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1. Reuters: Russia's Putin insists on peaceful Iraq solution.
2. Baltimore Sun: Douglas Birch, To U.S. dismay, Russia stands firm on Iraq. Bush administration thought Putin eventually would rally to U.S. side.
3. Washington Post: Sharon LaFraniere, Putin's Break With U.S. on Iraq Seen as a Risky Balancing Act.
4. Luba Schwartzman: TV1 Review.
5. Interfax: Poll: 44% of Russians think Putin has changed in last 3 years.
6. ITAR-TASS: Minimal food basket cost in Russia up by six per cent this year.
7. AP: Senate OKs U.S.-Russia Deal to Cut Arms.
8. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: TRANS-ATLANTIC CARTE BLANCHE FOR THE KREMLIN. Foreign analysts on how Russia benefits from the split between the US and  Europe.
9. Financial Times (UK): Grigory Yavlinsky, Russia should join a cold war on Iraq.
10. Moscow Times: Nikolai Petrov, Municipal Deformation.
11. Moscow Tribune: Stanislav Menshikov, THE ECONOMIC SANDWICH. On which side will it fall?
12. James Henderson: New Occasional Paper by Stephen Sestanovich, At Odds with Iran and Iraq: Can the United States and Russia Resolve Their Differences? 
13. Jolanta Davis: Call for nominations for 2003 AAASS Book Prizes.
14. Vlad Ivanenko: RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PUZZLES (FINAL: 4) WAS THE CURE AGAINST INFLATION THE RIGHT MEDICINE?
15. RIA Novosti: LEADERS OF RUSSIAN PATRIOTIC PARTIES ACCUSE LEADERS OF COMMUNISTS OF CO-OPERATION WITH ODIOUS OLIGARCHS.
16. pravda.ru: Post-Soviet Republics To Unite Again. Several Russian politicians believe that the USSR will be restored by 2007.
17. RFE/RL: Gregory Feifer, Kremlin Critics Say Closure Of Independent Newspaper Fits Pattern.
18. Interfax: Russian academic outraged by events marking anniversary of Stalin's death. (Alexander Yakovlev)
19. Yezhenedelnyi Zhurnal: Alexander Ryklin, FOLLOWING A DIRECT LINE. Vladimir Putin as a successor to Stalin, in form if not in essence.

********

#1
Russia's Putin insists on peaceful Iraq solution

MOSCOW, March 7 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S.
President George W. Bush hours ahead of a new U.N. debate on Friday that
Moscow was determined to press for a diplomatic solution to disarm Iraq.

A Kremlin spokesman said Putin spoke overnight by telephone to Bush, who
later told a news conference the United States intended to press within
days for a U.N. vote authorising the use of force against Iraq.

"The Russian side stressed its consistent position in favour of a peaceful
solution to achieve the goal set by the international community in relation
to Iraq," the spokesman said.

"It was stressed that all means exist for such a solution and these could
be strengthened and augmented if U.N. inspectors require it."

The spokesman said Bush had requested the conversation with Putin, who was
on a working holiday at a Black Sea resort.

A U.S. official in Washington said the two presidents "talked about Iraq,
the diplomatic path being taken at the U.N., and agreed to keep in
consultation, (to) stay in consultation."

Foreign ministers of Russia, Germany and France said this week they would
not allow any U.N. Security Council resolution authorising force against
Iraq to pass.

The ministers avoided the word "veto" after their meeting in Paris, but
Paris and Moscow clearly indicated they would use theirs. China, like
France and Russia a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council,
later backed their stand.

The call between Bush and Putin coincided with U.S. Senate ratification on
Thursday of a treaty intended to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the United
States and Russia. The U.S. administration hopes the vote will help win
support from Moscow on Iraq.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement welcomed approval of the treaty signed
last year in Moscow by Putin and Bush and praised the document as a
"landmark agreement in terms of real and radical nuclear disarmament."

It said that once it was ratified by Russia's parliament, the treaty would
become "an important factor of strategic stability and global security."

Foreign ministers from all major countries were expected to attend the new
Security Council debate on Friday devoted to a new report on progress made
by U.N. inspectors in seeking out dangerous weapons in Iraq.

********

#2
Baltimore Sun
March 7, 2003
To U.S. dismay, Russia stands firm on Iraq
Bush administration thought Putin eventually would rally to U.S. side
By Douglas Birch
Sun Foreign Staff

MOSCOW - For months now, the White House has been trying to play the Russia
card.

But Russia refuses to be played.

Bush administration officials regarded the Kremlin as the key to persuading
the United Nations Security Council to endorse military action against Iraq
and predicted privately that in the end, Russia would rally to the U.S. side.

But President Vladimir V. Putin has joined France and Germany in their
opposition to the use of force. Despite high-level lobbying, including
phone calls from President Bush, Putin has maintained that position for two
weeks.

"Obviously, the picture has become a little darker with every passing day,"
a senior U.S. diplomat said yesterday, speaking on condition his name not
be used.

The Bush administration still hopes that Russia can be persuaded to lend
support.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
are expected to meet today at the United Nations after arms inspectors
present their latest report, and national security adviser Condoleezza
Rice, a Russia expert, may come to Moscow within days. But no one is
confidently predicting Russian support.

"I certainly don't think they've made a decision to veto," the American
diplomat said. "But people are much more uncertain as to Russia's ultimate
destination than they were a few weeks ago."

So far, France has borne the brunt of Bush administration criticism for
failing to support the use of force, but that could soon change.

"This is not a small issue that can be fenced off," the U.S. diplomat
warned. "This is central to our relationship. A [Russian] veto would
inherently damage our relationship."

A split over Iraq could complicate efforts to defuse the nuclear crisis in
North Korea, mediate between Israel and the Palestinians and broker
solutions to other conflicts.

In counting on Russia for so long, the White House appears to have made a
few miscalculations. It was thought that Putin would endorse the use of
force against Iraq rather than, in the White House view, risk undermining
the authority of the Security Council, where Russia holds a veto. He was
also expected to be swayed by the opportunity for Russia to participate in
any post-war reconstruction of Iraq, including development of Iraqi oil
fields. Iraq owes Moscow $8 billion for equipment and loans secured during
the Soviet era.

In arguing against a U.S.-led attack on Iraq, France, Russia and Germany
have cited moral concerns about waging war, but have also wanted to hold
the world's sole superpower in check.

"The fact that the United States dominates the world is setting teeth on
edge," said Rustam Orudzhayev of the Moscow-based Science and Politics
Foundation.

"The crux of the problem is, the United States is too powerful, too
uncontrolled," said Viktor V. Kremenyuk, deputy director of Russia's
Institute of USA and Canada Studies. "The United States thinks it has the
moral and legal right to judge other nations and decide what to do with them."

Many educated Russians complain that Russia received nothing in return for
closing bases in Cuba and Vietnam, and for letting the Bush administration
abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. They note that their government
did not protest the expansion of NATO to Russia's borders and silently
accepted deployment of American troops in former Soviet republics in
Central Asia and Georgia.

After an amicable summit between Putin and Bush in Moscow and St.
Petersburg last May, many hoped that U.S. markets would open to Russian
steel and uranium, which did not happen.

"Mr. Putin felt that he was used," said Kremenyuk. "And he doesn't wish to
be used. Now I think he is inclined to think seriously about the
partnership with Mr. Bush."

While Putin has criticized Bush's policies, he has praised him as a friend.
Last month, Putin said he approved of the American military presence in the
Persian Gulf region, saying the disarmament process would not have made as
much progress without it.

If he is in a cynical mood, Putin has a strong motive for prolonging tensions.

High oil prices in recent years have been the most important factor in
Russia's economic recovery, and 40 percent of government revenues are tied
to oil profits. Tensions over Iraq have driven the price of oil to about
$32 a barrel. If the threat of war ebbs, prices could drop, perhaps by 30
percent.

Putin may also be looking to improve ties with Western Europe. Germany is
Russia's most important trading partner, and France maintains close
cultural ties.

"Europe is our partner," said Orudzhayev. "For Russia, it brings more
benefits to play on their side, though keeping the United States in mind."

A recent public opinion poll showed that 90 percent of Russians surveyed
oppose a U.S.-led war against Iraq, the Interfax news agency reported. But
not everyone here thinks Putin has chosen the right path.

Sergei Yushenkov, a deputy in the State Duma, the powerful lower house of
the Russian parliament, says the Kremlin is too focused on competing for
political influence and doesn't recognize the terrorist threat that regimes
such as Iraq's pose to the rest of the world.

"It's a short-sighted policy," he said in an interview yesterday. "It
leaves the impression that dictatorial regimes do not stir up feelings of
revulsion in the Kremlin."

*******

#3
Washington Post
March 7, 2003
Putin's Break With U.S. on Iraq Seen as a Risky Balancing Act
By Sharon LaFraniere
Washington Post Foreign Service

MOSCOW, March 6 -- Since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in 2000,
the United States has withdrawn from an anti-missile treaty with Russia,
established military bases in former Soviet republics and expanded Moscow's
Cold War nemesis, the NATO alliance, to Russia's westernmost borders. Each
time Putin has protested, and each time he has acquiesced.

Now, with a mix of principles and pragmatism, Putin seems to be drawing the
line.

On Wednesday, Russia joined with France and Germany in pledging to block
any U.N. resolution authorizing war in Iraq. His solidarity with the
Europeans surprised senior U.S. officials -- who had little warning -- as
well as many Kremlin-watchers who had guessed that Putin would not risk
Russia's new alliance with the United States over the issue.

The reasons run the gamut from global to parochial. Putin has said he fears
that war could incite terrorists, radicalize Muslim societies all over the
world and establish the United States as a force outside international law.
Russian analysts say the government is also disappointed that its repeated
concessions to Washington in the past have not yielded more dividends and
is afraid that Russia could lose rights to invest billions of dollars in
Iraqi oil fields if a new government takes over in Baghdad.

"If I were to put it in a nutshell, I would say that Putin looked around
and decided that he had better be a follower this time, not a leader," said
Dmitri Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow Center, a
policy research group. "The entire foreign policy establishment in Moscow
would very much resent Russia joining the U.S. and Britain on Iraq, and
there was precious little that Putin could show to the people around him
that Russia is getting in return."

Although a compromise could still emerge, Putin's opposition to President
Bush on Iraq has created the most serious rift in relations since Putin
shaped Russia into Washington's loyal partner 18 months ago, after the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Bush administration officials are threatening
unspecified consequences if Russia blocks a U.S.-backed resolution in the
U.N. Security Council, where Russia is one of five members with veto power.

Russia is arguing that friends don't punish each other for principled
disagreements, and that the United States ought to accept Russia's view,
just as Russia accepted the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty two years ago.

"To have disagreements is the nature of democratic behavior in the world,"
said Vladimir Lukin, an influential Russian lawmaker and former ambassador
to Washington. "Is this a reason to drastically spoil relations with the
United States? I don't think so."

Russia's dilemma is that its interests are divided between two continents.
The European Union is its largest trading partner and Germany is its
largest creditor. But the United States and Russia are ideological partners
in the war on terrorism and share strategic interests in the Middle East,
Asia and Europe.

"It's certainly been our analysis that for Putin, the relationship with the
U.S. takes precedence over relations with Europe," said a senior U.S.
official.

But Kremlin analysts say it would be a much bigger gamble for Putin to side
with Bush now than it was 18 months ago, when Russia supported the U.S.-led
war in Afghanistan. Washington is far out on a diplomatic limb this time,
pursuing a conflict that Russia fears will infuriate Muslim countries in
its region, as well as the 20 million Muslims within its own borders.

At the same time, U.S. officials are unwilling to promise Russia that a new
government in Iraq would honor multibillion-dollar oil development
contracts, which have been on hold because of U.N. sanctions, and repay $8
billion Iraq owes Russia. Moreover, if war leads in the long term to a
collapse in oil prices, as many analysts expect, revenue from Russia's oil
exports will shrink.

Some Russian officials suggest that Putin would be more sympathetic over
Iraq if he had more to show for past concessions. "One side tries to do
everything it can, and the other side says, 'Thank you very much,' and goes
its own way," Lukin said. "I cannot speak for Mr. Putin, but my reading is
he feels a little bit tired of one-sided deals."

Bush administration officials counter that Russia has reaped rewards from
the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and from U.S. assistance in
driving out Islamic rebels from Georgia and Uzbekistan, former Soviet
republics. "The security benefits for Russia . . . are somehow
underappreciated in Moscow," said a senior U.S. diplomat.

But officials such as Lukin cite the Jackson-Vanik amendment as a
bone-in-the-throat example of broken promises. The Bush administration
pledged in late 2001 to permanently exempt Russia from the law, which bars
countries that lack market economies and open emigration policies from
enjoying normal trade relations with the United States. Russia continues to
have to seek an annual waiver.

"I think the Kremlin is very sensitive to accusations that Putin is like
Mikhail Gorbachev, naively pursuing pro-Western policy without gaining
anything for Russia," said Alexander Pikayev, a foreign policy expert at
Carnegie's Moscow Center, referring to the last Soviet leader. "Putin feels
very vulnerable to this criticism because it is coming from the power
ministries that constitute a very important part of his political base."

Few argue that Putin needs to worry about offending the views of ordinary
Russians on this issue, however. Eighty-seven percent of respondents in a
recent survey said they opposed an attack on Iraq.

If Putin's move does lead to a lasting rift with Washington, many Russians
would be just as glad, political analysts say. Putin was far ahead of the
Russian public and his own government in allying Russia with the United
States; now he is more in line with local sentiments.

"His critics could have said that he is selling Russia," said Viktor
Kremenyuk, deputy director of the U.S.A.-Canada Institute, part of the
Russian Academy of Sciences. "Instead he will be regarded as the champion
of the Russian cause, as the man who had the guts to withstand the pressure
of the superpower and found a solution to relations with Europe."

*******

#4
TV1 Review
www.1tv.ru
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (luba_sch@hotmail.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office

HEADLINES,
Thursday, March 06, 2003
- After many years of negotiations, the government of Transdniester has
decided to allow Russia to withdraw its troops and military property from
the region without any obstacles.
- A number of politicians from the left opposition has criticized the
leaders of the People's Patriotic Union. Information circulated by
Interfax asserts that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has been
losing all political weight by cooperating with the oligarchs.
- In the Kemerovo Oblast, Lieutenant Colonel Igor Yakutin saved the life of
a subordinate soldier, Denis Lobashev, by trying to pick up and throw away a
grenade the soldier dropped. Yakutin is in serious condition at the
hospital. Commander of the Siberian Okrug Nikolai Novak arrived to the
division to lead an investigation of the tragedy.
- Patriarch of All Russia Alexy II visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MID) and the museum of the history of the MID. He also attended a meeting
of the ministry's Collegium and received the Gorchakovsky diplomatic medal
of honor. This is the first such visit in Russia's history.
- The "Chechnya: History and Contemporary Problems" book was presented in
Grozny. Written by a number of leading Russian historians, it is the first
such attempt to evaluate the past and present of Chechnya.
- A large arms cache was destroyed in Lobnya, in the Moscow region,.
Federal Security Service officers feared that the garage containing the
weapons was mined, so residents of the nearby houses were evacuated.
- Another group of 150 Russian citizens returned to Moscow from Iraq on a
chartered flight. Most were experts working at the power plant in Baghdad
or members of their families. The Emergencies Ministry has sent another
plane to Baghdad.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a trip to the Ural region. On
Thursday, he will meet with the leaders of all regions of the Ural Federal
District in Tyumen to discuss the development of the district and the oil
and gas industry in particular. He will also travel to Tobolsk, the
historical capital of Siberia, see local attractions and meet with local
residents.
- Security service officers in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka are interrogating a
man who came to the office of the region's governor, Mikhail Mashkovtsev and
threatened to blow up several kindergartens.
- The Russian Air Force Commander in Chief told the military attaches of 75
countries that one third of Russia's military helicopters will be modernized
by 2005.
- The Russian Cabinet discussed the national debt policy and the problems of
the agricultural sector. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov that the situation
with the government debt has improved significantly since 2000.
- A powerful cyclone is moving towards the Far East – it will bring snow and
powerful winds.
- The Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Polish security council chairmen
met in the Belarusian city of Polotsk to discuss the fight against
international terrorism. They have agreed to change certain legislative
mechanism of the Slavic Four group.

********

#5
Poll: 44% of Russians think Putin has changed in last 3 years

MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) - Pollsters found that 44% of Russians believe
President Putin has changed since he took office three years ago. Only 1% of
the population thinks he has changed for the worse, while about one-third
believe he has improved.
A year ago, 35% said Putin had changed.
The proportion thinking Putin has not changed has shrunk to 39% today from
49% a year ago, the Public Opinion Foundation reports.
In the opinion of 21% of Russians, the president has become more
confident, decisive, firm, responsible, and active. 11% see him as a more
experienced and skillful today, and think he understands people better, makes
no promises that are impossible to keep, is pursuing a more independent and
subtle policy, and is more circumspect.
Only 1% of those polled said Putin had changed for the worse, and they
were less specific than the upbeat respondents - "he's become worse," "he's
becoming more like previous presidents," and "he gets on the screen more
often" were typical answers.
Putin's appearance has changed, many Russians think, but while some
believe he has "thinned down and gotten balder," others think he "has put on
weight." Many think that power is a heavy burden, and so the president "has
been showing signs of tiredness," and that he looks older and "more
concerned."
The Public Opinion Foundation questioned 1,500 people late last month.

********

#6
Minimal food basket cost in Russia up by six per cent this year
ITAR-TASS

Moscow, 6 March: The cost of a minimum food basket in Russia has increased by
a geographical average of 6.1 per cent since the beginning of this year, and
increased by two per cent in February. A Russian citizen now needs an average
of R1,066 a month to buy the necessary minimum of food products, including
bread, cereals, meat, fish, dairy products, vegetable and fruit.

The highest prices were recorded in the northern and far eastern regions of
the country. Food was most expensive in Kamchatka and Magadan Region, where
the minimum basket costs R1,678.2 and R1,621.3 respectively. At least
R1,456.5 have to be spent on food in Yakutia, and R1,440.8 on Sakhalin.

Prices are slightly lower in Moscow, where the cost of a minimum food basket
increased by R20 last month to R1,359.6. The population of St Petersburg have
to spend R190 less for the same amount of food.

The cheapest food products can be found in Tambov and Omsk Regions and in
Altay Territory, where the minimum food basket costs from R881.8 to R931.7 a
month.

*********

#7
Senate OKs U.S.-Russia Deal to Cut Arms
March 7, 2003
By KEN GUGGENHEIM

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a powerful bipartisan endorsement for improved
relations with Russia, the Senate unanimously approved a treaty that would
cut active U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear warheads by two-thirds.

Senate Republicans said the Moscow Treaty will make the world safer by
taking missile levels to their lowest point in 50 years. Democrats were
skeptical the treaty would make Americans safer, but recognized that it has
at least a strong symbolic value in demonstrating unified political support
for friendship and cooperation with Russia.

That message had added importance as President Bush tries to persuade
Russia not to veto a U.N. resolution authorizing force to disarm Iraq.

The 95-0 vote Thursday ``is truly remarkable,'' said Sen. Richard Lugar,
R-Ind., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ``This is
bound to leave both Russians and Americans to consider the value of the
relationship,'' he said in an interview.

The treaty calls on both nations to cut their strategic nuclear arsenals to
1,700 to 2,200 deployed warheads by 2012 - down from about 6,000 for the
United States and 5,500 for Russia. It was signed by President Bush and
Russian President Vladimir Putin last May.

It reflects how the United States sees the nuclear threat as coming less
from a clash of superpowers and more from smaller countries, such as North
Korea, which is believed to have one or two plutonium bombs. North Korea
has stepped up its nuclear program and could develop several more weapons
within months.

That shift was evident last year when Russia offered only moderate
opposition to the United States' withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty. It could also be seen in Bush's proposal for a limited
missile defense system that might eventually offer protection from a few
North Korean missiles, but would be overwhelmed by a larger-scale attack.

The pact also shows the evolution of arms treaties. Cold-War era agreements
required years of negotiations, resulting in thousands of pages of
documents and often bitter - and sometimes unsuccessful - ratification
fights in the Senate.

The new treaty, by comparison, is a three-page document that was quickly
worked out by U.S. and Russian negotiators ahead last May's summit.

Ratification is expected in the Russian state Duma within weeks. No further
action is needed in Congress, because the Constitution gives the Senate
sole authority over foreign treaties.

Many Democrats said the treaty would do little to strengthen U.S. security
because it allows the weapons to be stored instead of destroyed.

``Once this treaty is fully implemented, the United States will still have
approximately 6,000 nuclear weapons. There will just be more weapons in
storage,'' said Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island. ``And similarly, Russians
could have approximately 5,500 nuclear weapons, but they will be
non-operational.''

Other Democratic concerns were that the treaty had no timetable for
reducing weapons before the 2012 deadline. They also said the treaty lacks
verification procedures and makes it too easy for either side to withdraw.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a declared Democratic presidential
candidate, called it ``as flimsy a treaty as the United States Senate ever
considered'' and ``little more than a series of missed opportunities.''

He and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on Armed Services,
offered amendments that sought to strengthen Senate oversight of the
treaty, but both were defeated on largely partisan votes.

Both he and Kerry ultimately supported the treaty.

During the debate, Levin called the treaty ``a modest, positive step in
U.S.-Russian relations.''

On the Net:

Treaty text: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020524-3.html

*********

#8
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
March 7, 2003
TRANS-ATLANTIC CARTE BLANCHE FOR THE KREMLIN
Foreign analysts on how Russia benefits from the split between the US and
Europe
Author: Dmitry Suslov, Andrei Terekhov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
WOULD A SPLIT IN THE WEST - A TRANS-ATLANTIC SPLIT, OR A SPLIT
WITHIN EUROPE - BE TO RUSSIA'S ADVANTAGE? OPINIONS FROM FIVE ANALYSTS
INDICATE THAT RUSSIA WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITH UNITY IN THE WEST, NOW
THAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE SO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THEY WERE DURING THE
COLD WAR.

Would a split in the West - a trans-Atlantic split, or a split
within Europe - be to Russia's advantage? We asked some political
analysts for their opinions.

JAMES SHERR, CHIEF ANALYST AT THE CONFLICT STUDIES CENTER OF THE ROYAL
MILITARY ACADEMY:
When he come to power, President Vladimir Putin took "Primakov's
lessons" into account. By turning away from the idea of a multipolar
world, he displayed his strongest sides: pragmatism, a sober
understanding of the layout of forces, and cold respect for facts.
Long before September 11, 2001, he accepted America's "hegemonic
stability". He also sees that despite the rhetoric, Germany and France
have neither the strength of will nor the capacity to disrupt
America's dominance in any way. The events of September 11 transformed
Putin's belief into strong conviction: Russian-American partnership is
now the priority.
But what is happening now? In switching the focus of its efforts
from "the war on terrorism" to "the axis of evil", so rapidly and so
suddenly, the United States has revived Primakov's policy. It has now
been inherited by France; and, despite opposition from a substantial
majority within NATO - and the objections of the European Union! -
this policy is yielding results. And this introduces a huge
contradiction into Russia's policies. Can the united forces of France,
Germany, and Russia do some real damage to Euro-Atlantic institutions
and the existing system of relations? Yes, undoubtedly.

DIMITRI K. SIMES, PRESIDENT OF THE NIXON CENTER, WASHINGTON, DC:
Back during the Cold War, the USSR derived considerable benefits
from splits that took place in the West, since they undermined the
unity of its enemies. However, in the new international situation
neither Europe nor the US are Russia's enemies. Now, splits in the
West can only place Russia in the position of being trapped between
competing international groups, thus complicating its relations with
Europe and America. In my opinion, Russia has much more room for
maneuver when the West is united to a sufficient degree. In that case,
Russia is not faced with the difficult and potentially dangerous
choice between conflicting groups.

ANDREW C. KUCHINS, DIRECTOR OF THE RUSSIAN AND EURASIAN PROGRAM AT
THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE:
Russia may benefit somehow from the current friction between the
US and "old Europe", i.e. France and Germany, over the issue of Iraq.
From the symbolic and psychological points of view, it is obviously
fairly pleasant for President Putin to be "courted" so assiduously by
Washington, Paris, and Berlin. Indeed, Jacques Chirac seems to have
given Putin more recognition as a politician than Putin or his
predecessor Boris Yeltsin had ever received before. This is
particularly important for overcoming the unfortunate consequences of
the 1990s, when Americans and Europeans constantly told Russia what to
do.
Besides, this split also improves Russia's position as a kind of
balancing factor, and enables Russia to bargain with both sides. For
instance, Russia can bargain with the US on the issues of postwar
restoration of Iraq and distribution of Iraq's oil resources, as well
as the issue of Iraq's debt to Russia. If Russia does not use its veto
in the UN Security Council, and is not too stubborn about US plans
regarding Iraq, it could gain a great deal.
However, trans-Atlantic arguments and splits are not advantageous
for Russia in the long term. I don't think Vladimir Putin intends to
fully side with the US, or with Germany and France. Over the past two
or three years, Russia's foreign policy strategy has been focused on
improving relations with the US, Europe, China, Japan, and India, i.e.
with all the basic "centers of power". I think this will be continued.
After all, if it takes any side in this dispute, Russia would
automatically spoil its relations with the opposing side, and Russia
has no interest in doing so.

ALEXANDER RAHR, DIRECTOR OF RUSSIA-CIS PROGRAMS AT THE GERMAN FOREIGN
POLICY COUNCIL:
The split in the West is favorable for Russia, since Moscow gains
a good opportunity for bargaining with both sides. Only two years ago,
the US believed that Russia need not be seriously taken into account
in international politics. The EU viewed Russia mainly as a provider
of energy resources, not as an actual strategic partner. Russia seemed
isolated, and was criticized by the West for its cruel war in
Chechnya.
The present diplomatic layout of forces shows that Russia may
choose a wait and see policy, and then join whichever side will win in
this conflict over Iraq. If the US makes a decision to start the war
without a UN mandate, Russia will be able to "jump on the bandwagon"
immediately as it did in the case of Afghanistan. If Chirac and
Schroeder gain the upper hand, it will be possible to avoid war with
Iraq; and Putin will be able to join them just as easily, as a
historical architect of the future multipolar world - on the same
bench as "old Europe".

BRUNO TERTRAIS, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, STRATEGIC STUDIES FOUNDATION,
PARIS:
I don't think Russia has an interest in seeing a widening split
between the US and Europe. The situation now is different from that of
the Cold War. At that time, splits between Washington and its European
allies played into Moscow's hands. But now Russia is a partner of the
US and Europe. It has no grounds for desiring trans-Atlantic discord.
Putin made his strategic choice before September 11, 2001. But the
terrorist attacks in New York and Washington convinced him that it is
necessary to develop cooperation with the West even more actively.
What if Moscow had to choose between the US and Europe someday - which
would it choose? The beginning of the answer to this question may be
Russia's veto of the new resolution on Iraq in the UN Security
Council. Actually, despite the statements of Russian Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov, I'm not sure Moscow will go that far. However, if this
should happen, it would be a signal for Washington that its
partnership with Moscow is not unconditional, and that Russia does not
neglect its interests in Europe for the sake of maintaining its "new"
friendship with Washington.
(Translated by Kirill Frolov)

*********

#9
Financial Times (UK)
March 7, 2003
Russia should join a cold war on Iraq
By Grigory Yavlinsky
The writer is leader of Russia's liberal Yabloko party

In the manner of Andrei Gromyko, his soviet predecessor, Igor Ivanov,
Russia's foreign minister, now repeatedly suggests that Moscow might veto a
second United Nations resolution on Iraq. Meanwhile, President Vladimir
Putin has maintained a protracted silence. According to today's
Kremlinologists, this role-play can mean only two things: either Russia's
position has not yet been decided; or, as in previous crises, Mr Putin has
formulated it himself but is waiting for the appropriate moment to announce
it to the world.

Sensing an opportunity either way, a host of political and commercial
representatives have rushed to the Kremlin clutching their price lists to
lobby the president. In essence, they are urging Moscow to sell its consent
to war in exchange for guarantees of Iraq's $8bn Russian debt, for
participation in the economic and commercial development of postwar Iraq
and for access to Iraqi oil reserves for Russian oligarchs.

If the Americans say Yes to such a deal, Russia should keep quiet and avert
its gaze, say these lobbyists. It is precisely this mercantilist attitude
that preoccupies western analysts and journalists writing about Russia.

In fact, Russian national interests lie elsewhere. Mr Putin rightly
rejected the policy of support at a price in September 2001. That was the
moment when Russia at last realised that its true national interests lay
not in western hand-outs but in much closer co-operation with the west and
above all with the US, in international security and the war against
terrorism.

In regard to Iraq, Russia's vital interests lie neither in setting a price
for its support for America nor in propping up the oil price. They lie in
guaranteeing the security of Russian citizens and the stability of
neighbouring regions. Our neighbours must adhere strictly and transparently
to non-proliferation and to total and irreversible destruction of
biological and chemical weapons. From this viewpoint, the need to disarm
Iraq is absolutely indisputable. As a goal for the international community,
it is beyond question.

Besides, if Russia wants at least to be called a democratic country, it
cannot be indifferent to the existence of the Baghdad regime, with its
politically motivated persecution, mass repression, torture and executions.
That dictatorship must be consigned to the past. Russia also has a duty to
strengthen the international coalition against terrorism, to enhance United
Nations authority and the effectiveness of Security Council decisions.

But does that mean war against Iraq is inevitable? No, it is still possible
to avoid war - but only if there is a compromise between the supporters of
war and its opponents that preserves the unity of the international
community and its capacity to act decisively.

That compromise could involve the long-term deployment of a powerful
international armed force along Iraq's borders. It is already obvious to
everybody that only the presence of an armed contingent would allow UN
inspectors to do their job effectively and demonstrate to Saddam Hussein
that the time for playing one member of the international community off
against another has long passed.

Of course, this plan is already being implemented. It is precisely the
threat of force from the US that has forced the Iraqi leader into
co-operating with UN weapons inspectors. Over time, it should bring about
full Iraqi disarmament and regime change. History proves that such regimes,
like the Soviet Union, are gradually worn down when subjected to constant
pressure.

What we need is the modern equivalent of the cold war, not a hot war
against Mr Hussein. After all, the combination of constant political
pressure and the threat of military force have already proved effective in
containing Iraq. Why abandon it now? This approach could also be used to
deal with other dictatorships searching for weapons of mass destruction.
North Korea has resumed its nuclear programme, provoking a second crisis
for the international community. And Kim Jong-il is not the last in the
line of unpredictable dictators.

Russia should support the containment and erosion of the Iraqi regime but
resist a precipitous Anglo-American war. Instead it should attempt to
reassemble an international coalition in a new cold war against rogue
states seeking weapons of mass destruction. That could be acceptable to the
US, Britain, France and Germany. But Moscow will not succeed through either
the posturing of Mr Ivanov or the deliberate ambiguity of Mr Putin.

********

#10
Moscow Times
March 7, 2003
Municipal Deformation
By Nikolai Petrov
Nikolai Petrov, head of the Center for Political and Geographical Research,
contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.

Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the presidential administration and chief
reformer in the Kremlin, has become incredibly active of late in pushing
his package of reform bills to change the organization of regional and
municipal government.

After a series of discussions with experts, last fall the new legislation
was presented at the State Council. At the beginning of January, President
Vladimir Putin submitted the bills -- with some amendments made -- to the
State Duma. After that, Kozak met with deputies to discuss them, and then
finally the Duma passed the packet in its first reading on Feb. 21. The
second reading is slated for April 1, and in May the Kremlin expects the
bills to be adopted by the Federation Council.

The timetable for switching over to a new system of municipal government --
to be operational by Jan. 1, 2005 -- is very tight, and the Kremlin is
already falling behind schedule. It is clear that the reforms will only
encounter further delays, as the Finance Ministry, for example, which is
responsible for redistributing budget funds between the federal, regional
and local levels, is saying that its preliminary proposals will only be
ready in April -- and without them, the second reading probably cannot take
place.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin is trying to force the pace of reforms, with a
view to pushing all the necessary legislation through parliament by the
summer. Not so long ago, most experts were of the opinion that passing
reforms that encroach upon the interests of the regional elite in a
national election year is impracticable -- given that neither the Duma nor
the president wants to muddy relations with regional leaders at a time when
their help is most needed to deliver the vote.

But it looks more than likely that the Kremlin will press ahead with the
reforms regardless. This will mean that the federal authorities, while
failing to make serious headway with structural reforms of the economy,
will have succeeded in consolidating their position -- and that the country
Putin will rule during his second term in office will be very different
from the one he took over three years ago.

Kozak's municipal reform is the second stage of the reform of the federal
system -- initiated immediately after Putin's accession to power -- and an
important part of the make-over of the entire federal system. The president
himself is behind the reform, so it would be more accurate to label it the
Putin-Kozak reform, rather than the Kozak reform.

The overarching rationale of the Putin reforms, from the perspective of
state-society relations, can be summarized as the expansion of the state
into every nook and cranny of the country by creating new executive chains
of command and strengthening the state's control over society. In parallel,
there has been an ongoing attempt to increase the effectiveness of the
state machine by simplifying it, weakening all state institutions that
compete with the presidency and trying to strengthen monitoring of all
links in the chain.

This reform drive has been going on for some time and it includes: forcing
regions to rip up their treaties with the federal center on the division of
competencies, which were signed during Boris Yeltsin's rule (more than half
these treaties have already been annulled); enlarging the lowest level of
government in the regions, the so-called first tier of municipalities; and
the development of a network of presidential envoys' obshchestvennye
priyomnye in all 3,000 cities and districts of the Russian Federation.

On top of this, the transformations envisioned in the municipal reform
project simply beggar belief. It will involve amendments to more than 200
federal laws, major territorial revamping, the redistribution of property
between regional governments and two levels of local government, and a
plethora of new elections in all municipalities. Moreover, while a jury
system is being introduced to this country in phases over a number of
years, municipal reform is to be implemented in one fell swoop.

The pluses and minuses of the reform could be debated endlessly. I will
just touch on the points I consider most important. Attracting attention to
the issues and serious public discussion of them is certainly a good thing,
and it would be very bad news if the adoption of the new laws simply closes
the topic for discussion. However, it is clear that the reform will
enfeeble local government, de facto establishing it as the bottom echelon
of the state apparatus.

In their desire to simplify the state system, the reformers are
ill-disposed toward competition and competitive democracy. And because they
want everything to happen at the same time, they have unified the
budgetary, financial, structural and territorial reforms without doing
sufficient preparatory work, and without testing them in pilot regions
first. Thus, the successful implementation of these reforms is very much in
doubt.

Today, local government in Russia is unfortunately weak. Moscow, Tatarstan
and Bashkortostan are just the most prominent examples. In the past 10
years, democracy has not spread uniformly throughout Russia: In some
regions the grass is growing well, in others the ground is swampy, in
others the growth is patchy, and in still others it is overgrown with
weeds. There hasn't been enough time for grassroots democracy to form from
zero. So those in power have proposed a radical solution to the problem: To
cover over the whole lawn with concrete. And society, it seems, has neither
the strength nor the means to resist.

********

#11
Moscow Tribune
March 7, 2003
THE ECONOMIC SANDWICH
On which side will it fall?
By Stanislav Menshikov

It is common knowledge that the Russian economy is overdependent on raw
materials exports while suffering from underdevelopment of its manufacturing
industry. That is not a proper condition for sustainable growth at rates
high enough to permit catching-up with advanced countries in per capita
income and living standards.

Different ways to solve the problem have been suggested. One of these would
raise taxes on natural rent that is the source of the exports industries'
superprofits and channel those funds into capital investment in
manufacturing and high tech. The government has refuted this scheme as
"dirigist" but suggested a "liberal" alternative that would raise taxes for
producing raw materials and reduce them for manufacturing. The higher the
share of value-added in the total value of an industry the lower the tax
rate it pays on its profits.

There is disagreement within the economics profession as to which of these
two schemes would work better and faster. But they are both aimed in the
same direction - i.e. bringing more life into manufacturing.

A very different approach is suggested by the concept of the "Soviet
Sandwich" recently circulated in the media. According to it, Russian
industry consists of three parts. One of them is the prosperous natural
resource sector which enjoys high profits from exports and expands at a
rapid rate. On the other side are industries such as food processing, retail
trade and construction which seem to do fairly well in the domestic market.
Sandwiched between them is the so called "Soviet legacy" - most of
manufacturing that suffers from low profits and lacks sufficient funds for
modernising and making themselves competitive. The middle layer survived and
even grew in 1999-2001 thanks to a devalued rouble. However, as this
stimulus wore out, growth gave place to stagnation.

The description is seems right except that ALL Russian industries, not
simply some of them, were built during the Soviet period, and are "Soviet
era legacy". NONE were built under Yeltsin or Putin (with the exception of a
few plants set up by foreign companies). Their heritage was the same but
current conditions depend on whether they earn a rent or not.

Those that export oil, gas, aluminium, nickel or steel mined or produced at
Soviet era facilities are considered competitive. But those who earn only an
average profit by selling products in an extremely narrow domestic market
are claimed to be non-competitive. There is something basically wrong with
this set of arguments.

The "Soviet sandwich" concept implies that the Russian economy is "inedible"
because of its manufacturing layer. Instead of trying to reform it by
helping equalise sector profit rates the government should, as one author
recommends, "permit the redistribution of resources away from the
uncompetitive economy and into the expanding sectors. Some sectors of the
economy will have to collapse to release resources to the healthier parts."

This recommendation, however, is both wrong and impractical. It is wrong for
the simple reason that a country as big as Russia simply cannot live
normally as any other big advanced industrial country does without producing
its own cars, trucks, aeroplanes, consumer durables, computers,
telecommunication equipment. No amount of oil and gas exports will be able
to pay for imports of these goods if they are no longer produced in Russia.
To be able to modernise its capital stock the country has to depend on its
own industries producing machinery and equipment. It is easier to build up
from the industrial potential that already exists rather to follow the
doubtful rule of "destroying first and building later".

The concept's impracticability is seen in the fact that the so called
uncompetitive sector has no excess resources that it could possibly yield to
"healthy" industries. Even if that sector were to be closed completely, no
additional funds would become available for use in the "competitive"
industries. However, there is plenty of surplus capital generated in oil and
other natural resource industries that is shipped away abroad while it could
be effectively channelled into capital-hungry manufacturing and high tech
via a reformed banking system and improved capital markets.

The sandwich concept is also impractical because the government does not
have the means to suffocate or bankrupt or otherwise eliminate private
companies that prevail in the "uncompetitive" economy. It could close some
of the armament producing plants, which belong to the government but that
would be killing the goose that lays golden eggs. It so happens that Russian
arms are still competitive in the world markets and bring an annual revenue
of over $4 billion in hard currency, not a negligent sum by Russian
standards.

Despite its "non-competitiveness" much of the intermediate layer of the
Soviet sandwich is producing goods that are readily bought and consumed
inside Russia. To do away with it would certainly benefit foreign companies
who would then be free from competition of Russian producers. But making the
sandwich fall that way is certainly not going to help the economy grow. On
the contrary, it would be another shock therapy exercise in the worst Gaidar
tradition.

********

#12
From: "James Henderson" <james.henderson@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: New Occasional Paper by Stephen Sestanovich
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003

Dear David,

The joint project by the Century Foundation and the Stanley Foundation,
Domestic Politics and America's Russia Policy, has just released an
occasional paper by Dr. Stephen Sestanovich, a member of the project Task
Force and former Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary
of State for the former Soviet Union.

The paper, At Odds with Iran and Iraq: Can the United States and Russia
Resolve Their Differences? is based on a presentation that Dr. Sestanovich
gave for the project in March of last year on The Russia Component in
American Policy toward Iraq. As the potential for war with Iraq looms
larger and the nuclear problem Iran poses grows, Dr. Sestanovich's paper is
a fascinating examination of the difficult diplomacy of these sensitive
areas of US-Russia relations.

Those interested in downloading a copy of the paper can access it at the
Euro-Atlantic Initiatives Web site: www.e-ai.org

Thanks,
James
James S. Henderson
Program Officer & Program Coordinator, Euro-Atlantic Initiatives Program
The Stanley Foundation
209 Iowa Avenue
Muscatine, IA 52761
E-mail: jhenderson@stanleyfoundation.org
New Mobile #: 210-473-8145
Please visit the Euro-Atlantic Initiatives Web site at:
www.euro-atlanticinitiatives.org.

********

#13
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003
From: Jolanta Davis <jmdavis@fas.harvard.edu>
Subject: Call for nominations for 2003 AAASS Book Prizes

The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies invites
nominations for the following 2003 book prize competitions. The nominated
work must have been published in 2002. Detailed rules for each prize are
posted on the AAASS Web site, <www.fas.harvard.edu/~aaass> and available
from Jolanta Davis, AAASS Publications Coordinator and NewsNet Editor,
e-mail: newsnet@fas.harvard.edu. If you think a volume should be nominated
for one of the prizes but prefer not to send the nomination yourself,
please let Jolanta Davis know the author's name, title, and publisher's
name, and she'll request the publisher to submit the volume for consideration.

2003 AAASS Book Prize Competitions:
--Ed A. Hewett Book Prize is awarded for the best publication on the
political economy of the centrally planned economies of the former Soviet
Union and East Central Europe and/or their transitional successors;
--Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize is awarded to the best work of scholarship
in any discipline of the humanities, including literature, the arts, film,
etc. Contemporary policy studies, however scholarly, cannot be considered;
--Marshall Shulman Book Prize is awarded for an outstanding monograph
dealing with international behavior of the countries of the former
Communist Bloc--the international relations, foreign policy, or
foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet
Union or Eastern Europe.
--AAASS/Orbis Books Prize for Polish Studies is awarded to the best
monograph in any discipline, dealing with any aspect of Polish affairs;
--Barbara Jelavich Book Prize is awarded to the best work on any aspect of
Southeast European or Habsburg studies since 1600, or 19th- and
20th-century Ottoman or Russian diplomatic history.

Jolanta M. Davis
AAASS Publications Coordinator and NewsNet Editor
American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS)
8 Story Street
Cambridge, MA
tel.: 617-495-0679
fax: 617-495-0680
Web site: www.fas.harvard.edu/~aaass

********

#14
From: "Vlad Ivanenko" <vivanenk@uwo.ca>
Subject: WAS THE CURE AGAINST INFLATION THE RIGHT MEDICINE?
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003

RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PUZZLES (FINAL: 4) WAS THE CURE AGAINST INFLATION THE RIGHT
MEDICINE?

Following the celebrated maxim of Milton Friedman that "inflation
is a monetary phenomenon", economists routinely advise the government of
a country that faces a growth in prices to tighten its money supply.

This was the counsel that the Russian government followed in 1992-8. It
was generally believed that the pursuance of a tight monetary policy was
essential. In fact, the IMF requested the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) to
set
explicit targets for growth in the money supply. Compliance with these
targets served
as one of the main criteria for determining Russian eligibility for Western
loans. Figures showing inflation and money growth are presented below.

Annual growth in consumer prices, in percent:

1992 -- 2,509
1993 -- 840
1994 -- 215
1995 -- 131
1996 -- 22
1997 -- 11
1998 -- 84
1999 -- 37
2000 -- 20
2001 -- 19
2002 -- 15

Annual growth in money supply (cash and deposits), in percent:

1992 -- 642
1993 -- 409
1994 -- 200
1995 -- 125
1996 -- 31
1997 -- 30
1998 -- 20
1999 -- 57
2000 -- 62
2001 -- 40
2002 -- 32

If one considers the dynamics illustrated by these figures, it will be noted
that prices
and money supply move in the same general direction. Given this information
the
observer is tempted to conclude that the CBR's policy of tight money worked.

However, a less obvious -- but startling -- observation that can be taken
from
the above statistics concerns the rates of the changes. The rate of
inflation exceeded the rate of money growth prior to the default of
August 1998. After that the relationship was reversed. It looked like
inflation resisted the tight monetary policy of 1992-8 whereas it
subdued without any particular pressure afterwards. What happened?

In retrospect, it appears that the immediate causes of Russian
inflation were not well determined. The prime concern of the Gaidar
government in 1992 was to contain inflation that resulted from "money
overhang" (a term for savings by households and companies deemed to be
"excessive"). When savings were wiped out in the first few months, the
attention was shifted towards tight monetary policy.

Absent from this reasoning was the fact that Russia was not a market
economy in 1991, a situation not considered in the Friedman's work. It
is generally agreed that the Soviet economy had prices that were not
based on market valuation of goods and services. Thus the liberalization
of trade had to bring about significant changes in the domestic price
system. Since prices are normally rigid downward (prices are more likely
to go up than down), the natural adjustment was upward. Thus it was
wrong to expect that inflation stops before prices adjust to new market
environment.

Blind reliance on the Friedman's proposition played a trick on early
Russian reformers. Prices on goods in short supply continued to grow
(e.g. oil products, coal, and metals) while the government restricted
the issuance of new credit in general. Many firms accumulated large
debts and stopped paying taxes, a development that contributed to the
eventual fall of the Gaidar government.

In retrospect, the fixation on anti-inflationary measures is puzzling.
If the reformers truly believed that Soviet prices were arbitrary they
should have realized that premature attempts to slow down inflation would be
counterproductive. The tight money policy would more likely result in
severe contraction of the economic sectors that over-produced (or were
subsidized) before (e.g. textiles, agriculture) against the background of
non-stop growth in prices on goods that were previously under-produced.
Particular
anti-inflationary measures, such as open market borrowing to cover the
fiscal deficit of 1993-8 and control over the exchange rate of 1995-8,
created additional problems. Responding to rising demand for money
funds, commercial banks constrained lending to enterprises and the
latter turned to inefficient barter trade. The appreciation of the ruble
sponsored growth in imports that replaced more expensive domestic
products.

The default was a turning point. It was generally expected at the time
that the ruble would collapse and inflation of the scale seen in 1992-4
would return.
On the contrary, the growth in money supply was not
translated into an identical growth in prices. It was even more puzzling
that such problems, perennial for transitional Russia, as fiscal
deficit and barter disappeared with no particular measures taken against
them (see data on barter below).

The share of non-monetary trade in total trade as reported by Russian
Economic Barometer, average annual in percent:

1992 -- 6
1993 -- 9
1994 -- 17
1995 -- 22
1996 -- 35
1997 -- 42
1998 -- 51
1999 -- 40
2000 -- 25
2001 -- 15
2002 -- 13 (March)

The above reasoning indicates that anti-inflationary policies of the
early Russian government were misconceived. This conclusion, however, is
controversial at the moment. Being a politically sensitive subject, it
faces a considerable opposition. The issue of Russian inflation requires
more research.

(Note: the author expresses his gratitude to Fred Weir of the Christian
Science Monitor for superb editorial help. Dmitry Mikheyev of the
Academy of Management in Moscow suggested the general idea for this
series.)

*******

#15
LEADERS OF RUSSIAN PATRIOTIC PARTIES ACCUSE LEADERS OF COMMUNISTS OF
CO-OPERATION WITH ODIOUS OLIGARCHS

MOSCOW, 6 March. /RIA Novosti correspondent/. A statement of leaders of
Russian patriotic parties received on Thursday by RIA Novosti indicated that
Russian patriots were concerned with "alarming processes" going recently
among the left wing forces, in the Communist party of the Russian federation
and in the Russian People's Patriotic Union.

The document was signed, in particular, by chairman of the "New communists"
party Andrei Brezhnev (a grandson of a famous but presently deceased USSR
leader), Aleksei Podberezkin, Secretary general of the United Socialist Party
of Russia ("Spiritual Inheritance"), Yevgeny Sobakin , first secretary of the
Presidium of the Political council of the "Party of Russia's Rebirth",
Schmidt Dzoblayev, Secretary general of the party of "National Patriotic
forces of the Russian Federation", Sazhi Umalatova, chairperson of the
Russian political party of "Peace and Unity" and others.

The statement indicated that "leadership of the communist party, being
tempted by advantages of co-operation with financial oligarchs, literally
before their very eyes were losing political weight gathered in the last 10
years of the struggle to defend interests of working people." The statement
pointed out that "having agreed to negotiations with Berezovsky their
"comrades" even did not bother to inquire whether such assistance was needed
from the person known by his co-operation with Chechen militants." In
connection with that leaders of patriotic parties appealed to the Communist
party of the Russian Federation on the eve of parliamentary elections "to
stop being tempted by Berezovsky and his accomplices." Leaders of patriotic
parties were of the opinion that "on the eve of the parliamentary elections
they had not in words but in deeds to initiate formation of a powerful
patriotic movement capable to achieve a victory in December 2003." While
commenting accusations of contacts of communists with Berezovsky leader of
the communist party Gennady Zyuganov stated on Thursday to journalists that
"Berezovsky was in exile and had been having no relation to them."

*******

#16
pravda.ru
March 6, 2003
Post-Soviet Republics To Unite Again
Several Russian politicians believe that the USSR will be restored by 2007

It seems that the company spirit of the Russian nation is really strong:
Russian people always have wish to unite with someone. So does the
leadership of the country. Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and
Kazakhstan ordered to conduct the first meeting of the Group of high level
for the issues of forming the joint economic space. Russia will be
represented at the meeting by Vice Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko. As the
vice prime minister believes, the joint economic space ideology comprises
four degrees of freedom: freedom of the commodity market, freedom of
services, capitals and labor force.

The presidents of the four countries announced their readiness to set up
the joint economic space on February 23rd in Moscow. The final goal of the
agreement is to establish the Regional Integration Organization. It was
ordered to develop the agreement by September of the current year. This
document stipulates the development of the coordinated economic policy on
several directions, the balance of adequate laws, and the creation of the
joint independent committee for trade and tariffs.

Russia has already announced that the joint economic space will be open for
other countries to join it. Nikolay Ryzhkov, the President of the Russian
and International union of commodity producers, proposed “to start the
formation of the joint economic space with the organization of the food
exchange – most important goods for people.” As it is mentioned in a
special statement, “the implementation of the mentioned program will
definitely assist in the rise of the agricultural production; it will also
provide the food safety for every country.”

As it is well known, the current attempt to set up the post-Soviet economic
association is not the first one. Back in March of 1996, the presidents of
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia signed an agreement to deepen
the integration in the economic and humanitarian fields. The document
should have helped to create the joint economic space in the four
countries, to provide favorable conditions for economic development there
and to set up the mechanism for the mutual strengthening of political and
social and economic structures. The leaders of the mentioned four countries
have conducted several meetings since that time, discussing different
variants for establishing the joint economic space. However, the project
melted away itself.

Since Russia failed to create something good with its neighbors, the
government of the country raised another issue. In 2001 Russia started
talking about a higher level of integration. It was decided during
Russia-EU summit in May of 2001 to set up a committee “of a high level for
the elaboration of suggestions pertaining to the establishment of the joint
European economic space.” As it was said in the statement, Russia and the
European Union agreed upon studying the issue of using euro in its trading
and economic relations.

In July of 2001, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov offered the
European Union to build the joint economic space together with Russia. The
prime minister pointed out that the solution of that issue solely depended
on the enthusiasm of European Union countries. However, European countries
were not enthusiastic about it, while the issue of the Russian Kaliningrad
enclave pushed the idea of the joint economic space into the background.

The today’s integration system is more humble. The republic of Kyrgyzstan
is no longer on the list, but there is Ukraine there now instead. However,
Ukraine is the country, which is peculiar for its maximum resistance
against integration suggestions. Prior to the session of the Group of high
level, the Ukrainian parliament sent a letter to the Prime Minister of
Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich. In the letter, Ukrainian deputies asked for an
explanation of circumstances, at which presidents of Ukraine, Russia,
Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the statement pertaining to the creation of
the joint economic space. As Ukrainian deputies claimed, that question had
not been publicly discussed in the country, so a suggestion like that could
not be upheld.

What will the new commonwealth look like, if it is eventually established?
Pavel Borodin, the Secretary of the Unified State of Russia and Belarus
assumed that the new commonwealth might resemble the USSR. As he stated the
USSR might be restored again by the year 2007: “The Soviet Union was an
objective reality. Almost the whole post-Soviet space might be retrieved in
the nearest future,” stated Borodin.

According to the recent poll, which was conducted by the Public Opinion
Foundation, Russian people support the idea to integrate. As Russians
believe, Russia should establish a joint state with Belarus – 35% of
respondents, Ukraine – 28%, Kazakhstasn – 11%, and Moldavia – 9%. Eighteen
percent of respondents believe that Russia is not supposed to unite with
any country of the Commonwealth. According to the poll that was conducted
in December, 32% of Russians would support the unification of several
republics in closer unions, 23% would support the restoration of the USSR,
while 15% would stand for a closer unification of republics on the base of
the EU principle. Yet, thirteen percent of the population stands for the
preservation of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the way it exists
today. Twelve percent favors the idea of independent existence for all
republics.

As far as the attitude to post-Soviet leaders is concerned, 32% of Russians
sympathize with Alexander Lukashenko, the incumbent President of Belarus,
20% like Nursultan Nazarbayev, the incumbent President of Kazakhstan, while
seven percent prefer Vladimir Voronin, the President of Moldavia. Russian
people dislike Eduard Shevardnadze most of all (the Georgian President) –
44%. Twenty-four percent dislike Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

MiK News Agency
PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

********

#17
Russia: Kremlin Critics Say Closure Of Independent Newspaper Fits Pattern
By Gregory Feifer

Staff members of one of Russia's most staunchly oppositionist newspapers
suspended publication last week after its director was fired for alleged
financial mismanagement. Currently negotiating over the paper's future, the
paper's journalists say the dismissal put their editorial independence at
risk in what observers agree is the latest advance in the Kremlin's drive to
stifle press freedom.

Moscow, 6 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- From the time President Vladimir Putin took
office in 2000, independent media in Russia have faced constant pressure over
their criticism of the Kremlin. The issue reached global attention when
nationally popular publications were taken over by state-connected companies.
But smaller, lesser-known organizations have also either had to succumb to
lawsuits and takeover bids or wage fierce battles to fend them off.

In the latest case, the "Novye izvestiya" newspaper suspended publication on
28 February after its director was fired, a move journalists said threatened
the paper's independent editorial line.

"Novye izvestiya" has been one of the Kremlin's fiercest critics, something
observers say virtually assured that it would face political pressure.

Oleg Panfilov, whose Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations has provided
a leading voice in the defense of independent media, said the paper's
reporting over the past several years has been boldly critical. "When I
opened "Novye izvestiya" every day over the past year, the first question
that would come to me was, 'When would it be closed down?' -- that is, what
happened was expected," Panfilov said.

The shake-up at "Novye izvestiya" began last month, after publisher Oleg
Mitvol fired editor Igor Golembiovskii from his second position as newspaper
director. Mitvol said management had stolen money from the newspaper.

But the paper's journalists denounced the allegations as ridiculous, saying
the reshuffle was actually the result of Kremlin pressure to bring the
publication under greater control. The journalists are now seeking ways to
retain control. Deputy director Valerii Yakov told RFE/RL the editorial staff
was now "in negotiations" over the paper's future but declined to comment
further.

Panfilov said the reasoning behind Golembiovskii's firing falls into a common
pattern in which Kremlin-critical media are subject to what are ostensibly
business disputes. "The explanation [for the closure] is completely
incomprehensible. I think this incomprehensible reasoning hides the
incident's political undercurrent," Panfilov said.

Panfilov added that Yakov told him the paper received threatening calls from
Kremlin officials over its editorial line already last year.

The Kremlin has not commented on the matter. In similar cases in the past, it
has either remained silent or insisted that it does not interfere in business
disputes.

"Novye izvestiya" began publication in 1997, backed by oil-and-media mogul
Boris Berezovskii, who owned 76 percent of the paper. Mitvol, a friend of
Berezovskii's at the time, offered to manage, and then took formal control
of, Berezovskii's holding.

The remaining 24 percent went to the paper's editorial staff, which still
holds the shares. Berezovskii was at the time a top Kremlin power broker with
control over ORT television. He played a large part in bringing Putin to
power but fell out with the president shortly after his election to office.

Berezovskii soon left Russia; he now lives in London.

Berezovskii told RFE/RL that he paid for offices and equipment for "Novye
izvestiya" and has financed the loss-making paper for the past five years to
the tune of $150,000 a year. Commentators say that fact makes Mitvol's
concern over financial misuse unconvincing.

Berezovskii said he asked Mitvol to sign his 76 percent back over to him two
years ago but that Mitvol refused. Berezovskii added that Mitvol was
previously averse to the paper's critical line but did not force the issue.
"Apparently -- in light of upcoming parliamentary elections -- the
authorities have recently been trying to take control of not only television
channels but also of newspapers. That's why the events concerning 'Novye
izvestiya' can be seen as part of the authorities' logical-enough scheme of
behavior in placing all media under their control. I see Mitvol's flare-up of
activity only in this context," Berezovskii said.

Berezovskii said he has offered to put aside claims to his shares and
continue helping to finance the paper if Mitvol allows the newspaper's staff
to continue working without changes and to make its own management decisions.

Berezovskii's holdings, however, are not the only ones to have come under
attack. Vladimir Gusinskii, whose media holdings included leading independent
NTV television, the liberal "Segodnya" newspaper, and the weekly magazine
"Itogi," used his outlets to oppose the Kremlin's party in parliamentary
elections in 1999.

Gusinskii was briefly jailed in 2000 after his media empire came under fire
following Putin's election to office.

When a state-connected minority shareholder in Gusinskii's company forced a
takeover of NTV in 2001, the news made international headlines.

Gusinskii's other media -- among the country's best and most liberal -- were
also swallowed up. The businessman now also lives in exile.

Panfilov said the Kremlin has drawn up a blacklist of media that it intends
either to close down or to bring under greater control. It allegedly includes
the Ekho Moskvy radio station and the TVS television channel.

Ekho Moskvy, also a former Gusinskii property, is under pressure from
controlling shareholder Gazprom-Media to change its editorial policies.

While major media outlets have toned down their criticism of the Kremlin,
small newspapers such as "Novye izvestiya" led the effort to produce probing
investigative journalism.

Among the most visible is "Novaya gazeta," which has stood out for its
coverage of Chechnya and official corruption. It has also come under fire but
has so far successfully fought for its independence.

A court last year ruled against "Novaya gazeta" in a $1 million libel suit
brought by a regional judge. The paper had published a story alleging that
the judge was living well beyond his means, saying he owned a $50,000 watch
and was building a $1 million house on a monthly salary of $300.

Days later, the paper saw another suit, this one for $500,000, brought by a
prominent Kremlin-connected bank for alleging its top executives were
involved in a money-laundering scandal. The bank dropped the case after one
of the paper's crusading investigative journalists showed the bank had faked
losses it said came as a result of the paper's accusations.

"Novaya gazeta's" first deputy editor, Yurii Shchekochikhin, is also a Duma
deputy. He agreed that the closure of "Novye izvestiya" represents the latest
in the drive by officials to bring the press under greater control. "We know
of big cases on the federal level. But exactly the same incidents are going
on all over Russia. It's even more difficult for our colleagues to work there
because there are constant killings and beatings of journalists. There's also
pressure on the use of administrative resources to pressure the free press,"
Shchekochikhin said.

Meanwhile, Panfilov said he expects pressure from the Kremlin to continue. He
said "Novaya gazeta" will face more problems in the future and that
Berezovskii-owned papers "Kommersant" and "Nezavisimaya gazeta" might also
come under fire.

*******

#18
Russian academic outraged by events marking anniversary of Stalin's death

Moscow. March 5 (Interfax) - Acamedician
Alexander Yakovlev, who chairs the Presidential Commission for the
Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Reprisals, is outraged by the
scope of events to mark 50 years since Josef Stalin's death.
"The Russian mass media have been dancing around this figure for
nearly five days. It's amazing! What this petty occasion deserves is just
a line reading that the tyrant died 50 years ago," Yakovlev told Interfax
on Wednesday.
"The worst thing is that Stalin is being pictured as a martyr who was
probably poisoned, or probably strangled, now it turns out he was a good
guy who smiled at kids and gave them sweets," he said.
"It's a shame! This man signed a decree which said that children can
be executed from the age of 12. He eliminated all of his relatives and
all of his comrades-in-arms who were unfortunate enough to learn what
they should not have. This man destroyed the peasantry, the nobility and
Russian culture as a whole. Are we as Russians so oblivious?" Yakovlev
said.
He said that about 32 million people fell victim to political
reprisals in the country, including 13 million during the civil war.
Including unborn children, the peoples of the former Soviet Union have
lost over 100 million lives since 1917," he said.
Recalling Stalin's reprisals, Yakovlev said that after the Great
Patriotic War [WWII], 1.8 million prisoners of fascist concentration
camps, upon their return to Russia, were thrown into GULAG camps on
charges of high treason. Many of them died.
"Disregarding all of this, we are commemorating Stalin with his
restored portraits, which have nothing to do with his actual appearance.
If the same hullabaloo had been staged in Germany over Hitler, a
countless number of court actions would have followed," Yakovlev said.
Yan Rachinsky, a representative of the Memorial international human
rights center, said that "the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death sounds
the alarm that Russian society has failed to grasp the essence of what
was going on in Russia in the Stalin era."
Many archives are still closed to researchers, while accounts by
historians who assess the Stalin era objectively are rarely published.
In contrast, the go-ahead has been given to materials praising the
"leader of all times and nations," and the ideology of the 1930s and
1950s is actually been reproduced. "Assertions that Stalin's rule was
useful to Russia and the Russian people are perceived calmly and
sometimes with applause," Rachinsky said.
"Moreover, even some of those who went through GULAG still believe
that "the leader" did not know anything about massive reprisals, although
it has been established that he personally signed the lists of citizens
to be executed," he said.
He added that a shortage of objective information about the Stalin era
does not allow society to understand its tragic essence to this day.

*******

#19
Yezhenedelnyi Zhurnal
No. 8
March 2003
FOLLOWING A DIRECT LINE
Vladimir Putin as a successor to Stalin, in form if not in essence
Vladimir Putin considers authoritarianism the most effective form of
rule: and from this point of view, he is definitely Stalin's successor
Author: Alexander Ryklin
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
IT WAS RECENTLY SAID THAT PRESIDENT PUTIN IS THE MOST EXTREME RIGHT-
WING POLITICIAN IN RUSSIA NOWADAYS. THE STATEMENT WAS MADE IN THE
COURSE OF A DISCUSSION OF THE FUTURE OF RIGHT-WING POLITICAL PARTIES
IN RUSSIA. IS THE ASSUMPTION CORRECT?

Josef Stalin's profile can still be seen on flags alongside the
profiles of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. Almost all left-wing parties more
or less successfully make use of Stalin's image as a major symbol of
the great socialist past. On the other hand, it is wrong to assume
that the combined resource of the left, i.e. not more than 30% of
Russian voterss, comprise the part of society that views Stalin's
political legacy as valuable and promising. The essence of that legacy
at the very least (without the communist ideology) is used by the
powers-that-be relying on much broader strata.
Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Aleksei Volin
said in an interview recently: "President Putin is the most extreme
right-wing politician in Russia nowadays. That's a clinical fact." The
statement was made in the course of a discussion of the future of
right-wing political parties in Russia. Is the assumption correct?
Analysis of the president's policy statements and documents (like
annual addresses to the Federal Assembly, for example, the latest of
them called liberal "in spirit and in essence" by Duma deputy speaker
Irina Khakamada) makes it absolutely plain that the Kremlin promotes
right-wing liberal values. It may be added, however, that most
analysts never fail to add the words "in the sphere of economic
policy".
The assumption is wrong, at least to a certain extent. Indeed,
everything is more or less clear with changes and reforms in the
economic sphere. Reforms in the tax legislation, deregulation of
relations between business and government, reforms in the banking
sector, a deficit-free budget, and so on - all this indicates a
liberal course. But the economy is not the only sphere in which the
Kremlin plans reforms. A quite revolutionary administrative reform is
in the air, laws on local government have been forwarded to the Duma,
some progress in the military reforms is undeniable, and a package of
social reforms has been prepared.
Let's face it. All these reforms and all this activity do not
really matter as far as the nation or its citizens are concerned,
because the Russian state is not ready for any reforms in the first
place. The political system in Russia under Putin specifies such
concentration of power in the hands of the ruling elite that
institutions of civil society cannot oversee the authorities, and are
actually well on the way to becoming purely decorative trimmings. All
this is supposed to look "like in European countries". Get rid of
these decorations, and it will mean no more tea parties with Blair or
Chirac.
The bureaucratic apparatus is the only conductor of the reforms
in Russia. Not the author, because the reformist laws are mostly
drafted by right-wing parties.
It may be added here that Putin was chosen as successor to Boris
Yeltsin because on the eve of the 1999 parliamentary and 2000
presidential elections the Kremlin was firmly convinced that the
tandem of Luzhkov and Primakov could be overcome only by offering the
people a savior. Someone strong, uncompromising, and successful. A man
from the secret services would do fine. Primakov was from the secret
services too, but much too elderly and heavy. From this angle, he
looked like another Yeltsin. Putin - young and lean - was an entirely
different matter.
The war in the Caucasus was chosen as the PR tactic, a victorious
war that was supposed to reveal all advantages of the new candidate.
Political consultants were correct. The people came to trust the
"messiah". The messiah, it seems, came to believe that he really was
the chosen one.
It is clear that officers of the Russian secret services (active
or former) have a quaint notion of the essence of power. Simplified,
this notion comes down to this: do everything yourself if you want
everything done right and effectively. Rule, and rule with a firm
hand. A free society does not stand a chance in Russia, as a decade
under Yeltsin made quite plain. On the other hand, the reforms are
essential, because everything in Russia requires modernization. That
was how the right was put in charge of program-writing, with the
chekists assigned to keep an eye on the right. Such a construction
does not leave any place for society. It is hardly surprising
therefore that the war on independent media became uncompromising at
once.
Some progress was eventually made: the parliament ceased being an
independent political force, parties ceased being an independent
political force, and businesses ceased being an independent political
force.
Is this concentration of power an element of Stalin's legacy?
Without doubt. Does Putin view Stalin as an example? No.
Let us put it in this manner. Putin's ascent to the top - and his
first (and not only the first) moves once there - generated in a
certain part of society the hope that "the father has returned". It
was a kind of message, and the regime got it. Piloting a fighter jet -
is that not a beginning of a myth? Or take all these innumerable
sculptures of Putin, the rugs with the president's portrait, letters
from schoolgirls. A single word from the Kremlin would have sufficed
to put an end to all this. The Kremlin is keeping silent. Actually,
the regime does not exceed certain limits. Volgograd has not been
renamed Stalingrad again, despite war veterans' requests; and the
statue of Dzerzhinsky in central Moscow has not been restored.
Who defines these limits, and on the basis of what criteria? This
is a serious question.
A prominent Russian businessman told us about a month ago: "We
can get by - and even make money sometimes - only because of global
oil prices. If and when the Kremlin finds itself without petro-
dollars, it will surely start commandeering money from us. Because it
cannot find money anywhere else. In other words, the Kremlin will of
necessity return to the idea of a mobilization economy, with a
sergeant in every workshop and a major in every office..."
We can only hope the oil market will not crash. Otherwise a
bronze Dzerzhinsky statue would return to Lubyanka Square, and his
successors would be masters in Russia. When that happens, no one will
really care what the city on the Volga is called.