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JRL #7056 Plain Text - Entire Issue

1. AP: Russia's Heating System Is in Collapse.
2. AP: Independent Russian Journalist Honored. (Anna Politkovskaya)
3. Interfax: Grigory Pasko hopes for acquittal.
4. ITAR-TASS: Russia's Putin signs law on rehabilitation of Stalin's repression victims.
5. www.russiavotes.org: New Data on RussiaVotes.
6. Wall Street Journal: Guy Chazan, U.S. to Include Chechen Groups On List of Terror Organizations.
7. Financial Times (UK): Andrew Jack, Links between Chechen rebels and al-Qaeda questioned.
8. The Globe and Mail (Canada): Amy Knight, At last, the connection between Chechnya and al-Qaeda.
9. Transitions Online: Sergei Borisov, Radical Russian Writer Faces 14 Years on Arms Conviction. (Edward Limonov)
10. RFE/RL: Jeremy Bransten, A New Kind Of Red Army Claws Its Way South (crabs)
11. Jaba Devdariani: Re: 7054 Michael Wines: Language confusion?
12. Gerard Janco: Intern Needed for the Eurasia Center.
13. Transitions Online: Vladimir Kovalev, Pharaoh of Russian Pyramid Scheme Finally Arrested. (Sergei Mavrodi)
14. ITAR-TASS: Putin on Iraq, Chechnya, concerted efforts, culture. (interview with French television)
15. Moscow Times: Alexei Pankin, Media Regulation Tag.
16. Reuters: Major BP investment would endorse Putin's reforms.
17. Interfax: Senior MP mulls Russian role in light of US-Europe standoff. (Lukin)
18. BBC Monitoring: Russian TV sees NATO as close to collapse in row over Iraq.
19. Wall Street Journal: Fred Kempe, It's Putin's Move Now.
20. Parlamentskaya Gazeta: US INTEREST IN IRAQ: OIL, NOT SADDAM. (interview with Lieutenant-General Nikolai LEONOV)


Russia's Heating System Is in Collapse
February 10, 2003

SUDOGDA, Russia (AP) - A chill has invaded once-cozy homes. Ice hangs from
leaking municipal pipes. And the only reliable source of heat in this small
town is a private gas line exasperated residents built themselves.

Russians are suffering through one of the coldest winters in recent memory,
but nature is only partly to blame. Across the country, municipal utilities
are failing to fulfill the basic task of heating homes.

Some 350,000 people nationwide have shivered this winter in unheated
apartments, offices, schools and hospitals as heating systems sputtered in a
country where temperatures rarely rise above freezing from November to March.

Russia's utility monopolies are notoriously inefficient. Except for
electricity, meters are rare, and consumers pay a set sum for heating and
water depending on the size of their apartment and the number of residents.
Most radiators cannot be adjusted; windows are often left open in the dead of

In recent years, the system has become too expensive for consumers - and for
the government. A lack of funds has led to nationwide delays in maintenance,
resulting in an epidemic of breakdowns.

The government is trying to make consumers pay, gradually cutting subsidies
for all but the most needy. Critics say raising prices for ordinary Russians
- whose average monthly salary is $150 - does not address the core issue of
inefficiency and thus won't help end the crisis.

In Sudogda, an industrial town tucked into a pine forest 125 miles east of
Moscow, about 10,000 of 14,000 residents rely on central heating. This
winter, some 8,000 have had inadequate heat or no heat at all, said Sergei
Voronin, chief of the town's civil defense and emergency department.

Among the worst affected are residents of the Yubileiny neighborhood, where
the municipal boiler broke in late December. Most residents are relying on
wood-burning stoves and electric heaters, as temperatures dip to 22 degrees
below zero.

On a recent afternoon, resident Maria Zvereva, 68, cornered Voronin outside
her building, waving her January electric bill. It was $25. In trying to warm
her apartment with electric heaters, she spent almost her entire monthly
pension of $26.

``What am I supposed to live on?'' Zvereva shouted.

Yubileiny's boiler failed last year, too, so some residents knew what to
expect. Fifty-three families joined forces last summer to pay for a natural
gas line to the neighborhood and outfitted their apartments with gas-burning
boilers that have kept their homes toasty.

When the boiler broke, Sudogda officials decided to hook up the rest of the
neighborhood to the new gas line. The administration is now wrangling with
the line's owners over the price.

Yuri Mamushkin, who sold his cow to pay for his share of the gas line, said
owners want fair compensation for their money, time and aggravation. The
remaining residents - many of them elderly - wish their neighbors would take
pity on them and work out the financing later.

Inside Anatoly Apyonov's apartment, windows are iced over and the wallpaper
bulges from cold. Apyonov's breath is visible as he curses the government.

``This is what I sleep in,'' said the 65-year-old former factory worker,
dressed in layers of sweaters and traditional felt boots.

The situation elsewhere in Sudogda is only slightly better. Minor heating
breakdowns occur daily, and some apartment buildings are heated only at
night. Residents fill plastic bottles with boiling water and hug them. They
leave gas ovens burning 24 hours a day and suffer headaches as a result.

Plus, many Sudogda residents can't remember the last time they had hot water
- and sometimes there is no water at all.

Evidence of worse times to come lurks in the basements of Sudogda apartment
buildings, where rusting pipes leak water and raw sewage.

Regional prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the Sudogda
heating crisis, but placing blame is not easy.

Formally, the municipal Housing and Utility Company, controlled by city
administrators, bears responsibility for heating the town.

But the problems predate the company, which in the 1990s inherited boilers
and pipe networks once managed by factories that maintained housing for their
workers. Since the 1991 Soviet collapse, factories shed such assets for

Utility company director Vladimir Sergeyev said ideally, he would convert the
entire town to gas heat - an economical option in gas-rich Russia.

But conversion requires cash. The company is mired in debt, and employees
have not been paid since November. The regional government provides money for
day-to-day needs but not enough for major overhauls.

Meanwhile, Sudogda residents pay more and more each year for utilities -
currently, about $31 a month for a family in a three-room apartment - and get
less and less for their money.

``People tell us, 'We pay you, but you can't provide us with quality
service,''' said Sergeyev, who keeps his coat on in his chilly office.
``They're right.''


Independent Russian Journalist Honored
February 10, 2003

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Anna Politkovskaya - an independent Russian
journalist who has reported extensively on Chechnya and was chosen by rebels
to mediate when they seized a Moscow theater - won the 2003 Prize for
Journalism and Democracy on Monday.

The prize, awarded annually by the parliamentary assembly of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe, includes a $20,000 award. It is given
to journalists who, through their work, promoted OSCE principles on human
rights, democracy and the free flow of information.

``Granting her this honor is a strong statement of the Parliamentary Assembly
in support of courageous and professional journalism, for human rights and
freedom of the media,'' assembly president and British lawmaker Bruce George

Politkovskaya is widely respected in Chechnya for her tough reporting on the
plight of civilians caught in the nearly decade-long conflict. More than any
other Russian journalist, she has chronicled allegations of killings, torture
and beatings by Russian troops.

In October, she was chosen to mediate by a group of Chechen rebels who seized
a Moscow theater. The siege ended with the deaths of all 41 rebels and 129 of
the hostages.

The Kremlin tightly controls reporting on Chechnya, and most Russian media
largely remain silent about charges of military abuses, including summary
executions, rapes and looting. Politkovskaya and her newspaper, Novaya
Gazeta, have adopted a decidedly anti-war position.

Politkovskaya has paid for her independence. She was arrested in February
2001 for not carrying proper documents in Chechnya. Later that year, after
being threatened by a Russian officer she linked to atrocities, she had to
leave the country temporarily. She took refuge in Vienna, Austria.

The award was established in 1996 by Freimut Duve, a former member of the
German Bundestag and now the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

Politkovskaya will receive the award Feb. 20 in Vienna, Austria.

On the Net:
OSCE: http://www.osce.org


Grigory Pasko hopes for acquittal

MOSCOW. Feb 10 (Interfax) - Military journalist Grigory Pasko, who was
conditionally freed from prison before the end of his term, hopes that before
the end of February the Presidium of the Supreme Court will hear his
complaint and completely acquit him.
"My defense lawyers and I have filed a complaint with the Presidium of the
Supreme Court. We hope it will be handled in strict accordance with the law,
within a month. Time is running out already. It's February," Pasko said at a
press conference in Moscow on Monday.
He announced that his complaint has been accepted by the European Court of
Human Rights.
"It lists the provisions of the international convention that my defense
lawyers and I believe were violated by various Russian organizations,
including courts," said Pasko.


Russia's Putin signs law on rehabilitation of Stalin's repression victims

Moscow, 10 February: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a federal
law introducing changes to a law on the rehabilitation of victims of
political repression.

The State Duma, Russian parliament's lower house, passed the amended law on
23 January and the Federation House, the upper house, approved it a week

The federal law envisions the restoration of rights of underage children of
whom one or both parents were victimized in the Stalin era. Minors whose
parents were imprisoned or vanished in the Soviet death chain were officially
stigmatized as CSIR, a Russian acronym for "members of families of traitors
of the Motherland", and were placed in orphanages or left to their own

The federal law retrospectively recognizes people who were left at minority
without care from one or both purged parents as victims of political


From: Neil Munro (nmi.munro@strath.ac.uk)
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2003
Subject: New Data on RussiaVotes

We have uploaded data from a VCIOM Express survey, fieldwork of 24-27
January 2003 and a Monitoring survey of 10-28 January 2003, including new
questions about Iraq and NATO.

For details, go to: http://www.russiavotes.org/rvwhatsnew.htm

Centre for the Study of Public Policy/U Strathclyde VCIOM/Moscow


Wall Street Journal
February 10, 2003
U.S. to Include Chechen Groups On List of Terror Organizations

MOSCOW -- The U.S. will include a number of Chechen groups on its official
list of terrorist organizations, an American move that will please Moscow at
a time when its support is being sought for a U.S.-led war against Iraq.

To this end, the Bush administration has attempted to mollify Moscow by
siding with it on Chechnya.

A senior U.S. diplomat said Washington was "very close" to a decision to
designate two or three Chechen groups as terrorist organizations while
keeping others under review. He said the decision reflected "the evolving
body of evidence that these groups are drawing support from international
terrorist networks."

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian parliament's foreign-affairs committee
and a leading pro-Putin politician, said such a "friendly step" couldn't help
but have an "indirect effect" on Russia's position on Iraq.

"The Russian public will be relieved that the U.S. finally seems to
understand the challenges we face in Chechnya," he said. The listing would be
a propaganda coup for Moscow, which has long argued that the rebels it is
fighting in Chechnya aren't independence-minded separatists but Islamic
terrorists linked to al Qaeda.

Even before the U.S. moves on Chechnya there were signs President Vladimir
Putin might be preparing Russian public opinion for a shift on Iraq. A
permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Russia's official line is that
there is no need for a resolution authorizing an attack on Iraq as long as it
continues to cooperate with international inspectors.

But in a recent speech in Kiev, Mr. Putin said Russia might support "tougher"
resolutions if Iraq obstructed the inspections. Later, Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov urged Saddam Hussein to cooperate more actively with the U.N. and
provide proof it had dismantled weapons stocks disclosed by previous
inspections during the 1990s.

Russia continues, however, to hedge its bets. Mr. Putin met German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin on Sunday and also will meet French President
Jacques Chirac in Paris, discussing Iraq with the two fiercest opponents of
U.S. military action against Baghdad.

Russia is pulled in different directions over Iraq, an ally from Soviet
times, concerned the overthrow of Mr. Hussein could deprive it of lucrative
oil contracts yet fearful that a tough antiwar stand could undermine the
flourishing relationship with the U.S. in which Mr. Putin has invested so
much of his political capital.

As a result of this tension, Russia been much less vocal in its opposition to
war than France and Germany, while continuing to press the U.S. for a
diplomatic solution to the crisis. "It's quite comfortable for them to be
somewhere in the middle," the senior U.S. diplomat said.

But Washington clearly feels when it comes to the crunch, Russia will
acquiesce to U.S. plans for an attack. "Our sense is that the Russians want
to end up on a harmonious footing with us and they don't want [the Iraq
crisis] to have any serious effects on U.S.-Russian relations," the diplomat

The U.S. has made other gestures to win Russian goodwill. In his speech to
the U.N. last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell said a terrorist network
led by Abu Mussah al-Zarqawi, an alleged al Qaeda leader said to be harbored
by Iraq, had plotted terrorist actions in Russia and other European
countries. Mr. Powell said Mr. Zarqawi's associates had been active in
Chechnya and in the Pankisi Gorge, a lawless region of Georgia that borders
Russia .


Financial Times (UK)
February 11, 2003
Links between Chechen rebels and al-Qaeda questioned
By Andrew Jack in Moscow

Since the start of the US-led attacks on Afghanistan, there are some signs
that support for rebels in Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya has
diminished while international co-operation to help Moscow's efforts in the
region has increased.

But there is also scepticism by some outside observers of the extent of
connections claimed by Russia between Chechen rebels and al-Qaeda.

The FSB, Russia's security police, says that based on intelligence sources
including phone taps it estimates that funding to fighters in Chechnya -
largely from countries in the Persian Gulf - had been about $6m a month in
2000, but that in the last few months, it had declined to $1-2m a month. It
stresses the role of the umbrella of 80 Muslim Brotherhood organisations, of
which al-Qaeda is one.

An FSB spokesman said the decline in financing partly reflected the diversion
of funds to other causes - such as Afghanistan and Israel - as well as the
effect of Russia closing down some organisations before and after September

He said that foreign funds - much stolen from charitable donations raised by
non-governmental organisations - were important for arms purchases,
propaganda and combat, since each action in Chechnya carries a price: $100 to
kill a Russian soldier; up to $1,000 for an officer; and $5,000 to destroy a
helicopter, for example.

Russia claims that several hundred non-Chechens have been fighting within the
republic, and has intercepted many conversations between rebel leaders in
Arabic. The FSB claims that with the exception of Shamil Basayev, the other
nine principal rebel leaders in Chechnya are foreign, including the Jordanian
commander Khattab.

There have been reports that Zacarias Moussaoui, a man detained by the US in
its investigation into the September 11 attacks, may have recruited at least
two acquaintances to fight in Chechnya; and that three Algerian militants
arrested in France had been trained in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

However, despite occasional speculation that some - even including Osama bin
Laden - have fled from Afghanistan since the US bombings begun, there have no
independently confirmed reports of a recent build-up of foreign fighters.
Winter weather would also make the mountainous border crossings more

Aslan Maskhadov, the rebel Chechen leader, recently dismissed the suggestion
that non-Chechens were a significant influence in the republic, arguing that
they numbered a few dozen. His representative Akhmed Zakayev argued that most
financial support came instead from Russian aid for reconstruction, with
supplies of weapons from the Russian army.

Sergei Yastrzhemsbky, the Russian chief spokesman on Chechnya, says at least
300 Chechens have in the past received training in camps within Afghanistan,
so their destruction during the US bombardment has helped cut down sources of
future fighters.

He says the Russian medical centre set up in Kabul has received death threats
by telephone by people speaking in Russia, but with an accent from the

But so far, there have been no confirmed reports of Chechens killed, arrested
or taken by the US to its Cuban base from Afghanistan. He says the US has
promised information on the subject but none has yet been provided, while
that for the interim government of Hamid Karzai, "it is his one hundredth
priority" to identify Chechens specifically.

What does seem clear is that in the weeks following Russia's support to the
US-led coalition, there was markedly less Western criticism of its actions
within Chechnya - although voices have begun to be raised again more
recently, including meetings with representatives of the rebels by the US,
French and UK governments.

There has also been international pressure to clamp down on rebel movements
near to Chechnya. Neighbouring Georgia has backed down on its previous
insistence to remove all Russian peace-keepers, and has even conducted some
joint operations around the Pankisi Gorge, used to cross into Chechnya.

After long-running Russian accusations that Georgia was harbouring Chechen
rebels, relations between the two countries have thawed a little in the last
few months, with Russia removing its long-standing veto which blocked UN-led
negotiations on the status of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.


The Globe and Mail (Canada)
February 10, 2003
At last, the connection between Chechnya and al-Qaeda
Amy Knight, a specialist in Russian security affairs, is the author of Spies
Without Cloaks: The KGB's Successors.

In his address to the United Nations Security Council last week, U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said something that must have brought Russian
Foreign Minister Ivan Ivanov to the edge of his seat. After claiming that
Iraq harbours an al-Qaeda terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a
collaborator of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Powell dropped a little bombshell
designed for Russia: "We also know that Zarqawi's colleagues have been active
in the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia and in Chechnya, Russia. The plotting to which
they are linked is not mere chatter. Members of Zarqawi's network say their
goal was to kill Russians with toxins."

Finally, the much-anticipated Chechnya/al-Qaeda connection! The Bush
administration had reportedly promised the Russians that Mr. Powell would
refer to Iraqi support (through al-Qaeda) for Chechen terrorists. And the
Secretary of State came through, albeit rather vaguely.

Mr. Powell offered no hard evidence to back up his claims. And few specifics.
Just how many Zarqawi "colleagues" was he talking about? Three or four?
Hundreds? Is this an organized effort, with financial backing from al-Qaeda,
or just a small-scale plot?

No matter. It's the symbolism that counts. The United States was giving
credence to the Kremlin's unproven theory that international terrorists are
providing support for Chechen rebels. Under increasing criticism at home and
abroad for its failure to end its brutal war -- now in its fourth year --
against the Chechens, the Kremlin has been trying to legitimize its military
operations by establishing just this kind of linkage.

Whether or not he believes the linkage, Mr. Powell was trying to ensure that
Russia, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, will not
stand in the way of U.S. war plans, assuming that the next report by UN
weapons inspectors offers more evidence of Iraq's non-compliance.

Ideally for the United States, Russia will be persuaded to endorse a
resolution authorizing military action against Iraq. If this happens, then
France and China might possibly come aboard as well. But it is unlikely that
the Kremlin will stick its neck out. Much as Moscow values its friendship
with Washington, which promises increasing investment in Russia and economic
integration with the West, it wants badly to prevent war with Iraq.

Unlike France and Germany, where there have been mass demonstrations against
the use of force to depose Saddam Hussein, Moscow's opposition to U.S. plans
has little to do with concerns about domestic public opinion. Despite
widespread anti-American sentiment, recent polls suggest that most Russians
are indifferent about war with Iraq.

The real concern for President Vladimir Putin is the damage that such a war
would do to Russia's long-standing economic interests in Iraq. In 1972,
Moscow and Baghdad signed a treaty of friendship that paved the way for
large-scale Soviet arms sales to Iraq, as well as for the employment of
thousands of Soviet experts in that country. As a result, Iraq owes Russia
about $8-billion.

More recently, Russia became Iraq's largest supplier in the oil-for-food
program established after the United Nations relaxed sanctions against Iraq
in 1996, and is now Iraq's largest trading partner.

Toppling Saddam Hussein might significantly curtail Russia's trade with Iraq
and also prevent Russia from recovering its Soviet-era debt. War would also
jeopardize several billion-dollar contracts that Russian oil companies have
negotiated for drilling in Iraq.

As demonstrated by his readiness to co-operate with the United States after
Sept. 11, Mr. Putin can be flexible and open-minded in matters of foreign
policy, but less so when vital Russian economic interests are at stake.

If there is a war, Mr. Putin clearly hopes for some U.S. commitment to
protect Russia's economic interests in the aftermath. This may be why he
hinted he might be open to a second UN resolution authorizing force against
Iraq. His foreign minister, responding to Mr. Powell's Security Council
speech, also mentioned the possibility.

But Russia sees this option as a last resort. If Moscow backs away from its
insistence on more time for UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, it will probably
not be until the 11th hour, when the drums of war are already beating and it
has little choice but to jump off the fence.


Transitions Online
February 10, 2003
Radical Russian Writer Faces 14 Years on Arms Conviction
By Sergei Borisov

ULYANOVSK, Russia--One of Russia's most controversial writers and political
figures has been found guilty of forming an illegal armed group and
organizing the purchase of illegal weapons.

A district court in the southern Russian city of Saratov handed down the
verdict on Edward Limonov on 31 January. Limonov heads the radical National
Bolshevik Party. Five other party members were convicted on similar
charges, although some of the charges were subsequently dropped. Prosecutor
Sergei Verbin requested sentences of 14 years' imprisonment for Limonov and
12 years for Sergei Aksyonov, founder of the party's newspaper, Limonka,
ITAR-TASS reported.

The court is expected to pass sentence in late February or early March.

Limonov and Aksyonov, his right-hand man in the National Bolshevik Party,
were arrested by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents on 7 April 2001 in
an apiary in the Russian republic of Altai. Limonov was detained in the
Lefortovo jail in Moscow until June 2002, when he was transferred to
Saratov. Four others were arrested in Saratov and Ufa while attempting to
purchase six submachine guns and 157 rounds of ammunition.

One of the accused said at the trial that Limonov had ordered the weapons

Investigators claimed that party leaders began plotting two years ago to
seize power in one of the former Soviet republics with a large
Russian-speaking population and set up a "second Russia" there. The
National Bolsheviks allegedly planned terrorist actions in northern
Kazakhstan with the help of a French criminal known as Bob Denar. FSB
officers claimed to have found a letter from Denar addressed to Limonov.
Limonov denied the accusations.

On 4 February the court cleared the four arms buyers of charges of
conspiracy to commit terrorism and of forming an illegal armed group.


Limonov's life story is rife with bizarre twists and turns. Born Edward
Savenko, he took a pseudonym formed from the Russian word for "lemon." The
name of the party newspaper, Limonka, refers both to its founder and to a
kind of grenade.

Limonov, 59, was expelled from the USSR in 1974. Already possessing a
reputation as an avant-garde poet, he went first to the United States, then
to France, where he became a celebrated writer. He has dual French and
Russian citizenship. His books in English translation include His Butler's
Story, It's Me, Eddie: A Fictional Memoir, and Memoir of a Russian Punk.

During the 1990s Limonov's name was associated with radical politics, both
left and right, more than with his fiction and poetry. He failed to win
election to the Russian Duma, which some observers put down to the sexual
passages in his books, and briefly joined Vladimir Zhirinovskys
ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party before forming the National
Bolshevik Party in 1993. The announced aim of the National Bolsheviks was
to revive Lenin's revolutionary spirit in the new capitalist age.

After Limonov's arrest, many prominent French intellectuals circulated a
petition demanding his release.

The small party Limonov founded--the actual number of members is not
known--is noted for pulling off attention-grabbing stunts. In November
2002, two National Bolshevik protestors threw tomatoes at NATO
Secretary-General George Robertson during the alliance's summit in Prague.
Other party actions include pulling down flags of nationalist parties and
shouting anti-capitalist slogans at gatherings of mainstream parties.
Recently a teenage party member was charged with throwing a cake at the
mayor of Nizhny Novgorod.

Racist Latvia, independent Ukraine, [Mikhail] Gorbachev, the Democratic
Party of Russia [led by reformist former Deputy Prime Minister Yegor
Gaidar], and Gaidar himself are legitimate targets for publicity stunts,
Limonov wrote in Limonka. He recommended that the party carry out noisy but
peaceful actions to attract as many people as possible, and guard against
attempts by secret security services to destroy it.

On 7 February, Rosbalt reported that during a four-day address to the
court, lawyer Sergei Belyak said there was no material basis for Limonov's
conviction. He said the three main pieces of evidence on which the court
based its verdict--an article in a party bulletin entitled "Theory of the
Second Russia," other texts in party publications, and the Saratov weapons
purchase--were unconvincing.

Belyak said investigators failed to present direct evidence of Limonov's
involvement in the submachine gun buy. Last November, Vladimir Linderman, a
Latvian citizen who heads that country's offshoot of the National Bolshevik
Party, told Kommersant that he, not Limonov, was the author of "Theory of
the Second Russia."

Linderman said the essence of the text was that "if the Russian people on
the territory of another state are suffering genocide, then that people has
the right to rise up. If First Russia, that is, the Kremlin and those who
live in Russia, cant do anything, then Second Russia must rise."

Linderman denied that the text exhorted anyone to overthrow the Russian
constitutional system.

"The question is about the other state," he said. "But the investigation
interprets it as the partys document calling for rebellion in Russia. The
text was purely theoretical, he argued.

Limonov said the majority of the 250 witnesses for the prosecution were not
competent and had been influenced by security officers. Twenty witnesses
called by the defense testified in support of the writer.

Neither the case nor the National Bolshevik Party have aroused much
interest among ordinary Russians, although a number of intellectuals joined
their French counterparts in backing Limonov's right to free speech, even
though many have distanced themselves from his politics.

Limonov's third wife, Natalia Medvedeva, a singer and writer who lived with
Limonov in exile during the 1970s and 1980s and who was herself prominent
in Russian avant-garde circles, died in Moscow on 4 February at the age of
44. Although the couple eventually divorced, Medvedeva wrote for Limonka
under the pseudonym Margo Fuehrer and visited Limonov in jail.

As extravagant as his former wife, Limonov wrote seven books while in
Lefortovo jail, including one called Russian Psycho. One is due to be
published in March and others are forthcoming. Limonov said he had not had
time to write while in jail in Saratov.


Russia: A New Kind Of Red Army Claws Its Way South
By Jeremy Bransten

It sounds like a 1950s science-fiction movie: an army of giant crabs is on
the march from the Russian Arctic down the Norwegian coast. But this is no
movie -- it's reality. No one knows how far south these millions of sea
creatures will spread. Some say the meter-long crabs could one day snap off
swimmers' toes as far south as Portugal. Others say that's nonsense.
Norwegian society is split on how to deal with the issue. As RFE/RL
correspondent Jeremy Bransten reports, the commotion is all thanks to the
late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Prague, 10 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Fifty years after his death in 1953, the
shadow of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin continues to haunt many corners
of Europe -- often, in the most unexpected ways.

Stalin, in plotting his many megalomaniacal projects, didn't limit himself to
transferring human populations. It turns out he also had ideas about how to
repopulate the animal kingdom. In this case, the plan was to take thousands
of giant red king crabs, also known as Kamchatka crabs, from their home in
the North Pacific and drop them half a world away into the Barents Sea near
Murmansk, with the hope of creating a new food source for the Arctic waters
of European Russia.

The Soviet leader did not live to see his project come to fruition, but his
heirs dutifully carried out the transfer in the 1960s. Thousands of the
monster crabs, which measure more than a meter across when mature, were
loaded onto rail cars for the seven-day journey from Vladivostok to the Kola
Peninsula. Others were transported by boat and dumped overboard at their new

Unlike Stalin's human exiles, the crabs quickly adapted to their new
environment. Apparently bereft of natural predators, they began to breed in
greater and greater numbers.

Fast forward 30 years and the Kamchatka critters have spread to the waters of
neighboring Norway. What will be the impact on the local environment and what
will happen next? Aasmund Bjordal, chief researcher at the state-run
Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, spoke to RFE/RL and said, "We don't
really know yet. But the main point is that we don't have any other crabs or
large crustaceans like lobsters and so forth in our waters in the north. So
it has no competitors for food within its own family of animals, so that
could be one reason why the crab stock is growing so fast here."

Next to oil drilling, fishing is Norway's largest industry. Some
environmentalists fear that the rapidly expanding crab population -- which
has doubled in the past five years, according to some estimates, and now
numbers about 15 million -- could soon interfere with the natural food chain,
potentially edging out key fish species.

Andreas Tveteraas, conservation director at the Norwegian chapter of the WWF
(formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund), explains.

"The keystone fish species of the Barents Sea, the capelin, has eggs that lie
on the bottom of the coastal areas of the sea in the spring, which is the
same time that huge flocks of young crabs eat virtually all they can get on
the sea bottom. So we fear that the predation from the crabs on the capelin
eggs may have profound impacts in the wider ecosystem as the capelin is the
main food for, for example, the cod in the Arctic," he said.

That puts the Norwegian government in a bind. Although Norway's cod stocks,
for now, represent a far more valuable economic resource than the crabs, that
could change in the future. Meat from the so-called Kamchatka crabs is a
high-priced delicacy that can retail for $100 per kilo. With each individual
crab weighing some 10 kilos, it is easy to see how visions of a "crab-meat
bonanza" are pushing some officials to call for viewing the maritime invaders
as a precious resource to be managed -- not suppressed.

Bjordal says, "At the moment, there is a discussion in Norway whether this
crab should be managed as a valuable resource or if it should be regarded as
an alien species that should be kept down and kept as low as possible, as far
as the population size."

For now, the Oslo authorities say they are following a prudent
resource-management policy, allowing a limited annual catch of the crabs --
although this year, the quota has been doubled from 100,000 to 200,000
animals, in view of the expanding population.

Tveteraas of the WWF believes the government's quota rules will actually
promote the massive expansion of the crab stocks. He says he is firmly
opposed to the rules.

"The problem with the fishing that is allowed today is that you are only
allowed to fish male adult crabs while the females and juveniles are
protected. So this is a management that is actually set up to make the
population increase. What we want to see is a scientific program to monitor
the ecological impacts. But most important, we think that we have to get the
population under control, at least until we have knowledge about the impact.
So we want open fishing on all stages of the species, females, males and
juveniles and, if necessary, we would like the state to invest money in
having an intensive fishery to stop the crab from expanding further."

Last December, the Norwegian chapter of the WWF addressed a letter to the
United Nations in which it accused Norway of violating key portions of the
world body's Convention on Biological Diversity, which Oslo signed in 1992.
That convention obligates members to "prevent the introduction of [and to]
control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats
or species."

The Norwegian government counters that it did not introduce the giant crab to
Norway and cannot eradicate it. It maintains that the current quota policy
will stabilize the population.

But Tveteraas says the crabs are set for further exponential growth.

"It takes between six and seven years for a female crab to become mature. So
there's a time lag, which means that the explosion we have seen in the last
years is caused by a relatively few females that were mature six or seven
years ago. Now there are millions of immature females that, as they get
mature, will cause an even more explosive growth of the population."

Tveteraas says Norway is playing "Russian roulette" with one of its most
important natural resources -- the Barents Sea. He notes the severe economic
impact that the introduction of alien species has had in other aquatic
environments, notably the zebra mussels' invasion of the United States' and
Canada's Great Lakes.

Carried over by ships from Europe in the 1980s, the tiny mussels quickly
spread to all corners of the Great Lakes and their tributary river systems,
clogging electric-power generation stations, drinking-water treatment plants,
industrial facilities, navigation locks, and dam structures throughout much
of the eastern half of North America and causing hundreds of millions of
dollars in damage.

Something similar, Tveteraas fears, could happen to Norway.

"There are too many examples around the world of introduced species causing
major economic and ecological damage, and we think that there is no point in
taking this risk in the Barents Sea. The Barents Sea is already giving huge
economic outputs from its fish stocks. So let's not gamble. Let's find out
the effects of this crab before we let it explode."

Bjordal, of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, is less categorical
in his assessment. The main thing, he says, is that nobody knows how far the
crab population is likely to expand and how far south it will spread. There
is simply too little data. Asked for his personal opinion of what to do with
the new "Red Army," Bjordal refuses to be drawn out.

"That's a political question, really," he says.

A political question -- like all of Stalin's legacies.


From: "Jaba Devdariani" <jaba@una.ge>
Subject: Re: 7054 Michael Wines: Language confusion?
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003

Michael Wines in his NYT article writes "depending on where they live,
Russians speak Svan, Laz, Kumyk, Dido, Olonets and scores of other tongues."

Just as a matter of substantive correction: both Svan and Laz are the ancient
dialects of the Georgian language belonging to the South Caucasian
(Kartvelian) group of languages. From these Svan is spoken only in tiny
mountaneous province of West Georgia and nowhere beyond, while Laz is spoken
by very few ethnic tribes in Northern Turkey. To the best of my knowledge,
Dido also was one of the ancient tongues linked to Laz, and is presently not
spoken anywhere. Apparently Mr. Wines pulled out wrong encyclopedia when
writing his article, Tatar or Kalmyk would have been much more apparent
choice of languages in a given context.


Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003
From: Gerard Janco (eurasiacenter1@cs.com)
Subject: Intern Needed for the Eurasia Center

Intern Needed for the Eurasia Center

The Eurasia Center is starting a new office at DuPont Circle in Washington,
DC. It is launching Nine New Programs in Global Idealism. This is an unpaid
internship. This is a chance to gain great experience, possible college
credits, and excellent references. We are primarily looking for interns
from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

An intern would be instrumental in organizing conferences, publications,
fundraising, grant writing, and interacting with Congress and foreign
officials. The Eurasia Center is also supporting an educational initiative
with the American University in Moscow and the World Russian Forum.

Ability to work with people, computer skills, editing skills, interest in
foreign affairs, fast typist, extra language skills (preferably Russian)
interest in working with grant organizations, governmental organizations,
corporations, and Congress. Also interested in producing electronic
publications, and website.

Resumes or cover letter may be sent to: EurasiaCenter1@cs.com


Transitions Online
February 10, 2003
Pharaoh of Russian Pyramid Scheme Finally Arrested
By Vladimir Kovalev

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia--The mastermind of an early 90s pyramid scheme that
bankrupted tens of millions of Russians has been arrested in Moscow. Sergei
Mavrodi--who has been on the run from authorities since the scheme
collapsed in 1995--has been charged with swindling massive amounts of money
from at least 50 million Russians.

According to the Federal Public-State Fund to Defend the Rights of Private
Investors and Shareholders, Russians invested 100 trillion rubles (about
$1.8 trillion, by the 1992 dollar-ruble rate) in the notorious MMM company
that Mavrodi set up in October 1992.

Approximately 400,000 Americans also lost money after investing in a web
stock exchange--called Stock Generation--that Mavrodi started in 1999 after
fleeing Russia, police told the media on 31 January, the day Mavrodi was
taken into custody.

"[Mavrodi] had a group of former [law enforcement] employees who knew about
surveillance methods and had also been providing physical support,"
Konstantin Krysanov, the head of the Moscow criminal police, said in an RTR
interview on 31 January.

Investigators found out about a year ago that Mavrodi had returned to
Moscow, Krysanov said. Authorities were unable to detain him because he
never stayed in one place longer than two or three days.

"[Mavrodis security group] would observe the conditions to ascertain if he
needed to go elsewhere," Krysanov said.

Mavrodi has a lengthy police record. He was first sentenced to prison in
1983, at the age of 17, after being convicted of illegally producing audio
and video tapes.

He was arrested again in August 1994 on charges of concealing income from
Invest Consulting, one of his numerous companies. While in jail, Mavrodi
sponsored a monthlong election campaign by offering free beer to voters.
His unorthodox campaign was criticized in the national media as "cynical.

It was effective, however, and Mavrodi was released after being elected to
the State Duma in October 1994. He had won 23 percent of the votes in
Mytischi, a town in the Moscow region.

But when Mavrodi did not participate in the Dumas sessions, parliament in
October 1995 voted to deprive him of his plenary powers. By that time,
however, Mavrodi had allegedly left Moscow for a Scandinavian country,
according to police sources quoted by Lenta.ru, a national information
website, on 4 February.

The slogan of the biggest of Mavrodi's pyramids was "MMM--no problem!"

Like all such schemes, MMM offered its clients lightening-fast, sky-high
incomes by buying original shares--at a cost of $1 to $25 each--with the
profit paid by money invested by new clients. Between 1992 and 1995, MMM
sold 99 million shares before collapsing. The company officially declared
bankruptcy in October 1997.

Prospects are slight that bilked investors will be able to recoup their
losses: Police officials reported that they have found only a fraction of
the assets Mavrodi is believed to hold, including three accounts worth a
little more than $1 million, RTR reported on 4 February.

The federal investors rights fund could offer some hope to investors. The
fund has awarded 353 million rubles (about $1.1 million) to date to 568,000
people across the Russian Federation. It uses profits from state-owned and
fund-owned properties to provide payments to investors and shareholders who
have lost money as a result of fraud.

Still, despite the experience of Russian investors with MMM and other
notorious pyramid schemes, BBCRussian.com reports Russians continue to
invest their money in such structures. In the central Russian town of
Tobolsk, the report says, a pyramid scheme set up by Valentina
Solovyova--who spent five years in jail on the same charges Mavrodi now
faces--is attracting a new wave of investors.

Solovyova was jailed in 1995 after her company, Vlastelina, went bankrupt.
The company owed about 1 billion rubles ($200,000) to its clients. After
being released from jail, Solovyova set up a company in Tobolsk called
Vlastelina 2.

Meanwhile, some national media outlets have questioned the unexpected
success of the police in tracking down Mavrodi now. After pursuing him for
four years, the police finally located Mavrodi in an apartment in downtown
Moscow, prompting some critics to question if the timing of the arrest was
designed as a public relations exercise.

Lenta.ru on 4 February said that Mavrodi had been unusually successful in
hiding from the police, while some of his colleagues, including Vladimir
Dryamov, the head of the financial pyramid Tibet, was put in jail for 15
years. Alexander Salomadin and Sergei Gruzin, founders of another financial
pyramid, Russki Dom Selenga, have also received jail terms.


Putin on Iraq, Chechnya, concerted efforts, culture
February 10, 2003

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed pressing issues of
international and bilateral relations in an interview with France-3
television on Sunday. He was speaking from the Kremlin. Following is the full
text of the interview in three takes.

FRANCE-3 TELEVISION: "All appears to be shaping out excellently at the
governmental level between you and President Chirac. Does it mean that
everything is absolutely cloudless in Russian-French relations?" RUSSIAN
PRESIDENT PUTIN: "Indeed we have much in common in our approaches to the
solution of many first-rate international questions. Our bilateral relations
are developing quite well, and actually in all directions at that.

"We are not content with everything. We are not pleased with the level of
trade and economic relations, but it is a matter of time. The main thing lies
elsewhere. The main thing is that France and Russia have identical approaches
to the building of the future international security architecture. We believe
here, in Russia, just as French President Jacques Chirac believes, that the
future world security architecture must be based on a multi-polar world. This
is the main thing that unites us.

"I am absolutely confident that the world will be predictable and stable only
if it is multi-polar. But this does not imply that our views coincide on all
problems and on all questions. We can differ on tactics of achieving the
ends, which we think we have in common. These differences can sometimes be
quite considerable. Take for example our approaches to the settlement of the
situation in Yugoslavia.

"We continue to believe at present that our position was more balanced
because the military actions - and this is my deep convictionfailed to bring
about the final settlement. But the quality of relations between Russia and
France enabled us, despite these differences in our approaches, to muster our
common potential for working out a joint solution to the problems of the
postwar settlement. And we arrivedtogether with France, together with other
United Nations Security Council members - at a common solution."

FRANCE-3 TELEVISION: "As regards the danger of war with Iraq. I want to ask
you this. President Chirac believes that all opportunities should be used to
look for diplomatic solutions before beginning any military action. What will
be your final decision, which you will apparently have to make within the
next few weeks, taking into consideration the impatience with which Bush, the
U.S. administration seek to square accounts with Saddam Hussein?"

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "I think that our tasks are different. We do not
have a task of squaring accounts with Hussein.

"There is nothing in the United Nations Charter that would empower the U.N.
Security Council to pass a resolution on changing the political regime in one
or another country - regardless of weather we like or dislike the regime.

"There is only one task for the international community to accomplish in Iraq
- it is to make sure that Baghdad has no weapons of mass destruction or to
find out that it has and make Iraq eliminate those weapons.

In this connection we share the position of our American partners, which is
that we must do all for Iraq to cooperate in full measure with the U.N.

"The difference in approaches consists in the following: we believe that this
problem can and must be resolved by peaceful, political and diplomatic means.
The international inspectors are working there. We trust them. They have not
found anything there; in any case, they have not found anything so far. They
have not said that Iraqi authorities were impeding their work, putting up
obstacles to their activity. In point of fact, they have independently raised
the question about continuing the work. I am confident that we must give them
this opportunity."

FRANCE 3 TELEVISIONS: "Both Russia and France have considerable oil interests
in Iraq. Don't you fear any economic repressions, sanctions on the part of
George Bush and his administration if you refuse to follow their lead in the
war in Iraq."

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "Russia - and this is my deep convictionis a
reliable partner in international affairs because we are no guided by time
serving considerations, momentary gains, a transitory state of the market or
any emotions. We have definite principles and we adhere to them.

"We have interests of our own there, and not only in the oil sphere. But we
are not going to haggle with anyone, like they do in an oriental bazaar, to
trade our position in exchange for any economic benefits. If we see together
with other members of the United Nations Security Council that the situation
is in need of adjustment, of toughening our position, we shall work as a
corporation with all our colleagues in the United Nations Security Council.
The results of the work of the inspectors have not given us any ground for
toughening our position so far.

"As regards our economic interests, I repeat that they exist. We are not
concealing the fact, and, of course, we shall stand up for them. And the best
prerequisite for securing the interests of both Russia and France, as well
as, strictly speaking, of any other country, including the United States, is
that we must follow the spirit and the letter of international law and, above
all, the U.N Charter. The world will then be predictable, understandable, and
we shall act in conformity with the same rules, the rules that we all

FRANCE 3 TELEVISION: "Do you not have a feeling, Mr. President, that this war
can still be averted? Or do you think that the Americans have already decided
on the beginning of operations - something that some senior diplomats openly
made clear to me in Washington?"

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "I have not spoken to senior diplomats in Washington
but I have been in contact with President Bush, President Chirac, and other
European leaders - continually, practically on a daily basis. And all of
them, practically all the leaders of the countries-permanent members of the
United Nations Security Council, President Bush among them, think - as
President Bush told me himselfthat the problem could still be resolved by
peaceful means. He does not want war either.

"But there is a way worked out by international law for solving problems of
this kind. I shall not say anything new if I recall that exclusively the
United Nations Security Council can make decisions of this kind, and we know
that it discussed this question and arrived at a conclusion that there is no
ground so far for the use of force. The inspectors must continue their work.
They have, incidentally, left for that country. As far as I know, Blix and
ElBaradei were due to leave for the locality today and prepare a new report
by the middle of February. Let us live and see the results of that report.

FRANCE 3 TELEVISION: "Can Russia, Germany and France together become a
counterweight to the United States, bearing in mind, in particular, the U. S.
desire for dominating the world?" RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "It is one of the
worst scenarios of the development of the situation in the world. It is bad
both for the United States and for Europe.

"I think that the world is developing in a way that we shall have very many
threats, threats that will be general in character. In order to counteract
those threats, it is necessary to pool efforts, not divide countries.

"But to pursue this policy, it is necessary, of course, to respect each
other's opinion and act in these interests. This is Russia's choice. We hope
that all of our main partners will make the same choice. I think that we all
are interested in ensuring that the United States does not take an
isolationist position, which would do no good to the building of a new world
order, but we naturally cannot pay for it with our national interests.

"There are many unresolved problems and unanswered questions in the world at
this time, and the most vital problem is that of Iraq. But there are yet more
vital problems, including the future world order and the future international
security architecture, for which we need to work out general principles of
behavior and stick to these principles. We now need fewer emotional
statements and more common sense both in political thinking and in pursuing
policies in practice.

"The United States is one of Russia's first-rate trade and economic partners,
but at the same time, Russia is a European country. We have special
relationships with Federal Germany, France, Great Britian and Italy. We
intend to consolidate our interaction with the European Union as a whole. And
we are now thinking with the leaders of some European countries how to
formalize this vector of our interaction, the European vector of the Russian

"I hope that we shall manage to accomplish this task at the Russia-EU forum
in St. Petersburg at the end of May of this year. "

FRANCE 3 TELEVISION: "You know that President Chirac speaks Russian a little
and is very fond of Russian culture. I hope that you like French culture. Do
you speak French?"

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "President Chirac is a terrific person: he knows
answers to whatever questions one asks.

"He is a very interesting company indeed. I think he is interested not only
in Russian culture : He told me about some things in Russian history that
evoked my genuine interest. He spoke about the whale routes and other things
that are of global value but to which we here, in Russia, do not attach such
significance although they are literally of interest for the history of
humanity, for the development of civilization. "

FRANCE 3 TELEVISION: "(Will you say) a few words in French?"

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "I am sorry, I do not speak French, although I can
say a few words, of course. "

"As regards French culture, we have a powerful symbiosis with French culture.
It is sometimes hard to say where French culture ends and Russian culture
begins, and vice versa. People in France have no idea how great is the
influence of French culture on Russian culture. Victor Hugo, Balzac, Jules
Verne and many other personalities are perceived as Russian classics here.
The same is true about persons in the field of music and painting. Renoir is
my favorite painter. "

FRANCE 3 TELEVISION: "I know that your received French writer and academician
Maurice Druon recently. And I know that you will meet soon in the famous
vineyards of St. Emillon, not far from Bordeaux. Do you like French wines?"

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: "Anyone who has tasted a French wine at least once
cannot but learn to like it. But I don't think that this is the most
important thing.

"We had a long conversation with M. Druon when he visited me in my home. And
he, incidentally, said very important things with which I agreed absolutely.
While reflecting aloud, he wondered what were the roots of European culture
that bring us together, where are they? They are in the culture of Ancient
Greece, Ancient Rome and Byzantium. And they form the basis of a future
greater Europe. I agree with him completely.

"Merci. Au revoir. "


Moscow Times
February 11, 2003
Media Regulation Tag
By Alexei Pankin
Alexei Pankin is the editor of Sreda, a magazine for media professionals

In its coverage of the mass media, the popular press is still obsessed with
the ongoing scandals at NTV television. Media trade publications, however,
have turned their attention to new regulations proposed for the industry,
as evidenced by these headlines from the web version of Sreda:
Government sends State Duma a bill on commercial secrets;
Advertisers, lawmakers and the Press Ministry to develop a new advertising
A bill "On the Screening of Domestic Films and the Broadcasting of
Socially Significant Information on Television" has been submitted to the
State Duma;
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent the State Duma a list of proposed
amendments to a number of federal laws in connection with the passage of
the law "On Basic Guarantees of Voters' Rights and Russian Citizens' Right
to Participate in Referendums";
New draft of mass media law could be introduced to the State Duma before
New draft of mass media law would bar the executive and legislative
branches of government from creating their own media companies.

This list is striking both for the scope of the planned new regulations and
also for the sheer number of bills and amendments that have been submitted
to the Duma for consideration. Taken as a whole, the proposed legislation
contains much that is encouraging and much that arouses skepticism.

The aim of improving old laws affecting the mass media and passing new ones
can only be applauded. Yury Zapol, president of Video International, a
leading advertising firm, has characterized current advertising law as
belonging to an era somewhere between feudalism and the age of slave-driven
economies. Independent media companies, which bear the brunt of unfair
competition from state-owned and state-subsidized companies, have long
called for a ban on government agencies owning their own media outlets. In
these areas, the new proposals indicate progress toward a civilized media

In other areas, especially the president's proposed amendments to media
laws, however, there is less cause for optimism. Of particular concern is a
provision that allows the government to silence a media company until
election day for violations of campaign laws. Those laws are formulated in
such general terms that, theoretically, almost any expression of opinion
could be ruled a violation. The Moscow press has responded with headlines
such as: "Freedom of speech could be restricted during elections";
"Journalists once more put in their place"; "More censorship likely during
elections"; "Media will have a hard time covering elections."

I would put it differently: The dying are pulling the living down with
them. Ever since the Yeltsin era, the media have treated election campaigns
less as a time to perform their duty to the electorate and more as a time
for padding their wallets by publishing lucrative chyorny piar, or smear
articles, paid for from legal or illegal campaign funds. The practice is so
widespread, in fact, that it more accurately reflects the current state of
the Russian media than the work of objective, honest journalists.

We're stuck in a vicious circle. The government from time to time toughens
the rules for media coverage of election campaigns; the media respond by
finding inventive new ways to skirt the rules; and this leads the
government to respond with tougher and increasingly ridiculous restrictions.

The real losers in all this are the few independent media outlets that
already suffer from unfair competition with the state-owned press. This
problem can probably be remedied with a well-crafted law. But reforming the
ethics of journalists and politicians is a more complicated task. Until
this happens, however, we will continue to live according to the principle
of one step forward, two steps back.


ANALYSIS-Major BP investment would endorse Putin's reforms
By Andrew Hurst

MOSCOW, Feb 10 (Reuters) - A major investment by British oil group BP in
Russia, if it goes ahead, would be a stunning endorsement of President
Vladimir Putin's reform policies little more than four years after the
economy was near collapse.

And it could signal a turning point in perceptions by many international
companies, which have shunned Russia because of its lingering image as a wild
country playing by its own rules.

"It's part of the first of many big transactions that will integrate Russian
companies into a global network. I think it's a precursor of other deals we
will see," said Stephen Jennings, chief executive of Renaissance Capital, a
foreign-owned investment bank based in Moscow.

Industry sources said at the weekend that BP plans to make a multi-billion
dollar investment in Russia that would give it a big stake in TNK
International, Russia's fourth biggest oil firm. BP in London on Monday
declined to comment on what it described as "speculation."

As part of the deal BP would swap an existing 25 percent interest in Russian
oil firm Sidanco for a shareholding in TNK, Sidanco's much larger affiliate
owned by the same group of Russian shareholders, the sources said.

If confirmed, the deal could prove to be the largest single foreign
investment since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"It would certainly be the biggest one in modern history," said Jennings.

Despite four years of strong economic growth fuelled by a booming oil
industry, the country has lagged behind former socialist countries such as
Poland and Czech Republic in attracting foreign direct investment.

If BP does buy into TNK, it would also cement Russia's efforts to position
itself as a reliable West-leaning supplier of crude and a safe alternative to
the volatile Middle East.

"It...supports the line that the US-West is now actively trying to push
western involvement in the Russian oil industry so as to boost oil production
and make Russia a stable source of oil supplies," Tim Ash of Bear Stearns in
London wrote in a research note.


The BP deal would be especially remarkable because the British company nearly
came to grief after it first invested in Sidanco in November 1997, when it
paid $571 million for an initial 10 percent stake.

The British oil company had to partly write down its investment after a
dispute with TNK, but the two sides settled their differences and BP raised
its stake in Sidanco last year and took management control.

"People look at BP as having had a tough time in Russia but they have a lot
of experience now. That makes it more powerful if they go ahead because they
are not going into this with rose-tinted spectacles," said Stephen
O'Sullivan, head of research at UFG finance house in Moscow.

A decisive foray into Russia, the world's second largest oil exporter after
Saudi Arabia, also has implications for how BP is regarded by its immediate
peers in the industry such as Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil.

"In the oil industry it really throws down the gauntlet to some of BP's
international competitors. It has a big impact on the global pecking order,"
said Jennings.

Others international oil players may be tempted to follow suit in Russia.

"There will probably be more equity purchases (by foreigners)" said Ivan
Mazalov, an oil analyst at Commerzbank in London, but he added that
shareholders in private oil companies such as YUKOS and Sibneft may be in no
hurry to sell at a time when business is booming.


Senior MP mulls Russian role in light of US-Europe standoff

Moscow, 10 February: Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vladimir Lukin
of the Yabloko faction has suggested urgently organizing a top-level
NATO-Russia meeting.

Russia today "can and must become a coordinator of the Euro-Atlantic
community, and Russian diplomacy should direct its efforts to putting forward
ideas that could help find a common position for continental Europe and
America, without hurting one another's dignity," Lukin said in a Monday [10
February] interview with Interfax.

The parliamentarian pointed to a serious crisis that has emerged in relations
between Europe and America - "it is probably for the first time since World
War II that relations between them have become this tense". The problem is
not individual disagreements and not even the fact that they have developed
different positions regarding Iraq but "the problem is in an absolutely
different understanding of how international relations should be arranged",
he said.

It would be absolutely wrong and counterproductive for Moscow to gamble on
these disagreements - "This would be a very short-sighted course of action
for Russia," Lukin said. As regards the situation surrounding Iraq,
differences in positions of the USA and a number of leading European
countries are in fact not that dramatic, he noted. "The US standpoint is the
following: if Iraq does not disarm, there's going to be war, while Russia's
and Europe's position is that there will be no war if Iraq disarms," Lukin
noted. It is well possible to reach a compromise between these two
standpoints and "Russia must take advantage of this great diplomatic chance",
he said.

The participants in a hypothetical NATO-Russia meeting could prepare two
scenarios of action, the first of which would provide for Iraq's full
disarmament. "This would be a positive programme, but, naturally, it can be
worked out on the basis of international expert opinion," Lukin said. The
second scenario would presume that "Iraq evades disarmament", which would
sanction the use of armed force against that country, he said. In any case,
both programmes must be approved by the UN, which would not be difficult if
the NATO-Russia summit comes to a relevant agreement beforehand, he said.

"If this very course is taken, Russia would play a very important role in
overcoming one of the largest crises in the world and would de-facto become
an exclusively significant element in the system of new international
relations," Lukin said.


BBC Monitoring
Russian TV sees NATO as close to collapse in row over Iraq
Source: RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 1400 gmt 10 Feb 03

The USA is about to launch a new "offensive" against its "old Europe" allies
in NATO after they vetoed a veiled attempt to mobilize the alliance for an
attack on Iraq, Russian state television has commented. The resulting row
between Washington on the one hand and the French, Germans and Belgians on
the other is threatening the alliance itself, the TV continued. Meanwhile,
Vladimir Putin is arriving in Paris after a visit to Berlin, and comments by
Hans Blix after his latest talks with the Iraqis seem to back the US-UK axis
against the European one. The following is an excerpt from a report by Russia
TV on 10 February:

[Presenter] The most important and crucial world news right now about Iraq is
that NATO has split. Germany, Belgium and France have used their veto, just
as the Russian president completes his visit to Berlin and heads for Paris.
An ordinary visit is now taking place in extraordinary circumstances, and he
arrived in Paris half an hour ago...

This is the deepest crisis in the alliance's entire history. It is a major
scandal not just for the West - France does, after all, hold a veto not only
in NATO but in the UN Security Council as well. But France is now putting up
stiffer resistance to the Anglo-American alliance than Russia and China.
Sergey Zenin is following events.

[Correspondent] The 19 flagpoles stand as before by the entrance to the NATO
building in Brussels. But this is no longer a place where they are used to
trusting each other. NATO is almost on the verge of collapse, for the first
time in its 54-year history.

First, the French and German suggestion to treble the number of inspectors in
Iraq and send a large contingent of blue helmets seriously annoyed the Bush
administration. Now, old Europe is truly in revolt. It has emerged that
France and Belgium vetoed a US request for the alliance to provide military
help to Turkey if war starts in Iraq. Just before midday, the Belgian foreign
minister issued an official statement.

[Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, in French to superimposed Russian]
Belgium, with France and Germany, will no longer remain silent and will block
this US initiative to support military intervention in Iraq.

[Correspondent] The alliance's charter promises help to any member state that
comes under attack. Last Thursday [6 February], NATO ambassadors agreed to
provide military assistance for Turkey. Just a few days later, alliance
members' positions are diverging. As if that weren't enough, Germany seconded
the French and Belgian veto. Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that
Germany is ready to put all its available resources at the UN's disposal so
that the inspections can continue. It became crystal clear that the
alliance's forces have not been committed to any military operation when the
secretary-general, George Robertson, spoke. He said that even if the Security
Council passes a new and tougher resolution at the USA's request, that will
not be the end of the matter.

[NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, in English to superimposed Russian]
The UN Security Council might consider such a resolution. That will be
followed by debate, so it is premature to speak of any kind of military
action against Iraq and of who might take part. I won't attempt to understate
the seriousness of this situation. It is indeed serious. NATO's member states
are taking it seriously and will proceed responsibly and collectively.

[Correspondent] The USA's first attempt to mobilize NATO forces, using help
for Turkey as a pretext, has fallen through. The outcome of today's emergency
session of NATO ambassadors will emerge later today. Clearly, the USA will
launch a new and large-scale political offensive against its closest and
until recently unquestionably loyal allies.

[Presenter] It's worth noting that Turkey is NATO's sole Muslim member and
also shares a border with Iraq. And it's no less important that the Turkish
premier, Abdullah Gul, today spoke to Vladimir Putin by telephone. The call
was initiated by the Turks. The head of NATO's sole Muslim member, now at the
centre of the row at the very core of the alliance, discussed with President
Putin the situation in and around Iraq.

The main thing is not the number of inspectors but Iraq's readiness to
cooperate, Hans Blix has said on his return from Baghdad. The significance of
this remark is that the UN's chief inspector, without naming names, has cast
doubt on the Franco-German approach and backed the Anglo-American one...


Wall Street Journal
February 10, 2003
It's Putin's Move Now

Russian officials act curiously smug these days when asked about the prospect
of war in Iraq, as if they are in on a grand geopolitical secret they'll
share only with their closest friends.

President Vladimir Putin's toughening rhetoric against Saddam Hussein and
Washington's decision to brand two or three Chechen groups as international
terrorists, reported in today's Journal, underscores the new Russian-American
dynamic. President Putin knows his country has profited perhaps more than any
other from the U.S.-led war on terrorism and, contrary to conventional
wisdom, he realizes his country could be one of the chief beneficiaries of
Iraqi regime change. This, ironically, makes Russia Washington's best hope to
mediate allied differences at the U.N., where the role of spoiler -- Moscow's
old specialty -- now falls to France.

The plot thickened this weekend when an early release of today's copy of Der
Spiegel magazine quoted German sources on a new French-German initiative to
solve the Iraq crisis, which would include an "invasion" of U.N. soldiers to
enforce the country's disarmament. The idea seemed more a trial balloon than
a final plan, and even French officials balked at embracing it. The fact that
the French are at the same time performing the diplomatic pirouette of
sending an aircraft carrier to the war region doesn't soften the blow on
Washington of this surprise diplomatic attack. It further complicates Mr.
Bush's life as he furiously campaigns to convert domestic and allied skeptics
ahead of a new Valentine's Day report this Friday from U.N. inspectors.

President Vladimir Putin has comfortably positioned his country to profit the
most from an Iraqi war while risking the least from the ongoing political
skirmishes. The Russian leader is visiting his German and French counterparts
this week as the only one of the three to enjoy Mr. Bush's trust, a dramatic
demonstration of one of the world's most significant strategic shifts since
Sept. 11.

America's critically timed decision to put certain Chechen groups on its
official list of international terrorist organizations is just one more
indication that the U.S. may have struck a deal with Russia for its support
on Iraq. For his part, Mr. Putin in a recent speech in Kiev shifted his tone
to that of a leader preparing his public for war. Though he continued to
stress that diplomacy hadn't run its course, he added, "If Iraq resists these
inspections, if it creates problems for the inspectors, I do not rule out
that Russia might change its position. And we intend to work with other
Security Council members, including the United States, to work out other
decisions ...tougher than the existing decisions."

If Mr. Putin ultimately sides with the U.S., he'll be far more likely than he
is now to regain an estimated $9 billion in sovereign debt that he's owed by
Iraq. Insiders say that U.S. officials have already given him quiet
assurances that Russian companies would be able to keep and expand upon the
contracts they have to develop Iraqi oil fields. Some say Iraqi oil
production will hurt Russian interests by driving down prices, but that will
take years. The run-up to war and its execution will enrich Moscow's coffers
over the short term by increasing oil prices and will enhance Russian oil
companies influence over the long term by giving them an inside track on the
world's second largest oil reserves.

Mr. Putin still faces opposition among his foreign policy elite who with the
French and Germans fear the dangers of this preponderance of American power
and would like to offset it rather than encourage it in Iraq. Yet for now,
the only foreign policy elite that matters in Moscow is Mr. Putin himself.
And the Russian president is playing for the long term.

When asked what Russia would do if faced with deciding between the French or
the U.S., one senior Moscow official huffed: "What can the French give us,"
he said. "A bit of caviar and maybe some champagne?" He says the Americans by
contrast have already helped Russia solve its Taliban problem to the south,
which it never could have tackled alone. He says it's also the Americans and
not the French that can help stare down the threat of a nuclear North Korea.
Russians also celebrated U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's decision in
his speech last week to finger al Qaeda associate Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, whom
Mr. Powell said was harbored by Iraq and had operated a terrorist network
that targeted Russia from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge and in Chechnya. "The
plotting to which they are linked is not mere chatter," he said. "Members of
Zarqawi's network say their goal was to kill Russians with toxins."

Some say Mr. Putin's warm personal relationship with Mr. Bush is key to this
evolving alliance, going back to their historic first date back in Lublijana,
Slovenia in June 2001, only three months before Sept. 11. It was then that
Mr. Putin produced his mother's crucifix from his pocket and Mr. Bush looked
into the Russian's eyes and famously saw his soul. On Sept. 11, President
Putin called immediately as the first foreign leader to offer condolences and
support, and canceled some military exercises that might have distracted
American intelligence from its new threat. That sort of personal gesture wins
big points with Mr. Bush.

But there are more realpolitik explanations for this budding partnership too.
In one of history's more curious twists, Russia's interests and capabilities
make it a natural partner for tackling the 21st Century's new dangers at the
nexus of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction --
having been Enemy Number One for much of the previous century. That leaves
President Putin sitting just where he wants to be right now, in the optimum
negotiating position between the Anglo-American alliance on one side and the
Franco-German stance on the other. Yet he won't be able to stay there long --
and Mr. Bush will expect his new friend to show his support soon. On the
grand chess board regarding Iraq, it's now Mr. Putin's move.


Parlamentskaya Gazeta
No. 16
February 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
Despite optimistic statements by scientists, there are no
energy sources that could replace oil today. So, political
scientists believe that the struggle for "black gold" will
become more intensive with the development of industries and
technologies. The USA apparently decided not to wait for the
struggle to escalate. Instead, it plans to launch a war on Iraq
in order to assume control of the Middle Eastern oil fields,
acting by the old "might is right" saying. Lieutenant-General
Nikolai LEONOV, a professor at the Moscow State Institute of
International Relations and former head of the information and
analysis department of the Foreign Intelligence Service, talks
about regional developments and possible consequences of the US
aggression for Russia and the rest of the world, in an
interview of with our correspondent Alexander KRASULIN.

Question: Judging by the scale of troop concentration in
the Middle East, the US war on Iraq will begin soon, won't it?
Answer: The decision has been apparently made. The only
thing we can wonder about is the date of the operation. The
point at issue is not Saddam Hussein as a person, his regime or
the presence or absence of mass destruction weapons in the
The UN inspectors had worked in Iraq for eight years and nearly
everything that could be connected with mass destruction
weapons or dual technologies had been dismantled or removed
from that country.
The point at issue is undoubtedly oil, of which Iraq
possesses 10% of the world's total. Not everyone sees that the
occupation of Iraq would be a first step towards assuming
control of all oil-bearing regions of the world. The stocks of
"black gold" are becoming exhausted, though some people may
argue to the contrary. But oil consumption is growing at such a
fast rate in the world that the struggle for it will grow with
every passing year.

Question: Will you comment on the US promise not to launch
a war or persecute Saddam Hussein and his team if they leave
Answer: First, the Americans do not say precisely who must
leave the country. They simply hope to provoke a bloodless
change of regime and attain their goals without using military
But their hopes are in vain. Saddam Hussein will not leave the
country. As for the promise not to persecute, everyone knows
what happened to Slobodan Milosevic, Biljana Plasic and other
Yugoslav leaders, whom the Hague Tribunal charged with crimes
against humanity.

Question: Will the world yet again tolerate American
arrogance and the revival of "the jungle law" in international
Answer: Regrettably, this is not the first time the USA
has been acting like this. It thinks nothing about
international norms and frequently violates its own
obligations. For example, the USA unilaterally withdrew from
the ABM treaty without bothering to respect the procedure.
Washington likewise withdrew from the Kyoto protocol to the
Convention on world climate change.
But these are "minor" sins. The war on Iraq will destroy
the carrier beam of the post-war world, meaning the UN, its
Charter and the prerogative of its Security Council as the main
guarantor of peace and security on the planet. This will be a
tragedy. The peaceful instruments of resolving international
problems will be liquidated. It will be the worst political
catastrophe imaginable.
The UN inspectors cannot find mass destruction weapons or
factories that produce them. But the Americans say they don't
care, as their intelligence agencies say there are such weapons
and hence Washington will act unilaterally to disarm Iraq.

Question: What consequences can this entail for Iraq?
Answer: Very grave. According to the UN report, about half
a million people may perish in the war and 1.5 million may flee
the country. This is why the UN has called on adjacent
countries not to close their borders to refugees, so that the
people would at least save their lives.
The Oil for Food programme, under which some 60% of Iraqi
population get food, will be cut short as soon as the war
begins, as its implementation will become impossible. The
people will have nothing to eat. Besides, there will be
hundreds of thousands of wounded, who will need medical
assistance. The International Red Cross and the UNICEF are
accumulating stocks of foods, medicines and water, which means
that the UN accepts the war as inevitable.

Question: But after the war the country will need to
restore peaceful life and industries.
Answer: A new government will be brought to the country.
"Interviews" of candidates to the new cabinet were held in
London about a month ago. Most of them are Iraqi emigres who
have lived in the West for a long time. My Arab friends who
looked up information about the new ministers in the Internet
believe that Israel had a hand in the formation of the cabinet.
As soon as the situation in Iraq is stabilised under the
control of US troops, big capital will rush into the country.
Oil experts have calculated that four to five billion dollars
will be invested in Iraq in the first two or three years, after
which oil prices will start to fall. This is the most
outrageous thing about it: while advocating market mechanisms,
the Americans neglect market laws as regards oil. They have
dictated the oil prices of 20-21 dollars per barrel and will
not accept anything else.
Russian oil companies will hardly be among those who will
rush into Iraq in the footsteps of the US occupation troops.

Question: But such respected countries as China, France
and Germany disagree with this US policy.
Answer: The task now is to rally the efforts of those
countries that are protecting their stand or at least the
remnants of international law. We certainly should work more
energetically with Europe. In 95% of cases Europeans criticised
the US policy in private conversations at the medium and even
top bureaucratic levels. They still remember the Yugoslav
tragedy and know about the Afghan problem.

Question: What stand should Russia take on the Iraqi
Answer: Any our efforts to prevent a war would be futile
now. Our new task should be to prevent the aggravation of the
conflict. The flames of war must not spread to Iran, where a
conflict would be much more dramatic because Iran is a stronger
and older state historically. In other words, the Iraqi
conflict must be localised. And we need to convene an
international UN conference on the Middle East. The
international community must determine how to live - either by
the UN Charter or by the "save yourselves" principle.
In short, if we fail to take firm steps to prevent the
proliferation of the conflict, it will sweep the entire South
Caspian area. Russia must do its best to prevent the fire from
spreading in the region which the USA has proclaimed a zone of
its vital interests. This formula means that President Bush can
send troops there without asking the opinion of the Congress.
But we must remember that this is an explosion-prone region.