alone in the lot. A neighbor of the
man for whom the journalists were looking came out of her house. She said:
It was long ago already that Vasily came here, he brought concrete. He
said he was going to build a mental hospital in our street. Just imagine,
that would be the last straw if we had also madmen in our street! 

Then the journalists had to cover a dozen of kilometers to get to the
regional center of Bogodukhovo, where our Harry Potter got new documents.
Director of the board issuing passports in Bogodukhovo, Nikolay Nesterenko
told: It has become almost a mania lots of people wish to change their
names. At first, a strange man came and said he wanted to change his name
for Osama bin Laden to take revenge on Americans. It took much effort to
persuade him to give up the idea of changing the name. Then Vasily Kuzmenko
came, the man whom you are looking for. As for the man who wanted to become
bin Laden, he looked actually insane, with mad eyes. But the man who wanted
to change the name for Harry Potter was a very respectable man by sight. He
was mentally healthy, had no problems with police. So, there were no
reasons to prohibit him to change the name; that is why he is known now as
Harry Potter. 

The searches for the Ukrainian Harry Potter lasted for about a month. As it
turned out, to find a Kuzmenko in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov was as
problematic as to find an Ivanov in Moscow (it is a widely spread name in
Russia). When we asked people about Kuzmenko-Potter, some people openly
declared the man crazy. 

Old acquaintances of our Harry Potter told that everything was OK with
Vasilys head, he was just living in accordance with his new image. 

He appeared with a stuffed toy in his hands. As it turned out, an unusual
animal was a present to me. Harry Potter said: Its name is Chmush, it
tells stories at night. But recently it became very sad and invents no new
stories. So, get it; it may happen that far away from me it will miss me
and once again will start writing to me. A big and slightly stout man,
very much resembling my present, seated himself into a dark corner of the
darkest cafe that could be found in the center of Kharkov. 

He said: Yes, I am a real Harry Potter. I am very happy that I finally can
be myself. When I changed my name, falseness and lies immediately abandoned
my life. My inherent motto is: If you can be yourself, never be anyone
else! Probably, I am one of the few people who understand too good the
strength of Joan Rowlings texts. That is why I openly declare that
magicians are in the greatest danger. The share of us, magicians, in the
world makes up just 5%. The church is losing its prospective flock, that is
the reason why the books about Harry Potter were several times declared
satanic by the church. In South Korea and Germany they were event burnt
down, like in the Medieval times. 

How did you become a magician? 

First of all, I was born in a family of magicians. (But the man immediately
recollects and says he is an orphan). To tell the truth, I have too
biographies: one is real, and another is imagined. I think that admirers
dont need to know anything real about Harry Potter, it is boring indeed. 

In his past, pre-fantastic life Harry Potter was a doctor curing sexual
problems in a regional hospital. The profession was actually very popular,
that is why Vasilys actual earnings hundreds times exceeded his official
wage. This fact in its turn caused problems in the relations with police,
which later made our hero to give up the work. Then Vasily became a monk.
After a while, he got disappointed with the religion and decided to become
a magician writer. 

Vasily says that witnessed much barbarity; he admits that there are too
many cruel people and wicked magicians in the world. 

When Rowlings books were published, a new fashion sprang up all over the
world: children ask their parents to buy owls so that the bird could be not
only their companion, but even a postman 

Unfortunately, I myself have no owl of my own, Im still dreaming of having
it. To tell the truth, I want to make Harry Potter as popular in this
country as Santa Claus. I would be living with my owl in a place similar to
Hogwarts, I would open my own school of witchcraft and wizardry. Children
would be sending letters to me. This would be a place where I could gather
all magicians together. 

Did you plan to create your own Hogwarts in the village of Krysino, where
you meant to build an institute of cryptolistic? 

Doctors cure our bodies, psychiatrists cure our souls, but patients may die
of acne on their backs. Only healers can save people. An institute of
cryptolistic actually existed in the country before the breakup of the
USSR; secret problems were studied there. 

For instance, we unveiled crimes connected with power-information nature.
It may happen that sometimes normal and healthy people suddenly die without
any visible reasons. People used to say in such cases that the man was put
an evil eye upon. But we call it a pid-effect: it is known that wicked
people may get a picture of some man or a negative of some picture, he can
cause a really serious damage to him. Certainly you can imagine that I am
crazy, but you remember that at the very beginning of our interview I
warned that there are just few magicians, or extrasensual individuals, as
you wish, remaining in the world. 

On the whole, it is a great secret that all texts about Harry Potter are
already done, Joan Rowling just passes them through herself. She will
complete the fifth book about Potter herself, but she will need help to
work on the sixth one. Her seventh book wont be written at all. 

As for me, I have written six books already; one of them was published. It
is a manual for young magicians and contains lots of different spells. 

When, at the end of our conversation Harry Potter saw a camera in my hands,
he got seriously scared. He asked not to take pictures of him, as he was
apprehensive that negatives may get to wicked people who will then cast a
spell on him. I never guessed that magicians are so fearful themselves,
especially it concerns Harry Potter, the bravest magician. 

Material prepared by Yelena Kiseleva 
Translated by Maria Gousseva 


Putin Decorates Favorite Russian TV Spy
February 8, 2003

MOSCOW (AP) - Two of Russia's most famous former spies - one real and one
from the movies - met Saturday when President Vladimir Putin decorated an
actor who starred in a hugely popular film serial set in World War II.

In an official ceremony at his residence outside Moscow, Putin hung an
Order for Service to the Fatherland, Third Class around the neck of actor
Vyacheslav Tikhonov, who was invited to visit the president on his 75th

In ``Seventeen Moments of Spring,'' a 1973 television serial that reruns
every year, Tikhonov played Col. Maxim Isayev - known in Germany as
Shtirlitz - a Soviet double agent in World War II Berlin whose web of
intrigue contributes greatly to the allied victory over the Nazis.

The suave Shtirlitz is never found out despite countless close calls, and
his cool at the tensest moments made him a kind of James Bond of Soviet
film - though with fewer gadgets and girls and a more serious air given the
gravity of the war, which killed some 27 million Soviet soldiers and

Putin's 16-year KGB career included a stint in East Germany, where sketchy
accounts suggest his deeds were modest compared with those of the fictional

After presenting Tikhonov with the cross-shaped medal and a large bouquet
of flowers, Putin invited him to share champagne with top security
officials, including the leaders of the domestic and foreign intelligence
agencies that are the KGB's main successors.

The gathering aired during the evening news on Russia's main television

Putin told Tikhonov he is one of Russia's favorite actors and said he hoped
to see him on the screen and stage again. Putin has said he decided to join
the KGB at age 16, several years before ``Seventeen Moments of Spring''
came out, but Tikhonov's character influenced other young Soviets during
the Cold War.

The actor, sitting with Putin and other officials, told anecdotes about
incidents stemming from his role as Shtirlitz, including a story about
meeting a Russian man in Switzerland who said he never would have chosen
his profession if not for the movie.

Putin's high popularity only will benefit from his appearance with the
beloved Tikhonov. The actor, for his part, said he ``came to the president
not for an award but to shake his hand and thank him for all the big and
good things he is doing for the country,'' according to the state-run
ITAR-Tass news agency.