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JRL #7087 Plain Text - Entire Issue

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1. AFP: Berlin-Vladivostok road link to be completed by end 2004: Russia.
3. AFP: Russia offers to send military monitors to Iraq.
4. Rosbalt: Russians See Iraq As Friendly State.
5. BBC Monitoring: Iraqi people will applaud their country's liberation - US ambassador to Russia.
6. Al-Ahram Weekly: A friend to all. With a few "Satans" in its own closet, Russian diplomacy is making steady gains against the backdrop of the current disarmament crisis, Shohdy Naguib reports from Moscow.
7. Moscow Times: Boris Kagarlitsky, Society Weakened by Talent.
8. RFE/RL: Jeffrey Donovan, Washington Designates Three Chechen Groups As Terrorist Organizations.
9. AP: Russia to Pull Some Troops From Chechnya.
10. Reuters: OSCE considers sending observers to Chechnya vote.
11. Daily Times (Pakistan): Nina Khrushcheva, Stalin and memory.
12. Free Interfax offer.
13. Amnesty International: Russian Federation: Media Award.
15. RosBusinessConsulting: Putin allows taking up to $10,000 out of the country freely.
16. Reuters: US, EU says Russia WTO bid still lacking.
17. Vremya MN: Andrey Ryabov, Political Microeconomics. (Today's Russian Politics Viewed)
18. RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly: A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (Valerii Zorkin) and WHO IS ZORKIN? (interview with Peter Maggs)
19. Matthew Maly: Naive or Cynical? [DJ: reflections on US&Russia)


Berlin-Vladivostok road link to be completed by end 2004: Russia
March 3, 2003

Russia plans to complete a road link that connects Berlin to its far eastern
port city of Vladivostok, neighbouring China and Japan, by the end of 2004,
the transport ministry said on Monday.

"The project to extend the pan-European road network
Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk-Moscow to the Russian far east's Pacific Coast will be
implemented," a transport ministry official told the Interfax news agency.

The main task is to build a road between Chita in eastern Siberia and
Khabarovsk in the far east, the official said.

One hundred and twenty kilometres (75 miles) were built in 2002, with
federal funds and financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and

Another 160 kilometres are due to be constructed in 2003 and the remaining
120 kilometres built in 2004, completing a 10,000-kilometre trans-Siberian
road link between Vladivostok and Brest in Belarus.


Argumenty i Fakty
No. 9
February 26, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
In March, Mikhail Gorbachev will celebrate two dates: his
72nd birthday and the appointment to the post of Secretary
General of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee 54
years later. Neither age, nor political "scrapes" would force
him to spend retirement years in tranquility. In the fall,
Gorbachev, who leads nowadays the Social-Democratic Party,
intends to join the political race for the seats in the RF
State Duma. However, at present, his major concern is the
situation around Iraq.

Question: What would you do if you were in President
Putin's shoes today? Would you give up on Saddam Hussein or
would you defend him risking alienating the United States?

Answer: So far, Putin has been acting correctly. Frankly,
there are no substantial arguments in favor of the war against
Iraq! The president is trying to avoid the confrontation with
the USA and, at the same time, to let the Americans know that
they are putting themselves and us into a corner.
I recall the speeches made by US President Kennedy during
the Cuban crisis. The Americans hated Castro at that time as
much as they do hate Hussein nowadays. Nevertheless, Kennedy
was smart enough not to get involved in the nuclear standoff.
He used to tell the warmongers in the Administration - if you
think that the future peace will be only for America, you are
dead wrong. It's either we will have the universal peace, or no
peace at all.

Question: What's behind the Iraqi crisis? The struggle for
"big oil"?
Answer: The roots of such policy are in the very nature of
American society. It's the disease of any advanced consumer
society. In order to provide high living standards for the
Americans at the level they got used to, the United States,
while accounting for 5 percent of the global population, has to
consume 42 percent of global energy supplies (!) It's a monster
that's ready to devour everything around.

Question: If the war is inevitable, wouldn't it be better
to let the United States do as it wants in exchange for the
guarantees of respecting our interests in Iraq? Or do you think
the Americans couldn't be trusted?
Answer: The American politicians suffer from two mental
complexes. First - every president should have his own war. And
second - they sure could "cheat" on us. They are very cynical
and hypocritical politicians, despite their claims that they
are true Christians.

Question: Nevertheless, it seems that we are ready to give
away "the last shirt." Didn't Russia yield its positions too
easily? After all, we eagerly let the Americans build military
bases in Central Asia, agreed on NATO expansion.
Answer: Those are direct consequences of the collapse of
the Soviet Union. Putin inherited chaos in the country. We
didn't have any viable foreign and defense policy at the time.
The Russian Federation was torn by regional feudalism; it was
literally falling apart. What would any president be concerned
about in such circumstances? First of all, about preserving the
people, the nation. Our greatness will always depend on our
ability to build stable society and economy within the country.
Without accomplishing this fundamental task, we can't talk
seriously about Russian role in geopolitics.
Besides, NATO expansion is not really a big deal nowadays
- the times have changed. Presently, Russia has not only the
right to voice its opinion on at least 10 positions (and I
believe those are major ones) on NATO's agenda, but also
participate in making decisions. NATO is not the same as it
used to be.

Question: There is a common opinion that the larger NATO
is, the harder this organization will be to govern.
Answer: I share this opinion. I think that there are
limits to the expansion of the European Union, as well. They'll
never be able to "digest" Russia - their stomach is too small
for that.
That's why I proposed the concept of Russia's integration into
the EU as an associate member. Russia's relationship with NATO
is a good example - we would have the right to participate in
making key decisions, but other than that both sides would have
relative freedom to act on their own while implementing those
We have to create a common economic and cultural space, get
regulatory legislation in different countries more universal.
Look at what's happening in terms of trade restrictions for
Russia in Europe. It's appalling! The EU introduced more than
60 anti-dumping processes against Russia. Meanwhile everybody
is shouting in euphoria - ah, it's time to turn a new page in
our relations with Russia!

Question: Does this mean that Europe is also "cheating" on
us? Some people believe that Putin follows Gorbachev's path
while yielding to the West in exchange for vague promises of
friendship. It's not a secret that you are still being accused
of the fact that the Soviet Union didn't gain anything from the
unification of Germany or the dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty.
Answer: It's a cliche invented by journalists. We
introduced democratic elections and reforms in Russia, allowed
the freedom of thought in our country. Meanwhile, did we have
the right to crush the same processes in the Czech Republic,
Poland and the German Democratic Republic with tanks? As early
as June of 1989, during my visit to the Federal Republic of
Germany, Kohl and I agreed that the future of Germany was in
its unification. The Berlin Wall collapsed the following
autumn. I went to attend the 40th anniversary of the German
Democratic Republic and saw a huge manifestation - about a
million people from all regions. I remember their slogans. I
understood that the regime could no longer serve the country.
People were leaving the country in crowds. In January of 1990,
the population of the GDR, thousands upon thousands of people,
went in the streets with a single demand - to allow the
unification of Germany immediately. Do you think we should have
ordered our contingent in Germany to use force against innocent
people? No, we decided to go the way of negotiations with other
countries of the coalition that won the war. We bargained only
for the conditions of further presence or withdrawal of troops,
assuring aid in building alternative housing for military

Question: Wasn't the West ready to forgive Soviet debts in
exchange for letting Germany go?
Answer: That's not true. The Soviet Union owed the
majority of debts to private investors, and those never forget
about the money.
Some people also question the fact that in official
documents of the period we never introduced a clause preventing
the future expansion of NATO. They should be realistic - in the
circumstances when the Warsaw Treaty still existed (it was
disbanded only a year later), there was no way to put forward
assumptions that NATO would certainly conduct aggressive policy
aimed at further expansion. We would have had a war at our
hands in that case. Everything had been decided by that time.
And I don't think I was cheated upon or failed to get
everything possible from the other side.


Russia offers to send military monitors to Iraq
March 3, 2003

Russia announced that it was ready to send military personnel to Iraq to
take part in UN weapons inspections in an apparent bid to stave off the
threat of US-led military action against Baghdad.

The deputy chief of the general staff, General Yury Baluyevsky, said
Russian representatives had been dispatched to the United Nations Security
Council in New York to discuss a role for the Russian military in the UN

"A team of experts from the foreign and defence ministries flew to New York
yesterday to hold consultations on the practical involvement of Russian
military in international inspectors' continued monitoring in Iraq," the
top Russian defence official told news agencies.

The Russian announcement came after Chinese state media said on Monday that
Beijing was willing to offer personnel and technical support to the UN
inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

China and Russia, both permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security
Council, are seeking to avert a looming US invasion of Iraq and extend the
work of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq.

Baluyevsky said Russian servicemen would not take part in any hostilities
in Iraq.

"If Russian armed forces have a role, it will be as monitors assisting the
international inspectors who are working in Iraq," said Baluyevsky, without
giving any further details.

There are already Russian experts among the UN inspectors in Iraq but these
are employed in a private capacity by the United Nations.

Baluyevsky recalled that Russia had prepared an Antonov-30B spy plane "to
carry out aerial reconnaissance in Iraq and to pass on information to
international inspectors".

Last month Moscow announced it had reached a preliminary agreement with the
United Nations on the deployment of a Russian spy plane over Iraq but
further talks were due to be held in New York on the issue.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Sedov told AFP the
delegation's discussions would focus on the deployment of the Antonov-30B

If approved by the United Nations, this would require the presence in Iraq
of technical support staff and a replacement crew, he said. Russia is one
of several nations volunteering to offer its planes.

Sedov added that Moscow had other suggestions for involving Russian
military in the inspection process but these were at a preliminary stage.

"In our consultations we may discuss some other possibilities (for Russian
assistance in UN inspections) but this is the only concrete proposal so
far," he said.

The chief UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, are due
to give their latest update to the Security Council on Friday.

Washington and its allies have submitted a draft UN Security Council
resolution which would, if passed, effectively pave the way for war on Iraq.

They hope for a vote on the resolution in the first half of March.


March 3, 2003
Russians See Iraq As Friendly State

MOSCOW, March 3. The percentage of Russians who consider Iraq to be friendly
towards Russia has significantly increased over the last year. According to
an opinion poll carried out by the Public Opinion foundation, 49% of Russians
consider Iraq to have a friendly attitude towards Russia (a year ago the
figure was 39%). Only 2% consider Iraq to be an unfriendly state (a year ago
this point of view was held by 35% of those polled).

87% of respondents are opposed to the war being planned by the US and UK, and
only 2% believe that 'it is right to begin military action.' In addition, 45%
of those polled hold the view that the work of international observers in
Iraq ought to be extended, while 42% believe that 'Iraq should be left alone,
international inspections should be ended and international sanctions should
be cancelled.' Those in favour of giving Iraq a "full pardon" are most likely
to be rural residents and people who have not completed secondary education
(48%). People with a higher education are most likely to be in favour of
extending international inspections (59%).

1,500 people were interviewed for the poll, which was held on February 21,


BBC Monitoring
Iraqi people will applaud their country's liberation - US ambassador to
Source: TVS, Moscow, in Russian 0800 gmt 2 Mar 03

[Presenter] US ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow has elaborated on the
consequences of American operation in Iraq. The Iraqi people themselves need
this liberation campaign more than anybody else, he said.

[Vershbow, speaking at a news conference in English, Russian translation
superimposed] We think that the operation in Iraq won't take much time. The
attitude of the Iraqi people towards it will change after we liberate their
country. The Iraqi people will be rejoicing when we topple Saddam Husayn's
regime after 30 years of dictatorship.

[Presenter] The American ambassador made this statement on a visit to the
town of Snezhinsk, which forms a part of the so-called Russia's nuclear
shield. The Federal Nuclear Centre - Research Institute of Technical Physics
is located there. For many years the centre was creating new types of nuclear

Vershbow and Russian Atomic Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev have come to
Snezhinsk to see the progress in implementation of the programme of nuclear
non-proliferation. The ambassador visited several research and commercial
divisions that had been created at the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre over
the last 10 years with the US financial support.


Al-Ahram Weekly
27 February - 5 March 2003
A friend to all
With a few "Satans" in its own closet, Russian diplomacy is making steady
gains against the backdrop of the current disarmament crisis, Shohdy Naguib
reports from Moscow

Former Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov's visit to Baghdad on
Saturday, shrouded in secrecy until the last minute, was reminiscent of the
11th-hour diplomatic effort by the seasoned Russian politician just before
the Gulf War. A few hours before Primakov's departure, a representative of
the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement announcing that his country
would not support a Security Council resolution that would automatically
ratify the use of force against Iraq. Deputy Foreign Minister Juri Fedotov
also told Interfax news agency if the US submits a draft for a new
resolution, "its contents will have to be looked into".

Such actions suggest that Moscow is trying to convince Saddam Hussein to make
further concessions in the wake of the Russian president's announcement of
support for the Franco-German position.

The joint statement issued as a result of Vladimir Putin's visit to Berlin
and Paris said the three countries believe "the problem of Iraq can and
should be resolved by peaceful means." However, this should not be taken to
mean they are entering into an open confrontation with the US. How far they
assessed the implications of their position remains unclear, though. When
they were asked during the joint press-conference about a common plan of
action in the event of a war, Putin and Chirac refused to discuss the
subject, showing marked irritation.

Caution and pragmatism appear to be the watchwords for Russia's approach to
the current Iraq crisis. Iraq has never been a Russian ally, only a trading
partner -- and one with a $9-billion debt with dim prospects of ever being
paid back. The Russian economy, which is highly dependent on oil, may be
strengthened if the war is protracted and oil prices remain high. Following
this line of thinking, a war that would put Iraqi oil firmly in US hands
would be against Russia's interests because this would presumably bring oil
prices back down. Whether these concerns have been mitigated by any US
guarantees of a role for Russian companies in post-war Iraq and a share of
the exploration and extraction pie, remains unclear.

Putin most certainly recalls the humiliation of former President Boris
Yeltsin with respect to his Kosovo diplomacy, and is consequently keeping his
options open. By refusing to support the US in its efforts to convince the
United Nations that it is necessary to take military action against Baghdad,
Putin is not opposing Bush directly, but seems to be trying to antagonise as
few players in the crisis as possible. In light of this strategy, the Russian
president appears set to come out ahead -- regardless of the resolution of
the current standoff.

The "bonds of partnership" between Russia and the US have grown stronger
since 9/11, although they had a strong foundation in ties of "personal
friendship" between Putin and Bush that date to their first meeting in
Ljubljana, Yugoslavia in the summer of 2001 -- three months before the
attacks on the US. Putin was the first to convey his condolences to the US
president on the fateful day his country came under attack, something that
apparently means a lot to George Bush.

"The war on terrorism", then, has brought about the new century's epic
alliance between the two superpowers, who not long ago had the world
teetering on the brink of destruction with their ideological enmity.

The current Iraq confrontation, though, is probably the first disarmament
crisis of the many to come in the not so distant future. In an interview with
Izvestia newspaper, US Under-Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz called the
task of disarming Iraq "decisive to winning the war on terror". According to
Wolfowitz, Iraq will continue posing an "unacceptable threat to the US,
Europe and the whole world" if it is not disarmed immediately. Praising South
Africa, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine for voluntarily dismantling their nuclear
capabilities, Wolfowitz did not express any concerns regarding Russia's
nuclear arsenal. Disarming Russia is of the utmost importance for America --
no matter what the short-term bargains between Putin and Bush are. A recent
documentary shown here featured a bizarre scene inside a silo of an
intercontinental ballistic missile SS-18 (nicknamed "Satan"), in which its
commander demonstrated the superior acoustics of the spacious shaft by
playing his trombone. Needless to say it sounded rather grim.

The popular protests against war that swept capitals around the world on 15
February barely touched Russia. Two tiny leftist demonstrations occurred, one
outside the US Embassy and the other, in Pushkin Square, the former being
organised by the communists and the later by assorted anti-globalisation
movements who also chanted the unpopular slogans against war in Chechnya.
Such low attendance at a rally can be partly explained by the biting frost on
that sunny day in Moscow, yet it could well be that 250 is the number of
those who bitterly oppose the war, while the majority think it is inevitable.

In Russia two major considerations dominate discussions of politics in the
country: the upcoming government- sponsored referendum in Chechnya on the
future of the republic and next year's presidential election. The two are
tightly bound in a no-alternative patriotic propaganda train powered with
nationalistic resolve.

In a timely political gesture, Washington has promised to include some
Chechen resistance organisations on the official list of terrorist groups.
While some argue this is a short-sighted move, others conclude that such a
concession on the part of the Bush administration is well worth the price to
ensure the loyalty of the Russian "best friend" in the current dispute on the
war against Iraq.


Moscow Times
March 4, 2003
Society Weakened by Talent
By Boris Kagarlitsky

Not long ago a Finnish company received a contract to make a metal door for a
Russian defense installation in the far north. For some reason no Russian
firm could produce a door of such complexity and such unusual dimensions. The
special door was to be delivered by airplane the moment it was ready.

The Finnish workman in charge of loading the door on to the plane discovered
that it wouldn't fit in the cargo bay. Following instructions, he removed the
foam rubber in which the door was packed and tried to load it onto the plane.
However, the door still wouldn't fit. So he once more followed instructions
and sent the plane off to Russia carrying just the foam rubber, figuring the
door would go out on the next flight.

I have a pretty good idea what the Russian workers waiting to install the
door said when the plane touched down. A lengthy investigation followed. The
Finnish workman who had followed instructions too closely was reprimanded,
and the door was finally delivered.

We Russians love to tell stories about the craziness that goes on around us.
But the story with the Finnish door couldn't happen here. If a Russian worker
were in charge instead of a Finn, he would have scratched and dented the
door, damaged the plane forcing it into the cargo bay or lost the shipping
receipt. But it would never have occurred to him to send the foam rubber

Russians and Westerners have an entirely different take on instructions,
rules and bureaucracy in general.

In the West, people have come to expect the bureaucracy to be rational. This
doesn't always pan out in practice, of course. Franz Kafka didn't write "The
Castle" in Russia, after all. Nevertheless, Western culture places a healthy
measure of trust in its bureaucrats. Conscientious citizens of Western
countries follow instructions almost automatically, often not even trying to
figure out what the point is. The Russian, on the other hand, views
instructions with a skeptical eye. Experience has taught him that two-thirds
of all instructions are totally pointless, that the government is run by
incompetents and that rules are created for the express purpose of making
life more difficult. As we read government-issued rules and regulations we
don't try to figure out how to carry them out, but how to get around them.

Westerners find it awkward when the bureaucracy makes a mistake and demands
the impossible of them. Used to playing by the rules, they find this
unsettling. The Russian, by contrast, finds himself at a loss when the rules
turn out, for a change, to be justified.

What do you do with unnecessary rules and outdated or reactionary laws? The
Western European becomes indignant and decides that the rules must be
changed. This reaction is a natural result of abiding by the law. Russians
come at this problem from the opposite direction: Why change a law that you
don't observe anyway? Civil disobedience is a Western invention. This form of
struggle makes no sense to us, because in Russia it's not a show of
resistance, just a fact of life. We deceive the boss and avoid cooperating
with the government, knowing perfectly well that the boss and the government
are doing the very same thing to us.

Russian computer programmers don't merely break into other people's programs;
they remove the bugs as well. While supporters of Linux were fighting to
introduce open-source software in Europe and pushing for revision of
intellectual property laws, Russian software pirates turned Windows into a
free program available to anyone who wants it. Hackers in St. Petersburg
stole Microsoft's source codes and turned Windows into open-source software
all on their own. Why change the system when you can get around it?

In a sense, Eastern Europeans are more effective than their counterparts in
the West. More refined, at any rate. If not for our constant readiness to
break the rules, we would never have made so many scientific discoveries. We
have developed a remarkable capacity for rationalization, and a striking
sense of humor that foreigners seem to find touching. Former citizens of the
Soviet Union are making successful careers in the West, amazing their bosses
with their ability to "think outside the box."

Resisting the established order in Russia is a private, not a public act: a
little chicanery, not a political statement. For all the talk of their
collective spirit, Russians in practice are committed individualists.

"There are so many talented people here," foreigners often remark. To which I
would add: "And such a weak society."

Boris Kagarlitsky is director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.


U.S.: Washington Designates Three Chechen Groups As Terrorist Organizations
By Jeffrey Donovan

Washington, which last year accused Russia of using "overwhelming force"
against civilians in Chechnya, appears to be changing tack. For the first
time, the United States has designated some Chechen rebel groups as
terrorists. As RFE/RL reports, the move could have wider implications.

Washington, 3 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- In a step that Moscow has been
encouraging for more than a year, the U.S. State Department says it has
designated three Chechen rebel groups as terrorist organizations with links
to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher told a briefing on 28 February that the Chechen groups were directly
involved in taking more than 800 hostages at a Moscow theater last October,
which resulted in the deaths of 129 hostages, most by gas sprayed by Russian
forces ending the siege.

Boucher told reporters, "In making this designation, the United States calls
on all Chechen leaders to renounce terrorist acts and to cut any ties they
may have to these terrorist groups and all who are affiliated with them."

The groups were listed as the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage
Battalion of Chechen Martyrs, the Special-Purpose Islamic Regiment, and the
Islamic International Brigade.

The designation means that no U.S. citizen can provide any financial or
material support to the groups. Also, the groups' members are barred from
entering the United States, and any U.S.-held assets they may have are
automatically frozen.

U.S. officials also alleged extensive contacts and mutual support among the
Chechen groups, the deposed Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden,
and bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network during the 1990s.

They are the first Chechen groups added to the list, highlighting the tougher
line Washington has taken against the Chechen movement since Russia backed
its war on terrorism after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has
threatened to veto any U.S.-backed resolution allowing the use of force to
disarm Iraq. But U.S. officials stressed the designation was not part of an
effort to win Russian backing on Iraq.

Boucher stressed that Washington still believes the conflict in Chechnya must
be solved peacefully. "It remains our position that the broader conflict in
Chechnya cannot be resolved militarily and requires a political solution. In
this connection, we'd also underscore our strong support for the sovereignty
and territorial integrity of Georgia, a partner in the war on terrorism,"
Boucher said.

But while Boucher added that Washington does not consider all Chechen
fighters to be terrorists, the latest U.S. step concerns American advocates
for peace in Chechnya.

Glen Howard is executive director of the American Committee for Peace in
Chechnya, a private group that seeks a peaceful settlement to the Chechen
conflict. Howard told RFE/RL that, although U.S. officials insist there is no
connection with their move and Washington's need to win Russian support on
Iraq, he remains unconvinced. "This situation is going to do nothing more
than exacerbate the plight of the humanitarian tragedy of Chechnya and the
death warrant to kill another 10,000 Chechens," he said. "It further
justifies Russia's being a full member of the war on terrorism in time for
the United Nations debate on the Iraqi resolution."

Howard said that, although Washington still says it wants a political
solution to the Chechen conflict, its latest move is likely to make it harder
to achieve such a settlement. "There are some terrorist elements in Chechnya,
and there are some elements that are very bad. No one disputes that. But the
problem [is] that this is going to further paint all Chechens as being part
[of], [or] affiliated with, terrorist organizations. And it's going to make
it much more difficult for Russians in Moscow who are opposed to the war to
step forward to promote a peaceful resolution to the war," Howard said.

He said that Russia is, in effect, now able to justify its Chechen campaign
in part by pointing out that the United States supports its efforts.

At the briefing, Boucher also told reporters that Washington, with support
from Russia, Britain, China, and Spain, is asking the United Nations to put
the three Chechen groups on its own list of proscribed terrorist

To make the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, a group must be
shown to have engaged in terrorist activities or to be planning future
attacks that threaten U.S. citizens or interests.

The designation automatically expires after two years, but it may be extended
by the secretary of state if terrorist activity continues.

U.S. officials said the designated groups may be affiliated with Chechen
rebel leader Shamil Basaev, who claimed responsibility for the Moscow hostage
taking and who U.S. officials believe has received millions of dollars from


Russia to Pull Some Troops From Chechnya
March 3, 2003

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's military announced a partial withdrawal of troops
Monday from Chechnya - the first reduction of forces since militants from the
breakaway republic stormed a Moscow theater and took the audience hostage.

More than 1,000 troops and 200 pieces of military equipment will be
withdrawn, said Col. Nikolai Deryabin, head of the Defense Ministry's press
service. He cited the ``steady tendency toward normalization'' in the
republic's northern plains and the successful transfer of power to Chechen
police as reasons for the pullout.

Russia has 80,000 troops in Chechnya, said a military spokesman, Col. Yuri

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov suspended the previous planned withdrawal
after Chechen gunmen seized a Moscow theater on Oct. 23.

The rebels held about 800 people hostage at the theater for three days.
Russian special forces stormed the building and killed all 41 hostage-takers.
The raid resulted in the death of 129 hostages, most from a narcotic gas used
to incapacitate the militants.

The chief of the Russian military's general staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, said the
planned withdrawal would have ``absolutely no effect'' on security in

``We are removing only extra forces that have fulfilled their tasks and are
not needed,'' Kvashnin told the Interfax news agency.

Over the weekend, six Russian servicemen were killed and eight wounded in
rebel attacks in Chechnya, said an official in the Moscow-backed
administration in Grozny. The bodies of two Chechen policemen were found in
the capital's central market and Russian forces detained 130 suspected
rebels, the official said on condition his name not be disclosed.

Russian forces withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after a failed 20-month
campaign, leaving it with de facto independence. They returned in 1999 after
rebel attacks in a neighboring region and deadly apartment-building bombings
that the Kremlin blamed on rebels.


OSCE considers sending observers to Chechnya vote
By Andrei Shukshin

MOSCOW, March 3 (Reuters) - European human rights bodies gave an upbeat
account on Monday of Moscow's preparations for a constitutional referendum in
Chechnya and promised to consider sending observers to the vote.

Moscow, still fighting for control over the province devastated by nearly a
decade of war, hopes the March 23 poll will anchor Chechnya firmly within
Russia and is keen to see international monitors giving the vote badly-needed

A week-long assessment mission to Chechnya, led by the Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, reversed
earlier scepticism about whether voting was possible amid the ruin and
insecurity in the region.

A press release issued by the mission on its return said the OSCE and the
Council of Europe could consider "the deployment of another team of experts
immediately around the referendum date to follow the proceedings."

Elected Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, in hiding since Moscow took the
regional capital Grozny in early 2000, has called the referendum a way to
perpetuate war and threatened to disrupt the poll.

In an obvious move to boost voter confidence, the Russian military announced
on Monday it was starting withdrawal of "superfluous forces" from the region,
promising to evacuate shortly about 1,000 troops from a 80,000-strong
contingent deployed there.

Human rights groups had previously urged Moscow to postpone the vote, which
along with a constitution is due to open the way for the election of a local
leader later this year.

But the European team pointed to clear signs of improvement to justify its
conclusion that a limited mission of observers could be sent to Chechnya to
monitor the vote.

It said that, in contrast with a 2000 national election, polling stations had
been established to cover most of the rebel province.

"Significantly, no resignations from precinct boards due to intimidation were
reported to the assessment mission," the report said.

Pro-Moscow officials in Chechnya face constant rebel threats to stop
cooperating with Moscow. Guerrillas have already killed dozens of local
administrators refusing to obey. Russian troops also die almost daily in
rebel attacks.

Despite obvious tensions, the group stressed that military presence and
security check points on roads between towns had been reduced, public bus
lines seemed operational and there was agricultural activity.

"These were in marked contrast to earlier visits to the republic," the press
release said.

The army returned to Chechnya in 1999 to end the region's three-year de-facto
independence. Troops have established nominal control over the region but
have failed to stamp out armed resistance or overcome general hostility
towards Russia.


Daily Times (Pakistan)
March 4, 2003
Stalin and memory
By Nina Khrushcheva
Nina Krushcheva, the grand-daughter of Nikita Khrushchev, teaches history
and international relations at the New School University and Columbia

So far, Russia, a country of little moderation, has alternated between
rampant discussion or absolute silence and self-deception about Stalin.
These swings keep many people (not only the elderly) voting communist.
German Gref, Russias young Minister of Trade and Economics, responded to a
sympathetic question about his parents being prisoners in the Gulag by
saying, So what, all were prisoners then

The duty we owe to history is to rewrite it, said Oscar Wilde. As a
Russian, I am familiar with rewriting history. The Soviet Union spent a
century touching up the warts on Lenins nose, revising harvest statistics,
and making the dying Yuri Andropov look less cadaverous. But in dealing
with Stalin dead 50 years today most of us now rewrite history by
pretending that a chunk of it never happened.

Dont get me wrong: Stalin has not disappeared like people sent to the
gulag. He has not been blotted from our memories the way Trotsky and
Bukharin were cropped out of official photographs.

Once, as I was getting out of a Moscow taxicab, the driver lifted his scarf
to show a Stalin photograph pinned to his jacket. I thought about this sly
gesture. He seemed to represent a true underground, someone who felt
shocked and betrayed by the world that arose out of Gorbachevs glastnost
and perestroika.

But clinging to the past uncritically is probably better than allowing the
past to dominate the present. After all, it was history that incited
Yugoslavs to turn their corner of Europe into a medieval slaughterhouse of
rape, pillage, and siege. On June 28, 1989, St Vituss Day, while most
Eastern Europeans were daring to dream of a non-communist future, a million
Serbs prepared to leap into the past with Slobodan Milosevic, descending on
the Field of Blackbirds in Kosovo to mark the 600th anniversary of Serbias
defeat by the Turks.

History, of course, is not some medicine with a label cautioning about the
proper dosage. History is what gives nations their character, their
institutions, their identity. It can be misread or misused, but never
rationed. Milosevic did not give the Serbs an overdose of history; he
simply administered it as they imagined it, undiluted by criticism.

Plainly, the best thing is to confront history and oneself
forthrightly, and to draw the most honest conclusions. But what are the
right conclusions when you are dealing with history as bloodstained and
corrupting as Stalins era? Some are ready to look at the past with an open
mind, in pursuit, if you will, of self-improvement. Others are more
concerned to use it to justify failure or even aggression; this is history
as self-pity. Still others indulge in simple self-delusion.

Self-improvers are the most rare. Recently, only Germany, or rather West
Germany, unambiguously confronted its past in order to remake itself. It
took the enormity of the Holocaust to bring about the necessary
self-examination. Anything less terrible might not have been enough.

For Russians, long split between Slavophiles and westernisers, victimhood
vies against self-examination where history is concerned. In 1989 and 1990,
as communism collapsed and glasnost took hold, many Russians hungrily
sought the facts. What caused the famines of the 1930s and were they
planned? How many people died in the purges? What did Khrushchev actually
say about Stalin in his secret speech of 1956? Historical facts became
front-page news.

For others, the demise of the political system meant the end not merely of
the only historical narrative they knew, but of an empire and a sense of
national identity as well. Into that void stepped right-wing politicians
and historians portraying Russians as the victims of a false culture,
with foreigners responsible for all problems. Many now find it difficult to
know what to make of seven decades of communism. More have given up trying.

It will never be easy to produce a version of Russian history that all
Russians agree on; competing conceptions of national identity militate
against it. But some other countries sloughing off the skin of communism
are only too ready to adopt a new history even one based on fancy and
invention to suit current needs.

Ukraine provides an example of this. Does Ukraine have a history? Well, the
place certainly does, but is the place a country? Ukraine means, literally,
on the edge. It is more a frontier than a region, let alone a country. So
it is well suited to an invented history and who better to supply it than
a Ukrainian Diaspora eager to boost the land of their forefathers? It may
be no accident that independent Ukraines first history textbook was
written in Toronto, not Kiev.

So far, Russia, a country of little moderation, has alternated between
rampant discussion or absolute silence and self-deception about Stalin.
These swings keep many people (not only the elderly) voting communist.
German Gref, Russias young Minister of Trade and Economics, responded to a
sympathetic question about his parents being prisoners in the Gulag by
saying, So what, all were prisoners then.

In truth, few people other than the Germans are ready to be honest in their
Vergangenheitsbewltigung, their coming to terms with the past. Most others
dwell on the laudable, suppress the inglorious, and embellish the rest or
else pretend that the past doesnt exist at all.

Before succumbing to pessimism, however, there is something else to
consider. Although it is impossible to have too much history, it is
possible to spend too much time looking into it. For like the past, the
future also needs to be written. If Russians are silent about Stalin, it
may be because we are busy writing that history of the future. DT-PS


From: "Alicia Chong" <alicia@interfax-news.com>
Subject: Free Interfax offer
Date: Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003

Free Trial Issues, Interfax Political, Business & Military News
Breaking News - Pulitzer Prize nominated
For a no-obligation trial, please visit:

Warmest regards,
Alicia Chong
Interfax-America, Inc.
phone: +1 (303) 368-1421 x 202
fax: +1 (303) 368-1458


Media Advisory
AI Index: EUR 46/018/2003 (Public)
News Service No: 047
3 March 2003

Russian Federation: Media Award
The Union of Russian Journalists in cooperation with Amnesty International
are launching a competition for best print, broadcasting and multimedia
material in Russian and English printed and broadcast to Russia promoting
"Human Rights and the strengthening of civil society in the Russian
Federation". Authors, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and multimedia
stations, NGOs and Amnesty International will submit nominations of articles,
video and audio programmes and will send them to the Union of Russian
Journalists, 121019 Moscow, 4 Zubovsky Blvd, and to Amnesty International
119019, Moscow G-19, POB 212. The competition is to be in the following

Administration of justice
Human rights violations against children
Violence against women
"No" to nationalism and xenophobia
The role of local and international NGOs in building civil society
There will be one $500 prize for journalists in each category and special
prizes for runners-up and the media they represent.
A panel of experts of the Union of Russian Journalists and Amnesty
International will pick the best publications.
The competition is to run from 1st March 2003 until 30th September 2003.

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:
For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org


From: "Stanislav Menshikov" <menschivok@globalxs.nl>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003

Stanislav Menshikov
Co-chair, ECAAR-Russia


ECAAR-RUSSIA is pleased to announce the publication of its NEWSLETTER
# 6-2 dated February 2003 which brings up-to-date information on Russia's
attitudes towards US missile defense.

ECAAR-Russia is the Russian Chapter of the world-wide association of
ECONOMISTS ALLIED FOR ARMS REDUCTION. The Newsletter can be viewed on

The Newsletter features an ECAAR working paper on "U.S. Missile Defense: A
Russian Perspective" recently presented to the UN Advisory Committee on
Disarmament Matters. It explains Russian concerns about US missile defenses
And Related Policies, details likely Russian responses and analyses
economic, financial and production factors underlying Russian attitudes.

The Newsletter also contains a larger and more detailed paper on the history
and current status of Russian views on US BMD, which traces step by step
US-Russian talks, agreements and disagreements since the late 1960s. It also
contains sections describing:

- Economic and financial conditions in Russia determining its attitude
towards NMD.

- The Current Structure of Russia's military-industrial complex.

- Scenarios of Future Russian Behavior.

The Newsletter also goes into the discussion of possible US-Russian
cooperation in building national and theatre ABM systems.

All questions or discussion related to the publication should be addressed
to info@ecaar-russia.org


March 3, 2003
Putin allows taking up to $10,000 out of the country freely

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill amending Article 6 and
Article 8 of the federal law on currency regulation and currency control. The
amendments were passed by the State Duma on February 7 and approved by the
Federation Council on February 12, 2003.

According to the amendments, individuals resident in Russia are allowed to
take up to $10,000 worth of foreign currency out of the country freely. They
will not have to show customs officials documents certifying that the money
was purchased in Russia or had been brought into the country. Before that,
citizens were allowed to take only up to $1,500 worth of foreign currency out
of the country. But individuals resident in Russia are not allowed to take
foreign currency in excess of $10,000 out of the country at a time.

They do not need to declare cash under $3,000, but have to fill in customs
declaration forms to take out more than $3,000.


US, EU says Russia WTO bid still lacking

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - Top U.S. and European Union trade officials
said on Monday that Russia must make more progress on services trade and
energy pricing issues before it can join the World Trade Organization.

At a joint press conference with his U.S. counterpart, EU Trade Commissioner
Pascal Lamy said Russia's admission into the WTO is a top priority for both
Brussels and Washington.

It is still "probably too soon" to predict when negotiations would be
completed, he said.

U.S. and European companies complain that their Russian competitors can buy
oil and natural gas at a substantially lower price than what those products
sell for on the world market.

U.S. insurance, telecommunication and other service industry companies also
want Moscow to lower barriers that limit their participation in the Russian

Lamy said it may be possible later this year to talk more definitively about
the final time frame for Russia to join the world trade body.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said the U.S. view is "very close"
to the European Union's.

Last week, Zoellick warned that Russian barriers to U.S. meat imports could
ruin its chances of winning WTO membership.


Today's Russian Politics Viewed

Vremya MN
28 February 2003
Article by Andrey Ryabov: "Political Microeconomics"

At the recent conference, "Russia: Developing
Success," devoted to the problem of attracting investments to the
domestic economy, Anatoliy Chubays, head of the RAO [Russian Joint-Stock
Company] YeES, attempted to come out as a mediator in the sharp dispute
between vice-premier Aleksey Kudrin and Kakhoy Bendukidze, well-known
businessman and general director of "United Machinebuilding Plants."
Following Chubays' logic, it turns out that all the present discussions
about economic reforms are no more than an argument about details, about
tax rates, the peculiarities of currency regulation, etc. The main
thing is that the great confrontation between the reformers and the
opponents of reforms ended in favor of the former.

Whether Chubays wanted to or not, he formulated his own conception of
"big politics." When there is no great ideological confrontation, there
are no politics either. Something like a scholarly dispute of
professionals takes its place.

In some ways, Chubays is right -- politics become petty in our eyes, and
the "great topics" go out of them. A thing of the past are discussions
about the path Russia will take into the bright future -- its own,
"Russian" path, or one that borrows from the "Chinese," "Swedish" and
other models. Few people are interested in the problematics of a
"destiny-bearing election": who will Russia be -- one of the centers of
world civilization or a second-rate country of the Western world? If
domestic policies touch on themes of this sort, it will be primarily in
the course of the election campaigns, for "protocol." The Communists
have done a good job of assimilating this genre, with their mass meetings
and demonstrations which, by the strictest criteria, mean nothing and
frighten no one, but on the other hand are a reliable instrument for
encouraging the electorate.

It is not, however, worth worrying about politics "becoming petty." In
developed democracies, discussions about which path to take and what sort
of society to build long ago became the property of history. Political
parties, bitterly competing with each other at elections, in coming to
power follow approximately the same policy as their opponents. Party
affiliation is increasingly becoming like a striking outward sign which
makes it possible to distinguish "theirs" from "others'." A sign behind
which there are no profound differences in content. Similar to the way
that the different colors of soccer clubs give a clear-cut guideline to
the fans of rival teams playing in the same game and unable to exist
without each other. The electors watch the political process in
approximately the way that spectators watch the game of their favorite
club from the stands in the stadium. The voters become participants in
the process only when it is necessary to raise wages by 2-3 percent or
reduce indirect taxes by the same percentage. Against this background,
the switch of Russian politics to petty professional themes is most
likely an indication of its gradual normalization, its transformation
from a certain likeness to theater with Shakespearean passions to a
routine, to a boring everyday act, as in the entire "civilized world."
In a certain sense, it may indicate that Russia is becoming an ordinary

Except that we must remember one thing. "Big politics" will not stop
being just that, if discussions on discount rates and excise taxes come
to take the place of debates on the historical mission. They do not
become like a lofty academic dispute, the circle of participants in which
is restricted to only an insignificant number of "elite." The recent
events connected with the protest reaction of teachers to the
authorities' decision on switching to a new system of wages for
public-sector workers is graphic confirmation of this. These events
show that discussions on Russia's historical mission, if they interest
anyone, are most likely of a valuable nature which has little to do with
real politics. It is a different matter when they touch upon the daily
interests of millions of people. It is here that true politics begin.
Even though for the time being they are developing according to their own
internal logic and only very remotely come into contact with the parties.
Everything in its time. If only the elite do not arrogantly think, in
the way they have been accustomed to think in the last few years, that it
is for them, from above the street demonstrators, visibly of no use to
anyone, to get into serious discussions on tariffs and other economic
subtleties. Otherwise, street activity, contrary to all the predictions
concerning the mass political lethargy of the Russians, will grow, which
is just what the "hard-hearted people" of various types from among the
radicals who are always there where the people's confidence in the
authorities drops, but the authorities themselves behave as if nothing
special were taking place around them, are undoubtedly trying to utilize.


RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly
Vol. 3, No. 9, 3 March 2003


A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. The unexpected election last week of Valerii
Zorkin to the post of Constitutional Court chairman is one of the
very few major surprises in Russian political life since President
Vladimir Putin's rise to power three years ago. This year and
next are national election years, and the Constitutional Court could
be in a position to render decisions concerning these races. The
Communist Party, for example, has mounted a legal challenge to the
moratorium on holding national referendums a year before a national
election. In addition, an unidentified legal specialist told
"Moskovskii komsomolets" on 22 February that it is possible that a
number of "important laws of the last few years will be declared
partially unconstitutional," including the law on the formation of
the Federation Council and the presidential decree that created the
seven federal districts.
Zorkin's election was surprising not simply because most
observers expected incumbent Chairman Marat Baglai to be re-elected
to a third term. Zorkin himself is a controversial figure who served
as the court's chairman almost 10 years ago. On 21 September
1993, Zorkin's court declared President Boris Yeltsin's
presidential decree disbanding the Supreme Soviet a violation of the
Russian Constitution. On 6 October 1993, days after Yeltsin ordered
tanks to fire on the parliament building, Zorkin resigned as
chairman, but he was allowed to remain as a justice on the court. The
hostility between Zorkin and Yeltsin's circle was reportedly so
intense that Yeltsin's bodyguards shot dead Zorkin's favorite
cat, according to "Moskovskii komsomolets" on 22 February.
No one -- including Zorkin -- anticipated his re-election to
his former post. Zorkin told "Kommersant-Daily" on 25 February that
he hopes his re-election "is not perceived as the advent of a person
who fought for this job." This happened by chance," he said. On 20
February, the day before the vote was held, the daily "Vremya-MN"
speculated that if Baglai was not re-elected, then Deputy Chairman
Vladimir Strekosov, Justice Secretary Yurii Danilov, Justice Nikolai
Seleznev, and Justice Yurii Rudkin were well suited for the job.
Zorkin was not even mentioned.
However, other Moscow-based media contend that Zorkin's
election did not come as a complete surprise to everyone -- or at
least not to the Kremlin. According to "Rossiiskaya gazeta" on 22
February -- citing only unidentified, unofficial sources -- members
of the presidential administration were involved in discussions with
justices about the election of the chairman since January.
Presidential administration head Aleksandr Voloshin and his deputy,
Vladislav Surkov, were reportedly "chatting regularly with the
judges." Deputy presidential administration head Dmitrii Kozak also
reportedly played an unspecified role. According to the daily,
"Baglai would have suited the Kremlin more, but they are ready to
cooperate with Zorkin."
"Moskovskii komsomolets," on the other hand, depicted
Zorkin's election as just another manifestation of the struggle
between the two clans controlling the Kremlin -- the Yeltsin-era
"Family" and the St. Petersburg chekists. And in this battle, the
paper argues, the chekists won. According to the daily, Zorkin
actively lobbied for his new post by cultivating friendships with
deputy presidential administration head Viktor Ivanov and other key
members of the St. Petersburg clan. Meanwhile, Zorkin's fellow
judges were reportedly tired of Surkov's influence. Members of
the court were reportedly fond of joking that the only entities
higher than the court are "the Russian Constitution and Surkov," the
daily reported.
Of course, until some judge writes his or her memoirs, we
won't know for certain. Suffice it to say that the court's
next few decisions on cases with political consequences should be
watched closely. (Julie A. Corwin)



"RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly" spoke with Professor
Peter Maggs, an expert on Russian law who holds the Clifford M. &
Bette A. Carney Chair in Law at the University of
Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, about the changes on the court. JAC

RFE/RL: A contradictory picture of Zorkin emerges from
the Russian press. On the one hand, some analysts see him as simply a
good judge who enforced the law, while others see him as a judge who
overstepped the line and became a political figure. At the same time,
some of Zorkin's comments suggest that he sees himself as a judge
who strayed into politics but who will be reluctant to do so again.
Who is Zorkin?

MAGGS: Maybe he is all of the above. If you look first
at the law on the Constitutional Court, there are two rather
contradictory provisions that were in effect in 1993 when Zorkin got
into his big conflict with Yeltsin. On the one hand, Article 14.3
says a judge of the Constitutional Court shall not engage in
political actions or engage in political propaganda or agitation. And
obviously Zorkin could fairly easily be said to have done that. On
the other hand, Article 21.6 says that in cases of an urgent nature,
in particular, those that could cause irreparable harm, the chairman
shall send to the appropriate government bodies and officials demands
for the suspension of enforcement of laws or decrees until they can
be considered by the Constitutional Court. That suggests that he does
have the power to say, "Hey, you are doing something
If you want to try to make an argument in his favor, you can
basically say that Yeltsin was trying to carry out a revolution. And
when you carry out a revolution, by definition you violate the
existing constitution. The revolution might have been a very good
idea. I, for one, think that there was too much left of the old
Communist system, and it had to be thoroughly destroyed. But even if
the revolution is a good idea, it puts the judge of a constitutional
court in a difficult position [if] he is specifically given the power
to ask that acts be suspended until they can be considered. I think
that would be the best argument in favor of Zorkin: You are somewhat
between a rock and a hard place if your job is carrying out the
constitution and a revolution is going on that will destroy the
constitution, which is, of course, what happened. And the winners
write the history -- Yeltsin was the winner.
It should be noted that [Zorkin] went beyond that rule and
first tried to play the role of mediator between the parliamentary
faction [led by Supreme Soviet Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov] and
Yeltsin. Then he appeared to be taking sides with the parliamentary
faction. It's not clear whether that was because that's where
his politics lay or because under the Soviet Constitution, which was
still largely in effect, parliament was supreme. That is why it used
to be called the Supreme Soviet.

RFE/RL: There was also that accusation by fellow
Justice [Nikolai] Vitryuk that Zorkin falsified the results of the
vote on the Yeltsin decree...

MAGGS: Yes, that was part of the accusation that he
didn't allow dissenting voters the right to express themselves
and that he tended to speak for the court. He was accused of acting
hastily, not following court rules, not convening sessions properly,
and just moving too fast on these things.
The new version of the law on the Constitutional Court
enacted in 1994 was carefully drafted with Zorkin's actions in
mind to try to prevent any future court from taking that kind of
action. It says that the chairman cannot speak for the court unless
authorized [to do so] by the majority of court, and the provision
which said that the chairman can act in emergency to try to stop
decrees was removed.

RFE/RL: Some press reports have concluded that because
Zorkin was elected, the justices want the court to become more
independent again. They charge that Baglai was too close to the
Kremlin and was always carrying out its bidding. That is the popular
view of Baglai anyway. Is that fair?

MAGGS: That might be the popular view, but most of the
functions of the head judge have to do with administration. Since
there is a secret ballot, it's always possible that there were a
number of judges who weren't happy with what Baglai was doing as
court administrator. Period. You also have got to remember that there
are a lot of holdovers from the 1991 court and, if they all voted for
Zorkin and if he voted for himself, then it wouldn't take much
more to elect him. He only needed 10 votes with 19 judges on the
court. I think there are a lot of possible explanations. But the
Russian Constitutional Court appears to be a lot "leakier" than the
U.S. Supreme Court, so we will probably find out at some point why
people voted as they did.

RFE/RL: But is there justification for the view that
Baglai was too close to Kremlin?

MAGGS: I don't know. While the Kremlin hasn't
suffered any big defeats at the court, it's not the situation
where the court has been split and voted 10 to 9 on a lot of issues.
In the vast majority of cases they have been unanimous or nearly
unanimous. And that means that whoever those 10 people were who voted
for Zorkin, they have been continually voting in a way that has not
been terribly upsetting to them.

RFE/RL: To what do you attribute the lack of dissents?
Could that be a success of Baglai's leadership?

MAGGS: That is a very complex question that has to do
more with real leadership than with the formal position Baglai [had].

RFE/RL: How would compare the relationship between the
court and the Kremlin under Putin and under Yeltsin?

MAGGS: Putin has had two great advantages over
Yeltsin. One, he has been able to get what he wants out of
parliament. He didn't have to rule by decrees of dubious
legality. Two, he's a lawyer with what seems like a pretty decent
knowledge of the legal system. I think he listens to advisers who
say: "Don't do something a certain way because it isn't
constitutional; do it this way, which is constitutional." Putin has
done very little that is unconstitutional, while Yeltsin did a lot
that was clearly unconstitutional.

RFE/RL: What about Putin's decree establishing the
seven federal districts?

MAGGS: If the districts really had any real power,
then that would be of very dubious constitutionality. If they are
just a way to distribute jobs for his friends to keep an eye out for
what is going on in the provinces and if he doesn't give them any
real powers, then [the envoys] can't be acting
unconstitutionally. If they are given serious powers to interfere
with the 89 federation subjects, it would become a constitutional


Moscow Times
March 4, 2003
Where Would Billionaires Be But for Media?
By Alexei Pankin

Forbes magazine has given Russian journalists something else to be proud of
this year as they celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Russian press. The
majority of Russians included in Forbes' list of the world's richest people
are media moguls.

Judge for yourself. Mikhail Khodorkovsky owns the Tomsk-based TV2 television
station, the Tomsky Vestnik newspaper and Sibir radio station. Roman
Abramovich is a shareholder in Channel One and TVS. Mikhail Fridman has a
stake in CTC. Vladimir Potanin's Prof-Media holding has a stake in
Independent Media and controls the newspapers Izvestia, Komsomolskaya Pravda,
Sovietsky Sport and Express-Gazeta as well as Avtoradio, Novosti Online, etc.
Vladimir Yevtushenkov is part owner of the TV Center television station and
runs the SMM holding, which controls the newspapers Literaturnaya Gazeta,
Rossia and St. Petersburg-based Smena as well as the Maxima advertising
agency, the Nasha Pressa distribution company, the Govorit Moskva radio
station, etc. Oleg Deripaska has a stake in TVS and the Rospechat
distribution company. Vagit Alekperov owns 48 percent of Izvestia.

As the Forbes list makes clear, the most profitable media companies in Russia
are located outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The handful of Siberian
media outlets belonging to Yukos not only put Khodorkovsky atop the list of
Russia's richest men, it also allowed five more Yukos executives to make the
Forbes list. It only makes sense that Yukos is currently in negotiations to
acquire additional television stations beyond the Urals.

The names dropped from this year's Forbes list tell an equally compelling
story. Just think of Rem Vyakhirev, who lost control of Gazprom's enormous
media holdings. Boris Berezovsky also fell from the rankings this year,
perhaps in part because in recent years he has lost control of ORT, TV6 and
Noviye Izvestia. Viewers of NTV's popular "Plant Life" program, however, got
to take a peek recently at Berezovsky's luxurious estate in Britain. This
just goes to show that two newspapers -- Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant
-- are enough to ensure their owner a comfortable existence.

What does the Forbes ranking foretell for Russia? If the list is interpreted
properly, I think it predicts fundamental changes in the Russian media market
and the Russian consciousness. Most importantly, Russia's national pride will
get a shot in the arm. It hasn't been easy to see our country reduced to a
supplier of raw materials for the world economy. Now we can take heart in the
fact that Russia's richest men are media moguls: People involved in creating
wealth and adding value.

It should be very clear by now that Russia's mass media are extremely
profitable. The only thing obscuring this fact up to now has been our
constant complaining about so-called attacks on freedom of the press, about
poor economic conditions and the bellyaching about the lack of qualified

An investment boom is just around the corner. Today's media moguls aren't
going to be content with what they've already acquired. Two or three more
billionaires will take the plunge into media ownership as well. Our
up-and-coming multimillionaires won't want to get left out, either, once they
realize the media business is the key to raising their profile. No doubt,
serious foreign investors like BP are rubbing their hands with glee at the
thought of investing in the Russian media.

How workers in the oil and metals industries will envy journalists then. So
stay tuned!

Alexei Pankin is the editor of Sreda, a magazine for media professionals


From: "Matthew Maly" <info@matthew-maly.ru>
Subject: Naive or Cynical?
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003

Naive or Cynical?

Is the US foreign policy totally naive, suffering from gross
oversimplifications, or is it exceptionally cynical? I would like to discuss
two examples of the logic that is profoundly flawed. It starts with wishful
thinking, and then goes on to present the "logical consequences" of these
impossible assumptions as "facts".

Here is how it goes. Pay close attention to the argument as you may just be
able to pinpoint the flaw in my logic:

Elephant is a very nice animal. But it suffers badly from poachers. Elephant
is also exceptionally smart, much smarter than a pigeon. And pigeons can
fly. Therefore, elephant should fly away from the poachers. But can an
African elephant fly as far as America, wounded by poachers and suffering
from malnutrition as it is? Now, that won't be that easy, with the
underdeveloped and untrained wings that the elephant has: But then, America
is a beacon of freedom. Thus, the elephant will be able to do what only
recently seemed barely possible! And we welcome the African elephants here
with open arms. We have already prepared 100,000 tons of emergency elephant
chow in the African elephants' new home, a ranch in Wisconsin. All is ready
for their arrival!

Wild, ain't it? Yet, I submit to you that this description closely
corresponds to the speech President Bush recently gave at the American
Enterprise Institute (AEI), justifying the coming occupation of Iraq. Those
of us who follow the painful transformation of Russia, should be able to
tell Bush: however desirable a democracy may be, transformation to it is a
painful and non-linear process that carries significant risks and no
guarantee of success. Certainly, Russia is not a proof that America knows
how to help another country to become democratic.

Bush starts his AEI speech with some correct assumptions: Saddam is a
tyrant, he helps terrorists, he may possess weapons of mass destruction, he
is anti-American, and he is the worst foe that Iraqi people have ever had.
Agreed. Therefore, Saddam must be removed. Agreed. And in his stead there
should be a democracy in Iraq, so that Iraq may serve as a beacon of freedom
for the entire Muslim world, and especially for the democratic and peaceful
Palestinian state. What? Say that again, I did not hear you as the elephants
were clapping their wings too loud.

Democracy is a dictatorial social system that forces people (in theory, at
least) to be nice and fair to one another. And what if they do not want that
or are unable to survive under these conditions? Please admit that this
happens a lot.

Let's take the United States, which genuinely is the land of opportunity.
How many US citizens freely choose the life of crime, how many of them are
addicts, how many are functionally illiterate, how many spend their days
actually listening to rap music? How can we say that these people chose for
themselves what was better, even though they did have free choice? No, they
chose to self-destruct, to commit suicide, to gauge their eyes out and lop
off their ears, so that they would not see or hear anything worth knowing.
Please note that America has an enormously profitable, huge entertainment
industry that specifically caters to those who seek to fail.

Almost all adults can use a hammer, but only one millionth of one percent of
adults can be astronauts. As opportunities increase, so does the dropout
rate. As we develop a democratic system of government, resistance to
democracy stiffens, and people find a way to drop out, to shut it off, to
get away - or to fight what they see as a great threat. In Russia, fifty
years after his death, Stalin is still universally loved by those whose
grandparents he just did not have time to torture to death. President Bush,
what do you say to that? How does it fit the picture you are painting?

The very fact that President Bush was able to express such naive, linear,
wishy-washy ideas proves that he is wrong: he is preaching to an audience
that had freely chosen to be utterly ignorant, to people who did not use the
opportunity to learn history when it was presented to them. A highly
developed civil society may sway away from democracy, as Germany, Japan, or
Italy once did. But to say that an underdeveloped society can build a
genuine democracy is tantamount to saying that a hammer-wielding plumber can
pilot a spaceship. This assumption denies the need for the enormous amount
of work that must be done to build a civil society, work that may take
several generations.

In its AEI speech President Bush has set an agenda for "Democratic Earth in
our Lifetime", an agenda that is utterly improbable and will be soundly
defeated. This agenda denies and ignores human history, the long and painful
journey that some pioneering human societies took, over several centuries,
to tentatively and conditionally proclaim that win/win just may, after all,
be the best method of human interaction.

But of course there is a way to build democracy anywhere, and to build it
fast. This can be accomplished through the magic of renaming, and the only
requirement here is to have an ignorant audience. This brings us to our
second example.

The latest Forbes Magazine list of the world's wealthiest individuals
contains 17 Russian billionaires. Now, that is a surprise. I thought Russia
has no private property. It certainly has never had a concept of private
property throughout its 1000-year-old history. Instead, Russia had a concept
of an informal personal connection to power, and that connection would
indeed bring temporary and conditional use of property. What has changed?
Why suddenly we see 17 obscure Russians joining the Rockefeller club?

Now, that is an interesting topic for the Forbes Magazine to investigate.
Interesting, but politically inadvisable. Private property is a foundation
of democracy, and it is now politically correct to call Russia a democracy.
So, let there be 17 individual billionaires.

But even a brief look at the situation would reveal all that we wanted to
hide: an incredible concentration of power in the hands of a few, apparently
appointed and hand-picked individuals, a one-party system, a voiceless and
deprived populace, and no democracy (or genuine private property) at all.
This is how successful we were in building a democracy in Russia, ten years
down the road, and there is no guarantee that we will be any more successful
in Iraq.

When we look at the list of Russian billionaires, three things pop out

One. Forbes Magazine knows that there is such a thing as a Declaration of
Trust. Declaration of Trust is what you give your driver to sign, and it
says, "I will pose as a rightful owner, but I do hereby unconditionally
assign all that I own to the person whose name appears below". Forbes notes
one Russian billionaire, a 36-year old orphan named Roman Abramovich is
thought to be "a purse of the Yeltsin's family". Now, are they saying to us
that Abramovich may not be a real billionaire? Are they saying that the real
billionaire is the dear friend of Al Gore, the builder of Russian democracy?
No, no, no. Let there be Roman Abramovich, a nice looking young orphan
billionaire. Another example. One Vladimir Yevtushenkov. Now, I want you to
laugh. Here is what Forbes is saying about the guy, "A former plastics
engineer, his business career took off when his close friend Yuri Luzhkov
became mayor of Moscow in 1992. Transformed his municipal Committee for
Science and Technology into a commercial enterprise, gained access to
lucrative government contracts, real estate and capital." Yevtushenkov is
said to be worth $1.5B, while Luzhkov apparently survives on a $5K a year
mayor's salary. What an ingrate, this Yevtushenkov, one just hopes that he
brings to Luzhkov's starving family some food once in a while.

Being ideological, the Forbes is "funny" when it can be, and when in cannot
be it is simply falls silent. There are more billionaires in Russia, and
they are very well known, but some of them have biographies that would not
look good in a glossy magazine, and so they are omitted altogether.

Another thing is Forbes' sudden inability to count. Take the TNK
billionaire, Viktor Vekselberg, as an example. TNK has recently bought, for
$1.8B, an asset that is worth at least $6B. Seeing that, BP paid $6.5B for
TNK shares. On the basis of this deal, Forbes made an estimate of Vekselberg
's fortune. But one's fortune is one's assets minus one's liabilities, and I
suspect there is one liability here that has not been taken into account.
How do you buy something that is worth $6B for mere $1.8B? Well, one answer
is that Russian bureaucrats earn $5K per year, do not speak English, have no
internet access; in one word, they are too stupid to know better, and so
they sell things very cheap, rejecting some higher offers out of sheer lack
of comprehension. This is the answer that Forbes apparently favors. But
there is another answer as well. When you buy a state asset, the money goes
into the state budget, and consequently some of this money risk ending up
building schools, paying for medical supplies, and otherwise being wasted on
ordinary Russian citizens. There is a better solution. The elections are
coming, and the Presidential Administration needs a discretionary fund.
Between the $6B and a $1.8B there is some figure. Admittedly, this figure is
less, probably much less, than $4.2B, but it is still significant, and you
will be expected to contribute it to a certain privately held fund. We will
recall that the Chinese National Oil Company also was interested in the
asset that TNK ended up getting, but that the Chinese were politely asked to
withdraw their bid. Obviously, there are national security and geopolitical
considerations, but another reason may well be that it was inconvenient to
ask the Chinese to contribute to the discretionary fund. And that may mean
that Mr. Vekselberg actually has a slightly smaller fortune than it appears
to Forbes, while some Russian bureaucrats are slightly wealthier than their
salaries would suggest.

Three. Other billionaires are so politically connected that it is better to
say as little as possible about them. It appears that Forbes is conducting a
"clean money" campaign. Where is Boris Berezovsky, where are Mikhail and Lev
Chernoy? Have they fallen on hard times? I have my doubts.

Again, as each of these three points clearly indicate, Russia still does not
have private business separate from political connections, and thus is not a
true democratic state.

I am alarmed that we are getting such a simplified and beautified a picture
of the world and that we are going to war, having such a picture painted for
us. I suspect that those who paint such a picture are no simpletons.