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1. Moscow Times: Catherine Belton, America Resorts to Economic Blackmail.
2. The Scotsman: Danile McLaughlin, Russia bargains war support for cash
3. AP: Senate Nears OK of Russian Arms Pact.
4. The Star (South Africa)/AFP: Domestic violence is shadowing Russian women.
5. Dow Jones: Russian Oligarchs Tighten Grip On Power Sector.
6. Interfax: Putin wants media's moral self-restriction.
7. Trud-7: THE IRON HAND SYNDROME. An interview with Sergei Markov, head of the Political Surveys Institute.
8. Washington Post: Philip Kennicott, The Specter of Joe Stalin. Scholars Assess Legacy 50 Years After His Death.
9. pravda.ru: Stalins Legacy: Russias Cross or Salvation? 
10. Transitions Online/Ezhenedelny Zhurnal: Alexander Panov, Portrait of a Dictator as a Dictator.
11. Los Angeles Times movie review: Kenneth Turan, From Stalin with love: a haven for Yiddish culture in Siberia. (Birobidzhan)
12. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Yevgeny Verlin, CHINA AS A GEOPOLITICAL CAT. Russia between two civilizations.
13. Moscow News: FSB Declassifies Over 100 Documents.
14. ITAR-TASS: Russian secret services issue documents on military emigration 1920's-1940's.
15. The Times (UK): On This Day - The Times, March 6, 1990: A CRY FROM THE HEART OF RUSSIA. (re Yeltsin)
16. Moscow News: Sergei Sossinsky, Voice from the Provinces. Comparing Today with the "Good Old Days."
17. CNN: Jill Dougherty, Russia's oil pipe dreams.
18. The New York Times: Sabrina Tavernise, Awash in Oil Dollars, Russia Tries to Steady Economy.
19. AP: Armenia's President Kocharian Re-Elected.


Moscow Times
March 6, 2003
America Resorts to Economic Blackmail
By Catherine Belton 
Staff Writer 

Showing its exasperation with Russia's growing defiance of U.S. war plans,
the United States on Wednesday resorted to economic blackmail and warned
Russia that it risks jeopardizing its bid to join the World Trade
Organization if it vetoes a UN Security Council resolution.

Russia also risks having to endure the continued humiliation of Soviet-era
U.S. trade restrictions and being locked out of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq,
said a senior U.S. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in an
interview Wednesday.

"We wouldn't want to hold the relationship hostage [to Iraq] any more than
Russia, but our ability to move forward on some issues -- on WTO accession,
on the removal of Jackson-Vanik -- could be affected at least in the short
term," the diplomat said. "In no case will the damage be irreparable, but
there could be damage.

"The Russians understand that their degree of involvement in post-Saddam
arrangements ... will be significantly influenced by the degree to which
they are seen as supporting or not obstructing on a resolution of the
crisis," he said. "I think they understand there could be negative
consequences of a veto with respect to Russia's interests [in Iraq]." 

The final decision, however, was still President Vladimir Putin's to make
and it was unclear which way he would go, the diplomat said.

Wednesday's strongly worded warning reflects Washington's frustration with
Russia's strengthening alliance with France and Germany, as articulated
mainly by Russia's foreign minister, Igor Ivanov.

Ivanov ratcheted up his opposition to a second resolution Wednesday,
emerging united with his French and German counterparts after a hastily
arranged meeting in Paris with a threat to block any UN resolution
authorizing war on Iraq.

"We will not allow the passage of a planned resolution that would authorize
the use of force," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said at a
news conference, quoting from a joint declaration signed by the three
foreign ministers, Reuters reported.

The meeting followed Ivanov's trip Tuesday to London, where he met with
U.S. President George W. Bush's closest allies -- British Prime Minister
Tony Blair and Foreign Minister Jack Straw -- but came out saying Russia
would not be afraid to use its Security Council veto as "an extreme measure."

France on Wednesday appeared to rally round that stance. When asked if
their declaration meant that Paris was joining Moscow in its threat to use
its veto, Villepin said: "We will take all our responsibilities. We are
totally on the same line as Russia."

Ivanov said Wednesday that he had also been assured by China -- which is
also a permanent member of the Security Council along with France, Russia,
Britain and the United States -- that it "shared our approach" on Iraq.

The warning from the senior U.S. diplomat on Wednesday was clearly aimed at
putting pressure on Russia to cool down the alliance building that could
endanger the passage of a UN resolution and to step back from threats to
torpedo the vote. 

The intensified diplomatic maneuvering came two days ahead of a UN Security
Council meeting where chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix is due to
deliver a report on efforts to ensure Hussein disarms. The United States
has said it expects to bring the resolution to a vote soon after that
report but no date has been set. For the resolution to pass, the United
States needs to gather nine votes on the 15-member council and avoid a veto
from any of the five permanent members.

U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow met Wednesday with Deputy Foreign
Minister Georgy Mamedov in an attempt to further the U.S. case against a
Russian veto. 

They talked about the stakes for the U.S.-Russia relationship, and Mamedov
emphasized that there is more to the relationship than Iraq, the senior
American diplomat said. 

The United States had attempted to drive its case home during last week's
visit to Washington by Putin's chief of staff Alexander Voloshin, the
diplomat said. "We tried to give him an honest assessment of the impact of
a very negative stance on the administration, and on congressional and
public support for the U.S.-Russian partnership," he said. "[Iraq] should
not cause the rest of the relationship to be held hostage, but we made
clear that that's sometimes easier said than done."

Analysts interpreted Voloshin's trip to Washington, where he met with U.S.
President George W. Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice,
Secretary of State Colin Powell and other senior administration officials,
as well as Henry Kissinger, as an attempt to seal concrete economic deals
in return for Russia's support or abstention on the Security Council. 

Russian oil majors have held large contracts to develop Iraq's oil patch,
which contains the second-largest reserves in the world, and Russia has
been Iraq's biggest trading partner under the UN sanctions regime.

But the U.S. diplomat said Wednesday those interests in Iraq could be
endangered if Russia tried to torpedo the UN vote. "We have said we will
respect Russia's interests. ... But again the attitude of the new Iraqi
government and the attitude of the members of the coalition that are
bearing the burden toward Russian participation is going to be affected by
Russia's stance in the coming days."

He said Russia's increasing opposition to the U.S.-backed resolution seemed
like a ploy to avoid having a vote altogether." Their preference seems to
be for [military] action to come about without a second Security Council
resolution," the diplomat said.

But he could not say whether Russia's economic interests in Iraq would
still be assured if that was the case. "That depends on how we get to that
point. We hope that the Russians, even if they can't support what we're
doing, will not actively seek to oppose us."

The diplomat said the chances of a "yes" vote from Russia now appeared to
be "pretty slim."

He said Putin had a habit of playing a double game ahead of making a
decision on key issues for Russia's relationship with the United States.

"We've long seen Putin navigating ... between those who are in favor of a
long-term realignment of Russian foreign policy toward the West and those,
particularly in the security services and the military, that remain very
skeptical of the wisdom behind that historic shift in Russian foreign
policy," he said.

"He has to keep an eye on both flanks."

The diplomat could not say whether it seemed Putin had fallen under greater
influence from those who are skeptical of the pro-Western policy. "We'll
see how things develop in the coming days," he said.

"We have been a little surprised in particular since Putin's visit to Paris
[three weeks ago] that Russia has taken such a firm line. But at the same
time, there has been an effort to preserve room for maneuver. After [German
Chancellor Gerhard] Schr?der's visit here, Putin made a statement designed
to project a more conciliatory stance. 

"The decision on whether to abstain or veto will be taken by Putin and no
one else but Putin."


The Scotsman
March 6, 2003
Russia bargains war support for cash 

WHILE vowing to prevent war in Iraq, and warning of global instability and
the dangers of regime-change, Russia is quietly pushing for a massive cash
windfall that it could claim by bowing to Washingtons will in the Gulf. 

Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, joined his German and French
counterparts yesterday in saying they will not allow a UN Security Council
resolution that "authorises resorting to force" against Iraq. 

In an interview with a leading Russian newspaper, he had earlier reminded
the United States of the bitter taste that regime-change can leave. 

But while Mr Ivanov warned Washington not to jeopardise the fight against
terror or the authority of the UN by launching unilateral action against
Iraq, one of his chief deputies worked to soothe US tempers - and,
apparently, wring maximum political and financial capital from Russias key
bargaining position. 

A senior US diplomat warned publicly yesterday that "there could be costs
attached" to a Russian veto in the UN. Moscow may see opportunities as well. 

In an interview published in Kommersant newspaper yesterday, Mr Ivanov
warned of the perils of trying to "force democratic principles onto an
entire people. 

"The Soviet Union had its own grim history of setting up suitable
regimes, and we know where that led. Unfortunately such experiments carry a
heavy price, most of all to the people one is experimenting upon." 

Moscows ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, after desperately
trying to prop up its puppet-leader, must have been prominent in his mind. 

The chaos that engulfed the country led to the rise of Osama bin Laden and
the Taleban. 

Mr Ivanovs deputy foreign minister, Georgi Mamedov, however, met the US
ambassador to Moscow to "discuss possible ways to bring closer the Russian
and US positions in the Security Council on the Iraq question," an official
statement said. 

Mr Mamedov emerged from the "urgent" talks with a list of what Moscow wants
from Washington in return for its support, or at least its non-opposition,
to war in Iraq. 

He told reporters that a key treaty reducing stockpiles of strategic
nuclear weapons would be placed before the US and Russian legislatures "in
the coming weeks", a move which Moscow favours as it cannot pay for the
weapons safe storage. 

Mr Mamedov, noting the presence of NASAs Moscow representative at the
meeting, also underlined Russias desire for extra US funding for its
impoverished space agency. 

The Russian space programme, once the prize of the Soviet Union, cannot
afford to build the extra Soyuz rockets needed to supply the International
Space Station while the space shuttle is grounded after the demise of the

"We are still discussing financing for our launches," he said, denouncing a
US law that forbids extra funding for the space agency while Russia
continues to help build a nuclear reactor in Iran, part of President George
Bushs "axis of evil". 

"There is no link here," Mr Mamedov said. "Our ties with Iran involve
nothing that breaches our international commitments. 

Anyway, it is an absolutely different issue, and we cannot conjure up tens
of millions of dollars to increase the number of Soyuz launches." 

He also said Washingtons recent inclusion of three Chechen rebel groups on
its terrorist blacklist should be "only the first step". 

The foreign ministry said Mr Mamedov and the US Ambassador, Mr Alexander
Vershbow, had discussed "more effective joint opposition of international
terrorism, including that in the Caucasus". 

Moscow has been severely piqued by Western criticism of its brutal war in
Chechnya, which the Kremlin claims is financed by al-Qaeda-linked radicals. 

Across the city, another senior Russian minister was staking a claim for US

The atomic energy minister, Alexander Rumyantsev told reporters he would
sign an agreement next week to close three nuclear power plants with the
capability to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Washington would fund the
shut-down to the tune of "hundreds of millions of dollars", he said, adding
that over $200 million more was needed to secure Russias nuclear reactors
against "terrorist acts". 

Meanwhile, the latest planeload of Russians flew back to the safety of
Moscow from Baghdad yesterday. Many worked in Iraqs oil industry, where
Russian firms have huge contracts to exploit the countrys reserves, the
second largest in the world. 

Moscow is also owed $8 billion by Baghdad, and is now filling its coffers
with oil export money earned on a world market driven skywards by the
uncertainty over Iraq. 

Analysts here say Washington must guarantee the safety of Moscows
interests in Iraq before Russia will agree to cash in its chips. It will
not give them up cheaply. 

While Mr Ivanov was in London on Tuesday, voicing his opposition to a war
to the BBC, President Vladmir Putin welcomed to the Kremlin the president
and vice-president of British Petroleum. 

BP stunned the energy world last month by buying a 50 per cent stake in
Russian oil firm TNK for close to 4 billion. No details of the meeting
were released.


Senate Nears OK of Russian Arms Pact
March 6, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration wants the Senate to ratify an
arms control agreement with Russia, which could veto a U.N. resolution
authorizing force to disarm Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

The Senate, sensitive to recent tensions between the former enemies over
Iraq, is nearing ratification, despite Democratic complaints that the
treaty does little to make Americans more secure.

The Moscow Treaty calls for the United States and Russia to cut their
strategic, or long-range, nuclear arsenals by two-thirds. That would result
in each side having from 1,700 to 2,200 deployed warheads by 2012.

Signed with great fanfare by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir
Putin last May, the treaty was heralded as bringing a new era in
U.S.-Russian relations.

That friendship has been tested lately as the United States seeks a U.N.
Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq. Russia opposes
such a resolution and could veto it.

Ratification has been a top priority for Russia and Senate leaders put it
near the top of a busy legislative calendar so it would be ready for
another Bush-Putin summit this May.

Democratic senators are disappointed with the treaty, but said they would
vote for it. U.S.-Russian relations could be severely set back if it is not

``To reject this treaty in my view would in my opinion harm our national
interest,'' said Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the top Democrat on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Democratic support is essential for treaty ratification, which requires a
two-thirds vote. Democrats have 48 seats in the 100-member Senate, and one
independent who usually votes with the Democrats.

Democrats say the treaty will not reduce the nuclear threat because it
calls for weapons only to be removed from service, not destroyed. They said
it lacks verification procedures and makes it too easy for either side to

The committee chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said the treaty ``is
not without blemishes,'' but he described it as ``an important step to a
safer world.''

At just three pages, the treaty is a stark contrast to the thousands of
painstakingly detailed pages that marked Cold-War era arms reduction treaties.

Lugar said years could have been spent negotiating a more thorough
agreement, but ``both sides wanted to move quickly to capitalize on the
opportunity to sharply reduce strategic weaponry.''

``In my opinion, President Bush was right to conclude the treaty quickly in
this form, rather than enter into a lengthy and uncertain negotiation
process,'' he said.

Lugar wanted the treaty to include a strengthening of the U.S.-funded
program he co-founded in 1991 to help former Soviet republics dismantle
their weapons.

Biden said without additional measures, the Moscow Treaty will not prevent
nuclear weapons from falling in the hands of U.S. enemies because the arms
will not be destroyed.

``You can stockpile them, you can put them in a warehouse,'' he said. ``You
can pile them up in a barn for ready reload. You can take them back down.
You don't have to destroy them.''

Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., said the treaty was a ``tragic, tragic waste of
opportunity'' because of its limitations.

``The shame of the Moscow Treaty is not in what it does, but in what it
does not do,'' he said.

The Russian state Duma is expected to ratify the treaty within weeks.


The Star (South Africa)
March 6, 2003
Domestic violence is shadowing Russian women

Moscow - Almost 14 000 Russian women are killed in acts of domestic
violence every year, according to Amnesty International. 

This sombre death toll comes close to the major losses Russia sustained in
its war against Afghanistan and its ongoing war in Chechnya, officials said
on Wednesday.

"Every day, 36 000 women in the Russian Federation are beaten by their
husbands or partners," the London-based human rights group said, citing
figures gathered by Russian women's groups.

One woman is killed every 40 minutes in domestic violence, it said.

Approximately 15 000 soldiers died in the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s,
and anti-war groups say just as many may have been killed in Russia's
three-and-a-half-year-long campaign in breakaway Chechnya, although that
number is contested by Russian officials.

"Violence against women is a problem of national importance," said Natalya
Abubikirova, head of the Russian Association of Crisis Centres.

Amnesty urged the Russian authorities to "take concrete steps to protect
women and show that domestic violence will not be tolerated".

It urged them to begin taking measures to improve the collection of police
data on violence against women and make it public, and to start a training
programme for law enforcement officials. 

"But much more needs to be done by the federal government," it added.

Amnesty said it planned to hold protests and vigils on International
Women's Day, which is a nationally celebrated holiday in Russia. - 


Russian Oligarchs Tighten Grip On Power Sector
March 6, 2003
By Geoffrey T. Smith

MOSCOW -- The grip of Russia's oligarchs on the country's electricity
system tightened Wednesday, as information emerged regarding two major
moves on the regional subsidiaries of the national monopoly RAO Unified
Energy Systems of Russia (R.UEN).

MDM Group, which has consolidated most of Russia's economic coal mines
along with sizable assets in the metallurgical and chemicals industries,
was reported to have bought a 36% stake in OAO Kuzbassenergo (R.KBS), the
supplier for a Siberian region that is home to a major concentration of
heavy industry.

Separately, the newspaper Vedomosti reported that Viktor Vekselberg, whose
assets include the country's second-largest aluminum producer SUAL Holdings
and a significant stake in OAO Tyumen Oil Co (R.TYO), or TNK, has
established a holding company with minority stakes of varying sizes in six
regional power companies, all but one situated next to his aluminum smelters.

The news fits in with a six-month pattern that has seen strategic Russian
investors replace international portfolio investors in UES and its regional
subsidiaries, or energos.

The process has also been reflected by the nomination of MDM Group
co-owners Andrei Melnichenko and Sergei Popov to the board of UES, along
with David Giovanis, a senior executive with the Basic Element investment
company that represents aluminum baron Oleg Deripaska.

"We believe that the investments are likely to be used to gain stakes in
the generating companies that will be separated from their energos after
restructuring - in order for SUAL to secure steady electricity for its
production plants," Aton Capital analyst Alex Korneev said in a research note.

According to a package of laws recently passed by Parliament, UES and the
energos will be split up and new companies created along business lines.
International investors have fretted that this process will be exploited by
the oligarchs to steal valuable generating assets.

A new variation on this theme emerged Wednesday, however. Vedomosti
reported that Vekselberg's company, Complex Energy Systems, will also take
an active interest in electricity supply. This business - especially as
regards to supplies to households - has usually been thought of as
unattractive, since prices are set at artificially low tariffs and the
government has removed its deadline for freeing prices to the sector.

MDM's interest in Kuzbassenergo also represents a slight departure from its
strategy to date, which has seen it accumulate stakes in a number of far
eastern energos to which it would like to supply coal from its nearby mines.

The Kuzbass basin, Russia's largest, is by contrast an area where MDM has
little production of its own, and it wouldn't necessarily be economic to
supply its own coal over such long distances, argued Lauri Sillantaka, an
analyst with Troika Dialog in Moscow.

It does, however, strengthen its position vis-a-vis the Urals Mining and
Metallurgical Co., or UGMK, which is its biggest competitor and currently
the biggest supplier of coal to Kuzbassenergo.

Vedomosti quoted an unnamed source as putting the Kuzbassenergo deal's
value at more than $100 million, far above what would be implied by its
current total market capitalization of around $120 million.

Neither MDM nor Complex Energy Systems could be reached for comment Wednesday.


Putin wants media's moral self-restriction

TOBOLSK. March 6 (Interfax) - Russia's media should restrict themselves for
moral reasons, and the managers of the media understand this, Russian
President Vladimir Putin said while meeting with women living in the
Siberian town of Tobolsk on Thursday. 
"We should join together to form society's attitude towards scenes of
violence and the like" in the media, Putin said. 
"We should create a civilized standard," the president said, adding that
"the media managers have understand this." 
"This issue has become especially relevant after the terrorist attack in
Moscow's theater in Dubrovka," Putin said. "This is when we came to an
understanding regarding moral self-restriction in the media," he said. 
In reply to questions, the president noted that the state cannot
influence all media to exclude violence. "We can only influence state-
owned media," he said. 
Therefore, he said, society can "create its own high-quality mass
production as a counterbalance to yellow media," although "this requires
resources and money," Putin said. 


March 6, 2003
An interview with Sergei Markov, head of the Political Surveys Institute 
Author: Vladimir Ignatov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]


Question: How would you account for Stalin's continuing 
popularity with a relatively sizeable part of the population?
Sergei Markov: I'm certain that this is a protest reaction, 
nothing more. The non-critical evaluation of Stalin by a substantial 
part of society has nothing to do with any attempts to justify Stalin 
or his regime. I'd sooner describe it as an attempt to find some 
positives in our history. In the last few years, Russian citizens have 
displayed substantial dissatisfaction with the ideology of the past 
decade: the ideology that dismisses our post-1917 history as a chain 
of endless mistakes and defeats. The people are tired of self-
loathing. They want patriotism. They want to be able to be proud of 
their country. There is nothing really wrong with this phenomenon; 
even though it can - and does - take various forms.
Question: The period of Stalin's rule was phenomenally long. Who 
was Stalin for Russia?
Sergei Markov: Just as in 1953, Russians are divided in their 
evaluations. Some Russians cried for joy on the day Stalin died; while 
others screamed from pain and their sense of loss. It was either one 
thing or the other; there were no indifferent Russians then. But now 
there are some who are indifferent. Opinion polls indicate that up to 
30% of respondents don't care about Stalin, one way or the other. On 
the other hand, 29% of respondents consider him a murderous tyrant - 
to blame for the concentration camps, collectivization, the cult of 
personality, the "war on cosmopolitans"... These Russian blame Stalin 
for his advances to Hitler, which resulted in the nation being utterly 
unprepared for the war, and led to countless deaths of Soviet soldiers 
in the first months of the war.
The 36% of respondents who approve of Stalin associate his name 
with positive aspects of his rule, with achievements. Like the victory 
in the greatest war in history. And the economic boom... We cannot 
deny the undeniable - that under Stalin, our country, once an agrarian 
backwater of Europe, rose to the status of a leading world power.
This longing for an iron hand stems from the cowardice and 
unscrupulousness of the majority of modern politicians. Voters are 
tired of the weakness of state officials and their inability to solve 
a single problem. Many are attracted by another feature of the 
Stalin's regime - the availability of a powerful ideology (without any 
dissent), the readiness to go to the limit in pursuing party policy, 
despite criticism from the international community and resistance from 
enemies. That is a contrast with Russia's policy in the 1990s, right?
Question: In other words, if Stalin rose from the dead and ran 
for president, would he stand a chance?
Sergei Markov: I don't think so. I don't think that all the 
Russian citizens who praise Stalin in opinion polls would actually 
vote for him. The unparalleled cruelty of Stalin's regime and its 
absolute irrelevance to Russia nowadays are clear to our whole 
society. Stalin is something like a slogan, which some voters use to 
put pressure on the authorities, in order to stimulate those in power 
to pursue steadier and more independent policies.
Question: Do you think attitudes to Stalin will change when we 
have created a normal civil society in Russia and the people have 
decent real incomes?
Sergei Markov: When there are enough competent and independent 
politicians in Russia, Stalin's rating will drop. He may pass into the 
realm of legend then. Perhaps our descendants will remember him only 
by his pipe, mistaking him for Sherlock Holmes.


Washington Post
March 6, 2003
The Specter of Joe Stalin 
Scholars Assess Legacy 50 Years After His Death 
By Philip Kennicott
Washington Post Staff Writer

When a man's legacy includes a body count of 25 million, it's better to
mark his anniversaries soberly than to celebrate them. Yesterday's 50th
anniversary of Joseph Stalin's death occasioned the spilling of a modest
amount of editorial ink but, at least in this country, not much more. 

Even a panel of scholars convened at the Library of Congress paid very
little attention to the man himself. He was, all agreed, a monster. But the
subject in contention was whether his death, by stroke, opened a window of
opportunity to end the Cold War. (Conclusion: If it did, we missed it.)

For years, when it came to Stalin's reputation as an evil genius, he was an
also-ran in the West. He was the middle part of a hyphenated triumvirate of
authoritarian bloodthirstiness, Hitler-Stalin-Mao, repeated like a mantra,
as if it were bad luck to leave anyone out. One threw in Stalin's name
during discussions of totalitarianism not because he inspired the same
visceral disgust as Hitler, but because if you didn't you'd get hammered
from the right as a squishy apologist. Stalin's crimes didn't have the same
impact on the imagination as Hitler's mechanized, industrial death.

More than a half-century after the end of the Second World War, the
academic Hitler business is grinding on, dissertation after dissertation.
More than a decade after the end of the Cold War, and the opening of some
Soviet archives, the Stalin industry is just beginning to flourish. 

His ambiguous position, as the dictator who can't even get the disrespect
he deserves, was a curiosity noted by several of the panelists at
yesterday's Library of Congress roundtable. The group included two
recognizable surnames, Eisenhower (Susan, granddaughter of Ike, who had
just become president when Stalin died) and Khrushchev (Sergei, son of
Nikita, the Soviet premier), as well as professors, historians and several
advisers to Eisenhower (Robert Bowie, Andrew Goodpaster and Abbott Washburn
among them). James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress and a noted
Russia scholar, addressed the panel and an audience of about 75 people,
noting Stalin's "manipulative genius" and the "growing cult of nostalgia"
for Stalin in Russia.

"They've never talked this out fully," said Billington, who also took the
requisite digs at American intellectuals who downplayed Stalin's viciousness.

Stalin, author of murderous purges, master of the gulags and the powerhouse
behind a vastly destructive reorganization of Russian agricultural and
industrial life, still polls well in Russia, especially among older people.
He is credited as the savior of Russia from German aggression and as a
strong father figure who held together the Soviet empire at the height of
its power. If Vladimir Putin lets pro-Stalin feeling bubble just under the
surface, noted one panelist, it's because he doesn't want to alienate an
important constituency, elderly Russians who can barely put food on the
table. And as Sergei Khrushchev, now a professor at Brown University,
noted, Russians don't get terribly exercised about Peter the Great either,
and Peter's passion for reform is credited with reducing the Russian
population by a third.

If the cult of Stalin still has its adherents and apologists in Russia, his
political legacy remains a subject of headaches for American foreign
policy. North Korea's "dear leader," Kim Jong Il, is spiritual heir to the
Soviet Union's great leader, and North Korea's starving people among the
last inhabitants of a certifiably Stalinist state.

Oddly enough, there was little talk of North Korea yesterday, though
several panelists discussed the current American penchant for regime change
in Iraq. Remember, said Khrushchev, that Soviet citizens went into
hysterical grief when Stalin died. We are in danger, he suggested, of
making Saddam Hussein a hero. It also became clear that several panelists
who like Ike don't much like the drift of current foreign policy.
Eisenhower, celebrated by former advisers for his intellect, caution and
judiciousness, emerged as a kind of bleeding-heart liberal during the

Had Stalin left a little book of management wisdom for the perusal of
corporate America's mid-level functionaries, it might very well have
included these pearls: Work hard, bide your time, collect dirt on friends
and enemies, know when to gather power quietly and when to seize it boldly,
and micromanage, micromanage, micromanage. In many ways, Stalin was the
Everyman among the 20th century's great political villains, a man noted for
his mediocrity, for being -- in the phrase of one contemporary -- "a gray
blur" of work. Hitler was a demagogue, Mao an ideologue, but Stalin, just a
boss. How, asked an audience member, could a man with so little charisma be
so very powerful? The one-word answer of these scholars: brutality.

Stalin's death, argued Vojtech Mastny, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson
Center, was "the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union." The Soviet
system, which Stalin created and which, in many ways, created him, could
only go downhill. Hope Harrison, a professor at George Washington
University, noted that efforts by Stalin's successors to liberalize Soviet
society were met (in East Germany) by the ingratitude of rebellion and
calls for even more freedom. It became clear that you can't reform a
totalitarian state by small degrees, and so up went the Berlin Wall. Stalin
had willed his successors a big, messy empire that, without the fuel of
perpetual barbarity, could only grind to a halt.

Conclusions from the discussion were few, but there were some fascinating

One audience member, who recently visited the memorial temple built at
Stalin's childhood home, noted that the place looked unkempt and the
toilets were in atrocious condition. That may be the best final image after
a long discussion of Stalin's legacy, especially to his own country. The
temple stood (for a while) but the plumbing was shot.


March 6, 2003
Stalins Legacy: Russias Cross or Salvation?

The 50th anniversary of Joseph Stalins death was certainly touched upon by
the Russian mass media, which is quite natural by the way. The date is
connected with the man whose name went down in history of the country for
ever, no matter how each of us treats him. But the time has radically
changed: the date would have been commemorated quite differently twenty
years ago. As journalists think, now people are more interested to know
what was going on in Stalins cottage in Kuntsevo and was it possible that
some of his close confidants poisoned the Soviet leader. 

However, now we can say whatever we wish about Stalin. But nevertheless, it
is an obvious fact that there are more and more people who positively
estimate the role of Joseph Stalin in the history of the state. According
to the last opinion poll held by the Russian Center for Public Opinion
(VCIOM), 53% of the questioned think that Stalins role in the history of
Russia was great. Number of people who negatively estimate the role of the
leader is almost twice as less and makes up 33%. 

Certainly, we should interpret opinion polls concerning different problems
rather cautiously. But this time results of the poll seem to be
trustworthy. It is well known that in the minds of majority of the Russian
population the name of Joseph Stalin is associated with order in the
country. We often hear that all people were equal under Stalin, nobody
stole and (this is one of the key arguments) prices were constantly
reducing. At that, these cliches were knocked not only into the heads of
older generations, but even of younger people. We should say that younger
generations especially respect Stalin for the fact that in the times of his
rule the Soviet Union was a super power respected and treated with fear all
over the world. 

Even in 50 years after his death, attitudes toward Stalin still can be
divided into two poles: some people worship him and others hate. Arguments
of admirers of Stalins genius are easily brought to nothing by his
opponents. When the first say that Stalin won WWII, the latter retort that
the cost of the victory was unpardonably high; admirers say that Stalin
turned the USSR into an industrially developed country, but opponents
emphasize that at the same very time when the country was considered
industrially developed, millions of peasants were starving, and so on. It
is strange but neither admirers, nor opponents of Joseph Stalin find it
reasonable to consider each others opinions. 

After all, as Stalins epoch is far away from us, disputes of this kind are
getting infrequent. Even those people who sympathize with Stalin as leader
of the state dont hang his portraits in their apartments and dont keep
collected works by Stalin. Joseph Stalin is already treated as a
semi-mythical hero by majority of Russians, he is positive for one part of
the population and negative for the others. And this could be anticipated:
this always happens with people who create a system of power that is
convenient for themselves only. It is a proven fact that Stalin created
exactly this system of power. Although he was a persistent revolutionary,
but when he came to power he immediately started forming a monarchical
system of government. Stalin was sure that only personal rule can be
effective in such an enormous country as the USSR. Under these conditions
strict obedience could be achieved one way only, when people are kept in
awe. And Stalin started achieving the objective and persistently worked on
it for several years. 

At the same time, Stalin made it so that the whole of the Soviet
bureaucratic machinery was under permanent tension during the period of
repressions: it was not ruled out that any governmental official could be
arrested any moment. But on the other hand, officials could also achieve
very great success in governmental career that could be hardly possible
under any other political regime. And instances of this kind were rather

Nevertheless, fear as basis of a political system couldnt be effective for
a long period. As soon as the leader died, his successors started violently
destroying fundamentals of the system. Lavrenty Beria, the man who inspired
fear into his party colleagues for many years, was the first who had to pay
for his doings : he was liquidated not only as a dangerous candidate to the
sole rule in the country, but also as personification of the fear with
which the Soviet leadership had been bound within several decades. 

After Stalins death the Soviet political system started slowly but
inevitably degrading. The government understood perfectly well that methods
used for industrial breakthroughs under Stalin were already exhausted.
Certainly it was still possible to send millions of people to the GULAG
camps, but the situation in the country was already different by that
moment. Any attempts to suggest something new for modernization of economic
and political system of the country and to bring it up to modern standards
resulted in failure. The Soviet bureaucratic system created under Stalin
and effectively operating in the years of his rule, stagnated once and for
all after 1953, and any attempts of the Kremlin to revive it were useless. 

Main problem of Stalins legacy was that citizens of the USSR, and further
all Russians (and also people in other countries) are perfectly sure that
force and compulsion are the most effective methods of maintaining order in
the country. To all appearances, our country will have to deal with the
problem many times. 

Vasily Bubnov 
Translated by Maria Gousseva 


Transitions Online
March 6, 2003
Portrait of a Dictator as a Dictator 
from Ezhenedelny Zhurnal 
By Alexander Panov. Translated by Kevin J. Krogmann.

MOSCOW, Russia--Two exhibitions have opened in Moscow to mark the 50th
anniversary of the death of the father of nations: Stalin. Man and Symbol
in the Central State Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia (that is,
the former Museum of the Revolution) and 1953: Between the Past and
Future in the Federal Archives exhibition hall. Neither is particularly
artistic. But painted portraits of Stalin by such greats of socialist
realism as Efanov and Shurpin gel effortlessly with the long documents,
photographs, and gifts given to Stalin. Josef Vassarionovich is everywhere:
sumptuous canvases of the calm generalissimo; scenes from one of the
countless Party conferences where the great leader welcomes delegates with
a kind smile. Forget the black-and-white photographs with that familiar,
stern, bearded face. 

Stalins image is firmly tied to Soviet portrait art from the 1930s to the
1950s, which has done much to consolidate that image in the minds eye.
Portraits of the leader were the most encouraged genre of socialist
realism. Judge for yourself. Among the newly created Stalin Prizes awarded
in 1921, four fine art prizes were awarded for representations of the head
of state. In 1947 (there is no count during World War II), Stalinist
works were awarded with six prizes. In 1949, they were given 13. Thousands
of portraits of Stalin have survived into the present day, while no more
than three dozen remain of the other tyrant of the 20th century, Adolf
Hitler. That isnt just because portraits of the Fuehrer were destroyed by
the victorious Allies as well as by enlightened Germans after the defeat
of fascist Germany. Simply Hitler--an unsuccessful artist who failed the
entrance exams to the Viennese Academy of Arts--believed that he had
impeccable taste and was extremely particular about his portrait. He
personally chose which portraits would be publicly displayed and ensured
that only the best recent portrait was displayed at the large annual
exhibition of German art in Munich (the Fuehrer, it seems, struggled for

Stalin, for his part, was not capricious. A religious seminary is not the
same as an art academy and, according to his daughter, Svetlana Allilueva,
the walls of Stalins bedroom were decorated with cheap reproductions of
the Wanderers--a 19th century Russian art movement meant to bring art to
the people--cut from the magazine Ogonok. The magazines style, with its
out-of-focus reproductions and pitilessly bright, implausible colors--is
the style of socialist realism. A style lacking a style. 

It is widely accepted to consider that all socialist realist art--including
the multitude of Stalin portraits--are of a very poor quality. That
official Soviet artists were raised on the Wanderers, with their precise
depiction of manners and calculated placement of marionette-personalities.
That only a narrow beam of impressionist light occasionally penetrated the
darkness of this dead czardom of classicism. But this aficionados diatribe
is nothing but rhetoric. Searching for the Stalinist roots of social
realism is senseless because social realism had no style per se. In truth,
the creation of a style was not important for an art that wasnt intended
for art critics or museum walls, but for the pages of Ogonok. 

State-sponsored artists in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s produced works for
massive reproduction--seen in magazines, newspapers, postcards, and cheap
calendars. Sometimes they were destined for the easels of a brigade of
nameless copy artists, and eventually ended up in the foyers of movie
theaters and palaces of culture in Soviet villages. It is not a coincidence
that an album of Stalin posters was published to mark the end of the
Stalin and the Peoples of the Soviet Union exhibition at Tretyakov
gallery in 1939. Pages from the album were meant to be displayed in
workers clubs, in factories, and on collective farms. Paintings from a
museum and their reproductions were fully interchangeable, at least for the
purposes of propaganda. 

Here the word propaganda is the most important. Socially realistic
portraits were slogans, simply created according to the precepts of an
unnecessary traditionalism. How much individual style could there be in a
slogan? Ideological canons were important, not self-expression.

It is understandable where all those portraits of Stalin come from. The
nation(s) knew their beloved leader, locked away behind the Kremlin walls,
mostly through paintings. There were so many of them that each family could
afford its own Stalin and, of course, the family didnt worry about the
artists stylistic finesse.

Stalinist socialist realist paintings can, in some ways, be considered an
innovative artistic project--even more innovative, perhaps, than those
underground artists that began, in the 1980s, to depict Stalin with
classical statutes or alongside Marilyn Monroe. Innovative in the sense
that it was the creation of a utopian art utterly deprived of an
individuality and a unique style so valued by traditional art. What kind of
a message can Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin have? There the
message belongs in its entirety to the Central Committee of the Bolshevik
Communist Party and not to the artist, Gerasimov. 

Pop artists like Andy Warhol tried to create a similar form of art without
an artist. Supermarket advertisements or the pages from comics were
exactly reproduced 1:1 on canvas and then reprinted in countless copies.
Moreover, Warhol was not afraid of the word propaganda, meaning the
propaganda of the American way of life. 

Today, socialist realism is again reentering intellectual fashion,
comparable only to its success during the early 1990s. For example, a huge
exhibition of socialist realist art will open in Frankfurt am Main in
Germany this fall curated by Boris Grois, a Russian emigre and now among
the most influential theoreticians of contemporary art in the West. The
exhibition on socialist realisms avant guarde is ahead of its time. And,
perhaps, not only the paintings of the 1930s will become fashionable, but
Josef Vassarionovich himself? And the contemporary artists of all countries
will be able to say with pride: Stalin is with us! 


Los Angeles Times
March 5, 2003
movie review
From Stalin with love: a haven for Yiddish culture in Siberia 
Yale Strom's new documentary revisits a social experiment that created a
homeland for Jews in 1928.
By Kenneth Turan, Times Staff Writer 

"L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!" tells a cross-cultural story as dizzying as its
title. Energetic and informative, albeit more than a little haphazard, Yale
Strom's new documentary explores an unexpected aspect of the intertwined
20th century histories of the Soviet Union and the Jewish people.

Strom, whose best-known film is the music-themed "The Last Klezmer," here
investigates the Jewish Autonomous Region, or JAR, a Russian social
experiment that sounds as fantastical as any science-fiction script. Often
referred to by the name of its capital, Birobidzhan, it was an official
Jewish homeland created by Joseph Stalin 20 years before creation of the
state of Israel.

That would have been in 1928, when Stalin got the notion of disposing of
Russia's problematic Jews by encouraging them to move to Birobidzhan and
become a Yiddish-speaking agrarian proletariat.

The Belgium-sized area he selected, on the far eastern border of Siberia,
was closer to Korea than to Moscow. It soon became known to other Russians
as "a very small Jewish town at the end of the world." By 1948, the Jewish
population had maxed out at 45,000 residents, about a quarter of the
region's residents.

Jews came to Birobidzhan both from Russia, where famines in other areas
encouraged emigration, and from overseas, where extensive recruitment in
North and South America led to people like the Akron, Ohio, milkman who
woke up one morning, his daughter remembers, and moved his whole family,
complete with useless tennis gear, to the region.

The lure for these people was a kind of heedless idealism as well as a
yearning for a state to call their own. People were "young, full of dreams
and patriotism," a resident remembers, a situation captured by clips from
the rare 1936 Soviet-made propaganda film about the JAR called, typically,
"Seekers of Happiness."

What they found, after a 10-day train ride from Moscow, was anything but
joyous. Instead of paradise, the newcomers saw a tent city in a muddy,
dismal swamp that was frigid in winter and a mosquito haven in summer.

Filmmaker Strom, himself a Yiddish speaker, is understandably fascinated by
the region, and has done a good job of tracking down former childhood
residents who have moved on and current Birobidzhaners who have pungent

For though the region was supposed to be a stronghold of Yiddish culture,
Stalin's increasing paranoia about the Jews gradually made life there
untenable. There was spying, purges and an eventual banning of the teaching
of Yiddish. One man even remembers being arrested for "Jewish chauvinism"
for giving the traditional salutation "L'Chayim!" (to your health) upon the
birth of his son.

While the singularity of the Jewish Autonomous Region makes it a fine
documentary subject, "L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!" does not always do it
justice. The film's interviews, vivid though they are, tend to have an
undigested feeling, giving the film the texture of an elaborate home movie.
Perhaps in an attempt to compensate, other parts of the film are
overproduced, laced with disruptive visual and aural gimmicks.

But, like Birobidzhan itself, this film does not give up the fight. It
closes with glimpses of the city today, when Yiddish is once again being
taught and the language has more of a presence that it had for years.

Yes, one of the city's teachers says with a shrug, Yiddish has been
authoritatively declared nearly dead for years, and it'll likely survive in
that state for years to come.

'L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!'
MPAA rating: No rating
Times guidelines: Adult subject matter
The Cinema Guild presents a BlackStream Films production. Director Yale
Strom. Producer Elizabeth Schwartz. Screenplay Elizabeth Schwartz.
Cinematographer Nils Kenaston. Editor Yefim Gribov. Music Yale Strom.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. 


Nezavisimaya Gazeta
March 6, 2003
Russia between two civilizations
Author: Yevgeny Verlin
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

The long-scheduled renewal of China's top leadership will 
apparently be approved at the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC) 
that opened in Beijing yesterday. The supreme legislature's approval 
of the new president of the People's Republic of China (this will be 
Hu Jintao), prime minister (Wen Jiabao), and parliament speaker (Wu 
Bangguo) will not soon lead to corrections of Beijing's strategic 
course, most analysts believe.
The next few years will become a transition during which Jiang 
Zemin (who remains at the head of China's Central Military Commission) 
will preserve the role of "paramount leader," like Deng Xiaoping in 
his time. His opinion will exert a considerably influence on decisions 
on key issues of national politics, especially concerning the 
positioning of the country in the outer world.
However, a number of experts believe that the coming of the new, 
more pragmatic and educated leadership will entail an increasing drift 
of China towards the West, the US in the first place. At least because 
success in the upgrading of China to a decisive degree depends on 
full-scale cooperation with the West. Besides, attention is drawn to 
the fact that there are no more people in the top leadership who would 
have studied in the USSR and who would cherish, so to speak, "personal 
sympathies" towards Russia. The supporters of the contrary view 
emphasize China's self-sufficiency, its economy being strong enough to 
conduct quite independent multi-vector politics aimed at carrying out 
its own interests. In the view of Russian sinologist Aleksey 
Voskresensky, the truth is still somewhere in between: China will lay 
accent on the strengthening of relations with the West, but at the 
same time it will never become "pro-someone's." For its foreign policy 
is entirely subordinate to priorities of national development, which 
means that relations with the leading world players and China's 
neighbors will also be built strictly along these priorities.
Indeed, the Chinese by definition are not anyone's "allies," or a 
force that is led or influenced by someone. Yet, this is also a 
country that, like never before in its history, turned to be embedded 
in processes of global development and world politics. China's weight 
in the world and the projection of its influence on all of us grows 
steadily. A conclusion: for Russia to be able to feel cozy in the 
vicinity of a giant like that, it should not only seek good relations 
with it, but also be fully aware of what degree of dependence on China 
- if it preserves its present growth rates - awaits us in the future.
If everyone goes as they outline in Beijing, if no large-scale 
crisis strikes the country, in the next few decades China can approach 
or even outrun the US in the amount of GDP. At the same time, Chinese 
leaders seek to render the economy parameters of qualitative growth, 
not only based on cheap workforce, but also on high technologies. With 
a view to that, allocations of $17 billion annually are planned for 
the development of new technologies in the next five years. If this is 
compared with our government's funny amounts of financing for the same 
sphere, it becomes clear: in the foreseeable future China can outrun 
Russia even in those "sensitive" areas where it so far lags behind.
Russia is clearly outlined in the Chinese vision of the global 
situation. Unlike Moscow, Beijing has a clear development strategy 
that is meant for decades. Not every its aspect may be calculated 
right, but it exists.
In all these respects, Beijing needs Russia as an ally. As an 
ally "playing" from Chinese music, within the limits of China's 
We understand this in part naturally, so Putin seeks to slow down 
a little and to keep Beijing at a distance. Besides, we have an 
"identity" somewhat different from that of China. While Russia seeks 
to enter the European community, getting integrated in it as its 
organic part, emphasizing that we have common values and a "common 
destiny" with Europe, the Chinese interact with the West in individual 
aspects and on a fundamentally different basis. They constantly 
emphasize that they improve relations with the West and the United 
States on the ground of common (mainly economic) interests and expand 
the commonness of those interests. At the same time, they state it 
clearly: we are on our own, we are not going to dance to the western 
tunes, and we will never be part of the western civilization, although 
we are not against absorbing (digesting in our own way) everything 
useful from it.
With their own agenda for cooperation with the West, the Chinese 
want to influence Russia to make it their reliable strategic, "vision-
of-the-world" ally that would help them - better without alternatives, 
on account of an unconditional dependence - along that line.
Eventually determining part of whose geopolitical sphere we are - 
this is apparently what the entire difficulty of Russia's political 
choice consists at the present stage. So far are as if trying to "deal 
round the cards" from two hands: i.e. we speak about "values common to 
all humanity" in the West and discourse on strategic cooperation, 
noninterference in the national affairs, etc. with China. So far 
Moscow has attempted to interact with Beijing as a self-sufficient 
value, but not part of the western world.
However, the distinctive feature of the present moment consists 
in the fact that Russia has a quite limited range of opportunities to 
build up economic relations with China.
(Translated by P. Pikhnovsky)


Moscow News
March 5-11, 2002
FSB Declassifies Over 100 Documents
These archival materials were moved from the Federal Security Service (FSB) 
Central Archives to the Moscow Kremlin Museum. What is the procedure for 
declassifying documents that are part of the country's history? Head of the 
FSB Registration and Archives Directorate Maj. Gen. VASILY KHRISTOFOROV is 
interviewed by Vremya MN's Alexandra Samarina 

When were these documents declassified, and who does it?

The documents were declassified back in 1997, in accordance with established 
procedure, and have since been sitting in the stacks. It is simply that no 
one asked for them before. When the Moscow Kremlin museum/preserve asked the 
FSB Central Archives for documents on the Kremlin's history, the FSB 
leadership decided to transfer over 100 archival materials to the museum. 
Say, there is a set of documents dating back to the early 20th century, to do 
with a commission on the maintenance of St. Basil's Cathedral. They may not 
be so exciting to the average reader but we believe they are important to 
historians. Another set comes from case files - in particular, 1934 records 
of interrogation of scientists on ideological subversion charges. In fact, 
they were simply concerned by how ruthlessly historical monuments, including 
churches and monasteries in old parts of Moscow, were being demolished.

What is the time frame for declassification?

Thirty years under the law. And we meticulously follow this restriction. The 
declassification procedure is handled by the Central Expert Commission headed 
by an FSB deputy director that includes representatives from all FSB 

What is the declassification status of FSB archives?

Things are not not so simple here. There's routine declassification procedure 
and an ad hoc one. The former has been moving along stage by stage since 
1917. When we are through with one year, we get on to the next. Ad hoc 
declassification is a specific-purpose procedure: For instance, there is a 
need to prepare a research publication or transfer some documents to the next 
of kin or to researchers. In this case we do not wait until we get round to, 
say, the 1950s. Routine declassification has yet to reach World War II: We 
are currently in the mid-1930s. Still, we are preparing and releasing many 
documents pertaining to the Great Patriotic War. Thus, collections of 
documents on the Battle of Stalingrad have been published.

What document in this collection do you think is the most interesting?

An archivist does not think in terms of "interesting documents." Each 
document is unique in its own way. I would single out a Soviet officer's 
notes who kept a diary while in day-to-day contact with Paulus and a group of 
his generals taken prisoner. The latter were not aware that a Russian 
serviceman who attended to their daily needs had a good command of German, 
and were fairly frank.

We were interested not only in the Battle of Stalingrad: We published a 
collection entitled Lubyanka during the Battle of Moscow. It reveals some 
hitherto unknown details about preparations for a Nazi seizure of Moscow, 
which contingency was not ruled out. Everyone knows that in those days 
Lenin's body was evacuated from Moscow. But almost no one is aware that 
sensitive installations, including "places of possible large concentration of 
Nazis" - in particular, theaters - were mined. Until early 1942, when the 
situation began to turn around. This was only known to a handful of experts.

How does declassification proceed on the technical level? Do you take down 
documents from a shelf and decide which are to be declassified?

We examine each file, sheet by sheet. If a document does not contain 
information that still constitutes a state secret, security classification is 
then removed from it. What will never be declassified? Information about 
individual security officers and forms and methods of operation by our 
security agencies. Also information on persons rendering assistance to FSB 
agencies on a confidential basis. We are not unique in this respect: This is 
how all security services operate. Going at this pace, when will you get 
round to the year 2003? In 2033.

Are all documents in your archives secret? If not, what happens to those that 
are not? Can an ordinary citizen have access to them?

If there is no classification stamp in the upper right-hand corner of a 
document, it is not secret. But this does not mean that it will be shown to 
just anybody. Information concerning a person's private or family life - 
medical records, financial status, adoption, guardianship, change of name, 
and so forth - may not be released for 75 years. If a file contains such 
information, it is deemed secret. Under the 1991 law on political 
rehabilitation, files on rehabilitated citizens may be made available either 
to repression victims themselves or to their next of kin. It is enough to 
submit an application to get access.

How many documents are there in your archives?

Over 750,000 items. Although ours is not the largest of archives, it stands 
out among the rest because of the uniqueness and significance of its 


Russian secret services issue documents on military emigration 1920's-1940's 

MOSCOW, March 4 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, 
the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the Military History Institute 
reporting to the Russian Defense Ministry have issued volume three of a 
multi-volume collection of documents on the Russian Military Emigration 
From 1920's Through to 1940's, the press bureau of the Foreign 
Intelligence Service said Tuesday. 
It presents over 300 documents on the so-called "first wave" of 
Russian emigrants - an army of people totaling two million to two and a 
half million who escaped from Russia for different reasons after the 1917 
Bolshevik revolution. 
At least one in each five Russian emigrants of the time was a 
military. The materials let the readers in on how those people - officers 
of different ranks, noncoms and sometimes ordinary soldiers - lived in 
British and French camps on the territories of Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, 
and the U.S. 
"In essence, this is kind of a documentary illustration to what the 
great 20th century Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov depicted in his 
epoch-making play On The Run," said chief press officer of the service, 
Boris Labusov. 
The documents featured in the volume embrace the period of 1921 
through 1924, and many of them reveal the contentions between the Soviet 
and foreign secret services. 
The materials also bring out the different approaches that western 
governments took on the Russian military emigrants, most of whom were 
supported by France. 
"This is an issue of importance for the whole state," said Ivan 
Bassik, deputy director of the Military History Institute. "There are 
about ten million people in different countries now who hail from the 
families of "first-wave" Russian emigrants". 


The Times (UK)
March 6, 2003
On This Day - The Times, March 6, 1990
On June 12, 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first elected President of the
Russian Federation; later he oversaw the break-up of the Soviet Union into
independent states
Boris Yeltsin might claim to be the authentic, sometimes ignored, Russian
voice of the USSR. Barbara Amiel met him 

I HAD expected Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin to be a lacklustre man. Why, I am
not entirely certain. Perhaps it was talk of his drinking exploits and
emotional outbursts. Perhaps it was my cynicism about his fight against
privileges for the nomenklatura, later rather than earlier in his political
journey. The script had an overblown flavour. 

I scented opportunism or, more accurately, a sense that Mr Yeltsin was more
significant in the headlines than in his specific political gravity. 

A blowsy Don Quixote, I thought. We talked first on the flight from Vienna
to Amsterdam, he eating deftly and carefully from his airline tray. I
never eat carbohydrates or sweet things, he said, proffering his
complimentary chocolates to me. His discipline seemed un-Russian, but
perhaps the choice was between waistline, sweets and alcohol. He has
managed to keep the waistline, forgo the sweets and I watched him quaff two
mini bottles of champagne and two of red wine with disarming frankness and
amazing speed. They had absolutely no discernible effect. 

According to Mr Yeltsin, the last chance to save the Communist Party will
come at the 28th party conference in the summer. I will support Gorbachov,
I want to support him if there is some genuine regeneration for the party.
If the party will allow different factions or different platforms within
itself, if it will give up the principle of democratic centrism, if it will
change its structures, if it will change to a system devoid of apparatus,
if there will be a chance to elect delegates directly from various groups
and associations on the ground avoiding the hierarchy, then the move to a
multi-party system will be somewhat delayed. But if such radical measures
are not taken then there will be a split in the Communist Party and we will
have a multi-party system from those splits. 

Will he lead one of those new parties? A small smile. That is something I
will tell you on the day after the end of the 28th party conference. 

One wonders: why on earth does he want to save the Communist Party? He
shrugs. This isnt clear. Interestingly, certain words never appear in Mr
Yeltsins speech. He never talks of liberty and freedom. He does not talk
of individual liberty. It is true he is neither a philosopher nor an
abstract theoretician. But he is, after all, a reform politican. He wants
private property and free enterprise but shies away from the radicalism of
leaving socialism behind. 

Again and again he speaks of his emotional anguish over the alienation
between himself and Mr Gorbachov. This is not simply an ideological power
struggle but, for Mr Yeltsin, a personal tragedy. 

My weakness is my vulnerability. Yes, I am a very impressionable man and
any exchange, any crude, brutal conversation makes a very deep impression
on me. I feel it deeply and I think I need a little more ferro-concrete. I
cannot listen with indifference when the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet
talks about pushing through his ideas. 

All these qualities, his gambling with life, his stubbornness, his physical
pain at the plight of the Russian people, the aching heart at the sight of
injustice that he exemplifies when he renounces his privileges, all of this
seems to have coincided in some mysterious way, almost osmotic, with the
yearnings and the discontent and the essential muddled hopes of his people. 

If one impression stayed with me of Mr Yeltsin, it was, curiously, a
feeling of impending tragedy. He is optimistic. The autobiography will
cause much unpleasantness, he says, and we can go very far with
unpleasantness even to the point of physical. . . 

His voice trailed off. Then: But a man must live like a great bright flame
and burn as brightly as he can. In the end he burns out. But this is better
than a mean little flame.


Moscow News
March 5-11, 2002
Voice from the Provinces 
Comparing Today with the "Good Old Days"
By Sergei Sossinsky

In one of MN's December issues (No. 48) last year I mentioned Pavel Punin, 
who lives in the easternmost corner of Kostroma Region. I responded to a 
letter he sent me after my interview in a Kostroma weekly, and asked him how 
people were faring in these difficult times in remote spots. Pavel answered 
that these were indeed difficult times, like the years 1946 and 1947 
following the Second World War. In his opinion, we were descending into chaos 
once again.

The district he lives in has a population of 6,400. At its peak, the district 
boasted up to 18,000 inhabitants. The collective farm (now known under the 
mysterious abbreviation of APC) at which he has worked all his life had 12 
villages, each with 40 to 60 families. Today there are two villages left with 
62 gainfully employed and 40 retired people. In 1980 the number of gainfully 
employed was 140, and they farmed 1,300 hectares; today only 300 hectares are 
still in use. Wages are between 500 and 700 rubles (about $20) a month. There 
are virtually no younger people left in the area. The age of working people 
is mostly between 45 and 50. The day nursery looks after a total of five 
children. The school is expected to close down next year, since there are no 
kids to go to the first grade.

The younger people have mostly moved to larger towns or closer to them. It is 
obvious that the main problem is lack of any economic opportunities in the 

Pavel remembers the times when the horse was the main breadwinner for rural 
people. Today, he says, there are no horses left on the farm. Soon, he 
predicts, there will be no tractors left, and we'll have to use cows to plow 
the fields. Things are particularly difficult for retired people. Although 
they live in a forest area, firewood is a big problem, since the forest is 
now a source of income for entrepreneurs. Pensioners have to travel great 
distances to procure firewood. No one cares about the elderly. There are no 
real privileges for them.

There have been instances when pensioners were murdered for their meager 

As for the milk, meat and vegetables produced by the locals in their own 
households, the prices at which they are forced to sell them are woefully 
low: 14 cents for a liter of milk, $1 for a kilogram of beef and less than $2 
for a kilogram of pork. So people only raise livestock for their own use.

As Pavel recalls, our fathers cleared the woodland of trees and stumps, while 
today the fields are becoming overgrown with brush and young trees. Pavel's 
verdict is unequivocal: We only blame the country's leadership. The fish rots 
from the head.

Bogovarovo butter is known for its high quality and excellent taste. The 
farmers who produce the milk which is processed into butter get very little 
for the milk, but there is nothing they can do since the creamery has been 
bought by a Kostroma company, and there is no competition. The company sells 
the butter for more than $2 a kilogram. If the company goes bankrupt, the 
local people will have to pour their milk into the gutter (only there are no 
gutters in the Russian countryside).

So what is the cause of the appalling situation described by Pavel? The main 
problem in this case is the nearly total absence of infrastructure. The 
second problem is the continued existence of the collective farm, which 
operates basically in the way it did in Soviet years.

While most of Pavel's complaints are shared by ordinary people in the 
countryside, he has a broader vision than most. He does not defend the 
collective-farm system unequivocally.

In fact, in an article he wrote for his local newspaper he truthfully 
described his experience working as a driver for the farm chairman during 12 
years. The farmers had no incentive to work better. Only when the chairman 
checked and double-checked fulfillment of assignments were things done. Often 
the farmers went on drinking binges and failed to do their jobs. The tractor 
operators did not take care of their machinery, which they did not regard as 
their own.

However, thanks to the chairman's persistence and persuasion the situation on 
the farm gradually improved. A water supply system was built, a gas main 
installed, and telephones placed in farmers' homes. A hard-surface road was 
completed (most local officials resisted road construction, since a good road 
meant more frequent inspections from the center), and a bus ran regularly to 
the district seat.

The chairman differed from most other chairmen. He never did anything for 
effect and did not claim higher results than he had. Finally, as Pavel points 
out, he did not build himself a luxury home.

The chairman died in 1998, his heart failed him, and since then it's all been 

Pavel does not idealize the "good old times," but there is a note of 
nostalgia in his story. Ordinary people, particularly the older part of the 
population, will never come to terms with what is happening today. The 
private farmers some (particularly foreigners) dreamed of never materialized 
in any significant way. Instead, far-out agricultural areas are now dying out 
and their population consists of the elderly who have been left by the 
roadside of life. And never was there a story of greater woe than the story 
of the Russian countryside.


March 6, 2003
Russia's oil pipe dreams
By CNN's Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- If the U.S. leads a "coalition of the willing" into
a war with Iraq the flow of oil from the Middle East could become erratic,
at least temporarily.

But in the snow-covered oil fields of Russia there is nothing producers
would like to do more than help to fill that gap in world oil markets.
Russia is the world's second-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and
produces more than eight million barrels a day.

President Vladimir Putin promised a year and a half ago to fill any void
left by war. "Russia stands ready to increase oil exports in case of world
conflict," he said in a speech in Germany.

But could Russia really become the saving grace of oil-consuming nations?
Or is it just -- a pipe dream?

"In the short run, no it couldn't," said Stephen O'Sullivan, an oil analyst
at the United Financial Group.

"It's already producing at capacity. Production is growing eight percent a
year. So that's clearly very positive. But it doesn't have any spare
capacity, unlike Saudi Arabia which has several million barrels a day of
spare capacity and can act as a swing producer, stepping in where necessary."

For the past five years, Russian oil production has been booming but when
it comes to getting oil out of the country -- that is where it gets

"The basic problem we have is not development of oil fields. We have more
than sufficient reserves. It's the means of transporting that oil," said
Leonid Fedun of LUKOIL, Russia biggest oil producer.

Russia produces about 10 percent of the world's oil output but can only
export less than half of its oil output through the state-owned pipeline.

The country does hope to become a stable alternate energy supplier to the
United States, with LUKOIL predicting that Russia could supply the U.S.
with 13 percent of its oil by 2010.

But that requires new infrastructure and major investment and that is still
in the future. BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, has seen the
potential. It agreed last month a $6.75 billion deal with Russian group
Tyumen Oil to create Russia's third-largest oil and gas company. The deal
is expected to lessen BP's dependence on Middle East oil.

A disruption in Iraqi oil could have one major benefit for Russia: rising
oil prices would mean a tax windfall for the Russian government.

Several major Russia oil companies plan to build a new oil terminal in
Murmansk, in the Barents Sea, to ship oil more easily to the U.S. The Bush
administration is keen to lessen its dependence on Middle East oil. In May,
2002, the U.S. and Russia announced they were launching an "energetic
dialogue" to look at ways of boosting Russian oil exports to the U.S.

So much as Russian oil companies might dream of filling the gap if Middle
East oil exports temporarily dry up they cannot. The only country that can
really do that -- according to the experts -- is Saudi Arabia.


The New York Times
March 6, 2003
Awash in Oil Dollars, Russia Tries to Steady Economy
By Sabrina Tavernise

While many countries are beginning to feel the pinch of high oil prices,
Russia, the world's No. 2 oil producer, is suffering from a very different
problem -- too much money.

Russia's economy is awash in oil dollars. The combination of rising
proceeds from exports and the heavy borrowing that Russian oil companies
have done abroad has cash flowing into the country faster than the economy
can absorb it. The central bank's currency reserves have risen by $4.8
billion, or more than 10 percent, since mid-January. 

At the same time, the flow of cash out of the country is slower than it has
been in years. Russians' faith in their currency, the ruble, has been
rising, and they are not as quick to stash cash aboard.

The abundance of dollars is an enviable problem, and it contrasts sharply
with fears about the state of Russia's infrastructure and its debt load
that many thought would grip the country this year when its loan repayment
obligations are scheduled to reach a peak.

Still, the situation is a headache for policy makers who are trying to
steady the economy and minimize the zigzags of boom and bust.

"The oil price is responsible," Oleg V. Vyugin, first deputy chairman of
the central bank, said in an interview. "No one counted on it being so
high. We thought a decision on the war in Iraq would come sooner."

Russia's financial system, in many ways, is poorly equipped to handle such
inflows of cash. Banks generally lack critical mass. Because the banks are
too small to make loans on the scale that Russian companies require, the
companies generally turn to foreign lenders, depriving Russian banks of the
business they need to grow. The domestic banking industry has been adrift
since the financial collapse in 1998.

A big concern is that the ruble will rise sharply against the dollar,
making Russian goods less competitive with those made abroad. Many
manufacturers, including the country's biggest carmaker, Avtovaz, reported
a sharp improvement in business after the ruble was devalued in 1998; now
the carmaker is cutting production and asking the government for trade

Russia is in its fifth year of economic growth, with a national budget
cushioned by a sizable surplus. Oil output continues to rise, up 11 percent
in January and February in contrast to the first two months of 2002. Wages
are rising, and company profits are soaring. And a stronger ruble makes
imported goods more affordable for consumers.

The other big fear is inflation. Higher wages are translating into more
spending and greater consumer demand, and the Russian central bank has been
pumping even more money into the economy by buying dollars, an effort to
keep the ruble from strengthening too much.

Russian policy makers are aware that the incoming tide of dollars is
temporary, and that oil prices may fall later in the year. In the
meanwhile, Mr. Vyugin said, the central bank is not going to make any sharp
moves; rather, it is hoping that the government will mop up some of the
additional money by running a large budget surplus.

"The situation -- with Iraq and high oil prices, low interest rates in the
U.S. and the weakening of the dollar -- is temporary," Mr. Vyugin said. "By
the end of the year the situation will be cleared up. We will try to make
it through this period and not make big adjustments in the exchange rate."

The Russian federal government, which receives a third of its revenue from
oil and gas, calculated its 2003 budget based on an average oil price of
$21.50 a barrel. Lately, turmoil in the Middle East and in Venezuela,
another major producer, has pushed crude oil prices up to nearly $40 a barrel.

"The government has an enormous windfall, and that should be saved fully,"
said Poul Thomsen, director of the International Monetary Fund office in
Russia. "Otherwise the high oil prices will be associated with stronger
pressures for a ruble appreciation, and that could choke the output recovery."

While Russia's oil is a boon, in the long run it is also a burden. Policy
makers here are concerned about depending too much on such a volatile
commodity, and are looking for ways of strengthening other parts of the
economy. Crucial to that, they say, will be an upgrading of Russia's
inefficient economic institutions -- its weak legal system, bloated state
apparatus and sagging Soviet-era utilities.

"It is important for growth outside the energy sector to prevent a sharp
ruble appreciation by saving the oil revenue windfall," Mr. Thomsen said.
"But over the long run, structural reforms are much more important."


Armenia's President Kocharian Re-Elected
March 6, 2003

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) - Incumbent Robert Kocharian easily won re-election
in a presidential runoff seen as a test of Armenia's democracy, but the
opposition and international observers said the vote had serious flaws.

With votes from all but one of the 1,865 electoral districts counted,
Kocharian had 67.5 percent and challenger Stepan Demirchian had 32.5
percent, Central Election Commission officials said Thursday.

Wednesday's runoff was forced when Kocharian fell just short of the 50
percent he needed to win a Feb. 19 election outright. Demirchian was the
second highest vote-getter.

The opposition cried foul in Wednesday's runoff vote.

``The second round proceeded under a scenario prepared by the authorities,
with massive legal violations and in an environment of intimidation and
violence,'' Demirchian told his supporters overnight. ``The outcome of this
election has nothing to do with the people's choice.''

Demirchian campaign chief Grigor Arutyunian accused the election commission
of violations including the removal of opposition representatives from
local election commissions and ballot-box stuffing. The opposition alleged
that 400 soldiers were used to cast multiple ballots in various precincts,
and that its representatives were kicked out during the count.

Some 200 election observers confirmed many cases of ballot-box stuffing and
said the period between the first round and the runoff did not meet
international standards for an open campaign, according to a statement from
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

``I am disappointed; we had hoped for better,'' the OSCE's Peter Eicher
said in the statement. The observer mission was under the auspices of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said the government had done its best to
ensure an honest second-round vote.

``It is very important for us to have a transparent run-off: we need the
trust of the international community,'' he said.

Observers had also charged that the first round on Feb. 19 was flawed by
ballot-box stuffing and intimidation.

Demirchian, 43, ran on an anti-corruption platform and also tried to
attract voters using the political image of his father, Soviet-era
Communist leader Karen Demirchian - Kocharian's main rival in the 1998
presidential contest and a victim of a 1999 shooting spree in parliament
that left eight people dead.

The opposition blames Kocharian, 48, for about 30 unresolved deaths in
recent years that it claims were political killings, and for the widening
gap between rich and poor in the Caucasus Mountain nation of 3.3 million

For some voters, one of Kocharian's strongest points was his contribution
to the victory in the 1988-94 war between neighboring Azerbaijan and the
Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.